Today in My History

2000:  The Moving Fingers Write
2001:  Careful Planning
2002:  Nip and Tuck
2003:  Caution:  Bragging Ahead
2004:  Just So Darn Charming
2005:  Make a Wish
2006:   Did God Screw Up?


Books Read in 2007

Updated 9/04:
"A Good Dog"


Bill's Retirement
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My Favorite Video Blogs

Desert Nut

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Look at these videos!
Jihad, the Musical
Dick Cheney was Right!
Ordination of Women Priests
Sideshow Bob sings HMS Pinafore

Family Stories Vlog
(updated 8/5/07)

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Ned Turns 40
Bob Turns 70
Bill's Retirement



5 September 2007

There was a time when I always had my nose in a book.  Marta often reminds me of myself when I was younger.  No matter where we go, no matter what family event is taking place, sooner or later you'll find Marta off in a corner with her nose in a book.  I give her a lot of the books that I finish.

I am very fortunate to come from a long line of readers (and writers).  My mother instilled a love of reading in me from an early age.  She still reads a lot, and gets books from the Hospice of Marin Thrift Store, where she volunteers once a week.

I did a lot of reading at my mother's during her convalescence and I realized how much I miss reading.  When we started Cousins' Days, both Kathy and Peach are big readers and we would usually discuss books.  That helped to keep me reading.

A couple of years ago, I started keeping a database of books I read. I had begun to realize that I don't read as much as I should, so each year I've been able to up the number of pages/books read. (As of today, I have already read nearly 2,000 pages more than what I had read by the end of December of last year. Of course I read a lot when I was at my mother's in February!)

Missbhavens recently introduced me to Shelfari, which I suggest that any reader who likes to discuss books check out. It's easy to use, a place to record the books you've read (or books you own), and a place to meet other readers and get some suggestions for new things to read (like that is something I need to do!). I can be very competitive, and I suspect that this site is encouraging me to read more (for example, I just joined the "50 Books" group, which pledges to read at least 50 books a year--it's already September and I've only read slightly more than half that many so far!)  I've also started a Flickr album of books I've read in 2007, trying to find interesting ways to photograph a book once I've finished it.

There was a list of discussion topics on Facebook, each of which made me think about what books I would put in each category.  How about you?

1 - Last Books on Earth - This kind of ranks up there with what you'd take to a deserted island.  I always choose the Bible, not for any religious reason, but because it is a BIG book of lots of stories, and lots of variety.  Also the collected works of William Shakespeare (because it would take me a LONG time to get through it), and the collected works of Edgar Allen Poe to give me something easy to read!

2- Books to Read To a Lover - Probably a book of poetry.  I'm not heavily into poetry, but I would choose "Sliding Down Rainbows" by Claire Amy Atkins, a favorite of mine.

3- Books to Read on a Train - Well, that would be the kind of thing I always take on planes -- any book by James Patterson, Tess Gerritsen, Robin Cook, or others of that ilk.  Anything that is light reading and which I classify as a page-turner.

4- Books that Make You Laugh Out Loud - I don't usually read comedy, but Bill Bryson's books always make me laugh out loud.

5- Books That Scared The Bejeezus Outta You - Hmmm...I don't generally read books that are overtly scary.  Some of Patterson's have scared me.  Probably the last time I got creeped out by a book was "Pet Sematary"

6- Admit it, You Cried - Oh hell, that's easy.  I cry at the drop of a hat.  I cry in mysteries, in suspense stories, in travelogues, in any sort of "tender" scene.  But the last book that made me cry was one I finished this afternoon:  Jon Katz's "A Good Dog: Orson, the Dog Who Changed My Life."

7- Mindbenders - do you define a mind bender.  I would have to choose David Gerrold's "The Man Who Folded Himself," sometimes called "the ultimate time travel book."  After I finished it, I told David that it gave me a headache.  His response:  "Think how I felt writing it!"

8- Tomes I love (aka: worth the shlep) - I always come back to Steinbeck and Pat Conroy.  "East of Eden" and "Prince of Tides."

9- Worst Books EVER - That's very easy.  I just tried looking it up on Amazon and it's not there, so perhaps it's out of print.  We can only hope.  It was a romance novel called "The White Rose," which everyone in my office was reading and raving about some 15 years ago.  It was the biggest piece of crap ever.  Well, until I tried to read the first book in the "Left Behind" series, which I threw across the room in disgust 1/3 of the way through it!

10- Books You Loved as a Teen - Anything having to do with dogs or horses, especially the Black Stallion series and any book by Albert Payson Terhune.

11- BIG Disappointments - "Left Behind," only because my cousin was positively ga-ga over the series and told me to buy the first two because if I finished the first one in the middle of the night, I was going to want to start the second one immediately and not wait until the book stores opened.  She was sooo wrong!

12- Bend Down the Corners: Best Sex Scenes - It's been so long since I've read a book with a steamy sex scene that I can't even remember.

13- Books you keep re-reading - "East of Eden."  I've read it several times, including the best reading, in conjunction with "Journal of a Novel," Steinbeck's letters written while writing the book.

14- A Story of Your Own - "The Lamplighters, 1976-1986," the sequel to "The Lamplighters: Twenty Five Years of Gilbert & Sullivan in San Francisco."  I didn't write the first book, but I wrote most of the second book.  You can look me up at the Library of Congress (or on Amazon).

15- What I'm Reading Now - "The Myth of You and Me," the story of the lifelong friendship between two girls, who met at age 14; and Bill Bryson's "Thunderbolt Kid" (I usually read at least two books at the same time, one of which has to be small enough to fit into my purse so I can read in the car and at intermissions of plays.)

16- Books you've really been meaning to read but haven't gotten around to yet - "Here's Johnny," Ed McMahon's biography of Johnny Carson.  And about 500 other books.  I keep looking at McMahon's book, but I have to be in the right mood for a celebrity biography and haven't been in that mood in awhile.  I also have to put "Catcher in the Rye" on that list because I never ever read it.

17- Fave Second Hand Bookstores  - Bogey's Books here in Davis is a neat little store.  Powell's in Portland is a great used book store.  The Tattered Cover in Denver is fun.  And I love wandering around the used book stores on Charing Cross Rd. in London.

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991




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