Dewey’s Read-a-Thon: End of Event Meme

dewey
Thank you so much to Andi and Heather for doing such a great job!

  • Which hour was most daunting for you?

None of them! The first time I took part in the readathon, I felt a bit stressed out. There seemed to be so much going on: books to read, updates to post, photos to take, blogs to read, mini-challenges and all. But I soon figured out that I should just do whatever I can do! This readathon I didn’t really read much. I didn’t really update my blog often either! But I still had a great time!

  • Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

COMICS! All kinds of comics, like Lumberjanes!

  • Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Not really!

  • What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

Team Popper was excellent!

  • How many books did you read?

3!

  • What were the names of the books you read?

Ms Marvel Volume 7: Dark Reign – Brian Reed, Patrick Olliffe (Illustrations)

The Complete Essex County – Jeff Lemire

In the kitchen with Alain Passard – Christophe Blain and Alain Passard
This is the first time where I’ve read nothing but comics for the readathon!

  • Which book did you enjoy most?
  • Which did you enjoy least?

I loved them all. They were so different. One is a superhero comic. The second about life in rural Canada. The third is non-fiction and describes how chef Alain Passard of L’Arpege (a three Michelin star restaurant in Paris) works and creates his food. All three comics were great reads.

  • If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

I wasn’t a Cheerleader but I just wanted to add again that Team Popper was fantastic!

  • How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I can’t wait!

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon Update Post

dewey

Please note: I’ll be updating this post for the rest of the day and not putting up any new posts!

 

Hour 16 – 848pm in California

  

Another book down! I finished Jeff Lemire’s excellent graphic novel The Complete Essex County. It was my first ever book by Lemire and I really loved it!

  
I’m still working on Cress by Marissa Meyer, this is book three of the Lunar Chronicles.

What else I’ve been up to in the four hours since my last update:

My two-year-old had a good solid hour-plus long nap! Hooray! That’s how I managed to finish The Complete Essex County. Then we went for an early dinner at Sweet Tomatoes – soup, salad, dessert! Yeah, this day is all about the dessert, as any good readathon should be.

And now, it’s nearly 9 here, the kids are sound asleep, I’m showered and in my pyjamas, with a face mask on! So ready to read some more!

 

Hour 12 – 410 pm In California

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?

 

The Complete Essex County by Jeff Lemire. And it is excellent

2. How many books have you read so far?

 

Just one! Ms Marvel Vol 7: Dark Reign

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

I’ve yet to get started on Lumberjanes issue 3 etc. I’m saving it for when I start lagging

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

 

(Trying to read earlier this morning while the kids played. My younger boy turned two yesterday so they have new things to occupy themselves with for a bit!)


With two kids aged 2 and 4, my life is full of interruptions. So I’m used to it. I just try to read whenever I can, as I do everyday. Like in the car on the way to lunch. And now during “quiet time” when 2yo is napping and 4yo is supposed to play by himself for a while. 

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

No surprises really. But wanted to say it’s been such fun seeing everyone’s posts and updates on Instagram!



Hour 9 – 135pm California time

  

I took part in the Hour 6 challenge that Memory was hosting. 

  

Took my 4yo to his gym class. The 2yo went too (here he is doing some colouring) so that meant I didn’t get any reading done. 

 

Pound cake with ice cream and caramelised bananas

Then we went out for Italian food at Santana Row. The kids had a great time with their ziti and free ice cream. Then a walk around Santana Row to see all the fancy cars – Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, Shelby Cobra, Audi R8. Plus the Tesla showroom. Yup a car showroom in a mall.

 

So plenty of doings and almost no reading for me! I did manage to read a bit of Essex County by Jeff Lemire in the car while the husband was driving. But that’s ok. I’m still sort of readathoning today by seeing what everyone else is doing, mostly on Instagram.

Still no books finished yet. But I’m sure I’ll get something read soon!

Hour 4 update

So those three hours flew by. What did I do?

– had breakfast


– got the kids up and ready and breakfasting

– one lot of laundry is in the washing machine

– read a few pages of Cress

– read more of Ms Marvel Vol 7: Dark Reign

Now the kids are playing with their trains and I’m off to read a bit and see what everyone is up to. How’s your readathon going so far?

Hour 0: Intro Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband and two littles. F is 4 and C just turned a big old TWO yesterday!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

lumberjanes4

My stack is a virtual one this year and it is full of comics. I think I’m looking forward to reading Lumberjanes as the first three issues that I’ve read were such fun. Then again, I’ve also been so curious about what Spike’s up to.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Leftover birthday cake!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I lead the joyful, frustrating life of a stay-home mum to my two littles. I wrote about a typical day in my life here, if you’re interested! Let’s see what I can tell you about myself. My husband and I are originally from Singapore and we met on a blind date! Not long after we got together, we were off to different countries for a year – England for me and Illinois for him. After he finished his Masters, he moved to San Francisco for his new job, I returned to Singapore after mine. So it was a pretty long long-distance relationship, but somehow it worked!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I always wish I could really set aside the whole day for reading, but with two young kids (and no family who lives nearby – or in the same country), it’s a bit tricky readathoning! How I did it the last time was to squeeze in reading time whenever possible. Having tons of ebooks on my Nexus 7 helps plenty so that I can read when we’re heading out for lunch or something like that! So I’m going to be doing pretty much the same thing as the last readathon!

Well that’s it for my first post. I hope to be able to do a few more updates throughout the day, but will also be Instagramming @olduvaireads

My Readathon Stack!

dewey

Oh it is coming up so quick! With all the ruckus about the house and the doings of usual things I nearly forgot. Dewey’s Readathon is almost here! 

I’ve managed to put together a bit of a pile. Unfortunately it is largely a digital pile of e-books so no photos of towering stacks of bookish deliciousness here. Still, I think some of these covers are drool-worthy.
Well thanks to my free trial at Scribd, plenty of comics!

One of the first things I started reading was Ms Marvel by Brian Reed. I loved Ms Marvel by G Willow Wilson – confusing right? Essentially Reed’s Ms Marvel is Carol Danvers, a blondie who has Tony Starks on speed dial and has people like Captain America drop in. Her superpower is the ability to absorb energy and project it as photons. Wilson’s Ms Marvel is Kamala Khan, a teenage Pakistani American with shapeshifting abilities. Also Danvers’ costume is pretty much a very high cut swimsuit with a ridiculous red sash that doesn’t do anything. Oh and thigh high boots. Khan’s costume is far less scanty and looks more practical. Just look at the difference between those two covers. They are very different reads. Unfortunately, Kamala Khan isn’t available on Scribd so I’m still on hold for the next issue at my library!

Other comics I’ve added to my Readathon virtual stack

Everything by Jeff Lemire that’s available. Because I’ve heard good stuff and my library doesn’t have it.

lumberjanes4

Lumberjanes #4 to #7. My library’s Overdrive collection had #1 – 3 so I’m determined to read the rest

Some interesting looking graphic novels by European artists
abelard
Abelard – Renaud Dillies, Régis Hautière
enchantment
An Enchantment – Christian Durieux
Then I saw Spike! I love the Buffy series – and the comics were fun to read. I never quite finished watching Angel though… one day! But Spike! Oh he is so much fun. Hopefully the comics are too.
spike
Spike: Asylum – Brian Lynch, Franco Urru

Some new-to-me graphic novels that had interesting covers

dearbelovedstranger
Dear Beloved Stranger – Dino Pai

lovecapes
Love and Capes series – Thomas F. Zahler

blue

Blue – Pat Grant

woods
The Woods series – James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas

And there are still many more. Too many to list!

 

And because I can’t just read comics all day- ok so I really can but just in case I’m in the mood for something else, I have two fun (non-comic) reads. Also e-books, from the library. Did I mention that I really like e-books? I love visiting the library but it’s not quite so easy to browse the adult section when there’s a 4-year-old and an almost-2 in tow…!

 

cress

Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) – Marisa Meyer

 

somedaysomeday

Someday, Someday, Maybe – Lauren Graham

I’m guessing that is plenty, plenty, plenty.

Are you readathon-ing? What have you got on your readathon pile? 

Oh hey if you’re interested in checking out Scribd, here’s a link to a free two-month trial. If you use my link to sign up, I get a free month myself. It’s a win-win!

Top Ten All Time Favourite Authors!

toptentues

 

This week’s question from the Broke and the Bookish is:

Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors!

Woah Tough one there!

Ursula K Le Guin

Her Earthsea series was pretty much the first fantasy series I ever stepped into. I never know exactly how the book fell into my teenaged lap but whoever put it there, or maybe it was just fate, I will eternally be grateful. I reread the quartet nearly every year. It just means a lot to me. She means a lot to me.

Octavia Butler

Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents, Fledgling, Kindred. All amazing reads.

Kage Baker

Yup, yet another fantasy series writer! Kage Baker died in 2010 but left us with plenty of books, including her fantastic The Company series starring the amazing Mendoza, a botanist-time traveller-immortal sort of.

Noel Streatfeild

Her Ballet Shoes book was just one of her books that I read and reread (and reread) as a kid. Others include Apple Bough and Curtain Up. Oddly enough I didn’t really like ballet class myself, and gave up after Grade Three.

NK Jemisin

Ok so another fantasy writer! But Jemisin is awesome. She really is. She blew me away with her Inheritance Trilogy, and then with her Dreamblood series! The worlds she creates are magical, dark and diverse. This library lover actually owns all these books of hers, which means a lot.

Carol Shields

Aha, not a SF/Fantasy writer. I have a soft spot for Shields as The Stone Diaries was a book we did at junior college in Singapore (that’s like the last two years of high school). We had a literature class that focused on the A-level requirement for literature, known as ‘Comment and Appreciation’, where essentially you are given unseen texts and have to write critical appreciations on them. Our teacher tried to expose us to different types of literature, like poetry, more contemporary lit and so on. And one book I distinctly remember was The Stone Diaries. And how I loved every word of it. More importantly, it made me really want to READ again. I don’t know about you, but my teenaged years were somewhat void of books. There was a lot of angsty and emo music, boy-obsession, stress over school and parents and all that, but I seriously do not recall much reading for leisure going on. For me The Stone Diaries changed that. It made me want to get serious about reading.

Jane Austen

I have to attribute this one again to literature class in junior college. Funny how that happens. Who would have thought? But yes, my first ever encounter with Jane Austen was at the age of 16 or 17, with Pride and Prejudice. Having to analyze a book might put some off it forever, but it really still is my favourite Austen.

Sara Wheeler

I had to throw in a non-fiction writer in the midst. And Wheeler is an excellent one. She’s very personable, has a great eye for details, and just makes you want to journey with her wherever she goes, even in freeze-your-nose-off Antarctica.

Right, so that makes eight. I’m sure I have more but I can’t think of any right now. This is a very last minute post!

It’s Monday and…I’m accumulating my Readathon pile!

itsmondayIt’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

 

 

 

 

And it’s Monday again. But hey, last week I managed one post that was not about “It’s Monday”! Woot!

My terrible not-yet-two (he will be on Friday though!) has been, well, really terrible. He clings to me, wants to hold my hand, or sit on my lap or be carried. Nothing much gets done. I can distract him for a while but that doesn’t last.

 

 

  

 

Yet we managed to get a party held. It was a joint birthday party for the kids and we had a few friends over and everyone seemed to have fun, although there were some tears when a toy was fought over and sand got into someone’s eyes.

 

 


And on Sunday we ventured out to Japantown in San Francisco. Yes in my six years of residing in the Bay Area, I’ve not stepped into Japantown before. And it so happened to be the day of the Cherry Blossom Festival parade! It was packed and a bit chilly, the littler guy refused to walk, refused to have Daddy carry him, and so it was up to me. Mummy carry! Don’t want Daddy! was the refrain of the day. Well despite the crowds we managed to grab a good lunch, snag a good spot to watch the parade and had a good time. It was so sweet watching the little kids from Japanese preschools and bilingual programs marching away. The fire truck and police officers on horseback are always fun to watch. And there were some dances and music from different Japanese cultural groups too. We’ll have to do this again next year!

 

 

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

 

hisforhawk

H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald

Can I tell you how much I am enjoying this book? It’s kind of weird to be reading a book that has to do with goshawks, because what do I care about them? But this book is also about the sudden death of her father, and unexpectedly (that is, for me), about author T.H. White. It is a book I’m taking in slowly, because Macdonald is the kind of writer whose writing you wander around and sit in and think about and appreciate.

honeydew

Honeydew: Stories – Edith Pearlman

I’ve been admiring quite a few of her stories, but to be honest, I’ve skimmed through a couple and skipped one entirely.

 

 

Adding to my e-reader:

image

A TON of comics! Thanks to my two-month free trial subscription on Scribd. Want to give it a try? Click on my link here for your very own two months free!

Watching:

gg

I’m turning to my comfort re-watch, Gilmore Girls, in this time of child-inflicted headaches.

(Bonus link: 16 times Gilmore Girls Accurately Summed up Life – so true)

Eating:

Cake. Because there are two birthday cakes in my fridge calling my name.

Drinking:

Tea. In an attempt to cut through the sugar. Who am I kidding? I need some cheese for that. :P

Cooking:

Beef and bok choy noodles. Fried rice. Something in the slow cooker, maybe a chicken stew?

Browsing:

millennial

Why is your millennial crying??

How to make scented diffusers – Food52

The 2015 Impac shortlist is out!

And so is the shortlist for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

This article on Dashboard Confessional at The Atlantic – I was kinda into them for a while. Very emo.

