Monday, August 31, 2009

Review: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Vol. I: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson

Book: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Vol. I: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Rating: A

For: Dewey's Books Challenge and The Printz Project (Printz Honor 2007... winner of various other awards also)

After hearing about this book (and it's sequel) forever, I finally read it! And wow, I don't think I can find words to describe the level of emotion and intensity it accomplishes. I went into it knowing that there would be hard parts, as in, descriptions and situations very difficult to read about, and there absolutely were. Yet, these parts are necessary to portray this particular time in our history.

The story is about a slave boy, Octavian, who at first glance it seems is living quite a nice life style with his mom and owners. Behind the scenes though, it's another story. The setting is the Boston area just at the onset of the Revolutionary War. When Octavian has had enough of his "sheltered" lifestyle, he of course runs away and ends up in the middle of the battle for our country's freedom. Quite ironic for a black boy, stolen from his own country, who has no hope for freedom no matter the outcome.

The writing style was captivating I thought. First, it's from Octavian's point of view, and since he's been schooled and taught in the classics, it's very formal. Then we get the story from various letters, especially from one soldier who befriends Octavian, and we swing the complete opposite way and are treated to the terrible grammar and punctuation of the time. The story is also told with various newspaper clippings and other such snippets of the time. I love stuff like that.
And the words themselves are just amazing and totally convey the intense emotion going on. Yep, I love stuff like that.

Of course, it was another of those books that ended right at time when you feel like screaming "no!! Not now!!" But this time I don't have to wait for months, or a year, I can just grab the next one right away. And I understand this one is even better.

Beware, the gritty and uncomfortable situations that you can imagine slaves (and soldiers) enduring. Recommended for older readers.

P.S. Don't you love that gigantic title. What a mouthful! And I so wish that Dewey's page was still accessible so I could remember what she had to say about this book and link to it. Oh, well.

Other Reviews:

Updated to add:

Thanks to Raidergirl3 at An Adventure in Reading, who pointed out to me that if I was subscribed to Dewey's blog, I can still find her reviews, and so I can now post what Dewey thought about this book:

This first volume of
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing was a Printz Honor Book and won a National Book Award for Young People. But to me, it didn’t really seem like a book for teens. I haven’t seen or heard of any of the teens I know reading it. I think that if I had picked it up as a teen, the formal language would have put me off right away, though as an adult, I enjoyed it. This seems to me to be one of those books that adults on prize committees choose because they love it rather than because it’s a book that would really appeal to teens.

The horrifying surprise revealed in this book, which is what makes it special, in my opinion, comes deep in the story; I was actually ready to give it up as going nowhere when this astonishing secret became known to the main character. I am rarely as shocked as teen readers are expected to be by the surprises in books for young adults, but this one completely floored me. It immediately changed everything I had just read; I wanted to stop, go back to the beginning, and start all over with my new knowledge.

Still, I probably wouldn’t recommend this to any of the teens I know, not even those as enthralled by books as I am. I would definitely recommend it to adults who are interested in American history and who enjoy complex ethical issues. Volume two will be published this fall, and I intend to read it. I have Anderson’s other novel,
Feed , on TBR Mountain, and I’m interested in comparing it to these two books, since it sounds remarkably different. For one thing, it’s meant to be futuristic as opposed to historical fiction.

You can read chapter one
here. If you do read the excerpt, or if you’ve read the book, would you let me know whether you agree with my uncertainty that most teens would be drawn into the story?

Reading Dewey's thoughts on this book reminded me of what our favorite John Green also had to say about this book, and it's companion Vol. II.
His thoughts here on his blog if you are interested. (Basically, he thinks teens CAN handle this book!)

Monday at the Movies: Knowing

And now a stab at the Monday at the Movies event hosted by A Novel Menagerie.

We haven't been watching very many movies lately because we continue to be caught up in the Gilmore Girl thing and spend most of our watching time on that. (Finished season 5 yesterday, which I think I mentioned in a post already, and ended with one character saying " Will you marry me." and the other answering "WHAT???" Arrghh!)

But we did manage to rent and watch a movie this past weekend.

MPAA Rating: PG-13
Starring: Nicholas Cage
Genre: SF

I wasn't sure I wanted to watch this movie very bad until the lady I work with said to me one day, "Have you seen Knowing? You need to see it so we can talk!"

