Monday, December 31, 2007

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

1928 Pulitzer Prize

Brother Juniper is a monk who witnesses the collapse of the rope bridge between Lima and Cuzco broke and plunged five people to death in the gorge below. He immediately wonders why the disaster happened to that particular five people. He sets out on an investigation into their lives to try to find out if they deserved their fate.

I enjoyed the book, but I didn't get what the big Pulitzer whoopty-do was about.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mr. Ives' Christmas

Mr. Ives' Christmas
by Oscar Hijuelos

"Mr. Ives' Christmas" is about a father mourning the loss of his son. The boy was 17 and about to enter the priesthood when he is shot by a 14 year old boy as he is leaving choir practice.

The book follows Mr. Ives through decades from his adoption in the 1920's until he's in his 70's. The main focus of the book is his attempts to come to terms with the death of his son. Since he is a good-hearted man, he even has a brief correspondence with the killer. But as the years go by, he is becoming more withdrawn from the life he has. But he hods on to his spirituality. He knows it's the only thing that will get him through to the end.

I thought this was a very good book. It makes the point that compassion is desperately needed in our lives.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Locket

The Locket
by Richard Paul Evans

"The Locket" is a sweet little story about forgiving and second chances.
Michael Keddington is a 22-year old college student who had to leave school to care for his dying mother. After her death, Michael takes a job in a nursing home until he can get a scholarship to go back to school.

He immediately connects with a reclusive woman, Esther. She slowly opens to him and tells him of her life and her missed chance at love.

Then tragedy strikes the nursing home and one of the residents dies after being abused. And Michael is blamed and must face trial.

I really enjoyed this book. If you liked "Tuesdays with Morrie" you'll like this one.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

O Pioneers!

O Pioneers!
by Willa Cather

"O Pioneers!" tells the story of a family on the prairie in Kansas at the turn of the 20th century. It opens shortly before the death of John Bergson. Upon his death, the oldest of his children, Alexandra, takes charge. This doesn't prove easy for her in a male dominated world.

As the hard winters force most of the neighbors to sell out and look for greener pastures, Alexandra decides to buy up the surrounding land. This was difficult to sell to her brothers, but proves worth the risk.

"O Pioneers" follows the family into the next century. I found it a very easy book to read. I recommend it to all those who are looking for a good story about frontier life.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Booking Through Thursday-Catalog

Booking Through Thursday

Do you use any of the online book-cataloguing sites, like Library Thing or Shelfari? Why or why not? (Or . . . do you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking to?? (grin))

If not an online catalog, do you use any other method to catalog your book collection? Excel spreadsheets, index cards, a notebook, anything?

I'm a Lifetime paid member of LibraryThing. I have all of my books listed there. Except my cookbooks. Maybe someday when I get some energy I'll do those too. And I need to spend some time writing more comments.

I'm also in goodreads, but on that site all I'm doing is listed the books I've read and giving the 1 to 5 star rating.

And I've also got a spreadsheet on Google for my TBR and challenges, but I haven't figured out how to post it where people can see it.

Monday, December 3, 2007

What Holiday Are You?

You Are Thanksgiving

You are a bit of a homebody who enjoys being in the company of people you love.

It doesn't take a lot to make you happy. You're enjoying life as it is.

You have many blessings in your life, and you are grateful for each one.

You believe that life is about what you *do* have. You feel like you have enough of the good stuff.

What makes you celebrate: Family, friends, and the changing of the seasons.

At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The host of the party

On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Spend so much energy preparing that it's a full time job

Yeah, I pretty much agree with the personality assessment. I love to bake and holidays give me a chance to try fancy stuff. Thanks to Good housekeeping and Taste of Home online recipes, I get to experiment on my family every holiday.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Booking Through Thursday-Rolling

Booking through Thursday

Do you get on a roll when you read, so that one book leads to the next, which leads to the next, and so on and so on?

I don’t so much mean something like reading a series from beginning to end, but, say, a string of books that all take place in Paris. Or that have anthropologists as the main character. Or were written in the same year. Something like that… Something that strings them together in your head, and yet, otherwise could be different genres, different authors…

Not really. I can only remember twice that I deliberately went after a book that was like my current book. While reading "Heart of the Sea", I was led to "Moby Dick." And after I read "Year of Wonders," I immediately wanted "The Plague."

And sometimes I'll follow an author. When I read "Of Mice and Men" I wanted more Steinbeck but I was disappointed with "The Pearl". "The Alchemist has made me a Coelho fan. I read "Veronica Decides to Die." And I want more of his books.

Sometimes I'll follow genres for three or four books, but other than that my reading is controlled my my TBR list and which books can be inserted into the challenges I'm in.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Good Earth

The Good Earth
by Pearl S. Buck

Wang Lung is an extremely poor farmer in pre-revolutionary China. The book opens on his wedding day to a slave girl.

