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!

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!

Spring Reading Thing Countdown…

Spring Blossoms
Image by jnyemb via Flickr

Katrina over at Callapidder Days is hosting the Spring Thing Reading Challenge, 2011, and I’ve been participating.  It’s hard to believe that it will be done with the first day of summer (YAHOO) next week, but how exciting is that?  It was a pretty loosely defined challenge – challenge yourself to read books during the three months of spring.  You could add to the list, take away from the list, whatever you needed to do to challenge yourself.

My list has expanded greatly since my first post and one book that was on my initial list remains unread – so far.  I still have time.  It is in my possession from the library reserve.  It’s hard to say there was a favorite that stuck out in my spring reading, because there were quite a few books that I loved.  Or really liked, at any rate.  The Harry Potter series is so fun to listen to.  Jane Eyre was a great listen and I’m thankful for that experience.  I’m reading my second Maeve Binchy book of the spring and they just are so comfortable and lovely that they just feel good to read.  I really enjoyed The Carrie Diaries, meeting Carrie Bradshaw pre-NYCThe Twenties Girl was fun fluff.  Major Pettigrew was a nice read.  Both Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet were sweet and not as heavy as I’d feared.

If I had to choose, I’d probably say I’m so glad I found a few Binchy books that I haven’t read.  They are reliably wonderful, in my book.

And when I’m done with Minding Frankie, I’ll start Fly Away Home.  I’ll also finish listening to book 6 in the Harry Potter series, on the list for book 7 from the library.  I’m sure that will conclude my Spring Thing Reading Challenge.

I signed up for a goodreads challenge, to read A Visit from the Goon Squad, which I have on audio, so I’ll listen to that after book 6 of HP, too.

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy
the next book from the library… will have to look it up as it’s downstairs.  It was a new release that grabbed me.
The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand


  • Mockingbird
  • The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
  • Heart and Soul
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey
  • Fly Away Home
  • Winter’s Garden
  • Harry Potter (2)
  • Harry Potter (3)
  • Harry Potter (4)
  • Harry Potter (5)
  • Harry Potter (6)
  • Harry Potter (7)
  • Jane Eyre
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
  • Twenties Girl
  • The Carrie Diaries
  • Minding Frankie
  • Sweet Revenge

Well, off to read!

Frigid Spring Friday

"And have you a pale blue dress on?"
"And have you a pale blue dress on?"Image via Wikipedia

Well, not too frigid and beautifully sunny, but cold for spring!

I finished listening to “Jane Eyre” this week – and wrapped up the Jane Eyre challenge on Goodreads!  Kind of a silly little challenge, but fun.  I had to pick my favorite quote, and there were pages and pages to choose from!  I didn’t read beyond the first page of choices and really liked the third quote down.  Lazy or not, it grabbed me.  I’ll even add it to my book quotes page :).  It was: “I would always rather be happy than dignified.”  It’s always good to choose happiness.  As I said on my goodreads review, I really love the language in these old books.  I love when they say the door was “unclosed” rather than plain old “open.”  I love it when they take paragraphs to set a scene or describe someone’s character.  I’m very glad I read it.  I’m sure I’ll see the movie and I’m looking forward to that, too. The only frustration I had with the audiobook was the quality of the CDs.  Many had scratches and the last CD seemed especially bad.  So the climax when I should be learning about what happened to Mr. Rochester was frustrating to listen to.  I miss my iPod for downloading audiobooks.

Another book on my Spring Thing list that I finished this week was “Mockingbird.”  It was a YA book about a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome and told from her perspective.  At first I was frustrated with the fact that it was another book about a person with ASD who was dealing with tragedy.  But I got a little hooked by her voice and the way it was written so that I could really hear her voice.  I had a little tear at the end, although I was racing to finish the little thing so I could return it to the library on time.  It’s worth reading.  It is a lot less cryptic than “The Serious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime,” in that you know almost immediately what is going on.  But it is a YA novel, so not too surprising.

So last night I started a Maeve Binchy book called “Heart and Soul.”  I haven’t read a Binchy book in ages and it just feels like coming home!  I even turned on the light early this morning so that I could read a little before I started my day!  And I”m going to read a little now before heading out for the evening!  Woot Woot!  I’ll have to look at the list of all her books and see if I have missed many.  Don’t think it’s possible!

Heading out tonight to a late movie!  Hope I can stay awake!  I’m looking forward to seeing “Cedar Rapids.”  It’s gotta be a LOT better than the last one I saw in the theatre – “Take Me Home Tonight.”  Wow.  That music video advertising that movie got me inside, but it wasn’t really worth it.  Oh well.  Any night at the movies is a good night!  The most recent netflix movies I’ve seen are:  “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” and “Life as You Know It.”  Yesterday “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” came in the mail.  I think it’s a Woody Allen flick.

Gotta love movies and books!
And now… off to read!

Book Club Blabbering

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre Image by Stephen Cummings via Flickr

Time is sure flying by!  Last week the FC book club met at Joanie’s house and discussed “Plain Truth” by Jodi Picoult.  For the second time this year, I didn’t have the book finished by book club night!  Yikes.  Just so many books – and I’m just such a slow reader.  So I quickly read the last page – the trademark Picoult shocker – so that they wouldn’t have to worry about spoilers.  The discussion questions included in the book bag were mostly intellectual but we had a good discussion about the Amish and our belief in ghosts.  It was a good discussion with good food and good company.  Now what’s next to read?  We didn’t decide… but will get something picked soon!

I’m listening to “Jane Eyre” on audio and loving it!  I’m on disc 8 out of 18 and finding it easy to listen to and an interesting story.  I haven’t read anything by either of the Bronte sisters nor seen the movies about their books.  I signed up for the goodreads “Jane Eyre” challenge, because I saw the movie trailer and thought it looked good.  It comes out next week, I believe, but we’ll see if it comes to the theatre near me that soon or not.

After I finished “Plain Truth” on Thursday, I picked up “Juliet, Naked” by Nick Hornby.  It’s about a couple who live in England and the guy is obsessed with a band.  They traveled to US to visit the urinal he visited when he decided to quit being a musician, stand outside the woman’s house who caused him to quit being a musician, etc.  It will be interesting.

Next on my TBR list is “Mockingbird,” a YA novel about a kid with autism and on audio it is “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.”  Lots of reading to do!

Any suggestions for my FC book club?  I think we have about exhausted the choices at the Rochester Public Library for their book clubs in a bag.  Everything is either checked out and reserved through 2011 or we’ve read it or we’re not interested… so we’re looking for ideas of things readily available in the library or cheaply available.  Ideas?

So many books…

Cover of "Traveling with Pomegranates: A ...
Cover via Amazon

So little time!

I finished the audio book of “Traveling with Pomegranates,” by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor.  It is fun to have it read by the authors, a mother-daughter duo, from South Carolina.  Sue wrote “The Secret Life of Bees,” and this book was written about the time before she wrote this novel.  She had written “The Dissident Woman” (I think… maybe Mother? Daughter? “The Dissident Daughter” sounds more like it) and had explored spirituality within feminism and this book continues that adventure of discovery.  It was a good listen.

So now… “Jane Eyre” via audio.  18 discs.  I have the print copy on my night stand, but I would rather listen to it.  It seems like a big undertaking, but the goodreads challenge inspired me.  It will be interesting!  I have a little driving happening this week so I’ll get a start on it!

I’m half done with “Plain Truth,” which is our book club pick for Tuesday.  Hopefully I’ll get it done by then!  It will take a little work – why do I have to be such a slow reader??  I enjoy words and savor them when sometimes I should just gobble them up.

My TBR list includes (in order of my hopes of completion): 1) Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby 2) Mockingbird.  That’s all I have in my house but my list is much longer than that!

How about you?  What are you reading?  What have you recently finished?  What will you read next?

Well, off to read!

A library run…

Library Pengo
Library Image via Wikipedia

I went to the library and the item on hold for me was the print copy of “Jane Eyre,” not the audiobook.  Hmmm.  I was looking forward to listening to that book as my pile of books TBR is getting bigger and bigger and a few have deadlines.  I’m not the speediest reader around and I find so many distractions – like reading blogs!

I finished my Trigiani audiobook today on my way home and I needed something to listen to and so I ventured into the nonfiction audiobooks upstairs!  I grabbed a David Sedaris book, as well as “Traveling with Pomegranates” by Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter.  Deadra just finished it and loved it, so I will listen and we’ll discuss!  🙂

Monday meandering…

Decorative header displayed before Chapter I f...
Decorative header displayed before chapter 1 from Jane Eyre Image via Wikipedia

I’m so looking forward to crawling into bed in a few minutes and reading some more in “One Day” before bed.  We drove to Des Moines this weekend and I got to sit in the backseat and read… something I haven’t done in a LONG time!  I’m usually the driver, so being driven and being able to read in the car (thankfully that hasn’t changed) is a blessing!  I’m really liking the book, and I’m about half done.  I’m also almost done withe “Brava, Valentine” on audio – put in the last CD before I got out of the car on Friday – and then I’m going to try “Jane Eyre” on audio!  I’ve never read it and I signed up for the goodreads challenge to read it before the movie comes out mid-March.  My second goodreads challenge, for the record!

I skimmed through my blog reading and came across a list of contemporary books (1983-2008) that may become classics.  It was a list created by Entertainment Weekly, so not too high brow, maybe.  I’ll post it and welcome your thoughts on it.  I skimmed the list (lots of skimming tonight) and think I’ve read less than 20 of the 100. I love lists.  🙂

It’s Marissa’s birthday today.  Hard to believe that she could be 23 years old.  We had a great weekend celebrating together and since she’s moving home I’m looking forward to a whole bunch more quality time with her.  Technically she’s moving into mom and dad’s home, but it will still be close and nice to have her around.  I think I’ll starting thinking of the ‘guest room’ at my house as Marissa’s room.  That’s exciting.

So, what are you reading?  What have you finished reading?  Have you ever read “Jane Eyre”?  What do you think of these ‘contemporary classics’?  Any that you will put on your TBR list?

Well, off to read!

1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
4. The Liars’ Club, Mary Karr (1995)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)
15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
16. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
20. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)
22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)
24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985)
25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)
26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)
30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
31. The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien (1990)
32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)
33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)
34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
36. Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)
38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)
41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)
43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)
44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)
45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996)
47. World’s Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985)
48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)
51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)
52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992)
53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)
55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)
57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)
58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)
59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994)
63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)
64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)
67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)
69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)
74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)
76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (1998)
77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)
85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)
87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999)
90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001)
91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)
92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)
93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)
96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
98. The Predators’ Ball, Connie Bruck (1988)
99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)