Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Monday, October 31, 2011

October Wrap-Up & Year-to-Date

Read This Month:  (5)
Teacher Man- Frank McCourt
(reviews coming soon for these)
An Exaltation of Larks- James Lipton
The Stand- Stephen King
The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas
The Old Man & the Sea- Ernest Hemingway

...and 4 DNFS!

Other Reviews This Month:  (4)
Night- Elie Wiesel (A+)
Sense & Sensibility- Jane Austen (A) (I also saw the movie--fantastic!)
Paul Simon: A Life- Marc Eliot (B)
Pet Sematary- Stephen King (A)

Year-to-Date:  (49)

P.S.  I forgot to list the reviews I did in September, so that's been edited on the September wrap-up post :)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.

Happy Hallowe'en!

I had an annoying nose & throat cold all this week, so it was the perfect time for reading.  Luckily I'm well in time for handing out candy at the door tonight and will be watching Nightmare Before Christmas as I do every year on this day (*What's this? What's this?*) and I taped Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the 1978 version) I've wanted to see for a long time.  The 1950s original is still really good and I'd watch Donald Sutherland read the phone book, so there you have it :)

Read This Week: (3)
Reviews coming soon for these two:
The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas--Awesome!  Highly recommend.
The Old Man & the Sea- Ernest Hemingway--Read in one sitting. 

and 1 DNF:

We Need to Talk About Kevin- Lionel Shriver
I got through about 60 pages.  I understand that this was a critical masterpiece to some people but it was way too depressing for me to continue with it.  I knew it wouldn't be a book I could "like" given the subject matter (yet I liked The Handmaid's Tale, Atonement, The Stand, and other books with very sad, even downright miserable circumstances).  The perspective of the novel was not what I expected (not necessarily a bad thing), and I found the vocabulary was impressive, the style interesting, but it was the protagonist, Eva, that made me want to chuck the book across the room.  I've never read about such a dark, depressing character and it actually made me nauseous.  No thanks...

Currently Reading:  (3)
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter- Carson McCullers--Off to a good start.  I saw the movie a few years ago and thought Alan Arkin and Sondra Locke were amazing.

U2 by U2- U2 (Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.)
My Life- Bill Clinton

Reviews Written This Week:
Teacher Man- Frank McCourt (A)

Next to Read:
I haven't planned what to read next.  My options are wide open :)

Other Blog News:
Thinking About Challenges...
I could use your input on writing a wrap-up post.

Have a great reading week :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thinking About Challenges...

Believe it or not, 2012 reading challenges are a-coming :)  So far, it looks like two challenges I participated in this year are coming back in the new year:

The Book Vixen is once again hosting the Outdo Yourself challenge, which is a no-brainer to join as I'm constantly trying to read more.  I read so much more this year with starting up my book blog than I ever have and I'm gearing up for even more in 2012.  My initial goal will be Out of Breath (6-10 more books), considering my year-end total will probably be in the 50s or 60s.

Sarah @ Sarah Reads Too Much will soon be announcing details for an encore of Back to the Classics.  Yay!  I really loved that challenge.  It definitely got me off my behind and in gear to read older books I've always wanted to absorb but don't have the incentive to get to.  Can't wait for the new categories!

So that's two challenges I'm signing up for.  I think I will stick to a small, manageable number of challenges so I'm not restricted to a book list and have room for my spontaneous side.  Maybe two or three more...

As for my 2011 challenges....*drumroll please*...ALL DONE!  Yay!  I still have a few reviews to write but having read The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway for the last Back to the Classics category in just one sitting, I'm officially finished.  Of course, my total for the Outdo Yourself challenge will continue until December 31st at midnight ;)

I'm planning a wrap-up post to conclude and celebrate the end of my 2011 challenges.  This is where I need your help.  As some of you may already know, this is the first year I've participated in reading challenges (seeing as the blog itself is just 14 months old) and I'm not too sure what this post should be like. 

Do you have any ideas or topics of interest that might be good for a challenge wrap-up post?

Also, is it customary to post it near the end of the year or can it go up any time?

