Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Club Favorites!

Oh my, how can it be Tuesday? Again!? Already!?

For today's Broke and Bookish Top Ten list, I've gone to my master list of book club books that we've read and have listed below what I feel have been favorites of ours over the years. This doesn't necessary mean that everyone LOVED and adored the book, but that it created a lot of fun discussion. Actually, it's best if there are differing opinions of a book, or if a book is a little off the grid for the particular group, so it gets everyone talking. Sometimes if everyone likes a book and it's just a "good" book then the discussion amounts to "yep, I liked it, it was good." And there's nothing more to say, right? So with that said, here's my list:

Top Ten Book Club Favorites

1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (this one was totally different from what most people had read)
2. Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel (a fascinating look at Galileo's life which got us talking)
3. Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons (I just remember this one as a favorite)
4. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel (we laughed a lot during this discussion)
5. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (we STILL talk about this one, every single gathering!)
6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (some people didn't really like this one.. GASP!)
7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (the discussion for this one blew me away.. I was speechless)
8. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (always a book club favorite everywhere I think)
9. These Is My Words by Nancy Turner (lots of emotional talk for this one too)
10. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (many mixed feelings)

And a few failures, just for fun:

The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
1776 by David McCullough
Middlemarch by George Eliot

What have been some of your book club's favorites?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Book: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA Romance
Rating: ****
For: Fun
From: Borrowed from Jenny

I was a little worried at first about this book. I could tell I was not going to relate to Lola at all. Her life is so completely different from anything I've experienced or known. Not that that has to be true in order for me to connect to characters, but you know, I just thought I wasn't going to like her.

But I did after all, and she turned out to be an awesome character, even if she did make some pretty bad choices and decisions. Rocker dude, anyone? See, I already forgot his name. Him, I did NOT like. Ew, yucky.

But then there was Cricket, who is of course, the boy next door. No, his name I have not forgotten and will probably not forget for a long time. I really really liked him. Tall and gangly, a little awkward, so very nice and smart and sweet. I thought about him so much after reading the book that I even wore elastic bands on my wrist for a day (well a couple of hours at work) in his honor!

Anyway, so if you haven't read this one yet, and I know most of you have, there's Lola who lives with her dads (yes dads) in San Francisco. (I loved this setting by the way. It's nice to have been to a city when it's featured in a book, you know? Makes picturing it all so much fun!) And she has always been in love with her next door neighbor. But a few years ago, they had a bit of an issue, sort of a fight, mostly a misunderstanding. Then he moved away.

Well, now he is back. But too bad so sad, she is now totally over him and in love with Rocker Dude, who's name I forget.

Yeah, well, we all know how that's going to go! Or do we?

Bottom line: I loved it!

Other Reviews, just a few of the gazillions:

Alternate Readality
Jenni Elyse
Milk and Cookies
Chachic's Book Nook

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Sunday Salon: Taking it Easy

It's been quite the mild, low key week. I've enjoyed that. Here's what's going on at our house:

Outside my window: Sunday afternoon and it's quite nice outside my window. A bit balmy even I'm thinking.

I am listening to: my YouTube favorites playlist. People, if you aren't making a favorites playlist ever there, you are really missing out on a great way to listen to your favorite stuff! Seriously.  And I'm trying to decide what to pick for my song of the week.

Song of the week: So why is it the last few weeks no songs have stood out to me during the week, but this week I have several. And I can't decide. You are all going to think they are strange and weird songs. You are going to wonder what's up with me. Okay, we'll go with this one.

Have I mentioned Tiesto before? Most likely. He does that dj-ing thing, which I don't really get, but whatever it is, it's cool. A little head pounding if you have tendency towards a headache, but still. It's cool. So I discovered that he has a song for the Mission Impossible theme... music that I've always loved. And this video to go with it it cool too. I have yet to see the movie though.

My favorite MI music is this song from the second movie, especially at about 2:15 into the video. Oh my, blasting that in the car is so so awesome!!!

TV Talk: I've been all over the place regarding TV this week. I finished the first season (series? I think they say series over there in the UK!) of Sherlock. Awesome stuff! And last night I was in a mood so I watched the first episode of My So Called Life, and earlier in the week we watched the first episode of The Wonder Years. I also watched some random Robin Hood episode because man I miss those guys! And I watched episode 4 (season 4) of Merlin on YouTube, and also a couple of Matt Smith Doctor Who's. All this on Netflix of course (except the one YouTube one) So on REAL TV I watched Once Upon a Time and Downtown Abbey last week (more tonight, yay!) and American Idol. I tried to watch Revenge online but the episodes I need aren't there anymore. :( Oh and there was no Vampire Diaries! People! What ARE you thinkin?  Um yeah, so, do you think I have a TV issue?

Reading Report
Books I've finished: This week I finished both Lola and the Boy Next Door and also Where She Went. Reviews coming this week!
Books I've started: I had great intentions of reading a ton of Inheritance this week, but instead, I ended up getting my hands on an ARC of Partials by Dan Wells, so I've started that instead.
Books I want to start: Anxious to start The Wise Man's Fear. It's time. It really is.

I am thinking: in regards to my TV viewing problem, here's what I think... I think that TV shows are like books.. they are stories, just in a different medium. So does it not make sense that if I like books, I will like TV? Yes? But so many book lovers say, blech, I don't DO TV! But I say, TV is truly just like books. Really. Hmmm... does this thought merit its own post? Hmmm....

I am grateful for: a really robust immune system! I keep thinking that I might getting something, but then, the next day I feel fine. Fight, body, fight!

What I learned this week: in order to get out of the house on time you must prepare your stuff the night before. I know. What a concept, eh?

Around the house: it's been recently vacuumed. And somehow we almost convinced one kid to keep the bathroom clear of towels and clothes. Almost. If we can accomplish this one little thing, we will have made huge progress in the "around the house" category!

