June 30, 2008

Muscial Meme

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“List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they're listening to.”

Rob tagged me for this meme and I've been putting it off. Mostly, because I am not hip. I read other people's answers and they have singers and bands I've never heard of before on their lists. Meanwhile, I'm rocking out to my daughter's Family Jams (Wahoo! High School Musical Rules!) I will try my best:

1. I have a tendency to listen to an album until I'm sick of it. I'm just going to list the whole album: Mothership by Led Zepplin. I bought this for hubby for Christmas but ended up downloading it for myself. Stairway to Heaven, Heartbreaker, Kashmir and even the incredibly sexist and offensive Trampled Under Foot (Doesn't every girl dream of being compared to a car?), I love them all.

2. Although I love the whole Across the Universe Soundtrack, I especially love Joe Anderson singing Happiness Is a Warm Gun with Selma Hayek whispering 'Bang, Bang, Shoot, Shoot'.

3. Honey, Honey by Feist is one I've been listening to since the fall. It's got an otherworldly feel to it.

4. Crazy On You by Heart is an oldy but a goody. The guitar at the beginning proves that girls can play!

5. Come As You Are by Nirvana has been on my MP3 player since I was reminded of it after watching Definitely, Maybe. I remember when that song came out.

6. Mississippi by Sheryl Crow. It's just fun to listen to.

7. Bootleg Saint by Sam Roberts. I just plain like Sam Roberts but I love the rhythm to this one. There is just something purely Canadian about Sam Roberts.

I do occasionally buy new music. I might buy the new Sam Roberts album Love At the End of the World.

Please tag yourself!

Summer: A Review

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Summer by Edith Wharton was my first pick for the Read-a-thon. It took me about a half a day to read it.

As the title suggests, the book is set in the summer of the 17th year in the life of Charity Royall. When she was just a toddler the lawyer Royall, went up into the Mountain and brought her down to raise her as his ward in the village. Her parentage has always been a mystery to her and she hardly cared until the appearance of Lucius Harney. Harney is a young architect come to spend the summer with his aunt drawing the local houses. Charity falls for the young man and he with her. But like most summer romances, it's sure to end in heartbreak.

Wharton did an excellent job conveying angsty teenage romance, especially the turbulent emotions of the girl, Charity. Young love hasn't changed all that much in 100 years. Hopefully, the role of young women has by now. Charity does have a lot of opportunities for freedom. She works at the library to earn money for little day excursions to the larger town nearby. I could feel her claustrophobia in the tiny village where everyone knows everyone else's business. She's not at all like the other girls who chase the local village boys. She wants something different. I wonder if she was really in love with Harney or did he just represent every thing she wanted for herself. He was free to do and go as he liked, where she was trapped in the little village. She only wishes to escape to the Mountain and her past after she meets Harney. It's an awakening of some kind.

At times, Charity was hard to like. Although I felt sorry for her, she was quite spoiled and arrogant. Mr Royall is by no means a saint but the way she spoke to a man who took care of her when he didn't have to was terrible. She gloats to herself about the power she has over him. Still, there were parts of her personality I'm ashamed to admit I related to as a teen.

Summer is a very interesting read and an interesting look at young women at the beginning of the last century.

Recommended

And Then There Were None: A Review

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My second Agatha Christie novel was quite different from the first (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd). In this story, ten people are invited to an island on the Devon coast and arrive at the same time. It appears that they are alone on the island, deserted by their host. It soon becomes clear that whoever brought them there has nefarious reasons. Each guest is accused of the murder of another person by a mysterious recording. All crimes that have never been proven, never been tried. One by one, the guests are murdered, until....and then there were none.

The novel is told from the point of view of all the guests, one who might be the murderer of the others. It was strange reading it this way. None of the characters are sympathetic and I didn't feel any pity for them as they are killed.

The ending took me completely by surprise. I was beginning to thing that a supernatural force was at work. Christie is a sly one.

June 29, 2008

Read-a-thon Survey & Thanks

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First, a big Thank You to Dewey for hosting the Read-a-thon, to the Cheerleaders, the Readers and all the people who dropped by my blog. I've had so many visitors, I just can't thank you enough!

