Monday, June 30, 2008

The Worst Loss

Comfort: A Journey Through Grief by Ann Hood (2008)
160 pages
5/5 rating

As a bookworm, there is always going to be books that I shy away from because of subject matter. Dsyfunctional families and sexual violence are among the subjects I rather not read about. But after read Head Butler's glowing review of Comfort, I had to wishlist this book on paperbackswap.

Hood's memoir about her life after losing her five year old daughter, Grace, is heartbreaking. She shows the reader what her grief looks like: the inability to comprehend that her daughter is gone forever, hiding from the mothers whose children went to school with Grace, and refusing to listen to the radio because Grace loved the Beatles and their music was bound to be played.

Comfort is a book that once you've finished the last page, you want to go back to the beginning and start to read it over again.

Book Awards Challenge Wrap-Up

Today is the last day of 3M's Book Awards Reading Challenge. The goal was to read 12 award-winning books from June 2007 through June 2008. Here's what I read:
Pulitzer Prize Winners
1. Driving Miss Daisy - Alfred Uhry (1988 for Drama)
2. Wit: a play - Margaret Edson (1999 for Drama)
3. Dinner with Friends - Donald Margulies (2000 for Drama)
4. Time and Materials - Robert Hass (2008 for Poetry)
5. Proof- David Auburn (2001 for Poetry)
6. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (1961 Fiction)
7. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (1962 recipient for the Nobel)
8. New and Selected Poems - Mary Oliver (1992 National Book Award)
9. The Invention of Hugo Cabret -Brian Selznick (2007 Caldecott)
10. The Tale of Desperaux - Kate DiCamillo (2004 Newbery)
11. American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang (2007 Printz prize)
12. Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile - Bill Willingham (2003 Eisner)
13. Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers- Bill Willingham (2005 Eisner)
14. The End of the Alphabet - CS Richardson (2008 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book for Canada and Carribean Region)
Technically numbers 12 and 13 don't count because the Eisner award doesn't count, but the award might be included for the second annual Book Awards Challenge that starts in August.
I think every book I read became a new favorite except Oliver's New and Selected Poems. I love Oliver's poetry, but just wasn't in the right frame of mind when I was reading it. I think most of the books that I read left me so speechless. I have to give all of them 5 out of 5 ratings. I hope whoever reads this post will pick one of these books to read. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wrap-up post for the Read-a-thon

Books completed: 2
Books I'm in the middle of: 2
Total pages read: 497
Prizes won: 1 - a chocolate bunny!
Posts made: 19

Currently reading: Comfort by Ann Hood

I've had so much fun participating in this Read-a-thon. There were people who cheered me on and left great comments like Eva and Nymeth, Bethany and Jennie, Care and so many others. It really encouraged me to keep reading and to cheer on others. The mini-challenges were fun to join and I think I'll probably throw more than two next year. Dewey, thank you so much for throwing this challenge. Can you throw it every six months? LOL!! I also know that there are so many blogs I will be subscribing to. Thank you Cheerleaders, you've done a great job and congratulations to ever Reader who participated even for a minute.

Post-event survey

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? The hours I was asleep.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Fables series - Bill Willingham
Twilight -Stephenie Meyer

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? none

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Having cheerleaders to keep people motivated to read.

5. How many books did you read? Currently 2, but I am trying to read 4 by the end.

6. What were the names of the books you read? Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer & What now? by Ann Patchett

7. Which book did you enjoy most? What now?

8. Which did you enjoy least? The sleeping part.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? Keep making your rounds and encouraging people.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? As long as you have the Read-a-thon I'll participate. I'll be a Reader and Cheerleader next year.

Good morning everyone!

