Welcome to 2016, friends! My only new blogging goal right now is a new look for the blog so be on the lookout 🙂I couldn’t resist joining Sheila this year in celebrating the first book I’m going to read this year. I considered many but decided on one that I won from fellow blogger Lloyd. It was his favorite of the year a few years back and it’s been sitting on my shelves for that long (this happened last year when I won Lisa’s favorite book and it took me years to read. I mention it only because it ended up being my favorite book last year! But no pressure Lloyd :)).
I read the first few chapters last night and have a very good feeling about The Language of Flowers. Have you read it? What will be your first book of 2016?
This week I was able to hear local author, Mary Doria Russell, speak at the Orange library and catch up with an old friend from my Washington DC days. Mary is a hoot and I hope you all take a look at her schedule and plan to hear her speak about her latest book, Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral. I last heard her speak in 2008 and she did an email interview with me on this blog in 2009 (parts 1 & 2). Many bloggers love her first novel, The Sparrow and its follow-up, Children of God (actually my friend Amy and I read Sparrow together in the same DC book group!). She wrote those two sci-fi novels and has been writing historical fiction ever since.
I will go out on a limb and say that even if you have zero interest in Doc Holiday or the shootout at the OK Corral, you will want to read them after hearing Mary’s passionate talk and response to these men and their stories (especially Doc who is still her favorite character). I admit that I know, well knew, nothing about the OK Corral but I am very excited to read both Doc and Epitaph with Jason. She knows her stuff and she has me interested in the OK Corral because she told us that it was about gun control. Sound relevant? As a cop’s daughter she was able to see these men for what they were warts and all, even making many connections with stories of today.
I’m so glad that I was able to hear her speak again and I hope you can find a tour stop where you can too!
I’ve been tagged by Vicki at I’d Rather Be At the Beach to answer some questions about my reading habits.
Do you have a certain place at home for reading? Not really. Our front room is great for natural light during the day and I have been known on occasion to take a book into the hot tub with me 🙂
Bookmark or random piece of paper? I have a basket of random bookmarks on my desk so I will usually use those, but in a pinch any piece of paper or wrapper will do.
Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages? My reading time is ruled by a 4 year old so stopping at the end of a chapter seems like pointless goal 🙂
Do you eat or drink while reading? One or the other for sure. A glass of tea or wine in the evening with or without Skinny Pop usually does the trick.
Multitasking: Music or TV while reading? I don’t need either but both are fine – unless it’s a show I’m halfway interested in and then the book usually loses. But I have so little tv or reading time that this seems like a moot point really.
One book at a time or several at once? I never thought I had ADHD but my reading seems to point in that direction (and I say this with love since I have a son who is most likely ADHD). I always have 2-5 books going at once. If one really grabs me I will lose the others until I finish it.
Reading at home or everywhere? I read pretty much everyone, most often while I’m waiting for Gage at different activities or when I happen to be in the car by myself. I’ve also been known to read books in line at Chipotle because we have the slowest Chipotle in the country.
Reading out loud or silently in your head? Do people really read out loud?
Do you read ahead or even skip pages? I don’t skip pages but I have read the last page on occasion. It used to be all the time but now it’s only if not knowing what will happen is causing me stress.
Breaking the spine or keeping it like new? Breaking the spine is okay and sometimes the only way to enjoy reading a paperback.
Do you write in your books? Depends. In college we were told to teach active learning so writing in books was encouraged. I have some classics and non fiction that have received some active learning 🙂
If you thought these questions were fun I hope you will consider yourself tagged!
I saw this at JoAnn’s who saw it at Jo’s and I had to participate. They both chose slightly different categories so I’m choosing my favorites. I’ve only read 33 books so far and a few that made the lists I haven’t even reviewed yet but it was a fun exercise. Why not join in too?
Six books I have enjoyed the most
Six tried-and-true authors
Six classic novels
Six nonfiction titles
Six new-to-me authors
Six books I’ve received that I haven’t read yet
Time to catch you up on my 1001 Albums project I started last summer. Originally I started listening and dancing with Gage, but this round he wasn’t allowed to hear a few of the albums. I listened to some rap this go round, but evened it out with lots of Beatles and U2. I’m still playing with how I want to do these posts (since I know they are more for me than for you) so this time I’m going to list all the albums, one sentence from the book, and then a link to my favorite song of each album. Listing them in the order I listened to them.
My three favorites were Tapestry by Carole King, Velvet Underground and Nico, and Abbey Road by The Beatles. See any of your favorites?
