Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I am so excited to see MY President will help our country move FORWARD with four more years.

In the summer of 2005, my family and I attended the American Library Associations Annual Conference in Chicago. On June 27, 2005, we had the wonderful opportunity to hear Illinois Senator Barack Obama speak. Following his speech my son, Timothy and I went to get into the long line to have a book signed. Timothy was so excited. When we finally made our way to the front of the line Senator Obama took the time to shake Timothy's hand and speak to him for a few minutes. It was such a wonderful experience. I told him, "When you run, not if you run for President, you have my vote!" As we were walking away, Mr. Obama turned to the lady standing to his right and made the comment, "What a wonderful young man." I still hear those words, and believe them today. After we had our book signed, there was a group of us chanting, Obama '08. He actually turned to us and said, "Hey guys, I have not said I am running"
 Now, seven years later I am so excited to say we are moving FORWARD with four more years of service from this great man, President Barack Obama. It is ironic that I am writing this as I am watching the election returns. President Obama is about to walk out onto the very same stage where we first saw him in McCormick Place (pictured above) to give his re-election acceptance speech.

Now, like all of us, Timothy is older and wiser. He is not old enough to vote, even though he is a much more informed non-voter than a number of voters I know, but he can, and did, let his voice be heard! He is still a strong Obama supporter, and was very sad he would not be able to vote in the election.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Always Reading, Always Growing

I realize I have not written since July. Please don't think I have not been reading. That could not be further from the truth. I am always reading and always growing through what I read. Since July I have been reading Breath of Snow and Ashes. It is the sixth book (only 1157 pages) in The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I have to say, as I have said many times, I love this series. I am having a hard time reading through this book because I simply do not want the series to end. I know this is the sixth book and seven has already been released, with eight being published in the spring, but this is how I feel. I love Jaime and Claire, and yes I realize they are fictional characters!

On top of starting the sixth book, the start of school also occurred. This year I actually felt like I had everything together and would be ready for the start of school. Well, just like every other year I was wrong. I guess I was only wrong because I had very high expectations for myself. I think I have actually pulled off a great start to the school year though. At least I feel success, and that is what matters, right?

I didn't make huge changes in the way I handle my work, but I made significant changes in order to better how I handle situations and how I interact with others. The most important and significant change I made was by creating a family night atmosphere in my library on Thursday evenings. For the past two years I have had the library open for check out on Thursday evenings from 3:00 until 7:00. This all started a few years ago when I wanted to have the library open during a PTA meeting. It just kind of went from there. Now there was no real reason, other than to come check out books, for parents to bring their children back up to school in the evening. For some families that was enough. It was a time the parents who worked during the day could come to the school library and check out books with their child. The children loved being able to show their parents how to use a shelf marker and to show their parents around their library. The children took a great deal of ownership during this time.

Well this year, and I'm not really sure how I decided this, I called our Thursday nights Family Night @ the Library. Actually it seemed to fit better on the sign I put out in front of the school every Thursday morning. I don't know if that is a good reason or not, but it grew from there. The first two weeks (we opened our doors the very first week of the school year on Thursday evening) parents were involved in Meet the Teacher nights. They would go to the classrooms and listen to the classroom teacher go over policies, rules, guidelines, etc. Then they could come to the library. It was during the afternoon of the first Thursday I created a one page sheet that said "I am a Star Family @ the Kinkeade Library." I had the page translated so I would have one for the Spanish speaking families and the Star Family Program just exploded from there. We currently have over 40 families involved in our program and I know there will be more coming to join us before the school year is out. 

A few weeks after starting the Star Family Program I was trying to decide how to keep families coming to the library. I knew some families would come each Thursday in order to do the activities and games going on each week, but I also knew that it might not always be a pull. I contacted some local businesses and asked if they would be willing to be sponsors for our Family Night @ the Library and provide door prizes for each week. I was so surprised how quickly the donations started rolling in from local and national businesses. These are just a few of our current donors : Half Price Books, El Chico, IHOP, Rainforest Cafe, Kohls, Capstone Publishing, and Scholastic.

I found the activities are a pull for the parents. even though I was afraid they might not be. This past week our theme was "Birthday Party Fun". Okay, I am going to be honest. It was the day before my birthday and I wanted to have some fun. I think it was a great theme and the children had a blast. We focused on Clifford's 50th birthday (which was actually September 24th) instead of telling everyone we were going to be celebrating my birthday. I was NOT going to tell the children my true age. I simply told them I was going to be 6 (if you add my digits together they equal 6, so I seemed okay). There were more families at this event than had attended any of the other events combined. It was a HUGE success. Now I know a great deal of time and effort went into creating this one four-hour event, but I have to say it was well worth it.

