Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Life Makes Me Happy

I'm pretty lucky. And tonight I'm feeling it. I'm healthy, loved, employed. I have a fiance' who treats me better than I probably deserve, I have a job I not only tolerate, but LOVE, and I have enough money to live comfortably, however much I bitch about being poor. I have three cats who love me, a roof over my head, dinner on the table every night, clothes on my back, and books galore to keep me occupied. I've got college football, I've got the internet...in short, I've got it pretty good. So I'm counting my blessings tonight.

And they are numerous, indeed.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Books Just Keep on Comin'

Soooo many books received this week!

First: Matrimony by Joshua Henkin. After trying to get a copy of this book in giveaway after giveaway, I finally won a copy on Megan's blog. Yes, I could have just picked up a copy at the local bookstore, but I'm Type A...I want to WIN, dammit! So thanks to Joshua Henkin and Megan for giving me that thrill!

Next, another BookMooch acquisition: Doctor Zhivago. I have never read this classic, but I've heard SO MANY people talk about how great and sad it is. And the movie version figures heavily in one of my beloved John Cusack's movies, Must Love Dogs. So I figured it is a must-read for me at some point. And also? I CAN'T STOP MOOCHING. There is always something else I want/need.

Including...Marian Keyes' Angels, another Mooch. Something a little lighter, to break up the string of classics I seem to be picking up.

Finally, on the book front, I received a copy of Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. I believe I won this during the 24-Hour Read-a-Thon, but my eyes were so crossed by all the reading I did and my mind so fogged with the lack of sleep, that I just can't be sure. So if you gave this book away during the Read-a-Thon, and I won it, THANKS!

And last but by no means least, my lovely, lovely, wonderful journal from our own BookGirl, Iliana. I was so excited to have won the journal, which I simply don't have the free cash to out and out PURCHASE from her, and now it is here and it is GORGEOUS. I was thrilled to be able to see the craftsmanship that I've followed on her blog, up close and personal. You guys should all travel over to her Etsy shop and buy up all her stock!

What a week of book blessings. Thanks to everyone who has hosted a giveaway and/or donated prizes for the Read-a-Thon. I'm so lucky to have brought in this haul!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mailbox Monday

Short post today...I'm WIPED. Spent literally all day in court, with no break for lunch. Well, we had a break, but since people bombarded me with issues as soon as I walked in the door of the office, I didn't have time to eat. Sigh.

ANYWAY...this week, I received The Good Earth from a fellow BookMoocher. and I received Angela Carter's Shaking a Leg from a seller at Amazon. I forget where I heard about Angela Carter or this book, but it sounded interesting. It's a compilation of her writings on all topics, but mostly non-fiction. I'm trying to inject a little non-fiction reading into my schedule every once in a while, to balance out all the fiction I tend to gorge on.

Started Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells last night. So far, it's pretty good.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

End of Read-a-Thon Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

I got REALLY tired during Hour 16. But once I got my second wind, I got in another good three hours or so of reading time.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Mmm, I've heard others say that series books are really good for the Read-a-Thon. I read a classic, which I don't think many people would recommend, but I enjoyed it a lot. I think it depends a lot on the individual reader's personality.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

None, really. I would like to do two 12-hour periods over two days, but I understand that that takes some of the fun out of trying to stay up for 24 hours. I guess it depends on whether the point is to stay up as long as you can, or to READ as much as you can. I could get more quality reading time in during two 12-hour periods...

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

I LOVED the cheerleaders stopping by, and all the mini-challenges. Overall, I think everything went very very well.

5. How many books did you read?

I read one full book, one full magazine, and finished a book I'd started before the Read-a-Thon.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

I finished The Empress of Weehawken by Irene Dische; I read November's Glamour magazine; and I read H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man from cover to cover.

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

Definitely The Invisible Man.

