Saturday, October 27, 2012

When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald

When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories by Molly Ringwald
Copyright 2012
Harper It Books - Fiction
237 pp.

His turn as Trigorin in The Seagull had been hailed as "superlative" (according to the college newspaper), matched only by his interpretation of Richard Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross, in which local reviewers found in Peter that intangible fusion of intensity and irresistible insouciance--in short, the elusive charisma that is the golden ticket for any young actor. 

In When It Happens to You, Molly Ringwald explores modern relationships -- love (including that between parent and child), attraction, betrayal, heartbreak and healing in a series of interconnected short stories.

I chose the excerpt above because "that intangible fusion of intensity and irresistible insouciance"struck me as representative of the author's grasp of language.  When It Happens to You is surprisingly well-written.  Apart from a few minor grammatical errors, there was absolutely nothing that jumped out at me as worthy of criticism.  I'd heard early comments to that effect and decided I had to see for myself. I love the way the stories in When It Happens to You are interconnected without always being immediately obvious in their connection.  Ringwald really has a way of dragging readers into her stories, immersing them in characterization and setting and then yanking out the emotional rug without totally removing hope from the equation.

The bottom line:  Highly recommended, no-holds-barred writing (there are R-rated moments).  I'm impressed.

Cover thoughts:  Love the pretty, graphic cover.  It's appealing and strong, very eye-catching in my humble opinion.  I always try to match my bookmarks to the covers of the books that I'm reading and because of that little flash of tomato red wording, "a novel in stories", I used a bookmark with a photo I took of rows of tomatoes.  They looked terrific together and made me think, "Hmm, I need to incorporate teal and tomato red in my decorating, somewhere."  Weird but true.

I'm writing my review of When It Happens to You late on a Saturday night because both sons, my daughter-in-law, my grand-dog and Kiddo's girlfriend are all here.  My daughter-in-law said she'd love to read Molly Ringwald's latest book, so I figured I'd better whip out a review before the book walks out the door.

Meanwhile, we finally have a carved jack-o'-lantern, thanks to Kiddo's girlfriend.  Isn't it cute?

This has been a truly fun weekend.  Fiona has handled the influx of visitors well (including the canine) but poor Isabel has retreated to the closet to have a nervous breakdown.  I considered it a major victory when I peeked into the closet and saw that she's eaten some of the food I set out for her, even if it wasn't much.  She is such a sensitive girl.

From the Haiku book I just purchased, yesterday, and promptly read:

Best to those who are expecting bad weather or bracing for a tsunami.

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fiona Friday - Checkerstripes (and an update)

I have way too much fun with my favorite online photo editor.  This particular pose was exciting because we've never seen Fiona inside the little cubby in the kitty tree prior to this week.  Lucky me, I had a camera handy.

I added the checkered overlay at  Love their pixlr-o-matic!

And the update:

Remember when this used to be a really active blog?  Hopefully, that will resume, soon. There was actually one day this week that I unpacked books in our home library for several hours and then I walked through the kitchen, glanced at the computer (which is currently in the breakfast nook, of all places) and thought, "Oh, yeah.  I haven't even looked to see if there are any blog comments since yesterday!"  Nor had I bothered to write anything for at least 3 days, at that point, but I went through a pretty intense bout of migraine/insomnia that basically shot 2 weeks of my life and left them metaphorically bleeding on the pavement.

Hopefully, things will pick up on Monday.  We have guests visiting, this weekend.  Woot!  I'm so happy to have room for guests to sleep, eat and sit!

Kiddo arrived fairly early and we met up with his girlfriend at Mississippi College to check out the college's book sale.  Ohmygosh.  It was wonderful!  I bought about a dozen books, one of which was by an author I've never found *anywhere*, although I've been looking (Elizabeth Taylor).  Here is my goat checking out the spoils:

Purchases in no particular order:

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain by Christopher Monger
A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor (!!!)
Kennedy by Theodore C. Sorensen (my dad went to school with "Ted")
The Eye in the Door by Pat Barker (second in the Regeneration series, very exciting find)
The Faithful Gardener by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Snowstorms in a Hot Climate by Sarah Dunant
Immoveable Feast by John Baxter
The Short Stories of Saki (H. H. Munro)
The Four Seasons: Japanese Haiku
1943: The Victory That Never Was by John Grigg
Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis
Bomber Country by Daniel Swift

I've gotten a few other books in the past 2 weeks and I'll list them in either a Monday Malarkey or Tuesday Twaddle post.

Currently reading:

The Longest Way Home by Andrew McCarthy (travel memoir - excellent, so far), The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro (fiction - just started and I'm enjoying it very much).  Occasionally, I'll dip in and read another chapter of Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure.  I've finished watching the program on YouTube and only occasionally remember I'm reading it.  It's the kind of book you can just pick up when you feel like it, so no big deal that I'm so forgetful.

Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend!

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Amish Family Cookbook by Jerry & Tina Eicher

The Amish Family Cookbook by Jerry & Tina Eicher 
Copyright 2012 
Harvest House 
271 pp.

I requested The Amish Family Cookbook for tour because I have heard Amish cooking is good.  Not having ever been to Amish country, I've never actually eaten any but was expecting a pretty basic cookbook including a variety of simple foods with plenty of flavor.

We cooked two recipes from the cookbook.  The first recipe we cooked, Apple Streusel Muffins, didn't turn out right because we didn't have the right kind of flour, so I can't blame the recipe.  Muffins made with bread flour truly suck, I'll tell you that much.  The other recipe was Caramel Sweet Potatoes.  I was craving comfort food and it seemed like a good bet.  It was quite good but very sweet.  However, one could always leave out the brown sugar that lends this recipe its extra sweetness.  Marshmallows are more than enough for me, when it comes to the sugary aspect.

Husband and I have done quite a bit of flipping through The Amish Family Cookbook and I know we'll be trying a lot more of the recipes, even though we messed up one and thought the other was a touch too sweet.  The wonderful thing about The Amish Family Cookbook is that it is, indeed, a book with simple foods, simple recipes.  Some are a little different, as the Caramel Sweet Potatoes proved but all of the recipes have minimal ingredients, quick and easy instructions, and none of the ingredients appear to be so unusual that we could not possibly locate them in our area (less a problem than it used to be, but still troublesome enough that we've got to carefully flip through most cookbooks before purchase).

If you're looking for simple recipes that are easy to follow and haven't got too many ingredients, The Amish Family Cookbook is definitely worth looking into.  If you're interested, you can peek inside The Amish Family Cookbook by clicking on the link here, to my free chapter blog.  The images appear pretty tiny but you can click on them to enlarge.

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Christmas stories . . . in October? A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas, and Miracle & Other Stories by Connie Willis

I used to avoid seasonal books like the plague and some years I read hardly any (although I don't avoid them like the plague, anymore), but this year . . . well, I got suckered.  My F2F group leader asked me to come up with ideas for our December read.  Not one to go into such a request lightly, I asked for suggestions on Facebook and Twitter (my Facebook friends were the most helpful) then spent some time looking up Christmas reads on my own.  In the end, my group decided to read three stories from the same book we used last year.  

One could say, "Argh, what a waste of reading time!" But, no.  All three of the following books are really quite special, each in its own way.  I also have one Christmas e-book that I'll be touring, Lola's Secret.  We'll talk about that one when the time comes.  

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote was originally published in 1956 and is a classic that was not written for children, although it is marketed as such.  A Christmas Memory is exactly what the title makes it out to be, the short memoir of a Christmas in Alabama when Capote was seven years old and living with elderly, distant cousins -- one of whom, Miss Sook Faulk, was his only friend.  I have the copy pictured at left, with a CD narrated by Celeste Holm and watercolor illustrations by Beth Peck.  

A Christmas Memory tells about a simpler time, when most everything was handmade, possessions were few and creativity was a necessity.  As the story opens, Miss Sook declares that it's "fruitcake weather" and then she and the boy she calls "Buddy" gather the ingredients to make 30 fruitcakes.  There's a lot to making such a huge quantity of fruitcake.  All year long, the two must scrounge and work to save every penny they can, just to purchase the ingredients.  

There's a sweet scene involving the acquisition of whiskey and then they dance and drink the last of the whiskey when they've finished (earning a fierce chewing-out from the other relations).  Next up is finding a tree, making the decorations and decorating.  The dog, Queenie, tries to eat an angel.  Then, they make gifts for each other.  They have so little money that they make each other kites and on Christmas Day they go outside to fly them.

The story ends with Capote's reflection that after that Christmas he was forced to leave the house and friendship behind as he was sent to attend a succession of military schools.  He dearly missed Miss Sook.  Queenie's death and then the slow deterioration of Miss Sook are described with touching affection.  

A Christmas Memory is a tender, beautifully written, emotional story.  I can't recommend it enough. I liked the illustrations in the version I purchased and enjoyed listening to the CD that came with it, as well.

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas is also very short and, while marketed to children, it was the fact that several people wrote about the language being so lovely that they thought adults would appreciate it more than children that led to my choice to purchase the book.  

I was quite surprised to find that A Child's Christmas in Wales is actually quite funny.  The prose is definitely lyrical, which isn't surprising given the fact that Dylan Thomas was a poet.  Copyrighted in 1954, A Child's Christmas in Wales begins with the following sentence:

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.  

That made me laugh.  You can actually find the entire story online but I like the little book I bought.  It has lovely illustrations and it's worth hanging onto.  My copy was published by New Directions.  Highly Recommended.

In a slightly-related side note, Welsh author Simon Van Booy once told me his grandfather was Dylan Thomas's newsagent. The words "newsagent" and "Wales" paired together oddly make me crave the melty Welsh cheese I had in Llandudno, North Wales, many years ago.  

Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis caught my eye because it was not only close to the top of a list of recommended Christmas reads at Goodreads, but also happens to be a book by one of my favorite authors.  

Connie Willis is known as a sci-fi author, although at least one of the books I've read had more of a common scientific setting than the otherworldly type of location and storyline that typifies sci-fi.  

In Miracle and Other Christmas Stories, Willis shows off her knack for observing the absurdities of everyday life.  Some of the stories are humorous, some just a touch magical, one a time travel, one about possible alien invasion and one a mystery.  Willis said she wrote them with the goal of avoiding the usual sappy or depressing fare and I think she succeeded brilliantly.  I absolutely loved this book.  I had favorite stories, of course, but I really liked them all.  Again, Highly Recommended.  

So . . . even though it's only October and it seemed a little bizarre to sit down with Christmas stories, at first, I absolutely loved all three of the books in this post and plan to keep every one of them for rereading.  Usually, I just read Christmas stories and donate them, so that's a pretty unusual statement.  

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

The Lifeboat By Charlotte Rogan
Copyright 2012
Reagan Arthur Books - Historical Fiction
278 pp.

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan is a book I desired to read from the moment I heard about it on Twitter.  It took quite a while to get my hands on a copy and then I gave in to the urge to immediately read it.

It is 1914 and Grace Winter is on trial as The Lifeboat opens.  Why is she on trial?  You have to read about her experience to understand.  After an opening scene in the present, during her trial, the narration then shifts from present to past as Grace reflects upon her time in a lifeboat.  A newlywed, Grace and her husband Henry were on their way home to America from London when a mysterious explosion occurred, quickly sinking the boat.  Grace managed to find a slot on an overcrowded lifeboat; her husband remained behind.

With little water or food and too many people on the lifeboat, the passengers drift, hoping for rescue.  But, as days go by without the appearance of a ship, a power struggle develops and when a storm brews, their lives depend on reducing the number of people in the boat.

After telling the story of who lived and died on the lifeboat, the narration shifts back to present tense with an end to Grace's trial.

The cover flap says:

 "The Lifeboat is a masterful debut, a story of hard choices, ambition and endurance, narrated by a woman as complex and unforgettable as the events she describes."  

I'll agree with all that.  The Lifeboat is endlessly surprising, a harrowing, dramatic book both externally driven and emotionally complex.  I liked the historical setting -- after the Titanic, before the first world war and sinking of the Lusitania.  The Lifeboat is one of those books that makes you ponder, "What would I do in these circumstances?  Would I sacrifice myself or fight to survive?  Stay quiet or stand up and proclaim what I felt to be right or wrong?"  Recommended.  I can't say I loved Grace, and that is the only reason The Lifeboat doesn't get my highest recommendation.

Cover thoughts:  I love the cover!  I think it's absolutely beautiful.

Kitty fix:  Isabel on our new living room rug.  Kind of wild, isn't it?

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Three minis - Wait Till Helen Comes, The Man Who Never Was, and Ned Kelly & the City of the Bees by Hahn, Montagu and Keneally

I'm pairing up these three books for mini reviews because none of them are advance readers.  In fact, they're all pretty old.

Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn (originally published in 1986) is a book I purchased during a recent sale of Hahn's e-books for $1.99.  I've never read any of the author's creepy children's books, although I've desired to for a long time and decided reading a ghost story would be a great way to sneak in a little bit of RIP-like reading (I never did sign up for the challenge).

12-year-old Molly's family moves to a new house near a cemetery and her artist parents expect her and her brother Michael to bear responsibility for their 5-year-old stepsister, Heather.  Michael is a budding naturalist who disappears in search of specimens, leaving Molly to deal with a stepsister who wants to have nothing to do with her.  When a ghost named Helen appears and tries to lure Heather to her death (to keep Helen company in the afterlife), Molly's growing concerns are dismissed as irrational fears until disaster strikes.

Unfortunately, the Library Journal review at Amazon contains spoilers.  I thought that wouldn't be a problem but I was wrong.  The suspense simply wasn't there because I knew what was going to happen.  Still, I enjoy a good ghost story and was in the mood for something extremely light so I don't regret reading Wait Till Helen Comes.  The biggest problem I had with the story involved annoyance with the parents.  They were extraordinarily selfish, expecting a 12-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy to watch out for their little sister almost all day, every day.  Heather is a typical stepchild who feels like her father's affections have been stolen from her and she frequently slipped away from Molly.  Unsurprisingly, Molly didn't always bother attempting to keep an eye on her little stepsister. While I found the lack of parental involvement frustrating (although, I suppose, it's not that uncommon in books directed at children of that age), I enjoyed the story, in general and would recommend it.

I've already mentioned The Man Who Never Was by Ewen Montagu, but you must know the story behind this find.  I was in our former town to pay some bills and decided to take a trip to the library's perpetual sale corner because it had been a frustrating day and I always enjoy going to the Bookmark, even if I only end up wandering around and buying nothing. 

The Man Who Never Was caught my eye because it had that "old book" look that I adore.  I have a little row of old hardbacks in my bedroom.  Most of them are titles I'll read; a couple are just cool to look at.  I liked the looks of the cover and was a little stunned when I opened the book to find that it was about Operation Mincemeat - something I've desired to read more about, since I read the fictional tale about it: Operation Heartbreak by Duff Cooper (which apparently led to the request for Montagu to write about the facts of the operation for public clarification).  

For a whopping 25 cents, I came home with the true story of Operation Mincemeat, written by the man who came up with the idea.  It's only about 150 pages long and some people consider it dry.  For my part, I appreciated the "just the facts" approach and found it rather exciting.  Because Ewen Montagu proposed the idea, he describes the challenges of the mission: finding an appropriate body and getting permission to use it, where to place it in the water so that wind and tide would deposit the body in the right place, how to dress it and what documents to include with the body to make the fake documents meant to mislead the Germans appear real, and what they found out about the success of the mission after V-E Day.  It was a fantastic read, lots of photos were included and I read it in a single sitting.  Highly recommended to those interested in WWII in general or Operation Mincemeat, specifically.  My copy was published by J. P. Lippincott Company in 1954.  Near as I can tell, that publisher no longer exists.

Ned Kelly & the City of the Bees by Thomas Keneally caught my eye because of the name "Ned Kelly".  I've read very little about the Australian outlaw, but I desire to read more.  However, apart from a clever reference to the outlaw, the story is unrelated; this Ned Kelly is entirely fictional.  

Told as if the story happened to him when the narrator was a young boy, Ned reflects on the appendicitis that landed him in the hospital.  After receiving a shot to put him to sleep for surgery, he sees a bee on the window above his head.  The bee talks to him, shrinks him down to bee size and he and another miniaturized child (Nancy Clancy, who appears to be the same age as Ned but is actually 120 years old) go to live in a bee hive for the summer.

Ned Kelly & the City of the Bees is a wildly creative story, beautifully written, which nicely imparts plenty of interesting information about bees.  It would make an excellent book to read to children who are patient enough to sit still through chapter books read by parents or for children old enough to read chapter books on their own (Amazon says, "ages 9 and up" but mine would have read it at 7 or 8).  Highly recommended. I'm a little disappointed to find that Ned Kelly & the City of the Bees is Thomas Keneally's only children's book, but he's written a large number of fiction and nonfiction books and I've yet to read Schindler's List, so I have plenty of other Keneally books to look into.  My copy was published by David R. Godine in 1995.  I thought the storytelling was excellent, enough to look into the publishing company's other offerings.  I checked out David R. Godine's informational page and was also impressed with their goal to produce quality books (acid free, some hardbacks still bound by cloth) of eclectic variety.  I'll be spending some time reading about this publisher's titles.

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

11/22/63 by Stephen King
Copyright 2012
Gallery Books - Fiction/Time Travel
849 pages

I need to get going on reviews and 11/22/63 is the freshest in my mind, so I'm just going to start there and work hard at emptying that messy sidebar.

Everyone surely knows what 11/22/63 is about, right?  If not, the short version is, "Guy who is dying recruits high school English teacher to finish the job he is unable to complete: Save Kennedy from assassination by traveling through a time portal that leads to a specific date in 1958."  Upon every return to the past, history is reset and anything the time traveler has accomplished is undone.  When the time traveler returns to the present, a mere 2 seconds have passed -- regardless of how long he spent in the past.

My thoughts: 

I'm not as thrilled with 11/22/63 as most people.  I enjoyed it but I thought it dragged a bit and I can't say I was in love with either Jake or the love of his life, Sadie.  Stephen King lived through this time in history and I've been told it's spot on, as far as lingo.  But, I was a little bemused by the amount of swearing.  Would Sadie not have called him on his frequent use of the F-word?  I didn't think it was so common back then.  That was my only real complaint, though, apart from what I considered pointless love scenes.  There was never a time that I felt like giving up on the book, so it must have been compelling enough.  I really only loved the last 150 pages or so, but you really have to read the entire book to get to the exciting part and make sense of it.

The bottom line:

Liked it; didn't love it.  Good storytelling, a bit too detailed for me in some regards but with an incredibly exciting ending.  Since I never felt all that much love for the two characters in the romantic subplot, what may be an emotional ending to a lot of people just didn't resonate with me.  There were definitely things I related to and enjoyed; I love time travel and I thought King's unique spin on the butterfly effect and the "rabbit hole" (time portal) was creative and plausible.  I did think he tried a little too hard to be clever with word play and sometimes that got on my nerves.

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Malarkey

Happy Monday!  I had a 4-day weekend that began with a run to the old homestead to pick up some planters we left behind, zip around town trying to get my address changed and bills paid (two did not arrive, this month), visit old neighbors and my former personal trainer and eat lunch with the husband.  That was just Thursday!  The rest of the "weekend" began on Friday with a trip to Oxford to visit Kiddo.  We took the futon to his apartment because the poor fellow had only a rocking chair and a beanbag in his tiny living area.  Visitors had to sprawl on the floor. He's very happy to have some decent seating.  

Saturday, we ran to Memphis to meet up with Eldest for lunch (he was in town for a wedding) and do some critical shopping, including the search for a new, padded desk chair for Kiddo (success!).  His other chair was a wreck and very uncomfortable.  It didn't take much complaining to convince me that we needed to find a solution.  I think we've got Kiddo's home away from home pretty well kitted out, now.  We stayed with him both Friday and Saturday night and discovered you quickly figure out what your child needs when you spend the night at his place.  

I think I forgot to mention that this book arrived for TLC Tour, last week:

On the other hand, maybe I did mention it.  At any rate, we're excited about it and have already cooked one recipe, "Heavenly Salmon Salad".   It was absolutely amazing.  

Here are this week's arrivals and purchases (in front of a pile that I unfortunately misplaced for a month -- I have some serious ARC catch-up to do):

Top to bottom:

Ned Kelly & the City of the Bees by Thomas Keneally - purchased at Burke's Books in Memphis
The Girl Below by Bianca Zander - from Paperback Swap
Soldiers - Fighting Men's Lives: 1901-2001 by Philip Ziegler - purchased at Burke's Books 
The Man Who Never Was by Ewen Montagu - Extremely exciting library sale discovery
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver - ARC for review from Harper
Sixties: Years of Hope, Years of Rage by Todd Gitlin - Library sale purchase
On Prejudice: A Global Perspective ed. by Daniela Gioseffi - Library sale purchase
Wildflower by Mark Seal - Library sale purchase

Not pictured: 

Collected Ghost Stories by M. R. James - Another library sale find

Totally out of order:  

A photo of moi driving past Sun Records in Memphis.  Note the tourists snapping pics on the sidewalk.

The Monday Malarkey photo at the top of this post shows my new goat sculpture, which I purchased at our favorite produce stand -- to which we are now much closer in proximity (squee!) -- standing in one of our planters.  Below, the same planter about a week later.  Our broccoli is growing like crazy!  We've also planted mums, an aster, salvia (to draw the hummingbirds), basil and cauliflower.  Some pansies and a new gerbera daisy are waiting to be planted.  

Some day I'll finish the whopper of a chunkster pictured below, but it's taking me so long that I set it aside to read two of my purchases, this weekend.  

I read The Man Who Never Was (about WWII's Operation Mincemeat) and Ned Kelly & the City of the Bees (a children's book about a boy who goes into the hospital with appendicitis and ends up spending the summer in a bee hive -- apparently based on a hallucination the author had when he went into the hospital at the age of 10). Kiddo does not have a TV, which made for quiet evenings with plenty of reading time.  Both books were quick reads and very, very enjoyable.

You can imagine how much I appreciated Vice President Joe Biden's use of the word "malarkey" in last week's televised debate.  I think the word needs to be used as often as possible.  I just do. 

Since I didn't have time to load a Fiona Friday pic, here's your kitty fix: 

How was your week?

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Tuesday Twaddle

I just had an epiphany, this week.  When I mention books that have "walked in" (aka, arrivals), it never occurs to me to mention e-books.  I purchased one e-book and downloaded one for tour, but I probably will continue to forget to mention them because you can't stack e-books in a convenient location to remind yourself what you acquired.  This week, I will definitely mention them.

New arrivals, the past week:

Lola's Secret by Monica McInerney - e-book for TLC tour, requested because it's a Christmas book and I'm reading as many as I can to help me come up with decent suggestions for my F2F group's December meeting.
Jamie Oliver's Great Britain by Jamie Oliver - also for TLC tour
When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald - from Harper It for review
Among the Missing by Dan Chaon - purchased at my local secondhand bookstore . . . which, unfortunately, was a pretty big disappointment, otherwise.
Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn - e-book purchased because I felt like a quick, creepy read.
11/22/63 by Stephen King - an impulse purchase

General Twaddle About My Week:

  • This week I discovered I was definitely not meant to be a librarian.  I've been shelving my books by category, as we unpack.  I've got at least the following categories and then some:  YA, history, historical fiction, WWII (both NF and F, mixed together), short stories, poetry, classics, sci-fi, science, travel and travel memoirs (but I have an entire separate shelf dedicated to books about France and/or set in Paris and an entire shelf of memoirs), psychology, law, Christian/inspirational/spiritual, writing, literature studies, writing reference, books about reading or with bookish subject matter, "potentially fluffy" and "I'm not sure how to categorize this".  
  • We don't necessarily have to go to the big city to do city-related errands.  There is a tiny town we can go to, instead. I drove there to do some banking and scout out the courthouse, this week.  I'm familiar with the town but I hadn't paid much attention to the courthouse.  It's beautiful!  You can park to the side, where there is a row of towering pecan trees and an iron fence covered in lichen.  
  • It is acting like autumn, although our leaves are not yet turning.  We're enjoying the cool air and have begun taking daily walks through our neighborhood.  It's truly exciting to finally live in a subdivision with sidewalks in a city with leash laws that are enforced!
  • The photo of squash at the top of this post was taken at a produce stand we love.  We've only been there a few times, in the past, but it's been a favorite place since we discovered it on the way to a swim meet.  We're thrilled to be 30 miles closer to one of our old favorite haunts!

Random conversation with husband:

Me:  "I was thinking maybe we could make a pumpkin man.  You know, like a snowman but with 3 pumpkins stacked on top of each other, instead of balls of snow?"
Husband:  "Nancy, this is a nice neighborhood."
Me:  "But, we don't have snow, so . . ."
Husband:  ". . . "

Reading update:

I have been an ADD reader, this week.  I set aside the books I was reading last week and started 11/22/63 practically the moment I brought it home.  But, I haven't gotten far because I keep picking up other books.  I read the first story in Miracle and Other Stories by Connie Willis, this weekend (loved it).  And, then I downloaded my creepy e-book, Wait Till Helen Comes, and read that at once.  I finished Lola's Secret (a November tour book) and read maybe 25 pages of Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure.  I can't remember if I finished The Lifeboat this past week or the week before, but it kept my attention long enough to complete.  That's saying something, I suppose.  I also read Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory.


I've been bad, haven't I?

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

September Photo Challenge, Part 2

A few more photos, just for grins, and then back to book chatter.   I loaded these all out of order -- still figuring out how to work with the updated Blogger platform -- and am just going to leave them as they loaded to save time.  

#21. Sometimes . . . I eat my husband's pistachios (at least, he claims they're his)

#24. Three things
 #28.  A good thing (according to Fiona, an ear-rubbing is a very fine thing)

#23. Before bedtime - Obviously a stretch.  I was unloading photo albums in our new "library" before bedtime and came across a photo I took of Douglas Adams at a reading in Ann Arbor (in 1989).

#18.  Price (x4)

#19.  Underneath.  You can tell how much Isabel appreciated this one!

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

September Photo Challenge, Part 1

I joined in on the FatMumSlim photo challenge in September.  Although I didn't manage to do every day's challenge, thanks to the whole moving business (which is continuing to munch and swallow my time), I really enjoyed the way it made me think about new subject matter to photograph.  I'm not going to share them all, but I have enough to divide a selection into two posts.  More to come, probably tomorrow.

#1. Me, now.

#4.  In my mailbox

#7.  Natural - Two kitty pics in natural light; nose focus on the left and eyeball focus on the right.

#10. Black + White

#12. Together (sky, tree and cardinal together)

#14. Favorite (Favorite thing husband brought home from the UK)

#15. First thing I see. The first thing I see when I turn on my iPad is a photo I took in London.

#16.  Strange.  Kitty licking fairy dust.

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Fiona Friday - My little helpers

I've been working on unpacking books in our "library", this week.  I have assistants, of course.  They're always willing to help.

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Monday Malarkey - The "OMG, look at all those books" edition

As far as I know, the following photos include most, if not all, the books I've received since we moved in July, excluding any I may have already reviewed (and possibly a few that arrived at the old house, which I may have neglected writing about 'cause I've been a bit overwhelmed, here).

Photo 1 - Children's Books for review (I'll be doing a "Children's Day", this week soon):

Puff the Magic Dragon by Yarrow, Lipton & Puybaret - from Sterling Kids
Who's Looking at You? by Stephane Frattini - from Sterling Kids
Tushes and Tails by Stephane Frattini - from Sterling Kids
Are You My Friend, Today? by Fujikawa - from Sterling Kids
Being Frank by Earnhardt & Castellani - from Flashlight Press

Photo 2 - Christmas Books, all purchased by me (any other suggestions for quick, holiday reading worth discussing are welcome - I'm checking out a number of Christmas books because I've been asked to choose my F2F group's December holiday read):

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas
Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis

Not pictured:  Lola's Secret by Monica McInerney, an e-galley for tour with TLC Book Tours from Ballantine Books

Photo 3 - Miscellaneous arrivals:

Lucy by Ellen Feldman - from my wonderful friend, Paula
Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin - a win from Southern Festival of Books (via Facebook)

Photo 4 - Paperback Swap arrivals:

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
French Leave by Anna Gavalda
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (for F2F discussion in Oct.)
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
The List by Martin Fletcher

And, a few for review.  I can see that I overlooked a few that I set by the bed.

Photo 4 - for review: 

The Longest Way Home by Andrew McCarthy - from Free Press
Comet's Tale by Steven D. Wolf w/L. Padwa - from Algonquin Books
A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell - from Sourcebooks
The Amish Family Cookbook by Jerry & Tina Eicher - for FirstWild Card Tour

Not pictured:

The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro - from Algonquin Books
Following Atticus by Tom Ryan - from Wm Morrow
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron - from Scholastic Press via Shelf Awareness
The White Forest by Adam McOmber - from Touchstone

Now you understand the subject line, eh?  :)  Some of the review books were unsolicited but I plan to read them all.

©2012 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.