Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reading Assignment Thirty

The Circus: Part Three

This little boy is swept into the dream, and a multitude of acts occur. There's a trapeze. Contortionists come on. Several men walk the tight rope. It is daring at most points, but my favorite was the unicycle act. I cannot ride a unicycle, nor will I ever attempt to. But a man came out on a unicycle, and he was goood. Like, reallly really good. So he's dressed in teal, as is a woman walking around near him. He rides the unicycle around the ring, and holds out his arm. The woman, with long strawberry blond hair, grabs hold of his arm and lifts. He does not stop, and she does not fall. The woman climbs onto the man, and he is still riding the unicycle. He's not just going back and forth, he's propelling himself in intricate circles, at a steep angle to the ground. As the man and the woman ride togther, they start doing tricks. It is not a fast act, not something for the impatient. But the man and the woman keep going for a ten minute act. He does not stop the unicycle ONCE. He keeps going, lifting her and letting her down. She never falls or even stumbles. They ride around the ring, twirling and spinning. It was mezmerising. There was soft, delicate music playing the whole time. It was so... romantic. I loved watching them because each depended on the other. Like symbiosis. And when the act closed, I was sad. I felt like I'd seen something I'd never witness again, and in those last moments, I held onto everything I'd seen.

That's my circus experience. There's more to it, so maybe I'll share that some other time.

Reading Assignment Twenty Nine

The Circus: Part Two

So, I'm sitting in my chair, and the room goes dark. No one is talking, no one is moving. A single beam of light filters down onto a boy. He's little, and he's got a kite. His kite is flying in the sky. And then it falls. So the little guy picks up his kite and starts running with it behind him. The kite catches wind and is lifted once more into the air. The little boy holds it up, only to see it fall. He runs again. It flies. It falls. Out from behind him, a man emerges. The man looks like a candy cane. He's wearing a suit that is striped in blue, white, and orange. His hat looks like the top of a Dairy Queen cone, with all three colors swirling towards the top. The suited man brandishes a wand. The little boy still can't see him, and the man waves the wand. Flashes of light. The kite soars into the sky and away. The magical man scares the boy and takes him on the adventure of a lifetime. All the while that this is going on, I'm sitting in my chair in wonder. Just that little boy and his kite, and I am completely entranced. A band comes out from behind another curtain, and clowns (!) come out. The little boy looks around, can't find is kite, and is swept away into a magical dream world with the suited man...

To be continued once more...


Reading Assignment Twenty Eight

Because I am reading Water for Elephants, a story about the circus, I thought it would be appropriate to share my experience from the circus. And I also really just wanted to. 

My first circus was Cirque de Soleil. I went with my stepmother and stepsister. Every year we go to see the Nutcracker around Christmastime, but that year she really wanted us to see Cirque. So we did. We went to the big blue and yellow tents and handed the people our tickets. We walked through one tent to another, the big one. We sat in our seats. We were on the right side of the "stage." My sister wanted popcorn. So we went and got her some. It was warm and buttery. I ate too much of it. The man in the center of the ring had a remote. He was dressed in a wacky suit. Some contraption was above him, like a car or something. It kept beeping, and he kept having to click the remote at it to make it stop. His frustrastion was apparent. People were milling around, buying food and searching for programs. Ushers were helping people to their seats.  I sat nervously waiting. The lights began to dim, blinking for audience members to get in their seats. They obliged. Finally, the lights flickered off until we were all sitting in darkness. No light could penetrate the curtains. No one spoke. It was completely silent. And then there was light...

To be continued...

Reading Assignment Twenty Seven

Water for Elephants is such a peculiar book. I really like it, but the Sara Gruen (the author), continues to baffle me. I cannot seem to predict what will happen next. I know that there will eventually be an animal stampede, but above that, I am blind to the plot. Something is coming, I just do not know what. It reminds me a lot of watching Mad Men. In a season of Mad Men, nothing happens and everything happens. The show is set up to make the viewer learn patience. Some episodes don't have a big climax. Other episodes are all climax. It leaves the viewers on their toes all the time. Water for Elephants is like that. It keeps me on my toes even when nothing is happening. I am anxious to see how the characters go from where they are now to the stampede. It seems as though they'll never get there, but I have faith. I have learned to be patient. Right now Jacob and the rest of the characters are dealing with a new group of animals. Two of the horses had to be put down. It amazed me. The author took a scene that could be very grafic or very nondescript and made it both. It was overwhelming but not gross. I do not know how she does that, but I really want to study her writing more. It is the type of writing that could really help me. I think it is important as a writer to read a lot and study the work of others.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Reading Assignment Twenty-Six

