Booking Through Thursday

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  • Hardcover? Or paperback?
  • Illustrations? Or just text?
  • First editions? Or you don’t care?
  • Signed by the author? Or not?

This is funny because I just had this conversation with my students and librarian yesterday.  We were in the library picking out books for the students’ free reading choice.  One of my students had picked up a paperback  copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray and when she went to check it out, the librarian told her to hold on.  She came back with a beautifully illustrated hardcover copy. The student said she had seen that one, but didn’t want a book with pictures, it “made her feel like a baby” to read anything with pictures in it.  Me, on the other hand, have fawned over that version of the book several times.

I also judge books by their cover, I must admit.  I will not buy a book that has the movie image on the cover, nor do I like a book that is stamped with “Oprah’s Book Club Selection” or any kind of book club selection, for that matter.  I have been known to purchase several different versions of my favorite books, such as The Catcher in the Rye or Their Eyes Were Watching God.

I do prefer hardcover, they look so much nicer on a bookshelf, but my budget does not always allow to purchase hardcover.  When my grandfather died, I inherited his collection of books, several of which are first editions.  These are my pride and joys.

Mini-Challenge: Try Something New

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I have officially joined the Try Something New Mini-Challenge.  My partner and I have chosen The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. We also discussed the idea of doing a book/movie comparison as well.   This is one of those books which has been recommended to me on several occasions, but I just never read, I guess because the science-fiction aspect of it just never appealed to me.  However,  it is time to “try something new”.  I actually found the entire collection  in the library, so who knows?  Maybe I will find my way to reading The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe and Everything, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish and Mostly Harmless.


Tuesday’s Teaser: The Weight of Heaven and A Great and Terrible Beauty

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TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
    Let the book fall open to a random page.
    Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
    You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given
    !
    Please avoid spoilers!

I am reading two books at the same time, so I will give you a taste of each one.

The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar (Advanced Reader’s Copy):

“I can’t.” Instinctively, Frank turned to Gulab for support. The man was staring at Frank in fascination, as if he was solving a puzzle. Slowly, a look of understanding spread across his face. But Frank was too anguished to register much of this. He felt like a cornered animal, actually rubbing hi s hand over his neck, where he felt the unmistakable bite of a noose being tightened.

And from A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray:

She stares into the fire, knitting ferociously, the needles clicking together, two sharp teeth in the wool. Too late I realized what I’ve done. I’ve struck at the very heart of Ann’s hope, a hope that she could become someone else, someone with a life that doesn’t involve spending the rest of her days as a governess to some rich man’s children, grooming them for a wonderful life and opportunities she’ll never see.

Monday’s Musing

musingmondaysbigToday’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about the library…

How often do you visit the library? Do you have a scheduled library day/time, or do you go whenever? Do you go alone, or take people with you?

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks.

For me, this depends on whether it is during the school year or not.  During school, I probably visit our school library once a week or so.  I head straight for the back room and paw through all the piles of new arrivals and grab anything and everything that looks interesting.  I am way over my limit on the amount of books I can check out, but luckily my librarian doesn’t mind.  If I am looking for a particular book which we don’t have, she often gets it for me through inter-library loan.  I love our school librarian!!!  We go back to school tomorrow and I have my two advanced sophomore classes scheduled for a visit to the library to pick out a free choice read for a project we are about to begin.  I have a stack of books to return and I am looking forward to replacing them with a brand new stack.

During the summer I visit my local library probably once a week.  I can read a lot more during the summer.  My neighbors all know me as the woman who sits outside in her lawn chair reading a book and drinking an iced coffee.  I easily read a book a day in this manner.  I would love to start a book group for high school students at my local library and will have to look into this for the summer.

Since I have started working at the bookstore, I find that I am not using the library as much as I used to.  However, I do realize the economic value of the library and need to remember that, but sometimes I know that the book is one I will want to keep and thus, my paycheck goes right back to the store.