Wang Lung has a deep love for the land he works. But drought brings on famine and Wang Lung must take his family to the city to find work and food. But riots send them back home again.

This is a story about the ups and downs of one man. "The Good Earth" tells of Wang Lungs hard times and his good times and how he changes with each.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Veronika Decides to Die

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

Veronika is a young woman living an independent life in Slovenia. She rents a room at a convent and works in a library. She has built a safe, predictable world. She has also decided to commit suicide.

She spends six months trying to get sleeping pills. Two of her friends finally find them for her. But the pills weren't enough. She wakes up in a psychiatric hospital. But her heart has been damaged and she will die within a week.

But now Veronika is getting back the will to live.

I was hooked from the first page. This is another thought provoking book from Paulo Coelho. His books go into the soul of people and pull out little snippets of wisdom you would think we all knew.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Booking Through Thursday-Preservatives

Booking Through Thursday

Today’s question comes from Conspiracy-Girl:
I’m still relatively new to this meme so I’m not sure if this has been asked yet, but I’m curious how many of us write notes in our books. Are you a Footprint Leaver or a Preservationist?

Strictly Preservationist. No marks whatsoever. No dogearring the corners. I have a large collections of bookmarkers I pick up for free. My books are my pool. Please son't spit in it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Jungle

The Jungle
by Upton Sinclair

"The Jungle" opens with the wedding of Ona and Jurgis, a young couple from Lithuania in search of a better life. They have brought Ona's family with them. On the way to America, they lost most of their money when an agent swindled them. On arrival they find a filthy, cheap boarding house to stay in.

Once the adults get jobs, they buy a house. But interest and repairs cause the oldest child to have to go to work. And it's all down hill from there. Jobs are lost, injuries occur, deaths, Ona's brother deserts the family. And things just keep getting worse.

"The Jungle" tells of the corruption that was in the food industry at the turn of the century. The stories of what was done to the meat were horrifying. Among other things Sinclair claimed diseased animals were put into distribution and people who fell into meat grinders were sold as beef. Public reaction to the book helped passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.

I enjoyed most of the novel. I've had it in the house about 3 years but I didn't realize it had such a tragic story in it. The story of the lives of the family is compelling, if not a little exaggerated. But still. My only problem was the three chapters Sinclair devoted to the joys of Socialism. Snooze time there.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Ricochet by Sandra Brown

Another mystery from my sister. This one is pretty good.

Detective Duncan Hatcher is trying to nail big, bad Robert Savich. The book opens with a murder trial. Judge Cato Laird calls a mistrial and Hatcher mouths off and gets contempt jail time.

Next thing you know, Hatcher is called to Lairds house because his trophy wife, Elise has shot and killed an intruder. But the evidence doesn't fit in Hatcher's opinion. And then Elise comes to Hatcher with the theory her husband hired someone to kill her. But Hatcher doesn't believe it. So now he's sifting through the facts trying to find out what is going on.

I had very few complaints with this book. There's a couple of iffy situations involving police procedure that I don't think a good cop would pull. But the mystery was strong. It fed you enough facts to keep you guessing and the resolution wasn't predictable but it didn't come out of left field either.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Booking Through Thursday-Volume

Booking Through Thursday

Would you say that you read about the same amount now as when you were younger? More? Less?

I think I read the same amount, but I'm reading better books these days. I used to read alot of romances and mysteries. Today I reading classics and bestsellers.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Widow for One Year

A Widow for One Year by John Irving

This is the story of Ruth and the people around her. At the age of four her mother left her and her father. The mother, Marion, had been planning to leave her father, Ted, when her two brothers were killed in a car wreck. But she put it off and had
Ruth instead. But Marion was scared of loving another child and decided to leave rather than risk losing another child.

So, Ruth grows up afraid of commitments. She's in her late 30's before she finally marries and has a child.

"A Widow for One Year" is about missing persons, whether a person is missing or someone is missing a person. The book explores how absence affects people, whether it's Ruth missing her mother, Marion and Ted missing their sons, or other people in the book who have lost people.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

Florentino and Fermina loved each other as teenagers. However, they had to keep their young romance a secret. But her father found out anyway and took Fermina on a trip for several years. And, lovestruck as only teenagers can be, they kept up a secret correspondance until she came home. Upon her return, Fermina took one look at Florentino and dumped him.

But Florentino continued to love her. Fermina married a rich doctor. Florentino had 622 lovers. That's right. 622-he kept a detailed list. But 51 years, nine months and 4 days later, he is once again declaring his love to her. But being a recent widow, she is not pleased.

The novel tells the story of their lives. First together, then separately, then back again. It's a lovely book about the power of love and the dreams we dare to have.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Booking Through Thursday-Oh, Horror

What with yesterday being Halloween, and all . . . do you read horror? Stories of things that go bump in the night and keep you from sleeping?

