Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Finds (12/12)

Unfortunately, I didn't get to post what I'd found last week, so this one's a double-shot...

Bookopolis reviewed
An Exact Replica of A Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken - This memoir talks of the loss of her child in her ninth month of pregnancy and how she dealt with her grief.

Bookopolis also recommended In the Land of Invisible Women by Qanta A. Ahmed, MD, who spent two years working as an ICU doctor in Saudi Arabia and offers an insider’s account of the restrictive society and the challenges faced.

Gautami reviews Booth's Sister by Jane Singer, a book about Asia Booth Clark, the sister of Abraham Lincoln’s assassinator John Wilkes Booth, and the shameful legacy she was forced to carry with her.

Bermudaonion reviews See You in a Hundred Years: Four Seasons in Forgotten America by Logan Ward, is the story of Logan and Heather Ward who felt like they didn’t have time for anything anymore and consequently decided on a year-long experiment where they would live like Americans did in the year 1900, without electricity, cars, or any other modern conveniences.

posted her review of, (and highly recommends) The Declaration by Gemma Malley (first in a trilogy) on the Science Fiction Challenge site

Vertigo has another series of graphic novels! Chris reviewed volume 2 recently, and now has me hooked *shakes fist at Chris*: Fables, vol. 2: Animal Farm is completely unrelated to Orwell's work.

These two Don't Hex with Texas and Enchanted, Inc. by Shanna Swendson came up in the "recommended" bar on amazon while I was gathering information for some of my other Friday Finds. And yes, they're exactly what they sound like: Magickal Chick Lit. I'll have to see if any of my RL friends have read this series, and see what they think about it.

Queen of the Road by Doreen Orion was one of the selections from Book Giveaways (from which I have never won a book, is there a secret?). I'd love for my RVing friend Linda to see this book.

As I was cleaning out my feed for Early Word last night, I found the following titles:
The fourth book (Princeps’ Fury) in the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher (yes, the same author who has given us The Dresden Files), but of course I'd want to start at the beginning, with this title: Furies of Calderon. Battles in a magickal kingdom--perfect!

American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country by Katrina Fried and Paul Mobley "Photographs of 300 farmers in 35 states. Subjects are farmers who work 50 acres of organic vegetables and those who keep 3,000 acres of cherry orchards; many are barely getting by and no one says they are getting rich, although some are doing very well with everything from avocados to alligators. Fried transcribes their stories into engaging narratives."

Why We Suck, by Denis Leary is probably as un-PC as it gets, but I find myself in the mood for that sometimes. There is, apparently, a bad riff on autism, but Leary's apologized and clarified his position, and I'm willing to give him the benefit of doubt for now.

I'm sure there will be a big stampede for this one: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling.

Early Word also pointed me to Stephen King's column in Entertainment Weekly, and in his "Best of 2008" were these two: The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney (Bookmarks magazine describes it as "a murder mystery with many plot twists, the novel most successfully reveals complex human desires, motivations, and relationships.") and The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III (King says "this book is so good, so damn compulsively readable, that I can hardly believe it. ")

And lastly, a Christmas book that I'll try to get hold of for next year's holiday season (although I could really use it now, see yesterday's post): Christmas Sucks: What to Do When Fruitcake, Family, and Finding the Perfect Gift Make You Miserable by Joanne Kimes. Latest in her "Sucks" series, the title pretty much says it all.

And that, my friends, adds at least 3 months worth of reading (counting the unlisted books in the 3 series noted here) to my already-burgeoning life list.

I hate you all.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

T13 #8: Thirteen Things I Haven't Done to Prepare for The Holidays

1. Mail cards (I haven't done this for a few years, I think I'll shock people into falling over if it happens now)

2. Buy tree (we usually wait until the last minute for this anyway)

3. Decorate house (all the decorations are packed together, so it just makes sense to do it all at once)

4. Take kids to have pictures with Santa (since A's in school midday, this will be tricky to do during the week)

5. Baking (haven't done this for a few years, but really need to, with all A's teachers and therapists to do something for)

6. Check wrapping supplies (I don't go through much from year to year, but there seems to always be something I run short on)

7. Schedule sitter for Boxing day (will have to try and talk Grandpa into it, R will be out of town)

8. Figure out who gets what size portrait of kids (I have A's pre-haircut, A's school, and A and M's studio portraits to package and mail, some with frames)

9. Wrapped any purchased presents (One came pre-wrapped, so I can't really take credit for it)

10. Found outfits for Santa pics (I may need to go with something other than cutesy/coordinated)

11. Shop for stocking stuffers (these don't count against the "no presents for each other or for homestead" rule this year)

12. Figure out what to bring for Christmas Eve dinner (not sure if I'll be expected to fill in for MIL's standard contribution)

13. Color my hair so I don't look older than DH's aunts (seriously--now that I'm not pregnant, it should take just fine)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

BTT: Five for Favorites

1. Do you have a favorite author?
Of all the authors I revisit, I can narrow this down to two: Neil Gaiman and Mercedes Lackey, with Anne McCaffrey running a strong third.

