Sitting Around on a Sunday – Summer Reading Bingo Update

After one month, here is what my bingo card looks like:

photo (7)Books read:

Currently on the best seller list:  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  This was a re-read as my book club was discussing it in June (sadly I couldn’t attend) and I wanted to read it again before I see the movie (still on the to-do list).  I didn’t sob as much as I did the first time I read it, but it was still emotionally powerful.  The scenes with Hazel and Gus at the Anne Frank Museum were especially strong this time, as I was there myself in December and remember having to struggle up the very steep steps – I can’t imagine how Hazel with her “crap lungs” could have done it.  If you haven’t already read this book I highly highly recommend it.

Set in another country:  In The King’s Arms by Sonia Taitz (set in England).  This is a novel set in the 1970s who flees her Holocaust survivor parents to study at Oxford.  There she meets a boy from the upper crust of society and love ensues, along with some anti-Semitism.  I was a little disappointed with the overall story, but the writing style was nice.

Young adult novel:  We Were Liars by E.Lockhart.  I have seen so much hype around this book and its shocking ending but to me it was quite a disappointment.  The overall story was rather boring and the “twist” was nothing I hadn’t seen in other books/movies before.  It is about a well-to-do family and their summer homes on an island off the East Coast of the U.S. and the events that happened one fateful summer.  If you are interested in something like this, I suggest waiting a while for all of the hype to die down.

Published in 2014:  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  I absolutely loved this book.  Not only is it set in France during World War II — two of my favorite book subjects — but the writing is absolutely beautiful.  I hope to write more about this book shortly.

Nonfiction:  Nine Lives:  In Search of the Sacred in Modern India by William Dalrymple.  This has been on my shelf forever and I used this bingo to finally read it.  The author focuses on nine religious followers in India, not of the mainstream but of sects of that country’s major religions.  I’ve mentioned before that I would love to visit India but I’m afraid to, and this book didn’t necessarily cure me of that, but I was interested in how different religious practices can be even under the same “umbrella”.

So, not bad progress.  I see that I’m close to getting a complete line right down the middle – I have a couple of graphic novels on the shelf, but as most of my family aren’t avid readers I might have trouble getting any recommendations from them.

There’s still time to play if you haven’t already started your bingo card.  Head to this post at Books on the Nightstand to generate your own bingo.  And if you have been playing along, how does your card look?




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Readers’ Workouts

The Readers’ Workouts meme is hosted at Joy’s Book Blog.   This is a place to share exercise successes and challenges.

Last Wednesday I had a reality check.  I had my workout with the Marine and I struggled. We did some new exercises and I was having trouble with both the form and with the weight.  The Marine adapted the routine when he saw I was struggling but I still felt like a failure.  Once we were done I went into the bathroom and had a good cry.

BUT once I finished with my pity party I went back to the gym floor and did 25 minutes of cardio.  And went back to the gym the next day to try some of the exercises on my own (with lighter weight).  For me, that is huge.  In the past I would have just gone home and avoided the gym for a while, making it harder to go back with each passing day.

I admit I was a bit anxious before yesterday’s workout with the Marine, but I made it through.  It was a challenging workout, again with heavier weight, and I kept up.  Felt kind of proud of myself afterwards.

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Literary Giveaway Blog Hop – Winner


Congratulations to Courtney!  She was the randomly selected winner of my giveaway of The Sun and Other Stars by Brigid Pasulka.

Thank you everyone for visiting and commenting.  I have added a few more books to my to-read list after seeing what you all have been reading this year.


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Readers’ Workouts

The Readers’ Workouts meme is hosted at Joy’s Book Blog.   This is a place to share exercise successes and challenges.

Well, the Marine told me last night that I was his most consistent client, that I never missed a session.  Because I’m a teacher’s pet, I’m glad he noticed my efforts; but then I think:  if you are paying for personal training sessions why aren’t you making your appointments? Sessions aren’t cheap, you pay for them up front as a package, and it is also rude to make the appointment and leave the trainer hanging when you cancel and don’t show up (You pay the gym for the sessions, and the gym pays the trainer when they submit the training session voucher, so a no show means the trainer doesn’t get paid for that time).

That said, I am planning to invest in some more training sessions.  I need that extra push twice a week that the Marine provides.  I work out on my own of course, but I tend to take it easier — plus there is no way I could do barbell squats on my own, I’d probably fall forward and the bar would crush my neck or something (I am a klutz)

Last week on my own I did 2 5k cardio sessions — one a walk/run on the treadmill and another on the elliptical.  I won’t say they were easy, but they definitely weren’t as hard as they would have been a few months ago!  And further to the klutz comment above, I came home on Thursday feeling great after one of these 5k workouts and proceeded to stumble down the stairs in our foyer (thankfully only a bruised elbow, knee and ego).

Fit Reading:  This week’s New Yorker has a great essay by David Sedaris about his fitbit obsession.  If you have a fitbit you will definitely enjoy reading this.

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The Sixteenth of June


A few years ago I bravely attempted to read Ulysses.  I finished it, but I got absolutely nothing out of it, except for being able to say that I finished it.  That dynamic is partly in play in Maya Lang’s novel, The Sixteenth of June, where June and Michael Portman put on an annual Bloomsday party more for show than for any true appreciation for the novel that inspired it.

Like Ulysses, The Sixteenth of June takes place over one day (June 16th), in this case in 2004, the 100th anniversary of the day recounted by James Joyce.  The plans for the Portman’s party are in full swing; however, before the festivities begin the family must attend to the funeral of Michael’s mother, who died alone in a nursing home.

June and Michael’s children, Leopold and Stephen, along with Leo’s fiancee and Stephen’s best friend, Nora,  are the focal point of the story and each are dealing with the day’s events in their own way.  Leo is patiently waiting for Nora to commit to a wedding date so he can continue his life schedule which includes a move to the suburbs; Stephen is the only one who visited his grandmother (secretly) in her final years and is unsure how or whether to proceed in his academic career; and Nora is still grieving for her mother who died a year ago.

I don’t know if it is a spoiler to say that – as in Ulysses – nothing much happens in this novel, but there is a lot of exploration of relationships between family members and the secrets we keep from each other, for good or bad.

The Sixteenth of June is certainly an easier read than Ulysses and I enjoyed it more, but I can’t say that I loved it.  I need to feel something about characters, and here I couldn’t gather any affection or dislike for the 3 main characters. It is a book that will give you things to think about, though,  and would probably be a nice choice for book group discussion.

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Literary Giveaway Blog Hop

literarybloghopI am thrilled to participate once again in leeswammes‘ Literary Blog Hop, a great opportunity for readers to win books and hopefully discover new blogs and fellow book-lovers.

Since it is World Cup season, I am giving away a copy of one of my favorite novels of 2014 so far:  The Sun and Other Stars by Brigid Pasulka.  You don’t have to know anything about soccer/football to enjoy the story, but by the end you will certainly understand the passion that the game generates.

To enter, leave a comment and let me know what has been your favorite book so far this year.  I, of course, have nothing to read so I need the extra recommendations ;-)

I will select a random commenter on the evening of June 25 and will notify the winner by e-mail.  My giveaway is open internationally!

And make sure to hop to the other participating blogs, listed below — you can’t win if you don’t hop!  Have fun!

  1. Leeswammes
  2. The Misfortune of Knowing
  3. Bibliosue
  4. Too Fond
  5. Under a Gray Sky
  6. Read Her Like an Open Book (US)
  7. My Devotional Thoughts
  8. WildmooBooks
  9. Guiltless Reading
  10. Fourth Street Review
  11. Nishita’s Rants and Raves
  12. Word by Word
  13. Words And Peace (US)
  14. Ciska’s Book Chest
  15. Falling Letters
  16. Roof Beam Reader
  17. Readerbuzz
  18. The Relentless Reader (US)
  19. Mom’s Small Victories (US)
  20. Daily Mayo (US)
  1. The Emerald City Book Review (US)
  2. A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
  3. Lost Generation Reader
  4. Booklover Book Reviews
  5. Bay State Reader’s Advisory
  6. River City Reading (US)
  7. Books Speak Volumes
  8. Words for Worms
  9. Wensend
  10. Bibliophile’s Retreat
  11. Readers’ Oasis
  12. The Book Musings
  13. My Book Retreat (N. Am.)
  14. Books on the Table (US)
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Readers’ Workouts

The Readers’ Workouts meme is hosted at Joy’s Book Blog.   This is a place to share exercise successes and challenges.

Things are rolling along well with the Marine.  I see him twice a week for some heavy duty strength training and stress release – once in a while he has me do sets of medicine ball slams which is just throwing a 14 lb medicine ball to the ground but man is it therapeutic after a day at the office.  Now that I am getting stronger, though, he wants me to add some more cardio into my workouts, at least 20 minutes of interval training after I’ve done strength and 30-45 minutes when I’m not.  Again, I am the teacher’s pet so I do what I’m told, sometimes to the extreme.  Last Tuesday I walked/ran 5k on the treadmill after the Marine gave me a lot of stuff for my legs on Monday, so needless to say Wednesday I was not moving very quickly.

It is silly, but I’ve created a rule for myself that I can’t leave the gym floor until I have hit 10,000 steps on my fitbit.  I’ve been at it a week and so far so good – on occasion I’ve caught myself wanting to head to the locker room with a few hundred steps to go knowing that I’ll hit 10,000 steps but I stop and do an extra lap or two (or 4) around the track.  It’s amazing how such a small thing gives me a sense of accomplishment.

And the other day I saw a number on the scale I haven’t seen in a very long time, so I must be doing something right.

Quick review:  I just finished a book called Diet Cults:  The Surprising Fallacy at the Core of Nutrition Fads and a Guide to Healthy Eating for the Rest of Us by Matt Fitzgerald and it was fascinating.  If you have ever fallen prey to any diet fads — paleo, gluten-free, raw food, even Weight Watchers — you will find this book interesting.  It’s not that any of these eating lifestyles are wrong, per se, but that they are not THE ONE TRUE WAY to eat.  There is no perfect way to eat that suits everyone.

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