Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Salon: Thankfully Reading Weekend, Almost Over

It was a dark and stormy morning. Not really. It was only slightly overcast, the threat of rain hanging in the air. The wind blew the clouds away to make way for the sun before I even got out of bed, the bed where I spent most of the morning cheering Jess on as she took matters into her own hands and hoping Lindy and her father would find a way to reunite again. It has been a long while since I last stayed under the covers late into the morning reading to my heart's content. Only a dog anxious to be let out and my growling tummy forced me to budge. Even then it was with great reluctance. I set my book aside and assured it I would be back soon.

Ever since I first heard about the Thankfully Reading Weekend, I looked forward to a few hours of uninterrupted reading time. The weekend has almost come to a close and it is time to reflect on how it's been going. I set no rules for myself and made no book lists, all with the intention of keeping the weekend relaxed and stress free. There was no mad dash to finish as many books as I could or to read from dawn until all hours of the night.

Friday I was able to finish The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia, a novel set in 1592 in a Jewish ghetto in Germany. A girl had been brutally murdered and it was up to a newcomer to the community to uncover the murderer and try to avert the annihilation of the Jewish community. I sat down at my computer the next morning preparing to write my review, but the words would not come. My thoughts still needed time to percolate.

It dawned on me all at once that Christmas is a month away, and I still hadn't begun my shopping for gifts, many of which would have to be mailed shortly or risk being late. So, instead of spending much of Saturday reading like I originally planned, I went on a gift buying expedition with my husband. It is the Christmas of books for many of those on my Christmas list this year. I am not sure how long we were in the bookstore, but I was determined not to leave empty handed. I may hate shopping for clothing or shoes, but I can't resist book shopping. Finding that perfect book for someone can be quite a challenge, but I felt up to the task.

It just so happened that there was an author signing her books up at the front of the store that day. I was looking over the new release table when she approached me with a bookmark, detailing the information about her book--a juvenile court attorney caught up in the disappearance of her brother and a case she is working on that involves a nine-year-old boy and his father. The author, Teresa Burrell, had been inspired by her own work as an attorney in the juvenile court system in San Diego. I had not come to the store with the intention of buying any books for myself, but I couldn't resist getting a signed copy of Burrell's The Advocate.

Anjin and I left the bookstore with two rather heavy bags of books. I would tell you what we bought, but on the off chance my family actually reads my blog, it's probably best that I don't. We stopped off for lunch at the Elephant Bar (I love their Santa Fe Chicken Salad) before venturing over to the mall. It's been quite a while since I was last in the mall, and I wasn't too keen on fighting the holiday shoppers Saturday either. Still, I didn't want to have to come back, so we figured we might as well get it over with then and there. We weren't able to find everything we were looking for, but we came away with a few gifts to check off our list.

By the time we got home, it was late afternoon and my back and hip were screaming for a nap. That evening, Anjin and I caught up on the television show "V" and I spent a little time checking my e-mail. It wouldn't be until bed-time that I would finally crack open my next book, Jennie Shortridge's When She Flew. I was a good way in before my husband came to bed and I called it a night.

So, Saturday did not exactly turn out as I might have hoped, reading-wise. Still, I got a lot done and have a lot less shopping for the holidays to worry about now. I made up for yesterday today by spending a good part of the day reading. I finished When She Flew and look forward to sharing my thoughts about the book with your later this week.

Now I have to decide if I want to write my reviews for the two books I finished this weekend or start straightway into my next book. Or maybe I will catch up on a little blog hopping to see what you all are up to this evening.

I may not have read as much or for as long as I might have liked this Thankfully Reading Weekend, but since I really had no plan going in, I think I did just fine. Ultimately, I accomplished just what I set out to do, to read at my leisure, stress free. Many thanks to the Book Blog Social Club for hosting the Thankfully Reading Weekend.

How did you all spend your weekend? Did you read any good books you are just chomping at the bit to talk about?

This Week In Reading Mews:
Reviews Posted:
Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur by Halima Bashir

Reading Now:
The Girl on Legare Street by Karen White
Guests of the Ayatollah: The Iran Hostage Crisis
by Mark Bowden

Posts of Interest This Week:
Thanksgiving: Then and Now
Kicking Off the Thankfully Reading Weekend

© 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.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Kicking off The Thankfully Reading Weekend

It is a beautiful morning here in Southern California. While many Americans were up before dawn, ready to take advantage of today's huge sales, I was snuggled under my covers, warm and comfortable, sound asleep. My husband woke up early and distracted the animals so I could sleep in. As a result, I am well rested and nearly ready to read.

Today is the kick off of the Thankfully Reading Weekend, hosted by Jenn of Jenn's Bookshelves, Jen of Devourer of Books & Beth of Beth Fish Reads. I am going into this weekend's event stress free: none of that self-inflicted pressure, no designated stack of books (although I do have a couple of ideas), no goal on the amount I read or how much time I spend reading each day. Anjin has planned to spend the weekend gaming and continuing with his NaNoWriMo project.

Now for a little breakfast, and then I will be settling in to finish Kenneth Wishnia's The Fifth Servant.

Whatever your plans for the weekend, I hope you have a nice one. For my fellow Thankfully Reading Weekend participants (official and unofficial), enjoy your books and happy reading!

© 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.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving: Then and Now

Today was Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America. For many, it is the most important holiday of the year. It is a time when families join together and share a meal, reflecting on their lives and giving thanks, appreciating life. For some people, Thanksgiving is about parades and football and cooking. It's about that turkey dinner.

Growing up, it was like that for me. No matter whose house the Thanksgiving family gathering would be held, the men would settle around the television set to watch football or crowd around in the living room to play with someone's new gadget, and the women would gather in the kitchen to prepare the food for the big meal. Except my Grandpa John. He always had a foot in both rooms. Now that I think about it, I can see where my mom inherited her need to be constantly moving and doing something.

