Monday, October 31, 2011

BOOOOooooo-o-o-o-o

Around 9:30 last night, something "hit" our patio door, near where I was sitting in my recliner.  Someone was running and laughing.  I got up to check it, of course, but couldn't see anything out the door — until I looked down and found this on my welcome mat:


The written sheet says:
You've Been Boo'd!

This treat is for you, we hope you enjoy!
The idea is simple, one we hope you empty!
You pass "Boo" along to two other neighbors, 
along with any kind of Halloween favors.
If we all do our part & spread the cheer,
by Halloween night it will be very clear:
We're a friendly bunch.  We like to have fun, 
so please do your part to keep "Boo" on the run!
Put the ghost on your door to show that you have been Boo'd!
In the little stash were a ghost named "Boo," a Halloween treat-sized bag full of boxed or wrapped candies, and Meow Mix treats!

I deduce (like a detective) that:  (1) whoever dunnit knows we go in and out the patio door rather than the "front" door onto the breezeway, (2) whoever dunnit knows my roommate Donna and I have cats (mine likes to venture onto the patio, but only occasionally), and (3) whoever dunnit seems to think we are likely to spread the fun to other neighbors.

My first thought was that one of my grandchildren had done it.  They know about the patio door and the cats, after all.  But the wording is "two other neighbors."  Therefore, my dear Watson, methinks it's a neighbor.  Or maybe it's the management, the same ones who threw a luau party and saw that I attended.

I don't know if, once we get started, we'll be able to stop at only two.  I'd like to do this for (to?) my children (and kids left at home) and for the married grandchildren (who each have a child — Raegan and Jaxon).  And I immediately thought of four neighbors I want to pass it along to — the one whose granddaughter is tutored weekly by Donna, the one who shared her wi-fi until we got connected after moving here, the one who let me borrow a broom on moving day, and the newest neighbor who knows a lifetime friend of mine.  And that's just in my wing of building five.


Good things are shared, so here's the deal:
PASS IT ON, friends, PASS IT ON.

Here's Raegan, standing on my toes and pulling herself forward.  This year she was a cupcake for Halloween.  A sweet, pink-frosted cupcake with a cherry on the top.

And when she turns the right way, you can see sprinkles on the white "whipped cream."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A bookmark and a bag

During Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-Thon, I won a couple of books, plus these two items, which arrived yesterday.


Kimberly @ Fancy Terrible sent me this hand-knitted bookmark which I held up to the window so you could see the intricate pattern woven into it.  Isn't it beautiful?  Thank you, Kimberly!


Jehara @ Quirky Girls Read sent me this well-padded, yoga-inspired-bag, which I took outside to photograph in the sun.  It is designed for carrying your iPad/Kindle/Nook safely.  Thank you, Jehara.  And thanks also to Shacone at Namaste Designs, where you can see the other side -- and the inside -- of the bag.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

1,667 words a day X 30 days = 50,000 words

Examples of novels that are approximately 50,000 words:


Of Mice and MenBrave New World


The Adventures of Tom SawyerThe Great Gatsby


True GritThe Catcher in the Rye

If the title of this post makes no sense to you, perhaps you've never heard of NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. That would be when writers all over the world attempt to write 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th. They (we) will be writing the rough draft of a novel. Some of these novels may eventually be published. Will mine be one of them? Will yours?  I'm in!  Sign up here, if you too want to be a crazy writer.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Beginning ~ with a mauve flyer

It was a sign thumbtacked high on the corkboard of the local Acme.  A flyer, really — quick-copy-shop mauve and nothing fancy.  The headline read TWO WEEKS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE — another famous preposterous promise, and so I stopped to read it.

This is the beginning of Chapter One (page 7), and it does intrigue me.  However, there is also a Prologue (page 1), which is equally intriguing.  Put them together and what I've got is The Heart Is Not a Size by Beth Kephart, 2010, YA fiction. I am so totally hooked!


