Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'm sorry

   I know I said I'd try to be around more.
I've been super busy lately getting ready for kids camp which is next week already!  And...  things have been busy/complicated at work due to health issues with our already very limited staff.
I'm still working on ideas for posts, but I think it's safe to say you won't see me for sure until after camp.  So, hopefully the week after next I'll have some time to post.  I hope everyone is having a really good summer.  I'd love to hear about what you've been doing!

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Monday, July 05, 2010

June Book List

53.  Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers- (*****) (356 pages) Oh, Lord Peter, how I've missed you.  I love this book.  Is it because Lord Peter goes undercover as "Death Bredon"?  Is it because he plays cricket amazingly?  Is it because Lady Mary and Chief Inspector Parker are so involved?  I don't know.  But, I LOVE it.  :)

54.  The Death of Ivan Illych by Leo Tolstoy- (****) (61 pages) Tolstoy packed a whole lot of life lessons into only 61 pages.  I really don't even know where to start.  The entire novella revolves around the life and death (mostly death) of Illych.  A majority of the last half is him struggling with his imminent death.  He tries to rationalize why he deserves death, because in his opinion, he doesn't deserve it at all.  (As a side note, one of Tolstoy's points deals with every human's reluctance to admit that death is inevitable to every person.  Very interesting.)  I really would recommend that you read this book yourself.  It's a novella so very easy to read through in one or two sittings.  What I learned: Life is about others.  Not me. 

55.  Happy Ever After by Leo Tolstoy (***) (97 pages) Another of Tolstoy's novella's.  This one was on the theme of love.  It was idyllic, enchanting, nasueating, depressing and inspiring by turn. 

56.  Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
(***) (215 pages) 2004 Newberry Honor Book.  Welcome to the Rock.  Imagine growing up on the island of Alcatraz.  Wow.  This book was so much better and so much worse than I thought it would be.  Negative points: Some language.  Crudeness.  Positive points: I like the main character, Moose.  A lot.  He reminds me of my brother.  The central theme of the story is Moose's relationship with his older sister Natalie, who from what I can tell has a very severe form of autism.  Back in 1935 autism had hardly been heard of and most autistic people were admitted to asylums.  I found it very touching. 

57.  The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (****) (383 pages) I think this was the first Shannon Hale book I read... I think.  Anyway, Hale has a beautiful way with words.  Enchanting. 

58.  The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois (****) (180 pages) 1947 Newberry Award Winner.  I really had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up.  And I was a little nervous about 10 pages in that it was going to be boring.  Lots of technical details about traveling by hot air balloon... But, then it all picked up I found myself devouring all 180 pages in about 2 hours.  Absolutely delightful!  Educational, exciting, adventurous, humorous.  Definitely recommended.

59.  A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner (****) (316 pages) This is the fourth book in the Queen's Thief series.  I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't rank it as highly as the other books in the series.  Still very enjoyable though.  Even though (I don't like admitting this) I feel like I'm always a step and half behind on catching up when I'm reading Turner's books... I feel like I'm just not getting it.  Is this intentional?  Or, is it just me?

60.  Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko (***)  (270 pages)  Sequel to Al Capone Does My Shirts and really just as enjoyable as the first book.  Again, I'm struck by the novelty of growing up on Alcatraz. (As a side note, the Author's Note section is way too interesting to be skipped.)  Again, though, I found myself cringing several times.  Because of language, yes, but mostly just plain crudeness.  Maybe it's just me.  My mouth is cleaner than Comet.  I can't say I can recommend this book or it's prequel unreservedly.  I understand that most people are accustomed to this sort of language.  I even am to some degree.  But, I can't say that I'm comfortable with being accustomed to it.  And I can't say I think it's ok, or that other people should be, too.  Remember, I'm about 15 years older than the target age range of these books.  I do love Choldenko's style.  Minimalistic.  :)

61.  Enna Burning by Shannon Hale (****) (317 pages)  I can never decide which Book of Bayern is my favorite.  As soon as I finish one I think "this is my favorite" then I read another one..  :)  I love this author's style.  But, I think I said that already.  :)  Enna herself is a little beyond my ability to identify with.  But I love Finn.  :)

62.  The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemna by Trenton Lee Stewart (****) (319 pages)  As usual I adore the Benedict Society.  This is the final book in the trilogy and it's not my favorite.  But, I still heart them.  :)

63.  Murder After Hours by Agatha Christie (****) (256 pages) Agatha Christie is some kind of amazing.

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