Monthly Archives: September 2011

www Wednesdays – September 28, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

I’ve managed to read a couple of books in the past week and I’ve found some cool books to read with the kids, so it’s been a productive week, at least on the reading side.

My bookshelf

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett– What I’m currently reading
The Body by Stephen King. Shame on me, I’ve never seen the movie “Stand by me”, which is based on King’s short story. So I thought it’s about time I read the book where it all started from…

– What I recently finished reading
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. This book was on NPR’s list of 2011 summer reads and I’m glad I followed their advice. A story mixing adventure, medical discoveries, ethics and hope, it’s hard to put the book down. I’m pleased to see the ending wraps things up and leaves some things unanswered, on purpose. This would be a great book to submit for a book club.

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. A short, simple story about life in a Soviet Gulag in the middle of winter and sub-zero temperatures of Siberia. Solzhenitsyn drew from his own experience when imprisoned for 10 years in a gulag to write his first novel. There’s a lot  to learn about this period in history, as well as human nature and our spirit of survival. I think I would have frozen to death on my very first day. Seriously.

– What I think I’ll read next
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. It’s about time for me to read a funny book, and I think this one just may do the trick!

My kids’ bookshelf

No, David! by David ShannonWhat they’re currently reading
We’ve on a David Shannon streak and we all both his hilarious books about David’s (mis)adventures. I recommend David’s stories to all kids from 2 to 6 – they are laugh out loud funny!
No, David!
David Gets in Trouble
David Goes to School
Good Boy, Fergus! (Fergus is David’s dog…)

– What they recently finished reading
Mrs. McNosh and the Great Big Squash by Sarah Weeks – Mrs McNosh plants a squash seed that instantly starts to grow at an amazing speed. I want her seeds for my garden!
A Pirate’s Guide to First Grade by James Preller – a great book for boys who are obsessed with pirates. Perfect, I have two of them at home.
Rude Giants by Audrey Wood. A great lesson on teaching good manners and what good can come out of it.

– What I think they’ll read next
We have sooooo many books in our pile still to read, and more to pick up at the library, I’m not sure what the kids will want to read next. But I’ll make sure I share with you the highlights next week.

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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www Wednesdays – September 21, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

September has been a very hectic month so far and it’s been hard to find time for myself to read, but I’m taking it one day at a time.

My bookshelf

One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich– What I’m currently reading
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. We’ve all heard about life in the Siberian gulags but reading a novel based on the author’s personal experience is something else.

– What I recently finished reading
Good Enough to Eat by Stacy Ballis, my book club’s September selection. Definitely a chick lit book, entertaining enough but I didn’t like the ending, as I felt it was the easy way out. You know the way, when authors are not sure how to make it a good ending, so they leave things hanging, leaving it up to your imagination to figure it out. There were also a good number of characters and I don’t think the author spent enough time on any of them to make me care enough about them. There’s an impressive list of recipes at the end of the book. Each recipe has a “normal” version and a “healthier” version you can choose instead. A novel and a cookbook in one, who knew?

– What I think I’ll read next
I have three or four books waiting for me on the bookshelf. I think my next pick will be whichever needs to go back to the library first, as I have a feeling I won’t be able to return any of them when their due date comes up.

My kids’ bookshelf

Yuck! That's not a monster!– What they’re currently reading
– Yuck! That’s Not a Monster! by Angela McAllister. Super cute story about a monster couple who has three new monster babies, one of which looks very cute rather than monstrous. A good lesson on being different and what good can come out of it.
Eating With Lily and Milo by Pauline Oud. A funny book about two friends getting everything ready for eating outside and left without any of the food they picked by the end. What happened to the food? You’ll have to read to find out…
Termite Tales by Kathy Caple. This book is part of the “Brand New Readers” series and I love it! My five year old picks it up and reads the whole thing out loud to his brother every day. It’s definitely helping with his reading skills and giving him a lot of confidence. I highly recommend it! Besides the stories are very funny. Who would take a termite on a canoe ride, when the thing is made out of wood?

– What they recently finished reading
We’ve had a few of the “Pup and Hound” book series by Susan Hood. These books are for early readers and the stories are cute and entertaining. Hound is the older, experienced dog and puppy is, well, a puppy! I recommend all the books in the series, and so far we’ve read these:
Pup and Hound
Pup and Hound Move In
Pup and Hound In Trouble
Pup and Hound Play Copycats

– What I think they’ll read next
I’m trying to get more of the Brand New Readers series to help my son with his reading skills. I also have requested a number of storybooks but I’m not sure what will be coming in when. Getting books from the library always add an element of surprise!

