Sunday, January 13, 2008

Winter Reading Challenge

Because I love these set 'em yourself challenges and because I didn't manage to finish the Fall Into Reading Challenge, I'm going to try challenging myself to the same thing I did then and will hopefully be more successful this go round. Inksplasher is hosting a Winter Reading Challenge that suits my purposes beautifully. I want to finish all of the books I currently have bookmarks in during the 9 weeks remaining for the challenge. That means I need to read:

1. Middlemarch by George Eliot (this was the big stumper for the Fall challenge and I'm still not very far into it)
2. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (I seem to have stalled out on this)
3. Trawler by Redmond O'Hanlon (which I am enjoying but is a slower read than I envisioned)
4. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (the newest addition to the in progress pile)

With luck I will manage all of these (and the others that sneak into my reading piles with no warning) by the March 19th deadline. Whee!!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Review: Summer Half by Angela Thirkell

I do so love the wonderful set of books comprising the Barsetshire chronicles by Angela Thirkell. Summer Half is not too far into the series but as all her books, may be read out of order (unless you are seriously quirky like me and must read in order). This particular book focuses on Colin Keith, Tony Morland, Rose Birkett and several others. Colin, not wanting to be a further financial burden on his father, decides to apply for a job in a boy's public school during the short summer term. here he comes in contact with Tony Morland, who is quite the young man now and with the self-centered and rather unconsciously entertaining Rose Birkett, who is leading her wildly jealous fiance a merry chase. Half of the story takes place at the school, where Rose is intrigued by Colin, who is entirely unimpressed by her but must try and diplomatically convince Winter, a fellow master and Rose's unhappy fiance, that he wouldn't touch her with a ten foot pole. Thirkell's great strength in these well wrought and thoroughly entertaining books is to capture the minutia of the everday absurd so beautifully and believably. The other half of the book returns the reader to the Keith house and local area and allows the school relationships to be seen outside the distortingly small arena of a boarding school. As are all of Thirkell's books, this made me chuckle, grin, and just warmly enjoy the reading experience. And really, there's little higher praise than that.

Behind: A Perpetual State of Being

Don't you wonder about those people who always seem on top of everything? I sure do. And I'm clearly not one of them. I started this blog to help keep myself on top of my book reviews, keep me chatting about my running (which assumes I actually get off my rear and run), and just generally keep an ongoing glimpse into my life for anyone interested (or just plain bored). Somehow I've managed to fall behind on all three of those goals and I just started this thing in November! I swear I did learn that keeping on top of life was the best possible plan but I just seem congenitally unable to manage it. Shoot, I haven't even pulled off a birthday party for my daughter (her birthday's in September). Actually, I haven't even called to reserve the place yet. How appalling is that? And because I am nothing if not equal opportunity about neglecting things for all of my children, I have never made the playdate my oldest has been asking about since the beginning of the school year. I only signed my youngest up for tennis lessons today because he is home half days to nag me (and he missed the first session anyway so don't think I was on top of that either). Maybe one of those days I will morph into an on the ball sort of person. In the meantime, at least I'm fairly laid back about being a day late and a dollar short. (We'll get the house on the market sometime before the spring, I promise--or maybe sometime after the spring if we're working on "Kristen time.")

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