Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas with the President...1942

I meant to post last week, but never got around to it. I have been making an effort to post at least once a week if I can. This time of year is really busy though. I'm hoping either later this week or next to do my post about New Year's goals. We'll see.

I found this article an old Christmas annual from 1942 my mom has. I was looking for something to read to the senior center my dad preaches at once a month. This really spoke to me and I wanted to share it with everyone here too. I'd really like to hear what you think of it. Didn't it speak to you too? (I don't like that phrase, speak to you, but couldn't think of another way to say it.) Enjoy!

Christmas with the President
There have been many Christmas celebrations in the family circles of our presidents; but the Christmas of the year of our Lord 1941 will no doubt go down in history as one of the most significant ever observed in the White House. The previous Christmas had been the occasion of a real family celebration in the home of our Chief Executive. President and Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had observed the day much as it had been kept in millions of Christian homes the country over. Around a huge Christmas tree the President’s mother and most of their children and grandchildren had been gathered for the Yuletide festivities.

Last Christmas season, however, found conditions quite different. Our country was at war. The events of Pearl Harbor were still a vivid memory. The President’s time was crowded with the duties and responsibilities incumbent upon the commander-in-chief of our armed forces. The war spirit all but invaded the Executive Mansion. Heavily armed soldiers paraded endlessly around the White House grounds. Police and Secret Service men stood watch. Instead of having his children and grandchildren around him, the President had a great number of statesmen, generals, admirals, and Cabinet officers. As house-guest he had Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain, who had secretly traveled across the Atlantic for an important war council with the President.

Those were eventful days. On Christmas Eve time was taken from the m
any conferences for a brief ceremony. The President pressed the magic button to light the National Christmas Tree. He spoke a short greeting to the thousands that had been admitted to the White House grounds. Mr. Churchill was at his side. To a crowd less exuberant, more reverent than he had addressed on previous Christmases, Mr. Roosevelt said: “Against enemies who preach the principles of hate and practice them, we set our faith in human love and in God’s care for us and all mean everywhere.” Mr. Churchill also spoke. His remarks and those of the President were broadcast to the nation. “Let the children have their night of fun and laughter,” said Mr. Churchill. “. . . . By our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance, or denied the right to live in a free and decent world.”

The two men stood together as the Marine Band played
The Star-Spangled Banner and God Save the King; they joined in singing Christmas carols.

A little sidelight on the events of that week was given by Mrs. Roosevelt in her syndicated column on December 24:
Washington, Tuesday—I was late arriving at the Office of Civilian Defense yesterday morning because the President, who had been very mysterious as to what was going to happen over these holidays, finally decided to tell me that the British Prime Minister, Mr. Winston Churchill, and his party were arriving sometime in the late afternoon or evening. It had not occurred to him that this might require certain moving of furniture to adapt rooms to the purposes for which the Prime Minister wished to use them.

On Christmas Day the President and Mr. Churchill attended divine service at the Foundry Methodist Church, where the pastor in his petition paraphrased the Prime Minister’s famous remark, praying that he might continue to lead his own people even through blood, sweat, and tears, to a new world.

On December 22, the day of Churchill’s arrival, our President made the proclamation for a day of prayer on New Year’s Day. In this proclamation he said:
We are confident in our devotion to our country, in our love of freedom, in our inheritance of courage. But our strength, as the strength of all mean everywhere, is of greater avail as God upholds us.

The first day of the New Year was then formally set aside by the President “as a day of prayer, of asking forgiveness for our shortcomings of the past, of consecration to the tasks of the present, of asking God’s help in days to come.”

The President’s proclamation concluded with this paragraph:
We need His guidance that this people may be humble in spirit but strong in conviction of the right, steadfast to endure sacrifices and brave to achieve a victory of liberty and peace. On January 1, the Prime Minister again was the President’s guest. Together they worshipped in the pew used by George Washington in Old Christ Church, Alexandria, Va., and began the New Year with a prayer to which they had plighted themselves. Together they heard a young rector intone the prayer: “Be now and evermore our defense; grant us victory if it be they will.”

Later in the day they rode across the Washington estate at Mt. Vernon, overlooking the Potomac. It was raining. Standing beside the red-brick tomb, Mr. Churchill bared his head and placed a red, white, and blue wreath on the stones out of respect to the memory of our first president.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pirates, Heading West, and Book Reviews

(I wrote this post yesterday)

Today is shop day for me (I work at the bookstore Tuesdays and Saturdays). I just finished my lunch, a yummy hot soup which caused a flood to pour forth from my nose. Ahhh (deep sigh) nothing like a good congested cough and nose to start off the month of December. Business was slow all morning...more like ghost town. I spent it reading and finishing the book The Outlander by Gil Adamson. Then I dusted and suddenly around 1:30 I’m bombarded (in a good way) by a grandmother and her daughter-in-laws. Grandmothers make the best book buyers. Money seems to be no object to them. Funny I’m poor now and unless my scheme to sell my kidney goes through I think I’ll die poor too. I won’t ever be a rich Grandmother. One can hope though, right? :) Anyways they made my day they bought almost 25 books total! Ok I can go home now.

