"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

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blue, Blue, Blue

Here you go! Questions for L.M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle. Just because I know I am busy and assume you all are, too, I'll give us two weeks to answer. So either send them to me via email (link on left sidebar) or via comment. Have fun!!!


Valancy wakened early, in the lifeless, hopeless hour just proceeding dawn.

How did you feel about Valancy’s situation at the beginning of the book?

“Val-an-cy!”

How do you pronounce Valancy’s name?

Dr. Trent’s letter was like himself—blunt, abrupt, concise, wasting no words.

How would you have felt if you received Valancy’s diagnosis? What would you have done?

“Will I do?” said Valancy.

With your personal morals and values, would you have done all of the “scandalous things” that Valancy chooses to do?

Valancy gave him a swift, furtive look as she hurried by.

What were your first impressions of Barney Snaith?

“You made me apologise to Olive fifteen years ago for something I didn’t do,” said Valancy. “That old apology will do for now.”

In all honesty, how would you rather have had Valancy react to Olive, particularly as the book goes on?

Valancy looked—and looked—and looked again.

Describe your mental image of The Blue Castle.

“That’s partly why I want to marry you,” said Valancy.

What do you think of living in the wild, tramping in the woods, and being so separated from the world as Valancy and Barney live?

Thirty seconds can be very long sometimes.

Describe your feelings when Valancy’s shoe is stuck in the railroad track.

There was only one thought in her dazed mind—an thought that seemed to burn it as a shaving of fire might burn her body.

What were your immediate thoughts after Barney saved Valancy?

“Yes. I noticed that. But I thought it was a mistake.”

Did you notice Dr. Trent’s mistake?

A year of misery!

Did you wonder about Valancy’s condition during her year of marriage?

“I have things I want to hide,” said Barney coolly. “You are not to ask me about them.”

Did you guess any of Barney’s secrets before Valancy learned them?

Valancy was not excited. She had absorbed all the shocks and sensations that she could compass for one day. This affected her neither one way nor the other.

How would you have reacted when you discovered the truths about Barney?

“You’re—a good actor, Barney.”

What do you think of Barney’s “confession” scene?

Valancy smiled through her tears. She was so happy that her happiness terrified her.

The Blue Castle is supposed to have a far-fetched and unnatural conclusion. Do you think L. M. Montgomery used this twist to give the reader what they wanted from the story? Did the ending detract from the story itself?

“You see—I’ve never had any real life,” she said. “I’ve just—breathed. Every door has always been shut to me.”

How do you relate to Valancy?

“You nice little thing,” said Barney suddenly. “Oh, you nice little thing! Sometimes I feel you’re too nice to be real—that I’m just dreaming you.”

Who is your favorite character?

So these were the people she had always held in reverence and fear. She seemed to see them with new eyes.

Who is your least favorite character?

She read them all to Cissy, who loved them.

What are your favorite parts of the book?

“Piffle,” said Barney.

What are your least favorite parts of the book?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sense and Silliness

[I deemed this rather pertinent to the Austen blog, and possibly enjoyable to my Janeite readers. From my LDS blog today]:

Day 80

While I love the movie as a whole, somehow in my first watching I missed how absolutely fantastic this scene of the new Emma is. Especially at 42 seconds. Priceless!!!!! (And when you break it down to the morals being discussed, yes. Mr. Knightley has every right to be making such a look!) Oh, and at 1 minute and 52 seconds--yeah. That part is great, too!

I love a book-turned-into-movie that is well done, with great acting, costuming, music, scenery, and more. But I especially love it when there is humor and oh-so-true to it all.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Le Fin

I need another opinion. As you can tell by the sidebar, I'm involved in quite a few challenges. How I'm finding time to read, I don't honestly know. But reading I am.

One challenge that I was particularly intrigued to work on--and would require almost double the reading in some cases--was the "Finish that Series!" challenge. As I thought I'd try to get some of my YA Challenge with that, I decided to finish a lot of the YA series that I read only the first book of. I knew that the Gallagher Girls series had 3 books. More than 2 = a series to me. So I went ahead and read #2 and #3. As I neared the end of #3, I had a suspicion and I looked it up. Yep. #3 was not the last in the series as I had thought. #4 will be released in June. And the author's website revealed that she's considering doing 6 in the series.

