Saturday, October 16, 2010

Book Blog Hop

I'm so excited!!
My first Hop!

"In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!"

Just what I need...
more books and more book blogs to read

This week's question is:
"When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move to your next title?"

I'm OCD about this kind of stuff...I have to finish it.  I'm one of those geeks who read almost everything I was ever assigned in school.  Now, I can't promise I was fully engaged in whatever the book was...I just had to read it.  I still do.
When I'm choosing books I try to stay away from genres I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I do not enjoy...I am not a fan of "romance" novels, for example, and there are certain authors that because of prior negative experiences I won't even consider giving another try (Nicholas Sparks).  I can also usually pick up a book in the bookstore that I'm not sure about and read a page or two and know whether or not to even give it a try.  I was hesitant to read the Dexter books bc of this very reason; of course, halfway through, I'm glad I gave it a go...
I probably miss some good books by being so picky...but that's also why I love to read book blogs.  I've found more than a few books on other people's blogs that I might not have read otherwise. 

Come on over to Crazy for Books and Hop around with me!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

One For the Money - Ipad and Ebook Review

My college is exploring ways to switch to Ebooks, and our president is pretty set on that switch taking place with Ipad technology.
This is not an academic blog so I'm going to try my best not to go any further than that.
I sorta lost control with my vocabulary explanation yesterday...Whoops!

I'm a book lover so I've really tried to to turn a blind eye to the Ebook.
I like to keep my books after I read them, and in Ebook format, that's impossible.
You can keep the Ebook...on your laptop, Ipad, Kindle, Nook, or Ipod...but the actual book...Nope, can never touch it, much less keep it.
However, I am supposedly the Reading expert at my school, and when people started asking me how the switch to Ebooks would affect student reading, I decided I better get some experience in this area.

I do realize that most of our students (and let's face it, a lot of adults these days) are not as in love with their books as I am and can part with a book they've read (if they've actually read it) very easily...without a 2nd thought most of the time.
In need of space in my office I have forced myself to consider that there might be books on my shelves that I could possibly part goal was one per day to the recycling bin. 
I've managed maybe 1 per month :( 
BUT, I have put about 3 books in the recycling bin...actually 4, but a colleague of mine got one of them out
Must be another symptom of the dreaded English teacher's disease.

Instead of focusing on how many books I've NOT been able to part with, I've realized that there ARE very definitely books that I am attached to more than others.
I am also very unfond of the smaller mass market paperbacks...I can't see them, people!!!
And, I don't like the way they feel in my hands!!!
I also don't care much about keeping those if I'm forced to read them.
They do not look very pretty on my shelves!

I've been trying to read the Stephanie Plum series for quite some time...but I'm a fanatic about starting at the beginning of a series.  I was having a hard time finding at least an oversized paperback of the first book in the series and refused to read that little NOT even think about suggesting that I read the oversized print version :p

Once I realized I was going to have to read something in Ebook format AND I could read Stephanie Plum on my Ipad without having to hold that teeny paperback and strain my eyes (or heaven forbid actually put on my glasses), a match in heaven was made.

Stephanie is a New Jersey girl after my own heart...when the story begins she has been laid off of work for about 6 months and is slowly but surely sinking.
She even finds herself eating dinner at her parents' house more and more often just for sustinence.
But, she will NOT give up!
Go Stephanie!!

At her mother's insistence, Stephanie finally goes to her cousin Vinnie for what she thinks is a filing job and walks out of Vinnie's office a Bounty Hunter.
Stephanie has absolutely no experience whatsoever in this area of law enforcement, nor any other for that matter.
She bumbles through figuring out what to do next just about every move she makes.
But, every time she gets knocked down, she brushes herself back off and gives it another go.

This gal is made of grit, let me tell you!

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and tempted by a $10,000 bounty, Stephanie goes after Joseph Morrelli, a big, arrogant, lady killing hunk of Italian Stallion who Stephanie has known since she was 12.  Stephanie and Joe have quite a history and the tension between them can be cut with a knife...they can't decide whether they hate each other or want to spend some more time together behind the eclair case...Ahem...Cough, Cough...

