Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 28: Lotsa Reading

I actually didn't think that I was going to get much reading done today because I was having a meet-up at my house on Saturday morning and I figured that I would be busy all night cleaning up. Well, that didn't really happen that way. I was feeling too lazy to clean up, so I decided that I would just clean in the morning. That meant that I had a lot of free time to read. I am also one of those people that like to read until the end of the chapter to stop and this section that I was reading was never ending! I felt like it kept going and going and going. It felt like it was the longest chapter in the book! I had to stop before the chapter was done because I had already read 58 pages and my husband was going to put on this documentary that sounded really interesting. The movie is called Marwencol and unfortunately we didn't get to see it because my husband had bought the DVD and was encoding it (or whatever he does to it) and it didn't work out when putting it on our Apple TV, so that movie will have to wait for another time.

This section that I read was mostly about Ignatius and I actually find these parts to be some of the more boring parts. I like hearing about all of the other characters more, so it wasn't as fun to read this section. And like I said earlier the chapter just kept going and going. Jones did finally get to meet Ignatius, which was nice because I wasn't sure if they were going to meet. Hmmm, now I am feeling tired and pooped from the day so I think that I will stop the post here. I only have two days left and 68 pages to read. That is kind of exciting that I am almost done!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 27: Laugh Out Loud

There was a section in this book where I was literally laughing out loud. I usually don't do that with a book, but this one had me cracking up. I also am not sure that other people would think that it was as funny as I did. The part that made me laugh was when Ignatius runs into this guy who he met earlier in the book and they start talking about Mancuso because they see him in the disguise following someone in the French Quarter (where they are at). The guy says that him and his friends love seeing what disguises Mancuso is going to wear and start discussing all of the favorite characters that Mancuso has. He then says, "We've had him arrested twice for making indecent proposals. That's always wonderfully confusing to the police. I do hope that we haven't gotten him in too much trouble, for he's close to our hearts." I really feel for Mancuso and he is definitely my favorite character. During these pages that I read Mancuso gets out of bathroom duty and is now back on the streets trying to bring in a bad guy.

Ignatius is still working as a hot dog vendor and still not making money and eating more than he is selling. His mom is still hanging out with Santa who is trying to get her to get rid of Ignatius. There are more characters in the book, that I haven't mentioned yet, but two of them that I like reading about are Mr. and Mrs. Levy. They are the owners of the plant that Ignatius got fired from. Mr. Levy inherited this plant from his father and he hasn't done anything to improve the business because he hated his father and doesn't want the business. His wife is constantly on her husband for ruining the business and not making her life, or their daugthers', lives better. The banter between the two is funny and Mrs. Levy seems a bit crazy. Now that I think about it, all of these characters are a bit depressing and pathetic people, but I like the writing of Toole and I get a good imagery of what the characters are like.

I read 69 pages tonight! I figured that I needed to read about 65 pages to be on track with the 45 pages a day for the rest of the time. I could probably read some more, but I am kind of tired. Oh, I find that when I am reading the parts in the book where Ignatius or Myrna are writing I am falling asleep. Those parts really bore me. I guess that I like the interaction between the characters and when they are writing it is just long and boring for me. Plus, they are some of my least favorite characters in the book.

Day 26: Exhausted

The morning was great because my toddler was in preschool and the baby took an hour nap, but during this time I caught up on some Biggest Loser. I am really liking this season and since I had the peace and quiet of the morning I wanted to spend it watching that versus reading. Unfortunately, my day did not lend me a lot more free time to read. The baby refused to nap in the afternoon and that in turn made him really cranky and very needy. Then the toddler was being a pill! Plus, I have a friend that just had a baby and I offered to bring her a meal and yesterday was my day to do that. So, that meant that I was cooking a dinner for her in the afternoon. The day was very taxing. Then we went and dropped off the food and my toddler was being so good there, but all of a sudden when we had to get into the car he turned into this cranky, crabby, and mean kid! I had to fight him to get in the carseat and then once he got home he was still in a horrible mood with both my husband and me. Once we finally got the both boys down to sleep, which was way past their bedtimes, I sat on the couch and started reading. I read about 10 pages and fell asleep reading. After waking up and trying to read a little more before falling asleep I called it quits and just went to bed around nine.

