Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Marginal Notes

Most recent read: The Joy Diet

Do you write in your books?

This seems to be a topic that people have strong feelings about.

First of all, I am not opposed to writing in books as a rule.  I know some people who consider it to be an act of desecration.  Others are willing to do it, but only in pencil.  I have no such limits (except for my Bible, which has pages too thin for my beloved Pilot G-2s).  I have no moral qualms with scribbling in the leaves of my current read, but the question is whether I really want to, or if I will get anything out of it.

As a student, I always had to read with a pen and/or highlighter in my hand.  I didn't feel like I was studying if I didn't have a pen in my hand.  Holding a pen was a signifier of assigned reading instead of pleasure reading.  I would scribble all over printed articles and books alike.  It was certainly helpful for study purposes, but it seemed to add something to the general reading experience as well.  

When I am doing personal reading, my feelings about writing in books are mixed.  For non-fiction books, I tend to lean towards reading with a writing implement.  If it's a "personal development" book, I often want to note things that to remember or write my own thoughts for later.  That process feels natural to me.

However, I haven't read a novel or a book of poetry with a pen or highlighter since American Literature with Dr. Lucas my senior year of college.  for some books, it breaks up the rhythm of reading a compelling story.  However, there is something intriguing and romantic about writing insightful and witty comments about characters and plot in the margins.  I confess that the possibility of discovering penned thoughts in the margins is the one of the main attractions of used books for me (in addition to the thrifty price, of course!)  Isn't there a love story about a man that falls in love with a woman because of the notes she wrote in book he's reading? 

So what are your rules and habits regarding marginal notes?  Do you?  If so, do you have specifications for genre of book or writing implement?  If not, is it because you are philosophically opposed or simple find no pleasure or use in the practice?  Do tell!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Books to Make the World a Better Place

I have recently become a part of a fantastic group called "It Starts With Us" or known as "The A-Team".  If you sign up, the founder, Nate, sends you weekly "missions".  These can be just about anything, but are all about small ways to make the world around you a little better.  I can't explain it as well as he does, so go to the website to learn more.  Basically, the concept behind it is getting a large number of people to to small things to make a major impact.  So go to the website, become a member of the A-Team.  It's awesome.  Trust me!  Also, another awesome group, 20 Something Bloggers, has recently teamed up with them.  So if you are a member of 20SB, that'd be an easy way to get involved with the A-Team as well.  

Now, on to the books. Since I've been a member for a few weeks now, following the missions, the blog, the tweets, etc have caused me to focus a little bit more on what I can do to make a difference.  I've tweeted about a couple of cool articles I've come across recently, but my most exciting discovery was some awesome books that are immediately going on my wishlist.  

All of these titles look fantastic and inspirational.  But now I want to know.  What books inspire you to make a difference?  What are some great websites with ideas for make other people's days brighter?  I want to think about ways that I can make this blog an agent for positive change in the world.  Thanks for being a part of it with me!

(All images from

Monday, November 30, 2009

30 before 30 cont.

As it turns out, there are books on the topic!!  

Many of them are related to skills you should have before you turn thirty, but others are about things you should do.  Some are more of the "before you die" variety, but they are giving me good ideas!!  My list has 3 spots left, but I might change one of the existing items if I come across 4 fantastic things on my list.

Okay, so here's the book list:


And finally, I found this fun blog with an old post of 50 things everyone should know.  It has a lot of other fun posts with other lists of things to do and know.  I love lists.  I need to make more for myself.

All images from

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

30 before 30


Today I turn 26 years old.  I kind of sounds old in my head, but it doesn't really bother me that much.  I am hopeful that 26 will turn out to be a joyful and productive year.  Recently, I came across a lovely blog, 30 Before 30 List by Suz.  I was inspired by her ambitious list to create my own.  I've had it for a few months now, but have yet to finalize the items.  I have 30 things now, but I want to replace a few of them.  They seem kind of silly.  But now that today is my birthday, and I have exactly 4 years to complete my goals, I want to start to finalize it.  

As I have thought about my 30 list, I've begun to realize that many of these goals are micro-steps towards greater goals I have for my life and who I want to be.  Here are a few of my life-time goals.  I think they might help explain some of my 30 items (these are in no particular order):

-Visit all 50 states (I'm at 27)
-Be well-read
-Be well-traveled (domestically and abroad-visit at least 2 more continents)
-Raise a family and be close with the family that raised me
-Write a book
-Speak Spanish fluently
-Have an individual and distinctive sense of style
-Be a wonderful friend and nurture many meaningful friendships
-Be creative, crafty, musical and artistic

Those are just a few of my life-time goals.  Here are a handful of my 30 before 30 list.

-Visit at least 3 more states (which will make 30 states in 30 years-although I won't stop at 3 if I have additional opportunities)
-Use my passport again
-Learn Spanish
-Learn to sight-read piano pieces and be able to play at least 5 songs from memory
-Learn to play guitar well from tabs
-Reconnect with at least 5 friends
-Join a choir
-Find a church home
-Take at least one big risk
-Read at least 12 "classic" books
-Establish a yoga practice
-Create a piece of art
-Be financially stable
-Learn to ballroom dance
-Learn to sew and knit
-Learn to drive a standard car
-Learn to find the constellations
-Learn a new sport (probably tennis)
-Have a book plan/proposal or draft
-Finish my family tree

That's 20 things.  I have a few more I'm considering.  Many of these are hard to quantify.  But the end of the week, I'd like to have my list complete.  

Does anyone else keep "life lists", "bucket lists", etc?  Anyone else done a 30 before 30 or something like that?  Anyone have some awesome goals that I can steal?  I like the idea of having a few off the wall things on my list.  Do share!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Author of Wicked

This morning I was driving back to San Antonio from a fun-filled weekend in Austin.  It's a drive I've been making a lot lately, and my Sirius Satellite radio makes things go much quicker.  This time, I was listening to Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane on NPR (which is a fantastic show out of the Philadelphia area).  Today she was speaking with Gregory Maguire.  Don't know who he is?  I didn't by name alone, but surely everyone has heard of his book, Wicked, and its musical adaptation!  I haven't read the book or seen the show, but I've been wanting to.  And listening to this man for an hour has only increased that desire.  

