Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Salon: A Reading Retrospective (August 2004) & A Big Thank You

I feel out of practice with this whole blog routine. Has it really been three weeks since I last posted here at Musings of a Bookish Kitty? I cannot say thank you enough to the wonderful bloggers who kept you entertained while I was away. They volunteered their time and talent. Many thanks to


I would also like to extend my gratitude to those who stopped in and visited these outstanding bloggers while I was away. You could have taken a break from reading my blog since I was absent, but you didn't. Thank you.

Since thank yous seem to be the order of the day, I also want to thank those who nominated me for a Book Blogger Appreciation Week award. I was overwhelmed by the number of nominations I received. I often say that blogging is just a hobby for me, but it really is more than that. I spend a lot of time trying to make Musings of a Bookish Kitty a worthwhile place to visit--not just for me but for you as well. I especially value the community aspect of the blogging community: the friendships and connections I have made. I never imagined that anyone would want to read what I had to say about books. I appreciate every one of you.

Congratulations to all the BBAW nominees and also to those who weren't nominated. Just because you may not have received a nomination and most of us will likely not win an award, it does not mean you aren't worthy of an award. Blogging is time consuming, and while we all put different amounts of time and energy into it depending on our lifestyles, we each give a part of ourselves to the process. I think we all deserve a pat on the back for making the book blogging community what it is today. And that is truly what Book Blogger Appreciation Week is about. It is not about the awards or the prizes. It is about celebrating all of us.

Where's the book talk, you are wondering? Being that it is the end of August, it is time to step into my trusty time machine and take a peek at what I was reading five years ago this month. And here you were thinking you'd gotten off easy this month, didn't you?

August 2004 was both a good and bad month for me reading wise. I read my first J.D. Robb book and, well, I didn't like it. A futuristic mystery novel was bound to hold some appeal for me, I figured. After being told by so many fellow book lovers how great the series was, I thought for sure I would see the appeal. I wanted to like the book; heck, I wanted to like the series, but it was not meant to be. On the opposite side of the coin, I read my first Jodi Picoult book, My Sister's Keeper, which is a novel about a girl who seeks medical emancipation from her parents. The first word in my reading journal describing this book was "Wow." Even though it would not be my highest rated Picoult book, it is still my favorite.

I fell head over heels for Harlan Coben after reading No Second Chance, a stand alone thriller about a man whose daughter is kidnapped and wife is murdered, that same month. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason was much less thrilling. Billed as "the next Da Vinci Code," it was anything but. Once I got over that expectation, I was better able to enjoy the book, but it still fell a little flat for me. The Body in the Cornflakes by K.K. Beck proved to be much more to my liking, although the main character got on my nerves at times. His girlfriend more than made up for it though, and I enjoyed the book quite a bit.

If you recall, I was on a Laurell K. Hamilton reading binge in July 0f 2004. That would come to an end when I finished reading Narcissus in Chains, the 10th book in the Anita Blake, vampire hunter, series in August of that same year. It was with this book that I could really tell what earlier fans of the series had been saying about the series. There was a definite shift from the more mystery driven story lines to that of romance--or sensual, some might say. My stop in the series at this point was only temporary. I would have continued on, I am sure, had the next book been out in paperback (fortunately, I didn't have to wait long).

One of the big highlights of my reading five years ago this month was Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith. It was the beginning of what would be my growing interest in the Mormon faith and its offshoots, the fundamentalist sects. Krakauer set out to write a book about Mormonism and its past; however, as the author began to research and write, he found the book turning in a different direction. Instead he focused on the fundamentalist side of the religion and a horrible crime committed by those who said it was God's will. The story shared by Krakauer was revealing and informative. Mormonism is not the only faith with outlying extremist groups who will use religion as an excuse to commit unspeakable crimes. Even though Krakauer's focus was on one small group, many of the points he brings up can b e found in many other faiths as well.

August of 2004 was full of intrigue in every corner, whether it was grounded in fiction or truth. While some books proved to be disappointing, others more than made up for it. All in all, the month had been a good one book wise.

I have quite a few reviews prepared that I will be sharing with you this coming month. It is a good feeling to be prepared ahead of time, let me tell you! Be sure and stop by on Tuesday for my review of The Promised World by Lisa Tucker. Now to decide what movie to review for Monday's movie day . . .


© 2009, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.
If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

29 comments:

  1. Glad you're back, Wendy! It is nice to be prepared ahead of time, I agree. I try to stay that way most of the time, it makes blogging much more relaxed.

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  2. LOL I thought you had made a typo at first when I read '2004'! It's a nice thought to look back 5 years, so I went to my own reading list of 2004 so I can share with you what I read the time:

    - The Passion (Jeannette Winterson)
    - The Story of Lucy Gault (William Trevor)
    - Mathilde (Thomas Ross)
    - Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides)

    Except for Ross they were all great reads! And my... did I read a lot in 1 month :\

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  3. I am so glad you are back Wendy! It was alot of fun, though, to see all the guests come through your place.

    BBAW certainly is an exciting time, thanks to all the hard work of Amy. Being nominated is like a nice little pat on the back. It truly is an honor.

    I love hearing about what you were doing five years ago. I have a pretty bad memory, but will never forget August of 2004. Orlando had three major hurricanes in close succession. Damage to the house, flooding, lack of power for weeks, and removal of tons (literally) of debris was almost more than my little heart could handle!

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  4. Welcome back! It was fun to visit with your guests, too.

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  5. Welcome back Wendy! I WISH I was that organized so I could tell you what I was reading five years ago!

    I'm trying to keep up with my own blogging and thought I'd stop by to see what you were up to!

    Congratulations on your BBAW. I was actually nominated for one this year too. Which is very sweet, but I don't know if I will be able to participate. I've been feeling pretty ill the past couple of weeks!

    Anyway, stop by if you get a free second! I love it here and you do a wonderful job at making "Musings of a Bookish Kitting" a fun and "homey" place to be!!

    xoxo Amy (Park-Avenue Princess)

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  6. Meghan - Thank you. I'd be ahead more often if I was able to read more, I think. As it is, I'm lucky if I can get a week planned out in advance most of the time. LOL

    Gnoe - Thank you for sharing what you read five years ago. :-) It's fun to look back and see what I was reading all those years ago. I only wish I'd started keeping track of my reading earlier.

    Middlesex was one of my favorite books the year I read it.

    Sandy - Thanks, Sandy! And thank you for being my guest! The three weeks off turned out to be a good idea, especially since I ended up hurting my back.

    Amy and her helpers have done such an amazing job with BBAW so far, haven't they?

    I am sorry your August in 2004 was such a bad one. Those hurricanes can sure be vicious. :-( I am glad you were at least safe!

    Beth - Thank you, Beth. My guests did a great job, didn't they?

    Amy - Thanks! If it wasn't for my computer and my starting my reading journal in 2003, I probably would have no idea what I was reading back then either. :-)

    Congratulations on your BBAW nomination! I am so sorry to hear you aren't feeling well though. I hope that changes soon.

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  7. Welcome back, and congrats on your nominations! They're well-deserved.

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  8. Welcome back Wendy! I missed you, even though your guests did a FANTASTIC job! Congraulations on the nominations... you definitely deserve them!

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  9. Glad to see you back here. I agree with you about BBAW - it's a time to applaud everyone's efforts, not just those who win awards.

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  10. Glad to see you back!
    This year will be my first BBAW, but it sounds like such an incredible event! Already it was a pleasure to celebrate other bloggers efforts by nominating them in various categories! I'm planning on discovering many more fantastic blogs during the BBAW! :D

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  11. Kristie - Thank you, Kristie! It's good to be back. I'm really grateful to my guests posters. They did such a good job.

    Kathy - Thanks! BBAW really is about all of us. I feel so lucky to be a part of this great community.

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  12. Kay - Thank you! BBAW is definitely is a great chance to discover other blogs and bloggers. I'm excited about this year's event.

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  13. Welcome back, Wendy! I can't wait to read your review on The Promised World...

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  14. Welcome back! Congrats on the BBAW nominations - they're definitely well-deserved!

    I'm super excited about BBAW this year and hope I have more time to participate actively than I had last year. I so enjoy this community, and it's so much fun to, in effect, throw ourselves a big party and celebrate the impact, big or small, each and every on of us has had on our little corner of the blogiverse. :)

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  15. LOL :-) Nice to have you back! You've been missed! :-)

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  16. I'm taking a break from Google Reader today to do other blog stuff (I'm one of Amy's BBAW helpers, and I'm also playing around with a new template for my own blog), but I wanted to stop by and welcome you home! Thanks for letting me be one of the folks to fill in during your absence. You've definitely been missed, though!

    Congrats on your BBAW nominations, and hope your back is feeling better!

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  17. Welcome back and congrats on your nominations!

    I'm so impressed that you know what you were reading five years ago! I've never kept a journal, that's part of the reason I started blogging: to keep track of what I had read. Ah well, in 2014 I can use my blog to see what I was reading!

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  18. Carrie (B&M) - Thank you. It's nice to be back. :-)

    Megan - Thanks on both counts! I can't say I have any big plans for BBAW other than the interview. One of these days I'll get my act together and be more prepared. It's fun to see what everyone else is doing though. Not to mention all the new blogs I discover . . .

    Marie - Aw, thanks! I missed you all too.

    Florinda - Sometimes a break is just what's in order. I admit that I didn't even try and keep up with my Google Reader while I was away. I'm starting over fresh today.

    And thank you! My back is feeling better than it was, but it will probably be awhile before it's completely healed. One day at a time.

    Carey - Thank you! I do wish I'd started journaling earlier than I did. If only I could go back 10 years . . . Someday I'll reach that point. Just not today. :-)

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  19. Welcome back, Wendy! Can you tell we missed you? ;)

    Congrats on your BBAW nominations! They're all well-deserved! You're a prolific reader and you write so well, Wendy.

    BBAW is certainly a special event to all bookbloggers. Not only it's fun but it's a great way of 'meeting' other bookbloggers! :)

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  20. Thanks, Melody! You're so sweet to say such things. :-) My Google Reader will explode once BBAW gets underway. It's already starting to bulge at the seems. LOL

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  21. It's so good to have you back! :)
    Congratulations on your BBAW nominations, and I hope your back is feeling better.

    Sounds like you had a pretty good month of reading in August 2004. I still haven't read anything by Harlen Coben although I do have a couple of his books on my shelves that I got cheaply a few years ago! The title, The Body in the Cornflakes, cracks me up for some reason. I might have to look it up.

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  22. I enjoyed your guest posters, but it's nice to have the original back!

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  23. Welcome Home!!

    I loved reading the posts from your guests, it was fun!!! Taking these trips back in time are always interesting!!!

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  24. Great to have you back! Somehow I'm not really surprised to find that I've read almost all the books you mentioned ;-)

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  25. Nat - Thank you so much! My back is feeling much better today. I'm starting to feel normal again. :-)

    The Body in the Cornflakes was a fun mystery. I wish I could remember who recommended that one to me. I haven't been able to find any other books by that author, unfortunately.

    Stacy - You're so sweet! Thank you.

    Staci - Thanks! I enjoyed the guest posts too. Everyone did such a great job.

    Suzi - Thank you! Some of those books have made the rounds over the years, haven't they?

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  26. Welcome back, Wendy! It's really good to see you again and I loved all the bloggers who had guest posted here.

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  27. Alice - Thank you, Alice. It's nice to be back. :-)

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  28. Hmmm, 2004 was the year for "My Sister's Keeper" and "No Second Chance?" I read both of those, probably that same month as you. Loved, loved, loved "SIster," but have not been able to fall in love with any other of her books. I don't know why. (And I flat out MADE a friend of mine read it, just after I finished it. Practically tied her to a chair.) I liked "No Second Chance, as well, though I think Harlan Coben's writing tends to the formulaic. I like his agent series, too, though I can't even remember the main character's name at the moment.

    And I still like thrillers. I'm trying to get through the latest Joy Fielding, "Still Life," though I've already cheated and gone to the end. Now I'm skipping backwards, which is a very strange way to wread a book, I must say. And I just finished "Three Kisses," by Heath Daniels, about a terrorist attempt to infiltrate all kinds of US alphabet organizations (FBI CIA, DEA, etc.)It's intelligently written, with a fast-paced plot, even gay and lesbian characters, just like in the real world. Well-written dialogue, too.

    So many books since then! And I love your blog -- I just found out it was "appreication week," and I do appreciate every reading blog I come across, even if they're not genres I normally spend a lot of time in. All have something to say. And I think all of you who put in the work and make the blogs so great.

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