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Archive for posts tagged with ‘Reading’

Ten on Tuesday #35

Thoughtfully penned on June 22nd, 2010 and generally concerning Blogging News, Reading, Ten on Tuesday

It’s been several weeks since I participated in Ten on Tuesday, but I enjoy answering the random (and sometimes bizarre) questions so I thought I would play along again this week. For more Ten on Tuesday, visit Root and Rings.

1. If you could trade lives with another blogger for a day, who would it be and why?
I thought of a couple of answers to this question, but I think I would have to choose my sister Lu. If I traded lives with her for a day I would get to spend the day playing with and loving on three of my nephews and she would get to spend the day with my kiddos.

2. Do you prefer receiving handmade or store bought gifts? Be honest!

It all depends on the gift, and I don’t mean that as a non-answer, it’s the truth. A couple of my all-time favorite gifts have been the beautiful apron that Matt’s grandmother made for me a couple of years ago and the various quilts my grandmother has made for me over the years.

3. Would you rather camp or stay in a hotel?

I prefer to stay in a hotel if we are going to be doing anything other than staying around the campsite. If we are going somewhere where all of our activities will be outdoorsy (hiking, playing in the river, etc), then I really enjoy camping (or at least I enjoy the idea of camping, we’ve never been camping with our kids).

4. What’s your favorite comfort food?
That’s gotta be either homemade mac & cheese or mashed potatoes.

5. You’re having a really bad day at work. How do you unwind when you come home?
Since my work consists of staying home with the kids, I like to get out of the house (either with the girls or alone) for a bit. If that’s not feasible, I hang out with Matt in the evening and/or read, blog hop, or watch TV.

6. What’s your favorite chore? (Or, the chore you hate the least)

Hmmm…It’s not that I mind cleaning the house, I just try to do it as little as possible. :-) My favorite chore is probably laundry – I can throw a load in and go do something else until it’s done.

7. What got you interested in blogging?
I started reading blogs (Amy’s Humble Musings was the first one I read regularly) in late 2005 or early 2006. Matt has blogged off and on for several years (and is a web designer and developer), so when I found out I was pregnant with Little I asked him to set up a subdomain on his domain for me to blog about the pregnancy (we had recently moved away from all of our family and friends, so it was a way to keep them informed – most of these posts can be found in my archives). In early 2007 I decided I wanted to pick blogging up again on my own domain, and sidetrack’d was born.

8. Are you currently reading a book? What is it?
Currently I’m reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I highly recommend Don’t Waste Your Life.

9. Do you have a favorite artist?
I’m taking this to mean all forms of art, not just visual art. But still I can’t say that I have a favorite artist that I can think of.

10. Have you ever met someone famous?
I met one of our state congressmen when I was in 5th grade, but I think that’s the closest I’ve come.

What’s on your nightstand? – November

Thoughtfully penned on November 25th, 2008 and generally concerning Reading

What's On Your Nightstand

It’s been slow reading this month. I’ve been making my way through the never-ending book, otherwise known as The River Why, and haven’t really accomplished much else. It’s also been a busy month on PaperBackSwap which means I’ve added a few books to the stack.

Currently on my nightstand…

From previous months:
Velvet Elvis
The Pact
Keeping Faith
The Englisher
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

New additions:
The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig – I came across this book in an Amazon search and thought it sounded interesting. We’ll see if it is.

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares – I read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants back in the Spring and enjoyed it for a quick, fun read. My BFF and I are completing the series now, and then we’re going to watch the movies together (assuming we can find a time/way to do so without the kids underfoot).

A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell – another Amazon search find. The book is set in Italy in 1943, toward the end of the war, and tells the story of Jewish refugees searching for safety. I enjoy reading about this era (both historical writing and fiction) and am looking forward to this book.

1776 by David McCullough – This is a book that I’ve wanted to read for quite some time and am finally putting in my stack.

During the last month I’ve finished two books, The River Why and Nights in Rodanthe.

I really liked The River Why; it wasn’t an easy read but definitely worth it. If you know anything about fishing you would probably understand it better than I did, but the story is a back to earth type story with a spiritual journey theme. I found it pretty interesting.

I read Nights in Rodanthe because my best friend and I were planning to go see the movie. It was a basic Nicholas Sparks book – sweet, sappy, easy to read.

That’s what’s on my nightstand; check out What’s on Your Nightstand? at 5 Minutes for Books to see what other bloggers are reading. Happy Reading!

What’s on Your Nightstand? – October

Thoughtfully penned on October 28th, 2008 and generally concerning Goals, Reading

What's On Your Nightstand

It’s the fourth Tuesday of the month which means it’s time for the October edition of “What’s on Your Nightstand?” at 5 Minutes for Books.

My nightstand stack has gotten a bit shorter this month because I’ve focused on reading what was there before moving on to the rest of my Fall Into Reading challenge books.  Once again, I planned on posting a picture, even took one and uploaded it, but for some reason WordPress isn’t let me add it to the post; maybe next month.

So, here’s what’s on my nightstand:

Currently reading – The River Why by David James Duncan

Still there from last month – Stardust by Neil Gaiman, The Pact by Jodi Picoult, Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

Still there from August – Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell

New additions:

The Englisher by Beverly Lewis.  I’ve read several of her books in the past including The Preacher’s Daughter which is the previous book in this series, Annie’s People.  The tales of Amish life and love that she tells are always enjoyable.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.  This one’s been on my “want to read” list for a while, so I’m looking forward to diving into it.

I don’t feel like I read much in the last month, but I managed to finish three books.

My Beautiful Idol – this book was great!  It is a memoir telling the story of one man’s (Pete Gall) journey with and toward God.  It’s entertaining, well written, and quite convicting.  I would definitely recommend this book.

A Wind in the Door – I finished the second installment in L’Engle’s Time Quintet and really liked it.  I thought it was just as good as A Wrinkle in Time, and I’m looking forward to reading the third book in the series sometime in the future (probably this winter).

The Center of Everything – This was a fun coming of age book without being cheesy or “chick-lit”-y (um, yeah, had to make up a word there).  It addressed a wide variety of topics facing the narrator between the ages of 10 and 15 as it explored growing up in small town USA as a less-than-privileged child.  Look into this one for a well written, engrossing read.

I think that covers it for October.  Check out “What’s on Your Nightstand?” to see what others around the blogosphere are reading this month.

Happy reading!

What’s on Your Nightstand – September / Fall Into Reading

Thoughtfully penned on September 23rd, 2008 and generally concerning Goals, Reading
What's On Your Nightstand

It is the fourth Tuesday of the month which means it is once again time for “What’s on Your Nightstand?” at 5 Minutes for Books.  Yesterday also marked the first day of Fall and, therefore, the beginning of the 2008 Fall Into Reading Challenge hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days.  Being the lazy blogger that I am, I decided to kill two birds with one post.

<br>I planned to have a picture for my “What’s on Your Nightstand?” post this month because, really, the number of books that reside on my nightstand is amazing and somewhat frightening.  Fortunately, they are not all in my “to-read” pile, the nightstand is more a gathering place for books that currently have no other home.  But my “to-read” stack is plenty big in its own right.</br>

Remaining in the stack from last month are The Center of Everything, The River Why, and Velvet Elvis; and I’ve just begun reading My Beautiful Idol.  New to the stack are:

A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle – I first read A Wrinkle in Time in the fifth grade and wasn’t impressed; I didn’t really get into the fantasy genre as a child.  About a year ago I decided to give it a second reading and picked up a copy at the bookstore.  This time around I really enjoyed the book and decided to read the entire Time Quintet.  I’m just now getting to the second book.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman – After reading Neverwhere last month (see below), I’m really looking forward to this one.  Matt says it is reminiscent of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien.  Apparently I’ve embraced the fantasy genre as an adult.

The Pact and Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult – I’m excited to pick up more of her work since I liked My Sister’s Keeper so much.

Since the August edition of “What’s on Your Nightstand?” I’ve completed three books, all of which I enjoyed. 

The Birth House was an interesting read; the storyline follows a midwife in small town Nova Scotia fighting to keep her place in the birth room as modern medicine moves in and the new doc in town seeks to drive her out of practice.  The underlying story lines revolve around superstition and it’s effect on people, the women’s rights movement, and small town life during World War I.  Overall, I liked the book even though it didn’t flesh out the midwifery vs. modern medicine story in quite the way I had hoped.

