Giving Thanks

Ah Thanksgiving….what an odd relationship I have with you as a holiday. I hate the history behind this holiday, really…Robbing the Indians of their land and then giving thanks. And it breaks my heart to think of all of the turkeys giving their lives for this holiday 😦 Despite the fact that I still haven’t gone vegetarian :/ It’s just too hard for me to say farewell to my beloved steak every now and then. And BACON. But I have tried to make more ethical choices when it comes to meat. But that’s neither here nor there…this is about Thanksgiving. What I can enjoy about Thanksgiving is that it is a day to reflect on what I’m thankful for in my life. It’s a shame that I need one day to do this. It’s another thing that bugs me about this holiday…that we focus all of our thanks on this one holiday…but at least we do that!

In reflecting on what I’m thankful for in my life right now, I realize that I have so much to be thankful for right now. My life is good. I’m happy. I’m healthy (for the most part). I live comfortably. I have the privilege to be able to take things for granted at times. That’s not something that I’m proud of, but it’s a fact that makes life more comfortable for me. Today’s a day to reflect that on those days when I could complain that life isn’t fair and things aren’t going my way, things could be so much worse for me just by being born a different person.

I have a beautiful family that I don’t tell that I love them enough. My mom and my sister mean the world to me and have always been such wonderful supports to me and can muster up a smile in me no matter how hard I fight it sometimes when I’m grumpy.

I have some of the most AMAZING friends in the world. Friends that never cease to be there for me whenever I’m down or confused or elated or giddy or in need of a hug or just want to talk. I don’t know where I’d be without those friends.

I’m thankful to new additions to my life that have opened up a world that I didn’t even know could possibly exist. An absolutely amazing world that I can’t wait to discover.

I’m thankful for discovering the blogging world years ago and for the community that it has given me. I’ve been a real stranger in it lately, but it’s just come to mean the world to me.

I’m thankful for books 🙂 They never fail to fill my mind with wonder.

I’m thankful for music. The continuous soundtrack to my life that I absolutely could never live without.

I’m thankful for my job. Something that can drive me absolutely NUTS sometimes, but while I may complain like crazy about it sometimes and while I just want to walk out sometimes, I know there are some that would give anything just to have A job.

I’m thankful for pain killers. Oh pain killers I love you \o/

And so much more…so very much more….

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Bad Bloggers 11/19/10 – The VLOG edition

So Eva has asked for a vlog for my next Bad Bloggers post and a vlog she has gotten!!! Here it is:

The books mentioned are:

London Triptych by Jonathan Kemp
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald (Point for Ana)
The Journal of Dora Damage by Belinda Starling (Point for Andi)
Farm City by Novella Carpenter
Grief by Andrew Holleran
Match Makers Incorporated by Amanda Gignac
A Mind of It’s Own: A Cultural History of the Penis by David M. Friedman
Green Angel by Alice Hoffman (Point for Darren)

I do apologize to everyone for looking like shit :p I’ve been feeling like it all day. I also apologize for the obsessive UMMMM’s! Enjoy your weekend everyone!!!

The Sunday Salon – The What's Been Going On Edition

I can’t seem to get into a regular posting schedule over here on ye ole book blog. Maybe that’s because I can’t seem to get on a regular reading schedule :/ Yeah…that would certainly help things. There are always Bad Blogger posts to put up because there are always books coming into my house and there are always Saturday Farmers Market posts because there is always stuff growing in the garden, but it’s hard to post book reviews when I’m not getting any reading done….sigh….So that leaves me with about two posts per week.

But I thought I’d just let everyone know what’s been going on lately. As for books, I just finished Alice Hoffman’s follow up to Green Angel, Green Witch, and it was AMAZING!! Just as good if not better than the first. Loved where she took this one and I WILL actually be reviewing this one soon. Now I find myself in the middle of FOUR books…that just never changes…I’m STILL reading The Stand…STILL reading My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, STILL reading The Armless Maiden, and I just started London Triptych by Jonathan Kemp which is just amazing so far.

I picked up London Triptych because it’s up for the Green Carnation prize which is a new prize for gay literature. I’d like to read the whole shortlist, but seeing as the winner is being announced in December, I believe, I don’t think that will happen. This one sounded the most interesting to me though from it’s synopsis. It has Oscar Wilde in it!!

