Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Translator by Daoud Hari

Say, am I the last book blogger on the earth to review this excellent book?

The Translator is Daoud Hari's memoir of growing up in Darfur, Sudan, leaving his homeland to see the world outside of Sudan's borders, and then returning to help draw the world's attention his war-torn homeland using his knowledge of English, Arabic, and Zaghawa. Hari tells of his six sojourns back into a Sudan fraught with danger to help journalists from all over the world tell the stories that would persuade the world to take action to save Darfur. Using his language skills, his many contacts from rebel leaders to NGO leaders, and quick thinking Hari safely escorted several reporters into Sudan at great risk to his own life. Despite the terrifying nature of his work and several situations that turned ugly, Hari's narrative is strikingly optimistic, never losing hope that something can be done to save his people, and at some times, is even humorous in the most dire of situations. Hari's ability to see the good in situations is astonishing. For example, he tells of being in prison in Egypt before his return to Sudan where he doesn't lament his time in prison so much as he says that it was a great opportunity to meet and talk to new people from many places. This optimism, hope, and good humor buoys him through many a seemingly unbearable situation.

Hari's casual use of "you" as he attempts to relate his experiences to the reader's own gives the impression that you are sitting with him and he is telling you his story face to face. It's this style that gives the book so much of its power. As Hari "talks" to us, his great love of his homeland and its traditions shines through as he tells of his favorite camel, his respect and love for the strong women in his community who can usually be found dressed in beautiful bright colors, and his memory of a bygone era when the Zaghawa people and Arabs could be found dining in each other's tents and conflicts were resolved with honor far from villages full of women and children.

His conviction that one person can use his or her talents to change the way things are is infectious, and he is proof that this is true. He, at once, tells us that one person can make a difference, shows us that it is true, and challenges us saying, in effect, "If it was your family, your home, your life, wouldn't you do the same? Wouldn't you risk life and limb and do anything it took to keep evil men from extinguishing your entire way of life?" I wish that I could say that I would be so brave in the face of such a far-reaching crisis! Regardless of whether we would have the strength do what Hari has doen, in this book Hari has offered us an opportunity and a reason to step up and do something for the land and people that he loves, and in so doing set the precedent that this type of senseless genocidal killing will not be tolerated in the world any longer.

This is a book that everyone should read. Despite knowing something of Darfur and its struggles, I admit that until I read Hari's book, I was a little in the dark about the whys and wherefores of the conflict and about Darfur itself. Hari brings his community and his entire homeland to life and also explains the conflict that is tearing Darfur apart it in a way we all can understand and in such a way that we really can see what the world is losing if we simply stand by and allow this continue.

The official release date for this book is March 18.

Read other reviews at Musings of a Bookish Kitty, SomeReads, and Nothing of Importance.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Once upon a time, I put Make Lemonade on my wish list. The premise sounded interesting, the cover was pretty, and people said good things about it - so why not? When I finally came upon a copy I was a teensy bit distressed to see that it was a novel in verse. "Why were you distressed?" you may ask. Well, I don't like poetry for one thing. I've tried to like poetry and failed...especially poetry in its "modern" sense, where like modern art, it seems to have no rules by which to abide. There's no rhyme, there's no discernible rhythm...basically poetry of late has seemed to fall into the category of fancy prose in a punctuation-less pile of overwrought emotions only understandable to its author and my 10th grade teacher who always seemed to have time to glean the last kernel of unidentifiable (and sometimes unintended) meaning from every literary work. So, given my skepticism toward poetry in general, I thought that I wouldn't like this book. I thought that the whole verse thing would be a total cop out to make a book a little shorter and a little more approachable for today's lazy young adult reader. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Make Lemonade is narrated by 14-year-old LaVaughn, child of a single mother, who is bent on getting the grades and earning the money necessary to earn her escape from her rough neighborhood by going to college.

The word COLLEGE is in my house,
and you have to walk around it in the rooms
like furniture.