Please post ideas in the comments.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts :)  I'd also love to hear about any 2012 reading challenges you think I'd like to participate in.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Teacher Man- Frank McCourt

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  2005
Pages:  258
ISBN:  9780743243780
Genre:  Memoir

Started:  Sept. 28, 2011
Finished:  Oct. 5, 2011 (8 days)

Where Found:  Xmas 2010 gift
Why Read:  Being a teacher, I'm always on the lookout for books about teaching & until I came across this book (not previously knowing that Frank McCourt had been a teacher), I thought it would be interesting to read about his experiences.

Summary:  A memoir by the author of Angela's Ashes and 'Tis, the third in a trilogy, recalls his 30-year career teaching English and creative writing in New York vocational, technical, and trade-focused high schools.


When I was in teacher's college, a principal who mentored our group of teachers-to-be gave us a packet of information that included a stationary template titled "Teaching is Aardvark" with a poor aadvark grasping a pointer and its students standing on their heads.  Yup, I've had days like that and so did Frank "Teacher Man" McCourt.

What was the most refreshing about this book is that his experiences aren't preachy, sugar-coated or self-satisfied vignettes.  They don't even represent "coming full circle" as memoirs tend to show.  McCourt understood how students on a path to technical vocations loathed bookish subjects such as English and how he had to ignore stubborn curricular directives from adminstration in order to strike a light under his students and keep them interested.

McCourt has numerous teaching stories, from taking his class to the park for a picnic of multicultural foods to spice up their vocabulary, accompanying the reading of cookbook recipes with musical instruments, and my personal favourite: eating a sandwich thrown on the floor much to the dismay of the students and swishing the wrapper into the wastebasket.

Thinking outside the box is not only a popular method of teaching in order to reach the kids, but McCourt simply accepts it as the only way to teach.  He is not one to mince words with administration and has a modest outlook on his career.  To "Teacher Man" he was only a listener and a silent partner.  To the few students who told him so, whether in class or years later, he created highly unusual, unconventional experiences for them (and him) to not only write about but to remember that the best stories are lived experiences.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.

I skipped a post last Monday as my progress was identical to the previous week.  This past week: progress!

Read This Week:  (1)
The Stand- Stephen King (A)--review coming soon
...and 3 DNFs!  Here's why that happened.

Currently Reading:  (3)
The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas--off to an awesome start; definitely influenced The Shawshank Redemption, my favourite movie :)

U2 by U2- Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton & Larry Mullen Jr. (a.k.a. U2)--fun!

My Life- Bill Clinton--I won't "DNF" this...probably won't finish until into 2012 :)

Reviews This Week:  (2)
A 2-in-1 post for Born Standing Up by Steve Martin & Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.

I'm just behind by 3 now :)

Next to Read:
I'll probably finish off the Back to the Classics challenge (my last one!) with my replacement 20th century pick, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.  Wish me luck :)

Other Bookish News:
I went with a friend of mine to see The Ides of March with George Clooney & Ryan Gosling (also a great supporting cast of Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman & Evan Rachel Wood).  It was quite good, full of political scandal and intrigue.  I recommend it...and having two smokin' hot leading men doesn't hurt, either ;)

After the movie, we stopped off at the Indigo bookstore and I couldn't leave without snapping up at least 1 book.  I chose We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (who, until news of the movie version came about, I thought was a man....oops!).  I also got the super fun musical Singin' in the Rain on DVD for just $10 (for me) and an early Xmas gift for my dad.

Have a great reading week!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Give...Uncle!

I've had three (count 'em, three) DNFs this week.  After finishing the marathon that was Stephen King's The Stand (very good by the way--review coming soon), I started returning to the partially read books piling up on my nightstand.

After some thought, I realized that to go from committing to over 1000 pages over the last two weeks, I don't have much time to waste with books that I can't get into or finish. are the details on my 3 DNFs:

The First Wives Club- Olivia Goldsmith
I got through 250 pages (about half the book).  It's very padded with subplots that were cut from the movie version for a reason--they plod along and don't get very far in so many pages.  This is one example of the movie trumping the book.  The humour was sharper, the characters more sympathetic, and the plot more focused.

The Taking of Pelham 123- John Godey
I got through about 50 pages.  This is one of my favourite movies (the original version with Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw) and was sad to let this one go.  The writing was cliched, the characters even more so, and (I admit this occurs in the movie, too) a number of racist slurs that make me cringe.  A small amount in the movie adds tension and gives the villains even more reason to hate them, but in the book, it was way too much.

