Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bitter Sweets

Title: Bitter Sweets
Author: Roopa Farooki
Pages: 372
Genre:International Fiction
yearly count: 7

A tale of a family who's only facts are interwoven with deceit and false pretensions. Starting out with the lies told in order to become an actress, the grandmother in this story filles her lips with words that are not true in order to capture he ticket out of the country. Once this one ancestor allows lies to be such a central aspect of her life, she not only impacts her own life, but the life of her deceived husband and passes it on in different forms to the generations that follow. A history of falseness is all that the future generations have to live up to. Love, loss, change and growth are themes of Roopa Farooki's Bitter Sweets novel. A family's story through three generations of learned deception and what it takes to break free from the expectation to cover-up and pretend-- to lie.

No matter how much lying the characters are doing to eachother, the truth stood stronger and spoke louder than any lie. This was a great interesting, fun read and was so good. I have read some reviews that said it was superficial, I don't agree. I felt the author did an excellent work with her characters, settings and working in beautiful and timeless themes. This is the story of an Indian family, that is split between two nations but could be the story of so many as the daily lives they lead are very easy to relate to. I did enjoy this book throughly.

Roopa Farooki brings up questions of love, true love and arraigned marriages, however in this book truth is the strongest theme. Where would your family be without truth? She brings up and interesting concept, that truth can sometimes be told at the expense of hurting our loved one only to selfishly clear our own conscience. I loved reading Bitter Sweets, it was interesting to see how things took place.

What do you think? Is it truth at all costs or does it depend? It seems to me that truth may hurt for an instant, but mending is on its way....while lies form a web of guilt and pain that smothers love. What are your thoughts? Farooki portrays the Indian culture as valuing appearance over honesty, I would say the same is true in many parts of America (if not all). What do you think, does our culture value appearance over truth? Which wins here politeness or honesty?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Feather Man

Cover Image: Feather Man

I started this last night, with every intention of reading it the whole way through. I have actually been looking forward to getting to it and thought that I could skim over the sexual abuse scene. I won't. I didn't make any new year's resolutions, but I have decided that I just can't handle certain things, child sexual abuse is the biggest one for me. I just can't read about it. I think it is because I now have children and it just is wrong for me to seed fear in my life.

I will say that this book is really well written, really so well written that I so longed to just be able to skim the abuse, but I can't it is too much for me. I would love to send this book on to someone who would read and review it. As I feel that it does serve a purpose, and a good purpose. I do want a review though, so if you are going to just put this on your shelf, please don't contact me about it. I got this from LiteraryVenturesFund and really do believe in what they are doing and want to have this book reviewed somewhere.

If you are interested in my proposal, comment below and I will select one of you to send this book to. I will not do a random selection on this drawing, I will choose one of you to do it.

Edited to include some book information (thanks ramya!!)

Book Description (from Literary Ventures Fund):

Set in Brisbane, Australia, during the stultifying 1950s, and moving to the grubby London of the 1970s, Feather Man is about Sooky, who, ignored by her parents, is encouraged to make herself scarce and visit Lionel, the farmer next door—there, an incident will take place that will impact the rest of her life.

Against the backdrop of rural Australia and the London art world, McMaster meticulously paints the landscapes of Sooky's internal and external worlds through a narrator that brings to mind Scout of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Following Sooky from her neglected childhood to womanhood and her entry into the art world, the book combines comedy with emotional intensity. When Sooky's attraction to Redmond leads her to London, her past follows her into the future in a deadly confrontation.

  • A Pick of the week at (The Boston Globe)
  • A September Indie Next List pick from the American Booksellers Association
  • Winner, the Barbara Jefferis Literary Award
  • Winner, University of Technology, Sydney, Glenda Adams Award for New Writing
  • Short-listed for the Australian Literary Society's Gold Medal Award

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Home Girl

Title: Home Girl: Building a Dream House on a Lawless Block
Author: Judith Matloff
Pages: 290
Genre: Memoir, Travel, Home Repair, Urban Living
Yearly Count:6

Starting off as a travel memoir Home Girl really captured my attention in the beginning. Judith is a traveling world journalist who has been at it for 20 years and loves the whole deal. I couldn't help but relate to her gypsyish dreams of travel and adventure. A time comes though, when life's goals change and it is time for Judith to move into the dreams of family, consistency and not living each day in extreme danger. She and her hubby decide to purchase a house. They have no idea that their adventures overseas only were the tip of the iceberg!

