Sunday, January 3, 2010

See You in a Hundred Years Review

Last week I was wandering around a few book blogs and ran across a review for this book by Logan Ward. I apologize for not making note of whose blog I read the review on. If it was yours please let me know and I will give you full credit for turning me on to this book.

Logan Ward and his wife, Heather were prototypical New Yorkers circa 2000: their lives steeped in ambition, work, and stress. Feeling their souls grow numb, wanting their toddler son to see the stars at night, the Wards made a plan. They would return to their native South, find a farm, and for one year live exactly as people did in 1900 Virginia: without a car or electricity- and with only the food they could grow themselves. It was a project that would push their relationship to the brink- and illuminate stunning hardships and equally remarkable surprises.

From Logan's emotionally charged battles with Belle, the family workhorse, to Heather's daily trials with a wood-fired cooking stove and a constant siege of garden pests and cantankerous animals, the Wards were soon overwhelmed by their new life. At the same time as Logan and Heather struggled with their increasingly fragile relationship, as their son relished simple joys, the couple discovered something else: within their self-imposed time warp, they hadf found a community, a sense of belonging, and an appreciation both for what we've lost- and what we've gained- across a century of change.

There have been many times I wish I could chuck it all and go back in time. Once when I was reading the Little House on the Prairie series to my young sons we decided to do just that. For one day, we lived like the Ingalls did. No electricity, no TV. We ate food that was suggested in the book and found simpler pasttimes to keep us busy like flying a kite and playing dominoes and cards. We had a great time- for one day.

The Wards had the courage to give up modern conveniences for a whole year. They did a lot of research before embarking on their adventure, bringing supplies with them that were only available in 1900. They experienced many hardships including a drought that threatened to dry up their drinking water supply as well as their food source for the year, and a 2 year old with a fever that made them question thier choice to not have a telephone or a vehicle in case of an emergency.

But along the way they experienced life at it's best too; canning more then their estimated 300 jars of food to get them through the winter, the hospitality and friendship of a neighborhood determined to help them through their year, sitiing on the porch in the dark watching the stars while sipping bourbon, indulging in a Tootsie Roll (invented in 1896), preparing a Thanksgiving feast for family all grown from the garden and cooked in a wood burning oven, and falling into bed exhausted but satisfied from the back breaking day of work.

This book was not only moving but filled with hilarity as well. For instance when Belle, the horse, steps backward and the wagon starts to jackknife, Logans "foot pumps instinctively, searching the floorboards for a brake pedal" before Belle's former owner Marshall simply hollars "Whoa".

Logan Ward is brutally honest about his and Heather's relationship throughout the book and their doubts as to whether all they have done is really worth it. I really enjoyed reading about their foray into the past and would recommend this book to others in a heartbeat.

2010 100+ Reading Challenge

This will be the last challenge I will sign up for this year and it will probably be one of my hardest. I normally average about 60 books a year so for me to almost double what I do will be a real stretch.

This means less time on the computer and more time with my hands gripped on the covers of a book. I love to read but it is a challenge to find the time to do it. There are some days I leave my house at 6:30 in the morning and I don't make my way home until 9pm.

Reading comes in little spurts; at stoplights, lunch breaks, waiting to pick my son up after school, doctor's offices and dentist's chairs. But reading=learning so I'm going to make this more of a priority this year. Part of my New Year's Resolution to be a better person. We'll see what happens!

Thank you J. Kaye for hosting another fantastic challenge!

2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

When my kids were younger and had a voracious appetite for the printed word I was a weekly visitor to my local library. Now...not so much.

Don't get me wrong, our library has a wealth of resources to choose from: books, books in a bag for book clubs (which our book club has used), audiobooks, and even a new format that comes on a preprogrammed MP3 player type of device. My problem is not with what my library offers but with getting there.

I am a slightly busy employee, mom, Boy Scout volunteer, Bible study leader, blogger, etc. My lunch hours are spent running errands and after work I head straight home to be there when my son gets off the bus. Saturdays I'm so relieved at not HAVING to go somewhere that I usually don't.

Books I read are off my overflowing bookshelf at home that I filled from book and garage sales. This year I decided I'm going to read more of those great books I have been reading about on other book blogs out there. To save money in doing this I will be visiting my local library more. Signing up for this challenge will be my push to make sure I do.

I will be signing up for the Mini- read 25 books level. I think that will be a great start. Thank you J. Kaye for hosting this challenge!

Audio Book Reading Challenge (2010)

I am new to book blogging (see yesterday's very first post!) and therefore new to challenges. As I've been reading other's book blogs in this great blogosphere of ours I saw what fun others were having trying to complete these challenges and what a sense of accomplishment they had when they did.

So, with great excitement- and I'll admit, a little anxiety, I signed up for my very first challenge. I love making lists, and setting goals. My problem is completing them. I start out all gung-ho, ready to conquer the world and then life always seems to get in the way.

Take this challenge for instance. I normally only "read" 2-3 audiobooks a year, but I signed up for the Addicted- 12 book level. What? Am I nuts and setting myself up to fail?

Here is my reasoning behind the level I chose. In the last month I have been entering giveaway after giveaway hoping to win some newer material to read. Most of the books on my bookshelves came from book sales and rummage sales after much prior use. I have won 4 audiobooks in these giveaways (thank you generous souls!) so if I just get them read I will be a third of the way to my goal!

Wanting to get a jumpstart on the challenge before I receive these I decided to stop off at my local library and check a few out. I am currently halfway through Pride & Prejudice and Zombies and loving it.

I am determined to complete this first of my challenges. Please give me your support and cheer me on!

**Thanks to Royal Reviews for hosting this challenge.