March 30, 2007

The Seven Daughters of Eve: Review

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I'm not really a reader of non-fiction, I guess I like the world of pretend, but I watched Bryan Sykes on the Discovery Channel and put his book on my must read list. It took me years to finally get to it with the help of the TBR Challenge.

The Seven Daughters of Eve is Bryan Sykes account of his work with mitochondrial DNA. What is that? It's the DNA we carry within ourselves passed down thousands of years through our mothers. This DNA doesn't change with every generation; it stays constant and only occasionally (like once every 25,000 yrs) mutates. Through years of research, Brian and his colleagues mapped these mutations back to seven women whose descendants make up all of present day Europeans.

Although the book at times made my eyes glaze over, I knew enough about DNA to follow along. I guess I must have absorbed something in Grade 10 Honours Bio. Sykes is a reporter as well as a scientist so he writes in everyday language that is understandable to the layperson. It is also far from dry text book reading. His struggles to convince the scientific world that his discoveries are the real deal engages the reader. I felt frustrated and then happy for him through all his trials. Scientists can be as stubborn and narrow-mined as any of us. He pores emotion into the writing as well. The Cheddar Man and the Ice Man were real, living and feeling people and he lets us know that.

For me, the best part was his imagined portrait of the seven women. He gave them names to help modern readers relate to them. He even gave them each their own story. They lived at different times and places but shared similar struggles of raising children in a harsh world. I was there in the Ice Age fighting off animals with some of them and experiencing new discoveries with others. It probably never happened this way, but was interesting to read.

I also felt like the world is a smaller place. If a Bedouin nomad can be related to a school teacher in England, then why can't we all just get along?

At times I wanted to skip over the science to get to the exciting stuff but that's not a good idea. Pay attention to it or you'll be lost. I found the charts helpful.

This is probably a book for people like me. I like genetics and genealogy. That's what attracted me to this book. I like to look at people and wonder where they came from. I look at pictures of my family and try to figure out who I got what features from. I'd love to know which of the seven women I've descended from: Ursula, Velda, Tara, Xenia, Katrine, Helena or Jasmine. If you think like that, then maybe this book is for you.


3.5/5

March 29, 2007

Book (Odds and) Ends

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First, the big news: Oprah's new book. She decided to go way out there this time. (Is it me or is she getting experimental?) She's chosen The Road by Cormac McCarthy. This is a recent novel set in a post-apocalyptic world. A father and son start a journey to the sea through a burnt out and devastated world. Sounds adorable. If you are interested, have a look here. She's to have the first TV interview with McCarthy. I hope it works out better than The Corrections dude. I'm not sure if I'll read it or not. I have a post-apocalyptic novel on my reading list already: Oryx and Crake, although quite different.

I took a boo at Harper Collins website to see what was new in the publishing world. I couldn't get on the site last week. They have a few new book trailers (have I told you of my love of book trailers?). One scared and intrigued me, so I read the book info. It sounds interesting although it will keep me up at night. The book is Pig Island by Mo Hayder. It's about an investigator of supernatural hoaxes who visits an island off of Scotland known for Satanism. One for the wish list.

While I was there, I had a light-bulb (or more correctly a D'oh) moment. I signed up for First Look months ago, a book preview and review program, and have been waiting patiently ever since for a "you have been chosen" e-mail. Turns out, I have to pick a book and let them know I want to read it. Duh. I was expecting an 'engraved invitation', as my Mom would say. So, I picked a couple and am eagerly awaiting if I'll get a chance to preview at least one. Fingers crossed.


In other news, I picked up The Seven Daughters of Eve from the library yesterday and just can't stop reading it. I'll write a review as soon as I finish, which should be soon.

Booking Through Thursday- Location

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Location, Location, Location, Part 2
Booking Through Thursday

Where do you do most of your reading? Your favorite spot? (Show a picture, if you want to!)
(And yes, I understand that these might not be the same thing--your favorite spot could be the beach, but you do most of your reading at home . . . in which case, tell me about both!)
Don't forget to leave a link to your actual response in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!



