TSS – Indy-cision 500 ~ Greatest Speculation in Reading

The Sunday Salon.com

Happy Memorial Day to those in the US, and Happy Sunday to everyone :-)  Today is one of the biggest days in racing, the Indianapolis 500, and I am wishing for a nice warm and sunny race day,  and for the rain to wait until AFTER the race.  Actually, one of my favorite Indy finishes was Dario Franchitti’s win a couple years ago.  The rain started falling in the last lap or so, and by the time he crossed the finish line, it was pouring down and his wife, the lovely Ashley Judd, came running out to kiss and love on him and congratulate her love.   I’m rooting for Danica Patrick… again…  maybe this will be her year :-D   Who are you rooting for?

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On the book front, I’ve been a bit distracted and slow lately.  But now, all of a sudden, I have an excited desire to read everything, at once, as if the end of the world is near, and I’ve got a limited time to get through every good book ever written. 

And I’m having a hard time figuring out which one to read next!  I think I’ll read You Suck:  a Love Story by Christopher Moore next.  But…  I have an extra copy of Goblins! by Royce Buckingham for a giveaway, and I could read it next.  OR….. I also have an extra copy to give away of The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy, so I could read that next….  but I have Katka by Stephen Meier to read for a June 9th blog tour date, so maybe I should be responsible and read it next.   And in the “being responsible” vein, I have Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan to read for Barnes & Nobles First Look program, so maybe Bees should be next.  And I’ve been stalled out in Emma by Jane Austen for ages, so maybe I should focus on finishing her up.

Oh, what to read!  What to read! 

So what are you reading?

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And HERE is the Starting Field for the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500! Danica is starting in 10th position, and Dario is 3rd.

Who do you like to win the race?

TSS ~ I’m LOST in the VioletCrush of Springtime!

The Sunday Salon.com

Oh my! What a week… or two :-)  We’ve had the season finale of LOST, which seem to pull in every title and concept of every show for the last six seasons, and left us with quite a quandary (meh, I’m not in a quandary about it, but some people are I guess).  DON’T WORRY!  NO NEED TO CLICK AWAY!  I’m NOT going to post spoilers or anything.  I hate it when I watch a movie, or mention I’m planning on it, and that one pain-in-the-ass tells you, “Don’t bother watching it, John dies in the end.”  (Actual title of a book, John Dies in the End, which has been on my wishlist for about six months or so… NOT a LOST spoiler, so stop white-knuckling the mouse!)

For the most part, I’m not much of a TV viewer anymore.  I watch my TV shows on DVD from Netflix, on the Internetz, or OnDemand.  LOST, however, is the only show the world stops for (at least, at my house it does), and I hafta wait until February of NEXT YEAR before the NEXT new LOST episode… AND next season is the LAST season (okay fellow Losties, I’m sure we can organize a memorial for the loss of our life show).

But, with the end of this LOST season we are greeted by the return of Mr. Sun (Yay!) and the flowers and the green-green-grass and the song birds (even the ones that sing outside our windows at 2 in the morning) and the garden and….. books?  what are those?  and what is a blog?  Seriously, WHERE is my grill brush?  the charcoal and lighter?  Got a good fire going… now where did my book disappear to? 

Needless to say, Spring is a distraction :-D

Add to Spring’s already siren-like call, it’s the end of the school year, which means choir concerts, class parties, summer-school registrations (I’ve lost the paper for my oldest daughter’s enrollment, which is bad… without summer school, she don’t graduate!)  We’ve got eye doctors appointments, calls to the dentist for possible lost fillings (plastic ones, so The Island had nothing to do with it :-D ), and the question:  Is it scabies? or psoriasis?  Doesn’t matter, just put lotion on it!  (LOL…  Teulah’s dad in  My Big Fat Greek Wedding had Windex, I’m always telling them to put lotion on it…. I’ve got the slipperiest kids in town!)

Ah!  Thus is mi vida loca!  Not living La Vida Loca, mind you, just have a vida loca.  With 2 teenagers and a tweenager, all girls, a dog and three cats, could it be any other way?

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And now, to announce the winner for my copy of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.  All entries were randomly compiled and numbered, then the winning number was chosen using Research Randomizer.  Number 12 was drawn, and that number belonged to:

Violet of Violet Crush!  Email me your address so I can get that out in the mail for your reading pleasure :-)

I wanted to add that I enjoyed Violet’s answer to the giveaway question:

“What tangible thing (a toy, record, woobie, etc) from your childhood you wish you had back the most?  What does this item mean to you?”

