Book and movie links

June 3, 2010 Categories: Books , Movies | Comments Off  

I don’t know if any of you out there are still reading, but if you are, I really owe you a huge catch-up post. I am working on it, I promise! Here’s a few links to keep you busy in the meantime.

Book links:

~ My summer reading list
~ Book Review: Janeology by Karen Harrington
~ Book Review: Far From the Land: An Irish Memoir by Thomas J. Rice
~ Mini-Reviews: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy, and My Husband’s Sweethearts by Bridget Asher
~ Book Review: Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
~ Book Review: On Folly Beach by Karen White
~ Book Review: Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop
~ Book Review: Friendship Cake by Lynne Hinton
~ Book Review: Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie, & Folklore in the Literature of Childhood by Jane Yolen
~ Book Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin
~ Book Review: The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
~ Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, Washington
~ Book Review: Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby
~ Mini-Reviews: Hunger by Michael Grant, An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, and When Forgiveness Doesn’t Make Sense by Robert Jeffress
~ Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
~ Book Review: Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor
~ Book Review: Guernica by Dave Boling
~ Book Review: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
~ Book Review: Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
~ Book Review: The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
~ Book Review: The Other Side of Dawn by John Marsden
~ Book Review: Undercover by Beth Kephart
~ Mini-Reviews: Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Petersen; Burning for Revenge and The Night is for Hunting by John Marsden
~ Spotlight: Poet Billy Collins
~ Book Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
~ Book Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate
~ Book Review: Get Lucky by Katherine Center
~ Book Review: One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
~ Book Review: The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart
~ Mini-reviews: The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan, The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell, Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin, Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
~ Book Review: Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
~ How does your mood affect your reading?
~ Book Review: The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran
~ Book Review: A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King
~ Book Review: Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands by Michael Chabon
~ Book Review: The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

Movie links:

~ Morelli and Ranger casting for the Stephanie Plum movie
~ If I were casting the Stephanie Plum movie
~ Movie Review: Avatar
~ Summer movie preview: which ones are you dying to see?
~ Movie Review: Saving Grace
~ Movie Review: Invictus

Book Review: Love in a Time of Homeschooling: A Mother and Daughter’s Uncommon Year by Laura Brodie

April 16, 2010 Categories: Books , Contests | Comments Off  


Title: Love in a Time of Homeschooling: A Mother and Daughter’s Uncommon Year
Author: Laura Brodie
Genre: Nonfiction, memoir
Publisher: Harper Collins
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from the author
First line: On a cold October morning my ten-year-old daughter, Julia, sat at our kitchen table and contemplated the Earth’s layers.

Last year, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Laura Brodie’s novel The Widow’s Season. While communicating with Ms. Brodie about her novel, I mentioned that I am a homeschooling mom. She told me that her next book would be a memoir of the year she spent homeschooling her daughter, Julia. When she e-mailed me earlier this year about reviewing it, I didn’t hesitate.

I have to admit, as a full-time, long-term homeschooler, I wondered if my philosophy of homeschooling would be so different from Ms. Brodie, who decided to homeschool her daughter for 5th grade only, that it would be an awkward read and review. I needn’t have worried. Ms. Brodie has a beautiful writing voice, and her love for her daughter and desire to tell about her homeschooling experience with honesty came through on every page.

In Love in a Time of Homeschooling, Ms. Brodie decides to consider short-term homeschooling after she loses her 4th grade daughter Julia for an hour one afternoon. She discovers her hiding in a closet – hiding because she had heard her mother say it was almost time to do homework. Julia is a bright girl who loves to read, draw, and experience nature – and she is going crazy in a traditional classroom setting. Brodie is a college professor and author, and knows that long-term homeschooling won’t fit for their family, but decides to take Julia out of school for 5th grade. This memoir tells the story of that decision and the resulting year.

I loved how honest Brodie was about the gap between her expectations for her year of homeschooling and the reality of it. Very few homeschooling books are honest about the fact that while some days are nestled in a rosy haze of delightful learning, most days are full of routine and plugging ahead at work that is not always enjoyable. And there are days when the idea of putting all four of my kids on a big yellow school is immensely tempting, and evenings when I end the day ashamed of the way I lost my temper over having to explain some math concept yet one more time.

This book has a much wider appeal than simply homeschoolers, though. Readers of memoir will recognize a talented author and enjoy reading about a year in which she decided to take a different path than she had expected, and how that year turned out. Parents will be in agreement with the difficulty in assuring a good education for our children in today’s public school system, the struggle to balance enriching extra-curricular activities with mountains of homework and the need to simply let our kids be kids while they can.

