FIR '10 Question #3 : Reading Snacks

Fall Into Reading 2010 @ Callapidder DaysAs part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge, Katrina @ Callapidder Days has decided to post a weekly question related to the challenge.

She writes, “I thought it would be a great way to keep Fall Into Reading participants connected throughout the course of the challenge.”

Here’s the question for this week:

Do you eat/drink while reading? If so, do you have some favorite reading snacks?

You may be surprised to learn that, in fact, I do not eat while reading. Not for any lack of hunger or cravings on my part, I assure you. I am almost always munching on something during the day, but since I read in bed, I try to avoid bringing snacks with me so I don’t end up with crumbs / stains on the sheets. I also tend to have snacks while I watch tv with my husband just before reading at night, so I’ve likely already had my (caloric) fill of goodies for the night.

My favorite night-time pre-reading snacks these days include : ice cream / root beer floats, potato chips and the occasional baked good. As the weather cools down, I would likely want to add apple cider or hot cocoa to that list!

How about you?

Pssst… I'm over here!

I’m pretty excited because I have a guest post up at 5 Minutes for Books this weekend – one of my favorite book blogs, which I’m sure you already read and love.

I wrote about, a fantastic website I’ve mentioned before where you can read a large variety of children’s books online and donates books to children with no access to them.

It’s a website my four year old and I are quite smitten with and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you really really should! But first: Click on over to read my guest post for more about the organization and of course some incessant raving about our new favorite children’s book, Ladybug Girl!

FIR '10 Question #2: Do you e-read?

Fall Into Reading 2010 @ Callapidder DaysAs part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge, Katrina @ Callapidder Days has decided to post a weekly question related to the challenge.

She writes, “I thought it would be a great way to keep Fall Into Reading participants connected throughout the course of the challenge.”

Here’s the question for this week:

What do you think about e-books? Do you engage in e-reading or do you prefer to stick to good ol’ physical books?

I have very little experience with e-reading but not for a lack of interest. I reviewed the Amazon Kindle back in June 2009. Back then the price of an e-reader was just astronomical – nearly $400. I knew that was too much to spend at the time and if they were still the same price now, I still wouldn’t consider it. I also think there is a very valuable timeless place for physical books. I love the smell of books, and I like being surrounded by them in my home (luckily, or I would be a very unhappy woman as I am literally surrounded by them!) but there is no denying the obvious advantages to e-reading especially when you are on the go.

I think e-reading is perfect for bringing a book on a work trip or vacation – or even to the office to read on your break. I think if you had very small living space, an e-reader would be a great way to continue reading and rereading the books you love without sacraficing valuable space. Not everyone has room for all those bookshelves! And the laundry list of excellent new features in the current assortment of e-readers is frankly drool-worthy.

I am currently coveting the newest Amazon Kindle which retails for as little as $139. They have come a long way since the first Kindle and now allow you to read your own documents on the Kindle as well, like PDFs and even have a “read to me” feature which would be so nice when reading at night, as you start to get very tired but still want to read just a bit more of the story… You can also connect the device to social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter to share any meaningful passages you read with others – how cool!

Add to this the light weight design (especially compared to a big hardcover), built in dictionary and bookmarks, adjustable text size and font choices, search ability so you can find that awesome part that you forgot to bookmark, and yeah seriously I could go on. I don’t think the Kindle or any e-reader could replace regular books for me – but it would be an awesome, powerful tool to be sure!

How about you? Do you have or have you used an e-reader? Love, hate or something in between? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsFor anyone who has not yet joined the bandwagon, let’s catch you up to speed. First things first, go read my review of the first book and get yourself a copy of The Hunger Games – because yes, you absolutely have to read this series in order. You should probably skip the rest of this review so you don’t risk reading any spoilers, which I will try to avoid but you know…

It’s been almost a year since I was first introduced to the world of Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire. Like everyone else, I was instantly hooked after reading The Hunger Games (click here for my review), the first in an unforgettable trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

I quickly moved on to Catching Fire, book two in the series, and loved it. Unfortunately, then I had to join in with the rest of the world and wait, somewhat impatiently for book three to be released – and then to get a copy!

Now, I’m on the other side of the fence. I’ve finished all three books – the whirlwind is officially behind me – and now I move onto the grieving process as I digest the whole story. I really feel like this series was perfectly paced, perfectly told and ended exactly when it needed to. It is a masterpiece.

Book three, Mockingjay, picks up where the last book left off and like the two books before it, everything changes and then changes again. Everytime you think you’ve figured out how everything stands, something new comes to the fold and decisions are made and now everything is different again. I really love how the experience of reading this story is nearly as thrilling, confusing, heart breaking and bizarre as the characters in the story experience it.

I love that the “love triangle” was so complicated and muddled that it was just as hard for me to take sides throughout the story as it was for Katniss. I think the ultimate struggle in this love story was with the fact that she was never given a chance to naturally experience both loves and make a choice for herself – time frames were forced upon her and I found myself angry for her for not being given a chance to explore her own feelings at a normal pace.