Last week:

I read:

fortoday

For today I am a boy – Kim Fu

ricemother.jp
The Rice Mother – Rani Manicka

understandingcomics
Understanding Comics: the invisible art – Scott McCloud


Lumberjanes #1 to #3 Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Brooke Ellen

SO MUCH FUN!

Need more! More!

Pleasantville by Attica Locke

pleasantville

Jay Porter is back.

He was the star of Attica Locke’s intense Black Water Rising, published in 2009.

But I didn’t know Jay Porter until I signed up for this Pleasantville tour. I just jumped onto the tour bandwagon because  I saw Attica Locke’s name and decided, yes, I have to get on this tour. Because her Cutting Season was a great read. Not an easy read. But it was a little dark and twisty and as a result quite intriguing.

I didn’t know that Pleasantville takes place fifteen years after Black Water Rising. You don’t necessarily have to read Black Water Rising before Pleasantville although I would highly recommend it. It took me just a few days to read Black Water Rising. It startled me with its intensity and its complexity. And I couldn’t wait to read Pleasantville – or really, anything else by Attica Locke!

Here’s the synopsis of Pleasantville:

In this sophisticated thriller, lawyer Jay Porter, hero of Attica Locke’s bestseller Black Water Rising, returns to fight one last case, only to become embroiled once again in a dangerous game of shadowy politics and a witness to how far those in power are willing to go to win.

Fifteen years after the events of Black Water Rising, Jay Porter is struggling to cope with catastrophic changes in his personal life and the disintegration of his environmental law practice. His victory against Cole Oil is still the crown jewel of his career, even if he hasn’t yet seen a dime thanks to appeals. But time has taken its toll. Tired and restless, he’s ready to quit.

When a girl goes missing on Election Night, 1996, in the neighborhood of Pleasantville—a hamlet for upwardly mobile blacks on the north side of Houston—Jay, a single father, is deeply disturbed. He’s been representing Pleasantville in the wake of a chemical fire, and the case is dragging on, raising doubts about his ability.

The missing girl was a volunteer for one of the local mayoral candidates, and her disappearance complicates an already heated campaign. When the nephew of one of the candidates, a Pleasantville local, is arrested, Jay reluctantly finds himself serving as a defense attorney. With a man’s life and his own reputation on the line, Jay is about to try his first murder in a case that will also put an electoral process on trial, exposing the dark side of power and those determined to keep it.

It is marketed as a thriller and it is indeed, thrilling.

And like Black Water Rising, there is far more to the story than just the murder.

There are high stakes here, not just because a young girl has been killed, but because of who has been accused of her murder. There is much manipulation going on, deep and dark family secrets, money under the table, skeletons in the closet, and not to mention all that politicking. Jay is reluctant to be a part of this at first, he is recently widowed and struggling to raise his children. But he reluctantly steps into the courtroom, becomes entangled in this major mess and finds a target on his back.

When I finished Black Water Rising and started on Pleasantville, there was a big part of me that was hoping for things to have gone well for Jay Porter. I had felt very invested in his life after finishing the first book and just wanted the best for him. I’m sure I’m not the only reader who feels that way about characters! So it was a little sad to learn that things aren’t going so well for him. But I like how Locke doesn’t just give in to her characters – or her readers. It’s not about “and they lived happily ever after” here. This is life, and life is hard.

Locke is truly a master at weaving an intriguing web of murder-mystery, the campaign drama of local politics, social commentary, community and more into an intelligent, complex story. It is an intense read, but wonderfully so.

 

Attica LockeAttica Locke is the author of the widely acclaimed debut novel Black Water Rising, which was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, an Edgar Award, and an NAACP Image Award, and was shortlisted for the UK’s Orange Prize. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

Find out more about Attica at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

tlc logo

I received this book for review from its publisher and TLC Book Tours

Check out the tour schedule:

Tuesday, April 14th: Bibliophiliac

Tuesday, April 14th: Crime Fiction Lover

Wednesday, April 15th: Jen’s Book Thoughts

Friday, April 17th: Olduvai Reads

Monday, April 20th: Much Madness is Divinest Sense

Tuesday, April 21st: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Wednesday, April 22nd: Book Loving Hippo

Monday, April 27th: FictionZeal

Tuesday, April 28th: Living in the Kitchen with Puppies

Wednesday, April 29th: M. Denise Costello

Thursday, April 30th: A Bookworm’s World

Monday, May 4th: My Bookish Ways

Tuesday, May 5th: Reading Reality

Thursday, May 7th: Kritters Ramblings

Friday, May 8th: Drey’s Library

Tuesday, May 12th: Tina Says …

Nooo…… it’s Monday again??

