Monday, March 31, 2008

may the journey begin!!!


Pack your imaginary bags, bring your pretend passports, and let's be off unto new and undiscovered places: Welcome to the beginning of the Orbis Terrarum Challenge!!! It runs from today until the 20th of December ( I decided to do that so none would be cramming during holidays;). Anyway, if you would like the other members to be able to read your book review posts, I am going to post a "Mr. linky" each month, and if you want to ( it would be more fun if you did) you can post the link to your reviews! ( you can obviously link to more than one each month, since there are no guidelines on when you are to complete each book). So there ye have it, now get traveling (reading), and posting!!!!

If you'd like to join: click here for all the details on the Orbis Terrarum Challenge (sticky post)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Salon- a little bit of this, a whole lotta something else.

This week has been a good reading week. I read a book that inspired me, and because of it have not read much else. It is The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule (click here for my review). The book is just too much, it is too full and just makes you want to create all sorts of things that you realize are possible.
This week I also finished The Waitress Was New (click here for my review). It was also really great. Just a true down-to-earth simple read that was deep into character development of a bartender who would have normally been overlooked. I loved it.
I haven't started the Farmer's daughter yet, but this week I'll read that one. Oh, and I bought tons of good books, and want to know if you have read them here is my stacks and stacks of lovin' post!

Okay well, honestly I am dying to get on the road here....not that I don't completely enjoy the company of the Sunday Salon, but it was my birthday yesterday and we have a babysitter for an evening out tonight. Also, my husband (B) who knows that I have been really wanting to get back into rockclimbing (I only boulder indoor, so don't worry about risk...just in case that is what you were thinking)...so for my B-dia he bought me a pass to the amazing Oregon State University indoor climbing wall. I used to climb there when I went to school, but since graduation (and two pregnancies) I have not been back): but now I have the chance and honestly it is one of those things that just thinking about it gets your adrenaline tingling. I went yesterday, but the new shoes I just got were excruciatingly tight (yes exactly as though I were binding my feet), I went for 3 minutes and had to leave, so the anticipation is even greater today. So because of all of this I am just having a really hard time concentrating on books right now...as in while I am trying to write this, all I can think about is putting the boys down for their naps and letting my hubby take over while I head over to climb. I think later today, or maybe tonight after I burn some of this adrenaline off I'll be able to post again...

I know you all like reading, since you are insane-o bookies..but what do you like to do for activity? I have heard of some people that listen to books on tape while the exercise as well, do you do that? It sounds fun, but what about clearing your mind from outside inputs for a while and focusing inward, not in a selfish way, but more of a revitalizing thing?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spring break - old and new friends

Hello everyone. This is B here, the other half of B & b ex libris. Work and school keep me from posting very often (and also from reading fun books) but I'm finishing a wonderful spring break and I've had the chance to catch up with an old friend and get introduced to two new friends.

First, catching up with an old friend - the first book I finished was Pontoon, Garrison Keillor's new novel. Keillor is one of my favorite authors of all time, and his new novel is short, sweet and a pleasure to read. Like most of Keillor's novels, it never really seems to start and it never really seems to end. It feels more like you're listening to an interesting story told by a good friend on a summer afternoon. Pontoon centers around a very strange funeral and a very strange wedding, both taking place in Keillor's legendary town of Lake Wobegon. If you're looking for a fun, quick read that will make you laugh and nod in agreement at how weird people are, definitely pick this one up.

Next, my wife introduced me to a new friend. I read Sarajevo Marlboro, a collection of short stories by Miljenko Jergovic (I know, I hadn't heard of him either - but trust me, he's a hidden gem). Jergovic is a native of the country formerly known as Yugoslavia, and this collection of stories are all about the war that happened there. I'll be honest - I know next to nothing about this part of the world or about the war in Yugoslavia - but this book was a great way to learn more. It focuses on how people's lives are interrupted by war and also how people find normalcy during war. Even if you don't know much about Yugoslavia, the book is still fascinating because it's about ordinary people and the interesting ways they deal with loss and tragedy. Sarajevo Marlboro is published by Archipelago Books - an awesome independent house. Support them and check out their offerings.

Finally, I have bumped into an interesting author I haven't met before - Margaret Atwood. After finishing Sarajevo Marlboro, I was in such a reading mood that I literally put it down and reached for the next book on the shelf that looked interesting. I'm glad that I decided to grab Cat's Eye by Atwood. I am about a fourth of the way through it and I can hardly put it down. More on this later.

So, if you are a student or took a vacation and spring break was a chance for you to do some reading, which old friends did you catch up with and/or which new ones did you meet?


Thursday, March 27, 2008

the creative family by Amanda Blake Soule

*edit!: I completely forgot to give you all her blog, she does a pretty much daily blog that you will love...the pictures are incredible: soule mama Title the creative family
Author: Amanda Blake Soule
Pages: 212
Rated: 5/5
Yearly Count: 13



This book is pure, unadulterated creative dynamite! I wanted to review this book knowing that I would enjoy it, but I had no idea to what extent it would challenge my family and I. Amanda and the rest of the Soule family do an excellent job in this book of inspiring creativity, of living artfully and of helping other families reach their creative potential as well. Last night, after reading a little over half of the book throughout the day, I could not sleep for hours (and I usually have no problem) but my mind was stewing, in hard-core overdrive imagining all the fun things we can do together as a family, thinking of all the neat projects that my two little boys are old enough to do now that are in this book!


Some of the exciting projects include little hands learning to felt, sew, make stuffed art, knit, and embroider. Other projects that stood out to me were family drawing time, making traditions, handmade holidays, art placemats, and "craftivisim" . If you have thought about the level of creativity in your house, and desire it to ebb and flow out of all of you and yours, The Creative Family by Amanda Blake will be a sweet dream that can be your new reality, an amazing place that after you have entered you'll know you just gotta stay. The best thing is that kids are drawn to create and it need not be something you are apprehensive about, take it from Soule, she believes that, " as human beings, we are all born with the ability, the desire, the passion, and the drive to be creative. We may become anxious about "teaching" creativity to our children, but there is really no need for us to teach. They know how to be creative. The know it with every ounce of their being- it isn't conscious or rational. It is simply who they are. Until somethings stands in their way [...]they will be creative" (p. 13).

