Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I still remember the snow.....I just don't miss it!
"All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I went for a walk
On a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
California dreamin'
On such a winter's day."
- Mammas and Pappas,
California Dreamin'

It is just about here. The season that just happens to be my favorite: Winter.  Not so much for all the things that people do in the winter such as:  skiing the slopes, hitting snowmobile trails, blazing cross-country ski trails, doing a Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation slide down a massive hill in one of those little snow saucers.  Don't get me wrong, I find nothing wrong with all of the outdoor cold and snow activity, being from the Chicago, Illinois area, I have indulged in most of it.  I even owned a toboggan when my kids were small and took them tobogganing until one of my sons decided to go down the chute with his hands on the outside of the sled - OUCH.  The burn scars are still evident on the back of his hand.  Well, I don't have to have the snow and chestnuts roasting on an open fire, I have plenty of cold nose memories.  (see photo) 

I would love to see some of your favorite snow photos too...don't be shy, I did it....

I am faring very well in my new adopted home of Tucson, Arizona...without the snow and cold, that's just how some parts of the country celebrate the season.  As a matter of fact, my plants in my yard are still in bloom right now.  I am really talking about entire fall and winter season with the holidays starting with October and Halloween, November and Thanksgiving, now December and Christmas.  This time of year is just marvelous!  Everyone is just a little bit different this time of year.  People who are usually Scrooge-like through the rest of the year, have a little more spring in their step, a little more twinkle in their eyes, and possibly a little more tolerance in their attitudes.  You find yourself striking up conversations in lines at stores with perfect strangers (at least I do). 
I'm sure one of the reasons winter is it is my favorite time of year is because I don't have to make excuses for wanting to curl up with a good book and read.  After all, outside activities have slowed down because the of the shortened daylight hours.  

I love reading nonsensical things in the winter.  A favorite of mine is trivia.  I was in a movie theater recently and was upset when they finished the little trivia challenges before the previews - I wanted more.  As a result of my love of trivia, I am very good at games like Trivia Pursuit or Jeopardy and I sometimes feel like Rosie Perez as Gloria in the movie White Men Can’t Jump...I should go on Jeopardy because my head is full of useless trivia information.  Anyway, I thought we could have fun in this blog…not that I haven’t been having fun all along.  I am going to throw trivia at you guys and hopefully you will comment back with some of the answers.  Just enter the number of the question, and your answer.  I’ll be changing the trivia questions weekly, so make sure you come back.  Maybe we could think of some type of prizes…..

1.     Who is the composer of the music used for “The Nutcracker”, a Christmas ballet favorite? 
2.    What is the busiest shopping day of the year?
3.    What is the third-largest occasion for Americans to consume food?
4.    What do the items in The "Twelve Days of Christmas" represent?
5.    What are the four ghosts in Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol"
6.    Where do cows have their sweat glands in their body?
7.    How much does our Earth weigh?
8.    Which man-made place on Earth appears the brightest from space?
9.    What was the famous Walt Disney, afraid of?
10.  Which entertainer passed away on April Fool’s Day in 1984?

Friday, November 4, 2011


I know this is a loaded questions and one to which there may actually be no answer but here it is......

What is your idea of Thanksgiving?  By this I mean, what does it actually mean to you?  Is it just a day filled with food, family, festivities, fun, football, etc, etc, etc?  Oh yes, and don't forget Charlie Brown and company in Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade !

Or is there a deeper meaning for you? 

I'm stretching my memory here for my elementary school years, but I can still remember Ms. Bastinelli, Ms. Norris, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Garrison, and others at McKinley Elementary School teaching about Thanksgiving and it's meaning.  We learned about a group of religious dissidents who believed it was necessary to separate from the Church of England.  Persecuted in England, these "Separatists" moved to Holland in 1607/1608.  The group, joined by other colonists recruited by the venture's financial backers, began the move to America in 1620 upon the Mayflower, the first of four ships used in the crossing. 
We learned of their inititial hardships the first year.  During the first winter in the New World, the colonists suffered greatly from diseases like scurvy, lack of shelter, and general conditions onboard ship. Forty-five of the 102 emigrants died the first winter. Additional deaths during the first year meant that only 53 people were alive in November 1621 to celebrate the First Thanksgiving.  Of the 18 adult women, 13 died the first winter, while another died in May. Only four adult women were left alive for the Thanksgiving.  No women died aboard the ship, though a newborn baby and three men, including the captain, did.  Anyway, the event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated to give thanks to God for guiding them safely to the New World.  The first Thanksgiving feast lasted 3 days, and provided enough food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans.  Some of the foods they ate at that celebration are still incorporated in one form or another, into our Thanksgiving dinners today such as:  corn, squash, duck, turkey, venison, berries and fruit, vegetables (peas, pumpkins, and potatoes). 

