Friday, July 31, 2009

Japanese Literature Challenge 3

It's happened again... I've signed up for another irresistible challenge. This time it is the Japanese Literature Challenge 3 hosted by Bellezza, and I feel no guilt whatsoever! Her rules are simple:

"This year, all you have to do is read one work of Japanese origin. It can be literature of course, but don’t feel confined to that. You may choose to read poetry, biographies, short stories or even manga. If you are willing to read one such piece, you’ve met the challenge. If you read more, all the better."

The challenge will run from July 30, 2009 until January 30, 2010. Bellezza has set up a special review site just for this challenge. There are two different buttons you can choose from, and she has some lovely prizes!

The book I have chosen is After Dark by Haruki Murakami. Several bloggers have suggested this as a good introduction to Murakami's work. I made a special trip to Barnes & Noble yesterday, and am eager to begin.

Are you curious about Japanese Literature? Why not consider joining the fun? Thank you, Bellezza, for hosting this challenge.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Booking Through Thursday - Recent Funnies

Today's question:

What's the funniest book you've read recently?

My answer:

This question has lead me to a startling discovery. I don't really read funny books - it seems that I prefer to listen to them! A quick glance through my books read in the last year or so shows that all funny books have been audios. The funniest were:

by David Sedaris
-read by the author

by Nora Ephron
-read by the author

Both of these books were laugh-out-loud funny and made my drive time fly by.

To see more answers or leave your own, visit today's Booking Through Thursday.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Modern Love by T. C. Boyle

"There was no exchange of body fluids on the first date, and that suited both of us just fine."

How's that for an opening line? "Modern Love" is the first story in T.C. Boyle's 1998 collection simply entitled, stories. The book is divided into three sections: Love, Death, And Everything In Between.

In "Modern Love", an unnamed male begins a relationship with a hygienically obsessed editor of Anthropology Today magazine. On the first date she says,

"I usually bring a disposable sanitary sheet for public theaters - just think of who might have been on that seat before you, and how many times, and what sort of nasty festering little cultures of this and that there must be in all those ancient dribbles of taffy and Coke and extra-butter popcorn - but I didn't want you to think I was too extreme or anything on the first date, so I didn't. And then the ladies room ... You don't think I'm overreacting, do you?"

The man really wants to make this relationship work, so he is willing to take things slow and, eventually, even submits to a physical exam and barrage of tests from the woman's personal physician. Of course, this relationship is doomed to fail.

T.C. Boyle is such a readable author. His writing perfectly captures the emotion and motivation of his characters. Boyle, quite simply, gets it right. Stories is one of my purchases from Friday night's library sale, and I know I'll enjoy working my way through this huge collection!

Visit The Book Mine Set to see who else has a short story post today. You can leave a link to one of your own, too.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

TSS - The Library Book Sale

(click on picture to enlarge)

Another lovely summer week, and a sigh of regret as July draws to a close. Summer is, indeed, a very short season in central New York! In our town, the last weekend of July has long been reserved for the annual Friends of the Library used book sale. I spent eight years on the board (including five as treasurer) and, even after a few years off, it's still a relief not to spend the entire months of May, June, and July sorting, classifying, and pricing books. It's also a real pleasure to attend the sale as a shopper!

A new feature was added a couple years ago - a two hour Friday night preview exclusively for the Friends of the Library members! This ticket-only event (complete with wine and cheese) has proved to be wildly popular. It allows for a friendly, relaxed book-browsing atmosphere. We all know, far too well I'm afraid, the frenzy and crush of the opening hours of a used book sale. The dealers, often equipped with scanners, descend en masse and scoop up shelves of books at a time...before most of us even get so much as a glance at the titles. This evening preview says thank-you for the Friends support throughout the year.

Time was spent browsing the stacks in the library barn and under the tent. In my Booking Through Thursday post this week, I stated my preference for new books. Used books have to be in excellent condition and must pass the 'smell test'. I cannot read a musty-smelling book, and am sure I looked more than a little ridiculous smelling each book before placing it in my bag! My purchases are pictured above. You may click on the picture to enlarge the image.

Left stack, bottom up:
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale
The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations
About Alice by Calvin Trillin
The Discomfort Zone by Jonathan Franzen
On Writing by Stephen King
The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

Right stack, bottom up:
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Stories by T.C. Boyle
Water Music by T.C. Boyle
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Of course this is enough to last for many, many months, and I'm very excited about these finds. Have you read any of them? There is a mix of fiction and non-fiction, prize winners, short stories, essay, travel, and reference. Many of these were already on my wish list or have been favorably reviewed by fellow bloggers. The best part though, is the bottom line... just over thirty dollars!