All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2002) by U2. This is an album of epic proportions and no filler (“In our heads we’ve written 11 singles for this record,” commented Bono). Fave-Beautiful Day
Joshua Tree (1987) by U2. The Joshua Tree marks the point in U2’s long and gloriously inconsistent career at which they woke up to the possibilities of studio technology, expanded their sound from a post-punk chug, and found grandeur, abstraction, and finesse. Fave- With or Without You
War (1983) by U2. U2’s third album saw the Dublin four-piece articulate their impassioned views on politics and the human condition. Fave-Bloody Sunday
The Visitors (1981) by ABBA. It would have been unreasonable to expect an album by divorcees to be as joyful asn uplifting as an album by two married couples. Fave-When All is Said and Done
Dirt (1992) by Alice in Chains. The record was laden with allusions to lead singer Staley’s drug addiction, a portent to his fatal overdose a decade after the album’s release. Fave-Would
Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969) by Crosby, Stills & Nash. But this first, excellent three-quarters of an hour of wistful exuberance remains a landmark. Fave-Marrakesh Express
Tapestry (1971) by Carole King. Carole King dramatically reinvented herself as a solo star with this landmark release. Fave-I Feel the Earth Move
Destroyer (1976) by Kiss. Destroyer is the iconic Kiss Album. Fave-Beth
Station To Station (1976) by David Bowie. Increasingly paranoid, he had become obsessed with UFOs, occultism, and Adolf Hitler. Fave-Word on a Wing
Boston (1976) by Boston. Boasts melodic rockers, flashing guitars, powerhouse rhythms, and sweet cascading vocals. Fave- More Than A Feeling
2112 (1976) by Rush. Rush’s trademark sound-prog-meets-heavy rock-comes fully into its own on this record. Fave-Tears
Wish You Were Here (1975) by Pink Floyd. “At the beginning of the recording sessions most of us didn’t wish we were there at all, we wished we were somewhere else.” Fave-Wish You Were Here
Ready to Die (1994) by The Notorious B.I.G. It’s a strange album in that the first cut says…’Let’s stop killing each other’-and then the rest of the record is all about people killing each other! I refuse to choose a favorite because I had to listen to the guy have sex.
Appetite for Destruction (1987) by Guns N’ Roses. They looked cool, they swore, they fought, they-let’s bite the bullet-rocked. Fave- Paradise City
Nevermind (1991) by Nirvana. Kurt later complained about the slickness of the album’s sound. Fave-Come As You Are
MTV Unplugged (1994) by Nirvana. When he sighs, in a moment of silence just before the climatic closing section, it seems the weight of the world is crushing him. Fave-Where Did You Sleep Last Night
In Utero (1993) by Nirvana. The grunge landmark of the 1990’s. fave-All Apologies
The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967) by The Velvet Underground. Its straight talk about sex and drugs got the album banned on New York radio; stations elsewhere in the United States simply ignored it. Fave-Sunday Morning
Illmatic (1994) by Nas. Fusing old-school street poetry with razor sharp production. Fave-One Love
Stardust (1978) by Willie Nelson. With Willie Nelson there is no country or pop, just Willie Nelson songs. Fave-Blue Skies
Red Headed Stranger (1975) by Willie Nelson. It was also something of a formal experiment, a loose concept album about a lovelorn murderer’s adventures. Fave-Medley:Blue Rock Montana/Red Headed Stranger.
Straight Outta Compton (1989) by N.W.A. Niggaz With Attitude were the fruit of Easy E’s entrepreneurship. Offensive in every way that it was intended so I’m not choosing a favorite.
