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Wednesday/On My Nightstand/In My DVD Player

March 24th, 2010 5 comments

On My Nightstand/In my DVD

Apartment Therapy — Fiona at  La Vie en Fifi wrote about this recently and I am ripping through it after picking it up at the library yesterday! (although you are supposed to take 8 weeks to do the action plan). I’m taking notes and enjoying it enormously.

A Gate at the Stairs by Laurie Moore — This was on my library “wait” list for ages, but finally it is my turn. I started it last night and can’t wait to get back to it.

Parenting Without Fear by Paul J. Donahue  — this is a library book that may not be exactly what I was looking for when I saw the title … we’ll see

Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman — a friend loaned me this one

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson— My SIL loaned me this. I’ve been excited to read it for awhile. Misadventures with Andi also just posted on this.

Reading Lolita in Tehran — another thrift store buy I just barely began before I got a library book in. So far, it seems like it is going to be really good.

The Nautical Chart by Arturo Perez-Reverte — I adore this author and snatched this up at the thrift store.

In my DVD Player

Paris with Juliette Binoche — such a great story and beautiful scenery and inspirational style. i loved this movie.

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On my nightstand/Wednesday

February 17th, 2010 3 comments

 The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo    — Very cute book. I cherry picked it however. I’m not big into the history of France or Chanel’s personal history. I just wanted to glean some style tips from it, so I skipped the historical parts. Oh well.

Your Carriage Madam by Janet Lane — got this out-of-print book from the library on recommendation of Marsi. I’m only a few pages into it, but love it so far. I’m already improving my posture.

Dusty Answer by Rosamond Lehmann — This is actually the current book I’m reading (along with Your Carriage Madam). It reminds me of Tana French’s Likeness is an odd way as it deals with inclusive groups of friends viewed by outsiders.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness — I saw this book on The Evening Reader’s blog and ordered it from the library.

Franny & Zoey by J.D. Salinger — Of course like people across the world I now want to re-read this.

The Nautical Chart by Arturo Perez-Reverte — I adore this author and snatched this up at the thrift store.

Reading Lolita in Tehran — another thrift store buy I will wait to read.

Brava Valentine  by Adriana Trigiani — I am trying very hard to wait to read this until my bookclub does.

Leone’s Italian Cookbook — my Italian father sent to this me as a surprise gift in the mail. (it’s off to the side)

UPDATE:

The Human Stain by Philip Roth — Some of you might have seen this book in my last posting. I returned it to the library without reading it. I do that sometimes when a book doesn’t immediately grab me and I happen to have a big fat stack of good books to read.

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On my nightstand/Nov. 19

November 19th, 2009 5 comments

On my nightstand

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Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (not shown, it is now on my dh’s nightstand!): I finished this book on the place last weekend. We are discussing it at my bookclub meeting tonight

The Road by Cormac McCarthy — I started this in Sedona and it has completely captured my imagination, but I have set it aside because I just had a bunch of library books I ordered come in.

Dreaming in French by Megan Mcandrew — I began this last night. I can’t wait to get back to it. It is about an American couple transplanted in Paris told from their daughter’s viewpoint (so far that’s what it is about!)

The Likeness by Tana French — I think I heard about this by The Evening Reader’s  blog (see righthandside). Looking forward to starting this, as well.

The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio  by Terry Ryan — my OTHER book club picked this last week for this month. Will have to get going on it. I have either already read it or tried to read it in the past. I’m sure I will remember which when I get started on it.

Slam by Nick Hornby — once again set aside until my library books are read.

FILM/MOVIES/TV

We just finished the last episode in Season 1 of Battlestar Galactica last night. (on netflix). Now on to season 2!

I will be hitting the movie theater sometime this weekend for the second Twilight movie, even if I don’t know what is called off the top of my head, I’ll be there!

BLOG FOR PAY UPDATE

So far, I’ve been offered two opportunities to post on here for pay and turned them both down. The first was a while back and was about plastic surgery. The second came yesterday and they wanted me to write about — get this — crotchless panties. No thank you. I will, however, post something for pay in the future if I think it will be relevant or interesting or at least nonoffensive, to you, my readers. Thanks for understanding.

