Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey

Erotic. Compelling. Addicting. This book has taken the reading world by storm. Everyone is reading it. I had to know what the fuss was about.

Billionaire Christian Grey has always gotten what he wanted in his adult life. People do not say no to him. He is attractive, controlling, and confident. He has never had trouble finding women to partake in his sexual life either. He has a "playroom" where he acts out his sexual roll as a Dominant to his Submissive. I won't go into what all of that means (google BDSM if you are really interested).

Anastasia Steele is a successful student preparing to graduate from WSU. She stumbles into the life of Mr. Grey when she interviews him for the college newspaper. She is instantly entranced by him and cannot stop thinking about him. He is equally as compelled by her and soon targets her as his next Submissive in his "playroom." He soon finds out that Anastasia is not like every other girl that he has had a relationship with in the past. He may actually have feelings for her, but that doesn't take away his dark sexual side. Although she finds herself equally beguiled by him, she is not sure if she wants to delve into an S&M lifestyle that she believes Christian could not live without. Anastasia tries to get to know him on a personal level, and as she digs deep into his past she soon realizes that he comes from a world of pain which is perhaps why he turned out the way he did.

This book, as you have probably heard, is very sexual. The scenes are graphic at times, so if you are not into that then I would not recommend this book to you (my mom hated it). I will say thought that there is more to this story than just sex; however, there is quite a bit of it. The story is more about Christian and Anastasia's relationship and finding out about Christian's not so perfect past. I enjoyed the story and read the book in about 2 days. I have already bought the second one (Fifty Shades Darker) and will probably read (Fifty Shades Freed).

Have any of you read it? What were your thoughts? Do you think it lives up to the hype?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Kris Jenner...and All Things Kardashian

Ok. First of all I have to plead, please do not stop reading my blog just because I read this book. I think the entire family is crazy and I do not know why these people are famous... so I read the book. I wanted to know: how did all of this happen? Why are these people soooo famous? This book tells you how it all started, which was very interesting. I will give Kris Jenner credit for helping all of her children become wealthy in their "careers." What I really enjoyed about this book was her insight about the O.J. Simpson trial. She was best friends with Nicole Brown Simpson and gave background about their relationship. I read this book on the beach while hanging out with my family. It was a good beach read because it was quick, easy, and not a big deal if you had to put it down for a while. My aunt loves the Kardashians so it was fun for us to discuss the book while at the beach together.

For anyone who likes the Kardashians, is amused by them, or wants to learn more about the O.J. trial, this book is a decently entertaining read.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time


I have been meaning to read this book for quite some time. I have NO IDEA why it took me so long to read! It is one of the best books that I have read in a long time. As a speech pathologist who works with students with autism, I should have read it years ago. However, I am glad I read it recently because it gave me something to read when I was on a plane last week.

This book is narrated by a 15 year old boy named Christopher who has Asperger's syndrome. He has fantastic math skills, likes everything to be in perfect order, cannot tell a lie, and despises the color yellow. One day, Christopher discovers that someone has murdered a dog in his neighborhood and he is determined to figure out who committed the crime. He decides to write a book describing the case. The writing of this book is what sparks a mystery in Christopher's own life. He discovers secrets that change his life forever.

I love this book because the story would be memorable even if the narrator did not have autism. What gives it that extra something is that he does. Christopher does not naturally pick up on facial expressions, sarcasm, tones of voice, or audible declarations of emotion (e.g., sighing) which are many of the things that we as readers require from the narrator to set a tone. We need the narrator to give us not only dialogue, but descriptions of characters' facial expressions and speaking tones so we create an image in our mind's eye and feel what the characters are feeling. In this book, being inside Christopher's head made this a different experience. Many individuals with autism base their observations of human behavior on what they see, not what they interpret. They are very fact oriented. Although he does not use feeling words to describe his emotions, Christopher is able to provide the reader with enough description to gain some insight on how he is feeling. Throughout the story of the dog murder mystery we learn about his dysfunctional family. His parental relationships are complicated at best and how Christopher experiences this is quite enthralling, emotional and moving.

I recommend this book to EVERYONE. If you haven't read it, go get it. I will not let you borrow mine because this book will remain on my shelf for years to come.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress


My current read is Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen. I wanted to read this book for a long time because I thought that the synopsis on the back of the book sounded interesting: A forty something woman was raised Mennonite (you know the religion where women wear the little bonnets and long dresses who aren't allowed to dance or partake in anything secular?) and married outside of her church. She was left by her husband after over a decade of marriage for a man he found on gay.com. Sounds pretty interesting, right? The book got nice reviews saying that it was a funny and memorable memoir. To be honest, I disagree. It is a very short book that I thought would have taken me a day or two to read. I have been reading it for about a week now and I can't wait for it to be over. Don't get me wrong, some parts are quite funny, but I thought that it was going to be much better. I am still reading it and I find it to be a bit boring.

I am currently looking for my next exciting summer read. It is my turn to pick the next book for my book club, but I am stuck! Last summer I had a long list of books that I couldn't wait to read, but I feel like the only book that people are raving about right now is Fifty Shades of Gray. I will probably read it to see what the hype it about, but I want something better. I am looking for the next Water for Elephants kind of book. Hopefully I will find it soon.... Until then I am going to read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

Happy reading!


Friday, June 8, 2012

The Night Circus


The Night Circus is probably not a book that I would have picked up at the book store on my own. Chip's mom gave it to me. When she gave it to me she said it was pretty interesting, but to be honest I wasn't super excited about it. I enjoy a fantasy book here and there, but it is not necessarily what I would call one of my favorite genres. I put it on my side table into a "possible read" pile and then didn't think about it for a while. My friend Erin then suggested it for our book club. I thought, well if two people have brought it up to me then it is probably worth the read.

I started this book a while ago. I was super busy with the end of the school year at work that I just read a chapter here or there. I enjoyed that the chapters were each a few pages long so it was easy to stop frequently. I did not get into the book right away, but once school got out I decided to put some significant reading time in and before long I was entranced.

The book was confusing at first because the chapters of the book switch times, countries, characters, and moods often. I frequently had to flip back to the previous chapter so I would know what year it was. This is probably not the best book to read on a Kindle or E-reader because flipping back and forth between chapters is necessary. Once I got used to the book and knew what was going on I didn't have to flip back so much.

The Night Circus is based in the late 1800s-early 1900s across Europe and New England. It is a magical love story between two talented magicians who are chosen to to compete against one another in a very complicated battle of strength, power, and talent. The arena of the challenge is the circus itself: Le Cirque des RĂªves. The battle is more or less a game that involves not only themselves, but everyone around them. They were chosen against their knowledge or will to be bound to their opponent to battle to the very end. The story takes place over 30 years which is more or less the duration of the challenge.

Erin Morgenstern is a talented story teller that is able to paint a picture in print so well that I believed I was a patron of the circus. I could almost smell the air, taste the confections, and see the talented acts. This book is for those who enjoy fantasy, magic, and good writing.

As a member of my book club, Erin wrote a review to describe viewpoint of this book:

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
I chose this book because it wanted something visual, something that I couldn’t stop picturing after I put the book down for the night. I definitely got that with The Night Circus. It is an extremely detailed story leaving you wondering what is real and what is dreamt. I enjoyed the pictures that the narrative painted in my mind, however, I was left wanting more from the plot. The pace was a little slow for me, with a game that spans 30 years, alternating back and forth between past, present, and future. I was a little bothered by the constant jumping around between dates that were so few years apart that I couldn’t see a reason for it. I would have rather had a story told in chronological order, but alternating character’s perspectives by chapter. I did like the jump forward in time to get to know Bailey, but other than that, I felt like the constant back and forth was pointless to the story. 
I really liked the characters of Celia and Marco, but I felt that we could have had even more character development and gotten to know them better as people and not just magicians. Celia was so witty when she did have narrative, but it never felt like we had enough. 
Overall, this is a story carried by the details rather than the plot. I was expecting more from a challenge that was supposed to be fought to the death.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins


Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard of The Hunger Games. I picked the first one up when I was standing in line at TJ Max. You know when you go to TJ Max, find the thing that you want to buy, then you have to stand in line and there are so many THINGS that you don't really need but you will just die without? So I picked up a paperback copy of The Hunger Games. I think tween fiction can be really good for all ages.... especially if you have a full time job and want something easy to read. This was right up my alley during IEP/Kindergarten transition season at my job.

I tore through the first book in about 6 hours on a Saturday. I couldn't put it down. I didn't eat or drink hardly that day, I just kept reading. The story takes place in a post apocalyptic North America in a new county called Panem. Civil war tore the country apart and the totalitarian government reigns on past what they call the "dark days." The "dark days" were when the 12 districts (the country's form of states or provinces) tried to rebel against the Capital. The Capital won the war. To keep the districts in check, every year 2 children ages 12-18 are chosen at random to compete as Tributes in the Hunger Games. This is where children fight to the death to be crowned the Victor. The first book is all about Katniss Everdeen,District Twelve's female tribute, and her journey through the Hunger Games. This story is full of blood, love triangles, family destruction, and a oppressive government's control.

Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen in the movie The Hunger Games which game out in March. I loved the movie. Of course the book was better, but it was fantastic to see how the book came to life. 

The next two books are called "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay." I won't give too much away if you haven't read the first one. I loved the second book. I think it might even be better than the first. The third one almost disappointed me. I get very into the characters when I read books, and by the end of the third book I was very upset with some of the main characters. Have any of you read the trilogy?

I am still reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  The school year ended so now I have no excuse not to read and blog. To be honest, I am getting quite obsessed with speech pathology blogs and Pinterest. The more I look at people's blogs who keep up on them daily, the more anxiety I get. SO now I have no excuse. I am only going to be working part time until I start my new job in a new district on August 20th. Yayy new job! If you have been dying to know what The Night Circus is about then here is the link to the website: The Night Circus

What are you reading?

XOXO- Jacqueline