Sunday, November 18, 2007

Burnt Out

Life has been so busy for me. I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month, trying to write something that doesn't make people throw up. It's going slowly with three kids in tow and while I'm doing intense job searching right now. I'm going to try to have a job and hit the 30K mark by next Sunday. That's about 5K words a day. I can do it, I can do it...
A few weeks ago I signed up for about 10 reading challenges. Some of those challenges are: The Jewish Literature Reading Challenge, Triple8 hosted by 3M, Russian Reading, Young Adult Reading, and Just4thehellofit hosted by Dana. I think these will be the main ones that I end up participating in.
Right now, I'm a little burnt out on reading. I'm trying to find a book that can keep my interest and I haven't found one yet. The last book I read was The gifts of the body by Rebecca Brown. It's a literary novel about a home health care worker and her various patients. It's a short book whose language is so simple and moving. A great book that I recommend to anyone. So now I'm searching for a good book. I might have to start on my challenges for next year.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm still here!

It has been so long since I have left a new post. I haven't had the internet in a while, so it's been hard for me. Going to the library and being on the internet for only 30 minutes is pure torture. But I'm still here! I finished the Something about me challenge last month and still haven't posted my last book yet on there. I'm so behind. The R.I.P. challenge is going pretty strange for me. My list of books have changed and I've become a huge Neil Gaiman fan, reading Coraline also Fragile Things. I loved both books. I read a couple of stories from Bradbury Stories by Ray Bradbury. Next, I'll read Lord of the Flies and also Without Blood by Alessandro Barrico. Or maybe Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.
Right now I'm reading Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson for the Book Awards Challenge. A pretty good book so far. Anyone have any suggestions for a good uplifting book?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Give Up!

Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris (1993)
224 pages
Rating: 3/5
I have been reading Dakota: A Spiritual Geography for the last two weeks. I'm only on page 95. I can't do it anymore! I was reading it for the Something About Me challenge. It was beachreader's pick. She never did say why she was picking the book. I thought it had a interesting title and looked it up on The reviews were good, so I started reading it. Dakota is about Kathleen Norris' journey back to Dakota from New York. South Dakota that is, the place where she spent her childhood and where her mother and grandparents grew up. Norris did a pretty good job describing not only South Dakota but also North Dakota and the problems both states are having with a dwindling population and ecomony and the small-mindness of the inhabitants there. Outsiders are the enemies though they are really needed. Norris lives in the town of Lemmon where there are only 1200 people, down from the 4000 that lived there in the 1970s. Norris also does a great job with raising the question where is the reader's spiritual geography? What place is home to you and why? It made me think about Long Beach in a different way. Is this city really my spiritual geography? But the problem with the book is that a lot of times the description weighed the book down. A lot of it could have been taken out. But I give it a rating of 3 out of 5 because of the questions it asks of the reader and also of people who live in the many small towns that are dying.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Readers in Peril (R.I.P.) Autumn Reading Challenge

Here's one more challenge I'm signing up for! I really don't read horror, but why not have nightmares? I'm tired of sunny California. I'm ready for winter. Mind you I don't want the flooding that's going on in other states, but can't I have a little cold weather? I'm going to go for Peril the First and also the Sunday Short Story Peril. Here's my list of possible suspects:

Bradbury Stories: 100 of his most celebrated tales -Ray Bradbury

Strange Happenings- Avi

Dracula - Bram Stoker

His Dark Materials Trilogy -Philip Pullman

Dreamcatcher - Stephen King

The Stand - Stephen King

Mayfair Witches Series- Anne Rice

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Memoir Challenge II

Okay I just launched the blog for the memoir challenge. I'm calling it "In their shoes" reading challenge. I'm just throwing it a name.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Inspire me Thursday

I just found this website about twenty minutes ago and already I'm in love! I'm a big journal writer and InspiremeThursday is a website full of great journal prompts when you need it.

Memoir Challenge

I'm thinking of hosting a non-fiction challenge next year. It'll cover memoir, biography, and autobiography. The details (though not final):
* will start January 1st until December 31st
* can cross-challenge
* you pick how many books you want to read and you can change your list anytime
* have to sign up by January 1st
* I think I will have prizes, have to figure out what though
I just need a title. Someone on ANovelChallenge came up with Someone else's shoes. Maybe.
What about "In their shoes"? I would say "In her shoes" but someone might want to read about a man. I have to figure out how to make a button.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mothers who think

Mothers who think:Tales of real-life parenthood
ed. Camille Peri and Kate Moses
pages: 279

Why haven't I heard of this book sooner? Granted I wasn't a mother in 1999 when this book came out, but I was a mother-in-training, since that's the year my younger twin sisters were born. I didn't really know what to think when I first picked up this book. I heard some good but vague reviews on it already. I'm glad I picked it up.

Out of thirty-seven essays, less than five felt flat to me. These really are tales of real-life parenthood told with passion and fierce honesty. This book is a dream for any mother who want to hear about more than just changing diapers and being that good wife to their husband. This is a book about it all. The topics range from worrying if your black child is becoming too "white" (Young, Black, and too White,) to being angry with your child (Mother Anger: Theory and Pratice,) to being a mother without daughters.