Her mother tells her that she will have to earn money for college herself, so when she sees a neglected ad for a babysitting job on a school bulletin board, she makes a call and meets Jolly. Jolly's is the life that LaVaughn is most seeking to avoid. Jolly is the teenage mother of two children, Jeremy and Jilly, by two different absent fathers. She never finished high school, so she struggles to make ends meet working for minimum wage at her "good" factory job. Jolly's apartment is a mess, and so is her life. At 17, she has two kids to take care of and absolutely no one to help her and no one to tell her the things she needs to know about parenting, about working, about life. Soon, LaVaughn finds herself more caught up in Jolly's life and problems than she ever could have imagined. When Jolly loses her job, LaVaughn has to decide whether to stick around uncompensated and help Jolly make lemonade out of the many lemons in her life. As it turns out, each character has much to teach the other.

"I'm canned," Jolly says, and she translates immediately,
And I suddenly see, in piles,
all the food in the store nobody's gonna buy
for Jeremy and Jilly,
how Jilly has to be toilet trained right now
because of no more diapers,
not even soap to wash anything
and it's still so filthy around here,
and you have to have money to buy toilet paper, even.

Wolff's writing is incredible, and the verse format allows her the latitude to fit enormous feelings into tiny sentences. She never just tells us, she shows us, making us feel feel right along with the characters. The structure allows her to put emphasis on key moments and words and even to create those moments that are so short but seem so long as they're happening. Wolff's words admirably rise to the poetic occasion, being both lyrical and heart-wrenching in their simplicity. LaVaughn's narration is pitch perfect as she struggles to understand how alone Jolly is and how many things she's never been taught because she's simply never had anyone to teach her. At one point, Jolly tries to tell LaVaughn how alone she feels, like an astronaut in space sent out to repair something whose connection to the space ship is severed, leaving him floating in space.

Then she starts again. "See, even if they wanted
to send somebody after him, they wouldn't know
where to look.
He ain't connected. See?

"And even if he wanted to fall down, he couldn't.
Ain't any gravity to do it.

"He's just out there.

"Nobody knows where.

"See how alone he is?"
Jolly stands in the middle of the floor
and her arms are out like floating away.

At the same time, LaVaughn is forced to come to terms with some of the lemons in her own life, such as the long-past death of her father, an innocent victim of a gang fight. One of my favorite passages shows how LaVaughn's mother seemed to become both parents to her after her father's death...

What my Mom did is like a foggy photograph,
like one you might think you dreamed.
I don't even remember her at first.
At first when it happened.
She got huge. Like she multiplied.
I never figured it out, but she was big.

The book has a beautiful resolution, too, not just telling but showing just how both characters with each other's help have started "making lemonade."

This is a short, small book that packs a huge punch (and one that I think I've definitely failed to capture with my review), and there are so many more spectacular passages that I could just as well have shared as the ones I did choose (which I'm hoping will entice you to read this book despite what feels like an underwhelming review). This book, even at this early date, might be the surprise hit of 2008. I've also heard that it is the first of a trilogy, and I'm definitely looking forward to reading the other two books.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Pub '08 Challenge

The Pub '08 Challenge

The rules are simple:

- Read a minimum of 8 books published in 2008. (Library books are acceptable!)
- No children’s/YA titles allowed, since we’re at the ‘pub.’
- At least 4 titles must be fiction.
- Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
- Titles may be changed at any time.

Having contemplated joining since it was announced, this is the post where I finally break down and join the Pub '08 Challenge hosted by 3M. I was kind of holding out to see how many new titles I would end up needing to buy or borrow from the library before I made a committment, and having been awarded (much to my surprise) yet another book from the Early Reviewer program on Library Thing and with a few more to come from Elle, I'm convinced that I'll have enough throughout the course of the year to do the challenge without needlessly adding significantly to my TBR pile.

Here's my list...

1. The Translater by Daoud Hari
2. Widows of Eden by George Shaffner
3. Three Girls and Their Brother by Theresa Rebeck
4. Have You Found Her by Janice Erlbaum
5. The Cactus Eaters by Dan White
6. Black Wave by Jean and John Silverwood
7. Queen of the Road by Doreen Orion
8. The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
9. Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan
10. A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs
11. Home Girl by Judith Matloff

Now, we interrupt this post for a brief moment of narcissism. The March issue of Elle magazine finally arrived in my mailbox. Now if you'll recall (that is, if you were here in Nov/Dec last year), I got to jump on the bandwagon of its Readers' Jury program again, and they sent me 3 books to read and comment on for the March issue, all 3 of which I uh... didn't love. Nonetheless, I'm enjoying my 15 minutes (okay...15 seconds) of fame again this year because two of my little comments are in the magazine. Now, for a fashion magazine, I'm always rather impressed that they have a pretty decent book section (*flips through pages aimlessly* hmmm...this season's little black dresses, 5 easy tricks for eyebrow shaping, Hollywood's secrets to great hair, and...BOOKS!), so it's fun to be a tiny part of it. It's not like my reviews and ramblings aren't already wandering all over the internet being read by other humans, but gosh, it's kind of an extra-special thrill to see my name and what I wrote on the pages of the magazine (and I always manage to be shocked that they chose *my* comments to put in the mag!).

