Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Favorites of 2008

It's that time! Time to look back over everything I've read in 2008 and tell you bloggy lovelies about the best (the worst come later). It was a really hard decision picking my top 10 this year because I read about 25 more books than I usually do. I decided to be good and go by the ratings. Nine of these books received perfect 10/10 from me while one of them (Garden Spells) received a 9.5. Without further ado, in no particular order:

Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen - This book is not "serious" literature by any stretch of the imagination, but it was one of those books I found endlessly charming, and it came along at the exact right time--a plane ride! This is a book that was good enough to eat, and I feel sure I'll read it a bunch more times in the future.

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman - Sweet, funny, heartbreaking, unique. I loved the premise, I loved the characters, and I was completely charmed and carried away by it. Gaiman's children's and adolescent fiction is by far my favorite of his works.

The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson - I almost didn't pick up this "it" book, but I'm so very glad I did. I found it quite the overwhelming read. It was epic in scope and made me cry a little. Those are the books that always win me over.

Evernight, by Claudia Gray - This is another one of those books that I never really expected to love, but it's one of the few vampire novels I've attempted post-Stephenie Meyer that has really stuck out. I found the main character a real trooper. I'm a sucker for a hard-headed female lead.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris - You had to know this one would make the list. While many others have been surprised at some of the morbid inclusions in this collection, I find that Sedaris's ability to continually evolve is one of his most winning qualities. While it was sobering in spots, it was still endlessly funny and thoughtful.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver - While the average person will probably never be able to devote herself to producing her own food in the ways Kingsolver did (some of us have to work all year) I still loved this book. I found it fascinating the ways the family provided for themselves. I loved the recipes, the humor, and it really made me stop and think about what types of food I put in my body.

On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan - One of the audio books I listened to this year. McEwan's reading made this book doubly powerful. It's a slim volume, but he has an uncanny ability to create a sense of claustrophobia and discomfort in his characters and in the listener as well. While I found this book very sad, it was also masterfully written and it's stayed with me.

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee - Thank you to everyone who peer pressured me into reading this most classic of classic American novels (Heather, CdnReader, Kristy). I avoided it for years because I was burned out on the movie and various stage productions, but at the end of the day they can't hold a candle to Harper Lee's novel. Scout was precious, Atticus is the dad everyone wants, and it was just the perfect novel.

The End of America: Letters to a Young Patriot, by Naomi Wolf - A highly controversial but important book, this one got me fired up and ready for election time for certain! Wolf points out the ways in which various Bush administration policies have robbed Americans of basic freedoms and why we should care. This book is truly an antidote to apathy no matter what your politics.

The Stolen Child, by Keith Donohue - Another audiobook. Donohue masterfully weaves together the stories of a boy stolen by changelings and the changeling that takes the boy's place in the human world. Each have distinct struggles and learn to adapt and love their respective lives. The writing was fantastic, the narration was superb, and the story is one I look forward to revisiting.

And because it's SO FREAKIN' HARD for me to choose just ten books, here are the ones I loved and wanted to include, but if I went by ratings they scored just slightly lower (mostly 9's) for whatever reason. They're still awesome. Read 'em!

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Partly Cloudy Patriot, by Sarah Vowell
  • Capote in Kansas, by Kim Powers
  • Man in the Dark, by Paul Auster
  • Mail Order Bride, by Mark Kalesniko
  • Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer
  • The Book of Lost Things, by John Connolly
  • Why Animals Matter, by Demello and Williams
  • 1001 Nights of Snowfall, by Bill Willingham
This year's list is really very reflective of my reading overall. I read a lot of fiction (general, literary, classic), non-fiction of various types, YA/children's, and graphic novels. They're all represented here, so I'm happy with the way it turned out. Links to reviews are on the sidebar!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Reading Explosion!

