Friday, August 29, 2008

How to Read by Thomas Foster

The title is a little to long to put in the subject

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster

I thought it would be interesting to get a Professors insight into reading. Being a computer science nerd, I never took literature classes and only took the standard English class that my degree required. Being a huge reader and fan of books, I'm sorry I missed that chance.

Foster is not ha-ha funny but he made this book highly entertaining to read. I read it with a notebook by my side because the amount of literature he throws out as examples was staggering (there's a helpful list in the back of the book). Foster uses classics and modern lit as examples and almost all of them triggered a "I want to read that" reaction.

Each chapter is broken into something to look for in your reading. He covered the range of Christ symbols, Greek, illnesses, heart problems, roads, shared meals, etc. And as he mentions at the end of the book, there's a lot he didn't cover. But what he did do was give you the start on recognizing that a horse isn't just a horse so you can delve deeper on your own.

I normally speed read books but this book encouraged me to slow down and think about what the writer is really trying to show me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This was another Librivox recording. Kudos to Annie Coleman for tackling the entire book by herself, she did a fantastic job!

P&P has always been one of those books I figured I should read, since it's such a classic. But I'm not a romance person nor am I a Victorian type person so I avoided any Jane Austen book like the plague. I figured that I would download it from Librivox and give it a try, and thought, if I don't like it I'll just delete it from my ipod, no big deal.

As it turns out, I loved it. Yes really.

The novel opens with the line "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife".

P&P is centered around the Bennetts. Specifically Elizabeth. The Bennetts have 5 unmarried daughters and, as with the times, the goal of the parents (mostly mom's) is to marry off all the girls. When a rich, unmarried man comes to town, the eldest daughter, Jane, is presented to him. Mr. Bingley and Jane hit it off quite well. However, Elizabeth and Mr. Bingley's friend, Mr. Darcy, don't fair as well. The story continues with a back and forth of the couples, as lovers are broken apart and others are brought together.

I can see why Elizabeth is someone to admire for young girls. She's very much of her own mind and doesn't bend to other people's will very easily, if at all. Mrs. Bennett is something of a twit. Almost every word out of that woman's mouth makes one cringe. Her desperate need to be "wealthy" and have her girls married to the best possible man, whether the girls want it or not, is annoying bordering on deplorable. Although I'm assuming that her attitude went with the times.

It takes almost to the end of the book to find out if Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy will even get together. Mr. Darcy must overcome his Pride of assuming he is above the Bennetts. And Elizabeth must overcome her Prejudice against Mr. Darcy and all the misconceptions she believes about him.

I've already downloaded Sense and Sensibility for my next venture in Austen's world.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

I've been needing some financial savvy for a while now. I've been following in other people's footsteps and those footsteps were not smart ones.

After reading the money makeover book, I'm all jazzed up and ready to be debt-free! Whoot! Ok, I can't get all 'gazelle ready' and whatever else he talks about but I'm still working on the baby steps.

I'm going to admit that I won't be following this plan to the tee. No 2nd job for me. One job and classes pretty much take all my time. But I'm encouraged to get a budget and start snowballing all my credit card debt.

This book was good and inspiring. I know the testimonials are supposed to jazz you too but I mostly skipped all of them. Oh well. I'm still inspired.

This is a good book to read if you have debt of any kind. He makes great points on why you need to be debt free and how to go about it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Blind Spot by Terri Persons

It's been awhile since I read a straight mystery and figured that the one I picked up should be good. Blind Spot works on a premise of an FBI agent named Bernadette Saint Clare who has....well, I'm not sure. She's capable of seeing what killers see, apparently as it happens.

While this was a good mystery, the main mystery was the sketchiness of Saint Clare's gift. Not many folks believe her, so she's shuffled to a basement in MN. Her new boss may or may not be behind her with her visions.

She, herself, admits to many problems with the visions. She's pursued the wrong people, taken the wrong path to solve crimes. So I'm confused as to why her character is constantly jumping to conclusions. Just because you see a person in a hospital doesn't make them a doctor. This part of Saint Clare's character just really bugged me.

I see that there is a new book out to continue the characters from Blind Spot. I'll be sure to read it just to see if some of the sketchiness goes away. Saint Clare would be, could be, a really great female lead if the kinks are worked out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

This is a Librivox recording.

For some reason, I never read this book as a child. It would have been the perfect book for me, way back in the day, too. I used to have an imagination that would rival Anne's but, alas, I work in an accounting firm now. Any whimsy I had has been zapped.

Anne is an orphan who ends up with the Cuthberts, brother and sister who anticipated getting a boy to help them with the farm at Green Gables. Anne grew on the Cuthberts and she ended up staying.

The book travels several years and follows Anne on her imaginative adventures, her mishaps and concludes with her as a teenager and becoming a woman.

Highly recommended!

Free recording.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

I quit buying this series because it felt like I was reading the same book each time. Fearless Fourteen was more of the same but it was a little more fun than usual.

Stephanie gets involved with Dom, who robbed a bank and hid a lot of money. Since he's out of jail, everyone is interested in getting the money. Cut to Stephanie and Morelli suddenly babysitting a teenager, Bob eating Stephanie's underwear, Ranger hiring Steph to be a bodyguard, and Lula jonesing for a wedding...hers.

I actually laughed out loud in several parts (Lula with a jackhammer, for one) and it was an entertaining, quick read.