One finally thing before I say good-bye to the Read-a-thon: Dewey's survey:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? At about hour 13 I just couldn't stay awake any longer.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Anything short and light, Sophie Kinsella's books would do.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Can't think of anything.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? The Reader feed was awesome! So much easier than all the hopping around during the first Read-a-thon.

5. How many books did you read? 2 adult, 1 child

6. What were the names of the books you read? Summer, The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Monkey See, Monkey Do

7. Which book did you enjoy most? Summer

8. Which did you enjoy least? They were all pretty good.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I wasn't a cheerleader this time around.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I'd definitely be a Reader again.

Read-a-thon: Done!

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It's been over 24 hours for me. I just finished The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing.

Here's how it looks:

Summer by Edith Wharton 216 pages The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank 274 pages Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman (a couple of stories) Monkey See, Monkey Do by Marc Gave (for the kid)

Not bad.


Here's my Photo Collage for Lori's Mini-Challenge:

I'm off to take a shower.

Read-a-thon: 11 am

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Wow! It's almost 24 hours since I started reading. I took a small 7 hour break (just a little one) but I've reached the goals I set. I'm actually a little surprised.

Anyway, I'm on page 197 of The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing. It has it's ups and downs but mostly it's ups.

Btw, during hour 22 if you visit and comment on the readers of the hour you could win the bookmark I made (shameless plug).

Mini-Challenge: Picture

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For Eva's Mini-Challenge.


Breakfast of Reading Champions

Read-a-thon: 8:45 am

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I'm back! I'm ready to read again. I just couldn't stay up all night. I'd be too cranky.

Read-a-thon: 1am

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Tried reading a few stories from Fragile Things. I think I'm too tired to concentrate on Neil Gaiman. In fact, I'm too tired for anything. I'm going to bed for the night. Good luck everyone!

June 28, 2008

Mini-Challenge: Button

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**This hour’s mini-challenge is a Design a Read-a-thon Button challenge!**

Here's my design:

Read-a-thon: 11:30 pm

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My cozy socks


Snacks

What I'm reading


Reading pals

My eyes are getting tired. It's time for more coffee. I'm 110 pgs into The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing. Jane has grown up and has an affair with some old dude. I'm not sure if I'm liking this book. Maybe it's time for a change.

Read-a-thon: 9:15 pm

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Okay. Now we're getting serious. The kid is in bed, finally and hubby is in the kitchen making tea biscuits. Yum! I'm in my pjs and fluffy pink socks. After I put some coffee on, I'll be ready for a night of reading.

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing is a big change of pace from Summer. However, they're both books about teenaged girls in the Eastern US. And they both start in the summertime. So different, yet so similar. Hm.

Anyway, I'm 32 pgs in. Jane seems like a typical smart-arsed teen.

Read-a-thon: 7:30 pm

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I finally finished Summer: 216 pgs. Although it was great writing, it's not really the kind of book to read during the Read-a-thon. It was quite intense. I'll review some other time though.

So, I think I'll see what everyone else is up to and then start on Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing.

Read-a-thon: 5:30

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Nothing read from Summer since the last update. I had to do a bit of housework but the kid wanted to read. We read Monkey See, Monkey Do by Marc Gave. She did very well.

Read-a-thon: 4:30pm

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It's about 4:30: 147 pgs of Summer. I'm enjoying this book but I think my next book will be something lighter.

The sun has come out but the breeze is nice and cool. Sitting on the back deck isn't as pleasant as the front porch. There are baby spiders everywhere and the odor of the stables down the street is distracting. I'll be sitting in the front soon.

Read-a-thon: 3 pm

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So, I've been reading 3 hours: 104 pgs of Summer.

I had to stop and make lunch for the kid, do some laundry and filled the bird feeders. I've done most of my reading outside. The fresh air really makes a difference.

I've wished a few fellow Read-a-thoners luck by stopping into their blogs.
Thanks for the comments everyone. I'll drop in to see you later in the day.

I'm breaking now for tea!

