Sunday, December 28, 2014

October Reads and November Non-reads

A practical view of the prevailing religious system of professed Christians in the higher and middle classes in this country : contrasted with real Christianity (1829) by William Wilberforce - 10/20/2014
Excellent - Classic - Non-fiction - 354 pages - Kindle
Wilberforce’s influential book challenged readers to center their life, both public and private, on Christ’s redeeming work and teachings.
Wilberforce was the subject of the film Amazing Grace. He penned this book in the early 1800's to draw attention to the lack of true (or real) Christianity among the upper class in Britain. Challenging both in style (1800's, kwim?) and in content, this is a valuable, though difficult read. I also have the modern paraphrase of this book which I hope to read at some point.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien - 10/23/2014
Good - Fantasy - 480 pages - Audio - approx. 19 hours
Frodo obtains the Ring of Power and sets out with the Fellowship of 9 to destroy it.
I've read this several times previously. This was our book club read for October.

I didn't FINISH any books in November. Our book club selection was several short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, so that doesn't count as a book.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

September Read (Yes, singular)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - 9/5/2014
Excellent - Classic - Audio 12 hr 18 min
Scout's father Atticus is assigned to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman in 1930's Deep South
Yes, I only managed to read one book in September, but wow! what a book! I've never read To Kill a Mockingbird before, but this was our book club selection. I took a while to relax into the flow of the story, but once I did, I adored it! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

August Reads

Shakespeare on Toast: Getting a Taste for the Bard by Ben Crystal - 8/5/2014
Excellent - Non-fiction -  257 pages - Print
Witty and user-friendly, this brief guide to Shakespeare proves him a genius who is still relevant and enjoyable.

The Screwtape Letters (also includes "Screwtape Proposes a Toast") by C.S. Lewis - 8/5/2014
Good - Inspirational - 128 pages - Print
A correspondence between two demons, the elder giving the younger instructions on how to lead humanity astray.
My goal is to read ALL of Lewis. I've read this before, but it was good to re-read.

Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich - 8/8/2014
Good - Suspense - 341 pages - Print
An assassin is after Ranger.
Out of 21 books by Evanovich, this one was satisfying!

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction (6th edition) by William Zinsser -  8/10/2014
Good - Non-fiction - 294 pages - Print
Principles, methods, forms, and attitudes of Good Writing.
I have been wanting to read this for a long time. Some of the chapters I found VERY inspirational, others were very practical, and some just dragged on.

Simplify Your Time by Marcia Ramsland - 8/17/2014
Good - Non-fiction - 196 pages -  Print
30 days of practical time-saving and organizational skills
A practical goal-setting plan that I really should try.

How to Be the World's Smartest Traveler (and save time, money, and hassle) by Christopher Elliott - 8/29/2014
Excellent - Non-fiction - 276 pages - Print
Travel expert gives advice, tips, and info on all aspects of travel from hotel rooms to airlines to eating out. Very practical and informative.
I learned a lot about travel of all kinds.

Killing Jesus: A History by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard - 8/31/2014
Good - Non-fiction - 280 pages - Print
Fact-based account of the life of Jesus
I expected more from this non-fiction account. Perhaps I already knew a lot about the historical Jesus, but there wasn't a lot here that I found fresh. For those who aren't aware of the facts, this would be an awesome read though!

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King - 8/31/2014
Excellent - Non-fiction - 288 pages - Print
This look back at Stephen King's career is mesmerizing and moving, as well as honest and practical,
WONDERFUL book! Fascinating even for writers who aren't fans of King's writing.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

July Reads

Hamlet SmartPass Plus Audio Education Study Guide to Hamlet (Dramatised, Commentary Options) (Unabridged) by  ‎ William Shakespeare, Simon Potter - 7/24/2014
Excellent - Classic - Audio 7 hr 42 min
The multi award-winning SmartPass study guide with and without commentary options. This is a full-cast, unabridged performance with comprehensive commentary and analysis for any student to fully understand and appreciate the play. Universally accepted as Shakespeare's finest play, we peel back the layers of Hamlet to discover how and why it deserves such a place of honour in world literature.
I adore Hamlet. These SmartPass audios are wonderful for understanding the finer points and cultural references in the plays. 

How to Travel the World for FREE by Michael Wigge - 7/25/2014
Good - Non-fiction - 152 pages - Print
One Man, 150 Days, Eleven Countries, No Money! Michael Wigge traveled from Germany to Antartica starting with no money at all.
Very interesting account of how this dude charmed and scammed his way around the world.

Hamlet: A Novel by John Marsden - 7/29/2014
Fair - Young Adult - 229 pages - Print
Novelization of the classic Shakespearean play
A couple book club friends and I decided to read the novelization of Hamlet, but little did we know there is more than one choice! So, I read this (lackluster) version and they read another.

Monday, December 22, 2014

June Reads

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis 6/4/2014
Good - Childrens 224 pages Audio (4.5 hours)
Shasta escapes from slavery with talking horse Bree and heads for Narnia.
I remember not really enjoying The Horse and His Boy as much as the other books of the Chronicles of Narnia. But I read it aloud to Suzy and James and they really enjoyed it. I did too!

The Space Between: An Outlander Novella by Diana Gabaldon 6/8/2014
Good - Fiction 118 pages Kindle
Michael Murray escorts Joan McKimmie (Laoghaire's daughter) to a convent in Paris, while the Comte St. Germain experiments with time travel.
Wow! This is a key part of the Outlander time travel puzzle.

The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis 6/9/2014
Good - Non-fiction 109 pages Print
Essays on education, society, and nature and how the Tao relates to our morality.
Lewis = genius. 

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon 6/10/2014
Excellent - Historical Fiction 820 pages  Audio (45 hours, 58 minutes)
Jamie and Claire leave Fraser's Ridge to head for Scotland, but are sidetracked by the growing revolution. Jamie's dilemma is increased knowing that his son William is a British officer. Roger and Brianna are in 1980's Scotland reading letters left to them by Jamie and Claire, but an unexpected visitor turns things upside down.
Re-reading before MOBY is released. LOVE!

In the Land of Blue Burqas by Kate McCord (pseudonym) 6/18/2014
Excellent - Non-fiction 312 pages Print
Reflections from an American Christian woman who went to Afghanistan as an aid worker. She tells many stories of conversations she's had with Afghans about religion, culture, and more. I highly recommend this book.
Wow, this was poignant. (Why can I never pronounce that word?) Highly recommended!

What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio 6/20/2014
Excellent - Non-fiction 334 pages  Print
This book presents 80 people around the world and a photograph of what they ate on one ordinary day.
Fascinating look at what people eat around the world.

Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens 6/21/2014
Good - Classic 891 pages Audio  (31 hr 21 min)
Poor but genteel, Nicholas Nickleby makes his way through the world to happiness and love, despite those who would seek to discredit or injure him.
Dickens is an acquired taste nowadays, but back in his day, new installments of his novels were as highly anticipated as the newest episodes of The Walking Dead or Outlander. lol

Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon 6/23/2014
Excellent - Historical Fiction 848 pages  Print
Finally! Here it is! Long awaited and well worth the wait,

Beowulf by Seamus Heaney (translator) 6/24/2014
Excellent - Epic 256 pages  Audio (2 hr 15 min)
Epic saga of a warrior
I listened to this which was probably not as effective as reading, but I understood most of it.

Valiant Soldier, Beautiful Enemy by Diane Gaston 6/29/2014
Good - Regency Romance 283 pages  Print
Captain Gabriel Deane rescues a Frenchwoman and her son and falls in love with her.
A nice fluffy read.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Ten Books with Staying Power

List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes and don't think too hard. They do not have to be the "right" books or great works of literature, just ones that have stayed with you in some way. 
1 - The Bible
2 - The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
3 - Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
4 - The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
5 - Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
6 - My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
7 - Motel of the Mysteries by David Macauley
8 - Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

9 - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
10 - I Am A Bunny by Ole Risom & illustrated by Richard Scarry


If you do it, leave me a comment with a link!

Monday, June 23, 2014

May Reads

4 more books in May - one a week seems like a good average, yes?

The Eternal Argument: A framework for understanding Western Literature and Culture by R. Robin Finley - 5/16/2014 
Good Non-fiction 286 Print
Long time middle school English teacher Robin Finley traces the history of Western literature against the larger conflict between theism and humanism.
I purchased this at the homeschool convention in 2013 and it sat on the shelf. But in April 2014, I heard the author speak at the homeschool convention in Cincinnati and remembered I had the book at home. Useful information to help understand Western literature.

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis - 5/17/2014 
Excellent Non-fiction 141 Print
If God is omnipotent and good, how can we explain human pain and suffering? Lewis proposes reasonable answers.
Finally decided to stop SAYING that I am going to read all of Lewis and get started on it. I decided to read just a short bit every day when I do my devotional reading. I chose this one first because it was short and the subject matter is apropos due to my husband's chronic pain. After reading, I can say again, Lewis is a genius. Sometimes I barely can wrap my mind around what he says and other times it is clear as a bell. This is definitely a book I will read again.

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis - 5/30/2014 
Excellent Fiction 125 Print
Taking a bus from hell to heaven, the narrator describes what he sees.
Another Lewis book. I had not realized until this year that The Great Divorce is fiction. I had always thought it to be a theological treatise, but it is a fictional account of what the narrator sees in a vision of heaven and hell, and these are not the fiery caverns of the mythical hell nor the fluffy clouds of heaven. I think all humans will recognize parts of themselves in the characters in this short book.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell - 5/30/2014 
Excellent Non-fiction 280 Print
The tipping point is "that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire." What makes it happen? Can we make it happen?
Gladwell's Outliers changed the way I think about success and The Tipping Point adds another layer of consideration to why some things make a difference and others go unnoticed. This is far from dry reading - very entertaining and thoughtful!

What are YOU reading right now? (Tell me in the comments!)


Friday, June 20, 2014

April Reads

Finished 4 books in April.

Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare - 4/2/2014 
Good - Classic 135 pages - Audio 3 hr 14 min
The callow Troilus pines over the unfaithful Cressida against the backdrop of the Trojan War.
Book club selection. We went to see the play. This is not considered one of Shakespeare's best plays, but the performance was entertaining. 

Austenland by Shannon Hale - 4/9/2014 
Good - Chick Lit  194 pages - Print
30-something Jane is given a trip to Austenland to roleplay with Darcy look-alikes, but will the experience match her fantasy?
Another book club selection. LOVED the film. The book was amusing! There is a sequel now - Midnight in Austenland. My favorite Hale book is The Actor and the Housewife, though.

Tempting Fate by Jane Green - 4/15/2014 
Good - Fiction 343 pages - Print
Gabby has been happily married for 20 years but when she meets a younger man, she suddenly feels alive and desirable again. What will happen if she follows her heart?
Felt the need to grab some fiction that wasn't tied to any "must-reads", if that makes sense. This one was enthralling, and I read it fast.

The Book Marketing Bible by Norm Schriever - 4/29/2014 
Excellent - Non-fiction  162 pages - Kindle
Essential marketing strategies for self-published and first-time authors, or any writer looking to skyrocket sales.
Lots of practical and well-explained tips for self-publishing. I got this book free on Kindle, but it would be worth the purchase price!

What are YOU reading?

Friday, May 23, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

"You're writing a book? How cool!"

That's what people often say when they find out (usually during National Novel Writing Month) that I am working on a novel. Then they often ask something about how it's done.

"When do you find the time?"
"How long does it take?"
"Where do you get your ideas?"
"Isn't it hard?"

When I was invited to participate in the #mywritingprocess blog tour by my friend Kaye Sims at Wondering as I Wander, I thought it was a valuable opportunity for me to sit down and think through some of those questions. During NaNoWriMo, I'm usually too busy frantically typing to make my word count to give the process much thought. By the way, I met Kaye via mutual friends on facebook when I noticed she also was writing for NaNoWriMo. She inspires me with her commitment to writing and simplicity as well as her willingness to go deeper spiritually. Thank you, Kaye, for this opportunity for some self-reflection and connection to the community of writers. 

So, Question #1 - What am I working on?
The bulk of my writing is done during the month of November, the aforementioned National Novel Writing Month. During the rest of the year, I blog, sometimes regularly, sometimes occasionally, and think hard about finding time to edit. 

My book club guide to the works of Jane Austen is in the editing stage and that's the project that is most likely to surface first from the murky recesses of my computer files. I'd also love to find some time to finish the weird sci-fi novel I attempted during NaNoWriMo 2013. 

Question #2 is 'How does my work differ from others of its genre?'
Focusing specifically on my Austen book club guide, my goal was to give the reader the sense of actually being at our book club. Since most of you have not been there, you wouldn't know that it's slightly irreverent, yet serious in our discussion of the classic books we read. 

We are not the kind of book club that just meets to drink wine and giggle, though we often do both of those things. We nearly always choose books that have modern film adaptations because we are very visual and we watch the films together. However, we chat through every movie, commenting on everything that strikes us funny or philosophical. 

