Monday, November 30, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Thank you to Marcia at The Printed Page for putting on the weekly Mailbox Monday, a place where I discover so many wonderful new books.

Check out her blog and post all the new books you acquired this week.

I was so excited to open my mailbox on Saturday and see one of those sweet little keys that means I have a package too big to fit in the mailbox. Jumping up and down and waving the key at my husband I quickly inserted the key into the #3 big box and there inside was a giant envelope from Harvard Book Store. I jumped inside my car and had my husband quickly drive to our apartment so I could thoroughly enjoy the book I knew it contained.

Carefully I opened the package and took off the giant bubble-wrap that was surrounding the book....Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Okay so I already own Graceling and it is an incredible story but why was I so excited to receive a second copy? It was SIGNED!! Kristin has hooked up with Harvard Book Store and she will sign your book if you request it through them. So thank you Kristin, for signing a book for me even though I was not able to make it to any of your appearances for a REAL book signing. This book made me so so happy!!

Once I finally stopped gushing over my book I looked through the rest of the mail and realized I received something else I was waiting on...

Another author that I am giving for the holidays (yes I am giving many copies of Graceling to friends/sisters this Christmas) is Sarah Addison Allen. I read Garden Spells right after it was released and fell in love with it. The Sugar Queen was also an amazing book, so I realized they would be books that a few of my family members would enjoy as well. I went on her site because I was curious about when her next book was going be released and noticed that Random House will send you signed bookplates for your book club if you send in an envelope. I quickly requested bookplates for the books I will be giving for Christmas, hoping that they wouldn't mind I was giving these away instead of using them for a book club - which they didn't - and I received them in the mail as well.

I am so excited. Overall Saturday was an awesome day to check the mail!

HERE is the link to Kristin Cashore's blog where she explains how to get a signed book.

The link for the bookplates from Sarah Addison Allen is HERE.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith - Jon Krakauer

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer is the haunting story of Dan and Ron Lafferty, why they killed their sister-in-law and niece and how they gave their religion as motivation. The often disturbing story that unfolds reads more like a horror story than a work of nonfiction.

Karkauer uses the Lafferty story as a way to delve into the Mormon religion as a whole. He gives fascinating details about how the religion started and the road that brought it to the religion it is today. Krakauer’s research explains the reasons behind many of the various sects of the Latter-day Saints as well as the Mormon Fundamentalists.

With so many details and stories Krakauer often seems to be going off on a random tangent, but his tangents always link back to the main story in some surprising way.

The details behind the Lafferty murders are both horrifying and fascinating. Krakauer does a wonderful job of explaining the events that unfolded as well as the history of the religion with as unbiased an opinion as seems possible. So much of the history is filled with violence by and against the church. In response to an exaggerated report, Lilburn Boggs, Governor of Missouri, stated:

“The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state, if necessary for the public peace. Their outrages are beyond all description.”
-page 103

I was fascinated by the history of the religion, how it came to exist and the various factors that played a part in molding it. For example, the US government is a huge reason the church eventually prohibited polygamy.

“Although LDS leaders were originally loath to abandon plural marriage, eventually they adopted a more pragmatic approach to American politics, emphatically rejected the practice, and actually began urging government agencies to prosecute polygamists. It was this single change in ecclesiastical policy, more than anything else, that transformed the LDS Church into its astonishingly successful present-day iteration. Having jettisoned polygamy, Mormons gradually ceased to be regarded as a crackpot sect.”
-page 7

This brilliantly researched and well written book is a thought-provoking read that had me constantly pausing so I could read a passage to my husband. I was fascinated the entire time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Thank you MizB for hosting Teaser Tuesday.

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share 2 teaser sentences from that page
-Make sure you don't include any spoilers

Check out Should Be Reading to read more Teaser Tuesdays.

"The Saints, however, were forced to accede to all the other conditions of their surrender, and once they had been disarmed they became easy prey for Missourians bent on revenge. Their possessions were plundered, their cabins burned for firewood, their livestock shot for amusement."

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
-page 105

Sunday, November 22, 2009

1010 Challenge

The 1010 Challenge is a group challenge on LibraryThing (challenge link). The challenge is to read books from 10 categories in 2010. I am going to read 10 books in each category.

This is a fantastic way for me to make sure I get through most of the books I have wanted to read for a while as well as make sure I have diversity throughout the year. I will probably switch some books up throughout the year but I have most of my categories filled already(okay some are overfilled-I'll figure that out as I go). As I read and review the books I will leave links.

1. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
2. True Compass: A Memoir by Edward M. Kennedy
3. Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival by Norman Ollestad
4. A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice by Malalia Joya
5. I’ll Scream Later by Marlee Matlin
6. The Girl from Foreign: A Memoir by Sadia Shepard
7. Saving Sammy: Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD by Beth Alison Maloney
8. Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur by Halima Bashir

Historical Fiction
1. Avalon: A Novel by Anya Seton and Philippa Gregory
2. The Lady Elizabeth: A Novel by Alison Weir
3. Sarah's Daughter by Ruth Bass
4. The Virgin's Daughters by Jeane Westin
5. Cleopatra's Daughter: A Novel by Michelle Moran
6. The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
7. Mary Boleyn by Josephine Wilkinson
8. Privilege and Scandal by Gleeson
9. Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

1. Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
3. The Mom’s Guide To Growing Your Family Green: Saving The Earth Begins At Home by Terra Wellington
4. Smart Mama’s Green Guide: Simple Steps to Reduce Your Child’s Toxic Exposure by Jennifer Taggart
5. The Duchess by Amanda Foreman
6. Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean Sasson
7. Princess Sultana's Daughters by Jean Sasson
8. Princess Sultana's Circle (Princess Trilogy) by Jean Sasson
9. First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria by Eve Waite-Brown
10. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
11. Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson
12. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

1. The Federalist by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay
2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
3. The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
4. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
5. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
6. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
7. Middlemarch by George Eliot
8. My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass
9. Narrative of Sojourner Truth
10. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
11. Utopia by Thomas More
12. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Young Adult
1. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
3. Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black
4. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
5. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
6. What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
7. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
8. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
9. Go Ask Alice by Unknown

Books I Missed in School (I have no idea how)
1. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
3. The Giver by Lois Lowry
4. The Pearl by John Steinbeck
5. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
6. Tangerine by Edward Bloor
7. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

A School Refresher Course (the ones I did read)
1. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
2. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
4. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
6. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
7. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
8. The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
9. The Witches by Roald Dahl
10. Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls

Banned Books
1. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
2. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
3. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
4. Maurice: A Novel by E. M. Forster
5. The Education of Harriet Hatfield by Sarton May
6. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
7. Forever… by Judy Blume
8. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
9. Lysistrata by Aristophanes
10. The Last Mission by Harry Mazer
11. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
12. Women on Top by Nancy Friday
13. The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence by Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks

Books to Set the Halloween Mood
1. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
2. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
3. Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
4. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
5. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
6. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
7. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
8. Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal

Books I Loved the First Time Around
1. Animal Farm by George Orwell
2. Garden Spells By Sarah Addison Allen
3. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
6. Moths and Other by Stories by Helena Maria Viramontes
7. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
8. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
9. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
10. We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories From Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch


The 2010 100+ Reading Challenge.  You can see the list of all the books I read in 2010 HERE.

 I also have the 1010 Challenge, which has essentially turned into a giant list of books I want to read before I die.  The list in all its glorious categories can be found HERE.

Original Post
January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010

1. Witches
2. The Lightning Thief
3. Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring
4. Alice in Wonderland
5. The Hours
6. Out of Africa
7. Brideshead Revisited
8. Mansfield Park or Emma/Clueless
9. Coraline
10. The Golden Compass

Original Post
February 1, 2010 - January 31, 2011

I am going to read 3 books over 750 pages each.

1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
2. Under the Dome by Stephen King
3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Original Post
November 1, 2009 - April 30, 2010

1. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
2. Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan
3. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
4. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
5. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
6. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

Original Post
January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010

1. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
2. Beloved by Toni Morrison
3. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
4. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
5. Utopia by Thomas More
6. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
8. Atonement by Ian McEwan
9. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
10. The Giver by Lois Lowry

Original Post
January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010

1. Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (this would be a reread for me but I loved it the first time)
3. Virginia Woolf: A Biography by Quentin Bell
4. The Hours: A Novel by Michael Cunningham
5. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe: A Novel by Fannie Flagg
6. The Persian Boy by Mary Renault
7. The Bostonians by Henry James

Original Post
January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010

1. The Girl from Foreign: A Memoir by Sadia Shepard
2. Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal
3. The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal
4. Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah
5. A Disobedient Girl: A Novel by Ru Freeman

Original Post
November 2009 - November 2010

1. Circle of Women: An Anthology of Contemporary Western Women Writers by Kim Barnes and Mary Clearman Blew
2. To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism by Rebecca Walker
3. The Bone Woman: A Forensic Anthropologist'​s Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo by Clea Koff

Fiction or Nonfiction:

4. My Antonia by Willa Cather
5. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
6. Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent
7. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
8. Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier

Young Adult


Shiny & New

Bad Blogger’s

1. The Feminine Mystique
2. Jane Eyre

New in 2010
1.  The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
2.  The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham

Older Than You

Win! Win!