Recipe of the week: For dinner today we had steak cooked with tomatoes in the crock pot, boiled potatoes, fruit salad, and homemade rolls. One day this week I made this recipe found on Pinterest and it was very delicious.

Favorite things of the week: going to the Everneath launch party, having some very relaxing no stress days (makes me wonder if this is a calm before a storm or something,) lots of reading, pondering books for next year's book club list

Family matters: One kid took a little road trip to see his friend this weekend. That sounded fun. One kid has gone on three dates with three different guys within the one week. That sounds kinda fun too. One kid is still coughing his guts out. His current song to learn on the drums and to play with his band is Bitter Sweet Symphony. And finally, one kid is reading The Hiding Place for school (in 7th grade... what do you think about this people?)

Things discussed around the house this week: blogger/author/librarian drama, computer ailments, the eating of fruits and vegetables, the price of food, how early to set your alarm so that you will still get up when you actually need to get up, and why do the bed sheets totally slide to one side every single night?

Things I hope to accomplish in the coming week: prepare for an upcoming kid birthday, write some real letters, exercise (because I seem to be doing crappy on that little assignment,) tweak more blog items.

The Blog Report: I did some book club reporting, both what we thought of our book and other stuff we discussed. I told you all about the launch party, and I told you what books I hated. I also begged lurkers to say hi, but I think I pretty much failed on that because most of the people that commented where my regulars! Too funny. Oh yeah, and I also discussed YA vs. adult books. I had fun this week!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Books Discussed at Book Club January 2012

Here's the list of books we talked about last week at book club:

Karen W read:
Death Comes to Pemberly by P.D. James a fun look at what might have happened after Pride and Prejudice

Tessa read:
Persuasion by Jane Austen because it felt like time for a re-read. I think there's something in the air!

Jessica N read:
Framed by ? : sorry I'm not sure which Framed this is!
Bone by Bone by Caroll O'Conner: a murder mystery favorite!

Julie read:
The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt: catching up with last month's book club

Sam read:
Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose: story of Lewis and Clark

Stuey read:
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson: interesting look into the life of a famous nerd who was sometimes not so very nice.
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard: the story of the assassination of James Garfield

Michelle read:
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull: to keep up with her daughter who read them all in a month or so
Narnia series by C.S. Lewis: to continue keeping up!
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff: only said that this was eye opening

Jessia A read:
Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson: fun thriller, scary... and I can't really remember what else she said!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: loved it, well four stars worth anyway
I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells: thought it was okay but that it caused sleep problems
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo: found it accidentally at the DI, read it in an hour or so
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen: this Robin Hood re-telling come comes out next month, she read it on NetGalley, which lead to a discussion on exactly what that is.

Jenny read:
Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern: a fun road trip book
Looking for Alaska by John Green: she did not really like this one, feels John Green needs a therapist... a discussion ensued!
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: a fun romance with an awesome boy named Cricket

Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr: the third of this series, she said it was okay
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park: a Newbery winner of the past and really really good
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen: one of those books everyone needs to read!

Suey read:
Persuasion by Jane Austen: needed a re-read!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: loved it, five stars worth.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver: another dystopian, a little slow at first, crazy at the end

Whew! We talked a lot about a lot of books! Awesome.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Everneath Launch Party

The other night I got to go to an awesome launch party held at one of the coolest book stores ever, The King's English. Finally, after years of waiting and cheering her one, we all got to celebrate the release of Brodi Ashton's first book, Everneath. It was so fun to be there and be part of the excitement. The place was crazy crowded, but filled with so many bloggers and authors and friends and family.

We waited in line for a long long LONG time to finally get our books signed, to a picture, and even a hug! But it as all good because there was food along the way, lots and lots of food!

My mom on the left, then Jenny, me and Brodi.
We also had Emily with us, but she somehow got ahead of us in line!
Yes, I had my mom with me this time because first of all, she lives right around the corner from Brodi. Second, she's never been to see this fun little book store and third, she's always wanted to see what a launch party was. So, it was  perfect one to go to!

I was able to read this book for a blog tour a few months back, so click on over if you missed my review, but basically, I really think you should read this book!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Book: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopian
Rating: ****
For: Fun
From: Amazon

I'd never heard of this book until suddenly, one day, the buzz started flying! And then the next day, I found out the author was coming to the library and bam, before I knew it I had the book and was meeting the author! Wow, it seemed like a really fast ride.

Have you noticed that most fairy tale re-tellings are set in a fantasy type world? This one, a re-telling of Cinderella, is in a dystopian type world with lots of science fiction-y things going on. I loved that unique difference. The other fun thing is that you could recognize the original fairy tale, yet... you couldn't necessary predict what would happen next because it didn't follow the very same line. I really loved that too.

Cinder, who does have a stepmom (well, a guardian) and two step sisters, works as a mechanic and is a cyborg. (Think the Six Million Dollar Man, for those of my era!) She's actually a pretty cool sort of creation, a mixture of human and machine/computer. But cyborgs are the scum of society and very much looked down on.

So one day, in walks the prince of the country, needing help with his broken android. Their eyes meet, and.... she overheats! Well, sort of anyway. But they become friends, and will in fact have several chances to meet again.

Meanwhile, there's a plague and that is a big problem that needs solving which Cinder finds herself right in the middle of. Also, there's political problems with the people of the moon... the Lunars. This is the prince's main issue. Oh, and he has to pick a wife at the upcoming ball, of course.

All in all, a really fun book with much action and a few twists and turns that you may, or may not, see coming. But beware the cliff hanger. Three books are to follow, all based on other fairy tales. They are going to be awesome and I look forward to them.

Bottom line: I really enjoyed it a lot.

Other Reviews:

There's a Book
Book Journey
Janicu's Book Blog
Book Harbinger
... and so so many others. I'm telling you, much buzz.

Belated Delurk Day!

Hey guys! I missed the official delurk day, just like I did last year. But as you know, it's a favorite day of mine so I'm going to have my own delurk day... right now!