8. Which did you enjoy least?

The Empress of Weehawken, which was a review book for LibraryThing, so I really WANTED to like it. And it was okay, just not great.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

I was a reader who cheered others on, and I really appreciated the cheerleaders coming by my blog. It was great.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I would ABSOLUTELY participate in the next Read-a-Thon, schedule permitting. I'll be a reader again next time.

One More Thing


I'm so psyched. I won one of Iliana's lovely handmade journals by participating in Tracy's caption the photo challenge. I've been eyeing those suckers since she opened her Etsy shop, but I haven't had the spare cash to set aside for one. This is AWESOME!

Before I go to bed, I just want to say thanks so much to DEWEY, and all the other wonderful folks who have put this Read-a-Thon together. Not to mention all the cheerleaders and other participants, as well. You guys have made this such a great experience. I'll definitely be here for the next one!

EDITED to correct Tracy's name...sorry, girl, but it was late last night, so I got you confused with Trish.

Review: The Invisible Man

I LOVED this book. I'm so glad I read it during the Read-a-Thon. It was the perfect late-night read, since it was short and action-packed, keeping my eyes from drooping.

It's the story of, well, an invisible man. The man, later identified as Griffin, has discovered a way to bend the laws of physics and make himself invisible. This discovery comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The first part of the book covers the stranger's arrival in the small town of Iping. Once the villagers discover his secret, the book veers off into his attempts to hide from prying eyes. While Griffin is a somewhat sympathetic character at the beginning of the book (he just wants to be left ALONE!), his descent into madness and his desire for power later render him the antagonist.

The book was, frankly, creepy. And not in the horror movie kind of way, but the "Oh my God, what IF...?!" kind of way. Griffin's invisibility, his disregard for human life, and his egomaniacal lust for power make for one of the eeriest main characters that I can remember.

I give this book five out of five whatevers. It's great. It's definitely a classic for a reason.

And, with that, kids, I'm going to bed. Thanks for hanging in with me this long. If I wake up early enough tomorrow morning, I'll try to get a start on my next book before the Read-a-Thon is over!

Read-a-Thon, Hour 17

Okay, so I had another Diet Mt. Dew and I'm back, baby, BACK! Well, sort of. I'm now about 2/3 of the way through The Invisible Man. I am really enjoying this book. I'd never read it, or any H.G. Wells, before, but it's keeping me riveted, which is a good thing this late in the Read-a-Thon. I'd like to finish it before I turn in for the night. And maybe start on my next read, Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells...

Look at me, getting all ambitious at this late hour!

Thanks to everyone stopping by and keeping me awake. Wish I could respond to everyone individually, but I need to keep my nose in the book. My little blog has never had so many visitors! Y'all come back now, y'hear?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hour 15 -- For REAL?!

I'm getting verrrry sleeeeepyyyy...

This is sad. I'm such an old woman. In college, I would just be getting started. I pulled all-nighters like no one's business, and got A's and B's into the bargain. At 31, it's 10:15 and my day is about to end. Ideally, I wanted to stay up all 24 hours, even though I knew it wouldn't really happen. Now, if I can make it a few more hours, I'll be happy. My mini-goal is 2 AM Eastern time. I think that's reasonable.

One for me, and one for my homies.

Ooookay, I'm getting punchy.

Sharon's Very Mini-Library Cat Challenge

SPOILER ALERT -- Answers Below!

1) The library cat that lived closest to me was Dewey (not THAT Dewey...there seems to be a proliferation of library cats named Dewey, heh). Dewey lived at the Martin County Library in Indiantown, FL from 1997 to 2000.

2) Dewey lived in the Spencer Public Library in Spencer, Iowa until his untimely death in November, 2006.

3) Dewey was in a documentary called "Puss in Books."

4) Dewey's full name is Dewey Readmore Books.