The Atomic Mr. Basie (1957) by Count Basie. “I have never bragged on anything, but (the Atomic Basie)band…was one I could have bragged on. Fave- The Kid from Red Bank
A Hard Day’s Night (1964) by The Beatles. For the first time on a Beatles album , all tracks are Fabs originals. Fave-It’s a Hard Day’s Night
Rubber Soul (1965) by The Beatles. The album injected mystique into FabWorld. Fave-What Goes On
With the Beatles (1963) by The Beatles. The sleeve photo is arguably the most iconic of The Beatles ever taken, as well as being one of the Sixties’ most defining images. Fave-All My Loving
Revolver (1966) by The Beatles. Revolver is cited as the point when The Beatles broke up: they paid their last paying gig weeks after its release. Fave- Eleanor Rigby
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) by The Beatles. The album embodied elements of psychedelia:Eastern philosophy and druggy allusions. Fave- With a Little Help From My Friends
The Beatles (aka The White Album) (1968) by The Beatles. It mixes peerless acoustic-driven ballads with comical tales. Fave-While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
Abbey Road (1967) by The Beatles. The vitriol, ecstasy, and social commentary of Lennon and McCartney is what makes Abbey Road and essential. Fave- Come Together
List of the albums we listened to from the book(The Visitors by ABBA, Back to Black and Highway to Hell by AC/DC, 21 by Adele, Pump and Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith, School’s Out by Alice Cooper, Dirt by Alice in Chains, Among the Living by Antrax, Tidal by Fiona Apple, Funeral by Arcade Fire, The Atomic Mr. Basie by Count Basie, Abbey Road, The Beatles (white album), A Hard Day’s Night, Revolver, Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, With the Beatles by The Beatles, Parallel Lives by Blondie, Boston by Boston, Station to Station by David Bowie, Crosby Stills & Nash by Crosby Stills & Nash, Eagles and Hotel California by The Eagles, Seldom Seen Kid by Elbow, The Marshal Mathers LP and The Slim Shady LP by Eminem, Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics, Frampton Comes Alive by Peter Frampton, So and Melt by Peter Gabriel, Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses, Darklands and Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain, Tapestry by Carole King, Destroyer by KISS, Tragic Songs of Life by the Louvin Brothers, Illmatic by Nas, In Utero, MTV Unplugged in New York, and Nevermind by Nirvana, Ready to Die by The Notorious B.I.G., Straight Outta Compton by NWA, Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, Regatta de Blanc and Synchronicity by The Police, Elvis Presley by Elvis Presley, 2112 by Rush, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim and In the Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra, System of a Down by System of a Down, Dear Science by TV on the Radio, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, Joshua Tree, and War by U2, Velvet Underground & Nico by Velvet Underground, Red Headed Stranger and Stardust by Willie Nelson, Back to Black by Amy Winehouse) 60/1001
Linkup to my past posts
I read 56 books this year (that’s one more than last year!) Here they are by the numbers-
Fiction 42, Non-fiction 14
Female authors 35, Male authors 21
Series books- continuing series 6, new series 4 (I only plan to continue one, the Louise Penny series)
Oldest book read? Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit published in 1975
Most read author? Harlan Coben with 3
My 5 favorite books this year
The Winter Sea was a romantic delight from beginning to end. I can’t wait to read more!
The Husband’s Secret had an excellent cast of characters with strong storylines that all came together in a powerful conclusion.
A Gracious Plenty had a gritty main character and a cemetery full of dead people and somehow managed to be beautiful.
The Uncommon Reader was a light escape with the Queen and her books. Hard to resist.
The Girl You Left Behind was a surprise to me because I rarely read wartime books and I found this one addicting. I want more.
I watched 62 new to me movies this year (that’s up 13 from last year). I wrote about 3 of my favorite 100 movies (#7 There’s Something About Mary, #46 Chocolat, #62 Yankee Doodle Dandy) and did one Book vs. Movie post (Ender’s Game – still time to vote in the the poll), wrote a few Friday film talks and continued my 5 word movie reviews asking for your participation and help for charity.
2013 was my most watched movie year with 18.
The oldest movie I watched was A Touch of Evil, 1958
Most watched actress- Sandra Bullock with 3 films (Gravity, The Heat, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
Most watched actor was a 3 way tie with 3 movies each- Woody Harrelson (Catching Fire, Now You See Me, Game Change)
Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike, The Wolf of Wall Street, Boys on the Side)
Ben Kingsley (Ender’s Game, Searching for Bobby Fisher, Iron Man 3)
My 5 favorite movies this year-
The Hunger Games:Catching Fire – I love Katniss even though I’ve never read the books (for shame!) A
Prisoners – A gritty thriller that makes you think. A
Argo – Another thriller, but this one political and psuedo-true! A-
The Sting – There was not a boring minute in this con film with two handsome legends. A-
42 – An overlooked baseball movie that hit all the right bases. A-
Almost Always. Published in 2012, 320 pages
When Bobbi contacted me in October and asked me to read her book I said yes right away. She is a fellow buckeye and the cover was too cute to resist. As I took it with me on our Thanksgiving trip home I realized that I might not get this read much before Christmas so I asked my Mom if she would read it and post a few thoughts. She said yes 🙂 I hope to read it soon, especially since my mom loved it so much. Thanks, Mom!
Here’s the way Eva sees it: if John is so concerned about her butting into strangers’ lives, he shouldn’t leave her sitting at a table in Bob Evans with nothing to occupy her time . . .
Enter Cecelia-a pregnant teenager who needs a family for her baby. Fate has placed her at the table behind Eva and John.
Now Eva has a chance-a chance to give her daughter, Shelly, the one thing Shelly desperately wants.
But nothing is ever as easy as it seems.
Because sometimes daughters are not born to us-they are gifted by desperate teenagers-or seated behind us at Bob Evans . . .
