Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Salon: End of Novemebr and everything books

After reading so many great reviews about Neil Gaiman's newest novel, The Graveyard Book, I did something I usually don't do: bought it in hardcover. As much as I love books I never buy a book in hardcover unless it's used. Books are so expensive that I rather check them out at my local library, receive them from paperbackswap, wait a year or more until they come out in paperback or buy them used. I am glad I bought The Graveyard Book.

The description from Amazon perfectly sums it up:

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family. . . .

I have so many obligations this week: studying for finals, essays, homework, and family that reading this book felt a little rushed so I plan on rereading it later on this week.

I started November out in a book funk. I could not finish any books I started. The cure: picture books. I read so many great picture books like Delilah D at the Library by Jeanne Willis about a young girl with a very big imagination, The Bearskinner by Laura Amy Schlitz which was a spin on a Grimm fairy tale, and Woolbur by Leslie Holakoski about being your own person. My kids loved all three books.

Even in a book funk and with Christmas approaching, I have madly been searching through thrift stores, libraries, paperbackswap, and used bookstores for great finds and have acquired so many great reads ranging from Joyce Carol Oates's The Gravedigger's Daughter, to Ami McKay's The Birth House to Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres. Now I just have to find the time to read!

Have a great week and happy reading!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year has been a pretty challenging one with me going back to college and learning through experience how to balance school, kids, and free time for myself. Right now as I look around, I see only blessings.

I am so thankful for my family who supports me as I deal with homework, tests, and late-night studying.

I am thankful for finally having the opportunity to go back to school.

For every book I get my hands on.

The four walls around us and the roof above our heads. There are so many who don't have that.

For decent health.

Our love for each other.

Now it's time to go back to cooking. How are you spending Thanksgiving and what are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

For the love of books

"The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something undefering about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included. Literature, she thought, is a commonwealth; letters a republic." -Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Not again.

I have writer's block. I also have reader's block. The only thing I can read is the required reading assignment from my British Lit class, Paradise Lost. Sigh. I better start checking out some children's books. It's the best cure for reader's block. Maybe it'll help the writer's block also.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Salon

For the past two weeks I have been boycotting my life: boycotting school and its endless assignments and readings, boycotting chores at home (unsuccessfully,) and boycotting life in general. I need a vacation and with a little bit more than a month until I can have one, like the teenager I once was, I am rebelling. I refuse to let my reading suffer a bit more.
Earlier last week I found out about 100 Shots of Short reading challenge hosted by Rob. The challenge has no time limit and no specific titles to read, it's the reader's pick. No one can argue that short stories can take any great amount of time away from one's day. Since I have family and school responsibilities my free time is very limited but my goal is to read one short story a day for the next 100 days.

Last Saturday I checked out The Best American Short Stories 2008. As much as I love short stories, I rarely read a collection of them. Salman Rushdie is this year's co-editor and has picked some great stories. Out of the six short stories I have read so far in this collection, five I have loved. After reading the first two stories, T.C. Boyle's Admiral and Kevin Brockmeier's wonderful The Year of Silence, I knew I had to have this book. Katie Chase, Nicole Krauss, Alice Munro, and Danielle Evans are among the many writers in this collection.

With several fires burning in Southern California, many Californians are stuck indoors because of bad air quality. I am grateful that I am nowhere near the fires and my family is safe. My prayers goes out to everyone in the areas. Have a good week and happy readings!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Quote

"There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny."
-Steve Pressfield, The War of Art

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm addicted to Wordle!

Thanks, Jill! One more thing for me to do for hours at a time. Go and try it:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Books for the Holidays Campaign

I just found out about a great challenge for book bloggers organized by Amy. I'm Buying Books for the Holidays is a campaign challenging people to buy books as gifts for as many people on our holiday lists as possible. The challenge's blog will feature book reviews and try to raise awareness of literary charities. Amy promises to donate $100 to First Book if at least 100 people sign up for the challenge.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Salon: So many books, too little time

As last Saturday's quote says, school is getting in the way of my education. Between assigned readings, field trips, essays, hours and hours of lectures, and my family I have very little time for myself, reading, or nanowrimo.

