Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm Still Reading

I honestly don't know if anyone reads this blog. It doesn't really matter to me. I write it more for myself than anything. I just wanted to put it out there that I am still reading. I haven't written for a while #1 because school started. Nothing happens, at least for the first month, except school once it starts. #2 I have been having some health issues and frankly I have not felt up to writing. I am however still reading. In fact I have read a number of books since my last entry.  I am simply going to list them for now because I don't have much time - Blockade Billy by Stephen King, One Summer by David Baldacci, Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones, Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson, and One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. I know I should have taken the time to write about each one of these because they were all great reads. Maybe I will take the time to do that at a later date.

I am currently reading A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon. This is the sixth book in her spectacular "Outlander" series. I have to say she is one of my all time favorites because of this series. I believe I have written about these books before. They are almost indescribably great reads.

I will be having surgery next Tuesday, October 18th. I don't know how long it will be until I will be able to get online to blog again, but never fear I will continue to read!

Happy Reading!
Texas Library Lady

Saturday, July 30, 2011

More Historical Fiction

I honestly can not remember the first book I read in the historical fiction genre. I wish I could. I'm not sure about the title, but I can say my love of history is directly linked to two men, my father and Coach Z. My entire life, my father has worked on genealogy. Every family vacation I could remember growing up involved libraries, historical societies, research centers, and of course cemeteries (I'm sure a part of my love for mystery, suspense, and thrillers is derived from my many hours spent in various graveyards). It wasn't until after I married I discovered the joy of Disney World! As ironic as that may be that trip also included genealogy because my husband's grandfather was raised in Florida, in Orlando,so it was very appropriate that we visit the land of his birth, oh and the mouse of course. Even now at forty I find myself drawn to cemeteries. Everytime I see one I have to point it out. My husband recently said there was no denying I am my father's daughter. On a recent trip to Kansas, we made a detour to Winfield where my maternal grandfather is buried. As weird as it may be I also have paternal relatives buried in the same cemetery. As soon as we arrived I was the first out of the car because I always want to be the one to find the tombstone of the family member for which we are searching. I love walking around reading the headstones, wondering how each person died. I know it is morbid, but it is what I think about when calculating their age and reading their names. On this trip we also visited the historical society in Topeka. I don't remember the last time was given a name and date and told to find a birth announcement or death notice, but it felt like welcoming back an old friend to have the microfilm swish around the knobs as the pages of the newspaper swirled by in a flash. The thrill of discovery was rekindled in me. I wanted to find more. In fact I took it upon myself to search for my Mother's birth announcement, but sadly was not able to find one. I believe it might not have been in the paper because my grandmother was so very ill after my mother's birth. The doctors did not believe my grandmother would survive, and it was only with the miraculous care, hands, and prayers of her nurses that she did.

As I was saying at the beginning my love of history actually came from two men, my father and Coach Z. Coach Z was one of my history teachers in high school. I think my junior year. I remember how he would bring history alive for us. He would tell a story. It was not just dates and facts, he would make the events come alive and almost make you feel like you were there experiencing the events with the people of the past. He is one of the reasons I took so many college hours of history and ended up with a minor in history. What a wonderful gift of storytelling he had and I am so thankful to have experienced history through his class.

My favorite time period in history is actually the Revolutionary War. I also love reading about the Civil War. Through the many family vacations we have taken during my youth i have had the great fortune to visit many of the battlegrounds for both of these wars. It is amazing to me to read a story about the places you have seen and think about to the details of why happened on those same land we now walk without any real though to previous events. So many people never think about history. They don't wonder what happened on this spot on this day, at this hour one hundred years ago.

I have read a number of time travel books, and I guess my love of history has made genre one of my very favorites. I love the idea of traveling back in time to visit the different places and times I have only read about. To meet some of the great men and women of hiotry would be fascinating, although I believe it would also be very overwhelming. Yes, I am educated (two college degrees and aspirations of working on a doctorate someday) but to think of being in the same room as Abigail and John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin is terrifying. I would hate to think these great people of history would see me as a bumbling fool.

The Distant Hours
by Kate Morton
My intention when I started writing tonight was to give insight into my latest discovery, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. This was one of those books that just fell into my lap. It wasn't the cover that caught my attention necessarily, but the blurb's description of the main character, Edie's "love of words and mystery." I found a number of quotes that I simply fell in love with while reading, including (from page 16), "I'm just not the type of person who accumulates friends or enjoys crowds. I'm good with words, but not the spoken kind; I've often thought what a marvelous thing it would be if I could only conduct relationships on paper. And I suppose in a sense, that's what I do, for I've hundreds of the other sort, the friends contained within bindings, page after page after glorious page of ink, stories that unfold the same way every time but never lose their joy, that take me by the hand and lead me through doorways into worlds of great terror and rapturous delight." I was also grabbed by this wonderful quote on page 25, "After all, it is the librarian's sworn purpose to bring books together with their one true reader." I tight I. It have been reading about myself when I came across, "It's natural in times of great perplexity, I think, to seek out the familiar, and the high shelves and long rows of neatly lined-up spines were immensely reassuring.amid the smell of ink and binding, the dusty motes in beams of strained sunlight, the embrace of warm tranquil air, I felt that I could breathe more easily. I was aware of my pulse slowing to it's regular pace and my thoughts drilling their fenders."

I have never claimed to be a writer. The only reason I write this blog is to help me remember and express my opinions of the books I have read, the adult books and not the children's picture books I read for my professional life. This is all about my enjoyment of the written word, like Edie's. That being said, I claim to be a reader.

I was completely enamored by the author's use of time. I love the way the book begins with the prologue of The True History of the Mud Man. As you read through the book, you find what an important role this book has on so many of the characters. Although the Mud Man is a fictional character I am so very glad Ms. Morton provided us the readers with the story so we could be privy to the emotion brought about by this book on all of the characters. We are then thrust into a kitchen in England where a letter is delivered 50 years late. Through the characters reading we find ourselves engrossed in their private letters and then transported back in time to relive their experiences. What begins as a summer reading on the history of this great castle ends with the discovery of a great mystery and deep secrets held in the walls of the fortress. Just as reading a letter or journal transitions into a new chapter where the writer is no longer writing but actually experiencing the events recorded on paper. The writing evolves into the story with such wonderful detail.  It is a beautiful, way to bring the reader closer to the characters in a unique manner. The way the story is woven together through letters, manuscripts, journals and books is one of the most enduring elements to me as a lifelong reader. I look forward to reading Ms. Morton's other books and simply want to say to her, Thank You. The Distant Hours did not make me a reader, like The True History of the Mud Man made Edie a reader, but I am grateful I found this book and this wonderful story.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Patterson - Never Disappoints

Now You See Her
by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

I believe I have read just about every one of James Patterson's adult novels. I say just about because I know there are a few that I started to read and just couldn't get into at the time, but that is a rarity when it comes to my relationship with Mr. Patterson. He has a way of grabbing hold of me and sucking me in like no other author. I can't really describe what I like about his writing. I guess maybe it is the twist and the way he leads you down one path and before you know it you have been shot clear to the other side of road with one of his great spins. 

