The Sparrow – Midway Check-in

The Sparrow Read Along

I’ve already finished the book and my review posts soon but here is my midway check-in without any spoilers so I can be a good read-alonger and not be called a cheater cheater! Trish, just poking fun at ya.

1. How is The Sparrow matching up with your expectations going into the book? Are you surprised by anything?

I had no expectations going into this book and actually knew very little about the story but I must say, it took a me a very  long time to get into the story. From everyone’s comments, I expected to be pulled in a little quicker.

2. Do you feel the switching back and forth between past and present to be effective?

I am not a fan of jumping back and forth between past and present but I do feel it worked for this book. It felt a little cheater-ish to know up-front that something horrible happened and then not be told what for a very long time, but it did increase the suspense factor quite a bit by doing it this way.

3. Which characters do you want to hug and squeeze? Any you’d like to strangle?

I liked Anna and George a lot but I tired of Sofia and her uptight ways. I also did not care all that much for Emilio.

4. Any other thoughts? 

It was written some time ago but not all that long ago. I thought it was written in the 80s. I was way off there. It was written in ’96 and has a sequel, Children of God.

I can’t say too much more without giving stuff away so I’ll stop here. I can’t wait for the others to finish so I can discuss it with them. The ending. Oh, the ending. Gotta discuss it.

The Sunday Salon: Hot

It is blazing hot here in Southern California My sinuses don’t know what to think. First it’s hot and dry, then it’s hot and humid and today it seems to be dry and humid which is impossible. Because of it, I have a raging headache and nothing I take seems to touch it.

In the big scheme of things though, life is going pretty well. After hitting church by myself, no one wanted to go with me, I came straight home, enjoyed a salad and some leftover gluten-free pizza and pretty soon I am going to find myself a comfy spot and take a nap. My head hurts too much to read right now but maybe a nap will do the trick.

Rehearsals for Annie begin tomorrow (Monday) and on Wednesday, the audition process begins. It’s always an exciting time.

Sunday Salon

Let’s see, what else is going on? Well, we had a lovely dinner last night. The Teen’s girlfriend and family came over for pizza and salad. We grilled peaches for dessert, topped with cinnamon butter and vanilla bean ice cream. It was really good. I meant to take a picture but I gobbled it up before I could.

What am I reading?

Well, I finished The Sparrow for the read along Trish was hosting. It’s quite a book. After reading it I felt slightly beat-up and needed something with a lighter tone so I picked up The Way Inn by Will Wiles. It’s a crazy book. I find it funny but the reviews are not that great which has me wondering about the end, of which I am almost to.

Next up? The Bone Clocks.

What am I cooking?

Not a thing. We had leftovers for lunch and I am not ready to even think about dinner. When it’s hot like this, food does not sound good. I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving though, which is so weird considering it does not feel like fall here at all.

What am I watching?

I watched Pitch Perfect for the first time ever. The Girl forced me to watch it and I was not looking forward to it at all but I really liked it. I don’t know what I thought it was about but I had no idea it was about a choir. With my kids in theater and choir, I can’t believe I didn’t see it earlier.

I recorded a bunch of I Love Lucy episodes and plan to sit down and have a Lucy fest later this afternoon. Those shows are so comforting to me.

What are you up to today?

Oh, and if you don’t have reading plans for October join our read along! We are reading Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes and it’s going to be awesome! Scary carnival, guys. How can you resist?

Something Wicked This Way Comes button

Review: The Painter

The Painter

The Painter
By Peter Heller
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780385352093, May 2014, 384pp.)

The Short of It:

Thoughtfully written novel about anger and loss. Surprisingly deep.

The Rest of It:

What did I expect when I picked this up? I seriously went into it without much knowledge about the story itself and sometimes that is a great way to go into a book. The only thing I  knew beforehand, was that I enjoyed Heller’s other novel, The Dog Stars and apparently, that’s not a bad way to choose a book because I really enjoyed this one.

The story is simple. Jim Stegner is sitting in a bar one day when one of its patrons makes an off-color remark about his daughter. Jim, not a man to let such a thing go, shoots the guy and goes to prison for it. Years later, after serving his sentence he chooses not to return to the Santa Fe art scene he left behind. Instead, he heads to rural Colorado to paint in solitude, fly fish and remember the marriage that he once had, and the daughter he lost to drugs.

This quiet novel stays with you long after reading it. Stegner is an interesting guy. He expresses himself through his paintings, but his temper gets him into trouble and when he sees a guy beat a horse on the side of the road, he can’t help but act and of course this starts a chain of events that he cannot ignore. Through it all, the reader is in his head as he ponders his predicament and somehow, he is not the bad guy no matter what he chooses to do. He’s imperfect but at the same time, his actions seem logical which makes him easy to relate to.

The writing is almost poetic. Sometimes, even lyrical in nature. It’s not flowery or overdone but it’s simple and lovely and I remember feeling the same way about The Dog Stars. I kind of dig his style. It’s no-nonsense and yet deep. It’s also a very quick read. I highly recommend it because there is all kinds of stuff to sink your teeth into.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Why, Hello There!

Reading Gives Us Someplace to Go

Seen at Amy Miles Books

It’s one of those weeks.

After a glorious birthday weekend, I am in a funk. Too much to keep track of and I am feeling a tad overwhelmed. It happens this time of year. My brain is ready to move into fall but the weather says otherwise so I am all out of whack.

I really need to sit down and write all of the reviews that I’ve worked out in my head. I think I am at least six books behind. One good thing, is that the reading continues. I am nearing the finish line with The Sparrow. I am not sure what to make of this book. It’s not at ALL what I imagined it to be. Some chapters I love, some…not so much. I think I need to finish it before I say more because everyone who has read it says it blew their mind. Thank goodness for reading or I’d lose my mind.

I am trying to get stuff in order this week because everything seems to be starting up next week. Choir, drama, community theater, cheer camp, booster club meetings, my promise to build a webpage, bake sales… it’s all starting up and it’s time to dust off the calendar (I still use paper in addition to an app).

None of this new but as I get older I seem less able to deal with it all. I know some of you can relate. I think it’s a lack of patience on my part.

Just so I don’t leave you all on a down note, I am going to make a list of all the things I am looking forward to. You can add your own items in comments if you’d like to jump on board with me.

Looking forward to…( in no particular order)

  • Dinner with friends this weekend.
  • Next week’s kick-off of Annie. Both kids will be auditioning for roles.
  • Football, high school and professional. Can’t say I follow the games too well but I enjoy watching.
  • Seeing The Teen in The 39 Steps later this year.
  • Taking The Girl to see Wicked. I have seen it twice but she was too young when it hit town the first time.
  • Celebrating The Girl’s birthday in October.
  • Candles! I love candles. I can’t wait until the weather cools off a little so I can light them up.
  • The Something Wicked This Way Comes read along that Sandy and I are hosting in October! Bradbury! Carnival setting! LOVE it.
  • Spiced cider.
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds.
  • Scary movies.
  • Scary reading. RIP IX? Yep.
  • Fall back (time change)
  • Holiday time off. Vacation requests, approved! YES!
  • The November release of Revival by King. I plan to do a read along for that one too.
  • The new short novel that Haruki Murakami will be releasing in December (The Strange Library). I kid you not.
  • Had to add American Horror Story, Season 4 and The Walking Dead, Season 5. Lordy! Cannot forget them!

I will leave it at that but I could go on and on. What are you looking forward to?

 

The Sunday Salon: Celebrating

Sunday Salon

Happy Sunday! I am tired and happy, which is a good feeling after a wonderful weekend. The weekend started with me taking Friday off, which happened to be my birthday. I did absolutely nothing! I slept and read and that’s about it.

Saturday, we headed out to breakfast and then drove up to Ojai. It was a gorgeous, but hot day and Ojai was showing signs of drought (in a big way). We browsed the little shops and the outdoor bookstore and then just couldn’t take the heat anymore, so we piled back into the car and headed to Santa Barbara.

We shopped, had pizza, treated ourselves to McConnell’s ice cream and then we called the In-laws who happened to be staying in Santa Barbara for the weekend and they invited us to dinner! We didn’t get home until very late but it was a wonderful day.

Santa Barbara

I also bought myself a little gift, which I never do. I usually carry a backpack to work and since I work on a college campus it works but it’s bulky. I saw that Timbuk2 recently redesigned their messenger bag so… I picked one up. My biggest “if” right now is if I should return it for a small. I got a medium which fits my laptop but most days, I am not taking my laptop with me. Decisions.

Messenger Bag

What am I reading?

I am reading The Sparrow for a read along (#SparrowRAL). It’s gotten very good, but also a little strange. I am also reading The Little Friend (still). I am really loving it but I put it aside so I could catch-up with the read along.

I announced it last week but a group of us will be reading Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury in October (#EnterTheRingmaster). If you’d like to join us, click on the badge below for details.

Something Wicked

What am I cooking?

Uh, no food in the house (again). Sad huh? But, I am craving Chicken Tortilla soup so maybe I will hit the store to buy the ingredients I need. We are expecting rain today and tomorrow but it’s already hot and does not look like rain AT ALL. Oh my gosh. My yard really needs some water.

What am I watching?

Not much. I did watch Pacific Rim this week and it was really good. We have a free movie preview right now but nothing is on that I really want to see. We watched Funny Farm and of course, football is on right now so the TV is not mine to mess with.

What are you up to this weekend? I am trying to get The Girl up so we can go to church and then the rest of the day is a big question mark.

R.I.P. IX – Are you in?

RIP IX

I think a lot of us look forward to this “challenge” each year. I put challenge in quotes because even though I am the official loser at challenges, even I can do this one.

Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings has all of the details for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, but in a nutshell, this is what it’s about:

  • The event runs from September 1 – October 31
  • Read or watch movies that fall into the following categories:
    • Mystery
    • Suspense
    • Thriller
    • Dark Fantasy
    • Gothic
    • Horror
    • Supernatural
  • Have fun reading and watching
  • Share that fun with others

There are lots of different challenge levels to select. Heck, there is even a level for one book to be read. Like I said, anyone can do it. Here is what I am signing up for:

Peril the Second

Peril the Second. Read two books of any length that you believe fit within the R.I.P. categories. Post reviews on the review site. I am signing up for two books but will mostly likely read more.

Peril the Screen

Peril the Screen. This is for those of us that like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious gothic fare during this time of year. It may be something on the small screen or large. It might be a television show or your favorite film. If you are so inclined, please post links to any R.I.P.-related viewing you do on to the Review Site as well.

There is also a group read planned for The Haunting of Hill House this month so be sure to check it out if that is something you’re interested in as well.

Hill House read along

And then after that read along, join ours (see below)! Because, there is always time for a read along with friends. Especially one that includes a creepy carnival setting. And guess what? You can count it towards the R.I.P Challenge.

What I plan to read:

Something Wicked This Way Comes button

  • Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. If you want to join the read along, click the image above for details.
  • Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (this one scared the heck out of Stephen King, hope I can get a copy)
  • The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (this may be a stretch but there is mystery, a hint of the supernatural, and I am getting creeped out while reading it)

What I plan to watch:

  • Halloween (I watch it every year. It is not Halloween without seeing it at least twice.)
  • Halloween II (Who can resist Jamie Lee Curtis limping around with that busted ankle?)
  • The Shining (Seen it, love it. Jack is the life of the party!)
  • (I need a new movie to watch, suggestions?)

If this sounds like fun (and it is), then head on over to Carl’s to sign up.

Spending Some Time With ‘The Sparrow’

The Sparrow Read Along

Everyone talks about this book and I’ve never been able to participate in the conversation because I HAVE NOT READ IT!

But, luckily, Trish has come to my rescue by hosting this read along! Yay! Here’s some info from Trish:

“If you missed the details, we will be reading The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell throughout the month of September. I’ll put up a midway (linky) post on September 15th and a finale (linky) post on September 30th. It’s not too late to join us for the readalong and feel free to pick up the book anytime during the month.”

To sign-up, go here.

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