A while back I signed up with eBookFling. With eBookFling, you can swap ebooks with thousands of readers nationwide. Just “fling” a Kindle or Nook eBook to others and borrow the eBook of your choice – choose from the hottest New York Times Bestsellers, timeless classics and even rare, eclectic titles, textbooks and tech manuals!

Recently, I have been getting weekly emails from them when authors decide to give away copies of their books for free. I have found quite a few new reads/authors this way. Pretty cool!


Book of the Month – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

BBB has decided to choose a classic for September, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’m pretty sure most of us read this in high school but I know that I am excited to see if 20 years will add some perspective. It should also be a different experience this time as I would be reading it for pleasure and not as a means to pass 11th Grade English. Mr Schlegel would be proud ;-).

The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald’s finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author’s generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald’s–and his country’s–most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning–” Gatsby’s rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.

It’s also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby’s quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means–and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. “Her voice is full of money,” Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel’s more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy’s patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted, and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem.

Guido’s comparison of The Hunger Games: Book vs. the Movie

I would love to introduce Guido as our youngest book reviewer on BBB. Guido is just 10 years old! His mother, an English teacher and one of my best friends from college, finally let him read The Hunger Games this summer. Of course, after reading the book he wanted to go see the movie. As a way to persuade his mom, he offered to write a compare/contrast essay for the book vs. the movie. He knew which strings to pull and it obviously worked as his mom let him watch the movie and here is his wonderful review! Way to go Guido!!

We all know that a lot of books turn into movies. Some books that get turned into movies are famous like Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Hunger Games. Books get turned into movies by how good they are. Movies usually change some parts, to give them a kick in action. A kick in action gets good reviews and more fans for the book and the movie. In the book The Hunger Games, the districts of Panem, 1 boy and 1 girl will go into an arena. For a fight to the death with 23 dead and one victor, the government forces the kids to die. The book is better but the movie is also really good.

The book has some differences from the movie. In the book Katniss Everdeen gets a mockingjay pin from a girl named Madge, the daughter of Mayor Undereese. This is very important because when Katniss goes into the hunger games her mockingjay pin becomes her symbol, the symbol of rebellion. Further, the book doesn’t show the game makers (the people who control the Hunger Games) because they didn’t need to. They didn’t need to because the book was Katniss Everdeen’s thoughts and it kept on saying what will the game makers do next. Furthermore, the book goes WAY slower than the movie so you get attached to a little 12 year old girl named Rue who is like Katniss’s little sister Prim. Rue is really important to the story because Katniss and her get bonding time and when Rue dies Katniss covers and decorates her in flowers. It adds a bond between the districts.

The movie changed some things from the book. In the movie Katniss gets her pin in a black market in her district, and gives it to her sister Prim. However in the book she gets it from a girl named Madge. In addition, they showed game makers to show that people ran the hunger games. They did this because in the movie it wasn’t Katniss’s thoughts but yet in the book it was. To show people that people run the hunger games. Further, the movie goes faster so you really don’t get as attached to anyone like Rue, so when she dies we’re not really as sad as we are in the book.

In both the book and the movie. Katniss gets a mocking jay pin. And it is really important because in later books District 13 uses it as a sign of rebellion. In addition, Katniss is called “Katniss Everdeen girl on fire”. It is very important because that’s how people notice her and pay attention so she can get sponsors and she becomes a victor. Furthermore, the Peeta, Katniss, Gale love triangle is in both. It’s important because Katniss can survive with the excuse of she loves Peeta and Gale is important in later books because he kisses her and protects her.

In conclusion, the book is better than the movie. The book has more action and adventure. The book has a better flow to the groove of the hunger games. Books are often better than the movie. It’s always better because you experience more from the book than the movie.


What do you think? Do you agree with Guido? I sure do! 

Jenn’s review of The Badge, The Street and the Cop: A Lance Lapore Fictional Memoir by Leo LePage

I read this book on a recommendation from my dad, a retired Hartford Policeman of 30 years. It’s a fictional memoir written by a Hartford Cop in the 60s – 80s who served during the infamous riots. My dad went into the force in 1970 so he worked with him for a little over 10 years. The riots were over but the tension remained high.

I want to start by saying that I have the utmost respect for police officers. Like in any profession there are dishonest and dirty cops, but I truly believe that most that enter the field do so with the purest of intentions. They want to make a difference; they want to keep us safe.

