Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's 2009! Or almost. It's a few more hours before that's official but I'm ready to move on. 2008 wasn't the best year but it could have been worse. I'm very blessed and I know it. I have a house to live in, a family who loves me, a job that's secure, friends who I love and there is always food on my table and a pillow under my head. Yes, it could be a lot worse. I wish New Years Blessings for all of you!

One thing I'm excited about is that I get to start my challenges tomorrow! Oh yes, I signed up for one more. . . The Casual Classics Challenge hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading. This one is great because it's exactly what I've been doing anyway. I wasn't sure I was going to continue with my classics but I figure since it's a challenge I'll do it. The goal is to read four classics for 2009. I've got two on my list from the A to Z challenge so that's easy.

First up is Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver. I'm a fan of her writing but sadly have only read two of her books. I've read Pigs in Heaven and The Poisonwood Bible, which is one of my top five favorite books ever. I loved that book. I'm not sure I will start Animal Dreams tomorrow though. As much as I'd like to, I'm still working on The Stupidest Angel and want to get that finished. There are zombies at the Christmas party! I can't let that go unread!

I'm excited about 2009 and I look forward to the changes that are sure to come. I am very middle of the road politically and don't like to talk politics but I'm anxious to see what happens with our new President. It will be good to have a change. I'm also looking forward to getting my book edited. The plan is to start tomorrow on that one. We'll see how that goes. I'm also hoping to get a new puppy this year and I look forward to some sort of trip, although I have no idea what that might be. It's a brand new year! Enjoy the possibilities!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Teaser Tuesday -Dec 30

Today's teaser comes from The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog, by Dave Berry. I've just started this book so I have no idea of what exactly is going on. . . I'm guessing Christmas pageant? I'm a big fan of Dave Berry so I couldn't help but pick up this cute little novel to fill the gap between now and New Years Day when the challenges start.

From page 45:

At the first rehearsal, Mrs. Elkins gave us shepherds a big lecture about how she had not forgotten our behavior last year, and she certainly hoped there would be no incidents this year, because she would not want to have to call our parents, blah blah blah. I also got a lecture from my mom and dad, so I definitely didn't want to get in any trouble with Mrs. Elkins.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Musing Monday - Dec. 29

Today's Prompt. . .

How often do you recommend books to others, and who do you recommend them to? Do you only recommend books to your “reading friends” or to anyone you think might find the book interesting? What does it take for a book to make it to your ‘recommendation’ list?

I recommend books all the time. I tend to stick to those who I know actually read but occasionally I recommend books in conversations even when I'm not sure they'll pick up the book.

I tailor my recommendations based on what I know people read. I have a couple of friends that I will recommend just about everything. If I've enjoyed the book, I'm pretty sure they will too. I have another friend who I only recommend certain books to. She only likes certain types of books and I know that.

Then there is my mother. . . She's the one that created the reader I am today and she always has a book going, but she's fairly picky. Everything is "just ok". I'm waiting for her to tell me that she really loves a book. I'm very choosy about the books I loan her.

As for what it takes to make my "recommendation list?" That's hard. I suppose for the most part it has to be a book that stands out in the crowd. It doesn't have to be a great book, just something different and unique. I take personal responsibility for the fact that five out of the eight ladies I work with have read or are reading the Twilight series. I also passed around The Lace Reader and the Jen Lancaster books. There are some books that are just to bizarre to share though. . .

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

I've been reading The Tales of Beedle the Bard before bed. Nothing like a fairy tale to get you ready to sleep right? Well that was true about most of the stories. I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I admit it, I can even be a tad obsessive about it.

I was pretty excited about the Tales of Beedle the Bard and even pre-ordered it from Amazon.
I was a bit surprised that there wasn't a lot of commotion about this book. Maybe I just missed it.

The book itself is short, just 107 pages. There are five stories in the book and they are quite short. Each story is followed by commentary by Albus Dumbledore. That is by far the best part. Dumbledore was quite snarky and it made me laugh. The first story is "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot". This is a cute story about the importance of helping others. The second story is "The Fountain of Fair Fortune" and this was my favorite. It is a lovely little story about finding what you really want.

