Monday, June 30, 2008

Book Review: A Piece of Cake

Author: Cupcake Brown

Pages: 470

Genre: Non-Fiction/Autobiography

Personal Rating: 5/5

From the back cover:
There are shelves of memoirs about overcoming the death of a parent, childhood abuse, rape, drug addiction, miscarriage, alcoholism, hustling, gangbanging, near-death injuries, drug dealing, prostitution, or homelessness.

Cupcake Brown survived all these things before she’d even turned twenty.

And that’s when things got interesting….

You have in your hands the strange, heart-wrenching, and exhilarating tale of a woman named Cupcake. It begins as the story of a girl orphaned twice over, once by the death of her mother and then again by a child welfare system that separated her from her stepfather and put her into the hands of an epically sadistic foster parent. But there comes a point in her preteen years—maybe it’s the night she first tries to run away and is exposed to drugs, alcohol, and sex all at once—when Cupcake’s story shifts from a tear-jerking tragedy to a dark comic blues opera. As Cupcake’s troubles grow, so do her voice and spirit. Her gut-punch sense of humor and eye for the absurd, along with her outsized will, carry her through a fateful series of events that could easily have left her dead.

Young Cupcake learned to survive by turning tricks, downing hard liquor, partying like a rock star, and ingesting every drug she could find while hitchhiking up and down the California coast. She stumbled into gangbanging, drug dealing, hustling, prostitution, theft, and, eventually, the best scam of all: a series of 9-to-5 jobs. But Cupcake’s unlikely tour through the cubicle world was paralleled by a quickening descent into the nightmare of crack cocaine use, till she eventually found herself living behind a Dumpster.

Astonishingly, she turned it around. With the help of a cobbled together family of eccentric fellow addicts and “angels”—a series of friends and strangers who came to her aid at pivotal moments—she slowly transformed her life from the inside out.

A Piece of Cake is unlike any memoir you’ll ever read. Moving and almost transgressive in its frankness, it is a relentlessly gripping tale of a resilient spirit who took on the worst of contemporary urban life and survived it with a furious wit and unyielding determination. Cupcake Brown is a dynamic and utterly original storyteller who will guide you on the most satisfying, startlingly funny, and genuinely affecting tour through hell you’ll ever take.
I couldn't believe this was a true story by the time it I was finished. It was simply too horrific at times to have actually happened. This girl should be dead, she should be imprisoned...but she isn't...she is a lawyer and a functional member of society!

This is one eye opening look into our failing foster care system and how easy it for children and simply people in general to fall between the cracks. At the same time however, it is also a story about "making it" and picking yourself up and being somebody.

This book gave me perspective and what it really means to have hard times and be down. It also refocused me on what CAN be accomplished with hard work, dedication and determination.

I have never done this before but I am going to contact Cupcake Brown and just let her know what an impact her book had on me.

Sometimes I (we) think we have it bad, and sometimes we do. Usually we don't. This book really allowed me to set my priorities straight and appreciate how good I really do have it, even with the problems I do have.

I believe that this is such a good book that I would like to give it to someone. If you are interested in this book please leave me a note in the comments. I'll randomly pick someone in one week to mail it to.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer ReadingThing 2008

Summer Reading Thing 2008
Who: The Summer Reading Thing 2008 (or SRT 08) is for anyone who’s up for a reading challenge. All age groups are welcome.

What: A summer reading challenge for everyone. Set your goals and track your progress. No goal is too small; no ambition too great. Feeling overwhelmed? Make your list small or use the same list from any other reading challenge (like this one).

Make changes to your list as needed as desired. Finish early? Add more books (or
not). Change your mind on a title? Drop it. No pressure, no minimums.

Post a short review on your blog of at least one of the books you read during the challenge. If you like to do reviews, you can post one for each of the books you read. Please keep the reviews family friendly. I'll set up a Mr. Linky where you can link to your reviews. (Don't have a blog? Keep reading.)