Eva is a kind-hearted meddler who does her best to influence others to make the same choices she would make. She tries to orchestrate things to fit her idea of a perfect outcome. It is entertaining to see how this personality trait plays out in Eva’s interactions with her family and friends. In the process of trying to fix up others’ lives, she makes a few mistakes.
This book encompasses so much more than Eva trying to find a baby for her daughter. She longs for the ‘Mommy days’ when she was the most important person in the world and could make her children happy.
I was easily drawn to the characters and the story line. Everyone can find some things to relate to in the book that will make you laugh and cry.
This was a great read that I couldn’t put down. I loved it and highly recommend it.
I let you guys see my unread book wall and asked you to guess how many books you thought were in the stacks (here). Answers ranged from 350 to 1000! As I cleaned everything up I realized that 3 books were missing from the stacks, but I can’t count them since they’re not in the picture. Here’s the picture again…
You are looking at 769 books! Many of you came close, but the one who was closest was Jen (Wander One Day) with her guess of 775. She was only 6 off! That is impressive. Also impressive was the runner-up who was only 8 off and that was Kay (formerly of Purple Sage and Scorpions) with her guess of 761. Jen will get to choose a book for herself from my stacks 🙂
Thank you all for humoring my yearly obsession. One day I’ll get all of these read and they’ll move into my permanent library. Or if I hate them I may offer them to you!
Oh, and since I took this shot a few weeks ago 4 new books have found their way into my house 🙂
Before I started blogging I had spent 5 years working for Barnes & Noble so I was no stranger to books (and book discounts!). I had a sizeable library and was happy with my reading to book ratio. Then I started blogging and all tomes broke loose! Every year in May I would stack up my unread books in one place and take and inventory of sorts. Here’s my picture from that first year in 2008…
New motherhood being what it was I skipped last year’s wall building. But then I felt like my books have slowly been taking over every room in the house so I decided it was time to rebuild the wall. I always rebuild the same way every year so I can find all of the books. (yes, this is silly, but I sometimes get a little OCD about my books). Two years ago my stacks looked like this
A little bigger at 604. So, in a marathon of book balancing done while my little one was sleeping I rebuilt the wall minus the 20 some books I read and the 20 odd books I gave away…
And then added in the books I’ve acquired in the last two years. Needless to say, I got a great workout hauling all these books around the house, but worry about next year’s wall of books if I don’t start reading more!
Okay, now for the QUIZ -Open to anyone- Guess the number of unread books I have in my house by looking at this last picture. The person who comes closest by Sunday will help me out by choosing one book from the picture as a gift. (I did at least give you a few numbers from two years ago :))
For all my regulars – I will be awarding points based on how close you get to the real number.
The blog, while still having some of the same features-Tuesday Quizzes, Sundays with Gage and Monthly 5 Word Movie Reviews being the constants- also managed some book reviews 😉 I read 55 books, a new low since I began blogging 5 years ago.
Here are the books by the numbers-
43 Fiction, 12 Non-Fiction (that’s a high percentage of non-fiction for me!)
39 women, 15 men, 1 both (let’s hear it for the gals!)
9 from a continuing series, 7 from a new series. (of those new series books I will continue on with 6!)
Most read author? Karen E Olson with 3 when I finished up her Tattoo Shop series.
The 3 Rounds of Quizzes this year were exciting! Nise (Under the Boardwalk) took the first two rounds and Hannah (Word Lily) was the winner of the last round. I hope that you all will jump in when the new season starts. You don’t have to win to get a prize. Marie (Boston Bibliophile), Staci (Life in the Thumb), and Carol M all won special prizes just for playing. If you want to browse through old quizzes click here.
Gage has been a big part of the blog this year. If you want to look through all his posts for what you may have missed click here. Here are the first and last photos of 2012.
Think he’s changed this year? The boy sure does keep me busy.
The year I’ve watched 49 new-to-me movies, reviewed 3 from my Top 100 list, wrote 3 book vs. movies posts, and even had a few Friday Movie Talks. My monthly 5 word movie reviews are tied to money for charity. You still have a few hours (until 7om EST) to get your reviews in to be counted for charity. $1 for every 5 word review you contribute. I already told you about my favorite movies, what about a few stats?
Surprisingly, I watched more movies released in 2012 (19) than in any other. Surprising because I consider myself a classic movie lover!
The oldest movie I watched was War and Peace released in 1956.
My most viewed actor- Denzel Washington, 3 movies
Most viewed actress- Helena Bonham Carter, 4 movies (weird since this woman really bothers me)
2012 has been a good year and I’m happy the Mayans were wrong and there is the possibility of 2013 being better than all the other years before it. I wish that for all of us.