Saturday, April 25, 2015

Audiobook / Banned Book / TBR Pile: The Screwtape Letters

I love everything I've ever read that was written by C.S. Lewis. I'd really be hard-pressed to find something of his that I didn't enjoy. And so, let me introduce The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. It's a bit of an unconventional piece of literature. Screwtape, a higher-level administrative demon, is writing a series of letters to his nephew, Wormwood, a lower-level tempter. The main focus of the letters is the best way to tempt one man toward "our father below," the Devil, and away from "the enemy," God. Lewis uses his best forum--the written word--to create a humorous, creepy, and fearlessly honest Devil's Advocate.

There are many covers for this book. Mine actually had a picture of C.S. Lewis on the front, but I couldn't find a link for that picture, so I'll just share a couple of the covers that I like.
(all pictures on this post taken from Goodreads)

Conclusion: What a unique and witty way of Lewis to present his ideas! I was laughing much of the time and nodding my head at Lewis' intended points in each letter. I found it interesting to learn after listening to this book that Lewis hated writing it, although it makes sense. Visiting and lingering for too long in a world where sin is a joke and something the main character vehemently supports cannot be good for the soul, at least from a Christian perspective. The version I listened to also included "Screwtape Proposes a Toast," which is a follow-up piece to The Screwtape Letters. It is somewhat religious, obviously, but Lewis also sneaks some political viewpoints into that one, so I found myself a little more torn on some of his points. But the best part of Screwtape's letters (in my opinion) was the demon's complete inability to understand love. How perfect to explain his shortsightedness in understanding the motivations of God and humans! The little nuances of balance in the practice of temptation were also brilliant. I just really enjoyed this, and it made me think seriously at the same time.

Recommendation: I would recommend this to any Christian or anyone who wishes to read this viewpoint in a form both humorous and serious at the same time.


The Screwtape Letters is my fourth read for the 2015 Banned Book Challenge, my third read for the 2015 Audiobook Challenge, and my eighth read for the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge. A lot of crossover this time!

Side note: If I owe any of you mail, I am so sorry for the delay. I've been pretty swamped lately, but hopefully I will catch up soon. Know that you are in my mind and I'm doing my best.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

TBR Pile: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is the first book in Chris Grabenstein's Mr. Lemoncello's Library series. He wrote one recently called The Island of Dr. Libris that is the same type of book but not technically in this series. The second book is scheduled to release in 2016, I think. The book centers around twelve twelve-year-old children who have won an essay contest to be the first group of people to check out a very interesting, rather adventurous library designed by a famous board game designer who used to live in their small Ohio town. The kids soon find out that their "lock-in" has become an exciting game where they must solve an intricate puzzle and find their own way out of the library.

I love this cover! It's so active and fun, and it represents the book perfectly.

(picture taken from Goodreads;
jacket illustration by Gilbert Ford;
jacket design by Nicole de las Heras)

Conclusion: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library was such a fun book! Predictable, yes, although some of the details surprised me. And it wasn't exactly realistic--I don't know of a lot of libraries funded by billionaires who plan eccentric games to get kids excited about reading. I saw a few bad reviews on Goodreads while I was reading this, and I think those people probably expected something a bit more traditional. But maybe this book is the push your kid will need to really start reading?

Recommendation: This is a great read for anyone who loves a dose of fun with their awe of libraries. And I would recommend this book especially to people who like puzzles and childrens' adventure books.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library is my seventh choice for the 2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge. It is also a 2015/16 nominee for the Mark Twain Award. Are there any books written for children or young adults that you all would recommend? I always read them faster than adult books, so it's easy to fit more in.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Where Are You Reading Challenge 2015: Quarterly Update #1

This is my first quarterly update for the Where Are You Reading Challenge 2015 hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. In case you missed my initial post, this is one of my "Just for Fun" Challenges for 2015. (The location I list for each book will be based on where most of the story takes place. If the story is in a fictional location or the reader doesn't know of a specific location where the story takes place, I'll list it as "Other." If the primary location is fictional but part of the story takes place in a real location, I'll list the book under the real location mentioned.) I've been a little more straightforward with my locations since I'm not taking this one as seriously this year. It's still fun to see where I've been reading. Of course, the U.S. and England will probably win. I'm listing all of the books that I finish in 2015, whether I'm writing a review of them on this blog or not, and this will be where I update that list until my next quarterly update.

Germany
The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Italy
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

United Kingdom
England: His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
                Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot
                The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

United States
Massachusetts: Still Alice by Lisa Genova
New Mexico: Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
New York: The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio
Ohio: Mr. Lemoncello's Library: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
Pennsylvania: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Other
The Mortality Doctrine: The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

We Read Diverse Books Challenge 2015: Quarterly Update #1

This is my first quarterly update for the We Read Diverse Books Challenge hosted by Janet Ursel at Gourmet Reading. There is a different challenge designed to question the way we see the world each month, and I've found this one very interesting so far. You may have noticed I changed one of the books I had planned to read. I'll probably do that more with this challenge than the others. I'll update this regularly (until the next quarterly update) as I find out the next challenge, choose a book, and read the book.


February Challenge: Invisible Illnesses
Still Alice by Lisa Genova

 March Challenge: Sexual Orientation
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin 
 
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Banned Books Challenge 2015: Quarterly Update #1

This is my first quarterly update for the Banned Books Challenge 2015 hosted by Christine at Buckling Bookshelves. I signed up for the "Trouble-Maker" level (3-5 books), but as you can see, I've already met my goal. The first one was on purpose, but the others were just by chance, so I must read more banned books than I realized. So, since it's so early in the year, I'm going to re-set my goal to the "Rabble-Rouser" level (6-9 books). I've re-posted the books that I've read for this challenge thus far, and this is where I'll be keeping my list of books until my next quarterly update.

Books Read Thus Far:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

2015 Literary Pickers Reading Challenge: Quarterly Update #1

This is my first quarterly update for the Literary Pickers Reading Challenge 2015 hosted by Sophia at Delighted Reader. This is one of my "Just for Fun" Challenges for 2015, and I'm having quite a bit of fun just glancing through this list once in a while. It's funny to make note of the random objects and things that I might not have noticed before in the books I'm reading. And I think I'm doing pretty well (although I haven't compared it to anyone else's list, since I'm not actually competing in the challenge). I've copied the items I found up until this point, and this will be where I update that list until my next quarterly update.
 
Objects

   Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
   A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens















   North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell




Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein


   Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

   Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot






   The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis









Transportation

   The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer

   The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

  Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

   Yes Please by Amy Poehler



Places

   A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
   Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

   Magisterium: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare




   Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige


   Red Rising Trilogy: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Personages/Animals
   Poetry magazine "July/August 2014"
   The Mortality Doctrine: The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

   The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio








   Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

   Age of Legends: Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong



Clothing

















The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
   His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

   Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie



Food

   Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami


2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: Quarterly Update #1

This is my first quarterly update for the 2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge hosted by the ladies at Bookish! I can't believe a quarter of the year is already gone, whew! My level of choice is "A Friendly Hug," so 11-20 books. I've read 6 books for this so far, so I'm doing really well! I've re-posted the links to my reads for this challenge thus far, and this is where I'll keep my list and links for the challenge until the next quarterly update. 

TBR Pile Reads Thus Far: