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24-Hour Readathon

And it has begun. . .

Today marks the 24-Hour Readathon and I am just getting started, even though some are already off and running.  Just wanted to write a quick post including my TBR list. I am trying to focus on my reading challenges, including my Top 100 Children’s Books Challenge, my Canadian Reading Challenge, and the Contemps Challenge.  Check out the stack I have to choose from for the next 24 hours!

Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony (Canadian author)

Losing Faith by Denise Jaden (Contemps author and Canadian author)

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Sierstad (my book club’s pick of the month)

Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary (#66 in the top 100)

Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby Mcdonald

Grease Town by Ann Towell (Canadian author)

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild (#65 in the top 100)

Good luck to all my fellow readers participating in the Read-A-Thon! Follow me on Twitter @literarywife to see my progress.

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Posted by on October 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Thoughts on Twilight

At the beginning of the summer, my fourteen-year-old cousin forced the book Twilight into my hands, telling me that I had no option but to read it because she loves it so much.  Unfortunately, it sat on my bookshelf for a few months, survived the move to our new apartment, and sat on the bookshelf for a few months still, only to be picked up this week and read for the first time by myself.

This post is in no manner a review, only the incoherent thoughts of a first-time reader.  To be honest, this is not only my first time reading Twilight, but my first time reading a vampire book of any sort.  Call me a bad book blogger, but it’s true, my readers.  It’s not that I am against vampires or werewolves or witches (I’m a big Harry Potter fan), but it just does not seem to my first subject of choice to read or write about. Nonetheless, I am happy with my decision to try out the genre, and will probably pick up a few more books on vampires each year from now on.

My first impression with Twilight comes with the fact that I could not put it down.  I finished it in just two nights and was entertained the entire time.  Even though it is 500 pages long, it surely does not seem that long because the storyline is engaging.

The romance aspect of the novel just got my heart a-flutter.  Edward is creepily adoring of Bella and has such depth of life that we get to see a bit of throughout the novel.  His enthrallment with her carries the novel and its plot.

Bella however, was rather dull.  She  infuriated me with her passivity and annoyed me with her lack of uniqueness.  Yes, she rebels against the “popular” kids and puts her life in the hands of a family of vampires, but other than that. . . boring.  And it is because of this fact that I will not continue on with the series.  Thank you, Kelsey, for forcing me to venture into the world of vampires and their romantic ideals.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrated to highlight the freedoms stated in the First Amendment, particularly the freedom of speech and our open access to information in our country and the world beyond.  This year, Banned Books Week falls from September 25th to October 2nd and I wanted to provide some information for you, my readers, involving challenged books.

As most of you should know, I am involved in a year-long challenge to read the Top 100 Children’s Books.  As some of you may now know, many of these books have been banned or challenged in public libraries and school districts.  I took a glance over at the ALA website, found the top banned or challenged books, and here is what I found from my top 100 list.  Note in parentheses by the title of the book the reason why it was banned or challenged.

  • The Witches by Roald Dahl (satanic themes)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (supernatural themes)
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (witches, sorcery, enchantment)
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins and Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (profanity)
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (racism)
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry (violence and the portrayal of euthanasia

This list is in no way comprehensive.  I just wanted to take some time during this celebration of our freedom to choose what we read, to highlight the fact that some of these books that have been banned and/or challenged are also included in the list of the top literature available for children.  Think of this what you will, my readers.  Feel free to comment!

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2010 in top 100 children's books, Uncategorized

 

Thoughts On Loss

Yesterday was the last day of work for one of my employees.  I have employees, did y’all know that?  I work at a sportswear company, in which I manage a small customer service team, providing great service to the southeastern states of the US.  Becky, one of my customer service representatives,  joined my team in July and is now moving to Denver to join her husband in a new adventure which involves an incredible opportunity for them both.  As the day came to a close, I realized that I had been going and going and going, in a subconscious effort to take my mind off the fact that she is leaving.  Because, you see, I do not appreciate losing things.  Who does, right?  I can’t say that I have experienced a ton of loss, but I have had my fair share at my ripe old age of twenty-five.

Losing Becky today got me to thinking about loss and why it bothers me so much.  I am a person that likes to be in control.  No, let me rephrase that.  I am a person that likes to know what is coming next.  I don’t have to make the decisions, but I like to be in the loop. So, when my 1988 Camaro got totaled in an (obviously) unexpected accident, I was none too happy, my friends.  Loss of a posession.  Also, when I was on a return trip to Kansas from Mississippi and received a phone call letting me know my beloved grandfather had passed away, I could hardly be consoled.  I knew that he was sick, but never expected it to be so soon.  Loss of a loved one.  And, of course, I wanted to know exactly when that would be.  I didn’t even get to see him for the last few months of his life!  Just a few short months ago, I experienced about a week of extreme anxiety, including panic attacks, loss of appetite and the inability to work at my job.  Loss of control.

As a follower of Christ, I am obligated, nay, commanded to trust Him, to trust my heavenly Father, to believe that He knows what is happening next, ALL THE TIME.  Because I am human, I don’t always do this.  My mind cannot fathom that my hands are not in control of the world around me.  Sometimes, my heart feels as if it has had enough loss.  Yet, we all trudge on.  We all raise our hands, wide and open, in an offering of submission.  Not submission to a dictator or a harsh parent figure, but submission to the One that has created everything good and will continue to protect us and/or see us through the woes of loss.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

The Contemps Challenge

We’re the Contemps, a group of YA authors with contemporary novels releasing over the course of a year. We are passionate about realistic fiction because these are the books that remind us we’re not alone in this real world. Our mission is simple – to spotlight contemporary fiction for young adults through blog posts, author events, and (over)sharing from our teen years.