As for my brother and I, the only children in the crowd, we'd often be off playing or occasionally put to work by one of the women. Or you might find me tucked away somewhere reading. "Come join the rest of the family" was a refrain I heard quite often. Sometimes my grandfather would put us to work, raking leaves in the yard. I remember many a year when we would jump in those piles, burying ourselves in the yellow, red and orange leaves. (Or maybe this is actually a Christmas memory . . . the weather between Thanksgiving and Christmas is not all that different in many parts of California.)

I was often tasked with setting the table, but I never felt welcome in the kitchen. I jokingly tease my mother sometimes that my aversion to cooking was borne during those early years when I was always shooed out of the kitchen. Something about too many cooks and my being in the way. You were more likely to find me on the clean up crew. There could never be enough hands involved with that. Scraping leftovers into tin foil and plastic containers, everyone laying claim to what they might want to take with them. The hostess always hoped someone would want to take home some of the leftovers so she wouldn't be stuck with them all.

Then the real clean up would begin. I made a good dryer. The older I became, I often would take on the scrubbing as well. Yes, there was an actual dish-washing machine, but, you see, big holidays like this often require that the good china that has been collecting dust in the cabinet be used--and, of course, the good china is not "Dishwasher Safe". Those dishes, pots, pans and utensils that were dishwasher safe could never just be loaded into the dishwasher rack. No, they had to be scrubbed and free of any food remnants before being placed in there. What's the point of having a dish-washing machine if I have to wash everything by hand anyway, I often asked my mother.

Before we could eat, we had to say a prayer of thanksgiving. We would all stand and take each others hands. Some years each of us would offer up thanks, one at a time; while at other times, one person would give thanks for all of us. I always took the Thanksgiving prayer very seriously, putting my entire heart into it, always silently--my private conversation with God.

My brother and I were not big fans of the actual Thanksgiving meal. Neither of us really liked turkey (we grew out of that, thankfully) and so inevitably someone would make my brother a hot dog (he was the Hot Dog King). I have no memories of getting out of eating the "adult foods" myself though. All I remember is being envious of my little brother who always seemed to get out of eating what everyone else was eating. I am sure I could of eaten a hot dog if I wanted. But, well, I didn't especially like hot dogs. What I did love, however, were those yams smothered in marshmallows. It was like eating desert for dinner. Yum! It's still one of my favorite dishes. Although why anyone would want to ruin it by putting bacon in is beyond me. My second favorite part of the meal was the mashed potatoes. And the bread. Not exactly the healthiest choices.

Of course there was also pie. Pumpkin was always my favorite. My mom's pumpkin that is. I've yet to find anyone who makes it just the way she does. Add a dollop of whipped cream on top and I was in heaven.

Before all of that though, before we even left the house or the guests began arriving, Thanksgiving Day always would start with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I loved the floats best when I was a child. And I enjoyed making note of whether the marching bands were in step. As I got older, the Broadway dance routines would most catch my eye. Okay, so they weren't actually a part of the parade, but oh, how I loved to imagine myself as one of the singers and dancers. (Confession: I still do.)

After everything was said and done, the leftovers put away and the dishes clean, it was time to go. Goodbyes were said, hugs exchanged. We would all go our separate ways. I was often relieved it was finally over.

For the past few years, my husband and I have chosen to celebrate Thanksgiving in a different way. We avoid the rush of travelers and our house does not smell of a roasting turkey. At first it was because of our work schedules. We live several hundred miles away from both of our families. My husband often had to get back to work the day after Thanksgiving and so travel was out of the question. We've grown to appreciate our own little tradition. Sometimes we go out and see a movie. One year we joined the crowds at Disneyland (and, boy, was it ever packed!) Since discovering that Marie Callender's Restaurant stays open for the holiday, we began going there for our Thanksgiving meal. None of that dreaded cooking (you know I don't like to cook, right?) and clean up. Many people evidently have the same idea because every year the restaurant is full of people, large and small parties taking advantage of the open restaurant.

It never fails that each year people ask me what my plans are for Thanksgiving, am I cooking or are we visiting relatives? Sometimes I can detect a glimmer of pity in their face when I tell them neither, that my husband and I are spending the day by ourselves and going out for dinner. For so many, Thanksgiving is about those family get-togethers, the bad and the good, and that home cooked meal. I, on the other hand, have grown to like the quiet of the day. I prefer it, really. I like being able to spend the day with my husband, just the two of us and the animals. I still give thanks. I still reflect on the positives in my life and how lucky I am. And I am very lucky. I have so much to be thankful for.

A coworker approached me yesterday and said, "I hear you are going to Mimi's tomorrow!" Her eyes were bright and she had a big smile on her face. I actually had no idea that Mimi's was open for Thanksgiving. I wish I had; I wouldn't mind having Thanksgiving there. I hear they have their full menu available. There was an instant spark between us, one of shared understanding. As crowded as the few open restaurants are on Thanksgiving Day (and believe me, they are often crowded!), I haven't known too many people in my own circle who prefer to eat out on the holiday. Like me, she spent the day with just her husband and son, which is how she prefers it.

Anjin and I did not go to Marie Callender's this year. Instead we decided to try something a bit different and went to Claim Jumper. The food was good and our bellies are full. I even brought home leftovers. Now we are going to settle in and enjoy the rest of the evening. Maybe take a nap.

However you spent the day, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, I hope you all had a wonderful and fulfilling day.

Those of you who are going to brave the Black Friday* shopping crowds, more power to you! When Anjin and I were out and about last night, we noticed people with sleeping bags and camping gear already lining up outside the local Best Buy (electronics store). Imagine spending Thanksgiving that way! For some people though, it's their tradition. And they love every moment of it. I can appreciate that.

How did you spend your Thursday? Are any of you Americans planning to brave the crowds this Black Friday*?

*For those who may not know, Black Friday is the official kick off of the Christmas shopping season. It falls on the Friday after the American Thanksgiving Day. Many stores boast huge sales and offer unbelievable deals good for just the day in order to lure in customers, sometimes opening up in the wee hours of the morning. It's a tradition for many Americans to be up before dawn, waiting in line at the stores, hoping to get the best deals.

Ten Things I am Grateful For This Year

1. My husband continues to be my rock. He is my best friend and I love him so.

2. My cats and dog bring me such joy and fill my heart with love.

3. My family and friends, including my online friends (that means you!). I have gained so much by having them (and you) in my life.

4. My job. I am lucky to be in a job I like and to be working for a manager who is not only supportive, but gets me.

5. My husband's job. In this economy, I am just grateful we are both able to continue working.

6. My freedom and those who strive and fight to protect it.

7. The roof over my head and the food on my table.

8. All the Americans who are working today, despite it being a national holiday, including the wait staff, cooks and hostesses who gave up their Thanksgivings to serve those of us who didn't want to cook for ourselves. And especially those in emergency services or on standby who are there when we need them most.

9. My love for reading and books, and a special thanks to the authors who share their stories with the rest of us.

10. Indoor plumbing.

© 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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tears of the Desert: A Discussion with Nat from In Spring it is the Dawn

I was both nervous and excited when Nat, aka Tanabata, from In Spring it is the Dawn approached me about doing a buddy read. I have participated in group book discussions online, but my experience with buddy reads is very limited. Nat made it easy for me. She is extremely kind and patient. My anxiety over being too busy or preoccupied turned out to be for naught as she was just as busy as I was. As a result, we made the perfect match. In between our many obligations, we were able to squeeze in Halima Bashir's memoir Tears of a Desert. Take a peek at our discussion:

Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur
by Halima Bashir

Ballantine Books, 2008
Nonfiction; 316 pgs

In the winter of 2003, the Sudan Liberation Army and Justice and Equality Movement acted out against the injustice they saw taking place in their country. Black Africans were being oppressed and treated like second class citizens by the government. The government retaliated with more violence, taking it to an entirely different level. Not only were the soldiers in the rebellion targeted, but the innocent as well. Children and women are being raped, entire villages wiped out, and survivors are forced to leave the country or hide or risk certain death. The Sudanese government controls the media within the country and has continuously tried to control the truth going out.

Halima Bashir is just one person who was caught up in the conflict. Her memoir, Tears of the Desert, is her attempt at giving voice to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been murdered and displaced by the Darfur conflict.
Darfur. I know to you this must be a word soaked in suffering and blood. A name that conjures up terrible images of a dark horror and an evil without end. Pain and cruelty on a magnitude inconceivable in most of the civilized world. But to me Darfur means something quite different. It was and is that irreplaceable, unfathomable joy that is home. [pg 4]

Wendy: I am not really sure what draws me to books like this. The Holocaust has long been a part of history that has frightened and moved me. It is a time in the world’s history that is so painful, not to mention shameful. And not just for those who were directly involved. It is a blight on all our records. Stories about the Holocaust are told and re-told, the hope is that the same mistakes won’t be repeated. But they are. Again and again. The Holocaust was not the first instance of genocide nor was it the last. While the murder and rape of hundreds of thousands of black Africans in Darfur has not been labeled as genocide by the United Nations, it is still an atrocity that cannot be justified.

Nat: I know what you mean. Sometimes I shy away from these kind of books because I know that the stories told within will be painful and perhaps hard to read, but at the same time I think it's important for us to read these stories so we can be more aware of the terrible things that are unfortunately still happening in the world today. It's easy to be complacent while watching the news about countries half a world away from us, thinking that it doesn't affect us. But then the news, when it even reports it, only focuses on numbers and facts. Reading Tears of the Desert, and getting to know Halima and her family through the pages of the book, really put a human face on the tragedy occurring in Darfur.

Wendy: I appreciated how Halima Bashir told her story. I have read other books on Darfur that focus on the conflict and the atrocities. Halima wanted to offer a more well rounded picture, I think, and she did excellent job for someone like me, who has never traveled to Sudan nor experienced a life like the one she has lived. The love for her country, her village and her family came through—I could not help but love them too. I was quite fond of her grandmother. She was so full of spirit. She may not have always been the wisest of women in her decisions, but it was impossible not to respect her.

Nat: The grandmother was quite the character, wasn't she? Some of her choices were more detrimental than helpful but she was a strong, determined, courageous woman and everything she did was out of love for her family. She ended up being a great role model for Halima and it seemed like a lot of Halima's later bravery was drawn from her grandmother's strength. Her grandmother would've been proud of her, I think.

I really enjoyed how Halima told her story too. I loved how she started off with her childhood, showing how happy she was growing up in her village, surrounded by her family. It's what made her story all the more moving for me, knowing that the bad was yet to come, but that it would come.

Wendy: No conflict arises out of nothing and it was interesting to see the growing discontent in the country through Halima's eyes, especially during her younger years. She is an amazing woman. She has so much courage and strength. Despite the odds that were definitely not in her favor, she continued to work toward her dream of becoming a doctor.

Nat: I have nothing but respect for her, for all she went through, for all she endured to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor, and to help her fellow Zaghawa. In the book she doesn't focus on the politics too much but of course some of it still comes through, mostly in discussions with her father. I'm admitting my ignorance here but one thing I hadn't really realized was the involvement of the British, by installing the Arabs to govern Sudan, in helping to create the atmosphere in which this conflict would eventually ignite.

'Back then the British came to our country for one reason,' my father continued. 'They came to take what they could for themselves. They took the land to grow their crops; they took the mountains to mine gold; and they tried to take the people to work for them. But we Zaghawa resisted, and we were never truly conquered.'

My father glanced at me, his eyes glinting. 'But you know the worst thing the British did? The very worst? When they left they gave all the power to the Arab tribes. They handed power to the Arabs. Now that's the sort of things you should be learning at school.'
[pg 100]

Wendy: I was also really taken by her experiences as a refugee in England, the struggles she had to go through there. It must have been so difficult for her being in a strange country, surrounded by strangers and the unknown. While I have moved around a number of times in my life, it was always within my own country and I was never completely alone. My heart ached for Halima.

Nat: I also found that part of her story interesting. As if surviving, and managing to escape that hell wasn't hard enough, without having to fight to not be sent back there. I suppose in some ways she was lucky to have people who were willing to help her, but lucky seems the wrong word entirely considering all that she lost.

