Thursday, December 30, 2010

Incarceron (Quotes, 2)

"I am Incarceron, old man.  You should know.  It was the Sapienti who created me.  Your great, towering, overreaching endless failure.  Your nemesis."  It zigzagged closer, its mouth wide so that they could see the rags of cloth that hung there, smell the oily, oddly sweet stench of it.  "Ah, the pride of the Wise.  And now you dare to seek a way free of your own folly."
--  Incarceron by Catherine Fisher;  Chapter 20, Page 260.
GAH!   I'm in reader's heaven right now.  This book is ridiculous.  I'm going to try to finish it before tomorrow - that's my goal!
Happy Reading!  (Read this book...hahaha!)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

To Catch A Pirate by Jade Parker

Annalisa Townsend has always had a safe life.  But when her father's ship, carrying  a chest of gold that is supposed to be delivered to the Governor of a new settlement in the Caribbean, is attacked by pirates, Annalisa will stop at nothing to get revenge.  A young pirate in the raid, James Sterling, steals a ring from her finger and a kiss from her mouth, in exchange for letting Annalisa go free.  Now that she has caught Sterling, however, Annalisa is determined not to fall under the spell of his false charm.  But for how long will this determination last?  With every passing hour, and the closer they sail to finding the lost treasure, Annalisa is afraid of her feelings.  Can a change of heart in Sterling change everything she ever stood for?
Let me begin this review by saying that this isn't a well-told story.  And her writing skills aren't the best I've seen, either.  There were a few things that weren't "finished" in the end.  Two of the characters still did not have ronconciliation like I'd hoped; a few of the characters weren't well developed at all.  The writing was choppy at time...quick...lots of fluff and hardly any meat at all.  It isn't what you want if you're looking for a filling, intense, driving story.

But....  To be completely honest with the world, I am a hopeless romantic.  If I find a good love story, I'm swept away in an instant.  I've even skimmed certain books just to find out what becomes of the relationship in the end.  This story caught me from the first, however, and I read all the way through.  Three times.  In the span of 16 days.  (Twice in three days, and again about 10 days later.)

Do I ever do this?  No.  Never.  Ever.  But I was too enthralled.  I loved James Sterling too much.  I wanted Annalisa to fall in love with him.  I wanted him to not be a pirate.  I wanted him to fall in love with her.  I wanted him to change in one way but stay the same in another.

Were my expectations met?

At 230 pages long (and a very short book in height), with adventure and a love story to pass the time quickly, I'll let you figure it out.  :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Friday Buys 12/20-27/10

Finds For Friday is my new weekly meme! :)
Here's what I got this week:
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Anthropologie, Penguin Classics, Hardcover 2009, brand new $15.00)     Yes, I did it!  I went ahead and bought it...  And I love it.  It looks beautiful on my shelf.  LOVE LOVE LOVE!
  • Kim by Rudyard Kipling  (Friends of the Library Escondido, Barnes and Noble Classics; read but in perfect condition;  $1.00)   I've been eyeing Kim for quite some time now...  I've never read anything of Kipling's before so this will be a new experience when I pick it up!
  • Emma by Jane Austen  (Friends of the Library Escondido, Barnes and Noble Classics, used but in perfect condition;  $1.00)   I already own Emma in a hardcover copy (Barnes and Noble) so a friend got this copy.  I just thought it was too good of a deal to pass up.
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray   (Barnes and Noble, brand new; $7.95)   This one looks really good!  I've seen it randomly and always wondered about it; I'd heard it was good.  This time I finally picked it up and did some quick research.  I'm glad I bought it;  it definitely seems like a novel worth my time.  (I love my giftcards!  haha!)  Hope it lives up to my expectations!
  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton   (Barnes and Noble, brand new;  $5.95)    I've heard Edith Wharton was amazing;  I read about this one and was really intrigued by the story line.
  • Daniel Deronda by George Eliot  (Barnes and Noble, brand new;  $8.95)   I just watched the BBC movie of this the other day and was really fascinated by it.  All of George Eliot's books seem really amazing.

