BTT + 2009: A Challenging Year...

...reading challenges, that is. As for the rest of it, 2009 will be the best year any of us have known for a long time - at least the last 8 years. The economy may be in shambles (heckuva job, George) but we finally have some leadership in this country, not a bunch of incompetent cronies helping each other stuff their bank accounts.

But I digress. I am gathering all my reading challenges together in this post, so between this and my handy dandy spreadsheet, I can keep track of my plans and progress.

I swore I wasn't going to get involved with a bunch of challenges! But these are so much fun and most of the books I want to read will fit into at least one of these. And, with my overall reading goal at 125 for the year, I still have ~60 books left over to read just for fun!

My challenges:

What's in a Name:

This is a challenge that anyone can join, no matter what types of books they like to read. You should be able to find books from any genre that will work. Dates: January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009

*The Challenge: Choose one book from each of the following categories.

1. A book with a profession in its title.
2. A book with a time of day in its title.
3. A book with a relative in its title.
4. A book with a body part in its title.
5. A book with a building in its title.
6. A book with a medical condition in its title.

*You may overlap books with other challenges, but please don't use the same book for more than one category.


Decades '09

1. Read a minimum of 9 books in 9 consecutive decades in ‘09.
2. Books published in the 2000s do not count.
3. Titles may be cross-posted with any other challenge.
4. You may change your list at any time.


Dewey's Books

"Read 5 books that Dewey reviewed. These can be from any year and I’m guessing that each of us has at least 5 books on our TBR list because of Dewey!"


The Pub Challenge

Read a minimum of 9 books first published in 2009. You don’t have to buy these. Library books, unabridged audios, or ARCs are all acceptable. To qualify as being first published in 2009, it must be the first time that the book is published in your own country. For example, if a book was published in Australia, England, or Canada in 2008, and then published in the USA in 2009, it counts (if you live in the USA). Newly published trade paperbacks and mass market paperbacks do not count if there has been a hardcover/trade published before 2009. Any questions on what qualifies? Just leave a comment here, and I’ll respond with the answer.
*No children’s/YA titles allowed, since we’re at the ‘pub.’
*At least 5 titles must be fiction.
* Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
*You can add your titles as you go, and they may be changed at any time.


Essay Reading Challenge

Here are the details:

~ Join anytime, but don’t start reading until January 1, 2009. The challenge ends December 31, 2009.
~ If you read a book of essays, that book can also apply to any other challenges you are working on.
~ Choose a goal of reading 10, 20, or 30 essays during 2009, and then write a challenge post, linking back to this post.

I'm choosing to read 20 essays.


I'm also setting a goal of reading 25 short stories. I have several compilations that I've been wanting to read and should easily reach that. And my intention is to read at least 6 classics.

I'm continuing my participation in the perpetual Orange Prize Project and The Complete Booker Challenge and I'm considering starting to track my Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize reads, but I won't do that officially this year. Orange January and Orange July will get me much farther along on the Orange trail!

I have a general idea which books I'm going to read for the challenges, but for some I have a lot to choose from, so they may be quite spontaneous. I don't want to lock myself in to too rigid a plan, then it isn't fun anymore!

Edit: after I posted this, Deb posted the Booking Through Thursday meme:

So … any Reading Resolutions? Say, specific books you plan to read? A plan to read more ____? Anything at all?
I figure I've got it covered with this post.

Happy New Year, one and all!!! And Happy Reading.

. Read More!

Wordless Wednesday 12-31-08 Salvation

Click photo to embiggen.

Check out other Wordless Wednesday participants. Or become one!
. Read More!

Teaser Tuesday 12-30-08 : At Swim, Two Boys

Should Be Reading - Miz B - hosts this weekly event. We throw out a couple of sentences from our current read to entice you to read the book (without spoilers, of course).

This week's book is still: At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill, page 86:

The music was remote and unresolved, wound about with slides and those yearning delays, not notes really, but the lingering between. It was like the harmony of another air whose melody he believed he could catch and maybe, had he the fingering, might one day play. He closed his eyes and it wrapped round him, the dark timbre that was breathy and warm; and he carried to black waters where a wave washed, or maybe two waves washed, under the star of an evening. The music ended, but a haunt of it hung on the air like the last heat of a grey fire.

