Saturday, October 12, 2013

Two more finished books for the Read-a-Thon" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px">A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico
" />A">">A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy">">Amy S. Greenberg

My rating: 3">">3 of 5 stars

Not a military history of the Mexican War, but more the story of five men involved in it and how a little remembered event affected US history for years afterward.  Not a shining moment in US history.

View">">View all my reviews" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px">A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny's Story
" />A">">A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny's Story by Brenda">">Brenda Ashford

My rating: 3">">3 of 5 stars

Okay, but...a little cloying.

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Mid afternoon break for Read-a-Thon

Just as I was starting my second book, A Wicked War by Amy S. Greenberg, Lorie came over with her books, which led to discussions.  And then Lee came with his book and that led to more discussions with the two of them.  And veggies and dip to much. 

Then Lorie had to leave to buy feed for her horse and now Lee has gone, so it is time to get on with my book.  Am still hopeful of several others visiting before the day is done, if only so they will eat some of these cookies.

First book of Read-a-Thon Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px">Shaman
" />Shaman">Shaman> by Kim">">Kim Stanley Robinson

My rating: 4">">4 of 5 stars

This is a good coming-of-age-in-the-Ice-Age story.  There is much realism, with just a touch of the mystical that holds the shamanistic force here.  Many things are not fully explained but simply accepted as part of what life is. 

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And the first post of Read-a-Thon day.

To answer the questions:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? I'm reading in Middle America, the Kansas City area, to be more precise.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Come on. That's like asking a mother who her favorite child is.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I made pumpkin cookies just for this event--and I hope to eat them all.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I'm a reader and have been for the last sixty-five years. I'm retired now, but keep busy volunteering and traveling. (And thank you for holding this readathon while I'm at home.)
  5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I'll do more of the hourly activities.

And I'm starting off With Kim Stanley Robinson's Shaman while I eat my breakfast.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dewey's 24 hour Read-a-Thon

No book review today, but an announcement of the October 2013 Read-a-Thon, which is this Saturday, beginning at 7 a.m. I will be hosting an open house come read with me event for the whole 24 hours. Feel free to attend for as long as you can. There will be food involved. Hope you can get in some reading during the course of the day.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Who Are We Really?

We Are All Completely Beside OurselvesWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A book about family, about language, about human nature, about secrets, about memories.

To recount the plot is to involve pages of spoilers, but the story of siblings Rosemary, Fern, and Lowell will remain with me for a long time. The things we do for family and the things families do to us! Oh, I left out one of my favorite characters--the ventriloquist's dummy Madame DeFarge.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It's Summer--Time to Chill Out a Little

We've already had 90 degree weather here, so it's time to start looking for books to cool off. Here's one for busy readers--it's short, it's entertaining, and it's even mildly educational. The Frozen ThamesThe Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you are looking for a factual history of times when the Thames froze over you'll need to use one of the books listed in the back of the book. But if you would like a short, chronological feel for reactions by the citizens across the centuries, this is a delightful way to experience the cold, the awe, and the wonder of a river iced over deep enough to work and play on it.

Each "chapter" is only a few pages long, more vingettes that short stories, but each has it's own voice. Although each instant is dated, you might want a reference handy as there are only a few references to the current ruler. (Unless you are a big history buff and have things like that memorized.)

I give this a 3.5 or even a 3.75.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Books and Death and yet not depressing

The End of Your Life Book ClubThe End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a special book. It is the story of an exclusive book club with just two members, Will and his mother--but it is so much more than that.

It's a tribute to a remarkable woman who cared about people, especially the voiceless people of the world, with a passion. It is a loving memory of the woman who spent the last two years of her life staying in touch with the people she loved with grace and dignity. It is a resounding vote of confidence in the lasting contribution of books to the well-being of the human spirit.