By the way, if you happen to be interested in trying it, you can e-mail eagerreader at elle dot com and well...ask nicely about joining up with the program, and there's always a chance they'll actually reply to you with more info and an application (as they did for me - but it did *take* a while). You get three ARCs to read and write mini-reviews of (which may or may not get published in the magazine) for the month of your jury and then the 5 other top books from the other months to read during the summer for their grand prize. The only downfall is that it's kind of a crapshoot as to what you're going to get. I've read some great books for it (a few of my favorites from last year that I probably still wouldn't even know about if it hadn't been for Elle), and some not great books for it (including a few of my anti-favorites from last year). All in all, it's a pretty neat experience.

That's all for now. I did, however, finish a great book last night, so hopefully I'll be back soon with its review!

Monday, February 18, 2008

On Non-Fiction

CJ tagged me for the non-fiction meme that's been going around, so I guess I'll be using it to *gasp* actually post more than once in a week. Who knows? Maybe it'll become a trend!

I, too, have noticed that non-fiction is a bit of an underloved stepchild in the book blogging world, and I too have underloved it. Last year my non-fiction reading clocked in at only 8 titles of 57 which is kind of shabby. This year is on pace to be a bit better since I've already read one title, I'm reading one now, and a few more are in the immediately to be read stack. But enough structureless blabbering, on to the meme!

1) What issues/topics interest you the most?

If I had to pick my favorite non-fiction genre, I'd have to go with memoirs. I guess I love that sensation of being able to jump inside someone else's head and see what's happened to them and how they've dealt with it and how it felt. Maybe, though, it's because a lot of memoirs read just like fiction, so it's almost cheating.

I love books about countries or places where I've never been and probably never will be. I was an under-traveled international relations major in college - my ultimate focus being economic development of poorer countries. I devour books about micro-credit. Muhammad Yunus's book Banker to the Poor about his "invention" of micro-credit is probably one of my favorite non-fiction books and one that inspired my honors' thesis. I'm really interested in reading books about African and Asian developing countries, the problems they're facing, and how the natives of that country and even outsiders are working to fix those problems. Travel books are fun, too, anything that gives me a good look at someplace I've never been in a readable way.

And history. I love books on history, but not really old history. 19th and 20th century preferred. I'm interested in books on Europe during the World Wars and Russian history and Chinese history (okay, some of this can be a little older) and, and...even some American History with emphasis on the Civil War or the Roaring 20s or even the Great Depression. Ah, history. I was always jealous of the nifty books all my history major friends were reading for class while I was stuck with some obscenely dry tome on comparitive politics or foreign policy - which can be interesting, but not in the books I was reading for college!

Last but not least, I like books about current events or issues facing society, I don't know - like the problems of the juvenile court system, or deforestation, or the overabundance of partisanship in politics that can keep us from solving many of the problems in our country, but at the same time protects us from every moronic whim that sweeps politicians. You name it - if there's a few sides to the story and few ethical dilemmas, I'm all over it.

And that was an obscenely long answer to that question, proving definitively that college really did steal my ability to be reasonably concise...

2) Would you like to review books concerning those?

I'll make up for the last question by saying, "Well, yeah, of course." I have before and I will again, very soon actually.

3) Would you like to be paid or do it as interest or hobby? Tell reasons for what ever you choose.

Sure, I'd love to be paid for it. Who wouldn't want to be paid for something that they enjoy doing? That said, however, I wouldn't want paid reviewing to be on a very tight schedule, especially with non-fiction. It often takes me longer to read which makes it hard to review on any sort of schedule at all. I'd hate to take my reading and make it into a chore just to get paid for it. I'm happy to do it as a hobby, too. Especially when it involves free books, but even when it doesn't! Sometimes reading a really excellent book that teaches me something I didn't know, shows me something I haven't seen, or even challenges my opinion or pre-conceived notion of an issue or a person or place is a payment in and of itself.

