A little bit about books, a little bit about life.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather
by Jacqueline Winspear

Finished! I wish I could cross it off a list, but I just read it for fun. Not a book-club, not a challenge, not for school.
Actually, maybe I'm glad it's not on a list of any kind. There is a point of being too regimented. (I'll never see that point, but..... )

It was a great "classic" mystery novel, with a heroine I fell in love with.
The second in the Maisie Dobbs series, it is set somewhere between the 1st and 2nd world wars. The aftermath of WWI in England, is as central to the story/series as the mystery itself.

Ack!! I tried, but I cannot write a review. I feel too much pressure....like I'm in school.
Now I can write a "column" anytime.... a column where I can meander and talk about random things that mean nothing much, but then they all come together at the end. But, a book review, no.

I liked the book.
The ending left me wanting to know more about what's going to happen in Maisie's life.
If you've read it, leave me a comment and let me know how you liked it.

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current readOpen to a random pageShare two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that pageBE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

from "The Big Love" by Sarah Dunn.
page 55.

I was going to say that he and Kate Pearce deserved each other. I was going to warn him that she was going to leave him again, just like she had the first time, and he'd better not come crawling back to me, because I won't take him back, not in a million years, not for all the tea in China, not if he was the last man on earth.

Monday, March 30, 2009

TBR Challenge

I'm late....it's the last day of March and I'm signing up for the 2009 TBR challenge.
The challenge is to read 12 books in 12 months...from your TBR pile (to be read pile).
I'll have to play catch up a little bit, because I only have 9 months left.

I belong to 2 book-clubs where we meet monthly and we all read the same book, and also a quarterly book-club where we do the same.
I've made my own decision not to include any books from the book-club lists on this challenge.

Here is my list:

Can you read the titles?

1. Dead Irish by John Lescroart
2. What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
3. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
4. The Big Love by Sarah Dunn
5. Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos
6. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
7. The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan
8. The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman
9. We're Just Like You, Only Prettier by Celia Rivenbark
10. Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
11. Naked in Death by J.D. Robb
12. Brother Odd by Dean Koontz

If you want to play fast and furious "catch up" reading like me, go here and join the fun.

My husband, just noticed me choosing, stacking and taking a pic of these 12 books. He asked when I had to have the challenge done. I said, by the end of December. He laughed and said "no problem".
I hope so.....

Musing Monday: Lists

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about recording your reading…Do you keep track of what and/or how many books you read? How long have you been doing this? What's your favorite tracking method, and why?If you don't keep track, why not?

Great Question! If you want to play along go here and join in.

I have been a reader for most of my life. I have been a collector of books for most of my life. I have been a library user for most of my life. But it wasn't until just a few years ago, when I started reading series mysteries and/or suspense novels with returning characters, did I begin to keep track of them.

Interestingly, the mystery novels are the only ones I "list". I started doing it, so that I if I was ever at a yard sale, or used book store, I could pick up the "very next one in line" of the many, many mysteries I want to read. (I only read a mystery novel every 3rd or 4th book mind you, and I have to read them in order, so this could take me forever, as the list is quite long.)

On the Library Thing, I have cataloged over 426 books. I have these in my home along with probably 50 more that I have purchased over the last year.
And this does not include my "children's library closet". (now that the idea of listing all my books, or all my books read has taken seed inside my brain...who knows what I'll be doing with my free time this year. Making lists? )

Because I wanted this list of mystery books with me....it is in a little notebook that I have carried around with me for the past 3-4 years. Needless to say it has gotten pretty beat up. And because I grew up knowing nothing of the techo-revolution, I still keep my notebook/list by hand. Kind of.
I did print off lists of books by author and then stick them in the notebook.
And I have a color-coded system.... yellow highlite means I own them, blue means I've read them.

Let me show you.......
First, the front of my notebook, with sticky note attached. The sticky note has the name of a book I want to look for.

Inside cover
scraps of paper with new authors and books that "might" make it into the notebook, if they are worthy. (the trouble with that, is there are always new books, new authors I hear about. I end up with many scraps of paper)

First page
Notice these are in ALPHABETICAL order.....

