Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween Eve!


Happy Halloween!

Ok, so it's not Halloween yet, but I don't normally like posting on Saturdays and with the way my week has been if I don't schedule this post now it won't get posted. I made this cake for my work Halloween party--the tombstones are made from Milano cookies, the ghosts from marshmallows speared by pretzels, the trees from bigger pretzels piped with frosting, the bones and skulls are little candies, and of course the beloved pumpkins (although I think Brach's changed their recipe!). The cake is vanilla because I don't like chocolate cake and refuse to make it, but the icing is chocolate (which strangely I do like).

It's a little busy and I don't know how we'll cut and eat the cake, but I'm pretty excited to have made my first cake where a teacher wasn't telling me what to do. Doesn't it look yummy??

We don't have any plans for Halloween yet. We'll have some company this weekend, but other than that I hope for a quiet weekend where I can catch up a bit on life. The house is a wreck, laundry needs to be done, I need to do some serious running, and of course blog stuff. Hopefully aside from all of that I'll have some time to curl up with Hunger Games!

What plans do you have for the weekend?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier

Title: Rebecca
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Published: 1938 Pages: 386
Genre: Literary Fiction/Classic
Rating: 4.5/5

Can you believe that a year ago I'd never heard of Rebecca OR Daphne du Maurier? The book began to creep up on the blogosphere and to be honest I thought it was a cheesy romance novel. It wasn't until my friend Laura read the book that I became really interested, and I quickly added it to my shelf collections. I was so thrilled when Amanda from The Zen Leaf asked me if I'd be interested in doing a buddy review with her this month.

Summary:
Rebeccabegins when the young narrator (we'll call her Narry) meets a wealthy widow, Maxim de Winter, and an unlikely friendship and courtship ensues. After a few weeks of spending much time together, Narry accepts Maxim's proposal of marriage and they have a quiet ceremony before moving to Manderley. At Manderley, Narry soon realizes that Maxim's first wife, Rebecca, who has drowned in a tragic boating accident, continues to haunt the house and the lives of those left behind. Rebecca doesn't haunt in the traditional sense of the word (no ghosts or anything like that), but the magnificence of her character continually overshadows the meek and innocent Narry. Throughout the novel, Narry is in constant battle with Rebecca's legacy and must fight in order to maintain her rightful place as mistress of the great Manderley.

Buddy Review:
Amanda and I conversed back and forth about our thoughts on Rebecca. We split our conversation in half, so you can read the first half over at The Zen Leaf (I recommend going now and coming back as our conversation will make more sense that way). We tried to avoid spoilers wherever possible--you can tell below where I start to get a little cryptic and squeamish in trying not to give anything away! I'll start with the last sentence of my part of the conversation just for transition's sake.

Trish: What did you think about the characters in the book? Any that you'll be remembering for a time to come?

Amanda: I agree that Mrs. Danvers is probably one of the most creepy characters I've ever read! Two scenes with her in specific really made me shudder in horror. I think you're right, all the characters were fantastically drawn, but I think Mrs. Danvers and even Rebecca, despite being dead, were the best. It begs to be compared to modern horror books, which don't seem to realize that creepy can be achieved without a lot of blood and guts. du Maurier left so much to the imagination, and used so many psychological tricks on her characters to make them nightmarish, though realistically so. It was just perfect.

Okay - so I have to ask, because I've harped on this in recent reviews - what did you think about the crime aspect of the novel? I don't want to reveal spoilers, so all I'm going to say is that a crime takes place at one point, and the characters are trying to escape justice, and they feel the crime was justified. Do you believe it was justified, and that they were justified trying to escape punishment? I have to admit, even though normally I would automatically answer NO, I really empathized with these characters and wanted them to go free.

Trish: Well, let me put it this way--when I read your paragraph I immediately thought "crime? what crime?!" Does that basically answer your question. Yes, of course a crime was committed and it was a horrible crime. Can it really be justified? I think you start stepping into some pretty soggy ethical ground when you begin debating whether or not the crime should be committed. Look at us dodging these spoilers--if I hadn't already read the book I'd want to now!

You've asked a really great question, Amanda, and I don't think I have the answer. The moral side of me wants to think that there could have been other actions taken before the crime was committed to have prevented the whole mess that occurs in the second half of the book. In the end, though, I just don't think it would have been quite the same if the characters had all been carted off in handcuffs at the end of the book. Throughout the book Maxim exclaims that Rebecca has won--as if the two were in constant battle during their lives together. In the end, do you think Rebecca did in fact win or have the others gained the upperhand?

Amanda: I think in the end, neither really gains the upperhand. In one way, sure, they got away with the crime - but do they ever really go free? They've lost so much, they have such heavy hearts, and with that abrupt end (Agh!!!), you never really know if they recover. The little hints at the beginning of the book say almost nothing. I suppose, in conclusion, I really thought this book was masterfully pieced together. It's ethically grey, it's romantic and tragic both, and there is no clear conclusion. Not to mention the incredible atmosphere we talked about above. I can't wait to read more by du Maurier! How about you? Any final thoughts?

Trish: I think you sum the book and your feelings up really well. I was a little concerned going into the book that there would be a lot of heavy imagery and that the story would be a little dull (those first two chapters were a beating!), but in a word this book was exciting. At any given point du Maurier only allows you to have just one little piece of the puzzle so that things slowly begin to come together, but she withholds a lot from the narrative in order for readers to make up their own minds with what happens. And like you said, this book really is a psychological thriller. I love that there are still questions left at the end--Rebecca really is a haunting book. I'll definitely be reading more du Maurier in the future and am glad to have discovered her.

Don't forget to check out the "beginning" of our conversation over at Amanda's. And if you've never been over there--shame on you. You'll love both her and her blog. :)

Have you read Rebecca? What did you find creepiest about this book? Do you think psychological thrillers are more frightening than the blood and gore type of thrillers or do those scare the wits out of you, too?

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne

Title: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Author: John Boyne
Published: 2006 Pages: 216
Genre: YA Fiction
Rating: 3/5

My poor brother has been asking me to read this book for months now (he's thirteen). I'm always reluctant to borrow books from people because I know my turnaround will never be as quick as if I loan out a book. There's so many I've obligated myself to read for challenges or for authors/publishers, not to mention the giant shelf of TBR books. I promised him I'd read BSP for the readathon and I'm so glad I did. When I texted him that I had finished the book he texted me back "it's about time." Yup, it sure is.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas begins with nine year old Bruno and his family who live in a nice big five story home in Berlin. Bruno's father is a very important person, though, and has been asked by the Fury (Hitler) to take post at a strange camp in a far away place called Out-With (Auschwitz). Bruno is upset because the house is much smaller and his sister Gretel (a Hopeless Case) refuses to play with him. As Bruno begins to explore the new home, he discovers that there is a giant camp across the yard with lots of men and boys all wearing the same striped pyjamas. In his exploration, he meets a boy sitting by the fence of the camp whom Bruno befriends.

What I loved about The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is the simplicity and innocence. Bruno doesn't understand why his parents have moved, he doesn't understand the camp beyond his home's yard, and he doesn't understand why his friend can't come across the fence to play or why Bruno can't go to the other side of the fence. There is something so sweet about Bruno's innocence and refusal to judge those who are a little different from him. I also have a tough time believing, though, that the son of a Commandant who is overseeing one of the largest concentration camps in the world doesn't know what a Jew is and whether he is a Jew or not. That aside, Bruno's innocence came across as genuine.

"What exactly was the difference? [Bruno] wondered to himself. And who decided which people wore the striped pajamas and which people wore uniforms" (100).

This is a short book that can be read within a couple of hours, and while I do recommend it, it isn't as powerful as some of the other books I've read about the Holocaust or World War II. Could this partly be because it was written for young adults? I don't know--I've read some pretty powerful young adult books (The Book Thief is one I highly recommend). I guess the unbelievablity of the story continued to tug away at me. I was shocked by the ending of the book, and even though it's not hard to guess this book would not have a happy ending, it left my heart hollow.

Have you read this book or seen the movie? How did you feel about it?




Join Cym Lowell's Book Review Party Wednesday!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Read-a-thon: Hours 23-24 and End of Event Meme

UPDATE FOR HOURS 23&24

Pages: 160 (Fun Home)
Time: 65 minutes

TOTALS:
1005 pages read (105 over goal)
766 minutes/12.76 hours reading (2.25 under goal)
150 minutes/2.5 hours blogging (includes twitter)
370 minutes/6 hours cheerleading (2 over goal)
17 mini-challenges
300+ comments (stopped counting when I stopped reading)
2 caffeine beverages
3.5 books (.5 under goal)
2 prizes won (Woohoo!
3 vlogs
1 happy ending football game (Texas A&M v Tech)

I'm such a faker:


1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
20 was the hardest and when I stopped reading to cheer for 2 hours.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
All! Especially Frankie Landau-Banks and Fun Home

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
I really liked the "dead hour" cheer squad--could fine tune for next year! Also, have mini-challenge hosts put ending times in the readathon hours rather than their time zones.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
Everything was so smooth this year!

5. How many books did you read?
I read 3 and a half and chapters of 4 others. Kind of had a tough time in the middle picking a book!

6. What were the names of the books you read?
Boy in the Striped Pajamas; The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks; Ethan Frome; Fun Home (half)

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

8. Which did you enjoy least?
None--but About a Boy, Animal Husbandry and Hunger Games were ones I abandoned temporarily

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
Pre-write some really fun cheers. Also with so many participants try to figure out a system of how to tackle as many as possible

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Um, VERY LIKELY! I'll do it the same way I did this time--mostly reader with heavy emphasis on cheering.

