Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I loved it. When I read the preview in the jacket cover, I thought "hmm, not really my type of book." Ha, I was wrong. Shows you not to judge a book by its cover, yes? I'm recommending this book to everyone.
First, I loved the characters that Dallas created. They felt real to me and their struggles and emotions felt real, too. The way she wrote the book, with all her knowledge of mining and the regional dialect was fantastic. I couldn't help but root for Hennie and want her to get her 'happy ending'. I definitely cried when she told the story about Billy and Sarah ... and I definitely cheered when she accepted Tom's marriage proposal. I loved Hennie's wit and sense of fairness. She's my kind of lady!
I thought a book where one woman just tells a bunch of stories would be kind of random... kind of like Cats, where there's just some random songs and no real storyline... but I was wrong. The stories blended well together to tell the story of Hennie's life. The way she wanted some of her stories and wisdom to live on when she was gone was great. Isn't that the way it should be? People of an older generation should tell stories, re-count their history to those of a younger generation. I know my family spent hours with my grandpa in his last few years, recording all his stories of WW2 and the Great Depression. If stories aren't preserved, then when that generation of people dies, the stories and history go with them. I love that this book made that point (subtly).
Aaaah, so many good things. I really enjoyed this book. I'm certainly glad it was recommended to me. Anyone else have any thoughts? I know there's more I wanted to say, but my brain seems to be malfunctioning...
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
My first impression of Dreamhunter was that it was a little hard to understand. I truly was confused at the beginning because I didn't feel like I knew what the author was talking about. I wanted a glossary of terms to explain everything that I didn't fully grasp on my own. A glossary does appear at the end of Dreamquake, so perhaps I'm not the only one who felt that way! Even so, the story was intriguing enough to keep me reading. It got easier to understand, and I thought that book 2 was even better than the first one. I definitely recommend reading Dreamquake afterwards to fully understand the storyline. (You'll want to anyway, just to see what happens!) It definitely ties up all the loose ends.
I thought the characters were really well-written. You definitely got a sense of their personalities, particularly Laura, Rose, and Chorley. Tziga and Grace seemed to me a bit more mysterious, and perhaps that was the intent, since those two are the most famous dreamhunters. And I thought "the Place" was great. Although I still sometimes wonder about dreams outside of "the Place." It's mentioned that Laura has regular dreams. Do other people as well? I'm assuming they do and that the main difference between regular dreams and those caught in "the Place" is the ability to share them. It must be similar to watching a movie only while you're asleep. So a dream palace or opera would be similar to going to a movie theater only you have a bed to sleep in, and instead of a big screen there's just another person on another bed projecting the "movie." Isn't that a compelling idea? To be able to dream something that originated with someone else? I'm sure almost everyone has had a dream that they tell other people about. What if you could show them the dream? I think that would be pretty neat. On the other hand, I've had a few that I hope no one finds out about too!
I'm not sure that there is much more I can say without spoilers, particularly for Dreamquake. So if you haven't read them, I suggest you stop here.
You knew that something was up when Tziga was acting so strangely and trying to make sure that Laura remembered the songs he had taught her from her a young age. So when he disappeared and she was left on her own to figure them out, I wondered if she would be able to do it. Laura is more enterprising than I initially thought, so I was a little surprised when she went to Aunt Marta for help learning the songs instead of just trying to make a small living as a dreamhunter. Her tendency to have nightmares probably discouraged that a little bit, though. After realizing how determined a person she was, I wasn't surprised when she found the note from her father and decided to actually try to follow the request he made of her.
The Sandman, Nown, is one of my favorite parts of the book. I love the idea of how he is made and how he can be changed by just a letter - take away the first N and he becomes free, OWN; take away the W and he becomes NON and stops existing. And I liked the idea of how he was tied to her family, that other versions of him had existed to help other members of her family, and how he seems to evolve with each version of himself.