Some of my favorite authors!!! The Bloodhound mysteries....great!

At the end is a list of books that one of my book-clubs has read since the beginning of our group. It began typed and then I just started writing them in.

And that is how I list some of my books. Old-school. LOL
and here we are at the end of my notebook with more scraps of paper slipped in!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Good Books/Good Eats

Supper and Book-Club

We met and discussed "The Lace Reader" by Brunonia Barry, last Thursday. It was my choice.
I hadn't read it before I made the choice for my book-club.
I know that a lot of people choose a book they have previously read...they want to make sure it's a good book.
But "good" is pretty subjective if you ask me. (see this post)

I used you...the book blogging community to make my choice, and you did me good.
I chose a book that seemed "hot" on all the book blogs a few months ago, and the fact that Barry self-published at first, and used the Internet to promote her book to book groups around the country, intrigued me.

I'll cut to the chase, because while I'm an avid reader, I'm a horrible reviewer. I liked the book. As did everyone at the book-club who read it. There were 8 of us at the book-club and 5 of us had read it. All 5 of us really enjoyed the book...and after the night was over, I think we convinced the other 3 to give it a try.

If I had a footnote that said "if you liked this, you might like this"
I would say, that if you like "The Lace Reader," you might like "The Double Bind" by Chris Bohjalian. There was a common theme, that is not apparent until the very end.
Both of these books are good. I think you will enjoy them.

And my bookmark for Monday....
It was in my Christmas Card, from my friend Ruth.
Eleanor Roosevelt. What an amazing woman. The photo of her on the bookmark is a stamp in "mint" condition. a 20 cent stamp.... they must have issued this quite some time ago.

Book club photos and a link to what the supper was for book-club evening. (my other blog--click on the link--it's food.)
There really were books there! As well as my book-club friends. It was Renee's birthday so we bought her a book...what else?

A girl after my own heart

A Girl after my own heart.

Last night we went to a potluck/birthday party. A nice excuse to get together with friends, as it's been a while... we all have such busy schedules.

It was a really nice/fun evening, but my favorite part was this... our friend's daughter...in the midst of a family birthday party was reading a book.
She didn't want to miss out on the fun, but her heart belongs to a book!

A Girl after my own heart! I just love her.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Booking Thru Thursday

This week's Booking Through Thursday question is:

“What’s the best ‘worst’ book you’ve ever read — the one you like despite some negative reviews or features?”

okay...this is the hardest question I've ever had.
Books are totally subjective. What I might consider bad, you might not and visa-versa.

10 minutes have passed since I began to write this, and as much as I try, I can't think of a best worst book that I've read.

Some mysteries are hard to get thru. And I love a good mystery, but for the most part, they do follow a formula. I mean, 95% of the time, the good guy wins. That is why you have to have great character development in series mysteries.
But they're not "bad" books... I love them.
I think formula books in general, are not great pieces of literature.... I am thinking specifically about children's books.... The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The Babysitters Club, The Goosebumps. All not great, but what a fan base!!

one time, in a hurry at a book store, I accidentally picked up a "gay" book which I ended up really liking. It was a good book. I'm sure some people would think of it as a "bad' book, but that's probably based on a belief system and not on how well it was written or not. It was a really good story. (I cant' even remember the name of it now).

Twilight keeps popping up in a lot of people I survey (my daughter in law my friend, my co-worker).

Hard question this week!
It's subjective.

Totally Lit

Book club and the reason I'm not a book reviewer or an author.

Because this is how I would describe last night:
It was so much fun!! (and then I wouldn't know what else to say)

I have a hard time with description.

We, the Totally Literature book-club, read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" and met last night to discuss it.

(to see what we had to eat, go here. It's my food blog.... And you'll see a REAL Potato Peel Pie made by our friend Kathy)

It was a consensus...we all loved the book.
And we all took on a British accent and a jaunty air... okay, so we didn't really, but we all loved Juliet and wanted to be just like her. She was a protagonist that we all admired so much. We just loved her and the rest of the characters on Guernsey.

