Monday, August 25, 2008

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audry Niffenegger

I just finished The Time Traveler's Wife and I loved it. It was funny, sweet, romantic, and heartbreaking all at the same time. It started off a little rough. I found myself going back to the chapter or section titles to check the ages. It was a bit confusing at times, but the puzzle was a lot of fun to figure out.

I like the idea of knowing my future. I don't believe in fortune tellers but if I were to see it for myself, it would be easy to believe. Clare knows who she's going to marry from the time she is a little girl. She doesn't have to worry about finding "the one". She knows it will happen, she just isn't certain when it will happen.

This book is a love story between Clare and Henry. Henry is a time traveler. He can't control where he goes, when he goes or how long he's gone so he's often caught in awkward situations. Clare meets an adult Henry when she is six. In real time, Henry is only fourteen but the older Henry who is already married to Clare, visits her. I know it doesn't make sense, but if you read it you will.

I don't know that I would have finished this book if I didn't fall in love with the characters. Henry and Clare show such an intense love for each other that you can't help but go along for the ride. They are quirky, intelligent, fun people who try to live a normal life under extraordinary situations.

I highly recommend this book. It's a wonderful love story.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Today's topic is libraries. Here's the prompt:

Whether you usually read off of your own book pile or from the library shelves NOW, chances are you started off with trips to the library. (There’s no way my parents could otherwise have kept up with my book habit when I was 10.) So … What is your earliest memory of a library? Who took you? Do you have you any funny/odd memories of the library?

Let's see. . . my earliest library memories. . . I've got so many! My aunt was a librarian and I spent a lot of time with her. I remember summer reading programs the best. I know I was really young when I first started going to their weekly events. There would be puppet shows, clowns (didn't like that part), story time, author signings, and lots of other things. My aunt brought me books signed by Leo Politi, Peggy Parish (Amelia Bedelia books) and others.

When I was old enough I would help my aunt shelve the books, pull cards from the card files, clean the books, and check them back in. I worked off several fines that way. I knew my little library backwards and forwards. I have such wonderful library memories.

I already wrote about my germ issues in an earlier post and unfortunately I don't read library books anymore. I miss it a lot. I hope that when I have children I can get past it all and let them experience the joy of libraries as well.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Teaser Tuesday

Today's teaser is also from The Time Traveler's Wife. I should be done with this book by now - I am really enjoying it - but the Olympics have seriously cut into my reading time. It's getting quite annoying.

From page 122: "And you had two Whiskeys. . . but you seemed perfectly fine and then all of a sudden you looked awful, and then you passed out, and I thought about it and realized you had lot of booze in you. So I called 911 and here you are."

This is a bartender talking to the main character, Henry. He's just woken up in the hospital after drinking too much.

I recommend this book, I can't wait to give you a full report!

Monday, August 18, 2008

On Writing by Stephen King

I've been reading On Writing for a very long time but finally finished it last night. It was my back up book. I read it in between other books and on and off for months. It wasn't that I didn't want to read it, it just didn't have the immediacy that other books had (no plot basically). I learned so much from it though.

On Writing is part memoir and part instruction guide. The first part of the book is all about Stephen's life and how he started writing. I found it fascinating how he started out. He was always meant to write and he took initiative early on. His mother was supportive of him and allowed him to do his thing.

Stephen had a lot of difficult times, both financially and personally, and he addresses those very bluntly (sorry about the adverb Steve). He had little miracles, like getting paid for a story when he needed money to buy his daughter's medicine.

As for the writing guide, I really appreciated some of the things he said. He was in sharp contrast to a writing class I just took and I tend to agree with how he does things over my professor. Not that either is wrong, I just think some people work better one way. He doesn't tell the reader/writer what to do, he tells them what he does and how it works for him.

During the writing of this book, he was in that horrible accident and his narration of what happened was quite emotional. He's got a way with words. I'm so thankful he finished this book.

To be fair, I should mention that this is the first Stephen King book I've read. I'm familiar with some of the stories of course and I've seen some movies based on his books, but I'm not a fan of horror. I'm thinking of picking something up though. I've got a lot of respect for Mr. King and I'm thankful for his advice.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

I'm so glad it's Thursday again! Here are today's questions:


Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?

