Birthday Giveaway

Well, today is my 42nd birthday. Sigh. I love birthdays, but I have to admit, that number is a little daunting. Instead of wallowing in the fact that I’m getting older, I thought I’d hold a giveaway for you, my devoted readers who have stuck with me through blogging feast and famine. For the giveaway, I have one book that I adored, and one that I didn’t – but that doesn’t mean one of you might not like it, right?

First up is Sister Mother Husband Dog by Delia Ephron. I absolutely loved this collection of essays!

Goodreads blurb: In Sister Mother Husband Dog, Delia Ephron brings her trademark wit and effervescent prose to a series of autobiographical essays about life, love, sisterhood, movies, and family. In “Losing Nora,” she deftly captures the rivalry, mutual respect, and intimacy that made up her relationship with her older sister and frequent writing companion. “Blame It on the Movies” is Ephron’s wry and romantic essay about surviving her disastrous twenties, becoming a writer, and finding a storybook ending. “Bakeries” is both a lighthearted tour through her favorite downtown patisseries and a thoughtful, deeply felt reflection on the dilemma of having it all. From keen observations on modern living, the joy of girlfriends, and best-friendship, to a consideration of the magical madness and miracle of dogs, to haunting recollections of life with her famed screenwriter mother and growing up the child of alcoholics, Ephron’s eloquent style and voice illuminate every page of this superb and singular work.

The one I didn’t love is The Other Story by Tatiana de Rosnay. While it didn’t ring my bell, there are many others who I know enjoyed it. This is an audiobook, unabridged, narrated by the delectable Simon Vance.

Goodreads blurb: Vacationing at a luxurious Tuscan island resort, Nicolas Duhamel is hopeful that the ghosts of his past have finally been put to rest… Now a bestselling author, when he was twenty-four years old, he stumbled upon a troubling secret about his family – a secret that was carefully concealed. In shock, Nicholas embarked on a journey to uncover the truth that took him from the Basque coast to St. Petersburg – but the answers wouldn’t come easily.

In the process of digging into his past, something else happened. Nicolas began writing a novel that was met with phenomenal success, skyrocketing him to literary fame whether he was ready for it or not – and convincing him that he had put his family’s history firmly behind him. But now, years later, Nicolas must reexamine everything he thought he knew, as he learns that, however deeply buried, the secrets of the past always find a way out.

To enter, please leave a comment before 11:59 p.m., Friday, November 21st. In your comment, please tell me which title you are interested in – it can be both. Also tell me about the best birthday present you ever received. One entry per person; open to readers in the US only. Sorry, but I can’t afford international shipping.

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from A World Lost by Wendell Berry


I imagine the dead waking, dazed, into a shadowless light in which they know themselves altogether for the first time. It is a light that is merciless until they can accept its mercy; by it they are at once condemned and redeemed. It is Hell until it is Heaven. Seeing themselves in that light, if they are willing, they see how far they have failed the only justice of loving one another; it punishes them by their own judgment. And yet, in suffering that light’s awful clarity, in seeing themselves within it, they see its forgiveness and its beauty, and are consoled. In it they are loved completely, even as they have been, and so are changed into what they could not have been but what, if they could have imagined it, they would have wished to be.

That light can come into this world only as love, and love can enter only by suffering. Not enough light has ever reached us here among the shadows, and yet I think it has never been entirely absent.

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The Sunday Salon – November 2, 2014 (plus, wrapping up October’s reading)

sundaysalon2Happy first Sunday in November! I can hardly believe that October is over; it simply flew by. We had a really nice Halloween, starting with Light Up the Park last Saturday. Our little, teeny town attempted to break the Guinness record for the longest line of lit jack-o-lanterns. We needed 1301 carved pumpkins; we made it to 1100. Not bad for a town of under 2500 people! It was a fun community celebration, and the pumpkins looked beautiful all lit up in the park that night. Noah carved Balrog from Lord of the Rings for the library’s Literary Character Carving Contest, and won first prize in the Teen and Adult category. :) Then, on Halloween itself, we helped out and participated in our church’s annual Harvest Party. I love seeing how many of the adults get into dressing up, and how creative they can be with their costumes – especially since that’s not my thing.

Not a lot of other stuff going on, other than the usual busy, busy, busy-ness that is our household. Natalie and I had an appointment with her Running Start adviser, and she is all on track to graduate in June with her Associates of Applied Sciences in General Business and her high school diploma. I am so proud of her, and yet can hardly believe it! Noah and I switched to a different curricula for Algebra 2, because we were in danger of either murdering the books or each other. The new one seems to be working better.

Time to gear up for the holiday season, right? Our November will be nuts: my birthday next week, Josiah’s birthday the week after, Natalie’s wisdom teeth removal on the 17th, and then a houseful most of the week of Thanksgiving. Trying to keep the kids’ heads in their schoolwork with the holidays fast approaching is always a challenge.

I have been finding time to read, though. It’s amazing, now that I’ve allowed myself not to worry about whether I’m blogging or not, I’m reading a lot – and enjoying it more. Right now, I’m reading Us by David Nicholls and The Deadly Dance by M.C. Beaton – an Agatha Raisin mystery. Hoping to start The Bone Season and How To Be a Good Wife later today.

On audio, I finally finished book two in Deborah Harkness’s trilogy. I definitely did not love it as much as book one, but the last quarter saved it for me, and I am looking forward to book three. I am currently listening to Written In My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon, and I am really pissed off at what the author has done to Roger and Bree’s storyline. Argh. I’m also still plugging through We Are Not Ourselves, and have The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to listen to soon to stay ahead of Noah for English Lit 10.

We went old school for movie night last week and watched Armageddon. The week before was The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s fun introducing the kids to some of these “older” movies. :)

Today is church, choir practice for Christmas, the Seahawks game, and then Thor: The Dark World for movie night. Have a wonderful day!

Books finished in October:

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – 5 stars – I think I’ve mentioned it before, but this woman is a genius, and I loved this book.
The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them by Amy Dickinson – 4 stars – This was a fun, heartwarming memoir. Had some good funny moments.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – 4 stars – I liked this overall, but Victor’s character annoyed me.
Sister Eve, Private Eye by Lynne Hinton – 4 stars – Great mystery; review coming soon on the 25th, its release date.
Airman by Eoin Colfer – 5 stars – One of Josiah’s favorite read-alouds. Mine, too.
Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex & Brett Harris – 4 stars – Thought-provoking and discussion provoking; read it with the boys.
The Secret Place by Tana French – 5 stars – I only wish she wrote faster.
Just One Day by Gayle Forman – 3 stars – Not nearly as good as If I Stay, but entertaining enough.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – 4 stars – Almost as good as everyone says it is.
A World Lost by Wendell Berry – 5 stars – If you’ve read my blog for long, you know I adore this man. Short, but powerful.
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness – 3 stars – Dragged and dragged and dragged, but the last quarter was worth it, and I’ve been assured that the final book is worth it as well.

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