May 29, 2008

BTT: What is reading?

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Suggested by: Thisisnotabookclub

What is reading, anyway? Novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audiobooks — which of these is reading these days? Are they all reading? Only some of them? What are your personal qualifications for something to be “reading” — why? If something isn’t reading, why not? Does it matter? Does it impact your desire to sample a source if you find out a premise you liked the sound of is in a format you don’t consider to be reading? Share your personal definition of reading, and how you came to have that stance.


This seems like a question without an answer.

My first reaction is that if you are sitting with a book in your hand, it is reading. But what about audiobooks or e-books? I'm reading right now: checking blogs in the Google Reader. Is that 'reading'? I didn't think audiobooks were reading until I used one. It's definitely reading. I was processing the words in my head the way I would with a book. Reading the listings off the TV guide is not reading, not to me.

I think it's the mental process used that counts. I have gotten frustrated with my daughter as she learns to read this year. She gets much of the information from the pictures, where I am asking her to 'sound out the words'. I had a discussion with another mom who said that the teachers encourage this, that it's part of the learning process. It's so different from how I learned. I wish we'd get a guide or something at the beginning of the year! So, I guess looking at the pictures is also reading, as she's getting the information she needs to understand the story. I guess that's how graphic novels work as well.

I suppose reading isn't reading unless you can discuss it in some way. "I read this article on MSN..." or "Read the book before you see the movie, it's awesome" or "What do you think he meant when he wrote..." or "Mommy, that's a really hairy spider." You can't really discuss the TV listings!

May 28, 2008

Weekly Geeks: Folklore

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This week’s theme was suggested by Renay. She says, “I thought it would be cool to ask people to talk about other forms of story-telling.”

This week’s theme is once again one you could approach several ways. You might want to tell about the forms of storytelling (aside from books) you love. Maybe you enjoy TV shows, movies, music, narrative poetry, or Renay’s favorite, fanfiction. You could give us an overview of a type of storytelling, such as listing your favorite movies. Or you might pick a more specific story, one particular favorite. I just finished watching an episode of Lost, for example, so I could tell why I enjoy that series, or I could get more specific and focus on one character’s personal story. Some people might post youtubes of the songs whose stories they find brilliant, or some might share family bedtime stories. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Back in my childhood days, I was always at the kitchen table with the adults when there was a get-together. I didn't want to miss out on the stories. My Grandmother had her memories of the old country but my Grandfather, when you could get him to talk, had the best ones: ghost stories from Newfoundland, odd tales about The Pit, shipping superstitions (women are okay but no whistling). I've always had a hankering for the past. How did people live? What did they believe?

The days of chats around the table are rare nowadays so I usually find them in books. Folklorist Helen Creighton spent the 50's travelling around the province collecting the songs and stories of the 'old people'. She wrote Bluenose Ghosts. There are other collections of these types of stories as well but that's one of the best.

It's interesting to read what people used to believe. There are often hints of religion in them. Stories beginning with card playing or dancing usually end with the devil flying through the roof, since dancing and card playing are often a Protestant no-no. Catholic stories have ghosts harassing strangers until they communicate that they need a Mass said for them. There's a surprising number of nasty or cheap relatives refusing to pay for funeral Masses in the province, if the stories are true. Even the old Celtic religions show up in the stories here and there.

Being a Maritime province, there are tales of pirates, ghost ships and everyone knows about Oak Island. I've heard about a mysterious French mine in the area and hidden Acadian gold (where they got it, Lord only knows!).

Most of the tales are just stories I can laugh off but I've known people my own age who swear they've had forerunners, dreams of or visitations by relatives just before they've died. My Mom told me a friend couldn't get home one night because of an invisible wall he couldn't get by (a house was built on the spot later). My brothers had an incident happen to them that they will not talk about to this day. And even Mr Science, aka husband, ("I must have fallen asleep") had a bizarre experience.

I'm sure I'll be telling these stories to my grandchildren someday. They may change a bit and get a little juicier as I get older. I imagine that's what happens to stories as they turn into tales. They just keep getting better as time goes on.

May 27, 2008

Wordless: Hello World

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Check out my Guest Post at Historical Tapestry!

May 26, 2008

Making a List...