And, Second:

Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too … but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story.
(Or a good sports movie, for that matter. Feel free to expand this into a discussion about “Friday Night Lights” or “The Natural” or whatever…)

I don't think I have ever read any books about the Olympics but just this morning I was thinking I should. As far as reading about sports, I don't too often. I can remember reading a book about Lou Gehrig when I was younger but the details are hazy and I think it focused more on his illness than baseball.

I'm not really a sports fan. I get caught up when the games mean a lot, like the World Series or the Superbowl, but I don't seek sports out. I do love the Olympics and I'll watch just about anything. This year however has proven to be quite exhausting and I'm waiting for the "boring" parts!

As for a sports movie, this I can get behind. I love nothing more than a good sports movie, preferably when the underdog wins the game. Some of my favorites are Remember the Titans, We Are Marshall, Invincible, and The Rookie just to name a few.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Have Issues

So we all have issues. Some more pronounced than others. I have always known that texture is an big thing for me. I have clothes that I don't like to wear because of their texture. Some foods are bad because of their texture (beans, pears) and I don't like things that are really smooth.

For example. . . I do not like walking barefoot on smooth cement. Rough texture is better - honestly though, I'm not a barefoot kind of girl. Chalk and chalkboards are pure evil. Thank the Lord for white boards or I never would have been able to be a teacher.

What does this have to do with books? Generally nothing, but I've found the exception. Paper! I'm currently reading the paperback version of The Time Traveler's Wife. The paper is soooo smooth! It's weird! It's freaking me out! I'll read the book because I'm enjoying the story but the paper is not good. I took it over to my mom's house and told her to feel it. She didn't seem to think it was strange. Is it just me? It can't be. I hope this new paper isn't a trend because I might re-think my thoughts of getting a Kindle.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Teaser Tuesdays

Today's teaser is from The Time Traveler's Wife by Audry Niffenegger. I'm not terribly far into the book so I have no idea whether it's a spoiler or not!

Pg. 179: "She was smaller than me. It only hurts when I sit down; the ends of the steel thingies poke into my hips."
Interesting quote. I think she's talking about her dress from reading around it. This is an interesting book so far. I'm slightly confused but hopefully I'll catch on to it all. I hear good things.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

I finished Breaking Dawn on Saturday. It took me until today to process everything. That and I didn't have time to blog while obsessing over the Olympics.

I really loved this book. I've read the reviews, I've read the reasoning behind people's disappointment. I don't get it. I understand that every person is entitled to their view but I hope that every reader is making their own decision and not jumping on the proverbial bandwagon. If my friend hates the book, I must hate it too! That's the wrong way to read/watch/experience anything. Make your own judgements, I'll respect that. Respect me now.

Warning. . . There will be spoilers. I can't discuss my thoughts without them so stop reading now if you don't want to know.

I loved that Stephenie got the wedding over early. This was fairly significant but such a minor thing in the scope of the book. Bella was in her own world and seemed to float through the preparations, just handling them, not experiencing them. It wasn't until she saw Edward that she realized it was what she wanted.

The honeymoon was not graphic, keeping with the fact that these books are young adult. Some wanted a graphic scene but a few destroyed pillows and a broken headboard get the point across. I did get a bit mad at Edward at this point. His need to protect Bella was irritating when she obviously wasn't worried. It all worked out though.

Then there's the pregnancy. . . This is when some readers really got mad. I thought it was exactly right. One of the themes through all the books was human experience. Edward wanted Bella to have as many human experiences as she could. He forced her to go to the prom, he wanted her to go to college, he wanted her to marry him. They never thought a baby was possible, so that was one experience they were both prepared to give up.

Some critics thought that Bella was too young, never wanted a baby, etc. . . Yes she was young but she was prepared to stay that age forever. If she were going to have a child, it would have to happen while she was young. Nobody thought it was possible so why would she worry about birth control? As for never wanting a baby, how do we know? It wasn't on the top of her list but as soon as she found out she wanted that baby. She handled it maturely and maternally. She knew this might be her only chance to have a child and she was prepared to sacrifice it all.