I just woke up and though I'm still waiting for my coffee pot to finish brewing, I'm going to visit everyone who's awake and cheer you guys on. My plan was to wake up at 4 this morning and start back reading, but my body rejected that idea. Since we have three hours left, I also plan on getting some reading in. My coffee's ready!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What hour is this? update

Books read: 2
Pages read: 27
Pages total: 389
Prizes won: 0, so far.
I am finally becoming tired. It's almost 11p.m. Pacific. The house is so still and quiet. I would love to take advantage of this time but I rather sleep. I have Black Eyed Peas playing in my ear at a very loud volume so I can stay awake for a couple of minutes more. This challenge has been so great with so many people cheering each other on and leaving comments. Goodnight!
Congrats, Sean!

Read-a-thon Mini-Challenge, Hour 13

Your task: Find a poem and post it. The length of the poem does not matter.

Your prize: Dirt Music by Tim Winton and 3 fridge magnets and dishcloths.
This challenge is open to Readers and Cheerleaders and will last until 11pm Pacific time. Remember to leave a comment below with the link to the specific post, after you've completed this challenge.

Suppose I say summer,
write the word "hummingbird,"
put it in an envelope,
take it down the hill
to the box. When you open
my letter you will recall
those days and how much,
just how much, I love you.

Raymond Carver

Hour 13 update

Books read: 2
Pages read: 30
Total pages read: 368
Mini-challenges: 5?

I'm surprised that I've managed to read 30 pages this hour though I'm hosting my poetry mini-challenge. Not bad. I hope to read at least 100 pages in the next hour. Theodosia and the Serpent of Chaos is going pretty well. I'm also listening to music and drinking Dr. Pepper to stay awake for a little while longer. I'm going to sleep at 11p.m. then wake up around 4a.m. to finish reading.

Read-a-thon Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now? Theodosia and the Serpent of Chaos by R. L. LaFevers. It's a young adult novel, that's pretty interesting already.

2. How many books have you read so far? So far I've completed two, is midway through one, and just started Theodosia.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? The memoir, Comfort by Ann Hood, V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? There's no way to free up my Saturdays with Saturdays being the busiest day of the week for both the love of my life and my mom, but I made sure that the kids had plenty of snacks and things to do.

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I constantly have interruptions with so many kids here, but it's not a problem. I don't feel any pressure at all with this challenge.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? There are so many people cheering you on and there's no pressure to have a certain amount of pages or books read.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? None. This year's Read-a-thon has been pretty fun.

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? Nothing

9. Are you getting tired yet? A little but that's what coffee's for.

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? Just relax and have fun. If you need to take a break, take one.

Hour 11 update

Books read: 2
Pages read: 36
Total pages: 338
Prizes won: 0 *sigh*
Mini-challenges: still 4

Currently reading: Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers
Thank God, the kids will be going to sleep soon. I feel like putting on another cup of coffee.

Hour 11

I just got back from my walk and I feel so great. Now I'm off to read.


Books read: 2
Pages read: 104
Total pages read: 320
Mini-challenges: 4

I have no idea what hour this is. Hour 8, right? Time is speeding by and I'm reading, playing with the kids, relaxing, listening to music . . . I even managed to squeeze in a nap. Right now I'm reading Lynda Barry's graphic novel/memoir 100 Demons about her tragic, yet funny childhood.

Update, Hour 6

So far:
Books read - 2
Total pages read - 214
Mini-challenge completed: 4
It feels so crazy to me that we've been doing the Read-a-thon for seven hours now. It doesn't feel that way. Though next year I will have a laptop so I can sit outside, read, and cheer.
I just finished reading Ann Patchett's What Now? It's an extension of the graduation speech she spoke at Sarah Lawrence a while back. I really liked. It reminds me of Anna Quindlen's A Short Guide to a Happy Life. My favorite quote from the book is:
"What now is not just a panic-stricken question tossed out into a dark unknown. What now can also be our joy. It is a declaration of possibility, of promise, of chance. It acknowledges that our future is open, that we may do more than anyone expected of us, that at every point in our development we are still striving to grow. There's a time in our lives when we all crave the answers. It seems terrifying not to know what's coming next. But there is another time, a better time, when we see our lives as a series of choices, and What now represents our excitement and our future, the very vitality of life. It's up to you to choose a life that will keep expanding. It takes discipline to remain curious . . . "

Read-a-thon, Mini-Challenge 4

This mini-challenge is now closed. I want to thank everyone who joined me. Happy readings and remember to have fun!

