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I’ve always loved public libraries. I remember going as a child. I’d check out a hefty stack of books and proudly carry them to the desk, check them out on my own card, then carry them to the car. I’d read all the way home and would usually have 3 or 4 books finished by the time we got there. By the end of the day, I would have finished my whole stack. I’d be ready to go back the next day, but I’d have to wait until the next week. While I waited, I’d read them again and again. 

During my junior high and high school years, we lived in a rural area. When we made trips “into town”, we didn’t make it to the library because it wasn’t the part of town we were going to. I resorted to buying my own books (and bags of mixed nuts from Morrow’s Nut House) at the mall with my allowance. During the school year, I’d get books from the school library. My senior year, I spent one of my free hours working in the library. It wasn’t a terribly busy place, so I spent a lot of time lining up the books with the edges of the shelves. Sound boring? Not for someone like me! I loved being able to see all the books the library had. I was introduced to many contemporary authors that way: Robin Cook, Victoria Holt, and others. 

I didn’t have much time for reading for pleasure when I was in college, but I did work in the campus library. I worked in the back and helped process the new books that came in. Whenever my department was slow or my supervisor was out, I got to work with other departments. I don’t know why I didn’t think to pursue a degree in library science…

At some point in my adult life, I rediscovered the public library. I know one was in the downtown area, and I didn’t like going to it. I feel almost certain that I visited a different local branch, but I can’t recall it. On the other hand, I do remember countless visits to Books-A-Million…

When we moved to the Dallas area, I sought out several libraries in the cities surrounding us. I still have (expired) library cards from larger cities and smaller towns on the north and east sides of the Metroplex. I’d take the boys weekly for story time and more often in the summer when their special programs were in full force. As they got older and I homeschooled them, we joined a wonderful kids’ book club that our 4-H leader led. I read with them as well as on my own. 

The boys are enrolled in a small Christian school now. They don’t have as much time for reading for pleasure during the school year, but during the summers I make sure they have something to spend time reading each day. But we still visit the library frequently during the school year. Each trimester the high school students must write a lengthy research paper. (Yes, that’s three research papers each school year; twelve during their high school career.) In the search for resources, we visit the library and check out obscure books (for difficult historical and literary topics).

Caleb’s winter trimester research paper was on slavery and the 13th Amendment. We checked out six books, which he kept in a stack on his desk when he wasn’t using them. Once he had turned in his paper and he knew he wouldn’t need to refer to the books for anything, he brought all six downstairs and put them on the table. I put them in a crate in the trunk of my car. A few days later I stopped off at the library and put the books in the book drop since they were closed. One, two, three, four, five, six. Later that week when I checked my account online, records showed one of the books hadn’t been turned in. I knew better, but I thought maybe they were just slow in processing them. Not long after that, I got my regular email notification that my books would be coming due in a few days. That book was still listed as being checked out to me. I was busy, and I had time to renew it and deal with it later, so I did. And again. And again.

I stopped off at the library a few weeks ago to finally check on what to do about it. The lady at the circulation desk requested and shelf check for the book at all four branches. She told me to watch my account. If they found the book, they would take it off my account; otherwise I would be responsible for it.

Last week, I got another email notification about a book coming due. It hadn’t been found and was still on my account, so I stopped by on Saturday afternoon to follow up on it. I talked to a different lady at the circulation desk (on purpose). She checked my account again and said a shelf check showed the book had not been found. I had to pay for it. I told her that I knew I had returned it and that I had put it in the book drop on the side of the building; unfortunately there was no way I could prove it.  I wanted them to check around the book drop area just in case it had gotten lodged somewhere. (It was a really thick book.) But no. I could pay it or lose my library privileges when the final renewal ran out in three weeks. 

I sighed, loudly unzipped my wallet, and tossed down $32 cash and two quarters. While the clerk painstakingly wrote out my receipt, I debated whether I wanted to check out the books I had chosen. I muttered, “Well, I won’t be using the book drop anymore.” She ignored me and continued writing the receipt. Then she handed it to me along with my new printout of books I had checked out. I was tempted to stick those books in the book return window as I walked past, but I kept them.

Still, it would be easier to just download ebooks and let them automatically be removed from my device when time is up. As much as I still enjoy the feel of an actual book in my hands (which I think I blogged about long ago), it’s not worth the headache if I have to deal with the library losing books that are in my name. 

Then again, if this is the only bad experience I’ve had in the nearly 13 years I’ve been using that particular library, the odds are pretty good it won’t happen again. The whole experience just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, though. I don’t want to take the risk.