Can't wait until April!!

Read-a-thon Hours: 21-22

UPDATE FOR HOURS 21&22

Pages: ZERO (spent the last two hours cheering/dancing/tweeting)
Time: ZERO minutes

TOTALS:
845 pages read
701 minutes reading
140 minutes blogging (includes twitter)
345 minutes cheerleading
17 mini-challenges
288+ comments (stopped counting when I stopped reading)
2 caffeine beverage

Ok, here's the deal. I'm taking this video down as soon as the readathon ends--so get your fill of my highly embarrassing video now. This will most likely be my last vlog of the night. :) Edited: Video has been taken down. You'll have to wait until April for more embarrassing Trish vlogs.

And no Mountain Dews were harmed (or actually imbibed) in the making (and that banging noise is me running into a paperbag). The song is Somewhere After Midnight, which you can listen to on the Youtube video below. Sorry it's such a crummy video, but I love the song... Get up and dance to it!




Read-a-thon: Hours 19-20

UPDATE FOR HOURS 19&20

Pages: 64 (Hunger Games)
Time: 82 minutes (Ugh!)

TOTALS:
845
pages read
701 minutes reading
120 minutes blogging
145 minutes cheerleading
17 mini-challenges
218 blogs visited (comments left, not individual blogs...)
1 caffeine beverage

Memory's Picturrific Challenge states that we need to find pictures that define our current reads. Well, I'm reading Hunger Games and eating ice cream. Perhaps because I'm hungry? And see the Maggie cut-out (you can see real Maggie peeking her head up)--well, could that just be a silly game? Maybe a stretch but I'm going with it:


I'm fading fast and Hunger Games is too complicated for me tonight. It's taking too long and I don't feel like scouring the shelves for another book. Wish I had started it earlier! I'm not jumping ship but I don't know how much more reading I'll get done. This will mean I won't meet my reading goals, but oh well. I'll have fun with the community. :) Maybe I'll re-read Fun Home.

Read-a-thon Hours 17-18

UPDATE FOR HOURS 17&18

Pages: 52 (Ethan Frome - Finished!!)
Time: 70 minutes (my reading is definitely slowing!)

TOTALS:
781
pages read
619 minutes reading
115 minutes blogging
140 minutes cheerleading
15 mini-challenges
213 blogs visited (comments left, not individual blogs...)
1 caffeine beverage
3 book finished: Boy in the Striped Pajamas; Frankie Landau-Banks, Ethan Frome

Shanra's Drabble Challenge

Oh readathon how do I love thee, let me count the ways. One two thing four…oh whatever. You get me all pumped up and excited so much so that I feel like shouting READATHON every five seconds. Kind of like someone with terrets READATHON! And then you get here and I can’t sleep in past three in the morning. I drink several cups of coffee and get all jittery, finish a couple of books and feel great, eat too much junk food and get the rock feeling in my tummy. But oh you books. I love you. Squeeze you. READATHON.

And back by popular demand (aren't you guys sick of this??):



Ron, Ron Ron WEASley. Dumbledore! Still haven't figured out what happened to his clothes.

And for those of you who asked, I'm in Central time zone--it's almost 1:00 AM (holy crow it's Sunday!). Scott has gone to bed so now are the quiet hours. He also turned down the AC so I'm freezing my butt off.

How YOU holding up??

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Read-a-thon Hours 15-16

UPDATE FOR HOURS 15&16

Pages: 72 (Ethan Frome)
Time: 69 minutes

TOTALS:
729
pages read
549 minutes reading
100 minutes blogging
110 minutes cheerleading
13 mini-challenges (Care's Wisdom of the Age and Meryl's Make Something)
188 blogs visited (comments left, not individual blogs...)
2 book finished: Boy in the Striped Pajamas; Frankie Landau-Banks

And good news! My Aggies pulled through! 52 to 30 (against Texas Tech).

I'm really excited:



Now that the game's over and I'm really into Ethan Frome, I think these next two hours will be much better. Finally going to do some cheerleading, too!

Read-a-thon: Hours 13-14

UPDATE FOR HOURS 13&14

Pages: 55 (Ethan Frome)
Time: 60? minutes

TOTALS:
657
pages read
480 minutes reading
90 minutes blogging
110 minutes cheerleading
11 mini-challenges
188 blogs visited
2 book finished: Boy in the Striped Pajamas; Frankie Landau-Banks

I had a little bit of a roadblock the past two hours. First, I heated up some dinner and needed to eat and then I found out that in the 3rd quarter MY AGGIES ARE BEATING TECH!! WHOOP!! So of course there was much dancing and cheering around the house (by me, not my husband obv). Think my morning vlog times a million. If the Ags pull it off, I don't think I can help making another overly enthusastic vlog. Be warned! :P

Mini-Challenges:

Jehara's Yoga Mini-Challenge. Did such poses as dowward facing dog, proud warrior, and brave warrior. Will do child's pose, too, for extra relaxing. :)

Jill's Music to Read by Mini-Challenge. I don't listen to music while I read, but when I think of readathon songs I think of really pumped-up songs. When I ran earlier I listed to Human by The Killers, so that's what's in my head now. And of course you can't help dancing to it. Because really--I think we are dancers. (It won't let me imbed but definitely go listen...it will pump you up!).