Consider me inspired: Yesterday I set up an inspiration wire (p. 21), and several times I noticed my little one checking out his art on the wall with intense pride. I went out and found some things that our art cabinet (dresser)(p. 25) was in need of, and I was dying to do the projects in the book. Today, after reading the section on letting your kids use good quality things I (must admit reluctantly) let my four-year-old paint with my paint brushes...the results were just beautiful, let me tell you that next time I will not hesitate, he can use my brush! This weekend we are going to do the freezer-paper stenciling (p. 74) after I find the shirts we need, and because our "inspiration wire" is already way too full I am going to put together some sturdy art clips (p. 83) up at some point in the near future. The project that I am incredibly excited about though, and have already been eyeing materials for is the incredible "Banging Wall" (p. 197) I cannot wait to get that up in our backyard! Those are the projects that have inspired me, since yesterday...and there are many more in this book waiting to be used as well.

One of my favourite aspects of this book is the desire to bless others with your art, for whom you want to express love or care for. Here is an especially great quote on just that, Soule says, " Living a creative live is made all the more fulfilling and rewarding when we are creating with, for or because of others. Much creative drive is certainly internally driven, but there is such benefit to creating beyond ourselves, beyond our family, and beyond our homes, for our community and the world around us. Connecting with and creating with others can be a powerful and inspiring act, as well as a wonderful gift for our children, teaching them how to connect and share their own passions with others" (p. 191). It is beautiful to allow art to not only influence your family, but to impact those around you as well. Kids and parents alike learn life lessons from such acts.

This is one of those books that come around very much too infrequently that you would like to buy 100 of and give one to all your friends because you know they would love it too...but then you do the calculations and realize that would not go over too well with family budgeting. No, seriously I will buy this book for several of my close friends who I know will love it just as much as me, and to all the rest of my friends who would also love it just as much I will give it the highest recommendations possible. All I can say, if you believe in creativity, or would like to start...buy this book and you will want all your friends to buy it too!

The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule
Available on April 1st

BTT: I choose books by their covers!



Q:While acknowledging that we can’t judge books by their covers, how much does the design of a book affect your reading enjoyment? Hardcover vs. softcover? Trade paperback vs. mass market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?

A: Well, honestly I do pick up books for their cover. I am won over by a well designed cover. This mainly has to do with my interest in aesthetics...and my value of graphic design and art...but also if a book looks really boring...I'll leave it be. Covers are important in picking up a book, but once i am into the book I don't even think about it. So, I guess it is more advertising to me...a good book has a good cover right!?

Softcover...DEFINITELY...with a matte finish for sure!

I am not sure I understand the difference between a trade paperback and mass market. I think the trade paperback is done on better quality stuff, and if that is the case trade paperback...mass market seems like it is the glossy cheap-o cover, but that is just what I am guessing. Am I right?

Font- I haven't ever even noticed a difference in fonts...what is wrong with me?
Illustrations- this is a hard one...if I am reading kids books to my two little ones illustrations are a HUGE part, because they are too young to read, but for me illustrations must be done right or they should just be left out. I don't like the silly little drawings that are in some books...they lower the quality...but if an illustration is stunning, well, then I am all for it!

What did you think...sorry I got this up so late!!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Waitress Was New


Title: The Waitress Was New
Author: Dominique Fabre
Pages: 117
Publisher: Archipelago Books
Completed: 24, March, 2008
Yearly Count: 12
Snaps: 4.5/5

Pierre is a bartender, a sweet man who has almost reached the age at which he could retire. He loves what he does, it is what he lives for and how he breathes. This book humble, yet so triumphant and full of life at the same time! It is very real, no huge ups and downs, no drum rolls, no brass bands. It is just what the author Dominique Fabre has intended: plain, simple, beautiful. He aims to share the life of a person on the margins, or someone that would not usually be interesting enough to write about, someone who you may not even notice. For some reason it feels like he could have chosen me or you in choosing Pierre, it is a person that is not worthy, and yet he never says that he is. It's pureness is very attractive.

The Waitress Was New
drives the reader a desire to know this raw individual, Pierre. To learn more about him and his situation, and what will become of him in the end. The novel is human, and real and is not full of dramatic effect moments or overly sentimental junk. It is a story of a regular bartender, in a regular place, doing regular things. It is the way that Fabre conveys it all that is interesting...you dive down deep and come up with your fists full, and at the end of this novel he leaves you wishing for more, but knowing at the same time that it was the way it should be.

For the full 117 pages I was engulfed in reading this book it is so full of heart and personality. I am always more interested in the books that are about people that seem real to me and this is definitely one of those. It is about people-watching, living, loving, dying, old age, changes and sticking through it. I loved it. Here are some quotes for you that I thought were really great:

"I'm a fixture around here, people realize that. I served a few beers, brought the school kids their coffee, two coffees plus three glasses of water, and the girl greeted me with a peck on the cheek" (p. 16).

"I don't look outside too much because everything that matters to me in life always ends up sitting down at my bar, but just then I had a feeling, and I looked out toward the street. Yes, it was going to rain" (p. 22).

" I get off at seven but I'm never a stickler about leaving on time, what have I got to do at home? I'm just a barman, and the longer I stay on the more life goes by in the best possible way. So there we are" (p. 38).

