Category Archives: What I’m Reading

Hoarder

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Hi, my name is Kathy, and I am a book hoarder.

There are piles and piles and piles of books all over my house.  Many I have read, and many more I haven’t.  Books from library sales.  Books received as gifts.  Books purchased because they’re classic.  Books purchased because I’m sure they’ll be classic someday.  Books in my office.  Books on my nightstand.  Books stacked in the room we’ll make into our library one day.

I have a problem and today I’m coming clean about my addiction.

Two bloggers I follow have recently written about the same problem.  Both have decided not to purchase another book until their specific stack has been read.  They didn’t know it, but it was a challenge directed right at me.

Girl, read these books instead of leaving them in stacks all over the house!

12 books

Here’s my list of twelve.  Not another book purchased until these are completed.

Read Sara Bessey’s post – In which I have a (not so) serious problem.

Read Sarah Askin’s post – For the Infinite Collector of Books

Full Price

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I bought two books at full price, well Sam’s Club full price, but still.  I NEVER buy books at full price.  Why would I when the Barnes & Noble sale rack is always full, and there’s an amazing used book store in Nashville full of words, pages and books which I need?  With these two I couldn’t wait.

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Inferno by Dan Brown

Mr. Brown was on the Today show about six months ago talking about his new book.  In my pre-coffee haze I missed the part where the book wasn’t out yet, so I had been looking for it on bookshelves since then.  He appeared on the Today show again in early May with a release date for the new book.  Finally!  The book I’d been searching for was finally going to be available.

Dan Brown did not disappoint.

A virus threatened to be released on a global scale.  Robert Langdon being chased after and shot at.  Transhumanism.  The World Health Organization.  Art, literature, history and a handful of words I had to look up to be sure of the meaning.

To me it read like the first Bourne Identity book.  Robert Langdon is unsure of who is chasing after him, why they’re chasing him and isn’t sure who he can trust.  Short chapters and cliff hangers kept me reading till late in the night and all of the next day.

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.and the mountains echoed

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

I read Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns because Khaled Hosseini is a brilliant writer.  Both were hard to read, but real and intriguing.  I am drawn in by the descriptions of a culture completely foreign to me.  I will read anything he writes.

And the Mountains Echoed is another piece of Mr. Hosseini’s brilliance.  The story follows the consequences of choices made.  Choices which reach out and touch a number of families and cities around the globe.  Choices which echo into the past and into the future.

Another book for which I ignored my life until I had taken in every word.  It left me in tears at the beauty and heartbreak represented.

Bookish

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Sometime around Christmas the Reading Bug bit me hard and left me with a voracious appetite.  All I really want to do right now is read and cook.  Who needs a clean bathroom anyway?

WeirdSistersUSPaperbackThe Weird Sisters – Eleanor Brown

My sister and I came across this book together and giggled about the title.  A few months later I picked it up and really enjoyed it. Three sisters fighting the roles each has been given/taken on in their family.  Each sister bringing some sort of drama or problem to the table.  Each one trying to work out a solution without making it worse on the family.

This book gave me the feeling of sitting invisible within a family while all their junk is just happening.  An open window to family life, dysfunction and all.  I would highly recommend it.

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Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’Easter – Lisa Pattonwhistlin dixie

This book was written by a local (to me) author, and I’ve been meaning to read it for about 2 years.  An impossible situation, a cast of crazy characters and one southern girl trying to keep it all together.  This is a great and fun read!

Lisa Patton has written a sequel titled Yankee Doodle Dixie, I’ll be adding this to my reading list.

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her-fearful-symmetryHer Fearful Symmetry – Audrey Niffenegger

I loved The Time Traveler’s Wife.  I wanted to love Her Fearful Symmetry, but I didn’t.

Estranged twin sisters.  A big family secret.  A ghost story.  A love story.

A lot going on.

I’m all for an unexpected ending.  Or a main character you just love to hate.  But when I finished “Symmetry”, I was mad.  I wanted the time back I had used reading this book.

