The Sunday Salon ~ I’m Back!

January 11, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 17 Comments
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The Sunday Salon.comAfter a week of computer frustration, I am back! This afternoon I actually felt like picking my laptop back up and getting back to work again. I’ve missed you guys!

While I’ve been away, I have been getting some things accomplished. I got rid of all my half.com books. I sold them all for $10 and then promptly bought The Reader. Yes, it’s true that the last thing that I need is a book. Still, what a nice trade against boxes filling the back of my Grand Caravan? With the room I’ve made, I’ve been able to able to box up my sprint and summer clothes and put them on the top shelf of my walk-in closet. My clothes will no longer be wrinkled the moment they’re hung up. This also is making more room for my my stamping supplies. I’m not finished organizing the space, but I’ve made some great progress.

I’ve also been reading. Since the New Year, I’ve read My Lady of Cleves, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Etta, and Tomato Girl. My Lady of Cleves and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button are both books off of my Just for the Love of It Reading Challenge. Because I’ve also joined the January is ARC Reading Month, I will be reading ARCs the rest of the month. It felt good to be reading non-ARCs. It’s re-energized me for the rest of the month. Etta and Tomato Girl are books off of my 2009 ARC Reading Challenge. I’m well under way. I’m currently reading Mermaids in the Basement for an upcoming book tour and author interview. This is another one for the ARC Reading Challenge. But that’s not all! I forgot about my first read for the War through the Generations Reading Challenge ~ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I’m listening to it on my Zen Creative (which I LOVE) and enjoying it.

I’ve got a lot of reviews to catch up on now that I no longer get hives touching a computer after work. First up will be my last book of 2008 ~ Loving Frank. Loving Frank is the first book we read in my Facebook Historical Fiction Lovers Book Club. 64 people have signed up and I’m really happy about that. The book for February is Soul Catcher by Michael White. If you want to join in on the fun, there is plenty of time. Most of all, we’d be happy to have you.

The New Year is a time to make resolutions. As someone who is overweight, my resolution is either to lose weight or, when I’m feeling more confident, to learn to love myself. This year I wasn’t sure what I wanted. Over the past 11 days, I decided that I wanted to live healthy – and doesn’t that accomplish both? I joined SparkPeople (Lithousewife is my username). It’s a really cool free site where you can set your goals and meet others getting healthier. Best of all, there is a Bookworm community for those who want to devour more books while easting less. 🙂 You know that’s right up my alley. I’m watching the first episode of this season’s The Biggest Loser and it is very, very motivating.  I look forward to giving you updates on my healthy me challenge as the year progresses.

I hope that all of you are doing well. I will be back on the blogs tonight – right after I do a Wii Fit workout.

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The Sunday Salon ~ Savoring Reading

November 30, 2008 at 8:27 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 12 Comments
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The Sunday Salon.comHappy Sunday, everyone!  I hope that this post finds you fat and happy after a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend.  Thanksgiving was fun this year because both girls had an understanding of what it is about and actually wanted to watch the parade with us Thursday morning.  This also promises to be a fun Christmas as well.  Both girls are starting to get on pins and needles waiting for Santa.  I can’t wait until Christmas morning!  Something tells me they won’t be sleeping in again this year like they did last year.

Savoring Reading

I want to, but I don’t – at least not recently.  This hit home last night as I was finishing up The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer.  I thoroughly enjoyed my first Regency Romance, but as the back cover got closer and closer, my thoughts were already shifting to my Mining ARCs spreadsheet and the book I would be reading next.  When I finished the novel, there wasn’t a minute between putting The Reluctant Widow on my nightstand where it awaits my review (most likely Wednesday) and picking up The Front Porch Prophet by Raymond L. Atkins.  The reviews of this novel have been wonderful and I’ve really been enjoying the first 40 pages.  Still, I know that as I get closer to finishing it, I will start drifting toward whatever might be the next novel on my spreadsheet.  I just don’t like this.

This wasn’t how it always was.  I distinctly remember sitting back in my rocking chair holding my copy of Life of Pi to my chest after I finished it.  I played the novel back through my imagination, stopping from time to time to pick up on portions of Pi’s journey that I missed or overlooked during my reading.  The Monsters of Templeton, Wicked, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, The Last Queen, Gardens of Water, The Thirteenth Tale, The Other Boleyn Girl, Innocent Traitor, The Witch’s Trinity, The Gargoyle, and The Kite Runner had similar affects on me.  I even miss the reactions I’ve had with books I didn’t care for such as Perfect Match and Eat, Pray, Love.  At this point, I’m reading books as fast as I can to fill all of the obligations I’ve made since July.  There doesn’t seem to be room to fully appreciate a great book or get my dander up over a book that pisses me off.  There’s always that next book pushing its way into my consciousness like a permanent tooth unwilling to wait until the Tooth Fairy has been summoned.

