It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

March 24, 2014 Books, Meme 9

Blah. Blah, blah, blah.

This is the weekend I had. Very blah. My son woke up at 1:00ish Saturday morning throwing up. And he just kept one throwing up. All Saturday morning, into Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, Sunday morning, and Sunday afternoon. He finally stopped after lunch but I can tell even now after just haven’t woken him up Monday morning that he still feels poorly.

Plus, I know because I caught it too.

So, blah. Plus, someone got ahold of my husband’s debit card number and lifted a SUBSTANTIAL amount of money from our bank account Friday. After the trip to Texas last week and that, I wanted a quiet weekend at home, BUT NOT LIKE THIS.

So, in between trips to the bathroom with the boy (who knew a boy could throw up that much) and for myself and just leaving the hubby alone to suffer (such a baby), I did get a bit of reading done. I finished The House Girl, which I’m reading with Andi and for Kelly’s Fellowship of the Worms March pick. More on that later.

I finished Y the Last Man Deluxe Volume 2 and all I can say on that is How Soon Have Volume 3 get here? Oh, wait, I have to buy it, right? AND I HAVE NO MONEY.

*sigh*

Okay, I’m stop wallowing.

Today, since I called in, I’ve been napping and reading The Woodcutter by Kate Danley. It’s a nice, quick read that was about all I could concentrate on right now. The writing is quite lovely and it’s all fairy tales, which is so my bag baby.

After this, I plan to start listening to Princesses Behaving Badly while I (hopefully) find it in me to do some laundry. There is so much laundry. Then maybe one of my Once Upon a Time or Spring Reads will call to me. I’m very fickle right now. I can’t tell you how many books I went through before The Woodcutter caught my fancy.

Happy Monday and have a great reading week!

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Once Upon a Time VIII

March 22, 2014 Books 9

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Spring. It is in the air. Well, at least that is what is on the calendar. The rumor around here is that Winter is going to make a couple more last stands before it’s all said and done and I am NOT happy about that. I am ready for leaves, vines to curl from the ground, the smell of freshly mowed grass, dogwood blossoms, and to put my seedlings in the ground. Winter, you can kiss it.

With Spring comes one of my very favorite reading events; Once Upon a Time, hosted by the wonderful Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings. I’m pretty sure I have participated in this event every year since it’s inception and have loved it from the first moment. So you know I can’t miss this. If you haven’t heard of it, visit Carl’s blog for more info (and hey! Sign up! Join me!). Here are the two Quests I will be partaking in:

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Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time categories. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.

  • It’s time to reread some Patrick Rothfuss. I will either read or listen to The Wise Man’s Fear and hope and pray book 3 comes out VERY, VERY SOON.
  • I’d like to read the second book in the Howl’s Moving Castle series by Diana Wynne Jones; Castle in the Air.
  • I’d also really like to get started on the second book in the Songs of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin;
  • I want to reread Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, which is really duking it out for my favorite ADULT Gaiman book. I don’t think it can beat The Graveyard Book as my FAVORITE Gaiman (but honestly, it is close).
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making by Cathrynne Valente. This WILL BE THE YEAR I finally read this book!
  • Other possibilities include Among Others by Jo Walton, Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (no, still haven’t read it), Interworld and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, Temereraire by Naomi Novik, and A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle. And many others. Many, many others.

This quest involves the reading of one or more short stories that fit within at least one of the four genres during the course of any weekend, or weekends, during the challenge. Ideally you would post about your short story readings on Sundays or Mondays, but this is not strictly necessary.

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  • Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, edited by Ellen Datlow
  • Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales, since I picked up a GORGEOUS edition in Texas
  • Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories by Angela Carter
  • The Secret History of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle

Are you planning to join in? Have any books you can recommend?

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News of a Capricious Sort

March 21, 2014 Books, News 4

News of a capricious sort

Oh my goodness y’all, but have I got some news and stuffs for you today!

«« Firstly, and you totally have to be a 80s child to get this, THEY ARE MAKING A JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS MOVIE. *gasp* I just can’t even y’all. I just can’t. I seriously loved me some Jem and the Holograms when I was a wee one. And by wee I mean like 7 or 8 so you cannot hold my taste against me.

«« Getting my geek on! MST3K is coming back! But to National Geographic?

«« Woman Authors You Need to Read from Every Genre. Several of these sound FAB-U-LOUS.

