Saturday, December 22, 2007


I found this on Heather's A Reader and a Thinker blog. She doesn't know who wrote it, but I believe you'll be happy that I ran across this revolutionary device and share it with you now!

Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, trade-named -- BOOK.

BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use, even a child can operate it.

Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere -- even sitting at the local Starbucks -- yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.

Here's how it works:

BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (they are even recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with various custom-fit binding techniques which keep the sheets in their correct sequence.

Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in density. For now, BOOKs with more information simply use more pages.

Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into one's brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet of information.

BOOK may be started at any time, simply by opening it. BOOK never crashes, or requires rebooting. Like many other devices, it can become damaged if coffee or soda is spilled on it. And, although the covers may become unsightly if it is dropped (or handled carelessly), it seldom becomes totally useless.

The "browse" feature of BOOK allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as one might wish. Many BOOKS come with an "index" feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for almost instant retrieval.

An optional "BOOKmark" accessory allows you to open BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session -- even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers.

Conversely, numerous BOOKmarkers can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK.

You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with optional programming tools. The newest group is called the, Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Styli (PENCILS).

Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK is being hailed as a precursor of a new entertainment wave. BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking to get involved.

Friday, December 21, 2007

100 most influential books written by women

I snagged this list of the 100 most influential books written by women from Iliana at Bookgirl's Nightstand. The bold ones are the ones I’ve read. Which ones have you read?

1. Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind
2. Anne Rice, Interview With the Vampire
3. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
4. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
5. Virginia Woolf, The Waves
6. Virginia Woolf, Orlando
7. Djuna Barnes, Nightwood
8. Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
9. Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
10. Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome
11. Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness
12. Nadine Gordimer, Burger’s Daughter
13. Harriette Simpson Arnow, The Dollmaker
14. Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
15. Willa Cather, My √Āntonia
16. Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
17. Erica Jong, Fanny
18. Joy Kogawa, Obasan
19. Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
20. Doris Lessing, The Fifth Child
21. Doris Lessing, The Grass Is Singing
22. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
23. Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time
24. Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres
25. Lore Segal, Her First American
26. Alice Walker, The Color Purple
27. Alice Walker, The Third Life of Grange Copeland
28. Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon
29. Muriel Spark, Memento Mori
30. Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
31. Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina
32. Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
33. Susan Fromberg Shaeffer, Anya
34. Cynthia Ozick, Trust
35. Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club
36. Amy Tan, The Kitchen God’s Wife
37. Ann Beattie, Chilly Scenes of Winter
38. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
39. Joan Didion, A Book of Common Prayer
40. Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays
41. Mary McCarthy, The Group
42. Mary McCarthy, The Company She Keeps
43. Grace Paley, The Little Disturbances of Man
44. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
45. Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
46. Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart
47. Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood
48. Mona Simpson, Anywhere But Here
49. Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
50. Toni Morrison, Beloved
51. Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm
52. Sylvia Townsend Warner, Mr. Fortune’s Maggot
53. Katherine Anne Porter, Ship of Fools
54. Laura Riding, Progress of Stories
55. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
56. Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower
57. Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits
58. A.S. Byatt, Possession
59. Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
60. Rita Mae Brown, Rubyfruit Jungle
61. Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
62. Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus
63. Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca
64. Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
65. Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
66. Barbara Pym, Excellent Women
67. Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
68. Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
69. Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist
70. Nancy Willard, Things Invisible to See
71. Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry
72. Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Disturbances in the Field
73. Rosellen Brown, Civil Wars
74. Harriet Doerr, Stones for Ibarra
75. Harriet Doerr, The Mountain Lion
76. Stevie Smith. Novel on Yellow Paper
77. E. Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
78. Rebecca Goldstein, The Mind-Body Problem
79. P.D. James, The Children of Men
80. Ursula Hegi, Stones From the River
81. Fay Weldon, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil
82. Katherine Mansfield, Collected Stories
83. Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills
84. Louise Erdrich, The Beet Queen
85. Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
86. Edna O’Brien, The Country Girls Trilogy
87. Margaret Drabble, Realms of Gold
88. Margaret Drabble, The Waterfall
89. Dawn Powell, The Locusts Have No King
90. Marilyn French, The Women’s Room
91. Eudora Welty, The Optimist’s Daughter
92. Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries
93. Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John
94. Tillie Olsen, Tell Me a Riddle
95. Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
96. Iris Murdoch, A Severed Head
97. Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day
98. Alice Hoffman, The Drowning Season
99. Sue Townsend, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole
100. Penelope Mortimer, The Pumpkin Eater

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Day to Read

Mark it on your calendar: January 10, 2008, is a day to read. This reading challenge, conceived by Soccer Mom in Denial, should be easy for anyone who is a reader. According to Diane Gioia, the Chair of the NEA,
"The poorest Americans who read did twice as much volunteering and charity work as the richest who did not read. The habit of regular reading awakens something inside a person that makes him or her take their own life more seriously and at the same time develops the sense that other people's lives are real."
What a thought! Reading makes us aware of the humanity of others. That is awesome! So let's read on January 10th and, on the following day, blog about what we read. Read anything you like -- a book, an article, the newspaper -- then tell us about it.

Do movies ruin books?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Do you want to read part of it?

The novel is still a draft ... and the end is not yet in sight ... so it will take a lot of writing, polishing, and re-writing before most of it is worth showing to anyone. However awful they are, I did put up three excerpts from different parts of my draft, which you can read by going here:

You may click around that page and see my stats (showing a chart of word count), my writing buddies and their results, information about me, and those three excerpts. Have fun.

August 1, 2008 UPDATE: The link above may not work after NaNoWriMo starts again in November of 2008, so here are the three excerpts I posted for NaNoWriMo 2007:

For Always and Forever

3rd excerpt

It was Anna Grace on the phone.

“Hello, Mother,” Anna Grace’s voice said into Lilli’s ear.

Lilli’s first reaction was annoyance that her writing time was interrupted and that she was going to have to talk to Anna Grace, but her second reaction was fear that something was wrong. Anna Grace didn’t call often, and usually Lilli’s day was ruined because her daughter could always manage to make her mad.

“I was thinking about inviting you down to Atlanta this weekend...”

“Oh, no,” Lilli said quickly. “I already have plans for the weekend.”

“…so you could tour the High Museum with me,” Anna Grace continued, ignoring her mother’s response.

“I can’t, I really can’t,” Lilli said. “And besides I don’t like walking through museums, you know that.”

“But I can get you a wheelchair, and you won’t have to walk,” her insistent daughter said.


“And we could spend a little time together. I would so love to show you what I’ve been doing with the room I am decorating for you!”

Damn that room, Lilli thought, before saying aloud, “Let’s not get started on this again, Anna Grace, because you know very well that I do NOT want to move to Atlanta. I do NOT want to live with you. I do NOT want to move at all.”

“But Mother, it was be so much easier for you, especially now that you have a broken wrist.”

“It won’t stay broken forever,” Lilli said, fuming inside. “Please, I am busy and I don’t want to talk about that right now.”

“Peter and I agree that you would be better off with us,” Anna Grace continued, oblivious. “We will even build on a separate apartment for you, giving you more than a single room, but you would be near us where we could look after you.”

“I do NOT need looked after!”

“Maybe not now, but you aren’t getting any younger,” Anna Grace said. “Won’t you at least come see the ideas we have?”

“No,” Lilli said emphatically, adding, “Anna Grace, I’m going to hang up now. I think something on the stove may be boiling over.”

“Don’t give me that old lie, Mother. We both know you have a cordless phone, since it is a cell phone. And we both know you wouldn’t be likely to boil something without being in the room with it, don’t we?”

