NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wolves Win! Wolves Win!

It was a nail-biter, but the Wolves pulled off the win. We're 1-0! Yay! Now my throat hurts from yelling, my hands hurt from clapping and high-fiving, and my face hurts from smiling. I can't wait to do it again on the 15th!

Until then, on the book front, I've got three murder mysteries going at the same time. I've discovered it's a good thing I'm not a detective, because I find myself getting my cases mixed up. Just for the record: In my car on audio CD, Tempe Brennan is hot on the trail of a murderous Satan worshipper and battling her former alcoholic demons (Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs). At work on audio CD, Virgil Flowers is investigating a string of murders involving Vietnam vets and lusting over everything female (Heat Lightning by John Sandford). And on my nightstand, Alex Delaware is currently mystified by a serial killer who removes the victims' right hands (Bones by Jonathan Kellerman). Yeah, it gets confusing, but on the upside? They are all quite good! More info coming once I finish them up.

On the dog front, Skye and Max will both be competing on Saturday. Max will be working toward more Championship Q's due to his new status as an Enthusiast. I think Skye might be in a position to finish up his Level 3 Handler Games Title. We're thinking of switching him to Enthusiast next year just to cut him a break on his jump height. Since we just do agility for fun, there's no sense in risking wearing out his joints at a higher jump height. After Saturday's trial, I think we're done until April. Once the snow flies, I won't be able to get Max out to walk as much as I should between runs, so we'll most likely take a break from competing until it starts warming up again. Not that the boys don't love their time in the snow. . . .

I call this one "THE SNOW SHARK". :-) I love the look on Max's face. Boys. What do you do with them?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Go Wolves!!

This would be "Big Al" Jefferson modeling the brand new home uniform. I think I like them, though I was quite attached to to old style.

Tonight is the opener for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and I'll be there cheering them on as they romp all over the Sacramento Kings. At least, I hope they do! :-)

Go Wolves!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


by Alex Haley

If you've ever wondered if it was worth your time to tackle Roots: The Saga of an American Family, I'm here to tell you the answer is a resounding, "Yes!!" If this isn't the best book I've read this year, it is definitely the most affecting. Only one other book has made me think this deeply about being white and, yes, I'll say it, privileged, and personally ashamed of those despicable parts of our history when we treated other human being worse than animals. (The other book was Dances with Wolves. That one made me want to wash the white right off of me. I cried for days after finishing it.)

When Kunta Kinte was captured, as he was fighting to get away, even on the ship, I kept irrationally waiting for him to escape. Isn't that what is supposed to happen to the good guys? My gut tied in knots as his nightmare continued. I can't even imagine this type of thing being real. It is simply beyond my capabilities to understand treating other human beings so vilely. It sickens me to think this is such a large part of American history.

I could go completely off on my soap box but I'll refrain from so doing, because this story of Haley's ancestors surviving, overcoming, then thriving, hearing how Haley literally went back to his African roots to learn his family's story, made me heart-achingly proud at the same time. Proud of the diversity that makes this country great, proud of how far we have come, and proud of the country we still have the potential to be. All of us, together.

E pluribus unum -- Out of many, one.

Monday, October 27, 2008

2009 Decades Challenge

This was the first Challenge I ever signed up for and the first one I actually finished. I'm excited to do it again for 2009. I'm not going to pick an exact plan, but in the spirit of "9", I'm going to cover 1910-1990. I'll decide the specific books as I go along. Click on the year for a list of potential reads. So many great ones to choose from!!

Finished: 9/9 as of July 2, 2009


A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
James Joyce


This Side of Paradise
F. Scott Fitzgerald


To Have and Have Not
Ernest Hemingway


Native Son
Richard Wright


The Bridge Over the River Kwai
Pierre Boulle


Elie Wiesel


Going After Cacciato
Tim O'Brien


The Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro


A Lesson Before Dying
Ernest J. Gaines

If you'd like to join in the fun, you can find the rules and sign-up here.

2009 Pub Challenge

Completed: 9/9 as of July 29, 2009

1. Revelation by C.J. Sansom
2. Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin
3. Wicked Prey by John Sandford
4. Bones of Betrayal by Jefferson Bass
5. The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips
6. Renegade by Richard Wolffe
7. The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl
8. Killer Summer by Ridley Pearson
9. The Devil's Queen by Jeanne Kalogridis

I loved this Challenge in 2008, and I have no reason to believe it won't be just a great in 2009. I'm in! I have no idea what I'll read for certain, but here are a few authors that I'm pretty sure could make this list by the end of the Challenge:

Jonathan Kellerman (Alex Delaware series)
Kathy Reichs (Temperance Brennan series)
Jeanne Kalogridis (The Medici Queen)
Michelle Moran (Cleopatra's Daughter)
John Sandford (Prey series or Virgil Flowers series)
Christi Phillips (The Devlin Diary)
Jeffery Deaver (Lincoln Rhyme series, I hope!)
Robin Maxwell (Signora Da Vinci)
Robert Crais (Elvis Cole series maybe?)

I can't wait to see who actually ends up on the final list! You can read the rules and join the fun here!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


by Andy Taylor

Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran is the literary version of VH1's "Behind The Music". You know the story. Band gets together, band makes it big, band develops major drug/alcohol/ego problems. Band falls apart. You know what is going to happen, but the attraction for the reader is in the details. Andy Taylor is very fair. He discusses his own failings as well as the other members of Duran Duran, but he doesn't completely trash anyone. A more blood-thirsty reader looking for presidential election-type character assassination will be disappointed. But Taylor matter-of-factly exposes the screwed up world of the high-stakes music business and global celebrity. The writing isn't at all eloquent, which leads me to believe that this is not the work of a ghost writer. It has the tone and raw feel of a musician telling his story in his own words, which makes the book that much more interesting.

Frankly, I don't know how anyone can come through that life unscathed. I've only experienced the business on a small scale with minor glimpses into the big time. The only real difference I can perceive is that in the big time there is more of everything: Money, drugs, scamming, adoration, ego, insecurity, you name it. I know I'm thankful I made it through the '80s alive, if not psychologically and emotionally untouched by the hedonism of a rock musician's lifestyle. It's pretty much a miracle that all five members of Duran Duran are still around to irritate each other. I wish them all well.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Good laughs!

Watching the Timberwolves on TV always reminds me of this great Nextel commercial that used to play all the time a couple of years ago. I miss that commercial, because no matter how many times Peter and I saw it, we always laughed. YouTube to the rescue once again! Here it is for your enjoyment:

Ha! I love that!!

Official 2009 Challenge Sites

They're popping up everywhere! And I'm trying to decide which ones to do. I did learn this year that I can't plan my whole year of reading in January. I'll never follow it. But I don't want to totally skip the challenges. I think I'll sign up for short challenges and only one or two at a time. But keep a link to this post handy, because I'll keep updating it with the Challenges I'm finding whether I'm signing up or not and you can check them out to see if you want to join in the fun!

(Challenges run from Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2009 unless otherwise noted.)

1% Well-Read Challenge

1st In A Series Challenge

2nds Challenge

9 For 2009 Challenge

20 In 2009

100 Shots of Short (Perpetual Short Story Challenge)

100+ Reading Challenge

666 Horror Paranormal Challenge

A-Z Reading Challenge

ARC Reading Challenge

American Civil War Reading Challenge

Art History Reading Challenge

Audiobook Challenge

The Baker Street Challenge

Book Buddy Blogger Challenge

Buy A Book And Read It Challenge

Caribbean Reading Challenge

Casual Classics Challenge

Celebrate The Author Challenge

Centuries Reading Challenge

Chick Lit Challenge

Childhood Favourites Challenge (Dec. 21, 2008-June 21, 2008)

Christian Readers Challenge

Chunkster Challenge (Ends Nov. 15, 2009)

Countdown Challenge

Cozy Mysteries Challenge (April 1, 2009 - September 30, 2009)

Decades Challenge

Dewey Decimal System Challenge

Dewey's Books Reading Challenge

The Dream King Challenge

eBook Reading Challenge

Entertainment Weekly's New Classics Challenge (Perpetual)

Erotica Reading Challenge

Essay Reading Challenge

Every Month Is A Holiday Challenge (Perpetual)

The Faerie Queene Challenge

Genre Challenge (Nov. 1, 2008 - Nov. 1, 2009)

