“Like a Superbowl for Book Lovers!”

A few months ago I had the idea that I wanted to get together the various random people I know that love to talk about books and reading.  Not to talk about one book in particular, but to talk about why we became people who love to read and discuss books!  I thought I would look for some book-related food and drink, book and reading related games, and we would have a grand ol’ time.

Well.  A grand ol’ time was had!  Oh my.  I’m still on a little high.

Long ago I decided that I was not going to let the pressure of hosting a perfect party keep me from hosting parties,.  It makes for a more relaxed evening to know that you don’t have to be a Martha in the kitchen to have a successful party.  I ended up stocking up on frozen Trader Joe’s appetizers, buying a lot of wine and some fruit, and putting out cheese and crackers.  I picked a small Italian theme, because I had a book to giveaway, and that book was set in Italy.  I looked through the “Tequila Mockingbird” cocktail book Iclick the title for the blog about how lovely and perfect this book is!) for inspiration and decided to make the “Gone with the Wine” sangria (red wine, peach schnapps, peaches and oranges) and get the fixings for “Scarlett O’Hara’s” (Southern Comfort and cranberry juice) as well.  My house is usually relatively clean, so I simply dusted and put away the dishes, prepared the punch, decorated with books, and took a nap.  That’s my kind of prep.

The guests arrived promptly and enjoyed the “Gone with the Wine,” and we promptly began discussing the following questions while devouring yummy tapas-like appetizers:

  • What was the first book you remember reading/being read?
  • What is your favorite book of all time?
  • Which book has left the most lasting impression on you?
  • Which book have you read most frequently?
  • What books are on your bedside table at the moment?
  • Name one book/author that you really can’t stand?
  • What type of books do you like reading most?
  • If you were given $30 to spend on a book today, what book would you buy?
  • Where’s your favorite place to read?
  • Which character in a book do you think is most like you?
  • Which character in a book would you most like to be?
  • What book do you plan to read next?
  • Which literary character would you most like to have a ‘significant relationship’ with?

These discussion questions took a good few hours and we never digressed to talking about family or work or anything but books books books!

Then we played Bookish Pictionary with a white board and bestseller book titles!  It was fast-paced and fun – even to those who freaked out about having to draw!

There were a few online games we played via my iPad – like this one, which is matching the people who marry or almost marry in famous books, this one which is first lines of famous novels, and this one, which was hilarious – top 80 words found in Harlequin romance novel titles!  Who knew that Surgeon would be way up there???

Everyone brought a small exchange gift – a jar of Book Worms, favorite classic novels or a favorite book, Well Red wine from Trader Joe’s… creative and fun!

And then everyone got to take home a book from a box of books that I won from TLC Book Tours!  Yay books!

I cannot wait to start planning the next Superbowl for Book Lovers or Bookish Affair or whatever it becomes dubbed!  I will be on the lookout for more book giveaways, bookish trinkets for exchange, and bookish games and recipes!

Do you have any ideas for future bookish gatherings?

44 Things – Quarter 4

Yes, Quarter 4.  In a few months I will be having another birthday!  I have been so busy lately that I haven’t had much time for self-reflection, so I haven’t completed this thought yet.  Let’s see what comes of it for now…August 2011 088

44 Things: Q4 – Things to DO or LOOK FORWARD TO! (July, August, September)

  1. Fourth of July!  Always a great time with family – relaxing time at the end of the dock, fireworks, great food and photo ops!
  2. Plan a Book Fest!  First annual?  Bi-annual? Bookish food and treats?  Crafts?  Oh my!  It’s coming right up, but it’s in the planning stages!  
  3. Ferragosto!  I can’t wait for my made up mid-August celebration!  More details to follow!
  4. New York City! Looking forward to planning my annual trip to NYC!  It will make turning a year older more palatable!
  5. Books! Read and listen as much as possible!
  6. Cosmo Girls! Start planning for 2013-2014!
  7. State Fair? Go if I can!
  8. Help Marissa move and get settled!
  9. Ferragosto Ferragosto Ferragosto!  I have a feeling it’ll be the best ever!
  10. Sit down and … play piano or write poems or letters or play accordion… take time.
  11. What do you think I should add to my list?

There were items from past lists that didn’t get done (closets didn’t get cleaned, strangers didn’t get conversations… ) but I am not one to beat myself up over undone lists.  Most of the fun for me is imagining the possibilities and it is just bonus if they happen.  Probably I should add “start thinking about being 45!”  What will that mean?  What fun things will happen?

