Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Daughters of Juarez

Juarez, Mexico has serious crime and drug issues. It has one of the highest murder rates in the world. The Daughters of Juarez focuses on one portion of the crime in the area: the unsolved killings of young women. Over the years hundreds of women have been killed. Many of them have been raped and mutilated.

After I read the book, I felt stunned. How in the world is the government and police so corrupt that this has happened? I am appalled by what has happened. I know everything our government does isn't right, but good heavens. Hundreds of women have died and the officials in Juarez have purposely ignored the problem.

The book's writing wasn't that outstanding. I would even say it wasn't that good. But, the story itself is so unbelievable that it's worth the read. It's pretty horrifying how poor women are treated in this area of Mexico.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Luv Ya Bunches

Luv Ya Bunches is first in a children's series by Lauren Myracle. I picked it up when I heard her speak last year. Her ttyl series has been challenged, as well as books from the Luv Ya Bunches series.

Myracle was told if she changed the story so one of the main characters had a mom and a dad instead of two moms, Scholastic book fairs (the ones in schools across the country) would sell the book. If not, the book wouldn't be included. Myracle stuck firm and her book was not carried. I thought this was SO COOL. Based on the prevalence of the book fairs, not having her book included certainly had a impact on the money in her pocket.

The story follows four girls who meet and become friends. The story is told from each of the girls'' perspectives through IMs, emails, etc. I thought it was super cute. The girls each have some aspect that they are concerned about: the girl whose mom is in a mental hospital, the girl who is Muslim, etc. These issues are dealt with matter of factly.

If I had a kid (besides my dogs, of course), this is the kind of book I'd love for her to read.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Wither is a young adult dystopian story. (Is it just me or are they all dystopian these days?) Anyhow, I watched a vlog by Lauren DeStefano and thought she was hilarious. My library had Wither as a downloadable audio book so I checked it out.

Wither is set in a world where girls die at age 20 and boys at 25. Scientists are working to find a cure, but in the meanwhile, each new generation dies off very early.

In Wither, Rhine is kidnapped to be a bride for Linden, son of a very wealthy and important man. Rhine is a virtual prisoner at her husband's estate. Her father in law, Vaughn, is older and is not infected with the virus that is killing off society's young. He is working on a cure, but Rhine is suspicious of how he's going about his research. Rhine is also concerned about her twin brother. She has no way of contacting him to let him know she's still alive.

Rhine spends most of the book plotting her escape from Linden and Vaughn's house. Her relationship with her sister wives was really interesting.

I enjoyed Wither, but I'm glad I was able to check it out from the library instead of buying it. I will be interested to read the next book in the trilogy to see where the story goes.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Awesome Book Blog

I'm in love with Awful Library Books, a blog about library book that should have been culled years ago. We get lots of these types of books as donations to the book sale. In fact, I saw one of the books posted when I was volunteering the other day. I will find some good ones to share with you. In the meanwhile, check out the blog.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Sale Photos

We had a book sale a couple weeks ago. I took these pictures before the sale.


Young Adult:
I started this section. YA books were all over the place, so I wanted to put the current ones in a good place so they could actually be found. I think it did pretty well. As you can see, there wasn't a lot. The next sale isn't until November, so it will be interesting to see what shows up before then.

Dollar fiction books on the left, dollar non-fiction on the right:

We raised about $5250 during the four day sale.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is one of those books that is so inspiring. I have enjoyed Michael Pollan's books about food, so I wasn't surprised to enjoy Kingsolver's addition to the genre.

Last summer, Evan and I got a CSA share and drowned in the amount of food we received. This year we decided not to do it, but our local farmers' market will be starting soon so we can buy local veggies at it. My dad has had a garden for more years than I've been around and I've been experimenting in my own. I was interested to read about Kingsolver's gardening.

Kingsolver's book is a memoir about how her family ate local for a year. This included meat. They were living on a family farm and were able to grow a significant amount of food, both for immediate use and to store for the winter. They also bought food at their farmers' market.

