Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm back

It has been a long time since I wrote anything in the blog. So many things have changed - my previous job as a social worker ended, my daughter graduated from homeschooling, my dog buddy, Sasha, passed away, and I now work at the local library part time. For awhile, I just couldn't seem to write anything, but I've been reading so many good books, I just had to find the time to blog again. I promise more pictures next time, but I'm out of camera batteries:)
Since I have been working at the public library, I have been on a reading spree. So many good books, so little time! I'll post my favorite books at the end of the year, but so far this month I've read:
1. Wolf Hall by H. Mantel 4.5 stars
I read this for book club - which (blush) I ended up not going to this month. I was one of the few who enjoyed this book. Not just another story about Henry VIII, Mantel manages to create a new and interesting twist about Henry's court and his wives. While More was depicted as the hero in a "Man for All Seasons" here he is an unpleasant man at home, and not much better in court. Thomas Cromwell is the main character in this book, and he comes off better here than in other depictions I've read. This book demanded my full attention (i.e. no reading and watching t.v. at the same time), probably due to Mantel's historical research and the details she brings to life in the book.
2. Revolution by J. Donnelly 5 stars
Andi is a senior in high school who is struggling with suicidal thoughts after seeing her brother killed. She blames herself and her schoolwork suffers, in spite of her musical talent and ability. Her father brings her to Paris, where she discovers a diary of a girl who lived during the French Revolution. The rest, as they say, is history. I can't say more because I'm afraid I will give away too much of the book. At the beginning Andi reminded me a little too much of Holden Caufield for my taste, but as the story moved to Paris, it picks up considerably. I loved this book and hated to see it end. Donnelly includes a wonderful bibliography at the end for anyone wanting to know more about either the French Revolution or the musical information she includes in the book. I highly recommend this!!!
3. Out Stealing Horses by P. Petterson 4 stars
A simple, understated book with beautiful writing. An older man has decided to live simply in the wilderness. He meets his next door neighbor and old childhood friend, Lars, and recalls the tragic events in his past.
4. The Confession by J. Grisham 3.5 stars
Classic Grisham - just finished this morning.

I'm currently reading All the Broken Pieces, and Girl in Translation.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow, snow, snow!

It was beautiful. We had 32" or more of the white stuff and we had fun throwing snowballs and sledding.

But then came the digging out. Even the roof. Well we're dug out but now we have to wait for the plow - and 5-10" more snow tomorrow.
Thank goodness for electricity and good books!

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I haven't written in my blog for awhile. I think I felt a bit guilty since I didn't write the best books I read in 2009 post that I had promised. I had planned to do a whole long post and suggest books for each category. Now that January is almost over I think I'll skip that until next year. To assuage my guilt I will say that the best book I read was The Help, followed closely by The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
I did read some wonderful books in December, after being on a bit of a unintentional literary fast.
In the warmer weather I have so many outside chores that reading can get shoved aside a bit. But snowy days seem to be custom made for reading. I've been fortunate enough to have found some very good books to read this month.

1. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - This book reminded me of The Secret Garden, which I read to my children many years ago. In fact, the author of The Secret Garden makes an appearance in the book. Some people didn't like how the book goes back and forth in time and found it confusing. I didn't find this to be a problem. Like the stories told by one of the characters, this book almost seemed like a fairy tale.

2. Beowulf on the Beach by Jack Murnighan. This book has encouraged me to try to read War & Peace and conversely let me know which classics I definitely want to skip. Fun and accessible, but raunchy sometimes.

3. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. I had the absolutely best art history teacher. Through him I was introduced to so many artists and architects. Frank Lloyd Wright was one of my favorites and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It encouraged me to pull out some of my books and look at some of the houses he designed.

4. Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. Wow.

5. The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova. I enjoyed this but in retrospect I'm not completely sure why. A novel about an artist's obsession, it did mention and discuss many different painters, particularly in the impressionist era. Aha, that is probably why I liked it so much. Kostova also wrote The Historian, which was another novel I really enjoyed, but not everyone I recommended it to did care for it. Kostova writes beautifully, and I think that alone makes her stories compelling.

I'm currently reading another novel that I love, but I won't finish it until February. It's so good I might create a separate blog post just to review it.

Happy reading!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...

I'm enjoying the return of the sun.

I am thinking...

that I soon have to head out for a run.

I am thankful for...

My husband - he brought coffee, the paper, and our kitty upstairs to me for the past 3 mornings.

From the kitchen...

We'll be having creamy potato soup for dinner tonight. And rolls, if I get moving and make them.

I am wearing...

Pj's and my robe and slippers. I need to go up and get into my running clothes.

I am going...

To the bookstore with my hubby in a little while for a cup of coffee and browsing time.

I am reading...

Same Kind of Different as Me. This book is really making me think.

I am hoping...

The new kitty and the other pets all become friends.

I am hearing...

The kitten meowing - she is very cute.

Around the house...

It's a beautiful day and I'm beginning to think about my garden.
One of my favorite things...

A cup of coffee in the morning.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Keep up the running. I ran for years and this past year I just...haven't. I also need to start sorting through some of the curriculum I've accumulated over the years.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A long winter nap

They are not supposed to be on here but I don't think they look too guilty! They know what to do when the winter winds are howling.

Brrr - it's cold outside

The snow here isn't really blowing since all that is left of our 2 foot snowstorm is piles of the frozen white stuff. But the wind is whipping outside and I can't imagine what the wind chills must be. My plan was to take down all the outside decorations and the Christmas tree. Well, the Christmas tree is down and the wreath and our little soldiers outside are safely away. My dear husband braved the cold to take down a few things on our porch. But if this cold and wind doesn't stop, our outside lights might be there until spring. Not really, but at least until it warms up some. I love winter - from the inside looking out. Warm fireplaces, hot coffee, and a cozy blanket and book suit me just fine.
Our Christmas was lovely and the time off with my husband and teens was wonderful. I received lots of books and have spent a lot of time curled up with them (see paragraph above:). I had planned to do the best books I read in 2009 before 2009 ended and never got to it so I'll try to do that this week. We're expecting another snowstorm later this week, so I'm sure I'll have plenty of time!

Thursday, December 24, 2009