As mentioned I finished The Outlander, but before I tell you about it I want to talk about the book I finished prior to picking it up, The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King. It was only because of the cover and my sister reading the back cover that I knew this book was about pirates. You know me A. I love a good pirate story ( have a shelf dedicated to them) and B. I never read the cover. I will warn you, I may give away key events about the book (spoiler alert!). I didn’t like the book right off. I mean in the first chapter (prologue really) the main character dies. I’m thinking come off it! You can’t kill the characters off in the first chapter. Emer Morrisey (girl pirate!) is killed and cursed shortly before falling dead. As the title would suggest, if I would bother to pay better attention (sorely lacking), she is cursed to 100 lives as a dog. Over the next, roughly 362 years I think, she lives out the dog lives with her memories as a human intact. As well as all the dog memories. She emerges finally human in the 1970s (can’t remember the exact year) as Saffron Adams. Once again a female. The story bounces back and forth between her life in Ireland when she was Emer (plus how she came to be a pirate) and her life now as the daughter of a lower class family living in Pennsylvania. Her modern family burdens her with the task of all their dreams coming true for wealth via her. Well dammit she’s smart! Who wouldn’t be after 300 years, dog or not. The author also interjects dog facts, including a dog memory that Emer/Saffron has.

My initial disappointment was soon set aside. While this isn’t your typical pirate story, you do get the yummy piracy you’re craving. I could be here for a while talking about the book, so I’m going to narrow it down a bit.

Things I really liked the book:
- Ireland! I’m in love with Ireland (can you marry a country?). The fact that part of the story took place there and you learn some history even better.
- I liked how the author had Saffron imagining pirate things that she would like to do to people. I’m with you Saffron!
- The book made me think. Not only puzzling it out, but thinking about what it could be like to be thrust into a modern body. Especially since things are much different now than 300 years ago. (I know pirates...who wouldn’t want them around today still. Hand up for girl who would like to be captured by the Black Pearl first, thank you!)

Things I didn’t like (or people):
- Fred Livingstone – you’re messed up. I have maybe a smidgen of sympathy for you...(not much though) once I figured out why you are the way you are. I think he was the only thing I didn’t like. I give the book a 5!

Ok if the post isn’t getting too long I’ll talk about The Outlander too. This was another book that I purchased solely on liking the cover. I really need to be careful about doing that.

Mary Boulton is fleeing her brother-in-laws after killing her husband. The story is set in 1903 as Mary struggles west to escape her past.

It took me a while to get settled with this book. At first it was odd reading through Mary’s perspective of things because she’s a bit off. However, I found myself really connecting with the story the more I read. The book was never boring and it had a nice steady pace. My favorite character (after Mary of course) would have to be Arthur Elwell, the lunatic. Although his appearance in the book was brief I related to him more than I care to admit. I really like Giovanni, the giant catskinner, too. I won’t tell you anymore because I think you should read it. This got a 5 as well.

After finishing both of these books I was struck by something. This is going to sound strange and I don’t know how to say it without making a fool of myself. Ok here goes. These books bring to light to me how different the laws of today are. There was a time that going out and killing someone in a duel or by other means resulted to during piracy era and western settlement (in America) that it was ok. That was that, you moved on. Things were settled. In a way something seems appropriate about it. I don’t know, I don’t think I’m getting my point across right. I'm not saying murder should be allowed, please don’t hear me saying that even though I kind of am.

Both of these books I want to read again and slower the second time around. Unfortunately it can’t happen for a long time, too many unread books are in line before them for me to consider reading a book a second time. Maybe later...

Quote of the day:

He took to reading books because, for some reason, he heard nothing when he read.
(Quote from The Outlander about Arthur Elwell page 181.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hating New Moon Means You've Joined The Dark Side...I have why can't you?

I never thought the mere mention of Twilight would have one of two reactions from people. Either a scream, highly annoying by the way, or a smirk that says you’re stupid for liking it. Which causes my neck to shrink into my shoulders (in guilt) until I resemble a hunch back. When I first picked up Twilight to read, it was because my sister, Elyza, had been kindly pestering me to read it. I remember when she got it from the library back when nobody knew about it and when Stephanie Meyer still had time to personally answer fan mail (Elyza did write to her and received a non-form letter). I like to believe that she liked it before anyone else. She’d long been a vampire true blue having read Dracula and studying their origins a bit. I read it and liked it, Twilight that is. I was young, what can I say? I will even admit (I’m blushing shamefully) that I cried at a point during the second book. I stand back and think what was I thinking? The books while a decent story have no lasting affect, unless you keep reading them over and over (I’ve only read them once each). They didn’t impact me in any way that I will remember them twenty years from now, such as Hawksong (Amelia Atwater-Rhodes), The Hobbit, or any of Jane Yolen’s fantasy books. The books only send one message to me. Selfish. The characters (namely Bella and Edward) only want each other, only want to be together forever, and Bella only wants to be a vampire. Me, Me, Me, must be playing over and over again in her mind. She secretly has a t-shirt stashed in her closet which features her on a pedestal and Edward is revolving around the pedestal (picture the earth revolving the sun). Edward has a message bubble, "I live only to serve Bella". Gag! I don’t picture true love being this way.

Enough about the books I want to tell you what I thought of the movie. Elyza and I did the crazy thing. We purchased tickets to see Twilight at 9 and New Moon at Midnight. You might be asking yourself why, seeing how we hate the first movie and make fun of it. Well it was more for the experience of doing something crazy and for convenience*. We spent the entire 2 hours watching Twilight riff tracking (making fun, think MST3K**). It always amazes me that each time we watch Twilight we can come up with all new comments to bash it. It was fun and I think we converted our friend to the "dark side". After hearing us in the theater she said she could see why we thought it was so stupid. :) Mission accomplished!

New Moon, sad, sad, New Moon. I had such high hopes for you. The acting was still lame, although slightly better in that there was more dialogue. I guess werewolves know how to carry on a conversation better than vampires. While I never really cared for Jacob in the books (he reminded me of a PMSing teenage girl) I felt for the guy. He had to put up with Bella and her mixed signals. If I were him, I’d run from Bella and run fast. One of the good things about the films is the cinematography. Sad thing is that you can tell they spent so much time and money on it they obviously forgot to budget acting lessons. Oh well.