Aside from books, I’m in the middle of enjoying a four day weekend right now which sadly ends after tomorrow. But I shan’t think that way!! I still have tomorrow off 😉 The last two days were absolutely glorious!!! I spent them seeing two of my favorite musicians perform and meeting my favorite author. On Friday night, I went to see The Dresden Dolls which is Amanda Palmer’s original band and yes, Neil Gaiman was there and I did indeed meet him! Details of The Dresden Dolls show and my meeting with Neil available on my Tumblr. And then last night I got to see Joanna Newsom who was just absolutely beautiful as was her music. I couldn’t have asked for a better two nights 🙂

And today the weather changed bringing in a lovely cool front that finally allowed me to wear cold clothes, but luckily it’s not cold enough to kill my plants!! We’re still quite a ways away from that!! What we call cold down here is quite different from what others would call cold :p Hope everyone is having a great weekend and I hope your week is great as well! I’ll try to be around more often over here :/ Trust me, I’d love it if I were getting more read as well….

Bad Bloggers – 11/8/10

Well it’s that time again….time to dole out the blame for another round of books….nine more books to be exact…and we’ll just ignore for now the 11 books that I ordered last night >> Because those haven’t come into the house yet….yeah….Let’s just talk about these for now….

1. Masks by Fumiko Enchi – Wow this book looks so awesome…and I’ve been wanting it for so long now. Bellezza talked about this book awhile back. It was either last Japanese Literature Challenge or the one before. I don’t remember. But I’ve been wanting it ever since! Point to Bellezza! (Bookmooch)

2. Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs by Heather Lende – Well, I can always count on Nancy AKA The Bookfool to feed my book addiction, can’t I? :p The thing I love about Nancy (aside from just being one awesomely cool woman) is that she reviews books that you just don’t hear about anywhere else. And then she sends me emails handpicking books for me!! And every now and then she even offers to send them to me :O It’s like a personal librarian!! That’s what she did with this one and the next two. And she’s totally getting a point for them all too. Point to Nancy. (Gift from a Friend)

3. Stash by David Matthew Klein – Oh, dammit…I can’t even remember what this one was about now, but I remember REALLY wanting to read this one after she reviewed it awhile back. Drugs? I don’t know, but it sounded really good. I was so excited when she offered to send it to me!! Can’t wait to read it 😀 Point to Nancy!! (Gift from a Friend)

4. The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway – This one just sounded awesome too. Just like the title sounds, it’s about three sisters who all have a different ability. Wanted to read this one right after Nancy’s review as well. Another point for Nancy!! (Gift from a Friend)

5. The Soul Pancake Book ed. by Rainn Wilson – Ok..this book is so freaking AWESOME. Have you ever heard of soulpancake.com? I hadn’t either. I bought some AMAZING art from Hollie Chastain a couple of months ago and have been emailing her back and forth every now and then since and she’s just a super cool person. Well she has a piece in this book and that’s how I came to learn about it! It’s a collection of art paired with questions and worksheets(?) Sort of a workbook for life…you just have to check this one out for yourself. It’s an awesome investment. Point to Hollie! (Bought it)

6. Violin by Anne Rice – Just because I continue to crave more and more Anne Rice. Yes I do realize that I have been rebuilding up my Anne Rice collection but have not actually been READING any of it :/ (Paperback Swap)

7. The Armless Maiden and Other Tales For Childhood’s Survivors ed. by Terri Windling – I first heard about this book from a post Carl did in April of 2007 and have been wanting it ever since. It’s out of print now and that upsets me so much 😦 It’s such a beautiful collection that focuses on child abuse through the lens of fairy tales. It’s an anthology of not just short stories, but it incorporates fairy tales and essays as well by some of the most respected names in fantasy. It truly is one of the best anthologies I’ve read to date…Point to Carl for this one! (Bought it)

8. Fated by S.G. Browne – After reading Breathers last year, I just knew that I had to have everything that this man wrote from then on out. This one is a little slow to start so far…maybe I’m just not in the right mood for it right now…but I’m going to give it a few more pages and then I might put it back on the shelf to give it a fair chance. Because I definitely think it’s me right now, not the book. (Bought it)

9. The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger – Graphic novel by the wonderful author of two of my favorite books. I loved this one so much and you can read my thoughts here. (Bought it).

Saturday Farmer's Market On Sunday 11/7/10

Just finished watching the Saints SLAY the Panthers on this beautiful Sunday!! Woohoo! Aside from that, it’s been a quiet weekend that’s consisted mostly of reading and drinking tea and trying to get over this stupid cold. I did however get to go out and play in the garden a little bit and snap a few pictures with ye ole iPhone and I thought I’d go ahead and share the progress with you guys. Here you go!

