Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart

Author: John Guy
Narrator: John Guy
Published by: Harper Collins Publishers (2004)
Length: 6 hours (abridged)
My Rating: 4/5

History is both fascinating and forgettable for me. I love to read or listen to history books, but my retention of facts is minimal. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother--I'm certainly not entertaining any notions of scholarliness. What it boils down to is entertainment, and the life of Mary, Queen of Scots could never be described as boring. I knew before listening to this book some of the well-known facts about Mary, particularly her gruesome execution. But here are some examples of the utterly unscholarly facts that I have managed to remember:

  • When Mary gave birth to her first baby, she said, "If I had known it would hurt this bad, I would never have gotten married." (Amen, sister!)
  • She had a few enemas to treat various illnesses. (Do you think she wanted us all to know about them?)
  • When she was imprisoned, what she longed for most was exercise and she ate too much. (I can relate to this.)
  • She was tall. (I can't relate to this.)
So, while I may not be increasing my chances of getting on Jeopardy, or slamming my opponents at Trivial Pursuit, I will still read history and non-fiction because it's just plain interesting. This was a great audio-book to listen to, and with fiction about royalty being so popular, it would be a great companion to any story about Mary Stuart. Hopefully other readers will remember more significant details than I have, but if not, just remember--no history tests!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekly Geeks #22

This week the Weekly Geeks are searching the archives of other geeks. Fun, fun, fun! Here are the directions:

Step 1: Choose 3 Weekly Geeks and explore their archives. Try to choose at least one Weekly Geek you don’t know well.

Step 2: Looking through some of their oldest posts, find at least one that you really like from each of the three blogs.

Step 3: Write a post featuring these 3 bloggers, linking to the posts that you enjoyed, with a short blurb.

Step 4: Visit the WG #22 posts of two other Weekly Geeks and link to their posts at the bottom of yours.

Step 5: Come back and sign Mr Linky with the url to your specific WG #22 post, not just your general blog url.

Here are three great blogs that I found:

1. The Indextrious Reader

Booklist: Foodie Reads: In this post I find the two loves of my life merged--food and books.

2. Melange's Book Reviews

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy: This A+ review of a book about two children left behind during the Nazi occupation of Poland caught my attention. Another addition to my TBR list!

3. Everyday Reads

Nine More: This post lists Terry Pratchett books and which ones Lighthearted is (or was as this post was from 2006) looking for copies of. I am always contemplating discovering "Discworld" because I think I would love it, but the amount of books in the series worries me!

Here are links to the posts of a couple of other Geeks who have done this:

SMS Book Reviews

Just Books

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Crooked Kind of Perfect

Author: Linda Urban
Narrator: Tai Alexandra Ricci
Published by: Listening Library (Audio) Sept. 2007
Length: 3 hours 17 minutes
My Rating: 4.5/5

Doesn't the cover just make you want to read this book? In this case, you can judge a book by it's cover. Eleven-year-old Zoe dreams of playing the piano at Carnegie Hall, but must settle for sharing her talents at the "Perfectone Perform-o-rama," performing a Neil Diamond song. Between a father with social anxiety and a mother who works too much, Zoe's life does not always live up to her ideals. But she manages to recognize their love and do her best at the performance.

This was a quick "listen," and I thought the narration was perfect. With it's feel-good humor, I enjoyed this children's book as an adult, and plan to pass it on to my 9-year-old daughter as well, who I think will love it.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Author: Anna Quindlen
Narrator: Joan Allen
Published by: Random House Audio (Sept. 2002)
Length: 7 hours, 45 minutes
My rating: 3/5

Although I must admit that this is a somewhat forgettable story, I felt that it was well-written and heart-warming. The narrator, Joan Allen was perfect, and it was very easy to listen to. I also must admit that the reason I picked this one was for the valuable "Q" of Quindlen which helped me fill a requirement for the A to Z Reading Challenge. Otherwise it's not really one that would draw my attention.

