May 29, 2009

Celebrating Spring!

The lilac flower is my favourite flower and signals to me the real start of spring in Alberta. Although the official date of spring is March 31st, in Calgary that in no way means the end of winter as we usually have cool to freezing and unpredictable weather into late May!  Growing up there was a lilac bush right outside our front door and I always loved the smell and the multiple pretty tiny flowers...I even had my high school graduation picture taken in front of has now grown into a tree, well ok a towering bush. Finally here in Alberta spring has come after what has seemed to be a very prolonged winter.  With Calgary reaching 28 degrees Celsius today I celebrated the warm weather by wearing a white sundress to work.  Not my usual style.  So here is a pic of lilacs and coincidentally in Calgary this Saturday, May 30th there is the Lilac Festival on a 4th Street. Have a great weekend!

May 27, 2009

The Savage Garden by Mark Mills

The Savage Garden was not a bad crime fiction novel but did not have enough tension in the plot to keep me absorbed for a majority of the book. I found the second half better, although I probably read the book too much stop and start, contributing to my supposition of non-cohesiveness. Adam Banting, a young Cambridge student writing his thesis, is enticed to Tuscany to research the family garden of the Doccis...but as he delves into the mystery of the garden he uncovers, jealousy, adultery and murder in the Docci family. There is an underlying menace following Adam, as he progresses from discovery to discovery about the family garden (think grottos and statuary) and he must decide which is more important to him…the mystery of the garden…or the mystery of the Docci's secrets. In a lot of ways this book is more about the personal growth of the main character Adam Banting than the mystery of the garden. Adam Banting is a likeable but naive character who certainly has to grow up in a hurry...or at least learns lessons in betrayal, deception, love and truth or lie. I enjoyed all the prose about Dante's work of fiction Infereno and how it related or revealed the meanings of the garden. But I think my rating of 3.5 stars instead of four comes from the lack of emotional connection I had to the book. I was left a bit cold and I need to be absorbed in a story to truly enjoy it. My Rating: 3.5 Chapters Amazon

May 26, 2009

Tuesday Thingers

Today's Question from Wendi's Book Corner: Is there anything you would like to see added to the Library Thing site? Is there something you like on another bookshelf style site that LT doesn't have? Ok I'm being picky but I would like to see the ISBN (s) on the book Main page as required and not only on the Details page. Why? When I am browsing books and reviews and/or I have added a book to my library I like every book to have an ISBN...because I use the ISBN to also look the book up on Amazon, Chapters, B&N, etc. and when adding to Bookpedia. So its a bit of a hassle to always flip to the Details page. Currently ISBNs are only visible on the Main page when a book has a Book Description, which can be found at the bottom of the book Main page.
When you add a book review on GoodReads I like that you are given the HTML code for your review that you can post on your blog to link back to GR. I do prefer LibraryThing over GoodReads though.
It might be time for LibraryThing to add Your Music/Your Audio/Your Video/Your ebooks, etc.  as Library's are not just for books anymore.  Or change "Your books" to "Your library" What do you think?

May 19, 2009

Tuesday Thingers

Today's Question from Wendi's Book Corner: Were you aware that LT had a mobile version of the site? Do you ever visit sites via a mobile device? Can you think of anything this would help you with?
How great is this question!!  So I was a cellphone virgin until January of this year...I held out a long time but then finally gave in and bought a Blackberry 8900 (Javelin).  I love it but I still avoid using the phone whenever I can. Best of all I convinced my boyfriend to get a Blackberry too and now we can pin (Blackberry Instant Message) each other with emoticons.  I had no idea LibraryThing has a mobile version. I am going to add it to my Blackberry right now!!!
Ok there does not seem to be much functionality but I can at least check recommendations and whether I own a book already or not... conveniently when I created my library on LT I decided to include only those books that I own (no wish lists), so this will be a great future reference when I am in the bookstore and am racking my brain about whether I had already read and/or purchased a specific book.
I do have my Google Feeder Mobile bookmarked and my work mobile pages , as well as MSN Entertainment.  I have also downloaded Google Mobile, Facebook, and Weather Network apps. I replaced the boring blue background on the menu system with an image of my favourite painting, Girl Reading, the painting I use for my blog. So much nicer to look at every day.

