Booktalks Round 3--Sort Of

You can find my booktalks on the previous 8 Beehive nominees that I have read here and here. I have 4 more books to go and while I had meant to read them and finish up my booktalks last week, a little thing called the World Cup got in the way. And while the World Cup is still in the way, I thought I would give you booktalks on 2 of that 4--sort of. During Round 2 I admitted to not loving a couple of the books but being committed to booktalking all 12 books. Now, however, I have changed my mind and this is what you are going to get from me:
The Devil's Paintbox by Victoria McKernan

A gritty tale about Aiden and Maddy, orphaned on the prairie, who join a wagon train west for a chance at a new life that I did not like at all.
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Kyra, a 14 year old member of a polygamist sect, is chosen to marry one of the elders who just happens to be her 60 year old uncle. Her refusal puts her life and the lives of those she loves and trusts in danger. I didn't love this book because the topic is just not one that I would choose to read for myself, however it is hands down the most suspenseful book I have ever read (and the more I think about it the more I do really like it and think I maybe ought to be doing a real booktalk on it). My heart was lodged in my throat for nearly the entire book--which just might be another reason I didn't love it as thriller books aren't often my thing. Note: There is some violence that makes this a book for mature teens.

Final installment coming next week (hopefully).


La Vie En Rose

I thought I would just say a few words on my new blog title (hopefully the last one since I'm pretty sure changing blog titles is kind of frowned upon and this is my 3rd one--at least I'm not change blog addresses).

La Vie en Rose is both a favorite song of mine and a way of looking at life that I would like to be better at. The translation from French is something like "Life in Pink" that loosely means that life is beautiful (or at least that is what I am told). I just think that seeing life as beautiful--choosing to see life as beautiful because I do think it is a choice--is a wonderful thing and I would really like to be better at living my life like this. So maybe this one extra reminder will help me out a bit.

For those not familiar with the song, here it is (the trumpet just kills me--in a very, very good way):


One Final Word

To my guys of the U.S. Soccer team:

Clearly (as much as it pains me to say this) you are not as good as I was hoping. That said I can see a lot of promise in you. Sure we need a starting forward who can score points for us and sometimes our defense fell apart. However, many of you are quite young and should be playing at your prime in four years (and though the World Cup hasn't even concluded, I can hardly wait). You played with grit and, if for no other reason, I love and respect you for it. You represented our country well (and from the looks of it gained a whole lot of new fans--which is just about as much a victory for U.S. soccer as moving forward in the World Cup would have been for you). Welcome home.

As an aside:

I was entirely gutted when they lost. As in I was nearly in tears. And while I do enjoy my sports, the defeats that my teams experience do not normally drive me to depression and tears--or nearly so. This was a whole new experience for me. I think some of it was because I knew some of these guys had just played their last game on the U.S. national team--and were quite emotional about it themselves--but I think a part of the reason is that soccer has risen to a whole new level of appreciation in my life. Previous to the World Cup, soccer was rating a close second to baseball. Now, though, I'm just about ready to move it up ahead (I think I'll give it another month to see if there is a let down from watching my national team to watching my club teams though).

As another aside:

Since the game I can hardly stop thinking about whether their loss was my fault. I wore a skirt that day. Maybe that was bad luck. (I wore a skirt Sunday as well when Germany crushed England so I'm thinking it was definitely bad luck) I only wore one ring that day as opposed to the two I had worn all the previous games. Maybe I should have changed during halftime like I did to ensure a better conclusion to one of their earlier matches. See what baseball has done to me (baseball players and many fans are a very superstitious bunch). Just for that baseball should probably be relegated down.



I am babysitting for my sister at her house and have run out of things to do (as they do not have cable television and the book I brought is just not doing anything for me) and have been forced to find a distraction from the weird noises this house is making. Hence the new blog title and look. It is still very much in production but it has been a bit of fun to play with--it was either this or wake up one of the kids to play with me.



I am about to tell you a tale that is sure to curdle your blood and turn your innards to jelly. Okay so that may be a little melodramatic, but my tale is sure to turn your stomach (unless of course you have some serious pet love going on in which case I apologize now and would like you to know that none of what I am about to tell you is directed at you personally--we all have our quirks and just because yours turns my stomach doesn't mean we can't all be friends).

