Sunday, April 29, 2007

A gluttony of young love...

Okay, so The Bride Ship by Deborah Hale was supposed to just be a straight up Regency, but it was actually an exploration of the colonization of Nova Scotia by the Brits, told through the eyes of a young Napoleonic War widow who was working to bring over a shipload of young marriageable girls to the colonies for the settlers to woo and wed. I admit there was some love, but definitely more history than I was meaning to learn from my Harlequin paperback.
I checked it out. 296 pages.

And then in an effort to find things to post about on, I browsed the new YA books yesterday. Unfortunately, the only things I took home were teen paperback romances. That said, I read The Boyfriend Trick by Stephie Davis (in the First Kisses series, which in fact means that the main character gets her first kiss in the book, which is lovely because she isn't yet a jaded thirty-something burned out career woman in the publishing industry in NYC.....) 212 very quick pages.

Also by Stephie Davis, I read the Smooch teen fiction Studying Boys which at a scant 189 pages was another quick read, although I adore the idea of a "Homework Club" and I realized it is impossible much sooner than the main character.
Both of these books feature girl characters who are being pushed by their parents to succeed and have to rebel against that to find their own place. Is that a big issue today? Did I have that? I think in highschool I probably set my own standards much higher than my parents would have thought to direct them. Silly competitive (and super-smart) friends...

I also read The Poker Diaries by Liza Conrad, which had a fresh original voice in the main character of Lulu, who is being raised in uptown NYC with her trust-fund girlfriend-of-the-mayor museum-curator mother, and downtown NYC with her poker-playing father and ex-con bar-owner grandfather. Culture clash to the extreme, especially when Lulu gets drawn into a high-stakes poker game to help out a friend in trouble. Original and enjoyable. 210 pages including the poker glossary of useful slang terms and some basic game rules.

Books to Paint by...

While helping my lil' sis' paint white baseboard trim even whiter in her new house in Wisconsin, we listed to I Feel Bad About my Neck by Nora Ephron (which I had already read, but it was almost funnier to listen with my sister) and I also listened to Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA by Ellen Meister (which was entertaining while painting, but pretty fluffy listening overall.)
Nora was 3.5 hours.
Applewood PTA was 10 hours of listening.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I listened to Fluke: Or, I know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore. Man he is hilarious. Impossible to describe, and not sure why he isn't shelved in sf/ff, but very very funny. 11 hours.

I picked up an historical romance novel when I got caught without a fluffy book to take on my dinner break Tuesday. An Unwilling Conquest by Stephanie Laurens. I am almost positive that I remembered to check it out before I left the the library. :) 312 pages.

Potholders 'R Us

So, I figured out this pattern from an old acrylic potholder of my spouse's grandmother. And then I showed it to my friends. And we have all been crocheting them like crazy!

The pattern is so simple -- It's just a chain along the diagonal, then crochet a flat rectangular "bag", almost like you are trying to crochet a ziploc bag shape, then fold in the diagonals and keep checking until it makes a perfect square (double thickness.) Sew up the seam with leftover yarn, and you are done. It looks complex, is actually simple, and it's useful. Practically the perfect craft! I am using cotton yarn for now, to avoid the melting issue of acrylic.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Here's to action..again

"I have the opportunity to do all the things I've always wanted to do. I don't need to make a big list of all of my plans. I need action (and then documentation.)" --From my April 14, 2006 post

I jsut re-read all of my blog posts for my 28th year.
And my conclusion is -- I read a lot of really great books last year.
Here are last years totals:

27848 pages of reading and 185 hours of listening.

not too shabby.

Creative crafts - tax string bag

At my library, I am part of the team of people who refill the tax form table for the public each day from January until April. It's not particularly fun. The Kansas state tax forms come wrapped in lovely white string though, which we saved all tax season, and I tied it all together and crocheted this bag. Hooray for tax forms!

So it goes...

Kurt Vonnegut is gone.

I am so sad.

I am a girl without a country.

Creative baking - April 2007 cake

I had the most innocent intentions, to be a joiner and support my coworkers new event - the Edible Books Festival. So, I planned a few weeks in advance to make a cake for Candyfreak, a book that my spouse enjoyed. And it turned out great.

But then I wanted to keep playing, so I found a Red Velvet cake mix and a really nice heart shaped cake pan that was a gift from my mother. While the cake was baking, I went upstairs to try to figure out what book I could interpret or represent with this red heart shaped cake. And then, while looking at my shelves of romance novels, my spouse's science fiction paperbacks, and other things that I couldn't see working as an edible book, it came to me, in a flash (and also, I worked my way down to the feminist/lesbian bookshelf and spotted it...)

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.

And what should I happen to have in the basement, but the perfect chocolate candy sucker mold...A little white chocolate and some red food coloring, and I was in business. (I give the credit for simplicity of the design to my sister, who correctly recognized that to add anything more would be in poor taste.)

So, here's my cake.

It is a popular cake. It is a notorious cake. It is a lovely cake.

Creative adventures - youtube book reviews

It started so innocently, with Carrie and I, hanging out with her video camera and some books.
Read This Book 1
Then we went to Hastings for variety
Read This Book 2
And then one evening she was busy, so I branched out.
What if Barbie had a book group?
and then branched out again.
Book Group in the Cube
and then revisited a modern classic
and then helped my spouse get on board the fun

Birthday Resolutions

So, last year I started this blog for my birthday, so that I could keep track of what I read all year. With the exception of the books that I completely missed and can't remember and forgot to blog about (and frankly, they must not have mattered all that much to me in the first place) I am pretty happy with how this experiment turned out. I hope to continue it, and also add the creative projects that I start during my next year.

Like all experiments, this will be a work in progess, and we'll see how it goes.

Last books of my 28th year

My last catch-up post for my 28th year. (well, the year I was 28, which was really my 29th year, I guess...but I digress, which is why I am behind on these posts.)
I had a WONDERFUL birthday yesterday - crafts and friends and brownies and ice cream and "better off dead" and more friends and all kinds of fun!

So, recently I have read:
The Buenos Aires Broken Heart Club by Jessica Morrison
A woman with an all-consuming life plan looses everything and heads to Buenos Aires to recuperate for 6 months. And, the Internet saves her, sort of....
I reviewed it for 302 pgs.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
I read this for the first time for my Literature wih Lunch book group. I loved it. I liked the movie okay, but I loved the book. Have you read it?
This is my favorite line. "I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it." Being raised Southern Baptist, I have a passing familiarity with the pissed off God, so this interpretation of spirituality delighted and amazed me. I'm not sure I was appropriately reverent at my in-laws church though (we discussed this book on Easter Monday.).
I bought it. 288 pgs.

You Suck by Christopher Moore
I accidentally read this before I read Bloodsucking Fiends, which I now realize comes first. Oops. Plus, I am listening to Fluke at the same time, so I am chock full of Christ Moore weirdness/goodness. You Suck is a love story, not surprisingly about vampires....
I checked it out. 328 pgs.

"James Patterson" is the guest star on the Simpsons that I am watching right now, Marge was dreaming about meeting him on a beach, "dreaming up new nursery rhyme titles for his books". I still haven't read a James Patterson book, and I can't say that the Simpsons are great at RA....

Back to my reading list. I read The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency for So Many Books, So Little Time today, by Alexander McCall Smith.
I checked it out. 226 pgs.

Friday, April 06, 2007


“From a distance they strike the skyline like steel lace. Not until you get closer do they take on color, many colors, from orange sherbet to lemon-and-lime.” -- The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigburg

Several tall towers rise above the house at 19 Schuyler Place where two brothers, Morris and Alex Rose, live with their dog. Their great-niece Margaret Rose is stuck at summer camp, where she refuses to participate in the activities by explaining “I prefer not to” until her great-uncle comes to rescue her. The uncles are old men now, but over their lives they have watched their neighborhood downtown change from a popular destination, to an abandoned run-down area, to a place of urban renewal. Their once-thriving clock and jewelry store is now just a little booth called The Time Zone out at the shopping mall. The two uncles have spent their whole lives working on the towers in their backward, tall metal structures that sparkle and shine when the sun reflects off of the glass and metal bits that dangle from their rungs. The towers are beautiful (to most people anyway) and they have been part of the neighborhood for many years. Margaret Rose is outraged when she discovers that the city has condemned the towers because the new neighbors believe they will affect property values. She has to do something to keep the towers from being demolished, so she (secretly, quietly, without her uncles’ knowledge) launches a three-phase plan to save the towers and preserve her uncles’ creations.

The unabridged audiobook is narrated by Molly Ringwald. I listened to it. 5.5 hours.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Boy Girl Boy

Boy Girl Boy by Ron Koertge
I had high expectations for this book, told in alternating chapters by three friends, because I remember Koertge's book Stoner and Spaz so fondly. I was not disappointed.
The best part about this book is that the characters all live in one of the -villes. Theirs is called Wendleville, but it is within driving distance of Springfield, they all talk about going to U of I, and the place names for streets, bars, etc. are all so familiar that my heart ached for home (in a horrible way, since these people hate Wendleville just as much as any self-respecting C-villian ever loathed our dear home town during high school.
Anyway, back to the story, in which location was an important presence but the characters stole the show -- Larry is the gay teen just trying to survive, Teresa is the gal pal, and Elliot is the handsome but not as smart one -- they are a unit, but their friendship may not survive long enough to get them out of town and on to their dreams of California...
(m.d. if you are reading this, you are the only C-ville person I know who actually acheived that whole escape to Califnornia fantasy....)
I can't tell more about this book except to say that you should plan to read it straight through because you will care so much about what is happening to these characters.
I checked it out. 164 pgs.

Harlequin Pink: No competition by Debbie Macomber
Here is all I need to say about this manga teen romance by Harlequin: "Printed in Flirty Pink Ink!"
I checked it out. About 70 pages.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Geography Club

If you wanted to start a club and school and you wanted to make sure no one else was interested in joining, what would you call it? Geography Club by Brent Hartinger is a story of a small group of gay, bisexual, lesbian and straight teens who finally feel less alone when they realize that other people at their school are also hiding, pretending and lying about their true selves. Nothing in this book is about geography. There is kissing, some boasting about sex, some alcohol, some really bad double dates, but no geography. Two more books tell the stories of this group, particularly of Russell Middlebook, the funny and believable main-character. The Order of the Poison Oak is a sequel, and Split Screen is more of a zombie movie spin-off.
I checked it out. 226 pages.

I tried and failed to read a Danielle Steel novel - Sisters. I got almost half way in and it got really sad and depressing, and I just didn't care enough about the characters to see it through. I do admit though, the book jacket is totally cute, with four sisters walking in their trendy clothes.
I read 150 pages.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Splitscreen: Attach of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies and Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies

Split Screen by Brent Hartinger - two books in one tell stories of gay teen romance (some romance for the guys, and some for the ladies) --which is already lovely, and then everyone stars as extras in a zombie movie....which is hilarious.
Plus, I first heard of this book from an UNSHELVED Sunday Book Club comic. You can see it here.
I checked it out. 287 pages.