Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wednesday Giveaway 3

About 6 years ago I was riding a Greyhound bus to visit my mother. It was a long ride from Indiana to Texas, and I happened to finish the book I was reading on the trip. A man on the bus noticed me and handed me a new one, saying it had been given to him and he was simply passing it on. Now, it's my turn.

The third in the series starting with My Side of the mountain and On the far Side of the Mountain, written by Jean Craighead George, this book tells the story of Frightful, a peregrine falcon, and the boy Sam Gribley, and their incredable bond.

This book was a great read that had me enthralled for the entire bus ride back to Indiana as I fought what I later found out was morning sickness. Being a story told from the point of view of a bird made it all that more amazing to me. I hope  someone else can enjoy this book as much as I did.

Please just enter a comment below if you wish to claim this book as your own. Leave an email and I will get with you for shipping information.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Necklace

"Ownership is overrated. We should elevate sharing. Wealth is individual; sharing is collective. We are not what we own. We are what we do, who we help, and the difference we make in the world. At the beginning, the group was so narrow in its concept of sharing. We think that by sharing we give up something, that we get less. But the more we've shared the necklace, the more profound the experience has become. By sharing, we've gotten so much more. If we share, there's enough on the planet for everyone." -Jonnell McLain, The Necklace (pg. 206)

The rest of the title of this book is "Thirteen Women and the Experiment that Transformed Their Lives." So it strikes me as self-explanitory. 13 women come together to buy an extrodinary diamond necklace, coming to the agreement that they will share it among them. The book is divided into chapters meaning to delve deeper into each woman's life before, during, and after the necklace while still trying to explain everything that happened with the group as time went on. I believe that i gauged the duration of the book as taking place over 5 years, although that was a little hard to discern. And that will be my only complaint, is the slight difficulty in following the timeline.

While yes this book is a little cheesy at times, I wish I had a diamond necklace to give me more confidence in my self, inspire me to get in shape, or help my friends through rough patches in their lives, but I know it's not likely. However, you have to remember that this is a true story, so however cheesy it seems at times, it is real, it happened, and it is possible for others. Plus the fact that not everything goes right for the women or the group is helpful in toning down the cheesy level. We all know that when you place 13 women in a group there are bound to be fights, but surprisingly they were not over the things I had anticipated.

All in all I enjoyed the book greatly. I love learning about people and their different situations, so this book catered to me. I liked the women and the concept, as well as the story they lived. And I can't wait to pass it along to my friends to read!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist

"I considered Lance [Armstrong], along with Christopher Reeve, a role model for what I hoped to accomplish. These were both men who had met transforming challanges. Each had taken a negative and turned it into a positive. I didn't have to let the terms of the disease define me - I could redefine the terms. And maybe in the process get a better deal for me and everyone else in my situation."  -Michael J. Fox, Always Looking Up (pg. 35) {Words in brackets are mine.}

Wow, this book was one of those amazing stories that you wish everyone in the world knew about. Not just because Michael J. Fox has overcome Parkinson's and led the foremost leading foundation for research for a cure, but because through the tough times he discovered many truths and breakthroughs in his work, politics, faith, and family. These are also the sections into which he divides this novel.

Covering the time from when he decided to quit Spin City until 2008, shortly after the election of Obama, Fox opens himself up to the world just as he did when he announced he had Parkinson's back in 2000. Deciding to give up, for the most part, his acting career, while a tough decision for the man, turned out to be the best. He then decided to start the Michael J Fox Foundation for Research for a cure in Parkinson's. This book speaks mostly to his journey with the foundation through these four areas of his life.

Yes, many times I cried, in particular when Fox speaks of Christopher Reeve, one of my real life heroes as well as a fictional one. He speaks of that great man with such love and respect it is hard not to remember Reeve and his wife and how incredible they were. But I am happy to say that many times I also laughed out loud, also shaking my head with the author and nodding in agreement. As I said, this was just an incredible book!

Let me know if you would like to read this. I can't put it up for a Wednesday giveaway, I can't bring myself to give it up to someone for good. However, I wish everyone would take the time to read this amazing book, and so I am willing to lend it out. It is such an inspirational book, not just to those who have or know someone with Parkinson's, but to anyone facing a tough situation that could use a bit of the "Incurable Optimism."

"To characterize hope as some sort of malady or some kind of flaw of character or national weakness is, to me, really counter to what this country if about." -Michael J. Fox, on an interview with George Stephanopoulos for ABC in 2006, Always Looking Up (pg 150).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wednesday Giveaway 2

I find myself giving this book away due to space issues. Since I have an edition on my Nook, I feel compelled to give away my paperback edition.

Tess of the d'Urbervilles is the story of a young girl who just can't seem to catch a break. Starting when she is very young, the story follows her as she goes from one location to the next, trying to find her place in the world around her. Unfortunately, finding her place doesn't last long as she is hit with misfortune after misfortune.

While it seems that this would be a rather depressing story, it is actually one I greatly enjoyed reading this past year. I loved the characters, Tess in particular, and Hardy does an incredible job of making all of Tess so believable and lovable.

I recommend everyone read this book at some point. And if you find yourself needing a copy, I have this spare one that will soon need a new home! This is a paperback edition in excellent condition. While it does not look exactly like the picture above, this Wordsworth Classics edition is complete and unabridged. With an introduction and notes written for different editions, it also contains Notes and a list of other Wordsworth Classics at the end of its 356 pages.
Shoot me a message and I will send a request your way for your mailing information. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

Book Giveaway Blog Hop

Monday, January 16, 2012


"No matter when and why this comes to your hands, I want to put down on paper how things started with us." -Kelly Corrigan, Lift (pg6)

Kelly Corrigan knows that as her two girls grow and change she will too, as a mother. She doesn't know how she will change, if it will be good or not, and she decides she wants her girls to remember her how she was in the beginning. This is a wonderful idea. So, keeping this in mind, Corrigan writes down memories from when her girls were young; just a few little things but enough to mean so much.

This was a short read, but it still had enough that I smiled, laughed, and nearly cried many times. It was an incredible read that got me thinking about my own children and the relationship we have. I loved it and am looking forward to getting my hands on her other book, The Middle Place. And I must recommend this book to any and all mothers.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Father Knows Less

"Dean and all the other children who asked questions reminded me, at forty, not to take the world at face value. . .
But sometimes the questions are better than the answers. And sometimes, no matter how good the answers are, they can be swept away." Wendell Jamieson, Father Knows Less: Or "Can I Cook My Sister?" (pg.238-9)

This book was a gift from my stepmother for my birthday last year with a note inside that says: "Because with Jareth you will need all the answers you can get." At the time I looked at this book and thought it was just another collection of questions and answers, most of which my son will never ask or I will already have an answer for. Boy I could not have been more wrong!

Wendell Jamieson gave parents the oppurtunity to really listen to their children and pass on the weird questions they ask, ones which most of us would not think of as having actual answers. '"Why can't we just cook her?" -Dean, pointing at his sister' The normal parental response would be "because she is you sister." But Jamieson took it a step further and found an expert to really answer the question: Timothy Taylor, M.A., Ph.D., FSA, reader in archaeology, Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford, United Kingdom.

I talked to my husband about some of the questions, ones I could so see my son asking, and we were astonished by the answers given. Jaimeson knew his son and him were not the only ones who didn't know the answers, not many people do. But after reading this book I am more informed! And I had a great laugh reading it as well!