And the living is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high

Oh, your daddy’s rich
And your mama’s good lookin’
So hush little baby now
don’t you cry

One of these mornin’s
You’re gonna rise up singin’
Then you’ll spread your wings
And take to the sky

But til that mornin’
Ain’t nothin’ can harm you
With your daddy
And your mammy
standin’ by.”
–  George Gershwin and Dubose Heyward, Porgy and Bess  

A Little Bookish Post

I haven’t written about books for a while, mostly because I haven’t been a rock star in the book-reading department lately!  I spent a lot of my August reading time catching up on my magazine reading.  There is no way I will meet my already-modified reading goal for 2012, but I’m ok with that.  I’ve enjoyed the books that I’ve read this summer, choosing fluff, classics, and good old recommended fiction.

The Shoemaker's Wife

The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Isn’t that a beautiful cover?  I wouldn’t mind a poster of it in my “library” upstairs.  The orange would totally clash with my cherry-colored walls, but that would be cool, too.  I love books by Trigiani.  I am looking forward to a walking food tour of Greenwich Village with her tour group!  I’m going to TRY to re-read one of her books before I go!
Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk by Freya North

This was one of those little fluffy books that I read for some mindlessness.  It was “meh,” according to my Goodreads review. 🙂  Just a little too long.


Thanks For The Memories

Thanks For The Memories by Cecelia Ahern

Another mindless book which I picked up cheaply at B&N a while ago.  It had an “intriguing premise and surreal plot,” according to my Goodreads review.  Deja Vu 🙂


The Importance of Being ErnestView the full version of this book online

The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

I listened to this on audio (soooooooo delightful!) and read it free on Kindle (sooooooooooooo witty!) and participated meagerly in Wallace’s 3 week readalong.  And then I watched the movie.  Such good stuff!  Why did I wait so long to read some Wilde?

The Art of Mindful Living

Mindfulness for Beginners

Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Two audio books read by their authors who are “gurus” in this area.  I am feeling a little scattered this summer, so it was good to listen to these and I hope that I can continue to think about them and put mindfulness into practice!

The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - CityView a preview of this book online

The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City by David Lebovitz

How fun! This was a fast read, because it was filled with recipes that I’ll never make or already have a good enough recipe for thanks to other great books filled with recipes.  But he is a hoot.  I think that if I go to Paris, I will try to look him up and make him buy me lunch.  I would have to prove myself a worthy dinner companion, but I think he would do it!

Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

And then I bought this for Ferragosto.  Set in a small village in Italy in the 60s and jumping forward to Hollywood today, it was a gem of a story – “Beautiful and unpredictable – just how I like ’em” is how I put it on Goodreads.

And now… The Chaperone

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

I am enjoying this a lot!  Only about 1/3 through (I think – dang iPad), but a nice and engaging story.

FC book club is setting up a date, and we are supposed to have read “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” which I’ve heard is not too engaging.  I’ll skim it and then we’ll move on.  Book club is mostly about connecting with those women, right?  🙂

I think I’ll try to participate in the Book Club that the Emergency Department has going.  I’ve read almost all of the books they’re reading, but that’s ok.  Again, it’s about connecting, right?

And speaking of connecting, very excited to start Year Three of the Cosmo Girls tomorrow night!  Ready to dive in and organize the year!  Yay!

Well, off to read!  Haven’t said that for a while, but I mean it!  🙂

If you’ve made it to the end and have any ideas for other BOOKISH things to do while I’m in NYC, please let me know!  I plan to do that book/walking/food tour in Greenwich Village and to find The Strand bookstore.  Anything else that will be easy and fun?


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 (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 (25)!

chick lit books $2
Do Chick Lit books have to be pink?

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, today’s topic is:

25) A favourite chicklit book

I do love me some chicklit!  To answer this question I first looked up a definition of chicklit.

  • Novels written for and by young women
  • Literature appealing to women, usually with a romantic or sentimental theme
  • A genre of fiction concentrating on young working women and their emotional lives
And then I looked at my Goodreads books, especially those rated five stars, and the following authors had more than one rated five stars for me:
I have followed Jennifer Weiner’s blog and twitter for ages and know that she is pretty sensitive about the title “chicklit,” because it diminishes the importance of the book and its content in some people’s eyes.  “Chicklit” isn’t given column space in prominent book review publications.  Interesting to think about…
I can’t pick one book, so I’ll leave it at that. 🙂

#25 on my list of things to do was to Go to the Trempeleau Hotel for an outdoor concert.  The Trempeleau Hotel is in the small town of Trempeleau along the Mississippi River.  There is a lawn where they hold outdoor concerts in the summer and Beth and I were able to take in a concert there.  I think it was the summer of 2008, but for the life of me I can’t remember who we saw!  It’ll come to me (or Beth will remember).  We brought our own lawn chairs and had yummy food and drink in the late summer evening.  It was a great time.

Off to read!

40 Things (23)

Pippi Longstocking (book)
Image via Wikipedia

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, next topic is:

23) A book that is a most treasured possession

Because of the flood, many of my childhood books were destroyed so anything that I have from my childhood is treasured by me.  It’s kind of funny, because I’ll be at my brother’s house and find a book that somehow ended up at his house but was inscribed to me and I’ll just steal it back to my house, thankful that it survived.  So I now own my Pippi Longstocking book as well as a Child’s Book of Prayers.  Yay!

