Showing posts with label sundaysalon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sundaysalon. Show all posts

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Come In!

Come in!
It's time.

Everything is ready.

The fountain is flowing.
The candle is burning.
Classics for Reading is playing on the stereo.

Inspirational posters are on the walls.

Pith helmet.
Both computers operational.

Cybils shirt and cup.

The books have begun to arrive.

Let the Cybils Nonfiction Picture Book judging...


(Don't I have the most wonderful reading room ever?!)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Five-Star-Four-Book Week

This week was the most perfect reading week I can ever remember.

I finished four books and I'd rate them all as wonderful books.

How's this for perfect:

Two fiction, two nonfiction.

Two new, two older.

Two serious, two funny.

Okay, okay, I can hear you say. But get to it....What books did you read?

Here they are, along with links to my reviews:

Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

The Guinea Pig Diaries by A. J. Jacobs

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

These four push me over the two hundred mark for books read this year.

And they leave me feeling a little anxious....What shall I read now? And can it possibly compete with the four I finished this week? Oh dear.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Here are some of the books I've read this summer: Columbine. Home. The Lonely American. The Thing Around Your Neck. Still Alice. Hana's Suitcase.

Bleak, all.

It was only after I started reading the essays in Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction that I realized how dark my reading has been this summer. I read essays on a school shooting, alcoholic parents, a mother who didn't want her child...dark, dark, dark.

Does everything good have to be sad?

Here, then, is my question: What can I read that is good, really really good, well written, with sparkling purposeful characters leading generous lives? Ideas?

I'm not asking for recommendations for throwaway novels, summer reads. I'm seeking books that are Must-Reads.

Are they out there? Any thoughts?

Not sappy happy. Literate happy.

I've thought and thought and I've come up with almost nothing. Tom Sawyer. Anne of Green Gables, maybe.

Anything else?

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I wanted to see all the books I've read in one place. So I did it. It took me most of the weekend, but I posted all the book reviews I've written and rated all the books I've read at Goodreads.

I'm debnance there, too.

Do I need another social networking tool for books?

I like how Goodreads meshes with Facebook and Twitter. I like how I can see what others are reading and see what they thought of what they read.

I like being able to see patterns in my reading. I like being able to search for reviews from others.

Here's what I have found after posting reviews and ratings at Goodreads. Since 2003, when I first starting reviewing (almost) every book I read, I have read 1187 books.

Wait a minute. I've read and reviewed 1187 books. That is a lot of books. An average of 200 a year. Wow.

Other intriguing patterns...I've read a lot of books about traveling and books about doctors and books about challenges and books about books. Lots of fiction, but almost as many nonfiction books.

Join me at Goodreads. I'm debnance. Join me at Bookcrossing. I'm debnance there, too. Follow me here at readerbuzz. Look for me at Facebook. I'm Debbie Nance. Twitter? debnance. Let's talk books.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Racing Across America

I didn't do it on purpose, but this week I read the way I like best. Everything I read fit a theme. I finally finished Blue Highways. A blog post led me to Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. And then Lois on the Loose came in at the library for me.

Three trips across America (Lois actually traversed the entire North and South American continents.) Three different time periods (Travels with Charley was 1961; Blue Highways was 1981; and Lois was just couple of years ago.) Three different takes on the world.

For all three, there were times when the modern world has taken over our natural world to the detriment of the natural world. I was surprised to hear Steinbeck bemoaning the pollution he saw during his travels; I'd thought this was a more recent phenomenon.

I liked best the people the travelers met during their journeys. Who could forget the cranky woman who decided to ride her motorcycle with Lois for part of her trip? That lady whined about everything. And the brilliant philosophers the author of BH met? (I wonder why he met so many brilliant people....just the luck of the draw?) Steinbeck, oddly, never met someone who recognized him. I find that astonishing.

I had some great travels this week, with nary a sunburn or mosquito bite or scary bear. You want smooth traveling? Head for the library and rummage through the 900's.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Summer Starts TODAY!

The bell will sound at 3 this afternoon and my summer will officially begin.

Here's what I've stockpiled in the last few weeks:

Un-birthday books:

Shakespeare Wrote for Money

The Book Whisperer


Carol Shields' Selected Stories

House Lust

BookCrossing book:


In the Mail:

Book on digital photography

A poetry book

Book on relaxation techniques

A Spanish-English visual dictionary

At the Library:

Home by Marilynne Robinson

New Elizabeth Berg

New Terry Pratchett

Am I set for summer or what?!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

TSS: What to Read This Summer?

