Why 100?

Last year I set out to read 100 books, but I ran out of time and only read 75. So this year, I will read one hundred books. And you're my witness :) The only thing stopping me this year is 9 seasons' worth of Seinfeld episodes- wish me luck!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

#5: school days are here again

Teaching Poetry in High School

by Albert Somers

Alright, i hope you are guessing that this is a required reading selection. oh yes. it was my first dry and boring read of the year! hell yeah! ha ha it was okay- i would recommend it to a future english teacher, but that's about it :) but i guess thats why they made me read it.... it definitely gave me a new outlook on why we teach poetry and some new ideas of poems for students beyond the traditional haiku about snow falling... there were some great "guideline" sections and lesson plan ideas, which kind of make me excited. i can't imagine. woot woot for these english teachers in the making. oh man

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

#4: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Hey everybody- I'm BAAAAACCCCKKK! it took me a long (loooonnnngg) time to read this one (minus 3 pages), loaned to me by my dear and lovely (and newly married!) friend, katie. but i made it! finally. Dragonfly in Amber is book 2 of the Outlander series... i think there are five now, possibly six. The first book, Outlander, was an awesome, suspenseful, exciting, sexy, vivid book- truly amazing. the hundreds of pages flew by, but this book dragged a little bit- just a little! i still enjoyed it, and really am looking forward to the next, although it is even longer and i have school reading now-boooo!- so i am going to read a few shorties before i move along to Voyager.
This lovely orange book was good though. jamie, the stunning Highland hottie from the 1700s, and claire, our heroine (not the drug.... jame is the drug ;) the time jumping healer and married and claire is using her knowledge of the ancient (but now present) scotland wars and history stories to preserve her new highland friends. it's truly interesting to see how others live- in other time periods, different places, whatever. i love stepping into other cultures- if only for a minute. i would love to step into current day scottish culture, but into the olden days? so cool. and maybe hear a little gaelic? fair thee well, sassenach!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


well, i'm half-way through my fourth book, which i have yet to reveal to you readers, but it was loaned to me by an amazing friend and it is book two of a series, so its anybodys guess!
it is taking me a little longer t finish it than i had intended, so i thought i would use my leave of absence as an opportunity to plug one of my favorite sites/programs:
its an amazing website-- check it out if you love to read and/or have a stack of books you've already read that are crowding you in. so check it out! http://www.paperbackswap.com/

Friday, January 8, 2010

Book number 3- hell yeah!

The Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsnea
So begins my middle eastern kick.... well actually, this is my second book about that enticing and scary place since school got out. Reading Lolita in Tehran was my 74th book last year, and it became one of my favorites. i'm not sure if everyone would like it like i do, though, as i enjoy it also from the eyes of a literature student.....
let me start out by confessing that i am incredibly naive and ignorant to many matters- other cultures being one of them. the only thing i really knew about the middle east/central asian areas i learned from aladdin so many years ago. as you can imagine, my knowledge set is a little skewed as a result. but this past year i have learned a lot, and i am eager to learn more. several assigned books (A Passage to India, a british classic, and Shabanu, a tale of a young nomad girl in current day Pakistan) taught me a lot. and then there was a handsome saudi who got me a lot more interested in the ways of the arabic people. i know it's a little pathetic to throw yourself on a subject simply because a cute boy is tied to it, but i am one of those girls. if you don't know me already, you will see more proof of this later on, i'm almost positive. i also know a rediculous amount about baseball (thankyou first boyfriend) and i have an encyclopedic ear for rappers' voices and some mildly impressive skills in guitar hero (thank you boyfriend number 2). so now i throw myself into the world of the exotic middle east. arrrraaaaabbbian niiiiigggghttts ha ha ha ha ANYWHO, back to the novel- it wasn't spectacularly exciting or memorable, but i enjoyed it and i learned a lot about saudi culture.
it is truly facsinating to see how these girls behave and are treated. it is everyday for them. of course this was a fairly mild view, and there was nothing to do with violence or even close to view the oppression, but to these girls, it is normal. i cannot imagine. they live completely under the rule of the Qu'ran- the Islamic religion is literally their set of laws. those aren't suggestions to live a moral life, they are rules punishable by ????? i don't even want to think about the punishment. they yearn for each other through the phone. what must we american girls (or westernized girls in general) look like to them? heathens? whores? or the luckiest girls on earth? here we are, with our little "sleepovers" but even sleeping in the same room with a man must look like a horrible (or truly delectable) sin to them- much less sleeping all up on them, in underwear???? it kind of makes you wonder what the hell we ought to think of ourselves? maybe we should step back, especially as christian girls and think that maybe we should be a little more prudent. but why? shouldn't we abuse our priviliges as much as we can? i don't know, these thoughts kind of scare me. what if i body-swapped with a saudi girl? what would our lives be like in these alter bodies? i guess that is just something to think about next time i go 'hang out' with a guy, right? and reading The Girls of Riyadh did teach me a few things about their culture and lives, so here they are, on a less serious note:
Things I learned from reading The Girls of Riyadh:

