Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

Planning for Gone with the Wind

I’ve always been interested in reading the classic novel but have always been afraid because of its size and status.  I’ve even been petrified by the film!  When I stumbled across the read-along, I suddenly realized this was my chance.  So I’ll be picking up my copy of the novel in the coming weeks and start reading on September 1.  I’m not sure what that will do to my other reading plans for the fall, but I know this will certainly feel like an accomplishment!  Stay tuned to see how I progress…….and if you’re interested, click the button above and join me on this adventure.


#21: Between the Lines (Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer)

My favorite author is Jodi Picoult.  Every year, I anticipate the release of her latest book and rush to the store on the day of its release to add it to my growing collection.  When I saw that she and her daughter had written a young adult novel, I must admit that I was rather skeptical.  Part of Picoult’s appeal is her willingness to tackle controversial contemporary topics while allowing her characters to grapple with the moral issues that arise as a result.  I knew that many of her topics would not be considered appropriate for a young audience and I wasn’t sure how her writing would translate into the YA genre.

Imagine my surprise when I was transported inside a fairy tale in which the handsome prince desperately wants to escape his life in the book.  As Prince Oliver dreams of escape, his cry of help is finally heard by Delilah, a teen reader who has become obsessed with the child’s fairy tale.  Picoult and Van Leer proceed to weave a masterful tale combining two conflicting worlds united by the growing love of Oliver and Delilah.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting a look “behind the curtain” as the characters in the fairy tale lived life while the book was closed.  The idea of not judging a book by its cover suddenly took on an entirely new meaning.

Thematically, Between the Lines addresses pertinent contemporary issues admirably;  the power of love, the impact of a parent’s death, and the search for self-identity are clearly explored in a meaningful way for teen readers.  I anticipate that many junior high and high school classes will find the work a compelling story to consider along standards of the American literary canon.  Until that time, Between the Lines will be a wonderful book for mothers and daughters to enjoy together that will open doors for communication between parent and child.

4 out of 5 stars!

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#20: Wild (Cheryl Strayed)

Wild is not my typical reading fare.  Why did I pick it up, then?  It was the first selection of Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, the re-invention of the program that truly ignited my passion for reading as a teen.  I suppose you might say I read the book out of loyalty.

The memoir tells of Cheryl Strayed’s adventures along the Pacific Crest Trail as she hiked alone from southern California to the Oregon/Washington border.  Her lone journey allows her the opportunity to come to grips (finally) with her mother’s death, her failed marriage, and her life that is in shambles.  Facing one hardship after another, Strayed must come to terms with the truth that there are often situations for which she was not prepared.  The challenges of attempting to carry too heavy of a load, ill-fitting shoes, snow-packed paths, and muscle fatigue almost serve as symbols for the greater crises occurring in her life.

I read Wild as I began my own journey to personal fitness.  As I journeyed with Strayed on the pages of the book, I found myself encouraged as she overcame various challenges.  I was also enthralled as I realized that any journey worth taking brought with it struggle, uncertainty, pain, and fear.  Cheryl’s courage to push through those emotions while keeping her eyes focused on the goal that lay before her became my personal push to see things through as well.

Would I have normally enjoyed Wild?  Probably not.  I found myself getting bored with the descriptions of the scenery of the PCT (as beautiful as it was) and annoyed with some of the lengthy flashbacks.  Memoirs rarely feel as though they are entertaining reads.  Given my current life, however, I am happy to say I have read the book and believe that I will be better because of it.

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