Sunday, March 27, 2011

Leaving - Karen Kingsbury

As always, I enjoy reading what Karen Kingsbury has to put down on paper.

In this story, we are once again with the Flanigan family. Leaving is the first book in the Bailey Flanigan series. Doors are opening and shutting for Bailey in her life. Will she pursue the stage on Broadway, acting in LA, or remain to be a light in her hometown of Bloomington. And what about those boys in her life. Cody has disappeared again while heart-throb actor, Brandon, is wooing and pursuing. Bailey learns that her constants in life are her family and her faith and following of God.

Of course, we also get to see glimpses of the Baxter family - which I thoroughly enjoy.

I like the idea that she is writing a novel that parallels the season she is going through and that Bailey is patterned after her daughter. It inspires me to want to work toward having a family and raising my step-daughters to that level of grace and relationship with God. Because clearly it is not an unattainable goal.

I am looking forward to reading Bailey’s continued story in Learning coming out this summer.

The Boy in the Strped Pajamas - John Boyne

I read this book because my students asked me if we were going to watch the movie as a part of our Holocaust unit.

The author, John Boyne, describes his tale as a fable – an allegorical narrative written to make a point. And I believe the story is just that. I grew attached to Bruno and his nine-year-old naievity. It was different to view the events through his eyes.

I did not anticipate the ending until it was coming to a close. But I don’t see how it could have ended any other way.

I really don’t want to give too much away, as that would spoil YOUR reading of it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Devil Wears Prada - Lauren Weisberger

I saw the movie a few years ago. A friend from book club had the book as a suggestion to read. We didn’t end up picking it for a club selection, but I asked to borrow it. I felt like reading something light and witty. I wasn’t disappointed.

Andrea Sachs dream is to write for The New Yorker. She believes she is on the fast track for that dream job when she lands a position as the assistant to THE editor of Runway magazine. Little does she know what the job is going to require of her physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I enjoyed the book (but could have done without the language). You know, so often when we are in the midst of something, we really are blind to how it is affecting and changing us. We are focused on just the moment to moment to achieve the end goal and don’t realize that we could be causing our world to fall apart around us.

That’s why it’s so important to have balance – something I continually struggle with.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Night - Elie Wiesel

I read this book in preparation for reading through it with my 8th graders in a few weeks. I will be doing a cooperative unit with the social studies teacher and am really looking forward to it – even though the topic is so dark.

I have read many books about the Holocaust, so I don’t know why I had never heard of Elie Wiesel’s Night. Especially since he received a Nobel Peace Prize for it.

This book is a first-hand account of Mr. Wiesel’s experiences as a Jewish boy during the Nazi regime. The book begins with a little background on his life pre-Hitler. He was studying religion; his father an important figure in his hometown of Transylvania. They hear murmurings of what is to come. At one point, they even receive warnings. However, what is happening to the Jews is too impossible to believe, and it could never happen to them. The story continues as Elie Wiesel is transported and interned at various concentration camps.

The story is both gripping and graphic. Tragic and horrifying.

I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around such atrocities being enacted upon other human beings. I really hope my students can grasp a bit of the story and a bit of the horror. After all, they will be the ones entrusted to make sure such things never occur again.

Captain Wentworth's Diary - Amanda Grange

This was interesting to read after just reading Persuasion. You get to experience the same story, just from Captain Wentworth’s perspective.

I think Ms. Grange did an excellent job staying true to the characters of Jane Austen’s original tale. The story was delightful to read, and I enjoyed it.