A review: The Interrogative Mood

by Padgett Powell
Here is where I usually link to a reading/discussion guide or two, I’m not really sure one needs a guide. The book, itself, is a guide to discussion.

a summary
A book of questions, sometimes the questions relate to those before and after sometimes not.

a review
I couldn’t read very much of the book at a time, it overwhelmed my brain to the point of pain. The the more I read, the less nonsensical the paragraphs seem so I am able to read more at a time. I have found that skipping forward and back to be the best way for me to enjoy the book. I wish there was an index so I could find exact questions again. If you have someone in your life you’d like to know better, grab a copy and have a go at it. I think I would rate this book for adults, some of the questions I wouldn’t want to explain to my 5 year old even though I don’ have a five year old. I may add this to my library if I happen upon a copy for a reasonable amount of money.

A few of my favorite questions, copyright of course belongs to the author, quoted here only to entice others to read it.

  • Would a catastrophic global war be required to restore us to simple living? p17
  • Have you any skills in the area of weaving or knitting? p35
  • Do you miss Tab and do you fully understand its disappearance? p43
  • Can you knit? p61
  • Would it be reasonable to ask someone if he or she has a favorite musical note? p66
  • Why is a banana yellow and not banana? p67


Three Cups of Tea

one mans’ mission to promote peace . . . one school at a time

by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

web site

a review & summary
Greg began raising money to build schools to educate the children in Pakistan 1990’s after he was unable to complete a summit to K2. He was the medic on a team who was scheduled to summit but had to do a last minute rescue and evac of a team member, thus eliminating his chance to reach the top. On his way down the mountain, he took the wrong path and found himself in a local village. Seeing the poverty in this village, he vowed to return an build them a school. This book chronicles his travels as he raised monies to build that school and many more with the hope of stopping the violence through education. He offers a unique perspective on America’s War on Terror with insights about the civilians this war impacted firsthand. I highly recommend reading this book if for no other reason than the unique perspective.


Book Club & The Christmas List

by Richard Paul Evans

a review & summary
An extremely fast read, high on sap low on plot. In the introduction the author shares that he had always enjoyed Charles Dickenson’s “A Christmas Carol.” The Scrooge in this book is named James Kier and is three ghosts is a premature obituary wherein he understands that even his own son can’t stand him. This book is highly predictable with emotional twists and turns designed to elicit tears and joy in all the “right” places. Borrow it from the library if you must read it, I’m not likely to read another by this author. I like to at least guess at the out come, not have a map drawn to me.


Book Club & Tigerheart

by Peter David
You’ll have to write your own reading/discussion guide for this one.

a review
Rarely do I have to read a fiction book with a dictionary and I found it rather refreshing to expand my vocabulary while I read a reimagining of Peter Pan. Many of the potential new vocabulary words are explain either through context or by the narrator. I love the names of two of the pirates, “Caveat” and “Roomer,” they live up to their names. The only place Peter Pan is mentioned is in reviews on the covers of the book. After that we follow the story of “The Boy,” Gwenny, Paul Darling and a host of “Anyplace characters” The author wrote Tigerheart from the narrator’s point of view, but the narrator recorded the story in the first person. The narrator will occasionally become sidetracked explaining why something is the way it is or why he doesn’t know something he doesn’t know. I found myself giggling through the book often. I’m not sure this is a children’s book, but it could be read to a child with creative editing done by an adult. What I enjoyed most wasn’t the story line, who won the battle, what happened to the characters. I enjoyed trying to guess how the characters and plot twists related to the original story. Did this story occur before Wendy, John and Michael flew with Peter? Was “The Boy” Peter? Was Gwenny (Gwendolyn) Wendy? How does Paul relate to the Wendy, John and Michael?

I would like to read the Peter Pan stories and then Tigerheart again to compare the writing style and characters. To read the original Peter Pan and Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, please visit Project Gutenberg.

a summary
While villains and heroes come and go, one thing remains, there must be heroes and villains. Tigerheart is a story from “Anyplace” where in there are pirates and non-pirates, heroes and villains. Which are which are for you to decide. Paul Darling’s sister Bonnie disappeared, she didn’t want to be a baby, turned into a bird and flew away. This tale follows Paul’s adventure to and from “Anyplace” on the quest to bring a baby girl back to his mother to make her happy again.


The Book Thief

by markus zusak
reading guide

a review/a summary
It’s not often I struggle to write about a book. What to say without giving too much away? A familiar topic fictionalized in an unique manner, “The Book Thief” will keep you turning the pages. The main character, Liesel, becomes a thief of books among other things. The narrator leads the reader through Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s while following a child, her family, neighborhood and government. While technically a young adult book, I would highly recommend it for a wider audience including plain-old adults.


