KathyBou’s Blog

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Catching Fire

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At one point I was updating a book blog, but I’ve run out of energy and time for now so  my must-talk-about-this-book-or-implode posts can just go here.

I’m finally reading Catching Fire, though a bit ahead of schedule since I said wouldn’t buy the hardcover.  One of my sisters  did buy it, and even think to send it along with my mother,  so yay for me!

This is the second book in the new, but very popular, trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  While recommending this series to the Harry Potter, Twilight loving set, I’d also recommend it to most everyone.  To me it’s like a literary popcorn night, by which I mean it’s engrossing, exciting and takes you some place else for a bit.  Sometimes that is exactly what you are looking for a in a novel.

The Hunger Games, the first in the series, sets the stage: in a future where the US no longer exists, there is still one rich “district” and many more which are poor.  Two teens from each poor district are pseudo-randomly picked to play in a nationally televised reality TV show – a fight to the death until only one remains.  So maybe how you first imagined Survivor to be before you watched an episode.

I won’t go into any more details here but it’s been over a year since I raced through the first, and so far the second is just as fast-paced and addictive.   I bet there is already talk of making them into movies so go read these now!

The Hunger Games

Catching Fire

Mockingjay due to be released Aug. 24, 2010

Written by Kat

March 29, 2010 at 9:00 am

Posted in Books, Fun

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Selexyz Dominicanen Bookstore

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A bookstore in a church.  An 800 year old Dominican church.  I wanted to see it.

And it happens to be nearby in Maastricht, The Netherlands, which we drive to often because it has an English movie theater  and an Argentinian steak house.  For some reason I still hadn’t seen it even though we’ve walked very near it at least a few times.  D and his sister stumbled upon it last September and in January we found it again.  It’s only a block off the city plaza:

The building itself isn’t so very big, but it is tall, so the designers created space upward.  The nave of the old church now holds three levels of steel bookshelves and aisles, all without changing the original building structure.   Its conversion to a bookstore makes for an interesting mix of old and new:

There is a cafe and a children’s book section at the back.   I was happy to find a selection of English books.

I did a little reading and it turns out this building hasn’t served as a church for a long time.  For anyone who hasn’t seen so much of Europe – there are so many churches that it’s not so crazy that they aren’t all being used.  It was busy on the Saturday afternoon we visited so I’m guessing business is good.  If the building isn’t being used for its original purpose, a place filled with people and books isn’t such a bad fate.

Written by Kat

March 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

Posted in Books, Fun, Travel

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Let me entertain you

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At 1 month entertaining baby A mostly involved bouncing her around and letting her look at the dart board or bright lights.  Luckily (for me and D), this past week she also seems to enjoy it more when we read to her.  Unlucky for us, we only have a few books so far.  I am expecting some packages this week to rectify the situation.

For English baby books I knew a few we should get and asked around for a few more, for the French, I was clueless and relied more on reviews:

Oh! As I’m writing this, the door buzzed, and yay, we have the first arrivals! This will be a twitterish blog post:


Oh right, now I remember.  I ordered  Room on the Broom in the big book format because a couple of months ago I bought Eric Carle’s Caterpillar book and when I got it, it was smallish and a little hard to turn the flaps.  Eek, this one is definitely BIG.

Yay, now I have to wait for her to wake up so we can look at them together!


She woke up, ate, got changed, did some playing and then we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Room on the Broom.  I like Brown Bear quite alot; the text is a simple in a good way, and the pictures are bold and colorful but also simple in a good way.  Room on the Broom is funny and also has great illustrations, but the size of the book is ridiculous (my fault).

It will be a long time before she can read this book by herself.

Written by Kat

November 12, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Posted in bebe baby, Books

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The Happiest Baby on the Block: DVD Review

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The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Dr. Steven Karp

We  watched The Happiest Baby on the Block over the weekend.  Not sure now where I’d first heard about this book or DVD, both with the same name, but it worked out really great to get it in video form so we could watch it together.

Just over an hour long, the main points of the video are techniques on how to sooth a baby, especially a fussy baby, in the first 3 months of life, which the author calls the 4th trimester.  These small maneuvers trigger the baby’s inherent “calming reflex”, and he made it look easy and mostly natural.  Some parents probably already know these things, or have figured them out on their own, but for us it was really valuable information.