On the Road- Jack Kerouac (for the Back to the Classics challenge)
This one immediately felt wrong.  I only read about 30 pages and nothing really happened.  The writing was either composed of very clipped sentences (the kind I tend to see in children's writing) with lots of "the"s, "and"s, and other single-syllable words that got on my nerves very quickly, or the polar opposite occured: there were sentences that used commas or semi-colons to make a run-on sentence into a single paragraph.  It just wasn't for me.

I'm now replacing The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway for my 20th century selection in the Back to the Classics challenge.  Wish me luck!

P.S.  I'm now reading The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and it's been a fantastic start!  Also, for a nonfiction break, U2 by U2 is an interesting historical look at the band from their start in Dublin to sold-out arenas worldwide.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"We Are Two Wild & Craaazy Guys!" (Steve Martin & David Sedaris)

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Born Standing Up- Steve Martin

Published:  2007
Pages:  207
ISBN:  9781847391483
Genre:  Memoir

Started:  Aug. 22, 2011
Finished:  Aug. 27, 2011 (6 days)
Where Found:  Book Depot
Why Read:  On my TBR list

Summary:  A memoir of the creative process in writing and performing stand-up comedy with the trademark sardonic wit of Steve Martin, who went on to star on SNL and in comedy classics The Jerk, L.A. Story, Roxanne, and Father of the Bride.


I remember first encountering Steve Martin in a lesser-known movie of his called A Simple Twist of Fate and I especially remember a scene where he had to describe to a social worker why he would make a good father to an orphaned girl he has been a guardian to.  He has a knack for delivering the funniest lines with a deadly serious facial expression that never fails to get a laugh.  And his banjo-playing is pretty good, too :)

Martin recounts his beginnings in stand-up comedy with sharp recall and a reflective humbleness that is particularly refreshing for a memoir, bereft of ego in a genre in which is nearly impossible to avoid it.  He has a fascinating educational background in philosophy and had early starts in performing magic tricks, vaudeville, and writing jokes, all given a respectful place in starting and contributing to his career as a comedian. 

One of my favourite stories is how Martin often performed in venues with audiences so small that he used to take them outside and improvise bits on a walking tour!  Then when his audiences grew into auditorium sizes, it was a part of the show that he missed the most.

This is a book impossible not to enjoy.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Me Talk Pretty One Day- David Sedaris

Published:  2000
Pages:  272
ISBN:  9780316777728
Genre:  Humour

Started:  Sept. 8, 2011
Finished:  about Sept. 14, 2011 (about 7 days)

Where Found:  Book Depot
Why Read:  There were so many positive reviews from book bloggers, I had to give it a try.

Summary:  A series of vignettes surrounding themes of family, growing up, mistakes, and learning.


Where have I been all this time that I haven't read or even heard of David Sedaris?!  Once I started book blogging, his name was cropping up on nearly every blog I followed and it was Melissa @ Avid Reader's Musings who suggested Me Talk Pretty One Day was the best book of his to start with.  She was absolutely right--I was taken with it immediately and it was a laugh-riot to the end.

I had to keep reminding myself that Sedaris is from North Carolina and not Britain, because his humour reminds me of the self-deprecation of comics like John Cleese and Dudley Moore...and I just couldn't fit him with a Southern accent.  Then again, I haven't heard the audiobook version (that would probably clue me in right away).

These stories were my favourites and are guaranteed side-splitters:
Big Boy--at a party, he goes to use the bathroom and tries to fix a clogging toilet
Me Talk Pretty One Day--learning French from a sadistic teacher
Picka Pocketoni--he and his boyfriend are mistaken for pickpockets by tourists in Paris
...and any story about his parents, wickedly funny sister, and their dogs.

His humour may take adjusting for readers new to his books and can sometimes tease the borderline between acceptable and going too far, but if you take it all in stride--that is, if you realize that his humour is not hateful but just written with a poison pen--it's a wildly funny ride.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Blog Hop

A weekly meme hosted by Jennifer @ Crazy For Books.

I haven't participated in the hop for a while, but this topic is getting me in the mood for Hallowe'en!

What is your favorite spooky book (i.e. mystery/suspense, thriller, ghost story, etc.)?

