Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We've Moooooooooved!

Hey there! Year of the Bookwormz is now on WordPress.
Please bookmark our new home so you can keep up with our blog!



The Year of the Bookworm

Around the world through books!

Need book suggestions?
Look no further than my fellow blogger, A Striped Armchair, and her blog:
Check out her Travel By Books 2009 wrap up.
What a fun and inventive way to read books from around the globe!




Sunday, January 24, 2010

Book #5: LibraryLove

Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

Book description:
For the second time in her marriage, Mariah White catches her husband with another woman, and Faith, their seven-year-old daughter, witnesses every painful minute. In the aftermath of a sudden divorce, Mariah struggles with depression and Faith seeks solace in a new friend -- a friend who may or may not be imaginary. Faith talks to her "Guard" constantly and begins to recite passages from the Bible -- a book she's never read. Fearful for her daughter's sanity, Mariah sends her to several psychiatrists. Yet when Faith develops stigmata and begins to perform miraculous healings, Mariah wonders if her daughter -- a girl with no religious background -- might indeed be seeing God. As word spreads and controversy heightens, Mariah and Faith are besieged by believers and disbelievers alike; they are caught in a media circus that threatens what little stability they have left. What are you willing to believe? Is Faith a prophet or a troubled little girl? Is Mariah a good mother facing an impossible crisis...or a charlatan using her daughter to reclaim the attention her unfaithful husband withheld? As the story builds to a climactic battle for custody, Mariah must discover that spirit is not necessarily something that comes from religion but from inside oneself. Fascinating, thoughtful, and suspenseful, Keeping Faith explores a family plagued by the media, the medical profession, and organized religion in a world where everyone has an opinion but no one knows the truth. At her controversial and compelling best, Jodi Picoult masterfully explores the moment when boundaries break down, when illusions become reality, and when the only step left to take is a leap of faith.

Passionate, convincing, logical and rational-- these are all words to describe a person who is trying to sway you to drink the kool-aid you're not buying. When I truly believe in something or someone, I tell everyone in my network, and with gusto. Now, those that know me would agree , even probably citing a few examples of products, places, things, ideas that I've been so passionate about, I've gotten them to drink that kool-aid as well, and they were thankful for it. Likewise, I have a minimal BS tolerance policy and consider myself a pretty good judge of character.

magine for a moment that someone you trust and love completely, told you they were communicating directly with God, just as you'd sit and talk over coffee with a friend or a co-worker, free flowing and back and forth. What would you say?

What then, if they started mysteriously healing people of HIV, resurrecting people, at the drain of their own health? Or suddenly experiencing stigmata for the first time in history since St. Francis of Assisi to the sheer and utter confusion of any/all medical professionals and modern scientific journals accessible?
Oh wait, also try to imagine that you are seven years old and your parents are in the thick of a heated divorce and no one will listen to you...herein lies the plot for Jodi Picoult's (pronounced Pee-KOE) Keeping Faith.

She paints yet another amazing work of art craftfully and gently, with the assistance from rabbinicals, Catholic priests and theologians of many spiritual walks so we may look inside ourselves and for once consider the following; "
what if what you believed wasn't as important as that you believed? What if we were all able to entertain someone else's point of view about God?" Personally? I think the world would be a better place. We'd have a lot less war and killing and genocide. We could coexist, as Ghandi intended, freely practicing our beliefs, while compartmentalizing so as to not throw off the delicate balance of peace. Sounds simple right? Ha, think again.

Picoult's thorough novel begs the question, in a thought-provoking yet socially responsible way-- "Why can't we be spiritual without being religious?" And why is keeping our own faith so damn difficult? This is now my 3rd Picoult novel and I'd recommend you try Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult, giving yourself a few weeks to read something else to cleanse your "reader's palate".

5/5 Stars
On deck: UnSweetined and The Alchemist (iPod Audiobook)
5 down, 47 to go...



