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Archive for the ‘52 books’ Category

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I finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain this week while I was not-busy being sick.

The premise of the book is the story is told from the point-of-view of a dog. Enzo is an unusual dog in many ways, but is still limited by the fact that he’s a dog. While the story isn’t particularly unusual, the way the story was told was quite unique and interesting. I found it hard to put the book down.

Two paws up.

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While waiting for the train last week, I was able to read Mary Poppins. Yes, it was a book way before Disney ever made it into a movie. The book is quite a bit different than the movie although all the same characters pop up. What I found most interesting was Mary Poppins being portrayed as a cranky, vain woman.

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I’ve long wanted to read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. When I found it on my library’s shelves, I had to check it out even though it’s not one of the books I originally chose for the 52 books challenge. This was an incredibly strange and fascinating book. I can’t really say much more about without giving anything away. But I do recommend reading it if you haven’t already.

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Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is an autobiographical novel of the writer’s life. This was one of those gem’s that I’m surprised I’ve missed reading for so long. Despite the time period she lived in, this book really is timeless. I’d imagine lots of people could identify with that feeling of hopelessness and inertia that Esther experiences. Maybe even more so these days. Another book that I’d recommend although it’s more of a read for women.

I’m now onto The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Seventh Well (which is another not on the original list.) It’s supposed to be cold this weekend and I’ve got some things to do around the apartment, so it may be a good weekend to spend time curled up with a good book.

There are a couple of things I’m excited about and looking forward to.

The first is just a day (not even that) away. Tomorrow afternoon I travel to Kansas to see DH and the dogs. It’s been a couple of weeks since seeing DH, but the dogs I’ve not seen since moving to IL. Anticipating all the cuddles, snuggles, and dog breath kisses.

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The second thing is six weeks away. There is a fiber weekend in Milwaukee at the end of February. I’ve already paid my registration and signed up for a class and a make-and-take. Make-and-takes are super short (20 min.) workshops where you quickly learn a technique, make something, and take it away. I signed up for one to learn how to pick up a loop below. I’ll show pictures after the weekend. The class I signed up for will teach me how to knit a top down sweater. While we’ll learn to knit a sweater for an American Girl, the sweater pattern is supposed to work for any size. Top-down sweaters are great because you can decide how long or short to make it while you knit. And with a basic shape, it can be personalized by using different stitches, color variations, yarns, etc. In addition to that, there will be a small marketplace with vendors, a pajama party, a place to knit on prayer shawls, music, and yarn. Did I mention there will be yarn? Yes, there will be yarn.

The last thing I’m jazzed about it the class I’m going to take this spring. No, it’s not for the second masters. I’m holding off on that, possibly until next fall or even spring 2010. There are going to be some changes next fall as we move the household up to IL and trying to study and complete projects while that is happening might make life more complicated than I can adequately deal with. I’m taking a photography class. The college waives tuition on classes for employees and their family members. So, I’m going to take advantage and try something I’ve always wanted to do. I don’t know that I have much of an eye for this, but maybe I can learn some things and improve my picture-taking. And I’ll get to learn how to develop film. Yay!

Other than that, things are ticking along. It’s cold here, like most of the midwest and northeast. I’ve been hitching a ride with a co-worker this week and am looking forward to having wheels of my own again. Trying to think of something really nice to do for her. She’s saved me a load of money and trouble this week. I haven’t done much in the way of creative cooking this week and have just relied on the staples that I usually have around. I’m still knitting the hanging towels, although I’m looking for something new to work on. Just haven’t settled on anything yet. I’ve finished a couple of books this week and moving on to Slaughterhouse Five. It’s not on my list of 52 books, but I’ve always wanted to read it and I can change my list.

Also looking forward to seeing my dad tomorrow. He’s coming over to drive me to the train station. While we won’t be together long, it’ll be nice to see him again.

Don’t know if I’ll write much this weekend, but will update you when I get back.

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The second book I’ve finished for the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge is the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. This is another YA book, so it was a quick read. I enjoyed every page of this book.

Sure there were some incredibly sad parts in this boy’s life, but in general, he handles all the challenges with tenacity and a certain grace. Plus, he’s got a great sense of humor about the world around him and himself. It’s an attitude that keeps him going and makes the reader like and admire him.

I’d give this book a high recommendation. You’ll laugh, maybe cry a small bit, and come away having gained something.