My favorite part of the movie is meeting the Volturi and I was really bummed they had maximum screen time of 15 the end. The Volturi, are what vampires really should be like. Call me creepy, but vampires should be depicted as bloodsucking, evil, hell bound creatures. Not sparkly, vegetarians...'We love Bella vampires'. And maybe they could retain their good looks, I guess. I love Aro played by Michael Sheen. He makes a good bad guy. Plus he’s played a werewolf before so it only seemed appropriate that he complete his acting career by playing their mortal (actually immortal) enemy. He had this look like he was genuinely happy, but also an evil lurking in the shadows that said I’m a psycho killer. It made you wonder do I trust him or should I worry what’s he thinking? Poor Dakota Fanning, she had very little screen time. The evil vamps truly got the raw end of the stick in this film.

Overall not much better than the first and I’m not sure I’ll be getting my hopes up with the third film. Unless the new director holds true to his promise of making it darker than the first two. Do you think you could get a better dialogue screenwriter as well? I feel sufficiently stupid now, I just spent my entire blog post talking about Twilight. Ugh...I’ll never live this down when my brother finds out. I’ve also just been accused of analyzing the film too much by a Twilight die hard none the less. What else am I suppose to do? Swoon with love for the film, I don’t think so. Did I mention people screamed every time Edward came on screen?

* We got to stay in our same seats for New Moon while some people had to change theaters. Plus we didn’t have to deal with the lines for New Moon and the people who literally jumped and ran to get seats.
** I don’t watch this show. I only know about it because of my brothers.

I actually wrote this post 3 days ago, but lifes been a little chaotic.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mail and Temptation

It seems to me that the small things in life tend to bring the greatest delight. Mail. It is a small thing, but I absolutely love walking to the mailbox and discovering I got a letter or package. (Please no bills, thank you.) The mail had lots to give yesterday. A large envelope all the way from jolly ole England and a Borders box. England or rather Persephone Books sent me their catalog. Oh great just what I need more temptations to spend all my cash on books. Between the Bloomsbury’s new set of republished books and now Persephone’s pages of sigh worthy books, I’m ready for desperate measures. How much could I get for a kidney on the black market? I think I need to come up with a system...reward system for purchasing books. I was thinking maybe for every book I read from my own shelves I could put back a buck or two. It still doesn’t really suffice for washing away the give into temptation and raid every possible hidden money place in my house. I wonder how many there are? Not many really. Oh well...

Borders had Christmas presents (for other people) and (squeal*) Whip It soundtrack. Talk about great music. I know it will be on constant repeat for some time. That’s not all, though. Books! Books for me! I know I shouldn’t, really shouldn’t have, but I did. What else am suppose to do when Borders throws temptation of here are Borders bucks that you need to spend and plus a coupon? Ahhhh...the misery (not really). Lament and Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater**. Elyza gets to read Ballad first and I’ve already Lament, but I wanted to own both.

Sometimes my mind explodes with the amount of books I have to read. The ratio of read to have not read continues to get out of hand. So many books to read and not enough time***.

* I squeal too much...actually not really.

** For the record I did attempt to hand over the books to mom. I told her I could ‘forget’ I got them and she could give them to me for Christmas. She said no. I tried.

*** I almost said too many, but that is a swear word in my dictionary.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaNoWriMo and Women Unbound

I had thought I would try my hand at NaNoWriMo. This is the first year I have ever heard of it and I very intrigued. Writing a novel in a month, what a challenge to anyone’s skills let alone my own (which aren’t much to shout about). However, I’m always good with excuses and procrastinating. The idea I have, involves too much research to commit to writing it in a month. I really need a good book on Welsh history and Crimean War. The rest I think I can get by with what’s in me head already. Oh, but wait another excuse and a much larger hurtle to jump (more like a wall). I lack confidence. I look at my writing and see nothing, but boring rubbish that anyone out there could write, nothing special. Do they have pills for confidence, maybe procrastination too? Or while your at it a write a bestseller pill...yum sounds good. That said no NaNo this year. I can’t promise, but maybe next year.

My disappointment was squelched a little when I came across A Work in Progress’s post about the Women Unbound reading challenge. I’m always up for a good book reading extravaganza. At least with this challenge I have a year to complete it. For Women Unbound you are suppose to read books about women studies* (my mind immediately says feminism, but I know that’s being completely unfair). I can’t claim much knowledge when it comes to this genre, in fact (excuse the term) I’m pretty much a virgin. There really isn’t a feminist bone in my body. ** That’s why I thought why not try something different and new. Besides it isn’t really stimulating to the mind to continually read the same types of books all the time. I was thinking I would attempt the highest level, suffragette (If I’m going to take a bite why not a big one...right?). Only one problem really, lack of reading material. Oh I own plenty of books, but not any about women studies. I need to read both nonfiction and fiction. I quickly consulted my LibraryThing to see what I had at the ready. Two? I only have 2 and one I’ve already read. Louisa May Alcott’s Behind a Mask (very good by the way) and The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Now to find 8 more, because as much as I liked Alcott’s, I want to read ‘new’ books. I checked the shop and we do have one there, Unveiling a Parallel: A Romance by Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Merchant***. Two down, 7 more to find. I’m taking suggestions (you in the back there, what? No sorry no Virgina Woolf...I’m teasing.). I’m hoping for suggestions honestly. Another reason I felt this would be a good to participate in, was because it might be interesting to have an opinion from the opposite side of the spectrum. I know I give myself too much credit (I can be rather pompous at times). Enough said I’m reading for the Women Unbound challenge!


Almost forgot, I finished Cranford. I loved it and think I will read it again. I feel I owe it to Mrs. Gaskell. Seeing how I took so many breaks from reading Cranford to read other books...sorry.

