Monday, March 31, 2008


The rules for this one are simple: choose 9 different books, written by 9 different authors, from 9 different countries.

Dates: April 1st, 2008 to December 20th 2008

Orbis Terrarum Challenge

My List

1. The God of Small Things (India) completed 4.2.08
2. The Blind Assassin (Canada) completed 5.12.08
3. Bel Canto (South America) completed 4.30.08
4. The Devil's Arithmetic (Poland) completed
5. The Shadow of the Wind (Spain) completed 6.22.08
6. Kabul Beauty School (Afghanistan) completed 4.5.08
7. Decipher (Antarctica) completed 7.7.08
8. The House of the Spirirts (Chile) completed 4.26.08
9. I, Mona Lisa (Italy) completed 5.26.08

10. When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra (Egypt) completed 5.28.08
11. The Things They Carried (Vietnam) completed 6.6.08
12. Number the Stars (Denmark) comleted 6.19.08

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Friday Fill In

I'm a little late...

1. Some relationships are meant to fizzle out.

2. I don't remember! is the last concert I saw; it was probably not very good since I don't remember.

3. Spring should be sunnier where I live.

4. Oh no! I forgot to get my car inspected!

5. I've recently started to drive myself crazy.

6. Other people laughing really hard never fails to make me smile.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _____, tomorrow my plans include _____ and Sunday, I want to get some grading done!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Thursday Threesome

Is June really that close?:

::Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue::

Onesome: Something old- Do you have anything that you've owned simply forever? A cherished childhood toy, an antique handed down through the family? ...the family Bible?
  • I have my grandmother's engagement ring and her rolling pin. I also have some coins from my grandfather that are very old. Like I should have them appraised old.
Twosome: Something new- Buy anything new lately?

  • My husband and I both needed to buy new trench coats. You know the kind, they only get brought out for wedding, funerals, and special events. Hubby's papa is being buried tomorrow...well, i guess today and I'm having trouble sleeping so I'm up doing Memes.
Threesome: Something borrowed- Have you ever borrowed an item and never returned it?
  • This is horrible. I "borrowed" a box a caramel Giradelli chocolates from my pregnant best friend and ate them all. I told her I would go out that night and replace them. I completely forgot. A few weeks later she said she was craving one and did I have any? I felt like such a schmuck.
Bonus: Something blue- Can you see anything blue from where you are? What is it?
  • My husband and in-laws grew up Yankees fans since there is no baseball team in Erie. I see a teddy bear wearing a Yankee uniform.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cover Up (BTT)

This week’s question comes from Julie, who asks:

While acknowledging that we can’t judge books by their covers, how much does the design of a book affect your reading enjoyment? Hardcover vs. softcover? Trade paperback vs. mass market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?
Oops...sometimes I do judge a book by it's cover in wheter or not I'll pick it up to read the back description. Overall aspects that tend to catch my eye and therefor my interest on the cover...
  • I'm looking looking for a pleasing design
  • Interesting titles
  • Pleasing, "non-cheesy" pictures

Now for the book in general. Hardcovers look great on the shelf and you get them faster, but they don't fit nicely into a hand bag and are a little more difficult to curl up with at night. I love the feel of a good trade paper book. I can almost say they are fulfilling to hold. They still look pretty good on the shelf. I'm starting to dislike the ole mass market paperback. Perfectly readable. i just think it looks and feels "cheap." They don't tend to hold up as well.

The font should not be so tiny I feel like I'm reading a college text and not so large I feel like i"m reading a young child's book are a large print/text book. I've cracked open "bigger" books that have been wall to wall tiny text and have sighed with disappointment at the eye strain I know will eventually be coming.

Illustrations? I could take them or leave them. I really think it depends on the story. I know some stories that describe art in them I would have love to have seen the painting or sketches without having to go to Google (for famous ones). If you are going to bother with illustrations they should be in color (unless they were specifically black and white by the artist)


I found this from the site A Life in Books. I like to support "locally" run businesses.

Bookwormz, is a labor of love for my husband and I, a site that we developed to help promote books, reading and reached out to other book lovers.

Bookwormz is a user-supported database that incorporates Google maps to locate independently-owned bookstores

To find a store, just enter an address, zip code, city or just about any geographical piece of information and let our website take care of the rest.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesdays "If"s

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

  • I haven't been anywhere in South America yet. I would start in the south their and make my way north (making sure to stop in Rio de Janeiro)
If you could tell one person how you feel, who would it be and what would you tell them?

  • George W. Bush--You're an idiot and your 'my way or the highway' ideals have globally hurt us badly"
If you could have one thing in this world without paying for it, what would it be?

  • Good health
If you could do one thing you love and only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

  • Take care of animals

Ten on Tuesday


This week’s topic was suggested by N1N0 of Where You At? Thanks for the suggestion!

  1. Know who you are and what you want
  2. Talk to your fiance about what you want and your expectations & his expectations
  3. Graduate from college
  4. Live by yourself for at least one year
  5. Have your OWN savings and retirement accounts. Keep them your own. Start differnt ones to SHARE.
  6. Meet his family and he should meet yours
  7. Take a vacation with just the girls
  8. Turn down another proposal
  9. See a stripper
  10. Try on at least 50 different wedding dressing running around saying "I'm the bride, I'm the bride" (but of course don't be an idiot to your bridesmaids or anyone else).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Book Review: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

Author: Betty Smith

Pages: 483

Genre: Fiction/Historical/YA

Personal Rating: 4.5

From the back cover:

I couldn't decide between the one that was actually on the back over or the one from Amazon so I've included both!
The American classic about a young girl's coming of age at the turn of the century.

