Friday, January 28, 2011

Follow Friday and the end of Januray!

Finally I can see the end of January! I always feel like this month takes for.ev.ver!!

Follow Friday is here to distract me too!

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee. This is another meme that helps book bloggers connect. This week's featured blog is Mission to Read.


"What is/was your favorite subject in school?"

Answer: Why English and Literature of course!!  No math (blech), can't draw or paint, hated gym 'cause I have the coordination of a drunk elephant, can't sing and plowed my way through science but ruled that out when I came in to class one day and the pet tarantula had escaped and was on the wall. Enough science for me.

Now I'm back in school actually (getting my degree finally!) and love every minute of it!!




Blogger hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy-for-Books.

This week's question:

"What book are you looking forward to being published in 2011? What are you anticipating about it being published?

ANSWER: I don't know really. I'm focused on getting through all the stuff that's already been published. If I start to look forward I'll never catch up! :) I'll keep reading the blogs and see what you guys recommend!

Off to hop around! TGIFF and BBH!




UPDATE!!
I did think of one... the author of The Book Thief and I am the Messenger, Markus Zusak, has a new book coming out! That's the one. That's what I'm looking forward to. Bridge of Clay is the name of it. Zusak is amazing!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Found a new meme! Read My Review

Hosted by A Trillian Books, this meme links to reviews based on a a weekly theme!



This weeks theme is Contemporary Young Adult and earlier this year I read a great book that practically defines that catagory. But of course, it's by John Green along with David Levithan.

For those of you who have not met them... may I introduce Will Grayson Will Grayson

I'm glad I stumbled onto this meme and will be looking forward to what everyone has to share!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Help

Ok let the gushing begin!!

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Pages: 451
Why I Read This Book - I have seen this book all over the book blogs. Not to mention it always catches my eye when it's on display at a library or bookstore. It was a blog review (and I'm so sorry I don't remember who's) that made me put it up on my TBR list

RATING: 4.75 /5




Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Miss Eugenia Phelan ("Skeeter" to her friends) is a young woman of privilege who enjoys her fellow Junior Leaguers but sometimes finds their ways at odds with her own principles. She plays the part of her station in 1960s Mississippi but can't help feeling dissatisfied with keeping house and acting as recording secretary at league meetings, and yearns for something more.

Minny, Miss Celia, Aibileen, and Yule May are maids employed by Skeeter's friends. Each woman cooks, cleans, and cares for her boss's children, suffering slights and insults silently and sharing household secrets only among themselves. In the wake of the Junior League push to create separate bathrooms for the domestic help within private homes, Skeeter contacts a New York book editor with an idea. Soon she's conducting clandestine meetings with "the help" to capture their stories for publication. It is a daring and foolhardy plan, one certain to endanger not only the positions but the lives of the very women whose stories she transcribes -- as well as her own. 

Review:
 I loved this book and couldn't wait to get back to it each evening. I think part of it was that bits and pieces of that era stayed around like glitter on the furniture after the holidays and I noticed little things when I was a kid. Even in the early 70's things rang a bell in my memory from the book. And it sort of made me feel happy.
And then I thought of some of the attitudes and opinions and behaviors of today. And I see a correlation. We may not have Jim Crow laws to expressly prevent someone from going somewhere, but they can certainly be made to feel unwelcome enough to get the idea on their own. And that very much makes me sad.

The 1/4 of a star was only docked for a portion of the book that didn't quite ring authentic in my mind (simple as I can be without spoilers) and it jarred me out of the world of The Help.

I hope we learn lessons. I hope no one marginalizes another human being. I like to think this book has the potential do just what it says.... Help.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Anna's Top Ten Most Inspirational Characters. 

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!   
Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND post a comment on our post with a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. If you can't come up with ten, don't worry about it---post as many as you can! THE TOPIC FOR NEXT WEEK IS:  Top Ten Books I Wished I Read as a Kid.

My List goes something like this:
 
1)     Atticus Finch - they just don't come any better. Define a good man - Atticus. He influenced me to act with grace.

