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I’ve been thinking lately about my journey over the last year as a book blogger. I began this blog after seeing 5 Minutes for Books and, thus, being introduced into the plethora of book bloggers and their reviews.

I’ve always loved reading, but in the last few years I had gotten away from reading consistently simply because of the busyness of life. After the birth of my first child in November 2008, I had a lot of time to read. All those nursing sessions really do add up! I was enjoying reading again and finding a community of bloggers who love reading. Blogging about my reading experiences at Mountains of Books, I think really helped me to cope with life after a baby. It gave me something to do when I felt like I simply couldn’t for 20-30 minutes doing nothing while nursing. It allowed me to express my thoughts and ideas to a community and gave me something to look forward to on those new days of mothering when I wasn’t quite sure what I was feeling or how to handle life.

But as I’ve come to have a better grasp on mothering and my son’s grow (over a year old now!) my reading time has become less and less. My time is becoming more focused on maintaining our home, building relationships with new friends, as well as training and teaching my son. I predict that for 2010, no matter the number of books on my list for this year, I will be reading less.

And, I’m okay with that.

I don’t plan on book blogging as much this next year either, but when I do I plan on making a few changes:

  • Write reviews within a week or so from finishing a book, if I don’t do it by then I doubt it’ll get done at all.
  • Have an outline for reviews: synopsis, what I liked/didn’t, why you should read this
  • Write concise reviews.
  • Don’t join any challenges.

That’s my plan for next year…what about you?

Updated: Booklist ’10

After looking at my booklist for 2010 and considering the goals I have for the next year, I’ve decided to scale back my list. I know more books will be added as the year goes on, but for now here’s my new list:

Fiction

Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

Eight Cousins, Lousia May Alcott

The Making of a Marchioness, Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Katherine Howe

Catch-22, Joseph Heller

1984, George Orwell

A Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

Washington Square, Henry James

Nonfiction

A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue or Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect & Find It’s Not Bad to Be Good, Wendy Shalit

The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls, Joan Jacobs Brumberg

Unprotected, Miriam Grossman

Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls, Carol Platt Liebau

Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton*

Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson*

Biography/Memoir

George Mueller

Children/Youth

The Princess Bride, William Goldman

The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery*

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins

Christian Nonfiction

The Feminist Mistake: The Radical Impact of Feminism on Church & Culture, Mary Kassian

The True Woman, Susan Hunt

Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists, Collin Hansen

God is the Gospel, John Piper*

The Mission of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson

A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family, Mary Osytn

*Rolled over from last year.

Booklist ’10

I’ve had my booklist for next year building quite rapidly over the last few months. As cliche as it sounds, there really are so many books I want to read! It’s the joy and curse of reading.

There’s so much enjoyment in reading through discovery and experience, then extend that to an endless amount of topics and the potential of books to read is limitless!

My goal is to read a few books that have been sitting on my shelf awhile, return to some favorites, and focus on women’s issues. It’s quite extensive (and a bit daunting) and I’m pretty confident I won’t get to all of them. These are just some of the books that have caught my eye over the last year.

Here’s where my list stands as of now:

Fiction

The Scarlett Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

Eight Cousins, Lousia May Alcott

The Making of a Marchioness, Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Opposite of Love, Julie Buxbaum

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Katherine Howe

Catch-22, Joseph Heller

1984, George Orwell

A Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

Nonfiction

A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue, Wendy Shalit

Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect & Find It’s Not Bad to Be Good, Wendy Shalit

The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued, Ann Crittenden

What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman, Danielle Crittenden

The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls, Joan Jacobs Brumberg

Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

The Purity Myth, Jessica Valenti

Unprotected, Miriam Grossman

Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls, Carol Platt Liebau

The Witch Hunts: A History of Witch Persecutions in Europe & North America, Robert Thurston

Biography/Memoir

George Mueller

Children/Youth

The Princess Bride, William Goldman

Christian Nonfiction

The Feminist Mistake: The Radical Impact of Feminism on Church & Culture, Mary Kassian

This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence, John Piper

Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists, Collin Hansen

“Favorites” in Review

Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen

A Room with a View, E.M. Forster

Sea of Memory, Erri de Luca

The Princess, Lori Wick




November Reading

I feel like I haven’t posted on here in forever! Well, it’s been about a month, which I think is the longest I’ve gone without posting since I started this blog. At the end of October I was so excited that I only had 11 books (and as many weeks) to finish my 2009 book list.

No, my blogging absence isn’t because I’ve been ferociously reading. And, sadly, neither is it not due to the completion of NaNoWriMo (but congrats to my friend Charlotte who did do it!) I’ve just been busy trying to make (yes, make) all our Christmas presents, plan and execute a 1st birthday party for my little man, and traveling for Thanksgiving.

Throughout the month I felt like I didn’t get much, if any, reading done, but I did!

I finished…

  • Emma (Jane Austen) – Technically, I think I finished this at the end of October, but I feel like it was November since I watched a few Emma adaptations.
  • Arms & the Man (George Bernard Shaw) – Funny. Sometimes laugh out loud funny. It’s a play, so it was a quick read.
  • Sacred Chaos (Tricia Rhodes) – Good. Making the chaos sacred. Much needed.
  • Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Don Whitney) – It’s done, because my class is done.
  • The Measure of a Lady (Deeanne Gist) – A fou-fou read. I needed something to get me through all the nonfiction. It was a less than 24-hour read…it had me sitting in the bathroom “brushing my teeth” after my husband went to bed.

Now I’m reading…

  • God is the Gospel (John Piper) – I started this on the drive to visit my family for Thanksgiving. I don’t think it should take too long. So far it’s simple, digestible, and good.
  • The Journals of Jim Elliot (edited by Elisabeth Elliot) – I thought this would be a pretty quick read given it’s simply journal entries, so far it hasn’t been. Do keep in mind I’ve picked it up all of twice.
  • The Little Prince (Antoine De Saint-Exupery) – Totally forgot I even had this on my list for November. I don’t know if I’ll read it or not this month. We’ll see.

NaNoWriMo

November is National Novel Writing Month. Yes, I’m participating. Scary, but fun. I’m writing again…it’s been a long while and I feel so nano_09_blk_participant_120x240.pngvery rusty and awkward. I know the more I write the easier it’ll become.

Anyways, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words between November 1st – 30th. That’s 1667 words a day! Sometimes when I think of it in the daily breakdown it doesn’t seem too much, but throw in “real” life and a toddler and it gets interesting. This afternoon I followed him around the park with my notebook in tow. I’m trying to find a way to make it work. I’ve made excuses for too long for why this is something I can’t do, so no more excuses! It’s a new season.

After reading so much in the last year, I feel inadequate to write. I’m lacking in the confidence I once had. It feels cheesy and I want it to be anything, but cheesy. Who wants to read a formulaic, predictable novel?

Maybe I’ll share my writing journey one of these days. It goes a way back.

My goal isn’t to have a completed novel by November 30th, but to have written (about) 50,000 words. It’ll be an exercise in discipline for me and it will help me get to know the story I want to write. It’ll be a rough rough draft.

It should be fun.

nightstand

It’s late and I’m tired, but I wanted to post this before I forget. Looking at my read list, I’m kind of surprised at how much reading I got done! Was October really that long?

After finishing Emma last week, I realized I only had 11 books left to read on my book list for the year which means I have to read about a book a week to finish. Unfortunately, but not too unfortunate, I had three books on hold that I picked up at the library today that weren’t on my original list (In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way, and Writing the Breakout Novel). I did have The Day the Falls Stood Still, but returned it when I realized I probably wasn’t going to be able to finish it and couldn’t renew it since there were other holds on it.

This month I finished reading:

I’m still reading:

Next month I plan to read:

I wonder if I’ll be as successful in the coming month as I was this last month!

49-1My first introduction to Tuck Everlasting came from the movie (starring Alexis Bledel as Winnie). I think it was actucally through the movie that I heard of the book. After reading the book, I’m surprised the movie didn’t take as many liberties with the story as I originally thought it might.

I think I would have enjoyed this story more if I hadn’t seen the movie, but in some ways the movie also heightened the novel since I had a visual of characters and landscape, in particular the creepy man in the yellow suit (played by Ben Kingsley), and the sound of the music box! (Even if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like to see their favorite classics ruined by a movie, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. The movie is very beautiful.)

In Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbit threads the dream of immortality into the life of Winnie Foster, a prim and proper Victorian girl being trained for her upper class role, as she meets the Tuck family. She comes across the youngest Tuck, Jesse, in her father’s woods bent over a tree drinking from a spring, but when she wants a drink Jesse tells her she can’t and a struggle ensues. Winnie ends up being kidnapped by the Tucks in order to preserve the secret of the spring, and their own, whoever drinks from it will live forever.4

Babbit deals with a heavy topic. Living forever, or being forever young, seems like an ideal situation, but through the Tuck’s Winnie learns that there’s more to the allure than meets the eye. Life’s a cycle and death is supposed to be a part of it. There’s a finality needed in life that immortality doesn’t bring. The reality of endless life in this world, ultimately, fills empty for the Tuck’s. Even if they can live forever, travel to exotic places, and have adventures they can never settle down, start a family, put down roots–as Miles sadly experienced.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Tuck Everlasting and would recommend it. It’s very well written, childlike, and reminds me of a dream.

The Novel & the Movie

tuck-everlasting-1

There are some differences between the novel and the movie, which are to be expected. The plot doesn’t change, but a few minor (or not so minor) details do. For one, Winnie is 10 going on 11 in the novel and between 15-17 in the film, which sets her up for a romance with Jesse (whose 17). At first, I was disappointed that the movie changed the age to add the romance aspect, however as I read on they didn’t add the romance but embellished it. In the book, Winnie is quite enamored with Jesse from the beginning,

Sitting relaxed with his back against the trunk was a boy, almost a man. And he seemed so glorious to Winnie that she lost her heart at once. (25)

Jesse even asks Winnie to drink from the spring when she’s 17,

…and then you could go away with me! We could get married, even. That’d be pretty good, wouldn’t it! We could have a grand old time, go all around the world, see everything.” (72)

In the film, Jesse and Winnie’s romance is elaborated and quite sensational–if you’re a hopeless romantic you’ll love it.

The only other difference I can think of is how Mae is rescued, but overall no changes to change the plot and theme of the novel. I enjoyed both the book and film. Who knows…maybe you will too!

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