Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Grammar Girl

Have you checked out Grammar Girl? She offers quick and dirty grammar tips through weekly podcasts. Some of her episodes include

Between Me and You
When Is "W" a Vowel?
What Is the Plural of Scissors?

This is my favorite episode.

Go here if you would like to sign up for the Grammar Girl Tip of the Day.

If you're not really into grammar, you can visit Quick and Dirty Tips for other podcasts from

The Dog Trainer
Get-it-Done Guy
Legal Lad
Nutrition Diva

and others.

The Grammar Girl link is featured in Sites to See at the left.

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays (started on Should Be Reading) asks you to:

Grab your current read (or a book on your shelf that you've been wanting to read but haven't yet). Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two teaser sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. Don't forget to share the title and author of the book in case someone is teased into reading. Please avoid spoilers!

I've posted my teaser below. Post yours in the comment section if you'd like to share as well!

Caroline drove fast, feeling reckless, her heart filling with an excitement as bright as the day. Because, really, what could ill omens matter now?

p. 69 of The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

Monday, March 30, 2009

Become a Follower

If you want to become a follower of the blog...

Go to the bottom left of the blog page.
Click on Follow.
Sign in using your yahoo (or gmail) email account.
(If someone else who uses your computer is signed in to yahoo, you must sign them out first.)
Once you sign in, you may have to click on Follow again.
You should then be added as a follower (with only a shadow for a picture).
You can then click on your shadow to edit the name and picture.
The picture you use must be small enough for blogger to allow you to use it (small meaning pixels/resolution), so you might have to resize it first.
You should then see your picture in the followers section.

Watch this tutorial from You Tube.

Post questions or problems in the comments.

Scroll down for a post on a new Site to See called Daily Lit.

New Site to See: Daily Lit

I just added this link at the left under Sites to See.

Daily Lit: Sparking your mind and imagination with great books and ideas in under 5 minutes a day.

How? Receive short book installments by email or RSS feed.
When? Choose the days and times you want to read.
Where? Read on any computer or mobile device (iPhone, Blackberry, etc).

Daily Lit features over 800 free books as well as many others! Browse them here.

I'm trying The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

Scroll down for Movie Mondays.

Movie Mondays

The Da Vinci Code

Book, 2003 by Dan Brown

Description from Goodreads:
An ingenious code hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. A desperate race through the cathedrals and castles of Europe. An astonishing truth concealed for centuries . . . unveiled at last.

While in Paris, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is awakened by a phone call in the dead of the night. The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum, his body covered in baffling symbols. As Langdon and gifted French cryptologist Sophie Neveu sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci—clues visible for all to see and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

Even more startling, the late curator was involved in a secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci—and he guarded a breathtaking historical secret. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle—while avoiding the faceless adversary who shadows their every move—the explosive, ancient truth will be lost forever.

Movie, 2006 directed by Ron Howard

Features: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany

Tagline: Seek the truth, seek the codes.

Remember: Priory of Sion, Opus Dei, Madonna (Virgin) of the Rocks, Fibonacci number

It seems that people either loved or hated this book. If you read it, did you love or hate it? Did you see the movie? You probably did since it was one of the highest grossing films of 2006. Although popular at the box office, the movie was not liked by critics. Most of its award nominations (no Oscar nominations) were for score, design and sound. So, what did you think of the movie compared to the book?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Survey

Once we start reading, I'll post a survey each Sunday about the book we've chosen for the month.

Based on the voting results, it looks like our first book will be Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen! Hope you're all excited to read it.

We've also chosen to meet on Sunday evenings. I'm thinking that means around 6pm or so? Let me know in the comments if you'd like to meet earlier or later than that and we'll go with the consensus. I'll post the first meeting date once I get some input on times.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Spotlight

Today's Saturday Spotlight features author Alice Hoffman.

Quick Facts

1. She was born in New York City on March 16, 1952.
2. Her first novel, Property Of, was written at the age of 21, while she was studying at Stanford.
3. She has published a total of 18 novels, two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults.
4. Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte’s masterpiece Wuthering Heights.
5. Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.

Visit her website to learn more about her books, including the latest, The Third Angel.

Have you read any of Hoffman's books? Do you recommend any particular one?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Feature Fridays

The first classic for Feature Fridays is Ethan Frome (1911) by Edith Wharton.

Foreword from Goodreads:

Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his difficult, suspicious, and hypochondriac wife, Zeena. But when Zeena's vivacious cousin enters their household as a hired girl, Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent.