I read three books yesterday! Given, none of them were very long, but still! Almost a month of non-existent reading and yesterday was a big ole bookgasm. I started with American Born Chinese, which I mentioned in my Sunday Salon post, and then I moved on to the other goodies:

Dear Julia, by Amy Bronwen Zemser. I started this one a while ago, and life got in the way, but I finally came back to it and absolutely loved it. Elaine is a shy, withdrawn high school student who happens to have spent her formative years mastering the recipes of Julia Child and the basic skills necessary for fine French cooking. She meets Lucida Sans (yes, like the typeface), an outgoing, extroverted actress type whose greatest ambition in life is to be famous...at something. Anything really.

The whole book was hilarious, and the constant chatter about French cooking was mouthwatering. I laughed out loud several times, especially in regards to Elaine's family. She's the only girl in a slew of five brothers: a jock, a spelling geek, twins who constantly find themselves under Elaine's culinary tutelage, and one cross-dresser. Yep, cross-dresser. One of the major conflicts in the novel is Elaine's mother, a high-powered politician heavily involved in the women's movement who thinks Elaine's dream of becoming a chef is an affront to feminists everywhere.

Zemser has a great writing "voice." Her teenagers were caricatures for sure, but they never came across as cheesy or distracting. Elaine and Lucida reminded me a little bit of Lucy and Ethel. The conclusion of the book, which shall remain shrouded in mystery, made me want to jump up off the couch and CHEER! If you like the Food Network and YA fiction you will love this book.

I also spent some time playing ball with Daisy last night, and while I was doing that I was watching the 60 Minutes piece, "Road to the White House," yet another Barack Obama special. Once I was in a political mood I realized I had this children's biography, Michelle Obama: Meet the First Lady, by David Bergen Brophy, on my nightstand thanks to HarperCollins. I wasn't sure what to expect from a children's biography--it's been a while since I read one--but it was actually really informative. I've long thought Michelle Obama is a great lady based on what I knew of her Chicago upbringing, her stellar educational career (Princeton, Harvard Law), and her snark, but this book gave me an even better view of her background. She's been just as involved as Barack, if not more, in community outreach and service through her career choices. I continue to be impressed by her, and I can't wait to see what niche she carves out for herself as First Lady.

I have a boatload of work to do today (why do I feel like I've said that before?), but it's just not jiving, so I may dip back into my TBR and see what else I can polish off. I'm trying to keep this influx of reading going!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bring on the 2009 Challenges!

A new year brings a slew of new challenges! While I'm trying to keep my challenge-lust in check, y'all know I have to go ahead and dip my toes into a few that are way too tasty to pass up.

You guessed it! I failed miserably at my own challenge this year, so I'll once again be joining My Year of Reading Dangerously. Heather and I have lightened the load this year by providing a list of "recommended" reads, but there's no official list. We simply ask readers to choose 12 "dangerous" books for 2009 and report in with their links at the challenge blog. Lists can be made up as participants go along, or they can be changed any time. We love flexibility!


When I saw mention of the World Citizen Challenge at Eva's blog, I could not resist! I'm joining at the Major Level:

Despite the occasional, impertinent “And what are you going to do with a degree in that?!” question, you’ve realised that World Citizenship is where your passion really lies, so you declare your major. For this level, you need to commit to five books, from at least three different categories.

The categories alluded to above are: politics, economics, history, culture or anthropology/sociology, worldwide issues, and memoirs/autobiographies. I already read in some of these genres, but others (like economics) will be a push. I can't wait!

What would 2009 be without a Graphic Novels Challenge? Our dear Dewey's 2008 Graphic Novel Challenge was one of the few I actually managed to complete this year, so I figured I should give it another go at success in 2009. I'll be joining at the Major level and will attempt to read 12 graphic novels. Laza from Gimme More Books is kind enough to host this one.

Last but most certainly not least is the Essay Reading Challenge over at Books & Movies. I have a boatload of essays on my stacks: essays on food, essays on books and reading, essays on writing, the collected essays of Graham Green, Siri Hustvedt's essays that I wouldn't mind re-reading, essays on art, essays on sex (hello Anais Nin). So, yeah, I should really get to it. I love essays! We can attempt 10, 20, 0r 30 essays in 2009. I'll probably start small with 10, but who knows, I might make it to 20 or 30 if inspiration strikes. We'll see!

And I'll certainly be continuing with one of my favorite "challenges"...the ongoing U.S. Presidents Reading Project.

The Sunday Salon: On Re-Reading


Ahh yes, it's that time of year again. Time to get ready to get back to work! I've been saying I need to re-read the novels for my Children's Lit class, and this morning I finally got down to business.
Since I enjoyed it so much the first time, I couldn't resist starting with Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese. This excellent graphic novel was a finalist for a 2006 National Book Award and won the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award. While it really rides the line between Children's and Adolescent literature, I think it'll be a great book to bridge the gap between our study of picture books and novels in the Children's Lit course. Many of my college students have never read comics or graphic novels before, and this one is a really quick, engrossing, and sophisticated bit of storytelling. I won't bore you with a rehashing of the plot since I've reviewed it before, but do take a look if you're at all interested in graphic novels, childrens/adolescent lit, or identity politics.

Yang's story reminds me of Art Spiegelman's Maus insofar as he employs stereotypes in order to critique stereotypes. Chin-kee (left) is probably my favorite character in the book because he is soooo over the top. In one panel his luggage is actually shown as Chinese take-out boxes. My hope now is that my online students will be able to tune into the ironic tone of this particular storyline without my having to tell them straight out. It's definitely a conversation starter either way!

I have several books left in the re-read stack including:

The Giver, by Lois Lowry
Skellig, by David Almond
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Parvana's Journey, by Deborah Ellis
The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis

We'll also be reading lots of picture books and fairy tales. It's been the longest since I read the fairy tales, so I'll probably tackle those soon. The versions start to run together after a while, so I need a refresher!

I haven't decided what I'll focus my efforts on for the rest of the day. I'm really getting involved in The Hour I First Believed now, but I'm also trying to stave off a slump, so I might stick with short, quick reads. I have a copy of Dear Julia, by Amy Bronwen Zemser, on the nightstand that I started a while back. I think that one wins!

Happy Sunday Salonning everyone!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Repossessed, by A.M. Jenkins


Repossessed, by A.M. Jenkins is a book I never even heard of until it showed up on my doorstep in an envelope of review goodies from HarperTeen. What a great surprise! While I initially had some hangups about reading a demon/possession book at Christmas, my worries were unfounded. This is not The Exorcist or any of those other vomit-worthy books and movies. It's a thoughful, wicked funny (pun toootally intended) romp through adolescence.
Shaun is just your normal, everyday, snotty teenager. Kiriel is a demon fed up with his job of "mirroring" sinners' wrongs back at them in Hell. Kiriel takes matters into his own hands when he essentially "body snatches" Shaun at the moment of his death.

I certainly expected a demon fixated on causing trouble and generally being a bad guy, but Kiriel is quite the opposite. He experiences adolescence, and humanity for that matter, as a complete outsider. He savors every smell and sensation, and he makes Shaun a much nicer person to be around. He makes amends with Shaun's little brother, helps out around the house, and is truly grateful for the experience of being human. All good things must come to an end, as they say, and he realizes that the Unfallen (angels) and maybe even the Creator himself will put an end to his vacation any time.

This book was truly a pleasure to read. Not just because the writing is great, which it most certainly is, but also because Jenkins turns everything we imagine about "evil" on its head. Certainly Kiriel is subversive and steps outside the accepted order, but he is never malicious. As Jenkins herself writes:

...I like his irrepressibility. He's been cast into Hell for eternity, cut off from God forever, but instead of losing hope he either makes do, or comes up with another plan to try and get what he wants. I suppose what's sinful about him is that he can't or won't be humble, trusting, and obedient. But I rather admire the lack of those qualities when there's no cruelty, malice, or self-righteousness involved.

