Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of Year Round Up

I have read 85 books this year.  I would say it is 50/50 for really good books and books that were just eh.  I didn't post all my 4-5 star books here, but these are some standouts.

Favorite Books Read:

The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiavarini
Ellis Island and City of Hope by Kate Kerrigan
My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
Heft by Liz Moore
The Gods of Gotham and Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall
NOS4A2 and Horns by Joe Hill
The Cuckoo's Calling by J.K. Rowling
The Son by Phillipp Meyer

I wasn't able to keep a record of the Movies that I've watched this year.  But here are some of my favorites.

Ip Man, Ip Man 2 and The Legend is Born: Ip Man were three great movies.  The first two are part of a trilogy and the last one isn't but it does feel like a prequel.  It is about the great Martial Artist Yip Man who helped bring the martial art of Wing Chun to the rest of the world.  He was the Sifu of Bruce Lee.

Miracle in the Rain was one of the best movies I've seen this year.  It is a 5 star all the way.

It has been a very eclectic year for reading and movie watching.  That is nothing new.  I tried to read more fiction than non-fiction this year, as I usually do it the other way. I believe I succeeded. I don't know the ration, but fiction won out.
I have no idea what I will be reading in 2014, but probably a lot of smaller books.  It is hard to read when I'm in school, since I have to read a lot of school texts and books that we are required to read.  I am going for 60 books again. I'm sure I will make it.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone is having a great Christmas.  Today it is just me and my daughter as the rest of my family refuses to speak to us, but that is a topic for another day.

I didn't get any books, but since I got my iPad, I joined Scribd. It is like a Netflix for books. You pay a monthly fee and read as much as you want. They have bestsellers as well as classics. They have all different genres. There is something for everyone.

My daughter got me a lot of cool gift.  Here are 2 of them:

My daughter found this pretty necklace at JC Penny. It is silver plated
and has real crystals.  The C stands for Cheerful.

A  gold mug from Starbucks. I've always wanted a gold mug from Starbucks. LOL!

Last night was our concert.  Here are a few shots from then:

Me, Rosa and Theodora waiting for our Music Director to come.

My friends Valerie and Josh and the internal nativity.

Paul, our trumpet player is the ladies favorite. 
Valerie, Mary-Ann, Paul, Rosa, Ana

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Months...a quick review

I am still working on my reading nook.  The big pieces are done.  I need a table and a lamp.  At the moment, I am using a folding TV table and an old lamp that has no on/off switch.  Luckily it is hooked up to the outlet that is attached to the wall switch.  At least I have filled up the shelves more or less and the chair is comfy.  I think I want to get an ottoman.  But it is a far cry from the reading nook I had in the smaller room.  I would like to switch out the chair (this chair is over 60 years old).  But my doorway is too small and only certain chairs can fit into the room.

I am currently on break from school. It has been a rough semester.  I'm taking 15 credits, but am doing well.  I've managed to keep up my reading, and so far have read 82 books.  My goal was 60 for the year.  I wanted to do 100 as usual, but I knew school write could alter that plan.

I've been doing some Christmas reading.  I have read this year so far:

The Letter - Richard Paul Evans
The Christmas Stories - Charles Dickens
The Christmas Wedding - James Patterson
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - Barbara Roberts

The last two are children's books.  Sometimes I need to have a little light reading.  I am currently reading 2 more Christmas books. Hopefully I can have them done before the end of this year.

A new favorite author I discovered this year is Joe Hill who some of you may know as Stephen King's son.  I've read NOS4A2 and Horns.  And once my life calms down, I plan to read Heart Shaped Box.

I'm very happy...my favorite Christmas movie comes on tonight.  It's a Wonderful Life!! I have been waiting all year for this.  My other favorite Christmas movies, Scrooge/A Christmas Carol, the one with Alistair Sim, came on Thursday night. My DVR is full of Christmas movies, but these two top the list.  Along with one I missed this year, the original Miracle on 34th Street. It is just not Christmas until I watch at least one of these.
On Christmas Eve - Ann Martin

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

First post using Blogsy

I downloaded this app called Blogsy it should be able to help me post I'm not at home. So I am testing it out let's see if I mess this up royally

My friends and I went out for our Christmas lunch yesterday.

