Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Top Ten Books if You Like...

Recently I've discovered book blogs.  I can't even handle it.  I don't know why I didn't look into this earlier.

These ladies are far wittier, cooler, and better-read than I am, and seem to have an intense and rapid rate of book reading and ability to produce engaging content.

Here's hoping I can keep up.

So, lovely people who are reading my blog today: Top Ten Tuesday, linked with The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is top ten books if you like X movie/tv show/any other form of entertainment.  Mostly what I realized in this exercise is that a lot of what I watch is either crime/mystery or already based on a book.  For your sake, I tried to branch out, but I could only come up with 8 decent ones.  Forgive me.

Get psyched.

1. Miss Marple: Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. Oh, I know Agatha Christie wrote her own books, which are different from Dorothy Sayers', but if ever there were two female mystery-solvers that climb to the top of my list, it's Miss Marple and Harriet Vane.  Gaudy Night is a special favorite, and if you're looking for a slow burn with smart characters and beautiful writing that'll keep you hanging till the end, read it.  Read them all!

2. Brave: Sammy Keyes Series by Wendelin Van Draanen.  Some of my absolute favorites when I was 11-13.  A girl who, like me, got into stuff she shouldn't have because of nosiness/curiosity? Done and done.  Sammy is gutsy, plucky, self-reliant, and real.  Love 'em.  Read them even if you're older than 12.

3. Bletchley Circle: Charlotte Grey by Sebastian Faulks.  In my opinion, Bletchley Circle is superior to Charlotte Gray, but if you're looking for a gloomy WWII story about a woman-turned-spy who has her wits about her, Charlotte Gray is a go-to.

4. Ain't Them Bodies Saints: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.  Two stories about the frontier (ok, basically the Midwest, bear with me) and flawed people who make difficult choices for love.  Both, by the way, could be described as terrifically artful, should you be in the mood for adverb overload.

5. Miss Congeniality: Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich.  Goofy, lovable protagonists that trip over themselves and have a blast? Yes, please! I loved this series for a long time - I even played hooky from school once and went with my mom to a book signing (dork, yes, but still memorable, and Ms. Evanovich was very nice).  Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter from New Jersey, and Janet Evanovich brings in a fantastic cast of characters to solve murders, chase after criminals, and bring in bond-skippers.

6. Steel Magnolias: The Supremes at Earl's All You Can Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore.  Not sure if I was up to snuff with this pairing, but - group of friends that know each other inside and out, stick together and sass each other, each sort of in the South, semi-maudlin - that's what I was going with.  I enjoyed them both immensely.  Read my review here.

7. Downton Abbey: The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally.  A tale about two sisters from Australia who sign up to be nurses during WWI, and the many awesome and awful things they see along the way.  It's a long one (around 500 pages) but worth it.  Hopefully I'll have a review coming soon.

8. Blue is the Warmest Color: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  Obsessive love? Check.  Passion that seems to come out of the woods, take over your life and change you? Double check.

This was so fun! Go check out the others at The Broke and the Bookish.  Can you think of any? What are some of your favorites?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What We Did Sunday #17

enjoyed the quiet of a weekend morning//contemplated sudsy dishes//came back from volunteering

What did you do Sunday?

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Sunday, April 20, 2014

What We Did Sunday #16

Enjoyed beautiful spring weather//waited for snacks//washed fruit

What did you do Sunday?

this time last year

church of the holy sepulcher, jerusalem, easter sunday 2013.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Passover & The Supremes at Earl's All You Can Eat

I had grand plans of writing posts ahead to publish while I was away for the first night of Passover and visiting family, but then life and cleaning/packing/dashing around like crazy getting things ready happened, so here I am.  If you celebrate, I hope you had a nice seder.  I clink my matzah with you in solidarity.   If you don't celebrate, I hope you have a great week of eating leavened products.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go here or here.

Here we go.  Hold onto your hats - we're going to talk about books.

There are enough books on my to-read/already-bought shelf for me to not need to leave my house, but I like fiction, getting books from the library, and...I've discovered the zen and the bliss that is a well-chosen audiobook.  Oh, shush, just hang on a minute.  They're not just for listening to when you're in bed with the flu/mono/a terrible illness, or deeply bored in the car (as on the other occasions when I listened to Harry P over and over again).  This time I listened to The Supremes at Earl's All You Can Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore just to try it out, and, in fact, genuinely enjoyed it.

Basic plot: Three best friends (Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean, also known as "The Supremes") spend every Sunday afternoon after church at Earl's All You Can Eat diner in Indiana, and have since high school.  They deal with life's current challenges and think back about how they got where they are.

On a scale from 1 to Cripplingly Depressing: 1.5-2.

Memories from reading: I listened to this one on the train to and from volunteering, and while waiting for the train to arrive, and while cooking and making my lunch and washing dishes.  Mostly I remember the fantastic voices of the narrators.  The characters seemed larger than life, almost ridiculous at times, so comfortable with one another that they said and did things you can't do with anyone else.

Teeth-gnashing: At times the characters were a little too larger-than-life, and sometimes it got maudlin.  Then again, life can be cooky, silly, and bizarre - and many books (for grown-ups) don't reflect that.

Weapon of Choice: Audiobook!  I used an app on my phone called OverDrive.  Pros: It was nice to be taken in by a story without staring at a screen or down at a page, which is how I spend a whole lot of my day.  It was, surprisingly, soothing to listen to before bed - the app has a sleep timer, which you can set for any time from 5 minutes to around 2 hours.  I loved the women who narrated and I loved the characters.  Cons: It seemed like it took for-ev-er to get through a small piece of the book, and sometimes when I stopped the narration, I couldn't find the exact spot to begin again.  At the same time, you could also have sped up the rate of speech and bookmarked, so...maybe I was just lazy/hadn't figured out how to work the app right.  Sometimes character names and relationships, especially at the beginning (before I got used to the audiobook) were confusing, which I don't think would have happened had I read it the old-fashioned way.

Have you read any good books lately? Ever listened to an audiobook? Would you try one?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

currently reading

"And around it all, the mossy stones of the thousand-year-old city wall, all that remained in that part of town from the fire that raged against and finally stopped the scourge of the Bubonic plague.  What could a twenty-two-year-old American do with this antiquity but gape a bit and then try to act as if he were perfectly at home?"
-Arnold Eisen, Taking Hold of Torah

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What We Did Sunday #15

spring is bustin' out all over//remnants of a house warming//non-verbal pep-talks

What did you do Sunday?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Happy Friday!

Reading: Right now I'm really enjoying the audiobooks I'm listening to, which I never thought I would say.  So far I'm rotating between The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore and Peaches for Father Frances by Joanne Harris.  They're good to listen to before bed, while cooking, on the way to work, and so on.  Hopefully I'll have some reviews ready soon.

Watching: Old episodes of Bones - when it was good, it was so good! Oh, stop, you do too.

Enjoying: Sheba's daily gorilla climb up the scratching post so that she can get onto the table.

Eating: Chocolate-y tea biscuits, with just the right amount of sweetness, perfect for dunking into rooibus tea.

Wearing: Black ankle boots - good for fall, good for spring, all-around perfect for in-between freak rain/snow storms.

What have you been up to lately? 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

library in january