Tag Archives: 40 Day Challenge

40 Things (39)

Angela's Ashes
Image via Wikipedia

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 39!

39) A book I expected to hate but loved

Before I started the Stieg Larsson trilogy of books, I never would have imagined that I would have loved them as much.  It took me about 75 pages to get into the first book, but then I was hooked.  I felt myself wincing a few times, anticipating that things were going to be scary or bad, but they just got up to the edge and never went over for me.

I also didn’t want to read “Angela’s Ashes” because I thought it would be so heavy and sad, but it was nothing of the sort.  It was full of hope and good humor.  I loved that book, too.

#39 on my list was:  Nothing.  Here is the point when I have to admit that the list that I found of my “40 things” ends at 38!  How depressing is that?  I was making my list as I went along (as was evidenced by #37 – penned when the opportunity arose) and was focused on the ones left to do rather than finishing the list.  Ugh.

So tomorrow, I will work on a new list of some kind!  5 Things to complete by October end?  10 things to do on my Sabattical?  45 things to do before 45?  50 things to do before 50?  I will ponder this and start a list…

Off to read!

40 Things (38)

Nick Hornby

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 38!

38) An author crush

This is a toughy, because although I can be an author-stalker, I don’t necessarily think about them as crushes.  But one author that I immediately looked for on Goodreads because I love to read anything by him, would be Nick Hornby.  His books are clever and witty and apt.  I would love to meet him and see if he’s anything like the characters he writes.

#38 on my list was: Drink before noon.  How silly is that?  It wasn’t a well-thought-out addition or something I had been dreaming about doing for years, but rather added as the opportunity came about.  🙂  We have a small cabin on a small lake about an hour from where I live.  It’s absolutely perfect.  This drink happened one morning at the end of the dock to celebrate my brother’s birthday and the nearing end of summer.  I always say that the end of the dock is my favorite room at the cabin… whether it be with coffee or wine, alone or with friends, with a book or purely sun worshiping.  It’s the best.

My Favorite Room at the Cabin

Off to read!

40 Things (37)

Bel Canto (novel)
Image via Wikipedia

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, Day 37 –

37) A book that I still think about years after having read it

Gosh, there are a lot of books that I still think about, years later.  I’d like to re-read “Tale of Two Cities” sometime, as I remember loving it in high school and have vivid pictures in my head relating to the story.  I also was amazed by “Death of a Salesmen” when I read it in college.  Just blown away.  And “The Color Purple” was beautifully vivid, and I can also see those pictures in my head.  More recent books that I still think about include: “Those Who Save Us,” “Bel Canto,” “Peace Like a River,” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”

#37 on my list was: Road trips with Kitschy Side Trips.  Unfortunately, I haven’t taken many road trips that allow for scenic stops along the way.  I’m usually purposeful in my travel, trying to get from Point A to Point B in a timely fashion.  But in October of 2007 my friend Beth and I took a mid-week road trip from our SE corner of the state of Minnesota to Pierre, SD.  Beth’s sister lives there and works in a bookstore that was hosting a Lorna Landvik book signing and discussion.

The Corn Palace

So we took off one Tuesday morning, stopping at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD – yes, a building and gymnasium decorated with corn.

We also stopped at cute restaurants for our meals.  It was a blast getting there, and the adventures continued when we met Lorna. She was promoting her book, “The View from Mount Joy,” which we read in preparation of meeting her.  We had photos taken with her, drank wine with her, and eventually took her site seeing around Pierre with Beth’s sister in the lead!  We went to the Veteran’s Memorial in Pierre and lit the flaming fountain.  We had such a good time with many well-needed laughs.  I need to do this more often!

We have met with Lorna twice since this first trip: once at the Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, where she has a stand up routine in January, and she joined us for dessert afterwards, and once in our hometown where we bid and won dinner with her for a library fundraiser.  Good stuff.

at Bryant Lake Bowl

Off to read!

40 Things (36)

Woman's Home Blog Book
Image by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via Flickr

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
Image via Wikipedia

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)

Writing

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 (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!

40 Things (31)

Cover of "The Secret Life of Bees"
Cover of The Secret Life of Bees

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 31:

31) A book that everyone else seems to love except me

Once again, I turned to Goodreads to review my lower-starred books to see what I didn’t love that others did.  I don’t have many one-star books, although “The Corrections” by Jonathan Franzen is one.  I tried to listen to it on audio and was very turned off and disturbed by it immediately so I couldn’t even attempt a finish.  That was a long time ago.  And I don’t know anyone who loves that book, although I’m sure that people do.

Other books that I gave three-stars to that I think others loved more than me (my three-stars means I liked it – not a great book in my eyes) would include “Lovely Bones” and “The Secret Life of Bees.”  I am probably going to re-read “The Secret Life of Bees,” because it is on my nephew’s 9th grade English syllabus and I’d like to read it with him, and maybe I’ll have a different reaction this time.  I listened to this on audio, and sometimes that is a very different experience than reading the book.  I may have been distracted during my commute by things going on at home or at work and so I didn’t give the book my full attention.  I’ll try it again.

#31 on my list was: Buy a good bra.  Yes, up until this time, I did my lingerie shopping at Target.  Nothing wrong with that, I’m sure, but I hadn’t had a proper fitting in ages, so I took myself to Victoria’s Secret and bought a few bras that actually fit good.  Last fall I hosted a bra party with a friend from Preston, and so there were bra fittings going on upstairs in my house!  It was a blast and that bra is amazing (and should be for the price!).

Weird, good stuff.  🙂

Off to read!

40 Things (29)

Garrison Keillor and cast members of A Prairie...
Keillor and cast in Lanesboro, MN Image via Wikipedia

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 29 –

29) A favourite book with animals in

When I was young (5th grade? 6th grade?) I loved “Where the Red Fern Grows,” but I haven’t read it since then, so  it’s hard to say it’s a favorite, because when I think of books with animals in it, my mind goes immediately to “Life of Pi.”  I listened to that book on audio first and simply fell in love with the story.  I loved the cadence of the reader, the description of the animals in the life boat, the floating island, and the horror of the story.  A few years later I read the book for book club (at my insistence) and I enjoyed the story just as much and loved talking about it with everyone (although most didn’t share my love for the book).

#29 on my list of 40 things was: Go to Michael Feldman or Garrison Keillor.  Michael Feldman and Garrison Keillor have weekly entertainment radio shows on public radio.  I have listened to Garrison Keillor since I was introduced to the show when I was about 12 by my aunt and uncle.  I don’t listen religiously, but whenever I am in the car or at home and remember, I will turn on The Prairie Home Companion,which is taped in St. Paul, MN or NYC.  Michael Feldman’s show, “Whad’ya Know?” was introduced to me much later – in the late 90s – and it is less musical and more interview/comedy based with local color.  It is taped in Madison, Wisconsin.

On May 31, 2007 Garrison Keillor came to a small artsy town about 20 miles from where I lived, so I got tickets and went with a bunch of friends.  He recorded the show on a baseball field outside and the weather was perfect, the guests were colorful and fun, and his show was fantastic.  It would be fun to see him at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul sometime and I hear he’s going to retire soon, so I’ll have to get on that.

Off to read!

40 Things (27)

In western painting, Helen's journey to Troy i...
Image via Wikipedia "Helen of Pasadena" is about archeologists, not Helen of Troy, but lots of references! Good stuff...

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 27!

27) A book I love that deserves to be better known

I have been following The Satellite Sisters for more than ten years now – through their weekly radio show turned daily radio show, turned daily podcast, turned weekly podcast; through their articles in O Magazine and through their blogs, and most recently through one of them publishing a novel.  Ten years ago for Christmas I got their book ‘The Satellite Sisters: Uncommon Senses’ which was (and still is) such a great book.  It’s the lessons they learned growing up in a large family (8 kids) on the east coast.  The lessons were many and still hold true today.  I believe they are possibly re-releasing the book or some incarnation of it and if they do, it will be a gift I will give to friends.  One of the sisters, Lian, published her novel “Helen of Pasadena,” last December and it is a really great book, too!  I drove to Edina on a cold cold evening in December to hear her speak and get some books signed for gifts.  What fun to meet a “sister” in person.  I feel like they are all friends of mine!

#27 on my list was:  Finish a NYT crossword without looking at the answers!  I have been able to successfully complete this several times – at the Monday level.  The New York Time’s Crossword Puzzles get harder as the week goes on, leading up to the nearly impossible (to me) Sunday puzzle.  I have a book filled with Monday puzzles and can rip through one pretty easily.  I should go get a Tuesday book and keep moving forward. Maybe in my 43rd year.  🙂

Off to read!