The Sunday Salon – Movies

First, I have to get this out of the way; daylight savings time is ruining my life today.  I planned to have a nice relaxing day — brunch with a friend, maybe a little shopping, maybe a museum, maybe a movie depending on how we’re feeling after a brunch full of goodies — but now I feel as if I’m already an hour behind!  Really hate that.  I’ll get over it in the next few minutes but putting it out there for anyone else that’s hates losing an hour of beloved sleep on the weekend.

Moving on to movies.  Jane Eyre came out this Friday and I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time and since my husband has already said I need to recruit a friend (there was no way he was going) I’m going to try and convince a friend to see it with me today.  A trailer is below for the curious.  It looks absolutely delightful.  I read the book for the first time last year and adored it so I have very high hopes for the movie.  Has anyone seen it yet?  What did you think?

I fit in some good reading this week too.  To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis was wonderful and I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to find her.  Needless to say, I’ll be reading more.  This book reminded me how much I love science fiction.  I started The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick yesterday but I’m not having much luck with it.  Right now it’s a lot of characters and one really giant ship and I’m having trouble seeing where it’s going even after reading the end.  Not so sure about this one.  I may give it till to the end of the day to make a decision about finishing.

Now some fun things:

Tips on how to make your books last a long, long time.

Awesome bookends.

Dolly Parton, while I’m a country music fan, I do admire her for the work she does to promote literacy.  I had the opportunity way back in the day when I worked for the publishing industry to meet her and some of the people who work with the Imagination Library program and it’s wonderful group of people who care a lot about what they do.  She deserves a hand for making new readers every day.

The Tournament of Books is in play. Fessing up, when I play along with the NCAA tournament, I pick by color and mascot if I don’t know anything about a team (my husband is full of useless useful basketball knowledge so this doesn’t happen as long as he can stop me from falling back on my old ways) but I would have picked winners by cover.  Cuz I’m a cover lover.

The Royal Mail is putting out some Harry Potter love.

That is all I have for today.  Enjoy your 23 hour day.  Happy Sunday!

Sunday Salon – Why I Shouldn’t Go to Going Out of Business Sales

Yesterday, while out enjoying the lovely weather (it’s raining today so getting out yesterday was imperative) we crossed paths with the Borders that’s closing in our neighborhood.  We decided to browse a bit and that’s how I came home with six new books.  In bookstores, browsing and buying are the same thing for me.  My TBR pile is officially out of control but it’s all good because I managed to pick up several books on the mighty big list so I’m considering it a win-win.

The Gates by John Connolly – a young kid goes trick or treating a few days early and finds out his neighbors have managed to open the gates to hell.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley – a writer using history as inspiration starts to wonder is she’s dealing with an ancestral memory.

Poison by Sara Poole – a young woman searching for her father’s killer finds herself in the position of poisoner for Cardinal Borgia.

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse – a man traveling in the French Pyrenees during a snowstorm crashes his car and ends up at a small tavern where he meets a woman with a tragic story to tell.

The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger – a lady’s maid finds a new life but also finds out it’s not one meant for her.

Devil’s Brood by Sharon Kay Penman – the last days of the marriage of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Recently, these books also made it into the house:

Livia: Empress of Rome by Matthew Dennison – present from my husband who knows how much I love ancient Rome.  It’s my next non-fiction read.

Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon – LibraryThing Early Reviewers Give Away.

Twice a Spy by Keith Thomson – from the publisher.

And from the library:

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis – for the Time Travel Challenge.

The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick – other than being fantasy, I don’t know much about it.  I found it searching but it looks interesting.

Busy the next few weeks?  I will be. 🙂

Last week I had the chance to read an ARC of The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen and if I had to describe it in one word it would be wonderful.  I’m planning to finish Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran today — another favorite author — and from there I have no idea what’s next but at least I have options.

A few fun things to share this week:

Harry Potter Quiz at The Guardian.

Life instructions, Jane Austen or JWwow (she’s on MTV’s Jersey Shore  if you don’t know who she is and since I had to Google that I wanted to share that bit of knowledge so others don’t have to look it up).  Trust me, you’ll go with Jane Austen.  Somehow this one made me feel old but smart then vindicated.

Minis Tirith out of toothpicks.

What your books do when you aren’t home.

New David Foster Wallace story to appear in The New Yorker. It’s been a few years since I’ve read one his books but I still don’t think I’m ready to tackle Infinite Jest.  I may never be but it will always be on my list.

Happy Sunday.

The Sunday Salon – A Slow Week

I didn’t do much posting this week which is ironic because I’m caught up on my reviews but for some reason I didn’t find the time to post anything much.  I finished Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (amazing), Emily and Einstein by Linda Frances Lee (fun), and I’m about half way through Fathom by Cherie Priest (interesting) so while the posting was slow, the reading was good.

Being honest, this will probably be rather short today too because I want to go to the Hirshhorn Museum to see an exhibit by Blinky Palermo.  At some point this week I will get some blog karma back and return to normally scheduled things though.  Admittedly, I’m a bit overscheduled so once that clears up all will be well.

Some more sharing…

Middle-earth According to Mordor – Salon article about a Russian author who re-tells the Lord of the Rings from the evil perspective.

