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Friday, December 18, 2009

Portrait of a Lady Discussion

I'm conflicted about this novel. Here's why. The story was compelling. I was drawn along instantly feeling connection with Isabel. The varied people around her, some practicing political duplicity, others quite sincere, some overtaken by her, all had interesting depth. I wanted to know what would happen to her. Who would she marry? How would her marriage turn out? And when we found that out, I yearned to a strong extent for a resolution for her. In the end, the resolution she chooses would not have been my choice, and yet it had the effect of being one of those great endings that stay in my mind plaguing me for days.

That being said, I had a hard time holding on to James' prose. I was easily bored by his wordiness and tangential wanderings. His words are beautiful, and yet, though I understood them all, not unfamiliar with them, I still felt his composition veiled the whole thing in a rather frustrating cloud of vagueness. It was like knowing something but never truly putting your finger on it. Not being able to fully express it. It gnawed at me. It made me feel inferior to his narrative which was off putting. I'm not reading to be confused, I'm reading to understand. I couldn't quite figure out why if I understood the meaning of each word, the string of them eluded me. I'm not sure this makes sense to you, but it is the strange feeling that shadowed me through the entire novel.

Overall then I'm not sure how to rate it. I didn't enjoy it as I should have if it hadn't been for that odd perception of being in the dark the whole time. And yet, I didn't want to put it down for all that.

What would you say about it?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Calling all Brown Bookers

How many of you have read Portrait of a Lady? I'm just looking for a rough number of people. I'm going to put the discussion up sometime this week. We just opened book 20: Mudbound! I hope some of you will be reading this one. I know the holidays are here and my schedule can attest to yours being as busy busy busy. So we're not going to rush this one but come say mid-January, let's rally and get our momentum into the homestretch. We'll be looking to the next year with a new set of Brown Books if you guys are willing. We can get a lively discussion going on that topic too, i.e. should I pick the books again? Should we bandy about giant wish list between all of us and I can surprise you with that? Think about it, save your thoughts and next month we'll get to partying it up about all this. I'm so glad you guys have stuck with me and this has been a fun project. I'd like to keep going. I've had a lot of fun.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Book Twenty Opening

This took all night last night and starting over this morning and all day today to upload.

Wow, sometimes technology astounds in all the wrong ways.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Plethora of Gifting Ideas

Well the holidays sent me into a tailspin. How about you guys?

I have a couple of links I'd like to share of gift guides for books, very nice stuff.

Books on the Nightstand's Book Gift Guide

Books on the Nightstand's Kid's Books Gift Guide

Geek Dad's Holiday Gift Guide #1: Books

Boing Boing has a six part series of gift guides:







And where I get most of my book recommendations, NPR:

Big and Beautiful: Best Gift Books of 2009

Check these out. Some great suggestions in here. Of the ones listed I will say that I have purchased Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary for my husband, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is on my to get list, and I found a whole lot more that I want on these lists.

Other suggestions straight from me:

Lyrics by Sting - we love Sting around here, my husband especially. This is great for those followers but it is also poetry worth reading. As a poet, I can say that I thumbed through this and can't wait till he's done so I can read them all.

Dune - my budding teenage reader is into the fantasy leaning books, but he's been complaining that he wants to get into new series with a little more to them and perhaps something different. I'm encouraging him down an older road. This was an excellent read at his age for me. And along the same lines as this one,

I, Robot - for some great classic Sci-Fi.

Andy Rooney: 60 Years of Wisdom and Wit - now this one I don't have. It's on my wish list. But, I've been reading another book of Andy Rooney's writings called The Most of Andy Rooney which seems to be out of print. I can tell you that I love this stuff. Great quick reading too. Short little one or two page articles full of wry humor.

How to Raise the Perfect Dog - another Cesar Milan book out with more in depth information on raising and training your dog. Great gift for anyone with a young dog or contemplating getting a dog.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day - I know I've mentioned this book before. I mention it again because it deserves notice. I have been using this book now for over six months and I have not made one dud loaf yet. Not one. Each loaf has had beautiful crust and crumb. And the taste is sensational. Great for sandwiches, rolls, or just tear away and eat. Any home bakers you know will kiss you for this book.

Now. Have you been sufficiently inundated?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Listening and Waiting

I recently bought an mp3 download of Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk.

I love listening to books on audio. It is relaxing and I can squeeze in that kind of 'reading' easier throughout my day than sitting with a book. This time I chose Waiting for Columbus based on a post over at Books on the Nightstand by the voice narrator's wife. She moved me so much that I couldn't wait to get it.

I listened and I have to tell you that just listening had the 'can't put it down' affect on me. At one point in the book I couldn't turn off my mp3 player. I just couldn't. And at another point, I lost it. I broke down and sobbed.

