Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Book Problem Year 3

Another year, another evaluation of my unread book selection.  Here’s my stack of unread books in May 2008.

And last year I recreated the stacks (I added 49, but read or gave away 49) and took this photo

book problem 09 2

So, now it’s time to fess up.  I did not do so well at keeping my unread book pile from continuing to take over the house.  I started with 369 books, I read or gave away 41, but brought 79 new titles into the house that I haven’t read yet.  Yes, that’s a total of 407.  Here’s the visual…

You can see that even Max is a little shocked!

But there’s more book news that makes this book problem  more serious.  You know when you leave home and boxes of your stuff get packed away in your parent’s basement?  Well, at the age of 38 I finally convinced my Dad that I could handle the boxes (I mean we have a big basement now too ;)), so over the holidays he brought box after box of stuff. 

Wanna guess how many books were in these boxes?

Here’s a look at the new visual with the books in front.

I refuse to count these and add them to my total.  Whatever I don’t read or get rid of by next year I’ll add.

But you will get to benefit from these extra books I now have.  Over the next week or so I will be offering up free books from these boxes.  Take a look at the book selection, tell me which one you’d like to have in a comment and on June 2nd I’ll pick a winner or two from each day and he or she will receive the book of their choice.  PLEASE enter every day.  They are used books, but there are some good titles in there.

By recreating my stacks of unread books every year it does hold me in check for a good six months.  I don’t plan on buying books – well, except for baby – and I won’t enter giveaways unless the book is on my wish list.  I need to be good because I have a feeling when baby comes my reading may take a hit for a while.

So, do you want to post a picture of your To Be Read pile or piles?  Leave a link in the comments and I’ll add you here.  Come on, let me see that I’m not alone!

May 19, 2010 Posted by | Photos, Uncategorized | | 38 Comments

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler: Book CoverFinished 5-16-10, rating 4/5, fiction, pub. 2007

Sanitized simulacra, lack of indoor plumbing, and oppressive mothers notwithstanding, there is something about the simplicity and quiet of  this world that not only does not disappoint, but which exceeds any expectation.  I don’t have the constant noise in my brain from all the Internet, ipod, and radio signals streaming all those sounds and words and pictures into my consciousness practically every waking moment of every day.  I never even noticed that noise in my brain until I realized I didn’t have it anymore.

Chapter 14

Courtney Stone goes to sleep in current day Los Angeles and wakes up in 19th century England.  And she’s not even herself.  She finds herself in the body of Jane Mansfield whose love life strangely mirrors her own.  Courtney has always been a fan on Jane Austen and the regency time period, but she finds that novels do not always capture the dark side of pre-plumbing living.  How long will she be stuck in Jane’s body?  And is there anything she can do to get home?

This was a fun and frothy read.  I loved when she was able to meet Jane Austen and Austen thought she was a lunatic.  I enjoyed the story, but I’m not sure it’s one that will stick with me.  It was almost too light, but still fun.  I know there is a sequel and I will probably pick it up at some point.

This was from my personal library.

May 19, 2010 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 10 Comments

Alternate Title Quiz

Here’s how to play…Identify the correct title of these fiction bestsellers. I’ve  included the author’s initials to help you out.  Leave a comment with the # and the title.  

No copying from other commenters.   Here are more details and the current Leaderboard.  I welcome first timers, you still have a chance to win a prize.

Each question is worth 10 points and answers must be submitted by Wednesday at 5 pm (EST).

1. Grabbed (HC) Caught by Harlan Coben

2. The Mountain Lion Society (SM) The Cougar Club by Susan McBride

3. Extraordinary Beings (TC)  Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

4. The Lass Who Ran After the Sphere (SAA)  The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Sarah Addison Allen

5. The Appetite Diversions (SC)  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

6. The Tome Stealer (MZ) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

7. Transfer Us from Sin (DB)  Deliver Us From Evil by David Balducci

8. Relish the Second (NR)  Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts

9. Down of Wide (PC)  South of Broad by Pat Conroy

10. The Maiden Who Jested With Flame (SL)  The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larsson

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Quizzes | | 21 Comments

Monday Movie Meme- Dance Scenes

Feature Presentation…MONDAY MOVIE MEME
Visit The Bumbles for more dance scenes
I hope you’ll choose at least one video to watch 🙂
1. As a child of the 80’s this is right at the top.  The Thriller dance from 13 Going on 30.
2. A real 80’s selection.  Ducky in Pretty in Pink.
3. My sexy choice.  Baby finally gets to do a little Dirty Dancing of her own!
4. My romantic choice.  Sandra and Keanu in The Lake House.
5. A sweet choice from an old favorite.  The Sound of Music.