Most of the articles and interviews took place in 2008, when the book came out, and I can't seem to find any updated information on the internet. I know that she has won her case and has been granted asylum in England, and I only hope that someday she will be reunited with the rest of her family. This was truly a touching story, and one that I think everyone should read.

Wendy: Like you, I scoured the internet in search of some sign that Halima was reunited with her family but to no avail. So many families in Darfur have been torn apart by the crisis. My heart goes out to those families.

My heartfelt thanks to Nat for reading Tears of a Desert with me. Halima's story is one I will not soon forget.

Listen to an interview with Halima Bashir from the CBC
Listen to an interview with Halima Bashir on NPR, or read an excerpt from the book
Watch an interview with Halima Bashir from SBS Dateline
Read an article from the New York Times

The crisis in Darfur and other African countries have struck a chord with both Nat and me. We decided we had to do something, however small. Earlier this year, we both signed up for The Year of Readers Project in which we read for a charity of our choice that focuses on literacy and reading, raising money as we go. Nat and I both are reading for the Book Wish Foundation:
We focus on people in long-term crisis situations because they may face problems so grave that reading relief is not a major component of the aid they receive, although reading may have a great positive impact on their lives. Refugees, internally displaced people, school-aged children not in school, the homeless, the critically ill, and the desperately poor are among the populations we aim to reach.
I am a strong believer that literacy and education empower people, adults and children alike. The year is not yet over. If you would like to sponsor Nat or me (or both if you are feeling really generous!), either by donating a lump sum (any little bit helps) or per book read, you can still do so. Just let us know. Or, you can donate a little something directly to the cause if you prefer.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Salon: A Reading Retrospective (November 2004)

When I began keeping a reading journal six years ago, I hoped to look back upon my reading to see if there were any patterns. Not only was I curious to see the changes in what I read, but also, perhaps, in how much I read in any given month. In terms of numbers, there really is no discernible pattern. Except for the month of November. November seems to be the month I read the least amount of books. I switched that up on purpose a couple of years ago, determined to break the cycle I seemed to have developed. It is too soon to tell how this month will fare in comparison, especially with the Thankfully Reading Weekend coming up at the end of the month.

Since I will be busy reading next weekend, I thought I would travel down memory lane a little early this month, seeing where my reading took me five years ago this November. The year had already brought with it plenty of bumps, and November of 2004 was no different. My discontent with my job was on the rise and my paternal grandfather died, having suffered with Alzheimer's Disease in the final years of his life. On the plus side, Anjin and I decided it was time to buy me a new car, replacing the first one I'd ever had.

Reading wise, I spent time with old friends in Victorian London, England, investigating crimes right alongside Inspector Thomas and Charlotte Pitt from Anne Perry's mystery series. Charlotte is still one of my favorite heroines, intelligent and thoughtful. I read both Belgrave Square and Farriers' Lane in November 2004. Perry pays close attention to details in her novels, aiming for historical accuracy. While entertaining on one hand, Perry's novels also tackle social issues of the day, making them, in my mind, all the more worthwhile to read.

That November five years ago, I spent a good deal of time reading Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Set mostly in England during the early 1800’s when practical magic appears to have been lost, the simple question of why magic was not practiced anymore created a stir among the magic community, which was made up mostly of scholars and theorists at that time. A prophecy about how two magicians would join together and reintroduce magic into English society began to unfold. This is their story, the story of Jonathan Strange and his teacher, Mr. Norrell. Mr. Norrell and Mr. Strange are the unlikeliest of companions with very different ideas about magic and how it should be practiced and studied. With their own warring ideas, the question arises if the two magicians can work together to conquer the malevolent forces that threaten them and their loved ones.

What I liked best about Clarke's novel was the air of realism that permeated the entire story, even with the most fantastic of magic performed. I fell in love with Clarke's writing from the start. I was never overly fond of Mr. Norrell. My favorite character in the novel by far was Arabella, Jonathan Strange's wife. She was strong, intelligent, and quite an interesting character. I also took to Stephen Black, the butler who was enchanted by the King of Lost-Hope, and yet he remained ever the polite gentleman even in the direst of situations.

My husband also read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell around the same time. He loved the book even more than I did, if that's possible. It's definitely a novel that has stayed with me all these years later, and one I hope to eventually revisit.

While I may have only read three books that November in 2004, I was lucky enough to make up for it in quality.

This November seems to be full of its own bumps. Not a week has gone by yet this month when Anjin or I haven't landed in the hospital for one thing or another. This past week it was my turn again. Just when I'm ready to jump right back into blogging, my back had another idea. At a time when Americans are counting their blessings and offering up thanks, let me extend my gratitude to kind emergency room doctors and staff and the makers of pain medication. And thank you to all of you for your patience and friendship.

This Week In Reading Mews:
Reviews Posted:
From Book to Film: Push to Precious

Reading Now:
The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia
Guests of the Ayatollah: The Iran Hostage Crisis by Mark Bowden
Palestine by Joe Sacco

Posts of Interest This Week:
Thankfully Reading Weekend
Wordless Wednesday: Waiting Their Turn

© 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.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Worldless Wednesday: TBR - Waiting Their Turn

Unread and Untidy

© 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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thankfully Reading Weekend: November 27th - 29th

My reading has suffered much this year. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle finding time to read--or finding the energy to do so. I love those days when I can settle in with a book, uninterrupted. I try and fit them in now and then when possible. Days like that are an opportunity for me to relax and take it easy, letting go of those outside obligations, at least for a little while. The read-a-thon always sounds like so much fun--but also very intense. When I heard about the Thankfully Reading Weekend, I worried that it would be just as demanding. While I know the read-a-thon is what you make it--as laid back or as busy as I want it to be--following the progress of those who participate, I always feel so exhausted at the end. And that's not having been a participant myself.

Jen from Devourer of Books, one of the hosts, assured me, however, that the Thankfully Reading Weekend will be a much more relaxed setting. I do not have to try and read as much as I can within a set time period.

