Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Xmas Book Loot! Woot!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday & spent quality time with your loved ones, devouring food & maybe a book or two :) 

First, here's what my holiday was like:
I spent Christmas Eve mostly helping my mom get food prepared for the big day.  She does most of the cooking during the week prior to Xmas:  shortbread, fondant cream balls (which I've been making for the past couple of years), potatoes, yams, stuffing with sausage meat & cranberries (the best ever!), pie, and the almighty turkey, done during Xmas Eve day, which is a fine art, allowing the cook to relax & socialize versus being bunkered down in the kitchen making the turkey all day.  The turkey gets sliced & covered with large lettuce leaves to soak in added moisture and is refrigerated, then reheated the next day.  M...m...m!

Christmas Day was spent at our house with my parents, grandmother, mom's cousin (my godmother), and later on joined by my aunt & uncle.  A fun, though exhausting day!  Boxing Day is a day of rest & recovery in my family.  A couple of gatherings are spread out over the remainder of the week, then I'm back to work on Monday.

Now for the Xmas loot!  This is certainly a sign that I am back and raring to kick off a new year of reading.  I both gifted & received books this year.

I gave these as gifts:

Earth: The Book by Jon Stewart & the Daily Show
This was for my dad, a fan of the Daily Show.  It's quite comprehensive, written as a guidebook for any visiting/invading aliens who wish to learn about our planet's history & culture.  Every entry in the book has a hilarious take on topics ranging from customs, entertainment, religion, science, and environment, all poking fun at humans' (very) biased perception of ourselves as the biggest, most intelligent species in the universe.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
This was for my mom, who always claims this as her favourite book but whose only copy was somehow lost or maybe discarded because it was falling apart.  If it wasn't for book blogging, I probably would never have thought about giving this to her.  The intention of giving this book as a gift is that she will re-read it and then pass it on to me to read for the first time *wink, wink* :)

Cake Boss: Stories & Recipes from Mia Famiglia by Buddy Valastro
This was a great surprise for my mom, and I had no intention of getting it until I spotted it by the checkout.  It was the best impulsive purchase I've ever made :D  My mom is a big fan of the TLC show about an Italian family-run bakery in NJ, headed by the only son, Buddy, and all the antics of smoothly (at least in the end) creating jaw-dropping works of edible art.  The book includes delicious recipes & drool-worthy photos of some creations.  I am sure that my mom will try recreating some of Buddy's goodies & I can't wait to sample some :D

Atonement by Ian McEwan
No, I didn't regift my own copy (especially since I haven't read it yet) :D My mom asked me for a title suggestion to give my grandma & I thought of Atonement, being such a powerful movie and set during WWII, my grandma's generation. She was pleasantly surprised to receive it and hopefully, given her usual taste of romance novels, will enjoy it.

Now for my Xmas loot, which I must say I am incredibly grateful & lucky to have received.  Every year is a wonderful time for my family make each other smile & sometimes get surprised.  I got 9 books (!), plus the 6 I bought myself earlier in December, so technically that's 15 books (woo hoo!).  I think my lovely gift-givers were not only visiting my blog but had a peek at my challenge books, because out of these books, I intend to read 7 of them for challenges.

Now for the books...!  First, my dad, as an Xmas tradition, bought me a few titles:

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
I'm tempted to start this next.  It's a short read to wedge between now & January when my challenges begin.  The movie was lovely & I've seen this on so many bloggers' favourite book lists.

This Time Together by Carol Burnett
I've skimmed it a little and it looks like a lovely, breezy read with anecdotal chapters.  This will be for my What's in a Name 4 Challenge.

Last Words by George Carlin
I finished this in 3 days.  Absolutely hilarious & insightful autobiography!  I'll write a review soon.

Rabbit, Run by John Updike
This will be for my 1st in a Series challenge this year.  I'm excited to try Updike for the first time!

My godmother gave me these two:

 Teacher Man by Frank McCourt
I was intrigued by the title & hope to learn more about his teaching experiences.

