Friday, February 27, 2015

Wrap up of Lost Book Club and looking forward to March!

Thanks everyone for hanging out with me for LOST book club month! I think my favorite reads were "Are You There God it's Me Margaret" and "Jurassic Park". If for no other reason than I feel like they are more modern staples that I hadn't gotten around to reading, and might not have otherwise.

Let's talk about March! March, with it's hope that winter is almost on it's way out. March on the blog will include:
-A book about not ignoring your natural instincts that keep you safe!
-A graphic novel about a totalitarian England and a masked man who wants to change it!
-A list of books that don't exist that I want to read!
-...and much much more!

Do join us, won't you?

Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend everyone.See you in March.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lost Book Club - " The Chosen" by Chaim Potok

It all starts with a baseball game in Brooklyn. Reuven and his Modern Orthodox classmates play a baseball team made up of Hasidic classmates. There is a boy on the Hasidic team named Danny who can really swing at the ball. There's a lot of animosity flowing between the teams and when Danny wails on a ball so hard and fast that Reuven doesn't even have time to get out of the way it was obvious that the Hasidic team was "out to murder". Reuven is wearing glasses when he catches the ball with his face, specifically his eye.

Reuven is in the hospital for a long time recovering where he listens to the DDay invasion in Normany over the radio. One day Danny comes to visit and apologize but Reuven is having none of it! Reuven tells his father of Danny's visit and get's a strong reprimand from him, because Danny asked for forgiveness and didn't receive it.

Danny comes back to the hospital to try again and a burgeoning friendship is born. The boys hang out more and more.  Danny has a complicated relationship with his own rabbi father, where his father only talks to him if they are discussing the Talmud. Reuven thinks this is cruel, and it becomes kind of a sore spot between them. 

(I don't know enough about the different kinds of Judaism to speak intelligently about the differences between them so bear with me). Reuven's dad wants him to grow up and be a university professor like he is; however the older he gets (and through discussions with his own and Danny's father) he decides he wants to be a rabbi. Danny is expected to become a rabbi, because it's a position that is passed down through the family. Danny is incredibly smart and well versed in religion but he is fascinated by Freud and Darwin and psychology (all books that he reads on the sly).

It's a story about change; boys growing into young men, the birth of the nation of Israel, the end of a war, the death of a president and about a dozen more. While I don't think that I would read this book again, I think that it was a really interesting snapshot of a certain people and time and place and I'm glad I read it. A high 2.5 stars out of 5.

What does this have to do with LOST? Uh, I'm going to stretch here and say that the two boys are like The Others and the survivors. They occupied the same space for a long time without knowing each other, violent confrontation ensued but then they had more things alike than they had different? .....?...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

#truthtrain #bloghonest and book blog community

We interrupt this previously scheduled LOST book club month to talk about something thats going on in the book blogging world right now. (That's the problem with theme months)

There's a lot of talking going on about plagiarism, what the difference is between shaming and accountability, pressure and responsibility. If you have missed some of these conversations do some searching on twitter with the hashtags #truthtrain and #bloghonest.

I'm new to the book blogging world (1 year in October) and one of the best things about book blogging is the other book bloggers. In my experience, the book bloggers I've come into contact with are funny, smart, honest, kind, good souls. Even people that I disagree with on things like religion, politics, and other hot button issues have blogs and personalities that I enjoy. I am so fortunate that these are the people I experience in the book blogging world.

Thank you to the people who put in the effort. People who take their limited free time to read and review books that are clogging my "to be read" pile. People who think of creative posts that inspire me to do more than "just" review books. People who offer encouragement and sympathy on social media when you're in a slump or when life is not going your way.

Not all people are like this. People steal. People are petty and crappy.People have egos the size of Montana. It saddens me to see the toxicity of these kind of people spread into the lives of the kinds of bloggers I know.

If you're a blogger and you're feeling like you can't keep up with the schedule that you have set for yourself this is what you do: you post something that says "Guys, I need a break, I just can't do this right now." No one will be angry, everyone will understand. When you are done from your break, people will be happy to see that you have returned. The answer to your burnout is never, ever, ever, taking someone elses work and passing it off as your own.

I wish I could be more eloquent like others who have written on this topic. But what it boils down to is:
- Taking personal responsibility and not just apologizing, but doing whatever it takes to make things right is not just good, it's what has to be done.
-Protecting yourself and your work is not "bitchy" or "mean". It's protecting something that you have created and it's always okay.
-Treat each other with kindness. There's enough terrible things on the internet and the world that if we can make book blogging a refuge of support and love why wouldn't we do that? (But negative reviews are still okay :) because those have their place too)

To close, here's a picture of a corgi pretending he's a turtle because when I feel sad corgis make me feel better.

The Corgi That Fell in the Mud
Buzzfeed is a wealth of corgi pictures. Among other less useful things.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lost Book Club - "O Pioneers!" by Willa Cather

What a surprise, my friend Willa Cather finds a way to show up on the blog, even in LOST book club month! "O Pioneers!" is the first book of a trilogy, the last book is My Antonia . It's a similar setting and feel but it's not like you are following the same people, they can very easily be read by themselves as stand alones. This book is apparently on a few banned books list though I have no idea why (oh yes, because people who ban books have a tendency to be ridiculous, that's why).


The main focus of the book is the Bergson family. They (of course) live on the prairies of Nebraska, and it's not a good time on the prairie. Several years of poor farming are forcing a lot of people to give up their farms and leave. The father of the Bergson family dies and they find themselves at a crossroads. Do they pack it in now like so many of their friends (including the Linstroms, who come up again later)  or do they continue to try to squeak by? The daughter, Alexandra insists that they stay, and that they even mortgage their own farm to buy up the land that people are selling. Her brothers and her mother (somewhat surprisingly) listen to her and they stay. It was a good choice!

16 years later the farm is a booming success. Though of course, as we know, a booming success does not mean personal happiness. Alexandra hasn't married, her main concern being the well being of the farm and her two brothers. The one man that she likes, Carl Linstrom, gets run off by her petty brothers. And she keeps having weird dreams about death. Which there are a fair amount of deaths in this book, some natural some not.

This book has ruptured appendixes, people shot in a jealous rage, the proper care and feeding of hogs, failed gold prospecting and more! I was trying to decide if I liked this book more or less than Antonia. I liked that it focused on a wider range of people. I disliked Alexandra's dumb brothers. But sometimes Antonia was really obnoxious. I liked the Cather writing style in each. So I guess I like them both the same! 3 out of 5 stars!

What does this have to do with LOST?: Well, there's a love triangle. And also people felt pretty isolated out on the prairie, I'm sure it felt like a deserted island at times!


Friday, February 20, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lost Book Club - "The Langoliers" by Stephen King

Oh the Langoliers. (If my spellchecker keeps thinking I'm trying to spell gondoliers we are going to have problems.) Stephen King never ceases to amaze me with the weird things that he comes up with, even though he turns out books at an alarmingly fast pace.

Here's your summary:

There's a red eye flight leaving from Los Angeles to Boston. It's a plane basically like any other filled with an assortment of people going places for their own reasons.

One of the passengers wakes up and realizes that their companion is gone. Since she's ten years old and blind it doesn't take long for her to start panicking. She moves through the plane to try to find someone to help her, but the plane is oddly empty. Her panic wakes up the approximately 8 other people who are left in the plane. There's no trace of their missing co-fliers but there are things left behind. Suitcases and purses, watches and jewelry, but then more oddly: metal surgical parts, metal teeth filings, and a toupee.Perhaps most alarmingly they realize that both of the pilots are gone and the plane is on auto pilot. Since they are over the Rockies it's a bit alarming. Luckily one of the surviving passengers is a pilot, so that at least takes care of one pressing issue! Most of the passengers aren't that interesting except for the blind girl, the pilot, a British man with a shady past but with great leadership qualities and a man who is just crazy. He's important later. As they look out the windows they see no towns, no lights, no planes, nothing that gives any indication of life outside the plane. They have to land, because there isn't enough gas to just fly around forever but there isn't anything to calm their fears when they do land......

My only qualm was that I felt like there was at least 1 too many background characters for me to keep track and care about. A couple of the random people I kept getting confused. Maybe because so many of them were men? (Pointed look) It was kind of just a random, interesting book by Monsieur King, I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars!

It's also a movie, like a made for tv movie. The langoliers look like flying meatballs and they are not scary but it actually follows the book pretty close, so points for that!

What does this have to do with LOST? Scary plane troubles, yo!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Lost Book Club - "After All These Years" by Susan Isaacs and a note about Literrater

We're going to start with a confession: after about the first 150 pages I started skimming this book, pretty much until the end. Let's talk about the actual plot and then I will talk about why I disliked this book. Okiedoke? Okiedoke.

Rosie and her husband Richie are celebrating a big wedding anniversary. Literally minutes after the big bash that they throw has ended, Richie tells his wife that he's leaving her for a younger,more beautiful woman that he works with. Rosie is devastated. She's been with Richie when they were young and broke, they built a very successful company together and now she's getting pitched away without a second thought.

He moves out of their McMansion and their divorce proceedings turn contentious before too long. One night, Rosie wanders into her kitchen late at night to eat some of her feelings and she literally trips over her soon to be ex-husbands body. 

As the murder investigation proceeds it soon becomes apparent that Rosie is their one and only suspect and the cops are just waiting to put her away until the funeral is done. Rosie didn't do it (?), but  there's no evidence to prove anyone else was in the house that night. So she decides to take the (not) reasonable course of action; skip out of town, and try to solve this murder while on the run from the cops in Manhattan. (Library Educated does not condone or encourage this move).

So here's a couple of reasons that I think the book didn't jive with me:
-Despite all my best efforts, I still can't get into murder mysteries.
- I think that my age bracket wasn't the intended audience. I think maybe they were aiming for a more middle aged crowd.
-I felt like there was a lot of talk describing the different men's body hair. Which is weird and unappealing and strange.
- It was very early 90s. When she was describing her opulent mansion with the library that they never used I wanted to be like "Make sure you sell that bad boy before the bottom drops out and you can't sell it for a song". It just didn't age well in general.

So let's just call this a 2 out of 5 so I can be done talking about this one and move on in my book life! :)


What does this have to do with LOST?: Well lot's of mystery and a lot of people dying on LOST so I think that's what I'm going to go with here!


Does anyone else use Literrater? It's a site where you rate books using kind of a sliding scale for different categories like horror, violence, gore, pacing, etc. I think it was basically a way for people to find books that were age appropriate. They had a rewards program that after you earned so many points you could get a $25 amazon gift card. I figured it was probably a scam, but it wasn't. I actually earned two! I was waiting on my 3rd when I got an email that was sent from the staff to all of the people who were waiting for their points to be redeemed. The email basically said "Yeah... so the site has no funding and it didn't really take off like we thought it would. Also we had to spend a lot of time combating fraudulent reviews. So we're not going to be able to honor the rewards anymore".  $25 was probably too high of an incentive, that would motivate people to just copy and paste reviews from places like goodreads and amazon and try to pass them off as their own. I don't know if that was part of the fraud problem, but it's just a guess. I'm a little peeved about it because I had already spent the money "in my head" and frankly put a lot of time trying to write thoughtful helpful reviews. Oh well. Such is life!

Anyway, moral of the story is if you were thinking about getting started or have gotten started with literrater be aware that their rewards system is probably not coming back. There's more information on their site.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Lost Book Club - Stranded Stories

So we've been talking about books that were ON a stranded island, but what about books about people that are stranded on islands or otherwise? We can do that too! Click on the pictures for links to goodreads!








Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lost Book Club - "Evil Under the Sun" by Agatha Christie

Oh Agatha Christie. She is the mystery master of disaster. Though I've not read many of works I will give her props for being a prolific writer and someone with super widespread appeal. Let's delve into today's selection, shall we?

Poirot is on vacation at an exclusive little resort on a lovely island off the coast. There's a cast of characters: an older American couple where the woman talks everyone's ear off, a successful dress designer from London who Poirot knows, a woman who really is only described as "mannish" and talking in a way that's more like "barking", a creepy pastor, a nice couple named Redfern, Captain Marshall, his awkward daughter Linda and Captain Marshall's wife Arlena.

Arlena is a showstopper, literally. An actress who has recently retired she is quite a beauty with quite the reputation. A random old man with whom she had a "questionable" relationship left her 50,000 pounds. She has a tendency to treat men like Kleenex. (She likes her men like she likes her Kleenex: "soft, strong and disposable". Movie quote anyone?). She turns a lot of heads on this little resort and it doesn't take long for all the women to decide she's a homewrecking harlot and almost all the men think that she looks like someone who would be fun to wreck a home with. (Except for the creepy pastor who declares that she is "evil personified!")

