Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Love Creative People That Can Make A Dress From A Book!!

I discovered a cool looking dress made from a book on the Boing Boing website in an article titled Dress made from a book by Cory Doctorow.

Check out the dress by clicking on the link above. I think it's pretty cool looking!! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners: 101 Inspirational Stories of Energy, Endurance by Jack Canfield et al.

I enjoyed listening to the unabridged audio version of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners: 101 Inspirational Stories of Energy, Endurance by Jack Canfield et al. on compact disc.

I'm not a runner, but I have family members who are runners, so this audiobook appealed to me. Don't think you have to be a runner to enjoy listening to these running tales!

These running stories are inspirational and come in all shape and sizes. Some stories were sad, some were happy, and some were a combination of both. Most all of the running stories were heartwarming and thought provoking, but mostly these stories warmed one's soul. 

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

7 Ailments Named After Literary Characters

I came across an article on the Lit Reactor website titled 7 Horrifying Ailments Named After Literary Characters by Kimberly Turner. 

I didn't realize that there were that many ailments named after literary characters! Who would have guessed that there was such a thing as Rapunzel syndrome!?!?

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ernest Hemingway's Suggested Reading List & Writing Tips!

I discovered an interesting blog post titled Ernest Hemingway’s Suggested Reading List for an Aspiring Author by Scott P. Campbell on a blog called Thoughtkryme.

I always find it interesting to read what famous authors have to share in terms of writing advice as well as books they would recommend for aspiring writers to read. This type of information gives insight to a particular writer's style of writing and which books influenced them as writers.

Click on above link to read more!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Castle Cay by Lee Hanson

I read Castle Cay by Lee Hanson sometime in the past five to six weeks... I'm finally playing catch up with writing book reviews of books read!

Ms. Hanson is a new author to me as of this year. Her novel, 'Castle Cay', is a cozy mystery novel and the first in a series of books to feature the lead character of Julie O'Hara, a body language expert. 

'Castle Cay' is the second novel I've read by Lee Hanson. I enjoyed reading it much more than Ms. Hanson's novel, 'Mystral Murder', which was the third novel to feature Julie O'Hara.

Here's a book description from Lee Hanson's website:
When her best friend is murdered, Julie O'Hara, a body language expert, packs up her suspicion and flies from Florida to Boston for his funeral. Who could have killed rising artist Marc Solomon, and what does Castle Cay, the Solomons' mysterious Caribbean island, have to do with it? Before long, Julie's sixth-sense pulls a hidden string that unravels a deadly conspiracy...and her own troubled past.
I enjoyed the characters, storyline, and Lee Hanson's writing style very much in 'Castle Cay'. I would highly recommend reading 'Castle Cay' if you enjoy reading cozy mystery novels. 

I'm looking forward to reading 'Swan Song' by Lee Hanson, which is the second Julie O'Hara mystery novel!

Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mystral Murder by Lee Hanson

I read Mystral Murder by Lee Hanson in the last couple of months and am finally playing catch up with writing book reviews!

Ms. Hanson is a new author to me and 'Mystral Murder' is the first novel I've read by her. 'Mystral Murder' is a cozy mystery novel and is the third 
mystery novel to feature body language expert, Julie O'Hara.

I was initially drawn to 'Mystral Murder' because it is a cozy mystery novel, which is a genre I enjoy reading for fun. I was also drawn to this novel because the story line took place on a cruise ship. It also didn't hurt that I received the eBook version of this book for free!

'Mystral Murder' was an okay read for me. Not great, not horrible, but somewhere in the middle. The lead character, Julie O'Hara, is a body language expert, so she makes for a good detective. I liked her character a lot. I also liked the story line's premise, but some of the characters and how the story played out weren't that great. 

Here's a book description of 'Mystral Murder' from Lee Hanson's website:
For body language expert Julie O’Hara, writing a book called “Clues” had seemed like a logical next-step in her career, but she had never thought past the writing part. Catapulted into the spotlight by the book’s success, Julie is caught up in a whirlwind of publicity, the latest being a seminar aboard Holiday Cruise Lines gigantic ship, Mystral. It’s grin-and-bear-it time for Julie, until a woman she meets at the exclusive Captain’s Dinner takes a header overboard. Julie thinks back and realizes there was a lot of motive for murder spread around the Captain’s table…
Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

50 Places For Literary Lovers to Visit!

I discovered an article on Flavorwire titled 50 Places Every Literary Fan Should Visit by Jason Diamond. I was excited to discover that the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut is first on the list, as it is at the top of my list of literary places to visit!

There are other interesting literary places mentioned in the article above that I look forward to visiting and discovering in the coming years ahead. 

As a side note, I've actually visited the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur, California earlier this year and blogged about my experience there with my husband. Big Sur is a beautiful place to visit and the Henry Miller Memorial Library is a charming place to visit, but not spectacular as a 'memorial library' in my opinion.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

The following books didn't live up to my reading expectation.

1. Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott

This sounded like a novel with a great story line. It ended up being a lot different then what I thought it was going to be. I didn't like it much because of how the story unfolded. Nor did I like the ending.

2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I'd heard how great this memoir was by other readers. Yes, I enjoyed the concept of this memoir, but didn't like how Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about her experience.

I can honestly say that I enjoyed the movie version of this book so much better than the book itself, which is a first for me. I usually can't stand the movie version of any book I've read.

3. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Okay, umm, I'm aware that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is extraordinarily popular with readers. Curious about this novel, I wanted to see what all the fuss was surrounding this novel. After reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I can't figure out what readers see in this novel. Nothing personal folks, I just didn't enjoy reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

4. Rasputin's Daughter by Robert Alexander

I read Robert Alexander's book The Kitchen Boy, which is a novel about the last Tsar of Russia. I thoroughly loved reading The Kitchen Boy as it is well written and also because I enjoy reading novels that pertain to Russia. 

So, I decided to read Rasputin's Daughter thinking it would be just  as well written. I couldn't have been more disappointed with Rasputin's Daughter. It just wasn't as well written or at least wasn't that captivating.

5. Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris

I've read other books by David Sedaris and loved his wit and humor. Holidays On Ice was way too dark, bleak and negative for my taste.

6. The Old Man & the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Okay, I realize that I'm treading dangerously here by admitting publicly that The Old Man & the Sea didn't live up to the hype for me personally. 

Yes, I think Mr. Hemingway is an amazing writer and there's a reason he one the Nobel Prize for his contributions to the literary world. 

The Old Man & the Sea is a good story and I loved the imagery, but Ernest Hemingway's writing style does nothing to capture and keep my interest. I do not have the urge to read anything else he's written. I've tried to read a couple of his other works, but found them unable to keep my attention.

7. The House of Sand & Fog by Andre Dubus III

I still can't figure why some people like this novel so much. I purchased and read this novel when the Oprah Show had made it their book club selection. It sounded like an intriguing story filled with interesting characters and plot twists.

I found both the characters, their actions and the story line to be extremely irritating. There wasn't a single character I liked in this novel. I thought the leading character was an idiot, not worthy of any sympathy what so ever.

8. Cane River by Lalita Tademy

This book was another Oprah Book Club selection. The first half of Cane River was slow in my opinion, so I stopped reading this book because it didn't keep my interest. 

finally finished reading Cane River because of all the praise this novel had received. I will readily admit that the second half of the novel was a lot better than the first half, but I was still disappointed with this novel because a book should be (for the most part) engaging from start to finish. 

9. House of Women by Lynn Freed

I learned about this novel from O Magazine several years ago. The product description on the inside cover of this novel sounded like this book would make a wonderful read. I couldn't have been more wrong. The characters and story weren't to my liking and kind of bizzare. This book was disappointing to say the least for me anyway.

10. Thirty-Three Swoons by Martha Cooley

This book had good reviews online, so I purchased and read this book based on both the reviews and the book description on the back cover. The first few pages of Thirty-Three Swoons were awesome, but it went down hill fast after that for me. Thirty-Three Swoons just wasn't that fulfilling.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ever Wonder What Famous Authors Dislike??

I just read an article on BuzzFeed titled 12 Things Famous Authors Absolutely Hated by Erin La Rosa. It was interesting to learn about the things authors hated!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Learn How 8 Famous Chose Their Pen Names

Ever wonder how authors choose their pen names? I definitely have! I stumbled upon and article on The Week website titled How 8 famous writers chose their pen names by Matt Soniak and found it to be informative. I hope you enjoy reading it too!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bedroom Quirks of Ten Authors

I just read an article on Mental Floss titled The Bedroom Quirks of 10 Great Authors by Stacy Conradt. And yes, these ten authors have some unusual quirks! Click on the link about to read more.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

There have been many times during my life when I've read a book that has literally blown away any expectations I had about it prior to reading it. 

Here's a short list of books that exceeded my expectations. 

1. The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

I was a Russian language major in college. I'd heard about this Russian classic novel and how well loved it is by native speakers. The Master & Margarita initially sounded like bizarre novel to me and wasn't sure if I'd actually like reading it to be honest.

Well, The Master & Margarita surpassed my personal expectation and it has become one off my all time favorite novels.

2. The Scent of God by Beryl Singleton Bissell

The Scent of God is a memoir and one that I didn't expect that I would enjoy as much as I did.  Beryl Singleton Bissell becomes a cloistered nun and writes about her life leading up to becoming a nun. She ends up eventually deciding that being a nun isn't something she wants to be any longer. Along the way she meets and falls in love with a priest... The pair eventually marry. It's an intriguing memoir.

3. Grayson by Lynne Cox

Grayson is a work of nonfiction. The author Lynne Cox is a long distance swimmer. Ms. Cox shares her personal story about her encounter as a teenager with a baby whale off the coast of Seal Beach, California while on a long distance swim practice. A very heartwarming tale!

4. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

I'm an animal lover. I am proud to share my life with two loving Pomeranians, so I couldn't resist reading The Art of Racing in the Rain. What I didn't expect was how touched I would be from reading this novel. It's amazing! The story is told through the eyes/point of view of a dog named Enzo. I cried many times throughout this novel and smiled many times too. Right now, The Art of Racing in the Rain has been my favorite read of 2013!

5. The Sacred Well by Antoinette May

The Sacred Well is my first experience reading anything written by Antoinette May. This book was engaging and well written. I loved the story and how it is told. 

6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Okay, I must admit that the title of this novel had me curious about this novel and if it was as good as everyone said it was.

Once I started reading this novel, I couldn't put it down! It is written in a series of letters, which makes it fun to read. It takes place in England on the Channel Island of Guernsey and tells the story of German occupation during WWII and how the island's residents survived during this time period.

7. Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior by Temple Grandin

Animals in Translation is a work of nonfiction. I had been unaware of Temple Grandin's work prior to reading Animals in Translation. She's a gifted researcher and eloquent writer. Grandin sheds a lot of light on animal behavior. I learned so much about animals from reading this book.

8.  People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks is an amazing and gifted writer. I've read three of her novels and People of the Book is my favorite. The storytelling is amazing and extremely captivating from start to finish. 

9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

I read Sherman Alexie's book last year during Banned Books Week as it has been banned from school curricula. I highly recommend this book as it is told from a Native American perspective.... More specifically from the perspective of a teenage boy. It's a coming of age story and one that sheds light on the Native American experience. 

10. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

I thought this novel would be an easy, breezy read with little depth to it and forgettable story line and characters... Boy, was I wrong! It was very heartwarming & I loved reading it.

Share your book titles with me that have exceeded your expectations. I'm always on the hunt for books that transform my point of view!

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Becoming a Minimalist... Or Breaking One's Attachment to Books

If you're a book lover and an avid reader like myself, then becoming a minimalist or breaking your attachment to books is an alien concept that is difficult to wrap one's brain around. The very thought of letting go of books is a rough one.

I currently have books that fall into one of two categories as follows:

1) Books that are part of my permanent collection. All of these book titles are ones that I intend to keep (hopefully) as part of my permanent collection, but may need to pair down depending on various factors.

2) Book titles I've acquired and registered on Bookcrossing. These book titles I plan to enjoy reading sometime down the road and then release for the next reader to enjoy. It'll be easier to let go of these book titles once I've read them, but not until then.

The thing is, I currently feel kind of overwhelmed by the amount of books I have in my collection. This is something I NEVER thought would EVER cross my mind... Let alone say out loud or write about in a blog post for the public at large to read. 

As a book lover how can someone have too many books?? Maybe it isn't that I have too many books, but that I currently lack enough space in my home to store all of my books? Sure, I have three small bookcases, but I have more books than will fit on them. So, books are piling up everywhere around our home -- FAST!! -- as I tend to accumulate books faster than I can read through them. Buying more bookcases will not fix the issue as many of the books in my collection are books that I plan to read and release for Bookcrossing.

It has occurred to me, that perhaps the best way to remedy my current situation is to go through my entire book collection and reduce the amount of books in my collection. 

Lucky for me, I came across an article last month titled Breaking The Sentimental Attachment To Books by Robyn Devine on a website called Becoming Minimalist. In this article, six helpful tips are given to help reduce the amount of books in one's collection. Let's see how it goes, in breaking my sentimental attachment to books!

How attached are you to your book collection? Share your thoughts about how you determine which books stay in your collection and which ones you cull from your collection.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Make an Origami Book!

Check out this very cool You Tube video to learn how to make your very own book using origami paper!! What a nifty craft idea!!

I haven't tried making this craft project yet, but I look forward to seeing if I can successfully complete it. I'm not very experienced at making origami objects as I've only made three origami items and this was several years ago. In fact, the origami items I made at the time were meant for newbies like myself... This origami book looks like a fairly advanced origami project, but I'm not deterred at attempting to make it. It's all about the journey, right?

What I like most about this origami book is that once it is complete, you can write a message on the pages contained within it!

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Duchess of Death: The Unauthorized Biography of Agatha Christie by Richard Hack

Unabridged Audiobook 10 CDs
I've been an Agatha Christie fan for many years now and have read several of her novels and short stories during my high school and college years and beyond.

I can't remember when I first became acquainted with Agatha Christie's novels and short stories exactly. All I can add is that after reading one of her novels, I was hooked!

Surprisingly enough though, I've known very little about her personal life -- Other than a few tidbits of information learned here and there throughout the years. 

So, when I came across the unabridged audio version of Duchess of Death: The Unauthorized Biography of Agatha Christie by Richard Hack earlier this year, I decided to buy and listen to it.

This memoir is read by British actor Nicolas Coster and I felt he did a wonderful job of bringing life to 'Duchess of Death: The Unauthorized Biography of Agatha Christie'

I also enjoyed learning a lot of interesting information about the life of Agatha Christie that I would have never know otherwise.... Like the fact that she was a shy person and fairly humble about her success as an author/writer. I was also surprised by how well traveled Ms. Christie was. I was also impressed to learn how much time she actually spent at the archeological sites with her second husband, archeologist Max Mallowan.

My only major complaint about 'Duchess of Death: The Unauthorized Biography of Agatha Christie' is that it was a bit on the dry side and slow in certain sections. Otherwise it was a wonderful memoir and one worth discovering, especially if you're an Agatha Christie enthusiast. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Penguin Book Cover Wallpaper

Penguin Book Cover Wallpaper
 Do you love books?? Are you looking to create the perfect look for your library or den?? Well, then look no further! I discovered Penguin Book Cover Wallpaper through the i09 website and learned the following information:
Fabric and wallpaper maker Osborne & Little started offering a Penguin Library wallpaper, based on the classic tri-band cover design. It's a lovely tribute to both the graphic design and the experience of coming across a weathered Penguin paperback.
Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Second Quarter Reading Update!

I can't believe that half the year has already past! Boy, where has the time gone?!?! With half the year over with already, I thought I'd update my reading statistics. To date, I've read twenty-three books since the beginning of 2013. 

In the last three months, I've read or listened to the following eleven book titles:

The Prodigal Daughter by Jeffery Archer
Making the Rounds With Oscar by David Dosa
S is For Silence by Sue Grafton
Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart
The Moonlit Mind by Dean Koontz
Mystral Murder by Lee Hanson
Nosebleed by Ged Maybury
Castle Cay by Lee Hanson
Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts
Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief: Guided Practices for Reclaiming Your Body and Your Life by Jon Kabit-Zinn 
Flashy Fiction and Other Insane Tales 2 by Jen Wylie & Sean Hayden

I'd say that of the eleven book titles read this past quarter, the following four books were my favorites:

Making the Rounds With Oscar by David Dosa 
Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart  
Nosebleed by Ged Maybury 
Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief: Guided Practices for Reclaiming Your Body and Your Life by Jon Kabit-Zinn

So, how books have you read in the past quarter? Which ones were your favorite(s)?