Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Doon and Lina are two twelve-year olds who live in a city that has no natural light. The city is illuminated by lights from a large generator. Generations have lived in this manner and no one knows of any different sort of life. But the generator is slowly going out. Blackouts are becoming more common. And the food supply is starting to dwindle.
When Lina finds a box with cryptic instructions (cryptic because her baby sister chewed on them) for "egress", Doon and Lina hope they have found a way out of their city to a better place.
I thought this was a wonderful story for children and it was very well written. I also thought it was a bit more accessible (simpler writing) than say The Golden Compus. But then again I don't have kids so... But it was good enough for me to probably pick up the next couple of books in the series and possibly see the movie.
The movie poster:
Doon and Lina:Have you read the book or seen the movie? What are your thoughts?
Also Reviewed By:
So when I heard about the Dewey's Books Reading Challenge for reading some books Dewey had read and reviewed, I thought this would be a great way to remember her.
Here's the link for posting the Challenge Reviews.
So I am going to read six books, one from each year she posted.
Amanda's Dewey Books
2003: Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer
2004: The Inner Circle - T.C. Boyle
2005: Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood
2006: Outlander (Book 1) - Diana Gabaldon
2007: Einstein's Dreams - Alan Lightman (Finished May 23, 2009)
2008: The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes - Neil Gaiman (Finished Nov 20, 2009)
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Well his new one, the Sci Fi Experience for 2009 is one I'm going to join as well. The experience runs from January 1st through February 28th, 2009. There is really no rules except to enjoy the genre of sci fi. But if you want to read some sci fi books, you can join up the Sci Fi Experience Book Review site.
I personally love sci fi. My dad always had a ton of books lying around that I'd grab and read. And I always loved watching sci fi movies and shows. Some of my favorites?
So here's a list of books I will try and read:
Dune - Frank Herbert
Paul of Dune - Brian Herbert
Dune Messiah - Frank Herbert
Children of Dune - Frank Herbert
The Mirror of Her Dreams - Stephen R. Donaldson
A Man Rides Through - Stephen R. Donaldson
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
Foundation - Isaac Asimov
Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert A. Heinlein
1. A Princess of Mars - Edgar Rice Burroughs (Finished January 28, 2009)
2. Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood (Finished January 30, 2009)
3. Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut (Finished February 06, 2009)
4. Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer (Finished February 05, 2009)
5. The Mirror of Her Dreams - Stephen R. Donaldson (Finished January 19, 2009)
6. A Man Rides Through - Stephen R. Donaldson (Finished January 28, 2009)
7. Dune - Frank Herbert (Finished February 9, 2009)
8. Paul of Dune - Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson (Finished February 16, 2009)
9. World War Z - Max Brooks (Finished February 18, 2009)
10. The Host - Stephenie Meyer (Finished February 22, 2009)
And it was exactly what I needed. It wasn't mind blowing or my favorite book but it was a fun little read. Here's the synopsis:
Courtney Stone is nursing a broken heart (cheating fiance) by reading a copy of Pride and Prejudice (her favorite book). She falls asleep and wakes up in nineteenth-century England. But she wakes up as a lady named Jane Mansfield. So...no worries you die hard Austen fans...she doesn't ruin a Jane Austen novel. But she looks, talks, and has a few random memories of this Jane Mansfield. So she must figure out why this happened, what happened to the real Jane Mansfield, and what she has to do to get herself back to her own time period.
What made this novel a pretty fun read was the fact that the nineteenth-century wasn't as glossy and romantic as Courtney realized. She had to get over the smells, the once a week bathing, the clothing, everything Jane Austen didn't write about. And I liked that Courtney didn't pop into an Austen novel (but for fans there is an Austen cameo appearance).
So this may not be a book for everyone, but it was a quick fun read which was perfect for the end of the year.
Also Reviewed by:
Socrates' Book Reviews
She is Too Fond of Books
A Girl Walks Into A Bookstore
The Written Word
Oh, and for those of you who've read or want to read this, there is a sequel-ish book coming out soon called Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict.
I have been very horrible at updating this blog recently but that will soon come to an end. My days of having no computer will be fixed in the next few days with the addition to our household of this:
I will also have Microsoft Office for the Mac (very cool) and will be entering into the world of Photoshop (I know I know!).
Oh...and good news. My mom is coming to visit on New Year's Day and spending the weekend with us. It's her first time to NYC and I haven't seen her since our wedding.