Starting November 27th and ending on Sunday, November 29th, participants are setting aside time to devote to reading, whether it be a day, half a day, the entire weekend or what have you. Readers can work towards meeting some of their reading goals for the year or just settle in with a book and read. There is no pressure. Participants can post updates as they go or just write a wrap up post on the final day (or leave a comment if you don't have a blog). I am sure the hosts of the read-a-thons would stress that they share the same flexibility, which, of course, is true. Somehow though, this feels like its different, less intense--and less intimidating.

I am in no way knocking the read-a-thons. The excitement and enthusiasm surrounding them is contagious. It's impossible not to want to share in that. They really do sound like a lot of fun and perhaps one of these days I'll be up to participating.

Many Americans will be busy the weekend after Thanksgiving (November 26th), busy with family or hitting the sales. I am looking forward to a long quiet weekend, however. What better way to spend it than with a good book or two? I will not be reading the entire weekend. There may be a movie to see or some other activity I won't be able to resist. But I like the idea of committing to reading a good portion of the time, freeing my mind and setting my feet in someone else's shoes for just a little while. Heck, I may start early. I have no big plans for Thanksgiving Day.

The Thankfully Reading Weekend is open to everyone world wide. Be sure and drop by the Book Blog Social Club to sign up. Care to come read with me?

Hosted by: Jenn's Bookshelves, Devourer of Books & Beth Fish Reads

© 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.

Monday, November 16, 2009

From Book to Film: Push to Precious

She say, "Write." I tell her, "I am tired. Fuck you!" I scream, "You don't know nuffin' what I been through!" I scream at Ms Rain. I never do that before. Class look shock. I feel embarrass, stupid; sit down, I'm made a fool of myself on top of everything else. "Open your notebook Precious." "I'm tired," I says. She says, "I know you are but you can't stop now Precious, you gotta push." And I do.
[pg 97]

by Sapphire
Knopf, 1996
Fiction; 192 pgs

Book Source: Paid for with my own hard earned cash.
Rating: * (Outstanding)

Several months ago I was approached by a coworker and asked if I had read Sapphire's Push. She had seen a trailer of the upcoming movie and knew she just had to see it. When she discovered it was based on a book, she thought of me.

Push is not one of those novels that will appeal to everyone. It may offend some. It is a book that will drag out the reader's darker emotions: anger and sadness. It did for me, anyway. I read this book with tears in my eyes. I had a few choice names for the mother and father. My heart ached for Precious Jones. No child should have to endure what she did. No child. Ever. And yet it is also a story about hope and overcoming the odds. In that way, it is an inspirational novel.

My coworker insists that the novel is based on a true story, but I haven't been able to verify that. As far as I know, it is a work of fiction. However, before you take comfort in that, keep in mind that about 1 out of 4 girls in the U.S. are sexually abused (1 in 6 boys). Most sexual abuse occurs by someone close to the child, someone the child is supposed to trust. Precious' own story may be fiction, but many children throughout the world suffer in similarly every day. They endure not only sexual abuse but physical and emotional abuse as well. They fall through the cracks of our school systems, barely able to read and write, even by the time they are in their teens. I know. I've seen this first hand.

Sapphire tells the story using Precious' own voice, in Precious' vernacular. Words are spelled out phonetically, there are plenty of curse words, and certain phrases and concepts are repeated several times; while this might seem like it would be bothersome, it was not at all. If anything, the writing style gives voice to the character, putting the reader in her shoes if only for the span of the novel. It did not take long for me to fall into the rhythm of the story.

Precious is 16 years old at the start of the novel, pregnant with her second child. She had given birth to a daughter when she was only 12 years old. The father of her children is her own father, a man who has been raping her since she was a young child. She is extremely overweight and the butt of many jokes. Precious has a very limited world view, which is expanded through the course of the novel. All her life she has been alone, friendless and with hardly any support from others. Her mother is downright evil, beating her daughter regularly. I could not drum up an ounce of sympathy for Precious' mother. I don't think I was meant to.

Kicked out of junior high because she is pregnant, Precious is told she must attend an alternative school. It is there where she meets Blue Rain, an unorthodox teacher who draws Precious and her classmates out. For the first time in her life, Precious feels like she belongs somewhere. She connects with her classmates and teacher. She experiences the kindness of others, something completely foreign to her. She also comes to realize she is not alone.

Precious is one of those characters I wish I could reach into the novel and hug, reassuring her that she is beautiful and smart, and that she doesn't deserve the abuse she has suffered. She is courageous and good at heart. She thinks so little of herself and yet there is a spark deep inside her that keeps her going. She isn't completely without self-confidence, though it is extremely fragile. She craves praise and eats it up when it is offered. Reading the stories of her classmates, I felt the same way about them. Each of them also had suffered much in their short lives, enduring pain and loss that no child should have to endure.

Blue Rain realizes right away that the young women in her class need to learn to believe in themselves. She could easily stick to the curriculum and prepare them for the GED. She wants to do more than that for them, though.

Precious can barely read or write at the start of the book, and, as the novel progresses, the reader can see the growth she makes in the narrative. While this novel is a horror story in some respects, it is also an inspirational one. My heart broke for Precious time and time again. It also swelled at her successes, even the smallest of ones. Push is no fairy tale. There is no miraculous happy ending. Everything does not turn out perfectly in the end. What there is, however, is hope.

I couldn't help but think of Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye as I read Push. Many of the same themes run through both novels. The Color Purple by Alice Walker also came to mind which turned out to be quite fitting given the novel is referenced frequently. Precious identifies with Celcie from The Color Purple.

I think it is important not to overlook the cultural aspects of the novel. Precious is a black young woman, living in the Bronx with her mother who is collecting welfare. Discrimination is nothing new to her. She does not trust the authorities nor most white people. She spends much of her time wishing she was lighter skinned and thinner. What happened to her would not have happened had she been white, she reasons. One of my favorite scenes in the novel is when she attends her first Survivors of Incest Anonymous meeting. She walks in feeling alone, as if no one in the room will be able to identify with her or understand the horrors she has suffered. She walks out with the realization that she is far from alone and that what happened to her could have happened to anyone, regardless of race, size or economic background. Child abuse has no boundaries when it comes to culture. It affects us all regardless.