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Checking it twice. Okay, I'm making my book lists for 2 future challenges:


The 2nd Canadian Book Challenge hosted at The Book Mine Set. I'm picking The Free Spirit approach. I don't like being boxed in. Well, mostly it's because I still have a bunch of books I haven't finished for the last challenge. I will do better this time. Here's my list:

  1. The Assassin's Song by M.G. Vassanji
  2. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnson
  3. Negotiating with the Dead by Margaret Atwood DONE
  4. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood DONE
  5. The Underpainter by Jane Urquhart
  6. Yellowknife by Steve Zipp DONE
  7. Coureurs de Bois by Bruce MacDonald
  8. Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery DONE
  9. Getting Over Edgar by Joan Barfoot DONE
  10. Jane Austen by Carol Shields
  11. No Great Mischief by Alastair MacLeod
  12. Late Nights On Air by Elizabeth Hay The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson DONE
  13. Something from Timothy Findley Loyalists and Layabouts by Stephen Kimber DONE
The second is The Classics Challenge. I will be reading 5 Novels:
  1. The Lifted Veil: George Eliot
  2. Summer: Edith Wharton
  3. Far From the Madding Crowd: Thomas Hardy
  4. North & South: Elizabeth Gaskell
  5. Hard Times: Charles Dickens
So far this year, I've finished the Mini-Austen Challenge. I'm halfway through the 19th Century Women Challenge and the Novella Challenge.

Maybe I'll finish a few this time around.

May 23, 2008

Something Different: Friday Fill In

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I feel lazy today so I'm skipping the Friday Book Buzz. I'm going to try the Friday Fill-Ins Meme instead. (Love that poppet).

1. On my laziest day I like to stay in bed and read! (It rarely happens, unless I'm really sick)
2. Cleaning makes me feel like I'm being productive.
3. I love little baby feet and big cups of coffee.
4. This summer I want to swim a lot, travel a bit and enjoy some beautiful weather.
5. Reading Challenges made me start my blog.
6. Red tulips and orange pumpkins are 2 things I love to look at.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out with the hubby, tomorrow my plans include errands and Sunday, I want to have fun at a baby shower!

How's that?

May 22, 2008

Marie-Thérèse, Child of Terror: Review

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The full title of this book is Marie-Thérèse, Child of Terrror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette's Daughter by Susan Nagel.

Marie-Thérèse was born into the world already a celebrity. The first born child of the vivacious Marie Antoinette and the very reserved King of France, Louis XVI, all eyes were on her. Louis wasn't disappointed that she was a girl. She became the apple of his eye. She always spoke of her parents as loving and kind. They taught her about duty and charity even though they would be accused by enemies as being greedy and cold hearted. The Reign of Louis XVI was doomed from the start. Years of opulent living by previous rulers angered the masses who also hated the foreign Queen. By 1789, it was all over for the Bourbons.

During the Reign of Terror, Marie-Thérèse, a teenager, could hear her little brother being tortured in the cell near her. She would not know the fate of her parents, Aunt Elisabeth or brother until years later. In prison, the girl displayed the strength and dignity she would become known for. When she was questioned by various authorities, she refused to answer unless told of her parents' whereabouts. They never told her and her voice was permanently damaged by lack of use.

Finally freed at the age of 17, Marie-Thérèse lived in exile with various relatives: members of European royalty. She became a pawn in political games but could never be swayed from her own convictions.

She would eventually return to France a married woman and enjoyed a brief time as the Dauphine until her family was ousted once again. She would die in exile far from her beloved France.

Susan Nagel puts to rest some of the rumours surrounding Marie-Thérèse during her life. Was Marie-Thérèse switched with her supposed half-sister Ernestine? Was the real Marie-Thérèse actually the mysterious Dark Countess hiding in a remote castle? Was her brother Louis the next King of France still alive somewhere and not the boy who died in prison?

I rarely read biographies unless I'm really interested in the subject. Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution always fascinated me. I'll admit that I didn't know a thing about Marie-Thérèse. When I was offered the chance to read this book, I didn't hesitate. Nagel writes an factual yet fascinating account of the only surviving child of the doomed couple. The detail is impressive. The research must have been monumental.

The earlier years of Marie-Thérèse had me glued to the page. I found I was thinking of Marie-Thérèse and little Louis when I wasn't reading. What those children went through is heartbreaking and I think something the French felt ashamed of later. Her later years weren't quite as fascinating but I couldn't help but admire her as she grew from a serious young woman to feisty lady. Napoleon would call her 'the only man in the family'. Having gone through the worst, what was left for her to fear?

This is a must read for anyone interested in the French royal family.

