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Showing posts from July, 2013

American Lit: What I'm Reading

I have no idea what to write today so here's a list of all the stories and poems I'm reading for American Lit this semester.  Besides this massive list, there are a ton of articles.

What I've Read:
The Parish and The Hill by Mary Doyle Curran (I really enjoyed this novel)"Fat of the Land" from Hungry Hearts by Anzia Yezierska"City of Refuge" by Rudolph Fisher"Truant" by Claude McKay"The Guilded Six-Bits" by Zora Neale HurstonExcerpt from First Two Chapters of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (I want to reread this now that I've read this excerpt again)"Recitatif" by Toni Morrison (I didn't know that Toni Morrison had written a short story. This was really good and I suggest everyone read it!)"Bright and Morning Star" by Richard Wright"Exodus" by James Baldwin
What I Was Supposed to Read but Didn't (and reasons why):

Quicksand by Nella Larsen (it was only online and I wasn't …

Reading Events and Challenges: An Update

Here's a quick update on where I stand on my reading events and challenges for 2013:

TBR Pile Challenge
The Goal is to read 12 books from your "to be read" pile before the end of 2013.
I have read and reviewed 7 books and have 1 that I did not finish.

Jack's Widow by Eve Pollard - Completed 2/2/13
The Smart One and The Pretty One by  Claire LaZebnik - Completed 2/11/13 Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik - Completed 2/17/2013
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James - Completed 3/8/13 The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil - Completed 5/7/13 Needles and Pearls by Gil McNeil - Completed 5/27/13 Geektastic edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci - Completed 6/23/13
How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo-DNF

Beats of Summer Reading Event
This Reading Event was to read books by Beat authors and those associated with the Beat Generation.
I had a goal of reading a lot more than I did, I managed to finish 3 books.

Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg  - Completed…

Book Trailer Thursday - This is How You Die

Published on Jul 16, 2013The machines started popping up around the world. The offer was tempting: with a simple blood test, anyone could know how they would die. But the machines didn't give dates or specific circumstances-just a single word or phrase. DROWNED, CANCER, OLD AGE, CHOKED ON A HANDFUL OF POPCORN. And though the predictions were always accurate, they were also often frustratingly vague. OLD AGE, it turned out, could mean either dying of natural causes, or being shot by an elderly, bedridden man in a botched home invasion. The machines held onto that old-world sense of irony in death: you can know how it's going to happen, but you'll still be surprised when it does.  This addictive anthology--sinister, witty, existential, and fascinating--collects the best of the thousands of story submissions the editors received in the wake of the success of the first volume, and exceeds the first in every way.  For more visit, (from Y…

The Beats of Summer - Wrap Up

From Roof Beam Reader:
The Beats of Summer: A Reading Event!  Summertime is coming, and what better time than Summer to immerse ourselves in the works of the most rebellious, daring, and “hot” generation of American writers??  For this event, the goal is to read as many pieces of “Beat Generation” literature as you want to, from June 1st through July 14th. Audiobooks, fiction, poetry, and non-fiction all count, as long as the writer is considered to be a part of the Beat Generation. Memoirs, biographies, essays, theory/criticism or other works of non-fiction written about The Beats are also acceptable!
I remember my first time reading anything from the Beat Generation in an American Lit class.  I really enjoyed it and had wanted to read more, but unfortunately I never got the chance.

Here are the books I checked out from the library:
Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg  - Completed 6/1/2013On the Road by Jack Kerouac - Completed 6/23/2013A Different Beat: Writings by Women of the …

TBR Pile Challenge - Geektastic

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As with any collection of stories there are some that you really like and some you could have done without, this collection was no different.  While I didn't completely dislike any one story, there were a few that if they weren't in this collection would have made this a five star book.  Instead of talking about them and why I didn't like them I'm just going to talk about the three stories I liked the most.

Once You're a Jedi, You're a Jedi All the Way by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
Imagine you are at a Con and when you wake up you realize you are not in your room.  (This is not always a bad thing.) Now imagine that you are a Klingon and you wake up next to a Jedi. (go ahead freak out for a moment I'll wait.)  That's the plot of this funny story.  After waking up together our Jedi and Klingon characters trying to rationalize their attraction to each other while balancing …

Book Review - The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three

The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three: Discovering the Radical Truth at the Heart of Christianity by Cynthia Bourgeault
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I received an ebook ARC from Netgalley.

I dislike writing negative reviews.  Normally if I don't like a book, I won't review it, but I wanted to share some thoughts on this book, because while I didn't like it, I think it's a book that people will enjoy reading and gain a lot of information from the information Cynthia Bourgeault has collected and shared in the book.

What drew me to the book first was the title and the cover.  I personally wear a triquetra instead of a cross as a symbol of my faith.  I'm always open to reading different views of Christianity so I read the description of the book:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  In this formula that Christians recite as though on autopilot lie the secrets for healing our world, rekindling our visionary imagination, and manifesting the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.  It’s an aston…

Beats of Summer - A Different Beat

A Different Beat: Writing by Women of the Beat Generation by Richard Peabody
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so happy I read this book, it saved this whole reading challenge for me.  I was starting to think there was nothing of Beat writing that I would enjoy or understand.

Here is a quick rundown of the pieces I enjoyed most in his book:

Carolyn Cassady - from Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg
What was really interesting about reading this pieces was reading it after reading On the Road.  Jack Kerouac really did pull from real life in creating the character of Dean and basing it on Neil Cassady.  In this passage Carolyn recounts how Neil had been living with a woman in NYC while she was still in California.  His new girlfriend calls Carolyn everyday to relate what's going on with her and Neil.  Carolyn grants the divorce but before it can be finalized Neil is already down in Mexico marrying his girl.  Then no sooner does he marry her than he's leaving and…

Camp NaNoWriMo - Week 1

So I decided to sign up to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, but I know I don't have the time or focus to work on a full novel so I decided to try to work on some of my short stories.  I need to retool some of them before I send them off to see if I can get them published in a magazine or two. (fingers crossed).

First up I'm working on a stories I've titled "The Diner."  This week I've added on to the ending and rewrote the opening.

Original opening:
It’s three in the morning. Cassie is sitting alone in a diner waiting. She’s waiting for her ex-boyfriend’s brother; his twin brother. The twins don’t share many similarities: Dylan is outgoing and athletic with light hair and a perfectly tanned muscled body. D.J. is dark - his hair, his mood, and his clothes. What they do share is a love for Cassie.

After graduation Cassie went to school out of state and never looked back. Her plan was to forget them both and move on with her life, but that never happened. Cassie is …

Beats of Summer - On the Road

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I struggled with reading this, but I had to finish. I was complelled to finish and not give up. I had to know if Sal finally came to his senses about Dean.

*Spoiler Alert*

He doesn't.

So much of this book was just long rambling passages that just didn't work for me. I couldn't stay foucused and would put the book down and have to fight to pick it back up again.  Like Howl, I get the appeal of the book and of Kerouac as an author, I just don't get the book.

As the novel progresses you see as everyone else becomes disillusioned with Dean but Sal still gives him the benefit of the doubt.  At numerous points you think Sal will finally see Dean for what he is and walk away from him, but he see's Dean and still stays loyal.

When I finished the novel I wondered to myself, "Why doesn't Sal get it?  Why doesn't he understand that staying connected with Dean will ruin his life?"  But then I thought, "…

Book Review - Beckman

Beckman by Grace Burrowes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an ebook copy from Netgalley.

There are three things I love about Grace Burrowes books:

1. The presence of Jane Austen
2. Strong female characters
3. The fact that the female character doesn't NEED the hero, but it sure does help that he's around.

Points 2 and 3 are the key reasons I love to read her books and Beckman is no different.  Beckman is book four in her Lonely Lords series.  I have not read the three previous books in the series (but I will now!) and I didn't feel like I was missing out on any connections to other books. 

Sara Hunt is not your typical housekeeper, something Beckman discovers quickly once he arrives at Three Springs.  Beckman is here at the bidding of his father, he is charged with fixing what's wrong with the house and the grounds.  Beckman finds that there is a lot of work to be done and not everyone is what they appear to be at this estate.

Sara is hiding out, she's hiding …