Monday, March 2, 2009

UGH!!!!!! I am such a slacker!!!

I am so sorry to all who have been wondering where I have been!!!!! I have been here, just really busy! We should have all finished Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain. What did you all think? I have decided that a great idea is to each blog, (or for Cafe mom readers post on the group site) for your update, and then you can leave a comment to the post. I can read there, that way you are not updating twice. What do you think Rach? My review for the novel is here.

Now it is March! What are we going to be reading? I know why didn't I start this sooner? I don't know the answer!!! Where did the time go? Rach, what do you think? Do you want to read a book of your choice this month?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chapters 15-30

Okay, okay, I have to admit. I am finished with the book. The reading seemed to go really fast for me, and I just couldn't put the book down. I loved, loved loved it!!!! Where are you? How are you all liking the book? What do you think of the characters? Enzo? I know this is jumping the gun but if you would like to read my full review, please check out my personal blog review here.

What is everyone thinking for next month's read?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chapters 1-15

How is everyone feeling about the book? It seems to be pretty simple reading so far. The following questions are from the Discussion Guide that accompanies the book...

-Some early readers of the novel have observed that viewing the world through a dog's eyes makes for a greater appreciation of being human. Why do you think this is?

-In the book's darkest moments, one of Zoe's stuffed animals—the zebra—comes to life and threatens him. What does the zebra symbolize?

-In the first chapter, Enzo says: "It's what's inside that's important. The soul. And my soul is very human." How does Enzo's situation—a human soul trapped in a dog's body—influence his opinions about what he sees around him? How do you feel about the ideas of reincarnation and karma as Enzo defines them?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Here we are in February! I really enjoyed The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and I am really excited about starting this novel for February's book of choice. This book is a lot longer so we will need to dedicate a lot more time to it than the last one. There is a total of 59 chapters and four weeks in February. That means that we need to be reading approximately 14.75 chapters per week. I will be updating on Sundays again. I know that is a lot but I know we can all do it. I am really enjoying all of your comments so far. Please feel free to add anything any time. Also if you have any suggestions, please please please, let me know. You can email me (Michelle) or Rachel at

Happy Reading!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

February Book

What do you think? I have been wanting to read this one for a while. Give me your thoughts!

From the Back of the Book:

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human only a dog could tell it.

REVIEW: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

To see my review of the book, follow the link here. This is my personal reading blog. Do you all have a blog? A place where you typically write reviews? There is a great place for that if you are not a part of the blogging world. The website is I would love to read all of your reviews and thoughts and etc, and pseudo-discuss the book.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chapter 16-20

How did my math get so scewed? For some reason, I thought that we needed to read five chapters a week to finish by the 31st, and here we are on the 25, and I have just finished the book... hmmm. Oh well.

What did everyone think?

Was there any particular part of the book that stood out to you?

What do you think the author was trying to convey to the reader?

Did he succeed?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Any Ideas?

We will be looking for the Groundhogs shadow before we know it. There is no set book for February. Any ideas? I have a few that I am throwing around. Here is a list of books that I have been wanting to read. Do you like any of these, do you have a list of your own? Let me know!

- Thirty-One Songs by Nick Hornby
- The Sinner's Guide to Confession by Phyllis Scheiber
- While I was Gone by Sue Miller
- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Just a couple. Of course the list is in the hundred's but who has the time?

Chapters 11-15

Where are we in the story:

Bruno slipped a little about his new friend Shmuel. He told his sister about an "imaginary friend". He is starting to understand a little more about what is on the other side of the fence but has not quite put all of the pieces together. Shmuel was there at his house doing some odd job before a big party for his father. They saw each other and Lut. Kotzler was about to find out about their secret friendship. Bruno has a feeling that he really needs to keep their friendship a secret. He is not sure why but does not trust those in authority.

Comment have been made about how naive Bruno is. I think it is important to remember that he is only nine years old. I am not positive I would fully understand all that is going on around me at that age. Being nine years old, you are still too young to understand social standings. You are still too young to understand that being of a different nationality, or race is something offensive at that time. There is still a sense of humanity there. It has never been explained to him what is truly happening behind that fence. Looking back at history, we see so clearly now. But good people do not automatically think the worst. That is something that I am really getting to understand reading this story.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Chapters 5-10

Where are we in the story?

Bruno has just met Shmuel. Shmuel is the Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Bruno was exploring along the fence and found Shmuel. They are the same age with the same birthday. They are getting to know one another, and the last question in the chapter that Bruno asks is "Why are there so many people on that side of the fence, and what are you all doing there?"


-What are you feeling about the story so far?

-I touched a little about this in the last post, but in the back of the book there are group discussion questions. This particular question is perfectly put so I will just quote it.

"A pun is often seen as humorous. In this novel, the narrator uses dark, solemn puns like 'Out-with' and 'Fury' to convey certain meanings. Bruno is simply mispronouncing the real words, but the author is clearly asking the reader to consider a double meaning to these words. Discuss the use of these wordplay as a literary device. What is the narrator trying to convey to the reader? How do these pins further communicate the horror of the situation?"

-Do you think Bruno is living a sheltered life? In what ways.

I would love to hear all of your thoughts on the story so far so please!!! Comment!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chapters 1-4

First off I would like to apologize for being absent the last few days. Work has consumed all of me for four days straight. I know that I said that I would get some discussion questions posted, but have been at work and without Internet at my home. All of that is taken care of now, so lets chat!

After further review, we should be reading five chapters a week and not four. So by Sunday, we should all have read through chapter 10.

So far, we have been introduced to Bruno. He is nine years old and has just moved from Berlin to his new home, "Out-With". (Auschwitz).

I thought I might give some interesting facts about Auschwitz, but after reading and researching, I decided that I did not want this to be such a depressing post. However, I do encourage all to learn a little bit more about this particular concentration camp.

-Describe the relationship between Bruno and Gretel.
-Why does Bruno seem younger than nine?
-How do you feel about Bruno so far in the story?

Post answers to these questions on your own blog perhaps or leave a comment here. You don't have to answer any of the questions, but just mention a little about how you feel about the story so far. How you feel about the characters.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy 2009! As previously stated, we will be reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. There are 20 chapters and four weeks in January. Once a week on Sunday's, I will be posting questions and thoughts about the book. Feel free to post on your own blog about your updates and leave comments as well. So tomorrow, I will have the questions up on the blog. Every one should be to chapter 4 by then. Happy Reading!