I guess most of my reading is done either on the couch or in bed. My favorite spot to read is outside on a sunny, warm day sitting on a bench under a tree. I can't wait for those days again! The best time for outdoor reading is in the spring and fall before the black flies and mosquitos arrive. Then it's time to head for the bug tent or indoors.

March 28, 2007

Jungle Kitty

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March 26, 2007

Anyone Work in a Bookstore?

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I can imagine myself working in a bookstore at some point in my life, but I hope to never have a costumer like this!

This skit is called The Bookstore by Last Minute Productions. It's based on a Monty Python skit. The acting isn't spectacular but it's pretty cute.



I bet Bookseller Chick can relate to the guy at the desk!

March 25, 2007

Poor Plain Jane?

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Poor Jane. The girl can't get a break. She's sold millions of novels but is considered too ugly to be on the cover of her own biography without a makeover a la Vogue. According to this BBC News story, the publishers of a new edition of the memoir by her nephew, just couldn't swallow putting the only authenticated portrait of her on the cover.

The portrait had been painted by her sister Cassandra. The two sisters were quite close. They exchanged letters throughout their lives. I'm guessing at some point, Cassandra had the wonderful idea of having Jane pose for her portrait. From the look of it, Cassandra was no Rembrandt. Or Jane was no Angelina Jolie. However, this was all the publisher had to work with and decided to add make-up and hair extensions. It reminds me a bit of that Dove Evolution ad. Let's take a plain girl and make her into a supermodel.






So, even a woman born more than 200 years ago can't escape today's 'sex sells' marketing campaigns.


Wonder what Jane would think? Hopefully, she'd have a good chuckle, then write a snarky novel about it.

March 23, 2007

Saving Fish From Drowning: Review

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Newton's Third Law of Motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Newton's law could apply to Amy Tan's Saving Fish From Drowning. It's a peculiar novel told from the omnipresent point of view of a dead woman. Bibi, an art patron, died under mysterious circumstances in the window of her shop. She had been arranging a trip along the Burma Road for eleven of her friends. Those friends make the unfortunate decision to make the trip without her. Well, physically at least, spiritually Bibi is with them every step of the way. She knows their fears, doubts and secrets. She helplessly watches as these people make one mistake after another, changing her plans, flying by the seat of their pants. This is not a good idea in this part of the world.

At first, the mistakes make for some amusing (to the reader) situations: a bad case of the runs, being chased out of a monument mistaken for a bathroom. It's all rather silly. But every little thing adds up leading to the eleven disappearing into the jungle. That's when the story gets interesting.

Some of the characters, I'm thinking of Harry the dog trainer who looked at women like they needed taming, were hard to like. Bibi and the two kids were the most likeable to me. The rest were a bunch of head-scratching nitwits.

This was my first Amy Tan book. I'm sure there are better choices than this one. I did enjoy it at times, but some of it bordered on ridiculous. Could eleven very intelligent people be that careless and foolish? I don't know. The story bounced from silly to incredibly sad. It felt mish-mashed together.


2.5/5

March 21, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Short Stories

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Keeping it Short
Booking Through Thursday


Short Stories? Or full-length novels?
And, what's your favorite source for short stories? (You know, if you read them.)
Don't forget to leave a link to your actual response in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!





I prefer full-length novels. It's difficult to get attached to a character just to have the story end abruptly. The last book of short stories I was reading was The Collected Stories of Carol Shields. My sister-in-law (the same one who bought me Saving Fish...) gave it to me for my birthday last year. I haven't finished it yet but I will. I can't seem to read short stories all at once.




I just love the way Shields writes (or wrote, she died in 2003). It's so simple yet so beautiful and truthful. The ones that stick out are: "Mrs Turner Cutting the Grass," which just goes to show that you never really know people's lives. But the best was "Pardon." It reminds me of a meme. A woman buys an apology card and it becomes contagious. People start apologizing to others.

Other than that one, I like spooky short stories, like Irish Ghost Stories and Shirley Jackson's book of short ones. Anyone read "The Lottery"?

Happy Booking Through Thursday!

PS: Booklovers. please check out The Written World. Kailana is compiling a list of people's top 10 favs of all time. My link is there too.