And these are the books I got for Christmas!!!!
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Now that I know what I got for Christmas, I know what books I can order to use up the rest of my giftcards.  In fact, I just made a little order...but I'm not telling what I got just yet! :P  I should be getting it in at the end of next week, or early the week after, along with another package that I am also very excited about!
Until my next post, happy reading! :D


I'm excited.  And it's coming out tomorrow.  And it should be here, in my house, by the end of this week.  And I will read it and soak it up like water.
Need I say more?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner

The children of Dunt are well protected; too well protected.  They all look forward to Separation Day, when they will be separated from the Blessed Guardians.  They will be able to make their own way in the world.  And no one looks forward to this day more than twelve year old Godlen Roth, who is full of life and boldness.  When she makes a grand escape from Separation Day after something goes terribly wrong, she finds herself drawn by shadows to the Museum of Dunt, where she is taken in and promised least, protection from the Guardians and their evil plans.  However, the Museum, as small as it may look on the outside, has much more to it than anyone could ever imagine on the inside.  More secrets, more life, more terrifying discoveries.  And to stay alive, Goldie must join Toadspit, Herro Dan, Olga Ciavolga, and Sinew in their quest to keep this museum under control, and away from prying eyes.
When I find an original book amongst the many unoriginal books out there (some good, some not), it's like receiving a trophy.  I discovered this one, bought it, and my sister got to it first.  It's so good, Sierra, she kept telling me.  It's so original!  Soon after I began reading it, I found that it truly was original.  Now, I've read similar books, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher being one of them.  However, what made it original was the air it gave off.  I've never felt the way I did while reading it in any other book.  Which brings me to my one-word description:  strange.  Yes, strange.  This book is strange, in all the best kinds of ways.  Strange ideas, strange buildings, strange world, strange characters - all to carry you away and make you a part of their story.

Speaking of the characters, I do have a favorite character in this story.  The Fugleman.  But I won't say anything else or I'll spoil some surprises!  However, while I did love the characters and wish the best for them, some of them, including the lead, were flat.  Goldie, Herro Dan, and the Grand Protector lacked the life I wish they had.  However, Olga Ciavolga, the Blessed Guardians, Toadspit, Sinew, and of course the Fugleman were all wonderful.

And while I wasn't as drawn to some of the characters as I'd hoped, it didn't bother me one bit.  I didn't even notice it until the end, actually.  The reason?  The writing and story line.  They were so amazing that the story didn't need revolutionary characters to fill in.  The story line twisted and turned and led me to exactly where I should be - waiting for the sequal, City of Lies, which I happily plan on reading as soon as it is released.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas! :)

Hope your Christmas has been absolutely wonderful!  I know mine was!  :)
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Tale of Two Cities, Vintage

I haven't done a vintage post in soooo long!  I have a lot of vintage books to post on, though, so I'll resume with this one.  This is the book I've been waiting to find, and it's a beautiful copy!  I would like to eventually find a copy from the late 1800's, but that's a task that could take fifty years to accomplish, so I'll settle with this for now!
Isn't it just beautiful??  I mean, it may not be the old one that I want, but it's gorgeous.  I'm a happy girl, for sures. :)  I bought it at the Escondido Friends of the Library bookstore for 75 cents.  Oh.  Yeah.
Happy Reading! :)

Monday, December 20, 2010


I'm having a dilemma.

I am realizing once more how much what I read affects what I write.  Holly Claus was quite wonderful inspiration, but since then I've picked upOphelia by Lisa Klein.  It is a very interesting book, but at the moment, I need to put it down.  When I write in third person, but read in first person or old English, my brain becomes muddled.  I want to write similar to what I'm getting my inspiration from.

Because I haven't written a whole lot in these last four months, I'd forgotten about this.  Now, I am reminded very clearly what I need to do to write well and give my readers a well-written story.  For now, while all these ideas are prominent in my mind and BEGGING to get out, I will be reading third person.  So, unfortunately, I'm not going to read Ophelia...  Well, not yet at least.  I really enjoyed what I read so far and will probably read it next semester when I have no time to write anyway.

On a happier note, I have been very very blessed this Christmas (already) with giftcards to...guess where?  Barnes and Noble, of course, my favorite store!  So far, I've received....are you ready for this?  $90.00.  OH YEAH!  I'm going to have a party there!  I asked for several books for Christmas, so when I see which ones I get, I'll go and buy the rest.  :)

What did I ask for for Christmas?  These:
Dracula by Bram Stoker;   Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery;   Knight of the Maison-Rouge by Alexandre Dumas;   The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry;   The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas;   The Robe by Lloyed C. Douglas;   and I can't remember the others... I think there were two more or something.

Well, now I'm off to do last minute Christmas shopping!   Happy Reading! :)

The Legend of Holly Claus by Brittney Ryan

In the land of Forever, Nicholas Claus is king and rules with a kind, lovable, and steady hand.  When a little boy in New York City sends Nicholas a letter, asking Santa what he wants for Christmas, Nicholas is shocked.  However, he snatches the opportunity with both hands and wishes for a daughter.  Holly Claus is born to him and his wife, Viviana, soon after.  She is a darling child, perfect in every way.  Her beauty, even as a baby, cannot be compared to.  Her kindness, as she grows up, is the greatest kindness the immortals have ever beheld.  Her love, throughout her life, is destined to conquer time.

