Tag Archives: WeeklyGeeks

Weekly Geeks – Catching Up

wg zombie3From Becky at Weekly Geeks:

This week, I’m going back to a classic Dewey topic–#12 to be exact. I chose this for several reasons–one, it’s one of my favorite weekly geeks topics–but more importantly I saw it would work well with two very important bloggy events going on this week.

1. In your blog, list any books you’ve read but haven’t reviewed yet. If you’re all caught up on reviews, maybe you could try this with whatever book(s) you hope to finish this week. (Be sure to leave a link to this post either in the comments of this post, or in the Mister Linky below.)

2. Ask your readers to ask you questions about any of the books they want. In your comments, not in their blogs. (Most likely, people who will ask you questions will be people who have read one of the books or know something about it because they want to read it.)

3. Later, take whichever questions you like from your comments and use them in a post about each book. Link to each blogger next to that blogger’s question(s).

4. Visit other Weekly Geeks and ask them some questions!

I have to admit I do not review every book that I read.  Not enough time or brain power.  I review books that I find exceptionally well written or  inspiring, books I have read for challenges and books I really want to introduce to others.

That said, there are books I am reading or plan to read that I’d like you to ask questions about.

1) The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

2) This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun

3) Finding Beauty in a Broken World by Terry Tempest Williams

There are also several books of poetry that I am reading.

1) Flight: New and Selected Poems by Linda Bierds

2) The Veiled Suite: The Collected Poems by Agha Shahid Ali

3) Strike/Slip by Don McKay

Any questions?


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Weekly Geeks – It’s Almost Summer!

Another summer theme for this weeks Geeks.  To find out more go here.

A couple of weeks ago our WG theme was the kick off of summer in the US. Right now us geeks in the Northern Hemisphere are anxiously awaiting summer’s arrival (hold on Southern Hemps, I’ll get to you in a moment). For a lot of parents, this means a couple of months wondering what to do with the kiddies who were in school all year. Now I realize not everyone is a parent but I’m almost 100% positive everyone was a kid once. So here’s my challenge, you have several choices:

1) Make a reading list of your favorite children’s (school aged) books to read over the summer.
2) Give us some fun activities to do during the summer.
3) Tell us about a favorite vacation spot. Maybe someone will want to go there too!
4) Tell us about a favorite summer memory you have of being a kid (the time you caught the big one, learning to swim, summer camp, etc).

I’m going for number 3.vcrop3s

I usually take a week to decompress after school ends and then we head off to the ocean, either the Washington or Oregon coast.  We always make sure to spend a few nights in our favorite place, The Sylvia Beach Hotel, in Nye Beach, Oregon.  It is a haven for book lovers, no phones, no TV, a wonderful reading room looking out over the Pacific and each room named and decorated for an author.  This year we’re staying in Tolkin!  If you come to the coast please make sure to check them out.IMG_2281IMG_2297


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Weekly Geeks – Guilty Pleasures

wg zombie3

To learn more about Dewey’s Weekly Geeks visit this link.

This week’s task was sent in by Maree of Just Add Books, who’s been thinking about those things that we do when we’re not reading or blogging. Here’s what Maree has to say:

The comments on this post of mine got me thinking about guilty pleasures. Non-reading guilty pleasures. Mine at the time the post was written was American Idol. Particularly one contestant, as you can see. By now, the show is over, and the results are in, one way or another. But my inappropriate addiction to Idol got me thinking about the things we do that we love but that we don’t like to admit to–our guilty pleasures. Mine is reality TV, which scratches that small, dark place that we all have.

So. Weekly Geeks, we’re going into the confessional this week.

What’s your non-reading guilty pleasure?

I’m glad to play along.

Pleasure #1 –

I don’t watch TV,  but I do borrow or rent DVD’s from my library or our wonderful neighborhood video store.  What kind of DVD’s?  Mostly British and cable TV series and a few movies, most recently Frost/Nixon ( a great film, by the way.)

SciFi:  Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, Firefly, Dr. Who and if I need a fix, X Files.

Spy stuff:  Alias, MI-5(Spooks), Alex Guinness as George Smiley.