The third story was my least favorite. "The Warlock's Hairy Heart" was terribly disturbing. Not unlike some of the original fairy tales, this one was a bit bloody. If you are reading the stories to children, you might want to skip that one.

The fourth story was "Babbity Babbity and her Cackling Stump". It reminded me a bit of the story "The Emperor's New Clothes. But only at the beginning.
The fifth story is "The Tale of the Three Brothers" which is the one that should be familiar to all who've read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. This tells the story of the Hollows, the Elder Wand, Resurrection Stone, and the Invisibility Cloak.

Overall, I'm happy with the book. It's a little extra for Harry Potter fans. It will go on the shelf next to the books. The only disappointment I have is that it's just a quick little read. I'm waiting for J.K. to take on her next real novel. I look forward to what she has in store for us next.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Teaser Tuesday

I started reading The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore because it looked funny. It promised a "Heartwarming tale of Christmas Terror." I figured it would be different from all those sappy, sincere Christmas stories out there. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Scrooge. I love Christmas, I was just looking for something different this year. I got it!

From page 164

"Fruitcake?" Mavis said, offering a suspicious slice on a dessert plate to Gabe Fenton, who was drunkenly trying to convince Theo Crowe that he had a genetic predisposition toward the blues, using some impressively large words that no one but he understood, and periodically asking if he could get an "amen" and "five high," which, as it turned out, he could not.

What he could get was Fruitcake.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays to all my fellow Tuesday Teasers!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Cinderella Pact by Sarah Strohmeyer

The Cinderella Pact, by Sarah Strohmeyer is a cute book. From the cover, to the title, to the love story, it appeared to be basic chick lit. I don't say that in any derogatory way. I love chick lit. I read it, I write it, I enjoy it. It's take the place of the good old fashioned bodice rippers and I have to say that for the most part it's a huge step in the right direction.

As for The Cinderella Pact, something was different. The normal formula was followed with a twist. Nola, the main character, was overweight. So were her friends. After the three friends were discriminated on because of their weight, the ladies decided to form the Cinderella Pact, which was to lose weight.

Each lady approached it differently. The book hit on topics such as gastric bypass, counting points at Weight Watchers, personal trainers, and falling off the wagon. I hadn't read a book, a novel at least, like this one before. You don't see overweight main characters too often. Even by the end of the book, she wasn't skinny, but she was healthier and that's the point.

There were a few different sub-plots going around. The Cinderella Pact itself was only one part of the story. Nola found herself in a situation at work that was her own fault really. Her attempts to get herself out of it were cute. She also fell for a mystery man named "Chip" who turned out to be the last person she expected.

Anyone who's tried to lose weight will relate to a good part of this book. Because of that I found it hard to read at times. Sometimes the things Nola was going through hit a little close to home. I think that's one of the reasons it took me so long to finish. Ms. Strohmeyer gave me a few nudges to make some changes in my own life.

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Books. . .

I was thinking in the shower about what I should blog about today. I had decided to brag about how I hadn't bought a new book all week! Then I went to Borders during my lunch break and well, you know how that goes. In the last week I've added three books to my shelf. I only bought one of them though!

My birthday was last Saturday and my parents gave me Baby Proof by Emily Giffen. It was one of those situations where we were at the bookstore, I had the book in my hand and my dad took it from me. I'm excited to read it as I've enjoyed the other books by Emily.

I also got Hello Cupcake, by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, which is a fantabulous book about cupcake decorating. My four year old neice loved the book. She spent a good amount of time going through it. I can't wait to try my hand at some of the ideas.

Today I *had* to go to Borders because I needed to get one more gift for a family friend. I also had a coupon. Score! I ended up with The Stupidest Angel, by Christopher Moore. That one's for me. I'd stick it in my stocking but I think I might want to try to read it in the next few days. I'll let you know when I go a week without getting a new book. It might be a while.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

There are two prompts up this week. I'm not sure if I was supposed to save one for next Thursday or not but I thought I'd answer both today. I doubt I will remember to do it next Thursday anyway. I'll be too busy playing with my new toys! And reading my new books! And spending time with my family!

Do you give books as gifts?

