October Reads 2014

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I read 12 books in the month of October, which is pretty good…EXCEPT that a few of them were kids books. I thought it might be nice to record some of those here for looking back on and reflecting. Sooooooo, here we go!! I chose five books to discuss here.

1.  Landline by Rainbow Rowell  (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18081809-landline)

This book, in my opinion, is romance… with a little twist of the paranormal. Georgie loves her job, so much so that her husband Neal has seemed a bit left out in her life. She loves her husband, and their children, but work is just too important to ever sacrifice! Christmas rolls around and the family is to visit Neal’s parents, but a big break comes up for Georgie at work. She says she just can’t go.. So, Neal takes the children and goes without her.. She did not expect this! He won’t answer or return her calls. She is afraid that she has lost her family this time. While visiting her own mother, she tries to call Neal on the old landline phone. What she gets is the Neal from her life BEFORE they were married! In this twist, Georgie must try to decide what to do to get her life back.

I liked this book, but didn’t LOVE it. However, I would most definitely read more by this author. I am just not a romance reader, but this was a very reflective book about how our decisions continue to impact our lives, long after they have been made! I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

2.  Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan  (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16141924-dad-is-fat)

Jim Gaffigan is best known to most people, not as an author, but as a comedian. Specifically, I know him as the “Hot Pockets” guy or the “bacon” guy. He does stand-up, and I think he is quite funny. This book takes that same type of humor and applies it to the raising of his children….all 5 of them! Yes, he has 5 children and, along with his wife, raises these 5 children in a 2 bedroom apartment in New York! This makes for some interesting stories. It is basically about the joys and difficulties of raising these children… along with a bit of sarcasm and snark! He discusses taking them to restaurants, stores, and the park. He talks about getting them all to sleep at night and where to put them!

I viewed this book as a fellow parent on this road of life. From that view, it was very funny! Some things that happen when you have small children must be laughed at to keep from crying. I am not sure that people who are not parents would find this as funny. In addition to this, some of it was a recreation of things from his stand-up. It was a quick read and I think parents, particularly those with small children, would enjoy it. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.

3.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald  (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4671.The_Great_Gatsby)

Jay Gatsby was hard for people to get a handle on. Some thought he was a bootlegger. Some said he had killed a man. They knew he was rich. Gatsby lived next door to our narrator, Nick, and shows the larger than life character that represented the 1920’s. He was about excess in money, possessions, alcohol, food, and friends. However, Nick realizes that most people do not really know anything about Gatsby. We learn that Gatsby is not what he appears to be. He is actually on a mission to recapture his past, and WITHOUT regard for the future. He loves the beautiful Daisy, who is married to someone else. Gatsby thinks that all of life is about getting Daisy back. The lengths to which he will go to recapture his past is without limits.

I found this to be one of the most beautiful books I have ever read! It was terribly sad in many ways. Gatsby has the ability to make so much of life, but lives in the past. It causes one to reflect on how we, as humans, have a hard time letting go. In  addition, I think it makes us question just what we would do to stay in our glory days.. Gatsby was determined! I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads!

4. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16176440-we-are-all-completely-beside-ourselves)

Rosemary Cooke comes from a family with a tragedy in their past. This tragedy has caused issues for all of them.. herself, her brother, her sister, and both of her parents. The parents keep moving in an attempt to be settled and content somewhere. Her brother is involved in a life of crime. Rosemary chooses to become almost entirely silent as she gets older.  However, her sister has suffered tremendously from this tragedy. This book is about how these characters deal with the tragedy, and what it does to the family. It helps one see that things are not always as we remember them in our own perspective.

Here is a book that I absolutely LOVED! The family is so dysfunctional for a period of time that we wonder if things can ever be normal. Is it possible for these relationships to survive this tragedy? I think this book is one of the best examples of the importance of seeing other people’s perspectives as we engage in relationships! I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads!

5. Champion by Marie Lu (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14290364-champion)

This is the final book in the Legend trilogy by this author. June and Day are from opposite sides of the tracks, so to speak. She is from the elite, political side. He is from the common-man side. They each spend all three of these books learning about themselves, their beliefs, trust, compassion, and love. What if you found out that the people you thought were the good guys were really bad guys? What if you found out that people you love are not what they seem? What if your whole life has been a practice in seeing the bad in everyone, except your own people? These are the questions that both of these characters must deal with. They find each other and come to grips with the truths and lies that they have both been brought up to believe.

I NEVER expected a Young Adult/Dystopian trilogy to make me cry like a baby!  That is just what I did… This series was amazing! The best thing about it was that we find ourselves taking sides, only to learn that we do not have the whole truth. This is what the characters are constantly learning in this dystopian world. I highly recommend this trilogy! I gave all three of them 5 stars on Goodreads!

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On Book Shopping….

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I just returned from a visit to my oldest daughter’s home in Atlanta. My younger daughter went with me, and we had a wonderful time! We just happened to do some book shopping while there. Well, actually I started before we ever left the state… I picked up some books in Barnes and Noble before we headed out. The second day that we were in Atlanta, we went to a wonderful used bookstore that I always want to visit when I am there. Then, the last day of the trip, we visited a huge Barnes and Noble there!

What happens to me when I get in the bookstore?? I lose my mind… I see all of the books, and I just want one of each! Actually, I have a process that I go through when shopping for books. Before I buy a book in a new bookstore, I always try to find it used. I keep a list in my phone of the books that I am interested in. When I visit used bookstores, I check my list. If I have been looking for a particular book for a while but do not find it, then I will buy it new.

I decide which books to read in several ways. I am always on the lookout for classics that interest me. If I find these used, I try to pick up 1-2 a month, but this doesn’t always happen. I also watch many Booktubers and see what they are reading, listen to their reviews, and choose ones that sound like my kind of story. I do look at the new releases when I am in new bookstores, but only buy them if there is a good sale at the time. I very rarely give full price for any book. I estimate that I buy 90% of my books used.

I have no problem admitting that I have a problem when it comes to books! I really do want them all. However, I have developed this process of hitting used bookstores, and have been able to save a considerable amount of money. I can’t see myself ever giving myself a book buying ban… Don’t think my heart could handle it!

The Blog Begins…..

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Hello Friends!

The months of August and September held many new things for this girl! This is the first time, in 28 years, that the school year has started and I was NOT a part of it… I gotta tell you; it was weird! What a bittersweet reality for me.

I retired from teaching elementary school after 28 years in a classroom. I knew when I decided to retire that I would need to be busy, to keep my mind alert and to continue to put my passion into something worthwhile. I have been an avid reader for my entire life, so doing more reading was not questionable at all… It WOULD happen! I decided that sharing my love for books and reading was the best way for me to continue to share my passion for education!

I began my journey by watching TONS of Booktube videos, reading blogs, reading articles about Youtube, reading articles about editing, and just, well……… reading! I started my own Youtube channel on September 22nd with my Introduction Video. I have since started posting my videos to my Twitter and Facebook pages as well. This blog is the next step in sharing my passion for reading with others.

This blog is the place where I plan to share my favorite books and reviews, my bookish thoughts and feelings, and the pondering of a retired book nerd.

I hope you will visit often, and enjoy sharing this passion with me!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEHdvdxilEkeGvVg_Q6Kp3w

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2323605-jo-lisa