So, I wanted to give my book club guide that same lighthearted feel but still be able to discuss the deeper questions that Austen's books raise in the modern reader. I haven't found any other discussion guide with the same goal.

My fiction work is much more earnest, I think. I'm not a dystopian or ironic sort of author. I don't think my fiction differs much from other books in the genre, but that's not necessarily a disadvantage. Readers who choose a genre often do so for some commonality between authors and works.

The #3 question asks, "Why do I write what I do?"
I'd like to give some really artsy answer here about how the story would burn in my soul if I didn't tell it. The truth is much more practical though. I'm not artsy. I don't have a story burning a hole in my soul.

I would like to make a living as an author. If that's too prosaic and practical for you, I guess I'm not your kind of writer. However, I think there is room in the world for writers of all proclivities and preferences, and I tend to be more common sense than romantic. 

But I have found that I absolutely adore creating a fictional world. The characters come alive, though they do not always do what I tell them. The story leads somewhere and I'm not always leading it! 

And I am in love with words. Selecting the perfect word is a process I enjoy. My weighty Roget's thesaurus containing 330,000+ words is my trusty companion.

The last question for this tour is #4 - How does my writing process work? Since NaNoWriMo is my normal writing environment, VOLUME is the key. 50,000 words in a month boils down to 1667 words per day. My process in November is to write as many words as I can in a sitting. I write fast and don't let the blank page bother me. At least not bother me much.

I like to do a lot of research, but NaNoWriMo isn't very conducive to that, at least not while I'm working a job other than my writing. So, either I try to do some research before the writing begins, or I write about something that doesn't require much research - a modern-day story or, as I tried this year for the first time ever, a science-fiction story.

Planning or outlining the story ahead of time is something I've done on a couple of occasions, but more often I've flown by the seat of my pants. Since my days are full without even considering any writing time, planning is a luxury that I haven't allowed myself to indulge in much. Perhaps my writing would improve or my stories would be easier to finish if I did more of it. Something to experiment with, I suppose!

Maybe you are wishing for many more details about how I actually write. But I doubt it. I will attempt to do more blog posts in the future about the nitty-gritty, but for now, I'll bring that to a close.

And now I would like to introduce three of my writing friends, C. Gockel, Andrea Miles, and Gina Lawton. Within the next few days, each will be posting their answers to the writing process questions. I can't wait to hear what each has to share! 



C. Gockel writes a series of books that I've much enjoyed and I'm so thrilled she's agreed to participate in this blog tour. I found her books due to my not-so-hidden Loki obsession and have enjoyed each one thoroughly. I highly recommend you download I Bring The Fire: Part I Wolves and immerse yourself in her mix of modern Earth and Asgard. (I see that Part 1 is free to download on Kindle today, so you've got nothing to lose!)
C. Gockel got her start writing fanfiction, and she is not ashamed! Much. She received emails, messages and reviews from her fans telling her she should 'do this professionally'. She didn't; because she is a coward and life as a digital designer, copywriter and coder is more dependable. But in the end, her husband's nagging wore her down: "You could be the next '50 Shades of Gray' and I could retire!" Unfortunately, the author isn't much for writing smut. She is sad about this; she'd love for her husband to be able to retire and just work for her so she could nag him.
At the moment, Ms. Gockel is working on the next installment of "I Bring the Fire".
Ms. Gockel loves to hear from readers. She can be reached by email at: cgockel -dot- publishing -at - gmail -dot- com
Her Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/CGockelWrites

My next writing friend, Andrea Miles, is a fellow homeschooling mom whose first book, Trespassers, is coming out later this year. I look forward to reading it! I found Andrea on Twitter (or maybe she found me?) and have enjoyed her tweets. https://twitter.com/THEandreamiles

Andrea Miles earned her Masters of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California. Originally from Pocomoke, Maryland, she currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband and three children. Her first novel, Trespassers, is forthcoming this October from She Writes Press. Visit her website (www.andreamiles.com) or find her on FB (https://www.facebook.com/THEandreamiles)

Gina Lawton has been my friend in real life for many years and she always inspires me - in writing, in education, in learning, in food (!), and in following Christ with a whole heart. Her blog is always thoughtful and sincere, going deeper than the shallow obscurity of so many blogs that I've clicked through.