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The Leftovers – Tom Perrottathe leftovers

I haven’t read anything by Mr. Perrotta before, but I had heard a lot about The Leftovers last year and wanted to read it.

A story about the Rapture and the “leftover” people.

Great character development, interesting ideas on what might happen to those leftover, and a couple of good twists in the story.  But like “Symmetry”, I hated the ending.  I was expecting/wanting a little bit of redemption, a little bit of hope and was left with none.

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Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling

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A movie can never give you all the details a writer includes in a book.  If you’re a fan of the movies and somehow haven’t read the books – DO SO NOW.

What I’m NOT Reading

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How do your reading habits go?  All in all the time?  Or, like me, in spurts where at times the words can’t seem to come fast enough and then other times, its torture to get through a few simple pages?  Right now, I’m stuck and can’t seem to get past the first 50 or 60 pages of any book.

I started “The Odds” by Stewart O’Nan awhile ago.  About a couple whose marriage is ending, and they are taking one last hurrah together, he hopeful, she appeasing.  Their communication is awful and both are keeping big secrets from each other.  They both bugged me.  Each page was a struggle for me, and I realized I didn’t care what happened.  I put it down and haven’t picked it up again.

“Love Lucy” by Lucille Ball.  I loved the preface written by her daughter, Lucie Arnaz, how they found the book and what it meant to her and family to have Lucy’s perspective.  I did start the book and have gone from her birth through early adulthood.  I think once I’m out of my slump, I’ll be able to finish this quickly.

“The Casual Vacancy” by JK Rowling. (I’m about a chapter and a half in.)  I’m not crazy about some of her language (she’s on par with Stephen King for using the F word), and I feel like I’m going to need a graph or flow chart to keep up with all the characters.  I will finish this book, but when?

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After attending the Southern Festival of Books last weekend, I have a long list of books to pick up and read.  The couple I’m most excited about are:

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

A Hundred Flowers – Gail Tuskiyama

The Great Unexpected – Sharon Creech

Three Books…

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Once upon a time I had a journal titled “What I read”.  I had aspirations to keep a list of all the books I read for the year (2005).  It lasted for about 3 months.  Here’s my shot at keeping the spirit of that journal alive.

The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion

I have generally considered myself a well read person.  Then I hear mention of someone who is a bestselling author, with no idea who that person is.  Joan Didion is the latest for me on this list.  I heard about her when Blue Nights was released, and was struck at what tragedy she had lived through.  I was inspired by her courage to write it all down and share it with the world.  I can only hope to someday have this same courage.  I decided to start with The Year of Magical Thinking, which documents her journey through the first year after her husband’s death.

The way she has written this book, you feel the confusion and pain she lived with for the first year.  She shares beautiful memories of their life together, intertwined with the illogical belief that she could have changed the outcome.  This book is a heart wrenching portrait of what it was like to lose the person who had come to define her life.  Being a wife that is scared of losing her husband, it was not an easy read for me.

I am looking forward to reading Blue Nights, and will be adding her other books to my reading list.

11/22/63 – Stephen King

What if the assassination of JFK in 1963 had never happened?  What if you could step back into time and stop Lee Harvey Oswald?  Mr. King just might have your answer.

I’m a fan of Stephen King and was excited to read this book when it was released earlier this year.  He also stated in an interview, he had this book in mind soon after the assassination took place.  Sitting on a book idea for 30 plus years?  Had to be good.  And it was.  The main character Jake is a great guy, and you’re rooting for him against all odds the entire time.

The biggest problem with my copy of this book were the missing and extra pages.  I got about 200 pages from the end, and found 33 pages missing.  I texted my husband and said “I literally don’t know what to do”; I’ve never had a book where pages were missing.  I went to Barnes and Noble, sat in the café, and read the missing pages.  Towards the end of the book, I had a different set of 33 pages repeat on me.  It’s all kinda funny, but don’t ask to borrow my copy unless you want to do all this work too.

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

Ms. Morgenstern was one of the authors at last year’s Southern Festival of Books.  I missed her panel for some reason, but have wanted to read The Night Circus since then.  Who wouldn’t want to read a love story placed in a circus that only happens at night?

It was delightful.  Set in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.  Her detailed descriptions gave you a sense of being in the middle of everything.  A love story so powerful, it affects everything around it.  And a good dose of magic brings it all together.

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I have piles of books around the house, all begging me to stop and jump in.  Next on my list are:

The Odds – Stewart O’Nan

Love, Lucy – Lucille Ball

Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’Easter – Lisa Patton

Her fearful Symmetry – Audrey Niffenegger

For the Love of a Magazine

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My heart just skipped a happy beat realizing fall issues of the fashion magazines will be out at the end of the month.  I LOVE the September issues of Vogue, In Style, Vanity Fair and Elle.  Fall fashion at its best.

*Just a side note:  If you’re interested in the work it takes to publish the thickest volume of the year, check out “The September Issue”.  It’s streaming on Netflix, and is 89 minutes of education and entertainment. *

Outside of September, I have a few other favorites which are sent to my house each month.  I get so excited when they appear in the mailbox and set aside time to pour over every one.

Cooking Light – I have been a long subscriber to this magazine.  One of my favorite things is the inclusion of the nutritional information for each recipe.  Husband is diabetic, making it important for me to know the amount of carbs and protein going into what I am serving him.  Probably my second favorite thing is the ‘Recipe Makeover’, taking an old favorite and lightening it up.  This month’s issue is a ‘Lighter, Brighter Lemon Square’, one that I can’t wait to try!

Food Network Magazine – I haven’t yet purchased a subscription, but I buy it every month.  Step by step instructions; pull out booklets on salsas, milkshakes and pies; food related gear; and ideas for complete menus.  I made ‘Cocoa Rubbed Steak’ for husbands birthday this year, and it was the best steak EVER.  (The gravy was good, but really not needed.)

Real Simple – I remember the very first issue of Real Simple, I thought it was weird and kinda hokey.  Then a few years later, my mom had an issue at her house.  I looked through it again and fell in love.  I purchased a subscription and have kept it for years.  They road test everything from makeup to cleaning products; the monthly question posed to readers is always entertaining; books to read; recipes to try; health; fashion; money – this one has a little bit of it all.

In Style – My monthly fashion indulgence.  Who wouldn’t love a magazine that lists the number of incredible shoes on the cover every month?  (98 in the August issue)  I also love the advice on putting outfits together by age range or how to style a difficult piece.

More – A friend of mine was gracious enough to give this to me as a gift, and I love it!  Women 40 and over are rockin’ and changing the world.  Every month this is a big dose of inspiration.

My only problem is letting any of them go.  I really do try to tear out articles, recipes and inspiration, planning to then recycle the magazine, but somehow the stacks of magazines keeps growing.  Blame it on a love of paper and the written word.

You wouldn’t know it to look at her…

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Recently, my husband was able to listen in on a ‘jam’ session at the NAMM show.  He was later telling me about one of the musicians and said “You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but he was one incredible guitar player”.  It got me thinking about how often we assume things about people.

A few days later we were in Barnes & Noble looking through books and I picked up, out of my mind by Sharon M. Draper.  The description on the back fell into this thought of how we assume who people are by looking at them:

Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory.  Her head is like a video camera that is always recording.  Always.  And there’s no delete button.  She’s the smartest kid in her whole school – but NO ONE knows it.  Most people – her teacher and doctors included – don’t think she’s capable of learning, and up until recently, her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again.  If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows… but she can’t, because Melody can’t talk.  She can’t walk.  She can’t write.  Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind – that is, until she discovers something t hat will allow her to speak for the first time ever.  At last Melody has a voice… but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.

I got home and fell into this beautiful book about Melody.  Being trapped in your own body.  Being a fifth grader with no effective way to communicate with the world around you.  Finally finding her voice and having people shut her down because they’ve assumed who she is for so long.  Melody gripped my heart and had me cheering for her, wanting to fight for her and crying with her until the very end.

This is a book for young readers (10yrs old +), but gives any reader insight into the assumptions we make about those around us.