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

Sunday Salon: Back to Normal

Ike's gone. Power is back. Phone works again. Internet has returned. We have food in the freezer. Shingles are back on the roof.

And I read two books yesterday. I couldn't read much during the storm or after the storm.

I know things are going back to normal when I can read again.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm a Cybils Panelist!

I was very happy to discover yesterday, shortly after the resumption of our Internet service, that I was chosen as a 2008 Cybils panelist. I'll be working on the shortlist for nonfiction picture books.

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.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Why We Hate Us

A paradox that bewilders me: America today. How can we be so affluent, so able to instantly satisfy any need, no real concerns over having enough food or clothing or shelter, and yet be so miserable?

Why We Hate Us addresses this paradox. Here's what I took away from this book:

The biggest problem seems to be that people have no real connections. Almost half of America feels isolated. And our lives are shallow, not deep. A quote from the book:

"With all our riches and freedoms, we have assembled what we thinly call 'lifestyles'---assemblages of recreation, work, consumer goods, freely chosen beliefs, family arrangements, and a great deal of media. Our new arrangements are not providing the nourishment we need, the warm relationships and ready guides. The older, connective tissues of American life are fraying, and the new, artificial ones are weak."

I had to put this book down several times. It was horribly depressing. But it addresses a very important question: Why is it that we live in the most affluent society that has ever existed yet we are not pleased with ourselves? Like most books of this sort, the author spends twenty chapters addressing the problem and one tiny chapter offering solutions.

One of the author's strongest recommendations is to limit media. I agree. I gave up tv three years ago and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.