Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vacation Reading: The Results

Back from vacation, and I am exhausted!  Having fun is work.  Seriously, I have no right to complain -- ten days in Southern California!  Boo hoo!  I spent a lot of time with my brother and sister-in-law and their baby Luca, who is seven months old and in the running for the title of Cutest Baby On the Planet.  I also went to the San Diego Zoo, Coronado, and two days at Disneyland. Woo hoo!

In between all this excitement, I actually got a lot of reading done:  I ended up bringing seven books with me, three library books and four of my own, and I finished six of them!  I know, I swore I was only bringing owned-and-unread books, but in the end I caved, as all three of the library books were very thin paperbacks. 

Just for fun I decided to total the page numbers:  approximately 1,475 pages read!  Here's a list of the books I completed (reviews to follow shortly):

1. Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones
2. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
3. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
4. Summer by Edith Wharton
5. Mixed Magics by Diana Wynne Jones
6. The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin

Looking back at the list, I just realized how well this list represents most of my favorite genres:  children's fantasy, classics, and food writing.  (No mysteries this time around -- well, there's always next year). 

I also broke my resolution to stop buying books -- Puffin Children's Classics were on special at Barnes & Noble, three for the price of two!  And I found a really cool book at the Hotel Del Coronado bookstore that I just could not resist:  Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West.  Time to plan some literary pilgrimages!

I had almost no time to blog or comment on other blogger's postings, so I apologize.  However, I'd like to thank Jane at Reading, Writing, Working, Playing for a Versatile Blogger Award -- thank you so much!   According to Jane, I must now share seven things about myself and then pass the award to more bloggers (it's supposed to be 15, but I need to start writing those book reviews so I'm limiting it to seven, which has a nice symmetry). 

Seven things about myself, some of which are pretty random:  

1.  I've visited 39 states in the U.S., and lived in five: Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Nebraska, and Texas.
2.  I've visited 14 foreign countries and lived in Japan.  
3.  I have a journalism degree, a culinary certificate, and a Master's in Library Science.
4.  I love period movies, i.e., costume dramas.
5.  I've eaten some really unusual foods, including ostrich, emu, kangaroo, and crocodile.  Probably the most unusual food I ever ate was deep-fried duck hearts.  We were in Beijing and it was the appetizer course at a Peking duck restaurant.  I was a little squeamish but I was starving.  They were delicious.
6.  I'm a lifetime member of the Jane Austen Society of North America.
7.  In 2008 I went on 14 zip lines in one day in the mountains of Costa Rica.  I felt like Spiderwoman.

Now -- time to pass the awards forward!  I read quite a few blogs, and here are some of my favorites (in no particular order):

1.  The Zen Leaf
2.  Lakeside Musings
3.  Book Lust
4.  Things Mean a Lot
5.  Jenny's Books
6.  Rebecca Reads
7.  Pining for the West

Well -- time to start writing up all those reviews. 

PS -- I apologize for the tiny font size.  Somehow the whole thing has shrunk and I can't get it back to normal.


  1. Sounds like a nicely balanced reading list. With the exception of Diana Wynne Jones, of whom I know nothing, all the other books interest me, and I'm hoping to read Summer myself this summer.

    I'm also a lifetime member of JASNA--I joined in the early 80's, but didn't spring for the lifetime membership until last year.

  2. Lots of Diana Wynne Jones! Are you saving up for that challenge or month dedicated to her or whichever it is?

    We definitely need to get together again now that you're back! And thanks for the award. :)

  3. Thanks so much for the award! I love that you have a culinary certificate- I want one of those! That makes you seem so much more real a chef :-) And I didn't know you used to live in Illinois, either. I am moving to Michigan in just a few weeks now!

  4. Jane -- I just joined JASNA last year, and I just sent in my registration for life membership. I'm sure I'll get my money's worth! Have you ever been to an AGM? I went to Philadelphia last year and I'm definitely going to the Ft. Worth AGM next year.

  5. Amanda -- I was inspired to read and reread her books because of Jenny's challenge next week. I ended up reading so many I'll probably do a combined review. Those books are all from her Chrestomanci series -- not so much a series as related books.

    Aarti -- I heard you were moving to Ann Arbor, lucky! And I lived in Chicago for 10 years. I spent the last 4 years on the north side near Rosehill Cemetery -- Amanda said that's actually close to you. How funny!

    My culinary certificate is from Washburne Trade School, which is now part of Kennedy King. Back when I went it was in an old warehouse at 31st and Kedzie. Not very prestigious but the price was right (only $500 a semester!) and I learned a lot.

  6. Thank you so much for the award, Karen! And congrats on getting it yourself. That's fantastic that you got to live in Japan and visit so many countries. Travelling is seriously one of my main goals in life, but I'm just not there yet financially. Also, I'm excited that you'll be reading the wonderful Diana Wynne Jones. I'm so looking forward to the lovefest at Jenny's blog next week.

  7. Thank you for the award! You're so sweet! And it looks like you got much excellent reading done! :)

  8. Novel Destinations is fun! It certainly added quite a few places to my dream travel list. Glad you had a great vacation!

  9. Sounds like you had a fabulous vacation! Novel Destinations is a great book - borrowed it from my library last year, but it's really a book I need to own. My husband (then boyfriend) and I took a sailing class on Coronado many years ago. Didn't get to stay at 'The Del', but would love to some day...and they even have a bookstore??

    Thank you so much for the award. Don't know which of your 7 facts to comment on, so I'll just say that zip lines scare me and I'll never be confused with Spiderwoman!

  10. Nymeth -- thanks! The traveling is due to being a military family. It's nice when we can go places but we've had to move around a lot. And I am so looking forward to Jenny's DWJ week!

    Jenny -- I was surprised at how much reading I got done. They were all pretty fast reads though.

    LIndsey -- I think I've only been to two or three places in the entire book. I was reading it on the plane home and already thinking about another trip.

    JoAnn -- the Del doesn't actually have a bookstore (must correct that!), but one of the shops had some really nice travel-themed gifts which included quite a few books. We didn't actually get to stay at the Del -- I thought about staying for one night but it was way too expensive. We just drove down for the day.

  11. I fell prey to the B&N Puffin Classics deal too. :) Treasure Island, The Swiss Family Robinson and Anne of Green Gables all came home with me!

    I'm glad you had a fun (and exhausting) vacation!

  12. Kristen -- I love Anne of Green Gables. Must read the sequel soon. I wanted to buy Swiss Family Robinson but the store's only copy was all bent so I couldn't bring myself to buy it. I know it's silly but when I buy a new book I want it to be a nice copy.

  13. I followed JoAnn's post to your blog. I am not sure why I have not discovered your blog in the past, but I look forward to following your posts from now on!

    I have given serious thought to joining the Jane Austen Society of NA -- but just haven't pursued it yet. I am not sure of the activity level of the chapter in Kansas City.