Monday, February 22, 2016

What I'm reading this week (2/22/16)

Let me just say I swear I didn't choose this month's books because they color-coordinate. Although, that is a way to go. Some people color-coordinate their shelves, so why not color-coordinate your reading list?

Last week I finished:

By the end of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, I was kind of invested, though I still thought it rather pedestrian and unbelievable.

Dead Presidents, on the other hand, was pure delight. You know how I love trivia books, especially about history, and most especially about presidents. This one did not disappoint. Brady Carlson is a good narrator of history, knowing what to include, making it interesting, balancing the heavy and light, and being witty, too. I highly recommend Dead Presidents. If you enjoyed The Residence or The Hidden White House, you'll love this one.

Last week I started:

I finally sunk my teeth into my new Donald Hall collection, and so far I haven't found anything that blew me away. But poetry is like that, which is why so many folks dismiss it. If I find a poem I get nothing out of, I don't despair, I just move on.

I'm re-reading John Grogan's The Longest Trip Home on audio. (Are you allowed to say that?) I read it several years ago and found it much superior to his more famous Marley and Me. It's a coming-of-age memoir in which he falls into the usual pits of youth. What I really remember liking, however, is what strong, good, Catholic parents he had. I remember sympathizing with them throughout Grogan's teen years.

This week, I continue with:


I'm making slow progress with The House at Pooh Corner, but that's not to say I'm not enjoying it.

This week I'll begin:

The last book on my February reading list is Spark Joy, the follow-up to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I recently read a blog review that says it goes beyond its predecessor instead of simply rehashing it. That made me glad.

Monday, February 15, 2016

What I'm reading this week (2/15/16)

One of my favorite events of the year starts tonight: the Westminster Dog Show! This will be the 140th show. Can you imagine? People have been registering and showing dogs in America for 140 years! Anyway, tonight and tomorrow night I'll be glued to the couch watching the dogs and cheering for my favorites (the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the smooth-haired Dachshund, the Boston Terrier, the French Bulldog, and a dozen others). Who am I kidding--I love them all. Anywho. Books might be taking a backseat a couple nights this week.


Last week, I finished:

I enjoyed my re-read of Ree Drummond's The Pioneer Woman. After seeing a lot more of her show, it's nice to flesh out her and her husband a bit. This was a nice, quick read. There's a lot of kissing and lust, but it's all tasteful. And there are a lot of funny situations, especially involving city girl Ree on the ranch. All in all, I enjoyed it and recommend it.

This week I'll be continuing with:

Still enjoying The House at Pooh Corner. I'm reading it slowly so as to savor the hilarity and goofiness. I think my favorite character is Piglet.

This week I'll be finishing:

It feels like I've plowed through Where I Live, and considering it's kind of long for a single collection, and I only read it a few minutes per night, it's gone surprisingly fast. I haven't found a lot of new poems that I really love, but I do enjoy Maxine Kumin's writing overall.

This week I began the audio version of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. This is one of those books I liken to a train wreck. I don't want to look, but I can't help it. I don't want to finish it, but I can't help going on. I want to know what happens, but the whole plot has involved just too much suspension of disbelief. I like my fiction to be a bit more realistic and masterful. This book is serviceable enough, but it's not masterful. I know a lot of folks love this book, and I went in with an open mind, but it's not my cup of tea. To its credit though, it is keeping me listening.

This week I think I'll begin:

I think I'll read Dead Presidents next. I love behind-the-presidency stories, so I've been looking forward to this one for weeks.

And I'm going to tackle another book of poetry, this one by the brilliant Donald Hall. As I remember, his poems tend to be straightforward, but deceptively simple, one of those poets you get out of what you put in. We'll see if I remember correctly.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (Valentine's Day)

This week's topic: Valentine's Day freebie.
My topic: Books that explore love.              

child/parent love
love of those you serve
romantic/lusty love

polygamous love
love of a pet
love from Hollywood to the White House

international love
love abroad
food love

father/daughter love and love of reading
love during wartime
classic love

Monday, February 8, 2016

What I'm reading this week (2/8/16)

My February is off to a good start. How about yours?