A tad more than two sentences, but this passage was so rich, I had to include it all. This is definitely one of the most challenging books I've read in awhile, which is why it's taking me so long to read it - the dialect, idioms, allusions often go right over my head. But the writing is really lovely and the story is fascinating, so I'm hanging in there.
. Read More!

The Sunday Salon - Into the New Year!

The Sunday
The last Salon of the year. Hmmm...shall I do a 2008 wrap-up or a 2009 resolutions post? (Actually, I prefer the word 'intentions' - much less loaded!) Well, I think I'd rather look forward this morning and write a bit about my reading plans for the new year.

Overall, I've set an intention to read 125 books. I easily reached 100 this year, and that was with only two months of retirement (and reading some real chunksters!) I've signed up - or will sign up - for several challenges that will easily fit my reading style as well as introducing me to a couple of new genres and/or authors.

Right out of the chute will be Orange January! This involves reading Orange Prize winners or nominees - which means I'll be reading at least a half dozen contemporary women authors. Thanks to my friend Jill for organizing this wonderful event! We did this in July and everyone loved it so much we decided to do it twice a year. My list includes:
  • The Road Home by Rose Tremain (one of my "new author discoveries" in '08)
  • The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
  • Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
  • Property by Valerie Martin
  • Ursula Under by Ingrid Hill by Anita Amirrezvani
  • What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
I'll probably still be reading Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey when the ball drops in Times Square, so that will officially be my first book of 2009. It was one of the suggestions I brought to my face to face book group - I hope everyone likes it as much as I anticipate I will.

And I have officially gone on to Advanced Geekiness, thanks to my friend Laura, who helped me put together a spreadsheet to keep track of all my challenges. Oh my, what's next, a pocket pen protector??

Just a little aside to bring a bit of joy to your Sunday (at least to mine!): 22 days left of the Bush admin!

Wishing you all a joyous, peaceful, happy new year and many wonderful reading adventures.

Join the Sunday Salon!
. Read More!

Friday Fill-ins 12-26-08

Janet is our friendly host for this weekly event. My responses are in italics.

1. I must live to a ripe old age in good health before I die.

2. You can't stop aging. Well, you can stop it by dying. (See Number 1.)

3. I wish I never had to buy a car again.

4. Sobriety has helped me change my life.

5. I know the song _____ by heart. Hmm. I can’t remember the title. (See Number 2.)

6. If I weren't so afraid, I would ride a scooter around town, but they’re too much like motorcycles.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to our annual Hanukah party, tomorrow my plans include finally getting out of the house after being snowbound for a week and Sunday, I want to go to that concert that was postponed last week due to snow!

. Read More!

Booking Through Thursday - Wintry Books

Deb at Booking Through Thursday asks:

What are the most “wintry” books you can think of? The ones that almost embody Winter?

Books I've read recently that fit this category are The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney and Away by Amy Bloom. Both books spent a fair amount of time in bitter cold wilderness and did a fine job of describing it.

To Build a Fire by Jack London is far and away the story that to me embodies winter most effectively. It's a short story about a man traveling on foot across the Yukon Territory accompanied only by a dog.

Perhaps my personal experience reading this story years ago lent a realistic atmosphere to it, as I was literally trying to get a fire going in the woodstove with wet wood in our very cold house.

An excerpt:
The frozen moisture of [the dog's] breathing had settled on its fur in a fine powder of frost, and especially were its jowls, muzzle, and eyelashes whitened by its crystalled breath. The man's red beard and mustache were likewise frosted, but more solidly, the deposit taking the form of ice and increasing with every warm, moist breath he exhaled. Also, the man was chewing tobacco, and the muzzle of ice held his lips so rigidly that he was unable to clear his chin when he expelled the juice. The result was that a crystal beard of the color and solidity of amber was increasing its length on his chin. If he fell down it would shatter itself, like glass, into brittle fragments.


Read More!

Wordless Wednesday 12-24-08 The baking of the bread

Click photo to embiggen.

Check out other Wordless Wednesday participants. Or become one!
. Read More!

Teaser Tuesday 12-23-08 : At Swim, Two Boys

Should Be Reading - Miz B - hosts this weekly event. We throw out a couple of sentences from our current read to entice you to read the book, without spoilers of course.

