Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Moby Dick, Week #2

It was a little harder this week but I made it through the second section of Moby Dick. I am at chapter 37 which means I'm a running a little behind my goal but not by much.

For me, the story stalled a little this week. We finally get on the boat and set sail. I was excited and ready to find some whale but, alas, I had to be introduced to each and every member of the crew first. Ok, I can deal with that and the fact that pegleg Captain Ahab is being mysterious and hiding out a lot is compelling, I want to learn more about him.

Oh, but wait, we have to get a detailed explanation of every type of whale first, which reads like a textbook. Zzzzz. Once we muddled through the day's marine biology lesson the story started to pick up again. The aloof Captain Ahab called a meeting and explained that he doesn't want just any whale. He wants the notorious white whale that they call Moby Dick. The same whale that took his leg. Now we're talking! I love me a man hell bent on revenge. So despite dragging a bit this week, I think we're starting to pick back up and I have higher hopes for week 3.

Big thanks to BookSnob for hosting this challenge and encouraging me to embrace a book I had no desire to read. Also to Book Snob Wannabe for being daring enough to take this voyage as well.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Want To Win a Free Kindle?

Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)Yes, free! Tina Pinson over at Write Where I Want To Be is releasing her ebook, which is an awesome accomplishment on it's own, but to be doubly awesome she is also giving away 2 Amazon Kindles and 10 ebook downloads of her book In the Manor of the Ghost, being published by Desert Breeze Publishing. 

There is no purchase necessary and you have until June 30th to enter. Head over HERE and enter now!

Monday Musings

This is my first Monday taking part in Monday Musings hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. It sounds like fun so I thought I would give it a go this week. 

This week's musing is...

What do you think of books that receive a lot of hype? (think of the “Twilight” saga, or “Harry Potter”, or “The Da Vinci Code”). Do you read them? Why, or why not?

I do read a lot of the books that receive a lot of hype, usually because my mother recommends them.  I didn't start Harry Potter until after seeing the first movie at my moms house and having her tell me how much better the books are. Then I was hooked!

With Twilight I was told that I should read it by my mom and a friend of mine. However I ignored that for a long time because both my mom and friend read a lot of sci-fi/fantasy books which are cool but not usually my cup of tea. I was staying with my mother in law awhile back and her friend's teenage daughter left her a copy of Twilight and urged her to read it. She didn't but I was bored one day and picked it up. I think I finished it within a day or two, only a few months before the movie came out. So I admit that I did get sucked into that one. It's not a classic worthy, fantastic example of literature but it was an enjoyable story. Sort of like watching a cheesy chick flick. I's a popcorn novel. 

I don't fall always fall into the hype though. In fact I'm dreadfully uncool and usually pick up the hyped books long after the hype dies down. That's just me though, always late for the party.

Tackling One Of The Big Ones

I hate to admit this, especially because I have a very theater loving family but I have never seen Les Miserables. I know a lot of the music but have never seen the movie or the musical. The movie version is available to watch instantly on Netflix and I have had it on my queue for a long time but I decided that I am not allowed to watch it until I've read the book. As a general rule, I prefer to read the book before seeing the movie. It's just a personal preference.

So starting tonight I plan on taking on the massive Les Miserables by Victor Hugo so I can finally watch the movie and hopefully, someday, the musical. The sheer size of this book is intimidating but I'm going to attempt to tackle one of the five volumes each week. Though that may change once I get started depending on how it reads.

Wish me luck and if you are willing to tackle this huge book, read along with me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

#19 Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility (Oxford World's Classics)So far in my journey through Austen I have been 1-1. I loved Pride and Prejudice and really disliked Emma. I needed a tie-breaker so I dove into Sense and Sensibility. I'm pleased to announce that the score is now 2-1. I didn't like it as well as P&P but I still enjoyed it quite a bit.

As I read I couldn't help but compare the relationship of the two Dashwood sisters to myself and my older sister. My sister and I are definitely not as close as Elinor and Marianne but the similarities in our own characters and that of the Dashwoods was there. My sister is a lot like Elinor Dashwood. She's responsible, steady, full of common sense, and usually more in control of her emotions than yours truly. I am much more like Marianne, impulsive, led by emotions, and tend to jump into situations or relationships without thinking them through all the way. I rather enjoyed reading through and comparing the actions of the sisters with what I or my sister would do.

I ended up being quite emotionally invested into the story right from the beginning. The way the Dashwood ladies are pretty much thrown out on their asses by their own brother just broke my heart. Who does that? Apparently spineless men who have snobby, horrible wives. I hated Fanny with a passion right from the start and was secretly hoping a random house would suddenly fall on her. From there on out it was an endless stream of relationship troubles. There was enough drama, secrets and lies going around in that little town that they could create their own soap opera. I'll admit, though, that near the end I was getting confused as to who was in love with whom and how it had happened. In the end, it all works out as it should, of course, so my little romantic heart was happy with it.

I do still have Mansfield Park to cross off my list but I think I'll be taking a bit of a break from Austen for awhile. I am getting a little sick of parties, visiting neighbors and all of the Austen properness. I am thinking about sticking to the general time frame and moving over to Paris and Les Miserables. I haven't read it, or seen the play/movie except maybe a snippet of a song performance here and there. (My theater obsessed mother-in-law would probably smack me upside the head if she knew that) I'm a little scared of taking on such a huge book though.

Decisions, decisions. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mid-Week Update

I decided that once a week I should post something a little more personal, a weekly update on my life as it was.

This is my first week of summer break. I only get 3 so I'm trying to make the most of each week. Well, as much as I can make of it while being completely broke that is. My unemployment ran out a few weeks ago and I'm still looking for a job, though I'm putting more effort into helping my husband get a better paying job. If that works then I won't need to find one for myself and can stay home with my children.

In other news, my strictly indoor cat decided to sneak out when my daughter opened the front door and went AWOL Friday night. We finally managed to find her and get her back in the house late Saturday however, she hasn't been spayed yet. So, there is a good chance that we'll be welcoming several new additions to our family in a couple of months in the form of tiny kittens. She wasn't noticeably in heat at the time so there's hope that she wasn't out being naughty girl but I'm not holding my breath. She's not trying to escape anymore and she's been increasingly lovey since we got her back. I guess only time will tell. As soon as I know she's not pregnant, she'll have a date with the vet.

On the book front, I've been reading Sense and Sensibility and taking part of the Moby Dick challenge. I'm liking Sense and Sensibility more than Emma but not as much as Pride and Prejudice. There is only one more Austen on my list but I don't think I'm going to tackle that one next. It's been all Austen, all the time around here and I think I need a little break. We'll see, I might change my mind and just get them all done at once, who knows? I'm really enjoying Moby Dick so far and am looking forward to reading more.

I haven't been able to read as much as I wanted to on my break from school though. My mom gave me a bunch of fabric this weekend and my 4 year old daughter decided that I should make her some dresses and skirts out of it. This kid is a slave driver! Anytime I take a break from sewing she comes and 'reminds' me that I need to finish it so I do, mostly so she'll leave me alone. I'd rather sew than listen to her nag about it. Then I wonder how she got so spoiled. I suppose because she knows I'll give in if she's obnoxious enough. I've created a monster.

She's occupied with a movie right now so I'll go try to squeeze in a few chapters now before she realizes I'm doing something for myself and puts a stop to it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading. It's rather fun and anyone can play along. Just grab the book you are currently reading, open to a random page and find 2 sentences to share.

Careful not to add any spoilers, there's no fun in that!Oh, and be sure to include the title and author so we know where it came from.

I am currently reading two books so I'll give out two teasers this week.

