Monthly Archives:: November 2006

Thursday Thirteen

November 30, 2006 Books, Lists 16

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If you hadn’t noticed, I am quite the Young Adult novel fan.  So, I thought my Thursday Thirteen today would be past YA novels I have loved.  I’m going to cheat a bit and keep a set together. These are in no typical order…or, rather, the order in which I thought of them, not necessarily in order of most favorite.

Favorite YA Novels:

Twilight/New Moon by Stephenie Meyer – Who didn’t know I loved this set? I have read Twilight 3 times and New Moon once already and honestly can’t wait to read them again.  I still can’t quite put my finger on what it is that makes these books so obsessable, but they are.  Can’t wait for the next one!

A Great and Terrible Beauty/Rebel Angels by Libba Bray – read these for the first time this year, but I am sure I’ll read them again soon.  They are very Victorian, with lots of ghosts, witches, and a girl’s boarding school to boot.  I can’t wait for the next one in this series either!

elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin – Read either last year or year before last, to lazy to check.  Very enjoyable book about death, which probably sounds weird, but it was an interesting and different take on what happens after you die.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Another novel about death, or, rather told by death.  This will be my top read this year, very deservedly, and will definitely be read again and again.  This is definitely one I will be sure to pass on to my child(ren).

I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak – Same author as above, different subject.  But the writing is just as exquisite. 

Trickster’s Choice/Trickster’s Queen by Tamora Pierce – Ah, the woman warrior writer!  Pierce writes very strong female characters that make me pea green with envy because I want to write just like her.  At the time I read these, I did not realize that all her books took place in the same universe and that I had missed many books that took place before this one.  Someday I hope to read them all.

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen – Another touching story that 1) is set during the Holocaust and 2) is a fairy tale retelling.  A very good read. 

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly – Honestly, can’t remember what this was about, I read it a couple years ago.  Obviously I need to reread it.  All I remember is enjoying it just as much as the Tea Rose.  Another book featuring a strong female character.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman – I have read this at least 10 times and will read it at least 10 times more, the only book I have ever read so many times.  It just never gets old!  If you loved the movie, read this, you’ll love it more.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli – It’s been several years since I read this one as well, but I remember really loving the main girl character.  Need to reread it too.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman – Modern day fairy tale by the master.  Have read it a couple of times and want to again.  Can’t wait to see the film!

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – Read this a couple times too.  It’s one I wish I had discovered in my youth, but alas, I read it when I was in my early 20s.  Still a great story.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith – This and the next book are definitely for the bookish at heart. 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Smith, Betty - Ah, Francie.  How I love Francie, bless her heart.  I definitely need to reread this again.  A great YA classic. 

So there is a small sampling (did I do more than 13?) of some of my favorite YA novels.   I’m sure I missed many.  Do you have a favorite YA novel?

*** Edit *** Long live the pooter post!  Because I assume this qualifies and I don’t give a %^&*%!!!!!

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Mountain trip!

November 29, 2006 Books 12

Finally, a minute to talk about this past weekend!  Work has been insane since I returned. I came back to a pile of stuff undone and mistakes to fix.  See, this is why I so rarely take a week off!  And I’m doing it again in December!  Argh!

So, anyway, the moutains were gorgeous.  It didn’t snow, which I was kinda hoping for.  Actually it was in the 60s and one day it hit 70.  November in the Blue Ridge Mountains should NOT be in the 70s.  Just so you know.  Ellie caught her first fish. Actually she caught 3, they were rainbow trout, and she was SO proud of herself.  Of course, her papa did most of the work and we cheated and took her to a trout farm, but so what!  She was SO happy!  And so very cute.

I tried to get some good pictures of her for our Christmas card, but she couldn’t be still.  Or she was making a face.  Everything I got is in shadow.  I hope I can fix it.  See:

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We got lots of Christmas shopping done; we are almost through!  As I figured, I didn’t get to read much. But I did get to do a lot of knitting on the drive back.  I finished a scarf for my 3-year-old niece, who was dying for me to make her one.  And I started another for a Christmas present.  See:

This one is my niece’s.  She loved it.

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And this is for a friend.  I love the colors so much! 

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I’m afraid the knitting is going to cut into my reading time.  I really hoped to get 60 books in this year, so hopefully I can get at least 3 more books in.  The Crimson Petal is SO huge though!  I am almost halfway through it though.  Yet, I picked up Oracle Night by Paul Auster Monday at the library and glanced at it last night.  I just had to see what Andi is so in love with.  I’m hooked.  Wow, does this guy have a way with words!  I now have 3 books going, here’s hoping I can finish them all!

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Poetry Meme!

November 28, 2006 Miscellaneous 2

poetry.jpgSaw this over at Danielle’s and Lesley’s so I thought I’d give it a go.  Because there is nothing better than embarrassing myself.

The first poem I remember reading/hearing/reacting to was–

Probably Mother Goose rhymes.

I was forced to memorize (name of poem) in school and…….. The only one I can remember much of is Langston Hughes’s Mother to Son. It was one of the few poems I have ever read, in school or after, that really touched me.

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor –
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now –
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

I read/don’t read poetry because….

I just don’t get it. I never have really. I like poems that tell a story.Honestly, I think it’s because I’m lazy. I’m rarely willing to sit and read a poem over and over until the meanings become clear.

A poem or poet I’m likely to think about when asked about a favorite is ……

I’m embarrassed to say I had to think very hard about this, because I can’t remember many. I would have to say Eliot’s Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock though. Like many of my favorite classics, I had a kick ass professor in college who made it interesting.  And I do like Edgar Allan Poe quite a bit too.

I write/don’t write poetry, but…………..

I have written a couple of songs in the past for my BIL’s rock band. And I wrote a bit for my NaNovel. It wasn’t that great though, in my opinion, but it was the best I’ve ever written!

My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature…..

I enjoy other literature more.  A whole lot more.

I find poetry…..

Boring. Sadly yes.  I can’t tell you how much I hate to admit it.

The last time I heard poetry….

Was probably in college. Or in a movie perhaps?

I think poetry is like….

Probably something I would like if I just knew WHO to read. Give me suggestions?

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My Life, My Blog

November 27, 2006 Miscellaneous 4

I thought this meme looked fun, especially because it’s handwritten.  I found it at januaryone who found it here.  Apparently you are supposed to include a picture of yourself.  So, here is one of me and Ellie.  Can’t see me too good, can you?  ;)

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Vacation – Smacation

November 21, 2006 Books, Miscellaneous 8

I have decided that I do NOT do well on vacation.  I am off all week with no where to go and had so many plans.  While I did finally do laundry, I haven’t done much else.  Well, constructive things anyway.  Yesterday I:

  1. Rearranged my classics onto 2 shelves; this took quite awhile as the classics were scattered all over the house.  I found 2 in the bathroom!!
  2. Washed a few dishes, didn’t really have a bunch dirty though
  3. Watched House of Flying Daggers (very sad, but very good)
  4. Worked on knit baby blanket (while watching House of Flying Daggers)
  5. Read about 100 pages in Crimson Petal
  6. Took a hot bath (while reading)
  7. And that ever important laundry, dd about 3 loads and am doing more now

Today I have to go to the grocery store.  I hate going to the grocery store.  I am blessed with having a grocery store near work that allows you to order your groceries online and pick them up later for a small fee.  This actually saves me a ton of money because I am a horrible impulse buyer.  I’m a long way from work, so I am going to have to go myself.  I see a potential $100 grocery bill because I have to get stuff for Thanksgiving.  Yuck!

I hope to get some writing done today.  I am surprised; I seem to write better at work with all the noise and bustle than the quiet of home.  I don’t think I’ve written 300 words since Friday.  You would think the quiet would be ideal.  Maybe I’ll throw on a loud CD and let the kid play with her loud toys and maybe then I can write.  Cause it’s too quiet right now to concentrate!!! 

We are going to the mountains Thursday, so I need to start figuring out what books to take.  I ordered The Apple: New Crimson Petal Stories by Michel Faber; hence the reread of The Crimson Petal and the White, I hope it comes before we leave.  Thanks to Danielle I found a store in Britain that ships internation for FREE.  I got The Apple for $17 American, which I thought was fantastic! I almost want to get the British Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone just to be obstinant.  Anyway it’s called The Book Depository.  Check it out! 

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Ah, that's better!

November 18, 2006 Books, Miscellaneous 12

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I had a great Saturday.  Got a good start on the Christmas shopping (it feel good to be ahead for a change!) and even managed to spend an hour at my used book store, using up the last of that credit I had.  And, as I hadn’t bought any books in awhile, I feel better! I got some great stuff today.  I hope to use some for the Classics challenge starting in January, which I am really looking forward to!  Here’s the loot.

First, I picked up Stephen Fry’s The Liar.  Fry is Hugh Laurie’s frequent castmate and as I adore Hugh, I thought I’d see what his buddy could write.  Which reminds me, I really need to read Hugh Laurie’s The Gun Seller…hmmm.  Next, I was tickled to find The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, a book I’ve wanted to read since I read her husband Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.  I loved Extremely Loud, but haven’t tried his first novel, Everything Is Illuminated.  I hear her novel has similar themes in it.  I may read both together.

Next I found a well-worn copy of Evelina by Fanny Burney.  Ever since reading about her in that huge book 1001 Books to read before you die, I’ve been wanting to read her.  I’ve been keeping my eyes open for her books at the UBS, I’m glad to have finally found one.

Another author I found in the 1001 books book was H. Rider Haggard.  I found his novel King Solomon’s Mines for way cheap and it’s a near pristine copy!  So excited!

Elizabeth Gaskell is another author I’ve been wanting to try and whom I have been keeping an eye out for at the UBS. I finally saw Mary Barton today so I snatched it up as well.  It sounds so good!  I have always wanted to try Henry James.  I found Daisy Miller and Washington Square in one volume (it’s B&N) so I got it too.  I also have his Turn of the Screw in my TBR.  Will definitely try him next year.

To round out the classics I picked up, I got Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence.  I have only read one short story by him (and did that this year) and was fascinated.  I definitely want to read more and this is the one I’ve heard the most about.  I found a perfect B&N edition and it was only $3. 

The last two I got were Firmin: Adventures of a metropolitan Lowlife by Sam Savage because I thought it sounded interesting when I first saw it at B&N right after it came out and, to feed my fantasy habit, I got Charles de Lint’s Widdershins. It has a blurb on the cover by Alice Hoffman, one of my favorite authors, so I just know it has to be good.   

So, that’s it.  And, in truth, I did not quite have enough credit to cover all of these.  But I wound up paying on $8.50.  Not too shabby I think.

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Another meme!

November 17, 2006 Books 5

The second new meme floating around this week.  I believe this one was created by litlove, but I stole it from Bookgirl.

What part of the past would you bring back if you possibly could?

Oh, so many things. I would be hard pressed to pick one specific time. I could go back 20 years to see my father again. I could go back 5 to see my grandfather again. I could go back 2 years to see my grandmother again. I can’t pick. It’s like asking me which limb I could live without, so you could chop it off. I’d go to all three.

What character trait would you alter if you could?

Patience. Which I firmly believe is why I was given my daughter. She tries me daily.

Which skill would you like to have the time and energy to really work on?

The ability to write better.

Are you money poor, love poor, time poor or freedom poor?

Time poor. There are not enough hours in the day. If only I didn’t have to work….

What element of your partner’s character would you alter if you could?

Oh dear, this is hard. Hmm…I think we would work on his patience as well. He’s wonderful with Ellie, but not always so patient with me.

What three things are you going to do next year that you’ve been meaning to do for ages but never got around to?

I would like to read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, finally. I would like to finish my book, whether I publish it or not (I’m leaning not). And I would like to have another baby.

If your fairy godmother gave you three wishes, what would you wish for?

I guess I will be noble and wish for something not so selfish, like world peace, end of poverty and the end of starvation. But, if it were really for just me I’d wish for more time, another healthy, happy baby, and happiness.

What one thing would you change about your living conditions?

We desperately need a bigger house. These 1200 sq feet are closing in on us fast.

How could the quality of your free time be improved?

If my house were cleaner I could read, write, or play with Ellie without feeling guilty about the laundry, the dust and the laundry. Did I mention the laundry?

What change have you made to your life recently that you’re most proud of?

I actually started my book, am almost 20,000 words into it and I am actually enjoying the experience. And I started drinking water more. It actually does make me feel healthier.

A NaNovel Update:

As of this postin I have 19,328 words.  I have 6 chapters.  I have 8 characters.  I have had 2 major plot changes and actually had a pretty extensive rewrite just this morning which put me a little behind.  But I knew I couldn’t continue until I fixed the problem.  I have written over 10,000 words in the last 4 days, so I’m feeling pretty good!  I still have a lot of catching up to do.  And there is no way I will have finished this book at the 50,000 word mark.  It’s looking like 150,000 to me to get it all in there.  Or I’ll have 3 sequels one! 

I’ve seen several posts around the lit blog network dissing NaNo, but I tell you, the sense of accomplishment I feel when I reach my goal for the day is intoxicating.  I don’t care if the novel is crap, even though I feel it’s only 50% crap.  I don’t care if I’ll never get it published.  I’m having fun and I’m having fun doing something I have always wanted to do.  And anything that brings together so many people and helps them feel creative, accomplished and have fun while doing it, even for only one month; well, I think that’s pretty damn cool.  There are currently 515,404,888 words written this month according to the NaNo website; they could be doing worse things with their time.

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Literary crushes – A Thursday Thirteen

November 16, 2006 Books, Lists 9

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All this thinking about literary crushes led me to create a list of my top 12
favorites.  What, no 13? Read on to find out why.

Isn’t this a purty post?

wet_colin_firth.jpg 1. Mr. DarcyWhat woman doesn’t fall in love with the dark, brooding Mr. Darcy? Especially
if she has Colin Firth’s yummy self in the back of her mind?
lwomen05.jpg 2. Theodore “Laurie” LawrenceI have admitted here before that I had a literary crush on Laurie when I was younger. Christian Bale playing his part in the movie only sealed the deal.

I still say he should have wound up with Jo.

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3. Edward CullenAh, my favorite vampire. Alas, no picture yet as there is no movie. It has
been optioned though, so hopefully soon I will have some hot young thing to
picture when I reread Twilight for the millionth time.

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4. Gilbert BlytheNow, I have to admit, I had more of a crush on the Gilbert in the movie than the Gibert in the book. I used to think that guy was the cutest thing ever! I loved to watch the movie, and did, a million times over.

He’s still pretty cute, isn’t he?

Uh, have you seen the kid who played Tom Sawyer in that movie?I rest my case 5. Tom SawyerTom Sawyer might be my true love. Nah, just kidding. But I just loved his mischevious was. Same goes for the next guy.

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6. Huck FinnI may love Huck just a little bit more. I always wanted to go on a raft down the river. Just once.

And I admit, I always
pitied the poor little scrapper.

And yay, wasn’t Elijah Wood SO cute when he was little?

:( No picture. Sob.

7. Jamie FraserOh sigh. Jamie. The redheaded Scot. If you ever want to reread Outlander, but not really “read” it, go get the audio
version. The woman who reads it does a wicked sexy Scottish burr for Jamie. He just makes my panties melt.

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8. Prince CaspianOh, how I loved Prince Caspian. I looooove Prince Caspian. He was one of the reasons I read my Chronicles of Narnia
to pieces.

I was SO jealous of that star he fell in love with.