Now, the whole reason I have been writing about all of this is because of a book study that I am involved in, kind of, through work. I say kind of because I will not actually be involved in any of the book discussion, but I am reading the book. The book is titled, Soup: A Recipe to Nourish Your Team and Culture written by Jon Gordon. I have only read the first nine chapters at this time, but I can completely see how this book relates to my Family Night @ the Library Program. The soup you create (in this case, my program) is a direct reflection of the soup maker (in this case, me). It matters "who stirs the pot, as well as the values, principles, and ingredients the stirrer mixed into it" (p. 27).

I have tried to create a fun and inviting environment for the children and their parents to spend time together. Education is extremely important to me. Parents have always been a child's first teacher. By providing curriculum related activities for the families, I am helping the parents take an active role in their child's education. I realized I was in fact doing a great thing when I read "A Culture of Greatness" (Chapter 9) in Gordon's book (p. 31).

  1. You create a culture of greatness by expecting great things to happen- even during challenging times.
  2. You create a culture of greatness by expecting your people to be their best. You don't settle for anything less than excellence.
  3. You create a culture of greatness by coaching, training, and developing your team, to be their best.
I guess you could say I expected great things from the very beginning when we celebrated International Dot Day on September 13th. I had a number of activities for the children to do with their parents. So many that my parents (who graciously volunteer - with some coaxing - to help me each week) thought I was crazy. There have been some challenging times, but only for my personal lack of planning or trying to do too much in a short period of time. One of my dear friend who brings her own children to each Family Night @ the Library told me over and over the parents would bring their children. She was right. They did come. They had a great time, and they have returned each week.

For Family Night @ the Library, my people would be my parents. They are wonderful for coming to help me each Thursday night. They do anything and everything that I ask of them in a very gracious manner. The parents who come to enjoy the time with their own children know my family is involved and it makes it even more special that we can all spend this time together. My students love meeting my parents. It makes me more human to them seeing that I have a family just like they do.

My team has to be the parents who bring their children to Family Night @ the Library each week. Through my coaching and training (the activities and conversations we have each week) the parents are more engaged in their child's education. They are starting to see how they can ask higher order thinking questions. How they can help to build their child's vocabulary through conversations, discussions, and simply interacting with one another.

I love when I can make a personal connection with a book. I truly believe this is the right book for me at this time. It will not only help me to be a better creator of the Family Night @ the Library Program, but also a better leader in my school.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf
by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult
This summer I sadly missed my opportunity to hear Jodi Picoult speak. I was very disappointed in not getting to hear her or to actually meet her, if only for a brief moment while she signed on eo her books for me. The way she writes is refreshing and I always get excited when I hear a new book is being published.

When I posted on my Facebook status that I was reading Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult a friend commented, "Can't believe that one isn't werewolves, especially with that title!" I was pleasantly pleased this book was not about werewolves. The fact the title of this book had wolf in it almost put me off. Thankfully I gave the book a chance, because it is after all written by Jodi Picoult! I found Lone Wolf to be a very emotional roller coaster about a family in turmoil following a terrible car accident. I know my personal beliefs concerning life saving matters and I have made those feelings known to my family by signing a Living Will and signing up as an organ donor. I believe these are all excellent ways to let my family know how I feel, however, if the time ever comes for my family to follow these directions I will not be there to remind them of my feelings. It will only be on the paper or depicted by the little sticker with a heart and the word, "Donor" on my driver's license. I know this is not an easy decision to be made and Picoult brilliantly portrays the battle fought between the siblings, Edward and Cara, when trying to make this crucial decision.

I love the way each character's voice is conveyed in the chapters. Each chapter is told by a different character and is easily distinguished by the font. The narrative is always first person and is either describing the current circumstances or recalling information from the past, as in Luke's chapters. Luke, the father of Edward and Cara, has been seriously injured in a car accident, however his story is never about the accident but about his life with his precious wolves. The life of the wolf and the way this family is compared to a wolf pack is very interesting. I am not the type to actually sit down to  read a book about a wolves. However after reading this book I feel I know more about a wolf and the way they hunt and interact with one another than if I were to actually sit down and try to make my way through one.

Stephen King states, "Picoult writes with unassuming brilliance." I don't think there could be any other words to state how her writing affects those of us who read her books. She is a phenomenal writer and I am so glad I was introduced to her books. Maybe someday I will have the privilege to shake her hand and thank her in person.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summer Reading Challenge - Complete!

When I first received this reading challenge at the beginning of the summer it was my intention to have it completed by the end of June. I'm disappointed I didn't reach my goal, but I did complete the challenge as of today.

Fatal Error
J.A. Jance
I have enjoyed reading the five previous books in the Ali Reynolds series. I was not disappointed in this sixth book in which Ali completes her work at the police academy and then finds herself in the middle of a former acquaintances' involvement with a cyber-sociopath. This e-book was the final title in my reading challenge.

Here is my list of books for the 2012 Summer Reading Challenge.

 1 - Controversial Adult Book : The Awakening by Kate Chopin
 2 - Current / Past Title on the Lariat List : The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
 3 - Online Book : Fatal Error by J. A. Jance
 4 - Non-fiction Book : Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of a Man in Minature by George
 5 - Non-fiction Book : The Great Circus Train Wreck of 1918 by Richard M. Lytle
 6 - Non-fiction Book : Other Goose Re-Nurseried!! and Re-Rhymed!! Children's Classics by J. Otto  
 7 - Graphic Novel : The Forgotten Forest of Oz by Eric Shanower
 8 - Graphic Novel : The Secret Island of Oz by Eric Shanower
 9 - Graphic Novel : The Ice King of Oz by Eric Shanower
10 - Graphic Novel : The Exile by Diana Gabaldon

Thursday, June 28, 2012

9/10 complete

Early this morning I finished reading the 9th book in my summer reading challenge, one book in the adult controversial category. Did I choose Shades of Grey by E.L. James? No. I actually chose a book that was controversial when it was published in 1899, The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I chose this book because I was intrigued by the type of writing that would be considered controversial at the end of the 19th Century.
The Awakening
by Kate Chopin
Last weekend my family attended a wonderful local production of the musical Ragtime, based on E.L. Doctrow's novel, published in 1975. I have not yet read the book, but it is on my book bucket list. My husband and I had seen the show before and truly loved the historical references and the manner in which the characters' lives cross paths. While reading The Awakening, I was reminded of the character, Mother, in Ragtime. The book opens with Edna Pontellier and her family as they vacation at the Grand Isle Resort  near the Gulf of Mexico. While  enjoying the area, Edna is befriended by the Robert, the resort's manager. There interactions and conversations lead Robert to feelings he should not have for a married woman. Upon realizing these feelings can never lead to anything good, Robert quickly leaves for Mexico. Once Robert leaves, Edna decides she no longer wants to follow in the normal society manner, but choose to lead her life in a manner that makes her happy and enjoy her life. Mother's metamorphosis in the musical, although not as dramatic as in The Awakening, can be compared to Edna's claim of independence and personal happiness when she refuses to stay at home to receive her callers and then moves out of her family home to live alone.

I wonder how Edna would feel in today's world? It seems the morals of today have become lax and extra-marital affairs are more common than not. Divorce and separations occur on a daily basis and more and more couples are living together before, and sometimes instead of choosing marriage. I don't approve of these loose morals for myself, but why should I tell someone how they can obtain and maintain their happiness. Would I make the same choices Edna made? I can't really answer that question. I am happily married, I know that, but I also know I have a great deal more opportunities afforded to me than Edna ever would have had in her lifetime.

As a woman in the year 2012, I have a very difficult time putting myself in Edna's place. I, like so many other women, take for granted my independence, my ability to make my own choice, go where I want to go and do what I want to do. Connecting Edna to Mother, I can see how their lives were really not their own, but revolved around their husband and children.  As a wife and mother I believe my family is very important, but I also know that in order to have a happy family I have to be happy as well. I don't feel my family is neglected in any way because I choose to work outside the home, go to a movie with my girl friends, or even blog after reading a great book. In the 21st Century, we may not be a traditional family in the sense of these characters from long ago, but I believe we are happier because we can develop our own personalities and actually be more well rounded as individuals who make up a family.

My final thoughts are of gratitude for living in a time when I have the ability to make personal choices and not be condemned by society for being myself.