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
I love the movie with Michael Douglas (whose performance is brilliant & overlooked) & really want to read the book it was adapted from.  I have high expectations but if it's as zany as the movie was, I'm good :D

 Then there were the 2 books I got an early preview of:

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
I am psyched to read this, his latest collection of short stories, the most anticipated book of the year for me, and also as part of the Stephen King challenge.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
(Signet Classics Centennial Edition, translated by David Magarshack)--the cover is different than pictured.
A book I've always been embarrassed to admit that I've never read, for the Back to the Classics Challenge.

 The "surprise" book I alluded to in the above linked post turned out to be:

The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene
This was recommended to me during a PD session and had loads of positive reviews online.  It is meant to be a strategic approach to dealing with behaviours of young children for parents & teachers.

...And then there are the books I bought for myself earlier in the month:

The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History by John Ortved
The Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Besides books, I also received:

*Donkey Kong Country Returns for my Nintendo Wii--watch the trailer for the game here & try telling me that doesn't look like fun...go on, I dare you :D It's a barrel (he he) of laughs & has been competing with my reading time, sometimes winning, sometimes on hold (my sense of restraint surprises even me sometimes). It's very nostalgic for me, given that I played older versions Donkey Kong & still do on occasion. It was the most awesome gift!

*Toy Story 3 on DVD--cute cast of characters, terrific story, exciting animation, bright colours & a tearjerker ending...what a fantastic way to polish off a movie series as loveable as Toy Story.

*iTunes card--I bought mostly Beatles songs (finally available!), a few oldies, and two new(er) tunes by Bruno Mars & Flo Rida. I have eclectic taste in books, music & movies, if you didn't know :D

*Stocking stuffers included a new pencil case to replace the one I lost on the job (it's probably in the hands of some young'un I've taught...), a Simpsons 2011 calendar, Tim Hortons card & lots of chocolate!

Whew!  As I said on Xmas Day when looking at everyone's gift hauls, boy did we hit the motherload or what?!

Besides finishing Last Words, I am nearly finished The Poisonwood Bible and intend to start 84 Charing Cross Road next before I start Full Dark, No Stars, and want to dip into My Life by Bill Clinton for some nonfiction.

It's been great catching up on many of your blog posts & seeing what you read during the holidays, and your great bookie gifts!  Here's to a happy, healthy & bookie New Year :)

I will be back to regular (at least by my standards :) reviews & memes by Monday.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Blog Break

I have 2 weeks off for the holidays and like many fellow book bloggers, I am going to take a break from blogging activities until Monday, January 3rd.  As you've probably noticed, I haven't been keeping up with memes in the last couple of weeks, and spent so long finishing up The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that I didn't get many reviews written up, either (and I still have some "retro reads" to post about).

That being said, the occasional review may get posted over the holidays if the inkling to do so nags at me enough.  But mostly, I want to spend my holidays getting caught up on reading, watching holiday movies, spending time with family, eating too much & just plain having fun :)

I want to thank everyone who has followed, commented, or simply read my blog for the past few months & have been so kind to welcome me to the book blogging community.  I wish you all a safe, happy & delightful holiday, and I hope to reconnect with you again in the New Year (2011, can you believe it?!?).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Speed Typing Test

Typing Speed Test

This was fun!  Try it out.  I made 3 errors, mashing a key or two by mistake :P

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo- Stieg Larsson

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  2005
Length:  841 pages
ISBN:  9780307454546
Genre:  Mystery, Series (Millennium Trilogy- Book #1)

Start Date:  Nov. 15, 2010
Finished Date:  Dec. 13, 2010 (29 days)

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  It's pretty hard to avoid the neon-coloured covers at the bookstores :)

Summary:  A journalist awaiting imprisonment for libel is hired by an elderly corporate tycoon determined to discover the truth about his niece's strange disappearance over 40 years ago, soon working with a punkish young securities phenom with a serious vendetta.


It is nearly impossible to create a groundbreaking book within an overabundant genre such as the mystery/suspense thriller.  While I wouldn't label The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that way, what the late Stieg Larsson has done is take an overly familiar kind of tale and injected it with a distinctly European flavour that leaves you with a sharper taste than the typical John Grisham or James Patterson yarn.

This taste is composed of a deliberately cold mood, through the backdrop of a bitterly frigid Swedish winter, the aging members of the Vanger family with old money, and the polarizing (if you'll pardon the pun) attitudes towards Mikael from the snivelling family history naysayers to the immediate bedfellows.  Also, Larsson's inability to filter what some interpret as pointlessly excessive detail, such as food they eat, geographic placenames we can't pronounce let alone recognize, and complex sociopolitical dramas that only represent a fraction of the plot, certainly adds bulk to an already heavy-handed plot.

