"And to this purpose"

"If people like to read their books, it is all very well, but to be at so much trouble in filling great volumes, which, as I used to think, nobody would willingly ever look into, to be labouring only for the torment of little boys and girls, always struck me as a hard fate; and though I know it is all very right and necessary, I have often wondered at the person's courage that could sit down on purpose to do it." (In other words: rambling analyses, opinions, ideas, views, and comments from an English major, Essay/paper-writing enthusiastic, Austen-loving Master Librarian on, well, Jane Austen...and a whole lot of other things, too.)

"Celebrated Passages are Quoted"

Heidi's favorite quotes


"What is it really like to be engaged?" asked Anne curiously. "Well, that all depends on who you're engaged to," answered Diana, with that maddening air of superior wisdom always assumed by those who are engaged over those who are not."— L.M. Montgomery

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hunger Games Trilogy Answers - Part 1

Hunger Games

1. What do you think is the cruelest part of the Hunger Games?

I think the cruelest part is that citizens of Panem are required to watch as the kids hunt and kill each other.

2. Do you see any parallels between the Games and the society that condones them, and other related events and cultures in the history of the world?

You know, I did at the time I was reading the book. But now I cannot think of an exact example. Sorry! Anyone else??

3. What aspects of our popular culture (like Reality TV) do you see reflected in this story?

Well, as mentioned, Reality TV. How much is staged, how much is real—and how many people actually like to watch it?! ick.

There's also that whole glamorize to please an audience. Very Hollywood.

4. Do you think Katniss did the right thing to fight for the equipment?

Well, I thought it was quite helpful that she had something rather than nothing. But the fight to get there? It is hard for me to justify that. I can’t think of the word that describes this selfish, ravenous beast-like behavior that so many of the tributes switched over to, but it is something that is scary while also being repulsive and disgusting.

It makes me wonder how much of that behavior comes from the idea driven into them that they must survive. What would I do? The idea of harming let alone killing someone is so appalling. But would I really be so desperate to stay alive that I would hurt someone? Or would my pacifist tendencies result in me just allowing myself to be killed? The whole scenario is very thought-provoking for me, as far as wondering what I would do.

Some would say that this is a bit extreme to contemplate what I would do. Perhaps. But think on other situations that were real. Like Hurricane Katrina. How vastly different so many acted, and a lot of those actions were not Christlike in any way. When survival kicks in, who am I and what am I willing or unwilling to do?

5. When did you realize/believe that Peeta’s feelings for Katniss were real, and how did you feel about his feelings for her?

I thought Peeta’s feelings for Katniss were real from the moment he declared them. I thought it was believable that he could have admired her from a distance for so long—and the bread instance really stuck with me. The whole “playing to the audience’s sympathy” ploy didn’t deter me one bit. I figured Peeta just let Haymitch use his truth. Besides—it helped stretch out the story more!

I loved that he had those feelings, but got so mad at her for not really seeing him and those feelings for what they were. For taking him so for granted in many ways. Maybe because I was rather taken with him already and have a thing about wanting a guy to think of and feel for me as Peeta did for Katniss. Am I terrible and predictable and silly? Don’t answer—I know I am.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hungry for Some Hunger Games?

I know. It took me forever to get these up. I was so eager to discuss this trilogy, and I'm already forgetting parts of the books! This only happens because I'm reading so much and so quickly. But I'm hoping you all will help me out here.

If you don't see any thing you want to discuss, by all means please add on. These are just a few things that I thought would be interesting to discuss. I'll give you a few days (of course, with my timing, who knows how much "few" means these days) to think things out, and then I'll begin answering a couple at a time.

Hunger Games

1. What do you think is the cruelest part of the Hunger Games?

2. Do you see any parallels between the Games and the society that condones them, and other related events and cultures in the history of the world?

3. What aspects of our popular culture (like Reality TV) do you see reflected in this story?

4. Do you think Katniss did the right thing to fight for the equipment?

5. When did you realize/believe that Peeta’s feelings for Katniss were real, and how did you feel about his feelings for her?

Catching Fire

1. What did you think about Gale and Katniss’ relationship after the games?

2. As you read, what did you think Katniss’ feelings were toward Peeta? Gale?

3. What were you thinking/feeling when President Snow was in her house?

4. What did you think about the Victory Tour?

5. Did you figure out Plutarch’s part?

6. What were your thoughts about the ending?

Mockingjay

1. What did you think about District 13? Did you have any idea about it?

2. Did you agree with Katniss becoming the Mockingjay?

3. What did you think of the “Peeta development?”

4. What did you think of Katniss and Gale’s relationship?

5. Did you have any kind of hope in this book, and what was it for?

6. What do you think really happened with the children near the end?

7. How did you feel about the way things ended up?

Trilogy

1. How is the society of Panem like others you have seen in movies or read in books?

2. How did you feel about Katniss’ self-image throughout the trilogy?

3. Overall thoughts and feelings about the actions and directions Katniss’ relationships were with the competing males?

4. What would you have done the same or differently as various characters in the books? (Pick whatever character and situations you want to discuss here.)

5. Favorite part(s)?

6. Least favorite part(s)?

Character Thoughts

Katniss

Peeta

Gale

Haymitch

Primrose

Beetee

Finnick

Johanna

Rue

Mrs. Everdeen

Cinna

Coin

Monday, November 22, 2010

An Award!


I received a blog award from Christina T at Reading Extensively.

Back in May.

And she thought she was slow in passing it on! Ha ha. I've been terrible. But in all defense, I was in full swing of my new position with Summer Reading. That's a librarian term for "no other life possible."

Yet I am now able to gratefully accept this blog award.

