The 2009 Book Club List

Ornament made by Janelle, highlighting last year's book list

Ornament made by Janelle, highlighting a previous book list

Whoo-hoo! Our new book club list is in! I look forward to our new book club list every year. When my kids were very little, I never had time to read anything but the backs of cereal boxes and the occasional Parenting Magazine article about whether you should put your baby to sleep on her back or her belly (… it depended on the year). I’d read these random sentences while my children were in the bath, or try to hold the magazine steady while I fed the baby with my other hand, but I had “reader envy” big-time. My co-workers at the newspaper would go on and on about all the great books they were reading, and I’d listen wistfully, longing for the day when I could read two whole pages, straight through, without a small fry needing his shoes tied or a munchkin needing me to wipe the chocolate milk she just spilled across the breakfast bar. And soon — eventually — the day came! Now I read like crazy. And my book club has been a great source of joy — a seriously wonderful group of women who are smart, savvy and make me feel like a grown-up. Here’s what’s in store for 2009:

  • January: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • February: The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri
  • March: Snow, Orham Pamuk
  • April: The Transit of Venus, Shirley Hazzard
  • May: The Hour I First Believed, Wally Lamb
  • June: Zorro: A Novel (P.S.), Isabel Allende
  • July: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • August: The Devil in the White City, Erik Larsen
  • September: When You Are Engulfed in Flames, David Sedaris
  • October: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, David Wroblewski
  • November: A Mercy, Toni Morrison
  • December: A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Have you all read many of these? Tell me what I’m in store for. …

Let’s Make Non-Resolutions

img_2282I hate to be one of the five gazillion bloggers blogging about new year’s resolutions this week, but … well … I am.


Do you guys make resolutions?


According to some statistics I came across this week, about 40% of people make resolutions, which actually seems a bit low to me. I would think it would be higher. It seems like just about everyone I know is talking about their resolutions for the new year (usually involving some sort of food deprivation), and it’s not that I don’t want to join in, or that I don’t admire the fact that they’re doing this, it’s just that I tend to avoid resolutions. To me, resolutions end up feeling like a big ol’ long list of things I haven’t managed to accomplish. And who wants to go into the new year reading that?


Instead, I actually make a list of things I accomplished in the previous year. Now, lest you think I’m just making that up for the sake of this blog, I even ran upstairs and got my lists from previous years to prove that I really do (and took a photo for you, right up there in the corner!). My lists say things like “Got new garage door,” “Reorganized makeup drawer,” “Got photos organized.” One of my lists even says “Great trips for the kids: Catalina, Yosemite, Palm Springs!” because I was really proud of the fact that I got to take my kids to all those places one year. Continue reading

The Rose Parade and Other New Year’s Things

Well, it’s a ridiculously beautiful day here in So. Cal, and I’m sitting here watching the Rose Parade on TV, even though it’s only about 50 miles away from us. You’d think I’d manage to get there one of these years. In years past, I’ve actually collected my family into the car and forced them to drive up to Pasadena after the Rose Parade, when all the floats are on display on Colorado Boulevard. They line them up in rows, and you pay a little admission fee (I think it’s $7 per adult nowadays) and you can wander the aisles and look at the floats up close. I used to go when I was a child, with Ann Marie and her family (when admission was probably a quarter). And even though we were just two giggly 11-year-olds, I recall being truly flabbergasted at seeing the floats up that close: The painstaking work involved at lining little fennel seeds up in 48 rows just to make an eyeball iris is absolutely stunning.

Anyway, I keep dragging my family up there, not to see the actual parade but to see the floats afterward – I don’t know if I just want to recreate the wonder I experienced as a child, or (like Ann Marie’s mom) do my kids the favor of introducing them to amazing work of people with flowers. But the point is, we never quite make it. Continue reading

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