"A profoundly moving novel, and an honest and true one. It cuts right to the heart of life...If you miss A Tree Grows in Brooklyn you will deny yourself a rich experience...It is a poignant and deeply understanding story of childhood and family relationships. The Nolans lived in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn from 1902 until 1919...Their daughter Francie and their son Neely knew more than their fair share of the privations and sufferings that are the lot of a great city's poor. Primarily this is Francie's book. She is a superb feat of characterization, an imaginative, alert, resourceful child. And Francie's growing up and beginnings of wisdom are the substance of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." --New York Times

"One of the most dearly beloved and one of the finest books of our day." --Orville Prescott

"One of the books of the century."--New York Public Library
Francie Nolan, avid reader, penny-candy connoisseur, and adroit observer of human nature, has much to ponder in colorful, turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. She grows up with a sweet, tragic father, a severely realistic mother, and an aunt who gives her love too freely--to men, and to a brother who will always be the favored child. Francie learns early the meaning of hunger and the value of a penny. She is her father's child--romantic and hungry for beauty. But she is her mother's child, too--deeply practical and in constant need of truth. Like the Tree of Heaven that grows out of cement or through cellar gratings, resourceful Francie struggles against all odds to survive and thrive. Betty Smith's poignant, honest novel created a big stir when it was first published over 50 years ago. Her frank writing about life's squalor was alarming to some of the more genteel society, but the book's humor and pathos ensured its place in the realm of classics--and in the hearts of readers, young and old
I have to admit, I loved it. I loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Usually I do not enjoy fiction that doesn't have a specific plot and just "sort of describes" a person life but this novel was different. For me it started slow but as I became engrossed with Francie and her family and how they would "manage to get by" (sometimes they did by pretending they were explorers stranded at the North Pole waiting for rescue) it went by faster and faster.

ATGIB is about a poor family and little girl growing in Brooklyn from 1902 -1919. So many small little incidences happen I often wondered how closely this book came to describing Betty Smiths actual life. The novel is divided into 5 Books each describing a differet section of Francies life (the first she is about 11, second is how her parents met until she is 7, the third covers their "education" schooling and other wise which continues until they are about 14, book 4 is about Francies having to take jobs to help earn money and finally book 5 sums it all up)

The character development is beautiful. I felt like I knew Francie, Neely, Katie and all the other characters. The writing is beautiful. I feel like I may have a little piece of what it was like to grow up poor during the early 1900's. The novel covered so many themes: poverty, class issues, gender roles, education, belief in god. All through a child's eye

Overall, the novel is not a fast read. This book is one to be savored and read slowly. It is listed as a YA novel, but the writing can get so descriptive I think many teens may find the book boring (especially boys).


That's My Answer --What's the Question

This is my new favorite Meme. You have to click HERE though to play. You answer the question above you with a reply. I've copied what's been done so far

From the site...

Here’s my answer, what’s the question?

"Oh no, I couldn’t possibly have another."

6 Responses to “What’s the question”

laquet on March 24th, 2008 4:19 am
A biscuit (cookie) with your tea?

better safe than sorry on March 24th, 2008 5:41 am
another chocolate egg?

Brenda on March 24th, 2008 7:06 am
How about another chocolate bunny?

Sunny on March 24th, 2008 7:14 am
Didn’t you mention something about having more kids?

Shannon H. on March 24th, 2008 9:18 am
Would you like another shot of espresso in your coffee?

Juli (Can I Borrow Your Book?) on March 24th, 2008 9:48 am
Does everything taste OK?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My 100th POST!!

I read somewhere that it is tradition that for your 100th post you are to list 100 things about yourself. Here they are:

  1. Love chocolate

  2. Teach biology

  3. Hate the feel of brown bags on my bare skin

  4. Was a psych major

  5. Had minors in biology, chemistry, classical, and the history of art & architecture

  6. Am married

  7. Dated my husband for 7 years, then we were engaged for 2 (long term plan)

  8. Drive an X-terrra

  9. Have visited China

  10. Have visited Italy

  11. Finally am a home owner!

  12. Don't like green vegetables

  13. Believe in taking responsibility for your actions

  14. Have a sleep disorder similar to narcolepsy

  15. Love chicken tenders and mashed potatoes with gravy

  16. Like to garden

  17. Have a younger sister

  18. Am considering taking a second job this summer

  19. Cannot sing

  20. Am creative

  21. Am funny

  22. Have a good sense of humor

  23. Can be anxious and a worrier

  24. Will go out of my way to help you

  25. Have gone cliff diving

  26. Am horribly afraid of needles. Not just like close your eyes and don't look. I mean, panic attack, pass out, have to take a shit load of xanax before I have anything done with a needle. I feel a little faint writing about it now