In short, I don't think this is one of those books that would offend anyone. In fact, I found it quite enlightening and beautifully written. Here's one of my very favorite passages:

The only uplifting times are when, unsually after millenia of suffering, a single soul suddenly, for no reason that's apparent to me, decides that it's had enough, that it's paid the price for its wrongs, and it sort of twists itself inside out, shedding its misery to go free. It's a beautiful, memorable, and very rare event. It's a cool rush, a sweet atom of a movement in an eternity of heavy dark. But even that fine moment has its bitterness. In Hell, nothing is pure joy. There's sorrow in the moment of release, when the soul realizes that a true sin, once committed, can never be undone, and thus in one respect can never be paid for.

The Very Bookless Christmas

That's right, a completly and utterly bookless Christmas. I didn't even give any books this year. My mother made the observation that she usually gives me a gift card of some variety, but since I get books from publishers weekly and the stacks are starting to look more than a little rickety and leany that she'd just let it go this year. And oddly enough, I'm ok with that. I look over at my gargantuan stacks of unread books and think to myself, "I have enough to read." I know, I never thought it would happen either.

Last week I was frustrated and stir crazy, so I actually cleaned out the better part of 40-something books that 1) I've lost interest in or 2) I never had any interest in. When I do finally make my way to Half-Price Books to sell them I expect I'll make a pretty good chunk of change, which I will then resist investing in another new pile of books. Wish me luck with that. Ha!

Yesterday I started the necessary task of preparing my course websites (for the exclusively online classes) and the syllabi and schedules for the in-person courses. Now that I have something on my plate that I need to do, the urge to read is OVERWHELMING. I'm addicted to chaos and procrastination, obviously. Among the many tasks on my to-do list, I need to re-read the material for my Children's Lit survey. I'm looking forward to it, and they're all really short novels, so expect to see an influx of re-readings in the coming weeks.

Alsooo, I've had a fantastique reading year, and I almost can't wait to put together my Top 10 of 2008!! I don't think I'll read much new stuff in the coming days, so I might start early. Keep an eye out!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Merry almost-Christmas my bloggy darlins! I've been taking some much-needed time away from the computer. I Twitter occasionally or check e-mail mostly by Blackberry. It's good to step away sometimes especially since I'm online for work every day during the school year.
My mom and I have spent time today Nintendo DS'ing in the same room, making fun of Kathie Lee and Hoda on the Today Show, we went to see Four Christmases (cute, love Vince Vaughn), and tonight I'm sure we'll eat unhealthy food, watch one of the bazillion showings of A Christmas Story, and maybe fill up on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, too. We did well this year by saving two gifts for Christmas Eve morning. She got me a t-shirt that says "Official Daisy Dog Walker" in collegiate letters and a huuuuuge makeup case full of 65 assorted goodies: lipsticks, glosses, blush, liners, eyeshadows. It's any makeup diva's pervy dream. Looove it!
While I had my family Christmas gathering with my mom's side of the family last weekend, tomorrow we'll be headed down the road to celebrate with my dad's side of the family, most of whom I haven't seen in a good two or three years. One of my cousins is making the trip to see me, and I can't wait to give her a big ole hug. It's been at least 10 years since I've seen her, and I just might cry. Our dads were twins (my father passed away in '99) and we've always had a great relationship. We're far overdue for some serious chatting. We've been e-mailing for months, and I can't wait to see her in person again.
The Christmas goodness seems to have sprinkled down on my head in the form of some READING, too. I started Wally Lamb's new book, The Hour I First Believed, last night and I think it might actually stick!
I realize this post is pretty disjointed and random, but the only important part that you really need to know is...
I can't even tell you bloggers how much I enjoy you. I hope you all have fantastic holiday celebrations filled with warm goodness, wicked food, and good company. And books, of course! Many blessings to you this holiday season.
Love always.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bookreporter's Author Holiday Blogs!

Since I'm not reading books--haven't finished a single one in December...well, maybe one--I thought I'd share what I have been reading! It's not books, but it's still fun!

Bookreporter.com is running Author Holiday Blogs, one of which is my favvvvorite graphic novelist, Bill Willingham, of the Fables series. Click here to read "The Most Important Book," the story of how his love for reading (something other than comics) was born.

More about Author Holiday Blogs:

Many great writers share that their path to publishing started by being a voracious reader. To celebrate this season of giving --- and getting --- more than thirty authors are sharing their favorite memories of giving or receiving a book at the holidays on the Bookreporter.com Author Holiday Blog. For example, International best-selling author Mary Higgins Clark reminisces about the books that she was overjoyed to find under the Christmas tree during her childhood, while her daughter and co-writer, Carol Higgins Clark, theorizes that her most popular character, private detective Regan Reilly, may have had her roots in books given to her as a young girl. Meanwhile, Wendy Corsi Staub tells us why Christmas always means Little Women to her.

Upcoming blogs include a piece by Francoise Mouly, who reminisces about the intimate experience she shared over a comic strip with her now-husband, cartoonist Art Spiegelman, during the early stages of their relationship, and how that event forever changed the way she approached the solitary act of reading. Head over to Bookreporter.com each day until Christmas to read these essays and others from David Baldacci, Laura Pedersen, Ad Hudler, Kristin Hannah, Garth Stein, M.J. Rose, Mary Kay Andrews and more.

The blogs can be read each day at: http://www.bookreporter.com/blog/blog/index.asp

Monday, December 22, 2008

Share Your Story, Share a Book

I heard about this recently through my fantabulous editor, Lauren, at Bibliobuffet and had to pass it along.

First Book Editor, Kyle Zimmer writes:

We asked the stars of the upcoming Disney film BEDTIME STORIES to share the titles they read to tuck their children in at night. For Adam Sandler's daughter, it’s Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious. For Courteney Cox’s, it’s the classic "Cinderella" (for her “‘real princess’ Coco”). And for Keri Russell’s son? Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

We're delighted to join them in celebrating the December 25 release of their adventure comedy, because for the last sixteen years, we've been committed to one simple idea: that every child should know the joy of a bedtime story.

In fact, we are delighted to announce that Disney Publishing Worldwide will donate up to 250,000 brand new books to First Book, helping to make bedtime brighter for children in need this holiday season.

Will you do your part to help by sharing your story?

Now through December 25, post a comment on Bookmark, the First Book blog, about your favorite bedtime story or memory and Disney will donate one new book to a child in need in your honor – just for commenting! It's free, takes just a minute and will help ensure every child knows the joy of bedtime reading.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Shake it!

Couldn't resist posting this...







I don't know about y'all, but it made me bounce around in my chair. And Snoopy looks eerily like Andre 3000 from Outkast:


Enjoy! I'm headed off to see Hardin Sweaty and the Ready to Go tonight. I'll be dancing around just like the Peanuts characters.

Recent Reading

The recent reading is sad. Very sad. Well, maybe not the reading itself, but my general reading habits. Remember how I was reading Sarah Addison Allen's The Sugar Queen for ages? Welp, I ran out of 'brary time, so I had to return it unfinished. No worries, I noted what page I was on so I can come back and finish, but it was still a bit of a reading bummer to have to return it.

In the meantime, I received some review books, one of which is Repossessed, by A.M. Jacobs. It's a YA book about a demon that inhabits the body of a teenager, and oddly enough, it's sort of hilarious. Some part of me, deep down, feels a little weird about reading it at Christmas, but so far it's not offensive or anything. The demon is more or less like any normal teenager. That might be why I don't teach high school anymore.