Gina Lawton is a Mom, wife, wanderer, connoisseur of the "finer" things in life, writer, photographer and always looking for what comes next ...You can find her blog here: www.hobobone.wordpress.com

I'd also like to give a shout out to a writer I follow on Twitter who has been very inspiring to me - Nat Russo. His tweets pour forth every day bringing writing tips, ideas, and practical information. His first book is Necromancer Awakening: Book One of The Mukhtaar Chronicles. I saw that Nat had also participated in this blog tour so here is a link to his post: HERE

Thank you for reading, everyone! Please visit my friends' blogs. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour Coming Up!

I've been asked to participate in a blog tour detailing the writing process from the perspectives of many different authors. So, be on the lookout this week for a post from me with all my writing secrets!

OK, maybe not "secrets". Ha!

I also will be announcing several writers who will be also be posting on their blogs to give you even more insight into how authors work. What fun!

#mywritingprocess

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

March Reads

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien - 3/6/2014
Excellent - Fantasy 480 pages - Audio 19 hrs and 11 mins
Frodo Baggins, a hobbit of the Shire, inherits a dangerous magic Ring which must be destroyed, so he sets out on a quest accompanied by 8 companions.
James requested to read Lord of the Rings for literature, so I decided to read along with him. He read it much faster than I did. I actually found it difficult to get through FOTR this time around, which is at least my 4th reading of this book. Maybe next time I'll be in the mood.

Fates: I Bring the Fire Part IV by C. Gockel - 3/21/2014
Good - Fantasy 407 pages - Kindle
Amy Lewis and Bohdi Patel team up with Thor to find Loki who hasn't been seen for two years.
I adore C. Gockel's modern mythology of the Nine Realms. Yes, I started reading because of Loki. But I kept reading because of her interesting take on the mythology as well as her capable and compelling storytelling. 

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - 3/25/2014
Good - Fiction 368 pages - Audio 11 hrs and 26 mins
Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus.
I've wanted to read this ever since I realized it was written during National Novel Writing Month which I have participated in for several years. The audio performance was masterful and I enjoyed the story very much, despite the indelicate parts.

A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller - 3/27/2014
Excellent - Inspirational 280 pages - Kindle
3rd re-read of this practical and insightful book on prayer.
A slow re-read through this book has enriched my prayer life and made me think even more deeply about what prayer means. I will read it again for certain. If you haven't read it, you should!

What are YOU reading?

February Reads

Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson - 2/5/2014
Excellent - Fiction - 300 pages (Print)
Single mom Shandi and her young son are taken hostage in a gas station robbery along with William Ashe who steps in to protect the child, an act that has long-reaching consequences.
I wanted to read something that wasn't required and found this at the library. I enjoyed it!

Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson - 2/11/2014
Excellent - Non-fiction - 208 pages (Audio)
Concise biography describing the facts we actually know about William Shakespeare and how his plays were written. Bill Bryson has a conversational and amusing tone.
Bill Bryson's book on houses intrigued me so when I saw this one on Shakespeare, I snatched it up. OK, ordered it from interlibrary loan. Short and really interesting!

The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton (completed by Marion Mainwaring) - 2/15/2014
Good - Classic - 406 pages (Print)
Several rich American girls travel to England to find husbands but the happily-ever-after endings don't come easily.
Book club selection for February. I had seen the movie already, so found the book easy to read.

Divergent by Veronica Roth - 2/23/2014
Good - Young Adult - 487 pages (Kindle)
In a futuristic dystopian Chicago, Beatrice Prior must choose a faction to align herself with. Does she stay with her family and all she's ever known, or does she break away and follow a different path?
Well, this one is a quandary. I did read it quickly and found it mildly interesting. Not enough to seek out and read the two sequels, though. This was also a book club selection and we went to the theater to see the movie, which I enjoyed. 

What are you reading?

Monday, February 24, 2014

January Reads

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton - 1/11/2014
Good - Mystery - 497 pages (Kindle)
Kinsey finds she is distantly related to a recently deceased homeless man
I've always enjoyed reading about Kinsey Millhone's private investigations. This latest in the alphabet-named series was quite enjoyable.

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich -1/26/2014
Good - Mystery - 337 pages (Print)
Dead old ladies are being found in dumpsters and Stephanie and Lula keep seeing a giraffe running the city streets.
Another long-running series about an investigator - Stephanie Plum, inept bounty hunter. This one did not disappoint! Lots of Ranger. Yes!

