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.