Saturday, December 26, 2009

In My Book Box

This year's book box was a little lighter than usual. Its contents included: "Half-Broke Horses", "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", "Kneadlessly Simple" (a book on bread-baking), a local cookbook and a couple movies. But, and it's a big but, the next box held an Amazon Kindle. Now, I have most books at my fingertips for a mere $9.99.

So far, I've been exploring the free books available for the Kindle. I've added "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes", "Mossy Tree", and "All God's Creatures". I also purchased (with a Christmas gift card) "The Host" and "The Girl Who Played with Fire". So, I have plenty of reading.

Still working on my 2010 list...

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Recap of Reading

Wow. Is fall really over? It just flew by.

I really enjoyed the "Fall into Reading" challenge and feel like I made good progress on my list. I finished 12 of 18, read a few other books in the meantime, and obviously neglected most of the non-fiction on my list. Next time, I think I need to read the non-fiction first. Or at least alternate. And, maybe, just maybe, 18 books is a few too many for two months.

I learned that just as I often want to be inspired to make a certain recipe, I feel the same about books. Certain ones on my list just didn't "sound good" when it was time to read them. I also will try to not save the most depressing books on the list for December next year. And I learned the reading others' Fall into Reading lists was a dangerous pasttime.

My favorites - "The Hunger Games" and "The Time Traveler's Wife" but I honestly enjoyed most all of them. (And "The Hunger Games" was one that I added to my list after seeing it on several others'. Thanks for the recommendation!)

Thanks to Callapidder Days for hosting the challenge. I can't wait to partipate again next time.

Last night after I finished "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (I spent most of the afternoon reading because it was due back at the library 3 days ago), my husband asked me what I'm going to read next. And, I just don't know. I feel like I need to work on another list.

Some possibilities...
January's book club pick, "The Hidden Art of Homemaking"
A few library books waiting to be read, "America, America" or "A Fatal Grace"
Any of the non-fiction books I didn't read or haven't finished, "The Strong-Willed Wife", "Boundaries", "The Emotionally Healthy Church"


Whatever is in my Christmas box of all-time favorite gift to open. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Note to Self

Last year in December, our book club chose to read "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier". It's the only time since our book club began that I chose not to finish the book. My heart couldn't handle reading a true story about boy soldiers in Africa and the horrors they experienced and continue to in the midst of the Christmas season. I put the book down, went to book club and thoroughly enjoyed the discussion.

You would think I would have learned from that experience. But, for some reason, all the fiction books remaining on my Fall Into Reading list are a little on the depressing side, not so suitable for holiday reading. I stayed up until 1:30am last night finishing "A Thousand Splendid Suns", an excellent tale about the history of Afghanistan, particularly in its oppression of women. Not light hearted fun reading, though. I cried my eyes out.

"Shanghai Girls" was not a lot better in that regard. And, I know from reading the first half of "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" that it is not a happy book. (And right now I'm not even intending to finish it before December 20th. That tragedy can wait until January).

Alas, I also have a fair amount of non-fiction left to read. I should have spread that out a little more. Next time...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December Book Club

Almost two years ago, I joined a book club. We meet the third Thursday of each month, and I look forward to it all month long. We call our book club "Women of Great Taste"...great taste in books, food, friendship.

Food? Yes, we eat at our book club, something that is somehow related to the book. It's always fun to show up and find out what the host has come up with, for examples when we read "The Five Love Languages", the host served punch and wedding cake.

At the end of our meeting, we pick our book for the next month. The next month's host chooses a genre or theme and then offers 3-5 book suggestions. A vote decides which book we will read.

This past month, I had read all the books on the list. :) But, they were all good books, and I was excited that our group chose to read "Water for Elephants". I have added it to my FIR list and am hoping to re-read it before we meet next week.

But, first I have to finish "A Thousand Splendid Suns".

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Where did November go?

After sailing through 8 books on my list, I started "Three Cups of Tea". Who knew that it would take me until the end of November to finish it?

It was a great book, so inspiring. It made me feel like I should be doing something but just what, I'm not sure. I am hoping my husband will read it too. He prefers non-fiction, so perhaps it will be just his thing.

I'm at a bit of a loss for what to read next. I'm tempted to start "A Thousand Splendid Suns" but since I just read about Afghanistan and Pakistan, I think I'll wait. "Shanghai Girls" is waiting to be picked up at the library.

And then, there is this pile of books I checked out last week that aren't on the list at all...gasp! And those are the books I want to read: "Entertaining Disasters" (I'm actually about 1/3 of the way through with it), "The 19th Wife", "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", and "Fatal Grace" (the book that follows "Still Life").

But, I also want to make progress on my list, so we'll see what this evening brings. I'll probably try to finish "Entertaining Disasters" and then start "Shanghai Girls" or finish (I started this summer) "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle". We will see.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Slowing Down

Well, I decided it was time to tackle a non-fiction book or two before finishing off the fiction books on the list. (By the way, "The Art of Racing in the Rain" is on hold right now. I read "New Tricks" while Phil was gone last week, and a dog is a central character in it, like "The Art of Racing in the Rain". I thought it might be good to wait a little before reading another "dog" book.)

So, I just started "Three Cups of Tea" which is, so far, fascinating but definitely a much slower read than some of my previous selections. So, we'll see if I make it. I have nine books to go, and most are going to take me a little more time than "The Hunger Games" or "New Tricks".

Coming reviews, when I can figure out how to write one without giving away any important information.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An update

So, I gave in and bought "Catching Fire", the second book in "The Hunger Games" trilogy. And I put aside "The Art of Racing in the Rain" to read less than 24 hours. It was fantastic. I can't believe the third book in the series isn't even published yet.

(Sometimes, wouldn't you rather wait until the whole series has been written before reading it? That's how I felt with Harry Potter. I think I started it when there were four or five books out. It was so hard to wait on those last few. I can't imagine if I had started when everyone else did!)

Then, when I returned home from a fun weekend in Kansas City, "The Broken Teaglass" was waiting for me in the mailbox. Since it's our book club selection for November, I figured it could jump in front of everything else that's waiting to be read. My noble reasoning for this is so that I can pass it on to other book club members. (The library has been a little slow getting their copies on the shelves).

It was a fun book and a quick read. If you like words/dictionaries, you should definitely check it out. It was interesting to learn how a dictionary is written.

So, now you would think I would be reading "The Art of Racing in the Rain" especially since it's a library book that must be returned. Alas, I have turned instead to "New Tricks" by Dave Rosenfelt. He writes these really funny, legal mysteries about an attorney named Andy Carpenter. The first one in the series is "Open and Shut". Check it out. His books make me laugh out loud.

My husband had started reading "New Tricks" which meant I was going to have to wait awhile, but when he got a new book this weekend, "Superfreakonomics", I stole "New Tricks" from him. I'll have it finished before he gets home from his work trip this week...he'll never know.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An Interruption and an Addition

We will now interrupt regularly scheduled programming with this special announcement...
I am reading a book that is not on the list! After finishing "That Old Cape Magic" (so-so) and "The Hunger Games" (excellent), the next book in my pile from the library is "The Art of Racing in the Rain." However, if I had "Catching Fire" in my possession (the book that follows "The Hunger Games") I would be willing to abandon my list altogether in order to read it. Yes, I thought "The Hunger Games" was that good, although not for everyone.

The addition to my list..."The Broken Teaglass" is November's book club pick. The theme was "Mysteries, Old and New" and the choices ranged from Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Charles Dickens to Emily Arsenault and Terri Blackstock. I'm looking forward to this book. It's brand new and the story line sounds intriguing. Want to know what it's about? Check it out on Amazon or elsewhere. I don't like to give anything away or have anything given away to me (I don't even read inside the cover of the book.)

Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Dilemma

I love being able to request books from the library and have them delivered to the branch I want whenever they become available. I spend far less money on books because of this wonderful invention. And, I am very rarely without a list of books that I am waiting for. (Of course, since moving back to Kansas, I've had to get used to waiting just a bit longer.)

Today, however, the book that is currently waiting for me at the downtown branch presents a dilemma of sorts. It is not on my Fall into Reading list! So, today I need to go pick up "The Art of Racing in the Rain", but should I read it? Should I add it to my already-too-long list? Should I read another off my list and then slip it in? I've heard it's a great book, and I only have it for 14 days.

All I know is that I have to pick it library recently decided to start charging $1.00 per book for any unclaimed holds. Ouch.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Land of Book Blogs

I wasn't going to do this. I already have a cooking blog that I rarely post on (but often think of recipes to add). But, the Fall Into Reading challenge hosted by Callapidder Days just keeps drawing me in. I didn't even know the number of book blogs that existed until I tried to find a good address for this one.

So, I'm going to put a reading list out for all to see. Here are the books in my "to be read" pile that I hope to make a dent in before December 20th. Check out the link above for the challenge details. It's simple! Also, I'll be adding my November and December book club picks when they are chosen.

In no particular order, here is my list:
Escape (for October book club) - finished 9/27
The Time Traveler's Wife - finished 10/9
The Hunger Games* - finished 10/20
A Thousand Splendid Suns - finished 12/8
3 Cups of Tea - finished 11/30
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
The Strong-Willed Wife
America, America
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Shanghai Girls - finished 12/4
New Tricks - finished 10/28
That Old Cape Magic - finished 10/19
The Emotionally Healthy Church
Still Life* - finished 11/1
The Forgotten Garden* - finished 10/14
The Broken Teaglass (Nov. book club pick) - finished 10/26
Water for Elephants (Dec. book club pick) - finished 12/10

*Added as a result of reading others' Fall Into Reading's a dangerous pasttime.