Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Final for 2009

I guess this will be my last posting for 2009. Let me run through a few things, kind of end of year stuff.

--I read 81 books this year. This is my best year by far, 2008 had the title at 30 before this year. I am not expecting 80 something to happen again in 2010, but who knows at this point. Right now I am thinking 50 to 60 a more likely goal.

--PBS or PaperBack Swap has to get a lot of credit for my stepped up reading. I found lots of books at library sales that people wanted, but I tried to read many of them before mailing them off. is probably my 2nd favorite website that influenced what I did in 2009. I picked a local charity and forced myself to get to at least $2.00 a month for them. Then I switched to other small charities around here or in NE. It was kind of fun & I expect to continue this in 2010.

--Running. I ran 2 5ks in 2009, well one 5k and one informal 3.3 mile run. I also kept up running throughout the year with a decent amount of consistency considering I didn't really train for anything. I would like to do a longer race in 2010 but I have been saying that the last couple of years and just haven't gotten it done yet too.

--Weight loss. Other than the biggest loser contest at work last spring, I really didn't focus on losing weight this year. In 2010, I hope this changes. I would like to drop some pounds and keep them off. I would like to get from around 170 to instead around 160 or even lower. I know that means stop eating all the junk and 2nd helpings that I do so this will be tough.

--Facebook? I am not on facebook but am considering getting on it. Debbie is on it and have talked to several friends that are also on it. I can see this happening in 2010 also.

I am sure there are other things but this should about do it. Have a good New Year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cold Run

I haven't typed up much about running lately because it has only been spotty running. A kind of here and there thing, not much consistency. Last Sunday, I was able to get 3 or 4 miles in, I think 4. Today I was able to get 4 miles in. Both days it was cold, but I bundled up and got it done. Since I am off work this coming week, hopefully I can get a couple of runs in but Monday is Debbie's birthday and Thursday is the 31st so there will be stuff going on. Tomorrow we are busy in the afternoon and probably not home till dark, so maybe getting runs in might be tough.

Oh well, today was good, 4 miles at around 12 min pace. First mile was quick, like 11:10, I guess it was cold & I just wanted to get going. Second mile was then the slow one around 12:35 and 3rd and 4th were around 12:05. All in all not too bad I guess especially considering I overate the last couple of days.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Moveable Feast--#81 finished

I realized a few weeks ago that I hadn't read a Hemingway book yet this year so I grabbed this one. I am kind of mixed on it though after reading it. It talked about his Paris years and his contact with the other expatriates especially F Scott Fitzgerald & Gertrude Stein as well as mentioning others like Ford Maddox Ford and James Joyce. It also goes into some of his relationship with his first wife and at the end kind of mentions how he ended up cheating on her.

I guess the real focus of the novel is on his writing and how he transitioned at this time from being a reporter to an independent writer of short stories and then novels. He talked about how he worked in cafes in Paris and how at times he would be interrupted or how he would take walks. He also talked about being poor at the time and fighting to meet bills. From the sounds of it, it was a time of struggle but also a time of growth and sometimes pure fun. He was surrounded by many other creative people and even short of money was able to experience much of Europe like vacations to Spain for bullfighting, skiing in the Alps and the Riveria in France.

To me though the novel wasn't effective in that it merely touched on a lot but missed much of the detail that would have really added to it. To me it seems it could have been so much more and there is a real feeling of too much missing after each chapter in the book. I know it was written towards the end of his life and published after his death so that could be the main reason for this but still I can't really get past it. I am glad I read it because I really enjoy Hemingway's novels but next time I will re-read another one before picking this one up.

It is on 17 WL but I think right now this is a keeper for me. If I get desperate for credits then maybe but I really can't see that happening. I have 37 credits now with 5 books in the mail so I will be at 42 once they are delivered so should have more than enough for the near future.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"A" is for Alibi--#80 finished

Kind of neat that I have hit 80 books read this year. Not sure if this will be my high water mark or not. I am thinking I might try reading some longer books next year instead of focusing on trying to read so many. I still might get one or two read yet this year since still have what 10 days or so to go--and some of those will be vacation days also.

