Friday, May 22, 2015

It's Monday-ish! (5/25/15)

It's Monday! is sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.
I had a Monday post ready to publish, but then I finished three books over the weekend and forgot to edit and post this anyway. So, it's Tuesday, but we'll pretend it's Monday.

Last week I finished four books, Ellen Bass's poetry collection, Like a Beggar; David McCullough's The Wright Brothers, a biography of Wilbur and Orville Wright; Deborah Garrison's poetry collection, The Second Child; and Novel Interiors, home decorating inspired by classic novels. All were good; all had strong points and weak points, none were stellar.

I would have finished the audio of Malcolm Gladwell's What the Dog Saw, a collection of his essays, this morning, but my batteries ran out. Just had a few minutes left, too.
Last night I began a re-read of Shauna Niequist's Cold Tangerines. I really had trouble settling on a book at all, so I decided to read one I was sure I'd like.
I'm off work for the rest of the week. Taking time off to have a book/garage sale this Friday and Saturday. All the books are priced. I still have to sort them. And I have to price everything else, get the tables, get money for the money box, pay for the ad, embellish the signs, etc. And rain is predicted for Friday. So, we'll see if this sale is a success or bust.
At any rate, I hope to get  some reading done in the next couple days, too, between tasks.  
What are you reading this week?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (covers)
Click to link! 
This week's topic:  Freebie!

My topic: 10 books I’m having a hard time getting rid of because I like their covers.
Tell me I'm not the only one who holds onto a book because of its cover design! Below at ten (how astute of you...11) books I need to get rid of because I didn't particularly care for them and I know I won't read them again, but their beautiful covers are making that difficult. Still, I'm having a book-slash-garage sale at the end of the month, and out they'll go to make way for new treasures.


Paris in Love - The style, baby. I love the line drawings.
The Martian - This might be the hardest cover to let go of. It even feels cool.
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair - I love that purple chair!
Where the Peacock Sings - A crazy quilt with Indian flair.
Yes, Chef - So simple, but so imaginative.
This is a Story of a Happy Marriage - I heart stripes.
Pat and Dick - I love the colors of this. Can't explain it.
Still - I love the blurred motion lines behind her.
Moneyball - I'm a sucker for baseball images.
Almost Amish - Love those colors.
Comet’s Tale - Dog cover. Nuff said.
Any covers spoiling your plans for culling your bookshelves?


Monday, May 18, 2015

It's Monday! (5/18/15)

It's Monday! is sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.
Hope you had a nice relaxing weekend. We had warm humid weather and some nice storms. I spent most of the weekend working on my book and garage sale set for the end of the month. The tables are rented, so there's no going back now! I have nine boxes of books to sell.
Last week I finished Dana Perino's And the Good News Is.... We have an odd amount of personality traits and personal history in common. That was a fun surprise. 
I'm still working my way through What the Dog Saw. Last week I listened to essays on homelessness, mammography and the search for weapons of mass destruction, dog training, and plagiarism, among other things. Even when the essay topics aren't particularly interesting, I'm fascinated.  
Still enjoying Novel Interiors. Haven't found an interior yet that captured my attention, though.
And I started Ellen Bass's Like a Beggar poetry collection last week. The poems I'd read by her in the past (that made me try this book) were about heterosexual love. Come to find out, she's now a lesbian. So, that was a surprise.

This week I'll start The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. I've been wanting to read something by McCullough for awhile now, and his new book seemed a good place to start.
What's on your agenda for the week?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Finds (5/15/15)

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).
I can't tell you how excited I am for Pioneer Woman's new cookbook, Dinnertime, to come out in October. I've enjoyed her previous three so much, and several of her recipes have made it into my meal rotation. I had feared that since her last book was celebration food, her next might be desserts, which doesn't appeal to me much, but instead it's a whole book of dinner recipes. Right up my alley. 
I don't watch much TV, but I do follow a couple of reality family shows on TLC. One I've loved for years is The Little Couple. The show follows little people Bill and Jen (a doctor) and their children, Will and Zoey (adopted from China and India, respectively), through life. As soon as I heard about their new book (due out May 26), I added it to my TBR.
Speaking of TV, one of the strong female characters I grew up with was Candice Bergen's Murphy Brown. She has a new memoir out called A Fine Romance which I'd like to read, too.

I'm very impatient for Gone with the Wind to be released on audiobook this summer (June 23). I've wanted to read it for awhile now, but I couldn't find a CD version, and I knew I'd never get it read in a single checkout from the public library, or even a second or third checkout. This release will be an MP3 CD, a concept I only half understand, so if you're familiar with this media, please fill me in!

I'm not sure why I add Rachel Held Evans' books to my reading lists. We have almost nothing in common faith-wise. I read her Evolving in Monkey Town and found it just too simple. I got about 10 pages into her A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and I put it aside. Still, here I am adding her latest, Searching for Sunday, to my TBR. I guess I want to read some good faith-based memoirs that challenge me (Lauren Winner's become a disappointment and I feel like I'm outgrowing my standby, Anne Lamott), but I'm not finding any that do. Ideas?
And back to cookbooks. I dig Trisha Yearwood. (Can you imagine being married to Garth Brooks?!) I never cared for her music as much as I do for her cooking. I have her Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood on my TBR, and I plan to buy her new Trisha's Table soon. So I'm adding her Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen, too.
What's new with you?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Splitting an Order, Ted Kooser

Splitting an Order

Ted Kooser

Category: Poetry
Date finished: 11 January 2015     

Rating: ****

I subscribe to a weekly poetry email by former poet laureate Ted Kooser, and I’ve long appreciated his simple poems (think William Stafford but even more humble!). Also, he’s from Nebraska, and I happen to love a man from Nebraska. So I have a soft spot for Ted Kooser’s poetry.