"They come and go, for the most part. Let the world turn around us, beyond our spotless bars, in the end every day will be carefully wiped away to make room for the next. That's why I make myself watch the late-night news on Channel 3, you can't just forget everything, after all" (p. 98).

stacks and stacks of lovin'

I just can't contain myself. I got all these books at one store for $18 today! I figured you all would understand my delight. Have you read any of these? let me know...if you can/want.
These are from a different day. Here is a mix, one is from my amazing sis-in-law (The Inheritance of Loss) and the rest are my findings in one day at two different used book stores here in town. Have you read these?? Do you have any advice for me? Hand it on over!
yum, yum...I heart books.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

rainy sunday salon...

It is easter, and raining...this is Oregon, rain is what we breathe here. I also breathe books, here are the latest: (oh, and Happy Sunday Salon!!)


I am currently reading The Waitress Was New by Dominique Farbe, which is exceptional so far. I enjoy the descriptions the language use and all the rest of it too!
I am done with the book I talked about last week There's a (Slight) Chance I Might be Going to Hell by Laurie Notaro, it was funny and good (my review). I just finished reading I'jaam (my review) by Sinan Antoon which was one of the most captivating and life changing books I have read to date. I could not express it with accuracy in my review, I tried and tried to let everyone know the feelings that were inside me as I read this novel, but when I re-read my review, even though it is full of praise...it just isn't good enough. The impact is much deeper, I believe, than I could ever try to write about. It is one amazing book. Amazing.

After I finish the Waitress Was New, I think I'll read the Farmworker's Daughter: Growing up in Mexican in America by Rose Castillo Gibault. I haven't started it yet, but it looks very good. It is on one of the key topics that is most interesting to me. I love reading about immigrants to the US, those who crossed over to Ellis Island from Europe (as did my relatives..from England, Italy, France and Ireland) but mostly I enjoy reading about those who cross the southern border. I feel such a strong connection with immigrants because for my whole growing up years I believed I was an immigrant to Spain( my parents live there, and have since I was 6 yrs. old), but when I came to America (for collage and eventually to marry and stay, at least for now...) I realised that I was never an immigrant to Spain, except for in the very beginning....but that now I was in every way but one an immigrant to America. See, I was American on the outside so no one ever could ever tell. I had no accent. But my heart and soul were from far, far away. The loneliness that is felt, the hardships, that Latinos go through I do not say I can commiserate with, but if even in a tiny glimpse I have felt just some of the same feelings upon moving here. Don't worry, now I am fully integrated, an love it here!!! I have become once again a national, in all ways...except that my heart still longs for the place that was once home, but not nearly as much as it once did. I also graduated with th a BA in Spanish Literature....so that is another reason for my admiration of such writings.

Anyway, Happy Sunday Salon...and Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'jaam: an iraqi rhapsody

I WON this all too incredible book from carp(e) libris reviews, which is the best review site ever!!! Give it a looksy!

Title: I'jaam : an Iraqi Rhapsody
Author: Sinan Antoon
Pages: 97
Yearly Count: 11
Publisher: City Lights
Snaps: 5/5

I'jaam is completely different than anything I've ever read. I rarely give books, even good books such a large number of snaps. Several times throughout the book I was horrified, others I was drawn into love, and throughout the entire book a common theme of fear and terror is dreadfully looming. If I'jaam doesn't smack you in the face to say wake up! it is already too late for you, blood has left your veins cold. I had to try my hardest and not underline the entire text! It was that good.

I'jaam is a novel, but Sinan Antoon insightfully writes this masterpiece as a manuscript that was found in the an inventory of the general security headquarters located in Central Baghdad. The writings are of the life of a young man and an educated prisoner all in one. His thoughts are so segmented that you see the disjointedness he must feel, which is in every way spawned through fear, heartless acts, and a lack of freedom. He goes back and forth between what happened, what is happening and what is in every bit too horrible to ever imagine happening to any human being.The novel is set in a time where The Leader (Saddam) is in power, a time when life is full of fear and complete inconsistency. Even though suffering and fear are the themes throughout, there is also love, family, education and life to show that all dreams are not lost, even if they are extremely hidden, and held close to oneself. The will to live life is the hardest to snuff, when there is even an ounce of hope and Antoon shows hope in this novel again and again, in a real way that is never false and always just right. Feel the outcry of humanity and read this novel, I'jaam by Sinan Antoon. I am changed, and my outlook is forever different because of this one all too short novel.
Below are some quotes that were just craziness to leave off, wet your tongue on this and get your hands on the book!

" We have been taught to call these frequent events "revolutions," when they are actually scars on our history. A bunch of sadists get sunstroke and declare themselves saviors. Then they begin to torture people and ride them like mules, especially after they discover that this is easier, and perhaps more pleasurable, than fulfilling their promises. Later, another group will come along to dispose the first, brining with them longer whips and chains of a more economic metal. A sadistic circle forever strangling us" (p. 11).

"Hey! What are you doing here? It's forbidden!"
"Forbidden" was the most often-used word in the country, especially among those who enjoyed a bit of power, or imagined that they did" (p. 56).

"The family, as an institution, is stronger than all the armies of the world" (p. 57).

" A simple idea came to me at that moment: isn't freedom the most beautiful feeling in the whole world? Simple, trivial, everyday freedom. I didn't even allow the "No Walking" sign stabbing the grass to spoil my mood" (p.93).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

btt button

Q:You’ve just reached the end of a book . . . what do you do now? Savor and muse over the book? Dive right into the next one? Go take the dog for a walk, the kids to the park, before even thinking about the next book you’re going to read? What?

(Obviously, there can be more than one answer, here–a book with a cliff-hanger is going to engender different reactions than a serene, stand-alone, but you get the idea!)


A: For me, this answer is definitely as said above, based on each individual book. I just finished a book that was only 97 pages, but the book was so intense and filled with poetry-like writing so as to let me chew on the cud for much longer. For me it depends on subject matter, and time and much else. I don't know that I can answer this one straight up, bummer.

In the last week I have finished three books, there's a (slight) chance I might be going to hell, Confessions of a Shopaholic, and I'Jaam (which I will review later today, and is a book filled with little morsels of tid-bits to taste and re-taste when you begin to think about it again). The others, the chick-lit...with that you don't need to think when it is over, you have done enough while it was being read, it goes no deeper than surface value, nothing to ponder. That is fine, that is why I "took a break" to read it.

So my answer: it depends fully on the book, my mood, my emotions, and how much it impacted me.

What about you!?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

There's a (Slight) Chance I Might be Going to Hell


Title: there's a (slight) chance i might be going to hell
Author: Laurie Notaro
Pages: 302
Completed: 19th, March, 2008
Yearly Count: 10
Snaps: 3.5/5

Here is the deal with this book, read it! It is fun, silly, quirky and sometimes obnoxious. I liked it because it was a great break between some of my classics, or heavy-hearted books that I will need to read to complete my challenges. Sometimes I just need a break, so I took one...no apologies there.

The basic premise of this book is as follows: Maye moves to a new city in Washington State (her hubby gets a job there) from Phoenix, she is very excited to get away from the heat and the crime but what she doesn't know is that Spaulding will be a hard town to crack. She tries a million ways to make a good friend, but her attempts always fail. She comes to the conclusion, that in order to be noticed she MUST enter the Sewer Pipe Pageant, and become the glorious queen of the entire city~! But, as she is trying to find her sponsor weird things begin to happen...and she winds up peering into Spaulding's deep, dark past...Well, you need to read the rest from there.

A light, silly, interesting, predictable book, that is sometimes vulgar, manipulative and goofy...but just overall a very sweet, quick read. It is about how doing the right thing, leads to where you should want to follow.

Confessions of a Shopaholic


Title: Confessions of a Shopaholic
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Pages: 312
Completed: 14th, March, 2008
Yearly Count: 9
Snaps: 3/5

However goofy and silly you have thought these books are, well...they probably are. But, I choose to read it because my good friend becky recommended it to me and lent it to me. It didn't start out strong with me, I seemed to be mostly annoyed at the Shopoholic for the beginning of the book, but I am not entirely unsure that the author did not mean to do this. Not to far into the book, it gained that addictive quality for me, meaning whenever I got a second it was what I would go to grab.

The book is worth reading, it is really naive, and obnoxious, and sometimes you just want to grab the shopaholic and strangle her so that she will learn to make better choices...but she does learn some things that make her much more likable after the first bit. She definitely grew on me, and now, even though I have filled my craving for chick-lit for a little while, when I need a brainless break I will definately pick up the next one! Like I mentioned about it earlier, for what it is it is good. It is fun to read, it has that brainlessness of watching tv...but you are reading! Give it a try, let me know what you think.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sunday Salon- new beginings and new books!

You are going to be SO jealous...sorry, I just have to tell you since I know that you'll understand my joy. My (amazing) sis-in-law in trying to find me a present for my upcoming birthday saw that I had highlighted several books from the Orange Broadband Prize list that I would like to read and she bought them for me and had them sent to my house!!! I am so excited...and cannot believe how tthoughtful that was! so very sweet. Have you read either of these "Half a Yellow Sun" or "Arlington Park"?? What did you think about them? Arlington Park actaully gets very mixed reviews...so I am interested to know that you think.


As for my current reading:
I finished Anna Karenina, and I still didn't like it(I am really sorry if you did, please do not be offended) here is my review. Then I tried to pick up Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood, but I have faltered in my quest for reading books that are in any of my challenges, or would even match up! I picked the book up twice, but just wasn't hit by it, or captured. I'll read it soon, I hope. After that, just to clear my head I read "Confessions of a Shopaholic", a book that my friend lent to me. It was better than I thought it would be at first, I mean it is what it is: chick-lit...but it ended well, and was funny and just like reading a sit-com or watching a chick-flick.
Okay, and right now I am reading "There's a (slight)Chance I might be Going to Hell" by Laurie Notaro, I am 75 pages in, and I am enjoying this one. It is somewhere between chick-lit and a regular novel. It is about a woman who leaves her life in Pheonix, with her husband because he gets a job in Spalding Washington. I think it is more interesting to me right now because we JUST moved last month and it all just seems too real to me. The whole concept of making connections in a new city, a new place, a new church is hard...but if you put the effort forward you will be rewarded. In the book Maye (the main character) tries very hard to make friends, but the more she tries the more it seems she is crazy to others, and not friend material...anyway..it is funny. I'll review it when I'm done.

How do you go about making friends? I guess since we moved, I have actually made a lot more book blogger friends...but I want to consistently make friends who live in my area too (no matter how great you all are). We go to church, so I have the connections I am making there, and I have two little ones so I get out and go to the park as well...and we meet tons of interesting people there.

Anyway...I am going to keep reading my book. I'll come back and do a post in a while, and let you know how it goes. For right now I am going to try and take a look at what you all have said...HAPPY READING EVERYONE!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

friday fill-ins #63

these fill-ins were really fun to work with!!!! my fill-ins in bold.

1. Contact may cause unwanted outcome, so beware of the white man.
2. The parties hereto do mutually agree to never see eachother again, less there be an incident all would regret.
3. Disney parks are now closing for good, due to lack of funding, and the obvious problem that kids are no longer buying into fairy tales of large mice and pastel princesses.
4. However Bill Gates has recently informed the press of his decision to buy the grounds owned by Disney parks in order to:" ride the rides all I want, that sounds really good right about now!"
5. I positively denounce the behaviour that has taken place here today, it is by no means acceptable to lick the floor of the white house because of a bet with some friends, Mr. Fidel Castro.
6. Yet, you are wearing the shirt, hat and beard that will always makes me smile :-)
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to chocolate and a book, tomorrow my plans include a book and the farmers market and Sunday, I want to go to church and read a book!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Booking Through Thrusday!!! ROMEO & JULIET

Q:How about a chance to play editor-in-chief? Fill in the blanks:

__________ would have been a much better book if ______________________.

A: Romeo and Juliet would have been a much better book (play) if Shakespere would have allowed them to live at the end, and have children and brought the Motagues and the Capulets to live in peace and harmony. I know it is a more dramatic finish the other way...but come on, I would let them live.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Anna Karenina (the 820 page SAGA SOAP)!


Title: Anna Karenina
Author: Leo Tolstoy
Pages: 817
Completed: March, 10th, 2008
Yearly Count: 8
Rated: 3/5

Okay, okay! I finished it!! That is an amazing feeling, or it should be....but this time it wasn't. I know Anna Karenina is hailed here, there and everywhere but to me it lacked that striking aspect that holds on to your eyes even when you should be putting the book down. I could put it down and then I had to open it and re-open it many times in order to try to get into the lives of the people that it embraced.

For the first 300 pages I really didn't like the book very much, after that I started enjoying it, I began trying much harder to see the value, and feel the love. So, from about page 300 until page 697 it was all "okay", but at that page...when Tolstoy tarnished my last hope of having the book contain one person of quality, it fell apart for me. I think my feelings were abused by the author one too many times and I felt mistreated and really manipulated as a reader. I felt that he had to do this because the book was going to falter, and he wanted a joust. Besides that, almost every night after finishing another section I felt like I had been in a fight with someone because the book is so jam-packed full of arguments, be it with husbands, lovers, mothers, children...it feels like you are submitting yourself to an 817 page long soap opera. well that didn't do it for me. Maybe it will for you, this book is a hit to so many.

I was once told that in order to really embrace a movie or book or play you need to feel like you can relate to someone, or several different people, and on different levels. You need to feel that they are going thought something that you have or just that their personalities are like yours...you need to be them throughout the process. I have felt captured by tons of books, movies, and plays on this principal. In this book I connected with no-one for more than a couple pages. I did at spots with Levin or Kitty, but I did not have that strong connection with them that would hold me.

I think it is excellently written, and it is a powerful testament to what things can come out of disputes, discontent and unresolved issues.The title really should be changed to Anna Karenina: "A book you should read so that you realize that what you think would make you happy, really won't it will destroy you...because you don't know how good you have it now"!

This is a quote pretty much sums up the entire book: "He soon felt that the realization of his desire had given him only a grain of the mountain of happiness he had expected. It showed him the eternal error people make in imagining that happiness it the realization of desires" (p. 465).

Read that quote, learn it...live it...skip Anna Karenina. (that's my advice...if you wanted it)

It is done.

I finished Anna Karenina last night. I didn't like it, there are different reasons for this. For some reasons I did like it. I need time to process the whole book and then I'll give you my review.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Complete Booker Project!

I am going to read all 41 winners off of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction! I am doing this over at The Complete Booker Project blog, and here on my page too.

Okay, so there are only 41!?!? I think I can do that! (let's see!) It may take a while.
I have not read ANY of the books on the Man Booker list!! yep, that is true! So, I'll need to get moving here, right? Here are the ones that I own that I will work on first.

2006 - The Inheritance of Loss (Desai)
2002 - Life of Pi (Martel)
1997 - The God of Small Things (Roy)

* Completed books will be in Orange.

Read the Nobels

There is a lot of work for me to do on the Nobels! I am in the Read the Nobels project, so I am slowly going to work on this. Have you read these?

Here is what I have read so far:

1990- Octavio Paz

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz; o, Las trampas de la fe. – Barcelona : Seix Barral, 1982

1982- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Relato de un naufrago. – Barcelona: Tusquets, 1970
Del amor y otros demonios. – Madrid: Mondadori, 1994
Memoria de mis putas tristes. – New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004
1970- Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
The Nobel Lecture on Literature 1972
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich 1963

1968- Yasunari Kawabata
Thousand Cranes / translated by Edward G. Seidensticker. – New York : Knopf, 1959

1967- Miguel Angel Asturias
Sociologia guatemalteca : El problema social del indio., 1923
El Señor Presidente. – Mexico City : Costa-Amic, 1946
Hombres de maíz. – Buenos Aires : Losada, 1949

1907- Rudyard Kippling
Jungle Book
, 1894


Will read soon:

1949- William Faulkner
As I Lay Dying
. – New York : Cape & Smith, 1930
2001-Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
The Mystic Masseur.
– London: Deutsch, 1957.
2000- Gao Xingjian
Soul Mountain / transl. by Mabel Lee. – HarperCollins, 1999.
1983- William Golding
Lord of the Flies-1954

* Completed books off the "will read soon" list will be ORANGE.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday Salon!- a little bit of everything.

This is my very fist time doing the Sunday Salon, and I am excited about what it is....I just hope I am doing it right. I was wondering what time people usually do it at, or does it not matter?

Well, for me this is a fun thing. I spent all night last night trying to get really far in my reading of Anna Karenina, only to realize that I only read 90 pages. Yeah, that actually is not that bad...but it is no where near the end yet. Okay, it is nearer now. I have only 190 pages left and I can't wait to finish it. I want to know if all my time invested in this book will come to a good conclusion or if the 820 pages will be tarnished by a not-so great ending.

For the first 300 pages I really didn't like the book very much, after that I have started enjoying it, and now my biggest fear is that in the end it will turn out horrible for someone who I have become attached to in time spent with them (or reading about them..however you prefer). I know that sad endings are some times, and many times a reality...I get that, but I want these people to end up okay (at least some of them!).

