Sunday, September 25, 2011

Yes,'s me again...finally...

Okay. So clearly I'm not cut out for blogging :) I'm afraid this isn't going to be the beginning of any manic blogging trend, I really just want to get some things straight for myself and figured this would be the best venue. A little while ago I read Stephanie's blog post over at The Conscientious Reader and realized that I haven't been keeping up with the reading challenges I picked up on the side at all. Back in February I decided that I was going to try to participate in an Ireland Reading Challenge and a British Books Challenge. I've been so focused on trying to reach my main goal of 50 for the year that I've kind of let these go by the way-side. Or have I?

Here's what it looks like I've got so far:

Ireland Reading Challenge:

Shadowfever - Karen Marie Moning (set in Dublin, Ireland)
The Brightest Star in the Sky - Marian Keyes (set in Ireland, Irish author)
Irish Girls About Town: An Anthology of Short Stories - a compilation of short stories by female Irish authors, all taking place in Ireland
Now and Then - Jacqueline Sheehan (mainly takes place in Ireland in 1844)

This puts me solidly in one level of the challenge - the Luck O' the Irish. I'm satisfied with this. I definitely have more books on my shelf that would qualify for this challenge, but at this point I just want to make sure I hit my 50.

British Book Challenge:

Alice I Have Been - Melanie Benjamin (set in Oxford, England)
The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise - Julia Stuart (set in London, England, British author)
The Crimson Petal and the White - Michel Faber (set in London, England)
Gone With the Windsors - Laurie Graham (mostly set in London, British author)
Little Bee - Chris Cleave (set mostly in London, England, British author)

This particular challenge only has two challenge levels, and I originally planned on aiming for the lower one, called "Winston Churchill". To achieve this level, I need to read 6 books that pertain. Looks like I've made it to five without even trying, so I should be good making it the 6.

Phew!! Now to just finish my 50 and then think about what to do next year....

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Book #16: The Brightest Star In the Sky

Book #16 is by Marian Keyes and is called The Brightest Star In the Sky. I'm not sure that I have a lot to say about this book. I honestly didn't really enjoy much about it. It's told from the point of view of an "angel" that is looking for a new soul to dwell in, but the reader isn't really let in on this until the very end of the book. The problem for me is that it follows multiple people and because it's unclear who is telling the story, it's hard to understand why it's necessary to follow all of these people. And they aren't all really that interesting. The only thing keeping me reading (besides the rule I set for myself that I have to finish all books that I start) was the storyline about the couple Matt and Maeve. They lend a bit of mystery to the whole thing. I won't say what the resolution is, on the very slight off chance that someone actually reads this and then wants to read the story. I think that perhaps the convolutedness of this blog entry is decent evidence of the convolutedness of the book. It's rather disappointing...I've read some of Keyes other books and really enjoyed them, but the last couple have just really been blah. I even returned one to the bookstore after the first couple of chapters because I could tell that I just wasn't going to get into it. I've never done that before. Sad.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book #14: Three Willows and Book #15: The Host


Book #14 is Three Willows: The Sisterhood Grows by Ann Brashares. This story is remotely connected to Brashares' Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series. I loved those books, so it was a no-brainer when I saw this at the library. It's a similar storyline - the Pants series is about 4 high school aged best friends that share a pair of "magical" pants. This book is about 3 girls that were best friends most of their lives but had drifted apart. They are in their last summer before they start high school. The story follows each girl on her journey, which ultimately leads them back to each other. Polly goes to a modelling day camp, even though she doesn't really have what it takes to be a model and ends up being hurt by the process. Jo spends the summer at her family's beach house, working at a restaurant and acting older to fit in, also getting hurt in the process. Ama is probably my favorite character. She reminds me a bit of my friend Stephanie. Very bookish, very smart, not what anyone would think of as "outdoorsy" and yet she ends up being sent on a wilderness trip instead of the academic camp she had thought she was going starts off a disaster, but she loves it by the end. I liked this book a lot. It's a bit simple, but it's young adult, so I didn't really expect anything earth shattering. I'm wondering if this is going to be another series, a la the Travelling Pants...

Book #15 is The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Yes, THE Stephanie Meyer of Twilight fame. I resisted this book for a long time. Most everyone I talked to about it hadn't read it because they had not heard great things about it and every time I picked it up and looked at the back of it I was reminded that it's about aliens. I'm not really into the whole alien thing. Never have been, so I kept giving it a pass. Even after Aaron recommended it to me, telling me that it is one of his favorite books, I resisted. Then I came across it in my perusals at the library. I figured, what the heck. Well. I'm glad that I did. I really enjoyed this book. Yeah, at it's base it's about aliens, but it's really about humanity and about how the unfeeling alien found her humanity. Now, it did start off a bit slow, but once I got through about 50 pages I was hooked, so if you've ever considered reading it, even a little, give it a chance!! If you liked the Twilight saga, you'll probably like this story.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book #12-Water for Elephants and Book #13-Blood Sins

Erm. Ok. So honestly I think I got a bit out of order in my numbering system. I was following the order in which they were listed on Goodreads, not realizing that they were sorted by date added, not date completed. I've now solved that problem. No one cares though, right? At least I'm trying to catch up...?

So, book #12 is Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. As soon as I realized the movie was coming out, I decided I'd better get my act together and read it. I borrowed a copy from my sister Stacie and took it with me to day 3 of Jury Duty. I finished it that day, no problem...5 solid hours of reading did it for me. I liked it, but didn't love it. The issue is that with the exception of the main character, Jacob Jankowski, I just didn't really like any of the characters. And reading about some of the realities of how the animals in the circus were treated was simply heartbreaking. I honestly didn't really care much for the movie either. I had hoped that they would downplay the scenes of animal abuse, and I guess they did, but not nearly as much as I'd like. All in all I'm still glad that I read the book, and that I did it before I saw the movie. At least I was prepared.

Book #13 is called Blood Sins by Kay Hooper. Hooper's novels are always entertaining. All of them (at least most of them?) have a basis in the paranormal, mainly about a fictional branch of the FBI called the "Special Crimes Unit". Each member of the unit has some sort of "extra" sense or paranormal power. Empaths, psychics, mind name it. The main character in this book, Tessa Gray, is (among other things) clairvoyant and can "sense" other psychic abilities while shielding her own. This was another quick read but one that I enjoyed quite a bit more than Water for Elephants. One of the things that I really like about Hooper's style is that she does a really good job of distracting the reader from realizing who the real villain is. Her endings are usually worth getting to, and this novel didn't disappoint, which is something that I always appreciate.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Book #11 - The Crimson Petal and the White

Continuing with the catching up...

Book #11 was The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber. Two things led me to this 900 page book. That's right. 900 PAGES. The first was a recommendation from a friend of Aaron's. The recommendation wasn't, "Hey, this book is awesome, you should read it." It was more like, "Hey, this book is ginormous and if you're looking for a challenge, you'll find it here." Well. Clearly I enjoy a good challenge, so I put it on my radar. Then a group I belong to on Goodreads (aptly called Reading the Chunksters) put it up for consideration. These two things combined seemed reason enough for

All I can say is thank goodness for Jury Duty. It would have taken me FOREVER to get through those 900 pages if I hadn't been granted almost two full days of nearly uninterrupted reading time. To be honest, I'm not sure it was really worth it. I thought after the hype (the rec's and then the reviews I read on Goodreads) that it would be a super intense and interesting book. It wasn't really. I don't really even remember THAT much about it. It started of super slow, pretty difficult to get into. When the story starts, it's not even following the book's main character. You have to get there, be introduced to each character. "Julie, this is Caroline. Caroline enjoys long walks through the gritty streets of London, searching for "johns"." Blech. The path to the main character (the heroine, I guess she could be called) is so rambling that when he finally gets there, it takes a while to be convinced that she's the one. Sugar is her name, prostituting and social climbing is her game. Honestly, she isn't a very likable heroine. She's rather whiny and really kind of ends up losing herself instead of finding herself. The most annoying thing about the book? It doesn't end. I mean, the book ends, but the story doesn't really end. Faber actually has the nerve to taunt the reader about it. "Hey, I know the story didn't really end, but too bad, that's how life is sometimes." Really? Even with that though, by that point I was just so glad to be finished, I barely cared.

And I'm realizing that my review is becoming nearly as long and tedious (yet somewhat lacking in real information) as the book, so I'm going to just quit while I'm ahead...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Catching up...through Book #10...

Ok. So I know that I am behind in my blogging. Woefully behind. Unfortunately, the blog update police force (you know who you are) has also realized this and my plan of coasting along with the hopes of no one knowing has been thwarted. And so now it is time to catch up.