I really really wish I had my book of Ramayan back. It was my grandfathers. I never read when I was young but I was attracted by the bright and colorful pictures in it. I spent hours drawing pictures from it. I remember my grandfather reading to me from it but I never really paid attention (come on, it’s a religious book). I wish he would read to me now :-(

After looking up Ramayan, I had to add it to my book wishlist, it looks like a beautiful book :-)

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And now, some music to read this blog by… crap!  Suppose this should’ve gone at the beginning instead!  Oh well, click play and read it again LOL… or, music to comment by.  Whatever tickles your fancy ;-)

OH! BTW! Those who didn’t win, despair NOT! Stephanie of The Written Word is hosting a giveaway for a copy, open until May 20th :-)

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Giveaway

I’m currently about halfway through Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, and it’s both sad and grieving, but also full of hope, acceptance and personal growth.  I will be posting the review of this book on May 11th, as part of the Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour.

The author’s name, Jamie Ford, is deceptive.  “Ford is the great-grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated in 1865 from Kaiping, China, to San Francisco, where he adopted the Western name “Ford,” thus confusing countless generations” :-)  He is also of Southern gentility, giving him a multicultural worldview.  AND… he’s quite a cutie, I might add ;-)

More about Jamie (Ja Mei to his Yin-Yin):

Career-wise, Jamie went to art school in Seattle to become an illustrator, and ended up an art director/copywriter. He’s won an embarrassingly large amount of meaningless awards including 400+ Addys, 7 Best-of-Shows, and his work has appeared in Adweek, Advertising Age, Graphis and Communication Arts. He also had a commercial appear on an episode of The U.K.’s Funniest Commercials inspired by an embarrassing incident with a bidet that he’d rather not go into right now.

On the writerly side, he won the 2006 Clarity of Night Short Fiction Contest, was First Runner-Up in the 2006 Midnight Road Reader’s Choice Awards and was a Top-25 finalist in Glimmer Train’s Fall 2006 Short Story Award For New Writers. He’s been published in The PicolataReview, and his fiction is online at Flashing in the Gutters and Fictional Musings. He’s also an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and a survivor of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Bootcamp.

On the personal side, he’s the proud father of two boys and two girls. Yep, it’s chaos, . but the good kind of chaos.
For more information about the author or his work, please visit http://www.jamieford.com/
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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a heartwarming story about fathers and sons, first loves, fate, and the resilient human heart. Set in the ethnic neighborhoods of Seattle during World War II and Japanese American internment camps of the era, the times and places are brought to life.  In the following video, Jamie Ford gives you the “behind-the-scenes” story of his debut novel.
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I’m really loving this book, and I want to share it and pass it on to someone who is going to enjoy it, too. Instead of posting it on BookMooch or PaperBackSwap,  I’m going to give away my copy here on my blog :-) 
So here’s the way this giveaway is going to work:
For your official entry you’ll need to leave a comment on my book review  to let me know you would like to be entered for a chance to win.
BUT….
You can also earn extra entries by:
  1. Post this giveaway on your blog and leave me a comment here with the link for 5 bonus entries.
  2. If you don’t have a blog, email at least 5 people about the giveaway with the link to this post, and include my email address, ibetnoonehasthisdamnid@yahoo.com in the BCC (blind copy) bar for 3 bonus entries.
  3. Follow me on Twitter, and tweet about this giveaway for 2 bonus entries. (be sure to include @thekoolaidmom in your tweet, that way I’ll catch your tweet and give you credit)
  4. Leave a comment here for 1 bonus entry, and 10 bonus entries for answering this question,

 “What tangible thing (a toy, record, woobie, etc) from your childhood you wish you had back the most?  What does this item mean to you?”

If you do all the above, you’ll earn 21 bonus entries!  Don’t forget, though, you have to leave a comment on the review, otherwise… ya get nada!

And now, for the boring details:

  1. Contest is open to anyone, anywhere, so long as you have a place to receive mail.  I can’t ship the book to “The VAN down by the river,” you need an actual, deliverable address… Which means, this is open to international readers, as well :-D
  2. Contest ends at 11:59 pm, Saturday May 16th, 2009.
  3. All entries will be listed randomly and numbered, then the winning number will be chosen using Research Randomizer.  If you’d like a copy of the list of entries, email me and I’ll be happy to send it :-)
  4. The Winner will be announced in my May 17th Sunday Salon post, and will have 48 hours to email me their address or be disqualified and a replacement winner will be chosen.

Okay, so get busy posting and tweeting and emailing, and whatnot!

Congrats to Amy on winning a copy of Matrimony!

After a two week interruption in my home internet service, an interruption that forced me to suffer the limitted resources of the library’s computer (though it’s wonderful that we have such access in our town), I am finally back online at home.     !! \O/ YaY \O/ !!

So now, belatedly, I will announce the winner of Mt. TBR’s drawing for a personalized, autographed copy of Matrimony by Joshua Henkin.

Congratulations to Amy!  She has won the contest :-)

Thank you, everyone, for visiting Mt. TBR and be sure to come back!

Matrimony by Joshua Henkin

Title: Matrimony
Author: Joshua Henkin
Paperback: 291 pages
Publisher: Vintage (division of Random House, Inc.)
Publish Date: August 2008
ISBN: 9780307277169

“So how’s your book going?”

“Glacially,” Julian said. “It’s like that joke about Joyce Carol Oates. Someone calls her up and her secretary says, ‘I’m sorry, Miss Oates can’t come to the phone right now, she’s busy writing a book,” and the person says, ‘That’s okay, I’ll hold.’ Only with me it’s the opposite. Rip Van Winkle wakes up twenty years later and I’m still writing my novel… I’ve been at it almost ten years,” he said. “I’ve got two hundred and fifty pages, though I’ve probably thrown out twenty for every one I’ve kept. I’m laying waste to whole forests.”

“What’s the book about?”

Julian hesitated. Even to Mia, he hadn’t confided much; he didn’t want to jinx himself. Growing up, he’d had a special cup he drank from and a lucky number, eight. When he watched the Metsat Shea Stadium in 1973, five years old, in the corporate box seats with his father, he always wore his baseball glove… because he believed it made the Mets play better… Writers, Julian believed, came in all types, but one way or another they were control freaks, and superstition was nothing if not an attempt to exert control. Besides, he thought a good novel resisted summary; it had to speak for itself. Still, he felt he owed Carter an answer, for Carter was his friend and he’d written fiction, too.

-Matrimony by Joshua Henkin, page 142

First of all, I want to say that when I first received an email from Josh to review and host a giveaway for Matrimony, I was preparing for a real life visit from my Second Life boyfriend. I was excited and in love, and all that other ooey-gooey stuff brought on by the overproduction of the brain chemicals dopamine and oxytocin. I read the summary and it sounded sweet and lovely and wonderful. However, by the time the book arrived, things between him and I had started going south (reality really ruins fantasy), and I didn’t want to read about happy people falling in love and living happy lives with each other and living happily ever after. So, I drug my feet so hard that I’m surprised I don’t have grooves in my floors.

Then Josh sent another email excusing me from the review having not read the book, and asking me if I still wanted host the book giveaway. I felt guilty for not following through on my side of it, deciding to grin and bear the book , and facetiously set the giveaway for the first day of Lent, stating the two sacraments, marriage and penance, went well together.

So I sat down Sunday morning and started reading Matrimony. Immediately I realized this book was, by far, NOT what I had expected. Josh’s characters are shocking and quirky, vibrant and memorable, drawing me in and guaranteeing I would read the book through to the final punctuation mark.

Julian’s roommate is convinced the other guys on their dorm floor pee in the communal shower and resolves to wear flip-flops when bathing. His writing professor, embittered by the treatment of his novel in a failed attempt to turn it into a movie, refuses to admit anyone who writes with the intention to write books for the film industry. What’s more, Professor Chesterfield writes commandments on the blackboard, 117 by year’s end, like “THOU SHALT NOT USE THE WORD ‘KERPLUNK’ IN YOUR SHORT STORIES,” and “ THOU SHALT NEVER USE PASS-THE-SALT DIALOGUE.

It is in this writing class Julian meets Carter Heinz, and the two become best friends. During their freshman year, Carter meets and falls in love with Pilar, as does Julian with Mia when they meet in the dorm’s laundry room. Thus begins Matrimony, as Henkin takes the reader on a 15 year journey in the life of Julian Wainright, born to wealth but refusing the comforts and connections the privilege would bring, his struggles to fulfill his dream to publish his novel, and the joys and heartaches life brings.

Unlike Sinclair’s Jungle, whose characters make small gains in one chapter, only to have catastrophic losses in the next, until you can’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it all, the ups and downs the lives of the characters in Matrimony are believable and to whom the reader can fully relate. When Mia feels lost and alone as she watches her mother waste away from breast cancer, I wanted to hug her and comfort her and tell I knew what she was going through because my father died from cancer. I was reassured by Julian’s difficulties as a writer, knowing I’m not alone in my own feelings in my own sluggish progress with my novel. And when trouble arises between the couple after Julian learns about an infidelity nine years before, I completely understood his sense of betrayal and loss.