As for Dreamquake, I was surprised that "the Place" was a Nown all on it's own. I was even more surprised that it was created by Laura's son, Lazarus, and that all of the dreams stemmed from him. It had been mentioned in Dreamhunter and throughout Dreamquake that the dreams seemed to be taking place in the future. But in reality, they were taking place in the past. Confusing, huh? How strange it must have been for Laura to meet her yet-to-be-born son when he was an adult and she had, in his experience, already passed away. The magic of "the Place" covered a lot of things!
I really loved the ending of the duet. I thought the author did a great job illustrating how our actions don't just affect us but have a ripple effect in so many directions. Lazarus's choices changed the way his mother's and grandfather's lives turned out (along with everyone else who lived in that world); Laura's choices changed the lives of everyone in her present and, eventually, future when she erased "the Place." We can't change what happened in the past like Lazarus does, but our choices can make a difference in our own futures and in the lives of the people around us. Laura's choice to get rid of the Place even changed Lazarus's life. I thought the ending was really well done. And, while I always had a suspicion that Sandy didn't die and was simply being help captive by Cas Doran and his henchmen, I was relieved when he did turn out to be alive and could be with Laura.
Okay, this was a much longer post than I had anticipated. Hopefully someone else will have read both books. I'd like to know what other people thought!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
And thanks everyone for the well-wishes!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
So... anyone have any suggestions for September? I'm hoping that by the time September rolls around, I will feel well enough to start reading again and I can participate. I'm eagerly anticipating some books that will be released in September - Forest Born, Catching Fire, just to name a few, so I really need to get feeling better so I can read them :)
Put any suggestions in the comments, then we can pick one.
Friday, July 17, 2009
I don’t know if anyone else experienced this but I found the flow of the story rather choppy. I think it was a great idea to write about Antonina Zabinskis her story is amazing and her courage was everlasting, but it could have been written better. (Less choppy and jumping around to so many different people) I obviously did not like the author’s style of writing and think she did a bit too much name dropping. The people she kept bringing up in the story seemed to have some connection with fame. This annoyed me because it made it sound like the Zabinskis were only saving famous people. I know many like to hear about the rich, famous and well known in history but I like to hear the history of the little people too. I realize that these famous people did randomly pop up in the Zabinskis lives I just don’t think she needed to elaborate (for an entire chapter) on why these people they were saving were famous and well known in the world. It took away from the flow of the story and made me put the book down quite a bit. I think she should have focused more on Antonina, Jan and Rys, the book is after all named for Antonina. However I did love the research the author did.
Diane Ackerman obviously did a lot of research. You see it everywhere in the book. This made me respect her knowledge and continue reading. I loved the tidbit from Herodotus (the first historian ever) on page 81 where he was quoted about the Tarpan horses. This put the significance of the extinct horses into perspective for me. It showed me that these horses had been around for a LONG time and now they were not. This showed the connection with the high ranking Nazi who allowed the continuation of the zoo specifically because of these horses which in turn allowed the zoo to save the people. While I loved this information I think it took away from the story telling aspect. I think books should be stories. I know there is a need for reference books but they are so much easier to read and understand when told as a story.
I felt the first ¾ of the book was choppy but her last section which I like to consider her conclusion finally started to flow. Those last 80 pages go by quickly because you can see she is finally getting somewhere with the Sabinskis. I loved that she finally started to actually analyze what she was writing about Antonina. She had previously been throwing facts out there that she had read from Antonina and others. It felt like reading a textbook but she finally started to show us Antonina. A part I loved was on page 209 it said:
“…Antonina [believed] in living as joyously as possible given the circumstances, while staying Vigilante.”
I definitely saw this. She went through so much but she never stopped saving people. She risked her life so many times for others. It was amazing. After reading so many WWII stories I have never seen anyone remain so joyous and positive. I started to ponder this statement. I feel it was rather profound and the conclusion I came up with was that she was doing everything in her power to save everyone! She never held back never said no never questioned her husband’s motives. She could remain joyous with a happy conscious because she gave everything she had. She never sat back and let people die. So many sat back during this war and let others die and felt guilty about it because they knew it wasn’t right. She had no need for quilt because she gave her all. I loved that about Antonina. Some might feel it was horrible of her to feel joy and be happy during this depressing time but she earned the right to feel some joy by saving so many.
