Saturday, April 30, 2011

Faith and Fiction Round Table: What Good Is God?

It's very appropriate that the Faith and Fiction Roundtable discussion of What Good Is God by Phillip Yancy is being posted today.  It addresses a question I think a lot of people in my small town of Ringgold, GA are asking right now.  In case you've missed the news during the past few days, my town was hit by the same tornadoes that devastated the South on Wednesday.  In particular, my town was hit by at least one EF4 tornado that destroyed almost the entire town.  Luke and I saw the funnel cloud and it was terrifying.  We are blessed in that the small area we live in was spared.  As we drove out of town today, we saw how tragic this has been for our community.  The majority of the damage is still unaccessible to anyone but emergency workers, but the small amount we could see was heartbreaking.  I'm not going to post pictures of anyone's homes, but here are some images from the entrance to my neighborhood.  This is less than a quarter of a mile from my home, the route that Chief and I walk every morning.

The last I heard, eight people lost their lives on Wednesday and hundreds lost their homes and businesses.  The same is true in small towns throughout Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia.  Over 200 tornadoes across the south on Wednesday alone.  Many in the area are asking the question Yancy addresses in this book: What good is God?  In the face of devastating loss, what good does God serve? 

In his book, Yancy examines how people who have faced major tragedies, such as the school shooting at Virginia Tech, civil war and genocide, and acts of terrorism have found a way of believing that faith has value.  The book is a collection of messages Yancy has delivered to those in situations such as these, as well as a description of his interaction with those who have suffered terrible losses.

While I will admit that I want not a fan of the writing/style of this book (review to come later), I'm also appreciative of the messages Yancy delivers, particularly in light of the tragedy being faced in the South and in my own city right now.  The aspect I'd like to address in this post is the emphasis that Yancy places throughout the book on the importance of the church in the face of suffering and destruction. 

Yancy writes, "Where is God when it hurts? Where God's people are. Where misery is, there is the Messiah, and now on earth the Messiah takes form in the shape of the church. That's what the body of Christ means."
 As Ringgold, and other cities throughout the South, face the coming days, I hope to see the body of Christ take this one as a whole.  What better way to show the love of Christ than to care for people who are suffering?  And how better to show the world how God can be good in the midst of tragedy? 

My question for readers today is how do you think we can come together to show the good of God in the midst of this tragedy?  Do you think that Christians are responsible for conveying God's love and compassion during times of devastation and loss?  Do you believe in the goodness of God, even during times of tragedy?  Why or why not?

For those of you who are looking for a way to help, I'm hoping to have some more details to post later.  I'm organizing a school supply drive through my school to benefit the students of Ringgold Middle and High Schools.  Both are completely destroyed.  Students will not be able to return to school this year and will have to share space with other schools next year - they will not even be able to return to schools to collect personal belongings.  I have some connections to the high school and I'm hoping to possibly use my blog to benefit the school as well.  I'm thinking maybe of a book drive for the high school/middle school libraries along with the school supply drive?  I'll be thinking through details and posting more in days to come.

And please pray for my town and the people who have lost their homes, businesses, and families.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Update and Guest Post: Olivia deBelle Byrd Cooley

Hello, Reader Friends.  We've had a bout of bad weather here in my neck of the woods, so I haven't been around for the past few days.  We live in one of the North Georgia towns that was particularly hard hit by the tornadoes and storms.  Thankfully, we made it through with only a small amount of damage to our roof and all of us are safe.  We had to leave town to stay with my parents because we didn't have power or water.  We brought the dogs with us and left the cat with plenty of food and water, thinking we'd be able to get back by the end of the day, but that wasn't the case.  Tonight they are finally letting residents back into the city and we will get to go home and check on the poor kitty who has been alone for over a day now.  Hopefully we will have power and water, but some homes are still without and will be without until next week.  We won't know until we're able to get home tonight.  Please pray for our area and for those in TN, AL, MS, and VA who were affected.  Many lives were lost and entire towns (including ours) have been destroyed.  So many have lost their homes and businesses.  We appreciate all your prayers!  Later I will try to post ways you can help if you'd like to support the communities that have been affected.

Since I've been occupied with trying to round up my family and live with the few things we were able to throw in a bag before evacuating, I haven't had a chance to write any posts.  Instead, I'm going to use this time for a guest post from a Southern author I admire and enjoy, Olivia deBelle Byrd Cooley.  She writes humorous Southern stories about her life.  I love that she sent this story, since I met her for the first time at a book signing!  Hopefully it will bring a smile to your face as well!

A funny thing happened before a recent book signing of my published book Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle. A new library had just been built in my hometown and the library foundation had graciously asked me to do a book signing. The event would be complete with a Southern tea and beautiful belles in antebellum dresses using the catchy theme “Books and Belles.” The Sunday before this lovely event, the announcement came out in our local newspaper, but due to a sleepy proof editor the event was billed “Books and Bellies—A Taste of the South.” The head of the library foundation immediately called with the words, “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. My friend said to look on the bright side—maybe a lot of people will come just to see exactly what she is going to do!”

I assured this gracious gal that if they were expecting a belly dance they would be sorely disappointed. As I explained, “I was raised by a host of Southern women and threatened within an inch of my life if I ever showed my belly in public. I am still not over it. This belly has yet to see the light of day.”

As my birthright, I passed this on to my daughter. It is true I had to give in to bikinis, but if she were not within two inches of a beach, her belly was not to be seen. Before she left the house, I even made her perform the “belly test,” as she exasperatedly called it. She had to raise both arms so I could be sure her shirt covered every inch of her belly. If you are raised by a slew of Southern women, some lessons stick for life. Trust me on this one!

I have had book signings where tea, homemade pound cake, cheese straws, and Mississippi Mud were served. I have spoken at book clubs, luncheons, garden clubs, and discussion groups. I have been on blogs, guest posts, facebook, and twitter. This author has dressed in a straw brimmed hat, white gloves, camellias, and a brown suit. But I stand my ground on this one. I do not care what the newspaper says. This Southern Belle is not displaying her belly—not even to sell a book!

Olivia deBelle Byrd is a self-proclaimed Southern Belle who resides in Panama City, Florida, with her husband, Tommy. She is the author of Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle, which is her first collection of satirical essays.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Review: If I Stay

Mia is a normal seventeen year old high school student who has a great boyfriend, two youthful and eccentric parents, and a sweet little brother.  In a second, a car crash takes her entire family and Mia finds herself watching as her own body is taken to the hospital.  If I Stay chronicles Mia's time in the hospital and her remembrances of her family as she must decide whether or not to stay in the face of such an enormous loss.

I want to qualify my view of the writing by saying that everyone else I know raved about the writing in this book.  People I think very highly of as reviewers, book fanatics, and writers themselves have written some great blog posts about how much they loved the writing, and I recommend that you check those out.  I don't typically qualify my opinion on the writing because this is my blog and if I don't like the writing, I don't like it.  In this case, I've heard way too many differing opinions from people I trust to just flat out say the writing is average.  For me, the writing was just ok.  Nothing jumped out at me as especially amazing or striking.  I have no criticisms either, but it didn't stand out to me as anything more than standard YA fare.  I think the story was original and I had no complaints, but I also don't have the raves that some did.

Again, for me, this one was ok.  I almost think that this may be another case where my expectations were just too high from the beginning.  I had heard such wonderful things from my writer/reader/blogger friends that I expected to be blown away.  And I was certainly entertained.  I read the entire book in one evening.  I just wasn't as blown away as I had thought I would be.  It didn't make me cry (although this is typical - I rarely cry when reading) and I wasn't just DYING for the next installment in the series (Where She Went).  I cared about the characters, but not as much as I wanted to.  I wasn't sad to leave them at the end and I didn't wonder what would happen to them next.  I DO plan to read Where She Went, and I've heard wonderful things about it.  I just wasn't as thrilled with this one as I had planned to be. 

Here are the links to some of my blogging friends who have given this one rave reviews and have, in particular, discussed the writing:

Laurel at Chic Fit Geek
Cassie at Words On Paper
Crazy Bookworm
Crystal and Life, Love, and Literature
The Perpetual Page Turner

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (15, part II)

I hope all of you had a wonderful Easter!  We went to an outdoor service this morning with my parents and siblings and then to a wonderful lunch at my parents' house.  We even dyed a few easter eggs.  And then took wonderful naps.  I am still trying to get all the books I got at the library sale arranged and posted AND Luke and I went to the used book store yesterday, and I had quite a few books to trade in for store credit.  So here is some of this week's haul, along with the books I received for review, my anniversary present, and an exchange gift I received!