It's about a single dad and his kid. They've recently lost their wife/mom and are struggling to deal with that. One day, the elementary school has a 50th year celebration and dig up a time capsule. All the current kids get a letter or picture that was sealed in the capsule by all the past kids. The letter this boy gets is just a page full of numbers.

He ends up taking it home where his professor dad sees it and starts deciphering it. It turns out the numbers are predicting disasters, natural and otherwise. He then goes on a quest to learn more about the girl who wrote the numbers.

Then things begin to get very very creepy!

There were many nail-biting moments, and times where I had to hide my eyes and a few "jump out of your seat" bits. And even though it was a bit "far out" and unrealistic, I made sure to keep my younger "I can't sleep" kids out of the room. Yes, not for the younger ones for sure.

My rating? In keeping with the system set up by Sheri at A Novel Menagerie, I deem it three popcorn bags out of five. It was okay, and worth seeing for entertainment value, but not a deep-thinking, mind-boggling kind of movie.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

Today I:

- finished a book The Way He Lived by Emily Wing Smith, one of the authors I meet last week at our little blogger bash. I really really liked it.

- finished watching Gilmore Girls season 5. Sheesh THAT one ended on an abrupt and cliff hanger-ish note!

- wrote several posts for the family blogs and now this one too.

This Week I:

- started reading Gossamer by Lois Lowry. Maybe I'll go finish it right now too!

- started reading Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant.

- received The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafron from Amazon.

- didn't keep reading Drood which I started LAST week and gave it to The Mr. to read instead.

- sent email invites to the first book club meeting of the new "year". Can't wait to get that going again!

- finished (sort of) decorating my book nook including lamps, plants, and pictures. Just need new nice chairs now.

- encouraged daughter JJ to go ahead and read Gone With the Wind, that she will love it.

- encouraged daughter Toto that she should read something other than the Pendragon series for a bit.

- encouraged son Moder to keep reading Lord of the Flies, which he did and then couldn't put it down when it got to the "good" part.

This Coming Week I Will:

- read Catching Fire! :) (Unless for some crazy reason I can't find a book to buy.)

- go back, find, and read all the Catching Fire reviews I've been skipping for these past months.

- figure out what I want to read for the R.I.P IV Challenge.

- write a review for Octavian Nothing and The Way He Lived

- write a wrap up post for Dewey's Book Challenge.

- keep organizing books because I haven't even touched that mess by my bed yet!

- help at and attend the big storytelling festival that happens just up the street from me.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009.32: Why Haven't I

Weekly Geeks this week wants us to ask ourselves this question: "Why haven't I read that yet?"

So, wow, my list could go on and on, but with really lousy reasons and explanations. Off the top of my head, these come to mind:

The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale: I should have read it when it first came out, but then I heard mixed reviews so was nervous to buy it. Instead, I got on the hold list at the library, and then I found out that because I work at the library, I continually get bumped to the bottom of the hold list! Therefore, I have YET to get my hands on this book!

Shogun by James Clavell: I hear it's wonderful. I planned on reading it for a online book group thing years ago. My son even bought it for me for Christmas. I think I've read the first 50 pages 2 or 3 times. So why don't I just read it? I have no idea....

Bleak House by Charles Dickens: I've wanted to read this one for years. Then I finally bought it, and still it sits there unread. I put it on all my challenge lists and still, unread. I just need to read it already!

Oil by Upton Sinclair: Once upon a time, Kookie blogged about books and she raved about this one. So I bought it. But it has yet to be read. I'm a little scared of this one I think. My husband read it and survived, so I probably will too.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham: A children's classic that I've had forever and just never seem to read. Let's see, what challenge list can this one go on?

Ah, well. And so it goes. On and on. The pile of unread, waiting-for-their-turn books. My companions for life.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Review: Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff

Book: Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff (1998 Newbery Honor)

Genre: MG

Rating: A-

Lily is looking forward to a wonderful summer at Rockaway Beach, just like she does every summer. But things don't go as planned. First, her friend there has to move away because of her dad's war assignment. Then Lily's own dad gets a war assignment and sails away to no one knows where and she is left with only her grandmother who makes her practice the piano. Finally, a new boy moves in down the street who can't talk English too well and besides that, he's very sad and seems to have some sort of secret.

This is a great story on how WWII affected even the youngest of people, and how even though they didn't understand all that was going on, they understood enough. I think it's a perfect introduction to the stresses of the war for younger readers.

