Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays - 11/29/11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
 

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teasers:


"As i look back, the road to where I am today has been a series of happy accidents I was either smart or stupid enough to take advantage of. I thought I had to have a plan, a strategy.  Turns out I just had to be ready and willing to take chances, look at what's right in front of me, and put my heart into everything I do."


Happy Accidents (Jane Lynch), pg. 1

I Am The Cheese - Robert Cormier

Robert Cormier's I Am The Cheese is the story of Adam Farmer, a boy who travels by bicycle from his home in Monument, Mass. towards a Vermont hospital to visit his father.

The story of Adam's journey is interspersed with snippets of conversation between Adam and a man named Brint (doctor...interrogator?), who is guiding Adam towards remembering memories that he hopes are locked deep in Adam's head.  Adam is not sure but he doesn't know who to trust, or mistrust, but feels Brint is the only one helping him and therefore opens up. 

Born Paul Delmonte, Adam has lived a happy childhood until his father, a newspaper reporter, finds himself holding extremely volatile information about national and local political illegalities.  His father testifies in court and the family is put into the witness protection program, given new names, and moved to a hopefully safe location.

As Adam ages, he begins to find clues that things are not as they seem and begins to question his past. Eventually, he confronts his father who tells him what has occurred and shares, supposedly, just enough information to explain the situation but avoids putting Adam in danger. Then the family's supposed WPP connection tells them that they are in danger and must travel briefly for their own safety. They run, but are followed and are eventually caught.  Adam's parents are killed.

As Adam recalls these events, he realizes that these horrors are only the tip of the iceberg... I won't tell you any more so I don't spoil the story!

This book may sound a bit confusing, but it doesn't read that way. Being a young adult novel its pretty clear and fairly short.  Its a really great story and the ending is very exciting.

I have read varying interpretations of the book...that Adam/Paul is not who he thinks he is, that the occurrences with his family and his life in Monument never occurred, that the occurrences did occur and he is being held by enemies. Whichever way you look at the book, the story is quite interesting and definitely worth the read.  

This book was written in the 1970's and definitely fits in with the list of books that I should have read as a kid, but for some reason missed. I would have probably really enjoyed this. But, even for adults, this one holds up.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

More opinions at:
Tahleen's Mixed-Up Files
Tia's Book Musings


Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday - 11/28/11

Sheila at Book Journey hosts this weekly event where we celebrate what we are reading for the week, as well as books completed the previous week.




 





Currently Reading:
Happy Accidents (Jane Lynch)
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
Math for Grownups (Laura Laing)

Just Finished:
Damaged (Cathy Glass)
The Girl's Guide to Homelessness (Brianna Karp)
On Deck:
Give a Boy a Gun (Todd Strasser)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Salon - 11/27/11

11/27/11
Start with a full week (and two weekends) of vacation time. Add a cup of yummy turkey, half a cup of cranberry sauce (my fave), and a liberal dousing of stuffing. Mix in a big ole helping of time spent with my kitty (and the fiance too, of course). Add don't forget a pinch of family and friends... And you have a the recipe for a perfect Thanksgiving week!


After a very exhausting couple of weeks at work, preparing for my three days off, I was thrilled to "vacate" and stop thinking about work issues for a while. We spent the week working on the house, which now has a welcoming and book-full living room, and resting.
I read a handful of books.

I ate...and then ate some more.

And now, I'm ready to do it all over again come Christmas!

The Girl's Guide to Homelessness - Karp

Homelessness can happen to anyone, at any time.  If the tides were to turn at just the wrong moment and things occurred in the right "wrong" way...we could all find ourselves without the blessings we currently have.

Despite entering the job market as a young teen, assisted by a cheating, abusive mother who arranged for her to work illegally, and working continuously at multiple jobs until she left home (much of the payroll which went to her mother), Brianna Karp found herself laid off in 2008 when the recession hit. Unlivable and unreliable unemployment payments left her having to give up her apartment and move home to live with her parents.

Unfortunately her, likely bipolar, mother had not changed.  After doing her best to survive the situation, Karp's mother went seemingly over the edge and kicked her out of the house knowing full well she had no where to turn. In a warped set of circumstances, her birth father had recently committed suicide, leaving Karp with a trailer home. With no where to park it and no funds to pay rent, Karp parked the trailer in a Walmart parking lot and set about trying to reclaim her life. 

The Girl's Guide to Homelessness by Brianna Karp tells us about her life during these turbulent years. She writes about becoming a blogger, with little action on the job front (everyone was out of work, especially in California)The blog enabled Karp to meet others, some homeless like herself and others just supporters. The blog enabled her to share her experiences, battle stereotypes about homeless persons, and ultimately find a man with whom she thinks she will spend her life  (my biggest complaint about the book is that about halfway through the book, she veers from her homeless memoir and focuses entirely on this relationship, a real disappointment!).

Otherwise, this book was a good read, but boy you've got to be prepared! Karp holds no bars...she tells you just about everything, in detail, including a blow-by-blow of the day she finds herself visiting her birth father's home where he has committed suicide (no one has cleaned up yet) and the day she miscarries her first child.  These moments are rare in the book, but difficult to read.  The rest of the time, the book is a very interesting look at homelessness and how one girl not only survives, but manages to find her way.
But clearly, this book is not for everyone...

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

More opinions at:
Book Lust 

Charlotte's Web - White

As noted in previous postings, despite being an avid child reader, I somehow managed to miss reading many really well known and loved children's books.  I don't know how, or why, I never read these books but many are now classics.  I've been wondering lately if I missed out on something good, so I'm making a effort to go back and read what I missed....

Charlotte's Web by E. B. White was one of those books.

Of course, reading these books as an adult is a whole different experience.


The story of Wilbur, a pig, who is headed for the breakfast plate if his friends do not help him and Charlotte, a spider, who uses her web building skills to convince his owner and the townsfolk of what an exceptional pig Wilbur is, is cute. As a child I would have liked it, though I seriously doubt it would have changed my outlook on spiders...ick!

As an adult, it was all a bit too...obvious.  The author uses dialog to introduce and explain vocabulary to the readers, which seemed a bit lazy to me. There are so many ways to introduce vocabulary to readers. I have to remember he was catering to children, but I was a smart kid.  I can't help but think I would have felt condescended too.  But, alright, I'll give him a pass on this one.

However, I really disliked how everyone seemed just so stupid!  Of course, maybe the author was pointing out just that, the stupidity of some people and the silliness that some folks focus on (if I were a farmer I might be insulted).  

The only one with any intelligence seems to be the farmer's wife, who points out that it is not perhaps Wilbur who is the exceptional one, but Charlotte - a spider, who can understand and write English - but no one pays attention to her!  Also, the little girl who originally loves Wilbur more than anything and raises him, apparently becomes an airheaded teenager interested only in boys.  I mean, seriously? Ok, he's a pig and all...but pigs are cute and its just not likely.

I mean, can anyone say:  Misogyny?!

The saving grace of this books seems to be Charlotte's death (not because I hate spiders) because this book seems to lend itself to helping children understand the passing of time and how death must eventually come. For that reason alone, I can see why this book might have been a hit, in the 1950's. And can almost understand why its continued to be a classic for many years since. But just "almost"...

2/5- Just okay.  Choose with extreme prejudice.

More opinions at:
Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site




Damaged - Glass

For many years I have been a fan of Torey Hayden. Hayden is a teacher who has, over the years, worked with many special needs children. Her books tell of these experiences and how she was able, or not, to reach forgotten and unloved children.  But, I do think I've now read all of her non-fiction.

I was thrilled then to find Cathy Glass, who is a similar writer. Glass is a mother of two who has, since her divorce, become a "foster carer",  as the British say, taking on children who are removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect and give them the hope, love and chance at a future that they need.