In Now You See Her he does it again. He pulled me in from the very beginning of the book when our main character Jeanine is walking into a downtown New York hotel and meeting a handsome young stranger, Mr. Smith. Of course, the reader thinks only the worst as Mr. and Mrs. Smith quickly go up to one of the luxury rooms. Well, the twist starts there and doesn't end until the last page, back in New York in a luxury penthouse apartment. 

Flashing back, we meet a young Jeanine in Florida partying with her college friends as they celebrate their last spring break as students. It is this last night that changes everything for Jeanine. The choices she makes in that evening change her life forever.

Patterson continues his short chapters, one of my favorite things because I always think I can make it through one more chapter before I have to ... (fill in the blank...go to sleep, fix dinner, get back to work, wash clothes, etc.). The only problem with the short chapters is I tend not to stop with just one more. I am always compelled to continue reading because I simply can not put the book down. I really do love James Patterson's books. I go to his website often to see when the next books will be released. As soon as I see a new one is coming out I go straight to my public library's website and put the book on hold. If the book has not been ordered yet because the date is too far in the future, I make an appointment on my calendar reminding me to go in and put the book on hold about six weeks prior to the release date. I always want to be one of the first to read his newest book. Right now I will have to wait until August to read his new book (Kill Me If You Can), which actually has a few pages of preview at the end of Now You See Her. I don't ever want to read the previews because I can't stand to wait for the entire book.

Oh, and yes, I already have this book on's a pending status because the book hasn't been released, but as soon as the library gets it in I will have a copy in my hands!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book to Movie, part 2

The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
I have had every intention of reading this wonderful book since I first heard about it, I believe in 2009. A friend told me her mother was reading it and was enjoying it a great deal. I did not get to read the book in 2009. The book was brought to my attention again in 2010 when it was placed on the first Texas Lariat Reading List (2010). I did not get to read the book in 2010 either. Now it is 2011 and I have seen a trailer advertising this book will be released as a movie in August. Well, I couldn't have the movie come out and expect to go see it (which I really want to do) until I have read the book. This way I can say, that's not how it was written in the book! I love to find the anomalies in movies.

It seems that everyone (or just about everyone) I have talked has already read this book. Okay, I was a few years behind, but oh man, oh man am I glad I finally made the time to read it. In fact I spent more time on this book than either other this summer. I wanted to relish in the character's descriptions and "their stories". I laughed. I cried. I fell in love with the compassion of some of the characters and despised the hate and cruelty depicted by others.

I can't imagine treating another human being, especially someone I have brought into my home, in the manner in which some of the "white" women were treating their "help". It just does not make any sense to me. I know times were very different in the 1960, especially in southern states like Mississippi. [Well, according to a friend (of color) times might not have changed so very much based on the treatment she and her husband ("white") experienced when driving through Mississippi about 15 years ago.] I have read books, seen movies, and heard about the civil rights movement, but this book seem to show a side I had never thought about, let alone experienced.

I was not raised in a household with any kind of domestic help. In fact this seems like a foreign concept to me, having someone come into your home to clean, cook, and raise your children. I know I am not the best at doing any of those things, but I really can't see paying someone to come into my home and do those things for me (not that I wouldn't love it on some days, like the first day of school or Thursday evenings!). I know my grandmother had a maid named Bernice. I don't really know a lot about her, in fact the only story I really remember hearing was about her drinking the cooking sherry. I couldn't even tell you her last name, what she looked like, or anything else. I don't think she was working for my grandmother after I was born. I believe there would have been a least a few pictures of her holding me. I don't think my grandmother would have fit into any of the chapters in The Help, at least I hope not. It would make me really sad.

I loved the way the chapters were written from the perspective of the different characters. There was no need for an all seeing / knowing narrator because the characters themselves could tell their story and everything about what was happening in their lives and in their work place. I really wanted to hear more of their stories. I actually wanted to read the finally book in order to really get a more rounded feel of all of the maids and their different work households. I was as encouraged by the uplifting stories of the women of the house, as I was disheartened by the villainous acts of women to their hired help.

Loved, loved, loved this book and I am anxious to see the movie. I know it will not be as good as the book (or the movie I have already created in my mind while reading the book), but I will go see it any way.

After reading this book, I know one thing is for sure... I will never be able to look at chocolate pie the same way again!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Time for Reading, NOT for Blogging

Make Take Murder
by Joanna Campbell Slan
Some may think since I have completed the reading challenge for this summer that I have simply stopped reading. I would just as soon stop breathing! In fact last week I was able to go to my very favorite reading spot and I spent the day reading.

I have been reading scrapbook mysteries since I discovered them, I don't even remember how long ago. Joanna Campbell Slan's Kiki Lowenstein series is actually the second scrapbook mystery series I have found (the first being by Laura Child's Carmela Bertrand series). Both of these authors provide wonderful ideas greatly enter mingled in great mysteries. I have tried a number of the tips and tricks from both series. They can get my creative juices flowing which can cause a great creative or read. Usually reading comes up on top, therefore I have not completed a number of the projects and scrapbooks I have started and/ or planned.

In this fourth book in the series, Kiki, while searching for her missing paycheck in the dumpster behind her scrapbook store discovers a severed leg. When a message from the owner of the leg reveals Kiki knows more about this case than even Kiki realizes. Wonderful, creative scrapbooking tips are included in this mystery which will make even the most inventive cropper want to try them out.

Elvis and the Grateful Dead
by Peggy Webb
I was sad to see the story end but jumped right in to another book. It is always great to combine some of my favorite things when reading. In the next book I read a number of my favorite things are combined to make one enjoyable mystery. Peggy Webb's series about a basset hound named Elvis. Actually he is not only named Elvis, but is the reincarnation of the King himself. I love this series not only because it is about two Southern cousins who constantly get involved in mysterious happenings, but also because chapters throughout the book are told through the eyes of Elvis...the basset, not the singer. In this adventure Callie and her cousin Lovie become involved in the sudden deaths of the Elvis impersonators (the singer, not the dog) participating in the Tupelo, Mississippi annual Elvis Festival.

by Kelly Corrigan
While spending the day in my favorite reading chair and quiet surroundings I was able to finish reading three books. Since my favorite chair is in a library it is always great fun to browse the shelves (especially the pop reads) to find the hidden treasures. Since I am not the only person wanting to read the latest bestseller I tend to put books on hold as soon as I hear one of my favorite authors has a book coming out. Now pending on how quickly I discover this new title, I can be on hold for these new books for a couple of months before it is my turn to check it out. This is not the case at my favorite reading place. I can walk in and find at least four books I have wanted to read waiting right there on the shelf begging for me to check them out. I have to admit the next three books were not books I had ever heard of, but for some reason they each called to me.

I picked up Lift by Kelly Corrigan right after finishing Elvis. It was going from one extreme to another. This book is a letter from a mother to her daughters telling them of special moments in their lives. While reading I felt a true connection with the author. I loved the way she talked to her daughters, as well as her sister-in-law who lost her son in a car accident. Some of the memories moved me to tears and others made me laugh out loud. What a wonderful way to share with her daughters as well as the world her love for her children.

Elephant's Graveyard
by George Brant
After reading Water for Elephants I became fascinated with the circus. At then end of the book, Sara Gruen mentions a number of sources she researched in order to write the book. One of the events she mentioned was the lynching of an elephant. I found this story so terribly sad. When I discovered Elephant's Graveyard by George Brant I was drawn to this story. It is the winner of the 2008 Keene Prize for Literature and the 2008 David mark Cohen National Playwriting Award Characters. This play is based on the actual hanging of Mary, a five ton Asian elephant, in Kingsport, Tennessee on September 12, 1916. I can only imagine how emotional this play would be to see on the stage. Reading it brought great tears to my eyes for the poor animal. The play is written from the perspective of the circus performers as well as the townspeople of Erwin.

Making Toast
by Roger Rosenblatt
Like Lift is not a book I was in search of when I found it. I was intrigued by the quote from E.L. Doctrow on the cover, "A painfully, beautiful memoir telling how grandparents are made over into parents, how people die out of order, how time goes backward. Written with such restraint as to be both heartbreaking and instructive."  I didn't set out to read three very emotional books about death. It just happened. Roger Rosenblatt tells how he and his wife completely stopped their lives following their daughters sudden death to move to her home and help their son-in-law through the first year. They provided emotional support for their son-in-law and their grandchildren during the year following her death. While reading this book I was taken back to 2007 when my cousin lost her battle with breast cancer. I couldn't even imagine her family's pain. I know what I saw and heard, but I knew the pain I felt in my heart could not even come close to their agonizing grief. Reading this father's account of his daughter's death and how he was able to pick up the pieces and move on by being their for her family helped me to see that although we all grieve in different ways it is a process we must all go through in order to carry on for those around us.
First Grave on the Right
by Darynda Jones

I did not find First Grave on the Right at the library. I actually found it while walking through the book aisle of Sam's Warehouse Club. I have almost one hundred books on my Nook, another one hundred on my Kindle, and too many books around my house to even try to count, but I ALWAYS have to go down the book aisle to see what great books are waiting for me to add to my ever growing list of must reads. I'm not really sure what caught my eye, maybe the scythe, but this is the only book I picked up and added to my list. In fact I was so intrigued by the concept of a private investigating grim reaper that I stood there in the aisle and looked up the cost of this book on my Nook app on my phone. (Yes, I guess this is a little reading obsession going on, but in a good way, right?!?) When I found out it cost more to purchase the book on my Nook than the actual book in my hand I was a little disappointed. I wanted to read the book, but I was just not willing to use the cash in my purse (another obsession of mine...hoard the cash.) As soon as I got home I checked to see if the local library had a copy of this book. I immediately placed it on hold. It came in the next day and I received the text message letting me know it was available only minutes before I finished reading Making Toast. Therefore it was the next logical choice for me to read. Right?

First Grave is by Darynda Jones, the winner of the 2009 Golden Heart for Best Paranormal Novel for this manuscript. It is the first in a series of at this time three books about Charlotte Jean Davidson, known to her friends and family as Charley Davidson. Not only is she a private investigator working with the Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Department, but she is also the Grim Reaper. She works with her Uncle Bob to solve cases and references a number of cases she has helped solve in her lifetime through stories she tells to her assistant Cookie. I really enjoyed finding this new series and am anxious for the second book to come out in August.

Now, I must get started on the next book on my list. I have actually already started reading it and I am hooked so I need to stop writing and get to reading.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Challenge COMPLETE!

I finished the 12 in 12 challenge by my goal...ALMOST. I actually finished at 12:09 AM on July 1st, but I think that is pretty good. I wanted to finish before July, but missed it by only minutes. I'll take it!

I really LOVED Payback Time by Carl Deuker. I chose the book simply because it had a football helmet on the cover (yes, again judging books by the cover). I LOVE football and when football season is over I tend to grab at least one football book to read in order to make it through until the next season. With the way this year is panning out, I might be reading a lot of football books! Anyway, this was a wonderful book that had football in it, but was really more about the journalistic writings of a high school newspaper sports writer. Football and the players played an important role in this book, but if I say too much it will ruin the story. I have to say, I was very surprised with the twist in this book. I will say, being the football fan that I am, the Philadelphia references were difficult for me to read (I really can't stand the eagles - yes I know that is their name, but not so important to me!) and made a lot more sense at the end of the book.

The Weird Sisters
by Eleanor Brown

The second to the last category on the challenge was an adult bestseller. Well, if you have been reading my blog for a while, you will see that a number of the books I read are adult bestsellers. I guess as one of the readers I have contributed to this status. I haven't simply chosen the book because of it's placement on the New York Times Bestsellers List, I read them because the book intrigues me or because it is written by an author I have been reading for years. So when it came to this area I had to do some research. I went back to the beginning of the year to see titles of books on the NYTBL starting in January. When I got to the end of the month, I spotted The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. Now, I am not sure if this quote was actually in the description provided on the NYTBL, but it is one of the reasons I was HAD to read this book, "There is no problem that a library card can't solve." This quote, and a number of others including, "Because despite his money and his looks and all the good-on-paper attributes he possessed, he was not a reader, and, well, let’s just say that is the sort of nonsense up with which we will not put" were simply too goo not to record and remember. I am not a Shakespearian scholar by any means (in fact if it weren't for my son's invovlement in a Shakespearian theater group I wouldn't know half this much) but I was surprised how many of the quotes used throughout the book I have heard or knew from other references. This books was not a typical book I would have chosen to read if it had not had the reading / book references. I usually find suspense, thrillers, mysteries, romance, comedy more to my liking, but this book grabbed me from the very beginning. I loved the book's voice. While reading I almost felt there were four sisters and the narrating sister was never invovled in the story just an ever seeing presence. This is a book I will remember for a long time because of the growth of the sisters through the book and their love of family, books, and reading.

