Monday, December 29, 2008

The Wednesday Letters

How well do we really know our parents? That's the premise of this novel. When Jack and Laurel Cooper die on the same day, their three kids come home for the funeral and find the letters that their father wrote to their mother every Wednesday.

The contents of the letters surprise and shock the kids.

I love the idea for this book because I'm a letter writer, too, and it didn't disappoint.

And the neatest part? At the back of the book is an envelope with one more letter that the reader gets to open and unfold and read.

I'd definitely recommend this fast-paced book to everyone.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

100+ Reading Challenge

J-Kaye's Book Blog is hosting a 100+ Reading Challenge for 2009. It begins on January 1, 2009 and runs until December 31, 2009. I've never participated in a challenge before but this one sounds easy enough so I thought I'd give it a try.

1. First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader 391 pages 1/10

2. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich 310 pages 1/12

3. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See 250 pages 1/16

4. Knit Two
by Kate Jacobs 320 pages 1/23

5. Foreign Body
by Robin Cook 436 pages 1/28

6. The Night Stalker
by James Swain 345 pages 2/3

7. A Child Called "It"
by David Pelzer 157 pages 2/5

8. Comfort Food
by Kate Jacobs 325 pages 2/11

9. Mistress Shakespeare
by Karen Harper 370 pages 2/24

10. Midnight Rambler by James Swain 347 pages 3/3

11. Ordinary Genius by Kim Addonizio pages 3/9

12. Takeover by Lisa Black 337 pages 3/11

13. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese 531 pages 4/2

14. Live a Little by Kim Green 364 pages 4/6

15. Cross Country by James Patterson 403 pages 4/14

16. Still Life by Joy Fielding 369 pages 4/18

17. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch 4/24

18. The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini 371 pages 5/1

19. Night Walker by Heather Graham 300 pages 5/10

20. The Beans of Egypt, Maine (audio) by Carolyn Chute 5/8

21. The Associate by John Grisham 373 pages 5/17

22. Population 485 by Michael Perry 200+ pages 5/23

23. Don't Look Twice by Andrew Gross 372 pages 5/30

Red Leaves by Thomas H. Cook 273 pages 6/1

25. Look Again by Lisa Scottoline 337 pages 6/6

26. Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich 309 pages 6/10

27. Intent to Kill by James Grippando 311 pages 6/15

28. Cry Mercy by Mariah Stewart 411 pages 6/21

29. Persephone in America by Alison Twonsend 109 pages 6/22

30. Ballistics by Billy Collins 107 pages 6/23

31. Simple Genius by David Baldacci 530 pages 6/27

32. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher 288 pages 6/28

33. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett 300+ pages 7/10

34. Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult 346 pages 7/19

35. Peony in Love by Lisa See 370 pages 7/28

36. Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay 293 pages 7/30

37. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon 483 pages 8/12

38. The Weight of Water by Heather Gudenkauf 364 pages 8/16

39. Dark of the Moon by John Sandford 371 pages 8/28

40. Long Lost by Harlan Coben 366 pages 8/30

41. Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich 308 pages 9/3

42. The Help by Kathryn Stockett 500+ pages 9/9

43. Dead Until Dawn by Charlaine Harris 300+ pages 9/15

44. Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo 321 pages 9/19

45. The Angel's Game by Carlos Luiz Zafon 531 pages 9/25

46. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister 240 pages 9/28

47. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See 306 pages 10/06

48. The Last Child by John Hart 373 pages 10/14

49. Relentless by Dean Koontz 300+ pages 10/20

50. The Penny Pinchers Club by Sarah Strohmeyer 290 pages 10/24

51. Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult 476 pages 10/27

52. The Road by Cormac McCarthy 284 pages 10/31

53. Living Dead in Dallas
by Charlaine Harris 300+ pages 11/3

54. Push by Sapphire177 pages 11/7

55. Against Medical Advice by James Patterson and Hal Friedman 279 pages 11/10

56. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout 271 pages 11/21

57. Run for Your Life by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge 373 pages 11/24

58. Best Friends Forever
by Jennifer Weiner 359 pages 12/4

59. this world we live in by Susan Beth Pfeffer 239 pages 12/5

60. Homeschooling by Greg and Martine Millman 259 pages 12/11

61. 13 1/2 by Nevada Barr 311 pages 12/18

62. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell 307 pages 12/27

Sunday Salon

We just got back from an overnight in Phillips, Maine up near Sugarloaf Ski Area. Our friends are renting a ski lodge there for the week. It rained after we got there creating icy roads so we didn't go skiing but still had a nice time visiting, playing Pictionary, and watching videos.

I'm still working on The Wednesday Letters. Good book!