And then Arlena turns up dead. Who is a suspect? The women who hate her or the men who want to date her? Is it just a random psycho that turned up at the isolated resort? An angry servant? Don't worry, Poirot is there to help the local police solve the case.

So, here's the thing. This book reminded me why I don't read murder mysteries. It's the same reason I don't read spy novels (though I keep trying for some reason). It's too many people to remember all of their motives and relationships. And I hate it when I guess wrong. And I think it might have something to do with my hatred for unreliable narrators because you kind of have to assume everyone's lying right? Though I do like Ms Christie's "Ten Little Indians".

What does this have to do with LOST? : Murderous shenanigans with a limited pool of suspects?

I do like this cover though!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lost Book Club - "Jurassic Park" by Michael Crichton (bonus movie talk!)

Today we're going to talk about the dinoriffic, Jurassic Park. I'm not one for dinosaurs but I thought hey, why not. I know it sold a boatload of copies and spawned a bunch of movies and it fit the criteria so here it is. I'm sure a lot of people are very familiar with this story so I'm going to do a quick and dirty summary:

An old man with a lot lot lot lot lot lot of money and an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs wants to make a dinosaur theme park with real live dinosaurs on an island of the coast of Costa Rica. He actually does a pretty decent job. But when a bunch of people (2 dino docs, a mathematician, the old man's 2 grandkids, and the lawyer for all of the park's investors) come to the island a corrupt worker messes with the computers so that all of the animals get loose on the island. Through various circumstances a lot of the people are stranded outside with the dinos, but the people who are locked into buildings are not that much better off.It turns out that some of these dinosaurs are much more territorial and aggressive and super smart than anyone had anticipated and  none of those qualities are good when combined in an animal that's the size of a car with sharp pointy teeth.

One of the things that I thought was interesting was the scariness vs size for the dinos. I mean the t-rex is scary and huge. But the little velociraptors were smaller but more scary (I thought). But I think the t rex is more marketable and that's why is skeleton is on all of the books and movies!

I thought this was an action packed book with some heavier science and math thrown in to balance it out. (Crichton was incredibly smart so thats where that comes from). One thing I thought was weird that in my cheap, paperback edition that I read there was a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes. It really could have used another run through the editing office. 2.5 out of 5 stars. ROAR.

What does this have to do with LOST? A mysterious island filled with large carnivorous critters? Check and check at both locations.


So it'd been a pretty long time since I'd seen the movie so after reading the book I got it from the library. It actually follows the book relatively close. Except in the book Drs. Stattler and Grant are not a couple. And Dr Malcolm is a less flirty, rock and roll than Jeff Goldblum plays him, but I like it. There's also a couple of inconsistencies about who does and doesn't die but I won't get into it because spoilers, maybe for like 3 people. One thing that I misremembered was that I thought the game warden was Draco's hot dad but I was wrong. Memory is a fickle thing!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Lost Book Club - "Hotel" by Arthur Hailey

I like the concept of this book. It's follows the daily goings on of an old world, independent hotel in New Orleans called the St Gregory. The story follows the lives of some of the employees and the guests of the hotel over a short period of time, maybe about a week? It's a grand old hotel but it's in financial straits and it looks like it's going to be bought and completely gutted by a more modern hotel chain. Some of the staff does it's very best to keep the hotels dignity intact and keep it in the somewhat modern age. Others on the staff are pretty terrible, stealing and running side business through the hotel, mostly illegal and nefarious ones. Not limited to supplying prostitutes to minors, not good.

So here's the problem with this book, and it's not a small one. It's not aged well. Like there's a man who goes around and checks the guest's credit with their banks to see if they actually can pay for their stay when they checkout. And they do the thing where they keep keys in the mail slot things behind the desk, which is a huge security risk which comes out in the book. Also the word "negro" is used a lot, even in association with a young man who is basically the butler to the owner of the hotel who is also in law school. Also, there is nothing really remarkable in the way that he writes. Like, there isn't a single line where I was like "oh that's clever" or "that's a really good sentence" or anything of that nature.

Though there are a few things that are still relatable. There's an attempted rape of a girl from a prominent family and the hotel has to figure out what will happen to the hotel if that leaks to the press. There are senior members of the administration who are coasting in their jobs and refuse to make changes ("things have always been this way") even if the outdated policies are doing serious damage to the hotel. Work trouble is something everyone from every decade can relate to!

Also, just in case you're curious this isn't a real hotel.

So, interesting concept, not great/very dated execution, it gets 2 out of 5 stars from me.


What does this have to do with LOST?: I really have no idea.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Lost Book Club - "Are you there God, it's me Margaret" by Judy Blume

Did anyone have any flashback seeing this title? I have to say, I never read this one as a wee one. I actually picked this book up from my library a few days before my 29th birthday. I told the librarian working (my favorite one) that I was probably the oldest person to ever check this book out for themselves that wasn't required reading of some kind.

For the at least 2 men who read this blog (Hi Dad! Hi Ollie!) this might be a little weird for you. But welcome to the mind of a 12 year old girl.

So basically the story (which I might be the last girl on the planet to read) is about our 11 year old narrator and how she moves to a new city and how it scares her. She will be moving farther away from her paternal grandmother with whom she is very close. She's an only child so when she needs to "talk something out" to someone she talks to God. (I think it's so nice that she introduces herself. You figure God has a lot of people talking to him so a heads up on who it is is appreciated I'm sure.)

Her worries are a lot of the same worries that every preteen has: am I going to ever get boobs? If I get my period last does that mean my insides are broken? I don't need to wear deodorant yet do I? I don't think people start smelling until they are 12...

Here's the thing about this story.

 I want to be like "Margaret, it gets better! You'll all eventually start wearing bras and having your periods and no one cares. They both will be become almost life long hassles so curb your enthusiasm!"

 But the kind of crappy thing is that it's hard to shake the feeling that you need to compare yourself to your peers to see if you're "normal." It stops being about when you get your period and start wearing bras and starts becoming about who you're dating, what your job is, how much you make, what your house looks like, how fast your kids start talking etc etc etc until the end of your life.

It'd be nice to be like "Oh thank God we all grew out of that at 12 and now all we worry about is world peace and curing cancer". But it just isn't so. (But we should all maybe try a little more to care more about curing cancer than if if your friend has a nicer car that you do. That person may be in debt up to their eyeballs and eating ramen every night just because they are trying to keep up some facade. You don't know).

I think I'm rambling.

Anyway. This should pretty much be required reading for 12 year olds. It's also been on banned books lists, which I can only assume was a group of men who were uncomfortable with a book that talks about periods and boobs. (Shrugs shoulders).

What does this have to do with LOST? : Uh, feeling ill at ease in a foreign situation? That's my guess. I don't know. Off to a bad start.


Monday, February 2, 2015

February Announcement - LOST Book Club

Guys, February is drag. The only thing good about it is that it is short, and that if you play your cards right there's some cheap candy to be had on the 15th. Since February is inherently lame, I thought I'd do something with the blog to amuse myself. (And maybe only myself).

I loved the show LOST. There are very few shows that I've watched from the very first episode all the way to the end. It was a family affair too, with my mom and sister. We had a finale viewing party and ate and cried and said "WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?" and then got sad again.

The show was clever, and got a lot of inspiration for literature. The good folks at Lostepedia  combed through every episode and highlighted books that are talked about, or seen amongst the Losties on the island. I picked a bunch (my only criteria being that it has to be something I'd never read before - sorry Watership Down) and read them.I'll also try to figure out why the certain book was picked to be in the show. Most of the time I'll be guessing so I'd love to hear your theories.

Don't worry if you have no idea what LOST was about, never watched it, or watched it and am still angry at the writers. You will enjoy the wide variety of books anything from girls going through puberty, to dinosaurs, to one of Britain's greatest authors. Stay tuned this month and keep the winter doldrums at bay!

And now obligatory LOST funnies:

Just spent the last few weeks watching Lost from beginning to end. I watched it when it originally aired; now watched it with my daughter. Loved it then, love it now!

Push the button. Don't push the button. Bad. - smaller ghost Walt

lost tv show poster 8x10 11x17 or 13x19 Colors by missingtime, $13.00