Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer an...

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Wow, this book moved my spirit. I love a book that speaks to my heart and soul and moves me to hope, laughter and tears. There are some books that I love so much that I want to carry it with me at all times and sleep with it under my pillow so that I can dream about it. This is one of those books for me. It is beautifully written in epistolary style with 20 different voices in the novel. I truly didn't want it to end.

The book begins when Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger who lives on the Island of Guernsey. Dawsey writes Juliet because he spent the war years reading a book by Charles Lamb that she previously owned and decided to write her. Guernsey is a English Isle that was under German Occupation during WWII and the people there were hungry for books, news, plants, shoes, everything they missed out on during the war. Juliet decides to write back and it forever changes her life and those around her. The year is 1946.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book.
"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some secret sort of honing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers." (page 10)

"That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive-all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment." (pages 11-12)

"Have you ever noticed that when your mind is awakened or drawn to someone new, that person's name suddenly pops up everywhere you go? My friend Sophie calls it coincidence and Mr. Simpless, my parson friend, calls it Grace. He thinks that if one cares deeply about someone or something new one throws a kind of energy out into the world, and "fruitlessness" is drawn in." (page 116)

Such poignant writing. If you love English Literature, WWII History and reading other people's letters from a period of history long gone, you will like (love) this book.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Break Reading Challenge

Summer Break Reading Challenge

I have decided to take part in the summer break reading challenge. I need to share my summer reading goals.

I recently listed my summer books a few weeks ago so I will update you on my progress and note a few changes.

1. Moby Dick (on page 195)
2. Superparenting for ADD ( on chapter 9)
3. Pope Joan (Finished)
4. New Moon (Finished)
5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (will finish today)

Still to read:
6. Glass
7. Every Last One
8. The 19th Wife
9. Looking Glass Wars
10. Shadowed Summer

I will add these books if I have the time before the challenge ends, otherwise I will read them in the last days of summer. I believe the challenge concludes at the end of August but there is no set date yet.

11. Speak
12. Athena
13. Away Laughing on a Fast Camel
14. 13 Reasons Why

I don't want the summer to end but I really can't wait to delve into all these great books!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Win a Kindle

Are you interested in winning a kindle?
Tina Pinson from Write Where I Want to Be has just published her book titled IN THE MANOR OF THE GHOST.

To celebrate the release of her ebook she is giving away two kindle e book readers and 10 free ebook downloads of her book. Check out her blog to enter. I really don't want you to enter so I have better odds at winning but since I am so kind and considerate, I am sharing this with you. Don't delay though as June 30th is the last day to enter.

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #2

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #2

Pages read 100-195
Chapters read 19-40

The second part of this reading voyage was a bit harder than the first. I firmly believe that Moby Dick must be read with a full mind in tune to the story, not half a mind that is busy thinking about other things. I spent most of my week reading with half a mind and had to re-read a lot. My plan is to read 25 pages a night, Tuesday through Friday and it did not work this week. By Friday I only had 60 pages out of 100 read so I was far behind. I did manage to catch up on the weekend but you know it is a busy week when all you read is 60 pages out of one book!

The second part begins with lots of foreboding. As Ishmael and Queequeg are heading to board the ship, they meet up with Elijah on the street whose prophetic utterances seem to disturb Ishmael. They board the Pequod and set sail Christmas day. Ishmael goes chapter by chapter introducing the crew, from Captain Ahab, to the Chief Mate named Starbuck and many others including the harpooners. I wonder if the Starbucks coffee shop is named after the Starbuck in this story.

Ishmael narrates an extensive chapter that is an small encyclopedia of the whales known to man at the time. The whales they are hunting are the Right Whale and the Sperm Whale. This part of the book continues to set up the voyage by explaining what happens at meal times and how they spot whales from the Mast-Head. There are tons and tons of historical references and I understand most of them but unfortunately some are lost to me.

Captain Ahab shows himself on the Quarter Deck and calls "Everybody Aft". He holds a meeting on the deck to tell the crew that they are sailing and searching only for Moby Dick, the whale who took his leg. The man who sights Moby first gets a gold doubloon. So they whole crew is now involved in Ahab's maniacal revenge on a whale and Starbuck and I believe it will be their doom. Lots of foreboding happening in this section of the book.