This week's book: At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill, page 105:

A darker ardor charged his face and briefly she heard his shuffling, coughing congregation. Nothing would do but she must utter the dread word. "Bazaar."

This novel has gotten some very high ratings and excellent reviews at LibraryThing. I'm having to work at it a bit here at the beginning, the idioms and phrasing are very unique. But since I'm snowed in, I have nothing else to do! Read More!

Let it Snow

I've posted a bunch of snow photos on my photo blog here, if you're inclined to look at them. Thanks for indulging me, it's so rare for Portland to get this kind of snow for this long.

This is one of my favorites:

. Read More!

The Sunday Salon - Winter Solstice

The Sunday

Happy Solstice everyone! The Sunday Salon logo is perfect for the coming of the light. Those of us in the northern hemisphere will start seeing longer days after today. For you in the southern, your nights will lengthen (think of it as more reading time). And for you equatorians - I guess not much changes, does it?

Last night we went to a Solstice gathering, walked there and back through drifts of snow and biting wind. One part of the celebration that I loved was the storytelling. We each brought and shared a short story or poem about winter. This kind of event happens far too seldom these days I think. Consider the families and villages pre-TV and how storytelling was an inherent part of culture and a way of passing wisdom down through the generations. Yes, stories get told on TV, in movies, on the internet but it's a more passive activity and the goal is primarily to entertain. I wonder if blogging could be our modern equivalent of story circles? We come here regularly and share pieces of our lives, our wisdom, our daily activities and our major events. But you don't have the benefit of tone of voice or dramatic pause on a blog.

One guest last night read The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert Service with quite a dramatic flare. It was delightful. And these are the moments that bring a group together in a circle rather than all the little pockets of conversation that tend to form at parties. We have a shared experience. Laurie and I are planning to have a storytelling gathering on New Years Day. We did this a few years ago and invited our guests to come in their pajamas, join us for brunch and share a story or poem or song. We may just make this an annual tradition.
You have just 24 hours to enter the giveaway for Matrimony - see details here.

Happy Holidays to you all. May you be fed and sheltered and loved and may we all know peace in the coming year.
. Read More!

Friday Fill-ins: 12-19-08

Janet is our jolly host for this weekly event. My totally irreverent responses are in italics. Ho Ho Ho.

1. Said the night wind to the little lamb, "Hey! Little Lamb! Blow me! Ha Ha! Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m fulla hot air, I get that all the time. Such a comedian. Get the flock outta here."

2. The first Noel, the angel did say, "Damn, this halo weighs a friggin' ton! Wardrobe!”

3. Clearcuts, toxic dumps, mountaintop removal, unemployment, foreclosures, Over the hills and everywhere.

4. It came upon the midnight clear, Santa! and eight tiny reindeer!

5. 31 days until Bush is out of office!!!!!! Let your heart be light!

6. The Bell Choir is standing outside your bathroom door. And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing when you’re naked in the shower.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to doing penance for irreverent answers, above, tomorrow my plans include baking challah and taking it to a heathen Solstice celebration and Sunday, I want to play in the (so far non-existent) snow, take photos, read and go to a concert!

This exercise reminds me of some carols I wrote new words to a couple of years ago. This one is dated but the sentiment still remains!

The Christmas Song – Chestnuts Roasting...

George Bush roasting at a war crimes trial
With Cheney, Rumsfeld Rice and Rove

Jailhouse blues being sung by Delay
And all dressed up in prison clothes

Everybody knows they lied to get us into war
And stole those two elections too

CEOs with their eyes all aglow
Are lining up to get their loot

They know that Cheney’s on their side
He promised lots of cash and goodies to provide

And every mother’s child will fight their war
If they are black or brown or desperate or poor
And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety eight

Although it’s been said many times, many ways,
Bush impeachment, today!

And to all a good night!

Read More!

Winter Cheer

This is one persistent pooch!

Read More!

Booking Through Thursday - Books as Gifts

Deb at Booking Through Thursday has a two-parter for us this week:

Part One:
What is the best book you ever bought for yourself?
And, why? What made it the best? What made it so special?

I'm not sure if 'best' means quality of the writing or of the actual book. I guess I'd have to say the recent Pevear-Volokhonsky translation of War and Peace. It's aesthetically beautiful and, well, darn good literature. I'd never read W and P, so it felt like a big plunge to buy a hard cover of it. It was my major read of 2008.

Part Two:
Do you give books as gifts?
To everyone? Or only to select people?
How do you feel about receiving books as gifts?
I love to give and receive books - though I have to know the recipient pretty well before I feel confident enough to know what they like in books. Unless, of course, they have a current wish list; that makes it so easy.

I've noticed that, even though I read mostly fiction these days, when people gift me with books, it's usually nonfiction. I guess they feel more confident in knowing my political or spiritual reading tastes than they do my fiction taste. News flash people! I have a wish list! Actually, I'm not fussy; if someone buys me a good book I know I'll love it regardless of whether it's on my wish list or not.

So when in doubt, buy me books! or Powell's gift cards!

Read More!

Wordless Wednesday 12-17-08 Yogi Squirrel

Click photo to embiggen.

Check out other Wordless Wednesday participants. Or become one!
. Read More!

Teaser Tuesday 12-16-08 : Matrimony

Should Be Reading - Miz B - hosts this weekly event. We throw out a couple of sentences from our current read to entice you to read the book.

This week's book: Matrimony by Joshua Henkin, page 7:
The session lasted an hour and a half, and at the end of it all eighteen freshmen from Julian's entryway were sent off with a contraceptive loot bag that included spermicide, dental dams, and condoms, miniature red and black satchels of their own taken from the larger satchels the PCC-ers carried with them. Carefully, seriously, respectfully, the girls took their satchels upstairs to their rooms, while the boys tossed the contents at one another and dissected them, and Hartley, from across the hall, filled his condoms with water and jettisoned them out the window into the courtyard, seeing if he could get them to explode.
See details in this post about a Matrimony giveaway!

. Read More!

Matrimony: Book Giveaway

I'm reading Joshua Henkin's novel Matrimony, "a stunning novel of love and friendship, money and ambition, desire and tensions of faith" (from the back cover). Josh contacted me about reading and reviewing his book and hosting a giveaway and I jumped at the chance, since I tried two or three different times to win this book from other bloggers.

Matrimony was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book for 2007, and according to The Washington Post it "elicits a passionate investment in the fate of its characters -- truly an up-all-night read." I can't wait to dive into this book tonight and tomorrow and I'll post my review when I finish it.

Meantime, you can read some other reviews, starting with Serena at Savvy Verse and Wit. Serena has links to other reviews and she's also hosting a giveaway (double your chances!).

So here's the deal: leave a comment below and tell me what you think of matrimony (the institution, not the book). A comment will count as one entry. If you blog about this giveaway, come back and let me know and you'll get an extra entry. This giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere on the planet. Josh will send you a signed inscribed copy of Matrimony if you're the winner. Contest will be closed and I'll announce the winner on Monday, December 22nd at 5pm PST. Good luck!

Update December 23rd: Michelle emailed me that she's already won a copy of the book elsewhere; so the NEW winner of Matrimony, chosen by a random number picker, is Stacey. Congratulations Stacey! I sent an email to you with info on getting your book.

In an email today, Joshua reminds us that the book industry is experiencing some very difficult financial problems, partly as a result of the tanking economy. This affects book stores, publishing houses and of course, authors (and ultimately, readers). Josh says:
Many classics (books we read in our English classes in high school and college, books our children read or will read), simply wouldn't be published by today's standards and, if they were published and didn't sell well immediately, they would be removed from the bookstore shelves. This is why it's so important that you buy books for the holidays. There's a website dedicated to this enterprise, Books for the Holidays, which you might want to check out, and publishing houses are running ad campaigns focused on holiday book-giving. You really can make a difference. A typical paperback novel costs less than fifteen dollars, far cheaper than a necklace or a sweater or dinner at a nice restaurant.
So buy a book or two for your sweetie, your kids, your Aunt Edith, your best friend; support your local independent booksellers. If you don't know exactly what book they'd like, buy them a gift card from their favorite bookstore. Support your favorite authors!

Read More!

The Sunday Salon - Potpourri

The Sunday Not much reading news to report this week. Since my centennial read last week, my reading has slowed to a crawl, but that's just temporary. It's partly due to a cold that took up residence in my head this week; I doze off every twenty minutes or so, usually while I'm reading (fortunately, not while I'm driving). From the sounds of it, we'll be hunkered down here all week with frigid temps and possibly snow or, more likely, one of our lovely Portland ice storms. So lots of reading time ahead next week.

My book blogger Secret Santa, Lynne, sent me a wonderful book, one that was high on my wish list: The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield. I love his writing, his speaking, his Buddhist teaching, and I've looked forward to this book since it came out last summer. Thank you Lynne! I hope my gift recipient is as thrilled with what s/he was sent! This was another of Dewey's projects as a way of building community - she and Ana organized the annual swap. Thank you Ana! And I'm sure this won't be the last time we send a little thank you blessing out to Dewey's spirit.

Speaking of Dewey, there's one more reading challenge out there that I'm going to sign on to for 2009: Dewey's Books. Robin and Chris are hosting this challenge; in Chris's words:

Dewey was such a prolific reader and her reviews were honest, intriguing, and beautifully written. What better way to celebrate her wonderful life than by having a year long challenge in her name!
Dewey and I had similar tastes in books, and there are several I picked that were already on my TBR shelves; but I also found a few that I hadn't heard of before, so it will be a good mix.

Check back here on Monday for details about a book giveaway. Joshua Henkin sent me a signed copy of his book, Matrimony, and will do the same for the lucky winner of the giveaway. Stay tuned!

And now, since we're well into double-digit December days (that's my cue), I have to admit that the holidays are upon us. I wish you all a joyous, peaceful, sane holiday season. Stay warm if you're in the northern hemisphere, stay cool if you're in the southern. And don't forget the mistletoe!

. Read More!

Friday Fill-ins 12-12-08

Janet is our friendly host for this weekly event. My responses are in italics.

1. Friends know my quirks and love me anyway.

2. Pay attention to your health; it's easier to prevent illness than it is to cure it.

3. I'm ready for snow and cold – it’s a good thing, because it’s on the way! Not ice though – never ready for ice.

4.Vanilla is one of my favorite perfumes or aftershaves or smells. Perfume = eeewwww.

5. The oldest ornament I have is my Christmas stocking, knit by my mother about 30 years ago.

6. Take some friends mix it all together and you have a party.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting over my cold with lots of tea and naps, working on holiday cards and very belated thank you notes; tomorrow my plans include staying warm, reading, taking naps, making soup; and Sunday, I want to walk in the snow (if it comes) and take photos of it, and then read some more! And did I mention taking naps?

. Read More!

Wordless Wednesday - Mt. Hood from Mt. Tabor 12-10-08

Click photo to enlarge for a spectacular view of our mountain.

Check out other Wordless Wednesday participants. Or become one!
. Read More!

Teaser Tuesday 12-09-08 : Affinity

Should Be Reading - Miz B - hosts this weekly event. We throw out a couple of sentences from our current read to entice you to read the book.

This week I'm reading another Sarah Waters book, Affinity. From page 43:

The sun grew brighter as I stepped into the cell, and after the shadowy monotony of the passage-way its whitewashed walls were dazzling, and made me put my fingers to my brow, and blink. It took me a moment, then, to realize that Dawes had not stood and curtseyed, as all the other women had; nor had she set her work aside, nor did she smile, or speak. She only raised her eyes to gaze at me in a kind of patient curiosity--her fingers all the time plucking slowly at the ball of yarn, as if the coarse wool was a rosary and she was telling off the beads.

Read More!

The Sunday Salon: I Did It! 100 books!!!

The Sunday

Happy Sunday, bloggers and bloggees!

I reached a milestone this week: read my 100th book for 2008! I reached my reading goal with almost 4 weeks to spare. The rest is just frosting on the cake.

I thought I'd do a little 2008 wrap-up today. It's been a great reading year: I've discovered new (to me) authors; read books from countries I hadn't "visited" before; read a couple of classic tomes that I never thought I'd read (War and Peace was a major accomplishment!).