Neverwhere was, by far, the favorite of the books I read this month.  This book reminded me of both The Matrix and the Harry Potter series although there is nothing specific I can nail down and say “this is what makes me think of it.”  it is a curious and somewhat disturbing tale of a world existing beneath the streets of London and the people who reside there.  If you enjoy fantasy, I would definitely recommend that you check this one out.

And finally, Chocolate Beach.  There wasn’t anything great about this book, and the constant pop-culture references really annoyed me, but I stuck with it to the end.  The characters are endearing, but it is standard Christian chick-lit which I generally find unappealing.  This is the kind of book that is perfectly suited for a vacation read.

That covers my nightstand and most of my Fall Into Reading list as well.  In addition, I hope to read the following books during the challange.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Just Jane by Nancy Moser
Mozart’s Sister by Nancy Moser
So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

That should be enough to keep me busy for a while.

If you made it to the end of this post, you are quite the trooper.  Happy Reading!

What’s on Your Nightstand?

Thoughtfully penned on August 26th, 2008 and generally concerning Blogging News, Reading


What's On Your Nightstand

The team at 5 Minutes for Books has created a great new monthly carnival, “What’s on Your Nightstand?”  I thought it would be fun to play along since I usually have several books beside the bed waiting to be read.  In fact, as of this morning, there are 13 books on my nightstand (although 6 of those have already been read or are Matt’s)!  So, here is what I’m reading (sorry, I was too lazy to take a picture)…

The Birth House by Ami McKay – currently reading this one; it was lent to me by my aunt who thought I would enjoy it as it deals with a fictional case of tradition vs. science in the realm of childbirth during the World War I era.

Chocolate Beach by Julie Carobini – I saw this one on several blogs a few months ago and thought it sounded good; I requested it from PaperBackSwap, and, voila, it’s on my nightstand.

The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty – I came across this book on Amazon when I was looking at Listmania lists that included Peace Like a River by Leif Enger.

The River Why by David James Duncan – I found this at the same time as The Center of Everything.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – it isn’t often that I take a foray into the fantasy genre, but I do enjoy books of this nature on occasion; Matt read this one and thought I might like it.

Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell – basically we wanted to see what all the fuss is about; Matt read it, and now it’s my turn.

My Beautiful Idol by Pete Gall – I’m not generally a non-fiction girl, but Matt said this was a really good book; I’m reading it on his recommendation.

I’ll also mention here that I just finished my first book by Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper.  I know several of you read and love her books, but for some reason I always thought they were your general chick-lit and, therefore, wasn’t very interested in checking one out.  Let me take a moment to say I’m sorry; I was wrong.  

This is a very good book about a family dealing with a terminally ill child; it portrays the struggles of the family, the bond of sisters, and the potential outcome of a family where the parents focus so much energy on one child that there is little left for anything (or anyone) else.  Ms. Picoult’s writing was engaging, and I found myself being swept into the story to the point that at times I thought I might cry right along with the characters (this is not something that happens to me often when I’m reading).  It also made me think about my own children and how our family might look in the face of a similar situation.  I will definitely have more of her work on my reading list in the future.

So, there you have it; that is what’s on my nightstand.  You can always visit the Bookshelf in my sidebar to see a list of books that I’m currently reading, have recently finished, or have on hand to read in the near future; I try to keep it updated as much as possible.  If you would like to participate in this book carnival or see what other bloggers are reading check out this month’s “What’s on Your Nightstand?”.

Spring Reading Thing Wrap Up

Thoughtfully penned on June 20th, 2008 and generally concerning Goals, Reading


A few weeks ago our temperatures reached into the upper-80s and 90s and I ceased to view the season as Spring.  However, today is officially the last day of Spring, and, thus, the end of the Spring Reading Thing. All-in-all, I’m quite pleased with the reading I accomplished, especially since we added Boo to the mix about a month into the challenge.

<br>These were the lists I started with:
John Adams by David McCullough
A Midwife’s Story by Penny Armstrong
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
The Complete Book of Sewing by DK Publishing (won’t finish this one by June)

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Austenland by Shannon Hale
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
Mater Biscuit by Julie Cannon
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss</br>

Here are my answers to the wrap up questions Katrina posted.

Did you finish all the books you had planned to read?  If not, why?

I finished all of the books on my fiction list and most of the books on my non-fiction list.  The two I did not complete were John Adams, which I’ve begun reading, and The Complete Book of Sewing, which I haven’t picked up since the beginning of the challenge.  I just don’t have the time or mental capacity for sewing right now.

Do you think the challenge helped you read more? Or maybe helped you read books you otherwise wouldn’t have?

I’m a pretty avid reader, so I don’t think it necessarily helped me to read more.  However, having a set list of books enabled me to keep my reading focused and prevented me from “flailing around” unsure of what to read next.  These challenges do help me to read non-fiction as I’m generally unmotivated to pick up non-fiction books.

What was your favorite book you read this spring? Least favorite?

It’s tough to pick a favorite because I really enjoyed all of the books on my lists this Spring.  A Midwife’s Tale and A Thousand Splendid Suns probably stood out the most for their stories and style.  I really related to the sentiments portrayed in Stepping Heavenward and enjoyed reading it as well.

As for a least favorite, I would have to say Mater Biscuit.  It isn’t that I didn’t like the book, just not as much as the others.

What did you learn about your reading habits or interests?

I’ve always struggled reading non-fiction, but during this challenge I liked the non-fiction that I chose and got “into” the books just like I do with fiction.  I learned that I can read non-fiction easily and really enjoy it if it is a topic that I’m interested in.

Are you interested in another “Fall Into Reading” challenge this fall?


Visit Callapidder Days to see the other participant’s wrap up posts. Thanks, Katrina, for hosting another great reading challenge.  I’m looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: A Midwife’s Tale

Thoughtfully penned on April 4th, 2008 and generally concerning Goals, Reading

Two weeks into the Spring Reading Thing, and I’ve completed two of the books on my goal list. I know my pace will slow when Boo arrives, but so far I’m off to a good start.

The first book, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, was quite informative but exclusively about childbirth and the technology associated with it. I won’t review it here because it probably isn’t of interest to anyone else.

Yesterday I finished reading A Midwife’s Tale. This book chronicles the training and career of co-author Penny Armstrong through a series of short stories (each one is a chapter) that come together to give the reader a picture of her life, her struggles, and her clients.

A Midwife’s Tale traces the situations and personal development of Mrs. Armstrong that transform her from a hospital midwife, with all of the technology and interventions associated with that setting, to a midwife with her own practice doing only home births. As someone with a science background (I was pre-med in college), I found this part of the story quite interesting.

However, the thing that made this book fascinating to me was Mrs. Armstrong’s clientele. Upon the completion of her midwifery training, she chose to move to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to serve the Amish community there. The book paints a picture of the Amish and their lifestyle from the perspective of an outsider who became intimately acquainted with these people.  It details her encounters with their customs and culture in ways that I haven’t read before.

Although the story teller is a midwife, the book is not laden with medical jargon and technical information about childbirth. Most of the stories are, obviously, about childbirth, but there is nothing presented that would be offensive or beyond the experience of anyone who has given birth (or even seen one of those birth videos they show in school). If you have any interest in midwifery or the Amish people and their lifestyle, I really think you would enjoy this book.

Spring Reading Thing – let’s get started!

Thoughtfully penned on March 20th, 2008 and generally concerning Blogging News, Goals, Reading, Spring is here!


Today is a good day because it is:

a) the first official day of Spring
b) my birthday
c) the beginning of the Spring Reading Thing
d) time for a Sidetrack’d giveaway (check it out here)
e) all of the above

If you picked “e”, congratulations and happy March 20th!

I’m having a bit of a tough time with my reading list this Spring.  In fact, I wasn’t sure I was going to participate in SRT at all, but since I know I’ll be reading anyway, I might as well set a few goals.  My reading will be complicated by a few things: first, Boo’s arrival in a few weeks will definitely impact the time and energy I have to devote to reading; second, my local library is changing locations and is closed for the next couple of weeks (this could make it a bit more difficult to get some of my books); and third, I’m having trouble deciding what I want to read.  As always, I reserve the right to add to, subtract from, or alter this list as I see fit.

And with all my excuses out of the way, here is my list…

John Adams by David McCullough
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss
A Midwife’s Story by Penny Armstrong
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
The Complete Book of Sewing by DK Publishing (won’t finish this one by June)

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Austenland by Shannon Hale
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
Mater Biscuit by Julie Cannon

Bible Study:
Until the baby arrives, I’ll be continuing my study of the gospel of Matthew through Bible Study Fellowship International; after that, I haven’t yet decided what I will do.

