Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Books Read in 2008

Another year has come and gone and my mind is 73 books richer--that's 10 more than in 2007. Here is a list of the books I finished in 2008. You can follow the links to their journal entries on BookCrossing; those books without a link were either borrowed, or are in my permanent collection for the moment. My favorite reads this year? Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, and The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger.

1. The Giant's House: A Romance, by Elizabeth McCracken
2. The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea, by Sebastian Junger
3. Lean Mean Thirteen, by Janet Evanovich
4. Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne
5. The Wedding, by Dorothy West
6. What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, by Pearl Cleage
7. Warriors Don't Cry, by Melba Pattillo Beals
8. The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography, by Sidney Poitier
9. Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World, by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman

10. Getting Over Jack Wagner, by Elise Juska
11. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie (reread)
12. In Search Of The Far Side, by Gary Larson
13. The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe
14. Come Closer, by Sara Gran
15. Motor Mouth, by Janet Evanovich
16. Star Wars, by George Lucas
17. Love Story, by Erich Segal

18. Forecast, by Jane Tara
19. Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen
20. Five Quarters of the Orange, by Joanne Harris
21. Night, by Elie Wiesel
22. James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
23. Murder Most Frothy, by Cleo Coyle

24. Kill Me, by Stephen White
25. The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, by Melissa Bank (reread)
26. The Wish List, by Eoin Colfer
27. Gentlemen & Players, by Joanne Harris
28. William Shakespeare's Henry V, by Kenneth Branagh
29. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, by Michael Chabon

30. Invasion of Privacy, by Perri O'Shaughnessy
31. The Laughing Dragon, by Kenneth Mahood
32. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
33. Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell
34. Murder Is Easy, by Agatha Christie

35. The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise
36. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin, Jr., and Eric Carle
37. Firestorm, by Iris Johansen
38. Curious George and the Puppies, by Margret & H.A. Rey
39. The Witches, by Roald Dahl
40. The Millionaires, by Brad Meltzer (audio)
41. Thirteen Moons, by Charles Frazier
42. Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home, by Nando Parrado
43. LOST: Secret Identity, by Cathy Hapka
44. Bad Twin, by Gary Troup
45. Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn
46. Pearls Before Swine: Lions and Tigers and Crocs, Oh My! by Stephan Pastis

47. I Am The Messenger, by Markus Zusak
48. Mum's the Word, by Kate Collins
49. Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan
50. The Art of Uncontrolled Flight, by Kim Ponders
51. Then & Now Corolla Walking Tour and Guide, by Molly Harrison
52. Lost in a Good Book, by Jasper Fforde
53. All I Need Is You, by Johanna Lindsey
54. Mog the Forgetful Cat, by Judith Kerr

55. The Crass Menagerie: A Pearls Before Swine Treasury, by Stephan Pastis
56. The Dead Zone, by Stephen King
57. Fearless Fourteen, by Janet Evanovich
58. Atonement, by Ian McEwan
59. Practical Demonkeeping, by Christopher Moore
60. The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Joy Fowler

61. The Magic Finger, by Roald Dahl
62. The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
63. Cujo, by Stephen King

64. The Well of Lost Plots, by Jasper Fforde
65. The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
66. Half-Moon Investigations, by Eoin Colfer

67. In The Woods, by Tana French
68. Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
69. The Third Secret, by Steve Berry
70. The Birth of Venus, by Sarah Dunant

71. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
72. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See
73. Wreck the Halls, by Sarah Graves

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wild Release #503

In search of gasoline and lunch today, I made my way to Sheetz at the Five Points intersection in Greensburg. I filled up my tank for $1.68 a gallon (so cheap!) and left "Jedi Search," by Kevin Anderson, on top of the gas pump before I went in the store for a cheese and veggie sub. Delicious.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wild Release #502

Today's post-holiday release was themed for both the time of year and the subject matter of the book. I left Sarah Graves' "Wreck the Halls" on a perfectly-sized-for-a-book ledge outside Bortz Hardware on South Pennsylvania Avenue in Greensburg.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wild Release #501

It seems like such a long time since I have been to Blockbuster, trading in a movie and leaving a book behind. Today, rather than leave one inside, I left one outside on top of the garbage can on the sidewalk outside the entrance. I sincerely hope that someone picks up "Half-Moon Investigations," by Eion Colfer, and takes it home before someone else decides to pick it up and put it *in* the garbage can.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wild Release #500

