Wednesday, October 29, 2008

T4

Title: T4
Author: Ann Clare LeZotte
Genre: Juvenile, Historical Fiction
Pages:108

Date Finished: 7 October 2008

My Rating: 4 Stars


Told in first person free verse, T4 tells the story of Paula Becker. Deaf since age two Paula has a happy and comfortable life at home, communicating with her family through her own unique sign language. Her life is changed forever when she is forced into hiding due to the Nazis' Action T4 which aims to euthanize the mentally and physically handicapped.

"T4 was run by doctors

Not soldiers

Or the Gestapo,

The secret police.


The directors were
Dr. Philip Bouhler

And Karl Brandt,

Hitler's private physician.


They were not good doctors

Who wanted to help people.

They were under direct orders

To kill the mentally ill

And people with disabilities.


It made no difference to them

If we were children or adults.
It was just a job to them."

The free verse style made this a compelling and moving book. T4 is a great introduction to an often untold episode from the horrific Nazi regime.

"A plaque
commemorating

The victims

of Action T4

Was set in

the pavement

Where the offices

once stood.

The original

building
Had been destroyed

in the war.
Educating

people is

The best tool

we have

Against
forgetting.
We must

make sure

Nothing

like T4

Ever
happens

Again."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Teaser Tuesdays

Today's teaser comes from page 238 of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I actually just finished this book about an hour ago and all I can say right now is wow! I will eventually come up with more to say but for now the book is still sinking in.

"My hatred of the Capitol has not lessened my hatred of my competitors in the least. Especially the Careers."

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

  • Thursday, October 23, 2008

    The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life

    Title: The Prairie Girls Guide to Life
    Author: Jennifer Worick
    Genre: Non-Fiction
    Pages:200
    Date Finished: 30 September 2008
    My Rating: 2 Stars

    Eh, I was just not impressed with this little book. Apparently, the author did not grow up on the prairie or even a farm, although she did live close to her grandparent's farm. She was trying to evoke the feel of women on the prairie while writing about growing up in the Michigan suburbs during the 1970s. It just did not work.
    The book is a hodgepodge of ideas and crafts but none of them seemed especially unique or especially pioneerish. Some sections seemed, I don't know, unnecessary? Like telling me that I need patience and educated guesses to predict the weather and that to go sledding I will need a sled and a hill. You don't say!
    There were 2 or 3 projects that I think I might like to try but I think I will have to turn to another source for better directions because the ones in this book were lacking. I don't think I am going to learn to quilt with only a few pages of instructions. I have had a hankering to try my hand at making some rock candy since I read this, so I guess it was not a complete waste of time.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    The President's House

    Title: The President's House
    Author: Margaret Truman
    Genre: Historical Non-Fiction
    Pages:405
    Date Finished: 30 September 2008
    My Rating:2 Stars

    There is very little historical value to this book. To me this was pure "fluff" history. Too much of Margaret Truman and not enough facts. Because she lived in the White House Margaret Truman must think that makes her a credible source and therefore she did not need to cite one source, make any notes or even include a bibliography. There were direct quotes but no clue as to where they came from. Truman would also occasionally mention a book that someone else has written, even quote from it but not give the title of the book. All of this really irked me and the book lost pretty much all credibility as far as I'm concerned because of it.
    I could have done with out many of Truman's personal observations and feelings as well as her little side comments like this one, "You might be surprised by this, I know I was." I guess this added a conversational tone to the book but I did not care for it. I also think that a good history of the White House should give us a little less of a partisan view than the one Truman gave us.
    Overall, I was not too impressed with this book but there were just enough interesting stories and little bits of trivia to make it worth the time I put into it.

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    The Candy Shop War

    Title: The Candy Shop War
    Author: Brandon Mull
    Genre: Juvenile, Fantasy
    Pages: 409
    Date Finished: 21 Sep 2008
    My Rating: 2 Stars

    I generally don't read read a lot of fantasy or sci-fi books but I am willing to expand my reading horizons when I hear good things about a book or author. I've heard good things about Brandon Mull so I decided to read this book when I saw it at the library. Perhaps this book is an enjoyable book for fans of the genre but for me it fell flat.
    I did think the concept was very creative. Magical candy that can make you fly, jawbreakers that make you unbreakable, a candy war between rival confectioners, it sounded interesting but I found myself bored throughout much of the story. A book that I thought would take me only a day or two to read stretched to four because I was not all that interested in it. Things that bothered me other than being bored? There was a lot of descriptive violence for a Juvenile/Middle Grade reader and in my opinion the group of kids in the story were not to bright. The story just did not come across as believable. I think a good fantasy story should seem believable even if it is not realistic.
    But then again, you can feel free to discount everything I say about it because like I said I am generally not a fan of this genre so I suppose I am difficult to impress.

