Monday, December 14, 2009
Written from Debbie Rodriguez's personal experiences in Afghanistan between 2001-2006, "Kabul Beauty School" not only tells Debbie's story, but the stories of the Afghanistan women that Debbie met during her stay in the country. Rodriguez uses an easy writing style that has the reader turning the pages without realizing it. The stories of Afghanistan and it's women will swell up a range of emotion from happiness to despair, but thankfully Rodriguez leaves us with hope for the future.
The full book online:
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Sometimes book club is all about the laughs. Sometimes it's a group therapy session. Sometimes it's a free labor camp. Sometimes it's even a center for higher learning. And sometimes, times like last book club, we really dive into the meat of life.
I can't get into the details of our conversation--it was far too private, but I will try to succintly sum it up for you.
Life is a gift comprised of many different packages. Some packages are big. Some packages are small. Some packages are very unexpected and completely take you by surprise. Sometimes we're happy with the package we receive, and sometimes not so much. Sometimes we're so disturbed by the package we receive that we mistakenly view it as a whole room full of problems, but with the help of friends we realize that that just isn't the case.
One thing is for sure though. Whatever junk happens to come your way, you can handle it.
Just remember to use a delicate touch.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Synopsis from Barnes and Noble
At first Tally doesn't want to go to the boarding school called Delderton. But she soon discovers that it is a wonderful place where freedom and self expression are valued. Tally organizes a ragtag dance troupe so the school can participate in an international folk dancing festival in Bergania in the summer of 1939. There she befriends Karil, the crown prince, who would love nothing more than to have ordinary friends and attend a school like Delderton. When Karil's father is assassinated, it is up to Tally and her friends to help Karil escape the Nazis and the bleak future he has inherited.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I really loved my clean house. I mean really loved it. But I have to admit that perhaps, on the rare occasion, being fanatical about a gleaming, spot-free shine, might have made me the tiniest bit hard to live with. I suppose in retrospect that I didn't need to throw a big fit when there were crumbs left on top of the toaster--while it was still toasting, and maybe it was over the top to start wiping off the table--while my family was still eating.
Once I began working and didn't have as much time at home as I used to, I decided to consider my declining state of home cleanliness a statement of personal growth. As if a dirty kitchen was proof that I had overcome my OCD. Goodness, at this point in my life, I'm so healthy that I'm lucky to dust the front of the TV so it doesn't look like there's a snow storm inside the halls of Seattle Grace. The thing is though, I've found that there is a fine line between personal growth and just plain laziness. And after book club last night, I've had a wake up call.
You see, I was the hostess for last night's book club. In my new and improved state of mind, I decided to consider it courageous to let one of my guests use the "Restroom of Questionable Cleanliness", and innovative to let them eat the peach cobbler even though it appeared to be half-baked, and humorous to discover that I had my shirt on inside out. Basically I was a hot mess, but I didn't let it faze me. And that my friends is some serious personal growth.
It wasn't until all my guests had left though, that I discovered the Thing that's making me rethink my new attitude. You see, I have a basket on my counter for my fruits and vegetables. Plus, I have a zuchinni and a yellow squash plant that have both been in production overload the past two weeks. I just kept adding zuchinni to that basket and truthfully I hadn't seen the bottom of it for at least two weeks. In my desire to share the zuchinni bounty that is ours, I set that basket on the table and invited all the Sorta-Naughties to get it the h*** out of my house. And they nearly emptied the basket, bless their hearts. But in so doing they revealed, at the bottom of the basket, this monstrocity:
I can't tell you for sure what that is (although ironically, I think it is a peach), but I can tell you what it isn't. It is not courageous, innovative, or humorous. There does, however, appear to be a notable amount of growth going on there--just not the type I was aiming for.
So, what did I learn at Book Club this month? Listen people! I don't have time for any life lessons right now. I've got to get cleaning!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
This is your start to easy, summer reading. It's a cute novel sure to take you back to your angsty, teenage years. The best part is that the two sequels are already done! No more authors who like to torment us with cliffhangers :)
Here's a synopsis curtesy of Harper Collins:
Three Georgia peaches are in for one juicy summer . . .
. . . but Birdie would rather eat Thin Mints and sulk in the A/C.
Leeda would prefer to sneak off with her boyfriend, Rex.
And Murphy would much rather cause a little mischief.
Together these three very different girls will discover the secret to finding the right boy, making the truest of friends, and picking the perfect Georgia peach.
Monday, May 11, 2009
1. Lucinda renamed book club to book party. I'm sure it is because we are so dang fun.
2. We spent quite a while reminiscing about our 15!! years of book clubbing. That's a lot of books read, desserts eaten, lives discussed (our own of course, because we would never gossip), and friends made.
3. We finally remembered the name of that one girl, who lived in the blue-roofed townhomes, with the two cute girls, and husband who was an architect student. Susan even Facebooked her (yea, I still don't have one of those). I wonder if she checked us out or just thought Susan was a big creeper...
