Friday, July 25, 2014

Runaways: Deluxe Editions, Volume 2 & 3 by Brian K Vaughan

It is time to return to the adventures of The Runaways!  I began this series reading the individual volumes, but quickly switched over to the Deluxe Editions when I saw them sitting on the library shelves, conveniently at the volume that was next in line to be read.  The Deluxe Editions contain multiple volumes in one hardcover edition, so I could devour more at one time.

Deluxe Edition, Volume Two (Paperback Volumes 4-5)

In this edition, the runaways continue their attempts to make amends for their parents' wrong-doing.  We are introduced to a new and potentially very important character ... one that could make or break the team of teen runaways.  In addition, they all journey outside of their home state to help a fellow friend in need of solving a mystery of mistaken identity.

There are so many minor details that create this story, making it just a plain fun read.  My favorite was a few minor cameo appearances of famous Marvel superheroes.

Deluxe Edition, Volume Three (Paperback Volumes 6-7)

The third deluxe edition takes a turn to the dark side with an unexpected return of The Pride, the villainous organization previously run by their evil parents.  With the dark side comes challenged loyalties and lost team members (in a multitude of ways).  The end of the edition is ambiguous and leaves the reader wondering the fate of the remaining teens.

Overall, I think that this series gets better as it progresses, with the reader becoming more invested in the teenage characters, despite some of their normal annoying behaviors.  Upon further research, I have discovered that the end of these volumes serves as the end of Vaughan's work on the series.  From here, Joss Whedon takes the project on and I find myself intrigued to discover his take on the characters created by Vaughan.  If I can get my hands on more, I will definitely be reading!

What are your thoughts regarding this piece of Vaughan's work?  For those who have read on, what are your (spoiler-free) thoughts on the remainder of this series with different creators stepping in?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Alice wakes up after a fall at the gym and her world is completely turned upside down.  She believes herself to be twenty-nine years old, in complete love with her husband, and pregnant with her first child.  In reality, she is ten years older, in the midst of a heated divorce with her husband, and unable to remember a single detail about the birth of her three children.  She finds many of her relationships strained, and those few that are going well, she is not sure how to react to them.  So much has occurred in those missing ten years and she does not know how to move through her new life . . . and she's not sure she wants to have all those years back.  Alice struggles to adapt to this unexpected turn of events, and many of those in her life find themselves struggling as well - both with the changes in Alice and with their own personal obstacles.

What Alice Forgot is a book that really made me think and evaluate my own life.  Moriarty's story had me questioning and comparing myself, both ten years ago and today.  She made me wonder if I was happy with myself presently as well as curious at where ten more years into the future could take me.  Ultimately, it left me wondering . . . Am I where I want to be?  Am I the person I have always strived to become?

In the end, What Alice Forgot was a good read, but to be honest I am not sure what I felt at the end.  The epilogue in particular induced a mix of emotions that are still present in me today, weeks after completing the book.

I read this book for a book club.  It's a great discussion-based novel, one that leaves you pondering Alice's life as well as your own.  Overall, it's a worthwhile read, despite the dissonance I may have felt at the end.

Have you had the chance to meet Alice yet?  What are your thoughts on the younger vs older woman?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Maunder: Books & Bloggiesta Results & High Summer Readathon


Welcome back to Monday Maunder!

Last week, I did not end up posting my weekly wrap-up.  There was a reason for that ... a very good reason.  We ended up taking a little road trip to see family and even spent a little time on the shore of a beautiful lake.  We also spent one day making some freezer meals for a family member who is currently recovering from a little fall.  As soon as we did get back home, I spent a day catching up on laundry and cleaning up after all the unpacking, and then hit the road again to spend a little time caring for my grandmother who had a little hospital stay.  Needless to say, I was glad to be home to just relax and not go anywhere for a few days.

Since I missed last week's maunders, I thought I had better share my latest reading results.  I will start with all the books that I have finished since the last time I shared it with you . . .
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (audiobook)
  • Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
  • Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
  • All Together Dead by Charlain Harris
  • Future Flash by Kita Murdock
  • The Walking Dead, Book Nine by Robert Kirkman
  • The Walking Dead, Volume 19 by Robert Kirkman
  • The Walking Dead, Volume 20 by Robert Kirkman
  • Fables #19:  Snow White by Bill Willingham

I also am still in the midst of World War Z by Max Brooks on audio and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with my kids.  I will be starting a re-read of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness tonight!  All in all, a great couple weeks of reading!

