Category Archives: Books


The Poet by Yi Mun-yol

The Poet is an interesting read from out of Korea. Yi tells the story of Korean poet Kim Pyong-yon; his poems and his life while wandering around Korea. Yi offers insight as to how changes in Kim’s life affected his poetry style over time. He also touches on the universal themes; love, family, and prejudices. This is a novel, based on fact and national legends of Korea’s homegrown poet.

I found this book intriguing, but difficult to read. Perhaps it was just an issue of the flow getting lost in translation. Perhaps if I had read the poems of Kim Pyong-yon previously or had heard the legends of his life I would have had an easier time reading Yi’s novel.

I did appreciate the descriptions of Korea, the sense of Korean culture and the history that Yi portrays in his book. Despite the difficulties I had while reading, I am always interested in discovering new and different cultures.


Songbird: A Novel By Walter Zacharius

I had a tough time finding a book in the Z section. It seemed like all the titles were murder mysteries or had “death” or “blood” in the titles. What I found didn’t have too different a theme from all that: the Holocaust.

Songbird is the fictional story of a young Jewish girl caught in Poland as the Nazis invaded. Her family is put on a train towards Auschwitz but she escapes thanks to her father’s quick thinking and firm shove out the door.

The story is not the same as many of the death camp survivors stories you may have heard. The heroine, Mia, is not simply content to hide away and hope that things work out in the end; she takes matters into her own hands. Mia joins a teenage resistance army and starts down a long dangerous road toward information about her abducted family.

According to the book jacket, Zacharius is a World War II vetran, which accounts for the, assumedly, accurate descriptions of army life and everyday life in Europe during the war. I learned this fact after finishing the book and had thought while reading that the setting felt incredibly realistic.

This was a very quick read and the characters were very likeable. I wonder how true to life the plot is, however. None-the-less the story was exciting and the Zacharius drove the plot straight through to the end.

GTD… for real this time

You may remember that I [blogged about]( [Getting Things Done]( a while back, and that I said I really didn’t subscribe to the methodology. Upon my first reading, it seemed to be too complex, too involved, and too complicated for my needs.

Recently at work, partially because I *have* done some research into GTD, I have begun working on a project that involves me re-reading GTD. Well, after undertaking this project and carefully re-reading the book, I can say that I have actually begun to implement GTD for myself.

In the first reading, I really missed the spirit of the book. It’s not that you have to do things exactly as David Allen describes them in his examples… it’s more that you have to understand the key theories and practices, and then decide how best to implement them for yourself. Now that I have studied it in-depth, I have taken the time to carefully think about the system and how best to make it work in my own life, and I have started to implement GTD techniques. I have only been working on this for a few weeks, but I have already started to see benefits such as clearer thinking, increased creativity, lower stress, and more free time. I hope to share some of my thoughts on GTD and the details of my own implementation here from time to time.

For now, if you haven’t read GTD, pick up a copy at your local library or bookstore. (I’d recommend [buying it from my employer](, but it’s out of stock for another month or so… sorry. :-() I guarantee that you will pick up at least one tip that will make it worth your time and money to read the book – if not more. I’d love to discuss it with anyone who reads it or has read it.

Authors: Z-A

I am constantly on the lookout for books to read. Sometimes I read whatever the ‘hot’ new book is at the time. More often than not, however, those books are already checked out of the library when I go looking for them. How then to find something to read? I’ve gotten recommendations from friends and family; I’ve gotten recommendations from strangers; I’ve judged books by their covers; and I’ve randomly pulled books from the shelves.

This time I’m going to be a bit more systematic. I’ve decided to read books alphabetically based on the author’s last name. I booked it up towards the “A” section at the Beverly Library. Upon finding it roped off (due to repairs?) I decided that fate wanted me to start at “Z”.

Hopefully this little project will expose me to new authors, genres and stories. I’ve got 26 chances to find something new to love.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Z-A. Same Bat time, same Bat channel.

Yellow and Blue

My most recent read falls into the catagories “Books I probably should have had to read in high school but never did” and “I think my brother had to read it and hated it.”

Three women’s lives are interwoven in Michael Dorris’ novel [A Yellow Raft in Blue Water]( Ida, Christine and Rayona, three generations in one family, share the storytelling duties as they recount their lives in first person.

I got the distinct impression that this is one of “those” books that are required reading in high school to fulfill the “we need a book about women to counter-balance all the books about men” quota. Even so, it was a very good read offering insight into the lives of these three Native American Women.

She speaks!

Yeah, yeah. It’s been a while. I know!  Here’s a post that catches you up on what I’ve had on my mind lately.

My very, very dear friend Jennifer is engaged!  WooHoo! Mosey on over to her site and wish her well!

Don’t you think the Olympics are awesome?  I’ve been watching as much as my little eyes can handle. Personal favorites at the moment include Curling and the new Snowboard-cross event. I wish that NBC would do more coverage of some of the ‘lesser known’ American athletes as well as features on athletes from other countries. For me the Olympics are as much a learning experience as they are sporting events.

BabyWood is doing quite well. I had a check-up this past Monday and the doctor is happy with our progress.  Monday was also the day of the famous ‘Glucose Tolerance Test’; wherin you drink an orange soda-y drink and then they test your blood.  We passed with flying colors, which means that I’m not in danger of gestational diabetes. phew!  This morning I was treated to a large and painful needle administering the first of two rhogam shots. Thank you very much RH- blood!  I know it is for a good cause, though, so it is easier to bear.