In one of American fiction's finest and most intense narratives, Edith Wharton moves this ill-starred trio toward their tragic destinies. Different in both tone and theme from Wharton's other works, Ethan Frome has become perhaps her most enduring and most widely read novel.

Have you read Ethan Frome? Here's the beginning...

"I Had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story.

If you know Starkfield, Massachusetts, you know the post-office. If you know the post-office you must have seen Ethan Frome drive up to it, drop the reins on his hollow-backed bay and drag himself across the brick pavement to the white colonnade: and you must have asked who he was."

Read the entire book online at The Literature Page.

(If you've read this classic but want a quick refresher, go to Spark Notes. Beware of spoilers...it's a review/overview of the book.)

Did you read this book? Was it required reading through school? Do you generally like reading classic novels? Who is your favorite classic author or what is your favorite classic book?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday

Thoughts for Thursday is inspired by Booking Through Thursday. See BTT for other weekly comments and questions. Today's topic:

Have you ever stopped reading a book before finishing it?
Which book?
Have you ever had the urge to go back and finish it?

My thoughts...

I never finished reading The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. I actually liked the book but got frustrated every time I had to read the words "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili." Hypnerotomachia Poliphili is the book that inspired The Rule of Four. I do wonder about the ending, but I haven't finished it yet (it's been two years since I started it). Here's what Random House says about the book:

An ivy league murder, a mysterious coded manuscript, and the secrets of a Renaissance prince collide memorably in The Rule of Four — a brilliant work of fiction that weaves together suspense and scholarship, high art and unimaginable treachery.

Post your thoughts in the comment section.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Weekly Word Wednesdays

abandoned word: amarulence
bitterness; spite; scorn

You could feel the amarulence in her aura after the disastrous incident at the hairdresser.

Go to savethewords.org to adopt this word! Here's what they say:

Each year hundreds of words are dropped from the dictionary. Old words, wise words, hard-working words. Words that once led meaningful lives but now lie abandoned and forgotten. Do your part and help spread the word.

Why are words important? Words are the cornerstone of language. The more words we have, the richer our vocabulary. Words allow us to communicate precisely. Without the right word to describe something, well…we’d be speechless!

For more info go to savethewords.org.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

TEASER TUESDAYS (started on Should Be Reading) asks you to:

Grab your current read (or a book on your shelf that you've been wanting to read but haven't yet). Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. Don't forget to share the title and author of the book in case someone is "teased" into reading. Please avoid spoilers!

I've posted my teaser below. Post yours in the comment section if you'd like to share as well!

Then, I was shocked to remember that I was covered with blood. It could have looked to anyone as if I was the one who did it.

from Cage of Stars by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Movie Mondays

The Cider House Rules

Book, 1985 by John Irving

First published in 1985, The Cider House Rules is John Irving's sixth novel. Set in rural Maine in the first half of this century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch--saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud's, ether addict and abortionist. It is also the story of Dr. Larch's favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.

Movie, 1999 (nominated for Best Picture Oscar)

Screenplay: John Irving (Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay)
Features: Toby Maguire, Charlize Theron, Michael Caine (Oscar for Best Supporting Actor)

Movie Tagline: A story about how far we must travel to find the place where we belong.
Memorable Quote: Goodnight, you princes of Maine. You kings of New England.

Questions for you: Did you see the movie? Did you read the book? Which one did you prefer? Did you read the book before the movie? Do you feel that influenced your opinion of one or the other? Was this movie so successful because Irving was both the author and wrote the screenplay?

Post your answers in the comment section.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What You'll Find Here...

Movie Mondays: discuss a book-turned-movie

Teaser Tuesdays: share 2 lines from current read (started here)

Wednesday Wish List: feature a book from my to-be-read wish list

Weekly Word Wednesdays: present a lost word from Save the Words

Thoughts for Thursday: ask the blog readers about any topic on books and reading

Feature Fridays: feature a classic book

Saturday Spotlight: spotlight an author and some of their books

Sunday Survey: poll the club members about our current book selection

Borders Bestseller: feature a bestselling book (harcover fiction) from Borders online

Monthly Must-Read: share about a recently-realeased must-read book

Challenges: regular updates on ongoing reading challenges (Fill in the Gaps and seasonal challenges)

...and some other stuff!

Have you voted yet?


Welcome to our new book club, Novel Discussions! Our first book selection will be revealed on April 1st. Please vote in the poll at the right.
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