Reading List

Welcome to the reading list page!  Here I will post about books I'm reading and give you the run down of my thoughts.  I don't have as much time to read for pleasure as often as I would like, but I try my best to carve out time to do so every day.  Ryan and the girls bought me a Nook for my birthday, so that has tremendously improved things for me...if anyone is thinking of getting an e-reader, I would highly recommend the Nook!

December 3, 2013--Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling
I added this book to my Christmas wish list last year strictly because it was a novel by the Harry Potter author. The format of this book is very similar to the HP series: set in England (ie, lots of English lingo and references), really long, the first 3/4 of the book drags on and is filled with too much unnecessary description/plot setup. But, I have a personal rule that I try to stick to: always finish a book even if you are board to death by it. And in true HP fashion, the last 1/4 of the book picks up at a fierce pace and sucks you in so that you cannot put the book down. Although it sounds like I am critical of J.K. Rowling's format, I am a HUGE fan of the HP series, and also a HUGE fan of this novel as well. The characters were likable (even if they are English!), the plot development and setup keep you wanting more, and you end up falling in love and really empathizing with most of the characters. This novel received a lot of criticism, and it took me 250+ pages to really get into it, but I'm glad I stuck it out, it was an entertaining read!

February 19, 2013--3500: An Autistic Boy's 10-Year Romance with Snow White
I first heard about Ben when I read the Unofficial Guide to Disney World last year in preparation for our 2012 trip. He was mentioned as a super fan of Snow White's Scary Adventure ride in Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland. Fast forward to a few days ago, when another Disney  blog I follow mentioned that Ben's father wrote a book about their experiences at Disney--I immediately downloaded the book and could not put it down.

Ben's dad chronicles how he and his ex-wife moved to Orlando (from Seattle) when Ben was young because he responded to well to the parks and resorts of Disney. They used it as therapy for Ben to learn social and life skills. He took a particular liking to the Snow White's Scary Adventure ride and before is closed down in May of 2012, he rode the ride over 3500 times!

This is a great, quick read and inspiring in many ways. For those of us who already know about Disney magic, you will delight in reading what it did for this family and this boy, and for those of you yet to open your hearts to the Disney magic, be prepared to be amazed!

January 1, 2013--Oogy by Larry Levin
Calling all dog lovers...calling all animal rescue lovers, Oogy is a great read for us! I'll start with the ending: the dog does not die at the end (although, his "brothers" do go off to college, which put a little bit of a lump in my throat). Oogy is the story of a family that adopts a special needs dog that was used as a bait dog when he was a young pup. Through the efforts of some very kind hearted folks, he was saved from euthanasia, and had his face reconstructed. The story is so much more than just a retelling of his rescue and resilience, it goes into the background of this family including an intimate retelling of the adoption of their two sons - a topic that I was very happy to read about.

My sister and niece gave this book to me as a Christmas treat, and I immediately started reading that night. What I thought was going to be another feel-good rescued animal story quickly turned into so much more. A big five stars for this book--it's a favorite!

November 30, 2012--The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
I downloaded this book on a whim after seeing it on display at the bookstore. It was ok, but did not hold my interest, thus it took me a very long time to finish reading it. It is about three sisters in their late 20s/early 30s that find their way back to their small college town home when their mother falls ill with cancer. All three have some baggage that they bring with them and sort out during the course of the novel. In the end, everything works out well for the women (including their sick mother). There is a message of family and home throughout the book which is entertaining and wholesome. The father in the novel is a literary professor at the local liberal arts college, and speaks to his daughters/wife in Shakesperian quotes. I am not a Shakespeare enthusiast/connoisseur, so the references were almost totally lost on my ignorant mind. Overall, I thought this book was "meh"; a decent read, but nothing I would recommend. Maybe only for my Shakespeare enthusiast friends!

March 9, 2012--Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis
LOVE this book!  I first learned about this book from another blog I follow, in which the author of that blog cited Katie Davis as one of the most selfless people in the world and she mentioned her in the same breath as Mother Teresa.  That certainly piqued my interest, so I immediately downloaded the book to my Nook.
    In a nutshell, Katie is a regular teenager from a upper middle class family in Tennessee, and feels called to forgo college and move to Uganda to work and volunteer with the Ugandan community.  What was supposed to be a one year experience turns into a life-time commitment when she adopts 13 children and begins a ministry nonprofit organization that not only brings Christianity to the people of Uganda, but much needed food, supplies, medical care, and education as well.  That's right, I said, SHE ADOPTS 13 ORPHANED CHILDREN.  By herself.  In Uganda.  I am drawn to her trust in Jesus to provide and guide her through this calling, as well as her gigantic heart to welcome 13 daughters into her life.  Of course, the adoption aspect resonates with me, but I can't get one line out of my head.  When she is explaining why she is living in one of the most poverty-stricken countries of the world, she states, "If I want to follow Jesus, I will go to the hard places".  While she is specifically talking about places in the literal sense (Uganda), she also is talking about the figurative places as well.  I have this written down on a card next to my nightstand so I can remember it in my daily struggles.

January 31, 2012--Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
I was so excited to read this book that I was literally counting down the days until it was released and dragged the girls out to Barnes and Noble at about 8:30pm racing to beat the store closing that night to get my copy (that was back in the day when I was regularly gone 12+ hour days for my job at Animal Control).  I opted for the traditional copy rather than the NookBook because I knew this was going to be a keeper for me!

After all that excitement and anticipation, I have to say I am disappointed in the final product. I was hoping for a little more insight into his personal life and mindset; I realize this is a biography, but I was hoping for more first-person tales.  This is a great book for anyone wanting to know the history of Apple, but I feel Steve Jobs actually plays a secondary role in it.  I can count the actual quotes from Steve on my hand; rather we get a retelling of the tale from his colleagues and friends.  And, I am not a fan of Walter Isaacson's writing style--it is very dry and at times, flat out boring.  But, once I got used to the manner, I was able to pick up the pace with my reading (hence, it took me about four months to get through the entire book).  In the end, reading about the business world, manufacturing, and intellectual property concepts the book presents was a real treat, since this is such a foreign field to me (I am kicking myself for having attended one of the finest universities for business-minded people, and I did not even take an Econ 101 class, darn!!).  And, I have finished the book with an even greater admiration and intrigue for what Steve Jobs (and the Apple company) has provided for modern culture; minus his looney personality and complete disregard for people's feelings, the mark he left on the world is inspiring!

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