1. I haz butterflies in the garden!! I’m getting tons of butterflies in my flower garden which was the purpose of it really. I wanted to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. I haven’t seen any of the latter yet, but lots of beautiful butterflies 🙂 Here’s one on one of the beautiful zinnias. I had no idea how beautiful zinnias were, but the colors are so rich and vivid!!

2. Spinach. I have probably about 10 plants that look like this. I don’t know if it’s going to be successful or not…we’ll have to see if the plants actually take off or not. It would be nice if they do as I absolutely LOVE spinach!!!

3. This is romaine lettuce and I’m so happy with how well it’s doing! I have five more little plants that aren’t getting enough sun, so I’m going to dig them up and plant them close to these…these seem to be in the perfect place!

4. Here’s the whole little flower garden. All of this started from seed! Pat commented last week that she never had luck with flowers from seeds…I promise if you do like me, you’ll have luck with flowers from seeds…I literally just sprinkled about 300 seeds over dirt and watered :p That’s it…and this is the result…so far….

5. The bell peppers are still producing like crazy! And they’re getting bigger and bigger! I find that the cooler the weather gets, the bigger the peppers seem to get. Which is fantastic because lately we’ve been staying in the 60’s and low 70s which the garden seems to LOVE.

6. Here’s my little roma tomato plant…It’s not getting enough sun..blocked by the peppers, but it’s still producing one tomato but it has a cluster at the top that’s growing too! And it looks like a few more clusters are starting to form!

7. My turnips are doing really fantastic!! I think they’ll be ready to pop out of the ground in another month…that is if I can keep the damn squirrels out of the garden…the squirrels have gone NUTS in all of my gardens lately 😦 They’ve been digging in all of them and dug up ALL of my kohlrabi 😦

8. And these are the carrots which are also doing fantastic 😀 I think they probably have another month or so to go as well. Maybe a little bit longer for these guys.

9. Here are my rattlesnake beans which are running up their poles and starting to make their first beans!! I just love the way they look climbing up the poles!!

10. Here are some more tomatoes that are doing REALLY well 😀 I’m so happy with my tomatoes!

11. Here you can see a few little baby rattlesnake beans growing…I love how they’re slightly striped. Beautiful beans!

12. And finally here’s the orange that’s been on the tree FOREVER!!! I swear, this better be the best tasting orange in the world. It’s finally starting to turn…November tends to be the month where all the oranges ripen in the south, so maybe it’ll finish turning this month. I have two on the tree, but this one is closest to turning right now.

Oh Reviews, You've Defeated Me…

So I’m here to talk about FOUR books today!!! Mini review style. Because I’ve had this bad habit lately of not blogging lately 😦 And instead of making excuses why I haven’t been blogging, I’m just going to actually blog and review books because this is a review blog…sort of…not really. It’s kind of a whatever I want it to be blog. But that’s besides the point. What I’m going to give you here are my thoughts on four really excellent books that should have longer posts where I go into extreme detail on why I loved each of them, but honestly, it’s either been too long now since I read them or I’m just too sick right now (I have a bad cold) to think clearly enough to write those thoughts out. So without further ado, I give you thoughts…sponsored by cold medicine:

Maybe it is best that I review I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly in mini-review format, because not much needs to be said about it except for the fact that it’s brilliant. It’s a graphic novel that deals with the subject of trauma and how one girl, Barbara, deals with it. I posted my thoughts on my tumblr blog about why I think the graphic novel format is so perfect for this type of book, books that deal with psychological issues. I don’t think I’ve read a better book on trauma…that portrayed it so accurately and conveyed the emotions so well…that made me feel the emotions of the character as well as Joe Kelly did with Barbara. The secondary characters in I Kill Giants were just as wonderful as Barbara. I loved the counselor and her sister and her friend…everyone was so very human. And perhaps that was what made this very fantastic story so very true and so very beautiful.

Next up is Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle which I’m currently hosting for the Classic Reads Book Club! And oh what fun it is to be hosting this book right now!!! This was my first Shirley Jackson novel. The only other thing I had read by her was “The Lottery”, her short story which I’ve always loved. This book was wonderful despite a few lingering questions that I have that I’ll leave to be discussed at the book club site. It follows two sisters and their uncle who hide themselves away in a house after their whole family has been poisoned by arsenic. They have been acquitted of the murder, but the town has not acquitted them in their minds. Jackson is SO good at setting up a perfectly atmospheric novel and creating this ominous feel to her tales. I just love it! And you always know while you’re reading that there’s just something “off” about things..the characters, the place, the situation. I just loved this book…though maybe I could’ve used another chapter to answer a few more questions for me….

