40 Things (20)

Following along with Boof‘s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 20!  Wow!  Her topic is:

20) A book with a character most like me

This is hard!  Maybe someone more impartial has great ideas for me, but I looked through my list of books and cannot think of one that makes sense.  I liked Katie Fforde‘s “Love Letters,” because it was about a woman who loves books and is hired to organize a huge book event (and to try to get the handsome, reclusive Irish writer to show up).  Is Laura like me?  In some ways. Did I think of this book because it’s something I would love to be doing (organizing book events and meeting reclusive Irish writers)?  Probably.

#20 on my list of things to do before I turned 40 was: Clean the basement – give away, declutter!

Well, I crossed this one off the list when the flood came!  My basement was filled with books, photos, decorations, old toys, and souvenirs.  When the flood came two tubs were salvaged from the basement (as well as the laundry basket of towels I went downstairs to retrieve before we evacuated that night) – one filled with old t-shirts and one filled with my old Barbies.  Everything else was scooped out by a skid loader and put into a dumpster.  I try not to think about the individual things that were lost, but there have been times that I have given in to the emotions.  My first Christmas in my new home, I really missed my old Christmas decorations and all the glitzy, glittery, gaudy things I chose the year before from the donated baubles seemed absolutely awful, especially on the small, free Christmas tree that was donated to me.  I had a pity party for a few days and then I decided to shop after Christmas for a new tree befitting my new abode and embraced the beauty in the glitter that was given to me.

December 2009 - new tree, glittery baubles

I still have all those baubles on my new tall and skinny tree.  I also am a lot more picky about what I keep.  It is easier to get rid of clutter.  The flood brought perspective on what is truly important, and it can’t be kept in a box in the basement.

Off to read!

Books: Catching Up

I am simply dThe Housekeeper and the Professoroing a copy/paste job from goodreads.  Much faster way to keep updated on the books I’m reading.
Saw “The Help” movie tonight and it was awesome.  I’ll try to write more about it later.  Good stuff.

Another sweet, quick read! A Japanese book about a housekeeper and her son who take care of a Professor who has an 80 minute memory of anything beyond 1975. He pins notes to his suit to help him remember things and teaches the Housekeeper about the beauty of numbers. Beautiful.

Wild Designs

I can’t believe this is the fifth book by this author I have read this summer. Either she is growing on me or I am choosing better books. I liked this almost as much as the last one of hers I read. Good light reads perfect for summer.

Wedding Season

Wedding Season

by Katie Fforde

Well the sixth book I’ve read by Katie Fforde this summer! Not great. Not bad. Three women get involved in different aspects of planning weddings – dress making, cake making, hair and makeup and general organization. Predictable. Sarah pointed out that there is a lot of dialogue in these books and this one felt very cumbersome in repeating details. Not the best I’ve read.

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project

I didn’t finish this book (shame on me) but I wasn’t enamored with it. There’s something about doing a project with the intention of writing about it in the end that just rubs me wrong. She certainly put a lot of thought into her project – writing her commandments, doing lots of research on happiness – and I will look at her blog and hopefully pick up the book again sometime and finish it (I stopped in July – money is a sticky subject right now).

Moving on…

Books: Love Letters

Not my cheaters, but almost as cute! Image via Wikipedia

I had the pleasure of a beautiful day at the end of the dock and a good book. Often when I’m at the end of the dock, I don’t get any reading done because, as I say, “basking in the sun is best done with eyes closed!”  But Saturday I was able to get a short cat-nap in and, with the help of my new cheaters sunglasses and a great breeze, I was able to read quite a bit in Katie Fforde‘s book, “Love Letters.”  I already wrote about Fforde’s books being not as good as other British chick-lit, but this one was the most enjoyable of the four.

From goodreads: When her bookshop closes its doors, Laura agrees to help organize a literary festival. Her initial excitement is followed by panic when she realizes that an innocent mistake has led the festival committee to believe that she is a personal friend of the reclusive writer Dermot Flynn. Even though Laura has been infatuated with Dermot since her college days, traveling to Ireland to persuade him to come out of hiding is not what she had in mind. Nevertheless, she sets off to charm her literary hero into headlining the festival. Unfortunately, Dermot is maddening, temperamental, and up to his ears in a nasty case of writer’s block. But he’s also infuriatingly attractive….With all the warmth and wit that have made Katie Fforde’s novels huge bestsellers in the U.K., Love Letters is an irresistible tale of love and literature and the quest for a happy ending.

Maybe I loved this one so much because Laura was so knowledgeable and passionate about books?  Or maybe because I hope to attend a literary festival someday? Or maybe because I love the name Dermot? Or maybe all of the above, and then some?  Anyway, it was a quick and pleasurable read and I can recommend it to anyone who loves light and breezy and fun books set in England/Ireland.

And it made me think… what author would I love to meet? Dermot wrote two novels in his early 20s and then became reclusive to his small Irish village, refusing all publicity and speaking engagements.  Laura studied Dermot’s books in college and was star-struck by the opportunity to meet him.  Anyone that you would feel the same about?

