Monthly Archives: April 2013

Quilts for Boston

quiltsForBostonLOGO

The Boston Modern Quilt Guild is doing something really, really special.

Quilts for Boston is a relief effort by the Boston Modern Quilt guild to make quilts for those that have been directly affected by the bombing and subsequent events.

Our goal is to make bright and modern quilts that will bring cheer to those who need it most!  This summer we hope to distribute at least 50 quilts to those who could benefit from a token of our love and support.  To achieve this goal we are asking the modern quilt community to support our efforts by sending us blocks for these quilts.

We would like to have the quilts ready to deliver to those in need as soon as possible, so we ask that you send your blocks to us by May 24, 2013.  Be creative with your blocks, and make any pattern or design that inspires you!

There are specific guidelines for color and size – so if you decide to join in, please check out their informational post for all the details and also for the mailing information. They are also accepting fabric donations for backs and bindings.

I have been thinking of how much healing has to happen in Boston – not just physically, but emotionally. And that was my inspiration for the block I made today.

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As a physical therapist and avid hiker, I always think about healing and recovery like climbing a mountain. So my block includes a mountain – but there is blue sky and brilliant sun rays – a bit of hope for the light that will come as healing takes place.

I was also really happy to be able to pick up some beautiful fabric at my local quilt shop for $2 a yard (yes, you read that right!) and am sending about 9 yards for them to use as backings or bindings or both.

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This feels like a very small thing to do – but I also understand the healing power of quilts and I am happy to be able to contribute in some way.

 

The Round House – Book Review

RoundHouseMy father had become convinced that somewhere within his bench briefs, memos, summaries, and decisions lay the identity of the man whose act had nearly severed my mother’s spirit from her body. With all that we did, we were trying to coax the soul back into her. But I could feel it tug away from us like a kite on a string. I was afraid that string would break and she’d careen off, vanish into the dark. – from The Round House –

Maze of Injustice,” a 2009 report by Amnesty International included the following statistics: 1 in 3 Native women will be raped in her lifetime (and that figure is certainly higher as Native women often do not report rape); 86 percent of rapes and sexual assaults upon Native women are perpetrated by non-Native men; few are prosecuted. In 2010, then North Dakota senator Byron Dorgan sponsored the Tribal Law and Order Act. In signing the act into law, President Barack Obama called the situation “an assault on our national conscience.” – from the Afterword of The Round House –

Geraldine Coutts, an Ojibwe woman living on a North Dakota Indian Reservation, is attacked one summer day in 1988. The attack is brutal, and Geraldine is severely traumatized and too frightened to give details about the assault to law enforcement. As Geraldine isolates herself, taking to her bed and refusing to eat, her husband Bazil and thirteen year old son Joe begin to investigate the case. But whereas Bazil, a former Tribal judge, recognizes the limitations of the judicial system, Joe seeks justice for his mother even if it means stepping outside of the law.

Narrated from Joe’s point of view, Louise Erdrich’s newest novel exposes the cracks within the Native American justice system, and examines the strong familial ties and loyalties found in Native culture. Erdrich borrows characters from her Pulitzer-winning novel Plague of Doves (read my review) including the delightful Mooshum who is now over 100 years old but still as feisty as ever. But it is Joe, a boy who is quickly losing his innocence in the wake of his mother’s trauma, who takes center stage. Through Joe’s eyes the reader meets his large extended family and is able to slip into the Native culture and cuisine, as well as experience their struggles within an often rigid framework constructed by the United States government.

The Supreme Court decision for Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe is central to the plot of The Round House. In this decision, the Supreme Court determined that tribes lacked criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians even if the crime occurred on Native land. For Erdrich’s characters, this decision will impact their choices in a way which I did not see coming.

Despite the serious themes in The Round House, Louise Erdrich manages to inject humor which often made me laugh out loud. I have come to appreciate Erdrich’s ironic sense of humor, and this ability to lighten her often dark stories is just one reason I look forward to reading her work.

The Round House is filled with memorable characters, ingeniously plotted, and delivers its message without being preachy. I blew through this book in one day (while reading for the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon) and the pages practically turned themselves. Gripping, poignant, comic, and deeply rooted in Native culture, The Round House is another amazing work of fiction by an author at the height of her powers.

Readers who love literary fiction, Native American fiction, or novels based in history, will love this book.

Highly recommended.

5stars

 FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review on my blog.

Readers wanting to learn more about the 2010 Tribal Law and Order Act and the complicated procedures use to prosecute cases on Native land, should check out this excellent interview with Sarah Deer who is an assistant professor at the William Mitchell College of Law and Muscogee (Creek) tribal member .

Mailbox Monday – April 29, 2013

mailbox.mountainWelcome to this week’s Mailbox Monday and which is hosted by Mari at Mari Reads this month. Visit the dedicated blog for the meme to see the complete tour schedule in the right sidebar.

I got a varied group of books in my mailbox this week:

IllusionThe Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy (Harper Collins, July 2013) was a pleasant surprise. I had no idea Van Booy had a new novel coming out this year. You might remember how much I adore this author. Check out my reviews of his previous work: Everything Beautiful Began After, Love Begins In Winter: Stories, and The Secret Lives of People in Love: Stories. In his newest novel, Van Booy explores our connections with others during moments of fear and isolation. The book is a interwoven series of stories which looks at random acts of selflessness. I am really excited to read this one!

Simon Van Booy is the the author of one novel and two collections of short stories. He has won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the ABA’s Honor Award in Adult Fiction and was a finalist for the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise. He lives in New York City where he teaches at the School of Visual Arts, and is involved in the Rutgers Early College Humanities for young adults living in under-served communities. Learn more about Van Booy and his work by visiting the author’s website.

AlwaysWatchingAlways Watching by Chevy Stevens (St. Martin’s Press, June 2013) is a suspense-thriller. Stevens made her mark in the publishing arena with her debut novel Still Missing (read my review) and has since published a second novel titled Never Knowing. In her latest novel, psychiatrist Nadine Lavoie must face her own demons after being assigned to a new patient who has parallels to Nadine’s life. “Buried secrets, lost family memories, and murder collide” in a spellbinding novel of psychological suspense.

Chevy Stevens  is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Still Missing, which won the 2011 International Thriller of the Year Award in the Best First Novel category. Still Missing has been published in over thirty countries. Her second novel, Never Knowing, is also an international bestseller. The movie rights have been optioned and Renny Harlan, of Die Hard fame, is attached to direct. Learn more about Stevens and her work by visiting the author’s website.

BarbedCrownThe Barbed Crown by William Dietrich (Harper Collins, May 2013) is the sixth novel in  an internationally acclaimed series. Ethan Gage was first introduced in the novel Napoleon’s Pyramids. Set in the late 18th century, Gage is a reminder of what it was “to be a neo-American, full of spirit and hungry for adventure.” In The Barbed Crown, Ethan Gage is once again embroiled in European history and the fate of the modern world. The novel promises romanticism and the glitter of the Napoleonic period of time. Read a dossier on the character here.

William Dietrich is the bestselling author of twelve novels, including the historical thriller series featuring American expatriate Ethan Gage. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, historian, and naturalist, he is also the winner of the PNBA Book Award. Learn more about Dietrich and his work by visiting the author’s website.

How about you? Did you receive any fabulous books in YOUR mailbox this week?

Sunday Salon – April 28, 2013

Sunday Salon

April 28, 2013

Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of The Sunday Salon. Visit the Facebook Page for links to other bloggers’ posts.