He was compassionate, funny, deeply thoughtful and supremely intelligent.  He has written dozens of books for adults and children that I was unaware of.  Many of his books and stories are reworkings of classic fairy tales and myths.  Click on the link by his name and read his answer to the question about his inspiration for Wicked.  It is deeply moving and profound.  He made me want to read old fairy tales again--the Grimm's/Andersen version though, but the Disney-fied stuff.  (not that I don't love Disney).  Oh, he's also written a book about Maurice Sendak!  

Have you read Wicked?  What did you think?  Seen the show?  What versions of fairy tales should I read??

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Reflections and A Reader's Wishlist

Most recent read: Latino in America by Soledad O'Brien

I've been MIA from this blog for over a month.  I'm still trying to sort out why...

This fall has been a struggle for me in many ways.  Still being unemployed has been difficult, and I find myself lacking motivation.  Plus, I've moved, and am still hopelessly unorganized.  Now even more of my books are pack up in boxes on far away shelves and so I've been reading less, much to my own dismay.  This lack of reading, and lack of motivation in general has meant silence in my corner of the blogosphere.

I've found that starting up the momentum again is the hardest, so here I go.  Sometimes, I wish I could blog about things not entirely related to books and reading.  After all, reading is about life, so this blog should be about life as well.  It will still be focused on reading, words, books, and other literary endeavors, but I'm going to share more daily thoughts as well, in an effort to help the writer within me blossom.  

Despite this small shift, books are still on the forefront of my mind, so I am going to conclude today's discombobulated post with a wishlist:

The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne

My taste in books, as is the rest of my life, is highly eclectic and contradictory.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lovely Passages from the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Most recent read: City Dharma

I promised Katie that I wouldn't write about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society until she finished reading it because it is our online reading group pick for this month. However, I could wait to share these little gems from the book in the meantime. I promise it doesn't give away the plot. Only meant to tempt you into reading the book as well because it is splendid. Thanks again to Carolyn for the recommendation.

These passages are all from letters written by the central character, Juliet:

"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true." (p.10)

"That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive--all with no end in sight, and for not other reason than sheer enjoyment." (p. 12)

I adore these quotations about reading. They speak directly from one book lover to another. The first quotation is in response to a letter Juliet receives from a gentleman who bought a book of hers second-hand and found her address inscribed on the inside cover. After loving the book, he decides to reach out to its previous owner. Letters and friendships are then exchanged by a wide array of colorful characters because of that one second-hand book.

I love when I purchase used books with inscriptions. I love to imagine the previous life of my books. I recently started labeling my own books with a little sticker that has my name and e-mail address. It was meant to keep track of books I lend out, but what if it could be a means of communication between myself and the future owners of books that I part with. How delightful! Do you ever think of the past or future existence of books you collect second-hand or donate?

I also delight in the idea that certain books are almost destined for certain people. I love Juliet's thought that books find the right people, instead of the other way around. Have you ever accidently stumbled upon a book at exactly the right moment in your life? If so, please share your story. I plan to write down a few experiences of my own, and would love to make it a bit of a series. Share in the comments, if you like, or it might be fun to feature a few on the blog itself.

This also makes me think of Christine Mason Miller's fabulous 100 Books Project. If you aren't familiar with it, get thee to her delightful blog immediately. She is giving away 100 copies of her recent book, and documenting each place that they are deposited, and inviting the recipients to contact her. This has given me some ideas for a little (MUCH smaller) book project of my own. More details later.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

American Wife

Last month I read American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfield (a woman) with my a couple of friends from college. We concocted the idea to have a virtual book group and it was our first success!
The book is a novel, but loosely (and not so loosely in places) follows the life of Former First Lady Laura Bush. Certain liberties are taken, naturally, but most of the major life events are present.

It is the story of Alice Lindgren Blackwell. She is an only child who must endure a series of unspeakable tragedies early in life. Later, she meets Charlie Blackwell, the youngest son of a prominent political family, and they wed after a whirlwind romance.

The story is written in four blocks, identified by her addresses. First her childhood home, then her apartment as a single thirty-something, next the home she shares with Charlie and their daughter in the suburbs, and finally, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. A series of flashbacks fills in the gaps between those locations, but a large number of years passes between each installment.
I enjoyed the book. I more or less knew what was going to happen (or so I thought), because I was vaguely familiar with the events of Laura Bush's life, but it was still shocking in parts. The writing was powerful, and the characterization vivid. I found myself with much more sympathy and interest for real-life political figures that I never previously care for after reading this book. I feel like I know Laura Bush better after reading this book, although that's probably a false impression. I am dying to know if she's read it, and what her reaction is. Although it shares raw moments and emotions, overall, I think it portrays Alice in a very positive, yet honest, light.

Our online chat about American Wife was delightful! The discussion covered a number of topics and included a little friendly disagreement. My fellow readers helped me to see how much this book is about relationships. Friendships, marriages, siblings, parents and children...they are all in this novel, and they are all complicated. We also had an interesting conversation about whether or not Charlie would have ascended to such high political office if he had not married Alice. I'm quite certain he wouldn't have.

Has anyone else read this book? It's long, but reads pretty fast, and I would definitely recommend it. As a work of fiction, it is entertaining and thought-provoking. However, it's link to reality makes it all the more fascinating. Katie, please share your thoughts if you like!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Poetry and "April Rain Song"

Currently reading: The Know-It-All by AJ Jacobs

Apparently there is a crazy cold front heading for South Texas.  The weather on the evening news said it was 55 in Amarillo and 85 or something in Abilene and everything south of it.  You could literally see the front coming on the map.  So all that by way of saying that we're to expect rain tomorrow.  We seem to be making up for a season's worth of rain in a few weeks.  

I was flipping through my current favorite children's poetry book (A Family of Poems by Caroline Kennedy) and found this lovely poem by Langston Hughes. 

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night--

And I love the rain.

And I love this poem!  My 7-year-old nephew wrote a Haiku about the rain the other day.  My sister read it to me and it was really good!!  I've never been very good at writing poetry.  I'd like to be though, but I've simply always been more comfortable with prose.  When I was cleaning out the garage, I found an old book by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge that I never read: poemcrazy.  I love the subtitle: "freeing your life with words".  Anne Lamott, one of my favorite writers, writes of it "You're going to love it, and love writing poetry more for having read it." 