Book #3: Fa-book-ulous

A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages by Kristin Chenoweth

Book description: You might know her as a Tony Award-winning Broadway star, who originated the role of Galinda the Good Witch in the smash musical 'Wicked' and won a Tony for 1999's 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'. Or you may recognize her from her starring roles on TV- 'The West Wing', 'Pushing Daisies', 'Sesame Street'...oh, and her Huge Hit Sitcom 'Kristin' on NBC. (Huge hit. L.A. breast-implant huge. Ask either of the people who watched it.) Or maybe you saw her sexy spread in FHM magazine? Or her appearance on Pat Robertson's 'The 700 Club'? Kristin is a wonderful collection of contradictions- but everyone who's ever met her remembers her as the little girl with the big voice. At four foot eleven, Kristin Chenoweth is an immense talent in a petite but powerful package.
In this lively, laugh-out-loud book, Kristin shares her journey from Oklahoma beauty queen to Broadway leading lady, reflecting on how faith and family have kept her grounded in the dysfunctional rodeo of show biz. The daughter of an engineer and a nurse, Kristin was singing in front of thousands at Baptist conventions by age twelve and winning beauty pageants by age twenty-two. (Well, actually she was second runner-up almost every freaking time. But, hey, she's not bitter.) On her way to a career as a professional opera singer, she stopped in New York to visit a friend and went on a whim to an audition. Through a combination of talent, hard work, and (she's quick to add) the grace of God, Kristin took Broadway by storm. But of course, into every storm, the occassional drizzle of disaster must fall.
Filled with wit, wisdom, and backstage insight, A Little Bit Wicked is long on love and short on sleep; it's essential reading for Kristin's legions of fans and an uplifting story for anyone seeking motivation to follow his or her dreams- over the rainbow and beyond.

Ok, this book was fanta
stic! Kristin Chenoweth is hilarious and this book was a laugh out loud read the entire time. Not a full fledged autobiography, this book tells stories of her life and career and how her faith and finding love played into it thus far. She is proud to be from Oklahoma and proud to be a Christian in Hollywood, though not everyone agrees with her views; this is detailed further in the book.
I loved this book, I loved Kristin's stories, I loved her attitude and positive outlook, I love her friendship with her best friend Denny (who I'd like to meet now), and I recommend this book to anyone looking to get to know a laid back, dedicated, very talented, ambitious woman in Hollywood. She might only stand 4 feet and 11 inches tall but she is a talent powerhouse that has no limits.

5 out of 5 stars.

Closin' the books on #3...49 to go for me!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Book #4: LibraryLove

The Penderwicks on Gardham Street by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwick sisters are home on Gardam Street and ready for an adventure! But the adventure they get isn't quite what they had in mind. Mr. Penderwick's sister has decided it's time for him to start dating and the girls know that can only mean one thing: disaster. Enter the Save-Daddy Plan a plot so brilliant, so bold, so funny, that only the Penderwick girls could have come up with it. It's high jinks, big laughs, and loads of family warmth as the Penderwicks triumphantly return.

This book came recommended with high praise by one of my beloved fellow Lit & The City book club members who is also a 2nd grade teacher coaching an elementary book club. It was available on audiobook at my library so I happily gave it a listen. "Wait, hold on, you're reading an elementary school book?" you may be thinking. Chillax, no, I didn't regress back into my strawberry shortcake roller skate days (despite my immense desire to do so). But yes, I did read a young adult book and loved it. "But why?" Welp...ya see...the challenge that Fa-book-ulous and I embarked upon for 2010 is not just to read 52 books. Sure, on the surface, that's part of the challenge. However, the real idea is that the challenge will facilitate us expanding far beyond our literary comfort zones of one or two main genres, open up our minds and expand our horizons. Making reading a priority takes us beyond the point of casual reader and makes us bonafide bookworms, hence our monniker. Devoting more time to reading means we're afforded the opportunity to read all kinds of books whether we end up loving them or hating them. There's also something to be said about the time when a book finds you. Closing out 2009 with a streak of tear-jerking intense reads (The Lovely Bones, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Change of Heart, My Sister's Keeper, Precious), it was time for something lighthearted and fun to brighten up the bitterly cold winter. The Penderwicks was exactly that. A lighthearted and fun tale of the Penderwick sisters, who hatch a plan to deter any future suitors from successfully falling in love with their father, recently widowed, who is trying to oblige his sister Claire by getting back out in to the dating scene. The girls don't want their father to come home with a wicked stepmother. They realize their hijinks are making their father miserable and revise, along with the help of their newest next door neighbor, Iantha. Listening to this on audiobook was that much more enjoyable. The various voices the narrator made for the ranging ages of all four Penderwicks gals kept the hours flying by and with such fun. If you babysit teens or work with children, this would make a really fun slumber party/camp out book to share about the ups, twists and turns of a young family of girls just looking out for their dad, and the fun that ensues along the way.