School will be over in five short weeks and I will suddenly have these huge hunks of time in which to sink deeply into my reading and reflect.

Now is the time to ready myself, to request books from the library, to put books on my wishlist, stockpile.

But what shall I read?

Any great travel stories out there? Good recent fiction? Any books you have read and are pushing on everyone you meet?

My plan for today: Finish Great Expectations.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

TSS: Books I Might Read for the Read-a-Thon

The 24-Hour Read-a-Thon starts at noon on April 18. Having an enormous supply of books is the most important strategy for me in attempting to complete the read-a-thon.

Here are some short books I'm contemplating:

Death in Venice
The Crying of Lot 49
The Overcoat
The Old Man and the Sea
The Arrival
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
The Big Sleep
Member of the Wedding
The Hundred Penny Box
Seize the Day
Snow Country
Bartleby the Scrivener

I'd like to also have some children's books and some graphic novels ready to go.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

TSS: Big Bookcrossing Release (and a Free Book Offer)!

In early April, thousands of librarians will come to George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

I will be there, releasing Bookcrossing books. A lot of books. Over three hundred books!

A few months back, I posted a request for children's books to be released at the upcoming Texas Library Association Conference. I was amazed at what I received. Books arrived from Australia, the UK, Canada, and from many of the fifty states. Boxes and boxes and boxes of books.

Here's hoping that many books are found, read, and logged in. Here's hoping that many librarians join Bookcrossing. Here's hoping that Bookcrossing's motto comes true: "Make the whole world a library."

Would you like to join Bookcrossing? I have a standing offer. If you join Bookcrossing and use my BC name (debnance) as the your referral person, I will be happy to send you a book from my available shelf. Please note: I can only mail books to those who live in the US because of mailing expense.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

TSS: What I Like About Challenges

Yes, I know. People get carried away. You can end up reading something awful like Xena Warrior Princess just to add an X title to your challenge list.

But there are good things about challenges, too.

I only signed up for two challenges last year: Newbery Challenge and Around the World in 80 Books. The idea behind ATWIB is to read books set in 80 different countries. I thought I was reading books that were set all around the world. Well, I discovered I was reading books set in countries outside my US, but over and over and over I found I was reading in China and India and Iraq. And that was all. I needed to push myself a little more.

I completed the Newbery Challenge. I read all the Newbery books last year. Believe me, there were some I wanted to give up on. And that was the good thing about the NC; I stuck with it. I found a lot of wonderful books, many unknown to me.

This year I signed up for a dozen challenges. That sounds like a lot of challenges. But many of them are easy for me. If I can't complete the Young Readers Challenge (12 children's books) by the end of January and me a primary school librarian, then something's wrong! And because I read so many children's books, it is a piece of cake for me to read 52 books, even 100 books.

Some of the challenges will be more, well, challenging for me. The World Citizen Challenge, which encourages readers to try to read from the categories of economics, politics, worldwide issues, sociology, history, and memoirs, will probably be my biggest challenge.

I am going into this with the mindset that this is all just for fun. I'm really not interested in the prizes some challenges offer (though they are a nice added incentive). If I can't finish the challenge, oh well. But I've already read lots of great books I'd never have encountered if I hadn't ventured out into unknown waters. Even if I never reach land, the swim is delightful.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Salon: How Fiction Works

Tomorrow it's back to school. Sigh.

I will be very happy to be back at school but it was such a lovely holiday. I read lots and lots of delicious books.

I just started one such delicious book. Much more delicious than the bland cover or bland title had prepared me for. How Fiction Works. Okay, I've only read the first chapter, but I've already learned about a hundred things.

More later...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Salon: Best Reads of 2008

I've read 314 books this year and there are still ten days to go.

I am a big reader.

It's time to list my favorites for the year.