Nora Ephron

 This morning I was listening to the news and I heard this quote from Nora Ephron....(post from

Nora Ephron

5/19/1941 - 6/21/2012

author, blogger, director, filmmaker, journalist,
novelist, playwright, screenwriter
“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.” 
― Nora EphronI Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

...and I could not agree more. Her words moved me and that is what reading, and actually writing, are all about. I don't know a better way to explain to someone how important reading is in my life. I have never been much of a writer, but over the past few years I have forced myself to become a writer through my blogging. By writing about the books I read I not only validate the author's word, but also the time I have invested in reading those words. I can put into words my own thoughts on the characters, plot twists, setting, etc. Through reading I have become a writer. I know I am not going to win any prizes for my writing and in all truthfulness I do it more for myself than anyone else. Reading is my therapy and writing is kind of like my receipt for services rendered.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Non-Fiction Section...Complete!

by Stephen King
Pennywise the Dancing Clown
It didn't really take me almost two weeks to complete this portion of the challenge. I have actually been reading in other categories as well. I just choose to post once I have completed a section of the challenge. So today I am posting about the non-fiction titles I have read. Now, if you have read some of my previous posts (July 14, 2011 or April 27, 2001) you will find that I enjoy reading about circuses. I hate clowns, let me repeat that, I HATE clowns, they scare the dickens out of me (thanks to Mr. Stephen King and his wonderfully descriptive character Pennywise the Dancing Clown in my favorite of his novels, It!). I almost didn't add a picture of Pennywise because he creeps me out so, but then I thought you might have to go look for a picture of him to completely understand from where I am coming, so I did it for you! Be thankful, now I will be up all night because of this!

Anyway, I digress, I don't really know from where my love of circuses comes. I remember going to the circus a few times when I was growing up and then again when my son was small, but something about the life of the circus performer has always seemed to fascinate me. As I was browsing the shelves of the Mary Couts Burnett Library on the campus of Texas Christian University recently I came across a few circus books that intrigued me. I browsed through a few of the books on P.T Barnum, sideshow acts and trapeze artists, but settled down to read in their entirety Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of a Man in Miniature and The Great Circus Train Wreck of 1918: the Tragedy Along the Indiana Lakeshore. Tom Thumb has always been a fascinating character to me. This book told the story of Charles Sherwood Stratton, who would come to be known around the world as General Tom Thumb because of his partnership with P.T. Barnum.

To be honest, I had never heard of the train wreck of 1918 and was interested in this story because it happened around the time my grandfather was born. In 1972 Warren Reeder wrote about the devastating train wreck under the title No Performances Today. Upon great requests for the original title, the local history librarian at Hammond Historical Society decided to write a new account of the devastation using newly discovered materials. The book was an easy one day read with a great deal of information (including photographs of the wreckage) about the unusual circumstances that combined to cause one of the largest circus train wrecks in history.

The Great Circus Train Wreck of 1918:
Tragedy Along the Indiana Lakeshore
by Richard M. Lytle

Other Goose: Re-Nurseried!! and
Re-Rhymed!! Childrens Classics
by J. Otto Seibold
The last book in this portion of the reading challenge has nothing to do with the circus. I have actually had this book on my shelf to read for sometime because it relates to the lessons I did with my students this past year in the library. I found my students were not familiar with nursery rhymes. So I spent half of the school year teaching my students a variety of the classic children's nursery rhymes including some of my personal favorites : Jack and Jill, Little Miss Muffet, and Jack Be Nimble. Since the other two books I read for this challenge were adult books, I felt it was only appropriate for my position as a children's librarian to include a children's non-fiction title and J. Otto Seibold presents Other Goose Re-nurseried!! and Re-rhymed!! Childrens Classics seemed to fit the bill perfectly (okay, laugh at my little joke please...I hope I don't have to explain it!).
Poster issued by Chronicle Books for
promotional purposes
At first this book kind of turned me off because I so love the original nursery rhymes, but as I got further into the book I found I was intrigued by the re-rhyming of these classics. I have enjoyed sharing other books by J. Otto Seibold with my students and their families, including Olive the Other Reindeer and Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf to name a few, but I was reluctant to share this book because so many of my students did not know the original rhymes. I believe the children would love this collection of re-nurseried re-rhymes once they had been introduced to the originals. I would not want the students to believe these were the rhymes of old, but enjoy them for the hilarity of the new. We know Seibold is extremely creative, which is evident from the title of this book, but I was especially intrigued by the manner in which he presents "The Grand Finale" as a collection of all of the character previously introduced in a wonderful version of "One, Two Buckle My Shoe". I truly believe this is the best part of the entire book!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Graphic Novel Portion...Complete!