And this is my Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas everyone. It has been ages since I have posted anything. I go to school 3 times a week and cannot post from work. I just bought a new iPad. So I am hoping to be able to post more often. Of course I will have to learn how to use it and I researched an app that would make this easier.   So check back  

Monday, September 2, 2013


I downloaded the 3M app to read books on my itouch.  I never did it because I have both a kindle and a nook.  But there was a book I wanted to read that for some reason didn't download on either of those.  So I put it on my itouch.  I thought the text would be too small to read, but it turns out it isn't that bad.  I still prefer the bigger e-reader, but for a novella or a book I really want to read, this is a good alternative.

I also decided to get a library card for the Brooklyn Public Library.  It will expand my e-reader choices.  I don't live close to Brooklyn, but it is a 20 minute train ride from my job.  I will have to go only once to activate the card.  I'm thinking of getting a Queens Public Library card too. Again, not that close to Queens, but if I can expand my e-reader choices, it will be worth the one trip in to activate the card.

School is starting for me tomorrow.  I'm in the midst of several books right now.  At least I made it to my yearly goal.  I chose 60 books for this year. I'm glad I did, because if had stayed with my 100 books a year, it most likely would not have happened.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Wheel of Fortune

1. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
2. Tuck Everlasting - Natalie Babbitt
3. Heart Shaped Box - Joe Hill
4. Wrinkle in Time - Madeline L'Engle
5. Demon: A Memoir - Tosca Lee
6. The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
7. Descent Into Hell - Charles Williams
8. The Hobbit - JRR Tolken
9. The Time Machine - HG Wells
10. The Bone Season (Book 1) - Samantha Shannon
11. Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer
12. Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis
13. Lilith - George MacDonald
14. At the Back of the North Wind - George MacDonald
15. Northern Lights (The Golden Compass) – Philip Pullman

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reading Nook - In Progess

Since my son moved out, my daughter and I switched rooms. I now, finally, have the Master Bedroom.  Therefore there is much more room to play with.  My kids had 2 bookcases from Ikea in their room.  The backs fell off.  A backless bookcase doesn't work too well in a kids room, but it is fine for me (for now). I have arranged the books by genre so they will be easy to find.  But it is a bigger job than I anticipated.  I painted the wall in that corner, but I am not done with the room. That will take about a month to complete.

The chair is an old guy, and I mean OLD.  The chair is 50 years old.  My parents had this chair before my brother was born.  I have a slip cover over it because it is in sorry shape.  I am planning to get a new one, but there is a small problem.  My doorway is only 28 inches wide and there is a wall on either side of the door, so there is no angling the chair in. It has to be able to go straight in.  Narrow comfortable chairs are not easy to find, so I'm holding on to this one for now.

I also need a table and reading lamp.  All in good time.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Cuckoo's Calling

I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. I was super excited. I am not a big mystery or thriller person, but I thought I’d give this one a go. This is definitely a set-up book. The fact that there will be others make it easier to understand why it is so slow. In this novel we get to learn a lot about Cormoran Strike’s character and motivations. I enjoyed this book and the twists it took, however, I was able to figure out who did it about 200 pages in, which for me is unusual. So I would say the book is predictable and not that special in the genre. However, it is well written, entertaining and there is good character development. I have high hopes that this series will get better and better with every book

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Fantasy Project: 101 Books in 10 Years

