MIA in 2010

2010 turned out to be a very tough reading and blogging year for me.  I don’t know if it was the out of sorts feeling I had while Hubby was deployed for five months or what but I totally sucked at keeping up with things.  At times it seemed as if I had become a slower reader and was easily distracted by everything and anything.  I fell into the habit of only reading before bed and that never is a good thing for me.  I get tired and after only reading a few pages its lights out.  Book club should have helped but it really didn’t.  I only read (if I liked it enough) the selected title and didn’t read other titles in the second half of the year.  

Good news is I’m still in love with my Kindle and 2011 will bring an iPad 1 or 2 into my hands thanks to my folks generous birthday gift on the 1st.  I will download the Kindle App to whichever version of iPad I end up getting (waiting for the MacWorld 2011 conference to see if Steve Jobs introduces the 2.0) and that will allow me to read without the lights on when Hubby goes to sleep.  I don’t really like book lights.  I am off to a good start in 2011 though.  I finished my book club’s selection for Sunday’s brunch just last night.  I’m going to try to read one book of my choice for every book club selection this year.  That is my reading goal for 2011.

There were some fabulous books that I read in 2010 though and I have listed them below.  The scariest ones, all for different reasons, were Room, The Blue Notebook and Born on the 4th of July.  All very realistic stories inspired by true accounts, like Kovic’s retelling of his experience in Vietnam and the aftermath of the war back home, these books still haunt me.

The Postmistress and The Help are books that I will always recommend to the reader looking for a great novel to lose themselves in.  They are simply fantastic.  Others I listed made the list because they were either extremely unusual, Raven Stole The Moon, or made me laugh my ass off, My Fair LazyHow To Be An American Housewife took me back to Japan and made me miss the country, culture and it’s people all over again.  

I have also taken the liberty of listing my 20 favorite tunes of 2010.  I rediscovered Pop music last year and I am so thrilled that it’s laced with hot beats, fun lyrics, melodic melodies and strong construction.  Thank goodness!  Country music didn’t disappoint and the highlight for me was going to the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, TN last June with one of my best friends, Jesse.

What were some of your favorite reads in 2010?  Tunes?  Discoveries?  Please share them with me and any readers I still may have after being MIA in 2010!   

My FAV reads of 2010 (in no particular order)

Room – Emma Donoghue
The Blue Notebook – Dr. James A. Levine
How To Be An American Housewife – Margaret Dilloway
Born on the 4th of July – Ron Kovic
My Fair Lazy – Jen Lancaster
Raven Stole The Moon – Garth Stein
The Postmistress – Sarah Blake
The Help – Kathryn Stocket

 

My FAV 20 Tunes of 2010 (in no particular order)

F You – Cee Lo Green
Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida
Dynamite – Taio Cruz
Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
Paris (Ooh La La) – Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
1983 – Neon Trees
Undo It – Carrie Underwood
Lover, Lover – Jerrod Neiman
Put You In A Song – Keith Urban
Smoke A Little Smoke – Eric Church
Empire State of Mind – Jay Z & Alicia Keys
Bullet Proof – La Roux
All About Tonight – Blake Shelton
Raise Your Glass – Pink
Telephone – Lady Gaga & Beyonce
Colder Weather – Zac Brown Band
Crazy Town – Jason Aldean
Roll With It – Easton Corbin
Stuck Like Glue – Sugarland

Due to restrictons on videos from YouTube I am unable to share any of the videos I wanted to here on Planet Books.  Sorry Dude!

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Bookish Sunday With Library Love

On Sunday I took my newest best friend (there aren’t that many people I give that title to) Library Love on her “birthday date.”  LL’s birthday was actually Tuesday but because she keeps such a busy schedule, we made sure to set aside a day so I could help her celebrate.  You can just imagine my excitement when I learned that Sarah Blake (who lives in Washington D.C.) would be appearing at Politics & Prose Bookstore in our Nation’s Capital on the day LL and I had set aside for us.  Being book lovers, voracious readers and having met at Jennifer Weiner’s book event last summer I thought that Sarah Blake’s book event would be a perfect and memorable activity.  So after surprising LL with lunch and cupcakes in Bethesda, MD, I drove us down to D.C. to Politics & Prose.  Thanks to LL’s quick thinking and lightening fast moves we landed seats front row and center for Sarah Blake’s book reading and Q&A of The Postmistress