First I must be honest. I've shelved Mysteries of St. Louis. Not forever, mind you. The rules I set forth for myself clearly state that once I've started a book, I must finish it. I will. I just came to the realization that if I'm ever going to catch up to where I need to be as far as pace, I needed to move on. So it has been returned to the library for the time being. This change means I need to shuffle my numbers, which officially makes Book #8 Without Mercy, and Book #9 The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise, both of which I've already talked about.

Book #10 - The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer. This was a Goodreads "first-read" freebie book. Here's what I wrote about it on Goodreads:

"This was the second book that I "won" from a Goodreads giveaway. I have to say that I didn't really care for it. The plot line just seems so...simple. The story seems like perhaps it should be complicated, but it's not. I'm not sure if that's a result of the writing or simply the premise. The idea is that a new drama teacher comes to this school and decides to put on a play called Lysistrata, the plot of which involves the women of Greece to go on a sex strike and deny their lovers sex in order to stop war. Already you're thinking, hmm...right? A side effect is that supposedly anywhere the play is put on, the women of that town turn away from their lovers. A cold-winded spell blows over all of them. Riiight... It of course eventually resolves, but it takes sooo long to get there. I think my main issue with the whole thing is that this would have been better as a short story. The characters really aren't interesting enough to deserve a whole book. I finished it, but only because it was really easy to read and I got through it very quickly. It's left me feeling kind of eh, though."

Can you tell how much I didn't like it? Bleh. Furthermore, part of the schtick with the first-read thing is that you increase your chances of getting more free books if you review the ones you've already received. Well. I haven't won ANY since this review. Maybe they only like positive reviews?

"The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it." ~James Bryce

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book #9 (sort of): Without Mercy and Book #10(ish): The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise

For the record, I'm still working on what I originally called Book #8 (The Mysteries of St. Louis). It's a very interesting book, it just takes a lot of concentration to read, so it's slow going. In the meantime I decided that I would double team so that I don't fall too far behind. So technically speaking I've really only finished 9 books at this time ;)

My first back-up book (supposed book #9) was Without Mercy by Lisa Jackson. Normally I really enjoy her books and I still finished this one pretty quick, but it kind of felt like a chore. Normally her characters are really well developed and engaging and there are a lot of surprising plot twists. Not so much with this one. I found the main character rather whiny, in fact. While there was a fairly decent twist of a conclusion, by the time I got there, I found I didn't really care. Overall, really a disappointment but at least it counts toward my 50!

I'm currently working on (what I'm calling book #10) a book called The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart. I noticed it on the shelf at Borders a couple of weeks ago and found it intriguing. The wonderful man that I am dating noticed and went back and bought it for me :) Unlike Mysteries, it is a very easy read. I started reading it on Monday during my lunch and squeezed in about 30 pages, and then that evening read half the book! It's kind of whimsical fiction, but also relates quite a bit of history about The Tower of London. I'm really enjoying this one. And as an extra bonus, it counts toward my British book challenge!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Book #8: The Mysteries of St. Louis

The next book I've decided to read is The Mysteries of St. Louis by Henry Boernstein. One of my reenacting friends recommended this to me while I was reading book #4 (German Settlements in Missouri) and I thought I would give it a go. The St. Louis Public Library had a few copies available, so I put in my request (yay, library!) and picked it up the other day. I think this book is going to be a big challenge for me. To begin with, the book was written in 1851. In German. An English version of the novel was then published in 1852. I hope that the vernacular is not too difficult to understand. The particular version I'm reading was published in 1990, not sure if that has made a difference (like how all of the different versions of the Bible are so very different). Second, this edition is only 303 pages, but the publisher uses as much of each page as they can. The words are very small and they completely fill each page. All that said, I still plan to soldier on...I'm hoping it will be so fascinating that none of that makes a difference!

Today I finished Book #7, Friendship Bread by Darien Gee. This is the book I won on the Goodreads website. I loved it! It was a super easy, feel-good read. I highly recommend it! The title could use a little work (it doesn't exactly scream READ ME, does it?) but the book itself is great. It follows the story of one little anonymous bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter left on a grieving mother's doorstep and goes on to tell how it effects the whole town and brings the community together. I'd be happy to lend it to anyone that's interested!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book #6: Shadowfever and Book #7: Friendship Bread

"Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own." ~William Hazlitt

I'm afraid that I'm a little behind on my blogging. I was SO excited to begin reading book #6, that I didn't even stop to blog about it before I started reading it. Just what is book #6 and why was I so impatient to read it? The book is Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning. It is the 5th and supposedly last book in her "Fever" series (if you'd like to learn more about the series, go here I didn't realize it was a series when I picked up the 2nd book (Bloodfever) at Borders one day. I certainly figured it out at the end...Moning doesn't really "finish" any of the books in this series. Except the last one. Sort of. When I started telling Shellie about this book, we realized that she had actually just bought the 1st book in the series. Ha! We were both likely drawn by the fact that the bulk of the story takes place in Dublin, Ireland. It's about a girl named MacKayla Lane, who is struggling to avenge her sister, discover herself and save our world from a fantastical "Fae" world full of supernatural creatures. Does she manage it? Well, you'll have to find that out for yourself! Just be prepared to read the whole series.

