Thursday, December 31, 2009

Books I Have Read In 2009

I gave into my OCD tendencies and kept track of the books I read this year. I enjoyed participating in some book challenges and plan to do more this year! Also because I listen to audio books, I thought it would be interesting to see how mnay I ended up listening to! Without further ado, here's what I read this year:

Children's Classics Book Club
The World of Pooh by A.A. Milne
Peter Rabbit and Eleven Favorite Tales by Beatrix Potter
Sounder by William H. Armstrong
*Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Classics Book Club
Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne
* Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
* The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald
An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

Take A Chance Challenge
Above the Thunder by Renee Manfredi
Love Is Eternal by Irving Stone
Weaver's Daughter by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley
White Ghost Girls
Love Story by Erich Segal
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Banned Books Week
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
* The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Shelf Discovery Challenge
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Harriet the Spy

Audio Books (indicated with *)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society by Annie Barrows
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
The Letters by Luanne Rice
Made in the U.S.A by Billie Letts
The Divide by Nicholas Evans
Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg
The Beach House by Jane Green
The Ivy Chronicles by Karen Quinn
Bridge to Teribithia by Katherine Paterson
The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir
The Alchemist's Daughter
True Colors by Kristin Hannah
South of Broad by Pat Conroy
The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners by Luanne Rice
Ford County by John Grisham
Changes in Altitude by Anita Shreve
Shaghai Girls by Lisa See
The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
Multiple Blessings by Jon and Kate Gosselin
Last Kiss by Luanne Rice
Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
The Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser
The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin Maxwell
The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah
Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock
Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney
Testimony by Anita Shreve
The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
The Geometry of Sisters by Luanne Rice
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks
The Cricket in Times Square
Lucky by Alice Sebold
Always Looking Up: The adventures of An Incurable Optimisit by Michael J. Fox
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audry Niffenegger
Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted by Elizabeth Berg
Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Take Another Chance Challenge

Find Your Next Book Here is once again sponsoring a reading challenge! Taking Another Chance Challnege is all about challenging yourself in your reading. The Challenge runs from 1/1/10 through 12/31/10. You can choose to participate in 3, 6, or all 12 of the challenges. I am choosing to particpate in 6 of the challenges. click here to read all the details (including the other six challenges!)

The 6 Challenges

Challenge 1: Read Your Doppelganger (worth 1 entry)

Find an author who has either the same initials, the same first name, the same last name, or the exact same name as you. Read a book by this author and write a post about it. (If you try to keep your identity anonymous on your blog, you don't have to reveal what part of the author's name is the same as your name.)

My choice: Right From Wrong by Cindy Bonner

Challenge 3: 100 Best Book (worth 1 entry)

Choose one of the lists below. Choose a book to read from the list that you haven't read before. Read the book and write about it.

* Radcliffe's Rival 100 Best Novels List
* Top 100 Sci-Fi Books
* 100 Best Romance Novels of the 20th Century
* 100 Best Mystery Novels
* 100 Best Non-Fiction Books (pick from either Board List or Reader List)
* 2009 Best Books for Young Adults

My choice: From the Radcliffe's Rival 100 Best Novels List, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Challenge 4: Prize Winner Book (worth 1 entry)
Pick one of the major literary awards from the list below.

* Booker Prize
* Caldecott Medal
* National Book Award
* National Book Critics Circle Award
* Newbery Medal
* Nobel Prize for Literature
* PEN/Faulkner Award
* Pulitzer Prize
* Commonwealth Writers' Prize
* EMMA Awards

My Choice: A Pulitzer Pirze winner, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Challenge 5: Title Word Count (worth 1 entry)
Go to and, using the True Random Number Generator, enter the numbers 1 for the min. and 5 for the max. and then hit generate. Find a book to read that has that number of words in the title. Read the book and write about it.

I got the number one! I'm still looking for a book!

Challenge 9: Same Word, Different Book (worth 2 entries)
Find two books that have the same word in the title. Read both books and write about them. (Worth 2 entries because you have to read two books).

Haven't decided on these books yet.

Challenge 11: All in the Family (worth 2 entries)
The writing gene often runs in the family. For this challenge, you need to find two authors from the same family (either by blood or by marriage) and read a book by each of the authors and then write about both books. Because of the research involved and having to read two books, this challenge is worth two entries.