Push is one of those novels I can talk about forever if given the chance. I have given you a small taste of it here and hope you will give it a try. And if you are up for it, you might want to watch the movie too.

Movies based on books are rarely as good as their predecessors. We all know that. Some of you may avoid watching movies based on books you have read for that very reason. Others, like me, run to the movie theater (or the Netflix website) to see how those movies turned out.

Because of a summer movie with the same title, Push became Precious when it hit movie theaters. I couldn't wait the couple of days it would take for the movie to appear in a theater closer to my town, and so I dragged my husband to Los Angeles so we could see it at the ArcLight in Hollywood, where it opened its first weekend in limited release.

I have already talked at length about the book and so will not do so again while talking about the movie. All I really have to say is wow. Precious is quite a movie. The rave reviews you hear about Mo'Nique serving up an Oscar worthy performance as the mother is true. It was raw and oh so real. The final scene with Mo'Nique in the film is especially gut wrenching. Gabourey Sidibe who played Precious was outstanding in performance too. She had the same edge as the character in the novel, the same heart, and won me over just as quickly. I had been a little worried about the dream sequences going into the movie, but my concerns were unwarranted. While they were a bit more of a spectacle in the movie than they had been in the book, they were well placed and definitely worthwhile.

The movie differs from the book in a few ways, including the ending--although the overall feel of the two were much the same. I really don't feel pointing out the differences matters as a result. I think the only complaint I have about the movie is that I wish I'd gotten a little deeper look at Precious' classmates. I understand, though, the decision not to go that route. Movies have time limits and not every detail from a book can make it onto the big screen.

The movie enriched my appreciation for the book and vice versa. Just as in the book, I watched Precious grow from victim to survivor. While her overall story is terribly sad, her courage and hope make her an inspiration.

Movie: Precious (2009)
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: R
Directed By: Lee Daniels
Written By: Geoffrey Fletcher (screenplay) & Sapphire (novel)
Rating: 4 Bags of Popcorn

Monday's Movie is hosted by Sheri at A Novel Menagerie.

© 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.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Salon: Next Up on the TBR Pile

My immediate TBR pile has not fallen over yet, although it has come awfully close a few times. I am in between books at the moment. On occasion I actually know what I will be reading next while other times I am daunted by all my choices and have a difficult time deciding. Fortunately, this is one of those times when I know exactly what I am in the mood for.

How do you choose your next read? Do you ever had a hard time deciding?

My fall issue of Mystery Scene is looking well-read right now. There are quite a few new crime fiction novels out that sound appealing. And I am looking forward to diving into World Literature Today soon, which includes a feature about imprisoned writers.

On the book front, I am eager to start reading The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia. The novel is set in 1592 Prague. I also have been eying Joe Sacco's Palestine, which is a graphic novel. The author/artist is a journalist who spent a couple of months on the West Bank and shares his experiences there in his book.

I plan to begin Mark Bowden's Guests of the Ayatollah, The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam today. The author impressed me with his nonfiction book Black Hawk Down about the 1993 U.S. military operation in Mogadishu, Somalia, a book I initially thought I wouldn't like but ended up loving. It was quite compelling. Ever since, I have wanted to read more by Bowden. When My Friend Amy announced the 50 Books for our Times Project, I figured now was as good a time as any. Guests of the Ayatollah is a bit of a chunkster, and so I decided I might as well read it alongside a fiction book.

Speaking of chunksters, this past week I finished reading my third selection for the Chunkster Challenge, hosted by Dana. Another challenge completed. I chose the Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? option and committed to reading 3 books that were 450 or more pages long. Each of the books I chose for the challenge were quite different, including a Gothic classic, a nonfiction book and a fantasy novel.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins - 635 pgs
Chemical Cowboys by Lisa Sweetingham - 464 pgs
Lion of Senet by Jennifer Fallon (review pending) - 558 pgs

Tackling big fat books can be challenging all on its own. While many of my favorite books fall into the chunkster category, I confess that sometimes I pass the big book over for the shorter book. That's why challenges like the Chunkster Challenge can be such good motivation for breaking that habit. Many thanks to Dana for hosting the challenge!

How do you feel about reading chunksters?

I have not been good at resisting temptation lately, I'm afraid. Several books have made their way into my house in recent weeks. Most of the blame lays at your feet. If you didn't tempt me with such irresistible reading material I might have money to spare for those much needed new shoes.

Books I Bought:
The Caveman's Valentine
by George Dawe Green
A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris
The Séance by John Harwood
The Evolution of Shadows by Jason Quinn Malott
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Kiss of the Spider Woman & Two Other Plays by Manuel Puig
Palestine by Joe Sacco
The Sky Isn't Visible From Here by Felicia Sullivan

Book Won in Giveaway:
The Way Home by George Pelecanos (Many thanks to Laura from I'm Booking It!)

What new books have come your way lately?

Kailana from The Written World and Marg from Reading Adventures are hosting the 4th annual Virtual Advent Tour. It's an opportunity for bloggers to write about a special holiday memory or tradition, share a favorite recipe or discuss a favorite holiday book or movie--whatever you want really. It doesn't matter whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Winter Solstice or another holiday. Stop by the website to sign-up for a day. The event runs from December 1st through the 24th. I had such fun when I participated in 2007 and look forward to being a part of the event this year.

© 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.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Confession of a Blogger: Do You Really Need to Know Why I Haven't Been Around?

Ti over at Book Chatter has a great feature in which she discusses an issue each Saturday that relates to reading or blog reading. This week she talks about being a cover snob. She also opens the floor to other bloggers who may wish to bring up questions or thoughts they may have. I had not intended to participate this week, but as I sit here, struggling with whether to write a blog post or not, I thought I might as well approach the topic with opening it up for discussion with you.

