Thursday, December 27, 2007

Books for Christmas!

New Books for Christmas!!
(stuff we all got, not just me)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
(both already read, but I just had to HAVE them!)
The City of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Magic Street by Orson Scott Card
Half Magic by Edward Eager
Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruit Cake by Barbara Park
The Secret Journal of Brett Colton by Kay Lynn Mangum
A Love Like Lilly by Kay Lynn Mangum
Books 2 and 3 of the Jimmy Fincher Saga by James Dashner

Then we had $75 to spend in gift cards at Barnes and Noble, and $35 at Borders. So from both those places, we came home with:

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld (sequel to Peeps)
Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman
Diary Queen by Catherine Murdock
The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks
Oil! by Upton Sinclair
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Utah’s Incredible Backcountry Trails by David Day

Wow! What a list! I can’t wait to get reading!

Booking Through Thursday: Highlights

It’s an old question, but a good one . . . What were your favorite books this year?

List as many as you like … fiction, non-fiction, mystery, romance, science-fiction, business, travel, cookbooks … whatever the category. But, really, we’re all dying to know. What books were the highlight of your reading year in 2007?

I was going to do this anyway, since it's and end of the year tradition with me!

Top Ten Books of 2007:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Papa Married a Mormon by John D. Fitzgerald
Zorro by Isabel Allende
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (even though it’s a re-read!)

Honorable Mentions

The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier
Austenland by Shannon Hale
Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors

Favorite YA Books (not counting the ones already in the main Top Ten List!)

Kiri Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements
A Crack in the Line by Michael Lawrence
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Rules by Cynthia Lord
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: And The Nominees Are.....

What fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007?(Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)

What non-fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007?(Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)

And, do “best of” lists influence your reading?

I didn't think I'd read much "new" stuff, but then I looked at my list and I actually do have a few... and they are all ones I LOVE and would be willing to put on a "best of" list:
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • Austenland by Shannon Hale
  • Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  • Extras by Scott Westerfeld
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
I don't think I read any new non-fiction.... I barely read any non-fiction at all. I need to really try harder with this category!

Oh, and yes, I love "best of" lists! So yes, they do influence my reading quite a bit!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My 2008 TBR Challenge List

The other day when I should have been doing many other things, I ended up staring at my bookshelves (aka. the Too Be Read Pile) trying to determine what I'd be in the mood to read this next year for the TBR Challenge. I think the rule is that they must be books I've had for six months at least... and still haven't read and I'm assuming there can be a few crossovers with other challenges.

So, here's what I've come up with for my new list of 2008 TBR's:

  1. Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
  2. Magyk by Angie Sage
  3. The Secret Hour (Midnighters book 1) by Scott Westerfeld
  4. Messenger by Lois Lowry
  5. Eugenie Grandet by Honore de Balzac
  6. Quentins by Maueve Binchy
  7. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  8. Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins
  9. The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham
  10. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
  11. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  12. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards


  1. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  2. The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland
  3. The Moon Below by Barbara Bickmore
  4. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  5. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

I can't wait to get going on a new year of reading!

As for this past year's challenge? I still have one more on my list to read, but I can't find it anywhere. I KNOW we had that book! So I may try one from the alternate list and hopefully have time to read it before the year ends. Anyway, all the results of that will be in another post!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Book Club Tonight! Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Book Club today at my house!! All are invited! Who’s coming???

We’re discussing Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, perfect reading for this time of year. If you haven’t read the book, you may have seen the movie Christmas With The Kranks. I’ve not seen it, but the trailer makes it look pretty much identical to the book.

So, who’s thinking of skipping Christmas about now? I know that some time in the future, I’ll be skipping it because my husband has been campaigning for this for years. He’d LOVE to go on a cruise over Christmas and bag all the hoopla! Me? Well, I’d go for it, as soon as I don’t have little kids. However, I think that even big kids and/or grandkids would be hard to leave at Christmastime. I don’t know I guess we’ll see, huh?

But even if I did skip it, I don’t think I could skip everything. I’d still want to bake, and eat. And blast the music, and do crafty things, and ..... so... yeah... it might be pretty hard for me to skip it.

Well, so if you can’t come to book club tonight, there’s always the comment section! :) Let’s hear what you think! Are you in favor of skipping it or not?

Booking Through Thursday: Catalog

Do you use any of the online book-cataloguing sites, like Library Thing or Shelfari? Why or why not? (Or . . . do you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking to?? (grin))
If not an online catalog, do you use any other method to catalog your book collection? Excel spreadsheets, index cards, a notebook, anything?

I started using one a long time ago called Bibliophil. But then I gave up, and then everyone started using these other things, then I feel like I have to start all over if I want to join in with everyone, then I get overwhelmed..... so then I do nothing! So... at this point, I'm not keeping track of my books anywhere, though it does look fun and I'm always tempted.

I don't keep track any other way either! No database, no cards, no notebook! It's all in my head, and I'm starting to run out of memory space up there! I especially notice this at this time of year when I'm getting books for the kids and I can't remember if we have it already! But I love it when my kids will need something for school, or they bring home a list of possible book choices, and I can go down the list and say, "Yep, have that one! Yep, that one....that one... nope not that one... yep, that one!" But some day maybe they could get on the computer and just see what we have in our own personal library on their own! Yep, some day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Got a Package!

Yeah! My Secret Santa package arrived yesterday! The mailman delivered it right to my door and the first thing I noticed was the Star Wars stamps all over it. Cool!

So, of course I opened it. Inside I found two hard back books, one I'd heard of Peony in Love by Lisa See and one I haven't heard of, The Water's Lovely by Ruth Rendell... I'm so excited about both of them!

Then for the fun part... opening the card to see who they were from.... thank you so much to Lisa from Pfeiffer Booknotes! I was so not expecting hardback books! I can't wait to read them. Thanks for the bookmarks too.

This has been such a fun idea... figuring out what to send, waiting for a package to arrive and reading about what everyone else is receiving. Very fun. Way to go Nymeth!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Advent Calendar Tour Continues!

Ten days down, only 14 to go! Yep, just two weeks from today! I'm in panic mode already to get it all done!

It's been so fun seeing what everyone has come up with for their contribution to our blog advent tour! I had a hard time deciding what to do, so here's a little bit of everything.

First, I thought I'd describe our Christmas Eve ritual. Much of this started with my own family growing up, then after we got married, we invited The Mr.'s family to join us for Christmas Eve, so it's morphed into a tradition with his family. We take turns going to each other's houses every year, this year it'll be at our house!

It all begins with food, of course. For some reason, it's clam chowder with crackers and a cheese ball, some sort of salad, and also corn bread! After we eat, we have a program that includes talent performances from all family members. This can be musical instruments, stories, counting by little kids, poems, artwork show and tell, singing, etc. Then Grandma and Grandpa usually read some story like The Polar Express. We have one uncle who, for his talent, does a slide show of fun pictures from the past year.

Then, we act out the nativity! This is always a very chaotic moment! I remember one time, about four years, when we had a three year old shepherd who went totally wacko with is staff! I found the clip of it and made a little movie to share. Hopefully it will bring a little smile to you all:

After that, we open presents. The cousins draw names, so everyone gets one present. Then we eat treats and sometimes ice cream. (When I was growing up, my grandparents made homemade ice cream on a hand crank machine. So good!)

When we get home, (or when everyone else goes home,) we hang our stockings, open the pj presents, lay out a treat for Santa, and then the kids all sleep together in one bedroom, having a sort of slumber party. They take forever to get to sleep!

Now for my recipe! This is something I always make every year because my mom always made it. I don't know why, there's really not a story behind it, but it's so good and smells so yummy baking! We call them Hello Dolly Cookies, but many of you may know them as Magic Bars, or something other such variation.

Hello Dolly Cookies

Melt one cube of butter in a 9X9X2 pan. Sprinkle in a layer of each of the following:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Pour 1 can of sweetened condensed milk all over the top.Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool, cut in squares.

I always make this in a 9X13 pan, but I only add about ½ to the ingredients. I still only use one can of milk. I'm not a nut person, and normally leave them out of recipes, but if you do that in this one, it won't work. Even not being a nut person, I LOVE these things!

And finally, some music, since music is right up there on the top of my favorite things about Christmas. Here's a clip of my most favorite singer who never fails to take my breath away!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Be sure to catch everyone else coming up on the list!!

