Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Book Review- Hidden Figures

Today I'm reviewing Margot Lee Shatterly's book Hidden Figures.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets and astronauts into space.Among these problem solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South's segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America's aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly these overlooked math whizzes had shots at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam's call, moving to Hampton, Virginia, and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.
Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley's all-black West Computing group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War and complete domination of the heavens.
Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the civil rights movement, and the space race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA's greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades as they faced challenges, forged alliances, and used their intellects to change their own lives - and their country's future.
Going into reading this book I expected it to be a historical novel. Emphasis on novel. But it wasn't simply a novel. I would say biography. It was meticulously researched and with the historical and scientific aspects of it the book was not the easy read I expected. Did that turn me off from it though? Not at all. It made me love it all the more. After adjusting myself to the book I was sucked right in to the lives and times of these women. Mathematics, physics, civl rights and history were just a few of the subjects I learned. I also learned about where hard work, dedication, gumption and spirit can get you in a world that is continually blocking your progress. I found the story of Mary Jackson petitioning the school to let her attend the night classes so she could become an engineer particularly inspiring. It is obvious that the author did a lot of research for this book and I commend her for it. 
Overall, one of the most lasting impressions this book gave me was how hard these women were willing to work for what they wanted and highly education was valued amongst them. These are two things that sadly I do not see as much in this present day. 
A little note on the movie. I enjoyed it a lot, just as much as the book to be honest. It mainly focuses on what happens with the space program and less emphasis is put on what happens before that so you don't get the back story the book provides. 
My thoughts... read the book and watch the movie!

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Top Ten Books You Can't Help But Read in One Sitting

The theme for this week's Top Ten Tuesday over at Broke and Bookish is a Read In One Sitting Theme: ten of the shortest books I've read, top ten books I read in one sitting, ten books to read when you are short on time, top ten books that will make you read the whole day away, etc.
So I'm going with my top ten books I can't help but read in one sitting or I did read in one sitting.

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling- One of her only books you can read in one sitting
  2. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien- Yes I've read this in basically one sitting. Traditionally when I'm re-reading the trilogy I read The Two Towers the fastest... I read it in two days once. So technically two sittings but that's not bad for LOTR. 
  3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum- I read it in like two hours just last month. I had to get it done for book club and while I was pretty sure I could go off of memory from my previous re-reads I didn't want to risk it. 
  4. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee- I read this one in two hours too. 
  5. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket- I'm working through the series right now but each time I pick up one of the books it's less than two hours and I'm done. They're quick and fun reads. 
  6. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis- Or any of them in the series. They're quick, fun and easy to read. Especially The Horse and His Boy obviously! 
  7. Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw- Love this book. Fun, suspenseful, romantic historical fiction. You can't help but read it in one sitting! 
  8. The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery- I couldn't help but read this one in one sitting either. I LOVE this book! LOVE IT!!!! If you like Anne of Green Gables but want something a little older than READ IT!!!! 
  9. Little House one the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder- All of her books are great one afternoon reads. And so nostalgic! 
  10. Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange- Most of the books in her Diary's series I read in one sitting. 
  11. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein- I think I read it over two days but it was fast! That book engaged me like few have before. 
  12. Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham- One sitting cause it's SO GOOD!!! 
  13. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransom- I read almost all of the books in that series in one sitting or two. They're so much fun! 
Okay I have to cut myself off here. I know I went over but there are actually so many more I could list here! 

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Monday, March 20, 2017

It's Monday! Hidden Figures

I was a little better about reading this past week. I finished Hidden Figures finally! I really enjoyed the book and I learned so much but it isn't simply a fictional novel as I expected. It was meticulously researched and with the historical and scientific aspects of it the book was not an easy read. Just because it wasn't easy though doesn't mean it wasn't good. So yes.... read it! And then watch the movie. Both are great.

Finished this past week

  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shatterly

Currently Reading

  • Catching Foxes by John Henderson
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen (audiobook) (re-read)

Coming Soon

  • The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Tag

Meredith at On Stories and Words is having a Beauty and the Beast week over on her blog and has this fun tag which I couldn't resist!

1.When did you first experience Beauty and the Beast? I grew up with it! It was my favorite Disney film as a child and continues to be my favorite now.
2. In what forms(book, movie, retelling) have you experienced Beauty and the Beast? I've watched the Disney film obviously and I've read various children's versions of the story and Andrew Lang's in his Fairy books. I read Beauty by Robin McKinley, which was one of my favorite books as a child. I think I've seen part of an old black and white French version too. I also saw our local Christian Youth Theater put on a production of it that was excellent. Some would call The Phantom of the Opera a version of it and I've read it and seen the film. When I was looking up books that are considered Beauty and the Beast adaptations just now one that popped up that I was surprised by was Scarlett by Marissa Meyer. It's supposed to be Little Red Riding Hood but when I thought about it really does have some strong likenesses to Beauty and the Beast too.
3. Who is your favorite character in Beauty and the Beast? Belle! She loves reading, adventures and has a quirky father. That's me! ;)
4. What is your favorite song from the cartoon Beauty and the Beast? The opening song... Belle. It sets up the movie so perfectly and resonates with me. Of course Be Our Guest is another great one.... all of the songs are awesome!
5. If you were turned into a piece of furniture what you want it to be? Hmmm. Deep question. I'm not great with fashion but I do love dressing up so maybe a wardrobe? It's so fun to get all pretty for no reason!
6. What would your dream cast for Beauty and the Beast be? (This can be as elaborate or simple as you desire.) Hmmm. Never really thought about that. I don't have an answer for this one.
7. If your school were performing BatB which character would you want to play? Belle! Obviously!
8. Like Belle, do you enjoy reading books multiple times? Absolutely! If it's a true favorite I will read that book so many times it falls to pieces.
9. If you were to write a retelling, what would you change? No thoughts on this yet.... never really thought about it before. I think it would be fun to do though and now I am going to muse on this.
10. Are roses your favorite flowers? No.... I like them but not my favorite. My favorites would probably be chrysanthemums.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Top Ten Books on my Spring 2017 TBR List

And a random picture of my beautiful niece
because the world needs more pictures of her! 
I'm really hoping with the wedding preparations that I can actually get in ten books this spring. Not sure but hopefully! Because of that I'm going to go ahead and list the ones I've already started but want to finish this spring. The rest of the books (except the last one) are ones that I borrowed from my Aunt while I was in Minnesota this past Thanksgiving. I'm excited about reading them all but have started none of them! Pathetic.

  1. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (already started)
  2. Catching Foxes by John Henderson (already started) 
  3. Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey (already started) 
  4. The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Anne Barrows
  5. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  6. Home by Marilynne Robinson
  7. Lila by Marilynne Robinson
  8. A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
  9. The Problem with Pain by C.S. Lewis
  10. Persuasion by Jane Austen (audiobook) (re-read)

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Monday, March 13, 2017

It's Monday! Busy and Sick

I used to never be able to understand why other people didn't read as much as I do. During nursing school I started getting an inkling and now with all of this wedding planning going on I'm starting to understand. I'm not quite sure how wedding planning is more time consuming and anxiety inducing than nursing school but apparently it is. I just don't have much time to read anymore and when I do have time I don't feel like it or I'm too tired to. Just this past week I was sick and had to stay home from work and even then I just vegged and barely read a drop. It's kind of pathetic really.
I did get a few things done in the way of wedding planning though. Invitations got ordered finally and my recipe book I was writing out from my mom's recipes. I'm pretty proud of that one. I'm always finding new recipes online and trying them out but reality is that my mom's recipes are the ones I'll always go back to so I wanted to make sure I copied them down before I get married.
I've been reading Hidden Figures for book club but it's harder to read than you would think so I didn't actually get it finished before we met, but I was certainly not the only one. I did watch the movie and loved it! I'll finish the book soon.... I do really like it but it's just a slow read.

Currently Reading

  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly 
  • Catching Foxes by John Henderson (for premarital counseling)
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey 

Finished Recently

  • Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas (also for premarital counseling... though we started it before we actually got engaged) 

Coming Soon

  • The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
I borrowed six books form my aunt when I was there for Thanksgiving and I've read none of them yet! My goal is to read them before I get married because I'm horribly afraid of losing them in the move. We'll see if I can fit them in between my premarital counseling reads! 

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