All in all I way so glad I read this book. Yes it could have been written better but this was one story that really needed to be told and read. Thanks for reading this and feel free to disagree and write about it. All thoughts on this book would be great!
P.S there are obviously a million things to be said about this book so feel free ok! There were other things I liked and disliked but I tried to keep it small so others could write too. Oh and I previously wrote rather negative review of this book on my blog but wrote a more mild one here because reviews should be mild right?
Thursday, July 16, 2009
In a way the series is similar to Harry Potter, in that it's a young boy who finds out he's not who he thought he was. There's a whole other world hidden in our world. I just really thought the writing was well done, funny, and clever.
Also, I read the new Shannon Hale book, The Actor and the Housewife. Did anyone else read it? I thought it was good, but different than what I was expecting. I definitily was not expecting to be sobbing through a good portion of the book! I think overall I liked it, but it probably isn't my favorite Shannon Hale book.
Otherwise I've been chugging along through The Zookeeper's Wife. I think I need to renew it again at the library come to think of it....
Oh, and I saw the new Harry Potter last night!!!!!!!!!!! I loved it! I know that's not a book, but, oh well!
So, that's all, I just had some book related thoughts I'd share! Hope you all have a great weekend!
Monday, July 6, 2009
I was expecting to like it, since I love Ella Enchanted... and I didn't. I didn't like it. In fact, I was disappointed. I thought the characters weren't very well developed, so I found that I didn't really care that much about them. I know it's a fairy tale, but the whole love-at-first-sight thing felt very thin to me. Some parts were imaginative, but other parts I felt were just weird (the whole underworld people that turn into birds or whatever? Weird...) I know all books can't end happily ever after, but I hated the ending, how she was "sacrificed" anyways, then whisked away to live "happily-ever-after" leaving her family in mourning. I didn't like their blind devotion to Admat (or whatever his name was, sorry I don't have the book in front of me) or how she kept trying to find him, even after she became a goddess herself.
I don't know, maybe I was too harsh on the book... but I'm not a fan. Anyone else have any thoughts? Feel free to disagree with me :)
Friday, June 12, 2009
So I went to the book's website (just like you did Carly) to see if I could find some answers... and yeah, there was nothing helpful. So I went digging around some other sights to see if others were talking about the book, and I found this site:
I read all 3 pages of comments, and some of them were helpful in figuring what exactly happened. This comment in particular was helpful, so I'm quoting right from the website:
Some random reactions to comments in this thread...
Re: Jack raping Towner - on one level, I saw it as Jack's final closure. He is finally forced to accept that like it or not, it is over, and he has to move on. He is very remorseful, and I don't see what he did as an act of aggression, but more of desperation, trying to make things the way they were. And, since he was drunk, he probably bought into the possibility of being able to fix things that way more than he would have in a sober state.
Also, as Jill already said, I thought the chapter showed Towner's way of disassociating herself from what was happening to her - it shows us what she must have done, aside from being "Lyndley," to survive what her father was doing to her. I didn't see the chapter as unnecessary; in fact, for me, it was pivitol, because the end of that chapter was where I finally felt certain that I knew what was going on - that there was no Lyndley and that she was actually Towner. I had wondered earlier about the possibility when Jack didn't tell May that Lyndley had jumped in the water and drowned, and this clinched it for me. At the end of the chapter he says that he can't believe he raped her, especially knowing the history with Cal Boynton - which would indicate that Cal was actually abusing Towner, not Lyndley. Also, he says that he had jumped into the water trying to save Towner - again, no mention of Lyndley.
I think Rafferty knew some of what was going on with Towner - like the fact that she believed her twin was alive and the suicide attempt - but I'm not sure that he knows everything. For instance, why does he say that Towner was Eva's grandniece (p. 285), when really, if Eva is Emma's mother, Eva is Towner's grandmother? Seems that Eva never filled him in on the real family tree? And wouldn't he have done the research on sexual abuse in children earlier than at the end of the story had he really known what Cal had done? Dirty family secret that nobody discussed - clearly, or he wouldn't have been so worshipped by his Calvinists.