I laughed, cried, shook my head, and at times gave a silent prayer of thanks for finally knowing that someone else knew what I was going through as a single mom. One essay that made me do all of the above is "One Drip at a Time" by Susan Straight. Her essay is straight forward and simple, truly telling of being a single mother with no dad as backup and having to be all and do all. Here's an excerpt:
"This is what always gets done, because it means a lot to me: The kids wear clean, unwrinkled clothes, and their hair is always clean and styled. We eat really good breakfasts and dinners, and we are never out of Swiss chocolate, English Breakfast tea, or Vermont maple syrup. The sink is never full of dishes, and all trash is taken out of the van when children exit.

This is what doesn't get done, because I can't do it: If they lose a button or need a strap sewn back on, they'd better pray they grow slowly, because it could be months before I get to sit down and mend or sew. We are sometimes out of juice boxes or bread, and they have to take water bottles and peanut-butter-smeared crackers in thier lunches. The oustide of the van is so dirty we could grow corn in the soil collected on the windshield wipers and potatoes on teh roof.

The kids always go to the doctor, for checkups and shots and immediately, incessantly, it seems, when they are ill. They take their medicine when they should.

But I haven't been to the doctor since I had Rosette, who just turned three. Before that, I had seen my primary-care physician once in five years, for severe bronchitis. She had no idea who I was. Usually I drink herb tea, light a sain't candle and pray that I won't get sick, and go to bed...
So my clothes are hand-me-downs. My glasses are nearly three years old, and the baby girl has bumped them so many times that they hand askew. One eyebrow shows and one doesn't. Okay, it's not that bad. But my hairstyle-long hair in a bun and bangs I cut myself when I can't see anymore-has worked for three years now. That's when I made my last annual salon trip. Two hours sitting in a chair? With no kids? And it costs money? Please.
This is my life exactly. I thought I was the only one. If you are a woman and a mother, you will find stories in here for you. It doesn't matter if you were black, white, or Hispanic, poor, middle-class, and higher up the food chain, married, or not. Being a mother is something that can bring most women together.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Happy Birthday, Oliver!

Tomorrow is my oldest son Oliver's fourth birthday. I am so happy. It really does seem like he was born just yesterday. Now he's this little guy telling me what he thinks of Blue's Clues or what book he wants from paperbackswap. I'm so happy that he and his siblings are in my life. They teach me so much. Maybe more than I teach them. So tomorrow I'm going to have my kids and my sisters make their own pizzas, watch movies, go to the park, and eat cupcakes all day long since Olie doesn't want a cake. My birthday is Monday and I think he's the reason I even attempt to celebrate my own birthday. When I was 20, right before my 21st birthday, he was my present. Instead of going out to a club or something to celebrate, I was at home nursing my newborn. Something that suited me better. I'm just so happy that my babies are in my life. I love you, Oliver. Happy birthday!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Poetry Prescription

Claiming the Spirit Within

Edited by Marilyn Sewell
368 pages
5/5: rating

I was reading one of my other favorite books yesterday, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. In the book, Ban Breathnach's essay for August 22nd is titled Poetry Prescription. She talks about reading potery and connecting back to ourselves again. Which brings me to one of my favorite anthologies of poetry, Claiming the Spirit Within.
Claiming the Spirit Within was published in 1996 by Beacon Press. It's a sourcebook on women's poetry with themes such as aging, the body, generations, mothering, death, conception and birthing, and so much more. There are poems from women like Joy Harjo, Jane Hirshfield, Audre Lorde, Tess Gallagher, Rita Dove, and so many more.
I had just happened by chance to pick this book up years ago at my local library and took it home. I'm so glad I did. On days when there's a cloud over my head, I'm so glad to have this book close by. Some of my favorite poems come from Tess Gallagher (With Stars; I stop writing this poem).

Leave me Alone, I'm Reading

Leave me alone, I'm reading (2005)

Maureen Corrigan

240 pages

I give up. I just can't do it. There were parts of it that I loved so much like when Corrigan was talking about her family especially her mother and grandmother. Even when she was talking about Eyre, she was Corrigan was so interesting to read. But everything else just dragged on. She was so wordy. I'm a firm believer in being concise and using just enough words and nothing more. I'm sorry but I just couldn't even find her adopting her daughter in China interesting. I am not a believer in finishing a book that I don't like. The bad parts out weighed the good ones, so around page 100-and-something, I put the book down.

Monday, August 6, 2007

My Yahoo Avatar

Yahoo! Avatars
Now if only I can figure out how to put this where my profile is.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men (1938)

John Steinbeck

103 pages

Rating 5 out of 5

Of Mice and Men by the American John Steinbeck is a masterpiece running the length of a novella. It is the story of two men, Lennie and George, bound together by loneliness and their dreams of having more than a life of working on farms with little to show for it. Lennie is a giant who needs the protection and company of George to navigate through the world, while George is a small man who needs Lennie as much as Lennie needs him. They go to a farm in Salinas, California to work and save up for their dream. In the book when George is telling of their dream to have a "small house with ten acres," it's told so vividly that you can picture it in your head. But it's there at the farm, that their dreams go awry. I felt my stomach almost boiling over with suspense while reading the end of the novel. Even now as I think about the book, I try to picture what happened to the characters after.

John Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors, having read East of Eden and The Pearl. Of Mice and Men is now one of my favorite books. I recommend it to everyone.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Book Awards Reading Challenge

It has taken me forever to pick the books I want to read for the Book Awards Reading Challenge hosted by 3M. The challenge started July 1st of this year and ends June 20th of 2008. The rules are that you read 12 award-winning books from the eligible lists picked by 3M ranging from Pulitizer Prize to Commonwealth Writers' to Nobel Prize and much more. There are so many lists to choice from and so many great books to pick. But here's my list:
  1. The Singing - CK Williams (National Book Award Poetry 2003)
  2. Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt (Pulitzer 1996)
  3. Love Medicine - Louise Erdrich (National Book Critics Circle Award 1984)
  4. The Inheritance of Loss - Kiran Desai (Booker 2006)
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (Pulitzer 1961)
  6. Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre (Booker 2003)
  7. Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides (Pulitzer 2006)
  8. Anything by Nobel Prize Winner Orhan Pamuk 2006
  9. Anything by Nobel Prize Winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez 1982
  10. Anything by Nobel Prize Winner John Steinbeck 1962
  11. Anything by Nobel Prize Winner Shmuel Yosef Agnon 1966
  12. On Beauty - Zadie Smith (Orange Prize 2006)


  1. Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones (Commonweath/South Pacific and Overall 2007)
  2. Vandal Love - Dy Bechard (Commonweath/Canada and Overall 2007)
  3. Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov (National Book Award Poetry 1978)
  4. New & Selected Poems - Mary Oliver (National Book Award Poetry 1992)
  5. The Shipping News - E. Annie Proulx (N.B.A. Fiction 1993)
  6. The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion (N.B.A. Non-Fiction 2005)
  7. The Echo Maker - Richard Powers (N.B.A. Fiction 2006)
  8. The Worst Hard Time - Timothy Egan (N.B.A. Non-Fiction)
  9. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie (Booker Prize 1981)


  1. Passing Through: The Later Years - Stanley Kunitz (N.B.A. Poetry 1995)
  2. Out Stealing Horses - Per Patterson (Impac Dublin 2007)
  3. When I lived in Modern Times - Linda Grant (Orange 2000)
  4. The Penderwicks - Jeanne Birdsall (N.B.A. young people's literature 2005)
  5. Small Island - Andrea Levy (Orange 2004)
  6. Bel Canto - Ann Patchett (Orange 2002)
  7. Novel Prize Winner Joseph Brodsky 1987
  8. This Blinding Absence of Light - Tahar ben Jelloun (Impac 2004)
  9. The Elementary Particles - Michael Houellebecq (International Impac 2002)

Yes I do realize that I have alot of alternates but since I am a very moody reader, I picked enought books that I should always be able to find something off the list to read thet will interest me. The prizes are credits ranging from 1 to 3 from Paperbackswap is what's going to keep me motivated.

Blogging Tips Meme

Jill from The Magic Lasso has tagged me for this meme. It's simple. When this is passed on to you, copy the whole thing, skim the list, and put a star * next to the ideas you like. Add the next number and write your own blogging tip for other bloggers. Try to make your tip general.
After that, tag ten other people. (I have to find 10 people.)
1. Look, read, and learn. *****
2. Be EXCELLENT to each other. ***
3. Don’t let money change ya! *
4. Always reply to your comments. *******
5. Link liberally — it keeps you and your friends afloat in the Sea of Technorati. *
6. Don’t give up - persistence is fertile. ***
7. Give link credit where credit is due. ****
8. Pictures say a thousand words and can usually add to any post. ****
9. Visit all the bloggers that leave comments for you - it's nice to know who is reading! **
10. Thrown in something humorous occasionally, to keep things fun.**
11. Sometimes, less is more. Step back and look at your blog - is it too busy? Are there enough pictures to make it interesting? Think about how a visitor would perceive your blog - making it visitor-friendly will help get you return visits. *
12. Variety is a good thing. Don't let your blog be about just one thing (books, ice cream, celebrities...). By telling people a little bit about you and your life, you keep people interested even more.
Now where are my ten victims? =)

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Below is an excerpt from "Thanks" from The Rain in the Trees by W.S. Merwin. I love the whole poem, but I love that excerpt just a little bit more.


with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridge to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks taht use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

W.S. Merwin

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A quote from Eat, Pray, Love

"I keep remembering one of my Guru's teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consquence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness doreverm to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't, you will leak away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments."
Elizabeth Gilbert
Did I mention that Eat, Pray, Love is a book that will have you underlining passages through it?