But as a baby a curse is laid on her by the evil Herrikhan, who has been banished to Odyl for his wicked doings in the world of the mortals.  However, in order to release himself, someone who has a pure, undefiled heart must give her heart to him.  When Holly is born, Herrikhan takes the opportunity and encases her heart in ice, preserving her love and purity and kindness so that she will one day fall in love with him and give him her heart, and in turn release Herrikhan forever.  But how long can Holly stay away from the mortal world, where she longs to be?  And how long can her heart stay frozen before something tragic happens?

This is an epic book.  This is the kind of book strive to write; it's also the kind of book I desire to read when I want something original.  A story that will tell me something new.  I don't know who wouldn't want to write/read a book like this.  It holds everything:  power, redemption, evil, romance, mystery, intrigue, amazing kindness, and a love that conquers all.  This book is...essentially...perfect.  Her writing, while not my absolute favorite, was undeniably full of talent and grace and a beautiful style.  From the time Holly is a baby to when she meets Jeremy, Mr. Carrol, Mr. Kleiner, and Mr. Hartman, she is transformed from a sweet baby to a beautiful and dear young woman.  And in their own way and with their own personality, the other characters are built with magnificence - a perfect mixture of magic and reality.

A good example of this would be the king of Forever - Nicholas, or Santa Claus, as we know him best.  I was worried he would be cliché, "that big jolly guy" kind of stuff.  He is kind and jolly, yes, but he is far more than that.  Brittney Ryan kept Nicholas' jolliness without turning him into the Santa that talks to kids in  your local mall.  He was his own person, a human (however immortal he may be), and a husband and father who had personal cares.  Brittney Ryan transformed him from Santa to Nicholas, the greatest thing she could have done in this case.  But all characters possessed this amazing personality that could have been terribly cliché.

This book also lives up to its name:  The Legend of Holly Claus.  Yes, it is a pure legend, from the first word to the last.  Brittney Ryan wrote a seamless work of art that lives up to every reader's expectation of what a good legend should be like.  How can a 550 paged legend be so fascinating? is a question I've often asked myself.  And "Holly Claus" is the answer to that question.

Another thing that I loved is that there is no Jack Frost or Frosty the Snowman.  As much as I love those characters, it was so wonderful to have something new.  Herrikhan is evil, wicked, and terrifying.  Holly is as lively as a bird in the morning.  Despite her icy heart, she never loses sight of the greatest object in life - serving others.  So she uses her talent of making dolls to serve the world around her...  But of course, I won't say anymore.  You'll have to read it.   (Side note:  Unfortunately, I can't delve into my favorite character, whose name I won't even mention.  If you read the book, you will understand and will love this character just as much as I do.  I just don't want to ruin the ending for you!)

One word to describe this book:  enchanting.  Lovely, wonderful, magic, and good-enough-to-give-you-goose-bumps will do it, too.  I'm listing this book in my "Classics" category, because it is a classic.  It holds everything anyone could ask for in a Christmas book, and more besides.  (It's not just a seasonal book, either.  I'd read it in the dead of summer!)  I will surely read it again, most likely next Christmas, and I already look forward to snuggling up with a blanket and tea to read this irresistible classic.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Legend of Holly Claus (Quotes)

Herrikhan smiled, keeping his lips closed.  The handsome eyes flicked downward, and his tattered  robe appeared to melt away, revealing the sober, well-cut jacket and waistcoat of a wealthy New Yorker of the 1890's.  Upon his watch fob, the emblems of several distinguished clubs hung unobtrusively.  He wore a handkerchief in his pocket and his discreet silken tie lay on the snowy linen of his shirt.  He rattled his penknife in his trouser pockets and took a few steps in the swinging stride of a man of affairs, roaches cracking beneath his shining shoes.  He turned back to the mirror with a flourish.  He bowed.  He reached out a hand, and a black bowler appeared between his fingers.  He placed it upon his head only to sweep it off.  "Delighted to make your acquaintance, Miss Claus."
--  The Legend of Holly Claus by Brittney Ryan
Chapter 15, Page 249
I. Love. This. Book!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Break :)

I'm only 100 pages into The Legend of Holly Claus, but I can say that 2 pages into it I was already completely and utterly fascinated.  And now I am learning things from it - things that may someday apply to my own writing, and things that I can apply now.