This book tells the story of a patient in a mental hospital who believes he is Columbus. He weaves his stories of acquiring his ships for his great voyage and as he does, the truth about who he is, why he is there slowly but exquisitely unravels.

This book is absolutely beautiful with a capital B. Trofimuk dances with words the way Astaire dances with feet. Riddled with humor, sexual tension, mystery and tender feeling, this gets my vote for one the of the best books of 2009. I loved it so much that I plan on buying the hard cover because something that moving has to sit on my shelf. And I plan to read it, and maybe re-read it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Zookeeper's Wife Discussion

All right yous guys. I spent my weekend laid up with a nasty cold. But I'm here and I'm gonna get this wagon train a movin.

I'm not done with the book yet. I can tell you my impressions of it so far.

It started out a bit slow for me. There have been passages that lose my interest. But overall, I've been drawn to it to find out what's happening. I tried to imagine myself in Antonina's place. When the war first broke out in Warsaw, I was so floored with the thought of worrying about your child, not really having anywhere to take them to be safe. We truly live a very lucky life here in North America I think.

So far then, I'm impressed and absolutely going to finish.

How did you like the book?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Book Nineteen Opening

I know the only warning I gave of this was in the calendar. So I hope you guys have looked at the calendar. In any case, ready for another book?

I pushed the discussion for The Zookeeper's Wife to Friday since I am a bit delinquint. I hope you don't mind. =)

Thanks for all the participation on The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. Though a long book, I am so glad we read it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle Discussion

This book gripped me. Not only was the language astonishingly beautiful, but the relationship of Edgar and his dogs touched me.

I am the kind of person that is fully affected by the things I read or watch. This book was very difficult for me due to that fact. Mr. Wroblewski made me love these characters, truly care about them. I spent days worrying until I could get back to the book. I was saddened by each downturn and of course the ending practically killed me. So I left this book extremely conflicted. Even now, writing this I feel confused how to express it.

It is a beautiful story, true to its origins (a modern day remake of a Shakespearean play) and wrought with powerful words and images which could not help but bore into my being. But that boring, it hurt. I found myself thinking of the book long after having finished and feeling so depressed about it. So that where I would tell you any book that grips me enough to have me thinking about it so heavily long after it's done is surely a book worth reading, I would also admit that I'm not sure I would ever read it again. But only because I'm not sure I could read it again. In the end that is endorsement enough to induce a shining review from me. I loved it, I would recommend it to anyone I know, I am glad I read it in spite of the heart rending it inflicted on me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ball Rolling

I'd like to schedule the discussion for Edgar Sawtelle for next Monday. I don't even know how many of you read it beyond De. I hope if you did, you haven't forgotten your thoughts. So, Monday what do you say?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Book Eighteen Opening

I'm afraid family concerns are preventing me from being here and devoting any creativity to this. I am deeply sorry. I expect that these difficulties should be resolving soon and I will be able to return.

I do have book 18 for you.


Hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Eyre Affair Discussion

All righty.

I have to confess that despite my rushed and wildly strong efforts, I have not finished this book yet. I am inchingly close though. And not being done has nothing to do with the book at all. If I could have, I would have read this book in one day. I am enjoying it immensely. The constant literary references make this book a treasure trove for any lover of books. Here I must also confess that I did not know all of the references, but have been keeping a list to look them up. And that has made the book even that much more fun for me. I wish I could give a definitive conclusion on the book as a whole, but I should be done in a day or two.

Some things I have pinpointed that I love about this book so far: the flow moves quickly and keeps you turning pages. I found it rare that the book slowed down so much that I didn't want to keep going. It wasn't that I-gotta-keep-reading-or-I'm-gonna-die-of-curiosity feeling, but the action just keeps you moving forward. The concept of the book is also fun. Who of us wouldn't want to be able to walk into the books we read? It definitely fed my imagination.

On the other hand, some of the names and references were corny and I found Jack Schitt's name more off-putting than his actual character, which I believe is the more important point. But really, Jack Schitt is such an old and juvenile joke. I would have to say that this is hardly a complaint large enough to ruin the book for me though. In all, I have found (so far) the book a light, fun and witty read.

Added - I finished today and I absolutely loved it. I got down to the last 30 pages and couldn't stop reading. I am looking forward to reading more of Jasper Fforde. If you haven't all ready I suggest taking a peek at his website. Its a fun place to stay for a bit.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Book Seventeen: The Reveal

Some things said about the next book:

“A CLASSSIC IN THE MAKING: Whether you read for the beauty of language or for the intricacies of plot, you will easily fall in love with David Wroblewski’s generous, almost transcendentally lovely debut novel" O Magazine

"…a big-hearted novel you can fall into, get lost in and finally emerge from reluctantly, a little surprised that the real world went on spinning while you were absorbed." Washington Post Book World

"I doubt we'll see a finer literary debut this year... David Wroblewski's got storytelling talent to burn and a big, generous heart to go with it." Richard Russo, author of Bridge of Sighs

And here is the very book that these people all loved so well, next on our list:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New Approach, New Schedule

All right, what say you to trying out basically doing one discussion a month? If it ends up being too boringly slow, we can change it, but given the time frame to get hold of a book and then read it I thought it might work out better. Now if you all think that stinks, then tell me, I might protest loudly while holding a large blunt object, but then I'll give in like the people pleaser that I am. (oh ha ha)

Ok so, here's the layout of the next few weeks, see if this works for you.

Friday, September 4, Opening Book 17

Tuesday, September 8, Discuss The Eyre Affair

Wednesday, September 30, Opening Book 18

Friday, October 2, Discuss Book 17

----The one that I'm most concerned about is the Eyre Affair discussion. Let me know if that is too soon for those of you not finished yet, if there are any.

P.S. The calendar reflects these dates for reference.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vacation Winding Down, Book Club Winding Up?

Hey guys, I've been out and about, in and around doing family things, having out of town visitors and general summer buzz. I hope your summers went well. I hadn't meant to let the reading club fall off over the summer, but I see now that it is probably a good time to at least slow down.

In a couple of weeks, children will be back in classrooms and summer outings will be coming to a close. So what do you say we pick back up officially on September 1st? I will get a post up prior to that date to get some scheduling going. In the meantime, let me know if you've read The Ayre Affair and how soon you could jump into discussing it. You still with me?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Coraline Discussion

I will first qualify that, as many of you know, I am a pretty big fan of Neil Gaiman's work. I've read the first of his Sandman series, American Gods and Stardust besides reading Coraline. I enjoyed each and every one of them, inlcuding Coraline.

I liked the creepiness of this story. It's not too creepy, which usually frightens me away. I'm a big baby. But what I really respected was that he did an astounding job seeing this world through the eyes of a 10 year old. Some descriptions he gives as if off-handed but strike the heart of me and would have done so even more as a girl. For instance when he said, "and, in the bath, a dead spider the size of a small cat." It was just thrown there but can you picture that? Do you even want to?

Coraline's realization that she didn't want everything she wished for all the time adds the moral of the story element, which I like. It reminds me of all the old stories, passed down by word of mouth or written down to scare children into doing the right thing. The 'teaching story' is such a long tradition and really who of us, even a child, doesn't enjoy being frightened now and then?

I am now excited to see the movie.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Some Book World News

Some interesting headlines and articles in the book world:

E Book Reader Market Expanding
This is great for consumers. The more abundant the choices become, the market gets more competative and that means prices will go down. The technology curve rewards the patient, though perhaps not with the most up to date bells and whistles.

J.D. Salinger Fights to Keep 'Fan Fiction' from being Published
I called this fan fiction for lack of a better description. While it is based on the original book, I wonder if it would truly be considered fan fiction?

Hatchette Book Group Giving 30 Day Peeks Into Full Text of Books
An interesting marketing angle. Neil Gaiman has deployed this strategy and it seems to have worked quite well for him. I don't know a book reader who would read an entire book online without really wanting to purchase the book. I am firmly in the browse and buy camp. How about you?

Mr. Frey is Back, Now With Young Adult Series of Novels
The premise of the story sounds interesting. But I am, honestly, rather skeptical of anything Mr. Frey is involved in writing. I was not impressed with his writing style in the now infamous Million Little Pieces, besides the fact that he screwed up royally. I realize this new series would be fiction, but I'm still unsure I'd be willing to pick it up. It will be interesting to hear what the critics think.

Discussion Coming

We are scheduled to discuss Coraline tomorrow. How many have read it? Anyone still reading? Let me know.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Schedules and How are You?

Ok here are some of the upcoming schedule dates I have. I'm bypassing the holiday weekend and extending things a bit, I hope it helps:

Wednesday July 8 - discuss Coraline
Monday July 13 - Open Book 17
Friday July 17 - Discuss The Eyre Affair

How is that looking for you guys? I know it's summer and a lot of people are busier (I sure am) or having vacations, so I want to make the dates equitable.

And for the fun of it, who's reading what?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Book Sixteen Opening

Later Today

Be on the lookout for the next book opening post.

How are you guys doing? Where are we in the reading? If anyone is still catching up (I so understand, the advent of summer and no school has thrown my schedule off quite a bit), we can slow a bit till we discuss Coraline. I had scheduled the Coraline discussion for Monday. Let me know and I'll do some schedule finagling.

Thanks guys!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Three Cups of Tea Discussion

This was a surprisingly delightful book. I enjoyed Greg Mortenson's story tremendously. It is one of those books that restores faith in humans. We need that a bit now and then. I also liked that this book gave a more rounded view of the people of those regions which in our neck of the woods often get simplified or villified. It's good to be asked to see things in different lights.

And how did you find the book?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer's coming and I'm just not there

So, I've been thinking about the 'Summer Reading List' thing. I love having a few new books to read over the summer. It makes summer feel special. The kinds of books I like to read still vary in the summer, but I prefer lighter fare this time of year.

Except I'm in a reading rut. I feel it, you might have noticed it.

I'm really enjoying The Traveler but having a difficult time getting myself to read more than 10 pages a day. Like Meno, I'm a big chicken and the tension makes me insanely jumpy.

The Savage Detective was such a bummer for me. Even though I'm determined to finish it, hell or high water, it dampened my reading spirit for a bit. But, on the other end of the spectrum floats the wonderful little book awaiting me in the shelf: Coraline. Neil Gaiman has never proved to disappoint, so perhaps it will lift my literary spirits and get me back in the groove.

I haven't even started compiling possible candidates for the summer list. How about you guys? Do you have summer reading lists?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Drawing Winner!

The winner of the drawing for book opening number 14 is:


Please send me an email of your address.

Congratulations Jaded.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Traveler Discussion

I myself am not ready for this one. I shamefully admit it. I can say that so far, I am enjoying the book immensely. But I'll save full judgment until I've fully finished which should be by end of day today.

However, I am determined to keep to the schedule I'm making with the calendar. I'm trying to get all responsible and stuff. :)

So, since I know you all have read it and are eager to share your thoughts, I open the floor for discussion on The Traveler. Talk amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You Gotta Believe Me / Book Fourteen Opening

I'd tell you about the gremlins who snuck in the house and tied me up, threw me in a closet and replaced me with a robotic clone. While the clone took care of my family, and I struggled in the dark to get free, they looted and pillaged my home, which kept me from blogging and putting up the video. But I'm not sure you'd believe me, even if it really did happen.

Here's how I got free, I struggled against the ties for a long time, then remembered that my husband keeps a Swiss army knife in the pocket of one of his jackets. I located the jacket, tore it from its hanger and groped behind my back through his pockets (ooh) and found it. I opened the knife, cutting myself in the process since I couldn't see what I was doing. Now bleeding, I slowly gnawed through the heavy ropes with the knife.

When it was finally done, my arms were tired and my hand was red with blood. I took the ties from my feet and removed the tape over my mouth. I took a few minutes to gather some strength and adrenaline and then emerged from the closet, my cape immediately flying open and I marched into the kitchen, picked up that fake me and threw her through a window and clear across the yard into the street, whereupon a passing truck smashed into her spreading nuts bolts and gutty wires everywhere. My children cheered, my husband kissed me and all was right with the world.

Now that that ordeal has been overcome, I can present to you the opening of the fourteenth book:

Leave a comment or I'm gonna send the gremlins your way!

Ok I won't really, but if you do leave a comment, no matter if you join the reading or not, your name is put in for a drawing. I will announce the drawing winner next Monday, June 1st, 8:00 pm Eastern Time. How's that for scheduling?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Let's Go Fly a Kite or in our Case: Open a Book!

Tomorrow guys, tomorrow. The sun'll come out. (sorry couldn't help myself). Ha.
Next book surprise opening is tomorrow. Leave a comment anytime up till next Wednesday and I'm having a drawing. Please tell other people to hop on over for the drawing too!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Savage Detectives Book Discussion of Sorts

Well now, here we are. I've had word that the last of those I knew who were attempting to read The Savage Detectives has opted out. This was a surprising disappointment I must say. I'm putting a discussion link up for this post just to be sure record shows why there is no discussion. Of course, you're welcome to come leave comments about what you did read of it and why it prompted you to put the book down permanently. Personally I just couldn't take the incessant descriptions of sex that were off color and degrading. I'm no prude. I don't mind sex in context of a story. But this was just overdone and gratuitous to say the least. In the 80 or so pages I ended up reading (so far, if I get all responsible and finish it for the sake of this project) I found no real plot, just a lot of sex.

Moving forward.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Is anyone out there reading The Savage Detectives? Or have in the past?

I can't stand this book. I'm only about 75 pages in and so far, it's a teenage boy's sex fantasy, on every page. Sex sex sex. Brutal sex. Degrading to women sex. Other sex. More sex. I was wondering if there is any other point to this book? Have I just not reached it yet? Can anyone give me some encouragement to keep going?

I'm having to force myself to read and I hate every minute of it. Now, if there is some redeeming quality to this book that I'm missing or haven't reached yet, I'd be willing to go on.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Children's Book Week

National Children's Book Week is close at hand. Beginning May 11 through the 17 there will be activities going on in many areas. Plus, kids can go to the Children's Choice Book Awards site and vote for their favorite books to win an award. What a great way to get kids involved in reading!

Hop on over and see what's going on in your area, and if you know any kids, encourage them to participate.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Book Thirteen Opening

Wow, we have now officially passed the half way mark for openings. Which makes me want to dig into Savage Detectives even more!

Both my head cinematographer and my assistant cinematographer are out today so we'll have to make do with boring static photos. We here at Brown Book administration will try to do better next time. We promise.

Here we go.

Book Thirteen:

Ta Da!

Some Loves from the Past and Present

Bunny Foo Foo

Blankie w/Favorite Corner





Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dirty Wow Wow Discussion

I'm throwing this up here rather quickly. I'm not sure if anyone read this, and you know if you did or are going to, just pop in here and put in your two cents.

There is not much to say for this book. It is not at all what I thought. When I heard about this book, I thought it was going to be a collection of short memoirs. Granted it is a collection of short memoirs, only they are so short it was hardly worth reading as a book. If that makes any sense. This book to me is more like a coffee table book. Fun to pick up and browse through now and then.

The subject itself was cute and sentimental, each story having its own merit. It did make me chuckle and I of course thought of my blankie, a quilt that has now de-sandwiched and started to tatter. So in all, it was fun, but better suited to the coffee table or Dr.'s office waiting room.

Side Note: I am going to be opening book 13 tomorrow! Spread the word and check in to see what's coming next.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Get thee to the Library and Kiss Your Librarian

It is National Library Week. If you have the time, please proceed to your nearest library and show much appreciation for the people who make reading their life passion. I've never met a librarian who didn't want to help someone find a book, or wouldn't suggest great reading, or didn't show utter enthusiasm about books and reading. I've never seen a librarian with a frown either.

When I was about 10, I had read a book about a girl who got locked in the library overnight. I can't remember the book now, but I loved the idea of it. One day when I was at the library, I hid behind some shelves with a stack of books, hoping to get locked in. I wanted to stay up all night and read everything. The librarian of course found me there, and she seemed amused and understanding without me having to say a word. She simply helped me gather my stack of books, checked them out for me and told me I'd be more comfortable reading my books at home, after having a nice dinner and she winked at me. That day, she became my hero.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Book Openings

So, since I have no cameraman and we need to get moving, I've decided to be rather unceremonious and just tell you what the next two books are. Why two? When you see the size of the first one, you'll know. If you could glimpse inside it, you'd nod your head in agreement. So, here are the next two brown books!

Book 11

This one will be a snap to read, though I'm wondering if it will be as easy to get hold of. It's a nice light, sentimental little book. But gear yourselves up after that because the next book is:

Book 12

I am so excited to read this. I've heard scores of great things about it. I can hardly wait!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Panic in Level 4 Discussion

Ok, the truth comes out. I loved this book. I found it delightfully fun. It was full of so many interesting things. As a late blooming lover of science and math, I dug in and couldn't stop reading. I was extremely impressed with the author, Richard Preston's style. Being a journalist I had expected a more dry approach. I think it's admirable the way he writes factually, but pays attention to such great details. I think my favorite chapter was the one about the Chudnovsky brothers and their supercomputer. I would love to see their lab. What a fascinating pair.

I first heard about this book when Ira Flatow of Science Friday radio show and podcast interviewed Mr. Preston. Preston was so enthusiastic about his topics and Ira seemed caught up in that enthusiasm. He had read the book of course, and I could tell that Ira loved it. I have come to appreciate Science Friday as a source of knowledge, fun, insight and inspiration in the world of science. I trust Ira's taste in this area. I had read one other book he'd interviewed about and had not been disappointed. Once again, Ira proved his mettle. If you get a chance and haven't heard the show, pop over to and check it out. He promotes science told in every day language to get more people interested and involved. He's got links to experiments you can conduct with your children and tons of great videos and tidbits. Ok, plug done.

Tell me your thoughts on the book.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

On the Ball

I've updated the calendar to reflect a schedule for the next couple of weeks. I'm thinking we'll do the Panic in Level Four discussion this Friday and then open book 11 on Monday with a drawing winner announced on Thursday.

I hope some of you were able to get Panic and read it. I won't give too much of my opinion away, but so far my impressions are on the positive side.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I was right! In part.

According to Scientific American, April 2009 issue, scientists are making some headway with the bee problem.

There is no one disease killing them off according to their findings. Though one does seem to be doing a lot of the damage, as bees are falling susceptible to it. That disease is called IAPV (Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus). What these scientists are saying is that they believe (no definitive answers, but they feel close) the bees are falling susceptible to diseases due to weakened immune systems. And why are their immune systems so weak?

They find two major factors: poor nutrition and high counts of pesticide contamination.

Some hives were found to have upwards of 35 different pesticides in them. Add that to the fact that giant monoculture farms do not revive the nutrients in soil, and therefore in their crops, and of course that bees are harvesting in one type of field and getting only that food very often, and you get malnourished bees. Just like we learned from In Defense of Food about the soils and wildlife being affected by diminished nutrients in the soil and plants.

Interesting. I highly recommend the article to anyone interested in the subject.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Naked Discussion

No, it's not a nudist thing.

Ok, so who here read Naked by David Sedaris? Please let us know what you thought.

My thoughts are forthcoming, I'll let you guys start this one.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Well Lookie Here

I'm baaaaaaaaack.

How are you? Where are you with reading? Did you finish Naked and move on to Panic in Level 4? I've just started Panic myself. Had a tough time getting myself to finish Naked. Hrmph.

I'm thinking we could do the Naked discussion tomorrow. You up for it?

I'm planning to do a book opening Monday. Watch for drawing announcements.

Happy reading you guys.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I can't see any of my posts when I log in, until I put up another post. Is this happening to anyone else? It's making me crazy. Also, when you come in here, are there times when you can't see anything but my sidebar? What is going on with blogger?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Naked Again

So are any of you reading Naked? I'm finding it harder to get myself to read it than I ever expected. Not sure if it's my mood or the book.


And the winner of the Book 10 Opening is


Congratulations Meno. A prize is headed your way.

To the rest of you, do not despair, more book openings are coming and I'd love if you came back and put your name in again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book Ten Opening

I present to you 'Speed Unwrapping'

Ok don't forget to leave a comment and this will enter your name for a drawing!
For today's comments, why not tell me your thoughts on e-readers? Evil invention or cool technology? The end of books and their glorious feel and smell or an additive to your already overstuffed reading agenda? Have you touched or played with an e-reader? Do you own one? Tell us all, gory details.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Book Opening Announcement

On Wednesday, February 18, we'll be opening book number 10! Hurrah!

Come back on Wednesday, leave a comment on the book opening post and there will be a drawing, and a winner.

In Defense of Food Discussion

Let's just dive in.

I loved this book. I think it makes a lot of sense. I even began wondering about all kinds of other repercussions that may be from industrialized farming and the 'nutritional' approach to diet. For instance, I wondered about the mysterious bee problems. Gordo would probably have in depth info on that. And I don't know much except that it exists. But I thought, if soils are being depleted of the variety of nutrients they need, and plants are putting out less nutrients, then isn't it possible that nature's creatures would be suffering in some form or other? Of course, I suppose beekeepers are more likely to have wild to organic fields for their bees. In any case, I do believe that what Michael Pollen is presenting has widespread effect.

I hadn't realized how much the idea of nutritionist diet had pervaded even my life, until I noticed myself checking the percentages and daily allowances on things habitually. I do that with almost everything I buy, I just hadn't paid attention to myself doing it before. I found myself thinking that as long as I buy wheat bread, I'm choosing the healthy option. Or, wow that new cereal is high in fiber and it has folic acid! That's when I knew that the 'science' of nutrition had duped me too. Sure there is sense to eating diets that are healthier, but I loved that he pointed out that nutritionists don't really know what that is. Truly, given the examples of margarine vs. butter and that of eggs, we can see that the opinion on healthy eating changes frequently. And often they find they were tragically wrong. That is sad.

I find it sad also that consumerism/mega capitalism has been working against our good for so long because heaven forbid we damage in any way the products of an industry. I'm not against capitalism. In fact, I believe in it. I think every person should have the opportunity to use their skill, knowledge and passion to make something for themselves, and money to boot. But, if we really look at today's system, that kind of capitalism is rare. Ok, back to food.

I learned new things from him too. Like, free range grass fed meats (poultry, cows etc) are better because they are getting the nutrients they need, which we need too. I hadn't really known the reason these were better products, or how the non free range animals were being fed, which is just sick. Now I know. And farmers who use these methods are more likely to have ecological farms which also replenish soil. I like that.

I thought the information he gave on cultures who eat appallingly according to our nutritionists and yet are very healthy was interesting. I've often wondered why French people get away with eating how they do. I love the idea that eating cannot be broken down into small nutrients and vitamins. The body needs the natural foods these things come in to break those down properly and actually use them right. So sensible and yet why have we let them tell us differently for so long?

I agree that it is ridiculous how packaged food screams how healthy it is, like cereals laced with sugar. I had no idea that our diet was so prevalently corn and soy. And here for so long I thought soy = super healthy. Apparently mainly only tofu soy. Makes sense once again.

Lastly, I love his approach. That eating should be a whole culture. A part of how we live. Gathering together, using meals to commune, converse and generally support each other. I have for a long time believed in the family meal. We do this every night. But I think we eat too fast. I want meals to be about talking and enjoying instead of about, gobble it down, chit chat, now let's go do something else. That's me. I think it does promote healthier food habits, because there would be less snacking and bad foods that way. Eating becomes a digestible exercise this way. And for goodness sakes, it's just more fun.

Tell me what you think.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Defending Food, Being Naked and upcoming grippers

Ok guys, executive decision here. Let's do the discussion Monday for In Defense of Food. To give anyone still reading the time to finish, and incidentally me time to go back and prepare myself because I think Gordo is going to throw some heavy stuff at us, what with all his darts.

Anytime you get Naked (no, the book you dirty people) go ahead and start reading it. We'll set a discussion date later when we feel ready. I'll open book 10 next week, most likely Tuesday. Then we can get jumping on reserving the next one. Happy reading guys!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

She's So Lonely

You may have noticed I futzed with the calendar, yet again. So, I'm checking in to see if any of you are ready to start discussing In Defense of Food. If so, I'd like to kick that off tomorrow. And I'm scheduling a book opening for Thursday. That way we can get leaping on acquiring the book, by hook or crook (in other words: borrow or buy)


I have this crazy idea. It started with my honeymoon. Before the wedding, long before, we decided we were heading south of the border to stay in Cancun. An affordable vacation spot for newly weds. Well for us. So I ordered The Lonely Planet Mexico edition and read that thing from cover to cover. I memorized the Cancun section but found myself absolutely eating up the whole book. Maybe it's the itchy traveller in me that was drawn to it.

Recently I was thinking about that book and how much I loved it. Then I went to the Lonely Planet website and I was blown away. They have so many books. And there is so much world to learn. So, my crazy idea that I would like to do, probably over several years, is to read each country book one at a time. Imagine the education. At least in getting a picture of where in the world places are, and how they live - to an extent of course. Yeah.

What kind of crazy reading ideas have you pursued or been kicking around in your noggin? Do you read the Lonely Planet for pleasure reading?

Monday, February 9, 2009


Congratulations to Gordo, the Beekeeper

And also to Indigo Virgo, who makes me think about books really, really hard

Send me off your address to tembilina-at-hotmail dot com and I'll put a little something fun in your mail box.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Book Nine Opening

Aha! It's here. No down there.

Leave a comment to put your name in for the drawing. Tell me your favorite book you read as a child. Just for fun.

On Friday I will be drawing two names and announcing them here. Winners will be sent a small but lovely gift. Good luck!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Book Opening Invitation, Drawing and I'm Sorry Again

Yeah I know. I was supposed to open book nine. I'm going to make up for it by giving away two gifts this time. Does that and my big cheesy grin help?

Look here tomorrow. Find out the next book, leave a comment to be in the drawing. Tell your friends to come leave a comment too!

Note: winners will be announced on Friday.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Truck: A Love Story Discussion

Here we go guys.

I'm copping to you first. Heh. No, it's your turn to start us off. So, chime in, let us know what your thoughts were. For those of you still reading this, or waiting to read this, no worries, the discussion is posted to the discussion link in the right bar of the home page. Join in whenever!

Um. I'm waiting.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oh I am a Dork

I completely spaced discussing Truck.

I've updated the schedule a bit to wit.

Book opening on Thursday and Truck discussion same day. We can handle it.

I hope you guys have dug into In Defense of Food too. We'll schedule that discussion later when we get an idea where we are. But only after the upcoming Thursday marathon. Heh.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The First Annual Brown Book Blog Love It Hate It List

It is still January, so this post could be considered legit. Besides, for any book blog, it seems it is mandatory. Otherwise, we might find ourselves the outcasts of the book blogging world. Maybe we already are?

Favorite books read in 2008.

I think only sharing books published in 2008 is too limiting. So, let's dig in to anything we read in the last year and as we swap titles, our respective To Be Read lists will bloat up, which is the only kind of bloating that is actually cool.

Here are mine:

There were three that jut out in my mind.

Sharp Teeth. This book absolutely amazed me. Mr. Barlow took a big risk writing an epic poem, especially in this era when poetry is not the most appreciated writing form. He more than excelled in my opinion. It had a lovely rhythm without making you constantly aware you were reading poetry. The story itself had me riveted, even the gory scenes which didn't seem to throw me into fits of nightmares like some would. I hope to see more by this talented author.

