Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Dewey from The Hidden Side of a Leaf came up with a creative idea for a blogging challenge--The Weekly Geeks. Each week is a different theme--mostly related to book blogging. Since my blog isn't even a month old yet (bless it's little heart!), I am in need of good blogging ideas. This week is "Discover New Blogs" week, and the goal is to visit several blogs that are new to you. I've spent quite a bit of time over the last month "blog hopping" so now is a good time to slow down and pick a few to really read through. There are so many unique people out there, it'll be difficult for me to just list a few.
Melody at Melody's Reading Corner not only has a cute blog, but she reads a vast variety of books, and is also hosting a giveaway!
Katherine at A Girl Walks into A Bookstore writes nice, concise reviews of books that are well written and to the point.
I enjoyed reading Megan's (Leafing through Life) most recent post, and I definitely have similar feelings!
Erin at A Book Every Day is also a new blogger and is planning to read at least 100 books this year.
Posted by Laura at 8:13 PM
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Carrie McGavock was a sad woman mourning the loss of 3 of her children. Everyone, including her husband, thought she had lost her mind, as she would sit in her dead children's rooms all day every day-mending their clothes and drifting in her memories. However, what happened on November 30, 1864, shook her out of her melencholy and self-pity for the rest of her life.
Very close to the end of the war, the "bloodiest 5 hours of the Civil War" were fought in a battle close to the town of Franklin, Tennessee. The McGavock house was used for a hospital for many wounded and dying soldiers. Carrie and her servant/friend Mariah spent weeks caring for the soldiers-nursing some back to health, and easing many others to their deaths. There was one soldier in particular who seemed different from the rest. Carrie struck up a close friendship with him that soon evolved into love.
Though the war ended several months after this battle, Carrie's entire outlook on love, life, and death were changed forever. Instead of trying to forget the horrendous things she witnessed and the many men who died in her own house and backyard, she became the keeper of the cemetary where they were buried. She wrote letters to the families of the soldiers who died; she welcomed families who came to visit the graves. Some called her an angel, but she just felt that she was doing what she should.
Robert Hicks did a great job researching the story of Carrie McGavock. I especially enjoyed reading the Author's Note at the end that included the facts of the novel--along with pictures! I did not realize how much of the story was true until I finished it. If I am ever in Tennessee, I would try to find the time to visit the plantation and cemetary.
Though the novel was well written, it was not a book that I had a hard time putting down. The characters all seemed distant, and it was hard to "get into" what was happening. All in all, I feel good about reading it because I learned a few things I did not know about the Civil War!
Date completed: April 21, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
On Friday night, after an evening of shopping for my new nephew, I somehow found my car driving itself to Half Price Books. Though I had decided not to buy any more books until there was open space on my TBR shelf, I rationalized that I needed to buy a few books for the challenges I just joined. On my way to find the books I specifically was looking for, several others started calling my name and I just HAD to buy them too! So including the book on its way from Amazon that I purchased a few days ago, and the book I won in Literary Feline's book giveaway, the following is a list of the books I added/will be adding to my overflowing shelf this week:
Tending Roses--Lisa Wingate
Blue Like Jazz--Donald Miller
The Winter of our Discontent--John Steinbeck
Tortilla Flat--John Steinbeck
The Known World--Edward P. Jones
The Inheritance of Loss--Kiran Desai
The Devil in the White City--Erik Larson
Posted by Laura at 9:13 PM
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Posted by Laura at 9:42 PM
Monday, April 7, 2008
Jewel by Bret Lott
finished: April 6, 2008
Jewel Hilburn had a difficult childhood. From watching her father walk away from her and her mother, to finding her place in the world as an orphan, she is always trying to overcome the hardships life keeps throwing at her. However, she marries a good man and has five healthy children. Though she and her family live in the backwoods of Mississippi, World War II is a blessing in disguise as there is abundant work for the war effort, and therefore, plenty of money. Jewel is content with her life.
When she gives birth close to the age of 40 to a baby girl, her life changes drastically. Her daughter, Brenda Kay has Down's Syndrome and is not expected to live past the age of 2.With the war over, there is no work and no money. Instead of wallowing in despair, Jewel finds a way to have food on the table and money for the shots the doctors say Brenda Kay needs.
Jewel spends the majority of her life struggling to rise above the many difficulties she is faced with. She maintains an optimistic attitude and faith in God, and has unconditional love for all her children and her husband. Though she is not perfect, she devotes her life to her family, and mainly to Brenda Kay. When she is old, she realizes, "My life would never end...because of those eyes turned to me and asking what to do...the looking of a child...to you for what wisdom you can give away before you left for whatever reckoning you had with the God who'd given you that wisdom in the first place" (352). This is what she lived for--giving all she had to her children.
I never really know what to expect when reading an Oprah's book club book. Though Jewel wasn't a fluffy, warm fuzzy story, I did enjoy reading it. Though some of the non-PC terminology could probably make some readers cringe, the diction Lott chooses really brings the characters from Mississippi to life. Though I do not know anyone who has experienced the same specific circumstances that Jewel Hilburn faces, reading the book brought to mind several women I know who have kept the same optimism throughout extreme difficulties. It really makes me thankful for the comforts I had as a child and the loving mother I am blessed with!
Posted by Laura at 9:57 PM
Joy at Thoughts of Joy, the host of this challenge says,
After months and months of reading mysteries, short stories, thrillers, adventures, fantasies, romance novels, etc., it's time to start planning for a reality check! Reality in the form of
NON-FICTION reading. Come on in and join the fun!
1. Read 5 non-fiction books during the months of May - September, 2008 (please link your reviews on Mister Linky)
2. Read at least one non-fiction book that is different from your other choices (i.e.: 4 memoirs and 1 self-help)
This should be a true challenge for me, as I very rarely pick up non-fiction to read. I'm pretty sure the last few times I've tried, I've gotten a few chapters in, then decided to set it aside and read something else.
My list is--
1. Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality
2. Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt
3. The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison
4. Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
5. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
Posted by Laura at 12:02 PM
Saturday, April 5, 2008
My 6 choices are:
Widow of the South by Robert Hicks
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Canaan: A Novel by Donald McCaig
The Virgin's Lover by Phillipa Gregory
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
Posted by Laura at 12:45 PM
A friend at work opened the world of book blogging to me, and I've been spending more and more time browsing others' reviews and opinions. One of my new year's resolutions was to start keeping track of the books I read, as I have a difficult time remembering what I've read over the years. After I bought a shiny new notebook and started writing my thoughts on each completed novel, I realized that we are in the 21st century, and there are far more interesting and advanced ways to keep a journal!
The challenges seem like a great way to expand my horizons and read books I wouldn't normally just pick up on my own. In addition, they will give me even more of an excuse to buy new books (not that I really need an excuse)!
I've really missed discussions over literature since I've been out of college, so I'm looking forward to sharing opinions and thoughts with other bookworms out there!
Posted by Laura at 10:40 AM