Grave Secret
by Charlaine Harris

The last book on the challenge was my personal choice. Now, all of the books on the challenge were my personal choice just in specified categories. So, I chose the fourth (and hopefully not last book) in the Harper Connelly series written by Charlaine Harris, Grave Secret. I recently read the third book in the series and really wanted to see what Harper and Tolliver were going to do in the next book. I love reading series books, it just really bothers me when they end, or worse yet when the author simply stops writing about the characters in the series. Now, it is my understanding this series has been picked up to be a new television series on CBS called Grave Site. I will give the show a chance, but I would much rather read more books about this twenty-something who has the ability to locate the dead after being struck by lightning.

Since the challenge is complete I guess you thought I would stop reading. After all that was the point right, to get through all of the books needed in order to finish the challenge? Not at all, the point of finishing the challenge was so I could read all of the books I have been accumulating since last summer. I save books to read during the summer so I can immerse myself in the story and the characters. I have a book next to my chair that I have wanted to read since I saw it on display in the library. The fourth book in a series I have enjoyed since I fell across the first a few years ago. It is a scrapbooking series. Actually it is the second scrapbooking series I have discovered and I really enjoy reading them because they give me inspiration to create my own special treasures. I carried this fourth book with me yesterday with all intentions to read this book. I was going to have a lot of quiet time in order to read and I thought I could make it through at least a fourth of the book. This was not the case because since I was spending my time in a library (one of my very favorite places,  in my very favorite chair) I found a few new books I wanted to read. When you let me loose in a library, it is like giving a shopaholic a free, unlimited shopping spree in the Mall of America! I couldn't NOT look just in case the book I have been waiting for FOREVER is right here on the shelf calling my name.

Miles to Go
by Richard Paul Evans
That is exactly what happened! I found the second book to a series I started reading at the exact same point, place, and time last year. I discovered Richard Paul Evans' The Walk last year and fell in love with the journey of a man walking across the United States from Washington to Key West, Florida. The first book takes Alan Christoffersen barely across Washington and ends in a very surprising manner. The second book picks up right where the first left off. It was like finding an old friend. I sat down and read almost half the book during this quiet time alone in my favorite chair. I finished the book this morning and feel like my friend Alan is a long away from me now because I have to wait until next April to see where his journey will take him on his quest for Florida.

So now I have finished yet another book so I better go back to the book I intended to read yesterday. Let's see if I can finish this book before I find another one that starts calling to me.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer '11 - 12 in 12 challenge

Okay, I know NEXT year is 2012, but THIS year before the end of the school year I was given a challenge called 12 in 12. Now, let's see if I can remember all 12 of the books I am supposed to read this summer.

2 - Texas Lone Star Books
     a. The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
     b. Payback Time (still reading - very good) by Carl Deuker
2 - Graphic Novels
     a. CSI: Intern at Your Own Risk by Sekou Hamilton
     b. Troublemaker by Janet Evanovich
1 - Adult Bestseller
      a. ?????? (don't know what I will choose yet...saving it for next to last)
1 - Genre you usually don't read
      a. On a Pale Horse (fantasy) by Piers Anthony
2 - E-books
      a. Stupid History by Leland Gregory
      b. An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris
1 - Preview book for 2011-2012 school year
      a. Oh, Harry by Maxine Kumin
1 - Book of choice
      a. ?????? (don't know what I will choose yet....saving it for last)
2 - Texas Bluebonnet Books
      a. Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer
      b. The Case of the Case of the Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett

Okay, needless to say, I didn't need a challenge to get me to read this summer. In fact I have been waiting all school year to have more time to read. This challenge did provide me with the opportunity to read some great books I might not have otherwise read, for instance On a Pale Horse.
On a Pale Horse
by Piers Anthony
Fantasy is not necessarily a genre I jump up to read. I am more the suspense/ thriller reader. My husband, however, loves fantasy. When I was pregnant with our son he started reading one of  the David Eddings Belgariad books. I could not stay awake to listen. It was just not my thing. When I showed him this challenge he told me he would choose the book for the genre not usually read category (yes, he knows me and my reading habits that's what comes with both of us being a librarian). This is the book he chose. I have to admit it was a good read. At first I was reluctant to read the book simply because of the cover. I truly believe fantasy books have turned me off for all of these years because of the cover picture. I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but come on who doesn't?!? I was surprised how this book grabbed me. It was fascinating to read about all of Death's adventures. I was intrigued by the job and really hope my soul is able to leave my body before the pain of death overtakes me. Weird, yes, but this book really makes you think about your own mortality. I'm trying to decide if I want to read any of the other books in this series.

It was a bit difficult for me to choose the two Texas Lone Star books I wanted to read. I will admit there were not too many on the list that just grabbed me. Thankfully two of them did right away. The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman and Payback Time by Carl Deuker.

The Grimm Legacy
by Polly Shulman
I have actually already written about The Grimm Legacy but it really was a great book. I wish the ending had been left open for a sequel. It was a very unique combination of The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, and The Librarian movies from Turner Network Television starring Noah Wyle. I love the way Ms. Shulman weaves the characters around fairy tale objects. What a wonderful idea. I know I said before I don't usually read fantasy, maybe I was wrong...but I am still listing On a Pale Horse for this part of the challenge!
Payback Time
by Carl Deuker

I chose Payback Time BECAUSE of the cover! I LOVE football and it seemed this book would have something to do with my favorite sport. I am currently reading this book (started this afternoon and I am almost 100 pages in - for me that is great because I am a slow reader) so I am not going to write about it yet. Next time.

