Category Archives: Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon

Time: // 8:50 am

The scene: // Writing this from my desk. I’m in the middle of a mess since I’m decluttering my desk, bedroom, and living room. I want to move this summer so the more things I get rid of, the less things I have to pack.

Drinking: // coffee. I’m going to need as much as I can to get through all of this.

Just finished: // Why Don’t Students Like School?, The Bloody Chamber (reread), and a few children’s books

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Currently reading: // Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit by Dane Hucklebridge. I’m a few chapters into the book and already I wish that the author was more concise with his writing. I may just put the book down and read something else.

I’m also reading Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg. It’s the story of the author and her husband starting a restaurant after being married for a short time. I’ve been baking up a storm lately so I’m reading Delancey at the right time. I haven’t made macarons yet but give me time.

Loving: // that today’s Sunday. I dread Mondays with a passion especially since I have to be out of the house early Monday morning for class. Today I plan on finishing up my decluttering mess, read some more, and work on my resumѐ.

Hating: // that my phone isn’t working. It’s basically a clock and music player right now. If it’s not this, it would be something else. . .

Anticipating: // summer break for me! When we had summer break a few weeks ago, it was for the kids. Next week, I get my break from school and I can’t wait.

Now I’m: // off. Breakfast won’t make itself.

What are you up to today?

 

Sunday Salon

Time: // 8:28 am

The scene: // at my kitchen table, nursing a cold cup of coffee. After going to a late showing of Captain America: The Winter Soldier last night, I’ve had very little sleep.

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For two weeks: // I was unable to finish a book. I would start a book, only to put it down after a few pages. Life has been chaotic and hard lately. There are so many changes coming and I’m trying to brace myself. Yesterday, I needed something fairytale like and found it with Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, a modern-day retelling of the Snow Queen fairy tale. It was just what I needed. I finished the book in one day. Review coming soon (hopefully).

For homeschooling, I’m reading Love that Dog by Sharon Creech with my youngest. I’m also diving into A Wrinkle in Time with my middle son.

Celebrating: //my blogiversary! I’ve been blogging for seven years now. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. I may celebrate with a giveaway in a week or so.

Wishing: // I could stop time. I have so much to do today including homework, washing clothes, and a million other things. I need my weekend to be a little bit longer.

Promoting: // Jill’s (Rhapsody in Books) review of Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. Jill heard about Annihilation via Facebook, one of the few online places that I don’t see many book recommendations. What about you, do you get book recommendations on Facebook?

Now I’m off to: // start on my to-do list.

What are you up to this Sunday?

Sunday Salon

Time: // 8:08 am

The scene: // sitting in my living room, relaxing. It has been a long morning as I’ve been up since 4 am. I went for a sunrise stroll on the beach, ate breakfast at a local diner, and now I’m ready to go back to bed!

Currently reading: // Why Don’t Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What it Means for the Classroom by Daniel T. Willingham. I started this book last month but finally found the time to read it earlier this week. I’m only a few chapters in but this book is stuffed with information.

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I needed some fiction to read, so I started reading Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile.

Completing: // the last day of Bloggiesta. I’m more than halfway through with my to-do list. Now I just need to brainstorm some ideas for future posts.

Celebrating: // the fact that the Excel portion of my computer class is over with! Now my class will try to conquer Microsoft Access.

Thinking about: // two posts with similar ideas. Yesterday Shannon (River City Reading) shared what she read in March and how she hasn’t read any books that blows her “out of the water”. Andi (Estella’s Revenge) write a similar post this morning.

I had to check my own Goodreads account and see how many 5-star books I’ve read for this year. The number: 3. That’s not surprising. I’ve read some pretty good reads but not many amazing ones. Hmmm.

Sleep: // is calling my name so I’m off.

What was the last 5-star book that you’ve read?

Sunday Salon

sunday salon

Time: // 6:52 a.m. Sunday

The scene: // sitting at my desk in the living room. The coffee pot is perking and the kids are asleep!! Yes! Spring break started for the kids yesterday and I’m have a four-day weekend filled with Excel sheets to create, a midterm to do, and books to read and review.

Eating and drinking: // coffee! We’re having waffles for breakfast.

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Currently reading: // The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith and Mr. Loverman by Bernandine Evaristo. I’m hoping to finish both within the next day or so.

Up next: // All the Bird, Singing by Evie Wyld and a host of children’s books

Blogging about: // a poem by e.e. cummings and a foodie memoir

Promoting: // as usual, bloggers all over the blogisphere are adding books to my tbr list

 Melissa’s (Feminist Texican) review of Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

Jenny’s (Jenny’s Books/Reading the End) review of Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory

Aarti’s (Booklust) review of Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

The quotes that Lu (Reading Rumination) shared with readers make me want to read While Beauty Slept soon.

Last but not least, Laurie’s (Bay State Reader’s Advisory) thoughts on The Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman had me rushing to my library’s website to put the book on hold.

Thankful for: // this nice spring weather we’re having. I’m a winter person but I can’t help but enjoy all the sunshine.

Now I’m off to: // get started on those Excel sheets.

How are you spending your day?