*Participants are encouraged to read nonfiction and fiction books related to the rather broad idea of ‘women’s studies.’ (quoted from their website)

** I feel I'm making quite an idiot of myself. If I were speaking all of this out loud I have a feeling I would be stuttering.

*** This book has actually been calling to me since we purchased it for the shop. It has a very pretty cover...I know guilty as charged.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I take it back...

Several weeks ago I was at the library searching out a particular book (I should really be reading books from my personal library. It was a goal for this year, but it has run away much like many of my other good intentions.). I was bound not to find the book. I only had two things to go on, white binding and a female assassin on the cover. I was never meant to find it, although I now know the title and author of said book.* Well I was looking in the vicinity I had seen my friend pick this book up in, which somehow led me to the romance section. You know me, I tend to pick books to read by their covers. I pulled one from the shelve to glance at it and I couldn’t put it back.** The cover shows a young woman in a regency era gown, you the audience are looking over her shoulder at a party, Indiscretion by Jude Morgan. More like intriguing, right? I took it home and it sat in my smaller to be read pile beside my bed, while I finished binging on vampire books (only for the moment).

Despite being in the midst of 2 other books, Cranioklepty by Colin Dickey and Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, I picked it up to read. I will admit switching from the fast pace plot of a modern day vampire novel to a regency, a little slow, novel was hard. I kept looking at my to be read pile out of the corner of my eye thinking I’ll just put it down and come back to it.*** No! I couldn’t, that’s what I have done with Cranioklepty and Cranford (Sorry Mrs. Gaskell, rubbish is sometimes so fun to indulge in, I promise to get back to you soon.). I stuck to it and much to my chagrin I just finished today. Jude Morgan did a splendid job and I wish the story could have gone on and on. A little synopsis (for I don’t really like giving any at all, my good opinion should be enough!#):

Caroline Fortune, who is not at all rich, is the daughter of a military man who is headed to debtors prison if he doesn’t think up something quick. While he is a good sort, it is obvious Caroline is the true brains of this operation. Her father hits on the ‘good’ idea of having her become the companion to an elderly, rich, dragon of a lady. That’s not where it ends though. Gossip, rakes, hardships, trouble, country bumpkins, friendships, and love...eventually, are Caroline’s lot in life.

There! How was that? Did I wet your appetite?

I didn’t think having a main character named Caroline would lend itself to the story. The name carries somewhat of a venomous feeling. Not after this story though, I’m convinced that I want a friend just like Caroline. Also I’d like to ask the author where I might find Mr. Stephen Milner (you’ll have to read the book to know). He was quite delightful. I want to walk to my door and find him waiting to have a meaty (thoroughly mind building is what I mean) banter of a conversation. I’m quite in love, shame it is with someone on paper.

I come to the end of it...I was horribly wrong and the book, it was wonderful. If you don’t believe me do these 2 things. One, read it! Two take into consideration that I rarely (really never) feel at liberty to share this much about a book I’ve read. Also one other thing, this isn’t a life changing book. It is simply a good story. Usually I’m this enthused by a book right after reading, so enthused I sound a little (clearing throat) crazy maybe. When I’m enthused (how many bloody times can I use the word enthused!), I go a little overboard. If you read it and say what the... was Maddie thinking, you have my permission to give me a lecture about the consequences of getting people’s hopes up. I think you’ll like the book though. I will and must find more Jude Morgan books! For my mother’s sake it was nothing like Jane Austen. Quite a breath of fresh air in comparison.##
Does it shock you to know Jude Morgan (really Tim Wilson) is a man? For some reason it did me, but no more. I am converted. :)

* Biting the Bullet (Jaz Parks series) by Jennifer Rardin. I have now learned this is book three and would have done me no good. The series (vampires!) is 6 books so far, eeek!

** I still don't understand why this book was shelved with romance.

*** Much like a child who gets a new toy, but keeps seeing little Suzy next door with a newer and cooler toy. I have to have it, forget about what I already have, I want it!

# I sound snobby, but I’m joking.

## My mom has read some Jane Austen and has been fairly turned off. I keep trying to convince her to read Sense and Sensibility because it so good, but she won’t. I do admit that Jane Austen isn’t all she’s cracked up to be. Hey! Don’t throw any stones. I didn’t say she wasn’t good, just well, uh...oh never mind.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Music, Reading System, Wait did you say Music?

I was forced to come home early yesterday (I use the word forced lightly he he he) because I have an upper respiratory thing going on. I love it when people see fit to share, it’s so kind. Aren’t you glad there is a computer separating you and I? I was able to finish my book, Rachel Caine’s second Morganville Vampire book, and slept for a while. I stayed home today hoping that more rest will the beat the crap out of this illness. I sound like a long time smoker when I talk, a.k.a. not pleasant.

I had meant to originally post Wednesday and then even last night, but between chaos raining supreme and getting sick it didn’t happen. Plus it gave me more time to brainstorm for my topic. Well as much brainstorming as you can do in a mental fog. :) Rather than a post about books (or a post 100% about books I should say), I’m posting about music.

For lack of a better word I’ve always been musically retarded. When I was young I took my queue from mum and dad. There influence included such “good old stuff” as: The Mamas and the Papas, Simon and Garfunkel, The B-52's, The Oak Ridge Boys, Linda Ronstadt, Van Morrison, The Jackson 5, and the list could continue for quite some time. They knew their music, still do.

Then there came the age when I was cut loose to explore my own tastes. I can’t remember how old I was, but I remember my first CD purchase was the Backstreet Boys’ second album. My mom had to preview it at the time to make sure it was appropriate for me to listen to. You have to understand she was new to the modern music scene just as I was. My sister and I use to have arguments all the time about who was better Backstreet Boys or ‘N Sync. Now we just sit and chuckle about how pathetic we were.

Unfortunately most of the music I listened to from there on out was heavily influenced by what every other young person was listening to. I didn’t make much of an effort to explore on my own. I was a willing follower.

Times are a changing! I’ve had an iPod for close to 2 years now and that leaves the largest music selection available to me at the tips of my fingers. I feel that my music tastes mature and expand everyday. Whether if its from listening to my many Pandora stations, reading blogs, talking to my coworker Tracy, or even my little brother. My iPod is a regular little diverse bugger. :)

Pandora opened a whole new music world to me. I could listen to it for hours if only it was free ALL the time. My current favorites, which have earned spots on my iPod, are: Mirah, Haley Bonar, Regina Spektor, and The Choir Practice. Believe it or not those all came from a single station on Pandora! I really enjoy that site, wish it was free all the time or that I didn’t use up my free monthly hours so fast.

Tracy recently set me up with Trapt’s These Walls and I’m utterly smitten with them. Don’t believe me, I blare that song every morning on the way to work. You should come along for the ride one morning. As soon as I can tear myself away from spending any available cash on books (too many new books keep coming out :)) I’ll probably buy one of their CDs.

I still listen to what’s hip and happening on the air waves, but I’m much picker. Most of it is nonsense to my ears. Of course I haven’t abandon the oldies and yes I still own all the Backstreet Boys’ CDs (althought I don’t think I have any of their songs on my Pod, I’ll have to check).

It just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention books. I don’t have any free books available. Boy I wish I did because I just got 3 brand spankin new books in the mail today.* However, I must move on to credit receiving titles. You might be asking yourself what in the world are you talking about Maddie? Well my sister developed this reading system that I have decided to follow. I figured I was being to flippant about what I read. Not really trying harder to read what is in my own library and has been sitting there for a quite a while. Here is her system:

Classic - 3 Free or 2 Free and 1 New book or Library book
Biography - 1 Free or 1 Library book
Newbery - 1 Free or 1 New book
To Read List - 2 Free or 1 Free and either 1 New book or 1 Library book
Inspirational - 2 Free or 1 Free and 1 Library book
School Book - 1 Free or 1 Library book
Owned For Over a Year - 1 Free book
Indiana Author - 1 Free book or 1 Library book
Started, But Never Finished - 2 Free books
Random Pick - 2 Free or 1 Free and 1 Library book

Well what do you think? Do you understand it? I’ll give you an example. I recently finished reading Daddy-Long-Legs (very good book by the way) by Jean Webster. Because it is a classic and on my 25 books to read before I’m 25 (a To Read List) I got the books awarded for those 2 categories. Which made for a total of 5 books. Only 2 of those could be library books, but because I had 3 library books that I really wanted to read Elyza said I could do a 2 for 1 deal. That the last library book would take away 2 points rather than 1. The book was the second Morganville Vampire book, The Dead Girls’ Dance by Rachel Caine. Now I’m reading a review book, Non-Fiction, that is good so far. However, what category does that fit into? I’ll have to ask Elyza.

Well I’m headed to catch some Z’s and hopefully get better. Have a great day!

* New books: Hunting Grounds by Patricia Briggs, Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund, and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bookstore, Teaching, Waiting on Wednesday (WoW) = Book Teaser from author Maggie Stiefvater

My last posted I ended with the abrupt news (not much details sorry) that I’m opening a bookstore with my sister. Things are progressing and the worry I feel everyday sometimes feels like a plague taking over my body. I hate worrying, but damn if I’m not good at. My mom and sister are going to pick the keys up today, I’m stuck being bored at work. Elyza and I have to pick paint colors. Let me rephrase that, Elyza and I have to AGREE on colors. She wants the shop to be painted with Nanny McPhee colors (have you seen the movie? Lots of color!). I’m more into earth tones, quaint, colors that breathe silence. I’m interested to see who wins this battle or how we’ll mange to combine our tastes. (I should post a picture of our bedroom so you can see how different we are.) I have briefly discussed with my mom postponing opening until either later in October or early November. Not quite feeling ready to open in a little more than 3 weeks. So is it killing you yet? Do you want to know the shop name? Maybe I should make you suffer some more. Oh alright I tell you already, stop whining! J (Drum roll please!) Pete & Freddy’s Pages Aplenty. For those of you who don’t live in Indiana and aren’t crazy enough to drive long distances to bookstores we do plan to sell books online at various places. In the distant future, very distant, we may have our own website for this. Don’t worry I’m sure I’ll let you know.

I haven’t brought this up to my mom, but I’m considering offering to teach my brothers Creative Writing class. She was going to pay someone, but that person hasn’t gotten back to her yet. Plus I love writing and I always want to be more a part of my mom’s homeschooling stuff. The only thing is balancing everything and convincing her I can. Work, bookstore, bookstore, bookstore, me time, and bookstore. Ahhhh, craziness! I’m currently compiling a list of writing projects for my brothers to present to her. A. David, is a very gifted writer (he has a blog, only 3 posts so far, but I really enjoy reading it). Reece well he is hard to motivate, but I can feel, when I read his stuff I feel like he has something there just waiting to burst. I know you’re probably asking, “Maddie what makes you think you’re the one for this task?” It is more for selfish reasons truly. I love writing and miss it so much. Maybe this would give me my own personal motivation to not give up on writing. I’d really like to get closer to my brothers as well.