I'll be back in two hours to do some cheering--no fear! I've noticed it's a lot quieter around here lately!

Read-a-thon Halfway Point (Hours 11-12)

UPDATE FOR HOURS 11&12

Pages: 45 (About a Boy, Animal Husbandry, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven--can't settle on a book!)
Time: 45 minutes

TOTALS:
602
pages read
420 minutes reading
80 minutes blogging
105 minutes cheerleading
9 mini-challenges
183 blogs visited
2 book finished: Boy in the Striped Pajamas; Frankie Landau-Banks
1 Mile Ran

Frozen Oregon Blueberries (that's ice, not sugar--sorry the picture is so blurry).


Go tell Tara your favorite literary vampire! Mine is Edward, but most of you already knew that ;)

Go tell Trisha (man there are a lot of us!) which classic you're reading for the 'thon. I'm going to start Ethan Frome!

Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now?
Going to try Ethan Frome. Can't settle on a book.

2. How many books have you read so far?
I've finished two!

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Hunger Games!! Maybe The Knife of Never Letting Go?

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
Nope!! I've had this on the calendar since the day it was announced. :)

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
No interruptions yet!

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
As always how fast time goes, how fast I can read, and how many people signed up!

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
You guys are doing a great job!

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
Nothing. Maybe think up some crafty cheers ahead of time?

9. Are you getting tired yet?
Not yet! Fingers crossed. :)

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
I think everyone is doing a great job! Organization is key!


Read-a-thon: Hours 9-10

UPDATE FOR HOURS 9&10

Pages: 97 (Frankie Landau-Banks)
Time: 60 minutes

TOTALS:
557
pages read
375 minutes reading
75 minutes blogging
65 minutes cheerleading
6 mini-challenge
83 blogs visited
2 book finished: Boy in the Striped Pajamas; Frankie Landau-Banks
1 Mile Ran

Look who finally decided to come cuddle! Hi Maggie! (the real Maggie). Don't you love how they crawl right in front of the book so you can't see it? :D


Not much to report. I finished The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and really enjoyed it! Went for a quick run to take in some sunshine and a delicious fall breeze. And I'm going to take off all of hour 11 from reading to cheerlead!

Read-a-thon: Hours 7-8

UPDATE FOR HOURS 7&8

Pages: 115 (Frankie Landau-Banks)
Time: 83 minutes

TOTALS:
460
pages read
315 minutes reading
45 minutes blogging
52 minutes cheerleading
6 mini-challenge (Collections Challenge/Who Keeps you Company see below)
65 blogs visited
1 book finished: Boy in the Striped Pajamas

For this hour's Mini-Challenges I took pictures of both my reading companion and my non-bookish collection.


Non-Bookish Collection (hosted by Caribousmom):


Since I was a little girl I've collected bells. I have over a hundred from all over the world but sadly most of them are boxed up at my mom's house. These are a few I've gotten in recent years. To name a few: Spain, Alaska, Caribbean (several), Canada, Argentina.

My Reading Companion (hosted by 'Nise):


Not Maggie this time! I thought I'd share a picture of Lexi, our English Lab. Her tummy is rumbling and I don't know what to do to make it better. :( Lexi may not cuddle like Maggie, but she always sits faithfully under my office chair.

How's everyone holding up? Can you believe we're a third of the way through??

Read-a-thon Hours: 5-6

UPDATE FOR HOURS 5&6

Pages: 93 (Frankie Landau-Banks)
Time: 60 minutes

TOTALS:
345
pages read
232 minutes reading
30 minutes blogging
32 minutes cheerleading
3 mini-challenge (Introduction Meme, Title Sentence, Where in the World?)
40 blogs visited
1 book finished: Boy in the Striped Pajamas
1 caffeine beverages

Kind of a slow two hours--spent a little time cheerleading and then had to tend to a sick puppy (skipping mini-challenges this time around). Below-Scott and Me in our Game Day Attire.

Gig 'Em Aggies! Guns Up Raiders!

Read-a-thon: Hours 3-4

UPDATE FOR HOURS 3&4

Pages: 137 (Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks)
Time: 77 minutes

TOTALS:
252
pages read
172 minutes reading
25 minutes blogging
3 mini-challenge (Introduction Meme, Title Sentence, Where in the World?)
10 blogs visited
1 book finished: Boy in the Striped Pajamas
1 caffeine beverages

I finished my first book! The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was a good book in terms of speed, but that ending left a big hole in my heart! Hopefully Frankie Landau-Banks lifts it up again.