Book #7 is Friendship Bread by Darian Gee. This is the book I "won" on Goodreads. My wonderful friend Katie came over one day and was kind enough to point out the giveaway portion of the website. I LOVE this. I've only won the one book so far, but for a girl that has committed to purchasing no books all year, this is like a dream! The one liner from the book, "An anonymous gift sends a woman on a journey she never could have anticipated" sounds interesting enough and the reviews that I've read make it seem like it has a happy ending. This is excellent. I could use a happy ending right now :) I have to get on with reading this one anyway so that I can write a review of sorts on Goodreads and up my chances of winning MORE BOOKS!!! Yay.

I'm glad to have finished Book #5, Alice I Have Been, by Melanie Benjamin. I was reading Alice and Shadow simultaneously, and it was a bit of a challenge as I'm normally a one book at a time kinda girl. I made it because I only read Alice at work and only read Shadow at home. I almost backed out of this one because just as I was getting ready to start it, I found out that it was a melancholy book with a somewhat sad ending. I persisted, and I'm glad that I did. The story was so well-written that it truly didn't matter. I only wish that we had been able to get to know the adult Alice a little better. Benjamin did such a good job of making the young Alice real, that it left me wanting more. But either way, thanks to my "nerdfest" book club on FB for making me want to read this one :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday 5: Too Much Not Enough

1. Who’s not as funny as he or she thinks?

I plead the 5th.

2. What’s not as big a deal as everyone else seems to think?

Um, Valentine's Day.

3. What’s something people aren’t concerned enough about?

Recycling. It's so easy these days, I don't understand why more people don't do it.

4. What’s something in the grocery store that’s underrated?

The little rolly thing on the top of the U-Scans. The codes are on there, people.

5. What do you pay too much attention to?

I was reading these out loud and my sister immediately said, "The weather report?" True story.

Btw...I've decided to forego Word of the Day for a bit. Just haven't been that interested in my vocabulary. It should return soon!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

As if I needed another reading challenge...

Thanks to Stephanie (grr...), I've now found myself sucked in to another couple of reading challenges. In theory they should dovetail nicely with the 50 book challenge I've already committed to as I think some of the books on my shelf apply to both sub-challenges. What are these new challenges, you ask?

The first one had me at the picture...Dunluce Castle, anyone? I didn't even need to read what the challenge entails. Most everyone that has spent any amount of time talking to me knows that I LOVE Ireland. Right? I think this will surprise no one.

I'm aiming for the "Luck o'the Irish" (4) level, but it's entirely possible that I will surpass it and make it to the "Kiss the Blarney Stone" (6) level (side note...I have actually kissed the Blarney Stone...even after hearing the stories of what the workers may or may not do to it. See below for proof :) ). Here are some of the books already on my shelf (or to-read list) that fit into the challenge:

Shadowfever - Karen Marie Moning (this will be on loan from my kind sister)
The Wild Irish - Robin Maxwell
Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married - Marian Keyes
What Are You Like? - Anne Enright
The Celtic Book of Living and Dying - Juliette Wood (which also fits into the next challenge, as author is British...)

Which leads me to the next challenge. Before my mild obsession with Ireland began, I was a died in the wool anglophile. I spent the spring semester of my sophomore year of college living and going to school in London, England. It was quite possibly the best time of my life. Great memories and even better friends were made. So as a tribute to that semester (and because there are also books on my shelf that apply)...

I'm aiming for the "Winston Churchill" (6) level, but I have a few books that also take place in Scotland or are written by Scottish authors. If I find out that these count, I could be well on my way to the "Royal Family" (12) level. Here are a couple of my choices:

The Glamorous (Double) Life of Isabel Bookbinder - Holly Mcqueen
For Better, for Worse - Carole Matthews
England, England - Julian Barnes
Emma - Jane Austen
The Ghost Map - Steven Johnson
Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson

I do think I'll make it...I was already planning on reading most of these books. Happy reading, all!

