Sunday, July 25, 2010

Only 662 Books to Go!

I am a person who likes to have goals.

Last Christmas, I was told of a marvelous book called 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up. I was invited to join a bookgroup that is attempting to read all 1001 books.

Naturally, I joined this group. I am, after all, a children's librarian. And how hard could it be to read a few children's books, right?

Harder than one might think, it turns out. The rascally scoundrels...sorry, rather that is, the wise scholars, who devised this list of children's books cleverly broke the books up into five categories of books, by ages, with 0-3, 3+, 5+, 8+, and 12+. The easier books, what we librarians call picture books, comprise less than half the list. And look at some of the books these quacks...oops, sorry again, that is, erudite critics, have classified as children's books: Fahrenheit 451...Gulliver's Travels...The Hound of the Baskervilles...To Kill a Mockingbird...The Arabian Nights....A lot of these are well over 500 pages....

I was thrilled, then, to hit 339 books read from this list. That's a little over 1/3 of the way through.

I can see myself slowing down now that I've read most of the shorter books. Also, these books are from all over the world. I've been finding it very difficult to obtain copies of books published outside the US.

I can see myself soon at a point where I am only finishing a book a week. At that rate...let's see...662 books to go...a book a week...52 weeks in a year...Only twelve years and nine months! That's doable.

I'm quite certain that I still have at least twelve years and nine months before I grow up.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

6 Bajillion Times More Effective Than Studying in Your Shower

I agree. Studying in the library is 6 bajillion times more effective than studying in your shower.

Although my library is not that quiet....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Texan Again (But With a Shake of Paris and a Handful of Provence)

Shakespeare & Co. in Paris
Cooking Class in Provence
Cafe in Paris

(Please forgive me, but I could not seem to stop myself from posting a few more pictures from France. Last time. I promise. Oh, and which one is me? I'm---oddly---on the far left of every picture.)

I've returned home from France and I'm back in my world of books, though I'm continuing to attempt to live a French life amid my Texas universe. A slew of books arrived for me from the library. I've finished three grownup books and nine children's books from the 1001 list. I'm in that wonderful place where I'm loving what I'm reading (I'm hip deep in The Lost Girls) while simultaneously eyeing the heaps of books awaiting me (Sadness of Lemon Cake...Don't Cry...Trail of Crumbs...two Savory Baking books).

So I will do with the remains of this day what I love best: read. I will also spend time today browsing my favorite blogs in hopes of adding a few new titles to my wishlist. Suggestions are always welcomed!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The New Me

Paris and Provence 056

Warning: This post has only occasional references to books.

After seventeen days in Heaven (aka Paris, Provence, France), I have returned home.

While in France, I experienced several epiphanies.

I am changed.

How so?

1. Food.
Food in France was real food. It was fresh. It had taste. It had color.
It had been alive recently; it still had a bit of aliveness in it.

So, no more eating bad foods.
I don't finish bad books, so why have I been eating bad food? 

2. Savoring.
People in France take month long vacations. They close their shops for two hours for lunch.
They spend six hours eating dinner.

I've always thought of myself as a hurry-hurry girl. No more.
I am slowing down. Pause. Think. Reflect. Visit. Pray. Taste. Smell. Hear. Listen. Savor.

A new me. 

Paris and Provence 196

Sunday, June 20, 2010

J'aime Lire

                                                                                             Photo by Tigr

I'm in Paris. Believe me, for this girl from Texas, I am a long way from home. In a good way.

I'm (hopefully) reading some of the e-books I brought along on my iPad. I'm (hopefully) getting to visit one of the world's coolest bookstores, Shakespeare and Company. I'm (hopefully) getting to meet up with a group of BookCrossers from Paris. I'm (hopefully) getting to meet up with a book friend from Australia who just happens to be in Paris at the same time.

I say hopefully because I'm writing this post early. I promise to write down every adventure when I return in early July.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Vous Ne Pouvez Pas Tout Apprendre à Partir D'un Livre

Photo by Aussiegall

By this age, I should know things. I'm supposed to be the grownup.

I learned something this week. Two things, really, but they go together.

I decided to mow the lawn. I tried mowing one other time, but I ended up shearing the cap off an important drain, and I was so traumatized that I said I'd never do it again.

Then, this week, I saw my 83-year-old dad out mowing. And my petite daughter-in-law. If they can do it, I can do it, I thought.

So I tried it. I just mowed. I mowed and mowed and mowed. I thought it would take me an hour. It took me four hours. When I finished, I was hot and covered with pieces of grass, but I felt happy:  I did it. I mowed the yard.

And how did I figure out how to mow the yard? I just did it. I tried it. I missed some spots and I won't try going over a tree root again and now I know that you have to open the valve on the gas can before you add gasoline to the engine, but the thing is that I tried it and I did it.

The other thing I learned this week was French. No, I'm serious. I learned French this week. I got a school subscription to Rosetta Stone and I learned French.

Now I've been trying to learn Spanish for oh, fifteen years, and I honestly don't think I know as much Spanish as I know French now. And that's after one week.

How did I do it?  How did I learn French?  I just did it. I tried it. I practiced it over and over. I wasn't always right, but I kept doing it, over and over, and now I know a whole lot of French that I didn't know before.

Here's what I took away from these experiences:  As Nike says, Just Do It. Don't just talk about doing it. Don't just contemplate doing it. No. Just Do It. 

What does this have to do with books? Well, here's another thing I figured out this week: You can't learn everything from a book. Or, as they say in French, Vous ne pouvez pas tout apprendre à partir d'un livre.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Why I Didn't Get Around to Writing a Sunday Salon This Week

No, the dog didn't eat my Sunday Salon. But, guys,
I've been busy.

At school, this was the last week.
I had to pack everything up.
They are remodeling the library this summer.
And I had to finish inventory. Whew!

I spent most of the weekend practicing my French on Rosetta Stone.
 Will I ever be able to properly say, "un garçon"?

I made a big dinner today,
to celebrate the start of summer, 
with stuffed chicken breast in a spinach salsa sauce,
 and homemade French bread.

A beautiful Tarte Aux Fraises for dessert.

So, that's why I didn't get around to writing a Sunday Salon this week.

Next week, I promise I'll do better.