When: Friday, June 2oth through Sunday, September 21st, 2008.

Where: The blogosphere. Join up using this Mr. Linky. Post your summer reading list on your blog and backlink here. If you don't have a blog, you can use the one I created last year for this very purpose. Simply e-mail your list and reviews to her and she'll post and link you up, making you eligible for prizes.

Why: To promote literacy around the world. Yeh, right. Because we need a reason not to feel guilty when we choose to read instead of mop the floor.

How: Make your list and post it on your blog. Then link to your post using the sign-up Mr. Linky. As you read your books, post a review on your blog and link to the review post using the review Mr. Linky. At the end of the challenge, post a wrap-up and link to the wrap-up Mr. Linky (coming in September).

Prizes: Prizes will be books (new or gently read) or book related items. (If you're an author or publisher and you want to provide a prize, send me an e-mail.) I'll give away one prize each week. To be eligible for prizes, you must have signed up on the Mr. Linky here. Beginning July 20th, you must also have posted one review using the Mr. Linky here. Due to shipping costs, you must live in the U.S. or Canada to win a prize. (Sorry.)

Spread the word: Let your blog readers know about SRT 08 so they can join the fun with you! Grab the button and use it on your blog. The larger image (top of post) is 400 px. The smaller image (below) is 220 px and will fit the standard Blogger sidebar. The image in my sidebar is 185px, for smaller sidebars, like mine. Please link your button back to this post.

Note: You can join Summer Reading Thing 2008 at any time.

My Reading List

1. Decipher: Stel Pavlou 7.7.08

2. Ella Minnow Pea: Mark Dunn 7.9.08

3. Alvin Journeyman: Orson Scott Card

4. Harry Potter II: J. K. Rowling

5. Stargirl: Jerry Spinelli

6. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier: Ishmael Beah 7.22.08

7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Mark Haddon 8.14.08

8. The Thieves of Heaven: Richard Doetsch7/08

9. The Phantom Tollbooth: Norton Juster

10. Pig Island: Mo Hayder 7.15.08

11. The Republican War on Science: Chris Mooney

12. Murder on the Orient Express: Agatha Christie 7.12.08

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Pages: 487

Genre: Fiction

Personal Rating: 5/5

From the back cover:
Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals from its war wounds, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julian Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets—an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.
This book was awesome! I had been wanting to read it for awhile now, and finally got around to it. It was worth the wait. Not only is it well written, but the story is engrossing. I stayed up until four one morning to finish it. I got hooked and couldn't bear to not know what happened. The main character Daniel is lovable, though he does has his faults and he is surrounded by many people all with very different personalities. They mesh together wonderfully. The action starts immediately and keeps moving until the very last page.

You can't help but to like this book. I will defintely be adding more books by Zafon to my reading list

Also Reviewed By:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Book Review: The $64 Tomato

Author: William Alexander

Pages: 265

Genre: Non Fiction/Memoir

Personal Rating: 3/5

From the back cover:
Bill Alexander had no idea that his simple dream of having a vegetable garden and small orchard in his backyard would lead him into life-and-death battles with groundhogs, webworms, weeds, and weather; midnight expeditions in the dead of winter to dig up fresh thyme; and skirmishes with neighbors who feed the vermin (i.e., deer). Not to mention the vacations that had to be planned around the harvest, the near electrocution of the tree man, the limitations of his own middle-aged body, and the pity of his wife and kids.

When Alexander runs (just for fun!) a cost-benefit analysis, adding up everything from the live animal trap to the Velcro tomato wraps and then amortizing it over the life of his garden, it comes as quite a shock to learn that it cost him a staggering $64 to grow each one of his beloved Brandywine tomatoes. But as any gardener will tell you, you can't put a price on the unparalleled pleasures of providing fresh food for your family.
I waited a long time for this book. I had it on my wishlist at paperback swap. I was number 1 (finally) and then somehow accidentally moved it to my reminder list and got shifted to spot 24. So I waited some more. Perhaps that explains my disappointment with this book. Or maybe reading about someone gardening just isn't is funny as or as entertaining as I thought it would be. The book had its moments and it was decent overall, I was just expecting something far greater. I'd heard raves about this book. It came recommended from so many different people had to be good. It was fair. It was a decent book. That's it. Just OK, not bad, not great, just OK. The best part of the book to me is still the review on the front cover from the New York Times Book Review "Gardening as Extreme Sport." I will also say the the section of Superchuck the groundhog is pretty funny. This book just didn't do it for me, it may do it for you. I wouldn't say stay away from it, it just wasn't all I was hoping it would be.

Clubbing (BTT)

A combo of two suggestions by: Heidi and by litlove

Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose (ot, if you haven’t been, what do you think is the best way to choose) the next book and who would lead discussion?

Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will? Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?

Yes, I've been a member of a book club. Our motto..."It's all about the food." That should probably tell you about how in depth we go into discussing our books. It didn't start out that way. I promise. No matter how good our intentions were, it always came back to the food (having a lot of it--and it being sooo good!). We all teach together so naturally this was also a time for us to socialize since we didn't have time at work. So our book club morphed into eat and socialize together. Whoever is hosting the next book club gets to pick the book and we basically talk about if we liked it or not. Nothing major or in depth. Very casual. It works for us. I like having other people pick books as it gives me a chance to read books I normally wouldn't pick up for myself. We meet every 3 months or so. This also relieves the pressure of having to finish up a certain book by a certain date. One of us might buy it and pass it around or it gives us time to get it from the library.

I've often wondered what a more "formal" book club would be like. I'm looking forward to reading some other posts.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Book Review: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone

Author: J. K. Rowling

Pages: 309

Genre: Fiction/YA/Children

Personal Rating: 4/5

Awards: Winner of the National Book Award (UK), Winner of the Gold Medal Smarties Prize (UK), Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1998, School Library Journal Best Book of 1998, Parenting Book of the Year Award 1998, New York Public Library Best Book of the Year 1998, An ALA Notable Book, FCBG (Federation of Children's Books Group) Children's Book Award 1997, Birmingham Cable Children's Book Award 1997, Young Telegraph Paperback of the Year, British Book Awards' Children's Book of the Year, Sheffield Children's Book Award, Anne Spencer Lindbergh Prize, Sorcieres Prix 1998, Premio Cento per la Letteratura Infantile 1998, Booklist Best Book of the Year 1998, Booklist Editor's Choice 1998, Whitaker's Platinum Book Award 2001

From the back cover:

Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a cloak of invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him...if Harry can survive the encounter.
What an absolutely fun read. I can see why kids love this series. If I was a kid I would be reading it over and over again. I'm a little embarrassed to admit I'm looking forward to picking up book II (Chamber of Secrets). Rowling has a wonderful imagination. I was constantly amazed at what she thought of and was always looking forward to what she would think of next. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series just to see how creative she gets. To have such an imagination must be amazing! I'll admit I was a little apprehensive about picking up Harry Potter. Worried it wouldn't live up to all the "hub bub". Needless worry. It was a fast, fun, delightful read.

The basics of book 1 is that Harry doesn't know he is a wizard. He is stuck living with his aunt, uncle and cousin, who are referred to as Muggles (people who can't do magic). On his 11th birthday Harry learns he is a wizard, how his parents died and he is sent of to the Hogwarts school to learn how to be a wizard. At Hogwarts Harry gets his first owl and learns to fly his broomstick. He is the seeker on the Quidditch team (a combination of soccer and basketball played with many different sized balls on broomstick) and takes classes called herbology, history of magic, charms, transfigurations and defense against the dark arts. He makes friends makes, some enemies and learns of a plan to steal the sorcerer's stone. All through the story there are these wonderful little snippets that are just wonderful. For example, in pictures, the people don't stay put, they move around. So you can look at a picture and the people might not be in it, or they may be moving around.

If you've been avoiding this series or unsure about it give it a try. I was unsure and I'm glad I gave it chance. I'm looking forward to finishing off the series over time.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to link to your review please let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What Book Am I?

You're Lolita!

by Vladimir Nabokov

Considered by most to be depraved and immoral, you are obsessed with sex. What really tantalizes you is that which deviates from societal standards in every way, though you admit that this probably isn't the best and you're not sure what causes this desire. Nonetheless, you've done some pretty nefarious things in your life, and probably gotten caught for them. The names have been changed, but the problems are real.
Please stay away from children.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Really??? How interesting.

A Daring Book Challenge

Callista is hosting a challenge which uses books found in The Daring Book for Girls.

A Daring Book Challenge

June 15 2008 - June 15 2009

  1. Read one book from each category from June 15/08 to February 15/09 (6 books in 8 months)

  2. Read any 9 books from the list from June 15/08 to June 15/09 (9 books in 12 months)

  3. Read one whole series from this list starting June 15/08. If it contains up to 10 books, by June 15/09, if 20-30 books, by June 15/11 and for the Trixie Belden series and Nancy Drew series by June 15/12.

  4. PLUS----Want to work on reading them all? It's an ongoing challenge so take all the time you need. You can do this and still do one of the above.

A few more general guidelines for the challenge:
  • Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.

  • Audiobooks are allowed.

  • For the ongoing challenge, books you've read in the past count, you don't have to re-read them.

  • For the first 3 tracts, all books read must be read AFTER June 15/08. I'm choosing option 2--any 9 books in 12 months.

I'm doing option 2--choose any 9 books to read over 1 year

My List

  1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

  2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

  3. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

  4. Magical Melons by Carol Ryrie Brink

  5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

  6. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

  7. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (series of 7 books)--I just read book I, so I'm planning on reading a few more

  8. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (series of 7 books)--I just read book I, so I'm planning on reading a few more

  9. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sunday Salon # 8 Monday Morning Style

I finished teaching on Thursday. One thing I've noticed is that when you don't need to go to work your days tend to blend together. So last night as I was falling asleep I realized "ahh! It is Sunday. I need to write my Sunday Salon. But I was nearly asleep so decided it could wait until this morning. I love summer vacation. I get a lot of reading done, I relax, I spend time outside. I do all those things I don't seem to have time for when I'm teaching.

I finally finished up Parasite Rex. Overall I enjoyed it. I decided it is a book you should read in small chunks over a long period of time. (review here). I also read The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. Excellent! Highly recommend this book to everyone. I'm not really into "war" stories, this book is different. (review here). The last book I read was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I figured I couldn't call myself much of a reader if I didn't give this series a whirl. I hadn't been avoiding it, I just hadn't gotten around to it. It was a fun read. I'll review it soon.

I figured out why I haven't written my review for Bel Canto yet. I'm worried I won't be able to convey how good the book was. It was one of the best I've read. Maybe ever. I know I'm not a strong enough writer to convey that so I just keep putting off the review.


The Awakening: by Kate Chopin. I have to admit. I'm not very excited to be picking up this book. I'm doing it for a challenge and I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised. I've only read 12 pages so far, I literally just started it and so far it is well written. I'm not far enough along yet to tell if I like the plot. Any word of encouragement would be appreciated. I know there are a lot of fans so hopefully I'll end up liking it too.


Ozma of Oz, the third book in the Oz series. Ozma is a little girl who ends up being the heir to the throne of Oz. She took back the throne in book 2. Right now Dorothy, the scarecrow, tinman, lion, Ozma and a few new characters, Tiktok (a windup copperman) and Billia (a hen) are getting reading to rescue the queen of Ev and her ten children from the Nome King.