Kissing the Blarney Stone, March 27, 2000

Books I've actually read for these challenges:

British Book Challenge:
1. Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Irish Reading Challenge:
1. Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday 5: Unrelated

Today's 5 from : Unrelated

1. What’s your favorite kind of cracker?
Umm...I like Wheat Thins a lot, but sometimes I like to buy Toasted brand onion crackers.

2. What part of your residence gets the best natural lighting?
That's kind of a trick question. No room in my house gets great light, but I guess my "library" in the back of the house would win.

3. What song have you frequently listened to lately?
"Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

4. What could you use a little break from?
Snow and cold and the dry skin that comes along with it.

5. What’s going on in your town this weekend?
Apparently there's a Maple Sugar Festival at Rockwoods Reservation. Huh. Sounds interesting.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Snowmageddon '82

Are my fellow Midwesterners ready for snowmageddon? Everyone my age that grew up in St. Louis probably has a vague recollection of the Blizzard of '82. Most of my memories of that storm have come from pictures like the one above and to the right (Gravois Rd and my backyard, respectively). I've heard a lot of talk about how some parts of the area are about to see a storm to rival the legendary '82 blizzard. The weather people have been talking about it for days and it seems that they have really put the fear of Ice in everyone. Just in case you haven't heard...we're due to get anywhere from .25" to 2" of ice and then an additional 3" to 12" of snow on top of that. Then as an extra special bonus, the temperature is going to drop below zero. Moving to Alabama isn't looking like such a bad idea right now (still have that room ready for me, Cheryl?).

My friend Katie came over today and we spent a wonderful day being crafty and catching up. As she was leaving we both realized that there were a few things we should probably pick up before snowmageddon and so we decided to head to the store together. IT WAS AMAZING. I worked at a grocery store for a couple of years when I was in college. I've also had to make a lot of last minute trips for groceries before major store closing holidays. I have NEVER seen anything like this. They ran out of bananas, for goodness sake. BANANAS!! And I don't mean that there were only bruised or horribly green bananas left. They ran completely out and put up a sign so that people would stop asking. Interestingly, bread and milk were both still available. Another thing that was out? Diet Coke. Who knew that Diet Coke ranks up there with bananas, bread and milk? The true test came when we went to check out. I have never EVER seen lines like this at a grocery store. They had almost every lane open and the lines were still halfway down the aisles. If I hadn't seen and someone had just told me about it, I would have thought they were exaggerating. Here's the proof...

What isn't evident in these pictures? The fact that everyone (workers and customers) was dealing with it really well. The people in line around us were smiling and very friendly, and our checker had a better attitude than most checkers in a non-snowpocalypse situation. Good for you, St. Louis!!

My biggest issue with the coming snowpocalypse is this: unless the 2" of ice knock out the power at Zip Mail Services, I will still have to go into work. I don't think getting there tomorrow morning will be a problem, but I'm a little worried about getting home tomorrow afternoon and generally about transportation on Tuesday. So I've done something that I should have figured out long ago. I've checked the bus schedule and figured out what buses I need to take and the transfers and everything. Take that, Mother Nature! Now, if Metro decides to halt bus service, I may have a problem...who has 4 wheel drive and would like to spend some quality time with me?
Good luck, everyone, and please...BE CAREFUL out there.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book #5: Alice I Have Been

I went into Book 5 thinking I was going to read an Iris Johansen mystery, but at around page 60 I realized that, dur, I've already read it. I could read it again (and quickly), but according to the rules I set for myself at the beginning of the year, it wouldn't count towards my 50. This was a little bit disheartening but after much deliberation I've decided to read Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin instead. My friend Stephanie has highly recommended this book and even started a bit of a book club on facebook with it as the gateway book. Since I'm a member, I figured I should read it! Unfortunately I have heard that it has a bit of a sad/bittersweet ending, so we'll see...

Two thumbs up to Book 4, German Settlement in Missouri by Robyn Burnett and Ken Luebbering. It was a SUPER easy read...I think I finished it in about an hour and a half. I HIGHLY recommend it to all of my Missouri friends that have German roots. It's not really intense textbook or anything, but it gives a lot of interesting facts and anecdotes that I never realized I needed to know. It also really got me thinking about my people...

On a side note: PLEASE let the weather people be wrong about this storm we're about to get...I mean, really? Freezing rain thunderstorms? Thundersnow? These are not fun things.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Word of the Day: Ballyhoo

I found a cool site called Vintage Vocabulary ( Here's the description from the site:

"Vintage Vocabulary features over 150 American words and expressions with intriguing histories. These include some that are now obsolete, but encapsulate colorful slices of America's past. Others are recent word inventions that seem like good candidates for future "vintage" status."

I love this! When I was a junior in high school we had to write this crazy mega paper that was a joint History/English assignment. We were given 5 pivotal time periods in American history and had to choose one to set our story in. Additionally, we were given certain aspects of the time period that we had to research and include in the paper. It was a pretty cool assignment and even though I did my typical procrastination, I had a great time doing the research. Naturally I chose to set my story during the Civil of the things I chose to include was some dialect of the time. Ever since then I've been fascinated by "forgotten" words and expressions. So until I get tired of it, my Friday word of the day (and the definition because it may not necessarily match the modern definition) is going to come from this or a similar website.

Today's word? Ballyhoo!

ballyhoo: boisterous publicity; commotion; noisy, extravagant talk

If you'd like to read more about the history of the word, here's a link. It's interesting, but it's a fairly long description, so I don't want to paste it in...

Happy Friday!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book #4: German Settlement in Missouri

"Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it." ~P.J. O'Rourke

Next up is German Settlement in Missouri: New Land, Old Ways by Robyn Burnett and Ken Luebbering. This one I inherited from my mom. It looks interesting and is only 116 pgs, so it should go pretty fast. Also, I've heard of Ken Luebbering before...I'm not sure where, but I'm determined to figure it out.

Book #3 was a SUPERfast read. Wanderlust, by Chris Dyer. I expected it to be a fluff read and it certainly was. I got through the entire book in 2 days. I don't have a lot to say about this one. The story was told through emails, which turned a relatively short easy read into an even shorter read. Rather a waste of paper. In an effort to not split emails onto two pages, they left half pages entirely blank. And the story itself was pretty predictable. So I think I'll go with this: it was a pretty good lightweight story. Bleh.

I suppose that book #5 is going to have to be a deeper read after these featherweights...sigh.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday 5: Super!

Today's Friday5 courtesy of

1. There are superheroes named Superman, Superfly, and Supergirl. Based on your performance this past week in whatever you do, what would have been your Super_____ name?
-Only answer I can come up with for this one is Superawesome...or as my boss likes to call me, Awesomus Prime.

2. This week, what has been superterrific and what has been superlame?
-Superterrific? The knowledge that I will be attending the NKOTBSB concert this summer...and I saved $20 in service charges by going to the box office. Superlame? Cheryl losing her grandma and having to drive into St. Louis just after the biggest snowstorm we've had in years.

3. Which of Superman’s abilities would have been the most useful this week?
-Um, dur. 9 inches of snow...the ability to fly would have been superhandy this week.

4. What do you most expect will be super this weekend?
-Though the reason for her visit is sad, it will be super to see my besty Cheryl this weekend.

5. What are your thoughts this week about the coming Super Bowl?
-What? Is that coming up soon? Huh.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Word of the Day - Nebulous

nebulous (courtesy of

1. hazy, vague, indistinct, or confused: a nebulous recollection of the meeting; a nebulous distinction between pride and conceit.
2. cloudy or cloudlike.
3. of or resembling a nebula or nebulae; nebular.

Found this lovely tidbit while researching...

Some people say the business about the jolly fat person is a myth, that all of us chubbies are neurotic, sick, sad people. I disagree. Fat people may not be chortling all day long, but they're a hell of a lot nicer than the wizened and shriveled. Thin people turn surly, mean and hard at a young age because they never learn the value of a hot fudge sundae for easing tension. Thin people don't like gooey soft things because they themselves are neither gooey nor soft. They are crunchy and dull, like carrots. They go straight to the heart of the matter while fat people let things stay all blurry and hazy and vague, they way things actually are. Thin people want to face the truth. Fat people know there is no truth.... Thin people believe in logic. Fat people see all sides. The sides fat people see are rounded blobs, usually gray, always nebulous and truly not worth worrying about. But the thin person persists. "If you consume more calories than you burn," says one of my thin friends, "you will gain weight. It's that simple." Fat people always grin when they hear that. They know better. --Suzanne Britt

She certainly found a way to use nebulous in a...umm...sentence.