Mikael Blomkvist may be the centre of the mysterious Vanger family saga, but Lisbeth Salander is the hero and is fantastically rendered, turning all stereotypes of her external appearance on their heads.  She is the most complex, fascinating character I've read about in recent years, and her terrifying ordeals make her a stronger, more vigilant, and complicated human being that we are made to realize exists somewhere through the scary but true statistics printed on each chapter page.

I watched the Swedish movie version which I had previously taped but couldn't watch until I had finished the novel or it would spoil the ending.  It was a terrific adaptation with a brilliant "debut" (at least to international audiences outside of Sweden) by Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth and was filmed in a photographic style with chilling graphic realism.  An American-made version to be directed by David Fincher is in development.  As for the sequels, I am definitely hooked and want to read the next two books of the Millennium series this year.  I am determined to squeeze them in!

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommended

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

A weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ One Persons's Journey Through a World of Books.

Wow, I actually had to check my archive list to see when I last participated in this meme.  It was Nov. 22, which was 3 weeks ago.  I haven't had much reading news to share in that time, but today, *voila* I finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and can now post my progress & upcoming reads:

Currently Reading:
The Poisonwood Bible- Barbara Kingsolver--I have been putting this one off way too long!  I'm very excited to start this tomorrow.

Love, Stargirl- Jerry Spinelli--up to page 51--not too involved in it now; may return to it when I reach a slump.

My Life- Bill Clinton--up to page 244--too wrapped up in fiction to get back to this now...will return to it sometime, I promise!

Next to Read:
Full Dark, No Stars- Stephen King--I have received this for Xmas (yes, I got a bit of a preview) and can't wait to start it, but it will have to be on or after Jan. 1 so it's covered for the Stephen King Challenge.  Glad to be reading short stories for a change :)

Atonement- Ian McEwan--I want to read this over the holidays but might not get to it just yet.  Hope it's earlier rather than later!

Water For Elephants- Sara Gruen--This will be a great book to start off the new year!

Finished Reading From Past 3 Weeks (1)
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo- Stieg Larsson--my review will be written very soon.

Reviews From Past 3 Weeks (1)
The Nanny Diaries- Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

What's New
~ Joined What's in a Name 4, 1st in a Series, and Stephen King challenges for 2011.  Here is my 2011 challenges summary with book lists for all 5 challenges I've joined.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm Late, I'm Late for Two Important...*Hops*

I refuse to make excuses anymore...It's just been that kind of week, so apologies aside, here are my contributions to the usual Thursday & Friday hops I participate in.

By the way, I'm finished for the season with the All I Want For Christmas meme.  I feel greedy already :D  Thanks Danya @ A Tapestry of Words for hosting & I'll definitely join in next year if you run it again :)

A weekly meme hosted by The Blue Bookcase.

This week's question is:

What is one of your literary pet peeves? Is there something that writers do that really sets your teeth on edge? Be specific, and give examples if you can.

Ooh, what a juicy topic :D  I cannot stand books written in a pretentious or condescending tone, or language written as such.  I think it demeans readers & gets under my skin.  An example of this type of writing that I have brought up before is in Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and Freedom, but I also noticed it a lot in university readings, especially critical essays.  I just think that there is a better way of geting your point across or telling a story then by insulting your readers with a tone of voice that no one would listen to if you spoke.

I'm blanking on further examples of my pet peeve, but if you know what I mean, post some in the comments field.

A weekly meme hosted by Janet @ Friday Fill-Ins.

1.  I wish you all a safe & happy holiday season :)

2.  What's for dinner?...that's what I'm thinking.

3.  Please bring your favourite drink (that's a standard on invitations for any party I have).

4.  Life is so amazing.

5.  One of my fondest hopes is to see Ireland one day.

6.  Your comments make me smile & keep me motivated to blog and I just wanted to say thank you.

7.  And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching CSI and Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People of 2010 I taped last night, tomorrow my plans include making Xmas candies to share at school & family (if I don't eat them all myself!) and Sunday, I want to create a big dent or finish (ha) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (ack, I'm getting sick of typing this same sentence every week!).