The Annotated Sense and Sensibility edited by David M. Shapard, original text by Jane Austen - 1/31/2014
Excellent - Classic - 709 pages (Print and audio)
I listened to the book but read the annotations in the print version.
Sense and Sensibility is not my favorite Austen. I have no patience at all for the idealist heroine, Marianne. This is my 3rd or 4th time reading the book, though, and I have gained more of an appreciation for it. The annotations are really helpful for the reader who wants to learn more about the intricacies of the plot and the times in which Austen was writing.

Update on my last post:
The Deathly Hallows Lectures by John Granger - I had to give up on this when it was long overdue at the library. I may find it again someday and finish it, but I didn't find it as succinct and compelling as the previous book I had read by Granger. 

I don't have to read Stephen King after all! YAY!

Set all the others aside to get Sense and Sensibility done before book club. Will be finishing LOTR and Game of Thrones though!

Monday, January 13, 2014

In the Middle of FOUR

Somehow I have found myself reading TOO MANY books at one time.

I've been slowly reading The Deathly Hallows Lectures by John Granger. Slow enough that it has been renewed at the library and is still overdue. I'm about halfway but it was making me want to get back to Hogwarts so.....

...I started listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire a few days before Christmas, but pushed PAUSE on that in favor of beginning....

...Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin when my library loan of the audiobook came in. Little did I realize it was SO LONG (33 hours). I ADORE IT. I can't wait to keep listening. However....

...James is reading The Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien, of course!) for his lessons. Talking to him about it made me want to read along with him, y'know, for better discussion. So I decided to read a chapter or two a day along with him. Listening, of course.

All of this has pushed my book club reading aside. I am SUPPOSED to be reading Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility for our January 25 book club meeting. I haven't even started. Yes, I have read it before, but I bought the annotated version purposely for this re-read.

NOT TO MENTION that my sisters chose a Stephen King book for our annual Sister Weekend Book Club. Thankfully that is more than 2 months away yet, because the title is The Stand and it is 1200+ pages long.

AND I just got the newest Stephanie Plum mystery at the library tonight, which has been on my request list for months!

So, I am in the middle of four books all at once and have 3 more urgently pressing!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

December Reads

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - 12/4/2013
Very Good - Classic - 189 pages (Audio 4 hr 38 min)
My book club chose this as our December book. I remember reading it in high school and feeling rather indifferent about it. This is the first time I've read it since then and the intervening years have definitely changed me since the book has remained the same. I appreciated the language and the bleak beauty of the story.

Everything Burns (The Mighty Thor & A Journey into Mystery) by Matt Fraction & Kieron Gillen - 12/14/2013
Good - Graphic Novel - 198 pages (Print)
Surtur, Lord of Muspelheim, has attacked the Nine Realms with fire and war. Will Loki betray Asgard or be its salvation?
I have a hard time visualizing when I read. I don't do it. A few years ago, comic books were recommended to me as a possibility for helping me learn to "see" pictures when I read. Well, with my current Loki/Asgard obsession, I figured this was as good a time as any. I finagled a few recommendations from a fellow Loki fan who is also a comic book reader and set off. This book is a compilation of 9 shorter comic books all from the same storyline. I found it surprisingly hard to follow the storyline as I tended to just read the words and not peruse the illustrations. I am getting better at it. And Loki really is a little brat! (But I like him anyway!) 

The Children of Odin by Padraic Colum - 12/19/2013
Good - Mythology - 271 pages (Audio 6 hr 23 min & etext)
This is Padraic Colum's retelling of the Eddas and the Volsung Saga for young adults.
A selection of Norse mythology. Again, Loki really is a brat!

Journey into Mystery: Fear Itself by Kieron Gillen & Dougie Braithwaite - 12/20/2013
Good - Graphic Novel - 136 pages (Print)
The shadow of Fear Itself looms over Asgard, and only Loki holds the key to stopping the impending war between Odin's army and the Serpent!
Another try at reading a comic book collection. About the same experience as above.

How Harry Cast His Spell:: the meaning behind the mania for J.K. Rowling's bestselling books by John Granger - 12/25/2013
Excellent - Non-fiction - 280 pages (Print)
Granger uses his knowledge of classic literature, philosophy, and Christian tradition to explain how the HP books meet our longings to experience the truths of life, love, and death.
I've read another of Granger's books, but this one is from a Christian perspective. If you doubt that Harry Potter could possibly have any Christian slant at all, this might be the book for you! I LOVED it.

What are YOU reading?