Tag Archives: book club

Updating the Bookshelf

At one point I thought about adding a Bookshelf page to my blog with all the books I’ve read in recent years. I find other people’s recommendations extremely helpful in determining if I’m going to waste spend my time reading a book.  I don’t read (anything other than children’s’ books) that often, so when I do I want it to be good.  Instead I found an easier way to do this.  Head over to GoodReads and follow the sunshinequeen.  You can see my bookshelf of “already read and ratings,” “currently reading” and “to-read.”

On a related note, I just stopped at Half Price Books and was able to find Room, Reliable Wife, and Peony in Love for less than $15 total.  Huge score for the thrifty in me!

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a happy ending to a crappy day!

A while a go a friend of mine had commented on my book reviews post, and added a suggestion of which the name escaped me.  Her words of “being a dog owner whose like your child you’ll appreciate it” left a little imprint in my diminishing memory to keep an eye out for something like that!

Strangely enough this is a travel week and I was in need of a book.  I stepped into Barnes & Noble to see if there were any good reads that I needed to snatch up for this trip.  And one jumped out at me: The Art of Racing in the Rain. That was it, I was sure of it. 

Despite my rather miserable travel day I was able to divert my frustraions by nuzzling into the pages of a book.  And this one kept me devoted to finishing just  few more pages at each possible occasion. 

Despite the change in itinerary without letting me (the passenger) know about it and then the 2 hour wait at a curbside bench in 99 degree heat and sucking car exhaust, there wasn’t much that could divert my evil thrashings and loud obscenities.  But at the end of the day I was drawn to the book….and then I had to finish it!!!

To keep in my book review form, it is about a dog and the relationship with his master as told from the dog’s perspective.  It had me laughing out loud with a few strange glances from fellow passengers, to hiding tears, to an all out anger and resentment.  Thankfully I was in the privacy of my room when I had an all out bawling festival. I totally give it 5 stars, but I am a fan of big dogs.

The crazy thing about all this is despite it being an amazing read, I always do these things that should draw me closer to my child when I am 500 miles away from home.  Which leaves me miserable.  I went and saw Marley and Me  while out in Vermont this New Year’s and now The Art of Racing in the Rain while in Dallas. So this is my long distane dedication to my husband and dog who I hope are nuzzling soundly. Diesel is hopefully filling my space in bed, while snoring and occasionally nudging his dad occaisionally.  I write this post as a reminder to continue to notice all of these silly things he does and imagine what is going through his mind and what he might be dreaming about.  I just hope it’s not about crows!

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Book Reviews

Believe it or not I pretend to do things to make it look like I have  social life…like book clubs, although recently I haven’t been able to make the festivities, I still read the books. Here are a few the previous books leading up to our most current reads.

The Shack I don’t know that I talked at all about this one yet.  It was a pretty crazy story.  The author pretends it really happened, but then comes out to say it was all made up- why do they do that?  It’s a very interesting perspective of Christianity in a “real-life” type format.  It led several of my friends into exploring some things in their personal life.  If  I were to sum it up I’d say the take home message is really strong on forgiveness, which given the circumstances in the book it’s pretty amazing.  It had quite a few twists and turns to it…and other parts really dragged on forever!  I’d say it was pretty good …how’s that for my expert-book-reading-advise.  If I were to attach stars I’d maybe give it a 4 out of 5.

Friday Night Knitting Club– It’s  a good read, with a few “you go girl” quotes that stuck with me.  Pretty easy read, but to me I’m still amazed you can make a living off of selling yarn in New York City.  I’m just saying is all! If I were to rank it with stars, it probably get 3 1/2 out of 5.

The Christmas Sweater not one I would choose, but I went along with it.  It was very elementary and poorly written.  I like books that keep me guessing and I can’t say this one did any of that! Although I guess that’s what I get for reading some staunch conservative author’s attempt at writing for entertainment value! Hmm…maybe 1 star.

Water for Elephants,I was SOO excited to finally read this. I’d heard so many good things about this and I would completely agree.  I love the authors details and all the fun twists and turns he throws in there.  A few sections literally put a lump in my throat reared some hatred from within for  some of the bastards in the book!  There also were a few parts that got pretty hot and heavy and totally threw me for a loop, but certainly kept my interest!  I’d highly recommend it, I’d give it 5 stars!

And I think that’s all for now.  I’m quickly going to jump into 3 cups of Tea and I’m still finishing The Book Thief.

