Saturday, November 29, 2008

Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe

Title: Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe
Author: Jennie Shortridge
Pages: 400
Yearly Count b: 86

Mira in her attempt to create a perfect life, alienates those around her when her only wish is that the family would actually be a unit, a bonded whole. Her daughter acts like she hates her and she soon finds out that her husband is just not feelin' the love either. Her world is shattered and in her attempt to cope she heads for Seattle, a land of coffee and rain sheds light on where she is at in her life.

Jennie Shortridge's writing is so down to earth, so beautiful and yet so captivating. The whole book I felt captivated by her characters and moved and stirred with them. I love the cover, coffee art is incredible. Take a look at one amazing cup of hot chocolate I got while at the Bipartisan Cafe...on stark, or something (in Portland). It is an amazing leaf! I wish I had been watching them, I had no idea to expect something so beautiful, and the flavour was just as good.
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I loved that the book takes place in my neighborhood so to speak, in northern Oregon, Portland and Seattle. These are places I have been so many times and love. I enjoyed the weather descriptions of this area and the mood of the places, so accurate.

I found myself so interested in the plot that it was what I thought about. When you want your life to be perfect, those in it to be perfect, will all the people involved be able to hold up under the pressure? Will you? I am not entirely sure she craved perfection though. But she did feel a need to control her surroundings. I know I do that, I like to have things be the way I like them. I could really relate to Mira, in her thoughts, desires and her desire to have things under her control. And I think most people, if not everyone have that fear that if someone really knows you, I mean really knows you that they would run as fast as they could. I really enjoyed reading this, as I said the writing is spectacular for its relatability and personal feel, Jennie does an exceptional job with character development. And the plot, is really good....I guess you'll just have to find out! A must read for sure!

I am the last stop on the TLC Tour, Hope you enjoyed the journey with us :) Happy reading!

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and remember to:

NaNo Complete.

Winner Icon

I finished my novel, I WROTE A NOVEL. I can now say that and be happy. I don't know what I will do with it yet, don't know when or what will happen. Maybe I will try to edit the first draft, maybe I will never look at it again. I don't know right now what will happen at all.

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PS now I can get back to reading all the books that have been piling up for me!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence

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title: I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
author: Amy Sedaris
pages: 304
yearly count b: 85

A hospitality book like nothing else I have seen, it is the funniest book I have read in ages, filled with so much stuff that each time you open it you'll swear that page wasn't there before. I Like You by Amy Sedaris will have you laughing and cringing at the same time. A cookbook, manner book, and how-to-entertain book that will put you over the top with laughter at the silly layouts, funny Amy and all the things she is capable of.

I Like you is a book glorifying all things tacky, outdated and ridiculous, but it is much more as well. The recipes, the photos and all the writing Amy does is amazing, she is one insanely talented comedian. Yes, Amy Sedaris is David Sedaris' sister, that is crazy to me that they both are so funny I wonder if their parents slipped a little something special in their water to make them funnier than the average person, much funnier.

I have to warn you if you think some things just shouldn't be discussed, much less discussed in a manners book, this is not your book. At times it is pretty vulgar and over the edge. That didn't really bother me, it was too funny for me to worry about if it was inappropriate, which it is. However consider yourself warned that if you take yourself too seriously, if you get offended and are squeamish: avoid this book and pick up something else. If you are not in those categories, give it a shot! Warning tough, it is insanely addictive.

I think many folks could enjoy this book, snatch it up and I dare you not to laugh your guts out reading it!

Want this book for yourself? The publisher has offered a copy to my luckiest commenter. Comment on this post for a chance to win. You have until the end of the 30th to enter. I do apologize, the publisher is sending these directly and will only ship to US addresses and no PO boxes.

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and remember to:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

twitter happy

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Me too, MEEEE TOOO!! I JUST joined. So, I am on twitter, are you? Come find me if you are here I am.

If you are a twitter beginner or pro...tell me what is your favourite thing about it! I know that through it we can stalk people (haha!), but are there other things that I am missing out on?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monique and the Mango Rains

title: Monique and the Mango Rains
Author: Kris Holloway
Pages: 240
yearly count b: 84

Kris Holloway, a volunteer for the peace corps develops an intimate friendship with her assigned host for her two-year stay in Mali. Her host is Monique, the midwife that successfully is birthing thousands of babies into the world. Monique is an amazing woman of strength, zest and endurance in a patriarchal society where she isn't even allowed to pick up her own pay check. Kris Holloway writes Monique and the Mango Rains in such a way that for it not to pull on your heart you'd have to be inhuman. She follows Monique and becomes her assistant for her time in Mali. Mali's numbers didn't look good, 1 in 12 woman died in childbirth then in the nation of Mali. Holloway learned the gift a midwife could bring into each woman's home, the gift of a child and the gift of health for the family.