itsmondayIt’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

 

  

   

 

  

 

It was spring break here last week. No road trips as the husband was too busy with work. The kids still had fun at the playgrounds and parks, at the library, eating their favourite pizza and all that. Wee Reader also had his annual allergy skin test and visit with his allergist. That was a teary morning. Luckily after the initial markings, he calmed down and later just got bored as I talked with his doctor. Our plans to go to Happy Hollow on Friday didn’t work out as I wasn’t feeling well. But we made it to the city on Sunday, and the kids even got to see Daddy’s new office! I, on the other hand, nursed a headache on the way home. Luckily I wasn’t driving! It was a long day. I even hit my 10,000 steps before dinnertime.

And not long after we got home, my youngest got a fever! He had been coughing a little on the way home but otherwise had been his usual very cheery unfazed self all day. Poor thing. He was so listless and unhappy at dinnertime. And he usually has such a good appetite, some days eating more than his big brother even (although you wouldn’t guess it by his size), so it was hard seeing him eat just a few bites of rice, a bit of soup, he didn’t even want his favourite fruits. That was a week of almost everyone taking turns to feel unwell. Luckily except for the husband. I guess he avoids germs by not being at home all day!

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

I feel like I’m in the middle of so many books. Last week with the being sick and the spring break and trying to get out and do stuff and also squeezing in some writing for my other project, I didn’t manage to get much reading done.

honeydew

 

Honeydew: Stories – Edith Perlman

hisforhawk

H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald

fortoday

For Today I am a Boy – Kim Fu

 

ricemother.jp

 

Watching:

Anthony Bourdain’s  Layover. I watched the Singapore episode, well, cos it’s Singapore. Bourdain’s been to Singapore many times and I’m always so glad to see him eat all kinds of things there like chwee kueh, fish head curry, briyani and everyone’s favourite, Chicken Rice. He probably also should have eaten nasi Padang, kata toast, Chinese rojak and Indian rojak. And satay. And laksa. But that’s just me. And he only had 30 hours layover in Singapore (hence the title). So I forgive him. 

Eating:

  

Lots of leftovers. We have leftover pizza from The Plant Cafe in SF, leftover Thai food, leftover home cooked chicken wings and rice. So something will work itself out for lunch. 

 
Drinking:

 

Lots and lots of water

 

Cooking: 

Fried rice

Maybe an attempt at mee goreng

 
Browsing:

Last week:

I read:    

Well I didn’t finish any books last week other than No Humans Involved – Kelley Armstrong. This was book seven of her Women of the Otherworld series and I realize that it’s a series that I turn to once in a while, mostly when I need a quick read that won’t work over my brain too much for instance if I’m not feeling well or if I just needing a break from other books. It is like a comfort read. Although the books change perspective, all the characters are familiar, as is the background. 

 
I posted:

 

 

It’s Monday and I’m lagging behind!

itsmondayIt’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

 

 

 