I wish I'd met Mary Ann Schwalbe. She sounds like she was of the good people. And I have several (many) books I wish we could have talked about together.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Last Read-a-Thon post

The Lost Summer of Louisa May AlcottThe Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A successful look at the Alcott family from a fictional point of view. It expands the story without violating conventions of the time. This is a good example of fictionalized biography.

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I must admit I didn't stay up the entire time. I fell asleep about 3 a.m. for an hour. But I've enjoyed the whole thing immensely.

And thanks to my visitors. Lorie and Jean each came over read for awhile. And Gena came over unexpectedly and gave me a revitalizing neck and shoulder rub. This was such a lot of fun that I know I'll be tempted again in October by the next one.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Second book finished for Read-a-Thon

The Uninvited GuestsThe Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is kind of like one of those dreams where things start out very life-like and plausible and gradually things start turning odd. That is if you dream of Edwardian England and eccentric families.

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So far, Lorie has been over to read with me and says she'll be back later.

It's Time to Start Reading!!!

And the big adventure begins with The Tofu QuiltThe Tofu Quilt by Ching Yeung Russell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a delightful book filled with marvelous word picures of growing up in Hong Kong--"only" a girl. But she was so lucky. She was a girl with a fierce mother who supported her wish for an education beyond elementary school.

I am going to read some of these next week to the first graders, since they are so interested in poetry.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Do I have a plan yet? Yes, of sorts

I am arranging this Read-a-Thon as if it is a party. I'm assuming that at least a few of my RL friends will show up at some point for a while. If nothing else, they can play along with some of the mini-challenges. I'm thinking of trying the new recipe for Spinach cake (it's healthy, right?) as well as veggies with hummas. Probably order in pizza for supper. And lots of M&Ms. As for my Reading List (in no particular order--it's just how they are stacked by my chair0: The Art of Racing in the Rain (I must finish this by Monday for Book Group), The Comfort of lies by Randy Susan Meyers, The perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky;Perfect Timing by Catherine Anderson; Sand Castle Bay by Sherryl Woods, The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones,Family Pictures by Jane Green; The unknowns by Gabriel Roth, You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney. And I'm putting rereading some of my Georgette Heyer books in as my fall-backs.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Prepping for the Read-a-Thon (Sort of)

As the Read-a-Thon approaches (April 27) I've been debating strategy. Should I start with a boring book and get it out of the way? Should I read a short book first, finish it quickly, and feel like I accomplished something? Should I just keep a stack of books on hand and just dip and swing my way through? Should I alternate between "book" books and stuff on the e-reader? How much time should I allot to posting stuff on the blog as I go along? Can I make a party out of this? I've certainly had stranger themes for a party.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Can I stay awake for Twenty-four hours?

I'm getting ready to participate in the Dewey 24-hour Read-a-thon. ( which takes place on Saturday, April 27. This means for that day and night from 7 a.m. I should be reading, blogging about it, eating, and ignoring everything else. I'm just warning everyone now. However, if any of my friends would like to join me for all or part of the experience, feel free to join in, either virtually or physically. Anyone who would like to come to read at my house for a few hours--we can make a party of it, play an author-type game, write our own book. The rules seems rather fluid about how we carry it out. Anyone who would like to contribute chocolate will be welcomed with open arms.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Steampunk with knitting needles

Needles and Artifice: A Refined Adventure Story with Ingenious Knitting PatternsNeedles and Artifice: A Refined Adventure Story with Ingenious Knitting Patterns by The Ladies of Mischief
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

How often do you get a steampunk adventure WITH knitting patterns?

The story follows the adventures of a group of Ladies who turn male/female relationships upside down, but in a genteel sort of way. There is always time for tea and knitting. (It was so nice to know that Kristoff makes a good cheese toast. I'd like to meet him myself.)
The moral of the story...Don't mess with intrepid ladies with mad mechanical skills.

The patterns are probably not for beginners and a few look rather daunting at first glance, but many of them look like something that can be worn whether or not you are into steampunk.

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