So stayed tuned!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
I really hoped that I'd like the book more. I mean I love detective mysteries. I love heroines who are pretty smart. Isabel Dalhousie's job is to review philosophical articles and she loves crosswords. This should be right up my alley right? But the "mystery" was pretty lame. And the ending was just, well just not satisfying. And Isabel kind of annoyed me. I mean for being a smart philosophical lady, she really had messed up relationships. She's hung up on some past flame who treated her horribly and then moved on. And then she has a semi-crush thing on her niece's ex-boyfriend which is just kind of bizzarre to me.
Oh. And supposodly the title comes from the fact that she has a Sunday philosophy club that meets to discuess philosophical stuff. But they never met during the whole book and I don't even think it mentioned who was in the club. Hmm.
So that's all I am going to say about that. It wasn't bad enough that I didn't finish it but I am not going to read any more of the series.
I almost forgot the different covers! I prefer the one above but here's a few others:
Thursday, December 18, 2008
We're getting prepared to get dumped on as well. NYC is predicting six or so inches tomorrow. I'd complain but then we might have a white Christmas...which I love.
Is there snow where you live?
As I am wrapping up 2008 and preparing for 2009, I've been finding some fun reading challenges around the blog-o-sphere. This one especially stood out for me since I LOVE art history and have a few un-read books at home that would fit this challenge. All you have to do is read six books that has art history as a topic. (As you can see I have way too many books I want to read.) You can join along at this website:
1. Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling - Ross King
2. Lust for Life - Irving Stone
3. Luncheon of the Boating Party - Susan Vreeland
4. The Painting - Nina Schuyler
5. With Violets - Elizabeth Robards
6. Van Gogh's Bad Cafe - Frederic Tuten (Finished February 20, 2009)
7. Blindspot - Jane Kamensky (not sure how much art is in this one)
8. The Art Thief - Noah Charney
9. The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century - Edward Dolnick
10. Old Masters, New World: America's Raid on Europe's Great Pictures - Cynthia Saltzman
11. The Flanders Panel - Arturo Perez-Reverte
12. The Painter of Battles - Arturo Perez-Reverte
13. Cezanne's Quarry - Barbara Pope
14. Leonardo's Swans - Karen Essex (Finished July 12, 2009)
15. Stealing Athena - Karen Essex
16. Painter from Shanghai - Jennifer Epstein
17. The Forgery of Venus - Michael Gruber
18. The Passion of Artemisia - Susan Vreeland
19. The Girl in Hyacinth Blue - Susan Vreeland
20. The Sidewalk Artist - Gina Buonaguro
21. Portrait of an Unknown Woman - Vanora Bennett
22. Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper - Harriet Scott Chessman
23. The Illuminator - Brenda Rickman Vantrease
24. A Rare and Curious Gift - Pauline Holdstock
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I officially have TWO people coming out to see me in the next few weeks.
This weekend a good friend of mine from Kentucky (and from this post) is coming out and I'm getting to be a tour guide. So a lot of photos and cheesy NYC tourist stuff coming up!
And around New Years my mom is coming for a visit! I'm so excited since my brother is the only family member who's come out for a visit.
In the meantime, I'll be pondering over what to buy my husband for Christmas...I am completely out of ideas. Wish me luck!
Feel free to steal this one!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Here's what's coming up:
From Brenda Janowitz:
And from Diana Spechler:
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I figured if I push myself a bit next year I can get that accomplished. If you're interested in this challenge, head on over and sign up. My goal is to read 8+ books a month. Yikes!
