Sunday, January 31, 2010

Where does the time go?

Let's see, what has happened in the two weeks that I haven't posted a blog entry?

  • Greg's birthday - yay!
  • School started. Classes are overflowing. When a student was begging me to let him into one of my classes, real kneeling-on-the-floor-begging, other students chimed in and pleaded on his behalf till I gave him the add form. Sigh. Too nice.
  • After a year of feeling icky if I purchased anything from Amazon, I'm deleting my account. The fact that Amazon pulled both electronic AND print copies of Macmillan authors late Friday during electronic book negotiations means that, as a corporation, they do not deserve my money nor my respect. I encourage all of you to delete your Amazon accounts and support independent booksellers through Indiebound.
  • Comparing the girls vs. boys rooms in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog means PB will not get my money again, either. As an aside, I know it isn't feasible to boycott every corporation, but when they make themselves so obvious, it becomes more of an obligation.
  • We went to a concert of Bill Conti conducting his Hollywood hits that was just hilarious fun.
  • Without getting into specific comments by students, let's just say that my presence in the classroom has never seemed more necessary. It could be a very interesting semester.
  • We've also been watching Justice League cartoons and reading alot, being just generally cozy.

Hope all is well with you!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Stormy Seas

Snapped this pic before the rain (actual rain!) started:

From Winter 2009-2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Review of Books - 2009

One of my goals for 2009 was to read one book per week. I came up slightly short and have decided to pursue it as a goal again this year. Here are some highlights of last year's reading:

  • Norse Code - Greg van Eekhout - Okay, I'm a little biased. As I've told Greg, I feel like a happy step-mother to this book ("I couldn't be more proud if I'd given birth to you myself"), so holding Norse Code in my hands was arguably the best moment of 2009. As someone who counts "Viking Civilization and Literature" as one of my favorite undergrad courses, I admire the skill with which the Norse mythology was interwoven with the entertaining story. A fun read!
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie - A young adult (YA) book to be appreciated by all ages, this is a beautifully written depiction of contemporary life on a northwestern reservation. If you haven't read it, you're missing out.
  • Unwind - Neal Shusterman - Also a YA book, this is an unflinching look at a near-future world where the pro-lifers have insured that all children must be born, but don't necessarily make it to adulthood. This book started me reading Shusterman's back catalog... I've enjoyed all that I've read so far.
  • In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan - "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." I should listen to the man, as I enjoyed and agreed so much with this book.
  • Nation - Terry Pratchett - Look, I'm a bad geek sometimes. This is the only Pratchett novel I've read. Aimed at a YA audience, this book tells the coming of age stories of survivors of a tsunami and what it means to be bonded together as a nation. One of my favorite books of all time, I can't recommend it highly enough.
  • Drood - Dan Simmons - Wilkie Collins as a protagonist, about the last days of Charles Dickens' life... not the most obvious choice for a novel, but Simmons makes it work. It's bizarre, but in a good way, with the London of that day being grittily rendered.
  • A Few Seconds of Panic - Stefan Fatsis - A sportswriter takes on the task of becoming an NFL kicker and goes to Broncos' training camp. If you love football, this is a great inside look.
  • The True Meaning of Smekday - Adam Rex - Middle-grade, but reads at the upper end of that age range, this book is the story of a girl on a cross-country trip in alien-invaded America. Lots of humor and lots of insight on prejudice and what it means to be human.
  • When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead - A middle-grade book set in 1970s New York, this novel looks at relationships and individuality. And it's science fiction, really. As an adult reader, I felt like I saw where the story was going to go, but it was so compellingly written, I couldn't put it down.

You might notice a lot of middle-grade and YA books on that list. It isn't that I don't read books aimed at adults (I do!), but there is a lot to love in the childrens' section of the bookstore these days. Here's to more great reading in 2010!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Had a lovely cold trip to DC. Enjoyed seeing my astro peeps, wandering around the amazing museums and monuments, and using public transportation. Learned that limited internet access results in my reading multiple books in a week. Now back to 70 degree temps. Have already walked on the beach.

From DC January 2010

Sunday, January 03, 2010


The new year started pleasantly: going out to breakfast, buying books at Mysterious Galaxy, hanging out with Brian, Amy, and their kidlets. Now Greg and I are heading to Washington DC, where I will be attending the AAS meeting. I'm looking forward to being in DC again, as I really enjoyed my first trip there. I'm also looking forward to some cold weather, as 70 degrees just ain't right for January!

I hope your 2010 has started out well!