4. Anyway, all that reminiscing led me to the What I Learned at Book Club This Month moment: be careful about the book you choose for book club, because you may be remembered for it. Because really, once you've chosen a seriously scandalous novel you will always be remembered as The Girl Who Picked the Irish Sex Book.
Consider yourself warned.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The book this month is called My Book, by me. Since it is not yet avaliable at the library, I (most considerately) printed everyone a copy. The book was originally supposed to be a retelling of Cinderella, but it took on a life of its own. Other than that, I have trouble describing it, and usually look at people blankly when they ask what it's about.
Celia has already told me it doesn't have enough fairies of unfortunate sexual orientation. So go ahead. Now that I've got this up, you may do your worst.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
It started back in 1983 when I went to my friends house to watch a movie on her cutting-edge, new VCR. It was amazing to watch a movie RIGHT IN YOUR OWN HOUSE!! and her whole family gathered around to watch a James Bond flick (you know the one, where the bad guy plots an evil scheme to rule the world while James meets the girl with the questionable morals and ends up making out with her right before she tries to kill him with her stiletto heel?) Well anyway, I found it extremely difficult to follow the plot because I was so distracted by the flashing "12:00" on the VCR's screen. It seems that no one in the family could figure out how to enter the real time, and I vowed right then and there that if I was ever lucky enough to own my own "Entertainment Wonder of the Future", I would learn how to set the darn clock.
Subsequently, I've done my best to keep up with all the technology that has occurred in the last 25 years. I'm the geek that reads owner's manuals cover to cover to ensure I know how the machine works, and I'm always pining over some new toy I can plug in. Heck, Lauri and I were one of the first people I know to try out the internet. I think the big sell was that you could see movie premieres RIGHT ON YOUR OWN COMPUTER!! and we sat patiently in front of the library's computer monitor while it sang its special dial-up song and tried so hard to bring up a home page for the next 15 minutes. I don't think we ever did see any movie premieres that day, but we both promptly got internet in our own homes whereupon no one could ever call us again because our phone lines were busy all day.
So in all this effort to be hi-tech savvy, you can understand my dismay when I Learned at Book Club This Month that I was the only person in the room without a Facebook account.
Sure, I had heard Facebook rumblings among my friends. There were side conversations about "friending" and "wall posting." But to realize that I was the only one without it? It felt like I might as well go fashion myself some stone tires, ditch my car engine in favor of feet propulsion and call up Fred Flinstone on my shell phone, because I had just richocheted myself into the stone age.
So, after some extensive research on the matter, I've come up with a short Should-Jennifer-Get-a-Facebook-Account pro/con list.
Pro: I can keep up with friends' day-to-day lives.
Con: Apparently, my friends' day-to-day lives consist of nothing more than "What Your Shoe Size Says about You" quizzes.
Pro: I can reconnect with old high school buddies.
Con: I don't remember many of my high school buddies, and I'll be opening myself to ackward moments of "I'm sorry. We met at a football game? We made out under the bleachers? Was I really that big of a floozy?"
Pro: I can stalk my kids.
Con: My kids will think I'm a stalker.
Pro: I can post a profile picture of myself that tells the world what I'm all about.
Con: My profile picture will most likely tell that world that lately I'm all about donuts and french fries.
Pro: I'll always have somewhere to go when I want to waste time on the computer.
Con: I'll always have somewhere to go when I want to waste time on the computer.
Looks like the jury's still out.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
1 devils food cake mix
1 -4 serving instant chocolate pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ cup warm water
½ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Place all ingredients except chocolate chips, in a large mixing bowl. Blend with electric mixer 1 minute.
Stir down sides. Continue to mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.
Bake 45-50 minutes at 350. (I had to cook almost an hour.) Cool 20 minutes. Invert onto serving platter.
8 Tbsp butter (not margarine)
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/3 cup evaporated milk (I used 1%-it worked great)
4 cups sifted powdered sugar (I didn't sift mine, and there were some lumps)
Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in cocoa and milk. Bring mixture just to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar until thickened and smooth. Pour warm frosting over warm cake. This recipe makes a lot of frosting. (Almost too much, but how do you cut back).
Pretend this is a picture of the cake I made. It's a picture from another website.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
So here's the deal. Since the majority of the book club already read "The Glass Castle," you can either read it (again) or read the memoir of your choice.
Here's a synopsis of "The Glass Castle."
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town — and the family — Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Put on some fun shoes and enjoy!
"Min Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man like Cal Morrisey, who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Cal Morrisey knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But Fate has other plans, and it’s not long before Min and Cal are dealing with meddling friends, wedding cake, a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kremes, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a frantic bride, Chicken Marsala, a mutant cat, snow globes, two Mothers-from-Hell, great shoes, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of including the biggest gamble of all--unconditional love."
***And picked in less than three days, bet you thought I couldn't do it!