...and I'm not going to attempt the holiday song word scramble...because my brain is fried :P

A weekly meme hosted by Jennifer @ Crazy For Books.

This week's question comes from Angela @ Library Girl Reads:

"What is the thing you like most about reading book blogs? Is it the reviews, author guest posts, articles, giveaways, or something else entirely?"

My favourite things about visiting book blogs are exchanging ideas, learning about new books, reading reviews, and simply touching base with online friends through the medium of books :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Best of 2010 Choices & Survey

Even though we're still 23 days away from 2011 (eep!), I don't anticipate finishing any more books before then.  Right now, I'm all about finishing The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and if I can do that before New Year's Rockin' Eve, then I'll be happy :D

Books Read in 2010 (14) (listed alphabetically; click titles for reviews)
Bear Came Over the Mountain, The- Alice Munro
Book of Ruth, The- Jane Hamilton
Freedom- Jonathan Franzen
Handmaid's Tale, The- Margaret Atwood
Her Fearful Symmetry- Audrey Niffenegger
Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, The- Oliver Sacks
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed & Other Things I've Learned- Alan Alda
On Writing- Stephen King
One True Thing- Anna Quindlen (re-read)
Pride & Prejudice- Jane Austen
Time Traveler's Wife, The- Audrey Niffenegger
Under the Dome- Stephen King
Wishful Drinking- Carrie Fisher
World According to Garp, The- John Irving

...Apparently, I miscounted my titles in my year-to-date totals from my monthly summary posts *ahem*.  I probably included anything read from August 2009-August 2010 when I started this blog.  Well...that's a bummer :(  To be fair, Under the Dome was a real chunker at 1000+ pages :D

Top 10 Read in 2010
1)  The World According to Garp by John Irving
2)  The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
3)  The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
4)  On Writing by Stephen King
5)  The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton
6)  Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
7)  The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Oliver Sacks
8)  Under the Dome by Stephen King
9)  Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
10)  Never Have Your Dog Stuffed & Other Things I've Learned by Alan Alda

Perpetual Pageturner is hosting an end-of-year survey that I'm going to take a crack at:

Best Book of 2010
The best book I read in 2010 (though published years earlier) is The World According to Garp by John Irving.

Worst Book of 2010
As much as it received countless critical raves, I gave up on Freedom by Jonathan Franzen after about 200 pages.  Here's why.

Most Disappointing Book of 2010
Probably Freedom.  I expected it to be better than The Corrections but it turned out to be nearly equally undesirable.

Most Surprising (in a good way) Book of 2010
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.  I really wasn't sure if I would get through it, but I came to enjoy it very much when I only thought I would just like it.

Book You Recommended to People Most in 2010
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

Best Series You Discovered in 2010
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.  I'm already anticipating the next two books!

Favourite New Authors I Discovered in 2010
Audrey Niffenegger, John Irving, Margaret Atwood.

Most Hiliarious Read of 2010
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher.  Read it out loud & I'll guarantee you'll be in stitches :D

Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book of 2010
Under the Dome by Stephen King.  Nonstop suspense, then it evens out somewhat at the halfway point, and from page 700 to the end, it barrels along again!

Book You Most Anticipated in 2010
Under the Dome and Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King.  Now that I've finished Dome, it's on to the short stories!

Favourite Cover of a Book Read in 2010

Most Memorable Character in 2010
Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.  Such a complex, wild genius.

Most Beautifully Written Book in 2010
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.  Her descriptions are just breathtaking.

Book That Had the Greatest Impact on You in 2010
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.  It allowed me to discover dystopian fiction at its best.

Book You Can't Believe You Waited UNTIL 2010 to Finally Read
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Duh?!

New Favourite Book Blog Discovered in 2010
I started this blog in August, so all the blogs I've been following are newly discovered :)

Favourite Review I Wrote in 2010
Just from skimming a few, I like my retro review of The Hours by Michael Cunningham (click to read).

Best Discussion You Had on Your Blog
Probably the Top Ten Tuesday memes.  They provide lots of topics to discuss.

Most Thought-Provoking Review or Discussion You Read on Someone's Blog
I haven't read it yet, but the responses to the censorship controversy surrounding Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was eye-opening.