Read-a-thon Mini-Challenge, Hour 4

The task: Grab one of your favorite books and post one of your favorite quotes from it. This challenge is open for the next two hours, ending at 11:00 a.m. pacific time, which is the very end of hour 5. This mini-challenge is open to Readers and Cheerleaders.

The prize: Ruined by Reading - Lynne Sharon Schwartz and a set of dishcloths

Here's one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books, East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

"No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselve that it is true and true of us." p. 266

Hour 3 Update

Books read:1
Pages read total: 117

I finished Eclipse finally 20 minutes ago. It isn't as good as Twilight, but it is better than New Moon.

Next up is: What Now? by Ann Patchett

Hour 2

Books read: 0
Pages read 43
Mini-challenge completed: now 2

I'm still reading Eclipse and printing out coloring pages for the kids. They're being pretty good, coloring, watching SpongeBob and torturing each other. What more can a girl ask for? Later I'm going to take them to the park and read there. I'm getting a little ticked off that Bella cries so much.

Read-a-thon Mini-Challenge, Hour 2

This mini-challenge comes from Nymeth. The rule is to spend at least 10 minutes reading a webcomic. I had never heard of webcomics. But I just discovered Alison Bechdel's blog, which is great because I'm reading Bechdel's Fun Home for the Read-a-thon.
I read her comic Compulsory Reading. The strips starts with the words "Authors, bless me, for I have sinned..." I shook in my head in agreement so many times and laughed so hard, that my kids were looking at me like I've gone crazy. Please, Bookworms, go over and check it out.

Readathon, Hour 1

Books Read: 0
Pages Read: 37
Mini-Challenges Completed: 1
Right now I'm near the end of Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. I have been running all around the house. I have coloring pages printed for the kids and with five here, I'm settling disputes between them. I have less than 100 pages to go before I finish this book and I plan to in the next hour.

Read-a-thon Mini-Challenge, Hour 1

This mini-challenge is a meme from Darcie.

What are your reading from today? My lovely kitchen table in Long Beach, CA. The weather is perfect reading weather to me: cold and cloudy.

3 facts about me: I am a single mother of three kids, ages 3, 4, and 6. I am a full-time college student, majoring in English. I am reading with my kids and younger twin sisters who are 8.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? Lucky number 13.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? Nope. What's the fun in that?

Any advice for people doing this for the first time? This is also my first time, so I'll just say have fun. This is not a race or a contest, just a bunch of people sharing their love of books with each other. Also, take a break when you need to.

Friday, June 27, 2008

13 hours until the Read-a-thon

Some of what I plan on reading (if I'm in the mood) :

1. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer (already in progress)
2. Guerrilla Learning - Grace Llewellyn (in progress)
3. Trail of Crumbs - Kim Sunee (in progress)
4. What now? - Ann Patchett
5. The Best American Comics 2007

6. V for Vendetta - Alan Moore
7. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos - R.L. LaFevers
8. From Hell - Alan Moore
9. One hundred demons - Lynda Barry
10. A midsummer's night dream -Shakespeare

11. Fun Home - Alison Bechdel
12. The vintage book of contemporary short stories
13. Understanding Comics - Scott McCloud
14. Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller
15. Scent of God - Beryl Singleton Bissell

I have Tylenol for those book-induced headaches I'm bound to get, plenty of movies and books for the kids, I've mopped and swept, and plan on eating sandwiches for dinner. I also bought plenty of French Vanilla coffee cream for all the caffeine I will be consuming and donated to Reading is Fundamental.

