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433rd Friday Blog Roundup

I won a goldfish at the Purim carnival.  It was one of those games where you have three chances to throw a ping pong ball into an incredibly small opening.  We had waited in a long line for our turn, and I was the last one in the family to go.  I got it in on the second ball, and I turned around and started screaming and jumping.  The other kids in line stared at me as if I was a goddess.  They asked me how I did it.  I felt like a celebrity; the Fish Winner.  We got in line and tried again, and this time the ChickieNob won.  We were feeling ten kinds of lucky.

Then the reality of “we won two goldfish” kicked in.  We had to go to a pet store to get supplies.  There was a lot of judgment from the pet store staff when we refused the 10-gallon tank (feel free to leave your own self-righteous comment about goldfish bowls so I can tell you what we told them).  We got fish food and water conditioner, and in the end, spent an additional $16 in order to attend the carnival.

Then we drove home with Galadriel and not-Spinky.  The ChickieNob settled immediately on the name Galadriel for her fish.  The Wolvog named his Spinky as we were walking out of the building.  Then he started crying at lunch when we told Grandma the name of his fish and he realized he hated it.  We then brainstormed several other names, including Sunday, which is what the fish is now called by everyone when we speak of it aloud.  But in my head, I still think of it as not-Spinky, or N-Spink, for short.

Both Galadriel and N-Spink live in the Wolvog’s room.  We were going to get two separate bowls for the two separate rooms, but the ChickieNob was too scared to have the fish live in her room because that means that one day the fish will die in her room.  She does not mind the idea of her fish dying in her brother’s room, and she assured him that he was totally up to the task of dealing with a dead fish.  She’s a sweet girl.

With a fish-winning arm.


I’ve been devouring The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I read about half of it yesterday.  This is my first time reading John Green.  Are his other books equally good?  I really like the conversational tone.  The beautiful moments in the simplicity of the sentences.  I’m going to be near a bookstore this weekend and could get others if anyone can vouch for them.

So name some other books like that.  Not matching the subject matter or type (TFIOS is young adult); that isn’t what I mean.  I just want books that are similar in tone and style.  Conversational.  Unfussy.  Simple.  A lot of people can do complicated poorly.  Some people can do complicated well.  But a rare few can do simple well.  And I’m looking for great, unfussy, straightforward storytelling.

On a side note, I have not yet read the Hunger Games.  I’ve been waiting to read the first book.  I should probably just dive into it, right?  I’ve been assuming that it fits the bill as unfussy, straightforward storytelling… right?

So what other books — adult or YA, genre or non-genre, American or non-American — fit this description of unfussy, straightforward storytelling.  That is great.  Something like The Fault in Our Stars or The Age of Miracles or any of the Sookie Stackhouse books or… do you know what I mean by unfussy, straightforward storytelling?  I’m just trying to focus my book recommendation request on gathering ideas for a certain type of book I am particularly in the mood for at the moment.


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Bionic Mamas has a post about returning to the fertility clinic in order to conceive another child.  It’s both the logistics of coming back to the office, but also the emotions of being back in that space again.  I thought it was a wonderful, eye-opening post; something so many who experience primary infertility go through in order to continue to build their family.  I imagine the same feelings exist on other paths to parenthood such as adoption.  She writes, “As I waited for my name to be called, a strange nausea crept over me.  I hadn’t, I realized, been comparing my present-day self with the me who had first come to the Baby Factory at all; I’d been comparing myself to my memory of that person, a memory colored by knowing that my first visit was only the beginning, that there were miles to go, disappointments and fears and more than a few crying jags.”

By now, you have probably read Tiger Beatdown’s story about her infertility, but in case you haven’t, I’m sending you over.  It was not a post I expected to read when I opened her blog Thursday morning.  It was gut-wrenching.  It was raw.  It was a hard story to read but an important story to read.  She writes of the baby she lost, “Almost seventeen thousand dead in European detention centers since the mid 90’s. I have always added my own dead to the list. My dead wasn’t counted because it wasn’t official. I had never reported it to the NGO that keeps track of the corpses. And yet, since the day that I knew I was carrying a dead baby (an illegal immigrant dead baby), I have done nothing but honor her memory.”  Please go over and read in full.

