Mar 15, 2008

Weekend Assignment #207: Too Much News?

The Weekend Assignment is posted each Friday at Outpost Mâvarin; a roundup of responses goes up the following Thursday.

Weekend Assignment #207: Are you a news junkie, or not so much? Do you seek out news on tv, radio, in newspapers or online, or are you sick of the endless rehashing of the same issues? I realize it's all a continuum, from "I never watch the news" to "I keep it on all day, and read several newspapers" (or whatever). Maybe you vacillate, depending on what's going on in the world or your own life. What's your current level of interest?

I sometimes watch the news all day long and other days I just can't take it. I am definitely sick of the rehashing of the same issue. Oh the days when I watch the news I start with World News on ABC and then switch to one of the other networks (NBC or CBS). I try to only watch one half an hour of the local news so I don't have to see the same story three or more times. I almost only get my news from TV. I rarely read the newspaper and rarely look at news online unless I heard something in passing and need more info.

I am a bit of an entertainment new junky. I have always watched Entertainment Tonight since I was in elementary school. I also like to watch Extra and Access Hollywood. A lot of those shows are filled up with a lot more gossip than I am interested in. I also really like Showbiz Tonight. I am so happy they finally lessened their coverage of Britney Spears.

In the past week or so I have rarely watched the news. Sometimes everything is just too sad and I don't want to hear about the world. Sometimes I watch The View for their Hot Topics. It is like watching the news but then they make me laugh about it. I am pretty bored with the political scene but at the same time I like knowing that someone else is keeping track of it.

Extra Credit: Is there a particular news story you have been following recently?

A few weeks ago ABC did a profile on a girl with autism who had learned to communicate with her family and others with a computer. That was an amazing story. I also heard mention of her on Ellen's show.

Mar 14, 2008

Bought Another UNbirthday Present

I went to the grocery store today. I never buy books at the grocery store because I don't pay full price for books. But today I came across a bin of discounted books. So what do you think happened?

I have never heard of this author but the cover says "Winner of the Pulitzer Prize." And as much as I am a book junkie I am also a prize winner junkie. I have a hard time passing up a book that says this. This one was only $2.99.

I lifted the following blurb from
The legendary sportswriter Red Smith once remarked that writing was not difficult: "All you do is sit down in front of a typewriter and open up a vein." Imagine for a moment the accomplishments of Herman Wouk. Apparently not content to rest on a duly deserved reputation for such works as THE CAINE MUTINY and THE WINDS OF WAR, to name just two of his novels, he continues to publish at the age of 88. Lest anyone believe that he is living on his past, A HOLE IN TEXAS, his most recent effort, is a lively and entertaining novel, enjoyable and easy to read.
I especially like that quote from Red Smith. Sounds like I didn't make that bad of an investment!

Mar 12, 2008


It isn't my birthday, but I am pretending it is. All month long I am celebrating my UNbirthday!

On Monday, you may recall, I asked for "all the rest of the books in the world." And I am making great progress towards that goal!
Yesterday I bought over 40 new to me books.
But, more about that later.

You know what a birthday isn't complete without?
The first surprise came on Monday from Brittanie.
I won A Soldier's Family
by Cheryl Wyatt.

Next one came today.
I won Sherry's very generous 100,000 Hit Giveaway.
The Book of Life: An Illustrated History of the Evolution of Life on Earth by the late Stephen Jay Gould and a nicely framed set of dinosaur stamps featuring 2 dinosaur scenes painted by famous Dinotopia author James Gurney.

Now for the books I bought for myself.
There are WAY TOO MANY to list here. But I will tell you that I spent about $30 total on them.
2 I gave to an 8 year old girl who lives down the street from me.
She was so excited.
I got one picture book for my daughters.
Time to Sleep
For some reason I have been thinking a lot about Anne Tyler. I resolved that the next time I saw one of her books I was going to buy it.
I am not familiar with her work at all , just her name.
I have no idea if Saint Maybe is any good, but for 50 cents, who cares?

I have read and enjoyed the first three books of the Princess Diaries Series. I happy picked up Meg Cabot's All-American Girl.

I have seen A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash in the store a couple of times before. But I admit it, I'm cheap. The last time I saw it it was $2. But this time it was 50 cents and found it's way home with me.

And finally,
I have heard about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time a million times. I have always wanted to read it and now I can!

I didn't do too bad, did I?
So now YOU have to tell me if you have read any of these books and please, please share you experience with me.
You can also check out my shelfari bookshelf and see if you have any of my other books.
I would love to hear from you.

Mar 11, 2008

My name is Megan, and I'm a Bookaholic.

The first step is accepting you have a problem right?

Well I wanted to tell you guys all about my adventures today, but I am just not feeling up to it. I have had a cold for over a week and have chosen not to whine about it but I can last no longer. The cold is over but now I am practically bedridden with a HORRIBLE allergy attack. I just feel quite miserable. So telling you about my new (to me) 40+ books is going to have to wait for a little bit.

Mar 10, 2008

Let's Party

Thanks to Florinda at The 3 R's: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness for letting me know about this.

