Book Talk: I Hate This Low-Energy Reading Funk Thing

Book Talk is a sporadic feature where I talk about bookish but non-book review things.

Book Talk

Today is about…this weird reading funk that’s been going on for almost a couple of months now.  It started out innocently enough, with me not having the mental energy to read or focus on much of anything except coming home from work tired enough to go to bed at 5:30…but also just able to do not much of anything except sit on the couch and watch t.v.  February was a bit crazy for me, and because I was so low-energy and unable to focus on things like reading and crochet, I wasn’t doing much of either.

I wouldn’t necessarily call it a reading slump, and I really did want to read, I just didn’t have the ability to focus on it very much. It has been a lot easier to deal with than the reading slump I had a few months ago- mostly because of having been through it, and knowing I’d come out of it eventually but it still sucked because the desire was there, even if the ability wasn’t.

So I started reading fewer books and at a slower pace, since that was really all I could manage.

But even though I’m not coming home from work exhausted, I’m finding that things are still pretty wonky.

Like, I’m back to reading now, and I have these random periods where I’ll go through most of a book in one sitting before finishing the last chapter or two a few days later.  Or I’ll start a book, only to find that I can’t focus on it, so I’ll put it on hold until I can focus on it.  There are also all of the times I tell myself I’m going to start reading a book, but then I never do, and so I put it on hold.  It is a lot better now, but I still find myself having some trouble focusing on some books.

I’ve also found that it’s seeped its way into blogging.  I don’t have energy for writing blog posts.  It’s why my posts have been Top Ten Tuesday posts lately, plus the odd movie review or monthly recap posts.  Even writing those posts have been really challenging- even on the weekend, when I have more energy.

I still want to review all of the books I’ve been reading (a few of which are from last month), so in the meantime, I’m planning on a few posts where I’ll talk a little bit about each book I read, instead of a full-on review.  I think I’ll be doing that for a while, because while I’m able to focus a little more than I was able to, I’m still not able to focus on it as much as I want to/used to.

I was able to sit down and write a couple of review round-up posts, and it was good to get back into the swing of (blogging) things.  I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I started doing it again, and I know that everything will go back to normal. Hopefully sooner, rather than later, but it’ll happen when it happens.

Have an awesome week!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books From My Childhood I’d Love To Revisit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Books From My Childhood/Teen Years I’d Love To Re-Visit

There are so many books that I read growing up that I loved and would love to re-read.  But I’m also sort of scared to re-visit them because I feel like some of them won’t hold up.  But at the same time, it would be so fun to re-read them as adult.  This was such an easy list, and honestly, I had a hard time stopping at ten, but then we’d end up with a super-long list, so I pretty much went with the first ten I thought of!

  1. Baby Sitters Club
  2. Goosebumps
  3. Boxcar Children
  4. Flowers In The Attic
  5. The Sweet Valley High Books…and all of it’s variations
  6. the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary
  7. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
  8. The American Girl books
  9. Pretty much anything by Lurlene McDaniel
  10. Sideways Stories From Wayside School

Book Talk: Insurgent, The Movie (And Soundtrack)…With Spoilers

Book Talk is a sporadic feature where I talk about bookish but non-book review things, and this time, I’m talking about Insurgent! Be warned, there are going to be major movie/book spoilers ahead.  You have been warned!

Book Talk

I really liked Insurgent, but not as much as I liked Divergent.  It’s great movie and a great adaptation, but for some reason, I’m just not as enthused about it as I was Divergent.  I saw it a couple of days ago, and while I really liked it, something about it seemed off, and I can’t pinpoint why.

I didn’t mind the changes they made for the movie.  It’s very streamlined and condensed, but I thought they did a great job with that.  It’s been a while since I’ve read the books, but I didn’t realize how much was cut until I started re-reading the book when I got home from the movies.  Like, most of the time at Amity and Candor were cut, as was the time back at Dauntless. And even some of those events were at Candor instead of Dauntless. I didn’t mind it, because the movie had a lot going on and something had to go.  It does make me curious about how some of the events in Allegiant are going to be handled with such a condensed movie.  But since there’s this trend where book trilogies become four movies (which I assume is going to happen with Allegiant), maybe there will be a little more they can put into the movies.

Because so many of the faction/faction-less scenes were cut from the movie, things were changed, and they actually made a lot of sense.  And were actually interesting.  Like, the scanner technology that knew what faction you were and if you were Divergent and how Divergent you were.  And all of the scenes in Erudite to get the information is easily solved by the simulation box that can only be opened by a Divergent.  Which does also explains why they’re looking at the percentages, because they need someone who’s Divergent enough to open the box.

Given they never mentioned that Tris is immune to the different serums, they really needed to explain it and set it up for Allegiant.  Actually, I didn’t mind that they didn’t explain it, since the percentage thing kind of implied that Tris is really special, while also setting it up to be explained in Allegiant.

It is a very different movie than Divergent, which I expected since it has to wrap up things from Divergent while setting up Allegiant.

I feel like I really need to talk about the soundtrack really quick!  I loved the Divergent soundtrack a lot (it’s been out for a year, and it’s still played on repeat quite frequently) but I didn’t really fall in love with it the way I did with Divergent’s soundtrack. Don’t get me wrong, all of the songs fit the movie and book so well.  They definitely go together very well, but it just didn’t grab me the way I thought it would.  I don’t know if it’s because I don’t have a lot of listening to music time right now (which is a completely different story, and entirely possible) and made myself listen to it in the middle of the night because that’s the only time I could get myself to listen to it or other reasons I’m too lazy to think of right now.  Given I’ve been in a low-energy funk lately, it could be that.

It is half the length of the Divergent soundtrack, and while the songs go well together, there was something about it that seemed like they weren’t as carefully chosen as it’s predecessor.  And I felt like the soundtrack wasn’t as integral to the movie as Divergent’s soundtrack was.  But maybe the Insurgent score is super-awesome- I’ll definitely have to give it a listen if I can manage to carve out some music time.  And after actually buying it, of course.

Overall, I really liked Insurgent, and it really was a good adaptation of the book.  The soundtrack went well with the movie too, but I do wish you had some of the songs scattered throughout the movie the way you did with Divergent.

Hope everyone has a happy Monday!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Five Books On My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Five Books I Want To Read This Spring

Lately, I’ve been in a weird reading funk where I want to read but don’t have the energy to focus on anything.  I’ve been reading, of course, but I just don’t have much energy to do anything except watch t.v.  Still, there are a few books I want to read this spring!

  1. Adaptation by Malinda Lo.  Partly because it’s the first selection for a new book club but I also really want to read more Malinda Lo after reading Huntress a while back.  It also seems right up my alley.
  2. Disappear Home by Laura Hurwitz.  I was definitely intrigued by Disappear Home when I saw it on netgalley, because stories about escaping from communes and cults always intrigue me.
  3. Down From The Mountain by Elizabeth Fixmer.  I requested Down From The Mountain for the same reasons I requested Disappear Home, so I’m hoping I like both books!
  4. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma.  This seems like a very interesting ghost story!  While I’m not the biggest fan of the big picture being slowly revealed, I still really want to know about the mysteries connecting the two girls.
  5. Prudence by Gail Carriger.  I’m super-excited about this one!  It’s her new book and it’s set in the same world as her Parasol Protectorate series and her Finishing School series.  (And I’ll totally be talking about the book signing/launch party for the book that I’m going to tonight, which makes me even more excited!)

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books For Readers Who Like The Iron Fey (Part 2)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Books For Readers Who Like The Iron Fey

When I first saw this week’s topic, I knew I had to do another post about books for people who like The Iron Fey.  To this day, that post is still my most popular post, and that was way back in July 2012.  It’s definitely time for an updated post, because I’ve read a lot of books since then!

  1. Brightest Kind Of Darkness by P.T. Michelle.  It’s such a different world that P.T. Michelle created, but I think Iron Fey fans will really like how unique the abilities in this world are.
  2. Whirl by Emma Raveling.  I love how distinct and magical this world is, and it’s so vivid that anyone who loves the Nevernever will love Haverleau.
  3. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows.  Like Whirl, people who love the Nevernever will love how vivid Range is.
  4. Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder.  The world in Spy Glass seems so big, the way the Nevernever seems huge.  And anyone who likes Meghan will really like Opal.
  5. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.  If you love Kagawa’s twist on fairies, you’ll really like Hawkins take on witches and magic.
  6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  Something about Ash and Meghan and Puck make me think of Lena, Ethan and Link.
  7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  If you like interesting twists on faerie tales and mythology, you’ll love Cinder!
  8. Teardrop by Lauren Kate.  Kate put an interesting spin on Atlantis, so like some of the other books on the list, you’ll like Teardrop if you liked Kagawa’s take on faeries.
  9. Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini.  If you like stories about girls who end up in a completely different world that they never knew existed, you’ll like Trial By Fire!
  10. The Queen Of Hearts Saga by Colleen Oakes.  There was a certain darkness in the Iron Fey series, especially as the series went on.  If you liked that aspect of the series, you’ll really like this dark take on Wonderland.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Books From The Last 3 Years

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Tuesday 2

Top Ten Favorite Books From The Last 3 Years

I’ve been meaning to update my favorite books list for ages now, and I never seem to get around to it.  This list is a great way to get myself to actually do it, because I’ve read a lot of great books over the last few years. Narrowing down a list of 30 books since I’ve started blogging down to 12 was hard, but here they are, in no particular order.

  1. Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine.  It’s one of my favorites to read and re-read, and it’s such a fun vampire series.
  2. The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa.  I just love the Never-Never and the whole idea of faeries who are pretty chill with iron.
  3. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.  This series definitely pokes at the paranormal genre a little, and Evie is a pretty awesome character.
  4. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han.  This whole series makes me feel so nostalgic, and it makes me miss summer vacation.
  5. Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.  I couldn’t help but swoon and squee over this book.
  6. Reason To Breathe by Rebecca Donovan.  So much crying!  But Emma is such a strong character, and I really felt for her. Her story is definitely hard to forget.
  7. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.  I related so much to Lennie and how she dealt with the sudden loss of her sister.
  8. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand.  I love that angels have a purpose in this series, and Hand really created a memorable and vivid angel mythology.
  9. Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker.  Kacey is such a strong character, and has been through so much, and her story has still stuck with me, even though it’s been almost a couple of years since I’ve read the book.
  10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  I love this book so much and it reminds me so much of my life as a Harry Potter fan.
  11. Isla And The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.  I love this book as much as I love Anna And The French Kiss, and I loved Isla and Josh and how intense their relationship was.
  12. Hate List by Jennifer Brown.  Hate List is an intense, emotional book and unsettling, but such a great read.

Currently Obsessed With: February Was Exhausting

Currently Obsessed With is a once-a-month (but sometimes more) feature where I talk about my favorite things from the last month.

Currently Obsessed With

February was pretty exhausting!  For most the month, I went to bed super-early, but a lot of days, I was ready for bed when I got home at 5:30!  And yet, while tired, I found myself with not a lot energy, but not actually able to go to bed that early.

Nails/Beauty:

I had a lot to talk about with nail polish, so check out this post if you want to know more!  I really am glad I set this different color a week project for myself, because it’s actually getting me to go through my nail polish and wear a lot of different colors. There are so many I kind of forgot I had.  It’s sad, but I’m also glad I’m starting to wear some of the older ones.

Crochet:

I did some crocheting, but not a lot.  For work one day, we had to wear red, and instead buying something red, I decided to make something instead, especially since I have some red yarn to use.  I was going to do a scarf, but as usual, I didn’t give myself enough time to make it, so I went with a hat instead.  I do have a red-orange scarf I’m working on, and I do want to start something red soon so I’ll have something red for both Valentine’s and Christmas.

Crochet- Feb 2015 Collage

I also finished the Leprechaun beanie I was working on- well, the hat.  There’s still a yellow buckle I need to do, but I think it’s slightly too big.  I’m horrible at sizing beanies for myself, but I do have a green beret, so I’m not too worried if I don’t get something else done in time.

Books:

Much like crochet, I haven’t been in much of a reading mood, but I did get some books in February!  From Audible, I got Shadow Study, which is the newest book in the Study Series by Maria Snyder!  I didn’t even know the series was continuing until I saw it up as a recommendation when I randomly went to Audible recently, so I got that one.  I also bought Fledgling by Octavia Butler, which I’m excited about listening to.

Books- Feb 2015

I also bought a couple of books!  I bought Banana: The Fate Of The Fruit That Changed The World by Dan Koeppel and The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey.  I’m really excited about the Dan Koeppel one- I know it sounds weird but it also looks really interesting!  I’m also intrigued by The Secret Rooms, which is about this room that was sealed up by this one British Duke back in the 1940’s, and how the author got into the room to read everything.

T.V.:

I’ve been watching it!  Well, falling asleep and then having to catch up would be much more accurate of a statement.  Sleepy Hollow and How To Get Away With Murder are done for the season!  I hope Sleepy Hollow comes back for a third season, and I was quite surprised with the last few minutes!  If it doesn’t, I am glad with how everything was wrapped up, but if it does…let’s just say I’m interested in what happens next!  Same with How To Get Away With Murder, although we know it’s coming back. I can’t wait to see what happens next season because I have so many questions.