The story begins as a young couple leaves a newborn baby at the Blessings estate, where Lydia Blessing, an 80-year-old miserly recluse lives. Skip Cuddy, the handyman that lives over the garage, discovers the infant first, and secretly takes on the role as the infant's father, learning through trial and error the ins and outs of baby care. Lydia soon discovers the Skip's secret and becomes a partner in trying to provide the baby with a secure future.

As the story unfolds, we learn about Lydia's past and why she lives such a solitary life, and we get insight into why Skip, and ex-con would even consider taking on the responsibility of a baby. I found this premise of the story slightly unbelievable, but that may just be from the limits of my own experience.

On a personal level, this book reminded me of how challenging yet rewarding taking care of an infant can be. Likewise, I think a main theme of this book is that fulfilling relationships take work, they don't just happen, and we never know how short or long of a time we will have to enjoy them.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Read-a-thon Mini-Reviews

I've got two options: Write today about the books I read during 24 hours of the Read-a-thon while they're still fresh in my mind but my mind is like mush from lack of sleep, or wait until my brain is functioning at peak capacity(really, though, when does that ever happen?) but my memory not so clear. Obviously I've chosen the first option, perhaps not so much because my recall will be better, but so that I have an excuse if it sounds more dorky than usual.
I went to sleep at 5 a.m. and woke up at 9 a.m. It might have been wise to sleep longer, but I am a morning person--when it's bright out and my kids are stirring, sleep is impossible.
Here are the books I read, in the order that I read them. I can't really do from worst to least, because I liked them all. Wasn't that lucky?

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From A Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz
I had read raving reviews about this, but skimming through it I had my doubts about whether I would like it. I just couldn't see what the fuss was about. But this collection of monologues and dialogues of various characters living on a manor in England in 1255 is truly exceptional. I think the strength is in how she taps into the emotions and desires of the characters in a way that we can relate to. It is moving in parts, as well as humorous and educational. I would love to see this performed by an actual class!

Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsburg
How can Konigsburg get away with such an absurdly long title? Because she has written such a great story (as usual) that we are more than willing to forgiver her. Elizabeth is without a friend until she meets Jennifer, self-proclaimed witch, willing to let Elizabeth become her apprentice. She must follow a strict eating regimen, refrain from certain taboos (like "never sing before breakfast" or "never wear shoes in the house on Sundays", and usually bend her will to Jennifer's. The sometimes strained relationship grows as Elizabeth the social challenges of elementary school. Loved it!

Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
How to review this one? It has elements of magical realism and a mythical feel. Kahu's great-grandfather is bitterly disappointed that she is a girl. He needs a grandson who will become chief of their Maori tribe that claims descent from the male whale-rider that Kahu is named after. It is clear from the beginning that it is her destiny to do something great, all the while being shunned by her great-grandfather. The only thing that bothered me about the book was Kahu's desperate attempts to gain his approval. Why did she love the cranky old man anyways? Her great-grandmother, Nanny Flowers is a hoot! I was not super-duper wowed by this book, but I liked it-it's quick and engaging. I've heard the movie is amazing--I'll be getting it soon.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
I enjoyed this one, but it is one of those I wish I had read as a child. I let myself get pretty carried away by things as an adult, but more so when I was younger. Trains, wolves, a mansion with secret passageways, an evil guardian and a gooseboy--how real and exciting they all would have been to me. It's an old-fashioned story, which I love. It was not terrible dynamic though--you won't get any adrenaline rushes in the end.

The End of the Beginning by Avi
This was a perfect read aloud book about a journey of a snail and an ant, filled with silly but sometimes meaningful philosophies. It has be feel of a novel, but is really rather short with delightful illustrations. My girls did not want me to stop reading it they were so entertained by it.

Wednesday Wars by Gary S. Schmidt
Loved it! Funny! Moving! Meaningful! Masterpiece! Should have won Newbery Medal!!! I had no trouble staying awake reading this one, and it helped moisten my strained eyes.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Okay, I was so afraid after reading this one that I would have nightmares about buttons!! What I liked best about this little horror story was the vivid pictures Gaiman creates with his writing, without using a whole lot of words to describe Coraline's exciting but sinister alter-world in which she has an "other" family. Strong and resourceful, Coraline overcomes her fears as she attempts to return to her real life. It's an original story without being outlandish. Very good!