I do, but only to people who I know will appreciate them. I've given books I love to people who could have cared less. This year my mom is getting a book she's been looking for, Dad is getting a book he picked out himself, and my BFF is getting a book I've told her about and think she should read. I always give books to the kids in my life too.

To everyone? Or only to select people?

I think I answered this already! See above answer. . .

How do you feel about receiving books as gifts?

I love getting books. I have a bad habit of buying books myself though so most people won't get them for me. When they do, I always appreciate it. My dad usually gets me books that I have specifically asked for. I love that!

What is the best book you ever bought for yourself?

That's a hard one! I guess I am pretty happy that I bought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone all those years ago.

And, why? What made it the best? What made it so special?

When the Harry Potter books first became popular I fell right into the trap. I bought the first book - in hardcover even - and fell in love. Yes, I confess, I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I'm still grieving over the end of the series and some of the characters. Buying the first book brought me into the world of Harry Potter and I've had some wonderful times reading the books, talking about the books, and sharing them with others.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Author Challenge

Since this is my first year blogging about books, I'm new to all these challenges. There are so many that seem so intriguing! I'd sign up for all of them if I thought I could. As it is, I am at about 45 books for the year now. That's the most I've read since I started keeping track. It's been a pretty good year for reading. I don't want to fail a challenge so this year I'm playing it safe. I'm committed to the A to Z challenge and I've signed up for the New Author Challenge. I think I'd better stop there.

The New Author Challenge is a good one for me because I have a bad habit of sticking to authors I know. It's good to have a list of authors we can count on though. I know that I can pick up a book from any of my favorites and have it be a good read. It's comfortable. The problem is, eventually I catch up to them and they need to start writing more! This is where new authors are good.

The idea of the New Author Challenge is to read a set number (you get to pick that number) of books by authors that are new to you. This doesn't mean the author has to be new to the industry, just someone you've never read before. I have 14 authors that are new to me on my A to Z list alone. Taking that into account, I'm going to try for 25 this year. How about you? How are you going to challenge yourself this new year?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Teaser Tuesdays -The Cinderella Pact

Argh! I'm still reading The Cinderella Pact! I'm not even that far along. It's pitiful. It's a good book - I'm enjoying it a lot - I just haven't had time to read. My normal lunchtime reading was cut in half last week thanks to errands being run and quick bursts of Christmas shopping whenever I got the chance. Hopefully I'll have a new book to tease next Tuesday.

From Page 114

Yes, it's true that at the New Jersey border I did stop off and get a Subway turkey sandwich, but those things are good for you. Look at that guy on TV who lost all the weight, though I read that he never ate a sandwich with cheese or mayo. Well, that's just impossible. What's the point of having a sandwich if there's no cheese or mayo?

In this part of the book, Nola has been trying to lose weight but after a disaster of a day with her sister she falls off the wagon. It's something I think most people who have ever struggled with weight can relate to. Rationalizing what we eat comes a lot easier than not eating it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Musing Mondays

This Mondays' prompt, I can really relate to.

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about reading on the go…

I always like to have a book with me at all times – call it a nerdy grown-up security blanket – and rarely do I leave the house without slipping one into my bag (even if I KNOW I’m not going to have a chance to read it). Do you take a book with you? Do you take whatever book you’re currently reading, or do you have a special on-the-go book? And do you have a preference for a these types of book (paperback, hardback; short stories; poetry etc)?

I take a book everywhere. Almost. There are times I don't when I really regret not bringing one too. I have taken to buying purses that will hold a book because there are times I can't carry an extra bag.

It all started when I was growing up and had a shopper for a mother. I like to shop but I'm not a shopper of her caliber. I would spend a good period of time with my dad waiting for my mom to come out of the stores. I finally learned that a book was necessary. I still do that when I go shopping with my mom. Often I'll end up waiting in the car and when I don't have a book, it's not pretty.

I bring a book with me every day to work, knowing I can read at lunch times. I bring a book on road trips even when I'm driving. You never know when you'll get stuck in major traffic. I broke my own rule and brought a book to Disneyland this last time, carrying it around in my purse just in case I had to wait for something. I don't think I cracked it open though, There is just too much good people watching to be done at Disneyland.