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is one of my favorite books in the world. I'm re-reading it for the third time now. I was having Harry Potter burnout and now I feel so refreshed reading Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir of her year spent in three countries: Italy, India, and Indonesia, putting her life back together after divorce and a failed relationship. She went to the three countries in search of not only herself but to learn what each place could teach her: pleasure from Italy, spirituality from India, and balance in Indonesia.
Elizabeth has the best luck of anyone I have ever come across, in a book or in my life. She always meets the perfect person who can guide her to want she needs. She meets good friends like Sophie from Sweden, Maria in Indonesia, and Richard from Texas.
My favorite part of the book is the section on Italy. Elizabeth eats her way into self-discovery, trying new things and relearning what pleasure is and that she too, deserves it in her life. Toward the end of the section the reader can already see the stronger and improved Elizabeth. She's someone who you would love to meet and have in your corner.
The sections on India and Indonesia, for me, don't have that spark that Italy has, but it might be just me. In India Elizabeth goes to the Ashram of her guru and learns how to finally heal her mind and heart from the painful divorce she went through. In Indonesia, she learns how to finally balance herself and also ends up finding love. A good read that will leave you wanting more.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Randomness (Book Meme)

So I discovered Rhinoa's Ramblings blog and saw a really interesting meme. She's tagging anyone who wants to do this meme. She saw it on Nymeth's blog, Things mean a lot, who saw it on Trish's blog, Trish's reading nook.... So here I am. From what I've read this is an old meme. The rules are if you're reading this, you're automatically tagged. So below are a list of like a hundred books, bold the ones you're read, mark in blue the ones you want to read, cross out or mark in read the ones that you don't want to ever touch, and italize the ones that you have never heard of.
1. The DaVinci Code -Dan Brown
2. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
3. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
4. Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
5. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers - Tolkien
6. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the ring -Tolkien
7. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King - Tolkien
8. Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
9. Outlander -Diana Gabaldon
10. A fine balance - Rohinton Mistry
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -Rowling
12. Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Rowling
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
15. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Rowling
17. Fall on your knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald
18. The Stand - Stephen King
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Rowling
20. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
21.The Hobbit - Tolkien
22. The Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
23. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
24. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
25. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
26. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
28. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
29. East of Eden - John Steinbeck
30. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
31. Dune - Frank Herbert
32. The Notebook -Nicholas Sparks
33. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
34. 1984- Orwell
35. The Mists of Avalon - Bradley
36.The Pillars of the earth- Ken Follet
37. The Power of One - Bryce Courtenay
38. I know this much is true - Wally Lamb
39. The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
40. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
41.The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Aurel
42. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella
44. The Five people you met in heaven - Mitch Albom
45. The Bible ( if I can just get pass Genesis, I'll be okay =)
46. Anna Karenina -Tolstoy
47. The Count of Monte Cristo -
48. Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
49. The Grapes of Wrath - Steinbeck
50. She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
51. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
52. A Tale of Two Cities - Dickens
53. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
54. Great Expectations - Dickens
55. The Great Gasby - Fitzgerald
56. The Stone Angel - Margaret Laurence
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Rowling
58. The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCullough
59. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
60. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenger
61. Crime and Punishment - Dostoyevsky
62. The Fountainhead -Ayn Rand
63. War and Peace - Tolstoy
64. Interview with the Vampire- Anne Rice
65. Fifth Business - Robertson Davis
66. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Grabriel Gracia Marquez
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares
68. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
69. Les Miserables - Hugo
70. The Little Prince - Antonie de-Saint Exupery
71. Bridget Jones's Diary - Fielding
72. Love in the time of Cholera - Marquez
73. Shogun - James Clavell
74. The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje
75. The Secret Garden -Frances Hodgson Burnett
76. The Summer Tree - Guy Gavriel Kay
77. A Tree grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
78. The World According to Garp - Irving
79. The Diviner's - Margaret Laurence
80. Charlotte 's Web - EB White
81. Not Wanted on the Voyage - Timothy Findley
82. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
83. Rebecca - Daphne DuMaurier
84. Wizard's First Rule - Terry Goodkind
85. Emma - Jane Austen
86. Watership Down - Richard Adams
87. Brave New World - Aldous Hexley
88. The Stone Diaries - Carol Shields
89. Blindness - Jose Saramago
90. Kane and Abel - Jeffrey Archer
91. In the Skin of a Lion - Ondaatje
92. Lord of the Flies - Golding
93. The Good Earth -Pearl S. Buck
94. The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
95. The Bourne Identity - Robert Ludlum
96. The Outsiders - SE Hinton
97. White Oleander - Janet Fitch
98. A woman of substance - Barabara Taylor Bradford
99. The Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield
100. Ulysess - Joyce
Summary: Okay so that's 31 books I've read, 29 on my TBR list, 29 that I won't touch, and ten that I haven't heard of. Not bad. This tells me after next week I need to get start reading books on my TBR list.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Booking Through Thursday

Here's this week's questions for Booking Through Thursday:

1. Okay, love him or loathe him, you’d have to live under a rock not to know that J.K. Rowling’s final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, comes out on Saturday… Are you going to read it?
2. If so, right away? Or just, you know, eventually, when you get around to it? Are you attending any of the midnight parties?
If you’re not going to read it, why not?
3. And, for the record… what do you think? Will Harry survive the series? What are you most looking forward to?
I love Harry Potter. I don't remember what made me start reading the series in the first place, but I'm glad that I did. I'm definitely going to read HP7, but not right away. I'm still re-reading the series. I just started HP5. While I'm waiting to read it, I am not reading the newspaper at all or watching the news. I don't want to see any spoilers. I've been thinking about attending a midnight party, but I doubt it. I'm a single mother of babies, I should be at home. But I will buy the book Sunday morning though. I am not making any predictions at all. I'm just looking forward to the end of the story because I want to know everything. But I am sad that this is the end.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Four Questions