My annual goal (resolution?) for this sale is to buy fewer books than I donate. This year I succeeded. Sometime within the next month or so, I will put a box in the back of the closet and begin collecting books for next year's sale.

Do you go to used book sales in the summer? Does your library have an annual sale, or does it have one ongoing throughout the year? What about the book dealers? I know their stock has to come from somewhere, but how do you feel about those scanners? I'd love to hear about your book sale experiences!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

An Award!

A beautiful summer week just got even better thanks to Icedream at Reading in Appalachia. She was kind enough to honor me with the "Heartfelt Award"!

So, what is this award about?

"Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when you're relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family and friends? You know the feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea, or a hot toddy? That is what the Heartfelt Award is all about, feeling warm inside. Rules: Put the logo on your blog/post. Nominate up to to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside.Be sure to link your nominees within your post. Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award."

I enjoy my visits to Reading in Appalachia. Icedream has some excellent reviews and participates in several popular memes. In fact, yesterday's Friday Finds post added yet another book to my wish list. It even prompted me to sign up for an account at The Book Depository so I can order this new book upon it's release!

Passing on awards is difficult! I'll post a list, and then immediately think of another blog that is deserving. But, here is my list for the Heartfelt Award:

Verity at The B Files

These blogs somehow always mange to bring a smile to my face and warm my heart. If you aren't already a regular visitor, why not stop by and say hello? And, thanks again to Icedream for thinking of me...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lost In Austen, DVD

The Everything Austen Challenge is officially underway! Over the course of two evenings last week, Lost in Austen served as our kick-off event. Daughter #1 (who has decided to become an unofficial participant) and I thoroughly enjoyed watching this DVD.

The premise is such fun! Amanda Price, a modern gal in London who finds solace in Jane Austen's novels, hears strange noises coming from her bathroom one evening. Upon investigation, she is stunned to find Elizabeth Bennett standing in her bathtub. Lizzie has just stepped through a magical door behind the shower.

When Amanda decides to pass through the door in the plumbing, she emerges into the Bennett's attic! Accessing the activity around her, she is thrilled to discover that she's "at the beginning" of the story. Of course she knows how the novel is supposed to proceed, and Amanda does her best to ensure the proper outcome. However, some very entertaining complications arise - much to the delight of the viewers in this household!

One of my favorite moments occurs when Amanda, standing near the fountain with a white-shirt clad Darcy, asks him to "indulge" her for a moment. Before you know it, Darcy dives in to the water and emerges 'a la Colin Firth'! We were quite literally roaring with laughter at this point.

One can only imagine what Jane's reaction would be to the current spin-offs and permutations of her novels. Biographers tell us she had quite a sense of humor, so I like to think Jane would be amused. We've certainly strayed and wide from Pride and Prejudice!

The Everything Austen Challenge continues. Daughter #1 read Pride & Prejudice & Zombies this week, and I've nearly convinced her to write a guest post for me. Either Two Guys Read Jane Austen or The Annotated Pride and Prejudice will be next up for me. Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Booking Through Thursday - Preferences

Today's Question:
Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–we’ll do more detail at some later date)

Reading something frivolous? Or something serious?
- something serious, although occasional frivolity is good...especially in the summer

Paperbacks? Or hardcovers?

Fiction? Or Nonfiction?

Poetry? Or Prose?

Biographies? Or Autobiographies?

History? Or Historical Fiction?
-historical fiction

Series? Or Stand-alones?

Classics? Or best-sellers?

Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose?
-I need both in my 'literary diet'

Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness?

Long books? Or Short?
-again, I like a mix

Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated?

Borrowed? Or Owned?

New? Or Used?

Definitely a short and sweet BTT this week! Check for more responses here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - July 21

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Here's how it works:
-grab your current read
-open to a random page
-share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the page (avoid spoilers!)
-be sure to include the title and author so other TT participants can add the book to their tbr list if they like your teaser
-leave a comment with your link at Should Be Reading

My Teaser:
"As a couple, there is some sense about us that feels like risk, like adventure, like the tight, sharp bubbles of a good Prosecco. Even when we bewilder each other, make each other screaming crazy, there's a bright metal ring to us like the resonance of something gold and something silver tumbling fast across wet stones. It feels as if we're living on the eve of a rapture." (page 91)

by Marlena de Blasi

My virtual vacation in Italy continues. I think I want to stay forever...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

TSS - My (virtual) Week in Italy and an Award

Good morning, Saloners! It's another quiet Sunday morning here. I'm the first one up, have poured the coffee, turned on the laptop, and am ready for my weekly visit to the Sunday Salon.

