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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

11/22/63- Stephen King

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  2011
Pages:  849
ISBN:  9781451627282
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Thriller

Started:  Jan. 11, 2012
Finished:  Jan. 30, 2012 (20 days)

Where Found:  Xmas 2011 gift
Why Read:  It's the latest Stephen King, do I need any other reason? ;)

Read For:  What's in a Name 5 Challenge--Something on the Calendar (1/6)

Summary:  A high school English teacher in 2011 steps through a time travelling portal to 1958 with the intent of rewriting history by intervening in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.


Marketed as a reimagining of the socio-political day the music died, November 22, 1963, you may be surprised to find that the assassination and events leading up to the shots fired from the Book Depository in Dallas, Texas with suspicions surrounding the grassy knoll plays a supporting role.  The story is more about the butterfly effect: how a single decisive event leads to countless outcomes in unfathomable ways.

The book is highly ambitious with a seamless transition from 2011 to 1958 where Jake's journey begins.  He discovers other tragedies and problems that he has the influence to change for the long as he doesn't inadvertently change the outcomes of other people's fate.  Cultural, political, and social atmosphere is tweaked for historical accuracy in such a way that contemporary readers who may not have lived during that time (including yours truly) can get a close-up glance of attitudinal contrasts between past and present.

I really enjoyed where the story went and wasn't at all disappointed that the story of Lee Harvey Oswald and JFK's assassination blended into the background as Jake's imprint on other, fictional characters' fates made up most of the book.  His relationship with Sadie was a lovely touch and just how (if he even can) prevent the assassination against the obstinate nature of time and space keeps you guessing.

It was written in a way that stretched the scope of what constitutes a Stephen King novel, often to the point of forgetting that he wrote it, much in the way I thought of Bag of Bones.  I was impressed with it for very different reasons than other books of his I've read and reviewed, and I would count it as a definite must-read.  The Green Mile still remains my favourite King book with Bag of Bones, Different Seasons, and Carrie up there as well, but this is one fine addition to his catalogue.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.

Read This Week:  (1)
The Eyre Affair- Jasper Fforde
Wow, this was one awesome ride!  So unique.  Can't wait to review it...but it'll be backlogged.

Currently Reading:  (3)
The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas
After loving the abridged edition (not knowing it was abridged until finishing it!), I'm reading the full version.

Coraline- Neil Gaiman
I took this to work as the above book is too heavy to lug around.  Intriguing so far.  Liked the movie.

My Life- Bill Clinton

Reviews This Week:
None :(

Next to Read:
I'm probably covered for the next week, probably two.  I need to catch up on my reviews...

Have a great week of reading...and everything else, of course :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.

Read This Week:  (1)
Persuasion- Jane Austen (A)
Loved it :)  I'm officially hooked on Jane Austen.  It goes to show how timeless her work is.

Currently Reading:  (2)
The Eyre Affair- Jasper Fforde
It's quite a world to settle into at first but now that I'm used to it, it's getting good!

My Life- Bill Clinton
New goal:  Finish this book by my 50th birthday :D  Just kidding...I just need to read a chunk at a time and I should be able to (finally) finish it.

Reviews This Week:  (1)
Seriously...I'm Kidding- Ellen DeGeneres (B)

Next to Read:
No idea...I'll keep my options open & go with what jumps out at me first :)

I also posted about joining the Classics Club this week and you can view my TBR list for this 5-year challenge.  Thanks again Jillian for hosting :)

Have a great week of reading, everyone!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I'm Joining the Classics Club!

Jillian @ A Room of One's Own has created a fantabulous (don't you just love that word?) challenge of sorts called the Classics Club.  The basic idea is to read 50 or more books within 5 years from joining up, post a list, link up your review of the book to your list, and post your virtual happy dance comment at the Club when you accomplish your goal.

In looking at my lifetime TBR list, I have come to two conclusions:

1)  I had better live to be at least age 100 to get through them all and then catch up on what I've missed on since ;)

2)  I have a boatload of classics on my list, because I am smitten with them.

I have made a list of 50 as an initial goal, including classics I'm planning on getting to this year for reading challenges and some re-reads.  I have over 250 (!) classics on my TBR list but I really need to
clear off my shelves before I can make room for more...*she says* :)

Visit my Classics Club TBR 5-Year List for my choices.

Seriously...I'm Kidding- Ellen DeGeneres

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  2011
Pages:  241
ISBN:  9780446585026
Genre:  Humour, Memoir

Started: Jan. 9, 2012
Finished:  Jan. 11, 2012 (3 days)

Where Found:  Xmas 2011 gift
Why Read:  I love the fun energy of her show, and I wanted to see how that came through in her book.

Read For:  Mixing It Up Challenge--Journalism/Humour (1/16)

Summary:  The queen of daytime talk chimes in on current social issues, the randomness of life, and general Ellenish things :)


Is there anyone else you think of first when you hear the name Ellen?  Well, I guess not if your mom or grandma or sister or best friend is named Ellen...But you get the idea :)  Ellen DeGeneres is simply known as Ellen to millions of fans who tune in to her talk show for a guaranteed cure of the blues and blahs.


Her book is written in short spurts that tell stories, like the hilarious time she sat on a fork, used the intercom at home to find the cat, and was asked to not eat almonds in a casino (um, okay...why, exactly?), and offer insight on issues such as common courtesy, self-care, and socialization.  There are bits just for fun like a letter to mall security which made me howl, translating a teenager's text message, a cut-off sentence from passing out in a sauna (now that's silly...since when does anyone do that?  Is it me or is it really hot in h--).  There's even a pros and cons list that covers reasons why you should (and shouldn't)...or maybe that should be would (and wouldn't)...or could (and couldn't)--sorry, I digress--read this book.  And there's colouring pages for the kiddies, though I admit to doodling in some myself :)  There are even lessons to be learned, such as "What is the secret of life?" The answer: Hale.  And linguistics: Haiku sounds like a friendly greeting to someone named Ku. "Hi, Ku!"  And English literature as she quoted from Jane Eyre.  That was eerie for me as I had just finished reading it when I started Ellen's book.  Oooooh...

I imagine that the audiobook is probably more entertaining given her keen ability to structure and pace jokes for optimum hilarity.  And hearing her read her own material has got to be fun.  But all in all, her book is a fun, cute escape for a day when, to quote the Bruno Mars song, "I just don't feel like doing anything."

Rank:  (B)- Good

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.

Today is the first day of March Break and the weather is gorgeous!  Sitting on the back porch with a book in the sunshine can't be too far off...*ahhh*

Read This Week:  (1)
Contact- Carl Sagan
This one really picked up in the last third.  Sagan has a knack for making the potentially mundane exciting.  Review coming soon.

Currently Reading: (2)
Persuasion- Jane Austen
Enjoying it so far (that was to be expected).

My Life- Bill Clinton
Haven't touched this one in some time.  I'll finish it eventually. I just have to be in the mood.

Next to Read:
I'm really looking forward to The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, so I'll probably dive into it next.

Reviews This Week:
Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte (A)
...I'm behind by 7...

I also posted my February wrap-up...a week late.  Oops!

Hope the winter blahs are officially behind us now.  Spring feels so close.  Speaking of which, did you remember to set your clocks ahead an hour?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

February Wrap-Up Post

The following is a transcript from an actual conversation with myself in my head:

ME:  You know, today is March 8th.
MYSELF:  *checks date on watch* Yes, it is.
ME:  I should probably post a February wrap-up post.
MYSELF:  *scratches head*  But, I thought you did?!
ME:  No, I don't think so.  I've been behind on reviews and I posted a couple of those in the last couple of weeks but no, I don't think I got around to a February wrap-up.
MYSELF:  *scrolls through Blogger post history*  You're right.
ME:  Boy, Myself, you really have a knack for doing actions in between asterisks
MYSELF:  *tries to cover up fact that I'm blushing*

Okay...enough of that.  I feel like I have a split personality...or an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other like in cartoons.  I really don't.  I just have a very wacky sense of humour.

Read:  (4)
The Girl Who Played With Fire- Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest- Stieg Larsson
Pygmalion- George Bernard Shaw
Shameless Explotation in Pursuit of the Common Good- Paul Newman & A.E. Hotchner

Reviews:  (2)
Life Itself- Roger Ebert (B)
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret- Judy Blume (A)

Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1847
Length:  352 pages
ISBN:  9781441412645
Genre:  Classic

Started:  Jan. 1, 2012
Finished Date:  Jan. 8, 2012 (8 days)

Where Found:  Book Depot
Why Read:  On my TBR list

Read For:  Back to the Classics Challenge--19th Century Classic (1/9) and Mixing It Up Challenge--Classic (1/16)

Summary:  An orphan girl named Jane Eyre comes of age after a miserable childhood raised by a wretched aunt, schooled in a decrepit education system, settling into her role as a governess for a girl under the care of the rough-edged Mr. Rochester.


Jane Eyre is considered one of the greatest gothic novels ever written.  To give you an idea, it reminded me of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca meets Jane Austen (though the book was published a good 30 years after Austen's work, it has similar social formalities, though you notice the characters have a more relaxed language and use some familiar slang).

Jane's life is presented in stages, from her childhood with the Reeds, a family that doesn't want her and makes her miserable; Lowood, a school that doesn't want her and makes her even more miserable; Thornfield, where she finds her greatest happiness despite the sharp moods of Mr. Rochester; and the small family she encounters that brings her life around full circle.

When it came to the characters, I didn't really like Jane until she came to Thornfield.  Mind you, I did sympathize with her situation as a child but I think once she grew into herself, she became a stronger, better character, and I found her more admirable as a governess and teacher.  Her friendship with Helen Burns at Lowood was touching, given the rest of her time at the school was dark and certainly makes me appreciate the school system I teach in--it may not be perfect but it beats Jane Eyre's any day!

Rochester was downright hard to like, much like du Maurier's Max de Winter, but (*SPOILER ALERT*) in the end, both end up being respectable, loving men, despite first impressions and choice words and actions.

What was a little off-putting to me were the religious hyperbole and deus ex machina coincidences occurring near the end of the book.  On the upside, it lead to an ending that I liked and added romance to the book's gothic tones.  It is thisclose (really, thisclose!) to an A+ for me but it's a smidge too overdramatic at times for me to put against my other A+s.

Great quotations:

"Make my happiness and I will make yours."

"I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on Earth."

"And as for the vague something--was it a sinister or a sorrowful, a designing or a desponding expression?--that opened upon a careful observer now and then in his eye and closed again before one could fathom the strange depth partially disclosed."

By the way, the most recent movie version is from 2011 with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender as Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester, which I saw just after finishing the book and thought it was a beautifully rendered adaptation. 

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend