Persephone Secret Santa Day!

This was my first year participating in the Persephone Secret Santa event and it was a blast. My Santa was extraordinarily generous and sent me some splendid gifts that I am thrilled about.

Greenbanks by Dorothy Whipple was my Persephone book and it is just what I wanted. I can’t wait to start reading it! She also sent a gorgeous Christmas tree ornament and a scrumptious box of Ferrero Rocher (which is already gone, by the way).

And look at these glitter greetings! They are nifty postcards of vintage London with glitter embellishments. I love the card pictured on the case of Queen Elizabeth in all her glory.

AND she also sent Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman and a beautiful bookmark featuring ‘Reading on the Rocks’ by John George Brown. I am so excited to read the literary essays in Ex Libris and the bookmark is just lovely.

Isn’t everything wonderful?

Who was the amazing giver of this bounty? Danielle from A Work in Progress! Thanks so much, Danielle! I feel fortunate to have received so many fantastic gifts.

Thanks also to Claire and Verity for hosting and organizing the entire event. I hope to participate again next year!

One Book, Two Book, Three Book Meme…

Greetings, friends! The malaise of fall seems to have descended here at Gudrun’s Tights and I have been feeling tired and lethargic for the past 3 weeks and, unfortunately, uninterested in reading. It seems funny to have seasonal melancholy here in Arizona where the sun is perpetually bright and it is a pleasant 70 degrees, but somehow I caught it. And on top of all that I am suffering from sinus problems and have fire-face and raw throat syndrome. I have been reading during this time, but verrrrrrrrry slowly. So, in lieu of a book review post I am joining other bloggers in participating in the One Book, Two Book, Three Book meme recently revived  by Simon at Stuck in a Book.

1. The books I’m currently reading: Possession by A.S. Byatt (for my third time), The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper (sequel to A Brief History of Montmaray) and Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin.

2. The last book I finished: The Witch of Ravensworth by George Brewer (so long ago!).

3. The next book I want to read: The Time in Between by Maria Duenas, Bleak House by Charles Dickens and The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht.

4. The last book I bought: Ragnarok by A.S. Byatt (not sure I’ll like this, but I love Ms. Byatt so will give it a try).

5. The last book I was given: Juliet by Anne Fortier (by the lovely people at Ballantine Books).

What are you reading? Anything devastatingly good?

My Own Personal Book Blogger Appreciation Day

Book Blogger Appreciation Week is this week and I completely missed the boat on nominating my favorite blogs for the blog awards. Basically, I am a dufus and couldn’t figure out how to access the nomination form on the website! So many of my favorite blogs don’t quite fit into any of the categories, anyway, so I am going to give out my own very special awards to my favorite book bloggers!

I read many book blogs and appreciate and enjoy them all, but these are the blogs I look for first in my Google Reader account to see if they’ve posted anything new. These are the blogs that most inspire me, persuade me and educate me.

Favorite Blogs whose authors make me REALLY, REALLY need want the books they write about: Fleur Fisher in Her World and She Reads Novels. Jane and Helen are super convincing when they talk about books. Their powers of persuasion are hard to match. I nearly always want to immediately buy or check out a copy of the books they review.

Favorite New to Me Blogs: Miss Darcy’s Library, TBR 313 and The Book Whisperer. Don’t we all like to make new friends and hear different perspectives from time to time? I love reading the comments on blogs and clicking on the link to the commenter to investigate their own spaces. That is how I found Florence, Lisa May, and Boof, three excellent writers who read very eclectically.

Favorite Blog that Reviews Translated Books and is Written by an All-Around Cool Guy: Winstonsdads Blog. I think most bloggers know Stu and admire him. His passion for translated fiction is highly admirable and I love being introduced to books by writers I would otherwise never hear about.

Favorite Blogs Whose Authors Write Beautifully About Classic Novels: Vintage Reads and Books and Chocolate. Whether writing about vintage or modern classics, Nicola and Karen have a way of stylishly and thoughtfully writing about books that always leaves me very admiring of both the books and of them.

Favorite Blog That Celebrates Not Only Books But Travel and Culture Also (Oh, and it is Funny): Pining for the West. Katrina’s posts never fail to make me jealous (of her beautiful homeland), give me a stomachache (from laughing so hard) or expand my brain cells (with her engaging book reviews and cultural observations).

Thanks to you all!

Most of my favorite bloggers are also frequent commenters on my own humble blogging efforts and I truly thank them for it. I’ve felt so warmly accepted by everyone since I returned to blogging in April and I am grateful and thrilled to be part of this fabulous community of book lovers.

One Book, Two Book, Three Book Meme

I’ve really enjoyed reading various bloggers’ responses to this meme (I think it was started by Simon at Stuck in a Book) over the past few weeks so decided to have a go at it myself.

1. The book I’m currently reading:

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. I read The House of Mirth and Summer when I was a teen, but somehow never got to this. It is marvelously written and I am very much enjoying reading about New York in the Gilded Age.






2. The last book I finished:

Faith by Jennifer Haigh. It is a superior piece of contemporary women’s fiction.






3. The next book I want to read:

The Odd Women by George Gissing. I’ve already started this book and I soon want to return to the story of two spinsters and their struggle for survival in Victorian England.





4. The last book I bought:

The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton. All of the glowing reviews around the blogosphere persuaded me that I must read this.






5. The last book I was given:

Sadly, I haven’t received any books for gifts in ages! My family prefers to give me gift cards as they are not readers and don’t care to shop for books. I did win The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller from Vintage/Anchor books today so I’ll count that as a gift.






Read responses from other book bloggers:

Book Snob

Books and Chocolate

Cardigangirl Verity

Dolce Bellezza

Sunday Miscellany

I’ve got a few things on my mind this Sunday morning that I want to mention here. The first is that I’ve decided to participate in Iris’s Month of Dutch Literature challenge for June. A few years ago I traced the genealogy of my paternal grandmother and discovered that my ancestors on that side of the family had immigrated to New York from the Netherlands way back in the early days of European settlement in NY. Pretty cool! So, I feel a special affinity with the Dutch and will give at least one book a go. As my library system only carries two books that have been translated from Dutch my choice will be quite narrow, but easily made!

Also on my mind is the appallingly narrow-minded article on YA literature that was published in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. Many YA authors and teen readers have offered their opinions and rebuttals of this article on Twitter. If you’re interested in following the debate search for #YAsaves on Twitter. My own opinion is that every family and kid is different. Why keep books out of the hands of teens just because you don’t feel they are appropriate for your family or child? There are some teens who have experiences that others won’t face and they need literature that reflects their experience and gives them hope. I also don’t think it is wrong for teens to satisfy their curiosity about the dark side of life by turning to books. Adults do it every day! Does that make us all deviant sociopaths? Parents are very involved at my library and are fully aware of what their kids are reading. Most of them monitor the content of the YA literature their teens choose. And that is their right. But it is not my job or inclination to limit access to any books that teens are drawn to. That same kid may come into the library without their parent and ask for Ellen Hopkins books. I’ll take them right to the shelf where they are (though most of them will be checked out). As a professional librarian I am not going to deny them the right to read what they want. Librarian does not equal parent. Phew, okay so that is my two cents! What do you all think? I’d love to hear the opinion of any parents out there.

The Wallow fire from Alpine, AZ

Also on my mind, but completely un-book related is the massive wild fire that is blazing through eastern Arizona right now. Called the Wallow Fire it is 0% contained and has already consumed 184,000 acres of forest. The towns of Alpine and Nutrioso have already been evacuated and the town of Greer is on an evacuation warning. My grandparents, aunts, uncles and many cousins live in the town of Springerville which is about 30 miles from where the fire is currently burning. Their area is covered with a orange hazy smoke and the residents are starting to panic. I feel so frustrated that man is so ineffective against a raging fire like this. Please keep the citizens of these towns in mind today.

Those are my thoughts this interesting Sunday morning. What is concerning/interesting/annoying you today? Have a good Sunday, all!

Well, Hello There!

I decided to return to blogging on my own after being away from WordPress for a few months. I really missed the blogging community and writing and thinking about what I am reading. I probably won’t post tons – just when I’ve finished a book, but I suppose this blog is more for me to chronicle my reading than to entertain the masses. I have a few books to chat about in the coming days – hope you’ll join in the conversation!