Christina T gave me the
Kreativ(e?) Blogger Award.

The "rules"
List seven things about myself and then pass the award on to seven other bloggers.

So.

7 things.

Eek.

Well, here goes.

(Forgive me if I've mentioned these previously some where.)

1. The middle toe on my right foot is shorter than all other 9 toes.
2. I love all but 1 shade of blue, and a few shades of green. Yet I say that my favorite color is green. (Should I specify a shade when stating color preference, or ignore the shade factor and stick with the overall color that contains my favorite shade?)
3. I have naturally curly hair--and I like it. Adore it. This is a rare phenomenon in the curly-hair world.
4. I have the oddest food tastes. Many wonder if I will crave normal food when I'm pregnant.
5. One of my front teeth would not come in on its own, so the dentist had to cut the gum for it to come through. Never drooled so much in my life.
6. I can wriggle my lower eyelid.
7. I get paid to sing and dance to songs with lyrics like this:
Bananas unite!
Bananas split!
Peel bananas! Peel, peel bananas!
Go bananas! Go, go bananas!


There were no specifications as to how to award the blog, unless it is obviously stated--a blog I think is creative. But I only read so many blogs. And I've awarded some multiple awards--ddo you think they'd get tired of this?! And then some that I love to give awards to don't do awards. So, um, here goes. (I don't think I'll get all 7.)

1. The Brambler - for the showcasing of the love of the muses, and for not being a whining blogger! (From one who can be, I appreciate this a lot.)
2. Beware of Kids - because the blogger is one of the most creative people I know--her blog only shows one millionth of that creativity!
3. The Path Less Followed - if I'm right, I believe she created the background herself. She does other pretty creative things, too.
4. The Thursday Chronicles - yeah, I may be a co-writer. But the concept of the owner is pretty awesome and I think it was creative.
5. Mona's Musings - a blog about making marriage (and other relationships) better and stronger? Fabulous!!!
6. Recommend one to me!
7. Recommend another one to me!

The AKB Blog is...

on the road!!

I am taking a much-needed and well-deserved (I only say that because everyone at work said it....does that mean something?) vacation!

And who better to visit than my most, uh, loyal (is that the word I want?) AKB blog reader and AKB Book Club participator.

It's becoming a Thanksgiving tradition.

And one I love!!!

Where better to go than the home that feels like a second family, and a friend whom I love so much!?

And while we're on vacation and "have time" (ha ha ha ha!), maybe we should get better at writing on this here blog o' mine.

So much I could say. But I'm gonna cop out and announce the next destination of the AKB Book Club. Woohoo! We are moving on to the land of Panem.

Watch your step in this world as we get ready to read and discuss

The Hunger Games Trilogy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Finish that Series Challenge 2010

This is a new challenge on Royal Reviews.
There are four levels:

-- Curious – Finish 2 series.

-- Fascinated – Finish 3 series.

-- Addicted – Finish 5 series.

-- Obsessed – Finish 10 series.


My original goal: 10
I'm not setting a new goal. This one was quite lofty, considering all of the books required to read in order to finish the series. I am going to list the series that I finished, along with which books from the series I read this year in order to finish the series.

1. Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke
#3 - Inkdeath

2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (all re-reads) in chronological order
#2 - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
#3 - The Horse and His Boy
#4 - Prince Caspian
#5 - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
#6 - The Silver Chair
#7 - The Last Battle

3. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
#2 - The Subtle Knife
#3 - The Amber Spyglass

4. The Best Ever Trilogy (my name for it) by Barbara Robinson
#2 - The Best School Year Ever
#3 - The Best Halloween Ever

5. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede
#2 - Searching for Dragons
#3 - Calling on Dragons
#4 - Talking to Dragons

6. The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace
#2 - Betsy-Tacy and Tib
#3 - Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
#4 - Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
#5 - Heaven to Betsy
#6 - Betsy in Spite of Herself
#7 - Betsy Was a Junior
#8 - Betsy and Joe
#9 - Betsy and the Great World
#10 - Betsy's Wedding

7. The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter
#2 - Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
#3 - Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover
#4 - our library finally obtained the most recent book--published a couple of months ago. I'm first in line for it and it will be read by the end of the year!!

8. The Brian Saga by Gary Paulsen
#3 - Brian's Winter
#4 - Brian's Return
#5 - Brian's Hunt

9. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray
#2 - Rebel Angels
#3 - The Sweet Far Thing

10. The Emma manga series by Kaoru Mori
#1 - Emma, Volume 1
#2 - Emma, Volume 2
#3 - Emma, Volume 3
#4 - Emma, Volume 4
#5 - Emma, Volume 5
#6 - Emma, Volume 6
#7 - Emma, Volume 7
#8 - Emma, Volume 8
#9 - Emma, Volume 9
#10 - Emma, Volume 10

11. The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins
#2 - Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane
#3 - Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods
#4 - Gregor and the Marks of Secret
#5 - Gregor and the Code of Claw

12. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
#1 - The Hunger Games
#2 - Catching Fire
#3 - Mockingjay

13. Return to Labyrinth series by Jake Forbes
#4 - Return to Labyrinth, Vol. 4

Met Goal?
Yes!!!! +

The 2nd Challenge 2010

This challenge was originally on J. Kaye's Book Reviews and will now be hosted on Royal Reviews. (This is 2nd in a series or 2nd read of an author)
There are four levels:

-- Curious– Read 3 novels that are first in a series.

-- Fascinated – Read 6 novels that are first in a series.

-- Addicted – Read 12 novels that are first in a series.

-- Obsessed – Read 20 novels that are first in a series.


