Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reading Rainbow

"Take a look, it's in a book, a reading rainbow..."

Remember that song? From that weird show? Here's a little something to refresh your memory and to get that sung stuck in your head for the rest of the day,  you're welcome.

It's been a little while since I posted my last  "book club".  I've gotten quite a bit of feedback from you readers saying you actually read some of my recommendations from that post and wanted MORE! Now, I REALLY do feel like Oprah! But I get it, as many of the books I read are because I've seen them mentioned on someone else's blog or heard some buzz about it on Facebook or a friend told me to read it or Oprah told me to read it. Not really on that last one. In my experience if Oprah liked it, I thought it was horrible. While I'm sure she smells lovely, I'm not a fan of her taste in books. There you have it, my very philosophical method of selecting books to read. It's simple, I just want to read a good book. Life's too short for bad books. So consider this my gift to you.

Good Books I've Read

"Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand-This book is a MUST read. This is not my typical read but it was all the talk a few months back and I'm a follower like that so I read it. And then had GI Joe read aka listen to it on audio book. And then passed it off to my Smom & Dad to read and then told everyone I knew to read it too. So, so good. I'll be honest there are parts of the book that are painfully hard to read but it's crucial to the story and since it's a true story it's not like they just put it in there for shock value. It actually happened. If you're like me, this book will make you really angry at the Japanese for the things that happened during WWII. But then as I kept reading and continued on with the story, I realized that if the people who endured it and suffered the most from it can forgive and make peace with it, so can I. I just had to get over it and remember that if it weren't for the Japanese we wouldn't have sushi and I love me some sushi. I'm not saying, that sushi rights all the wrongs of the way they handled themselves in WWII but it certainly doesn't hurt. Just read this book, you won't be sorry. Here's a picture of the hero from the book Louis Zamperini, because as soon as you're done reading it you'll want to know what he's up to now and what he looks like, I'm saving you the trouble.
This is one cool dude and one INTENSE book. 
"Safe Haven" by Nicholas Sparks. I love a good, mushy Nicholas Sparks book. They're always an easy, feel good read. But I have to read them in small doses otherwise they get to be annoyingly predictable. Here's the standard Nicholas Sparks equation....set in a coastal town in the southeast, usually North or South Carolina, boy meets girl, tragedy strikes or has struck, love prevails, they live happily ever after, the end. But this one had some twists that made it a little different while still maintaining that Nicholas Spark's charm. This was a quick, easy, fun read. And it just might be one of my favorite Nicholas Sparks books ever. Way to mix it up a bit, Nick!

"Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back" by Todd Burpo-This book rocked my world. Seriously. No matter your religious beliefs you need to read this book. It's simply amazing. The minute I finished this book I went on Facebook and proclaimed to the world, or at least the world of my friends' list that they must read this. Good stuff, really good stuff. I'm kinda jealous of that little boy to tell you the truth. What an experience.

"Gone for Good" by Harlan Coben-Now on to a complete opposite of "Heaven is for Real". A friend of mine got me hooked on this author recently. He writes gritty, complex, mind boggling, thrillers that you seriously cannot put down. I've read 4 of his books now and this one is by far my favorite. It's so well written that you just never know where it's going to end up and when it gets there it all makes sense. It is not an easy read, it may make your head hurt a little because it's a lot to take in, just stick with it, you'll be glad you did. Another one I really liked of his was "Tell No One", another one of his that I really did NOT like "The Woods". Check ol' Harlan out if you're in the market for some well written, crazy, suspenseful, neglect-all-responsibilities-and-duties-in-life-until-you-finish, books.  My family was glad when I finished this book because then they had clean underwear again. 

"Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins-These were the 2nd and 3rd books in the Hunger Games series. Now I know why the first one was so cheap on my Kindle, because it SUCKED YOU IN AND YOU COULDN'T HELP BUT DOWNLOAD THE MORE EXPENSIVE SEQUELS. Well played Amazon, well played. Since this series is touted as "Young Adult Fiction" after I finished it, I had Dakota read it. She was reluctant at first because she's into books with dragons and wizards and witches and fantasy creatures whereas I'm not. She figured if I liked them she definitely would not (pre-teen anyone?!?), but she did, she really did. That's the beauty of well written young adult fiction, it appeals to all ages. P.S. It does have some fantasy creatures in it and I STILL liked it, yay me for expanding my horizons! You know that saying, don't judge a book by it's cover? It's true. Because at first glance and reading the back, I had absolutely no desire to read these, they sounded too weird, too out there for me. But then a blogger who has similar tastes in literature to mine was raving about them so I gave into peer pressure and read them too. And wouldn't you know it I'm a fan. Sometimes it's good to step out of your box. Let that be a life lesson for you. Wow, look at that not only am I giving out reading recommendations but life advice as well. There's a new Oprah in town! :) The main character of this series is a girl named Katniss and I think part of what drew me in is that she reminded me so much of Dakota. I loved this series and I especially loved having "book discussions" with Dakota as she read them. A movie of this series is coming out next spring so jump on the bandwagon now.

"Bossypants" by Tina Fey-I'm not a huge Tina Fey fan but kept hearing that this book was "laugh out loud funny" so I thought I'd give it a shot. I like to laugh out loud so why not?!? Much to my surprise it really did have some laugh out loud funny parts. She has a hilarious, self deprecating sense of humor that makes her so likeable and relatable. You felt like you were just hanging out with her, chatting like old friends, because she writes just like she talks, potty mouth and all. That was the only thing I didn't like about this book, my internal sensor had to work overtime, well, that and the creepy cover.