Nymeth's Mini-Challenge:

I read Unshelved's Coraline. That was cute. I have Coraline in the TBR pile. I'm saving it for Carl's RIP Challenge. I'll have to read Unshelved more often.

Read-a-thon: First Check In

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I'm terrible at figuring out the time differences so I decided to start while I had the chance. The kid went to the playground and hubby is puttering in the garage. I started close to 12 pm my time. So, I've read just over an hour.

I've been reading Summer by Edith Wharton. I'm on page 63. I love her way of writing. I'm involved in it now. Charity is a girl 'down from the Mountain' who was taken in by a lawyer. She's just learning about her roots now and is falling in love with a boy from the city. Knowing Wharton, there won't be a happy ending.

Thanks for all the comments so far!!

Mini Challenge #1

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From Darcie

Where are you reading from today? My chaise in the house or swing on the porch in Nova Scotia, Canada.

3 facts about me …
*Hmmmm... I'm feeling rather cranky at the moment. I'm being pestered. That's a fact.

*I need more coffee. The coffee in my cup is c-c-cold.

*I'm not in love with the shampoo I used today. It's smells manish.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? The pile is infinite, but for now 5 or so.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? To read one complete book would be nice.

Any advice for people doing this for the first time? I was a cheerleader last year not a reader. Just have fun!

Read-a-thon: Lists

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*Got up.
*Took shower.
*Dried hair.
*Went to Farmer's Market (Bought haddock).
*Laundry.
*Made waffles.


Books on hand:
*Summer by Edith Wharton (Novella & Classics Challenge)
*Farworld (ARC Challenge- YA/Fantasy)
*Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing (my light reading pick)
*The kid's library books (for quality time with the kid)
*Anything that looks interesting.

Although this is a 24 hour Read-a-thon, I will be reading as much as I can in 24 hours. Let's see how that turns out.

June 26, 2008

BTT: My Definition

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Booking Through Thursday

What, in your opinion, is the definition of a “reader.” A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what it is? … Or, more specific? Like the specific person who’s reading something you wrote?

Booking Through Thursday is becoming quite philosophical. I define myself as a Reader (capital R) because I can't stop reading. Even cereal boxes interest me. If it passes in front of my face, I'm going to read it. A Reader enjoys reading. A Reader will read as entertainment. Reading is a hobby, an obsession, a compulsion.

Not everyone is a Reader. I know quite a few who are not. It's really too bad because I'd love to share my passion with them. Oh well...

At the moment, I'm encouraging my budding Reader, my little girl. She's just discovered chapter books, specifically Junie B. Jones. That kid cracks me up.

As for the last question, I think of anyone who visits my blog as My Readers. That anyone reads my blog is a great compliment and I appreciate you all.

June 25, 2008

Read-a-thon!

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Just a reminder, Dewey's Read-a-thon is this weekend. I've got to get my books ready. What will you be reading? I'd like to see what you all have up your sleeves.

Dewey posted this list of Read-a-thon tips. Very helpful.

a. When you stop reading to write an updating post, come here to check in for mini-challenges and prize drawings before you post. I think some people missed some of these last time because they posted and went straight back to reading. Also, you will probably need frequent reading breaks to stay sane!

b. Have an audio book on hand for when you want to run errands, pick up kids, do some chores, go for a run, etc. Some people found that audio books were also just nice breaks when their eyes were tired.

c. Start off with a short or light book so you have an early feeling of accomplishment when you finish it.

d. Have some light reading or humorous books for the end when you’re tired.

e. Have some pre-made snacks on hand so you don’t have to stop too often make yourself meals.




Good luck and have fun!

June 23, 2008

Weekly Geeks #9: Challenges

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1. If you participate in any challenges, get organized! Update your lists, post about any you haven’t mentioned, add links of reviews to your lists if you do that, go to the challenge blog if there is one and post there, etc.

2. If you don’t participate in any challenges, then join one! There’s a good selection of possibilities over on my right hand sidebar (scroll down) where I list those I participate in. There’s also A Novel Challenge, a blog that keeps track of all sorts of reading challenges.