Mid-Event Survey, Lucky Hour 13

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
2. How many books have you read so far? Finished one book, The Empress of Weehawken, and read one complete magazine, the November Glamour.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Finishing The Invisible Man; it's really good!
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? Not really. I decided not to skip the football game, or having dinner with my fiance', so I scheduled my reading around those events.
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I have had very few interruptions. The Fiance' has been at work most of the day, so that has helped, but I imagine he will want to chit-chat when he gets home...I'll have to spend some time with him and then tuck him in for bed. :)
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? How much I've procrastinated, even though it's for fun.
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Not really; I like the way things are going.
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? I would have more snacks on hand.
9. Are you getting tired yet? Yeah, but not so tired that I'm going to quit. I keep taking sugar and caffeine breaks when I feel my lids drooping.
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? Nah. I'm just trying not to pressure myself so much that I stop enjoying it.

Keep it up, y'all! Everyone is doing such a great job!

What Hour Is It Again?

DAWGS WIN!!! Well, they won about two hours ago, really. Since then, I've been polishing off my Glamour magazine (it's not all high literature in Ms. Lexi's household), and I've made a fair start on H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man. I'm going to take another short break soon, to deliver dinner to the Fiance' at work. That shouldn't take long. When I get home, I would like to check my email and Google Reader, and then back to the reading! I'm a little afraid that I won't be able to stay up very long tonight, since I'm ALREADY tired and it's only just shy of 6 PM. But I'll do my best.

Read-a-Thon Update, Hour 8

Still watching the Dawgs' game. I've read about another 1/3 of my magazine. I think it's about time for more caffeine, though. I've reached my mid-afternoon slump. After the game, I'm getting a shower and will try to start on H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man.

Where are YOU at with your reading? Reaching goals? What are you reading?

Read-a-Thon Update Hour 6

Things have slowed down for me in the last hour or so. The Georgia Bulldogs are playing, and I never miss a Georgia game, if it's on the tube. We're up by two touchdowns over Vanderbilt right now, so things are going well. I decided to browse through my Glamour while I'm watching and I'm about a third of the way through that...

Things will pick back up this afternoon, when the Fiance' gets off to work and the game is over with.

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by to cheerlead and comment! I appreciate the support!

Hour 4 Update and a Review

Title of book(s) read since last update: FINALLY finished The Empress of Weehawken
Number of books read since you started: 1
Pages read since last update: 25
Running total of pages read since you started: 113
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1 hour
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 3 hours
Mini-challenges completed: Still just one
Other participants you’ve visited: Jessi, Dewey, Iliana, Angela
Prize you’ve won: None yet...

But I forgot to say that the other day I DID win a copy of Joshua Henkin's Matrimony from Megan at Leafing Through Life!!! I'm so excited, since I've been trying to snag a copy of this book for ages.

Okay, so. This book. It was sent to me by the publisher, Picador, through LibraryThing. A couple of months ago. I don't feel SO bad, since it was already released in the U.S. before I even received it, but here, finally is my review.

Overall, I have to say I'm ambivalent about this book. I didn't HATE it, but I didn't LOVE it, either. It was an interesting read, once I got into it, but there was nothing about it that drove me to seek it out. It was a solid 3 out of 5.

The story is narrated by Elisabeth Rother, wife of Dr. Carl Rother, a Jewish convert to Catholicism. It starts during the years just prior to World War II. The book is fiction, but the narrator does have a granddaughter with the same name as the book's author...hmmm.

Frau Doktor Rother is rather opinionated. Her opinions were ones I generally disagreed with, so maybe that's why I didn't love this book. I appreciated the sort of "insider" look at WWII through the eyes of one who lived through it in Germany, but wasn't a Jew. She did suffer some of the same indignities that German Jews did, since she was married to a former Jew, and eventually Dr. Rother did have to flee Germany for the United States.

The book does a good job of examining the relationships between the three generations of Rother/Dische women: Elisabeth, Renate and Irene. I found the way Elisabeth and Renate each chose to interact with her daughter to be strange: not the way I'd do things if I had a daughter. But those were different times, too.

