Thursday, October 27, 2011

Catching Fire (and a confession)

If you caught my post of a few weeks ago you know that I am starting to read The Hunger Games trilogy with my son.  We read it almost every night, chapter by chapter, and it really got so exciting that I was losing sleep.  For my own sanity, I snuck off one morning (I can only read this in the morning.) and finished it.  Of course like any captivating story, I find that I can't stop thinking about it and this drove me to pick up the second book and begin to read it right away.

Now here comes the confession:  Rather than go to the bookstore or order it on-line, I picked up my husbands I-pad where he has already downloaded all three books and read, yes, I  did it, I read Catching Fire almost entirely as an e-book.

Whew!  That was a difficult confession.  When I was done, I felt slimy, like I needed to take a hot shower and get the shame of e-book reading off me.  Reader's know that I loathe e-books and have vowed never to get an e-book reader.  A few months ago the Nook seller at Barnes and Nobles approached me to take a look at his little device, and I bit his head off.  (I think he was a little surprised at my ferocity over the device.)

Anyway,  now no one can see from my shelf that I have read this book, I can't loan it to you, and when I am reminiscing about favorite books, I'll need to stare at a tiny icon on a screen.  The actual reading experience, however, was probably not any different from holding a book.

When I was three chapters from the end, my husband took his i-pad and went to work.  I had the day off, so I went to Barnes and Nobles, planted myself in a comfy chair and read and sobbed my way through the last three chapters in the intimacy of the bookstore.  Afterwards, I bought Mockingjay, the third book and happily began reading the real book version of that.

So if you began reading The Hunger Games after my last post, I think you will enjoy this sequel.  It is storytelling at its finest including a gut wrenching love story.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Tea Reader: Living Life One Cup at a Time

Enjoying this sampler of writings about tea, given to me by dear friend and fellow blogger Steph who, along with Sweetcakes,  introduced me to the beauty and mystery of the age old custom of a cup of tea.

The editor, Katrina Avila Munichiello, has compiled an incredible array of contemporary essays on tea and tea culture as well as pulling poems and stories from historical writings.

Its a perfect rainy day read, perfect with my own cup of tea, and made all the more special as my good friend has a piece included in the collection.

A great gift for lovers of tea everywhere.  Pick it up at your favorite tea shop or of course, on Amazon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blowing my Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy by Lindsay Moran

My reading life has me all over the place: a magazine article, chapters of the Hunger Games, a false start or two on some new books, reading manuscripts for writer friends.  This is all to explain why so many days have come and gone between my last post and this.

I picked up this funny and fascinating memoir at the Red Cross Book Fair two weeks ago.  I have always enjoyed non-fiction chronicling what people do for a living and there's always been a lot of question in my mind about the CIA and what it means to be a spy for the USA.

My husband asked me right away, how on earth can someone write about how and why spies do what they do, isn't it all a big secret?   She never explains what sort of censors needed to read her book and approve of it, but my gut instinct tells me that why and how spies do what they do isn't really secret.  In fact, many of the things she does, we have seen in the movies a million times over.  What is secret, is who is doing those things.  I feel fairly certain that she did not blow anyone's cover but her own, and now she is decidedly on the outside, it doesn't matter.

Lindsay Moran is a likable person who questions her motives and the CIA motives from the very first day. She presents an honest and often hilarious look at what she does.  The places and the work while fascinating also lends itself to soul crushing loneliness.  You really can't have too many friends when you can't tell people what you do for a living.

Roughly one half (probably more) of the memoir chronicles her process for getting in and the extensive training she is sent through in order to prepare her for what lay ahead in the field.  Spending about 10 years of my own career in Residential Housing at a University, I remember how much we relied on role playing games to teach Resident Assistants how to do their jobs. Guess what?  The CIA relies on the same sort of training techniques.  Learning of all the extensive role playing games (including fake kidnappings, hostage takings and embassy cocktail parties) that go into training a spy was half the fun.  No kidding.

You can probably pick this book up on Amazon or at your local library.  Let me know if you would like to borrow mine.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Hunger Games

Now that Grayson and I have finally packed away Harry Potter, we searched for a new reading adventure that we could read together.  It was hard to pick a Young Adult Book that would appeal to mother and son as much as HP did.  Many, many friends have encouraged me to pick up the Hunger Games by Susanne Collins.  So starting this past Monday night, the kid and I are getting to know Katniss Everdeen.

After three nights, all I can say is it will be hard to read this one chapter at a time (perhaps I'll have to borrow it and sneak ahead)  and it is keeping me up.  Did you all know there's a movie coming out in 2012?  Imagine that a strong female protagonist!  Thanks Suzanne.