Math = Love: #EmptyShelf Challenge: February 2014 Reads

Sunday, March 2, 2014

#EmptyShelf Challenge: February 2014 Reads

Well, the second month of my #EmptyShelf Challenge has passed.  The premise is simple.  Clear off a bookshelf.  Every time you read a book, put the book on the bookshelf.  Be amazed at the number of books you read in 2014.  Well, my competitive nature encouraged me to get my sister involved, too.  We're both avid readers.  I'm still not sure convincing her to join me was the best or worst idea ever.

My Bookshelf: These are the books I have read in 2014 out of my own collection.  Library books are obviously not included here.  :)  
You see, I read 10 books in February.  Add that to the 10 books I read in January, and I'm at 20 books for the year!  Now, I didn't keep track of how many books I read in 2013, but it might have been 20 for the entire year.  The busyness of my first/second year of teaching prevented me from reading as much as I would have liked.  I should be proud of those 20 books.  But, my sister has read 34 books.  34 books!  How does a college student have time to read 34 books?!?  I started out the year ahead of her, but I've been getting further and further and further behind.

Want to read about what I read in January?  Click here.  You can also check out the new board I made on Pinterest to house all the books I've read so far this year.  I have an awful time trying to keep up with the number of books I've read, so I'm hoping this Pinterest board can help with that!

I get a friendly text message from her every time she finishes a new book.  Usually, it goes like this: I just read another book.  #34strong.  I've taken to replying with a hashtag of my own: #20AndIStillHaveALife.  We're not competitive at all.  :)  It's discouraging to know I'm losing, but I also know that I've probably read a lot more books than I normally would have as a result of the competition.

I'm having fun, and I'm reading a lot.  So, I guess that's all that really matters.

Just like for January, I thought I'd provide a short recap of each book I enjoyed in February.  I'll link to the book on Amazon in case you're interested in learning more.

Library Books

After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart
I checked this book out of the library because it had a title that caught my eye and a pretty cover.  Yes, I'm that type of reader.  I thought this was going to be a romance novel, but I was wrong.  There was some romance involved, but it was more of a coming of age novel.  It follows a young woman through childhood and into college.  The book dealt a lot with loss, faith, and the consequences that result from decisions and shape our lives.  There is a sequel to the book, but I was disappointed to discover that my local library didn't have it.  Even though it wasn't what I expected, I enjoyed the book and was quickly sucked into the story.

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews
This was my second Andy Andrews book.  Last month, I read The Noticer.  This is another book that I checked out of the library, not knowing really what to expect.  This is a sequel to another book, and it probably would have been better for me to read the other book first.  Oh, well.  I am not a fan of science fiction/unrealistic books.  There's a reason why I can't stand to watch things like Star Wars or Dr. Who.  This is a book about a man who has traveled through time.  Time travel is usually the point in which I put a book down.  But, I tried to keep an open mind because the time traveling had actually happened in the previous book.  I read on as the main character met up with Gabriel, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington Carver, Joan of Arc, Winston Churchill, and others in an attempt to save humanity.  It was an inspirational read, filled with tidbits about these historical figures that I had never heard before.  I'm not one to normally read biographies, but I think that might be something I might enjoy now since I enjoyed learning about these figures' backgrounds.

Changes of Heart by Paige Lee Elliston
This was another fairly quick library read.  The story begins with great loss and ends with a woman who must decide between two men who are vying for her affections.  I especially enjoyed the setting of the novel: a Montana horse farm.  The ending was a bit disappointing.  I was okay with the ending, it just seemed to wrap up in a quick and unsatisfying way.  The book is free to download to your Kindle now from Amazon if you're interested.  

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

The Bad Beginning (Book 1 in A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket
I am definitely not the intended audience for the book.  According to Amazon, the book is meant for ages 9 and up.  At age 24, I still enjoyed this quick read.  I remember seeing the movie version of this book in junior high, but this was my first time to read any of the books in this series.  This is despite the fact that the book series premiered when I was in 4th grade.  I especially liked how the narrator introduced some quite advanced vocabulary throughout the book.  He would stop to explain what the word meant and then move on.  It was a reminder to me that there is no need to shy away from academic vocabulary in my classroom if I take the time to explain what a word means.  I am doing my students a disservice if I do not introduce them to the vocabulary of mathematicians.

Where The Heart Is and The Time Keeper

Where The Heart Is by Billie Letts
Last month, I read my first Billie Letts novel, The Honk and Holler Opening Soon.  This month, I read my second.  Years ago, I watched the movie version of Where The Heart Is.  All I really remembered about the movie was that a young woman had a baby in Wal-Mart.  As I read the book, I realized there was so much more to the story.  I think one of the reasons I really enjoyed this book is that it's set in Oklahoma.  I love being familiar with the areas written about in the book.  Now that I've read the book, I'd love to go back and watch the movie to see how it was the same/different.  

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
I read my first Mitch Albom book, Tuesdays With Morrie, during my senior year of high school.  I was instantly a fan of his inspirational writing style.  This was a quick read that kept me on the edge of my seat.  It tells the story of three individuals that seem to have nothing in common.  The book weaves back and forth between each of their stories.  With each page turn, I kept wondering: how in the world are each of these stories going to tie together?  They did tie together in the end, and I was not disappointed!  

V.C. Andrews The Wildflowers: Star

As I write out these short recaps, I'm noticing a theme.  This month, four of the books I read have been books by authors that I first read last month.  This is the second book in the Wildflowers Series that focuses on four teenagers in court-appointed therapy.  Each book focuses on a different teenage girl and how her background and decisions led to her ending up in therapy.  Like I said last month, this is definitely not the type of book I would normally read, but there's just something about these stories that draws me back to this series.  Maybe it's the fact that I teach teenagers, and I wish to understand them better.  This is a series that I definitely plan on finishing this year.  

You can't really see it, but there's another book below my the copy of Star above.  I bought my copy of The Priest at a thrift store, and it's missing the dust jacket.  The solid front cover isn't much to look at, so you're not missing much.  This is a pretty short book, but it was not a quick read for me.  Francine Rivers is one of my favorite authors.  I think the best book I've ever read, hands-down, is Redeeming Love.  In this book, Ms. Rivers retells the story of Aaron, the brother of Moses, in a way you've never heard it before.  She takes the biblical account and brings it to life.  This book made me look at the story in ways I never had before.  And, I don't think I'll ever be able to look at the biblical account in the same way again.  It was an inspiring and emotional read.        

Vision in White by Nora Roberts

Vision in White by Nora Roberts
Last month, I tried to read my first Nora Roberts novel.  My mom has read Nora Roberts.  My sister has read Nora Roberts.  I went to the library and checked out my first Nora Roberts novel.  A third of the way through The Dark Witch, I had to stop.  I just couldn't continue.  Based on the title, I should have known it would be about witchcraft.  As much as I tried to will myself to like it, I couldn't.  This month, I decided to try my hand at a different Nora Roberts novel.  This book, which focuses on a group of friends who run their own wedding planning business, was much more up my alley. This was a fun, romantic read.  And, I'll probably look into finishing the rest of the series in the near future if my library has the other books.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
This was my first ever Janet Evanovich novel.  It was recommended to me by my landlord, actually.  She is an avid reader, and she has gotten me involved with both a monthly Book Chat and the newly-formed Friends of the Library.  Actually, if it wasn't for my landlord, I probably wouldn't have ever set foot in the Drumright Public Library!  This is not my normal type of novel to read.  I grew up in a very conservative and Christian home.  So, the I didn't read many books with explicit language in them while growing up.  Though it had more language than I was accustomed to, it was still a fun, comical read.  I don't know if I'll continue reading the series, or not.    

So, those are my reads for February.  Hopefully, I'll make up some reading ground in March and surprise my sister!


  1. What a cool idea! I'm checking out library books via the OverDrive app on my iPad, so I will try to keep a physical list posted somewhere in my classroom (on in a notebook).

    1. That's a great idea! I interned in a school once that had a sign on the outside of each teacher's door where they wrote (in dry erase marker) what book they were currently reading. I like the idea of posting what you read for kids to see! If you do this, let us know how it goes!

  2. I loved Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Very moving. If you're a Pride and Prejudice fan, then you need to read Darcy's Story by Janet Aylmer - wonderfully written from Darcy's point of view. I could talk books all day! Love them! Oh and check out World War Z for an incredibly believable account of the Zombie Apocalypse that never happened. Lol

    1. I adore Pride and Prejudice! I just added Darcy's Story to my list of books to read! Well, it's more of a pinterest board of recent book recommendations from blogging friends. I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to both books and pinterest! Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Thank you for posting the book list each month. I'm always looking for recommendations and I've added these to my Kindle wish list through the library.

    1. You're welcome! I'm always on the lookout for book recommendations, too!

  4. " Time travel is usually the point in which I put a book down. " ha ha glad to see finally an american that doesnt like sci fi

    I knew we had similr personalities

    my hypothesis is that rural people dont like fantasy since they are more grounded (that wears off, although it still holds ground)

    Now i see abstract people dont like that thing

    I;m almost sure computy (vs mathy) people are more easily outward impressionable so more akin to go for what impresses

    did you ever consider going for computer science - did you have a programming class in high school??