Friday, October 29, 2010

Reader's Guilt

So I just spent the last day and a half reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I could NOT put it down. There must have been some sort of jinx on the book causing me to pretty much ignore all of my responsibilities. I can't even remember what I fed my kids yesterday...did I feed my kids yesterday?

There was so much I loved about this book...

Harry and Ginny...knew I liked her.

Snape's deception and betrayal

Harry and Dumbledore at the Pensieve--those memories were creepy and cool and I loved it!

Dumbledore's emotions about Harry...Dumbledore being touched by Harry's loyalty

The love potions--perfect touch of humor

This novel was paced perfectly. Like I said, I couldn't put it down...did I brush my teeth yesterday?

So now I am a bit overwhelmed and feel a great deal of reader's guilt. There are so many things I SHOULD have been doing yesterday, but didn't. One more book to go--so excited! I'm picking it up tonight. This weekend is packed so another all day read-a-thon will most likely not occur...

Well, we'll see...:)

Monday, October 25, 2010


Okay. I signed up for Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) today. I will attempt to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.

It's official.

I'm crazy.

BUT...I'm someone who needs deadlines and pressure from a website to complete a goal. I've had this idea for a novel for years. I've written outlines and scenes and it's time to bring it all together. In one month. Yeesh. Monday I will become a bit of a hermit and social outcast as I attempt to squeeze every ounce of spare time into writing time.

My worst enemy? Self-doubt and T.V. I must avoid both if I am to complete this goal. However, watching North and South (yes, again) and going to see the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows does not count.

Anyone else wanna go for it? Let's do it!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix

**For the one other person who hasn't read this book...I'm very spoilerish and kinda jumbled in this review...***

Finished yesterday. Ugh. Really?! Sirius dies??? I really liked Sirius. I liked that Harry had someone who cared about him like a son. Someone who had a connection with his parents.


One of my favorite quotes came from Ginny:
"The thing about growing up with Fred and George is that you sort of start thinking that anything's possible if you've got enough nerve" (655).

I like that Ginny.

I liked the beginning of the book with Harry's trial and learning more about Sirius and the Order, but it got a tad tedious with Umbridge. I just got so frustrated that NO ONE believes Harry. Ever. Argh!

The scene where Harry finds the mirror Sirius gave him made me cry. I don't know. I could just feel Harry's sadness. Rowling did a great job of showing how he felt without overdoing it.
Started Half-Blood Prince last night. Now, I saw the movie and I know another major death is coming up...not looking forward to that. But I also remember something about love potions and laughing quite a bit.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Raising Readers

One thing I desire as a parent is to raise kids who LOVE to read.

We started reading to our oldest daughter when she was just a couple months old. She would cuddle up with her dad in the soft yellow chair in her room and listen to him read Goodnight Moon. Last night, this same child stayed up quite late (unbeknown to me) to finish reading a book she started that same day. What?! I didn’t do that until I was in college and that was mostly because it was an assignment. She has experienced the magic of reading and I’m thrilled.

My second daughter, who’s becoming a great reader, recently told me she wants to read so she won't be bored. Yes!

I started a tradition with our oldest daughter to give each child a classic book for Christmas. I write a note on the title page telling them why I chose this book for them.

For my daughter’s first Christmas, she received The Secret Garden. I chose this book not only for it's wonderful story, but the cover made me think of my daughter’s middle name, Rose.

My second daughter received Anne of Green Gables. Her spunk reminds me of Anne Shirley! I can totally picture her accidentally dying her hair green!

My little boy received 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for his first Christmas because it was one of his dad’s favorites as a kid.

So far we have quite the collection. Little Women, Stuart Little, The Wizard of Oz, Robinson Crusoe, Alice in Wonderland, just to name a few. These are books I hope we’ll read aloud together, books I hope they’ll read on their own, and hopefully books they’ll treasure and want to take with them someday. They should each have a nice collection when leave home (sniff).

There are so many great books I can’t wait to introduce them to. Someday my girls will read Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion (squeal)! And then I’ll get to tell them all about The Count of Monte Cristo and To Kill a Mockingbird. The list goes on…

What are some of your favorite classics or reading traditions?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It All Ends Here

What a cool poster. I'm getting excited to see the movie!!

I have about 5 1/2 more weeks to finish Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows before the movie comes out November 19. Can I do it???

It has been made very clear to me that I will not be allowed into the movie theater by my fellow Harry Potter Book Club members if I do not finish these books!!

All I can say is thank goodness for audiobooks. The fact that I'm almost done with Order of the Phoenix with just 5 days of listening, reaffirms that I practically live in my car.

I've watched movies 1-3 and just rented number 4. I have to say, the casting is pretty much brilliant. I adore Ron. He is so fantastic! All of them are.

This HP marathon is no joke. It is intense. But my book world has not just been about wizards, I'm still reading and enjoying North and South. Oh, how I love this story. I'm hoping to review it next week and probably watch the mini-series yet again.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Goblet of Fire

Neglected my laundry today so I could finish. Great ending, as usual. All the pieces come together for an intense finish.

Favorite quote:

"Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory."

Okay. On to Order of the Phoenix. I checked out the CD's for this one. Since I'm in the car shuffling kids around most of the day it's a good way to go.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Betty Suggests...

My Antonia by Willa Cather

"I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." p. 11-12

I read My Antonia while staying in a cabin in Utah. We were en route to moving from green, lush, rainy Seattle to flat, hot, humid Texas. I sat outside the cabin with my book and watched the Quaking Aspen Tree's leaves tremble in the wind. I fell in love with the way Cather described nature. The memory of reading this book has stayed with me for fifteen years. I completely related to the narrator, Jim Burden, who had to move from a place he loved to a land quite different from what he was used to.

He meets a Antonia, a young girl from an immigrant family, who is trying to farm the untamed land in Nebraska. Antonia is a hopeful girl who has to endure many hardships. This story is about their friendship and their struggles growing up.

I read this at the beginning of the summer before going to college. So I took every opportunity to learn more about Cather's work when assignments permitted me. I gave presentaions about her, took Western Lit. classes, and even took a class from a professor who also adored her.

Several years ago I suggested this book for our book club. At the beginning of our discussion someone said, "Yeah, it was okay. I just don't understand what the big deal was or why you chose it." This novel was so personal to me it really upset me to hear her say this. What I've come to realize is that our personal life can greatly affect our reading experience. If a character is struggling or dealing with the same issues or appreciates the same values as we do, then the connection is as real as if we were identifying with a real person.

Has this ever happened to you? What books have you strongly identified with? Did others agree or disagree with you?