Oh, and speaking of my writing...  Something really lame just happened.  I'd been waiting to finish writing this one scene for three months (while I was in musical theater).  When I finally got down to do it, it turned out really well.  BUT....I forgot to save the new THIRTY PAGES onto the computer in case something happened to the flashdrive.  Well...  Great time for something to go wrong.  The other day I set up my flashdrive and was ready to start a new scene and all the content was lost.      So.......I have to write those 30 pages over again.  :/

But on a happier note, I've slowed down in my reading.  At the moment, I am only reading ONE BOOK.  Just one.  Thank you Jesus.  It's been a long time since I've wanted to or been able to, with school and all.  But Holly Claus has done the trick, and I want to just enjoy it, without anything else getting in the way, without any other stories combined.  It's a good feeling, and I hope to keep this up for a while, at least in my pleasure reads.

For now I'm going to go work on other reviews and also, of course, reading Holly Claus.  From what I'm feeling right now about the story and the writing and whatnot, it may end up being one of my all time favorites.  Brittney Ryan is definitely one talented writer!

Happy reading!! :)
P.S.  I know, I'm not supposed to know my Christmas presents BUT....  Well, my mommy and I worked out that one of the Anthropologie Penguin classics should be the last present she gets me.  So....I'm getting Jane Eyre for Christmas, and I'm probably going to buy The Woman in White for myself.  Ha!  In any case, I'm very excited to have at lesat one of them on my shelf.  10 more days until Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vintage Books: The Old Curiosity Shop

I don't know exactly how old this book is, but it's pretty old.  My guess (fairly educated...haha!) would be around 1910, based on the binding and cover and font.  I love it.  It was my first vintage Dickens...I'm a HUGE fan of Dickens.
I'm pretty sure I bought it for $5.00.  $10.00 at most.  But I think it was $5.00.
Happy Reading! :)

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Kyle Kingsbury is a big jerk.  Of course, he doesn't know that.  The most popular kid in 9th grade, the one with all the good looks and his dad's piles of cash, Kyle's got it good.  Of course, the nerds and the unpopulars don't think this - and they're in the right.  Kyle treats everyone with the same condescension, that whole "I'm better than you because you're not filthy rich or beautiful" deal.  But one new girl, the goth girl with the weird hair and clothes, who doesn't know (apparently) that Kyle always gets his way and always looks good because of it, stands up to him.
"My dad's a network news guy.  He says people shouldn't have to look at ugly people."
"Is that what you think?"  She raised a dark eyebrow.  "That we should all transform ourselves to be as you want us to be, Kyle Kingsbury?"
I started at my name.  I was sure I'd never seen her before.  But of course she knew me.  Everyone did.  Probably had some pathetic crush on me.
"Yeah," I said.  "Yeah.  That's what I think.  That's what I know."
 She walked toward me.  Her eyes were light green and her nose was long and hooked down.  "Then you'd better hope you never get ugly Kyle.  You are guly now, on the inside, where it matters most, and if you ever lost your good looks, I bet you wouldn't be smart or strong enough to get them back.  Kyle Kingsbury, you are beastly."
But when Kyle tells the goth chick he wants to go to the dance with her, as a trick to get her back for her blowout during class, she seemingly believes him.  She goes to the dance, waiting for him.  When Kyle smacks his real girlfriend on the lips in front of her, she stays calm but warns him.  "You'll see," she says.  And it's only later that night that she comes to his house and shows him what she really is - a witch.  A real life, living and breathing witch with magical powers - and one who turns him into a monstrous beast.  He's only got two years to find true love and kiss her, but that's not very easy when you're a hideous monster.

Told as the personal account of a beautiful boy and the beast inside, this is a story to remember.  Kyle's character slowly and miraculously changes throughout the book, showing off Alex Flinn's high-flying talent.  It is written well, built well, and has a wonderful ending that will leave your heart fluttering.  How could you ever love Kyle Kingsbury, the biggest jerk of the century?'ll see.

Favorite character:  Kyle and Will tie.  (Will is Kyle's blind tutor, hired by Mr. Kingsbury to privately tutor his misshapen and ugly son.)

There is no one word to describe this book; it holds heart changes and rose gardens, conviction and selfless love.  Does it really get any better than that???

(This is definitely a novel for teens and older.  Getting drunk is a common lifestyle for Kyle and his girlfriend, Sloane.  And you can only imagine what comes afterward...  Sexual implications are many, but only in the first half of the book.  It is not terribly explicit, but it does show you how absolutely terrible these lifestyles are and gives you a good look at what it would be like to be Kyle...definitely not fun.  Drugs are also mentioned, and there is some language.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I've moved! Update...