I could relate to the desire to travel, to see things, experience and to live all over. Half way into the home-remodel Home Girl just lost interest for me, I tried to enjoy the rest but it was just too much detail on the freaky street that they chose to buy on and not enough about the little details that make the story relatable. I do see though how many others could relate to this story better than I did. After the initial couple chapters I just didn't feel that strong of a connection because she was so much different than me, in a different stage of life and searching for different things.

Why were Judith and her hubby there in the first place? I don't get it. There are so many, SO MANY, much better places to live than across the street of the crack capitol of the whole east coast!!! Seriously, I willed them to move so many times. What would you do if you found out after buying your home that it was the mecca of drugs and dealers??

It was very amusing though, how she and her husband John paid the drug dealers off the streets to help them renovate their home. I found most of those encounters very touching, humorous and to me they seemed pretty realistic. Judith and her husband kept rooting for these guys to get out of their situations, and it showed just how embedded they were that even after being given chances and time they still often felt the need to scurry back to what they knew and where they were comfortable. I get wanting to be someplace familiar, not even caring what it looks like, familiar makes me happy too. I got it.

All in all it was interesting, but not really my type of book, I just couldn't relate. But, if you are middle aged, just settling down, dealing with miscarriages or into remodeling homes...this could be perfect for you!

Have you ever dreamed of living somewhere to move there and find out you just couldn't wait to get out? Did it grow on you or did you flee like cat thrown in water?

Did you read this too?
They did:

Library Queue
Booking Mama

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

awards :)

I am long overdue to thank the gracious people who have given me stuff, and to pass these pretty prizes on. Thank you all soooooo much!!

Premios Dardo Award from Jessi at Casual Dread , Lynda(AKA Holistic Knitter!!) at Lynda's Book Blog, and Save Ophelia, three sweet, and of course great bloggers who were well deserved of these awards themselves!!! Thank you so much!!

This is what Save Ophelia had to say, ain't she a gem?! : bethany of B&b Ex Libris - bethany blogs about books, challenges and posts gorgeous pictures on her blog. Hers is one of the most engaging blogs I’ve encountered. Almost every post has something to help readers de-lurk!

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
My sweetest Veens, who got this award for the being the kindest and friendliest blog buddy is no question mine as well. Every single day she lavishes kindness on me and tons of bloggers is still honeymooning, well actually she doesn't have internet at her new home. I can't wait for you to get back girl!!
She passed it on to me saying:
Bethany - The Most Human Blogger - She reminds me of my social responsibilties, and is such a warm and encouraging soul. I remember, Bethany and J Kaye used to be my first readers.. and they inspired me a LOT! I heart You, Bethany :)

She also gave me this award on the same day!! Seriously is she too generous with me!?! ;)

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

I have been willing this award to be mine for, well since I saw it first. It is so pretty. Last week the amazing blogger Karen of Book Bath unknowingly made me jump up and down when she granted me this stunning award!! THANK YOU!!

Along with the award comes a meme;

7 things I did before

1. Was a hardcore into Kayaking. I was a kayaker!

2. Ate bull testicles (yes, they eat those in Spain...and it is a treat!) YUK!

3. Played the Alto Sax

4. Wanted to join the ARMY

5. Watched McGuiver, The A Team, and The Fresh Prince daily.

6. Journal, I figured I'd want to read it someday...

7. Read

7 things I do now

1. Read

2. Blog

3. Write

4. Clean house

5. Eat Chocolate

6. Love Indian Food

7. Review books

7 things I want to do

1. Travel everywhere.

2. Own a small farm

3. write a novel

4. Have my novel published

5. Read books

6. Enjoy my life daily. (contentedness)

7. give out many Happy Chicken Awards!!