5/5 stars

On deck on my iPod: The Alchemist (audiobook) + still bookin' through Keeping The Faith....

4 down 48 to go!

Love and patronize your local library!

Xoxo, LibraryLove

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book #2: Fa-book-ulous

L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad

Book description: Los Angeles is all about the sweet life: hot clubs, cute guys, designer...everything. Nineteen-year-old Jane Roberts can't wait to start living it up. She may be in L.A. for an internship, but Jane plans to play as hard as she works, and has enlisted her BFF Scarlett to join in the fun. When Jane and Scarlett are approached by a producer who wants them to be on his new series, a "reality version of Sex and the City," they can hardly believe their luck. Their own show? Yes, please! Soon Jane is TV's hottest star. Fame brings more than she ever imagined possible for a girl from Santa Barbara- free designer clothes, the choicest tables at the most exclusive clubs, invites to Hollywood's premieres- and she's lapping up the VIP treatment with her eclectic entourage of new pals. But those same friends who are always up for a wild night are also out for a piece of Jane's spotlight. In a city filled with people chasing after their own dreams, it's not long before Jane wakes up to the reality that everyone wants something from her, and nothing is what it seems to be. L.A. Candy is a deliciously entertaining novel about what it's like to come of age in Hollywood while starring in a reality TV show, written by a girl who has experienced it all firsthand: Lauren Conrad.

OK, call reading this book cheating toward the challenge. Very quick read, and no depth to any of the characters, this book lacks a major component to a novel...a real plot. But oh wait, it's loosely based on The Hills. Ok, ok. I tune into The Hills for my
weekly dose of mindless television and guilty pleasure, but let's be honest, is the show really about anything? Not unless you consider who is dating who, what new trends are in the stores and where these people eat their meals substance. And that is about as much as you will get out of this novel from Lauren Conrad.

Don't get me wrong, I like Lauren Conrad, but this book is clearly written for girls under the age of 18. After the age of 18, one can consider this book fluff reading for those looking for a quick poolside read. If you aren't a teenage girl, I don't recommend this book for you. Entertaining? Sure, about as much as The Hills. Great novel that keeps you turning the pages anxiously awaiting what will happen? Not so much.

1/5 stars. Sorry, Lauren. Your calling is fashion designer, not author.

That makes 2 for me, 50 to go...

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Book #1: Fa-book-ulous

Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

Book description: Addie Downs and Valerie Adler will be best friends forever. That's what Addie believes after Valerie moves across the street when they're both nine years old. But in the wake of betrayal during their teenage years, Val is swept into the popular crowd, while mousy, sullen Addie becomes her school's scapegoat.
Flash forward fifteen years. Valerie Adler has found a measure of fame and fortune working as the weathergirl at the local TV station. Addie Downs lives alone in her pare
nts' house in their small hometown of Pleasant Ridge, Illinois, caring for a troubled brother and trying to meet Prince Charming on the Internet. She's just returned from Bad Date #6 when she opens her door to find her long-gone best friend standing there, a terrified look on her face and blood on the sleeve of her coat. "Something horrible has happened," Val tells Addie, "and you're the only one who can help."
Best Friends Forever is a grand, hilarious, edge-of-your-seat adventure; a story about betrayal and loyalty, family history and small-town secrets. It's about living through tragedy, finding love where you least expect it, and the ties that keep best friends together.