Although I was a little blue about this last night, It has occurred to me that all is not lost until my spreadsheet is completed, though.  When I write my reviews, I am also savoring my books in a different way.  It takes me between one and two hours to write my reviews, and that is after a day or more thinking through what I want to say.  That might not feel as luxurious to me as I would like, but it is very much time spent reflecting on what I’ve read.  Between the time I finish my review of A Civil General and Wednesday, I’ll most certainly be reminising over old times with Elinor as I prepare for my review of The Reluctant Widow.  And let’s not forget that there is nothing stopping me for rereading the books I would have wanted to spend more time with after I’ve finished plowing through my ARCs.  That’s even something to look forward to, now isn’t it?

Have you been savoring any books recently?  I’d love to hear about your experiences.  I have no problem living vicariously through others…

The Sunday Salon ~ October Wrap Up, NaNoWriMo and Mining ARCs

November 9, 2008 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 14 Comments
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Since I didn’t get a chance to reflect on October, I thought I would start there before discussing my first full week of November.

October Wrap Up

October was an exciting month for me. Not only did I try some new things on my blog, I also celebrated my 37th birthday, my daugthers’ 6th (Emma) and 4th (Allison) birthday, and my 11th anniversary with Danny.  My parents and my Uncle Ryan came down for a visit, something that is always nice.  The most momentous thing for me, though, was standing up in front of nearly 250 people and speaking at a professional conference.  I left that stage feeling energized and alive.  I can’t really express how much of an adrenaline boost that gave me for more than a week.  It was a defining moment in my life.  You never know what you can do, do well, and enjoy unless you try.

October Spotlight

For the first time, I spent the entire month focusing on one book – The Witch’s Trinity by Erika Mailman.  I hope that everyone enjoyed it.  Erika wrote a wonderful guest post and graciously offered three giveaway copies of her novel.  I am looking forward to hearing back from our three winners: Dar, XXX and .  As an FYI, I still owe the transcript of the interview with Erika and hope to post that this week.

October Reading Recap

I also had a pretty decent reading month in October.  I read nine books and, as of last night, they are all reviewed.  I am not counting Bible Illuminated because I did not read the entire New Testament.

Here’s the list:

Non-Fiction:

Constitution Translated for Kids by Cathy Travis
Bible Illuminated: The Book (New Testament)
Just Say Nu by Micheal Wex

General Fiction

The Tenth Case by Joseph Teller
Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff
Janeology by Karen Harrington
Finding Nouf by Zoë Ferraris

Historical Fiction

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
The Lost Diary of Don Juan by Don Carlton Abrams
Capote in Kansas by Kim Powers

Anti-Pick of the Month

I could not pick just one book as my favorite, so I’m going to do something a little different.  If you had all of the books I read and could only pick one not to read, I guess I would pick:

cover-of-the-tenth-case

NaNoWriMo

I started the NaNoWriMo at the beginning of the month and over the first two days, I wrote almost 5,000 words.  Unfortunately, this is not something that I can continue.  Giving the responsibilities I have at home and my very real need to get out from underneath the pile of ARCs I’ve accumulated.  I’ve decided to focus on the prior commitments I made to authors and publishers.  That being said, I really enjoyed the writing I did accomplish and I know that this is something I can do when the time is right.

Although I’m no longer participating, that doesn’t mean that I can’t cheer the rest of the troops on.  If you’re like Bethany, Karen, Jena and are working hard to meet your 50,000 words this month, I am your biggest cheerleader.  If you need encouragement or anything, you know where to find me. Go Team NaNoWriMo!

Mining ARCs

So, after deciding to quit NaNoWriMo, I organized all of my ARCs and prioritized them based upon external deadlines like book tours and personal interest.  I’ve put myself on a book every three day schedule and, after this middle of this week, a Monday, Wednesday, Friday review schedule.  If I follow through on the schedule I’ve worked out, I will be free to begin picking books based upon my whims, not my obligations beginning the first of February.  I have just a little over two months to go until I reach the other side – with ample time built in for the holidays so I don’t get stressed out mid-stream.  To me, this will be a wonderful thing.  As much as I love the opportunity to read new books, the weight of that obligation is getting too heavy for me.  It’s making my reading and my blogging feel like a part-time job I can’t get rid of instead of the joy it has been for the most part.  I hope to be able to accept a book or two each month, but from here on out, I want to be in complete control of my reading.

I’ve got my eyes on the prize and believe me, once my last scheduled review is posted on January 30, 2009, there will be a huge celebration going on in The Literate Housewife’s household.

How was your week?

