Sunday, December 28, 2008

Reading challenges

CHALLENGES 2/1/9 - 2696 pages in January
3/1/9 - 2783 pages in February

I have decided that I will do a pages read challenge this year. I often wonder about challenges with number of books (50, 100, etc.) because, of course, I could just sit down a read a bunch of juvenile or YA novels and my total would skyrocket.

So, to keep my blog going, I am going to see if I can read 50,000 pages. It sounds like a lot right now, but at this moment, I have read 38,999 and the year is not quite over.

I will be counting the pages that I read on talking books and my Kindle by using the page count for the original edition of the book. Hopefully that works for the moderator of this challenge.

I will continue to review my books at Shelfari and Good Reads, so I will have to figure out something else that I will do with this blog. But for now, this is my challenge for 2009.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I have been racking my brain for the last book for the Book a month Challenge. The theme is light and could be light reading, festivals of light, the science of light, titles with light in them or even something else. I don't know why it was so hard. I definitely did some light reading this month and I often read something during Advent about light.

However the book I have ended up with is A Widening Light: Poems of the Incarnation. I have been reading this book since some time in November so it should have popped into my brain before this. Luci Shaw has put together a wonderful compilation of religious poetry. I found poems by people I knew like C. S. Lewis and Madeline L'Engle and many poets that I had never encountered before.

These are amazing poems; they are well written, thoughtful and thank goodness not sappy. My mental definition of religious poetry is always rhyming and not very deep. Not flattering, but that is what is stuck in my head. This is not at all true of this anthology.

This is an excellent book to end the year on. I once again want to thank Katie for her idea. It did help focus my reading a bit this year. I am not sure I will do another book challenge this year, but I will probably start one for work during our next fiscal year. We shall see... the best laid plans.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

So what is your image of the Pilgrims and their relationship with the Native Americans? I have this mental image of Pilgrims in black and white outfits and Indians in feathers and buckskins. And of course they all sit down to a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.

I had hoped that in reading this book, I would find things about the Pilgrims to be thankful for. The BAM challenge was to be about thanks and giving. I did not find what I was looking for, but this was a fascinating book.

Philbrick dispelled many of my preconceptions. Mayflower gave me a better idea about why the Pilgrims came to North America; what the difference is between Pilgrims and Puritans and what the relationship between the Native Americans and the Pilgrim interlopers was like. My history classes did not do justice to anyone from this time period.

Several things amazed me. First of all I had no idea how much we actually know about the Native Americans of New England. I am truly unaware of Native American history and culture. I wouldn't even know where to begin reading, if I wanted to know more.

Secondly, the Europeans were alarmingly convinced that they were the norm. This is an issue for most of us - we can only see the world through our own eyes. However, I am sorry that few of the people who came to this continent could see those who are native as actual people. Humans don't seem to learn quickly.

I wish that I found Philbrick's style a bit more compelling. However, I am more than happy that I have a better idea about some of our early history. So many books show me how little I know. Philbrick did a good job of teaching me more about my country. And for that I should be thankful.