Okay and now what you’re really here for, Waiting on Wednesdays. I haven’t posted anything for awhile for this, but today I have a really great book for it. I can’t wait to read it. I also have a Teaser from the author. The book is Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater. I first came across Maggie’s books when I saw a book trailer for her book Shiver. At the time the book wasn’t out and I hadn’t read anything by her. I went to the library and luckily they had a copy of her book Lament. I had to wait on Elyza to read it first, but finally did read it. I’ve never been the fairy reading type really. I like fantasy, don’t get me wrong just haven’t had much contact with fairies in my reading adventures. I’m ‘Waiting on Wednesday’ for Ballad because it is sort of the sequel to Lament. I liked the first book. It had me laughing and thoroughly intrigued with the outcome of the characters. I always enjoy getting to read an authors first book. There is something so fresh and exciting about their first book. Ballad is about one of the characters from Lament that was not a main character. Anyways I’m sure you’re ready for me to stop chattering on about it and move on to the Teaser.

This is a teaser from Maggie Stiefvater's BALLAD, a novel involving homicidal faeries and kissing that's coming out October 1st.

He turned towards me. For a long moment, he stood facing me. I was held, anchored to the ground – not by his music, which still called and pushed against the music already in my head and said grow rise follow – but by his strangeness. By his fingers, spread over the ground, holding something into the earth, by his shoulders, squared in a way that spoke of strength and unknowability, and most of all, by the great, thorny antlers that grew from his head, spanning the sky like branches.

Then he was gone, and I missed his going in the instant that the sun fell off the edge of the hill, abandoning the world to twilight.

Buy it here. Enter the contest at Maggie's blog here or here.

You can also see a really cool book trailer for Ballad (with bagpipes!) on her blog post here.

-Waiting on Wednesday's was not my own creation. I get it from another blog I read, The Magic of Ink. Thanks!

Okay that's enough for now, I need to go home. Have a great evening everyone!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Shy, Dorian Gray, Books, and Lists!

For most of my life I have been a shy person, very shy in fact. I'm the person in the corner at parties eagerly (ha ha ha) waiting for someone to come and strick up a conversation. Hello, are you coming over yet? Being shy doesn't really have the same benefits as other issues one might attain in this life, you know the saying? It's a gift...and a curse. I really can't say that being shy is a gift, sorry. It is a large reason why I don't go to concerts and events with large crowds. Although that is an issue all its own as well. That being said, the shyness and the loathing of large crowds, I'm let me rephrase that I started disliking Facebook sometime ago. What started out as a small and easy way to stay connected to very good friends has now become an out of control feeding frenzy. A number of different people ask to be my friend all the time. I'm friends with nearly everyone I work with (as I type this my eyebrow is cocked in a sort of I can't fathom why look). I'm friends with people I may have known since I was a baby, but I have only spoke to for a combined time of maybe an hour my entire life. I'm friends with people...with people I don't want to be friends with. Facebook is no longer a private venue to voice my thoughts or chat with friends (without the entire world seeing it). Of course in all honest neither is this blog, but I haven't really been keeping this up to date and I don't shot it from the mountains that I'm a blogger. The feeling to rid myself of Facebook now and forever becomes enticingly stronger everyday!

Facebook venting aside. I watched a preview for the new version of Dorian Gray. It looks creepy, but awesome. If I can find someone to go with I'll probably see it at the theatre. However, I couldn't find a release date for it in the US, only in Canada and Europe. I hope it comes here. I have never read the book, but now I'm tempted to. I've only read one of Wilde's plays and that was The Importance of Being Earnest. Which I found extremely entertaining. I guess time to go find a nifty copy of Dorian Gray and snuggle down for a good read.

Today was a treasure trove of good book finds. My sister and I got up early (on a Saturday!) and went to the 50% off sale at Goodwill. Where I spent too much money! Then we went to a library book sale in Pierceton, where we found twice as many books for nearly have the cost. I can't wait to look at all our booty! I know at least one treasure for me was a Lousia May Alcott book. YES!

Do you like lists? I thoroughly enjoy book lists. It is always interesting to see people's different opinion on what books are must reads. Abebooks, on Thursday, released 20 lists of top 10 books. I really liked it and printed it off for my book file. You can view it
here. I recently sent an email to friends and family asking them, What 10 books do you think every bookstore should have on their shelves? I didn't get many responses and they were disappointing to boot. What do you think? I'd be interested to know. I'm still working on my list.

Well that's it for now. I would say sorry for not being around much on here lately, but I'm told I say sorry too often. :)

Quote of the day:

“Do not lose hold of your dreams or asprirations.
For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Oh before I forget, rather big news to report. My sister and I are opening a bookstore! More on this later.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters

You know the kind of sleep where you are so out that everything is part of the dream you're having. The alarm clock, the dog pushing you out of your own bed, and you're father shaking you awake at 3:45 in the morning. It snowed last that's putting it lightly. We got a small blizzard last night and therefore I don't feel comfortable driving to work on these types of days. One way to know you've got too much snow in Indiana is when there are mounds of snow blocking the turn lanes. My dad gets up to prayer with a few men from church on certain days of the week. They must be more dedicated then I am. I was a zombie at work today and I can barely keep my eyes open right now to type this.

Speaking of zombies, I come to the Waiting on Wednesday book: Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters
Release date: March 12, 2009

Amazon lists the title as Generation Dead: Kiss of Life and the author as Dan Waters. I guess Amazon and Daniel are good friends [hints the shortened name :)].

The phenomenon that's been sweeping the country seems to be here to stay. Not only are the teenagers who have come back from their graves still here, but newlydeads are being unearthed all the time. While scientists look for answers and politicians take their stands, the undead population of Oakville have banded together in a group they're calling the Sons of Romero, hoping to find solidarity in segregation.

Phoebe Kendall may be alive, but she feels just as lost and alone as her dead friends. Just when she reconciled herself to having feelings for a zombie -- her Homecoming date Tommy Williams -- her friend Adam is murdered taking a bullet that was meant for her. Things get even more confusing when Adam comes back from the grave. Now she has romantic interest in two dead boys; one who saved her life, and one she can't seem to live without.

