Happy New Year… oh, and here’s the poll!

Happy New Year everyone!!  I am still not sure where 2007 went but I am sure glad to have spent the last half of it with you here at Planet Books.  One of my resolutions for 2008 is to be a better blogger and not go so many days without talking with you.  The trip home to see family and friends has been a whirlwind and is entering it’s last week before heading off to our home in Okinawa. 

I have finally selected our theme for the January vote.  Award winning books from 2007.  As it was reported on a news show a few weeks ago, Americans love to make lists, read lists and make more lists.  So, as I have been reading the Top 10 lists of everything you can imagine for 2007, and keeping in mind some of your suggestions, I thought that the winners of four very different book awards would be a good way to find our four titles to vote from.  The Man Booke Prize, the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize in Literature and the Lulu Blooker Prize.  The last one is a new prize from the world of books and is actually blogs that became books. 

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Voting Ends Friday, January 4th!!


The Gathering by Anne Enright won the 2007 Man Booker Prize
Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson won the 2007 National Book Award
The Road by Cormac McCarthy won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Literature
My War ~ Killing Time In Iraq by Colby Buzzell won the 2007 Lulu Blooker Prize

The Gathering (Man Booker Prize)A NovelRoadKilling Time in Iraq

So Sorry

I know that I had said that I would post the vote for our January book today, but unfortunately I do not have a list of titles ready.  This trip has dominated my time and I don’t have a clue of what titles I would choose for our vote.  I would like some suggestions and though I have asked for this before, I do hope you will share your thoughts again within this post.  If there is a book you received for Christmas or that has been on your TBR shelf and you feel that it would find shared interest here at Planet Books, please recommend them.  I will check back here at the end of the weekend (hopefully after the Redskins win on Sunday… we are going to the game) and see what you have to say.  Again, I am so sorry that I don’t have a voting poll up today.  Have a great weekend!!!

Merry Christmas Every One!!!

I hope you aren’t too stuffed this Christmas evening and I hope you got everything you wished for.  The hubby and I have had a great time being home in MD/VA, busy as it may be, and can’t believe that we are almost half way through our trip with only a week left in this area.  We are off to TX next Thursday. 

I will call this Christmas the year of books and gift cards.  I received two Nordstrom gift cards as well as a Sephora gift card.  My parents and my sister and her husband gave us a ton of books which we will have to mail back because of the weight they would add to our luggage.   I now can add the following titles to my TBR shelf: (I will add links to Borders.com at a later time)

St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves ~ Stories by Karen Russell
Shopgirl ~ by Steve Martin
The Abstinence Teacher ~ by Tom Perrotta
The New Yorkers ~ by Cathleen Schine
The Other Boleyn Girl ~ Philippa Gregory
Helen of Troy ~ by Margaret George
Christmas with Paula Deen ~ by Paula Deen
The Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith ~ by Patricia Highsmith
Nothing That Meets The Eye ~ by Patricia Highsmith

Shopping In A Small World

So far our trip is going very well.  The air is crisp, the borrowed in-law’s Lexus is driving very smoothly and the money is being spent.  Visiting with family is lovely and meeting our nephew for the first time (when we moved to Okinawa the brother-in-law was neither married nor a parent) has been very cool.  But you know what, we are in the Washington Metro area and if you are familiar with it you know that there are millions of people here and even more traveling to it for the holidays.  So how is it that I can be at the fourth largest mall in the country, Tyson’s Corner Center, in the L.L. Bean store and run into to girlfriends from Okinawa!!!!!  “It’s a small world after all!”  Yeah!  I ran into a girlfriend I’m on the MOSC board with and a Generals wife who is living in the Northern VA area now with her high ranking officer.  They had just had lunch together and the hubby and I were on our last stop in the mall when I saw them.  CRAZY! 

The excitement is never ending here after living on an island of 69 km in length and 17 km wide at the widest point.  (I’m ready to get back to this area to live any time.)  Unfortunately excitement and a busy schedule have left little room for reading, other than the slew of magazines that the mother-in-law have on the coffee table.  Gourmet, Real Simple, Southern Living, & Cooking Light.  I will say that I love Gourmet Magazine and Ruth Reichl’s Letter From The Editor is a great read. 

Tonight it’s happy hour in D.C. at Morton’s Steakhouse with my former bosses who I have kept up with over the last six years.  They are wonderful and I miss them dearly so it will be a treat to see them.  The jet lag was kicking my ass this week so we actually postponed the meeting from Wed. to Thurs. and I’m glad we did.  I would have been sleeping in my apple martini if it hadn’t been changed and that would have been plain embarrassing. 

So, my update is magazines are easy to pick up, The Pillars of the Earth is up in our room growing lonely, shopping in malls is awesome but traffic isn’t, and I miss the dog terribly.  Hope your week is going well and will be back here on the weekend with another update.

Three flights, Snow and Clean Clothes

Well, we made it.  That’s more than I can say about our luggage though.  We landed at O’Hare from Tokyo with less than an hour to get luggage, go through immigration, customs, re-check luggage, take a train to the last terminal, get through security and hop on our flight to D.C. so of course our luggage didn’t make it.  The snow was coming down when we landed in the Windy City and we thought we were definitely sleeping with a deep dish pizza.  As we were taxiing down the runway, one of the pilots came out into the cabin and checked the wings out the window.  I thought for sure we were turning around but no, we took off and were out of there. 

So today, our travel clothes are clean again, the air is crisp and my tummy can’t wait to get to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch with my folks.  It is pretty strange to be here again in the in-law’s house and to know that our home is literally on the other side of the planet.  I’m happy to be here and I know that Rocky is safe and have even spoken to him twice on the phone this weekend.  MB says he perks up when he hears my voice. 

I will be back here probably sooner than later and will have an update on our frozen luggage.  XOXO-K

UPDATE:  All our luggage arrived safely and unopened on the doorstep this afternoon.  Whew!  Went to Borders with my folks and was a bit overwhelmed but in hog heaven.

“There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays”

The bags are packed, the books and mags are in the carry-on along with “Uncrustables” and my life line, my iPod.  Rocky’s with dear, loving friends (rough night after dropping off that little doggie and then coming home to an empty house) and he even sent us an e-mail to tell us about his evening. 

The weather forecast for Chicago (our connection) is snow showers all weekend and D.C. is in for a wintry mix Saturday night.  So, we are mentally prepared to stay the night in the “Windy City” and have some deep dish pizza. 

I will be blogging about things I see, experience and of course read while we are on vacation.  Also, be sure to check back here on Friday, December 28th for the new slew of titles to vote from for January.  Have a great weekend and I’ll see ya on the flip side!

33 For 33

Some of you know I turn 33 on the first day of 2008.  I like the sound of this number and though 32 has been a great year I feel that 33 has some surprises in store for me and I am excited to discover them.  As you all know I am also a book lover and avid reader.  My nightstand, coffee table and car share housing rights to my book-of-the-moment.  I love the quiet moments before bed (and I am trying to make more during the day) when I can just sit/lay back and relax with my book. 

In the previous post I mentioned a book called “So Many Books, So Little Time” by Sara Nelson.  In this book Sara challenged herself to read a book a week in the year 2002 and write about what she read.  It helps that she reads a ton for her job (she is now the Editor-In-Chief of Publishers Weekly).   This challenge seems daunting to me but I still want to challenge myself to complete more books in this upcoming year so this is what I came up with.  I have challenged myself to read thirty-three books for the number I am turning on my birthday.  I figured that that would mean I would have to read about 2.75 books a month in order to accomplish this task and I think I can do it.  I’m calling it “33 For 33”.

I have gone through my bookshelves and made a list of the books that I hope to read in 2008.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl

Into The Wild by Jack Krakauer

I, Mona Lisa by Jeanne Kalogridis

Snow Flower & The Secret Fan by Lisa See

The Heavenly Horse From The Outermost West by Mary Stanton

Piper At The Gate by Mary Stanton

Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Boomsday by Christopher Buckley

Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Now, these are books that I would like to complete as of today and this list may change and will definitely be added to to make up thirty-three titles.  Call me crazy but I am very excited about this self-challenge and I will keep you all posted on my progress and I will also review each book upon completion.  Wish me luck!!

My Must Have Reading Matierial

We are counting down the days till we make the long pilgrimage home for the holidays next weekend.  I have been busy preparing things that I need to bring with me such as gifts for friends and family, craft projects I have to finish there becuase that’s where the Joann.com order is being shipped to, the iPod playlists, and reading material for the flights/airports.  Though I have some Ambien for the long flight from Tokyo to Chicago (Okinawa to Tokyo and Chicago to D.C. are each only 2-3 hours) I have heard stories of the Ambien not working and if that happens to me on the long flight I need to be prepared.  I am still reading “The Pillars of the Earth” but am hoping that my December issues of Elle Magazine, Vanity Fair next weeks New Yorker arrive in time for me to take them.  Each time I go to the store I have to turn away from VF & Elle and remind myself that my copies are on their way. 

There was a book I flipped through a few years ago called “So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading” by Sara Nelson.  Nelson is now the Editor-In-Chief for Publishers Weekly.  Sara challenged herself to read a book a week for one year (2002).  She says that people asked the same question all the time.  “How do you choose your books?”  She wrote, “Less than a week into my project, I can now tell them the beginning of the truth.  I don’t always choose the books, I’ll say.  Sometimes the books choose me.”  I completely share this belief.  Due to what you are experiencing in your life at any given time can influence what you choose to read. 

So Many Books, So Little Time

I have an idea for a “project” of my own and will post about it soon but for now, I would like to ask you this question:  “Can you make it through the week without picking up a book and reading even a little bit?”  I sure can’t!  It would be impossible in the place I am in, in my life right now.  I love to read, learn and explore our literary world.  I have always loved to read and hope to always love and enjoy this wonderful gift we as humans are given. 

Checking In

“The Pillars of the Earth” is still very good. I’ve been so busy in the recent days that the only time I’ve been able to find to read has been just before falling asleep at night. As I read it I find myself very interested in reading Follett’s suspense thriller material too. He keeps the information coming and you grow very invested in the characters lives.

What are you reading right now? Is it something that is in time with the season we are approaching or is it something that has been on your TBR list for a while now? Something new that arrived in my mailbox last week is David Sedaris’s “Holidays On Ice”.  It’s a great little book (really, it’s a small 3/4 inch thick book) with six of Sedaris’s Christmas stories. 

From the inside cover:  “Holidays on Ice collects six of David Sedaris’s most profound Christmas stories into one slender volume perfect for use as an emergency coaster or ice scraper.  This drinking mans’ companion can be enjoyed by the warmth of a raging fire, in the glow  of a brilliantly decorated tree, or even in the backseat of a van or police car.  It should be read with your eyes, felt with your heart, and heard only when spoken to.  It should, in short, behave much like a book.  And oh, What a book it is!”

HILARIOUS!  Sedaris is the author of “Me Talk Pretty One Day”, “Naked” & “Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim”, just to name a few.  His sister is Amy Sedaris of “Strangers With Candy” fame.  This little book will be joining me on the pilgrimage home for the holidays this month (among others).