 

Sunday Salon

sunday salon

Time: // 8: 00 a.m. Damn Daylight Savings time. I’m exhausted. At least I have some coffee.

The scene: // Sitting in my living room, most of the kids are asleep. The sun is shining and there are some awesome clouds in the sky.

Listening to: // “Out of My League” by Fitz and the Tantrums. Thanks to Bryan for the suggestion. Thanks to everyone for their music suggestions last week.

Listing: // my Memoir March list of books. I finally figured out what I’m going to read this month.

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  • Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend by Bill Russell – audio
  • Around the House and In the Garden by Dominique Browning
  • The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
  • Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
  • Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding by Lynn Darling
  • Maus by Art Spiegelman – (Maybe I’ll finally get to this one)
  • Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story by Peter Bagge
  • The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and The Quest to Cure Tuberculosis by Thomas Goetz
  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer (recommended by Olduvai)
  • The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok
  • L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food by Roy Choi

I tried to pick some diverse reads, ranging from format (Woman Rebel and Maus are graphic novels) to experience.  I’m currently reading L.A. Son, a foodie memoir, and Out of the Woods. I’m really enjoying both of them.

Blogging about: // everything! I had one of those rare urges to write my ass off this week. I wrote graphic novels reviews, a review of The Perfect Score by Debbie Steir, and a wrap-up of my February reading.

Promoting: // Andi’s Book Nook guest post over on Relentless Reader. Since rearranging my apartment, I no longer have a book nook but it’s nice to look at everyone else’s.

Also promoting: // When the Universe Ain’t Talking by QuinnCreative. I’ve been in a rut for a while now and this post came at a perfect time.  It’s about when you have to wait for an answer from the Universe and you just.can’t.wait.

You should also read: // Buried in Print’s Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi.

Now I’m off to: // relax a bit before I spend the day doing homework.

What are you up to today? Any suggestions on how to get out of a rut?

Sunday Salon: Thank God for this Three-Day Weekend

sunday salon

Time: // 7: 30 a.m.

The scene: // at my kitchen table, drinking coffee. The kids are watching TV in the living room and playing with the Nook.

Listening to: // Spotify’s Jazzy Romance playlist.

Reading: // everything! Earlier this week, I checked out a ton of books from the library: non-fiction, graphic novels, and children’s books.  Thanks to our lovely three-day weekend, I’m trying to read as much as possible. So far, I read six children’s books and four graphic novels. I plan on reading a few more graphic novels and maybe unreading two non-fiction books that are due back at the library this week. Anyone care to join me for Comics Sunday?

Thinking about: // next month’s reading theme. This month was graphic novels and I ended up reading a lot of books from the library instead of my own stack. It’s been pretty fun though. I think next month’s theme for me will have something to do with tackling my tbr mountain. I also realized that I’ve been neglecting my Project Fill-in-the-Gaps list, so I may focus on my list next month but only the books I own.

Blogging about: // love, what else? I shared a poem on Valentine’s Day from Naomi Shihab Nye called “San Antonio”.

Hating: // vertigo. I’m so dizzy right now. Hopefully, it’ll go away soon.

Loving: // Lettermo. There’s two weeks left in the month and I plan on sending out a dozen or so letters. On Friday, I wrote a letter that was about five pages long to my little brother. I’m sure he’s going to be surprised.

Thankful for: // my family. I love those guys.

Now I’m off to:// make waffles. I hope you all enjoy your Sunday.

What are you up to today?

Sunday Salon

sunday salonTime: // 8:02 p.m. Saturday night

The scene: // hanging out in my living room with the heater on and some pretty tulips on my table

4959061Currently Reading: // so many books right now. I think I’ll spend the next week trying to get through most of them. I set aside The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean and An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield to pick up Why Don’t Students Like School? by Daniel T. Willingham. Willingham is a psychologist who writes about how our minds work and how our theories about thinking can help or hinder kids in school. It’s really interesting.  I’m also rereading The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan with one of my sons. Bryan read the series a few weeks ago and it made me want to read the first book again.

Setting aside last Sunday to dive into graphic novels felt great. I may have to do that every Sunday in February. Last Sunday I read Jane, the Fox, and Me by Franny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault along with A Matter of Life by Jeffrey Brown, and Aphrodite by George O’Connor.

Blogging about: // nothing. I haven’t had the time to write a post. Maybe I’ll review the books I mentioned above.

Promoting: // a few fantastic posts I read this week. M over at Buried in Print wrote about kidlit especially the books she read as a child and current children’s books.

Jenny (Reading the End) wrote another Stuff to Worry About Post about the plague that’s currently affecting starfish. It’s fascinating and pretty sad.

Bryan (Still Unfinished) wrote about his progress on his 2014 goals. It made me remember that not only have I lost my list of resolutions, I don’t remember what they are! At least I remember my word for this year: Leap.

As much as I like bookish posts, I love posts about happiness and gratitude even more. Iliana (Bookgirl) recently wrote about the things that make her happy. It doesn’t take much to make most people happy.

Last but not least is the latest issue of Bloggers Recommend which you can find here. The issue is the best looking one to date. It includes author interviews, excerpts of upcoming releases, and of course book blurbs.