All my visitors:

I've moved to a different site. I discovered Wordpress and am quite impressed... So for now, until I can decide if I like it, I will be here:

Enjoy! :) I rather like the look of it and feel a greater sense of community... We'll see! All of my blog posts (reviews, quotes, etc.) have been moved to wordpress.  Also, if you were a follower of this blog and would like to follow the wordpress blog, you can subscribe by typing you email into the "email subscription" box on the right side of the page. :)

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Margaret Hale lived an idyllic childhood in Helstone, northern England, where her father is a preacher.  However, after returning to Helstone after a long stay with her cousin Edith in London, Margaret, her mother and their maid Dixon must leave Helstone for good, when her father is forced, under a matter of conscience, to leave the Church.  They must now reside in Milton, a manufacturing town, full of dirty air, cotton, and a war between the hands and the masters.  With her mother's health failing and her father's new job of teaching the classics not bringing in very much money, Margaret must make the best of her situation.  She befriends a poor family who works at one of the mills, the Higgins, and does her best to care for the sickly eldest daughter, Bessy.  But when Mr. Hale's foremost pupil and a man Margaret doesn't like, Mr. Thornton, develops an unexpected and passionate love for her, Margaret is face with decisions she would never had expected, and finds herself in the middle of an economic and social war - and a war of the heart - that changes her life forever.

I normally would never do this, but I watched the movie first.  I had never heard of the book and the movie looked really good, so I said, "Why not?"  After watching it the first time, I watched it again.  And again.  And again.  I knew I just had to read the book.

I loved this book.  So, so much.  But I'm going to say something else that I would normally never say...  WATCH THE MOVIE FIRST.

WHY????? ask all of the "read the book first" followers (of which I am a part of).  Well, unfortunately, unless you don't already know what is going to happen in the end, the beginning is slow, and it may be hard to find the drive to get to the good stuff.  However, let me get something straight here: I don't want this to discourage you out of reading it.  In fact, I want it to encourage you.  (This is not just my opinion; two other women who I know who have read it said exactly the same thing, but that it was completely worth it in the end!)  It is one of the most wonderful love stories I've ever read...  Such beauty and sadness and courage and character comes out of this story.  And even though the story may be a bit slow in parts, Elizabeth Gaskell's writing is a treat.  I was not expecting the mastery in which she forms her sentences and paragraphs, and the way she styles her characters.

(The movie is very very much like the book.  While it has its differences, it is the same story, down to quite a lot of details.  There were a few details that needed to be changed for the sake of making the movie, but otherwise, it is a perfect and accurate rendition of the story.)

Words I would use to describe this novel:  lovely and courageous.  Lovely - because every aspect of this story is lovely, front to back, cover to cover.  Even the slow parts, I must admit, were lovely in their own ways.  Courageous - because Margaret, throughout every hardship and difficult situation, shows courage that I hope to someday possess.  Everything she says and does embodies courage.

My favorite aspects of this novel were Mr. Thornton's relationship with Margaret, and Mr. Thornton's relationship with Nicholas Higgins.  Margaret - because he was so madly in love with her even when she strongly disliked him.   Nicholas - because of the social tension between the masters and the workhands.  Mr. Thornton held his ground through the strike and Margaret's uninterest, which easily makes him my favorite character.  I was completely taken by him, from beginning to end.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good classic.  It is almost a fairytale in it's own reality.  It is one of those books that are to be "chewed on and digested".  (Francis Bacon)

Friday, December 10, 2010

What is the What by Dave Eggers

Dinka native Achak Deng (or, Valentino Achak Deng, baptized) grew up in Marial Bai, in Sudan, where his family was happy and his childhood was carefree; where almost everything was in abundance, where he had safety and friends and love.  However, it all changed when his city was attacked by the murahaleen (meaning travelers).  Now on the run at seven years old, Achak must join a group of thousands of boys, some older, some younger, on a journey across Sudan to the southeast, where their hope and assumed safety lies in Ethiopia.