And finally, I'm 10 years late to the party (as usual)....

*"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" & "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by J.K. Rowling-I know, I know, where have I been all these years? Can we still be friends since I am admitting to not having read the HP series or seeing the movies when the rest of the world did? Sometimes when the whole world is going crazy over something (ie: Justin Bieber) I rebel and decide I have no interest in it. That's what happened with the whole Harry Potter thing. That, and I thought it was some medieval wizardry tale that had no appeal to me whatsoever. The rest of my family are diehard Harry Potter lovers. GI Joe read the kids the books out loud before bedtime and Dakota has read and reread all of the books on her own, not to mention they have seen every one of the movies multiple times. It was their "thing" (kinda like Star Wars because Star Wars? Blech! Except I did have the best nap ever one time in a movie theater when GI Joe forced me to go with him to see one of the SW movies) and I was fine letting them have that but then recently with the last one just being released and my whole family telling me how good it was, I decided millions and millions of people just couldn't be wrong. So I sucked it up and committed to reading each book, watching the movie, and then reading the next book. So far I've read the first and second book in the series and I just started on my HP Quest a week ago, so that should tell you something. My reactions so far are as follows: 1) They are completely different than I thought they would be, it's actually set in modern times! That came as a complete shock to me and made me happy actually because I am not into medieval, fantastical fiction, which is what I honestly thought Harry Potter was all about. 2) They are masterfully written. You feel like you know each character individually. With as many characters and personalities as there are in the books it would be easy to get confused but Rowlings writes it in such a way that you really don't. Impressive. 3)  It's about so much more than magic and wizards, it's about good vs. evil, courage vs. coward and doing what is right.  Those themes are so apparent.  We knew a guy once who tried to convince us that Harry Potter was straight from satan and that we should UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES allow our children to watch or read such devil worship. And now I know why GI Joe was quick to tell the guy that he was wrong and that we will let our kids read/watch that because he disagreed wholeheartedly.  May I just interject here for a moment?  Of course I can, it's my blog.  What is it with people telling other people how to raise their kids?  Not cool people, not cool.  I can't think of one time where I've ever seen that end well, where the parent being told how to parent says, "You know you're right I DON'T know what's best for my kids even though I have raised them and know them better than anyone else on the planet, I think I'll do it your way. So glad you mentioned that."  Yeah right. Note to everyone:  Don't tell us how to raise our kids.  Moving on....   4) I am actually ENJOYING reading these books and watching the movies. I don't think Dakota, however, is enjoying me reading the books, especially when I keep asking her questions and she responds with "Why don't you quit asking questions and keep reading so you'll find out the answer?" Fine, be that way. And I'm a real joy to watch the movies with since I'm watching them within a day or two of finishing the book it's very fresh in my mind meaning any minor discrepancies between book and movie, I am quick to educate my family on. The movies, so far, have also been great. I think I get "it" now. And from what I hear, the books and movies only get better and more exciting from here. I realize I'm behind the times but I'm kinda glad I'm doing it this way because I don't have to wait years between each book or movie. I already know how it ends so I'm just reading for the pure enjoyment of the books and to see how it came to that ending. As it turns out the whole world was right about this whole Harry Potter thing (except that guy who told us it was of the devil). I still think they've got it all wrong with Bieber Fever though.  He really is of the devil.  :)

If you want to see what else I've been reading, join me on my new favorite site  Really though, if you're a reader, this site is the best.  You can put books on your "shelves" that you want to read, that you have read, and are currently reading.  That's what I use it mostly for, to keep track of the books I want to read.  Because there's nothing worse than starting a book and feeling that sense of deja vu, only to get halfway through and realize it's because you've already read it!  Not that I've ever done that but so I've heard.  ;)  When you finish reading a book you rate it and if you're so inclined, comment about it.  Then goodreads compiles the ratings of every book, so when you're putting a book on your "to be read" shelf you can see what the general population thinks of it.  You can friend people and follow people too, although I haven't quite gotten into that yet.  When you friend someone you can see what they're reading or have on their "shelves".  I've always thought that finding out what someone is reading or what's on their bookshelves is kinda like peeking in their medicine cabinet.  So come take a peek.
Not that I've given you any bad book suggestions but if you're reading a book and it's bad, boring, etc, at what point do you stop reading? Or are you "gotta finish what I started" no mattter how bad it is kinda person? For me, if a book hasn't grabbed me at least a third of the way through I'm done with it. My free time is limited as it is and I certainly don't want to spend what little I have reading a bad book when there are so many other good books out there that I want to read. The only exception to this rule is if I am warned ahead of time that it starts out slow but picks up and gets much better. Then I'll stick with it BUT if it still doesn't pick up and gotten my attention by halfway through, goodbye forever bad book.
So tell me, what are you reading? Have you read any of these mentioned? Are you on  Talk nerdy to me.


  1. Oh my goodness....books?

  2. Just how do you have time to read books?

  3. Sorry my friend, I know this post isn't for you. And Louise, in the summer I read a lot in the car when we're traveling. A lot of miles to drive=a lot of pages I can read. When I'm outside by the pool, I've got a book with me too. And when the rest of the family is watching wrestling or a show about a man in the wild eating bugs or other such nonsense I read. And every morning while I'm blowdrying my hair, I read. That's how I have time...I sneak it in! :)