The Postmistress

We enjoyed Sarah’s impactful and memorable reading from two different sections of The Postmistress.  After she finished reading aloud to her captive audience it was time for Q&A’s.  Well, let me tell you something.  When it came to the moment when the microphone was open and waiting for the first question to be asked, no one stood up and braved the silence.  I had a question and after looking around at the shy faces I got up and went to the mic.  I told Sarah Blake that I absolutely loved her book and though I read it on my Kindle, I did buy a copy of the hardcover for her to sign and keep on my shelf.  I then asked her about the cover.  I told her that I knew my husband would really enjoy reading The Postmistress, the beautiful purple rose on the cover would be a deterrent for him.  I noted that there were plenty of men in the audience that day but there are also a lot of men out there who probably don’t read as much good historical fiction as their wives/girlfriends do because of the covers with pretty colors and feminine designs.  She of course said that she hoped that men would read her book anyway and she didn’t have much comment on the publishing and marketing of books towards certain sexes. 

 

 As the Q&A continued I remembered I had had a question that I came up with when I had just finished reading The Postmistress the other week.  It was regarding the fact that there really was a female reporter who was a member of “Murrow’s Boys” in London and Europe during WWII.  Her name was Mary Marvin Breckinridge and according to Wikipedia, she reported for Edward R. Murrow a total of fifty times during her tenure with his team throughout Europe and of those reports, seven were from Berlin, Germany.  I asked Ms. Blake if she based her character, Frankie Bard, on M. Marvin Breckinridge and if she’d had the chance to meet her since she lived in D.C. till she died in 2002.  Sarah’s answer was very surprising!  She said that she knew she wanted to make one of her main characters a woman who reported for Murrow in London and Europe but it wasn’t till later in her writing/researching that she learned that there were actually two female reporters who worked for Murrow at that time.  She added that no, she had never met Ms. Breckinridge.  WOW!  Talk about coincidences!  That’s HUGE! 

After the Q&A segment of the hour wrapped up, all the fans gathered in line with their books for Sarah to sign.  LL rushed out of her chair so fast I barely realized she was third or fourth in line.  I set our folding chairs against the wall like the store’s manager asked and joined LL in line.  After Sarah signed our books as well as my mother-in-law’s copy that I brought with me we asked the lady in line behind us to take our picture with Sarah.  So, there we are!  We had such a great day celebrating LL’s birthday and meeting Sarah Blake. 

If you get the chance to read The Postmistress, I can’t stress enough that you will love it.  Even if historical fiction isn’t your cup ‘o tea, it’s really a great story.  You can learn more about my thoughts on the book by checking out my review HERE.

Book Review ~ The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Summary as seen on Amazon.com ~ “Alternating between an America still cocooned in its inability to grasp the danger at hand and a Europe being torn apart by war, The Postmistress gives us two women who find themselves unable to deliver the news, and a third woman desperately waiting for news yet afraid to hear it.
Sarah Blake’s The Postmistress shows how we bear the fact that war goes on around us while ordinary lives continue. Filled with stunning parallels to today, it is a remarkable novel.”

The Postmistress

Last night at midnight I finished reading my new all-time favorite book.  The Postmistress is the newest book from author Sarah Blake.  I have been trying to think of how to describe my thoughts throughout this book and because there are so many I’m only going to touch on a few and leave the rest to you to discover for yourself when you hopefully read it.

The book was simply fabulous.  That should be enough to get you to go buy the book this weekend and dive right in but if it isn’t than let me tell you a few things about The Postmistress.  The story is based on three women and the world that surrounds them in the months leading up to the United States’ involvement in WWII.  Frankie Bard is part of “Murrow’s Boy”, a group of brave and progressive reporters who broadcasted from all over Europe as Hitler and his Nazis drove out and did worse to the Jews as well as broadcast live from London throughout The Blitz.  I was curious about “Murrow’s Boy”, that’s Edward R. Murrow, who coined the phrase “Good Night and Good Luck” and “THIS…is London” and the reporters who worked for him to get the news to the U.S.  There was a female who was in that bunch.  Her name was Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson and as I discovered in the notes from the author at the end of The Postmistress, she is who Blake based Frankie Bard on.  Frankie is viewed as a very brave woman who is trying to bring the war front in London to her fellow Americans attention back home.  Her stories soar along the airwaves and enter the kitchens and offices of Americans who listen with bated breath to the sounds of bombs and heartbreaking stories of loss and death only an ocean away. 