What better way to reach the milestone of my 500th wild release than with Dav Pilkey's "The Adventures of Captain Underpants"? Sisters Nos. 1, 3, and 6, Niece No. 2, Nephew No. 1 and I lunched at Panera Bread where Niece No. 1 was working her last Saturday there. I left Captain Underpants on a table on the sidewalk outside the front door on our way in, and last I saw him, he was still there.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wild Release #499

It's Christmas Eve and two dozen relatives will be at my house soon so I stocked up on Diet Mt. Dew at the Hempfield Square Giant Eagle. I left Tracy Chevalier's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" on top of the pile of weekly sales flyers in the entrance on my way in. Perhaps it will make a nice Christmas gift for someone.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wild Releases #497 & #498

I had to stop at the bank on my way home from work today, so I chose a new branch of First Commonwealth to visit. I don't think I have been inside the building behind the Shop 'n Save on East Pittsburgh Street since the Shop 'n Save was Davis Supermarkets, the bank was Southwest, and Jimmy Carter was the Commander-in-Chief, so I decided to rectify that today. It still has some wonderful 1970s decor, even today, but it didn't look all that familiar to me. I guess we used the drive-thru windows more than the actual teller windows inside. On my way out, I left "Technical Hitch," by Jane Sigaloff, in the free literature rack in the vestibule.

My second release of the evening was "River, Cross My Heart," by Breena Clarke, on a bench outside The Olive Garden on Route 30 in Greensburg, where I enjoyed a delicious dinner of Bruschetta, Zuppa Toscano, and Fettucini Alfredo, with Mom and Sister No. 6. The book was gone from the bench by the time we left. I hope whoever found it enjoys it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wild Release #496

Niece No. 2 was singing with the Westmoreland Symphony at The Palace Theatre this evening, as part of their "Home for the Holidays" show. What better time to release "Jingle All The Way," by Fern Michaels, et al., than during intermission? I left this holiday-themed book on a red velvet chair next to the Christmas tree on the landing between the balcony and main floor.

Wild Release #495

I can't believe I was out of bed, showered, dressed, and out the door so early on a Saturday. Since it is the last weekend before Christmas, I really needed to finish my shopping today. But one can't shop without sustenance, so I breakfasted at McDonald's across from Westmoreland Mall. On my way out the door, I left "Three Billy Goats Gruff and Other Read-Aloud Stories," by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, on a ledge inside the side doors around 10:45 a.m.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Catch #62!

"Glasses for D.W." has a new home with new member kimmurt5. "Very surprised when the book was found," says kimmurt5. "Did not know bookcrossing existed." It does, and we are glad you found us. Welcome!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wild Release #494

Chick-fil-a in Eastgate Plaza was pretty busy at lunchtime today, which hopefully bodes well for "Glasses for D.W.," by Marc Brown, which I left on the ledge outside the front door around 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wild Release #493

I made a decent-sized dent in the Christmas shopping this evening at Westmoreland Mall. I left with many, many bags full of gifts, but lighter by one book--A. A. Milne's "When We Were Very Young." I left it on the island of gumball and candy machines near Sears when I went in, and it was gone by the time I left.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wild Release #492

It has been a long time since I particpated in a Special Sunset Mission, but having just finished reading Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," the timing was perfect for SSM 121608 celebrating Jane Austen's birthday. The mission was to leave the book in a place that evokes history, and for me, that was my former place of employment when I was a teen-ager--the former Davis Supermarkets on East Pittsburgh Street in Greensburg (now a Shop 'n Save). Back then, we who worked there were the same as Jane's characters in "Pride and Prejudice," looking for love, good matches, and great fortunes. With that in mind, I left the book on the ATM outside the store.

This week's challenge, set by kaitlinI, follows:

SSM 121608: Jane Austen
When: Tuesday, December 16, 2008
How: This is Jane's birthday! She was born December 16, 1775. Release a Jane Austen novel, or a book about her or about her novels in a place that evokes history to you. Examples: A place of learning history- a museum, a school or university, a library. A place that has a history in your life, somewhere that you remember from your childhood.

