Thursday, January 29, 2009

Things to Double-Check

1. If the recipe calls for Baking SODA or Baking POWDER.
2. If the matzah is really kosher for Passover.
3. That your passport is not expired before you get to the airport.
4. That it's your car before you try to unlock it.
5. If the caps-lock key is off before trying to type your password.
6. That you're not forwarding a scam or spam.
7. That you don't already own the book before you buy another copy.
8. That you haven't already seen the movie before you sit down to watch it.
9. That the tofu isn't expired before you put it in the soup.
10. That you have sugar in the house before you commit to baking cookies.
11. That you've fully tightened the gas cap when the check-engine light goes on.
12. That you've picked up today's coffee cup and not one of the old ones still sitting on your desk.
13. That when you think you see "5:45am" on your bedside clock when the 2 year old wakes up and demands to watch Diego, it might actually read "2:45am" ....


What do you need to double-check!?

See the new Thursday Thirteen spot here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stepping into the box

Kosher Cooking Carnival is up here at Ilana-Davita's site.
Haveil Havalim is over by SuperRaizy.
Both are definitely worth a read!
 (and I'm hosting HH this week so make sure to submit your posts!)

The. Best. Toy. in. the. World.

Underneath this box are 2 of my children.
While having a large cardboard box in your living room doesn't make for excellent asthetics or even for great pictures (um, how to get a picture of them underneath said box?) sure makes for happy kids.

Each time I get ready to recycle the darn thing, I notice how lovingly they've taped it, decorated it, and how much joy it brings them.

Remind me again why we buy toys?

See much more beautiful photography over here.
Happy Monday!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What's plaguing you?

This week's Torah portion, Va'era, is the beginning of the Plagues that God visits upon the Egyptians and their land.

The ones in this parasha are:
Swarms of Insects
Cattle Diseases

After the first two plagues, the Egyptian magicians demonstrate how they too can make these things happen.
But lice....ah, the lice. It is then that the magicians themselves declare "This is the finger of God."

In the fall, I had a personal encounter with lice. It became the topic of my Yom Kippur sermon, and it was quite for my family. (As I write this, my head is starting to itch....)

I know that reading this particular portion has new meaning for me and for my family. It's always amazing to me how each time I read the Torah, it can speak to me in totally new and different ways.

The text doesn't change. I do.

I am constantly awed by the power of Torah.

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pumpkin Carob Muffins

Around here, we celebrate Muffin Tuesday (and Pancake Wednesday and Waffle Thursday). Yes, it's the Ima's Breakfast Menu!

This means that I regularly have to be making muffins for my family to eat. They're relatively picky about the kind of muffins that they like.

Last month I got a pumpkin in my CSA delivery and as I was pureeing it, decided I would make muffins. I browsed through my cookbooks and found a recipe that sounded promising in Jennifer McCann's Vegan Lunch Box cookbook. I haven't made a lot of the recipes in it but I glanced through the recipe and decided to go for it.

Only after I mixed up the batter did I even realize that, duh, there weren't any eggs in it! (That would be the whole vegan thing...) I worried how they would come out and was very happily surprised that not only did they fluff up nicely, they tasted great and were a big hit with my kids.

And - they froze beautifully, were made with whole wheat flour, and were completely pareve (if you don't use real chocolate chips)!

This recipe is definitely a keeper. This week I made a double batch.

Pumpkin Carob Chip Muffins from Vegan Lunch Box

2 changes that I made to the original recipe: I didn't have any flax seed, which I think will just make it healthier, and I used real semi-sweet chocolate chips, which de-veganized the recipe (but I'm not), because I don't stock carob chips in my pantry!

makes 12 muffins

1 cup plain canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup canola oil
2 TB ground flax seed
1 tsp. vanilla
1 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1/3 cup vegan carob chips
Cinnamon Sugar

Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray a nonstick muffin tin sprayed well with nonstick spray, or line the tin with paper muffin cups and spray the cups with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Put the pumpkin, water, canola oil, ground flax seed, and vanilla in a blender and process on high for at least one minute, until light in color and well-blended. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the pumpkin mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon or large spatula until well-blended. Fold in the carob chips.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, distributing evenly to make 12 muffins. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with some cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tested inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then use a spatula to gently lift each muffin from the muffin tin. Finish cooling on a wire rack.

Go see what works for other people here!
And this post is also being posted to the Kosher Cooking Carnival.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Making History Today

Today we make history.

Today we inaugurate a President who is not defined by the color of his skin but by the content of his character.

May my children be blessed to know no different in the world.

May God bless Barack Obama and the United States of America.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Visiting Camp in the Winter

Every year, the faculty of OSRUI meet up at camp for about 24 hours to begin the process of planning for camp.

It's cold and snowy.

It's a completely different experience than when we're up there in the summer! It's quiet and empty, rather than loud and full of people.

But it makes me realize that in 146 starts!

It is, however, a little bit hard to imagine right now.

Haveil Havalim is up over here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Look, it's me!

A few weeks before Chanukah, my son's preschool sent home a construction-paper cut-out in the shape of a house. We were asked to, in some way, fill the paper will a representation of how we celebrate Chanukah in our homes. Oh yeah, and we were supposed to do it (I gathered) with the kiddo.)

I may seem like a really creative, do-it-all kind of mom, but sometimes these things just stump me. I'm not sure I know how to do a project like this with my kid who doesn't really remember last Chanukah?

So instead, I went through my Picasa photos and grabbed half a dozen pictures of last year's Chanukah. Did you know that from Picasa you can send directly to lots of print companies? Walgreens is my favorite for quick printing, because it's right down the street and usually can print within an hour or two. I printed up the pictures, picked them up, taped them down on the paper and voila! Dropped it off at school with the kidlet.

After Winter Break they sent the paper home...and I asked...what do we do with it now? I always feel reluctant to throw away photos. So I taped it up in the kitchen right at kid-height.

You know what? They love it. Absolutely love it. My two little ones run over to it, name all the people, and run away.

It is such a great way to have a photo gallery up for the kids to look at and touch. I don't worry that they're going to "ruin" the pictures or anything like that.

This is one that really works for me, and I'm going to do it again soon with Purim pictures. I'm so excited.

Go see what works for other people.


Also....Jack's latest update on Gaza is here and keep your eyes on Muqata and IsraellyCool for the latest liveblogging. It's hard to believe we're on Day 16 of heart is in the east.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Me Do It!

Independent is actually not a strong enough word to describe my daughter.
She is very committed to putting on her own clothes and this particular day, she could not figure out how to put on the shirt, but would not, under any circumstances, allow me to help her. Finally, she put her legs through the head-opening and pulled it up to her chest. Then she managed to get one arm into a sleeve....and then I snapped this picture because I just couldn't resist!

(and then I helped her the rest of the way....)

I want to raise a strong and independent daughter. I want to make sure that she knows her way in the world and holds her head up high and can handle whatever life throws at her.

But the journey....oy vey.

See more (much greater) photos here....Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Overdue....Tzedakah Giveaway Winners

Over the end of Chanukah and for my birthday, I had a few giveaway posts that I still haven't resolved.
Oops, sorry! (The whole Gaza thing took over, I think.)

The first is a tree planted by Jewish National Fund in Israel in your honor.
This one goes to Gayle, and I think it's fabulous that it's her!

The second Chanukah giveaway was to to Mazon, $1 for every comment.
Just to let you all know, I will be giving $13 to Mazon in your honor.
Thanks! (I might round it up to $18 for good measure...)

I was going to give Chanukah donuts to Standing Together, which brings coffee and treats to IDF soldiers on patrol. As things have changed a little, they are doing even more work and I'm going to make a donation to them (it's just not for Chanukah anymore) in honor of Jack. I think this is pretty cool that he is the winner because he has been working so hard on his Gaza War update posts.

In honor of my birthday, I gave away 2 Birthday Angels Birthday parties (2 because you guys are awesome and I hit over 32 comments) in honor of Leah in Chicago and AngelForever!

If I'm donating in your honor, please let me know via email or TwitterDM how you'd like the "honor" to read.

Thanks for your patience, y'all. 
Can't wait until the next round of giveaways....stay tuned!

P.S. This week's Haveil Havalim (#200!!!!) is over here at Jack's place.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Let's Take it Real World, Old School

I was talking with some folks (as I do constantly) about the matzav (situation) in Israel. I feel a bit obsessed, as I think many of my fellow Israel-lovers and bloggers do, with the news. I can't stop refreshing Muqata and IsraellyCool and I scroll through my tweets looking for the news.

There are so many misconceptions being played out in the mainstream media (MSM). I nearly have an aneurisum each morning as I read my newspaper and I definitely almost ripped the radio out of my car the other day as I heard Jerome McDonnell say "well, there have just been a few rockets sent into Israel, right? and no one's really been hurt by it, right?" as he interviewed an Israeli journalist. (Who responded, wonderfully, by saying "That's like having the doctor say - your 14year old is pregnant but the good news is that she's only a little bit pregnant. There is no such thing as good rocket fire.")

I really believe that I am getting a balanced view. I'm sure there are those who would disagree with me, who would say that all my sources are Israeli in origin so I'm bound to get a biased view of the operation from that perspective. And I suppose that would be true. But I do believe that the MSM seems so biased against Israel, and since I continue (oddly enough) to read newspapers and MSM websites, I feel that I'm getting a pretty good sense of what might be the "Real Story."
(Picture from - of Israelis sheltering from a Qassam missile.)

The thing that bothered me the most this week, however, was the very well-intentioned person who listened to me refute information about the UN "school" that was bombed. (When we think of school, I'm pretty sure you all have the same idea in your head that I do - kids running around, books, desks, teachers, papers, pencils and erasers....but this is not that kind of school. So I feel that it puts the wrong idea into people's heads right off the bat. But I digress...)

Back to the well-intentioned person. She asked in a not-snottty, totally honest and well-intentioned way: "How are those of us who are not as informed supposed to know all of this?"

And I know that she is not an internet user, beyond the email and other tasks in the office. I know that if I asked her to regularly visit Muqata or even she would not really be able to do it. So truthfully, I was a bit stumped and didn't quite know how to asnwer her except to say that I could provide her with a list of sources for her to look at.

But she probably won't.

She'll probably continue, in her kind and well-intentioned and well-informed way, to read the newspapers and watch the 6 o'clock news (which I haven't watched in's still on, right?). And she'll believe, like so many Americans and Europeans do, that the nicely coiffed men and women sitting so officially behind those shiny desks or standing in front of those pretty flat-panel monitors are telling The Truth and reporting The Facts.

When we know they're not always.

So I offer this challenge to you, my dear readers. I am always asking you to blog or tweet or comment or visit. But today's challenge is a little different.

I'm asking you to pick one site or post or picture that you feel is representative of The Truth -- not the stuff being thrown around by the MSM but the stuff that you find to be Real and Right. Start, perhaps, with one of Jack's round ups or one of Jameel's liveblogs, or even just the count from your QassamCount status update.

Print it out. 
(I know, I know, I'm supposed to be all green, but bear with me.)

And share it with the people that you care about most, the people that you think will not be reading it, the people that you think might look at you when you suggest that they log into TwiddleEast as though you're suggesting they jump through the Looking Glass. Share the paper with your co-workers, your friends, your grandmother.

We're all working so hard out here on the Internet. I think the time has come to move beyond that and back out into the Real World, Old School...

Are you with me?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

13 Things I Love About Israel

This is a (slightly edited) repost from May, 2008, in honor of The Real Israel's "Why I Love Israel" Carnival (to be posted on Wednesday, I believe) Now UP!!!

(13 of the 13 bazillion...)

1. Felafel with cheeps and charif and pickles. Mmmmmm....

2. Walking on Ben Yehuda on Motzei Shabbat.

3. Watching kids play in parks that are full of ancient artifacts.

4. The whale sculpture in Old Jaffa.

5. Seeing Israeli kids riding the busses, hanging out, running around, just being kids and speaking Hebrew!

6. Spotting the blue paint in Tsfat.

7. Bumper stickers!!!!

8. The grottos of Rosh Hanikra, especially when the water levels are really high....

9. Watching the faces of first-timers when they really do float in the Dead Sea.

10. Reading Rachel's poems at her graveside.

11. Knowing that the young men and women carrying those big guns are Jewish kids ready to defend their homes and families.

12. Feeling Shabbat as it comes into Jerusalem...the frenzy of activity followed by the lovely calm. (And the shuk - rugelach and tomatoes and hummus and pita and spices and oranges and.....)

13. Feeling like I'm coming home.

Plus, read my 60bloggers post about Israel here.

What do you love about Israel?

P.S. Make sure you're still checking out Jack, who is regularly posting updated roundups of posts and news, as well as Muqata and IsraellyCool who are both live-blogging. Other really great posts this week have come from A Soldier's Mother and this piece by Daniel Gordis too.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Who used my camera?

Whoever it was left this picture behind.
And since I buy, wash, and put on the pajamas, I am quite sure of the little 3-year-old culprit.

Good thing he's so cute.
Good thing his dad got the camera away from him.

I'd better take some of my own pictures now that 2009 has started...dontcha think?
Until then, you'll have to make do with these shots over here.

(And I'm pretty much occupied with all of this that's going on....I didn't even realize Monday was heart is in the East...)

Haveil Havalim #199

haveil havalim

Welcome to Haveil Havalim #199:
The We Can't Stop Twittering/Blogging/Reading/Worrying/Watching/What's Going On in Israel Right Now Edition....
or....The Stuck To My BlackBerry Like Glue Edition....
It's been a stressful week for our friends and family in Israel as well as all of us chutz l'aretz.
As Jameel blog turns toward Israel.
The standard opening line:
Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Jack. The term 'Haveil Havalim,' which means "Vanity of Vanities," is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other 'excesses' and realized that it was nothing but 'hevel,' or in English, 'vanity.'
Please please please publicize HH on your own blog
and share the news about it!

Israel on our minds and our blogs...
Let's start with what's on-going...Jack, in his amazingly put-together way, has been posting regular updates and round-ups of posts.
Make sure to check them out, they are incredible:
(Sorry, Jack, if I'm not caught up with you. But y'all get the idea...go see what he's got.)
Live blogging here: and
and if you're not on Twitter, I think this is the time to join or at least look at it.
I recommend for a pretty interesting roundup of Tweets.
And in case you missed it, the Israeli Consulate held a Twitter-press-conference. It was pretty darn cool.
(In case you're getting started with Twitter, see Leora's post: Intro to Twitter at Here in HP.)
While you're at it, checkout - and help to digg, facebook, tweet, and blog about Israel.
Then again, we all seem to be doing pretty well considering the volume of posts I got this week! (and I thought I had picked a quiet week to host...) There are tons of posts below about how Israel is being portrayed in the media, what's being done about the "PR War" and so on.
Okay, onto the posts. I tried to get them all in. Sorry if I missed any.

Jill Miller Zamon (Writes Like She Talks) wrote this really great round-up post on BlogHer. (quotes and links to some of you!) I think it's particularly good because I'd guess that the majority of BlogHer's readers aren't as intimately connected to Israel as most of us HH'ers are.
A Soldier's Mother is getting a lot of traffic on this post What I Want...What I'll Do.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, had this to say about the Gaza War. I'm proud of him.

Leah in Chicago quotes Rabbi Yoffie and agrees: "War sickens me, but I stand with Israel." had this post: We Will Not Put Our Heads Down In Shame! about Israel's PR image.

Tikkun Olam muses on the confluence of Chanukah and the war with Last Night of Chanukah,or: Oferet Yetzukah

Did you know that Jews barred from Nachmanides cave, Maara given to Wakf (posted at Expulsion pictures - תמונות של הגירוש בחברון) Very interesting in light of the current crisis.

Esser Agaroth asks What Took 'Em So Long? and also says Now We're Talkin'! (about the elections)

Avodah Ivrit עבודה עברית asks to stop the Insanity and also posted Common Sense.

Joel Katz shares Religion and State in Israel - December 29, 2008 (Section 1) posted at Religion and State in Israel, reminding us that despite the matzav, life goes's part 2: Religion and State in Israel - December 29, 2008 (Section 2)

SuperRaizy is Supporting Israel From Far Away, like so many of us. Great post, Raizy.

Read this really great first-person account of living under the rocket fire: Out of the Frying Pan – Into the Fire posted at Shiloh Musings, and here's more on the "Sewer Shelters": Life-protecting Sewers for Gush Katif Expellees. Epileptic Seizures, Expulsion, and War Related Stress also gives a first-hand look at the effect this is having on everyone.

SimplyJews muses on the words of Amos Harel with Apparently Amos.

FrumeSarah encountered some nasty comments and responded strongly with Answering Hatred. (We continue to wish you a refuah shleimah, FS!)

Duckrabbit בירושלים describes an afternoon wtih her roommate in Galgalatz, spaceheaters and tea in Niv's room. a great capture of life in Israel during the crisis...

Ronni Rosenblatt shares this beautiful photograph of SheshBesh Game in Mahane Yehuda.

me-ander is thinking about a different kind of pop than you might think in I'm Afraid of That "Pop!" (which just goes to show that life must go on...)

Jewish Life and Culture...

Ari's Blog is sharing the music of Maya Bouskilla.

Shiloh Musings presents Burying The Dead, End of the Goyishe Year (2008) Update and also I Don't Drink The Stuff (which was probably my favorite pic of the week).

NY's Funniest Rabbi thinks about conversations and what they mean in GNAGB.

Shtetl Fabulous wonders if there's a yenta gene in this post, A Blessing on Your Head. (If there is one, I think I've got it)

Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf died this week. He was a truly amazing man. Here's one remembrance.

If you haven't heard, the story of the apples was a hoax. See what Batya said: A "Corny" Con at Shiloh Musings.

Moshe Kranc@Hasidic Management actually has something nice to say about Madoff!? Before you flame, go read....A Few Observations on Madoff. I think it's a great piece.

Heshy@Frum Satire makes me laugh again wtih Metrosexual Fashions come to the Yeshiva World. (I never ever ever thought I would read "metrosexual" and "yeshiva world" in the same headline. You?)

Joel M. Hoffman compares our current economic situation to the famines our ancestors faced in the Torah: There's a Famine in the Land (kippah tip to Rabbi Rosenberg)

Everything Else...

Nad-ned Nad-ned shares this anecdote from her work "You Should Have Met Me Before..."

Yechezkel wonders about age and adulthood in Parsha Challenge - Parshat VaYigash: A Breech in Protocol.

Batya is also thinking about the parasha in This Week In The Bible--Just Wondering.

On the subject of Torah, Ilana-Davita has this excellent parasha post too: Serah, Joseph and Speech.

New blogger on the scene Ahava Ariel launches her blog with It is Hardly Her Fault, a conversation about intermarriage and Miketz. Go and welcome her to blogland!

Ari's Blog examines the First Koren Bibles in a pretty neat historical post, inspired by the upcoming new Koren siddur. (post by Ilana-Davita.)

People have been talking about books they're reading, like Baila and Leora and Ilana-Davita and MominIsrael and SuperRaizy and even the Ima (that's me). (did I miss anyone? Sorry.)

That's all for now....
Please send your posts for the next edition (#200!)
of the
Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival via the Blog Carnival Submission Form.
If you're interested in hosting or receiving more information about the carnival,
please contact
Jack at talktojacknow-at-sbcglobal-dot-net

(and please, for the sake of our hosts,
try not to submit more than 3 posts a week!)
Send your posts to Ilana-Davita for the Kosher Cooking Carnival this month.

Please please please publicize HH on
your own blog and share the news about it!

You can just copy and paste this nice little
sentence into your blog if you'd like:

A very nice edition of Haveil Havalim, the Jewish Blog Carnival,
is now up over at Ima on and off the Bima. Check it out!
(you might have to copy with properties. Some software just takes it all in...)

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming...
come back regularly to see what's cooking here!

There's a new group on Facebook for Jewish Twitter-ers...are you one? Join us!
(And feel free to follow me, too!)
And if you're not in the HH Facebook group, come and join that too!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

