Saturday, July 31, 2010

Library Visits and Book Reviews

On Monday, after the girls got out of school, we went on a trip to the library.  We had finished circling all of the boats required for the library's reading program, and we had 19....yes, 19!...books that were due back.  So, off we went!

We used the automated check-in and returned 17 books, went to the librarians desk and renewed 2 books, and turned in our game boards.  The prizes for finishing the program were:  a giant beach ball, a pass to the Lawrence Hall of Science, a coupon for a free personal pizza from Round Table Pizza, and....a brand new book, to keep!  They had a whole rack full of books to choose from, and it was a tough job to narrow them down, but we came home with:  Pig Out! by Portian Aborio (chosen by Emma), Who Spilled the Milk? by Martha Gradisher (chosen by Katie), and Amelia Bedelia Under Construction by Herman Parish (chosen by Abby).

Next, we went and picked out new library books.  Between the 3 girls and I, we checked out a total of 19....yes, 19! books.  It seems that 19 is our lucky library number!

Here are some pictures of some favorite recently read books:

This last is a picture of Junie B. Jones, a spunky kindergartener who has a series of 19 books, written by Barbara Park.  I read these to Brianna and Brittany, and am thrilled to be reading them again!

Now, on to some books that I've read recently.  The first is called The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton.

This book is quite thick (over 500 pages), and was chosen by my book club members as the book we will discuss in August.  I had previously picked up Kate Morton's debut novel, The House at Riverton, and haven't finished it yet.  For some reason, I couldn't get into that one, and was afraid this one would be much the same.  I was very happy that this book hooked me from the very beginning!  In the beginning of the book, a four year old girl is left abandoned on a dock in Australia, and is raised by the dock master and his wife as their own.  When she turns 21, she is told the truth, as much as is known, about herself.  The book goes back and forth, from past to present, as Nell (as the dock master named her), and later her granddaughter, tries to find out who Nell really is.  This was a very engaging book, and it has made me want to find the other novel by Kate Morton, and give it a try again.

The next book I read was Home Safe, by Elizabeth Berg.

This book, like most of Ms. Berg's books, was a very quick read.  Helen, a writer, has lost her husband, and her ability to write.  She is trying to regain the balance in her life, and have a relationship with her adult daughter, when she finds out a big secret that her husband was involved in when he died.  The book is about her decision making process, and coming to terms with the changes in her world.  While it was a decent book, and I was able to read it in 3 days, it wasn't captivating.  But sometimes, you just need an entertaining book, which this one was.  As was the next book I read, also by Elizabeth Berg.

the last time i saw you was also a very quick read.  A group of former classmates, 3 men and 2 women, anticipating their fortieth (and last) class reunion, reflect on their accomplishments, disappointments, and expectations.  These people represent the basic cliques in high school:  the jock, the cheerleader, the nerd, the wanna-be-popular girl, and the misfit.  Each attends the reunion for different reasons, and each comes away from it changed in some way.

My current book is called The Shack, by William P. Young, and is the book my book club has chosen for December.  Yes, I'm very ahead of schedule, reading this book now, but a) I had it on the shelf and b) when I heard about it, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to finish it.  I put off starting it for several weeks, because I typically read at bedtime, and this didn't seem like a bedtime kind of book.  Here is the synopsis off the back cover: 

"Mackenzie Allen Phillips's youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in this midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever." 

Even after I started this book, I had concerns, and for a couple of nights, slept very restlessly.  But now, towards the halfway point, I'm intrigued, and really want to find out what happens next.  I'm going to choose to finish the book before delving into all the controversy that is surrounding it, as many books with a religious bent seem to have.  I want to make up my own mind about it, before reading someone else's opinion.

The book club has come up with many interesting books throughout the next 8 months, and I will share them with you as I read them.  And count on many, many more trips to the library!  The girls have a ball there.  I might even be able to pick out a few "Mom" books next time!

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