Teaser Tuesday and Where Are You? 12-29-09: One Amazing Thing

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

This week my teaser is from One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, page 30:

Farah. She had entered Tariq's life innocuously, the way a letter opener slides under the flap of an envelope, cutting through things that had been glued shut, spilling secret contents.

It's Tuesday, Where Are You? is hosted by an adventure in reading.

I'm in an unnamed city in the US (probably LA or San Francisco). We've just experienced an earthquake, and I'm trapped in the basement of the Indian consulate with a group of people I don't know. Read More!

The Sunday Salon: Farewell 2009

The Sunday

Happy Sunday to all you Saloners and other readers! I hope the holidays are being sane and peaceful for you. We've had a quiet week - by design. The most exciting event was our puppy Liza Jane getting her new toys out of her stocking. She already had a stuffing-free moose, and now she's added a polar bear and a penguin to the collection. Our living room floor looks a bit like an Arctic massacre took place.

2009 is going out with a flutter rather than a bang in terms of my reading. I tapered off during the summer and in the fall, my reading was almost non-existent. But I'm back in the groove and 2010 looks like a good reading year. Most of what I plan to read is already on my shelf, which is a great feeling. And I generally move books along after I've read them, unless it's one I know I'll want to re-read in the not too distant future. So I'll be making room for more books throughout the year!

Some of my 2009 reading highlights (starred books are the best of the best):
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak*
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett*
  • The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent*
  • The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich*
  • The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey*
  • The Colour by Rose Tremain*
  • The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan*
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon*
  • The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan*
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
  • The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver*
  • The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
  • A Mercy by Toni Morrison
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  • Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson*
  • Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence by Matthew Sanford
  • Stitches by David Small (graphic memoir)
I've reviewed some of these; in the sidebar, 'Books I've Read in 2009' has links to reviews.

I'll be starting 2010 off with a classic, Dr. Zhivago and some more Orange prize winners/nominees for Orange January, from among these:
  • Home by Marilynne Robinson
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith
  • The Mammoth Cheese by Sheri Holman
  • The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
  • The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer
  • What the Body Remembers by Shauna Singh Baldwin
  • Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett
  • Ursula Under by Ingrid Hill
Got suggestions?

Happy 2010 to all of you - may the year be peaceful, prosperous and include plenty of good books! Read More!

The Sunday Salon: 12-13-09

The Sunday

I was hoping to have a book review to post this week, but alas, I have yet to finish one for December! I'm making progress on The Lacuna, and enjoying it a lot, just not reading much at a go. Hopefully after next week's choir concert, I'll have some more reading time and energy. Some of the music we're learning for the concert is quite challenging - not a bad thing, but it takes a LOT of time to learn and memorize. Plus, I'm singing a solo in the matinee concert and have had an unfriendly flu bug plaguing me all week, so I need to recover my voice slowly.

So since I don't have much bookish news to report, here's a poem that is the basis for one of the songs we're singing in the concert. It's written by Carolyn Forché:

Song Coming Toward Us

I am spirit entering
The stomach of the stones

Bowls of clay and water sing,
Set on the fires to dry
The mountain moves
Like the spirit of the southeast morning

You walk where drums are buried
Feel their skins tapping all night
Snow flutes swell ahead of your life
Listen to yourself

I am spirit living
Thin wooden years
Around the aspen

You live
Like a brief wisp
In a giant place

Have a wonderful Sunday, whatever you're doing today. Maybe next week I'll have a book report! Read More!

Planning Ahead to 2010

Even though I'm still in a reading slump, I'm making plans for reading in 2010. Just a couple of challenges this year, and nothing so grandiose as 125 books. Plus: most of what I've got on my lists are books that are already on my shelves!

First off, I joined the 1010 Category Challenge over at Library Thing. The idea is to come up with ten different categories in 2010 and read any # of books in each category - you decide the # for yourself. Though many people are reading 10 in each, I decided to go easy on myself and choose five for each one.

I've picked my categories and have most of the books chosen in each one, though that's flexible.

Here are my categories:

  1. A day without Orange is like a day without sunshine - Orange prize winners and nominees
  2. We Like Short Shorts! - short story collections
  3. She’s a Classic - classics written by women
  4. Booker, Dano! - Booker prize winners and nominees
  5. Dust Collectors - books that have been on my shelves more than two years
  6. Border crossings - books from countries other than the US or UK
  7. The Bigger they are, the harder they fall - chunksters, 500 pages and over
  8. News to me - authors new to me
  9. Pulitzer Prize winners
  10. The whole truth and nothing but the truth - nonfiction
Bonus category:
11. Play it again, Sam - re-reads, or books I started and didn't finish and want to try again.

Yesterday I stumbled across the 2010 version of my favorite 2009 reading challenge: What's In a Name. I jumped right into this one in '09 and met my challenge by the end of February.

Six new categories this year and some possible books to meet the challenge:
  1. A book with a food in the title: The Mammoth Cheese; Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit; Sexing the Cherry; Fruit of the Lemon; The Fortune Cookie Chronicles; Winter Wheat
  2. A book with a body of water in the title: Peace Like a River; Pilgrim at Tinker Creek; The Sea, The Sea; The Sea
  3. A book with a title (queen, president) in the title: Madame Bovary; The Master; The Princess Bride; The Queen of the Tambourine; The Emperor of Scent; The Senator’s Wife
  4. A book with a plant in the title: The Poisonwood Bible; Like Trees Walking; The Lotus Eaters
  5. A book with a place name in the title: A Sand County Almanac; The View from Castle Rock; The Septembers of Shiraz; The Little Giant of Aberdeen County; Moonlight in Odessa
  6. A book with a music term in the title: Song of Solomon; A Continuous Harmony; The Fish Can Sing; An Equal Music; Dirt Music
A few of these are crossovers with the 10/10 challenge. That's all perfectly legal!

I'm looking forward to a lot of these books. Mostly right now I'm looking forward to finishing a book this month.

Image from Vladstudio. Read More!

The Pink Glove Dance: Breast Cancer Awareness

This video has gone viral -- it was filmed at a Portland hospital - where I had surgery in August! I knew these people were cool.

Read More!