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex

1. Intensity

2. Passionate about something

3. Loyalty

4. Intelligence

5. Nice Hair

6. Strength (mostly inner)

7. Someone who can forgive and allow themselves to be forgiven.

7 Favorite Foods

1. Indian Food: somosas, dal, nan....yum!

2. Thai Food: Yellow Curry, Pad Thai (thai iced tea!!!!!!!)

3. Berries: blueberries, blackberries, marion berries, strawberries.....

4. Chocolate

5. Asian treats: Japanese candy, mochi, sweet cakes....jellies.....yummmm!

6. Comfort food: sticky rice, spanish rice, potatoes, soups, buternut squash...


7 things I Say Most Often

1. Awesome

2. really

3. NO (I have two little kids)

4. So cool!

5. Love you

6. What?

7. Play gently

I am going to pass all these awards on in one lump, so if you are listed below you get all of the awards above:

Veens- I love both of your blogs, you are creative and a very fun and attentive fellow blogger. A joy to have in this community. :) You are sooooo sweet to comment even when I am not so good at getting back to you. You are kind, generous and always thinking of others.

Trish- You post great reviews and then do tons of amazing follow up. I wish I were as good as you at keeping track of my peeps. I enjoy your comments, and as I always mention, you were the one who introduced me to this waky-bloggie world!! It is always fun to see what you are up to next!!

bermudaonion- she is just amazing, she is a super commenter, a super friendly blogger, sweet and all. Her reviews are great and she was even published!!! :)

Claire- I just found out about this blogger....well actually she found me and then we hit it off!! I belive this one is around to stay :) She does great reviews, and has a personal blog with amazing pictures and fun stuff as well. Yay!! I love finding new buddies!!

S. Krishna- I always wish out paths crossed more often because I love visiting her blog and seeing what she has to say about things. A while (long while now) back she posted wedding pictures that are gorgeous, as is she.

online book club: The Book Thief

Hey everyone,
I am going to read The Book Thief this month (and probably a little of next month) for my online international book club!! Everyone is welcome, so if you are interested in reading this book along with us this month (Jan-Feb) then hop on board. I have heard nothing but good stuff about this book and can't wait to dive in.

Even if you have already read it and would just like to discuss it with us, you are also welcome to do that. I can't wait to rip into this one!

Book Club, where all the action is at: Travel the World (from a comfy chair)
You will need to sign up with book blogs, but there is so much cool stuff going on there that you will certainly not regret it. Come join us!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Moment of Truth in Iraq

Title: Moment of Truth in Iraq
Author: Michael Yon
Pages: 256
Genre: Memoir, War
Yearly Count: 5

Michael Yon is a journalist, who since 2004 has chosen to report on the situation in Iraq first hand, yep over in Iraq. He isn't allowed to carry a gun, but goes out on missions, watches, encourages, and reports about what is going on, what he is seeing and does so with such excellence that after finishing the novel I was left speechless. I have started and deleted my review for this book almost ten times.

This is the only book I have purchased for myself in over a year. Does that say enough? I don't think it does. I have dreads, I am a vegetarian, I go hiking for fun and I live in Oregon and I loved this book, maybe that is what I am trying to make sure is understood. My brother is in the Army, he has been an enlisted man for almost 10 years. He has a family, a wife and two kids, he was in Iraq for over 16 months recently. He was injured in Iraq, he received a purple heart, he doesn't like to be called a hero, he says he isn't one, he is a guy doing his job.

I have cried when I think about what he has given up, the time that has lost with his family the worry his wife has endured, but he has told me before that he doesn't think of it that way. He saw the Iraqis, he saw the people there he saw changes, he saw what most journalists aren't there to report on, the victories.

Michael Yon is there, he is side by side with these heroes who are too humble to think of themselves that way. For them that word, hero conjures up images, images of a men they admire but not themselves. Yon was out there when my little brother was fighting with Operation Arrowhead Ripper.Unknowingly I picked up a copy of this book and asked my brother if he had heard of this guy, he said he didn't know but then I jokingly said, "look at the picture, you might recognize him!" he looked at the jacket flap and did!

I have come to admire Michael Yon in many ways, but the most important to me right now are that he is an insane brave man, and his objectiveness, sure he is over there with these guys, but I saw that he didn't speak all about the good things, he covered the losses and the wrong choices being made. Yes, even if they were being made by the leadership of the army, even if it didn't make the army look good, his honest voice was what I admired the most. Tell me what it was like, what you saw, that is what I want to know!!!

