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, February 27, 2012

Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret- Judy Blume

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1970
Pages:  149
ISBN:  9780440404194
Genre:  YA, Classic

Started: Dec. 30, 2011
Finished: Dec. 30, 2011 (>1 day)

Where Found:  Xmas 2011 gift
Why Read:  A classic I missed reading in childhood.  Better late than never, right?

Summary:  A young girl entering puberty moves to a new city where she struggles to adapt to her change in surroundings and changes in herself.


So...I wondered about something that everyone who read this book years after its publication and initial controversy wondered: What exactly was controversial about this book that isn't a fact of life for young girls (always has, still is, and always will be)?  If this isn't an example of censorship going overboard, I don't know what is.

I loved reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (a character I really connected to, being a klutzy tomboyish girl) years ago and was amazed how engaging Margaret was to me as an adult reader.  I will admit that I cried when Margaret gave her teacher the letter instead of her project and she thought she had failed.  It was a beautiful piece of the story.

It was also interesting to me how Margaret explores the concept of God as a figment and not as an omniscient figure (I could see how the censorship racket would jump on that one quick-like) and the discovery of alternative ideas of thinking and feeling as she becomes her own person and not an extension of her parents, while at the same time she doesn't feel like she has a toehold on how to go about doing this with the flexible (maybe too flexible) attitudes of her parents.

I would put this book into the hands of any girl age 11 or 12, especially when questions start coming about growth and development--it would make a great gift!

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend

Friday, February 24, 2012

Still Here...With Birthday Books

This has been a crazy couple of months!  I apologize for my long-winded absence.  It's the same old tired excuses--if it's not work, it's getting a bad head cold; if it's not a head cold, it's pulling something in my neck that's been niggling at me off & on for a few months (I applied heat to it last night and appear to be cured at least temporarily...wish I had thought to do that earlier!); and if it's none of the above, it's the randomness of life throwing things at you.  *Sigh*  But never fear...for I come bearing news most bookish :) progress of the past couple of weeks is thus: I finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, successfully catching me up with the rest of the world on the Millennium series.  A good end to the trilogy, though The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo remains my favourite of the three.  I've only reviewed Life Itself by Roger Ebert and have a few other reviews in the wings, so please bear with me.  I'm starting a new book today: Pygmalion, the play by George Bernard Shaw that was adapted into a movie and then later into another, more recognizable (and pronounceable) movie My Fair Lady.

And now for the birthday book loot.  My family knows me so well and got me some lovely books for me birthday (sorry...transformed into Eliza Doolittle for a second there).  And wouldn't you know it?  Some of them are for the reading challenges I'm participating in ;)

Coraline- Neil Gaiman--I liked the movie and heard all good things about the graphic novel.

On the Origin of Species- Charles Darwin--I went with the Penguin Classic cover (because it's coooool)

Persuasion- Jane Austen--I'm making this my next foray into Austen.  Can't wait!  I went with the Penguin Classics hardcover edition.  Lovely green leaves on the cover.

Cloud Atlas- David Mitchell--Have no idea what I'm getting into with this one but sounds interesting

Contact- Carl Sagan--The movie is highly underrated and so perceptive about the state of the universe and its know, besides us.  Fascinating subject matter.

Last Night at Twisted River- John Irving--I loved Garp and Owen Meany, liked Cider House Rules, and am coming back for more Irving.

Shades of Grey and The Eyre Affair- Jasper Fforde--I see these on so many book blogs, curiosity kil...made the cat go out and buy the books :D

And...drumroll please...

Sense & Sensibility- Jane Austen
YES!  Am awaiting my order of the pretty pretty Penguin Classics hardcover edition.

The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas
Unfortunately the Barnes & Noble leatherbound edition isn't for sale in Canada :(   But I have the Everyman unabridged (thank goodness) one on order.  Now I can actually read the entire story!

I also got a few DVDs: 

Tangled--I think this is the best Disney "princess" movie released in fun!

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street--Ahhh....Johnny Depp.  Let's just say I pause this one a lot to enjoy the view ;)

Inception--Twisted, tangled awesomeness

Panic Room--This is one of the smartest thrillers I've ever seen.

I will try my best to get a review or two up over the weekend and get back on some kind of track.  I also hope to go back through all the posts in my Google Reader to catch up on what you've all been reading.  Wow...that'll take a while.  Must get busy...This will take a record-breaking amount of coffee.  Almost as much as Stieg Larsson's characters drink...anyone else notice that they all seem to consume "coffee and sandwiches" wherever they are?

Happy reading :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Life Itself- Roger Ebert

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  2011
Pages:  436
ISBN:  9780446584975
Genre:  Nonfiction, Memoir

Started: Dec. 25, 2011
Finished: Dec. 30, 2011 (6 days)

Where Found:  Xmas 2011 gift
Why Read:  I enjoy Ebert's movie reviews and more often than not agree with his opinions, and was interested in learning how he became one of the most revered movie critics worldwide.

Summary:  A reflection of childhood, his start in journalism, interests in reading, travel, memorable interviews and encounters, and his influence by and on the movies.


Roger Ebert has an inside view of the film industry unlike any other.  He isn't a filmmaker, an actor, or a studio executive, yet he is just as respected, opinionated, and central to the world of movies as those who run the cogs of the machine called Hollywood.  Ebert isn't pounding the pavement but is the one who brings it all together: he watches the finished product, scrutinizes what worked and what didn't, and makes a conclusion that millions of moviegoing public recognize as the inside scoop on the best answer to the inevitable question: "Is there anything good playing at the movies?"

Ebert has a refreshingly honest tone in his memoir, writing as if he has nothing left to prove or hide, which he readily admits when the book comes to the time when Ebert underwent treatment for thyroid and salivary gland cancer.  He starts as all good stories do from the beginning, recounting his start in journalism, encounters with both the famous, including an interview with Lee Marvin and a road trip with Robert Mitchum, but most memorably with the not-so-famous, his stay at the Eyrie Mansion, and his friendship and working relationship with Ebert's complete and utter opposite Gene Siskel.

His transition from Catholic childhood in the chapter "How I Believe in God" fascinated me most and, similarly to myself, a thankfulness for its simplest moral values of honest, kindness, and humility, but not its theology. His bibliophiliac chapter "Books Do Furnish a Room" would make a great book on its own.

The movies don't play as much of a part in this memoir as you would think, but they crop up occasionally.  This book is less about the movies and Ebert as a movie critic, and more wholistic in scope with Ebert's experiences as a journalist and a traveler.

Rank:  (B)- Very Good, Recommend

Thursday, February 2, 2012

December & January Wrap-Up's been a crazy couple of months, but hopefully February will start the ball rolling for a smooth 2012.  If the past month is any indication of what the year will bring...yikes!

So...I neglected to post a wrap-up for the month of December, but maybe this will make my microscopic reading progress in January look better if I put them beside last month :D

So...*okay, that's enough of that*

Read:  (4)
Bag of Bones- Stephen King (A+)
The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History- John Ortved (B)
Life Itself- Roger Ebert
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret- Judy Blume

Reviews:  (6; see 2 above)
The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas (A+)
The Old Man & the Sea- Ernest Hemingway (A)
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter- Carson McCullers (A)
It- Stephen King (A)

Read:  (3)
Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte
Seriously...I'm Kidding- Ellen DeGeneres
11/22/63- Stephen King

Reviews:  (1)
Emma- Jane Austen