Thursday, September 27, 2012

"These is My Words:The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 Arizona Territories" by Nancy E. Turner

"These is My Words" is about a woman's experiences working and living in the Arizona Territories when the West was still wild. This is my second time reading this book. I loved it the first time and really wanted to share it with my current book club. I wanted to go back and read it to refresh my memory. It's funny the things you forget when you read something a second time around. :) I still loved it, but I forgot all of the parts where someone was raped or about to be or some love scenes. Oops. They weren't explicit at all, but the group that I am in is just a bit conservative about stuff so I was wondering how they would feel about some of it. It didn't bother them as much as I thought it would. :)

One of the girls in book club did say she didn't like the format because it's written like a journal. So, if you didn't catch it from the title, this is in diary format. In case diary/journal style writing isn't up your alley. :)  I like reading books written in this style. It makes it seem more personal; like you're getting to see everything- the good, the bad and the ugly. And even though Sarah's time was way before my own, I feel a connection with her when she describes her happiness, her dreams, her rebellious thoughts and even her grief.

There are parts in the book that will make you laugh and parts that will make you cry. I think the combination of the two make for a great book.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief" by Ryan Riordan

My library now offers an audiobook/ebook service called Overdrive.  The selection is still small-ish.  I mean, there are probably a few thousand titles available to check out, but whenever I enter a title of a specific book I'm interested in, it's usually not in the database.  However, I think they add new titles each month, and they do have a few titles I've been interested in.  When I found the Percy Jackson books on there, I was excited, because I have a lot of friends who have recommended those. It's really great to download a book on my computer, which remains there for 2 weeks (after that it's automatically checked in and disappears, but is easily re-checked out).  I can take my lap top anywhere, even if there's no WIFI, and read my book.  Yes, my computer is bigger than a book, but I still think it's stinking awesome.

I saw the Percy Jackson movie before I read the book.  When I told Micaela about the movie she said the book was way better.  I'll have to take her word for it, because as I read the book, very few details of the movie surfaced in my memory.

I love YA literature, but Percy Jackson is written for a younger audience than I'm accustomed to reading.  So it's simple.  But I still really like the story, and I like that I'm learning Greek mythology withing being bored to death.  I think in a couple of years my oldest daughter would love to read these.

I'm on to book two already, "Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters."  Liking it, folks, I'm liking it.  I don't know if I'll write a review for every single Percy Jackson book I read, unless I come across something that totally knocks me off my feet.  Or maybe I'll just say, "Hey, I finished another Percy Jackson book."  Because that's the main reason I started this blog, was to keep track of what I read.

Because I'm too lazy to update my sidebar today, we're finished with "Robinson Crusoe" and now reading "These Is My Words."  Which, coincidentally, is one of Micaela's favorite books.  It is also one of my new favorite books.  Micaela has started an entry on it, but hasn't finished and published yet.  And I don't know if I'll keep the Newbery books up on the sidebar, because I'm more interested in reading the biographies right now.  I borrowed "Driven" by Larry H. Miller from a book club friend.  When I finish "Words" (for the second time) I'll dive into "Driven."  But I'm still reading Percy Jackson.

Is it normal for someone to be reading 2 or 3 books at a time?

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe

Book club is tomorrow, so I didn't finish this book with much time to spare!  I would never have pulled it off if I hadn't listened to the CDs.  If I were reading a hard copy, it would have taken me a loooooong time.  I think I enjoyed it more as I listened to it than I would have if I read it. It's long, it's old, it's wordy.  But I liked the grandfatherly voice telling me the story.

I didn't know this was one of the oldest books printed in the English language, so that made it more interesting for me to read.  I mean, this book is nearly 300 years old!  There are not many books that old that people still read and know the general story line.  Another thing I didn't know what how religious this book was.  It accounts Crusoe's sins and conversion to Christianity, and the character elaborates in great detail his feelings on repentance and providence.  One negative to listening to this book than reading it was I missed out on noting all the quotes or passages that moved or inspired me.  There are two that I manage to remember:

"I have...often observed, how incongruous and irrational the common temper of mankind is, especially of youth, that reason which ought to guide them in such cases, [namely] that they are not ashamed to skin, and yet are ashamed to repent; not ashamed of the action which they ought justly to be esteemed fools, but are ashamed of the returning, which only can make them be esteemed wise men." 

"It is never too late to be wise."