Other Reviews:

...and that's all I could find this time! Let me know if I missed yours.

Booking Through Thursday: Recent Fluff

What’s the lightest, most “fluff” kind of book you’ve read recently?

You know, I haven't read a fluffy book for quite awhile, and usually my summer is filled with fluff! What's up with that?

So looking back on my list the last thing I think I could consider fluff would be Wings by Aprilynne Pike. Loved that book though. I need more fluff I think.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Questions from Shannon Hale to Book Reviewers

Shannon Hale asked some interesting questions on her blog this past week, so I thought I'd attempt to answer, not that I'm any big-time reviewer or anything, but that it's interesting to ponder these things sometimes. (In order to understand the why of these questions, you'll need to for sure go read her post... basically, she's wondering why we rate, and why we have a need to say if we liked or didn't like a book, instead of just saying how that book touched our lives at that particular moment of reading.)

She says:

Some things to discuss for those of you who review books on blogs, amazon, goodreads, etc.:

1. Do you find that the anticipation of reviewing the book has changed your reading experience?

I would say a little. Sometimes I'll be reading and I'll find myself thinking.... hmmmm... I should say such and such about this... or... how will I explain this feeling I'm having now....

2. Are you rating the book even as you read? Or do you wait until the end to sum it all up?

I don't think so, because I don't even think of what grade (my system is to assign letter grade) to give it until I'm sitting down to write the review. But I am thinking about whether I'm liking it or not.... even as I read.

3. Does knowing you'll be reviewing it (or rating it) publicly affect which books you pick up in the first place?

For sure not. I still read what I want to read, just like always. If this ever changes, then it'll be a sad, sad day. If I do a blog tour, I've chosen to read that book. If I get sent a book to review, I'll only read it if I want to, and not out of obligation. (Which is probably why I'm not getting sent very many books to review AND why I don't go out and ask for them very much either.)

4. Does the process of writing the review itself change how you felt about the book?

No, but often I have a hard time finding words to describe how I feel about the book. This can get quite frustrating. Sometimes reading other people's reviews changes how I felt though.

5. What is your motivation to assign a rating to a book and declare it to the world?

Hmmm.... I have no idea. What IS my motivation? I assign a rating so it's easy for readers to see right off how I feel about a book. However, my ratings are pretty useless, since I tend to rate everything high, because I truly do like nearly every thing I read. There's perhaps some stuff that bugs me in a book, or something that maybe I didn't "get" but I always (almost) enjoy the experience, which is what I end up rating. Herein, I think, lies the gist of what Shannon was getting at. The experience vs. the book. Hmmm....

6. If you review a book but don't rate, why not? What do you feel is your role as reviewer? I'm very curious about all this and hope you feel free to speak freely (and kindly and respectfully, of course) even if you disagree with me.

My role as a reviewer is simply to share with whomever is interested, my thoughts about the book I just finished. And part of that sharing is to say, "I liked it." or "I didn't like it." But I will always try to say why. And it's definitely NOT the most important part of reading. It IS okay to NOT like a book, and even if one doesn't like a book, the experience of reading can still be wonderful.

And to end this little discussion, I have to quote a bit of Shannon's blog where she says this that I totally love: "After all, reader is more important than book. Reader is the one who changes from reading, not the book. Reader is the one who lives the magic of storytelling."

Maybe I should re-think my reviewing system? And begin rating the experience and the book separately?

What do YOU think? How would you answer these thought provoking questions?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Music Monday: Fresh Aire

It seems like lots of bloggers do Music Monday and/or Movie Monday... both things I love and I keep thinking I'll join in one of these days, so I decided to try it this week. Maybe I'll alternate back and forth between the two and see how that goes for awhile.

Anyway, yesterday, I rediscovered an old favorite in music. I love it when that happens. It's like they are new all over again! And the memories it brings back... wow.

I'm talking about Mannheim Steamroller's Fresh Aire albums. I loved them. LOVED them. And for some reason, they've been very very neglected, but yesterday, I blasted them nearly all day long.

Here's a couple of favorites:

Were you ever into Fresh Aire? Does it bring back the memories? Or maybe, you've never even heard of Fresh Aire? Or perhaps you have, but hated it? Let me know!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Book Blogger Bash Summer 2009

We did it again!

Last evening it was another gathering of Utah book bloggers. We brought our families with us this time and had a picnic in the park with the 100 degree sun glaring down on us. Also, this time, several authors joined us.

It was an interesting start to the whole event, for my family anyway, because when we arrived at the park and came to a road closure thanks to a city event also happening there, we were told by the little dude to drive several blocks up and around and come to the park a completely different way. So we did.

Then, we came to the road closure on the other side, where the city deal was going on, at which point I got out and proceeded to look for my blogger buddies, not knowing at all what any of them looked like except one or two from the last party!

THAT didn't work, so we followed a car that ignored the road block, and drove through BACK to the side we'd arrived at in the beginning. Finally, my husband said, "There's a group over there, maybe that's them?" So we checked it out and sure enough, we saw the familiar face of Natasha!

I was starting to be so sad about not finding everyone, but now all was well, even if I was by then completely melting in the extreme heat.

So after getting settled, and getting some food and finding our spot in the shade, I could figure out who ended up coming to our gathering.

and of course or fearless leader, Natasha from Maw Books Blog
(and please, don't let me have forgotten anyone!!!)
Taking a picture of Natasha taking pictures, with Emily to the left, Becky behind her, with Britt in the right corner, and Melissa in the left corner.

Then suddenly, the authors descended upon us! A couple I know well, and have read their books. Several were new-to-me and I look forward to discovering their books.

James Dashner with The Maze Runner coming out in October

J. Scott Savage with Farworld: Land Keep coming out in October

Leeann Whiffen with A Child's Journey out of Autism... out now.

Emily Wing Smith with The Way He Lived... out now

Bree Despain with The Dark Divine coming out in December

Brodi Ashton with Echo coming out... soon.

Back: J. Scott and James
Front: Brodi, Emily, Bree, Leann

I loved hearing the authors kid and tease each other, and discuss the industry and how they came to be published. I loved talking blogs and books with other bloggers, but wish we could have talked even more. I feel like I didn't get to connect with the group over there on "the other side." You know how that goes, you get your spot, and then don't move from it. I have a tendency to do that big time. (Below you can see me sitting in my chair, sticking to my spot, enjoying the author banter.)

Anyway, the most exciting moment came when J. Scott Savage, who brought the "uncorrected proof" of his next book to show and tell, decided to sign it and give it to my 14 year old son. The son who I had to literally drag to this gathering, yet the son who also said about J.Scott's first book Waterkeep "it's better than Harry Potter."

My son also loves James Dashner's books, so at the end, I forced them all into a picture:

Seriously, thanks guys. You have no idea how much my son needed this boost. Thank you so much!

And thanks to Natasha for making it happen yet again! I look forward to next time!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009.31: Second Chances

I keep chickening out with some of the Weekly Geek assignments lately, but this one I can handle! We are simply asked to ponder if we've re-read something that we hated the first time around, but loved on the second reading.

The book that comes right to mind is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Somehow, I picked this book for my in-class reading when I was in 8th grade. If I remember right, I ordered it from the book orders because it had some sort of wonderful description that I just couldn't resist.

Then I started reading it....

....for ten minutes every day at the beginning of the class period of 8th grade English.

And I understood not a word of it!

I remember going through that entire book in a huge fog. There was something about an old lady in a wedding dress, with a cake and some cobwebs. And a girl who was quite mean to Pip, who I DID understand was the main character at least. But I had no idea how they all related to each other. I caught NONE of the back story, the mystery, the interconnections. None of it.

However, I read the whole thing, over many months.... ten minutes a day.

Then, a few years ago, I decided that I was probably too young for that book way back when, and that I should probably try it again.

This time around I LOVED it! I couldn't put it down. I thought it had everything a book needed to make it a good one. It was a amazing the difference from the first time around. I felt very sorry for my 8th grade self and all that she missed during that foggy first reading.

But I'm very glad I gave it a second chance, because now it's on the top of my all-time favorites list.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Recent Best

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

So, last week I skipped BTT because the question was "What's the worst book you read recently?" And since I haven't read a worst book recently, I just couldn't answer.

And now today with the "best" book recently question, I have the opposite problem, because they are ALL good!

So let's just try, shall we?

I really enjoyed Homer and Langley, which I just finished and reviewed yesterday. Then a little further back was The Road, which was quite good in it's strange horrific way. But in June I read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which I truly loved, so I guess if I had to narrow it down, that one would be the winner.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Review: Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow

Book: Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow

Genre: Literary Fiction

Rating: A

For: Random House ARC

When I got this book in the mail from Random House, I was very excited because it's by a big-time author, and though I've never read anything by him, I've wanted to for a long time. (specifically The March) So, because this particular book looked small, and easy, I felt good bumping it to the front of the line.