I didn't read the 45 pages that I was supposed to, but rather 27 pages (I was able to get a few in here and there during the day). In these pages Irene (Ignatius' mom) is talking to her new best friend Santa (yes, that is her name!) about how bad she feels that Ignatius is a hot dog vendor and how she didn't pay for him to go to school to become that. Of course, she is acting just as Ignatius hoped she would, but Santa is trying to convince Irene that she shouldn't back down and should make Ignatius keep the job. Santa is an "in your face" character and here is a quote from her when she is talking to her granddaughter, "Get the hell away from that stove, Charmaine, and go play out on the banquette before I bust you right in the mouth." Yikes! She is definitely a believer in physical punishment!

Okay, time to go because I was requested to go in our guest bedroom. I wonder what my toddler has in store for me!

Day 25: Extra reading

Since I knew that I had to read 45 pages a day for the next six days, today I really wanted to try and read some extra pages. Luckily, I was able to accomplish that. Makes me feel a little better that I got some extra reading in, but not much. I read a total of 58 pages today.

During these pages Ignatius starts a rebellion at his job only to have it end up turning on him and him getting fired. Then as he is walking home he happens upon a hot dog place and ends up being convinced to be a hot dog vendor. He really only does it because he thinks that his mom will be so upset that the job he has found is a hot dog vendor, since that is a very lowly profession that only bums do. It is funny because during the job he ends up eating most of the hot dogs and then tells the owner that he got robbed. Unfortunately, the owner believes him which seems really crazy to me because you would think that a big fat guy who has already eaten some free hot dogs from you would eat some more given his own cart.

While Ignatius is going about his business there is another Character named Jones who is this black guy that we first met at the beginning of the book. He was in jail when the Grandpa that Mancuso arrested was brought in. During this time Jones hears about this guy wearing a green hunting cap (Ignatius). Now that Jones is out and working in a bar/strip club he keeps hearing about this guy with the green hunting cap and all that he is doing. Of course, what he is hearing about isn't quite the same as what is going on, but to Jones he thinks that the guy with the green hunting cap is this big time criminal who is getting away with a lot and causing a lot of trouble.

I am still enjoying the book and I am very interested to see how everything is going to turn out. I am almost halfway done with the book!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 24: Yikes! Less Time Than I Thought

I realized yesterday when I was reading that I only have seven more days to read this book and that the time was going to go by very quickly! So the Kindle shows that the book is 394 pages (Amazon said that it was 405). I started on page 79 today and that meant that I would need to read 45 pages each day for the next seven days to make my goal of the four books in a month! I know that 50 pages a day was originally what I figured I would have to read, but this week is a busy one for me so I am trying to figure out when I am going to get the reading done. Plus, when the day is over and the boys are in bed I just want to sleep or veg out on the couch. I am going to try my hardest to get it done!

So for today I actually only read 35 pages! I was doing as much of the reading as I could during the night and I only made it that far because the baby started crying and we couldn't soothe him back to sleep, so that meant it was bedtime for me :( Ignatius gets a job at a pants factory working in the office. He only gets the job because they are in desperate need of workers and want anyone. Ignatius is a total slacker and here is what he says about the job, which I think is hilarious and I should use it the next time I am employed:

"I have taken to arriving at the office one hour later than I am expected. Therefore, I am far more rested and refreshed when I do arrive, and I avoid that bleak first hour of the working day during which my still sluggish senses and body make every chore a penance. I find that in arriving later, the work which I do perform is of a much higher quality."

Ignatius' mom has also become friends with the police officer Mancuso and they have started going out bowling together and Ignatius can't believe this. He doesn't seem to want his mother to have a life outside of taking care of him! I sure do hope that my boys are not anything like him when they are older!

Okay back to reading for me!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 23: 10 pages

Today wasn't a good reading day, but it was a fun day! We went to a teaching zoo and saw some cool animals and had a really fun time. We were there most of the day and then when we got home it was time for me to make dinner, which was going to take awhile because I had a lasagna planned out. After we had dinner it was bedtime for the boys, then it was clean-up time and after that I was dead tired! I did manage to read 10 pages though. Not too much going on in the 10 pages. Ingatius did get a job and it should be interesting how that turns out!

