It’s my blog…

and I’ll whine if I want to.

I know it’s hot for many people. But this is my blog and I’ll use it to complain about the weather if I want to.

I live in Oklahoma. Usually, we see temperatures in the triple digits in August. Maybe in the end of July. This is the 4th day in a row of temperatures over 100. It’s June. I am very afraid of what it will be like in August.

I have friends in Cape Cod going, “It’s all 65 degrees here!” And some in Seattle going, “Highs in the 70′s here!” I seriously hate this weather. If it was at all feasible for me to move someplace rainy and cool, I would so be packing the kids up and going.

Thank you. That is all.

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

The Patron Saint of Liars: A Novel (P.S.) I read this for the Summer Reading Challenge I wrote about yesterday. It’s part of the 3 centuries task. I read The Book Lover by Ali Smith for the 2000s. This one is from the 1900s. One more from the 1800s and I’ll be all set for that task.

In The Patron Saint of Liars, Rose is waiting for her sign from God about what she is supposed to do with her life. She meets Thomas who says all the right things and clearly loves her very much. After she marries him, she realizes she was wrong. When she finds herself pregnant, she leaves. Just takes the car and disappears. She ends up across the country at a home for unwed mothers.

Ann Patchett writes so beautifully that it’s so easy to just read and read. Everything flows so easily. I wasn’t sure I was in the mood for this book, but it just sucks you in.

I didn’t like Rose very much. She wasn’t very personable. But the other main characters, Son and Cecilia, are really sympathetic. Just trying to deal with Rose.

It wasn’t too “issue-oriented”. I hate that. Yes, it takes place in a home for unwed mothers, but it isn’t preachy or even really about the home too much.

Summer Reading Challenge

I’m pretty sure I mentioned before that I am on My favorite part about the site is the group I joined called The Next Best Book Club. There are tons of threads on there about everything under the sun, book-related and otherwise. There are close to 4000 members, but everyone is really nice, and I’ve come out of my shell a little bit and left some comments.

Anyway, one of the things I’m participating in is the Summer 2009 Reading Challenge. This thing is amazing. Basically, there are a bunch of “tasks” to complete to earn points. They are divided into point categories from 5-50 points. The total points you can earn is 940!

Each task has a theme, mostly. The 25 and 30 point tasks are made up by the winners of last season’s challenge, but the rest of them are created by one woman, who also moderates the challenge and keeps up with everyone’s points. I think that would be a hard job, but so much fun!

Essentially, I looked at my “Mt. To-Be-Read” stack and tried to fit as many of them into the challenge as possible. There’s no way I could read 940 points worth of books, but I can knock out a few of my TBRs.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite challenges:

For 5 points: “Jerry Garcia – Born August 1, 1942 – Read a Fiction or Non-Fiction book about a musician or band.” I’ll be reading Crued and Tattooed by Vince Neil (big shocker, right?)

“This Day in History – July 27, 1858: First use of fingerprints as a means of identification – Read mystery of crime fiction book.” I’ll read The Black Tower by Louis Bayard.

For 15 points: “Casting Call – Read a book that hasn’t already been made into a movie and post a list of who you would cast if you were making the film.” I think I’m going to read The Reincarnationist by MJ Rose.

“What’s in a Name? – Read 2 books written by 2 different authors who share either a first or last name.” I’ll read A Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg and Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout.

For 30 points: “In celebration of young adult librarians everywhere – Read Three YA books.” I’m not sure about this one, yet, but I have plenty to choose from.

“Pick and read 2 books from the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die List” Sweet! I can work on two challenges at once! I’ll read The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Midnight’s Children.

The Book Lover by Ali Smith

The Book Lover Basically, The Book Lover by Ali Smith is a collection of works and segments of works that Smith liked reading. It is really hard for me to read collections like this. I have to switch gears every few pages to start reading the next selection. It was distracting. There were a few I really liked, but I’m not about to run out and find other work by those authors. This was just too tiring. It took about 10 days to read its 450 pages.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

The Elegance of the Hedgehog I would have blogged about this book before, but I was having trouble getting to my site.

Anyway, The Elegance of the Hedgehog takes place in a posh Parisian apartment building. One narrator is the middle-aged concierge who is not all she appears to be. The other narrator is a 12 year old resident of the building who is precocious, to say the least. The two strike up an unlikely friendship.

It is translated from the French by Alison Anderson, but I don’t think it loses in the translation. It is wonderful and funny and poetic.

1% Well-Read #4

Hey! I’m back. Between vacation and jury duty, I’ve been a bit distracted.

But on vacation I finished a Challenge book!

The Master The Master by Colm Toibin is a novel of Henry James. The main action takes place between 1895 and 1899. But there wasn’t much in the way of real action at that time. Mostly, it was action in the form of flashbacks so that the reader gets a picture of most of James’ life. The writing is beautiful so it isn’t too hard to keep going through the less interesting segments. James would have been the quintessential Englishman (you know, stiff upper lip old chap) if he had happened to have been English. He chose to live in England, but he was born and raised in Boston.

I do intend to read more of Toibin’s books based solely on the beauty of the language in this book.