Monique didn't just birth babies, she did all the prenatal check ups, she weighed the moms and babies and children to chart their health and let the moms know if they should take notice of sudden and severe weight loss, or other health issues. Monique teaches the mothers to make nutritious baby foods that will change the lives of the kids, and she teaches them about other health issues such as how to purify water and not get sick.

This testimony of Kris Holloway about her experiences in Mali is so impressive, so amazing and it is real the whole way through. Monique constantly gives of herself, even when she knows the outcome of the births will many times be unsuccessful, she works with the women of her village to promote how things can change. One thing that really stood out to me was her desire to get birth control for the women, it was a matter of health for the women since with each baby their chances were worse of not making it through the next. She planned and worked out ways to provide this birth control to the women of her community. Another is female circumcision, which I had heard about, but never in the detail that this book goes into. I was amazed to learn that in the day when Holloway was there it was a very common practice, and it was not done by doctors or midwives but by a selected female family member. Many horrors came from these women using no pain medication, no sterilized instruments, and cutting with whatever they had. The circumcision was performed to enhance the females ability to get pregnant and birth healthy children, however this was another ritual that had taken place for so long, and proved to actually do much damage and no good. Monique worked to inform the villagers of this.

What are my thoughts? I really, really, really was moved by this read. Kris Holloway does an excellent job with the writing, and it is an intriguing read. I love learning about different cultures, about their beliefs, old wifes tales, and their communities. I know that this was told from an outsiders perspective, because as much as Holloway did live there for two years, she still was an outsider, but her passion is so strong that it passes through the national boundaries. Monique is not only Holloway's hero, she is mine as well, what an amazing lady!! She did so much, gave so much and in return asked for nothing.

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and remember to:

Monday, November 24, 2008

LIFE: The American Journey of Barack Obama

title: LIFE, The American Journey of Barack Obama
editor: Robert Sullivan
pages: 178
publisher: Little, Brown
yearly count b: 83

You can love him, or you can think that he is the anti-christ. This review will not be about political views, I will not debate if he is to bring peace to the universe, or if he is going to be the biggest fraud. This review is about his journey, about Barack as a man, from birth to date. Life, The American Journey of Barack Obama is about the boy who will grow up to live his dream, and to dump out his enthusiasm on America. He was born to an unlikely couple, who did not possess the freedom that we now have, he grew up in Honolulu, California and later Chicago, he attended Harvard. From Harvard on he knew the taste of victory and that politics were his pursuit in life.

His family is more than a part of Obama, he belongs to them as well. In the photos in LIFE, The American Journey of Barack Obama it is obvious that they have more than a superficial bond. They laugh, they dance, they cry and play together, his family is not just a family for presidential events, but in the home as well. I loved seeing the portrayal of him as a man at home with his wife and daughters. The shots of Obama crouched down kissing his kids on the lips, or sharing the joys of his wins. There is something that draws folks into him, and I can see it here. This book does an amazing job of presenting Barack Obama from so many different sides and yet in them all he is a man, a man with a dream.

No matter how you voted you cannot stay that Obama doesn't carry the world in his grasp and the hopes of the nation in his hand. Only time will tell what he can do with that. But what I already can tell you is that his victory, a minority in office, an African American as the future leader of our nation is an accomplishment of which we should all be in awe.

At the end of the book there is a section titled Aspects of Obama in which positive articles are written by different peoples from around the world. LIFE asked 12 thinkers and writers to take a look at the different aspects Obama and to tell the readers what they see. This is a really interesting section of the book, where different people get to speak up. All in all a good book for a Obama believer!!

I would recommend this book for the Obama enthusiast on your Christmas list! It is a beautiful book with full colour photos on almost every page. I loved looking at and reading it. Enjoy!

To all the Obama faithful out there: Do you want a copy? Because of the sweet hachette book group peeps I have an extra to give away. Comment below by the end of the 26th and you will be entered in for a copy of his read. (US and Canada only, no PO boxes...sorry).