3. Towards the end of the week, write a wrap-up post about getting your challenges organized OR if you’re joining your first challenge, post about that any time during the week.

This is a timely post. I need to update my challenge lists anyway.

Let's start with the newest:

The ARC Challenge hosted by Teddy (June 21- September 21, 2008)
I just joined The ARC Challenge and hadn't blogged about it yet. Here you go, Teddy.
(4-6 ARC's then pick at least two to read and review for this challenge.)
  1. *The Other by David Guterson
  2. *False Colours by Georgette Heyer
  3. *Master Pip
  4. *Loyalists and Layabouts
  5. *Farworld
  6. *There maybe others depending if they were sent.

The Canadian Book Challenge (Part 2. Begins July 1, 2008- July 1, 2009)
  1. The Assassin's Song by M.G. Vassanji
  2. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnson
  3. Negotiating with the Dead by Margaret Atwood
  4. The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
  5. The Underpainter by Jane Urquhart
  6. Yellowknife by Steve Zipp
  7. Coureurs de Bois by Bruce MacDonald
  8. Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
  9. Getting Over Edgar by Joan Barfoot
  10. Jane Austen by Carol Shields
  11. No Great Mischief by Alastair MacLeod
  12. Late Nights On Air by Elizabeth Hay
  13. Something from Timothy Findley
The Canadian Book Challenge (The Original. Ends July 1, 2008))
The Classics Challenge (July-December, 2008)
  1. The Lifted Veil: George Eliot
  2. Summer: Edith Wharton
  3. Far From the Madding Crowd: Thomas Hardy
  4. North & South: Elizabeth Gaskell
  5. Hard Times: Charles Dickens
The Novella Challenge (April- September, 2008)
  1. Lesley Castle: Jane Austen
  2. Stardust: Neil Gaiman
  3. Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury
  4. Breakfast at Tiffany's: Truman Capote
  5. The Lifted Veil: George Eliot
  6. Summer: Edith Wharton
19th Century Women Writers Challenge (all 2008)
  • The Last Man By Mary Shelley (For free from Girlebooks)
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • Anne of the Windy Poplars by Lucy Maude Montgomery
  • A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott
  • Sonnets from the Portuguese (poetry) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I finished The Austen Mini Challenge.

I think that's it! It's more than I thought, actually. I was trying to cut back. Yikes!

June 22, 2008

The Other: A Review

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I recently received The Other by David Guterson for review from Random House (you can purchase a copy at Random House). You may have heard of a little book called Snow Falling on Cedars. Yep, he wrote that one too. I haven't read anything from him before (didn't see the movie either) so I came to his work fresh.

It's a rather bizarre tale. Neil Countryman is a middle class kid in Seattle who randomly meets a rich loner named John William Barry. For some reason, Neil is drawn to John William and the two become friends. They go hiking and get high together until they graduate and go their separate ways. Neil spends a small inheritance on school and a trip to Europe, where he meets his future wife, an independent and feet-firmly-on-the-ground kind of person. Meanwhile, John William becomes ever more surly and withdrawn, choosing to live like a hermit in the woods. Eventually, John William asks Neil to help him disappear completely and for years Neil has to live with keeping the secret of where is and what happened to John William from the recluse's family.

Like I said, it's bizarre. There is a lot of set up to explain why John William is such a weirdo and why Neil goes along with his strange plan. Honestly, I love my friends but I'm not carving out a cave in the middle of the forest for them. Not even if we are 'blood brothers'. I keep trying to figure out the hold John William had over Neil and I'm not sure I buy it.

In some ways, The Other reminds me of The Great Gatsby, if Gatsby was a dirty, smelly, know-it-all. Nick Carraway is a writer trying to piece together the life of his friend Gatsby. Neil Countryman is also a writer explaining the life of John William. Gatsby's wealth is his undoing. John William's wealth is part of his undoing- his wanting to be rid of it, that is. However, where Gatsby is charismatic, John William is an angry loner.