  27. Want to volunteer more

  28. Used to walk dogs for the Animal Rescue League but it made me so sad.

  29. Am sarcastic

  30. Have long, skinny legs.

  31. Have a shelf for a butt!

  32. Love to travel

  33. Enjoy scrap booking

  34. Recently starting blogging and really like it

  35. Am afraid of being alone

  36. Have a dog (Otis) and two cats (Max & Emmy). All rescued

  37. Believe in your right to choose

  38. Would sleep all day if I could

  39. Like to cook if I have time

  40. Am 33

  41. Think Karma can be a bitch

  42. Can be a bitch

  43. Used to have the record for stolen bases at my high school (I don't know if I still do)

  44. Don't know if I want to have kids

  45. Keep cutting my hair shorter and funkier

  46. Am addicted to buying books. I couldn't read all the books I own right now in four years and yet I keep buying them.

  47. Didn't realize writing 100 things about myself would be hard (I don't want to be boring)

  48. Have visited China, New York, Toronto, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Phoenix with my husband

  49. Would like to travel to Africa to do volunteer work with AIDS patients

  50. Am right handed

  51. Can roll my tongue in a hot dog bun

  52. Will stick my hands in dissected animals but get lightheaded if someone talks about an IV

  53. Cannot touch my toes

  54. Cry at dog food commercials and anything sappy or touching

  55. Won't drive without sunglasses, even if its raining or snowing (unless its really bad)

  56. Haven't drank tequila since my 21st birthday

  57. Love to read

  58. Used to only read Stephen King books

  59. Sometimes prefer being around animals instead of people

  60. Would eat at Chic Filet every day if I could. The also have the best cookies and cream milk shakes....mmm....

  61. Used to chew my meat forever when I was a little kid because I was afraid I would choke on it. Then I would throw it or my vegetables under the table if I thought no one was watching

  62. Would like to try being a professional organizer just for the hell of it. Not that I'm great at it or anything

  63. Despise people who are prejudice or bigoted or hatemongers

  64. Am afraid of people who try to push their religion on you

  65. Still like staying over night at my parents house

  66. Am lactose intolerant

  67. Try to inspire my students everyday

  68. Throw good parties

  69. Remember going out to watch lunar eclipses with my dad when I was a little girl. That's when my love of science started

  70. Remember my mom always knew how to fix stuff just as much as my dad and I liked that

  71. Used to be a good athlete, could be again if i started working out

  72. Try to patronize local businesses when possible

  73. Enjoy buying presents for people

  74. Need to be motivated

  75. Like to check my hit counter

  76. Have not kept in touch with any of my friends from high school

  77. Have two tattoos and I'm starting to consider my third

  78. Am currently on crutches. I chipped off part of the bone on the top of my foot. It is sticking perpendicular to the rest of the bone and will be that way forever. They don't do anything for it.

  79. Don't like clowns

  80. Used to play the organ and the xylophone

  81. Did my time as a waitress as I think everyone should at least once

  82. Extinguished a burning centerpiece at my brother-in-laws wedding

  83. Got busted for underage drinking when I had my little sister at college with me for a visit (dumb dumb dumb)

  84. Love to have someone play with my hair

  85. Try to be kind

  86. Had my first kiss at 12

  87. Have my Masters Degree

  88. Have struggled with depression since my 20s

  89. Drink a Diet Cherry Pepsi every morning at work

  90. Have hazel eyes

  91. Like to go shopping

  92. Can be critical

  93. Love bags--big ones, small ones, cheap ones, expensive ones...

  94. Love shoes too

  95. Hate getting up early in the morning

  96. Hope people are proud of me

  97. I've had chicken pox twice, and then I've also had shingles.

  98. Think I'm cool

  99. Try not to live in the past or worry about the future (notice I said try)

  100. Am glad you read all 100 of these

Wow...I can't believe how quick this post came! Thanks to everyone who has read along!

You Answered My Questions with a Question

This was really fun! Click HERE to see what everyone has done so far!

You must answer the question of the person who commented before you, but the trick is to answer in the form of a question. Okay?

I get to start us off, so, here we go …

Did you see the news this morning?

So don't answer here, go to where it says click here to play!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday 5: Isn't it Time You Applied Yourself?

  1. What was the last thing you filled out a written application for?

  2. A teaching position at my husband's school district. I didn't get it. That was OK, I still had my current teaching job. I was just looking for one closer to home.

  3. What computer application software last impressed you with what it could do?

  4. MyPublisher Bookmaker. I made my husband a wedding gift in 2005 of his trip to China. I just checked out the site again this year and they've made major improvements to their software

  5. Where did you last apply a Band-Aid?

  6. My toe. Instead of using clippers to trim my nails I just ripped one off...

  7. What’s a rule that applies to many people in your life but not to you?

  8. Mental illness is a true illness that can't simply be overcome by strenth, will power or just working at it. I loathe people who think that way, yet have a hard time cutting myself a break when I'm having a difficult time with my depression. Its OK and many time necessary to take mediccations for depression. I believe this as a biology teacher and pscyh major but sometimes just can't apply it to myself. But I NEVER feel that way towards other. How is that possible????

  9. When were you last required to apply some elbow grease to something?

  10. Every stinking time I walk since I broke my ankle!
I'd love to read your answers. Let me know if you played.

Historical Reading Challenge

The Historical Reading Challenge is being hosted by Annie at Reading, Writing, and Ranting

Dates: Aprils 1st - October 1st

Rules: Read 6 Books

Here is my tentative starting list.

  1. Number the Stars (Lois Lowry)

  2. Beneath a Marble Sky (John Shors)

  3. I, Mona Lisa (Jeanne Kalogridis)

  4. Harem (Dora Levy Mossanen)

  5. The Sixteen Pleasures (Robert Hellenga)

  6. The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafron)


  • Peony in Love (Lisa See)

  • The Intelligencer (Leslie Silbert)

  • The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Lauren Willig)

  • The Masque of the Black Tulip (Lauren Willig)

  • The Alchemist's Daughter (Katharine McMahon)

  • The Samurai's Garden (Gail Tsukiyarria)

  • The Quincunx (Charles Palliser)

  • Sophie's Choice (William Styron)

  • The Birth of Venus (Sarah Dunant)


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith) 3.23.08


  1. Number the Stars (Lois Lowry) 6.19.08

  2. Beneath a Marble Sky (John Shors)

  3. I, Mona Lisa (Jeanne Kalogridis) 5.26.08

  4. Harem (Dora Levy Mossanen)
  5. The Sixteen Pleasures (Robert Hellenga)

  6. The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafron) 6.22.08

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)

The House of the Spirits (Isabel Allende)

When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra (Colin Falconer)

Friday Fill Inn

1. Watching your team in the playoffs is so exciting!

2. Strawberry fields were places my sister and I used to help my grandpa pick berries in the summer. We also helped in the apple orchards.

3. Blueberry pancakes with whip cream and blueberry topping and some type of cream cheese filling between them (Bob Evans special now) sounds like it would taste delicious!

4. Why does having my husband play with my hair make me feel so good?!

5. All seven continents is something I've always wanted to see.

6. It's sad when people abuse children, the elderly or animals, they are so defenseless and trusting.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out with my nieces who have been visiting over spring break, tomorrow my plans include preparing to start teaching again after being off since March 5th and Sunday, I want to hang out with my family and finally celebrate my Birthday!

Did you play? I'd love to check it out.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Thursday Threesome

Something for everyone:

::Anyone can miss a Day::

Onesome: Anyone-- Has anyone made an impression on you lately? No, not on the national level, but at work or school or just 'around'. ...or even here on the web?
  • Several weeks ago I broke me foot after falling down my attic stairs. Needless to say I've been pretty helpless and bored. My hubby has really stepped up and has been extremely patient with me. Taking care of a sick wife is usually not his strong point but he has been terrific.

  • For the same situation I've had to have a substitute teacher come in for my classes. Mrs. H. has done a spectacular job. She is a retired teacher and could easily have just shown up and then left at the end of the day. Instead she called me every night, we went over plans together, she sent home work for kids who have been out for days with the flu or we leaving for week long vacations (Yeah...i love that one too!). She made my photocopies and grade papers. These are things above and beyond what many substitutes teaches would do. PLUS she is a good story teller so she was able to incorporate real world situations into what we were covering in class even though she isn't a biology teacher. Thanks Mrs. H!
Twosome: can Miss-- Speaking of webbish things (and of course we are !), what types of things do you take a miss on at your place and chose not to post about? Just curious...
  • Until recently I ONLY posted about books. I tried to keep my blog focused. I realized though that when I went to other blogs I enjoyed reading a few posts that give me little glimpses into that person "as a person." I decided to add a few personal areas to my blog with a few Memes and an occasional post about something personal that I think is important or people may enjoy. I guess I take on miss on most things unless they are related to books or an occasional piece of personal info or meme
Threesome: a Day-- On a similar note: do you post every day? ...or just whenever? ...or is every session at the computer a spur to work up a little something?
  • Since I've been injured I've posted everyday (or tried to). Once I go back to work, which will be on Tuesday, I'll be forced to post less. Since I write about what I read, do a meme or something about myself its usually pretty easy for me to blog. If it isn't I just don't do it. I don't feel the need to compulsively do it everyday

The End (BTT)

You’ve just reached the end of a book . . . what do you do now? Savor and muse over the book? Dive right into the next one? Go take the dog for a walk, the kids to the park, before even thinking about the next book you’re going to read? What?

(Obviously, there can be more than one answer, here–a book with a cliff-hanger is going to engender different reactions than a serene, stand-alone, but you get the idea!)
I usually just start right in on another book. Pretty soon I'll write a review for my blog about the book I just read. I'll probably also go and try to find some other blogs that reviewed the same book so I can see what they thougt about it. I usually don't keep the books I read so when I'm done writing my review I'll go post it on paperback swap.

Book Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Author: John Boyne

Pages: 216

Genre: Fiction/YA

Personal Rating: 4

Awards: Shortlisted for British Book Awards: WH Smith Children's Book of the Year Award 2007 and Independent Booksellers' Book of the Year Award: Children's 2007.

From the back cover:

Berlin 1942

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
I'll admit until the last few chapters of this novel the book was fair. It was well written and a nice little story, but I couldn't understand what the big "fuss" was about. Well, you will when you get to the end. The end MADE this book. It took everything I had previously read and put it into a whole new perspective. This may not make a lot of sense to you, but I really do not want to give away the ending.

Bruno is a naive little boy (9 years) who returns home one day to to find everything being packed up. They are moving. The "Fury" has instructed them to move and this is a great honor for his Father who is now to be called Commandant. (this sentence style is how the book is written) He hates his new house since it is smaller, doesn't have a banister he can slide all the way down, he misses his friends and he doesn't like the mean soldiers who come in and out of his house like they own it.
On the first day in his new house he looks out the window of his room .
"He put his face to the glass and saw what was out there, and this time when his eyes opened wide and his mouth made the shape of an O, his hands stayed by his side because something made him feel very cold and unsafe."
Bruno has moved to "Out-With" with his family for his Father's new prestigious job. He goes to talk with his sister about the children who live outside in dirt and small huts and they draw the conclusion that perhaps they have moved to the countryside. Neither of them understand what is going on. When they both return to look out the window they realize that the people they see aren't all children, but men who are very small (for some reason they can't figure out). Bruno then realizes they are all wearing striped pajamas.

One day Bruno decides to explore along the fence and found The Dot The Became a Speck That Became a Blob The Became a Figure That Became a Boy. This is the boy in the striped pajamas on the other side of the fence who will become Bruno's friend.

My suggestions is to stick with reading this book even if it seems average for the first three quarters. it will quickly catapult itself to spectacular. I would have rated it higher but for me it really was a little slow going in the beginning.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday--Exhaustion

Book Review: Rosemary's Baby

Author: Ira Levin

Pages: 302

Genre: Fiction/Horrow

Personal Rating: 4


From the back cover:

Rosemary Woodhouse is a housewife – young, healthy, blissfully happy. Her husband Guy is an actor – charismatic and ambitious. The spacious, sun-filled apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side is their dream home – a dream that turns into an unspeakable nightmare...

The elderly couple. The amulet. The Laundry room. The suicide. The dream. The doctor. The herbs. The anagram. The baby.

Rosmary’s baby.
Pray for it.
I guess I was so hyped up for this to be a terrifying book that I was slightly disappointed when it ended up being a “really good” suspenseful book. It’s pretty hard to write a truly terrifying book. I’ve only read a few in my days.

To keep it short Rosemary’s husbands agrees to have Rosemary impregnated by the devil during a Satanic ritual. He does this so that he can become successful in his career, but passes it off as if he’s doing it for them (at the end). As the reader you know what has happened, in a way, so the suspense comes from having to wait the nine months to see what actually “comes out” and then what ends up happening.

I enjoyed the read. I was hoping it would scare the “you know what” out of me. It didn’t. It is however a classic horror read and I know Levin is credited with giving “horror a new face”. One theme that is covered quite nicely is paranoia. Poor Rosemary “knows” what is going on, but since everyone is part of the satanic cult they are able to convince her she is just feeling “blue” or having “normal pregnancy pains” or that she is just being plain old silly! She even starts to believe she may be going crazy.

Rosemary’s Baby was a quick suspenseful read. You’ll enjoy it if you like horror or “classic” books.

“Suspense is beautifully intertwined with every incidents; the delicate line between belief and disbelief in faultlessly drawn.”—The New York Times
I picked this book as one of my reads for the Young Adult Challenge. Joy (who is hosting the challenge) and I had an interested chat today about whether it was really a young adult novel. I assumed since I found it from THE ULTIMATE TEEN READING LIST at that it was. Here is how they picked the books for the list.

One of our goals each month is to inspire you to read --- and to keep reading. We have found that required reading lists for school --- especially summer reading lists --- are not exactly inspiring. Thus we have created what we think is the Ultimate Teen Reading List --- more than 250 titles that we think are perfect choices for reading and discussing. Our dream is that schools will use this list to help them make their own for summer reading or, even better, suggest that students just read what they want from this list.

How did we create our list? We compiled entries from readers who weighed in with their selections and we also asked our staffers for suggestions. Titles range from young adult books to books that we read on adult lists that we think would be enjoyed by teens.
So I would have to say that, no I don't think this is a young adult novel, but I do thing that many teens would enjoy reading this book.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ten On Tuesday


My hometown is Pittsburgh PA

In no particular order:

  1. Fallingwater--built by Andrew Lloyd Wright for the Kaufmanns.

  2. Mount Washington--here is the view from Mt. Washington at night

  3. The Inclines--to get to Mt Washington

  4. Kennywood Park--home to some great coasters!!

  5. Steeler, Penguin or Pirate Game--Go Pens!!!!

  6. Primanti Brothers Restaurant--yummy sandwiches piled with coleslaw

  7. University of Pittsburgh/Oakland--my old stomping ground...

  8. Pittsburgh Zoo--has a great new polar bear exhibit where you go into a tunnel under the water and can watch the bears swim. It is awesome!

  9. Ohiopyle--State Park a little under two hours outside of the city.

  10. The Carnegie Museum of Art & History--one of the best dinosaur collections

Thanks for checking out my city!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Reading Thing 2008

Yeah, I'm already signed up for the Spring Reading Challenge. Why am I doing this one too? I'm going to sign up for this challenge since it runs different dates (goes a little longer), allows you to link your posts and there are prizes!!!