Thoughts of Springs Past

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Even though it's cold and brown outside, this is the first full day of Spring. Back when I had a house, I'd plant bulbs in the Fall. Sometimes I'd forget what I'd planted which lead to nice surprises in the Spring. This season I don't have a garden. It makes me a little sad. I enjoyed going outside and watcing the little green leaves pushing themselves up through the frozen soil.

This Fall, when I'm in my new house, I'm going to start from scratch and plant lots of bulbs. It's something I'm really looking forward to.

March 20, 2007

Spring Reading Thing 2007 Challenge

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Like I need a reason to read more books! I'm joining the Spring Reading Thing Challenge hosted by Callapider Days. The challenge is to read 5 (or less or more!)books that you've been meaning to read or like to finish between March 21-June 21. I'm doing a little cross over from my book club, just so I'm not too overwhelmed.

  1. Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov)- Classic Book Club Selection
  2. Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood)
  3. Unless (Carol Shields)
  4. My Antonia (Willa Cather)

I've come up with 4 for now. We'll see if something else catches my eye.

March 19, 2007

While Out Walking

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There are signs of life in the woods. Bring on Spring!

March 18, 2007

Moll Flanders: A Review

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The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, Etc. Who was born in Newgate and during a Life of continu’d Variety for Three-score Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv’d Honest, and died a Penitent.

That about sums it up.

Moll Flanders is Daniel Defoe’s novel of a debauched life. Moll is orphaned after her mother is imprisoned in Newgate. Although she lives with caring families, her situation is precarious. Without an inheritance, Moll has few choices in life. A good marriage is unlikely. She could train to be a servant but she does not like the idea of this, having grown up rather spoilt. She finds her life about to change, when the eldest son of her benefactor seduces her. Somehow (I’m still not sure how) she marries his brother. Her story should end happily here but upon his death she must set out to make a new life for herself. Through a series of bad luck and bad marriages, she finds herself in lower and lower positions. The lowest being a transported felon to Virginia. Finally, she finds repentance and becomes a well-to-do and happy woman.

I try to keep in mind that this is the birth of the modern novel. Thank goodness the genre has improved since. Defoe tries to write the novel as a memoir of a 17th century woman’s life, but most of the time it reads like a laundry list of dead husbands, neglectful lovers and abandoned children. The novel has no chapters and little dialogue. I found it monotonous and often repetitive.

Although it’s supposed to be an apology of sorts, I found that the moral of the story is that it’s easier to be good when you’re rich. I suppose it’s also easier to be good if you’re a man, as well. The society that Moll lives in is set up for the Molls of England to behave as they do. There is very little choice for a woman in those times. Moll is unfortunate enough to have outlived so many of her husbands leaving her poor. Critics of Moll say she was greedy, and she often was, but more often she just wanted to survive.

It has soap operatic moments, like her unknowingly marrying her brother (what a small world), whoring and thieving. I suppose Defoe hoped to titillate his readers while telling them a story with a moral.

I was at times bored with this book and read it more as an artifact of a bygone era.
2/5

March 17, 2007

Happy St Patrick's Day

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I baked some Irish Soda Bread for St Patrick's Day. No raisins though- couldn't find them. I wore green and I'll have some Bailey's tonight.

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
~Irish Blessing

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!

March 16, 2007

Kailana's Top Ten Book Request

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Kailana is compiling a list of people's top ten books they can't live without.

In making mine, I thought about what criteria this kind of list should have. I came up with my own, it works for me. Yours might be different.


  • I had to have read it. So, the Bible isn't on my list, since I didn't read the whole thing. If it's on yours, terrific.

  • It had to have a profound effect on me (or at least makes it onto my 'desert island' list), OR has influenced the world in some way. I might not hug the book to myself at night but I can't imagine the world without the book in it.

With that in mind, here's my list:


  1. Little Women(Louisa May Alcott): This was the first 'real' book I ever got for Christmas. I think it sparked my interest in reading. It was only Part 1, the book ending when Dr March comes home at Christmas from the war. All is right with the world. It wasn't until years later that I read Part 2. Poor Beth. Since that time, I wanted to be Jo and have 4 sisters.