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On my nightstand/Monday, Oct. 19th

October 19th, 2009 9 comments

 

ON MY NIGHTSTAND

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On my nightstand

 One less thing to worry about by Jerilyn Ross. My mother, a wise, wonderful, intimidatingly intelligent woman mailed this book to me on Saturday as a gift. I’m almost done. I’ve always been a bit of a worrier, but now have actually —  for the first time in my life — been having panic attacks. (a whole ‘nother issue I should probably write about someday)*. Anyway, I’m marking up this book like mad and almost finished reading it. It deals a lot with anxiety connected to fluctuating hormone levels and then treatment with cognitive therapy and other methods (just getting into the treatment part of the book).

When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson. I can’t believe I actually got back to this book. Finally. I finished all my library books and now am waiting for more on my request list to become available.

My next bookclub book is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, but as I am something like no. 700 on the waiting list, so I know it is not going to become available before bookclub. Has anyone read it? Is it really worth seeking out or should I just skip it?

* One thing that has changed that has probably affected my anxiety level is ever since the weather became cold, I have stopped doing something I love — walking. I think just by starting to walk again every day, it can make a big difference for me. So this morning, during the short “kid-free” time I have three days a week (I have two hours to myself) I walked to the library to return some books that were due. It is about a mile round trip. In my big walking days I used to think it was the wimpy walk — the big one was down to the shopping area south of here. But it really feels good to just move my body again. I have been trying to spend this time working online or running errands, but I think it is crucial to use it to walk if it will help this anxiety I’ve been feeling.

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Oct. 7/On my nightstand

October 7th, 2009 12 comments

 

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One for the Money by Janet Evanovich — Got this from the library for one of my bookclubs. It is a fun read so far. I’m going to hurry and finish it though because I just picked up two new library books today.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery — The chic women over at French Chic recommended this book to me. I’ve been on the library waiting list for ages and really looking forward to digging into it.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey — recommended by so many of you awesome women and also by my former priest! I am looking forward to starting this one as well.

Accidentally on Purpose by Mary Pols — Still re-reading this one by my former coworker for my other bookclub meeting next week.

I need to go back and watch the episodes of this sitcom based on her book. I caught the first one, but I have been so engrossed in reading that I have forgotten when it is on and missed it.  In fact,  I have been so happy with so many books lately that I haven’t watched TV for ages. Instead, I go upstairs and curl up with my latest book. I did watch one movie this week “Wolverine: The X Men Origins” or something like that (not sure exact title) It was a fun movie.

I should just aside the Kate Atkinson and chess books for awhile. They aren’t happening for awhile I can tell.

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Sept. 30/I love my bookshelves

September 30th, 2009 7 comments

My bookshelves

You can see by my living room what an important role books play in my life. I only save books I love.

On the lefthand side, the two lower shelves are for my children’s books. The shelf above that is all of my husband’s music books and scores. Then on the right bookshelf, the shelf right above the TV is for DVDs. We don’t buy them, but these are ones given as gifts to my children. So I really don’ t have a ton of books considering how much I read. I only keep ones that are meaningful.

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On my nightstand/Sept. 11

September 11th, 2009 5 comments

 

On my nightstand

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An Immoveable Feast by John Baxter. I pretty much ripped through this fun French read sent to me by Cherie! Thanks again Cherie.

The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan and Bar ara Pease. This is a fascinating read. I am reading it slowly so I can remember all the important knowledge it has about reading body language. I recommend this to anyone and everyone. It is a library book.

The Mandarins by Simone de Beaviour. This is a library book I haven’t had a chance to start yet.

The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq. I am three-fourths of the way through this library book, inspired by either the author of Entre Nous or the author of French Women Don’t Sleep Alone who mentioned that French women argue over the latest Houellebecq book. Great book. Very intellectual and lots of sex. I’ve heard it is dismal and depressing at its conclusion however. We’ll see.

When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson. A great book I will pick up and resume reading when I finish my library books.

Loop Loop and Here Kitty Kitty are books I own that I may not get to for a while.

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On my nightstand/Sept. 2

September 2nd, 2009 11 comments

On my nightstand this week

 

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Happiness is a big stack of books by my bedside!

