That Wagon Is Slippery!

Yeah, I did it again.  I fell off the blogging wagon.  I don’t have much of an excuse this time though.  Yeah, Christmas was last week and New Years Eve and my 34th birthday are this week but all in all I haven’t been that busy.  I am having a nice holiday though, and I hope you are too. 

guernseyliterary1I finished reading 33 books this year which was the goal I had set for myself back in January.  Book number 33 turned out to be one of my favorite books of all time, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  I still have to write and post my review and will hopefully get to that before Wednesday.  I know, I could be writing that right now instead but I’m not.  Instead I’m doing what I do and talking/writing about what I’m going to do.  I’m terrible!  Maybe that should be one of my new year resolutions?  JUST DO IT KAREN!! 

 

 

 

51lu7ktla1l__sl500_aa240_Anyway, right now I’m reading The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker and I’m enjoying it very much.  It will be available in stores on January 8th and I must say it’s pretty good so far.  I have really enjoyed reading stories.  Not just stories but complete works of fiction.  I think I burned out on chick lit this year and my imagination is really enjoying the trips these books are taking it on. 

What about you?  What style of writing did you read too much of this year?  Do you have any reading resolutions you are making in the new year?  Mine is to read less chick lit and more fiction/literature, be it historical fiction, plain fiction or fantasy even.  I think it’s doing good things for my brain and soul.

Today’s Favorite Christmas Songs

I would love to share some of my favorite Christmas songs with you here.  I hope you enjoy the tunes!

LeAnn Rimes ~ All I Want For Christmas Is You

Percy Faith ~ We Need A little Christmas

Elvis Presley & Martina McBride ~ Blue Chistmas

Kelly Clarkson ~ Oh Holy Night

The Puppini Sisters ~ Jingle Bells

The Carpenters ~ Merry Christmas Darling

Wham! ~ Last Christmas

Barenaked Ladies Featuring Sarah McLachlan ~ God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen

Sunday Salon ~ December 21st, 2008

Only one more Sunday in the year left after today.  It’s hard to believe that 2008 is almost a mere memory and a new number will round out the year.  With the new year just around the corner, so is my 34th birthday.  I am a New Year’s Baby, minus the big ears.  I am not freaking out about the number 34 as I was a couple of months ago when I came across the first gray hair I’ve ever noticed on my head.  I immediately went to the store and purchased hair dye to cover that little bastard up.  I will have to get another box soon since his friends decided to join him as my roots are beginning to show. 

The new year will also find me attempting a much needed, devoted attempt at dieting.  I’ve asked Santa/Hubby for a new pair of Nike Shocks so I can start walking in addition to dieting.  I do have a goal which is good and is actually a huge motivation for me.  In June I plan on attending Fan Fair, now called CMT Fest, in Nashville, TN with my friend Jesse (the one who got married in D.C. last month) and I would like to be comfortable wearing short sleeve shirts and not being self conscious about my arms the whole time.  We’ll see what I can do.

But I am not dieting yet and that has been apparent over the last few days.  With the holidays upon us, I have been a baking fool and Hubby has been making some delectable dishes.  Today I made both Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Bread and Banana Nut Bread (with coconut) and yesterday Hubby made Tyler Florence’s Mac & Cheese.  That Mac & Cheese came out of the oven looking so pretty, bubbly and perfect I had to take a pic and share it with you below. 

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I have been reading too this weekend.  I am almost done with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  I could have been finished by now but I am enjoying the story and it’s characters so much that I have been taking my time.  It’s also the 33rd of 33 books I will have read this year.  I had made a goal for myself back in January to read 33 books for the number of birthday’s I have celebrated.  I will be doing a top five or top 10 list (I haven’t decided yet) of the books I have read this year by the end of it. 

What reading goals did you make for yourself this year?  If you didn’t will you be making one in 2009?  Also, did you eat anything mouthwatering this weekend too?  Do tell!

Book Review ~ Dewey by Vicki Myron

51vqjqdidrl__ss500_2Summary ~ DEWEY ~ THE SMALL -TOWN LIBRARY CAT WHO TOUCHED the WORLD (From Publishers Weekly):
One frigid Midwestern winter night in 1988, a ginger kitten was shoved into the after-hours book-return slot at the public library in Spencer, Iowa. And in this tender story, Myron, the library director, tells of the impact the cat, named Dewey Readmore Books, had on the library and its patrons, and on Myron herself. Through her developing relationship with the feline, Myron recounts the economic and social history of Spencer as well as her own success story—despite an alcoholic husband, living on welfare, and health problems ranging from the difficult birth of her daughter, Jodi, to breast cancer. After her divorce, Myron graduated college (the first in her family) and stumbled into a library job. She quickly rose to become director, realizing early on that this was a job I could love for the rest of my life. Dewey, meanwhile, brings disabled children out of their shells, invites businessmen to pet him with one hand while holding the Wall Street Journal with the other, eats rubber bands and becomes a media darling. The book is not only a tribute to a cat—anthropomorphized to a degree that can strain credulity (Dewey plays hide and seek with Myron, can read her thoughts, is mortified by his hair balls)—it’s a love letter to libraries.

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In challenging times like we are facing right now, I believe it is important and good for the human soul to read a story like Dewey ~ The Small-Town Cat Who Touched the World.  To see a town and it’s citizens hit hard by financial woes, illness and all of life’s hard knocks, come together through the love of a single feline is a miracle.  The story of Dewey, the cat of the Spencer Library in Spencer, Iowa is a labor of love and respect for a cat and the lives that he affected locally and around the world. 

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This story was a great one about the love for a cat who just happened to be left in the book return bin at a library in a small town and who was rescued by a woman and her library staff who allowed him to nestle and cuddle his way into their lives and the lives of so many others.  There are so many touching and tear-jerking passages in this book, that at almost every sitting, I had to grab a wad of tissues in order to make it though the chapter.  From Dewey’s visits with the children of Spencer, Iowa when they would come to the library for story hour, to the handicapped children who brightened and became more alert in Dewey’s presence.  Vicki Myron, with the help of writer Bret Witter, does a fabulous job of giving the reader background information about the townspeople of Spencer and even shares very personal stories from her own life in order to paint a complete picture of just how powerful and important Dewey Readmore Books’ friendship and love was.

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Dewey graced the shelves and rooms of the Spencer Library for nineteen years and though he couldn’t possibly have known the impact he had on people all over the world, he knew that the time he spent with people in his library was worth while and helped bring smiles to sad hearts on a daily basis.

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I absolutely loved this book.  It was a great story about a cat that made a difference to many.  The book was very easy to get lost in and there weren’t many slow parts at all.  I would recommend this book to any animal or book lover and I must advise that you keep a box of tissues close by at all times.

{Rating ~ 4.5 out of 5}

Thanks to Library Thing’s Early Reviewer Program for sending me my free copy of Dewey.

Sunday Salon ~ December 14th, 2008

Happy Sunday!  I hope you are having a lovely weekend.  The holiday season is in full swing now and though I don’t get to go to American malls this year, the memories of our home visit last Christmas is still fresh in my head.  Hubby and I were at the mall every day, fighting for parking spots, walking the halls of Tyson’s Corner Mall, Montgomery Mall and Fair Oaks Mall in the D.C. area with thousands of other shoppers, getting all the presents purchased for each other and our family.  This should be our last Christmas in Okinawa so it was back to on-line shopping for Christmas presents for us and family in the states.  I might keep that up even when we get back to “the real world” because it really is so much easier. 

This weekend was a quiet one for us.  The only excitement was dinner with some of Hubby’s co-workers last night.  It was nice to see people I don’t see on a daily basis and meet some new people as well. 

I can’t say that I’ve done much reading this weekend but this week’s social calendar is pretty empty so I won’t really have an excuse for not finishing Dewey.  Today I did play around with my stamping stuff though.  Somewhere along the line I came across this great blog called Fat Cat Stamper.  This lady’s cards are just gorgeous and I was so inspired that I had to try to make something this afternoon.  All of my stamping stuff is from Stampin’ Up!, so I used the Eastern Blooms and the True Friends stamp set and came up with this:

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What are you up to this weekend?  Christmas shopping?  Reading an irresistible book?  Working on some crafts too?  I would love to hear about it.

BTT ~ Time Is Of The Essence

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1. Do you get to read as much as you WANT to read?
(I’m guessing #1 is an easy question for everyone?)
2. If you had (magically) more time to read–what would you read? Something educational? Classic? Comfort Reading? Escapism? Magazines?

When I’m in the zone (which can last for months, weeks, days or hours) I find that I read a ton of books.  But when I am not in the zone, it is very hard for me to commit to the time I need in order to read what I really need to read for reviews.  Right now I am not in the zone.  I think it is due to the fact that the holidays are upon us and the social calendar is a little more full than usual.  Because of that, when I am home, I just want to watch T.V. or surf the net. 

If I found more time to read, which isn’t really hard for me to do but dedicating myself to the time is the sometimes the hard part, than I might not feel as overwhelmed by the reviewing venture I set out on this year.  I am trying to remember to read for “fun” and not “requirement” every so often though.  I have made it a habit of reading in bed before falling asleep as well as taking a book with me when I’m going out for the day just in case I have to wait for someone or get stuck in line somewhere. 

What about you?  Do you read as much as you would like?  Do you feel like you need more time for reading in your day?

Today’s Favorite Song

AFN (Armed Forces Network) just aired NBC’s Live @ Rockefeller Center Special this evening.  My favorite performance was by Beyonce as she sang a rendition, with added parts it seemed, of Ave Maria.  As I was listening the song rang a memory bell in my head.  Parts of the song sounded a lot like a Madonna tune from her Like a Prayer album.  It was a beautiful song and tribute to her mother called Promise To Try.  Now I don’t know if you will hear the similarities too but luckily YouTube had both songs available.  Let me know what you think!