Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Think Would Make Great Book Club Picks

In order to come up with a list of ten books I think would make great book club picks I had to first envision the kind of book club I'd be picking them for. I mean I know people (my mom's boss for example) who have really stuck up and pretentious book clubs where they read the latest Thomas Friedman books and then debate politics for two hours. If I had a book club it would probably involve lots of wine and appetizers and gossip. The books would be fast reads, YA or contemporary fiction, nothing that stresses out book club members to get finished in time for a meeting.

It would also involve books I have not read. Just because.
  1. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
  2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  3. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn
  4. Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen
  5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  6. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  7. The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation by Elizabeth Berg
  8. Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich
  9. Heft by Liz Moore
  10. Big Girl Small: A Novel by Rachel DeWoskin

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A blog reboot, I think

It's no secret to the four people who read this blog that all I ever post about over here are the books I read throughout the year. It used to be a sort of scrapbook of my life. I started an iteration of this blog years ago at the start of my college career to document my life and attempt to be some kind of Dooce or Amalah. Which is laughable to me now. Since then the personal aspect has fallen apart.

Then I started a blog on tumblr and that was all she wrote. The politically slanted, sometimes pop-culture-y, occasionally personal blog is truly the one online venture I really care about. If you want to know more about my life the tiny little personal vignettes I post over there are probably more telling than anything I share here on blogger. And the political stuff is what I'm most passionate about. Any other life updates are found on twitter.

In an effort to simplify my online existence and avoid sounding like a broken record in too many locations I've decided I like the idea of posting more about my reading habits on this blog since I'm already sharing my 52 books goal. I'll be re-naming, and re-vamping, and heretofore will be sharing all of the bookish things on my mind in this internet location. I hope to share what I'm reading, books I'm looking forward to, and I'd like to post longer reviews on occasion. I'll also participate in bookish themed memes a couple of days each week.

I hope you'll read along as I start this new chapter!

Book #5, 6, and 7

Books #5, 6, and 7.

I'm hoping this year that my reading goal will be completed long before the January 1st deadline and so far I'm making great progress! I started all three of these books a week ago but managed to finish them all this weekend. Two of them are expiring on my Kindle this Monday and Tuesday so I was desperate to get them finished in time.

Swept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne -- This was my least favorite of the books read this weekend and, honestly, the entire year so far. I'm planning to read a few more contemporary romance novels (or 'Chick Lit'--a term I despise) this year because it's a genre I do generally enjoy. This was severely disappointing though.

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan -- I thought I was going to love this one and while it was better than the previously mentioned novel it wasn't as enjoyable as I expected. There were so many characters that I had trouble keeping their names and stories straight. The entire novel felt very chaotic and I couldn't really connect to anyone in the book.

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell -- I really enjoyed this novel. From the Goodreads description:
The Bigtree alligator-wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, formerly #1 in the region, is swiftly being encroached upon by a fearsome and sophisticated competitor called the World of Darkness. Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, has just died; her sister, Ossie, has fallen in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, who may or may not be an actual ghost; and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, who dreams of becoming a scholar, has just defected to the World of Darkness in a last-ditch effort to keep their family business from going under. Ava’s father, affectionately known as Chief Bigtree, is AWOL; and that leaves Ava, a resourceful but terrified thirteen, to manage ninety-eight gators and the vast, inscrutable landscape of her own grief.
This book was a bit haunting, definitely sad, a little mystical, and thoroughly well-written. I've mentioned before about my love of books set in Appalachia. The same applies to books set in Southwest Florida. This no doubt contributed to my love of Swamplandia.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book #4

Book #4

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
It’s a small point of pride that I was a six-pound baby, because from my limited understanding of baby weights, that’s on the skinnier side. I flaunt my low baby weight the way really obese people must flaunt their dainty, small feet. It’s my sole claim to skinny.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book #3

Book #3 for the year. I can't put this one down.

I've gushed about this book a lot over the last two days. I loved it. Because I read the Laura books and because I identified so much with the author of this book, Wendy McClure. I want to be her new BFF.

“Sometimes, Laura World wasn't a realm of log cabins or prairies, it was a way of being. Really, a way of being happy. I wasn't into the flowery sayings, but I was nonetheless in love with the idea of serene rooms full of endless quiet and time, of sky in the windows, of a life comfortably cluttered and yet in some kind of perfect feng shui equilibrium, where all the days were capacious enough to bake bread and write novels and perambulate the wooded hills deep in thought (though truthfully, I'd allow for the occasional Rose-style cocktail party as well).”

I’ve never really regretted being childless, but it started to feel different after my mother died, in a way I couldn’t describe. But here in Walnut Grove I knew what it was: I felt invisible sometimes. Not ignored, but anomalous and ghostly. I wasn’t the girl anymore, and I wasn’t the ma.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Book #2

Book #2
Aftertaste by Meredith Mileti

I've been really excited about lending books for my Kindle through the library lately. As someone who loves reading on the Kindle but also loves the free price tag on library books it's the best of both worlds.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Book #1

Book #1 for the year. One of the literacy groups I work with is starting it this upcoming week. I squealed when I found out. I love Judy Blume!

Book #1 for the year is Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great. One of the literacy groups I work with is starting it this upcoming week. I squealed when I found out. I love Judy Blume!

But this means I've already broken my resolution to read 52 new to me books this year. Oh well, that was probably a terrible idea (and stifling goal) anyway.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My 2012 New Year's Resolutions

  1. Make a decision about furthering my education. This goal may or may not include signing up to take the appropriate exams for admission, getting reference letters together, and turning in an application.

  2. Drink less soda. In the past I've tried to make resolutions about cutting cokes out of my life completely but the truth is, I can't. I need to enjoy them in moderation. Less coke, more tea and water.

  3. Read 52 new to me books this year. I'd like to cut out re-reads. Luckily there are lots of older books I skipped as a kid.

  4. Organize paper clutter. I stole this one from my friend Karen but I love the idea. I'm notoriously bad at throwing out receipts I don't need. Or keeping a huge stack of disorganized mail just laying on my bookshelf or desk. All of that clutter is out of control.

  5. Grow pumpkins. I've grown pumpkins on accident in years past but this year I'd like to plant them on purpose.

  6. Be more diligent about giving away eggs.

  7. Cook more; eat out less. I hate eating out but that doesn't mean I don't fall into the pick up something on the way home from work because I'm too tired to wash dishes tonight routine. I want to start making more of those recipes I keeping pinning on Pinterest.

  8. Take the time to schedule posts for my other blog the night before. Since I'm busy all day with stuff at school I rarely have time to check tumblr. But y'all, the president is following that one. I need to be on my A-game.

  9. Keep to the maintenance schedule for my car. I was so lucky to get a brand new car in 2009. I was so diligent about oil changes and all of the stuff the book tells you to do for the first year and half that I owned it but over the last several months I've really slacked off. I need to stop letting time get away from me in between service visits.

  10. Attend a Kentucky game. It's been entirely too long. I miss Rupp Arena and Commonwealth Stadium.

Complete List of the 52 Books I Read in 2011

  1. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
  2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  3. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  4. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  5. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
  6. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
  7. The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani
  8. The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
  9. Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann
  10. The Island by Elin Hilderbrand
  11. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  12. Matched by Ally Condie