What are you reading?

A place to discuss your favorite authors and poets, Christian and secular

Re: What are you reading?

Postby Okami » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:57 am

I just finished Christine Stevens' Music Medicine. :D
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby the_wolfs_howl » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:00 pm

The Merchant of Venice - Interesting, but not my favorite Shakespeare by any means.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Sheenar » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:33 pm

Reading Les Miserables for the first time --really loving it so far! I am 8% of the way through, according to my Kindle. :)
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby ClaecElric4God » Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:55 pm

Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan - by Alan Booth.
I can't tell if this author hates Japan, or just life in general. His writing style and personal viewpoint are so depressing. I read the summary of this book and thought, "Oh, cool. Some guy wandered around Japan and complied an account of his visit and experiences. It'll be a nice blend of good and bad, unbiased and unstereotyped.
That said, he does give a straightforward, unsugar-coated picture of Japan. But...it's not very optimistic. He spends the whole time complaining about it. All I can think the whole time I'm reading is, "Why on earth would you waste your time if you hate it so much?" I just get this impression of a guy sticking a pin in his thumb to see what it feels like, then complaining to everyone around him how much it hurts, without taking the pin out. So everyone else has to suffer through his self-inflicted suffering.
Long story short, I'm sure this is a gem underneath all the sardonism and overall grumpiness of the author, but I don't think I'll be finishing it. It's too dry and uninteresting.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8 KJV
They have shewed thee, O teen, what is good; and what doth the world require of thee, but to fit in, be wealthy, have good looks, and be rebellious? -Peer Pressure 1:1
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby John_Smith » Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:14 pm

ClaecElric4God wrote:Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan - by Alan Booth.
I can't tell if this author hates Japan, or just life in general. His writing style and personal viewpoint are so depressing. I read the summary of this book and thought, "Oh, cool. Some guy wandered around Japan and complied an account of his visit and experiences. It'll be a nice blend of good and bad, unbiased and unstereotyped.
That said, he does give a straightforward, unsugar-coated picture of Japan. But...it's not very optimistic. He spends the whole time complaining about it. All I can think the whole time I'm reading is, "Why on earth would you waste your time if you hate it so much?" I just get this impression of a guy sticking a pin in his thumb to see what it feels like, then complaining to everyone around him how much it hurts, without taking the pin out. So everyone else has to suffer through his self-inflicted suffering.
Long story short, I'm sure this is a gem underneath all the sardonism and overall grumpiness of the author, but I don't think I'll be finishing it. It's too dry and uninteresting.


Ha, you give good book reviews. I won't be getting that one anytime soon.


I just started The Dissociation of Haruhi Suzumiya. It's the third most recent novel, and ninth overall in the series. I wonder how Haruhi will almost end the world this time? Or maybe this will finally prove my theory that Kyon's the real reality warper? All I know so far is that Koizumi isn't smiling. And if Koizumi isn't smiling, then something must be wrong!
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby PandaPop » Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:11 pm

Just started Howls Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, thanks to a recommendation by WorldsTraveler and BananaLobster >.<, 10 pages in so far so can't say anything yet but once I finish I shall!
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Kaori » Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:19 pm

Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn by Robert Holdstock: Fantasy novel about a forest, Mythago Wood, which spawns living, human embodiments of myths of the collective human consciousness. Skillfully written in the way that the end goes back to the beginning and illumines it, while moving past it to a resolution, but it is a bit too visceral for my taste. Celts who fight naked, preparing severed heads for funerary rites, bodily functions, and so on.

Light from the Christian East: An Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition by James R. Payton, Jr. The author is a Protestant scholar who specializes in Orthodox history and Orthodox-Protestant relations. Very helpful in the way that the author laid the necessary groundwork for real, fundamental-level understanding of Orthodoxy by discussing the differences in philosophy and approach between the Eastern and Western churches. In topical chapters as well, he tends to approach the matter by giving a brief overview of the Western viewpoint on a particular issue, then comparing that to the Orthodox view. So, it is pretty friendly towards Western Christian (Catholic or Protestant) readers in the way that it approaches Orthodox teaching on an issue by contrasting it to Western Christian teaching, and it was extremely helpful to me in certain respects as I have been trying to learn about and come to an understanding of Orthodoxy. However, because the author, although obviously extremely knowledgeable about and sympathetic towards Orthodoxy, is himself a Protestant, not Orthodox, and it is extremely difficult to adequately represent a way of thinking or a cultural background that is not your own. So I have been reading this book with a grain of salt, as at times I have not been entirely sure whether certain statements about Orthodoxy were expressed the way that an Orthodox Christian would have expressed them. For example, IIRC, when discussing icons he did not mention that to the Orthodox, icons are not merely a representation or a reminder of the person or thing represented, but they make present the person or thing represented in a real way, which I think is very important to know. Also, this book is not intended to be exhaustive and thus does not address certain elements of Orthodoxy that stand out as being radically different from Protestantism (e.g. veneration of Mary and the Saints). With those two caveats, the book is cautiously recommended as a helpful way of introducing Orthodoxy to those with Catholic or Protestant backgrounds, but it should be balanced by the perspectives of the Orthodox themselves.

Fr. Thomas Hopko, The Orthodox Faith, v. 1: Doctrine. This is written by an Orthodox clergyman and can be read on OCA's website, so I think that it can probably be said to definitively express Orthodox doctrine from an Orthodox standpoint. I'm told it is a lot like a catechism, and it is "intended to provide basic, comprehensive information on the faith and the life of the Orthodox Church for the average reader." That pretty much sums it up.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby rocklobster » Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:09 pm

Started The Emperor of Nihon-Ja book 10 of Ranger's Apprentice.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Adie » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:53 am

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It's fantastic, but I can tell it's going to make me cry at some point.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby iceninja » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:51 pm

The Count of Monte Cristo. It is so good, but insanely long and complex.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Atria35 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:29 pm

I've been re-reading the Harry Potter series. Up to Goblet of Fire <3 As good as when I first read them all!

Also been reading Mr. Norris and Johnathan Strange. It's an unusual story, deeply enjoyable, but I'm still only in the first three chapters.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby the_wolfs_howl » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:03 pm

Much Ado About Nothing (by Shakespeare, obviously) - I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed this one. The relationship between Benedick and Beatrice was particularly fun to watch.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby GeneD » Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:20 am

Snap Atria35, well mostly. I'm reading Harry Potter for the first time, in chapter 6 of Prisoner of Azkaban now. I tried the first book a long time ago and thought it was boring and a bit creepy. The more "for-kids" type of writing in the first and second book was a pain to get through but I obviously enjoyed the first book a lot more this time around and hopefully I can get through them all eventually.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Atria35 » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:50 pm

GeneD wrote:Snap Atria35, well mostly. I'm reading Harry Potter for the first time, in chapter 6 of Prisoner of Azkaban now. I tried the first book a long time ago and thought it was boring and a bit creepy. The more "for-kids" type of writing in the first and second book was a pain to get through but I obviously enjoyed the first book a lot more this time around and hopefully I can get through them all eventually.

It's hard to remember that, as dark as these books are, they are "for kids". In that light, the writing style makes sense, but the away she gives information and introduces people to the world is far more sophisticated than most children's literature. She never treats the reader like an idiot and every single thing needs to be explained in a huge exposition (or "footnotes" which seem to be becoming more popular), which is a fantastic departure from most writing that involves people being thrown into a magical world.

Harry Potter. Only magical book serious where wizards having a bank is taken to be for granted. Because there is a point: where else would wizards keep their money? :lol:

It's rewarding to get through them all and see what the big deal is. It's really not the ending that is the reward - though it is fantastic in its own reward - but really how things that seem throwaway or unimportant in the first three books become Big Major Things that either are important plot points or contribute to the overarching themes of the story. In ways that you simply never expect from what is, in the end, a children's series. It was a landmark in children's literature for a reason, and I hope you enjoy them more when you start seeing things come together.

Also, I started reading the series when I was ten when the first book came out, so that does contribute to some of my fangirlism, but I admit that my appreciation of the series has only deepened as I've gotten older. Thank goodness!
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Lynna » Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:40 pm

I just finished reading Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis. I had bought it for a friend, so I read it in less than 24 hours in order to give it to her. I could barely tear my eyes away. Lewis considered this his best work, and it's easy to see why. It has a much more mature style than Narnia and is much more eloquent than some of his other works. I must say that I wasn't always clear on the symbolism and significance of the ending, but I think that's on account of my hurrying to finish it so quickly. It's sad that such a good book is quite difficult to find.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby rocklobster » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:40 pm

Finished The Phantom Tollbooth. Great children's classic. Tomorrow, I'll be starting book 11 of The Ranger's Apprentice.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby yukoxholic » Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:22 pm

Currently reading: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare and after that ends (I don't have much left) I will be starting Unwind by Neal Shusterman.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby invaderv93 » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:50 pm

Currently halfway through Clash of Kings (I know, I'm very late to the party on that one but better late than never). Also just finished Layer Cake, which is wonderfully gripping and written with a great, twisted sense of humor, though it's definitely MA only.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby DecooPunk » Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:32 pm