One of the criticisms of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle that I read before reading the book said that Kingsolver's experience was totally unrealistic and that she was preachy about it. To say it is unrealistic totally misses the point. Obviously we don't all live on a farm and can't grow food like she was able to. Duh. I've read plenty of memoirs, most commonly travel memoirs that are totally unrealistic for me, but are still fun to read about and put ideas in my head. This book made me think about what I could do. I didn't think Kingsolver was preachy. She laid information out in a clear, readable way.

I loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It was inspiring. If you are interested in food, you should pick it up.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Carl Hiaasen's books are pretty funny. If you haven't read one, they are a great light, fast read. I recently read Flush, which is one of Hiaasen's children's books.
Hiaasen's books are all set in Florida. They are pretty unique. The novels are humorous, no, laugh out loud funny, mysteries that deal with environmental issues. They are great beach books.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Sand County Almanac

Evan had to read A Sand County Almanac in college in an American Studies class so we've had the book sitting around for years. It's been one of those books I thought, "I should read that." I finally got around to it.

A Sand County Almanac is a book of reflections from naturist Aldo Leopold from his farm in Wisconsin. It is one of the major environmental writings of the twentieth century.

I wasn't overwhelmed with it. I don't know why I didn't like it, but it certainly didn't grab me like Silent Spring, another famous environmental book. I finished it only because I felt I should. I think that I'm going to read some John Muir next. I hope that I enjoy it more.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon spoke at the University and my friend Melissa and I went. It was so fun!

She was so funny. I read Outlander and wasn't totally in love with it like so many of my NBC friends, but it was still definitely worth going to see her. She read an excerpt from #8 in the Outlander series and everyone was laughing. She walked in behind a bagpiper!

It was a great turnout. Hopefully it won't be too long before we get another author in town!

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Boyfriend List

I really liked this book. Really really liked it.

In The Boyfriend List, the main character, Ruby, is seeing a psychiatrist because she's been having panic attacks.

Her doctor has asked her to make a list of boyfriends, which is really a list of boys that played a role in her life whether they were boyfriends or not. She goes through her list of guys and her story unfolds.

I felt myself identifying with Ruby and her feelings about the end of her relationship with Jackson. It brought back some long forgotten feelings from my own high school boyfriend. Seriously, I wish someone had put this book in my hands the second that relationship ended. (Of course that would have been impossible since the book was written years after all that, but you get my point.)

I thought the ending was perfect. I thought it fit the story so well and showed a lot of growth on Ruby's part. The Boyfriend List is the first in a series, but stands alone well. As much as I liked it, I am not sure I want to read any more of the series. I thought this book was perfection and am afraid the next books may lessen that feeling. (Hopefully that makes sense.)

I have The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by Lockhart as well. It's got great reviews and received Prinz honor award so I bet it will be awesome too.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Decade of the Wolf

One of my friends teaches public speaking and one of the assignments in her class (and probably every public speaking class) is a persuasive speech. She no longer allows students to speak on why wolves should be banned from Yellowstone. (Many many Wyomingites are upset about the whole thing.) Prior to her ban on the topic, she'd have several students in each class give the same speech. I can imagine you can only hear that speech, or any speech, so many times.

Wolf politics aren't of interest to me, even though they are an issue here in Wyoming. Decade of the Wolf isn't about the politics. It's about the process of introducing the wolves and the first ten years of the wolves in the park.

Before I read this book, I knew that wolves had been reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995 and that they were from Canada and that was about all I knew.

Decade of the Wolf talks about the people and events related to the wolves. I learned how they introduced the wolves into the park and how they monitor their activity. Despite much opposition, there have also been thousands (and thousands) that have been thrilled by seeing wolves in Yellowstone.

Having wolves back in the park has changed the park in both flora and fauna. Most of the wolves diet is elk. As the wolves have eaten the elk and consequently lowered their numbers, willow trees are able to grow (instead of being eaten by elk.)The willows have encouraged beavers. The ecology of Yellowstone has been improving since the wolves returned.