Thursday, August 28, 2008
In the meantime, school started up again this Monday. But the good news is I'm only taking one class. Woohoo! Which means one class next semester with my Capstone test/class and I'm done! And then off to find a real job in my field....eeek! And then that fun conundrum of getting paid less to work more. The odd things we want in life, huh?
But tonight...does anyone know what tonight is? For all those college football fans out there...tonight is the first night of college football games! For the last week or two we've been seeing the Columbia University football team practicing...their stadium is just down the street from us. It's been getting us very antsy for football to start up. Our team, Auburn, doesn't play tonight and we'll have to wait for Saturday...but it's still great to get out there and get all revved up.
Last year we hung out at the ESPN Zone in Times Square and had a ball and met some fun fans. Tonight...the Giants vs the Patriots are on...think we'll skip that madness. So I'll let you know where we decide to go.
For new readers, you can always flashback to my third post on this blog back in October of 2007. And don't worry...our tickets are booked for our annual trip to Auburn, Alabama so I'll definitely be taking photos. WAR EAGLE!!!
And just for fun, here's a bit of flashback to my first Auburn game with the hubby in 2006.
At Toomers Corner - where they TP the whole corner if they win. Obviously we were at a winning game. For those of you might know...it was when Auburn beat the Florida Gators in 2006:
Outside the stadium and in the middle of college football madness:
And by the AU sign:
I hope all of you are enjoying the wind-down of summer and the kick-up of fall...what ever your interests are.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
The winner of my First Giveaway is....
Also check out her cool blog World According to Books. I will be emailing you for your address so I can ship it out. Enjoy!!!
Don't worry I will be giving away more great books soon.
I used Random.org to pick a number.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Only an hour and a half to go and I'm out of here. While I curl up for a nap, maybe with Charlie as a blanket or pillow, my husband will cook up some fajitas for dinner. I'm a lucky gal.
*Photo taken pre-NYC days
The English Patient (before he was a patient) and Katharine:
Kip and Hana:
Also reviewed by:
Books I Done Read
S. Krishna's Books
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?
Five Borough Book Review
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Sigh...perfect, right? Well...not so much. It was actually dumping rain that day and I was pretty drenched. I NEEDED that photo though so I had my friend take it. I couldn't sit on the bench because it was drenched too. Although looking back, I was also drenched so the problem was...? I am actually propping myself up with my hands to look like I'm sitting down. We were obvious tourists wandering around the city completely drenched and loving it. So...it remains a favorite of mine.
Moral of the story: Even non-picture-perfect days can be fun.
At first I didn't really like it. I guess I've been a little burnt out on books that have one of the three main plots: adultery, suicide, or death as the focus. I mean, branch out a little more people!
Here's the story:
Joanna, a corporate wife is tired of her husband, Paul, constantly changing jobs, moving to new locations, etc. She has tons of money and "things" but really just wants her husband. Paul seems more concerned about climbing that corporate ladder than anything else. Their two kids are grown and finally out of the house when the wife snaps. Facing a new move, a new town, and an absent husband, she leaves Paul moves to a beach side town. She gets a job with Grace, an elderly lady, as a live-in helper.
Sigh...Lifetime movie anyone?
But I have to give it to Maryann McFadden that she wrote her characters very well. At first I was totally on the Joanna's side and was glad she was leaving. But then the whole book isn't just about the wife's story. It flip-flops between Joanna's perspective and Paul's perspective. After awhile I was totally on Paul's side and thought Joanna was completely being selfish.
So that's why, after about half-way through the book I found myself really liking the characters. I could see both their sides and they both changed and grew through the experience. And Grace was that perfect 'voice of reason' that sometimes helps characters understand experiences.
I didn't love this book but it was a good read. It did make me realize how much I appreciate my marriage and to always remember what is really important in life.
The photo above is from the ARC copy she sent me. While not perfect I like it a lot better than the finalized cover which is below. I've heard some people like it but I think it's a bit boring. What do you think?
Also reviewed by:
The Inside Cover
In the Shadow of Mt TBR
They Call Me Bookie McBookerson
S. Krishna's Books
At Home With Books
Pop Culture Junkie
122 4th Ave. (near 12th St.) East Village
Just for fun...can you imagine two of these on the streets of NYC? Their heads were almost over the bookshelves out front:
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I had finished a book on my subway ride to work and couldn't imagine my long boring ride home without a book. So I swung by the bookstore and found this hardcover book for a discount. I do believe it is out in paperback now.
The Spanish Bow starts off like this:
"I was almost born Happy."
Literally, the main character was almost named Feliz, which means happy, but there was an error on his death certificate (!!!!) so he was named Feliu.
The story follows the life of the fictional famous Spanish cellist, Feliu Delargo. Born before the turn of the Twentieth Century, his life's path takes him through World War I, the Spanish Civil War, and World War II. He becomes a cellist in the court of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Ena. His life intersects with famous musicians, artists, and politicians.
A cellist herself, Andromeda Romano-Lax writes the description of music beautifully. As a child Feliu describes notes and sounds as tastes of bitter chocolate and tart lemons. I loved that. Her depiction of the historical aspects were amazing too. I loved the interaction between Feliu and his devotion to Queen Ena. I love the odd friendship between Feliu and famous but also fictional pianist Al-Cerraz. And his complicated love with Aviva the violinist.
There is a warning though. This book is quite long at almost 550 pages so don't expect a quick read. And it can be quite serious and sad at times...but that is pretty much why I liked it. This is a story about friendship, music, love, hate, and everything in between. It wasn't a pleasant and easy time period for Spain. But this is not a war story. It's about the decisions we make in our lives. It's about the purpose of our lives. Overall, it is just a touching, moving, beautiful book with it's ups and downs, highs and lows...much like the music she describes.
Here's a link to the book's discussion guide by Harcourt Books.
Oh...and I'm adding Picasso's famous piece Guernica which is mentioned in the book as well:
Also Reviewed by:
Minds Alive on the Shelves
Here's the List:
1. When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra - Colin Falconer (Finished November 29, 2008)
2. The Hippopotamus Marsh: Lords of the Two Lands Vol 1 - Pauline Gedge
3. The Yacoubian Building: A Novel - Alaa Al Aswany
4. The Palace Walk (Cairo Trilogy Book 1) - Naguib Mahfouz
5. Nefertiti: A Novel - Michelle Moran
6. The Memoirs of Cleopatra - Margaret George
7. River God - Wilbur Smith
8. The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje (Finished August 21, 2008)
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
So I thought I'd have Anna display it for you all. She was being particularly photogenic that day. Letting me take her picture is definitely a rarity.
Oh!! And Amanda at Click.The Good News recommended the blog Urban Mutt. How cool! Thanks!
Monday, August 18, 2008
Also check out West of Mars -- Win a Book! A great blog which posts which sites are having book contests.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Those are all the books I haven't read yet. Ok...so maybe my husband's right and I should stop acquiring books for a bit......yeah right. It's not like I buy them brand new. I've also been super lucky and have won a lot of them.
These are the books I won from Bookshipper in her amazing 14 Book Giveaway from Hachette Books. So cool!!!
And these are recent books I've gotten from the Mid-Manhattan Library Book Sale...if you live in the area check it out (75 cents for paper backs and 2 dollars for hardbacks):And these are some other miscellanous finds/wins. Anna is excited too:
I won Three Cups of Tea from Amanda at Click. The Good News
The other books are various ones I've picked up from used book stores, the free shelf in our laundry room, library sales, the antique store, etc.
I've decided to start giving away some books I've read to make more room. So thank you veryone who's entered my First Giveaway and there will definitely be more.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Which brings me to my guilty pleasure...I collect copies of The Count of Monte Cristo. I'm really not sure why. Maybe it's because I love going to used book stores and finding interesting copies of my favorite book. The image to the left was the first copy I owned which I read in high school (and have re-read numerous times) and absolutely LOVE. It's still my favorite copy. I also have an old, water damaged hardback, no copyright information or publisher information which I found by accident in a box of free books from a garage sale. NICE!!
Which brings me to a slight annoyance. In high school I thought the "Count" on the cover was quite cute....which probably enticed me read the book the first time. But since then...seriously...what were the publishers thinking??
This guy is just...well, to me, not that attractive:
And this guy looks way too smug...or maybe he's taken WAY too much cold medicine:
And THIS guy! Boy...he kind of irritates me. Does he looks like he's bent on revenge? He reminds me of someone Jane Austen would have made fun of:
And this one? Yawn!
Anyway...so do you have a book or author that you collect? Why?
A hardback copy of Sophia Kensella's book Remember Me?