2. Have you read everything he or she has written?
Unfortunately, not yet; both are almost obscenely prolific, and Gaiman has a blog (if that counts, Ill probably never catch up!)
A few of Lackey's series don't interest me right now, but I may start them after I've exhausted all other possibilities.

3. Did you LIKE everything?
I've yet to find anything unlikeable by Gaiman, and I'm also satisfied with the works of Lackey's that I've read.

4. How about a least favorite author?
A much harder question, since I don't tend to hold in mind authors I won't return to if I've hated their work that much. I won't read Andrew Greeley anymore, as his female protagonists tend to get raped, almost as a rite of passage (and I used to really like his Father Blackie mysteries, too).

5. An author you wanted to like, but didn’t?
Coming up with a big huge blank on this; I tend to not follow fads, and if a highly recommended book doesn't feel right for me, I don't read it. So, I don't find myself in many situations where I have big expectations about untried authors.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Book swappage haul

My son's school hosted a book swap/cake walk event tonight, and I spent part of today gathering books that we didn't need to have around anymore (DH would likely say "that would be ALL of them."). I registered them on BookCrossing, and was reminded that I'm coming up on my 6th anniversary of being a member (not that I've been a great member, mind you) on Saturday. Not sure if I want to do anything to commemorate it, or if anyone on the fora would even participate. Anyway, I didn't win a cake (apparently, grown-ups do not participate in cakewalks), nor a turkey dinner from the state-based chain, but I did find a lot of great books, mostly for the kids:

When Sophie Gets Angry--Really, Really Angry, by Molly Bang (Caldecott Honor, Charlotte Zolotow Award)

Skeleton Hiccups, by Margery Cuyler

"Slowly, Slowly, Slowly", said the Sloth, by Eric Carle

Colors at the Zoo, by Phoebe Henderson

Wheels on the Bus (Playmore, Inc. Pubs)

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost, ill. by Susan Jeffers

Biscuit Finds a Friend, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan, by Cynthia Rylant

I Knew You Could! A Book for All the Stops in Your Life, by Craig Dorfman
-I'm not reading this one in full yet, as it starts like this:
"I knew you could! And you knew it, too--
That you'd come out on top after all you've been through.
And from here you'll go farther and see brand-new sights.
You'll face brand-new hills that rise to new heights"
And I have a feeling that the rest will just make me cry. We aren't quite there with Anthony yet, but we do see glimmers of hope now and then. Maybe someday I'll look back and say that this book was the reason I needed to go to the swap tonight. Someday, I'll be able to read it for inspiration, and not in despair over losing the little boy I thought I'd have.

Pigs, by Robert Munsch

I See, You Saw, by Nurit Karlin

If You Give a Moose a Muffin, by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Old Black Fly, by Jim Aylesworth

The Ladybug and Other Insects, by Gallimard Jeunesse and Sylvaine Peyrols

Understand and Care, Share and Take Turns, and Be Polite and Kind by Cheri J. Meiners

E is for Elvis: The Elvis Presley Alphabet, by Ivey Dickinson and Rand Wireman
-I picked this up for my mom, will give it to her for Christmas from the kids.

Tawny Scrawny Lion, by Kathryn Jackson

Disney's Winnie the Pooh and You: A Book You Write About Yourself
-blank, but all the stickers are gone. Oh well, we can probably find better ones!

I Can Fly! by Alain Crozon

The Classic Treasury of Children's Poetry, ed. by Louise Betts Egan

Go In and Out the Window: An Illustrated Songbook for Young People, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
-beautiful book, hoping one of my kids has enough musical ability to enjoy it.

And a few for Momma:
The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova
Cross Bones, by Kathy Reichs
The Last Templar, by Raymond Khoury
Prize Stories 1997 The O. Henry Awards, ed. by Larry Dark
The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd
Ten Days in the Hills, by Jane Smiley

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hey mommies! (current and pending)

or, anyone shopping for a new mom...

Win a Free Organic Embroidered Ergo Baby Carrier Hands Free System from Along for the Ride

Read the details for getting bonus entries...

100+ Reading Challenge (2009)

J. Kaye is hosting quite a few challenges this coming year, and this is just one of the ones I'm signing up for. What follows is a list of books that I'm hoping to read in 2009, and are mostly from my other challenge lists. For the most part, those that are yet to be published won't be listed here, but the few that I've been able to find, I'll italicize those. As I review the books, I'll hotlink the titles so they'll all be in one place. So, in no particular order:

