Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tell me what you think: are we strictly fiction or not?
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I'll start with the postive. Of course there was the really important and empowering message about individuality and not being afraid to be yourself, even when facing risk of ridicule and being shunned.
I don't really have anything to criticize per se. I mean, it is supposed to be youth/adolescent lit so I can't really judge it too harshly for being predictable. Who cares? I can even suspend disbelief about some of the more fantastical aspects of the book. However, I think there are certain elements of the story that the author meant to be realistic, that really weren't. For example, the fact that pretty much every student in that school shared the same collective mind. They narrator uses "we" when referring to himself and speaking for every other student, i.e. "we all became obsessed with winning," and when he was the odd person out with Stargirl, using "they" to denote every other person.
I grew up in a small high school that was about the same size as the one described in the story, and even in that little population there was a lot of diversity, if not in appearance at least in attitude. Either the students hated Stargirl's guts/thought she was weird/shunned her, or they pulled the 180 degree change and completely absolutely loved her/wanted to join her. It kind of displaces any room for indifference and apathy, which are also common traits in teenagers. However, I'm keeping in mind that the story is told from the point of view from a fellow student, and that may have just been his perception.
I came to appreciate Stargirl by the end, although I admit, she was a little hard to take sometimes.
Overall I enjoyed the book. It's a great light-hearted read with a meaningful message. Good choice!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The book is called Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli.
Synopsis (as posted on BarnesandNoble.com)
Leo Borlock follows the unspoken rule at Mica Area High School: don't stand out--under any circumstances! Then Stargirl arrives at Mica High and everything changes--for Leo and for the entire school.I also thought I would take a minute and introduce myself. As Mandy said I met her in DC while completing my student teaching there. I am now happily married for four plus years and had a beautiful six month old daughter. We are currently living in Minnesota (I grew up here) and my husband is hoping to be a nurse someday really soon. We are waiting to see if he has been accepted into a nursing program. Our fingers are crossed. I stay home all day and play with my daughter. Some of my hobbies include reading (dah), walking/hiking, violin and I don't know what else. I love being outdoors and I not am not too excited for the snow this year and bundling up but oh well.
Okay I hope you enjoy the book!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Ok, so next up to pick a book is..... Catherine Ross. Catherine and I lived together here in DC at the BYU Barlow center. Now she lives with her adorable husband and gorgeous baby girl in Minnesota. So...Catherine R....what book are we all reading next??
(I will try to be better about commenting in the near future, probably when Congress decides what to do about the bail out bill)
Friday, September 12, 2008
I'm glad she finally found her tree, though.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I think what's attracts us to this type of story is that as most of you have mentioned, we can all relate to feeling like the odd person out at one time or another. Em feels that way with her sisters, Heather with all the Oregon free-spirits, and for me, I currently feel like the odd one out whenever I'm with my in-laws. My husband and his two brothers were all married within 7 months of each other, so 3 of us girls joined the family at once. Guess which one is having the hardest time fitting in? But I digress.
SO. . . I was sitting as my desk at work this morning, and the inspiration struck. This is the form my inspiration took:
Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
I've always had a soft spot for adolescent literature, as I know many of you do too. This is adolescent lit with depth though, and it's a pretty serious subject matter- great for those of us who love psychology. In summary it is about a girl who is about to enter high school, has something traumatic happen to her, then learns to cope by expressing herself through art. It's been a couple of years since I read this book, but I remember really enjoying it, and I hope you do too. It shouldn't be too hard to find in most libraries. (I hope!)
(Oh, and as a side note, after you read it you may want to check out the movie. The main character is played byKristen Stewart, who is set to play Bella in the upcoming Twilight movie.)
Now go forth and READ!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
I guess what bugged me was her assumptions that stay at home mothers have it easier. As a single mom, obviously she doesn't have a choice, she has to work. And I'm certainly not saying that it wasn't hard for her. She was stressed to the breaking point. But it's not just working mothers who are stressed to the breaking point. There are stay at home moms out there who make a very difficult choice economically (aside from all the other difficult aspects of the decision) to not work. Trust me, I'm living it right now. I did appreciate the scene where she ran into Taylor Young at the grocery store and thought she looked tired and old. And realized that it was a lot of work to be Mrs. Young. (Oh, and I did find the "brain and not just a body" line a bit offensive too. How dare she be so judgmental?!)