Highly recommended

If you've reviewed this book as well, please leave a link in the comments.

BTT: Books vs Movies

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Booking Through Thursday

Suggested by: Superfastreader:

Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

I do want something different in a book than I want in a movie. When I read I want something that my mind can munch on, beautifully written or poetic language,the inner conflict of the characters. This doesn't always translate well into film. A director can sometimes get around this with beautiful cinematography or really, really great acting but it's tough. I've actually been impressed lately by a couple of BBC versions of classic novels: Jane Eyre and Bleak House. I understood Jane's attraction to Rochester better (and no it wasn't Toby Stephens. Well, he helped.) and Esther's distaste for Skimpole was more obvious. However, I found BBC's Persuasion ending was strange and un-Austen.

Sometimes a director or producers can take a totally different direction from the book. I've often found that the endings of movies have been completely different than the books to appeal to moviegoers' tastes. Sometimes for the better. The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) was not only spectacular to look at but the ending was much more satisfying than the book's. I think it appealed to a modern audience where the book's might have been fine for a 19th century French crowd.

As long as there are books there will be movie interpretations. And that's okay. I think Jane Eyre will survive as Jane Eyre whether she's played onscreen by Ruth Wilson or Ellen Page. Jane is, afterall, a survivor.


May 21, 2008

Weekly Geeks: Literacy in Canada

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This week’s theme: Choose a political or social issue that matters to you. Find several books addressing that issue; they don’t have to books you’ve read, just books you might like to read. Using images (of the book covers or whatever you feel illustrates your topic) present these books in your blog.


Not surprisingly, I feel strongly about literacy. Every so often statistics appear in the news that shock me about reading in this country. Just today I found this well written article from the CBC: Canada's Shame, "42 per cent of Canadians are semi-illiterate." I actually shouldn't be surprised. Funding for school libraries keeps dropping and it's up to parents through fundraising and in some cases corporations like Chapters to stack the bookshelves of our schools. I do not understand this. A good government should know that a literate society is crucial to a functioning country: more educated people pay taxes instead of living off of them.

Unfortunately as well, there are just some parents who don't care about education. I know this because I know some teachers who are frustrated on a daily basis by this antipathy. It isn't hard to take your kids to the library and get books into their hands.

I could go on forever about this, but I'll leave you with a snippet from the documentary that brought tears to my eyes The Writing on the Wall.

May 20, 2008

A Meme, a Contest and Georgette Heyer

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Trish, who's hosting the Classics Challenge, concocted this Classics Meme:


1. My favorite classic is Jane Eyre. I've re-read it many times. Jane is such a strong woman especially for the times she was living.

2. The classic I had the toughest time finishing is The Wings of the Dove by Henry James. It's one of the only books I can say I hated. The story was fine but James's style was hard to take. His run on sentences went on for pages.

3. I would recommend...........to someone who doesn't read a lot of classics or who doesn't generally like classics because tough one... if they don't mind size The Count of Monte Cristo, an adventure story with a purpose. If the size is too intimidating, I'd recommend To Kill a Mockingbird because I don't know anyone who didn't like it.

4. To me, a classic book is a book that is still relevant today, although it might have been written 100 years or more. It's theme has to speak to the modern reader in some way. It also has to be well written.

5. The type of relationship I have with classics is a good one. I'd tell anyone who thinks classics are too difficult to read to keep at it. The style may not be what you are used to (long descriptions, antiquated language) but after reading a few you will get a feel for them. I've come to love classics and prefer them to other books.

A Book Blogger's Diary is giving away 4 books to readers around the globe. Go check that out!

Historical Tapestry is getting set for a month of Georgette Heyer, a writer I've recently become a fan of. There are giveaways to get things started. Should be fun!

May 19, 2008

Fahrenheit 451: Review

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A grim future is predicted in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. People watch nonsense on their giant TV's while an unpopular war is waged in another part of the world. People drive too fast and children play violent games. People are told they are happy but suicide rates climb. Any of this sound familiar? I was startled by how much of this 1953 novel had come true and how society seems to be heading in the direction predicted: the loss of intellectual thought.

This loss is symbolized in the story by the burning of books by 'The Firemen'. They arrive in the night to burn the few books left, then arrest their owners. One of these firemen, Montag, start to question this process after he meets a thoughtful young girl named Clarisse. She encourages Montag to slow down and see the world around him. To think. Just the act of thinking crashes Montag's world around him. He goes mad at the thought of burning books and puts his life in danger.