What does this mean for you? It means, of course, that if you consider yourself a lurker here on my blog, it's the one day of the year where I beg and plead for you to speak up and say hi and let me know you are here! You can do it!

As in year's past, I have a few questions for you to make commenting easier.  I've thrown a couple in that will prove to me if you really ARE a lurker!

Oh, and please, regular nonlurkers are welcome to comment too. In fact, I'll beg and plead for you to participate along with the lurkers, okay? Okay.


1. Do you play video games? If so, which ones?
2. Have you been to a rock/music concert? If so, who was your favorite?
3. Twilight fan? Yes or no?
4. Where's the best place you've traveled to?
5. What do you listen to in the car? Music, audio books, radio, nothing? Or other?

Bonus Questions:
6. Who's my favorite author?
7. Who's my favorite singer?

Now, go for it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

YA vs Adult: I Love You Both!

Recently I've seen a lot of discussions and talk about YA books versus adult books and/or classic books. I always get a little crazy when I see these because I fall into both sides of the argument. (Surprise surprise!) That's because I love them both equally, and I can see the pros and cons of both.

Some of the things I'm referring to:

  • YA books are good for our kids because they can't handle the harder stuff.
  • Classics are good for our kids because YA is too easy.
  • Kids shouldn't be forced to read classics in school, it will kill their love for reading.
  • Kids should be challenged to read classics.
  • Adults shouldn't read YA... how juvenile of them! I will never read YA!
  • I'm a YA only person, I stay away from those complicated adult books.
  • YA has dumbed us all down. Yes? No?
  • Why is this particular book adult and not YA? 
  • And why is this particular book YA and not adult?
  • YA is safe for my kids because they are cleaner. 
  • The very term "adult" means there's bad stuff in it.
And on and on and on! Whew, does it make your head spin?

As one who loves YA books, I don't understand the mantra "I will never read YA" because wow, what a lot of awesome deep, thought provoking books you'll be missing! I think some people have the misconception that YA books are full of whiny angsty teenagers. I agree this would get on my nerves after awhile, but so many of these books truly have some awesome life lessons to learn. It makes me sad that some will never read them because of the way they are shelved or marketed.

On the other hand, the adult books and good old classics also have much to offer. So if we have the stance that our kids can't handle these books (or ourselves for that matter) once again, wow... what a lot of good stuff you are missing! Because we are scared to kill the reading bug in our kids, does that mean we shouldn't offer them some of those classics? Of course not. And are our kids too dumb these days to "get" them anyway? I really hope not. Besides, if we don't try to have them read these types of books, we'll never know what passion we may have missed feeding. This goes not just for kids, but for ourselves too. 

Also, let's not be thinking of the terms YA and adult as a book rating system. (This was part of a discussion I had last night with Emily's Reading Room and Alternate Readality, giving you both credit for making me thinking about this particular aspect of the subject!) Some readers do start thinking this way. However, there's some YA that is so "gritty" and "edgy" that it will curdle the blood of a few conservative people I know. While at the same time, there's adult books that are as clean and as pure as can be! 

I really truly think there's a middle ground here. Both types of books have their merits. It bugs me when people look down on YA and it bugs me when people pooh pooh the classics, and contemporary adult books. It's sad that this marketing scheme has put a lot of people into different camps. Books are books, I say! Read them all!

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I "Hated" and a Question

It's freebie over at The Broke and the Bookish today. We can list ten of what ever we want! So, after an interesting discussion last week at book club, about the fact that I seem to like everything I read, and I said, no I don't like EVERYTHING, I mean I DO like most things, but....and they said, so what didn't you like? And I said, ummm.... yeah.... well....there was something I didn't like I'm sure of it!!!

Now I've thought about it and so I give you:

Ten Books I Hated (well, that's rather harsh now, how about) Didn't Like So Much

1. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (too worthless)
2. Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson (too boring)
3. Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel (too weird)
4. Hard Times by Charles Dickens (too bleak)
5. The Study of Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (too wrong)
6. Love in Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (too twisted)
7. Peeps by Scott Westerfeld (too vampire wannabe)
8. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (too feminist)
9. The Final Warning by James Patterson (too environmentalist)
10. The Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander (too I just don't care)

And as a bonus, here's a few that I didn't finish, like... on purpose:

1. The Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver (too one track mind)
2. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (too devastating)
3. Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley (too NOT Gone With the Wind!)
4. The Wings of a Dove by Henry James (too wordy)
5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman (too freaky)
6. The Oldest Living Confederate Widow by Allan Gurganus (way way too detailed)

So here's my question.... now that you've seen an example of what I didn't really like, and if you follow this blog much at all and you see what I DO like... what books would you predict as something I won't like, that I might, in fact, hate?! Maybe I'll read your suggestions and we'll see if you are on the mark! It's a challenge! Find a book I don't like! (I do have the right to refuse, if you give me a suggestion that's like, against my oh so very high standards! Ha!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Review and Book Club Report: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Book: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Genre: Literary Fiction, bordering on a classic, would perhaps be marketed as YA in this day and age
Rating: ****
For: book club
From: I read the library's book club set, but I do have my own copy that I bought from Amazon years ago, in fact, it was probably one of my first purchases ever from Amazon! What a strange thought.

This is a book is about a young girl, Cassandra, whose poverty stricken family has moved into a run down castle in England. This is in the late 30's I think. They have all the "modern day" conveniences though, as much of their house is an addition to the castle yet, they still use some of the castle for their living quarters. Her mom is long dead, and her dad, a famous author, has been struggling to find his muse again after taking many years off. In fact, Cassandra fears her dad is bordering on insanity. She and her sister and brother along with their stepmother are trying to make ends meet, but thanks to their "live in boy" Stephen, they somehow manage.

Then very Pride and Prejudice style, two lovely boys move into the bordering property! Things start happening and their lives are turned upside down. Suddenly there's dinner parties, and gifts, and trips to London and photo shoots and a "bear" incident that is ridiculously funny and love, of course, is in the air.

