Thursday, September 30, 2010

While I'm Reading The Lacuna...

Check out these vids--a couple reviews and Barbara Kingsolver discussing her book at the Orange Prize for Fiction 2010 shortlist readings.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Library Loot: September 29 – October 5

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Claire has Mr Linky this week.

My husband picked up the items waiting for us yesterday. I'm pressed for time having just started Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna Sunday night which is due Monday so I'm going to skip image collection and just paste the info I just pasted into my note ap where I keep track of items out.

Once I have a little spare time I will be moving the info for each book onto its own separate note aka bib slip in that same note ap, WhizFolders, unless like The Help it already has one albeit for the large print edition. Can you believe I used to make all these bib slips by hand? I still have hundreds of them covering three library systems and my personal library going back a decade. I lost the previous decade's worth in our 2001 move--a couple thousand at least.

I was reading The Help while in Longview WA in August and didn't finish and when I got home the queue for the LP edition was in double digits (30+) with 2 copies whereas that for the audio was at 8 with 2 copies . Don't even want to talk about the queue for the regular print edition which was approaching 100 with around 10 copies. When I checked today they now have 5 copies of the LP, 6 of the audio and 43 of the regular print.

I haven't listened to an audio book for years. I used to dislike it because I could read so much faster than that. Due to the RP I can't read as fast as I can talk anymore so I'm going to give audio books another try. I'm hoping I have a positive experience. Also hope I will be able to listen while crocheting or stepping on the mini-tramp. Or when I'm too sick to read like I was this past week.

Title: The help [sound recording (CD)] : a novel / Kathryn Stockett.
Publisher, Date: [New York, N.Y.] : Penguin Audio, p2009.
Description: 15 sound discs (ca. 18 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.

Saw Mosse's Labyrinth on someones Currently Reading list a bit over a week ago and ordered it. While I was looking at other books by Mosse, I went ahead and ordered Sepulchre. It arrived first. Labyrinth has been shipped.

Title: Sepulchre / Kate Mosse.
Edition: 1st American ed.
Publisher, Date: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2008.
Description: 572 p. : map ; 24 cm.
Summary: The stories of two women separated by more than a century are brought together by a series of visions that are related to the tarot and a small church, known as a Sepulchre in the grounds of the Domaine de la Cade.
Subject: Tarot cards -- Fiction.
Time travel -- Fiction.
France -- Fiction.
Occult fiction.
Fantasy fiction.

I saw Ecology of a Cracker Childhood listed on someone's Library Loot or It's Monday What Are You Reading? posts. Possibly both.

Title: Ecology of a Cracker childhood / Janisse Ray.
Edition: 1st pbk. ed.
Publisher, Date: Minneapolis : Milkweed Editions, 1999.
Description: 285 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Subject: Ray, Janisse, 1962- -- Childhood and youth.
Baxley (Ga.) -- Biography.
Longleaf pine.
Deforestation -- Georgia.
Forest ecology -- Georgia.
Consumption (Economics) -- Social aspects.

I've had Anatomy of the Spirit checked out of several different libraries since it came out in 1996 and was featured on Oprah. I've never quite finished it as there was always a queue. My sister, Jamie, has been reading it recently and wanted me to be able to discuss it with her so I'm trying again. It's been a few years so I'll probably have to start it over. Again.

Title: Anatomy of the spirit : the seven stages of power and healing / Caroline Myss.
Edition: 1st pbk ed.
Publisher, Date: New York : Three Rivers Press, 1996.
Description: xiv, 302 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Subject: Medicine and psychology.
Mind and body.
Medicine, Psychosomatic
Personality -- Health aspects.
Alternative medicine.
Self-care, Health


Have been in queue for both of these for most of this year if not before the New Year. It's been a long wait. I had the book Food Inc checked out awhile back but haven't finished it.

Funny story: when Ed went to pick up our requests he found a copy of Food Inc in both of our reserve stacks. He only checked out one of course, handing the second over to the librarian saying I don't know what she was thinking. Well I don't either. There are several possibilities. I got in line on one of our cards weeks before and forgot. I thought I was reordering the book. Or I could have thought if we didn't manage to watch it in the week allotted that would insure a speedier second change. That last is very, very unlikely though. Can barely imagine it being my thought process so one of the first two is most likely. But what were the chances we'd both end up with our turn the same week? Especially since at the time the library system had only one copy.

The queue was above 70 when I first jumped on. It is still above 30 but then now have 9 copies.

Another irony: While browsing Netflix this month I discovered Food Inc is available to watch online. But at the time I still thought Ed wanted to watch it with me so stayed in queue for the DVD. He says he won't have time this week and probably not til after the holiday season.

Title: Food, Inc. [videorecording (DVD)] / Magnolia Pictures ; Participant Media ; River Road Entertainment present ; Developed with American Documentary, Inc. ; Perfect Meal, LLC. ; a film by Robert Kenner ; executive producers, William Pohlad, Jeff Skoll, Robin Schorr, Diane Weyermann ; producers, Robert Kenner, Elise Pearlstein ; co-producers, Eric Schlosser, Richard Pearce, Melissa Robledo ; writers, Robert Kenner, Elise Pearlstein, Kim Roberts ; directed by Robert Kenner.
Edition: Widescreen.
Publisher, Date: [Los Angeles, CA] : Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2009.
Description: 1 videodisc (ca. 94 min.) : sd., col. w/ b&w seq. ; 4 3/4 in.
Summary: Lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing how our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profits ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. Reveals surprising - and often shocking truths - about what we eat, how it's produced and who we have become as a nation.
Target Audience Note: MPAA rating: PG; for some thematic material and disturbing images.
Subject: Food industry and trade -- United States.

Old Dogs is one Ed asked to get in line for and he is going to try to watch it with me this weekend. I would have sent for it anyway. I mean Robin Williams, John Travolta and kids! Irresistible.

Title: Old dogs [videorecording (DVD)] / a Tapestry Films production, a Walt Becker film ; produced by Andrew Panay, Robert Levy, Peter Abrams ; written by David Diamond & David Weissman ; directed by Walt Becker.
Publisher, Date: Burbank, CA : Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, [2010]
Description: 1 videodisc (88 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.
Summary: Dan and Charlie are two best friends who, together, have built a successful marketing empire, but have somehow managed to avoid ever really grown up. Their lives have been turned upside down when they are charged with the care of seven-year-old twins while on the verge of a big business deal. The clueless bachelors stumble in their efforts, leading to one debacle after another, with a gorilla and some pecking penguins. Dan and Charlie learn as much from the kids as vice versa.
Target Audience Note: MPAA rating: PG; for some mild rude humor.
Series: Disney DVD
Disney DVD.
Subject: Male friendship -- United States -- Drama.
Marketing executives -- United States -- Drama.
Twins -- United States -- Drama.
Father and child -- United States -- Drama.
Bachelors -- United States -- Drama.

Travolta, John, 1954-
Williams, Robin, 1952 July 21-
Preston, Kelly.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Name is Karma

While I've been sick this past week or so, one of the things helping to pass the time has been watching Netflix online. I gravitated toward TV series rather than movies rewatching some old favorites (Ballykissangel 1-3) working at catching up with other favs (Ballykissangel 4 and Bones 4, Doctor Who 4 and several Doctor Who specials and extras) and taking the plunge into a series I'd never seen while it was on TV but always wanted to check it out if for no other reason than it having a character with my name--My Name is Earl.

My Name is Earl only lasted four seasons and I'm currently one third into its last season and torn between keeping the pace the sooner to see how it all turns out or slowing the pace in order to make the fun last longer. I was really surprised by how much I liked this show. I expected to have satisfied my curiosity with two or three episodes and then move on without more than a glance back. But it only took the first episode to hook me.

The premise is a guy who has been a jerk from the time he learned to walk and talk, trashing peoples rights and feelings and property, living by stealing and finding his entertainment in the pain of others and feeling no remorse. Until he gets a wake-up call he can't ignore, is introduced to the concept of Karma (aka What Goes Around Comes Around aka Do Unto Others as You'd Have Them Do Unto You aka The Golden Rule) and decides to change. Not only to start doing the right thing but to make up for all the bad things he did in the past. He makes a list of all those bad things, adding to it as he remembers them and crossing things off after he goes to the person harmed most and makes amends. This has a ripple effect on the lives of his friends and family and those of his past victims--just as his past bad deeds had.

Among his friends and family: his somewhat simple but sometimes (accidentally?) wise younger brother Randy who is his side-kick; and as his nemesis his ex-wife, ex-beauty pageant contestant and vicious brat (Barbie as Harpy?) Joy and her two sons (by two different men neither of them Earl) and her new husband Darnell Earl's friend who works at the restaurant which is a community hangout; and Catalina part time maid at the motel where Earl and Randy live and part time pole dancer/strip tease whom for most of seasons 1 and 2 Randy had a colossal crush.

The show is slap stick silly and quite raunchy at times. The kind of thing I'd be the least likely to enjoy I would have thought. But apparently there are still bastions of prejudice within me awaiting demolition. For under that patina of giggles and gross-out is a witty and wise story that is well written and well acted. It's truly a pity it only lasted four years.


Monday, September 27, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? #18

I spent most of my reading time this past week on Scott Turow's Innocent, finishing it Sunday morning. Because it took me a week longer than expected I am now left with one week to read Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna if I don't want to 'rent' it from the library at 20 cents per day as I ended up doing with Innocent after last Tuesday. In the large print edition I have it is 762 pages.

Two things slowed down the speed of page turning for me this past week: a cold and Netflix. I got my story fixes by binging on Netflix online. When moving your eyes side to side makes you dizzy or triggers sneezes it is hard to get lost in the story. That's still an issue this evening so I probably won't turn many pages tonight.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Serenity #197

Serenity, for me, is story and study. Reading, learning, thinking. So today on day two of Banned Books Week I am calling attention to the blessing of free access to stories and information, and the right to free thought we have here in America. Free as in no government interference and free as in libraries and Internet no cost access.

I realize the latter isn't free in the sense that it costs nothing to provide so I offer my gratitude to the taxpayers who fund libraries and schools and the staff who run them; and those who fund the web pages and those who provide the content that is made freely available online.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banned Book Week

Considering what I've related here on many occasions, beginning with my About Me, regarding my coming out of a restrictive, fundamentalist Christian religion at age 35 and discovering I'd never learned to think for myself and my ongoing struggle to rectify that, it is amazing that this is the first time in the six years since I began blogging that I've participated in promoting the ALA's Banned Books Week.

I've known about Banned Books Week since well before I ever had a blog but somehow it never seemed to hit my radar until a week or more after even though each year I made a point of noting to myself that 'I really need to post on that next year'. I suppose I should start putting things like this into a calendar ap that can send me alerts a week or so in advance.

This year it was thanks to the mini-challenge for the Fall Catch-Up Read-a-Thon at The True Book Addict that I was alerted just yesterday, the day before the first day of BBW. The challenge is to pick a book from the lists of banned or challenged books at the ALA site which I have read and talk about it.

I found The Kite Runner on the list of the top ten frequently challenged books of 2008 and since I consider it one of the most powerful books I've read in at least the last two decades, naturally I choose it. You can read my review here so I don't need to repeat those thoughts and can keep these thoughts on the theme of its challenged status.

I was not aware The Kite Runner had been challenged at the time I chose to read it. I selected it because of several intriguing reviews on blogs in the year or two before and because it was set in Afghanistan and by an ex-patriot of Afghanistan and I was looking for just such stories to bolster my understanding of the region--how the Taliban came to rule it; how it had incubated the perpetrators of 9/11; what our soldiers were facing in terms of its cultural, political, religious and economical realities--in order to become a reasonably fully informed voting citizen but also to become aware on a visceral level of how being an Afghan might be different from being a WASP American and how it might be similar.

Those expectations for Khaled Hosseini's story were not disappointed and for that reason alone I would recommend it but, if you read my previous musings on it, you will understand that I believe this story can stand beside the majority of the time-tested classics without blushing.

I have learned from experience beginning in early grade-school that story was the most effective, the most powerful, the most immediate method for developing an understanding of a person, culture or event--even those seemingly too alien or incomprehensible and especially those triggering any anxiety, disgust or fear. This is why I am fiercely in favor of freedom of speech and thought.

But I have not forgotten what it was like to be a fervidly puritanical fundamentalist and so I also understand that it is that very power of story to change minds that is at the root of the challenges so the necessity of staying vigilant and proactive on this task of defending the challenged books and the right to intellectual freedom will remain for generations to come. Thus the ALA and the other organizations dedicated to this service to democracy and liberty have my gratitude and admiration.

Note on my Fall Catch-Up Read-a-thon progress: I did not meet my goal for finishing Innocent tonight. Not even close. Will be spending a couple more hours with it at least before I sleep.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall Catch-Up Read-a-Thon

This week long read-a-thon has been going on since Monday and I have been debating whether to jump in ever since I learned about it. My reading plans for the week didn't really seem to fit in until now. I'm hanging onto an overdue library book that simply must be returned Monday morning. It is a 639 page large print book and I am on page 365 as of Friday evening.

The book is Innocent by Scott Turow and because I'm well into a week longer than I intended I am now a week late getting started on Barbara Kingsolver's Lacuna which leaves me one week to read it's 762 large print pages.

This is the second time I've had Lacuna checked out this year and both times I was in a month's long queue. My turn came last time in early summer as I was preparing to leave town for two months. I did read a few pages. Enough to know I could not rush it like I would have had to that week.

My goal is to finish Innocent by Saturday night and then advance 200 pages in Lacuna by 8pm Sunday when the read-a-thon closes.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Could Use a Tissue Dispenser

i haz a sniffle

have i god a sdory to dell...

scuse me while i durn my head.

ah. bedder.

oops scuse me gain.

oh nevermind, i dell u lader


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blue Shawl Progress

I just finished up the second skein of yarn we bought Sunday for the blue shawl I'm making as a Christmas present for my sister-in-law. I didn't expect it to go that fast. I'll have to stop now until we can go pick up the rest now that I have a fairly good idea how many more I'm going to need.

Since I reached 35 rows that measure approximately 33 inches and that is approximately halfway for the row work that means I need two more for the row work and a fifth for the tassels for which I wouldn't need more than a quarter skein if that. Though I suppose I could make do with four skeins if I stop crocheting around row 60 leaving enough of skein 4 for the tassels. I'll see how it 'fits' at that point and decide.

With this going so fast, I may go ahead and add one or two of the other items I considered before settling on the shawl--place mat and napkin ring setting for four; dishrags; a doily, coasters; drawstring evening bag; winter scarf. All crocheted of course.. Oh well plenty of time to think about it.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Swinging on a Time Shift

Wut u spec me 2 do wen mai nomz late twiddle mai thumz?

Ed went on swing shift unexpectedly this week and everything is a bit topsy-turvy. Like having dinner after 10pm. Like saying good-bye around the time he's usually getting home and saying hello around the time he's usually going to sleep. Like having him gone when its full dark outside. It's supposed to be temporary. Filling in for someone who got hurt on his day off. But he's contemplating asking to be switched to that shift for the harvest/holiday season as it pays a bit extra. Enough extra we might be able to swing our own place after the new year.

There is a bright side. The fact they are putting on a second shift means the season of plenty is upon us. And a bit early at that. He ought to be at full time soon and soon after that at overtime.

Also we are having our dinner together just the two of us after he gets home. After his folks have gone to bed so it is almost like being home alone. And tonight he even cooked for me--steelhead fillet with salad. See for him cooking is recreation and he doesn't get to do as much as he likes. If he does switch to swing then once he hits overtime I'd probably get to cook for him and I almost never get to do that.


Monday, September 20, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? #17

In the last week I finished Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow and began its sequel, Innocent. In between I watched the movie, Presumed Innocent online on Netflix. Was a bit perturbed by the way they did the ending. Right up until the verdict they followed the book very close but then they went on tangents, like giving lines from one character in the book to a different character in the script. And in at least two instances I believe they trashed the integrity of the story. Can't be more specific without giving spoilers. But in my opinion the ending of the movie took a story with depth and meaning, an intense character study, and welded on a grade B thriller movie ending.

I confess I've been watching more DVD and streaming videos than reading in the last week. Not only did I have several checked out of the library I'd been in long queues for but I'm trying to take full advantage of my free trial month of Netflix. I'll probably continue to do so this week as well. But my intent for the week is to finish Innocent and get as far as possible in Barbara Kingsolver's Lacuna. Both books are long and have long queues at the library.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Serenity #196

It's been raining since Friday afternoon. Off and on but mostly on. I'm not complaining mind you. It's Oregon and it's September. I grew up in Washington on the Columbia river almost in smelling distance of the coast so rain has always been more friend than enemy. I find the sound of falling rain soothing. One of my earliest and fondest memories of Joy in joy is of jumping in a mud puddle in the neighbor's driveway ruts during an interlude between rain showers with the sun turning raindrops on flowers, grass and cars into diamonds. I was 4 or 5 and had mud from toes to nose including up inside my dress and inside my galoshes. It must have been summer because otherwise I doubt the joy would have remained connected in my memories to the hosing down with the garden hose Mom gave me before allowing me back in the house.

As they often do here in the Rogue Valley, the rains began with a thunder storm and a deluge. It was raining so hard it was difficult to see across the street. I was standing on the porch and thought hey this would make a cool picture for a post. But by the time I got back with my camera the rain had slacked way off and the river running down the lane towards the drain about half a dozen houses past us had halved in size and speed.

The sun came out for a minute or three but the rain continued. We heard screaming and were at first concerned but then suddenly there were three young boys ages 4 to 7 running barefoot down the lane in the middle of the stream. I tried but I couldn't get my camera up fast enough. I even had a second chance a couple minutes later when they came running back by from the other direction but missed again.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blue Shawl Beginning

I am my sister-in-law's Secret Santa this year having drawn her name at the family Christmas get-together last year. This is the third year we have done it this way. Not only does it make shopping easier for everybody but each person gets one very nice gift (minimum $50) instead of a dozen or so inexpensive items (under $10).

I've been planning to crochet something for my sister-in-law ever since I drew her name but until today I had not settled on what. She is not a reader so my specialties, bookmarks and book covers are not an option. She loves to cook and likes clothes and purses. Her favorite color is the same as mine--blue. I considered doilies, a drawstring purse or a set of four place mats with napkin rings and coasters crocheted out of the size 10 thread I use most often for the bookmarks. And I considered a scarf, a shawl, a handbag or an afghan made with yarn.

Today Ed took me shopping for the thread or yarn and I settled on the shawl. If I get it done in plenty of time, I may add one of the other smaller projects like a set of coasters, a purse or a doily. Or I may add something bought, most likely something she can use for cooking or table-setting.

I've chosen to use the cross stitch that I learned for one of the bookmark patterns last February. I was going to work a large triangle, adding two X stitches to each new row, but I couldn't figure out how to add them. I suppose I could have found out online but I realized I didn't have the patience today to learn a new skill like that, I just wanted to get started. So I decided to make it long and narrow--maybe 1/3 the length of an afghan or three times the width of a scarf--between 20 and 30 inches.. And about 60 to 70 inches long, counting the tassels on each end, so that it reaches both wrists when wrapped around the neck. I carefully counted out my chain in threes (each X stitch uses 3 chains with the legs of the X on either side of a blank one) until it looked about right. It's approximately 28 inches.

The yarn that I settled on today is one of those textured yarns, a Lion product called Homespun and the color is called Windsor which is a blend of blue and lavender. I'm not sure how much it is going to take but I estimated 4 to 6 of the 185 yd skeins based on the directions on one for an afghan that called for 15. Ed said to pick up two today and get started and he'll pick up the rest over the next two weeks. Once I finish with one skein I should have a better idea of how much I will need total.

I haven't crocheted with yarn since highschool when I made two afghans at the time my mom first taught me how to crochet. Whether for embroider, needlepoint, or cross stitch, I've always preferred to work with the threads over the yarns so I'm left wondering now if I might of got hooked on crochet back then if I'd learned on the thread instead of the yarn.

I've never worked with a textured yarn. It is a bit of a challenge but it was getting easier by the end of the first row so I'm hoping it will get even easier as I progress. The trick--as always--is in controlling the tension on the yarn and the size of the loops.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Pie in the Sky Dished Up

I love watching those talk shows and reality TV shows in which people's wildest dreams are made real for them. Like Extreme Home Makeovers and of course Oprah who seems to have made an art form of it.

Why do I love it so? Because watching it happen for other's not only gives me the warm, fuzzy feeling of seeing their joy but it somehow makes the possibility of it happening for me more palpable. Like all I need to do is reach up and cut a slice off that pie in the sky that at other times seems so out of reach.

This week was the opening of the final season of The Oprah Show and there had been teasers for weeks about the dreams coming true for unsuspecting people. I was sooo looking forward to it.

Then on Sunday our satellite box gave up the ghost and its going to be sometime next week before a replacement reaches us. So I missed the entire week of Oprah shows. I so do not understand why The Oprah shows can't be made available in other formats online whether on, the websites of the local affiliates that air the shows or an iTunes download. It seems like it could only be a win-win for everybody involved. But that's off topic.