And finally, while I am in a poetic mood, you should all read my darling Katie's latest post.  She shares her favorite 11 poems and they are gems!  (At least the ones I've read--there are several I need to read.  But as a dedicated English major, Katie's poetic taste can surely be trusted.)

Upcoming posts:

The Journey That Saved Curious George
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
American Wife
A Walk with Jane Austen
And several others that I promised weeks ago...

Absent again...

I seem to have had a mental block when it comes to my blogs in the last month.  I have thought about so many awesome ideas for blog posts.  I was excited about them.  More than once I sat up late into the night scribbling a blog idea onto an index card so it wouldn't float away before morning.  I've read some fantastic books!  I've been dying to share them with you all.  So why haven't I been writing?  

I suppose you could say I have a touch of the writer's block.  I also think I might be a bit paralyzed by the volume of things I want to say.  I sit down to write a post, and I can't decide where to begin.

I have this trouble sometimes when choosing a book.  I literally have dangerously teetering stacks of books on my night-stand--begging to be read.  But I stare with no direction.  Then, when I finally do take action--what a relief!  The past two books I have finished have been complete delights.  I adored them and could hardly put them down.  When I feel that way about a book-I know I need to share.  

I'm hoping the same feeling applies for blogging.  Perhaps once I get back into a rhythm, I'll be compelled to continue.  My blogging experience over the last 9 months or so has been immensely rewarding.  I've been in touch with some fantastic and amazing people.  The writing has just been in fits and starts.  Every time I get on a roll, I seem to get knocked off again.  

This last month has been great.  It has been very special, and although I haven't been writing on the blog, my reading and literary life has been active.  I'd like to think of that period as one of absorption.  I've been reading great books and writing reflections in my commonplace book.  I've been devouring favorite blogs--both new and old--and reaping great inspiration from them.  I've been making notes and writing pages in my notebooks.  Maybe I needed a time for filling up before I starting blogging again.  At least that's what I'm going with for now.

So, I'm back--for the time being anyway--and quite excited.  A deluge of backlogged posts may be coming your way!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Quotation and a Poem

Most recent read: Little Men, by Louisa May Alcott 

Today I was flipping through a new book I recently purchased by Sarah Ban Breathnach called Moving On.  She is the author of Simple Abundance, which I thoroughly enjoyed and still refer to often.  I haven't really begun to read this other book, but at the very beginning a lovely quotation and poem caught my eye and I was moved to share them with you all.  

"If a reader cannot create a book along with the writer, the book will never come to life."
-Madeline L'Engle

Isn't that so true?  Sometimes when they are collecting dust on a shelf or in a box, books began to seem like such static things, which really, I believe they were meant to be dynamic and full of life.  The best books are ever-changing conversations between the author, the reader, and sometimes all the readers that have come before or will come after.  These are usually the books that we revisit and find in them new meaning and delight.

And now the poem by David Whyte:

This the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
This is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love...

There is no house
like the house of belonging.

Where is your "house of belonging"?

Image from

Friday, September 4, 2009

Reading Rainbow

Apparently I have been living under a rock, but I just found out that Reading Rainbow has ended!  I haven't watched it in a long time, but I do remember watching it as a child and really enjoying it.  I am sad about this development, but it leaves me wondering as well. 

In light of my recent readings about TV and kids, I have mixed feelings.  The general opinion of the book I read was that while educational programming (they focused on Sesame Street) is better than other types of shows, no TV is better than watching the educational stuff.  So where does that leave us?  Although to be honest, I preferred Sesame Street and Mister Rogers to Reading Rainbow, I still enjoyed it.  I can't help thinking that Reading Rainbow was important for kids who didn't have parents to model reading for them at home.  Is that plausible at all?  Thoughts?

Here is some additional reading for those who are interested:

Definition of a Common Reader by Virginia Woolf

As I mentioned previously in my discussion of Ex Libris, by Anne Fadiman, I have been wanting to read Virginia Woof's The Common Reader.  In the preface to Fadiman's book, she quotes Woolf's definition of a common reader, and I wanted to share it.

The common reader "differs from the critic and the scholar.  He is worse educated, and nature has not gifted him so generously.  He reads for his own pleasure rather than to impart knowledge or correct the opinions of others. Above all, he is guided by an instinct to create for himself, out of whatever odds and ends he can come by, some kind of whole."

Fadiman also quotes Woolf as she describes, "all those rooms, too humble to be called libraries, yet full of books, where the pursuit of reading is carried on by private people."

What do you think of Woolf's description of a "common reader".  In many ways, I agree with her assessment.  I believe I would consider myself to be a common reader, and I am by no means a scholar or a critic.  I like to consider myself well-educated, but not compared to a literature professor.  I definitely believe in the last part of her description, as I do seem to be looking for some kind of whole in the disparate volumes I read everyday.  

I want to read more about "all those rooms" and the books they hold.  I am most looking forward to arranging my modest library when I finally move into a new apartment so that I may carry on the "pursuit of reading".

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Curious George

Most recent read: L.M Alcott: Signature of Reform

I LOVE to read the history and background to some of my favorite books-especially older children's books.  I have always been a big fan of the Curious George series by Margret and H.A. Rey, and recently, I've learned some new interesting information about them.

First, it started when I watched the Curious George movie with my nieces and nephew the other night.  I had never seen it, but love the Jack Johnson sound track.  I actually need to watch it again, because I sort of missed the middle.  But what I did see was delightful!  Two things in particular caught my eye.  1) The ship that the Man with the Yellow Hat took to Africa was called the H.A. Rey!  So cute!  (I love it when they slip in details like that!  It's especially fun when they appear in kid's movies as a little extra entertainment for the adults!  Or maybe I'm just a dork.)  And 2) The Man with the Yellow Hat finally got a name!!!  Ted!  That probably delighted me the most.  Ted seemed to fit him, but I was wondering where the name came from.  
Fortunately, I did not have to wait long.  The very next evening, I was putting another niece to bed and read a story that she picked out.  She selected See the Circus, by (wait for it...) H.A. Rey!  A complete coincidence and I had never read this book before.  It was very cute, and toward the end, there is a man with a yellow hat (and outfit) with a monkey.  The monkey is unnamed (but my niece squealed, "It's George!" anyway) but the man is called Ted!!!  How clever of the movie people to keep the same name!  

So that made me curious!  I looked up H.A. and Margret Rey on Wikipedia and discovered even more delightful facts about them.  George started out as a character in Cecily G. and the 9 Monkeys.  I had read this book previously, but forgot that George was in it.  They decided create a whole book for George after that book's success.  

But first they had to escape from the Nazis and so they successfully left Paris on BICYCLES!  These were amazing and fascinating people.  Do read more about them when you get a chance. 

So, if you are a fan of Curious George, check out these other books if you are not familiar with them already.   I'm looking forward to watching the movie in its entirety as well.  Will Ferrell does the voice for The Man with the Yellow Hat/Ted and Drew Barrymore is his love interest.  My sister thinks that her cartoon rendition looks like her.  Great movie that captures the spirit of a whole series of books and still has a plot of its own.  I love it when that happens!

All images from


Most Recent Read: L.M. Alcott: Signature of Reform, edited by Madeline B. Stern

I have been driving all over the state of Texas in the last week!  I went to visit my sister (a 3-hour drive) for a few days, and then drove back Sunday afternoon with my 3-year-old niece to attend my other niece's 4th birthday party in New Braunfels.  Then we spent the night in San Antonio and drove back to College Station on Monday.  Then I drove back to San Antonio on Tuesday morning, and then back out to New Braunfels Tuesday evening.  The reason for this little geography demonstration is to explain why I have been silent for a week.  I have also been having camera issues, but that's another story.

I have managed to get a great deal of reading done, and to acquire some new books.  I started and finished American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield, which my BFF, Katie, and I are reading for our online reading group.  I will be posting about it soon, and perhaps include some of our discussion.  

On my way back from College Station, I stopped at Half-Price Books in San Marcos to check out their collection.  There, I bought Little Men, Jo's Boys, L.M. Alcott: Signature of Reform, Real Homeschool Families, and a CD collection of poetry that is a companion to the Norton Anthology of Poetry.  I am starting to read the book about Louisa May Alcott, and it's great.  I look forward to revisiting her work in the next few weeks, and to reading more about her.  

I hope to catch up with some upcoming posts once I get organized and get some pictures together.

Here's a preview:

Curious George
_____ For Dummies books
Various organic and local food movement books
American Wife and online reading group
More about Louisa May Alcott
Long Overdue Interview with a Fellow BYW member, Alycia Wicker, about her lovely blog.
Julie and Julia: Book vs. Movie

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nice to Come Home To

Most recent read: The Art of the Handwritten Note, by Margaret Shepherd

Yesterday I finished reading, Nice To Come Home To, by Rebecca Flowers. I found it on the bargain shelves at Borders a month or so ago, but had other things to read in the meantime. When I finally picked it up a few nights ago-I barely put it down. Obviously, it was a pretty quick read, but it was fun and I would recommend it.

It's the story of Prudence Whistler, a woman in her mid-thirties, who looses her job and her boyfriend in pretty rapid succession. At first, it was eerily similar to my own life, as she was searching for a job in the nonprofit industry (as I am). The similarities seemed to stop there, however (except for her fondness for lists and planning-a fondness which I also share). Although the set-up is fairly typical for chick-lit, I suppose, the story did not turn out quite as I had imagined it would. And in the end, I was very satisfied!

Flowers' book was smart, too. She is a contributor for NPR's All Things Considered, and included my beloved public radio into several parts of the story line, which was very cool. The descriptions were vivid and the characters were very real.

If you are looking for a fun end-of-summer read, grab Flowers' Nice To Come Home To. I was definitely glad I finally did.

Chinese Rejection Slip

"We have read you manuscript with boundless delight.  If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of a lower standard.  And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal we are to our regret compelled to return your divine composition and beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity."  
-Chinese Rejection Slip

This is one of the quotations from A Writer's Commonplace Book.  I wish there were more details.  But even as it is, it made me smile.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ex Libris

As a fellow book-lover, I really loved this delightful little book. In it, Anne Fadiman collects a series of essays she wrote about her books and her love of reading over the course of a four-year period. It is only about 150 pages and reads pretty quickly. I read the whole thing while my nephew took a nap!

It first caught my eye because of the subtitle: "Confessions of a Common Reader", but wooed me completely as I flipped through the pages. I adored the first essay, and it remained my favorite. "Marrying Libraries" was all about the saga of finally deciding to merge her massive collection of books with her husband's (after they had already lived together for several years). She spoke of arguments over organizational systems (alphabetically or chronologically?) and the tragedy of letting go of duplicate copies.

Other essays were about words ("The Joy of Sesquipedalians"-which is such a big fancy word (that means, well, basically big fancy word, apparently) that my spellchecker won't recognize it!), inscriptions ("Words on a Flyleaf"), and book care ("Never Do That To A Book").

The author was so clearly attached to her books (as I am) that it made me wonder. Is there a difference between someone who loves books and someone who just loves reading? I tend to think they go together, because they do for me, but maybe they don't. I'm assuming that a lover of books (someone who gets attached to the physical paper and glue) also loves reading, but isn't it possible that someone who loves to read isn't really all that fond of the books themselves? Does that make any sense?

Regardless of what kind of book/reading lover you are-I would recommend Fadiman's books. It's short, but delightful (a National Bestseller, as well!).

And I'm curious-have any of you ever had to marry your library to another?

Little Women

Most recent read: Nice To Come Home To, by Rebecca Flowers.  

Like many young girls, I read Little Women when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade.  I loved it and went on to read Little Men and Jo's Boys as well.  When I was 13 or 14, I took a trip throughout New England with my parents and we toured Louisa May Alcott's home in Massachusetts.  I loved the most recent movie version when it came out, and purchased the DVD sometime in college.  I always watch it around Christmas time, but find it comforting any time of year.  

