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Showing posts from October, 2009

Book Review: Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

At the age of seven, Rachel Kalama is whisked away from her home and her family in Hololulu and sent to the island of Moloka'i. This is the place where those with leprosy are sent to die at the end of the 19th century. This is a heartbreaking story about the loss of family and the loss of life. But it is also an inspiring story about how people persevere over such horrible situations. I read Moloka'i by Alan Brennert for book club and I thoroughly enjoyed following Rachel from her childhood in Honolulu through her experiences on Moloka'i through her death. I had honestly never heard of Moloka'i and the settlement that was formed there. One of the things that struck me about this story is that the quarantined people on Moloka'i, although isolated from those they loved, built a rather full community with schools and jobs, friends and marriages. I highly recommend this book for book clubs. Our discussion was very full and interesting. There are many topics to

Book Review: Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles

Dear American Airlines, My name is Benjamin R. Ford and I am writing to request a refund in the amount of $392.68. And so begins a novel that is, essentially, a letter written in one night by a man who is stranded in Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Although directed to the airline many times, the letter is actually a rambling, stream-of-consciousness account of Bennie's life. His childhood, his parents lives, his marriages, his drinking, his writing. All put down on paper while he waits, frustrated, for a flight to his estranged daughter's wedding. This book was a departure from those I have read recently, and I had a tough time with it. Although it was nice to read something different, I just didn't enjoy the format in which it is told. The story is full of metaphors and tangents and paragraphs that flow and flow, never to be broken by a new chapter. It is meant to be the uninhibited ramblings of a man, and it is true to this. But it was just a bit too much for me.

Winter Holiday Reading Challenge #2

I've signed up for my third challenge today! I think that's enough for a while! This one is the Winter Holiday Reading Challenge #2 . The Winter Holiday Reading Challenge will last from November 1, 2009 to January 31, 2010. The theme for this challenge is Winter Holidays. The books that you choose to read must have a storyline that includes celebrating a winter holiday, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year's, etc. (However the holidays are not limited to just these examples.) You can choose however many books you want to read for this challenge, so I'm going to choose five. And I'll try to make them from different years so I can apply them toward my Countdown 2010 Challenge too! This list may change, but here's what I have in mind: The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere (2001) Rockin' Around That Christmas Tree by Donna Hill and Francis Ray (2003) The Christmas Train by David Baldacci (2004) There's Something About Christm

Countdown 2010 Challenge

I've decided to participate in this Countdown 2010 Challenge . The goal of this challenge is to read the number of books first published in a given year that corresponds to the last digit of each year in the 2000s — 10 books from 2010, 9 books from 2009, 8 books from 2008, etc. The total number of books required, therefore, is 55. This challenge lasts from 9/9/09 through 10/10/10. Here's my list. I'll keep updating it here as I move along through the challenge. Books in bold are completed. 2010 1. Crossing the Bridge by Michael Baron 2. Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader 3. Our Promised Land by Michael T. Darkow 4. Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez 5. A Hundred Feet Over Hell by Jim Hooper 6. Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze 7. Guest House by Barbara K. Richardson 8. The Power of Your Child's Imagination by Charlotte Reznick 9. The Journey Home by Michael Baron 10. Life, In Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson 2009 1. Catching Fire (The Second Book

Book Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

When Skeeter graduates from college in the early 1960's, she returns home to Jackson, Mississippi. Her friends are all married and having children, while she is a single aspiring writer. Her sorrow over the loss of her childhood maid, who left town while Skeeter was in college, and her desire to become a professional writer propel Skeeter to a project that will affect the lives of most of the women in her town. This is an incredible debut from Kathryn Stockett. Written from three different perspectives, in three different voices, the novel follows Skeeter and two maids - Aibileen and Milly - as they come together to tell the true stories about the relationships and interactions between the help and the white women for whom they work. Stockett does an amazing job of developing each of the many female characters in this novel. Although all of the women fall within two categories - the help and the white employers - each is unique so it's easy to keep track of them, thei

Fall Into Reading 2009: Week 5 Update

As I am participating in the Fall into Reading  challenge, I am even more committed to reading. And I love it! I've already completed the books that have been chosen for my November and January book club meetings. So I have several books that are truly of my own choosing to move onto now. This past week, I finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett - watch for a review shortly. I've now started Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins **FINISHED Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows **FINISHED The Help by Kathryn Stockett **FINISHED Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar Crazy as Chocolate by Elisabeth Hyde I'll keep track of my progress each Monday. If you'd like to see what others are reading this Fall, head over to Callipidder Days .

Book Review: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Alice is not quite 50 years old when she starts forgetting things here and there. She figures it may be related to menopause, until she gets lost in her own neighborhood one day. Frightened, she goes to the doctor thinking it could still be menopause or a brain tumor, only to end up with a diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimers. Still Alice by Lisa Genova delves into her life over the next year. Telling her family and watching them react in many different ways. Facing the end of her prestigious career as a Harvard University professor. Dealing with the everyday struggles one encounters when memory is diminishing rapidly. Losing her independence. Forgetting everyone and everything she loves. I was fascinated by this book. My own grandmother had Alzheimer's (not Early Onset) and I have to say I wish I had been able to read this book back then. I think it would have provided me with a clearer understanding of what she was going through, and helped me support her more effectivel

A Year of Interesting Books

I've read a lot of excellent books this past year. Most of them were for book club, but some were books of my own choosing. And I have to say that the majority of the books I read over the year were very enjoyable. There were only a few that I didn't connect with and want to finish as soon as possible. I'd like to share a list of the books I've read within the last year or so, and I'll include a very basic rating on a 5-point scale. I intend to take the time over the coming months to write reviews of some of these books, as well as those that I read in the future. It will take me a while, so if you see a book on the list that you'd like to hear about soon, please let me know and I'll work on those first. *****Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins *****Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins *****Moloka'i by Alan Brennert *****Still Alice by Lisa Genova *****The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, with Jeffrey Zaslow *****

Fall into Reading 2009

When I first set my Fall Reading Goals, I had been inspired by the Fall into Reading  challenge, but didn't think I was ready to commit to a certain set of books. After a very exciting trip to a used bookstore on a recent trip, I've reconsidered and decided to make a list of the books I want to complete during the Fall. Since we're already a month into the season, I've already read the first two and am halfway done with the third. The rest are books that I own now, and have every intention of reading by December 20th. Wish me luck! Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins **FINISHED Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows **FINISHED The Help by Kathryn Stockett Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar Crazy as Chocolate by Elisabeth Hyde I'll keep track of my progress each Monday. If you'd like to see what others are reading this Fall, head over to Cal


A few weeks ago, I decided to set Fall Reading Goals for myself and my 5 year old son, C. As I started reporting our progress each week on my other blog, Just Playin' Around , I realized that I'd like to write more about my own reading habits. But it didn't seem to fit in with the theme of that blog, so I've started a new one! I plan to blog not only about books I read, but also about any notable books my kids are reading. And hopefully you'll share your own thoughts about reading. I'm always looking for new book recommendations!