What I remember now is the bunch of them running:  from the tins, which were their houses.  Up the whte streets, which were the color of bone.
  If you want to play along, this meme is hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages. Share the first sentence or two of the book you are reading. (Sometimes it takes several sentences to get the full thought.) Then, share your impressions of that beginning.  Click this link to see what others say about the books they are reading this week.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Library Loot ~ October 26 - November 1

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake ~ by Jenny Wingfield, 2011, fiction (Arkansas)
Every first Sunday in June, members of the Moses clan gather for an annual reunion at “the old home place,” a sprawling hundred-acre farm in Arkansas. And every year, Samuel Lake, a vibrant and committed young preacher, brings his beloved wife, Willadee Moses, and their three children back for the festivities. The children embrace the reunion as a welcome escape from the prying eyes of their father’s congregation; for Willadee it’s a precious opportunity to spend time with her mother and father, Calla and John. But just as the reunion is getting under way, tragedy strikes, jolting the family to their core: John’s untimely death and, soon after, the loss of Samuel’s parish, which set the stage for a summer of crisis and profound change.

In the midst of it all, Samuel and Willadee’s outspoken eleven-year-old daughter, Swan, is a bright light. Her high spirits and fearlessness have alternately seduced and bedeviled three generations of the family. But it is Blade Ballenger, a traumatized eight-year-old neighbor, who soon captures Swan’s undivided attention. Full of righteous anger, and innocent of the peril facing her and those she loves, Swan makes it her mission to keep the boy safe from his terrifying father.
Library Loot is a weekly meme co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.  Claire has the Mister Linky this week, if you'd like to share a list of the loot you brought home.  You may submit your list any time during the week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hodge-Podge Proposals (you've gotta read these)

At Hour 12  of Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-Thon on Saturday (7pm my time), we were offered a mini-challenge called Hodge-Podge Proposals.  Here were the instructions:
List (1) the first name of any character in the book you’re currently reading or just finished, (2) the make or model of your current car, and (3) a job you think would be especially fascinating.  Numbers 1 and 2 become the first and last name of your new character, and 3 is his or her occupation. Now briefly pitch me a new series in the genre of your choice based on this hodge-podge character!
I have no idea where my "story" came from, and I didn't choose to even submit it to the judges, but here's what I wrote and posted on my update at Hour 12 (along with my own comment on my idea):
Lauren Maxima seems an unlikely candidate to become queen of the world, but that's her goal.  For now, she'll settle for president of her fifth grade class.  (Hmm, this needs more thought before I submit it.  If, I submit it.)
On Sunday evening, I was looking over some of the mini-challenges.  Reading the answers posted in the comments of Hodge-Podge Proposals was such fun that I decided to share them with you.  Here's what I want you to do.  Go to Erin's blog, where all the comments were left in response to the mini-challenge, and do one of two things — or both:
(1)  Pick the best of the bunch, in your opinion.  Come back here, and leave the name of the blogger who wrote the one you liked best.
(2)  Write your own pitch for a new series, using the same criteria (see above).  Let's see what YOU come up with.
(3)  Alternately, do both.  What fun!
The winner of Hodge Podge Proposals, drawn at random, was Stacybuckeye, according to the winners list posted at Hour 16.  I'll share my favorite(s) in the comments, too.

Monday, October 24, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011


Now that the Readathon is over, I'll tell you about my next project.  NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month.  Once again, I plan to participate in the mania surrounding this event, which is all about writing the draft of a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

Yes, it's possible.  I know because I've done it before — in 2007, 2008, and 2009 — and in every one of those years, I managed to reach the goal or exceed it.  This madness starts on November 1, a week from tomorrow.

Here's my NaNoWriMo 2011 blog, and the official National Novel Writing Month site where you can learn all about it and sign up, yourself.

Oh, by the way, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a published NaNo-novel (click the title link to read about it).  Ah, yes, there is hope!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

An award

Caren Kristine @ As the Spine Breaks has given me a Versatile Blogger Award.  Thanks, Caren!
The rules
1.  Thank — and link to — the blogger who bestowed the award.
2.  Share seven random facts about yourself.
3.  Spread the love by passing the award to five other bloggers — and be sure to let them know.
Fact number 1 ~ I'm a word person, so let's take a look at that word versatile.  It's an adjective which means "capable of turning easily from one to another of various tasks or fields of endeavor."  So a versatile blogger may be one who covers a variety of subjects.  Check, I do that.

