Saturday, May 31, 2008

SuNdAY sALon- curve the addiction already!!!

and this is only half! ahhhhh~!!!! can you say BA?, not that! I mean Bookaholics Anonymous!

Hello, Sunday Saloners!!! This week I read my first graphic novels, Persepolis and Persepolis 2, I loved them, here is my review. I haven't read anything like them before, the honesty, the life and the details surrounded me...I really recommend them.
Besides that I did a couple of stuff. I COMPLETED My Year of Reading Dangerously Challenge!!! And I bought TONS of great new books. Here are the titles (above is a picture of half of what I found in one day at our local goodwill!!! we live in a college town, and the books I can find there are usualy very good) Here is a full list of my findings:
Bel Canto (P.S.) by Ann Patchett
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto by Pico Iyer
Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry
Peony in Love: A Novel by Lisa See
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
The Samurai's Garden: A Novel by Gail Tsukiyama
My Antonia (Barnes & Noble Classics) by Willa Cather
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
I am excited to read these books, have you read any of them?

I am aware that I have an addiction, an addiction to buy books. I read, I do...but certainly not at the same rate at which I conquer and buy these beauties! What do you do to not go to the poor house on books? These are my things that USUALLY help out: 1.) never buy new. 2.) only go to the used book store/ goodwill used books twice a month. 3.) Read library books as much as possible!!!! 4.) borrow the book from friend if they have it. 5.) Do not envy other's large stacks of matter how pretty or how nice they would look on your shelf...don't.
I know that in our book-blogging, book-attaining circle it is fine to purchase books, to drool over books, to envy books...but really, what do you do so to help curve your addiction!???

I think my addiction won out this week!!! (I do have some pretty books to show for it)

Persepolis and Persepolis 2

Title: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Published: Pantheon Books, New York
Pages: 153
Yearly Count: 28

The beginning of a story, a story of one little girl and what surrounds her. She is an Iranian, a Persian growing up in time of political unrest, societal insecurities and confusion of religion and law. Marjane conveys through the eyes of a child, what she felt, what she had to hold in and what happened when she didn't. To see all the horrors through the eyes of a little girl make them more real, more vivid and even more horrible.

This graphic novel was amazing to read, this was my first graphic novel experience and I loved the drawings to go along with the writing. Both the storyline and the art tied together to make the work a complete whole, and completely a five star read. I highly recommend it, and enjoyed learning more of the nation of Iran and its struggles. Not only is it about the nation, but it is mostly about one family and their interactions and how each political and religious decision affects them. Immediately when I finished the first book I grabbed up the sequel: Persepolis 2: The Story of Return.

Title: Persepolis 2: The Story of Return
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Publisher: Pantheon Books, New York
Pages: 187
Yearly Count: 29

Persepolis 2 shows the confusion of a child-now-teen who had to live in complete strictness and severity. Marjane heads to Germany and is on her own. She will live through such solitude and a sense of abandonment. Because of these feelings she turns to fillers, things and activities that will take the place, but fillers never work. She finds herself alone, embarrassed and someone she doesn't even know or recognize anymore, life must improve. This second half to me was a search for herself, Marjane had lived in order and control in Iran, and then moved to Germany where she was free to make choices...what she became made her fearful.

I enjoyed the second of the Persepolis books, but it seemed a little too introspective to me. I liked the first better because I loved learning about what was going on in Iran and how it affected Marjane, in Persepolis 2 Marjane takes the priority and her sufferings and depressions. It was good, because I cared about her and what became of her, but I would have enjoyed more about the situation when she returned to Iran. At the end of the book, it almost seemed like there would be another book after it. I looked everywhere and I don't think that there is, but it ended in a strange spot to me. I would definitely recommend it, but not as hard-core whole-heartedly as the first.

Links to other Bloggers reviews:

Marg from ReadingAdventures: Persepolis and Persepolis 2
Raidergirl3 from an adventure in reading: Persepolis and Persepolis 2
tinylittlelibrarian from tiny little reading room: Persepolis

If you have read either of these books let me know and I will include a link to your review at the end of this review.