So my dilemma: Did I finish the series? Because, technically, I've read all that were published. And that's all I thought there were. Yet now I'm informed and know that #3 will not be the last. I do plan on reading #4 if our library gets is. (And it's so fun to know I have a much weightier say-so in that now!) But even if I read #4 by the end of this year, did I "finish" the series?

Perhaps I should ask the host(ess) of the challenge. But I'd still like to hear your opinions.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Love (& Hate) Story

Two weeks ago, the ever wonderful Charleybrown at Enchanted Serenity yet again made me aware of something across the pond that I wouldn't have heard anything of for many months.

First off, may I preface with how much I adore the book The Phantom of the Opera. It is one of my favorites. In the top 5. The musical? Well, I do love much of it. (And not love some of it.) And it is, of course, very well done as only A.L. Webber can do. I love singing and playing some of the songs. I love how I often do feel as if I'm soaring when I hear some of the music from that musical. I tried as hard as I could to memorize the libretto when I checked it out from the library.

But it's not the book, or, I should say, not as good as the book (in my typical reader opinion). So many things left out, and enough done to the story to confuse the audience. For example, I am still shocked by people who are sympathetic toward the phantom. Only those who have only seen the musical would think that. Those who have read the book know how devious, unfeeling, scheming, twisted, horrid person that he is. (One little hint: His torture chamber from the book is not even mentioned in the musical.) The musical also glosses over the fact that Christine and Raoul knew each other for many years and loved each other long before the curtain rises on either the book or the musical.

Still, as one whose own life-long hobby is composing a musical based on a favorite book, I understand the need and difficulty to condense and lose much of a great story and great characters. So, I don't fault much in the musical as I could. (Though I'm still upset about the "treatment" of the Persian. A barrel monkey indeed!)

Well, with my great love for the book and my love for A.L. Webber's music/musicals, you may imagine my intrigue when I learned two weeks ago that said A.L. Webber had composed a sequel to his own musical. Yep. Phantom of the Opera's sequel Love Never Dies is premiering in London this month. And my skeptic reader self thought "How can you make a sequel when Erik dies at the end?" Then I remembered. He doesn't die at the end of the musical. It was left open, as A.L. Webber intended. (He has spent 20 years working with ideas of this sequel musical.)

So what would they do with the story. My reader/book-loving self was quite wary, but my musical-loving self was anxious. I read what I could in the one evening that I allowed myself time (though I really should have spent the time reading picture books for work or doing my taxes). I read of the background of the man A.L. Webber himself picked to play the phantom. (And oh wow was I impressed and taken in!) I watched three or four of the movie clips (one included later). I wanted to be in the know--and I wanted to own "the one song." Thus, I bought the CD. From across the pond, yes. But the excitement of the evening's discovery had me on the less sensical route, and the CD was bought. I waited, and kept myself from telling anyone how anxious I was to know what would happen. What this music would sound like.

It finally came. I got it this morning and immediately popped it into the car on my way to work.

My Review
(Note: contains spoilers)

"The one song" was played a few times. But I knew I must move on to hear the rest. I had not gotten 1/2 way through the 1st CD by my lunch hour. And already I was quite worried and a bit upset. I listened to the rest on my drive home and as I washed dishes and made fruit pizza tonight.

My thoughts? I hate the story. Hate, hate, hate, H.A.T.E. it! I could spend days and days of all the things that I hate about the story. The orchestral pieces were enchanting and mesmerizing (as could only be expected of A.L. Webber). But I hate the story. There were a few songs that slightly annoyed me, yet others (like "the one song") that will never leave my life the same again. But I hate the story. I liked a couple of twists (like Meg's feelings) that I would not have expected. But I hate the story. The voice of the man chosen to play the phantom? Wow, there are times he is right up there with Josh--and that's saying something from me! But I hate the story. I was impressed with Christine. But I hate the story.

