Friday, July 30, 2010

Northhanger Abbey Readalong week #2

Northhanger Abbey Readalong week #2

Pages read 64-120
Chapters read 10-15

I am really enjoying reading this book and am embracing all things Jane Austen lately. I am definitely on Team Tilney and can't wait till Catherine pushes Mr. Thorpe, (pompous ass) out of the door.

Here is what happened this week. Catherine befriends Eleanor Tilney, Henry's sister, and meets their father who seems to approve of their relationship so far. All three go on a walk and it is most enjoyable for the reader as they talk about novels, history, landscape painting and women. My favorite quote of this chapter (14) is one is which she talks about teaching: "you would allow that to torment and to instruct might sometimes be used as synonimous words." I thought this particularly funny as I am a history teacher and my students would most definitely agree with this sentiment sometimes. Ha, Ha.

Other important news was imparted when Isabelle became engaged to Catherine's brother, James. He ran home to get parental permission to marry Isabelle as she sat at home anxiety ridden that they would not approve. Most interesting, though is when Isabelle's pompous brother is prodding Catherine's feelings and determines most incorrectly, that she is his girlfriend and Catherine has no idea of it. She is so naive and he is so conceited. What a mismatch. Oh my, I feel like I am starting to think in Old English, Austen style.

So they drama continues next week as I read Chapters 16-23. I hope you can join along with me and the many others participating in this readalong. Check out Reading with Tequila's blog post for more updates and her opinion on the particulars in Catherine's life.

What Austen Character Are You?

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

As I am currently reading Northhanger Abbey this quiz intrigued me. Thank Goodness, I have read Sense and Sensibility, so I know who Elinor Dashwood is! Try it yourself and let me know what Austen character you resemble.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Blogger Hip Hop

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere (is that really a word?). I have been blogging about 6 months and love it. Please take some time and look around. Check out my new meme Hometown Tracks - Author Spotlight. Let me know what you think.

The question for the week is: Who is your favorite new-to-you author so far this year?

My answer is Ellen Hopkins. Her books, Crank and Glass are amazing and I could read them anywhere. On a plane, on a train, during a fire, at a traffic light, etc. I am really looking forward to the release of the next book in the series called Fallout. All are about a teenage girl addicted to meth.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hometown Track- A New Meme

Hometown Track is a new meme hosted by me, Booksnob, and I am excited to introduce it to you and hope you will be enticed to participate.

Here is how it works.
1. Grab the button and link it back to Booksnob and this post.

2. Highlight one author from your hometown, state, or country once per month.

3. On the first or second day of the month, announce your author of the month with a list of published books, a link to their web page, and a short biography. You can also talk about why you choose them, highlight their house, historical site, college, bookstore, anything unique about them, etc.

4. Read and review one of the author's books during the month.

5. If you can, try and offer a contest related to the author or their books. You may want to contact the author/publisher to see if they will donate anything to you.

6. Have fun and be creative!

This is the button for Minnesota bloggers, if you use it please link it to my blog and/or this post. If you would like to get your state or country put on this button, please let me know. The cost is minimal.

I Write Like

I write like
Charles Dickens

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I just had my writing analyzed on I WRITE LIKE. I love Charles Dickens. My absolute favorite book by him is Tale of Two Cities. Go ahead and analyze your writing, it is kinda fun!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shadowed Summer

Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell

I entered a contest to win Shadowed Summer for my school book club a few months ago and I didn't win but the author was kind enough to send me a copy anyway. I knew I wanted to make time this summer to read it.

It has been a long time since I have read a really good ghost story. So I was thrilled and stuck like glue to the book until it was finished. It is a fast paced read that will scare just about any teenager. What I liked about the book is that it is spooky with a mix of reality, mystery and graveyard fun thrown in.

Iris, the main character, is very intuitive and connected to the ghost who is haunting her. He keeps saying, "Where y'at, Iris?", throughout the book. He surprises Iris at odd times with odd pranks and tricks. He wants Iris to find him and solve the mystery surrounding his disappearance but he is not very nice to Iris and she frequently gets in trouble with her Dad.

Are you an intuitive person? Have you ever been in contact with a ghost? As a highly intuitive child, I grew up in a haunted house that was over a hundred years old. So I have a special fondness for ghost stories. I have not seen ghosts mostly because I don't want to but I have felt their presence in the room and seen what they can do. I also spent a lot of time playing in the graveyard across the street from my Aunt Sherry's house when I was a child so I could relate to the games the characters played in the graveyard.

If you like a good ghost story be sure to read Shadowed Summer. If you are looking for other books like this one, I would recommend The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimen and House of Spirits and Whispers. The True Story of a Haunted House by Annie Wilder. Annie Wilder lives here in Minnesota and has tea parties in her haunted house. I met Annie Wilder last year and plan on attending one of her parties soon.

Where will this book go? This book will go to my 13 year old niece Jasmine. I want her to read it. When she gives it back to me I will either put it on my classroom bookshelves or donate it to the school library.

Where y'at readers?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #6

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #6

Pages read 500-625
Chapters read 105-135

I have finished reading Moby Dick! Yahoooooo! I have conquered Moby Dick and have survived the ordeal and I am so happy. I consider this a great accomplishment and my copy of Moby Dick will reside on my bookshelf as a trophy of achievement.

Melville is an absolute genius! I learned so much from this book and am so glad I undertook the difficult talk of reading it. It was worth it. The ending of Moby Dick was so good, so philosophical, so entertaining that I will definitely have to reread it. The last four chapters that is.

The book culminates in the last three chapters with the sighting of Moby Dick and the Pequod's subsequent demise. Starbuck's character made me cry with hope and denial as I so wanted him to see his wife and child and for the boat to give up the perilous fight. I loved the section about Queegueg's coffin and was overjoyed that he didn't need to use it and then the hilarious transition of the coffin being used as the ships life buoy. Genius, I say!

I bookmarked 6 quotes in the last 125 pages, more than any other section in the book.
I feel I must share them as they provoked much thought while I was reading. The last three quotes all come from The Symphony chapter.

"Well, well; I heard Ahab mutter, 'Here some one thrusts these cards into these old hands of mine; swears that I must play them, and no other.' And damn me, Ahab, but thou actest right; live in the game, and die in it!" The last sentence on page 545.

"Though but a point at best; whencesoe'er I came; whencesoe'er I go; yet while I earthly live, the queenly personality lives in me, and feels her royal rights. But war is pain, and hate is woe. Come in thy lowest form of love, and I will kneel and kiss thee; but at thy highest, come as mere supernal power; and though thou launchest navies of full-freighted worlds, there's that in here that still remains indifferent, Oh, thou clear spirit, of thy fire thou madest me, and like a true child of fire, I breathe it back to thee." Page 551

"Alike, joy and sorrow, hope and fear, seemed ground to finest dust, and powdered, for the time, in the clamped mortar of Ahab's iron soul." Page 582

"Tied up and twisted; gnarled and knotted with wrinkles; haggardly firm and unyielding; his eyes glowing like coals, that still glow in the ashes of ruin; untottering Ahab stood forth in the clearness of the morn; lifting his splintered helmet of a brow to the fair girl's forehead of heaven." Page 589

""From beneath his slouched hat Ahab dropped a tear into the sea; nor did all the Pacific contain such wealth as that one wee drop." Page 590

"But if the great sun move not of himself; but as an errand boy of heaven; nor one single star can revolve, but by some invisible power, how then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless God does that beating, does that thinking, does that living, and not I." Page 592

Moby Dick is a religious book, a time travel book though history, a tribute to whalers and the whaling life, a memoir of a man's life thus changed by the whales he hunts. It is a complex novel worthy of study.

I found this bumper sticker at
I may just have to buy it.