Read-a-thon: End of Event Meme

I actually stayed up all 24 hours!! I am amazed!

Hours: 19

Pages Read: 1,115 + 1:30 audio

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? This last one--I kept nodding off.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Wednesday Wars

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? I think everyone did a wonderful job! Thank you for all of the time and intelligence put into this.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I loved the page with everyone's links.

5. How many books did you read? Completed: 7 Partial: 3

6. What were the names of the books you read?

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth

Whale Rider

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
The End of the Beginning
Wednesday Wars

Parts of Anne of Avonlea, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, and The Lightning Thief

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

Wednesday Wars

8. Which did you enjoy least? The Wolves of Willoughby Chase--but I did like it.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? Thank you, Cheerleaders!

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I will probably do this again--being a cheerleader might be fun!

Read-a-thon: Hours 17-21?

This is the part where all math skills go down the drain. I will try to calculate.

My son's progress:

Actually, he's asleep right now so I don't know what else he has done.
Pages read: 488
Books read:
This Gum For Hire
The Mystery of Mr. Nice
It's All Greek to Me
Encyclopedia Brown Cracks the Case
The Return of the Great Brain

What my daughters did today: My 9-year-old read 40 pages of Junie B. Jones to my 6-year-old, and they listened to The End of The Beginning by Avi

My progress:
Title of book(s) read:
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth

Whale Rider

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
The End of the Beginning
Wednesday Wars
Working on Coraline
Number of books read since you started: 6
Running total of pages read since you started: 995
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 16 hours, 20 minutes
Mini-challenges completed: 3
Other participants you’ve visited: 80-this may include places I've gone more than once--it's all a blur now. Every time I come to the computer I try to visit about 10 blogs.
Prize you’ve won: 1 (3 books)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Read-a-thon: Hours 14-16

I'm starting to feel it now! I am reading Wednesday Wars and LOVING IT!! I've laughed, I've cried--all emotions are amplified when tired.

My son's progress:
Pages read: 488
Books read:
This Gum For Hire
The Mystery of Mr. Nice
It's All Greek to Me
Encyclopedia Brown Cracks the Case
The Return of the Great Brain

My progress:
Title of book(s) read:
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth

Whale Rider

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
The End of the Beginning
Number of books read since you started: 5
Running total of pages read since you started: 797
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 11 hours, 55 minutes
Mini-challenges completed: 2
Other participants you’ve visited: 60-this may include places I've gone more than once--it's all a blur now. Every time I come to the computer I try to visit about 10 blogs.
Prize you’ve won: 1 (3 books)

Read-a-thon: End of Hours 11-13

My 12-year-old son has also been reading off and on today. He has read This Gum for Hire, The Mystery of Mr. Nice, It's All Greek to Me, and 2095 for a total of 353 pages. He takes breaks to play Wii, play outside, and he spent 4 hours cleaning up a local riverbed this morning. It's fun having someone doing it with me.
Here's my latest info:

Title of book(s) read since last update:
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth

Whale Rider

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Number of books read since you started: 4
Pages read since last update: 199
Running total of pages read since you started: 545
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 2:30
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 9 hours, 5 minutes
Mini-challenges completed: 2
Other participants you’ve visited: 47
Prize you’ve won: 1 (3 books)

Read-a-thon Hour Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now? Almost done with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

2. How many books have you read so far? That will be the fourth--they've all been fairly childrens/Ya

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Coraline

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? I cleaned up a bit yesterday, made enough dinner last night for enough leftovers

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Lots! They are from loved ones and they are more important than how much I read, so it's okay

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? How much time the non-reading events take me. They are fun though.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? I'm just learning little things, like setting the timer so I don't get carried away reading other blogs

9. Are you getting tired yet? A little, but I'm doing better than I thought. It's just 5:30 p.m. for me, so the difficult hours are yet to come.

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? Not yet.

Read-a-thon: End of Hours 8-10

I didn't get a lot of reading done the last few hours because I was distracted by the the mini challenge at Reading in Appalachia. Even after two hours, I didn't get them all, but it was fun, and I was able to visit a lot of participants' blogs. I did finish Whale Rider though:

Title of book(s) read since last update:
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth

Whale Rider

Number of books read since you started: 3
Pages read since last update: 21
Running total of pages read since you started: 346
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 20 minutes
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 6 hour, 35 minutes
Mini-challenges completed: 2
Other participants you’ve visited: 47
Prize you’ve won: 1 (3 books)

Read-a-thon: End of Hours 6 and 7

Time is really flying. I am getting a bit sleepy--I'll have to dig in to some goodies soon!

Title of book(s) read since last update: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth, Whale Rider
Number of books read since you started: 2
Pages read since last update: 104
Running total of pages read since you started: 325
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1:50
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 6 hour, 15 minutes
Mini-challenges completed: 1
Other participants you’ve visited: 17
Prize you’ve won: 1 (3 books)

Read-a-thon: End of Hours 4 and 5

I decided I really didn't need to update every hour--maybe every 2-3 hours. I am interrupted often by children, but I'm pretty used to that! They are doing some of their own reading. My 9-year-old has been reading Junie B. Jones to my 6-year-old. I got my son up at 5 a.m. but once he settled down with his book, he fell back to sleep!

Title of book(s) read since last update: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth, Whale Rider
Number of books read since you started: 2
Pages read since last update: 91
Running total of pages read since you started: 221
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1:45
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 4 hour, 25 minutes
Mini-challenges completed: 1
Other participants you’ve visited: 15
Prize you’ve won: 1 (3 books)

Read-a-thon: End of Hour 3

I had some glitches in the plan this last hour--my husband was supposed to take my son to a service project but he started getting an pre-migraine aura, and can't really see or do anything when he gets one, so I had to take my son. But, no problem--I had an audio book going in the car! Here's my progress:

Title of book(s) read since last update: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth
Number of books read since you started: 1 1/2
Pages read since last update: 16, Audio:20 minutes
Running total of pages read since you started: 129, Audio:20 minutes
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 40 minutes (including audio)
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 2 hour, 20 minutes
Mini-challenges completed: 1
Other participants you’ve visited: 6
Prize you’ve won: 1 (Three books! Yay!)

Read-a-thon: End of Hour 2

Title of book(s) read since last update: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth
Number of books read since you started: 1 1/4
Pages read since last update: 47
Running total of pages read since you started: 113
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 40 minutes
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 1 hour, 40 minutes
Mini-challenges completed: 1
Other participants you’ve visited: 5
Prize you’ve won: 0

Read-a-thon Hour 1

Well, I got up at 5 and have been reading for an hour. Here are questions for the introduction meme:

Where are you reading from today? Southern California

3 facts about me … I'm a stay-at-home mother of 4, I love The Office, I like to sew, but I usually end up reading instead because its cheaper and neater.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? 13

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? I hadn't really thought of any goals yet, but I guess I would just like to read for at least 19 hours.

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time? This is my first time.

Also, here's my update that I will try to do hourly:

Title of book(s) read since last update: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
Number of books read since you started: 3/4
Pages read since last update: 66
Running total of pages read since you started: 66
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1 hour
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 1 hour
Mini-challenges completed: 0
Other participants you’ve visited: 0
Prize you’ve won: 0

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Island of the Blue Dolphins

Author: Scott O'Dell
Originally published by: Houghton-Mifflin (1960)
Length: 184 pages
My rating: 4.5/5
Awards: Newbery Medal