I was furious with what was done concerning Raoul and Christine. And I hate the story. I was livid about what happened in the second to last scene. And I hate the story. I was startled by the last scene and completely dumbfounded by that choice of ending. And I hate the story. I despised the whole Superman/Indiana Jones/2002 Count of Monte Cristo element that things these days just have to include. If you didn't catch those references, let me quote a portion of a phantom-Christine duet:

Once upon another time,
You went off and left me alone.
But that's not all you did...
You left me with a son.

Oh, did I mention I hate the story? Yeah. 'Cause in my musical and book interpretations, the relations between Christine and her devious Angel of Music were completely chaste--no matter what the true meaning of "Music of the Night" is! I liked how the 2004 movie handled it, and that's how I viewed it. Nothing happened. But an earlier song in this sequel talked way too much of what apparently the writers for this sequel decided had happened. And guess what? I hate the story. And then as the musical went on, I suddenly had a dawning--as the phantom himself does. And I was ready to not continue after the first CD. Honestly. I already hated the story that much.

But I'd bought the thing and might as well see what else happens. Worse and worse. More and more hating it. Let's just throw in a lot of views of the world and twist them musically so that they twist your heart into being sympathetic. No! I am stronger than that. And I will stand firm: I hate the story.

But I love "the one song." And I laugh that I went through so much effort...just for "the one song." Yet listen to the song (and the voice) for yourself and you will see that no matter how much one can hate a story, they can be totally in love with a song. Especially if that one person is a singer herself. Oh, if a man sang this to me, I think my entire being would melt.

(Much more enjoyable to listen to than to watch, by the way--what is up with music videos like this? Though the other is slightly more odd)


So I love the song. And I hate the story. We'll see how I connect with some of the other songs, and how much I'll not listen to others. I wonder about the reception of others to this musical. I see so many who will love every bit of it. While it would be nice to have others understand my feelings over it, if I stand alone in hating it, then I stand alone. That's not the first time. But I'll let you decide for yourself, for "to each his own" in their views and opinions. And much of the world will be happy that their sympathies for the phantom in the first musical will be answered in this second.

But me? I should have gone with my initial instinct, and just listened to the YouTube video for free over and over. Ah, well. At least I'm more informed now. Let's just hope Gaston Leroux can still rest peacefully.

P.S. My word do I hate the story.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just a little longer

The weekend was busy. Biz. Zy. And I am just now waking up on my Monday morning off, still feeling like I need a little more recovery time. Plus, I need to finish doing my taxes and would like to take care of that for the one hour I have left.

So, I don't have any questions for the AKB Book Club ready. I'm hoping to work on them this week. Until then, keep reading about Valancy and Barney. I never get enough of them--I wish that one had been turned into a series, as I never tire of their adventures together.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Interesting Nifty Facts of a Janeite

[from my online journal today]

I just took a personality test. The part of me interested in psychology likes those tests and their results--about me and about my friends and family.

My father did all sorts of these kinds of test on us kids when we were growing up. So I've known various things about various things. Still, each test result is always interesting to me.

Your Type is
INFJ
IntrovertedIntuitiveFeelingJudging
Strength of the preferences %
44385067

Qualitative analysis of your type formula

You are:
  • moderately expressed introvert
  • moderately expressed intuitive personality
  • moderately expressed feeling personality
  • distinctively expressed judging personality
The Jung Career Indicator suggested careers most suitable to my personality type. Librarian was #3.

Other INFJs include Gandhi, Sidney Poitier (I've loved every movie I've seen him in...which is only about 4), Jane Goodall, Emily Bronte, and Alec Guiness (Obi Wan and me--I knew I was meant for a Jedi Knight!).

A description of my personality type (along with a list of other famous INFJs) can be found here. And I am blown away by how accurate so much of it seems--to me, at least.

Find out what you are by taking the test here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

For Our Next Stop

We need a new book for the AKB Book Club, don't you think? As much as I love Ella, and have enjoyed thinking for a month about how I should answer my own questions, I do believe it is time to leave Kyrria.

Definitely time.

And our next book to visit will be...O Joy of Joys...

The Blue Castle!

Yes, I'm in the mood for another L.M. Montgomery, particularly a hopeless romantic love story. And as I find that in abundance in this, my absolute favorite work by Montgomery, you are just going to have to deal with it!

But I don't think you'll mind too much.

Questions to come in a week.

