A Full P.O. Box

Well friends, today was one of those fantastic days at the Post Office.  Our P.O. Box was filled to capacity with everything I’ve been waiting for.  Barbara Walter’s memoir Audition, Joshua Henkin’s Matrimony, Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes, Bon Appetite Magazine, Washingtonian Magazine, Vanity Fair Magazine, and my Martha Stewart cooking tools from Macy’s!!!!  Whew!  I am feeling a bit indecisive about where to start first.  I just finished flipping through the mags and have read the first page of each book but I don’t know what to dive into first.  I will probably start Matrimony this evening because that’s my assignment for Planet Books and no matter what I think I might do I usually do what is expected of me and that would be to read and finish Matrimony first.  I was just so excited about all my “presents” that I thought I’d share.

And the May/June Book Is…

MATRIMONY by Joshua Henkin

  A Novel

Thank you to the sixteen of you who voted in our May/June poll.  After the most exciting voting weekend in Planet Books history (a whopping seven months) 50% of the vote went to the winning book.  I wasn’t sure what was going to happen when I left the house this morning and was surprised to find that Matrimony broke out of the tie against Love in the Time of Cholera with two new votes when I returned after a few hours. The discussion question period for Matrimony will have a new twist on it because Mr. Joshua Henkin graciously offered to visit with us here at Planet Books at the end of June to discuss his second book with us.  For those of you joining us for the first time or who would like to see what Matrimony is about please check out this link to The New York Times Book Section.


Time to Vote for Planet Books’ May/June’s Book

Three books were nominated for the May/June book vote.  I am going to stick with the three titles and not submit one myself because the purpose of asking you to nominate a title was to put it i your hands for a change.  The following books were nominated:  

MATRIMONY: A Novel by Joshua Henkin A Novel

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez Love in the Time of Cholera (Vintage International)

Occasion for Loving by Nadine Gordimer Occasion for Loving

 So without further ado HERE is the Planet Books voting poll for May/June.  The deadline is Sunday, May 4th at midnight EST (in Okinawa that is Monday, May 5th at 1pm). 




Talk Amongst Yourselves

Well Hello There!!  A book discussion?  I think I may have forgotten how to put that together (though I was never any good at it in the first place).  So, the book that we read during March & April was “St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves” by Karen Russell.  I know a few of you did read this book and at least one of you really enjoyed it.  I have never been a fan of short stories but I figured I would give it a chance for two reasons; one being it had the winning vote by Planet Books readers and two, it was a gift from my sister.

A few of you posted some great questions to get us started so I would like to re-post them here for us to work from.

Care asked these questions:  What was your favorite story, your favorite main character, which moral dilemma bothered you the most, did you read this in order, and what did you think of the use of setting as character? 

Beastmomma asked:  What did you think of the animals that were selected for each story?  What did the animal add to the moral dilemma?

My questions to you is:  If this book brought you out of your reading comfort zone, were you happy to be there?  Was it hard to get involved with these stories because they were so short or did that quick relationship seem more appealing to your busy schedules? 

My favorite story was “Children’s Reminiscences of the Westward Migration”.  It was smack dab in the middle of the book and I found myself very surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  The description of the journey the families made together to make a better life for themselves was full of great visuals and strife.  The Minotaur father who saw the prospects of living on acres and acres of land instead of his little home near the local asylum was such a strong character who tolerated so much due to his physical appearance.  His wife’s first thoughts of moving out west were fueled by the idea of not being the butt of jokes because her husband was part human and part beast.  The relationships between the family members were strong as well as their relationships with the people in the wagon train. 

I also enjoyed “Z.Z.’s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers”, “Haunting Olivia” and the title story, “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves”. 

I came across this RADIO INTERVIEW with author Karen Russell on NPR as well as this INTERVIEW over at BookBrowse.com.



I don’t have much to share tonight.  The hubby and I had a busy social calendar this weekend so there wasn’t as much down time as usual.  I just picked up BOOMSDAY last night and picked up where I had left off a few days before.

I do have a new obsession and that is downloading NPR podcasts that are available on iTunes for free.  Especially the show “All Songs Considered”.  I’ve also been listening to segments on www.npr.org and learning more and more about music.  I was inspired to create my own song list as if I was a guest DJ with host Bob Boilen.  It’s of course a very very long list but to give you a peek into what music has inspired me in my life here are ten songs and the artists that I love.

Baby Can I Hold You ~ Tracy Chapman
Pictures Of You ~ The Cure
No More Words ~ Berlin
True Blue ~ Madonna
Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover ~ Sophie B. Hawkins
Ants Marching ~ Dave Matthews Band
It Hurt So Bad ~ Susan Tedeschi
Morning Song ~ Jewel
Church ~ Lyle Lovett & His Large Band
Knock ‘Em Out ~ Lily Allen


Cookie Marathon ~ Week 4

After this week I’m going to cut down on the baking and only make a cookie recipe every two weeks. The hubby is starting to complain about the yummies every week and I am using so much butter, it’s a bit ridiculous.  Plus it doesn’t help that last week on Martha Stewart Living it was Cupcake Week and I couldn’t resist making two of her cupcake recipes in the last week.  Her Coconut Cupcakes and her White Cupcakes.  DELICIOUS!!!!!  (Sorry there aren’t any pics… they were gone in an instant!)

Today Rocky and I had a lovely day of making Martha Stewart’s Almond Horn cookies from the Martha Stewart Cookie Cookbook and reading BOOMSDAY.  Tomorrow I’m going on a guided tour with friends of the local Japanese Love Motels.  It should be interesting and I will report on what I learn right here on Planet Books.

The Almond Horns turned out pretty well on their own but would probably be better accompanied with a cup of coffee or tea.

A Favorite Book meme!

Care’s Online Book Club over at http://bkclubcare.wordpress.com posted this MEME about Favorite Books.  I thought I would join in on the fun and see what answers I come up with.  If you would like to play either cut and paste the meme to your own blog and link back here or cut and paste the meme to the comment section of this post and answer there.


1. A book that made you cry: Marley & Me: Life & Love With The World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan

2. A book that scared you: The Ring by Koji Suzuki

3. A book that made you laugh: Candy Girl: A Year In The Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody

4. A book that disgusted you: Nothing’s popping up in recent memory

5. A book you loved in elementary school: Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (5th Grade)

6. A book you loved in middle school: I don’t remember junior high… because it SUCKED!!!

7. A book you loved in high school: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

8. A book you hated in high school: Beowulf

9. A book you loved in college: College was a mix of music and partying.  I majored in Musical Theatre, Vocal Performance & Music Business and in that order but not all at the same time.  I don’t remember reading a book for fun or even for the one year of English that I had to take.

10. A book that challenged your identity or your faith: The Left Behind Series and most recently Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

11. A series that you love:  I loved the Sunfire Romance series when I was growing up.  They were books with a heroine set in different periods of American history.  My favorite that I remember was Cassie by Vivian Schurfranz

12. Your favourite horror book: Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

13. Your favourite science-fiction book: I think that Angels & Demons by Dan Brown falls under this category

14. Your favourite fantasy book: The Heavenly Horse of the Outermost West by Mary Stanton

15. Your favorite mystery book: The Alienist by Caleb Carr

16. Your favourite biography: It’s an autobiography and it’s called The Inner Voice by Renee Fleming

17. Your favourite coming-of-age book: The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger

18. Your favourite book not on this list: So many books to list here…. Tailchaser’s Song by Tad Williams, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden,; The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Mermaid’s Song by Alida Van Gores… just to name a few.

Book Review ~ Change of Heart

A Novel

I just finished Jodi Picoult’s “Change of Heart” and I loved it!  I found myself thinking about the story and characters many times throughout the two weeks or so that I was reading it and wondering what was going to happen to them and how the story would play out.  This was my first experience reading a Picoult novel and I was not disappointed.  The topics of religion, the possibility of a Messiah floating through the U.S. prison system and the lives that were affected by selfish acts of sexual abuse were woven together so beautifully and intricately that I know I will be thinking about this story for a while to come.  The characters were so clear and bright to me though I did have some trouble flipping from one first-person account to the next as the chapters (not really chapters though) flew through my fingers. 

I would recommend this book to someone who is looking for something completely different and thought provoking.  Remember that this book is the one that lifted me off of my reading block stump.  I am so glad that I picked it up at the Base PX.  I am interested in reading Picoult’s “Nineteen Minutes” about a small town high school shooting because I lived in Denver when the Columbine shootings devastated the area and the country.  I attended the memorial service at the high school and saw, with my own eyes, the boarded up windows where students and faculty had jumped to safety on April 20th, 1999. 

Spring Is Busting Out All Over!

Spring has definitely arrived here on Okinawa.  It seems like overnight the weather went from comfortable and cool to warm and muggy.  YUCK!!  There are other places you can see that spring has arrived.  I guess one is here at WordPress.  They changed the layout of the Dashboard section (for those of you not blogging on WordPress the Dashboard is where the blogger goes to check stats and write posts).  I don’t know what I think yet. 

Another place that shows signs of new life is the book industry.  The Washington Post has a list of new titles being released this spring and there are a lot of books I will be checking into.  Yesterday I picked up Bill Bryson’s “A Walk In The Woods“.

  Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail)

I’m about halfway through Jodi Picoult’s “Change of Heart”.  I’m really enjoying this book and it’s characters.  The story lines are interesting and I like the way the characters are linked together.  The Washington Post has an article about the book HERE

Cookie Marathon ~ Week 2

My newest hobby is making a cookie a week from my new

Martha Stewart Cookie Cookbook.

          The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share (Martha Stewart Living Magazine)

Well today I made her Macaroons and boy are they tasty!  I love, love, love coconut and this was just the easiest recipe to whip up and bake.  Forming the cookie peaks was a messy task but so worth it in the end.  Check out these little mountains of yumminess!!!