This simple, lyrical account of a young woman left behind on an island in the Pacific for many years was a surprising page-turner for me. The action begins right away when the Aleuts from the north come to hunt otters on Karana's island, culminating in a battle that leaves her father and many of the other men dead. A year later, the inhabitants of the island leave on a "white-man's ship" to relocate. When Karana's brother is left behind and the chief will not go back to get him, she jumps out of the ship so he will not be abandoned. What follows is her story of her industrious survival on the island year after year. Although told in a very matter-of-fact style, it is heartbreaking at times, but she also manages to find beauty and fulfillment in her solitary life as she waits for the ship to return for her. Amazingly to me, she's never angry with the people who left her behind, or resentful that no one has returned for her. Her anger is focused on the pack of dogs who kill her brother. She makes it her mission to conquer them, but ends up finding her closest companion among them. She is there for so long that the thought of the ship returning for her was bittersweet, and I wondered if in fact it would ever come.
I did not realize until the afterword that this is based on the true story of the "Lone Woman of San Nicolas" who lived on one of the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara from 1835 to 1853. I would definitely recommend this book to young readers as well as "less-young" readers (that's what I call myself these days--I will never be "old". Thank goodness for hair color!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

24-Hour Readathon

I'm so freakishly excited about participating 24-Hour Readathon hosted by Dewey at The Hidden Side of a Leaf!! It kicks of this Saturday at noon GMT, which, if I've figured correctly, is 5 a.m. in my time zone. Isn't that insanely awesome? Amazingly, I have very little going on that day, and church is at a different time than usual on Sunday, so it should all work out. Of course, I'm a realist, and I know I cannot stay awake the whole time, but I will try to cram in as much as I can. On the FAQ, it is suggested to choose shorter books that might not be such a stretch for the attention span, so I thought this would be a great time to get to some of the Children's and YA books that are on my TBR list. I had so much fun at the library getting way more books than I can possibly read, but I like to have a good selection. Here's a blurry picture of what I got:

I figure I will read about only read about 3 or 4 of these that day. Also, my 12-year-old son is going to do it with me, minus a few hours he will be spending doing a service project. I'll have to get some meals ready before that day, and I've got three or four reviews I've promised myself I have to get done before Saturday.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weekly Geeks #21--Famous First Lines


After only participating in Weekly Geeks once, things got too busy, but now I'm jumping in again with this ambitious (but super fun) assignment to identify 100 first lines of novels. The directions are best described by WG host here. Hopefully I will do this right--it is more of a blog-jumping activity rather than a test or a google-search activity. Here are the ones that I knew, and I will add ones that I find from fellow Weekly Geeks along with a link to their list:

Green= Don't know and haven't found the answer on anyone else's blog . . . yet. Does anyone out there know these?

1. Call me Ishmael. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

3. A screaming comes across the sky. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (Joanne)

4. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Not Another Mom)

5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. Lolita by Nabokov

6. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

7. riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. Finnigan's Wake by James Joyce (Eva)

8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Nineteen-Eighty-Four by George Orwell

9. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

10. I am an invisible man. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

11. The Miss Lonelyhearts of the New York Post-Dispatch (Are you in trouble?—Do-you-need-advice?—Write-to-Miss-Lonelyhearts-and-she-will-help-you) sat at his desk and stared at a piece of white cardboard. Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West (Not Another Mom)

12. You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

13. Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested. The Trial by Franz Kafka (Not Another Mom)

14. You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler. If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino

15. The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. Murphy by Samuel Beckett (Maree)

16. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

17. Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo. The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (Not Another Mom)

18. This is the saddest story I have ever heard. The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford (Nymeth and Softdrink)

19. I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly considered how much depended upon what they were then doing;—that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost:—Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,—I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that, in which the reader is likely to see me. Tristram Shandy by Lawrence Stern (Susan)

20. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

21. Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. Ulysses by James Joyce (Susan)

22. It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (Not Another Mom, Rachel)

23. One summer afternoon Mrs. Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor, or she supposed executrix, of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity, a California real estate mogul who had once lost two million dollars in his spare time but still had assets numerous and tangled enough to make the job of sorting it all out more than honorary. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (Rachel)

24. It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. City of Glass by Paul Auster (Joanne)

25. Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (Rachel)

26. 124 was spiteful. Beloved by Toni Morrison (Icedream)

27. Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing. Don Quixote by Cervantes

28. Mother died today. The Outsider/Stranger, Camus (Raidergirl3)

29. Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu.Waiting by Ha Jin (Maree)

30. The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. Neuromancer by William Gibson (Jessi)

31. I am a sick man . . . I am a spiteful man. Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

32. Where now? Who now? When now?

33. Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. “Stop!” cried the groaning old man at last, “Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree.”