Enjoy our visit to Mistawis Island!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Another year past

[from my LDS blog today]
Day 66

Yes. I have another gratitude for another vanity of mine.
I try not to get too attached to it, for fear that one day I'll lose it all. But if I ever do, I will have had the many wonderful years with the glorious (curly!) hair that Heavenly Father has blessed me with.
Exactly a year ago, I said good-bye to my hair in my second time to donate it. I like being able to donate my beautiful hair and hope some child may share in its beauty when they need any uplift they can.
However, I was not as ready to part with my hair this time, and it was harder to be with the short hair. Not to mention, I don't really like short hair. It doesn't matter if the haircut was really nice, and that I look just fine with short hair.
I love long hair.
And that's all there is to it.

So it has been nice as this past year has gone on and I've watched my hair grow.

To when it finally reached past my shoulders again.
To when I could wear it up (with LOTS of pins!) again.
To when I could put it in 2 french braids again.
To when the not-so-curly days looked OK again.
It may not be as long as it was. (Of course.)

Or as long as it can (and hopefully will) be.

But it is finally at a length again when I am pretty happy with it. In fact, I think this length is actually really good for me.
But I'm still going to have my times with my "princess long" hair. Hey--while it's beautiful color and curl, I'm going to enjoy the length while I can!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Which is Worse?

My desk after only 2 weeks as the new Children's Librarian

-or-

My bed after an afternoon of enjoyable R&R (reading, movie watching, yarn doll making, eating...)
?????

I vote for Option 1.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Nevermore!

I'm going through reviews of books, and I'm currently in a section of books that have corresponding websites with activities and such. So I decided to look at some of them and see the YA/children's appeal. One was http://www.amandaproject.com/. And the first thing I saw was "What's your animal totem?" Remembering the interesting experiences my roommates and I had finding out what our Daemons (Golden Compass) were a few years ago, I decided to try it. These were my results:
You are an Intellect.

Animal Totem: Raven.

Motto:
“It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.” – RenĂ© Descartes

Personality:
Just how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop? You may not know, but you're certainly the kind of person who will find out! You're incredibly intelligent and the fact that you can think on your feet makes you cunning and sly. People look to you for insight and knowledge and (to partner with in all science projects). Because you always seek the truth, you truth-seeker, you, your pursuit of knowledge is never-ending. You've never met a book you don't love, a question you don't want to answer or a mystery you can't solve. And your ability look at things from every angle gives you a one-of-kind point of view from that your lofty perch.

You, as an awesome factoid:
Legend has it that if the ravens at the Tower of London are removed, the British monarchy and entire kingdom will fall. It's so important to keep them there that the resident ravens have their wings clipped to prevent them from flying away. Instead, they are free to roam the tower grounds and have their own Ravenmaster to take care of them. Talk about important.

You, but Famous:
Hermione in Harry Potter; Lainey in She's All That; Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Dakota Fanning in real life; Vanessa Hudgens as Gabriella Montez in HSM

You, but Grown Up:
Doctor, attorney, writer, editor, college professor, scientist, ruler of the intellectual universe

You, but a color:
Midnight blue

You, but a song:
Theme song from Jeopardy, "Istanbul (not Constantinople)," by They Might Be Giants, "Be True to Your School," by the Beach Boys, anything by Schoolhouse Rock because...they rock

You, as a department store:
J. Crew

You, but a number:
2, 3, 5, 7...any prime number because you're just that dang cerebral

You, but a movie quote:
"Find a truly original idea. It is the only way I will ever distinguish myself. It is the only way I will ever matter." - A Beautiful Mind

You, but a city:
Seattle, often ranked the smartest city in the U.S. and home to Microsoft, Boeing, and Amazon.com

You, but a board game:
Trivial Pursuit

You, but a sport:
Academic Decathlon. Yes, that's a sport.

You, but a book:
The dictionary

You, but a class subject:
Is this a joke? Take your pick. You rock them all.

You, but on a desert island:
MacGuyver has met his match. You can create a radio transmitter with one hand tied behind your back.

