Tuesday, December 30, 2008 13 comments By: Suzanne

Tuesday Teaser: Not what you think...


The Teaser is hosted at Should be Reading. Be sure to go there for this and more fun!



This from page 5 of The Hour I First Believed. I deliberately chose this quote because it is misleading and if you know who he's talking about, haunting.

And I remember thinking he'd make a good Marine. Clean-cut, conscientious, his ironed T-shirt tucked neatly into his wrinkle-free shorts. Give him a few years, I figured,
and he'd probably be officer material
.
Monday, December 29, 2008 1 comments By: Suzanne

Twilight Question

Ok, to all of you who actually liked the series and might remember better than me, who was the friend of Bella's dad that dies in the second book? Someone named Waylon in the movie is attacked and I thought that was name of his friend that dies of a heart in the second book. Am I just confused or did they change that?

Musing Mondays: Recommendations


Rebecca at Just One More Page asks the following:

How often do you recommend books to others, and who do you recommend them to? Do you only recommend books to your “reading friends” or to anyone you think might find the book interesting? What does it take for a book to make it to your ‘recommendation’ list?

I often recommend books that I've enjoyed to friends, family, and the people that read my blog because if I liked a book then I want the whole world to read it and enjoy it too! Often I find that a book that I loved is just not the type of thing someone else would like but I still keep going, recommending. There's a whole list of books I've enjoyed over the years posted on my blog on the right hand side for you to browse and decide on for yourself. I've liked each of them to a page where you can read about it.
Sunday, December 28, 2008 1 comments By: Suzanne

Twilight Update

Ok, so I went to see the movie finally. I think I liked it better than the book but it's hard to remember exactly how I felt after the first book because it was the second one that turned me off and I read them so close to each other. I think the girl playing Bella was wonderful. She was just as I pictured her both physically and in personality. I didn't like the guy playing Edward. I know he's supposed to be in the body of a perpetual 17 year old, but he didn't read that way to me. He seemed much more cultured and of a different age in the book than this guy playing him. The actor was too much of a modern teenager. Plus, he wasn't all that cute. Now the guy playing Jasper. WOOOHOOOO!!! More my type I guess.

On a somewhat freaky note, James looks just like my neighbor. Weird.

The Hour I First Believed


So I just finished reading Wally Lamb's newest creation, The Hour I First Believed. I was very moved by this book. Lamb doesn't let his characters off easy. They have hard lives and have to make hard choices. His first two books, She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, are witness to this. In those first two books, the main characters are often dealing with one personal tragedy that has made their life spin out of control. The same is true for The Hour I First Believed, with the exception that the first trauma is more like a jumping point. Life will not only never be the same, it's almost impossible to stop the following tragedies that are a result of the first.

The book is about a couple, Caelum (teacher) and Maureen Quirk (school nurse), who are witnesses to the Columbine massacre. Caelum is out of town seeing to his aunt's funeral when he sees the footage on television and rushes home to find out if his wife, students, and colleagues are still alive. Maureen is still alive, but having been in the library during the shooting, she is a different woman when she walks out of the school than she was when she walked in that day. (This is all on the cover, so I'm not spoiling anything!)

Although Caelum and Maureen are fictional characters, many of the real victims are featured in the story. Lamb takes the time to detail exactly what happened that day and the planning that went into it by the two boys for those who may not have spent every minute in front of the television watching it unfold as it happened (as I did). Ironically, it is Caelum that makes the statement that although many kids are bullied, they don't go out and commit mass murder while Maureen (briefly) sees why it might happen in the first place. In her role as school nurse, she has been giving comfort to the students who feel like outsiders. Maureen's PTSD is debilitating in the aftermath and Caelum's life is turned in so many directions that it can't even be called up-side-down. The later tragedies of 9/11 and Katrina make appearances in the story as well as the Civil War.

I saw a review that stated Lamb takes too many tangents from the main storyline. I didn't feel that was the case at all. Every generation in Caelum's family, going aback to the civil war, has a prominent role at one point in the story. However, I don't feel these were "tangents" but integral parts of a story that would have been incomplete without them. It is true that his and Maureen's story could have been told well without these bits of history and the book may have been much shorter but I felt that Lamb was making the point with these "tangents." We are not solely the product of our parents and those who have been in our lives from birth but every major decision in the lives of those before us, continues to affect us whether we realize it or not. Those people made decisions that would have made our own lives very different if another choice was made.

I waited a long time for this book, having greatly enjoyed his first two, and Wally Lamb did not disappoint.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008 4 comments By: Suzanne

Ender in Exile


I will start this post by thanking Julie at FSB Associates for sending me this book. I have been a fan of Orson Scott Card's for a long time, so when I read about the give away for Ender in Exile I was very excited.

If you've read my post about re-reading Ender's Game, then you'll know that I recently met Orson Scott Card at a book signing here in my own town of Denton, TX. It made me realize that a person should never meet their idols! Not so much for myself but for my mother. She's the one that started my love of Ender and all the other stories in his world, so I was very sad that she had such a bad experience at the signing that she refuses to buy anymore of his books. For me, the wait in the line (more than 2 hours and I was close to the front!) was not so bad since I met another fan of Ender and Buffy. We got to talk for the entire two hours about the fantasy worlds we love. Meeting Card afterward, and talking to him about Speaker for the Dead (my favorite in the series) was a great experience for me after that. As for my mother, I hope this book will change her mind. She did say she would read it (simply because she doesn't have to buy it!).

On to the book. Again I impressed with Card's storytelling ability. When I heard the premise of the book, I just couldn't imagine that he could find enough for a full novel. The book takes place in between Ender's Game and the second book Speaker for the Dead, specifically between chapters 14 and 15, which he wrote to bridge the novelette of Ender's Game to the novel and the sequel. I just wasn't sure what he could say that would be different than what was ALREADY said. Of course, that's why he's the writer and I'm not. The book opens with a very touching scene between the Wiggin parents that made me see them in an entirely different light. They are finally given dimension, whereas before they seemed more like caricatures of parents.

A good portion of the book takes place on the ship between the base he is at in the end of Ender's Game and colony he becomes governor over afterward. It's mainly about the relationships that are formed and broken on the ship not only with Ender but with characters we've maybe never met before (at least I don't remember some of them). I truly enjoyed this part of the book and felt that when he actually arrived at the colony and settled an important conflict, the best part of the book was over. The rest was the icing on the cake.

One of the themes throughout the series, whether intentional or not, has been Ender's constant soul searching. "Am I a good person? Can I do what's expected of me? Should I bother?" Even though Ender's age in Earth years is well beyond his physical age of 17, in some ways he continues to think as a teenager. Card constantly tries to make the point that Ender is not like other children, through the first book, Ender's Shadow, and this new one, but I believe that his soul searching questions are more typical of teenagers than most people believe. For all his intelligence and training and separateness, Ender is still a teenager in need of reassurance and love. He eventually writes a very moving letter to his parents that hit a chord with me, as it could have been written from me to my grandparents. Parts of that letter were exactly things I have said and things I wish I could have said.