Water for Elephants is great! I love the book, but I am having a problem: I am having trouble keeping all the characters straight. See, I read a lot of books. I just love to read. And I can read multiple books at once. I never have a problem stopping, reading something else, and then picking back up. But Water for Elephants is confusing me! I know there's Jacob, Marlena, Catherine, August, Big Al, and Kinko, but there's so many others too. A character will make a brief appearance, only to go away! If I see a character in a book, I am bound to think he or she is important. But now, there's so many people who are circulating, I don't know who to pay attention to. I kind of think that's the point because there's a (SPOILER ALERT!!!) murder at the beginning of the book. I think that so many characters are circulating so that I am a little disoriented. If I don't know who's ambling about, it's harder to form allegiances to characters who might die or be killed. Anyhow, I am still disoriented. It is a good move by the author to keep me on my toes, but it's getting a little annoying at this point. I don't need 10 main characters to keep track of. It is beyond confusing.
Other than that, the book is awesome. It's engaging and the ( multiple) characters are developed well without me feeling like I have a character blurb shoved in my face. It is a book I would recommend to most, maybe not younger people ( it's intense.) I am glad that SA recommended it to me, and that I gave it a chance.

Reading Assignment Twenty Five

I am at a crossroads. I finished Rattled! I'm excited to start a fiction book, but the only problem is, I have two to pick from! Bah! I am torn between Water for Elephants and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Alice is goofy and crazy. I'll be on a wild adventure the whole time. And it has some lovely, and also wacky, poetry. I've seen the Disney adaptation, so I know what to expect. Water for Elephants is a little different. A friend recommended it to me, saying that I would love it. I trust her judgement, but I'm not sure. It's not that I do not want to read one over the other. It is more along the lines of  "these both sound so good that I can't decide." I think I'll go with Water for Elephants since it is borrowed, and I want to be polite and prompt in returning it. I have already read the preface, and it's fairly packed for such a short piece. 

Two days later...

Okay, I've officially started reading Water for Elephants. I love it! It's the type of book that is slow in plot, but I am not getting bored. It's about this guy, Jacob, who goes from Cornell to joining the circus.  He's smart, and he is quick to catch on in the buisness. I like the way the author writes; I was really surprised to see that a woman was writing it. She doesn't come off in her writing as a woman. Strange. I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reading Assignment Twenty Four

I am almost done with Rattled! I have enjoyed every page. I only have a couple left, and Christine has taken JD to New York City. She loves New York City. She moved there after a big change, and moved away when she got pregnant. Although I have never been to NYC, I really want to go. I can understand her connection that city. There's a place in Canada, and I love it there. It's relaxing and quiet. The house is on the water, and if look straight down, you can see clear to the bottom. When you dive it, it's cold and refreshing. It's forty feet deep, and the rocks look precariously close- it is that clear. The island we live on is wooded and in seclusion. There is no air conditiong, no internet, not even cable TV. We kayak and I even saw a mink once. It takes two days to get there, we fly, drive, take a boat, take a train- almost every mode of transportation is involved. The boat we take, the big ferry, we always drive on whilst cranking Madonna music. It is the only artist my whole family can agree on. So we crank up the music, and we drive on in, and the next two hours are spent looking at the water and reading magazines. It's a journey.
On our last day in Canada, out boat left at eight. That meant we had to be up by six. I woke up at five, cold and unable to sleep. I grabbed a blanket, and snuck back under the covers. The sun wasn't up, so the lake was serene and dark. I watched it. I watched the water for fifteen minutes until it happened. Gradually, almost as if it weren't happening at all, the sun slowly glided up over the water. It was a moment straight out of the Lion King. A single beam of light broke over the water, and the whole sky lit up and turned a faint pink. It my first sunrise- until that last day, I'd never seen a sunrise. That moment, the one where the sun broke over the water, that's when my connection began. Something about that moment forever tied me to that island in Canada. So when Christine talks about her love of NYC, I understand. There's just some places we are tied to.