This review could go on for a day and a half, and I have quotes underlined that could go on for longer, but I'll stop. It was good, I loved it. More than anything I have heard, read or seen has given me a much fuller perception of the current situation in Iraq. I would recommend Moment of Truth in Iraq to everyone, but in a big way to those who just want to know what is going on over there. I have never felt a portrayal to be more ballanced than this one by Michael Yon. I recommend this book with no reservations, and in case you were wondering....yes of course it got my happy chicken award!

Michael Yon's Online Magazine (blog)

sunday salon- reading and the like (oh, and a giveaway)


This challenge just finished up for this year, but it will start up again in March!
And The Orbis Terrarum Challenge just earned itself its very own blog!
Oh, and I need help....if any of you who did the challenge this year want to step on over and see what you think of the new mini-challenges that would be so cool. I would love advice on those. On everything really!! Head over and make sure to leave a comment or two.

I just finished A Moment of Truth in Iraq by Michael was an AMAZING book. I will have my review up this week, I can't stop thinking about it.

I did a post about me, yes I did it so as to have an about me section and so I wrote up a autobiographical type post in which you can get to know me a little better.

Be sure to comment to enter my giveaway for Love and Other Natural Disasters

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Send me your addies!! Orbis Terrarum Prize Winners!

Orbis Terarum WINNERS!!!

1. raidergirl3
2. Corinne
3. Tricia
4. Myrthe
5. Veens
6. Katrina
7. Pratima

8. Richard (R-Lo)
9. Tammy
10. 3M
11. Trish
12. Ramya
13. Mrs. B.

14. Lynda
15. beastmomma

15 of you finished!!! 15 of you win bookie gifties for completing the OT challenge and being such great folks the whole way through :)

Please send me your addresses, pretty please. (by clicking on the email me tab under my header)

I need all the addresses by the 20th!! I am sending stuff on the 21st.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Orbis Terrarum Earns its own BLOG!!


The Orbis Terrarum Challenge just earned itself its very own blog! Yes, it was mostly that I sat down to work on links tonight to get all of your reviews in order by country and guess what!?! Mr. Linky is down. I decided since it was on my mind, why not do OT stuff anyway. So you have to head over!!! I will have Mr. Linkys up there soon.

Oh, and I need help....if any of you who did the challenge this year want to step on over and see what you think of the new mini-challenges that would be so cool. I would love advice on those. On everything really!! Head over and make sure to leave a comment or two.

You can get to it from now on by clicking on the Orbis Terrarum Tab above or going here. enjoy!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Love and Other Natural Disasters

Title: Love and Other Natural Disasters
Author: Holly Shumas
Pages: 352
Genre: fiction, family relationships
Yearly Count: 4

Eve, a pregnant wife and mother. She never sees that her life could change from its suburbia, soccer mom state to what she grew up with, father figures who weren't right, a mom who wavered and a family that was being torn apart.

Her husband's emotional affair bubbled to the surface on Thanksgiving day during their afternoon dinner. From then on it was all downhill. She questions every motive and feeling that Jon (her cheat husband) has ever displayed towards her. Has he ever really loved her at all?

Seriously, what did I think? was kinda like reading a bad dream or a nightmare. I think that may be what the author was aiming for, but it was too much for me. I read it late into the night and then had those scary dreams that start after you have done something horrible and you know it is horrible, but you can't go back and change it. Most of the night I had dreams like that.

To me it seemed that the point Holly Shumas was getting at is that emotional affairs do come with just as many consequences as physical affairs and that our society needs to understand and recognize that. For me though, I believed that already and more than anything now I just get to go though and clear my mind out of all the negativity from Eve and Jon's constant fighting and caos.

I did find the book interesting, I did. It was almost like that TV show that you know you should just quit but you can't because you want to know how they end up. It was too much emotional trauma for me to handle. I live the books I read and because of that I need to be careful with what I read, this was not a great choice for me. All that said, it was intriguing, interesting and suspenseful. I thought that it was well written and insightful as well, now I know more than ever before....that I don't want to ever go there, and that it is much easier than you think to make some poor choices that will impact your whole family.

What about you, are you like me? Do you live the books that you read, feel the pains the hurts deeply or do you just read? I am sure there is a wide range of people out there...I am very empathetic and I literally feel it. Are there some books that you try to stay away from because they are too hard for you?

Would you like to win a copy? Comment on this post by midnight on the 24th of January and you'll be entered.
Only US and Canada residents please, and no PO boxes. Thank you :)

Author blog: Holly Shumas Musings

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

prizes for everyone!!!


Yes, but not just anyone....but yes everyone who has completed the Orbis Terrarum Challenge and does their wrap up post!!

Beastmomma, the insanely-cool-supa-woman from life from the belly of the beast has offered to help really make this conclusion a blast! She is offering to supplement my prizes, and had the idea to send a bookie prize to every single one of you who has completed the challenge and who does the wrap up post.

You still have time! If you need to finish a book, do it! If you need to write answers to my silly it! You have until midnight on the 15th, which is tomorrow to complete the challenge, the wrap up post, and adding your link to Mr. linky. You can do it! :) Good luck folks.

The bookie prizes will consist of books (of course), bookends, baskets for books, cookbooks...keep in mind that some items will be in gently used condition, and if that bugs you you don't need to participate if you don't want to.

Here is what your wrap up post needs to include
Here is where you can see some of the prizes I am offering

You must put the link to your wrap up post on my sweet Mr. Linky to be included in this prize fest!!!

PS if anyone else is feeling generous and wants to add in some prizes to winners...send me an email and you are certainly welcome to help!! :)

raidergirl has added to the prize loot:
"In the Country of Men" by Hisham Matar, set in Libya!

has added
PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern and Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer to the prize bucket as well!!! :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I am bookgirl, or b or bethany. I begged my husband to start this blog with me, and he had (probably still has) every intention of doing the reading but he has come to the conclusion that he is selfish and doesn't want to write makes him think about the reading as homework. He is also in grad school right now and has a full-time job, so I wouldn't call his neglect of B&b ex libris selfishness at all. So, anyway, that is why the blog is called B&b ex libris because he is Brad (B) and I am bethany (b) I liked the title and took it, so now unless a better one comes up I think I'll keep it the way it is. Oh and ex libris means "our library" or "from the libary of" I like it even if he never posts another review, ever.

So, me. I am 28, born in 1980 and have two boys (3 and 5). We'll have more, but that is what we have for now. I graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Spanish and a love of Spanish and English literature. I love the sounds of language, I have studied Japanese, Italian, French and German as well...just a little though. I grew up in Spain, and am therefore blessed by being bilingual since way before I can remember.

I love Jesus and try as hard as I can to follow him daily, while fully knowing I can give nothing and must rely on grace. I am a backyard chicken farmer and really like all types of animals (as long as they have feathers or fur) and would like to own a farm someday. I love photography, painting, drawing and have recently really gotten into knitting, quilting and embroidery. I ran all through highschool, we were good....but it was because we trained like insanity. Now all the physical activity that I do is fun, I play with my kids, run around, be silly and that takes more energy than I have! :) I also can't get enough of rock climbing...more bouldering since I am afraid of heights.

Oh if you want to see more about all my crazy fun life....check out my personal blog: the good.the bad.the ugly. It has tons of recipes, photos, art, kids things, chicken stuff...ya know, whatever I feel like talking about really.

Do you have any questions about me?? Ask away!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

commenting, I suck! talk to me.

I am the most horrid return commenter out there. okay, now it is out in the open! I know you already knew it was true...but I had to confess it. I used to be much better, but now I stink at it. I am not sure what changed for me. I think I decided I was spending too much time at the computer and return commenting went out the window. Do you know what I am talking about when I say return commenting??I am referring to when someone is sweet enough to write a comment on one of your reviews, and then you go visit their blog and return the favor.

Some of you are soooooo good at commenting on my blog, and I am the biggest looser when it comes to following up. I need to learn some tricks of the bloggie world trade. Do you feel someone needs to comment back if you comment on their blog? What if they are like me and they are neglectful, does that make you not comment on their blog anymore? How do you keep up with comments? Do you feel guilty if you haven't return commented?

I guess I first need to figure out what I should be doing, if I should feel bad, or if you all just comment when you feel like it too. Don't get into hate speech because I am the worst return commenter...but I really would like to know what you think should be the general protocol for a delightful comment left on your blog....the comment is there, what do you do next?

Secondly I need to know how the stinking BLANK do you keep up with you commenters, if you do feel it is in good bloggie spirit to return comment!? Do you just do it immediately? At the end of the day? HELP!!!!

Tell it to me strait peoples. I'll do a wrap up post with your opinions on this after I get some god feedback.

PS. I never actually use the word "suck" -just to clarify....but I figured it would get the most attention! I promise never to say it again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A View of Jerusalem

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Title: A View of Jerusalem
Author: Erin Sheely Tolman
Pages: 116
Publisher: worldclay
Genre: Memoir, collection of travel memories
Yearly Count: 3

Erin Sheely Tolman writes with excellence about her time at the BYU Jerusalem Center, in August of 2000. With determination she embarks on a journey to see as much as she can along with 172 other students. So excited is Erin about her new surroundings and the potential adventures lurking behind every corner that she does not see the dangers that are brewing in that part of the world. Will she get to carry her dreams of exploration and adventure all the way through her voyage or will the dark cloud of middle eastern conflict make traveling and touring a feat even too dangerous for Erin Sheely Tolman?

I completely enjoyed A View of Jerusalem, I read it in one sitting and could not get over the beautifully written descriptions of important religious places that Erin traveled to. Her sincerity in the disappointments of being in lockdown for different periods of the trip, as a safety precaution and other joys and sadnesses she endured made the personality burst through. Stunning illustrations by Steven Lee Elgan help depict the places Erin is visiting, and what she is seeing.
The visuals really helped me gain an even deeper understanding than just by words alone.

She not only explains the importance of each of the sites she tours, but she fills the page with more than surface level descriptions. Going beyond the physical experience to retell her personal feelings, what she learned, and how it changed her forever.

Any reader who is a traveler, or a traveler through reading about other peoples voyages will enjoy this read. It is short and very sweet. I understood and could relate on many different levels, I share the desire Erin Tolman does to explore, as well as experience life in its fullest. I get that. I also can relate to being far away from family and feeling blessed by having them, but miss them all the same. If you read this book you are sure to fall in love with Erin Sheely Tolman.

I just had to share some pictures with you that Erin took on her trip, Jerusalem is a place of beauty, romance, and mystery to me. Enjoy her photos:

fire in the old city

the temple mount

galilee at sunset

garden tomb

the western wall

If you could travel to any place in the world where would you go?

[<span class=


To win a copy of A View of Jerusalem head over to The Book Nest. Corinne is giving away copies, for every 20 entries she will add in an extra copy!!! Make sure you don't miss out on this one.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

please, give me some criticism here! (talk to me)

It is the start of a new year, and with it I would like to get rid of what isn't working and hold on to what is, can you help me!?!?! I need your criticism (as well as your loves)!

You all are incredibly sweet and stuff, but I need some help. I would like to make my blog easier to look at, more user friendly and....well just better. I know you all will have different opinions on colour, and design but if I see a trend it would be good to look into that.

I want you to rate me, not really a number...but tell me what you like and what you don't about my blog. I promise that if you are gentle I won't cry!

I will tell you what I would like to do with my blog and you can tell me if I am headed in that direction. I would like to have it be a place where, as much as well all love intelligent book reviews done by professor types, I write in a more human apporoach about the books I am reading. As far as the look goes, I would like it to look slightly professional-ish...but really I am not clean cut and I can't expect that my blog will be.

So click my links take you where you thought they would?? Is my header offensive? (haha, let's hope not!) Did you like it better in my puke green?

bust it out peeps! :)

orbis terrarum final deadline and prizes

The deadline for getting your lists of links and reviews to me is going to be the 15th, that gives you a week. I would love the survey answered, but more than anything I would like you to do a wrap up post with the links to all your OT reviews and paste your post link to the MR. linky here.

