Another Interlude

It seems my posts about not posting are becoming the norm, but I've had a bit of a rough week.  On Monday evening, my grandmother passed away.  I do believe that she is in a better place now, no longer suffering, and that at the end of my own life I will see her again, but there's still a lingering sadness - knowing I'll miss her, sad that my child will not know her here on earth.

But looking back, there are plenty of memories to take joy from.  Since this is a book blog, I have to mention my grandmother's love of reading.  The only things more prevalent in her home than books, were delicious food and lots of love.  Summers at her house were filled with novels, short stories, comics, magazines, crossword puzzles and other simple forms of entertainment.  As much as I am clinging to the advice and knowledge she passed on to me, some of my best memories of her are also sitting in silence, relaxing in the shade, and reading together. 

Among other things, Grandma taught me how to knit!

My grandma was also one of the best people at making me feel good about myself.  I don't mean she gave me some cheesy positive self esteem lessons, but rather, she was so loving and so accepting that no matter what type of awkward, frustrated, mad about myself, or disappointed with my life phase I could go through she made me feel that I was wonderful, that I was enough - a "just as I am" kind of love that I still cherish.

It's been a rough week and I know there is more grieving ahead.  It doesn't help that I'm five months pregnant and can cry at things as mundane as car commercials and greeting cards, but hopefully this explains yet another blog hiatus.  Here's hoping April and May will be much more even keel.

Love you, Grandma.  And I always will.

Happy Hunger Games Movie Weekend!

I'm pretty excited about going to the movies tonight...
Like many viewers, I'm pretty stoked about the film adaptation of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins!  I reviewed this book back in September of 2010 and even then I noted that it was surrounded by plenty of hype from passionate fans.  I know the movie has evoked a similar frenzy so I remain cautiously optimistic that it will live up to the standards I - and many others - hold up for it.
How about you, are you going to see the movie this weekend?  Which character are you most excited to see adapted to film?  If you've seen it already, what did you think?  Had you read the book first or is the movie your first taste of the action?  I'd love for you to share your (non-spoiler) thoughts in the comments!
Meanwhile, I thought I would provide a few flashback links:
Happy Hunger Games Weekend everyone!

Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher

Set a few years following the events of Furies of Calderon, Jim Butcher returns to the Calderon Valley with another grand adventure for his unlikely hero Tavi. In a world where most people have connections to one or more elemental spirits called Furies, Tavi is alone in his inability to furycraft, to control the magical elements, but his quick thinking and clever mind are often a more than suitable alternative for his lack of power.

In Academ's Fury Tavi has left his home in the Valley and is training at the Academy to become a Cursor. Though his lack of furycrafting singles him out as a target for bullies and ridicule, Tavi finds himself surrounded by a few supportive friends. Tavi's patronage from the First Lord of Calderon provides him with connections and contacts within the kingdom's politics but also places him at the center of webs of deceit and intrigue involving those who seek to overthrow the heir-less ruler of the realm.

Meanwhile, back in the Valley, Tavi's aunt Isana is the target of an assassination attempt. Her new status as a steadholder is a threat to many who do not want a woman to hold so much power, but the Valley faces an even more dire threat as hordes of a parasitic enemy called the Vord have been unleashed. This strange new foe also seems to have Tavi in its sights as the tracks of their destruction lead directly to him.

Once again Jim Butcher layers on action and suspense in his fantastical and unique environment. The dialog is peppered with humor and Tavi's cleverness and creative thinking constantly provide unexpected plot twists and dramatic escapes from peril. Many readers of the series have mentioned that they prefer this book to its predecessor, but I suppose if I had to choose, I may have liked Furies of Calderon a bit more. Both books have moments of a GRAND REVEAL and where I found the twist in the first to be shockingly perfect; in this book it was an element that I had already predicted after finishing the first novel. But that said, I fully enjoyed this adventure too and saying I slightly preferred the first is nothing against Academ's Fury as it was definitely an excellent entry in a very strong series.

Looking For Alaska by John Green

Okay. I read this book in the middle of January and I could have sworn I already wrote a review for it, but alas, I have not blogged about it, which is tragic since it's already one of my favorites of the year.

Miles Halter has led an uneventful and rather boring life hiding himself in books and a penchant for discovering and memorizing famous last words. An opportunity to attend Culver Creek Boarding School sends him eagerly off to a new world with hopes of discovering what poet Fran├žois Rabelais' called "the Great Perhaps". Culver Creek is in many ways the land of possibilities that Miles has always craved. He soon finds himself dubbed with the new name "Pudge" - for his overly skinny frame - and surrounded by new friends The Colonel, Takumi, and of course, Alaska.

Alaska Young is the charismatic, sexy, and destructive prankster living down the hall from Pudge and The Colonel. She represents a world of danger and risk that Pudge has always wanted and never known. She's the magnetic epicenter of their strange group of friends and Pudge soon finds himself hopelessly in love with her.

Looking for Alaska by John Green is a mix of humor, philosophy, tragedy, and the everyday teenage existence. John Green has an amazing talent for creating characters with the perfect balance of charm and quirkiness. Pudge, with his strange talent for quotation, is misguided but loveable. Even the less than likeable characters have a talent for fully captivating the reader and I am never less than fully drawn into Green's stories. Much like An Abundance of Katherines (the first John Green book I read), Looking for Alaska is a novel I find myself thinking about long past its finish date.

I know there are a lot of John Green fans in the blogging world, so I guess this is my next opportunity to ask for advice: having read Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska, which novel of Green's should I check out next?

Interlude

When I started this blog, I liked the phrase "Book Self" (which many still mistakenly read as bookshelf) because I feel that the books a person reads can sometimes give a snapshot peek at revealing their personality or occasionally their life circumstances. Since I don't often post a lot of personal information about myself on this blog, I thought it might be fun to post about a few books I've been reading lately, which do reveal quite a bit about me.

The first is a book I received for Christmas.  It's not a cover-to-cover reading but rather a reference one that's better digested in portions according to applicable information in it.  This is the latest edition of it, but I know it's been around for a long time and came highly recommended.  

What to Expect When You're Expecting

The next was given to me by a coworker.  It had been sitting on her shelf and she figured it would come in handy more as a resource to me than collecting dust at her house.
The Pregnancy Book: Month-by-Month, Everything You Need to Know from America's Baby Experts

The third was a gift from a sweet friend in my Bible study group.  It's not as factually heavy as the other two and takes a lighthearted and Christian perspective with a great emphasis on both humor and prayer - two things I always try to incorporate plenty of in my life!
The Christian Mama's Guide to Having a Baby: Everything You Need to Know to Survive (and Love) Your Pregnancy

And finally, this one may be my favorite for it's sheer level of hilarity and absurdity and was also a gift from friends. My husband and I began reading the opening chapters together and our reading was often interrupted by laughter breaks. 
Let's Panic About Babies! How to Endure and Possibly Triumph over the Adorable Tyrant who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain, and Finally Turn You Into A Worthwhile Human Being

As with every BIG step in life - whether it's graduation, new job, new home, new relationship - it's great to have good books to with you.  I've been bouncing between these titles pretty often in the past few months (which explains some of my recent blog-neglect) so I don't have reviews of any of them yet, but I look forward to sharing my thoughts on them in the future.  If anyone has a great or not-so-great experience with any of these titles, I'd love to hear your opinions.  Or, if there's a book I haven't listed that you consider a MUST read on the subject, I'd love that advice as well!

And to answer the first two obvious questions: 
End of July; No, I'm not finding out!