Otherwise, I've just been soaking up some R&R during my time off--playing with my new DS, celebrating Daisy's first birthday (pictures to come), and napping. There's been much napping.

I'll keep you all posted on the reading. I'm hoping this book can get me back into the groove!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What? A New Post?

Yes, a new post!

It's been forever, I know. It REALLY feels like forever on my end. Happily I wrapped up all of my semester research paper grading yesterday, and I was completely and utterly worthless for the rest of the day. I have yet to crack a book open because there's always this transition period involved when I try to come off the end of the semester and get back into my reading groove. While it's nice to have the papers graded, the sad truth is that I need to start planning and tweaking for Spring courses. WOOOoo..ooo. *sigh* Makes me tired.

In other news, my mom and I are pathetic when it comes to saving Christmas presents for CHRISTMAS, so she gave me one of my gifts ahead of time. See left. A GORGEOUS crimson Nintendo DS Lite. I'm completely enamored by SIMS2 Castaway, Mystery Case Files: Millionheir, and Brain Age. Even though my reading is lagging, I have plenty of fun to keep me busy thanks to this little piece of heaven.

Like I said, I've missed you all TERRIBLY, and I can't wait to get back into the loop. I'll be 'round to your blog shortly.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pulling hair out...

I JUST WANT TO READ!!!

*breathe, breathe, breathe*

Have graded two classes of research papers. Will polish off another today. Then I have three more classes to grade over the weekend The pile of books on my nightstand is laughing at me.

Hell, at this point I'd play Nintendo DS, CLEAN MY HOUSE, or do anything else not related to paper grading if I could.

*ducking head and going back in*

I love you all! I'll be free again one day!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Ugg.


I'm up to my butt in research papers to grade, so I'll be back in a few days. I need a trough of margarita.

Friday, December 05, 2008

I Forgot What I Was Going to Blog...

...*crickets*...

I'm pretty sure I had some sort of fantabulous bookish blog idea yesterday or today, but it appears to have escaped out my left ear and into the ether.

Listen to John Mayer cover "Free Fallin'" instead...

Free Fallin'





Now that that's out of the way.


There's a job coming open at the university where I did my M.A. in the library. Specifically it's in the children's/curriculum department, which means I'd be pawing teaching materials and children's books all day. Oh, and I'd have benefits! I'd probably still keep some of my online classes to supplement my income. I went in this morning to talk with the librarian in that area and express my interest because the job isn't even posted yet. CROSS THOSE FINGERS! I would loooove to have this library experience as I move forward with my MLS degree. And a big hand for my friend Jake who was kind enough to tip me off about this gig and throw in a good word for me.


I'm going to bed. I've graded enough annotated bibliographies for a lifetime tonight!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

You Lost Him at Hello, by Jess McCann



When TLC Book Tours approached me with the opportunity to review Jess McCann's book, You Lost Him at Hello: A Saleswoman's Secrets to Closing the Deal with Any Guy You Want, I was apprehensive. Self-help books aren't my usual bag, but given that I'd just been spectacularly surprised by a guy I was interested in that turned out to be MARRIED, I figured it just couldn't hurt. While my dating stories aren't usually quite as "train wreck" as Married Guy (thankfully), a little extra knowledge never hurt anyone.

The basic principles of You Lost Him at Hello are sales strategies. While I've often chosen to think that humans are more evolved than that, that being "sold" by a date is unrealistic, McCann assures her reader that most people would never enter an important situation, job or otherwise, without a solid strategy for success. I can't argue with that. If I won't go into my college classroom to teach my students without a plan or a set of strategies, why would I go into a date that way?

The principles in You Lost Him at Hello are simple and most often relate to concepts that women already know, but often choose to ignore, or have been taught by a love savvy grandmother or mother. Ever heard of playing hard to get? Sure, who hasn't? McCann doesn't call it that, but she certainly urges every woman to maintain a full life and stay in control of the dating situation whether by not being available to jump whenever a man calls, "filling the funnel" with eligible bachelors until you have the relationship talk with the one you really want, or having the self-control to end a date and walk away just when a man is most intrigued. He'll follow shortly after.

