Sunday, March 28, 2010

City of Thieves

City of Thieves has been on my TBR list for a while and when I saw that it was available at the library I scooped it up and enjoyed it. I don't read male authors very often- not for any particular reason necessarily. I think I just relate to the subject matter that women write about better? Is that stereotyping, close minded, etc? Hope not!

The premise behind City of Thieves just intrigued me. Two young men,Lev and Kolya, in a lot of trouble with the Russian army for different reasons, are given the task of finding a dozen eggs for a high ranking official's daughter's wedding. The two set off to find the eggs- really a very dangerous wild goose chase- and encounter many episodes ranging from disgusting, to hilarious, to shocking. Of course, since the novel is written by a man and the two main characters are male there is some sexual conversations. That type of conversation doesn't normally show up in the books I read but it takes a lot to offend me! :)

In reading two interviews with David Benioff I learned that he did very extensive research including travelling to St Petersburg. The reader is given the impression that this story is part of his grandfather's history. You learn in the interviews that it is just part of his fictional novel that he is hearing this story from his grandfather. I think that part could have been left out.

Have anyone else read City of Thieves? What about The Book Thief? I have read so much about it and picked it up in the bookstore yesterday and was surprised by the format? Anyone else?

Happy Reading!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Housekeeper and the Professor

I enjoyed The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. The premise of the books is very interesting and a brave endeavor for a writer. The professor from the title is a mathematical genius that was in a terrible car accident and only has 80 minutes of memory before it is erased and starts over. Anything before the accident he remembers. So the housekeeper has to reintroduce herself each day, etc. I thought Ogawa handled this idea very well without it taking over the book or things not adding up. The characters she brought together were very different and memorable but I felt that the whole book was a little surface level and I didn't get to know any of them very well. However, all in all it was a good read that I would recommend to others.

When I finish a book I love to go to and see what else they recommend. Here are a few suggestions from The Housekeeper and the Professor:

I am adding the three above to my t0-read list on The School of Essentials Ingredients, Cutting for Stone, and A Reliable Wife.
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Progress on the Pile

I know everyone is wondering how I am progressing through the pile of books I featured a while ago. Here is the update:

* The Happiness Project is still patiently waiting by my bed.
* Drive and The Children's Blizzard were returned to the library unread but I might revisit them soon. There are more urgent read waiting= Reading Rumble list.
* I finished Identical Strangers and The Housekeeper and the Professor. Will blog about those soon.
* I abandoned Let the Great World Spin.
* The Mercy Papers is still waiting. I can't bring myself to read about a woman's mother dying when my dad just underwent major surgery this morning. Maybe when my heart isn't so fragile.

I am currently reading Fever, 1793 and Surprises According to Humphrey.

Here is more of what I' ve been reading.

What are you reading?

Happy Reading!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Get Off The Bus

I just finished Piper Reed, Navy Brat by Kimberly Willis Holt. It is one of the Reading Rumble/Bluebonnet books. It was cute. Piper says "Get off the bus" as many of us would say "Get out of here." She deals with a lot of issues that chidlren her age deal with. I thought the book was nicely tied together at the end without being too sappy. Will definitely have to introduce third and fourth graders to Piper.
Kimberly Willis Holt has written quite a few books for elementary aged students and this isn't her first appearnace on the Texas Bluebonnet List. Her book When Zachary Beaver Came to Town was on the list about 8 years ago. Funny how I can place myself in a certain classroom, at a certain school by the books on the Bluebonnet list! :) There are three Piper Reed books to enjoy as well.
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Let's Get Ready to Rumble...

Last year my school district started a fun program called Reading Rumble. I'm sure lots of school districts do something similar. A list is established that 3-5 grade students are to read from and then each school's team's get together for a rumble. It involves answering questions and identifying quotes from the books. I'm not always in favor of questions and activities after reading. I'm a just read kinda gal but if it gets students excited about reading and talking about books then let's rumble. I am joining my school librarian in meeting with our team of students. So I will be trying to read the books on the list. There is a good mix of chapter books and pictures books. Have you read any of the books? I will be checking back in with my progress and some info about the books. Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The To-Be-Read Pile

When I am ready for a new book I like to have choices. So off I went to the library today (after paying a hefty fine!) to gather some new possibilities. I love using the library for one main reason: it's FREE (except for the aforementioned fines!)! If I don't enjoy a book like I thought I would I don't feel bad about abandoning it if I checked it out at the library. I have a mix of memoir, fiction, and non-fiction in my pile. I am currently reading Let the Great World Spin and it hasn't won we over yet. Of course, I bought it! The other books in my pile are: The Housekeeper and the Professor, The Mercy Papers, Identical Strangers, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, The Children's Blizzard and The Happiness Project. I better get to reading!

The Movie Was Better Than The Book

A few months ago I tried reading Julie and Julia (I hate when they change the book cover to the movie poster). I just couldn't read it! Julie, the narrator, was annoying and it read like stream of consciousness. So it is slated to make it's way to Half Price Books. But I did rent the movie the other night from one of those $1 kiosks. Well, I have now paid $6 to see the movie since I still haven't returned it! Story of my life! But, the movie was actually good. It isn't going to go down as my favorite movie but it was cute.

Some movies that were as good as the book: The Kite Runner (maybe just because I love the story), The Secret Life of Bees, and Mystic River. What movies did you enjoy as much as the book or walked out saying, "Was that the same story?"

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Sky Unwashed by Irene Zabytko

I'm not sure how I came to know about this book, probably suggested by I was only 12 and not very interested in current events when the Chernobyl accident took place. The Sky Unwashed is an account of the events and how the residents of a nearby town dealt with the aftermath. I liked the book for the historical knowledge I gained but some points of the book dragged on and seemed awkward. I now want to know more about the Chernobyl accident and the area today. I have found a few books: Voices from Chernobyl, Zones of Exclusion, and Chernobyl: Confession of a Reporter.

I'm also intersted in seeing Chernobyl Heart and Child of Chernobyl. I can't find either on Netflix so I will have to do some hunting.

Next on the to read list- Let the Great World Spin by COlum McCann.

Happy Reading!