For this hour's mini-challenge, we are asked by Bart to make a sentence out of four or so books:
Rebecca 'Tis Hot Six, Swine Not?

And for Trish Hey Lady's Mini-Challenge--go add your pin to the map of readathoners!

Hope everyone's doing great! Scott crawled out of bed finally, after finishing his Dan Brown Audiobook. After a little whining (on my part), he agreed to pick me up some Whataburger breakfast. Yummy!

Read-a-thon: Hours 1-2

UPDATE FOR HOURS 1&2

Pages: 115 (Boy in the Striped Pajamas)
Time: 95 minutes

TOTALS:
115
pages read
95 minutes reading
25 minutes blogging
1 mini-challenge (Introduction Meme)
10 blogs visited
0 book finished
1 caffeine beverages

How was everyone's first two hours? It's still pretty quiet here as Scott's in bed sleeping in (hopefully can con him into picking me up some Whataburger Taquitos later?).

I'm over halfway done with Boy in the Stripped Pajamas--a great start already!

And a shot of the A&M shirt (Gig Em Aggies!!):

I need to find a better angle for the camera so I don't always look like I have a double chin! Yuck!

Oh, and why the cut-out of Maggie in my Kick-Off Vlog? For funsies and because I can't will her to come jump on my lap every time I do a video!! :P

Happy reading!!

READ-A-THON!! Kick-off and Vlog

video

The A&M shirt I'm wearing didn't show in the video, but I am decked out in full Maroon Out!

And for those who are wondering--I am a morning person. And normally this enthusiastic.


INTRODUCTION MEME

Where are you reading from today?
Sunny McKinney, Texas! (north Dallas)

3 facts about me …
1. My eyes are a strange shade of blue, green, gray? but one has a bit of yellow.
2. I sing really loudly to the radio in the car
3. My feet have to be covered when I sleep

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
11 or 12 or 13? I hope to read 4-5

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
4-5 books, 900 pages, 15 hours reading, cheer everyone at least once, and have fun!

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?
HAVE FUN!!! Don't look at other people's numbers--you are doing the best you can!



A few notes about today:
**I will not be responding to comments on my blog today. I'll sometimes email a response or respond in my next post.
**I will not be subscribing to follow up comments today. You can email me if you'd like! :)
**I will not be reading/commenting on non-readathon posts. Sorry. :(
**And I BEG of you--Kill your Word Verification!



YAY READATHON!!!!!!!!
Oh ya...how could I forget?? Eva asked me to be one of the head cheerleaders for the 'thon along with Vasilly. Not sure what that means exactly, but you know I'm pumped up! And I will pump YOU up. Or something.





Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fingersmith - Sarah Waters

Title: Fingersmith
Author: Sarah Waters
Published: 2002 Pages: 582
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: 4.25/5

Fingersmith begins with a poor orphan, Susan Trinder, who has been taken under the wing of a band of thieves after her mother was hung for murder when she was an infant. When Susan is around seventeen years of age, her adoptive mother Mrs. Sucksby agrees to let her partake in plot to deceive an unsuspecting and rather innocent woman out of her inheritance. Gentleman, the head of the plot will woo and marry Maud Lilly, who is also orphaned and lives a sheltered life with her uncle, and then commit her into an asylum while Susan and Gentleman make off with a small fortune.

I finished this book over a week ago and have since been trying to formulate my thoughts in a coherent fashion. While I really liked this book a lot I keep wanting to focus on some of my more negative feelings. I think those feelings come, though, from knowing too much about the book before going into it. Everyone has raved about this book--calling it the best plot ever devised and twists and turns that will cause your head to spin. Yes, both of those things carry weight, but knowing that going into the book caused me to anticipate too much and so for the final third of the book I felt a little let down. This is why I don't read plot summaries--the less I know about a book going into my reading, the better the outcome for me.

All that said, let's get on to the good bits. I loved the atmosphere Waters created in this book. It is foggy and gritty and seedy and every bit the Victorian London Dickens would have written. There are pickpockets and colorful characters. Mrs. Sucksby is quite the lady (rolls eyes) and Gentleman--well, don't let the name fool you. My favorite characters, though, are Susan and Maud. In many ways the two are perfect companion characters, each highlighting the characteristics of the other in their many differences. The book switches between the two girls' perspectives and so the reader gets a clear look into the motives and emotions of each. I love perspective and point of view and Waters did an amazing job creating a distinct voice for Susan and Maud.

And then there is the writing. For me Waters' writing snuck up on me--in many ways it is simple and nothing to shout about, but the way that she turns a phrase is quite beautiful. She writes with passion and breathes life into her characters. I don't need a lot of dialogue in the books that I read, mostly because I feel like dialogue is often forced, but Waters hits the language of the characters dead on. Their conversations are realistic and she uses this as well as the characters' inner thoughts to show what is going on--she lets her characters develop the book rather than laying it all out by herself. Does this make sense? Some authors just tell you, but Waters shows. It makes sense to me. :P

But an example--taken from the second half of the book narrated by Maud:

"I think she must see it [desire]. Now he has named it, I think it must colour me--I think it must mark me crimson, like paint marks the hot red points, the lips and gashes and bare whipped limbs, of my uncle's portraits. I am afraid, that night, to undress before her. I am afraid to lie at her side. I am afraid to sleep. I am afraid I will dream of her. I am afraid that in dreaming, I will turn and touch her..." (293).
I love the parallelisms in her writing, but more than that the passion. And let me tell you this book is passionate! Nymeth gave this book the Most Beautiful Sex Scene Award and I'm going to have to agree with her completely. Oh my goodness. Prudes don't fear--there is nothing terribly graphic about this book nor the sex scenes. There is a bit of language, but it's sparse and not overly offensive. And more than anything, this book is the epitome of a page turner. Even at 582 pages long this book is a fairly quick read and a rollercoaster of a ride.

One more bit that made me chuckle then be grateful of times changed:

"Fancies, Mrs. Rivers. If you might only hear yourself! Terrible plots? Laughing villains? Stolen fortunes and girls made out to be mad? The stuff of lurid fiction! We have a name for your disease. We call it a hyper-aesthetic one. You have been encouraged to over-indulge yourself in literature; and have inflamed your organs of fancy." "Inflamed?" [Maud] said. "Over-indulge? Literature?" "You have read too many books" (447).
Ok, I guess that ended up much better than I thought it would. I do really recommend this book. Besides--everyone else is reading it, why shouldn't you? Even a week and a half after finishing I'm still mulling over the events and characters of this book!


Monday, October 19, 2009

The Lace Reader Winner!

Stephanie from Confessions of a Bookaholic is the winner of the signed copy of The Lace Reader. Yippeee!!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway.

Now for the truth...on my way home from the author event I was thinking about the post I would write about the night. I was so excited and couldn't wait to post pictures when I realized CRAP!! WHY DIDN'T I BUY AN EXTRA COPY OF THE BOOK TO GIVEAWAY!?! Silly Trish! So I called the bookstore and asked them if they had any extra signed copies of the book. They put one on hold for me and my dear sweet husband went to pick it up for me the next day. Next time I'll be a little more on my toes! :)

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Salon 19 - READ-A-THON!!!!!

I'm utterly ashamed to admit this, but I'm plagiarizing my own posts--if you remember my Sunday Salon on Why I Love the Read-a-thon, some of this will look familiarish. If you're new--yippee for hopefully unfamiliar material from me. :) Life has just been too hectic this week to stress about coming up with an entirely new post. And yes, everything is fine. Life is great. Just busy. You know how that goes.

So, without further ado.

What is the read-a-thon? The 24-hour Read-a-thon is just that--an excuse to read for 24 hours guilt free. A few years ago, Dewey from The Hidden Side of the Leaf hosted the first blogging read-a-thon. If memory serves correctly, this is the fifth read-a-thon. Dewey passed away nearly a year ago, but the read-a-thon now lives on in her memory.

Who participates? Anyone! Although I'm guessing the participant list is mostly made up of bloggers, I've seen a lot of bloggers talking about their family members who are joining them. Really, it's a great event for everyone. A great excuse to read!

How do you participate? Well, by reading silly goose! For 24 hours. Ok, you don't have to read for the full 24 hours, and you don't even need to stay up for the full 24 hours--your level of participation is up to you! There are lots of mini-challenges to participate in and of course lots of readers to cheer for when you need a break from the book. The first step is going to the read-a-thon website and signing up.

Where do you participate? At home, at the coffee shop, in the park, in the car (audio?), at the library. Really any place you can read a book. Although, access to a computer is really helpful. The start times for the 'thon are listed on the read-a-thon website.

Why should you participate? Because it's good old fashioned fun. No seriously! When my friend Laura asked me to do the read-a-thon with her two summers ago I told her "that doesn't sound like fun at all." Oh my gosh how wrong I was! I signed up for the 'thon that day and had the time of my life. I'm addicted. Hooked. Can't get enough. It is more fun that you can possibly imagine. Haha! Plain silly no sleep drink too much Mountain Dew and eat too much sugar kind of fun.

Need more convincing? (yes, this might be the longest post ever).

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Trish's Top 10 Reasons to Join (Shamelessly taken from previously mentioned post)

1. Being able to reenact those teenaged years when you could stay up for 24 hours with no worries

2. Reading and blogging for 24 hours without the guilt that you should be doing something else

3. Meeting and connecting with other bloggers all over the world who are doing the same crazy thing you are

4. Mini-challenges: a great way to give your brain a rest after a long stretch of reading

5. Snacks. Junk food. Caffeine. Whatever your poison, I know I'm not the only one who stores up on yummy foods to eat throughout the day and night

6. Remembering Dewey, the fabulous blogger who started this incredible community builder two years ago

7. Reading for a cause--I'm not sure how I'll work it out this time, but I'll be donating to The Salvation Army

8. It's the silliest fun one could possibly imagine that involves reading and blogging (yes, you know I'll be posting that Harry Potter Puppets video--it has been requested again)

9. Accomplishing what you thought was impossible--reading more than you expected and staying up later than imaginable

10. Hours of cuddle time with your favorite cuddle-buddy (for me, Maggie)

Yippeeeeeeeee!!

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Read-a-thon Tips (yes, again shameless taken...forgive me but the original post was just so...well, I can't say it any better now than I did then!)

The Books:

**Keep a stack of books handy. If something doesn't catch your attention immediately you can quickly move on to something else

**Pick books that are short and don't require a ton of attention. Put that War and Peace back on the shelf...right now! Eva has created a big long list of books that are sure to keep you reading through the wee hours.

**Include some Young Adult titles in your stack--they provide a perfect break from heavier reads and they are sure to keep your full attention. (Tip from Laura)

Before the Read-a-thon:

**Either pre-prepare some meals or have quick and easy things on hand. Don't want to spend time cooking! (Hence all the yummy snacks--Jodie suggests a combination of sweet and salty snacks for variety)

**If you will be doing blog updates (which I recommend!!), make a template beforehand so you can just plug in numbers and quickly post

**Get all of your weekend obligations like cleaning out of the way early. You'll be too tired on Sunday unless you are a superhero (which I don't doubt some of you are).

**Let people (friends/family) know ahead of time that you'll be participating in a 24-hour read-a-thon so that they don't think you fell off the face of the earth when they try to get ahold of you (tip from Joanne

**Laura and I created a spreadsheet to help us keep track of minutes and pages--very handy! We also have a column for the hour, our time zone, and the read-a-thon time zone, time spent blogging, mini-challenges entered, bloggers visited, etc.

During the Read-a-thon:

**Don't overload on the caffeine. While in small doses it can be OK, it might make you jittery and then crash. Especially if you aren't used to it.

**Take some time out of your reading to join a mini-challenge or do some cheerleading. If you spend the whole 24 hours reading you'll certainly get a lot accomplished, but you'll miss out on the community building aspect.

**Don't torture yourself. If you can't make it anymore, go to bed!

**Keep your camera charged and handy so you can include fun pictures of you, your books, your cat, your food, your reading spot, etc. (Tip from Laura)

(please fill me in with your tips, too!! I'd love to add them to the list)

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The Stack:

Read-a-thon Stack Yes, it's teetering. And as I was trying to snap the picture I noticed I had the camera on video setting. It's a short video, but you can tell Maggie approves:

What is YOUR favorite part of the read-a-thon? Any special memories? What are your fears? What tips do you have to share? Have I twisted your arm and convinced you to join or did you already sign up weeks ago? Read-a-thon!Read-a-thon!Read-a-thon! :D

Yayyyy Read-a-thon! Sign up here. And please, also sign up to cheerlead. Cheerleading is SO vital. Readers need cheerleaders. And you can totally do both--I will be!

Other Trish tidbits:

Today is the last day to sign up for the signed copy of The Lace Reader

I started up cake decorating class again. We spent so much time prepping the cake that I didn't actually get a lot of decorating done, but the orange blobs are lions (done at the end when I was beat tired), the gray are elephants (my favorites) and the green are crocodiles. I took it to work and it got devoured. Not the best work I could have done but it sure was yummy (I think you can click to enlarge).

Trish Safari Cake
My apologies for being a lousy blogger lately. I did get three posts up this week but none of them were book reviews. Part of me is kind of embarrassed by this but I have been having a tough time keeping up. I've been subscribing to a lot of blogs lately but the drawback of this is that I can't comment as much on everyone's blogs. I'm struggling with trying to figure out if it's better to comment a lot at a few places or a little at a lot of places. And I've been terrible with emails and responding to comments on this blog. I really really want to get back to commenting back, but I'm having troubles lately. Please know I love getting your comments and I read all of them even if I don't respond quickly (or lately at all). I fear that people will think that I've snubbed them for not responding or for not visiting and that's the last thing I want. How do you keep up? Or do you even worry about it?

Sorry for the world's longest post. I had a lot to say, I guess. Well, and I'm just so damn excited for the 'thon. I really need this. I haven't been making time for reading the past few months, so it will be great to have a whole 24 hours devoted to it.

Hoping you had a great weekend,

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Friday Babble

cat



I feel like I've fallen off the face of the earth. I'm still here. Haven't been bloghopping or even reading but I'm looking forward to a FREE weekend and hope to catch up. And of course to get excited about the Read-a-thon for Sunday Salon. And to maybe even pick up a book. And possibly finish my quilt?

My apologies for not being around--last weekend I took a whirlwind trip to Salt Lake to see my Grandma (a 36-hour trip!), had cake decorating class and book club/author event, and tried to get in a few miles for the Fitness Challenge. Just when you think things are slowing down WHACK!! :) Guess that's life.

Hope everyone had a great week. I'm getting really excited for the 'thon (read-a-thon read-a-thon read-a-thon--can I post a vlog of me *just* saying that?).

And please don't forget about my giveaway for a Signed copy of The Lace Reader! Not signed by me...signed by Brunonia Barry!

Happy Friday! What weekend plans do you have?


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lace Reader Author Event and Signed Copy Giveaway

If you'll remember back a few weeks, I reviewed The Lace Reader and was so excited about Brunonia Barry coming to Dallas on book tour that I chose The Lace Reader for my October book club meeting.

What a night! I'm not sure if the other girls in my club were as excited as I was, but we started out with a great discussion over dinner and then headed to Legacy Bookstore (which is awesome) to listen to Barry give a reading and answer a few questions. Um, sorry for the forthcoming gushfest.

Let me start by saying that if you're looking for a good book club pick for your own group, The Lace Reader is a fantastic choice. Most of us really liked the book--but besides that we all had a ton of questions after finishing (if you've read the book you'll know what I'm talking about). We actually ran out of time during our dinner meeting for discussion!

Brunonia Barry
The Lace Reader Author Event:

I've only been to one author event before and it had bad publicity, so basically 4 or 5 of us awkwardly stood around the authors straining for conversation. But Barry sure knows how to captivate her audience! She started off with a reading of the first chapter of the book and then talked a lot about how the book came to be. She spent seven years writing The Lace Reader and when it was finished, she and her husband self-published the book. Eventually it was picked up by Harper Collins and has taken off at soaring rates since then. As she mentioned--it is all about the book buzz.

My favorite part of the evening was the Q&A (don't worry, no spoilers). She talked a lot about her characters and it always amazes me when authors talk about their characters taking over the book and doing things the author didn't expect for them to do. She said she got to a moment in writing where she screamed out "No!!" after realizing her characters were going in a completely different direction than what she planned. She talks about her characters as if she has known them her whole life and explains how her characters speak to her (not in a scary way, of course). All of this shows in her writing--her characters are so complex and alive.

Brunonia Barry and Trish
After the signing, a few of us stayed to discuss the ending of the novel. Our group talked with Barry about some of the questions we had and some of the points that we discussed in our meeting. She was so patient with our questions and so passionate about her characters and book. I told her, "I want to rush home and re-read this book right now!" She did give a lot of insight into the ending of the book, but it was clear that the message she wanted us to leave with is that the book is one of "perception."

Some other fun tidbits--Barry's new book will be published on Mother's Day 2010. It also takes place in Salem. She is working on her third book which will kind of tie her first two together. There is talks of a 2011 Lace Reader movie! Barry just finished reading Olive Kitteridge and loved it. Her name Brunonia comes from her grandfather's obsession with Brown College.

All this blabbing to say--if you have a chance to go see Barry in person, do it! You can listen to her on Book Club Girl Radio Show on October 21st.

AND the Giveaway! (The Giveaway is now closed)

I picked up an extra signed hardcover copy of The Lace Reader to giveaway!

How to win a copy:
1. Leave me a comment below with your email address (1 entry)
2. Follow me on Twitter and Subscribe to my blog (1 entry each)
3. Tweet about the giveway and blog about the giveaway (1 entry each)

That's five possible entries (but please don't leave separate comments for each entry, just tell me if you did the extras). Drawing will be open until 10:00 pm Sunday October 18th (Central Standard Time). I'll announce a winner Monday October 19th.

Have you been to any author events? If you could ask your favorite author one question, what would it be?


Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall Festival Recipe Exchange - Coconut Oatmeal Cookies


My Friend Amy is hosting the Fall Festival Recipe Exchange. I'm always looking for new recipes so I thought I'd share one of mine in exchange. Not sure where the recipe originally came from, but hope you enjoy!
Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
5 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ cup coconut
2 cups oatmeal

Optional Ingredients:
1 cup chocolate chips OR
½ cup raisins (yummy!!) OR
½ cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350º.

Cream together eggs, sugar, shortening, vanilla, and brown sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

Once egg and sugar mixture is smooth, slowly add in the flour mixture until well mixed.

Add coconut and oatmeal, and any other optional additions (raisins!!), until mixed thoroughly.

Using a teaspoon (small cereal spoon), spoon mixture into small balls onto a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-15 minutes. (don't overcook--the coconut will brown really quickly!)

Yields 4 dozen cookies.


Enjoy!

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