Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Book Blogger Christmas Exchange: What I Got!

Finally, I'm remembering to post what I got in the Book Blogger Christmas Swap! I meant to do it all week, but it's been crazy around here and wow, how fast the week has gone.

Anyway, thanks Ruthie for the fun presents! A book, Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, a bookmark, a cute little journal, a magnetic notepad and a fun little book of sayings. I will enjoy them all! Thanks so much!
(P.S. You can see a little of our new counter tops in this picture!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Challenges I Did NOT Complete!

Well, at least I try. And it's fun trying, so that's all that really counts, right?

Two challenges that I tried, end this month.

The 2008 TBR Challenge: Read 12 books this year from your TBR stack. Must have had them for 6 months or longer to count as a TBR. I finished 10 and 1/2 ! So close! Books I DID read for this challenge, linked to their review:

Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
Messenger by Lois Lowrey
The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld
Magyk by Angie Sage
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
Quentins by Maeve Binchy

I'll be signing up for the next installment.... 2009 TBR. More on that later.

Classics Challenge: I thought this one would be easy! But still it was a no go. I really need to get back to reading more classics, my first love in books. However, YA seems to have taken over for the time being. Anyway, I never did get to the Balzac book... and we all know that I failed completely with War and Peace.... BUT I will keep it up. My new goal... finish it by the end of 2009!!! :) And the bonus read, will go on a new challenge list and I'll read it this year for sure.
1. Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins
2. Eugenie Grandet by Balzac
3.The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
4. The Little Prince by Saint Exupéry
5. War and Peace by Tolstoy (currently reading!)
Bonus: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Post to come..... Challenges I'll TRY next year!

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Book: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Genre: YA SF
Rating: A
For: Fun

I've been hearing a lot about this book lately. And when one review said "Go buy it now! Run!" I thought wow, can it be that good?

So, we got it for Christmas and I decided why wait and picked it up that very evening and started it. For the next day and a half, in between all the various family activities and dinners and events that were happening I read, and when I wasn't reading, I was thinking about it and these amazing characters. So my answer is yes... it's really that good.

This is a story set in the future of the US after some terrible event (a war I think it was) has caused the whole of North America to regroup. In this new government, The Capitol rules everyone else, which includes 12 districts. Every year, each district has to send a boy and a girl, between the ages 12 to 18, to the Hunger Games. They are picked lottery-style with much fanfare and "celebration."

The Hunger Games themselves are a Survivor-type reality show, a game where every move and happening is televised. However, in these games, the kids fight to the death. The last one standing is declared the victor and wins a life of ease for him or her and their family.

This is about how our heroine is affected by the games, how she is torn between too different boys, how she struggles to help her mom and sister, how she is forced to make some gut wrenching decisions, and how she fights her heart out.

It's a gripping and emotional story. I was glued. I loved it. I couldn't believe it when I got to the end and it said, "End of Volume One" right when things were getting even more complicated! I didn't know it was the first of a series! And so begins the wait for the next book and once again, I'm hooked on yet another trilogy ( I think it is.)

If you come across this book, push everything else to the bottom and read it now.

Other Reviews:

Let me know if I've missed you and you'd like to be added!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Christmas Festivities Continue

I wasn't reading much last Sunday because we had a birthday celebration to host and Christmas to still get ready for. Now today, there still won't be much reading because we'll be entertaining out of town visitors. My sister-in-law and her four boys, who are here from Maryland for the week, should be arriving anytime now to hang out at our house for the day. They'll probably go to church with us, eat dinner with us and watch a movie or two. Maybe we'll play a game, do lots of talking and eat more Christmas treats. It'll be fun, and we've been looking forward to their visit for months. We only see them every other year or so.

But it means I won't get much reading done. Even though, as I said last post, I'm trying to reach that 100 book mark! I've got bookmarks half way through a couple of easy ones, so I may come close, but I guess we'll see.

Some other posts planned for this week:

How I Did in Challenges? (pretty crappy)

Review: The Hunger Games (Yes, it's as good as they say.)

Book Blogging Goals (I have a good list going, if I can just remember it ...)