One word to describe this book, without hesitation:  masterpiece.  Dave Eggers has talent that everyone should experience at least once in their lives, and Achak's own voice was prominent throughout the story.  I was thoroughly engrossed.  I was expecting it to be good, but it is genius.  It is full of wild imagination, heart, tempers, death, and souls.  These boys - the ones who lived - are now men, most of them living in America, leading a new life.  This story, Achak's story, begins with Achak's life in Atlanta, Georgia, in the present tense.  This was a bit of a turn-off for me at first...I'm never one to get into books that are written in the present tense.  It has to be done right, I've said.  And boy was this done right.  The present tense was kept skillfully, consistently.  In the beginning, Achak is robbed.  And as he is being robbed, and kept hostage in his own home, he begins to tell himself, in the past tense, the tale of his life in Marial Bai, the genocide, the thousands of miles they walked to Ethiopia, and so on.  The story slips in and out of this, back and forth, present to past, past to present.  It's like a perfect braid, each piece different and carefully chosen to make the braid whole.

The biggest thing that struck me about this book, now that it is done, is this:  In the beginning, I did not know Valentino Achak Deng.  I saw a man in his appartment, being robbed.  I was interested, but I did not know this man.  In the end, however, I felt an overwhelming sense of a journey finished.  On referencing to things in the past, I felt a part of this man's life.  I knew who he was, where he came from and what he'd been through.  I knew his family, his friends; I understood his weaknesses and I praised his strengths.  I was connected with this man whom I had never, ever met.  I will always know and remember and love Valentino Achak Deng, now that I have read his story.

The horrors to be found in this story are unheard of here in priveleged America.  We have horrors, often, but in a way, it is different from Achak's experience.  It is cut off, perhaps.  It is not a genocide.  What we see every day is Paradise compared to Achak's experience.  There is shooting, killing, murdering, talk of rape that was not written down in detail in the book, and disturbing injuries that the people experienced.  One man had his face ripped off, and was walking around, mad, terrorizing anyone who was near.  The Faceless Man, Achak called him.

Nicknames, and just names in general, play a huge part in this story.  The Faceless Man is only one of them.  Tv Boy, really named Michael.  Tonya and Powder.  There is the Silent Baby.  There is Moses, Dut, William, Amath, Tabitha, Achor Achor.  And then, there was William K.  Oh, William K.  He is by far my favorite character.  He was the annoying boy in their Dinka village, a boy who would stretch the truth so far that no one would believe him.  While Achak tried to be kind to him, he would have never thought that one day he'd be so excited to reunite with him.  But that's exactly what happened.  While walking from one place to the next, trying desperately to reach Ethiopia alive, William K. makes his way to their large group.  Achak is glad to have someone familiar by his side, no matter who it is.  And William K. hasn't changed a bit; his stories are still as tall as the sky.  This comes in handy, when the boys begin to go mad with hunger and fatigue; William K.'s fantastical stories of a grand and princely life in Ethiopia help Achak to dream, to push forward, to stay alive, no matter how wrong William K. is.

Along with the horrors of the book comes incredible love, power, and lessons to be learned.  We see Achak's love for a girl named Tabitha, his desire to reconcile himself with his captors' boy who is forced to watch over him, his experiences with American culture, efficiencies, and deficiencies.  He has new friends, old friends, friends are leave or die.  Friends who are murdered.  In the end, we see the comparison between cultures, the stark differences, and the intense similarities.  It is amazing and humbling, both ways.

But it is worth it.  It is worth every sentence, every word.  Every letter.  This story emanates power, and the strong voice of a man who walked, discouraged and surrounded by death and decay, and came out on the other side.

(For teens and parents of teens: the content of this book is R-rated, as far as violence and language go.  Gory scenes and F-bombs are only half.  The sexual content can be rated PG-13.  It only shows up in the last third of the book and isn't explicit: some content involves Achak mentioning cultural issues, differences, and practices; others involve Achak and his friends going through puberty and wondering what to do with their changing bodies.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Penguin Classics - Hardcovers

Aren't they just beautiful? 
My mom just came home with Jane Eyre and The Woman in White...
And I already own the beautiful Sense and Sensibility:
At the moment, I am deciding whether or not I want to keep the two new books.  I own both of them in other I need them?  No, you don't need them, silly.  Yes, I argue with myself, I need them.  Are you crazy?  Just look at them.
And so the story goes....

Up From Slavery (Quotes)

Before going to Europe some events came into my life which were great surprises to me.  In fact, my whole life has largely been one of surprises.  I believe that any man's life will be filled with constant, unexpected encouragements of this kind if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day of his life - that is, tries to make each day reach as nearly as possible the high-water mark of pure, unselfish useful living.  I pity the man, black or white, who has never experienced the joy and satisfaction that come to one by reason of an effort to assist in making some one else more useful and more happy.
--  Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
Chapter 17, Page 143
This is my favorite quote from the whole book.  What a great way to view things; to take pride in serving others and working hard.  To enjoy life to the fullest, even when it's hard.
Thank you, Mr. Washington, for leaving behind your legacy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A New Update - December 8th

So soon, I know, but things have changed.
I've lost patience for Hood.  The story keeps fluctuating between interesting and uninteresting.  I only care for Bran's character; the rest, I have no interest to see how their stories develop.  And even now, where I left off, Bran is stuck in a cave with an old woman.  Although he is learning interesting things, such as how to make a bow for hunting, I was not expecting such a slow pace when I started it and therefore I am disapopinted.