From Publishers Weekly
Shopaholicpowerhouse Kinsella delights again with her latest, a winning if unoriginal tale of amnesia striking an ambitious shrew and changing her life for the better. After taking a nasty bump on the head, Lexi Smart awakens in a hospital convinced that it's 2004 and that she's just missed her father's funeral. It's actually three years later, and she no longer has crooked teeth, frizzy hair and a loser boyfriend. Initially wowed by what she's become—a gorgeous, cut-throat businesswoman—Lexi soon finds herself attempting to figure out how it happened. As her personality change and lost memory threaten her job, Lexi tries to dredge up some chemistry with her handsome albeit priggish husband, Eric, though the effort is unnecessary with Eric's colleague Jon, who tells Lexi that she was about to leave Eric for him. Amnesia tales may be old hat, but Kinsella keeps things fresh and frothy with workplace politicking, romantic intrigue and a vibrant (though sometimes caricatured) cast. Though the happy ending won't come as a surprise, readers will be rooting for Lexi all along.
The book is pretty cute and was a fun read. All you have to do to win is leave a comment on this blog. The contest is open until Friday, August 22nd and I will announce the winner on Saturday. Please make sure you leave a way for me to contact you or check back on Saturday.
Addendum: If you have an address, I'll ship it. No matter what country :)
Monday, August 11, 2008
I've read excerpts of the Odyssey by Homer so I knew a little bit of the back story. But don't worry too much if you haven't. The back story is:
Penelope and Odysseus are married and he is soon sent off to fight in the Trojan War. Penelope is none too happy because A) She is newly married B) She just had a baby C) Helen (her beautiful cousin) started the whole mess D) The war lasts 12 years.
So after waiting 12 years, the war is over and Odysseus should be on his way home but gets waylaid...for numerous years. You can read about his exploits in the Odyssey. So Penelope waits at home, tries to stave off suitors who want to marry her, take care of her lands, and raise a son. When Odysseus finally returns, he proceeds to kill off all her suitors and hangs twelve of her maids. Penelope tells her story from the afterlife and explains why Odysseus decided to kill off the suitors and more importantly...why he would hang the twelve maids.
At first I thought Penelopiad was a pretty good story. I liked Penelope's viewpoint. Whereas the Odyssey glamorizes tales, spins yarns, etc...Penelope is more realistic and often cynical about what is going on. In some ways it reminded me of Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson but without Winterson's flair for the poetic. But towards the end I thought that perhaps Atwood should leave this type of story-telling to others. Points were driven...and then repeatedly driven. And some of the writing was a bit forced. BUT...it is a very small and short book so if you want to give it a try, check it out. Be prepared for quite a bit of, shall I say, feminist leanings.
Since I love covers...here's a couple more interesting versions:
Also reviewed by:
Adventures in Reading
Lost in a Good Story
Books I Done Read
Things Mean A Lot
The Hidden Side of a Leaf
Bold. Blue. Adventure.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
He is adorable:
And he can shake:
And he can lick:
And he can wink:
And he can yawn:
And he wears hats well:
And he can be bashful:
And he can glare (when I'm taking too many photos):
Thanks for letting me post pictures from my new camera!!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Why you say?
Check out their Turning the Pages section.
You can digitally "turn the pages" of a few original works and books.
For instance, do you want to look at Jane Austin's The History of England, written in her own handwriting and even illustrated with cute pictures of kings and queens?
Or maybe the original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland written and illustrated by Lewis Carroll himself?
Or maybe Mozart's musical diary, or Leonardo da Vinci's sketches?
Most have audio commentary that you can turn on or off, you can zoom in or out, and other fun features.
My favorite....the Lindisfarne Gospels:
Check it out!
However, they do have to be aware of copy-right laws so be aware that only older classics (think books written about 100 years ago) are available in Full-view only. There are a lot of books out there that you can preview a few pages though which is kind of nice. Anyway...I decided to show you what a Google Book looks like.
Anyway...check out Google Books sometime when you are bored of browsing through the Internet.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I have to say I immensely enjoyed this book. A co-worker today told she enjoyed it as well but that she had to look beyond the hype. I guess this is true. Sometimes it's sad when a book is so hyped up it ruins the experience. Moving on...
The narrator of this story is fifteen-year-old Christopher who happens to have Asperger's which is a form of autism. One of Christopher's teachers thought it would be a good idea if Christopher wrote in a notebook and essentially wrote a "book". So like any good book, Christopher's story starts out with the "murder" of the next door neighbor's dog. As Christopher tries to solve this mystery, truths and lies are uncovered.
What I really liked about this book is that Christopher is essentially a brilliant child. His mind thinks insanely logically and mathematically. Truly, his mind is like a computer. But it sometimes works against him. There is a scene where he is in a new public place and he freaks out. Because his mind and memory stores every tiny detail, it can be overwhelmed in a new location and his body just shuts down. So his story is an amazing account of how he views the world, sees things happen, interprets them, and how it affects the people around him.