Then there's Jacob. . . I loved his point of view. He grew up a lot, standing up for what he knew was right. It was refreshing to not have to go through the pregnancy in Bella's head. I thought it was very poignant for he and Edward to be the ones to deliver the baby and save Bella's life. His determination to bring Charlie back into her life was impulsive but it worked. As for imprinting, I thought it was perfect. He had always had a bond with Bella. Now we know why. I hope that the next books she writes (after Midnight Sun) will be Jacob and Nessie's story.

The only thing that barely disapointed me was the final showdown with the Volturi. It dragged on a bit with a lot of talk and little action. That's my only complaint because frankly I didn't want anyone to die.

This book took over the last week of my life. It exhausted me to read but I loved it. Thanks for the ride Stephenie.

Friday, August 8, 2008

High Noon by Nora Roberts

I'll read almost anything Nora puts out -at least her new stuff. I started reading her several years ago at the recommendation of my aunt. I'm so thankful. She consistently entertains with her trilogies and mystery romances. I finished High Noon on June 22, 2008, right before I started this blog.

In High Noon, the characters are wonderful. Phoebe is a strong single mother, who also happens to be a hostage negotiator. She is driven to keep her family safe after a turbulent childhood which left her mother confined to the house because of fear. She doesn't have much time for dating as her daughter always comes first in her life.

Duncan meets Phoebe during a crisis with one of his employees. He is wealthy yet down to earth. He works hard yet has a sense of humor and fun which he shares with his best friend's family. He's drawn to Phoebe immediately and sets about trying to get to know her better.

Phoebe is threatened by one of her fellow police officers and then strange warnings are left at her home. Someone is out to get her and make her pay for a mistake they think she made in the past. She and Duncan try to make connections while keeping their families safe. It comes to a head in a hostage situation where Phoebe's extensive training is tested.

I really enjoyed this book because I felt the characters were very real, very normal. The conversations between Phoebe and Duncan could have happened to any couple across the world. The plot was great but the characters made this book. The only thing it lacked was some sort of epilogue to tie it all up.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

I'm trying to be more involved with my blogging, trying to reach out to possible readers. Ok, I'd be happy with one reader to be honest. In my search, I've found Booking Through Thursday, a meme about books. What could be better??? Here's my first go at this.

The questions this week are:

Are there any particular worlds in books where you’d like to live?
Or where you certainly would NOT want to live?
What about authors? If you were a character, who would you trust to write your life?

I wouldn't mind living in the Shire during the time of peace. It seems like Hobbits are a jolly bunch. They'd be fun to be around. I would also love to live in the world of Harry Potter, where it seems like anything would be possible. Forks, WA wouldn't be too bad if I could hang with the Cullens.

I would not want to live in Tudor England. I'm not a fan of people being burned, hanged, or beheaded in the streets. The wild west wouldn't agree with me for the same reasons.

If I were a character, I'd want someone who wrote love stories with very happy endings to write me. Someone who wrote fun characters like Meg Cabot or Sophie Kinsella.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 came out today - in movie form. I hope to see it this weekend. I thought in keeping with the spirit, I'd try to think back and talk about the books a bit. The first book is pretty clear in my head, probably because I've seen the 1st movie recently. I remember thinking it was a great book. It was one of those friendship books that I've always wanted. I have good friends - great friends - but usually one on one. I have my high school friend, my college friend, my work friends, my old work friends. They don't fit together into a nice little group. I always wanted that. Even in high school and college where I was a part of a big group of friends, I didn't trust that they were my friends. I only latched onto one or two that I could really count on.

That being said, I love the idea that four girls, who are completely different in personality, interests, and ambition, can be that close. The pants were such a minor thing in the books. It kept the girls in contact but they didn't really need them. The pants were like Dumbo's feather and Dorothy's shoes. It gave them strength that was in them all along. I have no idea when I read the first two books because they were pre-journal. Here's the blurb's on the 3rd and 4th book:

Jan. 5, 2006: Third Summer of the Sisterhood, "Great! Touching!"

Mar. 26, 2007: Forever in Blue, The 4th Summer of the Sisterhood, "Great book. The girls are all grown up in many ways. Not a book for young readers. I hope it's not the last."

As you can see, I grew more wordy in my two years of journaling. Not much but more than in Jan of 2006.