The list was compiled by Bella (formerly of A Bibliophile’s Bookshelf), who currently blogs at A Prairie Girl Reads, and Jo (Ink & Paper) when they held a mammoth poll in 2009 inviting readers to nominate their favorite fantasy books. The list is compiled of all the books nominated and voted for (813 total) in order by number of votes. The challenge started out with a year long format and then I changed it to a perpetual challenge. In both instances, books could be read from the top 101 or the entire list of 813.
Below are the guidelines for this revamped challenge. I hope you will join me!
The guidelines for The Fantasy Project
  • Read 101 fantasy books from the list of 101, or the entire list of 813, in 10 years (access the lists at the top of the blog).
  • choose 101 fantasy books from the list (due to the large amount of urban/paranormal fantasy titles on the list, I have made this exception–26 titles can be titles that are not on the list, i.e. newer releases that came out after the list was compiled, more books of a high fantasy nature, etc.) To break it down…75 titles from the list and 26 that are not on the list = 101 books total.
  • you can read other books in a series in which the first book, or other books in the series, appears on the list, to complete the challenge
  • post your list on your blog
  • choose your completion goal date ten years in the future and make note of it with your list of titles (like this:  reading goal–101 books  goal dates–August 20, 2013 – August 20, 2023)
  • come back here and post the link to your list in the linky below
  • write a review on the book when finished and link it to the title in your list 
  • there are pages at the top of the blog that link to spreadsheets where you can list/link up your reviews
  • there is a members list page, where I will list your name, blog, goal date, and link to your list
  • there is a “introduce yourself” page for members
  • when you have completed the challenge, come add your link to the Completed Challenges page
  • If you happen to host a read-a-long, or an event or challenge surrounding one of the titles on your list, post about it at this PAGE
  • I will try to have periodic group check-ins too
  • grab the button from sidebar
A few more important details
  • this challenge can be crossed over with any other challenges
  • your link in the linky below must lead to your list, not just your main blog address. Any links that are blog links only will be deleted
  • the list must be made in advance. The idea is to work toward reading fantasy you may have been otherwise neglecting and/or the fantasy titles/authors you love. However, the list does not have to be set in stone. You can change out titles as the mood suits you.
  • every 2 – 3 months we will have what we’ll call the Wheel of Fortune (borrowing from The Classics Club classics spin idea) where you make a list of 15 books from your list (i.e. 5 you’re dreading, 5 you can’t wait for, 5 favorites or rereads–yes, rereads are okay OR 5 urban fantasy, 5 high fantasy, 5 by the same author…the list is pretty much up to you). On a predetermined date, I will randomly draw (random.org) a number from 1 – 15 and the number that’s chosen will be the book you read from your list of fifteen.
  • our Twitter hashtag is #101FantasyProject
  • Addendum:  If you finish the 101 books before the ten years is up, come back and make another list and reset your ten year time limit!

Completion Date: August 21, 2023

0/101 done

* Not on original list
** Part of Series but not on original list

1 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
2 Tuck Everlasting - Natalie Babbitt *
3 The Door Within - Wayne Thomas Batson *
4 The Mists of Avalon - Marion Bradley
5 Story's End - Marissa Burt *
6 Ender’s Game - Orson Scott Card
7 Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer
8 Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox – Eoin Colfer
9 Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code – Eoin Colfer
10 Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony – Eoin Colfer
11 Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident – Eoin Colfer
12 Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception – Eoin Colfer
13 Gregor the Overlander - Suzanne Collins
14 Gregor and the Mark of Secrets - Suzanne Collins
15 Gregor and the Code of Claw - Suzanne Collins
16 Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane - Suzanne Collins
17 Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods - Suzanne Collins
18 The Book of Lost Things - John Connolly
19 The Twelve - Justin Cronin *
20 Dreams Underfoot (Newford # 1) - Charles de Lint
21 The Blue Girl (Newford #15) - Charles de Lint **
22 Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - Suzanna Clarke
23 Black: The Birth of Evil - Ted Dekker *
24 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (reread)
25 Lord Foul's Bane (Thomas Covenant #1) - Stephen Donaldson
26 The Illearth War (Thomas Covenant #2) - Stephen Donaldson **
27 The Power that Preserves (Thomas Covenant #3) - Stephen Donaldson **
28 Battle of the Ampere - Richard Paul Evans *
29 Voyager - Diana Gabaldon
30 The Drums of Autumn - Diana Gabaldon
31 The Fiery Cross - Diana Gabaldon
32 A Breath of Snow and Ashes - Diana Gabaldon
33 Stardust - Neil Gaiman
34 Good Omens - Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
35 Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
36 The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
37 Coraline - Neil Gaiman
38 American Gods - Neil Gaiman
39 Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
40 Pandemonium - Daryl Gregory
41 Heart Shaped Box - Joe Hill *
42 Horns - Joe Hill *
43 Lost Horizon - James Hilton
44 Assassin’s Apprentice - Robin Hobb
45 The Dark Tower - Stephen King
46 The Wastelands - Stephen King
47 Wizards and Glass - Stephen King
48 The Drawing of the Three - Stephen King
49 Song of Susannah - Stephen King
50 Wolves of the Calla - Stephen King
51 The Talisman - Stephen King / Peter Straub *
52 Wrinkle in Time - Madeline L'Engle
53 Demon: A Memoir - Tosca Lee *
54 Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis **
55 The Silver Chair - C.S. Lewis **
56 The Horse and His Boy - C.S. Lewis **
57 The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis **
58 The Last Battle - C.S. Lewis **
59 The Power of Six - Pittacus Lore *
60 The Rise of Nine - Pittacus Lore *
61 The Cthulhu Mythos (Call of Cthulhu) - HP Lovecraft
62 Messenger - Lois Lowry *
63 Son - Lois Lowry *
64 Lilith - George MacDonald
65 At the Back of the North Wind - George MacDonald
66 Wicked - Gregory Maguire
67 Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister – Gregory Maguire
68 A Storm of Swords (Complete Book) - George R.R. Martin 
69 A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin 
70 A Dance With Dragons - George R.R. Martin
71 Evermore – Alyson Noel
72 Blue Moon – Alyson Noel
73 The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta *
74 Wings - Aprilynne Pike 
75 The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) - Terry Pratchett
76 Men at Arms (Discworld #15) - Terry Pratchett **
77 Going Postal (Discworld #33) - Terry Pratchett **
78 Northern Lights (The Golden Compass) – Philip Pullman
79 The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman
80 The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman
81 Hollow City (Miss Peregrine #2) - Ransom Riggs *
82 The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
83 The Last Olympian – Rick Riordan
84 The Sea of Monsters – Rick Riordan
85 The Titan’s Curse – Rick Riordan
86 The Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan
87 Allegiant - Veronica Roth *
88 The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
89 The Bone Season (Book 1) - Samantha Shannon *
90 The Bone Season Untitled (Book 2) - Samantha Shannon *
91 The Bone Season Untitled (Book 3) - Samantha Shannon *
92 Elsewhere - Will Shetterly *
93 The Amulet of Samarkand - Jonathan Stroud
94 The Golem's Eye - Jonathan Stroud
95 Ptolemy's Gate - Jonathan Stroud
96 The Ring of Soloman - Jonathan Stroud **
97 The Hobbit - JRR Tolken
98 The Time Machine - HG Wells
99 The Place of the Lion - Charles Williams
100 Descent Into Hell - Charles Williams *
101 The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King * 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Adventures of Funny the Amazing Fish-Bunny by Patrick Connolly

It is rare when one gets to read a book that is both an excellent teaching tool in the academic sense as well as the morality sense. “The Adventures of Funny, the Amazing Fish-Bunny” is one of those books. Patrick Connolly takes the reader on a journey of Funny, the offspring of a father who is a trout and a mother who is a bunny. Of course this makes him different from his peers, and he becomes a victim of bullying. Through the help of a caring teacher, Funny is able to find he has a special talent and that it is his differences that make him extraordinary.

