Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Trouble with Poetry by Billy Collins

Published in 2005. 88 pages.

I never would have picked up this book by the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2004 if it hadn't been a pick for Natalie's Book Club. I don't read many poetry books, but I'm glad I read this one.

One of my favorite poems was "Special Glasses" - which I read to my heart-broken 15-year-old daughter the morning after I read it. I think it helped.

Two others I liked a lot were "Eastern Standard Time" - which I thought was brilliant for its ordinariness - and "Flock" - which I found to be a tender reference to Bible truths from a completely unexpected source.

"The Lanyard" seemed to be a consensus favorite when the group met for lunch. For me, finishing the poem resulted in a gasp for air, so poignant are the final words.

Watch the full episode. See more Poetry Everywhere.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Book One.
Published in 2005.
Unabridged audiobook read by Jesse Bernstein.

My kids (ages 11, 15, and 20) had all read and enjoyed The Lightning Thief before we watched it on DVD. I liked the movie version so much - despite the differences from the book, most notably that the main characters appear to be several years older than they are described in the book - that I decided it was time I read it too!

Rick Riordan's imaginative placement of Greek mythology in our modern world makes for a great story! The last few chapters were somewhat anti-climatic, just setting up the sequel, but overall The Lightning Thief is a fun read.

I enjoyed the narrator of the audiobook, although I understand what my friend Sue said about his women's characters being whiny. I will look for audiobook versions of the rest of series, as this one was a great accompaniment to my daily commute.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart

Subtitled yes, boyfriends, plural. if my life weren't complicated - I wouldn't be Ruby Oliver.
Published in 2010. 224 pages.

I just adore Ruby Oliver! (I previously blogged about the three other books in this series - The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, and The Treasure Map of Boys - and I recommend that you read those, in order, before you read Real Live Boyfriends.)

The neurotic, hyperverbal Ruby is now a senior at her Seattle prep school. She is in love with Noel - or thinks she is. As part of her college applications, she makes a documentary about love and friendship - and in the meantime learns some uncomfortable truths.

Of the four episodes of Ruby's complicated life, I liked this one the best. I (still) hear my fifteen-year-old daughter in Ruby's voice - which means that Ruby is "real." I feared I would be disappointed with the ending of the book (and, I understand, the series) - but my fear was unfounded. For a cute, quick read with an adorable teenage girl protagonist, I highly recommend the Ruby Oliver novels!


Saturday, April 09, 2011

Why Alison Has Not
Been Read-a-Thon-ing

Hello, this is Sugar Plum, Alison's daughter. I just got back from the ER, where Alison still is. She's really disappointed that she missed out on the read-a-thon, and we all appreciate your concern! She'll be back soon!

Read-a-Thon Mini-Challenge

"Oldies But Goodies"
Hosted by Allie at A Literary Odyssey

I consider myself to be somewhat "classics challenged." I particularly have a hard time with Victorian literature, but I worked through Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South during the winter, and I'm currently working (very slowly) on A Tale of Two Cities.

My all-time favorite classic, though, is To Kill a Mockingbird. I first read it as a high school senior, and it forever impacted my view of the world, giving me a strong sense of social justice. Last summer, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the book, I re-read it and found that I loved it even more.

Read-a-Thon Mini-Challenge

"Where in the World Are You Reading?"
Hosted by I Heart Monster

I visited the Google Map and added my placemark - the third in Utah. The other two are Suey and Melissa, both of whom I've met at Utah book blogger socials and whose blogs I frequently visit I've always wanted to visit Australia, so I also headed over to see Mel at Just One Page at a Time.

Introduction Meme

The first activity of the read-a-thon is a little introduction meme. Here goes:

Where are you reading from today?
Right now I'm on the love seat in my family room, wrapped in a favorite blanket, with my feet up on the ottoman. Later I'll be venturing out of the house, as I fulfill some other commitments for the day and also try to get a few tasks accomplished - while still getting in as much reading as possible.

Three facts about me:
  • Although I love words, in my professional life I work with numbers.

  • The "big four" for me are Diet Coke with Lime, libraries, chocolate, and sleep.

  • I'm addicted to social media, and you can find me on Facebook, goodreads, and Twitter.
How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
I don't have any organized pile this time, but I've got about 30 library books and at least a dozen other titles right at hand. There is no chance I'll run out of reading material!

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (e.g., number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
Because I wasn't able to clear my schedule today, and because I've just finished a busy week and need to catch up on some sleep, my goal is to actively participate in at least twelve hours of the read-a-thon. I'd also like to finish at least three books.

Any advice for people doing this for the first time?
This is my eighth read-a-thon, and I recommend that everyone just do what seems like fun and enjoy!

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Here We Go!

Getting up on a Saturday morning before anyone else in the house - and before the sun - goes against my personal code of conduct, but I am here for Dewey's Read-a-Thon for the eighth time, and I'm ready to read!

Good luck to all the other read-a-thon participants, and a big thanks to the hosts, the cheerleaders, and all the other helpers! (If you're just stopping by and want to know more about what's happening, check out the read-a-thon blog or the Twitter feed.)

Friday, April 01, 2011

By the Numbers
One-Quarter of 2011

Total books read year-to-date: 21. (My goal for the year is 104 books. I think I'm going to have to work less and read more if I'm going to have any chance of meeting that goal! I do think I'll be able to exceed last year's total - which was 86 - without too much difficulty.)

Fiction: 16.
Non-fiction: 4.
Poetry: 1.

Audiobooks: 8. (Two of these were books - Sarah's Key and Before I Fall - that I started on CD but ended up finishing in the traditional fashion over a weekend because I couldn't wait until Monday's commute to resume!)

Books by male authors: 10.
Books by female authors: 10.
Anthologies: 1.

Published in 2011: 1.
Published prior to 1990: 1.

Historical fiction: 3.

Young adult: 11.
Juvenile: 1.

Read for my Teaching Through Literature class: 2.
Read with the "book lunch girls" (aka Natalie's Book Club): 3.
Read with my long-time book club: 2. (I'm still working on March's pick - A Tale of Two Cities.)

4-star rating: 14.
3-star rating: 7.

What are your reading numbers for 2011 so far?