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I just finished reading Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. He’s the author who wrote Coraline, which is being made into a movie due to release in the summer (I think.) This is a young adult book, although there are lots of adults reading it as well from what I hear.

Anywhoo, this was a quick read and a great book. I’d recommend it. The only thing that I was a bit disappointed in was not getting as much information about the Jacks as I would have liked. I’m still a bit fuzzy on the whole organization and what they really did. Of course, that could have been Gaiman’s intent. There were quite a few mysterious types of things in the book. For example, he never really comes out and says what Bod’s guardian really is, although you can infer from some of the descriptions of things. And the point of that could also be that the living will never and should never completely comprehend the world of the dead until we reach that place. My favorite part of the book, the Macabray, makes that very clear to Bod.

I give The Graveyard Book a rousing recommendation. If you’re new to Gaiman’s books, I’d also recommend picking up Coraline.

I’m self-diagnosing myself with Seasonal Affect Disorder. Or maybe it’s just holiday let-down. We’re entering that time of year when people tend to den, hiding out in their warm houses waiting for winter to pass and spring to appear.

When we lived in Alaska, I don’t remember this sort of post-holiday blahs. People often ask if it was difficult dealing with the darkness and cold, but there were so many things going on that I never really got the winter blues. The darkness seems worse here, maybe because there isn’t all the snow to reflect the moonlight. And the beauty of the northern lights makes up for all the cold and darkness.

I think that this will pass as I continue to get more settled into life here in Illinois. Life is finally starting to get into more of a routine, which I’ve really lacked in the past couple of years. While I enjoy some variety, the older I get, the more I appreciate the comfort of knowing where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing most days of the week. Routine makes it easier to handle the unexpected. At least for me it does.

I do have my upcoming trip to Kansas to look forward to. And there is knitting on Wednesday night. I also discovered that the River Music Experience does a drum circle on the 4th Saturday of every month. I’ve always wanted to have a chance to participate in a drum circle on a regular basis. It’s one of those things I enjoyed in my former life as a music therapist.

But, overall, I’m doing just fine. I’ve been knitting and have a couple of almost finished projects that I’ll share soon. My Chia Hippo is sprouting and my Aerogarden is growing away. I’ve started reading Travels With Charley and checked out Lolita today. I ordered a handheld Garmin GPS device and a beginner’s book on geocaching, so I’ll be starting some outdoor adventures soon despite the winter weather. I also set up the Playstation to keep occupied when there isn’t anything on tv and I don’t feel like watching movies, reading, or knitting.

Life is good.

52 Books

Posted on: January 1, 2009

I’ve joined a reading challenge group on Ravelry. The idea is to read 52 books in 52 weeks. Hopefully this will encourage me to turn off the tv a few nights a week. Since moving to IL, I’ve been watching far more than I have in several months.

Here’s my to-read list: (of course, it’s subject to change as new books are released throughout the year)

1. Lolita
2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
4. Shadow Country
5. Home
6. The Graveyard Book
7. A Prayer for Owen Meany
8. The Hour I First Believed
9. Oryx and Crake
10. Twelve Angry Men
11. Bridge of Sighs
12. Suite Française
13. Song Yet Sung
14. On the Road
15. Anathem
16. What Makes a Child Lucky
17. The Postman Always Rings Twice
18. The Devil and Miss Prym
19. March
20. Einstein’s Dreams
21. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
22. Eventide
23. Paco’s Story
24. Daughters of the North
25. Winged Creatures
26. The Children of Hurin
27. Rising from the Plains
28. Aquamarine
29. The Kommandant’s Girl
30. The Bell Jar
31. Mary Poppins
32. A Great and Terrible Beauty
33. The News from Paraguay
34. A Voyage Long and Strang
35. Travels with Charley
36. The Children of Men
37. The Toynbee Convector
38. Made in the U.S.A.
39. The Story of a Marriage
40. Dear American Airlines
41. Giants in the Earth
42. I Am Legend
43. Never Let Me Go
44. The Somnambulist
45. The Art of Racing in the Rain
46. The Bookseller of Kabul
47. The Girl With No Shadow
48. A Confederacy of Dunces
49. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
50. The Last Imaginary Place
51. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
52. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

These are all books that are already on my Goodreads TBR list. I own a few of them already and it’ll be nice to get them down off the shelf. There is a sprinkling of non-fiction and award winners in there also, but I really just picked things that appealed to me.


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