Monday, August 23, 2010

Classics Blogger Directory at The Zen Leaf

Amanda from The Zen Leaf is putting together a directory for all of those who blog about literary classics! If you're another lover of the classics, sign up to be on the directory, or just use it as a source for reviews. 
I don't know what percentage of my reviews consist of classics (statistics, bleh!), but it is one of my largest categories on Goodreads.  I still feel like I've only scratched the surface and there are many I hope to read before I die, or go blind, or lose my mind, or become addicted to exercise and become a hottie and shun reading as a couch potato activity.  (Only one of those is a likely possibility, and it's not the one that would involve wearing a bikini.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I haven't done much blogging this summer, which works in great with my new found laid-back attitude that is quickly becoming a permanent personality trait.  For now, anyway.

I thought summer would be pretty mellow this year, without any long road-trips involving bickering teenagers and hotel laundry sessions, but it turns out three smaller trips, thrown in with Scout camp and Girls' Camp, a couple of birthdays, and a few other very un-summer-like responsibilities, can surpass the mayhem of driving 3,000 miles around the country!  At least we've had pretty wonderful weather through it all!

Our first mini-trip was to Las Vegas. This is the best we could do to catch that "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" spirit:

My kids were dressing up as nerds in the all-you-can-eat buffet with the 3D glasses from Toy Story 3.  Yeah, we're a wild bunch! 

We mostly just relaxed, swam, watched a couple of World Cup games, and read.  Here's a picture of a real-life nerd, reading The Heretic Queen by Michele Moran (which was a great book!  I may  never do a review, so I'll give it a thumbs-up right here):

We also had family from out of town visiting for a week, and that gave us a good excuse to revisit some great places in San Diego, like Legoland (a#$%^&$$$$$!!!)  Although expensive, watching my teenagers get thrown around by a mechanical arm was probably the equivalent of a few good sessions of therapy:

But I'm not sure how I feel about my "baby" getting swallowed by a shark:

We also packed up our gear (a long process) and headed to the great outdoors.  We camped at Mineral King, which is a lesser-travelled area of Sequoia National Park.  One of the reasons it is not so busy is the almost single-lane windy road that you drive for about an hour and a half to get there. 

I started out the trip prepared with a book, of course.  I would normally avoid such close-up shots of myself like the two-inch spider that befriended me in the "bathroom," but I wanted to show the beautiful river we were camped next to:

I was reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, which I just couldn't get into (Anyone read this?  Should I keep going?).  Luckily, we were too busy hiking and playing games and sitting around the fire for me to have to open it much.  The hikes were hard (for me) but beautiful.   
A reader's confession:  I actually like hiking more than reading (gasp!)  But one is more accessible than the other on most days, which helps explain why I had so much of a "load" to carry with me up the mountain.  Here I am with a couple of my girls at the end of a 7-mile hike to Mosquito lake:

As far as reading goes, I am happy to say that after several months I finally finished Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens.  I'll admit, I'm a Dickens lover, so of course I liked it.  It was good to see the BBC series first, though.  If you liked Mrs. F's Aunt, you get and even bigger dose of her antics in the book!  Loved it!

Other reading in July:

All the King's Men by Robert Warren Penn.  Raved about it here.
Pippi Longstalking by Astrid Lindgren.  Finished reading it to my girls.  They enjoyed it and then we watched the movie with the dubbed-in voices.  Remember that one?  Prime entertainment!
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa.  Great novella!  I'm shocked and amazed that I read anything with so many mathematical equations in it.
The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sundley.  Very readable, unique novel.  I will do a review of this one soon.
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.  Listened to this one.  It was good, but it didn't wow me or anything.  I did learn a bit of history previously unknown to me.
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien.  Loved this one.  The first chapter was especially powerful.  I read it as part of a readalong.  Have not taken part in the "along" portion yet.
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. I've been wanting to get into this series forever, and what a great start.  This is great comfort reading!
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.  Another audio selection.  Great narration by Scott Brick.  The story is still as depressing as it was when I read it 20 years ago, but I love Wharton's writing.
Paco's Story by Larry Heinemann.  I still haven't finished this one for the War Through the Generations readalong.  I'm over halfway, but I just don't know if I can do it. I haven't taken it back to the library yet.  Just 60 more pages...

Today my kids are all back in school, which explains why I have easier access to the computer and some quiet to think a bit.  This is quite the long post, and here's the real reason I needed to write this and distract myself:  My daughter is taking her driving test today!!!  On her first day of school!!!  She may not be stressed about it, but I am.  I'm making my husband take her because I know I would have a nervous breakdown or something.  Why can't they just stay 15.99999 forever???