My original goal: Addicted
My new goal: Obsessed

  1. Thwonk by Joan Bauer (author)
  2. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls series) by Ally Carter (series & author)
  3. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane (Underland Chronicles) by Suzanne Collins (series & author)
  4. Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements (author)
  5. Beauty Sleep: A Retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" by Cameron Dokey (author)
  6. Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix (author)
  7. The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg (author)
  8. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis (series; re-read)
  9. The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick (author)
  10. The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials trilogy) by Philip Pullman (series & author)
  11. The Best School Year Ever by ("Best Ever" trilogy--my name for it) Barbara Robinson (series & author)
  12. Searching for Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles) by Patricia Wrede (series)
  13. Catching Fire (Hunger Games trilogy) by Suzanne Collins (series)
  14. The Rag and Bone Shop by Robert Cormier (author)
  15. The Princess Diaries (Princess Diaries series) by Meg Cabot (author)
  16. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (author)
  17. Jane and the Man of the Cloth (Jane Austen Mysteries) by Stephanie Barron
  18. Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle trilogy) by Libba Bray (series & author)
  19. Emma, Volume 2 (Emma, manga series) by Kaoru Mori (series & author)
  20. Betsy-Tacy and Tib (Betsy-Tacy series) by Maud Hart Lovelace (series & author)
  21. The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin (author)
And this isn't counting the 2 or 3 that I've started but have not finished, yet.
Goal Met?
Yes!!!! +

1st in a Series Challenge 2010


This challenge was originally on J. Kaye's Book Reviews and will now be hosted on Royal Reviews.

There are four levels:

-- Curious– Read 3 novels that are first in a series.

-- Fascinated – Read 6 novels that are first in a series.

-- Addicted – Read 12 novels that are first in a series.

-- Obsessed – Read 20 novels that are first in a series.


My original goal: Fascinated
My new goal: Addicted

Books Read:
  1. The Book of Three (Chronicles of Prydain) by Lloyd Alexander
  2. Redwallby (Redwall Adventures) Brian Jacques
  3. Skulduggery Pleasant(Skulduggery Pleasant) by Derek Landy
  4. The Scream Museum (P.C. Hawke Mysteries) by Paul Zindel
  5. The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (Daniel X series) by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
  6. The Hunger Games (Hunger Games trilogy) by Suzanne Collins
  7. The Princess Diaries (Princess Diaries) by Meg Cabot
  8. Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor (Jane Austen Mysteries) by Stephanie Barron
  9. Emma, Volume 1 (Emma, manga series) by Kaoru Mori
  10. Stormbreaker (Alex Rider series) by Anthony Horowitz
  11. Leviathan (Leviathan series) by Scott Westerfeld
  12. The Borrowers (Borrowers series) by Mary Norton - 1/3 of the way read
Goal met?
Almost!!!

I've been a reading maniac

Really.

And I have way too many sitting on my "Checked Out from the Library" shelf which I know I will never finish before the end of the year. I mean--we're halfway through November on Monday!!! Where did my year go!?!?

I still haven't any clue how I've managed to read as many books I have, especially considering my extreme busyness in and out of work AND my problem with print books.

(Problem = falling asleep before 1 page is read.)

45 print books. 45! (Obviously not counting the 300+ children's picture books.) Including the 63 audio, this places me at 108 books (of 100+ pages) read so far this year. That's 2 shy of last year's total. And you know I'm not done reading for the year.

So much for my goal to read less. I suppose that goal had to go out the window when I moved over to the Children's department. And with my YA Book Challenge, all those poor Juvenile Fiction titles which I should have been reading were not being read. I'm not sure if I'll do that many challenges next year. Probably just the S'n'H one. We'll see....

Anywho. The next few posts are the various challenges I have embarked on, with some updates. The updates are the levels. Since I surpassed all of my levels already, I thought I would up a few and then report. Then I'll focus the last 6 weeks of the year trying to complete the S'n'H Challenge.

AKB Book Club Friend Post

The Brambler's Answers

EC
1. Who were your favorite characters?
Favorite characters are Uncle Alec, Phebe and Mac.

2. What morals did you agree with? Disagree with?
I don't have the book in front of me, but I mostly really liked what Uncle Alec tried to teach Rose. Good health is eating well and exercising and not being self-indulgent. Serve others. Having advantages means responsibility. Etc...

3. If you were Rose, how would you have reacted to the cousins?
I think I would have responded similarly to Rose when confronted with the cousins. At first, shyness, but when getting to know them, such fun to be had!

4. How would you have felt if you were Phebe and Rose asked to adopt you?
I'm not sure. With Phebe's pride (which is what got her through what she went through), I was a little surprised she didn't feel patronized at Rose's offer. But I suppose she was starved for love, so she was able to take Rose's offer as it was given.

5. What did you think of Uncle Alec?
I LOVE Uncle Alec. A wise and wonderful man who sacrificed a lot for his nieces and nephews.

6. What is your favorite part of the book?
Too hard to choose without the book in front of me. Loved so much about it. Especially when all the cousins are together.

RiB
1. Who were your favorite characters?
Mac and Aunt Jessie and Archie and Uncle Alec.

2. After your first taste of "society," would you have been able to easily give it up?
I'm not sure how I would have reacted to "society." It sounds so fun and romantic, yet exhausting. And I don't know that I would like the reality. Doesn't sound like one would really feel good with that lifestyle.

3. Did the characters grow up like you expected them to?
I read this book when I was pretty young, so they just are who they are in my mind.

4. What is your favorite part of the book?
When Mac drops by to visit Rose "among the haycocks." Delightful visit. So friendly and fun.