But Henkin hasn’t just written a compelling and involving tale of characters so real that you expect to find them at the grocery store or mall, Matrimony offers lessons in writing that I’ve taken to heart and inspires the reader to action. After reading how Mia copes with their separation, foregoing the comfort of their bed, sleeping instead on the futon from their college days and hoping to catch Julian‘s scent in it, I realized I was holding on to a person, knowing our relationship has ended.

After his visit, I had taken the bed sheet he’d slept on, folded it up and put it away, refusing to wash it because HE was in it; his skin cells, hair and scent were woven into the threads themselves. However, after reading Mia’s feelings, thoughts and actions, I grabbed the sheet and threw it in the washer, letting go of the hurt and disappointment and sense of loss of what could have been. I deleted his phone numbers from my phone and his address from my computer. Then I took a long look at the months I spent in Second Life, and asked myself what did I haveto show for it. The answer I arrived at was this: For the five months I spent escaping to a virtual (fantasy is a better term) world, I had neglected my responsibilities to my family, the housekeeping, to my reading and blogging, to paying bills, became forgetful of appointments and activities, and have had one of the worst cases of winter depression (I have Seasonal Affected Disorder) that I have had in a long time. I have very little good to show for it. Once I realized this, I removed everything related to Second Life from my computer and I’m debating canceling my account (I have decided to wait a month before doing something that drastic, though, as I’vealready paid the rent for my apartment). Though it was painful at first, I feel a profound sense of relief and freedom at having made a decision and taken action, taking control of the situation instead of being a passive victim of life.

I have told all of that to say this: The difference between a good read and a great book is whether or not the reader is changed and compelled to act on that change. A good read is enjoyable and fun, but is forgotten in a year or two; it is the chips and Twinkies of the literary world. Contrastingly, a great book may be an uncomfortable labor to take in, but the reader cannot walk away the same person he or she was before opening the cover and peeking within; it is the manna that sustained the Israelites for forty years of desert wandering, and is preserved for future generations’ understanding and inspiration. Great books become classics, and Matrimony, if there is any wisdom in the reading world, will be counted among them.

For its truth, wisdom, tangible characters, its meaningful and timely content, and its power to inspire and to illicit change, I give Matrimony by Joshua Henkin 5 out of 5 stars, two thumbs and toes up, and a perfect ten (even the German judge agrees). It ranks among the few books I’ve read that becomes a permanent resident of my library. I know I will reread this book, which is very rare for me. I just cannot praise Matrimony enough.

Thank you, Josh, for writing this book and for inviting me to experience and share it. *sniff… tear* :)

 

Don’t forget to sign up to WIN a personalized, autograph copy of Matrimony by Joshua Henkin!  Enter here to win! :-)

Win a personalized, signed copy of Matrimony by Josh Henkin!

Okay… I have my review for this book written… BUT, my internet at home is out, so I’m forced to come to the library for a while. And the stupid computers here won’t convert my Works doc, so I have to go home and save it in a format it CAN use. >:-(

HOWEVER! I wanted to make sure to post the giveaway announcement!

Seriously, Matrimony by Josh Henkin is an amazing book. I will never part with my copy, and plan to reread it… again and again. It’s more than a great story with tangible characters, but it’s that kind of book that changes you and inspires you to action.

MATRIMONY was a New York Times Notable Book, and Josh has also been participating in a lot of book group discussions of MATRIMONY, so he’s available to participate in book group discussions. http://www.joshuahenkin.com

AND YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO WIN YOUR OWN PERSONALIZED, AUTOGRAPHED COPY!

Simply comment on this post for your official entry, then comment on the review (hopefully, I’ll be able to post it tomorrow) for a bonus entry. Blog and link this giveaway, then post the link here for a bonus 5 entries. So you have the chance to have 7 entries!

This contest is open to anyone, anywhere :-) Josh will send it worldwide :-D

TSS- Alien Invaders and Holy Matrimony!

The Sunday Salon.com

Happy Sunday, everyone! Hope your weekend has gone well :)

This past week I was dropped on a strange and unsettled planet, survived underground scavengers that feed by night, flying predators that attack by day, and mechanicals that registered me as a warm body, shot me with a tranq dart, then dumped me in a barn with livestock destined for slaughter. I managed to survive all of this because I was lucky enough to be deposited on the planet, which we named Botany, with some very competent and ingenious people… and one guy who was of the race of our captors, but was an honorable and stand-up guy without whom many of us would have died!

Of course, I didn’t really go through all of this ;-) . Rather, it was the plot of Freedom’s Landingby Anne McCaffrey (my review). A fascinating and exciting book of survival and community, of forgetting differences to become a working society.

