Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bus Reading

I've found an easy way to add some extra reading time into my day. I now ride the Express bus home from downtown jury duty and have found it's a perfect 45 minutes to an hour of peaceful reading. The new Newbery Honor Award book, Hattie Big Sky, by Kirby Larsen reads quickly on the ride. What a great book that is!! It reminds my of Winter Wheat by Mildred Walker.

I finished Casino Royale by Ian Fleming earlier this week and I really did enjoy it. The movie was quite a faithful rendition as well. I look forward to watching it again sometime soon. I had thought that I might read another of Ian Fleming's books but have read some recent blogs mentioning the racism in them....guess I want to read too many other books to waste my time on such as that.

I started reading a nonfiction account called, America's Women, 400 years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines by Gail COllins. Although it doesn't read as quickly as fiction it is a fascinating collection of women's stories over the last 4 centuries of history in America. I have decided to buy the book so I can take my time reading it and really study and learn. I want to combine my discount coupon AND my birthday gift cards!! Yippee!

The library had 3 reserves come in for me this week. What a great thing to be thankful for. It appears that I may lose my 45 day checkout period as they are disbanding YAAC (young adult advisory council) at the Dobson Branch. Jennie has served on the council since she was 7th grade and having a prolonged checkout period was a great perk that she got. She and I have really gotten used to it. She also enjoyed the free galley books and the monthly meetings. They published a quarterly book review publication too and she will miss writing and publishing reviews. Although it often became a challenge to read and keep abreast of what others might like I know that she did enjoy it. To remain positive I'll be grateful for the time that she has had to be involved and serve.

Jury Duty is still tremendously interesting. I can't write or tell anything about it but it is beginning to be on my mind more and more. It really is becoming part of my life. It will be hard to go back to my real job tomorrow - yet being around little kids is just what I need! They keep life happy and positive.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Maintaining my Sanity

SInce I have been called to Jury Service this week I have found that the only way to insure sanity was to have a book with me at all times. Of course this is really nothing unusual for me but I must admit that the book has felt like a life saver that I hang on to. I left my book in the courtroom one time for a brief break and almost began to hyperventilate when I realized that I couldn't go and get it. I guess I have also been encouraged at how many other people had their "sanity saving" books! There were some reading Margaret Atwoods' the Handmaidens Tale, others reading Stephen King, some Jonathan Kellerman, and some delving into nonfiction. It was a fun experiment to talk with others about their books and their choices. I made some great friends that way!!

I am still reading The Book Thief. I am enjoying it although it is a quirky read. It took me almost all the way up to my 50 page rule for me to feel committed to the book and to really enjoy it. I stopped toting it to court to read the January book group selection, Hitched, by Carol Higgins Clark and I am 2 days dumber because of it! Gosh, I think I really felt myself laughing because it was so trite and tidy - tied up in all the cliche places. Consider this a warning - don't waste your time on it. Oh well, at least I'm done with the read. I have made it a goal to read at least 6 of the book group books for the year so I can cross off one of them!! Woo Hoo!

I am also trying my hand at Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming. Rich and I saw the movie for our anniversary and we really enjoyed it. I must say it is a little more confusing reading the French and the gambling lingo but I will press forward! A final book that I read a bit from every day is Reading People by Jo-Ellan Dimitrius. It is a fascinating book written by a scholar who helps select people to serve on high profile jury cases. The book details how we can all look beyond the first impressions to try to really understand someone else. Body language, compassion, socio-economics, and more. It is really easy to read - but ever so hard to remember to recall and apply. I hope that it can help as I have to make some very important decisions coming up.

Thank heavens for books!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

A New Beginning

After lurking around blogs for the last few months I have finally decided to take the plunge and jump in myself. I don't know why this feels so scary. Perhaps it's the fact that officially putting thoughts down seems so permanent or perhaps it is that, in true reality, I am a techno-dork. Nonetheless I am starting off 2007 with a!

In 2006 I discovered renewed interests in needlework and found so much pleasure in reading. Now in my second year of teaching a new grade level I feel a little more in control and can balance my work and personal life better. I must admit that I can get a lot more done now that I am not working fulltime and going to school fulltime as well. I look back over 2006 and realize that I had a lot of fun getting my life "back!"

DS, Ben, and I discussed some of our favorite books of the last year and he told me that I had really recorded the "stats" of my reading. Here I always thought of stats as more sports related, but oh, what the heck!
  • I finished 37 books this year - not counting those that I allowed myself to "let go of" if we weren't clicking.
  • Mysteries -12
  • General fiction - 17
  • Non-fiction - 4
  • Book Group reads - 4
  • Male authors - 13
  • Female authors - 24
My goals for the new year would be to challenge myself a bit. My first challenge is to start this blog (can I check this one off now?!?) I challenge myself to read at least 4 classic books (over 50 years old!! Now that I am hitting that ripe old age myself maybe I should re-think that definition!!) I also challenge myself to read 6 of the Book Groups selections, to read at least 10 non-fiction selections that are NOT work related and finally to record faithfully the books read both in my book journal as well as on this blog. Now, with those challenges out of the way I can sit and stare at the shelves and their titles that beckon me ----

If you want to join me at any point in time I would love it. Ben loaned me The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and I have it on my nightstand waiting. Any insight or new recommendations are always welcome too. I love personal recommendations!