Again, I didn't find the narrator to be terribly sympathetic, which I believe to be part of the reason I didn't jump for joy over the book. There is a lot more I could delve into (the book provides discussion questions at the end, so it might be a good choice for a class or book group), but I'm anxious to get back to my reading. I think I'll pick up a magazine now to let the last book soak in...

Happy reading to all!!!

24-Hour Read-a-Thon Hour 3 Update

Wow, we're on Hour 3 already! I am nearing the end of The Empress of Weehawken, and I'll post a brief review of it when I finish.

Title of book(s) read since last update: The Empress of Weehawken
Number of books read since you started: 1
Pages read since last update: 88
Running total of pages read since you started: 88
Amount of time spent reading since last update: Approximately 2 full hours
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) Approx. 2 hours
Mini-challenges completed: 1
Other participants you’ve visited: Umm, I'm reading more than blog-hopping, so just Dewey.
Prize you’ve won: None, so far...

24-Hour Read-a-Thon Hour 1 Meme

Hi everyone! Hour 1 has gone swimmingly so far. Quiet, with one little break to eat some breakfast (waffles, if you must know).

Here's a meme for Read-a-Thon-ers:

Where are you reading from today?

Um, if this means location, the couch in my living room. If it means WHICH BOOKS, right now I'm trying to finish up The Empress of Weehawken by Irene Dische.

3 facts about me …

1) I LOVE football. I will be watching the University of Georgia game later, despite it being the Read-a-Thon. My devotion to the Dawgs outweighs my desire even to read.

2) I'm engaged to the most wonderful man in the world, who didn't look at me like I was crazy when I told him I wanted to read books for 24 hours straight.

3) I live in Florida, and it's warm enough outside right now to make me think of turning the air conditioner back on.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?

Ohhh, I've got about ten, but I think I'll only get to the four or so that I posted about the other day.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?

My goal is just to READ. Life has been crazy lately and I haven't been able to devote the amount of time to reading that I was this past spring. So, although I have no specific goals, I'll be happy if I just spend the bulk of the day immersed in a book.

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?

This is my first Read-a-Thon, so no advice from me!

It's Go Time

Just about twenty minutes till the Read-a-Thon starts. Um, at least I hope I calculated correctly. Let's see: Eastern Time Zone, should be about 8 AM.

I'm ready to go. I've been imbibing caffeine for the last half hour, I've got a stack of books here, ready to go. The Fiance' is still asleep for the time being, so it's nice and quiet...

Bring on the Read-a-Thon! I'll be back later with updates.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Read-a-Thon Lineup

Okay, so people are asking what I'm gonna read for the 24-Hour Read-a-Thon. And I realized that I've created a list in my head, but I haven't posted it yet, silly me! My excuse is that work has been busy lately and I'm not feeling bloggy, but, since I've had a request, without further ado, my reading list:

1) FINALLY finish The Empress of Weehawken, which I've been working on for about a month now. I can't seem to get into it enough to plow through to the end, although when I do read it, it's not a bad read.

2) H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man. I've never read it, but it seemed like as good a time as any. I picked it up at the library today.

3) Rebecca Wells' Little Altars Everywhere, for something a little lighter.

4) Should I need a fourth book, Katherine Neville's The Eight, precursor to a new release that I've been asked to review, The Fire.

I've also got the November issue of Glamour magazine, should I need a bit of a break from all the "high literature" that I am reading.

I have no idea how many of these I'll get through, since this is my first Read-a-Thon, but I also have a few backups, should I need them. We'll see how I do. I'm hoping this challenge will kick-start my reading, which has been slacking lately. Between college football, reading others' blogs about the Read-a-Thon, reviewing what I read (although I might reserve reviews till after the Read-a-Thon), and sleeping, I hope to get some actual reading done. :) Good luck to all you Read-a-Thon-ers out there!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Don't Forget!!!

This weekend is Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon! Read all those books gracing your To-Be-Read shelves! Blog! Follow other bloggers! Cheer us all on! And win FABULOUS prizes!