Reading Assignment Twenty Three

Well, Chrissy had her baby! It's a boy. She's settling into motherhood, and getting to know her son. In the early days of her son's life, she's watching him and feeding him. Christine has a nice, long maternity leave. But she also writes a blog everyday. Her ex, A, is not in contact with her. He isn't there for his son. Throughout her entire pregnancy, Christine has expressed a range of emotions perataining to A: sadness, anger, dissapointment, disbelief- she feels it all. Now that the baby is actually here, A still isn't. As Christine puts it, all he get is, "Just a daily paragraph." He won't know his son, he just get some words in a Monday-Friday blog. It made me sad to read that. I both can and cannot empathize. Although my parents are divorced, I have a wonderful father, and I get to see him all the time. I can talk to him anytime I want. Chrissy's son, JD, doesn't have that opportunity. He will not know his own father. I can't imagine what that must be like, to not know half of your family. One of my best friends is adopted. She's never met her birth parents, and all she has are a few facts and a shared name. That's it. She will not and cannot know anything until she turns eighteen and petions the court. She does, however, have the most amazing parents I know. They love her more than anything. She's always felt like a part of the family. Heck, her parents make me feel like part of the family. I guess what I'm trying to say is that blood may be thicker than water, but love is thicker than both. Family is does not just mean "people who I am biologically related to." It means friends and people who love us and who we love in return. It's about love. My friend is a part of her family; they love her. Chrissy and JD are a family. He may not have a father, but he's got a mom, and sometimes, that's enough. She loves him. And that love is enough.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reading Assignment Twenty Two

She did it! Christine Coppa, the wonderful author of Rattled!, just had her baby in her book. She's a mom! I love the way she described the experience. She makes it feel like one of those defining moment. Like she walked in the delivery room one person, and came out another. Chrissy: single woman, pregnant woman, comes out as Chrissy: Mom. It's funny how people change and stay exactly the same like that. It's almost as if you could look back over your shoulder, and the old you isn't so far away, but is distinctly different- a past you. We are constantly evolving people, and the me you meet today is not the same one you meet tomorrow. I grow everyday. I get a little taller, I gain a little more knowledge, and put a little more experience behind me. Just in the span of a couple of hours, I become a different person. This is the way that most of us change- slowly, with a gradual move from one existance to another. Then there are the moments that divert us in a split-second. We're going down the regular path of our lives and POOF! we are a whole new person. Not just a little different, but so different that everything looks different. Touches are unknown and once farmiliar sounds seem foreign. It's like a blind man seeing for the very first time. Defining moments are rare and fleeting, but they change us in such beautiful ways. Some are miracles that leave us in wonder. Some make us lose all hope, only to gain it back again and appreciate the small moments we have on this planet. Some change our perceptions of life and the people who fill it. And some change our very identity. Like the birth of a child. Walking in a door as one person, and coming out as another. Chrissy: pregant woman... Chrissy: first-time mother. A defining moment.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reading Assignment Twenty One

I am about halfway through Rattled! as of now, and its starting to pick up momentum. Christine is nearing the end of her pregnancy, and her writing has begun to portray a new confidence. She's decided to name her son Jack, after her own mother. It reminded me of where my name comes from. My middle name holds a sentimental value: I was named after my grandmother. It's her first name, and my middle name, but neither of us use it. She goes by her middle name, and I go by my first, but that thread of commonality ties us together. Whenever I think of her name, our name, it always think of her capable hands and warm heart. I'm not close with my grandmother (she lives on the opposite end of the country), but I love her dearly. Our name reminds me of her, it reminds me of her strength and courage; she's been through things I cannot and will not attempt to empathize with. My grandmother lost her older brother when he was seventeen. My older brother is eighteen, and we're very very close. He went off to college, and I really miss him. With divorced parents, he's the only person I've ever lived with full-time. He's not here now, and even though he's gone in one sense, I cannot imagine losing him in the other. My grandmother experienced that loss, yet she's eighty-one and a firecracker. She bounced back, got married, and had four kids. One is named after that lost brother. She found a strength she didn't know she had, just like Christine. Christine's pregnancy started out as shocking and scary, but over the course of those nine months, she's become this strong, independent young woman. She's having a baby! By herself! It's triumphant. Christine is triumphant.

Who were you named after?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reading Assignment Twenty (!!!)

Okay, wow. Twenty posts. That seems like a lot to me. Huh, anyways...

I'm still adoring Rattled! by Christine Coppa. Chrissy just moved out of her apartment in NYC. I remember when I moved. I was in third grade, and all we did was move from one street to another, but it was still scary. As a kid, you feel like your whole life is being uprooted. The first night I slept at my new house was so different. The sounds outside were louder. I could not see the headlights from cars now that my room was in the back of the house. My bed was in a different spot. The room was darker. It smelled off. Change is funny like that. It comes upon us in the most unexpected ways. One day you're living your life, and the next, everything is different. You move, you get pregnant, someone dies. Some days the change is something you accept. Some days you can't bear to think about it. Some days it's like it's not there at all. One day I was home, the next, I was sleeping in a stranger's house. Or maybe I was a stranger in my own house. Chrissy has a stranger in her body. Babies are these little people who we don't know, and yet her's is occupying her body for nine months. Life is so weird. I know that not a very eloquent way of putting it, but it's the truth. I'm calling a spade a spade: Life is weird and big and strange. Those are my not-so-eloquently-put-thoughts.


