Friday, July 27, 2007

A list of books (I couldn't refuse)

Look at the list of books below:Bold the ones you’ve read. Mark in blue the ones you want to read. Cross out the ones that you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole (or use red coloring)Finally, italicize the ones you've never heard of.If you are reading this (and haven't participated yet), tag, you’re it!

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)

2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)

5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)

6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)

7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)

9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)

10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)

11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)

12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)

13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)

14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving

15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)

16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling)

17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)

18. The Stand (Stephen King)

19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)

This one is my personal favorite by the way :)

20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)

22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)

23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)

25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)

26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)

27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)

31. Dune (Frank Herbert)

32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)

33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)

34. 1984 (Orwell)

35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)

36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)

37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)

38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)

39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)

40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)

42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)

43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)

44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)

45. The Bible

46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)

47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)

49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)

50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)

51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)

52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)

53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)

54. Great Expectations (Dickens)

55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)

57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)

58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)

59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)

60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)

61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)

63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)

64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)

65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)

66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)

68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)

69. Les Miserables (Hugo)

70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)

72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)

73. Shogun (James Clavell)

74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)

75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)

77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)

78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)

79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)

80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)

81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)

82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)

83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)

85. Emma (Jane Austen)

86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)

87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)

89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)

90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)

91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)

92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)

93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)

95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)

96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)

97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)

98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)

99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)

100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Books About Me Challenge

Ok, this is actually pretty difficult for me. I am trying to come up with 5 books off the top of my head that have to do with me without cheating and checking out what everyone else has on their list.

Here we go:

1. The earth, my butt and other big round things (YA) by Carolyn Mackler .

I completely relate to this girl and how she feels!

2. The dogs who found me (NF) by Ken Foster

I am a huge dog lover and especially love that this author does not hate certain breeds because of their reputation.

3. The Penderwicks, a summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits and a very interesting boy (F)

I was an only child and wished I had a fun family like this to grow up around.

4. The sisterhood of the traveling pants (YA) by Ann Brashares

My friends are everything to me, just like these great girls.

5. The house of the scorpion (JuvF) by Nancy Farmer

I admire the sense of hope this story brings despite the horrible events in it.

I know there are other books out there that are about me, but these are the first I came to while standing at the bookshelf. I do love them all.

The books I am choosing to read from others lists are:

1. So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson

2. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

4. Nothing But the Truth by Avi

5. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Deathy afraid of the Hallows

WARNING!!! There are spoilers in this blog. If you have not read The Deathly Hallows and wish to keep it that way read no further. I will tell you if Harry lives or dies as well as some other major plot points. So stop reading now if you want to be surprised!

I started out reading the most current Harry Potter novel scared to death that I would not like the ending. I swore that if JK Rowling killed Harry that I would never read another of her books again.

I spent the months leading up to the release of The Deathly Hallows on this website reading what thousands thought would happen in the most recent tale of The One Who Lived. I was prepared for the worst, but refused to believe it would actually happen. At one point in the tale I shut the book and shouted "I do not want to read this book anymore!!" Good thing I continued on because I was not disappointed.

The night of the realease party I was very antsy. I was going with a friend to a "Potter Party" to buy my book but I could hardly wait to get reading. As I browsed the above mentioned website I saw that JK had read the first chapter aloud in London. I quickly clicked on the link and listened to every word. The first chapter was not nearly as grabbing as when Lord Voldemort killed the old man in Harry's dream in Harry Potter 4 or being followed by Dementors as in Harry Potter 5, but it held me over for just a bit longer. We waited patiently playing multiple games of Rummikub on the floor of our local Barnes and Noble. I could hardly contain myself as I finally got a hold of my copy and headed home. My plan was to read as long as I possibly could.

I got home and settled into my comfortable spot and began to read. I didn't last long. My eyes were drooping after only an hour and I was disappointed in myself. I had gotten as far as Harry, Hermoine and Ron escaping from the wedding and going on the run and I couldn't make it any further.

The next day I headed up to Donner Lake to see a friend up from LA and of course I had to take my book with me. I read as much as I could on Saturday and Sunday and finally finished around 9 o'clock on Sunday night. Once I started the last third of the book there was pretty much no stopping me. I would have stayed up way beyond my bedtime for that ending.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I can't say it is my favorite because I still can't get past the history and sense of family we experience in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but this book comes the closest of them all to being the next best.

The first half of the book is not the most exciting reading I have ever had. I enjoyed how JK brought new developments into the story to steer us from the horcruxes, but I had trouble with the monotony of the traveling. Honestly I had trouble believing it was so easy for the trio to stay out of trouble for so long. The safety precautions seemed almost too easy of a way for the kids to stay safe.