Best Award-Winners
Things Fall Apart
The Things They Carried
The Great Gatsby
Wind in the Willows
One Hundred Years of Solitude

Best Books about Happiness
What Shamu Taught Me
The Geography of Bliss

Best Books about Books
Book Smart
The Uncommon Reader
The Book Stops Here

Favorite Newberys
The Westing Game
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Going Here and There
China Road
Voyage Long and Strange
Lost on Planet China
Queen of the Road
Ghost Train to the Eastern Star
Zen and Now

If You Want Bleak...
The Trick is to Keep Breathing
Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Out of the Dust
Last Night at the Lobster
One-Handed Catch
The Thing About Georgie
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
The Things They Carried
On My Honor
The Road
Acedia & Me

Practically Perfect in Every Way
Helping Me Help Myself
Reading the QED
Around the World in 80 Dinners

Garden Spells
When Will There Be Good News?

Newbery Books Sure to Offend
Daniel Boone
The Story of Mankind
Smoky the Cowhorse

Wonderul Kids' Books
The Hero and the Crown
Because of Winn-Dixie
A Single Shard
An American Plague
The Pepins and their Problems
Judy Moody Goes to Colege
(Cybils choices to be announced at the end of this month)

Wish I Hadn't Bothered
New Earth
Wishing Year
Art of Racing in the Rain
Zookeeper's Wife

Best Recent Nonfiction
Relentless Pursuit
Sundays in America
Beautiful Boy
Not Quite What I Was Planning
An Exact Replica
Cactus Eaters
When a Crocodile Eats the Sun
Reading the QED
Listening is an Act of Love
Proust and the Squid
Why We Hate Us

Best Recent Fiction
Olive Kitteridge
My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead
So Many Ways to Begin
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Last Night at the Lobser
Fire in the Blood
Unaccustomed Earth
The Road


My Top Ten for 2008
The Things They Carried
Things Fall Apart
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Olive Kitteridge
My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead
Relentless Pursuit
Beautiful Boy
Wind in the Willows
Not Quite What I Was Planning

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Salon: Read-a-Thon Wrapup

My second read-a-thon, but this time I didn't make the whole marathon. That's okay. I thought it unlikely I would make it this time. I'm just not a late night girl. And I knew I'd be like the cat and spend most of today snoozing if I did stay up and I knew I had a lot of work to get done today...impossible. The librarian conference was also an obstacle I knew I'd have a hard time working around.

Okay, what did I achieve?

I finished five books. That's fantastic. I read three books about books: Down Cut Shin Creek about the pack horse librarians who hand delivered books during the Great Depression; In a Blue Velvet Dress about an avid reader who forgets her suitcase of books and has nothing to read on her trip but is saved by a ghost who brings her books at night; Miss Zukas and the Library Murders about a librarian who solves a murder in her library. I listened to one book, a play actually, on the way to and from the librarian meeting. And I finally finished Treasure Island, which I decided to read because my new school is named after its author.

And I'm good to go for the day....Loved the Read-a-Thon and hope to do it again in the spring....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Salon: Nonfiction...or Not?

Fiction? Or Nonfiction?

I was very happy to be selected to serve on a panel to help select the Cybils winner for nonfiction picture books this year.

Little did I know how complicated the task would be. I thought I knew what nonfiction was. I think I do know what nonfiction is. But I need an official definition or clear guidelines so that I can easily differentiate between fiction and nonfiction.

I need help.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Salon: Weekly Geek

I missed TSS last week (no Internet) so I think it will be okay to post twice this week.

From Reading, Writing and Retirement: Our Weekly Geek task this week: Dewey is asking us to list our favorite books that were published in 2008 (you, dear readers, will have a chance to participate in some future post). By the end of the year the results will be compiled; Dewey thinks "it’ll be interesting ... to see a list of what book bloggers choose as their favorite books rather than what a newspaper decides or what the top sellers were." Great idea!

1. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
2. My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead edited by Jeffrey Eugenides
3. A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz
4. Why We Hate Us by Dick Meyer
5. Lost in Planet China by J. Maarten Troost
6. Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux
7. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
8. Sundays in America by Suzanne Strempek Shea
9. Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
10. Judy Moody Goes to College by Megan McDonald

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sunday Salon: Hurricane Adventure

I've spent the last three days worrying about, anticipating, and, finally, going head on with Hurricane Ike.

We tried to decide whether to leave or stay, leave or stay. We decided to leave yesterday, but we only traveled as far as Houston. Safer than being thirty miles from the gulf, but still a hurricane adventure. Winds gusting a hundred miles an hour...falling tree limbs...rain beating on the roof and windows....

We've spent today cleaning up around my bil's house and trying to make it without power (though we were fortunate enough to have a generator).

We've had reports that our house has a hole in the roof, so we are crossing our fingers that we'll have a home when we return tomorrow.

Side note: I was happy to find that I can download books onto my Kindle even during a hurricane.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

One Book

Bad reading week.

I only finished one book, The Wishing Year.
I've been wishing for a copy for a long time.
All I can say: Be careful what you wish for. Disappointing.

Okay. Let me think about this again. I only finished one GROWNUP book. I finished lots and lots of kids' books. I Like Books by Anthony Browne. Book, Book, Book. Piggie Pie. No More Water in the Tub by Tedd Arnold. A Fine, Fine School. Wait! I Want to Tell You a Story. I Took My Frog to the Library. Bad Rats by Eric Drachman.

I loved every one.

Yes. That makes me feel lots better.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Reading about Reading

I'd requested Proust and the Squid from the public library and it finally arrived yesterday. I'd planned to browse it, reading the parts that seemed relevant or intriguing. Instead, I read the whole book today.

Here were some of the thoughts from the book I'm still thinking about:

“While reading, we can leave our own consciousness, and pass over into the consciousness of another person, another age, another culture.”

“The implications of cognitive automaticity for human intellectual development are potentially staggering.”

“…by five years of age, some children from impoverished-language environments have heard 32 million fewer words spoken to them than the average middle-class child. In another study, which looked at how many words children produce at age three, children from impoverished environments used less than half the number of words already spoken by their more advantaged peers….In the most underprivileged community, no children’s books were found in the homes; in the low-income to middle-income community, there were, on average, three books; and in the affluent community there were around 200 books….One of the major contributors to later reading was simply the amount of time for ‘talk around dinner.’ The importance of simply being talked to, read to, and listened to is what much of early language development is about….”

“Some up-front costs, such as transfer errors and substitutions from one language to the next, are less important than the advantages, if…the child learns each language well.” (implications of learning two languages as a child)

“When one realizes that children have to learn about 88,700 written words during their school years, and that at least 9,000 of these words need to be learned by the end of grade 3, the huge importance of a child’s development of vocabulary becomes crystal-clear.”

“An enormously important influence on the development of comprehension in childhood is what happens after we remember, predict, and infer: we feel, we identify, and in the process we understand more fully and can’t wait to turn the page.”

‘Recent reports from the National Reading Panel and the “nation’s report cards” indicate that 30 to 40 percent of children in the fourth grade do not become fluent readers with adequate comprehension….the entire school system (has) different expectations for students from grade 4 on. This approach is encapsulated in the mantra that in the first three grades a child “learns to read,” and in the next grades a child “reads to learn.”’

Sunday, August 17, 2008

13 Summer Blessings

I've been studying happiness for the last two summers. One easy way to increase happiness is to count your blessings.

So, here's a look at my summer blessings:

(1) I registered my 5,000th book at BookCrossing.

(2) Total books read so far this year: 201. An amazing number of great reads.

(3) Our 30th anniversary trip to San Francisco, especially a visit to City Lights Bookstore and Yosemite and time spent with my husband.

(4) Twenty-five pages of my book written.

(5) Day after day of cool breezes blowing off the Gulf, making for perfect front porch reading.

(6) New school library, walking distance from my house.

(7) Two big blood drives.

(8) Relay for Life, shooting water pistols off at a fellow librarian

(9) Galveston, buying those wonderful polka-dotted flip-flops

(10) The Houston Chronicle Book Sale, purchasing 82 books for $125

(11) Summer Read-a-Thon

(12) Visiting with my parents and old friends and my family

(13) 23 Things, learning about Web 2.0

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back to Work

I get no sympathy from family or friends when I sigh and let others know that I'm headed back to work next Friday. A ten week vacation seems more than sufficient to most people. Ten days or ten weeks or ten years...There is never quite enough time. I only managed to write twenty-five pages on my book and there are those eighty-two books I bought week before last still waiting for me. (Yes, that's 8-2, 82 books).

And it's not like I'm headed back to the chain gang. I work in my dream job and in six days I will be working in my dream job in my dream location. I get Christmas-belly-tingles when I think about it.

But there is something wonderful about all those empty blocks of time and it will soon be coming to an end.