I've decided on the Bronte sisters but haven't picked out the books yet.

My Daybook

For today, Wednesday, December 30, 2009 (I know...really late this week but I didn't want to skip it)

On My stressed out as it got, it's hard to believe Christmas is actually over! (Tucker even said..."all that preparation and it was over so fast!)...also wondering how the year went by so fast!!!

Outside my is dark of course...the Christmas lights are still on (they go off at 9:30!)'s cold but warmer than yesterday... we're supposedly getting snow over the weekend but I've heard everything from it's going to be only rain to it's going to snow from tomorrow night through Sun so I guess we'll have to see!

What We're Reading...I finished Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy and started Standing Tall by C. Vivian Stringer (the coach of the Rutgers Women's basketball team; it was passed to me by my mom). With Tucker we continue to read snow and winter-themed books.

What We're Listening to
...finally got to the library and am now listening to Queen of the Underworld by Gail Godwin. With Tucker, I listened to Winter of the Ice Wizard, a Magic Treehouse book. His favorites this week were: Are You Grumpy, Santa?, The Terrible Storm, and The Biggest Snowball Ever.

What We're Watching...all our reality shows are over...we'll keep watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and of course our usual, Dirty Jobs, Myth Busters, and iCarly.

I am hoping...everyone has a happy, healthy New Year!

Quotable Quote...Year's End is neither an end nor a beginning but a going-on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us ~ Hal Borland

In the Kitchen...we finished up the leftovers from Christmas...Spaghetti last night and leftovers tonight...appetizers and pizza tomorrow night...not sure beyond that.

Around the House...Tucker's new presents are scattered around down here...the tree's still up but will probably come down this weekend...the usual laundry issues.

Coming Up this week...Tucker's going to my mom's tomorrow (my day care's closed)...Michael and I are home on Friday...Tucker and Michael are going to work on the Pinewood Derby car (it's next weekend, Eileen!)...Soccer games Sat and Sun if we don''t get snowed in...Tucker's friend Freddie may stay over Sat night (depending on the snow)...bridal shower on Sun for my friend Mary (if it doesn't get postponed again due to snow; it was originally supposed to be the Sun we got two feet of snow!)

A Picture Thought...we usually get together with Michael's sister Susan and her family the weekend after Christmas at my mother-in-law's house. This is the annual cousin picture

Back row L-R Cassandra (20), Bobby (17), Shannon (16)
Front row L-R Brooke (14), Tucker (7), Taylor (8)

The Year in Review (according to JibJab!)

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Audio Book Reading Challenge

Royal Reviews is hosting Audio Book Reading Challenge. Since I listen to audio books on my commute to work every day, this one seems easy! I'm definitely going for the Obsessed level!

Challenge Guidelines:
1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
--Non-Bloggers: Include your information in the comment section.

2. There are four levels:

-- Curious – Listen to 3 Audio Books.

-- Fascinated – Listen to 6 Audio Books.

-- Addicted – Listen to 12 Audio Books.

-- Obsessed – Listen to 20 Audio Books.

3. Audio books only.

4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December 31, 2010. Only books started on January 1st count towards this challenge.

American Civil War Reading Challenge

Marny is hosting The American Civil War Reading Challenge. Here are the guidelines:

1. Read books about the Civil War, either fiction or non-fiction

2. There are four levels of participation
- Private: Read three books
- Sergeant: Read six books
- Lieutenant: Read nine books
- General: Read twelve books

3. Read the books between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010

4. Overlaps with other challenges are allowed

5. Ebooks and audiobooks are okay, too

6. You don't have to have a reading list ready to participate in the challenge but please let me know which level you're doing

7. Sign up here

There will be a prize at the end of the challenge. If you complete the challenge and write a wrap-up post (or wrap-up comment), you're eligible.

I've decided to particpate at the Sergeant level and will be reading the follwing books:

1. The Disagreement by Nick Taylor
2. The Slaves' War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves by Andrew Ward
3. Clara Barton: Spirit of the American Red Cross by Patricia Lakin
4. Key Battles of the Civil War by Diane Smolinski
5. Passing Strange by Martha Sandweiss
6. Fort Pillow by Harry Turtledove

Children's Classics Mystery Challenge

For the next six months, from January to June 2010, 5 Minutes for Books is substituting their regular Children's Classics carnival (which typically takes place on the second Tuesday of the month) with Children's Classics Mystery Challenge.

All that is asked is that you write up an initial post saying that you and/or your children are going to be participating in this challenge and link back to this introductory post!

Then, on the second Tuesday of each month there will be a post where you can link up any and all reviews you have written in the previous month. For example, on January 12 you can link up your introductory post or any reviews you've completed, so feel free to start reading now. Books, movies, audio, and even video games (oh yes!) reviews may be included and are most welcome.

I'm thinking Nancy Drew, Nancy Drew, and more Nancy Drew! (I just found my box of Nancy Drew books in my mother's attic!) I'd also like to introduce my son, Tucker, to Encyclopedia Brown!

Catching Up...

Before I post the pictures of Christmas Eve and Christmas, I wanted to catch everyone up on all our fun activities!

Last year we got together with Tucker's friend Andrew to decorate gingerbread houses. They had such a good time so we got together last Saturday to do it again! (It also gives them some time to play together outside of their daycare!)

Last year Andrew's sister Emily slept through all the decorating but this year she was right in the middle of it all (she'll be 2 in March)

oops-forgot to turn this one! I think they ate more candy than they decorated with but isn't that what it's all about!

Posing with their finished houses

We got hit with a huge snowstorm last Sunday (for our area anyway!) We got at least 2 feet of snow!

Michael shovelled out to his truck

The snow on Michael's truck!

Tucker's friend William had spent the night so of course, they went out to check out the snow! It was almost up to their hips!

...and they're down!

The snow was high on our grill and deck!!

In between playing in the snow, Tucker and William decided they wanted to make cookies. They used the kit Julie and her family gave us Christmas (thanks! :)) and had fun rolling out the dough and decorating the cookies!

Tucker's second grade class put on a Christmas play called "The Littlest Reindeer". Tucker was in the chorus! All of the kids did a really good job and I really impressed with the two boyswho were the leads; they learned a lot of lines!

Here's a picture of the stage

Tucker singing in the chorus

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Daybook

For today, Monday, December 21, 2009

On My Mind...Seems like I just did last week's daybook! How did the week go by so fast!?

Outside My is dark and cold...there is also two feet of snow, courtesy of Winter Storm Albert!

What We're Reading
...I finished The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted and started Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy. With Tucker we've been reading Christmas and snow books. Michael also read Tell A Lie and Your Butt Will Grow. His favorites this week were Shrek the Halls and The Biggest Snowball ever!.

What We're Listening to...I finished The History of Love and now need to get another book! Probably won't make it to the library until Sat though so I'm listening to Christmas CDs, Martina McBride and Kenny G today.

What We're I write this, I'm watching Forrest Gump; LOVE this movie, we quote it all the time at work!...didn't end up watching the finale of SYTYCD but I am glad that Russell won...did watch the finale of Survivor and was just glad that Russell didn't win!

I am get everything done that needs to be done.

Quotable Quote...Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~ Norman Vincent Peale

In The oven got a work-out yesterday: I made homemade pizza for lunch, gingerbread cookies for the cookie swap at work tomorrow, sugar cookies with Tucker and his friend William, and then chicken brushetta for supper...tonight we had beef stroganoff, coming up is spaghetti, grilled cheese and soup, and pizza. I'm making Christmas dinner Friday.

Around the House...laundry needs to be folded and of course, more to be washed...Michael cleaned down here yesterday after the two hurricanes came through (AKA Tucker and his friend William)...the rest of the house could use some attention, particularly since every one's coming here on Friday!

Coming up this week...Tucker's Christmas play tomorrow afternoon...wrapping presents...making cookies and brownies for Santa...Christmas here on Friday.

Some Picture Thoughts...
Tucker and William had a good time playing in the snow yesterday! Here Tucker attempts to throw snow at me!

Here they plan their strategy for digging in the snow!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Daybook

For today, Tuesday, December 15, 2009 (better late than ever!)

On My Mind...just trying to survive the week!

Outside My's dark and cold...our lights are looking nice!

What We're Reading...I finished Love Story and Killing Mr Griffin and am now reading The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted by Elizabeth Berg. With Tucker, we've been reading Christmas books this week and plan to keep reading these until Christmas! His favorites this week were Let's Do Nothing! by Tony Fucile, Superhero Christmas by Stan Lee, and The Abominable Snow Teacher by Lisa Passen.

What We're Listening to...I finished The Bonesetter's Daughter and am now listening to The History of Love.

What We're Watching...can't believe we're down to the final 6 on SYTYCD; still liking Russell. I'm not into it as much this season but I am still watching it...Survivor is moving right along and I'm liking Jaison... I've also enjoyed Glee and can't wait for it to come back in the spring...As usual, still watching our stand-bys: iCarly, Dirty Jobs and Mythbusters. We've also been watching the Christmas shows.

I am get the Christmas cards out by the end of the week!

Quotable Quote...How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn! How did it get so late so soon? ~ Dr Seuss

In the Kitchen...For rest of the week, McDonalds tomorrow before soccer practice, tacos, beef stroganoff, pizza.

Around the House...the tree is up and so are the decorations around the house...Michael fixed the washer machine so it's churning along as I right this as is the dryer.

Coming up this practice tomorrow...haircut on Thurs...decorating gingerbread houses with Andrew on game Sat afternoon...Tucker's friend William might sleep over Sat night...making gingerbread men for the cookie swap at work...National Guard Christmas party on Sun (see *)...bridal shower on Sun...finishing the Christmas shopping.

A Picture Thought
These are my friends Betty and Charlotte. We worked together at a nursing home from 2000-2003. Before I left we had started going out to dinner and the Christmas Tree Shop a couple of times a year. Over the past almost 7 years we have gotten together 4 times a year. I finally remembered to bring my camera when we got together the other night and thought it would be nice to have a picture of the three of us!

* Last Christmas, Tucker's Cub Scout den sent care packages with Pinewood Derby cars to a unit stationed in Afghanistan and the men sent back some cars which were raced at the Pinewood Derby. The unit has since returned and has invited Tucker's den to their Christmas party on Sunday. They'll get to see the aircraft that was flown while they were over there! It's pretty exciting!

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Daybook

For Today, Monday, December, 7, 2009

On My Mind
...can't believe Christmas is in 23 days!!

Outside My window's dark, of course...still some remaining snow, we only got about an inch over the weekend.

What We're Reading...finished Harriet the Spy and almost done with Love Story...We continue to read every night with Tucker and just finished James and the Giant Peach. Tonight we read Caught Off-Guard: The Attack on Pearl Harbor.

What We're Listening to...finished Shanghai Girls and now listening to The Bonesetter's Daughter.

What We're Watching...The Amazing Race is over and I'm happy Meghan and Cheyne won, as long as it wasn't the brothers!!...Still haven't decided who I like on Survivor...we've been watching all the Christmas shows and loving them! Tonight we watched Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

I am finish the Christmas shopping this weekend and get the Christmas cards ordered.

Quotable Quote...The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event ~ J.B. Priestly

In the Kitchen...chicken in the crockpot, ham steaks, chicken brushetta.

Around the House...Michael put up the Christmas lights outside...laundry needs to be folded and more to be washed (as usual)...actually pretty clean over all.

Coming Up This Week
...follow-up with Tucker's teacher after-school practice Wed night...Cub Scout Pack meeting Thurs night...dinner and luminaries at Mystic Shopping Village with my friends Betty and Charlotte Fri night...Tucker's sleeping over my mom's Fri and Sat...Christmas party for work Sat night...getting the tree game Sun.

Some Picture Thoughts...
Tucker made this pseudo-Chia pet as a science project in school. Michael helps him water it every morning. We've named him Bob.

We had our first snow Saturday night....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shelf Discovery Challenge: Book Report: Island of the Blue Dolphins

I remember my sixth grade teacher, Mr Wallace, reading this to us. I have been wanting to re-read it for many years and so was inspired by this challenge to finally do it!

I'm glad I did...I didn't remember the exact story though I remembered the general idea so was surprised by a lot of the descriptive scenes of battles and the number of losses that Karana experienced while on the island.

This is the story of a young Indian girl and her tribe who live on an island in the Pacific. After a horrific battle, most of her tribe is killed and the survivors leave to find a new island. She is left behind and waits year after year for them to return. I was impressed by her determination and perseverance to go on despite the losses she endures. I was also impressed by her survival skills and proving to herself that she could do the things she didn't think she could. I also didn't realize that the book is based on a real-life young woman who is left on an island by her tribe, although the circumstances how are not clear which I find fascinating!