Feb 022016
I have been obsessed with books and reading lately.  I have been adding a ton of books to my “To Be Read” list on Goodreads and have also been snooping around on Twitter and blogs during my lunch (when I’m not reading Kindle books on my Ipad ;)
Books that I have already read are in BLUE and books on my “To Read” list are in GREEN
February 7, 2016
1 THE REVENANT, by Michael Punke. (Picador.) Left for dead after a mauling, the master tracker Hugh Glass is consumed by a singular desire for revenge; an inspiration for the 2015 film. 5
2 THE MARTIAN, by Andy Weir. (Broadway.) Separated from his crew, an astronaut embarks on a quest to stay alive on Mars. The basis of the movie. 65
3 MY BRILLIANT FRIEND, by Elena Ferrante. (Europa Editions.) The first installment in the author’s Neapolitan series, about the lifelong friendship between two women. 21
4 BROOKLYN, by Colm Toibin. (Scribner.) An unsophisticated young Irishwoman leaves her home for New York in the 1950s. The basis of the movie. 13
5 THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho. (HarperOne/HarperCollins.) A Spanish shepherd boy ventures to Egypt in search of treasure. 390
6 A MAN CALLED OVE, by Fredrik Backman. (Washington Square.) An angry old curmudgeon gets new next-door neighbors, and things are about to change for all of them — and others. 4
7 ROOM, by Emma Donoghue. (Back Bay/Little, Brown.) The entire world of the 5-year-old boy who narrates this novel is the 11-by-11-foot room in which his mother is being held prisoner. 42
8 THE CHOICE, by Nicholas Sparks. (Grand Central.) How a North Carolina man’s decisions about love and death play out in his life. 22
9 TRUTH OR DIE, by James Patterson and Howard Roughan. (Grand Central.) A lawyer discovers a shocking secret that must be kept out of the wrong hands. 3
10 THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, by Philip K. Dick. (Mariner.) In this alternative history, the Allies lost World War II, and America is ruled by Japan and Nazi Germany. The basis of the Amazon TV series. 9

  1. RADIANT ANGEL, by Nelson DeMille (Grand Central)
  2. ORPHAN TRAIN, by Christina Baker Kline (Morrow/HarperCollins)
  3. 14TH DEADLY SIN, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Grand Central)
  4. THE STORY OF A NEW NAME, by Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions)
  5. THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND, by Katarina Bivald (Sourcebooks Landmark)

Have you read any of these books? I’ve heard The Revenant was an awesome movie, not sure about the book?

 Posted by at 12:50 pm
Nov 062012

I have always prided myself on being well-read and I like to try to stay on top of the Best Sellers.  I guess I am slipping these days because so many of these books I have not yet read!!!  (Although quite a few are on my Wish List).  The books I have already read are highlighted (sad that there are only 6 and 3 of them are the Fifty Shades series).   How about you??? Have you read any of these books? Do any stand out?

I loved Life of Pi and The Alchemist.  Both magical and great!!

These are the Top Trade Fiction paperbackBest Sellers

1 REFLECTED IN YOU, by Sylvia Day. (Berkley, $15.) The sensual story that began in “Bared to You” continues, as Eva and Gideon learn more about each other and deal with unexpected challenges.
2 FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, by E. L. James. (Vintage, $15.95.) An inexperienced college student falls in love with a tortured man who has particular sexual tastes; the first book in a trilogy.
3 FIFTY SHADES FREED, by E. L. James. (Vintage, $15.95.) Reunited, Anastasia and Christian face a world of possibilities, and unexpected challenges; the final volume in a trilogy.
4 FIFTY SHADES DARKER, by E. L. James. (Vintage, $15.95.) Daunted by Christian’s dark secrets, Anastasia ends their relationship — but desire still dominates her every thought; the second book in a trilogy.
5 CLOUD ATLAS, by David Mitchell. (Random House, $15.) Six linked stories involve myriad characters and conflicts: from New Zealand in the mid-19th century with a stowaway Moriori, to a Belgian estate in the 1930s, to 1970s California with a plucky journalist.
6 THE INNOCENT, by David Baldacci. (Grand Central, $14.99.) When something about his latest mission seems wrong, the government assassin Will Robie refuses to kill. Now he’s a target himself, trying to protect a 14-year-old girl at the center of a vast cover-up.
7 * BARED TO YOU, by Sylvia Day. (Berkley, $15.) Eva and Gideon, recovering from difficult pasts, develop an intense, obsessive relationship.
8 LONE WOLF, by Jodi Picoult. (Atria/Emily Bestler, $16.) On an icy winter night, a terrible accident forces a family divided to come together and make a fateful decision.
9 LIFE OF PI, by Yann Martel. (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin, $14.) An allegory on the high seas, in which a teenage boy and a 450-pound tiger are thrown together in a lifeboat after a shipwreck.
10 THE HARBINGER, by Jonathan Cahn. (FrontLine, $16.99.) A man tells of his encounters with a mysterious figure who has given him a series of messages that hold the secret of America’s future.
11 THE BEST OF ME, by Nicholas Sparks. (Grand Central, $14.99.) Twenty-five years after their high school romance ended, a man and woman who have gone their separate ways return to their North Carolina town for the funeral of a friend.
12 * WOLF HALL, by Hilary Mantel. (Picador, $16.) Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell clash in the court of Henry VIII; winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize.
13 GUILTY WIVES, by James Patterson and David Ellis. (Grand Central, $14.99.) Four friends in Monte Carlo for a luxurious girls’ vacation find themselves in prison, accused of an unthinkable crime.
14 THE MARRIAGE PLOT, by Jeffrey Eugenides. (Picador, $16.) Three Brown graduates in the early 1980s — the beautiful, uncertain Madeleine; the charismatic Leonard; and the mystically inclined Mitchell — wrestle with love, religion and coming of age.
15 BEAUTIFUL DISASTER, by Jamie McGuire. (Atria, $15.) Abby believes she has enough distance from her dark past, but at college she’s quickly challenged by an attractive but dangerous man.
16 THE NIGHT CIRCUS, by Erin Morgenstern. (Anchor, $15.) At a magical circus that whirls through major cities at the turn of the 20th century, two young rivals become collaborators as they fall in love.
17 * THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. (Ballantine, $15.) A young woman’s gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others, even as she struggles with her own troubled past.
18 SEVEN YEARS TO SIN, by Sylvia Day. (Kensington, $15.) Seven years after an unexpected encounter, Lady Jessica Sheffield is reunited with Alistair Caulfield — once a scandalous rogue, now a successful merchant — on a ship bound for the West Indies.
19 THE SENSE OF AN ENDING, by Julian Barnes. (Vintage International, $14.95.) An unexpected bequest causes a man in his 60s to question his understanding of the past; winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize.
20 * DARK PLACES, by Gillian Flynn. (Broadway, $14.) A woman who, as a child, was spared when her mother and sisters were murdered begins to reinvestigate the case against her imprisoned brother.