The Exile
by Diana Gabaldon
The best part of our 2012 Summer Reading Challenge is our ability to choose the books we want to read. We are given guidelines and even choices inside the guidelines in order to make the challenge a little more personal and interesting to complete. I am not a big graphic novel reader, but with this challenge I was able to find books in which I had an interest to fit this category. As I previously posted I read three Oz graphic novels last week while visiting the TWU. Today I completed the challenge by reading Diana Gabaldon's The Exile. This graphic novel is based on Gabaldon's The Outlander series. There are many similarities between the graphic novel and the first book in the series, Outlanderk, but the biggest difference is the perspective from which the story is told. In this graphic novel we read about the most basic of the story line from Jamie's perspective. For anyone who might consider reading the series, I would not recommend reading this graphic novel first. It might actually turn you away from this wonderful series. The graphic novel was a little hard to follow because so much had to be cut in order to fit the story line into this very condensed version of a 896 page novel.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Graphic Novels

2012 Summer Reading Challenge Update...

The Forgotten Forest of Oz
by Eric Shanower
The Ice King of Oz
by Eric Shanower
The Secret Island of Oz
by Eric Shanower
The  Big Book of Grimm
by Jonathan Vankin
You know I was at TWU last week if you read my previous post. You also know about the book that captured my attention. I found a wonderful place outside on the balcony of the library and started reading this new found friend when I realized I was at a library! :-) Okay, yes I can be a little nuts at times, but it occurred to me that while I was at said library I could check off a few of the readings I need for our summer reading challenge. I went downstairs to the children's department and found some graphic novels. I knew this was the perfect place to locate said genre. The best part was finding some that 1.) I was very interested in reading because of the subject matter and 2.) I did not know they existed. I love the Wizard of Oz and these were perfect for me to read while I was waiting for Walter to finish his meeting. I also started reading The Big Book of Grimm by Jonathan Vankin, which included over 50 of the wonderfully gruesome tales illustrated by various DC Comic cartoonists.. I loved it. Unfortunately I did not have time to read all 192 pages of the book and since I am no longer a student I was not able to check the book out to bring home to finish. Since I need four graphic novels to complete this portion of the reading challenge I will need to find one more book to fit into this category. Since my husband has been collecting Asterix for years, I might just have to break down and read one.

The Big Bang Theory and Philosophy

Last week my sweet husband, Walter, needed to go to  Texas Woman's University to a meeting. He asked if I wanted to go with him, and since I hadn't been on campus in a number of years I decided to go along. At first I thought I would just sit somewhere quiet and read, but then we parked near the bookstore. You know what that means! Well, of course I HAD to go in and look around. Now, it has been 14 years since we graduated from TWU, but I still got a thrill when I walked through the doors. One of the best thrills was that I was not there to spend hundreds of dollars on text books (even though I have seriously thought about going back to school to work on my doctorate). As I walked around I really tried not to go over to the books. I knew I did not NEED any new books, but I could not control myself. I walked over and the very first book I saw was yelling my name, not calling mind you, but YELLING for me to pick it up. It must have known that once I picked it up and started reading through the table of contents there would be no turning back. Boy, am I that easy of a mark?!? I guess so. Here is the cover of the book that now lives in our home.
The Big Bang Theory and Philosophy:
Rock, Paper, Scissors, Aristotle, Locke
Edited by William Irwin and Dean A. Kowalski
For those  who know my family well, or even if you just casually know us I guess, you will see why this book just HAD to come home with me! My sweet son is Sheldon Cooper! Not really, but he has a lot of the same characteristics (good and bad) of this Big Bang Theory character. We love the show and can hardly watch a rerun without MY little Sheldon saying the dialogue along with the actors.

I have to say, this book came to me at an important time in my life, all joking aside. I enjoyed the philosophy class I took in college (although not at TWU, the other university in town, UNT). Since that class so many years ago, I have not really thought about reading a book on philosophy. I have by no means finished reading the book. I am slowly absorbing the information and actually highlighting passages that I want to remember and refer to later. I know this sounds a little ridiculous, but this book has made me understand some issues that I have been dealing with in my personal life. You probably think I'm crazy, but it is true. The way the authors make connections between the philosophers statements of so long ago, specifically Aristotle, and the relationships and antics of the BBT characters is wonderful. 

Earlier in the year, my son presented a speech on Shakespeare. He had been working on this speech since last summer. It was his Academic Decathlon speech for competition and very important to him. Seeing my little boy grow into a young man and create has amazed me. I know you are probably wondering why I am including this randomness, but I do have a point. His speech was about Shakespeare's writings and how so many people just don't "get" him. (I being one of them.) I was amazed how he developed his speech around the wonderful productions he has been a part of through the Stolen Shakespeare Guild by making the connection between the entertainment of the days when Shakespeare's plays were debuting and the television of now. He made reference to The Big Bang Theory and Love's Labour's Lost, Two and a Half Men and A Comedy of Errors , even CSI and Othello and Julius Cesar.  The same is true for the above mentioned book. We might not always understand the information from the scholars of long ago but when connections are made for us based on the things we know and love it is so much easier to understand.