A Review: Made from Scratch

Subtitled “Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life”
written by Jenna Woginrich

a review
I can’t rate this high enough. A must read for anyone who would like to depend less on corporate America (or any other country), our Government and more on him/herself. In a humorous yet factual manner, the author shares her adventures of moving, raising small animals for food and fiber (to spin into yarn), crafting, thrifting for essentials that need not be brand new and other interesting discoveries along the way.

a summary
The author shares her experiences and knowledge of learning to live local. She shares chapters on raising a few chickens with limited acreage, gardening on a budget, learning to live without modern distractions, and shares a wealth of research at the end of the book.

favorite quote
“Vegetable gardening has been called ‘the peaceful sedition’ because at the most basic level, when a person can feed and shelter herself, she doesn’t require a government to provide for her.”


A Review: Forever Lily

Forever Lily discussion guide:

  • Guide 1
  • a review
    I read several reviews that were less than glowing for this book. I have to respectfully disagree. Maybe because I am expecting our first little one and while I do not know little one, I already treasure little one more than words can describe. I found the switch between the account of the events and the dreams the author had interesting. While I may not believe in past lives, it’s not for me to jump all over someone who does. The author shared deeply personal emotions as she went back and forth in through decisions about the adoption.

    a summary
    The author shares her account of events as she travels to China with her neighbor, who intends to adopt an orphaned girl. The events seem to change and swirl around the author as she attempts to understand her role in the adoption process of a woman she barely knows. She bonds almost immediately with Baby, while the adoptive mother won’t even hold Baby. She struggles with dreams of a previous life in China while seeking her path in the present day China and USA.


Book Club & The Life of PI

A few weeks ago, my husband forwarded me an advertisement from a coworker of his inviting people to join a book club. He checked with the organizer to be sure that I could join and it was. Next up The Shack and then Water for Elephants. I’ve read the first and had the second on my to-read-list for a while.

Our first meeting was tonight, so I’m not sure of any of us were truly ready. We shared some thoughts on the book of the month, The Life of Pi and then did some housekeeping for future books/meetings. Some of the copies of the book had study questions, so we glanced through those and answered a few of the questions. While those specific questions are not online that I found, here are a few that I did find (study guides may contain spoilers for the book):

I offer a summary with spoilers because writing reviews is one of my 101 things in 1001 days as well as joining a book club. If you plan to read the book, stop now. Really, I wanted to use bold and exclamation points galore but decided against it.

a review
Disturbingly creative. The first part took a while to get into as it explored several religions Pi pursued as a child in India. Much detail is spent on describing the zoo and Father’s care of the animals as well as how humans should interact with wild beasts. Once the ship sets sell, the action starts and doesn’t stop until the end of the book. The author weaves a tale drawing the reader to desire only the best of and for Pi. A chapter of the current adult Pi happens every few chapters so that the reader knows Pi survives, appears to be happy, but is pulled in to find out how he arrived at his present circumstances. After the author spends several hundred pages describing the journey from India to Mexico, he offers a second story lasting less than 20 pages with similar details but differing main characters. The reader must decide which is the “better” ending, the “more correct” ending, the truth.

a summary
The Life of Pi opens with the adult Pi reflecting on his childhood with the author sprinkling pictures of who Pi would become. Pi’s father own and operated a zoo in India until he because upset with the political climate. While a child in India, Pi explored many religions hoping to find the best way to “love God.” He struggled understanding why he couldn’t be a Hindu, Muslim and Christian at the same time. He refused to accept they were so different that there was no commonality. His father eventually closed the zoo, sold the animals and loaded his family and animals on a ship to deliver the animals and begin anew in Canada. The ship does not make it from India to the intended destination. The ship and most of the occupants went down to the bottom of the Pacific. Much of the book is a story of Pi’s journey on a lifeboat for 277 days. When Pi first entered the small lifeboat, he was joined by a hyena, zebra, gorilla and tiger. After nature takes its course, Pi is left alone with a personified tiger, Richard Parker. He remembered training from his father and eventually “trains” the tiger to stay out of territory that didn’t belong to the tiger. Pi fed the tiger and himself from rations store on the boat as well as what he caught in the ocean. When he encountered another castaway, the tiger was not so understanding and devoured him. Somewhere in mid-journey Pi and Richard Parker encounter a carnivorous island, much like a Venus Fly-trap. They stay until Pi realized the danger and left with the tiger in tow. When he washed up on shore in Mexico, officials from the shipping company showed up to question him. He offered the above story to them, which they chose not to believe and asked for the truth. Pi offers a story without animals, where Pi, mother, the cook and a sailor are on the lifeboat until the cook kills and eats Pi’s mother and the sailor. Pi is Richard Parker, the tiger, and kills the cook when he can’t take it anymore. Pi leaves it to the officials to decide which story they like best.