    Read-a-Thon Wrap Up

    I am kinda slow getting this up. After crashing in the early hours of Sunday morning I was pretty much out of it for the rest of Sunday. I really don't do good without sleep.

    Here is the end of event survey:

    1. Which hour was most daunting for you? 3 am (my time). At 3:00, 8:00 seemed so very far away. I also started thinking about the fact that I had to go to church in the morning and that my husband had places he had to be in the afternoon which meant I had to take care of the kids so no catching up on sleep. I gave up and went to sleep.

    2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I read Savvy by Ingrid Law and it was really interesting and kept me reading despite my sleepiness.

    3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Not really. This was my first time participating and I thought it was great.

    4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? See my last answer. :-) I do want to thank Dewey and all the other hosts and helpers and cheerleaders for doing all this work. I had a lot of fun.

    5. How many books did you read? Finished 2 and started a 3rd.

    6. What were the names of the books you read? Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and Savvy by Ingrid Law. I also started Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange. (That turned out to be a mistake because it was pretty boring and put me to sleep!)

    7. Which book did you enjoy most? Savvy

    8. Which did you enjoy least? Mr. Darcy's Dairy

    9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? N/A

    10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I had a lot of fun and I am kinda disappointed that I gave up and went to sleep but it is difficult for me to stay up all night when I have such young kids and having church responsibilities the next day also made things tricky. I'd like to try again. We will have to see how things look the next time around. If I can't read again than maybe I will try to be a cheerleader.

    Some of my other thoughts:
    I did not participate in the mini-challenges, which I thought I would. I was so into reading my books and clocking reading time. I wonder if I'd taken the time to do some mini-challenges if I would have held out longer?
    I also did not visit as many other readers as I thought I would. Again, I was really into getting some books finished and did not want to take too many breaks aside from the breaks I needed to take to post updates and help my husband with the kids.

    Final Stats:
    Title of books read: Twilight, Savvy and 96 pages of Mr. Dacry's Diary
    Total # of pages read:936
    Hours stayed awake during read-a-thon: 19
    Total time spent reading: just under 13 hours
    Number of Mt Dew Live Wires consumed: 4

    Sunday, October 19, 2008

    Sleepy Update

    It is taking me a long time to read one page in my book right now. 3 am is drawing near and I've gotten over 12 hours of reading in.
    I don't think I am going to make it much longer.
    I've read for one hour since my last update(I think?) and gotten 86 pages in during that hour.
    That brings my total pages read to 926.
    I'm hungry.

    Update The Fifth

    Title of book(s) read since last update: Savvy
    Number of books read since you started: 2
    Pages read since last update: 238
    Running total of pages read since you started:840
    Amount of time spent reading since last update: 2 Hours 30 Minutes
    Running total of time spent reading since you started: 11 Hours
    Number of Mt Dew Live Wires consumed: Still at 3 but I am about to open #4.

    I finished Savvy and loved it! A great little book.
    It is coming up on 12:30 here. I am ready to start a new book but it is going to have to be something that takes little brain power. I wonder how many more hours I can keep at this???

    Saturday, October 18, 2008

    Update The Fourth

    I have not put much reading in these last few hours. I had to put the kids to bed and I needed a break because I am getting sleeeepy!

    Currently Reading: Savvy by Ingrid Law
    Number of books read since you started: 1, working on 2nd
    Pages read since last update: 104
    Running total of pages read since you started: 602
    Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1 hour 21 minutes
    Running total of time spent reading since you started: 8 Hours 41 minutes
    Mt Dew Live Wire consumed: 3

    Here is the Mid-Event Survey

    1. What are you reading right now? Savvy

    2. How many books have you read so far? 1, working on 2nd

    3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I think I am going to read The Penderwicks next. A book I've been wanting to read for months.

    4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? My husband has been really great about taking care of the kids and keeping them from interrupting me too much. I do make sure I give them attention when I take my breaks though. Now that they are sleeping there should be fewer interruptions.

    5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Really, considering I have a 1 and 3 year old, I have had minimal interruptions. My 1 year old started wandering through the house crying and looking for me a few hours ago so I took a break to play with her and then she was good.