Spring Reading Thing is being hosted by Callista at Callapidder Days

Spring Reading Thing 2008 is simply an opportunity for you to set some reading goals, share them with the blogosphere, and work toward them this spring. Perhaps you want to add some variety to your fiction reading. Or maybe you've had very good intentions as far as reading that book on budgeting or marriage or starting a home business, haven't even cracked the cover yet. Some might want to read more with their children; others might feel guilty for never having read Wuthering Heights.
The official dates are March 20th through June 19th. Make your own list!!!!!!

My list will cross over with the other Spring Challenge so I don't go crazy and then will have my additions since it runs longer.

1. The Messenger (Lois Lowry)
2. God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy)
3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
4. The Boy In Striped Pajamas (John Boyne)
5. Prentice Alvin (Orson Scott Card)
6. The Blind Assassin (Margaret Atwood)
7. Bel Canto (Ann Patchett)
8. Parasite Rex (Carl Zimmer)
9. Number the Stars (Lois Lowry)


Alvin Journeyman
The Crystal City
House of the Spirits (Isabel Allende)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (J. K. Rowling)
Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil (Deborah Rodriquez)

Dicey's Song (Cynthia Voight)
Holes (Louis Sachar)
Uglies (Scott Westerfeld)
Magic Study (Maria Snyder)
I, Mona Lisa (Jeanne Kalogridis)

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Book Review: Cruel & Unusual

Author: Patricia Cornwell

Pages: 407

Genre: Fiction/Thriller

Personal Rating: 3/5

Awards: Gold Dagger Award

From the back cover:

When convicted killer Ronnie Joe Waddell is executed in Virginia's electric chair, he becomes what should be a routine postmortem case for Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta. But after Waddell's execution, the murders continue, as everyone connected to him begins to die-including a member of Scarpetta's staff. Then, when crucial records begin to disappear from her files, Scarpetta comes under fire for incompetence. Caught in a web of political intrigue, betrayed by those she trusted, Scarpetta must fight to free herself from murderous insinuations—and threats to her own life, To save her career, Scarpetta soon finds herself retracing Waddell's bloody footprints, following a trail that might lead to long—hidden secrets deep within the state government. Either the truth will set her free—or unleash upon her a punishment both cruel and unusual.
This book was OK! It was just your good old fashion satisfying read. Nothing spectacular. It was interesting enough to keep me going but no so great that I'm going to be running around recommending it to everyone I know. I wasn't able to figure out what was going on (so that was good) and everything was neatly wrapped up in the last few pages.

If you like thrillers/mystery/foresnic reads you'll enjoy this book. It isn't one of the best I've read but it sure isn't a dud!

A Book Meme

I found an old book meme at The Daily Meme that looked fun so I gave it a shot.

Another (5) Book Meme

1. Take five books off your bookshelf.

2. Book #1 -- first sentence (The Burn Journals)
  • I'm awake, listeing to the radio, and Mom is yelling at me to get out of bed.
3. Book #2 -- last sentence on page fifty (Hidden Warrior)
  • Despite her disfigured face she'd grown into a shapely young woman.
4. Book #3 -- second sentence on page one hundred (The Patron Saint of Liars)
  • I was six weeks away from delivery and and there could be no doubt that the was not bringing me out to his house to kiss me, to tell me I was beautiful.
5. Book #4 -- next to the last sentence on page one hundred fifty (Fieldwork)
  • He was one of those kind with a bottomless pit for a stomach, and sometimes he'd eat dinner at home, then at Aunt Helena's house, then stop at a noddle stall for a bowl of noodles.
6. Book #5 -- final sentence of the book (Fever 1793)
  • Day was begun
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph:

I'm awake, listeing to the radio, and Mom is yelling at me to get out of bed. Despite her disfigured face she'd grown into a shapely young woman. I was six weeks away from delivery and and there could be no doubt that the was not bringing me out to his house to kiss me, to tell me I was beautiful. He was one of those kind with a bottomless pit for a stomach, and sometimes he'd eat dinner at home, then at Aunt Helena's house, then stop at a noddle stall for a bowl of noodles. Day was begun

Friday, March 14, 2008

Free Book Give Away!!!!

So I was cruising around look for new book blogs and I found a really neat one called The Page Flipper. What makes it even better is that Chelsea is giving away SIX books! Here is what she wrote!

So, for March, we've got six awesome new books to give away, all provided by the amazing publishing house Simon&Schuster.To enter, send me an email at with "March Contest" in the subject line. The email can say anything, but I'd really appreciate some book recommendations (or tell me whatever you're reading now -- I love chatting about books) I'll reply to let you know I got your entry, and that's it! You're entered! Contest ends March 31st at midnight. If you happen to be the lucky winner, I'll email you on or around April 1st for your address -- so make sure to check your email, or I'll end up having to pick another
winner.If you'd like to increase your odds of winning, blog about this contest and send me a link, and you'll earn an extra FIVE entries. (I really want to get the word out.)
Here is the link to her post about the contest.

The books begin offered are:
  • Tweak by Nic Sheff
  • Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen
  • and it's sequel, In Search for the Red Dragon
  • Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter
  • Fake Boyfriend by Kate Brian
  • The Unspoken by Thomas Fahy

Friday Fill In

1. Contact may cause me to give you a kiss (if you're my husband).

2. The parties hereto do mutually agree to sleep in different beds until my foot doesn't hurt anymore.

3. Disney parks are very clean.

4. My pain pill sounds really good right about now! (can you tell I'm injured????)

5. I positively am going to read as many books as I can while I'm off my feet.

6. My pets (still) always makes me smile :-)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sleeping, tomorrow my plans include taking a drives, finding some antiques and eating at the place that catered our wedding and Sunday, I want to watch the Penguin game! Go Pens!!!!

Book Review: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

Author: Christopher Moore

Pages: 464

Genre: Fiction/Humor

Personal Rating: 5/5

From the back cover:

The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years -- except Biff.

Ever since the day when he came upon six-year-old Joshua of Nazareth resurrecting lizards in the village square, Levi bar Alphaeus, called "Biff,"had the distinction of being the Messiah's best bud. That's why the angel Raziel has resurrected Biff from the dust of Jerusalem and brought him to America to write a new gospel, one that tells the real, untold story. Meanwhile, Raziel will order pizza, watch the WWF on TV, and aspire to become Spider-Man.

Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung-fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes -- whose considerable charms fall to Biff to sample, since Josh is forbidden the pleasures of the flesh. (There are worse things than having a best friend who is chaste and a chick magnet!) And, of course, there is danger at every turn, since a young man struggling to understand his godhood, who is incapable of violence or telling anything less than the truth, is certain to piss some people off. Luckily Biff is a whiz at lying and cheating -- which helps get his divine pal and him out of more than one jam. And while Josh's great deeds and mission of peace will ultimately change the world, Biff is no slouch himself, blessing humanity with enduring contributions of his own, like sarcasm and café latte. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior's pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there's no one who loves Josh more -- except maybe "Maggie," Mary of Magdala -- and Biff isn't about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.

Lamb is the crowning achievement of Christopher Moore's storied career: fresh, wild, audacious, divinely hilarious, yet heartfelt, poignant, and alive, with a surprising reverence. Let there be rejoicing unto the world! Christopher Moore is come -- to bring truth, light, and big yuks to fans old and new with the Greatest Story Never Told!

Do you want to laugh out loud? I did…from page one. This book was completely unique. Biff was Joshua’s (Jesus) best friend. He is called back from the dead 200o years after Christ’s death to write another Gospel as he saw things. The story follows Biff and Joshua as they set out to find the 3 wisemen who appeared at Joshua’s birth to help him understand how to become the Messiah. (He’s having a little trouble). I simply couldn’t believe some of the situations and thing that happened to these two. It was too funny. To imagine these things happening to Jesus and his friend? At one point they sneak out at night (typical teenage stuff) to chop off the penis of a stone statue since it’s “against” their religion. Typical teenage rebellion but it isn’t!

I wish I still had this book with me but it was too good to hold onto. I needed to pass it on. If I did still have it I could share more of the hilarious scenes from it. This one simply needs to be read. At the end Moore gives a little afterward and says if you found the book offensive you need to pray more. I thought it was a good point. The book isn’t meant to be offensive or make fun of anything. It’s simply one man’s interpretation of events that there is very little documentation for, he just happened to put an amusing spin on it. I think its good to laugh.

Playing Editor (BTT)

Suggested by John :

How about a chance to play editor-in-chief? Fill in the blanks:

__________ would have been a much better book if __________.

Alright, lets see...

WHITE OLEANDER would have been a much better book if IT WOULD HAVE HAD 200 HUNDRED LESS PAGES!


LAST BOOK OF THE DARK TOWER SERIES BY STEPHEN KING would have been a much better book IF SOMEONE WOULD NOT HAVE GIVEN AWAY THE ENDING ON THEIR BLOG (SPOILER). I was soooooooooooooo mad. I had spent years reading that series and in one sentence it was undone! If I could have crawled through the screen and choked that person I would have. No warnings any where. The book had just been released--I should have known better.

OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA would have been a much better book IF HE DIDN'T TALK SO MUCH ABOUT CORN. Chapters and chapters about corn. I couldn't each corn for a month.

This was fun this week. I'm going to see if I can think of anymore.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Book Review: The Burn Journals

Author: Brent Runyon

Pages: 319

Genre: Non-Fiction/Memior

Personal Rating: 5/5

From the back cover:

In 1991, fourteen-year-old Brent Runyon came home from school, doused his bathrobe in gasoline, put it on, and lit a match.

He suffered third-degree burns over 85% of his body and spent the next year recovering in hospitals and rehab facilities. During that year of physical recovery, Runyon began to question what he'd done, undertaking the complicated journey from near-death back to high school, and from suicide back to the emotional mainstream of life.

In the tradition of Running with Scissors and Girl, Interrupted, The Burn Journals is a truly remarkable book about teenage despair and recovery.
Wow. I read this book in one day. Granted, I’m layed up with a broken foot but even so it wouldn’t have taken me long. Brent Runyon’s story is horrifically fascinating but yet not depressing.

“The Burn Jounrals describes a particular kind of youthful male desolation better than it has ever been described before, by anyone.” –Andrew Solomon author of the Noonday Demon.
That sounds about right. Brent allows you into the inner most aspects of his life and mind during the most difficult part of his life. I was embarrassed to be lying in bed feeling sorry for myself and the “pain” I felt in my ankle.

