Friday, May 6, 2011

Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott

"Do you think it makes my hips look too big?" and she said to me slowly, "Annie? I really don't think you have that kind of time."

And I don't think you have that kind of time either. I don't think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won't be good enough at it, and I don't think you have time to waste on someone who does not respond to you with kindness and respect. You don't want to spend your time around people who make you hold your breath. You can't fill up when you're holding your breath. And writing is about filling up, filling up when you are empty, letting images and ideas and smells run down like water- just as writing is also about dealing with the emptiness. The emptiness destroys enough writers without the help of some friend or spouse." p. 170-171

The Art of Possibility, Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander

I guess 2011 is shaping up to be the year I lose my desire to record my reading. Other than my list of titles on the left I  just can't bring myself to write anything. Earlier this year I read Benjamin Zander's The Art of Possibility after loving a talk I saw of his from TED. The book was inspiring but nowhere near as exciting as the TED video. I marked up a bunch of quotes from the book though that I want to remember:

"When he retired from the Supreme Court, Justice Thurgood Marshall was asked of what accomplishment he was most proud. He answered simply, "That I did the best I could with what I had." Could there be any greater acknowledgment?" p.46

"I settled on a game called I am a contribution. Unlike success and failure, contribution has no other side. It is not arrived at by comparison. All at once I found that the fearful question, "Is it enough?" and the even more fearful question, "Am I loved for who I am, or for what I have accomplished?" could both be replaced by the joyful question, "How will I be a contribution today?" p.57

"I discovered a person cannot live a full life under the shadow of bitterness... There is no such thing as bad weather only inappropriate clothing." p. 64

"A young man goes to see his rabbi. "Rabbi," he asks, "you told us a story- something to do with praise?" The rabbi responds, "Yes, it is thus: when you get some good news, you thank the Lord, and when you get some bad news, you praise the Lord." "Of course," replies the man, "I should have remembered. But Rabbi, how do you actually know which is the bad news?" The rabbi smiles, "You are wise, my son. So just to on the safe side, always thank the Lord." p.105

"Speaking in possibility springs from the appreciation that what we say creates a reality; how we define things sets a framework for life to unfold."p.110

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.- Martha Graham" p.116

"She vowed not to say anything that could not stand as the last thing she ever said." p.174

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous-
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
Won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone,
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
Give other people permission to do the same. - Marianne Williamson, p. 178-179

"Victoria chose to tell OUR story, the story of sufficiency and connection, yet she might, perhaps more easily, have told a story about her disappointment over my shortcomings. It is an ongoing choice for all of us- when a lover neglects to call, a colleague lets us down, or someone surpasses us, we can choose to tell the story of the WE or the story of the Other." p. 185

"I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big successes. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of human pride. - William James" p.197

Friday, March 25, 2011

What I've Been Reading

Being so sick for most of 2011 has slowed down my reading and definitely my blogging. Here is the lazy recap:

I really liked this one. It's a fun, YA, werewolf story that like every other YA book is the first in a trilogy. I am ready for some stand alones! I also was wondering how the publishing companies decide which supernatural YA gets the full Stephenie Meyer treatment- this book had a shiny dustjacket, deckle edge paper, and was huge. I want to know how much this puppy cost to print. But that is neither here nor there. I liked the story and was totally sucked in even though I think I'm on the Team Losing Boy in terms of the love triangle which is always disappointing.

This was a fun and quick, Bridget Jones-esque book. It would be an adorable movie and was really funny. The main character was seriously delusional for most of the story but injecting her with some common sense would have killed the plot. There is a sequel but I'm not interested because the plot sounds identical to this one. The first one is all about Isabel faking her way to literary success and the next one is all about Isabel faking her way to fashion success.

I am a sucker for anything Sleepy Hollow related what with my current place of employment and also being a sucker for YA supernaturals, this series was a no brainer for me to pick up. Of course this is a trilogy so I might change my feelings after reading the finale but so far so mildly entertaining. I like the characters and the world but it is all just a little description heavy for me. If it was pared down this series could be one of my favorites but as it is it can't compete with my beloved Kelley Armstrong or Kimberly Derting or Richelle Mead or Melissa Marr or Clare Dunkle or...... clearly there are a lot of these series in my top tier. I liked these books but more in an Alyson Noel kind of way. Not my favorites but passable in a pinch to steal a catch phrase from Christopher Kimball. And of course I will be reading the final installment- I always have to know how things end!

I was not into this one at all. I think I have reached a point where I pretty much only want to read Laurie Halse Anderson's YA realistic fiction. 