Yesterday hundreds of readers hunkered down to participate in Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon. There were prizes, mini challenges, cheerleaders and lots of tweeting while the pages turned. You can see how I did by visiting my wrap up post here. I’ve been participating in this event from its conception, and every time I do, I am reminded of what a great community of readers are here on the Internet. This event, more than any other, is a celebration of reading and community. I never make it the full 24 hours, but that is not what is important. What is important is that people are reading! So the next time someone tells you reading is “dead,” invite them to visit the Read-A-Thon blog!

MountainsEchoedSince I posted last week, I finished reading And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. This is another stellar novel by an amazing author. I’ll be posting my review on May 1st – but what I can tell you right now is that you should put this book on your must read list for 2013.

AllYouCouldAskForMy review of All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg went up last week for a TLC Book Tour. I really liked this debut novel which captures women’s friendships well. Greenberg explores friendship within the context of the unexpected events which life throws in our path. I believe this would be a great book club read…and the best part? Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to The V Foundation for Cancer Research to combat breast cancer. Read more blogger reviews of this book by visiting the TLC Book Tour page.

RoundHouseYesterday I started and finished The Round House by Louise Erdrich. Once again, Erdrich creates fabulous characters who reside on a North Dakota Indian Reservation. The Round House is a sequel of sorts to The Plague of Doves in that it carries forward characters from that earlier novel. I read The Plague of Doves last fall (read my review) and although you don’t need to read that book to enjoy her latest book, it does put the family dynamics in perspective. I really loved The Round House. The writing is amazing, and the plot surprised me. By the time I turned the last page, I felt like I really knew the characters who people the novel. Erdrich won the 2012 National Book Award for this book and it is well deserved. I’ll be writing a review of this one soon, so I hope you’ll come back to read more of my thoughts.

ConstellationI made it half way through A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Maara yesterday. Set in Chechyna, this debut novel is a page turner. I’m touring this one for TLC Book Tours on May 7th so come back then to read my review. I also think I will be giving away a copy of the book then. Maara is a writer who we’ll definitely be hearing more about in the years to come. He’s already made his mark with shorter works by winning a Whiting Award and Pushcart Prize. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing A Constellation of Vital Phenomena on prize lists in 2013.

I hope you’re reading some stellar books this week and finding time to feed your soul.

 

24 Hour Read-A-Thon: Wrap Up Post

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Yesterday I participated in the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon. I got up at 5:00 am and lasted until 11:00 pm last night. This is one of the best events on the Internet and it highlights exactly why I continue to blog year after year. Many thanks to the dedicated readers who help put this event on every April and October!

Below are my final “stats” and the end of the event meme.

  • Number of hours participated: 18
  • Number of hours actually reading: 10.42  hours
  • Number of hours blogging: 3.26 hours
  • Number of hours visiting other bloggers: 0.33 hours
  • Number of bloggers who I visited and left a comment: 10
  • Amount of time I spent eating, taking a shower, taking a walk, or just resting my eyes: 3.99 hours
  • Total Number of Mini Challenges Completed: 7
  • Pages Read: 506
  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Definitely hour 18 when I kept falling asleep.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? This year I chose more literary books than I have in past years (usually I choose thrillers or fun, quick reads). But it worked out. I finished The Round House by Louise Erdrich and it was well paced and a great read. My second book was also fabulous, although I did not finish it – A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Maara.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Oh no – the organizers ROCK. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, as they say!
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Everything 🙂
  5. How many books did you read? 1.5
  6. What were the names of the books you read? The Round House by Louise Erdrich and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Maara.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? They were both great – I’ll probably rate them both very highly.
  8. Which did you enjoy least? N/A
  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? I won’t be participating in October because I will be out of the country (I’m traveling to Italy!!).

24 Hour Read-A-Thon: Update Hours 17 & 18

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How I am feeling at this point in the Event:

Well, in the last half hour, I’ve fallen asleep twice…my reading has basically come to a screeching halt. So this is my last post of the night. I made it through hour 18 and although I wanted to make it to hour 20, I’ll accept falling short a tad.

What I am currently reading:

Constellation

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Maara (I finished 185 pages out of 383 pages)

What I have finished reading:

RoundHouse

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

What I have eaten during these hours:

nothing

Total Mini Challenges (the running total with links to hosting blog):

  1. Introductory Meme from the Read-A-Thon blog
  2. Book Appetite which is being hosted by Book Journey
  3. Self Portrait hosted by The Estella Society
  4. Book Puzzle hosted by One Librarian’s Book Reviews
  5. Clear the Cobwebs and Recharge Your Yoga hosted by Elizabeth Michelle
  6. Mid-Event Survey from the Read-A-Thon blog
  7. Turn the Page hosted by Reflections of a Bookaholic

Mini Challenge(s) completed during this update period:

none

Bloggers I’ve visited (the running total with links):

  1. Andi @ Estella’s Revenge
  2. Cat’s Thoughts
  3. Lisa @ Lit and Life
  4. Laura @ The Scarlet Letter
  5. Amused By Books
  6. Ali @ Worducopia
  7. Darcie @ Reading Derby
  8. Chris @ Aarlunk
  9. Lost in Kudzu
  10. Shannon @ River City Reading
Hours of Event # of Pages Read/Total # of Pages Time Spent Reading (hours)/Total Time Reading (hours) Time Spent Blogging (hours)/Total Time Blogging (hours)
09:00 pm – 11:00 pm 36/506  1.2 hrs/10.42 hrs  .25 hrs/3.26 hrs
Hours of Event Time Spent Visiting (min)/Total Time Visiting (min) Mini Challenges Completed This Hour Down Time  (hours)/Total Down Time (hours)
09:00 pm – 11:00 pm  0 hrs/.33 hrs 0 .55 hrs/3.99 hrs

I hope if you’re participating you’re getting some great reading done! I’m done – see you in the morning with my wrap up post!

 

 

24 Hour Read-A-Thon: Update Hours 15 & 16

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How I am feeling at this point in the Event:

Still hanging in there. I hope to make it to midnight (which would be 20 hours)…so will see how that goes!

What I am currently reading:

Constellation

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Maara

What I have finished reading:

RoundHouse

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

What I have eaten during these hours:

Nothing – just drinking water

Total Mini Challenges (the running total with links to hosting blog):

  1. Introductory Meme from the Read-A-Thon blog
  2. Book Appetite which is being hosted by Book Journey
  3. Self Portrait hosted by The Estella Society
  4. Book Puzzle hosted by One Librarian’s Book Reviews
  5. Clear the Cobwebs and Recharge Your Yoga hosted by Elizabeth Michelle
  6. Mid-Event Survey from the Read-A-Thon blog
  7. Turn the Page hosted by Reflections of a Bookaholic

Mini Challenge(s) completed during this update period:

Turn the Page Mini Challenge asks that we:

turn to page 32 of the book you are currently reading (or the nearest page with text on it) and find the most entertaining phrase to complete the following sentence: “I would rather read than ________ any day!”

Here’s mine from my current book: I would rather read than dislodge the question that for one and a half years had been wedged in her voice box any day!

Bloggers I’ve visited (the running total with links):

  1. Andi @ Estella’s Revenge
  2. Cat’s Thoughts
  3. Lisa @ Lit and Life
  4. Laura @ The Scarlet Letter
  5. Amused By Books
  6. Ali @ Worducopia
  7. Darcie @ Reading Derby
  8. Chris @ Aarlunk
  9. Lost in Kudzu
  10. Shannon @ River City Reading
Hours of Event # of Pages Read/Total # of Pages Time Spent Reading (hours)/Total Time Reading (hours) Time Spent Blogging (hours)/Total Time Blogging (hours)
07:00 pm – 09:00 pm 68/470  1.6 hrs/9.22 hrs  .4 hrs/3.01 hrs
Hours of Event Time Spent Visiting (min)/Total Time Visiting (min) Mini Challenges Completed This Hour Down Time  (hours)/Total Down Time (hours)
07:00 pm – 09:00 pm  0 hrs/.33 hrs 1 0 hrs/3.44 hrs

I hope if you’re participating you’re getting some great reading done! See you in two hours!!!