The books listed here will be added to my bookshelf in the sidebar and will remain there until the challenge is completed (or I get them read if I don’t finish by June).

For more information on the Spring Reading Thing or to view the other participants lists, click on the button at the top of this post.

Happy Reading!

From the Sidetrack’d bookshelf – a giveaway

Thoughtfully penned on March 20th, 2008 and generally concerning Giveaways, Reading, Sidetrack'd, Spring is here!

To celebrate Spring and the Spring Reading Thing, Sidetrack’d is hosting a book giveaway!


An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor

This was a light and fun read that left me with much the same feeling as the books in Jan Karon’s Mitford series.  Living in the small, rural Irish town of Ballybucklebo during the mid-twentieth century, the two main characters endear themselves to you with their quirks, faults, and the way they interact with each other and the interesting clients of their medical practice.  If you are looking for a warm and happy read, I would recommend you check this one out.

From the back of the book:

Barry Laverty, M.B. can barely find the Northern Ireland village of Ballybucklebo on a map when he first sets out to seek gainful employment there.  But Barry jumps at the chance to secure a position as an assistant in a small rural practice.

At least until he meets Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly.

The older physician has his own way of doing things.  At first, Barry can’t decide if the pugnacious O’Reilly is the biggest charlatan he has ever met or the best teacher he could ever hope for.  Through O’Reilly, Barry soon gets to know all of the village’s colorful and endearing residents and a host of other eccentric characters who make every day an education for the inexperienced young doctor.

Ballybucklebo is a long way from Belfast, and Barry is quick to discover that he still has a lot to learn about country life.  But with pluck and compassion, and only the slightest touch of blarney, he will find out more about life – and love – than he ever imagined back in medical school.

If you would like to be entered in the drawing for this book, leave a comment on this post; you don’t have to be a blogger to win, just be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you comment.  I will close the contest around noon on Friday, March 28, and determine a winner using the random number generator at random.org.  The winner will be announced here at Sidetrack’d and notified by e-mail and/or a comment on their personal blog.  This is my personal copy of this book, so it has been gently read.  I will be happy to ship to US addresses via USPS parcel post or media mail.

I hope to have a couple more giveaways during the Spring Reading Thing, so check back over the next several weeks.

Fall Into Reading update

Thoughtfully penned on October 25th, 2007 and generally concerning Fall Festivities, Goals, Reading

We are a little over a month into the Fall Into Reading challenge and so far things are going pretty well with my reading list. As it stands now, I have five books to finish and just under two months to accomplish my goal. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly to date:

The good – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, et al.

I began reading this book back in the summer but had to set it aside when morning sickness set in and I could no longer handle reading about food. I was anxious to pick it back up as I really enjoyed what I had read and was not disappointed by the remainder of the book.

This non-fiction book records the efforts of Kingsolver’s family to eat locally for a full year. They accomplished the task by gardening, raising poultry (they live on a farm in Appalachia), visiting the local farmers’ market, and dealing with other farmers in their area to procure the food they needed. I found her stories about small-scale farming, canning, dealing with animals, and working with her neighbors to be both good reading and food for thought.

If you are interested in learning more about eating locally (either through growing your own or using local resources), eating organically, or just have an interest in how the modern American food business works I would recommend this book. It is well written, easy to read, and prompted many discussions between Matt and myself.

The bad – The Butterfly Effect by James Swallow

I don’t know that this book is bad per se, but it has been removed from my list. I’m not sure exactly how or when this book was added to my master reading list, but as I looked more closely at the book I decided it didn’t really interest me. I will probably add a book in place of this one; I just haven’t decided on one yet.

The ugly – Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Have you ever looked at a book numerous times over several months, been excited about reading it when you finally get to it, and then been disappointed when you started reading? That is how I felt with this book. I’ve wanted to read it for a couple of years now, so for a while I tried to trudge through it. When I realized that I had only read about 40 pages in almost two weeks and really had no interest in picking it back up, I knew it was time to let it go. Disappointing, yes, but there are too many books to read to get caught up on one I don’t enjoy.