I LOVE Goodreads. Really I do, but sometimes it seems I’m in a race to read everything with letters and words and pages! I have so many books on my list and I need to read them, want to read them. I get more excellent recommendations from YouTube, Goodreads, and NetGalley. My to-read list is never ending. It’s a constant, secret competition to read more books than your fellow Goodreads friends. The video below pretty much sums up my relationship with books AG (After Goodreads).
Nearly 1/3 of the year has passed already! If you are participating in the 50 Books Challenge then you should be on book seventeen by now. Since we are about 1/3 through the year, I’ve decided to share my three favorite books of 2012 with everyone! Comment above and tell me your three favorites so far and perhaps they will become my favorites too!
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah E. Harkness
A witch, a dusty old book, and a love story. What is not to love? This book tells the story of a professor who also happens to be a witch. Throughout her entire life, Diana has embraced order and normalcy. Her lineage includes a long line of very famous witches and yet she strives to refrain from ever using magic. Her desire to be normal is intruded upon when an unwanted book falls into her pile at the library. Soon odd people start turning up and Diana comes face to face with the woman she really is as she fights to protect her life and that of those around her.
The second book in this series comes out in July so now is the perfect time to pick up this book to read! I cannot wait for the second book.
Slave: My True Story by Mende Nazer
This book is one of the best books I have EVER read. It tells the powerful, sometimes graphic story of a young girl taken from her family in Africa and forced into slavery. What struck me most about this book was that this was going on in the 1990s. Average families would buy slaves to care for their children and households without an ounce of remorse or guilt. It’s shocking what goes on right in the open.
The Events of October: Murder-Suicide on a Small Campus by Gail Griffin
This terribly tragic story tells about a murder-suicide on a private college just down the street from where I went to university. It happened, when I was in middle school and I had no idea about it until I stumbled across this book at my favorite bookstore in the world, Kazoo Books. I’m so glad I found this book because it carefully set the plot describing Kalamazoo College with vivid descriptions, laid out the characters, and began telling the story about the warning signs and conflicts prior to the murder. The second part of the book explained how the college recovered from the tragedy and the impact it had on the students. The parents of the girl who was murdered support this book in hopes that people will recognize the warning signs of individuals who are hurting and take the necessary steps. This book would be an excellent read for anyone, but it was especially interesting to me because I have been to Kalamazoo College before and know the area very well. Such a well written book!
Stacks of identical books sat on the kidney table in my elementary classroom silently announcing the start of a new assigned reading book. My eyes fixated on the stacks the entire day until it was time; time for reading class and time to get my copy. From the start of assigned reading in the middle grades, I have maintained a love-hate relationship with assigned reading.
On the positive side, assigned reading brought me excitement. I loved the start of something new and opening up The Giver, A Wrinkle in Time, or Tangerine for the first time was enough to cause a small happy dance to occur! High school assigned reading allowed me to explore new texts that I would unlikely explore on my own. I was supported by the wonderful Cindy Wabeke in tackling books that pushed me outside of my comfort zone, texts such as Oedipus the King, Hamlet, and East of Eden. I still remember the day when I discovered what was really going on in “Oedipus the King”. I felt like I had cracked the code, solved a mystery! I was accomplished! In college, I didn’t have the opportunity to take as many English classes as I would have liked however I did enjoy the fact that my mom paid for ALL required reading and you HAD to buy your books 😉
The down side to required reading, the only down side, is that I tend to LOVE something until I am made to do it, then I hate it. There were times in high school when I would go on another school’s website, typically a boarding school, and read texts from their required reading lists. I would also just read random amazing things, like Harry Potter.
Peanut Butter Fingers, wrote about the worst assigned reading on her blog so I decided to ask another question. What was your BEST assigned reading? What books were you pleasantly surprised with? Which books have stuck with you? Put your responses in the comments above because I really want to hear what you think!
Yet again I look up from my book to find that the night has swallowed up the sun. Or, perhaps my book has swallowed up me causing oblivion to all my surroundings.
The book I became glued to tonight was “Season of the Witch” by Gail Griffin. It was about a month ago that I visited my favorite bookstore in the world, a store in which a cat named Aztec roams the creaky wood floors following you around as you make your selections. Once upstairs in the shop, Kazoo Books, a book caught my eye called “The Events of October”. I picked it up, read it every spare second I had, and quickly sent the author an email upon completion professing my love for the piece of creative non fiction. Dr. Griffin responded to me and I promptly purchased the other two books she had penned which are books of essays. I feel connected to her due to the this communication and the fact that she is a professor at the college literally next door to my alma mater.
“Season of the Witch” was the first book of hers I received in the mail and thus the first I picked up. Starting off, the book deserved 5 stars. Not only did I love the experience of reading a book of literary essays but I enjoyed learning about her childhood in Michigan. Griffin speaks of how people often describe the “horizontally impoverished” nature of the Midwest yet people from Michigan understand the “immense presence” of the Great Lakes. I felt an intense connection to her love of Michigan and the journey made towards adulthood despite major differences in our upbringings. She states, “To leave a home after many years is an emigration as well” which I connected to because I left Michigan to find work in Chicago. The first part of the book was incredibly insightful and interesting.
I struggled a bit more with the second part of the book which dealt with race. My hometown was “challenged” in diversity and I grew up with people who, for the most part, were exactly like me. The past three years of life in Chicago have opened up my eyes as I befriended those from other cultures and had the opportunity to learn from those that were different from myself. I am grateful for this experience. Griffin discusses in the second section how she discusses multicultural literature as a professor at a school full of rich kids. I appreciated hearing her thoughts on race but disagreed with a lot of her points. To this day I am uncertain on if I am too ignorant on this topic, due to my lack of exposure, or if I simply disagree with her. I felt she was being a bit too PC at times and I questioned her experience with diversity. She lives in Kalamazoo, yes, but her college is quite homogeneous. I think the second section of the book is something I need to contemplate for a while and go back to re-read as it left me quite confused and wanting to sit down with her to seek clarification.
Finally, the book concluded with a section on gender, sexuality, and all the experiences that shape our lives. There was talk of abuse throughout that struck me. At one point, Dr. Griffin discusses the mind games and control that is often part of abuse. It takes a long time to gain back the self-confidence and self-love after dealing with difficult situations. This is a topic that I contemplate often and I walk away touched by her words.
All in all, I gave this book 4 stars on Good Reads. I enjoyed picking up a book reading one small piece at a time. Writing in the book allowed me to think and journal as I went along; I will continue to think long after I put it back on my shelf. Thus, my obsession with Gail Griffin continues and I have one remaining book to read before I shoot her an email begging and pleading for another piece of work from her!
Geeks have swarmed onto the internet recently from all corners of the beautiful sphere we call Earth to profess their love of all things language, thus creating a community of Nerdfighters! This blowout of all things nerdy has rekindled my obsession with books and my closet desire to one day publish a volume of incredible splendor and amazingness! A dead tree like no other.
Since I am in the middle of snacking on six books presently, according to Good Reads, I have absolutely no new books to review and thus will begin this blog with a shout out to my favorite Vloggers on YouTube land! Those who inspire me and cause me to enter daily into temporal black hole that seems to be located adjacent to this computer of mine on the davenport. A sampling of the best of the best! I surmise you too will find a temporal black hole developing on your favorite chair as well if you view the videos below.