Joe, a policeman, has been accused of murder...and is on the run trying to prove himself innocent.  In her pursuit of Joe, Stephanie begins to run into other shady characters, namely a psychopathic boxer named Ramirez, Sal the butcher who may be using his shop for more than cutting and selling meat, and Ramirez's manager, Jimmy Alpha who spends most of his time cleaning up Ramirez's "messes."  Stephanie very quickly begins to realize that there may be some truth in Joe's story; as much as she would like to haul his butt to jail and collect her money, she decides to dig even deeper and ends up working with Joe to find the mystery witness with a smashed nose.

Stephanie has an incredible support group...friends like Dorsey at the police station, Ranger, a bona fide experienced Bounty Hunter and a variety of others who live in "the neighborhood."  Family is also paramount in this book and in Stephanie's life...Grandma Mazure is my absolute favorite character of all...and makes me laugh out loud almost every time she opens her mouth!! 

I read this book in less than 48 hours...could have read it faster if I hadn't had to stop and go to work, feed children, etc.  This is a fast, easy and entertaining read.  No hard thinking here...but I like that sometimes, a nice little break from grading freshman comp essays for sure!

I cannot wait to download the next book in the Stephanie Plum series, Two for the Dough...and yes, I'm downloading it to my Ipad.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday at the Library

Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

Splat is a silly little cat who, as you can tell by the cover, is getting ready to go off to school.  He's pretty nervous about it at first and the rest of the story is just as predictable as all the other "going off to school for the first time" children's stories...he finds out school is not so bad after all! 

Wish we'd had this one last year when my youngest was having so much trouble adjusting to kindergarten.

What I loved best about this story is the illustrations.  Each page is like a separate canvas...the entire page is filled with the illustration...there is no frame, etc...just Splat doing his best to jump out at you...the colors are vibrant as well...and here at my house, we just dang love cats.

The story is a simple one without a lot of added words so another things that works in this story for us is that my youngest can actually read aloud a lot of the words.  It's not too simplistic; I actually enjoyed it as well...but it didn't take her forever to dig through either.

This is a cute one...there are other Splat books out there and we plan on reading more.

Fancy Nancy, The 100th Day of School by Jane O'Connor

Oh that Nancy!  What a vocab!!  Seriously folks, if you haven't experienced a Nancy book, get ready to learn a new word or two.  Nancy narrates the stories in this series and uses words from a thesaurus (fantastic or incredible) in place of everyday words (good, great).  She uses the larger word in sentences here and there throughout the story and then explains each new word in parentheses as the "fancy" way to say something.

I have to admit that when I first read one of the Fancy Nancy stories I wasn't all that impressed...I'm not a fan of vocab lists and this series felt a little like a list.  However, in the beginning readers I think the stories are actually a little better so the vocabulary is introduced within pretty deep context, making it a more meaningful vocabulary experience. 

I have promised over and over that this is not an academic blog...and it's still not...
Are you ready?

Vocabulary is only truly learned when it is made relavent and the learner can incorporate that word within his/her own repertoire.  Only when a learner can actually USE a new word in an authentic setting does he/she truly OWN that word.  Ownership of vocabulary comes after many experiences with the word...never too early to introduce them, I say, just as long as the words are introduced within memorable context.  

Whew! Glad I got that off my chest! 

Bring on the vocab, Fancy Nancy!!

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine by Evaline Ness

Oh my...
This one brings back childhood memories for me.

Sam is a young girl who lives in a fishing town with her fisherman father and a cat named Bangs.  Sam has a tendency of stretching the truth...her father calls it "moonshine" and warns her that "moonshine" can cause problems if she's not careful.

Sam's friend and Bangs do indeed find themselves in trouble because of Sam's tall tales...and Sam learns a difficult lesson even though everything works out for the best in the end.

This is obviously a moral Aesop's fable of sorts...but an Award winner also.  The story is rich with description of their surroundings and the storm that brings on the rushing water...this is not one that my youngest could read on her own, yet she was riveted to my side and the story as I read.  I had actually worried a little when we pulled it off the shelf that there would be too many words on each page and she would lose her patience.
I should have remembered my own reaction to the story.