24 Hour Read-A-Thon: Update Hours 13 & 14

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How I am feeling at this point in the Event:

Refreshed! I took more than an hour off (essentially rested, ate, talked with my hubby and watched a little television) through hour 13 and it has paid off. I feel really good right now!

What I am currently reading:

Constellation

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Maara

What I have finished reading:

RoundHouse

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

What I have eaten during these hours:

Stew with Batard bread (heated in the oven – yum) and a big glass of Gatorade

Total Mini Challenges (the running total with links to hosting blog):

  1. Introductory Meme from the Read-A-Thon blog
  2. Book Appetite which is being hosted by Book Journey
  3. Self Portrait hosted by The Estella Society
  4. Book Puzzle hosted by One Librarian’s Book Reviews
  5. Clear the Cobwebs and Recharge Your Yoga hosted by Elizabeth Michelle
  6. Mid-Event Survey from the Read-A-Thon blog

Mini Challenge(s) completed during this update period:

None this time period

Bloggers I’ve visited (the running total with links):

  1. Andi @ Estella’s Revenge
  2. Cat’s Thoughts
  3. Lisa @ Lit and Life
  4. Laura @ The Scarlet Letter
  5. Amused By Books
  6. Ali @ Worducopia
  7. Darcie @ Reading Derby
  8. Chris @ Aarlunk
  9. Lost in Kudzu
  10. Shannon @ River City Reading
Hours of Event # of Pages Read/Total # of Pages Time Spent Reading (hours)/Total Time Reading (hours) Time Spent Blogging (hours)/Total Time Blogging (hours)
05:00 pm – 07:00 pm 31/402  .75 hrs/7.62 hrs  .17 hrs/2.61 hrs
Hours of Event Time Spent Visiting (min)/Total Time Visiting (min) Mini Challenges Completed This Hour Down Time  (hours)/Total Down Time (hours)
05:00 pm – 07:00 pm  0 hrs/.33 hrs  0 1.08 hrs/3.44 hrs

I hope if you’re participating you’re getting some great reading done! See you in two hours!!!

24 Hour Read-A-Thon: Update Hours 11 & 12

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How I am feeling at this point in the Event:

Dragging a bit. My eyes are tired and I’m finding it had to concentrate. So I took some time off in hour 12 just to recharge my batteries.

What I am currently reading:

Constellation

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Maara which is set in Chechnya and so far is great.

What I have finished reading:

RoundHouse

The Round House by Louise Erdrich which is spectacularly good. I will try to get a review up on this book sometime in the next couple of days. In the meantime, if you haven’t read this one yet, I highly recommend it!

What I have eaten during these hours:

Fruit salad with yogurt

Total Mini Challenges (the running total with links to hosting blog):

  1. Introductory Meme from the Read-A-Thon blog
  2. Book Appetite which is being hosted by Book Journey
  3. Self Portrait hosted by The Estella Society
  4. Book Puzzle hosted by One Librarian’s Book Reviews
  5. Clear the Cobwebs and Recharge Your Yoga hosted by Elizabeth Michelle
  6. Mid-Event Survey (see below) from the Read-A-Thon blog

Mini Challenge(s) completed during this update period:

 Mid-Event Survey

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired?

Oh, I’m sleepy. I stopped reading for awhile to rest my eyes, get a snack, walk around a bit. Hoping that after I have some dinner in the next hour that I’ll be more alert.

2) What have you finished reading?

I’ve finished my first book which was The Round House by Louise Erdrich.

3) What is your favorite read so far?

Well, since I’ve only read one book, it would have to be Erdrich’s which I loved. But, I’ve just started Maara’s novel and I’m really enjoying it so far. The writing is great.

4) What about your favorite snacks?