This year started with a cruise for me and ho
w fitting to begin this journey with a nice 'poolside book' by Jennifer Weiner. She never ceases to amaze me. I love the depth of the characters she creates and by the time I'm through with the first few chapters I feel like I'm getting to know a new friend and it's exciting. Best Friends Forever was no exception however it was hard to connect with self-absorbed, yet somewhat clueless Val, and frustrating that Addie didn't have more confidence in herself.
There are a few mysteries throughout the story and it keeps the reader engaged as they try to put the pieces of the puzzle together. I particularly liked a fun little twist thrown in for good measure :)
Jennifer Weiner remains a favorite author of mine and I always enjoy her books. Recommended for your next beach trip or vacation! Entertaining and funny story!

5/5 stars

(I'm a tad behind on this challenge, as LibraryLove has gotten off to a strong start! 1 down for me, 51 to go...)

Happy reading,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Book #3: LibraryLove

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Book description:
In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world's most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling -- a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths... all under the watchful eye of Brown's most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale. As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object -- artfully encoded with five symbols -- is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation... one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom. When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon -- a prominent Mason and philanthropist -- is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him.
Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations -- all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth. As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown's novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histories, arcane symbols, and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown's fans have been waiting for... his most thrilling novel yet.

I am captivated by Dan Brown's ability to make me fall back in love with D.C., just like we fell in love with Rome and Paris in parts 1 and 2 of the Robert Langdon series. I love our Nation's Capitol but especially loved seeing it (hearing the audiobook, in this case) through the eyes of our favorite symbologist, Robert Langdon. Despite much criticism, and although I did enjoy Angels & Demons, The DaVinci Code, now The Lost Symbol fell a little flat for me. It seems like it's falling into the same template: Find Langdon. Save the world from disaster. Run through streets, caves, dark alleys. Solve riddles. Lather. Rinse.Repeat. Although I was already familiar with the Masonic Temple and all the astrological ties Pierre L'enfant left for us to discover about Washington D.C., the average person was not aware of the historical, religious, and anthropological enigmas in the city's past. Brown does a fantastic job of really keeping us on the edge of our seats, like we're with Langdone and Dr. Santo through every turn. I think if you're new to Dan Brown, maybe read one of the three books, I would recommend Angels and Demons. However, after now having read all three, I hate to say it's getting a bit predictable. An immense amount of research went into making this book and it kept me engrossed, but I couldn't help thinking about the movie National Treasure the entire time....

Sorry Langdon, I think it's time you went back to swimming laps for a while.

3/5 stars

3 down 49 to go.

On deck...Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

Xoxo, LibraryLove

Friday, January 8, 2010

Book #2: LibraryLove

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Book description: Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone. Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken. Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

I can't say enough about this book. I kept sending texts to my fellow L&TC Book Club girls as I listened to the audiobook laughing, joking, and loving it. I'm so glad this was one of the books I chose to listen to instead of read. This book is a carefully woven patchwork quilt full of rich character development tying each of the three main character's lifes to one another, for better, or for worse. If you just read this book, you may miss the added bonus of tone, emphasis and emotion that the three narrators added to the story with their different voices in the audiobook. If you're going to start listening to books on your iPod, I recommend The Help be the first! Stockett does an amazing job at really separating the characters while keeping them bound to one another throughout the entire story's plotline. I found myself laughing out loud many times, especially to the scene at the event with the chocolate pie!

Skeeter by far was my favorite character. I love her tenderness. Although she was a bit of an outcast, I appreciated her plight. As a young white woman growing up in the south in 1962, she took gutsy chances by doing what she did. She stood up for not just women's rights, but human rights. She never let the debutante Ms. Hilly get the best of her, or get in her way for anything. Ms. Celia's character was my second favorite. I loved how she really didn't "need" Minnie, but she needed a friend. Ms. Celia didn't treat Minnie like the rest of the "housewives" treated their "help". She treated her with respect, like an equal. I also love how the title of this book really digs deeper than just the help the women provided in the home. We all need help. Sometimes, the help we need is someone pushing us. Someone pushing us to shift our focus a bit, regardless of what we're told by society is "right" or "the way it is", and challenge us to reach beyond the norm. We can help each other see what's really important in life. Start valuing others and their individual contributions to our lives rather than their social status.
I recommend everyone read this book!!

5 stars

2 down 50 to go...

