Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Reliable Wife

I finished this novel this afternoon.  It was a weird one but I liked it.  It starts out innocently enough. In the early 1900s Ralph Truitt wants a wife so he places an ad in a newspaper.  Catherine Land answers that ad and agrees to move to Wisconsin be his wife.

What isn't obvious, at first, is the secret agenda they both have.  And that's what makes this book fascinating.  That and its sensuality.  Phew!  I needed a cold shower after some of the scenes.

The writing is spare but beautiful.  Simple but rich.  Stark but warm.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

I, Alex Cross, The Pioneer Woman Cooks

From the deep freeze to rain!  That's what is heading our way.  I saw a ribbon of pink like a baby's blanket on the shoulders of the mountains this morning before the clouds covered everything.

I finished this book last night and enjoyed it as I have the other Alex Cross novels.  Yes, they are predictable and formulaic but I just love his family.  They make Alex so human and give the book a heart.

In this one, Alex's niece is killed and he's determined to find her killer.  Unfortunately, some powerful players in Washington, DC, don't want him to.  Of course, that doesn't stop Alex.

The short chapters and crisp writing make this a winner.

I finished this book last Monday and even made a couple of the recipes on my day off: Meatloaf and Creamy Rosemary Potatoes.  Both were yummy!

I plan on trying more this week.

And rereading parts of the book since I gulped it the first time.

This cookbook is like a delicious meal!

I'm also still reading the poems in It's Not You, It's Me: Poems of Breakup.  I like to do one or two a day so they have time to percolate in my brain a bit.

And I'm up to chapter 5 of Nikon D60 for Dummies and am learning so much!

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lips Touch

As a participant in Sunday Scribblings, I was curious about this book written by one of the moderators.  Now, normally, I don't read fantasy novels very often.  Heck, I haven't even read Harry Potter!  But, I figured I'd give this one a try since I enjoy reading her writing on her blog.

And I was not disappointed in the writing.  Laini Taylor has a sassy style that is refreshing and quirky.  Her descriptions are gorgeous and easily accessible for a young adult for which this is written.

It contains three stories of first kisses.  I really got into the first two but the last one was just a little too out there for my tastes.  I did read all of it, and, even though it wasn't my cup of tea, I still appreciated the wonderful writing.

So, if you enjoy this genre, pick this up; you'll love it.

And if you'd like to see the cutest baby, check out The Journals of Laini Taylor to see a video of her little girl, Clementine.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Three New Books

We took off Saturday morning for Portland, Maine and stayed overnight.  Great time!  Except I ate way too much!

When we got down there, my husband dropped me off at Ocean Park Beach just south of Old Orchard Beach while he went to a motorcycle shop.  This is the beach I bike to during the summer but rarely get to see in the winter.  I loved it!  Very few people were around and it was quiet and peaceful.  Luckily, the weather was beautiful: sunny and mid thirties.

After a half hour walk, I settled on a bench and turned my Kindle on.  I can't get a signal where we live in NH, but here, it was working fine so I downloaded I, Alex Cross.

Next up was a visit to Border's Books in South Portland.  I browsed for books I'd like to download and bought three I'd rather have as real books:

I've had a D60 for almost a year now and still need help figuring it out.  I've read the first 28 pages and already found three things I didn't know. 

It's written in language anyone can understand, even me!

Well worth the money.  And, because I have a Classroom Discount for teachers I got 25% off all the books I bought!

I have a wonderful collection of over 300 poetry books so I couldn't resist buying another one to add to it.

These poems are all written by poets still living and are easy to understand on a first reading.  Well, I've only read a few so far but I looked through and read snatches here and there and they all seem approachable.

I stumbled across The Pioneer Woman's blog last fall and really enjoyed reading it.  At the time she had just finished publishing her cookbook and was getting ready to go on tour to promote it.

I was thrilled that the bookstore had it in stock. 

It's a different kind of cookbook.  Each page is full color and each recipe is illustrated.  And it's funny!  She tells the story of being a city girl and meeting a cowboy and falling in love and moving to the country and having four kids.  She doesn't take herself too seriously and makes comments all the way through the recipes.

