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It’s Monday … What Are You Reading? And a Few Beach Photos

June 20, 2010

This weekly meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s actually Sunday evening; my 6-year-old, Trisha, and I are making cheesecakes (from scratch) for Father’s Day.

Reviews This Week: I didn’t write any reviews this week. But check out Sarah’s review of Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Books Completed This Week:


Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

From Publisher’s Weekly: Joining the rich literature of runaways, Kafka On The Shore follows the solitary, self-disciplined schoolboy Kafka Tamura as he hops a bus from Tokyo to the randomly chosen town of Takamatsu, reminding himself at each step that he has to be “the world’s toughest fifteen-year-old.” He finds a secluded private library in which to spend his days–continuing his impressive self-education–and is befriended by a clerk and the mysteriously remote head librarian, Miss Saeki, whom he fantasizes may be his long-lost mother. Meanwhile, in a second, wilder narrative spiral, an elderly Tokyo man named Nakata … can speak with cats but cannot read or write, nor explain the forces drawing him toward Takamatsu and the other characters.

Reading Now:

Eifelheim by Michael Flynn

From Publisher’s Weekly: A present-day scientific odd couple who are longtime domestic partners, physicist Sharon Nagy and historian Tom Schwoerin, look into the fate of the Black Forest village of the title, which apparently vanished in the plague year 1348, in Flynn’s heartbreaking morality play of stranded aliens in medieval Germany. Most of the narrative focuses on the consequences of the discovery in the 14th century by Eifelheim’s pastor, Father Dietrich, of a crashed space ship carrying the “Krenken,” horrific grasshopperlike aliens. Despite Inquisitorial threats, Dietrich befriends, baptizes and attempts to help the aliens return home. Flynn (The Wreck of the River of Stars) masterfully achieves an intricate panorama of medieval life, full of fascinatingly realized human and Krenken characters whose fates interconnect with poignant irony.

This is the first science fiction novel I’ve picked up in a very long time; I spotted it on a post by Amanda at Desert Book Chick titled “Book Snobs Get Lost: Real Book Lovers Speak Out on Sci-Fi” — it was recommended by Christy at A Good Stopping Point. You can read her review here.

In My Non-Bookish Life:

I had a great weekend trip to the beach with my 11 y/o son. He’s the middle child, between two sisters with intense personalities, and I’ve been longing to get away with him and spend some one-on-one time.

Meanwhile John took the girls to see Toy Story 3 and out to dinner. He’s lucky to have a date with two beautiful young ladies when his wife’s out of town — how many middle aged men would kill for that opportunity? 😉 And rumor has it that Toy Story 3 rocks!

33 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2010 10:37 pm

    We just got back from the beach with our kids! These are wonderful pictures. I’m looking forward to your thoughts on Kafka on the Shore. That one scares me a little.

    • June 21, 2010 12:45 am

      I’ve been struggling with the review of Kafka on the Shore. It’s a tough one to write about, and — yes — a little scary on several levels! 🙂

  2. June 20, 2010 11:23 pm

    That’s nice that you had one-on-one time with your son.

    Speaking of Toy Story 3, I’m really quite on the fence. Pixar has two modes: moderately smart-alecky and very smart-alecky. I think this one fits into category number 2. I still will see it, though, since everyone is raving about it, although the Pixar films that I enjoy are the ones people don’t like as much and the ones that I dislike seem to be the ones everyone raves about. The odd man out there was “Wall-E” which was critically acclaimed and my favorite. Also maybe the “Incredibles.” But with “A Bug’s Life” and “Monsters, Inc.,” there hasn’t been as much praise.

  3. June 21, 2010 12:10 am

    Thanks for sharing your photos, looks like a lovely day at the beach with your son! Have a great week and happy reading 🙂

  4. June 21, 2010 12:11 am

    Sounds like a perfect father’s day. Great beach weather too! fortunately the oil spill has not hit home (very sad that whole mess).

    • June 21, 2010 12:50 am

      The oil spill is heartbreaking, and I have no idea how severe or far-reaching the effects will be. It is infuriating; I believe we should have — and could have — begun weaning ourselves off our dependence on fossil fuels long ago. The oil corporations have entirely too much influence over our country.

  5. June 21, 2010 12:17 am

    Is this really you? I finally found you again! Yippee!!!

  6. June 21, 2010 2:04 am

    Wonderful pictures! Thanks for sharing!

    Eifelheim sounds like a different kind of book. Haven’t heard of it yet, so will look forward to your review!

  7. June 21, 2010 10:18 am

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thank you for sharing your beach pictures with us. They were wonderful! Your son has exactly the same ‘boofy’ hairstyle that my son (13 year old) has. Nice to see that hairstyles for teen and pre-teen boys are pretty much the same the world over! I often wonder how they see where they’re going…

    And I was thrilled to see my blog mentioned in the post. I want to hear all about both books you’re reading (especially Eifelheim).

    Thanks again so much 🙂

    • June 21, 2010 2:17 pm

      Amanda, I am finding Eifelheim to be a slow read, but it’s fascinating. I am cracking up over your comment on the “boofy” hairstyle. 🙂

  8. June 21, 2010 11:12 am

    James looks so happy to have a beach day with Mom!!

    Cheesecake from scratch sounds delicious.

    • June 21, 2010 2:19 pm

      Hi Tara 🙂 Actually James got homesick pretty quickly. Not sure whether he was missing the rest of his family or his video games. 😛

  9. June 21, 2010 1:01 pm

    That’s wonderful that you and the hubby exchanged children for a weekend. Each child will hold dear to those memories!!

  10. June 21, 2010 1:12 pm

    I really enjoyed Kafka on the Shore. Have you read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles? That’s a great book.

    have a good reading week.

    • June 21, 2010 2:20 pm

      The Kafka on the Shore is the only book I’ve read by this author. When I’m ready to tackle his work again I’ll look for The Wind-Up Bird.

  11. June 21, 2010 2:10 pm

    Kafka on the Shore sounds really good. I have never heard of it, but I hope you enjoy it. Looks like you had a great weekend! Have a great week.

    • June 21, 2010 2:21 pm

      Thanks, Sarah. Kafka on the Shore is definitely completely unlike anything else I’ve read.

  12. June 21, 2010 2:26 pm

    Kafka sounds like a very resourceful boy! I’m looking forward to learning more about this one. What better place to hang out in the day than a library?

    Lovely photos!

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    • June 21, 2010 2:28 pm

      If I’d felt compelled to run away from home as a teen, the library is definitely where I’d have wanted to roost!

  13. June 21, 2010 3:56 pm

    Eifelheim by Michael Flynn sounds like a good read thanks! I hope you enjoy your week…

  14. June 21, 2010 6:45 pm

    I am pretty sure I want to read Kafka on the Shore. Love the beach pics and wish I lived close to a beautiful body of water like that!

  15. June 21, 2010 7:11 pm

    I’ve heard great things about Kafka On The Shore, I hope you enjoyed it! :~)

  16. June 21, 2010 7:29 pm

    A weekend trip to the beach sounds lovely! Enjoy your books this week 🙂

  17. June 21, 2010 11:48 pm

    I’m looking forward to your review of Kafka on the Shore.
    I’m planning to read it for the Japanese Literature Challenge.

    Have a happy reading week!

  18. June 22, 2010 3:35 am

    Eifelheim has got me piqued, so I am awaiting your review to see if I should make a go of it. Your son looks perfectly serene to be spending the day with his mama!

  19. June 22, 2010 12:02 pm

    I could live at the beach! Your book list sounds wonderful!
    Thank you for stopping by my Monday reading post!

  20. June 23, 2010 8:59 pm

    It looks like you had a wonderful day with your boy! Mine is also in the middle between two sisters. While his older sister is not that intense, his younger sister more than makes up the difference. 🙂 I always have a good time alone with him.

    That last picture is great, by the way. I love the wave behind him!

    Peace and Laughter!

  21. June 24, 2010 11:57 am

    That beach trip looks amazing! I need to get a beach trip in 🙂

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