Why am I waiting?

I read Daniel Waters first book, Generation Dead, despite my mother's upraised eyebrow at the cover and content matter. The book is more than just a book about zombies. It is about high school, peer pressure, and standing up for your rights against the prejudices of those around you. I enjoyed the book a great deal. I will be honest and say I cried. Yes I cried. That to gives a book an instant 5 star. At least until you have time to truly think the book content over. After thinking it over I still give it a 5 star. I really like the cover art too. I will say though, at first glance I had my doubts, but then reading the book made the cover more appealing to me. I can't wait to read Kiss of Life!!!! If you haven't read Generation Dead, go get it right now! Oh before I forget Daniel Waters has an author blog and a blog that the characters of his book write post's about their zombie lives, go check them out.
Fact for the Day:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was first published today in 1813 in Great Britain.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bookstore Snob

I had planned for my next post to be about patriotism, after the politics post I thought it appropriate. However, books are what is gnawing at the brain right now. (A funny picture)
I woke up this morning in my normal Saturday mood. It is time to be a hermit! Let’s face it. After an entire work week where you are forced to wake up and drive 20 miles into the ‘big city’ you’re ready to be a home body for the weekend. The rest of my family, dad excluded, feels differently. They’ve been home the entire week. Thus, they’re scourged with cabin fever. This most often puts me in a grumpy mood that I have to be drug out of the house to traipse around running errands. Today was no different.
My sister saw an ad in a small local newsletter we get about a bookstore in North Manchester and called to find out their hours. We had planned to go there in the morning, but we didn’t get around soon enough. The bookstore owner said he was open until noon and then goes to lunch. I’ll be honest, the owner closing up shop to go out for lunch, red flags go up right away. At least for me. What kind of bookstore closes up during a Saturday? What kind of bookstore in a small town can afford to close up to go get lunch? As my dad put it, you better go get lunch and bring it back with you. Red flags went up because I thought, "Oh great this is going to be some whole in the wall bookstore. The kind that has three bookshelves with the most obscure titles you’ll ever see in your life. Each priced astronomically high and you can’t figure out why." Are you catching onto my lack of enthusiasm for this bookstore yet?
Of course I stand corrected. I’ve been proved wrong. The bookstore was small, but nice. My only complaint would be he needed more shelves to spread out better. Many of the books were hard to get a good close up view of. Finds for the day included:

- The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
- Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
- Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon
- Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff

The Magnificent Ambersons because I loved the movie* and have wanted to read the book forever. I’m stingy about the copies I purchase. This copy was an old, in very good condition, hardback edition for a great price. Booth Tarkington is an Indiana author. I need a good biography about him to read, still searching. I would like one reminiscent of the style of biography I read about Beatrix Potter.
Twelfth Night because it is a great play and the copy I found was this small endearing** edition.
Anna and the King of Siam because the actual account has always made me curious to know more. I wasn’t really in search of a copy, but I just happened upon it. Don’t you just love happening upon books?
Sword at Sunset because I collect Rosemary Sutcliff books. This copy is an old hardback edition with its dust jacket still in great condition.

All in all the bookstore was a success, although I do have one question to pose to you. Why does it seem when you find a bookstore run by a man (an elderly man to be specific), he is the kind of man who is grumpy and you’re too scared to approach him with a question for fear he’ll bite you? This was what happened today at the bookstore and this isn’t the first time it has happened to me. My mother believes it is because men who own bookstores are very intellectual, spend most of their time reading, and this causes them to be introverts’***. Therefore not good with people. Excuse my language, but why ever the bloody hell not?! You’re running a bookstore. Your soul purpose in life is to sell books to people. That is, if you are good at what you do. For those of you men or women who experience such occurrences, please know that when I have my bookstore, you’ll be begging me to settle down and help someone else. :) Oh and by the way note to my future husband wherever you may be, if you like books (and you had better) please don’t be unapproachable.

* You can't help liking a movie that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is in even if he does play a spoilt brat.
** Some books it is just a must that they be endearing copies.
*** I like my computer’s definition for an introvert - Psychology a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings.

Poem/Quote of the Day:

Curse On A Book Thief
(or for modern times Book Borrower)
For him that stealeth a Book from this Library,let it change to a serpent in his hands and rend him.Let him be struck with Palsy, and all his Membersblasted. Let him languish in Pain, crying aloud forMercy and let there be no surcease to his Agony tillhe sink to Dissolution. Let Book-worms gnaw hisEntrails in token of the Worm that dieth not, andwhen at last he goeth to his final Punishment letthe Flames of Hell consume him for ever and aye.

P.S. After hours and I mean hours this post is finally going to be posted. I don't care if it has mistakes. I'm so sick of my computer right now. Sorry.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Don't Know Much About Politics

I'm not trying to be the cute blonde who giggles and pretends stupidity to gain attention. When I titled my post 'Don't Know Much About Politics,' I mean I don't know much about politics. Much is being kind, what I know couldn't amount to a piece of printer paper. Politics hold no source of value to me or I guess that's what my right brain creative side is saying. My left side pleads with me to show some sense and start caring. I've begun to feel guilty at my lack of enthusiasm for the topic. Most often I crave knowledge. I'm the person who after a long conversation about the origin of bookmarks, goes home, researches, and reads anything and everything about bookmarks. *

I can hear my grandmother now, if she read this, "Madelyne you need to know about politics. It is your right as a woman. It is your duty to arm yourself with knowledge." I can also hear her and other people I know telling me I’m an anti-feminist (very warped view of things) because I don't take this amazing power privilege I have access to. It has nothing to do with whether or not I'm a feminist. I choose not to tell you which one I am.