While waiting for a book from the library to come in I began this book:

When will there be good news? by Kate Atkinson — so far I love it, but because I own it, I set it aside for a library book that came in:

The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq. Those of you in the FC group might be interested in how I came across it. Please forgive my sloppy attribution (and you can be sure if I were publishing a book I would track this fact down) but it was possibly in Entre Nous or French Women Don’t Sleep Alone (or maybe even another book — if you know which one let me know) that it mentioned this French author. So I tracked him down online and then ordered this book from my library. So far it is fantastic. I am concentrating on this exclusively since it it borrowed and has a due date. I have the dictionary by my bed to look up words in this book I am not familiar with. So far I have looked up  the word “hirstute.”

After I run out of library books I am going to start on two books that came in a big box of books from a friend:

Loop Group by Larry McMurtry (the author of Terms of Endearment)

and

Here Kitty Kitty by Jardine Libaire

FILMS

Pretty much the only thing I like better than a good book is a good movie!

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago I saw Inglorious Basterds, Tarantino’s new flick and loved it so much I’m going to mention it again!

I also rented Munich last week – an intense film that really illustrates a feeling of ongoing hopelessness surrounding the situation in the middle east and just how sad it really is. It is easy for people who live in the United States to tune it out and not realize how dramatically it impacts so many people.

I also borrowed Breathless from the library yesterday. I has previously rented it on Netflix, but had to return it because the disc was scratched. I’m looking forward to watching this classic. I think I may try to watch it tonight.

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On my nightstand this week/Aug. 17

August 17th, 2009 10 comments

 

On my nightstand

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I finished The Historian last week. I loved it so much I hated to finish it … I also skimmed through The Gift of a Year this week, but never really got into it. I also skimmed The Art of Simple Food, but wasn’t as enamored of it as I have been in the past, (maybe just my mood).

What is left:

Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer — so far I am loving this book. (OK, not as much as I loved The Historian, but for other reasons!) It is in the same genre as a book I have started to write (with a female reporter as a heroine) and has actually inspired me to begin writing again.!!!! Which is huge!!!

The copy on my nightstand belongs to my SIL (who hasn’t read it yet) but I also ordered my own copy today from Amazon and am giving her back her copy tonight. We have book club tonight and it is her turn to pick. After I raved about the first few chapters, she decided to pick this book, so I’ve ordered my own copy and am returning hers. My other bookclub meets on Thursday. We are going to discuss Run by Ann Patchett, a pretty good book, but not one I would own. What a fun week. I love bookclubs!

When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson: I will probably wait a bit on this one because I own it and I’m waiting on a book from Amazon that I’m super excited about.

This book will soon (I hope) be on my nightstand:

What French Women Know — Debra Ollivier’s new book. I bought it as a pre-order and it wasn’t supposed to come out until September, but I just got a notice that it shipped! Her book, Entre Nous, was a HUGE influence on me and my life.

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On my nightstand/in my DVD player-July 6

July 6th, 2009 4 comments

On my nightstand this week:onmynightstand-003

Books

I whipped through fellow blogger (www.fortyisthenew20.com) Phyllis Bourne Williams’ book “A Moment on the Lips”  — a very readable sweet love story.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much luck with the other books on my nightstand. I don’t know if it is my mood and I’m not in the mood for nonfiction, but I will be returning “Bella Lingua” and “The Audacity of Hope” to the library. I really, really want to read Obama’s book, but every time I picked it up, it didn’t hold my interest. It was even worse with Bella Lingua. To me,  it seemed like a text book you would read in a crash course before you moved to Italy. I just couldn’t get into it. Why can’t someone write a book about the Italians along the lines of all the fun books about the French (Entre Nous, French Women Don’t Get Fat, Two Lipsticks and a Lover)?

Happiness Sold Separately – I’m still enjoying this book. As I mentioned before, I pick it up whenever I don’t have a library book to read because I don’t have to return it to my SIL anytime soon.

The Historian — I haven’t even picked this up yet. A SIL loaned it to me. It looks too heavy to bring on the airplane when I go on vacation in a few days.

Movies

This week was not a big movie week. I watched “My House in Umbria” and that was it.

 

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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.