Thursday, June 27, 2013

Up and Coming

Hey everyone! I have lots of books I want to talk about, but I know some of you who follow my blog have families and you like to see the up and coming books about family relationships. So, I wanted to let you know my kids will be joining me in the next few months to present their views on a few books we are going to read and implement. (This is a preview of my nonfiction to come - other book postings will be made in between these as well.)

August will bring my review on books with the topic of husbands, those creatures you think are fellow adults, yet you just can't figure out how...featuring 52 Things Husbands Need from Their Wives, by Jay Payleitner and Getting Your Husband to Talk to You, by Bob and Cheryl Moeller.

Also in August, my daughters and I will bring you discussion on Talking with Your Daughter About Best Friends and Mean Girls, by Dannah Gresh. (Who can pass up a book with "Mean Girls" in the title?!)

September brings the new school year and new choices your kids will face as they gain another year of life experience. My daughters will be in 9th and 7th grade this year and we've decided to read A Girl's Guide to Making Really Good Choices, by Elizabeth George.

Likewise, my son, who will be in 3rd grade, has agreed to post with me in October on the new release A Boy's Guide to Making Really Good Choices, by Jim George.

We hope all of our family followers will enjoy the joint effort of these book reviews and find something to use within your families!

But until then, stay tuned for some upcoming fiction, my first genre love!

Oh, and I took this quiz on what kind of reader I am over at Book Bloggers International (take a minute to read through some of the blogs they showcase - this link will take you to BBI's showcase of one of my favorite blogs currently in the spotlight: Jennifer from The Relentless Reader.)

Anyway, the quiz had this to say about me as a reader:

Your responses showed you fitting equally into all four reading personalities:

Involved Reader: You don't just love to read books, you love to read about books. For you, half the fun of reading is the thrill of the chase - discovering new books and authors, and discussing your finds with others. 

Exacting Reader: You love books but you rarely have as much time to read as you'd like - so you're very particular about the books you choose. 

Serial Reader: Once you discover a favorite writer you tend to stick with him/her through thick and thin. 

Eclectic Reader: You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors.

Does this mean I'm the Ultimate Reader?! Haha! That's what I'm going to conclude. Take the quiz - what kind of reader are you?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

An Open Letter


Dearest Book Bloggers, Readers, and Writers:

STOP! My TBR pile has been overwhelming and has to be at least 100 books long (I'm not kidding, I own most of the 100 on the list...maybe I'll leave the list here one day). And you are all making it worse. You need to stop blogging and recommending books. I am too weak to not come read your posts, so you need to just stop making posts!

While at Barnes and Noble tonight, I noticed how deeply you've influenced me. (I'm there most Wednesday evenings, usually just to soak in the atmosphere, so nothing out of the ordinary there.) But it hits me tonight, as I browse the tables in the center aisle, that we are just a bunch of enablers. Yes, fellow book bloggers and readers, you did me in tonight!

True, I started digging myself into a hole when I picked up a copy of Call Me Zelda, by Erika Robuck, and immediately saw the potential in it. Above the author's name it reads "Author of Hemingway's Girl." What?! Two more closer looks into the Jazz Age and its Lost Generation?! So I went searching for that one too. After entering the lives of Zelda and Hemingway in Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, I couldn't pass these up!

Two books, not bad. Quite happy with my find, I returned to my original table, waiting for my husband to wander back my way. Before he does though, I happen across The Paris Wife (this is where you come in fellow bloggers/readers). I have a series of tests through which a book proceeds in order to catch my interest. First off, the title has to catch my notice and interest me. The Paris Wife never did, so I didn't ever pay attention to the numerous times I've heard it mentioned. But, I have time, it's right there, and I know my fellow bloggers loved it. The first thing to pop off the back cover summary is "Lost Generation." The Paris wife refers to Hadley, wife of Ernest Hemingway. Again? Third book I picked up in the whole store tonight and it's on the same wonderful topic? Well, now, my system of testing seems to have failed me this time. 

Ok, common sense says this one had to come home with me. I don't believe in coincidence you know. Resigned to the fate of buying another book (I would never had picked up that book if it hadn't been on all of your blogs and comments!), I turn toward my approaching husband, glimpsing as I turn the title He's Gone, by Deb Caletti. Oh, no, no. This one has been all over the blogs too. I can't...but thinking I'll just refresh my memory, I pick it up to read the summary.

Needless to say, I went home with four books. The only four books I touched the whole time I was there. The last two are totally your fault book bloggers and readers! Shame on you! Lucky for you I have the Educator's Discount at Barnes and Noble. Double lucky is that I had a gift card...and so my Barnes and Noble gift card rule applies. (If I have a gift card, I am allowed to spend double the amount on the card. So for a $25 card, I can spend $50, give or take a little. Don't look for the logic, it's not there.) Triple lucky, my husband is a sucker for a happy me. So I guess you are all off the hook, since all that lucky stuff fell into place. But let this be a warning to you all!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Double Takes


Hello! Anybody home? I'm still here. The school year may have slowed down and ended last week, but summer picked up voraciously. My softball playing daughter has a crack in the growth plate of her heels, putting softball on hold; meanwhile, soccer is picking up for all three of them as softball is ending. My oldest will be a Freshman in high school this year (yikes, but no I don't feel old! I just wonder where the time went), and she will be trying her hand (or I guess, foot) at the high school girls' soccer team in a summer tournament before she commits to the fall season. The week after her games end, my younger two are playing in a local rec league, but are on opposite nights of the week - so Monday through Thursday night soccer games it is. And then there's the other get togethers and commitments along the way. So, there's been no break between the end of school and beginning of summer. But we've got a vacation planned, so it's all good.

