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.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Musing Mondays: Book Slump: It Can't Happen Here

If you saw my house, you would see that a Book Slump could never happen here. (The photo above shows a stack I haven't quite fit into my six shelves.)

I have six bookshelves where I've squirreled away TBR and books I've loved just in case of such a terrible book event.

I have big, thick wonderfully browsable books that are fun to wander through whenever I've just finished a tough read.

I have light travel narratives to work in after a thoughtful novel.

I have lots of 32-page picture books to read aloud slowly if I can't find time for a nice big nonfiction book.

I have easy access to three library systems, including the enormous Houston Public Library and the Harris County Library. I can request and request and request. That gives me lots of possibilities.

My TBR and my library cards have me fully immunized against the dread Book Slump.

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

Make Your Own READ Poster

Only a real book geek like me would be thrilled to find a site to make your own READ poster. Here's mine:

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.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tropical Storm

I've been through tropical storms that left me standing in two feet of water in my apartment (July 1979). I've been through tropical storms that knocked the power out for a day. I've been through tropical storms that generated nasty tornadoes.

So trust me when I say that Edouard is my kind of tropical storm.

We've had light rain for a few hours, no wind, no reports of tornadoes, no evacuations. Nerves on edge yesterday went ahead and slammed the doors of most places of business for today, including my employer.

A perfect day for reading.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday Salon: Weekly Geek Answers

1. Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

2. J. Martin Troost (Lost in Planet China)

3. Anne Lamott, in Houston last spring (Traveling Mercies, Bird by Bird)

4. Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief series)

5. Doreen Cronin, at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, last fall (Diary of a Worm)

6. F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)

Sunday Salon: Weekly Geek

So this post is both a Sunday Salon post and a Weekly Geek post. Two in one.

Can you name these authors?

1. My favorite author.

2. Photo of the author of the book I'm currently reading (Hint: Lost on Planet China).

3. Photo of an author I've met in person.

4. A youtube of an author I've heard speak.

5. A photo of me with an author.
6. A photo of the author of the book you’ve most recently finished.

I wish I had a great prize to give away....
Weekly Geek

Sunday Salon: Meme

I snagged this from Reading Rooms' blog who got it from Dewey's blog! It’s The Errant Dreams Author Meme. Since I've never done a meme, I thought I'd have a go. Here are the rules:

* Answer the questions as you see fit. Although they’re all phrased to ask about a single author, feel free to respond with multiples, or even a list.
* Where possible & convenient, include a link here or there to an author’s website, your review of one of their books, or a review that inspired you to try the author(s), so your readers can get more information on anyone that sounds interesting.
* Tag five people and drop by their blogs to let them know you tagged them, or open-tag your readers.
* It would be nice if you included a link back to your tagger.

1. Who’s your all-time favorite author, and why?

Has to be Dr. Seuss. Genius using only 100 words.

2. Who was your first favorite author, and why? Do you still consider him or her among your favorites?

I would have made Madeleine L'Engle my best friend when I was ten.

3. Who’s the most recent addition to your list of favorite authors, and why?

F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read Great Gatsby a few weeks back and thought it was brilliant.

4. If someone asked you who your favorite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth? Are there any you’d add on a moment of further reflection?

Kate DiCamillo. Lois Lowry. Christopher Paul Curtis. Elizabeth Berg. Anne Tyler. Carol Shields.

5. Tagged: All you Sunday Saloners, consider yourself tagged.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sunday Salon: Raved-About Books...Goodbye TBR

In June, with my TBR completely engulfing all available space in my house, in desperation, I started a Raved-About Book List. By focusing on these books, I've been able to complete:

The Age of Gold by H. W. Brands
A Crack in the Edge of the World by Simon Winchester
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
A House for Mr. Biswas by V. S. Naipaul
My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead edited by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer
Sundays in America by Suzanne Strempek Shea
Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat

I'm deleting a few and adding a few, leaving:
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
A Death in the Family by James Agee
Dubliners by James Joyce
The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud
The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
Native Son by Richard Wright
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
The Once and Future King by T. H. White
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Praying for Sheetrock by Melissa Fay Greene
Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany

Friday, August 1, 2008

Best Reads Ever (to be updated regularly)

An online bookgroup invited its members to submit their 100 favorite reads list. Here's mine (100 plus a few extra):

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz
Book of Luminous Things edited by Czeslaw Milosz
Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam
Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon
Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson
By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Candide by Voltaire
The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty
Civility by Stephen L. Carter
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Crispin: Cross of Lead by Avi
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux
A Death in the Family by James Agee
The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri
Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynn Truss
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Everyday Sacred by Sue Bender
Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
Firegirl by Tony Abbott
Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
The Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Good Poems edited by Garrison Keillor
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Grass Harp by Truman Capote
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Half Magic by Edgar Eager
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Happenstance by Carol Shields
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice by J. K. Rowling
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Heaven is a Playground by Rick Telander
Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Holes by Louis Sachar
Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
A House for Mr. Biswas by V. S. Naipaul
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Into that Good Night by Ron Rozelle
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Independent People by Halldor Laxness
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
John Adams by David McCullough
Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
A Kiss for Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
The Last Shot by Darcy Frey
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Lives of the Writers by Kathleen Krull
A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Pec
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Love is a Wild Assault by Elithe Hamilton Kirkland
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Magister Ludi by Hermann Hesse
Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
Make a World by Ed Emberly
Material World by Peter Menzel
Maus by Art Spiegelman
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The Middleman and Other Stories by Bharati Mukherjee
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
Mr. Putter and Tabby Walk the Dog by Cynthia Rylant
Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Wolfe
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead edited by Jeffrey Eugenides
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat
No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
The Odyssey by Homer
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
One Man’s Meat by E. B. White
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster
Plan B by Anne Lamott
A Poem a Day edited by Karen McKosker
Possession by A. S. Byatt
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Rotten Island by William Steig
Sailing Alone Around the World by Billy Collins
Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodge
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
The Secret History by Donna Tarte
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Silk by Allesandro Baricco
Small Island by Andrea Levy
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
Sounder by William Armstrong
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Step Ball Change by Jeanne Ray
Strong Measures edited by Philip Dacey and David Jauss
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis
Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Waiting by Ha Jin
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Watership Down by Richard Adams
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevtich
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis
Working by Studs Terkel
The World is Not Enough by Zoe Oldenbourg
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
Zen and Zen Classics by R. H. Blyth