Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Greetings From Arkansas 

I’m temporarily (Do you hear me, Universe? I said temporarily!) in Arkansas taking care of my 90-yo mom so I created an Intrepid Arkansawyer blog!

I also made myself a bookish website, Random Book Notes. Not very creative, I know, but it took me half a day just to come up with a bookish title that wasn’t already taken.

South Fork




Sunday Salon: Seriously? Three Books? Wow!

sundaysalonSomehow I’ve managed to read three books since my last Sunday Salon post!

First I read Rosalind Russell’s autobiography, Life Is A Banquet. She writes just like she talked. Very entertaining book. I laughed out loud several times and had a hard time putting it down.

Then I read books 2 and 3 in The Walk series by Richard Paul Evans: Miles to Go and The Road to Grace.  Don’t ask me which book in the series I liked the best or anything because I honestly can’t pick. All three books were good from beginning to end. Now we wait for him to hurry up and finish book 4!!! Are his other books that good?

Other things I’ve done since my last post are:

  • Saw the Bon Jovi concert film Inside Out.
  • Went to a private Bon Jovi concert on the Paramount backlot.
  • Went to dinner at Loteria Grill with an old friend from the Arizona days.
  • Holiday Tour & Tea at Castle Green in Pasadena.
  • Got new tires for my bug.

Now it’s time to really kick Christmas into gear by putting up the tree and baking cookies!


Sunday Salon: The Walk

November 25, 2012 6 comments

It’s been a busy couple of weeks! Here’s a bullet list since I’ve only managed to blog about one of them so far.

  • Discovered a really good band thanks to the guys re-tiling my bathroom: Needtobreathe
  • Went to a two-day Arab Spring shorts film series.
  • Walked 11 of the 16 miles from Downtown to the ocean.
  • Took a tour of Heritage Square.
  • Had lunch at the San Antonio Winery.
  • Visited a Thai version of Costco.
  • Spent an entire day reading at the library (heaven!) while my car was having some work done.
  • Thanksgiving!
  • Checked the first of 21 California Missions off my must visit list.

I also managed to read two books, but am only talking about one of them for now because I have this…thing…with my friend in Germany where we both read a book and write up our review of the book but we don’t send the review until both of us have read the book. She hasn’t finished this particular book yet so I don’t want to say anything about the book on my blog in case she should stumble upon it.

The book I can talk about now is one that my Mom recommended to me. It’s rare that Mom and I like the same book. Mysteries and detective stories rarely hold my interest. She loves them. I love long descriptive passages and lots of detail. She complains that the author “Sure does take the long way around to get to the point.”

Once in a while, however, one of us finds a book that neither of us can put down. This time it was The Walk by Richard Paul Evans.  It’s about an ad exec who loses his wife, his job, and his home. Just as he’s about to kill himself, he hears a voice telling him to live. Feeling a need to walk away from what’s left of his life in Seattle,  he looks at a map and chooses the farthest city he can walk to…Key West, Florida. This book is about the people he meets, the experiences he has, and the life lessons he learns along the way.

Since I’m a hiker and a walker, I was totally into this book and wanted to grab my pack and take off on my own walk across the country!

Now I need to read the second book in the series, Miles to Go.

Sunday Salon: Graham & Fitzgerald’s College of One

Greetings my fellow Sunday Saloners! I am excited to announce that I have finally finished Les Miz! It took me two months.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book very much, although I found the adult Cosette to be more than annoying with her starry-eyed worship of Marius and wanted to slap her silly several times. The reason I’m excited to be finished with it is because there are sooooooooooooooooooooo many other books I’m dying to read and now I can! Woo hoo!!!!

I also want to share my excitement about an addition to my permanent collection. Look!!! College of One!

This book contains the curriculum that F. Scott Fitzgerald put together for his mistress, Sheilah Graham, in the late 1930s when she was struggling to educate herself so that she could join in on dinner party conversations about history, politics, literature, etc.

I was really curious about the curriculum when I was reading Sheilah’s other books, Beloved Infidel and Garden of Allah in preparation for The Last Days of F. Scott Fitzgerald Tour I went on. You can read about that adventure here.

“Too bad that was never published” I thought.

You can imagine how ecstatic I was when I learned that it was published and when I was able to get a hardcover of it from an Amazon reseller. It’s now one of my most prized possessions!

Sunday Salon: Happy Father’s Day!

Thinking about my Daddy today. He died last year. He lived to be 85 years old and enjoyed his life until probably the last 6 months or so when he was really sick, so, that’s comforting to me. Anyway, love you Dad, wherever you are! Happy Father’s Day!

And now, on to books.  Wild (Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 Digital Edition): From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail [Kindle Edition] What a can’t-put-it-down book that was!

I just discovered the joys of hiking last year so I was totally living every step along the trail with author Cheryl Strayed. Even as she was getting ready to head out to the trail that first day and her backpack was so heavy she couldn’t lift it I had to smile. I remember the very first time I set out on The Big Parade, a two-day stair walk across Los Angeles, I was carrying so much water in my backpack I nearly died within the first 30 minutes of walking. Somehow I managed to survive for a whole 6 miles, which is pretty impressive considering I had lived a sedentary life up until then and had done no training. I just put on some shoes and said “Let’s see how far I can go.”

This book jumps back and forth between Cheryl’s 1100 mile journey on the Pacific Crest Trail and her pre-trail life and troubled childhood. It’s about her spiritual and physical struggles.

Cheryl is my hero. As much as I love hiking, I would never be brave enough to walk off into the wilderness by myself. The thought of coming face to face with a bear or mountain lion on the trail is scary enough, but what I’d mostly be terrified of is what evil-minded humans I might run into. As we learn in the book, the bears, snakes, and mountain lions are more easily dealt with than finding yourself alone with two human males carrying bows & arrows sitting next to you talking about your body as if you’re not even there. That is the only time I felt real terror for Cheryl.

As for Les Miserables, I’ve finished Part I – Fantine and have started Part II – Cosette.

I have so much catching up to do on my blog, but I’m cooking up some Indian food before heading out to Long Beach and San Pedro later so I don’t think it’s going to happen today.

Have a good week everybody!

Sunday Salon: June 10, 2012

Got my notice this week that my last day of work will be July 27th. I’ve known it was coming for a long time, but now it’s official and real. Ugh.

As for reading, I’m on a roll! I’ve been reading Oprah’s Bookclub 2.0 selection, Wild, at lunch via the Kindle app on my phone, and my personal reading challenge with my friend in Germany, Les Miserables, every evening.

My Mom is finally out of her reading slump thanks to Richard Paul Evans and his Walk series. She read the second book in the series, Miles to Go, but her library didn’t have the first book, The Walk. She lives in a town in Northeastern Arkansas that is so small they don’t have a used book store so she drove down to a darling used bookstore in Batesville, but they didn’t have the book either.

Bookstore Kitteh

I didn’t have any luck finding it at my local used bookstore, Iliad, either so I ended up ordering it for her via Amazon. I have Prime so shipping is free and she’ll have it by Tuesday. Oh well, at least we both tried to patronize our local businesses.

Iliad didn’t have any of the Games of Thrones series either, which I’m really eager to read. One of the employees said when copies come in they never make it onto the shelves because it’s in such demand. Fine. Amazon it is then.

I did leave Iliad with two books. I added a hardcover of Pride & Prejudice to my Classics TBR pile and a hardcover of Linotte: The Early Diary of Anais Nin 1914-1920, which I see is $45 from Amazon sellers but I only paid $7.50 at Iliad. Sweet! According to reviews, I see that this is her unedited early diary.

So, all in all a happy bookish week.

Sunday Salon: I Finally Finished a Book!

Well phooey! I really wanted T.K. to win this year’s Indy 500. But I like Dario so I’m ok with him winning, and a bowl of Caroll Shelby’s chili makes everything better.

As for reading, after tossing both Zadie Smith’s On Beauty

and Jose Saramago’s Death With Interruptions on the discarded pile, it was with a doubtful sigh that I picked up a third book from my TBR stack, Kaye Gibbons’ Sights Unseen: A Novel.

What a relief when I was sucked in immediately, read more than half of it Friday night and finished it Saturday morning! So the problem was not me, it was the books. Oh happy day!

It seems wrong to say I enjoyed the book since it was about a young girl, Hattie Barnes, growing up in the 1960s with a mentally ill mother, but the story was very well written and I felt something for each and every one of the characters so I was very concerned with how they were all coping and interacting and the love they shared.

It was so well written that I had a good cry at the end.

Now I’m looking warily at my TBR pile wondering how my next selection will be.