Wrapped inside this morality tale, the reader will find some basic and practical music applications. The story demonstrates the correct way to breathe while singing in order to obtain the best sound. The book also teaches some key information on scales and octaves. Mr. Connolly does this beautifully, and any child will be able to understand and apply it.

It is an easy to read book with some challenging words that will help build a child’s vocabulary. This brings even more of an educational flair to the book without beating us over the head. The discussion topics at the end of the book are broken down into various sections and can be discussed individually or as a whole. The topics include cultural differences, hidden talents and bullying. The fantastic colorful illustrations by Martin Casey are fantastic.

Any child will find something to love about this book.

Mr. C (aka Patrick Connolly) was raised in Dublin, Ireland, where his original singing talent was discovered by his first grade teacher, Mrs. O' Rahilly. After traveling the world's biggest stages with the Riverdance phenomenon, he has found his true home working with the children of Saint Raymond's Parish and Elementary School in the Bronx. He hopes in some way he can discover and encourage the special talents of his children as his own talent once was.

Please visit his website for more information.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Catch Up

No I didn’t fall into the abyss, I am still here.  I have just been super busy.  I started school in June, and will be going for the next 2 to 3 years non stop.  I’m on break for August, but start up right after Labor Day.  I had 2 English classes and got A’s.  I am in the adult program, so there are adults 21 and older in the class.  But it my class, they tend to be 30 and older (more like 40 and older) so I was not out of place.  However, it was very sad to see that a lot of these people didn’t write well.  This had me thinking back to when I started college in my 20s.  I had to start with a Remedial English class (remedial math too).  I didn’t know an adverb from an adjective. Mainly because I hated high school, didn’t read and could care less.  However, 20 years of living and reading helped me place into the intermediate level of English in this new school. However, that class doesn’t start until September, so I had to take 2 basic English classes for the summer.  The teacher of one of the classes had to ‘dumb’ it down because his work was too advanced for the majority of the class. 
My son moved out, so my daughter and I are switching bedrooms.  I will finally have my Master Bedroom.  And yes…there will be a reading nook. I have one now, but it really is just a chair in the corner with a reading lamp. The room is so tiny.
My laptop died, so I lost my lists of books and movies that I had been working on since 2006.  I decided not to start a new one.  But I have them documented elsewhere.
These are the more interesting books I’ve read from March until now:
Whistling Past the Graveyard – Susan Crandall
The Gods of Gotham – Lyndsay Faye
All Woman and Springtime – Brandon Jones
Heft – Liz Moore
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
My Beloved World – Sonia Sotomayor
I’ve reached my goal of 60 books for the year  I’m not going to increase it because I’m not sure how many more books I’ll be able to read while I’m in school. I estimate maybe 10 more, but I don’t want to risk not finishing.
My next book to read will be “The Cukoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). I won it in a goodreads giveaway.  I’ve had it for a few weeks, but I’m currently reading “The Shining” by Stephen King and “The Son” by Philipp Meyer; both which are pretty sizable.  I wanted to read some big books in August while I am on break.  I think after “The Cukoo’s Calling”, I will read smaller books.  Just so I can feel like I’m accomplishing something.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Lots of Various stuff

Monday I start at my job as a full time employee...woohoo!

* * * * One of my pictures that was taken in 2007 will be in a documentary. It will be a NET Television documentary, Nebraska’s Capitol Masterpiece. It will be about art and architecture of the Nebraska State Capitol. Apparently the sculptor who designed a lot of things for that building also designed the facade of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York City. His name was Lee Lawrie. I will have a credit at the end and everything. It is exciting! St. Thomas Church facade * * * * One of my new favorite shows is "King of the Nerds". The first season recently ended. I started watching it because I'm a huge Curtis Armstrong fan. And although I started watching it for Curtis, I continued watching it for Virgil Griffith. He was one that grew on me, slow and sneaky. The show was actually really cool and I will watch season 2. Virgil won't be there, but I'm glad I got to watch him in action. No, I'm not a cougar.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

All Woman & Springtime by Brandon W. Jones

I’ve read many non-fiction books about North Korea, however, this is the first fiction book I’ve read that dealt with the horrors of North Korea as well as sex trafficking. Although I have some knowledge of what goes on in North Korea, this book gave my ideas breath. The horror embodied in three women gave me pause.