Lastly, Adventures in Infertility Land has a post about dating after divorce while infertile.  She questions: “The truth is I have no idea how to go about this.  How do I share my story?  How much detail is ok to give?  How much can I keep in?  Do I owe it to these potential partners to lay it all out there so they know exactly what kind of a mess they might be dealing with?”  More illuminating are the reactions she records of the people she does tell.  And don’t forget to read (and add to) the discussion in the comment section.

The roundup to the Roundup: Two new pets in the Ford house: Galadriel and N-Spink… I mean, Sunday.  Trying to focus my book recommendation request.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between February 22nd and March 1st) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.


1 Chickenpig { 03.01.13 at 8:34 am }

Fault in Our Stars was an amazing book. I think I will check out another book, too. It seems you and I are reading from the same shelf these days. 🙂

Don’t even get me started on the goldfish! My twins each wanted a pet last year. When they got out of school and were more available for pet care we agreed that they could each have a small pet, IF they did their research first. DA wanted a parakeet and bought a book on parakeets and started reading. NB wanted goldfish. So, he got a book about goldfish, read about 10 pages and left it at that. The book went on and on and on about how goldfish need a 20 gallon tank for ONE fish, and how they have to be fed a special diet, and so on and so on. We were given a huge tank by a former goldfish owner. I don’t even want to know how much of my hard earned money went into buying filters, pumps, bubblers, lights, and tubing for that tank, which now has NO fish in it because they all DIE. Even after multiple water tests, treatments, and so forth. I won’t tell you about the chapter which says how evil winning goldfish at fairs is and how they never live because they are crappy feeder fish. Your goldfish have outlived our fancy shop specimens already 🙂

2 Ana { 03.01.13 at 9:35 am }

A Fault in Our Stars is next on my reading list, I have it on my Kindle but haven’t gotten to it yet. So I don’t know exactly what you mean by the same style, but I have a hunch. In the YA genre, I recently read The Perks of Being a Wallflower (pretty good, somewhat depressing, but an interesting unfussy and quick read). I LOVED Hunger Games—very easy to read and action-packed, but the next 2 books in the serious dragged a bit. I recently read Gone Girl…which only SEEMED straightforward. It was a great read, but disturbing. I am looking forward to seeing more recs from others, because I’m into the same style these days.

3 a { 03.01.13 at 10:04 am }

I read An Abundance of Katherines, which was OK. But I did really like Will Grayson Will Grayson (cowritten with someone else – Levithan?). But that’s the extent of my John Green consumption so far. I will probably read more of what he’s written. I like his writing style – there’s a lot more depth than the pace and the length of the books would suggest. The Hunger Games does seem to fit your bill, style-wise, I think. I devoured that one, although the other two were a little slower pace. I also like Darynda Jones – it’s on the Sookie Stackhouse order…somewhat supernatural but with some mystery thrown in. The first book is First Grave On The Right.

Good luck with Galadriel and not-Spinky. I won a goldfish at a church bazaar ping-pong toss, and it lasted quite a while. My mom got quite tired of cleaning out the fishbowl. Yeah, you heard that right – fishbowl. With tap water.

4 loribeth { 03.01.13 at 11:09 am }

This isn’t a blog post; I found it in the New York Times. Some people struggle for years to adopt; some people have babies offered to them. It’s a strange and sometimes unfair world at times… but I thought this was a great story!


5 Nancy { 03.01.13 at 11:51 am }

I just finished reading the Belgariad Series by David Eddings the first book is Pawn of Prophecy. I loved them, they are simple straightforward and funny.

6 Alexicographer { 03.01.13 at 12:58 pm }

I think everyone but me may have read this ages ago but I recently read and loved reading Praying for Sheetrock. It is non-fiction but still tells a great story albeit one with significantly sad parts.

Skylark by Deszo Kosztolanyi and Descendants by Kaui Hart are two fiction books I enjoyed recently though it took me longer to get into them, than Praying.

7 Lori Lavender Luz { 03.01.13 at 1:55 pm }

Congratulations on your lucky arms! Hehe.