The Sunday Salon ~ I Am Out of My Mind

October 12, 2008 at 5:29 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe | 20 Comments
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The Sunday Salon.comI have completely lost my mind.  Was it not just last week that I could not keep up with my reviews?  So what do I go and do?  I decide to take the plunge and enter the National Novel Writing Month, which runs from November 1st through the 30th.  To win, you have to write at least 50,000 during that month, and you can’t start early.  I truly believe I have lost it.  It’s Denise fault, though.  She wrote an enticing post about the contest.  Couple that with a “bug in the ear” comment that Karen left on my post about authors and mental illness and the wonderful guest posts I’ve read this week by Kim Powers and Michelle Moran, and I was hooked.  I have wanted to write a novel since I was in the second grade.  In fact, I planned on writing the Great American Novel by the time I was 33.  I am a procrastinator, however, and easily sidetracked.  I need a deadline in order to focus.  This, I rationalized, would be just the deadline I was looking for.  I have no idea what sort of novel I’ll write, but that’s not the purpose of National Novel Writing Month.  The goal is to churn out unedited content.  I know that if when I meet this goal I will no longer be able to use the excuse that I’m not disciplined enough to write.

As soon as I registered, the fear set in.  50,000 words in one month?  Am I crazy?  I am going to have to discipline myself to write at least 1,667 words per day.  That’s over twice as long as my average post.  Believe me, I checked that out immediately.  After copying and pasting a post three times into Word, it’s only about 3 full pages of single spaced text with double spacing between paragraphs.  I’ve written much longer than a 90 page document at work in a month’s time or less.  That makes me feel better.  So, in order to keep myself honest and to make it much more difficult to give up, I’m telling all my readers about my intentions.  Every day I am planning on getting up at 5am, which should give me an hour and a half of uninterrupted writing time.  I will post my updated word count every day.  If you don’t see it, please feel free to beat me up about it.

My review mojo has returned somewhat grudgingly.  I’ve written four reviews during the last week and have posted three so far: Sisters of Misery, The Torn Skirt, and The Good Person Guidebook.  My review of Shrink Rap will be posted tomorrow.  What I ended up having to do was to hold my reading time hostage.  After I finished The Other Queen (which I enjoyed – not my favorite Philippa Gregory novel, but I was happy with it), I only allowed myself to read that day after writing a review (or at least most of it).  That has worked to get me back up to speed.  I now only have to write my review of Immortal and The Other Queen to be caught up.  As a result, I have only gotten about 80 pages into The Tenth Case by Joseph Teller.  After that will be Bad Monkeys by Mark Ruff (finally) and Janeology by Karen Harrington (yeah!).

I’ve come to the decision that I accept way too many ARCs.  I have mostly enjoyed the books that have been sent to me for review, but I’m finding myself wanting more and more to read books that I have bought or have been given to me as a gift.  So, I went through the books I had and found 8 that I’ve either had for a while or received without requesting them.  I offered them to the first commenter yesterday.  I still have Webs of Power and Swap left.  If you’d be interested in either of those novels, please let me know.  I hope that each requester loves the book they’ll be receiving.  I can’t wait to read and, in some cases, post their reviews.

We had a great time on our camping trip last weekend.  I wish I had pictures to post, but we haven’t downloaded them to look at yet.  I’m hoping to post them very soon.  The campground was nice and clean and we had a great time.  The temperatures got down well into the 40s the first night, so we had some extreme family bonding while we tried to get some sleep without losing fingers and toes.  We bundled up much better on Saturday night and got much better sleep because it didn’t get as cold.  I’ll definitely be going back there again.

I hope that everyone else had a great week.  My sister, Meridith, should be having my fourth niece this week.  We were hoping Karly would be born on my birthday, but kids just don’t listen these days. 🙂

The Sunday Salon 09.21.08

September 21, 2008 at 1:35 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe | 12 Comments
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The Sunday Salon.comIt is such a gorgeous day today!  This is the first morning I woke up feeling chilly.  A few months from now I’ll no doubt be complaining about this, but it felt really, really good.  I’ll be wearing long pants and a long sleeve t-shirt today for sure.  And, since I’ve finally gotten my seasonal blahs to a manageable place, I can enjoy the cooler weather and the changing of the colors. 🙂

What a week!  Book Blogger Appreciation Week was an inspiration to me.  Jen at Devourer of Books made my week early on and it just stayed that way.  I enjoyed visiting new blogs and presenting four of the awards and two contests.   It culminated in a wonderful book blogger wide shout out to Amy at My Friend Amy that was really impressive.  It’s amazing what a group of people who don’t know each other can do in such a short period of time. I want to personally thank Trish at Hey Lady, Whatcha Readin’ for the gorgeous button she created for Amy.  It is absolutely lovely!

