28 April 2010

Go Forth & Be Booky

I was incredibly lucky during the last read-a-thon  -- not only winning a two books, but also a lifetime membership to LibraryThing!  I'd never used LibraryThing before and was tremendously excited.  I finally set up my account last week and Sonya at LibraryThing changed it over to a lifetime account.

The primary difference between the free and the lifetime account seems to be the number of books you can add and, woo boy, do I have a lot of books!  So far, I have added 204 books to my LibraryThing -- mostly just what I can grab without falling out of my wheelchair!

Many more to come, of course.

The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer


"Try as I will, I cannot be romantic!" said Miss Morville despairingly.

Gervase Frant, the seventh Earl of St. Erth, has returned home from the Napoleonic wars to lukewarm welcome. His stepfamily resents him for getting in the way of a fortune and title which they deserved far more than he. Why, they wonder, couldn't Gervase have been a good sport and died on campaign? The nerve of the man! Only Cousin Theo and Miss Morville, a guest of his stepmother, seem pleased to see him.

And then a series of strange incidents and unfortunate accidents beset the Earl. Is it all just coincidence or is someone trying to get him out of the way ...

Oh, how I enjoyed The Quiet Gentleman! It's not a traditional Heyer romance -- indeed, the principle romantic subplot is so subtle as to be barely there -- but it makes for a rollicking good mystery.  The characters and dialog were so well written that, even though I detested Dowager Lady St Erth, I took a lot of pleasure from her barbs. And, even though this is a mystery, there is a lot of humor and wit afoot.

One of my favorite scenes is in Chapter 10, when Miss Morville is walking through the wood at twilight and hears the thud of horse's hooves.  The scene could easily go very Gothick, but Heyer pushes it in the opposite direction:

The woods were full of shadows, and already a little chilly, after the setting of the sun, but Miss Morville, neither so fashionable as to disdain wearing a warm pelisse, nor so delicate as to be unable to walk at a brisk pace, suffered no discomfort. She did not even imagine, when some small animal stirred in the undergrowth, that she was being followed; and was so insensible as to remain impervious to the alarm which might have been caused by the sudden scutter of a rabbit across the path ... The thud of a horse's hooves came to her ears, which led her to suppose, not that a desperate, and probably masked, brigand approached, but that the Earl, having parted from the Grampounds, was on his way back to the Castle.

Mind you, the poor girl was raised in a very intellectual household and cannot be expected to demonstrate proper feminine sensibility!

The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer (Harlequin Books, 2006)

27 April 2010

Springing


Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

      From "A Prayer in Spring" by Robert Frost

12 April 2010

Read-A-Thon Tweets

Figured I'd collect all my read-a-thon tweets together and preserve them for posterity's sake!

The last book I read for #readathon was Charlotte Roche's 'Wetlands' (b/c @thebookslut blogged it up last year). Has skewed my worldview :)
11:24 AM Apr 11th via web




Finished Shannon Hale's 'The Actor & The Housewife' for the #readathon. Rather sweet. Don't know if she's written any other grownup novels.
1:00 AM Apr 11th via web




@BooksRCritical Hey! I read The Iron King for #readathon too :) Great book.
 9:23 PM Apr 10th via web in reply to BooksRCritical




Chewing my way through Shannon Hale's 'The Actor & The Housewife' with a cat curled up against my bad leg, all hot and purring #readathon
9:21 PM Apr 10th via web



Finished Kagawa's #YA 'The Iron King' & on to Shannon Hale's 'The Actor & The Housewife' #readathon
8:01 PM Apr 10th via web



The Husband made me brain #food for #noms! Got to keep my energy up for #readathon - baked salmon, parsley rice, cukes & tomatoes in Italian
6:47 PM Apr 10th via web



Mapped some of my #readathon books for 'Where In The World Are You Reading.' Silly Google Maps doesn't know where the Unseelie Court is!
5:53 PM Apr 10th via web



Okay! Back from another nap :) Kagawa's 'The Iron King' is half done! #readathon
5:15 PM Apr 10th via web



(Stuff & Nonsense) Read-A-Thon Round-Up, The First: So, I have been reading since eight this morning and h...http://bit.ly/b4ipFQ #reading
1:54 PM Apr 10th via twitterfeed



Holy cow! I fall asleep & wake up to fabulous prizes! Two books & a lifetime membership to librarything. Sweet :)
1:39 PM Apr 10th via web



Okay, so I fell asleep reading 'The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For' :( Nice nap, but moving on to something else! #readathon
1:30 PM Apr 10th via web



As we head into the 3rd hour of #readathon, I have read 2 books (416 pages) & am about to start book 3, 'Essential Dykes to Watch Out For'
11:20 AM Apr 10th via web



@Chrisbookarama Oh, I loved 'The Forest of Hands & Teeth!' Happy reading :)
11:01 AM Apr 10th via web in reply to chrisbookarama




Halfway through 'The Stonekeeper's Curse' GN #readathon #YA
10:59 AM Apr 10th via web



(Stuff & Nonsense) Read-A-Thon Kickoff Challenge: Challenge the First: The Kickoff Challenge! In this chall ... http://bit.ly/awAziV #reading
10:57 AM Apr 10th via twitterfeed