Another reason I can't wait to fisnish "Anna" is that I just went to our city's HUGE Library book sale and bought tons of good, no AMAZING books for so cheap I am afriad to tell you, or you may riot. Okay, I will: Hardbacks $3.00, all Paperbacks $2.00! Yes. very good. I have also been raiding our local goodwill and second hand stores to find great books. I have found some for under a dollar. I always feel I have come across something amazing when I get a good book for really cheap...it is a secret treasure. Maybe I am a nerd...but I am such a nerd, that that is fine with me. Everyone is a nerd about something, and hopefully it is something that they really love. For me I have several things that are that way: Jesus, my husband, my two little boys, books, rock climbing, and cats (on different days the list would change a tad, well...more would just be added, none taken off).

When I finish this book I will read Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood!! Have you read it?

I am off to see what you all have written about...thanks for letting me be a part of this fun community!!!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Orange Project!

WHat is the Orange Prize Project? It is a Project that does not have a time limit (unlike a challenge) in which you read off the lists of selected books for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction! This is a prize given to female authors, and there are many on the list that are way too exciting!!

I haven't read many of the books on these lists, so I decided to join and to give it a shot. Here it goes. (this is a long list...)

bold: titles I own
italics: am dying to read, need to get my hands on!
orange: titles I've read
black: titles I will read in 2008 ( I decided on 3 that I already own and if I can I'll do more!)

The Orange Prize for Fiction

2007
Winner:
Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Shortlist:

Arlington Park, by Rachel Cusk
The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, by Xiaolu Guo
The Observations, by Jane Harris
Digging to America, by Anne Tyler

Longlist:
Poppy Shakespeare, by Clare Allan
Peripheral Vision, by Patricia Ferguson
Over, by Margaret Forster
The Dissident, by Nell Freudenberger
When to Walk, by Rebecca Gowers
Carry Me Down, by MJ Hyland
The Girls, by Lori Lansens
Alligator, by Lisa Moore
What Was Lost, by Catherine O'Flynn
The Tenderness of Wolves, by Stef Penney
Careless, by Deborah Robertson
Afterwards, by Rachel Seiffert
Ten Days in the Hills, by Jane Smiley
The Housekeeper, by Melanie Wallace

2006
Winner:
On Beauty, by Zadie Smith


Shortlist:
The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss (rated 4.5/5 review here)
Beyond Black, by Hilary Mantel
The Accidental, by Ali Smith
Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living, by Carrie Tiffany
The Night Watch, by Sarah Waters

Longlist:
Minaret, by Leila Aboulela
Harbor, by Lorraine Adams
Disobedience, by Naomi Alderman
Watch Me Disappear, by Jill Dawson
House of Orphans, by Helen Dunmore
The Constant Princess, by Philippa Gregory
White Ghost Girls, by Alice Greenway
Dreams of Speaking, by Gail Jones
Lost in the Forest, by Sue Miller
Rape: A Love Story, by Joyce Carol Oates
Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson
Prep, by Curtis Sittenfeld
Frangipani, by Celestine Hitiura Vaite
The Position, by Meg Wolitzer

2005
Winner:
We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver


Shortlist:
Old Filth, by Jane Gardam
The Mammoth Cheese, by Sheri Holman
Liars and Saints, by Maile Meloy
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, by Marina Lewycka

Longlist:
Away From You, by Melanie Finn
Black Dirt, by Nell Leyshon
Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson
Escape Routes for Beginners, by Kira Cochrane
The Falls, by Joyce Carol Oates
It So Happens, by Patricia Ferguson
The Mysteries of Glass, by Sue Gee
Nelson's Daughter, by Miranda Hearn
The Remedy, by Michele Lovric
The River, by Tricia Wastvedt
The Great Stink, by Clare Clark
Tatty, by Christine Dwyer Hickey
The Zigzag Way, by Anita Desai
Ursula, Under, by Ingrid Hill

2004
Winner:
Small Island, by Andrea Levy


Shortlist:
Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood
The Great Fire, by Shirley Hazzard
Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Ice Road, by Gillian Slovo
The Colour, by Rose Tremain

Longlist:
Brick Lane, by Monica Ali
The Sari Shop, by Rupa Bajwa
Kith and Kin, by Stevie Davies
State of Happiness, by Stella Duffy
The Flood, by Maggie Gee
The Electric Michelangelo, by Sarah Hall
Notes on a Scandal, by Zoe Heller
The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri (rated 4/5 )
A Visit from Voltaire, by Dinah Lee Kung
Gilgamesh, by Joan London
The Internationals, by Sarah May
Love, by Toni Morrison
The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
The Amateur Marriage, by Anne Tyler


2003
Winner:
Property, by Valerie Martin


Shortlist:
Buddha Da, by Anne Donovan
Heligoland, by Shena Mackay
Unless, by Carol Shields
The Autograph Man, by Zadie Smith
The Little Friend, by Donna Tartt

Longlist:
Special, by Bella Bathhurst
Caramelo, by Sandra Cisneros
English Correspondence, by Janet Davey
Dot in the Universe, by Lucy Ellmann
What the Birds See, by Sonya Hartnett
What I Loved, by Siri Hustvedt
War Crimes for the Home, by Liz Jensen
The Solace of Leaving Early, by Haven Kimmel
In the Forest, by Edna O'Brien
Fox Girl, by Okja Keller
When the Emperor Was Divine, by Julie Otsuka
Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
The Cutting Room, by Louise Welsh
Water Street, by Crystal Wilkinson

2002
Winner:
Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett


Shortlist:
No Bones, by Anna Burns
The Siege, by Helen Dunmore
The White Family, by Maggie Gee
A Child's Book of True Crime, by Chloe Hooper
Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters

Longlist:
Pop, by Kitty Aldridge
A True Story Based on Lies, by Jennifer Clement
Now You See Me, by Lesley Glaister
The Element of Water, by Stevie Davies
Five Quarters of an Orange, by Joanne Harris
Niagara Falls All Over Again, by Elizabeth McCracken
The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk (rated 4.5/5 review here)
Middle Ages, by Joyce Carol Oates
The Story of My Face, by Kathy Page
Crawling at Night, by Nani Power
La Cucina, by Lily Prior
The Hero's Walk, by Anita Rau Badami
Sister Crazy, by Emma Richler
The Dark Room, by Rachel Seiffert