Although it's a dark book, there is hope in the end. I won't say how. Read it for yourself.

This is definitely a reader's book. There are quotes thrown in here and there that made me stop and think. The imagery is scary: the burning, the televisions, the EMT's casual attitude, the lack of compassion. There is too much of our world in this book.

Not surprisingly, this book has been challenged mostly because of the language ("If they can't find a book that uses clean words, they shouldn't have a book at all." Yikes!) and because of the Biblical references. This is exactly what is predicted in Fahrenheit 451. Books were considered offensive because of their ideas and society self-regulated them out of existence. However, I think that we aren't quite there yet. Athena posted this link to '10 books that screwed up the world'. No matter what you think of the books on the list, people talked about it (384 comments!). That's the point of this book.

Highly, highly recommended.

Read for the Novella Challenge.

Also Reviewed By: Teddy @ So Many Precious Books,...
3M @ 1morechapter
Susan @ You Can Never Have Too Many Books
Rhinoa
Joanna @ Lost in a Good Story
Nymeth @ Things Mean a Lot


If you've reviewed this book, please leave a link in the comments.

May 16, 2008

Lesley Castle: Review

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If you've read all 6 Jane Austen novels, you might think you've read all there is to read from the author, but you'd be wrong. Jane started writing when she was a wide eyed youngster and unlike juvenilia from us mortals (like my own magical cats) it's worth reading. Lesley Castle is 3 unfinished works written to entertain her family when Jane was 16.

Lesley Castle: In epistolary* form, the vanities and jealousies of gentrified women are told. Margaret Lesley is bored of her castle in Scotland. She writes to her friend Charlotte who worries include what to do with all the food she prepared for her sister's wedding after the groom dies. The nastiness is not as refined and subtle as her later works but the groundwork is there.

The History of England: The narrator sums up the history of the monarchy in a few short pages and with as few dates as possible. The sole purpose is "to prove the innocence of the Queen of Scotland,...and to abuse Elizabeth..." It's funny and tongue in cheek.

Catherine, Or The Bower: Is like many of her novels is about propriety and manners of the young and courting. Catherine could have been one of her best heroines had she completed the novel. She feisty with a dry sense of humour and definite opinions.

I enjoyed this view of Austen as a young writer. I'm amazed that a teenager could write as well as she did. Her intelligence and wit comes through. The writer of the Foreword Zoe Heller notes:

"At some point in the course of reading these works, you are likely to feel the prickings of a baffled envy."

Absolutely. Jane must have been a pistol at that age. A force of nature.

Recommended for any Austen fan.

*$10 word for letter

For the Novella Challenge

If you've also reviewed this book, leave a link in the comments.

Also Reviewed By: Bookfool

May 15, 2008

BTT: It's in the Manual

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Following up last week’s question about reading writing/grammar guides, this week, we’re expanding the question….

Scenario: You’ve just bought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not?

Do you ever read manuals?

How-to books?

Self-help guides?

Anything at all?


Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!


Manuals: Ah, no. I don't read the manuals for electronics, appliances, etc. I try but I find they send me spinning in circles. "Plug A goes where?" I'm a hands-on, learn as I'm using the thing kind of gal. The result sometimes works, sometimes it looks a lot like Homer's BBQ grill (see above). My hubby, the engineer, will read a manual front to back.

How-to books: It depends on what it is. I have gardening books, cookbooks and craft books. I suppose they count. I use my crochet books all the time for reference.

Self-help guides: I'm not a great believer in these books. I don't believe in catch-all solutions. If they worked, why isn't the whole world happy? Take The Secret. "Just think happy thoughts and all your dreams will come true." Admittedly, I didn't read it, but it sounds pretty sketchy to me. If your dreams don't come true, well, I guess you just didn't think hard enough. My Secret? Write a self-help book and have Oprah endorse. Shh, don't tell anyone.

May 13, 2008

Wordless: Happiness Is...

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The Goldfinches are back!


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May 12, 2008

Weekly Geeks #3

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This week’s theme comes from Samantha, who suggested that one week we all write about our fond memories of childhood books.

You could approach this several ways. I’ll probably list my favorite childhood books with maybe a paragraph about each book: why I loved it, how old I was when I read it, where I got the book, etc. You could also just pick one childhood favorite and review it as you would any other book. Or, if you’re fast, you could make up a meme other weekly geeks might like to use. It’ll be interesting to see how everyone personalizes this theme. Don’t forget to come back and leave a link to the post in your comment once you’ve written your post. No wrap-up post this week; just the one childhood books post.