New Challenges to Join for 2009 (even though I'll probably not complete them!)

Number Crunching 2008 books! (My favorite part of keeping track of books read!)

So stay tuned....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Book Loot or What We Got

For those interested, here's the list of books that ended up under our tree:

For The Mr.:

Everyman by Philip Roth
The Lighthouse by P.D. James
1001 Places to See Before You Die (USA/Canada version)

For me:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke
The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer
501 Must Read Books
Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (from my secret santa Ruthie )
Dashing Through the Snow by Mary and Carol Higgins Clark (from my neighbor)

For Bud (19 year old son):

The first three books in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
The new John Lennon biography

For JJ (17 year old daughter)

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding
Princess Ben by Cathrine Murdock
The Twilight Movie book thing
A huge Ansel Adams coffee table type book

For Moder (13 year old son):

Books 2, 3, and 4 of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan

For Toto (9 year old daughter):

Ever by Gail Carson Levine
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

I can't wait to read them all! In fact, this evening I've finished The Hunger Games. Wow! Amazing. Stinkin' cliff hanger though so I hope that means this is a series and there's more to come. (It did say "End of Book One" at the end... that's a pretty good clue, right?) I didn't realize it was, so now I'm hoping. I need to read four more books to get to the year end 100 mark. It's possible, but not probable. I should be reading right now instead of playing on the computer. But I needed to blog something!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!

I just wanted to hop on here for a moment today to wish you all a Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful time with family and friends! We've been making fudge and cookies and Christmas morning breakfast today. Yesterday we were still shopping and the crowds were insane. Soon we'll be leaving for our annual Christmas Eve gathering, which will be at the sister-in-law's this year. Tomorrow they say we will be having another whopper of a snow storm. That would be cool in some ways, but quite sad in others if the grandparents can't make it out to come celebrate and eat and play with us.

Anyway, hope you all have a great one. See you later when things calm down again!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Review: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Book: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
Genre: YA Romance -ish
Rating: A
For: YA Romance Challenge

This was my second Sara Zarr experience. I enjoyed the first one (Story of a Girl) but it was quite depressing to me. So I was curious to see what my reaction would be to this one. And result? Actually, I enjoyed it better. Though, it was still sad and not the happily ever after type of ending I typically enjoy.

The story is about a girl named Jenna who reinvented herself once she hit high school. She's become a whole new person from what she was as a kid. However, we see flash backs and memories of elementary school where she was fat, neglected, teased and picked on. Her only friend back then was a boy named Cameron, who was also an outcast. They quickly bonded. Then on her ninth birthday, they both went through a terrifying experience that cemented that bond forever.

One day, Cameron disappeared and she never knew what happened to him. But then, years later in high school, he shows up again. All those memories and all those things she was before come rushing back. She has to choose who she is now, the new Jenna or the old.

This was a wonderful, quickly-paced story, and yet again, one of those that get you thinking about life and what really matters. I've come to realize that Sara Zarr is another of those YA authors that write about real world problems, which, quite truthfully, can be depressing. Yet at the same time quite rewarding for getting you to think.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Happy Birthday JJ

Seventeen years ago, I woke up feeling not so good and thinking that perhaps baby #2 was on its way a couple of weeks early. When we got to the hospital, they said that nothing was happening really quite yet and sent us out walking to get help move things along. After only 1/2 hour or so walking around... a bookstore of course!..... I decided that things were definitely moving now! In fact, I thought that perhaps the baby could be born right there at the book store if we didn't get out of there fast!

We rushed back to the hospital and ten minutes later, JJ was born!
The above picture, one of my favorites, was taken Christmas Eve, 17 years ago.
No reading today, at least not planned. Too busy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Booking Through Thurs.... I mean Friday: Generosity and Treat

The blogging thing... it's just not there for me these past few days. Sad. Hopefully the enthusiasm will come back. I think it's just the overall stress.

I missed Booking Through Thursday yesterday, so instead, I'll Book Through Friday. I meant to do it yesterday, then got sidetracked and then the day was over.