We've settled into a comfortable summer routine this week, and I finally finished The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim. I read this book very slowly to savour every moment in Italy...yet my 'virtual vacation' still ended far too quickly! My review will be posted later in the week.

That time in Italy was so enjoyable, I decided to stay on and begin Marlena de Blasi's A Thousand Days in Venice. This is her true story of falling in love (almost at first sight) while on assignment in Venice, packing up her house in St Louis, and beginning a new life in Italy with the Venetian 'stranger'. It's a quick read, so I'll be finishing within the next couple of days. Both books are for Molly's Summer Vacation reading challenge.

On audio, I completed Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri's Pulitzer Prize winning short story collection. Each story was very well done and I'd be hard pressed to come up with a favorite. Her other collection, Unaccustomed Earth, is one of my favorite books this year.

The Everything Austen Challenge is officially underway! My TV time was spent watching Lost in Austen on DVD. I'll be posting on that this week, too.

Finally, Miss Remmers' Review has presented me with the Kreative Blogger Award!
Miss Remmers is a blogger I have only recently discovered. She is a college student, aspiring author and teacher, and maintains a wonderful blog! In accepting the award, I need to list seven of my favorite things.

1. My family - I have a wonderful husband and three teenage daughters that mean the world to me. My parents and four of my five siblings also live close-by, so we see each other often.

2. Books - obviously!

3. The lake - Being near water has such a calming effect on my soul. I love watching the lake change daily and with the seasons.

4. Cooking - I love to cook and try new recipes.

5. Wine - Whether it's finding an ideal pairing to go with a meal, putting away an inexpensive wine for several years to find it aged to perfection, or visiting a vineyard, my husband and I both enjoy tasting and learning about wines.

6. Sports - I am the world's best spectator! My husband often says this interest was wasted on him, and insists that I would have made some sports fan a great wife. Whether it's the kids' games, pro or college football, baseball, or college basketball (my favorite) ...I love a good game!

7. Gardening - A newer hobby, I started a small perennial garden 5 years ago and have been expanding and experimenting ever since.

Thank you, Miss Remmers, for thinking of me! It's always hard to pass on awards, but I've decided to give this award to a few bloggers I have recently discovered:

Ivy at willing to see less - a new blogger from Croatia
Lilli at bookbabie - check out the beautiful photos
Becca at Bookstack - she's a wonderful writer!

Stop by and say hello to these new friends of mine.

If you're still reading this very long, rambling post (perhaps I should have done the award separately?), thank you! I'll be spending my afternoon in Venice. Where will your reading take you today?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Library Loot - July 17

Yesterday was library day. Many of you may remember that our 16 year old twins are learning to drive this summer, and it was Twin B's day to act as Mom's chauffeur. We made it to the library without incident, successfully navigating the two traffic lights in the village. (It's a small village and the second was just installed last year!) Three holds had arrived, so there was no additional browsing. My tbr pile is looking a bit overwhelming at the moment!

Here's what I picked up:
A Guide to the Birds of East Africa
by Nicholas Drayson

Staci's excellent review convinced me to order this one. The back cover says it's "a book of immense charm: a sort of P.G.Wodehouse meets Alexander McCall Smith."
How can I not love this?

by Thomas Mann
I've been wanting to read Mann for some time now and recently listened to a Teaching Company lecture on this novella. Since I'm spending my summer vacation reading challenge in Italy, the time finally seems right. Last night while reading A Thousand Days in Venice, the author mentioned her routine of reading this book in bed each morning. Reading synchronicity!

by Jonathan Franzen
This is an essay collection by the author of The Corrections. I loved that book and have been thinking of reading this one for years. I still need to read essays for the 2009 mini-challenges. I've only read one from the last couple of collections I checked out, and the challenge calls for two. Hopefully, I'll be in an essay-reading mood sometime before this needs to be returned.

That was it for the library. After a quick stop at the post office and bank, Twin B drove me home. What did you find at the library this week?

