Tag Archives: book chat

Musing Mondays: When Do I Begin?

This week’s question:

musing_mondays_big1How long do you wait after finishing a book before you pick/start another one? How many books do you have planned ahead or do you pick up random books from your tbr pile (if you have one)? Do you review right away or keep reading and come back to it later?

Since I often finish books at night, I begin new ones the following night – or day, if it’s the weekend. Although I supposedly plan ahead, I often end up picking out something different from my stack. I’m going to abolish my Top 10 TBR widget for that very reason! The book I”m reading now was nowhere near my Top 10 list, but I was in the mood for it.

I haven’t written any in-depth reviews yet, but I’ve shared opinions, and it’s always been later. I don’t finish a book and head for the computer!


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Musing Mondays: Holiday Books


This week’s question:
With the holiday season now upon us, how does it affect your reading? Do you have more, or less, time to read at Christmas? Do you read Christmas themed/related books?

I’ll be off work for nearly two weeks, most of it after Christmas Day, so I imagine I’ll have far more time to read. In fact, I put aside a book last week to save for the coming days off. I’ll have more listening time for audiobooks as well, traveling back and forth to visit family.

I don’t read Christmas-related books, although coincidentally, today while I was at the library looking for a new audiobook, I considered Elizabeth Berg’s The Handmaid and the Carpenter, in which the author imagines the relationship between Mary and Joseph. I passed on it this time, though.


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Challenge Number 2: Well-Seasoned Reader

Beth was right. I’m entering another challenge, this one from Book Nut:

well-seasoned-readerHere’s how it works:

Rule #1: The challenge runs from January 1 to March 31. (No cheating and starting before!)

Rule #2: You must read three books. After that, it’s up to you how much you want to read.

Rule #3: The books must:

have a food name in the title
be about cooking/eating
have a place name in the title
be about one (or more) person’s travel experience
be about a specific culture
be by an author whose ethnicity is other than your own (see, I squeezed it in!)

I’ll leave it up to you to choose how the three books you read fit the criteria.

Rule #4: They must be middle-grade on up, but can be either fiction or non-fiction.

The purpose, this winter, is to take yourself someplace out of the ordinary, to go on a literary trip, whether that be challenging your expectations, discovering a new place, or enjoying the experience of reading about good food, places, and people.

How can I resist? This challenge is way too tempting. My three books will most likely be:

Gabriella, Clove, and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado – This book has been in my TBR stack for a couple of years, ever since I read Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands by the same author. I included this book in my list of selections for the themed reading challenge. This one counts as having a food name in the title and is by a Brazilian author – far from my southern U.S. roots.

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister – I mentioned this book in my most recent Sunday Salon post. Due to be released January 22, this book fulfills the “be about cooking/eating” requirement. Not to mention that I can’t wait to read it.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time will likely be my third read. It’s already in my Top 10 TBR list, and reading it will give me my dose of non-fiction this winter. Oh, and it sort of has a food name in the title and definitely is about a specific culture.

Stay tuned – there’s one more challenge I plan to enter. That should be enough for my first full year of book blogging. Then again…

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Sunday Salon: A Few New Finds

brrrWe’ve been experiencing an exceptionally chilly November for our area over the past week. Usually I read for an hour at least before bedtime. But last week, after snuggling under the down comforter, I was unable to read more than a few pages before growing sleepy…verrryy sleepy. The fact that I’ve been so busy at work didn’t help.

I did finally finish The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters, and I think I’ll review it later this week. Now I’m digging into The Heretic’s Daughter, historical fiction about the Salem witch trials written by a direct descendent of one of the victims.

A couple of nonfiction titles drew my attention this week. The Flavor Bible, written by husband-and-wife team Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, promises to show readers how to intuitively combine flavors and creatively use herbs, spices, and other seasonings to enliven their cooking.

Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory, by humorist Roy J. Blount, Jr. (of NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me), sounds like a laugh-out-loud way to learn more about usage and the English language.

Another foodie book to be released in January, this one a novel, also sounds intriquing. The School of Essential Ingredients is described as “reminiscent of Chocolat and Like Water for Chocolate, a gorgeously written novel about life, love, and the magic of food.” Can’t wait to read this one.


Filed under book chat, food, historical fiction, Latin American authors, Nonfiction, The Sunday Salon

Who do you love?

who-do-you-loveWho are your top three favorite authors, and what is your favorite book by each writer? I’ve already more than covered this topic in my author groupie post. Your turn.


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Yay! My First Reading Challenge

2009themedreading-278x300I’m entering my first reading challenge with Wendy‘s 2009 challenge:

The Themed Reading Challenge is a six month challenge designed to help readers clear books from their to-be-read stacks which center around a common theme or themes. Here are the “rules”:

  1. Books should be chosen from the reader’s TBR pile (this may be an actual physical pile or a virtual pile).
  2. The goal is to read 4 to 6 books linked by theme.
  3. Overlaps with other challenges are allowed.
  4. Readers may change their list of books at any time.
  5. Readers may choose three different levels of participation:
  • Read at least 4 books with the same theme.
  • Read at least 5 books that share at least TWO themes.
  • Read at least 6 books that share MORE than two themes.

My theme: Read at least 4 books written by Latino/Hispanic authors. This is the perfect opportunity for me to move some of my TBR stack, which includes these choices:

Gabriella, Clove and Cinnamon, Jorge Amado
Swift as Desire, Laura Esquivel
Esperanza’s Box of Saints, Maria Amparo Escandon
A Handbook to Luck, Christina Garcia
So Far From God, Ana Castillo
American Chica, Marie Arana
A Simple Habana Melody, Oscar Hijuelos
In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez
The Years with Laura Diaz, Carlos Fuentes
Bitter Grounds, Sandra Benitez

I’ve read other works by most of these authors, but some will be newly discovered voices. I may refine this list a bit and go for 5 books – two by men, three by women; two based on history, three purely fiction; two set in the author’s native country, three set in the U.S. – whatever. I have until February to decide. Thanks, Wendy!


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Booking Through Thursday: Borrow or Buy?

I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?

Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?

If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?

I’m a buyer for sure, of both new and used books. I buy when I can’t wait to read a new release.  As I’ve mentioned, I’m an author groupie, and I keep up with release dates. (Buzz Girl (link on right) has been on break too long!)  No getting in line at the library for me. And oh yeah, buying supports writers. There is that.

I patronize a local independent bookstore as much as possible, but I also take advantage of Borders’ coupons. Most of the new hardcovers I purchase are 30 to 40 percent off.

readers-cornerEvery other week or so, I hit my favorite used bookstore during lunch (photo at left b/c I don’t think Irv has a Web site, which would be no surprise). There, I need gamble only a few bucks on a book I know nothing about, and I’ve found some real gems that way. In fact, that’s how I came to read Nanci Kinkaid’s Verbena, among other discoveries. I also trade books for credit, which helps the budget and clears some always-scarce space on the shelves.

Audiobooks are another story (bad pun alert). They are so expensive, so I rely on the library for them almost exclusively, although I did purchase Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and one or two other non-fiction titles.

On the subject of book buying, I found a new blog today that encourages buying books as holiday gifts this year. Several years ago, a group of friends and I exchanged book wish lists for our holiday gifts, since we often bought each other bookstore gift certicates or cards. Having a list forced us to do some research if we weren’t familiar with a title, and of course we could buy the book we’d personally most like to read, and borrow it later. That worked out well, and we should try that again.


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