4) Would you recommend those to your friends and how?

Sure, I'd recommend my favorite non-fiction. I guess maybe it's a little harder because there's so much that falls under non-fiction it's not always easy to find someone who shares my same non-fiction interests. But I don't hesistate to recommend any book that I find to be a worthwhile read if I think it is something someone would enjoy.

5) If you have already done something like this, link it to your post.

Um, like my reviews? Or what? Okay, how about From Ashes To Life or Have You Found Her? I'm sure I've reviewed a couple more on the web, but I'm too tired from answering the first question to bother going to find them.

6) f). Please dont forget to link back here or whoever tags you.

See top.

Still tired from that first question so no tags. You see this? You like? You write! (And you link in comment, so I read!)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally

At long last, it's the Schindler's List review. This is my first selection for the Man Booker Challenge.

'He who saves a single life saves the world entire.'

Schindler's List is the story of Oskar Schindler who saved more Jews during the Holocaust than any other one person. Winner of the Booker Prize in 1982, it is the only lightly fictionalized account of Oskar and the many Jews he saved. While billed as fiction, Schindler's List draws heavily from the remembrances of the people who were saved by or knew Schindler as well as from Schindler's own accounts of the period. As result, it reads more like history and its style is sometimes reminiscent of a television documentary in the way the various stories told by different survivors are assembled together.

Keneally charts Schindler's life from his youth until the beginning of World War II and speculates about what in Schindler's life could have predisposed him to be a person who would risk everything to save as many as he could from the Holocaust. Schindler was a man of loose morals, notorious for taking lovers and cheating on his wife and later even cheating on his lover with yet another mistress, all with little regard to hiding his unfaithfulness. Schindler moved to Cracow in Poland to make his fortune at the start of World War II, soon acquired an Enamelware factory and landed contracts to produce mess kits for the war effort. In short, at the beginning of the war Schindler was a hard-drinking unethical sort with an eye for profit and an uncanny means of knowing the right people and the right way to wheel and deal to achieve monetary gain. At the end of war, he was still the same Schindler but had used his talents and connections to save the lives of over a thousand Jews.

"You'll be safe working here. If you work here, then you'll live through the war."

The new women of DEF took their job instruction in a pleasant daze. It was as if some mad old Gypsy with nothing to gain had told them they would marry a count. The promise had forever altered Edith Liebgold's expectation of life. If ever they did shoot her, she would probably stand there protesting, "But the Herr Direktor said this couldn't happen."

Keneally has done a fantastic job of uniting the many personal accounts and Oskar's records into a coherent and stunning narrative of Schindler's unlikely heroics. He covers the beginning stages of Schindler's friendships with Jews in Cracow, the moment in which it seems he was galvanized to act when during an Aktion in the ghetto he witnesses brutal killings taking place in front of a young girl in a bright red coat, and his eventual use of his connections and "friendships" with various and sundry SS officers to remove Jews from the brutal environment at concentration camp Plaszow for work and protection at his factory. Schindler's larger than life personality, his immense monetary resources, and his way of knowing and appropriately bribing just the right people to ensure the survival of "his" Jews are brought strikingly to life.

Schindler, however, is not the sole focus of the book. Keneally contrasts life in Schindler's camp with the many heart-wrenching stories of Jewish survivors who witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust. These stories accentuated with Keneally's gripping prose, which adds a strangely poetic edge to even the most dire situation, create a fuller picture of the Holocaust in Cracow than one can get from the many Holocaust memoirs written by single survivors.

There in the a pile at Wulkan's knees, the mouths of a thousand dead were represented, each one calling for him to join them by standing and flinging his grading stone across the room and declaring the tainted origin of all this precious stuff.

While at times physically painful to read, Keneally's narration lays bare the Holocaust for readers and leaves no doubt as to Schindler's heroism despite his moral failings. Schindler's List is a slow and difficult read, with countless heart-breaking stories and more names and titles to keep track of than one can reasonably retain. Nonetheless, it is an incredible work which memorializes the worst of times and the heroism of one man who foresaw what would happen and chose to do something about it.

Read other reviews at:

Books I Done Read
Things Mean A Lot

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Meandering Reading Update

The good news about this week is that my absence from blogging has been indicative of my preference for reading over the internet. Since that's been a little rare lately, I decided to run with it. I'm still plodding through Schindler's List at a somewhat steadier pace than I have been, but it's still slow going. I have, however, reached the final eighth of it, so that's a good sign that the end is near.

I've been alternating it with a few rather engrossing magazine articles including one from New York magazine about Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee and steroids as well as a nice breakdown of Super Tuesday and what the future looks like for the American presidential race at this point from The Economist. If I haven't mentioned my love for The Economist lately, I must say that I appreciate that it can be counted on to provide some fairly trustworthy news and smart analysis, the kind of which doesn't seem to emerge so often from the wildly scaled down reporting in what we (or I) suppose to be "news" magazines in America. I like to believe that I'm a thinking American who wants to know more about what's going on in the world and it feels as if The Economist treats me as such while magazines like Time seem to get fluffier and fluffier. Or maybe reading The Economist just makes them *seem* fluffier. Sure, I could get quality news from the internet, but I prefer the feel of the magazine in my hands and the fact that I can carry it around whereever I may go. Okay, that's the end of magazine snobbery. For now.

I sit here now wondering if snobbery is indeed a word. In a last ditch effort to find out definitively without trying too hard, I've clicked the spell check button on Blogger only to be reminded that it's not working. Which leads me to a question. Do a lot of you actually use the spellchecker in your blog? This is assuming you use Blogger, otherwise I don't even know if your blog edit page *has* a spellchecker. I've seen the non-working of the Blogger spellchecker has been troubling a few bloggers, which made me notice something about myself. I don't use it. Unless, of course, I'm worried that I'm using a non-word. I re-read my entries and edit them the hard way. Is that unusual? I usually don't find too many screw-ups (that aren't intentional) anway, but it just struck me as funny that it doesn't even occur to me to use the spellchecker. I am my own spellchecker! Oddly enough, spelling something wrong would really bother me (despite my disuse of the spellchecker), but I don't seem to have any problem with over-abundant and awkwardly constructed parenthetical phrases nor does it bother me that I have a tendency to use lots of sentence fragments (for example, the above "Unless I'm worried that I'm using a non-word."). Sure, I could write it correctly, but I like how it sounds. It sounds like it's coming right out of my head. Which it is. Maybe my blog is meant to be read aloud? Okay, that's the end of spellchecker and standard grammar pondering. Aren't you wildly tempted to fill me in on all the terrible errors I've made in this post now? =P

Last but not least, and possible the most coherent of everything in this post, a meme! Susan tagged me for this one, and it seemed fun and easy, so here it goes!

The Rules:

1) Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
2) Open the book to page 123
3) Find the fifth sentence
4) Post the next three sentences
5) Tag five people

Well, there are a couple of books sitting near me. I hesisitate to spring some painful image from Schindler's List on people without due warning, so I'm going to use my mom's current read: On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan.

She was twelve years old, lying still like this, waiting, shivering in the narrow bunk with polished mahogany sides. Her mind was a blank, she felt she was in disgrace. After a two-day crossing, they were once more in the calm of Carteret harbor, south of Cherbourg.

I'm going to break the fifth rule and not tag any specific people, but it's a fun and easy little meme, so if you haven't done it yet, I invite you to do so!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

One of *Those* Weeks

So, for many moons now, I have not had the uh...pleasure...of having a full time job. Nor have I had the pleasure of money in my bank account. This last week I had the (dis)pleasure of having the former, next week I can look forward to having the latter. Going from not working to working part time to a week of working full time on a particularly dismal schedule is rather painful. Nonetheless I have survived my full-time work week and will return to very part time next week and hopefully arrive at a happy medium some time in the future.

But let me just say, working from six in the morning until 2 or so in the afternoon plus a 45 minute (give or take some minutes) commute each way is not for the faint of heart and not for the people of the world such as I who continue to need all 8 hours of sleep per night to be able to maintain any amount of social civility. If I cut you off in traffic, talk about you viciously behind your back, or write excessively whiny blog posts, that's usually a good indication that I haven't been getting my sleep. However, going to bed at 9 really cramped my style. Last week was one of those where I felt like I couldn't even start anything because it wasn't likely that I could finish it before I had to shower and go back to bed and start all over again the next day. So yeah, other than the paycheck, last week equals a big waste. If it should come to pass that this should happen to me again I'll really have to work out a better routine for myself then shower, sleep, work, and mindless wandering/gazing at the wall as it seems that now I'm even more behind at well...everything in life. See, I'm good at adapting to stuff. Ha!