Breath, Eyes, Memory (Danticat)
Doomsday Book (Willis)
Eldest (Paolini)
Fire and Fog (Day)
Dance Hall of the Dead (Hillerman)
Verse of the Vampyre (Killian)
Lone Star Cafe (Wingate)
Second Summoning (Tanya Huff)
Death du Jour (Kathy Reichs)
Monstruous Regiment of Women (King)
Caress of Twilight (Laurell K. Hamilton)
Snagged (Carol Higgins Clark)
Beekeeper's Apprentice (King)
The Stolen Child
Children of Men (P.D. James)
Cat in a Neon Nightmare (Carole Nelson Douglas)
Dragon's Kin (McCaffrey)
Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
Acorna (McCaffrey)
Tower at Stony Wood
Sweet Potato Queens' Big-Ass Cookbook
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel
Hippopotamus Pool (Elizabeth Peters)
Hearse of a Different Color
Killing Dance (Laurell K. Hamilton)
Homemade Sin (Kathy Hogan Trochek)
Shopaholic Ties the Knot
Darkness, Take My Hand (Dennis Lehane)
Because it is Bitter, and Because it is My Heart (Joyce Carol Oates)
Summon the Keeper (Tanya Huff)
Deja Dead (Kathy Reichs)
Storm Front (Jim Butcher)
Kiss of Shadows (Laurell K. Hamilton)
Decked (Carol Higgins Clark)
A Cat in the Manger (Adamson)
Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor
Dead Until Dark (Charlaine Harris)*
Dead Witch Walking
Color of Magic (Terry Pratchett)
Murder in Volume
A Year and a Day
The Bride and the Beast
The Wise Woman
Texas Cooking (Lisa Wingate)
Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula K. LeGuin)
Dragon and Thief (Timothy Zahn)
Bonesetter's Daughter (Amy Tan)
Godmother Night (Pollack)
Digging Up Momma (Sarah Shankman)*
Ice House (Minette Walters)
No Cure for Cancer (Denis Leary)*
The Italian (Ann Radcliffe)
The History of Emily Montague (Frances Brooke)
Yellow Wallpaper (Charlotte Perkins Gilman)
The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
Tale of Genji
The Aenid
The Song of Roland
Faerie Queene
The White Raven (Diana Paxson)
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff (Christopher Moore)
Finding Fish (Antwone Q. Fisher)
Fifty Acres and a Poodle
Dragon Queen (Alice Borschardt)
The Daisy Sutra
Knight Life
Talesin (Steven Lawhead)
Water For Elephants (Sara Gruen)
Mystic River (Dennis Lehane)
Possession (A.S. Byatt)
Mine (Robert McCammon)
Book of Ruth (Jane Hamilton)
Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
A Knight in Shining Armor (Jude Devereaux)
Knights of the Blood
Modern Manners (P.J. O'Rourke)
Another Scandal in Bohemia
Reindeer Moon
Integral Trees
Nice Girls Finish Last
Smoke Ring (Larry Niven)
Lathe of Heaven
What Price Honor?
Augur's Teacher
Wild Cards I
Foreign Foes
Romulan Prize
War Drums
Forgotten War
Old Wounds
Enemy of My Enemy
Breed to Come [100]
Stranger in a Strange Land (Robert A. Heinlein)
I, Robot (Isaac Asimov)
Plum Spooky[?]
Feathered Serpent

Change of Heart
Buffalo Gal
Santa Clawed
Romanced to Death
Dancing with Werewolves
Sanity Savers
A Perfect Mess
Rise and Shine
Enchantment (Orson Scott Card)
Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Eggers)
The Godmother (Elizabeth Ann Scarborough)
How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life (Mameve Medwed)
An Army of Angels (Pamela Marcantel) [122]

there will be as many as 42 more, if I don't overlap (but I'm sure I'll be able to) on any choices for the following :
10 more for the Audiobook Challenge
9 for the Pub Challenge
1 more for the 9 for 2009 Challenge
1 more for the What's in a Name? 2 Challenge
7 more for the Every Month is a Holiday Challenge
1 more for the Themed Reading Challenge
13 more for the Countdown Challenge

I'm not going to count (toward my overall total) the picture books that I'll be reading for the A-Z Challenge/Alphabet Books nor the Celebrate the Author Challenge (52, if no overlap).

*read this year [to help me remember]

Monday, December 1, 2008

Musing Mondays (12/1)

From Rebecca at Just One More Page:
With the holiday season now upon us, how does it affect your reading? Do you have more, or less, time to read at Christmas? Do you read Christmas themed/related books?

In years past, when I've tried to do too much (and made myself thoroughly insane), the winter holidays definitely had an effect on my reading (for the worse). This year, I'm hoping that the family and social obligations have diminished enough (they've learned to cut me lots of slack now that I have kids, especially now that one is "special needs") that I can escape into a few good books. What affects my reading more is the advent of reruns on tv; the more I've kept up, the less I'm in front of the tube (although that time is not without its usefulness--I can clip coupons and mend clothing while shows are on). Between the family stuff taking time away, and the hours freed up by not needing the tv, I think they balance each other out.

I'm more likely to read a Christmas-related book at this time than I am at any other time of the year, but I don't make a habit of seeking them out. Our family doesn't really celebrate Christmas, except to put on a good front for DH's family. Last year, I read two holiday-themed books, and I think I have a few left from the challenge that I didn't finish. I have an audiotape of Patrick Stewart's version of A Christmas Carol that I still haven't listened to yet, and I also have Lost by Gregory Maguire, which has been waiting for a read for a few years now, and I think I have a Christmas collection of mysteries. I probably make time to read more picture book holiday stories to my son than I do for myself.