I will continue to check out books from there, but I will not use the outside book drop anymore. I’ll make the library trips only during operating hours. It’s really not that inconvenient. It’s only five minutes from home and from work. But if it happens again, I really will have to come up with another option. 

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I’m an avid reader, and I’m always in the middle of two or three books. Or four. Or five. Seriously. I carry one with me all the time because you never know when you’ll have some spare time/wait time. I like to be prepared.

A few years ago I tried using Billy’s old Sony eReader. I downloaded a book from the library and managed to read it all, but it was kind of boring (the reader, not the book) and not the easiest thing to use. Besides, I just like the feel of a book in my hand… The eReader went back into a drawer. When I pulled it out again (probably a year later) to give it another try, the battery was dead and I couldn’t readily find the cable to charge it. I eventually returned it to Billy with a sigh that I’m just not ready for that technology yet…

Last summer I got an iPad, and it didn’t take me long to download a Kindle app. My sister had a Kindle Fire and she kept telling me all the great things about it, all the books she could get, etc. Still, I couldn’t really get into reading on it. I used it to read a few library books, but I always went back to bound books.

I guess I really changed my opinion about ebooks when we took a short road trip and I didn’t want to pack a lot of books to take with me. I took one that I was almost finished with, but instead of packing another two or three to choose from, I just relied on what was on my Kindle app. That was the turning point. Since then, after finding out about Christian Fiction for Your Kindle, I’ve downloaded close to 60 free or inexpensive books onto my Kindle – and I get a few more new ones every week!

A few months ago, I downloaded Overdrive Media on both my iPad and my iPhone. I use the iPad app for non-Kindle books that I want to check out from the library. The only ebook I’ve read on it so far has been Jeremy Camp’s autobiography I Still Believe, but I have many more on my library wish list. I use the iPhone app for audiobooks to listen to while I’m driving, cleaning house, or working on projects where the TV would distract me. So far I’ve listened to Carol Burnett’s This Time Together, The Bridges of Madison County, Three Weeks with my Brother (a memoir by Nicholas Sparks), and Fahrenheit 451. I started listening to The Invisible Man but I lost interest in it. I’m looking for some sort of tuner/receiver so we can listen to audiobooks over the car speakers via my iPhone on our beach trip in a few weeks.

I also found out about a free ebook reader app through Christian Book Distributors (CBD). I downloaded it and was able to find several free ebooks through their site. I’ve read one so far – Invisible by Lorena McCourtney. I enjoyed it so much, I checked out the second book of the series (of 4 books) from my church library.

Just yesterday I downloaded the Nook app. I don’t know much about it yet, but I figured that would be the way to go if I (hopefully!) win a Barnes & Noble gift card from our public library’s adult summer reading program. I have 10 entries so far, but I’m hoping to get my name in a few more times before the program ends. The top prize is a Nook, which I have promised to a friend if I happen to win it – which I seriously doubt. The second prize is an iPod Nano. The individual library branch prizes are the B&N gift cards – my preference!

Lately I’ve been thinking about downloading an ebook reader of sorts onto the boys’ iPod Touches. I don’t want them having free access to any book, so I have to look at my options carefully. I also don’t want them having the ability to download a book through an app that’s tied in to a credit card. Since their iPods are configured to not bring up Internet pages, I need to see what I could do from my computer. I guess it’s homework time…

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9. Twist of Faith by Anne Beiler with Shawn Smucker

You’ve certainly heard of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, even if you’ve never feasted on one. (And if you haven’t tasted one, you really need to!) This is the story of “Auntie Anne” herself, the company’s founder.

Anne grew up in an Amish-Mennonite community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, as one of eight children. Her family struggled to make ends meet, and living in such a close-knit community, everyone in the community pitched in to help them. Life was good until a tragic accident took her daughter’s life. Angela was only 18 months old. Anne went into a spiral of depression, which continued as she and her husband moved to Texas with their two daughters. When they finally returned to Lancaster County, Anne found purpose through a job managing a pretzel stand at a farmer’s market. After a few successful months, she bought her own stand and, with Jonas’ help (as well as from her many siblings and other family members), quickly began building the business that would reach around the world – and allow her husband to live his dream of providing free counseling.¬†Still, Anne’s depression continued. She used work as a cover, but even that put too much stress on her…

One of the biggest underlying themes in this book is forgiveness, though that didn’t really show itself until the end. Anne had many problems that she would rather sweep under the rug or busy herself with work to forget than to face them and move past them. Even though her husband, her daughters, and her family and friends had forgiven her for things, it wasn’t until her mother-in-law died that she was finally able to piece together parts of her past that she couldn’t remember. She was then able to forgive herself of her mistakes because she could see her goodness in spite of her actions and her depression.

