Monday, June 30, 2008

July's books

I know the month of July is going to be crazy-busy for the Bingham household, and I am guessing it’s going to be similarly busy for most of you guys. Nevertheless, we are going to add 1 more book for the month of July. The “deadline” for Screwtape Letters was supposed to be the end of June … but no biggie. I’m not done with it either, since it does take some time to digest (and I can’t wait for the discussion, since there are so many things in there to think about!) Anyways … I digress. Since it’s going to be a busy month, we will extend the deadline for Screwtape Letters into July.

For the month of July, we will be reading:
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

The Sugar Queen
by Sarah Addison Allen (her website is here)

If we get through both of these books in the month of July, then we can add another one into the mix. But for now, we’ll do these two.

For those of you who think they want another series: for the months of July & August, I am going to be re-reading the Inheritance Series. It’s a series of books written by a kid named Christopher Paolini ( He was home-schooled and wrote the first book in the series at age 15. The first book is named Eragon, the second book is Eldest, and the third book is due out September 20th (named Brisinger). I read them all a while ago and I have forgotten pretty much most of what happens in the books – thus I am re-reading the first 2 so I will be ready for Brisinger. If anyone is looking for a bigger book to read this summer, I invite you to read Eragon with me. I’m not going to make any of them official book club books, since I think they’re too big, there’s going to be 3 books soon, and summer is just too busy for so many people. However, if I am wrong and you are interested in reading them, then I would love to have discussion about these books. I liked them the first time around, and I would love to discuss them with anyone who has read them, or is interested in reading them.

Happy reading and happy July!

p.s. if anyone knows of any other people who would be interested in joining our book club, let me know and I can send them an invite. The more the merrier!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How we doing?

How's everybody doing on June's books? There have been no posts about Screwtape Letters, so that means people haven't had time to post, or haven't had time to read the book. Which one is it? For me, I haven't had the time yet to read the book, but I did start it and I plan to finish it. So ... should we pick another book for July? 2 books? Extend the "deadline" for Screwtape Letters? Extend the deadline and pick 1 more book for July? If you have an opinion, leave it in the comments section. Thanks friends! I'm loving this book club and I'm so glad everybody is participating!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Two Cents

I really enjoyed reading Stargirl. Next time I'm at the library I'll pick up the sequel. Like Sarah, I thought the theme of originality was great. Now to touch on a few other things, mostly random.

Besides Stargirl, Archie was my next favorite character. Every time he talked to Leo you had to pay a little bit more attention because he seemed to talk in riddles, but if you were really listening and thought about it, what he said would make sense. There was also sort of a foreshadowing aspect in what he said, especially when he talked about losing the game (page 75). Even though he was specifically talking about the animal becoming extinct, there was no doubt that he was also referring to Stargirl disappearing.

I loved the comparison of the students with the mud frogs - dormant and waiting, waiting for the rain to come and make their lives complete. Because Stargirl was not afraid to be different, to be herself, the other students were able to feel more comfortable in showing their individuality. Stargirl was the rain.

There were so many descriptions of Stargirl that I thought were great, so many enviable characteristics she had. She thought only of others. "[H]er bad things did not stick to her. Our bad things stuck very much to her. If we were hurt, if we were unhappy...she seemed to know about it, and to care, as soon as we did." Even when she transformed herself into Susan, it was because Leo wanted her to. She also made an impact for good on those around her, even if they were reluctant to the changes, and that impact had a lasting effect. I liked how she taught Leo how to "see" and how she not only saw things but felt them as well.

I liked how the author helped the reader have different perspectives. It was easy to be upset with Leo for wanting Stargirl to change, but it was also easy to see why, even though he really liked her - and I think he truly liked her for who she really was - he wanted her to be like everybody else. It's hard, especially as a teenager, to go against the grain. We probably all know someone like Stargirl in some ways, someone who was a little (or a lot) different and was ridiculed for it. Conformity is safer. Not necessarily better, but certainly safer in the world of high school. I think most of us are like Leo. We seem to need the attention of others to confirm our own presence. So we try to fit in until we can figure out who we really are and be comfortable with that.

And last, I enjoyed the typo. Typos always amuse me.

Now, off to read The Screwtape Letters.

- Carly

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thoughts on "Stargirl"

I really liked Stargirl. It was definitely a very easy read, which was something that I needed. It’s been extremely hectic at our house (even more than usual) and so it was nice not to read something really heavy.

I liked how the book was all about originality – and Stargirl being herself. I was sad when she transformed into Susan, since I also thought she was betraying herself. But then the ending made me sad, when Leo didn’t take her to the dance and she went all alone – then disappeared when it was over. Her entrance to the dance did make me laugh though – I had this awesome mental picture of what she must have looked like arriving in a sidecar to a bike, with a bright yellow gown on. I thought I read somewhere that they are making Stargirl into a movie … that could be very interesting.

One thing really grabbed me – I guess you could say it’s one of the themes for the book. We humans form groups. This is so true! In high school, everyone has their own “group” of friends. Same with college. Same with church. Same with every place we go. We can’t seem to help ourselves – we as humans congregate into groups so we feel more comfortable. Often times, I think we value “fitting in” more than we should. For me, my parents are great example of bucking this natural instinct. They will talk to anyone – anytime. It used to drive me crazy when I was younger, but now I really admire that characteristic. They are always making friends wherever they go. You can count on mom taking too long at the grocery store, since she finds someone she doesn’t know and talks forever :) Nevertheless, it’s such a good trait to develop – being inclusive and welcoming to everyone. Getting ourselves out of our comfort zone and meeting new (and different) people. I try to do this – but I’m not nearly as good as my parents. Or Stargirl. She had guts in the book, that’s for sure. I guess I will keep working at it …

And I thought the part where she kisses Hillari on the cheek was so sweet. It’s a literal example of the commandment to “turn the other cheek.” I wish I had more compassion like this. What tremendous love one must have in order to kiss someone who has ridiculed you all year and has just slapped you!!

This was a great, quick, fun and insightful book that I enjoyed reading. I think when things calm down a bit at our house, I am going to go and get the sequel (Love, Stargirl) from the library.