So there were two questions yesterday and they were:

Do you give books as gifts?
To everyone? Or only to select people?
How do you feel about receiving books as gifts?

What is the best book you ever bought for yourself?
And, why? What made it the best? What made it so special?

Yes, I give books as gifts. I love to. I think it's so fun. And yes to pretty much everyone. I feel nervous sometimes, thinking that THEY might find it boring. But, usually people seem to like it. And of course I love to get books as gifts. In fact, it's pretty much the best thing ever.

The best book I ever bought for myself? That's such a hard one. I have no idea how to answer that one! (Maybe this is why I procrastinated this question yesterday then never got to it!) All the books are all special. In fact, that's why it's hard to give therm away and loan out sometimes, and let my kids trash them in back packs and to weed through and discard them. I can't.

Some of the most special ones are the ones I get personally signed, a hobby I sort of just got into this past year. Personally signed books include the first two Twilight books, The Goose Girl, James Dashner books, Fablehaven and other Brandon Mull books, Farworld, Elantris.

Special books I wish were signed: Paper Towns, The Book Thief and.... I don't know... lots my but my brain can't think....

It will be fun to see what books we end up with after Christmas! So excited!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

John Green and the Last Words of 50 Famous People

So, since I can't seem to find proper time to do a proper blog because Christmas, as we all know, has to happen and that, for some strange reason, seems to take up a lot of time, I decided to share with you this wonderful, latest John Green vlog post about the last words of famous people, many of them writers and poets, which I figured you would all appreciate, and many of them very very funny. Enjoy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Review: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: A
For: F2F book club, Lit Flicks Challenge, Pulitzer Prize Project

I wanted to wait and do a review after I'd seen the movie too, so I could compare. But I'm not sure I'll ever get time for the movie, so if I do, that will be its own separate post I guess.

I read this book before, sometime, I can't remember when. High school maybe? I didn't remember much about it except I really liked it. Recently it's been on the radar again mostly because it was the local library's Big Read pick of the year. I missed most of the fun discussions and programs they had in connection to the event, but since they were giving out free copies, we decided to add it to our book club line up and we'll be discussing it this week.

As I said, there was much I didn't remember. I didn't realize Scout was so young. I'd forgotten how cute and funny she was. I didn't remember the whole Boo Radley thing and all the funny situations they got themselves in. I didn't remember the friend Dill at all.

I DID remember Atticus and what a great character he is. I DID remember the injustice of the race situation and all the emotion involved in that.

I totally enjoyed reading this book again. I loved all the southern phrases used throughout the book and realized that many of them have made their way through to my family even though it's been a hundred years since my great great grandparents lived there.
I really do hope I get a chance to watch the movie because I don't think I've actually ever seen it the whole way through, just bits and pieces here and there.

Next up for the F2F Book Club: Wuthering Heights!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Secret Santa Present Arrives!

I'm sure you all are sick of hearing how busy our Sunday's are and how I moan my Sunday reading time. But it's the same story today. Maybe it's a December/Christmas thing and will calm down soon? Anyway, today, instead of reading, I'll be:
  • going to church, of course
  • fixing, eating and cleaning up dinner, of course
  • supervising the putting together a science fair poster
  • helping with the typing up of a Cuba report
  • hosting the HT's and the VT's (some of you will get that)
  • printing, signing and stuffing Christmas cards
  • watching the Survivor finale and reunion show
  • hoping to watch To Kill a Mockingbird that I checked out from the library
  • preparing a church lesson for seven year olds
I think that's the majority of the things on today's to do list. I did get some reading in this morning. I picked up The Moon Below by Barbara Bickmore this week as it's on my TBR list for the year. It's going okay, yet I'm still wondering if I'll bag it for something smaller and quicker... especially if I really want to try to get to the 100 mark by years end. I don't know. Maybe I don't really care, so we'll see.
Oh, and look what I got in the mail yesterday:

YAY! Fun stuff. I debated opening or saving. I guess saving won... at least for now.

Thank you to Ruthie of Ruthie's Book Reviews! I'll be sure to post the unveiling when it happens!


