Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Book meme

The top 100 books, as voted by the general public (not sure in which country, though...). I like the look of this because it involves hardly any thinking or writing. And I love lists! Saw this on Diapers, budgets & paint, and even though I don't know her, she was kind enough to tag "anyone with time to kill"! The ones in bold are the ones I have read, and I'm also writing when I read it...

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
(read recently - a perfectly good adventure story, isn't it?)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
(read this sometime around college years)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
(got it from my parents' bookshelf, while poking around there in my high school years, as with several others below)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
(read most of these after son no. 1 had had them for a while)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
(on my bookshelf in my room, growing up)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
(high school English class)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
(on my bookshelf in my room, growing up)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
(around college time?)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
(this was on my childhood bookshelf... I read it once quite young, about age 12, but appreciated it much more when reading it again around college age)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
(read these in childhood)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
(high school English class - also Animal Farm, and we used to go around in high school, singing the song from Animal Farm - this is from memory still now, to the tune of Clementine: "Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland, Beasts of every land and clime -- harken to my joyful tidings of the golden future time. Rings shall vanish from our noses and the harness from our backs. Bit and spur shall rust forever, cruel whip no more shall crack... Soon or late the day is coming, tyrant man shall be o'erthrown. And the fruitful(???) fields of England shall be trod by beasts alone.")
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
(around college age, along with the next couple of books in the series)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
(not sure - after college?)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt)
(very recently - my husband got it from a friend who liked it)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
(high school English class)
50. She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
(high school English class - I wasn't sure, but looked it up on Amazon and saw something about the guillotine and Mesdames Desfarges or something -- brings back more memories of how silly my friends and I were in high school, running around laughing about these English class books all the time... )
53. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
(high school English class - involves a crazy lady in a wedding dress)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
(high school English class - I actually quite liked this, and ended up reading a few other books by him in college, and wrote a whole bunch in my diary about banana fish or something)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller's Wife (Audrew Niffenegger) ** ETA: have now read this, as of May 2011.
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
(hmmm.. embarrassing, but I went through an "Ayn Rand" phase around age 16. I found this one and one or two others on my parents' bookshelf. I thought I had read Atlas Shrugged, but couldn't recognize the info on Amazon, so if I did read it then, it didn't stick at all, and is not in bold here.)
63. War and Peace (Tolsoy)
(this was great!! One of my favorites, and I had expected it to be dry and difficult to get through, on account of the title and reputation of being a "big, serious book". Read it in my mid-to-late twenties I think)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davies)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) ** ETA: have now read this, as of May 2011.
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
(high school English class... for our class project, we made a stop-action film with a little doll, of the part where the little girl is forced to go out into the night through the village and into the forest, to get a bucket of water, and the hero helps her to lift the bucket out of the well. We only made the arm of the hero, though, and it looked a little silly reaching in from the edge of the frame.)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones' Diary (Fielding)
(borrowed from a friend sometime after college, I guess)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
(on my childhood bookshelf... a lot of these were those nice old hardcovers that were made in the 1960's or before, and had every so often a special, thicker, page, with a full color illustration on one side, and the other side blank)
76. Tigana (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
(had this as a child)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
(high school English class... gah, more laughing about the various characters...)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard's First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
(don't know, but I know I went through a Jane Austen phase sometime in college or just after)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
(from my parents' bookshelf, when I was in high school)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
(high school English class - I wrote a good essay about this for a college application)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
(high school English class... don't really remember much of an impression of this, except for the very exciting topic I chose for my project - kanji!! - chinese characters. I wrote a little report involving the kanji for white, tree, man, big, etc...)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)
(read this in a semester-long class on this book only, second semester of my freshman year of college... I had gone through a big James Joyce phase in my senior year of high school, reading a lot of his other books, and talked my way into this class the following year, even though it was supposed to be for jrs. and srs. Well, at least I can say I did read the entire thing, but I don't remember much, and didn't understand much, despite having a whole book of explanations which had to be read alongside the main book. Why is a book like this up here, anyway... it's not like the general public are all reading this and loving it - or was it just me who found it too difficult? was I just too young?)

Other books from my parents' bookshelf... The Tontine, Crome Yellow (can't remember this one, but I remember The Tontine - it was quite exciting!).
Other books on my bookshelf, growing up... Lorna Doon, and a whole set of Mark Twain books that I never really got into.
Other books read in high school English class... A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Moby Dick, The Scarlett Letter.
First real books I read, after graduating from Dr. Seuss, etc... Jonathan Livingston Seagull and then Black Beauty.
Favorite series as a young child (around age 7-10) ... The Black Stallion series. I had them all in hardback, and loved every bit, along with some other horse books like Marguerite Henry's books (Misty of Chincoteague, etc.). Also James Herriot's series! ** ETA: have now reread the James Herriot books, as of May 2011.
Favorite series as an older child (around age 11-14) ... The Dark is Rising series, by Susan Cooper, and the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey.
Favorite authors not mentioned at all here... Nabokov, Proust, Thomas Hardy.
Biggest embarrassment when filling out this meme... I don't think I've ever read Tolkien's books, although I think my sister may have had at least one of them. Must read them.
Okay, I am no good at reading plays so I could never enjoy reading these, but Shakespeare was not mentioned. Maybe plays and poems were against the rules?
Oh, I almost forgot... I tag anyone!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Big 100 yen shopping trip!

