Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Maunder: #FrightFall Readathon Kick-Off!

Good Monday Morning!

It's readathon time again!!  And, I can't ask for better timing.  My poor reading has been so minimal these days that I am desperately in the need for a reading kick.  Michelle's FrightFall Readathon has come at the perfect time for me.

The FrightFall Readathon hosted by Michelle of Seasons of Reading and The True Book Addict (and more!) is a week-long event, starting today and running until 11:59 pm CST on Sunday.  Though the main point is to relax and have fun, this readathon does come with one requirement . . . to read at least one scary book.  I can definitely manage that!

Here is my quick list of goals for the week . . .
  1. Finish the book, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I have been reading this one far too long and it is time for it to end.  I have been so tempted to just not finish it, but I am still find myself plugging along.
  2. Continue working on my current audiobook, Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld.
  3. Read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.
  4. Pick up another book or two from my planned September reads or RIP IX Challenge.  I do have plenty to choose from and I'm going to go with what suits my mood at the time.  Though Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand may win out since I need to finish it for an upcoming book club challenge.  Another option is Dark Places by Gillian Flynn because this one was just chosen for another upcoming book club.  Oh, and I may have just picked up Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan this weekend and I may not be able to resist that one much longer!  Like I said, I have plenty of books to choose from!

I will be posting updates via Instagram and Twitter throughout the week, and my final wrap-up with details will appear right here next week in Monday Maunder.  You can follow along with all the participants of the event via #FrightFall.

Wish me luck and happy, frightful reading!!

Will you be joining in the FrightFall Readathon this week?  What scary books are you reading these days?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Banned Books in Big Sky Country

Today is the beginning of the end for Banned Books Weeks 2014.  Earlier this week, I was able to attend a little presentation regarding the banned and challenged books in my home state of Montana (aka Big Sky Country).  I am now sharing a handful of these interesting facts with all of you!  But, before I get started, let's first take a look at a quick little video courtesy of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) . . .

Wasn't that a fun video?!?

For those that are unaware, the banning of books in the United States in general is very rare.  Challenging books, on the other hand, are not.  Here are a few facts behind the challenges of Montana . . . 

The MOST challenged BOOK is Fool's Crow by James Welch.  However, Sherman Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is quickly moving closer to the top of the list.

The MOST challenged AUTHOR is Judy Blume.

PARENTS make up the majority of the population that bring forth the challenges against books.  And, most of the challenges occur in SCHOOL libraries and/or curriculum.

The most frequent complaint that leads to challenges is SEX.  However, other topics that tend to be raised are violence, evolution, and even the disbelief in the Holocaust.

Though challenges do tend to come from the more CONSERVATIVE population, complaints are not completely one-sided; any and all perspectives are represented in challenges.

The FIRST documented challenge occurred in 1902 and involved the controversial book, The Story of Mary Maclane by Mary MacLane herself.

In 1996, The Giver by Lois Lowry was challenged in one community, resulting in a decision to LIMIT the book to certain age groups.

In 2002, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou was challenged.  The resulting decision was to keep the book a part of the curriculum, but also to offer an ALTERNATE option to students.

Though most of the books challenged remain, there have been two items that have been completely REMOVED from some school curriculums or libraries:  Fool's Crow by James Welch and Rolling Stone magazine.

I leave you with a fabulous video from author Dav Pilkey, the author behind Captain Underpants, one of the most challenged books in the country.  It is a great message that I agree with 100%!

Are you aware of the ban and challenge facts in your own state?  What books do you hear being challenged the most in your own area?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Literary Link Love: September 2014

With the start of my new job and an increase in my kids' activities, I have not had a lot of time to share great links from around the web these days.  However, I am still here today to share the few good links that did make it on the list.  Enjoy!

This first link is one that I need to reconsider these days to remind myself how to fit in more reading again.  If you are in the same boat, check out 7 Habits of Highly Effective Readers.

If book titles were being honest, this is what you might find.  Do you agree with these new, honest titles?  What other ones can you think of (preferably without spoilers)?

If you have a few minutes, this is a fun video.  It shows a bookcase creating itself!

I adored viewing this infographic on libraries, especially when books were compared to burgers!

And saving the best for last, I CANNOT WAIT for this movie!!

That's it for the short list this month!

What link was your favorite?  And, what did I miss out on?  Because I know I missed out on a lot these last few weeks!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Potterville

Welcome to my first Wordless Wednesday!

I have always enjoyed sharing and viewing pictures, so I thought it was about time that I jumped on the Wordless Wednesday bandwagon.  And for my first one, I bring you some pictures of "Potterville" located in Missoula, Montana.  My dear friend Becca from I'm Lost in Books shared this little Buzzfeed article with me and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to visit.  Enjoy!

(In future Wordless Wednesday posts, you will see far fewer words!)

Would you want to visit or live here?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Maunder: Bloggiesta Results & More

Welcome to my Monday Maunder at my new time!  

Previously, I have written my weekly updates on Monday evenings.  However, due to my new schedule, I am going to try to actually write them on Sunday evenings and schedule them for first thing on Monday mornings.  I am finding that I am just too exhausted by the time I finally get home after a 12+ hour day on Mondays!  So, this week is my little experiment to see if I prefer this little change.

Before I get into the results of my Bloggiesta weekend, I thought I would also just provide you with a quick reading update.  I am STILL in the middle of the same books that I have been reading for what seems like forever . . . Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld (on audio).  I am really hoping to make much more progress on these this week.  It's time for something new!

Now, for the Bloggiesta results . . . My original list with updates is below.  I did discover that I didn't have as much time as I had originally thought I would to work on these tasks.  However, they are things that still desperately need done, so I will be working on them throughout the week to hopefully get caught up and work ahead.

  • Backup Blog:  DONE!
  • Backup Template:  DONE!
  • Update Books Read in 2014:  DONE!
  • Update A-Z Review Index:  DONE!
  • Emails (currently at 32):  DONE!  (Inbox currently at 0 at the time of this writing!)
  • Clean Gmail Contacts:  DONE!  (Also cleaned up the folders!)
  • Clean Out TO READ Notebook (currently STILL stands at 15) 
  • Catch-up on Blog Reading (Feedly DID stand at 459, NOW at 327) 
  • Write and Schedule Reviews (STILL at 7) 
  • Schedule Wordless Wednesday Posts (did NOT get to at all!)

Overall, not too shabby!  I will take it!

How was your reading week?  How about your weekend of Bloggiesta?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bloggiesta: September 2014

It's time for a little blog clean-up again, and the timing could not be better for me.  With starting a new job last week, my poor site has been a bit neglected and I really could use this time to get caught up and work ahead.

Bloggiesta is the event where people all over the blogosphere get together to clean up their blogs, learn new strategies, and commiserate.  In short, it's a fiesta!

Over the next four days, this is the list of tasks that I will be working on . . .

  • Backup Blog
  • Backup Template
  • Update Books Read in 2014
  • Update A-Z Review Index
  • Emails (currently at 32)
  • Clean Gmail Contacts
  • Clean Out TO READ Notebook (currently stands at 15)
  • Catch-up on Blog Reading (Feedly currently stands at 459)
  • Write and Schedule Reviews (7 . . . I think)
  • Schedule Wordless Wednesday Posts

I think that is a good list to work with for now.  I will be working a bit on this list tonight, but will not be able to really kick off the tasks until tomorrow after work.  Here's hoping for a productive weekend!

Are you participating in Bloggiesta this weekend?  What is on your list of things to do?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ghosting by Edith Pattou

Today, I bring you a review of a different sort in honor of the blog tour for Ghosting by Edith Pattou. 

Maxie -
Old, yet new.
Pretty, desirous, artsy.

Faith -
Emma's little.
Sweet, innocent, good.

Anil -
Smart, athletic, conscientious.

Emma -
Free, rebellious, indifferent.

Chloe -
Pretty, cheery, klutzy.

Felix -
Loner, struggling, excitable.

Brendan -
Handsome, average, jerk.

Walter -
Alone, confused, protective.

Eight teens.
One night.
Ghosting prank
turned deadly.

Pattou -

Ghosting -

Leaves you

Read it.

Have you already?

For more information, visit Goodreads or the author's website.

Thank you to BookSparksPR for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars has recently received LOTS of hype, both for the book and the movie.  Sometimes, this hype can make or break a book for me because of the high expectations that the constant chatter generates.  When my book club chose this book for our next selection, I was very curious how the story would hold up.

Green's novel tackles a difficult subject - cancer in young adults.  We get to meet Hazel, a terminally ill teenager that takes classes at a local college when she is feeling well enough and despite her lack of desire, attends a support group with other teens battling the disease in one form or another.  It is at this support group that she meets Augustus, a teenager in remission.  The two are unique in their attitudes in life and in their battles, and they instantly hit it off, becoming fast friends and beyond.  Much of the story also focuses on Hazel's love for a specific book, a story that essentially encompasses her worst fears and anxieties in a completely empathetic way.  The triangle that the two teens create along with the book and its author captures the struggles, both ordinary for their age and extraordinary for their situations.

Throughout this speed read, I found myself laughing and crying.  It was a truly moving story that shed light on the life of the young ones battling what can be a debilitating and deadly disease.  However, I would be lying if I said that The Fault in Our Stars blew me away.  Don't get me wrong.  I enjoyed it, but felt it fell short of the expectations generated from all the hype surrounding it.  I'm not even sure I want to see the movie.

Do you rant or rave about The Fault in Our Stars?  What books have you found to fall short of the hyped-up expectations?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Maunder: Checking In and Bringing Changes

Wow!  Did you see my last Monday Maunder?  Last week was a rough week!  I started my new job.  It was the first full week of school for my kids.  And, we had evening plans four of the nights, from kids' activities and meetings and hanging out with some old friends.  On top of that, my son got sick and he was so kind to share his germs with me.  UGH!

As I am trying to adjust to my new schedule, I am coming to realize that I need to make some changes for here on the blog as well.  I'm still trying to figure out my schedule, find time for writing, and catch up on a little sleep from having to get up so early these days.  Oh, and tackle that inbox.  My email has exploded!

I am still going to try to post 3-4 times per week.  You can always rely on my ramblings on Mondays.  After this week, I am debating the addition of Wordless Wednesday, something that I thoroughly enjoy on many blogs.  And, of course, at least one review a week.  As time permits, I will throw out an additional review or a discussion post or whatever I feel like writing at the time.  Thankfully, Bloggiesta is coming up and I can work out these details this weekend while I work on cleaning up the blog.  (More details and goals coming in a few days!)

In the meantime, I can tell you that I will STILL be reading Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  This one is taking me much longer than expected to finish.  I will also be continuing with my audiobook Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld.  Though I will admit that I started and finished Ghosting by Edith Pattou yesterday.  A review of that one will be coming later this week.  Guaranteed.  It is part of a blog tour.

That's all for this week.  Now it's your turn.

How was your week?  What have you been reading lately?  Are you planning on Bloggiesta this weekend?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Maunder: The First Day

Once upon a time . . . 

I started my new job.

I am now home and plan to crawl into bed and read my book.  We will see if I can get at least five pages read before I fall asleep.

The End.

What stories did you live this week?