I found it hard to feel sympathy for John William. He's antagonizing. He's got a smart answer for everything and likes to make Neil feel like a hypocrite time and again. John William is a gnostic, which I had to look up. Basically, we're all ants and God is a bully with a magnifying glass. At least, that's how I understand it. And while I can see how this causes much of John William's despair, I think he enjoys any excuse to wallow in self-pity. I kept waiting for a big reveal at the end to explain his behaviour, but when it came it was a bit of a let down.

However, I did like Neil and his wife, Jamie. They're a cool pair. She's got bags of patience when it comes to John William. Preternatural bags of patience. There is a lot to ponder from this book and Lordy is Neil wordy, (Do we need to know what he had for breakfast in 1972?) but it's an interesting predicament he's in, even though I think he gets off a bit too easy.

So, I think I'll Recommend this book to you all.

(Remember, if you've reviewed this one too, leave a link in the comments.)

June 19, 2008

BTT: Tastes like Chicken

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Booking Through Thursday

Flavour

Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

For me it's mostly about the words. I like a clever turn of phrase. I like a sentence that makes me pause. Carol Shields was so good at this. She had a way of writing the simpliest of sentences, no $10 words, in such a way as to say something so true and honest but in a way I've never thought of before. Something that's very difficult to do, actually. How could she take a collection of everyday words and make it into something unique?

Recently, I read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie and as I said in my review, there was a scene that I thought was brilliant writing. A group of people sat around playing Mah Jongg. The players gossip about the murder, throwing out ideas as they pepper their dialogue with Mah Jongg 'speak'. The looks, the comments are so much like what would happen at anyone's house during Saturday night card game. There was a reality and an ordinariness to it even though the book is a mystery about a baffling crime.

I guess I'm not especially impressed with exotic locations or events. It's the ordinary made extraordinary that impresses me.

June 17, 2008

Wordless: Father's Day

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More Wordless

June 16, 2008

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

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This was my first Agatha Christie novel. It was like a fun game of Clue.

Dr Shepard, a small town doctor in rural England, narrates the details of the murder of a local wealthy businessman. It seems that a number of people would have benefitted from his death: his hard up stepson, his noisy butler, his lonely housekeeper, to name a few. However, the murder might have more to do with the blackmailing of a widow than the financial problems of his household. It's up to retired inspector Hercule Poirot to get to the bottom of the case.

In the era of CSI, the ending wasn't really all that surprising (I had my suspicions) but does seem a little sneaky of Christie. I'm still not sure it makes much sense. Anyway, I found Poirot to be an engaging and quirky character. I won't mind reading more of his adventures. There is also a funny scene involving Mah Jongg, that I thought was a great piece of writing.

Recommended.

Read-a-thon Meme

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Athena tagged me for the Read-a-thon Meme. Since I'm participating in Dewey's Read-a-thon, it's fairly appropriate.

If I had 24 hours to read, be my goals would be… to finish one full book.

This is what I am going to have to do to get 24 hours of reading… That's not going to happen with a 5 year old and a husband. They are going to expect some of my time. I can't just say, "Sorry, reading."

If someone asked me for recommendations of “can’t put down” books for the read-a-thon, I would recommend: The Thirteenth Tale and The Time Traveler's Wife

If you participated in the October 2007 read-a-thon:
For you, what was your favorite part of the October read-a-thon and why? I was a cheerleader for October's Read-a-thon. It was fun cheering people on and watching everyone's progress. It made me decide to join in!

How many hours/ books/ pages were you able to read in the Read-a-thon? I read a bit but mostly I was visiting blogs.

As for tagging, Samantha @ Bookworms and tea lovers and Gautami are participants.

June 12, 2008

BTT: Clubbing the Book

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Booking Through Thursday

A combo of two suggestions by: Heidi and by litlove

Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose (ot, if you haven’t been, what do you think is the best way to choose) the next book and who would lead discussion?

Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will? Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?


This is a great question. I've never been a member of a face-to-face group, but over the years I've been part of online groups. Most, I've lost interest in, but one group, The Classics Club, is the one of been part of the longest. It's 4 years now! Wow!

