Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

OK, we've been back for several days now, and this is my first chance to post here. The Nationals were fantastic! I will be uploading a few pictures we took as I have time. I also finished one book while we were gone and started and finished a second since we got back. Both books were for Bookworms Reading Group Yahoo Group.

The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue - The story is told by Razi, who stays "between" after her tragic death as a young woman. She tried to find out what happened to the love of her life, Andrew, after she loses track of him. She also becomes interested in a young couple 70+ years after her death. The story moves back and forth between past and present in no particular order (like random memories popping up). You would think that that would be very confusing, but it isn't. It turned out to be a very effective way of telling the story. I rated this book 4 out of 5.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - Santiago is a young shepherd boy who dreamed of finding treasure at the Egyptian Pyramids. He is advised by a gypsy woman and a mysterious king to pursue his dream. Along the way, Santiago meets several people who teach him many things that help him on his search. It was a kind of mystical story that was well written, but I couldn't really identify with. I rated this book 2 out of 5. My favorite quote from the book was this - "'It's not what enters men's mouths that's evil,' said the alchemist. 'It's what comes out of their mouths that is.'"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

On the Road

We are on our way to St. Paul Minnesota today. We'll get there tomorrow. We're in Clear Lake Iowa tonight, which is only about 2 or 2 1/2 hours from St. Paul. The reason we're heading to St. Paul is to see the US National Figure Skating Championships! We've been to several skating events over the past few years, and we always enjoy them. And no, I've never figure skated - I can't even stand up on skates! We just love to watch. I've brought my art journal with me, and I've already done a bit of sketching in it (some in the car and some in our motel room tonight). I can see this is going to be my newest obsession!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

This was a really good book. According to, "Jacob Jankowski says: "I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other." At the beginning of Water for Elephants, he is living out his days in a nursing home, hating every second of it. His life wasn't always like this, however, because Jacob ran away and joined the circus when he was twenty-one. It wasn't a romantic, carefree decision, to be sure. His parents were killed in an auto accident one week before he was to sit for his veterinary medicine exams at Cornell. He buried his parents, learned that they left him nothing because they had mortgaged everything to pay his tuition, returned to school, went to the exams, and didn't write a single word. He walked out without completing the test and wound up on a circus train. The circus he joins, in Depression-era America, is second-rate at best. With Ringling Brothers as the standard, Benzini Brothers is far down the scale and pale by comparison."

It goes back and forth very effectively between the old and young Jacob and is very well written. I rate it 4 out of 5.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Art Journal

At the instructor's request, I have removed the pages of my journal that are from the class lessons. I didn't realize that posting my pages was a copyright violation, and I certainly never intended to do that. I do want to encourage anyone who might be interested in learning art journaling to consider this class; it has been a wonderful way to learn art and to develop the "habit" of journaling on a daily basis. Here is a link to the class: Love This Journal Workshop.

Now, it is NOT a copyright violation for me to share pages that I've done that are not from class samples, so here are a couple of those pages:

I was sitting in the parking lot at Bass Pro Shops reading (while DH was shopping) and I happened to notice this bird on top of the pick-up next to me. I had my art journal with me, so I decided to see if I could sketch it. The bird ended up a bit too big compared to the size of the pick up, but I got the general idea anyway. And this is one of my first sketches, so I'm pretty pleased with the results. The other page tells about the exhibit we attended at the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

And then we were watching a movie the other night and the opening credits had the scenes all cut up, so I got the idea to do something similar with a picture out of a magazine.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

I finished this book today. It was good - not the best book I've ever read, but good. And it had a pretty surprising ending that I won't give away. It was about an 18 year old unmarried Amish girl who gives birth to a baby and is accused of the baby's murder. Through some unusual circumstances, the girl's attorney ends up living with the girl and her family, and so there is a lot of interesting information about Amish life in addition to the basic story. I would rate it 3 out of 5.

Now I'm starting Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

I finished A Thousand Splendid Suns yesterday. It was one of the best books I've read in awhile. A very well written, gripping story that often made me angry; I think the story will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommend it - I rate it 5 out of 5. And by the way, this author's first book is The Kite Runner, which is also a really good book. I've been told that the movie stays pretty close to the book, but I always think a book is better; you can get so much more from the book. So, read the book, then go see the movie.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


I've decided to add a category for books to my blog. By this I mean that I want to start keeping track of the books I read and whether I liked them or not. I won't be writing formal reviews or anything, because I'm not that good at reviews. I've joined a couple of online book clubs, and most members keep track of the books they read each month - I've never done that before. It's an interesting concept.

At the moment, I'm reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini. It is a wonderful book - not a happy story, but really gripping.