I loved this book! I had my library copy stuffed with post-it flags and notes and finally I just gave up trying to write things down and remember things I wanted to look up later. I need to get my own copy and reread. It has beautiful language and fascinating historical information. I had a hard time finishing it once I got to the point in the book that Tyndale had been captured. Even though it was inevitable and I already knew what happened this book reads like a novel and had me hoping for some sort of freak twist which obviously isn't in the cards. Such a great book!

Like everyone else I had to read Amy Chua's book after reading her awesomely well planned Wall Street Journal article. If anything I'm all talked out about tiger mothers after talking about this one with my family & everyone at work and reading what feels like what the entire internet had to say about it. Fascinating book and in the end she makes more good points than bad ones. Sleepovers? Never! Forced music lessons? You bet! Watch out future children of mine ;)

This was disappointing. I liked the Jane Austen tour through England angle but so much of this book was strange and whiny and had nothing to do with Jane Austen. Serious bummer.

This book was inspiring and had me burning through the post-it flags again. It is definitely a book I want to own and reread. Thank goodness for inter-library loan in the mean time!

I love the Pioneer Woman! I had fun reading this story when it was little installments on her blog so I feel like I've been waiting to read the whole thing forever. Not to mention being excited for the movie someday. My only complaint with the book was that it ended too soon. Ree is such a great storyteller and her book was so entertaining and relaxing. Now I just want her to write Part II!

Speaking of Part II, I will (hopefully) finish recapping my 2011 reading in another post (soonish).

Monday, January 10, 2011

Take a Chance on Me, Jill Mansell

I adore Jill Mansell! I have a stock pile of all her US releases, with their gorgeous sparkly covers, waiting to be used as bibliotherapy for my own personal low points (I'm mad at youtube for not having a clip of Kate Winslet yanking her head out of the oven and out the window of her cute English cottage in The Holiday so you can just imagine her slapping herself & yelling LOW POINT!). The last 6 weeks of my mysterious illnesses have definitely been a long, extended low point for me so it seemed appropriate to ration myself one of her books.

All of her stories that I've read so far are clever, engaging, hilarious, & completely suck you in (in a good way). Take a Chance on Me is no exception. I loved Cleo & Johnny, Fia & Ash. Even bratty Georgia had grown on me by the end.

What I liked best about Take a Chance on Me (and really of her books)  is the way I feel while reading. I am always completely cheered up as cheesy as that sounds.

My only worry is reaching the end of my collection. Source Books needs to publish more of Jill Mansell's books and quickly!

Italian for Beginners, Kristin Harmel

After reading Anna & the French Kiss I've moved my romantic chick lit tour of Europe to Italy. Not intentionally, but it fit my January blah attitude to read another cheering book.

This one was cute but not as overwhelmingly lovable as Anna. I thought all of the Roman Holiday references were really fun. Having recently watched Only You, which is also full of Roman Holiday references, it has me planning to rewatch this soon.

I liked the main character, Cat, a lot but I had a few quibbles with the story. Spoilers ahead (though I don't think you'll be reading this one, Nora)

I was seriously shocked when Cat slept with Marco because up until that point I was convinced he was gay! I just didn't see them as having romantic chemistry at all. I also would have appreciated more happy times with Michael (at least I think that is his name- how awful is it that I can't remember Cat's prince charming's name!). All they had was the meet cute followed by the misunderstanding that could have been cleared up in 5 minutes of talking and then a long strech of Cat in Rome finding herself and then Michael returns at the end for the happily ever after. I liked him and their relationship but there wasn't that much there.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book though. Light and happy and another great January book.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins

It would have taken a lot for me to dislike this book since it features my favorite only been there in my mind city and promised lots of cute boys. In fact if that was all it had to offer I would still be recommending it as a fluffy January is depressing so here is a happy pick me up of a book kind of way.

The good news is that Anna and the French Kiss is so much more than just fluff. I love the premise- who wouldn't want to be shipped off to boarding school in Paris (well, actually Anna for one but that might be her one flaw). I love Anna- she's believable and real but not perfect. The story line with her BFF left behind in Georgia made me cringe in a good way and was resolved so well.

I loved all the details of Anna's interest in film and her critic plans. In fact all the talk of films en version originales was giving me flashbacks to french class and those little conversations they make you recite.

And I also love Etienne even if at first I felt his name was reminding me too much of Estee Lauder, taking me out of my cute boy visualizations. But I got over it and I love, love, loved Etienne & Anna. And Paris. I want to go to there.

Forever Young Adult review
Angieville Review

Happy 2011!

At some point I am going to come replace this post with my 2010 reading list, statistics, & favorites as well as some reading goals for 2011. In the mean time enjoy this sparkly photo:


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