Thursday, December 2, 2010

Genre Challenge

2010 has been a wonderful year! The 25-book challenge wasn’t much of a challenge for most of you but we had so much fun! So many good books, great discussions and enough recommendations to keep me busy for years to come. I’m not kidding! My TBR list is out of control! Thanks ARU fans! :o)

A special thanks to the authors who joined us to discuss their book: Jamie Ford, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Jean Kwok and Kathleen Grissom. We look forward to your future work and hope you will stop by again soon.

Don’t forget our December book selection is ‘The Wrong Bus: An Urban Christmas Story’ by John Noel Hampton. Recommended by an ARU fan (Thanks, Susie!) and well worth the read. Looking forward to discussing it. Still haven’t chosen a January selection yet. I was hoping to get more recommendations. ARU fans, where are you?!

28 more days until 2011! We’re kicking this year off with a new challenge. Since starting ARU, I’ve learned how important it is to try books outside of your normal genre. Can you believe I’ve changed my favorite genre this year? Now, I’m completely addicted to Historical Fiction. Many of the books I’ve read, I’m certain I wouldn’t have chosen on my own. Thanks again, ARU fans! So there you have it. I’m challenging you to read a different genre each month. Pick any book from the genre of the month, post the title on the fan page wall and let us know what you thought of it. Easy, right? Here’s our list of genres:

Science Fiction
General Fiction
Historical Fiction
Non- Fiction
Young Adult
Christian Fiction

January is Science Fiction month! Who’s up for the challenge?

Monday, August 30, 2010

ARU Updates

Wow!! I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted here. We have a lot of catching up to do. Let’s see, for those of you not following me on the Avid Readers Unite fan page on Facebook, I purchased a Nook last month. After months of going back and forth between the Nook and Kindle, I finally chose the Nook because of its lending feature…I’m loving it! I recently borrowed ‘Firefly Lane’ by Kristin Hannah from a fellow Nooker and it was so good! Hannah has become one of my favorite authors and I’m looking forward to reading more of her books. I also read Jodi Piccoult’s ‘Magic Hour’, ‘Look Again’ by Lisa Scottoline (ARU book club pick), ‘Glorious’ by Bernice McFadden and Michelle Moran’s ‘Heretic Queen’. And, I just received the copy of ‘Mockingjay’ I pre-ordered way back in February! If you haven’t started the ‘Hunger Games’ series, I envy you. Wish I could read them for the first time all over again. Additionally, I’ve added at least 4 more books to my tbr list. Thanks, ARU fans! Keep’em coming!

This month’s book club pick is ‘Do They Hear You When You Cry’ by Fauziya Kassindja. So far I’m getting mixed reviews. Most say it’s a difficult read, but really appreciate the message when it ends. I’m still reading it. Due to a recent family tragedy, I probably will not finish in time for the discussion tomorrow night. I’ll still initiate a post and will jump in where I can. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

I’ve chosen Jean Kwok’s ‘Girl in Translation’ for September’s selection. I’m really excited about this one. Great news! The author has agreed to join in on the discussion. Yayyy!! She’ll be on our fan page Sept. 30th @ 1:30 pm EST. This is her debut novel and the reviews are very impressive. You don’t want to miss this discussion.

Upcoming events: Sept. 25th – Oct 2nd is Banned Books Week. I hope everyone is planning to participate. Take a stand against the banning of books! Visit our facebook fan page for periodic updates.

Oct 9th begins Dewey’s 24 hr read-a-thon. Mark your calendars! 24 hrs of reading, posts and fun! I’ll be checking in periodically on this blog and the ARU fan page. If you are unable to participate the full 24 hrs, drop by when you can. I, for one, will certainly get a few hours of sleep in at some point. Oh, and don’t forget to visit other blogs. Blog hopping is what makes it so much fun! What a great way to bring the reading community together. More information to come as the date gets nearer.

August has been a slow month for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure fundraiser, but we have lots of events planned for Sept. Look out for the breast cancer warmer that will be available on Sept. 1st on my Scentsy website. Also, stay tuned for information on our Tupperware fundraiser; 40% of sales will go towards the cause. Once again, thanks to all who have donated and are supporting us by using the ARU Bookstore for Amazon purchases. Happy Reading, Everyone!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Uniting for the Cure

I hope to live long enough to witness the cure for breast cancer. In memory of those who’ve lost the battle, for those who are still fighting and for every woman I know, I have committed myself to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk for the cure. For those of you not familiar with this event, participants will walk 60 miles over 3 days to raise money for breast cancer research and support programs. That’s right, 60 miles, 3 days…I can do this!

The statistics are frightening:

· 1 out of every 8 American women will develop breast cancer at some point in her life
· Breast cancer is the leading form of cancer death among women ages 35-50
· 250,000 US women living with the disease are under the age of 40
· 8 out of 9 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease
· 70% of women who develop breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors

Finding a cure is imperative! More than likely, you have been affected in some way by this disease. Here’s your chance to make a difference. I have until 22 Oct to raise $2,300 to qualify for the walk. I am determined to reach this goal! Let me tell you how you can help. I have set up a widget on this blog that will link you to Amazon. Many of you already frequent this site. If you simply shop Amazon through Avid Readers Unite, 100% of the referral fee will go towards the cause. I just purchased our July selection, ‘Look Again’ by Lisa Scottoline! Another option is the fundraiser through Scentsy Wickless Candles. Buy from the Breast Cancer 3-Day party and 25% of your purchase will be donated. Lastly, you can simply make a donation—no amount is too small. Any help you can provide will get me that much closer to reaching my goal and a little closer to finding a cure for this awful disease. On your mark! Get set! Go!

Stay tuned for updates on my progress! So much work to do! =D

*If you’ve lost a loved one to breast cancer and are interested in adding them to the memorial slideshow I’m creating, please forward their name and a photo (if available) to


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Once again, I stepped out of my comfort zone and found a book I thoroughly enjoyed. ‘I Am Hutterite’, a true story that reads like fiction, details both the joys and trials of living in a Hutterite community. I have to be honest, I had never heard of Hutterites before reading this book. I guess that’s why I found it so intriguing. Learning about different religions and cultures is one of the reasons I love reading so much. Usually it’s in the form of historical fiction, but every now and again I find a book like this one that really fascinates me.

The story is told from the viewpoint of Anne-Marie Dornn (now Mary-Ann Kirby) who grew up in the Hutterite colony until her parents decides to leave in search of a new life, with seven children in tow. Amazingly, despite the constant struggles of her family and others within the community, Anne-Marie’s view of the colony is always positive. The love and respect Kirby has for her culture and background is apparent through her writing. After leaving the colony, she has difficulty adjusting to modern life and misses the day-to-day routine and communal closeness she felt within the colony. Nonetheless, the Dornn family manages to overcome many obstacles while trying to adapt to a culture that is completely foreign to them. I love how Kirby displays the powerful bond within this family.

I highly recommend this book. If you want to know more about this culture, visit here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reading Sanctuary

The words Reading Sanctuary more than likely, does not sound foreign to fans of Avid Readers Unite. Many of you have already established that quiet personal space where you go to relax and dive into a good book without being disturbed. Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, coffee, tea or wine….there’s nothing like escaping the hustle and bustle of your day by creating a cozy ambiance with a can’t-put-it-down book in hand. How do you set the mood for peaceful reading? I’ve tried the library, coffee shops, parks, etc. None of these work for me. Somebody, somehow, in some way will disturb me, causing that start, stop, start again type of reading that I hate. No doubt, my home is the best place to create that much needed relaxing atmosphere. That is, when my 3 year old has gone to bed and hubby’s in another room, doing homework or watching TV. Then, I pull out my wickless candles from Scentsy, choose a relaxing aroma and plug it in. Now, I curl up on my sofa with green tea or a glass of wine and I lose myself for a couple of hours in a book. Tonight will be no different. I just borrowed ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ from my brother and I’m so looking forward to reading it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

National Poetry Month

Today marks the end of National Reading Month but tomorrow, we celebrate Poetry. Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now celebrated every April of every year. Let's spread the word, celebrate and show our appreciation for the richness and creativeness of poetry. Here's a great way to start. Sign up to receive one poem a day via e-mail throughout the month by visiting Happy Reading!!

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

~Maya Angelou

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What diffference do it make?

It's not often you read a book that leaves you thinking of its' message for months after you've read it. In fact, the inspiration I got from 'Same Kind of Different As Me' and 'What difference do it make?' will last a lifetime. That's why, in celebration of National Reading Month, I've passed these books on to my friends, hoping (knowing) they will gain the same positive experience. Trust me; these books will forever change you.

Like 'Same Kind of Different As Me', this book is full of determination, hope and inspiration; you will never feel the same about homelessness. Ron Hall and Denver Moore continue their quest to truly make a difference and help people in need. They give the reader updates on their lives and tell more stories about their past. It was particularly enjoyable to hear more about Ron Hall's life outside of his marriage to Deborah; specifically, his relationship with his alcoholic father. What a powerful lesson on forgiveness and acceptance!

And how brilliant was it to add testimonies from readers who were inspired by the first book? Hearing their stories made you realize how much your actions can impact other people's lives. Generally, that's not something we really think about. Sometimes the simplest things can change a person's whole outlook on life. Denver makes you see just how important your actions are. His words will literally make your heart heavy. You'll ask yourself like I did, "Am I doing everything I can to make a difference?"

Others say you don't have to read the first book to enjoy this one. That may be true, but I highly recommend you read 'Same Kind of Different As Me' first. By then, you'll have so much love and admiration for the characters, the sequel will be that much better. If you haven't read them, you must. I promise, you'll walk away inspired. If you have, pass them on to your friends. I've already convinced two of my friends who are not readers to read 'Same Kind of Different As Me'. Stay tuned for comments on the Avid Readers Unite fan page. Remember, this month is National Reading Month. Share your love for reading!

Favorite quote: "Mr. Mike, everybody's lookin for God everywhere on the outside. He ain't in no book, and He ain't in no preacher and He ain't in nothin or no one on the outside. You got to go inside 'cause that's where God is--in the deepest place inside you". ~ Denver Moore