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (2006)
608 pages
2/5 rating

I cannot comment on this book. *Sigh* I just can't. Also read for the Stephenie Meyer mini-challenge.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


There's less than two days until the start of Dewey's Read-a-thon. I cannot wait. I already have my books on my shelf, just waiting to be read. I plan on catching up on some of my many reading challenges.
If you haven't heard about the Read-a-thon or haven't signed up, click on my link and go. Maybe you can't read that day but still want to help, you can be a cheerleader or donate money to Reading Is Fundamental.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Go, Dog. Go!

This is Oliver.

Oliver is 4 years old.

Oliver is learning to read.

Today I picked Go, Dog. Go! from our bookshelf to read to Oliver. We've had this book for years and never picked it up. (Oliver is in love with Mo Willems and all his books.) Oliver knows some of the alphabet but not all.

Oliver read Go, Dog. Go! I was so shocked. How is that? I read some and he read some with no problem. If he didn't know the word, he tried to figure it out on his own. He didn't ask for help, just looked at the pictures for clues to the words. I had never heard of this, but I'm just going to keep reading to him. Has anyone heard of this? Any tips?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Entertainment Weekly and Sunday Salon

I really need to stop reading so many book blogs. But that's such a great part of being a bookworm. You read other blogs about books and reading, write down the books that sound great, order it on, from the library, or some bookstore, and while waiting for the book to arrive you start reading blogs about books and reading... What a vicious cycle. I love it. I was just reading feeds at Sunday Salon when I spotted Jill's post about the list of books Entertainment Weekly deems the "new" classics. The books I've read are in green and the ones on my TBR list are in blue.
1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
4. The Liars' Club, Mary Karr (1995)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)
15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
16. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
20. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)
22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)
24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985)
25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)
26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)
30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
31. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien (1990)
32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)
33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)
34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
36. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)
38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)
41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)
43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)
44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)
45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996)
47. World's Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985)
48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)
51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)
52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992)
53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)
55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)
57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)
58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)
59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994)
63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)
64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)
67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)
69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)
74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)
76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (1998)
77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)
85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)
87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999)
90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001)
91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)
92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)
93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)
96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
98. The Predators' Ball, Connie Bruck (1988)
99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)

100+ reading challenge

I just joined J.Kaye's 100+ Reading Challenge. Last year I read 198 books, so I'm pretty sure I can do this even with so many classes this year and family to take care of. I finished reading book #59: Fables Vol. 5 The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham. I refuse to make a list for this challenge. I'm just going to add books as I go.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Weekly Geeks #9

Weekly Geeks #9
This week's theme: Challenges

1. If you participate in any challenges, get organized! Update your lists, post about any you haven’t mentioned, add links of reviews to your lists if you do that, go to the challenge blog if there is one and post there, etc.

2. If you don’t participate in any challenges, then join one! There’s a good selection of possibilities over on my right hand sidebar (scroll down) where I list those I participate in. There’s also A Novel Challenge, a blog that keeps track of all sorts of reading challenges.

I love reading challenges. You can almost always find a challenge that suit your taste or host one if you can't. This year I have signed up for 29 challenges. The ones in bold are finished:

1. 24 hour Readathon
2. Southern Reading Challenge
3. In their shoes reading challenge (my own)
4. Kate's short story
5. The Pub

6. Once Upon a Time 2
7. Triple 8
8. 48 hour
9. Mini-challenge
10. Stephanie Meyer

11. Man Booker
12. Summer Reading
13. Soup's On
14. Spirituality
15. Graphic Novel

16. Orange Prize
17. Newbery Project
18. You set it paperback
19. Book Awards
20. Book Awards 2

21. Classics
22. Just 4 the hell of it
23. The Pulitzer Project
24. Jewish Literature
25. Russian Reading

26. D.E.A.R.
27. From the Stacks
28. Read one book
29. The Complete Booker

That is a lot of challenges. I refuse to even count how many books I would have to read total. The Triple 8 challenge is 56 books by itself. I'm only signing up for one more challenge and that's the R.I.P. Challenge coming in September. This week's Weekly Geeks is really going to keep me busy posting whatever reviews I have pending, updating all of my challenge lists, plus cross-posting as many books as possible.