The Mr: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. I'm nervous for his analysis of this once he's done!
Bud: He recently finished Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
JJ: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Do you think my love for this author is finally getting through to the family?
Moder: He just finished H.I.V.E. by Mark Walden
Toto: Just started Dark Whisperers by Bruce Coville... the continuation of the unicorn series.
Happy Reading to you all. Enjoy the day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blog Advent Tour: Decorating the Tree

For my turn as part of the Advent Tour, I've invited you all to join me and my family as we decorate our Christmas tree. But first, before we go any further, we must have music. There can be no Christmas tree decorating without music! So you can click on my "currently listening" playlist in the sidebar to experience some of my favorite Christmas music as you read this post, or just click this YouTube video and then listen as you continue to scroll down.

Okay! Music.... check!

One of the things we most look forward to on tree decorating day, is that once we are done, we have cinnamon rolls. So it's important to get the dough made and rising before we even haul up the tree or unpack the decorations.

Once that's going, we can start building the tree. We used to get a real tree... I love real trees... but it was so stressful to deal with that we instantly lost all pretense of having a Christmas spirit so, I gave in and several years ago, we got the fake tree.

As the kids build, I string the lights. I bought a new strand this year and thought I'd have enough, but as we got to the top, I ran out! Seems like this happens every year! So, we are a bit light heavy on the bottom and sparse on the top. My light philosophy? Colored and a bit of twinkle too.

Now that the lights are on, the kids have at it. The ornaments are piled on. There's no rhyme or reason. No theme. No particularities. We put on nearly everything we have. Kids homemade school ornaments, my homemade ornaments from years past, special ornaments from Grandma Great, other ornaments people have given us. We plaster the tree.

Then we take a break and roll out the rolls, so they can keep rising.

Once the tree is totally covered, I add a bit of garland, and we declare it done! Oh, don't forget the skirt, a quilted one I made a few years ago. It's amazing what a little skirt does for the tree. Oh, and a couple of presents to instantly put under helps complete the look too.

Now it's time to bake the rolls. They smell so good! Here's the recipe which is taken from a book (Bread Baking Made Easy by Dora Flack)I got for a wedding present had have baked from constantly since:

Eve's Knot Buns
2 cups milk, scalded
2 Tbs. dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
5 to 6 cups flour
For Dipping:
1 1/2 cups sugar
3Tbs. cinnamon
1 cup butter, melted
Scald the milk.
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with the pinch of sugar.
Beat eggs.
Stir in butter, salt, sugar into hot milk and then let it cool.
To milk mixture, add eggs, dissolved yeast and 2 cups flour. Cover and let rise about 30 min.
Add the rest of the flour to make a soft dough. Knead for five min.
Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
In small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon for dipping. Melt butter. Grease muffin tins.
Roll out dough about 5/8 inch thick. With a pizza cutter, cut into long strips about two inches wide and five inches long.
Dip each strip into melted butter, then sugar/cinnamon. Tie into a loose knot and place in muffin tin.
Let rise 30 more min. then back 10 to 15 min. at 375 to 400 degrees.

Thanks for joining our tree decorating party! It was a blast having you!


Last year I posted this video I made of a Christmas Eve nativity gone wild. Since I have some new readers, I thought I'd stick it in again! Enjoy!

Participants in the Advent Tour:

