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Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

  1. Summer Reading…So Far

    August 9, 2011 by frecklesandsunshine

    #36 on my Summer Fun List is to read, a lot. I love reading. It is my one of my most favorite things to do. When I was teaching, it was hard to find the time to read between lesson planning, grading, and having some semblance of a life. Reading only happened during breaks or the summer.

    I’d like to say that I could pick up a book during the school year and read just a bit each night before bed. Believing in that idea would mean living in complete denial about what my true limitations are as a reader. If I love a book, heck even if I just kind of like it, it is very difficult for me to put it down. So, picking up a book during the school year was always just too risky. I’d stay up too late reading and be a complete nincompoop as a teacher the next day. Or I’d fall completely behind on my school work because surprisingly a good piece of fiction is way more interesting than 30 spelling tests.

    Now that I’m home with Olivia, I actually have time to read. After she goes down for the evening, I have a few hours to myself and that time is very often filled with a book. I still don’t stay up all night reading. Mostly because the only thing worse that being a complete nincompoop teacher is being a complete nincompoop mommy.

    About the same time I made my Summer Fun List, I posted on Facebook asking for book recommendations. My friends came through, as usual, with some stellar suggestions. Because I trust these people so implicitly, I didn’t really investigate many of the recommendations. I just put them on hold at the library and picked them up as they became available.

    Keep reading…


  2. The Hunger Games

    June 10, 2011 by frecklesandsunshine

    I suppose that it is not summer yet. Not technically anyway. Of course, those of you who are currently experiencing 100 plus degree days and wicked humidity would probably disagree.

    When I was still teaching, the arrival of summer meant one very important thing. It was time to read. That first week of break I would head on down to the library and check out a stack of books. Then, I would readreadread my way through the searing Arizona summer. I wasn’t picky. I would read the classics, chick lit, murder mysteries, and Pulitzer Prize winners. There were days that I would just read the whole day away. Many of my teacher friends do the same thing.

    At the end of last summer, I was definitely reading, but I was into a whole new genre. Specifically, parenting and birthing books. Olivia was due in late August, so fiction was off the table for a while. Then, along she came, pink and perfect. Along with her came a potential job for Tim…in Colorado. So, when O was 3 weeks old, we packed up the car and drove up to Denver where Tim had his final interview. (Yes, we took a 3 week old on a 5 day road trip. We might have been crazy. That’s a whole other blog post.) After he wrapped that up, we took the long way home and drove to Steamboat Springs to see our friends, Dave, Jenn, and Bennett.

    By the time we got to Steamboat, I was fried. My body wasn’t healed, my hormones were raging, and I was staring down an interstate move with a newborn to a place where we had no family. I needed  a mental escape in a bad way. While in Steamboat, Jenn asked me if I had read The Hunger Games. Nope, hadn’t ever heard of it. Later, when Dave came in the room, she brought it up again. I think he said something along the lines of, “If you liked Harry Potter, you’ll like this.”

    Even though I love Harry Potter, I was wary. First, there is only one boy wizard for me, thanks. Harry, Ron, and Hermione cannot be replaced or duplicated. Second, someone said the same thing to me about the Twilight books, which I thought sucked. Hard. So, when Jenn took me up to the smallest WalMart ever to pick up some new mama supplies, I sort of felt bad when she offered to buy me the book. What if I hated it and it was a waste of her money? But then my sincere love of books overrode everything else and I said, “Yes, please!”

    When we got back to the house, I dove in. I was hooked almost immediately. The story of Katniss, the heroine, was riveting. She lives in District 12 of Panem, a post-apocalyptic North America. It is a dystopian society made of 12 districts. Yeah, I didn’t know what dystopian meant either. Basically, it is a society which only really benefits one segment of society but is held up as one that benefits all. An anti-utopia. Think Brave New World or 1984.

    Ever year, in Panem, the hunger games are held. Two children are chosen from each district to enter an arena and fight to the death in a televised survival of the fittest competition. It’s part reality television, part Roman gladiator games. Katniss becomes a contestant and the book tells the story of her competition. Katniss is a kick-ass heroine. Although there are romantic entanglements, she is not obsessing over boys. She is self-sufficient, courageous, smart, and wily. Her characterization is one of my favorite things about the book and the whole series. Katniss is a great female character for young readers to be exposed to.

    When I wasn’t caring for Olivia over the next couple days, I was glued to The Hunger Games. Dave was right. Not because The Hunger Games is just like Harry Potter, because it is decidedly not. Instead, Suzanne Collins has done what JK Rowling also did. She created a fictional world that was unique and interesting and believable. This is also a series. After finishing The Hunger Games, I devoured Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

    Lately, maybe because of the Hunger Games movie news, it seems like a lot of my friends are talking about these books. This makes me happy. I love when people love the books I do. If you are looking for a great series of books to dive into, I would highly suggest The Hunger Games. The whole series is a great summer read.

    Pour yourself a glass of lemonade, sit in the shade of a tree, and get your read on.

    Oh, and Jenn? Thanks for the book!


  3. The Millenium Trilogy

    January 27, 2011 by frecklesandsunshine

    One of the most fantastic things about taking a year off from teaching to care for my daughter is the fact that I have been able to return to reading for pleasure. Teaching, for those of you who are still under the very false impression that our work hours are the same as a student’s school day, is often a job that can require 12+ hour days. That kind of schedule leaves no time for reading a juicy novel unless you are willing to sacrifice sleep, eating, quality time with your significant other, exercise, etc. For me reading for pleasure only occurred over our scheduled breaks. I would read like a madwoman, checking out stacks of books at a time from the library.

    So you can imagine that I felt a bit late to the party when I finally decided to tackle Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.

    The trilogy tells the story of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. This is a set of crime novels and many scenes are not for the faint of heart. I love that one of the main characters is a female heroine and not a damsel in distress. The stories are often complicated and intertwining but that makes the books all the more interesting and captivating. My only complaint is that Larsson often veers off on tangents with explicit information about the bureaucracy of Swedish government that don’t really contribute to or drive the plot. There were definitely pages in all three books that I skimmed right over. Of course, this could possibly be attributed to the fact that the novels were published posthumously after Larsson’s death in a 2004 car accident. He was, therefore, unable to be involved in the editing process. What is really fascinating to me is that there is at least one unfinished manuscript for a fourth book in the series and notes for a fifth and sixth. Where would the story have gone next if Larsson was still alive and writing? I love letting my imagination run wild with that thought.

    If you like to read and especially if you like to read crime novels, I highly recommend The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Check them out from your local library or buy them here.

     

    Pssst…Please continue to send prayers, positive vibes and good  mojo in the direction of my sister and her family. She and the twins need every ounce of help they can get. Thanks!

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