I guess what I really got from this book is that we all make choices and have struggles as a result. It's not fair to ever call someone else's life and choices easy, perfect or a sell-out. Mary and I have discussed at length in the last few years how our own ideals have changed. My mom was a bit of a feminist, though not quite like Mary's mom. She was one of three women to graduate in Business Management from BYU in 1974, as she so proudly told me growing up. She went into one of her business classes the first day and the professor said, "Miss, the typing class is down the hall." She said, "I'm in the right place," and sat down. My mom didn't get married until she was 28. She had a very successful thriving career as a business woman. Those are the legends I grew up on. And so, I had very strong ideas about what my life would be. I would NOT get married young, I would get a doctorate, maybe even an MD, and I would make a name for myself in the academic world. I had things I wanted to do with my life before I settled down and had children.
Well. I got married at 22 (I did graduate from college first though!). I gave up a $20,000 scholarship to the #2 master's of social work program in the nation because my husband had a full scholarship at BYU. I had my son at 24. I stay at home with him now. And you know what? I am so glad. The dreams I embraced when I was younger were only part mine. The other part of those dreams were my mom's. Lucky for me, my mom has supported my choices. I think her ideals changed over the years too. After all, when she had me at 31, she choose to stop working and stay at home when I was just a few months old.
Bottom line: We all make our choices, and then have to live with them. And no one else knows what is best for us (and they certainly shouldn't have the presumption to think they do!).
Next issue (SO sorry, I know this is really really long): different just for the sake of being different. That's so funny to me right now, seeing as I live in Eugene, Oregon, the land of the eternal hippie (peace, love and campaigning to legalize pot), tree hugger, protester, liberal, etc. Here, I'm the odd mom out. ME. The stay at home mom conservative. The student body at UO takes themselves very seriously. They are so proud of their diversity. But frankly, I think they are about as diverse as BYU was/is. If you gather together everyone who is different and put them in the same place, are they still different? I don't mind people living their lives, of course, but make your choices based on more than a desire to be different. And also realize that no one lives in a vacuum, and the mantra that it's-my-life-and-I-can-do-want-I-want-my-choices-don't-affect-any-one-else is a fallacy.
And that is what I think. :)
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I might be a little biased because Eva & Marta are a whole lot like me & my mom: my mom escaped to L.A. to get away from Utah & the pressure to be the same. She was a hippie & wore jeans at BYU before they were allowed. Now (& all while I was growing up) she works long hours & has made quite a name for herself as an excellent bond lawyer, but she gets upset when women make comments in Relief Society about women working outside the home even though that's a choice she made for herself. I, on the other hand, have rebelled against her rebellion, so to speak: my lifelong dream all through school was just to be popular & fit in, I went to BYU & loved it, got married while I was in college, & plan to be a stay-at-home mom. I think that these choices disappoint my mom a little, just like how Eva's quest to become the most popular girl in school disappoints Marta.
I thought it was interesting that Marta insisted that Eva fit in, but "on her own terms," not the popular girls', when in reality, those terms were Marta's, not Eva's at all. I finally started gaining more respect for Marta when she started realizing that it's tough to be a stay-at-home mom too, & that there's a lot of pressure to be perfect.
I also liked that she finally started to realize that her daughter needed a father, even though she'd sworn off men because her heart had been broken. I think that was a theme throughout the book, that Marta often thought she was doing what was best for Eva when in reality she was just serving herself. Like how she went crazy on maternity leave & wanted to get back to work, where she could "be a brain & not just a body." That was really insulting! & that she wouldn't even try to go on dates because ONE guy had broken her heart, even though Eva really wanted a father. I'm just glad that Luke was persistent enough to break down the barriers she had put up, so that all 3 of them could be in a stable family situation.
