Jan 29, 2009

BTT: Discussing Electronic vs Paper

Today's Booking Through Thursday is a little different.
First - Go read this great article from Time Magazine: Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature. (Well worth reading.)

Second - Stop and think about it for moment. Computers and digital media are changing everything we do these days, whether we realize it or not, and that includes our beloved books.

To be different, today, we're having a discussion in the comments section of MizzB's blog. I've participated in the discussion and I'm also posting my response here.

Tell us what you think. Do you have an ebook reader? Do you read ebooks on your computer? Do you hate the very thought? How do you feel about the fact that book publishing is changing and facing much the same existential dilemma as the music industry upon the creation of MP3s?
To follow this discussion click here to go to the Comments section of BTT.
My response:

I always enjoy discussions on this topic. I think Trish made some great comments and I agree with her that publishers will be publishing actual books when I’m old and gray. Like Peta, I have a couple ebooks on my computer, but I haven’t read either of them. I prefer to physically hold a book in my hands, smell the pages and gaze at the cover art while I’m reading. That’s all part of the enjoyment for me.

My view on the Kindle and like products is that I think they do serve a purpose and can be quite handy. I like the idea of downloading whole books in minutes and having a large number. However, I like to collect physical books for my library.

That being said, I was diagnosed with a retinal disease many years ago (Retinitis Pigmentosa) that is gradually stealing my sight. I’ve read reports stating that products like the Kindle are helpful to people with eye issues becaause of the ability to change fonts, etc. and that the screen is easy on the eyes therefore, creating less eye fatigue. Because I am legally blind, but I still have tunnel vision which enables me to have center sight, my eyes do get incredibly tired faster than most. I will no doubt invest in a Kindle at some point, but I will always prefer a tangible book.

The same goes with audio books. I do have a few, but I find it difficult to focus and concentrate on the narrator. I’m sure it just takes some getting used to. At some point, I’ll have to use audio books, but I’ll jump off that bridge when I get there.

Jan 28, 2009

These Books Were Made For Walking Meme

Strumpet from Strumpet's Life has a cool idea for a monthly meme. It's called 'These Books Are Made for Walking" and its about books and travel. Every third Wednesday of the month, she'll pose a question for the meme. This should be fun, so play along!

This first question is: What book do you most associate with the beach and why?

My response: Even though I do live a short distance from the beach, I don't typically take books to read while there. I don't like to get them all sandy and dirty and I have a hard time getting comfortable. However, there are books that when I think of them, I instantly think of the ocean. Even if I'm not there in body, I'm there in spirit.

Pretty much any book by Dorothea Benton Frank, but most especially PAWLEYS ISLAND. All of her books are Lowcountry tales and take place beachside. When I read PAWLEYS ISLAND, it was the beginning of Spring when everything was new. Her descriptive writing was so beachy and laid back, I swear I could smell the salt air and hear the waves crashing on the beach. I was ready to pack my truck and go!

I think this is a very cool idea for a meme and I'd like to thank Strumpet for including me. I hope many bloggers will play along! I do apologize for being so late with my post. I promise to do better in the future! To read more answers to this meme, click here.

Jan 27, 2009

Teaser Tuesday: 1.27.9

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly event hosted by MizzB at Should Be Reading.

  • Each week TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read
  • Let the book fall open to a random page
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

This week my teasers are from BOUND SOUTH by Susan Rebecca White:

"Louise, today my daughter was caught at my alma mater performing fellatio on one of her teachers. I think I deserve a drink. Frankly, I think I deserve to drink as much as I goddamn please." ~page 121
To read more fun teasers or to participate, click here!

Jan 26, 2009

Musing Mondays - Lending Books

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about lending books...
A few weeks back we had a question about
borrowing books, this week I was wondering what your policy was on lending books. Do you lend books to anyone? Just friends? Only big readers? How long are they allowed to have them?

I only have a few people in my life who are big readers, so I don't lend out too many. That actually works out well for me because I'm a bit anal about my books, especially those that are dear to me. That being said, I don't mind lending a book to a freind if I think they're actually going to read it. I love telling people about great books I've read and trying to encourage them to read them, but more times than not, they're probably not going to.