Also Selling

  1. RULES OF CIVILITY, by Amor Towles (Penguin)
  2. THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho (HarperOne)
  3. ALEX CROSS, by James Patterson (Grand Central)
  4. THE KITCHEN HOUSE, by Kathleen Grissom (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster)
  5. THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE, by Adriana Trigiani (Harper)
  6. SHARP OBJECTS, by Gillian Flynn (Broadway)
  7. THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2012, edited by Heidi Pitlor and Tom Perrotta (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin)
  8. 11/22/63, by Stephen King (Gallery Books)
  9. THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, by Garth Stein (Harper Paperbacks)
  10. DAMNED, by Chuck Palahniuk (Anchor)
  11. STATE OF WONDER, by Ann Patchett (Harper Perennial)
  12. CUTTING FOR STONE, by Abraham Verghese (Vintage)
  13. WORLD WAR Z, by Max Brooks (Three Rivers)
  14. THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO, by Junot Díaz (Riverhead)
  15. CARRY THE ONE, by Carol Anshaw (Simon & Schuster)


On this date I have blogged about:

 Posted by at 8:12 am
Jan 172012

Okay, so it isn’t Friday today but this post will still be here in a few days when it IS Friday ;)

The week before Christmas I picked up a stack of books I had been wanting to read from my local library…..

Three weeks later and I have made it through 4 & 2/3rd of them plus another that was not in this stack;)

Ape House By Sara Gruen.  I loved Water for Elephants and was very excited to read this second book by the same author.  It was an intriguing story and a very quick read (not as good as WFE though)

Girls in Trouble.  This was a sad story of a teenage girl who gets pregnant and her parents force her to give her baby up for adoption and all the repercussions of open adoption.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok.  Beautiful story of a teenage girl who immigrates to American from Hong Kong and her struggles in the new country.  I loved this, highly recommend.  I spent three consecutive nights reading this, I enjoyed it so much.

The Beach Trees by Karen White.  Another great story that was a mystery.  The uncovering of family secrets and missing persons reminded me a lot of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo except this book was much better written! Highly recommend.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  This is a juvenile fiction but it is a very quick read and another fun mystery.  I read it in about an hour

We Is Got Him by Carrie Hagen.  This is a true-crime novel about the first child abduction for ransom in America (1874).  Interesting story but is dragging.  I am not as in to non-fiction but I am determined to get this one finished in the next couple of days.


On this date I have blogged about:

 Posted by at 7:16 am
Nov 212011

Everyone should know by now that I am a book-lover at heart.  I am not a collector of anything but I think I may have been a book hoarder if you had seen all the books I owned a few years back.  I used to spend tons of money buying every great novel out there but about three years ago I changed my ways.  I sold a giant bookcase I had and needed to do something with my books.  If it was a wonderful book, I kept it.  If not, I listed it on www.paperbackswap.com. (Which also has hardcover and audio books for swap!) I started swapping books at that time and haven’t looked back since.  By that, I mean that I have not purchased a new book in over three years.  All I pay is $2-3 for shipping a book out to the requestee.  I pay not a dime for the books that are sent to me.

Check out my stats:

Where have these books come from?? All over!

Map of where books were sent to me from

Sometimes you have to get on a waiting list for a book you want and it can take several weeks or even months, but I don’t mind.  I always have a stack of books to read ;) I typically request a book as soon as I hear about it and wait patiently for it to come.  Once the book is sent to you, it is yours to keep.  Several I have kept for myself, several I have re-listed for someone else to enjoy.

If you are interested in swapping books, I highly recommend Paperbackswap.comMy bookshelf is here, several of these books have been listed for a long time but slowly but surely they are finding new homes.

Are you already using paperbackswap?  If so, please let me know so I can check out your bookshelf and possibly request books from you :)

 Posted by at 7:03 am
Oct 262011

I like to pull the NY Times list of Bestsellers from time-to-time to see what has been popular and to get ideas to add to my bookshelf/wishlist. I am an avid reader yet I was surprised that I have only read 8 of the current Top 35 Mass-Market Fiction.  How many of these have you read? Anything good? What should I add to my list?? The ones I have read are marked with ***.

1 ***THE HELP, by Kathryn Stockett. (Berkley, $16.) Three women — a white socialite and two black maids — work on a tell-all book about black domestic servants in 1960s Mississippi.
2 SARAH’S KEY, by Tatiana de Rosnay. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $13.95.) A contemporary American journalist investigates what happened to a little girl and her family during the roundup of Jews in Paris in 1942.
3 THE FIFTH WITNESS, by Michael Connelly. (Grand Central, $14.99.) Falling on tough times, Mickey Haller expands his legal practice into foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home.
4 * CUTTING FOR STONE, by Abraham Verghese. (Vintage, $15.95.) Twin brothers, conjoined and then separated, grow up amid the political turmoil of Ethiopia.
5 ROOM, by Emma Donoghue. (Back Bay/Little, Brown, $14.99.) The entire world of the 5-year-old boy who narrates this novel is the 11-by-11-foot room in which his mother is being held prisoner.
6 THE SIXTH MAN, by David Baldacci. (Grand Central, $14.99.) The lawyer for a man suspected of being a serial killer is murdered, and two former Secret Service agents are on the case.
7 * FREEDOM, by Jonathan Franzen. (Picador, $16.) Franzen’s first novel since “The Corrections” (2001) is both an absorbing portrait of a dysfunctional Midwestern family and a telling snapshot of our troubled times.
8 DEAD OR ALIVE, by Tom Clancy with Grant Blackwood. (Berkley, $18.) The covert intelligence expert Jack Ryan Jr. and his black ops team face their greatest foe: a sadistic terrorist known as the Emir.
9 * THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, by Garth Stein. (Harper Paperbacks, $14.99.) An insightful Lab-terrier mix helps his owner, a struggling race car driver.
10 SQUIRREL SEEKS CHIPMUNK, by David Sedaris and Ian Falconer. (Back Bay/Little, Brown, $13.99.) The humorist looks at human nature through darkly comic morality stories enacted by animals.
11 DON’T BLINK, by James Patterson and Howard Roughan. (Grand Central, $14.99.) A magazine reporter accidentally captures a key piece of evidence that lands him in the middle of an all-out war between Italian and Russian mafia forces.
12 A SECRET KEPT, by Tatiana de Rosnay. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99.) A Parisian brother and sister return to the island of their childhood summers, triggering a deeply disturbing memory.
13 ONE DAY, by David Nicholls. (Vintage, $14.95.) Checking in year by year on the confused, halting romance of two children of the ’80s.
14 * THE RUM DIARY, by Hunter S. Thompson. (Simon & Schuster, $15.) Thompson’s first novel, written in his pre-gonzo days and published in 1998, chronicles the escapades of a morose New York journalist in Puerto Rico in the 1950s.
15 ***THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho. (HarperOne, $14.99.) In this fable, a Spanish shepherd boy ventures to Egypt in search of treasure and his destiny.
16 * ***SAFE HAVEN, by Nicholas Sparks. (Grand Central, $14.99.) A mysterious young woman, while putting down roots in a small North Carolina town, is still haunted by a dark secret from her past.
17 A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, by Jennifer Egan. (Anchor, $14.95.) Time is the relentless “goon squad” in this rock ’n’ roll novel, which explores the tattered lives of a cynical record producer and the people who intersect his world; a 2011 Pulitzer winner.
18 ***THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, by Stieg Larsson. (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, $14.95.) A hacker and a journalist investigate the disappearance of a Swedish heiress; the first volume in the Millennium trilogy.
19 FALL OF GIANTS, by Ken Follett. (NAL, $25.) Five interrelated families from five countries are caught in the upheavals of World War I and the Russian Revolution.
20 ***WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen. (Algonquin, $14.95.) Distraught after the death of his parents in a car accident, a young veterinary student — and an elephant — saves a Depression-era circus.
  1. ***THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, by Stieg Larsson (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
  2. ***HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, by Jamie Ford (Ballantine)
  3. MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND, by Helen Simonson (Random House)
  4. LITTLE BEE, by Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster)
  5. A DOG’S PURPOSE, by W. Bruce Cameron (Forge)
  6. COURAGEOUS, by Randy Alcorn (Tyndale)
  7. A CLASH OF KINGS, by George R. R. Martin (Bantam)
  8. A FEAST FOR CROWS, by George R. R. Martin (Bantam)
  9. THE MERCY, by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House)
  10. THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2011, edited by Geraldine Brooks and Heidi Pitlor (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin)
  11. THE KITCHEN HOUSE, by Kathleen Grissom (Touchstone)
  12. ***THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead)
  13. A GAME OF THRONES, by George R. R. Martin (Bantam)
  14. THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN, by Kate Morton (Washington Square)
  15. FLY AWAY HOME, by Jennifer Weiner (Washington Square)
 Posted by at 6:59 am
May 022011

Have you read any of the books in the Millenium series by Stieg Larsson yet?

After hearing a lot about these books last year, I had to jump on the bandwagon.  I am a total book-worm and I will often read books that everyone else is reading too, just to see what the B.F.D. is all about, you know?

I started The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo at the beginning of Jan 2011.  I got this book at paperbackswap.com after waiting several months for a copy to become available.  It took some time and patience to get into the beginning of the story, it was very obviously written by a man.  About 1/4 of the way through I became totally sucked in.  There were three main story-lines that were woven together throughout the story, that of journalist Mikael Blomkvist, that of the girl with the dragon tattoo aka Lisbeth Salander,  and that of the Granger family and the mysterious disappearance of their young Harriet.  Excellent book, my favorite of the series.  It took me a few weeks to read this.

I read a couple of books in between TGWTDT and The Girl Who Played with Fire, before I decided to buy the mass market paperback.  This story started off with a bang and the next thing you know Lisbeth Salander is accused of murder and there is a massive manhunt to find her while she tries to take down a criminal named Zala.  This book was suspenseful but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book.  I started it at the beginning of March and it took me probably 2-3 weeks to read it.

I read a few more books in between TGWPWF and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  I requested this book at the library months earlier and was finally able to get it at the beginning of April.  This book was a continuation of the storyline from the second book, TGWPWF, and picked up where the other left off.  I read this one fairly quick and enjoyed the second half the most.

Overall I thought the series was an interesting read, although it took me four months to read them all (with a few books in between).  I am glad I read them but it wouldn’t be the end of the world had I NOT read them.  The flow of the books was very back-and-forth between story lines and characters and just about the entire series took place in Sweden.  I found myself tuning out names and places because I couldn’t make any connection to them.  Definitely a different experience than “my usual” to read foreign novels written by a man.  The first book was the best one, in my opinion.