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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“101 in 1001” challenge – September 2011 update

It’s taken me way too long to find the time to write this update but I’m finally doing it! Since this is an August update, I’m using August 31 as my latest update date for tracking purposes, even though I’ve managed to get a few more things done so far this September.

With the kids being out of school two weeks in August, picking up a new client and working on a large writing project for another, August hasn’t been a very productive month. But this is the very reason why I love this “101 in 1001” challenge. Since I have 1001 days to get everything done, I don’t beat yourself up if not much happens every single month.

We’ve got quite a few newcomers to the challenge. Feel free to visit them and view their own 101 in 1001 lists by clicking on the links in my right sidebar. Welcome, everyone!

Here’s my August 2011 update and my main accomplishments:

34) Spend 3 hours a day on writing activities (paid or not) during the week, 2 hours a day on weekends (70/1001)
Because of ongoing writing projects with a client and a writing class I’ve been taking, along with blogging on my two personal blogs, I’ve spent quite a lot of time writing this month. Something very challenging when I sometimes have little time for it but this experience has proven me it’s possible to squeeze things in. At least some days…

41) Join a book club (1/1) – DONE
I joined my first book club in August and attended my first meeting. It felt great to be able to discuss a book I’ve read with other people. Most of the time, nobody else is reading the same books I am at the same time so I’m glad I’ve made this commitment. I’ve still been able to read a new book almost every week, along with many new books with my kids. Joining a book club was the natural next step.

61) Have 10 family picnics (1/10)
I took my kids to Balboa Park recently for a museum visit, where I ended up spotting typos that won’t be fixed. Afterwards we sat down on the lawn in the park for a picnic. This was a good test to see how the kids would handle a different setting for lunch. Let’s just say they ate until they were not starving anymore, then stood up and started walking around. This tells me I’ll need to find a quieter, less distracting spot for our next picnic.

On the health side, I’ve been pretty bad getting enough sleep at night, taking vitamins every day and limiting my Diet Coke and caffeine intake (to compensate for the lack of sleep). Now that we’re starting a new routine with kids in school, I hope I can find my own routine and schedule to make these things a priority.

As I said earlier I’ve taking a writing class but since I didn’t finish it by the end of August, I’ll cross it off in September. I really hope September allows me to accomplish a few more tasks. So far, things have been pretty chaotic this month, so I can’t tell for sure… Isn’t it what life is all about?

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www Wednesdays – September 14, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

I’m working on a way, way overdue “101 in 1001” August update but in the meantime, here’s my WWW Wednesdays update, with lots of good reading this past week.

My bookshelf

Good enough to eat by Stacy Ballis– What I’m currently reading
Good Enough to Eat by Stacy Ballis, my book club’s September selection. Definitely another chick lit book I probably wouldn’t pick for myself, but it’s an easy read and entertaining enough.

– What I recently finished reading
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal. Imagine mixing The Talented Mr Ripley and Catch Me If You Can, including the false identities, the money stealing, the power of persuasion and even the murders… That’s what The Man in the Rockefeller Suit is, and the most amazing thing is, this is a TRUE story. If this guy hadn’t kipnapped his own daughter a couple of years ago and been a little careless, he’d still be on the run pretending to be heir to another famous, super rich family. It’s hard to believe he managed to con so many people in almost 30 years. It makes you wonder how gullible we can be when someone tells us a story that seems plausible enough.

– What I think I’ll read next
I’ve been wanting to read A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn for probably 20 years and it’s now physically sitting on my bookshelf, so it’s next on my list!

My kids’ bookshelf

There was an old lady who swallowed Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold– What they’re currently reading
Since the kids liked Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree a few weeks ago, I got more of his books. The illustrations are simple but go very well with the text and my five year old is able to read most of the stories on his own, so it’s great reading practice too! Our favorites are:
A Giraffe and a Half
The Missing Piece
The Missing Piece and the Big O
Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros

And of course, we’re reading the “Fly Guy” Series by Tedd Arnold. Again the text is easy enough for early readers and kids love to follow Buzz and Fly Guy on their adventures. Our favorite picks are:
Buzz Boy and Fly Guy
Shoo, Fly Guy!
Fly High, Fly Guy!
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Fly Guy

– What they recently finished reading
Dragon Stew by Steve Smallman – when Vikings get bored and decide to find a dragon to make some stew, they may meet more than what they were looking for… Funny illustrations and dialogs.
A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle – a cute story of what it takes to make a house your home.

 – What I think they’ll read next
We have a few books on hold at the library but feel free to suggest what I should add to our reading list.

 What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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