Reading Assignment Nineteen

Dear Yoda,
Hey, sorry about that last post. My book was full of anxiety, and I guess I was too. (I suddenly feel like a method actor. Ha!) I have calmed down a bit since my last post, and several things have happened. I have:

  1. Read farther in my book!
  2. Relaxed.
  3. Eaten something. It's amazing how some sugar can make me zen!
  4. Read some more.
I'm back to being myself, and so is Christine. She's a little more confident, and I am more confident in her. Christine is taking control of her life and her pregnancy. I almost feel a little proud! It's amazing how an author can make his or her readers empathize with the character. Like, when I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, I completely agreed that Mr. Darcy was proud. I agreed when her opinion slowly began to change; I started to root for the guy. And by the time she was in love with him, I kinda was too! And then, when I read it again, I totally empathized with Mr. Darcy. He did so many things for her, and she had no idea! And then, he tells her how he feels, and the woman scorns him! She says that he's the last person she'd ever want to marry! Humph! I felt so awful for him; he loves this woman, and she's shoving him away. When I read The Reader, Peter was so wounded. Hanna abuses him over and over, and he can't explain to himself what is off. If I can do anything as a writer, if I can aspire to do one glorious thing, it would not be writing great description. I wouldn't want to write a thrilling mystery. I want to write real characters, ones that are so present that they're practically tangible. I want to write real people.
Hope you're enjoying the blog. If you have any great book ideas for me, please suggest them!! May the Force be with you.

Jedi Knight

Reading Assignment Eighteen

Now we're at the breaking point: Christine's boyfriend, A, left. He left her and he left the baby. For a memoir, this is starting to read more like a suspense novel. I can't believe it! I can't believe he left her! She's pregnant!! With your baby! Ahh! Not okay! You can't leave a pregnant woman! Grr. I was really upset about that. I've met a lot of pregnant women in my day, but none of them have been jilted that way. I read that and I was totally speechless. Well, I was speechless with the gaping hole for a mouth way. In my head, however, I kept asking questions: What will Christine do now? Will A come back? Will he have to pay child support? Can she support a child on her own? Will she have an abortion? Ahh, what's gonna happen? I seriously thought every single one of those thoughts. Each one scared me more than the last one. I don't know how she's gonna do it. Christine is pregnant, single, and basically broke. That is not a good combination. I'm a little hyped up right now, Yoda. I'm really feeling for this woman. And she's not just some character in a book where I can say," At least it's just some fake character in a book." Christine is real. Her situation is real. There's no shying away from reality here. She's going to have to face those fears that she has- and fast. Babies only take nine months to cook; she's three months pregnant.

Reading Assignment Seventeen


Rattled! is rattling! It's so good! I'm loving it from page to page. At this point, Christine is still very newly pregnant. And still very scared. But the thing is: she's embracing it. Christine is terrified, but she automatically loves her little baby. It made me think of and fears that I have embraced. And I could only think of one. When I was 13, my dad got remarried. Four months later he took us to Mellow Mushroom without my stepmom. That was kinda weird. So he takes us to Mellow Mushroom, and we sit down. And he says to my brother and me, "Well, I have good news and I have great news. The good news is that we are going to expand our house. The great news is that your stepmom is going to have a baby. Which is why we're expanding the house." Yowza! What a load! Well, that was a lot of information, so I had to excuse myself. I went into the bathroom. And I kinda melted down. Not because I was upset, but because I was so overwhelmed. The thought of another person invading my life was so heavy. But truthfully, what's so scary about a baby? Babies are cute and cuddly and soft. I love babies. And in that instant, the fear kinda vanished. I felt calm. I was going to be a big sister. I was going to be a big sister? I'm going to be a big sister!!! Shock turned to fear, and fear turned to giddiness, and the giddiness turned into joy. I'm hoping that's what happens for Coppa. I hope that the anxiey she feels melts away and she can enjoy her baby and her pregnancy.

Reading Assignment Sixteen

I'm several pages into Rattled! and I'm loving it!!! Christine Coppa is so real. Her fear and doubt leaps out from the page. I feel just as bewildered as she does. Every thought that Coppa thinks is going through my mind as well. I feel for her; I want things to work out for her. And when she goes to get that first ultrasound, I'm in the room with her. I'm anxiously biting my nails- on a side note, when I read that part, I really did anxiously bite my nails- and hoping for the best. And I don't even know what the best actually is.
Suddenly, the bomb drops: she's pregnant. Christine is with child. Wow. Her whole life has changed. She's having a baby. A real, live, kicking, crying, screaming, cooing baby.
When I read that she was pregnant, I kinda felt shocked. I couldn't believe that she was having a baby. A real baby. The weight of that is so overwhelming. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be unexpectedly pregnant. And have a baby, without planning it. I mean, I knew that she got pregnant, but when I actually read it, it shocked me all over again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Reading Assignment Fifteen

