Friday, March 25, 2011


I was particularly touched today by Amanda's blog at The Zen Leaf.  

It has admittedly been an area of worry and concern for me that I have recently started this blog, but have not done a stellar job of keeping up with it (it is never far from my's just that I happen to be the kind of person who takes way to much on!).  I worry that I am not reading fast enough, am not blogging enough, am not commenting or reading others' blogs enough, am not...enough. I would hate to lose readers and worry that I will not get new readers because I am not focusing enough time and energy on my blog.  But the truth is:  I am just to overwhelmed right now...

As I eluded to in my "About Me" page (which I still have not finished...), along with working full time, I am involved with a local theater. Currently, I am co-producing RENT, a really amazing and wonderful show, at the Footlight Club which opens on April 1st!  Quick sales pitch:  This is gonna be a FABULOUS, AMAZING SHOW!!! If you are in the Boston area, you should check it is well worth the very cheap theater ticket price of $22.00/$19.00. Ok...done.

Additionally, I recently accepted the Acting Membership Director role on the theater's Board of Directors. I have held the Volunteers Director position for several years, but given the need for someone experienced to focus on membership immediately it made sense for me to move over.  So I have now taken over, which is great, except that our Membership Drive is going into full gear the same day RENT opens.  And I still have to maintain some of my Volunteers Director duties until June.

And I sing with an a Capella group, Purely Vocals, which rehearses regularly and is really trying to spread our name around and expand our performance opportunities. 

But, I am not done!  To make matters worse, my fiance and I are in the process of trying to purchase a home. The paperwork is processing (fingers crossed), but in order to make the deal we need to move out of our condo and let a tenant move in by, you guessed it, the same weekend RENT opens! So, in the next week I have to pack everything we own and move it all.

So, if you weren't keeping track, that's:
Packing and moving
Bank loans, renting condo and home buying stress
Producing/ensuring success of a show
Membership Drive
Volunteer Director duties
Continued efforts to book/perform with singing group

Can I say "day off please"?!?!

So, what this all is coming down to is...I get what Amanda is feeling! I really appreciated hearing another blogger, especially an experienced and successful blogger, say: Its OK to do as much as you can and then stop. Its OK to read less, or more slowly. Its OK to blog only when you have the time and something to say" [I look forward to the calm summer "after the storm" and enjoying books on my new porch with a glass of lemonade!!]. Its OK to avoid challenges (which I really don't enjoy as I am a very random reader, not a planner).

So, thank you Amanda for making me feel better. And thank you for helping us newbies to truly become better bloggers...even when that means not blogging! Thank you, and good luck on your new journey. I truly hope you find a peaceful blogging medium which makes you happy and leaves you stress-free to enjoy reading and sharing as you see fit.  With your help, I am a step closer to mine.

Peace and love,

My First Blog Award - Thank you!

I opened my email today and guess what I found?

I've been awarded a Best Books Blog Award by Dierdra at A Storybook World.  A sincere thank you!

It is exciting to get your very first (but hopefully not last) blog award! And its even more exciting to know that someone is out there reading what I'm saying. I am flattered...and hopeful that Dierdra is not the only one! :)

I truly appreciate you, readers, for spending your valuable, and likely limited, time with me.

Love to all.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - 3/15/11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

"A Peeping Tom named Tom....In all respects save one, he was a good guy."

The Sweet Relief of Missing Children (Sarah Braunstein) pg. 28-29.

The Slap - Tsiolkas

The Slap (Christos Tsiolkas) is billed as the story of a group of friends and family who, while enjoying a barbecue one summer, are forced into a difficult situation. During yet another squabble brought on by one of the family's children, one of the fathers (but not that child's father) reacts shortly and slaps the child. Just a slap. But this event sets off waves of repercussion.

Umm...ok. A child gets slapped. A family takes legal action.  That equals about 20 pages (generous). 

The rest of the story is...uh, just filler.  This book is a series of chapters, each from someone new's perception. But each person's perception of the event equals no more than 3-5 pages of each 20+ page chapter. And the rest of the chapter is totally unrelated and random.  So, each time you read a new chapter...its like beginning a new short story (a genre I'm not particularly big on). This drove me crazy!  I had to drag my way through 20 pages of non-related drivel to get back to what I considered the story at hand (the slap).

In theory, I guess I was supposed to get to know each character more personally...and that would be  a good thing. Except, it wasn't. Each time I had to get to know someone new, I kept wondering what any of it had to do with the story. And that "getting to know" went on...and on...and on...and, you get my point.

And, these characters were not people I would want to know. I was left feeling like the author was living vicariously through some of these folks...and not in a good way.  Of the four men who the author highlights...three of them cheat on their wives (one in a memory of going to a brothel, but a cheat is a cheat), the fourth is a gay kid who takes drugs. Um, ok.  Of the women, one falsely accuses someone of rape. One loves her husband only because he's handsome...and cheats on him, but then spends pages getting angry that he cheated on her.  Need I go on, really?!

To be fair, the book was not badly written...otherwise I would have just canned it and not finished. But I really wanted to know where all this was going!  So I forced myself to read...and, you get it. And, ultimately, *spoiler alert* it went no where. The book resolves, but not in any "ah, that was totally worth it" or "I get it now!" sort of way.

Ultimately, the experience of the book is to wallow in each of these horrible character's lives and truly understand how horrific and terrible life is overall. 

Uh, no thanks. That's ok.
2/5- Just okay.  Choose with EXTREME prejudice.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - 3/8/11

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teasers:  

"My name is Kate Cypher and I am forty-one years old. I killed someone last night."

Promise Not To Tell (Jennifer McMahon) pg. 7.

Ok...I cheated. I haven't actually "officially" started this book yet. But I just couldn't put another quote from The Slap and admit that I am still struggling my way through it. So much so that I've started cheating a few paragraphs from my next book to keep me going... But Promise Not To Tell is waiting anxiously on my bedside stand for the moment!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Book Beginnings - 3/4/11

How to participate: Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you're reading. Then, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence. The link-up will be here at A Few More Pages every Friday and will be open for the entire week.

Thanks to Becky at Page Turners for starting this meme and to Rose City Reader for inspiring it!

First Lines...  "His eyes still shut, a dream dissolving and already impossible to recall, Hector's hand sluggishly reached accross the bed. Good. Aish was up. He let out a victorious fart, burying his face deep into the pillow to escape the clammy methane stink."
My thoughts... Ok, this book is not likely going to be what I expected! The summary leads you to believe its a fairly deep, involved discussion of humans and their connections to family and friends.  Umm...maybe not so deep?!
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Welfare Brat - Childers

In Welfare Brat, Mary Childers (pronounced "Chillders" according to her absent father, but "Child-ers" by her scorned mother) tells of growing up in an American-Irish family, one of seven children,  on welfare, struggling to survive in the Bronx during the racially tense 1960's. With an oft drunk mother constantly in search of love and acceptance, and a host of "fathers" (who only add to the family before disappearing) Childers struggled to find her place in the world while helping keep her family safe.

Childers endured a childhood mired in struggle, fear, need and sadness. She also found within herself a strength not many can claim.  Despite her trials, she ascertained that she would not become the next in the long list of family women to fall prey to men's needs, pregnancy and a forced welfare existence. She decides instead to go to college and, despite all the world throws at her, manages to succeed, eventually earning her Ph.D.

I really enjoyed this read. Having grown up in a single-parent home, I saw many similarities between her life and mine (though there were many, many differences!). The struggles of families like these are universal and timeless.  I can remember feeling similar feelings when I was younger...about wanting to avoid motherhood and being stuck in a welfare world. I too managed to not only survive, but thrive and also got an advanced college degree.

Interestingly, my fiance tells me that I am a bit hardened by my past. He is likely right...  Childers clearly was too.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.