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Showing posts from February, 2012

Book Review: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

This year, I'm participating in the Narnia Reading Project hosted by Rikki's Teleidoscope. The goal of the project is to read all of the Chronicles of Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. I decided to start the series with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I honestly don't remember reading this book as a child, and I've never watched the films, so this was my first real experience with Narnia.

In this first book, four children ~ Lucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan ~ move in with an old professor during the war. While playing one day, Lucy hides in a wardrobe and discovers a new world on the other side. Eventually all four children make it through to Narnia and discover that they have a significant role to play in this new world. The evil White Witch has put Narnia into an eternal winter, and the Great Lion Aslan has returned to restore order to Narnia. There are all sorts of animals and creatures, including beavers and fauns and dwarfs and giants, some who help Aslan and the chi…

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop!

This week, I'm participating in the Leap into Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I'm a Reader, Not a Writer.

I'm giving away a book of your choice 
up to $10 from Book Depository.
It's that simple. Just visit  Book Depository and choose any book that is selling for $10 or less.

This giveaway is open to international entries as long as Book Depository ships to your address (click here to check). The contest ends on Monday, March 5, 2012, at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be picked using Random.org and notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. To enter, just leave a comment telling me what book you want to win.

Check out all the other participants in the giveaway hop!

Book Review: Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris

Nayir ash-Sharqi, a desert guide, is hired by a wealthy Saudi Arabian family to find a missing 16-year-old girl, Nouf ash-Shrawi. Unfortunately, she is found dead, and Nayir begins a quest to uncover what really happened to her. A devout Muslim, Nayir is quite uncomfortable when he finds himself working alongside Katya Hijazi, a woman who works in the medical examiner's office. But he is determined to solve the mystery, and Katya is the only one who can help.

Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris is a mystery, but it is much more than that. It is a look into the culture of Saudi Arabia, especially the role of women in society and the restrictions placed on them. We see this through the perspective of many characters. There's the teenager, Nouf, who was about to be married. There's Katya, the Saudi woman who breaks tradition and works for a living. There's Nayir, who is so conservative that he becomes physically uncomfortable around women whose faces are not covered. And there&#…

Weekly Reading Recap

Wow! What a day! I'm very late writing up my week in review. I was just extremely busy at work today. So, here's what's been going on as far as reading and reviewing goes.

I managed to read just one book last week, and it wasn't a very long or hard one. It was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I'm glad I finally read it, and I will continue to read the series since I signed up for the Narnia Reading Project. But I can't say I loved it.

I'll try to get a review written in the next couple days for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I'm determined to put up that review and the one for Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris before the end of this month!

Currently Reading
I'm now reading Gods and Fathers by James LePore.

Up Next
Next, I'm going to read Between a Rock and a Hot Place by Tracey Jackson.

What are you reading this week? This meme is being hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, so hop over there if you'd like to see what others are reading to…

Book Review: 30 Lessons for Living by Karl Pillemer

What is the key to living a fulfilling life? What choices can you make now to ensure you have no regrets later in life? Karl Pillemer, Ph.D., has interviewed more than 1,000 Americans over the age of 65 (who he calls the "experts") to get the answers to these questions. He presents his findings in 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans.

He doesn't tell the life stories of the participants, but rather the lessons they offered when looking back on their lives. The lessons span several areas:
Lessons for a Happy MarriageLessons for a Successful and Fulfilling CareerLessons for a Lifetime of ParentingLessons for Aging Fearlessly and WellLessons for Living a Life without RegretsLessons for Living like an Expert These topics may sound like an outline for a typical self-help book, but 30 Lessons for Living is far from that. While some of the advice is very familiar, it's the way it's presented that's different. Hearing a 79 year old w…

Weekly Reading Recap

Good morning. Well, I'm looking out at a winter wonderland...at least it's our version of a winter wonderland. We got our first snow of the season. It's likely to be our last as well. Funny that we were in short sleeves on Saturday and it snowed Sunday night! It's supposed to be back in the 70s by the end of the week.

As far as reading goes, I finally finished Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris. I need to write up the review for that one still, and I have another review outstanding as well. I spent all my free time reading last week instead of writing.

I did review a children's book that works well for this President's Day: What Presidents are Made Of by Hanoch Piven. This week, hopefully I'll get caught up with reviews!

Currently Reading
I'm going to start reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe tonight.