We watch two friends go from families with vastly different circumstances to an orphanage where they become best friends.

The story proceeds to take us on a journey of these two girls as well as others who were sold into the sex slave business. Here it became a little graphic for my taste, although I do understand the necessity to bring to light what occurs in this business. I just felt it was a little over done and a lot could have been said without using such strong imagery.

However, as the story progressed further, it became more interesting as we watch these women grow in friendship, fight for survival and learn how to trust again.

This story’s outcome is bittersweet but satisfying.

I was originally thinking a 3.5 star rating, but the last few chapters moved it up the ½ star. Not the best writing books I’ve read, but one of the most touching books I’ve read in a while.

4 Stars

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thank You

Thanks for the kind words about my new upcoming adventures in scholastica.

Now for some more fantastic news.  After being at my temp job for nearly 2 years, I was finally hired. I will be full time as of March 29th.

My salary has nearly doubled.   I lost my last job in July 2010. I was making decent money.  Then I was on unemployment, and then I lucked out and found this temp job.  It paid about 1/3 less, but I needed anything and hoped that I could 'get in' the door.

Well 2 years later, the door opened.  I was hired and I was the first person hired in about 3 years.

Yes. I feel lucky and blessed.

* * * * *

I've also decided to resurect my writing blog in anticipation of my school writings.

Creativley Writing Me

I have written a lot of things, I just haven't shared any of it.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Reading will drop off

I only put 60 books as a goal for this year in anticipation of something that I wanted to happen and it is happening.  I'm going back to school.  Starting the week of June 3rd, I am going back to get my BA in Letters.  I never got to finish my BA when I started it in 1990, so now that my son is graduating college and my daughter is 14 and going to public school. I will have more time and more money, although financial aid is helping me out here.

Therefore, as of June 3rd I will be lucky if I read 2 books a month.  I'm in good shape though, I've read 40+ books for the year already, so only 20 more books to go.

One of my summer classes is Critical Reading, although I don't think we'll be reading any full length works, and the other class is Writing for self expression.  And in the fall I'll be taking writing research papers and language through critical analysis.

With my past credits I only have about 3 years to go. I will be going full time.  It will be hard getting back into 'school mode' but I can do it.

I was looking through my old transcripts.  I started at one school in 1990 and my GPA was not that great 2.1.  I had to leave in 1991 because I got married and had my son.  I went back in 1994 but left again in 1996, again because of family obligations.  But my GPA rose to a 2.7.  I got mostly B's that time.  Obviously I was growing up.  Now that it is 17 years later, I don't expect to get anything lower than an A.

I still have about 6 weeks of reading to go, and then I can pick up a little in August and then fall off again.

My son graduates in May.  He'll be finished before me!  Oh Well.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others by Stacy Horn

Imperfect Harmony is a non-fiction book that marries a memoir a musical education. Stacy Horn entertains and educates us with the inner workings of a church choir as well as the history of some of the world’s most important musical pieces.

Stacy takes us on her journey which starts with her joining the choir and the reasons behind it. We travel through her years and all the politics behind a church choir that most people, who have never belonged to a church choir, don’t know.

I was able to relate to a lot of the inner workings of her church choir as mine has similar situations happen. I especially liked the part where she said:

“I tried to catch the eye of everyone around me who wasn’t a soprano I. I get it. First sopranos don’t feel this. You hear it, but you don’t feel it. You don’t know that those lowly peasants making a nice vocal cushion for you to step on had parts that were every bit as rapturous as yours”

This rings very true. Many sopranos tend to feel superior, when in truth, all the parts are necessary in the choir. Of course this is something that one who is not in a choir, may not know.