Now I’m off to: // do homeworking, lesson planning, and of course make some waffles.

What are you up to today?

Sunday Salon

sunday salonTime: // 7:29 am

The scene: // At my desk with my first cup of coffee, while listening to Gregory Porter’s album,  Be Good.

What’s going on:// I’m anticipating the chaos of this week. Today, I have to submit the kids’ grades to their charter school. When I decide to homeschool my kids (ages 8, 10, and 12), I didn’t think of grades (and still don’t really). Instead, I try to help the kids master the subjects they’re taking without the pressure of getting top grades. I need to finish up since today’s the deadline.

In case you missed my last post, February is Graphic Novels Month. There’s so many people participating and everyone’s welcome. I already finished my first comic: Aphrodite by George O’Connor. I hope I get through my stack this month, but there’s always March. The twitter hashtag is #comicsfebruary.

Between homeschooling and reading graphic novels, I have school myself. The first day of the spring semester starts tomorrow. Luckily one of my class websites opened up yesterday, so I’ve gotten a head start on this week’s homework and studying.

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Today’s plans: // include missing the Super Bowl to do some studying and reading for pleasure. Lu and I decided to have a mini comics readathon today. My stack includes A Matter of Time by Jeffrey Brown and Jane, the Fox, and Me by Franny Britt.

I’m not just reading comics this month so Sam Kean’s The Disappearing Spoon is in today’s stack. Its subtitle: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements tells it all. A plus for this book is that it’s so readable. I wasn’t sure if a book about chemistry would be.

Now I’m off to: // make waffles, sausages, and eggs for breakfast. What are you up to today?

Sunday Salon: 2014 as The Year of Tackling My TBR Mountain

sunday salonWhen I look back at all the books I’ve read this year, I realize that only a handful were books of my own. Now that’s disappointing since I have so many unread books. Every year I say this but I mean it this year; it’s time for me to focus on my tbr pile.

Like many readers, my tbr pile is not a pile but more of a mountain, spanning across genres and years, collecting dust as I read books from the library and publishers. Granted, my stack has gotten smaller as I’ve given away hundreds of books (200+) this year, but there are still so many books unread.

I’ve started to realize that this quest to tackle my tbr mountain is a never-ending one. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. How many readers among us have read every single book on their shelves?  When I’m constantly ignoring the books I’ve spent money on, it’s a problem.

I’m declaring 2014 as The Year of the Tbr Mountain. I have over 600 books and probably 60-75% of these books are unread. Some are of these books are classics like The Iliad, Richard Wright’s Black Boy, and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Others are modern favorites like Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine and The Namesake by Jhumpi Lahiri. When am I ever going to get to these rich and seemingly deserving titles if I don’t make an effort to?

Some of you might be wondering what’s the big deal. Why not read whatever I want? I do and I still will but I’ve been feeling some guilt over the years about these books collecting dust. What usually happens is that time passes: months and years go by and I’ve forgotten why I was so excited to read these books. I end up giving them away to my local library or thrift store.

No more. With a few exceptions, I’m no longer accepting review copies. I still have a few arcs left that I plan on reading and reviewing at the beginning of the year along with a stack of library books that are too interesting to give back unread.

I’m excited about this goal and I’ve already started. If I can read at least one book from my shelf every week, I’m happy. Wish me luck.

What are your reading goals for 2014? 

Sunday Salon

sunday salonTime: // 6:33 a.m.

The place: // my living room. The heater is going and for the most part, it’s quiet.

Eating: // nothing yet.

Drinking: // I plan on starting on my first cup of coffee in a minute 

Reading: // I’m in the middle of four books right now: a collection of poetry called Chasing Utopia by Nikki Giovanni, Why Teach? by Mark Edmundson (essays), This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett (essays), and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt for the read-along. The nice thing about dipping in and out of the nonfiction books is that I can’t lose my place. I can read an essay by Patchett on writing, read another essay by Edmundson on teacher evaluations, and go back and forth without having to remember a plot or character’s name. We’ll see what happens once I get deep into The Goldfinch.

Blogging: // I’m pretty proud of myself for blogging a few times this week. I shared:

I’m thinking about: // my resolutions for 2014, reading and otherwise. I’m still working on my list, but I think I’m going to start working on my resolutions now instead of waiting for the new year to arrive. The kids are out on Christmas break so I can focus on the things that I want to change or get done. I plan on sharing my list sometime this week.

Now I’m off to: // read and enjoy my cup of coffee. What have you been reading/writing/listening to this week?

Sunday Salon

sunday salonTime: // 7:04 p.m. – Saturday

Place: // my living room, looking at my Christmas tree. I wish I could take a decent picture of it to show you all. It’s white with bulbs that are dark purple, dark blue, and periwinkle.

Listening to: // Christmas music

Eating:// just finished oxtails and rice. Yum!

Drinking: // what else? A cup of coffee.

Currently reading: // My reading is going slowly. I just started Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller and continuing The Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett.

Up Next: // Flora and Ulysses by Kate Dicamillo.

chunkster challenge 2014a

Promoting: // sign-ups for The Chunkster Challenge. I’m the new host and have made some changes to the rules of the challenge. E-books and audio books are now acceptable. I hope you all think about signing up.

