Friday, August 22, 2014

Book and music pairings

Just like some authors like to listen to music to set their mood while writing, and sometimes there's nothing like the perfect soundtrack for reading a book. I was never that great at creating mix tapes or CDs...or playlists these days. If I'm looking for a good playlist of hand-selected, individual songs, I go to my friends Nicole, Doc, or Scott. But I'm pretty good at setting a mood. Here are a few of my favorite genre/mood pairings: 

Anne of Green Gables, contemporary romance novels,  -- Upbeat coffee shop. James Taylor's Greatest Hits, The Carpenters, The Weepies, Shawn Mullins

High fantasy, historical fiction -- something interesting, but instrumental. classical guitar, movie soundtracks, cello solos.

Jane Austen -- classical piano

British detective fiction -- Celtic music (of course! I never said I was all that original), minor-key coffee shop. 

Friday, August 15, 2014


It's a little ridiculous that I haven't posted a review here in so long...but I'll confess, it's because I just haven't been able to get into and finish a book lately. First, I started an ebook I'd purchased on sale a while back. It wasn't bad just...I couldn't get into it. I can't decide if I just wasn't in the mood for teen dystopian...or if it's just not my favorite genre. So I put that one down and picked up a historical fiction (technically, a contemporary fiction written during WWII). I am very interested in this book in theory...but again, either I'm just not in the mood, or there's some other reason it's just not grabbing me. Normally, I'd just put it down and try again another time, but it was a book loaned to me by a friend who said "read this! it was so good!" And I've had it for more than a year. I feel a compulsion to read books recommended by friends, and this one especially since I really want to get it back to the friend. 

A prime example of why in Reader's Advisory the rule of thumb is "suggest" don't "recommend." 

Do you feel compelled to finish books you start? Does it make a difference if a friend gave it to you or recommended it?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Shopping your bookshelves

I'm floundering a bit trying to figure out what I'm in the mood to read next. There are a couple of books that have come out in the past few months that I'd like to read, but I haven't yet made it to the library here, and I'm trying to be a little conservative in my e-book spending. I've always been a mostly public library user when it comes to my voracious reading habit (no surprise that I ended up pursuing a career in public libraries), but I'm a sucker for used books stores and library book sales. Because of this -- and because I had a hard time saying no to free ARCs at the library I worked at -- I've got quite a few books on my bookshelf that I've never read. Before our move, I went through with a critical eye and pulled out a big stack that I decided realistically I'd probably never get around to reading, or I read them and had no real desire to keep a copy. Now I'm (somewhat) determined to shop my bookshelves: reading those books that have been languishing for months or years. So when I'm looking for something to read with no clear direction (or waiting to get my grubby hands on a copy of Sinner by Maggie Steifvater), I'm trying to shop my shelves. Right now I've got a World War II novel on deck. It hasn't grabbed me yet, but with all our moving and travel and company lately I haven't had more than 5-10 minutes at a time to read it. So I'm still giving it a chance.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Filling your bookshelves

In my dream home there is a room dedicated to bookshelves. It doesn't have to necessarily be a library only -- maybe a library/music room. Or a library/living room. Or a library/dining room. Or a library/office (I'm big on multi-tasking rooms. My dream home is also small enough to clean easily). The walls in this dream room are top-to-bottom book shelves. There's probably at least one window, and depending on it's partner function, there's probably a desk, piano, or sideboard taking up a small part of one wall. In this room, it's (relatively) easy to put out one's books. You can organize it however you want -- or not -- and in my mind the choices are easier. Because you know what's hard? Trying to organize your books when you have half of them in one room, half in another, and a small percentage in the random built-in next to the fireplace. (so...I guess that's more like 48%, 48%, 4%).

What complicates things, I'm ashamed to admit, is also a bit of "what-will-people-think-itis." In other words: what books do I want front and center, because I'm cool if people know I read that? What do these books say about me? What do I want them to say? 

Which is ridiculous. 

So, I'm going pretty general. Nice looking hardback series and cookbooks on the built-in (which is next to the kitchen too). Fiction in the front room, non-fiction in the office/guest room. There may be exceptions to the fiction/non-fiction rule, but that's how we're organizing at the moment. Although I'd love to have some of hubby's cool history books in the front room...there's just not space for everything! And I've got to have at least some kind of system, as loose as this one is. 

How do you decide where books go?

Monday, July 28, 2014


The Moon and More

Well, we started packing on Sunday, and on Friday we were all unloaded in our new house. We're about halfway done unpacking...more than halfway, maybe? The kitchen and baby's room are done, so I'm happy. Our moving success can be attributed to: 1. My husband's packing ability and speed. 2. Lot's of help from friends loading and unloading 3. Family in town to help unpack/snuggle the munchkin while we unpack. 

Needless to say, I'm pretty tired. And it's about now that the emotional component of moving is hitting me. But, overall, this has been one of our least stressful moves. Yay! 

And bonus: I finished reading a lovely Sarah Dessen book: The Moon and More. It's a story about that summer between high school and "after." In true Dessen form, her characters and relationships ring true, and the beach town of Colby comes to life (it really made me miss the beach). There's friendship, complicated family dynamics, first love, and a summer rebound romance. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vacation Reading

This past week me and the Little have been hanging out at Nana and Grandpapa's house while the hubby's been a counselor at camp. It's been a great kind of vacation -- lots of just hanging out, playing, and reading. Even though I've been doing a little bit of work, and of course taking care of the Little, there's no housework or cooking or life stuff hanging over my head (now, when we get back...that's another story. Three words: packing and moving). So I managed  to breeze my way through The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling) in a way that is reminiscent of "previously." It's been a nice breather, and a reminder that it is possible to find time to read with a new just have to make that choice and adjust your expectations -- it is less time, after all. (there was a great post on Book Riot about this a few weeks ago).

Anyway, The Silkworm was another solid installment in Galbraith/Rowling's new detective series. It was almost too gory for me, but not so much that I couldn't keep reading. Another tight plot, character growth, and more of Rowling's brilliant descriptions (you meant I'm not in London in the middle of winter? Darn it). That woman knows how to turn a phrase.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

T.V. Tuesday

The premier of the new Disney show Girl Meets World (I haven't seen it...since I don't have cable and haven't managed to find it streaming anywhere yet) has got me thinking about it's predecessor. I was a huge fan of Boy Meets World. The show ran during my junior high, high school, and early college years. I remember watching the series finale with my friends Lesley, Katie, and Kristy -- I didn't cry at the end, but it was definitely a bittersweet moment. The end to a piece of my adolescence, marking the passing of time the way the finale of The Cosby Show seemed to mark the end of my childhood. Something about these two shows just clicked with me. It's funny how some stories seem to do that -- be it television shows, books, or movies. There's something about them that feels real, and while other stories can be wonderful, entertaining, and moving, there's nothing like a story that gets inside and becomes part of your history. The Ramona Books, Little House on the Prairie, and the Anne of Green Gables series are all books that definitely fall into that category for me as well. There's nothing like finding a friend like that.

And on a related note...anyone who watched Girl Meets World have an opinion? I'm a little scared, I have to admit. Part of me wants to stay away.