12.31.13

Books Gifted in December 2013

Posted in Tally at 1:30 am by Amber

Family members know my husband and I are book people. Hardly a year goes by that someone doesn’t receive a book from us. Here are some of the books given this month:

  • Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klassen – My sister-in-law and I knit so my niece has seen firsthand what can be done with a bit of colorful yarn and two sticks. ūüôā My niece likes the book so much she had someone read it to her after it was unwrapped, later that day and was certain to ask for it at bedtime.
  • The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy by Jody Duncan Jesser and Janine Pourroy – My brother is a huge Batman fan and he liked the movies. The only thing better would be some alternate universe comic where Batman and Wolverine have to combine forces against a villain.
  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – It was on my wish list but is something I’ve been dying to read. I mean… it’s a KATE ATKINSON BOOK! That’s something to get excited about. I looked for it a few times at the local bookstore but never found it in stock.
  • An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield – My father-in-law enjoys memoirs and books based on true events. I heard Col. Chris Hadfield’s interview on NPR and thought he had some interesting situations happen to him and they’d make for interesting reading.
  • The Book of Schmaltz by Michael Ruhlman – Ruhlman is an Ohio author and I like his books. I thought it a longshot my mother would try to make any of the recipes but thought she’d enjoy it. Within a few days she’d read it from front to back. It reminds her of food made by her aunts.
  • Still Foolin’ ‘Em by Billy Crystal – As long as I can remember my mother has liked him. I recall my parents watching Soap and I’m sure he was one reason. My mother says she chuckled a few times within the first few pages.
  • A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert – One of my sister-in-laws loves little house on the prairie. A few years ago I gave her The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure which she seemed to like. I think the Ingalls-Wilder clan has been mined enough and won’t be revisited for a long time.

I recall my husband was trying to decide between a book of poetry and a memoir for someone’s birthday. I can’t remember what he decided on. Maybe I’ll post these book gifts during months we give books so you can maybe get some book ideas too.

01.10.11

My Favorite Reads of 2010

Posted in Review, Tally at 11:55 am by Amber

Last year I read over 60 books and surprisingly, my top five favorites were read mostly at the beginning of the year.

Not surprisingly, I didn’t write reviews of all of them.¬† For the ones that don’t have reviews, I’ll be writing those later this week.¬† Not all of¬†my favorite reads¬†were released in 2010.¬† My husband will be surprised Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy didn’t make the list and I’m a little surprised too.¬† They weren’t books I wanted to force into people’s hands to read although they certainly have tweaked my perspective about Sweden a bit.

Here they are in the order I read them:

  1. The Outlander by Gil Adamson
  2. Spellbent by Lucy A. Snyder
  3. One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
  4. Little Bee: A Novel by Chris Cleave
  5. When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson

I didn’t set out to do any challenges this year but I did want to read Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose.¬† It’s been sitting on my TBR pile since December 2008.¬† I failed but will definitely read it this year.¬† How can I write that with confidence?¬† Because I started reading it two weeks ago.

What were your favorite reads this year?

07.06.09

Mid-Year Tally 2009

Posted in Tally at 11:36 pm by Amber

Last year an acquaintance of mine gave a mid-year tally of her publications, writings, movies watched, books read, etc. and it inspired me to look at the numbers for my year.¬† I’m repeating¬†my mid-year tally this year.

  • read¬†30 books
  • watched¬†73 movies
  • wrote 25 book reviews (2 published)
  • wrote¬†0 poems
  • wrote¬†? short stories

Last year I found I was poor at keeping track of such things.¬† It’s been much easier to keep track of the movies I see and the books I read.¬† Keeping track of the short stories I’ve read is an impossible task.¬†

LibraryThing has been a great tool for me this year for book tracking.¬† I have a much better idea of exactly how many books I have in my TBR pile and I can tell with certainty that I’m not making much progress on it.¬† This year I’ve obtained (some borrowed from the library) 54 books but since I’ve read 30 that leaves me with a surplus on the pile.¬† Gotta get reading (and doing some less obtaining).¬† I’ve also got to finish the new short stories I’ve been working on.