Anyway, I definitely feel like there were a lot of issues at play in this book, & I enjoyed it (except for those more "adult" parts I had to skim). It was a great read, & it prompted some conversations with my husband about how we'll treat certain situations when we have kids in school. Good pick!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
ANYWAY, "Odd Mom Out" was darling. I loved almost every page. There were a few scenes I blushed during, but other than that I thought it was a great read that made me think about my opinions on a LOT of issues. I'd be interested to know what y'all think about moms who stay home vs. moms who work outside the home, if conformity is a necessary evil, and the secret culture of girls and women. I thought a lot about all of those things ...
I hope you like it too!
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I chose Mom Odd Out by Jane Porter. It is a fun and easy read. It was one of the reader's choice books from the Salt Lake City Library. If you've ever felt alone and out of the loop, you will enjoy this book. It also has a love story which is one criteria I have for a book. Anyway, here is a summary. Hope you enjoy!
"Marta Zinsser grew up in a conservative, old Seattle suburb and couldn't wait to leave for New York, where she thrived as an independent woman with no need for men -- even when she decided to have a baby. Ten years later when her mother becomes ill, Marta realizes that this may be her daughter's last chance to get to know her grandmother and returns to Seattle, taking up residence on the affluent, technology-drenched Eastside, filled now by snobby old money families and even snobbier nouveau riche.Enrolling Eva in the local school, Marta accedes to her daughter's wishes and agrees to join the PTA despite being horrified by the fancy moms that dominate it. With wealthy husbands, massive homes, nannies, no jobs, and their own hierarchy, the fancy moms have no intention of letting a bohemian mom like Marta in to their private circle. Will Marta be able to carve a niche for both herself and Eva? And when gorgeous maverick Luke Flynn appears in Marta's line of vision, will she find love after keeping it at arm's length all this time?"
I am loving this reading group. It gets me reading new material and I love having a chance to discuss it with all of you!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I thought it was worth reading, but it is definitely one of those rare situations where Hollywood totally improved on the story. Throughout my reading, something was really bothering me about this book, and I couldn't put my finger on it until I was about 75% done with it, and I realized that what it was: I didn't find any of the characters to be at all likable. Even the "hero" and "heroine" were dishonest, deceitful, and unkind (good oldRachel Weiss and John Cusak made them a lot more sympathetic). I also liked what the movie did with Wendall Rohr (played by Dustin Hoffman) making him into the lawyer who ultimately refused to be bribed. Just about every character in the book seemed to corrupt, and morally bankrupt. Maybe this is true to life, or at least is in the cynical view of John Grisham.
Interesting information about the corrupt world of the tabacco industry. I have to say though, not having read John Grisham since I was a teenage, I was actually pretty unimpressed by his writing style. I guess that's what higher education can do to you. It's a two star book for me.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Now it is time for a new book...
I just finished the Host and thought it was ok. Not my favorite, but it was a page turner. The concept was fascinating, but by the end I felt like the story lagged a little. I think we should let someone besides me pick a book and one we can get at the library would be nice. Hmmmmm... any volunteers or book ideas? Should we just come up with a rotating order so everyone has a turn to pick a book?
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Although it took me awhile to adjust to the language (written in a very old English), I began to love Prue and her vivid descriptions of life around her. Gladys Mary Coles, President of the Mary Webb Society, says:
"Precious bane, first published in July 1924, was Mary Webb's fifth and last completed novel in a literary career cut short by her death at forty-six. One of the outstandingly successful novels of the century, Precious bane is remarkable above all for its style--rich, ardent, lucid, irreducible in its spiritual quality. Undoubtedly it belongs to the English romantic tradition, and it is now regarded as a classic of the genre of the rural novel: yet, like all great art, it transcends categories."
I have to agree that it transcends categories. It is an experience.
For reference, a 'hare lip' is a split in the upper lip, producing an appearance similar to that of the upper lip of a hare or rabbit. This was considered a mark of the devil or some other evil at the time Prue Sarn lived.
Feel free to comment as you read, I am anxious to know how you like it. I will be reading it a second time along with you!