I say all that to say....I don't think we are properly teaching many of our children the real meaning of Thanksgiving.  I have had grandchildren come home from school on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving with a little drawing of a turkey or a pilgrim hat or an Indian feather, but you ask them to explain what Thanksgiving is all about and many of them go back to the holiday with family and friends and food.  Do you know of any children or young people that no matter how much they have, they just are not satisfied?  I have seen children rip open present after present on Christmas and instead of showing any real interest in what they have in front of them, they are looking for more.  There just seems to be something missing.....dare I say gratitude?

Gratitude is a simple act of showing appreciation and being thankful.  It doesn't take up a lot of our time or effort to be thankful so why is it that people are not showing appreciation for the things that they are receiving in life?

We often have the mentality that we ar entitled to little things in life.  This causes us to be ungrateful and think that things should happen in a certain way for us.  I thoroughly believe that people with this mind set will never be really happy no matter what they acquire, because they will feel they are always lacking.  A vicious cycle if you will....the more you have the more you want, the more you feel you are entitled to because someone else has it.  I guess being born poor (although we didn't realize it, because most of our friends were poor too) I have learned not only to be grateful, but to marvel at what I have in my life.  I'm sure not much by many standards, but abundance to me, because of what I see on cable televsion channels like Travel, National Geographic, A&E, and others every day in many third world countries.  Countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia where there is no clean water to drink.  Food is at a premium, sometimes totally dependent upon aid from other countries such as...wait for it...United States of America.  Some of our associates (I dare not call them friends) with ungrateful attitudes should wake up in one of these countries like Vic Morrow in the Twilight Zone Movie.  I'd be willing to bet if they made it back over here, they would look at what they had with a whole new perspective. 

No matter how bad some of the people in this country think things are, or how ungrateful they are for what they have, just think about the people that are dying - literally - everyday trying to get into this country.  They are swimming, digging underground tunnels, climbing fences, crossing deserts, you name it, they are trying it to get here for a better life, much like the pilgrims.  I bet you when they make it here, they know how and why they are celebrating.  So we make think it's broken, but we are living in one of the greatest nations in the world.  I used to say with pride "The Greatest" and I hope to soon be able to use that label again. 

Oh, you thought I wasn't going to talk about reading?  Come on now, you know me better than that!  Another thing I am thankful for is being able to go into a bookstore, a library, a trift store, a grocery store, an airport, the list goes on and on and on....and be able to pick up a book to buy, rent, borrow, trade.  There are still communist countries where even what you read or see on television or hear on radio is restricted to what the government wants you to read or see or hear.

Yes, my friends, I know what Thanksgiving is all about......comment with your point/counterpoints.  I eagerly await any and all debates. 

Oh yes, and enjoy your celebrations.  I have nothing against them, I am going to indulge myself.  I can hardly wait for my sister's pie.  I don't even care what kind of pie....mmmm mmmm mmmm!  But let us not forget the reason we are celebrating....

And in closing, some Thanksgiving reads:

Berne, Suzanne. Ghost at the Table
Thanksgiving at the New England home of the second of three sisters marks a reunion between the three Fiske sisters–including Cynthia, the youngest, an author writing a book about Mark Twain’s daughters–and their long-estranged father, in a portrait of the unraveling of a family, set against the famous nineteenth-century author’s own family dysfunction.

Bittle, Camilla. Dear Family
In this Massachusetts setting, Ed Beane loses his job in 1935, his wife, two children, and widowed mother must go to live with Dorothy’s mother on her farm, where they continue to support each other through a series of family celebrations.

Bowden, Susan. Bitter Harvest.
An estranged grandmother and granddaughter have a Thanksgiving reunion in this tale of romantic suspense.