I thought about asking you about whether you were participating in NaNoWriMo, but I asked that last year. Although . . . if you want to answer that one, too, please feel free to go ahead and do both, or either, your choice!

I'm afraid my horror has been King and Koontz. But my last visit to B&N they had a display of alot of horror books I was interested in. But my TBR pile is too big for me to take on anything else. Next year I have 8 Steven King slated for the 888 challenge. I chose him as one of my categories.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

"Middlesex" is the story of a family. From the grandparents' early life in Asia Minor to the sexually misidentified Cal/Callie born in Detroit. The grandparents were siblings who fell in love. After fleeing a war, they moved to Detroit where a cousin lived. Free of the people who knew them, they married. The cousin had secrets of her own and kept theirs.

Because of a genetic defect, Cal/Callie is intersexed and must figure out which sex is the best fit.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Catch Up

I can't believe it's been 9 days since I posted. I think I burned out. I've been doing other things. I've got a couple of Christmas gifts I'm making, so I've spent alot of time doing that. And I take Time Magazine and read them cover to cover. I got behind and have been working to catch up. I'm not very politically minded and this magazine is the closest I come to political awareness. I like to think I halfway know what's going on in the non-fiction world.

I also worked on my financial spreadsheets. I made a new one for my book purchases. I went through all of my bank and credit card statements and added it up. $461.32. It was a lot of work getting all of that together. But I had a brainstorm. I applied for a B&N credit card. So from here on out all of my book purchases will go on that card. And nothing but books.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Shoot the Moon

Shoot the Moon
Billie Letts
In 1972, Gaylene Harjo was murdered and her 10 month old son disappeared. All that was ever found was pajamas by the river. The only suspect was murdered before he could come to trial. So, being a small town in Oklahoma, everyone assumed the case was solved.

27 years later, Mark Albright comes to town. After his father's death, he gets access to the safety deposit box where he finds a birth certificate for Nicky Jack Harjo and adoption papers. He didn't know he was adopted.

So he takes off for DeClare Oklahoma to find the mother who gave him up. But the more he learns about her murder, the more he wants to know.

"Shoot the Moon" was a fast reading book. I read it in about 7 hours. It read like a typical mystery book, but some of the characters were a bit more developed. You can see Mark evolving as he learns about the life he almost had. He's much more likable by the end of the book.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Don Quixote

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Don Quixote is a middle-aged Spanish gentleman who has been obsessed with books of knightly chivalry. He has sold land so he could afford more books. He has let his property go to seed. Finally, he armors up and hits the road. His armor is old and battered. He creates a make shift helmet. And he takes his old work horse which he renames Rocinante. He hires Sancho Panza as his squire. Sancho is a bit slow but he knows every proverb ever uttered.

The book is a series of adventures. Quixote sees what he wants to see in the world around him. Anything he sees can be explained in the language of chivalry. He believes there are enchanters that either aid or hinder knights.

"Don Quixote" is a wonderful book. It's funny. When it was published it was so popular another author of the time took it upon himself to write a sequel. Cervantes was not pleased and wrote his own. He then ridicules the other in his version.

Being two books added together it turns out to 890 pages. But the stories break it into sections. The familiar "tilting at windmills" is short. But my favorite was the puppet show. Quixote thought the puppets needed assistance so jumped to the stage with his sword and attacked the Moor puppets, demolishing the show. I laughed out loud.

It's really a great book. There's a reason people have been reading it for 400 years.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Booking Through Thursday-Live and In-Person

Booking Through Thursday

Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? Gotten their autograph?
How about an author you felt only so-so about, but got their autograph anyway? Like, say, at a book-signing a friend dragged you to?
How about stumbling across a book signing or reading and being so captivated, you bought the book?

No to all of the above.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Wrong Hostage

The Wrong Hostage by Elizabeth Lowell

Judge Grace Silva's son is a student in a private Mexican school. Problem is her ex-husband had placed him there as collateral against drug money laundering schemes. Now Judge Silva has to turn to an old flame, Joe Faroe, to help her rescue the boy before he is executed.

As far as mysteries go, there wasn't much of it here. Predictable from page one.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Booking Through Thursday-Decorum

Booking Through Thursday

Do you have “issues” with too much profanity or overly explicit (ahem) “romantic” scenes in books? Or do you take them in stride? Have issues like these ever caused you to close a book? Or do you go looking for more exactly like them? (grin)

I haven't actually run into much. I'm going through a lot of classics these days. And in most of them, sex hasn't been invented yet.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Passage to India

A Passage to India by E. M. Forrester

Set during the British colonial era, "A Passage to India" explores prejudice between the British, the Indians and Hindus. During an outing to the Marabar Caves, Adela Quested believes Dr. Aziz attempted to rape her.

To tell you the truth, I didn't get much out of this book. It was hard to keep the characters straight. I'm not familiar with Indian culture. And I can't figure out what happened in the cave to make Adela think Aziz was trying to rape her.

Maybe someday I'll try to reread it. But I doubt it.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Rose's Garden

Rose's Garden by Carrie Brown

Conrad is a 75 year old man who has recently lost his wife of 50 years. Four months after her death, he is still struggling with depression. She had been the focus of his life. He hasn't been eating, except when a stranger leaves food on his porch. He has neglected Rose's garden, which has become overgrown since her death.

On one stormy night, Conrad is visited by an angel in the garden. The angel tells him to "go home." Conrad shares the story with anyone who will listen and is amazed to learn other people have similar stories-either themselves or someone they know. Conrad slowly learns what "home" is. A home without Rose, but with pieces of her left in the people she influenced. The people who are there for him now.

"Rose's Garden" is a sweet book. It moves back and forth through time telling the story of Conrad and Rose. It's the story of a romance that doesn't end with death.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Candide by Voltaire

Candide lived in the magnificent castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh with the Baron and his family. Candide was rumored to be the illegitimate son of the Baron's sister. The tutor to the children, Pangloss, teaches the philosophy "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds."

The Baron's daughter, Cunégonde, sees Pangloss in an intimate moment with the servant Pacquette. This leads her to tempt the naive Candide. Caught by the Baron, Candide is expelled from the castle.

As Candide travels the world and sees one evil after another, he begins to question the optimistic philosophy taught by Pangloss. During one voyage he meets Martin. Martins philosophy is pessimism that sees evil as the dominate force of the world.

Voltaire's satire pokes at philosophy, religion and government. It's a small book, but it's action-packed and very witty. It's a thought provoking book I'd recommend to everyone.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fall into Reading Challenge 2007

Fall into Reading 2007
A new place to list all the books I have laying about with no challenge to claim them. Here's My selections:
1.) Playing for Pizza Ж John Grishom
2.) Ricochet Ж Sandra Brown
3.) The Wrong Hostage Ж Elizabeth Lowell
4.) Frankenstein Ж Mary Shelley
5.) Veronika Decides to Die Ж Paulo Coelho
6.) Love in the Time of Cholera Ж Gabriel García Márquez

This is a good way to get several books off my TBR pile.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Seventh Category

Yesterday "The Stand" was on TV and I watched all 8 hours. It made me decide to make Stephen King my 7th category. It's been a long time since I read one of his books and I know I can find 8. Piece of cake. Maybe old rereads. I barely remember "Thinner." But I know for sure I'll read "Insomnia." About 8 or 9 years ago I was halfway through it and there came a flood. We had about a foot of water in the house. And since I would slide my book under the edge of the bed, it was ruined. I never got another copy. That was the last time I put a book under the bed.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

888 Challenge

I spent several days co-ordinating my challenges, goals, TBR and plain old want-to-read. I've got 6 of the 8 lists ready. The other two will come later. I'm leaning toward biography and history lists, but if time gets away from me I may switch to Little Golden Books and Dr. Suess. Some of the books (Children's Favorites) may be easy but Look! I've got Homer!! And two Faulkner's!!!

1. Banned Books
1.) Catcher in the Rye Ж J. D. Salinger
2.) Lord of the Flies Ж William Golding
3.) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Ж Maya Angelou
4.) The Handmaid's Tale Ж Margaret Atwood
5.) Native Son Ж Richard Wright
6.) Brave New World Ж Aldous Huxley
7.) A Wrinkle in Time Ж Madeleine L'Engle
8.) Flowers for Algernon Ж Daniel Keyes

2. Children's Favorites
1.) Adventures of Tom Sawyer Ж Mark Twain
2.) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Ж Mark Twain
3.) Up a Road Slowly Ж Irene Hunt
4.) From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Ж E. LO. Konigsburg
5.) Treasure Island Ж Robert Louis Stevenson
6.) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Ж C. S. Lewis
7.) Little Women Ж Louisa May Alcott
8.) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Ж Betty Smith

3. Time 100
1.) I, Claudius Ж Robert Graves
2.) The Sot-Weed Factor Ж John Barth
3.) Their Eyes Were Watching God Ж Zora Neale Hurston
4.) The Spy Who Came in From the Cold Ж John le Carré
5.) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Ж Muriel Spark
6.) 1984 Ж George Orwell
7.) The Sun Also Rises Ж Ernest Hemingway
8.) Light in August Ж William Faulkner