This was an amazing read that I would recommend to everyone, not just parents. You will be surprised at the questions and answers. You will also find yourself getting a good laugh out of it all.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Science of Heroes

"It's difficult to stop the process of investigating the extraordinary, of poking at mysteries. We are curious creatures, living in a universe full of wonders, beauty, fascinating phenomena, and amazing complexity. This is what we do. The process of science is a powerful tool for learning to appreciate how it works."  -Yvonne Carts-Powell, The Science of Heroes (p. 277)

For a book filled with science and facts, it was suprisingly easy to read. I might not remember all of it tomorrow, but I enjoyed reading it today. The author did a good job of organzing the text by defining which superpowers are completely out there, to the ones we are developing technology today to allow, to those that are possible. Leaving the mysterious Peter and Syler for last.

It was all written simply enough, but at times I did find myself kind of saying, "Well, duh, even I knew that." Still it was a nice read that I would recommend to any that have an interest in further exploring the scientific aspect of the TV show Heroes.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Heath: A Family's Tale

" 'People always feel compelled to sum you up, to presume that they have you and can describe you. That's fine. But there are many stories inside of me, and a lot I want to achieve outside one flat note.' " -Heath Ledger, Heath: A Family's Tale (pg. 254)

To begin, I will admit I was in-love with Heath Ledger. Not simply because he was a stud, but because he seemed very down-to-Earth, simple, nice, and all the qualities I would look for in a friend. The speculations that surrounded his death worried me and had me thinking that I had missjudged the man I had never met. This book showed that yes, I would have loved the chance to meet this amazing man.

Heath Ledger was a shy and private man, and somehow the author of this biography managed to tell details about his life without making me feel as though I had gone rifling through his trash to invade his privacy and get the dirt. Yes, you find out a lot about his family history, his youth, as well as everything that happened once he entered the Hollywood scene. But much of the man still remains a mystery.

The author also did a great job of piecing together the web of people Heath met and loved. It sometimes seemed like we were stepping back in time to mention a particular moment when he met someone, instead of mentioning it with other people of that time, but as the story progresses I realized it was necessary. Not everyone in his life was connected to one another, and the people he met might not have had an impact on him until later. His life was like a puzzle of people.

Anyway, I loved finding out how incredible this man was, through family, friends, and even sometimes the media who had a harsh spotlight on him at times. The author did a good job of revealing the mysterious Ledger through those that knew him best. I would recommend this book to anyone who liked Heath Ledger as he lived. It's a good story about a great man.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday Giveaway 1

As the first giveaway I will start with something a lot of people have already read but may not have a copy of. If you haven't read it, I would recomend doing so since it is a classic.

I first read Richard III back in high school for Literary Critisism (UIL). Instantly I knew that Richard would become one of my favorite villans. And to this day I still have trouble seeing a bad guy without comparing him to this notorius hunchback.

While I feel the common need to hold onto this book simply because it is a Shakespeare, I know that the connection I have to it is slim at best. It was the copy I read for UIL, given to me by my coach, and was the first Shakespeare I ever owned. Now, however, I have a collected works that I have grown used to using. Plus I have other books from that same coach that I am holding onto forever.

So I feel the need to pass it on. If you have never read Richard III, please speak up and ask for this copy, as you are missing out on an amazing Shakespeare with arguably one of his best villians. And if you have read it and would just love to have a copy at hand to read again, this is a good small edition.
Of course it is in excellent condition as I have been the only owner and it had been packed away in storage for 5 years before our move here. The print is a good size, only 199 pages actually containing the text, and a very cool picture of Kevin Kline playing Richard on-stage in 1983 on the inside back cover.

Just let me know if you want it and I will get the mailing information from you.

"And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With odd old ends stol'n forth of Holy Writ,
And seem a saint when most I play the devil."
-Richard III (1.3.336-338)

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Les Miserables by Victor hugo

"Citizens, do you imagine the future? The streets of the cities flooded with light, green branches on the thresholds, the nations sisters, men just, the old blessing the children, the past loving the present, thinkers in full liberty, believers in full equality, for religion the heavens; God a direct priest, human conscience the alter, no more hatred, the fraternity of the workplace and the school, for reward and for penalty, notoriety; to all, labor; for all, law; over all, peace; no more bloodshed, no more war, mothers happy!" -Les Miserables by Victor Hugo  pg 1189

This book was technically part of last years challange to read a huge chunk of classics. However, when the New Year began and I had only completed half of the book, I decided to finish reading it and count it toward this years challange; it was on my shelf after all. I will be forever happy that I decided this as this was one of the most amazing books I have had the chance to read.