I read the last 30 pages when I was camping and we had two big thunderstorms roll through at the same moment in the book when a squall was coming up. It was kinda eerie. So that is where I left the story, a squall is coming and so is the first sighting of Moby Dick.

Two other bloggers are reading this book in the challenge so please pay them a visit and check out their blog posts on Moby. I can't wait to see what their reading experience entailed. Thanks to Rachel at 1001 books and Book Snob Wannabe and for joining the challenge as well as all the book readers out there!

I am continuing my voyage aboard the Pequod and start to chase the big, bad, whale. Hoping to stay dry this time. This week pages to be read are 196-300. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Birthday Contest

Birthday Contest

Hey I had a birthday last week!! Yahoo, I love growing older and wiser. I am in the mood to celebrate and I believe it should be a tradition in the world to give to others on your birthday. I also believe you should always give what you love most and since I have read this book zine for over 5 years, I thought I would give one lucky reader a one year subscription to BookWoman magazine. They do ship internationally.

BookWomen Magazine
A readers' community for those who love women's words.

BookWomen is a bi-monthly magazine dedicated to: building a community of readers and celebrating the joys of living with books. We explore the place of reading and books in women's lives and we spread the word about women writers and their work. We also support independent booksellers and publishers.

In BookWomen you'll find features such as:

* Reader Profile, an interview with one of our readers
* From Mollie & Glenda, find out the inside scoop on our thoughts and doings
* Author interviews, always interesting to know what shapes the writer
* Readers write, where subscribers' voice their thoughts and recommendations
* BookWomen Quiz, here you can test your literary skills
* Footnotes: news from and about the book world.

Plus, articles and features by, for and about women readers and writers, on topics such as: bookscapes in our lives, reading friendships, the sensuality of books, independent booksellers and presses, reading as a feminist act, reading on the road, books for children and much more!

If you would like to win this please comment with your name, blog (if you have one) and e-mail address. I will run this contest until Monday, July 5 at noon. Good Luck everyone!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (4)

It's the weekend and time for book blogger hop! I am looking forward to finding some great blogs this weekend and meeting my visitors, so please leave a comment and a blog address so I can visit you and return the love. Coming up this week, I will have a Birthday contest as I turned another year older today. So check back for that. I will probably announce it Monday or Tuesday. I will also be posting week 2 of my Moby Dick Reading Challenge. It is not too late to begin if you aren't afraid of the big, bad, whale! Have a great weekend and don't forget to smile!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Moon

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

It was a rainy summer day when I began reading New Moon. The Eclipse was soon to be released and the world has gone mad in anticipation for either Team Edward or Team Jacob. I tried to jump on the band wagon this time but Bella’s whining and crying began to get on my nerves. When will this story ever end, I said, but alas all things, good or bad must end unless you are really a vampire and so the book ends but not the story.

Here is some advice for my dear Bella and other vampire love stricken girls, men are not responsible for your happiness, you are. If you get depressed, get help! If he leaves you, move on! Your life and your happiness are so important.

New Moon is the second book in the Twilight series and things were reading pretty well for me but somewhere along the way, I just started getting annoyed that Bella kept carrying on about the same thing over and over, like I am doing in this post. My book snobbishness is starting to show. UGH! The Eclipse of the New Moon must be better.

I started reading these books in the last six months because of the cultural phenomena they are becoming. I originally received all four of these books from the publisher and I read the back of the books and thought, this high school vampire stuff isn’t for me and so I donated them to the library at the high school I teach at. Little did I know that they would be so popular and stolen from the library. My own children knew more about the stories than I did just from riding the bus to school and back. So I knew I had to read them. I really hope the story picks up in book three.


Twilight by Stephanie Meyers.

I wrote this in November, 2009.

It was a cold, dark night when I began reading this book and major hype was exploding all over the planet in anticipation of the NEW MOON. I was just entering the Twilight phase and was beset upon by current fans everywhere who noticed what I was covertly doing. I am happy to report that I enjoyed the book and have jumped on the bandwagon with every teenage girl in my class and many of the adult women in my life. I may even be the one of the last female readers on earth who had not participated in this phenomenon until now. So bring it on, Ms. Meyers, I don't faint at the sight of blood.