Last week has been a bit of a bust in terms of reading and blogging. And especially blogging. I managed a miserable two posts last week and they’re both memes so they don’t really count do they? I’ve instead been spending my screen time working on some other writing project. And it’s been a lot more demanding on my time than I expected!
But all sorts of things happened last week. My Wee Reader turned a grand old FOUR on Tuesday! I made him a chocolate cake because for weeks he had been talking about his “chocolate cake birthday” and decorated it with Cars edible stickers. He was thrilled to eat Lightning and Mater. My younger one was not impressed although he had fun laughing at his big brother who was having trouble blowing out the candles!
Most of you who read this blog and/or my Day in the Life post  know that I’m a stay-home mum. It hasn’t always been the easiest, although made easier by grandparents who are willing to fly for 20+ hours to visit us for two months at a time. But these two boys are my joy. So I cannot believe that he is four already! Some days he hardly seems like four. Saturday for instance, he starting crying for no apparent reason. And throughout the week he’s been a terror when it comes to mealtimes, when he’s usually quite good at eating and feeding himself. Some days he seems to prefer copying what his younger brother is doing instead of finding his own path. But other days he impresses me – and amuses me – by the very many things he can do and what he says. For instance, one not very good day, when it was all just too much for me and the littler one was screaming just for the fun of it, while I was trying to get them ready to go out to school. So I shouted at him. I know I shouldn’t have but I did. He was stunned and stopped his for-fun-screaming. Then his big brother told me, “don’t shout at didi. He’s very little.” And that made me tear up and give them both a big hug and kiss.
He’s a good kid this one. An excellent big brother (most of the time). Just today, we picked up some pastries from the Chinese bakery. He wanted one lotus seed paste pastry and so I grabbed one for him. But before we went to pay, he said that he had to get another one for his brother and did.
He’s a little introverted, but so was I (and still am) especially when it comes to new people and new situations. But when he’s with his friends he’s so loud and noisy you wouldn’t know that it was the same boy you first met. And he surprised me when I dropped him off at his new school (see below), he gave me a hug and went right in.
He loves cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets. But he also is a big fan of Brussels sprouts, broccoli and crispy kale. He loves to eat beef pho but picks at fried rice. He adores popcorn and oatmeal cookies but also is happy to eat prunes and dried cherries. He absolutely will not eat mushrooms. Or tomatoes except in spaghetti sauce. But I can do with him not eating tomatoes or mushrooms because he’s a kid who likes Brussels sprouts. But oh man is he the world’s slowest eater!
He is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts and used to be allergic to wheat and eggs. You wouldn’t know it today but he had such bad eczema before he was one. The kind that was crusty all over the face and arms and we would have to put really long socks on his hands so that he wouldn’t scratch. That didn’t really work. But thanks to his wonderful dermatologist and allergist, it’s all gone! He might have an occasional breakout (sometimes a sudden change in weather affects him) but eczema is no longer an issue.
It has been four years of ups and downs but I am very proud of my Finnian!
The day after his birthday he started at a new school. We had been thinking of putting him in a bilingual (Mandarin and English) preschool for a while but those we looked weren’t what we wanted. And really there weren’t that many in our town. There are others in the rest of the Bay Area but I didn’t want to drive too far. I love how this preschool is about a seven minute drive away. And it’s also opposite the library and the central park. Very important. He’s only had three days so far and this week is spring break, but he seems to be enjoying himself… I hope!

 

    
 The weekend kind of made up for the very busy week. With some always yummy sushi at our favourite Japanese restaurant in Milpitas. We also tried the Buckhorn Grill and I must say that those were some delicious beans! And among other things, I made ribs (in the slow cooker, then finished in the oven slathered with homemade barbecue sauce). And it’s not Sunday without pancakes. Oddly my younger one doesn’t like pancakes much. Or at least he didn’t today, until he was fed the pancakes with blackberries…

 

 

 

Reading:

 

boneclocks

The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a good chunk of this book but I’m in that later part of the book where things just get a bit weird and he’s trying to veer into a SF/Fantasy genre a bit. And while I love me some SF and fantasy, this one I don’t know about. I’m still reading it though.

understandingcomics

Understanding Comics – Scott McCloud

I do a lot of reading on my tablet/Kindle but what I’ve been trying to do more of is reading physical books when my kids are around. I don’t want them to always see me on a device. They love reading books today and I’m hoping that as they grow older they will too.

Watching:

 

Mad Men Season 6 – Season 7 is now available on Netflix but I felt the need for a refresher (and an excuse to watch it again).

 

Eating:

A hot dog bun from Kee Wah.

Argh! The closest branch of this Hong Kong bakery with my favourite hot dog bun is closing!

Drinking:

Green tea

Cooking:

The husband has a work dinner on Monday so I’m just cooking noodles.

Other things to cook: nasi lemak or coconut rice with beef rendang. A baked pasta with spinach and sausage. Chicken rice and stir fried chinese vegetables

Browsing:

 

More water is used to grow almonds than used by all residents and businesses in San Francisco and Los Angeles combined. Sigh…

Jupiter is the Death Star (boing boing)

“Kaname Harada was once a feared samurai of the sky, shooting down 19 Allied aircraft as a pilot of Japan’s legendary Zero fighter plane during World War II. Now 98 years old and in failing health, the former ace is on what he calls his final mission: using his wartime experiences to warn Japan against ever going to war again.” More at the New York Times

Now I feel the need for some mini skillet pans. Just so I can make these frittatas

But I am definitely going to make this Brussels Sprouts and potato gratin soon! It might be because it’s a slightly chilly day today and I’ve got my thick socks on.

Last week:

I read:

americanah

Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

 

sculptor

 

The Sculptor – Scott McCloud

I hope you have a great week ahead. Happy reading!

Top Ten books added to my TBR list

toptentuesThis week’s topic brought to you by the Broke and the Bookish is:

 

Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List

 Ah the TBR list. Mine – at least on Goodreads – is 1717 books long.

The Faraway Nearby – Rebecca Solnit

I just bought this from Books Inc on Saturday. I’ve not read Solnit’s works before and was kind of drawn to this, plus that ‘clearance’ sticker. It was going for $7.99.

 

 

Yokohama, California- Toshio Mori

 

yokohama

I saw this on Kirkus. I just wish they had used a different font on the cover though!

“originally published in 1949, is the first published collection of short stories by a Japanese American. Set in the fictional community of Yokahama, California, Mori’s work is alive with the people, gossip, humor, and legends of Japanese America in the late 1930s and early 1940s.”

 

 Cinnamon Gardens – Shyam Selvadurai

cinnamongardens

Set among the upper classes in the gracious, repressive and complex world of 1920s Ceylon (Sri Lanka), this evocative novel tells the story of two people who must determine if it is possible to pursue personal happiness without compromising the happiness of others. A young teacher, Annalukshmi, whose splintered family attempts to arrange an appropriate marriage for her, must decide whether the independence she craves will doom her to a life without love and companionship. It is also the story of Balendran who, respectably married, must suppress-or confront-the secret desires for men that threaten to throw his life into chaos. With sensuous atmosphere and vivid prose, this masterfully plotted novel re-creates a world where a beautiful veneer of fragrant gardens and manners hides social, personal, and political issues still relevant today.

 

Mateship With Birds – Carrie Tiffany

mateship

On the outskirts of an Australian country town in the 1950s, a lonely farmer trains his binoculars on a family of kookaburras that roost in a tree near his house. Harry observes the kookaburras through a year of feast, famine, birth, death, war, romance and song. As Harry watches the birds, his next door neighbour has her own set of binoculars trained on him. Ardent, hard-working Betty has escaped to the country with her two fatherless children. Betty is pleased that her son, Michael, wants to spend time with the gentle farmer next door. But when Harry decides to teach Michael about the opposite sex, perilous boundaries are crossed.

Mateship with Birds is a novel about young lust and mature love. It is a hymn to the rhythm of country life — to vicious birds, virginal cows, adored dogs and ill-used sheep. On one small farm in a vast, ancient landscape, a collection of misfits question the nature of what a family can be.

Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River – Alice Albinia

empires

One of the largest rivers in the world, the Indus rises in the Tibetan mountains, flows west across northern India and south through Pakistan. For millennia it has been worshipped as a god; for centuries used as a tool of imperial expansion; today it is the cement of Pakistans fractious union. Five thousand years ago, a string of sophisticated cities grew and traded on its banks. In the ruins of these elaborate metropolises, Sanskrit-speaking nomads explored the river, extolling its virtues in Indias most ancient text, the Rig-Veda. During the past two thousand years a series of invaders Alexander the Great, Afghan Sultans, the British Raj made conquering the Indus valley their quixotic mission. For the people of the river, meanwhile, the Indus valley became a nodal point on the Silk Road, a centre of Sufi pilgrimage and the birthplace of Sikhism. Empires of the Indus follows the river upstream and back in time, taking the reader on a voyage through two thousand miles of geography and more than five millennia of history redolent with contemporary importance.

Black Mamba Boy – Nadifa Mohamed
blackmamba

Longlisted for the Orange Prize and winner of the Betty Trask Award. For fans of Half of a Yellow Sun, a stunning novel set in 1930s Somalia spanning a decade of war and upheaval, all seen through the eyes of a small boy alone in the world.

For Today I Am a Boy – Kim Fu
fortoday

At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, “powerful king.” To his parents, newly settled in small-town Ontario, he is the exalted only son in a sea of daughters, the one who will finally fulfill his immigrant father’s dreams of Western masculinity. Peter and his sisters grow up in an airless house of order and obligation, though secrets and half-truths simmer beneath the surface. At the first opportunity, each of the girls lights out on her own. But for Peter, escape is not as simple as fleeing his parents’ home. Though his father crowned him “powerful king,” Peter knows otherwise. He knows he is really a girl. With the help of his far-flung sisters and the sympathetic souls he finds along the way, Peter inches ever closer to his own life, his own skin, in this darkly funny, emotionally acute, stunningly powerful debut.

Rose Under Fire (Code Name Verity #2) – Elizabeth Wein

roseunderfire

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

Lucky Alan and other stories – Jonathan Lethem
luckyalan

As always, Lethem’s work, humor, and poignancy work in harmony; people strive desperately for connection through words and often misdirect deeds; and the sentences are glorious.

