4 Following

My Reading Life

Bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Humanities student at NAU, mother of 2, artist, animal lover, voracious reader and lover of all things literary, introvert, believer in magic

Currently reading

Science In Context: Readings In The Sociology Of Science
Barry Barnes, David Edge
The Apothecary
Maile Meloy
The Key & the Flame
Claire M. Caterer
Fifty Shades of Grey
E.L. James
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
Cheryl Strayed
Beautiful Creatures
Margaret Stohl, Kami Garcia
Pride and Prejudice
Margaret Drabble, Eloisa James, Jane Austen
Progress: 60/379 pages

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book? - Lauren Child The illustrations are just as good as the story! I adore all Lauren Child books.

Fugitive Pieces: A Novel

Fugitive Pieces - Anne Michaels A wonderful book--please read!

The Host: A Novel

The Host - Stephenie Meyer Could not finish this book. Too bizarre, out-there, weirdness. I cannot get cozy or feel compassionate about a bug-like creature taking over human's souls. No, no, no.

The Immortal Rules

A great antidote to 'Twilight'. The fast-paced story of Allison, a mortal turned vampire who fights against the monster inside. A great tale of good vs. evil with none of the mushy-mushy annoyances of the 'Twilight' series. Allison is a survivor -- the coolest female vampire character I've encountered. There are creatures called rabids in the mix, as well -- a sort of zombie/vampire hybrid. Here is an excerpt that explains a little of the inner struggle Allison faces: "'We are vampires...It makes no difference who we are, where we came from. Princes, Masters, rabids alike, we are monsters, cut off from humanity. They will never trust us. They will never accept us. We hide in their midst and walk among them, but we are forever separate. Damned. Alone. You don't understand now, but you will. There will come a time when the road before you splits, and you must decide your path. Will you choose to become a demon with a human face, or will you fight your demon until the end of time, knowing you will forever struggle alone?'" (471)I'm excited to read the next book in this series.

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky - Heidi W. Durrow A sad and beautiful story of a young girl who survives. An examination of race and the adjustments that Rachel, a Danish/African-American girl must face when she moves in with her paternal grandmother. The sad truth that we are judged more often by the way we look than who we truly are is one of this novel's main points. How do we move beyond our skin color? How do we see someone for the person inside amidst a world full of stereotypes? "When I hang out with Jesse and Brick at lunch and sometimes after work, we talk about people who walk through Pioneer Courthouse Square or real things: like what's happening in the world, or books, or things like that. I forget that what you are - being black or being white - matters. Jesse makes me see there's a different way to be white. And Brick makes me see there's a different way to be black." (136)

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan - Katherine Applegate, Patricia Castelao Costa, Patricia Castelao Ivan, a Silverback gorilla, tells his story of captivity at the Big Top Mall. His dreams, hopes, friendships with Bob the dog, Stella the elephant, and Ruby the newcomer are explored as he lives a solitary gorilla existence. This book is both heartbreaking and uplifting. A wonderful tale of love, longing, and triumph.

After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story

After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story - Michael Hainey My father died the month I was turning 5. I've always had questions about him, as I have only a few years worth of memories stored up. Knowing my father - the real person - has always been something I've missed. I've played the "what if..." games frequently, imagining my life if he had lived. There will always be a hole that can never be filled within myself.I connected with Hainey on this level of loss. As small children we remember everything differently. Our expectations of life are simpler, less complicated. The questions begin more earnestly as we grow older. I know how it feels to be scared of becoming an orphan. I used to cling to my mother each night, praying fervently that she would be there for me in the morning. Hainey's memoir of his search for the true story of his father's death leads him to unexpected places, both physically and mentally. A wonderfully open, honest account of a man's quest for the truth about his past -- about the event that was pivotal in his life. Written with touches of humor, love, and insight I treasured each word.

Wise Men: A Novel

Wise Men - Stuart Nadler The story of Hilton Wise as he grows up under the shadow of his father and the irreversible consequences of a decision made during his seventeenth year. The first half of the book moved quickly--I was very absorbed in the story. The second half, however, was missing something. I would have liked Nadler to expand more on crucial elements within the storyline. The ending is a bit of a surprise, but it leaves the reader wanting -- I can't put my finger on what exactly, but I did feel there were too many things left unsaid. All in all, a good novel with characters that depict life from the 1950s through present day. How do we live with the choices we make? How do we reconcile our mistakes along the way?

Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories

Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories - Karen Russell Wow. Karen Russell has a tremendous voice. This is one of the reasons why I like GOOD collections of short stories -- every story is another chance for the author to explore various characters, settings, etc. and to share another layer of his or her imagination and creativity. The stories in Russell's second collection of short stories (the first of which I will definitely be reading soon!) are original, spellbinding, and glorious. Yes, I really enjoyed all eight stories. They are each different, but share some elements, such as humans interactions with and within the natural world. My absolute favorites are: Reeling for the Empire, Proving Up, The Barn at the End of Our Term, The New Veterans, and The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis. Eerie, chilling, thought-provoking, stunning....a wonderful group of stories that work their way into your dreams and subconscious.

Dancing to the Flute: A Novel

Dancing to the Flute: A Novel - Manisha Jolie Amin A moving coming-of-age story set in the vibrant landscape of India. I enjoyed learning Indian words and phrases peppered throughout the book (there is a glossary included). I fell in love with Kalu, the young street-wise boy who relies on his wits to survive, as he was abandoned as a small child. We are taken on a journey of music, love, family, and heartbreak that will not be soon forgotten. The author has a link to examples of the music Kalu is taught by his mentor, Guruji: http://manishajolieamin.com/music-links/

The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel

The art of racing in the rain - Garth Stein I love this book. The story of a family's struggles and triumphs -- narrated by Enzo the dog. Enzo is smart, humorous, curious, and frustrated that he can't communicate properly with his family. His one wish in life is to be reincarnated as a man -- an idea he's picked up from watching a documentary on television about dogs in Mongolia. Yes, Enzo is a t.v.-loving canine. He has his favorite actors, films, and he especially loves watching his master Denny's racing videos. A wonderful story that made me laugh and cry. Our city has chosen this for its community read-together, One Book Yuma and Garth Stein will be visiting our local community college and library at the end of February. I can't wait! "When I return to this world, I will be a man. I will walk among you. I will lick my lips with my small, dexterous tongue. I will shake hands with other men, grasping firmly with my opposable thumbs. And I will teach people all that I know. And when I see a man or a woman or a child in trouble, I will extend my hand, both metaphorically and physically. I will offer my hand. To him. To her. To you. To the world. I will be a good citizen, a good partner in the endeavor of life that we all share." (Enzo)Anyone who has ever lived with and loved a fellow creature will understand the often wondrous acts of communication between humans and other animals. And anyone who hasn't lived with and loved a fellow creature will probably think pretty seriously about visiting their local animal shelter and bringing one home to share their lives with them after reading this book.

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories - Anna Summers, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya Love stories unlike the usual romantic, lovey-dovey sort....A realistic view of love that includes the messy and often ugly side of relationships. Love can strike at any instant in our lives -- it can come in many different shapes and sizes. The stories in Petrushevskaya's collection examine a world of eagerness, frustration, indifference, disillusionment, and above all, love. A favorite quote: "Love likes secrecy and playfulness; it flees too much devotion and heavy emotional debt" ("Eros's Way"). This collection is for those who understand the idiosyncrasies of love -- the knowledge that most love is not all roses and chocolates, but tolerance, oversight, and in the end, companionship to stave off the loneliness of humanity.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie - Ayana Mathis A powerful glimpse of family that touches base on all aspects of humanity, good and bad. This novel is filled with universal truths that we've all experienced in one form or another. I liked the flow -- Ayana Mathis wrote a short story for each of Hattie's children, sharing a separate part of the Shepherd family, but maintaining their connections throughout the novel. I'd like to learn more about each character, as this novel only offers a brief, but enticing, view. Perhaps Ms. Mathis will decide to continue the stories of Hattie's and August's children in her next novel....fingers crossed!


Bully - Patricia Polacco I love Patricia Polacco and this is a relevant topic today. I read this with my 11-year-old daughter, who is also in 6th grade, and she thought it wasn't harsh enough to teach kids a lesson. She's watched films about bullying and read a couple of YA books, so this was a little tame for her, I guess. I think it's a good introduction to the problem of bullying for elementary students. The problems that can arise with social media are addressed and the cruelty that often erupts with popularity. This is good, but for me not as emotionally powerful as Polacco's 'Thank You, Mr. Falker' and 'Pink and Say' -- I cry every time I read these two!

No Crystal Stair (Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books)

No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller - Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, R. Gregory Christie Based on extensive research, this is the fictional story of Lewis Michaux and one of the most famous bookstores in Harlem. Filled with historical references of famous African American leaders and lives in Harlem -- a great story that all should read. This would make a super documentary.

The Wolves in the Walls

The Wolves in the Walls - Dave McKean, Neil Gaiman I'm a sucker for children's picture books that are uniquely illustrated. Fantastic illustrations fill this book, especially when the wolves come along. I was happily relieved that the wolves only ate jam and played video games and were (rightly) equally as afraid of the humans as the humans were of them. Neil Gaiman never disappoints!