I watched the first two movies as well (streamed through Netflix) and thought they were pretty accurate but far less detailed.  Very graphic, they don’t hold much back in Sweden!

Have you read any of these books yet? What did you think?

 Posted by at 7:26 am
Apr 262011

I have been gathering books for my summer reading, has anyone read any of these latest Bestsellers??? The one I have read are highlighted.

1 WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen. After his parents die in a car accident, a young veterinary student — and an elephant — save a Depression-era circus. 116

2 THE HELP, by Kathryn Stockett.  Three women — a white socialite and two black maids — work on a tell-all book about black domestic servants in 1960s Mississippi. 2

3 THE 9TH JUDGMENT, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.  A mother and her child are gunned down, and Detective Lindsay Boxer and the Women’s Murder Club have only a shred of evidence: a cryptic message scrawled in lipstick. 1

4 CUTTING FOR STONE, by Abraham Verghese. (Vintage, $15.95.) Twin brothers, conjoined and then separated, grow up amid the political turmoil of Ethiopia. 64
5 THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, by Garth Stein. (Harper Paperbacks, $14.99.) An insightful Lab-terrier mix helps his owner, a struggling race car driver. 97

6 SOMETHING BORROWED, by Emily Giffin. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99.) A maid of honor to her charmed friend, Rachel White has always played by the rules. But that changes on her 30th birthday. 2

7 THE POSTMISTRESS, by Sarah Blake. (Berkley, $15.) A tale of two worlds and two women delivering the news in 1940: Iris James, a spinster who runs the post office in a coastal Massachusetts town, and Frankie Bard, a reporter in London with Edward R. Murrow. 11

8 HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, by Jamie Ford. (Ballantine, $15.) A friendship between a Chinese-American boy and a Japanese-American girl in Seattle during World War II. 47

9 * HEART OF THE MATTER, by Emily Giffin. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99.) Two women in a Boston suburb have little in common beyond a fierce love for their children, but their lives converge after a tragic accident. 5

10 EVERY LAST ONE, by Anna Quindlen. (Random House, $15.) After a shocking assault on her family, a woman must discover how to live the rest of her life. 3

11 * THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO,by Stieg Larsson. (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, $14.95.) A hacker and a journalist investigate the disappearance of a Swedish heiress; the first volume in the Millennium trilogy. 95
12 THE JUDGMENT, by Beverly Lewis. (Bethany House, $14.99.) In Lancaster County’s Amish country, an engaged woman still pines for a man who has left the community under a cloud of suspicion. 2
13 LITTLE BEE, by Chris Cleave. (Simon & Schuster, $14.) The lives of two women collide: a Nigerian refugee and an English magazine editor to whose home the refugee escapes after fleeing an immigration detention center. 61
14 THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, by Stieg Larsson. (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, $15.95.) In Volume 2 of the Millennium trilogy, the Swedish hacker Lisbeth Salander becomes a murder suspect. 56
15 * MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND, by Helen Simonson. (Random House, $15.) Love and cultural conflict among characters loosed in an English village. 20
16 APE HOUSE, by Sara Gruen. (Spiegel & Grau, $15.) Bonobos disappear from a research laboratory and turn up on reality TV, to the consternation of a scientist who studies them. 2
17 PRIVATE, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. (Grand Central, $14.99.) Jack Morgan, a former Marine and the head of an investigative firm, pursues the murderer of his best friend’s wife. 8
18 A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, by Jennifer Egan. (Anchor, $14.95.) Time is the relentless “goon squad” in this rock ’n’ roll novel, which explores the tattered lives of a cynical record producer and the people who intersect his world.
19 THE ISLAND, by Elin Hilderbrand. (Reagan Arthur/Back Bay/Little, Brown, $14.99.) A woman, her daughters and her sister take refuge from life’s complications on a tiny island near Nantucket, but their time there is far from quiet. 6
20 * THE IMPERFECTIONISTS, by Tom Rachman. (Dial, $15.) The goings-on, presented from myriad points of view, among the neurotic staff of an English-language newspaper in Rome. 13


 Posted by at 9:31 am
Feb 102011

Hello there, blogging peeps.  Have you forgotten about me since I have practically fallen from the blogging sphere?  I haven’t forgotten you, I promise!

Just Busy, Busy, Busy.  I started this post 10 days ago and never got around to finishing it.

I hate that overwhelming feeling that you have too much to do and not enough time to do it all.  Something’s got to give.  First on  that list is the Photo Hunt Challenges.  I passed the buck to another hostess because I haven’t had the time or desire to work on it for several months now.