34. In a sense, I am Jacob Horner.

35. It was like so, but wasn’t.

36. —Money . . . in a voice that rustled.

37. Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (Penryn)

38. All this happened, more or less. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (Penryn)

39. They shoot the white girl first.

40. For a long time, I went to bed early. Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (Rachel)

41. The moment one learns English, complications set in.

42. Dr. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature.

43. I was the shadow of the waxwing slain / By the false azure in the windowpane; Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (Amanda of 5-Sqaured)

44. Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (penryn)

45. I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (Susan)

46. Ages ago, Alex, Allen and Alva arrived at Antibes, and Alva allowing all, allowing anyone, against Alex’s admonition, against Allen’s angry assertion: another African amusement . . . anyhow, as all argued, an awesome African army assembled and arduously advanced against an African anthill, assiduously annihilating ant after ant, and afterward, Alex astonishingly accuses Albert as also accepting Africa’s antipodal ant annexation.

47. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis

48. He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

49. It was the day my grandmother exploded.

50. I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974. Middlesex by Euginides

51. Elmer Gantry was drunk. Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis

52. We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall.

53. It was a pleasure to burn. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

54. A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (Joanne)

55. Having placed in my mouth sufficient bread for three minutes’ chewing, I withdrew my powers of sensual perception and retired into the privacy of my mind, my eyes and face assuming a vacant and preoccupied expression. Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds (Jacqui).

56. I was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, tho’ not of that Country, my Father being a Foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull; He got a good Estate by Merchandise, and leaving off his Trade, lived afterward at York, from whence he had married my Mother, whose Relations were named Robinson, a very good Family in that Country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but by the usual Corruption of Words in England, we are now called, nay we call our selves, and write our Name Crusoe, and so my Companions always call’d me. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

57. In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street.

58. Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. Middlemarch by George Eliot, one of my all-time favorites!

59. It was love at first sight. Catch-22 byJoseph Heller (Amanda of 5-Sqaured)

60. What if this young woman, who writes such bad poems, in competition with her husband, whose poems are equally bad, should stretch her remarkably long and well-made legs out before you, so that her skirt slips up to the tops of her stockings?

61. I have never begun a novel with more misgiving.

62. Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person. Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler (Rachel)

63. The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children’s games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up.

64. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Rachel)

65. You better not never tell nobody but God. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Penryn)

66. “To be born again,” sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, “first you have to die.” Satanic Verses by Salmon Rushdie (Eva)

67. It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (Amanda of 5-Sqaured)

68. Most really pretty girls have pretty ugly feet, and so does Mindy Metalman, Lenore notices, all of a sudden.

69. If I am out of my mind, it’s all right with me, thought Moses Herzog. Herzog by Saul Bellow (Rachel)

70. Francis Marion Tarwater’s uncle had been dead for only half a day when the boy got too drunk to finish digging his grave and a Negro named Buford Munson, who had come to get a jug filled, had to finish it and drag the body from the breakfast table where it was still sitting and bury it in a decent and Christian way, with the sign of its Saviour at the head of the grave and enough dirt on top to keep the dogs from digging it up.

71. Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there’s a peephole in the door, and my keeper’s eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me. The Tin Drum by Gunther Grass (Melydia)

72. When Dick Gibson was a little boy he was not Dick Gibson.

73. Hiram Clegg, together with his wife Emma and four friends of the faith from Randolph Junction, were summoned by the Spirit and Mrs. Clara Collins, widow of the beloved Nazarene preacher Ely Collins, to West Condon on the weekend of the eighteenth and nineteenth of April, there to await the End of the World.

74. She waited, Kate Croy, for her father to come in, but he kept her unconscionably, and there were moments at which she showed herself, in the glass over the mantel, a face positively pale with the irritation that had brought her to the point of going away without sight of him. Wings of the Dove by Henry James (Susan)

75. In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (Susan)

76. “Take my camel, dear,” said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.