I’ve been lucky to have some great meet-ups with authors.  I’ve spent time with Lorna Landvik and Jenna Blum.  I’ve traveled to meet Satellite Sister, Lian.  Memorable experiences and wonderful women. I’m gonna ponder this question a little more… I hope you do, too!  Let’s discuss!

Off to read!

Catching up on Book Talk

Cover of "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan:...
Cover of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel

It seems that I haven’t written about the books I’ve read lately!  I do post quick little reviews on goodreads (it’s just so easy to keep that site updated and write some thoughts) so I’ll recap here…

Reverse, chronological order 🙂

House Rules – I’m currently reading this book, after attempting to listen to the audiobook.  I was given the book and its heft made it pretty easy to grab the audiobook that was sitting on the shelf at the library, in order to replace my Harry Potter listening time!  But, oh!  How awful it was to listen to this book, narrated by four individuals, and told at a painfully slow pace.  Sometimes I thought the disc must be done but it was simply a pause – between sentences or paragraphs or chapters.  No matter.  Ugh.  So I picked up the book and have been ripping through it!  It is a fast read and I’m sure I’ll finish it tonight or in the morning. It’s hard to put down.  Isn’t it great when a book grabs you like that?

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – I have loved books about the Far Eastern culture for a long time.  Probably at least since I returned from my visit to South Korea, if not before. Lisa See has written some great books about the Chinese culture – in America and coming to America in recent history and in a more historical China. “Snow Flower” ia the first of Lisa’s books to make it to the big screen (I believe I’m right) and I am excited to see it. (I may have to make a trip to the Cities if I want to see it in the theatre!  Durn limited releases!) This book is about Snow Flower and Lily, who are matched as laotong or “old sames” as young girls. They communicate to each other mostly through the “women’s language,” nu shu, written on a fan.  The match is made so that one girl may rise up and the other may learn the ways of those lower than her.   A good read about these two women through their lifespans – one reaches 80 years.  I look forward to reading Lisa’s newest book – Dreams of Joy – a sequel to Shanghai Girls.  Yay!

The Girl in the Garden – Kamala Nair, an author who grew up in Rochester, wrote a charming and sweet story about a girl whose troubled mother brings her to her home village in India for a summer. Now an adult, Rakhee writes the story of the Girl in the Garden to her fiance as she returns to India to obtain resolution for the secrets that she learned as a 10 year old during that fateful summer.  I am also fascinated by the mid-Eastern culture and have read a lot of books set in India.  This was easy to read and a sweet story.

Olive Kitteridge – A book club pick that was lukewarmly received.  It was good.  Not great. Not gonna be something I will remember a year from now (well, maybe the fun time we had at book club not discussing it will be remembered!). But it was well-written and kept me reading, looking for Olive in the short stories.

Second Thyme Around; Stately Pursuits; Highland Fling – These three books by Katie Fforde were light and fluffy and predictable.  Good summer fare, but again not great.  I think in another post I listed other similar authors that I would recommend before Fforde (Jane Green; Marian Keyes, Maeve Binchy) . Of these three books I would recommend Second Thyme Around as the most interesting.

I think I’m about caught up.  I will remember this spring/summer as being very full of Harry Potter, and now I’m done talking about that.

After I finish House Rules I will pick another book from my ever-growing pile and will let you know what’s next!  I encourage you to be my friend on goodreads and let me know what you’re reading!

Off to read!


Factura Electrónica 2011
Here comes the second half! Image via Wikipedia

It’s hard to believe that 2011 is half over, now that July (and some steamy summer weather) has arrived.  I know that writing my “end of 2010 letter” in February probably makes mid-year creep up sooner, but nonetheless, it is amazing how fast the time goes.

I set a goodreads reading goal for 2011 of 55 books.  I’m happy to say I’m ahead of the game, with 30 books read at the halfway point!  And much summer reading time still to come!

I’m half-done with book 7 of Harry Potter.  Unfortunately, the library audiobook was missing a disc (ugh) so I’ll be reading a little bit of the book again.  It’s just so good.  And I’m so excited to make the deadline of getting all the books read before the movie comes out halfway through July!

I’m still reading way too many book blogs.  It can overwhelm.  And it impinges on book reading time!  I’ll have to start culling my blogger feed.  And the book blogs only make my to-read list longer on goodreads!  Not a bad problem, I guess, but I think for now I’ll work on the pile of books by my bed.

I just finished my third book by Katie Fforde, and they were fun but not the best fluffy British books I’ve ever read.  I love Jane Green books; Marian Keyes is light and fun; and you know of my love for all things Binchy.  I’d put them all before another Katie Fforde book.

I’m looking forward to a great second half of 2011 – the first half has had some downers so it can only get better, right?  Since my glass is always half full, I know it to be true!

Happy July, all!
Off to read…