May 14, 2009

I Won Bobbi Brown's Living Beauty

Thanks to Wendi at Wendi's Book Corner for holding some great contests recently. Here are the winners of all of her contests.  I won one of five copies of Bobbi Brown's Living Beauty from Hachette Book Group.  Browsing in Coles I picked up the book and was flipping through to see what I might potentially win.  I like how Bobbi presented women from all walks of life and of certain age (the book focuses on women over 40) and shows how a little makeup can really let the beauty within shine out. Cannot wait to receive a copy and implement all her tips and tricks.  Will post a review soon!

May 13, 2009

Tuesday Thingers

Tuesday's Question from Wendi's Book Corner: Do you add your reviews to the books you add to your library? If so, do you put your full review on there, or a quick review (one - two paragraphs)? Do you find other people's reviews helpful? Do you know of any other ways to enter your reviews (Other than Edit Book, or Quick Edit)?
Since last year around when I first started this blog, I would say 90% of the books I add to my LibraryThing I also post a review for. The reviews I post are always full reviews...because I also post them on my blog, Good Reads and ChaptersIndigo. Most of the time I include the book summary from the jacket and try to write more than a couple paragraphs. I find the reviews of other members very helpful. When I add books I use the Quick Edit for adding tags first then I navigate to the book and add my rating and review. On the "Your books" tab I have a couple styles I use. For one style I have added the review field and I am able to click inside and edit as needed. Adding the review field to your layout is also great because you can sort your books by Entry date and browse your recent to oldest reviews.

May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom, the best Mom and Grandma ever, and to all the Mom's out there...enjoy your day!

May 6, 2009

How Do I Love Thee by Nancy Moser

My most recent read has been How Do I Love Thee by Nancy Moser from BethanyHouse Publishers.  To be released June 1, 2009 in Trade Paperback. I received an ARC copy from LibraryThing's EarlyReviewers program.
The year is 1845. Elizabeth Barrett is a published poet--and a virtual prisoner in her own home. Blind family loyalty ties her to a tyrannical father who forbids any of his children to marry. She has resigned herself to simply existing. That is, until the letter arrives... "I love your verses with all my heart," writes Robert Browning, an admiring fellow poet. And as friendly correspondence gives way to something more, Elizabeth discovers that Robert's love is not for her words alone. Could it be that God might grant her more than mere existence? And can she risk defying her father in pursuit of true happiness?
Nancy Moser has crafted a romantic, emotion-charged novel based on the true story of beloved poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
This is an inspirational historical fiction novel based on the life of the poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning. There are elements of Christian faith within the story - being inspirational fiction - and being a not very religious person I did not find it overwhelming. Elizabeth and her Father pray together in one scene and I did have a twinge of uncomfortableness but otherwise I thought these elements enhanced the story because Moser uses faith as a tool for comparing different types of love. 
When we first meet Ba (as Elizabeth Barrett was called throughout her life by close friends and family) she is introspective, living through her writing, rigid and martyr-like, with aspects of her character forced upon her by a restricted existence but otherwise a tacit willfulness to be obedient. Her father has dictated no child of his shall marry and Ba never thinks of defying her father. Ba allows her life to wither away until the persistence of Robert Browning awakens her to the possibilities of happiness and love.  
The novel reveals Ba's complex emotional the beginning she is nervous, weakhearted, cowardly, unwilling to defy her father's iron hold over her and smothered by fear of the unknown. She wills herself, step by infinitesimal step, to change, take risks and step outside the cage she lives in, as for most of her life she confines herself to her room. We see her joy as she discovers a world of possibilities and overcomes all obstacles. Eventually she escapes to Italy with Robert, becomes a mother and lives a fulfilled life.
At the beginning of the book I did not like Ba at all. It is so hard to relate to someone who has no sense of independence and it is the strangest thing in the world for a father to deny his child love, marriage and for a child to be complacent and accept these dictates. How Do I Love Thee presents many lessons. We can be mired in despair and loneliness, yet the next day can be brighter if we embrace change. At its essence this novel is about a woman's struggle to be more courageous, break free of self-imposed bonds, fulfill her destiny and experience life and love. 
The book contains excerpts of the love letters between E.B.B. and R.B. and also stanzas of their poetry throughout, with Moser helping to reveal  the meanings behind their discourse and literature by expressing their thoughts and feelings. Additional content includes a Dear Reader letter from Nancy Moser, Fact or Fiction chapter by chapter, Discussion Questions, and Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  Here is a great quote from the book:
I shook my head, needing to continue. "You own a past full of love and happiness, Robert, but past is a drop if ink in a pool of clear water. It radiates outwards, seeping into every droplet, coloring the clearness with dark. The stain cannot be removed."
"But surely if more clear water is added, the darkness can be diluted."
I smiled and cupped his face with a hand. "You are my clear water, Robert. Refreshing and brilliant."
My Rating: 3.5