The thing I most appreciated about this book is that Brodie came away from her experience with the conviction that all good parents are homeschoolers, whether they are doing the day to day teaching themselves or entrusting their children to others. She realizes that as parents we bear the ultimate responsibility for our children’s education – and she didn’t hesitate to try something different when it was needed.

Some favorite passages:

As I thought back on my mom, it occurred to me that all good parents are homeschoolers. Homeschooling is what happens when families turn off their TVs, cell phones, and iPods. It occurs in long, thoughtful conversations at the dinner table, as well as at baseball games and ballet recitals, and in the planning of a vegetable garden. Parents who enrich their children’s lives with art and sports and multiple trips to the library provide the backbone of American education. Unfortunately, in our busy lives, parents and children have less and less time for hours of thoughtful interaction, which is one reason why homeschooling has been on the rise. Homeschooling provides family with the quality time that used to occur after school. ~ p. 52-53

Most homeschooling books don’t mention these troubles; they don’t dwell on shouting matches and slammed doors. Perhaps other homeschooling households are more placid than mine, or perhaps the first foray into homeschooling is always rocky, and years of practice are required to smooth the path. But I suspect that even the best homeschooling families have their ugly moments, from minor annoyances to major fights… ~ p. 145

Above all, homeschooling enabled Julia and me to understand one another more deeply – to witness each other’s flaws and strengths and practice the art of patience. I wish I could claim that my angry outbursts have disappeared, and that I am now a model of meditative calm. But who would believe it, especially in a house with four opinionated females? Truth is, the emotional weather in our family alternates between sunshine and storm, with the occasional hurricane looming (never more than a category two). Homeschooling taught Julia and me to comprehend each other’s tempests, and to appreciate all chances to bask in warm, cloudless love. ~ p. 237

I have an ARC copy and a hardcover copy of Love in a Time of Homeschooling to give away to two of my readers. Click over to Books and Movies to enter.

(Disclosure: Love in a Time of Homeschooling was provided to me by the author for the purpose of review. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on it and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small percentage in commission.)

Books and Movies link

March 11, 2010 Categories: Books , Movies | Comments Off  

~ Guest post: Lynn Cullen, author of The Creation of Eve
~ Book Review: The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen
~ Book Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn
~ Mini-review: Going Bovine by Libba Bray, Down the Long Hills by Louis L’Amour, Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, and The Game by Laurie R. King
~ Movie Review: Old Dogs
~ Movie Review: Amelia
~ Bedtime reading rituals
~ Mini-reviews: Nine Horses: Poems by Billy Collins and The Diary of Pelly D by L.J. Adlington
~ Book Review: The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg
~ Blogsplash: Thaw by Fiona Robyn
~ Cover issues: plus-sized characters
~ Faith ‘n’ Fiction Saturday: Round table discussion of Claudia Mair Burney’s Wounded
~ Found in the pages of Bookmarks Magazine, March/April 2010 issue
~ Book Review: Life Studies: Short Stories by Susan Vreeland
~ Whatcha Watchin’? Wednesday: FlashForward, Part One, Season One
~ Book Review: At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays by Anne Fadiman
~ Movie Review: Everybody’s Fine

Bullet points update

February 21, 2010 Categories: Books , Homeschooling , Kid Stuff , Movies | 4 Comments  

~ We have added a cat to our already crowded household. This is Sam with Natalie.

~ We have started the second half of our homeschooling year. All is going fairly well, although I have decided I am officially very tired of Shurley Grammer. This is not the curriculum’s fault – it’s a great curriculum, and has taught us things I never learned even in college classes, but we need a change and so will be trying Learning Language Arts Through Literature next year. Natalie has declared that decimals are from the devil and algebraic addition is the stuff of fantasy land. I am trying to help her understand that while she may never again use this information, she needs it to graduate from high school, and so must soldier on. All four kids are taking a PE class this semester that includes bowling and softball – and are loving it.

~ We have started attending a church. I am enjoying the Women’s Bible Study. That’s about as optimistic as I feel like being with our recent church experiences.

~ Kevin’s sister Carol is not doing well at all. Her cancer has progressed to the point where all they can really do is make her comfortable. Prayers would be much appreciated.

