Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jane Austen's books

I've been reading a lot lately...

I'm currently reading Emma by Jane Austen. This is the second book of hers I've read, the other being Pride and Prejudice. And on reading Emma, I keep having the same thought that I had when reading the other:

"Oh my god, did people really live like that???"

Everything that matters to the ladies is their social life, and where they stand with each other. It reminds me of a really bad teenage clique, actually.

Ok, so not everyone in her books is so bad. Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice isn't. I actually like Elizabeth, a lot. But Emma? She's the worst. I don't even like the character. And yet I want to keep reading, and see what happens. Ok, so maybe it has something to do with me getting a slight crush on Mr. Knightley...

There's also another thought that kept entering my mind when I read Pride and Prejudice, and I keep remembering as I read Emma.

"You know, I would relate to this better if zombies were thrown into the mix."

Yep, I plan to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. It is officially on my list of books to read.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Of Half Bloods and Gods

Guess what guess what guess what guess what? I finished listening to The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan today!

It is the second in Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I finished the first one about a month ago, and was very happy to get ahold of this one. And now I can't wait to get ahold of the next one!

In this book the ancient Greek gods are still alive and thriving. (Of course, as far as us Pagans are concerned, they're still alive and thriving anyways...but that's beside the point here.) And as usual, they're having kids by mortals.

These kids are called half bloods, and they usually have ADHD and dyslexia. In fact, if you find an ADHD kid, the chances are that one of their parents isn't human.

These half bloods are in an interesting situation. They can pass as human, and in fact grow up with their human parent, but their lives are also influenced by the gods and the monsters that inevitably seek them out.

What's really fun is that when half bloods are attacked by monsters, regular humans don't see exactly what's going on -- there's a kind of mist that prevents them from seeing that it's a mythological creature that's wreaking havoc, and it seems that the half blood being targeted by the monster tends to get blamed. This somewhat reminds me of J. K. Rowling's and Eoin Colfer's books, where several characters comment that it's amazing the lengths normal people will go to to explain away simple magical phenomena as complex non-magical phenomena.

I know I'm not saying much about the plot. The truth is, I'm not sure what to say without giving anything away. If I do figure out what to say I'll try to post about it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Edward Cullen

I admit it: I like some Twilight stuff. However, what I like isn't the books or the movies based on the books. Why? Well, let's see...

Edward is a hundred year old guy who hangs out at a high school and then dates a seventeen year old girl. Don't you find that a little creepy? I mean, come on, we have a word for someone even half his age who does that kind of thing: pedophile.

And even if he weren't so old, what about the fact that he's too controlling? And he's just creepy in general...just watch his face in the second video I share in this post. He is entirely too possessive when he looks at Bella.

So I don't like the books. But I do like some of the stuff that has been put together in response to Twilight.

First I want to share How Twilight Should Have Ended.

I find this sort of amusing.

Next is a video someone made when they asked themselves "What would Buffy do?"

I think I like Buffy.

FYI, I've read the first book in the series, but not any of the others. I haven't seen the movies either. But I do plan to read the second book in the series, and have put a hold on it at my local library. Even though I think that Edward is a creep, I am a little too curious about what's going on.

Friday, March 26, 2010


A couple years ago I signed up for a science fiction class at community college, and in that class I was introduced to a wonderful book: "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin. I picked it up to reread this week, and am roughly halfway through it.

We see the world of "We" through the eyes of D-503, who is the chief engineer of a space shuttle project. D (their names are often shortened to just the first letter) begins a journal which the space shuttle will carry to a new world, hoping that it will help the backwards barbarians realize that true happiness can only be found though serving the Benefactor, and through having no freedom.

Yep, you got that right: true happiness can only be found if you are not free. This being the case, the world that D lives in is very structured. They only have about two hours each day that are not set aside for anything in particular, and D hopes that one day even those hours will be filled.