  2. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte): My favorite book. Jane is a heroine from the beginning. She stands up to her evil aunt, even though she is poor and plain. She grows into an intelligent woman who goes out into the world looking for her own happiness. When she thinks she has it, she has to decide if she'll compromise her morals and self-respect for it. She says no but ends up with her happy ending anyway.

  3. Silas Marner (George Eliot): If I need to read about goodness in a cruel world, I read this book. It makes me feel warm inside when I read it. It's about what really matters: love. Not romantic love either. If you're a parent, this is a book to read.

  4. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon): For pure escapism this is the book for you. It's an intelligent romantic tale with a realistic historical feel. I can never forget Claire and Jamie. A perfect desert island book.

  5. A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens): Can you imagine Christmas without Scrooge? What would the sitcom writers rip-off for their Christmas episodes? I can't go a year without watching the grainy black & white version on tv. We wouldn't be able to call someone a Scrooge or grumble 'humbug'. And poor Tiny Tim would never had proclaimed, "God bless us, everyone!"

  6. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood): A new addition to my list. This is a book that scared the you-know-what out of me. As a woman, I think it's an important reminder of what we can lose if we don't pay attention.

  7. Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen): I had Romeo & Juliet but changed my mind. I like Austen soooo much better. Plus, I like a happy ending. Elizabeth sticks to her guns and waits to marry a man who is her equal in intelligence (not to mention hot) This is quite a feat during a time when a woman married the first guy to come along.

  8. Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maude Montgomery): Anne is a spunky red-headed heroine. She is the emblem for an entire island and figure head for a tourism industry. But I like Anne anyway. She can't be tainted by corporations. She is a poor orphaned kid who despite a rocky start makes everyone love her. Montgomery writes so lovingly about her island that of course you want to go there. (It really is beautiful).

  9. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas): More escapism. Once you start reading, you're hooked. You have to read about Edmund Dantes elaborate plan to avenge himself. The villains are villainous and the heroes, heroic. Sub-plots and plot twists are rampant in Dumas's gigantic tale.

  10. Dracula (Bram Stoker): I mentioned Christmas so I end my list with my second favorite holiday: Halloween. Think Halloween and Dracula is sure to pop into your head. Kids in black capes and fangs knock on every door. A tale based very loosely on historical fact and folklore is still with us more than 100 years later. And it keeps on producing new books: The Historian!

So, there you have it. This is my list of 10 books that have shaped my world and I can't imagine them not being in it.

March 15, 2007

It's a Popularity Contest

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Bookseller Chick posted a link to Mother Reader on how to be a B-list blogger. Following her links to Kineda, I found out that I'm a C-list blogger. This puts me on par with such big names as Lea Thompson (Back to the Future) and Lucy Lawless (Xena), according to the world wide web. (I have been called Xena by toddlers who can't pronounce my name). This allows me to yell, "Do you know who I am?" at hapless store clerks. At least the swarming paparazzi keep their distance.


Bloglebrity status aside, Mother Reader has some good advice. I do most of what she advises, like memes and commenting on other blogs. Apparently, blogs of all book reviews don't turn people on. I like them myself. I like reading what other think about what they read. But I'm a bookworm anyway, which is why my links and blogrolls and rings are book related. I wouldn't be much use on a Paris Hilton blogroll (Heaven help us if there is one!)


For me though, it's ok if I'm a C-lister. A blog has to be fun, not feel like work.

March 14, 2007

Just Leave Well Enough Alone

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I was playing around with the blog last night. I changed a few things and blam-o! Missing photos, clip art, and widgets. I was up until 2 am trying to fix it. I think most of it's back but if something seems like it's missing let me know.

March 13, 2007

Bonnie's Quiz

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Bonnie's made up her own quiz at Bonnie's Books. Go visit her blog.


1. What's so special about your favorite book?
2. When was the last time you wrote in a book?
3. When was the last time you colored in a coloring book?
4. What's the coolest invention, in your opinion?
5. What song do you have stuck in your head?
6. What do you think of standardized testing?
7. Have you ever been rushed to the emergency room?
8. What languages can you say "I love you" in?
9. What's the most addicting website for you?
10. What's under your bed?