Up Next
Next, I'm going to pick up Gods and Fathers by James LePore

What are you reading this week? This meme is being hosted by Sheila at Book Jou…

Book Review: What Presidents Are Made Of by Hanoch Piven

In looking for a book about presidents to read to the kids for Presidents Day Weekend, I came across What Presidents Are Made Of by Hanoch Piven at the library. This is a very cute book with crazy pictures! Each president is created with a variety of odd items, as you can see in the picture of Abe Lincoln on the cover. The items used for each president usually have some connection to him. For example, Lincoln's mouth is a gavel, which could relate to the fact that he was a lawyer, or to the fact that he made five appointments to the Supreme Court while he was president. The kids really enjoyed looking at the pictures of the different presidents.

The book covers about a third of the presidents. Piven chose to focus on more obscure stories about each president, many of which I had never heard before. For example, did you know that President Taft was very heavy and once got stuck in the bathtub in the White House? After that, he had an enormous bathtub made so he would fit comfortab…

Weekly Reading Recap

Good morning. Monday again. Hard to believe. We had a good week. Nothing too exciting happening around here, which is a good thing!

Last week, I wrote a review for The Ruins of Usby Kaija Parssinen, which I really enjoyed. You can click on the link to read my review.

I also finished reading 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans by Karl Pillemer. I'll write up my review this week.

Currently Reading
I'm now reading Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris, which is my February book club selection.

Up Next
Next, I'm going to start on the Narnia Reading Project. I think I'm going to read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe first.

What are you reading this week? This meme is being hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, so hop over there if you'd like to see what others are reading too.

Book Review: The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssinen

Rosalie has been married to Abdullah and living in Saudi Arabia for 25 years. The couple has two teenagers and although she is American, Rosalie has immersed herself in Saudi culture. But then she discovers that her husband has taken a second wife, after all these years, and her world comes crumbling down. Told in the voices of Rosalie, Abdullah, their son Faisal, and their American friend Dan, The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssinen takes us deep into modern Saudi Arabian culture, and the struggles between traditional and modern viewpoints.

I just loved this book. It is a beautifully written work of literary fiction that kept my attention from beginning to end. Looking back, there wasn't much action in this story. Parssinen spends a lot of time inside the four main characters' heads, sharing their thoughts, memories, reactions to the issues they encounter. But it moves at a steady pace. There is enough mystery in terms of wondering what will happen with the marriage, what Dan'…

Month in Review: January 2012

My first monthly review of 2012 is a bit late, but better late than never!

Books Read in January: 5
I read five books in January.
The Art of Life by Sabin Howard and Traci L. Slatton ~ nonfictionUnbroken by Laura Hillenbrand ~ nonfiction No Story to Tell by KJ Steele ~ contemporary fictionThe Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona Ingram ~ middle-grade fictionNate Rocks the World by Karen Pokras Toz ~ middle-grade fictionReviews Written: 6
I wrote six reviews in January. The first is for a book I read in December: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. I also reviewed all of the books I read in January. You can click on the links above to read the reviews.

Year-to-Date Totals: Nonfiction: 2
Contemporary Fiction: 1
Historical Fiction: 0
Mystery/Thriller: 0
Middle-Grade Fiction: 2

For review: 4
For book club: 1
For me: 0

Non-Fiction Non-Memoir Reading Challenge I read two books toward this challenge during January: The Art of Life and Unbroken. I'm keeping track of my progress on my sidebar.

Narnia R…

Weekly Reading Recap

Good morning. I hope you all had a good week. I'm officially another year older than I was last week, and have begun a new decade in my life. It was a fun weekend, celebrating my birthday and hosting a Super Bowl party last night.

As far as reading goes, I finally finished The Ruins of Usby Kaija Parssinen, which was a wonderful work of literary fiction that opened my eyes to life in Saudi Arabia. I'll be reading another book that takes place in Saudi Arabia, Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris, for my February book club meeting.

I wrote a review for Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand last week. And I shared some of the books my kids have been reading.

Currently Reading
I'm about halfway through 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans by Karl Pillemer, which I'm really enjoying.

Up Next
Next, I'll be moving on to Finding Nouf.

What are you reading this week? This meme is being hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, so hop over there if you'd like …

What My Children Are Reading

I finally made it back to the library this week. I took C before his piano lesson, and we got several books despite the quick trip. He also had media this week for a special at school, so he got a couple new books from the school library. Here are some of the favorites this week.

C read Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sacher. His teacher is reading this series at school, so he wanted to read one on his own. Actually, now he wants to read the series. They're all very silly stories that take place in Wayside School, which was accidentally built vertically, with each of the 30 classrooms stacked on top of each other. There are 30 chapters to correspond to the 30 stories.C's favorite part is that the builder left out the 19th story, so in the book, the 19th chapter is just a couple sentences long saying, basically, that there's no 19th story. I have to say he's piqued my interest and I think I may have to read this one myself!

The other book he got from his s…