Daily Archives: June 29, 2008

Springtime On Mars: Stories – Book Review

“For years, people imagined they saw canals dug into the planet’s surface. They called these canals proof of life. They worried what intelligent life on Mars might mean to us earthlings, to our safety. But, it was nothing. An optical illusion a cosmic misprint. There’s no life. There’s nothing.” -From Springtime on Mars, page 112-

Susan Woodring’s wonderful book of short stories is a joy to read. They are linked in theme – women growing older and looking back on their lives; loss and hope; the idea of gravity keeping our feet on the ground; searching for meaning somewhere between science and God. All Woodring’s stories take place among ordinary people and families – but they are at the same time people who are extraordinary without realizing it. They could be any one of us. And that perhaps is where these stories gain their power.

Woodring writes with an eye on the small details of life and explores the every day push and pull of relationships. There is sadness mingled in her characters’ lives, but also a twinkle of hope and meaning. I especially liked her female characters – women who still were looking for their dreams.

I believe: love deep, give marshmallows and other treats to children, and sleep as long and often as you can, but wake early, eat breakfast. I’m sixty-eight years old; I’m not going backward. -From Morning Again, page 27-

Woodring has had her short stories published in a number of literary magazines and anthologies. She is also the author of the novel The Traveling Disease. This collection was published by a small press: Press 53. If you only read one collection of short stories this year, I would recommend this one. Beautifully crafted with a deep sense of American life and what it means to be human, Springtime on Mars will captivate you.

My thanks to Susan Woodring for sending me a signed copy of her book.

Highly recommended.

24 Hour Read-A-Thon: The Wrap Up

By the time I finish this post, the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon will be finished. Phew! What an amazing event. Dewey has asked us to complete post-event survey…so here goes:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? The 16th hour was when I finally crashed and needed to sleep. Then when I woke up during hour 20 I was really done in. This last hour has been a struggle.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I was really happy with my last book: Down River, by John Hart. It is a very good, compelling read that kept my attention despite my fatigue. I also think choosing a book of short stories is good.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? None what-so-ever. This was a fantastic challenge – very well organized and with enough stuff to keep participants going.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I thought the cheerleaders were amazing and also other participants who stopped by and left comments. I tried to visit people and leave comments because I know how much that was helping me.

5. How many books did you read? I finished 2.5 books and read one individual short story.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

  • The House at Midnight, by Lucie Whitehouse (read my review)
  • Short Story: Mr. Bones, by Paul Theroux
  • Springtime on Mars, by Susan Woodring (read my review)
  • Down River, by John Hart (finished 1/2 of this one)

7. Which book did you enjoy most? Probably my current read – Down River.

8. Which did you enjoy least? Mr. Bones – because it was a little deep and I think it is hard to appreciate deep reads during these kinds of events.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? N/A

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Oh, I’d definitely do this again…and I’d be a reader again.

My final stats for the Read-A-Thon are as follows:

  • Book I’m reading: Down River, by John Hart
  • Number of books read since I started: 2.5 plus 1 short story
    1. The House at Midnight, by Lucie Whitehouse (read my review)
    2. Short Story: Mr. Bones, by Paul Theroux
    3. Springtime on Mars, by Susan Woodring (read my review)
  • Pages Read since my last post: 69
  • Total pages read in the challenge: 491
  • Amount of time spent reading since my last post: 90 minutes
  • Total amount of time spent reading in the challenge: 615 minutes (10.25 hours)
  • Mini-Challenges completed: 11
    1. Intro (Darcie)
    2. Comics (Nymeth)
    3. Quotes (Vasilly)
    4. Comments on Readers of the Hour blogs (Andrea and Samantha)
    5. Comments on Readers of the Hour blogs (Jennie and Somer)
    6. Get some Exercise (Dewey)
    7. Mid-Event Survey (Dewey)
    8. Poetry (Vasilly)
    9. Setting of current book (Dewey)
    10. Comments on Readers of the Hour blogs (Misa and Sean)
    11. Thanks to the Cheerleaders
  • Total amount of time spent blogging: 310 minutes (5.2 hours)
  • Blogs visited since I last posted: Dewey (The Hidden Side of A Leaf)
  • Time spent visiting other people’s blogs: 125 minutes (2.1 hours) and left 27 comments
  • Down Time: 6.5 Hours (of this, 4.0 hours spent sleeping)
  • Total Time spent on the Read-A-Thon (blogging, visiting, doing mini-challenges and reading) = 17.5 hours
  • Prizes I’ve won: None

Many thanks to my one lone sponsor – the fabulous Terri who is donating $30 to Reading is Fundamental (RIF). I’ve decided to match her donation to support this worthy cause…so Team Caribousmom raised $60 to help put books into the hands of children.

Also thanks to all the cheerleaders and other participants who visited me and left comments during the challenge…and finally a HUGE thanks to Dewey who hosts this extreme event each year!

24 Hour Read-A-Thon: Closing in on 22 Hours

I am in awe of those people who have stayed up all night – I’m barely functioning and I slept for 4 hours! Just over 2 hours left of this amazing challenge an Dewey has given us some challenges.

  1. Visit the Readers of the Hour
  2. Thank the Cheerleaders
  3. Do the post-event survey

I’ll wait to do #3 when I’m done. But, I visited the Readers of the Hour and thanked our AWESOME cheerleaders.

Here’s my update since my last post:

  • Book I’m reading: Down River, by John Hart
  • Number of books read since I started: 2 plus 1 short story
    1. The House at Midnight, by Lucie Whitehouse (read my review)
    2. Short Story: Mr. Bones, by Paul Theroux
    3. Springtime on Mars, by Susan Woodring (stay tuned for my review which I am too tired to write at this moment)
  • Pages Read since my last post: 49
  • Total pages read in the challenge: 422
  • Amount of time spent reading since my last post: 70 minutes
  • Total amount of time spent reading in the challenge: 525 minutes (8.75  hours)
  • Mini-Challenges completed: 11
    1. Intro (Darcie)
    2. Comics (Nymeth)
    3. Quotes (Vasilly)
    4. Comments on Readers of the Hour blogs (Andrea and Samantha)
    5. Comments on Readers of the Hour blogs (Jennie and Somer)
    6. Get some Exercise (Dewey)
    7. Mid-Event Survey (Dewey)
    8. Poetry (Vasilly)
    9. Setting of current book (Dewey)
    10. Comments on Readers of the Hour blogs (Misa and Sean)
    11. Thanks to the Cheerleaders
  • Total amount of time spent blogging: 280 minutes (4.7 hours)
  • Blogs visited since I last posted: Bonnie (Bonnie’s Books), Sean (Ivertimot), Misa (This Redhead Reads), and Dewey (The Hidden Side of A Leaf)
  • Time spent visiting other people’s blogs: 120 minutes (2 hours) and left 26 comments
  • Down Time: 6.6 Hours (of this, 4.0 hours spent sleeping)
  • Prizes I’ve won: None yet!

24 Hour Read-A-Thon: Hour 20 and I’m Baaaaaaack

I meant to get up at 4:30, but somehow I did not hear my radio alarm. So instead, I woke up at 5:00AM – Hour 20. Looks like some of you have stayed up the entire night! Terri, did you really get up at 4:30 to cheer me on!??!?!? OMG – what an awesome friend you are. I’m going to brew up some coffee and get reading. Back soon….

24 Hour Read-A-Thon: An Update and Need for Sleep

It is after midnight here on the West Coast and I’m in need of some sleep time. So this will be my final update until probably 4:30AM.

  • Book I’m reading: Down River, by John Hart
  • Number of books read since I started: 2 plus 1 short story
    1. The House at Midnight, by Lucie Whitehouse (read my review)
    2. Short Story: Mr. Bones, by Paul Theroux
    3. Springtime on Mars, by Susan Woodring (stay tuned for my review which I am too tired to write at this moment)
  • Pages Read since my last post:23
  • Total pages read in the challenge: 373
  • Amount of time spent reading since my last post: 30 minutes
  • Total amount of time spent reading in the challenge: 455 minutes (7.6  hours)
  • Mini-Challenges completed: 9
    1. Intro (Darcie)
    2. Comics (Nymeth)
    3. Quotes (Vasilly)
    4. Comments on Reader of the Hour blogs (Andrea and Samantha)
    5. Comments on Readers of the Hour blogs (Jennie and Somer)
    6. Get some Exercise (Dewey)
    7. Mid-Event Survey (Dewey)
    8. Poetry (Vasilly)
    9. Setting of current book (Dewey)
  • Total amount of time spent blogging: 245 minutes (4.1 hours)
  • Blogs visited since I last posted: Icedream (Reading in Appalachia), Michelle (1 More Chapter), Dewey (The Hidden Side of a Leaf), AND Brittanie (A Book Lover)
  • Time spent visiting other people’s blogs: 105 minutes (1.75 hours) and left 22 comments
  • Down Time: 1.75 Hours
  • Prizes I’ve won: None yet!

For those of you still awake and reading – WAY TO GO! See you in a few hours.