5. Did anything make you swoon? :)
Mac makes me swoon. I rooted for him from the first book.

6. Would Charlie have shaped up if Rose had given in to him?
I think he would have remained weak. I agree with I think it was Uncle Alec that years of indulgence might have spoiled him. Which was too bad. He was working on it and I think making progress, but I think if Rose had done what he wanted, he would have lost his momentum.

Rose, Rose, Rose

This blog’s most loyal reader—who happened to supply the questions for our current AKB book choice(s) has beaten me to the punch. She answered the questions before I was able to get around to me. Which told me I needed to get my back side in gear and answer the questions! Her answers are posted in a comment to the post with the questions. But I am going to post them as a guest post as well.

As I embark on answering the questions for myself, I have not as yet read her answers. I’m saving that to comment on later.

Eight Cousins

1. Who were your favorite characters?
Uncle Alec and Cousin Archie. I didn’t click with Rose as much, but I figured most of that was because she was growing up under good care and supervision at last. I did like Mac a lot overall, but there were times that I was disappointed in him.

2. What morals did you agree with? Disagree with?
Goodness. I’m forgetting already which were set out as morals. Most of the morals seemed to correspond with my own. I don’t remember being affronted by anything differing from my own, though there may have been.

3. If you were Rose, how would you have reacted to the cousins?
Probably the same way at the beginning—surprised and shocked. I think I, too, would have enjoyed their company. I’m not sure if I would have aimed at being the good influence on them. I certainly didn’t try that with my own horde of brothers!

4. How would you have felt if you were Phebe and Rose asked to adopt you?
I would have felt honored while also feeling a bit silly—or feeling the silliness of it all. How much is the age difference? Even in a humble position, I don’t think I would be able to help looking down on such an offer. Not a flattering portrayal of me, no. But it’s honest. Phebe is much better than me—I know that.

5. What did you think of Uncle Alec?
I love Uncle Alec and think it the most tragic thing that he is a bachelor! I know why (though the hints were a bit too subtle in the book). But I would love to meet a (clean-shaven) Uncle Alec, close to my age. I would be happy indeed.

6. What is your favorite part of the book?
I did enjoy when Rose took Mac “away” for recovery. That place and time seemed very fun and idyllic. Maybe that’s because I am badly in need of a vacation right now. But I liked how it all was there.

Rose in Bloom

1. Who were your favorite characters?
I definitely liked Rose better, even if I didn’t love her to pieces. But I think my favorite characters of all would be Uncle Alec and Mac. Absolute least favorite: Charlie.

2. After your first taste of "society," would you have been able to easily give it up?
Considering how I am about “society” now, I think I would have been able to. Plus, I love my sleep. :-)

3. Did the characters grow up like you expected them to?
Most of them did. Not Charlie. I did not expect that and I was not happy with it in the least.

4. What is your favorite part of the book?
I think my favorite part was all the little hints of Mac’s affection—even when he didn’t realize them himself.

5. Did anything make you swoon? :)
Unfortunately, no. The writing went into “detail” where I didn’t want it to, and either dragged or rushed through the parts that I most wanted to imagine. There was potential, but the writing didn’t do it justice. If I ignored the writing and just imagined the story myself, then it would probably be when Mac and Rose finally end up together at the end.

6. Would Charlie have shaped up if Rose had given in to him?
I don’t think so. Any person trying to overcome vices should do so to please the Lord and make themselves a better person, not to please someone else. I’m not sure if I’m saying what I mean, but it’s something along the lines of his purpose and cause were not true, righteous, and good enough to have been a sincere and complete change. You can see it wasn’t enough even when Rose WAS a reason for him. Plus, I think Alcott was determined to not let him shape up. Unfortunate, too. For I believe he could have shaped up without Rose. But Alcott didn’t let him. Still not happy with that way of conveniently getting him out of the picture.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Back to America

The AKB Book Club is officially pressing onward! For our next discussion, we will be dealing with two (count 'em: two) books!

We are returning from the world of Bayern and journeying to the (nondescript) 19-Century American New England town in

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
and its sequel Rose in Bloom, also by Louisa May.
These both come highly recommended by fellow AKB Book Clubber The Brambler. She has even so kindly come up with the questions for both books--helping me out during this currently busy time at work and home. (Will it ever not be?!) Not that she isn't busy herself, but I know she loves the books. And I wanted to know what she wanted to know what I (and the rest of you) thought/think of the books.

So, here we go! I'll give a few days for any other interested partakers to review or read the books. They aren't long reads, they're of the American classics era, and they truly are simple and sweet stories.

Eight Cousins:

1. Who were your favorite characters?
2. What morals did you agree with? Disagree with?
3. If you were Rose, how would you have reacted to the cousins?
4. How would you have felt if you were Phebe and Rose asked to adopt you?
5. What did you think of Uncle Alec?
6. What is your favorite part of the book?

Rose in Bloom:

1. Who were your favorite characters?
2. After your first taste of "society," would you have been able to easily give it up?
3. Did the characters grow up like you expected them to?
4. What is your favorite part of the book?
5. Did anything make you swoon? :)
6. Would Charlie have shaped up if Rose had given in to him?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I've actually read them all!

The S of the S'n'H 2010 Book Challenge posted an update on her progress. So, I figured I should post mine. It has been one crazy and busy summer, yet I still found time to read! (Or should I say listen?) I know you can see progress on the sidebars, which I find fun to keep up when I remember. But what's the point of the challenge if I don't share what I'm reading, right?

Right.

So, first, the other challenges updates.