By the way, this book will fit into my 2012 Summer Reading Challenge...non-fiction!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

2012 Summer Reading Challenge

I knew it was coming. I just didn't know that I was actually on the right track for the 2012 Irving ISD Librarian Summer Reading Challenge. I should have seen it coming though when I was talking to my friend, Lea, who just happens to be the Director of Library Services, that I was planning to read some of the books from the TLA Lariat List this summer. Since I didn't get the challenge until yesterday I guess Godmother won't really count. Oh, well, darn, now I have to read another book (raising sarcasm sign).

Okay, here is the challenge...lots of choices.

1 - controversial adult book OR  book by one of the authors visiting Irving Public Library this summer

  • John Corey Whaley -  Where Things Come Back,
  • Beth Revis - A Million Suns & Across the Universe
  • Jackson Pearce - As You Wish,  Sisters Red, Sweetly, & Purity
  • Andrea Cremer - Nightshade, Wolfsbane: A Nightshade Novel, & Bloodrose: A Nightshade Novel
  • Rosemary Clement-Moore -Prom tes from Hell, Hell Week, Highway to Hell, & The Splendor Falls
  • Marie Lu - Legend 
  • Lori Wilde - Saving Allegheny Green, You Only Love Twice, Addicted to Love, The Sweethearts' Knitting Club, High Stakes Seduction, & The First Love Cookie Club
  • Francis Ray - A Seductive Kiss, Twice the Temptation, Undeniable, & Break Every Rule
  • Elizabeth Essex - The Pursuit of Pleasure & A Sense of Sin
  • Leann Harris - Hidden Deception

2 -  books from the current or past Lariat List OR online books (or a combination of the two)

3 - young adult books with 2011 or later copyright dates OR nonfiction books (or a combination of the two)

4 - recent picture books OR graphic novels - (or a combination of the two)
So, there is a total of 10 books required for the challenge. I'm not sure I can limit myself to only 10! Just going through the lists and the choices I have already made some selections based on books I have wanted to read for some time that actually fit into the various categories very nicely.

You will have to come back to see the choices I make and my opinion of the different books.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Summer Reading

Although my summer will not officially begin until 3:30 Wednesday, I have unofficially declared the start of my summer reading. In the past three days I have read two great books. One from a favorite author, James Patterson, and one from a new to me author, Carolyn Turgeon.

I will start off by saying I read just about everything James Patterson publishes. As soon as I hear a new books is in the works, I go to my calendar and make an appointment to put the book on hold a month prior to the release date. This give me the reminder I need to log into the public library's online catalog and look for the title to appear. If I don't see it the day of the appointment I move the appointment by a few days. I keep this up until I can see the book has been ordered by the library and I can place a hold on it. Obsessive, maybe a little, but I want to be one of the first to read his new book when it comes out.

11th Hour
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
So anyway, I finished 11th Hour, the latest installment of the Women's Murder Club series. It was a good story, like the rest of his books, but I didn't feel the interaction between the female characters was as strong as it has been in other books.

Cinderellaby Marcia Brown
by James Marshall
Now for a completely different story, a fairy tale actually. I remember reading fairy tales as a child and watching them come to life on the movie screen thanks to Walt Disney. I remember the beautiful illustrations by Marcia Brown's Caldecott winning book, and the comical cartoonish characters in James Marshall's version. I have to admit my favorite Cinderella is the singing and dancing version created by Walt Disney. To this day I love the songs from the movie, "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" and the little mice singing "Cinderelly, Cinderelly" in "The Work Song".

by Carolyn Turgeon

I decided this summer I would read some of the great books on the Texas Library Association's Lariat Reading List.  I started by reading Carolyn Turgeon's Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story. I was not really sure what to expect, but I devoured the book in one day. I was completely engrossed in Lil's life working in a New York bookstore and her wonderful secret life behind the locked doors of her apartment. The version of the book I was reading has a Reading Group Guide in the back. The last question is, "Fast-forward six months after the book ends. Where do you see each character? Are they better or worse off than they were before?" I love this question and for anyone that chooses to read this book based on  my recommendation, I would love to hear your response to this question. I do not feel it is appropriate to include my response here as it would spoil the book. The ending is not at all what I thought it would be, thus making it even better because now I get to ponder the above question and create my own true ending to the love story.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Where did the time go?

I admit to being a bibliophile. In fact I guess I should be a member of BA (Bibliophiles Anonymous). I don't think I would be too good at the anonymous part though. I can't help but share the wonderful books I read with others.

I can't believe it has been almost six months since I have written about the awesome books I have read. Wow, where to begin? I guess from the beginning, or since my last post. I actually wrote about reading A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, but like all of the other times I pick up one of her great books, I stopped reading before I finished the book. I just can't seem to get to the end of these books because I just don't want the story to end. Crazy, I know, but that is just how I roll.

There have been so many books over the past six months. I will post pictures of all of the books and try to write a little about each one. If you have read my posts before it will come as no surprise I have been reading books that have been made or will be made into movies. I always want to read the book first, as there is usually no comparison to the greatness of the book, because the movie created in my head by the author's words is always so much better.

One Summer
by David Baldacci
On recommendation of my mother, I read David Baldacci's One Summer. What a wonderful book! Make sure you have a box of tissues, but it is well worth the read. A terminally ill man wants to hang on to life until Christmas. He reaches his goal, but the circumstances and events that touch this family take them to the shores of South Carolina. During this time together, the family tries to recapture the bond they once shared.

Second Grave on the Left
by Darynda Jones
The next book I read was the second book in the new series by Darynda Jones, Second Grave on the Left. Charley, the P.I. / Grim Reaper is once again in the middle of an investigation, this time for a missing friend of her faithful sidekick, Cookie. The background story of Reyes, Charley's sexy boyfriend, is revealed and an interesting side story goes on as Charley and Cookie are investigating the missing woman's disappearance. This series provides a fun twist on the supernatural by making Charley a private investigator.

Private #1 Suspect
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Kill Alex Cross
by James Patterson

Kill Me If You Can
by James Patterson & Marshall Karp

The Christmas Wedding
by James Patterson
James Patterson is obviously one of my very favorite authors. As soon as I hear a new book is coming out I have to put it on hold at the library. I want to be one of the first to read each one of his books. Here are the ones I have read recently. All I really need to say is they are James Patterson and no matter if they are a continuation of the Detective Alex Cross series, the new Jack Morgan Private series, or a stand alone novel just about everything James Patterson writes is engrossing.

One for the Money
by Janet Evanovich
For years my mother has been reading Janet Evanovich. I'm not sure why I never picked one of her books up, but I finally did and loved it! I laughed more in this mystery / thriller than I have while reading books written by comedians. Stephanie Plum is hysterical in One for the Money. Surprisingly after reading the book I found out it was being made into a movie (surprise, surprise). I have not seen the movie yet, but I will say I started reading the second book and did not finish it (I have that right as a reader) because I just did not enjoy it as much as the first book. I will have to give it a go again someday, maybe.
Double Dexter
by Jeff Lindsay

Dexter is one of my very favorite characters. I have been cheering for this serial killer since the beginning. I had read all Jeff Lindsay's great Dexter books before the Showtime series was announced. I have to admit I was very excited to see the characters come to life. Michael C. Hall IS Dexter!! The series is wonderful, but the books are SO much better. Double Dexter, the sixth book in the series does not disappoint. I just hope we don't have to wait too long for the next book.

Life After Death
by Sally Morgan
I don't remember how I found out about Sally Morgan's book Life After Death: Messages of Love from the Other Side. I have read a few of John Edward's books, Crossing Over, One Last Time, and After Life: Answers from the Other Side and really enjoyed them. I believe in the after life and I believe the spirits of those we love that have already crossed over are in Heaven waiting for us. I also believe they surround us with their presence and watch over us all of the time. I would love to attend a private reading from either Sally Morgan or John Edward. I know some people think I am crazy, but I have some questions I would like to have answered and the only ones with the answers have already crossed over.

Crooked Letter, Crooked  Letter
by Tom Franklin
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin is one of those books that grabs you from the very beginning and you just can't put it down until you get to the last page. Richard Russo's quote about this novel is so very true, "Long after the other 75 novels of suspense you've read this year merge in your memory, you'll vividly recall this novel." With chapters alternating between the past and the present you are immediately thrown into the twenty-five year old disappearance of Cindy Walker. The back story is set in Mississippi in the late 70s and early 80s and you get a strong sense of the hostility between the black and white citizens of small town Chabot. Not only a great read for the mystery and suspense, but also for the accurate portrayal of the characters during the time period.

Every Thing On It
by Shel Silverstein
I remember falling in love with the poetry of Shel Silverstein when I was a child. I can not remember the teacher who introduced me to his wacky prose, but I will be forever grateful because they have always made me smile. This book of never-before-published poems does not disappoint. As soon as I got home with the book (yes, I actually bought the real book ... it's not available in the ebook format!) I poured over each wonderful verse. I just love his poetry and I am thankful to his family for allowing his readers to continue to enjoy his words so many years after his death.

Why My Third Husband Will
Be a Dog
 by Lisa Scottoline
I love mysteries, suspense, and thrillers, but I also love to laugh. I guess that is why I picked up Lisa Scottoline's My Third Husband Will Be A Dog. I have only read one other book by Ms. Scottoline, but neither of these will be the last. Not only can she weave a wonderful storyline in her novels, but she can also make you wet your pants with her real life adventures as a single mom. This is a hilarious collection of articles from her Philadelphia Inquirer column. You will laugh until you cry and then do some crying along the way.

Like with the James Patterson books, when I find an author that really captures my imagination and peaks my interest I read a number of the authors books in a row. So is the case will Brian Selznick. I know as a librarian I should have read some of these books ages ago, but now I can say I have read and loved them all.

The Boy of a Thousand Faces
by Brian Selznick
The Houdini Box
by Brian Selznick 
Wonder Struck
by Brian Selznick
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
by Lisa See
One afternoon as my husband and I were watching a movie the preview for the movie Snow Flower and the Secret Fan came on the screen. I was immediately intrigued by the previews and wondered if it was a book. I was excited to find that it was indeed a book. I placed a hold on the book. When I went to the library to pick up the book I was told the book was lost and could not be found in order to fill my hold. I was very frustrated so I drove to Half-Priced Books and purchased a copy of the book. I loved everything about this book. It was so different from any book I have ever read and not my typical read. Maybe that is why I enjoyed it so very much. I had heard of foot binding, but not details. I was shocked to find out how and why this custom existed. I went online in order to read more about this ancient custom. I loved the historical information intermingled with the wonderful story of the relationship of Laotong's Lily and Snow Flower.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson
This series of books has been on my list of books to read for some time. I finally took the time to read the first book after hearing a friend gush over these books. She was excited the movie was coming out, and once again I had to read the book before seeing the movie (which I still haven't seen). I have to admit, it was a great read. I loved the family mystery, the relationship of Mikael and Lisbet, and the conflict created by Mikael's recent legal problems. I am anxious to read the next two books in the series, but have not taken the time to read them as of yet.

by Stephen King
As soon as I read about this book I knew I had to read it. In fact when this book came out I was still reading another book, but as soon as I finished reading it I started this awesome book! I have been fascinated with the Kennedy assassination for as long as I can remember. I don't know if it is because I live in Dallas, my love of history, or my dad's collection of newspapers from the time period but the combination of time travel (which is one of my very favorites) and the events leading up to the assassination immediately grabbed me. There were times I had to put the book down (okay, my Nook) in order to wrap my brain around what was happening in the story. I can't even begin to describe how much I enjoyed this book. It was not anything like I expected it to be, which is typical King. There are so many things I thought I wanted out of the story, but I was not disappointed. My mind still spins thinking of the time travel possibilities and King's perspective of the logistics of it all.

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins

by Suzanne Collins
When Suzanne Collins came out with The Hunger Games, I remember my niece telling me about the book and how much she loved it. Right before Catching Fire was released I was again with Linsey when she was telling me how she was re-reading The Hunger Games so she would be ready to move right into the second book. I know she was just as excited, if not more so when Mockingjay was released. I was reluctant to read this series at first. I'm not sure why exactly. It can't be because of lack of recommendations. It seems that every time I turned around someone was asking if I had read them. Their expressions of shock were followed by glowing personal reviews and encouragement to read all three. Well, I finally listened and poured through all three of the books back to back. I absolutely loved the first two books. I was shocked, appalled, and thoroughly entertained with the story line. I can't say I loved Mockingjay as much. I don't know if it was because I sensed a finality to the series or because it seemed to move away from the action of the previous two books. I wasn't disappointed, it was just not the page-turner for me like the previous books. I have to say I do like how she ended the series. It gave you some finality, but also gave you piece of mind.

As you can see, I have been reading, even if I have not been writing. I would much rather sit and read but I also feel the need to share the great books I have enjoyed so others can find something that will entice them to read.

Happy Reading! I'm off to read. You'll just have to wait to see what I am currently reading. I'll write about it soon. It is another great book with historical references, mystery, time travel, and other peculiarities.