Re: Eva and having to kill herself to set Towner free: someone else mentioned that this was the only way she saw to get Towner back to Salem to deal with reality. Her note at the end says that it was the only way she could see to save Towner from her downward spiral, so she would take her place; i.e. she would die so that Towner could live, because she felt that otherwise, Towner was going to eventually completely self-destruct. Why NOW - well, she'd already attempted suicide, invented Lyndley, and at the point when Eva killed herself, was at an impasse in therapy. She wasn't getting better. She'd run from what had happened with Cal and her suicide attempt, had had therapy which included electroshock treatments and supposed memory loss, and still believed in the existence of Lyndley. She just wasn't getting better, and Eva could see that.
Towner chose to be called Towner instead of Sophya as a result of her abuse. She says the way Cal says it reminds her of why she had to change it - he said it, "sibilant, snakelike. Sophya was a name that could be whispered in the night. Real quiet, so that no one else could hear it. Quiet enough so it didn't even wake my mother" (p. 371).
I agree with what others say about why nobody clues Towner in - they surely saw her as very fragile. Nobody wants to tell the crazy girl that she's crazy, that her sister isn't real. In Towner's version of events, May and Eva know what Lyndley is - her way of coping with her abuse - what would happen if she was forced to look that in the face? But they do try to help her. May tries to reason with her sister Emma and gets told that she's twisted and perverted (p. 241-242). So she tries to take custody. When Eva realizes that not only is Towner being abused, but that she has "resurrected" (for lack of a better word) her twin to deal with it, she sends Towner to therapy, but it doesn't take (p. 268). She's supposed to talk about her sister, but she refuses.
May's comment to Towner that she couldn't have loved her more if she'd been her own child - her final attempt to try to get through to Towner. I think that Towner knows on some level that Lyndley isn't real, that her father is really Cal, and that he did those horrible things to her - otherwise, she wouldn't have started to hyperventilate and felt the need to take her emergency pill. I think she just didn't want to accept it. It reminded me of the end of The Sixth Sense, when Bruce Willis's character finally realizes what he would have known all along if he'd been paying attention to the clues - he's dead - but he wasn't ready / didn't want to see it.
As for Towner not having an emotional compass - not sure exactly what you mean, Jen. I think that in the final scenes, she's certainly getting her bearings. She has the recurring dream / vision of Cal being torn apart by dogs for what he's done to her mother and "Lyndley," and she always wants him dead in this scenario until, when it is finally happening, she considers her unborn half-sister and Angela and Cal's love for each other. In the end she doesn't allow Cal to be torn apart, although he is badly injured and deserves it considering what he's done. To me, this shows that she is coming to grips with what has happened in her life and is able to start letting it go. She doesn't forgive him, but she doesn't become a part of his brand of evil, either.
"My twin sister, Lyndley, said she couldn't read lace, but I never believed her. The last time we tried, she saw the same thing I saw in the pattern, and what we saw that night led her to the choices that eventually killed her. When Lyndley died, I resolved never to look at a piece of lace again".
I think this is when she saw Emma badly beaten. The "Towner" part of her wanted to go with Jack; "Lyndley" wanted to save her mother, and so she went back to her family instead. I think Towner believed that Lyndley killed herself as a result of what had happened to her mother and her (Lyndley's) continual abuse at the hands of her father after going back.
So again, not my thoughts - this Vanessa obviously understood the book a lot more than I did. But I agree with what she said, and think it sheds some light on the plot (since yes, it was hard to follow). Now, having read these thoughts... any insights from you guys who have read it?
Monday, June 1, 2009
I figured as long as I was posting, I might as well mention what we'll reading for July. We're going to do The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman. It's a real-life story from WW2 - see link here - it looks very interesting.
