Thursday, January 31, 2008

Banned Book Challenge

I have decided to join in on the fun of reading for the Banned Book Challenge being hosted by Farenheit 451: Freedom to Read. The challenge begins on February 24th and ends June 30th. Here are the books I plan to read:

1. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
2. The Tenth Circle by Jodie Picoult
3. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
5. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Colier

Sunday, January 27, 2008

At First Sight

Author: Nicholas Sparks
Challenge: Winter Reading Challenge
Date Finished: January 26, 2008
Rating: 4.5/5

This is the continuation of the story of Jeremy Marsh and Lexie Darnell who were first introduced to readers in True Believer, also by Sparks. The story is a wonderful love story that is often times overly sentimental and completely predictable, BUT entirely enjoyable and the story works perfectly. I love the characters! A word of warning though, this is defiantly a tearjerker of a story. Keep a box of tissues nearby!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Black Ice

Author: Cate Kennedy
Genre: Short Story
Published: The New Yorker
Challenge: 21st Fiction Yahoo Group
Date Read: January 26, 2008
Rating: 4

"For everything poisonous there's something else nearby to cure it."

That one line at the end of the story, in my opinion, sums up the entire story. The main character, Billy, sees something poisonous in the woman who has moved into the house down the way from his own and sets about to find the cure. Does he succeed? I believe he does. The story is extremely short, and only took me about 10 minutes to read. At times I found myself wondering what the point was, but then the ending made it clear....and I feel made the story worthwhile and thought provoking.

Kitchen Privileges

Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Genre: Memoir
Challenge: In Their Shoes
Date Finished: January 21, 2008
Rating: 3.5/5

Mary Higgins Clark has been a favorite author of mine since high school. Since I have read all of her suspense novels I figured it might be enjoyable to read her memoir and learn more about the author herself. I was not disappointed. The memoir focuses mainly on her childhood and adult years before her success as a writer and from those remembrances the reader is able to connect with the person Clark was. It is clear Clark always thought of herself as a writer and was willing to put in an enormous amount of effort to accomplish her goal. From her story the reader can draw hope that he/she too can succeed at becoming a successful writer by knowing their audience, their strengths and weaknesses, and having a lot of determination. The only negative to the book was that I had hoped for a little more about Clark's life after she achieved bestseller status. Other than that the book was an enjoyable read.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Author: Arthur Phillips
Date Finished: January 18, 2008
Rating: 3.5/5

This is my first ever book review so it might not be as good as I would hope, but here goes nothing...

From the inside cover: "Angelica is a spellbinding Victorian ghost story, an intriguing literary and psychological puzzle, and a meditation on marriage, childhood, memory, and fear."

Angelica is portrayed as a Victorian ghost story, but although there is a "ghost" in the story it is more of a story of the mental and emotional workings of a young family that perhaps has been touched by mental illness. I say perhaps, because some characters elude to the possible mental illness, but other characters portray it as something else entirely.

There were points in the story when I could not wait to see what would happen next, but more often than not I was left wondering what was going on! The book is divided into four sections and each section is told from the perspective of a different main character. This technique is enlightening and helps the reader to see the different events from a variety of viewpoints, but ultimately left me confused as to what actually happened. Overall, I was frustrated with the fact I am still not sure what happened in some key points in the story and why. It would be interesting to use this book in a group where discussion could occur because perhaps that would help clarify things in the mind of each reader. But as for me I remain more confused than ever.

This is my first book by this author and although I will probably read another of his books sometime in the future I will not be rushing out to buy one immediately.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

2007 Reading Wrap Up

Okay here is a year end wrap up for me for 2007. I wasn't the most successful in completing challenges this year. In fact I only completed 3 and one of those was a personal challenge. But I had a ton of fun, think I have myself more organized for next year, and look forward to more success this next year. I did read a TON of great books, possibly more than any other year in the past and discovered many new to me authors that I look forward to reading more of. Well here is my wrapup:

Challenges Successfully Completed:
Non-Fiction Five
A-Z New To Me Authors *Personal Challenge*
Christmas Challenge

Total Books Read: 124
New to Me Authors: 80

Top 10 Books of 2007 (In Order of Preference):
1. Marley & Me by John Grogan (5 stars)
2. Blessed are the Cheesemakers by Sarah-Kate Lynch (5 stars)
3. Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet by Xinran (5 stars)
4. The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle (5 stars)
5. I, Mona Lisa by Jeanne Kalogridis (5 stars)
6. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (5 stars)
7. In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner (4.5 stars)
8. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller (4.5 stars)
9. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (4.5 stars)
10. Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida (4.5 stars)

Books I Did Not Like (received a 2.5 star rating or less):
1. Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber: The Katya Livingston Chronicles by Adele Lang (0.5 stars)
2. Hush, Little Baby by Katherine Davies (2.5 stars)
3. Shadow Game by Christine Feehan (2.5 stars)
4. The Accident by Elie Wiesel (2.5 stars)
5. The Christmas Pig by Kinky Friedman (2.5 stars)

Finally Caved...

Well I've finally caved in and started a blog of my own to track my reading obsession through challenges and just reading for enjoyment. I figure if nothing else it will be a learning experience since this is my first time blogging. And who knows, it may even be fun.