I also watched the Oscars, and I really loved a lot of the speeches.  I liked a couple of the performances for best song- Everything Is Awesome was fun, and Rita Ora did awesome, as Common and John Legend.  And Lady Gaga was fantastic!  I don’t know why I was so surprised by how talented she is.  They seemed more boring/longer than they normally do, and I liked the opening number that Neil Patrick Harris did but overall, he wasn’t one of my favorite hosts.  Plus, it was the first time in a while since I’ve seen only one of the best animated movies, and I kind of wish I had seen the rest of the ones nominated.

Around The Internet:

I don’t have a lot this month, because trying to get anything onto Pinterest (and saving posts) has been a pain!  Most of what I’m sharing is before it went all wonky.  I really like bloglovin’, but I’m so frustrated with some changes they’ve made recently that I’m currently looking at new blog feed readers.  If anyone knows of a good one that will let me save and share posts, share it in the comments!

The Guardian created a sorting hat quiz, and I got Hufflepuff, which wasn’t a surprise…but I will say that it’s super easy to get the house you want.  The reason why I love the Pottermore sorting hat quiz is because it’s super-random and you really can’t figure out which answers go with which house.

The Guardian also has an interesting post about why reading classics are important.

This is a great blog post about plot and how to write about it in reviews.  The Point Of View post is also awesome.  I’m totally looking forward to reading all of the posts in this series.

I really want to try Center Double Crochet.

What does everyone think of this video of important moments in Snape’s life?  It’s interesting to see them in chronological order, especially since we don’t get them that way in the book.

I totally got Anne Of Green Gables in this Buzzfeed quiz, and I think it fits me perfectly!

I love how Neil Gaiman responded to this question about the number of copies 50 Shades has sold- basically, don’t worry about it was his answer.  Totally not what I expected it, but it’s such a great answer.

And this post about how to forgive people who have hurt you (including yourself!) is amazing.

Music:

I LOVE Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding!  It’s definitely one of my favorite song this month, and in my quest to find the song, I ended up buying the entire 50 Shades soundtrack.  I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, so I have no opinion on either, but the soundtrack is actually really good!  Last month, I listened to Taylor Swift on repeat, this time it’s the soundtrack to 50 Shades Of Grey.

I also really like Undiscovered by Laura Welsh and Earned It by The Weeknd.  I could do without the remix of Crazy In Love, which I skip every time it pops up, and it’s the only one I don’t like.  I love the song, just not this remix.  Not all of the songs were available on Spotify, but I love that Annie Lennox and Frank Sinatra were on the soundtrack (I Put A Spell On You and Witchcraft are great songs!)

Have a happy week!

Nail Polish Talk: February Seems To Be An Interesting Nail Polish Month

I thought I’d talk about nail polish today!  I am a huge fan of nail polish, and as I started to jot down some notes about this month’s nail polish fun, I realized I had way more to talk about than I could possibly fit in my next currently obsessed with post.

Let’s start with the colors I wore this month!

Nail Polish Project- February 2015 Collage

I wore Julep’s Marjorie, Nicole by Opi’s Please Red-Cycle with Julep’s Hartleigh as a top coat, followed by Keiko and Dawn, both by Julep.

I remember nothing about Marjorie.  Nothing.  The only thing I have on it is that I’d maybe wear again. Clearly, it didn’t stand out that much, but at least my notes started to get more detailed after that.

Beauty- February 2015

For Valentine’s week, I wore Please Red-Cycle, which I ended up getting at Target this month, because the closest thing to a good Valentine’s color is something I want to wear closer to Christmas.  I don’t have many reds or pinks, and the ones I do have aren’t good Valentine reds or pinks, so I cracked and got something new.

I also wore Hartleigh on top, which was a freebie included in my Julep box for February.  I totally wasn’t expecting it, since they (very infrequently) will throw in something fun.  I don’t know that I would have picked it out on my own, and it really is perfect for Valentine’s day.  I don’t know that I picked the right shade of red for it, and I think a lighter color would have made it stand out more, but overall, it looked fine.  It was really hard to remove, as in the color was easy to take off, but the glitter stayed on, so I had to soak my nails in nail polish remover.  Even then the hearts had to be peeled off.

I got Keiko in February’s Julep box, and I’m not sure how I feel about it!  I took a chance on it, and I was intrigued by the description of a charred olive shimmer.  I think it’s better suited as an accent nail, and with 2 coats, it was more of a brown-black with no shimmer whatsoever.  It grew on me by the end of the week, but if I do it as a main color, I think it needs something glittery and holographic, like Adele by Julep on top to give it something special.