Boyle, T. Coraghessan. The Tortilla Curtain.
Illegal Mexican immigrants clash through a series of coincidences with a wealthy Jewish family in California around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Cross, Amanda. A Trap for Fools
Kate Fansler Mystery

Davis, Krista. The Diva Runs Out of Thyme.
Determined to take down her childhood rival at the Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown, Sophie Winston instead finds herself accused of murder when her quest for basting the perfect turkey goes horribly wrong, in a mystery complete with tasty recipes and entertaining tips. Domestic Diva series; bk.1.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Okay, so in our previous blogs we have talked about fall colors around the country and about fall reading material and how it can be a little heavier - in more ways than one. Well, I think it's only fair we talk about what the end of October makes you really want.....SCARE ME TO DEATH.
It's everywhere!  Stroll through your neighborhood.  Walk down the aisles of your local Walmart, Kmart, Walgreen's, Lowes, Target, Halloween store, etc., etc., everywhere, anywhere ...you can't miss it.  There is just something about having your hair stand on end or your heart race out of control, or a sensation of lacking oxygen to the point you feel you may faint. How about the feeling you get riding on the Demon or one of the other roller coaster at Great America amusement park (not very amusing for me).  It's a feeling that you can't explain that starts with a tingling in your toes and works it's way up to the trembling and quaking in your stomach, up to the tightening in your chest, to the knot in your throat until it emanates in a blood curdling scream you didn't even know you had inside you.   People want to be scared

Let us start with the way we are decorating our homes.  We are decorating in ways never dreamed of 10 or 15 years ago.  I have learned that Halloween decorations are outselling Christmas decorations now.  There are elaborate graveyards complete with headstones, massive skeletons swinging from trees, monsters that come up out of the ground (thank goodness in Tucson the ground is so hard, I haven't seen any of those around my neighborhood yet), witches hanging from rooftops, doorway hangings that absolutely terrify toddlers.  There are orange and purple light sets that decorate trees, rooftops, windows, bushes and fences.   And don't forget the old stand-by haunted houses, haunted mazes, haunted amusement parks...well I think you get the idea.  We want our senses challenged in macabre ways.

Take a walk with me down memory lane of the horror movies and how popular they have always been.  My husband still remembers and talks about his older sister taking him when he was very, very young (too young to be viewing a movie like that one) to the movie theater to see Wolfman with Lon Chaney. Can you say Frankenstein or The Mummy with Boris Karloff or Dracula with Bela Lugosi?  I think these were the original 'scare me to death' movies that helped spawn many of the ones that are enjoyed by many people today. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge anybody their titillations, but I personally have sworn off of most of the horror movies of today and the past maybe 15 years or so.  The special effects that started with the Friday the 13th and Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies just made them a little too realistic for me.  I just cannot  do any of the slasher movies, believe me I tried for the sake of my marriage and my children.   Everyone loved the slashers except me.  Don't even mention Candyman!!! OMG!  I would totally freak out if I saw one of my kids standing in front of a mirror repeating the "Candyman, Candyman, Candyman" phrase that supposedly brought him out of the glass.  I can't even tell you how that movie terrified me.  I prefer suspense thrillers like: Se7en with Brad Pitt, Silence of the Lambs (trilogy), Inception and Shutter Island with Leonardo DiCaprio, the Indiana Jones series….those types of movies.  Suspense and thrills without so much of the blood that comes along with slashers. 
All the above leads me to – you guessed it – wonderful ‘scare me to death’ - 'thrill me and chill me' novels.  How about a little hair-raising with Stephen King?  Too many to count!  The Stand, It, Salem’s Lot, Cycle of the Werewolf, The Shining, and the one that had me looking under my bed in the middle of the night…Pet Semetary.  The list is endless.  What about Dean Koontz’s Sole Survivor, Shattered,  Demon Seed, Intensity or Watchers.  Mr. Koontz also has too many to count!  I think you are getting my drift though….there is nothing like using your own imagination when reading a book.  You get to put whatever leading man or woman in the starring role.  You get to make a scene as bloody or suspenseful as you can take.  A good author leads you and guides you but gives you enough leeway to use your imagination. A well written book will have different slants to tantalize every reader.  That is why book discussion groups are here to stay.  You may see something completely different from what another reader sees and the only way this gets brought forward is by discussing the book.