Now I leave you with two more items ... a wrap-up of my progress for the Mini Bloggiesta and an announcement of my participation in the High Summer Readathon.


BLOGGIESTA RESULTS

As suspected, I did not get through my entire list of Bloggiesta tasks.  I even added a couple of items (*) at the last minute.  I am still completely pleased with what I did accomplish!  Here is a quick rundown of my results . . .
  • Back-up Blog  DONE!
  • Back-up Template  DONE! 
  • *Update Books Read in 2014*  DONE!  You can find the updated list here!
  • *Updated A-Z Review Index*  DONE!  You can find the update doc here!
  • Create Twitter Lists (courtesy of a previous Bloggiesta challenge over at Love at First Book)  DONE!  How have I lived without this all these years?!?
  • Organize Book Club Discussion  STARTED, but not completed because I have not yet read the book and I don't want to spoil it!
  • Write & Schedule Reviews (13 are in need of being written, but I may combine a handful of these) COMPLETED 2!
  • Write July Journal Circle NO!
  • Prep Monday Maunder YES, and published here!
  • Prep July Literary Link Love  NO!
  • Write July Fairy Tale Fridays  NO!
  • Catch-up on Blog Reading (my Feedly currently stands at 892)  STARTED.  My Feedly currently stands at 476.
  • Check Out Mini Challenges  NO!  I will check these out later when I have more time.
  • Catch-up on Emails (my inbox currently stands at 39)  DONE!  My inbox is clean once again!


HIGH SUMMER READATHON

The High Summer Readathon kicks off today and runs through Sunday, July 27.  Here is the list of books that I hope to tackle this week.  The first two being re-reads in preparation for the third one that I have been anticipating for so very long!
  1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  2. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
  3. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
  4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I will be posting my updates throughout the week via Instagram and Twitter.  You can find my complete wrap-up post right here next week in Monday Maunder.

What have you been reading?  Did you participate in Bloggiesta this last weekend?  How did you do?  Will you be joining in for the readathon this week?  If so, what is on your reading agenda?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mini Bloggiesta: July 2014

Tomorrow kicks off another quarterly Bloggiesta, this one just a short little weekend stint to work on sprucing up your blog.  I'm in!  I am finally all unpacked and home for a few days and am in desperate need to catch up on all things blog-related.  Here is my list of things that I hope to make a dent in over the weekend . . .

  • Back-up Blog 
  • Back-up Template 
  • Create Twitter Lists (courtesy of a previous Bloggiesta challenge over at Love at First Book)  
  • Organize Book Club Discussion 
  • Write & Schedule Reviews (13 are in need of being written, but I may combine a handful of these)
  • Write July Journal Circle
  • Prep Monday Maunder 
  • Prep July Literary Link Love 
  • Write July Fairy Tale Fridays 
  • Catch-up on Blog Reading (my Feedly currently stands at 892)
  • Check Out Mini Challenges
  • Catch-up on Emails (my inbox currently stands at 39)

Realistically, I know that there is no way that I am going to be able to complete all of  these in the two days of this event.  I plan to hop around and do what I can when I can, finishing as much as I can without getting myself burned out or completely ignoring my children.  I will report my results in my weekly Monday Maunder post, among other things since I need to catch up on a few things there as well.

Are you participating in Bloggiesta this weekend?  What are your goals for the mini event?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Moving Books(es): Chris of Wildmoo Books


It's time for another edition of Moving Books(es)! 

While I am in the midst of moving boxes from one state to another and getting settled in my new home, I have a handful of fabulous fellow bloggers stopping by to share their moving books(es) ... books that they feel have moved them in one way or another.  Today, we get to read a very special guest piece from Chris of WildmooBooks.  She is here to talk about books that she has read/reads while on the move.  Please give her a very warm welcome!

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Moving books. Books on the move. Books on vacation. How do you decide what to take?