Then I will be able to compile a list of all the books that we jointly read and link to all of your reviews!!! Wouldn't that be cool!? Even if you didn't finish the challenge you are welcome to get me your links of the reviews you did complete.

Here are the three prize books:

I just thought of this, since some of you mentioned helping with prizes for next year...if you are interested (no pressure) you could send a well loved book or two on as well this time around. You could just let me know about it and I will post your titles as well, then either you could select your winner or I could and you'd send them out directly to the winner.


Happy reading!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Shack

Title: The Shack/La Cabaña
Author: William P. Young
Genre: fiction, faith
Yearly Count: 2

The Shack is a fiction story that, after a devastating event, takes Mack, the main character into a fantasy-like dream place where he meets God, (or "Papa") the Holy Spirit (or "Sarayu" and Jesus. There he heals, learns from them about the way the world should be and about how he should see the things that happen to him. It is filled with theology, mostly about how to live and his attitudes towards what comes his way.

I went back and forth between listening to this in Spanish and reading it in English. In Spanish it is called La Cabaña. I wish I could say strongly one way or another if I loved or hated it, but to me this book really wasn't either so good I am thrilled by it, or so horrid I want to rag on it. There are some things in it that are a little strange, and for my tastes there was way too much debatage between the characters on different theologies and such. I enjoyed the beginning, the mystery and such, but once he went into the fantasy was just not the same stuff for me.

I didn't think the book was written particularly well, but I decided I would forgive that if it made an earth shattering impact on me. As much as I did learn things from the book, it was not earth shattering enough to move away from the just average writing.

I will say that this book has caused more than its fair share of controversy in my own life, and even the mention of the title can strike up a conversation. I have had two people call me up afterwards apologizing for their drastic/harsh opinions on it (mostly because they were rude in their approach) so I know that it is controversial. The funny thing is that those who haven't read it seem to have the strongest opinions. As in what I was yelled at the first time I mentioned it: " AHHH, that is not a christian book!!!! It contains 13 or 14 counts of HERESY!!!" Seriously, when was the last time you heard the word heresy!?!? yuk. Okay, and that dweeb hadn't even read it, he said that he gathered his information from "snippets" that he saw online. Seriously? ya.

Because of all the strife I have endured for it....I don't think I will try to bring it up in a group of friends, at least not my most opinionated friends until the topic settles a bit. I guess if you are one of those who claims it is heresy, but won't read it, all I can say is that really you should give it a read first. It isn't claiming to be a new add-on to the Bible, or that it is divinely inspired, so chill folks. I think dooming some book and therefore neglecting the little good morsels it contains is really sad, and this book certainly does have some good. Having said that...I still have yet to determine if it is good enough to merit the several hours it takes to read. It was just blah for me.

[<span class=

What did you think about The Shack? Always remember that if you have reviewed it and would like me to link to your review comment a link to me on this post and I will :)

My Antonia The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Title: My Antonia
Author: Willa Cather
Pages: 250
Yearly Count b: 1

Told through the voice of her childhood friend Jim Burden, Antonia becomes a beloved character for what she endures, what she gives out and mostly how she inspires. Antonia is an immigrant girl who moves with her family to the plains of Nebraska. There is so much in this book, people learning to accept immigrants and their customs, people getting along, childhood memories, and yet My Antonia is mostly about a woman, her choices, her value and the endurance of love.

This book has been sitting on my shelf for about a year or so. I needed a change of pace and picked it up, I could smack myself for not doing so sooner. I loved My Antonia. It is hard for me to explain all the reasons, but I know that the most significant was the value of unending love and friendship. Jim holds his love for Antonia for years and years, if not in his day to day life in his memory. The unyielding life that the main characters show and just the nitty-gritty of growing up as pioneers is extremely enchanting.

Technically I read this this year (2009) but I can still say that it is in my top 5 books ever. I tried and failed to find even one imperfection with My Antonia, I am stunned by Willa Cather's ability, she did win the Pulitzer prize and know for sure I will have to grab another of her books soon. My Antonia was simple, beautiful and I enjoyed reading every word.

My Antonia easily earned a Happy Chicken award from me!

[<span class=