*OoOoOoh*...did you hear that?!  My favourite scary book is Carrie by Stephen King.  There is no other book I know that scared me more than the scene where Carrie leaves the prom to walk home.  I was reading it on a bus ride home.  Yikes!  Luckily it was daytime or I'd ever be able to walk home :D 

A close runner-up: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  After all, what could be scarier than a world without books?

In book news, I've been eyeballs deep into The Stand and have reached the halfway mark already!  It's quite a trip and should knock off a large chunk of it this weekend with rainy weather in the forecast.  And I still have a few reviews to write...I haven't forgotten, just savouring my words until I get it just right.  *Yes, that will do* (to quote a classic Mr. Burns' line of excuse-mongering).

Have a great weekend everyone :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadian book bloggers & visitors!

I played catch-up this week and posted 4 backlog reviews with 4 more left to come.

Read This Week:  (2)
Teacher Man- Frank McCourt--I am always pleased to find an author I haven't read before but have heard so much about and end up enjoying.  This was a terrific read!  Review coming soon.

An Exaltation of Larks- James Lipton--Witty, fascinating look at collective nouns (or venery) from the well-known (pride of lions, murder of crows) to the clever (wince of dentists, a mutter of mothers-in-law).  Review coming soon

Currently Reading:  (4)
(Well, not really.  One at the moment & 3 sitting idle)

The Stand- Stephen King--I'm hooked!  After reading Under the Dome, I can see a similar style with a truckload of characters and criss-crossing of plotlines.  Loving it!

The Taking of Pelham 123- John Godey
The First Wives Club- Olivia Goldsmith
My Life- Bill Clinton

Reviews This Week:  (4)
Night- Elie Wiesel (A+)
Sense & Sensibility- Jane Austen (A)--have added to My Top 25 Favourite Books (#24)
Paul Simon: A Life- Marc Eliot (B)
Pet Sematary- Stephen King (A)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pet Sematary- Stephen King

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1983
Pages:  562
ISBN:  9780743412278
Genre:  Horror

Started:  Aug. 28, 2011
Finished:  Sept. 2, 2011 (6 days)

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  On my TBR list; a Stephen King classic I hadn't devoured yet
Read For:  Stephen King challenge (5/6)

Summary:  Dr. Creed and his family move into an old relic with an ancient burial ground that has eerie powers soon perpetuating a series of morbid events that get even more tragic as they close in on the Creeds and their old neighbour with unsettling past experiences.


This turned out to be better than I expected.  Judging from the book's premise, I figured King had dug up his roots in horror writing with an homage of sorts to the B-movies and magazine serials of his youth with cornball storylines and unspeakable (due to fits of giggling) dialogue.  Yup, he did.  But it's still the intriguing pageturner that you wouldn't expect any less of from King.

The buildup is a tricky plot device in this novel: some people will be irritated by it; others (myself included) see the purpose in laying the plot out one brick at a time for nearly half the novel to give greater depth to the climax because from there on out, it's impossible to stop reading.  The distance between instigating action and climax is rather lengthy, but boy does it hit you once it comes.

I've always been a big fan of King's supporting characters, often the most fascinating and/or horrifying people that steal the main characters' thunder (some of my favourites are Mrs. White in Carrie, Eduard Delacroix in The Green Mile, Mrs. Carmody in The Mist).  In this book, it's Jud Crandall, who is a much more layered character than Louis Creed, with his age offering a plentitude of experiences that carry the weight of the novel.  Granted, Louis is also likeable and ends up taking on his share of weighty experiences, but when it comes to the hero of the story, Jud is it.

I was surprised to find that I like this book as much as I do.  King fans will recognize a different sense of the macabre than say Carrie or The Shining.  I came away with the feeling that King created a quality story from a B-movie idea and infused the characters with likeability to the point that the only villain that exists is an invisible threat and, as horror stories tend to prove, a terror that we can't sense is the scariest of them all.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend

Paul Simon: A Life- Marc Eliot

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  2010
Pages:  313
ISBN:  9780470433638
Genre:  Biography

Started:  Sept. 2, 2011
Finished:  Sept. 7, 2011 (6 days)

Where Found:  Book Depot
Why Read:  I love his music and the classic tunes by Simon & Garfunkel.  This was a fortuitous find!

Summary:  A tributary biography of singer/musician Paul Simon and his impressive catalogue of hit songs, from his start as half of the duos Tom & Jerry and the legendary Simon and Garfunkel, and his solo career to date.


