Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Update on the Big Read

So I plan on getting into detail at another time, but thought I'd let you all know how the 30 Books challenge is coming along. Or should I say the "29 Books Challenge"...

That's right - I've already read one book on the list. Book # 1 - To Kill a Mockingbird. I LOVED IT! I'm not exactly sure how it is that I'm a lawyer and never had read the book. It was amazing. Very thought provoking and (while my husband doesn't recall this and thought I was odd for laughing out loud on occasion) comical at times. Everyone should read this book. Do it. Now.

I'm currently about 50 pages in to 1984. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but am continuing on. Mr. Cob says I can't quit on it, because apparently it's great. At least now I understand where whole "Big Brother" thing comes from.

I'm enjoying my return in bookland. (Clarification for those not married to Mr. Cob: bookland is where Mr. Cob goes when he is reading a book. He is impervious to my questions and comments and stares and need for attention. If he's in bookland, forget it, he's a goner. I'm now getting him back by entering my own bookland. Actually, it's backfiring, because I'm realizing how annoying it is when someone interrupts you when you're reading a good book. Wait, no, it's just him. Surely I'm not annoying. That's impossible). Law school had really turned me off from reading for pleasure - after reading page upon page of legal cases, the last thing I wanted to do was open another book. Good to know that it only takes two and a half years post-law school to get over the fear of books.

How's everyone else doing on the 30 books?

Sunday, October 18, 2009


After great insight from many friends, I have put together "MY 30 Books before 30 Years List". Most of the books were recommended by more than one person, so I have high hopes for them. I really didn't do much research on any of the books, just took your recommendations. My one rule was to only list one book per author. I went to the library today and picked up six books to start my journey and jumped in this afternoon with book #1. Now, in no particular order, here is THE list:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
2. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexander Dumas
3. 1984 – George Orwell
4. Guns, Germs and Steel – Jared Diamond
5. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
6. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
7. Crime and Punishment – Dostoyevsky
8. Gone With The Wind – Mitchell
9. The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
10. The Maltese Faclon – Dashiell Hammett
11. The Giver – Lois Lowry
12. Perks of Being a Wall Flower – Stephen Chbosky
13. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
14. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint Exupéry
15. The Great Gatsby – Fitzgerald
16. Watership Down – Richard Adams
17. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
18. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
19. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
20. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
21. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
22. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
23. Catch-22 – Heller
24. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathon Swift
25. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
26. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
27. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
28. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
29. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
30. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

So here's the question - who wants to join me on the book reading journey?

I've started To Kill a Mockingbird, but don't plan on reading the books in the order listed. I'll let you know which book I'm reading as I start it and give my thoughts on each book after I've finished the particular book. And I'm excited to see if I still love the few books I have read that I've included on the List.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 12, 2009

30 before 30 - YOU decide

So it has been brought to my attention that the List of 30 books to read before I turn 30 may not be the "best list". While most lists are subjective, I've come to the realization that I was about to undertake a journey without knowing anything about my guides. A quick google search later, revealed that they may not be the best people to take me on my trip.

So I am asking for your help. I'm going to put together my own list of "Books You Should Read Before Turning 30" ... but since I may not have read them yet, I'd like your input. What books do you think should be on my list? And if you really feel strongly about a book, give me a little background - a WHY the particular book or books should be read. What aspect of my life will it touch? Or better yet, what aspect of your life was affected by the book - or is it merely a book that is a classic and should be read?

Once I compile my list, the journey will begin. Anyone want to join me?

Dear Rain,

Please go away. Thank you. xoxo, the Swans

This morning was the 4th or so morning in a month that I've woken up to the sound of rain and then promptly jumped out of bed only to remember that I'd moved all the towels and buckets away from the leaky ceiling in the dining room. Sigh. I think the bucket will remain a permanent fixture until we can get someone out to fix the roof - I fear we'll have to replace the whole thing. Apparently the sellers failed to include the 4 after the 1 on the disclosure statement question of: how many years old is your roof. Surely they wouldn't have intentionally lied and said 1 when they meant 14.