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and remember to:

am I too book greedy? lets talk.
Dear Reader,
Okay, so I am in the middle of NaNoWriMo and hoping to make it through 10,000 words in this last week, it really should work out fine, but what is a deadline without procrastination. Here is my procrastination for all of you to see. I have just received in the mail 7 books from a publisher.

That is exciting!! right? Is it exciting to get books in the mail?? It is right? Okay, it sure is...but what about being tooooo greedy. I know we all joke and say that you can never have too may books, that you can never have too much to read...but I am not sure if that it true all the way. I know it is true (at least for me) that I can never have enough books, but I think I can have way too many ARC's. I think I am pretty close to having that magical "too many" number on my shelves right now.

I am going to be honest with you and tell you how flooded I am: I have 45. Ahhhh, please don't judge me. I needed to be honest in order to create a setting that would breed honesty and vulnerability in you as well....yes I have 45 I admit that I have a problem.

At the same time every Monday I see these "mailbox Monday" posts where you all seemt to get at least 5 books a week from publishers!! How do you manage? Do you read them all? Do you skim? What is on your ARC shelves? Do you feel the pressure of books falling down on you? Do you dream at night of angry books chasing after you with big bloody teeth ready to bite your heels? I am dramatic, what can I say...but I am feeling a little over loaded.

What do you do to control the trigger happy mouse finger? do you rip it off?

Be honest, count your ARC pile, how many do you have(please make me feel better by saying way more than me!!!!)?? Does it slightly take the joy out of reading when you have piles? When you read one of the books that is not an ARC do you feel guilty?

Yes, I am the question gal...BUT I NEED ANSWERS!!! :)

books nipping closer

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Orbis Terrarum for 2009


Hey OT peeps!

We are going to be finishing up the time for the first Orbis Terrarum Challenge next month!! I know many of you have finished already. If you have a couple left, there is still plenty of time. Keep-a-readin'.

I am going to be hosting this challenge again next year for sure and I would like any suggestions you have. After the 20th of December, when the OT challenge is officially over I will have the last giveaway. All links to book reivews or thoguhts on the Mr. linky
will count as an entry, and at the end of the challenge I will ask you all some questions for the improvement of next year's challenge. You will also get an entry for giving me some answers and helping me make some great changes for next year. You can make suggestions now if you'd like, just comment below! I 'd love to hear what you think!!!!

Here is a glimpse at 2009's Orbis Terrarum challenge button, if you want to snag it already :)
I will start sign ups the month before we start reading, in March.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Honesty BTT!

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Suggested by JM:

I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.

Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?

should we look like this???

It IS sad that we have come to disclaimers! I wrote an entire post on this subject just last week: Are you polite? Honest? Both? Let's talk. Is being polite more valued than honesty? I would say you can speak with honesty...and be polite at the same time. As critics, we book bloggers need to be able to take the heat for our reviews, but there is also a fine line where we need to be respected, and our opinions negative or positive should be fine with any author, publicist or family member of any of the before mentioned. Life it tough, get over the criticism, move on, grow from it! Sugar coated reviews are a thing of loathing, no one who writes reviews should say they liked something when they didn't, it would be completely unfair to their readership! I do understand that you can point out things that you liked about the book, but do not neglect to mention the things that bugged HONEST your readers will appreciate it.

The Blame Game and Raisng Kids In the Country

I am currently reading Wife in the North, by Judith O'Reilly and here are a couple of really interesting articles that she has written that I wanted to share with you while I am busy reading this book!! What do you think, do you play the blame game? I know that I do. My boys recently got stung , the littlest one over 20 times by is so easy to go down the route of...if I would have...then I could have...OH! I should have!!! When do you play this game? Maybe I am the only one who can relate.

The Blame Game
By Judith O’Reilly,
Author of Wife in the North

As a parent, you accept from the start that it is all your fault. Every last inhibition, weakness and thing that goes wrong in your child's life is down to you -- however old they are. If they get bullied, bully, pick the wrong course at university or marry the wrong girl, it is all because you did it wrong. As a parent -- deep-down, you know you suck. You know it is not the kid's fault (however old the kid is) -- you made a hash of it.