Dear Yoda,

While I can appreciate Austen's style and technique, I have lost all hope with Emma. I know, it's a wonderful book; I'm sure that is true. However, it took me a full two months to read Pride and Prejudice. I loved every moment, but it was a tough read. I read and reread passages. I simply do not have the time to do that with Emma. Emma deserves better. I promise to come back one day, but I need a break; I cannot deal with the heavy language at the time. Please forgive me. I will commit to another classic book, but right now, I have to move on.
My next read will be a memoir. Because Emma was a ficticious work, my next book has to be non-fiction. And this non-fiction work is a book called Rattled! The story of this book is rather interesting, and it all starts in the airport. Yoda, I have a confession to make: I am terrified of flying in a plane. The thought makes me shake, and I get very jumpy- not a good thing while going through security. The only thing that can calm my nerves is a magazine. Everytime I fly, I always buy a magazine, and the last time I flew, I picked up a Glamour magazine. Now, in the process of the flight, I read the magazine cover to cover. Not a word escaped my eyes. In the edition I read, there was a particularly interesting article about a single mother. Her story was beautifully written, so when I got off the plane, I went on the magazine's website. It turned out she had a blog, and a book coming out. On this whim, I bought her book. I've been anxious to read it, so I'm very excited to be starting Rattled! by Christine Coppa. It's a story about her unexpected pregnancy, and the choice she makes in keeping her baby. I'll keep you posted on what happens. May the Force be with you.

Jedi Knight

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reading Assignment Fourteen


Last time I discussed relatable characters. But unrelatable characters are equally important. I have not found a character yet in Emma that I cannot relate to... but what if I had? What would have made them unrelatable? I think that characters you cannot believe are the unrelatable ones. Every character thinks that they are the protagonist, not the supporting one. That means that the "best friend" doesn't only live within the limits of the category of "best friend." No one is the bridesmaid and never the bride. They are always the bride. Also, I find characters whose personality doesn't suit their actions to be unbelieveable. If someone is really shy, and then they do something wild and crazy, I am going to think that they are completely bogus. Or that they have multiple personalities, which will make me just plain annoyed. I did not sign up for multiple personalities, I signed up for real people in a fake universe.
Unrelatable characters are the witches from fairy tales who want to slay their daughters. Although Emma sort of reads like an old fairy tale, none of the characters are like this. Each one has their own voice and personality. The things that come out of their mouths are sensible. I am looking forward to seeing where these people take me.

Reading Assignment Thirteen

I cannot believe this is post number thirteen! Wow! It would be really cool if I were writing this on Friday the thirteenth... I am not. Oh well. Anyways, I have gotten a little farther into Emma and, I'm not going to lie, it is starting to grow on me. Maybe its the language, or maybe the anticipation of a good love story (I am a sucker for a good love story), but I have become more anxious to do my reading every night. Emma's self importance has become endearing. And it has made me think of what makes a character likable. I think that a likable character needs to be, above ALL other things, relatable. If I cannot relate to a character, just, no. It will not happen. The whole point of a book is to connect to the reader. The reader cannot connect unless the characters are relatable.
Emma is relatble because of her compassion. She gives herself to whatever she does, and she does it wholeheartedly.She is full of compassion, but also full of passion. I can relate to that. I can relate to the passion she puts into things, and it makes me like her more. It makes me more willing to overlook her faults, like the constant need to fix a problem or match someone up. Also, I am finding Mr. Knightley particularly grounding. He seems to bring Emma back down to earth on a regular basis. Interesting...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Reading Assignment Twelve


I'm a little farther into Emma... it's still just okay (sorry!). I'm still suspending judgement, but Emma is losing me fast. It's just not as interesting as I'd hoped. I'm just not hooked. And I'm trying to diagnose my lack of interest. It made me think of reasons that a book would make me drag my feet. It could be:

  1. The characters aren't worth investing my emotions
  2. I don't have any idea what's happening?!??!?!
  3. Nothing has happened.
  4. Nothing will happen.
  5. Someone else suggested it and I'm only reading it because they wanted me to.
Out of those five reasons, I think that number three applies: nothing has happened. Well, nothing that has caused any tension has happened. In the course of what I have read, there has been a wedding, a dinner, and two people meeting and becoming friends. Of all this, there is no mounting suspense. I'm not subconsciously wondering, "What will happen next?" Emma is, well, boring right now. However, I'm not giving up. When I read Austen the first time, she trained me to wait for the "big moment." I know that little things will start to add up, and that something will happen when I least expect it. Now it is a waiting game of finding those pieces that push the story forward.
I really do think that this Mr. Knightley will play a big role with Emma. I also think that Harriet Smith is going to have a significant role in the plot of this story. I'm just full of predictions. They make the reading more interesting.