I loved her stories of the people she sang with. Also being a New Yorker, and dealing with very similar personalities, I couldn’t help but to smile.

Another pretty cool thing I learned from this book was that: “…hearing loss starts at high frequencies and slowly progresses downward.”

Now I understand why the older women in my choir are always off key.

I thought this was a wonderful peek inside the life of one woman and her choir. It also opened my eyes to a lot of music I never heard. After reading this, I searched around for many of the music she commented on in this book.

The world is full of beautiful music. Stacy Horn makes it a little easier to find.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Kimberly Chang immigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn, New York in the 80's.  Her aunt Paula helped Kimberly and her mother with the immigration process and set them up in an apartment in an abandon building in one of the worst neighborhoods in Brooklyn. 

Paula 'graciously' allows them to work in her clothing factory for less than minimum wage.  Kimberly goes to the local public school in home made clothes.  She works with her mother in the factory once school is out until 9pm.  They both go home to their vermin and roach infested heat deprived apartment where Kimberly does her homework and her mother finishes the factory work she did not finish during her long day.

This coming of age book is unlike anything I've read.  Although this book is a work of fiction, it is rooted in truth.  This book gives a glimpse into the life of many Chinese immigrants, who while in their country were respected people, once they come here, they get lost in shuffle.

We watch Kimberly grow up in America through the 1980s and see how Western problems infultrate her life.

I really enjoyed this book. I listened to the audio version, and the narrator, who is Chinese, brought the Chang's and the rest of the characters to life.

I highly recommend this book for ages 14 and up.  There are some mature themes in this book as well as sexual situations.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Winter's Respite Read-A-Thon


Finished Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini
Finished Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

I would have liked to get more reading in, but alas, time does run out.

This is my Read-A-Thon post.  It will be updated as the week goes on.

My plan was to read a bunch of Oscar Wilde things for this, but I've already started reading some of them.  I couldn't wait.

However, I still have so much other things I need to read and catch up on.

What I want to finish
Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan
1/21/13 - Starting at 9%
1/22/13 - 25%
1/24/13 - 34%
1/26/13 - 40%

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini
1/21/13 - Starting at page 106
1/22/13 - page 172
1/24/13 - page 260
1/26/13 - FINISHED

What I want to make a dent in
Les Miserable - Victor Hugo
1/21/13 - Starting at 10%
1/25/13 - 11%

Smaller works I hope to get through
Various Oscar Wilde novella's (will add as I finish)

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok (audio)  1/25/13 - FINISHED

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Selected Poems: Oscar Wilde

Selected Poems: Oscar Wilde 

Oscar Wilde has such a way with poetry. I've read a lot of poetry in my life, but no one can tell a story like him. "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" is now one of my favorites. This book not only has the version that is commonly known, there is a version that was written prior to this one. Which I liked just as much if not better. This book includes the following poems: The Ballad of Reading Gaol (2 versions)

Ave Imperatrix
To My Wife - with a Copy of My Poems
Magdalen Walks
Theocritus - A Villanelle
Fabien Dei Franchi
Sonnet on Hearing the Dies Irae Sung in The Sistine Chapel
Ave Maria Gratia Plena
Libertatis Sacra Fames
Roses and the Rue
From 'The Garden of Eros'
The Harlot's House
From 'The Burden of Itys'
Flower of Love

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Quick Happenings

The Winter's Respite Read-a-Thon will run from January 21 - 27! It will start at 12:00am Monday and end at 11:59pm on Sunday. I'm going to read some Oscar Wilde novella's during this.

I am reading Les Miserables for the TuesBookTalk Read-a-Long. I'll just say it is not going well. I am only 9% through the book. I am not with the schedule at all!! Mainly because I'm reading so many other books and Les Miz is long as hell. But it is good, so although I might not be on track, I will finish that book this year!

 I'm also going to write a short story for Goodreads Ireland. The story will be in a compilation book.  There will be no pay, just accolades.  Any funds raised for this will be given to charity.