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Aug. 6/On My Bookshelf

August 6th, 2009



On My Bookshelf

The Historian
by Elizabeth Kostova

This is one of those rare books that I can’t wait to pick up and read each day. I am savoring every word, every page. I love it! It has a vampire theme and I can’t get enough of it. I was one of those readers who read Ann Rice’s “Interview with a Vampire” and then eagerly awaited each new novel in the series. And of course watched the movie. I also immediately took to “Twilight” and zipped through that series in about 4 days. (Come to think of it, that is the last book I read I couldn’t put down.) I also don’t have cable, but have loved watching the first series of True Blood on Netflix. So that may explain part of my love of this book, but also the writing itself along with the unfolding mystery in it makes me eager to read on.

Well I’m not really reading anything else right now, but will get back to them:

The Gift of a Year
by Mira Kirshenbaum

I am about half way through this only because I forgot The Historian when I took my kids to an hourlong program at the library and had this book waiting for me. It was recommended on the French Chic Yahoo Group, I think. I like it so far.

The Art of Simple Food
by Alice Waters

This is on my list of books to buy, but until I do, I just keep checking it out at the library!

When Will There Be Good News
by Kate Atkinson

Another one to read in the future. I actually bought this at half-price books after I had some cash from turning in other books. I can’t remember who recommended it to me, but someone I respected or I wouldn’t have written it down.

Stalking Susan
by Julie Kramer

One of my many wonderful SIL’s loaned me this book after she mentioned it and I was interested. Another future read.

Chess Books

I think these will be part of my plans for winter. I want to become a chess master, but not sure I have the motivation or time to really accomplish that, so I do know I want to join a chess club and play more this winter.

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  1. August 7th, 2009 at 06:01 | #1

    I am always impressed by your reading list and how much reading you do. I love to read but find I get out of the habit a lot blaming it on time. I think if I didn’t watch tv, the time would be there and I’d much rather finish all the great books I have lying around here instead of watching yet another episode of house hunters or worse, the tragic Real Housewives of (whatever town is airing now)…..and on that note, if there were ever a show that I should not be watching it is that. These women are so crass and rude and the whole storyline is full of fighting and very un-chic behavior.

    • Kristi
      August 7th, 2009 at 06:32 | #2

      I have always been a bookworm. Ever since I was a little girl I loved nothing better than sitting in my room and reading a book — Nancy Drew or Little House on the Prairie come to mind. So I would always rather read a book.
      However, I have a weakness for inane reality TV shows. If I had cable, you can bet your money I’d be watching all those Real Housewife shows and looking forward to each new episode!

  2. August 7th, 2009 at 08:04 | #3

    I love your books lists. I am always curious as to what others read and why and what they think of the books. When I am shelving books, I look to see the selection of books a patron has brought back and always interested in what they picked and of course must look through them. ;O)

    I have not been able to read any of the books I brought home and that includes The Historian. With schooling the children, my reading time is spent reading what they are reading and when I do get time at night, I’m too tired to read. You will have to share your review of The Historian.

    My husband was telling me about that article yesterday and discussed it on our way up to the seminar. I remember having a student in my class who told me that she did 200 sit-ups everyday but couldn’t get rid of her belly. I told her that she could do 400 sit-ups but unless she was willing to put some effort in burning the fat (she was not one to put a lot into her work out) we would not see her wonderful abs. I also have to say that this was one lady in our group that would join us for brunch after class and after observing her eating habits I understood a great bit of her problem.

    I have found that walking, with gusto, is a wonderful form of exercise and is not aggressive and does not do the damage that aerobics can do to your joints, etc. I love the photos you have shared and they show this gusto in high heels no less! ;O) I still have a tendency to do this walk here and everyone always ask me what my hurry is. You can take the girl out of the big city but you can’t take the big city out of the girl!


  3. August 7th, 2009 at 11:33 | #4

    Where do you like to read? Do you have a special reading spot in your house? I’m trying to create a reading corner in my home, but haven’t found the perfect lamp and comfy chair.

    • Kristi
      August 7th, 2009 at 14:06 | #5

      I most often read in bed, sometimes if my dh is away, I will even go up there early in the evening, bringing a glass of wine with me to sip as I read.
      I also read on the couch. I have some great comfy chairs in my bedroom and have considered getting a floor lamp and ottoman and creating a little reading nook …
      Whoops! I just sat down to read a few minutes ago and realized I forgot the place where I read the most — the dining room table — it is central in our house and allows me to keep track of the kids when I’m sitting there. I also pull up a chair outside when they are playing in the backyard and read there. I basically read anywhere I can!

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What is it about those Italian women? You know the ones I’m talking about: beautiful, sexy, dressed to the nines just to take the kids to the park. They have a certain something that is indefinable. It is in the way they dress, the way they prepare their meals, the way they spend their leisure time.

It is because they know the importance of la bella figura. Roughly translated from Italian, it means putting you best foot forward in everything you do. It means cutting a beautiful figura. The opposite of la bella figura is la brutta figura, which is what someone might say about the falling down drunken guy at the party or the super tackily dressed woman at church. It means ugly figure.

La bella figura is much more than your appearance. It goes much deeper than that. It is about how you act. It is about how you treat others. It is about how you care for yourself, your home and your family. Living a life in line with la bella figura doesn’t take money. In fact, it is more about how to have class without a lot of money.

Someone who exudes la bella figura will have clean, pressed clothes and be well groomed. They will not be rude or sloppy. Their fingernails will be impeccably groomed. Their hair shiny and clean and their shoes will be polished. They will not have stray threads hanging from their suit hems. They will not be driving a car in need of the car wash.

La bella figura means driving that 15 year old car and meticulously cleaning it and caring for it. It means keeping your belongings in good repair. It means taking time to clean your house and not cluttering it up with meaningless objects.

When you focus all your spare energy, time and money on the things that bring you the most amount of pleasure, then you are truly living a life in line with la bella figura. The best part about it is that you don’t have to be Italian to do so. You just have to think like an Italian.

Italian children are raised to present la bella figura in whatever they do. From the time they are small and are groomed perfectly to attend church or school, they know that appearances count. They count because it is the first thing people judge about you. That first impression does matter. Appearances are also important because when you take the time to look nice, you are showing that you care about yourself. When you care enough to look good, it shows you have good healthy self esteem. Nothing is more attractive than self confidence.

In addition, dressing nice also shows respect for others. If you invite people over for dinner and greet them in flip flops, baggy sweats and a stained shirt, it is really disrespectful to them. The same if you dress sloppy to go to church or even to the market. By dressing nicely and being well groomed, you show respect for everyone in your world.

Having la bella figura means presenting yourself in the best light possible in all your interactions.