Friday, June 26, 2015

Joining #reviewathon

Write On Review-a-Thon

As some of you know, I have still yet to catch up with my reviews, but since this reviewathon has come at the end of the school year, this comes at the perfect time to start catching up on the books that I have read since this past January/February.  But I have a bunch of friends coming over for some movie watching tonight, so I will start working on my reviews tomorrow after I have done some cleaning of my apartment (dusting my china cabinet and possibly something else).  But in any case, its the perfect time for me to start catching up on the backlog of reviews.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Salon - Some personal thoughts

I usually use this space on Sundays, when I post, to talk about bookish related stuff going on in my life.  But after seeing some comments that my anger stir inside of me,  I felt I needed to get the thoughts in a place that felt safe to me and not on Facebook.

As some of you know, I am a Christian and am not ashamed of that fact.  Its a part of not only of how I have grown up, but has also become more and more apart of who I am.  Yes, there were times that I questioned as to whether I was a "true" Christian, namely because of my love of the Harry Potter books and movies and because of other things I have read over the years that wouldn't be considered Christian in a number of circles and the same goes with the movies that I enjoy (I don't think many Christians would enjoy Sideways) and also the fact that I don't listen to a Christian radio station from just across the line and would rather listen to secular music in my car.  I do have a few Christian playlists, but the vast majority of my music would be classified as secular.  But I am starting to find my place as a Christian and understand that not every Christian comes from the same point of view and that there are Christians out there who watch, listen and read more secular material because they find the Christian shows/movies, music, and reading material not satisfying enough for them or they are just not attracted to that material.

Anyways, lets get to what prompted me to write this post.  What prompted me to write this post was due to the fact that a number of parents in Ontario, a large majority of whom are religious, are protesting the fact that the province want to change the curriculum for its sex education in some minor ways, but nothing that in my mind is really radical (you can view what has gotten some parents in Ontario upset here).  Anyways there was a discussion on Facebook about the curriculum this morning and I saw a comment about Christians that angered me (apparently the person who initially posted the comment has taken it down).

Basically it was somebody who clearly didn't like organized religion and in particular Christianity.  It lead me to do a google search on why Christians are marginalized and made to feel like pariahs. And that made me even more angry and I just left, not feeling satisfied.

I suppose I never will be satisfied because I will never find the answer that I am looking for without it being attacked on.  Yes, I feel attacked for my beliefs and yes it does feel personal.  Not only because of my belief in the Holy Trinity (God, Son, Holy Spirit) and other things that Christians believe (God as father, Jesus as his Son,  the virgin birth, etc), but also because I believe that most Christians that I know are generous, kind, tolerant, wonderful people and also very human.  Of course there are yahoos that are full of hatred and are mean-spirited individuals (and there are in every group, no matter one's creed), but on the whole, I find the Christian community to be tolerant, at least the one that I grew up in.

I am not condoning the actions of Christians in the past or the present, ie actions during the Holocaust, the Crusades, the molesting of young boys and girls, the Residential Schools in a number of countries that did extreme harm to Native populations, the depletion of Native populations in places in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and other places, the exploitation of other humans for material gain (the slave trade) because supposedly they were superior to another race, the disappearance of Native cultures around the world,  and so forth and son on.  But I am saying that Christians are finding that a very small vocal group maligning the beliefs of Christians and if you are to be tolerant of other religious groups, you should also be tolerant of Christianity, even if you don't agree with it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pioneer Girl - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Title: Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder; ed. by Pamela Smith Hill
Pages: 400
Published: 2014
Challenges: Non-Fiction
Genre: Autobiography, Non-fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Personal library

Description:  Pioneer Girl follows the Ingalls family's journey through Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, back to Minnesota, and on to Dakota Territory sixteen years of travels, unforgettable experiences, and the everyday people who became immortal through Wilder's fiction. Using additional manuscripts, letters, photographs, newspapers, and other sources, award-winning Wilder biographer Pamela Smith Hill adds valuable context and leads readers through Wilder's growth as a writer. Do you think you know Laura? Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography will re-introduce you to the woman who defined the pioneer experience for millions.  (via Goodreads

Thoughts:  I can't recall exactly where I first heard about the book, but once I did hear about it, I knew that I would be wanting this book and was almost immediately requested as a Christmas/birthday gift (for those that don't know, my birthday is January 25, hence why I have to request birthday gifts when I am requesting Christmas gifts and yes, I do request what I would like as gifts, as it makes it easier on my parents to know what I want to get and yes I don't get every request fulfilled).  I knew it was something I had to get my hands on, being as I had read all of Wilder's Little House books as a girl and was a big fan of the series.  I suppose the fact that it was promoted as the truth behind the Little House books didn't hurt either.

Anyways, when I was able to sit down and read the book, I really loved the book, despite the numerous annotations that are through out the book.  In fact, I really liked the annotations, as they brought the Little House books to life and also gained knowledge about was changed, omitted, etc. and the reasons behind those changes.

Bottom line: While those who haven't read the series will probably enjoy the book, those who have read the Little House books will probably enjoy the book that much more and enhance their reading experience of the series.  I should note that the book is not geared towards young readers, but rather it is intended for more mature readers (probably teens and up) due to the amount of information that is imparted.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.75/5

Pages for 2015:  4,089

Monday, June 1, 2015

20 Books of Summer

Welcome to the 20 Books of Summer reading event, hosted by Cathy of 746 Books. This event involves reading 20 books over the course of the summer. It starts on June 1st and runs through September 4th. My list includes both e-books and physical books and some re-reads and some that I am currently reading.  Learn more about the event here.
The List
  1. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (e-book)
  2. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (physical)
  3. War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy (e-book & physical)
  4. Montcalm & Wolfe: The Duel Biography of Two Men who forever changed the course of Canadian History by Roch Carrier (e-book)
  5. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley (physical)
  6. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque (physical)
  7. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (physical)
  8. Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum (physical)
  9. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory (physical)
  10. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (physical)
  11. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (e-book)
  12. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough (e-book)
  13. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (e-book or phyiscal; don't know what I'll get first)
  14. Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (physical)
  15. Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
  16. Emma: a modern retelling by Alexander McCall Smith (physical)
  17. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen  (e-book)
  18. The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philipa Gregory (physical)
  19. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (physical)
  20. The White Princess by Philippa Gregory (physical)
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