Cheerful "BAM"blings

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Archive for August, 2016

Book Challenge: First Quarter Complete

I am officially ¼ of the way through my book challenge, and halfway through the original list! It is time for a blog about what I’ve read so far.



  1. Calamity (by Brandon Sanderson)
    This trilogy was really great. It has a fascinating premise based on really good world-building, and the plot moves quite quickly. The main character is super fun and intelligent with endearing quirks, and he’s surrounded by a solid and loveable cast of characters. Kept my interest all the way, took some great twists and turns, and Calamity was a solid ending for the series. Definitely gonna be rereading and then buying these books in the future!


  1. I didn’t feel like doing a chapter book, so instead I went and did a series of little picture books that you can read in a few minutes. Spending 2 hours at the library, I got through 38 picture books, which included every book I could find by Mo Willems and the entire “if you give a mouse a cookie” series. Since 38 is a lot, I won’t do an actual review here of them, but I’ll post the full list in the comments if you want to know which ones I read and liked.


  1. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Mark Twain)
    Well this was definitely much different than the movie! Rather than a sweet and silly love story accompanied by making better dance music and entertaining the neighborhood children, the book is all about Hank trying to secretly create and bring his “modern-day” technology into King Arthur’s world, which eventually leads to him and his factory of followers trying to overthrow the entire knight army.

His commentary throughout the book was entertaining though hard to understand, and I was intrigued by how the mindsets of the entire population was so fixed and different from our own; I didn’t think about how people would be so different in their modes of thinking than what we see as “reasonable”, and it was interesting to think of that being a major difference between us and people from other times and other cultures. Other than that, this book was fine; I know it was making points about technology or politics or something which was deep, but it was slow-moving and not the most interesting story. I will stick to the musical movie.


  1. I Feel Bad About My Neck (And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman) (by Nora Ephron)
    This very dry-humored look at the anti-perks of aging women (and other subjects) was written by the lady who, apparently, wrote the screenplays for 3 of my favorite romantic comedies (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. Basically she just writes for Meg Ryan.) There was a whole chapter that I had to read twice because she was talking about how she fell “in and out of love with Bill” and it wasn’t until I finished the chapter that I realized she meant Bill Clinton. There were always very humorous moments that I could relate to (as a woman, not as an aging woman yet, since I’ve been told I’m still “a baby”.) It wasn’t always laugh out loud funny (though it got me in a few parts) but its gentle exaggeration, mellow authenticity and sweetly thoughtful ending made it to be a very pleasant, humorous read.


  1. Wuthering Heights (by Emily Bronte)
    Why did people like this book? I mean, if they think of it as a whole Gone With the Wind “this is what happens when horrible people fall in love but clearly can’t stop being utterly selfish” deep, tragic story, then I can see its appeal because that’s what it is. If anybody thinks it’s romantic, I believe you are wrong and I would love to know why you liked it. It was unpleasant to read, with very few redeemable characters in it; the few redeemable characters did have a surprising happy ending, which I was not expecting, so the story ended better than… well, better than every other part of the book went. I’m sure it was written well and all that rot, but by golly, it’s hard to read a book that revolves around so many horrible people!


  1. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (by Jenny Lawson)
    Ok, my big disclaimer is that there is a ton of swearing and inappropriate commentary in this book, so I would not recommend it to anyone who is bothered by that: but by golly, this book was hilarious! I laughed out loud so many times, and it’s hard to tell whether the crazy things that happen to Jenny OR her quirky mind and ways of dealing with things is funnier. I always like figuratively getting into the minds of other people, and she had some very intriguing chapters that dove into the ways that she thinks. Definitely very high on the entertainment factor, this book!


  1. Great Expectations (by Charles Dickens)
    This book was a kind of in-between slowness; it went fairly quickly while I was reading it, but it seemed to take forever. I was fairly interested in the story, but never intrigued. I didn’t dislike Pip, but I didn’t particularly care for him all the time, either; though I did care ABOUT him, which is different. And he learned his lesson at the end, so it’s all good. I did enjoy the characters of Herbert and Wemmick and Joe, and it had some fun moments of humor and quirkiness.

The ambiguously-happy ending threw me off when I first read it, but I think I’ve come to terms with how it turned out and believe that it’s plausible. The book I read had an extra except at the end that described Dickens’ “original ending”, and after reading it I don’t know which one I liked better. But as someone who likes happy endings, I’ll stick with the published one. Overall, not something I would reread often, but it was a fairly decent story I guess, albeit lengthy.

Well! It only took me 7 ½ months to get through 7 books! To be fair, I started 3 months into the year, so instead we’ll say it took me 4 ½ months… which leaves me with 21 books to read in the next 4 ½ months. Which means I have to read 3 times as many to get through the challenge twice, as is my plan, coming out to around a book a week. I’m done with the Godspell play, which ate away at my time, so if I devote my recreational activity around the house to reading books in this challenge instead of solely watching TV shows and cruising Facebook, I might make it. Of course I do have BOTH intimidating books to get through, as well as NaNo coming up in November and my continual house hunt. But it’s not over yet, so I haven’t given up! If I can get through 7 more books by the end of September, I think I’ll be in ok shape. So that’s my goal! We’ll see how it goes! 🙂