Reading Assignment Eleven


Sooo... I finally got into Emma by Jane Austen. I'm so excited! I had the same sort of hesitation before Pride and Prejudice- "Why read this? It's gonna take so long, will it be worth it? It's gonna take longer, do you really wanna deal with that?" Well, I bit the bullet, and cracked my book open. So far, it's okay. I'm not going to lie, it's not rocking my world. But, Pride and Prejudice didn't either, at least not in the beginning. At the same time, Pride and Prejudice was also a book that kept me up till three in the morning, dying to find out the fate of those fateful lovers. So, I'm reserving my judgement for a little while. We'll see how it goes.
On a different note, one of my predictions is correct! Huzzah! It is true that ***SPOILER ALERT***(highlight to read) Emma's mother died when she was younger.It is a very integral part of the story, and I think it really shapes the character of Emma Woodhouse. Emma has so far come off as a proper young woman, but possibly one who thinks she's way more important than she actually is. But, because she's so kind and loving, her friends and family overlook this small weakness.
I've decided to make another prediction:

Emma will end up with Mr. Knightley.
He's a family friend, and it goes along with my previous prediction. See here.
So, my charming readers... if you're out there.. Other than my mysterious teacher (Hi Mysterious Teacher!).. I'm going to push forward with Emma and keep you updated on both the truth of my predictions and my general feeling toward Emma Woodhouse and her- well, what happens to her.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reading Assignment Ten

Good Afternoon!

So, I really found The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom really fascinating. The idea that you can explain a lifetime of meaning through five people seems really uplifting and happy. It made me think of the people who have impacted my life in immeasurable ways. And it made me think about how you can measure the impact someone makes on you. My baby brother can barely talk, yet I've changed so much since he came along. My mother dated a guy in her twenties who loved to ride his bike. After they broke up, he was riding down the road, just like any other day. A lawyer was driving his car, and had just won a huge case. The lawyer was drunk and hit this man on the bicycle. The man on the bike is a quadriplegic now. He can't move from the neck down. That one second of impact changed his life forever. He is completely dependent on a caretaker now. And the drunk driver? He's in jail I'm guessing. Both of these people changed the others' life.
Other moments and people define our lives: the day we are born, the day we graduate from college, our weddings, the birth of a child. Each moment contains a periphery of people. And each one has helped us get there.

Ever life matters, and everyone makes a difference. That's what this book taught me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Reading Assignment Nine


So, I took a small detour. I am still fully committed to Emma by Jane Austen. But the other night, I was scoping my bookshelves for an unread book, and The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom fell into my hands. Instantly I wanted to read it. So I did. I read the entire book in two days. And I loved every page. It's about this man named Eddie who dies on his eighty-third birthday. He thinks that his life was nothing special, but when he dies, five people explain how he made a prfound impact on them. I loved this story for its honesty and hope. Eddie slowly realizes the difference he made, that every life is precious and worth something. Some of the people he meets didn't make a huge impact on him, while others changed his life entirely. My favorite person was his military captain. I felt that he made the biggest impact on Eddie. The captain taught him the hardest lesson: the lesson of sacrifice. Eddie learned that to have one thing, sometimes you have to give up something really important. Each person taught him something new, but the captain said the hard stuff. I think that's why I liked him best; I've always admired people who aren't afraid to say tough things, but instead just get them out.

These people made me think of who I'd want to me when I die. I know I'd want to see at least one of my parents, but beyond that, I don't know who I would want waiting for me.

If you died today, who would you want to see?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Reading Assignment Eight


Now that I've finished The Innocent Man, it's time for me to pick a new book. And I have! Today, I started to read Emma by Jane Austen. I'm really excited about it! I've read Pride and Prejudice (which I loved), so it will be interesting to see how I like Emma. I really love the way that Austen writes, and the language is beautiful to me... as opposed to being confusing. Plus, I'm also a diehard romantic, and a story about a matchmaker sounds perfect. Our teacher lent it to me, and suggested that after reading it, I should watch Clueless because the movie is based off of Emma. Well, I've seen Clueless, so I'm going to make a couple of predictions about what happens:

  1. Emma is a lovely, but naive matchmaker who doesn't always see what is best for the people she matches.
  2. Emma's mother died when she was a child- this is taken straight out of Clueless.
  3. Emma ends up with someone she doesn't think is all that great- at first. She slowly grows to like him over the course of the book.
So, I guess that we'll have to see what happens! All of these things happen in Clueless, so that's where I'm basing the predictions off. Also, they seem like things that Austen would do. I'm hoping that Emma lives up the expectations I have for Austen... although I've only read Pride and Prejudice, she's still one of my favorite authors. I'm really looking forward to seeing if my predictions come true!