When I do lend a book, I allow ample time before I start wondering when I'm going to get the book back. I know people are busy with everyday life and they may not read as much or as often as I do, so I don't want to pester them, but if its been three or four months and it's clear they're not reading it, I'll ask them to return it. Always with the understanding that if they ever do get the time to read it, they are welcome to borrow it again. That just makes it easier for me to keep track of my books. The most avid reader in my life is my boss and he's more anal than I am when lending books. He even had a stamp made with his name, address and phone number that he imprints in the book! He does have a very interesting collection of non-fiction books, so I don't blame him at all. In fact, he told me he has two out on loan currently and its driving him crazy that the borrowers aren't reading them! At least I'm not alone!

If you'd like to participate in Musing Mondays, visit Rebecca at Just One More Page!

Jan 25, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Catching Up

Has it really been over a week since I've posted to my blog?? Today, I'm going to play a little catch up of what I've been reading. Since my last Sunday Salon post, I've read two books and did one review. I posted a review of 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN by Don Piper that you can read here. That was truly an amazing true story. If anyone has read it, please leave me a comment with your opinions of the book. It was very interesting to hear Mr. Piper's experiences in the Heaven he describes.

Another book I finished earlier this week was THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield. I haven't posted my review yet, but plan to do that in the next day or so. What I can tell you now is that I loved reading that book. It drew me in in the first pages and didn't let go. Please come back and visit again to read my full review of that most impressive first novel from Ms. Setterfield. And if you've posted a review, leave me a link and I'll add it to mine. If you haven't read it, it's the opinion of this book lover that you are really missing out on a great story. OK, moving on . . .

The book I'm reading now is also from a first-time novelist. Her name is Susan Rebecca White and her book is called BOUND SOUTH. It's set to be released by Touchstone Publishing on February 9th. I initially came across this book late last year while participating in Jill's "Waiting On" Wednesday weekly post. You can read that post here. I was contacted by Ms. White's publicist and she was kind enough to send me a copy of the book for review. I've only just started reading, but I can tell I'm going to enjoy this story. The characters are fresh and a bit quirky and they each tell a story. It's about Southern mothers and daughters, old fashioned traditions trying to survive modern changes and about a girl desperate for a father's love and so much more. It takes place in Atlanta, which appeals to me, being a southern woman.
As I said, the book is being released February 9th and there's a blog tour scheduled that I'll be participating in as well. I'll have more details soon, so check back often!
For now, it's time for me to go blog-hopping for a bit, then it's back to BOUND SOUTH. Have a wonderful day everyone! I'll see you on the blogs!

Jan 15, 2009

Review: 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life - Don Piper

I received this book from my aunt who sent it to me saying 'You have to read this book!' It's the amazing story of Baptist Minister Don Piper and the account of his experience in heaven following a horrific car accident in January 1989.

I'd heard a lot about this book prior to reading it and honestly, the reviews were quite mixed. I didn't know really what to expect. From the very beginning, he makes it quite clear that he died during that accident and he is adamant about that fact.

His story begins the morning of the accident and eventually what he remembers in the hours that follow. The accident itself is daunting and scary to hear in detail. It's something you wish no one should ever have to go through.

According to Mr. Piper, what happens next is both unbelievable and miraculous at the same time. As the minutes go by and the EMT's wait for the coroner's arrival to pronounce him dead, a passing motorist, another minister, stops and asks if there is anyone he can pray for. They explain to him that the only person injured is the deceased man in the Ford Escort, Don Piper. Lead by a force he can only explain as God insisting he go pray for the dead man, this other minister climbs through the back of Don's crushed car, touches his shoulder, the only part of his mangled body he can reach, and starts praying and singing hymns. As the minutes pass and the praying minister is brought to tears by the sheer horror of this tragic accident, he soon notices that his is not the only voice he hears. Singing an old hymn, he opens his eyes and sees Don singing with him. He feels for a pulse and upon finding one, jumps from the car and yells 'This man is alive!'. Although it took him several moments more for him to convince the EMT's he wasn't crazy. Finally, almost two hours after the accident, Don is removed from the car and on his way to the hospital. That in and of itself is an amazing story, but what follows is even more incredible.

Don Piper goes through the gamet of emotions after surviving a near fatal accident with injuries that would surely kill most people. Miraculously, he suffers no internal injuries, although his bones are broken everywhere and some are even missing. His right arm is the only extremity left intact.

Not only does this book focus on Don and his injuries, but also how he deals with them, all the while wondering if its worth it to be here on earth with all the pain and suffering of his recovery. It's actually an incredible story that I found very encouraging and hopeful. It was enlightening to follow him through his realizations that his accident was not only life-changing for him, but for people around him and even people he has never even met.

In this book, Don takes us through his journey of trying to understand why God sent him back to his earthly home, when in the beginning, all he wanted was to be back in heaven where he felt no pain, only joy and peace.

I didn't find this book to be over the top or preachy in any way. As a Christian myself, I found a certain hopefulness in his words that left me with a positive, comforting feeling inside. Although it does jump around a bit at times, its an easy read. Its a book that each person will probably interpret differently, but all in all, I'm glad I read the book and shared in his experiences.
Have you read this book? If so, please leave me a comment and let me know how you felt about it. I'd be interested to know, as I haven't found many people who've read it.
Author: Don Piper
Publisher: Revell
Published: September, 2007
Pages: 208

Jan 13, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays 1.13.9

Each week TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

  • Grab your current read
  • Let the book fall open to a random page
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Please avoid spoilers!

This week I'm sharing two teasers from my current read, THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield, a book I am thoroughly enjoying!

In the nursery Charlie's rage and fury seemed to have deserted
hm, leaving in their place a woeful fatigue. You could sometimes hear his
slow, dragging steps across the floor, and sometimes, ear to the door, you
heard him crying with the exhausted sobs of a wretched two-year-old. ~
pg 197

I have to apologize for the crazy spacing - it seems Blogger has a mind of its own today! (grumble, grumble)

Jan 12, 2009

Musing Mondays: Assigned Reading

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about assigned reading…
How did you react to assigned reading when you were in school/university/college/etc? How do you think on these books now? What book were you 'forced' to read when you where in school that you've since reread and loved?
I was in the fourth grade when I realized that I loved books, so by the time I was in high school, I welcomed the reading assignments. I loved TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, didn't really care for THE LORD OF THE FLIES and totally didn't appreciate THE BELL JAR, more likely due to my young age. I haven't re-read any book I was 'forced' to read in school, however, I would like to find a copy of Sylvia Plath's THE BELL JAR to see if I grasp it any better than I did back then. There were other books I read in school, especially Steinbeck's, that I'd love to re-read now that I'm older and I would appreciate them more.

Jan 11, 2009

Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet [TSS]

This is the story of Henry Lee, a 56 year old Chinese-American, who has lived his entire life in the Chinatown neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The year is 1986, but Henry tells his story with flashbacks to 1942, during World War II.

In 1942 Henry was a boy of twelve, living in an apartment with his parents, who were completely devoted to the United States and were strongly opposed to anything Japanese. This was true especially of his father Henry’s parents had very strict rules about how they wanted their son raised to become more westernized in order to have the opportunities available to him here in America. Henry attended a prestigious all white private school where he was taunted and teased endlessly, although he never mentioned any of it to his parents, who spoke almost no English.

Attending the Ranier School was almost unbearable for Henry until the day he me Keiko Okabe, a Japanese-American girl who began working in the school cafeteria with him. Their friendship quickly grew and they became each other's best friend, making their hours at the school tolerable. Henry was careful not to let his parents find out about his new friend, as they would strongly oppose him having anything to do with her because she was of Japanese decent. Given that his parents didn’t speak English and he was forbidden to speak Cantonese at home, the secret was easy to keep. It became the first of many secrets he would keep from his parents.

With the war raging on and the fear of spies among the Japanese people rising, it became more and more dangerous for Henry and Keiko to spend time together. Ultimately, the day came when thousand of Japanese-Americans were removed from their homes and put in Internment camps 'for their own safety', as the US government put it. Henry was devastated when Keiko's family was taken away.