Who’s your favorite horror author?  I’ll lead with a list….I am actually listing them in the order of their popularity along with one of their works of fiction.  You fill in the blanks with others you enjoy and

 H.P. Lovecraft ……………..The Dunwich Horror
Stephen King …………….….Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Richard Matheson …….….Stir of Echoes
Edgar Allen Poe ……………The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Clive Barker …………………The Hellbound Heart
Robert Bloch ……………….Psycho!
Ramsey Campbell ……….Demons by Daylight
M.R. James ………………….Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
Peter Straub………………..Shadowland
Joe R. Lansdale ……….…The Drive in  

Friday, October 7, 2011


I’m sure I have mentioned this before, and I am also very sure I will mention it again…I have my mother to thank for instilling the importance of reading in me.  Our trips to the public library when I was a young girl are still precious memories for me.  I remember trying to understand the concept of someone willing to give me book after book after book – week after week after week – and all I had to do was hand them this little blue card with my name and a number on it.  I mean, I couldn’t even borrow a pencil from one of my siblings that easily!   
 I remember waiting for the latest Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries because I had read all the older copies, much like I wait now for the latest Cornwell, Patterson, Connelly, Johansen, Hoag, and others.  All of the Hardy Boys titles seem to start with The Secret of, or The Mystery of, or The Clue of…  I could never get enough of them; I could let my imagination run wild!   I’m sure some of the deductive reasoning garnered in those early mystery days has helped me many times in my life.  I guess you really never think about where your thought patterns originated, but  I have always had a gift at figuring out the ‘who done its’.  I would watch Perry Mason with my mother (her favorite show) and I would always figure out who the killer was long before Hamilton Burger did.  Ha ha ha.  It also gave me somewhat of an edge in raising 5 children.  Many times the old “Not Me” just didn’t work in our household.  I would get out the old Sherlock Holmes cap and spyglass and before long I would know exactly who had broken the aquarium, eaten all the Twinkies in the middle of the night, or taken something that belonged to someone else.  It gives me the greatest pleasure to watch all of the new detective shows now on TV, and unravel the mystery before the end.  The only problem is….I am soooo darn hard on myself when I don’t get it right.

André Kertész (1894-1985) was one of the most inventive, influential, and prolific photographers in history. For 50 years he took pictures of people reading: rich and poor, young and old, white and black, reading different things—books, magazines, newspapers, documents. The locations vary from slums to penthouse, from country setting to academic study.
Totally oblivious of the photographer, the subjects read while sitting, standing, walking, riding; they read in every conceivable place - at home, in the office, on the streetcar, on rooftops, in public parks, on crowded streets, the restaurant, the theater, the university, etc., etc., etc.    His inspiring book On Reading presents a series of these photographs taken in Hungary, France, and the United States and captures and celebrates the absorptive power and pleasure of this isolated activity. It was first published in 1971, in New York, by Grossman Publishers and has recently been reissued by W.W. Norton.  I have included just three of the photographs that struck me as especially remarkable.  I plan on going to the library and trying to get a copy of the book.  This is one of those books that I don’t think a Kindle will do justice to… 

There are many benefits to reading. I won’t try to go into detail on each one, but here are several for you to think about:
  • a good story can help you forget some of the problems in your own life.
  • can help you to cope with stress and anxiety
  • provides relaxation and escapism
  • sets a good example for younger generations.
  • is an active mental process.
  • improves your vocabulary.
  • gives you a glimpse into other cultures and places of the world.
  • improves concentration:
    • It requires you to focus on what you are reading for long periods.
  • builds self-esteem:
    • The more you read, the more knowledgeable you become.
  • improves memory:
    • Many studies show if you don’t use your memory, you lose it.
  • improves your discipline:
    • Adding book reading to your daily schedule improves discipline.
  • you always have something to talk about.
  • reduces boredom. 
I can actually go on and on about the benefits of reading, but I’m sure you get the idea.  If you want to break the monotony of a lazy, uncreative and boring life, go and grab an interesting book. Turn the pages to explore a new world filled with information and imagination.

Friday, September 30, 2011


"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all." - Stanley Horowitz

Fall in the Sonoran Desert - Arizona

Fall at Lake Tahoe - California

Ahhhhh, fall is in the air.  I know this because the daylight hours continue to back down, and with that, the temperature pattern begins to recede.  In some places it is cool and crisp with leaves changing colors.  In other places it is cool and damp with a lot of rain in the forecast.  In still other places folks – me included - are finally getting a chance to get out of summer heat hibernation and start their fall and winter outside activities.  Whatever category you find yourself in, you may also find yourself with extra time for…..dare I say it…. reading?

Fall at the Kankakee State Park - IL
It doesn’t seem to matter where you are geographically; it just seems you always busier in the summer months.  Vacations, children’s activities, summer holidays, family reunions, many things make us have a tendency to grab that small, light reading material that we can get through quickly.  Now that days are getting a little shorter, and outside activities are becoming a little more sporadic, don’t be afraid of that big book on the shelf.  Embrace the large, heavy, volume you had pushed aside for lighter summer fare.  Fall reading is kind of like fall clothing – just a little bulkier.  We’ll save the real heavy stuff for when snow starts falling.
Fall in Cuyahoga County - Ohio
I did a little searching and found some favorites for fall reading, and lo and behold several of my favorite books EVER were on the list!  Of course how and when they became my favorites are really a mystery to me…it just seems like they always were.  Because they are some of my favorites and because I am writing the blog (ha ha) I’m going to list them first.  That by no means lessens the other books in the list; it’s just that this blogger decided to take liberties with the order of things.  Please feel free to comment and give us your fall favorites – I always welcome suggestions.  Enjoy your weather - whatever that may be - and enjoy your reading.

 East of Eden by John Steinbeck

"First published in 1952, 'East of Eden' is the work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence. A masterpiece of Steinbeck's later years, 'East of Eden' is a powerful and vastly ambitious novel that is at once a family saga and a modern retelling of the Book of Genesis."

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
"One of the best-loved stories of all time, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' has earned many distinctions since its original publication in 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize, has been translated into more than  forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. Most recently, librarians across the country gave the book the highest of honors by voting it the best novel of the twentieth century."

The Heart of Autumn by Robert Atwan (Editor)

"Illustrated throughout with graceful pen-and-ink drawings of fall foliage, this volume features a selection of some of the world's most acclaimed poets from Gerard Manley Hopkins, Emily Dickinson, and William Wordsworth to more contemporary poets including e. e. cummings, Robert Bly, and W. S. Merwin."

“Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses,”  by Meredith Mileti

 This is a delicious book about a woman who has it all and loses it (figuratively and literally), only to learn the true recipe for love and happiness. The heroine, Mira, is a NYC restaurateur whose life is skewered by her husband’s infidelity. She retreats to Pittsburgh to be consoled by her family and friends. Think “Eat, Pray, Love,” with a lot more eating. This book is not for weight watchers—it’s about food, glorious food.   You will be salivating by page one (Meredith, you had me at, “Cooked rare, and topped with goat cheese and a fried egg so fresh its yolk oozes orange!”).

That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back  By Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum

 America is in trouble. We face four major challenges on which our future depends, and we are failing to meet them—and if we delay any longer, soon it will be too late for us to pass along the American dream to future generations.   In That Used to Be Us, Thomas L. Friedman, one of our most influential columnists, and Michael Mandelbaum, one of our leading foreign policy thinkers, offer both a wake-up call and a call to collective action. They analyze the four challenges we face—globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation’s chronic deficits, and our pattern of excessive energy consumption—and spell out what we need to do now to sustain the American dream and preserve American power in the world. They explain how the end of the Cold War blinded the nation to the need to address these issues seriously, and how China’s educational successes, industrial might, and technological prowess remind us of the ways in which “that used to be us.” They explain how the paralysis of our political system and the erosion of key American values have made it impossible for us to carry out the policies the country urgently needs.  

11/22/63: A Novel By Stephen King

 A high school teacher from Maine travels through a time portal to 1958, and then spends the next five years on a mission to stop the assassination of JFK.

Any new book (especially one weighing in at 864 pages) from the king of horror is a major event, but he may have outdone himself this time with a premise that asks, "What if would could go back in time and change history?"

Farther Than I Meant To Go, Longer Than I Meant To Stay  by Tiffany L. Warren

As President of Grace Savings and Loans, Charmayne Ellis is an established, polished professional. Although she has reached great success, her ridiculing mother and wise cracking younger sister won't let her forget that she is a 36-year-old, overweight, unmarried woman.

In an attempt to help, Charmayne's best friend, Lynette, is obsessed with setting her up on a series of pity-driven blind dates. When a drop-dead gorgeous man, Travis Moon, shows interest, Charmayne's caution light blinks like crazy. But out of loneliness and pressure from her family Charmayne ignores her gut feeling and gets married. Yet instead of marital bliss, Charmayne begins to discover new things about her husband that force her to question her marriage and her faith in God.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Sharing stories...that's what draws readers to book clubs.  Book clubs not only stimulate lively discussion but sometimes even inspire meaningful personal insights. 

