Hilarie
Teaser Tuesdays are hosted by Should Be Reading.  The rules are as follows:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 
Here is mine for the day:

Page 71

Luzia lengthened her neck, pulled back her shoulders, and stepped into the sun.  "I am a seamstress," she said, and the man put down his pistol.


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RunningUtes
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Genre:  Non-Fiction, Statistics, Economics

This is a book by Steven Levitt, an economist who attempts to answer common questions using the laws of statistics and economics. Using these two basic principles he looks at cause-and-effect and their relation to our actual perception of events.  

One section I particularly enjoyed dealt with sumo wrestling. Using statistics Mr. Levitt was able to show that many of the sumo wrestling matches were actually rigged. This allowed for more well-established wrestlers to progress in the hierarchy making more money, but still allow for newcomers in the field to build a following of fans. I also enjoyed how Mr. Levitt spent time with a group of crack dealers and outlined their “business model” complete with a structure of bosses and underlings.  

I would give this book 5 stars because I enjoyed the principals of applying logic to explain entertaining and unique situations. I've already read a few portions of this book again and shared some of the stories with other readers and people that I work with. I have a background in science (biology, chemistry, physics) and really enjoyed the principles of applied economics and statistics. I would recommend this book to anyone who would want a nice quick read on a very interesting topic.
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RunningUtes
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Genre:  Non-Fiction, Outdoor Adventure

Be expert with a map and compass by Björn Kjellström, is probably the definitive work on how to use a compass and a map for orienteering both for survival and entertainment. This handbook begins with an introduction on compasses, their history and uses, outlines the basic principles and techniques for locating oneself on the map, and includes information regarding the sport of orienteering. There are example maps to practice with while reading the book, as well as information and tips for setting up orienteering courses.

This is a great resource to use while talking and working with Boy Scouts helping them achieve their orienteering merit badge. They're great examples to use for describing elevation maps terrain and the workings of a compass.

I give this book 4 ½ stars because I've used it multiple times for Boy Scouts as well as for my own personal enjoyment. It's quite fun learning to find one's location using a map and compass rather than just a GPS unit. I was suggested as book to anyone interested in camping and hiking or to anyone who may be unfamiliar with the use of a compass.
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RunningUtes
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Genre:  Non-Fiction, Medicine

This is a book by Barker Bausell that discusses complementary and alternative medicine. I read a description of this book in the Journal of the American Medical Association and was intrigued with the principles of statistics relating to cause-and-effect.

With all the advances in medicine today, many patients continue to rely on complementary and alternative medicine as they seek for ways to heal themselves. Acupuncture, herbal remedies, chiropractic manipulation, and many others have all been described as ways to heal various diseases. This book outlines the relationship between cause and effect as well as the natural progression of disease. Medicine today accepts a level of proof at 95%, meaning that there is a one in 20 chance that the effect may be due to sheer randomness versus a consequence of a specific action. Using the example of arthritis, the disease commonly waxes and wanes with a certain time period. The patient will commonly complain of their arthritis at the maximum point, seeking treatments to minimize their suffering. Anti-inflammatories and other pain medications can be used in the short term to help these patients. The patient using complementary and alternative medicine may mistaken the use of acupuncture for two weeks as the cause for the relief, when the relief is actually due to the natural Nader of the disease process.

I give this book 5 stars, because I have applied and used many of these topics in my daily discussions with people I work with. I would recommend this book to any patient with questions concerning their own health and seeking a quick fix for various health problems.

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Hilarie

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Genre:  Fiction, World War 1
Reading Challenges:  9 for 100+ in 2009

"Once upon a time, there were five French Soldiers who had gone off to war, because that's the way of the world."  So begins Sebastien Japrisot's haunting novel which chronicles not only the horrors of war and the endurance of love, but the ways in which World War 1 forever changed the lives of those who were caught up in the conflict.  

I have already read this book several times.  For some reason, I seem to find myself returning to it every few years.  Japrisot's writing is so beautiful and flows so well in translation (the novel was originally written in French) that it makes me want to take language lessons so that I could enjoy his writing in his native language. 

The story concerns Mathilde Donnay, an intelligent and strong-willed protagonist who happens to be confined to a wheelchair because of an early childhood injury.  Don't let this detail bother you, as it certainly doesn't bother Mathilde.  She has far too many fish to fry to let a little thing like partial paralysis get in her way.  As a young girl, Mathilde formed a lasting friendship with a boy named Manech, who became her fiancee after their childhood friendship developed into a strong and loving relationship.  At the tender age of 19, Manech was sent off to the war, serving as an infantryman on the front of the French lines.  Literally driven past the point of endurance by the horrors he has witnessed, Manech arranges for an accommodating soldier in German trench to shoot him in the hand.  Manech is sentenced to death for this self-mutilation, along with four other soldiers.  Their sentence is to be thrown into no-man's land, the space between the French and German trenches, with no weapons and their hands tied behind their backs.  What happened to Manech and his fellow inmates becomes a mystery, one which Mathilde is not willing to let remain unsolved, and spends seven years trying to uncover.  In pursuing this mystery she will uncover not only Manech's ultimate fate, but also learn the stories of those who witnessed it.

This is such a beautiful novel, and Mathilde is such a likable character.  Each time I read it I find myself furiously turning the pages, hoping for a resolution to lives that were so unfairly interrupted.
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RunningUtes
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Genre:  Nonfiction, War Literature

This is a book about being on the front lines of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Dexter Filkins, a New York Times correspondent, relates his experiences from September 1998 through his return back to the United States. This is a story filled with carnage and sadness and gives a very visual understanding of the experiences on today's battlefields. In the book Mr. Filkins describes suicide bombers and street to street fighting with Marines and insurgents. He also relates the stories of the ordinary people struggling to get by with their country and cities in ruins. Many of them are in despair and yet each day endeavor to get by with their daily lives.

This is one of the best books about war that I've ever read. I was struck by the gritty description of the battles that took place in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was amazed That Mr. Filkins had seen as many experiences and and survived the horror and tragedy of war. As an observer following the troops, he witnessed battles, as well as the reactions of the soldiers. I had a very hard time putting this book down. At times I would be on the edge of my seat, with white knuckles, turning the pages to find out the results of the battle.

I would suggest this book to anyone that was interested in the war, or had any questions that they've secretly ask themselves about the purpose and need for this type of military operation. There were times I was shocked that the actions taken by the insurgents and their attacks on Americans and Iraqis. After reading this book I still don't understand the hatred and fury that some of the people in this book possess.

I would give this book 4 stars. I don't know if I'll be reading this book again, but I found that I've been thinking and pondering the stories of these individuals for the last two weeks whenever I hear a story on the radio or article in the newspaper about the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. I have recommended this book to many people I know that enjoy reading simply because this book forced me out of my comfort zone. It was an enjoyable read because it was written about true experiences rather than fictional stories.

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Hilarie
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Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy, London
Reading Challenges:  8 for 100+ in 2009

I have always loved sculptures.  I can remember visiting the museum with my parents as a little girl and being truly frightened by some of the more monstrous images carved in stone, with their malicious smiles that exposed far too many teeth for my small child imagination.  I think deep down I was always afraid they were going to suddenly come alive.  In Stoneheart, that is exactly what happens to George Chapman, a 12 year-old English boy who expresses his frustration in the wrong way at the wrong time.

George is in the middle of a school field trip to the Natural History Museum in London when in a fit of anger he breaks a piece off the facade of the museum, and suddenly finds himself pursued by a stone pterodactyl, intent on his destruction.  The worst part?  No one else can see a thing, except for Edie, a mysterious girl who has been cursed with seeing such things for reasons she doesn't understand.  George is saved by the statue of a WW1 gunner, and learns that he has found himself in the middle of a war.  Within London is "unLondon," where the statues made in human form, "spits," have long fought against the "taints," sculptures of gargoyles, dragons, and other non-human creatures.  George and Edie struggle to understand the rules of this strange "unLondon," not knowing who or what they can trust.