Who Are You Again?

Up to You! --I am going with graphic novels on this one. They are totally new to me and I decided it was about time I checked one (or two) out.
1. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Friday, November 20, 2009

When Autumn Leaves - Amy S. Foster

I initially picked up When Autumn Leaves: A Novel by Amy S. Foster because I thought the cover was so beautiful. I admit it…I judged a book by its cover. When I read that it was a book laced with some magic, I knew I had to read it.

I am very confused by the whole book. It wasn’t the story that was confusing but my feelings about the book that I can’t sort out. Part of me fought the story almost the whole way through and I have no idea why. I had unwarranted high expectations and I was quickly disappointed that the writing didn’t flow as well as I was hoping. I was constantly being pulled out of the story because of some comment that didn’t seem to fit or some phrasing that just felt off.

The story is set in the town of Avening and each chapter reads like a short story. Each is about a different person. The common link between them all being Avening and magic, as well as Autumn, a woman who appears throughout the whole book.

Autumn puts an ad out in the paper which causes each of these women to become more open to the magic in their lives and encourages them to think about what that means.

Although this is not the best book I have read this year, it is a nice quick read if you are looking for some magic. The way Foster’s stories unfold began to grow on me and by the end of the book I was surprisingly pleased with how the story wrapped up. However, in general, the stories are left fairly open and I can see Foster writing a sequel to the book.

Even though I had my issues with the book, I did enjoy it. If she does write a sequel, I can definitely see myself buying it. I think I would enjoy it more now that I know what to expect from her writing. What can I say…I am a sucker for books with a little magic.

I am an Amazon Associate.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

GLBT Challenge 2010 - The Challenge That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Okay, I found another great challenge that I just can't pass up. I recently came across the GLBT 2009 Challenge and I was so sad that it was about to be finished. When I came across the came challenge for 2010 I knew I was signing up.

Thanks to Amanda at The Zen Leaf for hosting the The Challenge That Dare Not Speak Its Name 2010 which will run January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010.

I am signing up at the Pink Triangle Level, meaning I will read 8 books. I don't have a list put together yet but I have a few ideas so far:

Middlesex: A Novel
by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky (this would be a reread for me but I loved it the first time)

Virginia Woolf: A Biography
by Quentin Bell

The Hours: A Novel
by Michael Cunningham

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe: A Novel
by Fannie Flagg

The Persian Boy
by Mary Renault

The Bostonians (Modern Library Classics)
by Henry James

Check out this website with a great list of GLBT Literature.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

South Asian Author Challenge

There is a great new challenge being hosted by Swapna at S. Krishna's Books. The South Asian Author Challenge is a great challenge to get people reading books buy South Asian authors (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka). There were a few books that I knew I would put on a list if I participated, so I'm signing up.

I am going to read 7 books. With the books I have in mind right now I will have a few spots for extras I find along the way. The challenge is going to run January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2010 so I am going to just strew them throughout the year.

Possible books for my list so far:

Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah
Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal
The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal
A Disobedient Girl: A Novel by Ru Freeman
The Girl from Foreign: A Memoir by Sadia Shepard

Check it out and sign up.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Innocent Traitor - Allison Weir

Before reading Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Allison Weir, I didn’t know much about Jane Grey. I knew that she was beheaded but I had only read bits and pieces about her when she happened to pop up in other stories. I didn’t know anything about her childhood until now. Innocent Traitor was a fantastic book to bring her story to life for me.

Weir does a remarkable job of bringing back to life people from such a different time. The story is written in the first person (in the Reader’s Guide Weir states that she did this to differentiate this story from her nonfiction works) from the point-of-view of multiple people. Usually it bothers me to jump between various views of extremely different people but Weir wrote this wonderfully and the diverse voices easily flowed.