    6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Time has just flown! And sitting around reading all day makes me more sleepy than I thought it would.

    7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope. The organizers and volunteers are doing amazing!

    8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? Go to sleep earlier the night before! :-)

    9. Are you getting tired yet? Yes! Very, very tired!!

    10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? Hmm, nothing I can think of right now.


    Update The Third

    Finished Twilight! Woohoo! (Honestly? I don't know what the big deal is but I'll write more about that later.)

    Title of book(s) read since last update: Twilight
    Number of books read since you started:1
    Pages read since last update: 248
    Running total of pages read since you started:498
    Amount of time spent reading since last update: 3 hours 20 minutes
    Running total of time spent reading since you started: 7 hours 20 minutes
    Mt Dew Live Wire consumed: 2

    Well, it took me 7 hours but I finished a book. What to read next?
    I just had nice chicken sandwich and the family is back home now. I think I am going to take some time to visit some other readers and then I will get back to reading.

    Update The Second

    Title of book(s) read since last update: Still reading Twilight.
    Number of books read since you started: 1/2 way through Twilight
    Pages read since last update: 128
    Running total of pages read since you started: 250
    Amount of time spent reading since last update: 2 Hours
    Running total of time spent reading since you started: 4
    Mt. Dew Live Wire consumed: 1

    Whew! I am having way to much fun. Who would have thought?
    I lost a bit of reading time helping my husband get the kids ready to go to the aquarium, but now that they are gone I should not have any more interruptions for several hours. I can't believe it is already almost 2:00 in the afternoon here. Time is really flying!
    I need to get some food other than pretzels into my system and then I will be back to reading.
    Until the next update...

    Update The First and Intro Meme

    First, my apologies to those who subscribe to this blog in a reader. I will be posting a lot today but will be back to my erratic posting schedule after today.

    I rolled out of bed about 45 minutes before the Read-a-thon started this morning. While the rest of my family slept in I showered, put on some comfy lounging clothes and had breakfast. My baby woke up just as the read-a-thon started so the first book I read was 5 Little Monkeys. After that I passed her and her stinky diaper to her daddy and I started reading Twilight.

    Here are the answers to the meme that Dewey posted:

    Where are you reading from today? I have spent the morning in bed but as soon as my family leaves for the aquarium I will probably move downstairs. More specifically, I reading in Ohio.

    3 facts about me: I have blond hair, my favorite MLB player is Troy Glaus, I like watching documentaries

    How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? I have a basket with 15 in it but I doubt I will read more than 3 of them, maybe 4?

    Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? Just to read as much as possible for as long as possible. I really want to get as close to 24 hours of reading as I can.

    If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time? First timer. And having a blast!

    I think every Saturday should start like this morning did. Me in bed with a book and no interruptions from kids or husband, or at least very minimal interruptions.

    Here is my official update for this post:
    Current Book Reading: Twilight
    Running total of pages read since I started: 122
    Running total of time spent reading since I started: 2 hours

    Got to get back to reading now! :-)

    Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    24 Hour Read-a-Thon

    I am really excited that I have signed up to participate in the 24 Hour Read-a-Thon this weekend. I could not participate last time because my husband was working weekends and there is no way I can read for 24 hours with a 3 and a 1 year old around. Lucky for me, my husband is not working weekends anymore and is going to take the kids and disappear for most of the day Saturday.
    All the details for the Read-a-Thon can be found at The Hidden Side of a Leaf.
    Here is the stack of books I have put together. I know I won't read all of these but I wanted a good size stack to keep me going in case one of them starts to put me to sleep. I also have a house full of books and a library across the street in case I need even more variety. Most of the books I have are Juvenile/Middle Grade readers because I thought it would be good to have shorter, less dense books to read. And yes, I might even finally succumb to peer pressure and start reading Twilight (we'll see).
    Dewey has a few suggestions for charities to donate to but I picked one that is not on her list. I will be donating $5 for every hour I read to the Perpetual Education Fund. If anyone is interested in sponsoring me you can e-mail me or leave a comment on this post. You can sponsor me for any amount and for either the number of hours I read, number of pages, or number of books I read. Or you can just leave me encouraging comments throughout the day and night to help keep me going!
    Things kick off at 8 AM in my time zone on Saturday. I'll be posting updates here and on my Goodreads account which updates to my twitter account so you have several places you can go to follow my progress. :-)