And to give you an idea of exactly how regimented their days are, I would like to share a brief passage found on page 12:

"Every morning, with six-wheeled precision, at the same hour and the same moment, we -- millions of us -- get up as one. At the same hour, in million-headed unison we end it. And, fused into a single million-handed body, at the same second, designated by the Table, we lift our spoons to our mouths. At the same second, we come out for our walk, go to the auditorium, go to the hall for Taylor exercises, fall asleep...."

Wow. That's insane.

And even sex is controlled. The hormones in everyone's blood is examined by the Sexual Department, they determine how often any particular person needs sex, and sex is scheduled into each individual's life accordingly.

To keep an eye on people there are video cameras up all over the place. Not bedrooms, though. There's no need for that, since the outside walls are actually just one big sheet of glass. They have no privacy at all, except for when they have sex, at which time they are allowed to lower the blinds for one hour.

The society is a well oiled machine that works beautifully, and nothing unexpected or unplanned happened. At least, in theory...

I think I'll be writing more about this book. It really is great.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"The Sacred"

"The Sacred: Ways of Knowledge Sources of Life"
by Peggy V. Beck

This book looks in depth at Native American spirituality. It is wonderful, and I highly recomend it to anyone who is interested in the subject.


I wrote the above review on the facebook application Visual Bookshelf sometime last year, and figured I may as well share it here, even if it is pretty darn short. (The review, not the book, that is.)

"Princess Ben"

"Princess Ben" by Catherine Murdock

Intriguing, but weak. I won't give the plot away, but I will say there are certain events that simply do not make sense, and I believe they greatly detract from what could have been a fantastic book.


I wrote the above review on the facebook application Visual Bookshelf sometime last year, and figured I may as well share it here.

Answering questions

I found this over at Wide Eyed Smilin, and I just had to do it myself.

Hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback?

That depends. I do like hardback best, but it's easier to carry the paper backs around on the bus with me. It also takes up less shelf space.

Waterstones, Borders or Amazon?

Well I've never used Waterstones...

I guess I tend to go for Amazon, but I then again I do sometimes like walking into a physical (as opposed to online) bookstore.

Bookmark or dog-ear?

Totally bookmark.

Alphabetize by author, or alphabetize by title, or random?

Semi ordered by subject and genre, semi-random.

Keep, throw away, or sell?

That depends on the book. If it's one that I like I'm keeping it. If it's one that I consider to be poorly written or that may be a classic but that I simply don't like (such as "War of the Worlds" by H. G. Wells) I donate it to my local library.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?

Definitely keep it.

Read with dust jacket or remove it?

I virtually always keep the dust jacket on. The few exceptions are when I'm afraid that the dust jacket might get torn up for whatever reason.

Short story or novel?

I tend to look for novels, but I also really love well written short stories.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?

Honestly that depends on my mood, but I'll generally go for Harry Potter.

Buy or borrow?

Speaking as an almost broke college kid who doesn't have a place of her own yet...

I like to borrow my books from the library.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations, or browse?

I like to browse, but I also like to hear what other people recommend. I don't really tend to look at book reviews, though.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?

It all depends on how it's handled. I can love tidy endings, but I can also love cliffhangers. As I said, it just depends on how well it's written.

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading?

Pretty much anytime. I try not to pick up a book at night, though, if I want to get to bed at a reasonable time.

Stand-alone or series?

I guess I tend to prefer series, so that I can keep reading about characters that I love. Then again, I can also love stand alones.

Favorite series?

Honestly, this changes from week to week, day to day, and even hour to hour. But right this moment I'll say...the "Inheritance" cycle by Christopher Paolini.

Favorite children’s book?

Firstly, see the first part of my answer the last question.

Secondly, does "Confessions of a Closet Catholic" by Sarah Littman count as a children's book? It's in the juvenile section of my local library...

Favorite YA book?

Ditto on what I've said before about it being difficult to difficult, in fact, that I'm not even gonna try to answer this question!

Ok, ok, ok. So, if you insist. I'll just say "Dragon Rider" by Cornelia Funke. But mark my words, my favorite will change according to my fickle mood.

Favorite book no one has heard of?