As good as this book was, I do not believe it could stand on it's own or even be considered the second book in the series. Now that I've read it I feel that, of course, this should have been written and completes the series like nothing else can. However, if I read this directly after reading Ender's Game for the first time, I think I would have been very disappointed and I can't even explain why. It simply doesn't work as a second book in the series even though, chronologically, that's where it fits. Maybe it's because there is too much recap and expanding on previous themes. Maybe it's because Ender is never really in danger of any kind because we know what happens later. Or maybe it's because I just love Speaker for the Dead so much that it will always be the perfect sequel to Ender's Game. Either way, this book is very well written and the story is captivating, but it could never be anything other than a stand alone novel about characters we already love.
Thursday, December 18, 2008 5 comments By: Suzanne

The Friday 56: Atlantis


Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
HAPPY FRIDAY!

This is from Orson Scott Card's newest collection of short stories, Keeper of Dreams. This quote is from the story Atlantis.

Glogmeriss gasped and clung to his father's hand. "A giant indeed," said his father. "Look at those legs, that powerful tail."

I had to cheat this week :)) since the closest book to me was Ender in Exile and I did that one a couple weeks ago. I figured this was as good!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008 3 comments By: Suzanne

A wonderful find

Yesterday I discovered something wonderful. It's a website called LibriVox. They record works that are in the public domain and allow you to download them for free! All the works are done by volunteers and so some have several different chapters read by different people. The lack of cohesion is more than made up for by the fact that I can download books and listen to them in my car when I'm driving. Also, these are definitely not professionally mastered recordings. Every stumbled of word is still there. I began listening to Athem today. Figured that I might as well, while I'm on an Ayn Rand kick. Luckily, this particular recording is done all by one person but she often hestitates before some words. Takes you out of the story only briefly. It's not too much of a bother and I will say again IT'S FREE!! I can listen to it and read Ender in Exile when I'm not in the car. Yayyyy! More books at the same time!

Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble (where I spend way too much money) and was looking at their audiobooks. Unfortunately, the cost of these depends on the length of the book. The new book by Wally Lamb is $75 on audio!!! I think I may have to wait to read this the old fashioned way, and may even check it out from the library. Me and the library are probably going to get to be real good friends soon. I think my book habit is starting to eat at my budget!

So once again: http://librivox.org/ IT'S FREE!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 5 comments By: Suzanne

We the Living


I finished reading We the Living, the first novel by Ayn Rand, a few days ago but have not written about yet simply because I didn't know what to say. First off I will say that read The Fountainhead about ten years ago and loved it. It changed me. It is the book that made me interested in fiction with a purpose. I have been a fan of Fantasy and Sci-fi all my life and had been putting aside practically everything else. Directly after reading this I read 1984. It is odd that in school they make us read Animal Farm instead. I understand all the symbolism and blah, blah, blah of the book, but 1984 makes a much bigger impact. It is what made me begin to sit up and take notice of the world around me. I began watching the news and trying to figure out our political system, because no one in school ever made it make sense, even with all their history and civics classes.

So, I was obsessed with the characters from The Fountainhead for a long time after reading it. Years. I'm not joking. I still think about this book and the main character's view on life and the world around him quite often. Maybe it's because I've never been good at kissing ass and trying to be friendly to the "right" people. In junior and high school that meant I'd never be popular. In college it meant my professors (especially my music history and band director) did not look at me as their favorites. There's a surprising amount of ass-kissing that goes on in music departments. I was just trying to get my degree and move on. I kind of related to Howard Roark.

So, looking back it is very surprising that I never read Ayn Rand's first novel. (On a side note, I also recently found out her name is NOT pronounced like Ann but like I-an). Maybe I was afraid it would not make as big an impact. Maybe I wasn't ready for more mind opening ideas. Maybe I needed to digest what I had just read first. I don't know, but I never read any other novels by her. I read about her philosophy and other things but no other novels. Until now. I was inspired recently by quotes from a person I went to college with in another discussion on The God Delusion to take it up. Or at least one of her other novels.

Rand states about We the Living: "It is as near an autobiography as I will ever write. The plot is invented, the background is not...The specific events of Kira's life were not mine; her convictions, her values, were and are."

Kira is 18 years old, living in the early years of Soviet Russia when the book begins. She truly does not care about the political climate of her country. She doesn't care about much of anything that is not directly related to her getting what she wants: a degree as an architect. She states that she wants to build bridges of aluminum, and believes she will one day. Nothing is more important to her than that, until she meets Leo. Leo is mysterious and idealistic. He opens her up to the possibility of something else being important in the world. Her love for Leo leads her to do things she would never otherwise do. The love of another man for her brings complications beyond her imagining. Andrei is a communist who believes whole-heartedly in the ideals that began the revolution. He was involved in bringing the revolution about. Leo's father was executed for being a counter-revolutionary. Kira is caught not between two men but between to extreme ideals. She wants to fight against the communists but their treatment of the people have taken a toll on Leo and he changes. Not for the better. She doesn't know how to fight in the face of this. Andrei's staunch support of the original revolutionaries sets him in opposition to the corrupt individuals who have wormed their way to the top of political system. He also changes because of Kira. For the better.

I will not give away anymore of the plot except to say this story does not have a happy ending. I want to leave you with a quote from Kira, another character that I believe will live with me for a long time. This quote is not about the unhappy ending. That is something else.

The doctor said he was going to die. And I loved him. He didn't need much. Only rest, and fresh air, and food. He had no right to that, had he? Your state said so. We tried to beg. We begged humbly. Do you know what they said? There was a doctor in a hospital and he said he had hundreds on his waiting list...You see, you must understand this thoroughly. No one does. No one sees it, but I do, I can't help it, I see it, you must see it, too. You understand? Hundreds. Thousands. Millions.... And they had a chance to go on living. But not Leo... That is why you had sentenced him to death, and others like him, an execution without a firing squad. There was a big commissar and I went to see him. He told me that a hundred thousand workers had died in the civil war and why couldn't one aristocrat die - in the face of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics?

Tuesday Teaser: Ender in Exile


Check out Should be Reading for the rules and to join.

My teaser comes from Ender in Exile, which I finally started reading! I received the review copy a couple weeks ago but have so busy that I haven't had to time to read it!

But the image of somebody blowing Ender up or shooting him or whatever method they used - all the methods kept flashing through her mind. Wouldn't it be ironic - yet typically human - for the person who saved the human race to be assassinated?
pg. 19
Friday, December 12, 2008 1 comments By: Suzanne

The Friday 56: 12/12/08


Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
HAPPY FRIDAY!

From We The Living by Ayn Rand:

He looked at her; she sat on the steps at his feet, looking up at his face. He saw no fear and no appeal in her eyes, only an insolent calm.
Thursday, December 11, 2008 1 comments By: Suzanne

Jack London



I drive a lot for work and get bored with listening to the radio after a while. A lot of times I'll listen to audiobooks but they're so expensive that I haven't listened to one in a while. So I was happily surprised when I found White Fang and The Call of the Wild on audio for $4 apiece at Half Price Books. If you are not familiar with this store, I am very sorry. It's absolutely wonderful (but not near as wonderful as our own Recycled Books here in Denton - I really love that store).

So I remember reading The Call of the Wild when I was kid and I think I saw a movie on White Fang at some point in my life but they're both very fuzzy and needless to say I had the two confused in my head. Well, maybe not confused but merged is the better word. I had somehow remembered a wild half-wolf dog that was captured and tortured to fight other dogs then rescued and taught be a sled dog who eventually went back to the wild. Yeah. Just remember it had been a long time.

After listening to the two back to back, I believe that The Call of the Wild is my favorite of the two simply because I'm not fond of the narrative in White Fang. The narrator keeps referring to people as "gods" in White Fangs eyes. Also, he sees power as coming from material possessions. This is a human qualification and I have never seen animals give deference to another animal because of possessions. They base power on strength. It is possible with some animals that the leader may have access to more food and other possessions but that is because he/she is ALREADY leader. Those things do not make the leader. So, because the wolf apparently sees materials possessions as power he sees white people as being superior to all others. See where I'm going here? Very irritating.

Ok, here's another problem: inconsistency. I realize these are different stories but they both concern sled dogs at some point. In The Call of the Wild, the sled dogs regard the lead sled dog with deference and treat him as leader in all other aspects of life. In White Fang, the other dogs view the lead dog as running away from them and therefore a coward to be tormented. The lead dog must sit with the people in order to be protected. WHAT??!! I don't know anything about sledding but I know about dogs and this simply doesn't make sense. The Call of the Wild was written first so maybe he discovered something that I don't know about. I tried to find some other reviews to see if there was any mention of this but all I could find were school papers and descriptions of the book. Anyone know where I can find good critiques not written by 6th graders?

Ok, so I didn't completely dislike White Fang. I was irritated by those things but the storyline is very good. I was surprised when I found out it was written after The Call of the Wild because it seems a little more rough. It reads like a first book, where The Call of the Wild seems more polished. In both books I really enjoyed the interplay between the main characters and the other dogs. The dogs seemed more real than the people. This makes complete sense, since the story is told from the point of view of the dog. The other dogs would be the ones that Buck and White Fang knew the best. London accomplishes this very well. I also enjoyed the exchange between Buck and Thornton and White Fang and Scott. Being an animal lover and having dogs all my life, I know the power of the love from an animal. I was impressed by how Scott won over White Fang. His devotion to Scott reminds me of my boyfriend's dog, Skillet, who treats Jeff as if he hung the moon and my dog, Loki, who treats me the same way. Both of these dogs were rescued also. There seems to be something that happens to a dog who is rescued and loved that makes them more devoted than a dog who comes to you as a puppy, like my other dog, Aurora. She obviously loves me and I love her very much but Loki and Skillet become visibly upset just being out of our presence. I was also impressed that Buck remained with Thornton even when he wanted to be free simply because he loved this man. Many people may say this is anthropomorphizing, that animals can't love like this. I say they have never given themselves to an animal enough to feel that love.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008 4 comments By: Suzanne

Teaser: SEMTAP



The Teaser is hosted at Should Be Reading. Be sure to check out the page for the rules.

In any special education music therapy eligibility assessment, the most important element is the comparison of a student's skills (as targeted by his or her Individual Education Plan) with and without the structure of music therapy.
From pg 5 of the SEMTAP: Special Education Music Therapy Assessment Process

No, I don't expect someone not in special ed or music therapy to understand it. :))
Friday, December 5, 2008 2 comments By: Suzanne

The Friday 56: 12/5/08


Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
HAPPY FRIDAY!

Spoken by Val in Ender in Exile:
You mean the way you control me.


I haven't started reading this yet but it's next on my list. I'm really excited about it.
Thursday, December 4, 2008 3 comments By: Suzanne

BTT: Authors


Today's Book Through Thursday over at Should Be Reading asks the following:

1. Do you have a favorite author?
I have many different favorite authors but for this questionaire I'll say Neil Gaiman

2. Have you read everything he or she has written?
Not really, only because I can't get into graphic novels. I tried, I really did because someone said if I was going to read any his were the best and since I already loves his novels I thought I would try. Still not for me.

3. Did you LIKE everything?
Of novels, very much so. He is a very talented writer and his imagination seems to know no bounds.

4. How about a least favorite author?
This hard because often if I don't like something I won't finish the book. I figure it's just not worth my time to continue reading something I'm not enjoying. However, I have recently read a couple book in a certain series that was made into a movie that I felt very strongly against! :))

5. An author you wanted to like, but didn’t?
Terry Brooks. I thought the ideas for his books were wonderful but the writing fell kind of flat for me and the plots were too cliche. It's all been done before, and better.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008 6 comments By: Suzanne

The love that doesn't love me back...

So I was in the bookstore the other day and realized how at home I feel in any bookstore. I can spend hours there (and sometimes do). I often will sit on the floor in front of a bookshelf and read from a book right there in the store. I was in the children's section because Neil Gaiman's new book is shelved for middle schoolers and I wanted to know if it would read like a children's book or if would still be interesting to me. I decided that I might enjoy it when it came time to buy it but seeing as I had already bought three other books that VERY SAME DAY at another bookstore, I figured maybe I should wait until I had read those and some of the others that are sitting on my shelves unread. (It's good thing I shop mainly in used bookstores). It occured to me that maybe a grown woman shouldn't sitting on the floor in the children's section of the bookstore but several employees and customers had passed me and no one seemed to think it strange so I didn't worry about it anymore. I believe I have a problem and I am seeking help now. The first step is to admit your problem so here it goes...My name is Tonya and I am a bookaholic.

To be fair I come by this addiction naturally. My mother is also a bookaholic. She can devour a large novel in the time that it takes me to find one. I befriended books young and sought their solace growing up when life was crazy and awkward. Luckily, I also love my animals, my friends, and family and they can love me back so I'm not so worried about my addiction anymore. Ok, time to read.

In case you're wondering, I'm currently reading We The Living.

Teaser: We The Living

My Teaser for this Tuesday comes from Ayn Rand's first novel We The Living. I decided to read it because even though I was profoundly affected by The Fountainhead, I never read her first novel. This statement is made by Kira, the main character:

Don't you know we that live only for ourselves, the best of us do, those who are worthy of it? Don't you know that there is something in us which must not be touched by any state, by any collective, by any number of millions?