In Damaged, Cathy Glass tells the story of Jodie, a child of eight years. Having been on the 'to be watched' list for years, Jodie is finally taken from her parents. But Jodie is so damaged that no one seems to be able to figure out why, not the social workers or the five foster carer families she has cycled through.  What has happened to this little girl?

Glass is finally able to reach within Jodie and get snippets of her story, which includes sexual and physical abuse by her parents and "aunts and uncles" that was horrifically photographed and videotaped for child porn purposes.  Since Jodie was a very young child, one or two years, she has been used and beaten to serve her parents purposes, all while caring for a younger sister and brother.   The constant horror and abuse has left Jodie not only developmentally delayed, but also emotionally damaged. 

Glass does her best to help Jodie overcome her difficulties, but she learns sometimes you just can't fix everything. But sometimes hope is more valuable.

Glass is a good writer who not only tells, but shows how much she cares for these children she takes in and makes the reader truly care about the children's healing.  I was very excited to learn that this book was just one in many that Glass has written and I look forward to reading more.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

More opinions at: 

Life Is Not A Stage - Henderson

Like millions of others, I was a huge fan of The Brady Bunch growing up.  I mean HUGE FAN...I even own all the shows on DVD!  

Over the years, I have really enjoyed reading the various autobiographies that have come out of the show (Barry Williams' Growing Up Brady, Maureen McCormick's Here's The Story).  I am, of course, also a fan of great theater. So I was really excited to see Florence Henderson's book finally come to fruition. Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond by Florence Henderson which looks back on the life of Florence Henderson, Mrs. Carol Brady and theater extraordinaire.

Seen world wide as the quintessential example of motherhood, Henderson lived a childhood far from the Brady experience. Her mother was cold and stand-offish, leaving her siblings and alcoholic father when Henderson was just a teen. Though her father was not a physically abusive drunk, he was apt to overstepping bounds of propriety...ie he'd give Florence and her sister a quick feel every once in a while.


After escaping her childhood home, Florence headed straight for New York where fortune quickly found her. She had a meteoric rise to fame, nearly impossible in today's climate, and was quickly working with the best.  Only after years of success and an extensive repetoire did she decide to give television a shot.  She was a relative success.

Then, she was offered a small part, which she wasn't really that interested in, and figured what the heck.  She suddenly found herself America's favorite mom and that notoriety has only grown in the decades since the show ended!


I really enjoyed reading about Henderson's life and experiences. It was especially interesting to hear about all the New York/Hollywood celebrities she worked with over the years.  Most interesting though was learning about her person life, her marriage that left her unfulfilled for many years until she found the courage to finally end it, amicably, and ultimately find the true love of her life.


What a wonderful read!  For various reasons, this book will appeal to just about everyone.  Spread it around!

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

More opinions at: 

The Secret Life of Bees - Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd is the story of a young teenage girl, Lily Owens, who's life has been shaped by the loss of her mother, presumably at her own hands. After just over a decade of being abused and ignored by her "father," T-Roy, Lily finds herself forced with believing T-Roy vicious lies or running away. 

After her pseudo-mother, her African American maid Rosaleen, insults some local racists while headed to register to vote, Lily decides they must run. They head to the town of Tiburon, South Carolina for no more reason than that Lily's mother appears to once have visited the town.  They find a family and the truth about Lily's past.

I adored this book!  I realize this book has been out for a while and I have to be one of the last few to have read it...but it was well worth the wait!

I had seen snippets of the movie, though I attempted to avoid it as I really wanted to read the book first.  I'm glad I did. This story was touching and thought provoking all at once.

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

More opinions at:
Becky's Barmy Book Blog

Fridays Fave Five - 11/25/11

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five. It's Friday so that makes it time to look back over our week and look for those things we are grateful for. It may be big or it may be small and you have to dig for it, but there are always things we can be thankful for. Please join us as we share our favorite five. If you need the guidelines they are here


1. Jazz! Last Friday night's outing to see Spyro Gyra was totally intended to make Dave happy.  But wow!  I had the best time. Of course, the company was great (Dave and a couple of friends), but the music was really fabulous.  Being a singer, I tend towards vocal music not instrumental, but this group is just truly amazing (and the drummer is hilariously funny).

2.Thanksgiving. Always wonderful, especially great to get to love on my family a bit.  Can't wait for Christmas celebrations!


3. Fixing up the house. Our vacation days have, mostly, been used wisely. We were finally able to complete some major efforts, like: unpacking ten boxes of books and videos/DVDs (making the house look lived in), clearing out the boxes (after 8 months) from the living room and setting it up like a real living space, and moving the desk around to make it useable...among others.  Its finally nice to come home.


4. Closing out my Citizen's Bank accounts.  Long story short, they have been well less than customer supportive and after months of holding on I finally called it done and moved all my accounts to another bank. They are smaller, more personal. Hopefully they will be around for many wonderful years. 


5. Brainlessness...or lack of work-focus. It has been wonderful to just forget the non-ending list of duties and worries and problems to be remembered and fixed....and just "vacate".  I am planning an extended rest between X-Mas and New Years. I'm already looking forward to it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday - 11/21/11

Sheila at Book Journey hosts this weekly event where we celebrate what we are reading for the week, as well as books completed the previous week.



Currently Reading:
Damaged (Cathy Glass)
The Girl's Guide to Homelessness (Brianna Karp)
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
Math for Grownups (Laura Laing)




Just Finished:
The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
Charlotte's Web (E. B. White

On Deck:
After (Amy Efaw)
  

Sunday Salon - 11/20/11




11/20/11
Goodness, what a couple of weeks!

Work was outrageously crazy busy (I've sent more grants this month along than I have the whole 2 years I've been there!). And, knowing I would be on vacation this week, I was trying to get everyone caught up and prepared.


Ever notice you have to work time and a half the week before you go on vacation to prepare and then time and a half the week you are back to catch up from your vacation?! What, exactly, is the point of going...it adds to your work time!!!

Course, now that I am on vacation its wonderful! :)   


No plans to go anywhere, just resting and catching up on all of the unpacking I never got to do because of my broken foot. This weekend I actually moved a bunch of boxes that were still sitting in my living room (after 8 months) down to the basement and then unpacked about 10 boxes of books. Its finally beginning to resemble a home and not a storage unit!


Then, my computer died. It seemed to be working, but the monitor kept saying "no signal". First we thought it was a virus, but Norton said no.  Then, we thought it might be the monitor, but its pretty new and rarely used.  Then we decided it was the computer itself. , Thank God for fiance who knows what he's doing, he replaced the motherboard and...voila, I'm back online and can finally balance my checkbook. Yippee!



I've been reading in the few evening hours after I got home from work (you know, before I passed out from exhaustion) and have a few reviews to catch up on. But it may take me a little while, with the holiday taking up a chunk of this week.


I will be spending Thanksgiving with my family, which is a nice change from the past few years when I've spent them with the fiance's family with run-in-run-out hellos to my family. I'm really excited to see them, to sit and enjoy our time together and to share turkey and other goodies with them.

I love Thanksgiving! How about you?

Friday's Fave Five - 11/18/11



Welcome to Friday's Fave Five. It's Friday so that makes it time to look back over our week and look for those things we are grateful for. It may be big or it may be small and you have to dig for it, but there are always things we can be thankful for. Please join us as we share our favorite five. If you need the guidelines they are here


Goodness, between the Veteran's Day holiday, my computer dying and a crazy busy week last week preparing to go on vacation this week...I just never got around to blogging! So, I've got Fave Fives to catch up on!


1. Seussical!  My theater's production of Seussical opened this month. I didn't take part in this production, so I got a chance to watch it when I was there covering my Membership sales table...and it was great! What a fabulous show, great casting and lots of fun. I am so proud of everyone and the hard work they put in. It really shows!

2. Membership Sales.  I was able to add a few membership sales to my theater's 2011-2012 numbers. I am very proud of what I've accomplished this year, having gone well above last year's numbers!  I am already looking forward to next year's drive beginning in February.


3. "Your Submission Has Been Sent". These are the cherished words I get to see when a grant is finally done and sent at Tufts University.  I have put out 5 of them this month, but still have about 5 more to go...  That's more than I did last year in total!


4. Singing with my gals. After a few weeks rest, we started up rehearsals again for my a cappella group. I often whine about having to leave the comfort of my house on Sunday evening, but once I'm there I have a great time and just love, Love, LOVE singing with these women!  


5. Good X-Rays. Had my final doctor appointment in regard to my broken foot Monday and got the "all clear" from the doctor.  I have just one final PT appointment left and then I am 'home program'...ie on my own.  I still have a lot of muscle rebuilding to do, but I have gotten SO much better these past months. I am thrilled!


6. Dinner & a show with friends.  The fiance and I are headed to dinner and a performance by Spyro Gyro this weekend. Very exciting as we rarely go out like this. The music is more for him than me, but it makes him happy so it's worth it.

7. Bagging up the leaves.  Ok, maybe not so much the process of bagging the leaves, but having the leaves bagged...and one more winter-prep item off our list.

8.  VACATION!  When I leave work today, I am on vacation until after the holiday weekend. I am so excited, and ready, for some time off I can't tell you! Having been out of work for weeks after breaking my foot, I felt bad requesting time off to rest (I worked from home the whole time). So, I've had no vacation time this year at all!  I AM READY!!!

9. My daddy.  Nothing specific occurred this week around him, but a friend's father recently died and I am once again reminded how very, very lucky I am! My father is most definitely the funniest, most awesome Dad on the earth.  More than once I came home from work or school to find a friend hanging out with my Dad having a grand old time and gotten the "Oh, your here...(insert the slightly noticeable sound of disappointment in the voice)."  As our parents get older, I am thankful every day that my parents were *horny teenagers* and had me young!

10. Holidays.  I am so excited for the holidays. I love Thanksgiving!  This year we are headed to my family's celebration, rather than the fiance's... And though I will truly miss hanging out with his family, who are super nice, I'm really excited about having a day with my parents and brother and extended family. It will be a nice change from the hurried run-in-run-out holidays we have had the past few years.


Needless to say, I have a lot to be thankful for this year! What about you?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - 11/15/11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
 

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teasers:


"'Make sure the audience can understand you. If they can not hear you and don't understand what you're saying, they immediately dislike you.' That's true in life as well."



Life Is Not A Stage: From Broadway Baby to Lovely Lady and Beyond (Florence Henderson), pg. 57


Monday - 11/14/11

Sheila at Book Journey hosts this weekly event where we celebrate what we are reading for the week, as well as books completed the previous week.

Currently Reading: 
Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and 
                                             Beyond (Florence Henderson)
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
Charlotte's Web (E. B. White)
Math for Grownups (Laura Laing)

Just Finished:
The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd) 


On Deck:
Damaged (Cathy Glass)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Library Loot - 11/9/11

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.   