An Ice Cold Grave
by Charlaine Harris
 Since I have had a Nook for over a year now, the e-book part of the challenge was fairly easy. I chose books I have been wanting to read. A lot of people love Charlaine Harris for her Sookie Stackhouse books,  the basis for the HBO True Blood series. I have read a few of these books, but I have to admit I am not really on the vampire bandwagon. I have read the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, but I think I might have had my fill of vampires for a while. I love the Harper Connelly series by Charlaine Harris. An Ice Cold Grave is the 3rd book in this series about a young woman who can locate the dead after being struck by lightning. This book takes place in North Carolina.

Stupid History
by Leland Gregory
The next e-book I chose was actually one I saw on the free book site and grabbed because it sounded like something I would like to read. Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions Throughout the Ages by Leland Gregory. When I saw how many pages this book had, I really thought it was going to take me a long time to read (not something I was too excited about because I wanted to finish this challenge so I could read what I want to read this if I don't have a choice on all of these titles). This was not the case at all. I finished it in one day! It was such a great book that goes through all of the history we think we know and tells what really happened! I'm sure if high school students were to read a book like this instead of a text book they would remember these stories a lot longer than the incorrect information we have been learning all of these years.

CSI: Intern at Your Own Risk
by Sekou Hamilton
When it comes to graphic novels I have never been a fan. In fact the closest I have really ever gotten to reading a graphic novel (other than graphic picture books) has been Mad magazine. Even then I would skip over the big sections of "comic book like" stories. I just am not into that kind of reading (maybe that should have been the genre I don't usually read?!?). I went to Half Priced Books in order to look for two graphic novels. I thought I had hit the jackpot when I found two right away. CSI: Intern at Your Own Risk and Troublemaker. I was correct on one count. I enjoyed the CSI story. It was very much like the television series, which I love.

by Janet & Alex Evanovich
The same can not be said for Troublemaker by Janet & Alex Evanovich. I really wanted to like this graphic novel. I have heard from so many of my friends who love her Stephanie Plum series of books, but this series (this is the first in the Barnaby and Hooker series) just did not do anything for me. I didn't feel the book ended. I understand it is the first book in a series, but it seems that each book should have an ending so you don't have to buy the next book in order for the story to end. You should be able to finish this portion of the story and then let something else happen in the next book. I was very disappointed. Now I'm not sure if I really want to read any of her other books. However being the reader that I am, I probably will read at least one of the Plum books.

There are two books left for me to choose as I complete this challenge. I know what I WANT them to be, but I know I will not read them because they are both over 1200 pages. I'm sure I will find something to fill these two blanks. I really wanted to be finished with this challenge before July so I guess I better stop blogging and get to reading!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Whole Lotta Reading Goin' On!!

I bet you thought I haven't been reading. Not the case. In fact, I have been reading so much I haven't had time to blog!

10th Anniversaryby James Patterson
As soon as I had word 10th Anniversary by James Patterson was in for me to pick up at the public library I was there! I love James Patterson. I have read just about everything he has written. I enjoy following the same characters book after book after book. It is like you become part of the family. This book is the tenth book in the Women's Murder Club series. The main characters are Lindsay Boxer and her friends, Clair - the medical examiner, Yuki - an assistant district attorney, and Cindy - a report. Together these women form the Women's Murder Club. The book starts off with Lindsay and her long time love, Joe, getting married. (This by the way is not a spoiler because it happens within in the first five pages.) There is a  lot going on in this book. A baby that is kidnapped, women being drugged and then sexually assaulted, and a renowned heart surgeon on trial for the murder of her husband are the highlights of this wonderful read.

The Painted Darkness
by Brian James Freeman
When I was younger I read horror books all of the time. I loved Stephen King, Ira Levin, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub, John Saul, and Clive Barker. My all time favorite being Stephen King's It which I read when I was in high school. I am still terrified of clowns...thanks Mr. King! While I was pregnant with my son I had a very difficult time reading any horror books. In fact I don't believe I have read a book in this genre in almost sixteen years. When I picked this book up at the library I really had no idea it was a horror story. I thought it would be about a young boy who grew into an artist because of his father's influence as a child. Well, I was kind of right. What I found out was the father had a huge impact on his son's career path, kind of....

Henry experienced something in the woods when he was a child so horrible he could only express his feeling of grief and fear through his drawing. He eventually blocks out the horrible memories but continues to draw. The story goes back and forth from Henry as a child to the adult Henry, who continues to draw. While Henry is performing the twice daily maintenance on his family's boiler in the cellar, he begins to confront the monster living in his cellar and his memory. Two of the quotes I really like from the book are, "Just start at the beginning and the rest will take care of itself." and "I paint against the darkness." Both of these quotes were repeated throughout the book and show the deep connection between Henry and his father as well as his father's influence on his art.

The Grimm Legacy
by Polly Shulman
As a young adult, I never really read books for my age level. Like I stated above I loved reading Stephen King. I believe I started reading him when I was in high school. I don't really remember reading a lot when I was in junior high. I think this is a time period I just simply skipped over not finding anything that really interested me in the library. As an adult I have the choice to read whatever book I want (well, I guess I have always had that option, it is just so much easier to justify when you are an adult and have free will). The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman was recommended to me by a very good friend who happens to also be a librarian. When she started telling me about the book I was instantly captivated and couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy. I didn't know it was a young adult book until I went to search for it at the library. In fact this title has been selected as one of the books on the 2011 Texas Lonestar Reading List books. I must be going through a fairy tale phase since this is the second book centered around fairy tales I have read this year (the other being Adam Gidwitz's A Tale Dark and Grimm). Elizabeth, a young school girls, is recommended by her English teacher for a page position at a repository for lending materials, not necessarily books. In the various collections there are paintings, fabric, shoes, weapons, musical instruments, etc. in which patrons (with special permissions) can check the items out. One of the collections in the repository is the Grimm Collection. In this collection there are magical items and pieces from the stories collected by Jacob and Wilhelm, better known as the brothers Grimm.

Over time pieces of the collection are disappearing, along with some of the pages. The mystery lies in who is stealing the collection and what can they do to get back these priceless pieces of magic.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's Been a Long Time Coming

Well it finally happened. I finally did it. It has been a long time coming.

"What?", you say...Oh, let me start from the beginning...

In February my dear husband and I were visiting the wonderful city of Austin. Well since there is nothing to do in Austin (sarcasm sign firmly held in left hand), we decided to go see a movie. We went to see The King's Speech (by the way it was fabulous, but I digress). While we were sitting there waiting for the movie to start we were lucky enough to see all of the previews for upcoming attractions. I always like to see if any of the new movies that strike my fancy were books prior to being made into a movie. This was the case when I saw the preview about a young girl who flees a beautiful home where she has worked as a governess prior to being an orphan.  It went on to say something like this, "She must now act decisively to secure her own future and come to terms with the past that haunts her, and the terrible secret that Mr. Rochester is hiding and that she has uncovered." I didn't catch the name Rochester, if they even said it, so like always since the movie looked like one I would like to see, I waited to see if it was a book.

Well duh!!!!  It has been a book for a VERY long 164 years!!!

Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte

I know you are probably saying, you should have read that in high school. Well, I didn't. In fact, I didn't read anything in high I was supposed to have read. I didn't want someone telling me what I NEEDED to read. I wanted to read what I WANTED to read!!! I also HATE the idea of tearing apart a wonderful book. I don't want to hear what other people think Bronte felt and intended when she wrote about Jane and her life. I want to simply absorb the words and emotions written so long ago. I don't care that the red room is a symbol of anger, fear, and anxiety. I don't like wonderful literature to be torn apart so we can analyze the allegory, imagery and symbolism. I want to read so I can enjoy the story. And that is exactly what I did. I read Jane Eyre because I wanted to read it. I didn't have to write a paper, or explain the main themes of the book.

I firmly believe we take the joy out of reading because we try to pick the author's words apart. What did he mean when he wrote this passage? Why was this particular location selected for the setting? How does the time period change your reaction to the story? Huh?!? Seriously? Who reads like that? And if you do, why?
Okay, maybe I am being a bit judgmental. I guess to each his own, but don't force it down my throat (well I'm not in high school anymore, thank goodness). Not everything that was ever written had symbolism or a hidden message. Maybe the author just wanted to share a good story.

I know as an adult I understood Jane Eyre a great deal more than I would have as a teen. I'm not sure why the require high school students to read the book. At that young age students don't have the background knowledge to fully grasp the emotions, setting, or characters in the book. Not to mention when it is a required reading students are not taking the time to read the story and enjoy the flow of the words on the page. They are merely reading to get the information required of them in order to write the essay or pass the 50 question test asking questions like, What religious movement is Mr. Brocklehurst a part of? (Evangelicalism) or What happens to Jane at the end of the story? (she marries Rochester) or maybe even Who are Jane's two friends at Lowood? (Helen Burns & Miss Temple).

I am so very glad I am now able to choose to read the classics, or not! I see a number of lists of books you MUST read before you die. Who says I HAVE to read them? Yes, I guess in order to be a well rounded person I SHOULD read at least some of these classics, but I want it to be MY choice, not someone else's. Here is the Reader's Bill of Rights. I will hold to these rights firm and true for myself and everyone else.
  1. The right to not read.
  2. The right to skip pages.
  3. The right to not finish.
  4. The right to reread.
  5. The right to read anything.
  6. The right to escapism.
  7. The right to read anywhere.
  8. The right to browse.
  9. The right to read out loud.
  10. The right not to defend your tastes.
—Pennac, Daniel, Better Than Life, Coach House Press, 1996.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Author (for me) - Lisa Scottoline

Save Me
Lisa Scottoline
I signed up for my local public library newsletter for new books last year. As if I don't already have enough books on my "To Read" list, each month they add a few more titles. In April Lisa Scottoline's book Save Me was on the list of new books. As soon as I read the first line of the review from Booklist, "Suburban mom [Rose McKenna] is forced to make a split-second decision after an explosion goes off in the school cafeteria in which she volunteers. Should she rescue her own daughter, Melly, trapped in the bathroom, or lead the girls standing in front of her, who constantly bully her daughter, to safety?" -- Okay, now honestly, are you hooked? -- Well needless to say I was. In fact I could hardly put this book down.

I completely thought this book was going to be about the cafeteria explosion and the way it affected the lives of all the people involved. Boy was I wrong! This book, like author Jodi Picoult's books (I immediately started comparing the two authors' writing style as soon as I picked up the book), took a turn I never dreamed of happening. I had read that Lisa Scottoline has a law degree and teaches "Justice and Fiction" at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, so I completely expected a great deal of lawyer-y kind of talk and courtroom scenes. Again, boy was I wrong.

I don't want to ruin the storyline for anyone, so I am not going to say anymore about the plot. What I will say is I look at the responsibilities as an educator and parent volunteer at school so much more seriously now. I have been on the crisis team at the school I work for the past twelve years and have been trained (as much as you can be for a crisis situation) in a variety of scenarios. I would never want to be placed in the same shoes as Rose McKenna (the main character), but if I am, I want to be as strong in personal conviction and strength as she is portrayed in this wonderful novel.

Like I said at the beginning, Lisa Scottoline is a new author to me, but now I have thankfully found her and placed her books on my every growing "To Read" list.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Identity Theft to the Extreme

I'll Walk Alone
Mary Higgins Clark
Mary Higgins Clark latest book, I'll Walk Alone, is a tale of identity theft to the extreme. Alexandra "Zan" Moreland has had her share of tragedy; her parents die in a terrible car crash, her marriage ends in divorce, and her young son is kidnapped in the park. This new novel by the Queen of Suspense is just about impossible to put down. I do my very best to grab the new Clark book as soon as they become available because they never disappoint. This, like all the rest was superb! About the middle of the book I thought I had the story completely figured out. Boy was I wrong!!  She through me for a complete loop. I never saw the final coming. I have to say I was shocked.  What a wonderful read. Like I said, Mary Higgins Clark never disappoints.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Swept up in the Big Top

Water for Elephants.
Sara Gruen
I purchased Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants when it was first issued in paperback back in 2007. I think I started reading and just couldn't get into the story.  Please, don't ask me why. I truly have no idea. When I saw the movie was coming out (yes another book to movie read for me) I simply had to read the book. I was so engrossed in the story I could hardly stop reading. I wanted to read every minute of the day until I finished the book.  Was I able to do that? No, but I wanted to and that is my point. The characters were interesting and I felt compassion and empathy for them, well most of them (Jacob, Marlena, Rosie, Walter, and Camel especially). I was completely blown away by this book. After finishing the last page, which included an interview with Sara Gruen, I wanted to read more about the circus. Not just fictional stories about the circus, but true stories and behind the scenes information. I wanted to know about the sideshow acts, the menagerie, and all of the various people who worked for the circus.

