Silent Spring in the 632’s

April 5, 2012 Nature, non-fiction, Science 3

There were two reasons I knew I had to read Silent Spring.  First, all of the environmentalist books I’ve been reading in the 630’s quote Silent Spring and a lot of them clearly aspire to be the next Silent Spring.  Second and more pragmatically, it was the only book my library had in the 632’s 🙂  Because all of the quotes I’ve read from Silent Spring have been emotional appeals, I was worried the book would be all poetic descriptions, poorly grounded in science.  Instead I found that, as the introduction claimed, Rachel Carson not only had a “lyrical, poetic voice” but also offered sound “scientific expertise” and an impressive “synthesis of wide-ranging material”. Read more »

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Monday Musings

April 3, 2012 Monday Musings 0

This week the Monday Musings question is the following: Do you belong to any book clubs — face-to-face, or online? If so, how long have you been with the group(s)? If not, why?

March was actually my first month doing any group reads.  I really enjoyed reading Cinder with my YA goodreads group and there was a decent amount of discussion (a lot of which centered around how sad we all were when the book ended!).  I also liked the Reading Buddies discussion lead by Erin Reads for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  There was less interaction for this group, but I really like the book selections Erin has lined up for the next two months.  I’d also like to start participating in the book club run by The Cheap Reader, although so far they’ve been reading books I’ve already read.  Fortunately, she takes suggestions so I’ll have to come up with my a good book club book to suggest 🙂

Feel free to answer the Monday Musing question yourself, either here or on the blog of the memes host, Should Be Reading.  Are you in any book clubs?

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A Reading Buddies Bookends

April 1, 2012 Classics, Fiction, Historical Fiction 6

This last month was my first time participating in the Reading Buddies discussion run by Erin Reads and I’m already looking forward to next month’s read!  The adult fiction books which seem to be popular in the discussions she leads are definitely outside my usual reading bubble and at least with this first book, I really enjoyed that.  The March read was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.  When I first started carrying this book around to read I was worried someone would ask me what it was about because I wasn’t really sure how to sum it up nicely.  Then I looked up the genre for my genre-based reading challenges and discovered the wonderful German word, “Bildungsroman”, meaning a coming-of-age novel (or directly translated “formation novel”).  It makes me happy that there’s a word that so precisely describes what this book is about. Read more »

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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

The-Hunger-Games-PosterFirst, 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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