For our third anniversary, Luke got me a piano!  Here it is in our library...

For Review:

This is MG fantasy, obviously, and has the cutest cover.

Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax - sent by TLC Tours (Yes, that's a kitty tail on the book - Sly insisted on helping me with the pictures)

Quarantine by Rahul Mehta - sent by Harper Perennial (short stories about the experience of being gay in the Indian culture)
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin - sent by Harper Collins

Books I traded for at McKays

The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble (I've read her others and like her for a fun, light read)
Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog (wanted to read it since I read it was hilarious in an old issue of Book Page - and found it on sale for .50!)

The Kalahari Typing School for Men and Morality for Beautiful Girls both by Alexander McCall Smith to add to my series of No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

Half A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche (she's an African author I'm a fan of)
Someday My Prince Will Come (memoir about a girl who always wanted to marry a prince and moves to Europe to try to find one)

Given to me:

Some of my friends and I did a spring exchange where we sent each other flip flops and books.  Lauren sent me The Girl Who Was On Fire (an anthology of essays on my favorite YA series ever - The Hunger Games), Living Dead Girl, and The Sky Is Everywhere.

And some adorable nautical-ish flip flops!  I love them!

What's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

He Is Risen Indeed

"He is risen.  He is not here"  Matthew 16:6

"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
My life is worth the living just because He lives"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Review: The Pun Also Rises by John Pollack

Clever title, no?  I love puns and I think they can be hilarious when cleverly done (although too often they deserve the common consideration of low humor).  But if you've ever read The Phantom Tollbooth, or if you've payed close attention to Shakespeare, you've seen some great (and smart) puns!  Pollack's book is something like a natural history examination of the pun.  He traces the roots of punning as well as some of the most famous punsters (although some, like Thomas Jefferson, are more famous for other things).  We also learn about the "science" of puns: how they work and how the brain processes them. 

Top notch.  The author previously worked as a speechwriter for Bill Clinton, and his knowledge shows.  The book is well-researched and documented (something that is always important to me).  I had no problems technically with any of the writing.  It's a scholarly work, non-fiction, but you can also see how the author was successful as a speechwriter - he is able to present complex material in an interesting way.  The historical anecdotes in particular and told in an engaging and funny voice. 

I think a lot of the entertainment value of this book is going to be based on whether or not you like puns.  If you hate puns, you may not find the book very interesting based on the topic.  I personally found it to be funny and clever and loved reading the stories of the origins of the pun.  But if it's not your type of humor, you may not find the stories as clever or interesting.  It's not that the book is written in pun, it's actually written in a more scholarly manner, but I don't know that I would be interested in it were it not a form of humor I enjoy.  So, if you're a lover of language and the ways it can be manipulated, check this one out! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Anniversary to me!

I meant to post this yesterday, which was my actual anniversary, but my events conspired against me.  Remember how I posted those scratches on my face where Chief stepped on me in his excitement over a cuddle?  Yeah, the scratches were just the beginning - by last night my front tooth was killing me.  I went to an endodontist today and the entire tooth was dying.  So I got to have an emergency root canal this morning.  It was actually not as bad as everything I've heard and although it still hurts quite a bit, it's less painful than it was before the procedure was done.  Anyway, here's what I was doing three years ago (yesterday)...

And three years ago today I was enjoying some quality time with Luke in trip to the endodontist today wasn't nearly as much fun...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Presidential Challenge: John Adams

It's taken me long enough, I know, but I finally finished John Adams by David McCullough for the Presidential Challenge hosted by Jacki at Lovely Little Shelf.  I originally planned to do one biography each month, but this one was heavy duty (close to 700 pages) and I took my time with it.  I don't want to force myself to read these, but take my time and enjoy them and learn from them, instead of feeling like I've got to get it done by the end of the month.  So, that's exactly what I did with this one.  And it was wonderful!

I am such a fan of John Adams now.  If you had asked me two months ago how I felt about John Adams I would have had no idea how to answer you.  But through reading this book I learned so much about him as a historical figure and as a person.  I feel like he and Abigail are my friends.  The sad thing about historical biographies is that you know how it's going to end - all of the main characters are going to die.  Did you know that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day?  July 4th, on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

There is so much to this book that giving a quick summary isn't going to work, so I'm going to highlight four things that I found particularly inspiring from my new friend John.

John Adams strongly opposed a two party system of government.  He wrote, "There is nothing I dread so much as a division of the Republic into two parties, each arranged under its leader and converting measures in opposition to each other."  I read this part the Friday night that the whole government shutdown seemed as if it would go into affect and it struck me as so prescient.  How applicable to our own political climate and particularly to the inability for Congress to come together across party lines for the good of the people that we've recently seen!

More of a personal significance to this one: John Adams found exercise, in particular daily walks, to be essential to his mental and physica health.  When his son complained of feeling lethargic, John wrote to him "Move or die is the language of our Maker in the consitution of our bodies...When you cannot walk abroad, walk in your room."  And it's not just something he said - as we follow him across Europe and through various diplomatic situations and ultimately the Presidency and old age, he continued to spend a portion of each day outside getting exercise.  So when my alarm goes off at 6:30 for me to go walk, I've been saying to myself "Move or die!" as I'm tempted to hit snooze.

As we come to an election year I find this quote to be very timely: "I think instead of opposing systematically any administration, running down their characters and opposing all their measures, right or wrong, we ought to support every administration as far as we can in justice."  Like I mentioned earlier, Adams did not believe in a two party system, and, because of that, was villified in the press both by the Federalists and the Republicans.  When he ran against Jefferson after his first term, Jefferson used whatever means he could to diminish Adams as a rival - but Adams never publically criticized a political opponent.  Can you guys imagine how much easier an election year would be if the candidates didn't publically criticize their opponents?  We might actually know where they stand on the issues and be able to have an informed vote!  Crazy!

My last quote relates to John Adams' spiritual life.  One thing I greatly appreciated about this author is that he presents Adams' religion in an unbiased way and doesn't attempt to downplay or emphasize it.  He writes about where appropriate and it is very clear that, while Adams wasn't perfect, he was a man who loved God and wanted to serve him.  This quote, from a letter written to Jefferson at the end of both of their lives, describes how Adams feels about what gives life meaning: "I believe in God and in his wisdom and benevolence, and I cannot believe that such a Being could make such a species as the human merely to live and die on this earth.  If I did not believe in a future state, I should believe in no God.  This universe, this all, this totality [Adams writes in Greek here, but it translates to "totality"] would appear with all its swelling pomp, a boyish firework."  This from the man known as the "voice" of the Declaration of Independance.  At the end of his life, all he had accomplished was but "swelling pomp" without the knowledge of a life yet to come.  And personally, John and Abigail Adams are at the top of my list of people I want to meet in that afterlife.

This is getting very long, so let me quickly address the writing and entertainment value and then I'll be done.

Excellent.  Not a single flaw or criticism to be made.  The author did his research, supports his research with fact, and cites his sources extensively.  In addition, he brings the characters to life in a way that leads the reader to care for them as people.  I will definitely be reading more by this author.  He has a new fan in me.

It's a historical biography, which is to say that, like George Washington, you probably won't find this along the same vein as a suspense novel.  BUT that is not to say that you won't find it infinitely fascinating.  There were nights when I literally could not stop reading.  I felt on the edge of my seat, even though I knew what would happen next.  The author is that good and the story itself is that good.  If you are at all interesting in knowing the history of our country, this is a great place to start. 

Final Words: I recommend it to anyone.  Seriously.  Even if you are not a history buff and don't typically read biography, I think you may find this different than what you've experienced before.  Loved it, loved John, loved Abigail, and I can't wait to get my hands on their letters to each other.

Anyone have any good Thomas Jefferson suggestions?  He's next on my list.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

In My Mailbox (15 part I)

Last week was the semi-annual library sale, so I've got a TON of books to show you guys this week.  I used my cell phone for pictures because I was too lazy to go all the way downstairs for the real camera.  Anyway, I got a whole bunch of books, but I'm breaking them into two parts because there are so many.  I'm going to do the hardbacks tonight and then tomorrow night I'll show you the paperbacks.

The top two are Jane Green books I haven't read yet:
Dune Road, which I remember wanting to read when it came out and
Second Chance, which I know nothing about, but Jane Green is always a good chick lit read
The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde - I've read it before and it was just as good as Fforde always is - it's the second of the Nursery Crimes series
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation - don't know much about it but have heard it's good, I think

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer - LOVE the author and haven't had a chance to read this one yet
Light on C.S. Lewis - and old anthology of essays on C.S. Lewis, which obviously I couldn't pass up
The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell- I kind of think I already have this one, but I had to get it just in case I don't
Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane - love his writing and I've got the sequel, but needed the first.  It was providential.

Two huge reference books: Encyclopedia of American Poetry, both the 19th and 20th Centuries

Some old books: a collection of stories by Du Maupassant, something by Thackeray, and I can't remember the other.  The one that looks different is a 1937 volume of The Rubiyat of Omar Khayam.  I don't think any are particularly valuable, but I will use them in decorating the library at home.

And this is me.  Today I made the enormous mistake of laying on the couch and calling Chief to me.  My head on the couch was right at the level of his paw when he takes a step and my face was stepped on.  I planned to do a vlog with my Scar imitation, but I can't find the webcam...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book Review: Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

One of these days I'm really going to get my tour dates straight and actually post when I'm supposed to.  I promise.  TLC Tours was awesome enough to send me a copy of Anna Quindlen's Every Last One for review.  First of all, I really like anything by Anna Quindlen, so I was excited for the opportunity to read this one.  I'd actually had it on hold at the library when it first came out, and I didn't get by to pick it up in time and they sent it on to the next person (shocking that I'd be so absent-minded I know). 

Anyway, this is the story of an average family of five - a mother, father, teen daughter about to leave for college, and twin sons just starting high school.  One son is outgoing and popular, the other is struggling with depression.  Halfway through the book the family is victimized by a horrible act of violence.  The first half of the book introduces us to the family and their dynamics.  The second half shows us how they deal with the aftermath. 

While I'm not looking for Anna Quindlen to be the next Pulitzer or Booker Prize winner, I really like her writing style.  It's very women's lit, which for some may translate to slow, but not in my opinion.  I enjoy books about families and their dynamics and how they relate to each other.  Anna Quindlen does a great job of portraying various family dynamics in all of her stories, and this one is no exception.  I had no problems with the writing and found myself completely caught up in the story.

I'm not going to lie to you guys.  The "shocking act of violence" is one of the main things that intrigued me about this story.  It's a spoiler, so I won't say what it is, but it IS shocking.  I didn't read any reviews with spoilers, and one of my main interests in this book was what could possibly be so shocking.  I feel like we're kind of numb to most acts of violence in books and film.  So when I read a blog review from someone who said they couldn't finish the book, I was honestly intrigued.  I realize that may not say a lot about my ability to avoid sensationalism, but I was interested.  I wanted to know what happened.  It's the main plot moment that propels the story, but I was interested throughout the entire book in the family itself. 

There is a point of action in the middle and then a lot more introspection, so don't expect this to be an action-packed read.  Also, for those of you who are wondering, the violence itself is not described in detail.  This is not blood and gore, it's not a horror novel or a thriller, so while the reader knows what has happened, it's presented in a non-graphic way.  However, what happens is disturbing.  So if you're easily upset, I'd say probably avoid it.  But if you're interested in a Jodi Picoult-esque (although in my opinion superior to Picoult), ripped from the headlines, lots of internal dialogue read, this is a great one. 

PS: it made me want to hug my husband and say a lot more "I love yous".  It really made me think about my marriage and how I want it to be 20 years down the road - but it does it in an incredibly subtle way.  There is no preaching or moralizing, and I never felt like the story was about a fading marriage, but that aspect certainly plays a role and motivated me to keep that from happening in my marriage.

If you want to read more reviews, check out the tour page on the TLC website:

Or you can check out Quindlen's website:
You can find a full listing of her books there as well.  I highly recommend checking her out.  I've enjoyed everything I've read and make a point of picking up her books whenever I can find them on sale.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Review: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

My friend Jacki at Lovely Little Shelf has been recommending this book to our online book club for at least a year now, probably longer.  I've always been iffy on it because I'm not really a fan of high fantasy, but I was given a copy recently in a book exchange, so I decided I'd try it out.  And it turns out that, as usual, Jacki was spot on with the recommendation and I now have a new favorite book.

I'm not going to even try to give a detailed summary because there is way too much to give away.  Briefly, the book is told as a story within a story - We are introduced to Kvothe as "Kote" a humble innkeeper, but we soon learn his real identity.  He is in hiding, but a scribe named Chronicler manages to find him and convince him to share his legendary story.  The story takes three days to tell and each book in the series represents one day.  The Name of the Wind is the first in the trilogy and introduces us to Kvothe and Chronicler, as well as the beginning of Kvothe's story.

Stunning.  I'm so impressed with Rothfuss's writing.  I was completely caught up in the story, but the writing is equally impressive.  Not a single flaw to complain about and several amazing aspects to highlight:
  • World building:  Rothfuss does it better than any other authors I've read.  I believe Kvothe's world and the people who live in it.  And the details he has constructed are amazing.  The religion, the history, the socio-economic relations, the languages, and even the magic are all perfectly coherent and integrated.  There wasn't a moment in the book that I found contradictory or out of place.
  • Epic writing: That's not a real term, but I can't think of a better way to say it.  If an author is going to write a book over 700 pages and follow it up with a sequel of over 900 pages, the book better be interesting.  And Rothfuss has created an epic story that doesn't drag.  There aren't slow moments or passages that make me want to peek ahead.  I actually got teary about halfway through the book when I realized it was going to end.  I'd compare Rothfuss to Tolkien, but my Tolkien loving friends would get their feelings hurt.  Yeah, it's that good.
  • Characters: I LOVE the characters.  Like the world Rothfuss has created, the characters are absolutely believable.  They are all flawed and unlikable at times (some more of the time than others) but even the bad guys (with the exception of the Chandrian) have sufficient motivation for their actions that the reader finds them sympathetic at times. 
  • And speaking of the Chandrian:  Holy moly.  Talk about some amazing villains.  The children's rhyme about the Chandrian seriously had me totally creeped out.  I think they are some of the creepiest villains I've ever read.
I can't say enough about how amazing this book is, both in terms of writing and entertainment value.  I will say that it took me around 150 pages to really get into it.  Not that I wasn't enjoying it before then, but I wasn't obsessed.  But I was just telling Bestie how it was literally like a turn of the page and I was into it.  One page I was iffy, the next page I was hooked.  And once it starts, it doesn't stop.  I read it during every spare second I had - on my lunch, as soon as I got home from work, until I went to bed, and before I left for work in the mornings. 

The best thing to me is that there are so many aspects of the book to love.  It reminded me of It by Stephen King in that way - not any of the plot of course, but just the stories within the stories.  So much detail and so rich in character, setting, and plot development.

Honestly, I think this book may have knocked two of my top three favorites out of the running.  It's up there with Till We Have Faces in terms of amazing-ness.  I got The Wise Man's Fear (day two of the story) in the mail yesterday and I cannot wait to sit down and read it tonight!

Monday, April 4, 2011

March Summary

I'm not a huge spring fan, because here in the south that means we're headed towards summer and temperatures are already approaching the 80's.  But, even my summer-hating heart can't help but enjoy seeing lots more green.  Here's what I read in March:

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
My Dead Dad Was In ZZ Top by John Glaser
Blue by Lou Aronica
Great Philosophers Who Failed At Love by Andrew Shaffer
If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
Nowhere Near Normal by Traci Foust
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Total pages read this year: 7643
Total spent on books I've read: $16.73
Money saved by reading library books, free books, and book I own: $264.75

It was a slower month, which is pretty reflective of the year as a whole.  I'm actually ok with that though.  Of course I still read every day, but I've developed other hobbies since last year and of course getting more involved in the puppy training has eaten up some of my time.  I'm happy with where I'm at, though, and of course I'm still reading every day.