Posts

Showing posts from September, 2011

Why I Love...Liesel Meminger

Image
"A snowball to the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship." The Book Thief
Most people have no idea who Liesel Meminger is, but those who have read Markus Zusak's The Book Thiefwould probably rate her among one of the best characters in the book, if not most books.  For that reason alone, she is my Favorite Character.

Liesel...how do I even describe her?!  She lives in a time and place that most of us would shudder at...Nazi Germany.  After her younger brother's death, her mother sends her to a small town in Germany in order to keep her safe.  She is fostered by Hans and Rosa Hubermann, who happen to live, fittingly, on Himmel Strasse (Heaven Street).  We come to see Liesel and how she interacts with her foster parents and the other citizens in the area.  She even becomes friends with a fist-fighting Jew who hides in her basement.  It is during her time in this town that Liesel develops, or hones, her knack of stealing books.  And she doesn't…

Teaser Tuesday

Excerpt from Mary Karr's The Liar's Club:  A Memoir ...

"Daddy had instructed me in the virtue of what he called equalizers, which meant not only sticks, boards, and rocks, but having one hell of a long memory for mistreatment.  So I wouldn't hesitate to sneak up blindside and bite a bigger kid who'd gotten the better of me a week before.  To my knowledge, I never slouched off an ass-kicking, even the ones that made me double up and cry" (63).

Cat's Eye...Oy Vey...

Image
Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye was...was...waaasssss...I don't even know how to describe it.  It just was. 

It took me a bit to get into this book and it took me even longer to finish it.  I can't put my finger on why I didn't enjoy it.  It's not like the book was absolutely terrible (believe me, I've read worse), but for some reason it just didn't grasp my attention or keep my attention.

The novel centers around Elaine, an artist...though she prefers to be called a painter because the term "artist" conjurs up pretension, according to her.  She's come back to Toronto, her hometown, for a gallery show and, while there, she spends her time wandering around the much changed city.  The reader is taken back to her childhood through interspersed chapters and it is these sections that hold the most appeal.  Through these episodes you really get to know what drives Elaine and why she left Toronto in the first place.  Also, Elaine focuses a lot of her…

Why I Love...Powell's!

Image
With the recent closing of our local Borders (where I spent a lot of time not only reading, but grading papers and drinking coffee), I have been forced to either frequent used bookshops or venture into ordering my books online.  I've never had a problem with either of these options, but I think that Powell's presents the best of BOTH worlds!  This is why Powell's is my Favorite Book Institution.

Powell's New and Used Bookstore is located in downtown Portland, Oregon and is simply amazing!  Now, the website leaves a lot to the imagination, but let me tell you this place is a treasure trove of awesomness! 
First off, Powell's encompasses an entire city block, boasts an awesome coffee shop, has both new and used copies, requires a map and color coded signs to get around, AND you can even get married in your favorite section!  Now that's pretty great. 

Powell's was opened in 1971, very humbly, and continued to grow into the great entity it is today and now has m…

Teaser Tuesday (first one)!

Excerpt fromBorn on a Blue Day:  Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savantby Daniel Tammet

"Neil did not find it difficult to accept me for who I was.  He too had been bullied at school and knew what it was like to be different from your peers.  Being a homebody himself he didn't mind that I preferred the quiet and security of home to the commotion of pubs and clubs.  Most important of all, he--like me--had reached a crossroads in his life and wasn't sure about the way forward.  Through our chance meeting online we had both of us discovered, to our mutual surprise and joy, that thing that had been missing from both our lives:  romantic love." (145)

*Look for my review in the next week or so!

Why I Love...Charlotte Doyle

Image
Once again, this blog I follow has brought forth another great idea.  I've decided that, in addition to my book reviews, I'm going to participate (you can too!) in her "Why I Love...Wednesdays" (I'm also going to do her "Teaser Tuesday," but I forgot yesterday...whoops).  Not only will this give my blog a little bit more to offer the two of you who read it (haha), but it will force me to post a bit more often.  It's like killing two birds with one stone (or post).  I like this idea.  So, to get started, I've taken the past "Why I Loves" from the Bookaholic and have decided to start working my way through the weekly growing list.  Needless to say, I'm a little behind.  My first selection is:  Favorite Childhood Friend.

This honor goes, undoubtably, to Charlotte Doyle.  I remember picking up Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doylewhen I was in elementary school; I don't recall exactly when, but it was definitely in my y…

Smiling Irish Guys...Yes, Please! (Book #14)

Image
I quickly plowed through Suzanne Supplee's When Irish Guys are Smiling yesterday around midnight (finishing after getting back from an evening of drinks with a couple friends) and have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.  Having picked this book up at, of all places, the Dollar Tree (I found twelve such dollar gems there recently), I'm rather proud of my investment.  Even if it had sucked I would have only been out a dollar.  Nothing to break the bank!  Thankfully, it didn't suck.

The book is technically a young reader (sometimes you need mindless, easy reads) and I was attracted to many aspects of the novel:  1) the cover art is attractive in a cartoon-y way.  2) the title reminds me of my first trip to Ireland with my good friend, Lindsey, in 2008.  3) it makes me reminisce over my time spent living in the UK (sigh...).  And 4)  I pretty much love anything set in Ireland or Scotland.

Irish Guys is part of an ongoing series called Students Across the Seven Seas, or the…

Going Rogue with Sarah Palin

Image
Though I'm not a big fan of Sarah Palin, or her politics, I was mildly surprised and, at times, impressed with her book Going Rogue:  An American Life.  She does have a lot of good things to say about big government, the hands-off approach to governing, energy research, environmental issues, and life in general.  Though at times a bit preachy for my tastes (I disagree with some of her fundamental principles), but overall she explains herself well...golly's and all.

It's hard to determine how truthful she is being in regards to everything she discusses.  I was impressed with a lot of what she's done for Alaska through her policies and certain laws.  I think the part that I was most leary about was her recollection of the presidential campaign and how she was treated by "Headquarters."    According to Palin, she was pretty much given a gag-order...keep your mouth shut and we'll feed you your lines.  I can see this being true.  I mean, she looked like a moro…

Bianca's Vineyard (Book #13)

Image
I've had Teresa Neumann's Bianca's Vineyard for a while now, thanks to my grandmother, but have been skipping over it to read other books.  I don't know why I did this because it was actually a great read.  Neumann is a local author who decided to write a novel about family history.  The majority of the novel is based on factual evidence and personal family interviews.  There is one portion, which I won't give away, that is only speculated at by Neumann, but what she does choose to speculate is a highly probably scenario.

The book is written in a way that suggests it is being told to the reader, as well as Egisto's son and his wife, through flashbacks from Bianca in her 80's.  We know this because the font and boldness of these sections gives personal reflection from Bianca and foreshadows what she will eventually reveal.  She takes you back to the beginning of what changed the course for this family, mainly one brother of the Bertozzi family moving to Amer…