(Flickr) Table O' Stuff http://bit.ly/bvyq3z
10:50 AM Apr 10th via twitterfeed



Finished 'The Wonderful Wizard of OZ' GN. On to 'The Stonekeeper's Curse #readathon
 9:56 AM Apr 10th via web



Ah! Finally, the flying monkeys! #readathon
9:22 AM Apr 10th via web


Illustrations for Shanower & Young's graphic novel, 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' make me think of the original Holly Hobbie #readathon
8:52 AM Apr 10th via web



(Stuff & Nonsense) Read-A-Thon Hour 1 meme: Hour One Meme!Where are you reading from today?Connecticut (al...http://bit.ly/aS2IV7 #reading
8:39 AM Apr 10th via twitterfeed



Have to admit most of what I know about the Wizard of Oz is either from Maguire's 'Wicked' or Tad Williams's 'Otherland' books #readathon
8:06 AM Apr 10th via web



Starting the #readathon with Shanower & Young's graphic novel, 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'
8:01 AM Apr 10th via web



2 more hours until the #readathon :)
6:14 AM Apr 10th via web




My parents are coming up Sunday, bearing meatloaf. They wanted to come up tomorrow, but I thought that might interfere w/ the #readathon :)
8:03 PM Apr 9th via web



Coworker brought me lots of library loot for tomorrow's#readathon including Kagawa's 'Iron King' & Buckhanon's 'Conception' #YA #reading
7:24 PM Apr 9th via web



(Stuff & Nonsense) Read-A-Thon Tomorrow!: I admit I have no real plan for getting through tomorrow's read-...http://bit.ly/b1TOWL #reading
5:42 PM Apr 9th via twitterfeed




Looking forward to tomorrow's #readathon. Coworker is bringing me a bunch of library loot so I fear I will be spoilt for choice :)
4:26 PM Apr 9th via web


10 April 2010

Read-A-Thon Kickoff Challenge

Challenge the First: The Kickoff Challenge!
In this challenge we would like you to write a post on your blogs about your kick off strategy. What have you surrounded yourself with for these early hours of the challenge besides your books? Is there a coffee thermos, lucky book mark, snacks, pillow.... We want to know how you have prepared so you do not have to leave your cozy reading space (by the way - we'd like to know what is too.... (are you still in bed, a chair, the couch.....)
I am lying on our guest bed (which was, amusingly, both my and my father's childhood bed) in the living room by the bay window with lots of comfy-ish pillows. My table is covered in books and drinks and chocolate. There is another basket of books on the floor.  Except for noms, I have everything I need to get me through the day.  (At some point, The Husband will bring me noms and I will transfer to the couch for a little change of scenery!)


Read-A-Thon Hour 1 Meme

Hour One Meme!


Where are you reading from today?
Connecticut (also known as "The Constitution State," "The Nutmeg State," "The Land of Steady Habits")

3 facts about me …
I'm thirty-three, married with four cats, and (despite my best efforts) still not a morning person,

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
Right now? About ten, but this number may grow or shrink as the day goes on. A lot depends on how enthusiastic I remain (and how good my TBR selections turn out to be!)

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
My goal is simply to have as much fun as possible.

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?
As a n00b, I welcome advice!

09 April 2010

Read-A-Thon Tomorrow!


I admit I have no real plan for getting through tomorrow's read-a-thon.  The Husband has been warned that, while he will have extra pillow fluffing and tea fetching duties, he is largely to leave me alone with my  precious bookses lest I become snappish and mean.

Or more snappish and mean, anyway!

I plan on doing most of my updating through Twitter (hence the widget embedded above) as I know I'm otherwise bound to get wordy and burn valuable reading time!  To make this widget, I went to twitter.com/goodies/widgets, selected my website, then search widget, and set my query for #readathon. Tomorrow, I will change my query to from:savorytart #readathon so the widget only shows my pertinent read-a-thon tweets.

Twitter aside, I will still try to do some 'normal' blog posts -- it depends on when/if I need a break from reading and how easily I succumb to the charms of the mini-challenges.

To be honest, though, there is no way I will be awake for all twenty-four hours of the read-a-thon.  The amount of percocet I am taking tends to leave me feeling very warm and cozy and nap-ish :)  Therefore I expect tomorrow will be pretty much like every other day this week: wake up, take percocet, read a little, nap a little, read a little more ...

07 April 2010

"There's not a place, / Howsoever mean it be, / But 'tis good enough for thee."

"To the Small Celandine" by William Wordsworth, born this day in 1770:

Pansies, Lilies, Kingcups, Daisies,
Let them live upon their praises;
Long as there's a sun that sets
Primroses will have their glory;
Long as there are Violets,
They will have a place in story:
There's a flower that shall be mine,
'Tis the little Celandine.

Eyes of some men travel far
For the finding of a star;
Up and down the heavens they go,
Men that keep a mighty rout!
I'm as great as they, I trow,
Since the day I found thee out,
Little flower! - I'll make a stir
Like a great Astronomer.