If anyone has a book they are dying to read, feel free to make a suggestion. Happy reading!!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
I finished it yesterday afternoon, and thoughts have been swirling around in my head since then... but I can't seem to form them into something coherent. The book was heart-wrenching and heart-warming, all at the same time. Kudos to the author for writing such a spell-binding story.
I sat on my porch yesterday after I finished reading it... and thought about the book... and life. It was one of those soul-searching moments, a time for real reflection. I was thinking about how lucky I was that I could sit on my porch, safe and sound, watching spring valiantly try to take over upstate New York.
You know, we hear all the time the phrase "glad to be an American." But those were my thoughts as I read the book. I am grateful to be an American... as corny as it may sound. My 4 months spent in China really opened my eyes to how others in the world live... and how good I really have it. This book elicited the same strong emotions.
I've never feared for my life. I've never been beaten. I haven't lost all my family members; everyone dear to me. I've never lost my home, my children (not that I have any...) or anything like that. I've never been that hungry. I joke with Cory all the time that I'm so hungry that I might starve to death before he comes to get me for lunch... but we both know it's not even close to being true.
I know A Thousand Splendid Suns is a work of fiction... that Mariam and Laila are fictional characters. But all the things that happen in the book have most certainly happened to someone. Someone real. Daughters are married off, wives are beaten, womens' rights are nonexistent, war is tearing that region apart (and has been raging for years). I don't pretend to understand what factions are fighting with each other - I didn't even follow it that well in the book - but the emotion rings loud and clear.
Of course, I cried through the end of the book. Cried for Mariam, cried for Tariq, cried for Laila, cried when she read Jahil's letter. And yet, I felt at peace with the ending. I liked seeing Laila & Tariq return to Kabul and renovate the orphanage, doing their part to rebuild their war-torn nation.
I really liked the book... sad as it was. I look forward to discussing it more with you guys. Anyone have any thoughts?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Stephenie Meyer said on her website: "It's the oddest/sweetest mix of Little House on the Prairie and X-Men. I was smiling the whole time (except for the part where I cried)." Amen Stephenie, amen. It is the cutest mix! I grew up reading Little House on the Prairie and I'm also in love with X-Men. This was the perfect book! For someone who considers herself not a "fan" of fantasy, I sure enjoyed the book! (I may have to re-think my stance on fantasy :)
I don't want to ruin it for those who haven't read it, but the ending is sooo good. It's not what you expect -- and that makes it even better. I found the book to be enthralling. I can see why Stephenie likes it so much. It's her kind of book. The writing isn't the best I've ever read, but it's a great story. Very imaginative, good characters, twists around every turn and a heart-warming ending. My kind of book, too. I loved it and whole-heartedly recommend it!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I'd like to discuss this with some detail, so if you haven't read the book, now would be a good time to stop reading this post.
And yes, I'll be coming from my LDS viewpoint... and I should preface this by saying that my current calling at church is to teach the 'Gospel Essentials/Principles' class. I'm teaching new members, investigators, and people who wander in off the streets (literally). It's a challenging and awesome calling, since I have to be on my toes at all times -- and class is never boring.
This book has been on and off various best-seller lists. I know it made an appearance on USA Today's Top 10 list, but I don't know how long it was there. And then there's the fact that we were all on waiting lists to receive this book from our local libraries. Obviously, this book is gaining in popularity, and many people want to read it. What I find most interesting about this is the conclusion I draw from the book's popularity. People want religion. People want to read about and learn about God. People want to know that God loves us, His children. Obviously (even though we're living in a time of great growth of the LDS church) people are starved for religion.
I was a bit surprised by how much of the book I agreed with. The author had many truths in the book ... and then he had some things that I don't agree with. I want to talk about some of these parts and get others' opinions.
On page 63, Mack talks about how he had been taught in seminary that God had "stopped any overt communication with moderns." I think this is one of the saddest commentaries of modern life -- that people cannot accept that God still talks to His children. Somehow, the belief has taken hold that the only way God speaks is through the Bible. I see this time and time again, as people in my Sunday school class tell me they believe God no longer directs His children -- and in turn, many believe this means God no longer cares for His children. How fortunate for me to know differently! God does speak to us through a living prophet. And he cares immensely about what happens to His children. At least the book was good about making the point that God does care. Deeply. More than we really can understand.
