Tag Archives: Abbey

That one book…

I was struggling to come up with a topic for this blog post, so I started perusing previous posts to try and spark my creative writing. Many of our posts are about items we recommend, because they have stuck with us, had an impact and/or meant something to us (and that’s great!). It made me wonder if anyone else had experienced a book or movie, that afterwards you couldn’t remember what you had just seen or read?

There have been a couple of books that I have had that experience with, and I don’t think it’s because they are poorly written. They just don’t have the same impact that so many other books have had. I mean, I have 773 books on my Goodreads list — I joined it in 2012, so that’s about 200 books a year on average — and sometimes when I scroll through, I see a title and can’t remember what happened or how the book ended. Like at all. I see the title, and I think “Did I really read that? What the heck is that book?”

Here are the top three books that I’ve read … apparently … but cannot remember:

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence
mystic city

In a Manhattan where the streets are under water and outcasts called mystics have paranormal powers, Aria Rose is engaged to Thomas Foster and the powerful Rose and Foster families—long time enemies—are uniting politically; the only trouble is that Aria can not remember ever meeting Thomas, much less falling in love with him.

What I do remember about this book is that it is part of a series, and it is in the dystopian realm. If you like series because you know exactly what you are going to read next, then give this one a try. I know it seems weird that I’m recommending a book that I don’t (entirely) remember, but I gave it 3 stars!

City of Falling Angels by John Berendt
city of falling angels

An intimate look at the “magic, mystery and decadence” of the city of Venice and its inhabitants.

I remember I wanted to read this book because it was about Venice (I’ve traveled there), and it was about a fire that destroyed a historical part of Venice (I was also a history major). I’m not a HUGE fan of nonfiction though. I’ve always struggled getting through them for some reason (I’m working on it).

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
dante club

In 1865 Boston, a small group of literary geniuses put the finishing touches on America’s first translation of “The Divine Comedy.” When a series of murders erupt throughout Boston, only the scholars realize that the style of the killings are stolen directly from “Dante’s Inferno.”

 

What books have you forgotten?

-Abbey

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The Home Opener

Sunday, April 3rd was the Pittsburgh Pirates Home Opener or Opening Day. For any of you reading who aren’t baseball fans, here is a handy dandy wiki link (I had to double-check I was using the right terminology). I grew up watching more football than baseball, but I used to play softball (not for very long though). When I was thinking about what to write for this post, I really wanted to write about the home opener, but I couldn’t come up with a creative way to write about it, and then I realized that there is SO MUCH information out there about baseball and the Pirates (and honestly that is a good thing … because there are a lot of things happening with baseball).

pittsburgh pirates

People go to baseball games for a variety of reasons, because they like the game (my mom [Hi Mom!]), because they like the food and being in a stadium (me) or because they’ve been dragged there by their family (my dad and sister). So for this post, I wanted to provide some information that may help people who love their family that much that they’re willing to go to put up with the game (there ARE interesting things about baseball).

Major League Baseball (MLB) is split into two leagues, the American League and the National League, which are then broken down into East, Central and West. Have I lost anyone? Not yet? Great! After regular season there is post season, which is better explained here, but is three rounds that lead to the World Series, and the World Series is a best of seven series. Now that you are all-knowing in baseball, you can definitely name the retired numbers and Hall of Famers from the Pirates, right? Okay, maybe not, but if I’ve sparked your interest, there are a number of ways that you can find out more information about (Pirates) baseball. And for those of you who stuck through this post and have no interest in baseball there are some pretty fun fiction reads too.

So are you interested in baseball now? Have you always been interested but found something new in this post? Do you go to games for a special reason? Are you tired of reading this post?  Feel free to comment below (to one or all of the questions if you feel ambitious).

-Abbey

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A Month of Tournaments

March is tournament time. This is the time of the year that March Madness takes over. I mean, clearly, it’s called March Madness for a reason. Many people will be waiting for the NCAA Tournament to begin on March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day! Woo!), fill out their brackets, and root for their favorite team (Let’s Go PITT!) What some people may not know is that there is more than just the NCAA Tournament occurring in March.

The Tournament of Books hosted by The Morning News has been occurring during March as well since 2005. In this tournament, two books compete (are pitted) against each other in each round. One judge picks a winning book per round, except for the final; that round is judged and voted on by each person. Although I have not been able to read each book in the tournament (yet…I will one year), it’s fun to follow, read why the judges selected each book, and to see who comes out as the winner each year. Last year, it was Station Eleven.

station eleven

Last (but not least) there is the School Library Journal Battle of the Books. (I know, I know I said these were tournaments, but SLJ has the same style as the other two tournament brackets and has judges like the Tournament of Books, so I think I get to call it a tournament, not just a battle.) This battle (*cough* tournament *cough*) is focused specifically on kids/middle grade/teen books. I’m definitely excited to see the winner of this tournament as well, especially with some non-fiction books on the list that I’ve been really interested in reading (maybe this will push me to read them sooner) like The Boys Who Challenged Hitler.

boys who challenged hitler

Which tournament are you most excited to follow this month?

-Abbey

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The Start of Challenges

Print

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Eleventh Stack are celebrating Black History Month by highlighting books, music and movies by African American Artists. We also have a ton of great events and programs for children, teens and adults. You can view all of our Black History Month posts here.

This is the first year I decided to participate in Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge. There are so many options for challenges throughout the year, but in my opinion, a good challenge is one that makes you explore new interests and read outside your comfort zone, to learn and appreciate something new. This is what Book Riot’s challenge seemed to do for me. (Although I have also found Pop Sugar’s Reading Challenge fun in the past. You’ll see that some of the challenge parts overlap.)

I started reading Tears of a Tiger by Sharon M. Draper for the challenge “read the first book in a series by a person of color.” The book is the first in the Hazelwood High trilogy.

tears of a tiger

As I’m writing this blog post, I haven’t completed reading the book, but I’m already drawn in and saddened by it. It is not an easy book to read. The main character, Andy, makes some bad choices, and the book is about how he chooses to deal with them. However, the book isn’t written from just his view point. The story includes family and friends’ view points as well and in a variety of formats, from school assignments to journal entries. So far, the book is fabulously written but heart wrenching, so pick it up with caution.

Do you have other series by a person of color that you’ve enjoyed?

-Abbey

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year… To Listen to Audio Books

Welcome to the end of the year! You’ve made it… basically. There is really only one more day. For me, the past week has been filled with good food (I’m going to take credit for a lot of the baking), good company (I’m hilarious… and I love my family), and a lot of travel (in short, travel increases 23% during Christmas and the New Year). I do a lot of driving during the holidays, and my drives are normally around five hours long (on a good day) but can go as long as… I think 9 hours was the longest on a really bad day. That’s a long time to be alone in a car… or a long time to be with some family, too. I’ve started to download audio books to keep me company, and I’ve found that downloading can be easier than using books on CD, because I never have to switch to another CD and be distracted while driving. Audio books can be awesome, and it helps me start to dwindle my (200 and counting) TBR pile, but they can also be hard to listen to depending on the narrator. The following books I’ve enjoyed because of the story and the plot, but also because I can tolerate the narrator*.

Bone Gap

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby is a great fantasy/magical realism/mystery/young adult book. The story follows a young man who knows about gaps in the town that people can fall through. He believes a person who is important to him, Roza, has been kidnapped and taken through one of the gaps. The question is, can he prove this to a town that doesn’t believe, and can he find Roza before something worse happens to her? This was a book that I really looked forward to reading, and I was happy with the narration overall for the audio book. They did a good job of really giving the different characters voices.

say what you will

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern is a book about a boy who is struggling with OCD, and even admitting and figuring out what OCD is and entails, and a girl who has cerebral palsy. The book deals with a variety of issues that can be hard to read about, but I found overall that the book was good to listen to.

There are so many audio books out there and so many options. Some will be good and some will be bad, but if you find yourself traveling during the holiday season, it may be worth taking something to listen to.

-Abbey

*Full disclosure, not everyone will like the same type of narrator. I get really frustrated listening to narrators that are all breathy and whispery (it’s a word… I think), you know the type I mean. Some people may enjoy that type of narrator, and that’s awesome, but if you try an audio book and don’t like it at first, try and figure out if it’s the book or the narrator, and try other narrators before you dismiss audio books completely.

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Unapologetic Thanksgiving Eating

Traditionally around this time of year people see so much information about cookbooks for various holidays, sales going on for Black Friday (there is an ENTIRE website dedicated to this day), Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, that even before people have time to relax and enjoy (hopefully) what you did for the holidays, it’s time to start planning your New Year’s resolution. Can you guess what the number one resolution is (before you click the link)? Losing weight, RIGHT after two months of eating delicious food and indulging in favorites.

For this post I want to write about something different. I want to talk about a book that I found really inspiring and helpful, and that I hope will work for someone else too. The book is titled Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living.  things no one will tell fat girls

I bet some of you reading this are thinking, “What in the world does this book have to do with the holidays?” For starters, this book talks about being you and loving who you are (and I mean “you” as in “everyone”). I believe that is an important concept to have, especially around the holidays. There are so many other things going on, and many people feel guilty after so much indulgence (I know I do).  So then they feel the need to correct that, hence the number one New Year’s resolution (see, I had a point). This book helped me realize that enjoying holiday food, or any food, is acceptable and we shouldn’t have to apologize for it.

Aside from the food bit, this book covers a lot of information, and I found all of it valuable and important. Take a chance, pick it up, and let me know if you found it as helpful as I did.

And while you’re at it, enjoy the holidays with no regrets … except for that fruitcake. That’s not a good idea.

-Abbey

P.S. Check out Jes Baker’s blog if you liked her book.

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Halloween Style

Halloween means so many different things to so many different people. For some, it’s all about dressing up, having fun and getting candy. For others, it’s a celebration of those souls who have moved on in the past year. And for others still, it’s a time to avoid the world and sit in the safety of their home, read a book and pretend nothing is going on and that it’s not scary outside. Can you guess which camp I fall under?

I love fall. I think it’s one of the best seasons. But during Halloween, I prefer to be safely inside and know that what I’m being scared by is all fake. To celebrate that safe/scary dichotomy, I’ve compiled a list of the top five books I recommend for the Halloween season.
this monstrous thing

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee is the story of Frankenstein, but not the way everyone has traditionally read it (except me, I haven’t actually read Frakenstein…shhh). The story is of two brothers who grow up in a society that does not support their work, which is helping those wounded to live longer lives with the aid of mechanic prosthetics. A tragedy befalls the older brother and soon the younger one is trying to bring him back to life a la Frankestein. I enjoyed the way the author brought the original tale and some history into the book. It was an enjoyable and pretty quick read that wasn’t TOO scary.
17and gone

17 & Gone is a story about a girl who is 17 (I know, what a surprise!). She notices that many girls go missing at this age and are never found. She begins to hear them talk to her, so she finds herself tied up in the mystery of a local girl who went missing over the summer, but also the mystery of who she is:  is she truly helping those around her or is she doing more harm than good? This book is scary because of what it can make you think about, but it isn’t terrifying. 

shutter

Shutter was a suspenseful and scary book to me (I mean look at that cover…gives me the shivers…or makes me shudder…ha…ha). This is a story about the Stokers and the Van Helsings. Well, their great-great-grandchildren, or relations somewhere down the line. Anyway, throughout the ages, they have fought the supernatural and evil and are often called in during emergencies with such entities. However, this is the first time one has caused so much damage to Micheline’s team. Now the team has to hunt the entity before they become entangled in its plan. Overall, the book had me on the edge of my seat, because I really wanted to know who the entity was and why it was so angry. I was left a little sad at the end because I felt that it ended with a cliff hanger.

ripper

Ripper is a tale about Jack the Ripper…kind of. I’ve written a post about Jack the Ripper before, and because I find the story fascinating, I’m adding another book to the list of Jack the Ripper books. This one is about a young boy who wants to be a detective, and the Jack the Ripper mystery might be the best place for him to start. This books is full of twists and turns and is really entertaining.

cuckoo song

Last but not least: Cuckoo SongI mean, look at the cover. Dolls are always creepy to me. This book is told from the point of view of a young girl who is trying to figure out why she is acting so strange and why she can’t stop eating. It’s got a little bit of mystery and a little bit of fantasy, and overall it’s a good but creepy read.

What are you reading this Halloween? Anything spooky?

-Abbey

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