Anne’s story is good, but it’s not very well told through this book. She jumps around too much in time telling her story. Even though she included the year when she’d switch from one part of her past to another, it was never easy to follow. Details about one part of her life are easily confused with details from earlier or later. At times I found myself wondering just exactly where one incident fit into the bigger picture. Once I even wanted to make a timeline so I could keep things straight. In all her jumping around, it seems that some of the things she mentioned got dropped altogether. In spite of all this, though, curiosity about the founder of one of my favorite mall snack shops kept me reading.

If you’re like autobiographies and you’re a fan of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, it’s worth a try.

10. The New Strong-Willed Child by James Dobson

I have a strong-willed child who has begun trying to challenge my authority in matters of schooling. In an attempt to get hold of the situation before it gets out of hand, I reread this book. (Yes, I read it before, about the same child, several years ago. The reasons were different then, but I had forgotten most of what I read. Maybe I need to buy the book…)

Dobson characterizes two basic types of children: compliant and strong-willed. However, within those two broad categories, there is a myriad of places they can fall. Mine is by no means to the extreme end of strong-willedness, but if I don’t assert my authority now, there is likely to be trouble later on.

There are some wonderful nuggets of truth in the pages of this book, and hopefully I can take them to heart and implement a plan. Basically, my approach needs to be one of coolness and control, not frustration and indecisiveness or inconsistency. My child needs to know that I am in authority over him, and he will act accordingly. Hopefully this is just a short phase where he’s testing the waters – and he’ll get back to his sweeter self soon. He sees his older brother have more freedom in things, and he’s trying to assert himself in the same way. There is obviously jealousy involved, and we’re trying to deal with that as best we can, but without coddling him.

I highly recommend this book for anyone with children – from infants up through adolescence. It’s one for the shelf!

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6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss¬†Everdeen lives in District 12 in Panem, formerly known as the North American continent. Ever since a rebellion, in which District 13 was obliterated, the Capitol hosts a yearly reality show called “The Hunger Games”. Two “tributes” from each of the remaining 12 districts are chosen to fight to the death until one winner remains.

When her younger sister is chosen at random from thousands of names to be the next female tribute from District 12, Kat boldly takes her place. She is soon transported to the Capitol along with Peeta Mellark, the male tribute from her district, where they will be transformed, trained, and forced to compete.

I had never heard of The Hunger Games, published in the fall of 2008, until recently. All of a sudden many of my Facebook friends were raving about the trilogy. After hearing about it, I wasn’t sure it was something I really wanted to read, but I decided to try it anyway. Caleb had also heard about it and wanted to read it since one of his best friends was raving about it. (He got the set for his birthday last week, so now we don’t have to wait f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to get copies of the second and third books from the library.)

Once Caleb finished reading it, I started it. I was hooked almost instantly and had a hard time putting the book down! I didn’t have any real problems with the book. It is violent, as should be expected from the main plot, but it’s not graphic. Also there’s no foul language or anything mature about the content. (I let Caleb read it before me because the raves were coming from many of our church friends…, but I do want to read the second and third books before him if I can.)

One thing that struck me about the book is the total lack of any Christian influence. Panem seems to me to be a post-Apocalyptic world. There’s no mention of prayer, faith, church, or even God. As I read through the book, I realized that the characters had no real hope for anything other than staying alive, and in some cases even that seemed hopeless. Since this series has such a huge cult following, I’d love to see someone build a Bible study around it. I wish I were qualified. Still, some great conversations can come from a book discussion group about this.

I definitely recommend this book. If you or someone you know is a non-reader, this might be just the thing. I’ve heard of several people who don’t like to read who have blown through this book in a day or two. It’s just that good.

The Hunger Games movie is coming out this weekend, but I don’t think it’s one I’ll be letting Caleb watch anytime soon. The book is too violent to portray visually to a pre-teen, or even a young teen in my opinion. It’s not quite the same as the Harry Potter series, which was also violent. It’s fantasy and was portrayed as such. The Hunger Games is just too realistic.

7. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

In this second book of the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are preparing for their tour of the districts as the Hunger Games winners. President Snow, angered by what he thinks is Katniss’ public defiance of the Capitol by succeeding to keep both herself and Peeta alive during the games, threatens her in order to keep her in line. She must put out the fires of rebellion that are beginning to spark in the districts, or she and/or her loved ones will be killed.

