Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 reading list

So, here's the reading list for 2010. I've added a category (Inspirational/Spiritual) since 2009's list included The Bible and that's obviously very inspirational and spiritual. You'll see some old favorites and some books that are probably as new to you as they are to me. All are highly recommended by book critics.

Classical Fiction:
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
The Count of Monte Christo, by Alexander Dumas
The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
Crime & Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Strangers On A Train, by Patricia Highsmith
The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
Anatomy of a Murder, by Robert Traver
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by Agatha Christie
The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James Cain

Means of Ascent (LBJ), by Robert Caro
The Diary of A Young Girl, by Anne Frank
A Narrative of the Life of Davy Crockett, by Davy Crockett
Dale Carnegie: The Man Who Influenced Millions, by Giles Kemp
Eisenhower, Soldier & President: Stephen Ambrose

Historical Fiction:
Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden
Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck

Science Fiction:
1984, by George Orwell
Foundation, by Isaac Asimov
Neuromancer, by William Gibson
Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut
The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula LeGuin

The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck
I & Thou, by Martin Buber
Waiting for God, by Simone Weil
The Story Of A Soul, by St. Theres of Lisieux
Letters And Papers From Prison, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Plus, four bestsellers that pop up in the year and 12 book club selections.

Oh my, this is a big list! But I'm determined. The Pillars of the Earth is calling my name now.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best books I read in 2009

Of the 51 books I read this year, here are my favorites by genre:

Classical fiction: The Catcher In The Rye, by J.D. Salinger

Science fiction: Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

Mystery/Suspense: The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, by John LeCarre

Biographies/Autobiographies: John Adams, by David McCullough

Historical Fiction: The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe

Best-Seller Fiction: The Gold Coast, by Nelson DeMille

Book Club Selection: My Life In France, by Julia Child

I guarantee you'll find something to love on this list!

* Full 2009 book list on side bar

** I'm posting my 2010 reading list tomorrow

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Report--The Path to Power

I finished the final book on my 2009 reading list: The Path to Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 1). This is one massive book. {Embarassed to say I think I read this book before but didn't realize it until I was at least a third of the way through the 960 pages}.

Author Robert Caro has made writing bios of LBJ his life's work. There are already three volumes and Caro says a fourth will be published in 2012.

This volume is as much about Texas and its history as LBJ. Caro writes vividly about farm life in the Texas hills during the Depression--no electricity, no running water, poverty beyond belief and no way out. Texas looms large in shaping LBJ.

Johnson is alternatingly fascinating, complicated, endearing, and completely disgusting.

Can't wait to get to Volume 2.

P.S. Tomorrow I'm going to publish a list of my favorite books from 2009

We know why you fly

1) Parents warn American embassy that their Nigerian son has become a radicalized Islamist and worry that he'll strap a bomb on himself and blow Americans up
2) Great Britain revokes Nigerian man's Visa because he tried to enter GB on "false pretenses"
3) Nigerian's name is included in database of known Islamic terrorists, but database watch list doesn't stop him from traveling to U.S.
4) Nigerian man buys ticket to Detroit with cash
5) Nigerian man boards flight from Amsterdam to Detroit with only carry on luggage
6) Nigerian terroist backed by Al Qaeda tries to blow up plane over Detroit

Sounds to me like a bunch of giant red flags were ignored and we're lucky this guy's plan was thwarted by an alert passenger.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The "B" Word

I used to be proud of my home state--Nebraska.

Great college football
Low unemployment
Wonderful schools
Affordable living

Now I'm embarrassed that Senator Ben Nelson (D, Nebraska) has made such a sleazy deal in exchange for his yes vote on the health care bill, that the selling of his vote has been dubbed the "Cornhusker Kickback".

But, of course, Gentle Ben is not alone. Seems this bill that is opposed by 67% of the public is being passed by 60 Democrat Senators after a series of backroom deals. Here are a few that have been made public:

Landrieu: $300 million for her home state of Louisiana for additional Medicaid benefits (Louisiana Purchase)
Dodd: $100 million for a new hospital in Connecticut
Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming: Higher Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors
Iowa: Higher Medicare payments to hospitals
Vermont (and other yet-to-be-named states): $10 billion for free medical clinics
Pennsylvania, New York and Florida: Protections for their Medicare Advantage beneficiaries even though beneficiaries in other states will face cuts

Pronunciation: \ˈbrīb\
Function: noun

1 : money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust
2 : something that serves to induce or influence

P.S. I don't know whether to applaud my current Dem Sen (Claire McCaskill) for not making the list, or encourage her to get in line and get some of the goodies before they're all gone.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our family

Last night was our annual holiday party for the Sunday night church group.

OOOhh it was so much fun.

Mr. C and I made lasagne...

...we had plenty of Christmas desserts...

...and then we sang Christmas Carols in front of the fire.

All very Norman Rockwellish.

I was so proud of Mr. C's welcoming comments. He talked about how we're all born into a family, but this is a group of folks we've chosen as family.

Nice. Very nice.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Camo baby jacket

bsj 2
Originally uploaded by katec44
Here's the "baby surprise jacket" I made for my cousin Jessica's first baby. I'm so excited for Jessica and her husband Cliff!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Welcome back, George Bailey!

This weekend we'll start watching our Christmas movies. On the marquee:

White Christmas
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Christmas in Connecticut
The Bishop's Wife
Miracle on 34th Street
It's a Wonderful Life
A Christmas Story
and--new this year--Four Christmases

Any other suggestions?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Unfortunately, she had matching shoes

In the word's of a friend of mine, Mobama's Nobel Peace Prize frock was "beyond hideous".

Coming out of the Woods-work

Tiger's extramarital paramours now number 10--some sources say 11. Double-digit cheating on his wife moves him into the official Sleaze Bag Of The Year spot, topping even John-Boy Edwards (which I didn't think was possible).

Way to go Tiger. You've set another record at a young age.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


This is a new item in our snack machine at the office.


Would anyone ever eat teriyaki flavored "beef nuggets"? Thank goodness the label says they're extra tender.

Here are the ingredients: Beef,Sugar,Salt,Soy sauce,Maltodextrin,Flavour enhancer(monosodium glutamate), Flavourings , Hydrolyzed corn gluten,Paprika, Antioxidant(sodium erythorbate),Preservative(sodium nitrite),Smoke Flavor

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009