This is all to say that I already loved Little Women and was familiar with the story, but thought it would be fun to listen to it again, so I bought it from iTunes for my iPhone.  I first bought it because my sister and I were going to be driving to Dallas from here house, which was a several hour drive.  We ended up just talking the whole time, so I started listening about two weeks ago when I got home.  It was over 20 hours long-at least!  And it was so good!  There were so many little parts that weren't in the movie that I had forgotten.  Some were familiar from my previous reading so long ago, and others seemed completely new.  Listening to it was a really fun experience as well.  The reader was excellent and before long I could tell who was speaking by her voice changes before the speaker was identified.  I know some people who look down on audio books, but I think they're fabulous.  Certainly not a replacement for real books, but such a joy on long car trips, or while exercising, or even just lying in bed in the dark.  I don't normally do classics via audio books, but Little Women was perfect, especially since I had already read it.

One of the main things that impressed me this time around was the complexity of the stories, emotions, and characters in the book.  While it is certainly appropriate for young people to read, I couldn't help but think as I was listening that I must have missed so much the first time I read it.  Alcott wove such a beautiful story-I hope that more adult readers are revisiting this classic as well.  I want to go and get a copy of the other two now.  I seem to be entering an intense Louisa May Alcott phase.  I want to read Little Men and Jo's Boys, first and then reread Eight Cousins and A Rose in Bloom.  I loved those two as a young girl as well.  Eight Cousins was the first book I remember being so attached to that I was really sad when it was over.  Then I was delighted to find A Rose in Bloom, the sequel.  I am also dying to read An Old Fashioned Girl, which I have never read.  Then I may need to take a break from Alcott.  

This whole experience is making me think about what other books I need to revisit from my childhood.  I reread The Giver and Number the Stars in college for my children's literature class.  What other ones do I need to read again?  What were your favorites from childhood?  Have you reread any of them?  Which would you recommend now?

What about Louisa May Alcott?  Any lesser known gems that need to be read?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wishful Creating!

My new blog is up! It is called Wishful Creating and can be found HERE! It is extremely bare bones right now, with only one post, but will hopefully be blossoming this week! I am so excited and would truly appreciate it if you would all stop by! I will be posting about my creative endeavors there along with some of my favorite craft books of course!

I hope everyone is having a splendid Sunday afternoon!! Happy reading - and creating!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Exciting Developments

Most recent read:  Little Women (audio)

Despite excellent momentum at the start of the week, I've been neglectful of my darling blog for the past several days.  The reasons are many, but chiefly it is because I have been crafting like a maniac and decided to start a new blog about it!

I know, I know.  How can up keep up two blogs when I am barely posting on this one at the moment?  I have discovered that although I dearly love reading, writing about, and discussing books, there are often other things I want to blog about.  But I try to keep them off this blog because it is about books and reading.  Crafting and other DIY domestic endeavors are the usual suspects, and so I'm starting another blog just for such an outlet.  It is still in the development stages, but when it has begun to take shape, I will be sure to post a link.  

Today on Martha Stewart Radio, I heard someone say: "If you need something done, give it to a busy person."  I've never heard that before, but seen the sentiment in action over and over again.  I do the most when I am busy with other things, and usually end up doing it better.  With ridiculous amounts of time on my hands, I've been neglectful of all the things I really want to be doing.  This is going to change.  With new projects, new commitments, and a renewed desire to get busy and get things done-I have high hopes for new attitudes and new successes.  

I have also decided to try two new features to most of my blog posts.  The first you saw at the beginning of this post.  I will try to start each post with a quick update what I have read most recently.  Because I tend to be reading multiple volumes at any given time, I can't say "currently reading".  So instead, I will give you a taste of what I have most recently read prior to posting.  

The second feature will be at the end of some of my posts.  I always get ideas for further posts, and so I'd like to give a preview (when I have one).  There are several reasons for this: 1) it's fun,  2) it helps me remember what my ideas were, and 3) it gives you an opportunity to weigh in on a book or a subject before I post.  I love reading comments after a post, but I thought it would also be fun to occasionally include insights from others in the original post.  So, I will try it now-if you have thoughts to share on any of these subjects, please include them in the comments, or shoot me an e-mail @

Upcoming Posts (not necessarily in this order):
1. Little Women
2. ______ For Dummies books (like 'em?  love 'em?  hate 'em?  use 'em?)
3. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; In Defense of Food; The Omnivore's Dilemma; and other books about various food movements.  

Monday, August 17, 2009

Recent Book Purchases

In the past few weeks, I've combed the bargain shelves at Borders, a discount book warehouse at the local outlet mall, and then the ever-full shelves of my local Half-Priced Books.  I've come away from each with substantial stacks of books.  I thought I'd share some of my recent loot.  I'm currently mulling over my next reading choice, so if you have opinions, favorites, or guidance about any of the titles-do tell!

Here we have The Golden Apples, by Eudora Welty; Nice to Come Home To, by Rebecca Flowers; Knitting under the Influence, by Claire LaZebnik; and Her Blue Body/Everything We Know, by Alice Walker.  

I already read Knitting under the Influence-it was a fun light read.  The Alice Walker is really a book of poetry, so I won't read it from cover to cover-but I have enjoyed looking it over.  I think these are the Borders finds.  

These are from my Half-Priced Books trip:  A Deeper Faith, by Jeff Golliher; A Treasury of Great American Scandals, by Michael Farquhar; Portable Literature, by Kirszner and Mandell  Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, by Anne Fadiman; A Writer's Commonplace Book, by Rosemary Friedman; and City Dharma, by Arthur Jeon.  I also bought two For Dummies books, which I will be discussing at as a group in an upcoming post.  

(I was particularly excited to find Ex Libris and the Writer's Commonplace Book because they were so related to my blog!  I know that Virginia Woolf wrote a book called The Common Reader, but I've never read it.  Perhaps I should.  I will put it on my list.  The opening of Fadiman's book says that Woolf borrowed the phrase from Samuel Johnson.  I was not really aware of either when I chose the name for my blog, which started out as Commonplace, but then evolved to commonreaders.  I like it all one word and uncapitalized for some reason.  I'm not sure why.  But I digress. )

I am quite pleased with my book finds and look forward to diving into them.  What books have you purchased recently?  Or what books did you buy long ago and still wait to be read?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Books as Gifts

Sometimes I think some of my friends and family are less than thrilled with my gifts.  They are almost always books.  Which is great for those loved ones who cherish them as I do, but they don't all feel that way.  I think this was meant for the holiday season, but this video reinforces my belief that books do make great gifts!!