You, as a partner in crime:
Not only are you super smart, you can be super secretive. Because of this, people feel they can trust you with things they can't tell others. That's one of the biggest things you bring to a relationship. Your keen intellect also prompts people to dig a little deeper into their consciences and realize things they otherwise wouldn't and you have a knack for explaining things that don't make a smidgen of sense to everyone else. Because your curiosity can get the better of you, be careful to keep your precociousness in check and at least try to stay out of trouble.

Go find yourself a tigress or horse to hang with – they'll be intrigued by your intellect. And because you display your prowess in a different arena than they do (think brains over brawn), you get along well. You can also fly with other ravens because you're always into people who can expand that ever-expanding brain of yours. However, you've got to be careful because you DO like to be the smartest bird in the room. Dolphins may try your patience with their laissez-faire, devil-may-care attitude and more stream-of-consciousness way of thinking, but you have more tolerance for hanging out with deer. I mean, who can't get along with Bambi?


As usual with quiz results like this, I find myself thinking "Oh, OK, I can go with that" while also thinking "Really?!?" So, what do you think? Complete honesty is welcome!



If you'd like to find out your own, take the quiz here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Free Books?!

Who wouldn't want to enter a chance to win a whole box of books? I mean, what reading-loving, book-lover librarian could pass up on a chance like this?

Check out the Big Box o'Books Birthday Bash Contest at The Spectacle and recognize one of the greatest blessings to Children's literature as we know it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Answers to Ella

Finally! I'm answering my own questions for our AKB Book Club focus on Ella Enchanted. Took me long enough, huh?

“‘Perhaps she’s changed.’”

What do you think are the three most important differences between Ella and the original Cinderella tale?

1. Her curse.

2. Her fairy godmother has been with her all her life and is someone who truly does know her well and it makes more sense why she is there

3. The relationship with the prince beginning long before the ball


“That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me. She meant to bestow a gift.”

What do you think is the worst “gift” Lucinda bestows on anyone during the novel and why?

A tough one to answer, I warrant. I would hate to be in love with someone I couldn’t stand. But having to do everything I’m told? That wouldn’t be hard if those things were good things. But dangerous, evil, sad, terrible, mean, etc. things? That would hurt so many and I think would be the hardest.

“I loved having the power to say yes or no, and refusing anything was a special pleasure.”

How much freedom do you have to disobey orders in your own life? What keeps you from disobeying? If you do disobey, how does that come about?

My freedom is pretty broad. While I could disobey an order at work, it wouldn’t help in the job security. I usually don’t disobey if it’s something I know I should be doing or that needs to be done. If I were to disobey something, it would only be because I felt it wasn’t right or necessary at the time, and I would probably say so right away to the person issuing the order so we are all on the same page.

“I could barely stay seated because of the command.”

Give an example from the book of a positive result of the curse.

Well, she may not have enjoyed finishing school. But she did learn to be a little less clumsy and gained a couple of talents out of it. The biggest positive was probably her mother ordering her not to tell anyone of the curse—that probably saved her life many times!

“‘Nothing is small magic in a moment like this.’”

What do you think is the difference between small and big magic? Give some examples of both. Can you think of real-life situations in which people have power equal to big magic?

Hmm. Well. I think if it's anything in a hurry, then it would be big. And Mandy even explains anything that might be harmful to others when it could benefit you. I like to think of that with praying. I never pray that I would pray I got first place in something, because that's pretty much saying "Please help all those others to not win." Instead, I pray to do my best and be happy with it. I guess big and small magic could be similar. Making Ella win first place at something might keep someone else from getting first when they needed it more. (I know, not an exact example from the book, but I was trying to make it match my own personal example.)

“It was a taste of obedience without an order, and I didn’t like it any better than the Lucinda-induced kind.”

What difference is there between choosing to do good and being forced into it?

No one should ever be forced to do anything. We should always be allowed a choice, our agency. I’d say a lot more, but then this might turn into something religious or political. If you want the religious, you can read my LDS blog. If you want the political, you’d just have to talk to me in person.

“When I opened it, instead of a fairy tale, I found an illustration of Mandy!”

What do you wish your own fairy book would tell/show you when you opened it?

