Thursday, April 24, 2008

Booking through thursday #9...

Ok. No one get offended, but I'm not really going to book through Thursday this week. It is sometimes a bit of a hassle to try and get my entry to look the way I want it to, and I really think this week's topic is super boring. I can pretty much answer it in one word (no). So I will not waste the time and energy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

And we're done...

I have completed my first challenge of the year! Melissa over at Book Nut (see sidebar for a link to her blog) hosted the Expanding Horizons Challenge. During the past four months I have read six books, each by an author of a different ethnic minority.

My books and ratings were:

Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (African) 4/5
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See (Asian) 3/5
The Saffron Kitchen - Yasmin Crowther (Middle Eastern) 3/5
Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Latino) 4/5
Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard - Kiran Desai (Indian) 2/5
The Whale Rider - Witi Ihimaera (Native Peoples) 5/5

I think we can tell by my ratings that my favorite with The Whale Rider. I gave it a perfect score! I was not, however, a big fan of Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard. Unfortunately.

I read a good mix, I think. And had a wide variety of reactions. I think overall I enjoyed more than I disliked. So that's good. All in all, a good first challenge of the year!

The Whale Rider - Witi Ihimaera

the whale rider
witi ihimaera
c. 1988
150 pages

*may contain spoilers*

This was my "Native People's" choice for the Expanding Horizons Challenge (see sidebar). Being from the US and living in an area of the country where there is a heavy Native American population, I decided to read something about a different Native people, the Maori's of New Zealand. I know very little about their culture and history and so it was fun to learn about something new.

I had seen the movie of this book a few years ago. I remember liking it a lot, but I didn't remember too much about the story.

I loved that the whales had a voice and characters. They had their own thoughts and feelings. The author's voice, how he brought the legend of Paikia to life was very well done, showing us the parallels between then and now.

I also thought the author's voice was interesting. It wasn't just an omniscient speaker, it was a character, Uncle Rawiri. Though I thought it was interesting that he wasn't an important character, just someone who was there and witnessed what happened.

This was a beautiful little story. I want to go watch the movie now.


Friday, April 18, 2008

The Last Silk Dress - Ann Rinaldi

the last silk dress
ann rinaldi
c. 1988
325 pages

*may contain spoilers*

This was my second book for the Heart of a Child Challenge (see sidebar). I read this book for the first time when I was probably in fourth or fifth grade. And I loved it. My aunt had given me two other Ann Rinaldi books before I read this one, but for some reason I couldn't seem to get into them. It was until I read this one that I discovered how much I loved historical fiction and Ann Rinaldi. I eventually went back and read the other two and loved them. I am still collecting Ann Rinaldi's books. I know they are YA books, but it's not fair that just because I'm grown I can't read and love the books she wrote after my time.

It's probably been years since I read The Last Silk Dress. There were events that occurred that I didn't remember, so even though I knew the basic story and what would eventually happen there were still some surprises for me.

One thing I noticed this time around, however, was that I like Susan less now. Before I thought she was strong and high spirited, and I still think that, but I think now that she's more of a typical Southern Belle then she'd like to admit.

It's hard to rate something that you've been reading and loved for years, something that's a part of your childhood.


Friday fill in #6...

1. The last time I lost my temper I was probably over something stupid!
2. Not having enough work to do is what I'm fed up with!
3. The next book I'd like to read is "The Red and the Black" by Stendhal.
4. A nice relaxing weekend is what I'm looking forward to.
5. If you can't get rid of the skeleton[s] in your closet, share them with everyone!
6. The best thing I got in the mail recently was pictures from SnapFish.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to church and the gym, tomorrow my plans include a quiet day while Girlfriend's at work and Sunday, I want to maybe play tennis!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Booking through thursday #8...

I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?

I have always thought that if I didn't understand something then I should look it up. That way I wouldn't get confused with the passage I was reading. But I never manage to do that. I feel it disrupts the flow of what I'm reading. I guess I could write down the words or phrases I don't know and look them up later, but by that time I've passed over what I didn't understand and I feel like that would just make acquiring the definition a moot point (like a cow's opinion. It's moo...).

I generally just plow through. If I don't know the word or phrase, I hope the context clues around it will make me understand enough so that I don't totally miss what's trying to be said.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard - Kiran Desai

hullabaloo in the guava orchard
kiran desai
c. 1998
224 pages

*contains possible spoilers*

This book was my Indian choice for the Expanding Horizons Challenge (see sidebar). Ok, I really wanted to like this book. Mostly because I loved the title. It was quirky! People don't use the word "hullabaloo" enough. Unfortunately, that was basically all I liked about this book.

I'm not even kidding, this book is not even 250 pages and it took me a week and a half of reading basically an hour and a half a day. I just didn't like any of the characters. None of them were sympathetic. Everyone was lazy and self centered. I was just so irritated with everyone!

Also, I thought the writing style was very childish. I felt that this voice and style of writing would not even be found in a YA novel, but in something written for advanced elementary school children. I consider myself to be an intelligent person and so I would expect what I read to think of me as such.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday fill in #5...

1. I love springtime in Maryland!
2. Egg tacos and other eggy dishes are foods I love to eat for breakfast.
3. It seems I'm always searching for my purse.
4. A good movie is a great way to end the day.
5. I think I rock!
6. Sushi is what I've been craving lately.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to an evening by myself while Girlfriend has dinner with a friend, tomorrow my plans include working a few hours at the Day of the Child Festival and Sunday, I want to relax and go to the gym!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Booking through thursday #7...

1. Pick up the nearest book. (I’m sure you must have one nearby.)
2. Turn to page 123.
3. What is the first sentence on the page?
4. The last sentence on the page?
5. Now . . . connect them together….

I'm currently reading Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai.

"The Chawla family and various visitors, including the spy and Miss Jyotsna, lay scattered throughout the orchard wondering, 'What was he saying?'"

Hmmm...that turned out kind of boring. Sad.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Time for the old switcheroo...

I really like to do things in order. I like to write down a set list of things I need to do and check them off one by one as I get to them on the list. Somehow I've gotten a little behind in my Expanding Horizons Challenge (see sidebar) and so in order to make sure I finish the last two before the end of this month, I had to bump them up on my "In Line to be Read" list. And so now my Spring Reading List (see sidebar) is a little out of order. Boo.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Putting things in perspective...

Just a quick note of interest. At this time last year (the beginning of April) I had only just finished my second book of the year. By the time I was on number 13, which is the number I'm on right now, it was October. Hmmm....

Friday fill in #4...

1. Tonight I saw ???
2. Fun music makes me wanna dance!
3. Splitting a few appetizers between friends is hard. I want it all for myself!!
4. Cristina is someone I'd like to get to know better.
5. The smell of new flowers reminds me so much of springtime!
6. I'm trying to talk to Girlfriend more and that will maybe someday make it all better.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out with my parents who are in town, tomorrow my plans include taking my parents to SeaWorld with Girlfriend and K and Sunday, I want to chill at the beach!

Booking through thursday #6...

1. When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)

Generally the word "literature" brings to mind the classics, like those listed. I imagine old, dusty, beautifully bound books with yellowed pages and that slighty musty smell. Books filled with both flowery and stuff language often concentrating more on the language than on the character and plot development.

I realize that "literature" really encompasses a much bigger collection of works, that it shouldn't be considered synonymous with the words "old" or "classic," but that it the image that comes to mind.

2. Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?

I decided a while ago that I read too many "just for fun" books and I want to become more well read. I want to read more classics and more well respected literature. And so I have found some lists such as the London Observer's "100 Greatest Novels" and the publishing company Penguin's classics in order to introduce myself to more classics and newer literature.