From the back of the book:

She would die to live and love
This book is Ayn Rand's first novel. Its theme is one of the most significant of our day - the individual against the state. It portrays the impact of the Russian revolution on three human beings who demand the right to live their own lives and pursue their own happiness. It tells of a girl's passionate love, held like a fortress against the corrupting evil of a totalitarian state.
Ayn Rand said about it:
"...it is as near to an autobiography as I will ever write. The plot is invented, the background is not...The specific events of Kira's life were not mine; her ideas, her convictions, her values, were and are.
Sunday, November 30, 2008 5 comments By: Suzanne

?ftw

!sdrawkcab gnihtyreve gnippyt si resworb yM !!?pleh esaelp siht daer nac uoy fI

One Minute Writer: Ivores


This is the prompt at today's One Minute Writer:
Carnivores...herbivores...omnivores. Create an "___ivore" word to describe yourself and your eating habits.
Don't forget to check out the other responses and join in yourself!

Groundivore - I eat anything (almost) that comes out of the ground but not anything that is born of another independent, living organism! hehe In other words, I'm a vegetarian but I kind of like the "groundivore," might stick with it.
Friday, November 28, 2008 1 comments By: Suzanne

Single Word Meme

So, I was tagged by Michael at http://riveramichael.blogspot.com. I figure these are usually fun. If you want to participate, go visit his blog and post one on yours too. Here it is:

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
2. Where is your significant other? None
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? Wonderful
5. Your father? Deceased
6. Your favorite thing? Animals
7. Your dream last night? ummmm....
8. Your dream/goal? Land
9. The room you’re in? Bedroom.
11. Your fear? Lonliness
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Unknown
13. Where were you last night? House
14. What you’re not? Alone
15. One of your wish-list items? I-Pod
16. Where you grew up? Everywhere
17. The last thing you did? Talked
18. What are you wearing? Clothes :))
19. Your TV? On
20. Your pet? Here
21. Your computer? Laptop
22. Your mood? Blah
23. Missing someone? Yep
24. Your car? Yaris
25. Something you’re not wearing? Socks
26. Favorite store? Michael's
27. Your summer? Great
28. Love someone? YESSSSSSSSSS
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Monday

The Friday 56: 11/28/08


Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
HAPPY FRIDAY!

Dennison sighed. "Look, lady," he said. "I'm more interested in helping people than trees. Sorry."
--The Forest is Crying by Charles de Lint
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 3 comments By: Suzanne

Teaser: Bird Bones

This week's Teaser comes from Bird Bones and Wood Ash by Charles De Lint

She must have stepped into a story, she thinks - one of Annie's stories, where myths mingle with the real world and the characters never quite know which is which. Annie's stories were always about the people, but the mythic figures weren't just there to add color.

For the rules, go here.
Sunday, November 23, 2008 8 comments By: Suzanne

Monday Musings: Book Fads

You can check out all the other posts at Monday Musings. Here's the question:

How do you feel about wide-spread reading phenomenons - Harry Potter, for instance, or the more current Twilight Saga? Are these books so widely read for a reason, or merely fads or crazes? Do you feel compelled to read - or NOT to read - these books because everyone else is?

Well, if you read my posts on the first two books in the Twilight series, then you know how I personally feel about these books. However, that doesn't mean I think they're just a fad. I personally loved Harry Potter, as I've stated before, even though it was originally intended for children and young teens. Rowling is a wonderful writer. I don't necessarily think the same thing about Meyer but there are many people who do. I believe that once these books get some recognition that there are more people who pick them up simply because they heard about the series through it's popularity but there is something about each of these that appeals to certain people. Even though I thought Twilight was...well, you know, that doesn't mean that there aren't others that genuinely like the books because of the something about the book itself, not because of its popularity. Sometimes I do feel compelled to read a book because of its popularity. I figure, if it's so popular, there must be something to it.
Saturday, November 22, 2008 11 comments By: Suzanne

New Moon



I apologize in advance. :)) If you can't stand to read my review of this, skip to the end for recommendations.

SPOILER ALERT! Don't read if you think you might read the book and haven't yet.

I just was very frustrated by this book. First of all let me point out some things that bothered me in the first book that carried over into this one:

1. Bella's aversion to blood and preference for sunlight.
Why make such a big deal about these issues over and over again if it doesn't mean anything more than that. It's a vampire novel. I keep waiting for the punch line. What's the special thing about her that makes these so very important. If they're not anything other than what they seem, then quit making it such a major issues all the time. Your readers are not stupid. We remember when you wrote that before. We didn't forget.

2. Rosalie
There is never any real conflict with Rosalie. This could have made a great addition to the storyline. Rosalie HATES her and Rosalie is a vampire. HELLO! If you don't want the girl around, confront her. Scare her. Conflict is a good thing in a novel. Meyer pushes it out of the way like it's inconvenient. Even the conflict that does happen (James in the first and the Volturi in the second) in the story is always wrapped up so fast that it's hardly worth bringing up.

3. The werewolves
Talk about a source of great conflict! There could have been more about this in the first book. I know I kept waiting for it. So Jacob is mad and can't be her friend and he and Edward think maybe they wouldn't be able to be around each other without possibly killing the other. Oh, please. Have them fight for goodness sake. Show me something real. And why in the hell does it take her so long to figure out that Jacob is a werewolf? She figured out Edward so quickly and she's a smart girl. Meyer writes this part like Bella's an idiot. Why did it take Jacob so long? He grew up with the stories. He knew what to look for. Assuming that your readers and your characters can't figure it out until it stands right in their faces and screams at them is insulting.

Ok, so New Moon itself. Why (other than the above) was I so frustrated. Because Bella fell apart like Edward died. I'm sorry, but going completely comatose for weeks and living like a zombie for months because your boyfriend left you is grounds being committed. They weren't even together for a year. She acted like her spouse of ten years died. The ironic thing is something very similar happened to a friend of mine while I was reading this. Maybe it's why I was so irritated by it in the book. Because I could see someone in real life doing this. This is what happens when you don't have an identity of your own. When your entire life is wrapped up in someone else; when your entire life IS someone else's life, you will fall apart like this because you have nothing of your own to live for. No one should let themselves be lost so much in another person that they simply have no life if that person leaves. I made mention of the fact in my post about Twilight that we really don't know anything about Bella. The reason is because she doesn't have a life outside of Edward. Why does she want to be vampire so badly? Because she hasn't let herself become a real person. What does she want out of life (besides Edward)? What does she want for her future (besides being a vampire)? Nothing. She didn't have any wants before either so she has nothing to fall back to.

I was a little encouraged when she decided to develop her friendship with Jacob. I thought, "Finally, something other than moping is about to happen!" She was actually finding something that made her happy, being with friends and finding things she liked outside of Edward. But then that all fell apart when she said:

It was a very strange kind of day. I enjoyed myself...I was beginning to think it was mostly Jacob. It wasn't just that he was always so happy to see me, or that he didn't watch me out of the corner of his eye, waiting for me to do something that would mark me as crazy or depressed. It was nothing that related to me at all.
It was Jacob himself.