As for what book I drag around with me? Usually it's whatever I'm reading. The only exception is major vacations when I try to leave the hardbacks at home. I also have a spare book or two in my car just in case I forget one. It's always important to have a back up.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Yeah! It's time for Booking Through Thursday! Here is today's prompt:

1. Do you get to read as much as you WANT to read?
(I’m guessing #1 is an easy question for everyone?)

2. If you had (magically) more time to read–what would you read? Something educational? Classic? Comfort Reading? Escapism? Magazines?

1. No, probably not. I read on my lunch breaks when I can and I read before bed if I get into bed at a reasonable hour. Those are the reading times I can count on. I bring a book everywhere so there are occasionally times when I can pick up a book and read. Not as much as I want to but enough to keep to me happy.

2. If I had more time to read, I would probably still read what I've been reading. Mostly fiction to escape. I'd throw in the occasional classic too. I think the whole world should stop for an hour a day for everyone to read. When I was teaching, we had 30- 45 minutes of silent reading every Wednesday. I'd give the kids 5 minutes to find a book and a spot (they could lay on the floor, under a table, wherever they could be comfortable) and then they would read. I'd read along with them and I loved that short little time. It was a bonus!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A to Z Challenge

I'm really excited about the A to Z Challenge, which can be found here. I'm going for option B. The challenge is to read a book for every letter of the alphabet. It's something new and it's a good excuse for me to read some books that have been hanging on my To Be Read shelves for a while. I haven't yet decided whether to try to keep up my own challenge of four "classics" or award winners a year or not. Looking at my list, there are only two that I think can qualify. That doesn't mean I can't read two more after I finish my "Z" book.

If you look to the right ---> Somewhere in that direction, I've posted my list of what I've got so far. You'll notice that X, Y, and Z are empty. They won't be for long. I've done my research and I've got a list to work from. "X" is still the hardest as I don't think the book I've found that interests me the most is readily available. I'll have to check the library. Shocker I know, me at the library? Touching germy books? I might have to.

One of the books is a re-read. A Knight in Shining Armor was the first big "grown up" romance novel I read that I didn't have to hide from my mom! I was probably around 16 or 17 and my mother shared it with me. It is special purely because of that. She felt I was grown up enough to read something that was written for adults, and that she enjoyed. It felt good. It was also a good book but since it's been probably 15 years since I've read it, I am looking forward to reading it again.

Out of the 26 books that I will read for this challenge, I currently own 20 of the books. Two are books that I've been planning to get and read, and four are books I've found for this challenge. It will be a while before I get to X, Y, and Z so if any of you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear it. In the meantime, join the challenge!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Teaser Tuesdays - The Cinderella Pact

Today's teaser is from The Cinderella Pact by Sarah Strohmeyer. She's a new author for me and I haven't had a good chance to really get into the book. I started it when I was sitting in the airport over the weekend but since I was sick and running a fever at the time, I had a hard time getting going. It's about a woman and her two friends who make a commitment to lose weight. Hits a little close to home. . . *cough*

From Page 256

Nancy and I don't dare go into the "normal" end of Lord & Taylor or any major department store, however, for fear that we won't fit into the sizes they have, that we are without size. We picture the sales clerks pursing their lips as we exit the dressing room filled with pants that couldn't make it past our knees and the sales clerks politely but firmly directing us to "women's," one floor up.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Musing Mondays

Here is this Monday's prompt:

How long do you wait after finishing a book before you pick/start another one? How many books do you have planned ahead or do you pick up random books from your tbr pile (if you have one)? Do you review right away or keep reading and come back to it later?

I wrote a bit about the first question last week actually. I don't wait too long to start a new book but I do need a little while to process what I've just read. I can't put one down and pick up the next in the same breath but if I were to wait an hour or so, I'm much more prepared to read the new book. The only exception would be a series. It's easy to jump right into a series where you already know the characters and what's going on.