A very interesting aspect is the afterword where Brett discusses how he still struggles with depression and how he has still sometimes has had thought about killing himself (again). He goes on though to talk about how he has finally begun to realize he needs help, therapy and drug and that they are not signs of weakness or “bad things”. In reference to all those people who say “I don’t want to resort to drugs” as if some people have a choice. There is still so much ignorance about mental illness it make me sick!

I want to do this book justice with a FANTASTIC review but I just don’t know how. All I can say is that it is well worth the time to grab it and read it. You won’t be the same after reading it. I’m not.

Some things that stuck with me
  • How good ice chips taste

  • The look in the paramedic and his mom’s eyes and they took him out of the house after he lit himself on fire

  • His struggles to go outside and have people look at him

  • Joy at seeing his dog Rusty when he goes home

  • He didn’t know why he did it

Non-Fiction Five Challenge

Read 5 non-fiction books during the months of May - September, 2008 (please link your reviews on Mister Linky)

Read at least one non-fiction book that is different from your other choices (i.e.: 4 memoirs and 1 self-help)

  1. The $64 Tomato (William Alexander)
  2. The Family That Couldn't Sleep (D. T. Max)
  3. The Republican War on Science (Chris Mooney)
  4. Parasite Rex (Carl Zimmer)
  5. Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood. (Julie Gregory)

  • Evolutionary Wars: A Three-Billion-Year Arms Race (Charles Levy)
  • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbably(Nassim Nicholas Taleb)
  • Go Ask Ogre: Letters from a Deathrock Cutter (Jolene Siana)
    • Non-Fiction Five Challenge hosted by Joy at Thoughts of Joy

      Tuesday, March 11, 2008

      Book Review: Red Prophet (Tales of Alvin Maker II)

      Author: Orson Scott Card

      Pages: 320

      Genre: Fiction/Sci Fi. & Fantasy/Epic/Series

      Personal Rating: 2.5/5

      From the back cover:

      It's the 19th century, and Napoleon is in command of an army in Detroit. Andrew Jackson is a lawyer from Tenezzy, and William Henry Harrison is the self-appointed governor of Wobbish just east of the Mizzipy River. And somewhere up north, in a small town called Vigor Church, is a young boy named Alvin who is the seventh son of a seventh son, with the power to shape the world around him. These are the tales of Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker, which takes place in an alternate American history where folk magic really works. And this is the story of the Red Prophet, where Alvin finds himself caught in a war between the Red men and the Whites on the American frontier.
      Book II from Tales of Alvin Maker was not my cup of tea. If it wasn't the second book in a series for the Series Challenge and if I had not enjoyed Book I, I probably would have stopped reading. It's not that it was a terrible story, or horribly written (quite the opposite actually). It just wasn't my thing.

      The focus of Book II is Alvin's relationship with the Red Prophet and Ta-Kumsaw (the Prophet's brother) and the impending war between the Whites and the Reds. I'm sure it is important for the foundation of the series but as a stand alone novel I found it boring. There was a lot of foreshadowing involved so I'm pretty sure you couldn't just skip this book and move on with the novel.

      There were sections I found very interesting and hope to find more sections like those in the upcoming books. Alvin using his knack for healing, references to the Torch, who pulled the caul from Calvin's face when he was born. The prophet's visions of Alvin's future with the crystal towers were all topics i found interesting and wished were covered in more detailed.

      I wouldn't abandon the series based on this book alone. It seems that many people really enjoyed book II. I'm however ready to move onto Book III.

      Monday, March 10, 2008

      New Additions to "The Library"

      • Messenger: Lois Lowry
      • We Thought You Would Be Prettier: Laurie Notaro
      • The Club Dumas: Arturo Perez-Reverte
      • Ender's Game: Orson Scott Card
      • Daniel Isn't Talking: Marti Leimbach
      • The Birth of Venus: Sarah Dunant

      Sunday, March 9, 2008

      Book Review: Flowers for Algernon

      Author: Daniel Keyes

      Pages: 311

      Genre: Fiction/Sci Fi. & Fantasy

      Personal Rating: 4/5

      Awards: Nebula & Hugo

      From the back cover:

      Charlie Gordon is about to embark upon an unprecedented journey. Born with an unusually low IQ, he has been chosen as the perfect subject for an experimental surgery that researchers hope will increase his intelligence-a procedure that has already been highly successful when tested on a lab mouse named Algernon.

      As the treatment takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment appears to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance, until Algernon suddenly deteriorates. Will the same happen to Charlie?

      What a unique and interesting book! This story follows Charlie, a mentally retarded 30 something who has an operation performed (on his brain) to increase his intelligence. Most of the story is related through Charlie's progress reports as he sees events unfolding.

      As Charlie's intelligence increases, so does his memory. He begins to remember his childhood and how he came to be "abandoned" by his family and to understand why he has sexual issues. He also starts to questions the friends he used to have since they used to laugh at him and make him do silly things (since he didn't know better). This part of the story is sad. The realization of how we/some treat mentally retarded individuals.

      This book opens up so many ethical and moral questions related to experimentation, the betterment of society and the worth of an individual. Who determines that worth?

      If you haven't read this one I would definitely add it to your list!
      Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
      Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...