And my car is on its last leg. The check engine light illuminated itself on my drive to work this morning - combine that with the uneasy idling when the car is at a stop sign or red light and the fact that you can't unlock the trunk anymore, is all leading to the sad conclusion that she's dying.

I'm going to look in my backyard for a money tree this afternoon, because I could sure use one right about now!

On a positive note, I visited my grandparents again this weekend and had a nice visit. We'll get the real diagnosis on my grandma's illness this Friday - so I'm keeping the prayers and good thoughts going.

OH, and Mr. Cob won his first case last week! Although he says it was bad, good and bad - I'm still not sure how that works, but a W is a W in my book :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Watch Less, Read More

I've realized lately that the majority of my day is spent staring at a screen. I'm either staring at the computer doing work, watching TV, checking my email on my blackberry, or updating this lovely blog. I even watch TV when I'm working out at the gym. I can't really cut down on my screen time at work, as it's kind of imperative to my job. But I can make more of an effort to reduce my TV watching time. So I'm going to start reading actual books in my spare time.

And for the record, I'm split on my thoughts about the Kindle/digital books. One the one hand they save on paper - i.e. are Green. I love trying to be more green. (You should see my overflowing recycling container each week.) But on the other hand, I feel like screens are starting to invade life (see previous paragraph) and I like actual books. I think I'll stick with the paper versions. I'll do my part by going to the library. That counts as recycling right? Or maybe it fits more in the "reuse" part of reduce-reuse-recyle. It fits in the trifecta somehow.

So, I'm embarking on a journey. I found a list of books that "everyone should read before they turn 30" on the internet (you really can find anything online these days). I have 17 months before I turn 30, and am going to read all these books before then. I've marked the books I've already read - my grand total: 3. So I'm going to have to average almost two books per month. I think I can do it. I'll give you all a book report as I read them....Anyone want to join my journey?

The List (courtesy of the Mark and Angel Hack Life Blog...I have no clue what this is, or who Mark and Angel are. Perhaps I should've done some more reserach into the makers of the list before letting them blindly lead me on a book reading extraveganza, but I like to live on the wild side):

1. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (x)
2. 1984 by George Orwell
3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
4. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
5. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
6. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
7. The Rights of Man by Tom Paine
8. The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
9. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
10. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
11. The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton.
12. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
13. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
14. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
15. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
16. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
17. Four Quartets by T.S. Elliot
18. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
19. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (x)
20. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (x)
21. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
22. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
23. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
24. The Republic by Plato
25. Lolita.
26. Getting Things Done by David Allen .
27. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
28. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
29. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
30. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
31. BONUS: How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
32. BONUS: Honeymoon with My Brother by Franz Wisner

**For the record, Mr. Cob has read 15 of these books. As you can see I have read 3. Sigh. I hope our kids get his brain and memory. But hopefully they'll get my style. Did I mention he used to have less than stellar style until I showed him the way? I'm just sayin.

An Instant Wardrobe Update

I did a little Fall shopping this weekend. It started out innocently enough. I agreed to go yard sale-ing with the girls. I spent a mere fifty cents on a super cute picture frame. I was doing a great job minding my wallet and sticking to my self-imposed "no frivolous shopping" month of October.

But then I was blinded by love. All sense and reason left me. I blame my friends for dragging me to the mall and forcing me to look at shoes. It's their fault, really.

In my defense, I have been looking for new work shoes for a few months now. But nothing has been "just right". Everything I tried on was either too matronly, too tall, too uncomfortable or just plain wrong.

But that all changed on Saturday. I spotted the most beautiful red heels. And it was love at first sight. I had to have them. My feet are now happy. How couldn't they be in these lovely things?????

I have to wear shoes to work, so one could argue that shoes aren't frivolous. So "technically" I didn't break my own rule. Yea, I like that rationale.