There are so many things to love about little ole February: Valentine's Day, Presidents Day (I love the excuse to read about presidents), and the best two-day event of the year--the Westminster dog show. Also, I'm settling into a great list of reading.

Last week I finished:

I don't like to spend too long on any book. I felt like the two weeks I spent reading Jane Eyre was just too long. And it felt like Eight Days took 80 days to listen to. I enjoy a long book, but I also seem to have the need for a great deal of book turnover!

I'm glad I finally finished Jane Eyre, and I'm glad I finally gave Eighty Days a try, too. Neither of them became immediate favorites, but it's possible Jane Eyre might grow on me after the fact.

Last week, I began:

I enjoy the wit of A.A. Milne, but I tend to be surprised by the amount of inharmonious interactions amongst the inhabitants of Hundred Acre Wood. It's disconcerting, yet oddly refreshing. Anyone else feel that way?

I'm working my way through Maxine Kumin's Where I Love, poems from 1990-2010. It's quite a mix. She writes quite a bit about animals (horses and dogs, especially), but also about rural life, other poets and poetry events, and politics. I'm getting a kind of poetry whiplash reading this. Since it's "selected" poems, not as much energy can go into establishing a good flow, I guess, but it feels strange. You never know what's coming next. The poems, though I've only marked a couple as "love", are enjoyable and easy to engage with.

This weekend, I began:

After finishing Jane Eyre, I needed a change of pace with something a bit fluffier. I'm currently rereading The Pioneer Woman's memoir, The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, about how she went from California college girl to Oklahoma rancher's wife.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 2016 Reading List

Since I finished my January reading list early, I've already began my February list. I won't be able to finish Eight Days, so that will be a carry-over from January.

And I've already read half of Jane Eyre. Which is good, since it's a long book, and February is sort of a short month.

As for the rest of the list...

I wanted to read a book in honor of Presidents Day, so I'll be reading the new Dead Presidents.

I heart presidential trivia.

Speaking of hearts, I wanted to read a book for Valentine's Day, so I choose The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels as my monthly re-read. As I remember, it's a nice romantic read.

I'm kind of a sucker for sequels, even if they're to books I didn't love. I'll be reading Spark Joy by the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

One of the classic children's books I wanted to read this year was A. A. Milne's
The House at Pooh Corner. I'm ready for a little Pooh-bear this month.

I'm planning to read two books of poetry this month, Maxine Kumin's Where I Live (I've never read a collection of Kumin's poetry, but I've enjoyed single poems through the years) and Donald Hall's Selected Poems. I haven't read a Donald Hall collection since the moving Without, years ago, about the passing of his wife, fellow poet, Jane Kenyon.

And for my audio "read" this month, I've chosen The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.
I've got to know what all the fuss is about.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (historical events)

This week's topic: basically this week is all about the past or the future....spin it however you choose!

My topic: Historical events/sites (I've read about) that I’d like to travel back to.


Marie Curie’s laboratory (Madame Curie)
watching Seabiscuit race (Seabiscuit)
the Kennedy assassination (Mrs. Kennedy and Me)
one of Billy Graham’s first rallies (Just As I Am)
Julia Child at Le Cordon Bleu (My Life in France)
the never-ending ocean of Unbroken
the never-ending ice in The Kingdom of Ice
watching Babe Ruth play baseball (One Summer)
the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago (The Devil in the White City)
the unexplored Amazon in The River of Doubt

What would you like to travel back in time to see?

Monday, February 1, 2016

What I'm reading this week (2/1/16)

Well, it feels like I've been reading the same books forever.

I'm almost finished listening to Eighty Days.
I'm enjoying it, but I'm also kind of ready for a new audiobook. 

I'm at about the midpoint of Jane Eyre, and though it's a somber (dare I say depressing?)
book, I'm thinking (hoping) it will pay off. It does pay off, right?

 And, I began (and finished) a new book of poetry this week, Billy Collins' The Trouble with Poetry.
(Don't you just love that bear on the cover?! I've named him Henry.)
As with everything Collins writes, I'm loving it to death. 

If you're looking for poetry for 2016, you can't go wrong with Billy Collins.