4. Books I Missed on TheClassicsClub
1.) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Ж Robert Louis Stevenson
2.) The Invisible Man Ж H. G. Wells
3.) Silas Marner Ж George Eliot
4.) The Bridal Wreath Ж Sigrid Undset
5.) The Mayor of Casterbridge Ж Thomas Hardy
6.) Rebecca Ж Daphne Du Maurier
7.) Jane Eyre Ж Charlotte Brontë
8.) The Bridge on the Drina Ж Ivo Andric

5. Oprah's Selections
1.) Anna Karenina Ж Leo Tolstoy
2.) East of Eden Ж John Steinbeck
3.) The Pilot's Wife Ж Anita Shreve
4.) Stones From the River Ж Ursula Hegi
5.) As I Lay Dying Ж William Faulkner
6.) The Bluest Eye Ж Toni Morrison
7.) One Hundred Years of Solitude Ж Gabriel García Márquez
8.) Song of Soloman Ж Toni Morrison

6. Books in My House
1.) Notes on a Scandal Ж Zoë Heller
2.) Empire Falls Ж Richard Russo
3.) The Hours Ж Michael Cunningham
4.) Heart of Darkness Ж Joseph Conrad
5.) For Whom the Bell Tolls Ж Ernest Hemingway
6.) The Red Badge of Courage Ж Stephen Crane
7.) Illiad Ж Homer
8.) Odyssey Ж Homer

7. Stephen King
1.) Insomnia
2.) Thinner
3.) Cell
4.) The Stand
5.) Rose Madder
6.) Dreamcatcher
7.) Black House (with Peter Straub)
8.) The Regulators

8. Suspense
1.) Black Lightning Ж John Saul
2.) The Search Ж Iris Johansen
3.) Always Time to Die Ж Elizabeth Lowell
4.) The 6th Target Ж James Patterson
5.) A Cold Day in Hell Ж Stella Cameron
6.) Death Comes as the End Ж Agatha Christie
7.) The Ugly Duckling Ж Iris Johansen
8.) Double Image Ж David Morell

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bookin Through Thursday-Sunshine and Roses

Booking Through Thursday

Imagine that everything is going just swimmingly. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all’s right with the world. You’re practically bouncing from health and have money in your pocket. The kids are playing and laughing, the puppy is chewing in the cutest possible manner on an officially-sanctioned chew toy, and in between moments of laughter for pure joy, you pick up a book to read . . .

What is it?

Usually a classic. If everything is going good, I know which book won't spoil the day. I'm on a kick to read all the books I should have already read. Right now I'm into Don Quixote and if ever there was a book written that tells you "Don't worry," this is it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Prior Bad Acts

Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag

A Jack the Ripper style murder of a woman and her two children have rocked Minneapolis. And Judge Carey Moore has made an unpopular ruling to the inadmissibility of the suspected perpetrators past behavior. Now the victims family and the lead detective are equally enraged. Then the suspect escapes police custody. The judge begins receiving threats, gets attacked in a garage and is finally kidnapped. Now the race is on to find her before she becomes a victim too. But first the police have to figure out who's victim will she be.

My sister loaned me this book. She also loaned me another from Tami Hoag, called "Straight From the Heart" which turned out to be a romance. I don't think my sister knew that when she bought it. I got halfway into the book before I realized there would be no murder. There was a couple of situations that could have turned into something but didn't. Mind you, every now and then I like a good romance. But not very often anymore. I went through that phase in high school. But I do like a good mystery nowadays.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Magician's Assistant

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett

Sabine has recently lost her husband, Parsifal, after 6 months of marriage. He was a handsome and charming magician and she had been his assistant for 20 years. She had also been in love with him all those years. The problem was he was gay. After his partner Phan died, he married Sabine so she would be entitled to the estate he and his partner left behind.

After his death, Sabine learns he had been lying to her about his family for the entire time she has known him. After the will is read, Parsifal's family come to visit Sabine. When he left home he broke contact, so they are desperite for contact with what he had become. That means embracing Sabine. And Sabine is desperate to learn all she can about the secrets her husband had kept from her. So she journeys to his childhood home in Nebraska. Then she learns more secrets than she bargained on.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I've been neglectful of my blog---again. I've joined two new challenges and have had to co-ordinate my lists. It's been a chore and involved spreadsheets. Along with my book clubs and reading all the Pulitzer winners, I also have to get in books out of the Book of Great Books. So for the Index Librorum Liberorum I've chosen 8.
1.) Candide by Voltaire
2.) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
3.) Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
4.) The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
5.) The Prince by Niccolὸ Machaivelli
6.) The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
7.) Justine by Marquis de Sade
8.) Paradise Lost by Milton

And along with that, I had to rethink my Unread Authors Challenge. By the time the challenge started I had already read 3 of the books. But that's no sweat. I have oodles of authors I haven't read yet. So here's the final choices.
1.) The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
2.) The Locket by Richard Paul Evans
3.) Rose's Garden by Carrie Brown
4.) Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller
5.) The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett
6.) O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

Looking forward to reading these.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Bob Crane

You know, sometimes you come across something so stupid you have to pass it along. This is in that category. I realize it's meant to be touch-in-cheek, but still. Can't people find somethng better to do? Like read a good book?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Echo Maker

The Echo Maker by Richard Powers
2006 National Book Award Winner

The title comes from the Cherokee name for the birds, echo makers, calling to each other across millenia, answering to just the instinctive recognition that Mark Schluter lacks....From Guardian Unlimited

Karin Schluter returns to Kearney, Nebraska to care for her brother Mark who had a rollover accident. Severe brain damage has left him with Capgras syndrome. This condition causes a person to physically recognize another person, but there is no emotional recognition. The victim feels there is something "not quite right"; the person is an imposter.

"The Echo Maker" explores identity. Does memory make you who you are? Are we who we think we are or who others think we are? What makes us us? Time Magazine had a cover story on consciousness early this year that reported on the brain and the efforts scientists are making to determine what "I" means. "The Echo Maker" does the same thing from the emotional angle.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Booking Through Thursday-Goldilocks

So, this is my question to you–are you a Goldilocks kind of reader?

Do you need the light just right, the background noise just so loud but not too loud, the chair just right, the distractions at a minimum?

Or can you open a book at any time and dip right in, whether it’s for twenty seconds, while waiting for the kettle to boil, or indefinitely, like while waiting interminably at the hospital–as long as the book is open in front of your nose, you’re happy to read?

I'm in the happy to read club. Any time, anywhere, anything. I keep a book in my car, by the couch and by my bed. I can get into a book at the drop of a hat.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Executioner's Song

The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer
1980 Pulitzer Prize

Gary Gilmore was the first man executed after the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 11976. After committing two murders, he was sentanced to death. He then refused to appeal and demanded his sentance be carried out.

Gilmore had been defiant from a very young age. He was sent to reform schoolo at the age of 14. In 1976, after 13 years in prison, he was released and went to live with a cousin in Utah. But after so long in prison he was unable to adapt to life outside. He had a mean streak and was argumentative. He fought everyone. If he wanted beer, he's simply go into a store and take it. Finally on a quest to obtain a pick-up truck, he resorted to robbery...and murder.

"The Executioner's Song" is classified as a narrative nonfiction novel. The true story is compied from interviews from anyone who crossed paths with Gilmore in the nine months from his realease until his execution. It's a big book...1050 pages, but it's an easy read. Even with all the detail the legalities are written in layman's terms. You get a feel for the way Gilmore and his circle lived. And you understand why Gilmore would insist on his execution.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Booking Through Thursday-Stastics

Booking Through Thursday

There was a widely bruited-about statistic reported last week, stating that 1 in 4 Americans did not read a single book last year. Clearly, we don’t fall into that category, but . . . how many of our friends do? Do you have friends/family who read as much as you do? Or are you the only person you know who has a serious reading habit?

No one reads as much as I do. My sister will get a book every two months. Another sister reads mystery murders, about one a week. And Dean reads sci fi or fantasy, also about a book a week. But no one else reads the variety I do. Or as much as I do.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Next Reading List

I"m 4/5th's of the way through "The Executioner's Song". It's 1,000 pages and I've been on it a while, but I keep putting it down to read something else. Like "Crime and Punishment" for a book club. Or the entire Harry Potter series. But now it's the end of the month and both of my book clubs are starting new books. So I've got a new TBR list for September. So far I have "A Passage to India" for TheClassicsClub, "The Echo Maker" for Pulitzer_literature, "The Magician's Assistant" for the Unread Authors Challenge and "Empire Falls" for The BookAwardChallenge. And then there's "Don Quixote" for the Book of Great Books goal. That one looks to be a doozy.

And on top of that, I've began making the afghans I'm giving out at Christmas. I've made one and have three more to go. I'm also cross-stitching "Footprints" for my step-mother. Looks like house-cleaning will have to take a backseat.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Alchemist

The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

Santiago is a young shepherd who is led to follow a dream. His dream is interpreted by an old Gypsy woman to mean he will find treasure buried under the Great Pyramids of Egypt. So he sells his sheep and sets out on a journey of self-discovery.

This is a simple story full of complex ideas. It's a wonderfully written, thought provoking book about following your instincts. "If you can concentrate always on the present, you'll be a happy man." Life is a journey...not a goal.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Booking Through Thursday-Indoctrination

Booking Through Thursday
When growing up did your family share your love of books? If so, did one person get you into reading? And, do you have any family-oriented memories with books and reading? (Family trips to bookstore, reading the same book as a sibling or parent, etc.)

