Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Winter Wheat

Last week I read a wonderful book, Winter Wheat, by Mildred Walker. The cover was not appealing, the look of the text inside was not appealing, and after reading a few pages I almost decided not to read it. But as with many other books where I felt this way at the beginning, I'm so glad I kept reading. The book is about 18 year old Ellen Webb in 1940. She lives with her parents in a rural Montana community on a wheat farm. Sounds exciting, huh? :-) It's just a really wholesome book with great characterization and wonderful descriptions of wheat farming and the landscape around them.

I love this quote about Ellen's parents: "They had love that was deep-rooted and stronger than love that grows easily. It gave me faith for my own life."

I highly recommend this book!

Rating: 4.25 / 5

Monday, May 21, 2007


Yesterday I finished Winterdance by Gary Paulsen, my first book for the Non-Fiction Five Challenge. The book was about the author's experience training for and running the Iditarod.

I didn't like it as much as I expected I would. The book never really captured my attention. I never felt like I was inside the author's head. I didn't get a real sense of his relationship with his dogs. I don't have a really good mental picture of what the actual race is like. I don't know how to explain it, the book just didn't interest me all that much. The first half of the book was all about the events leading up to the race - how he got involved with dogs and preparations made for the race. The second half talked about his running the race. I may have liked the book better if more of it was devoted to the race itself.

I did enjoy some parts of the book. But I think I really just wanted to finish it and get back to Winter Wheat! I stopped halfway through that book so I could read Winterdance and write about it before I leave on Thursday. I am really enjoying Winter Wheat! I haven't seen it mentioned on any blogs. I got the recommendation from this site. It's a list of books recommended by author Roxanne Henke (she wrote the Brewster series including the first book, After Anne). I've gotten several great book ideas from her list including The Kindness of Strangers and The Amateur Marriage.

I rate Winterdance 3/5.

Friday, May 18, 2007


I went to the library tonight to return Lindsey's videos which were due and to pick up 2 holds (one for me, one for the girls). Even though I have 5 library books at home already in my TBR pile, I HAD to get more! Once in awhile I just have to return things and don't have time to get any more books and it just kills me to leave the library with nothing. LOL I just love, love, love checking for available books online before I leave home, making a list, then going to the library and browsing the new books besides looking at the ones on my list. My book bag is usually quite heavy when I'm done. I always think to myself how I, once again, got more books that I can possibly read in a month's time (or more). I have a ritual of what I do with the books when I get home, that's for another post. :-)

So besides the books already in my pile, I now also have 6 or 7 more books, including:

The Birth House by Ami McKay

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler

The Berenstain Bears and the week at grandma's (oops, that one's Lindsey's!)

I also picked up from on hold, Winterdance by Gary Paulsen (my first book for the Non-Fiction Five Challenge). I'll read that one as soon as I finish my current read, Winter Wheat by Mildred Walker (good so far!). I read about 100 pages of Sassy Cinderella that I wrote about in my last post but it never really grabbed me so I quit.

Next week Thursday-Sunday I'm going to North Carolina to visit a friend and attend the state's homeschool conference with her. I can't wait! I'm going alone, never done that before! The book I plan to bring along for the plane is Black Ice by Linda Hall. I love her books! I hope one book is enough. :-)

Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Amateur Marriage

I just finished (like 5 minutes ago!) The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler. I loved it! I really enjoyed the last book I read, The Myth of You and Me (thanks for the rec, BeckyB!) and I really wanted to read another book right away that I could just lose myself in. At first I thought The Amateur Marriage wasn't going to be that book. It was a little slow moving at first, and in a way the whole novel was slow moving. I guess it was even depressing in a way, but for some reason I just loved it. I loved how each chapter started a whole new time in the life of the characters (like years later). I loved the images I got in my mind of life in the 40's and 50's (the book goes all the way into the year 2001). I really feel like I got to know the characters well.

I think I tried another of Anne Tyler's books at one time but couldn't get into it. I wonder if I just didn't give it enough of a chance or if she's not one of those authors where you tend to like every book they write. I can't even remember which book I tried before. I definitely want to go back now and try a few more of her novels. Which Anne Tyler books have you read and did you enjoy them?

The one thing I hate about finishing a book I loved, is I'm always afraid the next book I read just isn't going to measure up. Sometimes I will find another good one right away, sometimes it takes awhile, but I guess I've read enough awesome books that I'm sure there are more out there! My next book on the stack is Sassy Cinderella and The Valiant Vigilante by Sharon Dunn. It's a sequel to Romance Rustlers and Thunderbird Thieves which I read over a year ago with my book club. I remember I liked that book but don't think I loved it. After this I'll be reading Winterdance by Gary Paulsen for the Non-Fiction Five Challenge. I wanted to read Velvet Elvis first, since it's first on my list, but I have a hold on it at the library and 2 people have it on hold ahead of me. I won't even get it in the month of May I don't think.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

April Reads


-Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier -4-
-Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson** -4.5-
-Sisterchicks in Gondolas! by Robin Jones Gunn -3.75-
-An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor -3.5-
-The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger -3.75-
-Head Game by Tim Downs -3.25-


-An Innocent, A Broad by Ann Leary -4-
-Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax -2.5-
-Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in you and your kids! by Turansky/Miller -3-
-One Small Boat by Kathy Harrison -4-

**Favorite book of the month

(Ratings on a scale of 1-5)

Non-Fiction Five Challenge

Here is my final list for the Non-Fiction Five Challenge sponsored by Joy at Thoughts of Joy:

1. Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell

2. Winterdance by Gary Paulsen

3. Dear Exile by Hilary Liftin

4. Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis

5. How to Help a Grieving Friend by Stephanie Grace Whitson