2001
Winner:
The Idea of Perfection, by Kate Grenville


Shortlist:
The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood
Fred & Edie, by Jill Dawson
Hotel World, by Ali Smith
Homestead, by Rosina Lippi
Horse Heaven, by Jane Smiley

Longlist:
The Hiding Place, by Trezza Azzopardi
In the Blue House, by Meaghan Delahunt
The Last Samurai, by Helen Dewitt
Fish, Blood & Bone, by Leslie Forbes
The Wild, by Esther Freud
Dog Days, Glenn Miller Nights, by Laurie Graham
Nowhere Else on Earth, by Josephine Humphreys
Ahab's Wife, by Sena Jeter Naslund
From Caucasia, with Love, by Danzy Senna
The Bonesetter's Daughter, by Amy Tan
The PowerBook, by Jeanette Winterson
MotherKind, by Jayne Ann Phillips

2000
Winner:
When I Lived in Modern Times, by Linda Grant


Shortlist:
If I Told You Once, by Judy Budnitz
Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
The Dancers Dancing, by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne
White Teeth, by Zadie Smith

Longlist:
The Translator, by Leila Aboulela
Girl With A Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier
Fasting, Feasting, by Anita Desai
A Dangerous Vine, by Barbara Ewing
Danny Boy, by Jo-Ann Goodwin
A Sin of Colour, by Sunetra Gupt
Born Free, by Laura Hird
Everything You Need, by A.L. Kennedy
The Hunter, by Julia Leigh
Charming Billy, by Alice McDermott
Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith, by Gina B. Nahai
Island, by Jane Rogers
Last Chance Texaco, by Christine Pountney
What the Body Remembers, by Shauna Singh Baldwin


1999
Winner:
A Crime in the Neighborhood, by Suzanne Berne


Shortlist:
The Short History of a Prince, by Jane Hamilton
The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
Paradise, by Toni Morrison
The Leper's Companions, by Julia Blackburn
Visible Worlds, by Marilyn Bowering

Longlist:
Master Georgie, by Beryl Bainbridge
The Voyage of the Narwhal, by Andrea Barrett
In A Fishbone Church, by Catherine Chidgey
Crocodile Soup, by Julia Darling
Restitution, by Maureen Duffy
Trumpet, by Jackie Kay
Comfort Woman, by Nora Okja Keller
Buxton Spice, by Oonya Kempadoo
The Vintner's Luck, by Elizabeth Knox
Marchlands, by Karla Kuban
The Giant O'Brien, by Hilary Mantel
The Most Wanted, by Jacquelyn Mitchard
A History of Silence, by Barbara Neil
Evening News, by Marly Swick


1998
Winner:
Larry's Party, by Carol Shield


Shortlist:
Lives of the Monster Dogs, by Kirsten Bakis
The Ventriloquist's Tale, by Pauline Melville
The Magician's Assistant, by Ann Patchett
Love Like Hate Adore, by Deirdre Purcell
The Weight of Water, by Anita Shreve

Longlist:
Bitter Grounds, by Sandra Benitez
Man or Mango? by Lucy Ellmann
Gaglow, by Esther Freud
The Aguero Sisters, by Cristina Garcia
The House Gun, by Nadine Gordimer
The Breaking, by Kathryn Heyman
Round Rock, by Michelle Huneven
Ark Baby, by Liz Jensen
Undiscovered Country, by Christina Koning
The Orchard, by Drusilla Modjeska
Black and Blue, by Anna Quindlen
Impossible Saints, by Michele Roberts
The Underpainter, by Jane Urquhart
Baby Love, by Louis Young

1997
Winner:
Fugitive Pieces, by Anne Michaels


Shortlist:
Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood
One by One in the Darkness, by Deirdre Madden
Accordion Crimes, by E. Annie Proulx
Hen's Teeth, by Manda Scott
I Was Amelia Earhart, by Jane Mendelsohn


Longlist:
Every Man For Himself, by Beryl Bainbridge
Death Comes for Peter Pan, by Joan Brady
The Mistress of Spices, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Last Thing He Wanted, by Joan Didion
The Cast Iron Shore, by Linda Grant
The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, by Siri Hustvedt
The Autobiography of My Mother, by Jamaica Kincaid
With Child, by Laurie R. King
Fall On Your Knees, by Ann-Marie MacDonald
All the Blood is Red, by Leone Ross
Red Leaves, by Paulina Simons
Anita and Me, by Meera Syal
Gut Symmetries, by Jeanette Winterson
The Frequency of Souls, by Mary Kay Zuravleff

1996
Winner:
A Spell of Winter, by Helen Dunmore


Shortlist:
The Book of Colour, by Julia Blackburn
Spinsters, by Pagan Kennedy
The Hundred Secret Senses, by Amy Tan
Ladder of Years, by Anne Tyler
Eveless Eden, by Marianne Wiggins

Longlist:
The Ghost Road, by Pat Barker
Official and Doubtful, by Ajay Close
The Rape of Sita, by Lindsey Collen
Keeping Up with Magda, by Isla Dewar
The Blue Flower, by Penelope Fitzgerald
The Private Parts of Women, by Lesley Glaister
The Passion of Alice, by Stephanie Grant
Egg Dancing, by Liz Jensen
So I Am Glad, by A.L. Kennedy
Never Far From Nowhere, by Andrea Levy
Mother of Pearl, by Mary Morrissy
Promised Lands, by Jane Rogers
River Lines, by Elspeth Sandys

Orange Prize for New Writers

2007
The Lizard Cage, by Karen Connelly - WINNER
Poppy Shakespeare, by Clare Allan
Bitter Sweets, by Roopa Farooki

2006
Disobedience, by Naomi Alderman - WINNER
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, by Yiyun Li
The Dream Life of Sukhanov, by Olga Grushin

2005
26a, by Diana Evans - WINNER
Lucky Girls, by Nell Freudenberger
How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff

WOW, I have A LOT of work to do!!!