I know there has been a great deal of controversy over the cruelty to the animals in the menagerie as well as performing in the circus. I was horrified to read about some of the actual events Ms. Gruen pulled from in order to create her story. It makes my heart sick to think someone could treat these beautiful and exotic animals in such a cruel fashion. I'm not sure why I have the desire to read historical information about the circus. I guess I simply did not want the story to end. I know I have come across the same problem in years past with other books. [I still have not finished the last two...soon to be in Diana Gabaldon's The Outlander series.  I can't begin to think of life without Jamie and Claire. I know, now I'm just crazy, right?!? These are characters in a book, not real people! However, the characters have been so well developed and have been a part of my life for so long I feel like they belong to me...again, crazy I know.]

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Texas Library Association Annual Conference 2011 - Austin

All the World. Liz Garton Scanlon & Marla Frazee
We had a wonderful time at the annual conference of the Texas Library Association. My program showcasing the 2011 Texas 2x2 Reading List was very successful. There was standing room only in the huge room in which we were presenting. Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee , All the World,  were wonderful. I could not have asked for better speakers following the showcase of the 2011 books.

Last Song. Eric Rohmann
Dead End in Norvelt. Jack Gantos
While in Austin, I had the opportunity to have dinner with Eric Rohmann, Dave Roman, Mary D. Lankford, Mary Casanova, Ilene Cooper, and Dotti Enderle and dessert with Jack Gantos. It is really funny because as librarians we see authors and illustrators as our rock stars (in fact I saw the greatest shirt with Shakespeare in KISS make-up with the caption "Authors are my Rock Stars!"...I wasn't able to get the shirt because they didn't have my size, but I sure did like it...maybe next time.) In all actuality authors and illustrators (believe it or not) are just people! Can you imagine?!? They eat, drink, etc. just like the rest of us. When I was introducing myself to Eric Rohmann (author and illustrator of the Caldecott winning book My Friend Rabbit) at dinner the first words out of his mouth were, "We've met before." I was amazed because, yes indeed we had met before. I met Eric at the American Library Association in 2005. He was great fun to listen to during dinner. He talked about his latest book (Last Song, 2010). I had to wonderful opportunity to speak to Mary Casanova as well. She was intrigued by the population of the school in which I work (all four- and five-year olds). She has a fun new book coming out at the end of May about a cowboy named Dirk Yeller. She shared the story with me and I think the children will enjoy it. Jack Gantos was delightful. He was so funny to listen. He talked a little about Dead End in Norvelt his new book coming out in September. I was lucky enough to get an advance re
The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town.
Mary Casanova
ader copy so I will be able to read it before September. He assured us that this book is all about him and the small town in which he grew up. I can't wait to read it. It is always fun to spend time with Mary D. Lankford. I have known her for many years and love to see her and find out where she and her husband have traveled or what she has been reading. She is currently on the Texas Lariat Adult Fiction Reading List (yes, I'm jealous, but don't know if I would be able to read all of the books that are sent because I do tend to read slowly).

The Uglified Ducky.
Willy Claflin
I had the wonderful fortune to hear Willy Claflin, author of the Texas Bluebonnet Award for The Uglified Ducky, and Gerald McDermott, Caldecott Medal winning author of Arrow to the Sun. Claflin was hysterical. He and his friend, Maynard Moose retold the story of The Uglified Ducky. I have to say Maynard captured a lot of hearts. Especially when he came out wearing his prized "Blue Bonnet". Evidently he was a little confused on the actual award he was to receive.

Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India.
Gerald McDermott
Gerald McDermott was also a wonderful speaker. He was very casually dressed, at first I didn't even realize what he was wearing (sweat pants and a t-shirt). When he started speaking he told us about how he likes to dress professionally with his favorite suit, shirt, and this point I thought his attire was a bit unusual. Then he went on to tell us that his luggage had been taken. There were audible sighs of disappointment when he mentioned how they had taken his favorite suit, shirt, and his very favorite necktie, but the gasps when he said his iPad was in the same bag were even louder. We all felt for him. He was a charming speaker and I thoroughly enjoyed his re-telling of his new book, Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India.

The Opening General Session speaker was Jamie Lee Curtis. Now, I know she has written a number of children's books and it was really fun listening to her inspiration for those books (her own children) but it was so much more exciting listening to her talk about the importance of libraries. and how the legislature is cutting the head off of education by eliminating librarians, library programs, and databases used in the libraries. I loved the fact she was wearing purple. She stated that it was because she wanted to talk to both sides of the aisle (the blue - Democrats and the red - Republicans) so she mixed them together.

TLA Annual Conference was exhausting (as usual), but fun. It was great fun to see all of the new books that will be coming out soon and see old friends and some "rock" stars along the way. I guess I can say I have recovered from my week in Austin. Now I have to get prepared for Houston next year. It is now less than 12 months away. The planning has begun!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stuff and Such

Well, I finished The Lincoln Lawyer the other day. It was a great book. Picturing Matthew McConaughey as the main character made me read faster because I wanted to know what was going to happen next! I have been able to pass this great book along to a friend, Cheri, who went to see the movie this past weekend. She told me she also likes to read the book prior to seeing the movie, but this time it didn't happen. Now she has the book and will see how they compare. I still don't know because I haven't seen the movie yet.
My son recently asked me to watch a movie with him. He had already seen the movie with his grandparents but was so moved by it that he wanted to watch it again. It was the movie adaptation of John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. All I can say is wow! It was such a moving drama. I know, I know, you are probably just said in your previous post you don't watch the movie until AFTER you have read the book!
Well, when you child wants to share something with you, you make exceptions. I posted on Facebook that I was watching the movie and had a number of friends comment. One even wrote she didn't think she would be able to watch the movie after reading the book because it was so emotional. Evidently it is fairly true to the book. I will have to give myself some time before I take on the challenge of reading the book simply because I was so moved by the movie.

As you can see on my Shelfari shelf, I have been reading Dotti Enderle's Ghost Detectors' books. This is a great series of books for 3rd to 6th grade students. Friends, Malcolm and Dandy, both ten-years-old, are determined to detect and rid their neighborhood of pestersome ghosts. Malcolm subscribes to some very interesting magazines which advertise "wonderful" products to help the reader spend their allowance. Malcolm can hardly wait for his "Ecto-Handheld-Automatic-Heat-Sensitive-Laser-Enhanced-Specter Detector" to arrive in the first book and is just as excited in the second when he orders a ghost zapper. This is a great series for reluctant readers, especially boys. I think they will be able to relate to Malcolm and Dandy and love the mystery and suspense of each book.  At this time there are six books in the series.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Books to Movies

I went to the movies with my wonderful son yesterday. We had both been wanting to see The Adjustment Bureau, so we decided to go together, especially since my darling husband can't stand suspense movies. I LOVE them...the more on the edge of your seat, the BETTER!!