My Year of Reading Dangerously Challenge:


My Year of Reading Dangerously...seriously, what a title!? Who wouldn't want to join with that one! This one is for those of us who have been intimidates (scared) of reading certain books, authors, genres, and so on. There is an official list of books that you can read, or you can make up your own scary list! I joined this one, it looked like too much fun. There are 12 picks for this it is a longer list of books. I chose many off of the actual list, because it is always more fun to read with others, and there are many that I am interested on the official list.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Dreams and Stones

Title: Dreams and Stones
Author: Magdalena Tulli
Publisher: Archipelago Books
Pages: 110
Yearly Count: 27

Architecture, dreams, life, lines and asphalt is where Magdalena Tulli takes the readers of Dreams and Stones. Along for the ride of a city, where the stones of reality will fall, but only the dreams survive. Life will always be imperfect, but dreams they can be what you make of them.

Magdalena Tulli could take the most hideously boring subject and write beautiful sentences. I adore her writing, it is deep, intense and ambiguous. She dares to go places that her readers may not be able to follow, yet she fear not as she takes them there. Dreams and Stones is a balance between the mystical dream world and the harsh reality of life. Life is too real, dreams are too far gone. I could drool over this book, there are certain key sentences which I will share, that might as well be screaming "I CAN'T BELIEVE NO ONE HAS WRITTEN ME YET!!!!", but she does, and does it with ease and a tenderness that willingly ushers the reader into a new place.

In saying all that, I can come clean and say that a lot of her writing was very deep for me, or just too hard for me to grasp. I love strange and weird and unsettling, however I am not fully able to comprehend what was hard for me about this book. Tulli's writing is incredible, yet many times I just had no idea where she had taken me and what she was writing about. I felt as though it were poetry in form of prose, which would make sense because so much of poetry is how it speaks to the individual, therefore making poetry on the hard-to-understand side sometimes. Throughout the book I was rocked out of my seat with her writing, others I was only holding on by a molecule. It could be that it was too philosophical for me, I am not sure.

The writing, it is heaven though, here are two quotes from the book:

Eventually the day came when the sofas were chopped up for firewood; a stray shell released the letters from their drawers. Paper turned to ashes, windowpanes shattered, door frames and tiled stoves were smashed to pieces. But this too failed to stop the pain. For pain does not belong to those who experience it but rather they belong to it (p. 71).

But their brightness always arises from darkness and their beauty from horror. The tangle of dreams, untouched by pruning shears, fills the whole world; it can even be said that it is the world and that the inhabitants of the city - along with their houses, their beds, their blankets, their recollections and their unanswerable questions- are only necessary for the dreams to be dreamed.
Only for dreams to be dreamed? What about maintaining order in the world? What about polishing floors, making repairs? Surely the reason why people sleep at night is to gather strength for the labors of the day? (p. 78).

If you have read this book, leave a comment with the link to your review...I'd love to link to it!

the Giveaway books for Orbis Terrarum Challengers!!

There will be three winners. You have until June 5th!!! If you don't know what I am talking about read the previous post.

The History of Love by Nichole Krauss...a perfect light summer read, with a tad of mystery on the side. It is one of my favourites! I bought several of these to give to friends. Here is my review.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virgina Woolf
I haven't read it, (it is on my shelf) but it seems to get incredible rants and raves. I read the first couple pages and it looks really good. (it gets 4 stars on amazon )

Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry (author of A Fine Balance) I haven't read this one yet, but I can't wait to get into it (shhhh...I bought an extra copy for myself). It gets extra great reviews on amazon as well( almost the full 5 stars)...I can't wait.

If you are in the run for these books, and you already own one or more of them, let me know. Comment below. I will figure things out so that you will not end up with one you have (unless you have them all!!). Have a great time playing and don't forget to get as many entries as possible by the 5th of June (I will select a winner on the 6th!!!)

GOOD LUCK TO ALL!!!! I can't wait to give you these books!!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

JUST for ORBIS TERRARUM challengers meme and givaway!!!

hey all you super-OT-challengers!!! (ONLY)

I have some fun stuff planned. I will be putting up a challenge meme and giveaway. Here is how to play:
1.) Each of your OT reviews that you have given the links to on the "your Orbis Terrarum travel thoughts!" Mr. linky will count. So put all your reviews up, each is worth one. Only functioning links will count...and I will go through and delete the duplicates.
2. Complete the OT meme and let me know, by commenting on this post, that will add one entry to your total.