I wanted to include my good reads review because I just finished NEW MOON yesterday.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Read Alouds

I am a mom with two busy, hyperactive kids. The one way I can get them to relax is to read a story out loud to them. Reading aloud is a great way to bond with your kids and teach them the importance and value of reading. I love how reading a story aloud helps us to communicate, learn and explore the world we live in. Reading aloud is our nighttime ritual and the most valuable part of the day.

This summer it was the idea of my kids to read three books aloud this summer instead of just one. So each child chose one book they wanted to read "alone" with mom at night and one book we could all read together at lunch time.

Georgia chose to read LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was very happy with her choice as my name is Laura and I read all the books when I was young and watched every TV show faithfully. When we are finished with the book we are taking a field trip to Lake Pepin, Minnesota which is about a one hour drive from here to visit the house, museum and park in honor of Laura Ingalls. I just found out they also have a festival in September to honor Laura so we may attend that as well. I can't believe I have lived in Minnesota all my life and have never been to a Laura Ingalls Historical site. This is the year!

Max chose to read HOW TO BREAK A DRAGON'S HEART by Cressida Cowell. This is the 8th book in the Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the third series and my son and I love them. In fact we order them overseas because we can't wait for them to published here. The voices I give the characters make us laugh. Reading these books out loud are really fun.

The book we are reading as a group is THE SEA OF MONSTERS by Rick Riordan. We read THE LIGHTNING THIEF last summer and the kids loved it. Of course Percy is very similar to my kids with his ADHD and dyslexia. I got my kids thinking they are demi-gods now and we are constantly learning about the Greek Gods and Goddesses. I have been to Greece and teach World History so there is a lot knowledge I can share with them. Plus, there is going to be a movie on this book. Yeah, we love it when we read the book and then the movie comes out.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #1

Pages read: 1-99
Chapters read 1-18

Yeah, I completed the first 99 pages of Moby Dick and guess what, it wasn't that hard. I psyched myself up to believing the Great American Novel was going to be boring and difficult to read but I was wrong. In fact, it was downright entertaining. I actually laughed out loud a few times.

Call me Ishmael is the famous first sentence of Moby Dick. Ishmael is the narrator of the story who wants to be a whaler. Whale blubber is the oil of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and many men risk their lives to capture and kill these giant sea creatures. The first 99 pages of the book covers Ishmael's journey to Nantucket and subsequent employment on Captain Ahab's whaler called the Pequod. Along the way he meets a harpooner named QueeQueg and shares a bed with him. They become fast friends and vow to sail out on the same ship. QueeQueg is the most interesting character in the story so far.

While reading Moby Dick, I am reminded of the book, Ahab's Wife. I am so glad I read it first as it really sets me up to understand Moby Dick better. Plus, Ahab's wife and son are mentioned in chapter sixteen. If you haven't read Ahab's Wife it would be an excellent novel to read after you've finished with Moby Dick as well.

There are lots and lots of religious references in Moby Dick. The first 99 pages referenced Jonah and the Whale, Noah's Ark and quoted a few Bible passages. Either Melville was a religious man or men on whaling ships knew that life was short and risky and had a need be religious. Probably both. Ishmael states that QueeQueg is a pagan and finds important the worshiping and fasting for his idol. Melville mentions Ramadan and I am wondering if maybe QueeQueg is not a pagan but Muslim.

Here is how I accomplished my reading this week. On Tuesday through Friday I read 25 pages each day. This allowed my to have my weekends free to read another book as well as reflect on what I read in Moby Dick. I am going to try and do this again.

Two other bloggers are reading this book in the challenge so please pay them a visit and check out their blog posts on Moby. I can't wait to see what their reading experience entailed. Thanks to Rachel at 1001 books and Book Snob Wannabe and for joining the challenge as well as all the book readers out there!

Tomorrow, I set sail on the Pequod for the week and will update you on my progress next Monday. Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Goodbye to the Women's Press Library

Saying Goodbye to the Minnesota Women’s Press Library

Friday night I met with an amazing group of book women to commemorate the library at the Women’s Press in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The library has stood at its present location for 20 years and shelves about 10,000 books in which the majority are written about women, by women and for women. The Women’s Press is moving to a new location and does not have room for the library.

When I walked in the door I was greeted by Mollie Hoben, one of the founding women of the Women’s Press. Mollie instructed me to go downstairs into the library and chose ONE book to take home with me and keep. One book out of 10,000 was not an easy choice but in the end I settled for a book that contains 3 books and several short stories by the powerful writer, Flannery O’Connor. I am very happy with my choice.