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This week, I will be reading Josh Henkin’s Matrimony, a New York Times Most Notable Book. I will having a giveaway for a signed copy of Matrimony, opened to anyone worldwide. The drawing for it will be February 25th, which is the first day of Lent (I thought the sacrament of marriage and the sacrament of penance went well together ;-) ). I will post more details in the coming days, so check back later!

This Sunday Salon is short and sweet, as it is one in the morning here and my bed is calling :-D Happy Reading!

TSS – Mummies, Mishka, and More!

The Sunday Salon.com

Wow! What a week! It’s Sunday already and I don’t know where the week went! I only read one adult book and on children’s book, but I’m okay with that. I gave away $50 in Borders gift cards, announced a giveaway for a signed copy of Mishka: An Adoption Tale, I helped capture a dangerous sociopath, and more.

This week was the last week for Maggie’s summer school classes. One of her classes was a drama class which held their performances on Wednesday and Thursday. Sammi and I went on Wednesday, and were the only family audience that day, then I took my little actress out for a fish sandwich at Burger King afterwards. Then I went to sign Gwen, my 14-year-old, and Mags up for school. Meg’s happy because she’s got a sweet teacher and all her friends (and none of her enemies) are in her class this year. Sammi’s in 10th grade this year, and high school registration is on Tuesday.

I thought I was excited and ready for them to go back to school… until I went clothes and supplies shopping. YIKES! Three outfits a piece totalled $270. Supplies, backpack, unmentionables for growing girls, and a Hannah Montana outfit I promised to get Mags two weeks ago added up to another $260 at Wal-mart.  We might have to cut back to one meal a day, but at least they’ll look great when they go back to school ;-)

Thursday was the last day of the giveaway contest. So Friday I ran the numbers through Research Randomizer and posted the winners: M, The True Confessions of a Book Lover Named M, won the $20 Borders gift card and a bonus gift, then Jessica and Dawn, She Is Too Fond of Books…, won the $10 cards, and Suey, It’s All About Books, and Judy Brittle won the $5 cards. I still haven’t heard from Jessica or Judy Brittle and if they don’t email me their address by 3 pm today, then I will draw two new names for their $10 and $5 cards.

Friday night, while y’all were fighting in line for Breaking Dawn, I haven’t read any off them and have a copy of BD on hold, we went to the movie theater to see the new Mummy movie.

It was an incredible movie. It has something for everyone (except small children I suppose), mummies, dragons, Yetis (is that the right word for more than one Yeti? or is it like the word “fish”), new love, reclaimed love, animal love (yeah, but is strictly platonic), action, battle, immortals and Shangri La. The kids came home and immediately put the first Mummy movie in the DVD player, and they’ve been flipping back and forth between one and two. I want to see this one again!

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THIS WEEK, blogwise that is. Seriously, I can’t say this enough, Mishka: An Adoption Tale is an exceptionally good book. Not only is the book a really wonderful and heartwarming book, but for each book that’s sold, and any other DRT Press book, 5% of the profit is donated to charities that help orphaned children in the EE and Russia. How can you go wrong with that? You get a great book to keep, AND the knowledge you are helping a child, who has no one, eat or get a new pair of shoes. It’s win-win!
Don’t forget to check out my Interview with Adrienne Ehlert Bashista and be sure to enter to win a signed copy of Mishka!

OH, and by the way… tell me what you think of my new look!  I’ve added a “Quote of the Day” to my sidebar, as well as rearranging the widgets (thanks readerville for the text box trick!)

Mishka Book Giveaway!

An Adoption Tale

Mishka: An Adoption Tale by Adrienne Ehlert Bashista is a beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written book about Mo the bear’s journey finding a family and home. It’s a great story for all children and perfect for opening the discussion of adoption. In the tradition of The Velveteen Rabbit, this emotionally touching story is written from the point of view of a stuffed bear.

I am giving away a beautiful, brand-new! copy of Mishka: An Adoption Tale. It has been signed by Bashista. Maggie and I reviewed Mishka (click here for the review), and I interviewed Mishka‘s author Adrienne Ehlert Bashista.

So here are the rules:
1. Post a comment here for your entry. (I will save comment information from this post for contact info, if you’re not entered here, then you’re not entered.)
2. Post this giveaway on your blog, then let me know, for two extra entries.
3. Post a comment on the review for another entry.
4. Post a comment on my interviewwith Bashista for another entry.
5. Doing all four will get you two more entries, for a total of seven chances to win.

This contest is open until Saturday, August 9th.  I will announce the winner in my Sunday Salon post on the 10th.   So get busy and enter already!

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