Once Ron took off, the story picked itself up quite a bit. I loved that Aberforth came into the story too help Harry. Regardless of what Dumbledore did or didn't do, Aberforth still realized the importance of Harry and his quest and i loved that it wasn't Dumbledore himself, but someone "close" to him. I wouldn't even have minded if Dumbledore had not made an appearance at all. I didn't care too much for the chapter when Harry spoke with Dumbledore.

I also didn't mind that Snape wasn't in the story too often. He is not my favorite character, but it was nice to get some resolution where he was concerned. The relationship he had with Harry was much easier to understand after the knowledge we gained and the fact that Harry was willing to give him his last wish as he died was particularly sweet after the history they shared.

One of my most favorite parts of the book is when Harry returns to Hogwarts and is met there by just about everyone he has encountered in his 7 years in the wizarding world. The backing Harry receives from the houses as he enters the main hall is especially powerful and brought me to tears.

Although, when Harry returns to Hogwarts and must fight Draco Malfoy and his friends again I was surprised there was not more anger on Harry's part. Throughout the entire book Harry despises Malfoy and when he gets his opportunity to do something mean or vengeful to him he doesn't even make an attempt. It is not as if I expected Harry to kill Malfoy, but I did expect him to lock him up in an unbreakable closet or something equally mean. It seemed that after all the years of hating Malfoy and knowing what Malfoy stood for that he would have wanted to give back some of the pain that had been afflicted on him.

While I was very happy with the book as a whole I was hoping for more information about the life of Harry Potter and the others once LV had left the world. It was a bit of a disappointing note to leave on. I almost wish that it had been left out entirely so I could make up my own happy ending. Almost, but not quite.

If I were an egg, I too would be cracked

I just finished Eggs by Jerry Spinelli, a super great children's author, and have decided I don't like it's title. When I first picked it up I thought to myself, if I were an egg I would be a bit cracked. The characters in this tale are surely that. A bit cracked, but further than that and an Easter egg hunt I can find the correlation between the title and the content. True, without the Easter Egg hunt there would be no story, but I think there could have been something better, more catchy and more applicable.

The story is an engaging tale of two children searching, or yearning for what they are missing. The create a unique pair, more like siblings than friends, that do very little besides bicker through the majority of the story. David met Primrose after he attended an Easter egg hunt he didn't even want to go on in the first place. Primrose was "playing dead" underneath one of the hidden eggs. David goes weeks or months without seeing Primrose again, but when he does he sure makes a scene of things.

As I continued reading I kept waiting for the climactic moment when these children would realize those around them loved them, and although there were people missing from their lives, they could continue to have wonderful lives without them. It never really came. I enjoyed the story anyway. David and Primrose are easy to like and you want for them to be happy. They have mini-adventures not like typical children have (like painting a van and using it as your home or making sure you follow all the rules you can possibly think of) and it is easy to picture the emotion and connection the characters in this story create.

Eggs is a quick read that will make you think about living without family and realizing, even when you didn't think it was possible, there are others too that care. I do recommend you read this book, but I wouldn't put it in my number one spot.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Book List

I am a bit of a book whore. I love to buy, read, listen to and check out books. There seems to be no way of actually getting through all of the books I want to read and there seems to be an endless supply of books on the shelf waiting patiently to be read. I read to escape and relax and so I don't often read non-fiction.

Besides being a book whore I am also a teacher. As of now I am teaching fifth grade. I get ample opportunity to read in my profession and in doing so I have found I enjoy children's literature far more than most adult. They are often quick reads with great story lines and wonderful lessons to be learned. It isn't that I expect children to follow these lessons, or to follow them myself for that matter, but there is something in reading about how young characters react to given events that gives such insight into how maturity and experience helps mold you into the person you are to become.

Please don't get me wrong, I do enjoy reading adult fiction as well. My brain may not be advanced enough to calculate and understand all the details in more adult literature. As many questions I come up with about children's literature it is usually quadrupled in adult literature. Either that or it is more predictable than a stop light. There are times I like the predictable and times I like the quadrupled insights, but for the most part I stick to the children's literature section. I am rarely bored.

So this brings me to the purpose of my blog....I simply can't keep track of the books I have read and I am searching for a way to organize. As teacher I am constantly referring students to certain books. And while I am a great reader of books, my memory of them does not serve me as well. I will remember reading a book, but be unable to remember the plot or ending. I am hoping by posting about the books I read I will be able to pick up, not only insight, but memory of each book I choose.