2)     Jo March - full of vim and vigor and with the greatest little writing nook ever! I always wanted to BE her.

3)     Aslan - yes the lion.  To stand strong. Plus he's pretty cool too.

4)     Belle - Beauty and the Beast - because she overcame the shallow surface to give a chance to what was beneath the appearance. And she got a library. How cool is that!

5)     Hermione Granger - Smart and never ever ashamed of it!

6)      Frodo Baggins - He had no idea what he was doing, but said so and tried anyway.

7)     Ruby Thewes - Cold Mountain - she always did what needed done and never ever made apology for who she was. And she always knew what needed to be done! She inspires me everyday to just do what needs done. 

8)      Greg Mortenson - Three Cups of Tea - what a beautiful work he's left the world. He's reached out to one of the most unpopular places TO reach out and made a difference! One man and determination. Showing me it is possible.

9)     Miss Eugenia Skeeter Phelen - The Help - the nagging that things just weren't right never left her and despite the harsh consequences, she stuck it out and followed her belief. 

10)     Scarlett O'Hara - Despite her methods not always being 'the best way' she does get what she's after! And I've adopted quite a bit of what I call 'the Scarlett O'Hara principals" Don't think about that today, think about that tomorrow; Tomorrow is another day, Fiddle Dee Dee :) She has chutzpah, no two ways about it.
 
I'm sure there are others, Ebenezer Scrooge made my alternates list. I'll look forward to seeing all of yours! :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Friends of The Library group here in our town is again hosting a winter reading book club/discussion. I had to email the library to get any information on it, but hey, I have it and this year I can actually make it! In the past I've always had a conflict on the nights of their discussions. Their selections look amazing and I can't wait to get to them
Discussion Dates:
 2/24        "Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot


3/24        "Sing Them Home" by Stephanie Kallos






4/14        "Half the Sky" by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

I may have to hustle to get some of them done. Maybe with 3 classes, a full time job, teens and 2 blogs I'll have to back off of something...like the blogs. EEE Gads! I can't do that! If I read the books I have to talk about them here, and my other blog is a type of 365 project I committed too. (though I didn't know about 365 Project when I started.) So I'll just have to work it in :) I can do this...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Girls Day :)

One time my friend Audrey said how much she liked museums and art galleries and how no one else she knew liked to go. I filed that one away.


Then I took an art class for school and did a paper on Jackson Pollock. After which I found out that one of Pollocks most famous works, if not an American Artists most famous work, is only 40 miles from me at a Davenport Museum. And I soooo wanted to see it in person! Something so famous. So influential.

And then came Christmas and I had a brilliant idea.

I gave my 2 friends a coupon for an all expense paid trip and lunch to Davenport to visit the Figge Museum and lunch.

It was everything I hoped it would be and more. I love my friends and we had a wonderful time!!
No photos allowed except in the lobby. So stick horse is the only piece I could get a photo of. But I really really like stick horse!



Please...if you are within 100 miles of Davenport Iowa... take a look at the website and plan a visit to this truly world class facility!!



Ah you beautiful work you!


After I got home I did manage to get quite a bit of reading done.
I love this book! Any other The Help fans out there?? Can you NOT wait for the movie too! 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hopping around... cuz that's what we bunnies do



This week's question comes from Barb who blogs at Sugarbeat's Books:
 
 "Why do you read the genre that you do?  What draws you to it?"
Good question. I read a lot of different genres and I think what draws me to one book over another are the characters, the story, and the writing. I like mainstream lit, but if the characters aren't believable then I won't enjoy the read. 
As I sit here contemplating, I'm finding it hard to put my finger on. Except that always always always the writing must be good.
Otherwise, I think I'm to an age where I like things that 'matter'. That show us something about life.. be it a truth about life or a lie of life. 
 
And people. I love people :) which is good, since I am one....which segways nicely to the next hop... 

What makes up your non-human family??

My kids tell me I'm not allowed to talk about the cats anymore...