Library Loot is a weekly meme co-hosted by Eva and Marg. Visit Marg at Reading Adventures to see who else has loot to share this week, or post your own!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Booking Through Thursday - TBR

Today's BTT question asks:

Do you keep all your unread books together, like books in a waiting room? Or are they scattered throughout your shelves, mingling like party-goers waiting for the host to come along?

My answer:

For the most part, I keep all of my unread books in one spot. There is a bookcase in my bedroom especially for tbr books. However, some classic tbr's occupy space in our main family room bookcase. Here you will find The Woman in White shelved next to The Moonstone. Death Comes for the Archbishop waits patiently beside My Antonia and O Pioneers!, and Summer is tucked in between The Custom of the Country and The House of Mirth. A few others on this shelf include Bleak House, To The Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway, and Light in August (maybe a good read for next month?).

TBR library books are stacked on a small table or on the windowsill near my favorite reading/blogging chair. I like to keep them separate from books I own - it's easier to renew or return them on time that way.

Finally, there is my 'immediate tbr pile' on the nightstand. These are books that I plan to start very soon, and is usually no more than 2 or 3 books high. Sometimes, however, I'll get too ambitious and it grows to six or more, but I don't like that to happen too often. That's when I tend to rush through one book to get to the next...and my enjoyment decreases as the pile shrinks.

How about you? Where do your tbr books 'belong'?

Visit today's Booking Through Thursday post to see all the answers.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- July 15

Sunday's regatta

What's Your Travel Personalty?

In honor of the summer vacation season, here's a quiz I found at Kittling Books.

Your Travel Personality Is: The Sophisticate
You're well educated and cultured, and the places you travel to reflect that.
You appreciate the best art, food, architecture, and local flavor.
A true traveler, you are destined to be multi-lingual and very worldly.

What's your travel personality?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mailbox Market?

Saturday's visit to the farmer's market ended at my favorite independent bookstore, conveniently located just across the green. "Mailbox Market" is the result.

The past few weeks, we've been bypassing the small market in our village and traveling almost 30 minutes to the larger, more 'funky' market a few towns over where we recently discovered the best organic free-range chickens ever! The university bookstore is an added bonus.

I set out bright and early (which means 10AM for a college student!) with Daughter #1 and Twin A. We were disappointed to learn that our favorite farmer will be out of chickens until the end of the month. The dozen eggs provided a small consolation. After a walk around the green, our bag was full of summer squash, green and red peppers, radishes, and lettuce.

At the end of the green, Daughter #1 asked if we had time for a quick browse in the book store. How could I refuse? We emerged with:

by Jack Murnighan

I was intrigued when I first saw this on Lezlie's blog. Since our library system does not have a copy, I was happy to find it here.

by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

...for Daughter #1. I'll admit I though this was a joke when I first heard about it, but she loves it so far!

We got home in time for a late lunch. The girls asked for Rachel Ray's Asparagus Popover, but since no asparagus was available, I made it with a red and green pepper instead.
The next time, I'll try it with summer squash.
After lunch, the predicted storms arrived and we spent a quiet afternoon with our books.

What did you find at the farmer's market (or in your mailbox) last week?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

TSS - The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

The Secret Scripture
By Sebastian Barry
Faber and Faber, 2008
300 pages

Summary from PW:

The latest from Barry (whose A Long Way was shortlisted for the 2005 Booker) pits two contradictory narratives against each other in an attempt to solve the mystery of a 100-year-old mental patient. That patient, Roseanne McNulty, decides to undertake an autobiography and writes of an ill-fated childhood spent with her father, Joe Clear. A cemetery superintendent, Joe is drawn into Ireland's 1922 civil war when a group of irregulars brings a slain comrade to the cemetery and are discovered by a division of Free-Staters. Meanwhile, Roseanne's psychiatrist, Dr. Grene, investigating Roseanne's original commitment in preparation for her transfer to a new hospital, discovers through the papers of the local parish priest, Fr. Gaunt, that Roseanne's father was actually a police sergeant in the Royal Irish Constabulary. The mysteries multiply when Roseanne reveals that Fr. Gaunt annulled her marriage after glimpsing her in the company of another man; Gaunt's official charge was nymphomania, and the cumulative fallout led to a string of tragedies. Written in captivating, lyrical prose, Barry's novel is both a sparkling literary puzzle and a stark cautionary tale of corrupted power.