Chicago Tribune article about the killing of the Dewey Decimal System – it seems my library or at least certain portions of it are going along with the trend.

The 2011 Tournament of Books begins March 7, 2011.

If you have an e-reader and don’t want people to know you’re reading it, you can make this nifty cover.

Happy Sunday.

The Sunday Salon – Sharing is Fun

While browsing the internets this week, I came across a few things that made me want to share.  My mom is probably bursting with pride to know I’m using my sharing skills.  🙂

The first is an article that appeared in The Washington Post earlier this week – ‘Tolkien Professor’ Corey Olsen Brings Middle-Earth to iTunes Via Podcast.  His website, The Tolkien Professor, is even more interesting and I’ve already found a few books on Tolkien criticism that will be added to my list.  I haven’t downloaded any of the lectures from iTunes, only because I’m hopeless when it comes to that and somehow always mess something up that confuzzles my husband, so I’m holding off but it will happen at some point.

This I found on BBC News – Divided Attention Disorder? Log off and read a book.  I laughed while reading it (it’s written by a comedian so it was intended) because this is something I do.  Feel overwhelmed?  Read.  The part about googling the plot though is something I’ve done, but I won’t hang my head in shame.  I like to know the end.

I had a good week of reading too.  I finished Spook by Mary Roach, Autumn: The City by David Moody, and started A Conspiracy of Kings by Meghan Whalen Turner.  I even managed to sneak in the writing of a few reviews this week too so I’m feeling very accomplished on the book front.

I’m planning to make a four course meal tonight for Valentine’s Day.  We’re celebrating a day early thanks to crazy Monday schedules so I’m off to start cooking.  Happy Sunday.

The Sunday Salon – Non-Fiction

I’ve been reading a non-fiction book all week.  In general, I find it takes me longer to read non-fiction than fiction I guess because I’m paying more attention to facts, forcing myself to slow down so as not to miss an important detail that will be critical to the master plan later on.  Not really sure but I think I have pinpointed one problem with reading non-fiction — I must not read about the same topic twice.  I should probably explain that rather broad statement.  Follow me if you will…

Last year I read a book about the Jamestown settlement.  The book focused on several people and a specific shipwreck that was being sent to provide provisions for the settlers, and due to the ship being wrecked and its passengers being stranded on Bermuda, when the ship’s crew and passengers finally arrived (on a different ship the first being wrecked; see what I mean about important details in non-fiction?) in Jamestown, they sort of saved the place.  Not entirely saved, Jamestown was a debacle but you don’t need me to tell you that.  Anyway, the current book, Savage Kingdom.  It’s more about everyone and everything involved with the Jamestown settlement.  So not only am I getting information about the settlement itself, the Native American tribes (very interesting and part of the reason I wanted to read a second book on said topic) already inhabiting the Chesapeake area, but also goings-on in England and Spain.  It’s a rather far-reaching and all encompassing book and though I’m finding it interesting, I feel as though I’ve already read great parts of this.

Also, I feel like I’m listening to a lecture and it’s a bit disjointed as if the professor keeps jumping around saying things like: “Oh, before we talk more about Captain John Smith and his dealings with Powhatan, let’s go back to England for a minute and talk about what was going on with James II and his negotiations with the Spanish who had already setup house in Florida and were a little peeved about the English double-talk about Jamestown.”  This is where I would normally say, quietly and to myself, “What?!  Did I miss something?” and start wondering how I could go about transferring to another class.  Also, in the picture in my head, this professor keeps running his hands through his hair and he starts to look as if he’s been electrified.  Also, he’s a man cuz the author of the book is and for no other reason and have no idea why I needed to point that out but I did.

Let’s say I’m not feeling it this time around.  Did I mention that already?  Felt I should again just in case you didn’t get that from the long, rambling above section punctuated with generalized boring class behavior.

A goal of mine in 2011 is to read more non-fiction, once a month if I can.  My next non-fiction book is called Spook and is about the afterlife.  It’s by Mary Roach who wrote Packing for Mars which I absolutely loved and you should read it.  No, really, I mean that.  You should totally read it but don’t read it while eating because there’s a lot of talk about bodily functions.  Fair warning, it’s all I have to offer.  She also wrote a book about cadavers and when I mentioned that to my husband he looked at me weird and I’m pretty sure he was having a silent conversation in his head that involved taking away my library card.  There’s also a book about Cleopatra roaming around that I want to read so maybe I should mention this to him so he doesn’t wonder anymore about my reading.

If you made it his far, thanks for sticking with me till the end of paragraph six today.  Happy Sunday fellow readers.

PS — Next time I promise not to be so disjointed in my Sunday Salon.  Feeling inspired this week I guess.

It’s Monday and I got nothin’

Ok, not entirely true but somewhat.  I’ve been hoping to get back to a regular blog rhythm this year but I seem to have turned into a cold and flu magnet and I haven’t felt like doing much writing.  After two rounds of antibiotics and a few days on the couch, I’m finally feeling good enough to sit up and thought I’d take a minute (a short one) to talk about a few of the books I read last week.