Because this is book is a piece of fiction...Christopher is not real...I can see how some people might not like this book. But I don't think the author was trying to imply that EVERY person with Asperger's or autism thinks and acts like Christopher. But it is an interesting concept to look at the world through different eyes. Because while reading Christopher's story, I often thought to myself...well, that makes sense. Perhaps that's not how I think but that makes sense how Christopher came to that conclusion. So I guess that's why I liked it...because it allowed me to see the world differently. And I liked Christopher.
Also reviewed by:
A Book Blog. Period.
Year of the Bookwormz
Books I Done Read
The Hidden Side of a Leaf
Maw Books Blog
The Book Lady's Blog
Nothing of Importance
So this all makes me wonder...for those of you who don't live in the area...if you were to visit NYC (or if you have visited) what are the places and sites that you would want to see and experience? Do you want to see all the touristy things or do you want to do what the locals do?
Please let me know and maybe it will be good excuse to grab my camera (and possibly my husband) and be a tourist for a day or two.
Monday, August 4, 2008
And just in case you don't know...my husband and I were married a little over a year ago. And we are taking our much belated honeymoon late this fall. I am soooooo excited.
We decided on going to EGYPT!!!! Red Sea resorts, pyramids, sand, sun, the Nile, Luxor, Cairo...sigh.
I am sure I will babble on more about it the closer the time gets.
There are a few books I've found that I want to read before or while I am on my trip.
Maybe I'll call this my Egyptian Book Challenge:
Death on the Nile - Agatha Christie
Linnet Doyle is young, beautiful, and rich. She's the girl who has everything--including the man her best friend loves. When Linnet and her new husband take a cruise on the Nile, they meet brilliant detective Hercule Poirot. It should be an idyllic trip, yet Poirot feels that something is amiss.
The Hippopotamus Marsh: Lords of the Two Lands: Volume I - Pauline Gedge
Seqenenra Tao, Prince of Weset, leads a revolt against the alien Hyksos pharaohs. His provincial aristocratic family is accustomed to a life of straitened gentility. But when the prince decides to rebel they must risk all, even life itself, to restore Egyptians and their gods to glory. The Hippopotamus Marsh begins a trilogy that brings to vivid life the passions and intrigues that ushered in the great Eighteenth Dynasty.
*Perhaps I'll read the whole trilogy...
The Yacoubian Building: A Novel - Alaa Al Aswany
All manner of flawed and fragile humanity reside in the Yacoubian Building, a once-elegant temple of Art Deco splendor now slowly decaying in the smog and bustle of downtown Cairo: a fading aristocrat and self-proclaimed "scientist of women"; a sultry, voluptuous siren; a devout young student, feeling the irresistible pull toward fundamentalism; a newspaper editor helplessly in love with a policeman; a corrupt and corpulent politician, twisting the Koran to justify his desires.
These disparate lives careen toward an explosive conclusion in Alaa Al Aswany's remarkable international bestseller. Teeming with frank sexuality and heartfelt compassion, this book is an important window on to the experience of loss and love in the Arab world.
The Palace Walk (Cairo Trilogy Book 1) - Naguib Mahfouz
Volume I of the masterful Cairo Trilogy. A national best-seller in both hardcover and paperback, it introduces the engrossing saga of a Muslim family in Cairo during Egypt's occupation by British forces in the early 1900s.
* Again, perhaps I'll read the whole trilogy.
Nefertiti: A Novel - Michelle Moran
Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. It is hoped that her strong personality will temper the young ruler’s heretical desire to forsake Egypt’s ancient gods.
From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people but fails to see that powerful priests are plotting against her husband’s rule. The only person brave enough to warn the queen is her younger sister, yet remaining loyal to Nefertiti will force Mutnodjmet into a dangerous political game; one that could cost her everything she holds dear.
The Memoirs of Cleopatra - Margaret George
Bestselling novelist Margaret George brings to life the glittering kingdom of Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile, in this lush, sweeping, and richly detailed saga. Told in Cleopatra's own voice, this is a mesmerizing tale of ambition, passion, and betrayal, which begins when the twenty-year-old queen seeks out the most powerful man in the world, Julius Caesar, and does not end until, having survived the assassination of Caesar and the defeat of the second man she loves, Marc Antony, she plots her own death rather than be paraded in triumph through the streets of Rome.
River God - Wilbur Smith
Set against the backdrop of the Hyksos invasion of Egypt, circa 1780 B.C., Smith's adventurous tale of ancient love, intrigue and avarice was a three-week PW bestseller.
* Suggested by fellow blogger, James Viscosi