As far as A is for Alibi, it was fun to read the first book in this series after I had already read about 5 or 6 others. It was nice to step back and see what the beginning was all about. There are story lines that haven't been developed yet and characters that played little role in this one that play much larger later. I will probably try to pick up the B book in the next few weeks and read it as well. This was a good little quick mystery/investigation like all of the books of hers. A fun read with enough action and suspense to mix with plan old investigation stuff. I really do like this series, not sure I could really read all of these back to back to back, etc but to mix in during the year is good.

I will be keeping this book around, no sense in posting it. I might see if I can get the series and maybe loan out to others rather than put on PBS where I wouldn't expect it to move for years.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Annie Duke--#79 finished

The books is actually called Annie Duke, How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker. A good read with both some good advice on poker and also some very good insight into herself. It was a quick book to read and chapters flipped from about her life and then to about her winning 2 tournaments at the WSOP in 2004.

I have to say I wasn't a big fan of hers from watching her on the various poker shows from the WSOP mostly and also a reality show with Phil Hellmuth that I saw a few episodes of as well. After reading this book though, I really have to appreciate where she is at and the struggles in her life both before poker and during her poker life. I thought this would be a book I would just read the one time & then post it to mail off, but right now I may keep it and see if some others would want to read it. I probably should go back and look at some of the different pointers the book offered and think about them a little more. I really enjoy watching poker on TV and playing in a little family game once in a while. The family game had been about every weekend for a couple of years but this past year it has been very few and far between for the games--everyone is too busy with other stuff it seems. I haven't ventured off to playing poker on the internet yet or hitting one of the nearby casinos, not sure I am up for gambling with real money. I do think it is fun to watch on TV, lately the NBC series Poker After Dark has been my favorite, of course I have to set the DVR to catch it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Blow--#78 finished

This is a true story of a man, George Jung, who became a big time player in the movement of illegal drugs into the US. It is a well written with plenty of background and in depth information into his life and his career as a transporter of first marijuana and then later cocaine. It was sickening to read about actually how with no guilt these drugs were moved to the US and how countless lives were screwed up with them. Now of course those using the drugs plays a large responsibility for the actions but the people providing them are guilty as well. It is really too bad because George was obviously a smart person with a lot of ability that could have been successful in many other lines of work but instead got into the drug trade and stayed in his whole life, or at least his life outside of prison. Per the internet, George is in prison, not due to get out until 2015 at age 72. Too bad but that is what happens when some one chooses to go against the laws of the land.

Now an interesting argument could be made and has been made that some or all drugs should be legal. This book really never presented that idea because it was not what this book was about. It was really about the life of George Jung and how he helped enlarge the drug trade in this country in the '70s & '80s. Good book, good read. I think most people will enjoy this if they are at all interested in the drug trade.

I cannot post this book on PBS because the spine cracked on it while reading. It is still readable so I will probably put it on my unpostable list where I will throw it in with a book order.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Kind of Funny

It was just yesterday that I was saying about PBS that I was just going to wait for my WL books to come in. Well today was a new day. When I got home from work tonight, I had an order for one of my books, one that I really wasn't expecting to be ordered anytime soon. So I figured I would throw one of my other books that I don't want to read on my bookshelf that had 8 people wanting it so I could mail 2 books at once. Well after posting it, you have to wait an hour for the website, a kind of poster's remorse time before it shows up. I checked it a couple of hours later and it was accepted and a 3rd book was also being requested. That means I would have been at 44 once these were all delivered so I figured I could check out the Book Bazaar and maybe order something.

Well, I kind of talked myself into doing a 3 for 1 from a lady moving to Europe who wants her books to go away by then. Now a couple hours after that, I again went to the Book Bazaar and found a lady in Puerto Rico that had an interesting book and an interesting old unpostable book so I ordered them as well. No problem with the credits, I have plenty with the potential of many more once I post them. It is just so much for my statement yesterday of waiting for those WL books, but maybe now I will wait. No promises though. Well, I need to get back to reading, I have too many books that need to be read.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Running & Reading

Well, it had been over a week since I had gotten a run in but on Wednesday after work I finally did. I went to the community center & hit the walking path above the gym for a nice 3 miles. It was good. Somewhere around 12 minute per mile average maybe a little more. It has been cold here all week so running outside in the cold and the dark just isn't going to happen so it will probably be the community center for a while to get some runs in.

