11:17 AM

6) Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

This is a catch-up post.  This was the sixth book I read this year, but I'm just now getting around to posting this.

I read this because Tim Burton's movie is coming out soon.  I really liked this classic story and I'm surprised I hadn't read it earlier considering how much I love the Disney version.  I must say, this is one instance though, where I found the Disney movie to be better than the book.  It leaves out all the part I didn't like from the book (the Duchess and the pig baby, the Mock Turtle) and expands on the ones I loved (the tea party).  I was surprised how little a part the tea party had in the book.  That really disappointed me.  I'm still in the process of reading Through the Looking Glass, but I must point out that I've stopped halfway through to read a few other books and I'm really not enjoying it at all.  :(

11:10 AM

5) Serena by Ron Rash

This is a catch-up post.  This was the fifth book I read this year, but I'm just now getting around to posting this.

This book sat on my Amazon wishlist for at least a year.  During a reading dry spell, I finally decided to give it a read and I can't believe I'd waited so long.  This book was AMAZING!  It's not typically the kind of book I'd read, but I couldn't put it down.  Serena was definitely an unforgettable character.  This book had me thinking about it weeks after I had finished it.

It is set in the 1930s and takes place mainly in a logging camp run by Serena and her husband.  Even the information given about logging and the dangers of such a job were fascinating.  I can't say enough about this book.  I still can't believe how good it was!

My favorite quote: "Kephart told me...how it pleased him to know I'd die and eventually my coffin would rot,and how then I'd be nourishing the earth instead of destroying it."

11:03 AM

4) Time of the Witches by Anna Myers

This is a catch-up post.  It was the fourth book I read this year, but I am just now getting around to posting this.

I got this for my classroom library.  It's no suprise I wanted to read it myself because I love any kind of historical fiction that has to do with early American witchcraft issues.  Since I've read so many books that address the Salem Witch Trials, it's not often I find a story that offers such a unique and intersting retelling of the events. 

This fictitious version of events really makes it easy to understand the power of suggestion and the role that possibly played in the hysteria.  Most young people find it difficult to answer the question of how did this happen and can't seem to wrap their brains around the power of suggestion theory.  This book could definitely clear that area up for younger readers.

The elder Ann Putnam was delightfully wicked in this version and I think her character really pushed this book from good to great!

My favorite quote: "That is ridiculous, my dear," said [Ann Putnam].  "Rose cannot be a witch.  The girl still owes us a year of service.  Maybe next year."

10:55 AM

3) Dear Dumb Diary #9 by Jim Benton

This is a catch-up post.  It was the third book I read this year, but I'm just now getting around to posting it.

This was a cute and funny read for young girls.  Benton delivers sarcasm and laughs that any young teen would appreciate.  I'm adding it to my classroom library with the rest of the Dumb Diary series.

10:52 AM

2) Land of a Hundred Wonders by Lesley Kagen

This is a catch-up post.  It was the second book I finished this year, but I'm just now getting around to posting it.

I first discovered Lesley Kagen when I read her first novel, Whistling in the Dark, and fell in love with it.  This time around, she's written another amazingly unique and enjoyable read.  She is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.  The characters in this book are quirkly and lovable.  Her work more than anyone else's inspires me to get to work on writing my own book.

My favorite quote: SHERIFF: And for what purpose would you be wantin' to know that information?  GIBBY: For the article I will be writin' about him once he turns up dead, ya big asshole.

10:45 AM

1) The Eagle Catcher by Margaret Coel

This is a catch-up post.  It should have been blogged first this year, but I'm just now getting around to it.

I like mysteries and I like Native American history, so it was inevitable that I'd like this book.  The first two-thirds of the book was pretty slow, so much so that I stopped to read another book in between.  The ending made up for it though and I think I'd read more in this series, if I couldn't find anything better to read.

9:55 AM

8) Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

I have no idea what came over me when I decided to read this book.  I say this because I have never, in the least, had any desire to learn about Asian culture.  I have no idea why this is, but it's never interested me in the slightest.  Then, I finally watched Mulan (yes, I know it's only an inaccurate Disney portrayl of historical events) and loved it.  It's probably one of my top 3 favorite Disney movies and that's really saying a lot! 

Because I enjoyed previous books about women in different forms of slavery, I thought I'd give this a try.  I remember that when the movie came out years ago, it got a bunch of buzz, but I had no intention of watching it.  I'm one of those people who likes to watch the movie after I've read the book, if at all possible.  It makes me feel more invested in the story, I guess you could say. 

Anyways, once I picked this book up, I could not put it down.  The writing was simple, yet fascinating all at the same time.  It was rich with Japanese history, but it wasn't presented in a boring way.  The life of Chiyo, later known as Sayuri, was captivating to say the least.  It always amazes me what the women in books like these survive.  I'm not so sure that if I had been in a similar place, I would not have crumbled like a dead cherry blossom.  It's been presented as a love story, but it's so much more than that.  This book has really inspired me to learn more about Asian history.  I am well aware that geisha are only a small fraction of that history, but considering I never had any desire to learn anything about that part of the world, I consider this book a success!

My favorite quote: "We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill, going more or less in one direction until we splash into something that forces us to find a new course." ~Chiyo/Sayuri

3:38 PM

7) Speaks the Nightbird by Robert McCammon

I know it's been awhile, but this is the 7th book I've finished this year.  I'll come back soon and update my previous reads, but for now I'm going to start with this one since it's fresh in my mind.

This book was WONDERFUL!  I purchased it online and had no idea how big it was.  The story is 792 pages to be exact.  I'll admit, it kind of scared me a little, but I proceeded anyway.  It was so well written that the size didn't even matter once I got into it.  I read it for hours at a time and didn't care that I seemed to be getting nowhere page-wise.  I can't think of any other way to describe the read other than smooth.  Since the story took place in 1699, the writing was not very light, but it also wasn't as heavy as some literary classics I've read (such as Jane Eyre). 

I found the storyline to be incredibly interesting.  Of course the main reason I bought this book was because it dealt with a woman accused of witchcraft, but much to my enjoyment, it also had side plots that touched on murder, Native Americans, and pirate treasure.  What more could you ask for?  I remember reading somewhere that this book was the first of a series following Matthew Corbett as an 18th century detective.  I hope this is true because I plan on reading them all!

My favorite quote:  "But every man hears a nightbird of some form or fashion.  It is the struggle to overcome its call that either creates or destroys a man's soul." ~Isaac Woodward