Offhand, I'd say one of Juliet Marillier's books. No, I'm not gonna specify which one, and my favorite is liable to change without notice.

Favorite book to re-read?

Agh! I think I've answered enough questions about favorites.

Do you ever smell books?

Will I sound like a weirdo if I say yes?

Do you ever read primary source documents like letters or diaries?

Virtually never.

What are you reading right now?

Well I finished "The Telling" by Ursula K. le Guin today, and I'm also sort of reading Genesis on Kindle.

By the way, I get Kindle for free on my handy dandy little iPhone. It is so cool. I have to pay for the books, but I can get some of them for like $1, or even free.

What are you reading next?

I don't know. I can't make up my mind. I might randomly pick up a book, and make my decision that way.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Silly little question

I've read Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. There's something that I'm wondering about, especially after seeing in the trailer of the second movie.

In the second movie, Bella gets a paper cut and one of the vampires wants her blood. Yep, a silly paper cut triggers that. And in case you don't know exactly kind of reaction the *that* I'm talking about is, here's the trailer:

So, you see how what's-his-name responds to the tiny paper cut. Now my big question...

What about when Bella is in her period? Don't tell me that with all that blood, they don't notice it, not when they go crazy over a paper cut.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"The Telling"

I'm rereading Ursula K. le Guin's book "The Telling." Something that has been really intriguing me is how well the cover of the book matches the way the book is written. You might want to click on it to get a better look at it, by the way.

But first, I need to give you an idea of what the book is about. Don't worry, I won't give any of the plot away! All I'll share is what's on the back of the book:

"Once a culturally rich world, the planet Aka has been utterly transformed by technology. Records of the past have been destroyed, and citizens are strictly monitored. But an official observer from Earth named Sutty has learned of a group of outcasts who live in the wilderness. They still believe in the ancient ways and still practice its lost religion -- the Telling. Intrigued by their beliefs, Sutty joins them on a sacred pilgrimage into the mountains...and into the dangerous terrain of her own heart, mind, and soul."

Look at the cover. There are solid things, like the space ship, flowers, and most of the butterflies that look very real. But then you have Sutty, that one butterfly, and the stalks of grass. They aren't so solid. They're...difficult to grasp. You have to stop and take a second look at them. And maybe another. And another.

The book is like that. There are a few things that are easily grasped. But most things in it aren't. It's difficult to get a grip on them.

To begin with I'd thought that le Guin had messed up on this book, and that she didn't didn't put enough effort into it. But then today I realized that that probably isn't the case.

Sutty is learning about the Telling. The Telling is an ancient tradition, and it is something that she can barely even begin to understand it. And whenever she thinks she does understand it she finds yet another aspect to it that completely upends her ideas about it, so that she almost has to start over at the beginning again.

The Telling is something just out of reach. She can see it, she can study it, but she can't grasp it completely. The book reflects this, in that most everything in it feels a little out of reach, and you have to stop and think about it.

Then there are also solid things which are easily grasped, such as the very controlling government which has burned all the libraries and done other fun stuff (please note the sarcasm) to destroy its past.

My point here is that the cover of the book reflects both parts of the book: you have the central part of the picture which is blurred and difficult to get a grip on, but then other parts of it are solid.

It's a fascinating book with many layers to it. I think I would need to reread it several more times before I could begin to grasp all of it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Introducing Juliet Marillier

I want to introduce you to Juliet Marillier. She is a fantastic writer, and because her "Sevenwaters" trilogy opened my eyes up to Paganism she has a special place in my heart. Ok, I would have found it anyways, but she just helped me along a bit. :) Marillier grew up on folklore (and a good dose of mythology too, I'd say), and it comes through strongly in her writing. Really, I don't know what to say about her, so perhaps I'll let her writing speak for itself.

When I was looking at her website the other day I discovered that she has two short stories that you can read online. Or, you can print them to read at your leisure away from the computer. One is "Let Down Your Hair" which is a lovely twist on the story of Rapunzel. It's a mere eight pages, and is a quick read. Please, look at it! Marillier is an absolutely fantastic writer.

The other story is "Otherling" which I find to be a bit darker than is her norm, but is absolutely fantastic. It's longer than the other (twenty two pages) but is also a quick read. If you like these two, you should read one of her novels.

Juliet Marillier

I don't really want to take much time right now to post, but I do want to share something I found today where one of my favorite authors is talking about her books.

She is Juliet Marillier, and you can find her website here. I was rather excited to find this video. :)


This was first posted on my blog A College Girl's Days on 12/2/09

Musings about Tortall

WARNING: I'll be talking about Tamora Pierce's quartet, "Song of the Lioness." Unless you don't mind me giving things away, or have already read it, you might want to skip reading this post.

As I said in one of my recent posts, I am a big fan of Pierce's Tortall books. I reread the first three books in the afore mentioned quartet in the last couple weeks, and I just started on the or yesterday? Dang, isn't it so sad when you can't remember silly little details like that? :P

First of all, I really like most of the stuff in the books. As I said, I'm a big fan. However, I'm not entirely happy with Ralon or Akhnan Ibn Nazzir. It feels like they're just too one dimensional! Yes, I know not every character can be fleshed out in books, but come on -- these two are pretty crucial to the plot. They aren't simply sideline characters. As it is, Ralon is just a nasty bully, and Akhnan is just power hungry. And I know it's not just a case of Pierce not feeling like fleshing out the bad guys. Look at Roger. Roger is pretty darn nasty, but he certainly seems to have depth. Same with Thom, though he technically isn't a bad guy (is he?).

And speaking of Roger...

I noticed that Thom raised Roger from the dead on Samhain. Ok, so they didn't call it Samhain, they called it All Hallows. (aka Halloween, for those who don't know "Pagan speak.") But it's the same day. And, Samhain is generally considered the time when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. So, it'd make sense for that to be when Thom raises Roger from the dead.

...except that Roger wasn't truly dead, was he? I haven't gotten to the relevant part, so I haven't reread it yet, but I seem to recall that while Roger is dead for all practical purposes, there's some spell he did to keep him from being truly dead. I think. Hmm...

...I probably should stop my ramblings/musings and do some schoolwork now. :)


This was first posted on my blog A College Girl's Days on July 5th, 2009

Fun in the library

I've been having fun in the library.

I've started collecting some interesting spine labels. Sometimes they are simply the first three letters of someone's name which happens to spell something out, like JEW. Other times, it's someone's last name that is in an interesting place. For example, finding the last name BEER in the kid's section. That one had me laughing.

I've got a link to this on the sidebar in my blog, and you can find the link here.

It's also interesting, the books I come across. Especially "Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude." I decided that I had to share an image of the book, since simply giving the title isn't enough.

Ok, so it's a kids book, but I want to get ahold of it and look through it. Basically, it's two kids telling a story, and they don't agree on what kind of story should be told -- one about cool motorcycle dudes or about a beautiful princess.

I guess that's it for now. I need to go do chores before mom gets too irritated with me.


This was first posted on my blog A College Girl's Days on 9/2/09

"The Burning Island"

As I promised in my post Goals a while back, I am talking about Pele to prove that I'm not being (too) lazy and am actually looking up info on her.

I picked up "The Burning Island: A Journey Through Myth and History in Volcano Country, Hawai'i" by Pamela Frierson from my local library recently. It's a book devoted to Pele, though somewhat indirectly. Frierson talks about the volcanoes of Hawai'i, and the geology -- obviously, Pele's domain, since she is the local volcano goddess there. But Frierson also takes interest in mythology, and whether or not she actually believes in the old gods (that's a point I'm not clear on), mentions Pele's name frequently.

Really, this book is as good as one that is devoted to the mythological side of things. Frierson even talks about the myths, though they aren't what I'm talking about in this post.

There are two interesting geological facts which I want to share this time. One is that science proves that the islands were formed in almost the exact same order that mythology tells they formed. But this doesn't surprise me. Wouldn't it seem natural for myth to tell that the less active volcanoes are the older and that the more active are the newer? So when I read this I was just like "Well, duh."

The other interesting fact is a little more interesting, and it is that the islands come from a "hot spot." A hot spot is where there is a hole in the middle of a tectonic plate, which causes volcanoes to form. How a hot spot pops up (no tongue twister was intended, honestly) is not fully understood by scientists yet, though there are theories. I don't fully understand them, and won't attempt to explain them. If you are truly curious, I direct you to the reference desk of your local library. Alternatively, I suppose Google would also be good. :)

But what's interesting about this, is the mythology. According to myth, Pele stuck her staff into the ground to form the first Hawai'ian volcano -- which would create such a "hot spot." Very interesting, I think.

By the way, I got the photo here, and there are plenty more volcano photos if you are curious to see them. Unless otherwise specified they were taken by scientists, and are public domain. And yes, these are photos of Hawai'ian volcanoes. :)


This was first posted on my blog A College Girl's Days on 9/6/09

Top ten books -- post 1

I found out from Moonrat, over at Editorial Ass, that Publishers Weekly has announced their top ten novels for this year. And guess what? All of the authors are men.

Moonrat is rather irritated to say the least, and I think with good reason. There are plenty of good women writers out there. Why didn't at least one of them make the list? Moonrat (and others) are thinking this is sexism, and I am inclined to agree with them.

You can take a look at Moonrat's post for more details, but basically there has been a challenge put out for bloggers to declare their own top ten novels of the year. I must say, I rather like this idea. :)

However, there's a slight little problem. I've been busy with schoolwork, and haven't been reading too many newly published books this year. So, rather than naming my favorite top ten of the year, I'll attempt to name my favorite top ten overall. And I say I'll "attempt to" do this because it's rather tough to make up my mind. In fact, if you ask me to make this list again tomorrow, it might be slightly different!

By the way, as I'm making my decisions I'm realizing that I'm having a hard time choosing. There are some authors that I love so much that I'm having a really hard time choosing just one of their books. For this reason, I usually give people my favorite authors rather than my favorite books. I'll limit my list to one book per author, however.

So here's my list top ten books, in no particular order. And because I don't do to well at explaining books, I'll just give you the title, author, genre, and maybe a comment or two about the particular author.

The Burning Island: A Journey Through Myth and History in Volcano Cuntry, Hawai'i
by Pamela Frierson

This book is so good. I mention it in this post.

Artemis Fowl
by Eoin Colfer
Fantasy/Science fiction

I like all of his Artemis Fowl books, at varying degrees. This is the first one.

Cybele's Secrete
by Juliet Marillier
Historical fantasy

OMG this is one of my TOP favorite authors...I am currently reading her latest book, Heart's Blood.

Wild Magic
by Tamora Pierce

Really, I think I love all her stories about Tortall characters equally. It's just that it's her Immortals quartet that I'm reading right now, so this is the one I'm listing.

Yes, I know I said that I'm currently reading Heart's Blood. I'm taking a break from this one to read that one. But I'll get back to this one. :)

by Garth Nix
Fantasy/Science fiction

Ok, it's his Abhorsen trilogy that I really love, of which this is the first.

By the way, I'm currently listening to this one. I really love my audio books. :) They help my brain calm down as I'm going to sleep.

It's getting late, so I'll finish up my list another time. Probably tomorrow. Sometime soon, anyways! :)


This was first posted on my blog A College Girl's Days on 11/14/09

Top ten books -- post 2

Ok, so it's my top eleven favorite books. Whatever. lol Hey, I think I said in my last post about books that it's tough for me to choose! :)

The Red Tent
by Anita Diamant
Historical fiction

Someone said that this is what the Bible might be like if women wrote it, and I think they had a good point. This book is also an excellent window into what the world was like in the times of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Yes, I am a fan of that musical. :)

The Old Man and The Sea
by Ernest Hemingway

This reads like a great legend, or a great poem. When I picked it up I was quite irritated at interruptions such as dinner. I really should pick it up again when I can read it cover to cover without interruption...

The Kommadant's Girl
by Pam Jenoff
Historical fiction (and maybe romance?)

What to say? It's a fantastic book about the holocaust and love. :)

by Christopher Paolini

The author was homeschooled, which is something that drew me to his first book because my brother and I were also homeschooled. Paolini graduated 12th grade when he was 17 because he didn't take any summer breaks. (Some of us homeschoolers can be a little nutsy like that. lol) Unsure of what to do with himself, he started writing a book, Eragon. With the help of his family he self published that book, and somehow it came to the attention of an editor who liked it.

This is the third book in the Inheritance Cycle, and I so cannot wait for the next and last book to come out! :)

The Left Hand of Darkness
by Ursula K. le Guin
Fantasy/Science Fiction

There is a bit of sexism in this book which I find annoying, and yet it is an absolutely amazing book that really draws the reader in, to the point where you don't really care about the sexism. Read it! :)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J.K.Rowling

Need I say anything about this book? :)

You know, I think that another name that would really fit this book would be Harry Potter and the Very Long Camping Trip.


This was first posted on my blog A College Girl's Days on 11/16/09

All things books

Would you like to know some books that are badly made? The later installments of Harry Potter.

No, I'm not talking about the writing. I'm talking about the binding.

Those of us who do book mending keep seeing these books come back to us. They're so wildly popular that they have been produced en mass, and in order to make as many copies as possible their quality was sacrificed.

Maybe I shouldn't complain. If they hadn't made the books that way, my family probably wouldn't have been able to get a copy of the latest book for each and every single member of my family -- mom, dad, Tall One, and myself. It's just that when my dad read his copy of the book for the second time (mom and Tall One prefer to listen to it, and I haven't reread it yet) it started falling apart in his hands. Likewise, the copies that the library has of the book keep falling apart.

As with any new wildly popular book, time passes and eventually everyone has read it. So eventually they stopped being checked out as much and we stopped seeing the books in mending as much. Regardless, I mended one Harry Potter book last week, and two more today.

Speaking of book mending, guess what I was doing while mending today? I was listening to an audio book on my iPod. I am quite happy. :) I've heard of Library2Go, which is a website where you can borrow audio books and put them on your computer, iPod, or whatever. (Note: I think it's only available to those living in Oregon.) I downloaded Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke.

The book is about a dragon who must find a new home for himself and the other dragons because humans want to flood the valley they live in and turn it into a reservoir. A young brownie accompanies him, and along the way they pick up a human boy, much to the annoyance of the brownie.

I've read this book before. But in listening to it again I realized something that hadn't occurred to me before: the book deals with racism, in a round about way. You have a dragon, a brownie, and a human thrown together. The brownie is unhappy about the human not because of anything that this individual has done, but simply because he is a human. On the other hand, the dragon points out that the boy has helped them, that as such this human is a friend, and that it doesn't matter if the boy is a human, a brownie, or a rat.

While mending today I came across another book that I want to take a look at. I think that I'll just share a description of the book from Look Books:

"Confessions of a Closet Catholic is a heartwarming, humorous tale of a young girl struggling with her faith. Jussie is Jewish, but she doesn’t think that her religion is “cool”. She has confession with her teddy bear Father Ted, and goes to church with her friend’s family. When Jussie’s grandmother, Bubbe, has a stroke, she is torn in two. Will she continue as a “closet catholic”, or learn more about her own religion, which she barely understands?

Whether you are Christian, Jewish, or another religion, you will enjoy the message of this book. It’s a quick read-it only took me a bit over an hour- but you’ll want to re-read this book over and over again. Jussie’s connection with Bubbe is extremely real, and they feel like real people."
This was first posted on my blog A College Girl's Days on 12/27/09

"Confessions of a Closet Catholic"

I want to rant and rave about a book. In a good way, not a bad way! I'd been thinking of waiting until I finish the book to talk about it, but classes start tomorrow and they might interfere with those plans, so I'm talking about it now. It's a 193 page book and I'm on page 116, to give you an idea of where I am in it right now.

Confessions of a Closet Catholic by Sarah Darer Littman is a wonderful book. It can be found in the juvenile section of my local library and it's written for teens, but adults can also enjoy it. This adult certainly is. :)

It deals with everyday issues that teens can relate to: crushes, sibling rivalry, feelings of injustice, body image, and chocolate. Also, 11 year old Justine is trying to figure out religion.

Justine's family is Jewish, but she isn't overfond of the religion for various reasons, so she decides to become Catholic -- just like her best friend! But, she hasn't told her family. She's pretty sure that they won't take the news very well.

So Justine becomes a closet Catholic. Literally. She has confession with Father Ted (her teddy bear) in her closet, and holds communion in her closet. She's hidden away in her closet a cross that her Catholic friend lost at her house, a "cheat sheet" on how to say Hail Mary, and a rosary she bought.

Then her grandmother has a stroke. Justine can't help but feel that this is her fault, and that it is God's way of punishing her for questioning the faith she was raised in. She feels responsible for the stroke but she doesn't confide in anyone, because she still doesn't want her family to know that she's Catholic. The guilt builds as she watches her grandmother's recovery, and she continues to question what she believes.

In spite of the serious nature of the book it manages to remain funny. For example, the explanation in the first chapter of how she ruled out various other religions before deciding to become Catholic; she decided she couldn't become Buddhist because when she tried to meditate she could only think about how much her butt hurt from sitting on the floor, and found herself figuring out how many zits she would get per chocolate bar.

Littman has created a very believable character that you can't help but love as she struggles to find her own identity. There are some real gems in the book (actually the whole book is a gem, so these are just extra special gems) such as the following passage that I would like to end this with:

"Sometimes, I wonder if Jesus, Allah, and God are all the same person. I imagine that J-A-G person sitting up there in heaven, shaking His head with tears in His eyes because He can't understand why His children are fighting and killing one another in His various names, not realizing that they're all praying to the same guy."


This was first posted on my blog A College Girl's Days on 1/4/10

"Dragon Rider"

I have got to rave about another book. More specifically, an audio book.

I read "Dragon Rider" by Cornelia Funke several years ago, and loved it. I also talked a little about the book in this post. Just minutes ago (literally) I finished listening to it as read by Brendan Fraser.

The story is wonderful. It's about a young dragon who sets out to find a new home for his people, because humans are trying to tear up the valley they live in. But he's not looking for just any place -- he's looking for the mythical Rim of Heaven, which so many say doesn't exist.

The book is absolutely hilarious. My family was probably wondering why I kept bursting out laughing seemingly at nothing, since they couldn't hear what I was listening to on my iPod. It also looks at the issue of racism (such as not all humans are bad even though it's humans who are causing the dragons to need a new home) without making it seem out of place in a funny book.

Oh, and I'm also now a fan of Brendan Fraser.

Fraser has so many different voices for the characters in his book, and each one is fantastic. He even does sound effects, which are really really neat. I look forward to listening to more audio books he narrates in the future.

This is really, really, cool. :D


This was first posted on my blog A College Girl's Days on 1/9/10

le Guin's books

I'm reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. le Guin. I've read it before, and it's one of my favorites. Have any of you read it, or any of le Guin's other books? I really love her Wizard of Earthsea books. Oh, and she's even local to Portland, where I live! Just think, I could randomly run into her in the grocery store or something. :) Not that I would be likely to recognize her.


This was first posted on my blog A College Girl's Days on 2/15/10

ADHD = Demigod

I recently read "The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan, which explains that people with ADHD are are in fact demigods. I've been really struggling with ADHD recently, and rather like this explanation. So, I want to share a quote from page 88 of this glorious book.

"And the ADHD -- you're impulsive, can't sit still in the classroom. That's your battlefield reflexes. In a real fight, they'd keep you alive. As for the attention problems, that's because you see too much, Percy, not too little. Your senses are better than a regular mortal's. Of course the teachers want you medicated. Most of them are monsters. They don't want you seeing them for what they are."

This was first posted in my blog A College Girl's Days on 2/24/10


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