81 in 2008 and a Reading Plan for 09

In 2008, I began to keep track of all the books I read. I've always wanted to do this, and I've never done it before. As you can see, I read a lot...and I always felt like I had to "go backwards" and catch up the list...and I knew that was just impossible. So I finally decided to just plunge in. And here it is, the completed list of books I read in 2008:
*YA = Young Adult
  1. Deadline by Chris Crutcher YA
  2. Hatred for Tulips by Richard Lourie
  3. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld YA
  4. Specials by Scott Westerfeld YA
  5. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale YA
  6. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin YA
  7. Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
  8. Extras by Scott Westerfeld YA
  9. The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
  10. Away by Amy Bloom
  11. Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy YA
  12. The Game by Diana Wynne Jones YA
  13. Unwind by Neal Schusterman YA
  14. Sao Tome by Paul D. Cohn
  15. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  16. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  17. Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling
  18. Airman by Eoin Colfer YA
  19. My Enemy's Cradle by Sara Young
  20. Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin Maxwell
  21. Dragon Harper by Anne & Todd McCaffrey
  22. The Protector's War by S.M. Stirling
  23. Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
  24. Meeting at Corvallis by S.M. Stirling
  25. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer YA
  26. The Sisters Grimm (Book #1) by Michael Buckley (kids)
  27. The Seems: A Glitch in Sleep by Hulme and Wexler (kids)
  28. The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
  29. The Sunrise Lands by S.M. Stirling
  30. The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
  31. The Rabbi of 84th Street by Warren Kozak
  32. Winding Ways Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini
  33. The Peshawar Lancers by S.M. Stirling
  34. The Secret Scroll by Ronald Cutler
  35. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
  36. Not Me by Michael Lavigne
  37. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
  38. Chairman-X by Rami Loya
  39. The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center
  40. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
  41. The Diplomat's Wife by Pam Jenoff
  42. Anytime Playdate by Dade Hayes
  43. Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner
  44. Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by J. Hertzberg and Z. Francois
  45. Posh by Lucy Jackson
  46. Change of Heart by Jodi Piccoult
  47. Day of Small Beginnings by Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum
  48. Something to Blog About by Shana Norris(YA)
  49. The Spinster Sisters
  50. By the Rivers of Babylon by Nelson DeMille
  51. Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer
  52. Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva
  53. The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
  54. We Plan, God Laughs by Sherre Hirsch
  55. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  56. I Will Not Be Broken by Jerry White
  57. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
  58. New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
  59. Address Unknown by Katherine Kressman Taylor
  60. Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout
  61. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  62. The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
  63. The President's Daughter by Ellen Emerson White YA
  64. White House Autumn by Ellen Emerson White YA
  65. Long Live the Queen by Ellen Emerson White YA
  66. Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White YA
  67. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow YA
  68. The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon
  69. The Scourge of God by S.M. Stirling
  70. The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
  71. The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
  72. Quilter's Kitchen by Jennifer Chiaverini
  73. Pale of Settlement by Margot Singer
  74. The Search Committee by Marc Angel
  75. Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
  76. Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
  77. Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card
  78. Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani
  79. The German Bride by Joanna Hershon
  80. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling
  81. Dragonsblood by Todd McCaffrey
Let's break it down....okay, let's not. Eighty-one is a pretty long list. I'm not even sure I could choose a favorite book this year! Some of my favorites were...The People of the Book, definitely, and Airman, and The Search Committee...and, okay I can't choose! I really enjoyed Stirling's Change series. I read the whole set this year. I also read the Uglies/Pretties Series, the Twilight Series, the President's Daughter series (although technically the first 2 or 3 were a re-read), and a couple of Dragon books from the McCaffreys. There was a new Daniel Silva, a new Artemis Fowl, 2 Chiaverini Quilt books (!) and a new Ender book. I only read one book that I thought was so bad I almost didn't put it on the list (it was for a book group that I ended up bailing on, partly because I didn't like the book!) and the rest were all pretty enjoyable. Looking back over hte list is like revisiting a year's worth of friends. And that's a good feeling.

So....What am I going to read in 2009?

After reading Beedle the Bard's stories, I'm definitely going to re-read Harry Potter, Book 7. Plus the 6th movie is coming out, so I'm bound to re-read Book 6 too. On my bedside table right now: Girl from Foreign, The American Wife (hey you lurking....I promise to read it!), The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey, Growing up Digital, Breakfast with Buddha, Shadow Divers, My Holocaust, and Fieldwork: A Novel. (That was mostly from memory, so I might have missed one or two that have been living there a while.)

My book group is doing Hungry Tide, so I'll read that, and I'm leading discussions on As A Driven Leaf and Day of Small Beginnings, so I'll probably re-read both of those as well.

I'm going to take part in two challenges:
2009 Young Adult Book Challenge - Read 12 Young Adult Books
Support Your Local Library Challenge - Read 25 books from the library

and I'm still trying to get organized enough to try reading the Printz Award Challenge. (The Printz Award is for Young Adult literature)

I think it's the organization that trips me up in the reading challenge department. I just like to read and I'm not always very organized about when and what and how. There does seem to be a lot of talk lately about what we're all reading, so I thought I'd put in my 2 shekels too.

What are YOU planning to read in 2009? Any good suggestions for me to add to the list?