It always fascinates me how hope manages to overtake me even if I know the ending to a story. It doesn’t matter that I know Romeo and Juliet die at the end; there is always that little part of me that hopes somehow they will manage to run off together. The same was true with this story. I knew the fate of Jane Grey, even if I didn’t already know it the story opens with her in the Tower of London after she receives her death sentence, but throughout the whole book I continuously wonder if she might change the ending of her story. I rode a rollercoaster of hope, wondering how she got from various chapters to the Tower, always thinking that maybe the next decision would be the one that actually saves her life. It is a fascinating story, wonderfully told by Weir and I recommend it to anyone interested in how Jane Grey’s story ended the way it did.

I am an Amazon Associate.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Focus Jess...focus!

I have a confession. I have a HUGE pile of books just sitting and waiting to be read. No, not that little pile to the left, that is the pile I am currently reading. Okay that pile is actually my confession. Now you might wonder what the real problem is just an innocent pile of 7 books. That's about the average number of books I always have going. I'm someone who always has multiple books going, which I am constantly going back and forth from. The real problem is this pile has been been the same for way too long.

I started these books over a month ago and they are still here staring me down as if they were forgotten. Okay that's a lie! It hasn't been a month it's been 2...and a half...OKAY FINE, one of them I started over 3 months ago! I'm so ashamed!!

Ever since I got sucked into the blogging world I have found all kinds of amazing books that I have to read RIGHT NOW! So I bought those and started a new "currently reading" pile. I'll sometimes find my way back to my old pile and read a few chapters in one of the books but they seem to just hang around forever.

Now, don't get me wrong, I was enjoying these books (the small parts of them I had read ) that isn't the issue, but I just can't seem to get into them because I constantly have a new book creeping into the corner of my vision. Something is wrong with me. I need help...I need a plan.

So I'm not buying a new book, I'm not even starting a new book, until I finish at least 3 of these. I figure by the time I finish 3 of the 7 I will have come a long way with the other 4 as well and I will be able to set my conscience at ease when I rush to the bookstore once again.

Friday, November 13, 2009

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

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume, is the first book I have read for the Shelf Discovery Challenge and I absolutely LOVED it.

How is it that I am 25 and just now reading this for the first time? This story had so many similarities with my life at that age and it was so wonderfully written that I felt like I was my version of Margaret.

Margaret is trying to decide if she believes in God while at the same time begging him to let her “get it” (“it” being her period). She has the same kind of friends I had at that age, the group with a leader. In Margaret’s case the leader of her friends was Nancy. Margaret also has to deal with her parents and trying to get them to understand the new parts of her life, like how important is it that she doesn’t wear socks on the first day of school.

There is a quote on page 64 that I could totally relate to:

“During this time I talked to Nancy every night. My father wanted to know why we had to phone each other so often when we were together in school all day.”

My dad was constantly talking to my mom about how there was something wrong with me because I was on the phone with my friends the moment I got home from school.

Even though I truly wish I had read this book in 6th grade, I wonder if I would have appreciated it as much then. I know I would have felt an intense connection with the story, but I don’t know if I would have realized all the similarities at the time. Would I have loved it just because it felt familiar? I will never know but I am glad I finally read it. Now I am going to have to read more Judy Blume.

Check out the Shelf Discovery Challenge to read reviews from other bloggers.

I am an Amazon Associate.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak: 10th Anniversary Edition by Laurie Halse Anderson has left me speechless. There are not words to express how moved I was by this book. It captured the raw and painful emotions of high school, entwined with the rape of Melinda. This book caught me completely off guard. I started it on a plane ride home and finished it by the time I arrived. I was entirely wrapped up in her pain, fear and anger.

I don’t know what surprised me more, the extraordinary emotion that radiates from the pages or some of the things Anderson said in the endnotes of the 10th Anniversary Edition. One thing she mentioned was that she repeatedly has guys asking her why Melinda was so upset about being raped! I was blown away, as was she, but I think she handled the question and trying to understand where these guys were coming from very well. That question reinforces how important this book is by allowing people to start talking.

This was a book that has not only allowed people to relate to it with their similar experiences, but it has also helped people to understand what someone else goes through. It has opened up communication for so many people, young and old, and I now understand why.

This is a must read for anyone. I was brought back to my school experiences with feeling so misunderstood and I wish I had a book like this to read when I was in 7th grade. I wish I had known about this book in high school, when it was released. I can’t wait to read more from Anderson.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Uber Giveaway

I came across this awesome giveaway from Bibliofreak.