Sunday Salon

tssbadge1February vacation is coming to an end (and I haven’t even opened up my school bag, let alone corrected any papers!), but there is the hope of a snow day tomorrow.  At any rate, once again I have collected a stack or to read books and have more than one book going at the same time.  I have also joined a mini-challenge, which I am really excited about.

images1 I bought Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo and have started reading it.  I ordered this one from work and was initially disappointed when I received it.  It is a small hardcover and reminds me of Tuesdays with Morrie, which to me seems like one of those books that people who don’t really read books consider a good book.  However, I am about forty pages into this book and am really liking it.  The chapters alternate view points between different characters all living in Sarajevo during wartime.  The writing is simple, yet quite haunting and powerful.

images-11 I also snatched an Advanced Reader’s Copy of The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar.  From the inside book flap:

When Frank and Ellie Benton lose their only child, seven-year-old Benny, to a sudden illness, the perfect life they’d built is shattered.  Filled with wrenching memories, their Ann Arbor home becomes unbearable and their marriage founders.  But an unexpected job half a world away offers them an opportunity to start again,  Life in Girbaug, India, holds promise- and peril- when Frank befriends Ramesh, a bright, curious boy who quickly becomes the focus of the grieving man’s attentions.  Haunted by memories of his dead son, Frank is consumed with making his family right- a quest that will lead him down an ever-darkening path that will have stark repercussions.

I abandoned, but promise to return to, both Looking for Alaska by John Green and Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

And then for the best news of all!  I have joined the Try Something New Mini- Challenge:

During the month of March, you’ll be asked to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. It can be something Dewey-inspired, like a comic aka graphic novel, a YA novel, a book on feminism, etc. But it can be something else too: poetry, a short story collection, manga, non-fiction, a cookbook, a book on knitting or other crafts, a book on social issues, a play, a horror book, fantasy, sci-fi, a collection of fairy tales or a fairy tale retold…you decide. It’s not mandatory that you have never ever read a book of the kind you pick before…all I’m asking is that you pick something that is still mostly new territory for you.

To make things more fun, the Mini-Challenge is going to work in pairs: you sign up using the Mr Linky at the bottom of this post, and you’ll be paired with the person before you, like we sometimes did for Weekly Geeks. Then you and your partner will get in touch by e-mail and talk about what type of book you’re thinking of reading. If your partner happens to be an expert in something that is new territory for you, then maybe they could offer some recommendations. If you’re both thinking of picking the same type of book, maybe you could read it together.

My partner is  the Book Nut,  Melissa.  We have not yet decided on a book, but I think we are leaning toward something in the science-fiction department or short story genre.  I can’t wait to be a part of this challenge.  I am a newbie to this book blogging community and I love this idea of a shared experience.

Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner

goodnightSo it is February vacation and since I am on vacation I decided to start it off right with a little chick lit.  For me, Jennifer Weiner is a respectable version of the “paperback novels with candy pink covers” (a line she uses in Goodnight Nobody). I found this book to be entertaining and yes, even surprising.

Kate Klein lives in the suburbs of Connecticut with her husband and three kids.  She feels out of place among all the other supermoms and their designer strollers and manicures and perfect hair.  She still dreams about the “guy who got away” and what her life was like before kids.  Her days are spent schlepping the kids around and picking up dry-cleaning and Kate sees no end to the monotony.  Until she discovers her neighbor dead on the kitchen floor.  Suddenly, Kate finds herself knee-deep in a murder investigation and her life is full of excitement.  No longer is she the invisible housewife, the nobody, now she is on the trail of a murderer nestled within the suburbs.

The ending of this book surprised me, the murderer was not who I expected it to be.  I also really liked the fact that we don’t know who Kate chooses, her husband or “the one who got away”.  It screams for a sequel, which I will gladly read.

Weekly Geek: What’s In a Name?

deweysweeklygeeks27For this week’s edition of Weekly Geeks, we’re going to take a closer look at character names. What are some of your favorite character names?

Go to Google or a baby name site like this one or this one, and look up a favorite character’s name. What does their name mean? Do you think the meaning fits the character? Why or why not?

I chose Pecola Breedlove from Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. This novel has one of the most beautiful and saddest endings I have ever read. Pecola’s name is ironic, the kind of love being bred in her family is destructive and tragic:

He, at any rate, was the one who loved her enough to touch her, envelop her, give something of himself to her. But his touch was fatal, and the something he gave her filled the matrix of her agony with death.

All she longs for is love, but in the end:

Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved. The lover along possesses his gift of love. The loved one is shorn, neutralized, frozen in the glare of the lover’s inward eye.