May 17, 2010 Posted by | Monday Movie Meme | | 15 Comments

Morning Sickness and My Google Reader

I have spent the better part of the last 2 months on the couch or sleeping too much in bed due to the never-ending awfulness that is morning sickness.  Some women are fortunate enough to never experience it.  That’s not me.  Anyway, for the first time in those 2 months, I felt human for a WHOLE DAY!  That was yesterday (today is another story, but let’s stick with the positive). 

I was able to spend a few hours at the computer and for the first time since I got back from San Francisco in early March MY GOOGLE READER IS UNDER 1000 POSTS!!  Okay, it’s at 957, but I have to start somewhere.  I cannot Mark All As Read.  It’s a personal defect, I know, but I might miss something!  I’m hoping to get it to under 100 by the time we leave for France. 

Speaking of that on Tuesday will be the last quiz for this round and I’ll announce two winners Wednesday night, so be sure to get your answers in early.  I’ll be bringing the gifts for the winners back from France.  We’ll be going to the French Open, so if the winner is a tennis fan maybe I could kidnap Rafe Nadal 🙂 

You won’t want to miss my posts while I’m gone.  I’m giving away books every day 🙂 

If I check my Reader right now there better not be 1000+ posts already!

May 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 25 Comments

Love Walked In, by Marisa de los Santos

Cover ImageFinished 5-11-10, rating 4.5/5, fiction, pub. 2005

If you haven’t seen The Philadelphia Story stop what you are doing, rent it, and watch it.  It’s probably overstating the point to say that until you watch it, you will have been living a partial and colorless life.  However, it is definitely on the list of perfect things.  You know what I mean, the list that includes the starry sky over the desert, grilled cheese sandwiches, The Great Gatsby, the Chrysler building, Ella Fitzgerald singing “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If You Ain’t Got That Swing),” white peonies and those little sketches of hands by Leonardo da Vinci.

Chapter 1

Cornelia Brown recognizes a defining moment when she sees it.  Managing a coffee shop, while not on the fast track to a choice career, does give the classic movie loving 30-year-old the opportunity to meet a Cary Grant look-alike.  Martin Hobbs looks good, sounds good, and Cornelia is ready and willing to fall in love.  Only before she gets the chance Martin brings his mystery daughter to the coffee shop and Cornelia falls in love with her instead.  Clare Hobbs has been abandoned by her mother and ignored by her father and has had to deal with more than any 11-year-old should.  Martin lets Clare stay with Cornelia and he loses some of his charm.

The chapters alternate between Cornelia and Clare and the two form a strong bond.  Cornelia now has a purpose and Clare now has security.  I loved Cornelia’s obsession with old classics.  Her love of The Philadelphia Story (my favorite) endeared me to her as did her belief that Jimmy Stewart was the perfect man until Cary Grant walked into the room.  I wish that the movie love had continued through more of the book.  Clare was a brave little girl who seemed wise beyond her years, and maybe she was, but I couldn’t help but love her.  Cornelia learned more about herself and love from Clare than she had learned from her life until that point.

The writing was fresh and fun and the story had many unexpected turns.  I wasn’t crazy about the end, but it was okay, and I would recommend this book to anyone.

This is from my personal library and was chosen by Candice, Amanda, Colleen, and Soft Drink.

“Heartwarming AND beautifully written.”  Soft Drink

“One of my favorite books (the sequel is another hit!)”  Colleen

May 12, 2010 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | | 25 Comments

I Wish I Had a Mother Quiz

Mother’s Day has come and gone, but these fictional characters never had the chance to know their mothers.  Leave the number and title in the comments.  There are books and movies in this quiz.

No copying from other commenters or googling – that’s cheating and no fun!  Here are more details and the current Leaderboard.  I welcome first timers, you still have a chance to win a prize.

Each question is worth 10 points and because I’m so late you have until Friday morning to submit answers.

1. One of my favorite books so far this year, this young girl lost her mother and then her father gave her away to and aunt who moved her to Savannah and surrounded her with wonderful ladies.  Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt

2. Pippi Longstocking

3. This gothic classic saw the longsuffering heroine find her prince at Thornfield Manor, only he was married!  Jane Eyre

4. Cinderella

5. A couple wanted to adopt a boy, but got sent a girl who wished her name was Cordelia instead.  Anne of Green Gables

6. Lily’s distant father made her rely on Rosaleen and in turn Rosaleen taught Lily about love and race in the 1960’s South.  Secret Life of Bees


8. Lady Russell stepped in to give Anne advice in place of her dead mother in this Austen novel.  Persuasion

9. Little Orphan Annie

10. Elizabeth Berg’s debut introduced us to Katie, a sweet 12-year-old, who is afraid of her father.  Berg went on to write 2 more books with Katie.  Durable Goods

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Quizzes | | 28 Comments

Limitations, by Scott Turow

Limitations by Scott Turow: CD Audiobook CoverFinished audio 5-9-10, rating 4/5, Legal Mystery, pub. 2006

This was originally published as a serial in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.  Turow added material and published it in book form.