So, what is the giveaway?? I am going to get books today at our local used bookstore (no worries, only gently used). So there will be multiple winners!!! I will let you know what the books are later by tomorrow or so.

I will give you a week to get as many links up as you can and to post your meme and get a comment on this post up, and remember this is really ONLY for Orbis Terrarum regular challengers!!!! Please play fair.

The Orbis Terrarum Challenge meme:

1.) What country do you always go back to in your travels (not just while reading for OT)?

2.) If you could visit 4 of the countries you have read about in your life (that you haven't been to yet), which would they be and why? (you can include the book that makes you want to visit if you remember)

3.) Have you ever dreamed about a country you have read about, that you have never actually traveled to- except in your dreams?

4.) In what ways has reading about different countries opened up your perspective about global issues?

5.) What countries have you felt your judgment was off about-after reading about that nation?

6.) Which is your favourite book that you would recommend for this challenge (you don't have to have read it during the challenge)?

7.) I am thinking about hosting again, for a full year next time starting in January, do you have any constructive criticism, is one book a month about right...more? less? Give me some thoughts.

8.) Anything else that you have been wanting to tell us all about? let us have it!

TAG-author meme!!!

TAG-you're it!

I am IT again, and this time it was heather at Errant Thoughts, here are her answers.

1. Who’s your all-time favorite author, and why?

All time? I literally cannot think that way, there are so many, here are some that I would consider my all time favourites:
Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
Sinan Antoon
Miljenko Jergovic
Richard Adams
Carlos Fuentes
Maxine Hong Kingston
Jack London
C. S. Lewis
J.D. Salinger
J.R.R. Tolkien
Banana Yoshimoto
Harriet Beecher Stowe

2. Who was your first favorite author, and why? Do you still consider him or her among your favorites?

I am sure that when I was little I enjoyed different picture books, and chapter books. I do remember loving The Boxcar Children. But nothing stunned me as much as reading Harriet Beecher Stowe

for the first time. I read Uncle Tom's Cabin and could not get over the severity of the situation. AHHH! I cried and cried. I was probably 12 years old and had never had much idea of slavery, as I attended Spanish public schools and history is not one of their strong points. I knew it had existed and that was about it. I could not get enough of Uncle Tom, little Eva and Co.

And yes, it still rings true for me. I got to re-read it in college for a literature class! I again, loved it. I know that there is discussion about this book, and that maybe Harriet could have done things differently. What I know though, is that we cannot judege the people from the past, through our present knowledge. She tried, and did her best...personaly her writing attacked me like a ravenous dog takes a hamburger. I still love it.

3. Who’s the most recent addition to your list of favorite authors, and why?

From the list I can see that Sinan Antoon and Miljenko Jergovic are my newest additions.
I was just blown away by them, that is why. That is why anyone is on my list. Their story captures, engulfs and hardly lets me breathe...their choice of words makes me want to eat the book. (ha!)

4. If someone asked you who your favorite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth? Are there any you’d add on a moment of further reflection?

Well, right now I love Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis I and II), Nichole Krauss (The History of Love), Rozena Maart (The Writing Circle) .

5. Tagged:

* medb
* julie

And whoever else would enjoy this was a great meme!!

compilcated? nope.

btt button

Suggested by: Thisisnotabookclub

Q:What is reading, anyway? Novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audiobooks — which of these is reading these days? Are they all reading? Only some of them? What are your personal qualifications for something to be “reading” — why? If something isn’t reading, why not? Does it matter? Does it impact your desire to sample a source if you find out a premise you liked the sound of is in a format you don’t consider to be reading? Share your personal definition of reading, and how you came to have that stance.

(Two weeks late for Reading is Fundamental week, but, well…)

A: I don't think even I can go long winded on this one, reading is simply the act of following the letters on a page, while trying to comprehend what is being said by the words. Kids can do it, I can do really is pretty simple. I am not into classifications, and hoops to jump through, yes cereal box reading is reading too!!! I am not exclusive, but inclusive when it comes to most things, why not let everybody in?!
Do you feel differently, the same?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday ThiNgErS!

