Friday, January 2, 2009

Sick & Tired...but Bumper Crop Year!

Yes, I'm home now. Sigh. I did manage to finish a book on the plane though, and I've since returned to tally up my year. I almost hate to let this out there, but since 1990 I've kept a "Reading Journal" where I write down the date finished, book title, author's name, and page numbers of all I've read. Honestly, it was a way for me to remember what I'd read so that I wouldn't repeat books on accident. Haven't you ever done that? You get part way through the book and say, "Hey...this sounds awfully familiar." Anyway, I've kept a record of what I've read and have to say that this year tops leaps and bounds. I hate to put numbers out there, but they really are quite amazing! I went from 58 books read in 2007, to 82 in 2008, and 19,450 pages read in 2007 to 27,104 in 2008. Honestly, I need to thank AP for pushing me! I taught AP online last year, and then this year at my school. I've also been making a real effort to push myself towards that crazy GRE...which I'm still not taking! Well, I guess reading on the beach in Hawaii added to my numbers this year (and all those long flights) as well!

Okay, so there's my look back at 2008. Sorry. I actually don't like it when people post those every year, since it can only make you feel like a big loser half the time! However, it's been a good year for me in my field: good chunk of reading and I really like my students this year (my issue, not their issue--amazing what getting happy will do for you).

So, on the plane I finished reading Mia King's second novel Sweet Life. I really liked Good Things, so I was anxious to read her second attempt.

I have to say that there is something about Mia's writing that drags me in. While I don't always recognize the characters, as they are usually living some fantasy life before being brought down to my reality, I do recognize the human angst they feel and share through the pages of the story.

In this second novel, Marissa and her husband make the decision to pick up and move to the big island of Hawaii. I so appreciated the culture shock that King walked us through, because it's SO REALISTIC to somehow leave the enclosure of a hotel or resort and be shocked by the rugged beauty and juxtaposition of grit and grime that one encounters in a real tropical location. It really is about living side by side with nature, and not expecting to completely conquer it. The minute you do that is the minute the island throws you back to the mainland, and having spent enough months on the island with mom, I can see that's really true. Well, Marissa and her husband begin to have marital problems, and the rest of the novel is really about the hurt and pain of giving up on a marriage or pushing through it to fortify the foundation of something you've built together. It wasn't a super light or fun read, but I really enjoyed the emotional depth it took me to. I'm sad to say that had I been Marissa, I could think of a lot of really horrid things I would have done to that husband...which is probably why I'm not married! :)

Having said all this, I really enjoyed King's second novel, and will keep my eyes out for more. I still love the fact that she adds the recipes to the food discussed in the novel. Who wouldn't love that? I still have to say that I liked Good Things better, but I still enjoyed this read (and it got me half way across the Pacific). Mahalo!


  1. Becky-

    I think it is cool that you keep a reading journal. I wish I had the same diligence as you do. In years past I start one and don't even make it though January before I forget to record books read. Maybe this is the year for me?

  2. Wow! That is a lot of books! Good for you! I am so glad that you are happy! I hope it continues!!!

  3. Hi Jess and Laural! I'm such a nerd when it comes to books, and yet I've now decided that I really can keep reading all the good books I loved during school and vacation if I just pick away a little here and there. Honestly, I can't believe I got through that many in a year! My students push me all the time though saying, "Hey, have you read this?" We'll see how a new year goes!