40 Things (36)

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Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 36:

36) A favourite book recommended by another book blogger

Well, since almost all the books on my TBR list come from book blogs or newsletters, it would be hard to choose just one!  But a recent favorite was the book “Attachments.”  I raved about it in a previous post, but it was just so clever and unique.  It will rank up there as one of my favorites of 2011.

#36 on my list was: Go to an Opera.  So I did!  My list-making compatriot, Deadra, and I looked at the Minnesota Opera schedule and chose a more comedic story to go see.  In November of 2007 we saw L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers).  It was fun to get dressed up and go to the Ordway and the show was a lot of fun, too.  It’s a long and complicated plot (you can read elsewhere) but it was not difficult to follow.  We had great seats, but not for opera.  We were close to the stage.  Lesson learned:  When you go to the opera, you want to sit NOT in the front rows so that you can better read the subtitles being projected above the stage!  We still did all right, as I said, but next time I’ll look for different seats!  Good times!

Off to read!

40 Things (35)

Title page of first edition of Anna Karenina
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Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 35 –

35) The longest book I have ever read

Once again, I am so thankful for Goodreads.  It was easy to look up the number of pages in several books that I have read.  If I had to guess without looking, I would guess that even the abridged version of “War and Peace” that I read in1994 was probably one of the longest books I’ve ever read.  The full version of the translated book clocks in at almost 1400 pages.  Yikes.  Looking at some of the big books that I’ve read, I noticed that I have listened to some of my lengthier books on audio – “Fountainhead,” “Jane Eyre,” and the Harry Potter books rank up there (The Half Blood Prince is 652 pages).  I guess the number of discs included and hours required doesn’t intimidate!  A few summers ago I read “East of Eden,” (600 pages) and loved it.

And today’s the perfect day to announce that I am participating in an “Anna Karenina” readalong with Wallace at Unputdownables, which starts this weekend, I believe!  Wallace is mailing me the Penguin classic version, which clocks in at 817 pages, and I’ll keep you posted on my progress – or sign up yourself, if you’re up to the challenge!  I’m excited to read this, especially with others, because a movie will be released in 2012 starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law.  There are many versions of the movie out there, so it will be fun to watch some of them after I’ve finished the readalong.  Love me some books and movies!

#35 on my list of things to do: Sing a solo in a concert.  In the fall of 2006 (after my daughter went to college!) a small group of us organized an adult choir to sing showtunes and other fun music.  We are still together, meeting weekly and doing little “gigs” in lots of different places in SE Minnesota.  I used to sing solos a lot as a child/teen and I was the mother in “Cheaper By the Dozen” musical, so it isn’t too far of a reach to sing a solo at a concert, but it had been years since I had, and the nerves were still there.  🙂 At our spring concert in 2007 I sang a song called “Crossword Puzzle” from a little known musical and it was great fun.  In 2009 I sang another solo called “The Hostess with the Mostes’,” also a lot of fun.  I love to sing and may even look for another choir to join in addition to “my” current choir!

Off to read!

40 Things (34)


Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 34:

34) A book I wish I had written

Hmmm.  Good question.  I wish I could write any book that is fun, intelligent, and succinctly written.  I love words, especially well-chosen and clever words.  And I love books that leave you with a smile on your face and a lingering good feeling.  I haven’t ever written a story before, but I have written some poems, song lyrics (adapted to familiar tunes), and some good haikus.  I’ve written long, rambling letters and cute, pithy slogans. But what do I wish I could write?  I guess this is worth more consideration, as I’d love to write something, and at this point I’m happy with blogging.

#34 of my list was: Eat more ethnic foods.  And so I have!  I’ve always loved going out for Mexican or Chinese food, as well as preparing both.  Since I wrote this on my list, I’ve eaten Spanish tapas, Vietnamese quite a few times, and found that I LOVE Indian.  Since I wrote this list I also made it a personal goal to avoid chain restaurants as much as possible, especially when traveling, seeking out new places to try.

Off to read!