Brought to us by The Boston Bibliophile:

So the question this week is- how many books do you have cataloged in your LibraryThing account? How do you decide what to include- everything you have, everything you’ve read- and are there things you leave off?

Well, I really need to get my librarything account in order. As of now, I have books that I have read, books that are on my wish list to buy, and books that own, but not all of them or even most of them. It is a real mess. I have mixed feelings about settling in for an evening of just getting that set straight. I know it will happen soon, but it hasn't yet. So, my librarything account is out of whack. I wish I had one of those kitty book scanners!!! I saw them a while ago, but now I haven't seen them on there for a while. Huh, does anyone have the link? I am not sure I could justify that purchase...but maybe I could think of something!!!! OH, and I have 137 books right now that are listed....

happy Tuesday, well now it is almost Wednesday, but happy whatever anyway!!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

a hero's memorial day salute

Poor is the community that has no heroes, poorer still is the one that having them, forgets.

Happy memorial day to all, but mostly to those who deserve it, as in those who we celebrate today. Thank you for serving our country, and serving it with your whole heart, thank you for giving so much, sometimes what others think to be too much...but mostly for being willing to give so that I can live here, in safety and freedom. Thank you for your service.

My family who has served in the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard:
Thank you Ross.
Thank you Dad.
Thank you Grandpa Durand.
Thank you Grandpa Jackson.
Thank you Uncle Jack.
Thank you Grandpa Marble.
Thank you Grandpa Cox.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

in memory of SUnDaY sALOn

happy long weekend to all of you who can take a long weekend...I get to stay at home with my little boys (aka balls-of-fire) so I am home, and my husband is taking tomorrow off. I am not sure what we'll do yet, I will do some reading though for sure.

How is all of your reading going? Do you find it is easier to read in the nice weather or harder? do you choose to read different books in the warmer months, or does it pretty much stay the same throughout the year? For me I seem to have a harder time reading, especially when right now it is time to get my toms in the ground, and lettuce and spinach, and cukes and zukes (cucumbers and zucchinis)...and flowers, but I have been reading quite a bit so that I don't get behind on my reviewing!
I think I would rather read heavy when there is not as much to do outside, and more light stuff when the weather is nice. I am not sure why, maybe that is you do that?

So this last week I have read a couple of books, some I liked, some I didn't here are the books and the links to my reviews from this week:

Two Brothers: One North, One South by David H. Jones
Invasion Of the Bible Thumpers by Scookum Maguire
The Writing Circle by Rozena Maart

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I am now on to Magdalena Tuli's Dreams and Stones vrom Archipelago Books, and it is pretty amazing. The detail of it all is incredible!! I will post a review soon, I still have a ways to go on it.

Happy, happy reading and happy memorial day!!! Have fun, and be safe!

Read happy.

Two Brothers: One North, One South

Title:Two Brothers: One North, One South
Author: David H. Jones
Publisher: Staghorn Press
Publisher Address: P.O Box 260162, Encino, Californa 91426-0162
ISBN: 978-0-9796868-5-7, Price $24.95 Publication Date: 2008
Reviewed by me, Bethany L. Canfield for Reader Views (05/08)
Yearly Count: 26

The question of war is always the same: is what is gained through it worth the loss that it causes? "Two Brothers, One North, One South" by David H Jones is not the typical history book that conveys only the gruesome dates and facts of the Civil War, but the war is brought to a more intimate level. Two brothers, who love each other, brought up in the same family, both in the same house, who grew up as friends yet a wedge is developed as the war cries out to each of them and their loyalties lie firmly on opposing sides. Deep from within each brother there is a call to be loyal, true and never wavering, but this loyalty will threaten their family, bring division and cause hurt. That is a high price to pay, but it does not seem to get a second thought by either of them, who are both bent on serving their country, and protecting their rights, while challenging and bringing change.

"Two Brothers" is an informs of the nature behind the war and the people who sustained it. Jones perfects the task of displaying the confusion, the chaos, the misunderstanding of what the war was going to be, and especially how long it would take and what it would cost (in lives especially). Citizens became soldiers overnight, and left their families. The emphasis is put that no one really knew what was going on, almost all of the men in uniform were not soldiers, but regular men, farmers, plantation owners, scholars. Many of them were young men, some were only fifteen years of age, and did not know the price, but knew they were being beckoned.Their adrenaline was rushing, they believed in the cause and therefore off the boys, men and soldiers headed to a war which was too hungry for human flesh. When over, it was more a feeling of chaos and loss, because so much of what was accomplished was hidden beneath the dirty, tired surface.

I enjoyed the humanness attached the the civil war, that Jones was able to put faces and feelings while not neglecting the dates and facts. I was captured by the families involved and the outcome and affect of the war on their lives as individuals, as families. However, to me the way it was written was too predictable, I know that we all know the outcome, but I am talking about a dullness in the writing, or more a lack of details and development. The art was left out of the prose and conversations. I am not sure if this was intentional, but I would have enjoyed a more artistic portrayal. As I said, it could have been intentionally full of very practical speech, and descriptions because of the time which the author is intending to portray. But I could tell the author was more of a historian than a writer, since his dates and battles were described with such care, yet he seemed to struggle through some of deepness and development of characters, causing me to not feel as deeply connected as I could have to each of them. I would recommend it, especially if you are a history buff, or if you enjoy historical novels from the civil war era. It was good, just not as touching as I think it could have been.

*Two Brothers: One North, One South website

Friday, May 23, 2008

two memes: info galore

I've been tagged over at bookworm by julie. You can read her version here.

6 things about me:

1.) I am insanely sporadic. For a while I will read everyday, all the time...'till I hit burn-out. Soon after that craze I will want to knit like craziness, then on to rockclimbing, guitar playing, chicken owning, gardening, blogging and then the cycle will repeat. and repeat.

2.) I grew up in Spain, I loved it...I'd do it all over again. Sometime.

3.) I have dreads, but besides that I try to fit in as much as possible by being as friendly as I can so that people are not scared of me. Especially little old ladies, I go out of my way to help them in any way possible...therefore trying to shatter their stagnant opinions of diversity and differences.

4.) I love animals. I have owned so many different things that I cannot even name them, but I will try: tons of different kinds of fish (but all freshwater), a canary, four lovebirds (oh, I want some again!!), 5 cats, one dog, teems of hamsters (they had babies!), turtle, and my newest acquisition CHICKENS!! I have pics and stuff here.

5.) I try to purchase as much organic as possible, as in I will choose it even if it is much more. I love Saturday markets, and fresh fruit stands. Eventually I would love to live in the country, free and off the grid...but probably we won't go that far...but I really love this house(low impact woodland home) to do that in. Or a yurt!

6.) At our house, we are vegetarians. I don't cook meat, but I never refuse it at someone else's house, that is my role as a greatful guest....and the reason I did not become a veggie much sooner. I hate people feeling the need to cater to us. My sons don't even know we are vegetarians, and yes they can order meat at restaurants.

If you have questions about these answers...let me know. I'd love to tell you about it.

123 meme:

(sorry, I am cheating...hope it is okay. I had done this before, so I am re-using my answer)

  • Pick up the nearest book. (I’m sure you must have one nearby.)
  • Turn to page 123.
  • What is the first sentence on the page?
  • The last sentence on the page?
  • Now . . . connect them together….
    (And no, you may not transcribe the entire page of the book–that’s cheating!)
A: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
first: I went to the kitchen and washed my glass.

last: "He's got nothing to do with me. He can become a diet member or an astronaut, for all I care."

So for all of you BTT readers out there....I am going to connect the sentences together by writing my own story, yes , this is not part of the book (only the bold is on the actual p 123 of the book) Check it out!

I went to the Kitchen and washed my glass. While doing this chore I could hear her in the
background. I am amazed by her unceasing. I raised my eyebrows to myself, and smiled a sad, sad smile. It isn't that she only did it at times, it was a continuous flow of jabber that I soon would not be able to bear even with my newly installed flesh-tone earplugs. Life has changed, it was not this way when we were married, we used to lust after one another with our eyes fixed, we used to take turns, we used to care. I remember thinking, "how did I know to choose so well? How did she?" Now she is unceasing and I am constantly waiting, just only for one thing: that she would cease. That she would give up and let me say only one word. I know, that may not last me forever, but it would buy me some good time.

I don't think she even believes that I am still here, I am uncertain as to where I would go, but I am sure she has come up with many exciting ideas, ideas much better than our current reality. Maybe she doesn't even think of me anymore. Life should be better. I will just say what I want to, so that she cannot forget that I am here, I will be here, I have chosen to belong to her and her to me until death do us part, right? Well the death has not yet taken place, so I must exist here with her. This is what I am thinking when I burst into my wives unceasing conversation with herself only to say:
"He's got nothing to do with me. He can become a diet member or an astronaut, for all I care." And then I wonder why that is what I waited so long to say.

OH, so now I need to tag people!!!
I tag, Madeleine, Mrs. B, Corinne, Ramya!!!! And if you want to YOU are tagged too!

Invasion of the Bible Thumpers

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Title:Invasion of the Bible Thumpers
Author: Skookum Maguire
Publisher: iUniverse
Publisher Address: 2021 Pine lake Road, Suite 100, Lincoln, NE 68512
ISBN: 978-0-595-44814-2, Price $11.95 Publication Date: 2007
Reviewed by Bethany L. Canfield for Reader Views (5/08)
Yearly Count: 27

Jammed tight from cover-to-cover with loggers, lumberjacks, crew workers and big-butt waitresses ,is "Invasion of the Bible Thumpers" by Skookum Maguire. A story it has about life and country-folk, that will almost get you dirty and able to smell the rain and pine just by opening the book. Nine short stories of lives that are lived, dreams that fall apart, and antics that will kill you, they are fun to read and learn from. The voice of Maguire is stout and rich in quality, that is also a treat. Each story was deep, and engulfing yet when the last page of the the book was done the short stories came together as a joined unit. Nothing is given freely, the characters have a common thread of grit, dirt and crudeness to them. The harsh reality is what is lived, and they would die to keep it that way. Each story is incredible and endearing in its own way, but the theme: live your life, you won't get another screams like a hard-core rockstar. The life that is hard-lived is the life of quality, yet it is not a life that is given, but one that must be fought for.

Enjoyable, down-to-earth and honest, the "Invasion of the Bible Thumpers" is one that once picked up, dived in to and pages are turned, the reader will not want to abandon it part way. The stories that stayed with me were: A Time for Mourning, Newspapers and Invasion of the Bible Thumpers. Maguire does an exceptional job of portraying the loggers, construction workers, and down-to-earth Oregonians and I should know since I am a true North westerner myself, with grandparents on both sides being loggers and farmers of this sweet, wet land.

The one thing that was difficult was that the rest of the stories (besides the three mentioned above) really did not stand out significantly. I enjoyed them, but Maguire's characters became too similar, too generic. A book of short stories to me is about variety, diversity, switching-it-up and the ability to go deep fast and keep the reader there too. The three stories I mentioned above were like that for me, but the rest seemed weak, and I did not develop that deep interest in the people whom the story was about. Almost like I was reading a story about an extra in a movie and the action was really somewhere off to the right or left. The book was good, and the stories that I enjoyed I really enjoyed, the others were just nothing extra-ordinary. I would recommend the book, especially to people I know from the grand 'ol Pacific Northwest just based on the stories that I did like. So over all, it was good not great.

classics meme!!!

I am really excited about the Classics Challenge that Trish is hosting, here is a meme she gave us to wet out appetites!!!

1. My favorite classic is: (here is what I think they are..some you may not consider classics though...) Uncle Tom's Cabin Beecher-Stowe(had a huge impact on my when I was little, woke me up to slavery) Washington Square, Henry James(fun to read, it is short and interesting), Tale of Two Cities by Dickens (I loved the way it was written).

2. The classic I had the toughest time finishing is ANNA KARENINA!!!!! no question. long, borring, amoral....horrid.

3. I would recommend Franny and Zooey, or Nine Stories by JD Salinger to someone who doesn't read a lot of classics or who doesn't generally like classics because it is different, the style is fun and the themes are deep and captivating.

4. To me, a classic book is a book which has been around or will be around...both!

5. The type of relationship I have with classics is shaky...they scare me, but when I read them I realize they are not so bad (most of the time).

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Writing Circle by Rozena Maart

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Title: The Writing Circle
Author: Rozena Maart
Publisher: TSAR
Pages: 199
Awards: Journey Prize
Yearly Count: 25

The Writing Circle is a group of five women who live in Cape Town, South Africa and gather every Friday as a group of women, looking for the strength that in their community only comes from unity and protecting each other. A place where they who cannot trust are surrounded by each other, therefore embracing their loss, and while participating gain the friendships they hold. Healing comes to a halt one night as the rest of the women are gathered together, one of the circle members Isabel, is late, they start without her, and she is raped in her car in front of her very own house. The members of the group hear a gunshot, and from that moment the question will be: can they survive this common scab being scratched and picked at, or will the pressure and soreness cause hatred from within the group?

Maart leads the reader though that night and the following days. This was a group of women, united through experience, yet different in most everything else, who are filled with a desire to live their lives, and hope for a future that is better than their past. The Writing Circle cries out for women all over, but especially in places where they are not allowed to speak out on their own. Rozena Maart brings up difficult subject matters facing her nation today, the ramifications of apartheid, racism and segregation, rape, incest and calls forth life into the souls of these raped and silenced women, she gives a voice to the women of the world whose lives parallel the women of The Writing Circle, but have not had the chance to let it off their shoulders.

It is easy to hear that Maart's every desire is for the people of her nation, and others like it around the world, to open closed ears stunned by an ugly tradition. That all people of all races would listen to the cries of women and girls and to heed the suffering that surrounds them is real and needs attention. The dark and horrid secrets of uncles, fathers, and husbands shriek out from Rozena Maart's The Writing Circle.

This book is a novel, but it is not based on fiction, but fact, as South Africa is one of the nations with the highest number of reported rapes (and estimated 500,000 cases of rape every year!) The law pass system, is one that becomes a breeding venue for rape and incest. The men are removed from the homes, placed in hostel like locations in the city thus leaving families unprotected in the country. Before that apartheid. Those in power feel the freedom to do as they please with their supposed inferiors. When those angry, powerless inferiors became free...things did not improve in the aspect of women's voice.

Hope returns, it always does. Dark days turn bright, and South Africa has begun taking steps of action against this problem. Good things are on their way!

If you are interested in articles on the situation in South Africa:
South Africa Begins Getting Tough on Rape
Tackling South Africa's Rape Culture
Rape Survivor Journal- Rape Stats for South Africa and Worldwide

The Writing Circle:
Reviews of The Writing Circle on TSAR Publications

Sunday, May 18, 2008

sunday salon, hammock weather!

Happy SUNDAY!!!

Yeah, this was a good one, it is horridly hot here (but I am a heat weenie) so I got to sit around and do nothing. Yesterday I finished The Writing Circle by Rozena Maart, and along with working on The Orchid Thief,and Portrait of a Lady for my book clubs...I am now reading Two Brothers as well.

When it is hot like this I have a wonderful spot to read, while my little boys play outside. A Mexican Hammock! It is large enough for out entire family to lay in, but I prefer if it is just me (it gets so wiggly when it is more than that!!ha!) I lounge and read, how much better could life be..well I guess a nice cold glass of iced tea to go with that.

So I just started Two Brothers:One North, One South and I am starting to get into it, I am only on page 19 or so. I LOVED The Writing Circle though, it was an EXCELLENT book about women in South Africa and the issues that they are faced with, in the book are hard to read, but give you a glimpse into a different life. I will write a review tonight I hope. (if I can get my butt out of the hammock!)
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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Orbis Terrarum Group Travels (thus far)!

Look at all of us...reading, and reading away. Here is what we have done so far, keep up the traveling and remember to post to the link and the country name! WOW, you guys and gals are great!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Orbis Terrarum Group Travels!

I'm going to do a map update today or tomorrow for the Orbis Terrarum group travels. If you haven't put your links on the Orbis Terrarum link post, then do so (then your competed journeys will be on our group map!!!). Here is the link to go there: Orbis Terrarum travel links

If you are confused as to how to enter in the link here is what you do: click on the title in your blog for the review (not your header, but the blog post title) if you have a PC then left click and go to something like: copy link location. On a MAC hold down control+click to see the menu, go to copy link location. Then go to our travels post (link above) and paste your link into there. In your title please include the country this book is from, your name, you can include the book title if you want.

Yah! Way to go far we have taken 58 journeys around our world!


btt button

Following up last week’s question about reading writing/grammar guides, this week, we’re expanding the question….

Scenario: You’ve just bought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not?

Do you ever read manuals?

Yes, almost always actually. I read instructions for putting bookshelves together, and that way I get it right on the first try. I don't have the time or patience to waste on figuring things out. If it is something like a TV or a DVD player or a computer...I don't. Those are easy to figure out for me.

How-to books?

yes, right now I am reading one on chickens, actually two. I have "Living With Chickens" and another one too. I enjoy knowing about things that I am interested in, but when I move on to something else then I will read about that until I am sick of it too.

Self-help guides?

not so much.

Anything at all?

well, I am not one of those people who will read anything that is before them, just to be reading....nope. I sit and think mostly, especially while eating breakfast. It is too early for my eyes, and for sure for my mind!

That is the way I am! What do you do?

Monday, May 12, 2008

i love dirt

Title: i love dirt
Author: Jennifer Ward
Pages: 153
Publisher: Trumpeter (Shambhala Publications)
Yearly Count: 24

Dirt, leaves, worms, bugs, stars, raindrops and watching trees grow...all that fills i love dirt to capacity with 52 activities for parents and kids to do together. If I read thorough a book and can't help but dog-ear the pages I know it is a great one. i love dirt by Jennifer Ward is a book about kids, and exposing them to the nature and outdoors while siultaneously leaning of the wonderful nature of earth science. From bugs, to leaves, from trees to snowmen this is a book to enjoy through all the seasons. i love dirt is divided up into activities that would work best in the seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter so that children and adults can observe and enjoy every new stage as it comes and admire what is different and beautiful about them.

i love dirt is Jennifer Ward's antidote to the current situation of "nature deficit" that children are experiencing. The generations previous to this one relied on nature. Our schools were even let out and in during the communities harvest time, and daylight savings time was initially agreed upon because of the impact another hour of light could do in the farmer's life. It was not all working outside, but also the playing in nature and with nature that was important. Participating in such activities as picnics, mid-afternoon fishing trips, laying under the sky's blanket to see just one shooting star, and the amazing world of mud pie making! To go outside and play, to put on rain gear and jump in puddles, or camp outside in the backyard on a warm summer night, or to explore the woods and make a fort these need not be things of the past. Outdoor activities are a learning and teaching experience that if neglected will fill our nation with a bunch of kids who can learn through books, but not from the beauty that surrounds them. Weather in the city, or country there are opportunities in i love dirt to get down and dirty and feel the particles of nature on your skin.

I personally loved this book so much, seriously does it get any better than a book that discusses all the fun things you can do to learn about nature and the processes that engulf us humans? Each section of the book, each activity has a short (kid friendly) explanation of the activity and its importance and a Help Me Understand question and answer as well. Here are some Q and A examples:

Q: What is Dirt?
A: Dirt is a mixture of all kinds of things: broken rock and stones, minerals and organic matter such as broken down bits of plants. (p.44)

Q: What makes new plants sprout in the spring?
A: They get more sunlight than they were getting in the winter. In the spring, the days get longer, brighter and warmer. These things help new plants to grow. (p.4)

There are so many more tid-bit facts of things every child asks, or at least mine do! I have decided to use this book for our outdoor explorations. I am very impressed with Jennifer Ward and i love dirt, too! This would not just be a great book to use for parents, but also for grandparents, and teachers as well. I am going to use this book for our science course when we begin homeschooling next year. To be honest though, it is all but burning though my hands, and since it is spring right now, I really see no need to wait...we're going to dive into this one with rubber boots, or barefoot! For when nature calls, we listen!

i love dirt is ON SALE tomorrow, may 13th!
here is link to i love dirt on

Jennifer Ward has written many children's books, check out her website here: Jennifer Ward, Award winning author of wildly fun books