I've been moderator for 1 year now, and while it can be a lot of work, it's very rewarding. It's a great group to be a part of. What makes it a good group, I think, is organization. When it comes time to choose a book, all members have the option to suggest a book. Then we have a vote and the one with the most votes wins. While everyone has the choice to opt out, we require that members not miss more 2 book discussions in a row. Lurking is frowned upon. We need to discuss to have a discussion!

I think each member has their own relationship with the books we chose. The books are classic literature. Some of us love classics, others want to love classics. Some feel that these are the books they should be reading, some would have read them anyway. I think most of us are glad when we've finished a book. I've read members say that they would never have picked up a certain book, if it weren't for the group. Sometimes the books can be a struggle, but ultimately we are glad we've read them. There is so much to get from classic books.

Each member brings something different to the discussion. We all interpret what we read different because of our own life experience. I've been surprised by some of the ideas that have come up during the discussion. I see a whole new way of looking at a passage or a sentence. The discussion has only enhanced my reading.

Of course, it is nice to read something just because too!

June 10, 2008

Wordless: Unable to Soar

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This pair of eagles reside at the wildlife park near my home. Both suffered an accident. After their rescue and recovery, they were taken to the park to live. Neither one can be released into the wild because their injuries were so severe. Poor guys.

More Wordless

June 9, 2008

Girl Movies with a Bookish Twist

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Dear hubby was away for work last week and I took the opportunity to catch up on some movie watching. I had a list of a few I've wanted to watch for awhile. God love him, but hubby is a terrible person to watch girl movies with. He sighs, fidgets, rolls his eyes and generally gets on my nerves when I'm engrossed in a particularly tissue worthy scene. I'd rather he be out of the house. So, I left the local movie store with 4 DVDs with a bookish twist. Here are my thoughts:

First up, Nancy Drew. I watched this with the kid. Actually, I watched. She ate a whole bowl of popcorn and spent most of the movie asking questions. At the end, she declared that she loved it. Myself, I wasn't so impressed. The movie had a dual personality. Okay, so she's old fashioned Nancy solving mysteries, then why send her to LA? Apparently, to point out to the audience, with the help of some annoying 'mean girls' that Nancy is different. So, is it a mystery or a teen angst flick? I spent most of it wishing I had reread Secret of the Old Clock instead. It would have been a better use of time.


The same night, The Jane Austen Book Club. I so enjoyed this. I haven't read the book yet, but now really want to. I love how the characters related their own lives to each Jane Austen book. It made me want a club like that myself. Maybe some Austen purists will poo-poo it, but I found it cleverly done. I want a "What Would Jane Do" t-shirt.



Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst. I was interested in seeing this after reading Marie-Therese, Child of Terror. I was disappointed by it. It was Reality Bites, if it was the 1700's and the characters were all Bourbons. The dialogue was too modern and there was gratuitous shopping. I was a bit bored. On a positive note, the scenery and the costumes were gorgeous.



The Painted Veil. Hubby returned for this one. An adaptation of a Somerset Maugham novel, starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts, and how can you go wrong with Edward Norton. He's an amazing actor. A couple marry for the wrong reason, the wife has an affair and as punishment the husband drags her into the middle of China during a cholera epidemic. Somehow they fall madly in love with each other... and then bad stuff happens. I liked how this was about marriage and how people don't really know each until the sh*t hits the fan. Also, beautiful to look at. I'd watch it again.

So, it was 2 duds and 2 greats. Not bad.

So any recommendations for my next chick flick night?

June 8, 2008

Weekly Geeks #7

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I skipped WG last week, since it was about catching up with my book reviews. Luckily, I'm all caught up there.

Let’s have Photos Week.

1. Decide what to illustrate and start taking photos: Most of you are book bloggers, so you may want to post photos of your favorite reading spot, your TBR pile(s), your local book store, your favorite librarian, your child reading, etc. You may want to post several photos of a certain topic (like all nine of your kids reading!) or a mixed bag of photos that are unrelated except that they’re bookish. Or you may want to post just one photo, it’s up to you. If you have a different type of blog, post photos of whatever you think is suitable.

