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Sunday Salon 9/20

The Sunday Salon.com

Happy Sunday again everyone.  Sorry I have been extremely MIA this last week.  My excuse this week?  Preparation for move in, which was this weekend.  Yes, my residents are finally here!  Preparing for their arrival has been BRUTAL.  I have gotten very little sleep as I checked their rooms, did heaps of paperwork, prepared bulletin boards, and began planning programs.  Due to all the work I’ve had to do, I was not able to read much.  I’m still working on catching up with all of you – my google reader is full beyond belief, but I’m trying to remain patient as I pace myself through the remnants of BBAW.

I wish I could have participated more in the wonderful week of celebration.  I was hesitant to add too many new blogs to my reader because I am so busy already.  Still, I gave into temptation on numerous occasions.  There are just way too many amazing people out there!

Classes start tomorrow.  I’m not ready at all.  I’ve been putting all my energy into being a CF and preparing the halls for people.  Being a CF is definitely a full time job and once school starts I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for anything else, but things are bound to slow down a bit once everyone is busy with school.  I’m very excited to finally be back in classes.  I’m finally focusing on my major (English) and minor (Political Science) so my classes are bound to be full of really interesting reading and discussions.  I don’t want to bore anyone, but I will probably be posting on some of the things I read in class – maybe it might open some people up to new reading topics?

Well, this has been a busy weekend and I’m looking forward to tonight when I’ll finally get some free time to read and blog – look for me to catch up on some of your older posts.  Sorry it’s taken me so long, I really do appreciate all your opinions and love that you take the time to read and tell all of us about it!

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Sunday Salon

The Sunday Salon.com

Oh boy has it been a busy week.  Luckily, I have The Sunday Salon to look forward to for reflecting on my busy week and talking about my favorite subject: books!  I’m going to fill you all in a little on my life since it is pertinent to my currently disrupted reading schedule.  I’m currently in the midst of CF formation.  Now everyone is probably wondering what a CF is and how one is “formed.”  There’s a rather simple answer to both those questions.  A CF is a community facilitators also known in other circles as a resident adviser or RA.  My job is to not only ensure that residents in my hall are following the student code of conduct but also plan programs to promote community.  Pretty awesome, right?  Since school hasn’t started yet for me, I’m currently in a three week program to learn about my job responsibilities and all the tools I have at my disposal to fulfill them.   This includes some extensive training and a lot of team building.  The days are jam packed but usually also really fun.

To clear my mind a bit I just started to dig into the first book of Melody Carlson’s Diary of a Teenage Girl series.  It fulfills the Young Adult requirement for the Dog Ear Reading Challenge and should be a light and easy read.  I started it last night and didn’t get much farther today because I have spent the morning attempting to get through my google reader list (which was approaching 300 new posts!).  I did a decent job – got through about half – while having a movie marathon with my family.  We watched: An Affair to Remember, The Way We Were, The Lion King, and Aladdin.  Diverse group of movies – all a wonderful way to kick back and relax.

Tomorrow I plan to spend my holiday having fun and reading!  The boyfriend and I have planned a morning adventure up to Castle Rock (I will read while he drives) where we plan to rock climb for a couple hours.  Then in the afternoon, we’re hitting the climbing gym (hopefully with my sister) and then I’m going to spend the night working on some CF duties and reading some more.  I think it will be the perfect end to my long weekend.  I’ll be able to head into formation on Tuesday feeling well rested and relaxed.  No more stress for me!

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Finally, a review to post up!  I have been struggling to finish How to Buy a Love of Reading in between all the moving and work I’ve been doing.  Yes, CF formation has begun leaving little time for much of anything outside of training (imagine constant meetings covering everything from teen bonding to crisis management).  I’ve been slowly learning how to enjoy and savor the experience – I’m sure that I will probably never participate in anything quite like it ever again.

In the midst of all this training, which at times can be brutal (three hour training about protocol concerning the student code of conduct, ick!), Gibson’s book was actually quite a treat.  I found myself excited to be able to run up to my room and read a chapter or two in my short half hour breaks.  Granted, I found it difficult to stay up late reading it (my eyes inevitably wound up closing after only a few pages).  The book was enjoyable.

However, it was jam packed.  389 very dense pages filled with numerous characters with numerous problems.  I had to take notes in the beginning to keep up with it all!  Still, the important players are pretty unforgettable.  Carley Well is our main protagonist.  Born to parents Gretchen and Francis, she lives in Fox Glen (think Gossip Girl’s upper east side).  Carley is overweight and an outsider except for her remarkably unbelievable with hottie Hunter Cay.  Their unusual friendship spawns mostly out of Hunter’s inadequacies.  Despite his pretty boy exterior, Hunter is a very troubled teen.  Not only is he chronically ill, he is also a serious alcoholic with a developing vicodin addiction.

Needless to say, Carly is unmotivated by much of anything.  Her mother is overly critical of her weight and her inability to fit in with other kids at her school.  Carley lives in two worlds: the world where she doesn’t know what to say and her world of aftermemory where she knows the right words for every situation.  Her father notices her plight after a disturbing English survey where her answers openly display her lack of motivation: “Carley was disappearing, letting insubstantial people chip of pieces of herself” (5).  So Francis decides to commission a writer to write a book with Carley for her sweet sixteen.

Enter Bree McEnroy author of the very misunderstood novel Scylla, a metafiction nightmare featuring Odysseus getting lost in the world of the internet.  Bree is dirt poor and in order to write her next project she needs the money the Wells are offering for their strange commission.  Bree does not fit into the strange upper crust society established in Fox Glen.  However, she sees an unexpected and mysterious man from her past, “Rock Star” Justin Leighton, Hunter’s estranged neighbor who lived a life of seclusion after getting shot by one of his fans.

Sound confusing?  It is.  But once you start understanding the main plot lines (Hunter and Carlye, Bree and Justin), things start to make sense and the story becomes a page turner.  Gibson’s writing style is lovely and I found myself easily getting lost in her words.

“There are people who understand life the first time through.  They grasp what someone’s saying when it’s said.  Read stories into gestures and expressions.  Draw out moments, slow down time.  Shape what happens as it happens, sculptors of their lives” (14).

The book was no exactly what I expected from it’s title, but it was a treat in the end.  The ending was surprisingly satisfying and heartbreaking.  Gibson takes on so many topics in this book though that it’s easy to get lost.  She constantly shifts perspective and there are so many characters that I found myself getting confused occasionally.  Still, this is a wonderful read.  I wish I could have devoted more time to reading it sooner so that I didn’t have to read it in small spurts – maybe being able to read it all at once would have made it easier for me to follow along.  However, schedules sometimes get in the way – I’m sure we all know that.  I look forward to reading more books by Gibson in the future, her writing style really is beautiful.

“For once everything she meant had just come pouring out.  For just a moment she could understand why you’d get hooked on words if they did what you wanted.  It was a head rush better than getting drunk or high.  It was like driving” (285).

Overall Rating: B-

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