Some forty years later, in 1986, Henry tells this story to his college-aged son, Marty soon after news reports arose that items belonging to some of the Japanese families had been discovered in the basement of the Panama Hotel, near Japantown. The old hotel had been boarded up for over 40 years, since the Internment began. The new owners of the hotel hoped to reunite some of the families with their treasured belongings. The hotel held special memories for Henry that until now, he had shared with no one. Henry was reluctant to tell his story to his son for fear of disrespecting the memory of Marty's mother, Ethel, who had recently died after a long fight with cancer. Although Henry was devoted to his wife, he often thought about those times early in his life. Now that Ethel was gone, he knew there were things in that basement that he must try to find.

HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET is author Jamie Ford's first novel, inspired by his own family's history. It's a beautifully written story of sacrifice, family, forbidden love and loyalty. It was a bit of a history lesson for me as well, because before reading this book, I knew little of the Japanese-American internment camps here in the US. Mr. Ford weaves a very compelling story within details of actual events that were happening on the west coast at that time. He does it by smoothly alternating between 1986 and 1942 capturing the reality of the times.

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this book and as soon as I started reading, I was hooked. It's an engaging story with characters who were so real to me. I began to care about them almost immediately. Without being too wordy, Jamie Ford paints a vivid picture of what it must have been like, both in Chinatown and the internment camps. He not only tells the story of a young Chinese-American boy growing up in a difficult time, but he also tells the story of a city's changing culture during those war years.

I can't say enough about this book and how much I enjoyed reading it. More and more, I'm enjoying books of historical fiction and this is a great example of why. This would make an excellent pick for any book club. Click here to visit Jamie Ford's website. There, you will find information including an interview with the author, excerpts, tour schedules and information for book clubs. A reading guide is scheduled to be available soon.

The release of HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET is January 27th, so there's only a few short weeks to wait. I know it's very early in the year, but I'm confident this book will stand out as one of my top reads for 2009. For another review of this stunning debut novel, visit Julie at Booking Mama.

Author: Jamie Ford
Publishers: Ballantine Books
Published: January 27, 2009
Pages: 304

Jan 8, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: The Best

It’s a week or two later than you’d expect, and it may be almost a trite question, but … what were your favorite books from 2008?
(It’s an oldie but a goodie question for a reason, after all … because, who can’t use good book suggestions from time to time?)

For me, three books come to mind when I consider my favorite books read in 2008. All three of these books were new in 2008. Here's my three favorite books of the year:

Two of them are first-time novelists, which is a great compliment. Coincidentally, those same two are both published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. They have a wonderful Southern Fiction department, which is a favorite of mine. Of the three books, if I had to choose my top pick, it would be Jayne Pupek's TOMATO GIRL. Although the subject matter was difficult and at times the story was utterly heartbreaking, that book made a huge impact on me. It made me cry, it made me angry, yet it gave me hope. I will always remember Ellie's story.
If you'd like to read my reviews of these book, click on the title above. What were your favorites of 2008?

Jan 6, 2009

My First Blogoversary and an Award!

I'd like to thank Mary for honoring me with this award! It's my very first award AND its also my first blogoversary! How cool is that?!?! This is a meme award that is to be passed on. So, here are the rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. Award up to ten other blogs.
4. Add links to those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message for your awardees on their blogs.

So I would like to pass this award on to:

Congratulations Ladies!

Teaser Tuesdays

  • Each week TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.

Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

This week my teaser sentences are from a non-fiction book I'm reading called 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper.

Some things happen to us from which we never recover, and they disrupt the
normalcy of our lives. That's how life is
. ~page 136

Jan 5, 2009

Musing Mondays: Library Books

Today Musing Mondays asks:

Do you have a system for borrowing out books from the library? Do you know what you're going to borrow before you get there? How often do you borrow out books?

Lately, I haven't been borrowing library books like I have in the past, but my system is pretty simple. I typically always know ahead of time what book(s) I'm going to check out. The first thing I do is go to their website to make sure they have the book available. Many times, I have to wait for the book I want to be checked back in. Our local library has a very user-friendly website that allows you to request a book and when it becomes available they send an email and will even hold it up front for you. I really should be utilizing the library more than I am and I plan to do so this year. I've become a bit spoiled and want to own all the books I read, but these days I just can't afford to do that. However, if its an author who I really love, then I will buy the book. Libraries are great for books that I'm not quite sure about or authors that I'm not familiar with. Fortunately, I do have a hefty TBR pile that will keep me busy for awhile, but I think I'll be making trips to the library more frequently this year.