Thematic or Place Reading 

Back when my family had a beach house on the Outer Banks and we converged there for a week every summer, I set the intention of reading at least one book that was about or set on or in the ocean. What better subject matter to read while you’re right there, lying on the hot sand, slowly un-pruning yourself from hours in the water.

A favorite read from that time period was The Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson. It’s about the obsession surrounding a sunken WWII German U-boat just off the Jersey shore. Part adventure tale, part history, it’s an excellent book to read next to any body of water. You can’t help but occasionally lower your book to gaze out at the water and wonder what’s going on below the surface.

One afternoon about 9 or 10 years ago while sitting on the beach next to Grandpa Jack in his shorts, sandals, and black socks, he started telling me about the amazing feat of laying the transatlantic cable and how this new technology changed the world. The way he talked about it, between riffs on his ukulele, it felt like he must have been there to see it happen or maybe even helped make it happen. (He did not. The man was in his 80s at the time and the cable was laid in 1866.) Grandpa Jack recommended the book, A Thread Across the Ocean by John Steele Gordon. I walked to the local bookstore the next day and bought a copy. It’s on my To Be Read shelf…maybe this summer.

The Discovery of Vacation Re-Reading

When it comes to vacations where I’m not laying on a beach day-in-and-day-out and have hours of reading time to myself, I used to struggle with vacation reading. Well, to be honest, it wasn’t the reading that I struggled with, it was the people. I’d inevitably get a little resentful about having to put down my book right at the juiciest part, because “it’s time to go mini-golfing!” Or a book would keep me up way too late the night before and I’d not be at my best for family/group/human interaction the next day. And I’d just want to get back to my book.

What to do? What to do? I’ve long enjoyed the pleasures of re-reading and decided that it might be the way to balance reading and humans during the sort of vacation when my time wasn’t exactly my own and I’m expected to/want to interact with others. You know what I mean, right? Or am I sounding crazy to you at this point? I really do love my family.

Anyway, what I like about re-reading is that you know you’ll have a good book in your hands, but since you know what the book is about you can read more responsibly. What I mean by this is that you may not feel as compelled to stay up too late reading to see what happens next. You can also better pace your reading because you may remember that some big shift is coming up and you know you only have ten minutes before you have to get ready to leave for a dinner reservation. And perhaps you won’t want to kill a beloved family member when he or she insists--always during a juicy scene--that you come look at something, help with something, or “get your nose out of a book because its vacation time!” (Okay, I admit, that “nose in a book” example is rare in my family as both sides are full of chronic readers, but it has happened to me and I’ve heard it happens to other people. So rude.)

The first time I tested this vacation reading plan was on a cruise to Alaska that my mother-in-law took us on a few years ago. I knew I’d want to spend non-resentful time with the family and time exploring the ship and the ports. I didn’t want to deal with feeling torn between my book(s) and people or places. Am I sounding like a freak? Can anyone relate?

I looked at all the books I had up for re-reading and The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck was the one I’d been wanting to re-read the longest, so in the suitcase it went. I’d first read The Good Earth when I was in middle school and I really liked it. The image of the son bringing his old father hot water in the morning to help his hacking cough stayed with me for more than thirty (yikes!) years. I remember wanting to be nicer to my father as I read The Good Earth.

There is the risk of re-reading a favorite and finding it just doesn’t hold up for you anymore, but that wasn’t the case with The Good Earth. Although I vividly remembered a few scenes, other crucial ones I’d completely forgotten, as well as characters, and, really, most of the plot. But I fell in love with the book all over again and it’s one I’ll probably re-read again in the future. (I wrote about re-reading The Good Earth here.)

Combining Thematic or Place Reading with Re-reading. 

I’m currently in the midst of planning a road trip in Germany & Austria with my Mom. She’s from Germany but has lived in the States for the last 50 or so years and is turning 75 later this summer. When I asked her what she’d like to do for the big 75 she said drive around Germany. She’s the baby of the family and her last sibling passed away a few years ago, so she feels more freedom to move about the country rather than sit on couches for family visits. However, she’ll be staying longer than me to make time to sit on the couches of cousins and friends.

So, I’m in the pondering phase of which books to take on this trip. I’d like them to be books by German language writers and/or about Germany.


On the plane portion of the trip, I’ll read something new, probably Red Love: The Story of an East German Family by Maxim Leo or perhaps Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier. The latter I actually bought at the Amsterdam airport a few trips back and it’s been patiently waiting to be read. I’d also like to finally get to The Swarm by Frank Schatzing, but the paperback is 898 pages which is a bit big to lug around and might even put my luggage over weight limit.


As for the re-read I’ll take along to enjoy for a few minutes each night before bed, I’m thinking it will be The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. I love this book and think it’s one of the strongest fictional arguments for literacy that I’ve ever read. I’ve already re-read it a couple times in English and have a German language edition, but trying to get back into the swing of speaking German while also attempting to read a novel in German might make my head explode, which would leave my mother stranded because she doesn’t drive stick and that’s what we’re renting as manual is standard in Europe.

How do you decide what to read on vacation or during family trips? How do you carve out reading time?

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Thank you so much for stopping by Chris!  I have always loved revisiting books, but never considered re-reading while traveling or vacationing.  That is such a great idea and I think I may just pick up The Good Earth during this crazy time for me for just that reason!  Though I do need to make it a point to dive into The Reader!  I have never even read that one, though it has been sitting on my shelf for years!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Moving Books(es): Michelle of The True Book Addict


Moving Books(es) is back!

While I am in the midst of moving boxes from one state to another and getting settled in my new home, I have a handful of fabulous fellow bloggers stopping by to share their moving books(es) ... books that they feel have moved them in one way or another. Today, I welcome Michelle of The True Book Addict.  Grab your pen to note these recommendations .... and you may want to also grab a box of tissue!


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When Tif invited me to share the books that have moved me, I immediately thought back to books that have made me cry. I have this credo that if a book makes me cry, it’s an automatic must-read and in ratings terms, garners five stars. For me, crying is a very emotional response to a book and it doesn’t necessarily have to be tears of sadness. So, here are some of the books that brought me to tears…the books that really moved me.


The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

This was one of the first books I reviewed on my brand spanking new book blog back in August 2009. Here’s a snippet of that review to show how it moved me.

So I will focus on the storytelling. The author has taken a difficult situation (to say the least) and made it both comic and tragic at the same time. Who in life hasn't tried to see the funny side of a grave situation? I know I have. It's human to look on the bright side and Henry and Clare have a love that withstands the obstacles because of their ability to focus on the good. In the end, it has been their love that has seen them through. As Henry says to Clare, "Our love has been the thread through the labyrinth, the net under the high-wire walker, the only real thing in this strange life of mine that I could ever trust." Their love has been the only constant in time.

It is rare for a book to really touch a person to the core. This book does just that in a way that is soul-soaring and heart-wrenching, but also manages to invoke a smile in the back of your mind.



The Road by Cormac McCarthy

This was a difficult read and anyone who has read it will know what I mean. But it is one that really touched me and has stayed with me since I read it in 2009. From my review:

Anyone reading this book will have difficulty with the subject matter.  And if you're a parent, it will be even more difficult.  But it is a book that must be read because the issues and situations in the book do need to be thought about and even discussed.  Although a work of fiction, it is very plausible that something like this could happen.  I believe that Mr. McCarthy also had this in mind when writing it...the world needs to think beyond our everyday existence, if not for ourselves, than for our children and our future generations.

Beyond the message I feel is present here is also a very suspenseful novel that will have you on the edge of your seat through its short 241 page count.  It is also a poignant story about the love of a father for his son and how he will do whatever it takes to protect him and help him to survive.  Yes, I'll admit that I cried some tears over this one.


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I know a lot of people have read this one and loved it so probably not surprising that it’s on my list. I did a mini-review of this one (a book blogger’s way of catching up on reviews) so I’ll include it here and it will explain why it made the list.

I loved this book! As with any book that gets a lot of thumbs up and hype, I am always a bit skeptical that it is really as good as everyone says.  Well, in this case, the hype was totally right.  Not a typical novel surrounding Nazi Germany, the story is both inspiring and heartbreaking.  Experiencing the joy of a young girl's discovery of the written word is especially poignant.  It becomes her anchor in a world that is uncertain every day.  Zusak uses a clever narrator...Death.  An appropriate choice considering the amount of lives lost during World War II.  As usual, the Nazis' treatment of the Jewish people is shocking and sickening.  I could go a million years without having to visualize those acts in my mind.  As usual, when a book affects me in such a way that it makes me cry, it is an automatic five star book.  But do not let the sadness dissuade you from reading this book.  It is also a story of hope and, ultimately, personal triumph.


Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

A book that really makes you think and is so very sad. If you’ve read it, or seen the film, you’ll know what I mean. I made the mistake of going to YouTube and watching the end of the film again after I finished the book. I cried and cried all over again. From my review:

I must examine the moral implications of the idea behind this book. I used to think that cloning would be a good thing. That it would be good to have clones in case we got sick or our loved ones got sick. But when we are thinking such things, do we really consider that these clones are actually people? Even if they are genetic copies, they are made from the same stuff we are. Who says that you have to be born to be given a soul (if you believe in the human soul, as I do)? How do we know how we really get our souls in the first place?

Books that make me really think are my favorites to read. This doesn't change the fact that this book is very sad and I cried and cried at the end. Definitely well worth the read though.


Grist by Linda Little

This last one is a recent read and actually one of my favorites so far this year. It is a story of loss and at the same time triumph. The main character, Penelope, has such hardship, including the loss of two of her children, which this moving passage illustrates her imagining them still alive. I also include a short snippet from my review.

“He brought me home my children in the kindest, warmest way. As I worked with my hands in flour I felt them near me, held close in sweet domesticity. I could have spoken their names aloud except for my fear of breaking the spell. But my heart relayed the messages--lay the table, Daisy, and fetch us some fresh butter from the pantry. Then a little boy's voice, Momma's made a pie. As clear as though it had been spoken, Hughie to Alex, as they filled the wood box two sticks at a time, their little arms embracing the chore. They would be six years old now and dreaming of great strength. Perhaps I would have little trousers to mend that evening--I fingered the cotton of my apron--buttons on little blue trousers with a pocket for treasures. I sprinkled a pinch of cinnamon over the sweetened apples and folded pastry over the top. Baking in the oven next to supper, the aromas blended, transporting me.”

This passage illustrates the author's wonderful writing along with her skill with imagery, placing the reader in the character's shoes. This passage would affect anyone emotionally, but especially those of us who are mothers.

Thanks again for having me as your guest, Tif. And dear readers, don’t let my tears make you shy away from these books. They are definitely must-reads.

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Thank you so much for stopping by with your moving books Michelle!  I have read a couple of these, but not all of them yet.  I have been eyeing Never Let Me Go for a while now.  I think I really need to read this one sooner rather than later!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fairy Tale Friday: The Peasant and the Devil


Welcome to Fairy Tale Friday ... a week and a day late!!  

This month, I decided to take a peek at The Peasant and the Devil by the Brothers Grimm.  It appears in a book I found at a local used bookstore back in Iowa before I moved.  The book is a compilation of fantasy stories compiled by Diana Wynne Jones.  When I saw it, I knew I had to have it for a bit of light reading!

The Peasant and the Devil is a very short read.  (You can find a version of the tale online here.)  In short, a peasant makes a deal with the devil.  The devil not wanting money and gold, struck a deal with the peasant that all items below ground would be his to keep and all those above would go to the peasant.  The peasant outsmarts the devil by growing crops that are harvested above ground, and reaping all the "fruit of the earth" and leaving the devil with nothing.

My very first and only thought on the tale was  ... Why would you strike a deal with the devil?  Even if you can outsmart him, he will not likely play fair and there will still be a consequence coming your way!  My guess is that the devil went away mad, but he would have his vengeance with the peasant sooner or later.

The Peasant and the Devil is a quick, easy read, but it is not one of my favorite tales.  I find it interesting that this was the first tale chosen by DWJ in her little fantasy compilation.  It's not completely disappointing, but I am hoping that the tales get better as I progress through the book.

Have you read The Peasant and the Devil?  What are your thoughts in this short little tale?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Moving Books(es): Charleen of Cheap Thrills


Welcome back to Moving Books(es)!