The 1st in a Series Challenge
Going for Fascinated: read 6
Actually read so far: 9
Books Read:
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Redwall by Brian Jacques
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
The Scream Museum by Paul Zindel
The Dangerous Days of Daniel by James Patterson
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

The 2nd Reading Challenge
Going for Addicted: read 12
Actually read so far: 17
Books Read:
Thwonk by Joan Bauer
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins
Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements
Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix
The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman
The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson
Searching for Dragons by Patricia Wrede
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Jane and the Man of the Cloth by Stephanie Barron
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace
The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin

Finish that Series Challenge
Going for Obsessed: finish 10
Actually finished so far: 9
Series Finished:
Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke
Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman
The Best Ever... trilogy by Barbara Robinson
Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace
The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter (so far--#4 still not available to me, yet!)
The Brian Saga by Gary Paulsen
Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray
Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins

Audio Challenge
Going for Obsessed--3 times over: read 60
Actually read so far: 58
Books listed later


YA Challenge
Going for Super Size Me: read 75
Actually read so far: 59
Books listed later


And last, but certainly not least
S'n'H 2010 Book Challenge
Categories (letter categories counted individually): finish 50
Actually finished so far: 33
or
Categories (letter categories counted as one): 25
Actually finished so far: 17

Points earned: 690.5
Points + Picture Books (.1) Points earned: 718.1

Books listed...maybe later

Friday, August 27, 2010

One Good Thing Come to an End. Next?

Sorry about the hiatus. But Summer Reading has ended at last! (And am I ever taking the toll from it! But was a splendid summer it has been.)

So I'm up for moving on to another book to discuss in the Austen Book Club.

I still have the list from the previous poll, but I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Goose, Part 5

Whoa. Sorry about the huge break in there. Life went into a crazy overdrive in so many ways. So I'm spending my evening off (finally!) answering the rest of the questions, before move on to the work I brought home.

7. What was your favorite “scene” in the book?

There were a few that I really liked. Of course! I liked any time Geric and Isi where in the meadow together. But I also really liked the face down scene between Isi and Selia in the castle--because I just knew that somehow Selia was going to be caught.

8. What was your least favorite “scene?”

Hmmm.... I guess near the beginning when Isi's mother was so unfeeling. A whole lot of the beginning was not happy for me. But if I hadn't experienced it, I wouldn't have been as happy with how things ended up. (Oh my--another parallel to life.)

9. What was your favorite part of the book?

It's a toss-up between Isi's coming into her own, and the varying and growing relationship between Isi and Geric.

10. What was you least favorite part?

Either Conrad's whininess or just how awful Isi's mother was.

11. What are your thoughts on Hale’s writing style?

I LOVE it! I love her fantasy/fractured fairy tale works. They are so fun and the worlds she creates are so real. Not the biggest fan of her adult works. Of course, I've only read one and had such a horrible distaste for it that I didn't want to bother with the other.

12. Have you read any of Hale’s other works? What are your impressions in comparison?

I've now read the entire Bayern series, the award-winning Princess Academy, Book of a Thousand Days, both graphic novels, and the aforementioned adult novel. (Can it be only a year ago that I had only read Princess, Thousand, and the adult novel?!) Princess Academy was cute and sweet. But I don't remember being mesmerized as I was with some of the Bayern books, and especially by Book of a Thousand Days. The graphic novels are very entertaining. And the adult novel was disappointing partly because I thought she had much more potential in her writing and didn't put the obvious skills from her children's/YA works into the adult work.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Again! Again!

Look to the left. I finished another Book Challenge! AND I'm at least halfway done with all the others (that someone else is sponsoring). *Phew!* I think that's good progress and timing, considering tomorrow marks half the year gone.

But my word. It's getting tough. Especially with print books! I never have time. And if I actually find some, I fall asleep within a page or two. I'm just so exhausted, and calming my brain enough to focus on a book is enough for it to think "Time to sleep!"

However, I'm getting there. And really enjoying the challenges. The books, too. I've felt such a sense of accomplishment, especially considering I've picked some that I really didn't care to finish. I can see it helping me with my Readers' Advisory (particularly YA--go figure). I just wish the local library (excluding mine!) would let YA books count for its Summer Reading Program. All these books I'm reading, and I don't think I'll get much reward for any of them.

Oh? And the S'n'H 2010 Book Challenge? It's coming along. Some categories are getting much harder for me to fill. Not that there aren't any books for them, they're just not in audio. (Seriously. I've become that picky that I will turn away a book because it isn't audio. Terrible, Me. Terrible.) The run-down:
Categories completed (with at least one book, and not a re-read): 24
Categories left: 25
Of Catefories left, currently (and progressively) working on: 3

So, I think that puts me at about 1/2 way for completing that challenge, too.

And as for points? 460.9

Monday, June 28, 2010

Goose, Part 4

5. How did you feel about Falada?

I know I've already mentioned some of this in answers. So, I thought the horse-speaking was a little far-fetched at first. But I was still "close" to the horse and had to keep from crying over his fate. When its head ended up on the gate, I thought, "What?!" It seemed too gruesome and far-fetched. So I researched and learned that part was in an older telling of the fairy tale. So I just accepted it and moved on.

6. Did you think the magical/mystical elements worked in the book? Were they believable? Did they flow well in the story?

I think the magical elements worked in the book. It took me a while to accept people-speaking, but I certainly had by the end to make Celia's evilness even more so. And since I felt like I was learning wind-speaking right along with Isi, that seemed believable, too. And I'm thinking it flowed well, too. But I will admit that sometimes when the story is interesting enough, I sometimes ignore if the writing did well in conveying it. (I can think of one example in particular, but I won't even mention it as it very much pales in comparison to Hale and her writing and stories.) However, I enjoy Hale's writing too much and I think I can defend that she made them flow well in the story.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Goose, Part 3

4. Because we love them so--OK, because I love them so--I saved Isi and Geric for their own question. What were your thoughts about Isi as the book progressed? What were your thoughts on Geric? Did you have your suspicions about him?