At 1463 pages, the unabridged version tends to scare off many readers. But those deteremined to make the commitment are rewarded with the story of one of my now all-time favorite characters, Jean Valjean.
This book is the story of his journey from his release from prison in 1815, and follows his many transformations and trials over the years to follow.

Now, there are parts of the book that tend to slow the narrative down a little. I refer to them as M. Hugo's history lessons. And while he is a very informed and excited history teacher, eager to share with the reader all he knows that he believes to be pertenint to the context of the story, he does also tend to be long winded. That being said, if one takes the time to read these lessons all the way through they gain fascinating knowledge about: individuals briefly important to the story, the battle at Waterloo, history of the Argot language from which sayings are still used by the youth of today, and the intricate sewer systems of 1800's Paris. I have learned a lot, and I must say I am happy to have gained that chance.

The real story is following Jean Valjean however, and watching his character grow and progress was a most rewarding experience for this particular reader. He has become a beloved friend as I followed him though the years. And just as amazing as he is, the character of Javert is as stubborn, and the character of Thernardier is as wicked. All three going around in circles makes this story an amazing read with twists and turns that often times made me actually gasp!

I recommend this book to any and everybody who will take the time to sit down and read it. And if the hefty appearnace frightens you, at least take the time to see the musical as I hear it is just as incredible. I am eagerly awaiting the day I too get to sit in my seat and listen to the amazing story of Jean Valjean and everyone he encountered.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Want a book?

I mentioned yesterday that my plan is to begin getting rid of every book that I own that I do not love. This is a hard thing for me because even the books I have never read have a pull on my heart. But I know that I can't keep books simply because they might be good to read one day, hence why I am taking on the endevour to read all of the ones I own.

This of course leaves me with certain books that while they were good reads, I might not really want them on my shelf, for whatever reason. If I read a book that I know someone will love I will usually send it to them. Now, it's time for everyone to help me out with this.

Every week I will try to post a book that I want to give away. Some of them I read a while back but have finally decided to let go of. Others I have read this year and didn't like as much as I thought I would. If the book interests you, let me know. I will send it to you on my own expense.

I know it sounds like I am tossing off the bad books, but that's not always true. Soem books I have accedentally purchased two of. Or maybe I have the entire series in hardback except the first or third book, I am a collector which means I will buy the hardback and give up the paperback.

If no one claims the book by the next Wednesday, the day I have obviously chosen to give up these books, I will put it in my Half-Price bag. At the end of the year I am taking all those books to Half-Price to sell back, after I post a last attempt at giving them away.

This all starts next week on the 11th when I have time to pull out more books.

I hope some of these gems find good homes!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What is Book Lust?

Last night while at Barnes and Noble I found a book called BookLust. The author said that one of her biggest regrets was that she had not kept track of every book she had read. I could relate. While I have recently started keeping track of the books and when I read them, I often find that I don't remember what the book was about. So I decided to start writting little reviews and comments about each book that I read.

This year I have also taken on the challange of reading every book on my shelf that I have not yet read. I plan on finally getting rid of the books I don't like, any that I don't think any of my friends will read, and making room for more in the future. So, as I read the books and review them on here my friends can keep up with what I have on my shelf, what I want to give away (in case they may want it), and what I think of the books in case they choose to borrow a book from me.

So, please follow me on my journey to read everything I get my hands on! Let me know what you think of the books I read. If you would like a chance to read a book that I haven't liked, feel free to ask for it, you never know, you might find the next book to change your life. Also, if you feel compelled to take this challange of finally tackling that to-read list, feel free to join me and tell me what you are reading.

Indulge your lust for books; I will!