As many of you may know, I am no longer a New Yorker, so please check out my new blog A Library of My Own. If you are just reading Life and Times, you are missing out. Thanks!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Einstein's Dreams - Alan Lightman

I was at the library the other day when I saw Alan Lightman's book, Einstein's Dreams. I picked it up because it's one of my choices for Dewey's Books Reading Challenge. What surprised me though is how small the book is. It's about the size of my hand. And I loved it!

It's a bit hard to describe this type of book. Is it fiction or philosophy or both?

Here we go. The book starts out with young Einstein hunched over his patent office desk early one morning in Bern, Switzerland. Here's the dapper young Einstein (source here):
It's 1905 and he's been working on his theory of relativity. And while he's working away in the wee hours, he falls asleep. And what proceeds are a series of short stories, all taking place in the town of Bern, that each describe a "what if" scenario about time. Some are thought provoking and some are just plain funny. For instance, I love the one where time slows down the higher you go in the atmosphere so people build their houses and live as high as possible. Even on the highest mountaintop, they still put their houses on stilts so they can have as much time as possible. Or the one where time is slower when you are in motion so people race around to have more time (hmmm...sounds like New York City).

It's pretty fascinating, when you think about it, that our perception of time influences how we live. For instance, would your life change if the world were to end tomorrow? Would your life change if time was circular and you already knew all the outcomes of all your choices?

So while it's a small short book, spend the time to savor each chapter.

Here's Dewey's Review of Enstein's Dreams

Friday, May 22, 2009

Museum of Natural History

A few weeks ago, when my mother in-law was in town, I took the day off to go to a few museums with her. She wanted a New York bagel so we grabbed a couple of bagels to go and sat in Central Park and ate our breakfast. It was a beautiful day after a week of tons of rain. Here's the view from where we sat to enjoy our breakfast:
We saw the Metropolitan Museum of Art first...and I didn't take pictures. I know I know. But she LOVED seeing all the European jewelry and crafts. So gorgeous. I swear every time I go to the Met I end up seeing something new.

Then we went to the American Museum of Natural History. (I always thought it was called the Natural History I know better.) I had never been so I was pretty excited.
My husband, after a grueling day of work, got to meet us there and explore. I have to say my favorite part was the floor with the dinosaur bones.

I love the bones on this one. Crazily intricate.
I did get to snag one photo of them...they both don't like being in pictures:
But then I started looking at some of the dinosaur faces and I just started cracking up.

Like this one...SCARY!!! AHAHAHHA.
This one's actually pretty scary too...if he wasn't hovering above my head:
And this one:Look at his face. It's like he's waving at you and saying "hi!". I kind of just want to hug him:Finally, this one. Ok. He's just so cute.The other area that was pretty cool was the Ocean section. I love this huge whale:The exhibits in this room were really cool. Loved it. I would have taken more photos but the museum was starting to close. I definitely want to go back.

Hope you enjoyed the Natural History Museum!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Library Loot

I thought I'd post another fun edition of Library Loot.

Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Alessandra from Out of the Blue and Eva from A Striped Armchair

I've decided not to feel guilty about checking out library books when I have so many unread books at home that I own. Ce la vie, right?

So here's my loot:

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson -

I just finished reading this one and really liked it. My husband is reading it now and enjoying it too.

When You are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris

Got this one for my book club. I plowed right through it. Very good. It's not really laugh-out-loud funny but poignant and humorous in it's own way.

Einstein's Dreams - Alan Lightman

I'm halfway through this philosophy book. It's such a tiny little book but really great. Makes you think but it's got such simple stories. Really enjoying it. I picked it up for Dewey's Books Reading Challenge.

Daphne: A novel about the author of Rebecca - Justine Picardie

A while back a friend was reading an ARC of this book and said it was really good. So I saw it and picked it up. It's also good timing since May 13th was her 102 birthday. And there are a ton of birthday giveaways going around of her books like this one.