Avoiding but really need to: // write some reviews.

Watching: // Iron Man 3. After that, it’s on to Sweet November with Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron and then the latest Sherlock Holmes movie. Robert Downing Jr. can do no wrong in my book.

Now I’m off to: // read and enjoy the rest of my night.

What are you up to?

Sunday Salon

sunday salonTime: // 4:40 p.m. Saturday

The scene: // my living room

Eating: // saltine crackers while waiting for my chili to warm up.

Listening to: // Marsha Ambrosius

Celebrating: // the fact that Thanksgiving break is here! It actually started last Wednesday. I am so happy. Now I can dive into all the books I’ve been ignoring.

gaiman milkSo far I’ve read: //

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Chew Vol. 6 Space Cakes by John Layman

You and Your Anxious Child by Anne Marie Albano

beamCurrently reading: //

Why Teach? In Defense of a Real Education by Mark Edmundson (essays)

To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care by Cris Beam (Publishers Weekly deemed it one of the best books published this year.)

Did not finish: // The Whatnot by Stefan Bachman

Up next: // who knows? I am eyeing The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, which I never did get a chance to start reading the last time I had it. I need a good fiction read to start on. Other choices include:

            Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

            Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

            The Golden Day by Ursula Dubosarsky

            Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

 All five books are also on Publishers Weekly Best of 2013 list.

Now I’m off to: // relax and dive into a book. What are you up to?

Sunday Salon

sunday salonGood morning! Once you stop blogging, it’s hard to start back. Hopefully, I can get myself together and start blogging more regularly.

Time: // 8:08 a.m.

The scene: // my living room

Drinking: // coffee. It’s been a hard night.

Eating: // nothing. I couldn’t find any pumpkin muffins at the store.

Just finished: // the graphic novel adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time illustrated by Hope Larson. What a fantastic adaptation. Now I want to reread the original again.

Reading: // Ingenious: A True Story of Invention, Automotive Daring, and the Race to Revive America by Jason Fagone. Ingenious is about the race to win the Automotive X Prize. I picked it up since it sounds interesting. So far, it is.

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Today, I also plan on starting The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. I checked it out weeks ago from the library. Now, it’s due in a few days. What piqued my interest is that the book has been nominated for the Man Booker and National Book Award.

Today I plan on: // having a mini-read-a-thon. I missed last week’s read-a-thon after I became sick. I’m reading the books I mentioned above.

Promoting: // Aarti’s A More Diverse Universe blog tour. The purpose of the tour is to celebrate the diversity in speculative fiction by highlighting writers of color. There’s still time to sign up.

What are you reading today?

Sunday Salon: Favorite Books of Summer

sunday salonIt’s official. Fall is finally here. I love the need for scarves and cute boots, umbrellas and sweaters. The weather in SoCal has been pretty odd lately. Last night, dark clouds moved in and the air was pretty chilly. Only a few hours before, it was in the 80s. I may have to wait a little longer before I can wear a scarf.

I’ve been pretty much absent from my blog this summer but I did read a lot. Instead of trying to write a bunch of reviews, I decided to share some of my favorite books of summer. Overall, I read a total of 62 books in a variety of genres and formats. Clicking on the titles below will take you either to Goodreads or my review.

Non-fiction

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Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott. In Help Thanks Wow, Lamott writes about the words help, thanks, and wow are the only words she truly needs for prayer. Lamott’s humorous tone can be found throughout this short read.

lamott stitches

Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, Repair by Anne Lamott. The follow-up to Help Thanks Wow, Stitches is quieter in tone than all of Lamott’s other non-fictional reads. Long-time fans of the author’s writing will find this short meditative book a nice addition to their library.

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The Year of Learning Dangerously by Quinn Cummings. This hilarious read about a mother’s first year homeschooling her daughter isn’t for everyone.

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Genius: A Photobiography of Albert Einstein by Marfe Ferguson Delano. This is a short biography of the physicist that both kids and their parents can enjoy.

cohen ignorance

I Don’t Know: In Praise of Admitting Ignorance by Leah Hager Cohen

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Feynman by Jim Ottaviani

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Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Hicks

karbo julia

Julia Child Rules by Karen Karbo. Karbo is back with the latest addition to her Kick Ass Women series. Karbos’ fans will love this book while new fans will rush out to pick up her backlist.

say tea

Tea with Milk by Allen Say. If you haven’t read anything by Say before, pick up all of his books. You can’t go wrong.

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The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdös by Deborah Heiligman. This is a short look at the life of Paul Erdos, a mathematician who loved numbers even as a young child.

Fiction

eddleman

Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman. This middle-grade debut novel set in a post-apocalyptic world surprised me with its brave heroine and unique setting.

danticat claire

Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat. The author’s writing is so poetic. I enjoyed this short read about a young girl who was leaving her father for a better life.

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Saga Vol. 2 by Brain K. Vaighan and Fiona Staples. The second volume of this fantastical series will leave fans longing for volume 3.

brown cinnamon and gunpowder

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown. Blood-thirsty pirates, good food, and a captain who is more than what she appears to be.

You can find a list of all the books I read this summer here.

What were your favorite books of summer?

Sunday Salon

sunday salonTime: // 8:35 am

The place: // my living room

Listening to:// the sound of kids tickling each other

Eating:// Carrot cake. It goes great with coffee

Missing:// all of you guys!!

lamott stitchesReading:// Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair by Anne Lamott. It’s the follow-up to Help, Thanks, Wow. So far, it’s different in tone as it’s a “quieter” book but it’s still interesting.

Excited for: // The #LiveLikeJulia Project. A few weeks ago, I finished reading Karen Karbo’s Julia Child Rules. The project is inspired by the book and also Child’s life. Bloggers all over the web are living like Julia and following one of the rules in Karbo’s book for one week. There are so many fantastic rules but I’m leaning toward rule #1: Live with Abandon.  It means being all in with your life.

Grateful for:// this summer weather is starting to cool off. Southern California is known for its perfect weather but for the last week or two, we’ve almost hit the 100 degrees mark.

What are you up to today? 

Sunday Salon

sunday salonThe time: 4:09 am

In the past two weeks that I’ve been away from my blog, I’ve been doing a lot of non-bookish things. The kids and I have spent as much time as I can handle outside playing and riding everything from skateboards to scooters. There have been a couple of scrapped knees but it’s been fun. We’ve also baked everything from glazed orange pound cake to bread to last night’s brownies.

In between riding on things I have no business being on, baking, and meeting other homeschooling parents, I have read a few books.

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Leah Hager Cohen’s I Don’t Know: In Praise of Admitting Ignorance and Doubt (Except When You Shouldn’t) found its way to my doorstep earlier this month. A slim volume of only 128 pages, it took a few days to read the author’s exploration of our fear of being ignorant and what happens when we go through such lengths to hide it. What resonated with me is the section about preventing ourselves from knowing something. Cohen uses the example of people who refuse to see cultural differences between themselves and others even when it would help them understand someone’s background more. She calls it “treating ignorance with ignorance”. I don’t think I’m going to write a full review on this book because I want to read it a few more times. I do recommend it though.

Before I read I Don’t Know, I was in immersed in a totally different genre with the middle grade book, Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddlemean. Sky Jumpers is the author’s debut novel. It’s set forty years after World War III in a world much different from our own. The main character is a headstrong young girl who pushes through her problems even when it seems like her flaws might hold her back. I can’t wait to get a hardback copy of this for my girls.

Speaking of my girls, I picked up a copy of The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker at the library a few days ago. I checked it out for myself since so many bloggers have raved about this tale of an unlikely friendship between a golem and a jinni in 1899 New York. My eleven-year-old has taken the book for herself so I can’t tell you anything about it just yet. My daughter is a reluctant reader of anything that’s not animé, so The Golem and the Jinni must be great if she’s reading this chunkster (486 pages) of a book and is not complaining about it. We’re having a mother-daughter book club featuring the book for the next few weeks.

I’m currently reading an e-galley of Karen Karbo’s latest book in The Kick Ass Women series, Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life. What I really like about Karbo’s biographies is that they’re more than biographies: they’re also social commentary filled with humor and passages you want to highlight. The book won’t be in stores until October 1st but I recommend putting it on your wish lists now.

My coffee is getting cold so it’s time to wrap this post up. What have you been up to lately? What books have you read or non-bookish things you’ve done?

Sunday Salon

sunday salonTime: // 6:39 am

The place: // my living room

Drinking: // nothing yet but the coffee pot is going

Eating: // carrot cake if I can find some in the frig

Just finished reading: // Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory School by John Taylor Gatto

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Next up: // one of two YA books: Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi or Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman

Hating: // vertigo. My balance has been so off.

Loving: // the song “Royals” by Lorde. Can you believe she’s only sixteen?

Considering: // homeschooling my two oldest who are begging to do so

Celebrating: // my oldest son’s tenth birthday. Kids grow up so fast!

Blogging about: // The Back to School Reading Challenge that’s hosted by Joy at Joy’s Book Blog

Now I’m off to: // drink coffee and read

 

What are you doing today?

Sunday Salon

sunday salonTime: // 5:11 am

The scene: // my bed listening to my 13 year-old sister talk about an actor she’s obsessed with. It’s too early but she has insomnia so what can I do?

Eating: // nothing yet.

Drinking: // coffee.

Listening to: // Nikka Costa’s Every Got Their Something album. I love her voice.

Currently reading: // Project-based Homeschooling by Lori McWilliam and Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan. After this, I plan on either reading Paris: A Love Story or The Shining Girls.

Blogging about: //my review of Cinnamon and Gunpowder, a fun pirate story by Eli Brown.

Participating in: // the last day of the High Summer Readathon. This is my first week-long readathon and I think I need to do this more often. It’s been fun.

dog days of summer readathon

Reminding you all about: // Estella Society’s Owen Meany Read-along. I need to get my butt in gear and start reading. The read-along is over August 13th, so you still have plenty of time.  Also, Estella Society is hosting The Dog Days of Summer Readathon.

Now I’m off to: // read and get a cup of coffee.

What are you up to today?

 

Sunday Salon

sunday salonTime: // 9:01 am

The scene: // my desk

Eating: // nothing right now. I did have a slice of 7up cake which was delicious.

Drinking: // coffee!!

Just finished and currently reading: // Edwidge Danticat’s newest novel, Claire of the Sea Light. It was a really nice read. I’m still reading How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times by Roy Peter Clark.

Blogging: // about almost nothing. I don’t know what’s going on. It’s almost like I’m losing my blogging mojo.

Promoting: // Carl’s (Stainless Steel Droppings) latest post. Tor.com is celebrating its fifth birthday by releasing a free ebook of all of their short stories. Plus, Carl is hosting a little short story read-along today of “Mrs. Henderson’s Cemetery Dance” by Carrie Cunin. I’m going to try and join.

Also, the High Summer Read-a-thon starts tomorrow. I have no idea what to read. My week has been pretty shitty so I’ll probably stick to comfort reads like Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees.

Thankful for: // my bed which is where I’m off to.

What are you looking forward to today?

Sunday Salon

sunday salonGood morning Saloners!

Time:// 7:07 a.m.

The scene:// my desk

Drinking:// ice cold water because it’s that hot

Eating:// nothing yet

Today’s temperature:// 83 degrees, that’s ten degrees less than yesterday

Planning:// this week’s reads and reviews, homeschooling curriculum, and an afternoon tea part with my daughter. Macaroons and orange scones anyone?

lamott help

Best books read this week:// Saga Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples and Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott

Failed at:// The Classics Spin hosted by The Classics Club. My book was The Iliad. I still plan on reading it this summer.

Joined:// Estellagram for July. So far, the list is only on Instagram. Also, there’s still time to join the Estella Project Summer Readalong. The book: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.

Promoting: // Sync’s Week 5 audiobook downloads: Rotters by Daniel Klaus and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Remember, these downloads are free to everyone.

Now I’m off to:// enjoy my coffee. What are you up to today?

Sunday Salon – It’s Summer!

Good morning! It’s the first weekend of summer and I hope you all are enjoying it though I know it’s raining like crazy in some parts of the country. With summer finally here and after looking at a few summer reading piles (Deb and Carl), I decided to post my own pile. I’m hoping to finally get to some of the books I’ve been staring at for awhile. In my pile is a combination of rereads, books that have been on my shelves for months and sometimes years, and a few library books.

summerreadingstackIf you want to know more about any book you see in the photo, just go to my Goodreads summer reading shelf here. You can also click on the picture to enlarge it.

My reading plans are pretty ambitious but I don’t have any plans for the summer. I just want to enjoy the weather, have fun with the kids, and read!

Promoting

If you‘re looking for some great books to curl up with at the beach, I have a few links to share.

Earlier this week, Deb wrote a great post about Lucy Knisley’s Relish, a foodie graphic memoir. If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend putting it on your summer tbr list. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

Aarti (Book Lust) wrote such a good review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Melissa over at Feminist Texican shared her thoughts on Michael Moss’s Salt Sugar Fat.

Andi (Estella’s Revenge) wrote a post about BookTube a few days ago. BookTube is book reviews on YouTube. I had no idea.

Andi’s post lead me to Ricquetta (Nerd in Translation) and the 30-Day Reading Challenge. Participants read a set amount for thirty days. I don’t know if I can read a book a day but I would love to read for at least two hours a day. Hashtag: #30DayRead

So that’s it. I’m off to read. What are you doing today?

Sunday Salon: June 16th

sunday salonTime: // 7:37 am

The scene: // at my desk

Eating: // nothing just yet.

Drinking: // coffee!

Just Finished: // The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I know I’m gaiman ocean lanegoing to have to reread this book before I review it on Tuesday. Plus, I’m reading Classic Readings in Cultural Anthropology edited by Gary Ferraro. It sounds like a dry read but it’s not.

Listening to: // old Taylor Swift. My musical tastes are all over the place lately.

Blogging: // my review for the latest volume in Fables: Cubs in Toyland.

Promoting: // the Classics Club sync read of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden. The read started June 10th and ends August 30th.

Also Promoting:// This is week three of SYNC’s YA and Summer Classic pairing. Every week from May 30th to August 21st, SYNC will offer free audio book downloads of a classic book paired with a current YA read. This week’s pair is The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater and Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya. You have until the 20th to download the pair. After that, a new pair of audiobooks will be available.

And More Promoting:// Buried in Print’s review of Jowita Bydlowska’s Drunk Mom. It’s a memoir about a mother’s alcoholism and how it affected her family.

Enjoying: // this gloomy weather we’re getting in Southern California.

ottaviani feynmanRealizing: // that I may be on a re-read kick. Earlier last week, I re-read Cubs in Toyland before reviewing it. Now I also plan on rereading the graphic novel Feynman by Jim Ottaviani soon.

Thinking about: // coming up with my stack of summer reads. I saw M’s (Buried in Print) stack of books for porch reading and now the wheels in my head are turning.

Thankful for: // my family’s health and safety. We had a scary situation earlier this week and it reminded me how fragile we all are.