Now to the books. I have a few ready for review, but I'm waiting for publication dates so the books are available. Also, I want to combine a few in one post because they have common publishers and/or topics. For now, as I've been reading through my book blog friends' posts, I've seen some titles of books I've read and got to thinking about rereading books. I don't reread books unless I teach them, those I read every year. I have learned first hand that to really know a book, you have to reread it, more than once at that. But I have so many books I want to get to at all, that it seems time wasted to reread. Nevertheless, here are some books I've reread and would read again.

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I first read this classic in American Literature in high school and I now teach it! I have grown more fond of it with each reading. The characterization and those perfectly written phrases make me happy just thinking about them. And yes, I am a fan of the new movie...over the top (in true Gatsby style), just how Gatsby and Fitzgerald would expect.

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
I taught TKM for six years to ninth graders. I've read biographies of Harper Lee and the entwining of the book in her life (my favorite is Mockingbird, by Charles J. Shields). And I wrote a twenty page paper of the book's publication history in grad school. I LOVE this book...I call it the Literary Bible because of the numerous life lessons I've seen with each reading. However, I am not a fan of the movie. Yes, you read that right. While Gregory Peck is the epitome of Atticus (no one could probably come near as good), I think the movie does not hold as close to the book as it should.  Yes, common statement from bibliophiles, but I've done my research on the movie, its production, and have found more than enough information about the unnecessary changes made to the book. (Ironically, Peck was the proponent of the changes...makes my love of him as Atticus bittersweet.)

**Side note: My husband wants a big dog and since I've picked out the last two, it only seems fair. However, I've struck a deal that the dog has to be named Gatsby or Atticus. However, due to my tenuous relationship with Peck, I'm pushing for Gatsby.

Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
I reread this one beginning of this year before I bought the movie. I didn't like the movie at first because I thought its artsy-ness hindered its accessibility to a wider audience. However, after a second watch, I liked it better. Also, I reread it in the best translation for Russian literature: Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I thought it was just me, but a friend reread in this translation too and said it made a huge difference.  I went out and rebought all of my Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in Pevear and Volokhonsky's translation. Which leads me to my next reread...

Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction, by Tom Raabe
The definition of biblioholism on the cover says it all: the habitual longing to purchase, read, store, admire, and consume books in excess. Need I say more? No, but you want to hear more anyway? Sure! Here are some chapter titles: Anatomy of an Addiction (physical symptoms and living environment); Take the Test (even I blushed to see how highly I scored on this test); Variants of the Disease; We Are What We Buy; TheCure (which takes you through every level from abstinence to buy till it hurts).

There are more, but it seems easiest to say that the books I'd reread are Classics (and literary merit - depending on your definition of a classic). There's just something great and timeless about the writing and characters...hence the term Classics. What would you gladly reread?

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Image source:

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review.

The title of this post caught your attention, didn't it? I'm betting I have people reading this post that don't usually read here just because they were curious about the title. (You're here now, you might as well keep reading.) Let's face it, there's nothing people like better than a juicy piece of gossip or the chance to speak their mind completely. I don't think there's anyone who can say they haven't been the giver or receiver of negative words, gossip being only one example of negative speech.

Enter Stopping Words That Hurt, by Dr. Michael Sedler, publication scheduled for July 1, 2013. In this revised edition of his 2001 book Stop the Runaway Conversation, Sedler discusses negative speech, why we do it, how it sneaks up on us, and the consequences of letting our tongues get the best of us. He even discusses a side we don't generally consider: how negative speech affects listeners. Yes, listening is the same as participating and will effect you just as much. Like any of the self improvement books I read, this one is categorized as Christian; therefore, all points Sedler makes are Biblically backed. 

While the book has a big "Ouch" factor (as in, yikes, that's me he's describing), it is most helpful in allowing the reader to realize just how powerful words are. Although gossip is the first form of negative speech that comes to mind, it is not the only form, which the author makes clear as he discusses different problems people struggle with in their speech. So even if you are not a gossip, you can still have a negative speech pattern. Never fear though, Sedler doesn't leave you hanging. The last few chapters discuss how to remedy the problem of negative speech from your life. It's a process and it's expected that we will fall into the cycle of negativity again, but that doesn't mean we can't try to change our patterns.

Personally, this topic is a challenge for me. I don't consider myself an intentional gossip at all, but I call my problem "foot in mouth disease" because I don't always pay attention to what I'm saying, how I'm saying it, and to whom I'm speaking. I am prone to prattle and the more comfortable I am with someone, the worse I get. I made many highlights on my e-version of this book because I plan on revisiting key points in an effort to become a more positive speaking (therefore, life giving) person.