Friday, June 20, 2008


It has been five days since the last time I've left a post. I have been given revelation after revelation about the joys and the benefits of homeschooling. I've been in and out of books like Guerrilla Learning by Grace Llewellyn and How Children Learn by John Holt, The Well-Adjusted Child by Rachel Gathercole and Home Learning Year by Year from Rebecca Rupp. I'm learning so much that I'm struggling to stick to one book. Here is some of what I've learned:
1. That it is so much better to have interest-led learning than standardized learning. It's amazing how much and how far a child can go when their interests and questions lead them in their education than having to learn something for a good score on a test.
2. Unschooling is not just a method or a philosophy but a way of life for both child and parent. It wasn't until I visited websites like Sandra Dodd , Home Education Magazine, and Life Learning Magazine did I realize that all my life I have been life learning. I read about something or I hear an interesting fact and I'm off in a direction learning as much as I can before I burn out. Sometimes I don't burn out. Right now I'm reading as many graphic novels, memoirs, books about homeschooling, and Pulitzer prize-winning plays that I can. I have an interest in it and I'm learning so much. This is what learning should be like. It's also funny because my essay for class is due Monday and I feel like I don't have enough time to learn all that I can and have an essay that I think will showcase my talent. Interesting.
3. The wheels in my head are turning and I'm seriously considering homeschooling my own kids. My four-year old Oliver starts kindergarten in September, but I really like the idea of teaching him everything myself like I'm doing now. It's amazing to me that schools want parents to have enough "common sense" to have their kids starting school knowing the alphabet and numbers . . . but they also want the parents to have enough common sense to "trust" the school system and leave the teaching to them only to have enough common sense to help their children when they are behind according to the standardized system.
I changed my essay's thesis from what public schools can learn from homeschooling to why homeschooling is so great. So now I am signing off to read all the books I have waiting for me and to visit so many great sites. This is a great way to start the weekend.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Twilight, A Scent of God, and a pile of homeschooling books

Twilight (2006)

Stephenie Meyer
498 pages
4.5 out of 5 rating

Twilight is the first book in this series with the same name by Stephanie Meyer. 17 year-old Isabella Swan moves from sunny Phoenix, Arizona to cloudy Forks, Washington to live with her dad. There she meets the mysterious Edward Cullen. Who is he? Or more like it, what is he? A great girl-meets-vampire-and-they-fall-in-love-though-he-wants-to-suck-her-blood kind of story. I thought this story would just be some corny YA romance, but I was so wrong. There were so many parts that had me holding my breath or clutching my chest.

Right now I am in the middle of the engaging memoir of A Scent a God by Beryl Singleton Bissell. It's a great read even from page one. Sadly, I have to temporary put all non-school reading on hold while I research and write my paper on home schools and what public schools can learn from them. I have about five books to read within the next week, so my life will be like a week-long Read-a-thon. I'm going to read:

How Children Learn -John Holt
Teach your Own - John Holt
Coloring Outside the Lines - Roger Schank
Home Learning Year by Year - Rebecca Rupp
Guerrilla Learning- - Grace Llewellyn
Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dinner With Friends

Dinner with Friends (2000)
Donald Margulies
76 pages
2000 Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama

Powerful play about two married couples who are best friends. Karen and Gabe are trying to help their friends Beth and Tom through their divorce. The thoughts of what went wrong pour out from both sides along with the effects of the divorce. It was also made into a movie several years ago that's just as good as the book.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Women of steel

Steel Magnolias (1988)
Robert Harling
79 pages
5/5 rating

I remember being a young girl and watching the movie based on this play with my momma. Even now I still love every character. Ouiser "Weezer" and Clairee, 60-something women with spunk and personality, Truvy, who was played by Dolly Parton, a beauty shop owner. There was also Annelle, Shelby, and M'Lynn.