This one is a keeper...if not for the quality of the literature itself and the watercolor illustrations, then for the memories of worrying about Bangs the cat being swept away by the rising water...

oh yeah, and the little boy too ;)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays! Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page


From Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsey, 2004, Vintage

"The runaways?" we asked.
"Oh Jesus. Oh God. Oh Jesus," he said weakly.
"I don't think so," we said. "I think we may have left them behind."
"Please," he said. "Oh please..."
"Tell me about the runaways," we said.
"Okay," he breathed.
"You took those girls."
"How many?"
He breathed for a moment.  His eyes were closed and I thought I might have lost him a little early.  He finally opened his eyes and looked at me. "Five," he said at last. "Five little beauties. I'm not sorry."
"Of course you're not," we said.  I placed a hand on his arm.  It was a beautiful moment.  "And now, I'm not sorry either."

more than two sentences, I know...are you spooked or what????
What are you reading????

Monday, October 11, 2010

From Schizophrenic to Eclectic...

After 9 months of blogging, I'm having an identity crisis...

While my original reasons for blogging haven't changed, I have been wondering lately exactly where my blog fits into the blogging world. There are coupon/saving blogs, book blogs, educational blogs, parenting blogs, photography blogs, cooking blogs, etc. etc.

But, what kind of blogger are you if you blog about all of those things and more??
Am I an eclectic blogger or a Schizophrenic blogger?
Don't answer that!

I usually have 5-6 blog posts that I'm working on at one time.
And, at 42 years old, I've learned to read more than one book at a time!
I still have to separate them into listening, longer readalongs and the fast reads but I'm doing it!!
Yay me!!!

I'm a writing teacher so I need to do the whole first draft, think about a little while, come back to it, add a little more, delete some here or there, say something a little differently thing a few times before I actually click the submit button.
I've been working on my first Magazine Monday post almost a month. It just has to feel right before I can post...I really can't explain it, just my own personal weirdness, I guess.
And I wonder where my oldest daughter gets her OCD from?

In order to help myself structure a little more, I'm going to try and set aside a couple of days a week for very specific blog postings.
I don't have many followers and that's ok, but if anyone decides to join in with me or knows of another blog that is doing any of the same posts as me, please let me know so I can join in there :)

My first special weekly posting is going to start on Mondays...Magazine Mondays!
I'm a magazine freak. Love em' love em' can't get enough of em' magazine freak.
The photo below shows one month's worth of magazines.
See, I told you I was a magazine freak!

I justify my subscriptions by sharing them with my students at school when I'm done...
Posting about them here on Mondays will be just another justification :)
As far as I know, I'm the only one out there posting on magazines, but I'd love to hear from others who might be interested in joining in with me and creating a new meme.

On Tuesdays I'm going to join in with other book bloggers for Teaser Tuesday...I can think of no better, fun activity than teasing other readers with random lines from the books I'm reading.

On Wednesdays I'm also going to join other bloggers in Wordless explanation...I promise I'm gonna be wordless...I promise.
I know you don't believe me.
I promise.

Thursday is mine and the youngest's library day...I started posting Thursdays at the library one week behind our trips so I wouldn't feel pressured...I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed these library trips with my baby...she LOVES the library!!! If we miss a Thursday, she even asks me about it!!
Joy to my heart!! and Priceless memories in the making!!

I hesitate to join in on the book blogger hops hosted by Crazy for Books on Fridays because it doesn't take much for me to find another blog to read and/or another 16 books to put on my Amazon wishlist, but I'm gonna bite the bullet a time or two and see what happens :)

I love to cook.
Haven't done much of it lately due to our obnoxious schedule, but from time to time I have to take back my life.
I'm doing it again today.
I'll be joining in with some other book blogger buds on Saturdays for Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

I'm leaving Sundays open...for planning, for reading other blogs, for whatever else my little self wants to do...I might try to do some kind of weekly planning thing...I used to do Menu Monday, but by Monday, if I don't have the menu planned, it ain't gonna happen.
I like a Sunday afternoon nap too so I'm not sure if I can work in any planning ;)
We'll see...

I'm not setting any of this in stone...if I decide to post on something else on any of these days, I will.
But, this structure will help me stay a little more organized...and not skip 5 days of blogging and feel guilty :(

There are no specific days set aside for reviewing books because those will just happen as I finish my reads...I'm so loving reading and writing about books...I love my books!!