2. Create a post of your photos.

3. Don’t forget! Also link in your post to another participant’s WG photo post. Weekly Geeks is a community thing, remember! If you’re one of the first finished, of course, you may have to add your link later. See if you can find someone you don’t normally read to link to.

4. Once your post is up, come back and leave a link to that specific post.

Here are some pics of books around my house:



Books in my cabinet.



A closer look at my cute book girl. I bought this from the Etsy shop The Dreamy Giraffe.


For some reason, some of my photos end up sideways when I post them. Everybody lean!


Part (yes, part) of my Martha Stewart Living collection.


Now for #3 of this week's challenge, linking to some other posts:

Book Nut took some great shots of her kids in a fountain. We have one of those in our park here too. I took some great pics of the kid last year- scrapbook worthy. There is just something joyful and spontaneous about kids in a fountain.

Nymeth took a few shots of her cat surrounding by books. I love taking pics of my cats as well.

Debi takes a good shot of a nice stack of books she recently acquired. I've been known to do that :).

Have you Geeked this week? Leave a comment.

June 7, 2008

Just because...

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this is so darned cute!!

cat
more cat pictures

A Fine Balance: Review

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If you're a regular reader of my blog, you might have noticed that I haven't done a review in a while. That's because I've been tackling Rohinton Mistry's massive novel A Fine Balance.

I can't begin to explain this novel. It's about love, injustice, pain, kindness, violence and compassion. This book has left an imprint on my mind that I don't think will wear off. I still keep thinking I have to go back to the book to see how Dina is doing and then realize that there is no more.

Most of the novel occurs during the Emergency of 1975 in India. The cities have become overflowing with the poor of India seeking work and shelter. Two lower caste tailors are among the masses: Ishvar and Om. They've come to make some money to open their own business back in their village. Terrible things have happened to them but the worst is yet to come.

Maneck is a somewhat spoiled son of a shopkeeper, sent to the city to get an education. He is unprepared for the inhumanity of the city.

Dina Dalal, a lonely widow, is determined to make a life for herself without the heavy-handed help of her brother. She's built a wall around her heart, believing she should keep people at a distance as a form of self-preservation. However, the wall starts to come down after she hires the two tailors and rents out a room to Maneck. Slowly, they become a family that just keeps on expanding.

I'm amazed at Mistry's talent. These people are living and breathing, not just characters. They have depth. Dina is a tough cookie but she is filled with fear and doubt. Her one liners made me laugh out loud. Ishvar is such an optimist, the poor old guy. Om is defiant. And Maneck a mix of all three. He's got such a tender heart. As the book progressed, I had to put it down several times. I didn't think I could go on reading, as awful thing after awful thing happened to these good people. But I couldn't leave them alone.

This is not a happy book. There aren't any answers and no happy endings, but that can be what life is, especially in a time and place where only the corrupt survive. Still, there are glimpses that caring and compassion exist, as one character puts it "a fine balance between hope and despair."

Although it maybe hard to read at times, I highly recommend that you read this book.

June 5, 2008

BTT: Feeling Trendy

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Booking Through Thursday

Have your book-tastes changed over the years?
More fiction? Less? Books that are darker and more serious? Lighter and more frivolous? Challenging? Easy? How-to books over novels? Mysteries over Romance?


My book tastes do change every few years or so. I'll go through a chick lit faze or a historical fiction faze. As I get older, I find I'm enjoying the serious literature more than I used to, like Margaret Atwood, for example. In my twenties, I wouldn't have given Margie the time of day. (Do you think anyone calls her Margie?) Too dark, too depressing. Now that I'm older and realize that life isn't all sunshine and lollipops, I can appreciate her a little better. Still, there are times it gets to be too much and I have to reach for something funny.

I used to read a lot of mysteries and romance but I've eased up on that. Blogging has affected my bookshelf. Not only is it bulging with books 'to be read' but there are authors on there I hadn't even heard of before I became a book blogger: Neil Gaiman, Colleen Gleason.

I can't see myself sticking with one style of book forever. I like some variety.

June 3, 2008

Wordless: Dogwood

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More Wordless

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