Now I’m off to: // curl up in bed with a book and my cup of coffee.

What’s on your list today?

Sunday Salon

sunday salonTime:// 9:33 am

The scene: // my desk, surrounded by books and coffee

Eating:// a chocolate twist donut

Drinking:// coffee

About to start reading:// What It Is by Lynda Barry. It’s due back at the library on barryTuesday.

Accomplished: // put down a new tile floor in the kitchen.

Blogging:// a dual review on Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan.

Making:// quicksand with the kids later on.

Missed:// the 48-Hour Read-a-thon that’s going on this week.

Smelling:// Mrs. Meyers radish-scented all-purpose cleaner. It smells so good guys!

Watching:// Beautiful Creatures. I think the book is better.

Wishing:// Bryan a happy birthday! I hope your birthday is filled with great food and  good books.

Thankful for:// my health, family, shelter, and that I’m getting my blogging mojo back.

What are you up to today?

Sunday Salon

 

sunday salon

Time: // 7:47 am

The scene: // at my desk

Eating: // nothing right now. I think I may go out for some donuts.

 Drinking: // coffee!

Celebrating: // the fact that the semester is over! Yes! It’s really not over since I have one more paper to turn in, but I’m thinking of it in that way.  I turned in my last big paper around midnight. I have one short paper to do and I’m finished.

Reading: // Fables Vol. 18. Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willingham. I’ve been saving thiswillingham fables 18 book until the end of the semester and now I can finally read it!

Listening to: // Salt-N-Pepa. God, they were an awesome group.

Blogging: // nothing yet but now I can! I can actually read and write posts! Guys, I can write book reviews!

Promoting: // the Estella Project hosted by Estella Society. It’s a small reading “challenge”. Readers pick three books from the list given to read between now and September 1st. The site is giving one lucky winner a $20 Amazon gift card.

Planning: // my mysterious project. Finally I can think about it more with school out of the way. I need to finish making lists and start writing a few emails for help. Once I a decent draft, I’ll share my plans with you guys.

Joining: // The Japanese Literature Challenge 7 hosted over at Dolce Bellezza. The rules have been expanded this time around and now participants can read children’s books, short stories, sci-fi/fantasy, poetry. . .whatever. I’m so excited. The challenge started yesterday and continues until January 30, 2014.

Thankful for: // school being over with and the year-long break I decided to take.

Now I’m off to: // get donuts.

What’s on your list today?

Sunday Salon: May 26, 2013

sunday salon

Time: // 4: 17 am – I have insomnia.

Place: // at my desk

Eating: // nothing right now. I don’t have an appetite.

Drinking: // I think I’ll wait on the coffee.

Reading: // Don’t Go Back to School by Kio Stark and Introduction to Cataloging and Classification.

Listening too: // The Best of En Vogue and some old Janet Jackson. Hey what’s old is new again.

Wishing: // the semester was over already. I’m ready to read my stack of unread books!

Missed: // International Towel Day which was yesterday. Towel Day is celebrated by fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  Heather (Between the Covers) People wrote a great post about her love of the series. How awesome is it that a book gets its own holiday?

Considering: // taking a year off from school. Homeschooling, being a single mom, and going to college is hard. Maybe too hard.

Planning: // a personal project that I’m considering doing for the next year or so.

Promoting: // Jupiter’s Just Feed People, for Fuck’s Sake post. Her post is about the Farm Bill being ok’d by the House Panel and what that means for those who are poor. Plus, there’s her Food not Bombs post.  I really think there needs to be a tumblr blog somewhere called “Fuck Yeah, Jupiter”. That’s pretty much all I have to say when I leave a comment on her blog.

Thankful for: // my family, this cool summer weather, and the excitement I feel about my project. I feel more excited about my project than I have about school all semester long.

Now I’m off to: // either get some sleep or do homework.

What’s on your list today?

Sunday Salon

sunday salonHappy Mother’s Day to all the moms! To me, it’s Mother’s Day every day but still . . . I’ll take this one day!

Format borrowed from Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness).

Time // 9:19 am

Place // My living room. The sun is already beaming in so I know this will be a hot day.

Eating // I made the kids our traditional Sunday breakfast of pancakes but I think I’ll stick to my White Chocolate Macadamia Luna bar. Yum! I’m counting calories.

Drinking // Surprisingly nothing. I need to make another pot of coffee.

Reading  // Yesterday I actually finished a book!! Yes, it was a re-read but still. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston left me in tears. I started reading Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More than Your Peers Ever Will by Dale J. Stephens. I’m also planning to start reading The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.  I just need to find my Nook.

Watching // Nothing today. Yesterday I watched Waiting for Superman” for my sociology class, which also left me in tears.

Listening // To the Great Gatsby soundtrack. It’s so good.

Wishing // That I had the day to myself! *sigh* I would love to spend today in Barnes & Nobles with

Blogging // Nothing! I don’t have the time or energy.

Promoting // Nothing!

Avoiding // Google Reader. I’m sure I have over 1000 unread posts.

Anticipating // The end of the semester which is next month. But until then? Hmmm. . . not much. Sad I know.