No school this week so, hopefully, I'll have plenty of time to read.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Christmas is done! I felt like a zombie, yesterday, doing, doing, doing!

We did have fun, though! Lots of laughs and jokes.
Kylie got three new Maisy books and was thrilled.

I finished Say Goodbye a couple days ago. Very good story! And an ending that was surprisingly satisfying.

Hope everyone is breathing a sigh of relief now that the madness is over. I know I am!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Prep

Hunkering down for a Nor'easter. Good time to read if I had the time!

I'm still working on Say Goodbye and enjoying it but with Christmas preparations, I don't have much time to read. I'll be glad when the whole hullabaloo is over! We still have two more days of school, too. God forbid they should give us a whole two weeks for vacation! Obviously, men make up the calendar because they have no idea how much work women have to prepare for the holiday. Sorry, just frustrated and spouting a bit!

Happy reading and holidays, everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An Amazing Novel

Good morning. Hope the sun is shining where you are. It will be here in NH today but right now it's below zero. The sun isn't very far away and I'm sitting in the lavender dawn.

I finished The Story of Edgar Sawtelle Friday night around midnight then it took me about an hour to get to sleep because I just kept thinking about it. There is so much more to this story than just plot.

It reminds me of the begonia plant I have in my kitchen window. It's been taking its time to blossom: one flower opening slowly at a time, releasing it's beauty until now when the whole plant is covered in blooms.

The more I contemplate this novel, the more I get out of it. Take the names, for example. They play a major role since it was Edgar's job from the time he was little to find the perfect names for the dogs his family raises. He took it very seriously, combing the dictionary for words that would convey the pup' personalities.

And even Edgar's last name is significant: saw and tell. One we do with our eyes and the other with our mouths. Only, Edgar can't speak. He is mute although his hearing is fine.

On the back cover the book is described as part Hamlet and I couldn't help making comparisons. Hamlet's uncle is Claudius and Edgar's uncle is Claude. Hamlet's mom is Gertrude and Edgar's mom is Trudy.

Then there is the writing. I was so impressed with the simple yet fresh descriptions. All the words fit the character of Edgar so well. At one point as dusk approaches, he says that a few stars started volunteering. Surprising perfection!

I'm glad I took my time with this one to allow the treasures to present themselves one exquisite flower at a time.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Good morning. I'm sitting here in my cozy living room while outside the clouds are hanging low. We might get a dusting of snow during the day. Fine by me! Sounds like a good reading day. It will be especially welcomed after yesterday's Christmas shopping and wrapping.

I'm still working on Edgar Sawtelle and really enjoying it. The writing is simple and exquisite. It's so beautiful that I almost have a lump in my throat all the time. It's the type of book I want to savor so am in no hurry to finish.

Happy reading, everyone!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lots of Laughs and Lots of Books

What can I say about this series? Stephanie Plum is, by far, my favorite character, ever. I like to let a couple months go by between reading these books and I know that I've almost caught up, but, every time I travel to Trenton, I just enjoy myself so much.

I can't tell you how many times I actually guffawed while reading this book!

I mean, how often does that happen?

The students in my first block class asked me, today, how many books I've read over the years and if I had kept a list of them. Unfortunately, I haven't. Then I got to thinking; say I started reading at age 10 and I'm 60 now, so that's 50 years of reading. I've easily read a book a week so
50 X 50=2500. I know I've read at least that many and probably many more!

So, during my planning block, I decided to go through the book cases in my room to list the books I've read. I only had time to do one book case and here's a list of what I've read from it:

1. Coma by Robin Cook
2. Through Violet Eyes by Stephen Woodworth
3. One False Move by Harlan Coben
4. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith
5. Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith
6. The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith
7. The Lost Years by E. V. Thompson
8. Tales of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith
9. The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith
10. Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith
11. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith
12. Spring Fancy by LaVyrle Spencer
13. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
14. The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks
15. High Five by Janet Evanovich
16. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
17. 4th of July by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
18. Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti
19. Mystic River by Denis Lehane
20. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
21. The Queen of Everything by Deb Caletti
22. Lovey by Mary MacCracken
23. Split Second by David Baldacci
24. The Ditches of Edison County by Ronald Richard Roberts
25. The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
26. The Last Juror by John Grisham
27. Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz
28. The Bird Artist by Howard Norman
29. Channeling Mark Twain by Carol Muske-Dukes
30. Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier
31, The Footprints of God by Greg Iles
32. Back Spin by Harlan Coben
33. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
34. The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard
35. Scruples by Judith Krantz
36. Wish You Well by David Baldacci
37. Flashback by Michael Palmer
38. Awakening the Chrysalis by Mary Durant
39. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
40. The Shelters of Stone by Jean Auel
41. Tangled Web by Judith Michael
42. Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen