Nightstand: October

What's on Your Nightstand @ 5 Minutes for BooksWell lovies, another month has come and gone and it’s time for another What’s On Your Nightstand? post – which is a blogging carnival hosted by 5 Minutes For Books. For anyone new to this carnival, the premise is fairly simple :

Write about whatever books you are currently reading, recently read and/or plan to read next.

Pretty simple right? Last time we “nightstanded” I was in the middle of reading devouring Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I absolutely adored this final installment of the series everyone has been raving about. You can read my full review here.

I also read:

  1. The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson: Book Four) by Rick RiordanFinished October 9, 2010 – I think this was my favorite of the series so far – Percy has grown on me with each book, becoming a bit less dense as he gets older. I’m looking forward to book five.
  2. The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick Finished October 12, 2010 – Although this was not the best book I’ve ever read, I did really enjoy it. I think for it’s target audience (middle school girls) it was very well written and I loved how chock full of literary references it was. It also has plenty of good moral lessons, but not delivered in a preachy way – like I said, perfect for middle school girls. – full review
  3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryFinished October 24, 2010 – I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book – it was truly excellent. I think this is one of the best classic coming of age stories, with a little bit of everything. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Right now I’m reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott on my new Kindle. So far I’m enjoying it a lot but I have a feeling it may take me awhile to finish. Here are some of the other books I hope to read in the next month:

  • The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry : This is the bookclub pick for November / December and I plan to start reading it very soon
  • Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery : This will almost certainly be my next Kindle read when I finish Little Women. I just adored Anne of Green Gables and can’t wait to continue the series.
  • The Sweet Potato Queens’ Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit by Jill Conner Browne : I have this sitting and waiting patiently for me but will likely save it for when I really need a good, light read.

What’s on your nightstand right now? Tell me about it in the comments section below!

Holiday Cards : a cardstore.com preview and a poll!

Aloha Friday @ An Island Life Hello Aloha Friday participants! If you are pressed for time, just scroll to the bottom of this post and check out the last THREE (3) sample holiday cards and tell me : Which of the three cards do you like best? That’s my question for this week – A, B or C? I really appreciate your input! If you’ve got more time on your hands, of course feel free to read the whole post. I’ve showcased some really cute card designs from cardstore.com for anyone still working on their holiday cards.

Where do you shop for your Christmas cards? Do you still head to the store and buy a big box of folded cards or have you joined the ranks of photo card shoppers? I’m going to be reviewing cardstore.com and their selection of holiday cards and stationary soon, but in the meantime I’ve got to choose a card – and there are a lot to choose from! Being on the photo card end of the shopper spectrum, I was immediately drawn to their fun designs. Here are some of my favorites:

Santa Approved photo card @ cardstore.com

I love love love this card but just couldn’t find the right picture for it.

I think it’s one of the best designs they have though – you know you want it.

snowflake plaque photo card @ cardstore.com

This one made me laugh, too.

Don’t you kind of want to steal their photos and use them as is?

pink ribbon believe photo card @ cardstore.com

This is one of the cards from their Think Pink Collection.

“Every card features sweet pink accents and a special holiday message to make the card meaningful to family and friends. For this pink-themed collection, Cardstore.com and its artists donate 40% of card sales to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®.”

Pink Top Gingerbread @ cardstore.com

I really liked this one from The Pink Collection, too.

And these are just some of the cards that I loved but decided not to use. Mostly because I couldn’t find just the right pictures for them.

Also because I really loved these three :

(a)

option 1

Dan and I love how classic and elegant this one looks.

link to personalize your own

(b)

option 2

We love how fresh and fun this one looks.

link to personalize your own

(c)

option 3

Similar design from the Think Pink Collection. I used a different picture of MM here because I’m still torn between the two.

link to personalize your own

Wanna help me decide? Which one of the three is your favorite?

FIR '10: Reading Question #4 : Keeping Your Place

Fall Into Reading 2010 @ Callapidder DaysAs part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge, Katrina @ Callapidder Days has decided to post a weekly question related to the challenge.

She writes, “I thought it would be a great way to keep Fall Into Reading participants connected throughout the course of the challenge.”

Here’s the question for this week:

Do you ever dog-ear the corners of book pages to mark your spot? Or are you a faithful bookmark user, refusing to damage the pages of your books? OR do you have another way to keep track of where you are in a book?

I can’t say that I’ve never dog eared a page in a pinch, but as a general rule of thumb, I try not to. Like Katrina, although I know I own plenty of bookmarks, I can almost never seem to find one when I need one, but I try to keep bits and pieces of paper around that can work as a makeshift bookmark.

Receipts tend to be a common bookmarking device for me – especially the little papers they print at the library with your book’s due date. They serve dual purpose of keeping my place and reminding me how much longer I have until I need to return or renew the book.

I wish I was one of those people with the beautiful bookmarks, but you really shouldn’t bother buying them for me because they are destined to be lost forever in our home!

One thing I really like about my new Kindle is not having to worry about bookmarks anymore. The simplicity is just divine!

How about you? Do you use bookmarks or dog ear the pages? How do you keep track of your place in a book?

Daybook: October 18th

a close up from the corn maze, more on that later

Today…

Outside my window: I see blue skies, thin white clouds and trees in every fall color you love. Reds, greens, yellows and oranges. A perfect picture of fall – and the weather has finally cooled down again which means I can start wearing my fall sweaters now! I’m sure by next week I’ll be complaining that I’m cold, but for now I’m enjoying the crisp, fall weather.

This weekend we: took the kids to a farm in Deerfield called the Schuster Playtime Farm. It boasts a small and larger corn maze, lots of cute gimmicky farm play areas for the kids (it was like a farm amusement park for little ones), pumpkin launchers, pick your own pumpkins and a bakery selling caramel apples, homemade fudge and more.

MM wandering the corn maze

Here’s a picture from the corn maze. You can see another one at my 365 project here.

BB exploring the farm

We were nice and let BB get out and wander around a bit, though she mostly just wanted to eat all the dirt she could find. There was a lot of dirt.

MM in the tire jungle gym

Here you can see the tire jungle gym, a huge slide and just behind that the pumpkin launching area. We bought the kids a pumpkin each – a medium sized for MM and a teeny tiny for BB (I’ll get pictures of them later) and spent only $1 for both! Next year when we have more space you can bet we’ll buy some larger ones as well!

my new prettyWe also: spent a lot of time playing with … my new Kindle! The most amazing husband in the universe apparently got tired of the begging and decided that rather than wait until Christmas / my birthday he’d surprise me with one now so we can use it for an upcoming trip. I spent the weekend downloading almost 50 free classic books onto my Kindle and have been in gadget-style literary heaven ever since!

I am reading: two books right now because both are too good to wait. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery both the paperback copy and on the Kindle, I really haven’t picked which way I prefer reading it yet – and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott on my Kindle. When I finish one of the two, I’ll move away from classics a bit and get back to the other books from my Fall Into Reading challenge.

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

You should check out these great links:

One last picture to share before I go: I may have to post more pictures from this little tutu photo shoot soon (yes again!), but here’s a little sneak peek, a taste of what’s to come…

admiring her lovely reflection

aloha: favorite classics

I’ve noticed over the last couple years that despite being an avid reader, I have missed a lot of the classics. Growing up, I got distracted by the rows and rows of Babysitters Club books and somehow missed out on the “must read” books that you see on all the lists : Jane Austen’s books, Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, Little Women, To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Animal Farm. Never read any of them growing up. How is this possible when I was reading so much?

Since then I’ve tried to make up for lost time. Gone With the Wind is now one of my all-time favorite books, along with Pride and Prejudice. And I’m currently reading Anne of Green Gables. And pretty soon I’m going to have nearly unlimited access to a world of classic literature because the World’s Greatest Husband decided to buy me something we’ve been toying with the idea of getting for a while now – a KINDLE. I know, right? Best Early Birthday / Christmas Present Ever.

This was a pretty big purchase for us and I plan to be pretty stingy for awhile with the books I purchase for it so I have full intentions of making great use of their amazing selection of free classics. But good golly, miss molly there are a lot of them! And you know how some classic books are classic because they are amazing and life changing and everybody should read them, and then other classic books are, well, over-rated possibly? I want to read the MUST READS – the Gone With the Winds and the Pride and Prejudices, and hopefully avoid the Scarlett Letters as much as possible, you know?

So my Aloha Friday question this week is:

What classic book do you think everyone should read?

Which of the Amazon Classics do you think I need to download immediately?

aloha friday @ an island life

Take it easy today with Kailani @ An Island Life.

First time participating? It’s easy!

Write a post with a simple question, then link up here.

Click on the links for other participating bloggers.

Say, “Aloha!” ; answer their question ; make bloggy friends!

Book Review: The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick

The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick I’d heard many good things about The Mother-Daughter Book Club, the first in a series by Heather Vogel Frederick, so I was very excited when I found a copy at a local library book sale the other week.

The book club is about to get a makeover…

Even if Megan would rather be at the mall, Cassidy is late for hockey practice, Emma’s already read every book in existence, and Jess is missing her mother too much to care, the new book club is scheduled to meet every month.

But what begins as a mom-imposed ritual of reading Little Women soon helps four unlikely friends navigate the drama of middle school. From stolen journals, to secret crushes, to a fashion-fiasco first dance, the girls are up to their Wellie boots in drama. They can’t help but wonder: What would Jo March do?

This book was quite a break from my recent string of sci-fi fantasy / disutupian reads and written for a slightly younger audience. This is probably not a book for your teenager, rather it is written for your budding tween. I am no stranger to young adult / middle reader fiction though and I enjoyed this story which is chock full of middle school drama, New England history and literary references galore.

And while I cannot say it was the best book I’ve ever read, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Most of all, it has me longing to read Little Women, another classic that I think I somehow managed to miss (I know I’ve seen the movie, but I don’t think I actually read the book – shame on me!) growing up. This book also made me wish I’d had a book club experience growing up. I was an avid reader but didn’t really know anybody my own age that was also. But I think they were definitely out there – I know many women now who were bookish like me growing up, but I think the life of a book worm is largely a solo venture.

As a mother and a woman who has experienced the growing pains of middle school, I can see a lot of great things about this book from the perspective of a tween girl who might read it. I think this book does a great job portraying the mean girl syndrome and then breaking it down and showing girls how they can break the vicious cycle. Reading the book from the perspective of all four (very different) girls allows the reader to see how similar the girls really are and how even the popular girl who seems to have it all is more like you than you think. How every girl and every family has their own crosses to bear and none of them are perfect and perfectly content. I think it serves as an excellent reminder to be kind and supportive of the people around you, to stick up for your friends (and yourself!) and be open to new people and experiences. Really, an excellent tween read!