Pulitzer Project!


I now have an ongoing project...it is The Pulitzer Project!

Pulitzer's that I have read already:
2006 - March (Brooks) (finished OCT 2007)
2000 - Interpreter of Maladies (Lahiri) (finished Sept. 2004)
1961 - To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee) (Finished Dec, 1996)
1939 - The Yearling (Rawlings) (?)

Pulitzer's that I own and will be on my reading list:
2005 - Gilead (Robinson)
2001 - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (Chabon)
1999 - The Hours (Cunningham)
1988 - Beloved (Morrison)
1975 - The Killer Angels (Shaara)

Friday, March 7, 2008

A giveaway at the Daily Grind!

I am not doing a giveaway, but The Daily Grind is!!!
This is what she says:

Are you ready??? I am paying it forward so to speak and I have enlisted the help of Revka of RS Designs! Up for grabs is $60 worth of services to spice up your blog! Here is what you have to do. Go Check out Revka’s portfolio

So if you are interested....head on over to The Daily Grind !!! (I did).

Friday Fill-Ins #62



1. Ahhhh, it's so nice that it is Friday .
2. One of my favorite things on my desk or bureau is my book that I am GOING to finish this weekend (Anna K.).
3. Japanese Cherry Blossoms always remind me of beautiful spring days, and my boys being born as they were born in March and April.
4.My rocking chair is my favorite place to sit and read.
5. dark chocolate and green tea mochi is delicious!
6. I love to watch films at the theater, but the only ones that I will go pay to see are epic films, which are an absolute must see on the big screen. I love to sneak cheap candy in movies.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching lost on my computer (don't ruin it for me if you have seen it!), tomorrow my plans include chillin' out with my little ones and reading, and most likely running around at the playground and Sunday, I want to go to church, eat lunch, take a nap and sit by the fire and read!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

b's Orbis Terrarum Challenge book picks

Farmworker's Daughter, Rose Castillo Gibault (USA)
Moving Parts, Magdalena Tulli (Poland)
Sarajevo Marlboro- Miljenko Jergovic ( Bosnia)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Moshim Hamid (Pakistan)
Love Marriage- V.V. Ganeshananathan (Sri Lanka)
The Writing Circle, Rozena Maart (SouthAfrica)
The Book Thief- Markus Zusak
(Australia)
Aura-Carlos Fuentes (Mexico)
Persepolis and Persepolis 2, Marjane Satrapi (IRAN)

Note: Completed books are in ORANGE.




booking through thursday: favourite male character?

Q:You should have seen this one coming … Who is your favorite Male lead character? And why?

A:Oh, um wow. I am having just as much trouble with this one as with the last one....or maybe I'm not. I need to think it over for a second.

Several male characters come to mind, I honestly don't have just one...

- Hazel (the leader rabbit) in Watership Down by Richard Adams. He is the perfect leader for the group and learns and grows, while admitting when he is wrong. He takes suggestions from others, but makes decisions even when not the popular choice when he finds it necessary. He is my furry hero!


-Leo Gursky in The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. I have never read an elderly male character such as this one, and been so able to relate to his voice. I won't ruin the book for anyone who has not read it, so I'll just say that in many opportunities throughout his life where he could turn bitter and un-trusting he continues on loving the whole way thought. He is my human hero!



PS If you haven't read either of these books you are completely missing out!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

ORBIS TERRARUM Challenge!

The Orbis Terrarum (The whole world) Challenge *sticky post*
*Edit below!
**Another Edit!

We are hosting a Challenge!! I (b) graduated as a major in Spanish Literature, and my husband (B) in English Literature. I am in love with foreign literature of all types and am always overjoyed to get my hands on a good book in this genre. For this reason I decided to host a challenge!! I decided on Orbis Terrarum because it means "the whole world" and that is what this is all about, reading books from all over. There will not be a ton of rules so that hopefully some of you can overlap as you please.

Here is the deali-o!

- The Orbis Terrarum Challenge begins April 1 2008( you are welcome to join later) Through December 20th 2008.
- For the challenge each reader is to choose 9 books (for the 9 months).
-Each book must be by an author from a different nation in our world.

***Edit! You can change your list of books at any time, just as long as you have read nine in the end. sound good?

The bottom line: choose 9 different books, written by 9 different authors, from 9 different countries.

To join The Orbis Terrarum Challenge, write a post with your 9 books on your blog and then add yourself to Mister Linky! Oh, and use the button if you want to ( I know it isn't very good, if anyone has a better idea...let me know! I wanted it to say Orbis Terrarum in roman type bold letters across the bottom, but our computer is not cooperating!):



**Another Edit!! tanabata has added text to our image!! yay!! (thank you!) Here is the new and improved logo for Orbis Terrarum!:



Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I am b, he is B: who are we?



I am bethany (or b) and I'll probably do most of the posting on here for right now, but my husband Brad (or B) will also post when possible. He is getting his masters right now and also works full time, so he doesn't have a lot of reading time. He is getting his masters in Strategic Communication. He works for a health system here in town as the Director of Foundation Operations. Sounds like fun!

Me on the other hand..well, I have a lot of time to read. He is gone at school and studying for his classes quite a bit, and that is when I read. So, I have entered a whole bunch of reading challenges that I hope will keep me somewhat busy! I am a Freelance Translator/ Interpreter, but I have not done that for a little while. I'll pick up more jobs when the boys are a little older. Right now I am working on volunteering as a translator so as to keep using my skills.

We have two little boys (ages 4 and 2) who take up my time (most of it) during the day, I stay home and watch them go crazy, like all little boys should. They are our sweet bungarees.

Welcome to our book blurbs! enjoy.