1. Riyadh is a city in Saudi Arabia
2. An Abayah is the name for what the rest of us call those robe thingys (for women)
3. the traditional outfit for a man (white robe, red/white head covering) is composed of a thobe, a shimagh (my favorite, because it is fun to pronounce- the head covering) and eqal is the dark ropey part that keeps the shimagh in place
4. men often "number" girls in hangout places like the mall or streets- they give them flowers with their phone numbers wrapped around the stem
5. for many, the phone is the only way to get to know someone of the opposite sex that is unrelated
6. the month after Ramadan is the most popular time for weddings

so there's some fun facts for you. now read from right to left and say "happy times!" altogether now:

الاوقات السعيدة

Great success! signing off, me, as borat! VERY NICE!
yes, i realize that was a very inappropriate way to end a discussion about saudi arabian culture, especially since i am lumping borat, a kazakstani, in with it, but i love borat so much, and this will probably not be the last time you see him.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

#2: a so-so christmas present

well, well. i guess it serves me right for digging into my mom's christmas presents before she got a chance to read them.
Who Moved My Blackberry? by Lucy Kellaway
What promised to be a delightful mix of Bridget Jones' Diary and The Office was most definitely not. while i don't always enjoy British humor, i do understand most of it, but i didn't understand this. maybe that is because it wasn't funny (to me). people cheating on their wives and backstabbing and being uber-self centered just aren't my thing. but my cousin apparently enjoyed it because he gifted it to my mom for christmas. luckily for her, i previewed. because no one gave me books for christmas! can you believe that? combined my parents amassed 12 books over the holiday season, but moi? nothing. so i resort to pilfering their gifts for a day or two and look what happens. it is books like these that make me fear for whatever relationship i may have in the future- how am i to know whether or not my husband will end up like such a twit as this martin lukes character who makes everybody wait on him hand and food and then blames it on others when he is caught red-handed. i truly hated this character throughout the entire novel, which was unfortunate because it was told from his blackberry out-box. very unfortunate indeed.

Monday, January 4, 2010


wow! my first book of the whole year! i can't believe christmas break is going by so fast- with so little time to read! soooo.... -drumroll please-

Ten Days in the Hills, by Jane Smiley

it was really quite an interesting book. i will admit right off the bat that i do judge books by their covers, and that is why i picked this one up at the library. i have enjoyed on of jane smiley's other books, and so i thought i'd give this one a go. the cover is sensual and the "Rated R for Ravishing....not approved for children" on the back did not lead to disappointment. oh how i love a great, steamy novel! the thing that was so great about the sex in this book was that it wasn't trying to be sexy. in romance novels there is this typical dialogue and key phrases that all of the harlequin authors use (no diss on those authors, though- in fact, my life goal is to someday become one). but in smiley's book, it was so unexpected and vivid, but she kept mixing in everyday discussions. the scenes that stick out try so hard to not be sexy that they are so SO sexy and erotic. amazing! i can understand why smiley won a pulitzer, although i have yet to read the award-winning novel, a thousand acres. it is, however, in my stack of books that i have lined up so far for this coming year.
besides the stunningly sexy parts of the book (which there were quite a few!), Ten Days in the Hills offered a slightly biased albeit valid position on the Iraq war. this was written in a a time period of ten days at the very beginning of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a little while after 9/11. its crazy to think that 9/11 is part of our history and a topic of discussion for people to write books around and such, since it seems like it happened only a year or so ago. i still remember where i was during the moment of silence. something about the emotion of all these other people made me cry, even though i wasn't directly affected by the attacks. my civics teacher went a little crazy that day, but for the first time of the semester, he didn't say something about our "apathetic youth," so that says something, right? anyway, these characters in Ten Days in the Hills have a running dialogue dispersed through all of their observations and sexual occurrences about their feelings on terrorists and war and our government, etc. etc. that got to be a little bit much for me, but it was cool to see into another person's thought processes over these sorts of subjects.