1 December Alabama BookwormJoanne from Lost in a Good BookSusan from You Can Never Have Too Many Books
2 December Louise from Lou's PagesPenelope from Life's Sweet Passions
3 December Booklogged from A Reader's JournalLisa from Book Lists LifeAlison
4 December Ladytink from Ladytink's NeverlandKim from Page After Page
5 DecemberVickie from Scrapbooking and TidbitsRob from The Snig's Foot
6 December Andrew from The View from ArizonaMarny the Bookworm
7 December Becky from Becky's Book ReviewsMelissa from Book Nut
8 December Amy from Passages to the PastAlyssa from By the Book
9 December Raidergirl3 from An Adventure in ReadingSherrie from Just Books
10 December Kerrie from Mysteries in ParadiseDolce Bellezza
11 December Chris from Book-a-ramaBookwormomMister Teacher from Learn Me Good
12 December Bigsis from Through the Eyes of the CreatorTrish's Reading NookJulia from A Piece of My Mind
13 December Nymeth from Things Mean a LotLisa from Book AhoySuey from It's All About Books
14 December Emily from Dreaming on the JobStephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holicCindy from Nocturnal Wonderings
15 December Natasha from Maw BooksSomewhere in BetweenWendy from Caribou's Mom
16 December Strumpet from Strumpet's LifeChris from Stuff as Dreams are Made onTammy from Omah's Helping Hand
17 December3M from 1 More ChapterStine from The WashingtoniumKim from Sophisticated Dorkiness
18 December Alex from Daemonwolf BooksLeya from Wandeca ReadsJulia's Book Corner
19 December Laclau from Conversacions de CafeKrissi from The Swim MomMorgan from Insert Clever Name Here
20 December Jessica from The Bluestockings SocietyNaida from The BookwormBookClover
21 December Rhinoa from Rhinoa's RamblingsMelissa from Remember to BreatheThe Bluestocking Guide
22 DecemberThink Pink DanaMy Friend AmyNicole from Linus's Blanket
23 December Jane from JanezlifeandtimesMemory from Stella Matutina
24 December Carl from Stainless Steel DroppingsKailana's Written World

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Time is of the Essence

Booking Through Thursday

1. Do you get to read as much as you WANT to read?
(I’m guessing #1 is an easy question for everyone?)

2. If you had (magically) more time to read–what would you read? Something educational? Classic? Comfort Reading? Escapism? Magazines?

Question 1: Ummm..... let me think..... I would say...... no, I mean, NO! :) What I want to do is curl up on the couch, wrapped in a blanket and read all day, with just a bit of nourishment here and there.

Question 2: If suddenly I had more time to read, what would I read? Well, I'd love to read all the big fantasy epic series like all the George R.R. Martin books, and The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, and The Discworld adventures by Terry Pratchett. And on and on. It seems those types of books get pushed to the back in my reading choices, yet I'm always hoping to get to them.

If I had more time to read, I'd go through all the important classics... like the books listed in the book A Lifetime Reading Plan. I would re-read all my favorite classics and childhood favorites.

If I had more time to read, I would finally get to every book my favorite authors have written, even the really obscure, not easily found books!

If I had more time to read, I'd double, no, triple the amount of YA I read.

If I had more time to read, I'd get more non-fiction in.... memoirs and biographies and fun travel books.

If I had more time to read, I'd sign up for the ARC things that many of you do and help promote new and up and coming authors.

So until then, when I do have more time (yeah right), I'll just try to fit in what I can, and find some time to read, no matter what.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Teaser Tuesdays: Yuck!

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

From page 83 of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

"She's gettin' fat," I said.

"I should think so. She eats all the leftover fingers and ears from the hospital."

Sorry. Three sentences. Oh, well.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Let's Decorate!

My plans for this Sunday do not include much reading, which has been the story of the whole weekend. Busy, busy, busy is the theme. However, since I knew this was going to be crazy day, I did my normal morning bed reading for quite awhile and put away quite a chunk of To Kill a Mockingbird. What a cute fun story this is so far! Yes, I know, I've read it before... but that was years ago and I don't remember much except I liked it. And I know things are going to start to get a bit ugly in the story that's still to come, but so far, it's been very cute. You gotta love that Scout! She is the best, is she not?!

My lazy Sunday morning reading will be coming to an end in a few weeks since our church schedule will change from late to early, so I have to enjoy it while I can. But that will be okay, because then there will be time for afternoon readin'!

So why is today going to be so crazy you may wonder? Well, we've now had a whole week of December and our tree is still not up. So the task of the day is to get it up and decorated, after church and dinner. I'm inviting you all to come and join us! Yes, I'll be trying to record every moment to share as my Advent post this coming Saturday! So be sure to come back and check that out and be part of our tree traditions!