I appreciated McCann's candor and humor in the book, and the strategies sound reasonable and very smart. My own problem, like many women, is that I often fall prey to my own excitement and answer all those darn calls or spend too much time with a man at the outset. Must work on those things.

On the downside, the book often read like a catalog of McCann's fabbbbulous relationships which, for this dater, got a little wearing. In fairness, she did use herself, as well as her friends as examples of what to do and what not to do. Her credibility seems secure, which I appreciate since I was apprehensive about reading the book in the first place.

So, what will I do when that cutie from Match.com calls next time? I might just be too busy to answer the phone. I'll get back to him when I can. If he wants to go out? Oh, I have two nights available, Thursday and Sunday, and he'll make time if he can.

The bottom line is really just be cool, confident, friendly, and know yourself well enough to sell your great qualities to a date.

Visit Jess McCann's website HERE.

Note: My apologies to TLC and Jess McCann for posting this review late. It was set to auto-post, but Blogger, in its divine craziness, didn't actually do it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Slacker Post

Morning...afternoon? Whatever. HELLO everybody! I've been snowed under by my graduate classes and work for the last few days. It is that time in the semester, after all. I have my own work to finish up, I have pure boatloads of research papers coming in from students, and all I really wanna do is read in front of the fire. So last night, that's exactly what I did! I finished You Lost Him At Hello, by Jess McCann, and I will post the review for that one by midnight tonight. Don't forget to stop by tomorrow, it's my day on Jess McCann's blog tour.

This morning most of my students had finished their work and hit the door running, so I was reading through Sarah Addison Allen's The Sugar Queen when I ran across this fan-freakin-tastic quote that I have to share:

He'd just picked up his beer when he looked across the bar to where Chloe had been seated. Her drink, probably a lemon drop because that was her favorite, was still there. And next to it was a book. He knew it was hers. When he first met her, she was never without a book. And she had more books in storage than he had ever seen one person own. It had always fascinated him that she'd consumed so many words, that her head was full of stories, told a thousand different ways. She'd always seemed a little embarrassed by her books, so he'd never pushed the subject. But this book could be the key to seeing her again. He could return it to her and say he was sorry, start some sort of dialogue.

Now, if my Match.com fellas could be equally captivated and fascinated by all the stories in my head, that'd be excellent. So far, maybe not so much. But I digress....you can hear more about my dating adventures in tomorrow's review of You Lost Him at Hello.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

December is here!

And with December comes the December issue of Estella's Revenge! It's online now, so go check it out! You'll also find some info about the 2009 Year of Reading Dangerously challenge and a call for writers!

Enjoy!

Oh, and don't forget to register to win a signed copy of Keith Donohue's novel, The Stolen Child, while you're there!

Pardon me while my head spins. I have SO MUCH TO DO. Be back in a bit!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Loss


As I'm sure most of you know, the book blogging community has suffered a great loss. Dewey of The Hidden Side of a Leaf passed away last week.
I just found out as her husband posted about it today, and I'm terribly sad, shocked, confused, and more than anything else, I can feel a big void in the tight knit online world that we maintain. I've thought about it often, how people we may never meet become such a tangible part of everyday life. As odd as it might sound to the outsider, it's true. We share our lives, our loves, our losses, and we matter to each other. This community matters.
Dewey was one of the most talented community builders in the book blogging world. From the 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, to Weekly Geeks, the Graphic Novels Challenge and beyond, she worked tirelessly to bring us all together and help us feel our connections ever more acutely. It's a sad day for us, a very real loss, and it'll take some time for things to feel right again. I hope Dewey knows that we loved and admired here and that there's no one else quite like her.