Today's Oprah was especially important to me as besides several ultimate dreams coming true Oprah was to announce the new Oprah Book Club selection. But even that wasn't the best or most important thing about that show. The best thing was that I have a connection--however small and peripheral it may be--to one of the parties involved in making one of those dreams a reality.

My husband works for the company that partnered with Oprah to take one of the products of a small New England bakeshop to a national and probably even international customer base.

The product is a chicken pie from The Centerville Pie Company of Cape Cod Massachusetts.

The chicken pie is going to be featured in the catalog, the website, the hundreds of stores nationwide and will be the Pie of the Month for Harry & David (Happiness Delivered).

My husband works in shipping so he'll have a direct hand in the delivery of said pies.

Maybe it's silly but there is something thrilling about being that closely connected to the fulfilling of someones dream. The only thing more thrilling would be to have dished up that slice of someone's pie-in-the-sky to them my own self.

Especially to someone as deserving as the two women who started The Centerville Pie Company and then teamed up with a local organization, Cape Abilities, that helps people with disabilities get jobs that match their capabilities.. See their story on


Thursday, September 16, 2010

The 1% Well-Read Challenge

Today I set myself the task of updating my Reading Challenge Portal page and signing up for one of the last two challenges I'd been planning to join.

I'm not apparently doing well on most of the challenges that run January through December though I could pull within reach if I were to select from now on only short books or books (mostly NF) that I've started since January 1st and have under 200 pages left in them.

But that would seriously mess with the fun I've been having this month with the fiction binge and not planning too far ahead as to which story to pick up next.

The 1% Well-Read Challenge is based on the list of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Since the list has been altered several times since it was first published, there are now over 1200 titles between the several lists. The challenge allows you to choose from any title on any of the lists to fulfill a 1% quota by reading 13 books between April 1, 2010 and April 30 2011.

You can see the list here. I was thinking of posting the whole list and bolding the titles I've already read but that was a monumental task when I did it in my note ap and the formatting won't transfer to the Blogger platform so I'd have to go through the list again to present it here. Plus I'm not sure it would be cool to have a list of 1200+ titles crawling down my front page for the next month. If my count and my memory is right I've read just over 200 of the books on the list and at one time at least started at least twice that many more. Which gives me a nearly 50% significant encounter rate for the entire list. But I was surprised by how many of the titles and authors I'd never heard of and how many of the authors who made the list multiple times that I'd never read yet.

Anyway I'm not going to pin myself down to any specific 13 titles for the coming months either. I may update this post as I finish the books I select but probably I will keep the up-to-date list only on the Reading Challenge Portal page and update this one at the time I complete the 13th or the end of next April, whichever comes first.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Library Loot: September 15 – 21

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Claire has Mr Linky this week.

I went into the stacks to find Garden Spells after discovering The Girl Who Chased the Moon on the New Books shelf and upon reading inside the cover finding something reminiscent of Alice Hoffman in the story's description. Sarah Addison Allen is a new author for me and I'm eager to find out if my instinct was correct that I'd found another treasure.

The Lacuna and Resurrecting Eve are both re-checkouts for me. The Lacuna because my first turn after a long wait in queue this past winter and spring came in early July just before I left town for seven weeks.

I've had Resurrecting Eve checked out numerous times in the last several years. I've essentially read it but continue to need it as a reference for the ongoing research into its theme that I've been carrying on for nearly two decades now. I should probably get my own copy as I did for Sue Monk Kidd's The Dance of the Dissident Daughter.

I pulled Roses off the New Books shelf having recognized it's cover from a review online that had intrigued me enough to check the library catalog only to find it not there at that time.

The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight, I ordered from the library catalog after seeing Claire's mention of it in last week's Library Loot.

The Woman Who Lives in the Earth will be a reread for me. It is short and fable-like. I sent for it after seeing a review online last week and finding myself comparing my memories of it with my memories of the recent reads of Alice Hoffman's Green Witch and Green Angel.

Besides these books there was also one movie, The Informant, and Dr Who series 4 on DVD.

Now I'm off to finish the last 30-40 pages of Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow, a book off my own shelves, so I can move on to its sequel, Innocent, which is due next Tuesday and after that The Lacuna which is due on Monday two weeks after that. The former is over 600 pages and the latter over 700 but at least they are both large print. I was in long queues for both and as I mentioned before, twice for The Lacuna.

Here's hoping I don't have as much difficulty with either of them as I've had with Presumed Innocent the last two weeks. Eyestrain, or more precisely, burning eyes, plagued me ever since I cleaned the room last week. I think I may have discovered the cause in the fan in our room. The air currents hit the edge of my glasses just right to funnel them in behind the lenses and thus dry out my eyes. I did not have nearly as much problem yesterday afternoon when I sat out in the yard. I read for long periods and made better progress which encouraged me. But then last evening once back in our room, it was as bad as ever. It wasn't until this afternoon that I realized the role the fan might be playing. I'm still trying to figure out how to address the problem. Space is tight in the room and options are limited to tweaking the position of the fan a few inches this way or that.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tonight Story Trumps

Wuteverz u want can waitz til ai finish dis storee

I've reached the homestretch in Presumed Innocent and am hoping to finish before I sleep so I can pick up it's sequel, Innocent tomorrow.

It was too beautiful of a day to stay cooped up in this room so I spent the day from 2 to 8pm in the yard alternating between reading and crocheting while listening to (and occasionally glancing at) news pods from the last week of August. I would have read the whole time if my eyes weren't so cranky this week.


Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? #16

I've been reading Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow for nearly two weeks now but didn't get to read more than in snatches until Friday. Between the room spring clean, a Dr. appointment that wasn't, the five movies plus season 2 of The Sopranos I had out of the library last week and the first selection of my free trial month with Netflix (Titanic), the wonderful weather and the calling of my crochet hook I just didn't give my best to reading.

I have just passed the halfway point in Presumed Innocent and had to tear myself away to get this post up.

I really need to finish it in the next day or two if I'm to have a chance of also finishing the sequel before it must be returned next week. It's due Tuesday but I have until Thursday morning before fines kick in.

There are six other novels from last week's library haul calling to me and today I checked out six more, one of them, Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna is also in a long queue like Innocent. And it is the second time I waited my turn for it as my turn came last time just a week or so before I left town for two moths last July.

In last week's It's Monday! post I said I was intending to spend 48 hours reading after my in-laws got home Tuesday. But they extended their trip an extra day and I took advantage of that to watch DVD on the big screen in the living room. Then on Thursday there was the big production of getting ready for a doctor appointment only to get there and find out that it had been the day before! Sigh. I finally got to read for significant stretches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday but I confess I kept taking breaks from reading to crochet, to IM with my sister, To watch Titanic on the big TV Saturday night, to watch episodes of My Name is Earl online on Netflix at the urging of my sister.

And today, today, I was all revved up to spend the afternoon reading but instead I spent four hours looking for a lost crochet hook--my favorite because it is the only one with a little dip behind the hook that keeps the loops from sliding off so easy and its size 9 which is perfect for the size 20 and 30 threads--which exhausted me almost as much as the room spring clean itself as it was much like a fast forward rerun of the five day cleaning effort without the cleaning just the moving of stuff from here to there, the dumping out of drawers, bags, boxes, purses and refilling them, the shaking out of sheets, blankets, pillows, clothes left on the bed.

Once I found it I head outside with the book and a bookmark in progress and Merlin on his leash, but there was already too little light left in the sky to read by and at that moment I HATED the thought of returning to the room as just being in there made me feel like throwing a temper tantrum. So I decided to crochet until the light was too little for that as well. I barely got started when Merlin pulled another of his Houdini stunts getting out of his harness and trotting down the driveway and out of sight before I could get the bookmark, hook and thread safely back in the bag and follow. I spent half an hour looking and calling but it was getting too dark. That was nearly three hours ago now and he's still not back the rascal and it is full dark and there are bigger, meaner cats, mean dogs and raccoons roaming the trailer park.

So, to wrap up. I read around half of Presumed Innocent since last Monday and need to finish it and start its sequel, Innocent soon. Both are over 4oo pages so there's no sense in listing anything else though there are dozens of books in my TBR shelves calling to me, including the dozen library novels checked out in the last two weeks.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Serenity #195

Taken Friday during our walk down by the creek to inspect the damage from July's fire.

The weather is perfect here this week. Balmy, breezy, warm but not hot. Blue sky. It would have been a good day for another walk down by the creek but we only walked up to the gas station for cold drinks.

We thought that would be the easier walk for me since I still have to wear slippers and not shoes because of the stubbed toe and the slice across the back of my heal on my left foot.

We took Bruiser with us and pretty much regretted it. He's not ready to be taken out in public among a lot of people and unpredictably moving vehicles. Ed left him with me when he went into the store. I could barely keep hold of the leash. That dog is an ox!

Except oxen can at least walk straight lines. Bruiser seems genetically incapable of that. He does a zig-zag in front of whoever is holding the leash. I calculate he walks three times as far as us because of his zigging to the left and zagging to the right and walking loops around our ankles.

Most of our walk today was next to or in the midst of traffic. Not relaxing much. I think the walk down by the creek would have been easier. Even in slippers.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Titanic Breathtaker

I just saw Titanic for the first time. I had it available for several days but waiting until this evening because it was dirt track races for the rest of the family which gave me access to the big flat screen TV in the living room. I started the movie just before 8:30. I was waiting for after dark because I love waiting for dusk because I love watching movies in the dark. Especially those with spectacular scenery like I knew Titanic to be.

I expected to be home alone until after 11pm but tonight they got home just after 10 and I had to put the movie on pause. It was the scene where Jack is sketching Rose who is wearing the blue diamond heart. Only the blue diamond heart.

I didn't get to restart it again until almost eleven-thirty and then I had to keep the volume down and sit closer in order to hear but that meant I had to scan the screen constantly. It might have made more sense to watch the rest on my netbook. But it was still breathtaking. I was disappointed there were no extra features on the disc as I would have especially liked to watch a Making Of type feature. Or even watch the movie over with commentary from director, writer, actors etc. And in the this case, set designers and costume designers.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Two Months After the Fire

Ed and I went for a walk with Bruiser on the Bear Creek Greenway that runs between our mobile home park and the creek. We walked through the damage from the fire in July just a couple of days before I left town which I blogged about here.

The top pic is taken from the bottom of the ramp that leads to Fern Valley Road. The nearest edge of fire damage is behind me by maybe 100 yards. The mobile home park is behind me and to my right and the creek is on the other side of a stand of trees and brush to my left.

Above: taken in the middle of the ravaged area facing the creek and showing the stumps of some of the trees chopped down by the firemen because fire got inside their trunks. Five good sized trees were lost this way. And more will probably have to come down before winter winds and ice arrive.

There is an RV park across the creek and on the other side of it is a mall which is beside I5. It was not a paranoid fantasy that the fire could have jumped the creek, taken out the RV park and threatened buildings and vehicles at the mall. It could also have gone the other way towards our mobile home park.

In fact it began just a few yards from the backyard fence of the two homes directly across the lane from us.

It was either maliciously set or accidentally by kids playing with fireworks (just days after July 4rth). And if not for the quick thinking and cooperation of about a dozen neighbors who commandeered or volunteered yard hoses, hooked them together and fought the fire with them over the fence, keeping it off those two homes and from spreading along the fence to either side of them until the fire trucks arrived.

Ed was one of those neighbors wielding hoses over the fence seen above. But that was after he pounded on the door of the house seen on the left to alert the neighbor lady who was asleep in the bedroom abutting the fence. No more than fifteen feet from the flames which damaged her siding and broke her bathroom window.

Above: the stand of trees as seen from our porch over the roofs of those same two houses.


Thursday, September 09, 2010

Reading Scott Turow

It's been over a week since I checked out Turow's latest, Innocent, after waiting months for my turn. Which means I have less than two weeks left with it but before I can even start it I need to finish Presumed Innocent, which I started a week ago but didn't get far before the room spring clean commenced. Then the last couple days have been about getting season two of The Sopranos watched because it was overdue at the library as of Tuesday.

Finally finished the last episode this afternoon and then after dinner picked up Presumed Innocent and tried to start where I left off. Not only was I confused for having forgot who some of the characters were and their relevance but I found my mental visualization of the story conflating with that of The Sopranos, with faces of The Sopranos characters superimposing over Turow's characters and plot lines from The Sopranos tangling up with those of Presumed Innocent.

Not just confusing but soporific apparently as I fell asleep for two hours and had bizarre dreams which I can't remember anything of but the sense of astonishment, confusion and revulsion.

I think maybe I ODd on The Sopranos.

Yet I'm already yearning for my turn with season three.

Well, I'm off to give Presumed Innocent another try. May have to at least review the first 60 pages some before continuing on. Hope I don't have to actually reread every page.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Watching The Sopranos

I've got eight hours to try to get 7 more episodes of The Sopranos season 2 watched. Unless Ed doesn't have to work tomorrow and thus won't have to leave the house before 8 to return the DVDs to the library that were all due Tuesday.

The Sopranos is an unlikely show to have attracted me and I held it in distaste and even disdain for most of the years it was on HBO though I never saw a single episode, only trailers and teasers on cable TV. Then I picked up The Gospel According to Tony Soprano by Chris Seay on the Friend's of the Library sale table at the library a few years back and it intrigued me because I'd once had a copy of the 1965 book The Gospel According to Peanuts.

So I bought Seay's book and it's been kicking around my room ever since. I haven't read the book cover to cover but have browsed in it enough to get the gist of Seay's thoughts and learn that The Sopranos was considered a quality work as both film and story and that serious themes regarding human nature and culture were being addressed by it.

So I was primed when the entire series became available in our library system a few months back and decided to give it a try. I watched season one a few weeks before I left town and my turn for season two was getting close when the date for leaving closed in so I deactivated my request until my slated return date so season two awaited me last week along with five movies. It was a lot to try to get watched in one week even if I'd not needed to spring clean our room as well.

As expected I find the violence and language hard to take and yet the quality of the story and the writing and acting and directing has kept me mesmerized for one and a half seasons.

At any rate, here are a couple more links that discuss the show on the level I mean:

Tony Soprano: 61 Minutes Left to Find Redemption by Cathleen Falsani


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

One Month to the next 24 Hour Read-a-Thon

The date has been set for the next Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-Thon:

October 9 at 5 AM Pacific Coast Time.

I can't wait. This will be my seventh, counting both spring and fall since October 2007.

Sign-up has commenced so click on the pic and join the party.


Monday, September 06, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? #15

In the last two weeks of my stay in Longview, I promised myself a fiction binge when I got home. Last Monday night I made a good start on keeping that promise. I began and finished Alice Hoffman's novella, Green Angel and started it's sequel Green Witch. The first was a reread.

Tuesday morning I finished Green Witch just before we left for the library where I picked up seven novels and six DVD. I began Lori Lansens' The Wife's Tale on the ride home and finished it late Wednesday evening. Now that was a full length novel running over 400 pages in the large print edition I got. That is the first time I've read a novel that size in what was essentially one day in a very long time.

One of the novels I checked out last Tuesday was Scott Turow's Innocent which is the sequel to Presumed Innocent which I've never got around to reading. We own a copy of it and since Innocent, like The Wife's Tale, has a long queue at the library I picked up Presumed Innocent Wednesday night. But I've not made 50 pages in it yet as Thursday morning my late summer 'spring' clean of our room commenced as my in-laws left town until Tuesday.

The work in the room is about to wrap up tonight. I'll be watching movies on the big flat screen in the living room for as long as I can through Tuesday afternoon/evening but starting Wednesday I plan to do whatever fun, relaxing thing I feel like for at least 48 hours. And I feel like reading!


Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sunday Serenity #194

I took this from the bridge crossing the bay on the beach trip with my Mom, sisters and niece the Wednesday before my return home to the Rogue Valley last Sunday. We were on our way to a beach called Sunset Beach on the Oregon side of the Columbia River having just visited Long Beach on the Washington side and finding it too foggy, windy and cold to spend more than minutes outside the car.