Wild Release #491

Gene Deweese's "Dinotopia: Firestorm" is waiting at the Wendy's in the Hempfield Pointe plaza near Home Depot. It is in a zippered plastic bag on the brick window ledge outside the door nearest the drive-thru windows.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wild Releases #489 & #490

More shopping today, this time in North Huntingdon/Irwin (Where does one end and one begin? I don't think anyone knows), where my last stop was the Giant Eagle. I left B. B. Hiller's "The Next Karate Kid" on a bench on the sidewalk outside the doors, and A. A. Milne's "Now We Are Six" on the seat of a kiddie cart inside.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wild Releases #487 & #488

With only 11 days to go before our Christmas Eve festivities, I needed to get seriously started on my shopping today. One of my stops was Big Lots! in the Greengate Centre North plaza and although I didn't buy anything there, I did leave Kenneth Mahood's "The Laughing Dragon" behind on the bench on the sidewalk outside the entrance. My shopping travels also took me to Mount Pleasant; I stopped at Arby's in the Summit Ridge plaza for lunch and left "Pictures of Hollis Woods," by Patricia Reilly Giff, on the window ledge in the vestibule.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wild Release #486

Dinner was my responsibility tonight, so that meant PIZZA! When I went to pick it up from The Red Brick Restaurant and Lounge in West Point, I left "Date With A Dead Doctor," by Toni Brill, on the brick ledge outside the door to the dining room.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wild Release #485

Today at Arby's, I hope I made an offer that can't be refused. I left Mario Puzo's "The Godfather" in a plastic bag to protect it from the cold, cold rain, on the brick window ledge outside the side door. It better not be sleeping with the fishes.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Wild Release #484

My second attempt to release a book at First Commonwealth Bank on Main Street was a success. The ATM in the lobby has a nice wide shelf that easily accommodated Elizabeth George's "A Great Deliverance." I hope it delivers a journal entry soon.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Wild Release #483

Sister No. 6 and I drove to Monroeville today to do a little holiday shopping. One of our stops was PaperMart in Jonnet Plaza, and I took the opportunity to leave Bebe Moore Campbell's "Brothers and Sisters" on the bench outside El Campesino Mexican Restaurant. By the time we left PaperMart, the book was already gone. Write home pronto!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wild Release #482

Today I took a gamble on a new release zone by leaving "McNally's Gamble," by Lawrence Sanders, on a bench outside Chili's in Greengate Centre. Here's hoping my gamble pays off soon!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wild Release #481

Rather than drive to the post office to drop off some mail, I walked to the post office box outside Greensburg News on West Otterman Street. I was going to buy some instant lottery tickets there, but their machine was out of order, so I left empty-handed. On my way back up the hill, I propped "Up Jumped the Devil," by Blair S. Walker, on ledge outside the window of Baldy's Pizza that has all the pizza boxes stacked in it. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Wild Release #480

I stopped at the East Pittsburgh Street Shop 'n Save on my way home from work and left "Cell: A Novel," by Stephen King, on the wood railing outside the front door as my first release of the month.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wild Release #479

I was pleased to find that we now have an Applebee's relatively close by. Apparently, there has been one in Mount Pleasant for a little over a year. I really need to get out more! I got out today, as did Sister No. 6, to do some shopping in Mount Pleasant and have dinner at Applebee's. I was able to leave Sue Monk Kidd's "The Secret Life of Bees" on a windowsill in the vestibule on our way in. It was gone by the time we left.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Catch #61!

Serendipity *was* with us! "The Birth of Venus" has been caught and journalled by new member BERNARD57, who says, "After going through the Museum of American Art in Westmoreland, PA, I found the book at the foot of the statue in front of the museum. At first I thought it was lost but after reading the ribbon on the book, it looked interesting and I wanted to be part of the chain of readers. After I complete my finals, I plan to read the book during my semester break. Thanks!" Thank *you*, BERNARD57, and welcome to BookCrossing!