I have to say that besides books and book challenges, one of my other addictions is Yahoo!Answers. I absolutely love answering people's questions about things from love (does he love me?) to financial aid to song lyrics. I try not to go on it very much. But the other day I was on and someone asked four very good questions. It made me think a lot. I think I know have my topic for my future essay for This I Believe. The four questions are:
1. Three words that describe my life... interesting, hard, and loving
2. My life goal is... to be the person that I am meant to be.
3. If I gave this goal my all but failed, did I really fail? I don't know.
4. The legacy that I want to leave behind... to show people that if you believe and you try, you can be whoever and whatever it is you want to be and that no goal is unreachable. I also want my family to know that love and family are too important and you get so much from it, that you should never not give it your all every day.
For the longest time I've been wanting to write an essay for This I Believe. Ever since I read the newest edition of the book, I've dreamt of writing my own essay on what is one core belief in my life. I think my essay will be about the importance of family, something I cannot live without at all. My family has taught me so much in life, that everyday I try to repay them by living a good life.
Speaking of making by life better, tomorrow I won't be able to go to school because my youngest isn't feeling up to par. Last week it was one of my younger twin sisters. I had to stay out of school almost all week. I doubt mind being out, but the semester is almost over and I'm a little antsy. I'm trying to finish up all my classwork, before the end of next week. The next semester won't start until September. Let's hope I finish in time.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Where has the time gone?

It has been so long since the last time I've left a post. I just haven't been feeling well. I've missed this blog. I still don't feel well, but I feel a little better so here I am. I've still been reading, but not nearly as much as I was before. I finished my 100Th book, The Killer's Tears, weeks ago. It was a very good book. It shocked and surprised me, having me yell out loud towards the very end.
After The Killer's Tears I started a book by Nora Gallagher called Practicing Resurrection. It was such a slow read for me. I read it for maybe three weeks, I swear, and I only got to page 70, maybe. Practicing Resurrection is a spiritual memoir about the author coping with the death of her beloved brother and trying to figure out whether or not she want to become a priest. There were a couple of passages that I thought were so beautiful and brought tears to my eyes, but not beautiful enough to get me to read the rest of the damn book. I couldn't do it. Maybe I'll try again another time.
So right now, I'm re-reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It's been a while since I've read any of the Harry Potter books, but something came over me last week and made me check out most of the series to re-read. I'm not in a hurry, since I'll probably read the last book in the series in a month or so. I haven't even read book #6 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. But I can't wait to read it. I'll wait to read anymore books from my challenges list.
I also read while on my little "vacation" The Magician's Nephew and The Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe by C.S. Lewis for some challenge I signed up for. Now which one was that? Oh yeah, the Series Challenge which goes from December 1st of this year and goes until May 31, 2008. I guess you can just say I'm an early bird. I had never read any of the books from the Chronicles of Narnia series. They were both great. I was so moved by Lewis's description of the lion Aslan creating Narnia. Very beautiful. So I'm going to try and wait until the challenge start to finish reading the series. Harry Potter can keep me busy until then.

Friday, June 22, 2007

My reading goal for 2007

Every year my reading goal is to read 52 books. Of course that is one book a year though I usually read around 75 books total. But for some reason this year, I decided to increase my goal by adding another 50 books. I absolutely love children's books, (young adult and picture books included,) so of course they count toward my goal. I also re-read a couple of my favorite books. It's only June and right now I'm reading book #100: The Killer's Tears by Anne-Laure Bondox. It's a young adult book about the relationship between a small boy named Paolo, the killer of his parents, Angel, and a stranger named Luis. I'm a couple of chapters into it and already I love it. It's a translation and the book won the Prix Sorcieres award in France. The Prix Sorcieres is the most prestigious award a children's book can win in that country. I found it on the American Library Association's website.

Half of the books I've read already are children's and the other half is adult's. So I think I'm going to expand my goal to 200 books. Yah! This has been such a good year for books. Well to me anyway. Since I'm participating in several book challenges, I've found so many good books that I probably would not have even bothered to read. I'm also glad that I'm a member of my Yahoo! book group, ANovel Challenge. It feels so good to be around other bookworms. Especially when their tastes are similar to yours. Even if their tastes are different, you still find good recommendations.