How do you say goodbye to a library? About 15 women were present to share memories and say goodbye to the library. Eventually it was determined that one object should contain the spirit of the library and move to the new location and employ a place of honor there. The object chosen was the overdue card catalog box and each of the women put in the card from the book they chose to take home with them. We then toasted with wine the spirits of all the women and books that enjoyed time in that space. It was a very fitting salute to an inspiring library dedicated to women. I am definitely going to miss the library and the book spirits there but am looking forward to new beginnings in the new building.

Congrats on 25 years in Business, Mollie and Glenda! Here is to another 25 more!
The Women’s Press is a newspaper publication you can subscribe too and as well as their BookWomen publication. Check out their publications and the history of the press here.
I am so proud to have met Glenda and Mollie 9 years ago and cherish their influence in my life. They are truly great BOOK WOMEN.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Follower Contest

25 Follower Contest

In celebration of topping 25 followers this week I am having a contest. I am giving away Three BOOK THONGS. Each one will be hand made by me and my children. The winner gets all three unique designs. So to participate in the contest you must be a follower and you must leave a comment in this post with your Name, Blog (if you have one), e-mail and of course a book recommendation. The contest will run from Friday 6/18 and close Monday 6/21 at Noon. My kids are super excited about the contest and making the Book Thongs. Good Luck everyone and thanks for being a follower!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop. This is my third weekend in a row participating and I just love meeting all the new people who comment and leave their blogs for me to visit. I am hosting a Moby Dick reading challenge, so consider participating. Currently I am reading pages 1-100 this week and will blog about it on Monday. Feel free to promote it. I am also going to have my first contest to honor my followers. I am so proud to have 25 followers! So I hope to announce the contest this weekend. You must be a follower to participate in the contest however I am turning a year older on June 24th and plan to have a Birthday contest in which anyone can enter. See you at the HOP. Have a great weekend!!

The Versatile Blogger Award

I received my first blogging award one week ago and I want to thank Mel's Books and Info for choosing me. I am really honored.
Please check out her blog, it is awesome! Thanks again Mel.

The Rules for the award are:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order...)
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

Seven Things about me.

1. I am a inner city High School social studies teacher. This upcoming school year, I will be teaching World History to 9th graders. Most days I love my job but sometimes the stress and needy kids get to me.

2. I am married with two children. I have a son who is twelve and a daughter who is nine. They both have ADHD and other related issues. Our house is frequently wild and crazy.

3. I read to de-stress. Basically if I don't read before I go to bed I won't sleep well during the night. Reading is how I maintain my sanity. Most of the time the characters in books have a lot more issues and problems than I do and that puts my life in perspective.

4. My husband has read one book in our entire 16 year marriage while I have read too many books to count. He supports my reading habit and I support his TV habit. It all works out.

5. I wish I could quit my job and be home full time. I would love to be more available to my own children when the need arises, which is quite often. I do have mother's guilt. If I wasn't a teacher, I would choose to be a writer or a nutritionist.

6. One of my favorite reading memories is when I borrowed all my LaVyrle Spencer romance novels to my grandpa. My gramps and I would read together on his farm and talk about the books. He in turn would share his stories of growing up. The funny thing is my Grandma refused to read them. I really miss my grandpa, Harvey. My grandma, Marge is living with Alzheimer's.

7. I grew up hating to read but surrounded by readers. I had a hard time focusing on books and sitting still when I was young. I really became a huge reader in high school, thanks to an English teacher named Mrs. Martinson. She had us read Hamlet and The Old Man and the Sea. These are still two of my favorites. I don't think I would have gone to college if it wasn't for her. She showed me that books can be magic.

Choosing people to give an award to is really, really hard.
So without further ado here are the blogs I want to honor.

1. Michele at Voix de Michele
2. Susan at Bloggin' 'bout books
3. Book Snob Wannabe
4. Emily's Reading Room
5. Lyndsey at Heaven, Hell and Purgatory book reviews
6 Helen's Book Blog
7. Rachel at Home Girl's Book Blog
8. Brenna at Literary Musings
9. Becky at Page Turners
10. Sarah at Reading 2.0
11. Vivienne at Serendipity
12. Shelf Life
13. Six Boxes of Books
14. The Genteel Arsenal
15. Mel U at The Reading Life

I hope you can take some time to visit these blogs and support them as they are marvelous!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pope Joan

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

Pope Joan is historical fiction at its finest. The book takes place during the dark ages in the 9th century when it is forbidden for women to be educated. During this time the church has been ridding the world of pagans and converting them by force. You must either convert or die. So Joan's mother, Gudrun is a Saxon who converts to Christianity and marries the canon, a man who believes he must beat the devil out of women and children to save their souls. Gudrun has three children, two sons Matthew and John, with the youngest child being Joan. The year Joan is born the Frankish emperor Karolus (known to us as Charlemagne) dies, sending the empire into an uncertain future.

An educated woman was known to be a dangerous woman. Joan was forbidden an education but her brother Matthew taught her secretly. When her fathered discovered she owned a book he beat her to within a inch of her life. Eventually to continue her education she had to live her life as a man and enter a monastery. She was in constant fear that she would be discovered and be executed as a witch. She is not the only woman who has done this. Throughout history many women have chosen to live their lives as men because of the opportunities that were denied to them as women. Men were very fearful of women and of menstrual blood. The author states in her author's note that "Menstrual blood was believed to turn wine sour, make crops barren, take the edge off of steel, make iron rust, and infect dog bites with an incurable poison".

Is Joan a real person? Did she really become Pope in 853 and reign until 855? I believe so! In fact the author states there are more historical references to Pope Joan than King Arthur and yet more children know the story of King Arthur. The reason why most people have never heard of Pope Joan is because when the Catholic church discovered Pope John Anglicus was a woman they tried to erase her from history by destroying documents and after Joan's papacy all future Popes were required to show their manhood before assuming the role of Pope.

I am so thankful that I am living now in this time and place instead of in the past. My children once asked me if I could go back in history and live at any moment, what year would I live in? My response was that I wouldn't go back, at least not as a woman. I enjoy the luxuries of today, like reading, writing, voting and working. Women have more opportunities now than ever before and we still have a long way to go. I love being a woman in 2010.

I would consider this book to be one of the best books I have read so far this year. I am overjoyed to have discovered a movie version has been made but unfortunately I cannot find a U.S. release date. Leave a comment if you have some information about the film. The trailer looks great and so I included it in my post. You can also check out the website for Pope Joan at My advice to you is to definitely read this book and spread Joan's legacy to the world!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010



Here are a few things I am really excited about and I wanted to share them.

1. I received two blogging awards in the last 7 days and it really makes me smile that people want to read what I have to say and find my blog special. The Sunshine award come from Lisa at Bibliophilia and the Versatile Blogger award comes from Mel at Mel's books and info. I will put my awards in the side bar and if you click on them they will take you to their blog sites. Thanks So Much!

2. George O'Connor the graphic novelist who wrote Zeus and Athena e-mailed me yesterday and sent me and my son a copy of a page in his new book, HERA. What an honor.

3. Over the weekend I gained 5 new followers and so I want to welcome them and announce that because I have 25 followers I am going to have my first contest. I am really excited about this and haven't decided what to give away yet.

4. I just ordered business cards for my blog. They look so cool and I can't wait to get them and hand them out. People have asked me if I have business cards and now I do!

5. Lastly, I started reading Moby Dick today. Yahoooooo!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Michael L Printz Award

If you have been reading my posts you probably know by now that the Printz award is my favorite book award. Here is why. Just about every book I read that is a Printz honor or award winner is awesome! The award is relatively new and so I only have to read back ten years to finish all the books and I like that in a list. I am 28 percent done with the list as of today! Yalsa (Young Adult Library Services Association) puts out the list every year. Three cheers for Yalsa!! Oh and if you haven't noticed I crossed out the books I have read so far. I will post an update on my progress every six months or so. Also take a look around my blog for Printz book reviews I have done.

The List


Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
Punkzilla by Adam Rapp
Tales of the Madman Underground: An Historical Romance, 1973 by John Barnes


Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation; Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Nation by Terry Pratchett
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan


The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
Dreamquake: Book Two of the Dreamhunter Duet by Elizabeth Knox
One Whole and Perfect Day by Judith Clarke
Repossessed by A.M. Jenkins
Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath by Stephanie Hemphill


American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation; Volume I: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Surrender by Sonya Hartnett
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


Looking for Alaska by John Green
Black Juice by Margo Lanagan
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth, a Photographic Biography by Elizabeth Partridge
A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson


how i live now by Meg Rosoff
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
Chanda’s Secrets by Allan Stratton
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt


The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Keesha’s House by Helen Frost
Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler


Postcards from No Man’s Land by Aidan Chambers
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr
Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos


A Step From Heaven by An Na
The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson
Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art by Jan Greenberg Abrams
Freewill by Chris Lynch
True Believer by Virginia Euwer Wolff


Kit’s Wilderness by David Almond
Many Stones by Carolyn Coman
The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci
Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison
Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman


Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Skellig by David Almond

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Moby Dick Reading Challenge

It's official, I am starting to read Moby Dick on Tuesday June 15th, 2010. I sincerely hope you can read along with me. My plan is to read 100 pages in a week, with my week beginning on Tuesdays. On the following Monday is when I will blog about the chapters read. It should take approximately six weeks to finish the book. I warn you there may be spoilers in my weekly Moby blog. If you plan to participate please leave me a comment and promote it on your blog if you write one.
I am looking forward to completing this Great American Novel and then ordering my new Moby Dick T-shirt.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Have you ever been to a graveyard and wonder what goes on after dark when the gates are locked for the night? Let me introduce you to Nobody Owens. Nobody has lived in the graveyard since he was a toddler. He followed his instincts one night when his family was murdered and was adopted by the ghosts in the graveyard. Bod Owens occupies the sphere between the living and the dead. He can communicate with both the living and the dead and belongs to both worlds.

This book is a scary adventure story. It reminded me of Harry Potter and the Jungle Book. I definitely think that Gaiman plans to write a sequel and a movie of the book is in the works. This book will appeal to middle and high school students. I think it will be too scary for the kids in upper elementary grades. The murders take place at the beginning of the book, but there are also lots of ghosts, goblins, witches and Jack. Jack is still trying to find Nobody and kill him throughout the book. It is an exciting, eclectic cast of characters and I loved thinking about what takes place in real graveyards at night that our human minds don't see.

I am totally fascinated by cemeteries and curious about all the people who rest there. When I was a little girl my aunt Sherry lived across the street from a graveyard and it became my playground whenever I came to visit. Frequently we would go for walks there or I would be sent with a cloth, a bucket and garden shears to clean off long forgotten graves. I grew up with a fascination not a fear of cemeteries. Maybe that is one of the reasons I became a history teacher, to learn about all those dead people. What an epiphany!

The Graveyard Book won the Newberry Award in 2009. It is very deserving of the award. The artwork is dark and lovely and fits the story perfectly. This is the second book I have read by Gaiman, the first was Coraline. Coraline was also an entertaining read but this book is far more superior in my mind. I think I need to read one of Gaiman's adult books. Hmmm, which one should I pick?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

I'm in for my second round of the Book Blogger Hop. Last weekend was my first time participating and I had a lot of fun. So if you are hopping on by, I would like to extend my warmest welcome. Please consider joining my Moby Dick Read-a-long. I am starting the book on June 15th and would love to have other bloggers read and blog along with me. Please leave a comment if you can and your link as I would love to repay the visit. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer Reading

School is out for the summer and I have a list of books I am longing to read. As a teacher I long for June and the relaxation of summer. There are no papers to grade, no lessons to plan, no textbooks to read, no students to teach well unless you count my own children. So I have been compliling my summer TBR (to be read) list with great anticpation.

These are the books I plan to read this summer.
Pope Joan
Moby Dick
Superparenting for ADD
New Moon
Thirteen Reasons Why
The 19th Wife
Every Last One
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society
Looking Glass Wars
Away Laughing on a Fast Camel

I may change my mind about some of these books because I have two gift cards to big bookstores in the area and my birthday is in two weeks. Who knows what books will demand to be read and which books will be content to sit on the shelf for awhile. Don't you just love how your TBR pile changes week to week.

I think tomorrow I will spend my first day off reading on the porch swing on my deck. Did I tell you my own children are still in school for two more days and my husband is out of town. It is absolute bliss to find TWO DAYS (8 hours per day really) of freedom. I am definitely spending part of my day reading!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Weekend Recap

I had a lot of fun this weekend participating in the book blogger hop sponsored by Crazy for Books. I gained 4 new followers this past weekend. Welcome! Thanks to everyone who stopped by for a visit.

