Monthly Archives: January 2013

Butterfly Photos

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Here are some great photos I took this weekend at the Farm Show.  I actually have this quirky passion for photographing chickens, particularly the more unusual chickens.  This year I hit the lottery–at least in terms of chicken photography.  My patience was rewarded when this guy crowed right in front of me, while I was waiting to snap a pic of him:

best chicken picture 2013

A new exhibit this year was the tent from the butterfly farm.  Worth the $2 entry and then some!  We were covered in butterflies. 

 

butterflies1

Was trying to post a great video for you here, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be permitted.  I’ll keep trying… the farm show had a tank set up for the baby ducks where they could climb up stairs, then zoom down a sliding board into a pool of water.  So adorable!

Quote for Today

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I was reading some Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) and absolutely loved these lines, from The Sign of the Four:

My mind rebels at stagnation.  Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere.  But I abhor the dull routine of existence.  I crave mental exaltation.”

I am a huge fan of Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes.  In fact, I just started reading a new historical fiction book called Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King which is narrated from the perspective of Holmes’ wife, Mary Russell.  A very unique approach, the first book I’ve seen written from her perspective.  Hopefully it will not disappoint!

Best Fiction Novels of 2012

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One goal I aim to achieve every single year is writing down the name of every book that I read over the year.  I really don’t know why it’s been impossible for me to do this!!  I always start off well, with good intentions but soon enough the list is abandoned, never to be completed.  Well, I thought I would do the searching for you and share some lists of books that other people have determined were the “best” for 2012.

Best Fiction Books from 2012 according to Wall Street Journal”

1.  The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu

2.  Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

3.  A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava

4.  Earth and Air by Peter Dickinson

5.  Absolution by Patrick Flanery

6.  The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

7.  The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura

8.  John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk

9.  NW by Zadie Smith

10.  At Last by Edward St. Aubyn

In reading the reviews of these books, I noticed a general theme among them.  They all (or most) appear to have very complex, challenging plots.  They tend to be set in foreign countries.  Has anyone read any of these books?  I regularly read up on new books being released, but I haven’t heard of or seen a single one of these books.

In vast comparison to the WSJ’s list is Amazon’s best books for 2012.  Most of these are by popular authors, many who’ve written numerous previous books (e.g. Janet Evanovich, Patrician Cornwell).  I’m only including a few on this list.

1.  Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

2.  The Tehran Initiative by Joel Rosenberg

3.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

4.  The Marriage Plot: A Novel by Jefferey Eugenides

5.  Damned by Chuck Palahniuk

6.  1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Amazon’s list makes me wonder where WSJ got their list from…I’ve heard of almost all of the books or authors on the Amazon list and in fact have read many of those books.  In comparison to the complex novels on the WSJ list, I think the Amazon ones tend to be more easier-to-read or easier to understand novels, less complex, and more “popular.”  In other words, perhaps more appealing to the average lay reader.  Or maybe like going to McDonald’s for food in comparison to a gourmet French restaurant?

So, would anyone like to offer any reviews, comments or ideas about these “best” books of 2012?  Or perhaps post a list of your own? 

I’m going to set a goal of trying to recall at least some of the books I read over the year and try to post a list here… In the meantime, I guess now would be a great time to start my list for 2013!

Book Reviews for the new year! 1-8-13

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I just got done reading an amazing book.  I rushed through it’s 300+ pages and couldn’t put it down.  The Doula by Bridget Boland is a very well written, engrossing story.  The author weaves in topics like mother-daughter relationships, the miracle of birth, and factors that move one from the innocence of childhood into adulthood.  As someone who believes in natural birthing myself, I loved reading about natural births, and all of the birth stories that were told in this book (regardless as to the fact that they were fictional).  The author is a doula herself, so she writes these things from experience and firsthand knowledge.  Another highly recommended book!

Before starting this book, I read The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff.  This isn’t a book I would lightly recommend.  Rather, I’d say this is more for history buffs, specifically people who are really into geneology.  The author focuses intensely on a famous small-town family, tracing their roots back many generations and bringing up faux letters, secret notes, rumors and lots of other intricate detials.  This is done in the context of the main character’s quest to solve the mystery of who her biological father is, while answering other riddles about her family’s past.  This is another book where I had trouble liking and relating to the main character, who I found a bit whiny and dramatic.  She gets drunk while believing she’s pregnant, only to find out a period of time later that she was only suffering from pseudocyesis (false pregnancy).

Coming soon:  reviews for the new book The End of Your Life Book Club and a racy erotic novel I found at a book clearance sale!