Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Salon: And the Pursuit of Happiness

Do you know Maira Kalman?

I like her writing.

This week I only finished one book, but it was a good one. And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman.


I often check out books from the library, read them, and return them. Even when I buy books, I usually give them away.

I buy Maira Kalman books and keep them. I read them and then I read them again.

She writes children's picture books as well as grownup books. Honestly, her books for grownups are really just grownup picture books.

A new genre, maybe.

I hope this is okay, but I can't really show you how wonderful Maira Kalman is without showing you a few pages from her books.


Do you see what I mean?
I saw Maira Kalman at the Texas Book Festival. I would have been very sad if I had not gotten to hear her speak. She was not as I'd imagined. I'd expected a morose person. No. She actually laughed a lot. And told funny stories.

She seemed quite wise.

"Reality was never part of our household," she said.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Top Ten Scariest Books

10. The Road by Cormac McCarthy 

9. The Stand by Stephen King

8. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

 7. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

6. Shooting the Boh: A Woman's Voyage Down the Wildest River in Borneo

5. Charles Perrault's French Fairy Tales

4. Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis

3. Nothing by Janne Teller

2. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

1. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

You can see that the things that really scare me are not vampires and werewolves.

What are your scariest books?



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND sign Mister Linky at the bottom to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Don't worry if you can't come up with ten every time..just post what you can!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

TSS: Cybils Time! (and Six Book Reviews)


October is winding down but I've had quite the book month. Cybils nominations. My un-birthday book club month. Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon. The Texas Book Festival. And next week at the library:  my identical twin sister, Zebby Zance, will visit to tell the children at my school some spooky stories. (Wish I could tell spooky stories, but, unlike my sister, I am a big baby when it comes to scary tales.) Here's Zebby from last year:


I am very happy with the reading I completed last week. One travel narrative. Two 1001 Children's Books. One 1001 Grownup Book. One book for review. One YA I'd heard lots about.

Here are my reviews:

The Spice Necklace by Ann Vanderhoof

I like travelogues. I like books about cooking. The Spice Necklace is a two-fer, about both travel and cooking.

It’s part two of the story of a couple who sold most of what they owned and zipped off to live on a boat (see part one, Vanderhoof’s first book, An Embarrassment of Mangoes, for more information). Now the couple is sailing around the Caribbean, visiting beautiful places, and sampling (and attempting) Caribbean cooking.

 Nothing by Janne Teller

Could this be the bleakest YA ever? It would get my vote.

Here is the story: Pierre decides that nothing matters, walks out of his classroom, climbs up into a tree, and refuses to come down. The others in his classroom feel compelled to try to convince Pierre that some things do matter. Using increasingly bizarre and horrific methods, Pierre’s classmates attempt to demonstrate that things matter.

While I respect what this author was doing with this book, it is most definitely not my cuppa tea.

 Breaking Night by Liz Murray

Liz was born to a mother and father whose lives were ruled by their addictions to alcohol and drugs. From an early age, Liz did not receive enough to eat, skipped school, had no supervision, and, eventually, drifted into homelessness. Yet, somehow, Liz managed to beat all these obstacles, complete high school, and win a scholarship to Harvard. A fascinating story.

Thank you to Hyperion for sending me this book for review.


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

A 1001 CBYMRBYGU.

Bod, a human boy, is sent to the graveyard to live in an attempt to elude those who would kill him. All of his companions, including his adopted parents, are dead. Bod is educated and kept safe for many years until, one day, his would-be killers return.

I’m not a scary-book-person and this will never be on my list of favorites as a result. But, if you are such a creature, The Graveyard Book just might be on your top ten list.

 Amazon Adventure by Willard Price

A 1001 CBYMRBYGU.

Two boys, Roger and Hal, travel with their father down the Amazon in search of creatures for zoos. They fight cannibalistic Indians, piranhas, crocodiles, and even an angry anteater. This is an adventure book filled with excitement and drama and scares. There are any number of not-so-politically-correct moments and, as a parent, Roger got on my last nerve, but I loved reading this book.

(BTW, this is a photo of the actual book I checked out from the Houston Public Library. It has a copyright of 1949. I loved carrying this book around.)

The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith

A 1001 Books You Must Read

Mr. Pooter keeps a diary in which he recalls all the events of his days. He seeks to attain social status, but, time and again, finds humiliation instead.

The copyright date on this book is 1892, but the story feels as fresh as yesterday. Funny. A little sad. And, most of all, insightful.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hola!



 Let me introduce myself.
Bonjour! Enchanté! Hola!
I am Debnance at Readerbuzz.
I love to read.
I especially love travel memoirs,
children's books, books about happiness, 
creative nonfiction, and literary fiction.

 I'd love to visit your blog. If you like, follow me and
leave a comment and I will hop over and follow you.

I also invite you to:
Befriend me at Goodreads.
Follow me at Twitter.
 Befriend me at Facebook

And, the question of the week from the Hop is from
Becky who blogs at Becky's Barmy Book Blog:

"Where is your favorite place to read?
Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

 My answer:
My wonderful reading room!

And, from FF: What are you currently reading?

I'm just starting a book I've had on my wishlist a long time
and just received from my Book Un-Birthday Club:

Let the Great World Spin

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top Ten Fictional Crushes

10. Jack in Happenstance by Carol Shields


9. Tadpole in Tadpole's Promise


8. Franklin Todd in The Gold Bug Variations


7. Roland Michell in Possession


6. John Ames in Gilead

5. Dog in Go, Dog. Go!


4. Gus in Lonesome Dove


3. Calvin in Wrinkle in Time


2. Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind


1. Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

Who are your favorite fictional crushes?


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND sign Mister Linky at the bottom to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Don't worry if you can't come up with ten every time..just post what you can!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Texas Book Festival: A Photoblog


A beautiful weekend in Austin, Texas. The Capitol was under construction, sadly,
and there were new security measures in place.

I left a few BookCrossing books.

The line for Laura Bush was already around the block
and I was two hours early.

David Wiesner, a three-time Caldecott winner, read his new book.


For the first time, I met four real live Texas book bloggers.

Bonnie Becker read from her book, A Bedtime for Bear.

Children introduced Chicken Big author Keith Graves.


I got to meet Ladybug Girl.

Who wouldn't love to read to a dog?!


The 2010-11 Bluebonnets were announced.

Shark vs. Train author Chris Barton reads from his book.

Author/illustrator Anna Dewdney draws her Llama Llama.

Here is Anna Dewdney autographing a book for our school library.

Chris Barton autographs a book for our school library.

I ended the day by going to a used library book store.
Look at these clever sculptures made from old books.

What a fantastic weekend!