big little lies…

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Big Lbigittle Lies by Liane Moriarty was a good book.  I enjoyed it from start to finish and it was a pretty quick and effortless read (which sometimes we all need!).  There were a few parts in the book where my mouth dropped open and I ran around the house trying to tell everyone about it (nobody else had read the book and they did not care, but I had to share!).  Liane Moriarty also wrote The Husband’s Secret which I also enjoyed.  She has an interesting writing style, the book content is never what I envisioned and always surprises me.  I read both of her books as a bookclub choice and each gave our club a lot of material to talk about.  I plan on reading more of her books soon.  I would recommend Big Little Lies to anyone.

Goodreads describes the book:

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . .
A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.   But who did what?
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:   Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.   New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

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david and goliath…

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davidDavid and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell was a surprisingly great book!  I read it as a bookclub book choice.  I would have never chosen to read this book on my own, but really enjoyed it and am glad that I read it.  I listened to it on an audio book and the author read the book.  He was a great reader and the book was very interesting and informative.  I’ve actually found myself quoting from this book from time to time!  I plan on reading other books by Malcolm Gladwell and would absolutely recommend reading this one.

Goodreads describes the book:

In his #1 bestselling books The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell has explored the ways we understand and change our world. Now he looks at the complex and surprising ways the weak can defeat the strong, the small can match up against the giant, and how our goals (often culturally determined) can make a huge difference in our ultimate sense of success. Drawing upon examples from the world of business, sports, culture, cutting-edge psychology, and an array of unforgettable characters around the world, David and Goliath is in many ways the most practical and provocative book Malcolm Gladwell has ever written.

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looking for alaska…

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alaskaI was on a “young adult” book kick for a bit and decided to read Looking for Alaska by John Green.  It was a great book.  I read it because one of the soccer mom’s said she bought it for her daughter.  She also said that after she read it herself she decided not to let her daughter read it.  Well, this was all the more reason for me to want to read this book!  …and, my daughter got a copy for her birthday!  I love reading and hope my daughter inherits my love of books… even if she only reads certain books because her friends can’t!  I did not think the book was risque at all.  It was definitely written with the young adult (teen) reader in mind.  The story takes place in a boarding school and the characters are a group of misfit (albeit smart) teenagers.  I would absolutely recommend this book.  I hope you enjoy it!

Goodreads describes the book:

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

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thirteen reasons why…

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thirteenI listened to Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher as an audio book.  I think I would have enjoyed the book better had I actually read it (as opposed to listening to it).  The person reading the book makes or breaks the book and I didn’t love the main female character’s tone.  That said, I still enjoyed the book and couldn’t wait to turn my car on to find out what happened next!  I borrowed the book because I thought it would hold the interest of my teenage daughter.  We were driving 4 hours to a soccer tournament and I wanted to choose a book that a teen would also like.  The book deals with bullying and teenage suicide, so I thought a thirteen year old would be intrigued.  If you are thinking of purchasing or recommending this book for a teen… mine did not like it as much as I did and she didn’t even listen to the ending!  Although, she did ask me later how it ended.  I would recommend Thirteen Reasons Why.  It was not one of my favorites, but it was worth my time.

Goodreads describes the book:

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

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an america tragedy…

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america tI borrowed “An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser from the library.  I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t hate it either.  The main character, Clyde, was very interesting, but so unbelievably mislead.  There were so many times I could not understand his decision making skills.  Is this something from the way he was raised?  Was he truly demented?  Or, was he always in the wrong place at the wrong time (doubtful).  Although it was quite long and at times very dull.  I would recommend it.  It was worth the read.

Goodreads describes the book:

A tremendous bestseller when it was published in 1925, “An American Tragedy” is the culmination of Theodore Dreiser’s elementally powerful fictional art. Taking as his point of departure a notorious murder case of 1910, Dreiser immersed himself in the social background of the crime to produce a book that is both a remarkable work of reportage and a monumental study of character. Few novels have undertaken to track so relentlessly the process by which an ordinary young man becomes capable of committing a ruthless murder, and the further process by which social and political forces come into play after his arrest.
In Clyde Griffiths, the impoverished, restless offspring of a family of street preachers, Dreiser created an unforgettable portrait of a man whose circumstances and dreams of self-betterment conspire to pull him toward an act of unforgivable violence. Around Clyde, Dreiser builds an extraordinarily detailed fictional portrait of early twentieth-century America, its religious and sexual hypocrisies, its economic pressures, its political corruption. The sheer prophetic amplitude of his bitter truth-telling, in idiosyncratic prose of uncanny expressive power, continues to mark Dreiser as a crucially important American writer. “An American Tragedy,” the great achievement of his later years, is a work of mythic force, at once brutal and heartbreaking.

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when she woke…

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whenWhen She Woke by Hillary Jordan was a very strange book.  The entire time I was compelled to read it, but I could not decide if I liked it or not.  I thought it was very interesting, but it was very odd and I didn’t really enjoy the “futuristic” part of it (a.g. criminals were turned a different color).  Also, there was a lot of imaginary electronics.  The part that I found interesting, and timely, is that the line between church and state was gone.  I didn’t hate the book, but I’m not sure if I would recommend it.  I borrowed it from the library and I’m not disappointed that I read it, but it’s not on my “must-recommend-and-tell-everyone-to-read” list.

Goodreads describes the book:

I am red now. It was her first thought of the day, every day, surfacing after a few seconds of fogged, blessed ignorance and sweeping through her like a wave, breaking in her breast with a soundless roar. Hard on its heels came the second wave, crashing into the wreckage left by the first: he is gone.

Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family. But after she’s convicted of murder, she awakens to a nightmarish new life. She finds herself lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes—criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime—is a sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red for the crime of murder. The victim, says the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she shared a fierce and forbidden love.

A powerful reimagining of The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke is a timely fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of the not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated, and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned but chromed and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith and love.

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Peace Corps Trainee

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Melanie B.:

This is my sister, Hannah. She joined the Peace Corps and is in Swaziland, Africa. She just arrived last month. I love reading her blog, so I thought I’d share!

Originally posted on 800 Days of Swaziland:

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I am a Peace Corps Trainee (PCT). Before you’re a volunteer you’re a trainee and I’m pretty happy with that. We are staying in Matshapa, Swaziland and everything around us is so beautiful. The dirt is red. And I mean bright red. It covers everything and anything it can get to with this Tuscan sun color that could put a real Tuscan sun to shame. Its so cool, until its in my water bottle. I see mountains in every direction I look with houses in all it’s crevasses. The birds are loud here. Like a crow with a megaphone.  But there songs and laughs are beautiful. The mornings are cold and the days are hot. I laughed, as a Minnesotan, when they said its gets cold in Africa but they weren’t lying. Layers are important.

We eat rice and potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with some sort of meat…

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