Now that I've broken most of the laws of good grammar by starting out paragraphs/sentences with words that aren't technically allowed to start sentences, I will proceed with my post as such. Reading has kind of slowed down. Despite the fact that I took Schindler's List along with me to read on my lunch breaks, I was severely impeded in reading it by the shortness of said breaks, my inability to eat and read at the same time without creating a rather large mess, and the way that the subject matter of the book doesn't really always lend itself to being read while eating. *grimace* I'm plodding through it, slowly but surely, as it isn't the type of book that you just sit down and read through a whole afternoon as you might expect. A person can only take so much before taking a break.

Sometime this week while I was off being generally maladjusted and getting myself behind at life (what do you mean I'm still supposed to deduct my spending from my checkbook on days when I have to go to work at 5 in the morning? I thought all normal necessary activity was suspended as a result of this paid torture!), the lovely Jill over at The Magic Lasso bestowed upon me the coveted (or shall we say "widely distributed") "Make My Day" Award. It's my first blogly award (yay!) and demands to be passed on to ten other bloggers that make my day. Despite the fact that everyone I could possibly give it to has probably received it from someone already, I will do my best to comply, because hey, you haven't been honored by me yet. And hey, I am very important! *removes tongue from cheek* So...onward!

First, I'll have to turn right around and give it back to Jill. I initially wandered over to her blog because of her great book reviews and found that she's a real sweetie! And, hey, she just gave me my first blog award, how does that not totally make my day??

Next goes to Susan at West of Mars for being the first person to comment on my blog, on the first lackluster entry no less. That, and for keeping me entertained with her fictional band and for even catching me off-guard and getting me to read (and like!) a little poetry!

One for Sam Houston of Book Chase who can pretty much make me want to read anything that he likes with his great reviews and keeps me up to speed on the latest bookish news.

One for Matt at A Guy's Moleskine Notebook for letting me do some Asian travelling through his blog, which is always fun for a traveler at heart who is rather limited in funding. And for the great book reviews, of course, but am I not starting to sound like a broken record?

Another goes to Literary Feline of Musings of a Bookish Kitty for not only having a great blog, but for being the first to comment on my "crappy January" post and make me feel better.

Let's see...Eva of A Striped Armchair gets one for her awesome reviews in which she seems to always include just the right excerpts of books to get me very interested in them. And because she reads The Economist. I have an unnatural love of The Economist and appreciation for other people who read it. So it kinda made my day when she told me she reads it. Is that weird?

One for Dewey for being one of the first book blogs I started reading and de-lurking at. I love reading her blog and her 24-hour read-a-thon which was happening as I started blogging helped inspire me to read as well as helping me get more involved in the bookblogosphere.

KookieJar gets one too for her awesome blog, her enthusiam for books, movies, and TV plus those crazy links on Wednesdays always keep me coming back. Plus, when I told her my blog was in its lonely beginning phase, she dashed right over and started leaving me some comments.

Another goes to CJ who was the first to leave a comment and say something to the effect of, "I like your blog. Can I link you?" which definitely made my day! And I like her blog, too! A lot!

And a tie for 10th place because these people probably wouldn't know me from a hole in the ground but they've made my day anyhow...

A Life in Books whose blog I first came across through BookCrossing. I didn't have much of an interest in blogs at all at that point, but I thought we had pretty similar tastes in reading, so I love reading her reviews and that kept me coming back until suddenly I thought maybe this book blog thing might be something I'd be interested in after all.


Amy at Lives Less Ordinary who I discovered when I was still doing Thursday Thirteens. Her thirteens were always thoughtful and/or inspiring so I found lurking back around on other days of the week to find that she takes the most beautiful pictures and seems to have this really great optimistic outlook on life. I love it when people seem to be able to find the good in things, so it's always pleasure to read her blog when I get the chance.

Well, I've already given too many out, so I hope nobody will be offended if I've neglected them. If you're on my blogroll, chances are you make my day - heck, you might still make my day even if you're not on my blogroll. I still have a lot of looking forward to do in terms of finding good "make my day" worthy blogs to read - oh, the possibilites! =D