I knew absolutely NOTHING about the book, or it's subject. When I was a nearly done, I realized that this was actually based on a true story, the story of the Collyer brothers in New York. Anyone heard of them? Yeah, me neither. But after reading this story, I Googled and Wikipedia-ed and learned many interesting things about them.

So, this book is about these two brothers, Homer and Langley, and they live through many historical events. First, Langley goes off to fight in WWI and comes home sick from mustard gas. Meanwhile, Homer, because of reasons no one really understands, becomes blind. Eventually, all the people in their lives die or move away, and they are left to fend for themselves in this huge mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York. They both have some strange ideas about life, and as the years go on, they get stranger and stranger.

They suffer through WWII with the rest of the country. They enjoy the hippy/counter culture movement in their own way. They see man land on the moon. They live on and on through various major historical events. As they do so, they accumulate more and more stuff. Their biggest problem.... they never throw anything away.

So this is what they become famous for... their hoarding problem. Wow, what a story.

I would give you the link so you can learn more about them, BUT if you want to read the book (which comes out in September) and you haven't heard about these brothers before, you may want to avoid the spoilers. However, below I share with you a "for real" picture taken of a very very small part of their hoard.

Anyway, I totally loved it even though it's quite the sad and pathetic story. Doctorow's style is simple yet descriptive, one I really like. I hope to bump some of his other books to the top of the pile soon.

Question: Have you heard of these brothers before? And... did you get the book in the mail and if so, do you you plan on reading it soon?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Genre: YA Romance

Rating: A

For: Fun

This is the second Sarah Dessen book I've read in the last couple of weeks... the other one being This Lullaby. I liked this one quite a bit better. Why? I think it's because I liked the main character more, and there was less swearing going on, and even though the subject matter was no less serious, it was just a bit of a sweeter story.

This time we have Ruby, who at the beginning of the book, is discovered living on her own because her mom has disappeared, and so she, Ruby, is sent to live with her sister, who she hasn't heard from in ten years. Her sister has "made it" financially and so she goes from living in total poverty to extreme wealthiness.

Even so, she tries to escape to continue being on her own the very first night.

And that's when she bumps into Nate, who ends up being her friend, whether she likes it or not. Soon, she realizes, he needs a friend just as much as she does.

This book delves into finding out what is the meaning of family. I thought it was a great lesson to learn and left me with a nice happy feeling instead of a sad-ish depressed feeling some of these serious YA novels tend to do. If you haven't read any Sarah Dessen novels yet, you can't go wrong starting with this one.

Other Reviews:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Shelves... One Week Later


So, I threw in a neglected piece of our couch sectional that doesn't fit in the couch. Hopefully that's NOT staying here, but instead, we'll get two, small but comfortable chairs for this area. It may take awhile before that actually happens. And as you can see, there's lots of "growing" room for more books.

I still want to put a big plant where that lamp is, to fill that area and make it look more centered. Then find a better, brighter lamp to put somewhere, probably on top of that little shelve. Oh, and I'm going to make different curtains for the window than what I had there before. So, that's still in the works too, and will make it fill much more cozy once they are done and up.
Anyway, there's been progress, and I'm having so much fun with it! What a blast!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Random Rambles

**I've been having a blast with my new book shelves! I'm adding books, I'm adding "decor", I'm adding music... it's great. I love it!

**Tonight we are going to the outdoor theater to watch Joseph and the Amazing..... you know the rest. And I hear thunder. We'll be sure to bring umbrellas. (Update two minutes later... now it's pouring!)

** Last night we went to the county fair. Toto entered five things with her 4H group and won blue ribbons on three of them. Cool, huh.

** I finished Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen (that's four of hers I've read now) and have been continuing with Homer and Langley that Random House sent me, and I started Drood which has been sitting here from the library for weeks. I haven't read NEAR as much this summer as I normally do. Sad

** My first EW magazine since I restarted it came today, with a lovely Jacob/Taylor on the front! Wahoo.

** School starts next week. Yey, for that. I think we will all kill each other if it wasn't.

** I tried to get John Green to answer my questions today during his live Blog TV appearance, but he didn't this time.

** I really miss book club and can't wait for it to start up again.

** Next Saturday we are having a Utah Book Bloggers Bash! Like we did in January, only this time with our families... in a park. Fun, I know! I'll be sure to report all about it.

** I have to order a drum book for Moder from Amazon, so of course I need to make the total add up to $25, and I can't figure out what book to add to my order. Ah, the stress.

Enough rambles for one post! A happy, lovely weekend to you all!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Review: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

Review: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy

Rating: A-

For: Fun

Even though I liked it fine, it took me forever to get this book read. Well, it was over 700 pages, so that may be it. I decided to read it because I thought it would be a fun book to take camping. So I started it then, and over two weeks later, I finally finished it!

This is the second book in the Mistborn trilogy which started with The Final Empire (which I reviewed here.) Much of the first part of this book was getting us, the readers, back up to speed with how this cool, yet complicated magic system worked, and reminding us about the intense political situation surrounding our characters. While I appreciate the reminders, sometimes it gets to be too much and I feel like saying, "Ok, Ok, I remember already!!!" Thus sparked my question which I brought up in a recent post.

But once that was all out of the way, and the current story began in earnest, I was all there. This is a wonderful fantasy full of really fascinating characters with lots of intense action scenes, and lots of great conflict and angst.

In this installment, Vin has become the most powerful Mistborn ever and has committed to protecting Elend's shaky hold on the city. The city is surrounded by two threatening armies, with a third on the way. In the process, Vin begins to wonder who she really is and what her place in the world really should be. As powerful as she is, she's a very confused girl!

So, even though it took me forever to read it, I love the story, I enjoyed the book, and I will for sure continue on with the next book: The Hero of Ages.

For more on this trilogy, check out the author's very detailed website here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why I Haven't Blogged All Weekend

A little dream is coming true!

A pile of packages from IKEA. (This place previously held the Barbie house, a small TV hooked to an abandoned Xbox, a rotten falling down tiny shelf holding neglected Xbox games, Nintendo 64 and Super Nintendo consoles and games.... all which have been stuffed into a spare bedroom.)

The first few shelves go up.

The Mr. puts finishing touches on the big room divider shelf.
(Please disregard awful toy closet in background. I'm determined to clean that thing out and throw most of it away!!!)

View from middle of the room.
(Ew...I really think my camera lens needs a bit of cleaning!!)

View from doorway of the room. (Five Billy shelves on wall and in corner, two Expedit shelves under window and to divide this space from the main family room area.... just in case you are familiar with IKEA stuff. This is the first time we've ever bought anything from there, and I am happy with it all so far!)

Let the book organizing begin!

I still have many plans for this space. This is just the beginning, and it's going to take me quite awhile to figure out what books go where, so more pictures to follow as it happens! But I was too excited to not share the pictures of the progress so far.

In other news:

* Currently reading Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen.
* School starts in a week! Stressed with all the stuff I've got to stress about to get ready for that.
* Almost done with Gilmore Girls season four... then we are done for since the library doesn't have the rest of them!
* I resubscribed to EW.... very much a guilty pleasure.

I guess that's about it from around here!

What's the latest from your neck of the woods?

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Answering some questions about BBAW:

1) What was the highlight (something that happened, a post, an activity, etc.) of BBAW for you last year?

I went looking back, trying to remember all the stuff we did last year. Here's a wrap post of sorts that I did then listing what I enjoyed about BBAW. But, the interview was especially fun. And I simply enjoyed all the "assignments" and every day blogging activity.

2) What is one new blog you discovered during BBAW last year?

So here's the thing. I can't remember which blogs I'm reading now that were ones I discovered last year at BBAW! Except for one... I'd never heard of My Friend Amy until BBAW popped up last year. Weird huh, since she's like one of the biggest book bloggers out there!

3) What tips would you share to help others get the most out of their BBAW experience?

I think the biggest thing is to just get involved with it and spend the time to participate in the activities. That's why it's fun!

Booking Through Thursday: Recent Serious

Booking Through Thursday

What’s the most serious book you’ve read recently?(I figure it’s easier than asking your most serious book ever, because, well, it’s recent!)

Easy question for me this week because the most serious book I've recently read is hands down, The Road by Cormac McCarthy. In fact, I would have to say it's probably the most serious book I've read this year, perhaps even for the last few years.

Yeah, The Road is probably one of the most serious books out there. Agree? Or not?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009.29: Books and Music

I'm really bummed I don't have like a gazillion ideas for Weekly Geeks this week. Books and music together? What could be better? But, when I really try to think about what song makes me think of what book, nothing really comes to mind. It's making me crazy.

However, I do remember awhile back, when Twilight first came out, it was around the same time I was totally playing Josh Groban's Awake song over and over and over again. And I LOVED the lyrics... and I thought, hmmmm.... this could describe Bella and Edward's feelings at the end of Twilight perhaps, when their future together was a bit bleak.

I don't know, what do you think?

A sample of the lyrics:

So keep me awake, to memorize you.
Give us more time, to be this way.
We can't stay like this forever
But I can have you next to me today.

We'll let tomorrow wait, you're here right now with me.
And all my fears just fall away, when you are all I see.

Oh, and in keeping with the Twilight theme, because I know you all love it so much.... I always thought the song My Immortal by Evanescence described the happenings of New Moon. Beautiful song.

I don't know, what do you think?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Thing About Sequels

So, I've been thinking about sequels a little. I think it's because right now, I'm nearly done with a second book of a trilogy, and I noticed that it took perhaps 100 pages for the story to really get going. Those first pages weren't totally a recap of the first book, but a lot of time was spent getting us back up to speed with the story and reminding us of all the particulars of the setting.

Sometimes I'm okay with that. Most of the time it drives me crazy.

This is why I usually wait awhile between reading books in a series. That is, if I'm reading it after they've come out anyway. Of course, the ones that I would love to read right away instantly are the ones I read as they are published! For instance, if Catching Fire were available last Christmas right after I finished The Hunger Games, I would have been right on it. Same with the Twilight series.

But, for the most part, I like to space out the books of a series, give it some breathing room, make it so I forget enough that when that inevitable recap happens, I appreciate it.

Still, even with a nice break between books, I'd rather that the recap be very very small and that we jump right into the next story without delay!

Do you like to wait between the books of a series? Or would you rather read them all one right after the other. Do you enjoy that recap part? Or would you rather be left on your own to remember what happened before?

Oh, another thing I'm thinking about series... it seems like the first book is almost always the best. Sort of like the movies and all it's parts 2's, 3's and 4's.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Sunday Salon: What I'm Reading and Where Did My Last 20 Books Come From?

Yesterday and today I spent about 12 hours in a car, NOT having to drive, or worry about kids or worry about anything. I escaped from my family (where I'm the mom) and went with my family (where I'm the kid) and I was just along for the ride. I imagined reading during the whole trip and totally flying through the books! But no, I only read some of the time, and watched a movie, or slept, or talked, or listened to podcasts for the rest of the time.

So, for the time I DID read, I worked on The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson, which was the same book I was reading last weekend, and all this week. Yeah, I'm not moving too fast on that book. I like it, but not as much as I liked the first book, Mistborn. Anyway, hopefully I'll get it finished this week, and move on to some more library books I have sitting around. Also, I hope a bunch of ones I have on hold become available this week too. So, next week by this time, let's hope I've moved forward on my list just a little at least.

And now, for something that's been going around... where did my last 20 books come from? A meme/survey of sorts:

1. The Monster in Me by Mette Ivie Harrison: library

2. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood: owned (I forget where I bought it, but it's not new)

3. Blue Noon by Scott Westerfeld: library

4. The Secret Keeper by Paul Harris: from the publisher for a book tour

5. My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison: borrowed from book club friend

6. Fablehaven- Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull: owned (bought at book fair I think)

7. Wings by Aprilynne Pike: owned (bought at Costco)

8. Just One Wish by Janette Rallison : borrowed from book club friend

9. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson: library

10. Beach Trip by Cathy Holton: from publisher for book tour

11. Beastly by Alex Flinn: library

12. And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander: library

13. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski: owned (birthday present)

14. Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings: owned (from

15. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin: owned (bought at book fair)

16. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham: owned (bought at B&N buy 2 get 1 free)

17. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart: library

18. The Road by Cormac McCarthy: owned (bought used from ?)

19. One Whole and Perfect Day by Judith Clarke: library

20. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen: library

8 from the library
8 owned (bought from various places: 5 new, 3 used)
2 for blog tours
2 borrowed

Yep, that seems about right! Actually both the borrowed and the blog tours are unusual, because I don't do much of either one. Anyway, a fun little look into how I acquire my books!


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