«« The Ten Most Annoying teenagers from books. Do you agree? I’m totally with them on Holden Caulfield. He’s the reason I can’t read that book. And of course Bella from Twilight is a shoe in. Who would you add? Who would you take away?

«« Humble Bumble has a great ebook Bundle (whew that’s hard to say) going on right now! I loved Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and Title by Holly Black. Plus there is some of Wil Wheaton’s work included. Pay enough and you can get Cory Doctorow’s Homeland (sequel to Little Brother), read by Wil Wheaton!!

«« This is awesome. Here is lovely old advisory from William Matthews Bookseller. Doesn’t tell you how to close it though. (From Cory Doctorow via Boing Boing.)

«« Feeling the need to get as far away from Winter as you can and find some Spring? Look no further than these 8 Rejuvenating Books according to the Huffington Post.

«« Last one, I swear. I’m two weeks behind! I haven’t read Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, but this article TOTALLY made me want to. Geek Love at 25: How a Freak Family Inspired Your Pop Culture Heroes.

«« Okay, really lastly. I just discovered this band this week and they have THE BEST name. American Authors – Best Day of My Life:

Happy Friday!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 TBR List

March 18, 2014 Meme 13

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When Spring comes around (you ARE coming around, right Spring?), my thoughts turn to dirt. Plants. Flowers. Vegetables and fruits. Manure. Yes, even manure.

My thoughts turn to gardening! And every Spring, I try to read a few books with the feel of Spring to them, so this topic suits me perfectly! Here are some of the books I hope to read this Spring.

1. The Curious Gardener by Anna Pavord – sounds so good!

In The Curious Gardener, Anna Pavord brings together in 12 chapters – one from each month of the year – 72 pieces on all aspects of gardening.

From what to do in each month and how to get the best from flowers, plants, herbs, fruit and vegetables, through reflections on the weather, soil, the English landscape and favourite old gardening clothes, to office greenery, spring in New York, waterfalls, Derek Jarman and garden design, Anna Pavord always has something interesting to say and says it with great style and candour.

The perfect book to guide you through the gardening year and, on days when the weather keeps the most courageous gardener indoors, the perfect book to curl up with beside the fire.

2. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver – I reread this every couple of years. I’m due.

Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life–vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

3. The Garden of Reading edited by Michele Slung – My dear friend Debi gave me this ages ago. It sounds so awesome; not sure why I haven’t read it yet! Except the usual reasons.

 With selections grown from the fertile imaginations of the twentieth century’s most remarkable authors, editor and writer Michele Slung has assembled an enchanting and evocative anthology—the word itself comes from the Greek terms for “flower” and “to gather”—of short stories about gardens and all that grow in them.

The gardeners here are young and old, male and female, and the gardens themselves are a delightful mix of the formal and the wild. The twenty-four stories in The Garden of Reading comprise a diverse and unexpected collection but one that stays true to its central and harmonious theme. Included are Colette’s sensuous “Grape Harvest,” David Guterson’s poignant “The Flower Garden,” Stephen King’s sinister “The Lawnmower Man,” J. G. Ballard’s lovely and otherworldy “The Garden of Time,” the ominous “Green Thoughts” by John Collier, Rosamunde Pilcher’s touching and simply titled “The Tree,” and the splendid “The Fig Tree,” by V. S. Pritchett—as well as classics from such masters as Saki, Robert Graves, and Eudora Welty, and contemporary writing from the likes of Sandra Cisneros and Garrison Keillor.

If you’ve ever nurtured a flower, a tomato plant, or a gleam of imagination, there’s something in The Garden of Reading that is sure to delight.

4. A Farm Dies Once a Year by Arlo Crawford – Came home from Texas to find this beauty on my porch. Yep, I’m a happy girl!

An intimate, gorgeously observed memoir about family and farming that forms a powerful lesson in the hard-earned risks that make life worth living

The summer he was thirty-one, Arlo Crawford returned home for the summer harvest at New Morning Farm—seventy-five acres tucked in a hollow in south-central Pennsylvania where his parents had been growing organic vegetables for almost forty years.

Like many summers before, Arlo returned to the family farm’s familiar rhythms—rise, eat, bend, pick, sort, sweat, sleep. But this time he was also there to change his direction, like his father years ago. In the 1970s, well before the explosion of the farm-to-table and slow food movement, Arlo’s father, Jim, left behind law school and Vietnam, and decided to give farming a try. Arlo’s return also prompts a reexamination of a past tragedy: the murder of a neighboring farmer twenty years before. A chronicle of one full season on a farm, with all its small triumphs and inevitable setbacks, A Farm Dies Once a Year is a meditation on work—the true nature of it, and on taking pride in it—and a son’s reckoning with a father’s legacy. Above all, it is a striking portrait of how one man builds, sows, and harvests his way into a new understanding of the risks necessary to a life well-lived

5. Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler – I’m totally cheating here because yes, I’m reading this now. But one of the characters is a farmer, so I made it fit. Becaus I can do that.

Hank, Leland, Kip and Ronny were all born and raised in the same Wisconsin town — Little Wing — and are now coming into their own (or not) as husbands and fathers. One of them never left, still farming the family’s land that’s been tilled for generations. Others did leave, went farther afield to make good, with varying degrees of success; as a rock star, commodities trader, rodeo stud. And seamlessly woven into their patchwork is Beth, whose presence among them—both then and now—fuels the kind of passion one comes to expect of love songs and rivalries.

Now all four are home, in hopes of finding what could be real purchase in the world. The result is a shared memory only half-recreated, riddled with culture clashes between people who desperately wish to see themselves as the unified tribe they remember, but are confronted with how things have, in fact, changed.

There is conflict here between longtime buddies, between husbands and wives — told with writing that is, frankly, gut-wrenching, and even heartbreaking. But there is also hope, healing, and at times, even heroism. It is strong, American stuff, not at all afraid of showing that we can be good, too — not just fallible and compromising. Shotgun Lovesongs is a remarkable and uncompromising saga that explores the age-old question of whether or not you can ever truly come home again — and the kind of steely faith and love returning requires

6. Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart – Just read the description. Doesn’t it sound awesome?

A tree that sheds poison daggers; a glistening red seed that stops the heart; a shrub that causes paralysis; a vine that strangles; and a leaf that triggered a war. In “Wicked Plants,” Stewart takes on over two hundred of Mother Nature s most appalling creations. It s an A to Z of plants that kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend. You ll learn which plants to avoid (like exploding shrubs), which plants make themselves exceedingly unwelcome (like the vine that ate the South), and which ones have been killing for centuries (like the weed that killed Abraham Lincoln’s mother).

Menacing botanical illustrations and splendidly ghastly drawings create a fascinating portrait of the evildoers that may be lurking in your own backyard. Drawing on history, medicine, science, and legend, this compendium of bloodcurdling botany will entertain, alarm, and enlighten even the most intrepid gardeners and nature lovers.

7. Elizabeth and her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim – I’ve been slacking off on my classic reading. I need to fix this.

Elizabeth and Her German Garden was the first book published by author Elizabeth Von Arnim. Originally published in 1898, the semi-autobiographical novel written about a rural idyll became a highly successful book which was subsequently reprinted twenty-one times within its first year. This witty and sarcastic novel has kept the attention of readers for over a century, and once you read this title for the first time, you will be unable to stop rereading it for many years to come.

8. Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen - This is just on here because I really want to read it.

Jobless with a PhD, Lee Lien returns home to her Chicago suburb from grad school, only to find herself contending with issues she’s evaded since college. But when her brother disappears, he leaves behind an
object from their mother’s Vietnam past that stirs up a forgotten childhood dream: a gold-leaf brooch, abandoned by an American reporter in Saigon back in 1965, that might be an heirloom belonging to Laura Ingalls Wilder. As Lee explores the tenuous facts of this connection, she unearths more than expected—a trail of clues and enticements that lead her from the dusty stacks of library archives to hilarious prairie life reenactments and ultimately to San Francisco, where her findings will transform strangers’ lives as well as her own.

A dazzling literary mystery about the true origins of a time-tested classic, Pioneer Girl is also the deeply moving tale of a second-generation Vietnamese daughter, the parents she struggles to honor, the missing brother she is expected to bring home—even as her discoveries yield dramatic insights that will free her to live her own life to its full potential.

9. Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One’s Own by Jenna Woginrich –

Whether they’re about raising chickens or herding sheep, the tales of Jenna Woginrich have caught the imagination of thousands of young homesteaders. As she learns traditional farming skills by trial and error, Woginrich records her offbeat observations and poignant moments with honesty, humility, and humor.