My 6 favorite adult books so far are (in no particular order):
The Woman in the Washington Zoo by Marjorie Williams
Raising a Reader by Jennie Nash
Around the House and in the garden by Dominique Browning
The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
the Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

My 6 favorite children books so far are:
Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
Duck and Goose by Tad Hills
The tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo
Olivia forms a band by Ian Falconer
I'm gonna like me by Jamie Lee Curtis
Nate the Great Series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Beautiful Lies

I finished Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger early this morning, when insomnia had came and woke me up. I had picked Beautiful Lies up at my local library because it's the July pick for their book club. I put it on hold and wasn't even going to pick it up. But I did.
Beautiful Lies tells the story of Ridley Jones, a girl whose life is changed by subtle decisions. The decision to meet her ex-boyfriend one day, to save a child from being hit by a car... Soon a mysterious package shows up in her mailbox, asking her to question her identity and the trust she has in the people around her.
A compelling read that kept my attention even when I wanted to slap Ridley for being so naive at times. She's a solid character. Maybe because I come from a totally different background, but sometimes I couldn't feel for her. She cried so often in the book, I started to shake my head at it. She started to feel weak.
I never read mysteries. It's just not my thing, but I'm glad I gave this book a chance. Even with my problems with Ridley I still put the sequel, Sliver of Truth, on hold at my library. I hope the main character grows stronger in this next book.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Read-Aloud Handbook (6th ed.)

I've seen this book so many times at the library, but had never even bothered to pick it up. But for some reason last Saturday, I checked it out. I had no idea what I brought home that day. Jim Trelease first self-published The Read-Aloud Handbook in 1979. It has stayed in print since then, being updated five times. The Read-Aloud Handbook is a guide for parents, teachers, and anyone interested in the welfare of our children. The book shows so many different ways to get children reading, to install the love of reading in them, and also how to keep them reading. The book even has at the end of it, a book list on great books to read to kids at every different level.
It really opened my eyes. I never thought to include SSR (silent sustained reading) along with reading aloud to my children. This book has showed me what I was doing right with my kids (reading to them, taking them to the library, making sure they had books of their own,) and what I wasn't doing enough of (reading aloud to them.) The book gives you the dos and don'ts of reading aloud to your child. This is a book that I think is mandatory for every person who is in any way involved with children.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The end of I am the Messenger

I just love this book. I finished it yesterday and I was so happy. I am the Messenger is such a great story. I don't know where a young author like Markus Zusak get his ideas from, but they are so fulfilling and real. Honestly I'm kind of shock that this book was in the young adult section, but it's not worse than some of the movies and music videos that are out for the young nowadays, and at least the book has a message. The ending wasn't what I expected. I think the ending would have happened, but not as fast as it did. It should have been different. I recommended it to everyone.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I am the messenger

I love this book! I fell in love at the first sentence: The gunman is useless. Then it goes on: I know it. He knows it. The whole bank knows it.
I was going to save this book for the Seconds Challenge that starts in October. You read more books by the new authors you've discovered while reading for your (probably) many challenges. It's also one of my alternates for the Something about Me Challenge. But I couldn't help it. I had to start. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was just so great, I had to read more by him. I opened I am the Messenger yesterday out of curiousity. Now I'm in love.
So I'm off to finish reading this fantastic book that I really don't want to end. If I keep this up I'm not going to have any books to read for the S.A. M. challenge.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Dear Mr. Henshaw

A couple hours ago I finished reading Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Clearly for the Newberry Challenge. Dear Mr. Henshaw is basically the coming-of-age story of Leigh, a boy whose parents went through a divorce, forcing him and his mother to move to a new neighborhood. Leigh is also writing to his favorite author Mr. Henshaw and trying to figure out who is stealing his lunch every day, while dealing with his feelings about his parents and the breakup of their marriage. This is a pretty good book. Throughout the book the reader can see Leigh's development as he comes to his own conclusion about his relationship with his dad.
Two books down and three more to go for the Newberry Challenge. I think I will start on The Time Traveler's Wife for my summer reading and something about me challenges.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Newberry Challenge

Before I find that hat, I better post what I'm going to read for the Newberry Challenge that I just signed up for today.

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Clearly
Missing May by Cynthis Rylant
Holes by Louis Sachar
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo (done)
The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
Penny from Heaven by Jennifer Holm

Alternate: The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Tale of Despereaux

This is my newest favorite book! The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo is a book about a mouse, a princess named Pea, a rat, and a slow-witted girl. This is such a great book. I started the book this morning only to be finished a couple of hours later. I was reading it for the Newberry challenge and also the Something about me challenge. Thanks Booklogged for suggesting it.

Big Fish

Months ago I saw the movie Big Fish based on the novel by Daniel Wallace. I absolutely loved the movie, so I decided to read the book. Hum... This was one of the few times where the movie was better than the book. Don't get me wrong Big Fish is a good book, but it is not great. I expected more and did not get it. Just like the movie, Big Fish is about a son trying to get to know his father, but all his father is willing to tell him is stories, myths about what happened in his own life. Some of my favorite chapters are "The day he was born," "The girl in the river," "The day he left Ashland," and "The old lady and the eye," the story of a witch and her glass eye that can tell you your future. It's the story in the movie that is my main reason for reading the book. The problem with the book at times is that it seems repetitive. Overall, I'm glad I read the book though.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Something about me Reading Challenge

The Something about Me Reading Challenge is a reading challenged from Lisa (BreakingtheFourthWall.) This challenge is such a good one. Participants choose up to five books that represent them and tell why. The others look at the different lists and choose the books they want to read. I love reading everyone's reasons for choosing the books that they think represent them. I was also on Wendy's blog, Caribousmom, and I'm also going to copy her a little. So below are the books that I plan on reading for the challenge with the possible alternates and the ones I'm going to read after.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (I picked this one off of Dewy's list and it's also a book I've been wanting to read for such a long time.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (A book in the life...)
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby (Athena)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I ended up reading this early, so now I have to pick another book. Got it off of Stephanie's list.)
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo (It's also on my list for the Newberry Challenge. Booklogged's list.)
Leave me alone I'm reading by Maureen Corrigan (Booklogged)
Chocolat by Joanne Harris (Chasida's and Margo's lists. Read it before and I absolutely love it! Harris's descriptions of the food and bakery is still stuck in my mind after all these years.)