On deck, Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult...



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Book #1: LibraryLove

Hungry Woman in Paris, by Josefina Lopez

Book description: A journalist and activist, Canela believes passion is essential to life; but lately passion seems to be in short supply. It has disappeared from her relationship with her fiancé, who is more interested in controlling her than encouraging her. It's absent from her work, where censorship and politics keep important stories from being published. And while her family is full of outspoken individuals, the only one Canela can truly call passionate is her cousin and best friend Luna, who just took her own life.
Canela can't recover from Luna's death. She is haunted by her ghost and feels acute pain for the dreams that went unrealized. Canela breaks off her engagement and uses her now un-necessary honeymoon ticket, to escape to Paris. Impulsively, she sublets a small apartment and enrolls at Le Coq Rouge, Paris's most prestigious culinary institute. Cooking school is a sensual and spiritual reawakening that brings back Canela's hunger for life. With a series of new friends and lovers, she learns to once again savor the world around her. Finally able to cope with Luna's death, Canela returns home to her family, and to the kind of life she thought she had lost forever.

Being sick is NOT how I preferred to spend the first full week of 2010. However, it did facilitate me starting out this challenge ahead of the game. Forcing myself to stay in bed meant I got a lot of reading done over the last three days. Although an enjoyable and quick read, Hungry Woman in Paris left me feeling downright disjointed. At times I felt like I was right there with Canela, navigating the undiscovered streets and patisseries of Paris, making new friends (and foes) in culinary school, seeing the sights and learning the language. But then Lopez abruptly left me feeling confused. A little too much time spent showcasing Canela's 'sexcapades' and not enough time focused on the impetus for going to Le Coq Rouge, and more about her dynamics with the Parisians. Would have liked Lopez to stay focused a bit more and concentrate on Canela's life in Paris, not just an appetizer about her dating life, an appetizer about her family life, and a morsel of the "what next". We're given bits and pieces of the dynamic between she and her sister Luna, Canela’s experience in France that fuels her to return to Los Angeles to continue fighting for what she believes in based on what she discovered/rediscovered while in Paris to enable her to do this, but the book fails to truly give the reader enough. At the end, Lopez tries to tie up loose ends by sending her back into the arms of her fiance, only to disappoint the reader yet again. Pick a plot line and stick with it! Sorry, but I think we're still hungry...I' d recommend Julie & Julia over HWIP any day for the boeuf bourguignon scene alone!

3 stars

One down, 51 to go. On deck, The Help by Kathryn Stockett...



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It was a two dog night...

..when I began to reflect upon the ups and downs of the last decade. The end of a decade to me signals a time of contentment. The last decade for me was one of major personal growth and triumph. What about you? What major milestones come to mind when you think back on the last 10 years? Most likely you had your fair share of successes and losses, as we all did. But as we lay 2009 to rest, let's be thankful for the little things in life. I'm thankful to have a warm, loving, safe place to lay my head at night where cares of the day fall away.

Having two dogs keep my feet warm while I read before bed isn't too shabby either...

Happy New Year everyone, and we'll see you in 2010 for the beginning of our challenge!

Xoxo, LibraryLove

PS- Love and patronize a library near you!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Meeting the Bookworms: LibraryLove