This was a re-read for me and I totally enjoyed it again this second go around. It was like a first read though, because I didn't remember many details, including how it ended! Oh man, that ending! It just doesn't make me happy! I hate it when characters make really weird decisions, know what I mean? But it's a sweet, coming of age story with a character that was a blast to get to know.

Bottom line: I enjoyed it a lot!

What the book club thought:

  • I wasn't the only one bugged by Cassandra's decisions and/or behavior there at the end. Though we did decide that she pretty much behaved like the love sick teenager that she was.
  • We talked a bit about how even in the 30s there was the division between the classes. (Downton Abbey anyone?) And that even though Stephen was basically a part of their family, and was even their breadwinner, they still couldn't help but look down on him. That makes us crazy! But, it's how it was then. Do you think it's still that way? Yes, probably.
  • What does the title mean? At first people thought perhaps it meant "catching a guy" or some such thing. But we decided it's probably Cassandra's way of saying that she wants to portray the castle to us, her readers, as she knows it.... she wants to capture it in words and describe it and make us feel it like she does.
  • We all enjoyed the journal style of this book. It made us truly feel Cassandra's voice and totally be part of the story. 
  • We loved the bear story and swimming in the moat! Have you ever heard of swimming in a moat? Have you actually SEEN a moat? They are gross and disgusting! But this one has fresh water, so I guess it was good for swimming. If so, swimming in a moat, all around a castle, would actually be quite the cool and amazing thing to do.
Up next for book club: Atonement by Ian McEwan

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Sunday Salon: Let It Snow!

It was a pretty normal week this past week. I managed to read quite a bit, and have lots of bookish interaction. Here's a few thoughts from the week:

Outside my window: I thought I'd take a picture today to show you what it looks like outside my window:

Yes, that's snow. Just a little, but it IS snow!

I am listening to: my Vangelis station on Pandora. Soothing mellow mood music. You know Vangelis? They are famous for this song.

Song of the week: Sadly, no songs have been rising to the top for me lately, but I never told you that I got an Il Divo cd for Christmas and this is one of the songs on it that I'm really enjoying:

TV Talk: American Idol started. There's been some really fun people go through on to Hollywood, so I look forward to the season. None that have totally stuck with me though, except that one named Philip Philips that totally jammed on the guitar for the judges. That was awesome. The Vampire Diaries was also awesome of course (except I'm still worrying about Jeremy) and the biggest thing this week? ELIJAH!

Reading Report
Books I've finished: I finished I Capture the Castle earlier in the week, and I finished Cinder last night.
Books I've started: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Books I want to start: Where She Went, from the library, sitting here, waiting.

I am thinking: that sometimes these posts take way too long to write and by the time I'm done the day is over!

I am grateful for: my crock pot that makes Sunday dinners much more easy.

What I learned this week: what SOPA means and that internet blackouts are a good way to get attention!

Around the house: I DID buy an area rug for the basement, which now covers up some of the grossness of that old carpet. It's been nearly 20 years since that carpet was put in and I just don't see it getting replaced in the near future so, cover it up!!

Recipe of the week: Ah the English scones from the link Hannah from Word Lily sent me. They turned out great and I loved them. I think tonight I'll make some more, because I made that fake mock clotted cream to go with and there's leftovers and that stuff won't last forever you know.

Favorite things of the week: book club of course. Everyone always gets nervous that they stay chatting too long, but I love it and wish it never had to end. I was tired this time though because I'd had one of those crazy running around non-stop days, so hopefully I didn't look too dead. The rain yesterday was nice, but it made me want to curl up and read and I couldn't. Getting a haircut is always a favorite thing!

Family matters: Two boys on antibiotics and hopefully we can finally kill the bug. We celebrated the end of Winterim for the two kids still at home in jr and high school, which means "normal" school starts up again this week. They've been doing schooling in a specialized subject for the past three weeks.

Things discussed at home this week: horror movies, dating your brother's friends, TFiOS, Popsicle bridges, a band called Of Montreal, how to say scones properly....

Things I hope to accomplish in the coming week: finish a couple of books, go to The King's English for a launch party, clean up the DVD mess, and I can't remember what else...

The Blog Report: Well let's see, I had some pretty good random thoughts one day, I reported on some bookish events, I recommended books to non-readers, and I reviewed a Persuasion and The Fault in Our Stars.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: Persuasion by Jane Austen

Book: Persuasion by Jane Austen
Genre: Classic
Rating: *****
For: A Classics Challenge
From: own personal library (I have no idea where it came from originally!)

I've been wanting to  re-read this one for quite some time now, so finally, with A Classics Challenge as a push, I've finally done it! I hardly remember my impressions of it the first time around. I must have been too young to get it or something, because I seriously don't remember anything about it.

Then there was the movie from just a few years ago that revived my interest in it. But it was weird, because I expected the book to be like the movie. Yeah, that was not right at all.

But first, in case you haven't read this one, though I assume most of you have, it's about this girl named Anne who was in love with this nice boy when she was 19 I think it was. But then she was persuaded to not marry him because it was just not right. He did not have connections? Or money? Or something. So she refused him and he went off to the Navy. When the book opens, it's eight years later and he has come back. And of course, they are put in a situation where their paths cross again.

Many have said that Persuasion is their favorite Jane Austen book, but I have yet to be persuaded to fall into that category. Pride and Prejudice still has that spot in my heart. Though I understand that this one is very real, and very emotional and very touching. I mean, there's that LETTER after all!

Also, Anne is the strong silent type too, which I think more people relate to then say Elizabeth Bennett. Though, according to that survey thing that was all the rage awhile back, I'm more an Elinor than either Anne or Elizabeth!

So, even though it's not my favorite Jane Austen, I loved it. I love them all! And now I finally have it set in my head what is the movie (running at the end) and what is the book (no running!) I did watch the earlier movie this week though (the 1995 or something one), just to see what they did with it (no running.) It seemed really quite true to the book, though I didn't like the Captain Wentworth as much. He seemed too old or something. But it was fun.