This week, I’m wearing Dawn by Julep, and I really like it!  It’s a pretty yellow that’s really good for spring and summer.  It is thin and a little streaky with one coat, so I definitely needed two coats to even it out.

Maven- Feb 2015

As for the Maven box, I was really glad I have the option to customize my box this month, since I ended up swapping out all of my colors! Don’t get me wrong, I like the It Girl box, and most of the time, I love the colors right away or they end up growing up.  At the very least, I’m much more willing to try out the colors in that particular group the other ones.  Well, except for lately.  Carla’s not my color out (and I’m way too pale for it to look good on it), Becky isn’t my thing (and is too close to a couple of other colors I’ve had for at least a year and never worn), and I decided against Colton because it’s too similar to other colors I have and like.

I already talked about Keiko, and I also got Hazel and Brandis.  Hazel looks so pretty, and I really need a violet like that!  And I don’t have turquoise, so I’m excited about wearing Brandis.

I’m both nervous and excited about March’s box, because I opted for the mystery box.  Once again, I’m not into the colors (Janet is too light for me, Ming isn’t appealing at all, plus I have a sort of brighter shade of that color somewhere but the idea of jelly nail polish is intriguing and Nedra is similar to several shades of indigo and gray-blue I have).  I thought about the St. Patrick’s day box they had,  but as I have some great shades of green and gold and even white, I opted not to get it.

I’m intrigued by the mystery box, where I’ll be getting colors from previous Maven boxes.  It’s a total surprise, so it’ll be fun to see what I get.  But at the same time, I’m nervous about taking a chance, because it’s possible I’ll get colors I’m not into or don’t like or colors I have or are too similar to ones I have.  But I’m intrigued enough to take a chance, and I’ll definitely talk about it next month!

That is the one thing I’ve noticed lately, with swapping out colors and skipping boxes- I don’t know if it’s because I have enough nail polish that it was bound to happen eventually, or if it’s something else.  Like maybe I need to try new colors.

Anyway, that’s all the nail polish talk for today!  Hope today is awesome for everyone!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Favorite Heroines

I believe this was done a few years ago as a topic for a Top Ten Tuesday, so I thought I’d do some of my favorite heroines since that post.  Mostly because I’ve read a lot of books since then, and I thought it would be fun to do 10 new favorite heroines.

  1. Sophie from Hex Hall.  She’s sarcastic and awesome and I like that we actually see her have a moment of doubt when she’s saving the world.
  2. Anna from Anna And The French Kiss.  I just love her and how much she changed during the book.  Paris was really good for her!
  3. Elise from This Song Will Save Your Life.  I related to Elise so much, and I really liked seeing how being a DJ boosted her confidence.
  4. Livie from One Tiny Lie.  I liked a lot of the characters in the Ten Tiny Breaths series, but I think Livie’s my favorite, because, like Livie, I feel like I need to be the perfect person and to make everyone proud.  Plus, I liked seeing her struggle with that, and I liked seeing her come of her shell and take a few chances.
  5. Eliza from A World Away.  It took leaving everything she knew to realize what she wanted- and while it was hard for her to choose between the Amish world and the non-Amish world, she knew where she belonged.
  6. Alexia from The Parasol Protectorate Series.  She’s hilarious and sarcastic and gets herself into all sorts of crazy adventures but also smart enough to get herself out of anything weird going on.
  7. Cath from Fangirl.  Cath’s story as a fan of the Simon Snow reminded me so much of my life as a Harry Potter fan.  And Cath struggling to find her place in the world is something I think we can all relate to.
  8. Cress from Cress.  I think Cress is my favorite character in the series so far.  I really felt for her and she is so lovable, and I just loved her and her story.
  9. Anna from Sweet Evil.  Anna is so awesome, because she still has a certain innocence and purity about her, and I think that’s sort of refreshing.
  10. Harper from Rebel Belle.  Rachel Hawkins writes really amazing characters!  Like Sophie from Hex Hall, Harper has some sarcasm in her, plus she’s a Southern Belle Paladin who has some doubts but comes around to what she has to do.

 

Audio Book Review: Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres

Jesus Land CoverBook: Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres, Narrated by Elizabeth Evans

Published December 2012 by Audible Studios|Length: 10 hours, 6 minutes

Where I Got It: Audible.com

Series: None

Genre: Adult Non-fiction- Memoir

You can find Jesus Land on goodreads

Goodreads Summary: 

“Sinners go to: HELL. Rightchuss go to: HEAVEN. The end is neer: REPENT. This here is: JESUS LAND.”