My thoughts:

The premise of contradictory narratives is always intriguing. As they say, there are two sides two every story... and the truth often lies somewhere in between. In The Secret Scripture, these narratives slowly unfold to give us a picture of 100 year old Roseanne McNulty's life.
"For history as far as I can see is not the arrangement of what happens, in sequence and in truth, but a fabulous arrangement of surmises and guesses held up as a banner against the assault of withering truth." page 55
Within the first few pages, the beauty of Barry's lyrical prose was obvious, but I just wasn't able to give it my full attention. The Secret Scripture is indeed a wonderful book, but with the hustle and bustle of year-end school activities, I often went for days without picking it up.

There were numerous passages I marked for gorgeous writing or profound thoughts, but I'll share these three:

Roseanne, on her mother:
"Please remember that my mother was very beautiful, though perhaps not so beautiful now, as her silence had found an echo in some bleak thin cloth that seemed to be pulled over the skin of her face. She was like a painting with its varnish darkening, obscuring the beauty of the work." page 66
On happiness:
"It is always worth itemising happiness, there is so much of the other thing in a life, you had better put down the markers for happiness while you can. When I was in that state, everything looked beautiful to me, the rain slicing down looked like silver to me, everything was of interest to me, everyone seemed at ease with me, even those slit-eyed cornerboys of Sligo, with the yellow fingers from the coffin nails they smoked, the yellow stain above their lips where the fag was stuck in permanent." page 141
On memory:
" Memory, I must suppose, if it is neglected becomes like a box room, or a lumber room in an old house, the contents jumbled about, maybe not only from neglect but also from too much haphazard searching in them, and things to boot thrown in that don't belong there... It makes me a little dizzy to contemplate the possibility that everything I remember may not be real, I suppose. There was so much turmoil at that time that - that what? I took refuge in other impossible histories, in dreams, in fantasies? I don't know." page 201
Ultimately, I was more impressed with the writing than the actual plot. Very near the end, a plot twist occurred that I found just too 'low', or coincidental, for a writer of this caliber. Would I have seen this coming had I paid closer attention? I've procrastinated writing the review, in hopes of coming up with some firmer, more profound thoughts, but none came . I remain somewhat ambivalent, but mostly disappointed, with the way this was tied up...perhaps just a bit too neatly, but I fear I may be in the minority here.

In conclusion, I loved Barry's writing and will most certainly read more of his work. As for The Secret Scripture, it was an enjoyable book based on an interesting premise, with writing that shines brighter than the plot.

My rating: 3.5 / 5

Have you read The Secret Scripture? Did you see the plot twist coming, and did its neatness bother you? Are there books you've read where the writing outshines the plot?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman

It's time for Short Story Monday again, and this week I've taken a giant step outside my comfort zone! To set this up...a couple of weeks ago I wrote a Sunday Salon post titled Audiobooks: When Writers Read. This sparked a great discussion about authors narrating their own work. Neil Gaiman was cited more than once as being an outstanding reader. I've never read Gaiman, and science fiction/fantasy/horror is far from my normal literary fare. Even Harry Potter was a stretch! I read the first book aloud to my children, but after that they were on their own. Nonetheless, I became curious about Gaiman's work.

A few days later, Claire at Paperback Reader posted a review of Gaiman's short story "Snow, Glass, Apples". Since she was kind enough to post this link to the story, I decided to read it.

"Snow, Glass, Apples" has all the elements of a classic Snow White tale - a princess, a stepmother, apples, dwarfs, a magic mirror, and a prince. Gaiman, however, adds a few twists. Some blood, a vampire, snow, get the picture! Plus, the story is told from the perspective of the stepmother.

Here are a few quotes from the story:

"Her eyes were black as coal, black as her hair; her lips were redder than blood. She looked up at me and smiled. Her teeth seemed sharp, even then, in the lamplight."

"The years passed by slowly, and my people claimed that I ruled them with wisdom. The heart still hung above my bed, pulsing gently in the night. If there were any that mourned the child, I saw no evidence: she was a thing of terror, back then, and they believed themselves well rid of her."

"I saw one snowflake land upon her white cheek, and remain there without melting."

This was an enjoyable departure from my Norton Book of America Short Stories and The Best American Short Stories of the Century. While it didn't exactly convert me into a fantasy fan, I'll certainly consider reading more of Gaiman's work...especially if it just drops into my lap like this story did.