Number of Books Read: 100
February: 8 books
April: 9 books
May: 9 books
July: 6 books
September: 6 books
October: 12 books
November: 13 books
December: 13 books
2. The Scent of Sake - Joyce Lebra (Finished January 12, 2009)
3. After Dark - Haruki Murakami (Finished January 15, 2009)
4. The Mirror of Her Dreams - Stephen R. Donaldson (Finished January 19, 2009)
5. A Man Rides Through - Stephen R. Donaldson (Finished January 28, 2009)
6. A Princess of Mars - Edgar Rice Burroughs (Finished January 28, 2009)
7. Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood (Finished January 30, 2009)
8. Life as We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer (Finished February 5, 2009)
9. Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Finished February 6, 2009)
10. Dune - Frank Herbert (Finished February 9, 2009)
11. Paul of Dune - Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson (Finished February 16, 2009)
12. World War Z - Max Brooks (Finished February 18, 2009)
19. Rabbit, Run - John Updike (Finished March 12, 2009)
20. The Likeness - Tana French (Finished March 20, 2009)
21. If on a winter's night a traveler - Italo Calvino (Finished March 25, 2009)
22. I See You Everywhere - Julia Glass (Finished April 2, 2009)
23. The Looking Glass Wars - Frank Beddor (Finished April 6, 2009)
26. 1984 - George Orwell (Finished April 15, 2009)
27. Practical Magic - Alice Hoffman (Finished April 22, 2009)
28. The Good Fairies of New York - Martin Millar (Finished April 24, 2009)
31. Photographing Fairies - Steve Szilagyi (Finished May 04, 2009)
32. The Red Leather Diary - Lily Koppel (Finished May 07, 2009)
33. The Sugar Queen - Sarah Addison Allen (Finished May 12, 2009)
42. The Given Day - Dennis Lehane (Finished June 07, 2009)
43. The House at Riverton - Kate Morton (Finished June 11, 2009)
45. Charming Billy - Alice McDermott (Finished June 23, 2009)
46. Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier (Finished July 3, 2009)
47. Off Season - Anne Rivers Siddons (Finished July 5, 2009)
48. The Unit - Ninni Holmqvist (Finished July 6, 2009)
55. Julie and Julia - Julie Powell (Finished August 25, 2009)
56. The Coral Thief - Rebecca Stott (Finished August 31, 2009)
57. The Harrowing - Alexandra Sokoloff (Finished September 01, 2009)
58. Dark Star - Alan Furst (Finished September 05, 2009)
59. The Seamstress - Frances de Pontes Peebles (Finished September 11, 2009)
60. The Romanov Bride - Robert Alexander (Finished September 15, 2009)
61. Gone Tomorrow - Lee Child (Finished September 21, 2009)
62. The Return - Victoria Hislop (Finished September 27, 2009)
63. The Last Dickens - Matthew Pearl (Finished October 04, 2009)
64. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Finished October 11, 2009)
66. The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery (Finished October 15, 2009)
67. The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Charles Dickens (Finished October 20, 2009)
69. Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys (Finished October 23, 2009)
70. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (Finished October 24, 2009)
71. Real Murders - Charlaine Harris (Finished October 26, 2009)
72. Seeing Redd - Frank Beddor (Finished October 30, 2009)
76. Smoke and Mirrors - Neil Gaiman (Finished November 3, 2009)
79. Now & Then - Jacqueline Sheehan (Finished November 11, 2009)
80. The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman (Finished November 12, 2009)
81. Giv: The Story of a Dog and America - Boston Teran (Finished November 13, 2009)
86. The Information Officer - Mark Mills (Finished November 24, 2009)
87. Hunter - Campbell Jefferys (Finished November 30, 2009)
88. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins (Finished December 3, 2009)
89. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (Finished December 4, 2009)
90. The Jewel Trader of Pegu - Jeffrey Hantover (Finished December 9, 2009)
91. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (Finished December 10, 2009)
92. Life After Yes - Aidan Donnelley Rowley (Finished December 11, 2009)
93. The Duty of Love - Ronald Neal Green (Finished December 14, 2009)
94. The Good Plain Cook - Bethan Roberts (Finished December 17, 2009)
95. Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll (Finished December 22, 2009)
96. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath (Finished December 23, 2009)
97. A Man Without a Country - Kurt Vonnegut (Finished December 28, 2009)
98. Persuasion - Jane Austen (Finished December 28, 2009)
99. Holidays on Ice - David Sedaris (Finished December 30, 2009)
100. Eugenie Grandet - Honore de Balzac (Finished December 31, 2009)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.
Monday, December 8, 2008
I guess I've been more jet lagged than I realized I would be.
So without more ado, the winner is:
Friday, December 5, 2008
So I when I found When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra by Colin Falconer at the Housing Works Book Fair, I snagged it up and read it. I'll have to admit this was the first book I've read which is set in ancient Egypt. Well, I guess more modern ancient Egypt. Anyway. I really liked it!
Here's my synopsis:
Cleopatra wasn't born to be the Queen of Egypt. She had to scheme and fight for it. After her father's death, his children scrambled for control of the throne. And through much manipulation and scheming (and a few deaths later) Cleopatra is the queen of Egypt...and she's still in her teens!
But securing the throne is just the beginning of her problems. Rome with Julius Ceasar as a powerful force is a threat to Egypt. Egypt's military is no match and Rome is eying the rich resources of the Nile area. Cleopatra's only option is to try and join forces with Julius Ceasar to protect her throne. Cleopatra and Julius Ceasar are a powerful couple. But this is their downfall. We obviously knows what happens to Julius Ceasar. So Cleopatra turns to a close friend and military man, Marc Anthony.
Ok. I don't want to give too much away with what happens. I knew this story just a bit...kind of like how most people know how Romeo and Juilet ends. But this book really filled out the story for me. And Colin Falconer did an amazing job of protraying Cleopatra, not as a beautiful bombshell that wooed two powerful Roman men. Instead, she was politically savy and smart. I mean I just admired her a lot!
Ok some fun facts:
- Cleopatra wasn't Egyptian. She was from the Ptolemy line, Greek, which was installed as rulers during Alexander the Great's romp through history.
- Cleopatra had children with both Julius Ceasar and Marc Anthony.
- Cleopatra learned many languages which helped her politically
- The carpet scene is in the book. If you don't know what I'm talking about, read the book.
I couldn't find any other book covers for this book which is a shame. I think Cleopatra looks a bit odd on my version.
Could this have been what she looked like?
Or more like this:
Have you read anything about Cleopatra? If so what do you think of her?
So here's the story:
Myriam, a woman in her early forties opens a small restaurant in Paris called Chez Moi. She is the sole owner and sole employee. With no formal training, Myriam is amazing chef but she's lied to get her loan for her restaurant and has no clue what she's doing. Along the way we start learning about Myriam's past and about what she's running away from...her ex-husband, her college-age son, and a horrible deed and secret she's hiding. (**Note: It may sound like a fluffy chick-lit book but it is not.)
I really really wanted to love this book. And certain parts I did. I loved Agnes Desarthe's writing. It reminded me of Like Water for Chocolate, they way Myriam thought and described food. Beware reading this while you are hungry. But I just never connected with Myriam. She was unreliable. She had serious issues. I kept expecting her to open up more but I never saw that change. And there's people who are a bit kooky, a bit crazy...and then there's people like Myriam whom I thought really had some psychological problems. So it's not as if I didn't like Myriam, I just thought she needed professional help. And while the ending of the book should have left me satisfied...it just didn't.
I am curious if anyone else has read this book and would love to hear your thoughts. I probably would have liked it better had I been prepared for the seriousness of the novel. I'll dig around and see if I can find any other reviews.
Oh, and if you read or have read the book you'll know why she named the restaurant "Chez moi" or "at home".
Here's another cover version I just don't like as much. This book is definitely too serious for a chick-lit-ish book cover...in my opinion:
Also Reviewed By:
The Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore
Books on the Brain
I picked up The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer and I am so glad I did. It's one of those books that was familiar but I couldn't remember what it was about. And I thought I'd seen good reviews. And come on...the cover is just gorgeous.
The book is set in the early 1980's in Iran just after their revolution. It eerily reminded me of France after their revolution. Or I guess of what happens after some revolutions in general. The people revolt, king is killed or flees, and suspicion runs rampant. People are accused, imprisoned, and killed for a number of reasons. And not all accused are guilty.
Enter Isaac Amin, a Jew, and his family into this setting. Isaac is a jeweler and is arrested early on in the book. Before the arrest, the family sent the eldest son to New York for college and to ensure his saftey and survival. The mother and the young daughter are left in Iran without knowing why Isaac is arrested and whether his is alive or not. The son is set adrift in a new country knowing the likelyhood of seeing his family again is slim.
I loved this book. It was such a page turner and is beautifully written. It's written through the perspective of each member of the family and how they are coping, dealing, and trying to survive in the new Iran. It's truly horrifying that outcomes of revolutions like the one in Iran continue to mass exterminate segments of a population. It's happened in the past, it's continuing to happen in the world, and it will happen again.
Also Reviewed By:
Trish's Reading Nook
She is Too Fond of Books
Everyday I Write the Book Blog
The Novel World
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Last year I had to go because Rockefeller Center is just around the corner from where I work so it just seemed like a waste not to go. My husband's co-worker and boyfriend joined us as well and he found us a great spot to watch the tree. We seriously couldn't get any closer.
So, because I am not going this year I thought I'd post a few photos from last year. And just a note: the tree is HUGE! There's even a whole blog/website just for the tree!
Before the tree is lit:
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Thank you for all your wonderful comments while I was away. I'll be picking a winner for The Green Beauty Guide today. Sorry it's a bit late. I'll be sure to post more photos from my trip. We had a great time. And I will also try and catch up on all your blogs. Amanda at the Temple of Karnak in Luxor, Egypt.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The Green Beauty Guide isn't a "going good to feel good" kind of book. Julie Gabriel has definitely done her research. She's a registered nutrition specialist and has been a writer and editor of beauty and fashion. She knows her stuff. She also has a skincare line called Petite Marie Organics. But this book isn't a promotional piece for her line.