What???!!! So she simply traded one boy to depend on and lose herself in for another. Yeah, that's a good thing. And she says it like it is! Does Meyer really believe this is a good thing? And later while she's putting herself in dangerous situations simply to "hear"Edward's voice (oh, yeah, good thing) she gets hurt and says, "I tried to tell myself that fear was pointless. I'd already lived through the worse thing possible." That is just simply not true. If she believes that her boyfriend leaving her is the worse thing possible that could happen, the girl's headed straight for the psych unit when something truly awful happens. What kills me is she even admits it yet doesn't seem to know or care why she feels this way. She says, "I'd been broken beyond repair. But I needed Jacob now, needed him like a drug."

That's exactly what this is like. Her addiction to boys taking care of her is exactly like an addiction to a drug and just as unhealthy. THEN, just when she's finally starting to believe she can live without Edward (even though she's simply trading him for Jacob instead of living for herself) HE COMES BACK! We're supposed to be happy about this I think. Meyer and many of her fans (I guess) are just overjoyed that it works out this way. The world makes, sense. Bella and Edward are together again! No, instead of figuring out how to be own person, she simply throws herself into his life that much more.

If someone can give me a REALLY good reason why I should continue this series, then maybe I'll think about it. I simply can't see myself reading anymore of it. Plus, I'm sure the fans of the series don't want to read my hate posts about it!

If you want some good vampire novels, check these out:
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter by Laurell K. Hamilton.
Talk about down and dirty vampires, werewolves, witches, and other nasties. Anita Blake starts the series hunting all these things and within a couple books is so intertwined with them that she starts to become less and less human.

Of Saints and Shadows by Christopher Golden
The vampires are the good guys in this and they take on the inner circle of the Catholic church. This is a series too but the first book is the best.

Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice
Seriously, if you like vampire novels and you HAVEN'T read at least the first three books in this series, you're not a vampire novel fan. You know nothing about vampire literature. I read these in high school a couple years before the movie Interview with the Vampire came out. It sealed my loved for vampire novels and later my addiction to Buffy.


Friday, November 21, 2008 15 comments By: Suzanne

The Friday 56 - First post


So I found this on a friend's Facebook page and have seen it a couple different places but haven't seen it as a weekly thing anywhere. If anyone else has, and I'm stepping on toes, let me know! I'm calling it The Friday 56.

Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

"You've got flies in your eyes," Yossarian repeated. "That's probably why you can't see them."
--Catch-22

Happy Friday!
Thursday, November 20, 2008 5 comments By: Suzanne

Which Writer?

http://www.ofaust.com/Default.aspx

This website has an analyzer that will tell which writer your writing most resembles. I came out 52% like Frank Baum. I have never read anything by him but I guess I will have to now! I did however, (like all children) see the movie! I'm flattered.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 4 comments By: Suzanne

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins


First of all to my Christian friends who read this and want to run away screaming at the terrible things you believe I am about to say, I'm sorry. There is no reason for that if you can keep an open mind.


So I picked up the God Delusion because I was intrigued by the premise. Did he mean that the God of Abraham and therefore Jews, Christians, and Muslim is a delusion or did he mean that ANY god is a delusion? Well, he pretty much gets that out of the way right away. He doesn't believe in any god. I don't agree with everything in the book. It seems that he makes a fairly logical argument for the most part but then when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, he grasps at just as many straws as the rest of us. He simply shades his doubt with science. The truth is, we simply don't know. If you're truly interested in my beliefs, I'll explain a few things at the end of this review. I think it might be interesting after this. By the way, this is probably my longest post ever.

Dawkins is actually very funny. He had me laughing throughout most of the book. He retells a story by Bertrand Russell called the parable of the celestial teapot:


Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.


Dawkins then goes on to talk about the Flying Spaghetti Monster which is a popular internet deity. Apparently there is a Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Moster. "I haven't read it myself, but who needs to read a gospel when you know it's true?...The fact that orbiting teapots and tooth fairies are undisprovable is not felt, by any reaosnable person, to be the kind of fact that settles any interesting argument...I have found it an amusing strategy, when asked whether I am an atheist, to point out that the questioner is also an atheist when considering Zeus, Apollo, Amon Ra, Mithras, Baal, Thor, Wotan, the Golden Calf and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I just go one god further."

Dawkins' main point is in chapter 4: WHY THERE ALMOST CERTAINLY IS NO GOD. He makes many points but it all boils down to the same thing in the end. If there is a being that has created the universe and therefore us, if this being also can simultaneously read the minds of millions people who are also simultaneously praying to this being for many (mainly frivolous) different things, if this being is the ultimate designer then who designed him (or her)? This being would have to have the most amazing scientific knowledge, far beyond anything close to what we have but a being this great could not just poof into existence out of nothing. A being like this would HAVE to come from somewhere and then that points to another creator. So is that creator the ultimate creator? If a being could create another being who could create a universe and listen to the prayers of people everywhere, who created THAT creator? Do you see? This is an endless loop that ultimately doesn't make sense. There can be no end. In othe words, "How do they (theists) cope with the argument that any God capable of designing a universe, carefully and foresightfully tuned to lead to our evolution, must be a supremely complex and improbable entity who needs an even bigger explanation that the one he is supposed to provide?"

This argument is in the middle of the book and Dawkins goes on to make some other very fine points regarding the harm religion can cause. For example, he talks of a study done with more than a thousand Israeli children, ages 8 to 14 in which they were to discuss the Battle of Jericho in the Book of Joshua:

Joshua said to the people, "Shout; for the LORD has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction...But all silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are sacred to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD." Then they utterly destroyed all in the city, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and asses, with the edge of the sword...And they burned the city with fire and all within it; only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.


The children were then asked, "Do you think Joshua and the Israelites acted rightly or not?" An overwhelming majority of the children gave total approval. When asked why, their answers were all religiously based:

God promised them land, and gave them permission to conquer. If they would not...then there would have been danger that the Sons of Israel would have assimilated among the Goyim.

God commanded him to exterminate
(lovely word) the people so that the tribes of Israel will not be able to assimilate...

Joshua did good because the people who inhabited the land were of a different religion...


Genocide is condoned through religion. Where have we seen this before?


A control group was given the same story only "Joshua" was changed to "General Lin" and " Israel " was changed to "a Chineese Kingdom ." The results were opposite. This time the children, without the influence of religion, saw the terribleness of exterminating a group of people. "When their loyalty to Judaism was removed from the calculation, the majority of the school children agreed with the moral judgements that most modern humans would share. Joshua's action was a deed of barbaric genocide."


I ask another question, why exactly does God need silver, gold, bronze, and iron? What is an all-knowing, powerful deity who doesn't live on the earth going to do with these things? Why would he need to destroy a city for them? Shouldn't he just be able to take them?

I will leave you with some wonderful quotes from our founding fathers.