"Upon waking next morning about daylight, I found Queequeg's arm thrown
over me in the most loving and affectionate manner. You had almost
thought I had been his wife."     Moby Dick by Herman Melville
"Mamma says he was in love with your sister
too. I assure you it was a great compliment if he was, for he hardly
ever falls in love with any body" Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen 

Moby Dick Challenge Week 1

Ok I made ti through the first week of the Moby Dick Challenge hosted by Laura at Book Snob. It's a 6 week challenge with us reading 100 pages per week. I ended up a few pages shy this week due to having finals last week but I'm out for summer break now so I'll catch up this week. I did managed to read the first 16 chapters though.

I have actually been pleasantly surprised by this book. I always expected a bit of a dry read about a giant whale and a book filled with sailing terms I wouldn't understand.  Granted we haven't actually gotten out to sea yet so the confusing sailing terms could still make an appearance but I'm invested in the story now so I won't mind googling them as much. 

So far we have met Ishmael, a sailor who decided he wanted to try his hand at whaling and is on his way to Nantucket to join a whaling crew. Along the way he meets Qeequeg, a rather enjoyable character who he ends up bunking with while waiting for his ride to Nantucket. The first meeting of Qeequeg and Ishmael was thoroughly entertaining and actually made me laugh in several places, something I never thought this book would do.

 I'll admit I thought that reading the 100 pages was going to be a chore every week but I find that I am actually looking forward to reading more. I'm already emotionally invested in Ishmael and his new BFF Qeequeg.

We're only a week in, so if you'd like to read along with us just head over to Book Snob and join up. It's been a good time so far.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

For My Daddy!

A huge Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there. To the men who keep little pieces of candy in their pockets to surprise their kids with. Who find the energy to give piggyback rides and toss kids in the air after a long day at work. To the men who work extra hours to afford dance lessons or t-ball equipment. The dads who who let you borrow the car a mere hour after getting your license and who stay up late just to make sure you came home safe. Today is your day!

I have had the extreme privilege of having the best dad that the good Lord ever made. My dad is a true hero, a Vietnam vet and an ex Green Beret who was awarded the purple heart. However, he is my hero because no matter how many times I've screwed up in life, he always made sure that I knew I was loved and that he was proud of me.  28 years later, I am still his little girl and he makes sure that I know it.

My dad's health has been declining over the last few years and I don't know how many more Father's Days I'll get to spend with him. So, I'm taking the opportunity today to tell the world how much I love my daddy. I don't know what I did to deserve him as my father but I have thanked God for him everyday for the last 28 years.

I Love You, Dad!

Friday, June 18, 2010

#18 Emma

Emma (2009)I managed to finally finish Emma by Jane Austen tonight. I hope the die-hard Austen fans don't string me up for saying this, but I really didn't like it. It started out fine and I was interested for the first 100+ pages but then it just started to drag on, by the end it was all I could do to finish it. Nothing but parties and dinner and visiting the neighbors. There is no drama or excitement at all. I suppose all the Frank Churchill/Jane Fairfax secrecy could be construed as drama but by then I just didn't care. I realize that Pride and Prejudice was heavy on the neighbor visits as well but at least there was the Lydia/Wickham scandal to peak my interest. That's much more interesting drama than some stupid secret engagement. Yawn. Plus Elizabeth Bennett was much more likable.

Not to mention, I really couldn't stand Emma herself. The girl is a complete and total snot. I found her to be almost completely unlikeable. By the end I didn't care who she ended up with so long as she quit screwing up everyone else's lives. She just sort of forces Harriet to like whomever she thinks is appropriate and completely ignores Harriet's own feelings. Matchmaking is one thing but trying to force two people together for your own amusement is just plain selfish.

Then the way she acts towards Jane Fairfax and her family is deplorable. She goes on about how she can't stand her and gets irritated when her aunt wants to show Emma her letters and it makes me beg the question. Why go visit these people you don't like? I guess it's the "proper" thing to do but I think it's better to go against propriety than to continue to be friends with people and then talk smack about them behind their back. I won't lie, I have been guilty of talking crap behind peoples backs (I am a woman afterall), but I didn't go around pretending to be their friend either. If these women are so irritating, just make excuses so as not to see them. Eventually they'll get the hint.

Honestly I thought Emma and Mr. Churchill were actually perfect for each other and should have ended up together so that no one else would be stuck with them.Churchill is a total jerk. Sure, he has to keep his engagement a secret, fine, but don't go around making fun of your fiance and flirting with other women. Seriously? Emma is perfect for Churchill. Mr. Knightley is far too good for her and would have been better off with anyone else.

As it was, the one thing I liked about Emma was that she was a total daddy's girl. As a proud daddy's girl myself I can respect that. However my dad taught me to keep my nose out of other people's business and to not meddle in their affairs. Maybe Emma could come and hang out with my dad for awhile and learn some manners.

Now Jane Austen is 1-1 in my book. I was planning on reading Sense and Sensibility next but I'm a little apprehensive now. I think I'll sleep on it before decided on my next book. I am also taking part in the Moby Dick challenge hosted by Book Snob, so at least I have that to occupy my time until I can decide on the next book.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another Week, Another Hop

It's Friday! Which can only mean that it's time for the Hop. The weekly hop is hosted by Crazy-For-Books every week and is a fantastic way to meet other bloggers, find cool blogs to follow, and sometimes even gain a few followers of your own.

I've had finals this week so this week's hop will be my sole source of socialization for the week. So, do me a solid and say hello! I'll be hopping around all over the place this weekend. Last week I found so many great blogs. So head over to Crazy-For-Books to sign up and get your link on the list.

Be sure to stop by throughout the weekend. I've only got a few more pages left in Emma and will be getting my review of that up ASAP. I've also joined the Moby Dick challenge hosted by Book Snob and will be sharing my thoughts on the first few chapters in the next few days. It's not too late to join us, we just started on the 15th. I am really enjoying it so far, more so than I anticipated.

Thanks for stopping by and please leave me a link so I may reciprocate the visit!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mody Dick Challenge

Laura at Book Snob is hosting a Moby Dick reading challenge starting on Tuesday, June 15th. Since the book is on my list, I figure that now is as good a time as any to give it a go. She plans to read 100 pages and I'm hoping to follow that schedule as well. So head on over to Book Snob's blog and sign up to participate. Should be a whale of a time! (Sorry, I just couldn't help myself!)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

#17 Pride and Prejudice

It took me longer than I expected it would but I finally finished Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice . Despite being interested in the story, I found it was hard to get into. The first 100 or so pages, I could only read a handful at a time before getting distracted. I have a lot going on in my life at the moment and it could just be that I have been distracted as a whole and not an actual reflection on the book itself. I started on Sunday night and by Thursday was only about 150 pages in, out of 500, which for me is unusually slow but I have been rather busy this week as well. 

Pride And PrejudiceI decided on Friday that I needed to get a move on and finish it so I found a quiet place and got to work. Once I resolved to put aside my distractions and just read, that is when the story really pulled me in. When I went to bed last night I had less than 70 pages to go. This morning I poured a cup of coffee, sent the kids off to play with friends and finished it off.

I love that Elizabeth reminded me of so many women I know. Strong, good-natured, smart and unwilling to be bullied. She's a girl who knows who she is and what she wants and refuses to change that to suit anyone else. I love that she's not perfect either. She forms quick opinions of people and is pretty stubborn about sticking to them until forced to re-evaluate such as with Darcy and Mr. Wickham.

Despite his being portrayed as proud and haughty throughout the book, especially the first part, I really liked Darcy from the beginning. I knew he liked Elizabeth pretty early on, and was just too stubborn or something to admit it, even to himself. Of course, Elizabeth's feelings were obvious right from the start as well. You don't allow a man to annoy you so much unless there is something boiling under the surface. If you don't care at some level, it's too easy to just ignore them and pay them no mind, but Elizabeth was almost consumed by how much she disliked him. I've seen the same thing going on with my friends time and time again, and even I suppose with myself. I've definitely ended up in relationships with people I totally despised at some point. There really is a thin line between love and hate as they say.

 Mrs. Bennet drove me absolutely insane. She was quite possibly one of the fakest characters I've reading a long time. I don't mean fake as in that Jane Austen wrote her badly, but that she as a person was fake as could be. I wanted to slap her. Particularly in the end, she spends all this energy hating and being fairly rude to Darcy until she finds out that her daughter is marrying him and will then be rich. Then she suddenly adores him and is so thrilled with the marriage. Are you kidding me? I hate people like that.

I couldn't figure out how Mr. Bennet ended up with her. He was so nice and loving and reminded me of my own dad. I love that in the end, he's only concerned with whether Elizabeth is happy with Darcy as a person,whether she is in love with him and not about her marrying a rich man. I loved him.

I did see the end coming from a long way off but it was still fun to watch it all play out. I'm sure I'm not the first person to make this connection but doesn't Mr. Darcy have a bit of a Chuck Bass thing going on? Particularly when Darcy secretly helps out with the whole Lydia situation, such a Chuck move. I really could envision the whole story as an episode of Gossip Girl. Yes, I am 28 and referencing Gossip Girl, so what?

So, now I have no idea what I'm going to read next. I am unemployed and my benefits have run out so I'm a bit low on book-buying funds at the moment, so it'll have to be an older book. I have about 30 public domain books that I downloaded for free and can read on my laptop so maybe I'll start checking those off my list. Who knows maybe I'll stick to Austen for now. I believe there are 3-4 more on the list.

Any suggestions?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Let's Go To The Hop: Part Deux

Welcome blog hoppers. I had such a great time last week while doing the Friday Book Blog Hop hosted by Crazy-For-Books, so I thought I would join up again today.

If you are here via the hop, I want to welcome you. If not, I welcome you as well. Thanks for stopping by!

If you'd like to join up head on over to Crazy-For-Books to get your name on the list and leave a comment with a link to your blog so that I may reciprocate the visit.

I found so many great blogs last week and am hoping to find a few more.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Holy Crap! I got an award!

Check that out! Kendall from Reading, Reading, and Life awarded me with the Versatile Blogger award. This totally made my day! I went running through the house, laptop in hand, to show my husband. I was that excited. Thank you so much!

The Rules for the award are:
1. Thank the person who gave you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (in no particular order…)
4. Contact the picked and let them know about the award.
So, 7 things about myself. 
1.  I was born in Southern California, but have lived in Utah since I was 10. 
2.  I have 3 kids and a cat. 
3.  I am currently a culinary student, getting a Bachelors in Culinary Management. 
4.  I hated helping my mom garden, but now that I have my own yard, I am falling in love with it. 
5.  My favorite food is pasta, I just adore noodles. 
6.  I hope to open my own small cafe/coffee shop after I get out of school. A place you can sit and read, and get a coffee and a fresh pastries. It's my way of combining my 2 loves. 
7.  My dad is my hero and quite possibly the best person ever put on this planet. 

Now I have to pass this along to some people who I think are pretty cool.

Patrick Tillett
Whitney at She Is Too Fond of Books
Kate's Library
Roseann's 1001 Must Read Books Challenge
Not So Humble Pie

Thanks so much!

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly book meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. It's totally easy to play along. All you need to do is.

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Pride & PrejudiceMy teaser comes from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Auste.

"Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride—where there is a real superiority of mind—pride will be always under good regulation"

Ok, now that I've showed you mine, I'd like to see your teaser! 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

#16 Falling Man

This was a quick read, but also hard to read in places. Falling Man by Don DeLillo follows a survivor of 9/11. It begins with Keith walking away from the World Trade Center covered in ash and blood. In the aftermath of the disaster, he moves back in with his wife and son, whom he had been separated from at the time of the attack.
Falling Man
There are parts of the book, when the characters are recounting their experiences of the day, trying to get out of the tower, that are downright haunting. Some were very difficult to read, so overly detailed in places so that I felt like I was there. The book left me with a bit of a heavy heart, though being a book about 9/11, it wasn't as thought I was expecting a feel-good read.