    Thursday, October 9, 2008

    Anne of Windy Poplars

    Title: Anne of Windy Poplars
    Author: L.M. Montgomery
    Genre: YA, Fiction
    Pages: 258
    Date Finished: 18 September 2008
    My Rating: 4 Stars

    After reading Anne of the Island, my favorite book in the Anne series, Anne of Windy Poplars always seems to fall a little flat for me.
    Anne and Gilbert are engaged and while Gilbert is off at medical school, Anne has taken a job as principal at Summerside High School.
    Much of this book is made up of letters from Anne to Gilbert. I just wish there was more of Gilbert in this story like maybe some of his letters to Anne. L.M. Montgomery rarely wrote much from the hero's side in her books, something I have always felt was lacking in her stories.
    This book is populated with the typical cast of eccentric and unusual characters but with the exceptions of Aunt Chatty, Aunt Kate and Rebecca Dew, I did not find them as delightful or as memorable as some of Montgomery's other creations. Anne of Windy Poplars is the book that features the Pringles but that conflict is neatly wrapped up within the first half of the book.
    Honestly, after reading this book, I was left thinking Anne was some kind of angel sent to fix everyones life in Summerside. There was no one she met who did not have some kind of problem that Anne was able to sort and set right. A happy ending for everyone.

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008

    Teaser Tuesdays

    Today's teaser comes from page 40 of My Name is Anne, She Said, Anne Frank by Jacqueline van Maarsen. This is a memoir from the woman Anne Frank called her "best friend" in her diary.

    "They thought we were strange, they weren't used to meeting foreign kids. My sister immediately felt at home in this group, but I sensed the others staring at me and did not feel welcome there."

    TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
  • More at Should Be Reading

    Thursday, October 2, 2008

    The Great Dayton Flood of 1913

    Title: The Great Dayton Flood of 1913
    Author: Trudy E. Bell
    Genre: Non-Fiction
    Pages: 126
    Date Finished: 10 September 2008
    My Rating: 3 Stars


    Reading this book is like looking through someones photo album filled with pictures from the flood of 1913. The only text comes as captions to the photos.
    I picked this up while browsing at the library because I've always known there was a flood but never really learned anything about it.
    "Beginning on Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913, torrential rains across the Midwest dropped a record three months of rainfall in four days. Floodwaters funneled down Ohio’s Miami Valley into the heart of the vibrant industrial city of Dayton. Levees burst, houses were swept away, and downtown was gutted by fires blazing from broken gas mains. At the end of Easter week, nearly 100 Daytonians had perished, and tens of thousands more were left homeless and destitute—a tragedy that made banner headlines in newspapers nationwide. Out of Dayton’s ashes and mud rose fierce public resolve never again to suffer such destruction."
    Here are some pictures of the flood.
    And here are a few pictures of the aftermath of the flood.This was not included in the book but I thought it was interesting. The boy in the picture below is named Cash because he was born at a National Cash Register factory during the flood.
    This was an interesting read for me and I've found a few more titles on this subject that I look forward to reading.

    September Reading Review

    September was kind of a crazy month with lots happening, some expected and some unexpected. I still managed to get in a decent amount of reading.

    Here is my break down for the month:
    4 Non-Fiction
    2 Fiction
    1 Juvenile Fiction
    1 YA Fiction

    Non-Fiction
    Looking For Anne of Green Gables
    The Great Dayton Flood of 1913
    The President's House
    The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life

    Fiction
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
    Skeletons at the Feast

    Juvenile Fiction
    The Candy Shop War

    Young Adult
    Anne of Windy Poplars

    Books read in September: 8
    Total pages read in September: 2359
    Yearly book count: 61

    September Challenge Update
    A Daring Book Challenge
    9 books between 6/15/08 and 6/15/09: 0/9 (I need to start working on this one)
    Ongoing Challenge (to read the whole list) 28

    Summer Reading Thing 2008: This one wrapped up in September. I read 21 books.

    A to Z Reading Challenge: 33/52
    I am not sure what I am going to do about this one. I would love to finish it and think I will get close but at this point in the year I don't know how much I want to take the time to read some obscure author or book to mark off some letters. There are just too many books that I want to read to take the time to read books I don't want to read in order to finish this. Know what I mean? We will see what the next few months bring.

    Decades Challenge 2008: 9/8 (I've read books from 9 decades but they are not all in a row so I have not actually completed the challenge.)

    Young Adult Reading Challenge: 5/12

    Fall into Reading: 2/22