It's a good book, but it's not my Typee...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jane Green House Party!

I belong to House Party, which is a pretty neat website where you can sign up for the chance to host a party to promote various products or media events. To my great excitement, they are offering a Jane Green House Party. She is a witty British writer who is coming out with a new book called Tempting Fate.

Jemima J and Babyville are two of her books I've read and both are very enjoyable. Jemima J is very much in the tone of Bridget Jones's Diary. Jemima transforms her life in order to land the guy of her dreams and it's actually very inspiring the way she exercises a newfound self-control in order to drop her extra pounds (of which there are MANY) and become the sexy, stylish woman she's always wanted to be. Babyville is about several women in various stages of motherhood and it's funny and well-written, but not as good as Jemima J.

So what House Party will do for those lucky few who are selected is send them a box filled with goodies. I did a Silk Fruit Smoothie party one time that was delicious and great fun. The Jane Green kit provides copies of a couple of her books as well as tea and cookies so you can have a real girltimeteapartyconfab and talk about the books. I'm additionally excited because the cookies are Moravian cookies and I was raised Moravian.

If you haven't heard of House Party, you should look at their website. They may not have any parties that interest you and you may not get chosen for the party of your choice, but it's really exciting when you get to host one and that box arrives on your doorstep. I'll definitely be looking for more of their book opportunities in the future. Did I use the word excited enough?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I just made one of my rare visits to Twitter (where you should follow @JustNotMyTypee) and came across a tweet from Tyndale House Publishers about a free ebook. I have enjoyed many books from them in the past, so I clicked on the link to check it out. But what caught my attention as soon as I reached the site was a different book.

Staring out at me from the cover of a book called Unplanned was Abby Johnson. I'm not sure if it was the title of the book or her face that drew me in first. She just looks nice and she looks like she has a story to tell.

It turns out Abby used to be the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic until she personally witnessed an abortion procedure for the first time. She was so horrified by what she saw that she joined the Coalition for Life. How interesting is that? This is a woman who clearly knew what she was getting into when she took that job and, I'm assuming, was in favor of abortion until she actually saw one being performed. I can't wait to read her story.

I have a personal interest in this topic because I volunteer with the Christian Life Home, which is an organization in Raleigh, North Carolina that offers support and housing to young girls and women facing unplanned pregnancies. I firmly believe that parents and the community have the responsibility for educating young people in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies, young women have the ultimate responsibility for preventing pregnancy in their own lives, and that once an unplanned pregnancy has occurred, it is the mother's responsibility to see it through. Making a mistake doesn't give you the right to take someone else's life.

The argument most people give for a woman's right to have an abortion is that life doesn't begin until birth, or the third trimester, or whatever arbitrary deadline they set. But if that's true and the only thing an abortion destroys is some parasitic tissue growing inside a woman's body, why was Abby's mind completely changed by her contact with the procedure? I have not yet read the book and so I can't answer this question myself, but clearly she saw something that opened her eyes to the crime that is committed every time a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy.

There are women in my life about whom I care deeply who have had abortions, and I don't believe that people who are pro-choice are evil. I simply believe they are blind to the fact that abortion is wrong. If they truly saw it as an injustice and a morally reprehensible act, they wouldn't support it.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Flight Behavior

I might not have thought much about the weather, but I had just finished reading Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.

The weather in my part of North Carolina has been downright frightening recently. Much like in Flight Behavior, we experienced unseasonable warmth leading up to Christmas and had a few days of heavy rain that left the creek behind the house much higher than I like to see. It didn't last as long as in the book and the repercussions weren't as dire, but it's unsettling to see life imitate art (even if that art is already imitating life) right in front of you.

In Kinsolver's novel, the freakish weather is not freakish at all. Dellarobia Turnbow, the woman whose life is turned upside down by these weather patterns, learns that the changes are quite natural and expected now that the earth's climate has been so wrecked by global warming. But the biggest change the weather brings to Dellarobia's life is not the threat to her land and livelihood, it's an awakening to the possibilities hidden in her own life. Dellarobia has long ago resigned herself to a largely unfulfilling life as a wife and mother. This is not the life she wanted for herself, even though she is the object of jealousy for some women in town. Cub, her husband, is a kind and dependable man, but she resents him for tying her down early in life. Her ship has sailed and any chance of furthering her education, station in life, and personal satisfaction seems beyond her grasp.

She has a multitude of butterflies to thank for opening her eyes. Global warming drives countless Monarch butterflies from their usual roosting spot in Mexico to the mountains of Appalachia, specifically the mountain above Dellarobia's house. What she first takes as a personal warning from God turns out to be a sign of something deeply wrong throughout the world. And her in-laws are even less thrilled to hear about global warming than they are about the orange butterflies perching in their trees and holding up their logging contract. What was once an invisible rift between Dellarobia and the people around her begins to grow very noticeable. Her only allies in learning about what brought this "miracle" to her land are her precocious young son, Preston, and Ovid Byron, a visiting  lepidopterist who gently guides her to an understanding of the bigger picture these creatures represent.

Much as Dellarobia anxiously watches the Monarchs for signs that they will survive and find their way to a better life, the reader watches Dellarobia and hopes that she will find her way out of her own personal crisis into a beautiful future. Great for lovers of Kingsolver's other works and anyone interested in the way the world around us shapes our lives.

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014: Crime and Funerals

Ah, another year, another reading goal. Having not quite made my reading goal for 2013 (cough, cough, missed it by a few dozen), I decided to knock it down from 85 to 80 this year. I reduce my goal every year in the hope that my goal and my actual number of books read will eventually meet in the middle. Gone are the days when I try to read a book a day or even read 100 books in a year.

This year I will probably be focusing on Victorian crime and books relating to funeral studies as I am currently fascinated by the former and earning a degree in the latter.

My problem the past few years is that I just haven't applied myself to reading. I read when I have nothing else to do rather than making it a priority in my free time. So as long as Candy Crush dies a fiery death, I'll be good.

In my defense, I did also get married last year.  We had a Moby Dick-themed ceremony in North Carolina and then we renewed our vows in the Seamen's Bethel, which is mentioned in Moby Dick. So yay for me.