Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weekly Word Wednesdays

lacking eyebrows

Despite being epalpebrate after that freak accident, she still looks as beautiful as ever.

A form of this word is still used in anatomy and medicine. The levator palpebrae superioris muscle is used to elevate the upper eyelid. Damage or weakness to the muscle (or its nerve) can cause ptosis. This is a very fitting word of the day...My dad is having both of his levator palpebrae superioris muscles tightened on Friday!

Adopt this word and others at Save the Words!

Borders Bestseller

What's hot now?

Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates

Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates is a riveting story of love violently lost and found in late 20th century America. In this novel, Oates returns to the Buffalo, New York, region to brilliantly explore the dangerous intersections of romance and eroticism, guilt and obsession, desire and murder. Little Bird of Heaven, a soaring work by the New York Times bestselling author, is as powerful and unforgettable as Joyce Carol Oates’s previous acclaimed novels The Gravedigger’s Daughter and We Were the Mulvaneys.

Sounds like yet another good one by Joyce Carol Oates! Read an excerpt here.

Tuesday, September 29, 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 read or been wanting to read). Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two (or a few) teaser sentences from that page. 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!

However, if we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the questions of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason--for then we would know the mind of God.

p.175 of A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Monday, September 28, 2009

Movie Mondays

Mystic River

Book, 2001 by Dennis Lehane

When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car pulled up to their street. One boy got into the car, two did not, and something terrible happened -- something that ended their friendship and changed all three boys forever.

Twenty-five years later, Sean is a homicide detective. Jimmy is an ex-con who owns a corner store. And Dave is trying to hold his marriage together and keep his demons at bay -- demons that urge him to do terrible things. When Jimmy's daughter is found murdered, Sean is assigned to the case. His investigation brings him into conflict with Jimmy, who finds his old criminal impulses tempt him to solve the crime with brutal justice. And then there is Dave, who came home the night Jimmy's daughter died covered in someone else's blood.

A tense and unnerving psychological thriller, Mystic River is also an epic novel of love and loyalty, faith and family, in which people irrevocably marked by the past find themselves on a collision course with the darkest truths of their own hidden selves.

Movie, 2003 directed by Clint Eastwood

Features: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon

Tagline: We bury our sins, we wash them clean.

Awards: Nominated for 6 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress; Sean Penn won Best Actor and Tim Robbins won Best Supporting Actor.

Have you read the book or seen the movie?

I've seen this one but haven't read it. This is another one that I wish I'd read before seeing. As good as the movie was, I'm sure the book was even better.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Group Pictures--Through the Window

We had another great meeting...don't forget to lock your door tonight!

Meeting Today!

We're meeting today at Linda's house @2pm to discuss Through the Window! See you there.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is A. Manette Ansay.

1. She was born in Michigan but grew up in Wisconsin.
2. She attended the Peabody Conservatory of Music as a piano performance major.
3. Her health began to fail after 2 years at the conservatory and she was misdiagnosed with MS; she was bedridden until 1987 but then began using a wheelchair to get around as her health improved (cause of problems still unknown).
4. She earned her MFA from Cornell.
5. She held a lectureship at Cornell for 2 years after graduating.
6. Her first novel, Vinegar Hill, was published in 1994 and was later chosen for Oprah's Book Club in 1999.

7. She was a professor at Vanderbilt for 4 years.
8. While teaching at Vanderbilt, she published 2 books: a story collection called Read This and Tell Me What It Says, and her second novel, Sister.

9. She published a memoir, Limbo, in 2001.

10. Her seventh book, Blue Water, is a novel that draws on her experiences living aboard a sailboat.

11. She is currently a professor at the University of Miami.
12. Her latest book is called Good Things I Wish You.

Have you read any of her books?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is Mrs. Dalloway (1925) by Virginia Woolf.

As Clarissa Dalloway walks through London on a fine June morning, a sky-writing plane captures her attention. Crowds stare upwards to decipher the message while the plane turns and loops, leaving off one letter, picking up another. Like the airplane's swooping path, Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway follows Clarissa and those whose lives brush hers--from Peter Walsh, whom she spurned years ago, to her daughter Elizabeth, the girl's angry teacher, Doris Kilman, and war-shocked Septimus Warren Smith, who is sinking into madness.

As Mrs. Dalloway prepares for the party she is giving that evening, a series of events intrudes on her composure. Her husband is invited, without her, to lunch with Lady Bruton (who, Clarissa notes anxiously, gives the most amusing luncheons). Meanwhile, Peter Walsh appears, recently from India, to criticize and confide in her. His sudden arrival evokes memories of a distant past, the choices she made then, and her wistful friendship with Sally Seton.

Woolf then explores the relationships between women and men, and between women, as Clarissa muses, "It was something central which permeated; something warm which broke up surfaces and rippled the cold contact of man and woman, or of women together.... Her relation in the old days with Sally Seton. Had not that, after all, been love?" While Clarissa is transported to past afternoons with Sally, and as she sits mending her green dress, Warren Smith catapults desperately into his delusions. Although his troubles form a tangent to Clarissa's web, they undeniably touch it, and the strands connecting all these characters draw tighter as evening deepens. As she immerses us in each inner life, Virginia Woolf offers exquisite, painful images of the past bleeding into the present, of desire overwhelmed by society's demands.

Read Mrs. Dalloway online.

If you've already read it, take a quiz to test your memory.

Did you know that Mrs. Dalloway was the inspiration for Michael Cunningham's novel The Hours?

Have you read Mrs. Dalloway?

Are you participating in the Fall Challenge?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday

Do you have any favorite last lines from a book? Why was the ending so memorable for you?

"He loved Big Brother."

If you've read 1984, you definitely remember the last sentence. The first time I read it, I wished Orwell would have explained whether Winston was executed or not. But now I realize that it doesn't matter...the mental torture was worse than death anyway.

Find other thoughts at BTT.

Are you participating in the Fall Challenge?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Borders Bestseller

What's hot now?

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Why do some people succeed far more than others?
There is a story that is usually told about extremely successful people, a story that focuses on intelligence and ambition. In Outliers Malcolm Gladwell argues that the true story of success is very different, and that if we want to understand how some people thrive, we should spend more time looking around them--at such things as their family, their birthplace, or even their birth date. The story of success is more complex--and a lot more interesting--than it initially appears.

Outliers explains what the Beatles and Bill Gates have in common, the extraordinary success of Asians at math, the hidden advantages of star athletes, why all top New York lawyers have the same resume, and the reason you've never heard of the world's smartest man--all in terms of generation, family, culture, and class. It matters what year you were born if you want to be a Silicon Valley billionaire, Gladwell argues, and it matters where you were born if you want to be a successful pilot. The lives of outliers--those people whose achievements fall outside normal experience--follow a peculiar and unexpected logic, and in making that logic plain Gladwell presents a fascinating and provocative blueprint for making the most of human potential.
Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer with The New Yorker magazine since 1996. He has authored 3 books, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, and Outliers: The Story of Success, all of which were number one New York Times bestsellers. In 2005 he was named one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People.

Have you read any of his books? Tony thinks we should read one for the book club. He says they are "real" books.

Are you participating in the Fall Challenge?

Weekly Word Wednesdays


His ingordigious girlfriend was unhappy with her engagement ring, so he's back working the night shift for another year.

Adopt this word and others at Save the Words.

Are you participating in the Fall Challenge?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Reading Challenge

Summer is officially over and the first day of fall is here! I think 10 books for summer was definitely too much, so the Fall Reading Challenge will be a little more manageable. Here's the challenge:

1. Read a classic book that you've always wanted to read.
2. Read a biography, autobiography or memoir of a famous person that you admire.
3. Read a book on your shelf that you've owned for more than a year.

You have the entire fall season from September 22nd-December 21st to complete the challenge. Will you be participating?

Here are the books I've chosen:

1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

2. Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox

3. A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve

Can you do it? If you want to participate, let me know what books you'll be reading.

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 read or been wanting to read). Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two teaser sentences from that page. 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!

My teaser is a little different today. It's a whole mini-segment taken from Weird Nature: An Astonishing Exploration of Nature's Stangest Behavior by John Downer. The book is organized into 5 sections: marvelous motion, bizarre breeding, fantastic feeding, devious defenses, puzzling partners and peculiar potions. My teaser is taken from the bizarre breeding section, p. 48-9.

Once spring arrives, the thoughts of the male Antechinus turn to sex and little else. These tree-dwelling sex maniacs indulge in bouts of lovemaking that may last 12 hours at a time. As one passionate session ends, another begins with a different female. The orgy may involve 16 partners, and the male that services all these females has little time left to eat, drink, or sleep. After many nights of wild passion the males begin to look a little worse for the wear--they become thin and haggard, and their hair starts to fall out. To make matters worse, battles with rivals inflict further injuries. Soon the tree-top orgy becomes risky, and many plummet to the ground in a state of exhaustion. Some even expire while in flagrante seducto. In just two weeks all the males are dead, and the females are left behind to bring up the babies.

The book was developed from the Discovery series of the same name.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Movie Mondays

Snow Falling on Cedars

Book, 1995 by David Guterson

This is the kind of book where you can smell and hear and see the fictional world the writer has created, so palpably does the atmosphere come through. Set on an island in the straits north of Puget Sound, in Washington, where everyone is either a fisherman or a berry farmer, the story is nominally about a murder trial. But since it's set in the 1950s, lingering memories of World War II, internment camps and racism helps fuel suspicion of a Japanese-American fisherman, a lifelong resident of the islands. It's a great story, but the primary pleasure of the book is Guterson's renderings of the people and the place.

Movie, 1999 directed by Scott Hicks

Features: Ethan Hawke, Youki Kudoh

Tagline: First loves last. Forever.

Awards: Nominated for Best Cinematography Oscar

Did you know? Many of the extras in the scene where the Japanese are sent to internment camps were Japanese-Americans who had actually been sent to the camps in the 1940s.

Have you read the book or seen the movie?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

October Book Choices!

Mary is hosting the October meeting. Here's the info on her 3 book choices.

Casting Off by Nicole Dickson

On a tiny island off the west coast of Ireland, the fishermen’s handmade sweaters tell a story. Each is unique—feelings stitched into rows, memories into patterns.

It is here that Rebecca Moray comes to research a book on Irish knitting. With her daughter, Rowan, accompanying her, she hopes to lose herself in the history of the island and forget her own painful past. Soon, the townsfolk’s warm embrace wraps Rebecca and Rowan in a world of friendship, laughter, and love.

And it is here that young Rowan befriends Sean Morahan, a cantankerous old fisherman, despite his attempts to scare her off. As Rebecca watches her daughter interact with Morahan, she recognizes in his eyes a look that speaks of a dark knowledge not unlike her own. And when current storms threaten to resurrect old ones, Morahan and Rebecca find themselves on a collision course—with Rowan caught between them—each buffeted by waves of regret and recrimination. Only by walking headfirst into the winds will they find the faith to forgive without forgetting…and reach the shore.

By the Time You Read This by Lola Jaye

This is a manual for my daughter Lois. Here are the rules:

1. You must only read each new entry on your birthday, there is one for every year until you are thirty.
2. This is a private manual between you and me.
3. No peeping at the next entry unless it's your birthday!

When Lois Bates is handed the manual, she can barely bring herself to read it as the pain of losing her dad is still so raw. Yet soon his advice is guiding her through every stange of her life - from first love and relationships to her career.

The manual can never be a substitute for having her dad back, but through his words Lois learns to start living again, and discoveres that happiness is waiting around the corner...

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel

When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965, Mooreland, Indiana, was a sleepy little hamlet of three hundred people. Nicknamed "Zippy" for the way she would bolt around the house, this small girl was possessed of big eyes and even bigger ears. In this witty and lovingly told memoir, Kimmel takes readers back to a time when small-town America was caught in the amber of the innocent postwar period–people helped their neighbors, went to church on Sunday, and kept barnyard animals in their backyards.

Laced with fine storytelling, sharp wit, dead-on observations, and moments of sheer joy, Haven Kimmel's straight-shooting portrait of her childhood gives us a heroine who is wonderfully sweet and sly as she navigates the quirky adult world that surrounds Zippy.

Vote for the one that sounds the best!

Sunday Survey

Anyone finished with Through the Window? One week left!

5=I love it!
4=I really like it.
3=I like it.
2=It's just okay.
1=I don't like it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Tickets go on sale for Little House on the Prairie the Musical next Saturday the 26th at 1:00pm! Who wants to go? We need a plan for ticket ordering.

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is Joyce Carol Oates.

1. She was born June 16, 1938 in Lockport, New York.
2. She was the first in her family to complete high school.
3. She attended Syracuse on scholarship and graduated as valedictorian in 1960.
4. She then received her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
5. She published her first novel, With Shuddering Fall (1964), when she was 26.

6. In 1966, she published "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?", a short story dedicated to Bob Dylan and loosely based on the serial killer Charles Schmid.

7. Her novel them received the National Book Award in 1970.

8. Since 1970 she has published an average of two books a year, with a common theme of violence.
9. In 1996, she published We Were the Mulvaneys, which was selected for Oprah's Book Club and quickly became a bestseller.

10. She has written under the pen names of "Rosamond Smith" and "Lauren Kelly."
11. She is a member of Mensa.
12. Her novels Black Water (1992), What I Lived For (1994), and Blonde (2000) were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

13. She has published over fifty novels, as well as many volumes of short stories, poetry, and non-fiction.
14. She has been a professor at Princeton since 1978.
15. She has been one of the leading American novelists since the 1960s.

For years she has been considered a favorite to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Do you think she will win? Which of her books have you read?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962) by Ken Kesey.

Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is the seminal novel of the 1960s that has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy's heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome powers that keep them all imprisoned.

Did you know? The book is a product of Kesey's time working as an orderly at a mental health facility in Menlo Park. He formed relationships with the patients there and also took part in research that required his taking psychoactive drugs like LSD as part of Project MKULTRA.

If you've read it, take a quiz to test your memory.

Maybe you haven't read it, but have you seen the movie? It won the Big 5 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Director, and Screenplay.

So have you read (or seen) it?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday

Do you usually like to read prize winning books--Pulitzer Prize winners, Man Booker Prize Winners, National Book Award winners, etc.? Do you have a favorite prize winning book?

I hadn't really read that many prize winning books until I started reading from my 100 books list of Prize Winners. My favorite one so far is Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. I've mentioned the book various times, I know, but it's one that I think everyone should read. I love her writing style!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dog Days of Summer Mini-Challenge

The summer mini-challenge is almost week left. Has anyone come close to completing it? What books have you read?

I finished Marley & Me, Amazing Gracie, and Tales from a Dog Catcher. Maybe choosing 3 books would have been better! I might finish The Art of Racing in the Rain before the 22nd.

Borders Bestseller

What's hot now?

That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo

Thirty years ago, on their Cape Cod honeymoon, Jack and Joy Griffin made a plan for their future that has largely been fulfilled. He left Los Angeles behind for the sort of New England college his parents had aspired to, and now the two of them are back on the Cape—where he’d also spent his childhood vacations—to celebrate the marriage of their daughter Laura’s best friend. Sure, Jack’s been driving around with his father’s ashes in the trunk, though his mother’s very much alive and often on his cell phone. Laura’s boyfriend seems promising, but be careful what you pray for, especially if it happens to come true. A year later, at her wedding, Jack has another urn in the car, and both he and Joy have brought new dates. Full of every family feeling imaginable, wonderfully comic and profoundly involving, That Old Cape Magic is surprising, uplifting and unlike anything this Pulitzer Prize winner has ever written.

Russo is the author of seven novels (Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls) and a short story collection. He has 3 degrees including a B.A., M.F.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

Have you read any of his books? I haven't yet, but Empire Falls is on my 100 books list.

Weekly Word Wednesdays

study of beggars and unemployment

Professor Kenny's PhD in ptochology meant he could earn more begging than giving lectures.

Adopt this word and others at Save the Words.

Tuesday, September 15, 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 read or been wanting to read). Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two teaser sentences from that page. 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!

He didn't look like much; with his smallish stature, knobby knees, and slightly crooked forelegs, he looked more like a cow pony than a thoroughbred. But looks aren't everything; his quality, an admirer once wrote, "was mostly in his heart."

from Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

Monday, September 14, 2009

Movie Mondays

The Namesake

Book, 2003 by Jhumpa Lahiri

Any talk of The Namesake--Jhumpa Lahiri's follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning debut, Interpreter of Maladies--must begin with a name: Gogol Ganguli. Born to an Indian academic and his wife, Gogol is afflicted from birth with a name that is neither Indian nor American nor even really a first name at all. He is given the name by his father who, before he came to America to study at MIT, was almost killed in a train wreck in India. Rescuers caught sight of the volume of Nikolai Gogol's short stories that he held, and hauled him from the train. Ashoke gives his American-born son the name as a kind of placeholder, and the awkward thing sticks.
Awkwardness is Gogol's birthright. He grows up a bright American boy, goes to Yale, has pretty girlfriends, becomes a successful architect, but like many second-generation immigrants, he can never quite find his place in the world. There's a lovely section where he dates a wealthy, cultured young Manhattan woman who lives with her charming parents. They fold Gogol into their easy, elegant life, but even here he can find no peace and he breaks off the relationship. His mother finally sets him up on a blind date with the daughter of a Bengali friend, and Gogol thinks he has found his match. Moushumi, like Gogol, is at odds with the Indian-American world she inhabits. She has found, however, a circuitous escape: "At Brown, her rebellion had been academic ... she'd pursued a double major in French. Immersing herself in a third language, a third culture, had been her refuge--she approached French, unlike things American or Indian, without guilt, or misgiving, or expectation of any kind." Lahiri documents these quiet rebellions and random longings with great sensitivity. There's no cleverness or showing-off in The Namesake, just beautifully confident storytelling. Gogol's story is neither comedy nor tragedy; it's simply that ordinary, hard-to-get-down-on-paper commodity: real life.

Movie, 2006 directed by Mira Nair

Features: Kal Penn, Tabu

Tagline: Two Worlds. One Journey.

Did you know? Many of the "New York" scenes in the book were actually filmed in Calcutta.

Have you read or seen The Namesake? I haven't yet, but I've been meaning to. I loved Interpreter of Maladies. I want to read her other short story collection, Unaccustomed Earth, too.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Survey

What does everyone think of Through the Window?

5=I love it!
4=I really like it.
3=I like it.
2=It's just okay.
1=I don't like it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is Kate Jacobs.

1. She grew up near Vancouver, British Columbia in a town called Hope.
2. She attended boarding school in Victoria, BC.
3. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa.
4. She then moved to New York and received a Master’s degree from NYU.
5. She worked at various unpaid internships with hopes of breaking into the magazine publishing industry.
6. She was an editor at Working Woman and Family Life and later a freelance writer and editor for the Lifetime Television website.
7. She is the best-selling author of The Friday Night Knitting Club and follow-up novels entitled Knit Two and Knit the Season to be released in November.

8. She is also the author of Comfort Food.

Have you read any of her books?
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