Thanks so Rachel at 1001 books and Book Snob Wannabe for reading this book with me. Thanks also to my friend Trudy for suggesting the blog readalong. I hope you all are relieved and happy you read it. To those who haven't read it yet, I challenge you to read it!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jane Austen's Fight Club

Oh My, this is so funny, especially if you are currently reading a Jane Austen book! I am reading Northhanger Abbey and one of my friends posted this on his facebook page. You have to watch this, seriously! It is priceless good fun, my dears!

Northhanger Abbey Readalong week #1

Northhanger Abbey Read-along Week #1

Pages read 1-64
Chapters read 1-9

I joined the Northhanger Abbey Read-along sponsored by the blog
Reading with Tequila. I have only read one book by Jane Austen in my lifetime and it was difficult and slow going for me. It took me three weeks to read Sense and Sensibility and while I want to read more Jane Austen I just haven't had the urge to spend weeks on end suffering through any more of her novels by myself. So when this read-along came up, I joined it.

Northhanger Abbey is so far delightful and easier to read than Sense and Sensibility. Catherine the main character is a bit of a bore as she is quite naive but at least she is likable unlike Isabelle and John Thorpe who are completely conceited and irritating. The characters tend to lead lives that are very frivolous and concern themselves with being seen at the pump-house daily or going to dances. The characters lead lives that are so very different from my own.

What I like about Catherine and Isabelle is that they are readers of novels. Novels are new to the time-period when this book was written as a satire to the popular gothic romances of the day. I love Austen's references to real novels published at the time and feel the need to get my hands on a book by Ann Radcliffe. Many people despise the "novel" while secretly reading them with passion. It is interesting how far the novel has changed and traveled since Northhanger Abbey was written.

I am excited to continue this novel and I am looking forward to watching the film version of the book. That is my reward. I really like all the films based on Austen's books, I just wish the books flowed better for me so I could enjoy the process of reading them.

This week the plan is to read chapter 10 through 15. I hope you pick up this book and give it a try.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #5

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #5

Pages read: 402-499
Chapters read: 84-104

On this whaling voyage Ishmael has taught the reader every thing we need to know about the Sperm whale, from his spout to his tail. He describes each part of the whale in finite detail and I get the feeling he is proud to hunt and witness such amazing creatures.

He talks about the pods of the Sperm whale and we learn from Ishmael that the whales travel in all male groups, all female groups and the old male whales travel alone. I found this chapter interesting as well as when he witnesses the mother whales with their young.

He then details the ship and the process of collecting the blubber to make the oil. He goes through each part of the ship like he is the reader's tour guide and explains how the oil is melted down in try-pots, where the barrels are stored and how the ship is cleaned. How the process is continually repeated when a new whale is captured.

Ahab continues to search for Moby Dick and rarely makes appearances in the book. He appears only to inquire other ship captains if they have seen the great white whale known as Moby Dick. He does meet another captain who had lost his arm and refuses to hunt for Moby Dick as he prefers to keep his one arm intact. So Captain Ahab continues his mad search for the Great White Whale.

Some of my favorite quotes this week:

"Doubts of all things earthly, and intuitions of some things heavenly; this combination makes neither believer nor infidel, but makes a man who regards them both with equal eye." page 409

"Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it; and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic." page 411

"Book!, you lie there; the fact is you books must know your places. You'll do to give us the bare words and facts, but we come in to supply the thoughts." page 473

There is 125 pages left in my volume of Moby Dick, I will savor the last week of my reading experience in the woods of Wisconsin. Please check out the other blogs, Book Snob Wannabe and Rachel at 1001 Books participating in this journey. Have a great reading week.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Follow

Happy Friday!!

Welcome to Friday Follow visitors!

I will incommunicado this week as I will be in Boy Heaven slapping mosquitoes and getting sunburned. Yes, Heaven has mosquitoes and wood-ticks too. Unfortunately for me there are no computer hook-ups in the North Wisconsin woods and so I will be going through blogging withdrawal. I will miss you probably more than you will miss me.

I plan to read during my minimal downtime and am looking forward to hearing the loons sing and dance, watching the eagles sway in the breeze and hearing the fish jump at night. I am also looking forward to seeing my kids smile, because Boy Heaven aka Boy Scout camp is awesome! Girls like it too.

I plan to read:
The last 125 pages of Moby Dick.
Start Northhanger Abbey and read chapters 1-9
Read Every Last One by Anna Quindlan

Laura (Booksnob)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Read-A-Thon Wrap-Up

Read-A-Thon Wrap Up.

This was really fun, thanks to everyone who created it, hosted mini-challenges and donated prizes. I will definitely participate in more read-a-thons but I will intentionally carve out more time to read.

Here is what I completed in 3 days:

Read 75 pages in Moby Dick
Read 1 chapter in Superparenting for ADD
Finished Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Finished Athena by George O' Conner
Participated in two mini-challenges

My reviews for these books will be published in a couple of weeks. I am leaving to spend a week slapping mosquitoes in the Wisconsin woods. I have priorities you know!

My daughter kicked butt and read 4 and a half books. I am so proud of her!!
My son, who is a reluctant reader, completed one book! I am so proud of him!!
They will be going to the bookstore to pick out a new book! They are very excited.

I was lucky enough to win a prize, it is a swag pack filled with all kinds of goodies. I am going to skip to my mailbox every day until it arrives.

I hope your reading goals were accomplished easily.
Happy Reading!

Read-A-Thon Progress Report #2

Read-A-Thon Progress Report #2

Yesterday I finished reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and read about 20 pages of Moby Dick, falling a bit short of my goal.
I ended up getting a headache last night so I couldn't read Moby, he is not good for curing headaches. This morning I woke with an allergy attack so I haven't done any reading yet today, UGH! As soon as I finish this post I plan to read for a hour or so.

I participated in one mini-challenge at Confessions of a Bookaholic.

My daughter read half of a Judy Moody book yesterday and my son read half of Hate that Cat! Getting my son to read more than 40 minutes was impossible. We went out for ice cream last night to celebrate their reading progress so far.

Today's reading goals: Read 50-80 pages of Moby Dick and 1 chapter in Superparenting for ADD. Participate in one mini challenge today. Update my progress tonight before I go to bed as today is the last day of the Read-A-Thon.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Read-A-Thon Progress Report

Once Upon a Read-A-Thon Progress Report #1

Yesterday, I read Athena by George O'Conner and started Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I have 50 pages left of Speak and will finish it today.

My daughter read two books yesterday, Love This Dog and Hate That Cat! by Sharon Creech. I am so proud of her and more importantly she is proud of herself for finishing two whole books in one day. Hopefully she will stay motivated today.

My son was busy all day at church and Boy Scouts and so he had no time to read. Hopefully he will make up for lost time today.

Today's reading goals include finishing SPEAK and reading about 50 pages of Moby Dick. I also hope to begin reading Every Last One by Anna Quindlan. I plan to participate in one of the mini-challenges and pick up two new bookshelves while packing for Scout camp. Oh my!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #4

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #4

Pages read this week: 300-401
Chapters read this week: 59-83

Only 52 chapters and 224 pages left to go and I will be done with Moby Dick. I am so proud of myself for reading this far. The reading is going pretty good now as I have picked up a natural rhythm when reading this story. I was reading my 100 pages from Tuesday to Friday with 25 pages a day, but last week I read from Tuesday to Thursday and finished my pages a day early. This week I plan to read all my pages during the Once Upon a Read-a-Thon and finish by Wednesday. Hopefully I am going to write my post early and schedule it for Monday as I will be lost in the woods at Boy Scout camp next week.

The beginning of this section of the book begins with the sighting of a squid and the first Sperm whale kill. It was gruesome and crazy and amazing. Melville really makes you feel amazed at the difficulty of the chase and kill of a whale and great sadness as the whale gives up his life for the sake of mankind's selfish needs. Ishmael then narrates how the dead whale is brought to the side of the boat and tied there for the night and how the sharks hover and tear at the whale carcass. He then explains to the reader how the whale is cut up and disposed of including obtaining the special and fine spermaceti oil located in the whale's skull.

Then the crew chases and kills a Right whale and the Pequod has a whale tied up to each side of the boat with massive amounts of sharks circling. Ishmael launches into comparisons between the two different types of whales, which I actually found quite interesting and found myself looking at the pictures of the whales in the back of the book and studying the ship and implements used to strip the whale of its blubber so it can be boiled down into barrels of oil. The Sperm whale typically yields 100 barrels of oil.

These whales are ginormous. I can't even begin to picture in my mind how massively large they are. Ishmael explains how Tashtego falls into a whale's skull and is actually entombed in there until rescued. Today the Sperm whale is an endangered species and the ban on hunting these whales began in 1987. Some countries still illegally hunt this whale.

Ahab questions every whaling boat that happens by about Moby Dick and if they have sighted the great white whale. I enjoy the Gam between the Captains and crew and look forward to the Pequod meeting new ships on the voyage because they abound with whaling stories.

I am continuing my intellectual voyage by reading pages 402-500 this week. Be sure to join Rachel at 1001 books and Book Snob Wannabe as they sail the foreign seas looking for the infamous whale called Moby Dick.

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon reading list

The Read-a-Thon starts today!! I am excited to participate. This is a busy week for me as I am packing to go to boy heaven aka Boy Scout camp for the week with my son. So I have shopping, errands, packing, and Doc Appts. too. I have enlisted my two kids to participate in the read-a-thon and they are excited and have their books picked out. Here is my tentative reading list:

1. Athena by George O'Conner
2. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
3. Read 100 pages of Moby Dick
4. Read 1 chapter in Superparenting for ADD
5. If it arrives in the mail: Away Laughing on a Fast Camel by Louise Rennison
6. Start reading Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

If I accomplish this, I will be very happy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Author Interview with Emma Michaels

Interview with Emma Michaels, author of THE THIRTEENTH CHIME.

This is my first author interview and I am excited to share it with you. I enlisted my kids and my family to help me write the questions. It made the kids feel really powerful and I think they came up with some great questions. After each question I will tell you who suggested it and their age if they are under the age of eighteen. The questions with no name behind it are mine. I hope you enjoy this interview. Emma is a wonderful author to work with and I am looking forward to reading her book and passing it along to my kids.

Hi Emma,
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, I live in the state of Washington on a small island with my small Chihuahua. I love this state and the surrounding area and it provides me with so much of the inspiration I use within my books. One of the best things about this state is that it rains for most of the year, providing me an excellent opportunity to write! I have loved writing since I was very young and it is my hope to inspire others through my writing. I hope that my books will one day make the "New York Times Bestsellers List" and I intend to work very hard to make my goals come true!

2. What is your favorite color? (My son, Max, age 12)

Pink! Maybe that makes me a girlie girl, but I really love pink or shades like black, white and gray.

3. Tell us in one sentence what your book is about?

It is about the bond between two people, David and Destiny, as they face off against a trap that has been lying in wait for almost fifty years.

4. How did you decide on the title for your book?

The title is very sigificant to the story. It is based on the concept of the clock and what happens to both David and Destiny.

5. What is so significant about the number 13?

Throughout history, the number "13" has meant different things around the world. For some, it is a number that represents ill-luck and evil. For others, it is a number of power that bridges the divides between worlds. For me, the true significance of the number will be found within the book and I hope everyone will enjoy discovering the truth about "The Thirteenth Chime".

6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what book would you choose and why? (Max, age 12)

Only one book? Oh my goodness, that would be such a nightmare if I was stuck reading only one book! I would imagine I would read the bible. It's not necessarily about religion, but rather it is filled with wonderful stories that each have a point and a moral. Even atheists admit they find things of merit within the book. So for me, if I truly must be confined to a single book, it would be that one. Especially since I would want it to be a very thought provoking one.

7. What was your favorite book when you were a child and why? (My nephew, Devin, age 8)

"In the Hand of the Goddess" by Tamora Pierce. It still remains my favorite to this day! It was the first Young Adult novel I had ever truly read and it just awakened a part of me that lead to reading hundreds more Young Adult novels and now writing Yound Adult novels!

8. What inspired you to write THE THIRTEENTH CHIME? (My niece, Jasmine, age 13)

Actually, I had a number of really great inspirations. The bond between David and Destiny is something very important to me and I wanted to share it with other readers. Through a bond, you can take part in the journey of two characters in a way that goes beyond reading a sentence. You can feel their emotions - their joys, fears and triumphs. For the clock, the inspiration happened one night during a major storm we were having out on the island where I live. We had lost the power and we were over at our neighbors sharing a few candles. Suddenly, the huge grandfather clock they have began to strike ten and the sound echoed throughout the house as thunder flashed outside. I knew then it was an experience I wanted to share with others.

9. What was your favorite experience in writing THE THIRTEENTH CHIME? (My daughter, Georgia, age 9)

The bickering between the characters *laughs* They are so human in the book it is easy to forget they are only characters. I hope others will enjoy the discourse between the characters as much as I have. Especially their humor.

10. Who is your favorite character in THE THIRTEENTH CHIME? Is this character modeled after anyone?

I think my favorite character is Stephanie. No, I don't feel that she is modeled after anyone, but there are a number of characteristics about her that I identify with, particular her heart and spirit. I believe that many readers will really love her character. I won't say too much more about her so I don't give anything away... *wink*

11. Do you plan on writing more books? Will this book be part of a series? (my nephew, Damian, age 10)

Yes! I do plan on writing more books. Although I can't share too much about the "A Sense of Truth" series, I can promise that readers will not be disappointed if they want more!

12. Do you have a new book already started? Could you share something about it?

Unfortunately, I can't share too much, but yes, I do have several projects that are standing by for the final phase. I can't tell you too much about "A Sense of Truth" books, but I can share a small hint - readers who love owls should be excited for my future series!

13. If you had to write the book over again, would you change anything about your experience? (My Mom)

Not a single thing. I wouldn't even change submitting to as many agents as I did (even though I received well over a hundred standard form rejections without anyone even asking to read a sample of my work) as it was a learning experience and it helped me to take the bold new step of submitting directly to publishers which was amazing. I had such positive feedback suddenly and feeling both the highs and the lows made the journey even more worth every step I have taken.

14. Tell us in one sentence why we should read your book?

Because it is a journey, filled with wonder, suspense and the hearts of two very unique people, that I would love to share with others.

Thanks for having me, you and your family really did pick great questions. It was a pleasure to answer them and I hope you all will enjoy The Thirteenth Chime!

Thanks so much Emma, for letting me interview you.
Laura (Booksnob)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Book Blogger hop and Friday Follow

Hey, It is the weekend!!

I am ready to do the hippity, hip, hopping, blog hop and am trying the Friday follow this weekend as well. Welcome to all my visitors!

Jennifer at the Book Blogger Hop has a question to answer every week and this week's question is: Tell us about some of your favorite authors and why they are your favorites!

Oh Boy this is a really hard question and I am not good at commitment but I will list my favorite Minnesota authors:

1. I love Louise Erdrich. She has written so many good books and her stories all intertwine but are also great as stand alone novels. Plus she writes about Native American culture and issues and places all of her novels here in the Midwest where I live. She owns a bookstore in Minneapolis called Birch Bark Books and it is a lovely store.

2. Stanley Gordon West. Excellent author. I met him at a bookstore in Saint Paul and asked him if he would speak to my high school classes, he said yes! When I told him what school I taught at, he responded that his granddaughters went to the same school. One was in my class! His books are great, and he is self-published.