I’m not even going into that. Sorry! :-)

“Char couldn’t see them and twirled me as before, until he got halfway around. Then he set me gently on the floor and bowed at Father and Mum Olga, his buttonless doublet flapping. He was laughing so hard he couldn’t speak.”

What are your impressions of the prince? Compare him with other princes from fairy tales—original or fractured.

I love Char. I think he’s fun, sweet, honest, open, and real. (Not real real, but you know what I mean.) He’s not perfect. I can’t handle perfect. He has his flaws, but they are endearing to him. And I love that he is the one who speaks up first, and does it so humbly and sweetly. He waited for so long, and finally cannot hold back any longer. (Uh oh—is that some Darcy thing? Except Darcy in no way did it humbly and sweetly!)

“‘Your very good friend, Char.’”

In too many fairy tales we (*groan!*) see the love-at-first-site aspect instead of a real relationship being built between the hero and heroine. What do you think about the relationship between the prince and the Cinderella character in this version?

Love it, love it, love it! It’s one reason why this is one of my favorite Cinderellas if not fractured fairy tale. I am a HUGE fan of friendship first (if you haven’t figured that out). So I love that Leving put that into this version.

“I refused to become a princess but adopted the titles of Court Linguist and Cook’s Helper.”

Especially for the linguist of our Book Club: Can you find any patterns in the different languages spoken in the book? Can you find any spelling, punctuation, capitalization, or other characteristic that distinguishes each from the other?

No examples, but I did notice some of the capital letters and such with the ogre language. And I think I saw certain letters being used a lot more with certain languages.

"In that moment I found a power beyond any I’d had before, a will and a determination I would never have needed if not for Lucinda, a fortitude I hadn’t been able to find for a lesser cause. And I found my voice."

What are some times you had to find an inner strength you did not think you had, but which was there when a greater cause called forth its need?

There are more times than I would have thought. Often when it is something related to me emotionally or mentally and I have to be stronger than those so I can put on the happy face and go about my daily business. Once in a while the thoughts or emotions win out. But overall I keep them at bay and make it through the tough times. Sometimes I am even like Anna Leonowens: I fool myself as well!

“‘I’ll work her harder than she ever worked in her life, and give you a fine cook into the bargain.’”

Do parts of this Cinderella version remind you of any other Cinderella versions you have read or seen? Which parts/versions do you prefer?

Honestly, no. I always felt this one stood on its own in originality for an adaptation. There are others that I love, but their stories are quite different from this one. As a whole, I prefer Ella. But there were pieces of Bella at Midnight that I thought very clever and I enjoyed them as well.

“But my favorite was…”

Favorite character?

Ella. I’m in her head so much, I can’t help it!

Favorite part(s)?

I love after the ball when the prince shows up and how Ella is breaking her curse. One thing I REALLY didn’t like about the differences of the book and the movie.

Favorite story element?

The friendship between Ella and Char. If you’re going for a specific scene, I loved everything between the two of them at her father’s wedding.

Favorite anything else?

I loved the addition of the book. It was a great way to show what was happening elsewhere while still staying in a first person perspective.

“‘Is it terrible?’”

Least favorite character?

I suppose Hattie.

Least favorite part(s)?

The very end of Char’s letter when he declares his love. It didn’t seem like Char. It didn’t even feel like a guy. Maybe that’s me and my inexperience. I don’t know.

Least favorite story element?

Actually, as much as the different languages were neat, they also kept catching me up when I was trying to read.

Least favorite anything else?

I got really annoyed with Mandy calling her “lady” and “sweet.” It didn’t bother me AS much in the print as it did when I listened to the audio.

Let's Talk YA Books

I think I may have figured out the time that I can attempt to write regularly here. My schedule has moved to me closing on Mondays. Which means I have Monday mornings off. And I can't do my laundry then because that's when my landlady does hers. And it's hard to schedule appointments then because a lot of places aren't open Monday morning. And what errands have I to do that I didn't just do two days before on Saturday? Thus, I am going to try to do my Austen writing on Monday mornings (unless something gets in the way). Cheers all around! YAY!