Katniss, however, through no machinations of her own, has unwittingly become the face of the rebellion. Suddenly, she and Peeta are participants in the Hunger Games again, along with 24 other winners of past games, in a never-before twist. Only one is supposed to live, but someone has other plans…

This book was almost as good as the first one. The storyline was great and fast-paced. The old characters were familiar, and the new characters were well-developed.

My only issue with this second book was its slightly more adult content. There wasn’t much – mostly one female character who repeatedly stripped naked. It’s nothing explicit, just a mention. Still, I think that’s a bit much for part of the audience that’s reached through them. They’re marketed as young adult books, but many popular children’s authors are calling them children’s books. They aren’t. I also noticed there are no Christian undertones in this book, just like there weren’t any in the first book.

8. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

In this final installation in the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss finds herself recovering from injuries she received during the Quarter Quell games. She’s no longer in her home district, District 12, which has been destroyed by the Capitol. District 13, which is long thought to have been destroyed, has been secretly building up to take on the Capitol in a fight to end President Snow’s dictatorship and bring about its own socialist government.

Katniss is reunited with her mother and sister, as well as her best friend Gale, but Peeta is in the hands of President Snow, being used as a propaganda tool to bring Katniss out of hiding. Katniss agrees to become the “Mockingjay”, the symbol of the rebellion, but she’s got plans of her own…

This was my least favorite of the three books, but it was still hard to put down. The characters continue to be wonderfully written, and the plot was fast-paced and full of unexpected twists.

Again, my problem with this book was the more adult content. This one was a little racier, with some mention (though not explicit) of sexual perversions. One of the characters, a friend of Katniss’ from the second book, is recalling his forced past as a male prostitute, though those words are never used. While that is essential to the story, I think the author could have chosen something just as effective but less offensive – especially considering her audience.

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Soup is good food.

Soup is good food. Soup is great food if it’s not 85 degrees outside. We had a brief cold snap last week and that made me want soup. That and the fact that I made a big pot of vegetable soup last Monday to share with a family that just had a new baby. I didn’t really want to make soup for her, but everyone who had already signed up was making some sort of chicken dish: King Ranch Chicken, Chicken and Rice, Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken Spaghetti, Baked Chicken, etc. I thought vegetable soup with some ground beef would make for a nice change. She said they really enjoyed it, and we enjoyed the little bit I saved for us. The boys wanted leftovers that night, so they tasted mine and decided they wanted it again soon. I decided Monday nights would be soup nights, and we started tonight. With vegetable soup. It was really good, and I’m glad we have some left over (even though it won’t be enough for all of us to share). I just wish it were cold (or even a slight bit cool) outside. I think I want to make chicken and dumplings next Monday night. Maybe we’ll have cooler weather then…

Speaking of food…
Jacob has been attending Cubbies for a month now. He really likes it and doesn’t have any trouble learning his verses. Sometimes the words give him a little trouble, though. Last week’s verse, from Luke 2:30, was “…my eyes have seen your salvation.” Only Jacob came out with “…my eyes have seen your salivation.” I’m going to start saying that to Billy when he comes into the kitchen before supper.

Monk Mania
If you ever pay attention to my reading list on the left, you’ll notice that I recently finished a Monk mystery novel. It was great! I started reading it in the bookstore one day when I happened to find it while I was looking for my next letter in Sue Grafton’s popular Kinsey Milhone series. I stood there in the middle of the mysteries, laughing out loud as I read about Monk’s escapades. I didn’t buy it then, but I didn’t forget about it either. I occasionally check out the official Monk website and noticed that the third book in the series will be released soon. That made me want to go ahead and read the first one, so I went to my local Borders and bought it. It was a fast read, and a great one. Having watched enough of the series, I could easily picture all the main characters, especially Adrian Monk and all his mannerisms. I laughed out loud so many times while reading that book. Every time Caleb heard me laughing, he wouldn’t rest until I told him what was so funny. Now I can’t wait to get the second one: Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii. That’s gotta be good!

