April in Review

May already? Wow. First I want to apologize for being MIA lately. I had a computer malfunction last weekend. I’m back up and running, but things are a little tricky and I’m working out some kinks.

That being said, April was a pretty good month. I started doing Soundtrack Saturday and Sunday and hope to continue that. I am such a music lover and the idea from alita.reads is a great one! I got through 6 books, 4 read, 2 audio, and 1 movie based on a book. Here is what I read:

In April I also got to go see Billy Elliot the musical and Ben Folds, my all time favorite musician!

My favorite book of the month was Let the Great World Spin, but Ella Minnow Pea comes in a close second. Very different books, but both great.

I am currently reading The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson and Mudbound by Hilary Jordan. I am listening to Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian. All of them are great so far.

May is my last month of school, and I really don’t have much planned for the summer except a one week cruise with the family. I’m hoping to fit in a ton of reading during this summer, maybe fitting in some big ones like Beach Music or Pillars of the Earth. We shall see.

I hope everyone had a great month!

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Soundtrack Sunday: Ella Minnow Pea

Following the lead of alita.reads I’ve decided to choose a song I would pick as a soundtrack to a book.

Book: Ella Minnow Pea

Author: Mark Dunn

One Sentence Summary: On the fictional island of Nollop, Ella Minnow Pea and her friends have to adjust their speaking and writing when the High Council begins to ban words that fall from the statue of the island’s namesake, Nevin Nollop, the man who wrote the sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

Soundtrack Song: Wordplay by Jason Mraz

Why I chose this song: This book is most definitely all about the wordplay. Not being able to use certain letters made the residents of Nollop very clever and creative with the words they chose to use. I actually couldn’t stop singing this song in my head the entire time I read this book! Anyone who enjoys words and clever ways they can be used will love this book and this song!

Enjoy!

*Unfortunately the original Jason Mraz video wouldn’t play, so I put in the best video I could find…this one shows the lyrics.

Previous Soundtrack Sundays: Love is a Mixtape (Love and Loss, One Song at a Time)

Ella Minnow Pea

Book: Ella Minnow Pea

Author: Mark Dunn

Short Summary:
The residents of the island of Nollop enjoy a pleasant life full of happiness and literary abundance until one fateful day when the letter “Z” fell from the statue in honor of the island’s namesake, Nevin Nollop. Nollop authored the pangram “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Soon the letter “Z” is banned by the island’s council and it’s use in speech or writing is forbidden. As letters continue to fall, they continue to be abandoned by the people of Nollop. Determined to change the island from turning into a totalitarian state, Ella Minnow Pea, with the help of other residents, looks for a way to change the situation and get all the letters back into use.

My Thoughts:
This epistolary novel was brilliant. It had all the wit, humor, and wordplay one could want. As the letters drop from the statue the people of Nollop can no longer use them in the letters they write to each other. I loved the farewell they did to several of the letters. It must have been quite a task for Dunn to deliberately eliminate letters from words as the novel progressed.

While the wordplay in this book is fascinating, there are so many other great components to this story. The idea of censorship is a theme throughout. The council censored the residents spoken and written words, but they could not censor their thoughts or ideas. I loved that the people fought for their freedom of speech and literary freedom. This novel also showed the dangers of a Totalitarian state and how much people suffer when their voices are not heard and they are silenced. Religion and a higher being comes into play as well. The council believed that it was Nollop’s will that the people stop using the letters and that he was the all mighty being. While some people of Nollop went along with this willingly, others stood up for their own beliefs and fought back.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves words! It makes you appreciate the alphabet and each letter in a whole new way. It also brings to light many great topics for discussion in a book group. This is a quick read and one you won’t regret!

My Rating:4.25/5 stars

March in Review

I know I will say this every month, but wow March went by fast. Doesn’t it feel like it was just New Year’s Eve? How are we already a quarter of the way through the year?

March had it’s ups and downs in terms of blogging and life. I only read two books this month, and listened to three. Unfortunately, I was pretty distracted due to work related issues which made it difficult to read as much as I would have liked. However, I did write more blog entries than I have in previous months which is a trend I hope to continue.  Here are the books I read/listened to:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Little Bee were my favorites for the month, both being really good reads. I did give up on a book this month, which is rare, although I might go back to it. The book is Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin. It’s non fiction and really interesting, but fiction just kept calling me and putting this book on hold. Maybe I will finish it in April. We shall see.

One of the most interesting literary things done with month was here Lionel Shriver speak. It definitely inspired me to look into hearing more authors speak.

I looking forward to lots of good reading in April. I have spring break coming up next week so hopefully I will have lots of quality reading time. Right now I am reading Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn and next up is Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann. In the audio book world I am going to start with City of Thieves by David Benioff then possibly on to The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.

How was your March?