My Answers:


1. My favorite book is Jane Eyre. I guess it's my favorite because Jane has a hard life. She's poor, plain and strong willed. Still, she overcomes. She gets her man without compromising her morals. I also love how atmospheric it is. And Mr Rochester isn't half bad either!
2. I usually just write my name, if I'm lending it out.
3. Surprisingly, even though I have a 4 year old, I can't remember. She likes to draw, not colour.
4. I'm with Bonnie: the Web. Anything you need to know is on the web.
5. "Taking Care of Business" I've heard it twice today.
6. I don't have an opinion, right now. I'm sure I will once dd starts school.
7. I had a concussion when I was 6 years old. I spent a couple of days in the hospital.
8. Two: English, of course and French: Je t'aime.
9. YouTube. Crazy stuff on there, man!
10. A pair of boots, a purse and a frying pan. Nothing kinky about the last one. I bought it a few months ago and had nowhere else to put it. Remember I don't have a house!

March 12, 2007

Book Randomness

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randomness...feed your mind and your blog



week of March 11: Bookworms
If you're like me, your a bookworm.
I love to read. Whether it be a book, magazine, back of the cereal box...anything.
However I do prefer a good long novel.
So for this week, lets talk about our fav books.

1. Do you like to read? What is your fav book? author?
2. Do you hate it when they turn a book into a film?
3. Has a book ever changed your life? How?
4. Do you tend to borrow books from the library or do you prefer to buy them?
5. Which book are you planning on reading next?

'Never judge a book by its movie.' J. W. Eagan

till next time....

1. Well, this is Book-a-rama, so I have to say, 'yes'. Favorite...ever...is Jane Eyre. I don't really have one favorite author. Jane Austen and George Eliot are two that come to mind.
2. I think it depends on who is in it, how well done it is. What I really hate is when the movie doesn't resemble the book at all. Practical Magic stands out as one of those.
3. Hmmm... Since I can't think of one, then I'd have to say no. I have read books that have stuck with me and make me think. Recently, The Handmaid's Tale really affected me. It left me shaking in my boots.
4. I do both. I can find a bargain, see this post.
5. I'm probably going to read Saving Fish from Drowning by Ami Tan. I got it for my birthday.

March 11, 2007

The Birth House: A Review

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You gots to be a two-headed person. And what I
means by that is you gots to think and see two things at once. -Miss B

Having just finished this book tonight, I'm disappointed that I didn't take my time and savour every word. I'm going to miss Dora Rare, the narrator and protagonist of Ami McKay's Birth House. Dora is the only girl to be born in a family of five generations of boys. Family lore says that only boys will be born into the Rare family.

From the start, Dora's birth is shrouded in superstition; she maybe a blessing or a curse to her parents. As she grows up, she finds she is isolated from the other children in Scots Bay, Nova Scotia. She isn't charming or beautiful (She learns the truth at seventeen, that love is meant for beauty queens) and her birth sets her apart from them.

The only friends she has are her six brothers and a mysterious old woman named Marie Babineau (Miss B). She is a midwife come from away- Louisiana- to help the women of Scots Bay have their babies. She is so much more than a midwife. She offers cures for their ailments, listens to their complaints with an open heart and gives practical advice.

All of Miss B's knowledge is written in a mysterious book called The Willow Book. For all her kindness, she is still looked upon with suspicion. People hardly bring themselves to own that they know her. Trouble comes in the form of Dr Thomas, the fancy new physician with 'scientific' ideas and disdain for the old ways. He wishes to put Miss B out of business by luring the people of Scots Bay to "The Canning Maternity Home," for a fee of course.

Miss B knows her time has come and puts the lives of the Scots Bay women and children into the hands of a reluctant Dora. The Willow Book is left to her. Dora just wants to be normal. She wants a husband and babies and a comfortable home. Dora comes to find that the path less taken is often the lesser of two evils.

McKay writes a lyrical 'scrapbook' of a novel, filled with letters, journal entries and actual magazine advertisements. I especially liked the ad for The White Cross Battery-Powered Vibrator as a cure for hysteria. Dora's reaction to the device is priceless:


My third treatment left me glowing with exhaustion and a
bit feverish. It brings such joy to my heart, it is hard to know
what is the proper amount. (Perhaps three times in one day is too
much?)