WHAT I BOUGHT THIS WEEK (what showed up from PaperBack Swap)

  • Shantaram: Gregory Roberts
  • Genesis Alpha: Rune Michaels
  • Those Who Save Us: Jenna Blum


  • A-Z Reading Challenge (28/52)
  • Series Challenge (3/6)
  • Cardathon Challenge (3/6)
  • Spring Reading Thing 2008 (8/9 but with 6 alternates completed)
  • 1% Well Read Challenge (2/10)
  • Historical Reading Challenge (1/6 but with 3 alternates completed)
  • Whats in A Name Challenge (4/6)
  • Orbis Terrarum (6/9 but with 2 alternates completed)
  • Themed Reading Challenged (3/4)
  • Non Fiction Five (1/5)
  • 342,745, Ways to Herd Cats Challenge (0/3)
  • Young Adult Challenge (11/12)
  • Decades Challenge (5/8)
  • Notable Book Challenge (1/3 but with 1 alternate completed)
  • 19th Century Women Writers Challenge (0/4)
  • In Their Shoes (1/6 but with 2 alternates completed)
  • Suspense and Thriller Challenge (3/12)
  • Orange Prize Project--Completed
  • Chunkster--Completed
  • Book Binge--Completed
  • Eponymous--Completed
  • Spring Reading Challenge--Completed
  • Banned Book Challenge--Completed
  • Book Awards Reading Challenge--Completed

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Book Review: Parasite Rex

Author: Carl Zimmer

Pages: 245

Genre: Non Fiction/Science

Personal Rating: 3/5

From the back cover:

IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE parasites control the minds of their hosts, sending them to their destruction.

IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE parasites are masters of chemical warfare and camouflage, able to cloak themselves with their hosts' own molecules.

IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE parasites steer the course of evolution, where the majority of species are parasites.


For centuries, parasites have lived in nightmares, horror stories, and in the darkest shadows of science. Yet these creatures are among the world's most successful and sophisticated organisms. In Parasite Rex, Carl Zimmer deftly balances the scientific and the disgusting as he takes readers on a fantastic voyage. Traveling from the steamy jungles of Costa Rica to the fetid parasite haven of southern Sudan, Zimmer graphically brings to life how parasites can change DNA, rewire the brain, make men more distrustful and women more outgoing, and turn hosts into the living dead.

This thorough, gracefully written book brings parasites out into the open and uncovers what they can teach us about the most fundamental survival tactics in the universe.
I'm torn with how to write the review for this book. One one hand I really loved it, on the other hand sometimes it bored me to tears. The book was incredibly fascinating, in small doses. Zimmer has a knack for writing so that you can easily understand what he is saying. BUT, I have a background in science. I teach biology. I am naturally interested in his subject matter and have prior knowledge on a lot of what he was writing about (especially details about how the immune system works). I'm not sure how much someone without a science background would would struggle to enjoy the book having to first understand all the science in it. I think that as long as you realize that you may need to do a little work to understand this book go ahead and pick it up. Plan to read it in short segments over a long period of time. There are only so many parasitic infections you can take at one time. If you are easily grossed out, squeamish, don't like worms, or enjoy science leave this book for someone else.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to link to your review please let me know in the comments!

Book Review: When We Were Gods

Author: Colin Falconer

Pages: 494

Genre: Fiction

Personal Rating: 3/5

From the back cover:
Arrestingly beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Cleopatra VII of Egypt was barely more than a teenager when she inherited the richest empire in the world--one that stretched from the scorching deserts of lower Egypt to the shining Mediterranean metropolis of Alexandria, with its famed libraries, storehouses, and treasuries. Imperiled at every turn by court conspiracies and Roman treachery, the young queen was forced to flee Alexandria and live in exile while a foreign army overran her city and her own siblings plotted her downfall. With nothing to lose, Cleopatra brazenly sought a partnership with the only man who could secure Egypt's safety: Julius Caesar, a wily politician and battle-hardened general with a weakness for women. The result was a passionate love affair that scandalized Rome and thrust Cleopatra into the glittering but deadly world of imperial intrigue and warfare-- a world that she would mesmerize and manipulate even after Caesar was gone.

At the height of her power and fame, Cleopatra fell in love with Caesar's protégé and successor, Marc Antony, a handsome general known as much for his drunken hedonism as for his victories in battle. Brash, irresistible, and fatally unreliable, Antony's once-strong hold on the Roman Empire was slipping fast, and with it slipped Cleopatra's fortunes. When the tide had finally, irrevocably turned against her, the proud queen plotted a last, spectacular maneuver that was to save her children, her empire, and her place in the pantheon of gods.

Colin Falconer's bold, sensuous prose takes the reader inside the walls of Alexandria's great palaces and into Cleopatra's very heart, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman who thrived and triumphed in a world ruled by men. This is the story of a legendary woman's most glorious time, a story that blazes through thousands of years of history to capture the imagination of readers today.
This novel was OK. It was well written and interesting. I did not know much about the history of Cleopatra so I did find it informative (realizing that the autor I'm sure took liberties to make the story more exciting). After awhile it just became very repetitive, which maybe her story was. Cleopatra gets it trouble, she gets out of it, barely...only to find herself in trouble again. Until finally she found herself in trouble she could not get out of. The end.

The book did give excellent glimspse into life of the royal court of Egypt. To have such wealth at your fingertips...unimaginable. It also portrayed Cleopatra as a very intelligent woman, she spoke 9 languages and stay up late into the night running the country often outwitting the "smartest" men in country or in the world.

Decent read, just not as good as I was expecting. Perhaps because I had just came off some awesome reads (Uglies, Blind Assassin, Bel Canto). If you enjoy historical fiction, Egypt or Cleopatra I'd say give it a whirl.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to link to your review please let me know in the comments!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Book Review: The Things They Carried

Author: Tim O'Brien

Pages: 246

Genre: Fiction

Personal Rating: 5/5

From the back cover:
They carried malaria tablets, love letters, 28-pound mine detectors, dope, illustrated Bibles, each other. And, if they made it home alive, they carried unrelenting images of a nightmarish war that history is only beginning to absorb. Since it was first published, The Things They Carried has become an unparalleled Vietnam testament, a classic work of American literature and a profound study of men at war that illuminates the capacity, and the limits, of the human heart and soul.
I read this book in one sitting. It was that good. I started this afternoon and finished this evening. It is fiction, but it makes you wonder how much of it is actually true. I haven't researched O'Brien or read any of his other works so I don't know if he actually served in Vietnam. I was enthralled by this book, by the stories he told. For a few hours I had a small glimpse into what it may have been like at some points in time, for some men in Vietnam. The capacity for horror, love and coping that O'Brien is able to convey is amazing. I'm considering picking up some of his other books to see if they are as good as this one.

O'Brien writes about how he considered fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. Here is a paragraph that I really liked
My hometown was a conservative little spot on the prairie, a place where tradition counted, and it was easy to imagine people sitting around a table down at the old Gobbler Cafe on Main Street, coffee cups poised, the conversation slowly zeroing in on the young O'Brien kid, how the damned sissy had taken off for Canada. At night, when I couldn't sleep, I'd sometimes carry on fierce arguments with those people. I'd be screaming at them, telling them how much I detested their blind, thoughtless, automatic acquiescence to it all, their simpleminded patriotism, their prideful ignorance, their love-it-or-leave-it platitudes, how they were sending me off to fight a war they didn't understand and didn't want to understand. I held them responsible. By God, yes, I did. All of them--I held them personally and individually responsible--the polyestered Kiwanis boys, the merchants and farmers, the pious churchgoers, the chatty housewives, the PTA, and the Lions club and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the fine upstanding gentry out at the country club. They didn't know the Bao Dai from the man in the moon. They didn't know history. They didn't know the first thing about Diem's tyranny, or the nature of Vietnamese nationalism, or the long colonialism or the French--this was all too damned complicated, it required some reading--but no matter, it was a war to stop the Communists, plain and simple, which was how they liked things, and you were a treasonous pussy if you had second thoughts about killing or dying for plain and simple reasons.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to link to your review please let me know in the comments!

Book Binge is Over

Well, it actually was over May 31st. I'm a little late posting my wrap up.
  1. The Blind Assassin: Margaret Atwood
  2. Uglies: Scott Westerfeld
  3. Magic Study: Maria Snyder
  4. I, Mona Lisa: Jeanne Kalogridis
  5. When We Were Gods a Novel of Cleopatra: Colin Falconer (review coming soon)
  6. Parasite Rex (171/245--been slowly reading throughout May, didn't quite get it finished)

My favorite from these was Uglies. I'm happy to say I enjoyed them all and there are none that I would list as not liking.

Friday Fill In

1. Idle hands are probably earning a much needed rest.

2. I love turning on the cold water on a hot day in the shower.

3. My favorite time of the day is when you slip right under the covers and your head first touches the pillow and your body just relaxes.

4. The last tea I drank was hot?

5. I like to travel in the Summer.

6. My mother always said that if I kept making that face it was going to freeze that way.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to hiding from the humidity, tomorrow my plans include finally starting my garden and Sunday, I want to visit my friend!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday Salon # 7

Going back to teaching (finally) and a broken laptop meant less blogging and reading for me the past few weeks. I still managed to read a few books and post a few reviews. School is out in four days and then I'm free until August!!! I finished reading Magic Study by Maria Snyder, I Mona Lisa by Jeanne Kalogridis and When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra by Colin Falconer. I was able to review Magic Study and I, Mona Lisa.

Notice I still need to write my reviews for Bel Canto and both Oz books. I'll get to it eventually.


Parasite Rex: Carl Zimmer. On page 171/245. I still find this pretty interesting but I need to change my recommendation for everyone else. Even I am getting pretty sick of reading about parasites. There is only so much you can take. This book should probably be read in small chunks and not all in one dose. It is also more scientifically detailed than I originally thought. I think a layperson may find themselves lost after a few pages. I'm not sure though. To me everything seems very clear. I'm familiar with it. To someone who isn't one on one with biology all the time it may be a little more difficult to read. In small chunks and with some determination I think most people who pick up this book will find it fascinating. just note it won't be a walk in the park to get to the end.

The Things They Carried: Tim O'Brien. I'll be cracking this open after I finish this post.


The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton

I blogged about this in my last Sunday Salon. Still enjoying it. Is it bad that I use this guys voice to help lull me to sleep?

I also started Ozma of Oz, the third book in the Oz series.

WHAT I BOUGHT THIS WEEK (what showed up from PaperBack Swap)

  • The Perfect Royal Mistress by Diane Haeger
  • Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
  • The Ottoman Cage by Barbara Nadel

Magic Study gave me a check mark for
  • "S" author for A - Z Reading Challenge
  • Spring Reading Thing 2008
When We Were Gods gave me a check for

  • "F" author for A - Z Reading Challenge
  • Spring Reading Thing 2008
  • Book Around the World Challenge
  • Orbis Terrarum
  • Historical Reading Challenge

I, Mona Lisa gave me a check for

  • "I" Title for A - Z Reading Challenge
  • Book Around the World Challenge
  • Orbis Terrarum
  • Spring Reading Thing 2008
  • Historical Reading Challenge
Book Binge finished the end of May. Here are my completed books.

  1. The Blind Assassin: Margaret Atwood
  2. Uglies: Scott Westerfeld
  3. Magic Study: Maria Snyder
  4. I, Mona Lisa: Jeanne Kalogridis
  5. When We Were Gods a Novel of Cleopatra: Colin Falconer
  6. Parasite Rex (171/245)
I joined the Book Awards Reading Challenged II and the Classics Challenge.

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