Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Salon--Donating, and reading

The Sunday

Living here in earthquake country, we've all been following the story of last week's horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Here's a link to the Red Cross donation page, to donate directly to Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief, if you're so inclined. And here's a link to the Red Cross web page about disaster preparedness for your home and family. If it's not earthquakes, there's always some sort of natural disaster lurking, so best to be prepared!

I'm definitely reading up on this, and we are replenishing what we call our "earthquake supplies." One of the hard things is to store the one gallon of water per person, for three days, that is recommended to keep handy. The Red Cross list is a good one, and reminds me of the things we're missing in our family's personal disaster preparedness.

This weekend, when not glued to the internet looking at news out of Japan, I've read some of The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman, and I made a batch of blood orange marmalade. Yum. The Imperfectionists has been a roller-coaster ride of characters, some that I like and others I dislike, some I respect and others I don't, some I want to give a good talking-to, and others I'd like to hug. Another book made up of linked stories, each from a different character's point of view, I'm finding it a pretty compelling read.

Hope you have a peaceful, disaster-free weekend, and that you find some time to read.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Booking Through Thursday--Multi-tasking

Here's today's Booking Through Thursday question:

Do you multi-task when you read? Do other things like stirring things on the stove, brushing your teeth, watching television, knitting, walking, et cetera?

Or is it just me, and you sit and do nothing but focus on what you’re reading?

(Or, if you do both, why, when, and which do you prefer?)

I don't truly multi-task when I read. I can't watch TV and read at the same time, because I find myself focusing on only one thing, either the book or the TV. Every time I've tried to walk and read, I bump into something. I do, however, take a book everywhere, so that in every spare minute in the doctor's waiting room or carpool line, I read.

I can't imagine knitting and reading--I can barely knit, so I'm either squinting at the yarn and the needles, or at the knitting pattern. Watching TV while knitting is hard enough, I can't imagine reading and knitting.

For me, books shut everything else out. That's why I started reading in the first place, to be carried away from real life. Even if I try to do something else while reading, I can't really focus, and most often find myself only reading.

How about you?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Next Up In Group

My book group is reading Frederick Reiken's novel Day for Night for our next meeting. I hadn't heard of the book before the group picked it, but reviews call Reiken's prose "elegant"--always a plus--and mentions that the novel is like a group of linked stories. Our last book, Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad, was also a group of linked stories, each featuring a different character. Thinking about it, I realize I like this construction. Olive Kitteridge was also linked stories, and I liked it very much. And Joan Silber's Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories was (obviously, from the subtitle) constructed that way, and I enjoyed that, too.

Reviews of Day For Night also mention the underwater imagery employed by the writer. Makes sense, looking at the cover. One of the great things about belonging to a book group is the exposure to books you might not have found otherwise. This wasn't on my radar, but reading about it, I'm happy I've been pushed to pick it up.

What is your book group reading now? Did your book group ever find a gem you might not have found otherwise?

Friday, March 4, 2011

I'm Hooked

Watch the full episode. See more Masterpiece.

Thanks, Liz and Alysoun, for getting me hooked on Downton Abbey. I know, I missed the bandwagon on this, as it was initially broadcast in January on Masterpiece Classic, but on your recommendation I bought it on iTunes. (Then, of course, it came out on Netflix--grrr.)

I am one happy British-drama-watching camper. I am totally hooked. Someone, please unplug my Netflix so I can get something done around here...

And guess what's up next on Masterpiece Classic? A remake of Upstairs, Downstairs, coming in April.

Anybody else a fan?