The Plug-In Drug

I just finished reading The Plug-In Drug, by Marie Winn, and it was phenomenal. Its ultimate conclusion is that TV is not good for young children or ultimately, for families. This is perhaps not ground-breaking, but I blown away by her reasoning and examples. She effectively dispels the notion that the content of the TV children watch is what's most important. She concedes that watching violent programming is not good for children, but also asserts that simply switching the channel to wholesome children's shows is not significantly better.

I was fascinated by the anecdotes and studies she cites comparing children and families in the 'pre-TV' era to those after the advent of mainstream television. The differences are marked and powerful. In many ways, the book reads as a sociological study of American families in the last 60 years through the lens of television. It made me re-examine my own viewing habits (see previous post) and make plans for when I have my own children one day. Even if you don't have children, I would highly recommend this book. It may change your habits. Winn is not necessarily advocating for a complete end of TV viewing (although she doesn't suggest that that is a bad thing, either), but rather for mindful viewing, with parents in complete control over the families TV (and computer and video games) habits. At the end, she gives examples of families who have controlled, limited, and sometimes eliminated their own TV viewing (some permanently, some for a limited period of time). She also lists a number of methods for curtailing TV access for parents to choose from. They range from minor to revolutionary, so I am confident that we could all find something we would be willing to comply with.

The book was originally published in 1977, but I read the 25th Anniversary edition, published in 2002. It includes important "improvements" or advancements to the TV viewing and electronic media experience since the 1970s. She does not, however, address new developments such as DVRs, Tivo, On Demand, etc. She mentions VCRs in cars and vans, but not DVD players, which are becoming more and more common.

I am still considering how this book will affect my own habits regarding TV and the internet, but I hope there will be changes. Please think about reading this book! It is powerful. Has anyone else read it? What did you think? Any more thoughts on TV viewing?

Monday, August 10, 2009


As I was thinking about my desire to be a well-read "literary woman" in my last post, I began to consider what is standing in my way.  I buy books all the time, but never seem to catch-up and feel as if I never read enough, despite how much I enjoy it.  In reality, I do read quite a bit, and am probably well-read by some standards.  However, I also spend a great deal of time in other, often less satisfying, endeavors. 

Although the internet is beginning to close in, television is still my primary distractor.  It's a big problem when I am feeling particularly lonely.  Books are fine companions, but sometimes I really want the added noise of voices on the TV.  Some days, like today, I'll hardly watch any TV, but others, I may get sucked in.  It was a bigger problem when I had a DVR in my old apartment in Atlanta, because there was always something ready to be watched.  Now that I don't have a constant supply of desirable programming, my viewing time has decreased, but it's still often more that I'd like.  I think about the piles of books that are constantly growing and I cringe at the wasted time.

Confession: The source of some of these thoughts can be found in the book that I am currently reading.  The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn.  Although I am only about half-way through, I have already changed my attitude about television.  I have never thought it to be a great thing for small children in large quantities, but this book gives extensive scientific and anecdotal evidence of the damage caused by excessive (or even moderate, in some cases) television viewing by young people.  I will go into the book in greater detail when I have finished it, but I would like to share one rather obvious observation at this time.

According to Ms. Winn and others, a significant amount of the damage caused by television viewing is not necessarily the programming or the act of viewing itself, but rather by the lack of other activities which have been displaced.  Certainly, the author does discuss some damages caused by various aspects of TV itself, but many of the problems stem from less time spend reading, playing, thinking, and socializing.  This made me think.

What am I not doing when I watch TV?  Exercising?  Reading?  Writing?  Socializing?  Organizing?  Photographing?  Crafting?  Blogging?  Sleeping?  The list goes on and on.  I often watch when I am feeling extremely tired, so exercising may not always be the answer, there are plenty of other quiet, low-impact activities I could engage in instead of turning on the TV and plopping onto the couch.

These new thoughts have spurred a radical idea.  When I move to Austin, I might skip cable in my apartment.  Crazy?  Perhaps.  I've already decided to forgo a DVR, but why not take it another step?  I could certainly save money.  I'm not suggesting that all TV is bad, or that I'll give up on it entirely, but why not cut back?  Most of the shows I might really care about are available online if I must watch them and I might even find that I don't miss them at all.  I'll probably keep my Netflix subscription as well.  I'd like to get to a point to where I watch TV because there is something specific that I want to watch, and not simply because I want to be watching something.  

I am going to finish Winn's book and continue to monitor my own TV/reading balance.  I may even try to start keeping a TV log.  Perhaps I will post it on here for a bit of accountability.  Should I establish a guideline for weekly television viewing?  A maximum number of hours?  And if so, do movies count?  This will require some more thought.  In the meantime, do you have thoughts on the subject?

Bas Bleu Quotations

Once again, I went on an unintentional hiatus, but I am going to focus and get back on track-again!

As promised (more than a week ago), here are a couple of quotations about books and reading from the Bas Bleu literary catalog and website!

"Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier." -Kathleen Norris (love her!)

"No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting." -Mary Wortley Montagu

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." -Charles W. Eliot

I have just requested a catalog and it should be arrive within two weeks.  I am so so delighted with the entire concept of this catalog and website.  Their tag-line is: "Champion of the odd little book...and your source for inspired gifts and accessories for readers."  How lovely is that?  I adore odd little books!  And as I said before, "Bas Bleu" means blue-stocking in French, which is a literary woman.  

I like to consider myself a "literary woman", but then I also think that there is much I could do to move myself more in that direction.  Can I consider myself to be well-read?  Do you consider yourself to be well-read?  What is the criteria?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Trying to Keep Up

It's been a long time again.  I seem to have fallen completely out of my blogging routine.  Things have been pretty busy, but really that's no excuse.  Tomorrow I am flying to Los Angeles for my cousin's wedding!  I hope to do some reading and riding on the plane.  In the last week, I read The Well-Trained Mind--I borrowed it from my sister who is home-schooling her son this year.  It's about home-schooling using the classical method of the Trivium.  The book was fascinating and gave me a lot of good ideas of books I want to read in the future.