Below is a list of books I read and rated either 4, 4.5 or 5 stars out of 5. All of these are highly recommended. I've linked to my reviews for the ones I have. The asterisk * indicates a new-to-me author; a plus sign + indicates a country new to me in literature.

5 stars:
  • Small Island by Andrea Levy*
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie* +
  • The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
  • The Girls by Lori Lansens*
  • The Secret River by Kate Grenville* +
4.5 stars:
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy*
  • Year of Wonders: a Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks*
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (graphic novel)*
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro*
  • The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell*
  • When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka*
  • Sorry by Gail Jones*
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer*
4 stars:
  • Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy by Kraybill, Nolt and Weaver-Zercher
  • An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • At Mrs. Lippincote's by Elizabeth Taylor*
  • Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
  • Blankets by Craig Thompson (graphic memoir)*
  • Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
  • Chocolat by Joanne Harris
  • Come to Me by Amy Bloom (short stories)
  • Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
  • Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles*
  • Disgrace by JM Coetzee*
  • Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn*
  • Fifth Business by Robertson Davies*
  • Gardens of Water by Alan Drew* +
  • Gentleman Jim by Raymond Briggs (graphic novel)
  • Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier*
  • In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
  • In the Wake by Per Petterson
  • Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan*
  • Light on Snow by Anita Shreve*
  • March by Geraldine Brooks
  • Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively*
  • Mosquito by Roma Tearne* +
  • Mudbound by Hillary Jordan*
  • Music and Silence by Rose Tremain*
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout*
  • Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle*
  • Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi +
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi*+
  • Restoration by Rose Tremain*
  • The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff*
  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (Group Read)
  • The Arrival by Shaun Tan*
  • The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery*
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers*
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss*
  • The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville
  • The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan (graphic novel)
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean*
  • The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham (Group read)
  • The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
  • The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney*
  • The Translator by Daoud Hari*+
  • The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton*
  • The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve
  • Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson*
  • Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
  • Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo*
  • Unless by Carol Shields
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (with caveat - difficult emotional read)*
  • Wild Life by Molly Gloss
And the clunkers (aka The Poo Pile - courtesy of Irish) - some I slogged through, some I quit on - generally earned 2 or fewer stars. I save the 1/2 star for the worst of the poo - sort of like tipping your bad waitress a penny.
And the number one clunker of 2008, earning the rarely presented One Half Star award:
  • Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah* -- I found this one impossible to finish.

I'll be doing a book giveaway in a couple of weeks - Matrimony by Joshua Henkin (signed by the author, no less!). Matrimony was named one of the New York Times 2007 Notable Books. Details coming soon! Read More!

Weekly Geeks #27 - for Dewey

This week our Weekly Geeks are celebrating Dewey. Many book bloggers have joined together in a remarkable team effort to keep Dewey's projects going.

In January, we'll have a new edition of Weekly Geeks with a different blog address. Meantime, we're going to take a break and honor Dewey with a month of "silence" (at least in terms of WG).

Dewey was one of those people who could create something from nothing - sort of a wizard or magician. When I started this blog in March, I kept seeing her name or her blog name or some project of hers every single week. I started participating in Weekly Geeks right away. Sometimes Dewey would have us visit other blogs, sort of like a scavenger hunt, just so we'd get to know other bloggers.

One of my favorite WGs was interviewing another blogger about a book they'd read. I got acquainted with Beastmomma through that assignment and we've been visiting each other's blogs ever since.

It's an interesting process trying to fill the ginormous shoes Dewey left behind -- it takes a whole village -- and it speaks to the caring community that Dewey nurtured here. I think she's smiling, knowing what she created is in loving hands and will carry on.

. Read More!

Are You Ready?

Read More!

Friday Fill-ins #101- 12-05-08

Janet is our lovely host for this weekly event. My responses are in italics.

1. Snow doesn’t come to Portland enough.

2. I'm looking forward to Solstice and Hanukah celebrations, time with friends + family.

3. This is the best time ever!

4. One of my favorite old tv shows is Bewitched.

5. I'm done with work! Because I am retired!

6. The most enjoyable thing around the holidays is the lights.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to learning about my NEW camera, tomorrow my plans include taking lots of photos and Sunday, I want to hang out with my friends and write and shoot photos! Read More!