It would have to be that awesome fruit salad I made last night – it is very refreshing and tastes great with yogurt heaped on top.

5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!

See those I’ve visited below – some are new, some aren’t…everyone is doing great!

Bloggers I’ve visited (the running total with links):

  1. Andi @ Estella’s Revenge
  2. Cat’s Thoughts
  3. Lisa @ Lit and Life
  4. Laura @ The Scarlet Letter
  5. Amused By Books
  6. Ali @ Worducopia
  7. Darcie @ Reading Derby
  8. Chris @ Aarlunk
  9. Lost in Kudzu
  10. Shannon @ River City Reading
Hours of Event # of Pages Read/Total # of Pages Time Spent Reading (hours)/Total Time Reading (hours) Time Spent Blogging (hours)/Total Time Blogging (hours)
03:00 pm – 05:00 pm 50/371  .97 hrs/6.87 hrs  .6 hrs/2.44 hrs
Hours of Event Time Spent Visiting (min)/Total Time Visiting (min) Mini Challenges Completed This Hour Down Time  (hours)/Total Down Time (hours)
03:00 pm – 05:00 pm  0 hrs/.33 hrs  1 .43 hrs/2.36 hrs

I hope if you’re participating you’re getting some great reading done! See you in two hours!!!

24 Hour Read-A-Thon: Update Hours 9 & 10

24read_lighter-300x300How I am feeling at this point in the Event:

Getting my mojo back after participating in the Yoga challenge (see below) followed by a short walk around the neighborhood with my hubby and Raven. And I feel EXHILARATED at finishing my first book of the day! Yay!

What I am currently reading:

Getting ready to start A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Maara in the next hour.

What I have finished reading:

RoundHouseThe Round House by Louise Erdrich which is spectacularly good. I will try to get a review up on this book sometime in the next couple of days. In the meantime, if you haven’t read this one yet, I highly recommend it!

What I have eaten during these hours:

Nothing – I guess I better take a snack break soon!

Total Mini Challenges (the running total with links to hosting blog):

  1. Introductory Meme from the Read-A-Thon blog
  2. Book Appetite which is being hosted by Book Journey
  3. Self Portrait hosted by The Estella Society
  4. Book Puzzle hosted by One Librarian’s Book Reviews
  5. Clear the Cobwebs and Recharge Your Yoga (see below) hosted by Elizabeth Michelle

Mini Challenge(s) completed during this update period:

The Yoga Challenge:

I spent about 10 minutes on this challenge and did The Mountain Pose, Standing Forward Bend, Cat Pose, Cow Pose, Downward Facing Dog and Child’s Pose. The hardest of these were the forward bend and the downward facing dog because I have very tight hamstrings!! But I loved the Cat/Cow pose and the Child’s Pose – very relaxing and nice to get those deep breaths in and out. And then I used my new found energy to walk a little!

Bloggers I’ve visited (the running total with links):

  1. Andi @ Estella’s Revenge
  2. Cat’s Thoughts
  3. Lisa @ Lit and Life
  4. Laura @ The Scarlet Letter
  5. Amused By Books
  6. Ali @ Worducopia
  7. Darcie @ Reading Derby
  8. Chris @ Aarlunk
  9. Lost in Kudzu
  10. Shannon @ River City Reading
Hours of Event # of Pages Read/Total # of Pages Time Spent Reading (hours)/Total Time Reading (hours) Time Spent Blogging (hours)/Total Time Blogging (hours)
01:00 pm – 03:00 pm 55/321  .97 hrs/5.9 hrs  .25 hrs/1.84 hrs
Hours of Event Time Spent Visiting (min)/Total Time Visiting (min) Mini Challenges Completed This Hour Down Time  (hours)/Total Down Time (hours)
01:00 pm – 03:00 pm  .33 hrs/.33 hrs  1 .45 hrs/1.93 hrs

I hope if you’re participating you’re getting some great reading done! See you in two hours!!!