We’ve Moved to Our New Home!

October 25, 2008

As of Monday, October 27th, 2008…

A Novel Menagerie is now located at HTTP://ANOVELMENAGERIE.COM

  Please do not forget to edit your RSS Feeds & Google Reader Feeds.  My new feed address is HTTP://WWW.ANOVELMENAGERIE.COM/FEED/# 


The Sunday Salon: Free Read For Interested Viewers

October 26, 2008


Today’s Sunday Salon is about a free electronic book offer that you can get in on, if you are interested, at The LibraryThing.


I’ve been in touch with SourceBooks about the book In the Land of Invisible Women.  This book is of interest to me because of my strong beliefs in women’s rights and equality.  From what I understand, Dr. Qanta Ahmed’s In the Land of Invisible Women is nearing bestseller status.  SourceBooks has partnered up with LibraryThing.com to put together an electronic giveaway of 2,500 ebook downloads of her memoir about being a female physician in the Saudi Kingdom.  Here is the information on the book: 

In the Land of Invisible Women (ISBN: 978-14022-1087-7; September 2; $14.99 US / $15.99 CAN; Trade Paperback) is the story of a western-trained Muslim female doctor (Ahmed) who spent two years working in the top hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  What began as a job initiated by a visa problem, quickly became a struggle and search for self empowerment, freedom and the right to follow her own truth.


Dr. Ahmed’s memoir is a fascinating and revelatory window into an enigmatic world.  Like Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran, Dr. Ahmed provides a telling picture of what daily life is truly like in the Saudi Kingdom.  She describes:


  • How physicians trained by Jewish doctors in the United States applauded and cheered when hijacked planes destroyed the Twin Towers on 9/11
  • How men and women find marriage partners in a society that allows no dating and physical contact, and where they flee to have affairs
  • How Saudi women who are supported by advanced thinking parents and who must wear abbayas with their bodies fully encased are able to defy the Saudi’s oppressive rules and mores to become physicians
  • How she worked side-by-side with Wahabi scholars and physicians who seemed to shun her even in clinical contact
  • Why the religious police are so threatening and dangerous
  • How a father grieves
  • Her encounters with sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, sycophancy


Dr. Ahmed also evokes moments where she finds tenderness and true beauty in areas where she least expects it; at the tattered, curled edges of extremism. The last leg of her journey takes readers inside the Hajj, as she journeys to Mecca with 2.5 million other Muslims to perform the sacred duty incumbent upon every able-bodied Muslim in his or her lifetime.


In the Land of Invisible Women  is a fascinating look inside a culture that has become so

relevant to our own.


From October 27th – 31st, her book will be available for downloadto any LibraryThing member (membership is free).  Dr. Qanta Ahmed is going to make herself available to her readers by providing two weeks of author chat.  From what I understand, that means every week-night for two weeks, readers can post questions for Qanta on the LibraryThing website which she will then attempt to answer. 

So, if all of this sounds good to you, head on over to The LibraryThing and hook yourself up with an electronic copy!  I can’t wait to read your reviews… it’s on my TBR!

Best wishes for a relaxing Sunday, everybody!





October 24, 2008

‘Dancing’ Pros Should Probably Shut Up

Cheryl Burke

Cheryl Burke


(AOL, LLC: Oct. 23) – ‘Dancing With the Stars’ professionals Louis van Amstel and Maksim Chmerkovskiy probably don’t have many female friends.  The pros are both speaking up about fellow dancers, Cheryl Burke and Lacey Schwimmer, who they say need to lose weight.

“If you want to gain weight, it’s your prerogative. We all put on weight because there was no summer tour. But you have to deal with the consequences,” van Amstel tells TV Guide.
“When I first saw these women this season, I said, ‘Guys, you know the camera adds 10 pounds. You have to do something about this,'” Chmerkovskiy adds.

“[People] look at this show to be inspired and think, ‘If I just work hard enough, I can look like that.’ If they watch someone who’s dancing her butt off and she’s still heavy, they can be discouraged. You have to take responsibility,” van Amstel finishes.



I mean, who are we kidding here?  I’d call them beautiful.  I’d call them talented.  I’d even call them athletic, slim, skinny, or fit.  BUT, I’D NEVER CONSIDER THEM OVER-WEIGHT.  Louie and Maksim can just “SUCK IT!”

Menagerie’s Halloween Haunt – Winner!

October 24, 2008

Our Winner is…..

Krista from Missouri


We had a VERY CLOSE second place entry.  Only 3/10ths of a point separated them! 

Here is the breakdown of the top-ten (based on three judges, independently scoring… and, avering the scores):

We had such a blast reading the stories, posts, and book recommendations!  For those who participated, we really appreciate it!

Krista, our grand prize winner, will win the HALLOWEEN BASKET O’ FUN! 

Madaline and Anna will each receive a Halloween Suprise!

Best to all!

Happy Haunting!

Book Lover’s Reading Round Robin

October 23, 2008

Let’s live on the wild side…

Let’s read a book that…

…we didn’t order

…we didn’t get from a publisher (not that we mind!)

…we didn’t review for a book tour

…we didn’t get as a gift (or hand-me-down)

… we have “BOOO-KOOO” time to read


 This is how it will “fly”……

* Choose a book that you really enjoyed, for whatever reason… “The Robin’s Egg”

* Write a post.  In your post, name another blog’s site as the receiver of your Robin’s Egg (aka “The Nester”). (You may want to email them, or link to them so they know an Egg has been placed in their nest).

* The Nester has a choice…

(A)  Adopt your Robin’s Egg (which is a mystery), or

(B) Contact another blogger for a random book suggestion. 

In the event your Nester accepts your Robin’s Egg, you must reveal the book to them.  The Nester shall read your Robin’s Egg and subsequently review it on their post on or before February 15, 2009.  In the event your Nester takes Option B, the Recipient shall review and post about that random book assignment by February 15th, as well.  Keep in mind, if the Nester elects to go Route B, then your Robin’s Egg is still available and you may choose another blogger to “Lay the Egg” on!  Another note… you have to stick with Option B’s random suggestions if you elect Option B.  No further window shopping or bargaining for Robin’s Eggs!

* The Nester must then ALSO “Lay An Egg!”  That recipient shall then start the same process from the start with a new Nester… and so on, and so on!


If the Nester doesn’t want to participate (BOOO), that’s okay!  Just start again with another blogger.

If some body’s already “Laid An Egg” on you, you can respectfully decline your receipt of any further Robin’s Eggs…. or, if you’re insane, you can adopt another Robin’s Egg into your nest!  The best way to avoid too many Robin’s Eggs, would be to write a post when “You’ve Been Egged”…. share who “Egged You” and what’s now on your nightstand (a.k.a. TBR) and share who you’re Laying your Robin’s Egg on to continue the Book Lover’s Round Robin.

When you write your post and your review, in order to keep the Round Robin/Meme noticeable, please use the following badge:

This can also help others see if you’ve been “Egged” or not yet!

By the end, we should have all linked to other great sites, read books that we would have never dreamed of reading, and have gotten, well, you know… “egged” (ahem, I wanted to say the other word!)

If I omitted something in the rules, please feel free to contact me and I’ll amend the post!  Also, if you need help with posting the badge, please email me at anovelmenagerie@aol.com and I’ll send you jiffy like instructions!

Best to All!


October 22, 2008

well, my friends

the day is here

when stories & tales

fill us with fear!


your ghost stories

so filled with fright

brought us plenty o’ scares

and chills of delight!


but, in the event

your story’s untold

you must send it TODAY

for us all to behold!


The contest is ending

today, don’t you see?

To win a basket of prizes

Here your entry must be!


An email, a post

a comment, or two

filled with horrors

or, just a plain “boo!”


OK, Readers… Bloggers… Writers… Kids… Friends…







Book Review: My Husband’s Sweethearts

October 21, 2008

My Husband’s Sweethearts, a Novel

by:  Bridget Asher

I read a review of this book in People Magazine.  It was published along with the review of Yesterday’s Weather.  It was a good review and peaked my interest.  I purchased them both, simultaneously.

There’s not an elaborate discussion about why I chose this book, other than the premise of it really intrigued me.  In reading it, that intrigue kept me glued.  I very much enjoyed reading this novel.  I must say… this book has “Screenplay” written all over it!  Personally, I could imagine it as a movie that I would definitely go and see… I hope it makes it way to The Big Screen.  It would be interesting to see who they’d cast for the characters.

This book is simple, yet complex.  It is written at just the right pace, with wonderful little “nuggets” of wisdon and insight into love, death, and family.  Simply, I would recommend this book along with many of the other ones that I’ve reviewed this Fall.  Speaking of Fall, this book is on my Fall Into Reading 2008 Challenge (link is below).

The Review:

Title:  My Husband’s Sweethearts, a novel

Author:  Bridget Asher

Author’s Website: http://www.bridgetasher.com/

Publisher:  Bantam-Dell / Delacorte Press

Publisher’s Website: www.bantamdell.com

Type:  Fiction

ISBN #:978-0-385-34189-9 (Hardcover)

Pages: 271

This book is a story of Lucy, a woman married to Artie, a dying man.  Lucy is an auditor with a well-established career and leading a “successful” life.  We meet Lucy, and her assistant Lindsay, while she is on a business trip.  The reader discovers that her dying husband has been cheating on her during her 4-year marriage to him.  She has been away from Artie for 6 months on trips in order to avoid him due to his “transgressions.”  Artie makes, what I believe to be, the sweetest attempts to win her back.  He does so by sending her flowers, wherever she is at on her business trips, accompanied by small flower cards with numbered reasons as to why he loves her.  These cards span from memories they shared to actual things about her and/or their relationship.

She arrives home, takes up residence in the guest bedroom, and is faced with the fact that Artie has only, at most, one month left to live.  In summary, he gives her his “black book” of sweethearts.  The reason being is that she is bitter that she must endure his death alone… and why should she when he has these other women in his life?  Why aren’t they enduring this as well?  So, back to the guest bedroom she heads, black book in hand.  In a drunken mindset, she makes a few calls, after midnight, to these women and leaves them messages to “schedule their time with Artie” while he is on his deathbed.  Most hang up or ignore the call… but, two women do not: Eleanor and Elspa. 

Elspa is an eccentric young woman, piercings, crazy hair and all.  She left college to stay at Lucy’s home to share Artie’s last days.  Eleanor, a bitter woman who is closer to Artie’s age (early 50’s), also arrives to read him the riot act.  Lucy’s Mother, Joan, is also a presence in Lucy’s home… keeping up the garden and attempting to be there for Lucy.  She brings along her dachshund, Bogie, who is overly endowed and wears homemade “jockstraps” to keep his appendage from scraping on the ground (we love Bogie and Lucy’s Mom).

Lucy makes the managerial decision to have Eleanor orchestrate the visits of all of the sweethearts in the blackbook.  In addition, Elspa is to reach her dream of getting her 3-year old daughter back from her parents.  Joan is to handle Artie’s funeral arrangements, as she is a multiple-time widow and the right person for the job.  Lastly, Lucy’s goal is to reunite Artie with his grown son, John, and for John to learn about is father before his death.

This host of characters is a perfect compliment to Lucy and Artie’s journey of healing and forgiveness during his last days.  What they discover, is that there is a common love shared amongst them all.  How they get to that familial love is for the reader to discover when they pick up this great read.

My Favorite Quotes From the Book:

 “Love isn’t logical,” I insist.  “It’s immune to logic.”

Title of a Chapter: “You Can’t Always Eat Your Way Out of a Problem-but If You Want to Try, Begin with Chocolate”

“He has a depth of attention that comes with his love that is keen and sharp.”

“Everyone should hear their own eulogies-but the notes, aren’t they kind of a love song?  And aren’t the best eulogies a kind of love song?”

“We need to love each other again, with all that love entails-even the hard things, like forgiveness and acceptance.  I don’t think it makes logical sense-that one love can bring back another love-but it’s true.”

“Does my soul look fat in this body?”

On Sher’s “One to Ten Scale:” 

I like the kind of books that keep me up, in bed, at night… that I just can’t close my eyes because I want to keep learning the story.  This story did that for me.  Mainly, I think, because this is a story that I could see really happening to somebody.  And, Lucy is such a great protagonist… a person that I can relate with as to how she deals with things.  When I read a story like this… and it grabs me… not because of anything other than my soul can relate… then, I have to say I really liked the book.  Bridget Asher earns a 9!  I’d share this book with a girlfriend, no qualms about it.

Buy My Husband’s Sweethearts at Amazon.com.

 If you’ve read My Husband’s Sweethearts,

I’d appreciate your feedback via my SurveyMonkey!

The link is on the top right and it will only take a minute!