You drank a glass of wine when you were pregnant which is why your nine-year-old has ADHD. You had a caesarian which is why he has "trust issues" with women. You threw him out of the house when he was 21, papered over the steam-trains to turn his bedroom into your craft room and he never got over it. You did not throw him out of the house and he is still there at 28 and counting. You smacked him; he grew up to have a problem with authority figures and cannot hold down a job. You did not smack him; he grew up to be a bastard. You let him have a small watered down glass of wine with Sunday dinner and he became an alcoholic at college. You did not let him touch alcohol at home and he became an alcoholic at college.

You said he should have some fun while he was still young and he went travelling in the Congo and got murdered for his wristwatch. You said he should get a job straight after college, he ignored you, grew a beard and is still travelling eight years later. You made him write thank you letters for gifts he did not want, and he is an ungrateful wretch who has never thanked you for ruining your figure and eating up your life. You never made him write thank you letters for anything or to anyone, and now his children do not write thank you letters however much cash you put in with the card. You feel it is your fault whether they are a killer or a victim. If you taught them to avoid strangers or to reach out to strangers who then betray them. As a mother or a father you accept the guilt, responsibility and shame and live with these things.

I have wondered watching Sarah Palin if she blames herself for Bristol's teenage pregnancy. I am willing to bet most hockey moms would. Palin is an amazing role model for a daughter -- whether you agree with her politics or not -- she is a mother to five children and could end up President. Even so, if she didn't have some heartwrenching "What did I do wrong?" conversations with the First Dude over Bristol's predicament, I would eat my moose burger.

Stupidity, misadventure, tragedy can scoop up and swallow down a child in a blink and you know what? It is not necessarily your fault. Nice kids can grow up and do bad or idiotic things however hard their parents tried to bring them up to know the difference between right and wrong. The problem is too many parents blame themselves for every damn fool thing their children do. They say children never forgive their parents. Not true. Parents do not forgive themselves. Being a mother is misery. Years of fear your children get hurt one way or another, years of disappointment their lives aren't exactly the way they thought they would be. Worst of all, that conviction rolling and crashing around inside that if you had done things differently, it did not have to be this way. You know as you clutch your coffee in a worn, chipped mug that boasts you are the "World's Best Mom" or the "Number 1 Dad" that you could have done it so much better. You know that your innocent children are paying the price with their health, sanity or happiness for your own deep and terrible failings as a mother or a father. When bad things happen, it is natural enough to grope around in the darkness for someone or something to blame. The itinerant loner who took advantage? A bad crowd? God? But deep down you are not telling me that a parent does not blame themselves for whatever fate throws at her beloved child and however that child turns out. Suck it up -- it's your fault. You should have done something, been there, stood in front of the speeding bullet and caught it in your hand.

Surely though if parenting is about anything at all, it is about teaching your children to be responsible for their own decisions and actions. You wouldn't claim credit for a book that is not your own or a picture you didn't paint, so why feel the necessity to take on your children's screw-ups or bad luck? Let them own that really big mistake. Don't crowd them out of the spotlight when the jeering starts. There is enough research out there that indicates "helicopter" parents hovering mercilessly over their children from kindergarten and into the jobs market are not doing anyone any favours. In the same way, insisting that every bad thing that happens is "all my fault" is just one more way a parent lays claim to her child's soul. Sometimes you have to step away and leave them to it.

©2008 Judith O’Reilly

It would be my dream to move to the country, mill my own grain and have cattle and goats and land to run and play with my boys. I know however that for some people this would be a nightmare so much more than a dream...what would it be for you? Would you miss things in the city? I know that some day I will get to move to the country, I would love an off the grid home, which means it would be powered by solar energy or a wind system and on a well. I would so like to get out there. What about you? I hope you enjoy the following article, we all have our takes on the country!

Raising Kids in the Country
By Judith O’Reilly,
Author of Wife in the North

Arriving in the middle of the countryside fresh from the city with a young family, it is fair to say I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I grew up in the city; the countryside was something you saw on TV if there was nothing on another channel. As an adult, I believed the city to be my right, my natural home. You might spend a week in a holiday cottage somewhere green, and usually wet, but that was as far as it went. The countryside, my dear, was another place.

My husband and I spent 17 years working in London. With two young children and another on the way, I finally gave in to his pleading and agreed to move to the North-East coast of England. We followed the dream, but living the dream is not necessarily easy. For a long time, I found it isolating. Living four kilometers from the nearest village took getting used to. Particularly when my husband was back at his desk in London for weeks at a time. At dusk, the children asleep, I walked out of the whinstone and sandstone cottage in a row of what used to be farm labourers' cottages -- the other cottages are holiday homes and empty most of the year. I looked out onto pastures where sheep and cattle graze; in the distance, a narrow blue-grey strip of sea and a lighthouse on the rocky islands off the coast. I waited for the lighthouse to blink, for the bats to notice me, swoop down and then away. I thought: "Ok, so this is it then?"