As the Government of the Unites States of America is not in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from the religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
--Treaty of Tripoli as drafted by George Washington and signed by John Adams (give that to whoever tries to convice you our founding fathers meant us to be a Christian nation).
--Also, 'Musselmen' and 'Mehomitan' were contemporary words to refer to Islam, which makes this paragraph more than a little ironic right now

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage to reason than that of blindfolded fear.
-Thomas Jefferson

Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.
-Thomas Jefferson

During almost 15 centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.
-James Madison

Lighthouses are more useful than churches.
-Benjamin Franklin

This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.
-John Adams


And a few others:


Religion...has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, 'Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just not. Why not? - because you're not!
-Douglas Adams

What impresses me most about Catholic mythology is partly its tasteless kitsch but mostly the airy nonchalance with which these people make up the details as they go along. It is just shamelessly invented.
-Richard Dawkins

The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism
-Gore Vidal


So for mine? Do I believe in God? Not really. Not in the sense that most people mean. I believe we are all connected. We are all part of the energy of the universe and we are able to tap into this. Different people, based on their education and experience, call it different things. Some people tap into this energy, feel something powerful, and call it God. Some people call it magic. However, I also believe in science and I truly believe that this is something that will one day be measurable and a lot of people will lose faith because of that. The sad thing is there is no reason. That power will still be there, it's the stories they have believed in forever that won't be.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 3 comments By: Suzanne

Another Problem

For some reason I can't comment on pages where you have to select a profile. Not sure what commenting option that is, but I try to select my google account and I press post comment and it refreshes the pages without my comment. It never shows up. I can comment with other type of form but that one. Anyone know why?

Teaser: New Moon

For this week's Teaser I went back to the "let the book fall open to a random page" rule. Yes, I've been leaving that part out, but it's not a hard rule. I've had some wonderful quotes I simply wanted to share. Since I just started on New Moon, I don't have anything yet.

From pg. 265
As we walked, I struggled for the right thing to say, but nothing came. I just got more and more angry that Jacob had gotten sucked in...that Billy had allowed this...that Sam was able to stand there so assured and calm.
Monday, November 17, 2008 1 comments By: Suzanne

Help?

So there are a couple things I'd like to do on my blog but I'm just not able to find anything online that helps me figure out how to do this. First, how do I create another sidebar in addition to the one I already have. I've seen some blogs that have a left and a right sidebar or two on the right or even 3 or more! I can't find any info on how to add one.

Second, how do I cross out text? I'd like to add a feature with the books I'm reading for challenges and cross out the ones I read as I go.

Twilight


So I'm taking a break from The God Delusion to read some other books. Honestly, I think I read about as much as I will of it and maybe I'll write about it tomorrow or the next day. Saturday I decided to get going on the Whitcoulls List Challenge. Naturally I started with Twilight. Everyone I know seems to have already read this. I was going to wait until I saw the movie because I know now that I read the book I'll hate it but then a friend of mine gave me the entire series to read. I couldn't resist. I started Saturday and finished last night!

If you don't already the know the synopsis of this story (are you living in a cave?) it's about a human girl and her vampire boyfriend. I have to admit I had told myself I wasn't ever going to read this and the reason is kind of silly. I am a HUGE Buffy fan. Have been since Season Two (didn't initially watch Season One for another silly reason: the movie was stupid!). I thought, "Seriously, we've already done the tortured vampire loves the human girl thing. What a rip off." Everyone assured me this wasn't so. I agree now that except for that bit, it's nothing like Buffy. However, if it wasn't so popular I still don't think I would have gotten passed the first couple of chapters.

The book is obviously written for young teenage girls. Of course this wouldn't be the first time I read a children's series. I loved Harry Potter, but the writing in those seemed to age along with Harry. I was very impressed with how Rowling did that. I'm hoping the same thing happens with this series, because now that I've read the first book, I HAVE to read the rest! The story is told in a very single minded fashion. Not only do we only see what Bella sees (not that big of deal, lots of well written books are done this way) but the only characters that are fleshed out are Bella and Edward. I just read 498 pages and I know nothing about her mother, father, friends, previous life, or Edwards family other than surface stuff. I realize this is a long book and maybe it would have made it even longer to flesh out characters a little more but the type is fairly large and spaced out too. That has a lot do with it. Another thing that makes it single minded is the entire story is about her and Edward getting together. Ok, I realize this is plot of the book but most good books will give have other smaller plotlines interspersed with the main one.

I won't completely be down on the book. I did get sucked in to the story. After all, I finished it in a weekend. I enjoyed the story itself and it's easy to get passed the little things that I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Bella and Edward really do draw you in. I actually found myself wishing she would become a vampire! Of course, my friend that gave me the books ruined that part for me and I know what's coming. I still was wishing for it right then.

On that note, don't you hate when people tell you things about later books in a series and then say, "but I'm really not ruining anything for you." Well, of course you are! I haven't read that yet! If she talks about brushing her teeth in later books, I don't want to know.

I have to say that even though I am not fond of the simplicity of the writing (I like my characters to be completely messed up!) I really did enjoy the book and recommend it to anyone who has not yet read them (if I'm not the only on the planet left).

UPDATE: I just found a site dedicated to hating Twilight. I obviously don't hate it but I thought it was interesting. It has a funny cartoon of a boy being chased by crows and says: Edward is sparkly. Crows like sparkly things. http://www.gaiaonline.com/forum/books/anyone-else-can-t-stand-twilight/t.24736495/

Here are some wonderful points that I wish I had made and some I did that just sound better than the way I said it:

- Being clumsy is not a character flaw!

- Ms. Meyer's vampires are perfect. We respect her attempt to do away with the classical image of vampires, however, she made them super fast, strong, beautiful, etc.... She also did away with their weaknesses. And they shine, that speaks for itself.

- If the first 200 pages of your book rely on the mystery of a character's identity, don't slap "First, Edward was a vampire" on the back cover. (We realize this is not Ms. Meyer's fault, and the choice was made by the publishers. However, this isn't a "Why we hate Stephenie Meyer" list, it's why we hate Twilight. So I would consider this a legitimate reason.)

- The author constantly repeats certain things that she's already described in full detail. (Bella's extremely noisy truck, Edwards 'perfectness', how bad she was at volleyball, etc.)

- Ms. Meyer's first-person POV sucks. She just can't pull it off. Why is that? Because she doesn't find a way to explain anything but Bella. We never get to know how Edward works because Bella never thinks it, of course, and Ms. Meyer shows no other way of expressing it.
(NOTE: We all know about Midnight Sun, so please don't bring it up as you're sole argument for this point. We've heard it all before, but the fact is that, Ms. Meyer shouldn't have to write another book to explain things that should have been shown in the original.)

- Much too little actual conflict in the story. But this probably stems from having flawless main character.

- She threw away the best part! The actual falling in love! It's supposed to happen slowly... there's supposed to be intimacy and sweetness and awkwardness. But no. It's right-off-the-bat in love. They both know it instantly. From then on it's just fighting to stop his species from keeping them apart.

- Why do they love each other anyway? She smells good and he’s hot… what?

- It's just not healthy to teach young girls that True Love involves the guy watching you while you sleep. Not to mention the messes in New Moon, omitted for spoiler reasons.