I do understand part of politics is wanting your voice to be heard. It's wanting your opinion to be out there for all to hear. That takes a brave, willing person to have people take your opinion and attack it much like buzzards attack and pick at their prey. Of course their prey is dead. Let's give your opinion a little more credit (and hope) than that though.

I love my opinion being out there, granted I'm always fearful of what others will think and/or say. If you lived at my house you'd say I was a liberal, can't keep her mouth shut, voice is never below a scream type of girl. I can understand looking back in history why women wanted such rights as the right to vote. ** It wasn't so much the vote as that they didn't want to be tossed to the corner where they’re forced to never speak above a whisper. They didn't want to argue they just didn't want to scream like banshees in order to be heard. I'm sorry that my temper gets the best of me most often and at that point I'm more willing to scream and shout my opinions than to discuss them diplomatically. (I'll forewarn you, if you didn't notice already, I'm horrible about going off on rabbit trails.)

Back to politics . . . When people ask questions like "Have you heard what Savage said?", I think to myself whose Savage? Maybe an author with a good new book out? (Ok I know that it is annoying how I can bring books into almost any conversation.) I put myself in this place of ignorance that I find that I am settled in at this point in my life. Shove me out though, go right ahead. I do need to know more. If you can recommend a good book for someone like me, oh let's say, The Very Unwilling and Stubborn Idiots Guide to Politics in Laymen's Terms by A Very Well to Do Educated Genius Whom Doesn't Mind Toning it Down for Some of Us Little People, please do so. I'm serious, as I always say I try very hard to read what is recommended to me.
I think if I know more about politics I won't be the type of person who hears one little tid bit of something and rides it like a $2.00 bus ticket. ***

For you out there who talk to me on a daily and/or weekly basis I appreciate the time you take to pause, explain, or even share with me things going on in the political world. Thanks for explaining it to me in a way that I can understand, book analogies and all. ****

Quote of the Day:

The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.
- Frank Herbert

* History of Bookmarks
** This is not my entire opinion on the subject. I only share that with certain people.
*** A situation like this happened not too long ago. There are a few people who know about it and even tried to smooth things over, but I'm still hesitant to believe differently.
**** I didn't take much time to go over this post. I'm sure there are many spelling and grammar mistakes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bibliophile Tendencies and my personal dilemma of going crazy. . .for books.

Snow, snow, snow, and more snow. I stopped liking snow this year for a number of reasons. My car accident because of the snow is foremost in my mind. I do however; think it also largely due to the fact that I’m no longer young enough for a 2-hour delay of school cancellation to allow me the joy of playing in snow. Otherwise the snow causes butterflies in my stomach as I drive to work. Not the pretty fluttering kind, but the kind that dive bomb at your stomach attacking any reserve of calm you might have been trying to hold up.

My Amazon wish list works not only as a list of books I want to buy, but a list of books to read. As of today the list has 105 books I want to read. About an eighth of these books are books I have read and want to own. Honestly 85% of the list if not more are books that I judge the cover for the level of reading appeal it held for me. I know that is not good, but I’ve only been wrong a few times. Once I read a book (I remember the title, but I won’t say it in case someone else may have loved this book) that looked like a scrumptious bit of reading. I read 11 chapters into the book and decided forget that, if it’s not going anywhere in 11 chapters it’s not worth my time. If an author wants a book to not go anywhere for a while they need to choose a lower of number chapters to do it in. For example I tried reading The Hobbit years ago and the first 5 chapters were torture….to me at least. My friend convinced me a few years later to give it a try again. I did and after those first 5 chapters it was great! While 5 chapters is still a lot to read through and not like, especially since they were long chapters it is much better than 11 chapters.

That aside I decided to indulge my craving yesterday at Walden Books (this craving never goes away) to buy a book from my wish list. I bought Sovay by Celia Rees. I’ve only read one other book by Celia and that was Pirates!. Just the title alone told me I would love this book and I did. Sovay has a cover that has me eager to pick it up right now and read it ahead of all the books in line before it (and there are many). I didn’t read the back of the book or inside flap. I only know it is about a girl and involves thievery.

I can’t help myself and know I should probably read about books before purchasing them. Is it the book editor that writes the back cover summary or inside flap? Well let me tell you, is it your goal to basically summarize every major event in the book? That way after reading those few paragraphs you’ve basically read the book. Come on! I want enough to make me sque
al with anticipation, but not so much that I don’t need to read or buy the book. Okay maybe squeal was a little over the top…for in public. My sister doesn’t mind reading the summary. She doesn’t like that it gives too much away, but she can’t stand not to read it. She knows my reading tastes very well, probably second only to myself. If I really want to read the flap, but can’t bring myself to do it I pass the book to her. Then she gives her yah or nah opinion for if I will like the book. Obviously I trust her immensely J. In a way it is like trusting your child with a stranger, although my sister is certainly not a stranger.

I also purchased the book Queen, Empress, Concubine: Fifty Women Rulers from the Queen of Sheba to Catherine the Great by Claudia Gold. Royalty is one of my favorite subjects to read about.

Aside from the 2 new books I bought, I also bought (guilty blush) a few from Goodwill as well. I know, I know, I don’t know when to stop buying. Actually I don’t how to stop. As you can see from my LibraryThing tag ‘To be read’ books now is almost 400 books. Remember my previous post about striving to read more books from my on personal library, well that undertaking keeps getting bigger no thanks to yours truly. Maybe I need to rethink my idea of placing another large book order with Independent Publisher Group. Rats! They just came out with their 2009 catalogs too.

An appropriate quote of the day, that I may have posted before, is below.

Quote of the Day:

Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
-Henry David Thoreau

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