I also thought it was interesting when they talked about us taking care of this earth we live on. On page 145 Jesus says "humans, who have been given the task to lovingly steer the world, instead plunder her with no consideration, other than for their own immediate needs." Ha, how true this is. Humans are the crowning glory of God's creation, and we were given domain over this earth. I'm not one that is getting caught up in the whole 'global warming crisis' but I do believe we could all do a better job with our stewardship over this earth. I believe we will be held accountable.
I also liked how the book tried to teach that Jesus chose the "way of the cross" so "mercy triumphs over justice because of love." (page 165) Though this doesn't nearly cover the whole scope of the Atonement as we understand it... still, it scratches the surface. The Atonement is, in part, a way for us to overcome our sins. I wouldn't say that mercy "triumphs" over justice - rather that Christ fulfilled justice's demands, allowing us to be shown mercy. It all centers around Christ as our Savior. The book tried to show that, but as the author doesn't have a full understanding of the Atonement, he didn't quite get it all.
This one I found interesting - on page 178 Mack and Jesus were talking about what heaven would look like - and Jesus says heaven is a "cleansing of this universe." We've been taught that the Celestial kingdom will actually be here on earth, after the earth is cleansed. I've always found this to be such an interesting concept, and I was frankly surprised to find it in this book. I agree, but I thought this was an LDS belief. I wasn't aware other people thought similarly.
And one more - on page 188 God says "just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrated the tragedies. Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes." Amen. I think one of the biggest misunderstandings people (in general) have about God is that He causes suffering. Bad things happen in peoples' lives (like children being kidnapped, a relative dying, health problems, etc) and people tend to blame God for their suffering. What people don't understand (and what I believe) is that God does not cause suffering (well, he can punish us, but that's a different subject). I believe God grieves when we grieve. Consequences (both good and bad) are the nature of living on this earth; the nature of agency. Sometimes we make poor choices and bring things upon ourselves - and sometimes we are affected by someone else's agency (like Mack, having his daughter kidnapped). But God doesn't orchestrate these things to make us suffer - they are all consequences to choices that we (humans) make here on this earth.
There were some things that I didn't agree with - namely, the way the Godhead was portrayed. But overall, I found there was a lot of truth in this book. It had some parts I disagree with, and it was lacking in some parts, but it did have some good things to say. It did make me appreciate (all the more) my membership in the true church. It made me appreciate that I have the answers to all the questions Mack was asking. I know I have a long way to go, but I know where to go when I lack answers, and that makes me very, very grateful.
Oh, and did anyone else just want to wrap up a send-along card and a Book of Mormon for the author?
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
It's an interview with Stephenie Meyer, and it's worth reading. It's got fresh material, instead of just recycling what Steph's said in the past. A good reason to actually read Vogue.
Monday, February 23, 2009
For March, we're going to be reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.
For April, we're going to be reading The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester.
I don't anticipate there being a wait for A Thousand Splendid Suns, but you never know. I know some of us are already on the waiting list for The Girl Who Could Fly, so the rest of you can check it out and see if you need to get yourself on the waiting list.
These are just general timeframes. If you find yourself with The Girl Who Could Fly sometime in March, don't let that stop you from reading it :)
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I don't want to say too much in case the rest of you haven't finished (or started) it yet. I did like the plot of the book: a man named Mack, whose youngest daughter was abducted and possibly murdered in an abandoned shack, receives a note purportedly from God inviting him to spend a weekend at that shack. What happens that weekend changes Mack forever.
It's a good storyline. My main problem with the book is theological. While I can understand the 'whys' behind some of the author's characterizations and the ways he presents some of the story, I disagree with parts of it. That's not to say that I found all of the book to be doctrinally false. There are parts that I do agree with from a theological standpoint.
