Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


I’ve completed my first challenge!  Actually, I suppose I half completed it, as I haven’t written all of my reviews yet (still trying to re-learn how to balance work with life with blogging – that month off really spoiled me!).  But the books are all read, so I’m going to consider it complete for now.

I didn’t have much trouble reading all of the books for the Non-Fiction Five 2009 challenge, especially since I had already personally committed to reading one non-fiction book a month this year.  Some of the books I loved more than others (which you’ll see when I post all of the reviews), but I enjoyed all of them.  There was a pretty wide variety – three memoirs (two on food, one on politics), a self-help, and a book about the science of sex (how do you classify that?).  Here’s my list:

  1. My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme
  2. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
  3. Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran by Azadah Moaveni
  4. A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
  5. Your Time-Starved Marriage by Les and Leslie Parrott

My favorite of the five was definitely A Homemade Life – but then, how could I not love something written by Molly Wizenberg?  My least favorite was Your Time-Starved Marriage, but I still felt the read was worthwhile.  Thanks to Trish at Trish’s Reading Nook for hosting this great challenge.

Stay tuned for my full reviews on the rest of these books!


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On the road again

I’ve been remiss in my blogging and will continue to be for the next several days.  Things have been pretty crazy around here lately.  Last week was my birthday (!) and the week and this weekend were packed with all sorts of lovely birthday celebrations and surprises.  I won’t go into all of the details, but here are some highlights:  Three chocolate cakes.  Romantic candlelight dinner complete with our fine china and crystal.  Fool mudammas and muhammara at Mezza Bistro.  Hummas, pacha rice, and veggie burgers at my Mom’s.  Thoughtful and generous gifts from friends and family – I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the love!

In addition, last week was my final week at my job.  To make a (very) long story short, I’ll just say that I knew this was coming and God came through in a BIG way with another fantastic job starting next month.  In the meantime, I have the whole month of August to read and play!  I’m kicking the celebration off with the second annual girl’s trip with my Mom and sister.  We leave today, but I’ll be back soon with lots of book reviews that are waiting to be completed.

I need to go finish packing, but first let me leave you with two exciting book blogging news items.

The Second Annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week, put together by My Friend Amy, is Sept. 14-18th.  As I’m still new to this book blogging thing, I’m really excited to see what this is all about!  Here are the details:

Last year over 400 blogs came together to celebrate the art of book blogging during the first ever Book Blogger Appreciation Week!  I am so pleased to announce that the second annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week will be taking place September 14-18.

WHO Anyone who blogs about books is invited to participate.  In fact, we want everyone who blogs about books and reading to be a part of this week!
WHAT A week where we come together,  celebrate the contribution and hard work of book bloggers in promoting a culture of literacy, connecting readers to books and authors, and recognizing the best among us with the Second Annual BBAW Awards.  There will be special guest posts, daily blogging themes, and giveaways.
WHEN September 14-18, 2009
WHERE Here at the new Book Blogger Appreciation Week Blog!  (Please note that this year there are three separate blogs and feeds—one for the main event, one for giveaways, and one for awards.)
WHY Because books matter.  In a world full of options, the people talking about books pour hard work, time, energy, and money into creating a community around the written word.  I, Amy, the founder of Book Blogger Appreciation Week love this community of bloggers and want to shower my appreciation on you!

Please help us spread the word about Book Blogger Appreciation Week by posting about it on your blog, stumbling this post, twittering about it, and telling everyone you know that it’s time to have a party and celebrate book bloggers!

Please register by filling out the registration form! Registering ensures your inclusion in the BBAW 09 Database of Book Bloggers and enters you into the drawing for the BBAW 09 Grand Prize!

BBAW Award Nominations open July 15 on the BBAW Awards Blog.

Secondly, I’m joining another challenge.  I probably shouldn’t, since I already have enough challenges going to keep me busy, but I just couldn’t resist the Harry Potter Reading Challenge being hosted by Galley Smith.  The challenge is to read or listen to all seven Harry Potter books between August 1, 2009 and July 31, 2010.  R and I were already planning on listening to several during our upcoming road trip and I’ve been wanting to re-read the series, so I’m very excited about this challenge.

Alright.  Let the girl’s trip begin!

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The Witches

Title: The Witches

Author: Roald Dahl

Published: 1983

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Rating: 3.5 of 5

The Witches is about a young orphaned boy who learns about witches from his grandmother, a retired witch hunter.  His grandmother teaches him how to distinguish witches from other normal women, and soon, the boy finds himself hiding and observing the annual English witch convention.  Witches vehemently hate children, and when they discover him, things do not go well!

When I was doing research for my new book club, I encountered this book mentioned in The Book Club Companion (the book solely responsible for doubling my reading queue size).  It reminded me of my fond memories of Roald Dahl – The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach – and since I’d never read The Witches, I picked it up at my library.

I can’t decide if my younger self would have found this book funny or scary.  Dahl is so dark, yet so entertaining.  Who else would write about witches getting pleasure from ‘doing away’ with at least one child a week?  At one point, they even break into a bizarre and highly Dahlesque song that begins:

Down vith children!  Do them in!

Boil their bones and fry their skin!

Bish them, sqvish them, bash them, mash them!

Brrreak them, shake them, slash them, smash them!

This was an immensely quick read, and I think I enjoyed Dahl’s writing style more than I enjoyed the actual story.  The plot and the characters just didn’t enchant me as some of Dahl’s other creations have (especially The BFG, who remains one of my favorite children’s literary characters).


Don’t take my word for it.  Check out what others are saying about The Witches:

Things Mean a Lot – The Witches by Roald Dahl

SMS Book Reviews – The Witches by Roald Dahl

Maw Books Blog – The Witches by Roald Dahl

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