Paul Simon is the subject of Marc Eliot's fan-pleasing biography: the "Jerry" to Art Garfunkel's "Tom" in the 1950s teenybopper pop genre, later forming the duo Simon and Garfunkel that recorded 5 original albums in just six years, contributed to one of the most beloved movie soundtracks ever (The Graduate), and boasts a catalogue that rivals the Beatles.  After their magnum opus, Bridge Over Troubled Water, they went their separate ways, Simon releasing his 10th solo album this past year with groundbreaking tunes that introduced world beats into mainstream American pop music and Garfunkel dabbling in movies with supporting roles in Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge and also releasing his 10th solo album in 2007.

The chronology of Simon's life is presented in a hefty, often breathless timeline with only small bursts of in-depth author commentary, which perhaps would have been more welcome than squeezing a copious amount of subject matter into a limited 300 pages.  Points that matter most to readers--the recording of major albums, the inspiration and meaning of hit songs, details of his personal life--represent the meat of the biography and Eliot's strongest writing.  The result is satisfying but what seems missing is a bigger picture: Simon (with and without Garfunkel)'s place in the history of American pop music.  I also kept wondering what Eliot's interest was in his subject, which is rendered in a touching afterword but not threaded throughout the book.  While a biographer should (and Eliot does) spotlight his subject and not himself, the connections between author and subject are somewhat removed until the end.

I recently watched the documentary The Harmony Game that explores the recording and events leading to and following the release of Bridge Over Troubled Water not long after finishing the biography and it was a fantastic companion, providing interesting insights into the album's composition, the making of an effective yet sadly controversial TV special, and a balance of both funny and touching anecdotes about the final compilation of one of the most iconic duos in American music.

As I state in my summary of the book, Eliot's biography is tributary in style and not very critical, though that doesn't mean that the author ignores or sugarcoats any bitter moments in Simon's life but definitely holds true as a fan and keeps an optimistic, if not readily enthusiastic, front, especially after Simon and Garfunkel go their separate ways.  It's a pleasant read for fans of Simon and is an effective lesson in music history for the iPod generation who has yet to discover his magic.

Rank:  (B)- Very Good, Recommend

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sense & Sensibility- Jane Austen

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1811
Pages:  336 (excluding appendices)
ISBN:  9781593080495
Genre:  Classic

Started:  Sept. 14, 2011
Finished:  Sept. 27, 2011 (14 days)

Where Found:  Book Depot (I have the edition pictured here, but I really love the Penguin Classic hardcover edition I've linked to at Amazon--they've been on sale at Chapters lately and it would match my edition of Emma and close enough to Pride & Prejudice.  *Thus ends the rant*)

Why Read:  I enjoyed P&P and was in the mood for a proper civilized romance novel.

Summary:  In the English countryside, sisters Elinor and Marianne struggle to solidify their relationships with the men they love...but first they must understand who it is they actually do love.


This book surprised me in so many ways.  For starters, it's the most suspenseful romance story of its time or even among contemporary books not of the thriller genre.  Just when things are looking clear-cut, a new twist occurs, turning the whole story around several times before reaching a pleasant, though tidy conclusion.

Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are sweet, lovable characters that you want every happiness for, except neither truly knows what will make them happy, or rather who will make them happiest.  Col. Brandon is by far the most likable character--loyal, sincere, and genteel, regardless of misguided rumours surrounding his personal life.  Mr. and Mrs. Palmer are a hoot to read about, being such complete opposites you wonder what the mutual attraction is.  Unfortunately the two main male love interests, Edward and Willoughby, are not so enjoyable--I found Edward to be just plain uninteresting, (though I thought his reaction to Elinor's question near the end was one of the best reactions and lines of dialogue in the novel) and Willoughby, you will learn soon enough, is far from sympathetic and comes across as an immature rat.

Austen's humour and criticism of social dynamics is much more explicit in Sense & Sensibility, whereas Pride & Prejudice makes us read between the lines to find subtle hints of the same nature.  The styles are similar and even the storyline is familiar, if a bit more risque with a small but more complex set of characters.  You may disagree, but I actually found myself more taken with Sense & Sensibility than Pride & Prejudice.  Some day, I would love to re-read P&P, especially now that I'm more familiar with Austen's style.