There were parts of the book that rankled, but they couldn't be helped.  If you consider when the book was written compared to the modern era we live in, there are just simply going to be points that will be perceived as politically incorrect.  First, the treatment of animals.  I am NOT an animal activist.  I don't like cats and dogs.  My family maintains a small fish tank and my children understand that is the extent of pet ownership we'll ever reach in this home.  But when they kill the lion but refuse to eat the meat, or tease then shoot the bear, these were both senseless and unwarranted instances of animal abuse.  (I have to keep telling myself it's just a story and not take it too seriously.)  I was also frustrated that Friday talked about the bears on his homeland of Trinidad.  I'm not an island girl, but my instinct told me bears do not reside in the Caribbean.  I did several online searches about the wildlife in Trinidad and nowhere did I find bears listed as natural inhabitants of that island.  I also asked my husband, who lived in Jamaica for two years, if there were bears in the Caribbean and he was fairly certain there were not.  And after the instances of animal abuse and incorrect accounts of island wildlife, I didn't like that once Friday was rescued by Crusoe, Friday instantly submitted himself to a Master.  I didn't like Crusoe automatically presuming ownership of another man, which Europeans seemed so fond of doing to less-developed civilizations.  But, that's just a reflection of the era in which the book was written and the world Defoe knew.

All in all, I did enjoy the core of the book, which is Robinson understanding his dependence on God.  No one sat there and told him God saved him and providence supplied his safety and needs, but he learned it himself through his own survival and began to see God's instructing Robinson in His own manner and methods.

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Crossed" by Ally Condie

"Crossed" is the sequel to "Matched."  I had heard most readers didn't like it as much as the first.  I enjoyed it very much, however, not as much as the first.  There were some parts where the transition of certain ideas didn't flow smoothly and I had to skip back to re-listen to certain passages so I could catch up to what was going on in the story.

 There was one slightly bigger thing that bothered me. There are four groups addressed in the book:  the Society, the Rising, the Farmers, and the Enemy.  But the Enemy is only referenced to, it's never explored.  The characters take for granted the Enemy is who the Society and Farmers say it is, and there is not much information to go off of aside from the fact the Enemy exists and shoots at certain groups from time to time.  I'm just hoping the question of the Enemy is answered in "Reached" (released November 13, 2012).

I liked the introduction of a few new characters, and I hope some them carry on into the next book.  "Crossed" was written from the duel perspectives of Ky and Cassia, and part of me wonders if "Reached" will alternate between Ky, Cassia, and Xander.

I'm really looking forward to "Reached" and need to be sure my library has a purchase order in for it.  Two months isn't too long to wait!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Go Forward with Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley" by Sheri L. Dew

Book two in my series of biography reading.  For now, it just makes sense to keep going with the prophets of the LDS church, though I do want to branch out and read other biographies.  I got the CDs from my library, and when I went to load them onto iTunes I discovered I had the abridged version of the book.  Abridged!!!  I was upset, but I knew they library didn't have the full book on audio and I didn't want to wait another week to get it started by requesting it via inter-library loan, so I proceeded.  When I listened to Pres. Monson's biography, I loved all the little tidbits of history included in his story.  I was afraid of being disappointed by Pres. Hinckley's book with only the most significant events touched upon, but I wasn't.  Gordon B. Hinckley was my prophet, at least the prophet of my youth.  I remember the day President Hunter died; I was in 8th grade and it was announced over the loud speaker in my junior high (chalk one up to 'things that would only happen in Utah county').  I was sitting in my natural sciences class.  I remember the press conference a week later with Pres. Hinckley, Pres. Monson, and Pres. Faust.  Pres. Hinckley conducted the temple dedication session I attended when I was 16 at the Mt. Timpanogos Temple.  He was always the voice of comfort and guidance through my teen and young adult years.  I remember exactly where I was when news of his death reached me four years ago--I was about 5 months pregnant with my third child and I was reading in my bathtub.  I remember it was late in the evening when the phone began ringing.  Derek came into the bathroom to tell me President Hinckley had passed away.  I felt as if the air had been knocked out of me, and I mourned the loss of my leader.  I loved listening to the stories in Dew's book because I had many memories of the events described in the later years.  More than once, tears swelled in my eyes because the Spirit spoke to my heart in testimony that this man was the Lord's prophet on the earth during those many years, and the work he did in service to his God and the members of the church was truly great.  What Pres. Hinckley did with temples over the earth was truly a blessing to all members of the church.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I was born and raised in this beautiful gospel as has my ancestry for several generations.  I love the Gospel of Peace and our Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness for His children.