August 31, 2010

Challenge Updates- 75 Books in 2010 and "Read Your Own Books August"

In August, I participated in: 
I read several books I already owned or already had borrowed from the library, including The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, Princess in Waiting by Meg Cabot, Project Princess by Meg Cabot, Princess in Pink by Meg Cabot, Bitter Is the New Black by Jen Lancaster, Up! A Pragmatic Look at the Direction of Life by David Niven, and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I had to read a few books for class, so I allowed myself to check them out from the library (When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman). 

I also started these books in August: Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson, Don't Know Where Don't Know When by Annette Laing, Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. 

This was a great idea for a challenge! I'm glad I participated. I did buy some new books...I'm an addict. But I re-organized my TBR shelves and decided that I definitely need to read more of the books I actually own before they get out of control. :)


At the beginning of the year, I decided to shoot for a goal of reading 75 books in the time this seemed like a crazy goal to me because grad school leaves me with little free time.
However, I am excited that I not only reached my goal, but I reached it early! Woohoo! Click on the "Challenges" link above to see the full list of books I've read so far in 2010. According to Goodreads, that adds up to 16,009 pages. It sounds more impressive that way. ;)

I'm not the greatest mathematician, but I figure that if it takes me 75% of the year to read 75 books, I can probably read 25 more in the last quarter of the year. So I'm challenging myself again! I am now shooting for:

(Besides the adult fiction & nonfiction books I plan to read for fun, I'll be counting the middle grade and YA books I read in my Materials for Youth class, but not the children's picture books.)

Have any of you issued a challenge for the amount of books or page #s you want to read this year?

Review - The Help by Kathryn Stockett (audiobook)

It is 1962 in Mississippi in 1962, and the Jim Crow laws are very much alive. Aibileen is a black maid who has raised 17 white children throughout her years. She is very devoted to the little girl whose family she works for. Minny, Aibileen's friend, is another black maid who has trouble staying employed because of her sassy attitude. However, she is known as the best cook around. She finds work with a white woman who is new to town and has a desire to learn how to cook. Skeeter is a young white woman who has just moved home after college. She wants to become a writer, but so far her only experience has been as editor of the Women's League newsletter. Her mother would rather see Skeeter married than employed, however. Skeeter does find a job at the local newspaper, writing the cleaning advice column. She enlists the help of Aibileen because Skeeter has no actual cleaning experience. But this is not the only writing project Skeeter is undertaking. She has an idea for a book, but its subject matter is incredibly risky. The project's success will rest on the cooperation of the black maids, but they have plenty to lose if anyone finds out they are involved. Meanwhile, Skeeter continues to grow apart from her childhood best friends, Elizabeth and Hilly, who continue to support the Jim Crow laws and uphold the current social order. Will Skeeter finish her writing project? And what will happen if it actually gets published? 

The Help was an amazing audiobook. There were different narrators for Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny, and they portrayed the southern accents and dialects well. The characters were very vivid, and their stories were moving. I was so engrossed in this book that I didn't want to get out of the car while I was listening to it, even after I arrived at my destination. While it deals with a lot of serious subject matter, there were also plenty of amusing moments (especially involving Minny). I am fascinated by stories about the Civil Rights movement, fictional or not. This is definitely one of my favorite books set in this time period. This is a thought-provoking novel that stayed with me well after I finished reading. I highly recommend this novel, but I also recommend that you check out the audiobook version for some excellent storytelling that will have you savoring every word. 

Rating: 5/5

August 30, 2010

It's Monday: What Are You Reading? (18)

What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey where bloggers gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

Last week was my first week of grad classes for the semester.  The first week is always a bit difficult because I'm trying to get organized and figure out how to manage my time best with my new classes. I was also trying to adjust to taking all my classes online - that was a big change! I didn't spend much time reading for fun, but once I get back into the swing of things, I'm sure I'll be able to squeeze in more reading time. (Especially since Mockingjay finally arrived, almost a week after it shipped!) 

I finished: 
 When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (for my Materials for Youth class's Newberry assignment)
When You Reach Me

I am currently reading: 
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (for my Materials for Youth class's Newberry assignment)
The Graveyard Book

Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson
Claire de Lune

Don't Know Where, Don't Know When (The Snipesville Chronicles, Book 1)

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon (Oxford World's Classics)

Next up: 

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)

What are you reading? 

August 29, 2010

In My Mailbox (17)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a time for everyone to share what books they acquired over the course of the week. I'll share what I received in the mail, bought at bookstores, downloaded, or picked up from the library.

In the mail: 
 - Well, Mockingjay finally came but it's stuck at the apartment office until they open on Monday morning! I can't wait to read it. 

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)

From the library: 
 - A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle 
A Wrinkle in Time

From the booksore: 
 - Trading Up by Candace Bushnell 
Trading Up
 - On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and Peace by Dave Grossman (bought for my boyfriend, but I may read it someday)
On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace

Free audiobooks from Sync: 
 - Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

- Handbook for Boys by Walter Dean Myers

Free eBooks from Barnes & Noble: 
 - Hour of the Hunter by J. Jance
 - Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
 - The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
 - Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
 - The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
 - The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
 - The Time Machine & The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
 - Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

What's in your mailbox this week? 


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