Day 22: This seems so familiar

I have been pleasantly surprised with this book and I am really enjoying it. The characters really crack me up. It is funny because as I was reading it I kept thinking, "Ingatius (the main character) reminds me so much of someone. Who is it?" Then it finally came to me who he reminded me of! It is an old coworker from one of my previous jobs. The guy was very full of himself and thought that he was the greatest at everything and would boast about it to everyone, but at the same time he was a bit of a slob in his appearance. Now when I am reading the book I am thinking about my old coworker as Ingatius. It also seems to me that Ingatius may be slightly autistic. I think that I may have read somewhere, when looking up information on this book, that other people have thought the same thing. Ignatius seems really socially awkward and I think that is where I am basing my thoughts on.

I also really like how the author has written the dialect in the book. I get a real sense for how these people talk without it being hard to read. I had some passages highlighted in the Kindle that I was going to put on the blog, but the Kindle is out of sight right now and I am feeling incredibly lazy and don't want to get up to get it. They were just a couple of silly things the characters said.

My favorite character right now is Angelo Mancuso. He is a police officer who ends up arresting people that shouldn't have been arrested (he isn't very good at his job) and so his sergeant decides that he is going to be put on "undercover" duty to bring in a suspicious character. To be undercover Mancuso is forced to wear these ridiculous disguises when he goes out. Each of the disguises are pretty funny and the things that happen to him because of the disguises are pretty funny.

I started on page 13 and read 55 pages. Most of the pages that I read was in the car waiting for my husband and son to finish their shopping trip at Lowe's! I love when I get these small free moments to read :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 21: Confederacy of Dunces

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole is my next book of choice. I decided on this book because it is one of the books in the BBC book list challenge that I am trying to read. I have also heard about this book and it has sounded interesting to me and has been on the back burner of my to read list. I figured that now was a perfect time to read it. I am a little scared about this book because usually the "classics" I find to be a bit boring and they take me forever to get through. I am hoping that this book is not one of them. It is a good thing that I saved it for last because I have extra days to get through the book if it is taking me a long time to read it.

Below is a summary from Wikipedia about the book: The story is set in New Orleans in the early 1960s. The central character is Ignatius J. Reilly, an educated but slothful 30-year-old man still living with his mother in the city's Uptown neighborhood, who, due to an incident early in the book, must set out to get a job. In his quest for employment he has various adventures with colorful French Quarter characters.

The book is 405 pages long and so far I have read 13 pages and those flew by and the reading was interesting and easy, which does leave me hopeful that the book won't be hard to get through. I also didn't realize that this book takes place in New Orleans, which I think is kind of funny because the last book that I read, Island Beneath the Sea, also took place in New Orleans. I didn't do this on purpose, but it is interesting that it happened this way. I think that I will probably know a lot about New Orleans after reading the two books and I already know that I now really want to visit the city.

Incase anyone is interested here are the books in the BBC book list challenge:

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible -
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 Northern Lights (The Golden Compass) - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Romeo & Juliet - William Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini -
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo


Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 20: The End and the Beginning

I only had about 20 pages left to read in Island Beneath the Sea and I was really excited to get the book finished to see how everything turned out. I was very satisfied with the ending. There is one point at the end that is pretty sad and if I was a more emotional person (I get a lot of flak for this!) I might would have cried? I will have to discuss with my friend if she cried when she read the book. I really enjoyed this book. I would give it a solid four stars!

I then started on with Confederacy of Dunces and only got 13 pages in. I will discuss more about this book in the next post. I would write some more, but the baby has woken up from his nap and I want to get this post in instead of getting behind!

Day 19: Incest, yuck!

I just got to a part in the book where there is incest going on and that really grosses me out! The two characters were only half brother and sister and they were never directly told that they were half siblings, but when they were confronted with the news when they wanted to be together they said that they had always known all along. I just could never ever see being in love with a sibling! I recently saw a headline in the news about a brother and sister being separated for thirty years and then meeting on a blind date. That would be an awkward situation, especially if you at first liked the other person in a romantic way. Whenever I hear or read about incest I always think of the book Middlesex and that incestuous relationship with the grandparents.

I didn't read too much today because I was busy organizing all of our pictures on Picasa. I think that we hadn't uploaded any of our photos for a few months and after we did we had over 300 that I wanted to organize and label. Definitely by Thursday I will have finished the book!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 18: Two days in a row

Hard to believe that I am writing in here two days in a row! Since I got sort of all caught up with a short post yesterday I am able to write in here about yesterday when everything is still fresh in my mind! I started out on pg. 341 and ended on pg. 390 (49 pages). During these pages I was reminded that the main male character, Valmorian, had raped Tete and so I have to retract my statement from yesterday that he is a "good" character. I know that he isn't a great person, but Allende could have made him so much worse than what she did and I am glad that he isn't too extreme, but I still don't like his actions!