Wild Release #478

Niece No. 2 was performing at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art this afternoon, so Mom and I went to be entertained. Serendipity was with us: we actually got a space in the parking lot, and I had just finished "The Birth of Venus," by Sarah Dunant, so I left it propped up on a statue outside the doors. The book was still there when we left, but there was also a tour bus parked on Main Street--more serendipity? I think it is very possible that it will be picked up and travelling soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wild Release #477

Oh, you have to love the winter weather! At this time of year, I love Ziploc bags, which keep my books nice and dry even in rainy, sleety, snowy weather. If you happen by the Wendy's on Route 119 in South Greensburg, you may find David Baldacci's "The Camel Club" inside a plastic bag on the ledge outside the front door.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wild Release #476

I pulled the old "leave-a-book-in-the-prize-bin-of-the-claw-machine" trick today at the Giant Eagle in Hempfield Plaza. "The Rescue of Prince Caspian," by C.S. Lewis, is waiting for the next lucky person to reach their hand in the chute!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wild Releases #466 - #475

Today was the annual Holiday Parade in Downtown Greensburg--a fabulous opportunity to release lots of books. I got a fabulous parking space and was able to release ten books, moving quickly in order to stay warm in the cold weather. The books I released were: "Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn: The Story of the Thanksgiving Symbols," by Ursula Arndt and Edna Barth; "F-Freezing ABC," by Posy Simmonds; "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," by Barbara Robinson; "The Third Option," by Vince Flynn; "The Giver," by Lois Lowry; "Iced," by Carol Higgins Clark; "The Black Ice," by Michael Connelly; "Marisol," by Gary Soto; "Christmas Magic," by Patricia Hermes; and "Chicken Soup for the Soul," by Jack Canfield.

Wild Release #465

I spent a lovely evening with friends on Pittsburgh's South Side, and as I walked back to my car, I left Steve Berry's "The Third Secret" on a table outside the Mirabella Salon on the 1900 block of Sidney Street.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wild Release #464

Today I had to give Steak n Shake a hand. Every time I go there I am impressed with the speed; I can sit down, be waited on, read some of my book, eat my lunch, and get back to work all within an hour. I can also leave a book behind, which, of course, I did. I left John Irving's "The Fourth Hand" on top of the garbage can outside, protected from the snowy weather in a Ziploc bag.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wild Release #463

I decided to try out a new bank branch today so that led to a new crossing zone, too. I left "Pooh's Little Instruction Book," by A.A. Milne, on a bench in the lobby outside the First Commonwealth Bank branch at Greengate Centre.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wild Release #462

Once I finished reading--and thoroughly enjoying--Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express," I had the perfect place to release it. I left it on a bench in the Amtrak Train Station on Ehalt Street in Greensburg, just in time for the 6:52 arrivals. Happy travels, Monsieur Poirot!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wild Release #461

I hope Danielle Steel's "Lone Eagle" won't be alone for long. I left it on a bench on the sidewalk outside of The Ground Round restaurant at Westmoreland Mall.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wild Release #460

I meant to release "Nest of Vipers," by Linda Davies, on my walk down Main Street to the bank, but there were people sitting on every bench I passed. I couldn't leave it in the bank itself because there were no handy ledges or tables, so in the end I left it on one of the ornamental lightposts outside the old Courthouse entrance on Main Street without even breaking my stride.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wild Release #459

I had a craving for Giannilli's pierogie pizza--with the sauerkraut layer--for dinner, so while I was out, I stopped in to order one. I thought I would be able to go to Sister No. 3's house while I was waiting for it, but to my surprise, it was done within 10 minutes. While I was waiting, I left Anne Tyler's "Saint Maybe" on the coat rack in the vestibule.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wild Releases #457 - #458

There is nothing quite like a trip to Starbucks to give one the energy to face a day of shopping. While visiting my local Starbucks in Greengate Centre, I left "Chasing Cézanne," by Peter Mayle, on a table on the sidewalk outside. My next stop was the Kmart in Mount Pleasant, where I left "The Karate Kid Part III," by B.B. Hiller, in the seat of the kiddie ride on the sidewalk. It was gone by the time I left the store.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wild Release #456

There are often discussions on about the best places to leave books. Someone mentioned a while back that they like to leave small books in the prize bins of game machines since kids are always hoping that someone "forgot" to take their prize and automatically check them as they walk by. I finally had a book small enough to do the same. I left "Lucy Steps Through the Wardrobe," by C.S. Lewis, in the prize area of the claw machine in the lobby of the Hempfield Giant Eagle around 5:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Catch #60!