My alternates: I'm such a moody reader. I have to have alternates.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (Maryanne)
I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (Jill. I love, as you already know, The Book Thief. Since this is on my TBR list, might as well read it now.)
Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Girl from the Sea by Anne Marrow Lindbergh
Why I wore lipstick to my mastectomy by Geralyn Lucas

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The end of the 48 hour challenge

I failed this challenge. I should have known I wouldn't be able to participate. Today is my youngest baby's second birthday. So between running around for the party, cooking, and buying him something, I barely got any reading done. I started Grace (eventually) by Anne Lamott, but being the moody reader that I am, I put it down. Maybe I'll read some of Lamott's earlier writings later this week. I really don't feel like reading right now. I'm off to light the candle on my baby's cake and wish him a happy birthday.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The end of The Book Thief

I finished The Book Thief! Oh my God, I didn't think I would. I was so scared of the ending. I found out that the ending was what I pictured for the main character, Liesel. I'm so happy. I was kind of weary when so many members of my book group ANovel Challenge said that they were weeping at different parts. So I tried to be strong even though one page in the middle of the book had me trying so hard not to cry while riding the city bus to school. Toward the very end I hadn't really cried, until this one part... I'm not going to give the book away at all, but I sobbed for a while. I guess it was out of happiness.

The Book Thief is such a great book. It's so simple, but it pulls you along without you even realizing that you are turning the pages. I will read anything that Markus Zusak writes.

48 Hour challenge

I don't know what's wrong with my blog right now. I already posted an entry about the 48hour challenge, but to no avail. What is going on? Okay, I signed up for the challenge. My hours started yesterday afternoon at 4 p.m. until Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. Okay, so I'm off to read. I love this challenge!!

Friday, June 8, 2007

48 Hour Challenge

Why did I have to find out about another challenge. This one is the 48 hour challenge. It starts today and for 48 hours you read as much as you can. You pick your own 48 hours but couldn't start earlier than 7 a.m. this morning and end no later than 7am Monday. So my hours are going to be from 3:30 this afternoon until 3:30 Sunday afternoon. I can't wait! I'm off to read and blog almost all weekend!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

More Book Thief

I have less than fifty pages of The Book Thief left and I have to admit, I might not finish it. I've heard of fellow readers who don't finish books because they don't want the story to end. I used to think they were weird. So let me apologize: I'm sorry and I totally understand now. I don't want the story to end. Not at all. The Book Thief is such a great book. I love every main character: Liesel, Max, Hans Huberman, Rosa Huberman, Rudy, and even Death. I'm scared the ending will be so sad for Liesel. I feel like if I don't read the end, I'm sheltering her from even more of the bad things in the world. By not reading it I can write my own ending to her story. Don't all readers do that though? Make their own ending to a story whether they have read it all or not?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Book Thief

Right now I am reading The Book Thief by Markus Zukas. I have heard nothing but great reviews about this book. But I'm scared all the reviews might hype the book up too much. Has anyone ever had that problem? I'm loving the book so far.

Monday, June 4, 2007

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is such a great book. I should have read this years ago. I'm glad that I've finally have. What can I really say about this classic that hasn't already been said? It's moving, funny, touching, heartbreaking... Does it ever seem like a miracle to you when you read good writing? I would read some fantastic passage and then have to put the book down and look around to see where I was physically at in the world. Mentally, I wasn't here: I was in the Maycomb, Alabama; walking down Main Street with Scout, Dill, and Jem, running to meet Atticus as he made his way home from his office, huffed with Scout over Aunt Alexandra, my body and soul shaking at the injustice willingly done to Tom Robinson and so many unnamed people, and trying not to cry over the fate of Tom and the sadness I felt over Boo Radley and his life.

This book is so simple and the characters so complex. But you understand them. This is one of my top 3 books.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Summer Reading Challenge Change

I'm a moody reader. What I read has to fit my mood or I won't be able to get into the book. So I went to the library tonight and picked up a few that caught my eye. So now I'm changing my summer reading challenge list.

To kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Book Thief by Markus Zukas
Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
A Separate Peace by John Knowles

alternate:Honeymoon with my brother by Franz Wisner

So now I'm happy. I'm off to read.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Woman at the Washington Zoo

The curse has finally been lifted! It's been hell going without a book. I checked out The Woman at the Washington Zoo by Marjorie Williams a couple of weeks ago, thumbed through it, but it has been sitting on my bookshelf since. So a day or two ago, I looked at my bookshelf and "The Woman..." caught my attention. Marjorie Williams wrote political profiles for The Washington Post and Vanity Fair. She wrote about people like Barbara Bush and political columinst Mary McGrory. She also wrote a weekly column for Slate, the online magazine.