The science of the time seems more ridiculous than the old wives cures. Dr Thomas diagnoses women as hysterical or neurotic, when modern medicine would say depression. He tells women morning sickness is in their heads.

The birth scenes can at times be heartbreaking, like all the stillbirths and deaths during the Halifax Explosion. It brought tears to my eyes. But there were also touching moments filled with mother's love. The friendships Dora cultivates as a woman are touching as well. The Occasional Knitters Society are a force to be reckoned with!

The book made me glad to be a woman in modern times with modern health care. But it also makes me realize that my health and happiness is in my own hands.

As a bonus, the book has extras in the back and on the website. Go have your tea leaves read.

4.5/5

March 10, 2007

Gone Fishin'

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Caribousmom posted about a writing contest from Scribbit. I decided to join the fun. Hope you like it!

When I think back on my childhood, I can’t remember a whole lot. The memories are sporadic: the smell of Noxema on sunburnt skin, sitting in a boat my Grandpa built or those vanilla and orange ice cream treats called Buried Treasure (Anyone remember them?). They are seemingly disconnected but for me they feel like childhood.

The summer trips are what I think of most. We didn’t have a lot of them. We really couldn’t afford to do them often. When I flip through an old photo album, the pictures remind me of those fun times. I laugh, when I see myself running from the Hansel and Gretel witch mannequin on the trip to Storybook Village. I smile, when I see the photos of my cousin and me playing on the beach.

The photo that I like the most is of me, no more than four, standing on a wharf, holding a fishing rod. This was the first time I went fishing. I remember my parents, grandparents and uncles were there. I loved having an audience. The sun was bright. I could smell the salt water mingling with the scent of the creosote painted pillars of the wharf. There was a lot of discussion and advice, when I put my line in the water. Someone helped me hold the rod. Who knows how long I stood there, but somehow I caught a fish. A tiny silver thing. Everyone cheered and Dad took that picture of me holding my fishing rod with a fish so small that it doesn’t even show up in the photo. I was pleased as punch though!

It’s how I felt that stands out the most to me about that day. I tried something new and was rewarded. It was a feeling of accomplishment. I see it on the face of my daughter, when she does something for the first time. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. They’re all great accomplishments, when you’re little. I wish I could bottle that feeling for her and give it to her on those days when nothing seems to go right. I know I could use it, once in awhile.

March 8, 2007

March 8: Booking Through Thursday

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Booking Through Thursday


  1. Do you lend your books to other people? If so, any restrictions? I lend my books mostly to my Mom. Sometimes I lend them to other family members but I know it will be awhile before I see them again. I've given up on lending to my mil. They disapppear. I write my name in pencil on the first page, so most (ahem...mil!) people know to whom they have to return. I try to only lend books that I don't mind losing.
  2. Do you borrow books from other people? (Friends or family—I'm not talking about the public library) I do borrow from family members. Sometimes they'll say, "You have to read this." I can't be rude!

  3. And, most importantly—do the books you lend/borrow get returned to their rightful owners?? Yes, although it might take me awhile. In #2 I said I might be given a book by someone who really wants me to read it. If I try and it's not my thing, I feel BAD. So, I'll keep it awhile and then sneak it back to them. I hate to lie about reading so I can't say,"Sure I read it and loved it!" Can't do it. But they always get back to the right person.

March 6, 2007

Reading Fun

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Since I'm reading The Birth House I decided to check out Ami Mckay's site. If nothing else, the site is beautiful to look at. I love the old drawings. There is a novelty page filled with fun things.


I highly recommend women take the Am I hysterical quiz? As a cure in the early 1900's, doctors suggested "vibratory treatments". Taking the quiz tells you how many you need. I scored 28/30, daily treatments are highly recommended. I wonder what my husband would think! ;)

You can also have your tea leaves read here.
Please check it out!

March 5, 2007

O Pioneers!: Review

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O Pioneers! is really not the right title for this book. It brings to my mind the image of dancing and singing farmers- a la Oklahoma. Title aside, this was a great book. It was an engaging read. It took me only 2 days to read it.