I went to a big 100 yen shop today -- a different one that is a little further away than my normal one, so I enjoyed walking around on the various floors and getting this and that! 100 yen is about 85 cents, I guess, or around 50 p. I got (at 100 each, plus 5 yen tax):

1. a set of 3 sports-themed rocket pencils, each with an eraser shaped like a basketball, baseball, or soccer ball (for the kids)

2. an apple scented "nerikeshi" - a large, soft eraser, in a case decorated with apples (for the kids)

3. two packs of large lamune candies, each with a small plastic toy (I *love* lamune -- when we came back to Japan, I used to get a pack of lamune just about every time I went into any kind of shop. )(this was for me, but I gave 2 lamunes to each of the kids)

4. a set of 3 black hangers with swivel-heads

5. a set of 3 black hangers with swivel-heads

6. one more set of 3 black hangers with swivel-heads (this was my official reason for going to this shop, since we needed these and they aren't available at our local 100 yen shop)

7. a sleek and super-modern-looking blue and silver solar-powered calculator, for son no. 1

8. a red decorative hole-punch (makes a heart shape)

9. an orange decorative hole-punch (makes a teddy bear shape)

10. a yellow decorative hole-punch (makes a star shape)

11. a green decorative hole-punch (makes a tree shape)

12. a blue decorative hole-punch (makes a large circle)

13. a pack of 3 rolls of yellow vinyl electrical tape

14. a pack of 3 rolls of black vinyl electrical tape

15. a roll of larger black vinyl electrical tape

16. a small green "cracked glaze" ceramic bowl decorated with a gingko leaf, to match the one my husband bought the other day -- useful for dipping sauces for shabu shabu, zaru soba, etc.

17. a colorful set of 3 packs of gummies - orange, grape, and apple flavored

18. a pack of 2 plain lined notebooks, for son no. 1

19. a B5 sized dark-grey plastic ring binder, for son no. 1

20. a clear plastic 30 cm ruler, for son no. 1

21. a set of two plastic lids for use when microwaving soups, etc... one large, one small

22. a larger domed-type lid, for use when microwaving plates of food - it is cutely decorated with pictures of various types of kitchen implements

23. a pack of two small sauce holders for use with bentos - one is orange, and one is red, and they're decorated with pictures of apples and oranges

24. a black stop-watch with neck strap (this was 150 yen)

25. (this was 150 yen) a large round sock-drying hanger, that you can hang on the laundry poles outside -- it's blue and white and has many laundry clips for attaching small things

26. hmmm... I know there were about 6 more things... a tape dispenser for use with packing tape and the like - to make it easier to tape up boxes. I used to have one of these in England, and they are a great help!

27. a small spray-can of pet smell remover

28. a large, furry, green polka-dotted, bone-shaped stuffed toy for little Toby. He used to have one just like it, and enjoyed snuggling with it, until he ripped it open and tore out loads of stuffing. I had kept it to one side and meant to mend it, but as they are only 100 yen, decided today not to bother!

29. okay, I'll have to go downstairs to check the rest.... a soroban! a large, black and tan colored, wooden abacus. I have always wanted to learn how to use an abacus. I don't see them used much anymore, but when I first moved to Kyushu, Japan, 16 years ago, they were still used a lot by shopkeepers. Now with my 100 yen abacus I can start learning!

30. a pack of 3 different colors of iron-on patching material. Black, blue and white. My jeans are always getting holes in them, and instead of buying new ones I've just been patching them. Must go and search for new ones soon. I looked all around England when we were there for Christmas, but unfortunately all the shops were selling hip-huggers only, and NO, I cannot wear hiphuggers!!! Muri!!! (impossible!).

31. Did I miscount? I looked all around but couldn't find anything else...

So, you can see that 100 yen is a wonderful idea in theory, but in practice you have to be careful not to go crazy with a big, 3300 yen (30 dollar or 15 pound) shopping spree!!! Well, on our budget this is the only chance I have to get that nice "shopping high" that many women love so much... ;)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Only in Hokkaido

A few days ago, as I was walking through a supermarket parking lot with my shopping...

Thinking to myself, "Oh, it's so springlike today! It's warm - I don't need to zip my coat up. The sun is shining! Spring is coming! What's that in the air... oh, it's snowing, too... well, anyway!!"

Things were looking really good, that day and even the next. A lot of roads and sidewalks were clear of snow, and I had switched from boots to sneakers. But unfortunately, spring has now gone away and we have had 3 days straight of snow, more and more each day. This morning I was out clearing snow from in front of the car, up to a foot deep in drifts. Everything is white again. It looks just like we've gone back to January. But not to worry! It can't be too much longer until spring, now!