Fact number 2 ~ And maybe a versatile blogger is also one who learned by trial and error how to add photos to her blog.  Wanna see?  Here are a couple of recent pictures of my two-year-old great-granddaughter Raegan acting silly.


Fact number 3 ~ And maybe a versatile blogger is one who finally figured out how to schedule posts to appear days later.  For years, my posts appeared exactly when I clicked "publish post," neither earlier nor later.  Now I can line them up to appear when I want them to.  Even though Caren gave me the award on Wednesday, I planned for this post to appear on Sunday, October 23 (that's 10-23-11) at exactly 10:23 a.m.  Get it?  At 10:23 on 10-23, which happens also to be my mother's birthday.  Look at the date and time just below this post.

Fact number 4 ~ And being versatile, I don't always follow the rules.  Therefore, I'm listing only four facts about me.
Some versatile bloggers I respect
1.  Helen @ Helen's Book Blog
2.  Wendy @ Caribousmom
3.  Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
4.  Nancy @ Bookfoolery and Babble
5.  Sheila @ Book Journey

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dewey's Read-a-Thon (October 2011)

For the October 2011 Read-a-Thon:
442 readers and 69 cheerleaders have signed up!


Completed
Title:  Smiles to Go
Author:  Jerry Spinelli
Genre:  YA fiction
Pages:  248
Format:  hardback
Completed
Title:  Close Your Eyes
Author:  Amanda Eyre Ward
Genre:  fiction (set in Texas)
Pages:  251
Format:  hardback
Readers I visited
1)  Alison @ So Many Books, So Little Time
2)  Jan @ Yearning for God
3)  Helen @ Helen's Book Blog
4)  Wendy @ Caribousmom
5)  Erin @ Erin Reads
6)  Chris @ Chrisbookarama
7) Sheila @ Book Journey
Memes and Mini-Challenges

Hour 1 (8am):  Introduction Meme
1)  Where are you reading from today?  My recliner in Chattanooga, Tennessee
2)  Three random facts about me… From yesterday's meme:  I am a piano player, a great-grandmother, and an ordained minister.
3)  How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?  Seven (click to see my list)
4)  Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?  Complete two books, maybe three
5)  If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?  Pick easier books, ones that read quickly, if possible
Hour 2 (9am):  Character Photo
Take a photo of something that represents a character in one of the books you are reading for the readathon.  (I call this "web personality screen shot." That's my reading lamp reflected in the corner of the screen.)
The boyfriend calls himself a web personality
Hour 3 (10am):  Book Puzzle
Create a Book Puzzle.  Essentially, this is a series of pictures, graphics, or photos that you put together that will describe a book title.

I skipped this mini-challenge to continue reading.
Hour 4 (11am):  State Settings
Name three books (fiction or nonfiction) that are good representations of the USA state in which they are set.

1)  Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God, by Joe Coomer ~ New Hampshire
2)  Forever, by Pete Hamill ~ New York
3)  A Thousand Acres, by Jane Smiley ~ Iowa
Hour 5 (12noon):  Sharing the Joy of Books
Tell us your favorite way to share a book - brief description, picture, poem or even a link to a previous blog post - anything that expresses how you share your love of reading.
I talk about books all the time, even occasionally handing out "business" cards that include my blog URL. I have a book blog to share books I'm reading and also a book club blog to discuss books. I started a Banned Books blog which has hundreds of visitors every day during Banned Books Week at the end of September. And I join read-a-thons like this! Just call me a Bookie.
Hour 6 (1pm):  Top Five
What are the five books you are looking forward to in the next few months or really into next year.  (I don't look ahead very far -- in this case, these are the ones set aside for this readathon.)

1)  Bitsy's Bait and BBQ ~ by Pamela Morsi, 2007, fiction (Missouri)
2)  House of Dance ~ by Beth Kephart, 2008, YA fiction
3)  Smiles to Go ~ by Jerry Spinelli, 2008, YA fiction
4)  The Heart Is Not a Size ~ by Beth Kephart, 2010, YA fiction
5)  Undercover ~ by Beth Kephart, 2007, YA fiction
Hour 7 (2pm):  AKA -- Also Known As
Have you ever read a book and then found out that the author has written other books using a different name?  I have, and pseudonyms can be a bit confusing.  For this challenge, see if you know who the authors I've listed are AKA.

Eleanor Druse
A.M. Barnard
George Eliot
Jenny Carroll
Steffie Hall
Erin St. Claire
William Jefferies
Evan Hunter

I skipped this mini-challenge to continue reading.
Hour 8 (3pm):  A Music Bath
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body."

1)  What song does the book I’m reading right now remind me of?
2)  What song does my favorite book remind me of?
3)  Can I find a connection between one of my favorite songs and a story I like?

I skipped this mini-challenge to continue reading.
Hour 9 (4pm):  Book Sentence
Using the books you have in your home, make a complete sentence out of the book titles.
Somewhere in time, the lady and the unicorn rescue Mrs. Dalloway.
Somewhere in Time ~ by Richard Matheson, 1975, speculative fiction
The Lady and the Unicorn ~ by Tracy Chevalier, 2004, fiction
Rescue ~ by Anita Shreve, 2010, fiction
Mrs. Dalloway ~ by Virginia Woolf, 1925, fiction
Hour 10 (5pm):  My Perfect Anthology
Tell me which authors you’d like to see together in an anthology, and create a theme for the book!  Creating a name for it is totally optional!

I skipped this mini-challenge to continue reading.
Winner!  Hey, I just got an email from Lisa @ Lisa's World of Books (see Hour 6, above), which was also announced on the Hour 10 post on the Dewey's Read-a-Thon blog.
You are my Top 5 Winner!  Congrats!  Please send me your address.
Hour 11 (6pm):  Book Trailer
Share a book trailer with us. It could be your favorite book trailer, it can be a trailer of your favorite book, or it can be a trailer for a book you want to read.

I skipped this mini-challenge to continue reading.
Hour 12 (7pm):  Hodge-Podge Proposals
List (1) the first name of any character in the book you’re currently reading or just finished, (2) the make or model of your current car, and (3) a job you think would be especially fascinating.  Numbers 1 and 2 become the first and last name of your new character, and 3 is his or her occupation. Now briefly pitch me a new series in the genre of your choice based on this hodge-podge character!

Lauren Maxima seems an unlikely candidate to become queen of the world, but that's her goal.  For now, she'll settle for president of her fifth grade class.  (Hmm, this needs more thought before I submit it.  If, I submit it.)
Hour 13 (8pm):  Mid-Event Survey
1.  What are you reading right now?  Close Your Eyes ~ by Amanda Eyre Ward
2.  How many books have you read so far?  Half of this one
3.  What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?  Finishing this one and starting another
4.  Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?  The only thing holding me back from reading is my desire to look at what everyone else is doing and joining all the mini-challenges I can
5.  Have you had many interruptions?  How did you deal with those?  I got one phone call, and my cat seems to think feeding her is more important than reading books
6.  What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?  Like every one I've done before, I'm surprised that the time seems to be flying by, and I'm reading blogs instead of books
7.  Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  Nope
8.  What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?  Nothing, except it would make my stats look better if I chose children's picture books instead of regular ole adult-sized novels
9.  Are you getting tired yet?  Not yet
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?  Surely someone among these 442 readers has already discovered everything
Hour 14 (9pm):  Feed Me, Seymour
Stand up, head into the kitchen, and rustle up something delicious. Then come back and tell us what you put down your hatch.

I made a salad, a nice counter-point to everything else I've eaten today.  However, I plan to follow up with a bowl of butter pecan ice cream.
Hour 15 (10pm):  Friendship
Share a memorable friendship forming moment in any of the books you've read in your life. The moment when two people click, and they knew they were going to be friends for ever.

(I'm thinking.)
Hour 16 (11pm): Re-reading
List your top favorite rereads of all time. You know, those books that you can go to time and time again for comfort and escape.  (I do very little reading for comfort and escape, more for the ideas in a book, even a novel.  Both of these are novels.)

Herland ~ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1915) is one I re-read about every ten years.
This utopian novel describes an isolated society composed entirely of women who reproduce via parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction).  The result is an ideal social order, free of war, conflict, and domination.
Time and Again ~ by Jack Finney (1970) is my favorite time travel story.
"Sleep. And when you awake everything you know of the twentieth century will be gone from your mind.  Tonight is January 21, 1882.  There are no such things as automobiles, no planes, computers, television.  'Nuclear' appears in no dictionary.  You have never heard the name Richard Nixon."  Did illustrator Si Morley really step out of his twentieth-century apartment one night — right into the winter of 1882?  The U.S. Government believed it, especially when Si returned with a portfolio of brand-new sketches and tintype photos of a world that no longer existed — or did it?
Hour 17 (12midnight):  Song Identity
Represent yourself, your country, or your people with one song, and provide a link or video and tiny explanation.  ("I Am Woman" represents me.)



Hour 18 (1am):  Charities
The mini-challenge for Hour 18 is for those raising money for charity during the readathon.
Hour 19 (2am):  Pet Love
1)  Leave a minimum of  two sentences and max of 2 paragraphs of  how your pets have helped or hindered your reading.
2)  Share a picture (or two or three) of your pet with us.

Kiki is a very loving cat and couldn't understand why I didn't want her to sit on me all day with her face in my face.  She pushed her head up under my hands, wanting to be petted or brushed.  She made it clear at her mealtimes (twice a day) that I should put down the book and feed her.  She made it perfectly clear to me that, even though she likes to read (and blog) too, my obsession with reading was not a good thing at all.


Hour 20 (3am):  Yoga
Try it for as little as five minutes, as long as fifteen (or more if you are really getting into it.) When you have completed your mini-yoga session, write about the length of time, poses you did, and a note about your experience.

The poses I tried were (1) legs-up-the-wall, (2) child's pose, (3) downward-facing-dog, (4) goddess pose, and (5) relaxation corpse pose.  There are no photos, because I cannot pose and take a photo of myself, and nobody here is awake at 3:00 a.m. my time, except me.  I'm 71 and spent only 10-12 minutes going from one pose to the next, even though I used to do yoga at the YMCA in my younger years.  However, you may have gotten me back into yoga (after 35 years) -- I had forgotten how much of a workout it can be.
Hour 21 (4am):  Reading Zombies
Take a book you've read during the Readathon and "zombify" or "vampirize" it in the style of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. You can do this by either zombifying the cover, or providing a synopsis of the zombified adaptation.

I skipped this mini-challenge to continue reading.  (I absolutely don't understand the fascination.  Just as well, since I had allowed myself to sleep about an hour and a half around this time.)
Hour 22 (5am):  Get Up Offa That Thang!
Stand up right this minute.  Set your mp3 player/radio/iTunes playlist to play three dance-worthy songs back-to-back.  Dance like a maniac.  Tell us the three songs that you chose.

I found YouTube versions of (1) Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley (appropriate at this hour of the readathon), (2) Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, and (3) Be-Bop-A-Lula by John Lennon.  By the way, the cat thinks I've gone crazy!



Hour 23 (6am):  My Posterity Library
Imagine we live in a bizarre, post-apocalyptic world, wherein only ONE copy of every book remains in existence, and the technology (electronic, print, or otherwise) to make copies has been destroyed.  You are given the golden opportunity to select 5 books to build a Posterity Library, a small collection of treasured literary material that will remain in your family, passed down from generation to generation.  Now, think carefully – only ONE copy of every book ever written still exists.  Be sure to provide the names of the books, author (if applicable) and your reason for choosing each book.  The winner will be the one who can best argue why the 5 books they have chosen are most important, valuable, or significant – either to themselves, their family, and/or future generations.  Leave the name of the book you will choose from The Book Depository (’cause I’m curious!).

1)  The Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong offers guidelines for a spiritual practice designed to make humanity a kinder and saner species.  If we have a chance to start over, let's do it right next time.
2)  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a book that shows us what to avoid in our relationships with others, especially those who are different from the dominant group.
3)  The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein gives us a dog's view of life and what it means to be human.
4)  Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish is a feel-good book filled with humor, even though it looks at what unrelated friends learn together about their mutual friend Annie after her death.
5)  Epaminondas and His Auntie by Sara Cone Bryant is a 1907 children's book about a little boy who is very literal in his understanding of his mother's instructions, helping even adults to be more careful of what they say and how they say it.

Book I would choose from The Book Depository:  That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back ~ by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, 2011
Hour 24 (7am):  End of Event Meme
  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?  Around 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. (Hours 20 and 21), I allowed myself to sleep about an hour and a haf.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? No, I don't know what's "high-interest" to most folks.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  Make sure the links to mini-challenges work and are in place on time.
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?  The whole thing gets better every year -- Dewey would be proud of the organizers.
  5. How many books did you read?  Two.
  6. What were the names of the books you read?  Close Your Eyes by Amanda Eyre Ward and Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?  Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli
  8. Which did you enjoy least?  Close Your Eyes by Amanda Eyre Ward
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?  N/A
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again?  What role would you be likely to take next time?  I'm very likely to be a reader again, even though I visited a few readers (see above) to see how they were doing and a left messages cheering them on.
Winner!  Hey, it's Sunday afternoon now (the 23rd), and I just got an email from Kimberly @ Fancy Terrible Reviews telling me I've won a hand-knitted bookmark.  And all because I did get up offa that thang at Hour 22 and danced.  Kimberly went back to her original post and added this:
****Update: The winner of the Get Up Offa That Thang mini-challenge is Bonnie @ bonniesbooks.blogspot.com. Congratulations, you really know how to get down! We’ll email you shortly and get you your prize.****

Winner!  Hey, it's Monday morning (the 24th), and I just read on the Dewey's Read-a-Thon page that I was one of the winners of the yoga mini-challenge (Hour 20).  What fun!

Readathon ~ my reading plan

Dewey's 24-hour Read-a-Thon starts this morning at 8:00 a.m. my time.  My plan is to read as many pages in these books as possible, when I'm not bouncing around the blogosphere, that is.

Smiles to Go ~ by Jerry Spinelli, 2008, YA fiction
Summary:  "Will Tuppence's life has always been ruled by science and common sense, but in ninth grade, shaken up by the discovery that protons decay, he begins to see the entire world differently and gains new perspective on his relationships with his little sister and two close friends."
Maniac Magee, a Newbery Medal winner, was the first Spinelli book I read.  I've discovered that short books are better for the Readathon because I enjoy spending much of the day doing the challenges that come up every few hours, checking blog reports from other participants, and generally looking at all the interesting stuff going on around the world.

Other books in the stack
Undercover ~ by Beth Kephart, 2007, YA fiction
House of Dance ~ by Beth Kephart, 2008, YA fiction
The Heart Is Not a Size ~ by Beth Kephart, 2010, YA fiction
Close Your Eyes ~ by Amanda Eyre Ward, 2011, fiction
I Am the Messenger ~ by Markus Zusak, 2005, YA fiction
Bitsy's Bait and BBQ ~ by Pamela Morsi, 2007, fiction (Missouri)
No, of course I don't expect to read all of these in one day.  But when I get tired of one, I'll have several to choose from.  Two are due back at the library soon, having already been extended another seven days, so I'll start there.  Several are YA (young adult) novels, which I can read faster than literary novels.  Maybe I'll be able to finish a couple of books and still be able to visit around the other blogs.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Five ~ my life stages

Jan posted the Friday Five at RevGalBlogPals today:
Since it is almost my birthday and because my spiritual direction peer group is reading Living Fully, Dying Well by Edward W. Bastian and Tina L. Staley, I am thinking of my life in stages. For the latter group, we filled out a form dividing our life into 7-year increments, documenting "significant moments," then "people who guided and influenced me," and ending with the question, "What did this phase contribute to the continuum of my life?" This was a life Review Exercise devised by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.

For today's Friday Five, I am suggesting that we each divide our age into 5 sections. You don't have to say your age or ages for the different parts, unless you want to. In each of the 5 points, please describe a memorable and/or significant event, either good or unpleasant.
1.  Musical child
When I was five, all my friends began first grade (we didn't have kindergarten back then), and I felt left behind.  My mother's best friend taught piano and let me start early, since I knew the alphabet (piano players need to know A, B, middle-C, D, E, F, G) and my numbers (counting time is also important to musicians).  I loved the piano, having stood at my grandmother's left elbow as she romped all over that piano making the most lively music.  In junior high I took up clarinet and then bassoon, and in high school I played in concert band, orchestra, marching band, and Chattanooga Youth Symphony.  In 1955, we marched on national television, performing this routine at a football game in Washington, D.C.  Here are some of our routines, found on YouTube.  (I played the glockenspiel on the field, not the bassoon.)

I really must include this next one, which was probably my senior year (when I was band captain) in the fall of 1957.   I remember well the unique drum beat (three against two) that's around the 3:20 mark in this YouTube video.


2.  Married with children
After one semester of college, I married a 24-year-old who had already served four years in the Air Force and promised to put me through medical school.  As soon as we were married, he told me I was his wife now and "women don't need higher education."  I found a creative outlet in writing articles that were published locally, nationally, and internationally.  Eventually, I did go back to college, but after fourteen years and three children, I decided I couldn't stay in that marriage any longer.
3.  Single working mother
I finished college, getting a Bachelor of Arts with a double major (BA in Philosophy and Religion and in English), and then worked in a variety of jobs:  library assistant, planner for the county's CETA program (Comprehensive Education and Training Act), editor of two in-house publications, management trainer teaching EEO compliance (in other words, educating managers about racism and sexism).  Eventually, I started my own company, leading seminars and teaching continuing education classes in communication skills, time management, and creativity.  By then my children were grown and one was already married.
4.  Grandma Bonnie, or Rev. Bonnie
I went back to school, getting a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta at the age of 47.  My first grandchild made me a grandmother on Grandparents Day while I was still in seminary.  My first church appointment as an ordained United Methodist minister had mostly elderly members, and I was called on to do fifteen funerals my first year.  In churches with younger members, the children called me Rev. Bonnie.  Meanwhile, grandchildren were being born almost every year, until the seventh, who didn't arrive until 2000.  I stayed ten years in my last appointment before retiring, during which time I became an adjunct instructor at Chattanooga State Community College, teaching "Religions of the World."  Teaching there continued into my retirement years.
5.  Retired with great-grands
Using part of my retirement funds, I opened a bookstore with my friend Donna.  My mother died the week we were scheduled to open the store, which was rough.  But I had fun while it lasted (2004-2006).  Now, two of my seven grandchildren are married, and I have two great-grandkids (Raegan, age 2, and Jaxon, 10 months old).  I'm still into books, as you can see by this book blog, and I am writing a book or two.  Oh, and I still like to romp on the piano the way my grandmother did when I was a little girl.
Thank you, Jan, for this exercise. Because of it, I found these band videos, which — until today — I didn't know existed. They make me smile.

Beginning ~ with a map

Bitsy's Bait and BBQ ~ by Pamela Morsi, 2007, fiction (Missouri)
"Emma had let her sister, Katy, be in charge of the map. never a good idea."
Oh, yeah, I like this first sentence.  I definitely want to see where they are going.  Reading this on the back cover gives me a clue about their destination, and I am officially curious now.
While Emma Collins wonders who in their right mind would use her hard-won divorce settlement to purchase a bed-and-breakfast down in the Ozarks, her free-spirited sister Katy fantasizes dreamily about how this move to a small town will be just the thing for her six-year-old son, Josh.

And, as usual, Emma is right. But it is not until they drive to Warbler Lake, Missouri, to take over Bitsy's B and B that they realize just how right she's been. In this part of the country, B and B stands for Bait and BBQ! The girls know little enough about running a bed-and-breakfast, but a bait-and-BBQ?

With their money and futures sunk into a run-down, roadside rattletrap, the girls have no choice but to roll up their sleeves and get to work. But as they settle in and get to know the difference between fatheads, night crawlers, mealworms and shiners, no one is more surprised than they are when they actually get the place up and running.

But trouble is brewing. Katy's ex-husband is having second thoughts about the custody arrangements for Josh, and he fully intends to get him back. With the prospect of losing the little boy, the sisters face another challenge, only this time it's Katy who proves that she, too, can solve a problem.
  If you want to play along, this meme is hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages. Share the first sentence or two of the book you are reading. (Sometimes it takes several sentences to get the full thought.) Then, share your impressions of that beginning.  Click this link to see what others say about the books they are reading this week.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

BTT (#14) ~ staycation

Booking Through Thursday asks:  "Do your reading habits change when you’re on vacation? Do you read more? Do you indulge in lighter, fluffier books than you usually read? Do you save up special books so you’ll be able to spend real vacation time with them? Or do you just read the same old stuff, vacation or not?"
For starters, I rarely "go" anywhere for vacation.  Even before I retired, I was more of a stay at home person.  Vacation means not going to work, rather than going somewhere other than home.  When I was still married and the children were young, our vacations away from home meant being awakened -- the three children and me -- by my husband saying, "Hurry, hurry, hurry!  Let's get going."  I always hated vacations and was relieved to be back home.  (My husband's need to control everyone's every minute may give you a clue to why the marriage didn't last.)

Anyway, the books.  I read what I read because it's what I want to read.  Whether I'm "on vacation" or not, a long stretch of "heavy" nonfiction, means I'm probably ready for something lighter.  I'm ready now for what promises to be the lightness of my next book, coming up tomorrow morning in my Book Beginnings on Friday post:  Bitsy's Bait and BBQ.  Watch for it.

Hosted by Booking Through Thursday

Dewey's Read-a-Thon

Have you signed up to read during Dewey's Read-a-Thon this Saturday?

To sign up as a reader,
click this link.

The Read-a-Thon starts at the same time all over the world.  I'm in the Eastern time zone of the United States, so the starting bell for me is at 8:00 a.m. this Saturday, October 22, 2011.

Here's what I posted in 2007, when I participated in my first ever Read-a-Thon.

Have you checked out Dewey's challenging 24-hour Read-a-Thon?

Be a reader .........
......... a cheerleader
a promoter .................
.......... but be a part of it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Library Loot ~ October 19-25

Joy for Beginners ~ Erica Bauermeister, 2011, fiction
At an intimate, festive dinner party in Seattle, six women gather to celebrate their friend Kate's recovery from cancer.  Wineglass in hand, Kate strikes a bargain with them.  To celebrate her new lease on life, she'll do the one thing that's always terrified her:  white-water rafting.  But if she goes, all of them will also do something they always swore they'd never do — and Kate is going to choose their adventures.
I started reading and fell in love with how Kate felt after a year when doctors had been in control of her body.
"Now the medical professionals had declared it hers again, handing it back like an overdue and slightly scuffed library book" (p. 2).
Don't you love that image?  Especially for a library loot post.  I made a list of the friends as they arrived at Kate's house and what they brought to the meal:  Kate herself (green cloth napkins, sour cream and enchiladas with roasted chicken and carmelized onions), Caroline (salad and champagne), Marion (tomatoes from her garden), Sara (cake), Hadley (loaf of bread), Daria (wine).  It made me want to be there with them.
"Daria and Marion were sisters, Sara and Hadley neighbors, Kate and Caroline had met when their children were in preschool..." (p. 5).
And then Ava arrived, late.  Who's Ava?


Undercover ~ by Beth Kephart, 2007, YA fiction
Summary:  High school sophomore Elisa is used to observing while going unnoticed except when classmates ask her to write love notes from them, but a teacher's recognition of her talent, a "client's" desire for her friendship, a love of ice-skating, and her parents' marital problems draw her out of herself.


House of Dance ~ by Beth Kephart, 2008, YA fiction
Summary: During one of her daily visits across town to visit her dying grandfather, fifteen-year-old Rosie discovers a dance studio that helps her find a way to give her grandfather one last gift.



The Heart Is Not a Size ~ by Beth Kephart, 2010, YA fiction
Summary:  Fifteen-year-old Georgia learns a great deal about herself and her troubled best friend, Riley, when they become part of a group of suburban Pennsylvania teenagers who go to Anapra, a squatters' village in the border town of Juarez, Mexico, to undertake a community construction project.

Library Loot is a weekly meme co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.  If you would like to share a list of the loot you brought home from the library, Marg has the Mister Linky this week.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Do you see the mistake?


You don't really need to blog about it,
but tell me in the comments if you found the mistake.