I just finished the YA four-book series that starts with The Giver. I highly recommend (movie is coming).

8 Rachel { 03.01.13 at 3:11 pm }

I LOVED an Abundance of Katherines. Another story I liked that is straight-forward and amazing…The Love Letter by Cathleen Shine. I’ve re-read it probably 30 times.

9 Mina { 03.01.13 at 4:34 pm }

I feel so behind on reading, I haven’t even heard of many of the books you people talk about. But then I hardly have time to read that much for the moment. Anyways, I think you would like Hunger Games. I thought it was like a Rama trilogy for teenagers. If you haven’t read Clarke’s books, you should. As you should read Asimov’s books, perhaps start with the robot series, The Caves of Steel, Naked Sun and Robots of Dawn. They are widely underestimated because of the sci-fi label. They both wrote briliantly. I sound like a broken record when it comes to these two, I have not enough words to praise them. Oh, and another gem that people shun away from, again because of the sci-fi label – Ender’s Game. Blew my mind when I read it.

Right. Posts.

LoriBeth – http://theroadlesstravelledlb.blogspot.de/2013/02/im-more-than-just-uterus.html – she has a way with words, loribeth… I love her.
It is what it is – A Dawning – http://itiswhatitisorisit.net/?p=4122 – A much needed breakthrough through the guilt and blame of motherhood 2.0
An Embarassment of Good Fortune – http://anembarrassment.blogspot.de/2013/02/taking-charge-of-my-infertility.html – isn’t it just lovely to read something with a happy ending?
Stirrup Queens – Book Stoppage – https://www.stirrup-queens.com/2013/02/book-stoppage/ I have always felt guilty for doing it, but I feel so much better knowing I am not alone. Hey, where have I heard that before?! 😉

Right then. Off to catch the last bit of Poirot – the dénouement is the best part of any Poirot movie.

10 Mina { 03.01.13 at 4:39 pm }

My husband just told me that they are making a movie after Ender’s Game. With Harrison Ford. Not bad! The wroter is Orson Scott Card, just so that you know.

Is this comment moderation new, or I am such a ditzy head I haven’t noticed it before?

11 Brid { 03.01.13 at 5:57 pm }

The one I mentioned the other day by Marina Endicott (Good to a Fault) is the style you’re looking for. It’s the kind of writing that you can’t tell there is anything happening until you’re on the other end and you see the story come together… does that make sense?

12 Brookes4boys { 03.01.13 at 6:19 pm }

I have recently discovered a new favorite author, Charles Martin. I am not sure if he fits the parameters you are looking for, but I think I would say they have a “conversational” feel. I particularly loved “Where the River Ends”

We had the opposite problem with fish (though not goldfish). We bought the twins a small aquarium and a couple little fish when they had a desire for their first pet. We are military and move every 3 years, but figured that the fish would naturally pass within that time frame. NOPE! Had to find new owners for the fish when it was time to relocate, Ha ha. Thank goodness for awesome neighbors who were willing to add them to their tank and send the boys little updates on them every so often until the forgot about them 🙂

13 Jane { 03.02.13 at 9:08 am }

How about the Sally Lockhart series by Philip Pullman? Sally is a strong woman protagonist in Victorian England … such a great character and good, clean, fun writing.

14 Shannon { 03.02.13 at 2:05 pm }

I haven’t read a good book in so long, I have no suggestions for you at all! 🙂

I do have a post I really liked this week. It’s about telling your daughters they’re pretty. It’s a subject that been covered before, but I really liked Anna’s thoughts: http://a-really-good-idea.blogspot.com/2013/02/on-being-pretty.html

15 Prairie { 03.04.13 at 5:55 am }

Beautiful post about the end of a family building journey. Totally relatable.
“What I mean is that I have always shouldered the burden of infertility’s pain that affected us as a couple. About permanently ending our childbearing abilities–whether by changing his body or mine–he does feel a small degree of…something lost. However, it is only a mere suggestion of loss, just a momentary, wistful pause with barely a backwards glance before filling his lungs with air redolent of freedom.”

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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