Saturday, May 22, 2010

Confession: I Want to Be Organized

I have a confession to make.  I want to be organized.  Not just to the point that my life is a little easier.  I want to be super organized, like Monk organized.

Okay, so I don't want a clinical diagnosis of OCD, but I do want to be an organization junkie.

I want everything to have its own special place.  I want a list for every aspect of my life.  I want lots of cute organizational tools.  I want things to be in perfect order.

Now back to reality.  This will probably never happen.  I'm one of the most unorganized people I know.  Any attempts I have made to get organized will last for maybe a day.  Then my laziness and need for immediate gratification get in the way.

I think what I really want is some order in my chaotic life.  Some sense of keeping it together.  In the meantime, I'll keep dreaming of a lovely, organized life.  And I'll continue to buy really cute organizational tools in the hopes of one day using them.  I could use a cute magazine holder as a decoration, right?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Therapy (2)

In my About Me page, I mention that I work at a rape crisis center.  It's safe to say that this is demanding and exhausting work.  Due to limited funding, we only have 4 advocates to cover 2 counties.  Honestly, being on-call sucks.  Sleep is limited thanks to getting calls in the middle of the night.  And, lately, we've had a surge in calls.

Anyone in the helping profession knows about burnout.  It's ugly.  That feeling of helplessness/hopelessness.  Not giving a damn anymore.  Feeling as if you're running in circles making no progress.  That's where I'm at.  It's not good. 

Some people say, "Take a vacation."  I wish.  The few vacation/sick days I have are going to be used next month to finalize everything for my wedding.  So what can I do to escape from this black hole that is holding my soul hostage?

I can read.

Books inspire me.  It was, after all, a book by Dave Pelzer that inspired me to work as a helping professional.  I figured a good inspirational story can pull me from my funk.

Here's what I chose: Somebody Else's Kids by Torey Hayden

I love Torey Hayden's books.  She has had some difficult cases but always seems to make some difference, big or small, in her kids' lives.  That is what I hope to do.

Let the book therapy begin!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Certain Slant of Light

I had been wanting to read A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb for awhile.  It had been on my Wish List for PBS for quite some time, and I finally got a copy. 

A Certain Slant of Light is about a ghost, Helen, who stumbles upon a young man who can see her.  Not only can he see her, but he understands more about what she is than she expected.  The two then fall for each other and find a way to be together, but (like most love stories) find themselves facing a major dilemma that threatens their happily ever after ending. 

Cover: I found the cover to be intriguing.  Before I had even cracked the book open, I was already imagining how the cover tied into the story.  I personally hate when I've finished a book and find myself thinking "What the hell does this cover have to do with the story?"

Characters: The connection between the main characters, Helen and James, was amazing.  I was rooting for them the whole time.  One of the other characters, Dan, irritated the hell out of me.  It could be because our religious views and beliefs about gender roles are completely opposite.  Whatever the reason, he just did not sit well with me.  Cathy was another character I found myself disliking.  By the end of the story, though, I felt sorry for her and was reminded of how we sometimes judge a person based on their actions without knowing the meaning that lies within.

Writing: Whitcomb did an excellent job, in my opinion, of showing how Helen and James's personalities were true to the time of when they had been alive.  Despite their experiences seeing the times change as ghosts, they held true to what they deemed appropriate and normal.  The descriptions of some of Helen's experiences as "Jenny" were so vivid and detailed that I believed I could feel them with her.

Plot: In the beginning, I found the plot to be slightly predictable.  Girl meets boy.  Girl and boy fall in love.  Girl and boy face challenge.  The nature of the challenge, however, is what made this story different for me.  The ending wasn't what I expected, but it did contain an aspect that I had hoped for.

Overall: 4/5 I think this is a pretty good book.  The love story is sweet.  I read the last half of the book one evening while my fiance was working.  The love between Helen and James made me miss him so much.  I love when books I read carry over into my life.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (3)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme held by MizB over at Should Be Reading.  Grab a book and play along!

Grab a book, find a random page, and share 2 teaser sentences from that page.  Obviously, you should try not to give away any spoilers.  Also, tell us the title and author of your book in case we want to check it out!

My Teaser Tuesday book is Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.

She looked down at my hot-pink lounge, and her mouth twisted into a little pucker of disgust.  She placed her hand on the back of the chair and my spell fell away in a shower of pink sparkles until my lounge became a perfectly respectable light blue love seat covered in big pink cabbage roses. p. 129

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

On my way home from class today, I finished listening to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith on CD.  I'm so sad that it's over!  This book was so good that it just swallowed me whole.  I would find myself sitting in my car just a little bit longer once I reached my destination, so I could continue listening.  I know the idea of Abe Lincoln fighting vampires is kind of far fetched, but it was a really great story.

Cover:  I really liked the cover of the book.  It combines the Abe Lincoln everyone knows with this new fictional side of him. 

Characters:  To be honest, I don't know a lot about Abe Lincoln.  When I began listening to the book, I was a little worried that I might not understand some parts because of my lack of Lincoln knowledge.  Soon after getting into the story, however, I realized that wouldn't be a problem.  The author did a great job of incorporating the factual information about Lincoln and describing the qualities that made him human.  I felt like I knew Lincoln so much better by the end of the book.  I also loved the qualities that were brought out in him through the stories of his vamp hunts.

Writing:  Some people may be cautious about reading a book like this.  I was curious about how the author would incorporate the vampire stuff, but I found that he did an amazing job at it.  It was so fascinating to see how he tied the vampire stories into the factual events and people of Lincoln's life.  His writing led me to find myself completely believing that Lincoln fought vampires, and vampires have had a huge impact on the events in our world.  It was obvious that Smith spent a great deal of time researching his characters and that period of time.

Plot:  I found the plot to be linear, which I liked.  The author began with Lincoln as a child and explained how he became a vampire hunter and the importance behind it.  This was important to me, because it provided the background information for the rest of the story.  I really liked how the author focused on Lincoln before and during his presidency.  I expected the story to only be about Lincoln fighting vampires before his presidency and was happy to find this was not the case.  I also enjoyed the significance the author placed on vampires in history.  There was this idea that they were behind some of the great periods of suffering.  I thought, "Wouldn't that make people feel so much better?  It makes much more sense to be able to blame bad things on evil." 

Overall:  5/5  I gave this book the highest rating possible, because I found myself sad when it ended.  I wanted more.  I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't read the book, but I loved it so much.  It was such a clever twist, and I would love to see another book that carries on from that point.  Despite the fact that this book was a work of fiction, I found myself being intrigued enough to want to learn more about Abe Lincoln.  The author painted such a fascinating and human picture of him that I no longer just think of him as a dead president.  I would love to learn more about who he was as a man.

75 in 2010

Over at NBC, a lot of the posters have set personal goals.  This may be to read a certain number of books in a year, to read books according to the alphabet, or to read classics.  My personal goal is to read 75 books in 2010.  I've only read 12 so far.  I know, I know.  I need to step it up!

Here's my list so far:

Friday, May 7, 2010

What I'm Reading (1)

The book I'm currently reading is A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb.  It's been on my TBR list for awhile and on my PBS wishlist for almost as long.  I finally got an email saying it was available and jumped at the opportunity to get it.  Right now, I'm only about 20 pages in.  So far, I find the book rather interesting but just haven't had a lot of time to read.  I have a personal challenge to read 75 books in 2010, and this book is #13 or #14 for the year (depending on when I finish).

I really like audiobooks.  I don't always find time to sit down and read books, but I'm in my car just about every day.  A few nights a week, I would drive to and from classes (90 minutes roundtrip).  Right now, I'm listening to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith.  I love it!  Some may think it's far-fetched.  I mean, come on.  Abe Lincoln fighting vampires?  I have found that the author has done such a good job of tying facts into the fiction, though, that at times I actually find myself thinking Abe was hunting vamps.  And, this fictional story of him has made me interested in reading a biography about him.  This book will be #13 or #14 for the year (again depending on when I finish).

The Aqua Net Diaries

The Nest Book Club started an event called "Buddy Read" in April.  Nesties signed up to participate and were paired up with someone.  They then chose a book to read and discussed it.  My buddy and I chose to read The Aqua Net Diaries by Jennifer Niven.

It took me awhile to get into the book, but I found that I liked it by the time I finished. 

Cover:  The cover didn't strike me in any particular way.  It was simple, although I do like the outline of the hairspray can.

Characters:  I found Jennifer to be a mature teenager.  She seemed to be able to have fun but still achieve major accomplishments.  She was also focused on what her goals were and what she neede to do to reach them.  Another things I liked about Jennifer was that she seemed to be confident.  She knew who she was and what was right for her.  There was a little part of me who didn't like Jennifer, because she made high school seem so easy.  Further into the book, however, I found myself connecting with her on a more serious note.

Writing:  The writing in the individual chapters seemed to flow.  I found it easy to read and understand.  The order of the chapters was confusing at times.  I felt like she was jumping between grades and ages.  There were some chapters that seemed to end abruptly.  I remember coming to the end of the page and being surprised when I turned it to find the beginning of a new chapter.

Plot:  I've always liked memoirs, especially those written with the chapters telling a different story.  As mentioned previously, I was a little confused with the chapters.  For me, it would have made more sense to start from Freshman year and move through Senior year or to group chapters (School, Friends, Dating, Family).  That's just the way I think, though. 

Overall3/5  It took me some time to get into this book.  The first half was really slow for me, and in some ways, I found the author to be unbelievable.  She just made high school seem too easy.  The last half of the book, however, was almost as if I was finally getting to her inner workings.  It was like finally getting past the superficial crap of high school and realizing the humanity of someone.