I've been mentioning in previous answers already that as the book progressed, I loved Isi more. I loved going along with her as she found her confidence and strength, learned lessons, and made friends--especially with Geric. Yes. I am in love with Geric. Very, very much. And from the time he first entered the book, I knew he was the prince. I just...knew it. So I went about the whole time smirking over this prince with faults and weaknesses, who was mesmerized and uplifted by Isi. I still enjoyed the "surprise" of the revelation, though.

I know I could go into more detail. But I'm just going to state it this way:

I love, love, love, love, LOVE Geric and Isi. Separately, and together.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Goose, Part 2

3. In my opinion, there are so many well-written characters in this book. Ones you just love, and ones you just don’t. It’s one of the best things about the book! So let’s hear some of your thoughts on the following:

Enna - I love Enna. She's fun, spunky, strong, and doesn't take anything from anyone. But some times she is just a bit too tough for me. I want to be strong and fun and spunky, but I also want to be tender. And Isi seems to have more of the tenderness that I would wish for myself. Enna on her own, I probably would have thought her great and left it there. But put her next to Isi, and every time I will opt for the gentler of the two. (Which I do in every book in the series.)

Gilsa - Loved her from the start. Knew she would be a gruff country mother figure from the start. Wish she could have played a slightly larger role in the book (and the series!).

Selia - I wanted to slap her at the beginning because I thought she was unfair to Ani. And then her betrayal? Well, I wanted to slap her again! And as the book progressed, I was ready to tear out her hair and mace her eyes and do all sorts of Enna-like things. Another reason why I'd like to be more like Isi, because it's more how I think I should be.

Isi’s mother - She made me so mad. How dare a mother treat her own daughter like that. No matter how awkward our child can be, you should still love them unconditionally. And if Isi's mother did. I certainly didn't get that vibe. Loved her, yes. But approved, trusted, supported, etc? Nope.

Razo - A showy goof-off who reminded me too much of the boys I knew in Junior High. Didn't dislike him. But I'm 15 years past that stage of life and those guys can be a bit too annoying for me now.

Conrad - Though he made me laugh, he still was pretty annoying. Such a whiner. But the hat scene was a great laugh.

other minor character - I can't remember who the good guard's name was, but I LOVE him! He's like a teddy bear, father figure, older brother, and chocolate covered donuts all in one. How can you not love the guy?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Goose, Part 1

Just to warn/prepare you: Answering these might take just a little longer since Summer Reading begins today and I don't know how easy daily will be. We'll see. But wish me luck--I am so nervous!!!!

1. What were your impressions of Ani/Isi in the first few chapters? Did you relate to her in any way?

In the first few chapters, I didn't like Ani very much. Maybe one or two small things, but overall, not really. I had thought at first that it was interesting Hale used her as a main character. She seemed too weak. Too self-doubting with too much room to grow to become a character I would really enjoy and want to emulate. But I should never have doubted Hale, because she did just that. And by the end of the book, Ani/Isi had become one of my favorite literary characters. I love her! It surprises me sometimes how much I love her. But then, I wonder if it wasn't just Ani that needed the self discovery, but that we needed to learn who she was, too. Isn't that how it is with people in general? We should get to know them better before we make judgements?

I think one reason I didn't like her so much would be that I could relate to her in some ways, and they were exactly the ways I didn't want to. So finding her overcome those obstacles, fears, and weaknesses was even more rewarding and uplifting for me.

So, in the first few chapters, no. But as Ani became Isi, yes, I loved her.

2. Did you have suspicions about Selia before the trip began?

Well, I knew something was supposed to happen to cause Isi to become a goose girl. (I mean, it's the title of the book. And it's in the book description!) And I knew I didn't trust Selia. But I had no clue the part Selia would play. Especially as the book progressed. That was one well-written villainess.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Not One Less

Here's another Book Challenge clarification that I need.

I don't count a series as a series unless there are at least 3 books. (So, yes, trilogies are series to me.)

For my 1st in a Series Challenge: Am I allowed to count a book that is intended to be a series, but it is the only one written so far?

I'm thinking that should be a no, if I want to uphold my Finish that Series Challenge agreement that reading the last book published counts, even if you know more will come eventually.

What do you readers think?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Duck, Duck, Goose!

Sorry! Been so busy and then out of town. Nothing fancy with the questions again. Just...the questions. Hopefully I'll be able to start answering them by next week, and then you can join in the discussions!

1. What were your impressions of Ani/Isi in the first few chapters? Did you relate to her in any way?

2. Did you have suspicions about Selia before the trip began?

3. In my opinion, there are so many well-written characters in this book. Ones you just love, and ones you just don’t. It’s one of the best things about the book! So let’s hear some of your thoughts on the following:

Enna

Gilsa

Selia

Isi’s mother

Razo

Conrad

other minor character

4. Because we love them so--OK, because I love them so--I saved Isi and Geric for their own question. What were your thoughts about Isi as the book progressed? What were your thoughts on Geric? Did you have your suspicions about him?

5. How did you feel about Falada?

6. Did you think the magical/mystical elements worked in the book? Were they believable? Did they flow well in the story?

7. What was your favorite “scene” in the book?

8. What was your least favorite “scene?”

9. What was your favorite part of the book?

10. What was you least favorite part?

11. What are your thoughts on Hale’s writing style?

12. Have you read any of Hale’s other works? What are your impressions in comparison?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cheers All Around!

Look!

Look, look, look!

Over on the sidebar.