My father was the big reader in my family. Unfortunately, while he was reading books like "The Young Lions" I was reading Harlequins. I'm afraid my love of (good) books came later in life.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Reading Poll

An Associated Press-Ipsos poll says the average person has read 7 books this year. That makes me 6 years ahead of everyone.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Plague

"The Plague" by Albert Camus
1957 Nobel Prize Winner For Literature

The plague strikes Oran, in western Algeria, in the 1940's. Oran is a brown,dusty dismal city. Life is dull and predictable. It has no gardens or pigeons. It is baking hot in the summer and muddy in the winter. But on April 16th, with spring in the air, the rats begin to die. The first human dies on April 30th.

The local government is slow to react. Reality is only faced when the death toll hits 30 a day. The city is closed. The port is shut down. Gas, food and electricity are rationed. People are forced to stay where they are. Visitors cannot leave and residents cannot return home.

"The Plague" explores the emotional turmoil of the citizens, collectively and individually. People are slow to face the reality of the situation. Even with the death toll steadily increasing, they go about their daily life. The go to work. The congregate at cafes, bars and cinemas. And the mood swings from disbelief to panic. They go through a period of extravagance. Despair sets in for a while and eventually with time indifference sets in.

This is a book well worth reading. It's a calm, objective view of the ways in which the human race deals with what life throws at it.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Crime and Punishment

"Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevsky

"Crime and Punishment" is the story of a murder committed by a young student. Raskolnikov has developed a theory that exceptional intelligence places a man above ordinary people. He puts this theory to the test by murdering an old woman. She was a greatly disliked pawnbroker. During the murder the victim's sister returns home and becomes another victim.

The novel then begins to explore a man's conscience. The people in Raskolnilov's life enable him to view his actions from several different aspects. It is a profoundly astute psychological probe of one man's journey from crime to redemption.

I read this with my Yahoo book club and I must admit I was intimidated in the beginning. Just the name Dostoevsky sounded overwhelming. But the book was easy to read. There were some slow sections, but not many. I think my next Russian book will be much easier to pick up. I've got "Anna Karenina" sitting on the shelf. Not feeling quite so intimidated by it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Harry Potter Completed

Hot diggity!!! I finished the series before any secrets leaked. But I'm afraid I'm going through withdrawal now. I had already read the first book so my latest spree only involved the last six. I've been reading them at the expense of everything else so now I have 400 e-mails to catch up with.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


You Have Your PhD in Men

You understand men almost better than anyone.
You accept that guys are very different, and you read signals well.
Work what you know about men, and your relationships will be blissful.

Huh? Me? Somebody's got some splainin' to do.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Harry Potter Update

This is my new kitten, Daisy. She has been a serious obstacle to my attempt to read all of the Harry Potter books before I borrow "The Deadly Hollows" from my sister. I know if I didn't have something clawing the crap out of my ankles I would be finished with "The Half Blood Prince" by now. I try to keep my books clean and I usually try not to get blood on them.

BTW, Daisy was found at about the age of 10 to 14 days old. She was bottle fed and my niece named her. Now, she's around two months old and I'm sitting around waiting for her to grow enough to figure out if she really is a she. She already answers to Daisy. My family needs a cat genderer. Another niece has a female named Sylvester and my step-mother has a male named Phoebe. The cats don't care. I'm sure Daisy won't either.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My Bookshelves

I finally got a digital camera. So, of course, I had to take pictures of my cats. Then my nephew. Finally, I got around to the bookshelves. This one is cookbook central. Along with cookbooks here are magazines and sections torn out of magazines neatly sorted onto folders. It's not a proper bookshelf. Just painted milk crates. I used to have them neatly arranged and corded together with ropes. It looked trés chic but it was a pain to clean.

More crates. This is my overflow.

This is the main bookcase. It's organized with the crime books on top. Next down is the books for the Book of Great Books. Under that is the books for my challenges and book clubs. Next to the bottom is magazines---Smithsonian and the most recent National Geographic. And on the bottom I have some of my nonfiction.

I'm not foolin' when I say I need another bookshelf.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Deep Freeze

"Deep Freeze" by Lisa Jackson

"Deep Freeze" is my last Blogroll Game book. I kinda liked it. It was a little big long (500 pages) to give too few clues about who the serial killer was. The red herrings were too obvious so you knew the actual perpetrator was someone seldom mentioned.

Jenna Hughes was a famous movie star who gave up Hollywood after her sister's death on a set. She takes her two daughters and moves to a small town in Oregon. And a "fan" begins killing women trying to make a wax museum of sorts out of the bodies in a process too complicated to get into here. Enter the predictable taciturn sheriff.

This was supposed to be one of those "romantic-suspense" mysteries, but the romance was very scanty. The murder plot was very suspenseful and kept me glued to the book. Jenna's teenage daughter was the typical rebellious teenager, but there was just a little too much rebellion. She was just so hateful I kept hoping she would wind up a victim.