German Reading Challenge

Graphic Novels Challenge

Harlequin/Silhouette Romance Reading Challenge

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge (Jan. 1, 2009 - March 31, 2009)

In Their Shoes Reading Challenge

It's Good To Be Queen Challenge (Jan. 30, 2009 - June 2, 2009)

Jean Plaidy Challenge

Medical Mystery Madness (Feb. 1, 2009 - Dec. 1, 2009)

Modern Library's 100 Best Novels Challenge (Perpetual)

Numbers Challenge

iPoe Story Reading Challenge (no deadline)

"I Suck At Challenges" Challenge (Jan. 1, 2009 - June 30, 2009)

Jewish Literature Challenge (Dec. 21, 2008 - April 27, 2009)

Latin American Reading Challenge (Jan. 1 - April 30)

Lost Books Challenge (Jan. 21, 2009 - Series Conclusion in 2010)

Lost In Translation Challenge

My Year of Reading Dangerously

New Author Challenge

Notable Books Challenge (Perpetual Challenge)

Orbis Terrarum Challenge (April 1, 2009 - Dec. 20, 2009)

Outlander Challenge

Paranormal Reading Challenge

Political History Challenge

Pub Challenge

Read Your Name Challenge

Read Your Own Books Challenge

The Rescue Challenge

Romance Club Reading Challenge

Romance Reading Challenge

Science Book Challenge

SciFi Experience

Serial Readers Challenge

Series Challenge: Season 3

Shakespeare Challenge

Spiritually Speaking Challenge

Support Your Local Library Challenge

Suspense & Thriller Reading Challenge

TBR Challenge

TBR Lite Challenge

Themed Reading Challenge (Feb. 1, 2009 - July 31, 2009)

U.S. Presidents Reading Project (Perpetual Challenge)

Unshelved Reading Challenge (Feb. 1, 2009 - June 1, 2009)

Victorian Reading Challenge

War Through The Generations Reading Challenge

Well-Seasoned Reader Challenge

What's In A Name Challenge

The Whitcoulls Challenge

World Citizen Reading Challenge

Year of Readers

Young Adult Book Challenge

Happy exploring!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Go Wolves!!

Well, we lost our first home preseason game, but so what? They've gone 4-2 so far, and the real thing doesn't start until next week. But most important for me? The Wolves are back!!

Going to the Target Center for the game last night was like coming home. If only the fuzzy kids could come along! The guys I like the best are all back for this season along with a few great additions to the team, and I even got a high five before the game and a smile and "Hello" after the game from my favorite Wolf, Craig "The Rhino" Smith. (He's the guy in blue running over the poor dude in white. I bet that left a mark.) He may have been smiling at my Obama/Biden button, but Peter is pretty sure he just likes me. :-)

And Peter is pretty psyched this season because his favorite Timberwolves Dancer, Bianca, is back, too! Our goal this season is to get his picture taken with her. We could have done it last night, but we forgot the camera. Doh!

After the game, our ultra-cool ticket rep brought us to Coach Wittman's press conference, which was really cool to see. The season begins in earnest next Wednesday, and I am ready! GO WOLVES!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


by David Sedaris

David Sedaris' Naked is highly recommended for anyone planning on participating in a 24-hour Read-A-Thon. I'm thinking any of his books would be good for that. The bite-sized essays are just the thing for a pick-me-up when your eye are starting to feel filled with sand. How can you fall asleep when you're giggling?

And if you're not trying to read for twenty-four hours, but are just looking for a little something to pass some time and lift your mood while you wait for your 401k to recover, this is your book. In fact, pick up a few of Sedaris' books, since you'll be waiting for a while. :-)

Critical Information In These Trying Times

I stole this from Andi. She's such a great source of things a girl just needs to know! :-)

I could survive for 47 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Created by Bunk Beds Pedia

Sunday, October 19, 2008

RAT: Wrap-Up

That was so fun! I didn't read as much as I would have liked to, but this time around was a last minute decision and a bit of an experiment. Now I know just what to expect for next time! I'd love to be one of the folks who makes the whole 24 hours in the future.

I ended up turning out the reading light at midnight. I honestly have no idea how many hours I actually read or blogged. I was surprised at how much time the blogging took. I'd sit down to check how everyone was doing and leave some cheerleading comments, and the next thing I knew, it was time for my own hourly update! That's something I'll have to work on for the next one if I actually want to make some headway in my reading.

I finished up David Sedaris' Naked.
I read one short story, during which I fell asleep. Oops.
I read Paul Auster's Man In The Dark in its entirety.
I read about 1/3 of Andy Taylor's Wild Boy.
Page count total: 352

Not too bad. I can't wait for the next one now that I have a number to beat. Nothing like setting the bar nice and low! :-)

Congratulations and great job to everyone who arranged and participated in the Read-A-Thon! It was an honor and just a blast to share an entire day with all of you who share this love of books!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

RAT: Hour 14+

OK. Real life is no longer cooperating at all, so here is the plan: I'm going to go to bed soon and just read until I fall asleep. Then in the morning I'll let you all know how far I got.

I've had a great time today even though I didn't get near as much reading in as I wanted to. Next time I'll know just what to expect! Because I am doing this again some day!

Good luck and good reading to all who are aiming for the full 24 hours! I can't wait to see everyone's final results!

RAT: Hour 10

Confession: I fell asleep reading William Faulkner's short story "Barn Burning". I guess I thought it was just OK. :-) Man In The Dark was really good. Auster is rising on my list of favorite authors with every book of his that I read. Man In The Dark was my third. Timbuktu has been my favorite so far.

I need something completely frivolous now, and Wild Boy it is. I've just finished the Prologue where he talks about Duran Duran's Live Aide performance, which was their last for many, many years. I'm hooked!

So far I've read one short story, one complete book, finished another, started a third for an embarrassing grand total of 239 pages. I'm in awe of so many of you who have already read way more than I'll manage for the whole day. You guys are amazing!

See you in a couple hours!

RAT: Hour 7

I have reached the inescapable conclusion that I do not read fast enough to merit hourly updates. :-) I'll only update every couple hours from now on so you're not all inundated with snappy posts that read some version of, "Still working on the same book as last hour."

I only have about 20 pages left of Man In The Dark. Then I'll be grabbing a short story (no idea which one), and then maybe the Andy Taylor autobiography for awhile. It might be kind of like getting a VH1 "Behind The Scenes" break. :-)

Happy Reading, Everyone!

RAT: Hour 5

Nothing too earthshattering. Still loving Man In The Dark, and drinking Diet Mountain Dew by the gallon.

Canvassing Update For Those Who Are Curious: Obama supporters will be happy to hear that 90% of the people Peter has spoken with so far this morning are voting for our guy!!

RAT: Hour 4

Let's see. . . I'm 60 pages into Auster's Man In The Dark. I'll be hard pressed to come up with a sentence to sum it up for my review as there are so many elements involved. But here's what you really want to know: Excellent book! And highly recommended as a quick read for anyone else in the Read-A-Thon who was wondering. :-)

I haven't brewed up any of my new tea yet, but that Diet Mountain Dew is going down quite well, as usual.

RAT: Hour 3

I confess I haven't read a thing since my Hour 1 update. However, hubby is fed and off to do this thing, the kitchen is cleaned up, the dogs are set, I've showered, and now I'm off to start Man In The Dark by Paul Auster.

See you in an hour!

RAT: Hour 1

Where are you reading from today?

Livingroom and bedroom, where Peter just put up the coolest reading light. What a good guy!

3 facts about me …

I'm 43, I've had the same job for 20 years this Christmas, I'm afraid of heights.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?

Literally hundreds. My TBR "pile" is, like many, totally out of control.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?

Since this is my first Read-A-Thon, I'm not setting he bar very high. I want to see how it goes. I'd like to read at least three Short Stories somewhere along the line, finish two books, and maybe dabble in a few that I've been curious about but don't necessarily want to finish today.

I finished up Sedaris' Naked. He's such a fun writer! Peter is going out canvassing for Obama today, so I'm taking a break to cook him some breakfast before he goes. Gotta keep his strength up to fight the good fight!

Hope all has started well for everyone!