I'll be there, will you?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mailbox Monday Once Again!

It's Mailbox Monday again, and I actually have some acquisitions to report! From the folks at LibraryThing and Andrews McMeel Publishing, I received a new cookbook, Pamela Sheldon Johns' 50 Great Appetizers. I LOVE COOKBOOKS! And I love to try new recipes. I wish I cooked more often, but our office is having a Halloween party at the end of the month, so I'll be trying out one of these appetizers on my unsuspecting guinea pigs. Heh.

I also received Leaving Cold Sassy, the sequel to Olive Ann Burns' Cold Sassy Tree. I Mooched this from the same lovely lady at BookMooch who sent me the first book. I'm looking forward to reading these classics that I've yet to get to.

Finally, I received November's Glamour magazine. I still love Glamour, despite the fact that I cannot afford any of the clothes and no longer really need the makeup tips (since I hardly ever go out anymore) and find it all just a little...repetitive. I've subscribed for YEARS, at least since college, and it's a habit I don't think I can break at this point. I do enjoy their articles on world events and the political coverage, and there are definitely still other "fluff" articles that I enjoy. It's kind of like brain candy for me. And I'm ready to dive in once again this month.

So, a fruitful harvest, overall this week. It could be a while before I receive many more books, as I'm topped out on BookMooch and the Fiance' and I are "saving money." But we shall see, we shall see. I have a feeling, like any good bibliophile, that I will find a way to bring more books into the house, regardless.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Meat Debacle

I love to cook. I'm not very creative, can't just hop into the kitchen and "make up" a recipe, but I love to dip into one of my eight thousand cookbooks and haul out someone else's recipe to make for Ricky and myself. Right now, I'm working my way through Paula Deen's "The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook." I saw a recipe for Bourbon Beef Tenderloin, which sounded really good, and we haven't had beef in a while, so I decided to try it.

While searching out the ingredients at Publix, I didn't see any beef tenderloin. So I decided, today, we were going to an honest-to-God butcher shop here in town and picking up a beef tenderloin. So Ricky and I set out early this morning and make our way to the friendly neighborhood butcher shop. And I found out why the butcher is so friendly: he's rollin' in the dough! I blithely asked for a beef tenderloin to feed eight to ten people (that's what the recipe calls for), and the butcher grabbed it up, trimmed it, tied it, got it all ready for me. I stepped up to pay and he said, "That'll be ninety-eight dollars." I thought he was kidding at first. Then, when I realized he WASN'T, my jaw dropped. Then I almost went into cardiac arrest.

I felt like an idiot. How could I not have asked the price first? And I felt so bad for making him do all that work for something I simply COULD NOT AFFORD. And I felt so embarrassed, after all my harping at Ricky about saving money and not buying things we don't need, that I was about to spend that kind of money on MEAT. So I meekly asked for half. The butcher told me that wouldn't feed ten, but I said we'd make it work, since I couldn't afford to spend almost a hundred dollars on a fucking piece of beef. It was still fifty-five. Fifty-five dollars on some dead cow. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PAIRS OF SHOES I COULD GET FOR THAT?!?!?!?!

So the golden calf rests in the fridge right now, awaiting its bourbon marinade, which I will mix up in the morning. It will marinate through the morning, through the Dolphins game tomorrow, until the evening when I roast its ass and Ricky and I devour it. Should be enough meat to last us all week, and we WILL eat it all.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Donate for a Good Cause

Sassymonkey has issued a challenge. She is asking everyone to donate a dollar (and what's a dollar, really?) to help fund a classroom library for a class of children who don't have satisfactory access to reading material. And if the joy of knowing you are helping a whole class of kids learn to appreciate reading is not enough, Sassymonkey will enter you into a chance to win a prize pack for donating and posting about the challenge. So run right over and drop a dollar to help these kids! Support literacy and help them learn to love books!!!