While I am in the midst of moving boxes from one state to another and getting settled in my new home, I have a handful of fabulous fellow bloggers stopping by to share their moving books(es) ... books that they feel have moved them in one way or another. Today, let us welcome Charleen of Cheap Thrills as she shares one of the books that has moved her.

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One of my passions is music, so I'm always drawn to stories that incorporate it in one way or another. A lot of times I end up disappointed (I think it's inevitable, when I go in with such high hopes). But once in a while, my single-mindedness pays off, and I'm rewarded with a great story, made even greater by that personal connection.

The Bells, by Richard Harvell, is one of my all-time favorite books, and it's one I never would have picked up otherwise. Especially at the time I first read it, I didn't have much interest in historical fiction or literary fiction, so a literary historical novel was definitely not my thing.

But… music!

So I read it. And from beginning to end, I was completely enthralled. The main character lives through music… and not just what we think of music, but the entire world, sounds that we would take for granted or not even hear… it's all a symphony to him. And the author does an incredible job of bringing that music off the page and making it come alive. Even if I can't hear it, I can feel it.

And of course it helps that I've immersed myself in music and been moved by it myself, so it doesn't take a huge stretch of the imagination to experience the love and joy that Moses feels when he's surrounded by song.

There is more to the book than that; not unlike Moulin Rouge!, this story is about truth, beauty, freedom, and – above all – love. But so much of how these things are expressed is through music. Would a non-music-lover get as much out of it? It's hard to say… but I'd like to think that anyone who enjoyed this book would be moved to become a music-lover, if they weren't already.
I grew up as the son of a man who could not possibly have been my father. Though there was never any doubt that my seed had come from another man, Moses Froben, Lo Svizzero, called me "son." And I called him "father." On the rare occasions when someone dared to ask for clarification, he simply laughed as though the questioner were being obtuse. "Of course he's not my son!" he would say. "Don't be ridiculous." 
But whenever I myself gained the courage to ask him further of our past, he just looked at me sadly. "Please, Nicolai," he would say after a moment, as though we had made a pact I had forgotten. With time, I came to understand I would never know the secrets of my birth, for my father was the only one who knew these secrets, and he would take them to his grave.… 
And so you can imagine my surprise, a week after my father's death last spring, to find among his things this stack of papers. And more, to find within them all I had sought to know: of my father's birth and mine; of the origin of my name; of my mother; and of the crime that had kept my father silent. 

From this beginning, we learn of little Moses Froben, a boy with a remarkable gift, one that borders on magical realism. Moses leads a small and sheltered existence with his mother, until he's unfairly cast out into the world… changing the course of his life, for better or worse.

There are other music-centric novels that I've enjoyed, but none have come close to The Bells.

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Thank you so much Charleen for sharing The Bells with us!  My grandfather was a music teacher, so music was and always will be a big part of my life.  I have never heard of this book before, but I guarantee it is now on my list of books to read, sooner rather than later!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Moving Books(es): Ti from Book Chatter

Moving Books 

Welcome to another edition of Moving Books(es)!

While I am in the midst of moving boxes from one state to another and getting settled in my new home, I have a handful of fabulous fellow bloggers stopping by to share their moving books(es) ... books that they feel have moved them in one way or another. Today, I am excited to welcome Ti from Book Chatter.  Read on for more goodness!

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In case you all don't know, Tif is in the process of a big move so she's asked a few bloggers to discuss the books that have moved them in some way. When she approached me, I took all of five minutes to think about it and then jumped on board.

But...

It's not as easy as you think, coming up with books that have moved you in some way. Sure, the obvious ways come to mind. But for me, so much of what I read hits me in a subtle way.

One such book, A Separate Peace by John Knowles.

A Separate Peace

Set in a boys' boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II. At the time, this was not the kind of book I'd read on my own and I can't remember why I picked it up at all but it's about the darker side of friendship.

While reading it, I was stunned at how innocent and wicked a person could be and how one bad move could wreck a person's life forever. It's not like I didn't know people could be this way but the subtle nature of the hatred at hand was just too mind-blowing for me. I read it in college and I chalked-up its "wow" factor to timing, but I've read it numerous times since college and it still horrifies me but not in your typical Stephen King way. People can harbor a resentment inside of them that makes them do bad things, even when they are essentially good. It's a very scary thing to admit and that is why this story still haunts me to this day. I've looked at friendships differently ever since.

