Sunday, March 01, 2015

It's Only My Opinion

House RulesHouse Rules by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was so hard to put down because it made you think. First of all, Jacob is an 18 year old with Asperger's Syndrome, a highly functioning form of autism. I have taught students with autism and Asperger's before, and in some ways he reminds me of them, but in others, not so much.  That is one reason it was so interesting to me.

I do tend to be critical of the books I read, even when I enjoy them.  One thing I didn't like was that each chapter was from a different character's perspective because I would sometimes forget from whose perspective I was supposed to be seeing things from, and I would have to go back many pages to find out. That's not so bad if you have real pages, but when it's a NOOK, you have a lot of backing up to do, it gets tiresome.

Also, I don't see how she could completely get in Jacob's head and know his thoughts (yes, I realize he's a fictional character) since the author can't possibly know exactly how an Aspie or autistic person thinks. I don't think he would use extraneous words such as "like." I realize she attempted to take on the persona of an Aspie for a reason, and she surely made her point, but as I said, I tend to be critical since I teach reading and writing.

Another thing is that she really could have ended the book sooner.  What the reader already predicted had happened was a long, drawn-out process. It seems strange that no one would have asked Jacob exactly what truth they were supposed to tell. They said he responded to explicit questions and wouldn't lie, and no one asked?  Six hundred pages was overkill, and she used a lot of cliches.

Last, the ending was incomplete... for me. I wanted a true resolution. What I got instead:  the characters driving to the courthouse, and then using my own imagination. I wanted to read how the D.A. and judge responded. I wanted to know if Theo continued his shenanigans. I wanted to know if the kids in school continued to reject them. I wanted to know how the town reacted. I wanted to know what the dad did in the end.  Picoult made me like her characters, and I wanted to know more.

However, while I have complaints from a reader's perspective, I have to give Picoult praise for writing a thought-provoking, engaging story with very real and complex characters to whom the audience could relate. I truly wanted to know what was going to happen to all of them, and I had a hard time putting this book down.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Leap Year! T13

For this Thursday Thirteen, I decided to write about leap year.  Come have some fun and link up with us!

1.About every four years, we add an extra day, February 29, to the calendar.  Information from "Time and Date" website:
Leap Years are needed to keep our modern day Gregorian Calendar in alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the sun. It takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds – to circle once around the Sun. This is called a tropical year.
However, the Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in a year, so if we didn't add a day on February 29 nearly every 4 years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days!
2.  Our next leap year will be February 29, 2016.

3.  In a leap year, the year is divisible by 4.

4.  Julius Caesar first introduced the idea of leap year to the Roman Empire about 2,000 years ago.

5.  According to "Time and Date" website:
Historical records show that February 30 was a real date at least twice in history. Sweden added the date to its 1712 calendar following an earlier calendar error; the Soviet Union observed February 30 in 1930 and 1931 in an attempt to cut seven-day weeks into five-day weeks and to introduce 30-day months for every working month.

6.  February 29 is called leap day.

7.  According to The TelegraphQueen Margaret of Scotland was apparently five years old when she came up with the notorious February 29 proposal trap.
If a man did refuse the proposal, he would be fined a kiss, a silk dress or twelve pairs of gloves.
Women either have to wear breeches or a scarlet petticoat to pop the question, according to tradition.
8.  People in Greece avoid getting married during a leap year.  They believe it is bad luck.
9.  People born on February 29 are called leaplings or leapers.
10. The poet Lord Byron was born on February 29.
11. Also according to The TelegraphThe plot of Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance revolved around Frederic's discovery that, because he is a leapling, he must remain apprenticed to pirates and serve another 63 years before he can join Mabel, his one true love.
12. Anthony, Texas claims to be the leap year capital of the world.  They celebrate with square dancing and a trip to Aztec Cave.
13. The frog is a symbol of leap year. 

Monday, February 23, 2015


I'm linking up with Stacy Uncorked for TRT.

Did you watch the Oscars? I saw a small portion of it, but I still don't know who won best actor/actress or best picture.  Oh, well, no big deal.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed, like there is so much to do, and you can't get it all done?  Of course you do!  Especially if you're female.  That's me, lately.

Happy that I got to see these two young ladies this weekend!

We took an 18 hour trip.  Both  ofour daughters are in college.  One of the universities is on the way to the other, so we stopped and picked up one of our girls, then the three of us went to the college where our other daughter attends. We came home Sunday.  That's a lot of hours to spend in a car in 54 hours.  A lot of the time there was also spent in the car - going shopping, eating, site-seeing.  It  was so worth it!

I thought I had some wisdom to share today, and now I can't think of what it was.   Story of my life.   I have CRS!  I need to write these things down!  Have a great week!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Friday Five

I'm linking up with Emmy Mom for Friday Five.
Share five thoughts and five pictures.

1.  I'm so excited!  I'm going to see my daughters! One is at college about six hours away, and the other is at college another 2 1/2 hours away.  Luckily, you pass through one city to get to the other, so we can see them both.  I have been waiting all week for this!  Today's finally here!

2.  Writing an online professional development course for teachers was harder than I thought it was going to be.  I met my deadline Tuesday, thank goodness, but I still have a few things I can go back and tweak.  It has been a long, complex process.  I wonder if I had it to do over again if I would.

3.  Last week, our students spent about an hour and a half shooting a school-wide video.  Our radio/TV teacher puts together a song mix, and the kids are all lined up in the halls throughout the school.  This year they held up signs with positive messages on them as he went by to film.  Sounds like fun, no?  No!  Biggest waste of time!  The kids are super-crazy, and they expect us to go back to class after this.

4.  I would rather have a valentine party with my students than film the video, but we don't have parties in intermediate (middle) school.  That's something they leave behind in elementary school, but it's kind of a sad thing.

5.  Spring break can't get here soon enough!

This is the book I'm reading now.

A late Valentine's wish!

I miss watching my daughter perform with color guard.

I miss supporting my son through FFA.

I thought this flower was pretty.  I took this picture Jan. 17 in Galveston.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is hosted over at Should Be Reading.  Let's talk about what we've been reading and writing.

Last week, I finished Hope to Die, the 22nd book in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson.  I had no idea there were 22 Alex Cross books!  It was an easy read because it was a wild ride the entire book!  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  And he even managed to work a little twist in there that almost got me!  Way to go, Patterson!  Loved it!

I'm now reading House Rules by Jodi Picoult, and so far, I am enjoying it,  It's over 600 pages long, so it will probably take me two weeks to read.  What fascinates me most is that one of the main characters has Asperger's Syndrome.  I have a few students this year who are on the autism spectrum, so I'm quite interested.  And with all Picoult books, the storyline will be thought-provoking.

This weekend, I have been working hours and hours on some projects whose deadlines are fast approaching.  I have been writing, and scanning, and editing, and uploading, and writing some more, and ugh!  I told my husband I was going to take a break and read my One Year Bible.  He said, "That's what's keeping you sane."  He wasn't being facetious, and he's absolutely right!  And I'm continuing my 3-Minute Devotionals for Women.  I love those almost as much as my Bible reading.

I also found this gem on the web.  I hope you will read and enjoy it as much as I did.

What are you reading?


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