I believe I told you I am volunteering at my local library with the summer teen reading program. Well in addition to the duties that come along with this program the library is teaching me all sorts of fun and exciting things like shelving books and mending torn pages. I don't really do either often (especially with the World Cup on right now) but I am learning how to do these things and, in the process, learning things that I really think I would have been a happier person had I never had them thrust upon me.

Story #1:

I was peacefully shelving books for a few minutes the other day in the non-fiction section (not my favorite section to shelve books--young adult claims that category) when I found myself with a large pile of knitting books to put away (there seems to always be a large pile of knitting or cooking books to put away at my library). So, as I was saying, I was peacefully shelving these books when my eye fell upon a title that couldn't possibly be correct. Not in a million years would anyone write such a book--much less read it. I pulled it down off the shelf sure that I had forgotten how to read or had somehow simply gotten the title wrong. That is when my stomach turned just a little because I, sadly, had not forgotten how to read. Right there in black and white was was an entire book on knitting with your pet's hair. An entire how-to guide on collecting, spinning, and then knitting fashion accessories with you pet's hair. An entire book dedicated...right so you get the picture. I quickly found a librarian to enquire about the appropriateness of such a book in our library (and where kids could actually see it) and was told that a patron actually requested that the book be purchased. The horror. (Remember how I said that I don't mean any of this to be taken personally should you be such an individual that would read and do the things suggested in this book? Good.)

Story #2:

I was peacefully washing the book covers of a few books whose pages were all mended when I came across a board book that someone read while apparently eating spaghetti. Now while most board books are all cute and bright and kid friendly, this particular board book was none of those things. This particular board book was about spiders--and not cute little cartoon spiders that perhaps help friendly farm animals. No, this book contained nothing but large pictures of huge, hairy, ugly spiders (as in the kind that live deep in the jungle an carry off small children when their parents look away for a minute). Who would give this kind of a book to small, unsuspecting children? And who, in their right mind, would eat spaghetti while reading this book. I'm sure that I am going to have nightmares tonight and that it will be some time before I can eat spaghetti again.

Really, there are times when I think book burning might not be such a terrible idea.

I'm kidding, of course, sort of.


Mr. Vaughn was Lovely

That just about sums it up. It was a wonderful program and Brian Vaughn was charming and insightful and just really as wonderful as you hope that he is. The other two men speaking that night were also wonderful but their names escape me because, well, Brian Vaughn was the real draw--something they were very gracious about. And now thanks to all of these guys I can't wait to see Pride and Prejudice on the stage this summer (oh, and for any single ladies out there, the Festival is auctioning off a date with Mr. Darcy (who I hear is quite the catch) should you be interested--my mom has offered to make a bid on my behalf but the entire thing sounds too embarrassing and thankfully I do not come from a wealthy family. Funny that should they be able to convince Brian and his wife to let him out on a date with another women it might just be the only time the Mr. Collins was far more popular than Mr. Darcy).

Anyway, there were two areas where Mr. Vaughn did disappoint. He refused to do his British accent (entirely understandable) and he refused to give any details on next year's line up (it is the 50th anniversary and he is very excited about it but still wouldn't spill any details) which is he privy to because he and David Ivers are the Festival's new Artistic Directors (did you know that? I am absolutely head over heels about it).

Alright, there are far to many dashes, parentheses, and other grammatical errors that I am claiming ignorance on so I think I shall wrap this up with one more comment:



Green with Envy

Not me, you. You will be green with envy when you read about where I will be tonight:

“Bringing Pride and Prejudice to the Stage”

June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Public Library, Salt Lake City, Utah

Join playwright Joe Hanreddy, director Blake Robison, and actor Brian Vaughn (Mr. Collins) as they discuss the process of bringing Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to the stage. These gentlemen will discuss adapting the script, creating famous scenes onstage, and bringing Austen’s beloved characters to life.

Yes, I will be in the same room with Brian Vaughn listening to him talk about being Mr. Collins (which I just think is brilliantly funny casting). And if you don't know what I am talking about here, well, shame on you--and get yourself down to the Utah Shakespearean Festival!!!



I couldn't be more angry, disgusted, gutted at a referee than I am right now (I'm talking World Cup here). And after I did everything I could for my side: changed shirts at halftime (sorry Boston but your apparel is a jinx for my sports teams right now), continuously chanted "come on guys" (I've found they respond well to that chant when I use it while watching them on TV), and standing nearly throughout the entire match. And after they did everything they could and fairly won that match. Grrrrrr!!!!

In an attempt to mollify my feelings I am off to visit the libraries of Utah. Some people do LDS Temple tours (where they attempt to visit a number of Temple in a specified period of time or in a geographical area) but I do library tours. Actually my sisters are doing something call a quilt shop hop for which they get prizes for visiting different quilt shops throughout Northern Utah and I am tagging along to drop off Timpanogos Storytelling Festival brochures at some of the libraries (I am now an official festival board member and I have lots and lots of brochures if anyone wants one). If anything will help me feel better this will because, as I discovered yesterday, we have some lovely libraries in this State (an England v. Algeria draw would also do much to improve my feelings).

Have a lovely weekend.


Booktalks: Round 2

I am about to break one of the cardinal rules of booktalking: never booktalk a book that you didn't like. The first two booktalks below are books that I didn't like--I didn't hate them, though, so if the topic sounds interesting to you then you might want to give them a try. The last two, however, are exceptional books that I loved. And now without further ado, the next 4 books I promised to booktalk:
Project Sweet Life by Brent Hartinger

Every teenager knows that taking a job the summer you are 15 is totally optional. Sure there are some teens that need to start working that summer to help out with family finances but, for the vast majority, that summer is a sacred time of bike rides, camp outs, and just fooling around. And that is exactly what Dave, Curtis, and Victor expect of their summer. Or, that was what they expected until their fathers joined forces and forced them to get summer jobs. Now faced with this most horrible of all horrible situations, the three boys decide that they can’t let their fathers win and so a plan is formed to pretend to have taken summer jobs, earn all the money they should earn over the entire summer in one quick, easy job, and then sit back and enjoy the rest of their summer. Of course things don’t go exactly as planned, but nothing is going to force these teens to admit defeat and abandon their plan—code named: “Project Sweet Life” by Brent Hartinger.
Compound by S.A. Bodeen

With just minutes to spare, Eli and his family are shepherded into an underground bunker just as the world was destroyed in nuclear war. Now, six years later, Eli is beginning to think that all is not what it seems. But, with food running out and their sanity pressed to the limit, can he figure it out in time? And most important, after surviving a nuclear war, can they survive the “Compound” by S.A. Bodeen.
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

It is 1776 and the fight for freedom is on in the Colonies in America. But it is not just the Colonies who are fighting for their freedom. Meet Isabel, a 13 year old slave in New York City, and her little sister Ruth. Owned by British loyalists, Isabel first believes her loyalties, and best chance of eventual freedom, lie with the often cruel Locktons. But when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel decides to fight back any way she can. Join Isabel in this adventure of war, cruelty, and spies as she does her part to break the chains that bind her country and the chains that bind her life. “Chains” by Laurie Halse Anderson.
The Brooklyn Nine by Alan Gratz

It, like, hardly ever happens. The perfect game. A complete game pitched by on pitcher with no one reaching first base. Some of the best pitchers who have played the game never pitch a perfect game. But in 1981, when Michael Flint steps on the mound in the 9th inning with 2 out and a full count, he is just one pitch away from a perfect game. Then the catcher calls for a curveball—a pitch that, for Michael, is much more likely to bounce in the dirt than it is to make it over the plate. But some days are just perfect. Some days just offer themselves up like a special gift. Some days the sun smiles and the grass laughs and a boy in Brooklyn just might pitch a perfect game. Follow Michael and his family on a trip through time and history as they experience American life and play baseball through nine generations in nine innings. “The Brooklyn Nine” by Alan Gratz.


And So It Begins!

The World Cup kicked off today and I am so excited (like Olympics or World Series excited).

USA vs. England tomorrow!!! (dare I predict a 2-1 victory for the US--yes!)

I love the use of Thomas Paine's words in this commercial (kind of funny; kind of inspiring) as ESPN compares another unwinnable war we once fought against the Brits to the "war" that is tomorrow's soccer match.