Another book that quietly blew me away, is What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

In case anyone is wondering, I am not a runner. FAR from it. Which makes this choice even more interesting. First off, I adore Haruki Murakami. I have read most of his books. I think there is one story collection that I have not read and his new one comes out in August so I'll be a little busy that week but yes, I love him. I love his writing and his overall sense of self (or is it lack of self?). In this book, he talks about running. He's been running for years and runs every day. Every day, folks. This book is a collection of his thoughts and what he thinks about while he's hitting the pavement.

How does this book move me if I am not a runner, you ask? Because I have always wanted to be a runner. The solitude that he speaks of, in my mind, can only be achieved by running. That is not what he says in the book but that was my take-away and ever since, I have quietly entertained the idea of becoming a runner. But my health plagues me. Battling an autoimmune illness can take its toll so right now it's a pipe dream, but someday I hope to experience the kind of solitude he speaks of in the book.

I have never been one to rest my mind. My mind is constantly running. I have two kids, one of which is a teen and oh my goodness...does he test my patience. So just the idea of taking off on a run is pleasing to me. Anyway, what he says in the book has stayed with me and I often revisit his thoughts because as a busy mom, who works full-time, you grab peace wherever you can find it. You know what I mean? It's a book for anyone willing to take a little time to look within. It's not a self-help book but there is just something about it that makes you think about your current situation, whatever it may be.

Have you read either of these? I highly recommend them.

Thanks, Tif! It was fun to share these books with your readers.

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Thank YOU Ti!  I have never read either of these books or the authors, but I am definitely adding both to my list.  I am particularly intrigued by the Murakami book because not only am I in the midst of moving, but I am also in the midst of applying to jobs to return back to work.  I can use all the help I can get in finding that peace in all this running!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Maunder: June in Review


I'm back!!!!!!

I can finally say that I am back in the online world!  We are officially moved in, most of our boxes are unpacked, and we are getting settled in our new home in Big Sky Country!  Overall, the move ran much smoother than I ever expected it to.  The biggest hiccup was when we arrived at our new home -- a home that I had never seen in person prior to our move-in day -- and the house was not quite as it was advertised to be.  I'm working through it, making the house my home as best as I can, and reminding myself that this will hopefully be a temporary home before we buy our very own in a year or so.  Until then, I will make it work!

The month of June was a complete whirlwind, beginning with the wrap-up of Armchair BEA and a minor surgery for my daughter, and ending with a move across five states to our new home.  Surprisingly, reading did not suffer as much as I thought it would!  I am hoping for a fabulous reading month for July as well as lots of fun outside the books as we explore our new city, visit family that we have not seen in a long time, and spend time in the great outdoors.  For now, I will leave you with a quick round-up of the month of June.  Until next time, I am hoping to get organized, reply to the 100+ emails sitting in my inbox, and get more things scheduled here on the blog.

The TOP POSTS on the blog in June were two-fold . . . My Armchair BEA Wrap-Up and May in Review had the most hits, but my Monday Maunder:  Bringing Out The Boxes had the most comments.  I really thought that at least one of my Moving Books(es) special guest posts would be in the tops for the month.  If you missed them, be sure to click here to check them out.  I have more coming in the weeks ahead too!

The TOP PIC of the month was also a surprise.  I took this little pic of my neighbor's flowers while I took a break from packing.  Of course, as I reviewed my pictures, I also discovered that I had a light month in pictures.  I am planning to get back to sharing my snapshots on a more regular basis this month.


And, last but not least, here are the BOOKS READ for the month of June:

  1. Runaways, Deluxe Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan
  2. The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
  3. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  4. Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
  5. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
  6. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
  7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  8. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

As of the end of June, I had completed 51 books for the year.  I set a goal of 75 books for the year, so I am ahead of schedule and so far, still going strong.  Even if I have a setback on my reading, I should still make my goal for the year and hopefully, then some!

As for what I am currently reading, I am in the middle of Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris, just downloaded World War Z by Max Brooks on audio, and read the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling with my kids this evening.  

What have you been reading?  How is your reading for the year?  Any big moments during the month of June for you?