“I’m hanging up,” Lilli said, and she did. It was a delightful feeling to do that! She thought she’d have to try that again next time. The phone rang immediately and, grinning when she saw Anna Grace was calling back, Lilli pushed the TALK button and them promptly pushed the END button. She was sure she could picture the surprise that must be registering on Anna Grace’s face right now, knowing that her own mother had just hung up on her – TWICE. What fun! I’m old enough, Lilli thought, to do whatever I damn well please and (pardon my French) I think I damn well will.
2nd excerpt

“Would you like to talk about bird food?” Ben asked.

“BIRD food?” Zoe scrunched up her face into a scowl.

“Sure,” Ben said. “They eat, too, you know.”

“Okay,” Zoe said, rather reluctantly.

“Some birds like to sip nectar from flowers,” he said, “so I want you to think about that a minute. If you are trying to sip something from a thin and tiny flower, how would you do it?”

“You mean how to drink something?” Zoe asked.

“Yes, how would you drink from a flower – if you were a bird?”

“Well, a bird is too little to pick a flower, right?”


“And he doesn’t have hands either.”


“So,” she said, thinking hard about it, “I guess I’d use a straw, but birds don’t have any way to carry a straw.”

“No,” Ben said, “But you have the right idea. Birds don’t have straws, but they have beaks.”

Zoe frowned, trying to follow his reasoning. “There really is a bird,” he said,”that has a beak very much like a straw.”

“What color straw?” Zoe asked.

Ben laughed. “It isn’t a plastic straw, so the beak is beak-colored. Okay, don’t think about color. Think of what a bird needs to sip like from a straw.”

“Does the bird have a long, long beak?” she asked.

“Yes! Well done, Zoe!” he said.

She smiled, pleased with herself.

“A hummingbird has a beak like a straw. Those little birds have tiny wings that go so fast we humans can see only a blur. They are so fast, they can stay in the air in one place – and that place is in front of a deep flower.”

She was listening intently.

“Then they insert their long beaks into the flower and have lunch.”

“Wow!” It was obvious she was impressed.
1st excerpt

“No self-respecting woman would ever do that,” Julia said, slamming the door as she left. What were you thinking? she asked herself. Why would you ask him for help in the first place?

Julia was totally unaware of the image she projected, walking with authority and self-possession down the echoing hallway at the school. Her own office was on the floor above Richard’s department, and she reached it quickly and closed the door between her office and the receptionist secretary. Almost immediately, there was a light tap on the door.

“You had a couple of calls while you were out,” Marla said. “One was from Zoe.”

Zoe, checking in after school. Hopefully that’s all it was. Julia quickly dialed the number.

“Zoe? Everything okay?”

“Yeah, Mom. Just letting you know I’m home, and Grandma is already here to pick me.” Julia could hear her mother talking in the background, telling Zoe what to say to Julia.

“Be good for her this weekend, Zoe. Don’t push for special favors.”

“Mom, I don't. She just likes to give me stuff.”

“I know, I know, but don’t ask for anything more. We don’t have room in our house for one more Beanie Baby, you know!” Julia’s laugh always made her daughter smile, and she was laughing now.

“Um, how about another rock?” Zoe asked slyly. Zoe the rock hound. Zoe’s rock collection would some day collapse the house under its weight at the rate she was buying, finding, labeling, and storing her polished stones, rough rocks, and pretty pebbles.

Julia laughed again. “Don’t you dare!” she said.

“Just kidding, Mom,” Zoe sang into the phone. “Just kidding!”

“No, you weren’t,” Julia replied, but Zoe heard the laugh in her mother’s truth. Collecting rocks was better than … better than … better than always wanting new dresses like that silly Kaylyn across the street. Such a sissy.

“Take a dress for Sunday morning,” Julia was saying. “And your dressy shoes.”

“Aw, Mom!”

“Do it, Zoe. You know she always goes to church.” Julia repressed a sigh, not wanting her daughter to hear it; but she was so tired of her mother’s insistence on the importance of taking her only granddaughter to church.

“Zoe needs to go to church, Julia,” her mother would say. “Otherwise, she’s going to grow up a heathen.”

My daughter is not a heathen, Julia was thinking as she said good-bye and tried to get her mind back on the fight with Richard.