So, for now, I am putting it down.  I'm going to finish up North and South, which, by the way, is divine.  Then I'm going to read something modern that is interesting.  I will have a review for North and South at the beginning of Christmas break and a review for What is the What in about a week.  Both are wonderful.

Happy Reading! :)

P.S.  I am taking back a lot of my library book.  I'm looking forward to reading some of the books I own for a change....HA!  Inkspell, Inkdeath, Holly Claus, Harry Potter books, Princess Academy, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, The Magic City...and so on.

Until next time...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hood, Quotes

Images of chaos sprang into his mind - a desperate battle between woefully outnumbered and lightly armed Britons and heavy, hulking, mail-clad Freinic knights.  He saw the blood haze hang like a mist in the air above the slaughter and heard the echoed clash of steel on steel, of blade on wood and bone, the fast-fading shouts and screams of men and horses as they died.

-- Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead
Chapter 6, page 54

And then continued on page 58:

Beyond Hereford, the land sloped gently down toward the lowlands and the wide Lundein estuary still some way beyond the distant horizon of rumpled, cultivated hills.  As daylight began to fail, they took refuge in a beech grove beside the road near the next ford; while Bran watered the horses, Freol prepared a meal from the provisions in their tuck bags.  They ate in silence, and Bran listened to the rooks flocking to the woods for the night.  The sound of their coarse calls renewed the horror of the day.  He saw the broken bodies of his friends once more.  Wiht an effort, he concentrated on the fire, holding the hateful images at bay.

Great imagery.  This scene is one of my favorites so far.  :)

Update, December 5th

I need to slow down.  With school, I'm reading two books at a time, plus my book(s) for pleasure reading.  I just finished Up From Slavery but I still don't have time for it all.  Sometimes I feel that I can read all the books I want to within a week, and other times I feel overwhelmed, wishing for the superpower of superreading.  But, as I am not a very fast reader, especially with everything that's going on around me, I have to pace myself.  I just returned from the library, bringing home three more books to add to my collection of currently checked out library books...but don't think I'm going to read them all.  Two are a part of a series, another is the second the others are just random books that look interesting.  But I own so many books that I haven't read that I'm feeling convicted...  It doesn't help to spend all this money on books and then not read them.  HA!  So if  you see on my lists that I have a few books checked out from the library, please don't expect me to ever pick them up.

On the other hand, I have PLENTY of books to read at home...  Series, even, that I want to read.  I also have some series that I need to wrap up before I start others.  (I may have to get some of these from the library, but at least there'll be closure...haha!)  And then there are my favorite re-reads that I've been missing...

So, I have no idea what books are in store for me in the next couple of months.  On top of reading I will be recording and posting on and also writing...

Which leads me to another topic.  Finally, after months of little or no writing, I've finally been able to sit down and WRITE.  AH!  It's such a wonderful feeling.  I was starting to feel discouraged about my story and the ideas that I had to write down, because I wasn't motivated to finish it.  But now, I'm full swing into the story again and have had so many wonderful ideas about certain scenes that I didn't think I was going to be able to pull off.  Wonderful feeling, it is. :)

And now, back to the reading!  (Hood and North and South.  Both are at least half way through.)

Happy Reading! :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington:  once a slave, beat down and told he could do nothing, accomplish nothing; now an example to all men, white and colored, raised above others.  Why?  Hard work and a desire to do good in this world.  He accomplished more than a lot, from getting into a school by sweeping and cleaning a room, to teaching at a night school, to starting Tuskegee, to speaking at huge events at which no black man had ever spoken.  He met great men, did great things, built a great community, and loved greatly.

He wrote this autobiography about his truly great life.  He wrote it simply, giving facts in a very interesting way (one thing that he felt was important while giving speeches).  I had a hard time staying interested because I was very busy while reading it and felt like I had to rush to get it done.  However, I liked it enough to know that I'll read it again in a less-busy time and really immerse myself in it.  There's so much to learn, so much to discover in a life like Washington's.  While reading it I couldn't help but be thankful for everything in my life.  I was born with many luxuries given to me.  Booker T. Washington started out with the clothes on his back and a dirt floor to sleep on.  Education was a piece of paradise to him; food was a luxury beyond all comparison.  I have always had both of those, in abundance.