I'm volunteering at my local library to help out during the summer teen reading program and as part of this volunteering I have been introduced to the wonderful world of booktalking. Booktalking, for those who don't know, is a short introduction given on a book to increase awareness and interest--something like a movie trailer for movies. I gave my first booktalk yesterday--and made it through just fine despite a general fear of speaking in public and a rather large audience--where I presented on just a single book (there were several different women presenting 1 to 3 books each). However, to better familiarize myself with this new thing and prepare myself I've decide to read all of the Beehive Book Award nominees for 2011 and write up a booktalk for each one. So without further ado, here are the first 4 (the next 4 to follow next week and the last 4 the following week--fingers crossed):
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

When faced with a long summer with her academically demanding mother, Auden makes a snap decision to spend it instead with her aloof father, her stepmother, and her new baby sister. A summer job in a boutique introduces her to a small group of girls and their girly ways—things she totally missed out on as she tried to be the perfect daughter—and eventually to Eli—the town’s angst-ridden loner. When Eli discovers Auden is a fellow insomniac (something that has plagued Auden since her parent’s divorce), he becomes her guide to the nocturnal happenings of the town—including the best pie in town served, of course, at the local laundromat. As their friendship grows they decide to embark on a quest to give her the childhood she never had—complete with junk food, food fights, and learning to ride a bike. Of course, Eli also has a quest: to come to terms with the guilt he feels over the death of a close friend. “Along for the Ride” by Sarah Dessen
Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

What would you do if you were told that you could no longer do the thing you love best simply because of the color of your skin? What would you do if doing this thing was the only time you felt free, accepted, and completely happy? What would you do? Or perhaps the better question is what wouldn’t you do? Ida Mae Jones is a girl who loves to fly airplanes. The sky is where she feels closest to her dad, also a pilot who died when she was 12, it is where she feels free, and it is where she feels happiest. But it is 1941 in Louisiana and because she is a woman and is African American she is forced to keep her feet firmly on the ground. However, when the U.S. Army creates the Women Airforce Service Pilots, known as WASP, Ida Mae see’s her chance to fly again. The only problem is the WASPs don’t accept African Americans. With her light skin, though, she might just be able to “pass” as white. And though it is dangerous to do so—dangerous enough that it might cost Ida Mae her life—there is just about nothing she wouldn’t do to be up among the clouds again. Along the way she’ll learn about herself, friendship, family, sacrifice, and just maybe a little about love. And most important, she’ll learn if all the risks were worth it to become a “Flygirl” by Sherri L. Smith.
My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

Have you ever wished for a Fairy Godmother? Or maybe a Fairy Godfather—as the case may be? I’d like to introduce you to Jane. Jane is a bit unremarkable with her ordinary brown hair, plain old clothes, glasses, and a real love for school—as in Calculus. Jane just sort of blends into the background where no one notices her. You might think that Jane needs a Fairy Godmother, but you’d be wrong. There is nothing wrong with Jane that can’t be fixed by a quick trip to Forever 21, a few highlights, and a pair of contact lenses all provided with the help of Jane’s sister Savannah. Suddenly Jane has all the attention from guys that she could wish for. So how does Jane thank her sister? She steals her boyfriend! Now with just weeks to go before Prom and her life in ruins, Savannah is the one who could really use a Fairy Godmother. And that is just what she gets—well sort of. You see, the Fairy Godmother assigned to Savannah is not so much a Fairy Godmother as she is a “Fair” Godmother—as in not good just fair. What Savannah’s Fair Godmother Chrissy offers her are 3 wishes. Unfortunately none of the three wishes goes exactly according to plan because—well did I mention Chrissy is just a “Fair” Godmother? A couple of Medieval fairy tales later (Medieval as in no electricity and no indoor plumbing), an ogre, a dragon, a black night (who it turns out is a really good kisser), and a goat out to lick her, will Savannah ever get her prince, return to her own time in time for prom, and find her own happily ever after? And will she be able to do it even with the help of her own “Fair” Godmother? “My Fair Godmother” by Janette Rallison.
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George (this is the booktalk I gave)

What young girl wouldn’t love to dance away her nights at a splendid ball in the arms of a handsome suitor? Now hold on, let’s think about this for a minute. What if your handsome suitor didn’t smell quiet right? And I’m not talking about the way boys smell after P.E. I’m talking more like the stink of something that has just crawled out from under a rock. And what if that ball took place in a dark and creepy castle deep beneath the earth? And what if you were forced to dance each night—all night—even when you are exhausted or sick? Doesn’t sound like so much fun after all, does it? Well this is precisely the predicament—the curse—of Rose and her eleven sisters. And while many have tried to break the curse, Galen, the handsome soldier turned gardener, his manly knitting skills—yes I said manly—, an invisible cloak, and true love might just have the best shot at saving the “Princess of the Midnight Ball” by Jessica Day George.

Any suggestions or recommendations (especially on how to give a booktalk) would, of course, be much appreciated.