Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Triumph over the Celebrities

I have to admit that there are times in my life when I wish I had some of the celebrity life. I mean, think about it. They have the smoking hot bodies because they have two or three hours a day with nothing else to do but work out. They have people who will come in their homes and cook for them, but better yet, they also clean up for them! No waiting in lines at gas stations so that the idiot three people in front can pay for a pack of cigarettes with coins. Really, there are many aspects about that celebrity lifestyle that really would be nice.

But I figured out a way to make my life better than the celebrities. See, I ten years and three months ago, I said yes when my friend since second grade got down on his knee on the steps of the St. George temple and asked me to marry him.

Ten years ago today, I made the drive with my almost husband to St. George, perma-grin fully in tact.

Ten years ago today, we sat together in the waiting room and had the officiator of our ceremony ask if we were nervous. No.

Ten years ago today, I held hands with the greatest man I've known in a small room surrounded by our family and were joined for eternity.

I beat the celebrities by having a relationship that has gotten stronger over the years. I beat the celebrities by not running to divorce court during the really, really hard times. I beat the celebrities because, in spite of having to wait my turn, pay for everything I own and working my tail off, I get to share my life with someone I know is as dedicated to me as I am to him.

I bet there are many celebrities who wish they were like me!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I heard about this book from several different people and had several students who would just rant and rave about it, so I had to see what all the fuss was about. I have to say, I didn't really know what the book was about when I got it from the library. This is a powerful book with heart-wrenching experiences and laugh out loud moments.

This is a story about a boy named Oskar. He likes to throw out French words whenever, writes letters to all sorts of scientists and great thinkers with the hopes of being their protege. But primarily, he is a boy who enters survival mode after losing his dad in 9/11. He is convinced that his dad left one last message, one that he must find the clues to uncover, like the games they used to play. Along the way, the reader has the opportunity to discover incredible details about his family, his parents and grandparents.

I loved this book. I don't really know how to describe it or even what category it would fall in - the library I got it from had it labeled as a mystery, which is only partially true. This is a truly amazing book. I adore Oskar. I love the way he just says things, the way he wants to know more, his little expressions. This really was a great read that had me experiencing nearly every emotion possible. Very enjoyable.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Why Dads Coach

When you see Ellie, it is easy to see how it is very much worth it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dragon Spear

This is the latest in the dragon series by Jessica Day George. I liked the idea and the way that George can continue to add elements to a story that could get old. The dragons are true to their character and Creel is as stubborn and adventurous as ever.

In this story, a dragon is kidnapped from the refuge they have found and all the dragons, along with some humans, venture out to find the missing dragon. This story has adventure, deceit, alchemy and a revealation of the history George created that governs the dragon society. There is still some romance, Creel's crazy fabric skills and some twists.

I liked the way this story continued, but I didn't find it was the rapturing read of the other two. I was glad to have read it, stayed up late to finish it and thought the story flowed well, but it just didn't have that "it factor" that had me engrossed and hungry to find out what happened next. The story ended in a way that there could be others to follow but not a sequel guarantee. If there are more, I will read them as I don't feel that the story has been worn out. I have enjoyed this series and don't have any hesitation recommending them to anyone with the reading ability.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Amazing Voice

I saw this guy last night - he really has an amazing voice! I have a soft spot in my heart for a good bass :)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

This is another one of those books that was recommended to me during the spring semester when I was just too busy to remember my own name. Honestly, I wasn't sure if I would like it but I was completely sucked in from the beginning and lost some sleep because I didn't want to stop reading.

This is the story of Junior, as he is known on the rez, or Arnold, as he becomes known when he decides to leave his education on the rez and attend the white school 22 miles away. Thus, the part-time Indian. His Indian friends are annoyed and betrayed by his choice, but he is the only Indian at the white school and finds himself tormented by kids because of his background. The story is told from Junior's point-of-view, or rather, retold as he is writing in his diary. He is also an amateur cartoonist and several of his artistic creations are sprinkled through the book, adding humor and realism.

I LOVED this book, but, better yet, there are many students who I think would relate to this book because, in one way or another, most teens have had the experience of thinking they absolutely did not fit in with everyone else for whatever reason. Another reason I like this book is I really think that it could be one enjoyed by male teens - a group of readers who can be difficult to get interested in reading. It does have some swearing and references to the sexual thoughts and desired actions of a teen-age boy so it may not be for sensitive readers. It is within the grading of PG-13 however - really nothing graphic. I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

I started seeing this book pop up on recommended lists about six months ago, heard it plugged by several authors at the UVU conference I went to and finally found it at my local library. The idea behind the book was interesting, but I did hesitate for a moment because it is a BIG book. Really big. I didn't know if it was something I wanted to tackle right now, but I my curiousity got the best of me and I checked it out anyway.

A couple of things to note about this book. First, it won the Caldecott Medal. Now, if you aren't up on the various medals for books, you should know that the Caldecott medal is for illustration only, not words. And, it is given to children's and young adult books.

The first dozen or so pages of this book are pictures. Big, full page pictures. What Selznick has done is take the idea of a graphic novel to the extreme. Many of the pictures are there to depict what the narrator is talking about, but equally if not more of the pictures are there to tell the story. It is truly a novel and the graphics play a very important role.

This is the story of Hugo, a boy who lives in an apartment in a train station, is responsible for maintaining the intricacies of many different clocks and he is a theif. He steals his food, clothes and various little things along the way. He meets a girl that he doesn't want to, is trying to avoid the train station security and make several intriguing discoveries throughout the course of the book.

I had so much fun with this book. It probably took me two hours to read - I know, right? This book has 544 pages. Like I said, lots of it is illustration. But the thing I really like about this book is that you could give it to a kid - let's say 4th grade and up, especially a reluctant reader, and he/she could have the satisfaction of finishing a really big book. I can't help but think it would build the self-esteem of any reader. It is currently being offered along with the Benedict Society books - if you liked those, you will like this. If you haven't read them, just trust me, you will like this. I can't think of another reading experience I had that allowed me to have so much just plain fun.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dragon Flight

This is the second book in the series by Jessica Day George. Quite often, when the ideas are as far fetched as people who can talk to dragons and said dragons can be controlled by others to do things they don't want to, the story doesn't sound like it is going to be of any quality. This, fortunately, isn't the case with Dragon Flight.

Yes, the ideas are far-fetched and the explaination of them would not be something you would think could be enjoyable, but it really is. I truly believe that the dragons feel what they feel. I truly believe that what Creel is able to create out of her fabric and stiches would really do what is described. I can imagine the dragons, the different settings are true enough to be believable, and I found this was a book that I just did not want to stop reading.

These books are probably for middle grade readers. They are probably also dragons books for girls. The action and description are written in a way to keep boys attention, but like the first one, there is a bit of giggly girls and anticipated romance. And lots of gushing over gowns, fine silks, etc. This much I can say, I can't wait to read the next one. Really, how many series can you say that about after reading the first two???

BTW This is my 50th book review on this blog - yeah! Do a little reading dance (not sure how that would look...)