Friday, July 20, 2012

If you can't stand the HEAT...make sorbet

It is Houston in the summer time.  I was talking to myself the other day when I realized two things...1. I was talking out loud and 2. I noticed I was saying, 'What on earth possessed me to move to Houston?'  I don't regret this move.  I was able to become a teacher, live in a great city with amazing food, atmosphere and culture but the heat 9 months out of the year is too much for me.  I have decided that I will spend as much of the remainder of this summer laying on the couch, reading books, and eating lemon sorbet.  Its yummy and even yummier when mixed with vodka or rum, whichever you happen to have an abundance of for a nice afternoon refresher.

Check out Emeril's great recipe.  Mine is in the ice cream maker right now!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Add another one to the list

I have to keep a list of the books I've read.  Otherwise, I see a book in the store, the jacket blurb really holds my interest, I pay for the book, get 30 pages into it and realize that it seems very familiar.  I did this with several books over the years before I started keeping a list.  It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to add another title to the list.  The list is arranged alphabetically by author's last name of course.  Does anyone else do this or have other quirky reading habits?  I can't be alone in my reading eccentricities. 

Last night while my boyfriend was in surgery for the largest hemorrhoids this side of the Mississippi I finished Nightwoods by Charles Frazier.  It was short for him, only 250something pages.  Good, not bad, not nearly as good as Cold Mountain, which took me ten years to love, but man do I love it now.  If you like Frazier's writing style and don't want to invest 500 pages of your life, this is a good read with all of his classic Carolina woods scenery. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I was tired of being punished so I put down Crime and Punishment for a bit.  It amazes me how many times I start reading a book before I actually get through it.  I started Cold Mountain at least 5 times over the course of 10 years before I made it all the way through.

Trying to find something a little more entertaining and still on my summer reading list.  Poisonwood Bible here I come!  The first few chapters are poetic enough.  Kingsolver uses beautiful prose to describe the lives of her characters in rather vague and ambiguous terms.  This novel was about to have the same fate as C & R until she mentioned bringing boxed cake mixes to the Congo.  Funny enough...I had a boxed cake mix in my pantry! Oh how my mind wandered.  Lemon Supreme.  So instead of reading this afternoon I have been baking lemon cupcakes with strawberry butter cream icing!!!!  Ahhh.  Life is worth living once more but I promise you don't want to be here when I come down from this sugar high.  Don't you just love how literature can inspire?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Crime and Punishment all right

I'm reading Crime and Punishment.  I have to.  I'm supposed to teach it in the fall with some sense of authority.  I've owned the copy I'm currently reading for YEARS.  But why does reading about crime and punishment feel like I have committed a crime and am being punished for it?  The good news is I am getting in some really great naps.  Please send words of encouragement or if you've read it, give me a teaser, something to look forward to so I can not look like a dolt in front of my students.  Please and thank you!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tear Jerkers

Two good tear jerkers...

Where the Red Fern Grows and Beach Music.  I cried.  I bawled.  I turned red and splotchy.  I wouldn't trade that emotional roller coaster for anything.  Contrast that with reading the same books again and again, sometimes 5 times a day with my classes. As a d English teacher, I know this allows me to truly understand the work in greater depth than ever before but sometimes I find that the literature approved by the state board of education and district lacks true passion. 

Can you imagine a classroom where the students are brought to tears by book?  Someone please tell me the last time they heard of anyone getting excited about the Canterbury Tales.  One of my many goals for the year, which also includes taking over the world, is to find a way to inspire passion for reading in my students.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Is it Ayn or Ayn?

I read my first Ayn Rand book last weekend.  Anthem is a futuristic dystopic novel.  The use of we instead of I threw me for a little bit of a loop.  Yet after reading the very short evaluation of the state of society the most riveting question that I can come up with is...Is her name pronounced Ann or Ine? 

Has anyone read her novels?  I'm told Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are masterpieces but I am out of time.  My summer vacation is essentially over.  Hours of uninterrupted reading time are a thing of the past.  I'm working on the 4th Harry Potter book, high brow, I know, but this is what I have time for right now.  However, when I return to work with other well educated adults I would like to be able to spout off all of the classics I read over the summer and don't want to be embarassed by mispronouncing the name of Alan Greenspan's friend.  Help!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Recommendations

After a considerable reading drought and a serious craving for a good summer read, I have a few come up with a few recommendations.  The first is Ree Drummond's Black Heels to Tractor Wheels.  I am a Pioneer Woman enthusiast.  Stalking her blog on a daily basis makes me want to move to the country and grow my own vegetables.  I've perused her cookbook and while I cook from her recipes online on almost a weekly basis and I love the pictures in her cookbook, it was something I could live without.  But then, a few days ago on another trip to The Tattered Cover I saw it!  It was sitting on the edge of a stair up to the second floor of this fabled book palace.  Black Heels to Tractor Wheels with a beautiful silver sticker on the cover indicating that it was an autographed copy!  I stumbled, almost quite literally on the Pioneer Woman's book.  I sat down right there on the stairs and started reading.  Ree's writing style is lovely and light and having never been on a date with a cowboy myself, I was looking at my rather urban boyfriend picturing what he'd look like in a pair of boots and wranglers.  I devoured this delightful read in about 48 hours with out of town guests hampering my reading time.  I smiled all the way through and am now fantasizing my move to a bucolic paradise.

The next on my suggestion list for you is The Help.  I read it maybe one or two summers ago and being a daughter of the South, I found this novel funny, entertaining, and hitting a little close to home.  Now that it is coming to the silver screen I highly recommend it is an entertaining summer read.  The novel does tap into a few of the Southern cliche's and issues of racial tension that have characterized the South for so many years but it doesn't fall into these ruts for long.  There is much too much character drama to dwell in the shortcomings of our Southern heritage for long. 

The last recommendation on my short list for you this evening is Water for Elephants.  Another novel that has made its way to the big screen. Water for Elephants is full of romance, action, and a few terrible scenes of animal abuse.  But the abuse only endears our hero to us all the more.  I opted not to read this book on the recommendation of my mother for a few years because I didn't think I could handle the sad scenes of an elephant bearing the blows of a paranoid schizophrenic.  After mustering the courage I found it wasn't too graphic for my taste.  By the time I finished this book I actually was wishing for more.

I confess I have not seen either of the movies of the books I suggest, but as is true with 99.9% of novels turned to movie, the book is always better.  There are only two books that I have ever read that I feel fall into the other .1% and they are Last of the Mohicans and Cold Mountain.  Being an AP English teacher though, I have taught Cold Mountain and therefore read it at least 5 times now.  I am happy to say that every time I read that novel I fall more and more in love with it.  I don't know what that makes my percentage now.  After all, I'm an English teacher not a math wiz. 

Enjoy these light summer reads and share a few of your favorite summer time novels with the rest of us!