01.28.09

Books Read in 2008

Posted in Review, Tally at 11:04 pm by Amber

For a long time I resisted posting book reviews here because I was afraid of being pigeonholed.  Nearly all of my publications are reviews but that is just one venue I use for my writing.  It appears my reviews bring readers to my site but hopefully they find more when they start looking around.

Here is my list of books read in 2008.¬† I only began keeping track in July so I read more than 34 books but I couldn’t remember all of them.¬† If there is a book review published here or elsewhere, I’ve included the link for it.¬† The bolded ones are my favorites.¬†

  1. Woman’s Best Friend: Women Writers on the Dogs in Their Lives – Pam Houston and Megan McMorris
  2. The Unseen – T.C. McMullen
  3. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – Robert Mack
  4. ErRatic – N.D. Hansen-Hill
  5. About Alice – Calvin Trillin
  6. The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli – Ginetta Correli
  7. Gimp: When Life Deals You a Crappy Hand You Can Fold – Or You Can Play – Mark Zupan with Tim Swanson
  8. The Hunters – Claire Messud
  9. Red Ant House – Ann Cummins
  10. No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas For Your Blog – Margaret Mason
  11. The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelancing – Diana Burrell and Linda Formichelli
  12. Heat – Bill Buford
  13. Twilight – Stephenie Meyer
  14. The Rule of Four – Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason
  15. Born Standing Up: A Comics Life – Steve Martin
  16. The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock: The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Selling More Work Faster – Diana Burrell and Linda Formichelli
  17. Faceless Killers – Henning Mankell
  18. Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name – Vendela Vida
  19. Greywalker – Kat Richardson
  20. New Moon – Stephenie Meyer
  21. Eclipse – Stephenie Meyer
  22. Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer
  23. Poltergeist – Kat Richardson
  24. The Jane Austen Book Club – Karen Joy Fowler
  25. In The Night Kitchen – Maurice Sendak
  26. The Headless Cupid – Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  27. The Good German – Joseph Kanon
  28. Dirt: An American Campaign – Mark LaFlamme
  29. Any Given Doomsday – Lori Handeland
  30. Ever – Gail Carson Levine
  31. Sarah’s Key – Tatiana de Rosnay
  32. The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection – Michael Ruhlman
  33. Things the Grandchildren Should Know – Michael Oliver Everett
  34. Sweetsmoke – David Fuller

01.04.09

2008 Publications

Posted in Tally, Writing at 6:08 pm by Amber

Here is the list of my publications in 2008.  This includes book reviews that have not appeared on this site. 

I had two writing goals for 2008.¬† The first was to start my web site and the second was to get some more of my writing published.¬† 2008 brought a lot of rejections my way but I did send out more original work than I had in 2007.¬† As for actual items published… I’m even for 2007 and 2008!

Book Reviews
The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli by Ginnetta Correli in Niteblade, December 2008 Issue
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Robert Mack in Niteblade, June 2008 Issue
The Unseen by T.C. McMullen in Niteblade, March 2008 Issue
The Sweetest Hours: Love Stories… of a Kind by Laura Pedersen on OnceWritten.com
The Bird Woman by Kerry Hardie on OnceWritten.com

Fiction
“The Monster Under The Bed” in the September 2008 issue of The Shine Journal

07.14.08

Mid-Year Tally

Posted in Tally at 6:44 pm by Amber

An acquaintance of mine gave a mid-year tally of her publications, writings, movies watched, books read, etc. and it inspired me to look at the numbers for my year. 

  • read 7 books
  • saw 58 movies
  • wrote 5 book reviews
  • wrote 2 poems
  • wrote 35 short stories (most still in first draft stage)

I found I am poor at keeping track of such things.¬† My husband generally keeps track of my movies for me.¬† For the remainder of the year I will need to do a better job of tracking my read books.¬† I won’t even attempt to keep track of the short stories I’ve read.¬† Since creating the tally I’ve read two more books and added them to a Word document that has the books I can remember reading¬†this year.¬† See?¬† Already I’m doing a better job!¬†

Prior to last year’s move I had over 125 books in my “to be read” (TBR) pile.¬† I’m starting to work on that pile though it goes ever so slowly.¬† It wasn’t built in a day though, so I have no illusions that it will disappear in a day, or a week, or even a few months.¬†