My Books. My Life.

"Let us read and let us dance – two amusements that will never do any harm to the world." ~Voltaire~

New Home January 19, 2010

Filed under: Chatter — Michelle @ 8:01 pm

My blog is getting a new and improved home. I know what you are all thinking. Didn’t I just move here not that long ago? Yes. And I’m asking you to follow me somewhere else again? Yes. But I promise this time it’s for good. I still wanted more control than I was getting here, so I got my own domain and am now self-hosted.

Check out my new home at:

And follow my new feed at:

Please update your feed readers, blog rolls, or bookmarks. I will be redirecting this page in a week or so to catch any stragglers.

Thanks for continuing to read my ramblings. I look forward to seeing you at my new domain.



1/8/2005 January 8, 2010

Filed under: Chatter — Michelle @ 2:30 pm
Tags: ,

Five years ago today, I married my favorite person in the world. While I don’t think I’m old enough to have a 5-year anniversary, it has apparently come and we must celebrate it. So today we are driving across the state and spending the weekend in St. Augustine. We have a room at a small inn and with the chilly weather we’ve been having, I think it should be a nice cozy weekend (I’m going to pretend it’s the Dragonfly and St. Augustine is Stars Hollow). Luckily, St. Augustine is probably one of the few places in Florida that can be enjoyed in 30-degree weather (unlike the Daytona trip from last January).

Sadly, this means I will not be around to join in the fun with all you Bloggiesta participants, but I hope you all have an enjoyable and productive weekend.  I hope to see all kinds of changes when I return on Monday.

One of My Favorite Wedding Pictures

*I added a soft focus to the picture and I can’t decide if I like it, but I really wanted to play with Picassa.


My Year of Reading (in Numbers) January 1, 2010

Filed under: Chatter,Reading Goals,Year End Review — Michelle @ 1:25 pm

Some Numbers:

  • Books Read: 42 (1 audio)
  • Pages Read: 13,807 + 13.1 hrs audio
  • Average Pages per Book: 337
  • Books Acquired: 156
  • Fiction: 38
  • Nonfiction: 4
  • Female Authors: 26
  • Male Authors: 16
  • New (to me) Authors: 24
  • Most Read Author: Maud Hart Lovelace (5)
  • Kid’s Lit: 13
  • Contemporary Fiction: 11
  • Classics: 6
  • Young Adult: 5
  • Memoirs: 3
  • Plays: 2
  • Essays: 1
  • Short Story Collection: 1
  • Rereads: 3
  • Series Started: 4
  • Longest Book: War and Peace (1,386 pages)
  • Shortest Book: The Tales of Beedle the Bard (107 pages)
  • Library books: 10
  • Books from my collection: 32
  • Challenges finished: 1 (Maud Hart Lovelace)
  • Challenges failed: 1 (Everything Austen – will finish this year)
  • Challenges continuing: 1 (Shelf Discovery)

2009 Goals

  • Read 48 Books (4/month) – Failed
  • Read Northanger Abbey and re-read Pride and Prejudice
  • 12 Classics (1/month) – Failed (I read 6 and was much better earlier in the year)
  • Specific Books
    • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    • Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
    • Peony in Love by Lisa See
    • The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
    • Something Rotten and First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
    • The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (I’m halfway through)
    • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

To sum up: I thought I would read more this year since it’s the first full year that I haven’t been in school, but regular old work life turned out to be more time-consuming than expected. I also didn’t mean to read so much kid’s lit but between Betsy-Tacy, Harry Potter re-reads, and The Mysterious Benedict Society that somehow became my biggest genre. I think it was a successful year even if it wasn’t my best according to numbers.  I discovered the greater book-blogging community, reading challenges, and I participated in my first read-a-thon.  And I enjoyed almost everything that I read which has to be the most important measuring stick.

Thank you all for listening to my ramblings this year and leaving wonderful comments for me.  I’m looking forward to seeing what 2010 brings.


More Christmas Goodies: Reading Accessories Edition December 30, 2009

Filed under: Chatter — Michelle @ 12:01 am
Tags: , , , ,

I got several book-related Christmas gifts that I’m super excited about and want to share with you all.

I first heard about reading wedges on twitter. I’ve been having trouble finding a comfortable reading position because my back has been just generally sore lately and I think my poor posture while reading may be part of the problem.  So the solution was to ask for a reading wedge for Christmas.  My mom bought me the Brookstone Bed Wedge Pillow and I’m already in love with it. I carry it from my bed to the couch to the chair and basically use it wherever I go.  It has made sitting down and reading a book or watching tv or typing on my laptop much more enjoyable.

Another problem of mine has been that I married a high school teacher who gets up very early in the morning.  This generally means that he goes to bed much earlier than I do.  Now, thanks to my new LightWedge reading light, instead of going to sleep at an absurdly early hour, I can happily read the night away without bothering him.  I wanted this type of book light because I thought it would be subtler.  I have only used this in the car so far and it seemed a little bright for the driver (although Ben kept telling me it was fine).  I will test it out further next week when school starts back up.  This was a gift from my in-laws who generously gave me both the original and the paperback size.

Finally, and what might be my favorite gift of all, is my University of Michigan Snuggie.  It’s another gift from the in-laws (my mother-in-law went to Michigan State so she must really love me).  I know you all are thinking, “what does Michelle need a snuggie for, she lives in Florida and it’s never cold there.” Well, (a) I currently have the heat on and while it may not be freezing, it is definitely chilly, (b) I am always cold and the air conditioning is usually set way too low for my comfort, and (c) you can put that maize “M” on anything and I will use it.  If only I had a bowl game to watch while wearing it. [Do you think that’s why the guy in this picture looks angry?].