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9. Rhett ButlerI can do a wicked Scarlett O’Hara impression. Doesn’t hurt I’m from the South either. I read the book before I saw the movie though, thank God, and loved the stubborn Southern sometime Gentleman something fierce.
(Yes, I am 28 and read the book first, I don’t know how I missed the movie. 
It is ALWAYS on in the South.) And to picture Clark Gable now, when I reread. Hmmmm… nice.

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10. Ramses the GreatFrom the book The Mummy by Anne Rice. I read this when I was…maybe 14 or 15 and the dark, strong, immortal, conflicted man was just…gah. I don’t know how to describe it. I just loved him. Read this many many times before I out grew this
crush. 

I seem to remember Rice saying somewhere that if a movie was ever made she wanted Antonio Banderas to play Ramses. Hence, his picture.

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11. Roux from ChocolatI have not seen this movie. I did not see it, mainly because I knew they changed the story, which always angers me. So, in truth, I loved Roux for his part in the book, not the movie. It’s not Johnny Depp I’m crushing on here. Honest!Well, maybe just a little.

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12. Harry Potter.Well not really. He’s too young for me right now. Now, if JK Rowling ever writes him as an adult though… I just know if I was 13 again, I would totally LOVE Harry.

And not so much Daniel Radcliffe, more just Harry as he is in the book.

So he gets an honorable mention.

13. I’m leaving this open for several reasons. A) There are many, many more lovely characters I have had crushes on at some
point. 

B) And hopefully there will be many, many more. 

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Reading meme!

November 15, 2006 Books 2

pollyanna.jpgI think we all know by now how much I love a good meme.  This is a meme from Kate at Kate’s Book Blog that has been floating around the last couple of days.

1. How old were you when you learned to read and who taught you?

I “read” my first book when I was 3. I had a favorite book as a child, it was a Curious George book, and I requested it every night before I went to bed. And my grandmother read it to me, every night, until I had it memorized. I would pick it up myself and pretend to read it. But then one magical day, I picked it up and suddenly it clicked. I knew the words when I looked at them then, I didn’t have to pretend any more.

2. Did you own any books as a child? If so, what’s the first one that you remember owning? If not, do you recall any of the first titles that you borrowed from the library?

Lord yes. My grandmother was not one to tell a child no when she wanted a book. She joined the Children’s BOTM club just so she could get me books. I had tons of them. She finally gave them to my little cousins when I outgrew the picture and chap books and gradulated to Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume and others.  My grandmother also had a large set of the Pollyana books.  I don’t know if all of them are there, but there were several.  I found a picture of the exact same copy I have.   I also remember getting the Anne of Green Gables books out of the church library over and over and over again.  I don’t know why I never bought my own set. 

3. What’s the first book that you bought with your own money?

I honestly can’t remember. I wish it was something cool, like the Chronicles of Narnia or Jane Eyre or something, but more likely than not it was a Christopher Pike or Sweet Valley High.

4. Were you a re-reader as a child? If so, which book did you re-read most often?
Oh yes. I reread Christopher Pike many times over. And the Narnia books. I read those until they fell apart, and the Little House books as well.

5. What’s the first adult book that captured your interest and how old were you when you read it?

Hmmm…this one took some thought. I think it was in the 4th grade. I remember we took some standardized test and my teacher being so shocked that I was reading at a 12th grade level. I know I was reading stuff like Little Women, the Arabian Nights, Alice in Wonderland, and some dumbed down version of King Arthur. I know it wasn’t the actual Le Morte d’Arthur or even the Once and Future King, but it was some version of it. I’ve had a long love affair with King Arthur. My grandmother had this wondeful set of children’s classics that included all these books. To my adolescent fingers they were huge when in reality they were about 250 pages. But I felt so grown up reading this beautiful hardcover books. It was magical.

6. Are there children’s books that you passed by as a child that you have learned to love as an adult? Which ones?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn immediately comes to mind. As well as The Neverending Story and The Last Unicorn.

Bonus Question: Are there books you remember reading as a child that you either can’t find now or can’t remember the title?

I can’t think of any off the top of my head. I think my grandmother kept all the really special ones for me and I finally brought them all home after she died.

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