George Mason is the main character of this legal thriller and his first appearance was in Turow’s Personal Injuries, which I’ve never read but still really enjoyed this one.  Mason is an appellate judge and he is in the middle of deciding  a high-profile rape case that reminds him of an indiscretion of his 40 years before, his wife is battling cancer and he is receiving death threats both at work and at home.  George Mason has a lot on his plate. 

I liked his indecision over the rape case and how it related to his college days.  It made him see the boys convicted in a light that most of us would never entertain and I thought that was the most compelling part of the story.  But ultimately the story hinges on the death threats and who wants the judge dead and I found the culprit to be a satisfying one.  I mean, I didn’t really suspect him or her but it made some sense at the end. 

I think because this story was originally a magazine serial it didn’t really focus enough attention on every aspect of the story.  I wish his wife’s illness had been integrated a little more, but that is  a small complaint.  I found the story to be thought-provoking and a good thriller.

I checked this audio book out of the library and Jason and I listened to it on our trip to and from my parent’s house for Mother’s Day.  Read by Stephen Lang.

May 9, 2010 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 7 Comments

Fave Film #14 – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape


Cast – Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis, Mary Steenburgen

DiCaprio was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Gilbert is struggling to keep his family together in a one street small town with no options.  He supports his obese, house-bound mother, his mentally challenged brother, and his two sisters in the house that his father built before he hung himself in the basement.  The only thing this family has is each other.  While Amy, the oldest sister, takes care of the mother, it falls on Gilbert to take care of his brother at all times. 

Why I Love It – Usually I fall in love with the performances or the story, but in this case I can’t choose one because I loved them both.  Obviously, Johnny Depp is going to give you a good performance and this is one of his most normal roles.  He plays a long-suffering man of the house struggling to keep it all together with little thought to his needs.  But DiCaprio’s Arnie equally shines and he was more than deserving of the Academy Award.  This was Leonardo before Titanic and showing his acting chops.  I was amazed at what he pulled off.  Those two performances alone make this movie a must see.

The story is heartbreaking, real, hopeless, and hopeful.  The mother had become a joke to the town and even to Gilbert, who was embarrassed by her and for her.  Arnie continued to run Gilbert’s life and he was stuck in an affair that had nowhere to go.  Then Gilbert met a girl just passing through town with her grandmother and his world seemed to expand.  Someone was looking at him, for him not for the role he played in her life.  I don’t want to give too much of the movie away because if you haven’t seen it I hope you take the time to check it out.  It will touch your heart.

May 7, 2010 Posted by | movies | | 24 Comments

The Shack, by William P. Young

The Shack by William Paul Young: CD Audiobook CoverFinished audio 5-5-10, rating 3/5, spiritual fiction, pub. 2007

Narrated by Roger Mueller

Mack is haunted by the death of his youngest daughter.  Becoming a shell of his formal self he keeps God at a distance even as his wife embraces God, or Papa as she likes to call him.  One day a few years after the kidnapping Mack receives a note from Papa that asks Mack to come to the Shack.  Mack hides his intent from his wife and children and heads to the Oregon wilderness one weekend.  Mack is greeted by a large black woman (God), and nondescript Jewish man (Jesus) and an Asian spirit (Holy Ghost).  As the weekend unfolds Mack learns about what love and God really mean and he is able to come to terms with his heartbreaking past, even beyond that of the death of his daughter.

There are many hot button issues covered here with religion, forgiveness, pain, and grace being a few of the prominent ones.  Mack spends alone time with each of the trinity and learns from each of them, some lessons more meaningful than others. 

My Mom raved about this one as did many people who read it and I wanted to love it too.  Only I didn’t love it, but I did like it.  There were lots of things to think about in this one, but it didn’t change my view of the world or my role in it.  There were lots of things in here that I already believed and there were others that were interesting and thought-provoking.  I guess I just don’t like fiction books that cram too many spiritual ideas in.  The story becomes irrelevant and almost trite.  I’d rather read a fiction story that addresses one issue or a nonfiction book that doesn’t bother with trying to manipulate my feelings.

I listened to this in the car which I do not think was ideal.  Maybe if I had been able to set the book down and think on it at various times I would have enjoyed it more.

I borrowed this unabridged audio book from the library.

May 5, 2010 Posted by | 3 Star Books | | 12 Comments