In BarnHeart, she lands at a small rented farm and struggles to find her place in a reserved rural community filled with working farmers who are scraping by and wealthy vacation-home owners with fancy barns that never house livestock. Although her barnheart — a term Woginrich coins to describe her state of longing for a farm of her own — never subsides, she makes do on her rented farmstead, caring for her sheep, chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits, a goat, and a turkey, until relationships sour and she’s abruptly forced to leave. Where will she and her animals go? Will she finally be able to afford the farm she’s always dreamed of?

Even when dealing with cranky neighbors, small-town politics, and the loneliness that comes with running a farm on her own, Woginrich never loses her sense of humor. Readers will recognize themselves and find inspiration in this appealing story of longing and striving for a more authentic life.

10. At Home on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball – Well huh. I just found out this is a sequel. I gues I need to get A Year on Ladybug Farm first!

From the award-winning author of A Year on Ladybug Farm comes the continuing story of three women who learn what it takes to turn a house into a home.

A year after taking the chance of a lifetime, Cici, Lindsay, and Bridget are still trying to make a home for themselves on the newly-renovated Ladybug Farm. Life in the Shenandoah Valley is picturesque, but filled with unexpected trials? such as the introduction of two young people into the ordered life the women have tried to build for themselves.

As the walls of the old house reveal their secrets and the lives of those who have gone before begin to unfold, the cobbled-together household starts to disintegrate into chaos. And when one of their members is threatened by a real crisis, they must all come together to fight for the roots they’ve laid down, the hopes they share, and the family they’ve become.

What are you planning to read this Spring?
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To My Dear Mrs. Dunn,

March 16, 2014 Books 20

estellasrevenge_on_Instagram 3I’m not sure I can adequately express what’s in my heart tonight. I just left you this morning; me on my way home and you off on your honeymoon (phase 1) with your awesome husband. (OMG, husband!!!) While I am so very happy to be home, home to the rolling hills and huge trees of North Carolina, a part of my heart stayed behind in Texas.

I got to meet my bestest friend ever and I had to leave her behind.

I admit it; I was nervous. We’ve talked for almost 14 years and never talked. I’ve heard your voice, you’ve heard mine, but we had never TALKED to each other. Not on the phone, not on Skype, nothing. We’ve emailed like crazy, we’ve text each other like mad, we’ve done everything BUT talk to each other. So I was nervous. Would I still be able to talk to you? Would I feel awkward? Or worse, would we not get along at all?

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Nothing could have been further from the truth. From the start, you and David treated Aaron and I like the long lost friends we thankfully are. During a week that should have been spent catching up with family, wrapping up the final details for your wedding, and trying to chill, you escorted us around Dallas, showing us the sites (and the bookstores!) and making sure we had the best food. You took me along to get your dress (hello! getting to know you!). You made appointments for me to get my hair done, nails done…you included me like I was one of the family. Good grief, you baked me a freaking cake the night before your wedding!!! David was completely awesome making my poor hubby, who literally only knew me and a little bit about you feel completely welcome and a part of things too. (Hello, stand in best man!) Like I’ve always said; that guy is a keeper!

I can’t begin to tell you how incredibly honored I was to be one of your (awesome) matrons of honor. To know I was standing there with a friend you’ve known in real life for most of your life, and know you see us as equals in your life, gave me an amazing feeling. Internet friends forever!

Sitting here writing this, I am reminded again of how much I wish we lived closer to each other. It was so much fun learning new things about you, getting to know David and your awesome mom, and meeting ALL the puppies. Give them all a tummy rub for me. Well, just give David and Pam a hug.

Thank you again for the awesome week. Aaron and I hope we get to reciprocate someday soon! Love you!

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Leaving on a jet plane!

March 12, 2014 Books 14

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That’s my best friend. Isn’t she adorable?

I am leaving this morning, going to meet my best friend Andi for the first time!!! I know, that sounds weird, but it’s true. She wrote up a nice, lovely post about our history, so instead of rehashing, I’m just going to direct you there. Come right back though!

There. All caught up? Great!

We have been through SOOOOO many shenanigans together. So when Andi asked me to be one of her matrons of honor, what could I say? After the ARE YOU SUREs? I of course said YES! Many months later, here I am. Heading to Dallas Texas. To say I cannot wait would be a MAJORLY HUGE understatement.

So stay tuned. To my blog, to her blog, to our Twitters, Instagrams, and Facebook. This is going to be the meet up to beat all meet ups. Word.

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Top Ten Tuesday – All Time Favorite Books in the X Genre

March 11, 2014 Meme 9

So. I was tempted to do fantasy, but I feel like I’ve talked about that enough lately. Then I thought I would do graphic novels, but that felt like overkill after Comics February. So, I’m going with historical fiction. Once a favorite genre of mine, it is one I burned out on about ten years ago when it was the only thing I could read when I was pregnant with my daughter. Still, the occasional gem worms it’s way into my sights and reminds me that I do adore a good historical fiction book. Here are ten of my favorites. I just finished I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe, which helped in my decision to pick this genre.

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  1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak of course. The first of several Holocaust books I’m sure.
  2. The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George. My first, and so far only, MG book. They are so huge, but also, at least that one was, so worth it.
  3. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber. Epic. It’s just epic. Best word for it. It’s huge and sprawling and nasty, and Dickensian and magnificent.
  4. The True Story of Hansel and Gretel: A Novel of War and Survival by Louise Murphy. Saddest book ever. OMG the cries. OMG the love. I LOVED this book and am not sure why I haven’t reread it. Except for maybe the cries. But oh so good.
  5. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier. As a child, I was fascinated by dinosaurs, even though that wasn’t the typical “girl” thing to be interested in, at least in my neck of the woods. There is something validating about reading a book about women fascinated by fossils and discovery and seeing how they shake up their world while they are at it.
  6. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Oh, the sobs. Oh, the pain. Oh, the love. The love, the love, the love.
  7. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Of course. Jamie has my literary heart.
  8. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I did not expect to like this, let alone love it. There was too much hype, there was a movie, there were Academy Awards…then I listened to it. For once, the hype was right.
  9. Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis. I cannot sing this novels’ praises enough!! And oh my gosh, I want a copy with that cover. Mare is rockin’ in that cover!
  10. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Another epic read. I think this may be the first huge historical novel I lost myself in, unless you count Mists of Avalon. Such a magnificent book.
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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

March 10, 2014 Books, Meme 6

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Hey! Guess what? I AM LEAVING FOR TEXAS IN TWO DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!

*squeal*

Honestly, I’m amazed I’m reading at all. I have so many things on my mind. What to pack? What to do? How many more clothes to wash? How to get my hubby to get the suitcases from the attic? (I only asked him to do it three days ago!) How much I’m going to cry when I finally meet my Andi? How am I going to get my dress to Texas with minimal wrinkling? What am I going to do about my poor daughter who can barely stand that we’re leaving for four nights? She’s already in tears most of the time and being all clingy. 

I see a lot of Facetime/Skyping in my future for sure.

Oh yes, reading. Right. Amazingly, I AM DOING THIS. A little bit.  I had an incredibly busy weekend of washing clothes and stuff. Friday night I finished I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe (amazingly with few tears). Twas SO GOOD. Then Monday morning, while a load of clothes were washing, I started Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. You may remember I said I was going to make friends with her this year. Well halleluah! We did it. I zipped through about half of that book yesterday, despite laundry, TWO BIRTHDAY PARTIES, AND two naps. Yes, I had two naps. Daylight Savings Time kills me. I woke up late today.

Whoa nelly. Books. Right. I read almost half of Howl yesterday. AND I LOVE IT.

I’ve been listening to Shotgun Lovesongs in the car during my commute. I’m amazed to find that I am about halfway through the book, when I feel like I’m barely into the story. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to take a break from it since it’s on CD and I won’t be back until Sunday AND I’m too lazy to burn it and put it on my phone. Don’t let this attitude influence your thinking on the book; I’m always too lazy to burn things to put on my phone.

I started Y: The Last Man Deluxe Edition 2 Friday night. I didn’t get very far into it, but I can tell it’s just as exciting as the first one. I said I wasn’t going to take any books with me to Texas (wah? I mean actual made out of paper books. My iPad is DEFINITELY going with me and therefore over 200 books. You can breathe now.) but Y may make the trip if I don’t finish it by Wednesday.

Honestly, I haven’t touched Queen and Country since February. I am not sure what this means. I was enjoying it, but am not feeling particularly motivated to pick it up. Maybe after Texas.

TEXAS!! And my Andi! In TWO DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eeek!!!

Have a great week everyone!

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Hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.

 

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