The Last Lecture. As inspirational books go, this one tops them all, if only for the reason it is not full of itself or flowery. Mr. Pausch had an astounding take on life and he certainly lived it fully. This book inspired me to reach harder for my goals and touched me deeply. I loved the way he could write with such tenderness then shift into comedy and all throughout he doesn't sugar coat things. I like writers who don't sugar coat. I think we need more of those.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Point of view. This book takes you into the mind of a young (I believe he was about 15) autistic boy. And it is done extraordinarily well. Mr. Haddon dealt with family relationships, the frailty of being human and how love and trust do not automatically go hand in hand. But you never felt like you were being preached to, in fact I never realized those subjects were being dealt with truly till I finished the book. The story itself is so engaging that you get the points without realizing it. I do have one confession about this book. I didn't actually 'read' it, I listened to it on my iPod. Does that count?

Books I loathed:

Dear American Airlines. Maybe loathe is harsh, but reading 192 pages of vitriol just got to me. I can't sustain that much anger for that long. And frankly, even if I could, I just wouldn't want to. It's not that I think Mr. Miles is a bad writer. On the contrary I found the writing itself excellent. But the overall emotion of it just killed it for me.

The Sister. This book took me forever to finish. And I had to force my way there. It was riddled with long long long long passages about moth collecting. Yawn. I apologize to Ms. Adams, but after slogging through really slow and frankly boring segments, the end was a disappointment to me.

Your turn. Tell me your best loved books of 2008 and your garbage bin books too!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Truckin and Movin On

All right all my four-eyed, booknook friends. Where are you in Truck? I had hoped to have the discussion tomorrow (the 20th) but if that is too early, we can push it back a day or two or more.

Once we start that discussion, we'll green light reading In Defense of Food. I'm so excited to read this. I heard Mr. Pollan interviewed when he released his book The Omnivore's Dilemma and again when this one was first released. He is a very engaging speaker and therefore I have high hopes for his book. I hope lots of you out there join in! Please. The more the merrier!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reading to the Kids

We just received this book

which captured my interest some time ago. The author Munro Leaf, originally wrote this book in 1946 and it has since been re-released in 2002. He is also the author of the much loved Ferdinand.

The illustrations in How to Behave and Why are wonderful and the advice in them is easy to understand with good logical sense. And it doesn't pull punches, like when it says, "Only a dope will tell a lie" or "Of course, you can argue with people who know better than you, but it's stupid".
Perhaps not politically correct but definitely language a child can comprehend. Other wonderful passages stress good behavior makes a person happy and fun to be around. In fact, this book is a good review in politeness for my older son too. And now I think about it, there are a lot of adults in this world who could use these lessons.

I just love this book, and so do the kids. offers a little free reading

If you go visit Amazon's New Year Treats Page, they have free article downloads from many magazines including Oprah's Best Life, Vegetarian Time, Country Living, Redbook and so on.

Monday, January 12, 2009

And the Winner Is!

The random winner for the book eight opening drawing is:

Nancy Dancehall!

Can you hear the crowd roar?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Book Eight Opening

We're opening book eight today!

Leave a comment to put your name in for the drawing (one entry per person). Thanks!

And now the Brown Book Blog gives you, the book geek in her natural habitat, sans makeup as is often the case.

And here she confirms that it is in fact, brown paper wrapped book number eight.

She is halfway there...

And the next Brown Books Project book to read is:

And that book title not backwards:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tomorrow - Opening and Drawing!

I'm reinstituting the drawing for the book opening this week! Yay.

So don't forget to stop back by tomorrow to check out the next book, have a lively discussion about anything bookie (not the illegal kind), and put your name in for the drawing. I will announce the drawing winner on Monday!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's Official - Start Reading Truck: a Love Story by Michael Perry

We are officially dropping War and Peace. I commend everyone's valiant efforts. A book that long has got to be worth our time, and obviously it just wasn't making the cut. I do plan to finish it on my own, but have no qualms dropping it from the itinerary. Besides, I'm antsy to move on!

With that behind us, let's dig in to Truck by Michael Perry.

On Friday I will open book number 8, and we can start preparing to read that one too. I'll get the calendar updated later today, so check in for that and we'll get some momentum going and a new discussion planned for book 7.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Where are you?

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. My husband was home for two weeks which made a great vacation for both of us. But now that he is back at work, and I can get back to my 'normal' (ha ha) routine, I'll be giving this blog more attention. We're going to be doing some give-aways again so keep your attention peeled here!

For now though,

...ever forward, War and Peace continues.

Where are you guys?

I am just about to finish Volume 2 - which is at about page 600. Patches, the passage quote at the end of Volume 2 for me is: "It seemed to Pierre that this star answered fully to what was in his softened and encouraged soul, now blossoming into new life."

If you guys are near this or past it, let's plan to discuss that section tomorrow. If not, we'll figure out a target date.

Let's keep pushing and reading.