I am an avid reader who enjoys most genres, because of my involvement with book clubs for a number of years.  I always tried to make sure I rotated the type of book to make sure I included interests from everyone in the group.  I sometimes find myself after a particularly rousing book discussion wondering if the author had any idea when writing the book how it would be studied and dissected and debated.
I have never shied away from books that may be controversial, as evident with our upcoming discussion of The Help by Kathryn Stockett.   Although this book is a work of fiction, a lot of it is based on the life some women actually lived during the 60’s in the South.  Believe me; I can hear some of the arguments now.  Some of the best book discussions I have had the honor to host were books that would be considered challenging in a diverse book club setting. 

One controversial book that especially comes to mind as one of the best discussions – Keeping Black Boys out of Special Education by Jawanza Kunjufu.   In addition to our regular book club members, we had in attendance:  the head of special education from the local high school, 3 high school teachers, two ministers, and a mother who had a child that had been placed in special education.  There were about 20 people total – a large group for a book discussion – and it was very enlightening to say the least.  The group was very diverse – Black, white, Hispanic, young, old, men and women. 
I’ll give you one more that was a great discussion, albeit controversial….The Long Shadow of Little Rock by Daisy Bates  This book talked about the nine Black students in 1957 preparing to go to Little Rock Central High School to attempt what seemed impossible -- the integration of public schools.  I followed up the book discussion with a documentary showing Little Rock Central High School 50 years later, and the piece de resistance was the library brining in one of the Little Rock Nine - Elizabeth Eckford - to talk about her personal experiences during that time of conflict, hope, anger, and change!  A standing room only crowd filled the library that evening.  We had people come from many surrounding areas to hear her speak.  It all started with an idea for a book discussion for Black History Month and grew.....

Of course, not all the books are or will be controversial, some are just fun.  We'll talk about some of those next week.  Until then....keep reading.  ;-) 

Additional information on The Little Rock Nine:

Additional information on Keeping Black Boys out of Special Education:

Friday, September 16, 2011


Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things....

Well, most of you know the rest of the song.  It happens to be one of my favorite songs of all time, and I recently found out it was also one of Michael Jackson's favorites. It has to be one of the best works of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II.  I am swept away to a much younger, innocent age every time I hear the first few notes of the music....but if I'd had half a chance, I would have tried my darnedest to convince Mr. Hammerstein to include a well written murder mystery, a juicy romance novel, a revealing tell all biography or autobiography, or a believable work of fiction into one of the stanzas of the song.

Many of us consider books our favorite things.  We can retreat into our own little corner of our imagination as we turn the pages.  There is nothing like curling up with a good book late in the evening after a day of working or rushing around with our families or one of a million things we fill our days with.  There is something special about the time you set aside for yourself with whatever book you are reading at the time. 

I knew I was totally hooked on reading when I began making sure I had a paperback tucked inside my carry-on luggage whenever I went on vacation.  Even though when my children were young I didn't have as much time on my hands to read, there was always a book nearby - just in case.  I also find that although I'm older now, I seem to remember a lot more of the stories I read...darn those kids and their constant distractions:  Mom I need help with my homework!  Mother, where is my football uniform you said you would wash?  Mama I hurt myself, waaaaaaa!  Oh yes, and let's not forget the husband with: Honey, are we going to have any dinner tonight?  Disruptions, disruptions, disruptions!  How is a person supposed to remember their place in the book - I never seemed to have bookmarks and refused to desecrate a book by folding down a corner of the page; and how is a person supposed to remember what they read when they are constantly being interrupted.  Well, my life is different now that my husband has retired and I decided to sit right down with him (and live on 'his' fixed income), I can pick up a book and actually almost finish it sometimes before I have to put it down. 

I read for many reasons:  to learn, to grow, to laugh, for entertainment, for solace, for hope, for strength. 

Reading for me, is spending time with a friend.  A book is a friend, and you can never have too many good ones.

In closing,  they are definitely a few of my favorite things. 

If you feel the need to hear the rest of the song, here it is:


Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a Black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Invitation To Bookclub Members

I know I have already asked you to come at check out the blog, but I actually need you to join the blog and try to post something so I'll know if there's anything else I need to do to get you connected.  Just something simple will do...like whether or not you've acquired your book yet.

Online Bookclubs

Online Bookclubs
New wave discussions