Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I heard of Speak from my online book club. I had seen it on banned book lists, Recently Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was challenged because some idiot (I'm editorializing) said the rape scene from the book was pornographic. At the time I tuned it out as another moron spouting off about YA books. I figured I should read it to see what all the love and hatred of the book was about.

Upon reading the book, I was even more appalled than before. Speak is the story of a teenage girl's year after having been raped. The story is heartbreaking, how this teenager is falling apart because of her experience. While I thought the ending was a bit far-fetched, I really enjoyed (as much as you can about a book of depression and rape) it.

I think this is a must-read for anyone who works with teenagers. I'm including that moron who said it was pornographic. Maybe he'd get some clue if he actually read the book.

Happy Banned Books week!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Three Cups of Deceit

I grabbed this when Krakauer posted the free PDF on the magical world wide web. (Seriously, have you guys of it? Wonderful.)

Three Cups of Deceit is about Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools. In his books, Mortenson talks of a program he started in Pakistan to build schoolhouses. Krakauer details lie after lie from Mortenson: how Mortenson uses money from the foundation to purchase his books so they will stay on the bestseller lists, how many of the schools don't actually exist, how Mortenson's story of being held by the Taliban is baloney.

This book upset me because I felt hoodwinked by Mortenson. I read Three Cups of Tea a couple years ago and enjoyed and felt inspired by it. Though, Three Cups of Tea is terribly written.

If you've read Mortenson's books, you really need to pick this up. I think you'll be shocked by everything Mortenson has done. If you haven't read Three Cups of Tea, I think Krakauer does a good job of explaining things that it'd still be worth your while to pick Three Cups of Deceit up. It's really short, about 75 pages, so it's a quick read.

Friday, September 23, 2011


"If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me."
-Alice Roosevelt Longworth

This is all I knew about Alice Roosevelt Longworth before I read Alice. Based off that quote, I thought I'd love Alice (the person).

is a New York Times notable book. Alice Roosevelt was one of the first big celebrites in America. The media followed her as much as her father, Theodore Roosevelt. This biography follows her entire life. It also talked a lot about her family.

I really enjoyed this biography because of the connection Alice had with so many people of the 1900s. I've picked up a couple biographies of some of the people Alice was acquainted with.

Surprisingly I didn't like Alice as a person as much as I thought I would. I didn't agree with some of her politics and she just didn't seem like someone I'd want to be friends with. I really enjoyed the book even though I didn't enjoy its main character as I had expected to.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Borders Haul

We don't have a Borders near, but we were in Colorado over the weekend and I got to pick up some sale books. All were 80 or 90% off.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Favorite Books of 2011, so far

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Spark by John Ratey

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

The House at Riverton
by Kate Morton

The Gulag Archipelago by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Review coming soon, I hope.

Friday, September 9, 2011


I love Yellowstone, so when I saw Faithful in the bookstore, I snapped it up. Faithful is a young adult historical fiction novel set in Yellowstone in the early 1900s.
Maggie, the main character, travels to Yellowstone with her father to search for her mother who is missing. Once in the park, Maggie's life changes significantly when she meets Tom, the son of the park geologist. Maggie has to grow up quite a bit during her time in Yellowstone. Her high place in society back home in Newport, RI is gone and she must accept the new reality she's faced with.

The novel covers a lot of Yellowstone's early history and seemed overall very evocative of the park. Another historical fiction book set in the same time and place is Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith. It is not YA.

I really enjoyed Faithful, but I think part of it is that I love Yellowstone so much. If you haven't been, you must add it to your to do before I die list. Evan and I were there in May. Pictures here, here, and here. It's a place like no other.

Faithful is the first in a new series which annoys me to no end. I'm getting really sick of young adult books being parts of series. Hardly any of them seem to be stand alones. I sometimes just want to read a book, enjoy it for it, and not have to feel like I have to pick up the next one to get the whole story.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Liar Society

When The Liar Society was published a few months ago, there was a big blitz on book blogs about it. I was really excited to read it. I thought the murder mystery set in an elite private school would be right up my league. However, I was a little disappointed.

I read Shine right after it so I think comparing the two stories of high schoolers trying to solve crimes ran together too much and I thought Shine was a better book.

As a private school graduate I found this line oh so true and so funny:

"It was a source of endless fascination to see how incestuous the school really was. I mean, it couldn't be normal to have hundreds of couples graduate from the same prep school and eventually marry, right? I think they put something in water."

The Liar Society is the first in a series. It's a good book for those looking for a strong female main character. I will probably read the next in the series.