Best Event That You Participated In
The weekly memes I join in on have been a great way to socialize online & meet other book bloggers :)

Best Moment of Book Blogging in 2010
Getting my first follower.  Every blogger is grateful for that moment when you realize at least one other person (besides yourself!) is reading what you write.

Best Bookish Discovery
Book blogging! :D

If you participate in this survey, leave your link in the comments field.  I'd love to read your responses :)

Holiday Tag

Jillian @ Random Ramblings started this holiday tag to get into the spirit of the season.  Thanks :)

1.  When do you usually know and feel that it's finally the holidays?
When many of the houses in my neighbourhood have their holiday lights & decorations up outside.

2.  What do you want for Christmas this year?
I have a few books I'd really likeDonkey Kong Country Returns for Nintendo Wii (brings out the nerdy child in me :D), iTunes gift card (mostly to get a lot of Beatles tunes!), and I always need Burt's Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm this time of year :)

3.  Do you go all out with decorations?
We scrapped and/or replaced some furniture this year, which meant giving away some indoor decorations, but we have several Xmas odds & ends throughout the house, our beautiful artificial tree (about 6' tall with tiny yellow lights, golden tinsel & lots of ornaments), and on the outside, we have red & green lights around our garage door, bookended by two green & red wreaths.

4.  What are you doing Christmas Eve?
My parents & I are going to my aunt & uncle's house to visit with the cousins, most of whom go their separate ways on Christmas Day.

5.  What are you doing Christmas Day?
My parents & I exchange gifts, have delicious gooey cinnamon buns for breakfast, and then starting in the early afternoon, we're hosting my aunt & uncle, a couple of cousins, and my grandma all at our house--turkey dinner, gift exchange, the works!

6.  It's Christmas time. What are you reading?
Right now, I'm halfway through The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, which I'm really enjoying & it's picking up, so I can't wait to reach the conclusion!  As for Xmas reading in particular, I don't have traditional reading material for this time of year, but I just love reading what I have on the TBR shelf and anything new I get for the holidays :)

7.  Favorite movie to watch during the holidays?
My all-time fave is Christmas Vacation, which we watch every Christmas Eve.  I also love to watch Babe, Edward Scissorhands, The Family Stone, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, and any Xmas episodes of The Simpsons.

8.  Favorite Christmas song?
"Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time" by Paul McCartney.  Traditionally speaking, "The Little Drummer Boy" by Roger Whittaker, an Xmas LP my family listens to every year.

9.  Favorite holiday drink?
Hot chocolate is a great change of pace from the daily coffee run.  On occasion, I also love Bailey's.  I'm not really an egg nog kind of gal :D

10.  How is your Christmas shopping going?
I got a lot finished on Monday & baked a banana bread loaf for my grandma today, so I just have some stocking stuffers left to get for my parents and a couple more gifts for other "rellies" :)

11.  If you could spend Christmas Day anywhere else, where would you spend it?
It's hard to imagine spending Christmas anywhere but my own house, but if I had to, I'd love to go to a mountain resort or a log cabin atop some snowy hills perfect for skiing and sledding :)

12.  Any holiday traditions?
My family switches houses, so our turn comes every 5 years to host.  We also watch Christmas Vacation every Xmas Eve night and have cinnamon buns for Xmas breakfast.

13. Favorite thing about the Holidays?
Spending time with family and thinking about the new year ahead.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Xmas Book Shopping

I'm afraid I have no news for the Monday meme--I have made it to halfway point of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but with work demands & the holidays lurking around the corner, I have made disappointingly little progress this month.

What I do have are new books--*yay*  I didn't make it to the Book Depot as planned today due to nasty weather, but Chapters had free gift cards for $50 purchases with a chance to win up to $5000!  It didn't work out that way, but I got some awesome books.

The bookends were an early Xmas gift I picked out & I bought these new books for myself that now sit between them because the shelves are full :D

The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History by John Ortved
The Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini--for Back to the Classics challenge
Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut--for Back to the Classics & What's in a Name 4 challenges

My parents also got me:

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy--for Back to the Classics challenge--the cover at right is not the same as mine but it's lovely nonetheless.

..and 1 more as a surprise!  Plus, my dad often gives me a couple of books as an Xmas tradition, so stay tuned to learn what these ones are...after Dec. 25th, that is :)

I'm not used to buying Xmas gifts for myself, but I think this may start a new tradition :D

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Nanny Diaries- Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters
Published:  2002
Length:  306 pages
ISBN:  0312291639
Genre:  Chick Lit, Humour

Start Date:  Sometime in 2008-9
Finished Date:  Sometime in 2008-9

Where Found:  Freebie from my cousin
Why:  I heard it was a fun read.  The movie was also sweet and enjoyable.

Summary:  A college student tales a 9-month stint as a nanny to an entitled rich couple with a 4-year-old son starved for their attention.


The way I see it, “chick lit” should not be taken as an offensive category of fiction. It seems to be an accurate way of depicting silly, fluffy, just downright fun books that appeal to women who want to feel like girls again. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break from the serious side of literature to delve into something printed for mere entertainment.

Enter The Nanny Diaries, which reminded me in many ways of The Devil Wears Prada—a fairy tale-esque story of a single, young, educated woman finished (or nearly finished) university and naively feels ready to enter the working world. Annie is a likeable character with booksmarts, humour, and like any good heroine, hanging onto her last shred of grace. After a chance encounter with a wealthy socialite anonymously dubbed Mrs. X and her son, Grayer, Annie (mistakenly and henceforth called “Nanny”) is hired to care for Grayer while his absent, workaholic, cheating greaseball of a dad works in some kind of filthy rich business, and mom spends her days lavishly buying things, socializing with her equally plastic friends, and neglecting everyone she takes for granted.

The book contains many laugh-out-loud instances that any babysitter, nanny, parent, or teacher can relate to, which Nanny not only anticipates, but often has terrific foresight to handle diligently. A side romance follows an embarrassing elevator encounter with the apartment neighbour nicknamed “Harvard Hottie,” which soon embitters Mrs. X, leading Nanny to blatantly lay down the truth about her mistreatment of the hired help.

A fun, breezy read for the beach that doesn’t disappoint but doesn’t exactly leave you breathless either.

Rank:  (B)- Recommend

Friday, December 3, 2010

2011 Challenges Summary

I'm all challenged out...5 is my limit for my first year doing these!  I think this will be a good test of my stamina & ability to set & achieve goals for myself.

As for the Back to the Classics Challenge polls, sorry I'm cutting it short, but despite posting earlier that they'll be open until the 21st, I'm closing them now because I haven't seen much activity on them recently & I have adequate leads on most of them.  Plus, I'm likely going bulk book shopping on Monday & should get my challenge books together!  There was just one tie for the 19th century classic, so I decided to choose the tiebreaker.  Thanks to all who voted :)

So, here is a summary of challenges I've officially joined & the books I intend to read for them:

Total Challenge Books:  23, including 2 re-reads (2 books also overlap)--should not be a problem :)

Banned Book:  Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Wartime Book:  Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Pulitzer (Fiction) Winner/Runner-Up:  Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Children's/YA Classic:  The Giver by Lois Lowry
19th Century Classic:  Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (tiebreaker)
20th Century Classic:  On the Road by Jack Kerouac
21st Century Classic?:  The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Book Reread From H.S./College:  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Book With a Number:  Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (overlap with Back to the Classics)
Book With Jewelry or a Gem:  The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
Book With a Size:  A Short Guide to Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Book With Travel or Movement:  This Time Together by Carol Burnett
Book With Evil:  A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving
Book With a Life Stage:  Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

My Current Level:  Series Lover (6 books)

1)  The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (Jason Bourne series)
2)  The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia series)
3)  Rabbit, Run by John Updike (Rabbit series)
4)  Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's series)
5)  The Gunslinger by Stephen King (Dark Tower series) (overlaps with Stephen King challenge)
6)  A is For Alibi by Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone series) (re-read)

Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

My Current Level:  Breaking a Sweat (11-15 more books)

I'm sitting in the 30s for the year and have only been blogging since August, so I can almost guarantee that I'll do better in 2011 :D

My Current Level:  6 books

1)  The Stand
2)  Full Dark, No Stars
3)  Cujo
4)  Night Shift
5)  Misery
6)  Dark Tower series- I'll start with book 1 & see how many I can get through (there are 7 so far) (overlaps with 1st in a Series challenge)

Stephen King Challenge

Oh My Book...I am so in :D  I love Stephen King books and have only read 8 or so of his novels.  This is my last challenge for next year...I think :)  Boy, they sure are addictive!  Click the logo to sign up.  Here's a breakdown:

•Timeline:  01 Jan 2011 - 31 Dec 2011

•Rules - There are two levels:  Read either SIX (6) or TWELVE (12) Stephen King novels in 2011 (6 is the minimum but you can read more than 12 if you wish!)

•You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. Also if you do list them upfront you can change them, nothing is set in stone! The books you choose can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.

•You can join anytime between now and the later part of next year.

•At the beginning of Jan 2011, I will add a link so you can add your reviews.

•You don't have to have a blog to join in - for those without a blog

I'm setting my goal at 6 books for now, but this just may increase :)  Here is a tentative list of titles:

1)  The Stand- at over 1000 pages, this one will take some time to finish...
2)  Full Dark, No Stars- brand new collection of novellas I'm anticipating for Xmas
3)  Cujo-the movie is a tad campy but still scary!
4)  Night Shift-a classic that I must read
5)  Misery-I'll have to rent the movie as a companion
6)  Dark Tower series- I'll start with book 1 & see how many I can get through (there are 7 so far)

Friday Blog Hop!

Happy Friday!

A weekly meme hosted by Jennifer @ Crazy For Books.

This week's question comes from Marce @ Tea Time With Marce.

What very popular and hyped book in the blogosphere did you NOT enjoy and how did you feel about posting your review?

Awesome question!  I think this is an issue that I'd love to read about as it can cause a bit of discomfort (and perhaps shame?) to admit that you did not like a book that everyone & their brother seems to adore.

This has happened to me at least twice that I can especially recall:  I had difficulty coming to terms with not liking Freedom by Jonathan Franzen when even Obama claims to really dig it!  Yikes :D  Another was She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb.  I just could not get past the slogging pace.  I loved the language, the characters, and the style, but it moved along soooo slowly that I just gave up.

Did you feel the same way about either of these books, or do you have another title that made you feel this way?

A weekly meme hosted by Janet @ Friday Fill-Ins.

1.  The best thing about a birthday celebration is making a wish.

2.  If only we could slow the passage of time.

3.  I went shopping recently and the most interesting thing I bought was a toy Santa that climbs up & down a gold chain to a Xmas tune (I forget which) for my cousin who loves funny toys.

4.  No one is too old to play a child's game when you are young at heart.

5.  The reason is so simple that we completely miss it.

6.  I'm getting to be a Scrooge about the incoming snow and cold.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to blog hopping (finally!), tomorrow my plans include dinner at my cousin's house and Sunday, I want to put a major dent in The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo!

Apparently, this last part is a holiday carols quiz...but on the ones I couldn't solve, I filled in the letters with some wacky pseudo-Haiku :)

1. HYAMLC:  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

2. TFNTADS:  The First Noel the Angels Did Say

3. GRYMGLNYD:  Get Ready, Your Musty Grandma Lurks Nearby...You're Done (for) :D

4. ICUAMC:  It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

5. SNHNAICAIB:  Silent Night, Holy Night, All is Calm, All is Bright

6. OTFDOCMTLGTM:  One, Two, Four, D'oh!  Oh Crumb, My Time Long Gone To Math :D

7. DTHWBOHFLLLLLLLL:  Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly, Fa La La La La La La La La

8. YBWOYBNC:  You Buy What One Yearns, But No Coupon :D

9. JTTWTLHC:  Just That Tome With The Long Hip Chapters :D
Have a great weekend :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

All I Want For Christmas

A seasonal weekly meme hosted by Danya @ A Tapestry of Books.

Bloggers are invited to share a book on their holiday wish list every week until Xmas. Here's a new entry:

A book by Anne Tyler

One of:

Searching For Caleb
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
Breathing Lessons
Back When We Were Grownups

I read The Accidental Tourist a long time (too long ago) and was so drawn to the beautifully quirky characters she created that I realy need to revisit her work.  I have 4 Tyler titles that really interest me.   Has anyone read any of them?  What did you think?  I'm not one for prioritizing titles by the same author, but I'd love to get an idea of which one I should go with next :)