I can laugh about Monk because I have a lot of quirks like him. He insists on even numbers; I like prime numbers. (When I’m adjusting the volume on the TV, I always put it to a prime number. That’s not so good when I have to go from 23 – which is good – to 29 – which is a little too loud. I’m not such a stickler, though, that I won’t stop at a different number if I really need to.) I also like my cabinets and pantry items arranged a certain way. If I find anything out of place, I immediately put it “where it belongs”. Same thing goes with the dishwasher. I also like my laundry hung or folded a certain way. (Sometimes it’s hard for me to leave the washcloths the way Jacob folds them. I usually leave them, but if I have to straighten them any, I make sure he’s not around to see it. And I know I’ve mentioned my closet before…) I always start at the front of a magazine (or book) and go straight through to the end. No skipping around for me! Even if I get bored with an article or a chapter, I skim it before moving on to the next page. Oh, and books in a series must be read in order. There is a method to all my madness, though. It makes things simpler, to me. (Well, not the prime number thing.)

Then there are some things that I just leave in organized chaos. I think it’s because I’m too apprehensive about getting in there to straighten it up. I find other things to do instead. Sometimes I really do forget, and when I remember, it’s an inconvenient time. I’ve started working on that problem, though. I bought myself a Day Timer so I can organize my time each day (thus the name… Haha!). I’ve been using it for a week, and it’s really helping me stay on top of things, especially my Pampered Chef business. I may actually get completely organized before I know it.

I’ve noticed some of these tendencies in Caleb, too. He gets it honest, as do I. My dad is a stickler for order and precision. Just ask him to wallpaper a room for you. (I read where Monk has a thing about wallpaper meeting up just right.) Daddy won’t wear a plaid shirt if the stripes don’t match up at the pockets and the buttoned edges. When I was living at home and would make him a sandwich, he would always tell me to be sure the edges of the bread matched up. I always thought that was silly, but now I do it all the time. :o)

So, are you willing to share some of your Monkish quirks?

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Answers

Q: Where have I been?
A: Busy. Two weeks ago I was taking care of registration details for a SWIM Retreat that weekend. I was registering late-comers, making name tags (drama!), and putting together welcome/registration packets. I was too busy to update, but I did have to jump in when I found out Mandisa was unvoted off on American Idol. Last week I was busy doing all the things I don’t get to do when I have the boys. (They were with Billy’s parents.) I spent some time leisurely looking at things that interested me at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and Rock Barrell. I shopped for clothes and books. I slept in until 6:30 most mornings, except for the first day after the retreat, where I slept until 7:45! I got my hair trimmed, then I colored it. I went to the library without once venturing into the children’s section. I did glance, however, to see if any of my friends were there with their kids. None were. Billy took me out to eat at The Cheesecake Factory. That was divine! The Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake was really good – and rich. And while I’m a major peanut butter fan, I’d have to say Billy’s choice of Chocolate Coconut Cream Cheesecake was even better. Before dessert, we shared a grilled cheese sandwich, fries, and one of the best salads I’ve ever had in my life: Barbeque Ranch Chicken Salad. I was happily miserable when we left.

Q: from Josh: “Why isn’t Kellie [Pickler] in your top 3 [of American Idol contestants]?
A: Because I don’t like her. I liked her at first, during the auditions. I guess she sounded much better in the midst of all the worse voices. She had a good story, too. Now she’s annoying, she has too much of a country twang, and her voice just isn’t that great. I don’t think she’s as “naive” (read stupid in this case) as she appears to be, either.

Q: from Margaret Feinberg: “I wonder who will win this thing…any thoughts?”
A: Chris Daughtry. He is one of the few who have yet to be in the bottom 3 (and I hope I didn’t just “jinx” that *wink*), he’s got a great voice and a great stage presence, and he’s got a great sound. I really don’t think America will vote for another country idol (Kellie), but I may be wrong. Elliot Yamin has a good voice, but I don’t see him as Idol material. Paris Bennett has a good voice, and I think she has a better chance than Elliot, but I still don’t see her winning. Katharine McPhee is good, but she hasn’t been doing so well lately. Taylor Hicks is fun, but I don’t see him as Idol material, either. I still miss Mandisa!

Q: also from Josh: “How is The Da Vinci Code“?
A: Good in some ways, not so good in more ways. I’ll write my thoughts on it soon, after I finish reading Breaking the Da Vinci Code and The Da Vinci Hoax.

Q: When will I get back to a regular posting schedule?
A: Hopefully this week. First I’ve got to get the boys – and myself – back into the routine of school, housework, etc. Hopefully it won’t be too long, though.

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Finally!

The boys are going to the dentist today! I finally got around to making appointments for them. This will be Jacob’s first visit and Caleb’s second; his first was almost 3 years ago. I know that sounds horrible… First we didn’t have any insurance for it. Then we had insurance, but I couldn’t find a pediatric dentist who accepted it. Now we have put that money into a general medical fund so I don’t have to worry about either.

Last year at their annual well check-ups, their pediatrician asked if they had seen a dentist, and I was embarrassed to admit they hadn’t. Dr. Sonnen gave me a few recommendations for pediatric dentists, and I’m just now getting around to taking them. After I secured the dental appointments, I called to schedule their well check-ups, which will be next Tuesday. Now I just have to make sure Caleb doesn’t have any constipation issues before then because I also didn’t get around to taking him to the pediatric gastroenterologist last year. It wasn’t urgent, and we were busy with lots of different things. By the time things slowed down, Caleb system was starting to get straightened out, so I figured it wasn’t necessary. He’s still doing pretty well, but I think I’ll load him up on pear juice over the next several days just to be sure.

I had an underhanded reason for scheduling their doctor visits for next Tuesday morning. It’s right during the scheduled off-week activity for our Bible study group. It’s on the calendar to go to the park, which I would’ve readily gone to, but one of the ladies in the group wants to have an Easter egg hunt at her house that day. After the Valentine’s Party debacle last month, I don’t want to risk all that again (Caleb’s tantrums, my embarrassment, and Jacob’s heartbreak at having to leave early). If it was just a regular party, Caleb would most likely do okay, but with it being an Easter egg hunt, I just don’t want to deal with what will happen if he doesn’t find all the eggs he thinks he should find. It’s just easier to have an egg hunt with just him and Jacob right now. Jacob doesn’t care how many eggs he finds; he thinks the whole thing’s fun. If it were just a handful of kids, it’d probably be okay, too. But with 25+ kids running around looking for eggs and fighting over who found what first, things would most likely get ugly. That’s something I don’t want to deal with right now.

On the Shelf
Our Sunday school lesson/discussion last week was about The Da Vinci Code and how Christians should be aware of what the book (and movie) purports and how to respond in a positive manner. Out of the 60 or so people in our class, only 6 had actually read the book; our teacher wasn’t surprised. Apparently most of us fall into the same category: Christians offended by the book’s ideas, but with no real understanding of why. We hear what other people say about the book and parrot their opinions instead of reading the book ourselves to know what it’s really about and to form our own opinions. I’m convinced. I’m going to read the book for myself. I placed a hold on it through my local library and came out 8th in line to read it. There are so many copies available that it’s already in transit for my pick-up and I’m currently number 7 on the list! I think there’s been a big resurgence of interest in the book since the movie is set for release in a few months (May 19).

I also have a few more books on hold from the library. One was recommended by at DTS professor during WEC Week: The Bookseller of Kabul. It’s also in transit for me to pick up. The other book on hold is about Curious George creators H. A. and Margret Rey – The Journey that Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H. A. Rey. I’m number 2 on the waiting list, and it’s not due back from the person ahead of me until mid-April. That’ll give me time to get the other two read.

The SWIM advisor gave each of the board members copies of Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box. She said it’s a good book, an easy read with lots of great information. We can read it at our leisure (as opposed to being a leadership development assignment for discussion), and we can count it as one of our books for our self-study program.

Speaking of self-study, I’m still reading my third book (of 16): What’s so Amazing about Grace? It’s a good book, but I’m just slow with it. Several people I’ve talked to have said it’s not one you can just rush through. I agree: it’s definitely a thinking book. However, I do need to do my thinking (and reading) a little faster than I have been.

My problem with “slow” reading is actually that I have too many other books on my “want-to-read” list and I end up putting the self-study books on the back burner. I’m going to have to prioritize my reading schedule somehow.

Idol Chatter
Here’s my quick take on last night’s American Idol:

Top 3: Chris Daughtry (who rocked again – no surprise), Mandisa (who sang an upbeat Christian song – as I had hoped), and Elliot Yamin (who finally stood out in the crowd – as I had hoped).

Middle: Taylor did a good job. Ace greatly improved from past weeks. Katharine McPhee didn’t do as well as she usually does. Paris doesn’t impress me much anymore.

Bottom 3: Kellie Pickler was the absolute worst last night. I’m ready for her to go, but I still think she’s too much the “American Idol sweetheart” to be gone. Lisa Tucker isn’t standing out like she did during the auditions and the earlier part of the competition. She may be the one to go this week, especially since she’s shown up in the bottom 3 the last 2 weeks. Bucky Covington just doesn’t belong in this competition, but he did better last night than he has the last few weeks. I sort of hope he sticks around a little bit longer.

Tonight will tell.

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