You (or I) could win a Kindle, so that you (I mean I) can carry hundreds of books with you everywhere you (I) go. So click the link and sign up so you (no seriously I) can win. All you have to do is join the mailing list, but there are also ways to get multiple entries so check it all out. Oh the best part: there is going to be up to 15 Kindles given away so we can BOTH win! The contest will end December 18, so hurry on over.

Join the Great Kindle II GiveAway! Then just keep your finger that you (I mean I...okay WE) win.

Good luck!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Thank you to Marcia at The Printed Page for putting on the weekly Mailbox Monday, a place where I discover so many wonderful new books.

Check out her blog and post all the new books you acquired this week.

This is my first Mailbox Monday. I only received 1 book last week but it was an exciting one because it was from the first giveaway that I won. Thank you to Amy at Passages to the Past for the giveaway that allowed me to win:

From Amazon: "When the young and beautiful Catherine Howard becomes the fifth wife of the fifty-year-old King Henry VIII, she seems to be on top of the world. Yet her reign is destined to be brief and heartbreaking, as she is forced to do battle with enemies far more powerful and calculating than she could have ever anticipated in a court where one wrong move could mean her undoing. Wanting only love, Catherine is compelled to deny her heart's desire in favor of her family's ambition. But in so doing, she unwittingly gives those who sought to bring her down a most effective weapon-her own romantic past."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Greener Reader

This morning I came across a great campaign on Alyce's blog At Home with Books. She, along with 99 other bloggers, will be taking part in Green Books Campaign.

Green Books Campaign brings together 100 bloggers who each pick a "green" book to read. Then, on November 10th they will all post their reviews. This is all being put on by Eco-Libris, a company working towards making reading more planet friendly. You can donate $1 and they will plant a tree to replace a book you read. They also work with publishers and authors to produce eco-friendly books.

This is a great way to give a little back for all the books we go through (yes, I am aware my book hoarding habits are not eco-friendly...I'm working on it). I can't wait to read all the reviews on Nov. 10th. A list of the participating blogs can be found on the Eco-Libris campaign website.

I also came across and interesting article about e-readers on the Eco-Libris Blog. It takes a deeper look at a report that found the Kindle to be greener than books and discusses when that is most likely, and more importantly, often not the case.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Finds - Nov. 6

Friday Finds is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. This is my first Friday Finds so I'm keeping it small for now.

I'm not really into comics (I've never really given them a chance) but I came across these and HAD to add them to my Amazon wish list. There is a whole series on extraordinary women but I pulled out these two because 1. I am a political nut and 2. ...J.K. Rowling doesn't really need an explanation!

From her beginnings at Wellesley to the battle for the democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton has from the outset raised critical issues of feminism, politics and philosophy. Telling the story of her life, Hillary Clinton, will explore the former first lady from her humble beginnings to her current status as Secretary of State.

Millions of readers worldwide have been captivated by the best selling Harry Potter series, but what is even more incredible is the woman who created him and his fantastic world. From telling stories as a child, to being forced to go on welfare, and finally becoming one of the world's most famous writers, the story of Joanne Rowling is almost as magical as the world she created.

Both descriptions were taken from Amazon.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane - Katherine Howe

In The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Katherine Howe creates an interesting story about an always intriguing subject—the Salem witch trials. Flowing between “present” day (1991) and the 17th century, Howe develops an incredible story about Deliverance Dane, a woman accused of witchcraft, and Connie, a grad student who becomes swept into her story after finding a piece of paper with Deliverance Dane written on it. Connie comes across the paper at her Grandmother’s house—which she is spending the summer cleaning—and it sparks an interest to know more.

Although the book was a bit predictable at parts, I was completely enthralled from cover to cover. Howe’s writing is beautiful. I love the way Connie views her mind as a library, picking a file to look under when she needs to remember something. She also visualizes things in such a fascinating way, which really helped the story coming to life.

It was strange for me to get used to the fact that Connie didn’t have a cell phone—which would have been an easy fix to her having to use a payphone because the house was not wired for a phone…or electricity. I couldn’t help but laugh when, on page 169, I read:

“One of them had his gigantic cellular phone that he kept on his desk! What kind of high schooler has a cellular phone anyway? Aren’t those just for bankers?”

I just had to remind myself it was 1991 and even though it seemed like she was living in my time right now, a lot has changed since then.

The entire story was so interesting. I love Howe’s writing style and I look forward to reading more from her.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Women Unbound - Start of Challenge Meme

1. What does feminism mean to you? Does it have to do with the work sphere? The social sphere? How you dress? How you act?

2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?

3. What do you consider the biggest obstacle women face in the world today? Has that obstacle changed over time, or does it basically remain the same?

It is difficult to describe what feminism means to me. It is a feeling, an understanding that women can do anything. We have a right to feel safe and comfortable with who we are and what we choose to do with our lives. To me, feminism is about...well, everything. It is about women having the right to choose to work inside or outside the home and to have the means to do that equally. It means that women can dress in a way that makes them feel comfortable - whether that means flip flops or heels. It is about girls knowing that smart is sexy so they don't feel like they have to dumb themselves down in order to seem cute or funny or attainable.

I consider myself a feminist but I don't think I fall under only that label. I think that labels are a huge obstacle that women...that all people face. It is too easy to label someone, to look at them and put them in a little stereotypical box. It is awful that women do this to other women so often. Everyone has the right to make their own name, to define who they are without others doing it for them.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Women Unbound Challenge

I am so excited to participate in the Women Unbound Challenge. This is a challenge that starts this month and runs until November 2010. When I started blogging, I hoped that there would be a challenge like this. I minored in Women's Studies in college and I'm ashamed to say the number of "feminist" books I have read since graduating has significantly dropped. I am so excited to see what everyone else is reading and to hear their thoughts.

I will be participating at the Suffragette level, which means I will be reading at least 8 books of which at least 3 must be nonfiction. The hardest part for me is definitely going to be narrowing down the 8 books that I will read. I am going to take some time sifting through the books on my wishlist and checking out some other lists before I finalize my reading list but I do have a list of some books I have read and really enjoyed.

I do love all of these but I am going to start with some of my favorite. Since I just started my blog and don't have reviews for any of these books, each will have a link to Amazon and some of the reviews there.


The Moths and Other Stories
by Helena Maria Viramontes
This is an collection of stories about the struggles women are often faced with in various aspects of their lives. This quickly became one of my favorite books.

Mother Tongue
by Demetria Martinez
A story about a young woman's fight to help a political refugee from El Salvador.

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
A wonderful collection of stories about the obstacles in life.

Vintage Cisneros
by Sandra Cisneros
A collection of excerpts from various works by Cisneros, including The House on Mango Street (also a great book), Carmelo and various poems.

Emplumada by Lorna Dee Cervantes
This is a collection of poems based on Cervantes' Chicana heritage.


Bananas, Beaches, and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics by Cynthia Enloe
A look at how globalization and international politics effect the lives of women around the world.

Feminist Theory: From Margin To Center
by bell hooks
A comprehensive look at the core issues of feminism.

Tangled Memories: The Vietnam War, the AIDS Epidemic, and the Politics of Remembering by Marita Sturken
Sturken's thoughts about how we deal with tragic events and how we remember them (movies, memorials, focus on men vs. women).

Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy
I came across this book in a bookstore and really enjoyed it. I don't have kids so I don't have any personal experience but it is interesting to know how it was done back in the day.

Women, Race, and Class by Angela Y. Davis
Discusses the ties between the between the anti-slavery campaign and the struggle for women's suffrage as well as the differences that divided them.

Lakota Woman
by Mary Crow Dog
The Autobiography of Mary Brave Bird. A look at growing up Native American in 1960s/70s America.

Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future
by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards
A look at the different types and generations of feminists as well as what that means for the fight for women's empowerment.

Feminism on the Border
by Sonia Saldivar-Hull
A look at feminism by analyzing three Chicana writers: Gloria Anzaldúa, Sandra Cisneros, and Helena María Viramontes.

The Struggle of Women's Rights: Theoretical and Historical Sources by George Klosko and Margaret G. Klosko
A fantastic breakdown of the key people who fought for women's suffrage: what they did and why it matters.

Insecure at Last: A Political Memoir by Eve Ensler
Eve Ensler is the author of The Vagina Monologues. Insecure at Last touches on her personal experiences as well as the experiences of women oppressed by various political systems.

Promises Not Kept: Poverty and the Betrayal of Third World Development by John Isbister
A look at various factors affecting the increase of world poverty.

Final book of ideas:

A Bookshelf of Our Own: Must-Reads for Women by Deborah G. Felder
This is a great book that I came across one day, which highlights books that changed women's lives. This is a great book if you need ideas for books to read, explaining why they are so important and why we love them.