Currently, I have the following library loot on hand:


New Loot:
In the Woods / Tana French
Finding Jack / Gareth Crocker
The Secret Life of Bees / Monk
A Decade of Hope / Dennis Smith
Peter Pan / Barrie
The Tale of Desperaux
Diary of a Wimpy Kid / Kinney
I Am The Cheese / Cormier
Take Me Home / John Denver
Scattershot / Lovelace
Losing My Faculties / Brendan Halpin
The Great Typo Hunt / Deck and Benja
Damaged / Cathy Gladd
A Thousand Sisters / Lisa Shannon
Miss American Pie / Sartor
Shattered Innocence / Robert Scott
Up in the Air / Walter Kirn
Give a Boy a Gun / Strasser
Stuart Little / EB White
Queen of the Oddballs / Carlip
Girl in Need of a Tourniquet / Johnson
The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance / Baker

Leftover Loot:
Charlotte's Web / EB White
After / Amy Efaw
Little House in the Big Woods / Laura Ingalls Wilder
Life Is Not A Stage / Henderson
Little Women / Alcott
Don't kill the birthday girl : tales from an allergic life / Sandra Beasley.

Not without my sister / Celeste Jones, Kristina Jones and Juliana Buhring.
The Road, Cormac McCarthy.
My stolen son : the Nick Markowitz story / Susan Markowitz with Jenna Glatzer.
Rush Home Road : a novel / Lori Lansens.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays - 11/8/11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
 

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teasers:


"I dropped a dime into the slot and took one of the papers, wondering if the story was inside somewhere.  Rosaleen and I squatted on the ground in an alley and spread out the paper, opening every page. It was full of Malcolm X, Saigon, the Beatles, tennis at Wimbledon, and a motel in Jackson, Mississippi, that closed down rather than accept Negro guests, but nothing about me and Rosaleen.


Sometimes you want to fall on your knees and thank God in heaven for all the poor news reporting that goes on in the world."

The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd), pg. 65-66


Monday, November 07, 2011

Monday - 11/7/11

Sheila at Book Journey hosts this weekly event where we celebrate what we are reading for the week, as well as books completed the previous week.









Currently Reading:
The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
Charlotte's Web (E. B. White)
Math for Grownups (Laura Laing)







Just Finished:
The Central Park Five (Sarah Burns)


On Deck:
Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond (Florence Henderson)

  

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Salon Sunday - 11/6/11





11/6/11

It was pretty good week here.

Seussical opened at the Footlight Club this weekend and it was FABULOUS! I really enjoyed seeing the show and think the audiences agreed whole-heartedly!



Halloween was pretty calm, as noted we are new to the area so we didn't get any trick-or-treaters, but maybe next year.


Work has been typically busy, but not as chaotic lately. I can handle busy...chaos kills though.


Looking forward to the Veteran's Day long weekend (short week this week) and REALLY looking forward to the end of the following week as I will be on vacation during Thanksgiving week. Not going anywhere, but just being able to relax and be lazy will be nice. And maybe Dave and I will actually tackle some of the unpacking and house-setting-up we've been putting off for months.

Have a great week everyone!




The Central Park Five - Burns

The Central Park Five, A Chronicle of A City Wilding by Sarah Burns is an interesting look into the situation in New York City during the late 1980's and early 1990's in regard to crime, racial tensions and politics.

I actually knew more about this story going into this book than I realized, having read the book I Am the Central Park Jogger by Trisha Meili. The story which chronicles her horrific rape and beating while jogging through Central Park in 1989.

The Central Park Five looks at the story from a different point of view. Burns discusses the events of that night and the subsequent legal battles which resulted in the imprisonment of five Harlem teens, who were African-American and/or Latino, for the rape and beating.  

Burns looks at the tough financial state of New York City leading up to this night and the crime wave it was experiencing.  She clarifies how desperately the police and DA's office needed to find and convict the guilty party and talks blatantly about the racial situation in the city at the time and how that affected the case, despite there being no evidence to tie the boys to the crime (no blood/mud match, no DNA match of hair or semen, and a timeline that just didn't fit), except clearly coerced and forced "admissions".

Each boy was sentenced and served five plus years, once serving thirteen years, despite their 14-16 age frame.

The book then addresses the prison admission years later of a rapist nicknamed the "East Side Slasher" of responsibility for the event and the process the District Attorney's office goes through to review the case, ultimately coming to the conclusion that the evidence fully supports his story and the likelihood that the convicted boys were not involved at all.

The boys eventually have the crimes removed from their records.  But given the years of very public court cases, and the fact that each of the boys has already served their sentences in full, this is of little consolation.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Though it was non-fiction, much of the book read like fiction and therefore the story was never boring. I was not surprised by the injustices that were described in the book, but was floored that so many were perpetrated by the police department and lawyers who were there to serve the city and its inhabitants. I would recommend this read to anyone who has an interest in crime stories, racial/political stories or memoirs...as this really does serve as a bit of a memoir for the convicted boys.

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

Pictures of Hollis Woods - Giff

Hollis Woods is a talented artist, but she is also trouble. Time and again she has been told so by her foster families.  And when trouble starts brewing, Hollis runs. Even when she is sent to a house that might actually offer a home and family.  


She eventually finds herself sent to live with Josie, a retired art teacher who makes her feel comfortable. But something is not right with Josie, she keeps forgetting things more and more often. So Hollis does what she knows, she takes Josie and runs.


But as families tend to do, someone is looking out for her. And, when Hollis accepts that Josie is truly better off at her home with her family, Hollis' discovers she is not alone.  


Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff is just the kind of book I'd have wanted to read when I was younger. It was a sweet look into the life of a little girl wanting, needing to feel wanted and needed.  And when Hollis finally reaches out to someone, I actually teared up.  A great read, for children and adults alike.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.



Friday, November 04, 2011

Friday's Fave Five - 11/4/11



Welcome to Friday's Fave Five. It's Friday so that makes it time to look back over our week and look for those things we are grateful for. It may be big or it may be small and you have to dig for it, but there are always things we can be thankful for. Please join us as we share our favorite five. If you need the guidelines they are here.


1. Lighting the fireplace for the first time. I love sitting by a roaring fire with a book and a cup of something! It was nice to enjoy our fireplace for the first time this weekend...and the smell of smoke is finally dissipating. 


2. A new roof. Despite the cost, it was well worth it to know the house is truly ready for the winter. Well almost, attic insulation this weekend. Then we are truly ready. Well almost, some spot painting to finish up. But then we are truly...oh, who am I kidding? I'm a home owner! There's always something else, and isn't it great?! 


3. Halloween. We didn't get any "trick or treaters" this year, we are likely too new to the neighborhood and parents don't know us. But I enjoyed watching the little ones roam the streets looking for candy. A party was not in the cards for us this year (it was just too much with the move and my being off my feet for months due to my broken foot), but we hope to try again next year. 


4. Beating a cold. I hate to tempt fate, but it looks like I side stepped a "doozy".


5. Looking forward. Its only the 4th, but I know that I have a long weekend next week and then when I leave work on the 18th I am on vacation until after the holiday! I didn't take a vacation this summer, due to being out for my foot during which I worked from home. So, I am admittedly burnt out. Resting, relaxing and reading are not far off!

October 2011 ReCap...

Source - Microsoft Clip Art

October was a pretty good month for me...  As I've mentioned, I am a slow reader. I have way to many hobbies and reading often gets put aside. But with this month's effort to include some YA/children's books in my reading, my numbers have actually become respectable.

This month, I read a total of 10 books!

Memoirs - 5
YA - 4
Childrens - 0
Other - 1


Yeah me!!


Looking forward to a busy reading November. Hopefully with the holiday (and a vacation) I will get lots done.

What are you reading this November?!
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Follow My Book Blog Friday - 11/4/11

RULES - To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
 
1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
7. If you’re new to the Follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!



Welcome to Follow Friday! Thanks for checking out my blog!
Leave me a comment and I'll come visit you too!

Q:  Today's Question is something new, an activity. We want to see what you look like! Take a pic with you and your current read! Too shy? Boo! Just post a fun pic you want to share.