I'm like most people: a guerrilla learner. I learn whatever it is that interests me, for as long as it interests me before moving on to the next subject. In the last year my interests have included: graphic novels, comics, fairy tales, the perfect personal essay, journal writing, and more. Great for me, horrible for school. Or is it the other way around? Either way I've have had little time to do the things I've loved.

This past week has been a great week for books. Through the mail I've received:
Too Soon Old, Too Little Smart - Gordon Livingston
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz - Daniel Ladinsky
Good Poems for Hard Times
A Broom of One's Own - Nancy Peacock
Life is a Verb - Patti Digh
Forty Stories - Anton Chekhov

I went to the thrift store Friday and walked away with eleven great books including Perfume by Patrick Suskind and Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. Since I have the next two days off from school I plan on reading and writing until my heart is full. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday's Quote

"Loving a baby or child is a circular business, a kind of feedback loop. The more you give, the more you get, and the more you get, the more you feel like giving."
-Penelope Leach

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Three of my favorite blogs

Dewey is hosting a great contest by giving away five copies of five different books. One of her requests is for participants to tell us what are three of their favorite blogs are. I have more than fifty blogs bookmarked on my list, so I'm not going to give you my top three but just three random blogs.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. On her blog Gretchen shares with her readers all the happiness techniques that she spent a year learning about and testing driving out. One of my favorite posts by Gretchen is a recent one about trying to come to terms with who you are and all the things you want to do and be but can't.

37 Days. The generous, intelligent, and caring Patti Digh is the author of this blog. 37 Days comes from the title of her book, Life is a Verb: 37 days to wake up, be mindful, and live intentionally. Five years ago Patti's stepfather was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed only 37 days later. Patti's blog always makes my day so much brighter. Go and over and browse her archives. I found out about both the book and the blog through the blog Head Butler.

Head Butler is hosted by Jesse K. The purpose of this blog: to tell you about the great movies, music, and books that Jesse thinks you'll probably enjoy. I am forever thankful to Jesse for blogging about Ann Hood's eloquent memoir Comfort, about the death of Hood's daughter.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday's Quote

“If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.” -Dorothy Law Nolte

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday's quote

I shall pass through
this world but once.
Any good therefore
that i can do or any
kindness that I can
show to any fellow
creature, let me do it now.
Let me not defer or
neglect it for I shall
not pass this way


I think this will be my literary tattoo.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday's Quote

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart…Try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek the answers which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
-MLK Jr.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Salon: This is what procrastination and not having enough sleep looks like

I have been up since four o'clock this morning. Why? My body thought it was five and I could not go back to sleep. After being too tired to do almost anything today, I only have 358 words typed for my book. I did find a great new blog called 37 Days hosted by Patti. I also studied for an upcoming biology test and spent some much-needed time with one of my kid sisters. So I did accomplish something.
Total word count: 2165. Not bad.
Just need to think about my character more.

Sunday's quote

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart…Try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek the answers which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Nanowrimo Day 1

I finally hit my quota of 1,667 words. I wrote an amazing (for me) 1,707 words. I'm starting to get a feel for my character and her life. I know it's a novel with the supernatural mixed in. I'm just blown that I completed today's count. At 5k words I will buy myself a nanowrimo-young writers program t-shirt. But I have to write five thousand words and remember to buy the damn shirt.

I need everyone reading this to leave a comment Monday, reminding me about my five thousand words. Tuesday I need you guys to remind me to buy the shirt only if I have every single word written down.

Now I can go read and wash dishes. Good luck to everyone participating.

Weekly Geeks #23

This week's Weekly Geeks assignment is to repeat a previous w.g. assignment. I chose #17, which is posting a quote every day. I really enjoyed looking for new and old quotes during this assignment. I found today's quote in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's memoir Living to Tell the Tale.

"From a very early age I've had to interrupt my education to go to school."-George Bernard Shaw

Now I'm off to complete my daily word count for Nanowrimo.