It wasn’t fair and I don’t think I “picked a side” until the last third of this book, possibly when Katniss herself finally seems to pick a side. The author is very careful about her details and forces you to experience every detail as Katniss experiences it and not a moment sooner. Everything is always raw.

They say a good author tortures their characters, never giving them a moment’s rest – and if this is true, then Suzanne Collins is an excellent writer. Poor Katniss. This book will make you cry – it will make you gasp with shock over the cruelty of humankind. It is the epitome of a classic disutopian novel but it is nothing you have ever read before.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about the ending of Mockingjay. Per usual, some people loved it, some hated it. I think this is a given for any great story, but needless to say, I had my reservations going in. Would she die? Which boy would she choose? Would she choose no boy? Would both boys die?

The author could clearly go any number of ways and her ability to torture her characters gave me no sense of hope that Katniss might achieve something of a happy ending. But I honestly thought the ending was perfect. And by that, I do not mean happy. It is not sugary sweet, wrapping everything up with a bow. Your heart will break. But…

If you’ve read the trilogy, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the books in the comments section below. Did you love it? Hate it? What was your favorite part or least favorite? Are you Team Peeta or Team Gale? Who do you think would make a good Katniss if this series becomes a movie? Spoilers are welcome in the comments so if anyone hasn’t read the books yet, proceed to the comments with caution!

three dollars well spent.

three dollars well spent. on 365 Project

I dragged the family out to a local street festival, in particular to the annual book sale at a local library that coincides with the street festival. We had some coffee then walked a mile through the various store’s sidewalk sales, then off to the library where I splurged on these three paperbacks for a dollar each!

It’s a very small library, that you could mistake for a bar or pizza place it’s so small and blended into the other area stores. The sale was going on in the basement behind the library and there were people packed, browsing the shelves. I had gone in with fairly low expectations thinking I might find something fun, but the selection was secretly amazing!If I’d had the money to spare, I would have bought a lot more books!

  • I first found Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah which I read great things about from Nancy @ Life With My Boys and was eager to read. I’d actually been considering picking it up on Amazon because it was on sale but I’m glad I waited because I got it much cheaper through this sale!This is a story of friendship that apparently brought Nancy to tears while reading it and she writes that she doesn’t cry over books easily! “More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you—and knows what has the power to hurt you…and heal you.”
  • Second Chance by Jane Green is one of those books I see at the bookstore all the time and think about picking up but ultimately never feel right splurging on, but I decided today was the day! This one sounds like another tear jerker. “In her latest book, Green tells the story of a group of people who haven’t seen each other since they were best friends at school. When one of them dies in a terrible tragedy, the reunited friends work through their grief together and find that each of their lives is impacted in ways they could have never foreseen. Warm, witty, and as wise as ever, this is a story of friendship, of family, and of life coming full circle.”
  • I first heard about The Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick from Jennifer @ Snapshot (also the managing editor at 5 Minutes for Books) who has been reading this series with her twelve year old daughter. Both of them seem to love these books and the cute cover alone had me intrigued. “The book club is about to get a makeover… Even if Megan would rather be at the mall, Cassidy is late for hockey practice, Emma’s already read every book in existence, and Jess is missing her mother too much to care, the new book club is scheduled to meet every month. But what begins as a mom-imposed ritual of reading Little Women soon helps four unlikely friends navigate the drama of middle school. From stolen journals, to secret crushes, to a fashion-fiasco first dance, the girls are up to their Wellie boots in drama. They can’t help but wonder: What would Jo March do?

I’m unofficially (or maybe officially) adding all three to my Fall into Reading Challenge and definitely see some happy reading in my future!

Fall into Reading '10: Question of the Week: What keeps you from reading?

Fall Into Reading 2010 @ Callapidder DaysAs part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge, Katrina @ Callapidder Days has decided to post a weekly question related to the challenge.

She writes, “I thought it would be a great way to keep Fall Into Reading participants connected throughout the course of the challenge.”

I have a tendency to blog about books on Tuesday already so I thought I’d play along this week and hopefully continue to do so this fall.

Anyway, here’s the question for this week:

What do you think is the biggest obstacle to your reading? What prevents you from reading as much as you’d like?

Honestly the biggest obstacle to my reading is the fact that when I do read, I do so obsessively. If I read during the day, I might never stop! Add to that my other favorite vices: blogging, tv, occasionally paying attention to my children – and well, I decided to do everyone a favor and give myself scheduled reading time before bed each night.

And to be honest, it would be hard to lose myself in a good book with the noise that small children are never not making! At night, the apartment is quiet, I’ve hopefully exhausted all of my other thoughts and concerns, blogged my heart out, distracted myself with a few good tv shows, had time to vent and unwind with the hubby – and I’m ready to just sit down and enjoy whatever book I’m currently lost in. So it works well for me, although I do occasionally wish I had more time to read during the day.

How about you? What keeps you from reading more?