I am going through a bit of a slump right now. One of the reading and blogging variety. I settle down to read and I find myself immediately getting up to do something else. Doesn't matter what book it is. I've tried several. I sit myself in front of my computer to either write a blog post or visit all your wonderful blogs, and I end up doing something else entirely. I haven't even been staying on top of my television shows lately. They're piling up in the DVR as I write. Being sick with the flu certainly did not help. And then we had a little incident that required a middle of the night visit to the emergency room this past week (my husband's fine--stitches came out last night). Work has picked up considerably and I have been extra busy with that. Then there is . . . oh, but that's way too much information, isn't it? You get it. I have plenty of excuses as to why blogging and reading haven't been the biggest priorities in my life lately. (And I can hear a couple of you tsking me. If it was really important to me, I'd make the time no matter what. Yeah, yeah.)

You may think I am going to ask you what you do to pull yourself out of a slump, but I am not going to (although you are more than welcome to commiserate and offer suggestions if you want). I have been struggling with whether to write a post about why I am not blogging just now, or to just not post at all while I pull myself out of this. I feel guilty when I let my blog go too long without a post. I feel even more guilty when I am not able to visit my blog friends. My husband says I worry too much. Well, he hasn't actually said it, but I can tell he thinks it, especially when I lament about it over and over again.

My lapses in blogging do not last long and so perhaps letting you know I'm okay during those absences is unnecessary. You may not even notice, especially since they happen occasionally and so you have come to expect it. Other bloggers sometimes will post about their absences, be it health related or something fun. I don't mind at all. And I never mind when you talk about your busy lives or blogging and reading slumps--it's always nice to know I am not alone. Given that I think of many of you as my friends, I am interested in what is going on in your lives and like to offer my support when I can.

What are your thoughts about "why I haven't been blogging/reading" posts?

Note: I have had to stop several times while composing this post because my cats and dog demanded I give them some undivided attention and love. You try typing while you have a cat nudging your hands and another one trying to settle in on your chest while the dog decides it is time to put his front paws in your lap.

© 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.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Fort Niagara

Fort Niagara, New York

Hosted by Wordless Wednesday

© 2009, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.
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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Have You Signed Up for the Holiday Swap?

I am a sucker for gift exchanges. Receiving a package in the mail is a treat unlike any other. Not to mention how much I enjoy searching for that perfect something for someone else. I confess there is always a lot bit of stress over exactly what to get my person. What if the person hates my gift? I am not as crafty as many of you are. Heck, lets be honest. I'm not crafty or creative at all. I might be able to write you a poem but don't expect it to rhyme or make much sense. And there is something about giving and putting a smile on someone else's face that makes me happy.

I was quite excited then to hear about this year's Holiday Swap. For details and to sign up, simply visit the Holiday Swap website. The deadline to sign up is November 12th, so you better hurry! Participants will be assigned a Secret Santa who you will then be expected to give a gift to. Someone else will get your name and be sending you a gift. The gifts are meant to be simple and small, so not at all pricey (unless you really want to buy me that E-Reader device I've been eying--only kidding, I promise!). It's open to everyone worldwide, but for those who cannot ship internationally, that is okay too. If you request it, you can be assigned to someone in your own country.

What are you waiting for? Sign up now!

Many thanks to this year's hosts: Amanda, Amy, Ana, Chris, Debi, Eva, Jill and Lenore!

© 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.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Monday at the Movies: Sick and Delirious

Monday's Movie is hosted by Sheri at A Novel Menagerie.

In my heavily medicated flu-haze last week, I took full advantage of my subscription to HBO. Or rather, it took advantage of me, considering I watched a couple of movies I probably would have avoided had I not been too weak and exhausted to move from my spot on the couch. I thought I would offer you a brief look at how I whittled away my time in my sick bed (or couch, as the case may be) in between my many naps.

Fred Claus (Comedy - 2007, rated PG; directed by David Dobkin; written by Dan Fogelman & Jessie Nelson) ~ Watching a Christmas-themed movie the week before Halloween seems a bit odd, I suppose, but who am I to argue with HBO's movie line-up? Fred Claus (Vince Vaughn) is the older and often forgotten brother of the famous Santa Claus (Paul Giamatti). All his life, Fred has lived in his brother's shadow. Is it any wonder than that he's turned into a bit of a Scrooge? Down on his luck, Fred visits his brother in the North Pole as the final preparations for Christmas Eve are being put into place. An efficiency expert (Kevin Spacey) with a grudge is in town to determine whether this will be Santa's last Christmas or not. This was a fun family flick with a few sentimental moments and a sleigh full of laughs. I like Vince Vaughn in just about every role he plays and he didn't disappoint in this one. Rating: 4 Bags of Popcorn (Very Good)

Me, Myself & Irene (Comedy - 2000, rated R; written and directed by Bobby Farrelly & Peter Farrelly) ~ A slapstick comedy about a Rhode Island State Trooper (Jim Carrey) who is used to letting people walk all over him. One day he reaches a breaking point, and his personality splits in two, releasing his meaner and less inhibited side. As he struggles to get that under control, he is assigned to accompany a fugitive (Renée Zellweger) to New York. That quickly turns into more than anyone bargained for when they both end up on the run from corrupt law enforcement officials. I am pretty sure I have seen this movie before, and, if I remember right, I didn't like it much then either. My sense of humor tends not to run in the direction of this type of movie. I just don't find watching people getting beat up in the name of comedy all that funny. Nor do I always care for Jim Carrey's over the top comedy acting (I really liked him in Liar, Liar, however). I did not fall asleep during it, so I suppose that must mean something. Rating: 1 Bag of Popcorn (Poor)

Lost and Delirious (Drama - 2001, rated R; directed by Lea Pool; novel written by Susan Swan & screenplay by Judith Thompson) ~ A heart-wrenching movie about young love, betrayal and the search for self. Sent off to boarding school after the death of her mother, Mary (Mischa Barton), is assigned to room with two older girls, Paulie (Piper Perabo) and Tori (Jessica Paré). Mary quickly discovers that Tori and Paulie are more than just friends. When Tori's sister finds the two lovebirds in a compromising position, Tori begins to do damage control, including spurning her friend Paulie and taking up with a boy from a neighboring boy's school. Paulie is devastated and her life begins to spiral downward as a result. Mary is caught between the two friends while at the same time struggling with her own issues of feeling abandoned by her father. Lost and Delirious was a sad movie and my heart ached for the three girls. Although I am usually very understanding about why a book or movie is ended a certain way, I wasn't too keen on the ending in this case. Rating: 3 Bags of Popcorn (Good)

Baby's Day Out (Comedy - 1994, rated PG; directed by Patrick Read Johnson; written by John Hughes) - Kidnapped by the world's three most inept villains (Joe Mantegna, Joe Pantoliano & Brian Haley), Baby Bink (Adam Robert Worton & Jacob Joseph Worton) foils his captors at every turn, leading them on quite an adventure. This is one of those movies that requires your total suspension of disbelief as the crawling infant wanders by himself into a cab for a cab ride, across busy streets, into the zoo, and all over a construction site. The kidnappers bumble their way along, often ending up with not-so-serious injuries that would have led to permanent deformities and possible death in reality. The Worton brothers were adorable as Baby Bink. I can only imagine how a new mother might feel, seeing an infant in some of those tight spots. Yikes! Did I like it? It had its moments. I just wish I could have gotten past how no one noticed this little guy as he scooted on all fours right by them. Rating: 2 Bags of Popcorn (Fair)

Miracle on 34th Street (Drama - 1994, rated: PG; directed by Les Mayfield; written by Valentine Davies, George Seaton & John Hughes) ~ Mara Wilson plays little Susan Walker, daughter of Dorey (Elizabeth Perkins) a successful businesswoman who works for a major department store. Susan, like her mother, does not believe in magic, much less Santa Claus. With the help of a neighbor (Dylan McDermott) and Kris Kringle himself (Richard Attenborough), all that is about to change. While this remake of an old holiday favorite will never live up to the original in my estimation, it is still a great family film, and a story I never grow tired of seeing every year. Rating: 4.5 Bags of Popcorn (Very Good +)

Have you seen any movies lately?

The Monday Movie Meme is brought to you by The Bumbles.

This week's movie topic is all about Mobsters ...
This weekend we saw lots of Trick Or Treaters dressed as Superheroes, Star Wars characters, Hobos, Fairies, Thomas the Train and even a few ghouls. But we never saw any mobsters. Maybe that is because it is tough to fashion a Tommy Gun out of a shoebox. But one thing is for sure, if a mobster rang our bell looking for a treat we would oblige ASAP. We've seen enough of their movies to know the kind of tricks they dole out. Share on your blog mafia movies that left their mark with you and then link back to The Bumbles. And don't forget to visit your fellow participants!

Eastern Promises (2007) ~ A suspenseful and complex movie about the Russian mob. Viggo Mortenson was outstanding in his role as Nikolai, divided between loyalty to his mob family and doing the right thing.

Road to Perdition (2002) ~ There was not much I did not like about this movie. It is about a son and father, about sin and redemption, as well as crime and punishment. Tom Hanks and Paul Newman are forces to be reckoned with in this film.

Pulp Fiction (1994) ~ I actually did not like Pulp Fiction the first time I saw it. However, when my husband made me watch it a second time, I could definitely see the appeal. It's extra violent and a bit silly at times, sure, but it is definitely memorable, not to mention one of those movies I just can't help but stop and watch whenever it is on.

What is your favorite mobster movie?

© 2009, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.
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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sunday Salon: The One in Which I've Read Little and Met An Author

It is my husband's fault. Or maybe that woman's at the office. Whomever it was, I ended up sick in bed most of last week. I imagine my workmates who suffered me all Monday appreciated my thoughtfulness, however belated. You would think that would be the perfect opportunity to escape into a book. Not me though. I ended up sleeping most of the time, a blob under the blankets with my two cats and dog nestled in beside me, or else curled up under the afghan on the couch. I remember now why I never much cared for daytime television.

I am still feeling a bit under the weather, although much better than I was. I felt almost human again on Friday. I managed to get out of the house for a bit and realized that maybe one more day in bed wouldn't have been a bad thing. I did not get any reading done that day either though. My new laptop arrived in the mail and, well, like with any new electronic device that enters my home, I had to test it out and personalize it.

Like any good husband whose wife is a bit book obsessed, Anjin didn't make too big of a fuss when I begged him to take me to Borders on Saturday. I had a 40% off coupon after all. Can't let that go to waste. When we arrived, there was a sign on the door advertising a book signing in progress. That big groan you might have heard was, in fact, my husband's. I didn't help matters by pointing out the poster said the book being signed was a thriller, a book that I was sure to want to check out.

After discovering the book I wanted wasn't anywhere to be found and doing my usual reconnaissance of the signing area, I made me way over to the author's table. Stephen Tremp is very tall (at least compared to my 5 feet) and extremely pleasant. We talked about book signings and meeting authors, including his recent opportunity to meet Dean Koontz, one of his writing inspirations. He also told me more about his book and his writing process. He took a couple of years off from work to research and write his book. He draws a lot on his own experiences in writing his novels. His current book, Breakthrough, is the first in a trilogy.

While I may not have found the book I was looking for, I did not walk out of the store empty handed. Stephen Tremp was kind enough to sign a copy of his new book for me, and so I was able to use that coupon after all. Did any new-to-you books enter your home this past week?

Anjin is participating in NaNoWriMo this year. For those who may not know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, in which writers all around the globe hunker down to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. I have noticed that some people put a lot of preparation into getting ready for the event, outlining, developing characters and such. while others just jump right in with no set plans. Are you participating in this year's NaNoWriMo? Do you have a plan going in or prefer to wing it? Best of luck to everyone who is taking part in the event this year!

Enough of this bookish chatter. I need to spend some quality time reading. Maybe now I can make a good dent in Jennifer Fallon's Lion of Senet. The novel has gotten off to a good start. It is set on a planet with two suns, where the rulers use fear and religion to control the people and maintain their power. Only, some of the people are not so accepting and begin to question what they are being told to believe.

How are you spending your Sunday? Are you reading anything interesting at the moment? I hope you all have a great week. Happy Reading!

© 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.