I just finished the book a few minutes ago, and I'm not sure yet if I liked the book as a whole. It could be that I still need to absorb it, let it sink in or whatnot, but I'm on the fence. I liked parts and I hated parts.

The book is narrated in the third person and follows several people. Sometimes the transition from one character to the next was so abrupt that I found myself getting confused as to who it was referring to. One minute we're with Keith, then a few paragraphs later we're with his wife or someone else, often with little warning. It would take me a few lines to realize we were suddenly in a different place or time.

The dialog was also bit awkward in places and almost hard to follow, everyone seemed to speak abruptly and only one sentence at a time. Though these are characters in turmoil and Lord knows I wouldn't be too chatty if I went through something like that. It's just that most of the conversations seemed like they were on a bad first date; question, quick answer, one line comment, rinse and repeat. People just don't talk like that on a normal basis.

What I did like about the book was that these were real people trying to make sense of the tragedy and dealing with the aftermath. Keith's young son begins watching the skies for more planes, his wife, Lianne, lashes out at a middle eastern neighbor and doesn't seem to understand why. These are not heroes such as a firefighter or policeman. These are just normal and flawed people adjusting to life 'after the planes', as they put it.

In the end, I think I liked the overall story behind the book but had a problem with the execution of that story. The rapidly changing POV's tended to pull me out of the story as I had to reread passages to figure out what was going on. I do think I would still recommend it to other though. The good far outweighed the bad in my eyes. Just be prepared for a few gut-wrenching moments.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Welcome Hoppers!

I want to extend a big and warm welcome to any new visitors. My blog is fairly new and this is my first time participating in the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy-for-Books, or any sort of group event, meme, whatever they're called. This looked like fun, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I've already found a few good blogs to follow from it.

So make yourself at home and take a little look around at this silly little thing I call my blog. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

#15 Fall on Your Knees

I stayed up until 3:30am last night to finish the last 60+ pages of Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees. I'll admit that I am always a bit of a night owl but even I don't stay up that late often. However I just couldn't put this book down. As the book wraps up it just pulls you in like passing a bad car accident. You know it's going to be disturbing and hard to watch but you can't look away.

Fall On Your Knees (Oprah #45)The book follows the Piper family from the late 1890's through several generations of increasingly disturbed individuals. In the beginning of the book James Piper is a piano tuner who ends up running away with Materia Mahmoud, the daughter of one of his clients. Oh, did I mention that Materia is a mere 12 going on 13 at the time? 

What comes from their union is the stuff that episodes of Maury Povich are made of. Incest, lies, deception, secrets, and more drama than you can shake a stick at. James is ambitious, self righteous and a bit of a pedophile. His wife Materia is simple, a little childish and resentful of the path her life has taken.

They have three daughters as different as can be. Kathleen, the oldest and the apple of daddy's eye who has an operatic voice of an angel and she knows it. Frances, the wild child and Mercedes, who is very pious and good and who tries desperately to keep her family in line and together but she ends up being sucked into the depravity too, by the end of the book.

I didn't think I would like this book at first. None of the main characters are like-able. In fact, most of the smaller characters are unlike-able as well. These are deeply flawed individuals, making horrible choice after horrible choice and yet I became invested in their story.

Like a bad talk show, the book is filled with many OMG and WTF moments and even a few that left me asking "Wait....WHAT?" as I frantically read on to see what was going to happen next.

Of course I don't get my answers till much later in the book. Ann-Marie MacDonald often reveals major events early but doesn't show the journey that led to those events until much later. The point of view shifts often and you may think you know the story as you read it from one POV, you find that you were very mistaken as the same events is retold through a different character. It kept me guessing and as I finished the book I realized that all was definitely not as it seemed.

It was an extremely dark book, I disliked all the characters and there are very few happy moments but I ended up loving it.
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