The first two chapters are fascinating:The Nature of Skin and Beauty and the Toxic Beast. Realizing how skin, our largest organ, works is key to understanding how to take care of it. And it's amazing how chemicalized we've become. The next chapter Become an Ingredients List Expert clues you in to how many chemicals common lotions and make-up contain.
But my favorite part, of course is the do-it yourself beauty recipes. She has a chapter devoted to each common product: cleansers, toners, facials, moisturizers, sun protection, hair care, baby care, etc. And she makes it easy by providing a hand grocery shopping list for common products used in the recipes. She also provides good tips for commerical products that are better for your health.
I'm still amazed by the wealth of information contained in this book. And it's fairly cheap: $16.95 US dollars.
I was sent two copies so I'll be giving away the second copy. Honestly, I was going to give it to my sister instead but I'm just going to be buying a copy. So leave a comment for a chance to win the book. For an extra entry, go to The Green Beauty Guide website and tell me something interesting that you found out. The contest runs until November 30th.
For other reviews of The Green Beauty Guide and more, check out TLC Book Tours.
Julie Gabriel’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, November 17th: Allie’s Answers
Tuesday, November 18th: Life and Times of a “New” New Yorker
Wednesday, November 19th: Nature Moms Blog
Thursday, November 20th: Books and Cooks
Tuesday, November 25th: The Good Human
Wednesday, November 26th: OrganicBeautySource.com
Friday, November 28th: Crunchy Chicken
Monday, December 1st: Surely You Nest
Tuesday, December 2nd: Greenstylemom
Wednesday, December 3rd: Rawdorable
Thursday, December 4th: She is Too Fond of Books
Friday, December 5th: Presenting Lenore
Monday, December 8th: Red Lady’s Reading Room
Tuesday, December 9th: Savvy Verse and Wit
Thursday, December 11th: B & B ex libris
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
We were loving the color accent thingy on the camera which picked up the red in my scarf among other things:
Hmmm...this building might be a bit less festive this year:
Stone Street Tavern. Haven't been in there but I love that the sign is backwards. According to their website it's been around since 1656. There must be a pretty interesting reason:
Yep, that's me somewhere in Chinatown trying to figure out where my husband was:
Ok. Must stop procrastinating and do homework. Hope you enjoyed the tour!
Good thing to note: all Canon lenses are compatible with any Canon body. Too cool.
So this Saturday while I'm running errands I am going to try some practice shots with the new lens. After this trip I KNOW I'm going to be saving up for one of my own.
So here's a BIG thank you to my friend. I've known her for 13 years now. She is my road-trip buddy and was one of the people who helped develop my love of photography.
I don't have very many photos on my work computer but here's just a few from our road tripping days.
I'm not sure what National Park this one is from (fairly sure it's Glacier):
This is one of my favorites from Glacier National Park.
And her trusty truck which has taken us everywhere from Alaska to the Grand Canyon:
*Note: We are WAY overdue for our next road trip. We are thinking Maine's Arcadia National Park or Iceland. Where would you go?
Just a little note: Manhattan Island is obviously surrounded by water. To the East is the East River (clever name really), the West is the Hudson River, and the north where our neigborhood is has the Harlem River. The Harlem River connects the East River to the Hudson River.
We are also really close to the Henry Hudson Bridge which connects Manhattan Island to the Bronx. Actually, it spans what used to be the Spuyten Duyvil Creek. There's a small portion of land across the river called Marble Hill that used to be connected to Manhattan Island. They diverted the creek for shipping purposes and Marble Hill is now part of the Bronx. Here's a fun little map from Wikipedia:When we walk to the Bronx from our neighborhood (there's a Target, a Starbucks, an Applebee's, and other stores) we walk along the Broadway Bridge. Broadway, yes THE Broadway runs a long long way in New York State. In fact it runs all the way up to the state capital, Albany.
So here's the Henry Hudson Bridge. The lights underneath are the Spuyten Duyvil train stop for the Metro North Line:
And here's some a view of the Bronx to the right. The bright lights underneath the building are the Marble Hill train stop of the Metro North Line. The bubble area to the right is part of Columbia University. Their two stadiums are behind these buildings. I'm not sure what sport goes on in the bubble building which only appears when it gets cold. The building you can see is the Columbia University's rowing house. Sometimes while I am walking the dogs in the morning, the rowing teams are out practicing.
For some more of my posts on this area, check here, here, here, and here.