Monday, June 29, 2009

Audiobooks- Summer Pleasures

I always have an audio book in the car. I am pretty convinced that it has nurtured and developed visualization in all of my children. And, because their older sister was so enamored with them, the twins have succumbed to listening quite easily. We always have a "kid" audio book and an "adult" one in the car that they don't get to hear. Recently, we listened to the kids version of Marley and Me called: Marley, A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan. The ending is no different (everyone asked me if it was in the kid version) but I won't spoil it. There is a line from "No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman that kills me every time I read it. "Go to the library and pick out a book with an award sticker and a dog on the cover. Trust me, that dog is going down." (Korman, p.5) Isn't that true?

Regardless, the kids loved hearing about Marley's antics and, unfortunately for me, just renewed their resolve to talk their father and me into getting a family pup. Even though I claim I'm for that, I keep thinking it will be the quintessential..."What was I thinking?..."

My adult audio book in June was Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. While I really wanted to read this book (and bought it as soon as it came out), I never got around to it. What an interesting look at our food supply and how we treat our immigrants in this country! Yikes. This would make anyone immediately convert to vegetarianism. Likened to my reading of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, this book changed the way I think about food (and food workers) in our country. How can people rant about the human rights abuses in China when we take our most vulnerable immigrants and give them the most dangerous jobs in our country? By the way, the Kingsolver book is a GREAT summer read along with Prodigal Summer also by Kingsolver. Great memories from both books.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Ah, vacation. I can stay up until 1 or 2 am and just read in the dead quiet of the house, or in this case, cabin. In the beautiful north in Michigan we are having much better than expected weather and our gorgeous boat ride and sunburns proved it yesterday. Last night, after all was completely quiet, I finished Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER. I didn’t mean to stay up until about 2 am, but I was hooked.

Grace was attacked by wolves at 11 years-old (pulled from her tire swing), but one yellow-eyed wolf saved her from the rest of the pack. She bonds with “her” wolf as she calls him and the wolf checks in on her often. One quiet night the wolf approaches her and lets Grace bury her face in his ruff. The wolf turns out to be her werewolf-soulmate, Sam, who is actually a human in the summer and changes to wolf when the weather cools. When Grace meets Sam in human form she knows instantly who he is by his yellow eyes and her immense attraction to him. The majority of the novel is spent examining the lives of Grace and Sam after they meet. Grace’s indifferent parents allow her much time to spend with Sam and he with her at her house. As their relationship grows, the two know they are hopelessly in love with each other, but Sam knows this is his last year “turning” and once he becomes a wolf this time, he won’t be back in human form, making their love a bittersweet struggle to keep Sam warm in the approaching winter.

The beautiful language in this book kept me going. It did take me a good 100 pages to really get hooked, but that doesn’t mean that the beginning was bad, just slower. Immersed in the text are beautiful pieces of poetry from Rilke that explain Sam’s love for Grace, but also the text of some beautiful lyrics that Sam has written. However, the poetry only adds to the beauty in the novel. I found this piece by Rilke (p. 253) extremely moving.
Again and again however we know the language of
love and the little churchyard there, with its sorrowing
names, and the frighteningly silent abyss into which
the others fall: again and again the two of us walk
out together under ancient trees, lie down again and
again in the flowers, face to face with the sky.

Even as an adult female, I got actual shivers up my spine during the love scene between Grace and Sam. I hate to admit it, but I re-read it many times. This was a beautiful and haunting book full of emotion and characters who seemed to make decisions way too adult to match their teenage years. I know this will appeal to the “Jacob” fans of the Twilight set. And, I have to admit that I’m not a fan of wolf stories, but this one really touched my heart. I can’t wait to pass it along to my “former” students! ☺ Happy summer! It’s officially here!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Almost Done!

There is only one more day left of school! Then we head up north (in Michigan in June-yes) where we will probably be greeted by chilly weather and rain. This is what happened last year and we had no warm clothes. Visualize driving through pouring rain looking for a WalMart at 9:00 at night. Ugh. So, we're doing it again! Not my idea-husband thinks it HAS to be warmer this year. Anyway, I have a stack about three feet high of ARCs to read and I can't wait since I seem to have been caught up in the end of the year rush. I'm having a really difficult time deciding what to read first! What I do know is that I'll have 5 days to read- oh yeah, and play with my kids. And, read to them! I'm so looking forward to summer break!

And, because it always comes at a REALLY bad time in my school year (usually the weekend right before we get out), I think I'm going to try to do my own 48 hour book challenge like Mother Reader. Since I couldn't possibly do it this year, I will try my own soon! The kids are all scheduled to be gone in a few weeks, so I will try then!