Anyway, here are some random things I have been too busy to blog about lately

  • It has been the LONGEST WINTER EVER.  I am so sick of the cold and all the snow, I am just dying to go somewhere warm.  If I could, I would leave tomorrow!!! My parents just got back from a  2 1/2 week Panama Canal cruise.  I am uber jealous!! I have no plans to go anywhere this year.
  • Have been reading a lot because this is the only time I feel relaxed.  It is something I make time for in order to keep my sanity. These are all the books I have read in the past 6 weeks: The Kite Runner, Middlesex, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Shadowland & Dark Flame (#3-4 in Immortals series), Extremely loud and Incredibly Close.  Currently reading The Girl Who Played with Fire.
  • My birthday is tomorrow.  My man is taking me out for a fancy dinner at Heartland, the #1 restaurant in the Twin Cities.  We have had these plans for quite some time now, you have to make reservations well in advance.  Celebrating with my family on Sunday.
  • I did my taxes last weekend, just waiting for the 14th for the IRS to accept itemized returns.  I don’t get much of a refund anymore and every penny goes in the bank for summer living….. still a shortfall of thousands.  Hopefully I will be working full-time again this summer.
  • Speaking of work, my schools will be officially merged next year  with a new name (Saint Paul Music Academy) and they are extending our school day by one hour to help increase achievement.  Not sure what my actual schedule will look like (an hour earlier or later?) but I will be getting an 8% salary increase because of it.  Score!
  • I went to dinner with my bff last weekend and it was great to sit with her and talk for hours.  Really great! I really miss a lot of my girlfriends, feeling lonely for companionship.  Nobody makes much of an effort anymore, including myself and it makes me very sad.  I resolve to make a better effort, hopefully it is reciprocated.
  • I need to start taking more non-food photos.  One of these days when I can miraculously steal some hours I will post all of my favorites from 2010 that were taken with my Nikon D5000.
  • I DID do a photo shoot a few weeks ago for some friends…… an outdoor hockey photo shoot.  It was fun! Will post those this weekend.
  • I think this long winter is making me very unmotivated.  Something is, anyway.  Maybe it is my Vitamin D deficiency? I didn’t make that up.  I had blood tests done a few weeks ago and I am perfectly normal in every way except for the Vit D.  I think my DR should have prescribed a sunny, hot vacation.  That would be awesome if insurance would pay for that! It would definitely improve my health.
  • The Packers beat the Steelers in the Superbowl.  I don’t like either team, I wore Purple all day.  I didn’t really watch the game although I was at a Superbowl gathering.  Didn’t even catch any of the commercials but I did make cream cheese jalapeno wontons from scratch that were delicious.  I will make them again and post the recipe. We also had hamburgers and brats on the grill and brownies for dessert.
  • Anyway, that is all I’ve got for now, I better post this before the draft sits in my dashboard for another two weeks!
 Posted by at 7:32 am
Nov 092010

I have recently gotten my bookshelf in better shape over at Goodreads.com….. as far as updating books I have read.  I could spend hours on that site adding books I have read to my bookshelf, there are literally hundreds if not thousands.  I came across this Goodreads list of The Best Books of the 21st Century and I am sharing the Top 35 with you today (the ranking goes MUCH higher than 35, so you’ll have to visit Goodreads to find out about the others).  I have read 20/35 of these books (as marked) and I have to say they were definitely some of my most favorite books.  I may not watch much TV but I do pride myself on being well-read and I am going to make it a point to read the ones I haven’t read yet (Especially The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns).  There are many other lists of books at Goodreads too, check them out!

 Posted by at 8:49 am
Sep 162010

My last post about books was a few months ago and I have since  added a few books to my “READ” list.

These two I read mostly while I was in TX & Traveling:

Definitely entertaining! I actually read the 3rd memoir (Such a Pretty Fat) by Jen Lancaster last summer and then went back and read these first two.  If you are interested in reading any of these books and you belong to paperbackswap.com let me know and I will post the books for you.  They are slightly worn on the cover but in otherwise good shape.  If you don’t belong to paperbackswap.com, I highly recommend it.  My bookshelf can be found here.

Then by recommendation of the lovely Krysten at After ‘I do‘ (HAPPY BIRTHDAY KRYSTEN!!), I read the classic Valley of the Dolls written in 1966. 54 years ago!  This was a long but quickly paced book about three young women in 1945 who make it to the big time  in NYC.  The story surrounds their dramatic lives which includes plenty of sex (including homosexuality) and prescription drugs.  Very racy for its time.

I am currently reading A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.  This is the book from which the movie Simon Birch was loosely based on.  Do you remember that movie?  This is also a book from the Lifetime Reading List.  My goal is to continue reading one book on this list for every other book I read.  I don’t read as often as I used to but should hopefully make a small dent in the list as long as I make the effort.  How is your progress on this list?? Do any of you have another reading list you use? If so, please share.

Books that I recently ordered and plan to read next are:

  • The Cider House Rules by John Irving (loved the movie!)
  • The Hitchhikers’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Evermore (Immortals Bk 1) by Alyson Noel
  • We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver (started it while in TX but abandoned it after a few chapters, need to try again)

What have you been reading lately?? I often order new books based off your suggestions, so please share!

PS  Make sure to add me as a contact on Paperbackswap.com if you’re a fellow member.  Not a member? What are you waiting for, go sign up!!!   Make sure to tell ’em I sent ya!

 Posted by at 8:27 am
Jun 232010

It appears I have finally gotten over my reading slump!

All it took was finding a good book I could get into and making the time to read it.

Book 1: Push by Sapphire.

I have never seen the movie Precious, but this is the book that the movie was based on.  My girl Rolana sent this to me at least 6 months ago and I put it away and it got lost on my bookshelf until last week.  The book is an easy read however it is graphic, somewhat shocking and upsetting.  It is a fictional story of a teenage girl who is sexually abused by both her mother and father, producing two children by the time she is 15 or 16 (fathered by her own father), but wants to rise above it all.

Book 2:  The Doctor’s Wife by Elizabeth Brundage

This one was another really quick read, a psychological thriller. The story takes place in a small conservative community outside Albany, NY and is about a twisted connection between a local Dr, his wife, a famous local painter and the painter’s wife.  Some of the storyline

includes abortion, affairs and a kidnapping.  Very suspenseful!

Next up is We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver

 Posted by at 9:18 pm
Dec 032009

I have made it no secret over the years that I am an avid reader.  I love to read and I have been a bookworm my entire life, you can see the long list of books I have read in the past few years in my sidebar or even see some of my book talks here. I love BOOKS, I have hundreds of them and yes, they do take up a lot of space.  Despite all of that, I don't think I could ever replace my beloved printed books with a digital reading device such as Amazon Kindle or Sony eBook or  Papyrus or any of the other devices currently out there.

