February Falling Up

I can only describe February as falling up because health-wise I am up on upswing. I’m still not really running yet (I’ve gone for four under-three-mile runs, but who’s counting?). I’m not really running but I haven’t fallen down either. Hence, falling up.

We had a snow day from work, I took a few days off for my birthday and we took a trip to New Jersey so I was able to get in a fair amount of reading. I spent President’s Day reading, too. Oh, and I almost forgot. I’m barely running so there’s that, too. Needless to say, I’ve been reading a lot. Weirdly enough, for all the reading I’ve done you would think there would be more books. Oh well. Speaking of the books, here they are:

Fiction:

  • Dead Room Farce by Simon Brett. Read in three days.
  • Captivated by Nora Roberts. Read on my iPad in four days.
  • Backup Men by Ross Thomas. Read in five days.
  • The Almond Picker by Simonetta Hornby.
  • Color of Money by Walter Tevis. Read in five days.

Nonfiction:

  • City of Falling Angels by John Berendt.
  • Full Steam Ahead by Rhoda Blumberg.

Series Continuation:

  • Beyond Euphrates by Freya Stark.

For Fun:

  • Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline.

Full Steam Ahead

Blumberg, Rhoda. Full Steam Ahead: the Race to Build a Transcontinental Railroad. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 1996.

Reason read: February is Train Month.

The greed of gold brought out the best and worst in businessmen. Entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to cash in on the craze. For Theodore Judah he saw the need for a transcontinental railroad, not to transport passengers but supplies to the miners and merchants who supported them. Abraham Lincoln climbed aboard the idea of a transcontinental railroad because he envisioned the transportation of troops and supplies. Central Pacific Railroad started laying tracks west. Union Pacific starting laying tracks west. And the race was on.
Blumberg paints the historical picture of the birth of the transcontinental railroad in broad strokes. Written for young adults, she steamrolls through the Chinese labor used to build the railroad, the blasting of the mountains that stood in their way, conquering the arid desert, the conflict with the “wild” Indians, even the slaughter of buffalo, until she reaches the grand conclusion of the last spike celebration.

Author fact: Blumberg has written several books on historical events, but Full Steam Ahead is the only one I am reading.

Book trivia: Full Steam Ahead is meant for young adults so there are plenty of amazing photographs and illustrations. I appreciated the portraits and the political cartoon.

Nancy said: Pearl said a great way to learn about most things is to “read a really great children’s book on the subject” (p 200) and she listed Blumberg for learning about the transcontinental railroad.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Riding the Rails: Railroad History” (p 200).


February Progress

I have been seeing a chiropractor for over a month and have all but stopped running. At first, I admit, this bothered me to no end. Now, I’m okay with it for all the books I have been reading. And speaking of books, here is February’s plan for The Books:

Fiction:

  • The Almond Picker by Simonetta Agnello ~ in honor of Almond Blossom festival in Sicily.
  • The Color of Money by Walter Tevis ~ in honor of Tevis’s birth month.
  • Dead Room Farce by Simon Brett ~ in honor of February being Theater month.

Nonfiction:

  • City of Falling Angels by John Berendt~ in honor of February being the month of the Venice Carnival (AB/print).
  • Full Steam Ahead: the Race to Build a Transcontinental Railroad by Rhoda Blumberg~ in honor of February being Train Month.

Series continuations:

  • Beyond Euphrates by Freya Stark ~ in honor of Freya’s birthday in January.

For fun:

  • Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline ~ because a friend recommended it (E-book).

There might be room for more titles, considering Dead Room Farce and Full Steam Ahead are barely 200 pages apiece. We’ll see…


November 09 is…

November is a bundle of nerves dressed as confidence. I am trying to be brave in the face of unknown in Indecision City. Thanksgiving looms large.

For books the list is short. Two of the chosen titles are monsters (each over 500 pages long):

  • Dingley Falls by Michael Malone (in honor of Malone’s birth month)
  • Empire Express by David Haward Bain ~ in honor of National Travel Month
  • Invitation to Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey ~ in honor of November being the best time to visit India
  • Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling ~ in honor of November being National Writing Month
  • Last Lion: Visions by William Manchester ~ in honor of Winston Spencer Churchill

I will be lucky if I get to Last Lion since Empire Express is over 900 pages long. The other book I’m hoping to get to if there is time is Last Best Place by various authors because the best time to visit Montana is November and I’ve always wanted to go.

For LibraryThing and the Early Review Program I am reading Ostrich Feathers by Miriam Romm. I was notified in early October I would be getting it but since the book actually didn’t arrive until October 24th I have decided to call it a November book.  I also got word I will be receiving a November book. I guess I will be very busy!

ps~ I just received word my all-time favorite author, Barbara Kingsolver, is coming out with a new novel. Holy freak me out! I simply cannot wait! YAY!


February (2009) Was…

February started the month with a big ole bang. First, there was the Gee-I-Couldn’t-Have-Predicted-the-Winner-of-This-Matchup Superbowl. Then, there was me. Turning 40. Then, add in Smiley’s birthday, a rockandroll party and approval for financing, a memorial and a visit from mom… all in the first week! Like I said, February started with a bang! Then it turned into the wait and see month…which ended in a house!

For books it it was:

  • Cult of Personality by Annie Murphy Paul. A fun, informative read!
  • The Extraordinary Voyage of Pytheas the Greek by Barry Cunliffe. Not so fun.
  • The Good Patient by Kristin Waterfield Duisberg ~probably one of my favorites of the list.
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker ~ really, really hard to read. So sad!
  • Fool by Frederick Dillen ~ very psychological.
  • The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman ~ very cute.
  • Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban ~ speaking of cute!
  • Not a Day Goes By by E. Lynn Harris ~ a very, very quick read in honor of Black History Month
  • A Reconstructed Corpse by Simon Brett in honor of National Theater Month even though the acting in this mystery doesn’t take place on a stage…
  • Tracks Across America by Leonard Everett Fisher ~ in honor on National Railroad Month
  • The Powers That Be by David Halberstam ~ in honor of Scholastic Journalism month

As you can see, I did a lot of reading during that “wait and see” time! In the end, February was full of emotions as well as books and finally, finally a house!

I didn’t get to A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and I started When the Time Comes by Paula Span – an Early Review book (review coming in March).