A Bride’s Story, Vol. 1 (Otoyomegatari #1) – Kaoru Mori, 森 薫

bridestory

Acclaimed creator Kaoru Mori (Emma, Shirley) brings the nineteenth-century Silk Road to lavish life, chronicling the story of Amir Halgal, a young woman from a nomadic tribe betrothed to a twelve-year-old boy eight years her junior. Coping with cultural differences, blossoming feelings for her new husband, and expectations from both her adoptive and birth families, Amir strives to find her role as she settles into a new life and a new home in a society quick to define that role for her.

Have you read any of these books? What have you added to your TBR list recently?

It’s Monday and I’m needing a rewind to the weekend. 

itsmondayIt’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

 

 

Some things we ate and did over the past week….

On Saturday morning I woke up with a hankering for waffles. And of course forgot how long our decades-old waffle-maker takes to heat up. Luckily the older boy was still asleep and the younger one was content with playing with and eating cheerios for a bit. Then after two bites of waffles, he declared he was done. Gee thanks.

A visit to Palo Alto (to get some Nespresso – er yes we are Nespresso drinkers) means a visit to Books Inc and buying some books! It also means fruit tart time (see below).

Thursday was curry night – chicken curry and vegetable curry, eaten with naan. The naan was from Costco (from the refrigerated section). We buy it every other month or so and it is always so good.

Also, I summoned the energy to make a lemon yoghurt cake. Sadly it wasn’t lemon-y enough. The husband ate a slice and asked, what cake is it? Butter cake?

 

 

Currently…

 

It’s Sunday morning, the kids are playing Lego and I’m trying to crank out this post ASAP before one of them comes over and demands to know what I’m doing or start poking at the screen or tapping on the keyboard or asks to watch something or … well, you get the picture.

April is coming! (Inset usual comment about how is it April already)

 

Reading:

 

americanah

Americanah –  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ok so I don’t usually take this long to read a book. This library e-book is due to disappear from my kindle in two days, and I’m still at about 60%. Mostly because I am savouring every page of it. I think I’m just going to have to buy it.

And because I am reading Americanah, I feel like I am unable to read other books at the same time. That is how much this book is affecting me. Me the reader who usually has several books going on, is reading only one book.

 

 

 

Watching:

 

Was at a bit of a loss after finishing Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Unbreakable! They alive dammit!)

 

interstellar

But the Husband and I just watched Interstellar. And it was really quite something. I was initially reluctant to see it because me and Matthew McCough McConaughey are not good friends. Plus there was Anne Hathaway and we aren’t very good friends either. But there was John Lithgow, Michael Caine and Jessica Chastain. And it was Christopher Nolan. And sci-fi! So I set my feelings aside and settled down, thinking, at the most I’ll half-watch and half-read my book. And 2 hours 50 minutes later, my book was still unread, except for maybe the first few minutes of the movie. It was way past my 1030 bedtime and I was still awake. Not as in dozily awake but completely fully excitedly awake.

Ok so I had to read Wikipedia for a bit to figure out what was going on – plus about halfway through the movie, my almost-2 started crying and we were very distracted for a bit. The plot was a bit complicated but it was actually rather exciting and science-y – theoretical physicist Kip Thorne worked with Nolan before and during the film’s production, and the animators creating the movie even helped make a physics breakthrough.

 

Listening:

 

So because I have two boys under the age of 4, who are big fans of cars/trains etc, I pretty much have the Thomas the Train song memorized, as well as the Chuggington theme song, as well as the Pixar Cars movie song, Real Gone by Sheryl Crow. And while I would like to make them listen to my favourite bands (mostly of the indie-rock genre), that’s hard for almost-2 and almost-4. However, they seem to enjoy 50s music, like Bobby Darin’s Splish Splash.  

 

Eating:

Our “most favouritest” fruit tart ever. From Douce Bakery in Palo Alto. It is really just perfection. Not too sweet, a beautiful crust, and all those fruits!

Drinking:

Double shot espresso with a splash of milk. Because of staying up last night to watch Interstellar. And someone yelling for me just after 6 in the morning.

Cooking:

Ok no idea this week. None at all. I do have cabbage and green beans though so that would make a nice noodle dish. I also promised to make mac and cheese, so I’m going to turn that into a baked mac and cheese with peas and bacon or something.

Browsing:

What Prisoners Eat (Lucky Peach) – kind of painful to read.

Top 14 Reasons Preschool Boys are like Drunk Old Men – so true

Where I find the time to read @ Pickle Me This – exactly!

Sign yourself up for Dewey’s Read-a-Thon, happening April 25!

Last week:

I read:

Pleasantville – Attica Locke

Four Souls – Louise Erdrich

I posted:

Library Loot

A Day in the Life of… A Stay-Home Mum 

Mildred Pierce

Top Ten Books from my Childhood

Hope you are having a great Monday!