I am cheering myself up today with memories of that day. That was about 11 days ago and from the day after I have been either packing or unpacking. This weekend I've unpacked our closet, a cupboard, and several shelves and drawers in our room so that I can finish unpacking from my trip.

The finish line is almost in sight. Maybe by tomorrow evening...

And then I can read, crochet or watch movies.


Saturday, September 04, 2010

Now That I Have Made My Bed

Nao dat uv made ur bed  i will to lye in it

I wish to lie in it.

Sorting, washing, dusting, sneezing, yanking on 55lb dog's harness, serving as high-ground or tree for cat being sniff by dog, cleaning up bowl full of sauerkraut knocked upside down on floor by dog, using drill Sargent voice to say 'no, sit, stay, go, get, down 1000 times,squinting through dirty glasses until my head hurts, untangling elastic straps wrapped around the washer's agitator, lifting, pulling, yanking, kneeling, pushing, bending, climbing.

I'm reading to crash on that bed just made with fresh-out-of-the-dryer sheets.

Here's hoping there is still room.


Friday, September 03, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

This first day of the 'spring' cleaning of our room has been frustrating and tiring and ends with the mess looking bigger than before I started. I've suffered some mega gross-outs and minor boo-boos and don't want to relive it by relating it here not to mention its way TMI. Suffice it to say, the shower I got when I quit for the day did not seem adequate. I felt in need of an industrial dishwasher's sanitize cycle.

So I'm meditating on some of my favorite things as i prepare to sleep. The picture above contains a number of them: cuteness, kittens, buckets (containers), blue, string (thread, yarn, whatever).

I crocheted during some of the early rest breaks but then got too dirty to handle the thread. I'd like to finish the variegated blue bookmark before I sleep. Maybe read another chapter in Presumed Innocent. (Books, a fav thing not in picture). Had hoped to watch a second movie after re-watching Julie & Julia with Ed. (Movies, another fav thing not pictured) He fell asleep in the middle of that and I paused it in order to get posted. Thought I might go ahead in finish it and then start another. But now I'm not sure I can last through 2+ hours more myself.

I'm feeling the sleep sneaking up on me too. (sleep and dreams fav things kinda hard to put in pictues) But the bed is stripped to the mattress and the mattress pad and sheets are still in dryer and I don't want to break another sweat wrestling it all back together. Ed is still asleep in his Dad's recliner. The other recliner, the rocker and the couch are all piled high with stuff from our room. The hallway from the edge of the living room to the bathroom door is a series of mounds of laundry.

That bare mattress is looking quite attractive.


Thursday, September 02, 2010

Running in Place

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Ever feel like the faster you run the further away the finish line gets? The more you do the more there is still to do? That you're continually repeating the same tasks only to start them again the moment they are finished?

My in-laws are out of town for 5 or 6 days and my husband has at least four of them off work but instead of spending a fun-filled, laid back Labor Day weekend we (mostly me) have to use the time to spring clean and reorganize our room.

It feels like this task is always the top priority every time we get a day or two home alone. It feels like I spend more time moving things around in that room than I do actually using the things I'm constantly shifting from here to there.

And its mostly my own fault. I"m the one who's brought in bundles of books. I'm the one who's carried in bushels of yarn and thread, buttons and beads, ribbon and rick rack and the sewing and crafting tools. I'm the one who collects candy and gum wrappers, clothing logo tags and cardboard scraps for bookmarks even though I've crocheted nearly 200 bookmarks in the last year.

I'm the one who hangs on to clothing with dead elastic, runs, tears, rips, stains.. I'm the one who collects various product containers of all makes and models from the size of an envelope to the size of a boot box supposedly for this mythical sorting and organizing project that I'm about to get serious about any moment now but which currently contain only themselves nested from tiny to large and then nested in shelf, drawer, closet space and under the bed.

Well I'm determined that 'any moment now' starts tomorrow. I'm not going to expect to get it done by the time Ed's folks return but I am going to make some major dents.

I gave myself today for kicking back. I used it for reading, finishing The Wife's Tale which I started yesterday afternoon around 8 this evening. That is the first time in a very long time that I've read a novel over 400 pages (large print) in just over one full day.

I've started Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent which I've never read and now must before I pick up the sequel, Innocent, which I checked out yesterday after waiting in queue for three months. I'd planned to have the first one read before our turn came for the second one but I didn't think to take it with me on my 7 week visit to Longview and probably wouldn't have got to it if I had. So, I'm actually going to read a book off my own shelf even though I've got over half a dozen checked out of the library.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Library Loot: 1 to 6 September

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Claire has the Mr Linky this week.

Yesterday was my first trip to the library since returning home from my seven week visit with my family in Longview WA and for the first time in a very long time I checked out mostly fiction. 7 novels and 6 DVD. There were two NF but one of those was for my husband as he'd already checked out and I hadn't when he found it.

I'm going to be extremely lazy now and post only cover images of the loot as I'm itching to get back to Lori Lansen's The Wife's Tale which I started in the car on the way home from the library.

There I made a special effort to put The Wife's Tale at the top but the rest I'm leaving in the order they landed in the uploads. Not even sorted between fiction and NF or book or DVD. I'm in that much of a hurry. As usual Lansens has me enchanted.


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