The Last Pendragon: A Story of Dark Age Wales by Sarah Woodbury — This was a Nook read.  I found it while looking at my Nook library online and downloaded it.  My love of Arthurian Legend always compels me to do these things.  It won’t top my best of list but it did help me get out of a slump.  There are some supernatural elements in this one that most Arthurian stories don’t have and while I’m not a huge fan of those additions to this story, it worked here.  It adheres to the basic story and many of the required elements are present — the sword in a stone, love, a merlin-like character, etc.  It was more character than plot driven but I’m all right with that.  All in all, interesting.

 

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill — I love ghost stories and when I found out my library had this one, I wanted it.  It delivered on the creepy front.  It’s tension filled and can make you want to turn the lights on in every room of your house.  On the surface it might seem a bit tame — a young lawyer is sent to handle the affairs of a deceased client who lived on a small, isolated island in the north of England.  What he finds is a town unwilling to share information about the woman whose affairs he’s handling and even less willing to talk about the house and property she owned.  Nothing is explained at first and that adds to the story being this dark spot in a small town’s history.  I loved it.

 

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness — As soon as this book entered my house I wanted to read it.  I put it off at first but then gave in as soon as possible.  I don’t really know what to say about this one because I loved it so so much.  Being sick makes it hard for me to read sometimes but I couldn’t put this book down.  The characters all worked for me, the story was complicated, it mixed science and history, and it was a book about a book.  Books about books always entice me.  It was also about witches, vampires, and daemons.  I thought I was sick of the vampire thing but they worked in this book.  I adored the cover too and yes I mentioned that in another post already.

I think my next book is going to be Time Travelers Never Die by Jack McDivitt.  I have a non-fiction book about Jamestown but I don’t think I’ll be able to comprehend that one in my current condition.  I also have Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen so my next few days are happily covered.

Library Loot – The last time I go without a list…

Last Friday, I decided to head over to the library and see what the stacks had to offer.  This will be the last time I do this — at least for the next few months that is.  I left when I couldn’t carry anything else and almost dropped what I was holding while standing in line because my circulation was being cut off by the books I was holding.  I over did it…but I have no regrets!

The Mosaic of Shadows by Tom Harper.  It’s a historical mystery, and even though mysteries are not my thing (I spend too much time trying to figure out who did it that I forget to enjoy the story.), this one looked really interesting and I love the back drop.  I started it today and so far so good.

Fire in the East by Harry Sidebottom.  This is the first book in the Warrior of Rome series and I’m a sucker for anything that promises Roman soldiers.

A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer.  I’ve never heard of this author before but I wanted some fantasy and this one was on the shelf.  It’s a series, so if it pleases, the second will be coming home as well.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach.  My husband loves watching the NASA channel.  Do know what happens on the NASA channel?  A whole lotta nothing.  BUT, he likes it so I endure.  Anyway, we both saw a review for Packing for Mars and we lucked out and managed to get it without having to wait eons for it.

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.  I’m attempting to read every Cornwell book my library has which is a lot.  I took a break after reading a few of his books earlier this year but couldn’t pass this up — it’s the Saxon trilogy.  I cannot express how excited I am about this book!  🙂

The Burning Times by Jeanne Kalogridis.  I love Kalogridis’s writing but my library doesn’t have many on her backlist.  I’ve been trying to get a hold of this book for a while and it was there waiting for me this time.  It’s set in 14th Century France with Knights Templar, witchcraft, the Black Death, and the Hundred Years War all thrown in.

The Clouds Beneath the Sun by Mackenzie Ford.  This is set in Kenya in 1961.  I have to admit that the cover got me and that’s why it came home but the story sounds very intriguing as well.

Enchanted Ground by Sarah Woodhouse.  I’m not sure how I ended up with this book but it promises a lot of family drama and looks sad and wonderful all at the same time.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a cover for this book.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Marg and Claire that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

The Sunday Salon

A happy week of reading for me. I finished up The Hobbit on Monday night for the Lord of the Rings Read-Along, read Maeve Binchy’s Heart and Soul which was nice and comforting, and started The Wild Hunt by Elizabeth Chadwick. I also managed to snag some good library loot.

I spent a lot of time thinking about my reading habits for some reason this past week. A lot of bloggers are talking about cutting back, reading deliberately, and so on. Guess it got me thinking. I generally read what I want, take breaks a lot, and go on the occasional binge. The library seems to be one such binge this month. I stayed away from the library for most of December knowing I wouldn’t have time to read and now that January is here, I’ve gone overboard. In addition to the books I have out and the holds that came in, I still have a few holds out and a list ready to go for the next round. I decided that what I’m going to do is make January a library book month. I plan to finish all the books I have out and not check out any more out until March. February is going to be a read my own books month. It’s not as if I don’t have any…

There’s a very good chance that I will not stick to this plan whatsoever. In fact, I’m sure I won’t and, when February dawns, I will still be reading my library books and my books that I waited forever to get, will still be sitting on the shelf. This is why I don’t make resolutions — I never stick to them. Either way, I’m going to try my little plan out for at least two months and see how far I get and have already promised myself that no guilt will be involved. In the end, I’m still reading the books I want to.