British police dramas: Prime Suspect, Cracker, Wire in the Blood.

and the exception to the rule of lousy American television: The Wire

Pleasure #2 –

Video games!  Particularly the hidden object variety.  I can sit for hours playing these silly things.  It’s challenging and it’s fun!


What are your guilty pleasures?


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Weekly Geeks – Mark It Down

wg zombie3Do you use bookmarks or just grab whatever is handy to mark your page? Do you collect lots of different bookmarks or do you have a favorite one that you use exclusively? If you’re not someone who uses bookmarks on a regular basis, have you ever used anything odd to mark your place?

If you make your own bookmarks or have a bookmark collection, please feel free to share some pictures with the rest of us.

I tend to use whatever is at hand.  Ticket stubs, postcards, business cards, found bookmarks 9often in used books), bookmarks given by friends, free bookmarks from book stores, and little post-its if I’m planning a review and want to mark text I plan to quote.  Lately I’ve been using bits of ribbon.  I don’t  buy bookmarks, ’cause I know I’ll lose them!


More information on Weekly Geeks found here.


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Weekly Geeks

wgbookpileWeekly Geeks is here.  This week W.G. is hosted by Care!

How do you review?

1. Explain your review format – if you have one. Or maybe your rating system?

I didn’t think I had a format but as I look back I can see one developing.

I always include an image of the cover.

I have started to include the publisher and year of publication with the book  title and often link to LibraryThing.

I write a brief description of the story line.

I like to include bits of the text, usually something that has struck me while reading.

I have started including links to interesting bits of information, either about the book or the author.

I link to other reviews.

I am beginning to trust my instincts.  I try and keep things short and sweet, and write a bit about my response to what I read.  I haven’t developed a rating system yet but have been thinking about it.

2. Highlight another book-blogger’s review format by linking to a favorite example – don’t forget to tell us why they are a fave!

I can’t pick just one!

1330v – I love the way Vassily writes about what she’s read, very clear and concise and yet very descriptive.  I enjoy her choice of  text that she includes in her reviews.

Fyrefly’s Book Blog –  I like the way Fyrefly has the reviews organized with a summery, review and recommendations section.  I also appreciate all the links!

things mean alot – I love  Nymeth’s honesty and clarity.

3. Do a review in another book-blogger’s format of your latest read. I did this just the other day when I had read a great post discussing what makes a good review and ‘borrowing’ from a comment by Ramya. That post was one of Bethany’s and my example giving Ramya the credit is here.

Maybe later..

4. Highlight a past review that you are particularly proud of and why the format or structure may have had something to do with it.

I am proud of my reviews for Sea of Poppies and Someone Knows My Name.  I enjoyed writing them and doing a bit of digging about the history involved in both novels.  They are both “dense” reads and gave me lots to think about.

Writing reviews is an interesting process.  Sometimes the words are right there, everything is clear and I know exactly what I want to say.  Other times it is a struggle.  I don’t review all the books I read and really admire those bloggers who do!


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Weekly Geeks

wgbookpile Information on Dewey’s Weekly Geeks found here.   This week’s topic:

We are surrounded by our fellow creatures and often our lives are enriched by their presence, whether it be sharing our homes with them or simply being blessed to see them in passing.

This week you are asked to share books (fiction or nonfiction) and/or movies which center around an animal or animals.

  • Which are your favorites?
  • Which touched your heart the most?
  • Which have found their way onto your wish lists or TBR stacks?
  • Is there a childhood favorite?
  • Have you ever named a pet after an animal from a book or movie?

You get the idea! Have fun with this; use your imagination. Share your thoughts!

Animals have always been an important part of my life.  At times, when I have felt most alone, my connection with them has actually kept me alive.  Books about animals taught me about friendship, courtesy,  empathy and compassion.    The incredible loss of habitat animals suffer through our negligence is a fundamental flaw in human behavior and must be changed.  It puts us and our planet at great risk.

Childhood favorites:

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A.Milne

Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

and of course Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little by E.B. White

Young  adult favorites:

The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot.

Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell

Books that I’ve learned from as an adult:

Kinship with all Life by J. Allen Boone

The Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich

Of Wolves and Men by Barry Lopez

The Mind of the Dolphin by John C. Lilly

Salmon Totem by Freeman House

The Hidden Lives of Dogs by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

The Human Nature of Birds by Theodore X. Barber

The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild by Craig Childs

I could go on and on.  I also want to mention a wonderful film we watched some weeks ago:

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

Two new books that recently entered our home:

Solitary Goose by Sydney Landon Plum and Corvus: A Life with Birds by Esther Woolfson.

I once had a cat named Titus named for the character from The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake.

Our current companion gave us a bit of a scare last month but she’s fine now, if a bit long in the tooth.  Her name is Kit, short for Kitsune, the fox of Japanese folklore.  She does love having her picture taken.



Filed under Animals, Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks – What’s Cookin’

wgbookpile1What shall we cook today? It seems that for most of us, a bit of our book obsession would carry over to the cookbook genre, so this week for Weekly Geeks, let’s talk cookbooks! Here are some ideas to get you started:

–Describe your cookbook collection. How many cookbooks do you own? A lot? Just a few? None at all?

I own about two dozen, including hardbacks, paperbacks and spiral bound books.

–Do you like to collect certain types of cookbooks? Say, from certain chefs? From places you visit? From a particular food group or style?

I tend to get interested it learning about foods from different regions.  These regions change over time.  Right now I’m interested in Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food.  I am working my way back to being vegetarian.  Not vegan, I love cheese too much.

–When buying cookbooks, what do you look for? Does it need to have pictures? Spiral binding? A specific type of font?

I try hard not to buy cookbooks, often borrowing books from the library or from friends.  Once in a while I get seduced into having to own a book, usually by the text or the photos.  This is the lastest one:037540506201_sx140_sy225_sclzzzzzzz_

The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden. This book is filled with the history of food in the Middle East as well as wonderful folktales and stories related to different foods and different countries.

068815305401_sx140_sy225_sclzzzzzzz_Another book I am intrigued by is A Mediterranean Feast:The Story of the Birth of Celebrated Cuisines by Clifford A. Wright. It is packed with history, economics, geography and cultural.  I’m trying to find a used copy.

-What is your favorite cookbook?

I don’t really have a favorite.  I enjoy reading about food and cooking and have recently discovered the writings of Elizabeth David and of M.F. K.Fisher and am loving both of them.

–Share a recipe from one of your favorite cookbooks. Include a picture if you can.

One of my most loved  and oldest cookbooks is Tassajara Cooking by Edward Espe Brown. I learned the basics from this one and also learned to trust my own instincts when cooking.  There is a wonderful documentary about Brown’s philosophy of  food and cooking called How to Cook Your Life.

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin, onion, salt, oil, water, cinnamon. nutmeg.

Cut the pumpkin open and remove the seeds and stringy portion of the interior.  Cut the pumpkin into one inch cubes.  Slice the onion, and saute for a couple of minutes, then add the pumpkin.  Saute for about five minutes, stirring , then add a cup of water, put on a lid and simmer for forty to fifty minutes until pumpkin is quite tender.  At this point the pumpkin, or a portion of it, can be mashed to thicken the broth.  Add more water to the onion-pumpkin mixture to make it soupy.  Heat and season with salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

I plan on making this soup with squash tomorrow night and if I remember I will add a photo!


Filed under Cookbooks, Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks


April 2nd was International Children’s Book Day. And April is National Poetry Month. In celebration, I have two lovely options for you this week:

Option A: Be a kid!

You could read a picture book (or two or three) and share what you read.
Write up a post sharing your favorite books from childhood
Write up a post about reading together with your child(ren)

Option B: Be a poet!

Write your own poem and share with us!
Write bookish ABC poems–ABC’s of favorite authors, favorite books, favorite characters, favorite book blogs, or any combination of the above. Maybe even an ABC’s of a bibliophile or book addict. (A is for…B is for…etc.)(For example, ABC’s of Dr. Seuss)
Review a book you’ve read recently in haiku. (It doesn’t need to be a poetry book you’re reviewing, any book will do.) See Emilyreads for an idea of what I mean.
Read a poetry book and review it
Participate in Poetry Friday (This week’s host will be Carol’s Corner.)

