Month: March 2010

What I’m Reading Now: The Water and the Blood

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Review from Amazon: Turner, the 2001 finalist for the Willa Cather Award (These Is My Words), mesmerizes once again with an East Texas period piece, starring a young heroine who struggles to escape her abusive mother and smalltown limitations. “We set fire to the Nigra church after the Junior-Senior Halloween costume party”: unknown to all but one in a motley group of high school friends, this apparently thoughtless act of vandalism in 1942 Sabine, Tex., hides a darker evil that will haunt them all. Philadelphia “Frosty” Summers was there that night, but the lonely girl whose impoverished family had moved seven times in two years said nothing, even though the congregation of that church, the Missionary Way Evangelicle [sic] Temple, had befriended and supported her. Sheriff John Moultrie’s efforts to identify the perpetrators, whose innocent “prank” obscures a murder, weave throughout this coming-of-age WWII tale. Narrator Frosty anchors this portrait of repressive Southern religious dogma, racial bigotry, poverty and cruel ignorance. After graduation, Frosty escapes the confines of Sabine by convincing her parents she must travel to southern California to work in a factory to help the war effort. While there she meets and falls in love with Gordon Benally, a Navajo Indian Marine radio operator who is recuperating from wounds received while a POW. Meanwhile, Marty Haliburton, who instigated the long-ago high school “prank,” is now the pastor of Frosty’s church in Sabine and a member of the KKK. When Frosty and Gordon visit her family, Gordon is judged “colored” and Marty and others try to kill him.

The Hunger Games: My Thoughts

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I loved this book. I read it in two days, and if it wasn’t for the fact that my kids like to be fed, I could have finished it in a day! In fact, when Molly woke up at 3:30 in the morning, I was tempted to just stay up and read.

I am not a person that seeks out fantasy books. But I loved this story, mostly because I loved Peeta. Could there be a less manly name for a manly young man? I loved this character and am so mad at Katniss taking for granted his love and the fact that he saved her life over and over and over again. Really, Gale, what have you done for me lately?

I cannot wait to read the next one!

What I’m Reading Now: Hunger Games

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Review From In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. Collins characters are completely realistic and sympathetic as they form alliances and friendships in the face of overwhelming odds; the plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing.

South Jordan Book Club Pick: God Wants A Powerful People

Posted on Review: In her compelling style, bestselling author Sheri Dew outlines sources of true power and teaches the importance of learning to lay hold upon the blessings available to all true followers of Jesus Christ. As she shares memorable experiences from her own life and the lives of others, she explains how we can access the powers of heaven to help us live up to who we really are.

What I’m Reading Now: Three Cups of Tea

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Review from Some failures lead to phenomenal successes, and this American nurse’s unsuccessful attempt to climb K2, the world’s second tallest mountain, is one of them. Dangerously ill when he finished his climb in 1993, Mortenson was sheltered for seven weeks by the small Pakistani village of Korphe; in return, he promised to build the impoverished town’s first school, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. Coauthor Relin recounts Mortenson’s efforts in fascinating detail, presenting compelling portraits of the village elders, con artists, philanthropists, mujahideen, Taliban officials, ambitious school girls and upright Muslims Mortenson met along the way. As the book moves into the post-9/11 world, Mortenson and Relin argue that the United States must fight Islamic extremism in the region through collaborative efforts to alleviate poverty and improve access to education, especially for girls.

A Look Back At One Of My Favorites

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I love the book A Thousand Splendid Suns.  My sister and I were talking about this book the other day.  It is fabulous.  I think I will always remember the section where she has to take her daughter to the orphanage.  I cried and cried.  Having three girls, I could not imagine the devastation of being forced by your husband to give up a child.

According to Wikipedia (and we all know how reliable it is!) the title of the book refers to a phrase from the poem “Kabul”, by the 17th-century Persian poet Saib-e-Tabrizi.  The poem is translated into English by Josphine Davis. The English translation is not a literal translation of the original.


Ah! How beautiful is Kabul encircled by her arid mountains
And Rose, of the trails of thorns she envies
Her gusts of powdered soil, slightly sting my eyes
But I love her, for knowing and loving are born of this same dust

My song exhalts her dazzling tulips
And at the beauty of her trees, I blush
How sparkling the water flows from Pul-I Bastaan!
May Allah protect such beauty from the evil eye of man!

Khizr chose the path to Kabul in order to reach Paradise
For her mountains brought him close to the delights of heaven
From the fort with sprawling walls, A Dragon of protection
Each stone is there more precious than the treasure of Shayagan

Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls

Her laughter of mornings has the gaiety of flowers
Her nights of darkness, the reflections of lustrous hair
Her melodious nightingales, with passion sing their songs
Ardent tunes, as leaves enflamed, cascading from their throats

And I, I sing in the gardens of Jahanara, of Sharbara
And even the trumpets of heaven envy their green pastures

The Lightning Thief: My Thoughts

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Is there a bigger curse (Stephanie Meyer notwithstanding) than calling a book ‘the next Harry Potter’? Any book cannot stand up to the comparison, and here there were a lot of comparisons.

A 12 year old at the beginning of the series. Essentially an orphan. Discovers he has great powers as weird things happen around him. A special school. Oh, and a lightning bolt, just in his backpack and not on his forehead.

That said, it was a fun book. It was made to be turned into a movie. During all of the action sequences I just kept thinking “It’ll be fun to see this on the screen.” (My imagination must be getting lazy.) It was clean, educational, the type of book you’d feel comfortable having any of your kids read. Just do not go in hoping for Harry Potter.

What I’m Reading Now: The Lightning Thief

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Review From Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school . . . again. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he’s not even sure he believes himself. Until the Minotaur chases him to summer camp. Suddenly, mythical creatures seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. The gods of Mount Olympus, he’s coming to realize, are very much alive in the twenty-first century. And worse, he’s angered a few of them: Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now Percy has just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property, and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. On a daring road trip from their summer camp in New York to the gates of the Underworld in Los Angeles, Percy and his friendsone a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athenawill face a host of enemies determined to stop them. To succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of failure and betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

Final Thoughts on These Is My Words

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I really loved this book. I started crying on Page 4 (little brother) and ended the book crying (daughter & Jack) so usually that is not a good sign. I loved Sarah. I loved her strength and her courage. I thought that I was going to read another ‘survival on an Arizona ranch’ story (having just finished Half Broke Horses) and was really happy to discover a wonderful love story. You have to love a man who can take on ten men in a fight to the death but yet loves, loves, loves his wife.

It is because I cannot imagine a story without Jack that I am reluctant to read the other two books in the series. It just would not be the same.

Favorite Quotes from These Is My Words

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Page 12: I asked Papa couldn’t we turn back and go home. He set his hand on my arm, and said, Girl, there’s never any turning back in life. But don’t you worry, he says. The Lord is watching over us. Then I felt real hollow and low and mean. If He is a watching us, I wish He’d lend a hand now and then.

Page 364: I used to complain to myself that life was so boring, that there was too much laundry to do, too many noses to wipe. Now there are not enough noses to wipe.