A little bit about books, a little bit about life.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Booking Thru stories

If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite reasons to read is for the story. Not for the character development and interaction. Not because of the descriptive, emotive powers of the writer. Not because of deep, literary meaning hidden beneath layers of metaphor. (Even though those are all good things.) No … it’s because you want to know what happens next?
Or, um, is it just me?

This was our question for "Booking Through Thursdays".

I am finding it hard to answer. Can I say "it depends?" I think it's the story MOST of the time, but I am also addicted to series mystery novels where the same characters are in every book. I love the characters, the settings--I don't know why I fell in love with the settings of the mysteries (it's a mystery to me. LOL...okay that was bad ), but I have. I love Tess Monaghan's Baltimore, and Stephanie Plumb's Trenton, NJ, and Temperance Brennan's Quebec. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. These characters are my friends and their homes places I want to visit.

But a good story is a good story, and it is very.... emotional, for lack of a better word. When you are reading a good book and get caught up in the story-line and are feeling the happiness, despair, loneliness, amazement, fright that takes place because of the "story", well, there is no better fun, relaxation, escape (insert your adverb here) than that. Wanting to know what happens next, but also feeling sad because you know you're nearing the end of the book, and you don't want that either.

There is nothing better than a good story! I still think my answer would have to be "it depends"
I think sometimes it's hard to separate the two, the story just for itself and the characters ... because don't you come to love the characters, or at least have some connection with them, because of the story? If the story is no good, then you really have no bond to the characters. The two go hand in hand, but it's a good story that first grabs you and holds you. If I look at it that way, then story has to be first, or else why would you keep on reading?

Thank you for the introspection today, now I know, it's the story that gets you. Or me, as the case may be. No more depends for me... I have stepped off the fence.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Having trouble today....with spelling. (check out my other blog.... http://thefridayfriends.blogspot.com/ )

I'm sure it's some hidious disease. I will let you know as soon as I find out and you'll all feel appropriately sorry for me instead of making fun of me and my spelling.

That is supposed to be (in my last post) "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel PIE Society." Not pkie....whatever that is.

The Guernsey Literary

I am reading "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pkie Society".
I am almost done.... and I don't want it to end.
I am enjoying it very much. In fact, I love it.
Tonight is my (one of 4) bookclub meeting and we are supposed to be discussing "The Double Bind" which I also enjoyed, but this, this book: I LOVE.
I have 40 pages left...and I don't know what to do. I really don't want it to end.

Okay.....here I go, off to finish it.
Will send pictures and a summary of book club tomorrow.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bookmark Monday...(for me)

Sometime during the last week, my friend April confided in me that she knew EXACTLY what hell is. She said it would be being locked in the largest library in the world forever and when you open a book, there is nothing but blank pages.

This actually gave me nightmares. LOL

Last Thursday was yet another book club meeting. We discussed "The Girls" by Lori Lansens. (has anyone read it?)

I am a lay-critic, or an amateur (how do you spell it??) reveiwer, but I will try...in a very short blog.

"The Girls" is about conjoined twins who are linked at the head. They are not able to operate to seperate the girls, so their lives will be tragically spent as oddities to the outside world. But over the course of the book, written in alternating chapters by each twin, we come to see them, not as "freaks" but as people, girls with hopes and dreams of their own.

So.... I told you it was going to be short.

I liked the book.... I think it helped me to see how differences in people are .... I don't know what the word is, but I guess it helped me to see what the world sees as "freaks" as people, with feelings. I use the word freaks, because that is what the outside world used to call them. And sometimes their only hope to live on their own was to join the circus or carnival's freak show. It' sad when you think about it.

I'm not to sure the rest of the book club liked the book. They were a little hesitant to say they liked it. But they didn't dislike it either.

It was a Scheindler's List kind of book.

And I will leave you with this.... my bookmark, chosen at random in the dark, out of my flowerpot on the book shelf in my bedroom where my bookmark collection lives, before stumbling down the stairs to make coffee at 5:00 a.m. this morning.

Dorothy from the Wizard of OZ.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday...let's book thru it!

Today's Booking Through Thursday question is:

Whether you usually read off of your own book pile or from the library shelves NOW, chances are you started off with trips to the library. (There’s no way my parents could otherwise have kept up with my book habit when I was 10.) So … What is your earliest memory of a library? Who took you? Do you have you any funny/odd memories of the library?

I loved the library when I was young... it was a magical place. I first remember it at the elementary school I went to, Westgate Elementary. I can't remember the librarian's name, but I can still see her face. She was beautiful to me, a 3rd grader... her hair in a bun, cat eye glasses with jewels and a chain, and black sensible shoes. (this was quite some time ago, if you haven't picked up on that. LOL ).
The school library was probably no bigger than a regular classroom at the time, but it was huge in my mind, filled with shelves of books just for me. The Boxcar Children, Baby Island, The Cay, The Mouse and the Motorcycle! And it smelled so good....that wonderful musty booky smell.
And old Mrs. hair in bun, cat eye glasses, sensible shoe Librarian would read to us. We'd file in, having just heard that Callie's, (the girl who sits across from us in class,) brother had been killed in Viet Nam. We'd sit on the floor, sad and scared....and Mrs. hair in bun, cat eye glasses, sensible shoes, would then take us away!!
She'd take us to completely different worlds, where the "children" were in control (Boxcar Children, Baby Island, Gone-Away Lake) and we would lose our sorrow and fright in a different world. And then the recess bell would ring and we would all scramble to get our books checked out in time to go outside, except for me, who would like to linger as long as I could and just breath in that wonderful smell of the library and Mrs. Hair in Bun, cat eye glasses, Sensible shoes. (I think she wore White Shoulders perfume).

Fast Forward to my 2nd library memory....the summer between my 6th grade year and 7th grade years...1972. The public library and summer reading programs. My friend Kathy and I would ride our bikes down to the library and agonize over which 6 books (this was back when we had baskets on our bikes ) we were allowed to take home for a check out period of 2-weeks. (We, of course were always back the next week, so what did it matter that we could only take home 6 each?) But agonize we did... there was always a 7th or 8th one we wanted. And we passed back and forth a book by Zilpha Keatly Snyder, called "The Changeling".
We LOVED that book. I don't think anyone else got to check it out all summer long.

I met Zilpha Keatly Snyder years later...

LOL, I've always wanted to write a line like that....ahhahaaa...
okay, so I attended a conference where Zilpha Keatly Snyder was giving a class and I bought a book and had her autograph it and at that time I told her that I LOVED "The Changeling" when I was an adolescent and she smiled and said...."oh, so you're one of the Changeling Crowd."
Like we were special!! We were "one of them" The Changelings.
I will be a Changeling forever!!
You know...I think I'm going to go buy that book right now.

So those are my first memories of libraries.

I Love libraries....thanks for the question AND the memories. .. and I know that none of you know me, but I was just appointed to our little town's Library Board. I was sworn in and everything. Hooray!

Monday, August 18, 2008

I get it

I get it!! There is a list of acceptable books for the Lit-Flick challange! I can do this! LOL
FORGET RICHARD GERE'S HAIR..... I'll still read that book and watch that movie.

But, I noticed "Watership Down" is on the list. I've owned the book for years and have never read it.... so perhaps it will be my first one.


I have a food blog in addition to this blog. To be honest, the food blog is hard for me. You have to take pictures of everything you make, sometimes step by step.

Like this:
set out veggies--snap photo
chop veggies--snap photo
put veggies in soup pot--snap photo

You get the picture. I have a food blog. And I love it....or I love other foodblogs. :~) I have only signed up for one food challenge, because of the time consuming photographing my cooking!!

This brings me to TODAY, and today I found this challenge. A book challenge. YAY. The "Lit-Flicks" challenge!!! I'm excited.

Yes, I know I have a couple of other "book" or "reading" challenges out there.... BUT, the difference between a "food challenge" and a "book/reading challenge" is night and day.

Read, write, read, write, read, write...... ah, the simple pleasures of life.

I have chosen my first novel/film!!!

ARGH!!!! I can't think of the name. LOL It's a Nicholas Sparks book and the movie has Richard Gere and it will be released in September. I have the book, but haven't read it yet. It was actually next on my list...

AHA....."Nights in Rodanthe"... that's the book. And movie. #1. I have to read five novles, that have been made into movies in.... 6 months: September 1st, 2008 to Feb 28, 2009.

I also have to watch at least 2 of the movies, but I will watch all 5, BECAUSE what's the fun in not doing that? (also am a tad bit obsessive about certain things)

Bookmark Monday

I told myself I was going to do this.... I'm going to do this. Even tho I am running on empty. :~)

I am feeling very unorganized.

I know that with most people, they would want to get a hold of that organization, but me? I need to finish my book first. LOL

Seriously....when I'm feeling anxious about anything and am in the middle of a book, I NEED to finish that book, and not pick up another one until I'm more in control of what needs to be done. And also writing a list will help me. When I can see my stuff on paper, that alone will stop the anxiety. It's being able to cross stuff off... total prozac moment for me. (sigh....ah, crossing stuff off the list )

Anyway...... I grabbed a bookmark from my flowerpot this morning (that's where I keep them) and it was this one!!!

The "Catch the Reading Bug" promotion for the Summer reading programs at public libraries.

We did it...we caught the reading bug, my grandson and I!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bookin Thru this Thursday ( when i should be doing other things)

Today's "Booking Through Thursdays" question is:
Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?
And, Second:
Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too … but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story.
(Or a good sports movie, for that matter. Feel free to expand this into a discussion about “Friday Night Lights” or “The Natural” or whatever…)

I can't recall actually having read a book specifically about the Olympics. But sports in general, yes.

I am a fan of the "idea" of sports. And how do I explain that one? I like the idea of the sense of "team" and "community pride" that sports brings to people.
I can cry just hearing "Casey at the Bat". I can tear up watching Michael Phelps win his medals. But as far as being a die-hard, forever fan... that's not me. I mean, for a specific team or sport... in general, yes, I love sports.
But as far as book about sports, I do love them. I raised 4 boys... who weren't always in the "mainstream" sports, but did swimming and cross country. My youngest did football, and they all tried baseball, but the sports that stuck with them were water sports and track and field.
So, we loved to read about the underdog, the kids who came from behind to win the game... or at least have a "coming of age" experience thru sports in the story.
I think it was that "coming of age" experience in sports stories that made me love the "idea" of sports.

I am not a rabid fan, nor a sports hater, but I do love a good sports story.... particularly as you can tell from my comments above, a Young Adult or Juvenile sports story. (and I guess you can tell I have a soft spot in my heart for Children's literature).
It's good to have an appreciation of sports even if they're not "your thing".... and that is where good sports books come in. You can live vicariously through a story and have empathy for the characters, suffering with them in their "agony of defeat" and celebrating with them in the "glory of victory" and perhaps learning something about yourself in the process.

Ninety-Nine percent of the sports books I read will be fiction, but I also love to read non-fiction about the Brooklyn Dodgers.
"the Boys of Summer" and Doris Kearns Goodwin's memoir "Wait till Next Year", are two great ones.

And I love, love, love sports movies too. (Field of Dreams, the Sandlot, Bull Durham) There is still that "coming of age" theme running throughout, even if it is aimed at adults.
Don't you think?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

oops....My Father's Dragon

I was so busy yesterday that I forgot to blog about my favorite "Classic" children's book.

Okay... I cannot tell a lie. I forgot. It wasn't because I was "too" busy. I just plain forgot.
I was busy at work.... but when I went home, my grandson was there and we had a nice relaxing enjoyable few hours before he went back home. I made his favorite meal: chicken nuggets and fries. Yum.
(I'm his grandmother, so I don't have to do healthy food choices all the time do I? )

Anyway, after we ate dinner on the patio and he watered my plants and squirted the dog (he is 6) he got interested in an old Royal Typewriter of my dad's that I have.
So, while he was busy putting in paper and typing, I began to read to him.
(this isn't something new)
We were in the middle of "My Father's Dragon" by Ruth Stiles Gannett.

THERE YOU HAVE IT! My children's classic. It will be "My Father's Dragon"

At first, because my grandson was very interested in the typewriter, he said, "You don't have to read to me grandma."
But I said I wanted to, and I began where we had left off. I finished one chapter and thought we would be done, but he turned to me, by this time he had actually stopped typing, and said..."Gramma, you can read more if you want to."

Which tells me a few things:
It's a great Read-A-Loud. It really is. Camron, my grandson, is always drawn into it, as I knew he would be last night.
It's a Newberry Honor book, it's short enough for children with short attention spans. It keeps their attention.
(or maybe it's just my grand read-aloud voice. LOL ).

To give a quick review of the book, it was published in 1945, I believe, it is a quick imaginative story about Elmer Elevator, a boy who runs away to Wild Island to rescue a baby dragon. It is narrated by Elmer's son, many years later.
It is an adventure story in the most simple terms.
And who can resist a good adventure story?
Certainly not my 6 year old grandson!
It's also a fantasy, with each chapter, revealing personality traits of different characters, all who happen to be animals.
Elmer must use his wits and his "McGyver" type of resourcefulness to outwit the animals on the Island to get to the dragon.

I say it's a Classic!!
Anything that can get my grandson to stop fiddling and curl up next to me and tell me I can keep reading.... THAT is a classic.

so....that's my excuse for not particiapting yesterday.
sorry... but I was off finding a dragon......

PS yes, I would recommend it to anyone. It really is a great little book.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Book Awards Reading Challenge II

I think I'm going to do this... NO... I AM going to do this. The Book Award Challenge II.

This are the rules:

Read 10 award winners from August 1, 2008 through June 1, 2009.
You must have at least FIVE different awards in your ten titles.
Overlaps with other challenges are permitted.
You don't have to post your choices right away, and your list can change at any time.
'Award winners' is loosely defined; make the challenge fit your needs.

I care not about winning.... it is the reading.
And I'm a terrible blogger... well, actually, I'm a great "blogger", (random thoughts) but blogging a review of a book, I might officially suck at. :~)
While I read all the time, and while I read a variety of books from all genres, my vocabulary still remains in my teenage youth of the 1970's, and I tend to describe everything as "cool".

So, if you bear with me... I'm in for the challenge!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Waffles and Bookmarks

Yes, seriously....

My favorite waffle recipe comes from a Newberry Honor book....

"Everything on a Waffle" by Polly Horvath

Would could have known? My two favorite things in one!!!

It's a cute, cute story about a young girl who looses both her parents.... well, gee, with a beginning like that, it might seem that this book is not neccisarily "cute", but it's done in that imaginative, playful way. Like all the emotion is out of it and it's just a young orphan girl who is passed from relative to relative. It's good natured and not dark. How's that for description?

But today is Sunday and we had the waffles!!!

Hooray for waffles... and hooray for author Polly Horvath for putting her recipe in the book!

Today is Sunday, but by the time anyone looks at this blog...it might be Monday.


From my personal bookmark collection...

book mark #2

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Other Worlds

This week's "Booking Through Thursday" Questions are:
Are there any particular worlds in books where you’d like to live?
Or where you certainly would NOT want to live?
What about authors? If you were a character, who would you trust to write your life?

I would want to live in the world of Janet Evanovich's "Stephanie Plumb"!
She eats whatever she wants (mostly junk food) and never gains weight, men fall in love with her (hmmmm...but they also die around her), she has adventure, a funny grandma, a family who still sits around the dinner/supper table, but mostly she's hot and she has Joe Morelli.
Of course this falls in the FANTASY category. :~)

Or I would want to be in Gillian Roberts "Amanda Pepper" mystery world. Amanda is a prep-school English teacher in Pennsylvania, but her boy "friend" is CK Mackenzie from Alabama. His best line ever? (when letting Amanda know that being Southern didn't mean being stupid---sadly a misconception that northerners sometimes have. I am a westerner, so I am not included in those misconceptions....)
"I might talk slow... but I don't think slow", he said in his slow southern drawl, while running his deep blue eyes over her body. (I made that part up....running his deep blue eyes, etc)
Okay...I was hooked. In love!!

And no....I'm not a boy crazy 14 year old. LOL, I've just been reading a lot of series mysteries lately.
I also just finished "The Great Gatsby", a world I would not want to live in!! The partying, the drinking (not that I don't enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner , the womanizing. The lives of the idle rich...not a world for me.

How about the world of "Anne of Green Gables"? Now there's a world that I could live in! I do talk a lot....although I don't have red hair, but I just loved Anne and her world with Marilla and Matthew, and later with Gilbert on Prince Edward Island.
I so wanted a Kindred Spirit!

And the author I would want to write my life would probably be Jan Karon. She does a good job of not making things "too" Pollyanna-ish, I think. But at the same time, she makes her characters lives so --- I can't think of the word I want ---so, envied maybe? Humorous and likable anyway.

When I was a boy crazy 14 year old, I would have wanted Mario Puzo to write my life. I had just read "The Godfather" (my parents had no idea!!!) and the Mafia life was very intriguing to me.
Thank goodness we grow up!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Book Lover

It just seemed like the thing to do.....
now, you can see me. Coming or Going.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Book Mark Monday

Okay....2 things.

It's not Monday, it's actually Tuesday, but it's my birthday and I want to show off my bookmarks. Bookmark "Monday" Sounds better. :~)

and 2nd...I don't know how to start a "carnival" or a "show-me-your-bookmark" contest, or whatever you call them....

(and I very seriously doubt that anyone but my friends and family check out my blogs)

but every week...hopefully on Mondays, I will showcase a bookmark of mine. LOL

I have many. Many, many.... this showcase will go on for years. And years. Probably won't even have "blogs" by the time I run out of bookmarks.

This is my newest bookmark --I'll start with that one.

Coffee book mark. Coffee and books...they seem to go together.

It is currently holding my place in "Pride and Prejudice" which I am reading for the "Classic Bookclub".
It's on page 1. (because Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plump is holding all my attention for the time being )

Coffee Bookmark.

Come on friends...what have you got? Bring 'em on.
(that sounds great, but sadly, Mitzi is the only one I know who also has a bookmark collection. :~)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

That man of mine

You know that "man o mine?"

The one who never used to read?

well....I came home from work on Friday at 5:00 and this is where I found him.
(living with me for 30 years has had its influence!! LOL)
(and so YES, I did go downtown to the old car show with him on Friday night. AND again for a bit on Sunday afternoon. He had to judge a car. And we got roped into judging the costume contest for 50's Fever )

Friday, August 1, 2008


I forgot "Booking Through Thursdays"!
Well....I actually didn't forget, but it was a crazy day. I worried about it all day
Well....I thought about it a few times during the day, wondering if I would have time to blog.
And I didn't.
I went to work at 8:00 a.m.
I got home at 10:30 p.m.
I didn't even open a book yesterday! OH MY!!
I'll book thru next Thursday tho. :~)