 I remember those kids in the projects. Their eyes glazed over with the thousand-yard stare, surrounded by violence and empathy, they battled to survive. They pondered their future and wondered what swallowed them. I would like to think I helped some of them and made a difference. I can only wish that I could of helped them all, but that just could not be.

Being a police officer is most often a thankless profession. They face criticism and put their lives at risk on a daily basis. The author did a great joy of portraying that. He served during a time when cops walked the beat without radios and had to rely on store owners, call boxes and skeptical home occupants. Cages that currently separate the accused from the police officers weren’t there for protection.

I felt the pride that I feel for cops like my dad swell in my chest when I read the speech that the author received as a new recruit from his Chief:

Starting tomorrow you will be assigned to squads within the ranks of the Hartford Police Department. You will fill the gaps on the thin blue line! You have chosen an honorable profession, but I warn you, it will take all you can give. Most of your career will be spent dealing with unsavory types, lost souls. You will be called upon repeatedly to show personal restraint. You will be asked to place your heart and soul, even your life, on the line on a daily basis. You will be constantly under the scrutiny of the public you serve. You will be harried and criticized over and over by the media and political bodies who govern them. Yet you will remain silent and go about your business in a professional concise manner. You must stifle rear, grief, and at times loneliness. As you go about this great calling, you will be besieged by temptation everyday of your careers. At times, you will be a psychiatrist, a teacher, a minister, and motivator of life. You will bring life into this world and you will see countless lives leave this world. As police officers, you are given a sacred trust. Men and women of society will trust you with their homes, their property, their children, even their lives. It is a trust given by man but monitored closely by our maker. A trust I would hesitate to violate.

The author provides a compilation of countless stories of the life of a Hartford cop. Even though the author admits to embellishing, the stories still feel true. You feel the fear, the tragedy and the camaraderie. He details the strong bond between all service workers and you can really appreciate the brotherhood. Men of all races come together like they do on the battlefield.  Men, black and white, had momentarily laid down their arms forgetting about hate. They had risked their lives to save what they had placed in peril: innocence. For a moment, out in the turmoil and civil strife, time had stood still and smiled.

The grammatical and spelling errors throughout the book were a little distracting, but as I understand it the publishers got the wrong manuscript so I tried to ignore them.

I was very happy to see his tribute to the wives of cops at the end of the book. Throughout the story, I was surprised that the author’s wife was not portrayed more. He certainly had his share of brushes with death and I think it would have added a personal element to focus on how that affected his wife and children.

I remember once, watching TV with my mom. The media was filming a bomb call that my dad was at. The next thing we knew we were watching as the windows of the building blew out. We had no idea what was happening and could only think the worst. I can’t remember if my dad had a cell phone at that point, but I do know that it seemed like forever before we found out that he was ok. It was agony. Spouses and families of cops go through this every day. When the phone rings or as you watch something unfold on TV; you hold your breath and pray that today isn’t the day you find out that you’ve lost them to the job.

So, his tribute that he shared was very close to my heart:

Tribute to a Cop’s Wife 

To my beautiful and loving wife

I’m sure you’ve heard times during our married life

From those who ask, aren’t you proud to be a policeman’s wife?

But let me say this; it’s you I’m proud of,

And they would be, too.

To be a lawman, is no easy task to do,

It’s what we have to do,

But it’s a much harder job to be his wife,

And it takes someone special like you.

And I know God chose you to be with me in this life.

Because he knew you had the quality and strength to be a cop’s wife.

Some may say that I have courage and I’m a hero and that sort of thing,

And when I hear it this thought to my mind it always brings,

It’s you, you’re the courage behind the man’s badge, don’t you see,

And it’s you who’s the real hero, not me.

And I know you get lonely and frustrated at times and wonder it it’s worth it all,

But if you ever left me, this brave, courageous, hero would be no man at all.

And I know you worry about the temptations I face on the streets, of the women of the night and girls I met,

But let me tell you this and you listen good,

There’s nobody on this Earth who could replace you,

They certainly never could. And I know there are times when I go to work and you kiss me good-bye,

That you must worry and wonder if this is the day I’ve been chosen to die,

And honey, if that should even happen and someday come true,

Remember, my very last thoughts on this earth will be of you

Quote by Madeleine L’Engle

Madeleine L'Engle

Madeleine L’Engle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We don’t want to feel less when we have finished a book; we want to feel that new possibilities of being have been opened to us. We don’t want to close a book with a sense that life is totally unfair and that there is no light in the darkness; we want to feel that we have been given illumination.”  – Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

Quote found at www.goodreads.com