Easy for me this week as I started this post yesterday. Is that cheating?

As for option two there is napowrimo which I will participate in as often as I can. This is a wonderful challenge because the prompts stir up new ideas and new ways of thinking about writing. My first poem is here.

Leave a comment

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Picture Books

Lately, I find myself reading picture books as a change from all those word-heavy pages and because I love the artwork.  The first book was one I read about on Vasilly’s blog at 1330v, it is on her list for Herding Cats II.

9780888998736The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria, translated by Elisa Amado. Groundwood Books, 2008.

This is one of the most beautiful picture books I’ve seen in a long time, and there is no color here.  I wish it had been published when I was an adolescent as I spent many hours trying to describe color to my dear friend Henry, who was blind from birth. It was impossible but we spent afterneens laughing about it.

The text is clear and simple and written in braille along with typeface.  The illustrations are textures embossed on ink black pages.  A sighted reader must read the book tactilely, the way a blind person would.  It will expand your or a child’s universe, and offers a starting point for discussions on different ways of experiencing the world.

061886244701_sx140_sy225_sclzzzzzzz_The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 2008. The winner of the 2009 Caldecott Medal.

When I first saw the scratchboard artwork in The House in the Night it reminded me of the art in Wanda Gag’s Millions of Cats, but this is a very different book. Krommes, the illustrator, adds  yellow to deep black and the soft color brings comfort.  Light and warmth glow in the dark night.  Simple phrases and objects,  a bed, a book , a bird, lead up and out into a glorious star-filled sky and then back again to the security of a child’s bed. She is surrounded by the things she loves and those who love her.  She is safe.

A beautiful, comforting story for children and adults.

080285302101_sx140_sy225_sclzzzzzzz_A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008. A 2009 Caldecott Honor book.

First, let me say that William Carlos Williams is one of my favorite American poets.  I am awed by his life and his work. This book is an lovely introduction to his life for the young reader or for any adult who enjoys picture books. The  layering of colors and mixed-media collage blend with the text  to illustrate important events and there are examples of his work at the end of the book.

A River of Words is the celebration of a man who chose  earn a living being a doctor and caring for others and also found the time to  follow his desire to be a poet.

Other reviews:

The House in the Night

Rebecca Reads

SherMeree’s Musings

The Well-Read Child

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams


Filed under PictureBooks, Review

Weekly Geeks – Linking Reviews, Creating Community


From Chris at Weekly Geeks.

When Dewey started Weekly Geeks, one of the first projects she encouraged us to do was link our book reviews to each other.

Dewey’s original post is here.

Here’s what we’ll do:

1. Write a post encouraging readers to look through your archives (if you have your reviews in a particular place on your blog, point them there), and find the books that they have also written reviews about. Tell them to leave a link to their review on your review post. For example, I’ve written a review for Gods Behaving Badly and Jane Doe leaves a link to her review of Gods Behaving Badly in the comments section of my review.

2. Edit your reviews to include those links in the body of the review post.

3. Visit other Weekly Geeks and go through their reviews. Leave links for them.

4. Leave a note somewhere on your blog to let people know this is your new policy.

5. Write a post later this week letting us know how your project is going!

This is a big undertaking but as Dewey put it, it’s ‘community building’. Have fun!

Sadly, Dewey left us before I got a chance to know her.  I can see by the incredible  community connected to Weekly Geeks that she  encouraged others book bloggers and brought them together.  She helped build a huge network of people who love to read books, write about books and read each other’s blogs.

This Weekly Geek challenge has allowed me to go back through my blog posts and see what I have actually written.   An interesting experience.  I originally decided to create this blog because I wanted to share my love of books with others but I found I had not written reviews of all the books I’ve enjoyed over the last five months.  I feel I am not yet confident of my ability to write a clear, entertaining review!  This week’s challenge will allow me to up the ante, by helping me focus on what I originally wanted to do here and cross posting other reviews to Page247.

My reviews are here.  Please feel free to add your review links in the comment section and I promise to add them to the original post.  I also promise to write more reviews!


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