The next question is a little tricky. Sometimes I know exactly what I'm reading next and sometimes I sit in front of my book shelf and think about it. Right now I know exactly what I'm going to be reading next. I just got The Tales of Beedle the Bard and am anxious to get that read. I also committed to the A to Z challenge so I will have that list starting in January. It will be pretty structured for a while. That's a good feeling because I know I'll get some books finished that have been sitting on my shelves for a while.

I try to review within a few days of finishing the book. It's easier when it's fresh. I also journal the book as soon as possible. This way I can keep track of the dates accurately.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts

I actually want to take a minute to go back over the other two books in this trilogy. I wish I had taken the time to re-read them before reading this one as I had forgotten a few things. Fortunately I was able to figure it all out.

On Dec. 23, 2007, I finished Blood Brothers, the first of the trilogy. As that was before this blog, I was only making a brief journal entry at the time. I said "Great. Another good start to a new trilogy. Scary, sweet and a little weird but I enjoyed it."

May 13, 2008 I finished The Hollow, the second book. I said "Wow! Intense book - I had dreams about it. Another good addition to the trilogy. Can't wait for the third."

So that brings me to Dec. 6, 2008 (yesterday) when I finished The Pagan Stone. In my journal (which I still keep) I wrote "Scary! Good end to the trilogy. I didn't relate to Gage or Cybil but I liked the series. Glad it's done though!"

That pretty much sums it up. I'm glad this series is done. Not because I didn't like it, I loved it, but because it was scary. It made me uncomfortable and I didn't like the subject matter. Here's a quick synopsis -don't worry, no spoilers.

Three boys who are not biological brothers are born on the same day. They are best friends, beyond friendship, more like true brothers. On their tenth birthday they camp out at a place in the woods called the Pagan Stone. They slice their wrists and become blood brothers. What they didn't realize was that by doing a blood ritual in that spot they would unleash a demon that had been imprisoned there for a few hundred years. The demon possessed the town for a week before going dormant for seven years. Every seven years it comes back for seven days and the boys -now men - fight it as best they can.

In the months leading up to their 31st birthday, three women come to town. One comes for work, another because she's led there, and the third is pulled in by the first woman. The three men, now joined by three women (convenient) know that this is the year the demon must be stopped.

The first book was Cal and Quinn's story. I related to them the best. Cal was the hometown boy. He was on the town councils, ran the bowling alley, and had ties to the town from the very beginning. Quinn was the paranormal writer who came to town to investigate and research what went on every seven years.

The second book was Fox and Layla's story. Fox was the boy raised by free love hippies who rebelled and became a lawyer. He stayed in the town as well and made a home and law practice in the Hollow. Layla was brought there almost in a dream. She quickly teamed up with Quinn and the men, knowing that somehow she was a part of it all.

The third book was Gage and Cybil's story. Gage was abused by his alcoholic father growing up and had very little use for the town. He passed through now and then but he never set up a home anywhere, choosing to travel where his poker games took him. It was only the coming "seven" and his brothers that brought him back. Cybil was Quinn's best friend and a master at research. She was brought into help and quickly found herself a vital member of the six person team.

My only problem with these books was the subject matter of the demon. I don't like it. I try not to read books or watch movies where there is an ultimate evil force like a demon. They scare me. It's that simple. I couldn't read these books at bedtime, but I couldn't put them down at the same time. The characters saved this trilogy for me. It's one of Nora's best gifts, creating wonderful, likeable characters.

Do I recommend them? Yes, for those who don't mind a little bit of horror mixed in with their romance. I'm sure there are scarier books out there, I just don't choose to pick those up. I'll hang on to them, maybe read them again, and maybe share them with a few friends.

Smitten by Janet Evanovich

I promised I would finish two books this weekend and I did. I went on a short business trip that left me lots of time to sit around the airport and read. Unfortunately I was accompanied by a cold and didn't feel all that great. My last layover pretty much consisted of me trying to conserve the few tissues I had and staring into space waiting for the flight to board. I hate being sick.

The first book to review is Smitten by Janet Evanovich. Cute! Ok, I think I use that word for all of her little romances but they really are. I enjoyed this one because there was a bit of a realistic situation.

A single mom buys a "fixer upper" and decides to try her hand at construction in order to learn how to fix her own home. She gets a job mostly out of pity and just her luck her boss is single, handsome, charming and drives a motorcycle! Lizabeth (I'm not sure what happened to her "E") fights her attraction to Matt because she is trying to make it on her own. She's also concerned what kind of an influenced the tattooed Harley rider might be on her boys.

Add Elsie (her goofy great aunt), a food obsessed dog, a neighborhood flasher, and a prissy ex-husband to the mix and you've got a fun story. Again, not a prize winner but all in all, a good way to pass the time.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Favorites

Here is today's prompt: 5 for Favorites

1. Do you have a favorite author?

Probably the most consistently good author that I read is Nora Roberts so I'd go with her. She never lets me down with a good story and great characters.

2. Have you read everything he or she has written?

No, I don't read the books she writes as JD Robb. I'm sure I haven't read all of the short romances that she's written either.

3. Did you LIKE everything?

Pretty much. The one JD Robb book I picked up I couldn't get into but I'm not saying I didn't like it. I just haven't had a chance to try again.

4. How about a least favorite author?

I like nearly everything I read because I'm picky about what I buy but I suppose I didn't like the two Gregory Maguire books I read. I wouldn't say he's my least favorite but I wasn't thrilled.

5. An author you wanted to like, but didn’t?

See question 4. I really wanted to love his books. Just couldn't.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Starting a New Book

I tried and tried to find a weekly meme for Wednesday. Trying to come up with my own topics is hard! I haven't had a lot of time to read in the last week *sob* so I don't even have any books to review. When I get back from Vegas I'll have at least two though. Or at least that's the plan.

I thought I would discuss the occasional difficulty of starting a new book. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. You know that feeling of complete connection that sometimes you have with a character or set of characters? Sometimes I end a book and have found myself so involved with the characters that I almost grieve a little. There's a bit of a mourning period. I can't just put down one book and pick up the next. It doesn't work like that for me. I need time to process.

Then again, I need to read. Often when I pick up that next book, I have a hard time getting going. The characters seem unfamiliar (they are) and if it's a different author, the rhythm of the words are different. It's one of the reasons that I like to read a series of books. I know that I can pick up a Stephanie Plum book at any moment and fall back into the rhythm with Stephanie, Morelli and Ranger almost instantly. The characters are comfortable and friendly. It's a nice feeling.

I'm looking at that list of books I made yesterday for the A to Z challenge and wondering how I'm going to handle all the new authors and new books. Not all are unfamiliar but there isn't a Stephanie Plum book on that list yet which tells me that I'll be making new friends in 2009. That's not a bad thing.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Teaser Tuesday

I'm currently reading The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts. This is the third in a trilogy and I really love the characters but the book freaks me out! I can't read it before bed. Bad things go through my head. I'm reading my light and fluffy Janet Evanovich books before bed!

The trilogy is very good. It involves three men who unknowingly release a demon who terrorizes a town every seven years. They are preparing for the next "seven" while bringing three women (convenient) into their little group and into their lives. Each book focuses on a different set of characters. This is Gage and Cybil's story.

From page 190:

It leaped again, and as it slammed its fists into the air, the bloodstone exploded into dozens of fragments, into clouds of dust. The boy screamed, in triumph now, even as the blood ran from it.

Ok, too close to bedtime. . . that boy is freaky!

Musing Mondays

In my quest to find something. . . anything to write about, I found another weekly prompt! Woo! Here is my first Musing Monday:

With the holiday season now upon us, how does it affect your reading? Do you have more, or less, time to read at Christmas? Do you read Christmas themed/related books?

As a rule, I feel as if I read less during the holidays. I know that I fully intended to read a lot over the Thanksgiving break but barely read fifty pages. One of my biggest reading times is at lunch. During the month of December I'm often running here and there during my 45 minutes of lunch break.

On the other hand, I usually make at least one trip out of town and unless I'm driving, that's a good chance to read. This year I am taking two trips and I look forward to a three hour layover in an airport this weekend so that's prime reading time.

As for reading holiday themed books, sometimes I do but not usually. I have a couple of Christmas books on my shelf. I might go ahead and read them but I'm not opposed to reading them in July if that's when the mood strikes.