Thursday, October 1, 2015

October Reading Map

It’s the beginning of the month and time to plan out my reading. I do this with a ‘Reading Map’. This is like a road map of my reading journey. Each month I do a ‘check-up’ to help me see what I’ve accomplished towards my reading goals and to help me see what needs to be done next.

I like to start with a look at what I’ve done since the last map.

What I’ve read in September

What I’m currently reading.
  • Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld (re-read for book club)

What I chose not to read at this time.

A Sister To Honor is a re-read for me. I read it when it was released and recommended it to my book club. We will be discussing it mid-month, so I am doing a quick skim to refresh my memory since I am leading the discussion. I started Packing For Mars for for Doing Dewey’s online nonfiction bookclub, and am still working on it.

Now it’s time to take a look at my reading map for August.

October 2015 Reading Map

That seems like a lot of books but two are re-reads for book clubs. The Devil In The White City is for Doing Dewey’s online Nonfiction Book Club and since I’ve already read it twice, I will probably just skim it close enough to discuss it. Sisterland  is this month’s selection for my local book club. I read it when it came out, so I am in the process of  re-reading it. I only have one book that I need to read for a book tour review, All The Stars In Heaven. After You is the follow-up to Me Before You and I just got a notification that it is in and waiting for me. I need to check it out and read it or I will go to the bottom of a long, long list of holds! So everything else is ‘free-range’. I think I’ve had The Pilot’s Wife on my shelf for over ten years — before I started blogging! I’ve had the Stan Musial biography for a couple of years, too. I borrowed it in early 2013, right around the time Stan passed on, and I couldn’t seem to concentrate on it at the time. Now enough time has passed, and with the recent passing of Yogi Berra, the time seems right to pick it up again. I picked Tigers in Red Weather off the sale shelf at the library a couple of years ago, but was over-committed myself to reviews at the time, but I really want to read it. So that is a tentative map for me, but I may turn off the road to enjoy other sites on the way.

Do you have a ‘map’ to help guide your reading? If so, share it below in the comments. Maybe I’ll see something I want to add to my list! Happy reading!
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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Review: Poisoned Apples

Poisoned Apples: Poems For You, My Pretty
by Christine Heppermann

Why did you choose this book? I wanted to try reading poetry
When did you read this book? September 2015
Who should read this book? feminist readers of poetry
Source: library ebook
Here is a synopsis of Poisoned Apples from Goodreads

Once upon a time...
you were a princess,
or an orphan.
A wicked witch,
fairy godmother,
prom queen,
team captain,
Big Bad Wolf,
Little Bo Peep.
But you are more than just a hero or
a villain, cursed or charmed. You are
everything in between.
You are everything.

In fifty poems Christine Heppermann places fairy tales side by side with the modern teenage girl. Powerful and provocative, deadly funny and deadly serious, this collection is one to read, to share, to treasure, and to come back to again and again.

My Review

I picked this one up because I had challenged myself to read a variety of genres from the Goodreads Choice Awards. Unfortunately, this was not an enjoyable read for me. Now it’s possible that this just confirms that poetry is not my thing — I’ve never been a big fan of poetry, but I keep thinking that with enough exposure that could change — not yet, though.

But the other problem I had was with the persistent ‘feminist’ tone of the book. I use quotes because my definition of feminist and the author’s definition of feminist may be different. This book seems to define ‘feminism’ as attributing all of a girl’s problems to men and the pressures of society. I really couldn’t relate to many of the poems, possibly because it is aimed at young adult girls.

One poem in particular, Sleeping Beauty’s Wedding Day, was really annoying to me, outlining a tedious grooming procedure and how tiring it is for the princess. The message seems to be that she is doing primping for someone other than herself, and it is mandatory to please others, presumably a man. This seems to be completely opposite of one poem I actually did enjoy, Nature Lesson. Here the author talks about dress codes and the requirement to ‘cover ourselves’ so as not to distract a boy. She ends with

We say
that if a hiker strays
off the path, trips, and
winds up crippled,
is it really
the canyon’s fault?

One thing I did enjoy about the book are the pictures. The book is illustrated with some wonderfully artistic photography.

I am not the obvious target audience for this book; a young adult girl. I am also not a big fan of poetry. Chances are that if you are either of these you may enjoy this book a lot more than I did. It’s a quick read, so if you think you might be interested, give it a try. As for me, I probably won’t be picking a poetry book up again anytime soon!

My Rating:  ★★1/2      2-1/2 Stars
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Library Checkout: September 2015

There is a new meme this month; Library Checkout! Library Checkout is hosted by Shannon at River City Reading. The purpose of the meme is to track our library check-outs, reads, and of particular interest to me, because I always have so many, our books on hold! I will be including both print books and ebooks. I love this idea of tracking, so let’s get started!

Library Books Read
  • Packing For Mars by Mary Roach
  • Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann

Currently Checked Out
  • Moloka’i book club set

Returned Unread or Incompletely Read
  • Memories of Me by Laura Hedgecock (will try to read again later)

On Hold (some of these are ‘frozen’ until I find time to read them)
  • After You by Jojo Moyes
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson
  • Hester by Paula Reed
  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
  • A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott
  • Fever by Mary Beth Keane
  • The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
  • Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini
  • The Italians by John Hooper

Ok; it’s your turn now! What’s your current status with your local library? Post it on your blog, and share the link on Shannon’s post here.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Nonfiction Book Club: The Devil In The White City

Have you heard about the NonFiction Book Club?  Katie at Doing Dewey is hosting an online NONFICTION book club on her blog! The first month for this club was August, when we read  Packing For Mars by Mary Roach. I didn’t do so well with that one. I started strong, but the truth is, I just finished it up — I’ll be doing a review soon. And I didn’t get around to the September book at all. Other books just kept getting in the way.

The October selection is a good one: The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson. 

Here’s a synopsis from Goodreads.

Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that 'The Devil in the White City' is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.

Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.

The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

I’m not actually sure how much I will participate. I’ve already read the book twice — yup, it’s that good! I want to take part in the discussions, and will if I can remember enough to participate. But I really don’t want to read the book a third time. I have too many books on my shelf I want to get to, including a couple by Erik Larson! I hope you will consider participating though, because the more that take part, the better the discussions -- and fun!

So hop on over to Doing Dewey and read all about the book club selection, then grab a copy of the book and jump in! You can find the kick-off post here.

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