Bottom line: I loved it! (And now I can't write that anymore without hearing my book club buddies snickering. Stop it! Stop it right now!!!)

Other Reviews:

Becky's Book Reviews
The Literary Omnivore
Fyrefly's Book Blog

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Random Thoughts About Recent Issues and Etc.

Why is it I always miss the good stuff!? Wow, the excitement flying around the blogs and the author spots and the Goodreads this week! And I only know about it because you tweet and I click and then the things I learn... oh boy.

So just in case you wondered, this here book blog is for me to share with you my love and passion and excitement for books and reading and authors and anything else that makes me happy. I will not be objective because I will be full of my opinions, what I think and what I feel, which, as you all know, is usually positive, maybe even to a fault. But sometimes it might not be, and that's okay, as long as I'm not viscous, something I can quite honestly guarantee I'll never be.

Perhaps what I do here, when I tell you about the things I read, shouldn't necessarily be called reviews, but more like reactions or responses. They also won't be so called professional either, sad to say, because I have no clue what I'm doing, even after almost five years. It's just me throwing up words that will hopefully give people a sense of who I am with regard to the books I'm reading. And I don't expect anything in return, well, except for those connections and conversations that I love and long for. That's it.

And then what about this SOPA thing? I never heard of it before this week and then BAM! Of course, I don't understand much of it, but it seems to be that it boils down to the government controlling the internet. That sounds so dystopia novel to me that it totally freaks me out! After just reading Delirium? Oh yeah, this is just really scary stuff! Keeping my fingers crossed that in trying to fix something, we don't just make it so much worse.

That totally looks like a baking powder biscuit to me.
Other random thoughts on this fine day:

* I'm trying to figure out something very English to serve at book club tonight. I've done trifle before. Thinking scones this time. You know, the real English scones. Suggestions?

* I'm yearning for a book that's very similar to Downton Abbey. I heard one called The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons would fit the bill. Read it? Yes?

These are books that
I want to read, like, right now!
There's 54 books there,
I counted.
* I cleaned up my bedroom book piles yesterday. Manged to get rid of one knee high floor pile, but there are still three left. And not one spot at all on the shelf. This has never happened before.

* People have been talking about Adele for awhile now... I'm finally listening... as in... literally, right now.

* Having been on four cruises to date (I know, sad life, huh) this whole sinking cruise ship story has been fascinating to follow and freak out about! Sheesh, I can't even imagine. And only three hours after setting sail! And the captain abandoning ship! What a crazy crazy story!

* I watched the 1995 Persuasion the other  night, as suggested by a commenter the other day (sorry I forget who.) It was quite different from the 2007 one that I'm a little more familiar with, but I think it fit the book better, especially the ending! But still, I want to re-watch the newer one now too. I mean, I might as well immerse myself I'm thinking!

*  Yay John Green! Number 1 on the NYT Bestselling list! That's got to be a good feeling.

* I really hope you all like the little makeover here on the blog. I'm worried that the tabs are screwy in Explorer... but they look great in Chrome! I'm also worried it's too white and bright, like snow on a sunny day (as I said on a comment reply.) Do you feel like you need sunglasses?

Okay well. I better go now. But first I'm going to pound a nail in the wall and hang something.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Two Bookish Events: Marissa Meyer and Haven Kimmel

This past week I was lucky enough to attend two author events at the library, one on Thursday and one on Saturday! Overload yet? Nah! I can take more! Which is a good thing, because there IS more to come!

A bunch of bloggers with Marissa Meyer
Jenni Elyse's photo, taken by Marissa Meyer's husband, I think
On Thursday we went to see Marissa Meyer as she came through on her Cinder tour. They had a small gathering beforehand just for us bloggers. Only about ten of us showed up though, which was fine since that kept it very small and intimate. She talked about Cinder and how it came to be and then we just asked questions and chatted. Very fun. Do you think this little practice will become routine? I don't know.. I guess we'll see, but that would be fun!

We then went to the main event and learned a little more about Cinder and it's series and that Marissa Meyer's "how I cam to be published" story is really quite the fairy tale. I'm guessing many authors would rather not hear that particular story!

Then we got our books signed. I've since read the first few pages and hope to keep going shortly.

On Saturday the library had what they call the Family Literacy Symposium with the keynote speaker being Haven Kimmel, who wrote A Girl Named Zippy, among other things. So, we (and when I say we, you know I mean Jenny and I... we have become quite the book event attending buddies!) went again. The keynote address was really quite different from what we've become used to. Instead of telling her story, or lecturing about one thing or another, she posed the question of how the publishing industry is changing dramatically due to ereaders, and is this a good thing, and how? And how does an author change with the industry? She genuinely seemed distraught by this question and quite emphatically dissed the ereaders. Then, she opened it up for discussion. Several audience members defended the ereader, and several  agreed with the importance of physical books. All in all, it really made me think and I totally enjoyed it.

Here are some of the points/ideas I took note of:
  • sales of ebooks out did sales of print books last year
  • writers who are in it for the money don't care how their books are published
  • she has never seen anyone read their Kindle (or any ereader) for more than a few minutes at a time
  • is reading an isolating activity?
  • she feels like she knows no serious readers and there's no one to talk books with (she needs to find us bloggers, yes?)
  • everything going digital makes her feel like we are becoming a dystopian world
  • How will you read when the power goes off? (and thus the battery dies?)
  • physical books gives us a sense of sharing our legacy, they show our personality

After that we got our books signed (I bought  copy of She Got Up Off the Couch) and then we went to two breakout sessions. One where some of the librarians shared their favorite books of last year, and one where a panel of local authors talked about how they became readers and how do you instill a love of reading in your own family.