Thanks to Blake, we as readers are privy to the people of Franklin, Connecticut who listen to Frankie Bard in their homes and offices.  A doctor and his wife are especially touched and haunted by the story of a boy and the loss of his mother during a night of heavy bombing during The Blitz in London.  Other Frankliners, Iris the postmaster and her friend Harry, who spends most of his time with a pair of binoculars looking all over the Atlantic Ocean for German U-Boats that he believes will surface and bring the war to Franklin’s front step, listen daily to Murrow and his reporters, including Frankie.  They discuss the war and what is happening but Iris tries to keep it all in the radio, not wanting to believe that Americans will be affected by what is happening across the pond. 

The dialogue between characters in numerous parts of The Postmistress are written so well I could picture the scenes easily before me.  The writing is smart and fast paced, keeping me gasping and on the edge of my seat, always wondering what the next page held for the characters I had grown so attached to.  The twists and turns of life are scattered with news and experiences of the war and it’s effects.

The Postmistress is historical fiction at it’s best in my opinion.  I loved it from beginning to end and felt that it never faltered or stalled.  Sarah Blake’s story of love, loss, war, life and what happens in between is written so very well.  I look forward to attending a reading/Q&A/signing of The Postmistress with Sarah Blake next Sunday afternoon at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.  I can’t wait to hear and see her in person and hopefully learn some extra back story about the book and where her ideas came from. 

Rating {5 out of 5}

Sunday Salon ~ Valentine’s Day 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day Sunday Saloners!  I Love Ya!!  This weekend has been great so far.  The snow isn’t falling and the roads are clearing by the minute, as long as the sun keeps shining, here in the DC area.  I’m reading a fabulous book (I’ll get to that in a sec) and today Hubby and I are celebrating nine years together.  We had our first date on Valentine’s Day 2001.  It was a Wednesday evening and it was the only free night we both had that whole week so unknowingly we booked our date for Valentine’s Day.  I wore blue and Hubby wore a sports jacket, which led everyone in his office to think he had an interview that day.  In a way, I guess he did!  We went to a bar and had appetizers and drinks and talked for two hours straight.  It was awesome and we fell into easy conversation.  Hubby had our second date set up before the first one concluded and laid a fabulous and memorable kiss on me because, as he told me later, I looked like I wanted to be kissed.  And they say, the rest is history.

This past week I read Dear John by Nicholas Sparks and reviewed it HERE.  It was a good story and appropriate to read in the week leading up to the annual day of love.  Now I am reading a book that just came out on Tuesday.  It’s The Postmistress by Sarah Blake and it is sooooo good!  It is historical fiction set in London and Massachusetts during WWII.  Three women are the focus of this book and the people that fill their days and their hearts.  The descriptions of the Blitz in London are horrific and greatly written as are the scenes between two new lovers in Massachusetts.

The Postmistress

I am thrilled that Sarah Blake is a Washingtonian and has numerous readings/signings scheduled in the area.  On the last Sunday of the month I am taking my dear friend and fellow book devourer Library Love to Ms. Blake’s event at Politics and Prose in DC for LL’s birthday.  Though I am reading The Postmistress on my Kindle right now I will buy a copy of the book to be signed.  I like the book that much so far!  I just couldn’t wait to read it so while the snow fell last weekend I pre-ordered the book to be downloaded on it’s release date. 

Do you have an electronic reading device?  If you do do you still buy some books in regular old book form?  Do you buy the book for the shelf and if it’s a big one, like say Stephen King’s new 1000 page Under The Dome, read it on the e-reader anyway?  You have a collection going ya know.  I use my Kindle the same way I use my iPod.  I have all of Madonna’s and Dave Matthews Band’s albums on CD  but I burn them to my computer and than download the tunes to my iPod.  If  a book is just too cool to not have on my shelf, and the cover is too gorgeous to not look at and touch, I will buy the book and read it instead of buying it on my Kindle.  Those critics and companies are right!  The MP3 player and e-reader has changed the way I listen to music and read books and I LOVE it!

Friday Finds ~ February 5th, 2010

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This was my favorite meme to put together.  I like looking at the book covers and putting them all together.  It makes me want to go to the book store!  Friday Finds is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.  While browsing fabulous book blogs,  Amazon.com, Washington Post.com, NPR.org, various other places on the Internet, and getting recommendations from friends, these are the books that either made it to my wish list this week or I downloaded the samples on my Kindle from Amazon.com.

   

    

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Fallen Skies by Philippa Gregory
The Miracles of Prato by Laura Morowitz
The Believers by Zoe Heller