The story starts in the bleak winter of Nebraska. Alexandra, a sixteen year old Swedish immigrant and her family, are struggling to scratch out a life from the wild prairie soil. Her father on his deathbed makes her promise to make the farm prosper. He has little faith in his 2 older sons: work horses with no imagination. Alexandra is the one person capable of seeing what the land can accomplish. "She felt the future stirring." Through the hard times, Alexandra holds on, despite the goading of her brothers to sell. She intuitively knows what the land needs to bring out the best in it and she is a success.

Alexandra is now a rich lady farmer. The people who stuck it out are prosperous and like to show it. Alexandra doesn't flaunt her wealth. She is a simple, practical person who feels it's unnecessary. Although contented with her land, she is lonely. Her best friend, Carl, a sensitive young man, left the area ages ago. Her younger brother, who she put through college, is restless and unhappy. Her older brothers criticize everything she does, even though she's made them rich.

Although the living is easier, the people are restless. Carl returns causing Alexandra to question the choices she has made. Meanwhile, the emotions of the younger people boil inside them, threatening the peace of the prairie. As Carl says, "...there are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they never happened before..."

Willa Cather is an artist. I'm a girl who's spent her whole life staring at the ocean. Through Cather's writing I could see the prairie, the rolling hills, and the little farms. She has some beautiful passages, not just of the land, but of the people as well. The characters were so real and well written. Alexandra is a woman I'm going to remember for a long time. Although she is so strong, she has some fatal flaws.

I'll definitely read more of Willa Cather's work. I just wish it was more than 180 pgs long.

Randomness

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I found this blog through Writing Wrongs. My answers are in red.


randomness...feed your mind and your blog
week of March4: random words
I say, you think:
1. bug: bed
2. red: green (that's weird)
3. traffic: jam
4. apple: blossom
5. sexy: back (Darn you Justin Timberlake!)
6. book: case (need one)
7. roller coaster: scream
8. hippie: daisy
9. weekend: getaway
10. chocolate: yum!!

till next time...

March 3, 2007

Tag, you're it!

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Ok, I've been tagged by just about everyone, so here I go.


Nice to see a good Canadian representation.




Look at the list of books below: *Bold the ones you’ve read* Italicize the ones you want to read* Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in. If you are reading this (and haven't participated yet), tag, you’re it!




1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) (just bought it)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18 The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58.The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) (Classic Club Summer selection)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96.The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)


30/100: Not a lot, but I have good intentions. Besides, I've read a lot not on this list and that's ok.

March 2, 2007

At the Book Store

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I went off to spend my birthday money. Here's how you know you have a problem. I bought myself a shirt with some of my money but I made sure it wasn't too expensive so I could buy a book!



I toddled off to the book store and spent a ridiculous amount of time browsing. What to buy! What to buy! I settled on Ami Mckay's Birth House. While I was looking though I saw Vicki Pettersson's Scent of Shadows on the shelf. Susan at Writer's Tale has a contest for this book. Vicki's one of her writing pals. Didn't have a camera though. Oh well. If you so desire, go check out your book store too.

Then I went crazy and went to the coffee shop for a Chai Latte. $4 is crazy but it was soooo good!


Now dd just came in from outside, covered in mud, and asking for ice cream. Ummm...it's cold outside. She says she's sweating. It's not too bad a day, but we're getting a snow storm tomorrow. Hopefully, it will be the last and melt really quick.

And big news we're going to start building a house within the next two weeks! Hurray!


Edit: Btw, thanks for the blogging comment link help yesterday!

March 1, 2007

March1: Booking Through Thursday

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Booking Through Thursday

How many books would you say you read in an average month?
In a year?
Over the last five years?
The last 10?

Don't forget to leave a link to your actual response in the comments--or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

Lately, it's been about 2-3 a month.
Well, I didn't count them last year, but probably around 30.
Now in the last five years, I had an infant so I had a reading slump for a while. It's probably around 100.
I read a lot more before I had a baby. I was probably reading 5 a month then. Lordy, I'm not good with math! Maybe 400?
There were a lot of 'probably's' in there. LOL! More than likely, I'm underestimating, but oh well. I have this blog now to keep track.

Happy March 1st! Spring is almost here! Hurray!