Do you see it?

I finished my first Book Challenge for the year!!!
*whew*
YAY!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hill. Lair. Ee. Us.

Enchanted Serenity discovered something wonderful on bookshop's livejournal, and shared it on her blog. Thus, I was able to discover this gem for all Austen lovers. (Wait for a couple of them--it takes some time for them to work completely.) Clever. Enjoyable. And out and out uproarious.

A little taste to whet your appetite:
Pride & Prejudice: a drama in triple i parts, as told by Yahoo!Emoticons.

PART I:

~Longbourne~

Bingley: :-h
Darcy: :|

Meryton: [-O<
Mrs Bennet: $-)
Mr Bennet: :-j

Jane:
Bingley: :x

Darcy: L-)
Lizzie: 8-|
Darcy: :-?
Lizzie: :))
Darcy: :|

Read the rest!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

For Serene...and Others: More Than You (Didn't) Ask For

Serene let me know that she wasn't aware of Josh. And there are so many who don't. Can you see why the world has need of me?! :-) I thought, if she wasn't aware of Josh before now, some of the rest of you might not be either! Well--I had to remedy that! Of course. Fully ready to inundate you.

So here I go in introducing you--or feeding you more--in The Joy of Josh. And I'm pretty sure if you thought you didn't know his music before, you will recognize something somewhere. Note: Most of these videos you could be perfectly fine with just listening to as you go about other tasks. Some facial expressions, clothing choices, or pictorial usage could be better left...alone.

First, I shall begin with the song that began it all for me. (To Where You Are)

While watching this video, I almost started to cry myself--this song meant so much to the nation when he sang it only months after 9/11/01. And it has meant a lot to me.

This next song was from his 2nd album, Closer. Some songs--including Josh's--it takes me a few times listening to it before it makes a connection. As life moves up and down and in and out, various sings mean different things to me. Some mean more at one point than they do at another. Some catch hold of me forever. This song. It only took one time listening before it reached into my soul and found permanent place.



This next song is also from the 2nd album. This song speaks to me in so many ways and has touched me at different times and for different reasons. Can you imagine having this song start playing in the middle of a breaking heart and floods of tears at the realization that another boy...would not choose you? The song has never been the same for me since. (Remember When it Rained)


As you can see, Josh plays and sings. (Composes, too.) I don't do both together well. But I do love playing this song so much. Power and passion all throughout. And note also that this is from the DVD recording of his AWAKE tour. The city chosen was Salt Lake City. And yes. I was there. (Can't you hear my screaming?)

Speaking of that concert (which was my 2nd concert of his to attend), there is one thing I was highly disappointed about with the recording. I have my own recording of it. Very shaky, very blurry, and very screamy. But my recording has what the DVD did not keep--one of my favoritest ever songs:


I have so many favorite songs in this world. And I have so many favorite Josh songs, too. One top favorite came into my life a couple of months prior to the release of his 3rd album AWAKE. It came at the point I needed most. In fact, this is what I blogged at the time (Oct 2006):
Still a few moments of sadness continued. They weren't just related to my guy situation. Some came from feeling the disheartened and hurting emotions of the surrounding sisters in the ward, and even from some of the brothers, too. Yet things happened during the week that I know were messages from Heavenly Father. These included some of the Conference talks I was reading. And I looked up some past General Authority messages. One thing that stood out to me was Pres. Benson telling young single adult women to "never demean yourself." I have trouble with that, and I need to work on it. Another was so subtle, and kind of funny to take it this way, but I chose to do so. On our ward temple trip, I was confirmed for a woman whose last name was Smiley. Is that not a hint to return to being more cheerful, especially to me--who loves to smile?

But the biggest message came yesterday. I learned that my boy Josh is finally releasing another album on Nov. 7th. Of course, I have put in my order. His website has a clip of one of the new songs. I listened a couple of times (as usual) before I started to hear what he was saying. Something stood out and struck me so deeply. I had to find the lyrics, because it sounded like what he was saying was what Heavenly Father and His Son wanted me to hear. And it was. It's what I've been needing to hear for the last 3 weeks.

The song meant so much, I couldn't keep it to myself. The first person I shared it with happened to be Serene's brother--who immediately turned around and shared it with their mother. See? When something has power and truth like that, you can't keep it to yourself. (Kind of like the Gospel...)


(I couldn't help it. I cried while watching this video again. Its truth never stops. Its beauty and comfort never ceases.)

Then there is the song that makes the movie Polar Express amazing and reminiscent of the magic and wonder that Christmas held for us as children....and maybe as adults, too.



Then there is my Guilty Pleasure. Guilty because is so many ways this musical is terrible--the story, a couple of the songs. But some songs are amazing. And the right voices singing those songs? Incredible. I enjoyed borrowing Chess the Musical in Concert on DVD from Netflix for about a month last year around my birthday. And it was a very, very happy thing.

"Where I Want to Be" - demonstrating some amazing talent on Josh's part


"You and I" - a love song of a forbidden, futile, fruitless, and selfish love that gets stuck in my head for days--especially with Josh and the original Elphaba from Wicked

(for more of that song, you can go to this video. The part that speaks most to me right now is at 1:45 until the chorus)

Oh! And I just have to show this hilarious line--hilarious because it's set to music! Wouldn't I love to sing this about someone once in a while.


"Anthem" - if ever a song was meant for Josh, it's this one. He's been singing it for years. (Josh loves musical theater)


Ah. Chess. What a conflict in my music loving heart. But Josh helped put at least some of it firmly in there somewhere.

So, in all of this video browsing, I came across a new (to me) one! This is the 3rd album title song that many are not as familiar with because it was on the Special Edition album. I love the words to this. Interesting as a duet. Really, uh, interesting rendition.


