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.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Year of Wonders

"Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague" by Geraldine Brooks
published 2001 308 pages

I won this on the Blogroll Game and was looking forward to it. It's based on the true story of the village of Eyam in England. In 1666, during one of the last outbreaks in Europe, this village guaranteed itself to try to prevent the plague from spreading to neighboring villages.

Anna Firth is an 18-year old widow living in a small village with her two young sons. Her husband died mining lead and now Anna makes ends meet by working at the rectory and farming. The Reverend Mompellion and his wife, Elinor, sends a boarder to her door. The boarder, George Viccars is a tailor. When a bolt of cloth arrives from London for him it brings the plague with it.

As people begin to die, the decision is made to isolate the village. The Lord of the next town will help sustain the people with food, medicine or whatever they need by leaving it on the road to town. And as the death toll mounts, people begin to turn away from faith. Superstition and witches are deemed responsible.

The title is from a poem by John Dryden:Annus Mirabilis, The Year of Wonders. In 1666, England won a war with the Dutch and the Great Fire of London burned out the plague.

As I said, I had been looking forward to this book. And I did enjoy it right up to the last few chapters. Then it turned too unpredictable. People did things that didn't seem in character. But over-all I'll say it was OK.

But over at Bookworms Carnival I saw this review and went out and bought it. It's on my Book of Great Books list so I needed it anyway. Looks like I get to read a good plague book after all.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, ...

"A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens

"A Tale of Two Cities" is set against the French Revolution. French doctor Manette has just been released from the Bastille after 18 years imprisonment. He is reunited with his daughter Lucie who has believed him to be dead. The two of them leave the stirring unrest of France and move to England.

Five years later Lucie marries Charles Darnay. Unbeknownst to her, he was a French aristocrat who relinquished all claim to his family and country. Many years later Charles learns there is a man in prison in France who needs his help. He returns to France and winds up in prison.

"A Tale of Two Cities" is a very vivid portrayal of the period. Dickens gives a powerful depiction of the fear, guilt and malevolence of the era. He doesn't report details of "The Terror" in textbook fashion. You get the feel of the era strictly from the emotions of the people witnessing it.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Unread Authors Challenge

I found a new challenge through Wendy's blog. It's Unread Authors Challenge I have enough books lying around my house to find 6 that qualify. Plus I'll be getting 3 more (so far) for my book clubs. So, I have no doubt my list could be doubled by the time the challenge begins in September.

But for now, my books are:

1.) The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
2.) The Locket by Richard Paul Evans
3.) Rose's Garden by Carrie Brown
4.) The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
5.) Notes on a Scandal by Zoƫ Heller
6.) Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

September can't get here soon enough. These look like some good books.

Update: February 29

I'm afraid I didn't stick to my list. I joined the 888 challenge and some of my books got reassigned. But since I have plenty of books I just tossed some into this. My final list is here. I got The Jungle and Rose's Garden. But I messed up and grabbed the wrong two books to finish the Fall into Reading 2008 Challenge. So I substitted the two I missed here. They were Frankenstein and Playing for Pizza. And for forgotten reasons I rouded out with Shoot the Moon and A Widow for One Year.
Lots of good books on this list.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

You Tube Neglect

I've been registered with You Tube for 7 months. I logged on tonight(after having to get a reminder of my user name and going into saved mail for the reminder of my password) and read on my welcome page that I have viewed a grand total of 5 videos. Yes, ladies and gents, 5 videos in 7 months.

Anyway, a friend sent me a really cool video. It's Paintjam Dan Dunn I wasn't too impressed with his painting or his rhythym until the end. Then I was blown away.

I'm off tomorrow so I'm going to spend a little time trying to figure out how to post videos from You Tube onto my blog. I was just there and tried to share Paintjam. You Tube replied the video would be posted to my blog shortly. I have absolutely no information on my You Tube profile at all so I don't know what blog they're posting to. I'll see what happens.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter Week

I feel more dignified already. As I was answering the questions, I just knew I was going to be expelled from Hagwarts.

Find out your Harry Potter personality at LiquidGeneration!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

To Kill a Mockingbird

"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
1961 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Scout is a young tomboy growing up with a single father and big brother Jem in a small Alabama town. The children spend their days outside playing and are soon joined by a neighbors young relative, Dill. The three are fascinated with a recluse in a neighboring house and spend their time trying to bet the shy Boo Radley to show himself.

Scout and Jem's father is a local attorney assigned with the defense of Tom Robinson, a local black man accused of raping a white woman. The book is set in 1935 when such a crime was punishable by death.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" is about a child trying to figure out the world around her. Her father is patiently trying to teach his children about prejudice and hatred and how all people deserve respect. It's a deceivingly simple book that covers very complex issues from a child's point of view.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Ethan Frome

"Ethan Frome" by Edith Wharton

I won this book on the BlogrollGame. It was on my "Book of Great Book" list so I grabbed it when I saw it. I wasn't familiar with it and not particularly interested. When it came in the mail, I saw how small it was (75 pages)and decided to go ahead and read it. One more of the TBR lists. I loved it.

Ethan Frome is a farmer living in New England. He had been away to school studying engineering when his father became sick, so he came home to take care of the farm. After his father's death, his mother got sick. A cousin came to help care for her and after his mother's death, Ethan marries the cousin. And she becomes sickly. And another cousin arrives to help with her care. But the wife senses a growing connection between Ethan and Millie---the cousin.

This book is a very sad and lonely story. It's a tale of disappointment and lost dreams. It reminds me of one of my all-time favorites, "Of Mice and Men." I'm going to keep this book in my permanent collection for a future reread.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


I believe I'll make an experiment with candor here.

"Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson

John Ames is a 77 year old preacher living in Gilead, Iowa. He's dying from heart disease. Forty years after the death of his first wife, he has remarried and now has a 7 year old son. This book is written to his son as a way to pass on everything Rev. Ames wanted to be able to tell his son. Things like family history, the need for love and God in everyday life, and who he is himself.

"Gilead" is a calm, thoughtful book, not to be rushed. It covers the history of a town and a family during the abolitionist movement before the Civil War. It hits on John Ames' views on religion. It explores the relationship between fathers and sons.

John Ames tell the story of the world he lived in with a courage and honesty seldom seen. He's not afraid to see himself as he is, not as he should have been.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A Handful of Mysteries

While waiting for July so I could get to my next two book I read several mysteries. They usually just took a day or two. I have a spreadsheet with 50+ books listed on it. These are books in my house that I need to read (as opposed to going out and getting more). So I started picking up the ones I coud quickly get off the list.

There were two by Stella Cameron-- The first was "Kiss Them Goodbye." I enjoyed it and it was part of a series set in a small Louisiana town. So when I went hunting for "Gilead" for the BookAwardsChallenge I picked up "Now You See Him" for a couple of bucks at "The Dusty Cover." These are considered romanctic suspense. I went through a romance novel phase but eventually outgrew it, but I have to say I just might be buying more in this genre for the times I want brainless reading.

I had "Touching Evil" by Kay Hooper on my shelf. This was another romantic suspense. But it has a twist. The crime investigators are empaths or pychics. Fun, huh? I'll definitely want to try out another of these.

"Temptation of a Proper Governess" by Cathy Maxwell was a historical romantic suspense. It was OK. I think the historical part lost my interest. It's been on my bedside tale about a month with me reading some here and there style.

And finally, my first Nora Roberts, "Northern Lights." I got it from my sister Saturday and finished it Monday. I want more of her books too. Apparently, she really churns out the books so I'm not planning on setting a goal of reading all of them. But a couple more will be on my plate sooner or later.

But now it's July. TheClassicsClub is reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Pulitzer_literature is reading "Gilead." Both will count on my BookAwardsChallenge so that's what's next. And I've read all the mysteries in the house, so I have to get some more books off my spreadsheet before I buy more. I have plenty of books in the house.