What stands out to me the most is the idea that God never abandons us, even in our deepest, darkest moments of sorrow, pain, or hardship. He is always there; it remains for us to be able to recognize His presence and turn to Him for help. I think The Shack did a decent job of getting that point across. As I was in the midst of reading this book, I came across the text of an address given by Elder Jeffery R. Holland entitled Lessons from Liberty Jail. I think this address makes the same point as The Shack, but in a more concise and concrete way. Just a quick quote:
"...[Y]ou can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in any situation you are in. Indeed, let me say that even a little stronger: You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life—in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced."
For the entire text of the address, click here.
There is no question that Mack went through what for him was a "prison-temple" experience, similar in some ways to the experience of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail as described by Elder Holland. I think that, for those people who may be unfamiliar with the idea of God being one who truly knows us as individuals and loves each of us immeasureably, this book can be eye-opening and truly moving.
I hope someone else has read it or is currently reading it. I'd be interested in discussing The Shack on a more in-depth level, and I'd love to know what the rest of you thought about it.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Anyway, to get right to the point, I liked A Year Down Yonder. It was funny! Really, it gave me the best laugh I've had from a book in a few months. I got a good laugh out of the valentines, but Maxine and the snake was hilarious! In fact, I kept snickering about it for a good five minutes after I put the book down!
Grandma is definitely a character, and my favorite in the book. Hard-working, enterprising, caring and understanding underneath her crusty exterior, and a jokester! (Not very many grandmothers would spike the punch at a chapter meeting of the DAR!) I was pleased to see her relationship with Mary Alice develop into one of mutual affection and respect.
It seems like so many of the books that are lauded by critics and given awards are depressing. So it was a pleasant surprise for me to find a critically-acclaimed story to be so amusing. I generally like the Newbery books, but this one was definitely deserving of the award.
Great pick, Sarah!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
(I hope its ok I post here, though it may be a bit out of format, but was just really impressed by this book and wanted to get word out.)
I recently read a book with a powerful message and one that grabs a person by the heart. Whether you are parent or not, Jenny McCarthy's new book Mother Warriors: A Nation of Parents Healing Autism Against All Odds (Sept. 2008) talks about the serious nature of autism and how people and open-minded doctors are finding ways to treat and in some cases cure this 'incurable' disease that is becoming more and more prevalent in America and across the world. Mother Warriors talks not only about McCarthy's battle with her own son's autism, but her argument on some of the causes behind autism (namely childhood immunizations), independent medical organizations that are working to cure it (such as DAN!, e.g. Defeat Autism Now!), and her fight against the conservative and unresponsive American Association of Pediatrics about the causes of autism. The book also includes the stories of other parents (in their own words) and their ups and downs in dealing with and treating autism. Overall, the book is a easy read, but one that pulls you right along. Its something you can't really put down because its such a captivating issue and battleground topic. Some will consider it controversal, since it doesn't speak highly of the conservative medical community, though it does praise progressive doctors, such as those at DAN!. It is a book that works to challenge the way you view the traditional medical profession and their response to autism. Before allying yourself with any school of thought on the reasons behind some causes of autism, its worth reading the book with an open mind (since this can be a personal and emotional issue). Anyhow, for me this was a great book and I hope you'll read it and pass it along to friends. Thanks, ZJ.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
I just put a hold request for it at my local library, and I'm the only one on the list ... so I am hoping that the demand for this book isn't as great as The Shack ... let me know if y'all manage to get your hands on a copy. Thanks :)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
Thanks to everyone who read Christmas Jars. I loved all the commentary! And yes, I totally think that it's awesome that the author himself wrote a comment on Carly's post. Totally awesome!
For the month of January, we're going to be reading:
The Shack, by William P. Young
I've been hearing some interesting things about this book ... and from what I've read about it, I think it will make a very good book club book - with some interesting topics for discussion. The author's website is: http://theshackbook.com/index.html if you want more info on him. Sounds like he had a very interesting childhood.
Thanks again everyone for making this little online book club a success. Happy 2009!