Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Summer Bucket List 2014

 

You might think it’s a bit early to think about a summer bucket list since summer officially starts in late June. With my summer vacation a little bit more than a week away, I figured now is a fantastic time to write down the things I want to do with my kids. I made the list doable so as to not get overwhelmed.

  1. Make watermelon gazpacho
  2. Swimming lessons for the kids
  3. Go to the movies at least three times
  4. Wear sunscreen everyday
  5. Make iced coffee Pioneer Woman style
  6. Tackle math (which I’ve been doing)
  7. Go to Farmer’s Market at least twice a month
  8. Watch a movie at the park
  9. Take kids to an amusement park
  10. Buy an air conditioner
  11. Have a movie marathon day
  12. Make my own ice cream
  13. Make popsicles
  14. Have one date with each kid individually
  15. Introduce the kids to funnel cake
  16. Go to the beach more often
  17. Take the kids ice skating on a really hot day

What are you looking forward to doing this summer?

Instead of blogging, I am . . .

 

-going on job interviews. I’m hoping to get a summer job once the homeschooling year and the school semester is over in late May. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

-baking. There are few activities in my life that make the hours magically pass by. Reading is one along with library cataloging (strangely enough), but baking and cooking are two activities I’m becoming very good at.

-visiting everyone’s blogs. I’m not writing on my own blog, but I’m trying to get to everyone else’s.

-reading. I’ve been dipping in and out of new (April and May) releases so that’s another reason why I don’t have anything to blog about right now. What I’ve read so far has been a delight.

When you’re not blogging, what are you up to?

Sunday Salon

sunday salon

Time: // 6: 10 a.m. Thanks to WordPress, I just lost my last draft of this post.

The scene: // typing away on the laptop at my desk.

Drinking: // coffee of course.

Listening to: // all kinds of music. I really need something happy to listen to. Any suggestions?

Reading: // I finished Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird earlier this week. I’ve noticed that every year there’s one book that truly stands out for me. Last year, it was The Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. In 2012, there was Please Look For Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin. Oyeyemi’s fairy tale expansion of Snow White is probably this year’s pick. It’s that good. I’m hoping to have my review up tomorrow. There’s so much to talk about with that book.

Do you have years where a certain book stands out above the rest?

Ignoring: // a paper that I need to write and turn in next week. After everything I do during the week, I feel like my weekends should be mine. Sadly, I’ll probably start writing my paper today.

Promoting: // a post that I read on A Beautiful Mess yesterday called “On Changing Dreams“. Emma from A Beautiful Mess writes about how her dreams for her life changed and became something different and totally unexpected. It’s an inspiring post and perfect for anyone who’s doubting the direction of their life.

Now I’m off to: // enjoy my coffee while doing homework.

What are you up to this early Sunday morning?

 

December goals and what I’m currently reading

It’s scary how December is here already! It seems like 2013 may be the fastest year ever. One minute it was January and I was rolling out my resolutions and now it’s December and I’m not halfway done with my list. What is that about?

I figured that I should share my December goals in hopes of being bullied motivated in keeping them. I need all the help I can get.

1. Finish reading the last stack of solicited review copies. There are only 10 books left so that should be do-able. Next year, I plan on reading only my own books and those from the library.

2. Post 2014 sign-ups for the Chunkster Challenge blog. I will be taking over the challenge from Wendy next year.

3. Post more regularly. This year has been so busy that I haven’t been able to blog that much. If I can post at least three times a week, I’m happy.

That’s my list, short but simple.

Currently reading

patchettThanksgiving break has come to an end and I didn’t read as much as I wanted to. I was too busy fighting a cold. Currently I’m reading Ann Patchett’s essay collection, This is The Story of a Happy Marriage. The title story is so beautiful, so honest that I read the whole thing aloud. This is my first time reading something by the author. I tried and fail to get through more than a few pages of Bel Canto. Sometimes reading an author’s non-fiction work is a better experience than reading their fiction.

I’m still dipping in and out of Why Teach? by Mark Edmundson. Essay and short story collections are the only works where readers can weave in and out of as time allows. It’s perfect for me during this hectic season.

What are you reading/watching/listening to this week?

It would have sounded odd. . .

danticat claireIt would have sounded odd—people have been accused of sorcery for less–if she told someone how much she wanted to take all those little girls home, set them up in the many empty rooms of her house, and whenever she was sad, ask them to play with her. There were many days when she wanted to grab a little girl and hold her in her arms, just to inhale her smell, the smell that these men lacked. Their smells were musty: they smelled of roads and dust and cologne that never quite covered their musk. They smelled of work, of sweat, of other women. But little girls smelled of roses and wet leaves, of talcum powder, and the dew.

-Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat

Sunday Salon

sunday salonTime: // 9:11 am – Saturday

The scene: // my desk

Eating: // White Chocolate Macadamia Luna Bar yum!

Drinking: // coffee but now I want water

Listening to: // “Honey” by Erykah Badu

Just Finished: // The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. My review is scheduled for Monday.

What’s next: // I have no idea. I have a huge stack of ARCs to read for next month. Plus, I have a reading hangover from reading so much this week.

Hating: // that my computer and monitor have decided to start acting up this week. That’s why I haven’t posted anything in the past week or so. It’s also why I’m writing this post so early. When it rains trouble, it pours.

Loving: // the cool weather this morning.

Promoting: // the High Summer Read-a-thon. It’s being hosted by Michelle over at Seasons Reading. The read-a-thon starts on Monday, July 22nd at 12 am CST and ends Sunday, July 28th at 11:59 pm. Participants can read anything they want.

Planning for: // my birthday month of August. I think I’ll follow Bryan’s example and do something bookish and special next month. Bryan decided to read only life-affirming reads during his birthday month. Maybe I’ll spend August rereading some of my favorite books. We’ll see.

Thankful for: // Excedrin and naps. I’ve been hit with migraines left and right every day this week.

Now I’m off to: // write and schedule a few more posts.

What’s on your list today? 

Giveaway winner!

The lucky winner of this month’s giveaway  is . . .

Harvee!

Harvee, I will contact you shortly for your information. Thanks to everyone for entering the giveaway. Be sure to come back next month for another giveaway I plan on hosting.

Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day!

pocket_logo2Each year on Poem in Your Pocket Day, I find one poem to carry around with me all day. I usually end up carrying the poem around all year. I still have last year’s poem, E.E. Cumming’s “I Carry Your Heart with Me (I Carry it In)”. There’s still time to find a poem to carry around with you. Here’s my poem for today:

 

blessing the boats

            (at St. Mary’s)

may the tide

that is entering even now

the lip of our understanding

carry you out

beyond the face of fear

may you kiss

the wind then turn from it

certain that it will

love you back              may you

open your eyes to water

water waving forever

and may you in your innocence

sail through this to that

Lucille Clifton

Giveaway Winner and It’s Monday. What are you reading?

It’s Monday. What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila over at BookJourney.

Last week was a pretty slow reading week for me. I don’t know what happened but it seemed like there was never enough time in the day. I read:

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  • Just Ducks! by Nicola Davies (4 out of 5 stars)
  • A Thousand Mornings: Poems by Mary Oliver (3 out of 5 stars)
  • Home by Novogratz by Robert and Courtney Novogratz (3 out of 5 stars)
  • Fables Vol. 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham (5 out of 5 stars)

So far this week I’ve read:

Going in Circles by Pamela Ribbon (5 out of 5 stars)

Between read-alongs, advanced reading copies, library books, and my own books, I think I have too many reading choices. There are so many possibilities and I’m getting bogged down. I need to make my book jar soon.

eng

This week I’m thinking about reading:

  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng. It just won the Man Asian Award.
  • A Map of Time by Felix Palma
  • Anything else that catches my eye.

Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest for a  copy of A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. The winner is Sara! Congratulations. Sara, you have 24 hours to email me back with your personal information.

What are you reading?

Thankfully Reading Weekend Wrap Up

The Thankfully Reading Weekend is over. I ended up reading only a handful of books, mainly children’s books. I thought yesterday was going to be a better day but the kids start playing around and I ended up with a dental emergency on my hands. It’s been a long 24 hours and I’m exhausted.

What I read this weekend:

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge

The Beetle Book by Steven Jenkins

The House Held Up by Trees by Ted Kooser

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis – a re-read with my son

My favorite book of the weekend was Bud, Not Buddy. The picture books were also fantastic reads. I can see why each one of them made a best of 2012 list. I still have a stack of books that I want to read and I hope to get to each one real soon.

Now I’m off. Sleep is calling my name. What did you read this weekend?

Thankfully Reading Weekend – Day 2

It’s day two and here’s the books I’ve read so far:

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge

The Beetle Book by Steven Jenkins

The House Held Up by Trees by Ted Kooser

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo

All of these books are on various best of 2012 lists. So far, my favorite book is probably The House Held Up by Trees. It’s a picture book. Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses is a retelling of various fairy tales in free verse. This book ended up being a “meh” kind of read. There were some tales that I thought were very clever and a great addition while others fell flat. The illustrations by Andrea Dezso were lovely.

My e-license for The Mighty Miss Malone ended up expiring so I think I’ll either start reading The Peculiar or The Buddha in the Attic.

Today’s Thankfully Reading Challenge is all about being thankful. Jen asks what book(s) are we most thankful for this year. I found this question to be a little hard. I had to go through my Goodreads account and see which books really stand out. I found several. I’m most thankful for Ichiro by Ryan Inzana (I really need to review this book), How Children Succeed by Paul Touch (another book I need to review), How Georgia Became O’Keefe by Karen Karbo, and No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Micheux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. I think I’m thankful for all of these books for the same reason: they taught me something that I didn’t know before while being entertaining and engaging.

What book are you most thankful for this year?

Looking forward to November

There are some weeks where blogging seems to come naturally. Ideas flows and writing is easy. Then there are those other weeks. You know the ones where you can’t even find the time to leave a comment let alone write a review and post it! I seem to be having nothing but hard weeks right now.  It’s not bothering me too much but it is a little rough to trying to blog consistently once again.

October was an okay month reading wise. I read 22 books, most of which are children’s books. My favorite books from October are:

  • Sailor Twain or The Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel (graphic novel)
  • How Children Succeed by Paul Tough (nonfiction)
  • The Shark King by Kikuo R. Johnson (children’s graphic novel)
  • Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley (foodie memoir/graphic novel)
  • Chuck Close: Face Book by Chuck Close (children’s nonfiction)
  • A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck (banned book/middle grade fiction)

I don’t think you could go wrong reading any of these.

November Goals

I didn’t do that great of a job reading my own books last month, but I’m not giving up just yet. If I read only five of my unread books in November, I’ll be happy. I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo but I am thinking about informally participating in this month’s NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). I need something to jump start my blogging mojo.

November seems like it’s going to be a pretty a quiet month for me. What are your plans for this month? 

April Sticky Post

It’s April and that means it is National Poetry Month. I’ve been reading poetry for years now so I’m spending the month sharing my love of this genre. Throughout April, 1330v will feature poetry reviews, poems, and plenty of ways that you too can celebrate National Poetry Month. So whether you’re a long-time reader of the genre or just someone who rarely reads poems, I hope you’ll find something of interest here.

Favorites of 2011: Poetry

Instead of a “best of 2011” list, I‘m posting my favorites of 2011 because many of the books I’ve read this year were published before 2011. My favorite books are the best books I’ve read this year- books that I have or plan on buying and re-reading. I’ve found it pretty hard to narrow my favorites down to just ten books so I’m sharing my favorite books of various genres. Every day this week there’ll be a favorite list posted and by the end of the week, I’ll share my favorite book of 2011.

I love poetry but I don’t read enough of it. This year was no exception with only thirteen volumes read. Out of that small number, there are six books of poetry that I think shouldn’t be missed. All six are great for long-time readers of poetry and those new to the genre.

Red Bird by Mary Oliver. Before this year, I always read poetry by Mary Oliver in bits and pieces. With Red Bird on my reading list for Project-Fill-in-the-Gaps, this year was the perfect time to read a whole collection. Red Bird is a collection that deals with nature but also human aspects like grief, love, and hope.

Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 by Lucille Clifton. What can I say about the writing of the late poet Lucille Clifton that will make you drop everything to read her? When I opened up Blessing the Boats to the first poem, “The Times”, I was knocked out by the words: It is hard to remain human on a day / when birds perch weeping / in the trees and the squirrel eyes / do not look away but the dog ones do in pity. . . Clifton writes about various things from society to her dreams, her childhood to Superman. My favorite poem is probably “Report From the Angel of Eden” about an angel observing Adam and Eve. The ending left me with goosebumps.

Here by Wislawa Szymborska. It only took reading the first poem in this volume of poetry to understand why the author was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Whether she’s writing about her teenage self, the power of nature, or the seduction of an idea, these are poems that readers want to read over and over again. Translators Claire Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak did a fantastic job of bringing these poems to life.

Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys and Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word by Bob Raczka. I decided to describe both books together because whatever I say about one book, can easily apply to the other. As a mom, it’s important to me to introduce poetry to my kids. Raczka makes poetry accessible and even fun for kids. Guyku was made for boys but it’s a volume that even girls will love while Lemonade turns poems into puzzles and back again. You won’t go wrong buying either book.

 

Won-Ton: A Cat Tale told in Haiku by Lee Wardlow. Won Ton is the story of a shelter cat looking for a family. The story follows the cat from the shelter to the arms of a little boy.  I can’t think of a better book to share with any young poetry lover.

Currently Reading: The Book of Lost Things

Once upon a time—for that is how all stories should begin—there was a boy who lost his mother.

He had, in truth, been losing her for a very long time. The disease that was killing her was a creeping, cowardly thing, a sickness that ate away at her from the inside, slowly consuming the light within, so that her eyes grew a little less bright with each passing day, and her skin a little more pale.

And as she was stolen away from him, piece by piece, the boy became more and more afraid of finally losing her entirely. He wanted her to stay. He had no brothers and no sisters, and while he loved his father, it would be true to say that he loved his mother more. He could not bear to think of a life without her. 

-The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo courtesy of pbody

It’s only 6: 30 in the morning and I’m pretty sure that the food (or what’s left of it) will be gone by noon. That’s not surprising since the pumpkin pie was gone by Tuesday. I don’t mind. I rather run out of food than deal with leftovers for days. With the food finished and no where to go, I’m starting my Thankfully Reading Weekend early with John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things.  The first few paragraphs are just magical.

If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today, I hope you’re surrounded by loved ones and great food. Happy Thanksgiving.

Weekend Reading

Being a bookworm, I’m lucky that any time I want to indulge in my passion I can. So that’s what I’m doing this weekend. I had a horrible day yesterday, so I’m staying at home until Monday. If I have my way, I’ll probably spend today curled up in bed with my stack of books.

  • Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
  • When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
  • Skellig by David Almond
  • Season to Taste by Molly Birnbaum
  • The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate
  • The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce
  • Wonderstruck by David Selnick

Now I’m off to curl up with my books, chocolate, and some coffee. What are you reading this weekend?

Review: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures

Caroline Preston

240 pages

Publication Date: October 25, 2011

Publisher: Ecco

Source: Publisher

 

When Candace over at Beth Fish Reads featured Caroline Preston’s The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, I knew this was a book for me. I love journaling and art so reading a book that’s told in pictures though in a new format, sounded too good to pass up.

It’s 1920 and Frankie Pratt is an eighteen-year old girl who dreams of being a writer. After her high school graduation, she’s given her father’s typewriter and a scrapbook as a way to realize her dream. Frankie would love to attend Vassar but on her widowed mother’s salary as a home nurse, there’s just no way that will happen. Fortunately for Frankie, her situation changes and her new life begin.

The subtitle, A Novel in Pictures, is a perfect fit. Frankie’s story is told with ephemera from the 1920s. Though it fits my definition of a graphic novel (pictures + words), I wouldn’t describe the book in that manner. The author coined Frankie Pratt, a “scrapbook novel” and I think that’s the perfect term for this new format. Preston does such a fantastic job at matching pictures with Frankie’s life that I wondered what came first, Frankie’s story or the pictures. Not only that but while reading this, I didn’t feel like there was pieces missing to the story or that I had to fill in the blank spaces. Readers get enough of everything for this book to be a satisfying read.

Being that this is the 1920s, there’s mention of famous people and places of that time like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and the bookstore Shakespeare & Co. I thought it was all interesting and the story kept me rooting for Frankie all the way until the end.

After reading The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, I was happy to find out that Preston is currently working on her next scrapbook novel.

Here’s an excerpt that I found on NPR about poet Edna St. Vincent Millay’s visit to Vassar while Frankie was a student there. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

  

Impromtu Readathon, NORC, T.G.I.F

Day 59, Project 365 - 12.18.09Courtesy of William Brawley

This morning started out the same as usual: a little insomnia, waking up the kids, checking the weather, and whatever else needs to be done. Three hours into my day and I feel like the plague has hit me. My face hurts, I have a migraine, and I just want to curl up with a book until it’s time to pick the kids up. So that’s what I’m doing.

Thankfully (for me), the talented and very smart April from Good Books and Good Wine decided to host an Impromptu Readathon this weekend. I’m behind in reading and reviewing so this is perfect for me while I recover from this bug. The read-a-thon already started but it’s not too late to join.

Another very smart blogger is Jennifer from Literate Housewife. Jennifer is always coming up with great ideas like she did a year ago when she decided to make 2010 a “Year of Reading Deliberately”. Her newest idea is NORC: No Old Review Club. It’s a way for bloggers to support each other in all aspects of blogging especially when it comes to getting and staying current with our reviews.  All bloggers are welcome to join NORC.

Now I’m off to read. Thank God it’s Friday so I don’t have to worry about getting out of bed this weekend. What are you reading this weekend?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?  is a great meme hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey, where participants share their weekly reading goals.

So I’ve been away from blogging for about a month now and there is so much to write about. I’ve read a ton of books and have so many reviews to write. In the past month I’ve read:

Adult books

  • The Wisdom of the Radish by Lynda Hopkins
  • A Discovery of Witches by Debra Harkness
  • Photocraft: Cool Things to do with the Pictures you Love by Croline Herter, Laurie Frankel, Laura Lovett
  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
  • Love by Toni Morrison
  • World Without Fish by Mark Kurlansky
  • Quarantine by Rahul Mehta (DNF)
  • Blessing of the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 by Lucille Clifton

Children’s books

  • Cinnamon Baby by Nicola Winstanley
  • How do you Wokka-Wokka? by Elizabeth Bluemle
  • A Couple of Boys have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee
  • LuRue Across America by
  • Are you Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems
  • The Boy Who Cried Ninja by
  • Ladybug Girl at the Beach
  • Wolf by Beck Bloom
  • Should I Share my Ice Cream? by Mo Willems
  • There’s a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems
  • The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges
  • Donavon’s Big Day by
  • The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town by
  • Genius of Islam by
  • Cars Galore by
  • I Will Surprise my Friend by Mo Willems
  • A Book by Mordecii Gerstein
  • Fairly Fairy Tales by Esme Raji Codell
  • Plantzilla by Jerdine Nolen
  • Noni Says No by Heather Hartt-Sussman
  • The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter
  • The Chicken Thief by Beatrice Rodriguez
  • Fox and Hen Together by Beatrice Rodriguez
  • To Market, To Market by Anne Miranda
  • Foxy and Egg by Alex T. Smith
  • Amazing Faces by Lee Bennett Hopkins and Chris Soentpiet

I loved almost everything that I read.  I can’t wait to review and discuss my books with everyone.

This week I’m reading:

  • Just My Type: A Book about Fonts by Simon Garfield
  • The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (re-read with my daughter)
  • Love by Toni Morrison (re-reading before I write my review this week)
  • The Best American Poetry 2011 edited by Kevin Young

There’s so much to catch up on in the blogging world. I’m sure that my Google Reader is at 1000+ posts. It’ll be fun to go and visit everyone. So that’s what I’m hoping to read. What are you reading this week?

Happy 4th of July!

Picture by Bayasaa

Have a safe 4th of July to all my American readers. I stayed up until 2 a.m. reading Ernessa T. Carter’s delicious 32 Candles so I am exhausted. I don’t have any plans for today but sleeping and doing homework. Did I mention sleep? I hope everyone has a great day.