12 December - Chris (Book-a-rama)
13 December - Jill (The Well-Read Child)/Stephanie (The Written Word)
14 December - Robin (A Fondness for Reading)
15 December - Alyssa (By The Book)
16 December - Rachel (A Fair Substitute for Heaven)
17 December - Literary Feline (Musings of a Bookish Kitty)/ Stephanie (Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holic)
18 December - Dev (Good Reads)
19 December - Callista (S.M.S. Book Reviews)
20 December - Tiny Little Librarian (Tiny Little Librarian)
21 December - Carla (Carla Nayland Historical Fiction)/ Susan (Reading, Raving, and Ranting by a Historical Fiction Writer)
22 December - Carolyn Jean (The Trillionth Page)
23 December - Booklogged (A Reader's Journal)
24 December - Kailana (The Written World) / Carl V. (Stainless Steel Droppings)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Five Things Meme

Wow! Stephanie tagged me! And I was even thinking about doing this one anyway because it looked kinda fun, but it's harder than it looks. Anyway, here's what I came up with:

5 Things I was doing 10 years ago:
1. trying to get pregnant again (which I did, but then had a miscarriage early 1998)
2. going to Disneyland right after Christmas, perfect time!
3. that summer of 1997 we went on our Oregon Coast road trip.... I loved it!
4. just discovering the internet and online reading groups
5. shopping for Christmas, just like I am now, though I think it was easier and cheaper then, with 3 little kids and not the four big ones that I have now!

5 Things on my To-Do List today: (some of these I can cross off as done since the day is half over now!)
1. get milk (done!)
2. go volunteer for an hour at school (done!)
3. work some more on Christmas cards
4. watch Survivor
5. get Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley off the hold pile at the library (done! Now when am I going to find time to read it????)

5 Things I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. travel throughout all of Europe
2. sponser an entire family's Christmas
3. go on another cruise
4. finish the kitchen remodel project once and for all!
5. start more remodel projects... and finish them too!

5 Things I'll never wear again (or have never worn):
1. mini skirts
2. maternity clothes
3. a size 7
4. a wedding dress
5. low rider jeans

5 Favorite Toys: (current or past? I guess I'm going with current....)
1. the computer
2. digital camera
3. anything that plays music
4. GPS
5. sewing machine

I'm a lousy tagger because everyone I think of has already been tagged! So we'll go with the cop out version which is this: if you feel like doing it, do it and then let me know!

Booking Through Thursday: OOP

This week’s question is suggested by Island Editions:

Do you have a favourite book, now out of print, that you would like to see become available again? (I have several…)

When I was a kid, maybe 14 or 15-ish.... I was at the library with my dad and he grabbed some random book off the shelf and said, "Here, this one looks good." So, I read it, LOVED it and have never forgotten it. But now, it's out of print. I could get it on Ebay I think, but I just haven't pushed the button yet. It's called The Enchanted Cup by Dorothy Roberts. It's the story of Tristan and Isolde. I was completely mesmerized by it.

Another book that I'd love to get my hands on is Underdog by Markus Zusak. I'm not sure if it's out of print, or what's going on with this book, but whatever it is, it's a hard one to find. And if I do find it, it costs like mega-bucks, which I won't be paying.

I'm sure there's tons more, but those are the first two that come to mind!

Monday, December 3, 2007

November Recap

Here's what I managed to read in November. It's a bit heavy on the Meg Cabot... again... but she's written A LOT and I'm trying to catch up!!!

Mallory's Oracle by Carol O'Connell. I liked this okay for crime/mysteries not really being my thing.
Extras by Scott Westerfeld. Great follow up to the Uglies trilogy that's now not a trilogy!
An Assembly Such As This by Pamel Aidan. I liked this Pride and Predjudice fan fiction much more than I thought I would. I need to read the rest to "see how the story ends!"
Small Eternities by Michael Lawrence. Book 2 to a another great YA series I've recently discovered with much mind bending alternate reality hopping.
Haunted by Meg Cabot. Book 5... I think... in the Mediator series.
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley. Newbery Award winner YA fantasy. Fabulous!
Things Hoped For by Andrew Clements. A follow up book to Things Not Seen. Great stuff!
Twilight by Meg Cabot. Final book in the Mediator series. (I wonder which Twilight came first, this one or Stephenie Meyer's?)
Party Princess (Princess Diaries Vol. VII) by Meg Cabot. Mia continues stressing about school and Michael.
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. Loved it!
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Strange, but interesting book.

My favorite of the month? I'm going with Book of a Thousand Days, though as you can tell, I liked 'em all!

Kindle Anyone?

So, have you heard about the Kindle by Amazon? Or read any aritcles about it (like this one I read from Newsweek)?

What do you think? Is the electronic world going to really take over real paper books? Do you think you'd ever cuddle up on the couch, and read a Kindle? They say this one is The One... the Ipod for books, the device that will really make it happen!

I think it has some fun features, but I'm still quite attached to real, physical books! I need to put my nose in them and smell, I need to feel the pages, I need to look at cool covers, I need see stacks and stacks waiting for me, calling to me!
But, maybe the next generation won't need all that, and before we know it, books really will be obsolete.


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