May 5, 2009

Tuesday Thingers

Today's Question from Wendi's Book Corner: Have you looked at your LT Clouds? Were you surprised at any of the larger tags within the Tag Mirror? Any thoughts on the clouds in general?
I look at my LibraryThing clouds only once in awhile.  My Tag Cloud interests me the most for my profile. I like to see what type of genres that have interested me and the larger tags are very reflective for what I usually read.
I took a look at the Common Knowledge Clouds for All LibraryThing (far right link on your clouds menu bar) and what struck me was the largest tag for Top 200 Most Populated Series was Harlequin Superromance. This tag must be popular because of all the libraries that use LibraryThing. Star Trek was another tag that stood out.
Here are some more facts about the All LibraryThing Common Knowledge Clouds. London and New York are the most often mentioned cities in books and where most authors live. Most Authors are buried in the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. "The Doctor" is the most popular character name tag.  Most Authors were educated at either Columbia, Harvard, Oxford or Yale.  Most Authors on LibraryThing are American in nationality. World Wars I and II are the top mentioned events in works.

May 4, 2009

An Award!! Who Me?

Lana at A Hoyden's Look at Literature has given me an I Love Your Blog award here! This is my very first award in bloglandia and I am so surprised. It's just nice to know that more than one person actually visits my blog, let alone become a follower or give me an award. Thank you so much Lana!  I Love Your Blog too.
I'm not too much of a fan of spamming bloggers with awards in this way but in this case this is a great opportunity to mention a few more blogs that are my favourites and I am a dedicated follower of. Here are the seven blogs that I love.
1. Passages to the Past.  Amy's posts always want to make me buy more books! The most recent being The Swan maiden! She also holds great contests. 
2. The Printed Page. Marcia has an eclectic range of book reviews and blog posts and I always look forward to what she will post about next.
3. Medeival Bookworm. Meghan is dedicated to all things historical. I love her reviews.
4. The Good, The Bad and The Unread. These ladies post on a wide range of sub-genres within romance. There are many great books out there I would not have know of but for this blog.
5. The Bookworm.  Naida has these blog posts called Wordless Wednesdays, Quote of the Moment that make me sigh with pleasure. Her recent A Book post with Emily Dickinson quote and accompanying picture was just perfect. 
6. ReadingAdventures.  Marg also posts at Historical Tapestry. Another eclectic poster.  My recent favourite post of hers was where she Trekked herself... I love the Lego characters in posts and on her home page too. How cool is that! (Yes I am a total geek and proud of it). Also...I bought North & South  solely because of following Marg's blog!  Richard.
7. Habitually Chic is my newest favourite blog that was recommended by Deanna Raybourn.  Beautiful pictures of amazing design and artwork.  I can dream can't I!
Here are the rules: 1) Add the logo of the award to your blog. 2) Add a link to the person(s) who awarded it to you. 3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs. 4) Add links to those blogs on your blog. 5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.