I’ve been doing some good reading lately.  I don’t think I’ll do big reviews for you, but let me know what you thought (if you’ve read them)!  Empire Falls by Richard Russo, The World According to Garp by John Irving and Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss.  As always, feel free to pass on any recommendations. I’m always on the lookout for something good to read!

The Life of Pi

Have you ever felt like fate has sent something your way? Last week I was making a last minute swoop through the Beverly Public Library in search of something new to read. I only had a couple minutes, so I grabbed something that had an interesting looking spine, and was small enough to commute with easily. It was [The Life of Pi]( by Yann Martel.

Having never heard of this book I was unaware of how gripping it would be. I settled in on the train and found myself completely captivated by the story. Before I knew it I was in Boston, and hardly a minute had passed! In just a few pages I was transported to India and was rooting on young Pi Patel and his three-pronged religiosity (Christianity, Hinduism and Islam).

The next couple of train rides were no different. On Thursday, I mentioned to my co-worker, Laura, that my commutes had become highly anticipated due to a new book I was reading. She asked the title and before I had finished telling her she proclaimed that it was “one of her favorite books”, that she owned “two copies; one for reading and one for lending”, that she had “forced all her friends to read it” and had “even preached sermons from it.” Needless to say, I was shocked. I guess this wasn’t just a random pull from the shelf, It was someone’s FAVORITE!

On Tuesday, Nikkiana posted a book meme with a bunch of books you should read from the site []( On that list was, you guessed it, The Life of Pi. It seems to be following me!

In any case, upon finishing the book I was stunned by the complexities brought out in the last couple of chapters. I turned the last page and proclaimed to Peter, “What? It’s over!?!” He asked if I was unsatisfied by the ending. I was not dissatisfied at all, but just surprised that it came on so quick.

I want you all to read this book! Please do. And come back and tell me what you thought! Peter is reading it now and I think that everyone I know, regardless of age, religion, gender,etc, will find something to love about it. PLEASE READ IT!

Good Omens

The co-authors of the humor/fantasy novel aaa|Good Omens|0441003257|aaa are both going to be speaking and doing book signings at Harvard in the upcoming weeks! Terry Pratchett is coming [tonight](, and Neil Gaiman is coming [next Friday](!

The Neil Gaiman event requires tickets, and they’re sold out… so we won’t be able to attend (unless someone has an extra ticket and wants to donate it). But the Terry Pratchett event does not require tickets, so we are planning to attend tonight! Hopefully we’ll be able to get in the door and hear him talk. And maybe get a book signed. Wish us luck!


ggg|terry_pratchett_harvard/P1040813|Terry Pratchett|ggg

We made it! After I deftly maneuvered us about five blocks further down the street than necessary, then all the way back, we arrived at the Askwith Forum in Longfellow Hall on the campus of [Harvard University]( Unfortunately, we didn’t make it in time to get a seat inside the lecture hall, so we couldn’t really hear anything Terry said. Apparently it was pretty funny, because lots of people were laughing. However, since we were standing outside the hall, we actually had a stroke of luck, and were put close to the front of the line for book signing! I had my copy of aaa|Good Omens|0441003257|aaa signed. Unfortunately, Terry wasn’t paying very close attention while signing my book, so my name isn’t exactly legible:


As far as I know, there’s no letter in “Peter” that needs to have a dot over it… hmm. Oh well, it’s pretty cool nonetheless. Now if only I could get tickets to see [Neil Gaiman]( next week… it would be spiffy to have both of them sign the book. 🙂

You can see all of the photos from the evening [here](

How appropriate.

I was poking around the staff library at work when I found this little gem of a book: aaa|The American Frugal Housewife|048640840X|aaa by Lydia Maria Child and published in 1844. It is full of helpful hints on how to tell if walnuts are ready for pickling and how housewives should be sure to employ their children in making their own clothes, etc.

With all the talk about the price of gas the past few days, I thought that this passage was particularly timely. While there may not be anything individuals can do about the rising prices, they can change their practices to save, none-the-less. Child tells us not to be ashamed of our frugality, but to embrace it.

>We never shall be prosperous till we make pride and vanity yeild to the dictates of honesty and prudence! We never shall be free from embarrassment until we cease to be ashamed of industry and economy. Let woman do their share towards reformation- Let their fathers and husbands see them happy without finery; and if their husbands and fathers have (as is often the case) a foolish pride in seeing them decorated, let them gently and gradually check this feeling, by showing thatthey have better and surer means of commanding respect- Let them prove, by the exertion of ingenuity adn economy, that neatness, good taste, and gentility, are attainable without great expense.

Thanks, Lydia!

Potter Potter Potter Potter Potter…

fff|ggg|grab_bag/P1030822|Harry Potter 6!|ggg|fff

Our copy of aaa|Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince|0439784549|aaa arrived today, courtesy of ***Jenn|***! Jenn picked it up for us at ***Barnes and Noble|***, at which there was an unexpected (to her) ***book signing|*** by the illustrator of the Harry Potter novels, ***Mary GrandPre|***! Jenn was able to get both her copy and our copy signed. Woo-hoo!

Becky’s already devouring it, and after she’s done, I’ll be reading it too. Exciting!