Saturday, May 15, 2010

My First Challenge

I had already decided to read this summer.

Reading is something that I have enjoyed as long as I can first reading experiences began with a little red and white record player and Disney books recorded on 45 records.  I would play those records in my room and follow along in the little books.  I survived adolescence with the help of Judy Blume, and by high school found an English teacher (I love you, Mrs. Warren) who nurtured my love of the written word by introducing me to other lifesaving treasures such as The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and To Kill a Mockingbird and encouraged me to write from the heart.  There are bookshelves (floor to ceiling) in most of the rooms of my house, and even though I hope to have both an Ipad and a Kindle in the near future, I am deeply saddened at the very real possibility that my grandchildren may not ever enter a traditional library. 

Even though I am an English teacher, I am not a reading snob.  Even I remember the teachers who used to try and tell us what we should and should not read...I happen to be cut from the cloth of read whatever you long as you're reading. 
I read a lot of STUFF...from biographies, historical non-fiction and literary classics to Twilight, Anita Blake, and Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries.  I love a good series and can easily be swept away from reality for days.  I also love informational books...books on photography, interior design and architecture, cooking, education, of course, and gardening.  On top of all the books I read, I'm a magazine/journal addict...on even more topics than you can imagine...More, Popular Photography, Paula Deen, Real Simple, Reading Research Quarterly, The English Journal and Vogue to name a few...see what I mean???...a schizophrenic selection for sure!!! 

While I enjoy writing blog posts, I'm finding that I may actually enjoy reading and commenting on everyone else's blog posts more...does that make sense?  After catching up on some much needed Blog Readin' today, I found myself signing my life away to participate in my first reading challenge.  I think this is just what I need to get my reading summer off with a bang!

My new blogging friend Mary at My Whimsical Way wrote about her decision to join the challenge, so I clicked on over to Booking Mama to see what all the fuss was about. After reading the list of 18 books and finding out that it was ok if I didn't read all 18, I figured this might be just the thing for me. I'm also excited at the list of all the new blogging book friends :)

Here's the list of books on the Summer Reading Challenge; the challenge actually began on May 1st and will end on Labor Day.

THIS BODY OF DEATH by Elizabeth George (April 20)

HALF LIFE by Roopa Farooki (April 27)

GIRL IN TRANSLATION by Jean Kwok (April 29)

THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE by Julie Orringer (May 4)

THE LAST STAND by Nathaniel Philbrick (May 4)

WAR by Sebastian Junger (May 11)




THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin (June 8)

SO COLD THE RIVER by Michael Koryta (June 9)

THE COOKBOOK COLLECTOR by Allegra Goodman (July 6)

LUCY by Laurence Gonzales (July 13)

RED HOOK ROAD by Ayelet Waldman (July 13)

I CURSE THE RIVER OF TIME by Per Pettersson (August 3)

YOU LOST ME THERE by Rosecrans Baldwin (August 12)

MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins (August 24)

As I mentioned before, you don't have to read all 18 of the books; you can aspire to be any of the levels below based on the number of books you think you will read.  There are 6 books on this list that I had planned on reading anyway, so I'm going to aspire to be a Guppy this summer.  After I read the books I will write a review and link back up to Booking Mama's site with the others who've "risen to the challenge."  If I decide to read more than the 6 books that I'm starting out with, I can always move up to the next level if I's my perogative:)  That's really why I like this challenge so much.

1-3 Books: Polliwog
4-6 Books: Guppy
7-9 Books: Minnow
10-12 Books: Fish
13-15 Books: Flying Fish
16-18 Books: Shark

Head on over to Booking Mama to get even more details and sign up to read with us :):)


Friday, May 14, 2010

Five Question Friday

No, I didn't fall off the face of the Earth...I had every intention of blogging about my trip to Boston this week with kids from our college's Student Government Association...but we all know what good intentions lead to.  I took scads of pictures and have lots of things to ponder...starting tomorrow.  We had graduation today, so I am truly free for a while.  I still have a couple of reports to write and plans to make...but I'm going to let my brain rest for a couple days at least.

I started Mama M's "Five Question Friday" a few weeks ago and then got sidetracked, so I'm going to try and get back on track today.

1. Take your night, girls night out, or night out alone?

This is a toughie for me...because I enjoy each of these nights depending on the circumstances.  Each can also be a disaster, depending on the circumstances. 
Date night is incredible if all the stars are aligned, my children are taken care of and happy, and we can truly relax.  I married my husband for a reason; I do actually like to be around him. 

Girls night out is cool as long as the right girls are involved...nothing is worse than a night out with the girls if there's even one person in the group that is obnoxious.  But, a night out with a couple of BFF's that truly enjoy each other's company is priceless.  We've also had some great girl nights staying in...a Southern Living party or something similar to start the night and then margaritas and movies.

A night out alone would probably be my least favorite...I'd rather have an afternoon or even a day alone...I can't shop for myself when my kids are with just flusters me too much...

2. Can you touch your nose with your tongue?

Nope...I wasn't sure about this so I gave it a try...not even close. 

3. What is your favorite flower and why?

Gardenias...I carried a bouquet of gardenias in my wedding...I've had gardenias at each of the homes we've lived in...I know summer is truly here when I can walk outside and smell that lemony smell that wafts through the air.

4. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

To be myself.  And not worry what others think.  My forties so far have been liberating in this way...I do what I want...I'm not afraid to speak up for myself or what I believe.  If only I had been able to do that in my teens and 20's...I'm watching my daughters right now go through one of the hardest times in their lives...where they are struggling to figure out who they are and where they fit.  If only I could convince them to roll with the punches and be who they are, not what they think they should be. 

5. If you won the lottery, what is the very first thing you would do?

Easy!! Buy a big old country farmhouse in New England and a beachhouse with a pool right on the ocean in Destin.  I would have animals out the wazoo, horses, goats, chickens, cats and dogs and a garden to die for.  I'd have a caretaker and other help at my farmhouse to take care of things while I was at the beach during the summer :)  Of course I would pay all my bills and my family members' bills we could all relax together.