What else is there to say? I'm not a book reviewer.
But, have you ever read a book, that just made you feel good? That's what the Guernsey book is like. Bad things happen...it takes place shortly after the end of WWII in both London and the Guernsey Islands. England is starving, families have been separated, homes destroyed, but it is the strength of the human spirit that comes out in this book. The comfort of friends, the power of the written word.
That's another thing. It is an epistle...written in a series of letters...book. Sometimes that is really difficult to "get into", but a few pages into the Potato Peel Pie Society, I was hooked.
Before we had e-mail, text messaging and IMing, I was a letter writer. (see pile of letters in photo below). It's a lost art. We talked a bit about that last night...the lost art of letter writing.

I live in Winnemucca, NV. I moved away for 5 years and then we moved back. In that 5 years, my friend (also named Debbie) and I wrote to each other every week. I saved every single one of her letters. And the letters of anyone else who has ever written to me. But because we are taking about book-club and Debbie was there at book-club last night, we will not be mentioning, Theda or Sally or Tomi, whose letters I also have, saved in ribbons in a box...in chronological order. (I'm a bit of a dork. )
I have every letter that Debbie ever sent to me. And you know what? I think we are great writers. Letter writers!! It takes practice is all.
People will say, that they don't write good letters.... but I say, it's time to practice again. That's all it takes.
I got those letters out last night after my friends left and read a few.... it made me cry. Happy tears. We wrote about our struggles raising jr. high kids .....who now have kids of their own.... and aging parents.... and silly neighbors.
We never thought that 15 years later, we would be sitting together in a book-club, talking about a book, that we both loved that had all these great topics:
friends, food, books, and letter writing.

You should read the book! That's my recommendation.

One of the most fun things? Our real "Potato Peel Pie"

Bookclub friends below....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Book Club Tonight

Tonight we meet for book-club, where we will be discussing "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society."

To see what I'm making for dessert...go here.

It's my cooking blog. I'm incorporating 2 blogs into one this week.
I'm not sure how this happened, but both of my bookclubs meet this week and they are both at my house. Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
Not only are we discussing the books (I can't wait), I have to feed these people!
So, not only will I post about the two bookclub meetings on this blog, I'll also cook for them on my other blog.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What's on your Nightstand?

What's on Your Nightstand.

I have always been a library user, but I also have a huge book collection with a huge TBR pile sitting around, so usually, I have a book I own on my actual nightstand, but this week, I went to the library and checked out some books, so I decided to showcase these for this blog post.
The titles are pretty much random choosings from the shelves of the library. Last night after dinner, I was trying to get a new picture for my blog header, and just happened to take a picture of some of my library books... (notice I did not use this as my header. I used the birds at my kitchen window birdfeeder instead ).

So, does anyone see any good titles there in my library pile? Anything I should definitely read before returning them to the library? I have a bad habit of doing that...I'll check out 10 books and read one.... and I don't want to let a great read escape me, so if you see something I shouldn't pass up, let me know.

These aren't exactly on my nightstand, but rather, in the closet....of what used to be my son's room (he's married now and expecting twins in June). It's my "children's library". Now it will be my Grandchildren's library. (I'm expecting a 3rd grandbaby this year too, from my oldest son and his wife) Right now it's just a messy closet. ( I was thinking maybe I could get a good picture for a header out of it, but no.... )
I am lucky to have friends and family who have children who like to read, so, while it might be messy, they love to go up there with me looking for a book to borrow and find a whole lot of treasures while browsing.

Those are my nightstands for this month.
You can check out other posts here.

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays

I'm joining in on a new (for me) weekly meme, "Teaser Tuesdays".

Here is what you do...
Grab your current read
Let the book fall open to a random page
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Be sure not to give a spoiler!! (very important)

The book I'm currently reading is "Birds of a Feather" by Jacqueline Winspear. The sequel to "Maisie Dobbs" and here is my teaser..
page 213

She closed the door behind Maisie and led her to the drawing room, where a teapot and two cups were set on a tray with some biscuits.
Maisie took a seat on the settee and once again removed her gloves. Despite extra clothing she still felt the cold, in her hands as much as in her feet.