The list of favorite books from last year was huge, but I starred a few that I really would love to read, and they are:

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You by Eli Pariser

The local authors we enjoyed listening to were Kristen Chandler, Ann Cannon, Matt Kirby and Chris Crowe. Some of them were read to a lot as little kids. Some not. Some liked being read to, some not. Most of them agreed that you shouldn't force a certain kind of book onto a kid and let them read whatever they want! Anyway, it was interesting hear all their backgrounds and what made them love reading and writing.

Events coming up soon:
-- Brodi Ashton's launch party
-- Rebecca Stead comes to the library
-- Shannon Hale at Barnes and Noble
-- LTUE... if I decide to go... or not

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Recommend to Those Who Don't Read

I think the subject this week over at The Broke and the Bookish is supposed to be the top ten books you'd recommend to someone who doesn't read stuff in your genre. Well, since I consider myself to not really have a specific genre, I'm going to answer this question the way I thought it first meant, which is, what do you recommend to people who just don't read.... at all... period.

That's pretty challenging don't you think?

And this is maybe a pointless list for those of you who DO read, but maybe you know someone who doesn't and this list might be fun. I hope anyway.

Ten Books I Might Recommend to Someone Who Doesn't Read

1. Harry Potter the first by J. K. Rowling... because it engaged the world, it might engage any non-reader
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins... because it's a real page turner
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney... because it's easy, there's pictures and it's so very funny.
4. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.... because it's snarky about the genre, and easy to read.
5. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.... because it's witty and suspenseful
6. The Maze Runner by James Dashner... because it's an awesome boy book and you know that boys (or men even) are more often the reluctant readers, right?
7. Bruiser by Neal Shusterman... because the writing is suburb and the subject bizarre
8. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card... because it's easy to read and has the wow factor
9. The Princess Bride by William Goldman... because most people love this movie so it follows that they'd love the book too.
10. Life of Pi by Yann Martell... because it's so different, easy reading and good for both young and old.

What do you think? Have you read these books? Would they be good for those who aren't book lovers?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Book: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Genre: YA
Rating: *****
For: Fun
From: Pre-ordered and signed... from Amazon.

It was a very exciting week last week, finally getting this book that I'd heard so much about delivered to my front door. Yes, it was "signed" (read scribbled) but no, it was not Hanklerfished. No matter, I just wanted to read the book!

This is what mine looked like.

I ended up going a bit slowly, which meant instead of finishing that very day, I managed to make it last until the following evening, but could NOT put it down in those last few pages.

Beware, this book tackles a sad sad subject... kids with cancer. But does so in typical John Green style, using humor and clever creativity to get you, and the characters, through it. In this story, we meet Hazel who is suffering with a form of cancer that has rendered her lungs pretty much useless without a constant companion of an oxygen tank. She is content to stay at home and watch TV and withdraw from the world. Yet still, when she goes to a support group, quite unwillingly, she meets a guy, Augustus, who is in remission from another form of cancer (one that left him without a leg.) They form a fast friendship.

Together, they suffer through the ups (because there are cancer perks you know!) and downs of having cancer. They know what it's like, so they can tease each other about it. They can make fun of the whole thing and laugh. It's awesome.

But then stuff happens, and one of those things includes an author that Hazel has revered forever. Ah, revering an author. Sounds a little familiar, no? And I won't tell you what happens from there, but you'll be glued, I can guarantee it.

The best way I've found to describe John Green's books, including this one, is that they are intellectually funny. They make you use your brain. You will learn new words while reading. You will ponder and think... you will want to get out a red pencil and underline things. You will learn stuff and you will want to remember it and live by it. His books are also a bit gritty and edgy, somewhat, most often, a bit depressing too. Things are not rosy in his books.

In other words, you will feel all the range of emotions. And I can't think what better praise to give a book.

On the back of the book are several blurbs by different authors... one of them I just had to share:

"The Fault in Our Stars is John Green at his best. You laugh, you cry, and then you come back for more." -- Markus Zusak, bestselling and Printz Honor­ winning author of The Book Thief


Bottom line: I loved it.

Other Reviews:

Book Harbinger
Things Mean A Lot
Reading Rants

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Sunday Salon: A Pretty Good Week

Outside my window: It's a bit dreary out there today. Yesterday was awesome though, almost like summer.

I am listening to: Hans Zimmer station on Pandora. Rediscovering this one and all the fun soundtrack music that gets played on it.

Song of the week: You know, I can't think of a particular song that stood out for me this week. But I can share with you Josh Groban's new video for "If I Walk Away". It's really quite good, about what life is like on the road. It makes me sad though.

TV Talk: I've enjoyed being a part of the Downton Abbey buzz this past week. It makes we want a book about these people! I've just now watched the second to last David Tennant Doctor Who special called The Waters of Mars. Sad show and now I truly only have only one more DT one left. (Yes, all this time before when I was thinking I was at the end, I really had a handful more because he did "specials" that weren't technically part of the season. Don't worry, I got it all figured out!) The Vampire Diaries this week was crazy as usual, and I just know Jeremy is coming back. And ruthless Stefan freaks me out, but lovey dovey Damon is quite fun! I also watched the first two episodes of season four of Merlin on YouTube of all places. Not on Netflix but on YouTube! Who knew. Hey, and American Idol starts this week! So be ready to hear my run down of thoughts on that one now. It's always fun to see who I fall in love with right from the get go.

Reading Report
Currently reading: I'm very wrapped up in Persuasion at the moment. So fun to be re-visiting a Jane Austen book! UPDATE: I've just finished it! But am confused just a bit. I'll explain in a review.
Books I've finished: I finished The Fault in Our Stars by John Green the day after it arrived. I hope to figure out a review for it, but am dreading trying to find the words.
Books I've started: I read a few pages of Cinder by Marissa Meyer, who I got to meet this week!
Books I want to start: I really need to start and finish I Capture the Castle for book club this week! I also got Where She Went from the library (this one is TOTALLY to blame on Holly!) and need to read it quick and get it back.