We need partners in our effort to celebrate and spread the word about contemporary YA fiction. Here are some great ways readers and book lovers of all ages can get involved.

Take The Contemps Challenge!

Love to read contemporary fiction? Accept the Contemps Challenge and promise to read at least 18 of the 21 upcoming Contemps books between now and August 15, 2011. One lucky challenger will win the grand prize: ALL 21 of our books! That’s like a whole bookshelf of books!

To enter:

  • Participants must be at least 13 years old.
  • Send an e-mail by November 15, 2010 with I ACCEPT THE CONTEMPS CHALLENGE in the subject line to: contempscontests(at)gmail(dot)com
  • Start reading! Visit our Books page for the complete book list or add books to your “to read” list from our Goodreads page (books that release later in 2011 may not be available on Goodreads yet).
  • If you have a blog, Facebook, LJ, or Web site and want to show some Contemps Challenge pride, display the Challenge badge (featured on the left)! Simply copy and past the following code into your site:
<a href="http://www.thecontemps.com/p/get-involved.html"><img
src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4142/4887016120_62fc3dbbbb.jpg"
width="180" height="350" title="Take The Contemps Challenge!"
 alt="Take The Contemps Challenge!" /></a>

Here at the Literary Wife, I, Amber, am taking on the Contemps Challenge because, if you hadn’t noticed, I enjoy contemporary fiction.  I am very excited about the titles on the list and already had a few on my TBR list.  If you have already joined the challenge, feel free to leave me a comment.  If you haven’t joined but would like to, make sure and send an email to the aforementioned address and get put on the list.  Click through from the image above to visit The Contemps official website and follow them on Twitter @YAcontemps

 

It’s a twister, it’s a twister!

Well, actually, no, it wasn’t a twister, but it very well could have been.  Yesterday afternoon and early evening, my city was hit by a tremendous wind storm with the makings of a tornado.  Gusts reached 90 mph in Manhattan and 50 mph in Topeka, our capital city.  The storm and the damage that resulted from it brought back memories of the tornado that blew through the city in the summer of 2008.  Yes, folks, tornadoes do actually touch down and do damage in Kansas.  Unfortunately, we don’t have the option of visiting the Land of Oz during them like Dorothy did.  Well, unless you’re in Wamego, where they are raising funds to make the main street into a yellow brick road.  Yes, my friends, in just a few years, my hometown might very well be the laughingstock of Kansas.  But, I diverge, and will return to the original topic.  I’ve had way too much coffee this morning and am beyond jittery and shaking.  Here are a few pictures showing the damage throughout the city of Manhattan.

Plenty of trees were uprooted from the ground, crushing cars and falling on houses.

This picture is difficult to decipher because I was driving when I took it, but the truck you see is a tow truck that is working to remove an entire tree that fell across the road way.  There was also a huge billboard along the highway that was completely uprooted from it’s stake in the ground, as well as a semi that the winds blew off the road and turned on its top in the ditch.  I am not playing with you, my friends, this seriously happened.  If only I would have been smart enough to snap pictures of it.

I was, however, quick enough to capture this moment, with the Sonic sign completely blow off.  Carhops were still hopping and in business this morning, though.

You might be asking yourself, “But, Amber, weren’t you scared? What did you do?”  Well, my friends, I am a true Kansan and was most upset at the fact that I was stuck in our shelter at work, with no windows to look out and see what was going on.  Seriously, for those of my readers that are not from Kansas, when a tornado warning or watch is in effect, people don’t go to their shelters, they go to their front porches.  I wish that I was kidding.

After being released from work when the air was clear of wind, rain and tornadoes, I headed home to check on my apartment.  Turns out my husband had joined the other residents on the third floor of our building and took cover in a basement apartment.  Everyone was safe and no cars in our parking lot were crushed by falling trees.  However, we were without power until about 11:30 pm.  Thanks to the hospitality of our neighbors, we enjoyed chocolate cake and white wine in the stifling heat that was their apartment with no air conditioning.

Lesson to be learned from this:  If you’re not from or living in Kansas, you should be.  The weather patterns make for great fun.

P.S.  If you click on the link to Wamego’s official website, you might catch a glimpse of my stud brother quarterbacking for his high school football team.  I’m a pretty proud sister, if you didn’t know that already.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2010 in Kansas, Manhattan, Married Life, Uncategorized

 

a ripple effect

“A small sketch – A small donation – Each small act helps.  Together we can cause a ripple in the oil soaked waters in the Gulf.”

In our nation today, many are concerned about the oil spill that is still a deep issue with continuous effects.  Much to my amazement and satisfaction, a blog has been created that serves a few purposes.  Ripple is a blog that is essentially selling artists renditions of the effects the oil spill is causing.  Potential donors can view the sketchcards and then donate $10 per card, the proceeds of which go to The Institute of Marine Mammal Studies and the International Bird Rescue Research Center. What a brilliant idea!  Not only is money being raised to help the animal victims of this environmental disaster, but artists’ work is being recognized and donors can use the artwork to continually remember our effect on the environment.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2010 in Uncategorized