Any other predictions?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Reading Assignment Seven


The time has come... prepare yourself: I finished The Innocent Man! Over the course of this past weekend, I took a nice, quiet vacation to the mountains. I also got sick, which meant that I got to have an excuse to curl up in bed and read all day long. That is exactly what I did. I laid in bed and read until I fell asleep, then I woke up and read some more. Well, after I did all this reading (and a little bit while), I had a lot to think about. The Innocent Man did a complete 180 on me. I opened to book thinking Ron Williamson killed Debbie Carter. Then I changed my mind, and then changed it twice more. By the time the actual truth came out, I knew two things: 1) Ron Williamson needed serious help, and 2) He didn't commit the murder. So, when I got to the truth, the truth did not disappoint me. It confirmed all of my previous beliefs, along with some of my predictions.

And it said: ***SPOILER ALERT***Highlight to read: Glen Gore was convicted of the murder of Debbie Carter. He was sentenced to death, and then at a new trial he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. I can't believe I called it... I was really happy when they reversed the sentence of Ron Williamson.

Well, I've finished my first book, and now it is time for the second. I'm not sure what I'll read, but I want to read something light after this. I need something to enjoy in a happy way. Suggestions would be nice!!!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Reading Assingment Six


I am almost done with The Innocent Man! As I was reading last night, I came across a truly sad passage; it was the passage about execution of people on Death Row. The passage went into detail about the entire process: how the prisoner's last day is spent visiting with family, lawyers, and friends. It explains the process of being strapped down to be executed. Oklahoma uses lethal injection to execute its criminals. At the facility Ron Williamson was housed, there are two viewing rooms. One room is for the family of the executed prisoner; one room is for the family of the victim. The prisoner cannot see through the glass; the prisoner cannot see his/her family when death comes.
Regardless of political views, death is a tragic thing. Executions of prisoners is definitely included in this category. The family of the prisoner have to say goodbye through a wall of glass. No hugs, no kisses, no human contact at the very end. There's no hand to hold as this person crosses over into death. The last pair of eyes the condemned one shall see will be those of the warden, not the eyes of loved ones. Death is tragic, and executions should not be excluded from this list. They are the final moments of a life; they are the scheduled deaths that await many convicts.
This passage has affected me the most yet. It is straightforward and very clear in description. I think this is why it touched me the most. The style of writing corresponds with the subject; both of them are stark and cold, with minimal emotion.


Reading Assingment Five

Bonjour! I've been reading The Innocent Man for three weeks now, and I have a feeling I know who the killed Debbie Carter. I think the killer is (drumroll please!).... Glen Gore. I firmly believe he murdered her, and here is why:
Glen Gore was seen in the parking lot of the Coachlight, which is the last place Debbie Carter was seen alive. As she was talking to him, a witness saw her shove him away (Hmm, interesting). After her murder, Glen Gore did not submit hair samples to the police like the other men Debbie knew. Gore was a witness at the trial of Ron Williamson. He testified that Carter asked Gore to save her from Williamson. The nail in his coffin- at least in my book- is his criminal record. Gore had an extensive history of violence against women. Gore shot a police officer while holding his wife and daughter hostage. Beofore that, he broke into her house and stabbed her with a knife. He also choked her.
Something I have not mentioned before now is that Debbie Carter was raped before her death. Gore's history of hurting women made him a prime cantidate as the murderer, which should have been more solid due to a witness seeing Carter push him the night of her murder. Gore's fingerprints were never recognized in court; he never submitted them. There was a bloody handprint at the crime scene that did not match Ron Williamson. It could have matched Gore. I am fairly certain Gore murdered Carter. The evidence against him stacks up much higher compared to that of Ron Williamson.

Reading Assingment Four

Hola! I've started to notice that the more I post about this book (The Innocent Man), I am more and more excited about the next post. When I read now, I think, "That'd make a really great post. Make a mental note." It's also helped me understand the book more. Because I'm mentally reviewing things throughout the course of reading this, I'm retaining more information. Hooray! But, on to the topic of the day...

