Friday, June 22, 2007

A Cricket in Time Square by George Selden

Whole Book - We listened to this in the car. It was exciting and magical...a little cricket accidental ends up in New York. He makes friends with a boy and a mouse and a cat. He can chirp the most beautiful melodies. He gives concerts. He becomes famous. He gets homesick...

Anyway it is a great children's tale of friendship and loyalty. Read it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Special Men A LRP's Recollections by Dennis Foley

I thought I would read something different for a change. This was a Vietnam/nonfiction book. Mike recommended it.

The author, Dennis Foley, served in three armies between 1962 and 1982: a post World War II, atomic-age army; a Vietnam War Army; and a post Vietnam army.

The book was fascinating as he took us through all the training and schools he had to go through. He also analysed the way things were and how they could be better and how they prepared him for things to come. He was very optimistic and a bit too humble. He always thought he was doing horrible and would get kicked out of each class but then he ends up being the top of the class.

He describes heroes and brave men throughout the book. Usually, sadly, it was too late for him to go back and thank them because they died either while serving in the war or were just gone from old age by the time he realized how much they had done for him and taught him.

He almost lost his leg once and it was awesome how he never gave up or got discouraged in the hospital, regained almost full use of it and served another tour in Vietnam. He mentions that he was married and then divorced and remarried then she died in a car crash but that was it for his personal life. Sad.

He made friends and allies where ever he served and improved the system anyway he could to help save lives and train others so they could effectively serve our country. His whole person was devoted to the army, he gave 100% all the time, despite the conditions or hardships along the way. He made a difference.

He is truly an American Hero.

Whole Book

The Apprenticeship of Lucas Whitaker by Cynthia DeFelice

This was a suspenseful historical fiction book about Tuberculosis or TB in the year 1849. Back then they called it Consumption and usually you died from it and your whole family.

An orphaned boy of about 12 years old starts working for a doctor. He learns all kinds of weird things like taking baths more then one time a year. He also learns the hard way what superstitions can do to the hearts and minds of the people that just want something to give them hope as they helplessly watch their loved ones slowly die of illnesses they can't explain.

People thought that if you dug up the remains of the first person that died in your family from consumption and "put them to rest" by cutting out their heart and burning it and breathing in the smoke, the rest of the family would be cured. Of course it doesn't work. Sometimes someone would get better after having consumption but it wouldn't be because of burning a heart, yet the people thought it was. As they spread word about the cure the details changed and the facts were distorted and pretty soon it wasn't even true to what actually happened. The boy is challenged to find out the beginning and the ending of the story before he passes the "cure" onto others. He does this and discovers how important it is to collect data over a long period of time, like a scientist. You have to prove the theory with facts and time.

This book was well written and had many interesting history points true to the area it was written in. In the end the doctor gets a microscope. It is a whole new idea to start learning about germs. They weren't even called germs just tiny animals.

Great book...WHOLE BOOK.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Final Farewell by Patricia Wiles

The last book in the Keven Kirk Chronicles! It was great to read. Funny, and also had me crying in parts too...just like the other books in this series. I love them!

If you don't remember it is about a boy who moves to Armadillo Arkansas and his parents are Morticians. He joins the church, has some interesting adventures...and this books takes off in his Senior year of High School. He has to decide to go on a mission or go to college with a full ride. He also likes fishing and is good with children. He wants to be a biologist. This book he has a run in with anti-Mormons. His best falls away from the church and his sister has another baby....okay don't want to give it all away...

It was a great short fun read. I recommend the Chronicles to every young adult reader out there. My 9 yr. old son enjoyed them too. Whole Book.

Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale

Loved it!

I think you have to read all of Jane Austen's books to really appreciate this book. You might even have to be obsessed with her books to really get it. I couldn't put it down, even though the ending was a bit forced, it still was worth reading and laughing at.

The book took all of Jane's works and smashed them into one person's experience at a fantasy resort in the modern day. So if you think that a character, say in Pride and Prejudice wouldn't act a certain way, well what if that character was also part of Emma? So you have to take all of the books into consideration to make any sense out of the different chapters in this book.

Who wants to borrow it? I think my sisters will get a kick out of this one so they have first dibs.

Broken almost Whole Book...very funny so I guess it can be a Healing Book also...especially for those of us obsessed with Darcy!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

What a sad past our nation has. This book was a Historical account of what happened in the Great American Dust Bowl. It is the stories of those that stayed.

I didn't even know about the dust storms before reading this book. I always imagined Little House On The Prairie, sweet innocent and always turning out nice and happy. This was not a happy time right after the depression. It actually started before that. Wheat and cows were the culprit. Human error. Check out some of these pictures of the Dust Bowl.

Not only did the topsoil become airborne but there were droughts, starvation, and a total imbalance in the ecosystem. Grasshoppers, rabbits and centipedes in abundance, but no more native grass in the grazing lands were left. Buffalo were killed and cows came to take their place but eventually didn't have enough water to survive. All the Indians were kicked off (first big mistake). People were greedy for land and farming a land that never should have been farmed.

People and children were dying of dust related illnesses. Livestock also drowned in the dust. Cities were turned into ghost towns. After a big dust storm everything would get coated and the dust went everywhere.

I don't' know if it was stupidity that some stayed, there wasn't much work and there wasn't any land anywhere else. It all seems so long ago but it wasn't. 1933 was just a lifetime away from me. Pres. Roosevelt tried to help but it was kind of too late.

I am grateful I didn't have to live during the depression or dust storms... I wonder what we will see in the future that is hard, maybe as hard as what these people went through....

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Virginian A Horesman of the Plains by Owen Wister

What a Classic! This was the first and most sensational western ever written! 1902 to be exact. A lone cowboy working on a ranch, falls in love, wins the heart of his love, has adventure and shoot outs!

The setting was in the Wyoming territory. This book has had many movies made from it and inspired by its classic frontier fiction. Better then Louis L'Amour! Ha Ha.

The book was narrated by a 3rd person most of the time and that took a while to get used too. It was still good. The last two chapters were the best. But I can't tell you about them without giving the whole thing away! Sorry.

I like the part about the chicken and how she sat on a pile of potatoes too!

Whole Book

The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Hearts and Homes by James L. Ferrell

This was a great parable woven with the old testament and the modern day examples of a typical husband and wife relationship gone stale. It is all about Christ and the atonement being used in our daily life, how to cope and repent and love again. I like how the author through the main characters grandfather shows each of us how to love again with a Christ like love in our homes. Great examples and interesting examples and his personal journey feels like it could be my journey. I think this book it worth reading again for even more discovery and truths.

Whole Book