It is a cliché but true nonetheless -- a happy mother makes for a happy home, and I struggled to get to grips with the world around me. The city girl took a while to become a country woman. On the very few occasions we went out for supper, conversation was of wheat prices, laminitis and European Union agricultural subsidies -- conversations that made you want to borrow a gun from the farmer sitting across from you and shoot yourself. While country pursuits like hunting and shooting, I viewed with blank incomprehension, if not downright hostility. As for pointy-toed shoes with attitude, there was far too much mud for heels.

Only when I slowly started to develop friendships did I appreciate the country for what it was and what it had to offer my family. The village school had just over 40 children. My son's previous school in the city had more than 400. These mothers were my way into the world around me, prepared to offer their time and friendship. In the city no-one drops by they are too busy, they presume you are too busy and anyways, they live too far. Here, fellow mothers dropped by coffee or called to say "How about the beach?"

In the UK, a letter signed by 300 academics, authors and childcare experts last year, warned that children's health was deteriorating because they are losing the chance to play outside. They blamed computer games, parental anxieties and academic pressures. My children take the beauty of the heathered moors, the rolling fields and swaying barley crops for granted and I could afford to feel smug as they climbed trees, built dens in the jungle garden and adventured in the dunes on the beach. Instead of Nintendo DS's and X-boxes, body boards and footballs filled up my sons afterschool lives.

We do homework in the kitchen on the table infront of the Aga, a massive brooding range that throws out heat and makes the world a better place to be on a cold and damp November day. Nature too has become a teaching aid. I swapped hands-on interactive learning areas in city museums, for walks in the woods. We gathered brambles, collected conkers and made elderflower cordial. Not that I could teach them the difference between one tree and the next. I left that to my husband who suddenly revealed himself to be a man who knows which a sycamore and which an ash. I have to say -- I still do not know the difference. Instead of spotting fire engines and police cars, the boys spotted tractors and combine harvesters. My eldest informed me he wanted to be a farmer when he grew up. He knows that this boy and that boy have farms. And this is still a world where the farm is passed down the generation. In city life, if you were lucky and the family home didn't disappear in retirement home payments, you might expect to leave your semi-detached house to your children. (Presuming they would sell it and use the proceeds to fund a conservatory.) But in the country, there is an expectation that the farm will go the children and, hopefully, one of them will work it. As a newcomer, I wonder: "Will they want to?" I had to break the bad news to my own boy. We weren't farmers. We were lookers-on. I suggested he might be an astronaut instead and fly a rocket round the stars not a huge wheeled tractor through the mud.

And good grief but farming looks like hard work. A constant round of animal husbandry and ploughing and planting and harrowing and harvesting. But I do not see food anymore as a simple fact of life. I see it as the end result of dedication and enterprise; the children too are aware that what they eat is grown and husbanded. They have drunk raw milk and lived to tell the tale, eaten their mother's burnt bramble jam. They know she sheared a sheep and gave it the worst haircut of its life. They followed the hunt and have been to too many country shows to count. Sometimes, they talk about London and soldiers and the life they left behind. Mostly they say: "No" when I say "Do you remember when we lived in the city?"

©2008 Judith O’Reilly

Author Bio
Judith O'Reilly was the education correspondent for The Sunday Times of London, where she also reported on politics and news, and worked undercover on education, social, and criminal justice investigations. She is a former political producer for ITV's Channel 4 News and BBC2's Newsnight. A freelance journalist, she started her blog, in 2006. She lives in England.

Wife in the North is published by PublicAffairs.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Off the Menu

Title: Off the Menu
Author: Christine Son
Pages: 368
Yearly Count b: 82

Initially I was really excited to read Off the Menu, then while reading the first chapter I wondered what I had gotten myself into, but from then on I was forever captivated. Off the Menu is a deep and satisfying read that was really hard to put down! I thought that I would have to try to work myself into a positive mood to enjoy the book, but it was so much better than that! I love Christine Son's writing, it is endearing, gentle and beautiful. She picks up and leaves off in each chapter with another one of the three valedictorian friends Hercules, Audrey and Whitney that have known each other since high school, and I found myself along for the whole thing. Once I hopped on, Christine did not ever disappoint.