Book #3 - Wanderlust

Up next is Wanderlust by Chris Dyer. This was a $1 book fair find, so there's no personal history or attachment behind the choice. Three things drew me to this book. 1-The main character has what could have once been my dream job, writing a budget travel column. 2-It's endorsed by Marian Keyes, an Irish author that I really like. 3-On the front cover it claims to be "A Novel of Sex and Sensibility" which makes me think that maybe it's loosely based on Jane Austen's novel of similar title. I'm hoping that it will be a nice fluffy read that I can get through quickly in order to gain back the ground I lost during 3 Nights in August.

And about that...

Really, Buzz Bissinger?? I wanted to read about 3 nights in August, about the Cardinals, and about Tony LaRussa. I guess technically I did read about all of those things. But I also read a whole lot of other stuff that I really could have done without. The first half of the book was SO wordy it was nearly impossible to get through. Bissinger spent more time than was necessary on history and other players, other teams. Once I managed to get through all of the rambling and I was just reading about the Cardinals I actually began to enjoy it. For anyone interested in reading this book, I recommend sticking to does get better (though it will never rank among my favorites).

Many people, other than the authors, contribute to the making of a book, from the first person who had the bright idea of alphabetic writing through the inventor of movable type to the lumberjacks who felled the trees that were pulped for its printing. It is not customary to acknowledge the trees themselves, though their commitment is total. ~Forsyth and Rada, Machine Learning


Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday 5 - Expiration

It's Friday 5 time!! Today's questions from are:

1. What was the most recent thing to go past its expiration date in your pantry?
Well, it technically wasn't in my pantry, but the last thing to expire was what was left in of my gallon of milk. Expired on January 11.

2. When does your excitement about the new year usually expire?
Is the new year something that usually excites people? Which people? I think my excitement about the new year expired when I was six.

3. What valued possession seems to be on the verge of expiration?
My knees?

4. When does your current driver’s license expire?
This year on my 33rd birthday. June 5, 2011.

5. What subscription, membership, permit, policy, or other dated document are you most likely to allow to expire next without renewal?
My subscription to Woman's Day. A new editor took over last year and it's just not the same. The recipes don't sound as yummy, the articles aren't as informative, there are more ads...

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Word of the Day Friday: Reprobate

I like this word. I wish that I had been more familiar with it a few years ago. I was in fact dating a reprobate at the time and would have loved to have another big word (that he didn't understand) in my arsenal!

According to -

1. a depraved, unprincipled, or wicked person: a drunken reprobate.
2. a person rejected by God and beyond hope of salvation.
3. morally depraved; unprincipled; bad.
4. rejected by God and beyond hope of salvation.
verb (used with object)
5. to disapprove, condemn, or censure.
6. (of God) to reject (a person), as for sin; exclude from the number of the elect or from salvation.

Use in a sentence? But of course...

"Yes, I know Richard Gross. He is a disgusting reprobate that I certainly wish I had never met."

Penny Pincher?

Today I've spent much time thinking about ways that I could "spend less" and a seed of an idea has planted itself. Perhaps I could do a series of 30 Day Challenges, with each challenge relating to saving money or cutting back in some way. I've come up with a few ideas, but so far don't have enough for every month in the year. January is easy. I'm devoting this month to adjusting to my "no book buying all year" commitment. Some that know me well probably know how incredibly difficult this is.

Some of my other ideas:

- 30 days of no eating out

- 30 days of cutting back driving by X amount per week (sorry, I'm just not committed enough to go completely carless for a month!)

- 30 days with water and milk being my only beverages

- 30 days of making a concentrated effort to remember to turn off/unplug things I'm not using

Any other ideas??

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book #2 -- 3 Days In August

Next up is 3 Days in August by Buzz Bissinger. It's generally a book about Tony LaRussa (who also collaborated on the book) and the St. Louis Cardinals. Specifically it is about a 3 day Cards/Cubs series that took place in August 2003. This is one of my first real challenges. I find that I have a lot of books in which I'm very interested in the subject matter, but not so much interested in the actual reading of the words. I'm afraid that this is how I have come to have more than 50 books in my possession that I haven't read. My only hope is to take these books to work. I've found that the best way to force myself to read books such as these is to do so when the book actually the more interesting choice :) I mean, really...Cardinals or work...Cardinals or work...hmm...