When we were kids, my mother had my brothers and me enrolled in a children's bookclub. Every month we'd get 4 story books in the mail. I remember some of them: Little Cloud, The Last Puppy, The Clownarounds (who I hated. Ugh. Clowns.) and my favorite Henry the Duck. I wanted to show Henry the Duck (Henry's Awful Mistake was the best) to my girl but found it was a difficult task. The books we had as kids were long gone and they hadn't been republished. Purely by chance, I was digging through a box of grimy kids books at a library book sale and Eureka! there was Henry's Awful Mistake! What are the chances? I'm convinced that it is the actual book I had and that it found it's way back to me. No way to prove it one way or the other. I've been enjoying it with the kid ever since.


Little Women was the first 'real' book I owned. It was a Christmas present. As I got older, I loved Nancy Drew and (don't judge me) Sweet Valley High. I bought them with my sad, little allowance. Once I found the library, I was in reader heaven. Ramona Forever, The Rats of Nimh, anything Judy Bloom, anything with ghosts. I remember loving a character named Blossom Culp who had psychic powers. There was also a series with a little boy who solved mysteries. The covers (and possibly illustrations?) were creepy. They must have been drawn by the same person who did the opening of the Mystery Movies on PBS. Can anyone tell me the name of the series?

That was a fun trip down memory lane. I can remember actually holding the books in my hands, whether it was summer or winter, whether it was sunny or rainy. I even remember the music on the radio! The Bangles popped into my head quite often. It's funny how a book can bring me right back to that time.

Weekly Geeks #2 Update: I'm still going through the list on Mr Linky. This Weekly Geek was quite a bit of work but worth it.

May 11, 2008

More Treasury Fun: Fahrenheit 451

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Since I'm reading Fahrenheit 451, I made an Etsy Treasury in tribute:


Happy Mother's Day

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Happy Mother's Day!

To all you Moms, Grandmoms and Wanna-Be Moms. I spend a couple of years in the Wanna-Be category and I know how hard this day can be. So this rose is for you all!

I really earned my day this week. Whew! A hysterical child in the ER is not fun for anyone. Right now kid and hubby are gone to Nanny's house. All is calm. Except for the weather, which I do not want to talk about!

I'm thinking of my favorite fictional Moms. I think Marmee from Little Women is probably best and most unattainable. A mom to 5 girls. Shudder. It can't all be happy-happy, joy-joy. One is a lot of dramarama!

May 9, 2008

I'm Not Ignoring You

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I'm going to be late getting back to commenters and blogging in general. 4 words: whiny kid, ear infection.

May 8, 2008

BTT: Manual Labour

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Booking Through Thursday

  • Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries–if any–do you have in your library?


Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves


I do have a few books on writing and grammar:

The Grammar Bible: I haven't read it through but it's definitely more entertaining than the average grammar book. The writer worked for a grammar hotline, if you can imagine such a thing, and the book is peppered with anecdotes from that time.

Nitty Gritty Grammar: Simple, straight forward. Full of cartoons to entertain.

Write Away: A guide to writing fiction from author Elizabeth George.

The First Five Pages: How to make the first five pages of a novel stand out. I haven't read it.

The Writing Life: Anne Dillard writes about the life of a writer. I haven't read this yet either.

Negotiating with the Dead: Margaret Atwood's take on the writing life. I'm looking forward to reading this.

As for dictionaries, I've ditched them all in favour of the ones online. I prefer this one: The Free Dictionary.

May 7, 2008

The Rest Falls Away: Review

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I've seen Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire Chronicles raved about by all my blogger buddies. I've even been to Colleen's blog but until now I haven't read any of the series. Why? I have no idea. The Rest Falls Away has been on my TBR list for a long time. I just never got to it until now.

Victoria Gardella has just come out in society. Her mother's eager to find her a suitable husband. However, not only is Victoria hunting for a husband but for vampires as well. The Gardella Legacy has been passed to her. It is her destiny to keep the world safe from vampires. At her side in the fight is her reluctant partner Max Pesaro, her aunt Eustacia and her maid Verbena.