If you want to check out all the "teasers" for good suggestions on what to read, check out the blog Should Be Reading.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Musing Mondays

The question for "Musing Mondays" this week is:

How many bookstores do you frequent? Do you have a favourite? If so, which one and what makes it so?

We live in a very rural community in Northern Nevada. We don't have a bookstore. We have a Wal-mart. And 2 grocery stores.
Having said that, I do have to say we are not an illiterate community... we have a effective and much used library system and I am in 4...COUNT 'EM.....4 bookclubs.

Sadly, I do engage in quite a bit of "on-line" shopping. (not so good for the city tax base, but when I want a book, I want it NOW )

When we go into Reno, I don't leave without visiting Barnes and Noble or Borders.
I love them. I've had to get over my guilt about visiting the "Big Chains" of bookstores. They are big, they have a lot of books, and they are convenient for me. As is Amazon.

But when I go home to visit my mom in Washington state, there is an independent bookstore called "The Bookworm". ( I don't see where they have a website )
I LOVE THAT STORE, it is my absolute favorite. I've been going to the Bookworm (used and new books) since I was first married, 31 years ago. It has grown and changed location a few times....but it can never hide from me, I always find it.
I just love it. I don't know what makes it my favorite. Well, it has a rack of "staff recommended" that I always purchase something from. It used to have a rack like that in every "theme" room of the store. Way back when I was first married I used to read a lot of romance, (have since given it up because how can anyone compare to the man I married. LOL ) and I liked having recommedations for romance. And all ther other genres as my reading tastes grew and changed.

When I go to Portland, Oregon to visit my friend, I have to make a stop at Powell's Bookstore. I'm sure you've heard of Powell's. The Original. I could spend a week in that store.
When we went up last May for a wedding, I spent a whole afternoon there. I had tucked $100 bill inside my wallet for just that purpose. I went over!! Which isn't hard to do, but since they were 95% used books, I got a ton...sacks and sacks of them.

Those are the bookstores I frequent, when I can.

If you want to play along with Musing Mondays, check out Rebecca's blog here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

books and all that jazz

I can't keep apologizing for being away so long, can I? Must I?

I belong to a book club here in our little town, "The Literary Guild". It's been here forever...I am in the youngest group of ladies who belong. I will be 50 this summer.
It is a luncheon meeting, and we don't all read the same book, but someone signs up to give a "book talk" during the lunch. We all listen attentively, our faces rapt with attention. I am sure way back in the beginning they all wore hats and gloves.
There is no doubt in my mind. I feel guilty when I show up in my jeans. (even with a nice jacket)

One of the things or services we do...actually it's the only one we do....is give a dictionary to every 3rd grader in our county. We all donate money towards that and pass them out in the fall with our name inside "The Literary Guild".
The teaches will have their students write thank you notes and just last week at our literary luncheon we read them.

Ya gotta love 3rd graders.
These are some of the lines...

"Dear Literary Clud..."

"Hello. I live in Nevada. Do you live in Brazil?"

"PS: my favorite part is the L's"

yep, ya gotta love the "L's". hahahaa... they are such cute letters. The ones from the 3rd graders, not the "L's"

Next week, my two other book groups meet...the ones where we do read the same book and discuss. Usually they don't' meet the same week, but this month they do, and for some reason, I am hosting both of them.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on Wednesday, and
The Lace Reader on Thursday.

I liked both books, but I LOVED Guernsey. Just loved it. I've read it two times. It was that good. Usually I don't reread a book, because I have so many still in my TBR pile.
Exceptions are "Jany Eyre" and "Little Women" and "Seventeenth Summer" (first read in my 8th grade year) and "Mrs. Mike" (also first read in my 8th grad year).
Oh...and "The Godfather" (surprisingly, also in my 8th grade year. My parents had no idea)

Interesting... I went from "Seventeenth Summer" where she kissed a boy on the 3rd date and didn't want us, the readers,to get the wrong impression of her... to "the Godfather" where Sonny Corleone taught me about adultery and oral sex, not that I understood any of that, but funny how the two had the biggest impression on me. I wonder.......