During these pages I learned about France selling Louisiana to the Americans for 15 million, which ended up being a few cents per acre! I wish that I could buy some land for that much! It was also interesting to read that everyone in Louisiana thought that there was no way that they would have to speak English, like the Americans, and take on American culture, which they thought was inferior! I also think that if I would have learned history in a more interesting manner, like novels like these, I think that I would have enjoyed it more and actually done better in that subject!

I won't go too much into details of what is going on in the book incase you want to read it :) I am going to go chop up some sweet potatoes and veggies for dinner tonight. Both boys are sleeping and that means I have at least a free half hour!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 10-17 (Mon 3/28-Mon 4/4): Leisurely Reading

Today is Tuesday and I am finally getting all caught up in here and I didn't realize that I have been reading this book for over a whole week now. I really enjoy the book, but have found that I have not had as much extra time to read. I have also discovered that reading an actual book instead of my Kindle is harder to do! With the Kindle I can do one-handed reading no problem, but not so with a book. I have even accidentally dropped my book on the baby, oops! :( This book is 457 pages, which is almost double of the other books, so I still feel like I am doing well (I am at pg 341).

I love Isabel's style of writing and so far I am enjoying this book much more than The Art of Racing in the Rain. This novel is fiction, but a lot of the characters and what is going on in that time period is factual. I feel like not only am I getting a good story out of the book, but I am also getting a history lesson. It seems like it is a win-win for me! Once again Isabel does have the Magical Realism in this book that is present in so many of her other books, which I love. This time around I do think that it isn't as prevalent, but it is still there. She has one character named Tante Rose who is like a witch doctor and practices voodoo and has all these natural ways to cure everything. Isabel also has strong female characters, which I love! I really like the characters Violette and Loula in this book. It is fun to see how great they are as business women! I really feel like most of the characters are good people. Even Valmorian, who is the main male character who is the slave owner and father to Zarite's (the main character) children. I know that slavery isn't good, but he could have been a much worse person during that time.

Well, I just wanted to write a short little something because my sister-in-law is in town and she has my toddler and my baby is actually sleeping in his crib!!! We are on day 3 of sleep training and so far it seems like it is going well.

Hopefully, I will try and do this blog a little bit more often!

Day 9: Island Beneath the Sea (Sun 3/27)

This is my third book for the challenge and I am really excited to finally be reading it. Since I have been having trouble keeping up the blog again I will probably combine some of the posts for this book together so that I can get all caught up!

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende is a book that I have been wanting to read for quite some time. Last year for my birthday my husband bought me the book and tickets to go see Isabel Allende do a reading of this book. One of my friends came too and it was a really fun experience. It was the second time that I have seen Allende and I love listening to her stories and have found that she is a very funny lady. I wish that I could give specifics about what was so funny that she said or did, but it was almost a year ago and right now I just remember that she was funny! Before going to this event I had no idea what the book was about, but when Allende started talking about it I really was interested. I didn't read it right away because I got busy doing other things and then started reading other books. Then I got my Kindle and that was my preference to read. I finally decided that I would read this book because I really want to read one of her books again since I love her style of writing and she is one of my favorite authors.

Allende told us that this book came about because she was visiting New Orleans and she loved the place and culture and decided that she wanted to write a book that took place there. As she was doing her research, which she did a lot of, she found out that New Orleans history had a lot to do with Haiti. She then started researching Haiti and decided that that was where her story would start. Below is a description of the book from the publisher's website

Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue, Zarité -- known as Tété -- is the daughter of an African mother she never knew and one of the white sailors who brought her into bondage. Though her childhood is one of brutality and fear, Tété finds solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and in the voodoo loas she discovers through her fellow slaves.

When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770, it’s with powdered wigs in his baggage and dreams of financial success in his mind. But running his father’s plantation, Saint Lazare, is neither glamorous nor easy. It will be eight years before he brings home a bride -- but marriage, too, proves more difficult than he imagined. And Valmorain remains dependent on the services of his teenaged slave.

Spanning four decades, Island Beneath the Sea is the moving story of the intertwined lives of Tété and Valmorain, and of one woman’s determination to find love amid loss, to offer humanity though her own has been battered, and to forge her own identity in the cruellest of circumstances.

Happy Reading!