Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Why I Won't Read Go Set a Watchman

There's an old adage "Never meet your heroes". It is one I agree with. People need their heroes, whoever they may be, whether others agree with them or not. Heroes need not be a real live person - look at Superman or Spiderman or any other superhero out there, that millions of children look up to everyday. How devastating would it be to learn that these paragons of justice and virtue really weren't such paragons? There is that one Superman panel out there.

That being said, I can't read Go Set a Watchman. Atticus Finch has long been a childhood hero of mine - loyal, strong, courageous, fair, yet exacting and pragmatic. Remember the rabid dog? That showed us right there his mettle. This is my Atticus Finch, the one whose name I gave to my child as a middle name. His name to grow on, we called it, as it is a second middle name, and my son was a tiny peanut at birth. 

I am also conflicted about the circumstances regarding the publishing of this novel.  I feel that Harper Lee's sister protected Lee in her golden years, and then when the sister died, that possibly opened the door for Lee's new protector to make quick money off the beloved author's name. The New York Times reported on this possible fraud of the American public and of one of our greatest authors, and it left me feeling oogy. I can't participate in that, if that is what truly happened. Why would Lee go her whole life saying she would never publish another book, then do a complete turnaround, at a time when her mental health was so in question there was a competency hearing to discuss her ability to make decisions?

This is a topic I have discussed at length, with many people - other bloggers, friends, friends I run into on the street at wine crawls, and on Facebook. Just the other day someone replied to me on Facebook, saying that they will read the book because it is history, and because NPR told them how to interpret the book the correct way, and that all other opinions were from people who had a different expectation from the book. I think that person was painting with a rather large brush but seriously, I think people really did have expectations from the book - which is why I won't read it. I already have my Atticus Finch. I don't need another one, from a book that Lee may or may not have actually wanted published. I don't need Go Set a Watchman to tell me how racist the Old South was - I already know that. I have read other books dealing with civil rights, racism, antisemitism. I don't have to read them all, and frankly that would be impossible. I never intended to read this book, even before all the reviews and opinions on it became known - I just never saw the need. I am not someone who enjoys reading sequels - in most book series, many times I choose to just stop reading at a certain book, so I can have the ending I want. That is just how I read. Some books don't need any thing else, they are perfect to me the way they are - so I leave them that way, preserving what I want to preserve. Keeping my heroes intact.

This is just me. This book is such a hot button - will you read it, will you not. It doesn't matter to me if people do or don't. I just know that I am not interested right now.

Other people are free to read and choose what they want. This is just what I choose. It may be considered shortsighted but I never want to meet my heroes. 

Rita at View From My Home also recently posted a discussion on this topic here.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

R.I.P. X

I can't believe it is that time of the year again, where we wave goodbye to summer and ease our way into cooler weather, bonfires, apple orchards, pumpkins, cold weather clothes, and crunchy leaves.  This is my favorite time of the year, and I love Halloween!

This year, I plan on undertaking Peril the First, which are four books that fit the theme, and also Peril of the Screen. 

Read four books from one of the following genres:

Dark Fantasy.

Read more about R.I.P. X here!

Books I am thinking about:

I am sure others will make the list as well, but these four will more than likely make the cut. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey - while she is on break you can share your post by tweeting with the hashtag #IMWAYR

Better late than never!

It's been busy - that end of summer rush to get the most out of these warm months before cold and snow hit - at least for us in the midwest! Lately I seem to have a bit of a cleaning and organization bug as well. I am busy cleaning out the clutter and getting rid of things. This take some time but I am chipping away at it a little at a time.

So many babies around me - the last of my friends/family to deliver has a scheduled C-section for Wednesday. I can't wait to meet her little girl! I recently took some newborn photos of my niece, which was a blast. I now want to take more, this time with all those cute props! My style is more photojournalistic, so it will be different for me to do a photo shoot with props. I am looking forward to changing it up!

Read Last Week:

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal: This was pretty good! It had a loosey-goosey ambiguous ending which I hate, but I still liked the book. I know I can't expect a happy ending all the time, but I do like an ending with definite answers. Lol.

Reading Now:


Sideswiped by Kim Harrison: The first (kind of) in a new series by Harrison. I miss the Hollows but we will see how this one is!

Lowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer: These are fun books, especially in the summer with a giant glass of iced tea at your side. 


We are finishing up some shows before the fall line up begins - we just finished Astronaut Wives Club, which was amazing!! We are just finishing up Under the Dome - not so sure how I feel about this third season. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey - while she is on break you can share your post by tweeting with the hashtag #IMWAYR

Billy and I had our first big date night out since Wyatt was born! We went to the Detroit Zoo Zoomance event while my mom and aunt watched the boy. We had a blast, although we talked about Wyatt quite a bit! Lol. I plan on posting about the event later. :)

Read Last Week:

The Forgotten by Heather Graham: I enjoyed this installment in the Krewe of Hunters series! I loved the dolphins! Review soon.

Reading This Week:


Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal: I read a little of this last week - it's pretty good so far!

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts: I am feeling like some NR this week.

Posted Last Week:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Book Review: Owls: Our Most Charming Bird by Matt Sewell

Title: Owls: Our Most Charming Bird
Author: Matt Sewell
Source: NetGalley

NetGalley Summary:

In this beautiful and highly giftable art book, artist and ornithologist Matt Sewell captures 50 species of the world's most evocative bird: the owl. Using pop-art watercolors and accompanied by witty and irreverent descriptions, Sewell expresses the individual characters of owls as never before. From tiny elf owls to huge Eurasian eagle owls, from the haunting barn owl to the elegant great horned owl, these wise, magical birds are otherworldly in their striking colors and stature. It's not just birdwatchers who are obsessed: Owls are a perennial favorite in pop culture, decorating, and among children as well as nature lovers and serious birders. From David Sedaris's Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls to Harry Potter's pet Hedwig, and throwback interest in Twin Peaks (which is returning to TV in 2016) and its trademark spooky owls, these birds are here to stay.

My Thoughts:

This book is a fun introduction to owls, my favorite bird.  It was completely different from what I expected. I read it thinking I was going to get some sort of scientific breakdown of each bird, and that it would be a little bit of a dry read. I was totally wrong! I should have guessed from this cute cover that this book was going to be different.

Written in short little bursts, each owl has a short paragraph or two, with a super cute drawing of the owl accompanying the description. But the way the information is presented is what sets this book apart. Each little snap about an owl is whimsical, fantastical, playful, and full of description and personality. While you don't get the most scientific information you do gain some knowledge, just in a more fun and easy to read way. A few examples:

About the Long-eared Owl: "With a scowl that could send an icy shiver down the binoculars of whomever dared to gaze upon her - before petrifying the stoutest of hearts."

The Northern Saw-Whet: "Yup, the Northern Saw-Whet Owl is an absolute darling, with a permanent look of surprise spread across its adorable little face."

The whole book reads this way, and it is such a delight! I highly recommend it to anyone, bird lover or not!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book Review: Wide-Open World by John Marshall

Title: Wide-Open World
Author: John Marshall
Source: Publisher

Goodreads Summary:

For readers of Three Cups of Tea; Eat, Pray, Love; and Wild comes the inspiring story of an ordinary American family that embarks on an extraordinary journey. Wide-Open World follows the Marshall family as they volunteer their way around the globe, living in a monkey sanctuary in Costa Rica, teaching English in rural Thailand, and caring for orphans in India. There’s a name for this kind of endeavor—voluntourism—and it might just be the future of travel.

Oppressive heat, grueling bus rides, backbreaking work, and one vicious spider monkey . . . Best family vacation ever!
John Marshall needed a change. His twenty-year marriage was falling apart, his seventeen-year-old son was about to leave home, and his fourteen-year-old daughter was lost in cyberspace. Desperate to get out of a rut and reconnect with his family, John dreamed of a trip around the world, a chance to leave behind, if only just for a while, routines and responsibilities. He didn’t have the money for resorts or luxury tours, but he did have an idea that would make traveling the globe more affordable and more meaningful than he’d ever imagined: The family would volunteer their time and energy to others in far-flung locales. 

Wide-Open World is the inspiring true story of the six months that changed the Marshall family forever. Once they’d made the pivotal decision to go, John and his wife, Traca, quit their jobs, pulled their kids out of school, and embarked on a journey that would take them far off the beaten path, and far out of their comfort zones.

Here is the totally engaging, bluntly honest chronicle of the Marshalls’ life-altering adventure from Central America to East Asia. It was no fairy tale. The trip offered little rest, even less relaxation, and virtually no certainty of what was to come. But it did give the Marshalls something far more valuable: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conquer personal fears, strengthen family bonds, and find their true selves by helping those in need. In the end, as John discovered, he and his family did not change the world. It was the world that changed them.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely loved this book. Like really loved it. It wasn't necessarily always the greatest from start to finish- I did find some areas bogged down a bit, or just weren't as interesting to me as others. However, it didn't matter. I still loved it.

John Marshall and his wife had a struggling marriage, and they were losing contact with their children, one of which was retreating heavily into the world of technology and friends. Marshall's teenage daughter was a typical American teen, glued to her phone and her friends. One day, Marshall decided enough was enough. The family was going to make some changes, together. The best part: they were going to make these changes by helping other people, in far off distant locales.

Marshall and his family volunteered in a few different places over the course of the year - a monkey sanctuary in Costa Rica, an orphanage in India, teaching English in Thailand. They also volunteered as WOOFERs, which is a program where people volunteer on an organic farm. I was most fascinated by the family's time at the monkey sanctuary and at the orphanage. Those two experiences really struck something within me, and drew me in. I just didn't connect with the other adventures the way I did with these two.  I actually could have read more about those two experiences, what we got just wasn't enough.

If this seems like an Eat, Pray, Love experience, it kind of is. However, at the end of this book, not everything ends hunky dory. I loved Marshall's commitment to being honest and open about what happened with his family over the course of this year. Also, another neat feature is at the end of the book, Marshall breaks down how his family managed to take an entire year off and also broke down the financial aspect of the trip as well, which I really wanted to know.

I feel inspired by this book. I love books that inspire me, and this one certainly did. I see voluntourism in the future for my family, and I can't wait!

If you are interested, you can check out Marshall's website, complete with photos!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Sunday Post and It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey - while she is on break you can share your post by tweeting with the hashtag #IMWAYR

So we didn't make it to the concert. It was a crazy, busy, happy, overwhelming week of varied emotions, but mostly joy!!! On Saturday, my brother and his wife had their baby, a sweet little girl. She is 6 lbs 11 oz, and 20 inches long. She also has a full, thick head of dark hair!!! Wyatt already loves his little cousin - we put them next to each other in the Pack 'n Play, and they linked arms instantly. I am of course already so in love with her little face!

In other less exciting news but still good, we got a new car! We really needed one, and we now have a brand new Jeep Patriot. It is our very first brand new car ever. And finally, summer semester is over! Woohoo! I finished out the semester with a pair of matching A's in both of my classes. 

Read last week:

Owls Our Most Charming Bird by Matt Sewell: This was a quick and easy read! I really loved it, and it was written in short little snaps about each owl. I actually read it to Wyatt over the course of the week! It was fun.

Reading This Week:


The Forgotten by Heather Graham: I started this but haven't finished yet. I am enjoying it!

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal: I am so excited to read this!


Not much. Mostly Pretty Little Liars, Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory.