Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sunday Salon: My Reading Break In Review

Sunday, March 2, 2008 - Off Limits

I do not usually pay attention to my horoscope, putting little faith in its veracity. If I do read it, as I have been lately for some silly reason, it is at the end of the day to see if what was predicted actually came true. Horoscopes are extremely generalized and easily manipulated into extrapolating out of it whatever meaning you may want. On this day, I read my horoscope earlier than usual, and it warned that I needed to give up a commitment, not just put it off until later. As much as I would like to retire and settle into a peaceful life, I am not in a position to give up my career just yet nor would I want to (although sometimes I very much wish I could). Taking my horoscope to heart for once in my life, I decided that blogging must be the commitment I let go. For a week. I wouldn't really be putting it off so much as giving it up for a week. I have also decided to commit myself to read more during the week.

The day was devoted to reading. I curled up in bed and read until well after noon. I was not quite so devote the reader during the afternoon hours, but I did return to my book as evening approached, stretching out on the couch as the last rays of sun filtered in through the blinds. Perhaps not the the most conducive setting for finishing up a horror novel, but John Marks held me captive until I reached the end. There was only one minuscule moment while I was reading that I almost burst out laughing--the image of this large man coming down the hall with a bucket and knife: clunk, clunk, clunk. I'm not sure why it struck me as funny--but then, maybe I should not be surprised. Sometimes horror strikes me that way. Stephen King's Cell, for example. I found it more amusing than scary. Fortunately, Fangland did have the spooky factor going for it (except for that one tiny moment).

Monday, March 3, 2008 through Thursday, March 6, 2008 - The Work Week

Work days are the worst for me when it comes to making time to read. I usually am able to squeeze in some reading during my half hour lunch break, but my plans to read in the evening usually fall by the wayside, at least until I am ready to go to bed. If it has been an especially exhausting day, I tend to fall asleep before I get much read. Unfortunately, that was often the case this week.

I did manage to squeeze in the last half of Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, which I am sure has quite the draw for booklovers like myself. I took copious notes and thought it would make a great Sunday Salon post. Only, it's five pages long, typed in a 10pt font with a 0.5 inch margin on each side. Yeah. So, you will be stuck for the next few Sundays with my impressions of the book as I read it. I know that kind of defeats the purpose of the Sunday Salon, which is supposed to be about reading in the here and now, and not so much the past. Some rules are meant to be broken on occasion though and I would really like to share my thoughts with you--and most especially hear yours. Look for that next week.

In other reading, I began Stephen Anable's The Fisher Boy during my lunch break on Monday. The Fisher Boy is a murder mystery set in Cape Cod in Provincetown. The protagonist is Mark Winslow, a young aspiring actor, who is in town for the summer while trying to make a splash on the stage. It got off to a good start, stalled a little, and then picked up again. I have not completely warmed up to the main character, but he is likable enough, if not a little annoying at times.

Friday, March 7, 2008 - Thank Goodness for Three Day Weekends

I am fortunate enough to work a schedule that allows me every other Friday off, and this just happens to be one of those weeks. And thank goodness! It was an extremely long week at work (even if only four days).

I was up past midnight finishing The Fisher Boy before finally settling in for the night, hoping I could sleep in the next morning, however, it was not meant to be. My darling dog made sure of that. I have already selected my next book to read, E J Rand's Say Goodbye, a mystery thriller set in New Jersey. I tucked the book into my purse on my way out the door for the day's outing.

Anjin and I spent the afternoon taking in a movie and enjoying lunch out. A woman sat in the row ahead of us, reading a book in the dim light of the theater before the show began. My husband I sometimes do that as well to pass the time. I could not tell what she was reading, I am afraid to say, but I did learn that she is rough on her books, pulling the little paperback flat as can be (it was probably easier for her to see the words closer to the margin that way, but that's just a guess on my part). When it was time for the movie to start, we both impolitely stared as she dog eared a corner to mark her place. Anjin, who is very careful with his books, visibly cringed at the sight of it. Both he and I shared a knowing look between us before turning our attention to the big screen. Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day was a funny and entertaining movie, I must say. Please do see it if you like lighthearted romantic comedies.

No trip to the theater is complete without a stop in the bookstore, which is just around the corner. Upon Clea's recommendation, I picked up a copy of Blaize Clement's Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter. And in show support for a local author, I bought a copy of Highwire Moon by Susan Straight, a story about a mother and daughter who search for each other after being separated twelve years before when the mother was deported home to Mexico while her daughter remained in California. I felt less guilty when I saw that my husband had also found a couple of books that caught his fancy.