- Edward is HOT. We get it. Good for you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 5 comments By: Suzanne

One Minute Writer: Veterans


Today's One Minute Writer is about Veterans. Here's my piece:

I've known several veterans in my life but the one that comes to mind first is my old college roommate and good friend, Tammi. We often talked about our lives growing up in the Air Force and then she went and did something dumb: joined the Army! hehe She's recently out of it after doing two stints in Iraq. Both times I was very much afraid for her and am glad she is home and in a nice safe job. I love her and all the other vets I've known, including my mother (wonderful woman!).

Teaser: A little more of the same....

Hey look! I did it on the right day!
So I figure I'll give one more teaser of this book, The God Delusion, before I write about it. I hope even my Christian friends like this one:

I was careful to concede that religious people don't think in a Biblical way anymore. For me, this demonstrated that our morals, whether we are religious or not, come from another source; and that source, what it is, is available to all of us, regardless of religion or lack of it.
--pg. 255

Don't forget to look at some others from the Tuesday Teasers.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008 1 comments By: Suzanne

A delusional teaser

Still reading the God Delusion and for this week's Teaser Tuesday, I just had to share this bit from page 174:

The religious behaviour may be a misfiring, an unfortunate by-product of an underlying psychological propensity which in other circumstances is, or once was, useful. On this view, the propensity that was naturally selected in our ancestor's was not religion per se; it had some other benefit, and it incidentally manifests itself as religious behaviour.

One Minute Writer: Stranger

Another way for me to waste time at the computer! I found this today at the One Minute Writer:

Who's got the time to journal daily? You do.


1. Read the daily writing prompt.
2. Push "Play" on the timer on the right side of the screen.
3. Spend 60 seconds or less writing a response to the daily prompt.

So here's mine:

Today I locked myself out of my house. As I was walking the dog and calling my boyfriend to get his spare key, a stranger with her dog heard me on the phone leaving him a message. Knowing I would not get back in my house right away, she was kind and offered my dog some water.

Happy Day

So, I have refrained from posting too many political things on here since I don't want to turn people off from reading it if they don't agree with me. However, I want to say that I am doing a happy dance today!
Saturday, November 1, 2008 2 comments By: rcIsHere

Book Teaser

Merle's Door:
A moment later Merle surged upon the coyote, sriking it on its left hip with his right shoulder and knocked it off its feet. As the coyote regained his footing and fled with its tail stuck between its legs Merle turned and sprinted back to me, cleared the irrigation ditch in a bound, landed on the road where I stood in amazement, and began to turn circles in the air, barking in wild paroxysms of glee.

Teaser Tuesday (On Saturday :) )

Marley and Me:
I snapped my fingers, pointed at the ground and siad "Down!" Marley collapsed in a heap, hitting the ground with a thud.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 1 comments By: Suzanne

Current Book


So I didn't do these on the right day, but oh well. Having fun today! This is Tuesday's Teaser:

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

  • This was actually hard because I am currently reading a new hard book, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. It didn't want to just "fall open" so I colsed my eyes and opened it. I haven't read this page yet! It might be a spoiler for me. I broke my two up (left out the sentence in between) so it wouldn't be a spoiler for other people.

    "The entire history of these cults, from initiation to expiry, is wrapped up within in living memory."

    "It is fascinating to guess that the cult of Christianity almost certainly began in very much the same way, and spread initially at the same high speed."

    Booking through Thursday

    Here's the latest question at Booking:

    “Name a favorite literary couple and tell me why they are a favorite. If you cannot choose just one, that is okay too. Name as many as you like–sometimes narrowing down a list can be extremely difficult and painful. Or maybe that’s just me.”

    This is a hard one. I'm gonna be predictable and start with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. There's a reason why this a cliche'. They aren't the typical couple that meets, falls in love, has some kind of traumatic experience, and then gets to love happily ever after. No, in fact she can't even stand him at first and is completely amazed when he professes his love. That scene where he proposes is my favorite in the book. Even though he's such a jerk when he does it and she's so nasty when she refuses, it still seemed romantic!

    Next I would pick Dominick and Thomas, the twins in I know this much is true. This is another that's not your typical love story because the love story here is brotherly love, which can be just as heartbreaking. Thomas may be the one is the hospital dealing with his schizophrenia but Dominick is more messed up in some ways. It's not an easy read but I felt like I had been through an amazing experience after reading it.
    Sunday, October 26, 2008 1 comments By: Suzanne

    Booking Through Thursday

    So here's something new I'm going to do. In truth, I'm just trying to get people to come read this blog so I figure if I participate in a few of these, they will. LOL But then, it's starting to be a lot of fun. A lot of time wasted sitting at the computer, but fun even so! This is called Booking Through Thursday:

    What was the last book you bought?

    Ender's Game

    Name a book you have read MORE than once

    Ender's Game LOL On my mind right now since I just finished it again.

    Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?

    Yes, The Fountainhead open my eyes to a whole world of things.

    How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews

    All of the above, though I generally start in one section of the store and work my way out into more general fiction

    Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

    Fiction

    What’s more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot?

    gripping plot

    Most loved/memorable character (character/book)

    Astrid from White Oleander

    Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?

    Yarrow (never put it away after reading), and Ender's Game

    What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?

    Ender's Game, this past week

    Have you ever given up on a book half way in?

    Lately yes, I didn't used to do this. I would force myself to read it if I started but lately I just feel it's a waste of time. If I don't like it, I won't like it at the end.

    Saturday, October 25, 2008 2 comments By: Suzanne

    The Whitcoulls Challenge

    Whitcoulls List

    Ok, I've decided to become a part of the book challenge world. From what I can tell these are addictive. Everyone I've been reading has 10 or more challenges they're working through! I can't think of a better addiction. Here's the rules:


    Read Your Way Through The Whitcoulls Top 100 List.

    Time:
    * From November 15th, 2008 to November 15th, 2009.

    The Rules:
    * Pick one of the 4 "Top 100" lists linked below and decide how many books (at least 4) you want to read from that list.
    * The initial 4 have to be 'new' reads (new to you, that is).
    * Books beyond the initial 4 may be rereads.
    * All books may be cross-overs for other challenges.
    * Audio-books are A-OK :)
    * You may change your list at any time.
    * If you read enough books to actually complete one of the "Top 100" lists, I'll make a post in your honour!


    I was looking through the 2008 list and realized I've read at least half the books on that list. So, I'm going to start with that list and see if I can make it a full 100! I decided to pick books that I've wanted to read for awhile but have yet to get around to. Here are my first four:

    1. The Power of One - Bruce Courtenay
    2. Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
    3. Twilight - Stephanie Meyer
    4. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller (I know, I know, but I'm finally gonna read it!)

    As I finish these and blog about them, I'll add more to the list until time is up.