I am thinking: that this past week was a really good Twitter week for me! You know, so many of you actually talked back! So, if you carried on a conversation with me on Twitter this past week, just know that I loved and it was appreciated! Thank you!

I am grateful for: stability. I tend to take this for granted, and I seriously shouldn't.

Around the house: I was hoping to report that I bought a new area rug to spiff up the family room, but that didn't quite happen yet, so maybe I can report that for next week? Here's hoping.

Recipe of the week: I can't think of one interesting thing I made this week.

Favorite things of the week: going to two fun bookish events with Jenny, making up fun bookish birthday cards at work that will be used for staff birthdays, reading a new John Green book, Twittering, finishing the Christmas M and M's so they won't tempt me any more!

Family matters: Big kids seem to still be adjusting and come home a lot as part of that, kid#3 went to bed sick which makes me quite glad it's a holiday on Monday so he can have extra time to get better, kid#4 went on a field trip this week to the Winter Olympic Sports Park, but sadly, no one was practicing the ski jumps into the swimming pool, or flying down the luge track either.

Things I hope to accomplish in the coming week: read a lot tomorrow to celebrate a day off, plan and prepare and host book club, help with a church activity on Saturday, buy an area rug!

The Blog Report: I listed my favorite songs of the year, did you go listen?  I introduced you to Jane Austen, I sorted my Google Reader, and I reviewed a few movies. Oh, and I got threaded comments!

So, what's new with you this week?

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Top Ten Favorite Songs of the Year... I Think

(I accidentally hit publish instead of save while composing this, so some of you got a sneak peek at this post on your Reader. Gah, I hate it when that happens, but anyway, here's the rest of the story.)

Last week Ibeeeg from Polishing Mud Balls listed the top ten songs for her this past year.  Of course, I had to think about that and wondered what would I list for MY top ten songs of the year, if I were to do a post such as hers.

So after pondering a bit, and looking back over my music posts, I thought of some, and so now, of course, I must do a music post and share!

Do keep in mind, though, that these are not NEW songs from last year, but songs that I discovered, especially liked, played constantly, RE-discovered, and etc. And some of them I may not have posted and gushed over either, but still, listened to... a lot.

1. Silversun Pickups: Growing Old is Getting Old

 2. Depche Mode: Shake the Disease

3. Pet Shop Boys: Go West

4. Porcupine Tree: Waiting


6. Enrique Iglesias: Rhythm Divine

7. Muse: Eternally Missed

8. Daft Punk: Sea of Simulation

9. Blue Man Group: Rods and Cones

10. James Durbin: May (this is actually a more recent one, and technically not last year, but whatever)

Hmmm...I think I could continue on to twenty top songs. But I'll stop here for now. Do you like any of these? What were some of your favorite "new to you" songs this past year?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Classics Challenge January Prompt: The Author: Jane Austen!

Our questions for January's classic book over at November's Autumn are all about the author we are reading this month. My first classic of the year is a re-read of Persuasion and currently, I'm about half way done. Even though we are all quite familiar with this author I will go ahead with this fun challenge prompt!

So, here are the questions (in different levels according to how far we are in the book) along with my answers:

Level 1
Who is the author? What do they look like? When were they born? Where did they live? What does their handwriting look like? What are some of the other novels they've written? What is an interesting and random fact about their life?

Jane Austen
Born December 16, 1775 in Hampshire, England
Died July 18, 1817 in Winchester, England
Her novels include:
Sense and Sensibility (1811)
Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Mansfield Park (1814)
Emma (1815)
Northanger Abbey (1818, posthumous)
Persuasion (1818, posthumous)
Interesting fact: Northanger Abbey, though published after her death, was actually the first novel she wrote.

A sample of her handwriting

Chawton Cottage, where she lived with her sister starting in1809.

Level 2
What do you think of their writing style? What do you like about it? or what would have made you more inclined to like it? Is there are particular quote that has stood out to you?

LOVE her writing style! It always takes me a few chapters to warm up to it, to get into the flow of the style and wordiness, but once that happens, wow, it clicks in, and I love it. I feel like going around talking like that! I like that it's so flowery and witty and blunt, yet subtle at the same time. Ah, I don't know what it is about her writing, but it's truly amazing.

A quote that stands out? Wow, there's many and my mind goes blank! What is one of your favorite quotes, particularly from this book, Persuasion?

Okay, I'm off so I can do what needs doing today, so I can jump back into this book and finish it soon. And when I do that, then yes, I will re-watch the movie, and then when I do THAT, I will find a modern version of this story to read for Melissa's challenge! See the fun I'm having? :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

In Which I Sort You and Mark You Read

So the other day, I spent a couple of hours finishing the organization of my Google Reader folders, which, of course, are still subject to change. I also marked EVERYTHING as read. That is something I've never done in all these five years. It felt wrong, but good. I woke up to 81 new posts, and came home from work to 120. I got that down to 80 again before going to sleep last night and now we are back to 167.

See how this is a losing battle? You people post too much! Yes, it's all your fault and not that I subscribe to too many, right?

But I can already see that even doing this much will help me to comment better and more. I have no idea how that works, but somehow it does. So hopefully you'll see me doing that.

And I thought it might be fun to list my reader folders here, because I know I like to see how other people organize things like this, so maybe you'd like to see what I came up with.

Author Blogs
Book Blogs divided like this:
  Big and Popular (popular bloggers that get tons of comments where I want to see what they have to say, but don't          necessary feel the need to comment, know what I mean?
  Buddy and Challenge Friends (people that join in a buddy read or challenge with and I may want to track them temporarily, that is, until we might make some awesome connection or something!)
  Favorites (yep, favorites, bloggers I've been reading forever, etc.)
  Kids Blogging
  New to Me (the spot to go if you are in the "trial" period!)
  Often Commenters (you go here if you comment on my blog a lot, but I'm still getting to know you)
  Random (the catch all spot)
  The Guys (book blogging boys)
  Top Favorites (the ones I will read and comment on every day)
Blogs about Blogging (maybe I'll learn something)
Celebrity Blogs (I deleted a lot from here, but am saving it in case a come across an awesome one)
Challenge Blogs (places created to keep track of challenges)
Food Blogs
Real Life People (usually family and a few neighbors)
Utah Authors
Utah Book Bloggers: Favorites (those I've met and become friends with IRL)
Utah Book Bloggers

Now I will leave you wondering, of course, which one YOU fit in! :) But let's just say I have a lot of favorites! And now I wish I could spend all day keeping up with you all!