I learned a lot in this blog hop and joined the Blog Fest which takes place on September 10th through the 12th. You definitely want to check this out at A Journey of Books or click on my link located on the side panel of my blog. Each blog that participates offers a contest and bloggers and readers blog hop and enter all the exciting contests. I hope I win something too. Really excited to be a part of it. I also joined Crazy book tours which sends out an ARC book to readers on the tour. It is a really fun idea and I can't wait to get my first book.

I also discovered that I need a blog buddy because I still have a lot to learn, including how to get the links that I add to each post to actually show up. Let me know if you want to be my blog buddy.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K.Rowling

Am I the last person on earth who has NOT read all the Harry Potter stories? I think not. Which is why I chose to review it today.

This book is the third installment of the Harry Potter legacy. I did not read this book quietly to myself, instead I spent the last six months reading the story aloud to my children. Reading aloud is one of the most important gifts of time you can give your children. If you want your children to grow up and appreciate the love of stories and be life long readers, start reading aloud every night. You will not regret it.

My children love the Harry Potter series and all that goes with it, mystery, intrigue, fantasy, humor and friendship. I am also enjoying the series and the valuable time spent with my children. The books have become a big part of our culture. But I feel as though the books are way to predictable. I keep figuring out most of the mysteries before they are revealed.

The Prisoner of Azkaban does not disappoint the reader as it continues the adventures of Harry, Hermione, and Ron at their beloved wizard school, Hogwarts. My favorite character is Hermione and she takes a bolder role in this book as she grows into a strong young woman. I love how she stands up for what she believes in and protects her friends even though she may lose them with her honesty.

My children and I read the book first and then watch the movie. So they really want to finish all the books because most of their peers have seen the films already. I am excited to continue this reading adventure and move on to the next book, but I am intimidated by its size. Reading it aloud takes longer. We read about 15 minutes every night but that is only about 6-10 pages. As a read aloud, it is ok, I have read other books that flow better. It is always fun to create a voice for the characters.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Welcome to Book Bloggers

This is my first book blogger hop and I am excited to take part in it. I have been blogging about 4 months now and love it. I wish I could quit my job and blog full-time. Take a look around and leave a comment with your blog site. I will definitely check out your site as well. Also consider joining my Moby Dick read-a-long. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

This book is a graphic novel that has three intertwining stories. Each story is unique and the reader has no idea how the stories interconnect until the ending.

The first story recounts the famous tale of the Monkey King. The second story recounts the story of a boy named Jim Wang. Jim Wang is American Born Chinese and struggles with his identity. The third story is about a boy named Danny who has a cousin named Chin-Kee. Chin-Kee represents the racist stereotype of the “Fresh off the Boat”(FOB) Chinese.

This is the first graphic novel to win the Printz award (my favorite award)as well as the first graphic novel to be nominated for The National Book Award and to receive an honor. The author, Gene Luen Yang is a teacher in California by day, graphic novelist by night.

I would highly recommend this book. First of all, it is rare to find the main characters in a graphic novel Chinese. The book has something for everyone. It has a bit of fantasy, a dose of reality, problems typical of teenage boys and beautiful artwork. This book would greatly appeal to young males, although I enjoyed it as a grown woman. I would definitely read another book by this author.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Moby Dick Read-a-long

Moby Dick Read-a-long 2010

Have you ever wanted to read the Great American Novel, Moby Dick? Well here is your chance. I am starting a read-a-long this month. The book is a little over 600 pages long. So I propose to read 100 pages a week for six weeks and accomplish the great feat of reading Moby Dick in its entirety. I am hoping to start reading around the week of June 14th or June 21st.

Here what inspired this reading adventure for me. Number one, I read Ahab's Wife two summers ago (700 pages) by Sena Jeter Naslund and loved every single word. It is such a beautiful book about Captain Ahab and his wife. Second, It is in the book, 1001 BOOKS TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE and I am busy trying to read the books on this list with a friend of mine and we agreed to read it. Third, I am intimidated by this book and so when I finish reading this book I plan to purchase myself a lovely T-Shirt from a store called OUT OF PRINT. I really, really want this T-shirt.

Look for future posts with a graphic and link. Mark your calenders for a June 15th or June 21st start date and get a copy of Moby Dick. I can't wait to take us all on a reading journey with Captain Ahab.