The Various Flavors of Coffee - Anthony Capella

Finally, I gave this one a go and decided to not finish reading it. O well. You win some you lose some.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm Going to BEA!

I want to give a big thanks to everyone who replied to my post about the BookExpo America that will be going on here in New York City at the end of the month. And as a book blogger I am able to get a press pass and attend. Yay!!! If any book bloggers out there, who will be in the NYC area want to attend, just send me an email and I can help you out. There will apparently be over 40 Book Bloggers there. Wow!

I'll be attending Saturday and Sunday (since I unfortunately work on Friday) so hopefully if you are attending I will see you.

Thanks again everyone! And a special thanks to Stephanie from Stephanie's Written Word for all her help.

Should I Stop?

Has anyone read this book? I picked it up at the library the other day because it's been on my TBR list...mainly because I love the title, it's historical fiction, and it's about coffee...mmm.

But within the first 50 pages I thought there was a bit too much unnecessary sexual stuff. But, you know, the protagonist is a guy in late 1800's But at about page 70-something there was a fart joke. Ok. Enough is enough.

So have any of you read this? Is it worth it to continue on or should I quit while I'm ahead?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Last Exam Day

A few days ago I celebrated taking my last final exam for my degree-- hopefully last exam EVER.  I just have to complete some hands on work this summer and I'll get my degree in August. Woohoo!!

My husband was too sweet and celebrated by getting me some flowers and cooking dinner.  He even let me pick the movie to watch (I made him watch a girly movie) and he stayed awake through the whole thing. That's love right there.

Anyway, we also celebrated by opening a bottle of wine we got when we were in Texas. It was delicious. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

BEA Begging

Ok. So I'm not above asking or begging for things I really want. So here it goes:

Is anyone going to the Book Expo America here in New York City? And if so, how are you able to sign up?

I've been seeing information about it and a friend of mine and I are dying to go. But it looks like it's only open to authors, publishers, librarians, etc. Can I, a small-time book blogger sign up?

I do know Book Club Girl, Julie of Booking Mama, Natasha of Maw Books, Stephanie of Stephanie's Written Word, Amy of My Friend Amy and Dawn of She is Too Fond of Books, and Candace of Beth Fish Reads are all going.

So I'm can I sign up?

The Sugar Queen - Sarah Addison Allen

After I read Sarah Addison Allen's novel, Garden Spells, I went to the library and happened to see her second novel, The Sugar Queen. I had to pick it up. And I liked it...not as much as Garden Spells but...

Ok. Here's the synopsis:

Josey Cirrini lives in a North Carolina ski resort town. And she's rich. And she's unhappy. Her late father, Marco Cirrini, was the one who years ago turned the small town into a prime resort. So she lives with her mom in their fancy home. Her mom thinks it's Josey's job to wait on her hand and foot. So Josey has no friends, no life, and resorts to stashing romance novels and junk food in her closet. (Every chapter's title is the name of some sort of candy which I thought was pretty clever.) Oh, and she has a crush on her handsome mailman, Adam.

Then we meet Chloe Findley, also twenty-ish, who owns her own food stand in the local courthouse. She's just had her heart broken because her boyfriend, Jake, told her he had "accidentally" slept with another woman. Oh, and she has an odd relationship with books. They just appear around her and often with relevant titles. Usually its nice, like when it's a much needed romance novel. But lately they've been self-help books with titles like Finding Forgiveness.

Josey and Chloe meet up and become friends through the appearance of Della Lee...a woman who starts living in Josey's closet. ( read that right.) Della Lee is running away from her life and her abusive boyfriend so she decides to hide out at Josey's house until she figures things out. And while she's at it, she starts giving Josey the confidence to start living her life for herself.

So yeah. I liked it. It's wasn't anything mind blowing but it was a fun quick read. Josey and Chloe are both in the stage where they are breaking out of their molds and finding who they are. And as usual, I like her side her mom is a perfect "love to hate" character, but she's got her own side story. And Della Lee is pretty funny. And while Josey was the "main" character, I think I liked Chloe better.