But since you asked >:)


 The white one actually lives with my mom right now. That's Baby. Tibby and Marci aren't this small anymore. They are the little kittens (in the towel and in the grass) We bottle raised them after their mother abandoned them. Juliette is the grouchy looking gray...another rescue. And the one at the bottom is Romeo...a farm cat now a hugely spoiled pampered house cat and 17 pounds.

 

Thanks for asking :)

 

I'll look forward to meeting all you guys' non-human family members.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Didn't know there was a movie!

I picked up The Help for 2 reasons. 1) the blogosphere has been rife with compliments on this book and 2) just off of the cover it has always appealed to me.

And so far, only 105 pages into it, I am not disappointed! I'm almost ashamed of how much I like this book.

And then today while I was poking around and thinking on the foolish idea (with my hectic schedule) of starting a book club based on books destined for the big screen, I come across the list of 2011 movie releases and there it is, big as life, The Help. I swear I did not know!!

(I was floored the other day to find out my 2010 favorite Water For Elephants is being released as a movie and I  watched the trailer and it looks pretty darn good! )

But back to The Help. Sissy Spacek, and Cicely Tyson! wow. This is going to be amazing... oh I bet we need to have tissue!

So what do you think... I wanted to start a book club that meets in this cool quiet little pub. Keep it small, 10 at the max, and call it Literature and Libation. We'd actually read all sorts of books but especially books slated to become movies...good movies!! And of course, have a lot of fun?
Anyone in?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Doctor Zhivago


Title: Doctor Zhivago

Author: Boris Pasternak : translated by Max Hayward and Manya Harari and (the poems) by Bernard Guilbert Guerney.
Pages: 559
Why I Read This Book - As I add books to my TBR pile I enjoy adding works that are considered classics. Plus I have seen some blogs extolling the virtues of Russian Lit and I hadn't read any. So I chose Doctor Zhivago - A copy of which I picked up at a yard sale for about .50 cents.

RATING: 4.5 /5

Synopsis

This famous novel of the Russian revolution and Civil War became a cause celebre when its publication was cancelled by Soviet authorities and Pasternak had the manuscript smuggled out of the country for publication. Doctor Zhivago was cited by the Swedish Academy when it awarded Pasternak the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 (an award that Pasternak refused, under pressure from the Soviet government).
The controversy surrounding the novel's publication and the notoriety of the David Lean's popular film adaptation of the novel have obscured the quality of the work itself. Simply stated, Doctor Zhivago is one of the most powerful books published in the 20th century and will be read long after the memory of its publication history has faded; it not only brings the Russian Revolution and the early Soviet era to life, it tells the stories of some of the most memorable characters to be found in all of literature.

Review:
I was up in the air about this novel until the last 1/4 of the book, then it won me over. While no casual read, it is one that is at times so beautiful, poignant, and tragic.

I know I thought this was some Russian love story, and while it is, it is mostly a Russian story. About life during WWI and the resulting civil war. I have NOT ever seen the movie and the only fore-knowledge I came into this book with was the song from the movie (mostly because, since my name is Laura, I kept getting music boxes that played Lara's Theme ).

Doctor Zhivago's idea of love isn't exactly mine and I'd actually classify him as more of... well... a jerk. But that's what makes this novel great in my mind. It took a harsh look at REAL human emotions and gave realistic insight into all human nature.

It was a difficult read for the most part (I even checked in with - gasp- sparknotes to make sure I wasn't missing some huge theme elements!) and I've wondered how other translations read. And I'm sure there were nuances that I still missed. Overall, I was affected by Doctor Zhivago, while not really liking him.

I certainly feel I've seen inside that era in their history and am glad I read it.

In thinking on it, I can metaphorically see the women as PreWar society, Civil War society, and Post War. Each with a legacy of their own. I'm not sure that was intended, but the passions certainly feel right. One we take for granted, one consumes us, and one we settle into. But none of which the good Dr. Yuri REALLY chose.

