Sunday, July 31, 2011

Here's to the Nights...

So, I've been feeling a little nostalgic, I always get this way in the Summer...more on that later...for now, listen to this song that reminds me of summer and makes me miss college, heck it makes me miss high school too! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Six Word Saturday #15

My life in six words
"A world of scenic wonder awaits..."



"...I'd rather be in Colorado."

*Seriously, I'm wearing pants...pants, people!



Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. The full list and linky can be found here. And, here's where I found it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Suggested Summer Reading

Keeping Summer Reading, fresh, fun, priority one
from Teachmama.com
So, I read this post at No Filter Mom about suggested Summer reading for her (sit down for this one please) 5 year old. Here's the post if you are interested in reading it.

Anyway, I'm not sure how I feel about the whole idea for summer reading for little people. I know that I am the kind of parent who has already looked at and bought or asked for books on the list for toddlers and I like the idea of suggested reading at that age because I'm sure there are parents who wouldn't do it otherwise.

But, what about those of us that would? I know that there are people out there who would read to their kidlets all the books on the list, spending the summer checking out the whole list. I know that's what I'd do and I'd make it fun and hopefully help instill a love of reading in my tiny person.

I'm all for summer reading, really. Every year I am amazed that there are students in Honors Sophomore English who complain about the summer reading/don't do the summer reading/don't read at all. It is over-whelming to me that students will perfect their sports skills by doing two-a-days in the hot summer heat, they will hewn their band perfection by practicing their instruments and marching, but many of them will not read to advance their comprehension skills. Not only can I not get these kiddos to read Of Mice and Men and Anthem in the summer (two books totaling about 300 pages), but they don't read for pleasure...no Romance novels, no silly YA adult fiction, no mysteries, they don't talk about books, they don't write about books...it makes me sad.

What does reading do for you? Well...

1] it increases your vocabulary
2] it increases your writing and speaking skills
3] it gets you to think
4] it increases your cultural literacy and background knowledge
5] it makes learning fun!

And, if you practice it everyday, think about how smart you'd be!

But, I suppose I'm preaching to the choir on this one...

"A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others."
 ~ Abraham Lincoln

The students that succeed are those that are AVID readers. I just hope all this summer reading at the elementary level doesn't turn them off to reading the way the implementation of the Advance-Reading (AR) program has.

What do you think about summer reading programs?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Booking Through Thursday (Biographies)













From Booking Through Thursday:
There are so many crappy biographies … would you rather read a poorly-written biography of a fascinating life, OR an exquisitely well-written, wonderful read of one of a not-so-interesting life?
           This is from a couple of Thursdays ago, but, I didn't do it and I like it so...

          I'd much rather read an exquisitely well-written, wonderful read of one of a not-so-interesting life (or, in the case of the book I'm about to talk about, topic).
          For several years now, I've been assigning a project where my students have to read a non-fiction book. I do this, I tell them and myself, so they will have several non-fiction topics under their belt and I will too. I introduce the assignment by doing a book talk over a non-fiction book I've read (several students then fight over this book...I usually let them all read it, I don't mind). Before I started assigning this project I really didn't read non-fiction, I'm finding that, now, I do! Anyway...they have the whole semester to read the book and complete this packet and then at the end of the semester we have book talks, where I have the students write down the title, the author and a phrase about each of the books that are being presented that way at the end they (and, let's be honest, I) have a wonderful list of books to read.
           Every year there's a handful of books that I put on my TBR pile. One year there was a book that I wouldn't have even thought to read had my very nerdy Mathy student (who didn't really like to read and took Honors English because he knew that he should not because he liked it) not given an informative and delightfully geeky presentation. It's called Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea and is about the advent of the number zero a number that we take for granted, but would have been considered heretic at one time, after all how can you 'count' nothing?
          Here's what Barnes and Noble says about it:
A concise and appealing look at the strangest number in the universe and its continuing role as one of the great paradoxes of human thought.

The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshiped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. Now, as Y2K fever rages, it threatens a technological apocalypse. For centuries the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. For zero, infinity's twin, is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything.

In Zero science journalist Charles Seife follows this innocent-looking number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe, its rise and transcendence in the West, and its ever-present threat to modern physics. Here are the legendary thinkers--from Pythagoras to Newton to Heisenberg, from the Kabalists to today's astrophysicists--who have tried to understand it and whose clashes shook the foundations of philosophy, science, mathematics, and religion. Zero has pitted East against West and faith against reason, and its intransigence persists in the dark core of a black hole and the brilliant flash of the Big Bang. Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time, the quest for a theory of everything.
Anyway, I read it and LOVE it and recommend it to everyone...heck, I guess, I'm recommending it to you! Mr. Seife, the author, writes in such a way that I can understand numbers and physics and there's History and intrigue. Seriously, this subject in the hands of an author who couldn't articulate what he or she wanted to say would have made this book soooooo dry and boring.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day Twenty-Nine

Day Twenty-Nine: A Song from your childhood

When I was a kid we used to listen to records a lot. More often than not these records were of music not meant to entertain little people like The Beach Boys, Cliff Richard, ABBA and other music that my aunts and Mom liked.

However, we had a handful of records meant for kids: Disney soundtracks, a Strawberry Shortcake record where she sang "Little Brown Jug", Marcie who was a puppet that sang hymns in a high pitched voice that my sister just loved and a record that we all loved, loved, loved called The Smurfs All Star Show...yes, the Smurfs.

My favorite song from that record, a song we all three still know the words to and a song that is definitely from my childhood is "Silly Shy Smurf" by the Smurfs...feel free to sing along, here are the lyrics.

Song Title: Silly Shy Smurf
From the album: The Smurfs All Star Show Album

Small shy, oh my oh my
won't even try
to make something out of himself
and if you look, smile
he'll run a mile
the poor little, silly shy smurf

Say booh
you know what he'll do
he'll hide in the loo
and probably stay there all day
and if you ask why
he'll never reply the poor little, silly shy smurf

Somebody tell him he musn't be shy
tell him he's lovely and good
Oooh oooh oooh oooh ooh, if somebody only would

Maybe we'll get him to see
he better agree
he's gotta get hold of himself
he really should, must or always be just
the poor, little, silly shy smurf

Feel free to join in by commenting below (I really do love comments, on fb or here), or doing this challenge on your own blog.

The 30 Day Song Challenge
Day 01 – Your favorite song
Day 02 -- Your least favorite song
Day 03 -- A song that makes you happy
Day 04 -- A song that makes you sad
Day 06 -- A song that reminds you of someone
Day 06 -- A song that reminds you of somewhere
Day 07 -- A song that reminds you of a certain event
Day 08 -- A song that you know all the words to
Day 09 -- A song that you can dance to
Day 15 --A song that describes you
Day 16 --A song that you used to love but now hate
Day 17 --A song that you hear often on the radio
Day 18 --A song that you wish you heard on the radio
Day 19 --A song from your favorite album
Day 20 --A song that you listen to when you're angry
Day 21 -- A song that you listen to when you're happy
Day 22 -- A song that you listen to when you're sad
Day 23 -- A song that you want to play at your wedding
Day 24 -- A song that you want to play at your funeral
Day 25 -- A song that makes you laugh
Day 26 -- A song that you can play on an instrument
Day 27 -- A song that you wish you could play
Day 28 -- A song that makes you feel guilty

Monday, July 25, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #31 The Help

I don't really know how to talk about what I feel about this book. I didn't like this book, the thing is I also didn't dislike the book. Hmmm...maybe I'll just break it down into parts:

Things I like about The Help:
1. The story
Oh...I bet if we talked to any person who was "The Help" in the 60s, they would have such wonderful stories to tell and I believe they would be just as rich and diverse as the stories in this book. What a great, refreshing idea for a book!
2. Mae Mobley and Skeeter
Because we get to see Mae Mobley grow into a little girl, I grew to like her. I like that, although she is crying at the end of the book, she's going to be OK and we know it because of the moment she shares with Aibileen..."You is kind. You is smart. You is important." And, Skeeter, well, Skeeter is just so real that you have to love her. I find it interesting that she really isn't a strong person (she really is a woman of her culture) in the sense that we aren't going to see her at a rally, and she would marry out of duty over love, but she does see things through and she is passionate about people. I would love to meet either of these characters.
3. The setting (place and time period)
I love learning about American History, especially when it is about or enhances my knowledge of African-American culture. I also find it most interesting to read about the Civil Rights Movement, what a passionate part of America's culture.

Things I dislike about The Help:
1. The inconsistent and sometimes down-right offensive dialect
I don't like how the African-American dialect is stereotypical and really does phase in and out at inappropriate intervals. It is not consistent and detracts from the reading of the book. Frankly, just a few bits here and there would have been appropriate and we would have gotten the idea. This is not Uncle Tom's Cabin and doesn't need to be written as such, not to mention that this dialect would have been prevalent in not just the African-American community and it didn't seem to be that the dialect that is "The South" could be seen as strongly in any of the White (there I said it!) characters and that was irksome and made me feel a little bit angry while reading.
2. Each character is stereotypical and unoriginal in action and description...OK, so that seems a bit harsh, let me explain...
All the white people, even Skeeter acted how I assume and have seen people in The South act in the 60s in movies or shows or books. And, all the Black people are what I feel stereotypical Black people are, you know when you read about them and don't know them, even Minny. Everything just seemed too black and white and perfect, where's the gray? Where's more of Hilly being that perfect mother, so I'm conflicted about why I hate her? All of these characters stay in the homes in which the author has created them...and, because of that I don't really learn anything I didn't already know about The South in the 60s, even the death of Medgar Evers was sterilized and perfectly trimmed. Let's just say I didn't feel uncomfortable about anything the characters were doing, and, well, I should have!
3. The setting (place and time period)
So much could have been done and was not. I understand that the author stated that she dislikes people writing about her beloved Mississippi unless they are from there. I don't like reading about such a sensitive period in American History without feeling some of the burn and the burden. I don't like that most of the people I talk to who have read this book mention all the anecdotal stories (the pie, the toilets, the drunken wife), when there is so much more that wasn't flushed out enough for people to talk about (the child abuse, the treatment of women, Jim Crow). This book is Civil Rights-lite for those people who want to talk about it as some sort of background to tea and cake...that rubs me the wrong way.

What it amounts to is...I can think of several books and movies (Corrina, Corrina for one) that are in the same genre and do a better job of rendering characters and setting better than this one. But, the darned story is so good that I can't wait to watch the movie, as I'm sure, with such great actors, most of the things I find wrong with the book will be fixed and ring a little truer.

3 Stars
Photobucket

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Something to remember in these Dog Days of Summer...

So, I'll be in Colorado with the tiny tot, without technology, so to speak, for a week. I've written post in advance (one post a day for the year, you know!), but won't be doing much else...I'm going through withdrawls just thinking about it!







Saturday, July 23, 2011

Six Word Saturday #14

My life in six words
Trips with family are the best!










Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. The full list and linky can be found here. And, here's where I found it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Five: Long Journeys

[Source]
I love doing surveys and questionnaires. I love reading peoples answers to surveys and questionnaires. They are a weakness of mine, and in looking for topics for my blog to make it easier for me to post everyday once school started...I found this. So, Fridays we're taking a break from talking about reading and books and words to answer silly surveys and questionnaires. Feel free to post your answers below, on your own blog, or both!!! Ideas from Friday5.org

Long Journeys
  1. What is the longest distance you’ve traveled (in one trip) by foot?
  2. What is the longest trip you’ve taken by car?
  3. What is the longest trip you’ve taken by plane?
  4. What is the longest trip you’ve taken on some kind of water craft?
  5. What is the longest trip you’ve taken aboard a bus or train?
Answers
  1. Um, I walked home from my college classes a lot. I didn't have a car...one day I had to talk all the way across down in the summer heat because my friend forgot to pick me up...what took 20 minutes to drive took about 2 hours to walk...you know staying in the neighborhoods and not walking on the busy streets. It was rewarding to finally make it home.
  2. We went all the way to Rye, TX (about 650 miles) to visit my mother's side of the family, driving there wasn't bad as we stopped in Arlington, but it's so far away that on the way home Tulsa felt like familiar territory.
  3. To London...6 hr. plane ride, I believe.
  4. Not very long as I can't think of anything that didn't involve a pontoon and going to a restaurant at the lake...
  5. My friend and I took the train to Kyle of Lochalsh (which is so beautiful it's unreal) from London...we had a sleeper car on the way there, but not on the way back...we (well, she more than me...I fell asleep) talked to this movie producer about life, the universe and everything as we were seated facing directly in front of him. I always wish that we'd gotten his name...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Booking Through Thursday (Repeats)














From Booking Through Thursday:
What’s the first book that you ever read more than once? (I’m assuming there’s at least one.) What book have you read the most times? And–how many?
           I teach high school English, so there are several books that I read over and over. I read The Scarlet Letter every other year to keep it fresh in my mind, but others, like Ethan Frome, Our Town and The Sun Also Rises, I read every year because I love them.
           There are books series that I love to read that I'll pick up and read over and over and over like The Amber Chronicles, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Time Quartet.
           Frankly, I read and re-read so much that I'm not sure what the first book was, nor am I sure how many times I've re-read certain books...I just do it, it can't be helped.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day Twenty-Eight

Day Twenty-Eight: A Song that makes you feel guilty

I don't really have a song that makes me feel guilty, I've even looked up the word guilty to help me find a song...below is what I came up with...

Guilty
–adjective, guilt·i·er, guilt·i·est.
1.  having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law; justly subject to a certain accusation or penalty; culpable: The jury found her guilty of murder.
2. characterized by, connected with, or involving guilt: guilty intent.
3. having or showing a sense of guilt, whether real or imagined: a guilty conscience.


[from Dictionary.com]

1. um...after I found out all about the sham that is the music piracy industry, I felt really guilty listening to all that music I downloaded from LimeWire or Napster for free in the mid and late 90s...
2. If I Was Your Girl Only Knew by Aaliyah or If by Janet Jackson envoke certain feelings, but I'm pretty sure none of them are, um...guilt...per se...*big grin*
3. sometimes when I listen to Christian music on the radio, I feel guilty that I haven't spent that much time with the Lord and then I remedy that and the feeling passes

What can I say I'm pretty honest and when I'm not I fix it (sometimes it may take a long time to fix, but it ALWAYS gets fixed)...hence, no songs that make me feel guilt...What kind of a question is that anyway?

Feel free to join in by commenting below (I really do love comments, on fb or here), or doing this challenge on your own blog.

The 30 Day Song Challenge
Day 01 – Your favorite song
Day 02 -- Your least favorite song
Day 03 -- A song that makes you happy
Day 04 -- A song that makes you sad
Day 06 -- A song that reminds you of someone
Day 06 -- A song that reminds you of somewhere
Day 07 -- A song that reminds you of a certain event
Day 08 -- A song that you know all the words to
Day 09 -- A song that you can dance to
Day 15 --A song that describes you
Day 16 --A song that you used to love but now hate
Day 17 --A song that you hear often on the radio
Day 18 --A song that you wish you heard on the radio
Day 19 --A song from your favorite album
Day 20 --A song that you listen to when you're angry
Day 21 -- A song that you listen to when you're happy
Day 22 -- A song that you listen to when you're sad
Day 23 -- A song that you want to play at your wedding
Day 24 -- A song that you want to play at your funeral
Day 25 -- A song that makes you laugh
Day 26 -- A song that you can play on an instrument
Day 27 -- A song that you wish you could play

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Concert #2

Um...what can I say, I have such diverse taste!

Monday, July 18, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #30 One Day

Please be warned this blog post contains SPOILERS for the following books: One Day, Message in a Bottle, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Lord of the Rings, The Way We Were, A Walk to Remember, Atonement, Bridges of Madison County, The Time Travelers Wife, The English Patient

Here's what I posted on GoodReads just mere minutes after finishing this book:


This is the first book that is so beautiful that I want to quote it and keep it with me, and, yet I hate it...I mean seriously hate it! I am sorry I read it, if I hadn't bought it on the Nook I'd burn it. I don't want to read anymore books by this author just incase he tricks me again! I want to...I am crying...shame on David Nicholls...*insert cuss-words here* And, no I WILL NOT be watching the movie...seriously! Yes, I hated the ending that much, not since Atonement have I felt this emotionally cheated.
Emma Morley dies and no, I,  in know way, saw that coming. Why didn't I see that coming because this book One Day by David Nicholls (a name that will be seared in my brain so I don't slip up and buy one of this books) was not advertised as a book in the same vain as Message in a Bottle. See, the thing is I hate when books have needless death and dying. I hate books that intentionally kill off characters you love (think the Weasley twin in HP7) to make you cry, not to propel the plot along. And, in this book, after reading about 360 pages of a wonderfully tormented friendship on the verge of something more I was relating to the characters, to the places (I mean Emma has a flat in Earl's Court, really, Earl's Court) and I was relating to the hurt and desire of wanting your best friend...hmm...I was relating soooo much, that when Emma died I felt like a friend died and my breathing became erratic and my world darkened. Frankly, if I'd known this was going to happen, I wouldn't have read the book as I do not read such books. And, that's just it...I feel that Mr. Nicholls had Emma die towards the end (because yes, there's still like 30ish pages after her death...I don't know why...I suppose so you can short out your Nook crying while reading) because that was the ending no one expected. This is what I feel Nicholas Sparks, who is on my banned book list did with Message in a Bottle and what I feel Ian McEwan did in Atonement (what a shame the ending of that was!) and what I feel The Time Travelers Wife was, I mean that book doesn't even adhere to the science of time-travel or the science it creates in the story (if you can...um...er...'meet' yourself, you can also 'save' yourself...I mean he even knew what was over there in the forest...gah!). I'm not into gimmicks and I am not into tricks while reading. I don't have to guess the ending and I don't have to see it coming, but I do have to feel, at the end, that the book and its characters led to the conclusion.

I have for many years read books that use to death or separation to propel the plot. I was a little sad that Boromir died in Lord of the Rings, I was a little sad when Jaimie died in A Walk to Remember, and, I cried like someone died at the end of Bridges of Madison County (you know the part where all she has to do is get out of the truck and leave her whole life behind to be with the one she loves and she's there grabbing at the handle and you know she isn't going to do it, but you want her to, you really want her to), I don't mind that The English Patient dies, I don't mind that Hubbell and Katie never get together in The Way We Were. I understand weakness and I understand death when it is used in a proper way to drive home the major themes and symbols of a book or movie. Nicholls used Emma's death to do neither.

I read a review on GoodReads (I read many reviews looking for closure and answers) that talked about how David Nicholls wrote a book that didn't really address any audience and therefore made a certain type of audience incredibly upset. This is true, maybe he didn't understand his audience. I know I'm all for learning about relationship mistakes in a work of fiction, I just don't need characters to die to do that. I also know that there are people who love this book, just like there are people who can't get enough of Nicholas Sparks.

I have had enough of both.

Photobucket2 Stars

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day...

It's time for a concert people!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Six Word Saturday #13

My life in six words
Introducing the adorable couple, my granparents!

*I figured I talked about my grandfather enough that you needed to properly meet my grandparents. My grandfather passed away in 1987 and my grandmother in 1982.







Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. The full list and linky can be found here. And, here's where I found it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Vacation Questionnaire

To keep with the theme of the week, here's a Vacation Questionnaire, I edited, and here is where I found it!
Feel free to answer or post on your own blog!

1. If you could visit any state in the US, which would it be and why?
I have never been to California and I hear I would like it. I hear that I would especially like San Diego and Sacremento...I'd also like to go to San Francisco. My friend Julie just got back from there, and she has some beautiful pictures.

2. If you could visit any country in the world, other than your own, which would it be and why?England, of course.

3. Have you ever driven across several states/provinces/countries?
Yes, to go to Indiana and to go to Texas. I would like to do more traveling.

4. Have you ever visited someplace you consider exotic? Where was it?
No, unless you count Amsterdam...I don't really like exotic, as that just means HOT.

5. What was your favorite "travel" vacation? Why?
I've already posted about it, but I loved going to South Dakota with Christopher Lee. You can see the post here.

6. Have you ever played tourist in your own home city/state (if international, country)? Explain.
My friends and I have gone to Mansfield, my hometown, where I played tour guide and I know my way around Chicago...decently (which is a lot for a clueless, directionless gal like me) and my friend and I spent two weeks in England and Scotland where I played tour guide a fair amount of time.

7. Are you a museum visitor, beachcomber or an amusement seeker?
Museum visitor. Although for the sake of the vacation or the kidlet I can do the other two.

Um...we are in the Family restroom at the airport in Atlanta.
The Family restroom is a big space where you can get reorganized and refreshed
while letting your kid run around freely...er...I was washing my hands when this happened.
I took the picture, as I feel she needs to remember these things, and then changed her clothes and washed her body because a] we had time, b] the family bathroom gives you room to do all that and c] you can never be too sure.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

On the menu for today...

...we visit...*drum roll please*


28 rides for children Lila's age,
30+ rides for children my nieces' age...
who could ask for more!
 That's right people, we're going to Lancaster, Pennsylvania...Dutch Country!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vacation is a time for yearning...

          OK, so if I remember the story correctly...my sister's husband received a certificate for an iPad, they used that certificate and upgraded to an iPad 2...whatever the story is I want one (I've been playing with Kim's all week long, frankly, I'm not sure I've put it down, as Kim takes the laptop to work), it does almost everything I want it to do (and, I hear that if you buy accessories for it, it can do even more)...Lila wants one too! Hmmm...Christmas wishes!



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wonder Book is Wunderbar!

Today after my sister got home from work we went to Wonder Books (Book Alcove). I love to visit used book stores in other states and it was nice of my sister to let me spend a couple of hours rummaging around the books looking for certain books...as they, like all good used book stores, do not keep a computerized inventory and my sister complained about the smell (old books...ie. mildewy).


It's kind of hard to find because it's in a building behind a strip mall and down and hill.

They were having a buy one get one of children's and young adult books...um...so, I bought several *cough, cough* books...here's a list:

1] Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary...it was on my mind because of last weeks BTT.
2] Final Friends Book 1: Then Party by Christopher Pike...I've been missing it for years, I mean since the 90s.
3] OK, so I got on a memory lane kick and bought several thrillers from my youth, including...Secret, Silent, Screams by Joan Lowery Nixon.
4] Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher...it's one of those great teenage boy coming of age in the midst of tragedy books like Ordinary People.
5] Danny The Champion of the World by Roald Dahl...a book I've been wanting to read since I saw the movie with Jeremy Irons and his son.
6] Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger...a book I read with my niece, a book that really touched me as a student and, now as a teacher and parent.

And, we'll have to go back again...soon!

PS...I just typed this on my sisters iPad and will add links and such later! Update: links and pic added 7/17/11

Monday, July 11, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #29 Stardust

          My sister is a lover of Fantasy. She's read more Fantasy books that I know and has turned me on to several series I didn't know existed. The problem *whispers* is that if she knows a book is a movie, she watches it instead of reads it (I know, it's shocking). A few years ago she raved about this movie she watched called "Stardust", to this day she loves it despite the fact that Claire Danes is in it and she claims that my mother (who dislikes all things magical) likes it and has seen it several times. I have never seen the movie, but when I saw the book at the used bookstore I recognized the title and bought it, not knowing the plot.
          The plot goes a little something like this...from Goodreads:
Stardust is an utterly charming fairy tale in the tradition of The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story. Neil Gaiman, creator of the darkly elegant Sandman comics and author of The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, tells the story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love. His adventures in the magical land will keep you turning pages as fast as you can--he and the star escape evil old witches, deadly clutching trees, goblin press-gangs, and the scheming sons of the dead Lord of Stormhold. The story is by turns thrillingly scary and very funny. You'll love goofy, earnest Tristran and the talking animals, gnomes, magic trees, and other irresistible denizens of Faerie that he encounters in his travels. Stardust is a perfect read-aloud book, a brand-new fairy tale you'll want to share with a kid, or maybe hoard for yourself. 
          I love, love, love, love, love this book. I've already recommended it to all my friends and my sister (she just bought it...*whispers* to read). Frankly, this book has everything you could possibly want in a book lovely dialogue, romance, fights, intrigue and a unicorn, yes! This really is a book for everybody and I totally understand why they made it into a movie, as you don't really have to be a lover of Fantasy to understand it. I think that if you read this book you'll want to read more Fantasy and you may even want to read more Neil Gaiman. What I like about this book is that it's easy enough to read in a day, but still for those who want something with more depth, perfect for a summer read. I finished it on a Saturday in a house full of children. I could not put it down.
          That's what happened to me...I'm not really sure that I'm going to watch "Stardust", as I don't want to ruin my love of the book, but I'm now reading American Gods, and I read his blog and follow him on Twitter. I think Twitter was made for such things!

5 Stars


This book is recommended for people who also enjoy: The Princess Bride, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Time Quartet, The Last Unicorn, The Neverending Story (which I have only seen, but own), The Amber Chronicles, Ella Enchanted, The Lord of the Rings.

If you are new or old to the Neil Gaiman experience check out his blog. An awesome post with a lovely Craig Fergeson interview can be found here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I'm A Reader...Yea!

I have read 3 books and 80 pages of Vanity Fair since last Monday.

1. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
2. One Day by David Nicholl
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Sorry, I'm posting so late I was reading!
Hm...maybe I'll quick my job, so I can read like this all the time!

Reviews soon-ish...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Six Word Saturday #12

My life in six words
Can you guess where I am?

It might take a minute to make the rounds this Saturday...





Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. The full list and linky can be found here. And, here's where I found it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Month of True Vacation

This is my July



Now the BIG question: What to read, what to read?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Booking Through Thursday (Dog Days)














From Booking Through Thursday:


Since my dog is turning 10 today...what animal-related books have you read? Which do you love? Do you have a favorite literary dog? (Snoopy, anyone?)
           So, at first I thought I wouldn't be able to answer this question as I hate all books about animals (as the animal usually gets some sort of disease or gets in an accident and dies and all those wonderful pages of getting to know a pet and loving said pet are there just so you cry harder at the end...like Marley and Me) and then I realized not all animal books are like that and while I've read those requisite books that are (Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows) I've read many that aren't, so here's my list of top books about animals. Oh and before I begin the list I don't have a favorite literary dog (Snoopy cartoons and books, except for Snoopy Come Home, are boring), but I do have a favorite literary...cat, Heathcliff. I own at least 8 Heathcliff books that I bought from Tabs or Scholastics in like 4th Grade. Ok, now on with the list. All summaries are from Barnes and Noble.

1. Blitzcat
In Robert Westall's critically acclaimed novel, a courageous black cat journeys through war-torn England searching for her beloved master. "A moving and stirring novel".--School Library Journal.

Annotation

During World War II a black cat journeys all across war-ravaged England in an effort to track down her beloved master.
2. Bunnicula
"Move over, Dracula!"* Could the bunny really be a vampire? The Monroes found him in a movie theater while Dracula was playing. Now all their vegetables are turning white! Chester, the Monroes' cat, sets out to save the world from the vampire bunny. Harold the dog tries to stop Chester before it's too late! And the rest, as they say, is history.

In the more than twenty-five years since the publication of Deborah and James Howe's Bunnicula, the book and its six sequels have sold close to nine million copies, won several kid-voted state awards, and become contemporary classics. Now the first three books are available in this handsome boxed set with stunning art by C. F. Payne.
*New York Times
3. White Fang
"So he became the enemy of his kind, domesticated wolves that they were, softened by the fires of man, weakened in the sheltering shadow of man's strength." -White Fang
A companion novel to Jack London's The Call of the Wild, White Fang is the story of a wild dog's journey toward becoming civilized in the Canadian territory of Yukon at the end of the nineteenth century. White Fang is characteristic of London's precise prose style and innovation use of voice and perspective. Much of the novel is written from the viewpoint of the animals, allowing London to explore how animals view their world and how they view humans. White Fang relies on his instincts as well as his strength and courage to survive in the Yukon wilderness-despite both animal and human predators-and eventually comes to make his peace with man.
4. The Call of the Wild
A classic novel of adventure, drawn from London's own experiences as a Klondike adventurer, relating the story of a heroic dog, who, caught in the brutal life of the Alaska Gold Rush, ultimately faces a choice between living in man's world and returning to nature.
5. Because of Winn Dixie
One summer day, Opal goes into a supermarket and comes out with a scraggly dog that she names Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, her preacher father finally tells her ten things about her absentee mother, and Opal makes lots of unusual friends in her quirky Florida town. And because of Winn-Dixie, Opal grows to learn that friendship -- and forgiveness -- can sneak up on you like a sudden storm.
6. It's Like This, Cat
My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy. This is one reason I got a cat.
Dave Mitchell and his father yell at each other a lot, and whenever the fighting starts, Dave's mother gets an asthma attack. That's when Dave storms out of the house. Then Dave meets Tom, a strange boy who helps him rescue Cat. It isn't long before Cat introduces Dave to Mary, a wonderful girl from Coney Island. Slowly Dave comes to see the complexities in people's lives and to understand himself and his family a little better.
7. National Velvet

The timeless story of spirited Velvet Brown and her beloved horse has thrilled generations of readers. And now the republication of this classic story in a fresh, up-to-date package will charm confirmed fans while captivating new ones. Fourteen-year-old Velvet is determined to turn her untamed horse into a champion and personally ride him to victory in the world's greatest steeplechase, the Grand National.
8. Ghost Horse
Emily Clark has just moved. She doesn’t like her new house, and she
doesn’t like her new town. But one night she wakes up to find a horse in her
backyard—a ghost horse! Where did he come from? And why is he haunting
Emily’s backyard? Only by solving the mystery can Emily set the ghost horse
free.
9. Ribsy
Henry Huggins's dog, Ribsy, is hopelessly lost in a huge shopping mall parking lot. It's raining hard, the pavement is slick, horns are honking, and drivers are shouting. When Ribsy thinks he has found the Hugginses' new station wagon at last, he jumps in the open tailgate window and falls asleep, exhausted. When he wakes up find himself in the wrong car, lots of little girls pet him and make plans to give him a bath. All Ribsy wants to do is go home to Henry. Instead, he's about to begin the liveliest adventure of his life.
10. The Last Unicorn
From The Last Unicorn:
"The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam, but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea..."
11. Millions of Cats
Wanda Gág's enchanting tale of the very old man who went off in search of the prettiest cat in the world for his wife and returned instead with millions to choose from has become an American classic, widely recognized as the first modern picture book. First published in 1928, it was a recipient of the 1929 Newbery Honor Book Award and has gone on to sell over a million copies. With its charming illustrations and rhythmic, sing-song refrain, Millions of Cats remains as beloved today as it was when it first appeared three-quarters of a century ago.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day Twenty-seven

Day Twenty-Seven: A Song you wish you could play

          I remember in 5th grade choosing to play the clarinet.
          All the parents who had children interested in playing an instrument were invited to a meeting in the band room. There students who knew what they wanted to play were matched with sellers of the instruments and those who didn't know were in invited to test out instruments to determine what suited them best. I knew I wanted to play the clarinet. As I said last week, my grandfather played the clarinet and he and I had already had, what I felt was a mature conversation, on the subject. We purchased a Bundy clarinet and I brought it to my grandfather's house that weekend to show him.
         I will never forget that weekend sitting in the living room watching my grandfather make my clarinet do things I never would. He played the scales (even the high notes) without squeaking, he played soft melodies and he played big Band music, a type of music I learned to love because of him. I can remember listening to Benny Goodman and Count Basie, Artie Shaw. Glen Miller and Django Reinhardt on those old heavy 78s. Later in my life I'd find Robert Johnson, Billie Holiday and the Blues, I attribute this find to my grandfather for putting me on the path to this great time in the History of American music. He even pulled out records of his Army days and he would point out instruments to me, so I'd know later the different sounds in a Jazz band and could tell the different between the brassy trumpet and sweet clarinet over the Jazz guitar or trumbone.
         If I could play any song I'd like it to be Sing, Sing, Sing by Benny Goodman, the Clarinet King, a song my grandfather loved and so do I.

Feel free to join in by commenting below (I really do love comments, on fb or here), or doing this challenge on your own blog.

The 30 Day Song Challenge
Day 01 – Your favorite song
Day 02 -- Your least favorite song
Day 03 -- A song that makes you happy
Day 04 -- A song that makes you sad
Day 06 -- A song that reminds you of someone
Day 06 -- A song that reminds you of somewhere
Day 07 -- A song that reminds you of a certain event
Day 08 -- A song that you know all the words to
Day 09 -- A song that you can dance to
Day 15 --A song that describes you
Day 16 --A song that you used to love but now hate
Day 17 --A song that you hear often on the radio
Day 18 --A song that you wish you heard on the radio
Day 19 --A song from your favorite album
Day 20 --A song that you listen to when you're angry
Day 21 -- A song that you listen to when you're happy
Day 22 -- A song that you listen to when you're sad
Day 23 -- A song that you want to play at your wedding
Day 24 -- A song that you want to play at your funeral
Day 25 -- A song that makes you laugh
Day 26 -- A song that you can play on an instrument

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