And the end really pissed me off. In the last chapter, after the resolution, a child disappears. This is to set up the plot for the next book from the author. I mean really!!! One book at a time, please.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


"Shopgirl" by Steve Martin

This was a pleasant surprise. I won it on the Blogroll Game. After my 2nd unavailable choice, Susan gave up and just sent me this. I'm glad she did. I'm not much of a slapstick fan. I've never been fond of Lucy, the three Stooges or any of the Saturday Night alumni, and I expected uberlameness from the likes of Steve Martin. But I was charmed by the book.

It's a simple story about two people who embark on a romantic relationship. Problem is, neither of them are really in tune with what they actually need from such a relationship. Ray spots a girl about half his age, Mirabelle, working at the glove counter and is immediately smitten with her. Mirabelle is looking for a decent man and decides to date the rich, successful businessman. And both find themselves seeing in the other person what they want to see---not what is there.

And about Steve Martin---I really enjoyed his writing. It was intelligent and humerous. Humerous as in witty. One phrase I especially liked was when Mirabelle was describing her fellow sales-clerks when they are still. She states "their faces become vacuous and frozen, like the Easter Island of the Barbie Dolls." LOL

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Harry Potter

I've wound up behind on the Harry Potter saga. I am now forced to catch up before the final book becomes public knowledge. Society keeps some things secret for quiet a while. I was 40 before I found out who Rosebud was. But "The Crying Game was only a mystery about 3 months.

I ordered a copy of "Harry Potter and the Deadly Hollow" from B&N for my sister. I took it to her Friday night. Her son immediately read the first few chapters. My sister got it Saturday morning. She ran across a certain incident and commented to her son. Within my earshot. Crap!!

So now I've got to get a move on it. But, I'm going to be hibernating until I finish. I haven't told my sister yet, but I'm borrowing her book next weekend.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Rockin' Girl Blogger

I logged on to complain about having a book in the house I can't read (it's my sister's Harry Potter and I have to read VI before I force it out of her book-a-month reader's hand---but that's another post)and learned Stephanie has listed me as a Rockin' Girl Blogger. Yeah! go me. And now I get to nominate 4 of my bloggettes.

First is Petunia because she pointed me to a book that I fully expect to help enrich my little literary critiques. And check out her vacotion photos. I liked the waterfall and the caves. I love caves---big time.

Second is Tammy . Her blog is brand new, but her book lists could be carbon copies of mine. And with her last post she convinced me to move "Beloved" up my TBR list.

Third is Dewey who recently hosted the Blogroll (where I won 2nd place---Yeah for me. Again) She always has something interestind. She also started a side blog for Harry Potter discussions---but beware spoilers. This new page is here.

And lastly, I name 3MHer blog is always very interesting---and a good place to find a good challenge. I can almost guarentee I'll be joining the Books to Movie Challenge.

Finally, I would like to thank Stephanie for the notice. I wish I could renominate you.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Intuition

You Are 24% Intuitive

You're definitely an intuitive person, but you never go on your gut alone.
You tend to be more analytical than intuitive - possibly because your intuition has failed you in the past.
When you don't have enough facts to make a decision, you don't mind listening to your gut to figure out what to do.

I knew it. Dense as a post. Bummer

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Shiva Descending

"Shiva Descending" by Gregory Benford and William Rotsler

A meteor is headed for Earth...oh, no!!!

This was a fun book to read. I've seen umpteen meteor movies, including Meteor. But, this is only the second book I've read. The first was "Lucifer's Hammer" 100 (200?) years ago.

Well known premise: meteor is going to hit Earth. This one is named Shiva and is in a swarm of meteors of all different sizes. The swarm has been orbiting the sun in an elliptical path getting closer to Earth with each pass. Earth has been getting hits from the edges of the swarm for eons. Now they're coming hard and fast. Cities are being destroyed from direct hits, tsunamis or firestorms. The next pass is a direct hit from the Gargantua in the center. And since Shiva is the size of a mountain, the entire human race is in dire straits.

Chaos reigns. A charismatic speaker decides it is God's will and accumulates quite a following to make sure Shiva is not blown out of the sky. NASA is under attack from the hundreds of thousands that believe the Millennium is the end of days. A sect from India take the hedonistic road and call themselves the Shiva Dancers. Orgies all over the planet. Elsewhere, riots, murder, looting---all the anarchy you would ever wish for. People are also committing suicide in memorable numbers. And the president goes completely off his rocker. He spends the last days before impact holed up in the White House with his mistress and a banjo.

This was writen in the days of the Cold War, so America and Russia have to band together with American space shuttles, Russian bombs and no trust. Of course, the Russians are very secretive.

Needless to say, Earth survived.