There’s nothing flashy in this collection, and in fact, writing this three months after reading the book, I can tell you that I don’t remember a single poem or image from it. Which would make one think it’s nor very good if not for the fact that some poets are mood poets. Some poets write poems so meek, you kind of forget their meanings. No one praises the wren for who it is or what it does, but it works hard whether you notice him or not. Ted Kooser is like a little brown wren who doesn’t care if you’re paying attention. I like that in a poet and in a collection of poetry.

Would you recommend this to a friend?

Monday, May 11, 2015

It's Monday! (5/11/15)

It's Monday! is sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.
Happy Monday, all! Today is my 13th wedding anniversary. My husband and I got married on a chilly, rainy May 11 at a church called Peace with about 60 folks in attendance. Our reception was in the Dulany room of the student union at my alma mater, a sweet little wood-paneled and wallpapered room with a china room attached. They've since torn that building down, and the new Dulany is positively soulless. We had London Broil, no wedding cake, no dance, no alcohol. We had pictures taken by the Little Niagara Creek that runs through campus, and my father and brothers ran our wedding presents into our lakeside apartment in their tuxedos in the pouring rain.
Oh how much we've learned about ourselves, each other, and marriage in those years! We're still hopelessly in love. Still annoyed by the same things, too. I've said it many times in the last 13 years, and I'll say it again today: I never expected to have this good of a marriage. I feel like I kind of won the marriage lottery.
My marriage advice: Agree on the big stuff.
My husband's: Be patient.
I'm in a bit of a reading slump. I'm still reading every day, but I haven't really been enjoying what I've been reading. I abandoned my first book of the year when I quit Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed last week. It wasn't a good fit for where I am in my childfree decision.

Somewhat foolishly, I then picked up a book I abandoned last year, My Life in Middlemarch. Is the second time a charm? Well, it does mean a great deal more having read Middlemarch in the interim, but frankly, I'd rather just re-read Middlemarch than this book. It's much too academic for my taste. But I am learning a great deal about George Eliot's life--though I'm not sure it endures her to me or does much to shed light on her masterpiece.
I'm still reading One Writer's Beginning, which is getting a little slow. I'm enjoying my audio of What the Dog Saw, leaned last week about Ronco kitchen gadgets, ketchup, stock investment, and hair dye. And I'm enjoying Novel Interiors, thankful for the fact that it's more pictures than text.

This week I'll be reading Dana Perino's And the Good News Is.... Perino was President George W. Bush's press secretary, and I've enjoyed her straightforwardness and pragmatic attitude for many years.

I also wrote several book reviews last week. I don't know if I'll catch up on all the books I've read this year, but I'll at least review the highlights (and maybe some of the lowlights, too).
What are you reading this week?
Are you on a reading high, at low ebb, or somewhere in between?

Monday, May 4, 2015

It's Monday! (5/4/15)

It's Monday! is sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.
Last week I finished the audio of Oprah's What I Know For Sure. It was fabulous. I feel guilty saying that. (And then I feel guilty saying that!) Truly, this book came at the right time in my life. I felt ready for its lessons and challenges. If you're looking for a growth experience, I recommend it highly.

I also finished my re-read of Eat, Pray, Love, and I loved it as much as I did the first time I read it.
This week I'm still re-reading One Writer's Beginnings by Eudora Welty, a southern short-story writer. It was a book that meant a lot to me when I read it in college, always sitting by Bird by Bird in my mind as essential books for wannabe writers.  
When I finished my Oprah audio, I started Malcolm Gladwell's What the Dog Saw. I love how this man's mind works. Suffice it to say, my mind does not work that way. His narrating voice has a soft, dreamy quality that is nice in the mornings. Oprah's was a bit...perky.

I also began Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed, a book of essays by childless/childfree women. Being a part of that camp myself, I'm sure I'll have lots of...thoughts.
And, because I'd had such a productive weekend I was exhausted and unable to concentrate on reading last night, I started Novel Interiors, which shows room interiors that mesh with your favorite books and author's time periods. I purged nearly my entire cache of interior decorating books this weekend, realizing I'd outgrown most of them, but maybe this will be a keeper to start rebuilding my collection.

What are you reading this week?

Friday, May 1, 2015

May Reading List

April reading was good, ten books across several genres. I feel like I found a great balance in April, so I'm trying to re-create that for May. And I'll try for ten books again (as I told my husband, maybe I'll read more than ten, because May has 31 days; he looked at me like I was obsessive--go figure). It's not like the TBR is exactly dwindling, but I do feel like I'm making some progress on it.

My May reading list comprises:

2 re-reads
Eat, Pray, Love
One Writer's Beginnings
3 new releases
Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed
The Wright Brothers
And the Good News Is...
1 off the TBR
My Life in Middlemarch
2 books of poetry
Like a Beggar
The Second Child
1 cookbook
Easy Chinese Recipes
1 decorating book
Novel Interiors
1-2 audio books 
What I Know For Sure
Malcolm Gladwell's What the Dog Saw
and/or Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None

Any specific plans for your May reading?