In the late evening, I settled in with Say Goodbye. The book has gotten off to a great start. The author does not use a lot of words to get across his meaning, which always seems to increase the pacing of the novel, I find. I can tell I am in for a good time. Unfortunately, my body has other ideas and I think I'm losing the battle of staying awake.

Saturday, March 8, 2008 - A Day For Reading

It had been my plan to give you little updates as I read today, a peek into the mind of this reader, but that was not meant to be. I did spend a good part of the day stretched out on the couch lost in my book. It seemed the perfect day for it with the windows open, the sunlight pouring in . . . A cozy and comfortable day.

As is often the case, just as I am heading into that final stretch, a page or two away from the end, I am interrupted by my darling dog. It wasn't the kind of interruption I could ignore (I tried at first). Anyhow, I did manage to finish Say Goodbye. I will post my review soon, along with my reviews for Fangland and The Fisher Boy.

Anjin and I settled in front of the television tonight and watched The Good Shepherd starring Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie, which is about the shaky start of the Central Intelligence Agency. It was rather slow pace wise, but it fit with the tone of the film quite well.

I decided to put off choosing the next book I will read until tomorrow. I remembered to set the clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time and am now off to bed.

Sunday, March 9, 2008 - My Half Birthday

Half birthdays mean something to many young children, and mine was even more special to me because it was also my maternal grandfather's birthday. I think it started out as a way to keep the little ones happy during the adult party, but it has turned into a sort of memorial for my grandfather who died when I was in high school. My mother sends me a card every year without fail, and I admit to feeling the same sort of attachment to the day that I did all those years ago.

I have mentioned my grandfather before, his love for reading and writing. I think he would be quite pleased to know that his granddaughter continues to be an avid reader and dabbles in writing as he once did. He had such a great influence on me, and I look back on our time together fondly. Yesterday as I finished reading Say Goodbye, I couldn't help but imagine my grandfather in the shoes of the protagonist, albeit a little younger than when I knew him. That was the type of man he was: thoughtful and generous in spirit, always ready to help a friend.

I have no special plans for today. I do not actually celebrate my half birthday, other than perhaps in spirit. There will be no birthday cake or presents. Most people I know think I am silly for even thinking about the day as my half birthday. And that is okay. Both my mother and I know what this day means to us, and that is all that truly matters.

Now to decide what book will keep me company on this tree bending, windy day . . .

Happy Reading!


  1. Welcome back, Wendy! Your absence from Blogland last week was certainly noticed, but it sounds like you were able to make some headway on your getting-caught-up-on-reading goal for the week, so good going on that! Looking forward to your reviews, as always.

    I read Ex Libris several years ago and enjoyed it greatly, so I will look forward to learning your thoughts on it.

    I'd like your work schedule. I may be able to work from home via laptop one day a week at some point in the near future, though, and that would be almost as good.

    Happy half-birthday! I still recognize mine, too. :-) Enjoy your day, and have a great week!

  2. Thank you, Florinda! At first I didn't feel like I'd got much reading done, but when I read over my post for today, I realize I had managed to fit quite a bit in. I'm satisfied. :-)

    Working at home one day a week would be so great. I hope you are able to work that out, Florinda. My position offers a 4 day work week, ten hours each shift, which really isn't all that different than what I end up doing now, hour wise, but it includes a weekend day, which I'm just not willing to sacrifice for the sake of having three days off every week. I works out well the way it is though. So, I have no complaints. :-)

    Hubby and I are about to settle in for a little lunch and last week's episode of Lost--then I'll finally be all caught up.

    I hope you have a great week also!

  3. Happy half birthday, Wendy!

    You were missed during this week, but sometimes it's good to take a little time off. I'm glad to hear it gave you a chance to read more, and as always I look forward to your reviews :)

  4. I like the idea of celebrating a half birthday :)
    Definitely missed your posts Wendy but I think it's a good idea to take blog breaks every once in a while. After all you've got stacks waiting for you! ha,ha.
    Hope the rest of sunday is lovely.

  5. Welcome back, Wendy! You were definitely missed. :) But I'm glad to hear you're catching up with your reading, and spending some time off with your husband and your pets.

    Your mention of the half birthday made me smile... I could tell those days really brought you all the wonderful memories. Happy half birthday, Wendy! ;)

    Looking forward to your reviews soon.

  6. Nymeth - Thank you. I missed visiting everyone too, but I think it was good for me to get "away" for a little while.

    Iliana - Any excuse to celebrate, is what I say! Haha Anyhow, yes, the ever growing stack was grateful for the attention. :-)

    Melody - Thanks. I feel like I did good during my reading break. Imagine what I could have done if I actually didn't have to go to work. Haha

  7. Sounds like you had a pretty productive week of reading, even with a busy work week. Of course we're glad you're back to blogging!
    And happy half birthday! I'd never heard of celebrating that before. Then again we celebrate 2 wedding anniversaries! It's nice you have such fond memories attached to it.
    I look forward to your thoughts on Ex Libris. I first heard about it a few years ago but have never gotten around to reading it.

  8. I think taking a break from blogging now and then is valuable. Otherwise it can suck you in. :)

    Happy half-birthday. I think it's wonderful to have such a day on which to remember your grandfather. Recently I reminisced a bit about my own maternal grandfather when posting a writer's exercise in my epiphanies blog, and as a result ended up reconnecting with some of my mother's cousins. That was neat. :)

  9. Happy belated half-birthday, Wendy! (In my house, we usually declare a "birthday weekend," if not a "birthday week," so I'm not really late.

    Sounds like a productive week! I'm still reeling from the finale of "The Wire" (and soliciting alternate takes on my blog at if you're in the mood). But I'm also ready to make another recommendation: "A Foreign Affair," by Caro Peacock. Murder and political intrigue in 1837 England.

  10. Welcome back Wendy! I've been a bit sick which has affected my blogging activity, but I'm also trying to finish The Woman in White for a bookclub meeting next week (so I appreciate your week off idea). I didn't realize what a chunkster I suggested for the club. I hope they will all still speak to me after my choice (over 600 pages!). I'd always wanted to read it and could mentally picture the book on my shelf, but my mental picture remembered the book as a bit slimmer than it really is. Oh well, a good read anyway (if you can get past the Victorian melodrama).

  11. Glad you had a good week--and happy half birthday. Mine is on Valentine's Day, so I always joke about it. But it always means more when you share a special connection. :)

  12. I'll add to the half-happy belated birthday wishes too!

    (I don't know if it's just me or not but your posts are running across the page now)

  13. Tanabata - Thank you. I don't imagine many people do celebrate their half birthdays. :-) I hope now that I'm in the reading groove again, I don't slip out of it.

    Heather - Yes, it most definitely can!

    Thank you for the half-birthday wishes. How neat that you were able to reconnect with a cousin! That's definitely something to celebrate. :-)

    Clea - Thanks! We're the same way in my house. I try and extend the birthdays out as long as I can. It's a good tradition, I think.

    I stopped in earlier and read some of the comments on your blog in regards to the finale. I told my husband after it ended that I'm ready to watch the entire series over again. I'm sure going to miss that show.

    Thanks for the recommendation!

    Terri - I do hope you are feeling better. I have Woman in White in my TBR collection. I'll be anxious to read what you think of it!

    Trish - Thanks. A half birthday on Valentine's Day! That would be fun. Do you milk it for an extra present? ;-)

    Jen - Thank you!

    I adjusted the post a little, Jen, but I don't know if that helped at all? It shows up okay on mine and my husband's computer, but I did have problems this morning.

  14. I've been thinking of taking a week off myself. With teaching obligations stacking up, the puppy to take care of, and general life craziness, reading has gotten edged almost completely out. And that's just unacceptable for a bookworm!!

    Great Salon post. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on Fadiman's book, too.

  15. Jen - Oh, good! Thanks for letting me know.

    Andi - You have so much on your plate that a reading break might just be what you need. :-)

  16. I just took a week off from reading blogs!~
    I know what you mean though, sometimes it does get overwhelming (the reading I mean). My stacks never seem to get any smaller, and just this past week I got my first shipment from the Folio Club, which I just joined, as well as the latest issue (if that is the right word) of McSweeney's.
    I am at the end of a six-day week right now, but am looking forward to the 4-day Easter weekend (followed by the PLA conference!)
    By the by, I really enjoy Blaize Clement's books myself.

  17. Shonna - I think that was the hardest part for me, not reading blogs. I did cave in a few times, I admit. I need to stop requesting ARE's because it means my own collection remains the same size--and gets bigger, if I'm completely honest.

    I hope you enjoy your long weekend and that the conference goes well.

    I'm glad to hear you enjoy Blaize Clement's books as well!


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