I was surprised at how tight a proper swaddle needs to be, and also, that when one Shh’s a baby, the “SSHHH”  needs to be at least as loud as the baby is crying, which can be pretty loud.

Again the DVD format is great because besides being able to watch it together, it allowed us to see the  multiple soothing techniques, and visually watching them used together made it all very clear.  Even if we don’t have too many baby meltdowns, it’s comforting to know we have some tricks in mind if we need them. A definite recommendation to other new or soon-to-be parents.

Written by Kat

August 16, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Posted in bebe baby, Books, family, newborn

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Monday tired

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Not just Monday, not just tired.

I’m wearing my navy adidas warm-up pants that are beyond D’s understanding.  I don’t even remember how they came into my possession, but I do believe they could be worn by any woman size 6 to 26.  Why yes, this makes them very flattering.  Because they are so stretchy, they can also be worn over any other clothing item I own – so they double as bike pants on especially cold commute days.  They are also warm, which is why I find myself in them tonight.

I made this mushroom soup for dinner – it was awesome.

Hmm… soup for dinner and in my might-as-well-be sweatpants by 7 p.m., yep, my dear boyfriend is out of town.  Boo.

At least I’m Monday tired.  Book and bed? Indeed.

Written by Kat

January 26, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Posted in Books, Food, Life

Christmas gifted books

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About time for a post mayhaps?

First off, Happy New Year to everyone.  I hope everyone had a good Christmas and enjoyed having a least a couple of days off.  With this economy I know everyone is a little nervous.  I’m hopeful that 2009 will be a better year for everyone.

By the way, we’re still busy doing family stuff on our side. Trying to fit a year’s worth of visiting into 3 weeks isn’t easy. Nor is eating all the delicious food… okay, maybe they are both nice. Heh.  Family visits, especially extended visits, can be trying.  Of course, after a thought like that you want to hug everyone and tell them how much you love them. Haha.

I have started a couple posts but realized they were going to take more time than I had, or that I don’t have the appropriate photos to include, so instead, I’ll just mention the interesting books I saw gifted or received this Christmas.

While I was out doing last minute shopping with my sisters on the Tuesday before Christmas, one of my dear sisters saved ALL of her shopping until the week of Christmas, I saw a few others that I’d like to read too, like Outliers and The Hunger Games.  Both are hardback right now though, and since D and I are going to be moving (again) in 6 months (maybe), I’m holding off.  I am going to love living again in a place where I can utilize a library.

Written by Kat

January 2, 2009 at 6:29 pm

Posted in Books, family, holidays

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Here a google, there a google,

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everywhere a google google. And yay – one for the book lovers.

A beta from Google fittingly called: Google Book Search 

I haven’t spent enough time yet to see if it will surpass Amazon as being my favorite place to look up a book and see reviews, but it does seem to be very complete and offer more information than any book search I’ve come across so far.

For example, I tried searching for a classic – Pride and Prejudice. A full page of interesting information and additional links about the book is available:

  • book vitals – the usual: author, date published, language, number of pages
  • sections/chapters, popular passages
  • reviews and references
  • other editions of the book

There is a feature called My Library that allows you to import books by ISBN or by searching and adding manually.  From there you can review the book, read parts of it (if there is preview available), or in some case, the entire book is available.  Yes, I know very few of us want to sit at their computer/laptop to enjoy a novel, but this is a great tool. 

As a side note, I’m really hoping an affordable e-reader that can read pdfs, plain text and other file types will be available in the near future.  There are many titles available in the public domain that I know I’d read if I had the text in an easy-to-read electronic format.

Another interesting addition with the google book search is the Search in this book feature.  If all or part of the book’s text is available online, this feature will return all matching references by page number and/or link.  That could be handy as a reference, for book blogging, or for research projects.  

Only a couple of things seem to be missing:

  • No series information – Anyone else find it irritating when you stumble across a new series and cannot immediately tell which book comes first?
  • No related books functionality – There is a category associated with a returned search result but it does not seem very complex or useful in finding other similar books.

These are fairly minor details, it’s still a solid book finding tool. And of course, even if you don’t necessarily appreciate all these features, the search results also list links to the online book retailers selling the book – which saves you a couple of steps if you want to comparison shop on the title.

Written by Kat

March 22, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Posted in Books