The Weekend Assignment is posted each Friday at Outpost Mâvarin; a roundup of responses goes up the following Thursday.

Weekend Assignment #206: My birthday is coming up on Monday. In the grand tradition of the Beatles and my mom*, I magnanimously declare this to be your birthday, too. So, what would you like for your birthday? (And no, I won't actually be buying it for you. Sorry!)
*My mom once bought me a parakeet on her birthday. (That would be Karen's mom, not Megan's)

It is funny that the assignment involves it being my birthday today. My birthday was just two months ago, but I found it slightly disappointing and thought that maybe I would declare a new, imaginary birthday for a little pick me up. Luckily, Karen, you did it for me. Now it isn't technically still the weekend, but since I just found out about this today you are just going to have to forgive me.

Now for my birthday I would like, first and foremost, a pen mailed to me every week so that I will always be able to find one. No matter how often I buy pens I can never seem to keep track of them and find them when I need them, especially when I feel most inspired to write.

Secondly, I would like A Cartload of Scrolls: 100 Poems. This book is a collection of eight-line poems crafted after the style of ancient Chinese poet Han-Shan. Recently I have been obsessed with ancient and cultural poetry. I am very interested in reading James P. Lenfestey's take on these Chinese poems.
You think you want the book too? Well you may be in luck! Diane at carp(e) libris reviews is very generously giving away a copy and is actually how I fell in love with the book in the first place. So go ahead, stop by and enter. You know you want to. And if you don't? All the better for me! Better chance of me getting my birthday wish.

Thirdly, I would like all the rest of the books in the world. But if I can't have those then I will settle for Violet on the Runway written by Melissa Walker. She is celebrating the release of it's sequel, Violet by Design. A big congratulations to her. So why do I want THIS book so badly? First of all, even though I am just turning 27, I have preferred reading young adult novels for the past 15 years or so. Sure, I stopped technically being a young adult when I graduated high school, but that doesn't stop me from absolutely loving it! Violet is not only a teen, but a teen who is entering into the fashion world. And recently after reading The Devil Wears Prada and Falling Out of Fashion, I may have gotten bitten by the fashion world bug and am desperate to read more!

Extra Credit: Do you ever tell anyone what present(s) you want in real life?

I rarely tell people what presents I want for my birthday or any special occasion. I do make a special effort to point out a lot of things that I like but I don't like to ruin the surprise and say what I really want. Then I question how genuine the gift is, would they have thought of it on their own? I am slightly obsessive about a gift being a representation of love, and part of picking out exactly the right gift is a direct reflection on how much the person loves you.

Technical Difficulties


Coffee Break

In honor of Rhonda's contest at A Mother's Heart, I ask "What kind of coffee are you?"

Rhonda is giving away a one pound bag of Starbuck's coffee. You know you want it. Click here to enter by leaving a comment on her post.

You Are a Frappacino

At your best, you are: fun loving, sweet, and modern

At your worst, you are: childish and over indulgent

You drink coffee when: you're craving something sweet

Your caffeine addiction level: low

What Kind of Coffee Are You?

If you do the quiz make sure to leave a note in the comments so I can stop by for a visit.
And if you are bored, check this out.

Mar 9, 2008

The Sunday Salon #1

The Sunday

In honor of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's recent birthday, I decided to read "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings." Besides a half hearted attempt to start Love in the Time of Cholera I have never read any of his work.

Does anyone listen to or read The Writer's Almanac? I love the little tidbits it can always provide me with. This part of the broadcast I found particularly interesting.
One day in January of 1965, the complete first chapter of One Hundred Years of Solitude came to him suddenly while he was driving his car from Mexico City to Acapulco. He came home that night and told his wife not to bother him and locked himself in a room for eight to 10 hours a day for the next 18 months and wrote the novel.

Recently I have been particularly interested in first lines of books and short stories. I have been doing a little study on them exploring why and how they are successful story openers. Marquez's short story starts:
On the third day of rain they had killed so many crabs inside the house that Pelayo had to cross his drenched courtyard and throw them into the sea, because the newborn child had a temperature all night and they thought it was due to the stench.
When I read these first lines I didn't know what to think and I still don't. Marquez is know for his use of magical realism blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. These first lines are very real, dropping me into a new world.

When Pelayo returns to the beach he finds an old man who is later determined to be an angel, but "nothing about him measured up to the proud dignity of angels."

If an angel landed in your life how would you treat it?
Would your motivations change if you knew it intended you harm?

The people of Pelayo's villaage treat the angel as a show and not as a thing of reverence, as a "circus animal."

I am not sure if I liked this story. I am still very confused by the whole concept of magical reality. There is a faith that you have to have in the story, you just have to trust it as real and I haven't aquired that yet. Though I am interested in revisiting this story again to see what else I can learn from it. Have you read this story? What was your reaction to it?

If you are interested in the story but don't think you have time to read it. Why not stop here to one of my favorite Podcasts and have a listen to it. I think it is worth a listen either way and now that my kids are gone for a few days I will be taking advantage and listening to it myself.
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