And there you have it: my reading accessories.  I’ve been in a little bit of a reading rut these last few weeks, so hopefully the opportunity to use these new toys will get me reading again.

Did you get any fun reading-related gifts over the holidays?


Merry Christmas December 25, 2009

Filed under: Chatter — Michelle @ 10:09 am
Tags: ,

I hope everyone has a very happy Christmas, full of family, friends, and of course – lots of books.

I originally saw this video courtesy of Michelle.


What I Found When I Was Wrapping Gifts December 21, 2009

Filed under: Chatter — Michelle @ 9:50 am
Tags: ,

As I checked the mail for the last time before leaving for vacation, I was a little disappointed.  I still had not received my Book Blogger Holiday Swap Gift. It looked like I was just going to have to wait until after Christmas.

[Insert 19-hour drive from Florida to Michigan]

The day after I arrived in Michigan, I went over to my in-laws to pick up the packages that I had shipped there from Amazon.  I took them back to my mom’s and happily sat down to wrap all the gifts.  As I opened one, it was already wrapped.  I didn’t remember asking for gift wrap on any of them so it was a little strange.  I had Ben inspect it to see what it was.  Turns out it was my Holiday Swap gift!  I figured it would be sent to my home in Florida because that’s the address I provided on my form, but my Secret Santa outsmarted me by purchasing it off my amazon wishlist and sending it to the address listed there (BTW, I am very glad that it was not sent to any of the bad addresses on my amazon account – I’m not sure what would have happened if it ended up at my parent’s old house or a random apartment in San Francisco or Tarpon Springs).  What a pleasant surprise.

I think I’ve deduced who my Secret Santa is (tell me if I’m wrong), so thank you Amy of Amy Reads Good Books for my present.  She got me:

I am very excited to get to this last installment of the Betsy-Tacy books. I am also thankful for the two new blogs to read as a result of the Holiday Swap.

Happy Holidays!


As you can see December 16, 2009

Filed under: Chatter — Michelle @ 8:12 pm
Tags: ,

I had some work to do at home tonight so of course I procrastinated. And instead of doing some productive procrastinating like finishing my Christmas shopping or eating dinner, I decided to change my theme.  I get bored easily and am attracted to shiny objects so this may occur with some frequency. Unless you all hate change and let me know that you hate change.  Now I must go eat dinner and get to that work.  But at least I have a pretty theme to think of while I do it.
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you.


Harry Potter: The Exhibition December 1, 2009

Filed under: Chatter — Michelle @ 8:03 pm

Since getting back from Massachusetts, I have had zero time for anything. I’m behind on reading all of your blogs, I’m behind on reading, and behind on every other aspect of my life (including laundry which is going to become a problem very quickly). But, I wanted to throw a quick post out there.

On Saturday, I went to Harry Potter: The Exhibition at the Museum of Science in Boston. It’s an exhibit of props used in the movies and it was simply fabulous. We saw costumes, wands, school books, and entire rooms.  I watched kids get sorted into houses, pulled up a screaming mandrake, scored in quidditch, and sat in Hagrid’s chair.  The exhibit is in Boston until February but future locations are promised on the website (it was in Chicago previously). If you are a Harry Potter fan and you have the opportunity, you should check this out (I’m not sure if I have many New Englanders for readers).

So there is my quick update. And now I need another vacation to catch up on life.


Over the River and Through the Woods… November 25, 2009

Filed under: Chatter,Currently Reading — Michelle @ 8:15 am

Ben and I are on our way to Boston today to spend Thanksgiving with my dad and various other relatives. My dad moved back to Massachusetts shortly after I moved to Florida and as a result I haven’t seen him in over a year (he was a stop on my post-campaign road trip last November).  I never thought this much time would pass without seeing my dad (but hey, life happens) so I am beyond thrilled to be spending the long weekend with him. I have a few posts scheduled so I won’t be completely absent, but I’m sure my online presence will be diminished while I spend some quality time with my family.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving (and a nice weekend to my non-US-readers).

And now I leave you with the books I’m taking with me on my trip:


I’m curious: when do you read? November 21, 2009

Filed under: Chatter — Michelle @ 9:53 am

I’ve already accepted the fact that I don’t read quickly and I don’t dedicate as much time to reading as others do and that is why I will never come close to three digits in one year.  But after this week in which I failed to even pick up a book, I’m wondering when other people read.

I generally read on the weekends and often have weeks like this past one where I didn’t read at all. I regularly read a lot during the day for work and by the time I get home I just want to turn on the tv and not think. I also go to dance class and (less often lately) the gym in the evening and it makes that time disappear. Not to mention the 10,000 television shows I seem to watch these days. In the back of my mind, I’ve had a one book per week goal for this last part of the year. And I’ve come close. But I read it all on the weekend. I just end up reading for hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Occassionally, when I have the apartment to myself or when Ben is working/reading, I read in the evening after work. Maybe I should dedicate one evening a week toward reading. Or an hour each night. Or maybe I’ll win the lottery and just sit on the beach and read all day.

So, to ease my curiosity, when do you read? Do you have a favorite time of day to curl up with a book? Do you read mostly during the week or on the weekends? Do you read on your commute?