Teaser Tuesdays

“I do not know how it feels to be thrown into a lake of fire. I am sure it isn’t pleasant. But I can say with all certainty that walking the length of a ballroom with a book upon one’s head and a back-board strapped to one’s back while imposioned in a tight corset, layers or petticoats, and shoes that pinch is a form of torture even Mr. Alighieri would find too hideous to document in his Inferno

– Page 7 of The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

[I cheated again this week and used more than 2 sentences.]


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Day We Changed the World

(Sorry, 2 non-book-related posts in a row.  I promise the next one will be about books)

Ben and I just spent the last 2 hours watching By The People in honor of the historic anniversary that is November 4.  For those of you who are new to my blog, I was a Field Organizer for the Obama Campaign during the general election.  For 3 months, I lived and breathed Barack Obama.  I went home only to get a few hours of sleep and I think I saw my husband less than I did when we lived in different parts of the country.  But watching this documentary reminded me why I did it and why I would do it over if I had the chance (possibly with some Xanax nearby).  In honor of the anniversary, I’m reposting my thoughts from after the election last year.  I wrote this on November 9. 2008 and the original post can be found here.

So…we won!  Barack Obama is our next president.  And we won Florida and Pinellas County – both of which went for George Bush four years ago.  I couldn’t have asked for more.  All I want to do is stare at the little blue Florida and the little blue Pinellas county all day.

I am extremely glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of something so important.  The last 3 months definitely had its ups and downs.  Some times, I was curled up on the office floor crying out of exhaustion and anxiety.  Other times, I was having the time of my life.  I met so many amazing people – co-workers, volunteers, community members.  I am going to remember this forever.  It could possibly be the biggest thing that I am ever a part of.

Here is what Joe Klein had to say in Time magazine about us:

Indeed, there are — an army of them, untold thousands of young organizers operating out of more than 700 offices nationwide. And they have delivered a message to Rudy Giuliani, who sneered during the Republican National Convention that he didn’t even know “what a community organizer is.” This is who they are: they are the people who won this election. They were the heart and soul and backbone of Barack Obama’s victory. They are destined to emerge as the next significant generation of American political operatives — similar to the antiwar and antisegregation baby boomers who dominated the Democratic Party after cutting their teeth on the Bobby Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy campaigns of 1968, similar to the pro-life, antitax Reaganauts who dominated the Republican Party and American politics from the election of 1980 … until now. They are a preview of the style and substance of the Obama Administration.

I am glad to get back to my life.  Back to friends, family, reading, ballet, and everything else.  But I am also terrified because I have no idea what comes next.  I have to choose which direction to take my life now.  For now, I’m trying to remember how to relax and enjoy our success.  I’m going on a trip up north in a few days with some of my fellow organizers and seeing my dad in Boston and my family in Michigan.  So I guess I can put off some of these decision for a few weeks.

When I start getting nervous, I just try to remember everything that I have done so far and how much we actually accomplished here. We elected the president.  Kind of a big deal.

I’m looking forward to catching up with all of you.  I missed you all the last 3 months.

Back to realtime Michelle.

That chapter of my life is over.  I am still involved in the campaign world to a lesser degree, but I have moved on with my life.  I will never forget those 3 months, the people I met, the friendships I made, the lessons I learned.  I am so thankful that I got to be a part of Obama’s story and I can’t wait to see what he does the next 3 (7?) years.

Is it 2012 yet?

Hello World. It's Me Again.

For the past 2 1/2 years I’ve been blogging over at http://michellen.vox.com.  I loved vox and it was a great place to get started.  But I want more out of my blog now so I’m moving over to here.  I hope I don’t lose any of my vox readers and I will continue to check back there and read and comment on their posts.  For the time being, I will either cross-post to both places or provide a link to my wordpress posts on vox.  I will most likely start moving all of my old posts over, but that will be a slow process and I don’t have the patience to do that first.

It may seem like I made this decision suddenly, but I’ve been debating it for quite some time and once I got started, I just decided to do it.

Anyway, this blog will focus on the books I read and my thoughts on them.  I will not commit to not ever discussing any other subjects, but I am going to try to keep this focused.  I’m looking forward for a refreshing new start and I hope you all enjoy reading it.


Should I Stay or Should I Go?

For some time, I’ve been debating how much I really like vox and if I should start blogging elsewhere.  I loved vox when I first started and I love my vox neighbors and the community on here, but the limitations are starting to annoy me.  For example, the formatting is strange sometimes and it takes a lot of trial and error to get the spacing right.  And I feel like I don’t have a lot of control over the design.  But the biggest thing is that people who don’t have vox accounts can’t comment.  I’ve heard from several people that they would like to be able to comment but don’t want to join vox.

I chose vox originally because I knew a lot of people who were using it and I loved it for a long time.  But now I know a lot of people outside of it, too.  I’ve even gone so far as to get a wordpress blog but I haven’t posted any content to it because I’m reluctant to leave all of you fellow-voxers.

Anyone have any thoughts?

The Hunger Games

Around the time that Catching Fire came out this year, I began hearing of the buzz around this series. So I requested a copy of The Hunger Games from the library and calmly waited until it came in. Then I devoured it (that pun might be intended). I read it in 3 late night reading sessions last week after Husband had gone to bed forcing myself to put it down each night so that I could get a few hours of sleep. The plot moved quickly, the premise was fascinating, and the characters came to life. Like most young adult books, the writing may not be fantastic, but the story makes up for it.. I’m saving the sequel, Catching Fire for the read-a-thon and the wait is killing me.

The Hunger Games

For those who don’t know, the Hunger Games is a dystopian novel taking place sometime in the future in what is now the United States. The Capitol rules the outlying Districts and to show its control and prevent rebellion, every year 2 teenagers – Tributes – from each district must take part in a competition to the death that is nationally televised. The winner returns to a live a life of luxury in his or her district. This year Katniss takes her younger sister’s place as a Tribute. Peeta, a boy her age, is chosen as the second Tribute. Together they journey to the Capitol where they must participate in the pomp and circumstance leading up to the games and then fight for their lives
once it begins.

This book is sort of a mash-up of The Lottery and The Most Dangerous Game with a little love story thrown in for kicks. I highly recommend it to those of you out there who love a good young adult dystopian novel.

Teaser Tuesday

“The first thing Betsy and Tacy and Tib did after they were ten years old was to fall in love.  They all fell in love at once…with the same person too.”

– Page 27 of Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace

PS – The 12-year old boy in me (?!) wanted to put the passage a few pages earlier about Betsy being “pounded” for her birthday.  Inappropriate? Maybe.


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share
    doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can
    add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


I've decided to participate in this fall's 24-hour Read-a-Thon.  The Read-a-Thon begins on October 24th at 8am (in my time zone).  24 hours of reading books, updating my blog, reading other blogs, and doing mini-challenges.  When I first discovered this event, I was intrigued but not sure I wanted to participate.  Then I kept reading about how much fun everyone says it is.  I don't know how hardcore I'll be (it's been years since I've voluntarily pulled an all-nighter) but I'm definitely going to spend the majority of my day reading.

To make this even more special, and because it is October, for each book I finish, I will be donating $10 extra to my in-laws' 2010 Breast Cancer 3-Day fund (That was the link to my mother-in-law's, but for a laugh check out my father-in-law's page).

Here is my pile of books to choose from.  I will obviously not be getting through all of these.  Let's face it, I'll be lucky if I finish 3.  But I wanted to have some variety.  And I have a few books coming from the library as well.  And of course, I can always grab one of the other 300 books in my house that I haven't read.  I tried to pick shorter and/or easier books that would keep my attention.

Read-a-Thon Books

Anyone else want to participate with me?

Read and post comments


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Peony in Love by Lisa See

Peony in Love: A NovelThis book has been on my TBR list for ages. Since before I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan a year and a half ago. And boy am I glad that I finally got to it.

First, your teasers. My two favorite passages occurred a mere page apart:

“Quite by accident – except that it had to be fate interfering – he found the box with Liniang’s rolled-up self-portrait scroll.” p. 34

“Perhaps he was as afraid as I was that we’d be caught.Or perhaps he was breathing me in just as I was letting him come into my lungs, my eyes, my heart.” p. 35

It’s part historical fiction, part ghost story, part coming of age. It is a story about growing up, accepting changes, and most of all  love – romantic love, sexual love, familial love. The greatest of  which is probably the womanly love formed between mothers and daughters (which can also be the toughest love to recognize).

In the conversation with Lisa See at the end, she mentions that she wrote this to show that women (who may be been silenced) have not been silent throughout history. While there may be little  record of it, women were always thinking, writing, creating. See also mentions that she believes women still struggle to have their voices heard. How many times do we find our husbands and boyfriends not really listening to us? How many times growing up did we ignore our mother’s request to clean our room and immediately obey our father’s. This actually sparked an interesting discussion between Ben and me. We have about as egalitarian a relationship as you can get, yet there may be traces of this in existence (then again, sometimes I don’t listen to Ben, too).

When I read this book, I didn’t realize that the characters were based on real people. I assumed some of the basis for the story was true – I figured The Peony Pavillion was a real book, but that was as far as I thought the history went. After finishing the book and reading the Author’s Note, I learned that the characters of Peony, Ze, Ti, and Wu Ren all
existed and The Three Wive’s Commentary is real. This makes their story so much more compelling to me. Part of the reason I love Lisa See’s novels is because it is a chance to learn about Chinese history and culture. When the story intertwines with real history, it enhances that experience.

I loved Peony in Love even more than Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I can’t wait to get to Shanghai Girls.

Out of curiosity, has anyone read her earlier novels?

Books: September 2009

September 2009 Reads

  • Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maude Hart Lovelace [review]
  • The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler [review]
  • Betsy-Tacy by Maude Hart Lovelace [review]
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery [review]

September 2009 Books

  • Foreign Tongue by Vanina Marsot
  • Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
  • The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  • Continental Drift by Russell Banks

September turned out to be a pretty good reading month for me.  I enjoyed everything I read and 4 books is really the best I can ever hope for (it doesn’t hurt that the Betsy-Tacy books are so short).  And of our new books, only one of those is really mine and I won it from Book Club Girl so I didn’t actually pay for it.  The other 3 Ben bought but I am really looking forward to getting my hands on Her Fearful Symmetry.

I left two books unfinished in September: Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer and Pride and Prejudice.  I keep losing interest in those two and reading other books instead.  But I will finish them someday.