At Books and Movies lately:

~ Book Review: Candor by Pam Bachorz
~ Interview with Pam Jenoff, author of Almost Home
~ Book Review: Almost Home by Pam Jenoff
~ Book Review: King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography by Chris Crutcher
~ Mini-review: U is for Undertow, City of Glass, and Wounded
~ Book Review: The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
~ Book Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
~ Guest post: Patrick Taylor, author of The Irish Country Doctor series
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Kirby Larson
~ 2010 Ireland Reading Challenge
~ Book Review: Spellbinder by Helen Stringer
~ Book Review: The Summer We Fell Apart by Robin Antalek
~ Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
~ Monday’s Movie: The Boys Are Back
~ Book Review: A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Molly Blaisdell
~ Book Review: Eldest by Christopher Paolini
~ Monday’s Movie: Surrogates

At Books and Movies lately

January 23, 2010 Categories: Books , Movies | 2 Comments  

~ Mini-review: Looking for Alaska, Storm Front, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Joni Sensel
~ Book Review: Dragon House by John Shors
~ Book Review: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
~ Movie Review: 10 Things I Hate About You
~ Book Review: This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Glenda Burgess
~ Whatcha Watchin’ Wednesday
~ Movie Review: The Answer Man
~ Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green
~ Book Review: Things That Make Us (Sic) by Martha Brockenbrough
~ Book Review: Now and Then by Jacqueline Sheehan
~ Book Review: Questions About Angels: Poems by Billy Collins
~ Movie Review: (500) Days of Summer
~ Book Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
~ Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
~ Mini-reviews: Where Water Comes Together With Other Water: Poems, Z for Zachariah, Ethan Frome
~ My top 20 books from 2009, part one
~ My top 20 books from 2009, part two
~ Recommended essay collections
~ Book Review: Darkness Be My Friend by John Marsden
~ Book Review: The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
~ Book Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
~ Book Review: The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by A.J. Jacobs
~ Announcing Essay Reading Challenge 2010
~ 2010: The Year of Reading Deliberately
~ Book Review: Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Martha Brockenbrough
~ Book Review: Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak
~ Book Review: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson
~ Movie Review: Shattered
~ Book Review: When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge

Bookish stuff

December 21, 2009 Categories: Books | Comments Off  

~ Book Bloggers’ Twelve Days of Christmas
~ Book Review: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
~ Book Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
~ Book Review: Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors
~ Book Review: No Time to Wave Goodbye by Jacquelyn Mitchard
~ My top 20 books from 2009, part one
~ Book Review: Darkness Be My Friend by John Marsden
~ Book Review: The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
~ Book Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
~ Reading challenges for 2010
~ Book Review: The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by A.J. Jacobs
~ Announcing Essay Reading Challenge 2010
~ Book Review: Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Martha Brockenbrough
~ Book Review: Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak
~ Book Review: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson
~ Book Review: When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge
~ Book Review: Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008

Bookish stuff

November 21, 2009 Categories: Books | Comments Off  

~ Book Review: The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
~ Book Review: A Killing Frost (The Tomorrow Series #3) by John Marsden
~ Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry
~ Book Review: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
~ Interview with Lorelei King, actress and reader of the Stephanie Plum audiobooks

Books, movies, and TV

November 14, 2009 Categories: Books , Contests , Movies , Television | Comments Off  

~ Book Review: Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich
~ Whatcha Watchin’? Wednesday: V, Fringe, Bones, etc.
~ Book Review: The Sky Inside by Clare B. Dunkle
~ Movie Review: UP
~ Book Review: The Geography of Love: A Memoir by Glenda Burgess
~ Book Giveaway: The Purloined Boy by Mortimus Clay

Quick update – and some links

November 5, 2009 Categories: Books , Movies , This and That , Writing | 2 Comments  

So, it’s day 5 of NaNoWriMo. I’m at 8,853 words – a bit over where I need to be, which is good, since I didn’t get to write yesterday at all. Michelle and I met at a local internet cafe, and against all odds, actually got some writing done! (Kevin was convinced the writing was just an excuse to get together and gab.)

Saturday is my birthday, so I’m looking forward to Mom and Dad coming over for dinner – Mom’s making lasagne, Dad’s making cheesecake. Yum!

Here’s the latest at Books and Movies:

~ Book Review: The Dead of Night by John Marsden
~ Book Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
~ Book Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
~ Movie Review: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
~ Movie Review: Aliens in the Attic
~ Book Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
~ Book Review: The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter
~ Book Review: Dear Fatty by Dawn French
~ Book Review: The Watsons by Jane Austen
~ Lines you’ll only read/hear in a Stephanie Plum mystery
~ Movie Review: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
~ Recommendations from a non-blogger: Jonathan
~ Book Review: Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
~ Book Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore
~ Movie Review: Cheri
~ Recommendations from a non-blogger: Noah
~ Two perfect books for curious kids and their parents
~ TV on DVD Review: Legend of the Seeker: The Complete First Season
~ Book Review: The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Flashlight Worth Books

October 28, 2009 Categories: Books | Comments Off  

I have a list called 9 Children’s Novels Both Boys and Girls Will Love to Hear up at Flashlight Worthy Books, in case you’re interested.

(I promise a longer, more substantive post soon. Things are a bit crazy, and I’m getting ready for NaNoWriMo.)