By The Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters just knocked the wind out of me. I don’t think I was expecting this book to be as emotional of a read as it was. But then again, it’s Julie Anne Peters…I guess I should’ve seen it coming. It’s an amazing book. So amazing. It follows a teenager named Daelyn who has attempted suicide several times in her past due to past bullying and traumatic events. But this time, she doesn’t plan on living to tell the story. She’s joined a suicide website where she’s planned her final days and the novel follows her days as she counts down to her “day of determination”.  Daelyn can’t talk for reasons that are eventually explained, yet she meets a boy named Santana who forms an interest in her along the way and we know from the beginning as the reader that he may be her only salvation…but is he even enough? This one is a big freaking punch in the gut, let me tell you…I warned you ahead of time. But it’s one that’s necessary, as are all of Peters’ books that I’ve read so far. This is an author that I can’t thank enough for coming into my life. Her books are just absolutely AMAZING!!! So far I’ve read about same sex parenting of a teenager, a book about a transgendered teen, and now one about bullying and teen suicide. She writes about things that need to be talked about and are not talked about enough. And she writes about them SO WELL. Read this book.

And finally there’s a lovely surprise that I didn’t even know existed until a few days ago!!! The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger! It’s a graphic novel that she’s just released. It’s short, but it’s such a treasure. Picture walking into a library and perusing the shelves and realizing that what was on the shelves was everything you have ever read in your life. Like the EXACT copy of everything you’ve ever read from when you were a child. Even like the back of cereal boxes. Well that’s what this book is about. A woman is walking the streets of Chicago one night and finds an old Winnebago on the side of the road and it turns out to be a bookmobile. When she steps inside, she finds that it is a library of every book she has ever read. But it is years before the bookmobile returns again and it becomes an obsession of hers to find the bookmobile again…reading becomes an obsession of hers…books become an obsession…but mostly, finding the bookmobile becomes an obsession. Oh, I really can’t tell you much about it because it’s so short. But it’s so good! The art is so different, but I really liked it! Looks to me as if she did it all in watercolors. If you’re a book lover (and we all are) I think you’re sure to love this one. And she says in the afterword that it’s part of a larger collection she hopes to do called “The Library”! Hooray!!!

Ok…all caught up now finally!!! YAY 😀 Now back to my current reads, Fated by S.G. Brown, The Armless Maiden and Other Tales For Childhood Survivors edited by Terri Windling, The Stand by Stephen King and My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me edited by Kate Bernheimer. That should keep me busy, eh?

Wrapping Up RIP V

I can’t BELIEVE it’s November already!! How the hell did this happen? Where did 2010 go? 2010 do you realize the anxiety you are causing me? Now I have to start Christmas shopping!! Anyway, one thing at a time. With November upon us, that means that RIP V is over 😦 And yes, that’s a heartfelt sad face. I’m always so sad to see Carl’s RIP challenge pass. It’s one of my favorite challenges around. Not only because of the books that I read during that challenge, but because of the atmosphere that comes along with it, the posts that go up on everyone’s blogs, and just the memories associated with it.

I have to thank Carl once again for what was a wonderful challenge. Carl’s more than just an amazing challenge host, he’s a great friend…a friend to many, but someone who will always mean a heck of a lot to me. He’s basically the one who got me started in this whole blogging business.

I don’t know what the hell happened to me during this RIP challenge :/ I sort of fell off of the face of the earth without meaning to. I honestly have no explanation for it all. I somehow managed to read enough to complete the challenge, but just barely!! This is literally all I read in the last two months…well, this plus one graphic novel. I still have to review the last book plus the graphic novel. Here’s my reads:

1. Room by Emma Donoghue
2. Wolf Moon by Charles de Lint
3. The Bells by Richard Harvell
4. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
5. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Damn, I really don’t think I can pick favorites from that list!!!! Seriously…three of those (Room, The Bells, and The Wee Free Men) are likely to end up on my favorites of the year list!! But that’s no surprise. Carl’s challenges always end up providing some of my favorite books of the year. So even though the book count was low the last couple of months, at least I got some really GOOD reading in!

I should have reviews coming up for We Have Always Lived in the Castle and I Kill Giants over the next few days and hopefully I’ll get myself back into blogging!!! Hope everyone else had a delightfully creepy RIP and a fantastic Halloween!!!