I just re-read Princess Academy. I love this book~ <3
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby the_wolfs_howl » Fri Nov 15, 2013 6:58 pm

Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare - interesting, kind of reminded me of The Scarlet Letter, but certainly not one of my favorites.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby yukoxholic » Tue Dec 03, 2013 2:21 pm

Finally getting around to reading A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin. These books make me want HBO's GoT to return ASAP. :)
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SierraLea » Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:58 pm

I read a chapter from "For Women Only". This is a book all about guy's minds, and is actually really insightful. I highly recommend it.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby rocklobster » Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:42 am

Just finished Never Trust a Liberal Over Three, Especially a Republican by Ann Coulter. Will be starting Allegiance tonight.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby the_wolfs_howl » Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:44 pm

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos - This is a really great book about a boy with ADHD, and the wacky trouble he gets himself into before he gets the right medication and is able to settle down. It's a very simple, fun read, a wonderful look into the mind of someone in that position.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Mr. Rogers » Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:56 am

I've been reading through an interesting book called Besides the Bible. It's a collection of books that the authors believe all Christians should be familiar with besides the Bible and Christian literature. These are books that are considered to have shaped our culture to some degree.

Here's part of the description:

"Besides the Bible is a guide to the really great books that you should read—ones that matter. Covering a wide array of subjects and authors, from Christian bookstore best sellers to classics of Christian history and more, you'll find yourself agreeing with some titles, shaking your head at others, and even shocked by a few. This isn't a dry catalog with dull summaries of books authored by a bunch of dead guys. Dan Gibson, Jordan Green, and John Pattison, along with an all-star team of today's most interesting Christian thinkers—including Donald Miller, Derek Webb, Phyllis Tickle, Steve Taylor, and William P. Young— will re-ignite your love for reading or if you're a little lazy, give you enough information to make it seem like you're incredibly well read."
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby ich1990 » Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:03 pm

“Survivors” by James Rawles (read 12/8/13)

God, Guns, and Gold make up Rawles’ holy trinity of the post apocalyptic world –and God isn’t mentioned all that often. In this “novel of the coming collapse” the world is plunged into darkness via American hyper-inflation, creating the classic lawless environment that vindictive authors love to torture their characters within. Rawles puts a new twist on the classic apocalypse, however, instead of torturing his characters he tortures his readers.

His main tool of choice is endless descriptions of guns, ammo, and silver transactions. Not a single item is allowed to pass by without detailing its value in silver. Not a single gun is ever mentioned without detailing its model, caliber, state of maintenance, number of spare magazines, and associated ammo supply. I wish I was joking, but these two events: the gun description and the value-in-silver item appraisal make up 80% of the book.

Out of the remaining 20% we are treated to some hilariously inept emotional moments. The chapter detailing a character’s romantic involvement with his girlfriend before the collapse of America is worth its weight in post-apocalyptic gold. I haven’t read a romance story so poorly written since, well, since the Left Behind series. Instead of 30 year old non-Christian virgins, however, we are treated to long and detailed scenes of creepy friend-stalking, which is an archaic version of face-stalking --apparently, Rawles doesn’t know that facebook exists. Another humorous scene includes our intrepid hero trying to talk about how hot his girlfriend is in a full length swimsuit with attached shorts; the reader certainly gets mixed messages. The awkwardness climaxes in a marriage proposal before the couple has even held hands. He has literally touched her only twice. The first time was an accidental brush against her hair when he put headphones on her head. The second was a pat on the shoulder. Then he pops the question.

But that isn’t all of the blundering emotion-related writing. Other standouts include a couple’s daughter getting burned alive by Molotov cocktails, which gets precisely one sentence worth of grieving. Also, the death of our hero’s brother, which causes our macho man to “try to hold back a tear”, and then continue on as if nothing ever happened. Lastly, we have an average citizen ease his family’s fear of rioters by offering to mow down the rowdy crowd in the middle of the suburban street with his silenced machine gun. The family is comforted by this offer and sleeps easy that night. The weirdness and wrongness continues almost indefinitely. A man throws away his food and water so he can carry more ammo. The evil and secretly powerful United Nations conquers America. Etc.

While it is awash in poor writing, this book has one fundamental flaw that eclipses all others; it makes the apocalypse look dangerous and undesirable on one hand, while preaching hard-core Ayn Randian values on the other. It never reconciles the fact that the government-less principles that its characters repeatedly espouse don’t match up with the actual government-less reality that they are living in. “There is no government like no government” the characters happily chant, meanwhile gangs rape and pillage their way across no-government-America. It should be a satire, but it isn’t. 3/10
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Kaori » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:12 pm

Green Angel by Alice Hoffman: Got this book at Half Price for 50 cents, and that is probably the best 50 cents I have spent in recent memory. It is a short but achingly beautiful and poignant story of the title character’s journey through grief and the process by which she opened herself up to life and happiness again. Very fairy-tale-like in the way that external things represented an inner reality and in the way that the kind deeds that Green did for the animals and people around her were repaid to her later. My biggest complaint about the book is that the opening premise is rather cliché; other than that it's an excellent and well-written story.

Just recently finished reading all of the books which Catholics refer to as the Deuterocanon, which was a goal of mine from several months ago. Tobit and Judith are interesting little moral stories. In 1 and 2 Maccabees, I'm moved by the unswerving piety of the Jews who refused to worship idols, but I'm skeptical of the stories of military victories, which the JB suggests are exaggerated out of a sense of nationalistic enthusiasm. In Wisdom of Solomon (Wisdom) the influence of Greek thinking is plainly evident, but Wisdom 2 contains one of the clearest cases of a Messianic prophecy fulfilled by Jesus, and that is a passage that rightfully ought to be known and loved by all Christians. Wisdom of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) has some really beautiful and wise teachings, but it also have several chapters that directly contradict the gospel teachings by advising that one not do good to an evildoer. Nothing from Baruch really stuck in my memory. The additions to Esther elaborate on the story in such a way that Esther's faith in God is emphasized (in contrast to the Hebrew version which does not ever mention God). The additions to Daniel include the fanciful story Bel and the Dragon and the truly beautiful prayer Song of the Three Young Men (i.e. of the three youths cast into the furnace). Moving on next to those texts which are included in the Bible by the Orthodox but not by the RCC or Protestants.

Have also now finished three of the four volumes of Fr. Hopko's series The Orthodox Faith.

Volume 2 - Worship
: In particular, the spiritual reality of what goes on in the Divine Liturgy according to Orthodox doctrine is simply awe-inspiring.

Volume 3 - Bible and Church History: The first part of the book simply gives a broad overview of the Bible, and I don't have much to say about it. The last section of the book is a century-by-century overview of church history. This church history section focuses almost exclusively on the history of the Eastern church, with usually about a paragraph at the end of each chapter to summarize what went on in the Western church during that century. This, of course, is just like the way that church histories written by Western Christians tend to focus exclusively on the West and not say very much at all about Eastern Christianity, so it is a good corrective for the fact that I knew almost nothing about the history of Christianity in the East prior to reading this book. Also, nothing quite fills me with fear the way that church history does. It is at times very ugly and messy, and the distinction between heresy and orthodoxy is at times not at all as clear as one would like it to be. Fr. Hopko's negative view towards Western Christian influences makes itself apparent from time to time, but he is very candid about problems like the incredibly confused state of jurisdiction among Orthodox churches in America and so on, so it isn't as if he's writing a sugar-coated panegyric of Orthodoxy. Very interesting read. Unfortunate that it is so short, however. Even when discussing Eastern Christianity Fr. Hopko only gives a very brief overview of some of the most significant things that happen--but that's unavoidable since this section on church history is just one section of one volume of a work that is about Orthodoxy as a whole, not specifically a work focusing on church history.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Sammy Boy » Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:37 am

New Worlds in the Cosmos: The Discovery of Exoplanets (Mayor, Frei & Roukema; Cambridge University Press)

Much more readable than I expected. :)
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Sheenar » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:37 pm

*Still* reading Les Miserables. I am now 50% through the book. This is the longest it has taken me to finish a book --I used to be such a quick reader --and I still can be sometimes. It's just that my attention span hasn't been there enough to make quick progress --it's not a book I find boring --it's a very good story --with beautiful, resonating themes --I am just having a hard time getting through it.

I've taken several breaks of about a week at a time and then came back to the book.

At this point, after all this time, I am ready to be finished so I can start something else. Something not 1,000+ pages long. :)
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby ClaecElric4God » Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:08 am

Sheenar wrote:At this point, after all this time, I am ready to be finished so I can start something else. Something not 1,000+ pages long. :)

Ooh, ooh! I have one! Silas Marner! It's totally exciting and not at all boring! That is if you can get through the chapters and chapters of description and backstory and getting inside peoples' heads and other not at all boring stuff.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8 KJV
They have shewed thee, O teen, what is good; and what doth the world require of thee, but to fit in, be wealthy, have good looks, and be rebellious? -Peer Pressure 1:1
"I hate milk; it's like drinking vomit." -Edward Elric and me. :fmed:
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