Thursday, August 5, 2010

Trying to fight the urge to add to my collection


So when I started this endeavor, my shelves were stuffed.  Now, they're overflowing.

Some of my favorite book retailers have had some awesome clearance sales in the past year, and I couldn't help it.  I'm not going to say how many books I've added to my collection, but let's just say that I can't fit any more in there.

Amazon has had a lot of really great free books for my Kindle, too, so I've got enough reading material to last me...well...years!

My problem: I am totally hooked on getting a good deal on books.  And I like keeping my books because I re-read them and refer to them from time to time.  But I think I am going to have to put a hold on my book store perusing for a while.  My shelf is just too full!  I better take a chaperon with me the next time I think of going to the book store.

Big sigh... 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Who says a grown up can't read Dr. Seuss?

You're Only Old Once! A Book for Obsolete ChildrenI know what you're thinking. "Come on, Aimee. You can't count a Dr. Seuss book." Well, it's my list and I say I can. Okay, so I wouldn't count reading Green Eggs and Ham or Oh, Say Can You Say Di-no-saur? both of which I've read in the past week to my children.  But reading You're Only Old Once! A Book for Obsolete Children - I think that one I can safely add to the list.

I laughed so hard when I saw the name of this book that I couldn't help resist getting it.  I have decided that it will now be my gift of choice to the octogenarians in my life.

It's hard to believe that the classic author Theodor Seuss Geisel has been gone for almost 19 years.  He seems as alive today as he did when I was younger because of his many books.

You're Only Old Once! A Book for Obsolete Children was released on Mr. Geisel's 82nd birthday and spent over a year on the New York Times Best Seller List.  It was the first book he had written for grown ups since the 1930's.

An obvious quick read, many people of a certain age would agree that Dr. Seuss was right on the money with his description of getting older and the physical changes and ailments that come with that.  I also gave this book to my Aunt Anita for her 80th birthday, and enjoyed hearing her laugh in many different places.

So I encourage thee
to by two or three
of this fabulous book
or at least take a look.
The surprise will be yours
and I simply implore,
"You're Only Old Once!"
will give you pleasure galore.

Now...on a personal note...

I didn't have any Dr. Seuss books while growing up.  (Insert your shock and awe here.)  My mom, then a preschool teacher and now a kindergarten teacher's aid, felt they were too "busy" and didn't include any in our vast library of chidren's literature.  I always thought I was missing something.

Although I don't have the Dr. Seuss books added to my grand list of "books to read in my lifetime" (I will write more about that list at some point), I do want to take one day and read all 60+ books in the Dr. Seuss library.  I will have to go to the library to get these since I will most likely not acquire them any time soon, that is, unless one of my readers is a generous benefactor and would like to buy them for me.  I am willing to take pretty much any donations willing to be given!

(DISCLAIMER TO MY HUSBAND:  I am not responsible for any eye rolling you may do as I expand my literary library.  You have a recording studio, I should be allowed my library.  And don't give me that look about my yarn either!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Secrets revealed in this Alcott favorite

The Mysterious Key and What It OpenedThe Mysterious Key and What It Opened is among many of the stories in my Kindle library of Louisa May Alcott works.  I was looking for a quick and easy book to read before Jodi Picoult's House Rules came out this past March, and this novella definitely fit the bill.

Oh the secret being hidden in the Trevlyn home!  For years, this secret has been hidden away from everyone, and is under lock and key.  Will it reveal a betrayal?  Maybe a fortune?  Could it tell us all the meaning of life?  Or maybe all of the above?  Well, I won't give it away here.  You'll have to read this work to find out.

It's a quick read and not all too heavy in subject, but very enjoyable.  This is an appropriate read for, I would say, ages 9 and up.  If you have someone in your life who likes Louisa May Alcott, you may want to suggest this novella.  It's not your typical Alcott literature, and is a good example of her writing versatility. 

And, I'm happy to report, you, too, can read this book for free.  I downloaded it to my Kindle to read through Amazon.com, but you can also find it Gutenberg.org and Google Books

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mr. Pim Passes By and He Should Have Kept Going

The acting edition of Mr. Pim passes by; a comedy in three acts by A. A. MilneWhat's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of author A.A. Milne?  Winnie-the-Pooh, right?  That's what I thought, too, until I learned that Mr. Milne was also the author of many plays.  So I decided to read Mr. Pim Passes By; a comedy in three acts and upon completion exclaimed, "Oh bother."

Words of wisdom - if Mr. Pim shows up on your doorstep, don't let him in.  Tell him he has the wrong house, and to visit your least favorite neighbor.  That's what they should have done in the Marden household when Mr. Pim showed up and his brief visit turned their world on end for, well, a day, but what a day of trouble it was!

Mr. Pim Passes By is a silly story and pretty quick to read.  If you're looking for something quick and quirky, give this play a spin.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Felt a bit like Romeo & Juliet, but darker

The Duchess Of Padua I know what you're thinking.  How could Romeo and Juliet possibly be any darker?  Answer: Have Oscar Wilde write The Duchess Of Padua.

Guido is given the task of avenging his father's death and his mother's unfortunate demise shortly after when he falls for the Duchess of Padua.  The Duchess, of course, is married to the Duke so this poses an issue for their love and quite the quandary for Guido.

They court in the shadows, plot murder, yada yada yada, people die in the end (I don't want to give away the ending, but it's pretty close to that of Romeo and Juliet, just a little more twisted).

Now with that said, I found so much beauty in this play that my Kindle has many highlighted notes throughout the work. 

"Ask of the sea-bird if it loves the sea,
Ask of the roses if they love the rain,
Ask of the little lark, that will not sing
Till day break, if it loves to see the day:-
And yet, these are but empty images,
Mere shadows of my love, which is a fire
So great that all the waters of the main
Can not avail to quench it."

DUCHESS  "The first day that I saw you
I let you take my heart away from me;
Unwilling thief, that without meaning it
Did break into my fenced treasury
And filch my jewel from it!  O strange theft,
Which made you richer though you knew it not,
And left me poorer, and yet glad of it!"

GUIDO  "O love, love, love!  Nay, sweet, lift up your head,
Let me unlock those little scarlet doors
That shut in music, let me dive for coral
In your red lips, and I'll bear back a prize
Richer than all the gold the Gryphon guards
In Rude Armenia."


Whew!  Now that's hot.  Unfortunately, this is literary blindness.  As reality usually shows, passion like this is not forever.

And of course, there are a few quotes that just made me giggle:

MORANZONE  "Is the Duke dead?"

SECOND CITIZEN  "He has a knife in his heart, which they say is not healthy for any man."

All in all, a good read.  This was my first Oscar Wilde reading experience, and I do have to say it was a good one.  Plays are always faster reads for me, so it was a break from some of the longer books I've been reading.






 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why I love my Kindle

Kindle DX Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G, 9.7" Display, White, 3G Works Globally – 2nd Generation
 

 My Kindle, my Kindle
How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways...





While I still enjoy picking up a real book and reading it (and Lord knows I have enough of them), I truly enjoy my Kindle.

Thanks to a very generous benefactor, I was given a Kindle DX last year.  Since then, I have added over 820 titles to my Kindle library.

Insert your shock and awe here.

Here's the best part: about 800 of those titles were free.  FREE!  As in no money has been deducted from my checking account to have these books put on my Kindle.  Now who can beat that?

I know what you're thinking.  Aimee - you started this blog to read through the books on your shelves.  It will take you years to read all these books!

And I totally agree with you.  But at the same time, if I'm reading a book and it references a piece of literature that I've not read, I basically have it at my fingertips to either read or look up the referenced passage.

I can highlight in the books, add notes, and my Kindle even reads to me!  It's one of my treasured gadgets and I highly recommend it.

And did I mention that you can get a book in a matter of seconds at any time of the day or night, even if you're in bed or on the beach or waiting as you're getting your oil changed?

This week, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced that "Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books."  Click here to read the entire news release.

So if you're in the market for an e-reader, I would suggest the Kindle or the Kindle DX.  You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is anything ever bad at Tiffany's?

If you were to ask my best friend, she would say no.  I would have to agree!

Sundays at Tiffany'sBook #9 on my list this year was Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet.

Now before you dive into this one, please take my advice: abandon the literal, embrace the whimsy, and enjoy the dream.  What else should you do when you're reading a story about a woman falling in love with her childhood imaginary friend? 

Sweetly written, Sundays at Tiffany's is basically a modern day, grown-up fairytale.  As kids, we read about the trials and tribulations of Snow White and Cinderella with their wicked stepmothers.  Jane Margaux's mother is the less-than-ideal parent in this story.  Jane comes across a frog or two before finding her Prince Charming in a manner that one only reads in...well...fairytales.

Overall, it's a very easy and quick read.  I highly recommend crashing on the couch with a nice cup of tea for this read.  It will be a fabulous journey that will take you away from reality for just a short time.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Tribute to Eleanor Taylor Bland

We lost an amazing writer last month that I wanted to take a moment to honor.

Eleanor Taylor Bland, the author of the 13 Marti MacAlister mystery novels, passed away June 2, 2010 after battling cancer.  My mother had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Bland years ago before I was born, and I had the honor of presenting with her at a Career Day for young children in Waukegan about 10 years ago.

For years, I knew that my mother worked with Mrs. Bland in the 70's, and that she was a great fan of her books.  When she introduced herself to me, I got all goose bumpy and told her what a fan my mother was.  When I told her that she worked with my mom, Mrs. Bland gave me a big hug and said "I was at your mother's baby shower when she was pregnant with you!"

I watched in total awe of Mrs. Bland as she explained to the children about being an author, writing books, and having the honor of being the first female African-American mystery writer.  I would have gladly given her my time to talk (her occupation was much more interesting than the radio career I was supposed to talk about - although I was just at the "beginning" of my career which ended up not panning out for me).

I'm proud to be able to say that I shared a moment in my life with this beautiful person, and that her presence in this world will be greatly missed.  She definitely made an impression on me.

If you're in the mood for a great mystery series, check out The Marti MacAlister Mysteries by Eleanor Taylor Bland:
  1. Dead Time (Marti MacAlister Mysteries)
  2. Slow Burn (Marti MacAlister Mystery)
  3. Gone Quiet
  4. Done Wrong (Marti MacAlister Mysteries)
  5. Keep Still (Marti MacAlister Mysteries)
  6. See No Evil (Marti MacAlister Mysteries)
  7. Tell No Tales (Marti MacAlister Mysteries)
  8. Scream in Silence (Marti MacAlister Mysteries)
  9. Whispers in the Dark: A Marti MacAlister Mystery
  10. Windy City Dying: A Marti MacAlister Mystery
  11. Fatal Remains (Bland, Eleanor Taylor)
  12. A Cold and Silent Dying (M. Vineyard Mysteries)
  13. A Dark and Deadly Deception

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's been 4 months since my last post....and I've read 14 more books!

Entirely too much has happened in the life of Miss Aimee.  Some good, some not so good, but I'm still trekking along with my goal to read as many books as I can this year.

This has been my last 4 months in a nutshell...

-  Oldest child spent Easter in the hospital (he's fine, we still don't know what was wrong with him).

-  Threw a birthday party for the younger child.

-  Tore my ACL and had to have reconstructive surgery (still going through therapy).

-  My best friend told me that she's having a baby (let the crocheting begin!).

-  Another pair of friends announced their engagement (uh-oh...more crocheting necessary).

-  I read 14 more books!

-  I bought entirely too many books that were on the clearance rack.  My husband is beginning to fear that my stuffed shelves are going to break through the floor (I am not so concerned).

So now I'm slowly trying to update things as I get things back on track.  And in the mean time, I'll still be reading!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bravo, Jodi Picoult! House Rules is Great!

House Rules: A NovelI finished reading House Rules: A Novel by Jodi Picoult.  It's the story about an 18-year-old boy named Jacob Hunt who has Asperger's Syndrome, is very interested in forensics and crime solving, and finds himself accused of murder.

I always find the level of research Jodi Picoult does for her novels amazing, and the research for this particular project was even more fascinating.  When I went to her book signing, Jodi Picoult explained the research she did by talking to families with children with Asperger's as well as people with the syndrome.  If you've never met a person who has Autism or Asperger's Syndrome, this will give you a better idea of the impact it has on the person and their family.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I would rate this book a 3.5.  It's a good read.  The ending seemed a little rushed and flat to me, but overall it was good.

To read more about House Rules: A Novel by Jodi Picoult on Amazon.com, click here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I don't care how old you are - Wonder Woman is forever cool!

Wonder Woman: Love and Murder SC (Wonder Woman (Graphic Novels))A few weeks ago, I read Wonder Woman: Love and Murder SC by Jodi Picoult.  I have to admit, it's been quite a few years since I've read a comic book and I really only bought this one because it was written by Jodi Picoult, but it reminded me how much I really enjoy Wonder Woman.

It's been decades since I dawned my Wonder Woman under-roos or watched The Justice League cartoons, but reading Wonder Woman: Love and Murder SC made me feel nostalgic. 

The Amazon Warrior disguised as Special Agent Diana Prince is given the assignment of capturing Wonder Woman while evil is hiding in the shadows.  Whatever is a super hero to do?

This was another quick read for me.  It is a well written story that's exciting, and as any good comic book does, makes you just want to read more.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's Jodi Picoult New Book Day!

House Rules: A NovelFor me, today is the day I pick up Jodi Picoult's latest novel, House Rules.  It's a story about a teenage boy with Asperger's Syndrome, which greatly affects his family.  When he gets accused, the family begins to tear at the seams.

To date, I have read 10 of Jodi Picoult's 18 books listed below in the order that I read them):

My favorite of what I've read is My Sister's Keeper, although the movie, in my opinion, did not do Ms. Picoult's novel justice.  The director strayed from the story too much, and for a writer who's known for her endings, the movie was greatly disappointing.  But, the book is fabulous and is the one I recommend people read first when I recommend Jodi Picoult.

My least favorite book of hers, unfortunately, was the one she release last year, Handle with Care.  First, let me say that the story was told well and beautifully written.  I did not like one of the main characters, though, throughout the entire book.  This coupled with the ending which I did not like at all makes this book the one I recommend that people don't read. 

This didn't sour me on Ms. Picoult's books, though.  I continue to look forward to each of her new creations and getting drawn into the towns and people she writes about in her many pages.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What I'm Reading Now...

Here's a quick update of what I'm up to now since I'm a little behind in writing about what I've read so far this year.

Betsy-Tacy (Betsy-Tacy Books)Last night, I began reading Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace.  It's the first in the Betsy-Tacy book series.

I'm only a couple pages into the series, so I can't provide too much feedback yet.  I saw one of the books in the series when I was at the bookstore a few months back, and I figured I should start at the beginning of the series so I don't miss anything.

I also wanted a quick read before I pick up Jodi Picoult's new novel on House Rules Wednesday.  It came out last Tuesday, but I'm going to a book signing next week and couldn't get to the bookstore to pick it up earlier (by the way, I am SOOOOO excited!).


Stuart LittleMy son and I are also reading Stuart Little by E.B. White one chapter at a time before bed.  To the best of my recollection, I have not read Stuart Little (insert shock and awe here), so I am very excited about reading now with my little guy.

I don't know why I never got around to reading this when I was younger.  It may be one of those that I started reading at one point, but never finished.  I was very good at that, kind of like the pile of crochet projects I have in my living room that are half done.  Some things never change!


Chicago: A BiographyI am still plugging away at Dominic Pacyga's Chicago: A Biography.  I said it before and I'll say it again: it took me 12 weeks to take Dr. Pacyga's class.  I am taking my time to finish his book!

Right now, I'm still only about 50 pages into the book.  I'm just about at the Civil War.  I just read about the outbreaks of cholera, and am thankful that I'm here during this era instead of then.