I can see how these reading devices are convenient, especially if you travel a lot, but I would genuinely miss the action of turning the pages, the smell of a book.  I know it might seem weird but some of my best memories as a kid are of reading Little Golden Books and the smell they had.  There are so many wonderful picture books out for kids now that I cannot even think about how these devices would be used with children.  All I know is that it would be a travesty if picture books ever disappeared.

What do you think about electronic reading devices? Do you have one or would you like one? Or are you a traditional printed-book-person like me? Do you think these devices will increase in popularity in time and eventually put printed books out of business or will man-kind return to the simple things liking reading real books after this craze has ended?

Other TFTs this week:

Kim on Inadequacy

 Posted by at 7:19 am
Oct 142009

My parents had a little brunch this past Sunday and I got to spend a little bit of time with my nieces.  It is amazing to me how smart they are and how quickly they catch on to things.  They are smarter every time I see them!

IMG_8863 copy
The girls had fun reading their books and they looked so cute while doing so!

IMG_8857 copy 

IMG_8858 copy That's all for now…. I just wanted to brag for a minute about how cute and smart they are ;)

 Posted by at 7:44 am
Jun 112009

Just finished reading The Scandalous Summer of Sissy Leblanc.  Pretty good, fast read.  Now what should I read?  Summer has  begun and I am pretty much of out adult books that I haven't already read, although I did bring a couple of good young-adult Newbery Medal books home from school.  I know I can get through each of those in just a day or so, so I am looking for recommendations for good summer reads. 
This is the current NY Times List of Trade Fiction Bestsellers:

(Dial, $14.)
A journalist meets the island’s old Nazi-resisters.
2 THE SHACK, by William P. Young.
(Windblown Media, $14.99.)
A man whose daughter was abducted receives an invitation to an isolated shack, apparently from God. (†) First Chapter
3 VISION IN WHITE, by Nora Roberts.
(Berkley, $16.)
A wedding photographer finds romance with the brother of a bride-to-be; Book 1 in the Bride Quartet series.
4 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith.
(Quirk, $12.95.)
The classic story, retold with “ultraviolent zombie mayhem.”
5 MY SISTER’S KEEPER, by Jodi Picoult.
(Washington Square, $16.)
A girl sues her parents after learning they want her to donate a kidney to her sibling.
by Elizabeth Strout. (Random House, $14.) A seventh-grade math teacher
is the link in 13 stories set on the Maine coast; the winner of the
2009 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
7 ANGELS AND DEMONS, by Dan Brown.
(Washington Square, $16.)
A scholar tries to save the Vatican from the machinations of an underground society.
8 TESTIMONY, by Anita Shreve.
(Back Bay, $14.99.)
Sex acts caught on videotape ignite a scandal at a prep school in Vermont.
9 UNACCUSTOMED EARTH, by Jhumpa Lahiri.
(Vintage Contemporaries, $15.)
Stories about the anxiety and transformation experienced by Bengali parents and their American children. First Chapter
by Tatiana de Rosnay. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $13.95.) A contemporary
American journalist investigates what happened to a little girl and her
family during the roundup of Jews in Paris in 1942.
by Kristin Hannah. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.95.) A friendship between
two women in the Pacific Northwest endures for more than three decades
as they make different choices in their lives.
12* LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITH, by Emily Giffin.
(St. Martin’s Griffin, $13.95.)
A woman’s happy marriage is shaken when she encounters an old boyfriend.
13 THE LIKENESS, by Tana French.
(Penguin, $15.)
Detective Cassie Maddox is drawn into a murder case in which the victim looks just like her. First Chapter
14 THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho.
(HarperOne, $13.95.)
A Spanish shepherd boy travels to Egypt in search of treasure.
15 CITY OF THIEVES, by David Benioff.
(Plume, $15.)
Two men arrested in World War II Russia must complete a seemingly impossible task to save their lives.
16 THE BEACH HOUSE, by Jane Green.
(Plume, $15.)
When a widow on Nantucket learns she may lose her house, she turns it into a bed-and-breakfast.
17 7TH HEAVEN, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.
(Grand Central, $14.99.)
Detective Lindsay Boxer and the Women’s Murder Club hunt for an arsonist.
18* NETHERLAND, by Joseph O'Neill.
(Vintage Contemporaries, $14.95.)
A Dutchman deserted by his wife after 9/11 finds solace in New York''s immigrant cricket scene. First Chapter
(Europa, $15.)
A young girl and a widowed concierge, both closet intellectuals, become friends.
20 CHASING HARRY WINSTON, by Lauren Weisberger.
(Downtown, $16.)
Three glamorous friends, New York women nearing 30, vow to change their lives.

I would be willing to swap books with anyone who is interested, if you
have a book you want to send me.  Just take a peek at the books in my
sidebar so you can see what I have already read and what kind of books
I like and if there is anything you might be interesting in swapping
for :)

 Posted by at 9:34 pm
Mar 102009
1 THE SHACK, by William P. Young.
(Windblown Media, $14.99.)
A man whose daughter was abducted is invited to an isolated shack, apparently by God. (†) First Chapter
2 THE READER, by Bernhard Schlink.
(Vintage, $13.95.)
A German high school student falls in love with a former Auschwitz employee.

3 SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY’S, by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet.
(Grand Central, $13.99.)
A woman finds an unexpected love.

by Kristin Hannah. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.95.) A friendship between
two women in the Pacific Northwest endures for more than three decades
as they make different choices in their lives.
, by Richard Yates.
(Vintage, $14.95.)
Frank and April Wheeler, a beautiful young couple living in 1950s America, see their supposedly perfect life come undone.

6* AMERICAN WIFE, by Curtis Sittenfeld.
(Random House, $15.)
A pretty librarian marries the alcoholic scion of a wealthy political family who somehow becomes president. First Chapter

7 A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, by Khaled Hosseini.
(Riverhead, $16.)
A friendship between two Afghan women against the backdrop of 30 years of war.

(Scribner, $15.)
A poor orphan in India is arrested and must explain himself after winning big on a TV quiz show.

9 STILL ALICE, by Lisa Genova.
(Pocket, $15.)
A 50-year-old Harvard professor is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

10 PEOPLE OF THE BOOK, by Geraldine Brooks.
(Penguin, $15.)
An expert unlocks the secrets of a rare manuscript.
11 THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho.
(HarperOne, $13.95.)
A Spanish shepherd boy travels to Egypt in search of treasure.

12 WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen.
(Algonquin, $13.95.)
A young man — and an elephant — save a Depression-era circus.

by Aravind Adiga. (Free Press, $14.) A chauffeur in India relates the
story of his transformation from manservant to entrepreneur to
murderer; the winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize.

14* THE APPEAL, by John Grisham.
(Delta, $14.)
Political and legal intrigue ensue when a Mississippi court rules against a company accused of dumping toxic waste. 
(Riverhead, $14.)
A nerdy Dominican-American struggles to escape a family curse.

(Europa, $15.)
A young girl and a widowed concierge, both closet intellectuals, become friends.

17 LOVING FRANK, by Nancy Horan.
(Ballantine, $14.)
A story of the romance between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney. First Chapter

18 THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES, by Sue Monk Kidd.
(Penguin, $15 and $14.)
In South Carolina in 1964, a teenage girl tries to discover the secret to her mother’s past.
19 THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini.
(Riverhead, $15.95 and $14.)
An Afghan-American returns to Kabul to learn how a childhood friend has fared.

20 OUT STEALING HORSES, by Per Petterson.
(Picador, $14.)
In a remote cabin, a Norwegian man circles around his memories. First Chapter
 Posted by at 2:40 pm
Mar 022009

I have had this wonderful stack of books sitting on my shelf since my birthday.  Coincidentally, two of them are on the lifetime reading list.
I am not sure which to read next, but I won't complain about that!
Having too many books to read has never been a problem for me, it just makes me that much more anxious to get my nose in the next book ;)

I also ordered a few other books at Paperbackswap.com last week (two of which are also on the lifetime reading list) and hope to add them to this stack within the next few days .  I have said it before, but I love, love, love that site.  I only list the books that I can bare to part with and I have been able to order so many great books!

 Posted by at 7:42 am
Feb 252009

I have had this Lifetime Reading List for some time now and I thought  I’d finally share it with you.
There are many on this list (29) that I have read (the ones that are starred), several that have been turned into movies I have seen, and several others that I would like to read eventually or already have on my bookshelf to read.  I think that being well-read teaches a person so much, plus you know these books are on this list for a reason :)  I also must add that there are many other great books that should be on this list but aren’t.

How many of these books have you read?

Author Title
Adams, Richard Watership Down
Adams, Douglas Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, A
Adamson, Joy Born Free
Albee, Edward Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Louisa May
*Little Women
Divine Comedy
Allende, Isabel House of the Spirits, The
Northanger Abbey, others
Beckett, Samuel Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul Humbolt’s Gift, Henderson the Rain King
Blake, William Poems
Boccaccio Decameron, The
Bolt, Robert A Man for All Seasons
Bradbury, Ray Fahrenheit 451
Bradley, Marion Zimmer Mists of Avalon
Bronte, Emily *Wuthering Heights
Bronte, Charlotte *Jane Eyre –
Browning, Robert Poems
Buck, Pearl Good Earth, The
Burgess, Anthony Clockwork Orange, A
Burnett, Frances H. *Secret Garden, The
Burnford, Sheila *Incredible Journey, The
Burns, Olive Ann Cold Sassy Tree
Byatt, A.S. Possession
Byron, George Gordon Lord Poems
C.S. Lewis *Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, The
Camus, Albert Plague, The
Card, Orson Scott Ender’s Game
*My Antonia, Song of the Lark
Cervantes Don Quixote
Canterbury Tales –
Chekov, Anton Cherry Orchard, The
Chinua, Achebe *Things Fall Apart
Chopin, Kate *Awakening, The
Cisneros, Sandra *House on Mango Street, The
Coleridge Poems
Collins, Wilkie Moonstone, The
Conrad, Joseph Secret Sharer, *Heart of Darkness
Crane, Stephen Red Badge of Courage, The
Craven, Margaret I Heard the Owl Call My Name
Crichton, Michael Andromeda Strain, The, others
Defoe, Daniel Robinson Crusoe
Descartes, Rene Discourse on Method, A
Tale of Two Cities, A
Dickinson, Emily Poems
Dillard, Annie Pilgrim
at Tinker Creek
Dinesen, Isak Out of Africa
Donleavy, J.P. Ginger Man, The
Crime and Punishment
Douglas, Lloyd C. Robe, The
Arthur Conan
Hound of the Baskervilles, others
Dreeiser, Theodore An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo
DuMaurier, Daphne Rebecca
Eliot, George Adam Bede, Mill on the Floss
Eliot, T.S. Murder in the Cathedral, Poems
Invisible Man
Ralph Waldo
Esquivel, Laura Like Water for Chocolate
Euripides Tragedies
Flaubert, Gustave Madame Bovary
Forster, E. M. Passage to India, A Room With a View
Fowles, John French Lieutenant’s Woman, others
Frank, Pat Alas, Babylon
Franklin, Benjamin Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Frazer, James Golden Bough, The
Frazier, Charles Cold Mountain
Freud, Sigmund any work
Fromm, Erich Escape from Freedom, others
Frost, Robert Poetry
Gaines, Ernest A Gathering of Old Men
Gaines, Ernest Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman, The
Galsworthy, John Forsythe Saga, The
Goethe, Wolfgang Faust
*Lord of the Flies
Goldsmith, Oliver She Stoops To Conquer
Green, Hannah I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
Greene, Graham Power and the Glory, The
Scarlet Letter, The –
Heinlein, Robert Stranger in a Strange Land
Heller, Joseph Catch 22
Old Man and the Sea, The, others
Herriot, James All Creatures Great and Small, others
Hesse, Herman Siddartha, others
Hilton, James Lost Horizon
Homer Iliad, The – The Odyssey
Hudson, W.H. Green Mansions
Hugo, Victor Les Miserables
Hume, David Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding
Hurston, Zora Neale *Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous *Brave New World –
Ibsen, Henrick Hedda Gabler, others
Irving, Washington Stories
Irving, John A Prayer for Owen Meany
The World According to Garp
James, Henry Turn of the Screw, The
Jean-Paul Sarte No Exit
Jones, James From Here To Eternity
Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist as a Young
Kafka, Franz Metamorphosis
Kant, Immanuel Kant Metaphysics
Keller, Helen Story of My Life, The
Kerouac, Jack *On the Road
Kesey, Ken One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Kesselring, Joseph Arsenic and Old Lace
Kinsella, W.P. Shoeless Joe
Kinston, Maxine Hong Woman Warrior, The
Kipling, Rudyard Kim, others
Knowles, John A Separate Peace
Koestler, Arthur Darkness at Noon
Lamb, Charles Essays
Sons and Lovers, others
Lee, Harper *To Kill A Mockingbird
LeGuin, Ursula A Wizard of Earthsea
Llewellyn, Richard How Green Was My Valley
*Call of the Wild, The
Machiavelli, Nicolo Prince, The
MacLeish, Archibald J.B.
Malamud, Bernard Assistant, The
Malory, Thomas Le Morte d’ Arthur
Mann, Thomas Magic Mountain, The
Marlowe, Christopher Dr. Faustus –
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia One Hundred Years of Solitude
Marshall, Catherine Christy
Maugham, Somerset Of Human Bondage
McCourt, Frank Angela’s Ashes
McCullers, Carson Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The
Melville, Herman Moby Dick, Billy Budd
Michener, James Hawaii
Mill, John Stuart On Liberty
Miller, Walter M. Canticle for Leibowitz, A
Miller, Arthur *Death of a Salesman
Milton, John Paradise Lost
Mitchell, Margaret *Gone With the Wind
Moliere Misanthrope, The
Momaday, M. Scott Ancient Child, The
Montaigne Essays
Montgomery, Lucy Maud *Anne of Green Gables series
Nordhof, Charles B. Bounty triology, The
O’Connor, Flannery Wise Blood
Orwell, George 1984, Animal Farm
Paine, Thomas Rights of Man
Pasternak, Boris Dr. Zhivago
Paton, Alan *Cry the Beloved Country
Percy, Walker Moviegoer, The
Pirsig, Robert Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Plato Dialogues
Plutarch Lives
Poe, Edgar
Short Stories and Poems
Pope, Alexander Rape of the Lock, The
Porter, Katherine Anne Ship of Fools
Potok, Chaim Chosen, The – The Promise, others
Proulx, Annie Shipping News, The
Proust, Marcel Remembrance of Things Past
Pynchon, Thomas Gravity’s Rainbow
Rand, Ayn Anthem, The Fountainhead
Rawlings, Marjorie Cross Creek, The Yearling
Rawls, Wilson *Where the Red Fern Grows
Remarque, Erich Maria All Quiet on the Western Front
Rhys, Jean Wide Sargasso Sea
Richard D. Blakemore Lorna Doone
Rostand, Edmond Cyranno de Bergerac
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques Confessions
Rusdie, Salman Midnight’s Children
Saint-Exupery, Antoine de Little Prince, The
Salinger, J.D. *Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey
Scott, Sir Walter Ivanhoe
Shakespeare, William All!
Shaw, G. B. Pygmalion, others
Shelley, Percy Bysshe Poems
Shelley, Mary Frankenstein –
Shute, Nevil On the Beach
Silone, Ignazio Bread and Wine
Sinclair, Upton Jungle, The
Singer, Isaac Bashevis Short Stories
Smith, Betty Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander First Circle, The – others
Sophocles Oedipus Rex, Antigone
Soto, Gary Pacific Crossing
Grapes of Wrath, *Of Mice and Men
Stendhal Red and the Black, The
Sterne, Laurence Tristram Shandy
Stevenson, Robert Louis Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, others
Stoker, Bram *Dracula
Stone, Irving Agony and the Ecstasy, The
Stoppard, Tom Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Swift, Jonathan Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal
Tan, Amy Joy Luck Club, The
Ten Boom, Corrie Hiding Place, The
Tennyson, Alfred Lord Poems
Thackery, William Vanity Fair
Theroux, Paul Mosquito Coast, The
Thurber, James Stories
Tolkein, J.R.R. *Hobbit, The
Tolkien, J.R.R. *Lord of the Rings
Tolstoy, Leo Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Illich,
Turgenev, Ivan Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Tyler, Anne Accidental Tourist, The
Undset, Sigrid Kristin Lavansdatter
Updike, John Rabbit, Run, others
Uris, Leon Trinity
Verne, Jules Around the World in Eighty Days, others
Virgil Aeneid, The
Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway
Voltaire Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Slaughterhouse 5, others
Walker, Alice Color Purple, The
Walker, Alice Temple of my Familiar, The
Waltari, Mika The Egyptian, The Roman, The Etruscan
Warren, Robert Penn All The Kings Men
Washington, Booker T. *Up From Slavery
Waugh, Evelyn Brideshead Revisited
Welty, Eudora Optimist’s Daughter, The
Wharton, Edith *Ethan Frome
White, T.H. Once and Future King, The
Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar Picture of Dorian Gray, The
Wilder, Thornton Our Town
Glass Menagerie, The
Wister, Owen Virginian, The
Wolfe, Thomas Look Homeward, Angel
Wordsworth Poems
Wouk, Herman Caine Mutiny, The
*Black Boy
Wyss, Johann Swiss Family Robinson


 Posted by at 7:15 am