Ventriloquist shows and fun craft workshops. Felt board characters and sock puppets. From as far back as I can remember, I've always loved the library. As a child, the library was a place of wonder and excitement for my creative mind. It's where my mom would take my sister and I as kids from time to time for *budget friendly* enrichment. Rows and rows of tall stacks that made me think of a wonderful city skyline. A lifetime of stories just waiting to be discovered. The nice people who would read to us kids sitting Indian-style on the carpet with our parents looking on from the back. Wasn't it wonderful being a child? Carefree and innocent. A time when the biggest daily conflict on your shoulders was having to pick just ONE book for mom or dad to read to you each night. Then not wanting the night to end with that book so asking your mom or dad to tell you a story from when they were a kid just to get a few more precious moments...
* * *
Night by Elie Wiesel. Where the Red Fern Grows.
Above are two of the first books, read as a teenager, that moved me to tears. Tears that changed me and shaped who I was, and I didn't even realize it until recently. Tears that taught me to be considerate and open minded of other people's religious beliefs for fear of repeating the awful scars of history. Tears that instilled an amazing passion and love for animals that pierced my heart daily. From then on, I no longer looked to books as a punishment, but a gift. "Turn off the tv and read a book!" or "You're grounded. No TV, you can only read books." These are two phrases parents use that I despise. They perpetuate the ideology in a child's mind that reading is a punishment, when it's a privilege we have in the United States to freely read whatever and whenever we want without fear of persecution. Books are one of the few media outlets that cross all economic boundaries. You don't have to be rich or affluent to enjoy or access books. Thanks to our state and local government, the power of the written word can be shared universally. It is unfortunately that we don't all appreciate it. Being a student and working two jobs zapped time I could have devoted to reading for fun, but rather sent that free time into the vortex known as studying. It was there, in college, that Fa-book-ulous and I met and our friendship started to blossom. The book part comes later, just keep reading :) Reading and outlining 5+ chapters a night for college, shelved (
haha, aren't I punny?) my reading for fun until graduation. Once I graduated, I was establishing my career AND just moved into an apartment with my long time boyfriend. Taking care of our dog and maintaining a home didn't leave much time for reading then either. A short time later, we were engaged and spent the next two years planning/saving up for our dream wedding, which was MORE than a full time job. I would read before bed but wasn't too serious about it. We could finally relax from the wedding and about two weeks later, we started our search to buy our first home. Within a month, we were living the American Dream- home ownership was ours! Then came the daunting task of packing, moving, and searching for furniture for our new home around the holidays, to boot! Eeeek! We finally got settled, got unpacked, shared our wonderful new place with our friends and family and started all the DIY Pink Toolbelt tasks, upgrading some things around the house making it our own, which just about consumed the first six months living in our new home. Next thing we knew, it was summertime. Fa-book-ulous shared the amazing website with me, PaperBackSwap.com, and two bookworms were revitalized with a new passion for obtaining books! I never liked the idea of cluttering up the house with books I won't read again, and Fa-book-ulous was in the middle of a career change, so buying books with our hard earned money just to collect dust didn't make sense for either of us when in a recession, frivolous spending wasn't on our radar. Many of the books we were requesting had lots of others with the same bright idea. We turned back to our local libraries and then our revolution began.

Sidebar: things changed a bit since the days of sock puppets and felt board story time.
My library, a mile away from my house
(SCORE!), not only allows its members to create an online queue that also generates emails you when your books are available for pickup at the front desk, but they also offer free download of hundreds of books digitally compatible with iPod and MP3 devices! Traffic jams are much more enjoyable these days!

Over the summer, in pure
Recessionista fashion, Fa-book-ulous and I planned pool dates at least one day per weekend. We'd pack the cooler, load up all our necessary aquatic accessories, and lay poolside enjoying the company of a close friend, sharing funny excerpts from whatever book we were reading and laughing out loud at my neighborhood pool, which let me add has a wonderful 'quiet pool' for adults over 18. It's a Godsend!! It was one of the most memorable (and cost effective) summers. One of my most busy friends and I both made a conscious effort to set aside time to relax each and every week. The best part? We were able to share it together! I finally made time to devote to two of my favorite things I've loved since childhood: reading and using my creative mind to take me into whatever world the current book called for. As the summer months drew to a close, I had another of my infamous crazy schemes. Propped with one leg half bent, waist deep in the pool, book in hand is where/how I do my best reading. Hey, it gets too hot sitting in a beach chair. I prefer to be semi-submerged. It's quite lovely, really. You're welcome to join us next summer! I digress...

So I lifted up my sunscreen-moistened shades and turned to Fa-book-ulous who was nose-deep in a book beside me and said, "So. I have a proposition for our New Year's Resolution." She bookmarked her latest conquest and peered at me like only Fa-book-ulous can, probably wondering what I could think up next. "Do tell," she said. "We're averaging a book a week, right?" I suggested. "Right..." she said. "So let's challenge ourselves to read 52 books each starting on January 1st for 365 days. It'll be a year of reading!"
Fa-book-ulous was a bit apprehensive, but as only a good friend would, took the bait. She knew we'd have the support from each other, that even if we didn't achieve our goal, it'd be a lot of fun to talk about. She also knew that it would definitely be a challenge that could possibly motivate and inspire others to slink into a warm blanket by the fire, set up a picnic, sit on the back deck, or stand half-way submerged in a pool, and get lost in a book in 2010.