Okay so what are you reading/drinking/watching/listening to today? 

Sunday Salon: While being unplugged, I . . .

sunday salonWhile being unplugged, I . . .

  • tried to learn how to ride my son’s skateboard
  • took some crappy photos
  • watched my inner “Bryan” come out and took several naps
  • didn’t do a lick of homework
  • rode my bike for the first time in months and the effort nearly killed me
  • painted in my journal
  • Watched Hoarders which made me want to scrub my house. (I did.)
  • Turned my dresser into my newest desk.

Did you notice that reading books didn’t make the cut? Oh well. I’ll try to read today though my main focus is to get my homework done. I’m off to try out my new crockpot and start on that homework.

How’s your weekend going?

Sunday Salon: Change

sunday salonLast week was so hectic. Between homeschooling and my growing workload for school, I didn’t have enough time to finish even one book. Since I wasn’t able to finish a book, I didn’t really have anything to blog about. The end of the semester is over a month away so I think it’s time to change the way I blog.

Partly inspired by Bryan’s idea to unplug twice a week and the blogging styles of both Bryan and Deb, I’ve decided to change the way I blog.  This will still be a book blog but in a pretty informal way. This blog is going to have the feeling of a commonplace book. I plan on sharing my library loot, favorite passages from what I’m reading, photos, book reviews, and anything bookish I can think of. It takes the pressure off of trying to constantly review books when I barely have time to finish them. I’ve also decided to try unplugging at least once a week. I’ll probably unplug on Saturdays and Tuesdays.

I’m borrowing the format of the rest of this post from the lovely Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness).

Currently// 9:25 a.m.

Place// At my desk. It’s the only place to get any work done right now.

Eating// Half a pancake. I really don’t have an appetite right now.

Drinking// Coffee of course.

Reading// I’m reading but I’m not finishing anything. I’m currently in the middle of P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia.

Watching// The Kitchen Cousins on HGTV. My family loves this network.

Listening// I was trying to listen to The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathon Evison but I can’t get the audiobook to work on my phone.

Blogging// Who knows? I’m really going to try to get my review of Half-Blood Blues done this week.

Promoting// Bloggers Recommend, a monthly newsletter. Every month bloggers recommend some of their favorite upcoming reads. If you’re looking for fantastic reads, this is the newsletter to subscribe to. Plus, I’m on the advisory board.

Writing// In my new art journal. I love having a new journal in my hands to write and paint in.

Researching// I have several experiments due next month so it’s probably time for me to start doing some research.

Hating// Meat right now. My family and I are tired of eating meat so I need to start looking at vegetarian cookbooks. Any recommendations?

Avoiding// I was avoiding homework yesterday but now that’s probably what I’ll spend the day doing.

Anticipating// The end of the semester.

What are you reading today?

Sunday Salon

sunday salonGood morning. The skies are cloudy, the birds are silent, and my neighbor’s dog is barking up a storm. Plus, it’s the last day of spring break. It was nice to take a break away from homework. This spring break was pretty low-key. I took the kids to the park almost every day, read as much as I wanted, and did some spring cleaning which included gathering as many books as I could to donate. Not bad.

Last night I finished reading and listening to Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan. Whathornby more baths a book. I can definitely see why it was nominated for so many awards. I’m hoping to post my thoughts on it tomorrow. But now I need something lighter to read so I’m thinking about reading Nick Hornby’s latest, More Baths, Less Talking. Reading Hornby’s articles from The Believer is always a great way to pass the time, add books to my tbr list, and see new ways to write about reading. After More Baths, Less Talking, I’ll probably start reading The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman which talks about the time period during which many of the events in Half-Blood Blues took place.

In case you missed my earlier post about the read-a-thon, the hosts are still looking for prize donations and cheerleaders for the event later on this month.

What are you reading today? How’s your weekend going?

Sunday Salon

sunday salonGood morning. For those who celebrate, happy Easter. I’m starting to think my kids are mistaking Easter for Christmas. Every Easter morning, they wake up and run into the living room to see what’s in their baskets. This is why I’ve been up since five this morning with them. At least I have coffee and books to keep me up.

Kate’s Easter Read-a-thon is still going strong. So far, I’ve finished Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and a handful of children’s books:

  • Cheetah Can’t Lose by Bob Shea
  • Fireboy to the Rescue by Edward Miller
  • Stella, Princess of the Sky by Marie-Louise Gay
  • Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein

I’ve started listening to Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues, which was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize. The narrator, Kyle Riley, has this amazing voice that fits well with the story. I’m an hour into the story and I can’t wait to go back to it. I should listen to audio books more often.

I’m also reading Margo Lanagan’s newest book, Yellowcake. I’ve read The Brides of Rollrock Island and several of Lanagan’s short stories. Her writing always places me firmly into the story. In Brides of Rollrock Island, I could smell the sea air and feel all the magic. Now with Yellowcake, I’m getting the same feeling. I’ve read the first short story, The Point of Roses, which left me re-reading it over and over. If the last few days are any indication of what’s ahead reading-wise, then April will be a great month.

What are you reading today? Any plans for April?