And if I haven't bored you to liquid Jell-O status, yet, here are just a few more!!!!

The duet with Barbra that I love

A favorite A.L. Webber for me (though Josh has a couple of ehh moments in it)

The "other" song in my early discovery of Josh--this one means so much, too. Years later this would "enter" my life in a completely new way. And again, it would never be the same.

(oh goodness. I just started crying at this one, too.)
For SaraLyn (and Becky if she's watching)


A favorite of SO many



One of my favoritest Christmas songs--to sing and to hear


And he knows not to take himself too seriously


Such a fun song to dance to. (Pardon the clothing in this)



And to save my favorite for last. But my favorite Josh song? Can I call it my very favorite? It feels unfair to so many of the others that I love. Hmmm.... Well, very favorite or not, if my future husband is agreeable, this is the (or a) song I would like to dance with him at our wedding reception. It's just so perfect following our temple sealing. (But why oh why can I never find a clip when it's just him singing it? Oh well.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Love Story

Mona at Mona's Musings mentioned writing our own love story, and it put me in mind of this entry I wrote on another blog on August 28, 2008 (Josh Day).

My Josh: A Love Story

I do not like fads. It is a well-known fact about me. I was the girl who refused to fall for the Harry Potter craze and said I wouldn't read the series until all 7 were published. True to my word, I waited until last fall. I resisted reading Twilight for months, until I met the author and was impressed by her speech at the BYU Symposium. Pretty much, I'm very against being a lemming.

In the summer of 2002, I moved home...to work two jobs and recover from an emotionally trying semester. One of the jobs was a library page. I helped close the library most of the weeknights. As I was driving my parents car, I had no music of my own to play. So I settled for the radio. And as nauseating as Delilah is, I liked many of the songs that she played in her evening radio programs. I began to notice on my way home from work--driving in the dark and with my thoughts winding down--this one song was often playing on Delilah's program. I always came in on it in the middle. And never did I hear who it was when the song was over. All I knew was that this voice that was singing was amazing and I knew I had not heard the like of it before--not even in Cleveland Lynch! The song itself was pretty nice, too. It was terrible--I couldn't embrace true fan-dom of this voice because I had no idea who it was! Plus, there was just the one song played over and over. Perhaps it was a one-hit wonder.

I returned to school--where I never listened to the radio--and figured my evenings of hearing The Voice console me were now over. Before the semester started, I was standing in line at the BYU Bookstore when my musically-inclined ear tuned in to the faint music playing over the speaker. In my great and happy surprise, I loudly blurted out loud, "It's him!" But it was a different song! And the woman next to me said, "Oh, yeah. That's Josh Groban. He sang at the Olympics." Four thoughts went through my head:

  1. A name! At last!
  2. He's real!
  3. He's not a one-hit wonder!
  4. How in the world did I miss that in the Olympics--I was in the same state!?!?

Well, whatever the shock and surprise and whatnot, I had a name and I knew he sang two songs. And that was all I had to hold in my heart for some time. At Thanksgiving, I had to leave early to make it to the extended family dinner. I hate missing the Macy's Parade. In the...family, that is "Heidi's thing." So I stuck a tape in to film the rest of it to watch later. It was the Spirit prompting, for later that evening as I was watching, the upcoming float was announced and they said "Josh Groban!" I'm sure I squealed. I saw him for the first time. And my four thoughts were:

  1. The Voice! In the flesh!
  2. He's real!
  3. It's "the other song!"
  4. He's...really not that cute. Oh well! Who cares with a voice like that?

So, now I had heard the voice, learned the name, and seen the person. Who could ask for anything more? Um. Well, I'm ashamed to say I didn't. But glad to say I didn't settle there. The following Valentine's Day, I went to dinner with a friend...whom I hadn't seen in years. Somehow his name came up in the conversation. This friend worked for Circuit City and said she received free CDs all the time and that name sounded familiar. Needless to say, she gave it to me! No case, no insert, nothing. Just the CD. And it was golden.

My roommate and I became obsessed with the CD! She even went online to download the Songlist for me so I knew what I was listening to. I was not disappointed. I had not chosen wrong in falling in love with The Voice. It was only after I received the CD and came to memorize the thing that I learned this boy had been pretty famous for a while. And stepping back, I could see that he was a fad in his own right. I was immediately grateful that the Lord introduced him to me in a way that I would not immediately "shun" him before giving him a chance.

Why such a blessing? Because it has been Josh's music and its messages that have pulled me through some of the most difficult times in my life. I always heard a song that was just what I needed at that time in my life. Like "You are Loved" when I was feeling so low and forgotten and trodden down. Both SLC concerts came at highly needed times in my life, and were also perfect graduation presents to myself. And, yes, as I have never been ashamed to admit, I wrote to Josh as well. A few times. He was my objective person that I felt a connection to through his music. You may laugh, but I was the one who wrote more than once chastising him for not originally putting SLC on his AWAKE tour. And when the second round came, lo and behold, what city had been added? And what city was chosen for the DVD? Yeah, I know. I probably had nothing to do with any of that. But I at least let my voice be heard.

Well, even in spite of the fad that can be Josh, I soon came to learn that so many had never heard of him! And one of my missions in life became clear: To Spread the Joy of Josh, One Person at a Time. I think I've been getting there. My father is now a huge fan. As is my [aforementioned] roommate.... Overflowed CK with it. Wore Caleb down to it. Probably annoyed the rest of S308 with it. Took Jess on "a date to meet this guy..." And have probably inundated all the blog readers with too much talk of him. In this entry at least. So I'll end.