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Driving Sideways

All of the events in this post true are based on real-life events.  Consider this a warning of an absurdly longer than usual post, and apologize for the delay as promised in an earlier post.

While yesterday I felt as thought I was literally driving sideways, combating 54 mph wind gusts that would also modify our glorious spring temperatures back to frigid (windchill of -9 degrees), this post is actually to give you a BOOK CLUB update and real life interpretation of the book.

Our March selection for book club was in fact: Driving Sideways by author Jess Riley.  Let me provide you with some brief history.  I first heard of Jess in a previous job when she was hired to work on a grant proposal.  Months later I received a random email regarding her upcoming book which was in the process of being published.  Hmm, the things you learn when you least expect them.  I filed the thought somewhere deep in the crevices of my brain until a later date which happened to be in December of last year.  Jess’ face started popping up in and around convenient places of my life. The reminder of her face kept intriguing me to buy her now released book.  Coincidentally at our December book club meeting, a fellow book clubber noted that a local author would come to our book club if we read her book.  Well, the only local author I know is Jess Riley…..and somehow I recalled her book Driving Sideways. (Want to see our stellar selction of reads for 2009?)

I finally got around to finding out what her book was about…and let’s just say she had me at “Road Trip.”  While I ganderred over the synopsis of the book…oh here let me enlighten you…
 Driving Sideways tells the story of Leigh Fielding, a twenty-eight year-old kidney transplant recipient who—six years, hundreds of dialysis sessions, and a million bad poems after being diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease—finally feels strong enough to pursue a few lofty goals she’s been mulling for years: find herself, her kidney donor’s family, and the mother that abandoned her over twenty years ago. And what better way to do just that than a solitary road trip across the country? Well, maybe not entirely solitary, because Leigh suspects she may have inherited more than just an organ from her deceased donor. It’s this sneaking suspicion that takes her trip down some unexpected detours—and the juvenile delinquent who blackmails Leigh into giving her a ride is only the beginning.

It didn’t take long to find myself submerged in the book, recollecting fond old college memories.  The randomness and event filled sarcasm made me ponder the days of road trip bliss.  My partner in crime may not have been a juvenile delinquent who bribed me for comradery, but rather my best friend (Meg’s for those who are familiar).  And while I may not have sported a new kidney or kayak…we were fully equipped with a bobble-head-iguana to provide his keen sense of direction (Note: this was before the modern technology of GPS an maps apparently).   The bobble-head-iguana may have been christened many names through the years, but began his navigational career known as “York.”  We’d ask York if we should turn at this exit?  If he jammed out with an up-and-down bobble of the head we followed his cue.  Unlike little naive Leigh, I was not embraced by finding a gun en tow by my passenger;  Rather a miniature sized Louisville Slugger bat, measuring all of 12 inches and 1/2 inch diameter.  I was informed it was meant to “keep the elderly rapists away.” We continued on…ho-hum.  Along the way we were graced with rancid smells of dead bodies…conveniently we covered our top lip and nose with the only thing we could find to offer a scent better than decaying human matter (or swampy landmass)…Lubriderm Lotion.  Okay- are you picturing this, Lubriderm Lotion enmass covering the top lip of several college chics!  It was a sight that sent our guts into curdled mass of laughter still leaving others to wonder WTF (that is What the Fu*k for the Text abbreviation illiterate)?Alas we reach our destination, and acquired some amazing artifacts of our existence.  Only in Lawton, Oklahoma can you walk into a random bar across from our hotel and have them spend hours finding gifts to give you because they love the Packers (ie- tshirts, beads, a neon Miller-Lite bar sign).  Our adventures may included a few signs to fellow-passers-by notifying them of eager blinker remaining equipped.  And while didn’t have fortunate experience to exclaim Leigh’s notorious quote: “Go ahead fucker, make your day!”  we were able to log a few other remarkable quotes: “I want to see some fucking Amish,”  “(Gasp) That’s a real-live hitch-hiker, I’ve never seen a real-live hitch-hiker.”    Sigh…such fond memories.  As you can see this book was meant for me!

Perhaps you could sense my urgency to meet the real-life author….literally, I needed a diaper.   I was so enthralled, to hear how many of the events in the book were true.  She really did have a friend who sat down in a vitamin store all yoga-like,  pull out her crystal pendent to determine which vitamins to buy.  Not to mentioned she came equipped with angel juice to deter the evil spirits.  Whoa! This was getting even better and better.  The stories of not-so-celebrity author status and woes of publishing a book still kept me interested in the process.  As the night digressed I realized it was time for me to make my way back through he foggy roads and attend to snuggly sweet nothings in my dreams. 

On my 20 minute drive home, As I pondered the read, and the real-life-author-meeting-experience I realized it was the perfect twist of fate I needed.  It would be time for me to return to my creative outlet which I once began several years ago.  Much to my lack of motivation or belief in my writing abilities, I turned to blogging in recent years to fill the void.   I had, however, started a manuscript several years ago.  I thought perhaps it was time for me to return to the idea of writing a book.  Or at least blogging!

Moments later my decision established in concrete, while I cruised passed a man doned in a hooded-sweatshirt aside the road with an outstretched arm and extended thumb.  Gasp ” a real-life hitch-hiker-in Wisonsin.”  The statement promted a speed-dial to Megs, who I’m sure was fast asleep in the comfort of her New York bed.  Who knew I’d experience a rel-life-author encounter, and a real-life-Wisconsin-hitch-hiker all in one night.  I guess it’s a sign!

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And the winners are…

Last night was book club and the events for the night were to select our books to read for the year.  The rules are, there are none.  Any suggestion is welcome, we choose whatever we feel we want to read.  Amazing how time flies while discussing books and drinking wine.

The selections are:
February- The Shack by William P Young
March- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
April- Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
May- Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
June- Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
July- Away by Amy Bloom
August- 3 Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
September- Driving Sideways by Jess Riley
October- The Tortilla Curatin by TC Boyle
November- Riding the Bus with my Sister by Rachel Simon

That’s it folks.  Those are our picks for the year.  Many were on my list to read, so I’m a bit motivated to jump on the reading train. 

On a completely un-realted note, book club lasted until 10:30 in the PM.  I rode with my aunt, so by the time we were back to her place it was nearly 11 and I still had a half hour drive home, only to wake up this morning and drive right past her house again on my way to see a speialist (more on that later).  So I thought about the idea for about 2 seconds before I decided, my gym clothes in the back of my car were a suitable wardrobe for my appointment and a cozy bed was needed much more than frigid seat and daunting 30 minute drive.  So I spent my night in luxury.

I nestled into bed last night laying diagonal atop a huge bed, I felt like I was sleeping on cottonballs.  I feel asleep feeling as though I was having a 0ne-night stand with myself.  I got to sleep diagonal.  No elbows colliding, no dogs nose snuggling under my chin.  It was so wierd!  I woke up this morning and felt I needed to text my love to my loving husband and cuddly dog.  Tonight I gladly take back my place on the right side of the bed in our bedroom at the end of the hall.

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wish list for my library

cold blustery days, like today, make me want to cuddle in warm fuzzy sweaters in front of a fireplace on an overstuff couch sipping coffe and reading.  Since that is just not possible with my crazy schedule this month I thought I’d ponder a few worthy reads … in no particular order.

Letter to my daughter

3 cups of tea

water for Elephants

Knitting Cricle

Marley & Me

twilight

Driving Sideways

The Book Thief-I still haven’t opened it, but I’ve had it for MONTHS. 

Are there others that should be on this list?

I’m currenlty reading The Shack and Dreams of My Father…and quite honestly I’m half way through both of them and the intensity of their plot has me treading water.  I’m not sensing so much optimism in finishing.  The beginnings of both were pretty good, they got me to keep reading.  I try to read everynight when I crawl in bed to help my head digest into sleepiness.  After a few pages (sometimes paragraphs) I’m ready to turn off the light and call it a night.  But maybe that’s due to my need for unusually large amounts of sleep and warmth.  Both seem to be hard to come by these days. 

Let me know your suggestions.  I’m supposed to be reading The Reader and Fine Consessions for upcoming book clubs and I just don’t think that’s going to happen.  I also hear Revolutionary Road is one to pick up? Others???

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Blog Protective Services

I’ve been contacted.  Apparently I was reported for neglect to my blog.  Kind of like Child Protective Servicves, if you can’t take care of a child tehy remove them from the home. 

Okay, seriously I know that I failed at life, or at least blog life.  You an expect 2-3 more posts to follow with all the excitement of the past few weeks, and that to come in 3 days.

Here’s a sneak peak:
Yesterday was my last day of work with my current identity…still adjusting to that.
I have found how to run again
Somwhere, amidst the choas I found a great group of girls who read books and eat amazing food, hence I’ve joined a book club and learned how to read.
The 4,000 DIY wedding projects are all completed (I have one final project that I am finishing this morning)

Stay tuned 🙂

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