From what I understand the 2nd movie is actually a compilation of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th books. It will be interesting to see how it is put together. Oh. . . One more thing. Just because the books are classified as Young Adult, don't let it keep you from reading. It doesn't matter if your 15 or 95, these books will have something for you. The same is true of so many young adult books. Read them anyway. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Solving the Issue Of Writers Block. . .

So I just discovered Teaser Tuesdays! The idea is to open the book that you are currently reading and pick two teaser sentences to share. I love it!

Since I'm currently reading Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer, I opened it up to page 180. Here you go.

"I wondered if he was really going crazy. Could vampires lose their minds?"

Interesting question coming from good old Jacob Black. No spoilers from me though. I'm still totally loving this book. In fact, I should be reading it right now.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Where Do You Read?

When I was teaching, I tried to explain to my students how easy it was to fit in their assigned amount of reading time. I doubt they ever did what I asked them to. They were 4th graders and reading really wasn't high on their list. I tried to tell them they could read on the way home, or at their brother's soccer game. They could read at recess (ha!). I loved those kids but I don't think I got through to very many of them as far as reading went.

I carry a book with me everywhere. Well, almost everywhere. I once made fun of my mother for bringing a book to Disneyland and now I can't do the same thing or risk her making fun of me. With that exception, I bring a book every time I get into a car. Even if I'm just going to the store, I have a book in the car. What happens if I am stuck in traffic? There are so many things that could delay me, so why not have a book handy? Dr.'s offices are no brainers. I never rely on magazines because do you know what kind of nasty germs are on those things???? Ew!

I have been known to bring a book to a movie theater, to read before the movie starts. This of course depends on who I'm with. Conversation should come first. The bulk of my reading takes place on my lunch break and at home before bed. I get made fun of at work because I'd rather eat in my car with my book then in the break room. I've tried to eat and read in the break room but it never works. Too many distractions.

So. . . Where do you read? Share!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I've Got It!

I picked up Breaking Dawn this morning and have started it. I read for about an hour but other responsibilities have kept me busy. So far so good. I'm a little peeved at Edward at the moment but I'll get over it. I realize that on some message boards they are slamming it but I don't get it. I haven't finished the book. I'm nowhere close, but I am at a point where I can see why some people are saying "huh?" I feel the need to defend Stephenie's vision. First of all, it's her story to tell. If she wanted her characters to go through what they are going through, then they should. She created them. She knows what's going on better than we do.

As an amateur writer, I hope that someday I can write something where people get so involved that they are angry with the outcome. Stephenie should be proud of shocking people. How many of us were happy with the way Deathly Hollows ended? I still know people who are livid about it. I wasn't. It was JK's story to tell. That was how her story ended.

I've read some things today where people were comparing Breaking Dawn to fan fiction. Interesting concept. For one thing, I think fan fiction probably became so popular because people were not happy with how their favorite character's lives were going. We can wish all we want but it's still not our story. Stephenie didn't write fan fiction because she's not the fan, she's the creator. She can do whatever she wants with her characters. We are just lucky to get to enjoy them.

Bottom line, stop complaining! You'll get over it. It's only a book, it's only fictional characters. Sit back and enjoy the ride!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

By this time tomorrow I will have had my hands on Breaking Dawn. I'll have read the end because I'm totally a cheater. I read the end of Deathly Hollows too. I just can't help it. Tonight I'll review Eclipse, the third book in the series. Again, I stress, read these books in order! I can't imagine someone reading Breaking Dawn without having read the others. Don't do it! If you are new to the series, grab Twilight first. you won't regret it.

Back to Eclipse. . . I think this is my fave so far. It had romance and action. It was interesting to see the dynamic between the werewolves and the vampires play out. I loved when they worked together. Bella is as always the central character. This is her point of view. We learn more about Rosalie and why she seems to dislike Bella. We also know more about the werewolves.

My quote from Feb. 14, 2008 (how sad is it that I spent Valentines Day reading? Ok, not that sad, really just typical): Amazing! Heartbreaking. I just love Edward so much. Very powerful."

It was a powerful book. It made sense of New Moon and wrapped up the issue with Victoria. I'm sure that Bella's life won't be easy come Breaking Dawn. Will she be changed? Will she choose Jake? I hope she doesn't choose Jake. We'll see!