As for Chocolat (for those interested), I have indeed finished. It was a pretty easy read. It was a little bit less dark and "magical" as it's sequel, The Girl With No Shadow, but still had the same general feel. The writing was actually good enough (and maybe it's been long enough since I've seen it last) that I didn't really get too hung up on the differences between the book and the movie. One thing that I did want to point out...her writing style is such that she likes use different character's POV to the the story. In both books I found that I preferred one character's narrative over the other and ended up just skimming the less likeable character's story. I would recommend it...but if you haven't seen the movie, definitely read the book first! I know I'm looking forward to seeing the movie again...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday 5: Winter

Though I fear I may be something of a blog copycat, I've decided to borrow another of Stephanie's ideas and start posting a Friday 5. It's a win-win situation, really...Stephanie says she loves to read other people's surveys and it will give me more to blog about. The idea is meant to be copied, really. Every Friday there is a new "5" posted at .

This week's Friday 5 is: Winter

1. Where have you been that could best be described as a winter wonderland?

A. After a fresh snowfall, the first night always feels winter wonderland-y to me. I absolutely love the complete peace that a blanket of snow brings.

2. In what way might you describe this as the winter of your discontent?

A. Instead of the negative implication this phrase has, I'm going to look at it in it's original context, "Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this sun of York" from the opening of Shakespeare's Richard III. After many years in a ridiculous emotionally and verbally abusive relationship I broke free and have spent the last couple of years getting my wits back about me. I've noticed recently that I've been laughing more and crying less. I've travelled more and reconnected with old friends. I have at least reached the spring after my winter of discontent, even if I haven't quite made it to summer yet.

3. What was the last wintergreen-flavored thing you tasted?

A. I have a package of wintergreen flavored mints in my purse right now. They are not very tasty and I'm glad that they're almost gone!

4. Is there anyone in your life who could be nicknamed Old Man Winter?

A. Anyone that knows me well probably already has an idea what my answer to this question is. If ever an Old Man Winter there was, Richard Dierker is the one because... It's ironic, really. He's always hated winter. Loathed it, in fact. However, he is a crotchety, grumpy man and would nicely fit into the role of Old Man Winter.

5. Now that the holidays have passed, is there anything good about the winter that remains?

A. Snow!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Word of the Day Friday -- Balderdash

Every Friday I'm going to choose a word...maybe a new word, maybe an old word, maybe even something from the urban dictionary...and use it as often as I can that day.

This week's word is balderdash


senseless, stupid, or exaggerated talk or writing; nonsense.

It is rather a fun word...try it!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Book #1: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

"A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it." ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958
I thought a lot about which book I would read first. I wanted it to be something really profound, a strong start. But then what if the book I chose was kind of a bore? Then I would struggle to finish the very first book of my project, which would probably be quite disheartening. Definitely not a strong start. So I've decided to start with Chocolat by Joanne Harris. I've already seen the movie and I've read the sequel (The Girl With No Shadow), and now it's time to read the original book that the movie is based on. The sequel was a lot darker than I had expected it to be, so I'm looking forward to finding out how similar the original is to the movie.

On a similar, the first day of my challenge, I had my first test. Borders sent me an email coupon for 50% off of one item. Normally this would see me in the car heading to the bookstore. Well. That is what happened, but it was not my main goal. I had something I needed to return to Old Navy, so I thought, hey, why not stop in at Borders? I am proud to say that I resisted temptation and walked out the door bookless. This gives me hope!

New year, new plan

For the first time ever in my life I've decided to make a new year's resolution. Or rather I would like to think of it more as a commitment than a resolution. Last year a friend decided to do a 50 book challenge. Simple idea, 50 books in a single year. Every time I read one of her updates, it made me think. 50 books? No problem, I can do that. I will do that. I didn't want to start the project in the middle of the year, so I decided to wait until the beginning of 2011. As the end of 2010 approached, I was thinking a lot about the challenge and I realized something. I have A LOT of books in my house that I haven't read. They came from a variety of sources...some were gifts, some book fair finds, some books I inherited from my mom. I thought, why not take the challenge one step further? So here it is. I am going to read at least 50 of my own books this year.

Here are the rules I've set for myself:

1. NO books will be purchased by me for me.

2. Borrowed books, library books and gifts are allowed.

3. Re-reads will not count toward the 50 book goal.

The one possible exception to the purchase rule may be the YMCA book fair. If the challenge is going well, I may decide that book fair purchases are allowed...especially if the challenge is going so well that I think I'll want to do it again next year.

As for the I have inspired Stephanie to take up the 50 book challenge, she has inspired me to blog. It may end up being mostly about my reading adventure...or maybe I'll actually be motivated to keep up with it, share my thoughts and such. It's a nice theory, but not something I've ever really been good at in practice. It's been a LONG time since I've done much writing...

Happy New Year!!