Modest, yet withal an Elf
Bold, and lavish of thyself,
Since we needs must first have met,
I have seen thee, high and low,
Thirty years or more, and yet
'Twas a face I did not know;
Thou hast now, go where I may,
Fifty greetings in a day.

Ere a leaf is on a bush,
In the time before the Thrush
Has a thought about its nest,
Thou wild come with half a call,
Spreading out thy glossy breast
Like a careless Prodigal;
Telling tales about the sun,
When we've little warmth, or none.

Poets, vain men in their mood!
Travel with the multitude;
Never heed them: I aver
That they all are wanton Wooers;
But the thrifty Cottager,
Who stirs little out of doors,
Joys to spy thee near her home,
Spring is coming, Thou art come!

Comfort have thou of thy merit,
Kindly, unassuming Spirit!
Careless of thy neighbourhood,
Thou dost shew thy pleasant face
On the moor, and in the wood,
In the lane - there's not a place,
Howsoever mean it be,
But 'tis good enough for thee.

Ill befall the yellow Flowers,
Children of the flaring hours!
Buttercups, that will be seen,
Whether we will see or no;
Others too of lofty mien;
They have done as worldlings do,
Taken praise that should be thine,
Little, humble Celandine!

Prophet of delight and mirth,
Scorned and slighted upon earth!
Herald of a mighty band,
Of a joyous train ensuing,
Singing at my heart's command,
In the lanes my thoughts pursuing,
I will sing, as doth behove,
Hymns in praise of what I love!

05 April 2010

Working Girl

Started reading Louisa May Alcott’s semi-autobiographical novel, Work: A Story of Experience, and it’s just a hoot. Our heroine, Christie Devon, is good, moral girl struggling to support herself and make her way in the world as her parents died years ago and she no longer wishes to be dependent on the kindness and finances of others. Okay, that doesn’t sound funny! Well, trust me, the things she gets up to are.

Here's a passage I was particularly amused by:

[Christie has fallen asleep whilst reading a book, and nearly set her hoity-toity mistress’s home on fire]
Mrs. Stuart, though in her most regal array, seemed to have left her dignity downstairs with her opera cloak, for with skirts gathered loosely about her, tiara all askew, and face full of fear and anger, she stood upon a chair and scolded like any shrew.
The comic overpowered the tragic, and being a little hysterical with the sudden alarm, Christie broke into a peal of laughter that sealed her fate.
“Look at her! Look at her!” cried Mrs. Stuart gesticulating on her perch as if about to fly. “She has been at the wine, or lost her wits. She must go, Horatio, she must go! I cannot have my nerves shattered by such dreadful scenes. She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain. Hepsey can watch her to-night, and at dawn she shall leave the house for ever.”
“Not until after breakfast, my dear. Let us have that in comfort I beg, for upon my soul we shall need it,” panted Mr. Stuart, sinking into a chair exhausted with the vigorous measures which had quenched the conflagration.

01 April 2010

Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther

We watched Mrs Miniver last night and I liked it so much I ended up tracking down an e-text of the "real" Mrs. Miniver -- before it was an award-winning movie, it was a very popular book, and before it was a book, it was column written by Jan Struther's for The Times.

I am enjoying Mrs. Miniver immensely so far -- Struther's descriptions of even the most mundane things read like poetry and Mrs. Miniver's zest for life is so appealing and sympathetic one cannot help fall in love with her a little. I fancy she would be a kindred spirit to Mrs. Dalloway and Mrs. Dr. Dear.

Some passages I've particularly enjoyed:

It was a Wedgwood day, with white clouds delicately modelled in relief against a sky of pale pure blue. The best of England, thought Mrs. Miniver, as opposed to countries with reasonable climates, is that it is not only once a year that you can say, "This is the first day of spring."
She went back into the house. It had already begun to acquire that out-at-grass, off-duty look which houses get as soon as their owners go away; it was quite obviously preparing to take off its stays and slip into something loose.
At such times, she knew, you must just put on spiritual dungarees and remain in them until things are running smoothly again. Every morning you awake to the kind of list which begins: -- Sink-plug. Ruffle-tape. X-hooks. Glue . . . and ends: -- Ring plumber. Get sweep. Curse laundry. Your horizon contracts, your mind's eye is focused upon a small circle of exasperating detail. Sterility sets in; the hatches of your mind are battened down. Your thoughts, once darling companions, turn into club bores, from which only sleep can bring release. When you are in this state, to be kept waiting for half an hour in somebody else's house is nothing but the purest joy. At home the footstool limps, legless, thirsting for its glue; the curtain material lies virginally unruffled; the laundry, unconscious of your displeasure, dozes peacefully at Acton: while you yourself are free. Yet you have not played truant: truancy has been thrust upon you, thanks to the fact that elderly professors so obligingly live up to their reputation for absent-mindedness.

Next, I should like to read Joyce Dennys's Henrietta's War, a funny little epistolary novel set in rural WWII Devonshire.  Alas, Bloomsbury isn't releasing it in the United States for a few more weeks so I imagine it will be a little while before I find a copy in a local library.

Oh, well, there's always Mrs. Dalloway ...