I figured that Off the Menu would be a feminine book about being in love or finding love or something of the sort. I am a stickler for covers, sorry. I it really seems to put Off the Menu under a stereotype that I don't think it belongs in. It is so much more than a romance/ women's novel! It is filled with relationships, endurance, and high expectations placed by the oneself, or the parents, it is so much more than the cover would suggest.So beware that if you have avoided this book because of the are really missing out.

I will steer clear of generalizations, but the most of the Asian students and youth that I have known growing up do really have to battle between what the expectations their parents place on them, and their own fulfilled or unfulfilled dreams. Even in junior high in Korea kids get up ever earlier than school starts to go to tutoring, and then from that to school, from school they go to a different tutor. I had a roommate in high school that told me that she would get home at 11 pm from studying and then have to be there at 5 am again! I don't know about you, but my junior high days were no where near that complicated. Yes, I know that Americans do have expectations for their children as well, and that is obvious to me too, but not in the same way, to the level of intensity that I have seen it in the Asian and Asian American families that I know. The stakes somehow seem higher, like impossibility is expected, and respect for their parents wishes is the norm (where here it is certainly not). I enjoyed the character portrayals of the different types of women, and how they coped with these pressures in life, the busyness, the side jobs or side dreams, the reality that they were getting old and needed to marry. Each character was equally enticing to me, however I did enjoy Hercules the most but that was because somehow I related to her more than to anyone else.

I am in awe of Christine Son because Off the Menu was so much more than I had ever expected. I really enjoyed all of it (except somehow the first chapter??) and I would recommend it, highly. So it gets my funky award: The Happy Chicken :) enjoy!

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Off the Menu TLC reviews and interviews:

Estella’s Revenge e-zine (author interview)
Literarily (author guest post and giveaway!)
Beastmomma (author interview)
Book Nut
Ramya’s Bookshelf
Ramya’s Bookshelf
(author interview)
Pop Culture Junkie
Savvy Verse and Wit
In The Pages
She is Too Fond of Books
Planet Books
B&b ex Libris

The remaining TLC stops:

Wednesday, November 19th: DISGRASIAN

Thursday, November 20th: Booking Mama

Monday, November 24th: The Literate Housewife Review

Tuesday, November 25th: Feminist Review

Wednesday, November 26th: Diary of an Eccentric

Friday, November 14, 2008


I made it to the middle, or to the halfway point in my novel writing. I am so excited!!!! It takes about 1.5 or 2 hours a day to get the required 2,000 words a day in. It really isn't as horrid as it sounds, it is fun and a creative outlet for me. I thought of quiting many times whenLink I was right around 13,000 or so because it all just felt really stupid. The novel felt stupid, I felt stupid for wasting my time and it was jut not coming out and blooming the way I wanted it to.

Understand that things are still really rough, and not even revised or anything...but at least I have written 25,002 words!!! I am proud of myself. I never thought I would make it even half way when I was in that funk. But then that night I decided to just keep writing, keep writing adding on words and it worked. So if you are in a funk with your NaNoWriMo, my humble advice is that you sit down at your desk (or grab your lappy toppy) and turn on your computer,then let the magic flow. Yeah, it won't be magical but it will be on it's way!!!

So, KEEPA-KEEPA and you will be finished sooner than you know it.

HAha, well see how I feel by the end of next week :)

PS: I have been trying to keep up with comments....but please (PRETTY PLEASE??) forgive me if I have neglected to comment back.

Like Water For Chocolate

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Title: Like Water for Chocolate
Author: Laura Esquivel
Pages: 256
Yearly Count b: 81

Tita is completely overshadowed by her mom, Mama Elena, who terrifies even the guerilla soliders enough to make them leave her alone. Tita grows up in a home where it her mother's wish that must be kept sacred, always obeyed and not questioned. Tita becomes resigned to the kitchen, as her only connection to love is in her elderly nanny Nacha. Early on in life Tita learns that her lot in life is to care for her mother until her mother dies, and that under no circumbstances will she be allowed to she marry. Each chapter is a narration of the storyline with recipies intertwined. Each month a different delight is prepared and the reader will be left salivating wondering how to get their hands on Ox tail, or quail. It is "a novel in monthly installments with recipes, romances and home remedies" and it is all that and more for sure.

I enjoyed reading this novel, it has many glimpses of magical realism which I embrace whole heartedly- maybe due to my history with Latin American Literature. I feel at home reading a book that throws in the impossible, the dreamlike- to me it is almost a security blanket when that element is there. It is such a precious aspect in novel, the aspect of surprise and when I know that magical realism is in the book nothing is impossible really, all outcomes are and should be expected. I loved it.

Like Water for Chocolate was written in beautiful language and really it was a joy to read and become immersed in. Simple day-to-day writing is really attractive to me, it feels at home and and welcoming. One thing that I did not like was the sexual intensity in the book, there was just too much sex for me in it. The fantasies of Tita and realities of her sexual choices were not something I agreed with. As much as many of the decisions of Tita did leave me a little disappointed in her, that does not make me feel any differently about the book, I still love this book and really recommend it to those who are dreamers, romantics and into a little magical realism- not too much, just the right amount.


As much as I loved the writing, the style and all...I hated her final choice. It felt so much like she would rather have passion than be loved for real. I would have chosen Dr. Brown, he was true, honest and cared for her in her darkest hour. He would have been there for her always.Passion fades, lust is the aspect of trueness and faithfulness (which was so lacking in Like Water For Chocolate) that will stay and hold two people together. I can't help but thinking that Tita made the wrong choice, the choice easier choice and in it slighted herself. That is just my opinion though....take it as that.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


some of my books :)

btt button

I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?

Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?

If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?

Oh I own most of them!! I love going to goodwill, and checking out their books. We live in a university town (GO BEAVES!!!) and so when the students are done with their books, and too lazy to go to sell them back they donate them to goodwill! Yay, tons of good novels, good reads and books are there for about $2.99 each!! Who could pass that up??

I love the library, but there is something about owning the book. However I use the library for tons of stuff, the kids can figure out which books they really like, and then we can buy them, they are into "Don't Let the Pigeon drive the Bus!!!!!" and "Harry the Dirty Dog" if we hadn't gone and checked them out at the lib, we wouldn't have known. I use it too for book club, we are blessed with the most amazing library...tons of new books! And they have book club bags. You can check out a bag with 10 books in it! I know that many of you proably have those too...but I'm just sayin', that is COOL!

However in all honesty since I started reviewing books on here I have bought very few of my own, and I NEVER buy new. I know...never say never and it is true because probably tomorrow I will decide I HAVE to have a book and buy it. Anyway, with so many review copies coming in, and the fun giveaways you all have....I am pretty overloaded right now. Even spending money on a book makes my stomach sick. I can't do it right now, I need to read what I have.

Anyway...KEEP READING that is all that really matters :)
Have a perfect Thursday.

Holidays On Ice

Title: Holidays On Ice
Author: David Sedaris
Pages: 176
Yearly Count b: 80

David Sedaris amuses and challenges his readers with a seasonal delight. I am sure this will become a classic, unless it already is and I didn't even know, as I am generally out of the loop! Each of the 12 short stories has punch of humor and truth as well as fantastically exceptional writing.

There are two of the stories that spoke to me personally, and that I really, really loved. The first is SantaLand Diaries, the tale of a elf, who has many more opinions than she is paid for, and so much insight into the typical holiday portraits taken with Santa that you will laugh till you ache. SantaLand Diaries is so real, so honest, and just so interesting to read.

Christmas Means Giving was my other fave. It is a story of two horridly wealthy families in an attempt to out do each other, at the expense of everything except their most valued possession- their image. The extremes they go to are haunting, and even seriously eye-opening. Sedaris puts out a warning, a warning of what giving should never be about, and yet to a slight degree most of the time it is. This was an incredible story.

All the stories were amazing, really. I can give this my full recommendation. Sedaris is an expert storyteller, but not only that, he is a realist with a touch of pessimism which is for some reason not a turn off, but a refreshing voice to hear. I enjoy his humor that is almost a mocking of things that are held dear, but not to tear them up but to help the reader see the negative aspects and to get rid of them. A stunningly funny and sincere read, exactly what we need during the holidays.

I didn't even notice that the cover was funny until after I had finished the book, but it is....look up at the top of the post and let me know what you see that is funny. I like that you wouldn't even notice until you think to look. The one below is really good too!

This is a great book to pick up for the holidays...let me know what you think of it!

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