3. Faith Sullivan. I love her. She was a teacher in Minneapolis and I have met her as well. A lovely lady. Her books are so entertaining. Lark from THE CAPE ANN is one of my favorite characters in literature. I wish she would write faster as I can't wait for her next book!

There are lots of great Minnesota authors, maybe I will do a future post on them.
Have a happy weekend!!

Hector and the Search for Happiness

Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord

This best selling French novel is being published in English and released in the U.S. in September, 2010. A film is currently being made as well as two follow up novels, HECTOR AND THE SECRETS OF LOVE and HECTOR IN PURSUIT OF TIME to be released in France this year.

Hector is a French psychiatrist who has realized that a large number of the patients he treats are very unhappy and yet seem to have no clear reasons why they are unhappy. Hector decides that he is becoming unhappy himself and wants to undertake a journey to understand what makes people happy. During his journey around the world he imparts little bits of wisdom. The book encompasses up to 23 individual lessons. The story is told with a simplistic voice.

I think this book appeals to readers because we are all searching for happiness. Lesson number 7 states: It's a mistake to think that happiness is the goal. I found this lesson intriguing. It is probably the lesson I learned the most from. There are many determinants of happiness and happiness is hard to measure in each individual. The lesson I learned from this book is that happiness is found when you are not searching for it.

I have read some non-fiction books about happiness and as I was reading about Hector, I kept thinking about them. THE BEGGAR KING AND THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS is awesome! I also loved A SHORT GUIDE TO A HAPPY LIFE by Anna Quindlan. THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS is the non-fiction version of HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS. Both travel around the world to search for happiness, both speak to a professor of happiness studies. I think they would make excellent companion reads. the voice in each are drastically different but would make great discussion for book clubs.

If you are unhappy, you need to check your vitamin D levels and read a few of these books. If you are happy, like me, you will love the journey of happiness these 4 books could take you on.
So hop on the happiness train.

I received this book from Crazy Book Tours. If you would like to read and review it, go and sign up, as there is still space available.

What makes you happy?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Who are your literature heart throbs?

Summer Break Reading Challenge Activity #6:

If I could live in a book which one would it be? I'm going to make that decision by the men I've fallen in love with between the pages of the books. Here are my literature heart throbs.

My first love is Rudy Steiner from THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak. He made me laugh, cry and rejoice that I was alive. Plus he was Liesel's best friend (a best friend any girl would want) and supporter. I wish more men were like him.

My second love is Paris from TROY by Adele Geras. Alas, the good-looking Greek who helped start the Trojan war. I love Greek history and mythology and Paris is one of my favorites.

My third love is Percy Jackson from THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordan. I love his youthful, innocent way of saving the world. Plus I love that he is a demi-god who is powerful but yet struggles to read and frequently gets expelled from school. He is a boy every mother could love!

Lastly, I feel the need to announce that I prefer Jacob over Edward from the TWILIGHT series. I am definitely a sucker for the underdog. Plus Jacob just seems a lot more fun than Edward. I want a man who can lead me to adventure and not constantly coddle me to keep me safe.

There you have it, my secret loves, hidden between the pages of a book.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Book News

Book News:
I have decided to participate in a Read-a-Thon. This is my first time and I am really excited. My kids are going to participate as well and mommy will give them lots of fun prizes for pages and books read. The dates are July 12-14. I plan to read, blog, sleep, work out, walk the dog and have fun!! Here is the link and the rules.

I have joined the Jane Austen NORTHHANGER ABBEY Readalong hosted by the blog
Reading with Tequila. It begins on July 16th. There is still time to pick up a copy of the book if you are interested.

Week 1 (July 16 - July 22): Chapters 1-9
Week 2 (July 23 - July 29): Chapters 10-15
Week 3 (July 30 - August 5): Chapters 16-23
Week 4 (August 6 - August 12): Chapters 24-31

Each weeks reading is approximately 50 pages.

I will be finishing Moby Dick the week of July 16th, and starting Northanger Abbey while roughing it at Tomahawk Boy Scout camp . Call me crazy!

I am pleased to announce the winner of my birthday contest is Lily Thorns. She has won a one-year subscription to Book Women magazine. It is packed full of women's words and books. Congratulations, Lily! You can check out Lily's blog here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #3

Moby Dick Reading Challenge - Week #3

Pages read this week- 194-299
Chapters read this week-41-58

I am officially half way done with Moby Dick! Yahoo! This makes me very happy. The pages I read last week were very enjoyable and I had no trouble finishing 100 pages by Friday. In fact I wanted to keep reading.

The storytelling part of the book is picking up. This section of my reading began with the only chapter in the book titled Moby Dick. Ishmael begins to tell stories and legends about the Spermaceti whale and the rumors and fables associated to Moby's character.

This is the first time the Pequod's crew lowers their boats to give chase to a whale. Ishmael barely survives and is wondering if this happens all the time. The crew responds that yes, being a whaler means you are risking your life. So Ishmael writes a rough draft of his will.

I wonder if the people around the world using the whale oil, wearing whale bone corsets, and burning whale candles knew the horrors and dangers that whaling men incur for their daily luxuries. This could be one reason why Melville chose to write his book and may be one of the reasons why the book didn't sell at the time it was published. People needed oil to survive but wanted to remain ignorant of how it was obtained.

I am learning a lot from reading this book. There are so many religious and historical references and I wish I had the time to look them all up. I would love to see an edition of this book that explains in detail what they mean because in some cases I feel as if I am missing some important meaning. The edition would probably end up being over 1000 pages. Pictures would be cool too. Ishmael explains some of the monstrous pictures and more accurate artwork depicting the whale hunt, I would love to have that in the book too.

One thing I have noticed about Melville's writing is that each chapter ends with an excellent quote. I can't wait to read the last sentence of every chapter. This last sentence is usually full of depth and meaning. Here are a couple:

"For one, I gave myself up to the abandonment of the time and the place;but while yet all arush to encounter the whale, could see naught in that brute but the deadliest ill." (Page 203, Chapter 41)

"God help thee, old man, thy thoughts have created a creature in thee; and he whose intense thinking thus makes him a Prometheus; a vulture feeds upon that heart for ever; that vulture the very creature he creates." (Page 220, Chapter 44)

I am continuing my intellectual voyage on the Pequod. Pages to be read this week (300-400).
Don't forget to check out the other bloggers who are sailing the intellectual high seas with me. Book Snob Wannabe and Rachel at 1001 books.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Reminder: Enter to win!!

Reminder: Enter to win a one year subscription to BookWomen magazine. If you love women's words and reading, you will love this prize. You have 24 hours left to enter. Don't miss this great opportunity. This contest is open to international participants.

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, July 1, 2010

Book Blogger hop (5)

Hey everyone,
Welcome to the book blogger hop! Please scroll down and enter my birthday contest. It is for a fabulous magazine about books and women's words. The odds are definitely in your favor! Also consider joining the Moby Dick reading Challenge. We are in our third week and would love to have more bloggers join. I am afraid that the big, bad, whale has scared all potential readers away but not to worry, I am still afloat in my rickety ole ship. I may have to have a shot of tequila soon but for now, I think I will survive without alcohol.

Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books has a new twist at the hop and wants the bloggers to answer a question. This week's question is: Tell us your NAME and WHY YOU STARTED BLOGGING?

My name is Laura and I started blogging for several reasons. This year has been a very hard year for my family. My children both have ADHD and some of the mental illnesses that go along with it. My son became very depressed and had to go into crisis intervention twice. My husband and dog were also very sick at the beginning of the year so by February I thought that I was either going to have a nervous breakdown or have to quit my job as a teacher. I did neither and began blogging for stress relief. I love reading and books and wrote my master's thesis on the topic and so it was a easy fit. I love blogging and have learned a ton in the last 5 months. Thanks to everyone who reads my blog and finds what I have to say valuable.

PS. Things are getting better. Everyone, including momma, is getting what they need to be happy.