Friday, December 23, 2011

Windmills and Christmas

Another book club choice was The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. Again, I didn't make it to the meeting to discuss, it was late and cold... I hope the morning meeting in January will take place. Anyway, with or without the discussion this is a great book and I'm glad I've read it. When I mentioned it to my coworker, she said she saw William on TV. And just yesterday I found out that a documentary film is in the making. I would like to see it when it comes out.

And now I'm going through all my Christmas themed books.

Richard Paul Evans: The Christmas Box
. I didn't read this book this time. I read it earlier and remember liking the story. Instead I sent it in a Secret Santa package.

Debbie Macomber: Call Me Mrs. Miracle. This book involves some people who haven't celebrated Christmas for many years because of a tragic event in their family that happened at Christmas time and others who do their best to make it the best Christmas despite difficult circumstances... I enjoyed the story and then sent the book to someone who wished for books by this author.

Max Lucado: The Christmas Child: A Story of Coming Home
. A nice little story. I decided to wild release this book. It was found a day or two later by a student. Nice catch.

Joel Osteen: The Christmas Spirit. Christmas memories from his family and his friends. I was reminded that it's important to share stories and memories from the past with the children. After reading the book, I gave it to a coworker whose daughter is a fan of the author.

And now I'm reading The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

More books - great and not so great

I really liked "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I read it for a local book club, but didn't make it to the meeting. I'm still glad I read it.

"The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young was awesome. The author spoke at our church today. He was fascinating.

And I just finished “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger. Although there were some elements I liked about it, it wasn't really that good. I'm not sure why it's considered a "classic".

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Colleen Wait Writes: The Homeless Interviews

I think I found Colleen's blog through a group of Christians on Goodreads. She's done a series of interviews with homeless people and volunteers that are really interesting. You can read them here:
The Homeless Interviews (This link goes to the first interview and the links in the right column will get you to the following interviews.)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

School Supplies for the Kingdom of Tonga

Earlier this year I read on the German part of the Postcrossing Forum about a project to send postcards to Tonga so that the children there could learn about people in different parts of the world. They were also collecting school supplies for the children. So I began purchasing supplies and also asked for contributions on my wishlists at Swap-Bot. Finally I had collected enough for a medium sized box. Farfum, who's in Tonga with the Peace Corps, and is doing this project just happened to be in the US for a break, so I was able to send the items domestically and save a lot on postage and he's taking them in his suitcase. I was glad to see the items arrived at his US home before he's leaving for Tonga again.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Of course, I've read some more books in the last couple of months. Among them are:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon.
I enjoyed the book a lot. I could relate to the boy's love of math, it's fascinating how he thinks. Sometimes he gets through situations not realizing how dangerous they may be. But his determination and getting there one step at a time can be a lesson to people even who don't have to deal with autism but are just afraid in certain situations.

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) by Alexander McCall Smith.
I enjoyed reading this, the 10th in the series. I was glad to read a bit about the foster children, Motoleli and Puso again. I was curious throughout the book how the football team's case would be solved. I love it how straightforward the solutions of the cases often are in the end.

Friday, May 13, 2011

World Fair Trade Day

Have you heard of World Fair Trade Day? It's tomorrow, May 14th. It's an international celebration and promotion of Fair Trade.

I'd been wondering what all the products are that are available fairly traded. I knew about the chocolate and the coffee, I'd seen some Fair Trade bananas, and lots of crafts. But I wasn't sure what else might be available. This blog post has a nice list of what items are available as fair trade. This blogger also has some other interesting posts about Fair Trade so have a look around.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

101: buy a new laptop

My old laptop stopped working - it just kept shutting down shortly after it had been turned on - so I had to buy a new one. It took me quite a while to decide what to get. But since I'm using it exclusively here to go online and I'm not planning to carry it around much, I decided on a regular laptop instead of a netbook. It's not huge and heavy, but large enough to have a good size keyboard and screen. It also includes the practical features of a good size hard drive and a DVD drive.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

A few more books

In the meantime, I've read several more books. Among them:
  • Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
  • Six Hours One Friday by Max Lucado
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Crazy Love by Francis Chan
  • The Forest People by Colin Turnbull
  • Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
And then there was a series of inspirational Manga, Serenity: Bad Girl in Town (Vol. 1), Stepping Out (2), Basket Case (3). Apparently, there are more, but I only had the first three.

These are the ones I remember.

Friday, February 18, 2011

and then there were three...

I just finished reading and then there were three..., a memoir by Supriya Bhatnagar

They're a family of father, mother, and two daughters. The major life changing event is when the father dies unexpectedly when the older girl is ten years old. The mother has to make all the important decisions by herself now, and the family has to relocate to a different city. The book mostly describes the life of the family when the older daughter is in her teens, written from that daughter's perspective.

What makes the book interesting is to read about all the little (and maybe not so little) things in life. The kinds of decisions and events that every family goes through and seeing how they deal with them. To see how these things may be a bit different from what we're used to because the family lives in India.

What surprised me was how little impact the caste system, political events, economic changes etc. had in their lives. I had read A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry a while ago and the India described there is so different (the two books overlap in the time frame they describe). I realize that A Fine Balance is fiction and And Then There Were Three is non-fiction, but not all the differences can be explained by that. I'd like to find out more about how those two different worlds in the same country fit together.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


I just finished reading "Ice: Would you risk everything for a fairy tale?" by Sarah Beth Durst. It was the selection for the BC in DC book club. I love how it integrates today's world (the research station, GPS, etc.) with the fairy tale element.

When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. But on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie encounters a polar bear who speaks to her...

It's wonderful to read how Cassie gets to use all the skills she learned growing up at the Arctic research station to get through the adventures she encounters on her journey.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Reading in the beginning of the year

I'm still trying to report every book I've read. This year so far it's been:

- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
- The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Tough (book 4 in the series)
- How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan (abridged audio read by the author)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Furniture History

A while after one of my husband's colleagues had moved away, we came across his blog. He had given away most of his furniture, we were the lucky recipients of several pieces. It's fun to see their earlier history, he mentions when he acquired some of the pieces in 2007.

His “card” table with two regular fold-out chairs is now our kitchen table and chairs, fits right in next to the fridge.

His regular floor lamp that he mentions in his post is probably one of the nifty floor lamps that we got from him, both have a little "table" around the middle, very convenient. We use one in the living room by the futon sofa and one in the bedroom as a night table and lamp for my bed.

The regular chair for the balcony is probably the one that's now our chair on the back porch.

We also received some other furniture that isn't mentioned in this post, maybe he acquired that later...

Monday, January 10, 2011

50 books in 2010

I listened to an abridged version of Monk's Hood by Ellis Peters on two audio cassettes. I enjoyed listening to this mystery. An unabridged reading would probably have been even better, towards the end it felt like maybe some details were missing. It's another Brother Cadfael mystery. I finished the book close to the end of the year.

I also finished The Red Tent by Anita Diamant recently. Even if it was a few days into January, I'll still count it for 2010. I had read this book a long time ago, but didn't remember any details. I enjoyed it, but kept wondering whether the women were really so ignorant about God. The men in the family had followed him for several generations already.

So, I made it to 50 books in 2010. It's interesting to see that I really read that many books and the variety (Go back through the posts tagged "50booksin2010"). I won't repeat the challenge this year, but will still report on some books.