The Literate Housewives’ Book Club is also back up and running.  After 9 months, we’re giving it another try.  In addition to the blog, I’ve created a forum and will be creating a newsletter.  Our first book is Immortal by Traci Slatton.  A couple of the members have finished the book, but I’m about 10 chapters in myself.  We’re not actually describing the book until we’ve finished, which will probably be closer to the end of the month.  So, there’s still time to join if you’re interested.

In addition to the blogging, I got a good deal of reading done.  I finished Sisters of Misery by Megan Kelly Hall.  I read that novel to help out Andi at AndiLit.  It was really good and I just noticed that in the activity of BBAW that Amy hosted a guest post by the author.  I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the sequel.  I also read and enjoyed The Torn Skirt by Rebecca Godfrey.  I’ll be writing and posting the reviews for these novels this week.

I have a question about young adult literature for those of you who regularly read and review it.  Sisters of Misery is listed in the YA Lit category.  It was about a group of high school aged girls, so that fits YA to me.  However, there were quite a few references to drugs, sex, rape, and gang rape.  Two characters, one of whom is a high school character, smoke.  What really stuck out to me as being inappropriate for a YA novel is my least favorite word, c*nt.  Are these topics and the use of that kind of language acceptable or common in the YA literature of today?  It’s been since the late 80s since I’ve read YA fiction and I know that a lot has changed…

I’m starting Bad Monkey by Matt Ruff and The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory in addition to Immortal for my reading this week.  A lot of great reading is heading my way.

Next weekend I’ll be heading to the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. and I cannot wait!  I’ll have pictures and a report back on those festivities in my next Sunday Salon.  In the meantime, have a great week everyone!

The Sunday Salon 9.7.08 & 100th Review Contest

September 7, 2008 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 12 Comments
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The Sunday Salon.comThis has been a productive week in Literate Housewife Review land. I read three and a half books, hosted a book tour, got nominated for a BBAW award, and published two reviews, which brought me just one review away from my 100th review!  I remember back in January of 2007 that I never in my wildest dreams saw this day coming.  I was hoping to make it to 52.  I had no idea what this would become.  Now, I’m looking forward to my next 100 reviews.  The sky’s the limit when you keep and open mind and follow your heart.

I hosted C.W. Gortner on his blog tour on Tuesday and published my review of his delightful novel, The Last Queen.  Please feel free to keep leaving comments and questions for him.  He’ll be coming back periodically to check out what’s going on.  He seems very nice and you can also find him on the new and improved site of the Historical Fiction board.  If you enjoy historical fiction and haven’t checked out this board, you really should.  You’ll find some familiar book blogging faces and other interesting people.

Adam at Letters on Pages wrote a wonderful review of The Blue Death.  He graciously agreed to read and review it for me.  Thank you, Adam!

On Friday, I found out that I was nominated for a Book Blogger Appreciation Week award and I’m so thrilled.  I was nominated in the Best Book Club Blog category and I’m thrilled.  Please take the time to vote for me (if you choose) and all of the other wonderful nominees at My Friend Amy.

Last night I finally published my review of The Seamstress by Frances De Pontes Peebles.  I can’t tell you how excited I was when I typed in the “#99” in the header for that post.  This leads me to my 100th Review Contest…

Tonight at midnight I will be publish my 100th review.  I am tomorrow’s host for Kathleen McCleary’s blog tour for House and Home, which is being sponsored by TLC Book Tours.  I don’t want to give away too many details here.  You’ll have to come back after midnight to find out all the details, but I’ll leave you with this clue:

I missed The Sunday Salon last week, so I want to take this opportunity to thank four of my book blogging friends:

I was one of the lucky winners in Chartroose’s 101 post contest at Bloody Hell, It’s a Book Barrage and last week my treasured Jane Austen action figure arrived in the mail.  She now uses her super writing powers to guard and protect my collection of her books.

Shana at Literarily nominated me for the SuperCommenter award and I’m so delighted!  I will be making my own nominations next week.  Thanks, Shana!

Don at Don’s Stuff also awarded me for my comments on his blog.  I have say that I am tickled by this graphic and may have to use it in another post if I’m so lucky as to win any other awards.  Thanks, Don!

Finally, my friend Marcia at The Printed Page sent me a copy of The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.  I have been wanting to read this novel since I first read Devourer of Books’s reviewMarcia’s review made me even more excited to read it.  I’ll be participating in the author’s book tour in November, so I only have a little while longer to wait.  Thanks so much, Marcia!

So, that’s my week.  It was nice feel good about what I’ve accomplished again.  I seem to have mostly recovered from the start of the school year.  How’s your week been?  I’m wishing everyone a great week ahead!  I’m hoping to keep up the reading and post four reviews.  Let’s see if I can meet my own personal challenge on that.

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