Steel Magnolias is about six women of different ages who live in a small town called Chinquapin, Louisiana. They come together most Saturdays to get made up in Truvy's parlor and to share their lives with each other. I discovered the movie is heavily based on the play, which I really loved, just extended a bit more. The characters are smart, funny, witty, and so real. I lost track of time reading this play. I didn't want it to end.


The Flower (2007)
John Light
32 pages

As a mother I read tons of children's books. It's part of the job. I never blog about them but I have been waiting months to get my hands on this book. My local library doesn't have it and I couldn't wait forever for someone to post this book on, so I just bought it. I'm so glad that I did.
The Light is John Little's debut children's book about a little boy named Brigg. Brigg "lives in a small, gray room in a large gray city." One day he finds a book labelled "Do not read." But he reads it anyway and finds out what a flower is. He goes searching his colorless city for a flower to no avail. Then he finds a packet with a flower on it. The book and the packet brings Brigg unexpected joy. I'm not giving away the end, but I think young kids will enjoy this quick read.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Avram!

Today is my youngest baby's birthday. I can't believe I gave birth to him 3 years and four hours ago. It seems like it was much longer than that. I'm so lucky to have him in my life. Happy Birthday, Avram!

Fables: Legends in Exile

Fables: Legends in Exile (2002)
Bill Willingham
128 pages
Winner of the 2003 Eisner Award for Best New Series

I am becoming the newest biggest fan of graphic novels. This was a genre, that until recently, I didn't pay any attention to. I'm glad things have changed so much.

Fables: Legends in Exile is the first book in a series created by Bill Willingham. The characters from various fairy tales have been exiled from their homelands by an enemy called The Adversary and now have to live among humans in America. The characters that can pass for humans live in New York City while those that can't live upstate at a place called "The Farm." All the characters hope to one day defeat The Adversary and go back home.

Book 1 features Bigby Wolf a.k.a. The Big Bad Wolf trying to solve the murder of Rose Red. Also feature is Snow White, her ex-husband Prince Charming, Cinderella, Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, The Frog Prince, Bluebeard, Beauty and her husband, the Beast and many more. The story is so funny and realistic. I started reading the novel and didn't put it down until I was finished. It deserves my 5 out of 5 rating.

With that said, I just realized this was my last book for the Once Upon a Time 2 Challenge. I have to thank Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings for hosting this great challenge. I had so much fun reading books I usually don't read. So it's official: I'm hooked on the strange and the unusual.
I read:
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1 - Alan Moore
The Stolen Child - Keith Donahue
The Sandman Vol. 1 - Neil Gaiman
The Resurrectionist - Jack O'Connell
My favorite reads for this challenge: Fables and The Stolen Child.
My least favorite: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 1. Maybe it's the feminist in me, but I couldn't understand why Mina Murray couldn't kick ass herself.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

48 Hour Book Challenge Wrap-Up

The Secret Garden (2004 ed.)
Frances Hodgson Burnett
248 pages
5 out of 5

It's official. I'm finished with the challenge. This has been an interesting experience. Caffeine was supposed to help me stay up to read in the wee hours of the night, but for some strange reason did not work at all. The lastest I stayed up was until 11 o' clock last night.
What I read:
Wit: a play 93 pgs
Driving Miss Daisy 39
The Secret Garden 248
The Sandman 240
Time and Materials 85
The Wild Braid 144
The Scent of God 30 - didn't finish
Rules for old men waiting - 40 didn't finish
The Lawn, short story by Mona Simpson
from The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories 22 pgs
My page total: 941 pages. I can't even tell you how many hours I've spent on this challenge, my life is too hectic. My book total is 6 books, 2 plays, and a short story.
My favorite reads were Time and Materials, Driving Miss Daisy, The Scent of God, and Wit.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

P.R. 5

Time and Materials: poems 1997 - 2005 (2007)
Robert Hass
85 pages
5 out of 5 rating
Summary: A great book of poetry to read.
Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry along with Philip Schultz.
Note: I'm giving up on Rent. I can't get into it right now, though I loved the movie.