We're proud to be Bookworms and so should you. Learning about the world around you, reaching beyond your comfort zone will make you a better person, and certainly more interesting at a party!
As we gear up for Year of the Bookworm: 2010, we ask that you help support us along the way. Keep checking back here for updates. We hope to keep you interested in what we're reading, how we're handling this huge undertaking, and let us know what you're reading as well. With 52 books to read, we'd love your suggestions along the way. Oh and please, please, patronize your local library!!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Meeting the Bookworms: Fa-book-ulous

Hi there! I'm excited about this challenge and I hope you will come back to see how we are doing.
Allow me to introduce myself before the challenge kicks off. In order to maintain anonymity you can call me Fabookulous. Clever, huh? I developed an early love for reading, making my way through the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine in my early teenage years. (Remember those??) Then high school came along and threw a monkey wrench in my program. Suddenly I found myself reading mandatory assignments. What fun was there in that? When your time is occupied with required reading for school, the reading for pleasure falls by the wayside. Well, that's how it happened for me.
During college my magazine subscriptions provided a self-indulgent break from the latest research paper. (What can I say, I find humor in the latest celebrity spat or wedding. And during Britney's tumultuous years it was always intriguing to see the latest cover story on her antics...)
One fateful day, People magazine ran a blurb on PaperBackSwap.com. A free website, you swap books with other members and the only cost to you is postage when you send one. The site had previously been mentioned on Oprah and I thought, well then there's GOT to be tons of PEOPLE on there which means there are tons of BOOKS. And it was true. Now was a great time to get rid of books taking up space around the house and exchange them for credits for new books. And that's how I found my inner bookworm again. Recycle, Reuse, Re-read. Over and over again. And the wonderful thing is, I will never run out of choices! It's like a kid in a candy store, really. (Of course, not all the books I read come from PBS; the library really has stayed on top of new novels. I couldn't tell you the last time I spent my hard earned money on a book. It's just not necessary.)
Of course this was all way too much fun to be having alone so I told my partner bookworm, LibraryLove, about it and two dedicated, excited and passionate readers were born again. Spending this summer poolside, immersed in our latest swapped novels, LibraryLove suggested a New Year's Resolution that would let us read to our hearts content. (And certainly be a resolution we'd keep!) And, voila, our challenge was created.
I'm excited about this venture, though it IS a challenge. Obviously we hope to average a book a week, so it will be interesting to see how it goes. But I am proud to be called a bookworm! And we love meeting other bookworms too, so please, leave comments and suggestions...we have 365 days of reading ahead of us!!! It's a pleasure to meet you :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Gearing up!

Only 8 more weeks before the challenge begins! Yes, we're EACH going to individually read 52 books in 52 weeks. We're flying by the seat of our pants- no rules, just read! Ladies and gents, starting on January 1st, check here for our updates, our mood, progress, reviews, trends, and any/all book chatter. We'd love to take book suggestions from our friends too, so please leave us comments and let us know what you're reading throughout the year, your suggestion may end up here!
Oh yeah, did I mention we're doing this for free? Yep you heard us, FREE.
The library is an amazing place that we often take for granted. Libraries are now offering free digital download of audio books straight to your iPod/MP3 player! This year we're using our time wisely to expand our literary horizons and intellect capitalizing on time in traffic, waiting in airports, time spent cleaning around the house to read more books than two girls have ever collectively read before!
Other than a few special cases like a book purchased for a signing by a favorite author, for example, the 52 books we are each reading are either a) borrowed from the library, b) borrowed from a friend, c) traded from PaperBackSwap.com, or d) previously purchased.

Help keep us motivated and drop by to leave words of encouragement, if you want :)

Snuggle up with a book near you and we'll see everyone in the new year!

The Bookworms