Read more Short Story Monday posts, or leave a link to yours, at The Book Mine Set.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

TSS - Midpoint Musing

Good morning! After seeing several mid-year posts last week, I was inspired to compose one of my own. The result, which I'm hoping will prove interesting to others, held a few pleasant surprises.

My totals:
24 books read
18 short stories (plus two collections)
a few assorted essays
1 play

Favorites so far:
Therese Raquin by Emile Zola - reviewed here
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout - my review and my book club's reaction
The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield - reviewed here
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett - thoughts here
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri - thoughts here

Favorite audiobook:
The Help by Kathryn Stockett - my thoughts

Favorite Short Stories:
"When Everyone Was Pregnant" by John Updike - my short story Monday post
"The Dress" by Louise Erdrich - short story Monday post
"The Swimmer" by John Cheever - short story Monday post

Behind the numbers:

First, this is an excellent showing for me. I've never read more than 55 books a year and, for the past several years, have been averaging in the thirties.

Even more important is the fact that I've never enjoyed reading so much as I have these past six months. I attribute this, primarily, to blogging. Lakeside Musing was created in late October, I posted my first review (The Painted Veil) in November and, very tentatively, entered into this wonderful community.

This leads to the most interesting stat of all. Fourteen of the 24 books read prior to July 1 were the direct result of book blogger recommendations and reviews! So, here is the perfect opportunity to offer my sincere thanks to my new blogging friends. I have come to rely heavily on your thoughts and opinions when choosing what to read next, and it has very definitely increased the quality, and sheer pleasure, of my reading. Thank you all!

What next:

For summer, the focus is on fun! I'm currently reading The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim for Molly's Summer Vacation reading challenge. This visit to Italy has been so enjoyable, that I'll probably stay on and read One Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena De Blasi next.

The Everything Austen Challenge will occupy some of my summer, too. I'm looking forward to rereading Pride and Prejudice and, possibly, an Austen spin-off too. Any 'heavier' reading will have to wait until fall!

Where will your reading take you this week?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July! Our celebration begins early this morning with a road race around the lake (I'll be encouraging the participants, but R will be running), followed by a community party at the finish line in the park. An arts and crafts show will be set up all weekend.

The parade steps off mid-afternoon, then it's off to my cousin's for their annual barbecue...complete with music, food, volleyball, swimming, and sometimes even an inflatable jumping house for the kids!

Early evening will find us back home with the extended family preparing for fireworks on the lake. It may be a little cool for swimming today, but that probably won't deter the children. We'll roast marshmallows over the fire and make s'mores.

I love Independence Day, and our town always goes all-out for its celebration! I hope everyone in the US enjoys a safe and happy 4th!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Library Loot - July 3

Library Loot is a weekly event hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share books they've checked out of the library.

In a show of considerable restraint, just three books came home with me this week. Two are possible challenge reads, and one is for a 'test read'.

by Georgina Harding

Fleur Fisher's review sounded so good that I just had to take a closer look at this book. It opens with an amazing first sentence! I'm focusing on some fun summer challenge books right now, so may not read this one immediately. It will get a 'test read' to give me a better sense of when I'll want to fit it in.

by Marlena De Blasi

I'm having such a good time in Italy with The Enchanted April, I may stay on for a little longer. This will be my second book for the Summer Vacation Reading Challenge.

by Laurie Viera Rigler

The Everything Austen Challenge started this week. I may choose to read this one, unless Daughter #1 gets to it first.

What did you find at the library? This week's links are at Marg's blog Reading Adventures.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Booking Through Thursday - Celebrities

Today's question:

Suggested by Callista83:
Do you read celebrity memoirs? Which ones have you read or do you want to read? Which nonexistent celebrity memoirs would you like to see?

My answer:

At the mention of celebrity, my mind automatically turns to the entertainment industry. The quick answer to the question is that I have not read any memoirs at all. However, a celebrity is actually any famous or well-known person. In this broader context, there are a few memoirs or autobiographies that I can recommend.
the autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Read before I started keeping a reading journal for a long-defunct co-ed book club, Mandela's story has stayed with me for years.

by Katharine Graham

Another book club selection, the autobiography of Washington Post owner Katharine Graham was a fascinating read.

by Ruth Reichl

A must for foodies, this is the memoir of New York Times restaurant critic and food writer Ruth Reichl.

What celebrity memoirs or autobiographies have you read? Visit today's Booking Through Thursday to see more answers.


Related Posts with Thumbnails