The first book to check in from yesterday's road trip is the last one I left. "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" was logged in by new member technogeeq, who says, "this is a prety cool program i think it will enforse reading a little more." Welcome to BookCrossing, technogeeq!

Catch #59!

"The Picture of Dorian Gray" has been found and I think this may be my lengthiest journal to date. BookCrossing member InSitu writes: "I found this book at work! It's one of my all time favorite books, too!

"I work at the art museum in Greensburg, PA. I saw it on the receptionist's desk, and at first glance I was excited that she was reading this book. Then I saw it was a BookCrossing book and I had to ask her about it. Turns out, it wasn't hers; two co-workers found it outside of the building. They were outside because someone had tipped over our large, blow-up, anthropomorphized Bessemer Furnace. (Our museum purchased it from the Pittsburgh ROARS public art project.)

"So, I said I would take the book, and I did. I did a little furtive reading today at work, while waiting for the opening of the museum's newest exhibit. The introduction that Oscar Wilde wrote for his story was so apropos for the day, and I can only assume that the releaser left it at the museum as a commentary on art. ;)

"The real question is, releaser, did you actually lose this book in the process of tipping over our inflatable? Did it fall out of your bag as you were pulling at the balloon? Because that is what my (paranoid) boss thought. I had to reassure him that people who use Bookcrossing and read Oscar Wilde don't make a habit of vandalism and tipping things."

Please be reassured, InSitu, that I have far too much respect for the museum and Oscar Wilde to tip over the balloon. I put the book on one of the black straps that was holding the balloon down, took a quick picture and drove away. Welcome back to BookCrossing!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Wild Releases #451 - #455

Mom and I took a road trip to Bethlehem, Pa., today and I released a few books on our way there and back. "Seabiscuit," by Laura Hillenbrand, was left at the Plainfield Travel Plaza on the Pennsylvania Turnpike; "The Word Eater," by Mary Amato, was left on top of a gas pump at a Wawa in Bethlehem; "The Devil Wears Prada," by Laura Weisberger, and "Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace," by Patricia C. Wrede, were left at Cracker Barrel in Hamburg, Pa.; and "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," by C.S. Lewis, was left at the Sideling Hill Travel Plaza of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wild Release #450

I planned to leave "The Picture of Dorian Gray," by Oscar Wilde, somewhere outside the Westmoreland Museum of American Art--on a bench, or a planter, etc.--but when I pulled up to its main entrance I was met by this giant anthropomorphized flame-spewing, steel-making balloon and I felt I must leave it there. I gently placed it on one of the black straps that was holding the balloon down, snapped a photo, and was on my way.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wild Release #449

What awaits you outside the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Greensburg? A lion, a witch, and a wardrobe are sharing a bench outside the front door. I left "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," by C.S. Lewis, there around 9:40 this morning on my way into work.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Catch #58!

My "Flat Stanley" has already found a new home! Not long after getting back from our outing, I got a notification that the book had been found and journalled by charski3, who says, "As I climbed the steps on the way back to the parking lot I saw the book sitting on a bench. I was happy to find it since I'm a 4th grade teacher and I'm on a retreat with the rest of the teachers from my school. We are going to share it with all of our students. Thanks :)" Thank *you*, charski3, and welcome to BookCrossing!

Wild Releases #446 - #448

I have been hosting a Flat Stanley from Christian in California for a couple of days. He's trying to see as much of the world as possible by March 1, 2009, when he has to return home. He has already been to England, New Jersey, Hong Kong, and Georgia. After spending a couple of days in Pennsylvania, I thought I'd take him to West Virginia as well, since it's only about 90 minutes away. Mom, Flat Stanley, and I stopped at Martin's supermarket in Connellsville, Pa., on the way there and I left Roald Dahl's "The Magic Finger" on a bench outside the front door. When we crossed the Mason-Dixon line, Pennsylvania's border with West Virginia, we headed south and east to Coopers Rock State Park between Morgantown and Bruceton Mills. We had a beautiful view from the overlook. We were so high up that the hawks were flying below us and we couldn't even hear the water from the river below. I left the book "Flat Stanley," by Jeff Brown and Steve Bjorkman, on a bench on our way back to the car, and "The Outsiders," by S.E. Hinton, on top of a large rock with a commemorative plaque situated near the parking lot.