For example, in her recipe for Creamy Mashed Potatoes step 7 reads: Add the butter.  Feel really guilty.  And step 8 reads: Add the cream cheese.  Feel even more guilty.  Then step 9 says: Next, add the half-and-half and stir together.  And let go of your guilt.  Food is to be enjoyed! (At least that's what I tell myself.)  See what I mean?

I've read almost the whole thing already!

So, all in all, a very nice getaway.  And I've got today off so more reading will get done!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Book Thief

I picked this up quite a few times at the bookstore and read the first few pages but just couldn't get into it.  Then I read really wonderful reviews of it so figured I'd try one more time.  I'm so glad I did!

What turned me off at first was the fact that Death is narrating the book and the beginning is a bit weird.  But, once I got past that, it was so, so good.

Death tells the story of Liesel a young girl growing up in WWII Germany.  She lives with foster parents and they hide a Jewish man whom Liesel befriends. 

She's called The Book Thief because at her brother's funeral, she steals a book even though she can't even read.  When she gets to her foster home, her Papa teaches her how.  After that she steals books because she loves them.

The writing was absolutely superb.  Descriptions are simple but, somehow, they just glow.  I did not want this book to end.

Friday, January 8, 2010


My friend's daughter lent me this book (Thanks, Leah!).  It's one I've looked at plenty of times but never bought.  I'm really glad I read it.  Normally, I just read light books for entertainment and was afraid this one would be boring with all the philosophical stuff but, it was surprisingly easy to read and interesting.

The narrator answers an ad that says, "TEACHER seeks pupil.  Must have an earnest desire to change the world.  Apply in person."  When he gets there he sees that his teacher is a gorilla that can communicate by thought. 

Through a series of questions, the "teacher" gets the narrator to look at what man has accomplished and how his place in the world is destroying it.

The book has short chapters, fairly large font, and an easy-to-understand format so that anyone can understand the important message.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Lost Symbol

This is the first book I read on my Kindle.  At first I wasn't sure how I would like it but after a couple of chapters I got right into it and forgot that I wasn't reading a real book. 

I enjoyed the book pretty well.  There was a lot of technical stuff explaining the historical background, but, it was interesting enough.  I guess there was just something missing in this novel.  I'm not sure what, exactly, but I think it lacked emotional impact. 

Robert Langdon is back but he is just the conduit.  He doesn't really have much character.  I almost didn't even like him.  He seemed dumb at times.  But the plot kept the story going and I read it fairly fast.  

I ended up liking the Kindle more than the novel!  One night it was getting late and my eyes were dry but I really wanted to continue reading so I just enlarged the font and was able to go on.  Just what I need!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Julie and Julia

The last couple of weeks have been so crazy busy! Not much reading got done but Christmas was great albeit tiring! First, we flew to Florida on the 24th to see our moms. It was a quick trip but worthwhile. We flew back to NH on the 27th. Then I had to get ready for our own celebration on the 30th. Our son and his grilfriend left yesterday, the tree came down, and I finally got a chance to relax.

The one good thing about flying is that I got to read. Julie and Julia was the perfect book for this. We encountered delays both coming and going but that was no problem for me! I love the concept of blogging (of course!) and cooking and Julie Powell made the story funny and interesting. I read half on the way down and the other half on the way back. When we got home, I rented the movie and was really disappointed with it. Meryl Streep was fantastic but it was just so boring. It somehow lost the quirkiness and humanness of the book.

My kids chipped in and got me a Kindle! I've downloaded The Lost Symbol and am enjoying both the book and the Kindle so far. I miss being able to rifle the pages and breathe in the wonderful smell of the book but I can see that this reader will have its uses. It would have saved me from packing 3 books in our carry-ons for our trip, for one thing, and it'll be perfect for slipping into my saddlebag when I bike to the beach all summer.

Happy New Year, eveyone! 2010 will find us with a new grandchild. My daughter is pregnant and due sometime in July. She goes to the doctor's next week to get her actual due date. Can't wait to hold the new little one in my arms!