Elements towards the end of this book (maybe all the way through, but the end is where it clicked with me) reminded me very strongly of Cold Mountain, which made me very happy...for two reasons... 1) nostalgically I loved Cold Mountain..and 2) If Fraizer emulated in any way the writing of Pasternak and his take on Wars both world and civil, I am honored to have read them both.

I think this book will work on me for quite awhile. I'm sure over the coarse of the next few days there are other things about this book I'll think of.

UP NEXT: The Help - Katheryn Stockett

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Literary Blog Hop!

Uh oh - two meme's in a row! But I couldn't help myself. I find this meme so thought provoking and thoroughly  enjoy reading all the responses to the posed questions.

So here goes...

Instructions for entering the Literary Blog Hop:

1. Grab the code for the Button.

Literary Blog Hop


2. Answer the following prompt on your blog.

(Suggestions for future prompts? Email to them us atthebluebookcase@gmail.com)

This week's question comes from Debbie at Reader Buzz:

How did you find your way to reading literary fiction and nonfiction?


I believe I evolved into an enjoyment and curiosity for literary works, fiction or non, the same way a young person makes a delicious grilled cheese sandwhich for the first time and then deciedes to try their hand at homemade macaroni and cheese and ends up eventually giving Beef Wellington and Autumn vegetable soup a whirl. 

They do this, as do I with reading, because of the challenge it offers, the increase to their knowledge and ability to discuss their craft knowledgeably and mostly...

because they love it and it simply calls to them.

Like great books simply call to me.

but they didn't used to. When I was in High School my boyfriend took me to the book store and let me pick out a book a week. I chose such highbrow titles as Bethany's Sin and Flower's In The Attic (but weren't we all reading this in the 80s?). 

I had discovered an affinity for Edgar Allen Poe in about the 5th grade and I think it was the year before I had gotten the Louisa May Alcott Set of Little Women, Jo's boys, Little men, etc... so the seeds were there. ( I read Little Women several times!!)

A little nurturing here and there and viola... I'm reading Doctor Zhivago and looking forward to A Tale of Two Cities!

And so thankful to have a whole community to inspire me to look further and read more deeply. :)


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - with many many more running through my mind


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND post a comment on our post with a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. If you can't come up with ten, don't worry about it---post as many as you can!

Today's List:
Top Ten Books I Resolve To Read in 2011


Here is my list for this fun Top Ten Tuesday prompt. There are others on some of my challenge lists, but these are the ones that have me chomping at the bit to get to them.

1) The Help - I've been waiting forever to get to this book! I started it on audio so I know how good it is!

2)Brisinger - This is for my daughter's boyfriend. I'll say it again, when a young man wants to share a book with the mother of his girlfriend, you. do. not. say. no! My older daughters boyfriend did the same thing which is how I read R.A. Salvatore books. Working on the Drizzit series

3) The Jungle - I've been waiting all summer for this! I picked it up on my first visit to Iowa City. The day my life changed.

4) The Killer Angels - One I've meant to read since I was pregnant with my now 16 year old. My now X husband read it and couldn't put it down. It was 1 of only 2 books he's ever read. Must have been good.

5)Mansfield Park - because I come to this Auten piece with no expectations!!

6) Strange as the Weather Has Been - Goes with my trip to West Virginia, my patriarchal homeland

7) A Thousand Acres - I had an outline for a novel I hope to write with the same title. I about threw a tantrum when this book came out. So I MUST see what this one's like :) Plus I hear it's good

8) Under the Dome - I'll never wait this long to get to this book. King books are like my addiction!

9) The Bell Jar - One on my Classics list that I can't believe I haven't run across sooner!

10) The Hunger Games - On blogosphere recommendation. Just have to taste this one for myself.

For any others I'm contemplating - see my TBR page or my Rory Gilmore list :) Or the new acquisitions shelf at the local library...I can never stay away from that and a book set out on an easel is my weakness!

Can't wait to see all yours! I'm sure it will help me add to mine :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

What are we going to do today 2011?

Same thing we do every year... try to take over the world!.... Pinky and the Brian reference anyone??


So I sat down and jotted out a few New Years Resolutions. And I let them simmer for a couple days to see if they were worthy or plausible. They seem it...for the most part... so here goes.

I have 16. :) Yeah I know I'm setting myself up for failure big time!


 1)     Photo a day - over on my 'home-life' blog I decided (since I can't regularly be crafty or cook anything anywhere close to food porn-able) to devote this year to remembering each day with a snapshot and keep the posts uber short. So far so good. If you want to peek in... here's the link: The Shabby Rabbit


2)     Fly - nope not in a plane or glider... I'm talking about being a follower of FlyLady. It's a method to help me keep my house cleaner, tidier, more organized and so I'm not, as Fly Lady says, "In CHAOS" (Cant Have Anyone Over Syndrome)

I used to be pretty good at juggling cleaning schedules and organization, then I got pretty busy and well...since FlyLady has EVERY base covered and all I have to do is follow directions, hey! That's way easier!  If you're interested here's the link  FlyLady. Let me know if you go there!

3)     Read more - self-explanatory. Quit creepin' on facebook. Don't put that movie in (I got rid of TV last year). Go Read!! Get the book off the nightstand from time to time! You can read before 9:00 p.m. too!
4)     Trade houses with my Mom. My house is teeny tiny with pretty little utility bills, her house is bigger and much more to take care of. I'm 45 and she's ...older than 45 and my little one level ranch with off street parking and a garage makes more sense for her than for me.
This is Mom's house - The tree is off of it now ;)

This is my little house. Gee I miss green grass!

5)      Blog - Now I know this sorta goes against the Read resolution, but I have to write about what I read about!! and I have to see what you all are reading too! Just not over do it. There is plenty of time for both. Tons of instances where reading would not be feasible, but perusing the blogs or slapping in a quick post or meme would be fine. Usually when the girls and I are all together in the living room. We're girls, we can multitask and still interact with one another!

6)     Work on that blasted Novel...said it before...someday I would like to say..work on REVISING that novel. Can't do one without the other. I received quite a few compliments this past semester on my writing so it really should follow that while that side of my brain is engaged I should do this...now balancing this resolution with the Reading resolution is a little trickier!

7)     Work on Nutrition - I'm not saying lose weight (but that too) just for once don't go through the produce section just to see the pretty colors woman! Stop and buy something! Lettuce is for more than Tacos! 

8)     Cut Expenses - Tough one. But Necessary for my next Resolution. And there is room. I can cut a lot of expenses with just two letters... the letter N and the letter O. I love my girls, but I have to curb my desire to spoil them :)
 
9)     Get out of debt - I don't have that much debt, just that much more than I want. I've lived hand to mouth and I always fear having to again so I'd rather not have to worry about who I owe thanks! 

10)      eBay - I have a bit of stuff floating around I could liquidate on that site. Even some books... I'll let you know if I do. 
11)     Faith - Last year at this time I felt much closer to God and like I leaned on Him and my spirituality much more... I really really miss that feeling. It felt so safe. So I want to cultivate that again.

12)     Quit Swearing - 2 reasons, 1 see above. Such negative words close the doors to the postitive of the spirit. and 2. I feel I have a much better vocabulary than those mundane words and should be perfectly capable of expressing myself with them. 

13)    Work - There are some goals we set at my review that I need to push myself to accomplish yet this year. There are some projects I would like to start as well.

14)     Style - Ok another one that seems weird. But as I've gotten ---gosh this is still hard to say --- older, I am having a harder time figuring out how I should look. From hair to makeup to clothes. So cultivating an attractive (after all I am single) professional appearance is on my radar this year.

15)     School - This is an easy one (sorta) Finish my Associates in May and start at the University of Iowa in the Bachelor of Liberal Science Program ( available by distance if necessary and since I'm 50 miles from the campus, it will be).  With all A's :) Ok that last part may just be self-torture!! But good grades.
Huh - I lied. there's only 15. And if you're still with me... Thank you! And feel free to pop in and see how I'm doing. Keep me on my toes...ask me about the weird ones ;)

I truly hope your 2011 goes well and brings you your hearts desires!