Keeping in the theme of the last post (unjust things in our judicial system) I bring you... mental illness and how it affects your constitutional rights. In my second post, I talked about how Ron Williamson is "off his rocker." He started out fine, but his mental state has slowly declined over the course of the last 7 chapters. As I read each paragraph, my emotions have a wide range; they go from disbelief to anger to sadness. Whenever I read about Ron, those emotions become overshadowed with worry. I worry about him as the pages go on, and each bad thing that happens to him makes me cringe. I know I said that I thought he might have committed the murder of Debbie Carter, but I'm changing my mind again: I don't think he did it. He just couldn't have. There's evidence that he was at home watching a movie with his mother, but my change in heart comes from Ron's obvious mental illness. He comes off as a person not mentally competent, but he seems so- gentle. And confused. His confusion melts my cold resolve that much more.
When Ron is arrested and put on trial for the Carter murder, he actually refuses to be in the court room. He screams and has outbursts, leading the judge to send him back to his jail cell. I don't think Ron knew any better. He should have had a mental evaluation. Had an evaluation occurred, all legal proceeding would halt. If he was found incompetent, his case could change. He could plead insanity. Ron got a psychological evaluation when he was in jail for the first time. When he was on trial for murder, Ron was not so lucky. His trial proceeded normally, with him locked in a jail cell, unaware of the decisions going on.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Reading Assignment Three

Salutations! In my third post about "The Innocent Man," I would like to focus on a crutial group of characters in this story: the police officers who both investigated the crimes, and those who interrogated Tommy Ward. Tommy Ward was convicted of the murder of a woman named Denice Haraway, who was abducted from her job as a convenient store clerk not very long after the murder of Debbie Carter. Her body was never found. There were also almost no clues to help find her. Tommy Ward was falsely accused and convicted of her murder. You might ask," How could that be?" Well, Tommy was brought in for questioning by the police... and remained in their custody for over 8 hours. His interrogation is documented on film, but what is not seen on that film is the 5 hours of screaming and insults he experienced. Ward turned off the camera filming this, thinking it was against his constitutional rights. If those 5 hours had been filmed, his fate would be completely different. Tommy "confessed" to dreaming up the murder, but only to play along with the officers... to make them stop abusing him. Tommy confessed to the crime: the crime he did not commit. Confessions taken by threats or coerced conditions are discounted in court. Tommy's confession would have been almost surely discounted. This irks me, but what just drives me nuts is the behavior of those police officers!!!! They verbally abused him! Not okay! And because of their threats, Tommy confessed. Tommy was convicted of murdering Deniece Haraway. He was sentenced to Death Row. Death Row. Eek. After reading this passage about him, I got shivers down my spine. Tommy didn't deserve this. And my heart ached for him at the same time it wanted to shout at the interrogating officers. Sadly, these are not the only officers who make misteps in the judicial system.


Reading Assignment Two

Hi! I'm now on page 147 of "The Innocent Man." It's finally gotten really interesting! At last! To be honest, I was bored at first... nonfiction has never been very interesting to me. I prefer characters over facts. But the plot has thickened (so to say) and I'm enjoying the suspense. At the moment, Ron Williamson has been arrested for the murder of Debbie Carter. Looking back, he's the character that has changed the most over the course of the last 147 pages. Ron started out as a promising baseball player, groomed to join the major league. He loses that chance when his shoulder becomes injured, and his life plummets after that. He drinks excessively, and eventually develops a mental illness. During my last post, I stated how sure I was that he was not the killer. However, now I'm not so sure. The evidence the book gives that he is guilty has begun to mount. His sanity is completely non-existent. He shouts in the court room, and screams in his cell; Ron has finally come off his rocker. This is where I finally became interested in the outcome of this book. Ron is clearly not sane, yet the inner flap of the book states that he*** SPOILER ALERT (highlight it if you want to see)***recieves the death penalty.How could this happen? I knew it from the beginning, but now that I know who he is, the result of his murder trial is shocking. The contrast between his former self and later self is astounding, but the way he is treated has left me flabbergasted. I'm hooked until the end; how did Ron come to this fate?

Monday, August 24, 2009


Hi. Welcome to the blog. I'm writing this for school assignments, and my first one involves the book I'm reading right now.

So, at the moment I am reading The Innocent Man by John Grisham. I'm not very far into it, but so far I'm liking it. I also read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, and I find myself comparing both the crimes described and the presentation of each by the authors. Capote is much more in depth about the facts of what happened, whereas Grisham's opinion is much more obvious in his writing. Both of the books are about gruesome murders. Innocent Man is only the murder of one person... so far. I like how the author gives so much background on Ron Williamson. However, I do suspect that he is not the murderer; he just doesn't seemt to fit. Ron may be a burned out drunk, but he doesn't come across violent or crazy; murder and rape just don't seem like something he'd do. So I'm hoping he didn't do it. It would be to tragic for him to lose his dream of playing Major League baseball and then go to jail for murder. Especially if he didn't commit the murder.