Do you borrow books from your local library?

Jan 4, 2009

The Sunday Salon: 2009's First

Hello and Happy New Year to all! Wow, did the holidays zip by or what??!! It seems they came and went in a flash! I'm anxious to see what this new year is going to bring, on many fronts - personally, professionally with my job and spiritually as I move towards my own baptism and following the path He has for me. I'm sure it will be a very exciting year all the way around.

I'm very excited about my bookish goals for this year as I focus on reading some classic literature while still keeping up with current releases. Speaking of current releases, I just finished a book that will be released in a few weeks. It's called HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET by Jamie Ford, a debut author. I received this book from Library Thing Early Reviewers and read it immediately. It was a great story that I enjoyed very much, however I do not yet have the review to share with you. I promise to have that in the days to come, so please check back for that.

I started a new book yesterday called 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN that was a gift from my aunt. It's Christian Non-fiction written by Don Piper, who gets into an accident and is presumed dead by the emergency workers. This is his story of what happened to him immediately following the accident and his experience in what he considered to be Heaven. I'm only in the third chapter, so I haven't gotten far, but already it is fascinating. If you've read this book, please leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of it. If you've written a review, please leave me a link - I'd love to read it!

I picked up a copy of THE GLASS CASTLE by Jeanette Walls the other day and I'm very excited to read it. I read a great review on Sher's blog last month and I've been looking for a used copy ever since. I was lucky to have found this one at my local used book store. I've actually put myself on a book buying ban until I get some of my TBR pile read, but I just couldn't pass this one up!

OK, so I've made one resolution for 2009, but I don't like to use the term resolution, I prefer to call it a personal goal. :) I'm doing it mainly for myself, but also for my doctor, who I have an appointment with soon. I've been promising him I'm going to exercise more and he's really going to be upset with me if I don't follow through. So, I've been walking for 2 miles every day. Yes, I missed a few days over the new year, but now that things are getting back to normal there will be no more excuses!! My BFF and I go together, which is much nicer than doing it alone. We're working up to the 3 mile mark, which shouldn't be too far off. So that's my one big goal for this year. I simply can't put it off any longer. I have severe hypertension and I need to lose about 20 pounds. So, wish me luck!!

Well, I'm off to get ready for my walk! It's a beautiful, sunny day here in Florida and I want to soak up that sunshine while I can! Later, I'll be reading the blogs to see what's going on with all of you! Enjoy this beautiful day!

Jan 2, 2009

Friday Fill Ins: 2009

Happy New Year Everyone!

1. The world is full of book lovers/bloggers!
2. 'Hey, baby-kitty!' was the last thing I said.
3. I wonder what this new year will bring?
4. There is always a new beginning at the end of all things
5. There's something to be said for going to bed early.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a night out, tomorrow my plans include my daily 2 mile walk and Sunday, I want to read and watch football playoffs!
I hope everyone has wonderful weekend!

Jan 1, 2009

BTT: Reading Resolutions

Happy New Year, everyone!
So … any Reading Resolutions? Say, specific books you plan to read? A plan to read more ____? Anything at all?

Name me at least ONE thing you’re looking forward to reading this year!
My response:
Yes, I do have two reading resolutions for 2009! Hopefully, I'll be better at these resolutions than the normal ones, i.e. exercise more, get organized etc. :)
I started my blog last January, however I didn't start posting regular reviews until later in February, but I still managed to read and review 30 books. (Click here if you'd like to see a list of those books.) My first resolution, or personal challenge, is that I'd like to read 50 books this year. I found myself in a bit of a slump at the end of 2008, so hopefully that won't happen again this year.
More importantly, I will be making an effort to read more classic literature in this new year. The first classic I plan to read is JANE EYRE. I know! Can you believe I haven't ever read that? I've seen the 1996 film version and now I am very much looking forward to the book. From there I'd like to read some Jane Austen. I've never focused on the classics before, other than some high school reading of Sylvia Plath's THE BELL JAR (which I'm sure I didn't appreciate as a teenager), some Steinbeck, and of course, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I'm looking forward to this personal classics challenge. If you'd like to recommend a classic that you think I shouldn't miss, please leave me a comment and tell me about it! Any and all recommendations are appreciated!