The Sandman Vol 1: Preludes and Nocturnes (1993)
Neil Gaiman
240 pages
4 out of 5 rating

Summary: Haunting, disturbing, page-turning story.

Still reading:
Time and Materials by Robert Hass,
The Scent of God by Beryl Singleton Bissell,
Rules for Old Men Waiting by Peter Pouncey
Rent by Jonathon Larson

Friday, June 6, 2008


The Wild Braid: A poet reflects on a century in the garden (2005)
Stanley Kunitz
144 pages
4 out of 5 rating

Summary: It is just what the subtitle says it is: a poet's reflection of his garden. But it is also his reflections on his childhood, his mother, and the makings of poetry. The book contained some of his poems and the memories that inspired them.
So now I'm off to bed. For some reason the two cups of coffee I drank earlier are not kicking in.

Progress Report 2

Driving Miss Daisy (1986)
Alfred Uhry
39 pages
5 out of 5 rating
Pulitzer Prize winner in drama for 1988

My summary: Lovely.

Now reading: The Wild Braid by Stanley Kunitz
Time and Materials by Robert Hass

Progress Report 1

Just Finished:

Wit: a play (1999)
Margaret Edson
96 pages
5/5 rating
1999 Pulitzer Prize winner
Summary: absolutely brilliant.

48 Hour Book Challenge

I'm off, reading for the rest of this weekend.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I love a challenge!

On the eve of the 48 Hour Book Challenge, I signed up for Amanda's second annual Summer Reading Challenge. I really like this challenge because there are no rules except read what you want and try to post every week. I have no idea what I'm going to read, but it doesn't stop me from joining.

For the 48HBC, I have my books ready and waiting. I almost started reading Rent by Jonathon Larson tonight. Instead of waiting to start at 7 p.m. Friday night, I'm starting at 8 a.m. Friday morning. I'm such a nerd, my books are piled up next to my computer waiting to be read.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Poetry Tuesday or anyday I feel like posting poetry

The Orange
Wendy Cope

At lunchtime I brought a huge orange-
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave-
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It's new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I'm glad I exist.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The end of my weekend of books

The Resurrectionist (2008)
Jack O'Connell
304 pages
4 out of 5

Last Thursday was the last day of spring semester and I was determined to squeeze in as many books as possible. But as we all know, life happens and I only squeezed in a few books. I enjoyed myself though.

The Resurrectionist is about Sweeney, a widower and pharmacist, and his comatose son, Danny. Sweeney blames himself for the accident that caused Danny's coma and hopes that the Peck Clinic can give Sweeney the miracle he thinks he need. Sweeney and Danny's story crosses with the freaks of Limbo, a comic book Danny loved. As Sweeney digs deeper into the story of Limbo and its inhabitants, he also finds out he should look beyond the surface of things and family is more than just the blood of your own.

The Book of Other People
Edited by Zadie Smith (2008)
304 pages
5 out of 5

The Book of Other People is a collection of short story edited by the talented Zadie Smith. It contains stories by Chris Ware, Miranda July, ZZ Packer, Jonathon Safran Foer, and many others. Years ago Zadie Smith asked the writers to make up a story about character, a character and name that story about he/she or it. The result is now my favorite short story collection.
Some of my favorites are:
Jonathon Safran Foer's Rhoda about his grandmother
David Mitchell's Judith Castle
Chris Ware's Jordan Wellington Lint - tragic and yet funny
J. Johnson by Nick Horny
I started this book months ago and picked it up this morning only to read the whole book in a matter of two hours. Though I usually give away books after I read them, I know this is one I will be rereading many times.