I really liked this book, for both the concept and execution.  Fletcher has done a great job of describing London.  I was very interested to read in the author's note that all of the statues he has included in the book are actually in existence.  I must admit, it made me want to visit some of them for myself.  I would highly recommend this book to readers who are looking for an intense adventure.  Because of the intense peril and scary situations experienced by George and Edie (which the author describes in very vivid and descriptive language) I wouldn't recommend this book for younger readers.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
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Hilarie
Another wonderful Teaser Tuesday, hosted as always by Should Be Reading.  The rules for Teaser Tuesdays are:

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Please avoid spoilers!


I am really enjoying my reads this week, here are my teasers for the day:


He spoke quietly, trying not to alert Grid Man to her presence in the shadows.  "Get out of here, they just want me."


He had another pull at the ropes that bound him.  There was a rock behind him, and if he could bring his wrists up - yes, as he thought, it lacerated him while at the same time being too blunt to have any effect on the rope."

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Hilarie
Rating:
Genre:  Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Parody
Reading Challenges: Discworld 2009, 7 for 100+ in 2009

Here is where it all began, the birth of the Discworld series, and the introduction of perhaps the most incompetent wizzard (yes, that is wizzard with a double z) in all of literature: Rincewind.  In this book we find the first mention of the fascinating twin cities of Ankh and Morpork, and of course we are able to observe the benefits of owning luggage made from sapient pearwood.

You might be wondering, why would I possible only give this book a 3 star rating?  I first read The Color of Magic almost 10 years ago, when I stumbled upon it while browsing in the University of Utah bookstore during a break between my graduate school classes.  I was looking for something entertaining and light, something that would take my mind off the boring business text books that required so much of my time.  The book delivered.  I was immediately hooked, and over the last 1o years I've read all 36 of the Discworld novels.  So, why 3 stars? Who, or what, has outshone this Discworld classic?  The answer is easy, it's Terry Pratchett himself.

The Discworld novels have only gotten better as Pratchett keeps writing, both in complexity and execution.  After reading Thud! (number 34), my favorite Discworld novel of all time, The Color of Magic feels a little less polished, and I realize how spoiled I've become.  I'm trying to remember how I felt the first time I read this book, but I can't.  I've lost the remembrance in the haze of too many books over too many years, but it must have really blown me away.  I remember buying the next four books in the series at the same time, so it must have impressed me.  That isn't to say that this book isn't good.  It is!  It just can't compare to later Discworld novels.  So, if you haven't ever visited Discworld before, start at the beginning, so you can appreciate this book for yourself, in the way it should be.  One caveat, it does end with a bit of a cliff hanger, so have The Light Fantastic handy.
Hilarie
Rating:
Genre:  Adult Fiction, World War 2, British Isles
Reading Challenges: 2 of 5 for War Through the Generations,

I had heard so many great things about this book that it made me nervous. I approached this book with trepidation because I was certain that it couldn't live up to the many rave reviews, and that it would be sure to leave me disappointed.  To my surprise, not only did it exceed my expectations, but it will now have a permanent place in my library as one of my favorite reads of all time.

The novel itself is written in the format of a series of letters, telegrams, and even a few journal entries, written shortly after the conclusion of World War 2.  I always find this format interesting, perhaps because in our age of technology it is actually very rare to receive a true letter in the mail.  I found myself slightly jealous of the main character for the opportunity she had to look forward to receiving such truly remarkable messages on paper, that were then hers to treasure for as long as she wished.  Letters like these certainly put our text messages and email greetings to shame!

The novel is the story of Juliet Ashton, a writer who has achieved some notoriety for her light-hearted weekly newspaper column during the war.  Juliet is seeking to leave the war behind, both personally and professionally, and is searching for the subject of her next book.  Coincidentally, she receives an amazing letter from a stranger named Dawsey Adams, a native of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands which had been occupied by the Nazi's during the war.  Adams enlists Juliet's aid in obtaining a copy of some additional works written by his favorite author, Charles Lamb, and in the process interests Juliet in the history and origins of the Guernsey Literary society.  Soon, Juliet finds herself not only corresponding with, but building friendships with Dawsey's friends and neighbors as she seeks to understand their wartime experiences.  Eventually Juliet travels to Guernsey, and becomes a part of the story herself.

This was a fast and enjoyable read.  I really couldn't put this book down, and I found myself longing for more even as I turned the last page.  This is a book that I will be adding to my read again pile!
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Hilarie
Teaser Tuesdays are such fun!  They are hosted by http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/

The rules are:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!