Some of my favorite books were in high bookshelves upstairs, so I am still thankful that I have them – like “Now We Are Six” and the poetry books I compiled in high school.  When cleaning out my flooded house, the gravity of it all hit me when I picked up my book journal and threw it away.  I kinda lost it then.  Books that were surrounding my bed were all a loss – imagine that TBR pile disappearing!

How depressing that is!  I also treasure books that I’ve had autographed recently.  It was fun to read the books, discuss them with the author, and get them autographed by those fantastic women.  Good stuff.

# 23 on my list was to: Go to local art galleries.  I make it a conscious choice to visit art galleries and museums whenever I can.  I also do my best to support them in my small way by making purchases there for gifts or for myself.  I can’t afford big art but I can buy hand painted cards or earrings.  As I have said before, the first art museum I went to was eye-opening and made me wonder why I hadn’t been going to them all my life!

Off to read!

40 Things (22)

A gift wrapped in yellow and green paper.
Image via Wikipedia

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 22’s topic is:

22) A book I hope I get for my birthday

Well, I know that Boof is doing this leading up to her 40th birthday, and one of the reasons I decided to participate was because I am going to have a birthday soon, too!  Mine is a few days before hers, and I was just putting items on my Amazon wish list for an out-of-the-country friend who wants to purchase me a gift.  I actually didn’t put many books on the list (the beauty of Amazon – they have earrings!), but when I was looking for books, I was looking for comedic books rather than novels.  I was looking at books by Amy Sedaris or thinking about Jon Stewart‘s book.  I own a lot of books already so I couldn’t think of one that I wanted.  I am planning to buy the Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest if it ever comes out in paperback… I have the first two in paperback and want to complete the trilogy.  🙂

So any of those will work for me.  🙂

#22 on my list of 40 things was: Enter another contest.  Yesterday I wrote about entering a photo contest, which was a lot of fun, so I decided to enter other contests.  I have entered a few since that time – no-talent-needed contests, as well as writing contests and other photo contests.  I’ve won some books from Goodreads and even a book club set of books from Random House.  I never expect to win anything so getting a freebie is always a blessing!

Off to read!

Books: Catching up with myself!

Cover of "Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, w...
Cover via Amazon

I’ve been busy blogging about Boof’s list and my list and meanwhile books are being finished!  That’s a good thing.  I’m definitely going to make my Goodreads goal (and surpass it!) of 55 books by year end.  Good times.  Love Goodreads.

So far in September I have finished the following:

“A Lover’s Dictionary” by David Levithan – My Goodreads review:  A quick, satisfying read. David Levithan tells a love story through word definitions (and you know I love the dictionary!). Sometimes silly words, often powerful words. It tells a story fully in short, packed definitions. Good stuff.

“Attachments” by Rainbow Rowell – My Goodreads review: What a fun and unique book! Told through emails that get caught in a filter and the IT guy who reads them. It was amazing how much you learn about people from reading their emails and all characters were very likeable. I was cheering for them to be happy and really unsure how it was going to turn out until the very end. How satisfying! * I already posted this info but it’s worth posting twice!  It is going to be a favorite of 2011 I think!

“The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” by Aimee Bender (audiobook) – My Goodreads review: I tried to read this once and it didn’t grab me. It remained on my TBR list so I got it on audio from the library, and I’m sorry to say it didn’t grab me again! It got better as it went on, but I wouldn’t have finished listening to it if I hadn’t had some miles to put on the car this week. The author read the book and it sounded like it would sound if I read the book – nothing special. Just being read to.   That said, there were a few moments I will remember for a while – the story (parable) that Rose tells about her classmate that couldn’t read and then found out that he couldn’t see was quite powerful.

Sorry for being unoriginal and simply posting my Goodreads reviews about these books.  Don’t have many more thoughts than I’ve already written!  🙂

I’m currently reading (and loving!) “Lunch in Paris – a Love Story with Recipes” by Elizabeth Bard.  How fun!  I think it’s going to have to go on my wishlist to own and go on my cookbook shelf right next to “A Homemade Life”!  They are similar in that there are recipes relating to each chapter but Bard’s book is filled with yummy sounding French recipes.  Ooh la la!

And on the books into movies front, I purchased the new “Jane Eyre”  movie and I am patiently waiting for friend Cindy to find time to watch it with me!  In the meantime I found a 1983 British miniseries of Jane Eyre on instant Netflix so I’m refreshing my memory on the story – in 11 episodes it is probably not too abridged!

A few Italian movies I reserved during Ferragosto have come to me from the library so I have another to watch tonight.  There are a few in the theatres I’d like to go see but we’ll see how it goes!

Off to read!