Sorry, I don't have a pic of me and my current read... But that is me and Shirley Temple. Can you tell the difference? :)

2012 E-Book Reading Challenge

Here are the rules:
1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. Create a post about the challenge and link your challenge post up in the linky below.

--Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post.

2. There are four levels:

--The Mini E-Book Challenge – Read 5 E-Books.

--The "Fun Size" E-Book Challenge – Read 10 E-Books.

--The Jumbo Size E-Book Challenge – Read 20 E-Books.

--The Mega Size E-Book Reading Challenge - Read 25+ E-Books.

3. No Audio or Print books.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. The Challenge starts on January 1, 2012 and goes until December 31, 2012.


Ok, I'm going to do it... I'm going to jump on another Challenge. I own a fabulous, amazing and wonderful Nook Color that has been used exactly...uh...zero times...in the past eight months.

I hate to admit that! I was so excited to get it and am still psyched...but a few short months after I got it for Christmas 2010, I moved.  I was finishing up paper books from my old library.  Then it got packed and by the time I found it I had already hooked up with the new town's library. So, I just haven't tried using it again (I am still kind of stuck on having a hard, page-turning copy in my hand).  But, ITS TIME!  

So, I'm jumping on the wagon for the "The Mini E-Book Challenge – Read 5 E-Books"  I know, I know, that's kind of wimpy but I'm hoping I can beat my own *modest* goals! And hoping that I get so hooked that it becomes natural to read that way.

Here we go... 

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Booking Through Thursday - 11/3/11

Booking Through Thursday - A weekly meme about (mostly) books and reading.   
 

All other things being equal, would you rather read a book that’s hard/challenging/rewarding or light/enjoyable/easy?

As others have noted, it really depends on my mood which is why my TBR list is so large and so varied.  

But...the question does state: "All other things being equal..." 

So, I will say that I would rather read something "light/enjoyable/easy".  Not meant to be an indication of my intellectual pursuits, this is only because reading generally gives me relief from the stresses and craziness of the day. Something light is almost always good to enjoy, whereas something hard or challenging is sometimes too much.  Also, something light and easy enables me to read more books...which, given my TBR List is a good thing!



Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - 11/1/11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
 

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teasers:


"On December 19, 2002, Justice Charles J. Tejada of the Supreme Court of the State of New York granted a motion to vacate the thirteen-year-old convictions in the infamous Central Park Jogger case. He did so based on new evidence: a shocking confession from a serial rapist and a positive DNA match to back it up... The young men had already completed their sentences, having served between almost seven and thirteen years..."


The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding (Sarah Burns), pg. 1


Not Afraid of Life - Palin

Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far, by Bristol Palin, is an invitation to sit down with Bristol, have a cup of coffee and a chat. She presents herself in such a relaxed manner, you can't help but see that she is just the girl next door...who's mom just happened to end up the Republican candidate for Vice President!  Eh, things happen, right?


Growing up in Alaska the second child of five of Sarah and Todd Palin, Bristol had a pretty good life. She was popular, pretty, athletic and financially comfortable.  Life was pretty good. 

But "Bristol the Pistol" gets her chutzpah from her mother.  And like her or not, Sarah Palin is a fire cracker! And, Bristol learned well.

Bristol it turns out, likes bad boys.  And despite her family's religious beliefs, she allows that to get her into bad situations. Ultimately, she finds herself a pregnant teen, with an unreliable and untrustworthy boyfriend. Then, John McCain comes knocking and suddenly Bristol can no longer hide out in good 'ole Alaska. She is forced to face her mistakes, along with and at the hands of the rest of the country.


Ultimately, I liked Bristol Palin. Yeh, she's a bit too anti- ex-boyfriend, but she does appear to be justified and she really is just a kid who's been hurt and is dealing with that.  She is also way to "rah, rah mommy" for my taste, but who doesn't love their mother that much?  Ultimately, Palin's memoir is honest and inviting.


I would recommend it to anyone who has any interest in memoirs or politics.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.