I had heard David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars was a great novel and knew it had been made into a highly acclaimed film, but I’d neither read it nor seen the movie. I had no idea it was set in the Pacific Northwest, familiar territory, and it joins a surprisingly lengthy list of books I’ve read this year on the subject of WWII. Part history, part murder mystery, it offers compelling characters with both good and bad sides, each with motivations of their own and secrets to hide.

Completed 11/21/17, current balance 197.5 points

Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a journey into a childlike dream, and sometimes a nightmare, of crazy creatures and characters interacting with a rather precocious, though very proper, English girl. I listened to the audiobook read by one of my favorite recording artists, Jim Dale – I could fall in love with his voice – and he characterizes each voice individually – just lovely 😊

Completed 11/20/17, current balance 174.5 points

Posted by: JulieAloha | November 19, 2017

The Great Admissions Reading Challenge 2: Book 13: The Good Earth

Pearl S. Buck’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Good Earth is a difficult read, not for its writing style or vocabulary, but for its truth to the culture of the place and time period; it’s uncomfortable to read how subjugated women were, mere chattel, in fact girls were considered slaves – though some were able to carve out bits of power within the confines of the societal structure. I appreciated the inner voice of the main character as he faced his own failings and flaws, and I found myself liking and disliking him at various times according to his actions – a very complex character.

Competed 11/19/17, current balance 169.5 points.

A Raisin in the Sun is a play by Lorraine Hansberry. It’s not very long, but what an impact it makes! One family, three generations, a check, and the decision of their lives – I got to the end and wanted to just keep turning the pages, keep reading and envisioning their ongoing story. If this production ever comes to Seattle, I’ll have to check it out.

Completed 11/15/17, current balance 150.5 points.

Believe it or not, before last year I had never read an Agatha Christie book; now I’ve read two: Murder on the Orient Express and now And Then There Were None. I admit, mysteries are not my favorite genre – I have a tendency to figure out what will happen early on – and while entertaining, I do find Christie to be fairly straightforward. A nice bit of easy reading.

Completed 11/14/17, current balance 145.5 points.

I first read Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own in my freshman year at college, but I don’t remember it having made much impact on me back when I was 18 years old – perhaps I needed more time and living to be able to relate the author’s message to my own experience. Now I can see from the perspective of my gender how generations of patriarchal society has limited women’s ability to compete in most industries and opportunities – we should be very grateful to the women who’ve struggled within male dominated fields to not just carve out a foothold, but to excel and succeed, forging a path for other women to follow and setting a standard to meet and surpass.

Completed 11/12/17, current balance 137.5 points.

I’m hard pressed to decide which is my favorite character from Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, the unflappable Phileas Fogg or the loyal Jean Passeportout. I would love to be able to just pick up and go travel around the world on the spur of the moment, but unlike Mr. Fogg I would want to see the sights and experience the people and customs of each place I visited – I suppose I’m far more like Passeportout in that regard. What a great adventure!

Completed 11/9/17, current balance 130.5

Posted by: JulieAloha | November 9, 2017

The Great Admissions Reading Challenge 2: Book 8: Lavinia

Lavinia, by Ursula K. LeGuin, is a story inspired by Virgil’s Aeneid told by the woman with whom Aeneas spent his final years after the fall of Troy. I appreciate the narration being given from a woman’s point of view within a patriarchal society, and effort was made to detail the cultural practices of the various peoples from both a male and female perspective.

Though I am a great fan of LeGuin’s writing, I had never heard of this book before, which is why I love participating in the Reading Challenge – being introduced to materials for the first time and expanding my literary horizons. I think I may need to go back and read the Aeneid again!

Completed 11/9/17, current balance 118.5 points.

The Fellowship of the Ring, Part One of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series, is a lifetime favorite of mine. My first set of these books was given to me by my sister-outlaw and I’ve read and re-read them many times, each time finding new meaning and deeper insight into the characters and story. It still amazes me how vivid and complete the world Tolkien created still is today and how contemporary are the emotions, decisions and politics. One small person put in the position to make a choice for the greater good which could lead to personal destruction and may yet be in vain, or choose instead to give in to inevitable evil.

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Completed 11/7/17, current balance 103.5 points

I had heard The War of the Worlds radio broadcast of 1938 and known about the havoc it caused, but had never read H. G. Wells’ original story before. Having a fondness for British sensibilities, I loved the early chapters particularly as the people of England first encounter the invaders with curiosity and calm, taking time for tea and disseminating information with more thoroughness by way of the public houses than the newspapers before sending delegations of peace. Set in an age of limited technology with which to face the invaders, I wonder how the Martians would have fared against our modern tech and warfare and, given our current leadership, whether we would now be facing alien subjugation or nuclear winter.


Completed 11/7/17, current balance 74.5 points

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