RAT: Hour 0

About five minutes to take off! I don't expect my final totals to be overly impressive, but if I can just get a bunch of reading in today that I may not have gotten otherwise, that's perfect! Really, I'm just looking forward to hanging out with all of you for the day. :-) First up, finish David Sedaris' Naked. I'm on the last essay about the nudist trailer park. It's a good way to wake up!

See you in an hour!

Friday, October 17, 2008

24 Hour Read-AThon - I'm In!!

I'm in! I decided at the last minute, so now I need to go to bed so I can get up early and get started!! I certainly won't read all this tomorrow, but in addition to catching up on a few short stories for the Short Story Challenge, here are a few of the books I have lined up as potentials fodder:

Man In The Dark -- Paul Auster
Dumb Witness -- Agatha Christie
Mortal Stakes -- Robert B. Parker
The Queen's Man -- Sharon Kay Penman
The Book of Samson -- David Maine
Change We Can Believe In -- Barack Obama
The Shock Doctrine -- Naomi Klein
Amusing Ourselves To Death -- Neil Postman
Wild Boy: My Life In Duran Duran -- Andy Taylor

There are a bunch more that I may dabble in, but these were the first ones to catch my eye when I decided to go for it.

See everyone bright and early!

Happy Friday!

Whew! Debate season is finally over, so maybe I can get some sleep now. And get some reading done! Perhaps I can finish some challenges? The sky is the limit, right? :-)

I won't be participating in the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon, but I'll be watching the action. Good luck to everyone! I can't wait to see everyone's choices and comments! Meanwhile, I'll be finishing up my second David Sedaris book, eyeing up a couple of library choices I have next to the bed, and checking out what I have left to read to finish up the TBR Challenge. I'm also hoping to crack the 100 mark for the 100+ Book Challenge by the end of the month. So, while I'm not officially trying to read for 24 hours, I may give it shot anyway. Peter and I went to Teasource yesterday to buy a new teapot and some of my favorite oolong teas. I picked up Blue Beauty Oolong and Magnolia Oolong, so I should be good to go!

Max Update ~ He's doing really well. He's taking 1/2 a buffered aspirin every morning, and we've started adding fish oil to his food. The only time over the last few days that he's shown any stiffness or discomfort is when he's really, really tired. Skye heard that it is best if Max gets plenty of exercise, so he is keeping him busy by constantly stealing his ball and his frisbee so that Max has to chase after him.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


by Leo Tolstoy

In "God Sees The Truth But Waits", a man is imprisoned after he is wrongfully accused of murder. This is a emotional story of acceptance and forgiveness -- acceptance of the failings of yourself and others and the strength to forgive even when understanding is beyond your grasp. All I could think about when I finished this story was something my late Aunt Cathy used to often say, "God always answers your prayers. It's just that sometimes the answer is 'no'."

Read "God Sees The Truth But Waits" here.

Monday, October 13, 2008


by Sharon Kay Penman

Devil's Brood is the third in a trilogy which began with When Christ and His Saints Slept and Time and Chance, but it is not necessary to have read the first two to follow the story. Devil's Brood tells of the final years of the reign of Henry II from shortly after the murder of Thomas Becket until Henry's death. I thought this book was truly amazing. The colossal amount of detail included makes it not only entertaining, but highly educational. There were times I forgot I was reading fiction until all of a sudden there would be people talking, and I would think, "How does she know what they said?!" :-)

Action is not the main focus of the novel. For the reader who is well versed in the last years of Henry II and his queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, the story may seem to drag. However, if you're looking for something meaty that highlights the humanity of a ruler and his family, this is a gold mine. Devil's Brood deeply explores Henry's inability to come to terms with his role in shaping his rebellious sons, Eleanor's strength during her captivity, the intricate workings of the mind of nobility and those who see themselves as entitled, and those who are loyal, or not so loyal, to them.

Some of the juicier gossip of the times is not represented, as Ms. Penman explains in her author's note that there was no real evidence to back up the claims. Therefore, Richard's alleged love affair with the French King and Henry's seduction of Richard's betrothed, Alys, are not part of this version of the story. If you're looking for a lighter treatment of this same period that includes the scandalous rumors, you might want to try Jean Plaidy's The Courts of Love.

Learn more about Sharon Kay Penman and her work at her Official Web Site.