What stops the novel shy of an A+ for me is the slim details of the ending.  I'm not aware of the history behind the novel's publication, but it ended so abruptly it was as if Austen was under pressure to submit it or was under a page count restriction.  I definitely could have done without Willoughby's exasperating speech near the end and seen more of the Dashwood sisters' romantic couplings which are held in suspense for a great majority of the novel, only to come together within the last ten or so pages!

Emma Thompson adapted the novel into an Oscar-winning screenplay for the 1995 film adaptation, also starring as Elinor with Kate Winslet as Marianne, Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon, Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars, and Greg Wise as Willoughby.  I haven't seen it yet but it looks fantastic :)

Update:  I have seen the movie now and absolutely loved it.  The script is loyal to the book but Emma Thompson's own touches and the purposeful, gentle direction of Ang Lee makes it a wonderful viewing experience.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend

Monday, October 3, 2011

Night- Elie Wiesel

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1958 (translated: 2006)
Pages:  120
ISBN:  139780374500016
Genre:  Memoir

Start Date:  Aug. 16, 2011
Finished Date:  Aug. 21, 2011 (6 days)

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  On my TBR list

Read For:  Back to the Classics Challenge (7/8)

Summary:  A Holocaust survivor gives a detailed account of the escalating horror he endured as a teenager shifting through several concentration camps during WWII.


I began reading Night immediately after finishing the historical fiction novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, a bold move that I was afraid would be depressing, but turned out to be one of the most important reading experiences I've ever had.

For such a gargantuan scope as the Holocaust, Wiesel has been quoted as a minimalist writer.  But that is not the right word to use.  He writes as much as needs to be said.  His account is a slim volume without a single embellishment or unnecessary thread--every word suggests a cautious but deliberate style that gives readers room to pause and reflect in thought if not discussion.

Wiesel guides with a firm hand, sequencing his time in concentration camps with (at first) a subtle escalation from the beginnings of encampment at Sighet with the barbed wire and wearing a star of David, rising intensely as he transfers to Auschwitz, the crematoriums ever closer and the starvation, enforced labour, beatings, and deaths magnified, until he is sent to Buchenwald where on the evening of April 11, 1945, the prisoners are liberated.

I found it interesting that both Night and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas were written from the first-person perspectives of children.  It sheds fresh light on a period of time that no matter how many renderings are printed cannot be exhausted, otherwise its memorial is forgotten.

Count this amongst the most important books you should read in your lifetime.

Rank:  (A+)- Necessary Reading

September Wrap-Up & Year-to-Date

Yikes, that was a fast month!  You can still see my August wrap-up post on my blog's main page :D  I'll make this a quick post and get caught up on those reviews.

Read This Month:  (4)
Pet Sematary- Stephen King
Paul Simon: A Life- Marc Eliot
Me Talk Pretty One Day- David Sedaris
Sense & Sensibility- Jane Austen

Reviews This Month:  (3)
American on Purpose- Craig Ferguson
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas- John Boyne
Alice in Wonderland- Lewis Carroll
Year-to-Date:  (44)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.

I'm alive!  It's been a busy couple of work weeks but I read the superb Sense & Sensibility which makes me want to read Pride & Prejudice again just to discover what I missed!  The nighstand book pile is a bit tall now (see my cramped-looking Goodreads widget).  I blame fluctuating reading moods :)

Read This & Last Week:  (1)
Sense & Sensibility- Jane Austen--loved it!  I can't wait to get to the review...oh yeah, and all those backlogged ones, too ;)

Behind again...

Currently Reading: (5)

Teacher Man- Frank McCourt--funny, bitterly true hurrah for teachers in tough situations

An Exaltation of Larks- James Lipton--whip-smart history of collective nouns (e.g. a pride of lions)

The Taking of Pelham 123- John Godey--love the movie (the original one) and dipped into this; not sure about it yet.  There's a number of racial slurs that make me wince.

The First Wives Club- Olivia Goldsmith--not sure when/if I'll ever finish this

My Life- Bill Clinton--I'm taking this very slow...can you tell?! :)

Next to Read:
I think I'm set for the rest of this week and maybe next week.  I'll put my nose to the grindstone and start The Stand by Stephen King next.  Maybe I'll finish it by New Year's :D

Have a great reading week!