And I love the hardback cover. Isn't it gorgeous! I want a place like that to read. Sigh.

Here's some other covers.

This is the paper back version. I don't know...I get the candy thing but it just looks a bit depressing:
And this one is pretty, but I don't get the wings reference:
And this is the large print version. Hmmm...could have been pretty but the girl is kinda creepy...that's just my opinion
Also Reviewed By:
Girls Just Reading
S. Krishna's Books
A High and Hidden Place
Reading Derby
Medieval Bookworm

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope every mom out there is having a wonderful Mother's Day! My mother-in-law was in town this past week so we enjoyed spending time with her. But I wanted to wish my the other mother's in my family a huge happy Mother's Day.

My mom is an amazing lady who can still manage to whoop me when it comes to hiking Colorado's Fourteeners:
And to my grandma who is an amazing lady:
And to my sister who's has become such a wonderful and patient mom:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

I remember when Sarah Addison Allen's book Garden Spells came out because I adore the cover. It's so gorgeous! I finally found a nice hardcover copy at a library sale and have finally gotten around to reading it. And I loved it! It kind of reminds me of Practical Magic...but it might just be better.

Ok. Here's the synopsis:

The Waverley family of Bascome, North Carolina have a reputation for being sort of gifted...magical...special. This story is about two Waverley sisters, Claire and Sydney. Claire is the older, tamer sister who's talent lies in the kitchen and the garden. The Waverley's garden is known for it's magical quailities which are passed on in the food Claire makes. Everything she cooks has something from the garden: rose petals, pansies, nasturtiums. And Claire knows which flowers aid in keeping secrets, bringing forth memories, and such. And never...never eat from the apple tree. The whole town knows that one. But Claire hasn't seen her sister in years, not since Syndey ran off after high school. Now Syndey has come home with her young daughter Bay and they are running away from something.

Sounds sort of similar to Practical Magic, right? But I just love the characters. Bay is so adorable. Aunt Evanelle is a kooky old lady who just has a feeling when she needs to give someone something they need (and they WILL need it). So she might randomly give someone a melon peeler, or a shirt two sizes to big, or whatever. And I LOVE the cooking in the end of the book the author lists the different types of flowers and what they are good for. It made me want to live in North Carolina.

It was the perfect book for curling up in bed to read while getting over the flu.

Here's a few other alternate covers...although my favorite is the one I have, this one is gorgeous...although I don't know what the dress means...

This one is kind of boring:And here's the newer book by Sarah Addison Allen that I want to read now (another beautiful cover):

Also Reviewed By:

Book Nut
Reading Adventures

Reading Derby
Medieval Bookworm
Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holic
Bookfoolery and Babble
Peeking Between the Pages
Out of the Blue

Quick Question


Just popping in to ask a quick question. I changed my blog template to be more stretched out so more of the page is used. Do you like this new format or do you like the older regular style?

The purpose in the change would be to try and get the photos I take to be a bit larger.

I'd welcome any thoughts, tips, comments, whatever.

Ok. Thanks!


Note: I went back to original template. I'm still going to try and post a bit bigger pictures though. We'll see what happens.

Thanks everyone for your input!!!

P.S. You can still comment or give me tips/thoughts/etc. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Little Book - Selden Edwards

I've been in a bit of book blogging slump lately and it's mainly because of Selden Edwards The Little Book. I just can't figure out what I want to say about it. So I'll give it a whirl. In a nutshell...not too thrilled with it. I finished it, so that says something. Actually I was pretty annoyed that I couldn't just quit reading I finished it. But not my favorite read of the year. And since I wanted to love it was disappointing..but mainly since I had such high expectations. But I love the cover darn it all. See...I'm torn.

Here's the synopsis:

Legendary musician, baseball player, and perfection embodied, Frank Standish Burden III, known as "Wheeler," is in his forties when he somehow gets transported back in time to Vienna, circa 1897. There he meets his father, whom he never knew since he died in WWII, and a slew of other characters of Vienna's elite including Freud, Mark Twain, and other intellectuals. He also meets his grandmother and old professor, the "Venerable Haze," who were in Vienna at the time. Oh and Hitler as a boy is somewhere in there. The books flashes between his time in Vienna in 1897 and detailing his life's accomplishments. And the book is supposedly written by Wheeler's mother.

Ok. First I'll say the good things.

1) The writing was pretty good. Definitely a lot of research. Selden Edwards was an English teacher and began writing this in 1974. So a lot of years went into this book. And it shows.
2) The history aspect of Vienna. I took Eastern European classes in college so not a lot of the information was new but still very interesting.

Ok. That's it. Here's why I was annoyed.

1) If I saw the word "legendary" or "venerable" or whatever again I was going to scream. I understand that Wheeler was a legend...the perfect game, the perfect pitch, his band became the epitome of 1960's music and he wrote the anthem for the age. AAAARRRGGG.
2) It was written by his mom. HIS MOM! Mom's are notorious about perhaps glorifying or hiding the negative.
3) His love affair. I'm not saying anything...but it was creepy. That's all I'm saying. You'll have to read it to judge for yourself.

But just because it wasn't my cup of tea, I can understand if people like it. And a lot of people really do.

I read a review in the Washington Post though that totally nailed how I felt about the book so at least I know I'm not alone.

So I'm curious...have you read it? If so what did you think?

Also Reviewed by:
The Tome Traveller's Weblog
The Book Lady's Blog


So I've been a bit bad with keeping up with things. Good news is that I'm almost finished with my last class for my Master's degree in Library and Information Sciences. All I have to do is log in 120 hours this summer and I'll graduate in August. Whoopee!! I'm excited to apply to a ton of places here in the city and see what happens.

To get back on track I need to give a big THANK YOU! to Planet Books for giving me the Friends Award.“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.”

I'll pass this award on to some great blog friends who always make my day with wonderful comments and insanely cool blogs:

Dennis @ Dennis's Diary of Destruction- one cool Vizsla
Andi @ Tripping Toward Lucidity- another cool Library Science student
Bree @ The Things We Read- a fellow student struggling through finals week (I sympathize!)
Nicole @ Linus's Blanket- another New York City reader
Jen @ The Movieholic & Bibliophile's Blog- books and movies...what could be better?
Rhinoa @ Rhinoa's Ramblings- a cool London blogger
Amanda @ Urban Bachelorette- a Brooklyn book blogger
Courtney @ The Public, the Private and Everything In Between- love her writing

Oh, and I have to post a photo of Planet Book's pup Rocky. So adorable, right??

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Raining Dogs

It's been raining cats and dogs here in New York City the last few days. And boy are we all tired of it. The weather definitely affects the whole mood of the city...after days of rain and cold we are all a little grumpy. So I have to keep looking on the bright side of things. 1) Our park is now nice and green because of all the rain AND 2) it's sometimes sort of fun to dry down the dogs.

I drop the towel on them and let them go nuts. They look like little puppy ghosts.
Anna was so fast I couldn't keep up. She just spun and spun until she ripped the towel off:
Then she got right in my face to tell me she didn't think it was very funny:
Charlie was a good sport though. I mess with him so much he just sits and takes it:
I call this one Santa Anna:
What do you enjoy about long rainy days?

Monday, May 4, 2009

A night in the neighborhood

A few months ago I was sitting in our apartment, doing whatever, when Anna started going a bit crazy at the window. Not too normal...Charlie's usually the busy-body staring out the window...but after a while I went and checked out what she was all bothered about.Hmmm...didn't look too good. I counted about 12 firetrucks...the entire street was blocked off. So like any concerned citizen I put on my shoes and went to find out. Good thing all the neighbors were out and helpful. Two ladies from my building, in house coats and all, told me that smoke was either smelt or seen from a top floor apartment next door. So I saw the firemen climb the ladder and punch out the window. Everything turned out fine. But knowing a dozen firetrucks will show up in an emergency made me feel a lot better about my neighborhood.