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Showing posts from September, 2015

Book Review: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi is number two on the list of most challenged books of 2014. This memoir, written in graphic novel format, is about Satrapi's childhood growing up during the Islamic revolution in Iran. According to the American Library Association, the reasons for the challenges to this book include: gambling, offensive language, and political viewpoint, among other things.

The story begins when Satrapi is 10 years old and she and her friends are made to wear veils for the first time. Although religious, she and her family are very modern and she had been attending a French school where boys and girls attended classes together. With the revolution comes rules, strict religious education, and separation of the boys and girls.

Satrapi’s story is eye-opening and brings the reader into the heart and mind of a young girl who, like any girl around the world, is struggling to fit in and find herself. But she is also dealing with a massive change to…

Banned Books Week Kickoff

It's Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read. Each year, I participate by reading and reviewing books that have been frequently challenged or banned around the country. Books have been challenged for everything from religious and political viewpoints to homosexuality and offensive language. Generally it's parents and members of the community trying to ban books from the eyes of children of various ages, rather than just telling their own kids not to read them.

The American Library Association shares the list of the top 10 most challenged books each year. Here's the 2014 list:
1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
2. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
3. And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
4. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
5. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
6. Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
7. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen C…

Book Review: Ready Player One

James Halliday, the founder of the OASIS, a virtual reality world where most people work and play in 2042, has died. He has left his entire fortune and control of the game to whoever finds an Easter egg he has hidden within the virtual world. They must work their way through clues and challenges to reach the final reward. Wade, known as Parzival in the OASIS, is determined to find the egg, along with hordes of other gunters (regular people participating in the hunt). But there's also a company that will do just about anything to beat them and take control of the OASIS.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a cool combination of futuristic world and 1980s pop culture. Halliday loved the 80's, so everything about the hunt revolves around the games, movies and music of that time. As someone who was born the same year as Halliday, it was a lot of fun to relive the details of my childhood through the eyes of my future grandchildren!

This is a fast-paced novel with lots of suspense an…

Week in Review

It's Monday! What are you reading? I haven't been participating in this weekly meme on a regular basis lately, but I'm hoping to get back into it more. For the past few days, I've been focused on my to-do list for Bloggiesta. I got a lot accomplished so I'm feeling good about that! I have a couple reviews planned for this week and then next week is Banned Books Week! So I'm already preparing for that.

Reviews and Blog Posts
Book Review: Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline
Book Club Picks: Science Fiction
Book Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Reading
So far in September, I've read two books: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Two very different books, but I enjoyed them both. I also started reading I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes at the beginning of the month but had to put it aside for a bit. It's good, but I just haven't been in the mood for a heavy thriller. Now I'm reading…

Book Review: Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline

Dr. Eric Parrish, chief of a hospital psychiatric unit, is having a tough time coming to terms with his separation from his wife and the limited time he has with his daughter. But work is going well; his unit has been recognized as number two in the country and everyone is celebrating his leadership and success. Then he takes on a new patient named Max. A boy who has OCD and is obsessed with a girl. A girl who ends up dead.

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline is a thriller that keeps the reader guessing straight through to the end. Eric is determined to help Max, but is that the right course of action? There’s always a question in the back of your mind as to whether Max did it or not. And when Eric, by helping Max, implicates himself, things get even more complicated. There are lots of twists and turns in this one. What makes it more interesting is that we hear from a sociopath who seems to be behind everything, but their true identity isn't revealed until the end.

In addit…

Fall Bloggiesta 2015: To-Do List

Bloggiesta starts tomorrow and I'm excited to spend some time cleaning this blog up!! I have big plans during this four-day (September 17 - 20) blogging marathon. Here's my list. I'll be checking things off right here throughout the event.

Write review of Ordinary Grace
Write review of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki
Write review of Every Fifteen Minutes
Write review of Persepolis
Update My Reviews page
Update About Me page
Set up schedule for Banned Books Week
Write Book Club Picks post for Banned Books Week
Participate in at least one Twitter chat
Participate in at least two mini challenges
UPDATE: Bloggiesta is over and I am pretty happy with what I accomplished, despite not checking everything off. I did start my review of Ordinary Grace, but didn't finish it. The mini challenges I completed were How to Build an Email List and Creating Post Templates
How did you do?

Book Club Picks: Science Fiction

Welcome to my Book Club Picks series. This week, I'm sharing some of my favorite science fiction books for book clubs. I should mention that I really don't read a lot of sci-fi, so I'm sure I'm missing some amazing books on this list. I hope you'll share your recommendations in the comments so I can check out some others. My list includes popular sci-fi books that I think would appeal to a wide enough group of people to work for a book club. 


Note about the links below: My reviews do not include spoilers, but the discussion guides do. The book covers are Amazon Affiliate links. If you use those links to make a purchase, I will receive a very small commission but your price will remain the same.


Wool by Hugh Howey
Published in 2011; 528 pages
This novel takes place in a dystopian world in which the entire community lives within a silo and never steps foot outside. But from the start, some characters are drawn to finding out what is out there. Book clubs can tal…

Big Book Summer Reading Challenge - Recap

Thanks so much to Sue at Book by Book, who hosting the Big Book Summer Challenge again. I love this challenge because I tend to avoid long books so it encourages me to read them. The goal was to read at least one book that was more than 400 pages by Labor Day, which was this past Monday, September 7. I did okay, but not as great as I was hoping to do!

I planned to read four books, but only made it through two (although I am in the middle of a third). Here's what I did manage to read:


The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I also started I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller by Terry Hayes during the challenge, but I haven't been reading a lot lately, so it's been slow going.

Did you participate in the challenge? What did you read?

Book Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Kirsten Raymonde is a child actor in a production of King Lear when the lead actor, Arthur Leander has a heart attack on stage. Jeevan, a member of the audience, tries to save him but does not succeed. That night, a flu epidemic begins to spread around the world, bringing civilization to a halt. Fifteen years later, Kirsten is traveling the Great Lakes region with the Traveling Symphony, playing music and performing Shakespeare for the survivors.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a post-apocalyptic novel that is beautifully written and character-driven. It reads more like literary fiction than a typical post-apocalyptic novel. It's about the survivors of the flu and the way they learn to live in this new world, but it also brings us back to the time before where we get more depth of characters. The past story mostly revolves around Arthur, his many wives, his son and his connection to some of the survivors. The future is mostly about Kirsten and the Traveling Symphony, wh…

August Reading Recap and Update

My day job and real life continue to pull me away from blogging. I apologize to those of you who are awaiting my reviews! And I also apologize to all the authors and publishers who send requests and never hear from me. I used to be able to keep up with email, but at this point it has gotten away from me! I'm still working through my bookshelves, rather than taking on books for review. I will start accepting a few books here and there as we move into fall, but it will be limited.

What we're reading
I'm currently reading I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. I've had it for a few months now and am excited to finally get to it. C, who started 6th grade last week, is reading the Virals series by Kathy Reichs. He's currently on the second book in the series, Seizure. The librarian recommended this series and he seems to like it. M, who started 3rd grade last week, is reading The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan. She's excited to finish this series.

August recap
I'm here to…