So, I guess that's all for this Sunday Salon post. My reading as been pretty sparse this past week, and I expect it to be again this coming week. It is crazy December after all and I'm finding that my little bitty job that takes away three mornings a week is causing grief in my ability to get everything done that needs doing. Nothing to report on "what the family is reading" either since everyone is still on the same book as last week! Except JJ who has decided to concentrate on The Book Thief finally. Yeah for that!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Book Awards II Challenge

This challenge started last year and continues through July... I think. But it needed it's own page so I could link to it in the side bar, so here's my list that I'm doing quite badly on so far... but there's still time!

Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson

The Twenty-one Balloons by William Pène du Bois

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
The March by E.L. Doctorow
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
To Say Nothing About the Dog by Connie Willis

Review: The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett AND My Dewey Tribute

Book: The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Genre: Literary Fiction
For: Fun

Awhile back, I read a post on Dewey's blog about her love for a little tiny book called The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. She tells a wonderful story about how she came to read the book, but the words that stuck in my head the most are these:

As you may know, I give away all the books I read unless they belong to someone else, such as a family member, or, most often, the library. This year, I’ve only kept three books of the books I’ve read that belonged to me: The Three Incestuous Sisters by Audrey Niffenegger, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Maternal is Political by Shari MacDonald Strong. And I have to admit that although I enjoyed The Three Incestuous Sisters, I would probably have given that away, too, if it weren’t too heavy for me to want to mail.

But I have to keep The Uncommon Reader. I know I’ll want to read it again, and fairly soon. Keeping a book is really the highest praise I give; I have moved books from one house to another too many times to want more than my TBR books and my husband’s and son’s books in the house. I think every one of you would love this story, and I recommend it to you all.

After reading that, first, I was struck by the fact that she gives away all her books. Wow. And then to realize that if she does that, then the books she keeps have to really be something especially amazing. I couldn't stop wondering about The Uncommon Reader, so before I knew it, I found myself checking it out from the library.

So week or two ago, I read it. I thought about Dewey the whole time, knowing that this book was one she wanted to keep, wondering which parts stood out the most to her, thinking about what parts I liked the most so I could blog and share my feelings... and basically totally enjoying such a fun, unusual book about the love of reading.

It was only a couple of days after I finished this book that we all got the news about Dewey.

So this, my little review of this book, is dedicated to her.

What a fun little book this is! The Queen of England suddenly, and quite accidentally becomes a reader. She tries to discuss books with people and they cringe, they get embarrassed, and they try to change the subject. Then her people start getting worried about her, thinking she's losing her mind and that she's not properly doing her job. And soon, she starts pushing the boundary even further when she decides to write her feelings down! Ah, there's so many humorous little antidotes and quotable stuff. But, of course, I didn't write them down.

Let me just say that I agree with words of an uncommon blogger about The Uncommon Reader, "I think everyone of you would love this story, and I recommend it to you all."

I'll miss Dewey and her energetic blogging and reading enthusiasm. She was one of the first book blogs I stumbled upon when I first decided to plunge into the book blogging experience. I never did do the Read-a-thon, though it sounded fun, but I thought Weekly Geeks was a blast and I only missed a couple of weeks participating. Thanks to her for all the wonderful things she did to bring this book blogging community together. We hope to keep it all going strong!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

BTT: 5 for Favorites

Booking Through Thursday

1. Do you have a favorite author?
2. Have you read everything he or she has written?
3. Did you LIKE everything?
4. How about a least favorite author?
5. An author you wanted to like, but didn’t?

Oh, boy. Don't I love to talk about authors....

The short answers:

1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.
4. No.
5. Yes.

The long ones:

1. Yes. I have several favorites. Markus Zusak, John Green, Jane Austen, Christopher Paolini, Stephenie Meyer, Shannon Hale, Brandon Sanderson, Orson Scott Card.... just to name the first few that pop into my head here.

2. Yes. I've read everything they've written. Except there's one by Markus Zusak that's impossible to find. I might be missing one of Jane Austen's still. And Brandon Sanderson I'm still getting started on, so I have a few left to go by him. And Orson Scott Card... I've read A LOT, but not all... sheesh, he's written tons!