Do you have any further suggestions for me? Ways to organize a Reader that have really worked for you? I'd love to learn!

How are your blogging resolutions going?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Write Another One Already!

Hey guys! It's time to write another book, even if you're dead!

1. Markus Zusak... yes I know. I could answer with him or his books for nearly every single bookish topic given to me. It's true. But, it's been a LONG time since we've had a book from him and I'm getting anxious. But he's working on it and if he has to go slow to crank out awesome books, that's just fine. But still... I hope it happens soon!

2. John Green.... YAY! It's been a while since we've heard from him too! But today that ends! I'm so excited. Happy The Fault in our Stars Day to you all!

3. Stephenie Meyer... I know some of you will not agree with this one, but I'm saying it anyway. It makes me sad we haven't heard from her in a long time. I hope she hasn't quit.

4. Harper Lee.... wouldn't it be cool if she wrote something else?

5. Wilkie Collins.... he wrote a TON when he was alive, but still, I find it fascinating to wonder what he'd write if he were still here.

6. Donna Woolfolk Cross... didn't we all love Pope Joan? And I thought there was going to be another one from her, but I never saw it happen. Hopefully it still happens some day.

7. David Wroblewski.... I loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and I don't think he's written another one yet... I would read it for sure if he did!

8. Jane Austen... of course. She needed time to write more before leaving us. Wouldn't it be great if had, like, stacks and stacks of Jane Austen books to choose from?

9. Diane Setterfield... we need more like The Thirteenth Tale, yes? We do.

10. J.K. Rowling... I would love another series... something completely un-Harry Potter related. Something a total surprise. How fun would that be!

What authors would you put on your list? Head on over to The Broke and the Bookish to link up and to see what everyone else is saying!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mini Movie Reviews

I've seen a lot of movies over the last couple of weeks, so I thought I'd tell you about them really quick-like.

Movies Seen at the Theater (I just love that the theater has not been made obsolete yet, don't you?)

Sherlock Holmes II: starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law
I mentioned this one a bit already, but am listing it again here. This is the second of the recently remade movies following the adventures of Holmes and Watson. You don't have to have seen the first one for this one to make sense, because it doesn't make much sense anyway. But who cares because the cheekiness, the special effects, the music, the locations... everything makes up for the confusion in the plot. I totally enjoyed it!

We Bought a Zoo: starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson
This one is based on the true story of a guy who, after his wife died, decided he needed to move away from all his memories of her. Besides, his teenage son was acting out at school and needed a move too. The family ended up falling in love with a country house that came with.... a zoo. They decided "why not?" and went for it. It's the story of how they make through those hardships, how they grieve the death of their mom/wife, and how they come together as a family. It's wonderful. It made me cry and laugh both. It's awesome to see Matt Damon in a "normal" non-action role. He was awesome. I loved it.

War Horse: starring Jeremy Irvine and Emily Watson
This movie follows the story of horse and how he bonded with his country Irish boy owner, but then was sold to the English cavalry to fight in WWI. The boy is devastated and vows to find him again. The horse goes off on his adventure, passing through many hands (including the enemy Germans) before ending back up with the English again. It's a beautiful movie all around. Except for the war scenes which are extremely realistic and awful (but good, if you know what I mean.) Another wonderful movie that I loved.

Movies Rented from Redbox

Crazy, Stupid Love: starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone
I was a bit leery of this one, worried that it was one of those silly romantic comedies, with really not much comedy involved... and way too much "leave nothing to your imagination" romance. You know the ones? But it was raved so much about in EW and other "reliable" places that I wanted to see what I thought. Well, okay, so it had moments like that, but it did delve into the deepness that is a marriage relationship after 25 years. So I liked that it made us think about that a bit. There were some pretty funny moments too, and there was a twist at the end that I did not see coming. There was also a thing at the end that made me VERY mad and I couldn't believe the writers/producers left that in (the envelope with pictures if you seen it.) But, as you may or may not know, Josh Groban and a small bitty part in this movie, so of course I had to see it just for that reason and it was totally fun! Nerdy to the core. Sadly, he didn't sing. Oh, well. Anyway, I give this one a fair recommendation. It was okay.

Super 8: starring Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning and some really cute kid named Joel Courtney
This was a re-watch for me, but I got it because I loved it enough to see it again, and besides the boys in our house hadn't seen it and I knew they would enjoy it, so we made them watch it! Anyway, yes, I love this one. It's about a bunch of kids who while filming their zombie movie they hope to enter in a contest, witness a train wreck that sets into motion some very creepy and strange goings on in the town. It's also about the relationship of a kid and his dad after the death of their mom (much like We Bought a Zoo.. hmmm... popular theme I guess!) The kids in it are amazing actors. The special effects blew me away and the whole nostalgic feel is a blast. My only complaint with this one is all the swearing these kids do. Sheesh.

X-Men: First class: starring James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon
This is the movie that tells you how the Xmen began... how Magneto and Professor X were friends, then enemies. How Mystic came to be and a few of the other famous X-Men and their beginnings. This is also how the X-Men, for their first gig, stopped the Cuban Missile Crisis from happening. It's a lot of fun and worth renting to watch again.

Hey, and we got a Blu-ray player for Christmas, but we can't really tell any difference yet. These movies we rented from Redbox were Blu-ray, but...hmmm... I don't know.

What have you seen lately that was absolutely fabulous?


Related Posts with Thumbnails