One word to describe this book would be thankful.  Not the word I would normally use to describe a book, but really, it is.  Booker T. Washington's thanks resonates throughout the whole story.  Even when he was hungry and on the streets - I could almost taste his thanks whenever he'd receive a meal or a warm place to stay.

Wonderful.  Recommended to all who love a good autobiography, and even to those who don't.

North and South, Quotes (2)

And simultaneously, the gathering tramp - to which she had been listening, instead of heeding Margaret's words - was heard just right outside the wall, and an increasing din of angry voices raged behind the wooden barrier, which shook as if the unseen maddened crowd made battering rams of their bodies, and retreated a short space only to come with more united steady impetus against it, till their great beats made the strong gates quiver, like reeds before the wind.

-- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Chapter 22, page 215

One of my two favorite chapters, so far.  Full of action, romance, and tension.... Ach!  I just love it!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The City in the Sea by Edgar Allan Poe

Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around by lifting, winds forgot,
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.

No rays from the holy Heaven come down
On the long night-time of that town;
But light from out the lurid sea
Streams up the turrets silently -
Gleams up the pinnacles far and free -
Up domes - up spires - up kingly halls -
Up fanes - up Babylon-like walls -
Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers -
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers -
Up many and many a marvellous shrine
Whose wreathed friezes intertwine
The viol, the violet, and the vine.
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.

There open fanes and gaping graves
Yawn level with the luminous waves;
But not the riches there that lie
In each idol's diamond eye -
Not the gayly-jeweled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed;
For no ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass -
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea -
No heavings hint that winds have been
On seas less hideously serene.

But lo, a stir is in the air!
The wave - there is a movement there!
As if the towers had thrust aside,
In slightly sinking, the dull tide -
As if their tops had feebly given
A void within the filmy Heaven.
The waves have now a reder glow -
The hours are breathing faint and low -
And when, amid no earthly moans,
Down, down that town shall settle hence,
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
Shall do it reverence.

Love love love this poem!  A strong underlying tone and voice, with very good word choices that give off incredible imagery.  I'm a fan of Poe, not even a question.

Happy reading! :)

What is the What, Quotes (2)

In his apartment in Atlanta, Achak Deng is being robbed.  After, when the robbers leave a little boy in charge of making sure Achack doesn't escape, Achak attempts to talk and reason with the boy.  The boy, Michael, who Acahk calls "TV Boy" because he's watching TV, begins to rearrange some furniture.

He first pushes the coffee table closer to the entertainment center, reducing the space between the three objects: me, the table, and the shelving.  Now he drags a chair from the kitchen.  He places this near my head.  From the couch he brings one of the three large cushions that sit upright.  He stands the cushion up against the seat of the chair.  Bringing anaother chair from the kitchen, he places it, with a couch cushion soon resting against it, at my feet.  He has effectively eliminated me from his view.  My view is now limited to the ceiling above me, and the little I can see between the windows of the coffee table.  I lie, finding myself impressed with this architectural vision, until he surprises me with the blanket.  The bedspread from my room is carefully spread over the couch cushions until it forms a tent over me, and this is too much.  Michael, I have little patience left for you.  I am finished with you, and wish you could have seen what I saw.  Be grateful, TV Boy.  Have respect.  Have you seen the beginning of a war?  Picture your neighborhood, and now see the women screaming, the babies tossed into wells.  Watch your brothers explode.  I want you there with me.

--  What is the What by Dave Eggers
Part 1, Chapter 7, Page 73

This paragraph gets me every time I read it.  Something about it gives me chills.  The way he speaks to people in his mind, as though he were actually speaking it out loud, is full of power.  He knows - more than TV Boy.  He understands - more than most of us.  He has seen things that we would never expect to see in the comfort of our homes.  This paragraph leads into the next part of Achak's story, which with every page becomes more and more amazing than before.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Ever been to this website?  LibriVox
I've been quite enjoying myself there...not only because I've been testing out the audiobooks that are available from many talented readers, but because I am now a part of it.

It's amazing.  I've uploaded the test audio to their website as well as my first audio, the poem The City in the Sea by Edgar Allan Poe.  I am also signed up to read two of the chapters of Little Men along with a group of other readers; also, one (maybe two) chapters of The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo  And then, the big project: reading the entire novel of Peter Pan.

So be looking back for more updates on this new project of mine!  I'm very excited to be a part of this great community full of people who love to read.

Happy Reading! :)