Tag Archives: books

New York Times annual list of 100 notable books

image

The New York Times came out with their annual list of the100 most notable books of the year.

What do you think? Have you read any of these books? What did you think of it? Do you refer to this list when looking for a good book? What makes a book notable to you?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

17 Comments

Filed under Art, Books, Culture, Poetry

Travel Photo of the Year Contest and the Booker Award

Heather over at Bitsnbooks has presented me with the Booker Award, which is a little different from the other awards floating around. I love any award and am so grateful and humbled to be recognized by my talented peers. I hope you will take a moment to check out Heather’s blog.

This particular award is fun to accept for a geeky gal like me. The rules for accepting this award are to:

1. Nominate other blogs, as many as you want but 5-10 is always a good suggestion. Don’t forget to let your recipients know.

2. Post the Booker Award picture.

3. Share your top 5 books of all time

First, I will post my five favorite books of all times. This is a tough list to come up with, as I have loved many books over the years, but there are a few that have really stuck with me:

1.)    The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)  – I have shared some quotes from this book in past blog posts. This book may have just come into my life at the right time, but I don’t think there is ever really a wrong time to reflect on what is important to you. The messages in this simple story are potent and powerful at any time of life.

2.)    The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) – This book knocked me over. Again, a story with a very deep message. This book delivers a strong social justice message and you end up feeling like you know and love this family by the end. I have only cried in a very few books, but the last paragraph of this one will live with me always.

3.)    Roots (Alex Haley) – This book made me cry from the start. It is an important portrayal of one of the largest scars on the American history – the fact that slavery was accepted and justified by our government. It puts a human face on something that most people would rather not examine closely. A very moving read.

4.)    Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) – There is something about this book for me. The writing is so lyrical and beautiful, my blood pressure goes down with the first sentence.

5.)    The Elements of Style (Strunk and White) – Someday I will know whether a period goes inside or outside of quotes, but until then, this book will be on my desk.

I would like to present this award to the following bloggers:

Hugh Curtler

Musings of an Old Fart

Waiting for the Karma Truck

Carr Party of Five

Magnolia Beginnings

Analyfe

Life with the Top Down

Real Woman’s Health

Writing Your Destiny

The Healthy Warrior

The Jotters Joint

The Curtain Raiser

Talk to Diana

Third Eye Mom

The Bookshelf of Emily J

What do you think? What is the one book that has really impacted you? What is the one book you have read more than once and why?

Please don’t forget to vote in the Bucket List Publications Travel Photo of the Year Contest! There are 18 finalists and I have some stiff competition. I would love your help!

Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina
Copyright JC Politi Photography

You can vote every day for the next few days. All you have to do is go to see all the finalists and click on this picture and click “like” or share to mark it as your favorite! You can send it to friends and family to encourage them to vote though Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and lots of other ways. It would mean a lot to get your vote!

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you so much for reading!

57 Comments

Filed under Awards, Blogging, Books, Culture, Education, History, International, Love, Photography, Photos, travel

Times Are Rough – I’ve Got Too Much Stuff!

Photo Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A friend recently shared an interesting article from the New York Times entitled “The Way We Live: Drowning in Stuff.” This article raises a number of interesting issues about family dynamics, many of which I explored in blog posts earlier this week.

The article discusses a new book coming out next week called, “Life at Home in the 21st Century.” This book is the result of a study in which anthropologists followed families with at least two small children in the home to document how these families handle their “stuff.”

One of the findings of the study which made me chuckle was this one:

There was a direct relationship between the amount of magnets on refrigerators and the amount of stuff in a household.

When I married my husband, he and I both knew – in fact, anyone who ever has known me for any period of time probably knew, that “stuff” would be our marital conflict. I like my stuff. My husband prefers a space that resembles a zen meditation center – without the meditation.

I come from a long line of pack rats. I feel a certain comfort when surrounded by things that remind me of people and places I love. My husband, on the other hand, feels comfort when surrounded by clean, flat surfaces without piles.

Having just faced the concept of having to pack only what would fit in my car to flee a wildfire, I was forced to think about all the stuff that surrounds me.

Somehow, when faced with the possibility of losing everything, I was not as panicked as I expected.

I think that was because I knew that I would be able to get myself, my husband and my teenage pup to safety and that we would all be fine, no matter what happened. Apparently, that is the stuff that matters.

What do you think? Are you a pack rat or a minimalist? Do you have emotional issues about your stuff? Do you regret having eliminated something that you thought was clutter, only to realize later that you needed that item? Have you had to work through these issues with an aging parent? Do you have any advice for those of us who like to hold on to things? And why does it seem that when I come back from a long trip, I feel much more willing to get rid of things that were not needed and used in whatever bag I took? That seems to be the best time for my husband to discuss this issue with me, when I am most open to changing. Finally, how many refrigerator magnets are on your refrigerator?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.

29 Comments

Filed under Books, comedy, Culture, Environment, equality, Parenting, Peace, Relationships, Stereotypes

Community Bookstores and Self-Published Books: A Match Made in Heaven?

There is an article in the New York Times about people who are self-publishing books and then having small local community book stores print copies of their books for sale.

I like this idea. The fact that anyone can self-publish a book and then make it available to their local community through a community bookstore is exciting to me. Maybe this could help revitalize local book stores, which would be great, as I have been getting nervous that book stores were a dying breed.

I wonder if this type of publishing could equalize access to information. Maybe political and social justice movements could use this new technology as a tool to spread their messages to mobilize local communities.

What do you think? I know many of my readers have self published books and I would love for you to share links to your books here, if applicable. Have any of you thought of partnering with a local book store to use this new tool? How could you see this being used? Do you think this could help spread information or is this less relevant now with the rise of the internet and social media? What do you see as the future for local independent book stores?

I would love to hear your thoughts! Thank you so much for reading!

13 Comments

Filed under Books, Technology

As American as Baseball and Apple Pie: How Would You Describe the United States?

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Atlantic posted a fun, thought provoking article this week which explores travel advice offered by guidebooks for foreign travelers visiting the United States.

As someone who loves travel, and who would never dream of going to a foreign country without reading at least one travel guide from cover to cover, I was intrigued to learn what cultural traditions and advice travelers receive when visiting the United States.

Some guidebooks warn travelers to be aware of people’s sensitivities around politics and about the historical oppression of people of color and same sex couples in the United States.

Most guidebooks emphasize the importance of punctuality, which is practically a religion in this country – a religion which I practice faithfully, I might add, illustrated by the fact that I must show up at least 15 minutes early for any appointment.

It is fun to read about your own culture from a different perspective. That is one of the things I love about travel – it can change the entire framework through which you see the world in an instant.

The article includes a delightful excerpt from Wikitravel with advice about etiquette when visiting a home for a meal:

When invited to a meal in a private home it is considered polite for a guest to ask if they can bring anything for the meal, such a dessert, a side dish, or for an outdoor barbecue, something useful like ice or plastic cups or plates. The host will usually refuse except among very close friends, but it is nonetheless considered good manners to bring along a small gift for the host. A bottle of wine, box of candies or fresh cut flowers are most common. Gifts of cash, prepared ready-to-serve foods, or very personal items (e.g. toiletries) are not appropriate.    

I had never really thought much about this tradition – it is just what we naturally do!

Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Guidebooks also describe how much people from the United States love our personal space. I recall the first time a person came and sat at our table on our honeymoon in Europe – I am not sure the person even asked to join us – we loved it, but that never happens in the United States!

I was struck by the portion of the article where the author highlights issues of safety in inner cities. I have no doubt that this is important information to share with visitors and obviously every person has to use common sense when travelling, but reading about our street crime made me wonder about safety warnings in guide books that I have read for other countries. Perhaps the warnings in all guidebooks are a little over-exaggerated to ensure that people pay them heed.

What do you think? Isn’t this part of the fun of travel – to help you think about doing things in a completely different way? What travel advice would you want to give foreign travelers to your country to avoid committing a cultural faux pas? If you are from the United States, how does this list of cautions and cultural traditions fit for you? What would you add to the list? Do you use guidebooks when you travel? Which ones are your favorites? Have you made any cultural faux pas that you would care to share? Have you learned any ways to avoid these mistakes? What are your favorite cultural traditions and customs to explore when you travel?

I hope you will share your thoughts. Thanks so much for reading.     

24 Comments

Filed under Books, Culture, International, travel