Julia Scheeres stumbles across these signs along the side of a cornfield while out biking with her adopted brother David. It’s the mid-1980s, they’re sixteen years old, and have just moved to rural Indiana, a landscape of cottonwood trees and trailer parks–and a racism neither of them is prepared for. While Julia is white, her close relationship with David, who’s black, makes them both outcasts. At home, a distant mother–more involved with her church’s missionaries than with her own children–and a violent father only compound their problems. When the day comes that high-school hormones, racist brutality, and a deep-seated restlessness prove too much to bear, their parents’ solution is reform school–in the Dominican Republic.

In this riveting memoir, first-time author Scheeres takes us with her from the Midwest to a place beyond imagining. Surrounded by natural beauty, the Escuela Caribe is nonetheless characterized by a disciplinary regime that demands its teens repent for their sins under boot-camp conditions. Julia and David’s striving to make it through is told here with startling immediacy, extreme candor, and not an ounce of malice.

What I Thought: 

After reading A Thousand Lives a couple of years ago (also written by Scheeres), Jesus Land was on my radar, but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to listen to it.  It’s definitely one of the more interesting books I’ve read in a while.

I really felt for Scheeres, who really had some horrible parents.  Her dad was largely absent, due to being a doctor, but violent when he is around.  And her mother is much more interested in religion than raising children.  Their home seemed more like a compound (largely due to the intercoms installed in the house) rather than a home, and her parents seem like the sort of people who would adopt 2 African-American boys to show how Christian they are, rather than because they really want to. As for their biological children?  We only see Julia (and not her other siblings) but their idea of parenting is to provide the basic necessities and no affection or caring.  They’re pretty distant and detached and unfeeling.  Still, I do sort of admire them for adopting when it would have been easy not to.  And while not really presented in the book, they may have started out with the best of intentions before things went terribly wrong.

The fact that they would get rid of David’s things days after he goes to reform school at the age of 16, and some of the comments they made after his early, tragic death at the age of 20 were just horrible.  You do have to wonder if their relationships with Julia’s older siblings were different, because they seemed pretty indifferent to Julia, David and Jerome.  It made me so sad, and so angry on their behalf.  I do have trouble believing that rural Indiana in the 70’s/80’s is as bad as seen in the book, and there is a part of me that wonders if maybe parts of it were embellished.  There were so many times when it seemed like the book was set much earlier, and it was always jarring to hear the author reference Duran Duran or Reagan, because it seemed like the book happened several decades earlier than it did.

And the school they had to go to!  I can’t believe a school like that exists, and yet I’m not surprised that such a school would exist.  The things that they had to do- asking permission for everything, including sitting up or down or leaving or entering a room, or using a machete to whack weeds or carrying rocks back and forth for no reason.  The reasons why the kids ended up at the school in the first place seemed to be very over-exaggerated and twisted.  Julia drinking at a party?  It means she’s an alcoholic.  Julia’s brother Jerome ending up in jail?  Julia and David will be kept at the school for as long as necessary, even if they’re legally adults, just to make sure that they don’t end up going down the same path.

Here’s where one of my reservations about the book comes in.  I mean, Julia does make quite a few mistakes but doesn’t seem to show any responsibility for her actions.  Granted, the book ends when she leaves Escuela Caribe, plus an epilogue that gives a brief overview of her life and David’s after leaving the school.  Even in the epilogue, she doesn’t reflect on why she ended up in so much trouble.  It doesn’t make everything else that happened okay, but I do wish we saw even a hint of owning up to her mistakes.

Another thing that I thought was interesting was how one-sided her account seemed.  Every adult was horrible and cruel and stupid, and I’m really skeptical of that.

As much as I appreciate her experience, and how horrible some of these reform schools are, and the racism she had to deal with just because of her adopted brothers, and how horrible it is to use religion (particularly Christianity) to abuse kids, there’s also something this memoir that didn’t quite sit right with me.  It wasn’t as reflective as I thought, and while I know it’s Scheeres memoir, something about it seemed very one-sided to me.

Let’s Rate It:

Parts of Jesus Land made me so angry and so sad.  While parts of it were interesting (especially when she was at Escuela Caribe), overall, something about it seemed off to me.  I did love the relationship she had with her brother David, and how they’d do almost anything for each other.  Jesus Land gets 3 stars.