The essays in "The Woman at the Washington Zoo" are about so many different things, from politicial figures to assisted suicide, gender to family life, and also cancer. Williams was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2002. The doctors told her she only had months to live, but she went on to live for another three and a half years.

Most of my favorite essays in the book are in Part 3: Time and Change. There is no way that I can put into words what this book has come to mean to me. But I will try. I'm a typical reader, starting with the beautiful introduction by Williams' husband, Timothy Noah. But then I went to the back of the book, which is so unlike me, and started reading. Hit by Lightning: A Cancer Memoir is my favorite essay. Williams tell of the first sign: Her son, Willie noticing that she lost weight. She tells how it should have been a sign of something wrong, but admits that she's like most American women and "yearning for thinness is so deeply a part of me that it never crossed my mind that weight loss could herald something other than good fortune." She also tells of the second sign, a lump in her abdomen, going to different doctors for an answer, before finally receiving one: liver cancer that was stage IV (b).

So many times I felt like crying for Williams. But instead I laughed at her good (and bad) jokes, marvelled at her play of words, and her honesty with describing life and knowing that soon, very soon you will die. It's my newest favorite book.

If you don't like my post, read the book anyway.

Monday, May 28, 2007

I need help!

I'm upset. I just cannot keep interest in a book right now. I have no idea what's going on. But I am addicted to signing up for challenges. I've joined many. Maybe I need to read a short story or two.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New York Times Notable Book Challenge

Something is really wrong with me. I joined another challenge. This time it's the New York Times Notable Book Challenge. You picked the number of books that you want to read off the 2006 list. I'm only going to read three. Here's my list:

After this. By Alice McDermott
Arthur and George. By Julian Barnes
Everyman. By Philip RothForgetfulness. By Ward
JustGate of the Sun. By Elias Khoury
One Good Turn. By Kate Atkinson

The Road. By Cormac McCarthy. (Let's hope I can stomach this one.)
The Translator. By Leila Aboulela
Suite Francaise. By Irene Nemirovsky
The Afterlife. By Donald Antrim. (I know I'm going to read this one. I read such a great review about this book in Poets and Writers.)

Eat, Pray, Love. By Elizabeth Gilbert. (This is one of my favorite books ever. It made me so happy. It's also very truthful about life and very funny.)
The Lost: A search for six of six million. By Daniel Mendelsohn
The Places in Between. By Rory Stewart
Reading like a writer: A guide for people who love books and for those who want to write them. By Francine Prose (I started reading this one. Already I feel myself paying more attention to what I am reading.)

Let's see how far I'm going to get with this list.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Something about me reading challenge

Okay that's it. I'm going to join one more (okay maybe two more,) book challenges but that's it. The newest one that I'm joining is SomethingAboutMe reading challenge. You nominate the five books that represent you outside the blogging world. Each person in the challenge then pick as many books as they want to read off the list. The reading isn't done collectively and everyone makes their own list. I love this idea. I know I'm about to find so many good books that I haven't heard of or read yet.

My five books are:
Blindness by Jose Saramago. This is one of my favorite books in the world.
What's eating Gilbert Grape? by Peter Hedges. I only read it when I'm depressed
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott A honest and open spiritual memoir.
Living Judaism by Rabbi Wayne Dosick.
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert Such a light, funny book. You cannot read it and be depress.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I absolutely love Kit Allen. He's a writer/illustrator that has published several books that my son, Avram, absolutely love and worship. He's the author of Sweater, Longjohns, Galoshes, and Swimsuit. He used to make mythicnorms. This one is my favorite. It represents me almost completely.

Time has gone by so fast

It has been a minute since the last time I posted an entry. I've been so caught up in life: reading, going to school, and being a mom. All of that takes up so much time that I totally forgot that I even a blog. That is until today. Yesterday I joined Anovel challenge group on yahoo!groups. I had already decided to do the Summer Reading Challenge, Short Story Challenge, and also the Southern Reading Challenge. Since you have to have a blog for many of these challenges, then here I am.

For the Summer Reading Challenge, I'm going to read probably four books. The challenge begins June 1st and ends August 1st. My four books will be:
Dirt Music by Tim Winton
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
An Unfinished Life By Mark Spragg
The Convenant by Naomi Ragen
Extra Credit or Alternate: Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
Children of Men by P.D. James
These are the books that I have been wanting to read for the longest time and haven't gotten a chance to. I've heard such great reviews about all four books. My alternates are there just in case I can't get into a book. I'm a believer in the 50-page rule. If by page 50 the book isn't keeping my interest, then I'm going to put it down.

The Southern Reading Challenge starts June 1st to August 31st. The challenge is to read three books from Southern writers that are based in Southern settings. My three books will be:
To kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
A curtain of Green by Eudora Welty

I know I'm going to be busy for a couple of months!!