Monday, July 25, 2011


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book started out a little slow, but halfway through things started to get interesting, and by the end I discovered that I had absolutely fallen in love with the book! It was thoughtful, vivid, full of unique and interesting characters, realistic and yet hopeful, portraying the hardships of life without at all diminishing the fantastic moments of adventure. And the ending! It was a legitimate, beautiful happy ending, one that leaves you grinning from ear to ear at the end. I highly recommend this book.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Preparations, Flying Music, and Thunderstorms

My aunt (who's more like a big sister to me, when you consider the age difference) is getting married this weekend.  The whole family is going to be flowing out to Nebraska in waves.  The first wave leaves tomorrow, taking my mom with it.  She's packing now, and as I sit and write this blog post and listen to her bustling about, everything feels a little unnatural.  In just a few short days the second wave will sweep me off to the plains, but for now I sit in the half-uncomfortable eye of the storm. 

My sister and I will get to see if we can stay on top of the dishes by ourselves.  (Dad does dishes only in emergencies.) 

I spent $8 this weekend on the soundtrack for How to Train Your Dragon, and I consider it to be the best purchase I've made in months.  Most soundtracks I am acquainted with have tracks that seem to consist of semi-disconnected notes that aren't really enjoyable to listen to outside a movie theater.  This soundtrack, however, has so many perfectly delightful tracks that I have trouble keeping track (sorry, bad pun) of them all.  The music is upbeat, adventurous, awe-inspiring, and soul-stirring, with a gorgeous celtic theme woven throughout.  Tracks like This is Berk and See You Tomorrow are filled with rollicking yet engaging energy, while Test Drive and Coming Back Around make you feel like you are flying.  In any case, the number of amazing tracks far outpaces the number of dollars you have to lay down to own the mp3 album.  Buy it. 

This week has been full of magnificent thunderstorms, rolling off of the mountains in purple clouds that make your heart beat faster.  For once they've actually paused to pour blessed rain into this dry climate -- sometimes gently, other times hurling it down so hard that water abandons the gutter for the sidewalk and you can see the raindrops bounce off the pavement.  Between the clouds, the moisture, and my new soundtrack, I've been living in my own poet's paradise. 

I'm sorry that I'll have to leave it for a 7-hour drive of glaring yellow flatness.  Pray that the good Lord will send me mental forests to keep my mind off of it. 
Wings (Wings, #1)Wings by Aprilynne Pike

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think that this book did pretty well on what it was trying to do -- namely, be an engaging YA read that someone could get through in a weekend. I enjoyed it in the sense that there were parts where I couldn't put the book down. However, on reflection, the book just seemed rather...unimpressive. Pike has a great base concept, but that seemed to be the only complicated thing about the book. Everything else seemed a little cliche. I felt like there wasn't enough content for it to really be the first book in a trilogy.

Or maybe I've just been spoiled by reading Scott Westerfeld.

In any case, this book is definitely fluff reading -- and since I tend to go for deeper things, I'm not going to spend time on the second or third books in the trilogy.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Books that are, were, and will be (read by me)

At least it hasn't been a whole month since I last posted.  It's only been 27 days. 

So far I have spent this summer just reading as much as I can.  Now that school's out of the way I can actually get down to learning!  (Or at least, that's what it feels like.)  The problem is that I add about 5 books to me To Be Read list for every book I finish.  There's just not enough time to read everything I want to -- and, to top it off, I've come to the conclusion that I ought to be reading slower than I normally do so that I can absorb things more fully. 

This past week I finished reading The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton and Pretties by Scott Westerfeld.  Both of them were quite good, and both of them kept me in a dreadful amount of suspense.  More complete reviews for both those books are coming shortly. 

There are a couple books that are currently balancing on the top of my currently-reading pile:

Scribbling in the Sand: Christ and Creativity, by Michael Card.  This book, recommended to me by a writer friend, comes right on the heels of having read Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L'Engle.  While on the outset it looks like the books represent two different voices saying the same thing, I am already finding a number of differences.  After finishing Walking on Water, I couldn't get over the nagging feeling that L'Engle's approach to art was just not Christ-centered enough.  In many ways, she still bought into the age-old cop-out, "Do art for art's sake."  For me, that is a pitiful excuse of an idea.  There has to be a greater reason for doing art -- a reason that leads back to God in the end, as all true ideas do.  And I think Scribbling in the Sand is addressing that.  I'm only three chapters in, but Card's ideas are already shown to be substantially different.  He says that art is an act of worship -- a response to the beautiful nature of God.  That is an answer I can believe in. 

My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.  I can see why this devotional is such a classic -- I have only read five days so far, and yet those five days contained more wisdom and insight than most of the books I have read.  I think I understand why it is in a devotional format: I don't think it would be possible to read the book without taking an entire year to do it.  Needless to say, I'm going to be requesting a copy for my birthday. 

When God Writes Your Love Story, by Eric and Leslie Ludy.  For those of us who want to do romance differently than this culture, this is a call to trust God with everything in your life, especially your future marriage.  I've read other books about 'waiting' and 'courtship' before, but this one is a classic, and it emphasizes that romance ought to be about God first and foremost. 

And now, the books on my TBR list for the rest of this summer:

1. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.  (I've watched three movie versions of the story but never read the book.  I know, it's silly.)
2. Blink of an Eye, by Ted Dekker.
3. Specials, by Scott Westerfeld. 
4. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. 
5. Animal Farm, by George Orwell.
6. The Face of a Stranger, by Anne Perry.
7. Looking for the King, by David C. Downing.
8. Saint Thomas Aquinas, by G.K. Chesterton.
9. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card.
10. How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Orson Scott Card.
11. Phantastes, by George MacDonald.
12. Dismantling America, by Thomas Sowell

Of course, knowing my ADD self, I'll probably finish only half of these, along with half a dozen other books that I don't yet know about. 

OH, and on the topic of books, I have a site that you absolutely must check out: The Escapism Project, a collage of thoughts on reading and writing by a group of teenage bookworms and bookwriters, all in pursuit of a more complete idea of what make a 'live-in' book.  Yes, I am a contributor.  :)