She leads a double life. During the day, she's the proper lady, poring tea in ladies' drawing rooms and gossiping about rich eligible bachelors. At night, she slips away from ballrooms to stake the undead. As she gets deeper into vampire slaying, she finds it harder to keep her two lives separated, especially after she finds love with the handsome Marquess Rockley.

I really enjoyed The Rest Falls Away. In fact, I'm glad I came to the series late. I have two more to look forward to and I don't have to wait for them to be published. The writing is tight, the dialogue right out of Austen or Heyer. The pacing is just right and there are a few interesting twists.

Recommended

Also Reviewed By: Chris @ Stuff As Dreams Made On
Stephanie @ Confessions of a Bookaholic
Marg @ Reading Adventures
Kim @ Bold. Blue. Adventure

May 6, 2008

Wordless: Heather

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May 5, 2008

BFF Award

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Trish from Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? (love that blog name) gave me this BFF award:


How sweet is that?! Thanks so much Trish. I've been enjoying reading Trish's blog. Her posts are so entertaining. It's relatively new to me. She's also hosting the Novella Challenge.

I'm not sure what the rules are so I'll give this to 5 blogger friends whose blogs I enjoy and are visitors to my blog as well:

Teddy @ So many precious books
Michelle @ Fraternity of Dreamers (Something tells me her name is Michelle. Boy, I hope I'm right)
Rob @ Rough Draft
Raidergirl @ An Adventure in Reading
Deb @ Pardon my French

If you guys already received this award, consider yourself twice blessed!

May 4, 2008

Weekly Geeks #2: Linky Love

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From Dewey:

The theme for Week 2 is something I borrowed (yes, she said it was ok!) from Darla at Books and Other Thoughts. She says in her sidebar that if she reviews a book that you’ve reviewed, you can email her and she’ll link to it in her review. I love this idea for three reasons.

1. As a blog reader, I like that I can have my review linked in someone else’s blog.

2. As a blog reader, I like that if I’m interested in a book Darla writes about, there will be other reviews linked at the bottom of the page, so I can get other viewpoints. You can see how this works here.

3. As a blog writer, when I review a book, I often remember that I read someone else’s review at some point, but whose? And when? With Darla’s method, people tell her about their reviews, and she can see what they had to say about a book that is still fresh in her mind.

I'm adopting this policy as well. Have a look at my sidebar. All my reviews from 2008 are clickable. If you see something you've reviewed, please leave your link in the comment of the review. I'll add it to the bottom of the post.

If you have the time, all my 2007 reviews are organized in this post. Follow the link and comment.

That's it! I thought there was a reason that I was keeping them in the sidebar.

May 3, 2008

Hawaii, James A Michener: Review

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Everything you wanted to know about Hawaii but were afraid to ask could be how I'd describe Michener's massive novel Hawaii. From the first rumblings on the ocean floor, to the first humans- the Bora-Borans, to the missionaries arriving, to the immigration of Asian workers, to Pearl Harbor and beyond. Michener covers it all. The novel is told through the eyes of a few exceptional characters, both men and women, whose ordinary lives change the history of Hawaii. Through all the upheavals, Hawaii is constant.

A novel based on the whole history of the islands, could have been boring and tedious reading but Hawaii definitely isn't this. The character's are well written and, lordy, there are a lot of them. They can walk off the pages. They are a complicated group of people who struggle to make a life for themselves.

My favorite part of the book was the first half when the islands were being settled and then when the missionaries came. Later, the book is bogged down by politics. There were also more characters with similar names. It was hard to keep them straight.

I found the last 40 pages or so slow going and the ending unsatisfactory. It ends abruptly. For the most part, the novel is quite an adventure, violent and ambitious. Be warned: the 1100+ pages don't make it beach reading material!

Also reviewed by: Teddy @ So Many Precious Books...

May 1, 2008

BTT: Mayday! Mayday!

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Booking Through Thursday

Quick! It’s an emergency! You just got an urgent call about a family emergency and had to rush to the airport with barely time to grab your wallet and your passport. But now, you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to read. What do you do??

And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember….

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!


Huh? What? I don't understand the question. Nothing to read? Horrors!

Okay, okay. I have found myself without a book before and it stinks. I'm someone who has to be doing something with every free second. This drives me nuts. If we're talking about my local airport, then there probably isn't a book for sale in site. There might be a newspaper though, so I guess I'd buy that. Or maybe clean out my purse (it's scary in there). Or watch the airplanes land. Of course, if it's a family emergency, I can't imagine being able to concentrate on anything anyway!

nrelate