Monthly Archives:: March 2012

Photography Friday

March 30, 2012 Photography Friday 4

Last weekend I had the best time going out with the other students in my year.  First, we spent most of the afternoon at Ledges State Park, where I took all of the pictures for this weeks’ photography Friday, and then we went to see The Hunger Games together, which I reviewed earlier this week (review spoiler – it was awesome!).  Unfortunately I was the only one who had read the book, so we weren’t able to discuss the finer nuances of bits that were changed or left out, but I think everyone enjoyed the movie – although perhaps not quite as much as I did!  Definitely a good weekend :)  What are your plans this weekend?  If you haven’t seen The Hunger Games yet, are you planning on it?

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Monday Musings

March 26, 2012 Monday Musings 0

This week the Monday Musings question, from our host Should Be Reading, is the following: Have you ever found a book out of the blue, read it, and then had it be surprisingly good — one that stuck with you for years? If so, what book was it?

I feel like I was just talking about this yesterday, at least the having a book be surprisingly good bit. I’ve been having that happen all the time since I’ve started visiting the library more often for this project and it’s wonderful – a vicious but wonderful cycle in which I go to the library just to return some books, then I’m just going to look around a bit, and before I know it I’m staggering back to the car with my weight in books :)  I’m not sure I’ve read any books in the past which have stuck with me for years, but I certainly think a lot of the stuff I’ve learned about how nasty pesticides can be (both from earlier books and my current read, Silent Spring) will be sticking with me for the rest of my life.

What about you?  Have you read any books which were so surprisingly good they stuck with you for years?

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Bookends and the Point of the Project

March 25, 2012 Uncategorized 1

Even ignoring all the awesome information I’m learning from reading so much non-fiction, I’ve been learning a lot from this project.  In particular, I’m learning to do things for the journey instead of the destination; to be patient with myself; to indulge my interests; and to see where life takes me.  I have zero self-control in the library, absolutely none.  Which is why I ended up with  All Creatures Great and Small, a book from a section I’d already read a book from!  I’m absolutely amazed at the number of books I can find to desperately want to read in even a small section of a small library in Ames, Iowa.  But I constantly remind myself that I’m not going to finish the project in a reasonable time frame anyway, and you know what?  It doesn’t matter. Because finishing is not the point.  The point is to read books I wouldn’t have read otherwise and become a more well-rounded person.  Plus to enjoy myself of course, which is usually enough all by itself to make me glad I picked a book up. Read more »

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Spring Reading Thing Challenge

March 24, 2012 Uncategorized 6

Since last fall when I missed Callapidder Days‘ Fall Into Reading Challenge, I’ve been looking forward to her Spring Reading Thing.  I’m actually narrowly avoiding missing it as well, as the deadline for posting a list of your reading goals for spring is tonight!  I think this challenge is just what I need right now to get me to do a little more planning of my reading.  When I first started my project, I almost always knew what I wanted to read next.  But lately, I’ve been having trouble deciding and I’ve been having trouble finishing library books before they are due, so I’ve resorted to a sort of triage system where I read books in the order they need to be returned.  While I’ll continue to try to pay more attention to due dates, I’d also like to have some idea of what order I really want to be reading books in.  So here is my list, organized incategories because I like our host’s list organization so much :)

For my Dewey Decimal Challenge 

  • Silent Spring
  • finish the 630’s – 630, 631, 632, and 633

Gardening – just in time for spring!

  • Worms Eat My Garbage
  • Guide to Iowa Vegetable Gardening

YA Fiction

  • Graceling – I’ve seen several good reviews of this one lately, so many I thought it must be new!
  • The Uglies series – I’ve been wanting to read this for ages

Group Reads

  • A Tree Grows in BrooklynErin Reads
  • “Never too old for YA books” April book (TBD)

For Variety

  • The Dark Queen – a historical romance I think, something I picked up for a change
  • I Never Fancied Him Anyway – ditto the above, but not historical
  • Stardust
  • books in at least 4 categories for my genre challenges

I’m sure this list will change over time (I want to plan, but all the way until June is such a long time!) and hopefully get more specific, but for now this is it :)

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A Hunger Games Movie Review

March 24, 2012 Uncategorized 11

First, a promise:  I hear-by solemnly swear to keep this review brief and spoiler-less :)  Since I had a test Friday, I wasn’t able to make the opening showing of The Hunger Games and I’ve been very carefully screening the blog posts I read to avoid spoilers myself!  I managed that well enough that I had no idea how optimistic to be going into the movie, but let me tell you – this is actually one of the first book-to-movie adaptions I’ve ever left without being able to think of any major plot points they left out.  It was phenomenal.  I loved the casting; everyone was great, just as I pictured them!  Actually, that’s not quite true.  Haymitch and Cinna were even better that I imagined.  And as I said, they stayed very true to the plot.  They toned down the violence a lot, mostly by using close-up enough shots that everything happening just seemed chaotic, and this sometimes gave scenes a slightly different feel than in the book.  But honestly, I appreciated that.  Going in to the movie, I was actually worried that graphic violence might prevent me from enjoying, although obviously as a PG-13 movie it could only be so bad.  Anyway, that’s the only change I really noticed, so I would have to agree with Parajunkee’s earlier review – this is one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I’ve ever seen.

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Photography Friday

March 23, 2012 Photography Friday 2

Today I finally finished an experiment I’ve been working on for over a month.  It was wonderful :)  It was pretty late when I finished, but fortunately it was still sunny and I was able to take some pictures while enjoying the beautiful spring weather.  I can’t believe we have flowers here already!

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Cheese Club, Chestnuts and My Umbrella Adventure

March 22, 2012 Uncategorized 0

I recently lost the most awesome umbrella ever – short when folded up, but large and sturdy when open – so I currently only have this golf umbrella my dad lent me.  It’s a nice enough umbrella except for one thing: it really never stops being large and sturdy and even folded is approximately half my height.  So I spent all day Tuesday carrying this ridiculously large umbrella everywhere I went in anticipation of rain.  It didn’t rain.  And it didn’t rain.  And finally I got to my lab at the end of the day, completely exhausted, propped my umbrella against the wall and promptly left it there.  Of course, when I got downstairs it was raining.  I seriously considered going back for it, but I was just too ready to be home.  Luckily the rain wasn’t too bad, so I when I showed up at cheese club later that evening I at least didn’t look like a drowned rat on top of showing up by my self. Read more »

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Monday Musings

March 19, 2012 Monday Musings 2

This week the Monday Musings question is the following: Would you choose to review a book if its description sounded interesting but the cover was terrible?

I’m honestly not sure about this one, having never been put in that position.  So far, there have only been a few books I’ve been asked to review and the covers have been approximately as appealing as the descriptions.

When I first read this question, I misread the word “review” as “read” and I didn’t think the question made much sense.   In real life, browsing in the library for example, I don’t think I’d ever pick up a book with an unappealing cover.  This means I’d never get a chance to realize I liked the description because the cover drove me off first.  I think this might be one advantage to being asked to review books and reading other bloggers’ book reviews: you might read about an interesting book you would have passed by because of the cover and end up enjoying reading a book you would have missed otherwise.

Feel free to answer the Monday Musing question yourself, either here or on the blog of the memes host, Should Be Reading.

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Bookends About The Vampire Diaries

March 17, 2012 Fiction, Gothic, Young Adult 0

This week, I finished the last book of the original Vampire Diaries quartet and also started watching the corresponding TV show for the Book to Movie challenge hosted by Parajunkee.  The book definitely did not disappoint.  I missed having Elena as narrator – a testament to the character development which took place, given my initial dislike of Elena! And the ending was a little deus ex machina, with an improbable rescue and inadequately explained happy ending.  However, the ending was such a marvelously dramatic showdown, I really couldn’t feel upset about it.  In fact, I think it would make an awesome scene to watch and hope the TV show gets there and does it justice or a movie happens too.  Other than those few complaints, it had all the same strengths as the other books.  There were some plot twists I didn’t anticipate, strong female leads, and the writing was at least acceptable. Read more »

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Photography Friday

March 16, 2012 Photography Friday 0

Despite being spring break, this week has been quite busy!  Mostly I’ve been worrying about the news that the professor whose lab I want to join is moving to Cornell and I have to decide if I want to be in his lab badly enough to move to0.  I’m leaning toward yes, so this blog may soon be brought to you from Ithaca, NY.  How exciting!

The picture this week is a touch-up of a picture I took when visiting UC Riverside.  I cleaned up some of the obvious problems, like the picture being taken at an angle, but what I was really going for was a slightly Italian feel to the scene.  To achieve that, I darkened the tree at the back and added some yellow to the walls.  I feel like there’s still room for improvement to take it more in that direction though, so any suggestions would be welcome :)  Have a great weekend!

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