Saturday, November 04, 2006

If you ever, ever, ever write anything, please start listening to the "Grammar Girl" web site at I listen to the podcast version on itunes. Amazingly easy tips to tighten up your writing, whether you are writing things that other people might read or not. Go to this site and subscribe to the podcast. Listen. Rethink how you use the word "of" and be happy.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I must say, Annette Pizzo so totally rocks! Why? Because she sent me a little e-note about BOOKMOOCH!
BookMooch ( is a site where you can list all the books you currently own and are looking to give away. The more you list, the more points you can earn. With your points you may "mooch" books off of other people, thus getting free books, essentially! Yes, those with critical spirits may choose to point out that you are paying to mail books to others, so the books you receive are not REALLY free, but let's not be that way. Yippee! Free books!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thanks to Eileen Elrod for this one. The book is Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and it is marvelous. Gilead is the story of the reverend John Ames, an aged preacher in an aged church in an aging town in Iowa. Ames sets out to write a letter to his young son and this book is the text of that endeavor. The pace of the book is slow, but not in a tedious, boring way. Robinson does a wonderful job of using the pacing of the book to develop the voice of the protagonist. Ames is old and is slowing down, his best friend is in his last days, his young son is in the magical days of childhood, everything in his life moves at a slower pace. Take the time to join reverend Ames in his slower, more reflective pace and you will not regret it.
One of the many emotions this book stirred in me was a wistfulness of the childhood my children are not able to have. Ames reminisces about times where he and his best friend would lay on the roof of the chicken coop and watch clouds and talk about all sorts of things magical and real. I started thinking about if my children ever have time to have unmonitored by adult conversations about anything. It seems as though we are raising a generation of children who are never out of sight or earshot of adults and thus, are losing the chance to talk to and wonder with their friends about the things of life. That made me sad.
The last blessing Ames writes to his son is one I wish for all boys, especially my own, and I will close with that: "I'll pray that you grow up a brave man in a brave country. I will pray you find a way to be useful." Amen.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

This book is SO overdue from the library!!
My latest read The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright was well worth the overdue fees I am going to have to pay on it. This book took me a very long time to read because I had to stop every few pages to reflect on some idea she proposed, to write down a thought for later consideration, and mainly to simply digest what I had just read. It was a wonderful, albeit long, experience.
The Mighty and the Almighty is not pro-America propoganda, nor is it anti-Bush rhetoric, but is a thoughtful and thorough discussion of the rightful role of faith and religion in foriegn policy, but also in the quest for peace.
If you choose to read this book, and I do hope you do, make sure you give yourself enough time and remember to renew it when it's due.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

As much as reading and books consume such a large part of my person, in actuality, I very rarely purchase books. For the most part, the books on my shelves fall into three distinct categories: 1. books that have struck me at such a deep place in my soul, that have made me cry, laugh and think (In the case of Anne Lamott, all at the same time) and those that I want to read over and over again, 2. books from the collections of people I love that were given to me as tokens of rememberance and affection, and 3. books that I bought when I was much less responsible with my finances and bought books as some buy groceries.
My latest book, which must go back to the library tomorrow, falls wholly into the first category. I have just finished "Searching For God Knows What" by Donald Miller. I first read Don Miller at the beginning of the summer when I devoured "Blue Like Jazz", which I will be purchasing also. Maybe there will be a buy-one-get-one sale at Amazon. His view of what it means to be one who follows Christ is both revolutionary and at the same time, it is the very core of what Jesus taught; a lesson that He himself never changed. Every chapter challenged me to consider "Am I a Christian in name only? Or do I truly desire to follow Him?" Big questions. Great Book. Very funny too.
If you want to borrow either one of these books, just ask, I will have them on my shelf at home.

Monday, July 31, 2006

"It's not that I don't like people. It's just that when I'm in the company of others -- even my nearest and dearest -- there always comes a moment when I'd rather be reading a book."xiii
This is the most excellent opening line of my latest read. The title ranks right up there too. It's called Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading by Maureen Corrigan, the book critic for NPR's Fresh Air. Part memoir and part literary criticism, Corrigan takes her reader on a bookish journey through a bookish life. Not that being bookish is a bad thing. I myself relish the adjective. In fact, when I read Doug the opening line, he laughed in the way one does when reminded of something familiar. A very good book. Not a quick read, but one filled with lots of "oh, I remember that book!" Especially if you majored in English.
Coming up next: Two of my favorite books this summer.
Corrigan, Maureen. Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading. Random House Publishing: New York. 2005.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The concept of community has been pervasive in every area of my life these days: my spiritual life, my literary choices, my civic involvement and even at the hockey rink. Community, or the lack thereof, is something that has been weighing heavily on my head and on my heart these days. I truly believe that human beings are designed to live in community with others and I am being given glimpses of what happens when we choose to deny that aspect of our being and live individual, self focused lives. It is no suprise to me, then, that the next book that showed up on my stack of books was If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende. Lende lives with her family in Haines, Alaska, a small town 90 miles north of Juneau. Her book is a series of snapshots of life and community in Haines. It is, quite simply, a lovely, lovely book. When you read it, let me know what you think. Oh, and the chapter on marriage is absolutely beautiful.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Back from Whistler, by far one of the best places ever. Dylan is ready to pull up roots and move to Canada tomorrow. He even has their national anthem memorized. Oh wait, maybe that's because he has been to a gazillion hockey games. It is easier to sing than the Star Spangled Banner, but that is for another day. The book that occupied most of my down time (and there was a lot because it rained every day!) was a book by Edward P. Jones called The Known World, a work of fiction set in the pre-Civil War South. What makes this book different than any other civil war fiction I have read is that it is from the black perspective, both free and slave. It deals with the freed blacks who have purchased their own freedom and then that of their wives and children. Some, then, choose to purchase slaves of their own. Tough subject matter but an excellent book. I may jinx myself, but so far I have not read one book this summer that I wouldn't recommend. Woo Hoo!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Heading to Canada this week with a youth hockey team and a stack of books. I hear that we will have a whole week of rain and "it looks like rain" so I might have a chance to get all of them in. I just finished Little Chapel on the River: A Pub, A Town and the Search for What Matters by Gwendolyn Bounds. Non-Fiction. Made me think a lot about the idea of community and the role of the small business owner in the care and nurture of said community. Wal-Mart and Target are certainly not community builders in the true sense of the word. Starbucks could be in a watered down way in that people do gather there, but it is still supporting a large corporation headed by people whom we will never meet and will never be a part of our lives. They serve a purpose, but do not fulfill a need. In any case, a good book. Let me know what you think should you read it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Got your nose in a book again? This was the recurrent question of my brother-in-law Bart on our trip to my husband's family reunion last week. We spent four days at the Palmer Gulch KOA at the base of Mount Rushmore which I would highly recommend if you are planning to visit Mount Rushmore and you don't mind obscenely large recreational vehicles filled with white people who like to "rough it". In any case, as is my nature, I spent a great deal of the time reading. Here are some of the books I read this week. I highly recommend all of them: 1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert 2. Fluke by Christopher Moore (Another fabulous, albeit highly inappropriate, book by this guy is Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, pee your pants funny) 3. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.