40 Things (33)

The Card Players, a 1895 painting by Paul Céza...
Image via Wikipedia

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 33:

33) A book that I would love to read but never do

This is tough, because it’s sort of similar to yesterday’s post (a book on my shelf for five years), but I guess maybe it could be about a book not even on the shelf?  And I don’t know what that would be.  I love love love Goodreads and the Goodreads app on my phone, because now I can keep a running list of books I want to read and eventually it will happen. I’ve found that audiobooks are a great way for me to “read” a book that I maybe won’t take the time to read but that I want to have read.  I’m very purposeful in my trips to the library and my wishlist creation, which isn’t to say that I don’t leave with an armful of books that aren’t on my TBR list when I go to the library.

That said, I’m a little curious about “Gone with the Wind,” which I’ve never read, and more Charles Dickens, but I’d like to read the Bible someday.  I’ve read parts of the Bible and gone to Bible studies, but I’ve never read the whole Bible purposefully.  I gave my parents a chronological Bible, which is interesting, and my current Bible has different reading plans so you can read it in a month or in three months or whatever plan you choose.

#33 on my list of things to do was: Learn and REMEMBER a card game.  I’m terrible at remembering how to play card games and always have to have it explained to me the first time.  I don’t remember jokes very well, either.  So I set out to find a game that I could play with friends without having to play a fake round to remember the rules.  I noted in my journal that I conquered the card game “Garbage,” but now if I had to explain it to you, I don’t think I’d be able to!  I am a whiz at Uno, so I’m going to take that as my go-to card game.

Last weekend when I was out at Oktoberfest with a friend, a group of young men approached us and asked us if we liked to play card games with our kids at home.  It was a random segue of a conversation, and it turns out that they developed a card game that was going on sale this week and they wanted to tell us about it in the hopes that we would buy.  Well, I got in touch with them through Facebook and this week met one of them in a bar and bought a game from him and learned how to play.  When I was telling my daughter about it, she said that she’d played a game very much like this in college, and the developer admitted that it was a standardized combination of two college drinking games, but that they were marketing it to families.  It’s pretty complicated and I’ll need help remembering the rules for a while, but it appears to be a fun game!

We attempted a few rounds last night at my birthday party, but the group was too large (yay!) to all play so we didn’t get too absorbed in the game but did a lot of socializing instead.

Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting. WOW.

For my birthday party, I made cupcakes from a recipe found on a blog that I just started reading – and they were sooooooooooo yummy!  Megan at ‘write Meg‘, posted about these cupcakes just as I was trying to figure out what kind of cake to make myself, and I’m so glad I read about and made these!  They were delicious!  And my niece and daughter decorated them so beautifully!  Yummy!  Quite a hit – and will become a fall staple!

Off to read!

40 Things (32) – and my BiRtHdAy

Cover of "What Is the What: The Autobiogr...
Cover via Amazon

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 32 (MY BIRTHDAY!)

32) A book that has been on my shelf unread for more than 5 years

Five years ago I lived in a different house and had different book shelves.  I lost a lot of books, although I did have some book shelves that were safe from the water and I still have those books.  I now have bookshelves from IKEA – the 25 squares kind – and only one square is devoted to unread books (although I do have a big pile by my bed, too).

One book that I know I’ve had a LONG time (maybe not five years, but it was written in 2006) and haven’t read yet is Dave Egger’s “What is the What.”  I loved Dave’s first book, “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” and I know that I will love this too, but it seems a little heavy, and those are the books that it’s easy to put off reading.  I know I will read this because Sarah has it and we’re going to discuss it in the Walkie Talkie style.

Have you read it?  Why do you think people put off reading certain books?

#32 on my list of 40 things was: Go to the Museum of Russian Art in Minneapollis with Inna.  Inna was our foreign exchange student from the Ukraine in 2002/2003 and she came back as an adult in the summer of 2007 to work for a few weeks and she lived with us again.  We had intended to spend a few days in Minneapolis before she flew home at the end of August, but that durn flood changed a lot of plans, so I never got to go with her.  We did get the chance to spend one night in the Cities before she left and ate a fun dinner at Moscow on the Hill – a Russian restaurant – with good good friends.  So we partook in shots of vodka with dill pickles.  Crazy, fun.  And needed after that crazy week.  🙂

I did make it to the museum the following summer (6/27/08) with my cousin Emily, who lives very close to it.  It’s a great museum and I especially loved the photography exhibit.

Off to read!  And party!  Because, it’s my birthday, after all!