Now every time I go to the movies I watch the trailers very carefully. If one peeks my interest I immediately try to read the VERY fine print to see if the movie is based on a book. That is exactly what happened yesterday. We were sitting there watching the trailers and I see Matthew McConaughey come up on the screen. Don't get me wrong, I am very interested in the movie, but now that I see who is starring in the movie I am even more interested in the book. You see, whenever I hear a book is being made into a movie, I have to read the book FIRST.

I have heard of people going to see the movie before reading the book. I have even heard of people reading half of the book, going to the movie then reading the end of the book afterward. This never really makes any sense to me. If the book came first the author had a plan. They had a certain person in mind when creating each character. I want to see the setting and characters in my own movie, the one in my head before I see what the silver screen has imagined for everyone else. I will admit there have been times when the casting director has selected a much better looking character for the movie than I have (or in the case of Mr. McConaughey, SO much better...glad I caught the trailer before I got the book...more later) envisioned. Another case in point, Michael C. Hall, the ever loveable serial killer, Dexter Morgan, created by the talented Jeff Lindsay. I will be honest. I had read t least two of the Dexter books before the series premiered. The character I had in my head really was nothing like MUCH. He IS Dexter now and whenever a new Dexter book comes out I use the TV characters in my head to created what I am reading on the page. I can't wait for the next book...and season.

Now, back to Matthew. Like I said, as soon as I see him on the screen I begin to look for signs that this was first a book. Now that I remember, I believe the trailer actually opens with something about the book, maybe the author, Michael Connelly's name. Oh well it doesn't really matter...the important things are, Matthew, lawyers, suspense, movie!

Okay, now for the obsessive we are sitting int the movie theater watching the trailers (after Matthew has left the screen, of course) I go to my G2 browser, open the Webpage for our local public library, and attempt to put the book on hold. YES! While we are sitting in the movie theater!!! Now I was not very successful because I guess everyone else in the theater beat me to it! All copies were already in use or on hold. I couldn't believe it! What bad luck.

Well, I stopped browsing the library catalog for other reads, my son was mortified...but I was doing research! I guess it doesn't matter what your hobbies or profession, you should NOT browse the library catalog online while sitting in a dark movie theater. I know for a fact it was dark. So dark that I could not read the numbers off my library card so I could put the book on hold before the late comers to the movie found out and wanted The Lincoln Lawyer for themselves.

Like I said, I stopped browsing and watched the more books into movies trailers no need, right? Any way the movie was great, very enjoyable, suspenseful, and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with my son.

When the movie was over we were supposed to pick up my hardworking husband, but he was still working hard. He graciously told us to go to the nearby bookstore and buy whatever we wanted (I know I heard him say that, he INSISTS he did not!). Well, I wanted Matthew McConaughey, so I went upstairs to look for Mr. Connelly's novel. The book angels were smiling down on me because I found the only copy! I sat down and started reading. I must have gotten lost in the pages because all of a sudden my dear, sweet, loving husband was calling me asking where in the world we were. When I told him we were in the book store he told us to run out quickly before all of his hard erred money decided to stay. Shhhhhhh, don't tell him...some of it stayed. I could walk out of there without that book! Are you kidding me? The book angels had been so good to me and directed me right to the spot I need to be to locate this book. It was calling to me. I could not simply walk away! If I didn't show my gratitude, the little angels might not be so helpful next time. I just couldn't have them crying down tears of sadness in the might damage the books, and water damaged books are not something to laugh at (the smell, the mold, the...., you get the picture). So anyway I ran up to the register and quickly paid for the book I had already placed my very own bookmark in so I would know where I stopped reading. It is always wise to carry an extra bookmark, you never know when you might have a reading emergency!

I think this is more than enough blogging. I need to go back and see what Matthew (I mean Mickey) is going to get into next.

And always remember...
Never judge a book by its movie.  ~J.W. Eagan

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

I LOVE Jodi Picoult. I try to read her latest book as soon as it is available, and I have to say this one did not disappoint.  However, after reading her books for so many years, I have to admit I figured out the ending before I was even halfway through the book...not a bad thing though. I was surprised when she made a sharp turn in the book within the first 100 pages, but then again, if I had read the Cataloging in Publication (CIP) information on the title verso page (yes, you can tell I'm a librarian!) I would have seen this turn. Now, when I am recommending this book I will tell the prospective reader about the sharp turn, but I would NEVER tell them to read the CIP to find out about this twist. I truly believe it would ruin the story for some readers.

I can not say how much I loved this book.  I have also been reading Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher. In this wonderful book, Gallagher talks about reading flow. The way a reader can simply fall into a book and get lost. When readers are in this flow reading they have no concept of time or what is going on around them. Gallagher says too many students can not get into this flow because they are constantly being stopped in order to analyze the author's intent and not allowed to simply enjoy the story.

I was completely enveloped in the reading flow while reading Sing You Home. I would get so lost in the reading I had no idea two or three hours had flown by. I love when I am so engrossed in a book and the characters that I do not want the story to end. I want to know what happens to the characters after page 466. Give me more. You know you have found a wonderful author when you simply can not get enough of their writing.

Happy Reading.

What have I been reading?

[originally posted 3/13/11]

I know I said in an earlier post I was going to be diligent about writing posts, well I guess I lied. 

I have actually been more diligent about reading than anything else. Since the beginning of the year, I have read a total of nine books. I know to some that is not too great, but for me that is an accomplishment since I tend to be a slow reader. I actually read every single printed word on the page. I don't skim the paragraphs in order to get the main idea. I want to absorb the author's intent.

Since last I wrote, I have read the following great books:

*The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
*Tick Tock by James Patterson
*Nostradamus Prophecies by Mario Reading
*The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett
*Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris
*Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs by Dave Barry
*The Funny Thing Is... By Ellen Degeneres

I am currently reading Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult. I simply love her books and her writing style, but I can't read her books too close together. They are great, don't get me wrong, they just make you think and question your life, your feelings, and your beliefs so much that my brain can only take so much.

I know I may and crazy, but I am so excited about this spring break because I am going to spend the days in the TCU Library. I am hoping to finish evenmkore books this week and then come back and write about them. Don't hold your breath though, I might get so involved I read nine more books before I come back to post.

Happy reading!