    Poems

    If anyone is wondering why I haven't posted a weekly poem in a few weeks, here's why: I was curious if I was doing something wrong by posting these beautiful poems on my page once a week. I did a search for "copyright poetry online" thinking that maybe I could find something about how old the poem needs to be for me to be able to post it. The first thing I came across was an essay by a poet who describes how it feels to find her work all over the internet and not to be paid for it. This is her livelihood. None of us want to go to work each day, be exploited, and get nothing out of it. You can read what she says here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/dec/08/featuresreviews.guardianreview14

    But I hate to leave you without the idea of poetry. So, I when I post things about poetry now, I will be including one line that sticks out for me and you can find a copy for yourself in a book somewhere, that hopefully you will purchase!

    It's finally gotten cold here (unfortunately) so in an homage to Autumn here you go:

    "Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
    - George Eliot
    Friday, October 24, 2008 2 comments By: Suzanne

    Ender's Game

    This is less about the book, which I just read for the third time, and more about the series itself.

    I read the book for the first time when my mother introduced it to me. I think it might have been about 10 years ago. I was very impressed. For a long time I had been reading nothing but Fantasy and this wonderfully constructed novel of children in space learning to be battle commanders fascinated me. As celebrated as this book is, I found myself drawn more to the Speaker for the Dead. Ender's story continues for many novels and in each one he is challenged in ways that seem impossible to live though much less continue living sanely. Speaker for the Dead drives home the message that was under the surface of Ender's Game: life is sacred, even if that life is the enemy. This is something I actually didn't truly get until this third reading. I understood it on the surface but just realized only recently how much the reinforces my own beliefs. Interesting considering my beliefs are nothing like the author's.

    After reading several of the novels focused on Ender a wonderful thing happened. Orson Scott Card wrote Ender's Shadow. If it's possible, I liked Bean even more than Ender. It showed how it wasn't just Ender being self centered that made it seem like he was the entire focus of the Battle School, and yet there were so many other little dramas happening all around him that he could never have possibly known about.

    So why did I read Ender's Game a second and a third time? Well, after I read Ender's Shadow when it came out, I felt compelled to look at Bean in Ender's story. I was surprised to find that a character I had suddenly come to love was barely mentioned. It made me wonder why Orson Scott Card chose to tell Bean's story instead of any number of stories that could have been written and were alluded to with the other children. So that was the second time.

    This past week, Card was in Denton, TX of all places. I had the chance to see him speak about writing Ender, where the idea for the book started, and when (oh, please when????!!!!) will the movie finally be made. (He doesn't know hehehe) So, I bought a beautiful hard back copy of Ender's Game and his new book of short stories and got him to sign them. While he signed, I mentioned that even though I was having him sign this, Speaker for the Dead is actually my favorite. I was thrilled to hear him say, "That's the real story. The only reason I expanded Ender's Game into a novel was in order to write that story." That brief moment was well worth the 2 hours I stood in line. Yes, I stood in line for 2 hours to meet this man, something I've never done before and will only do for a very limited number of people. I met a wonderful girl in line and we discussed these books, Buffy (and Joss Whedon) as well as other fanstay and sci-fi we both love. Unfortunately, I don't remember her name (I'm terrible with names) but I will remember our conversations as fondly as I remember my short one with Card.
    Thursday, October 2, 2008 2 comments By: Suzanne

    I Think I Know No Finer Thing Than Dogs

    Week 5 Poem


    Through prejudice perhaps my mind befrogs,
    I think I know no finer thing than dogs:
    The young ones, they of gay and bounding heart,
    Who lure us in their games to take a part,
    Who with mock tragedy their antics cloak
    And, from their wild eyes' tail, admit the joke;
    The old ones, with their wistful, fading eyes,
    They who desire no further paradise
    Than the warm comfort of our smile and hand,
    Who tune their moods to ours and understand
    Each word and gesture; they who lie and wait
    To welcome us - with no rebuke if late.
    Sublime the love they bear, but ask to live
    Close to our feet, unrecompensed to give;
    Beside which many men seem very logs -
    I think I know no finer thing than dogs.

    Hally Carrington Brent

    The Sugar Queen

    This is the second book by Sarah Addison Allen and I was just as impressed with this book as I was with Garden Spells. Allen's writing flows well and she lets you see into the heart of every character. I was very moved by the different stories. In fact, I was so moved by the story of an elderly woman who mourns a relationship from her twenties that I actually had to put the book down and walk away for a few minutes. It was too much. The main character, Josey, is fairly irritating and you want to smack some sense into her but everyone she meets through the story is so intriguing that you have to just keep going and hoping she'll change.

    The book opens with a woman hiding in Josey's closet; a closet with a secret stash of sweets. The stash is many shelves large and is so important to Josey that she lets the woman stay for fear that someone will find out about her sweets. The big surprise twist at the end was a little predictable but I got the impression the book was writting in such a way that you're supposed to figure it out before the author tells you.

    This was wonderful and quick read. I stayed up past midnight one night finishing it because I simply could not put it down. That's a big deal considering I get up before the sun!
    Thursday, September 25, 2008 0 comments By: Suzanne

    Week 4 Poem

    Far From The Madding Crowd

    It seems to me I'd like to go
    Where bells don't ring, nor whistles blow,
    Nor clocks don't strike, nor gongs sound,
    And I'd have stillness all around.

    Not real stillness, but just the trees,
    Low whispering, or the hum of bees,
    Or brooks faint babbling over stones,
    In strangely, softly tangled tones.

    Or maybe a cricket or katydid,
    Or the songs of birds in the hedges hid,
    Or just come such sweet sound as these,
    To fill a tired heart with ease.

    If 'tweren't for sight and sound and smell,
    I'd like the city pretty well,
    But when it comes to getting rest,
    I like the country lots the best.

    Sometimes it seems to me I must
    Just quit the city's din and dust,
    And get out where the sky is blue,
    And say, now, how does it seem to you?
    Tuesday, September 23, 2008 1 comments By: rcIsHere

    Lisey's Story by Stephen King

    I have been a big Stephen King fan in a long time. In fact, I pretty much swore off his work for years, and I do mean YEARS. (lol) However, whether you are a Stephen King fan, or a former fan who lost interest in his flights of fancy, and long winded (VERY long winded at times) prose, I think you will enjoy Lisey's Story. It is about a woman who's husband has died. The husband was a very famous author and the woman is dealing with the passing of her husband she loved very much. Since this is Stephen King who is doing the writing, there is of course the weird, the macabre, and the other worldlyness he is famous for. However, the story is wel written and he keeps his flights of fancy to a minimum. I would highly reccomend this book.
    Thursday, September 18, 2008 0 comments By: Suzanne

    Week 3 Poem

    To Autumn

    Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
    Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless
    With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
    To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
    And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
    With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
    And still more, later flowers for the bees,
    Until they think warm days will never cease,
    For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.


    Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
    Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
    Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
    Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
    Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
    Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
    Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
    And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
    Steady thy laden head across a brook;
    Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
    Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.


    Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
    Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
    While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
    And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
    Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
    Among the river sallows, borne aloft
    Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
    And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
    Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
    The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
    And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

    ---John Keats

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