Right now I am reading 3 books, working my way to 80 for the year. I have 77 completed so these 3 should get me to 80 and I might even have time for another 1 or 2 as well. I am reading Blow a true story about a big time drug runner in the '70s and maybe '80s--I have only been reading about the 70's so not sure when it all comes crashing down for him. Actually can't come soon enough. Reading this book just makes me realize how scummy these guys, how they really need to take a lot of the blame for screwing up this country as well as the many lives it affected. Interesting book with some info on drugs that I really had no idea about. Just wish people would be able to quit this stuff.

Also reading A Moveable Feast by Hemingway. It is about his time in Paris in the 1920s. He wrote it or put it together in the late 50s and early 1960s right before he killed himself. I am about 60 pages in and not really sure what to think of it. I like his writing style but not really sure where this is going, if there is really a point to this book or not--I will just have to work through it and see.

Finally the 3rd book is A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton, the first of her Kinsey Millhone alphabet mystery books. I haven't read it yet, but have read probably half a dozen others in this series. Figured it was time to go back and see how it all started.

I am up to 40 credits with PBS right now and actually have one more book to be delivered to get me to 41. I haven't had a Wish List book pop up in a long time so I think I am just going to wait a couple of weeks and see if any do. A lot or probably too many of my WL books are the hard to find variety so I know I will need patience but also realize that some will probably never show up too. I will not be mailing off any of these 3 books. Blow was one I got from PBS but while reading it the spine cracked in one place so it is not postable now. I will be keeping my Hemingway books and will probably keep the Sue Grafton books for now as well. I have many, many books that need to be read so I will be busy in the coming year as well.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Judge & Jury--#77 finished

This was my first James Patterson book, he actually wrote with Andrew Gross also, and I liked it. I have seen many of his books at book stores & listed on PBS and from the write ups figured they would be up my alley, but just hadn't read one yet. This is a good book, good action, good characters but the whole romance end of it seemed forced. Also the mafia parts of it were interesting but the crimes and control of the bad guy just seemed too far--just not likely. Like I said though a good book. I will not be scared of looking for other Patterson books, but nothing about this one made me bust out & have to read them either. Probably good books to look for on the Book Bazaar page on PBS.

There are around 470 some copies of this already on PBS so might not move for awhile. I did see where on the Book Bazaar someone is looking for deals on Grisham and Patterson so I might shoot a PM out & see if I can mail some of these off.

I am still working on Blow and just started reading Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. Might look for a 3rd book yet tonight to get started on. Eighty is looking like a real possibility for the year right now also. Will probably pick something that I know I can finish in a week or 2 just to make sure.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Lost Lady--#76 finished

This is a Willa Cather book, one that I hadn't read before. It was interesting and I do enjoy her writing style for the most part. I like her characters and also the town and the surroundings where this story takes place. Cather is a very good writer that seems to present her stories in interesting and different ways. This is mostly about obviously the Lost Lady, Mrs. Forrester, who enchanted nearly everyone in town and especially Niel who tells the story. Being in a small town, the Forresters are almost the kind of royalty for the town and they host important out of town guests. Mr Forrester was already in diminished health being forced into retirement after being thrown from a horse and his health steadily got worse throughout the book till his death. Through the book it seemed as though Mrs. Forrester was being held back by her older and in poorer health husband but at the end we see it was really he who held their relationship together. Once Mr. Forrester passed away, Mrs. Forrester made several poor decisions before she was able to afford to leave the town altogether. Before leaving the town though she burned the relationships that she & her husband had long held with some townspeople including Niel.

Niel at the end of the book reflects back on this & sees this as the end of the pioneer in the passing of Mr. Forrester. After this it will be the next generation taking over that didn't build or appreciate the land as the pioneers had. In Mrs. Forrester he sees her as part of this new generation, and has contempt for her in that she moved easily from the older to the new generation. She became a person of the times, unlike her husband. I thought this was interesting perspective on this and can see how it does sort of fit in. The character of Mrs. Forrester is more complex than what is written in the story and that is kind of the genius to Cather for me, in that she does not spell out everything about her characters but instead forces the readers to think about them and come to their own conclusions. Like a said a good and interesting read. It makes me want to read some more Cather before long. Of course I also want to read some Sandoz books as well.

This book is a keeper so it will not be getting mailed off. I will put it with my other Cather books and hope my kids enjoy them someday.