So, for my first real post "back," let me update you on some of the YA books I've been reading so you know I really am doing that challenge. And somehow 75 books seems even more daunting. But at least now I have the excuse with some of them that I have to read them for work. I do. I had to have 3 read (and I'm assuming ones from our library collection) for the Teen Book Chat I begin leading tonight. (Thank goodness it is only once a month.) And would you believe it--I actually got 4 finished?!

I know. I should have gone through more. But my audio time has gotten limited, since it's a little harder for me to listen at my desk right now. I have to keep giving my car's CD player breaks so it will be nice. And my teeny cassette player likes to drain batteries fast. And I've read quite a few of the YA audio books our library has to offer. Not to mention that whole "It's not quite YA" books I keep picking up. *sigh* Will I ever make it?

Anywho. Again, full reviews are found on my GoodReads account. But these are the 4 (from the library collection) that I finished this past month.

1. Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Not a fabulous book, but still very enjoyable for me. Light and fluff and a fairy-tale-like book. I actually liked it better than its predecessor Just Ella. I wonder if that's because I did the print this time. Some books just want me to read them in print. I think I like to go my own pace with the fractured fairy tales (Goose Girl, Book of a Thousand Days, Bella at Midnight, etc.)

2. The Dark Side of Nowhere by Neal Shusterman. I've heard this author's name with a few books, so it was about time I tried him. And interesting to do a scifi book in the YA genre. I don't do much scifi. Not because I don't like the genre as I'm more focused on the other books I like to read as well as preferring fantasy over new worlds with a high portion of the book including technology and such. But this book had a good balance, as it used our world with alien life forms that were living on Earth. The scifi aspect did not engulf me and I was able to ease my way into it. When I have to be too caught up in figuring out the world than I can spend enjoying the story, I usually stay away. I didn't have that problem with this book and I was grateful. The audio was good. I wonder if it made it more interesting for me. Perhaps I should considering doing scifi in audio and we'll see if I can add more to my reading arsenal.

3. Bloomability by Sharon Creech. Another author I knew I should read at least one book of. And I was pleased with the choice. An easy read and enjoyable, too. I didn't know what to expect, so I was happy that I was happy with this one. The audio was enjoyable for it as well.

4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. My favorite of the trilogy, but it was a lot of listening hours to get through the whole thing. I'm glad I finished, but I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. I'm not sure who I would recommend it to. This one is a hard one for me to nail on who would enjoy it. It's one I thought I would like considering other books I've enjoyed. But I really didn't like it as some do. And I've seen the same with other readers. I've seen the opposite as well--those I didn't think would like it ended up loving it. I don't think it's a waste of time to read, but if you aren't as caught up in it, you will feel like it took forever. However, if you love it, you'll, well, you'll love it.

I have two print YA books waiting for me. I started into The Grand Tour be Patricia Wrede and it seems it may take a little on the slow side. I don't think it's going to draw me back as quickly as Palace of Mirrors. I've also heard it's just not as good as the first. I can see that, and part of that is the format. I read the authors' comments about that, so I'm going in more open-minded of it. But I think the problem for me right now is trying to remember what all did happen in the first book (no matter how much I loved it, I still forgot a lot!). I'm going to try, though. Only two more in the trilogy and I really think I could finish it.

The other book (Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy) I'm pretty sure I'll whirl through fast as I did the first one. From what I've heard, I don't think I will like it as much as I did the first because I don't like the direction it is going. (Nothing bad, just not what I wanted.) But as it is light and fluffy and such, I don't think I'll hate it. We'll see.

If only it didn't take so long for me to read print books. Not that I'm that slow of a reader. It's that I really only have time for about 10 pages a day. Maybe with the blanket being done I can spend less time crocheting and more time reading. I may have to consider putting my Netflix on hold again just so I can focus on reading. But I don't want reading to become a chore.

So, what YA books have you been reading lately?

The Importance of Sleep

[from my LDS blog]

Day 60

Who couldn't be happy, joyful, and grateful for 12 hours of sleep!?

Especially when this is what I've intrepidly been referring to as My Launch Week. My first teen program (officially, anyhow), and my first toddler storytime and preschool storytime. In less than 2 weeks I'll be doing my first Craft Storytime. But at least by then I'll have done 4 preschool and 4 toddler storytimes. So no worries, right?

Oh, I am so grateful I got a lot of sleep.