Here's mine for today:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, p133 
"Thank God we were at his flat by then - he began shouting about Sidney and godforsaken islands and women who care more about a passel of strangers than men who are right in front of them.  I kept trying to explain and he kept shouting until I began to cry from frustration."

A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot, p47

"I trudged through the mud and the darkness, occasionally losing my way, asking for directions from the men on fatigue duty in the trenches.  I found Boffi and the others waiting at the appointed place."

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Hilarie
Rating:
Genre:  YA Fiction, Science Fiction
Reading Challenges: 5 for 100+ in 2009

This was not my first Garth Nix novel.  I whole-heartedly enjoyed the Abhorsen Trilogy.  So I was very intrigued when this book came to my attention.  I immediately checked it out from the library and gave it a whirl.  After a complete reading, I have decided that this series isn't for me.  To provide another viewpoint, I am posting a link to the review that got me interested in the book in the first place, here.

Mister Monday (the first in the Keys to the Kingdom series) is the story of Arthur Penhaligon, a serious asthmatic, and the adopted son of a brilliant medical researcher and musician.  Arthur is thrust into adventure, rather unwillingly, when he suffers what should be a fatal asthma attack but is saved by the appearance of a mysterious key which is literally thrust into his hands.  I don't want to give too much of the plot away, so all I will say is that this key is related to the original forces which created the world.  These forces have been twisted and are currently being used for no good by those very beings who were put in place to protect them.

Mister Monday is very fast moving.  There are plenty of great moments in this book, and it really never lags.  After I finished reading, it was hard for me to put my finger on what I didn't like about the book.  After two days, I'm still unable to provide a concrete reason, except to say that I found the premise a little difficult to follow.  It is difficult to talk too much about the parts of the book I found somewhat confusing without giving plot details away, so I will refrain.  Basically, I felt that Nix tried to paint a grand canvas with this story, but it came out a bit jumbled.  All I can say is, give this book a whirl and see if you like it any better.  I have a feeling I am in the minority after reading other reviews.

One caveat, I would not recommend this book to those who are offended by novels which have plot lines involving the creation that may differ from a Christian perspective, such as the His Dark Materials series (which I enjoyed very much).  I will definitely continue to look for new novels by Nix, but I won't be continuing on with the Keys of the Kingdom.

Hilarie
Rating:
Genre:  Nonfiction, Parenting, Toddlers
Reading Challenges: 4 for 100+ in 2009

These days, it seems as though every book written by a doctor has a catchy gimmick designed to grab the interest of the reader.  This book was no exception, as on the back cover Dr. Karp lovingly refers to toddlers everywhere as pint-sized cavemen.  Since I am currently in the throws of the toddler years, I had to agree with Dr. Karp, as there are days that my little one happily wreaks destruction.  Lest you think that Dr. Karp is somehow being insulting, let me assure you that it is very evident that not only does he enjoy toddlers and find them fascinating, but that he respects them as well.  The point of all the prehistoric talk is really just a clever way to point out the differences that exist between the thought processes of an adult and a child (ages 1 to 4).

Dr. Karp's premise is that in the first four years of life your child will accomplish huge developmental milestones as their brains grow and develop.  He divides the ages into four groups:  The Charming Chimp-Child (12 to 18 Months), The Knee-High Neanderthal (18 to 24 Months), The Clever Cave-Kid (24 to 36 Months), and The Versatile Villager (36 to 48 Months).    Each of these groupings is actually a pneumonic used to describe the highlights of that particular age grouping, for example Cave-Kid's are:
C= Curiouser and curiouser
A= Attention Increases
V= Very Busy
E= Enjoys Pleasing You
K= Kinder
I= Interested in Order and Comparisons
D= Determined to Communicate

Dr. Karp also enourages adults to speak to toddlers in their own language, or what he refers to as "Toddler-ese." Basically, the idea is that when a child is upset it is pretty pointless to try and talk to them as little adults.  He offers basic tips on communicating more effectively with your toddler, and I found that many of these tips were good communication pointers in general.

I took my time reading this book as I was anxious to give his suggestions a try.  Many of them actually worked!  It was a little embarrasing speaking "Toddler-ese" in public, but Dr. Karp makes a good point that when your child is in the midst of a tantrum, you usually feel that you are the center of attention anyway.   Most of all, I really enjoyed reading this book as it was fascinating to think about all the things my little one has already accomplished and all she will continue to accomplish.  If you have young children, or spend a lot of time with the 1 to 4 set, then I can't recommend this book highly enough.   
Hilarie
Cover attraction is hosted by the Printed Page.  This week, my attention was immediately grabbed by the cover for, "Whistling in the Dark," by Lesley Kagen.  There is just something about this image that I found intriguing.  I then picked up the book and found myself more interested after reading the cover blurb.  

"It was the summer on Vliet street when we started locking all our doors...

Sally O'Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died.  She swore she'd look after her sister Troo.  Keep her safe.  But like her granny always said, actions speak louder than words.  And Sally would have to agree with her.  Because during the summer of 1959, the girls' mother is hospitalized, their stepfather abandons them for a six-pack, and their big sister, Nell, who was left with strict instructions to take care of them, is too busy making out with her boyfriend to notice that Sally and Troo are on the loose.  And so is a murderer and a molester.

Highly imaginative Sally is pretty sure of two things.  Who the killer is, and that she's next on his list.  If nobody will believe her, she has no choice but to protect herself and Troo as best she can, relying on her own courage and the kindness of her neighbors.

Funny, wise, and uplifting, Whistling in the Dark is the story of two tough and endearing little girls... and of a time not so long ago, when life was not so innocent as it appeared.."


I am really looking forward to reading this, perhaps because it specifically says the book is uplifting.  With all the craziness in the world right now a little uplifting reading doesn't seem as though it would go amiss.
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Hilarie
I love this idea.  Teaser Tuesdays are hosted by ShouldbeReading.  The rules are as follows:

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!


 Here are the teasers from my current reads:

Teaser One

"I don't understand!" wailed Twoflower.  Rincewind relaxed slightly, which was to say that he still made a violin string look like a bowl full of jelly."

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett,  page 88

Teaser Two

"That's why, in place of discipline, we too often try using logic, reason, and conflict avoidance.  That's fine for dealing with calm young children but rather unhelpful for controlling raging little Neanderthals."

The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D., page 204

Teaser Three

"Arthur was almost at the top of the stairs when he felt something grab his ankle.  He fell forward, lost his hold on the Key for an instant, and felt the terrible heat and instant panic as his lungs were compressed by a deathly grip."

Mister Monday by Garth Nix, page 98
 
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Hilarie
Rating: 5/5
Genre:  Nonfiction, Science, Current Events
Reading Challenges:
Book 3 for 100+ in 2009

What information does a president of the United States really need to know to make informed decisions about some of the most important issues we are facing as a nation and as a global community?  Richard Muller believes that some of this knowledge should be an understanding of the basic principles of physics.  

I loved the format of this book.  Muller writes this book as though the reader was the next president of the United States.  The book applies basic physics to a better understanding of five key areas:  terrorism, energy, nukes, space, and global warming.  I found this book to be truly enlightening.  Almost daily I am bombarded by news stories featuring the challenges we are facing in at least one of these areas.  Muller presents the facts, in a fair and balanced manner (honestly, I really can't tell which political party he favors) , allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions.  

For example, Muller explores why the greatest threats we face from terrorists are not "dirty bombs" or stolen nuclear weapons, and why solar powered cars are not really feasible, at least with our current technology.  Personally, I was especially intrigued by the section on global warming, and I felt that this section alone would have justified the purchase price of the book.  In each section he also presents a brief historical perspective with an emphasis on the physics involved in each situation.  I was totally fascinated by his exploration of the facts surrounding the anthrax attacks which followed the 911 attacks.  

Muller's writing style is pleasantly conversational, almost as though you were having a discussion with your own personal science advisor.  He also strikes the right balance between simplifying the physics to the level of easy understanding without insulting the intelligence of the reader.  I enjoyed this book so much that I lent the copy I borrowed from our local library to my husband, who promptly purchased a copy midway through reading the book.  This was a great read, and one that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend, even to our current president.