I am at my sister's right now, we are going to drive to Dallas to fly out to Los Angeles tomorrow.  She showed me this delightful book catalog called: Bas Bleu.    I absolutely love it!  "Bas Bleu" is French for blue stocking-which means a a literary woman.  How wonderful is that?!?  It has wonderfully eclectic and obscure books.  I also found some lovely quotations about books and reading in its pages.  I'll add them later, because I'm about to teach my niece how to make friendship bracelets. 

Monday, July 20, 2009

Finally Feeling Better (Unfiltered Post #4?)

I haven't posted in over a week because I've been feeling under the weather-with a fever that lingered on for 7 days!  I am finally feeling (mostly) better and so I am starting to catch up with all that I have been neglecting.  Clearly, my unfiltered blogging posts dropped off, but I think this will be my fourth.

Unfortunately when I wasn't feeling well, I still didn't get much reading done.  I would like to have finished more books that I have by now.  I still have most of One Hundred Years of Solitude to read, and I've started a few others.  Right now, I am also working through two workbooks on Spanish, as well as couple of additional job search related books.  Finally, I am also reading a book about online genealogy research.  And, of course, still working my way through The Artist's Way.  I am continuing to enjoy and benefit from the writing I'm doing as part of The Artist's Way program.  Morning Pages are a wonderful tool.  Does anyone else use them?  I confess that I am not on a regular schedule for them yet, and still miss some days, but I am getting to them more often than not, which is a big step in the right direction.  

This week, I will try to get back on a more regular reading and writing schedule.  I need to spend some extra time brainstorming for the book I'll write some day.  

Does anyone else have book-writing aspirations?  What progress have you made?  Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

If I had to pick, I would definitely choose Robert Frost as my favorite poet.  At times I've feared that it's too much of a conventional choice, but I love the poems, so who cares.  This is one of my favorites.  I memorized it in high school for no particular reason.  In 7th grade I had to memorize "Nothing Gold Can Stay" when we read The Outsiders, and that was the beginning of my love for Mr. Frost.  For some reason I memorized a lot of his poems in high school and they are still with me (mostly).  I believe part of the appeal for me is like the poem I wrote about a few months ago-"Keep a Poem in Your Pocket."  For me I always read that more figuratively-the keep a poem at the ready when you need it.  Frost's poems have always been there for me.  They are soothing in their rhyme and steadying rhythm.  

Who are your favorite poets?  Do you ever memorize poems or have any still in your head from school days?  Kids usually hate memorizing poems in school-it always stressed me out.  But memorizing them for yourself is much different.  What value does it hold today when we can find the text of a poem at the click on a mouse?  

Watching in Detail

Unfiltered blog post #3.  Sadly, I missed yesterday, so it won't be five days in a row, but it will still be five days.

Because of my morning pages, this unfiltered blogging endeavor, and the resulting idea that I might write a book someday, my thoughts have been filled by writing as of late.  Today I went on my "artist's date" (one of The Artist's Way tools) to Borders just to browse (which is quite a feat for me).  I spent some time looking at the bargain shelves-I couldn't resist.  Then I went upstairs and I looked through the children's section.  I concentrated mainly on picture books, particularly looking for books I hadn't seen or read before.  Then I went over to the writing section to peek at those books.  I thumbed through a few that I may buy later, but for now I already have 2-3 books on writing more prolifically and improving your craft, so I resisted for the time being.  However, I did flip through a few and noticed a common theme.  It's something that echoed from what I had read in Pen on Fire and The Artist's Way.  One of the first things I need to do is pay attention.

That seems to be some pretty basic writing advice.  Pay attention to the little details of life and record them very carefully.  I can see how this is good advice for budding writers, but it is also a superb reminder for all of us, writers or not.  How many priceless details are lost in the course of a busy day.  Perhaps my next "artist's date" will be to people watch or even just sit outside (except for the excruciating heat).  

I am hoping that this burst of writing enthusiasm won't fizzle out too quickly.  I do tend to get excited about things, and then eventually let them fade into the background.  I don't usually give them up entirely.  I still have a guitar in my closet that comes out fairly regularly, Spanish books that I work through once every week or so, and watercolor paints packed up somewhere with my of my belongings.  Guitar's spark flashed again around January when I practiced carefully every day for a couple of months.  Spanish has come and gone for several years-some weeks I study every night and listen to CNN en Espanol on my satellite radio.  Others, I revert back to my beloved NPR.  Watercolors came last summer when I would paint many evenings, but never came to be satisfied with result. 

Perhaps I truly am a Renaissance Soul.  I like that idea better than having no follow through.  But maybe this new eye for detail with help me stay focused and maybe even bring clarity to all of these disparate interests and goals.  

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thoughts on Writing

Note:  Unfiltered blog # 2
Above is a book that I have been using as I have been thinking more and more about writing.

I've been thinking a lot about writing lately.  And I'm trying to figure out where it is coming from.  I've always considered myself to be a pretty competent writer.  I did well-enough in school writing papers, etc.  I didn't particularly enjoy writing endless research papers, but I did enjoy sometimes creating a truly great sentence.  Since I have no research or term papers in my foreseeable future, I've begun to think about other types of writing-and taking the time to improve my own abilities.

Perhaps some of these thoughts are coming from my blogging.  It's been a fabulous experience of putting thoughts in words and sentences for friends and strangers alike to read.  The whole process has been like an exercise in writing and communication.  For example, I have come to notice that I use certain words and phrases entirely too much.  The biggest offender is "interesting".  I use it all the time.  But what does it really convey?  Surely if I am writing about a book or experience, you can assume that it's interesting, or I wouldn't bother to mention it in the first place.  It kind of reminds me of the word that starts to drive me up the wall during every major political campaign: "compelling".   Whenever someone brings up a marginally controversial issue, the candidates inevitably refer to the question, problem, information, answer, or proposed solution as "compelling".   It's a handy word to show interest and concern without actually committing yourself to either side.  I noticed the use of this word in at least the last two presidential elections by candidates of both parties.  

I think it was Holly Becker that suggested making a list of overused words and to begin to look for replacements for them.  I need to start doing that.  My other overworked words and phrases include some of the usual suspects: "a lot" "it" and other words that lack both pizzazz and adequate description.  

So the blog has caused me to think about improving my words, but other exercises have shed light on other writing aspirations.  As I mentioned before, I am working through The Artist's Way and I am already gaining some clarity.  Although I enjoy traditional art activities-such as painting and sculpture-I don't think I have the heart or the talent to really pursue it in any capacity beyond "fun stress-relieving play" (which is certainly valid and wonderful).  But The Artist's Way has left me desiring a creative pursuit of my own to nurture and cultivate.  Since I am already such a lover of books and words, what about writing?  The Morning Pages associated with The Artist's Way have been extremely instrumental in this process.  Even after only a week (with a day or two skipped), I am already seeing ideas and dreams emerge.  Come to think of it, this "unfiltered" blogging feels a lot like Morning Pages.  

There are certain things in your life that it just never occurs to you to try.  At least for me.  I have no desire to run for public office, try for a record deal, or star in a movie (although I enjoy politics, music, and film respectively).  Writing a book was always right up there with competing in the Olympics or getting a PhD (the former I could clearly never do-I didn't make the 7th grade volleyball team-and the latter is something others have suggested, but it's never been a goal or desire of mine.  I think I'll stick with the Masters).  I don't mean this to seem like a lack of ambition, just a different channeling of it.  There are still many fairly lofty goals that I have for my life, just not in these particular areas.  (I realize these accomplishments aren't all really on par with one another, but it's the best I could do without breaking my "unfiltered" aim for this post).  All of this to say it never occurred to me that I wanted to or could write a book and actually get it published.  I'm still working on the "could" part, I am starting to think that this is something I really want to do.  I included it on my "bucket list" a few months ago, much to my own surprise.  At this point I have no idea what kind of book I want to write or what it would be about.  I don't think a novel appeals to me, but maybe something non-fiction?  Or a children's book?!?  That would be outstanding!  (outstanding is one of my new pet words- I'm still trying it out).  On side note, another goal I never thought I'd have for myself is forming: to start an organization, specifically a non-profit.  Again, I don't know exactly what it would be yet, but it's making its way onto some lists.  Thoughts for another day and another post...

Well, now I have shared this idea with real people, so I can't really forget about it.  It's not something I'm planning on pursuing immediately, but I'm definitely going to let the concept percolate as I work on some ideas.  I already have a couple of characters in mind for a children's book.

P.S.  Another huge word of thanks to Carolyn for the idea of unfiltered blogging.  It's already led to some interesting-gah!-surprising places.  And for the record, this accomplished woman has started a successful non-profit, written a book that is on track to be published this summer, and is working toward a PhD.  What an inspiration.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why Do You Read?

Note: This is my first attempt at "unfiltered blogging" as proposed by the lovely and extremely talented Carolyn.  Therefore, these are somewhat random thoughts with minimal forethought or editing.  

If you frequent this blog, I'm thinking that you probably read "for pleasure" at some regular interval.  If that is the case, I'm curious.  Why?  It may seem like a strange question, but I genuinely am curious.  Recently, I have noticed interesting reading habits of my own and it has made me wonder about others.   I've been reflecting on this question myself quite a bit lately and the inquiry has resulted in a variety of tentative conclusions.  

There are the obvious answers of course.  Reading is a fabulous means to learning new information or developing an understanding of a foreign concept.  This is definitely true for me.  Sometimes educational reading is mandatory (like it was for the last 19 years of my life), but many others it is simply to satisfy a curiosity.  Sometimes these books are purely informative, but they can also be entertaining, such as a memoir or historical fiction can take the reader to another time and place.  

Of course, the purpose of reading is largely dependent on the types of books someone is reading.  Which leads me to another question for you all: what kind of books do you read?  Fiction, non-fiction?  Biography, memoir?  History, self-help or short stories?  Certainly, most people don't limit themselves to one particular genre, but I know some that do.  My reading material is all over the place (as you've probably gathered).  I enjoy fiction-both classic literature and more modern fast reads.  Most of the time I am reading at least one of each.  I want to read "the classics" and enjoy a great number of them, but they often require great concentration.  I'll finish 3-4 other novels, all the while I am plugging through one piece of truly great fiction.  

I've found that these "fun" books serve a very specific purpose in my life.  I tend to read more of them when I am upset or stressed out.  Instead of vegging in front of the television (which, don't get me wrong, I also do), I escape into an easy, fast, and engaging book.  Sometimes, these might be called "chick lit", but I still believe it has great value.  Some of these books have quality writing, while others do not.  But if the story and the characters are good, it provides me with a reprieve from my own troubles.  I suppose this is not uncommon, but it's a pattern I've only recently uncovered.  

In addition to fiction, I also collect a variety of non-fiction books.  Many of these might be found under a big sign in the book store that reads "self-help".  It's such a broad category, but also comes with somewhat of a stigma.  Occasionally I've felt self-conscious browsing in the section, but I believe I've benefitted in one way or another from many of those books.  Some seem to be re-branding the genre to the more palatable "personal development".  I read these types of books because they address a particular aspect of my life I am interested in changing or because they seem to be full of inspiration and encouragement.  I confess that sometimes I may hold too much hope in a new book, believing that it will fix all my problems.  This, of course, never happens, but I have gleaned many useful skills and perspectives from reading this genre. (Some of my collection of this genre pictured above)

So far this week I have started and finished Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik.  I think I picked it up because it reminded me of the Friday Night Knitting Club books, but it wasn't really like that. I did enjoy it (as demonstrated by 400 pages in less than 48), but more on that book in a separate post.  I write this with some guilt because I am supposed to be (and am still) reading One Hundred Years of Solitude for the online book group.  I was in the mood for something lighter, but I'm behind on reading for the group.  (Katie, don't hate me!)  I'm not sure anyone's finished it though, it seems to have been postponed.   Nevertheless, all of you have permission to chastise me if (or more likely, when) I talked about reading any other books in the near future.  

I apologize for the long-winded and some what stream-of-consciousness post.  Carolyn had an interesting idea about unfiltered posts.  Visit her blog for more info if you are interested in trying it yourself. 

And with that, I'm hitting "publish post" without looking over it again.  Typos will inevitably result.

Sidenote:  Do you ever find typos in published works?  I do, from time to time, and it's oddly thrilling!  In fact, I found one in Knitting Under the Influence.  There are three main characters in the book and at one point, only two of them go to a Thanksgiving meal.  But once the third one is mentioned (page 269 if you have the book) although she was clearly not there.