3. Yes, pretty much I've liked everything! There's few of OSC's that I would rank below some of his others, but yes, I like it all.

4. No, there's not an author that stands out as a least favorite. Maybe some of those "harder" classics guys like Ernest Hemingway, or Melville, or Henry James, etc. But still, they aren't so bad either.

5. I'm wanting to like Neil Gaiman. He's still growing on me. I haven't given him a whole lot of chances yet though either, so there's hope.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Blog's Personality

I've seen this one going around and it looked too interesting to pass up. So, since I seemed blog deficient today, I guess it's time to post it!

I clicked here:Typealyzer, then plugged in my URL and this is what it told me my blog's (or the author therein) personality is:

ESFP - The Performers

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves. The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

I find this funny. Some stuff is right, some stuff, not quite. For instance, planning ahead can be a good thing I'm thinking. I DO like to avoid conflicts though... that's right on. But ... performer? NOT. Maybe I'll try again another day and see if my personality has changed.

So, what's YOUR blog's personality. Click it and see!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Showing Our Dewey Love!

Natasha of Maw Books has got a rousing discussion going over at the Book Blogs Ning on what we can do for Dewey and how we can keep up her fun book blogging events. Be sure to check that out if you are interested in knowing what's being planned.

Also, Becky of Becky's Book Reviews has suggested that we do a post for Weekly Geeks that is some memory we have of Dewey. Read the full instructions here and then spread the word. I think it's a great idea. I'll be doing my post soon!

November Recap

I felt like I was in a bit of a slump for the most part of this month, but the list actually doesn't look too bad after all! Here's what I read:

Paper Towns by John Green: Q loves Margo. One day, she disappears. He goes on a hunt for her and learns a lot about her... and himself... in the process.

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr: Deanna struggles to overcome her unfortunate reputation. She also struggles to make sense of her relationship with all those around her.

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan "no relation" Hale: Rapunzel gets locked up in a tower and escapes... all on her own. She hooks up with Jack and they have some rip roarin' adventures.

Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins: No good deed goes unpunished. And in Scotland, you better be careful who you say you are married to, especially if you are pretending even for just a moment.

Blink by Malcom Gladwell: In which we learn how those first impressions we have are really quite important and reliable.

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry: Towner comes home and confronts her past.

The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau: Lina and Doon adjust to living above ground and discover all kinds of things about their new world.

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett: The Queen of England likes to read. What an uproar it causes! Before you know it, she may even start writing too!

Wow, what a bunch of different kinds of books I read this month! I enjoyed them all too. Now, if I can manage 8 books in December, I'll hit the 100-books-read-this-year mark, right on the dot.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dewey, We'll Miss You

I'm having a hard time believing what I just read as I'm going through my favorite blogs this morning. Dewey, we'll all miss you! In a big big way. The blog blogging world will not be the same without you. Hugs to your family.

It's All About Movies: Four Quick Reviews

We watched our fair share of movies this past holiday weekend, in fact, one every night (except Wednesday.) Here's what they were and here's what I thought:

Made of Honor: One of those romantic comedy types that ended up being more silly than romantic, starring the lovely Patrick Dempsey. It followed the basic premise of "My Best Friend's Wedding" only with the guy running after the girl. She did ask him to be her "maid" of honor, which put a fun twist on it. Oh, and it was filmed in Scotland which I loved. However, the movie itself? Just so so. Kinda crude in parts, so I give it only one thumb up.

Get Smart: The Mr.'s been dying to see this one. He remembers the old TV series. I was willing to give it a go, but with reluctance. It stars Steve Carell of The Office fame, and good old Anne Hathaway of Princess Diaries fame. The movie was another so so one for me. It was a sort of silly James Bond type of thing and the jokes and gags weren't funny at all to me. That sort of thing, I just don't get. A hesitant barely one thumbs up.

Australia: Saturday we decided to go to the "real" theater... the brand new one even. The only thing playing there that we both thought looked interesting was Australia. (I couldn't talk The Mr. into Twilight, and I have no desire to see James Bond.) We didn't really know anything about the movie except that it was LONG. At least we were prepared for that. Anyway, as it turns out, we loved it. (Well, I loved it, I have no idea what he really thought, I think he liked it fine too!) It was about a lady who came over from England to save her husband's cattle ranch in Northern Australia. She ends up falling in love with the mixed race little boy (a "creamy" they call him, played by an amazingly beautiful kid) who lives on the ranch, and of course, the "drover" too. (They guy who drives the cattle to and fro.) Then there's the guy who worked for her husband, the one who she sacks nearly the day she arrived, who is the "boo hiss" villain in a big time way and causes them all kinds of unspeakable grief. Meanwhile, WWII shows up in Australia and of course, that's never a good thing either.

Anyway, it was great. Hugh Jackman was amazing of course. And Nicole Kidman too. Oh, and then there was all the cool Aborigine culture mixed into it all. Two thumbs way up! :) And I just have to post a trailer for you:

Becoming Jane: My movie for this evening, one I brought home from the library this week... one that I've been wanting to see forever and just never managed it. Finally, it's been watched! Starring Anne Hathaway (she was everywhere for me this weekend I guess) as Jane Austen, this movie tells of her love for a guy she can't have. Circumstances just don't allow for a the happy ending. It makes me sad. Poor Jane Austen. Great movie though. Two thumbs up!

So, have you watched any of these movies and if so, what did YOU think?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Thanksgiving Reading and Christmas Buying

And so the long Thanksgiving weekend draws to a close. Tomorrow is December. I'm already feeling a panic. One day at a time, and I'm sure I'll make it!

I finished a book this morning! But that's only because it was so short and such easy reading. It was The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. I snagged it from the library awhile back because of all the rave reviews so many of you have been giving it. Now we can add mine to the list, rave review that is. What a cute, fun, thought-provoking little story! But I won't talk about that here, that will be in an official review post, of which this is definitely not.

I also finished The People of Sparks by Jeanne Duprau this past weekend... the sequel to The City of Ember. That was interesting commentary on war if there ever was one. But I totally enjoyed it too. Looking forward to book three, which I understand is totally different, so that could be interesting.

Now I'm working on one of my book fair grabs, Deep Down Popular by Phoebe Stone. A cute little middle grade book, which I'm enjoying okay. It's not out-of-this-world fabulous or anything. Just fun. Then, perhaps today I may work on... now hold on and don't drop dead or anything.... War and Peace! Remember that one? I haven't touched it for months. My goal to finish it by the end of the year, yeah, not going to happen. Should I extend the date to the end of NEXT year? I am only half way done, so that just may be a realistic idea. Two years to read War and Peace. How pathetic is that?

What the family is reading this Sunday afternoon:

The Mr: Whenever he finishes a book, he comes to me and says, "NOW what should I read next?" I was ready for him this time, and handed him The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I loved that book and thought it would be perfect for him too. He made a face when I said what it was about (vampires of course) but I explained that I really thought he should try it and see, it being an "intellectual" study and all. Well, guess what? He seems to not be able to put it down hardly. He reads even ... in the middle of the day! Now THAT is saying something.

Bud (19): I think he is still working on Obama's book. I haven't seen him reading much of anything lately.

JJ (17 almost): She finally finished The Scarlett Letter for school. However, this past break from school, she picked up New Moon and re-read the entire thing. (Blame that on the Twilight movie.)

Moder (13 1/2): He's going back and forth from Elantris by Brandon Sanderson and Paper Towns by John Green. I'm jealous about the Elantris one because I want to be reading it so bad myself, but I'm saving it for later when my book club reads it.

Toto (9 1/2): She is still working on the second in the unicorn series by Bruce Coville, The Song of the Wanderer. She giggles a lot and has to read me parts as she goes along. I'm taking this as a sign that she's really liking it.

Books I've bought so far for Christmas presents:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
Pilage by Obert Skye
Dreams of My Father by Barack Obama
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Farworld by J. Scott Savage


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