77. He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (Susan)

78. The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley (Katherine)

79. On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the Bundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor I aint looking to see none agen. Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (Maree)

80. Justice?—You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law.

81. Vaughan died yesterday in his last car-crash. Crash by J.G. Ballard (Susan)

82. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

83. “When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets,” Papa would say, “she made the nipping off of noggins such a crystal mystery that the hens themselves yearned toward her, waltzing around her, hypnotized with longing.” Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (Dewey)

84. In the last years of the Seventeenth Century there was to be found among the fops and fools of the London coffee-houses one rangy, gangling flitch called Ebenezer Cooke, more ambitious than talented, and yet more talented than prudent, who, like his friends-in-folly, all of whom were supposed to be educating at Oxford or Cambridge, had found the sound of Mother English more fun to game with than her sense to labor over, and so rather than applying himself to the pains of scholarship, had learned the knack of versifying, and ground out quires of couplets after the fashion of the day, afroth with Joves and Jupiters, aclang with jarring rhymes, and string-taut with similes stretched to the snapping-point.

85. When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon. Last Good Kiss by James Crumley (Joanne)

86. It was just noon that Sunday morning when the sheriff reached the jail with Lucas Beauchamp though the whole town (the whole county too for that matter) had known since the night before that Lucas had killed a white man. The Broom of the System
by David Foster Wallace (Lenore)

87. I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as “Claudius the Idiot,” or “That Claudius,” or “Claudius the Stammerer,” or “Clau-Clau-Claudius” or at best as “Poor Uncle Claudius,” am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the “golden predicament” from which I have never since become disentangled. I, Claudius by Robert Graves

88. Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I’ve come to learn, is women.

89. I am an American, Chicago born—Chicago, that somber city—and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (softdrink)

90. The towers of Zenith aspired above the morning mist; austere towers of steel and cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and delicate as silver rods. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis (Susan)

91. I will tell you in a few words who I am: lover of the hummingbird that darts to the flower beyond the rotted sill where my feet are propped; lover of bright needlepoint and the bright stitching fingers of humorless old ladies bent to their sweet and infamous designs; lover of parasols made from the same puffy stuff as a young girl’s underdrawers; still lover of that small naval boat which somehow survived the distressing years of my life between her decks or in her pilothouse; and also lover of poor dear black Sonny, my mess boy, fellow victim and confidant, and of my wife and child. But most of all, lover of my harmless and sanguine self.

92. He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini (Becca via Book Zombie)

93. Psychics can see the color of time it’s blue.

94. In the town, there were two mutes and they were always together. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (Ice Dream)

95. Once upon a time two or three weeks ago, a rather stubborn and determined middle-aged man decided to record for posterity, exactly as it happened, word by word and step by step, the story of another man for indeed what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal, a somewhat paranoiac fellow unmarried, unattached, and quite irresponsible, who had decided to lock himself in a room a furnished room with a private bath, cooking facilities, a bed, a table, and at least one chair, in New York City, for a year 365 days to be precise, to write the story of another person—a shy young man about of 19 years old—who, after the war the Second World War, had come to America the land of opportunities from France under the sponsorship of his uncle—a journalist, fluent in five languages—who himself had come to America from Europe Poland it seems, though this was not clearly established sometime during the war after a series of rather gruesome adventures, and who, at the end of the war, wrote to the father his cousin by marriage of the young man whom he considered as a nephew, curious to know if he the father and his family had survived the German occupation, and indeed was deeply saddened to learn, in a letter from the young man—a long and touching letter written in English, not by the young man, however, who did not know a damn word of English, but by a good friend of his who had studied English in school—that his parents both his father and mother and his two sisters one older and the other younger than he had been deported they were Jewish to a German concentration camp Auschwitz probably and never returned, no doubt having been exterminated deliberately X * X * X * X, and that, therefore, the young man who was now an orphan, a displaced person, who, during the war, had managed to escape deportation by working very hard on a farm in Southern France, would be happy and grateful to be given the opportunity to come to America that great country he had heard so much about and yet knew so little about to start a new life, possibly go to school, learn a trade, and become a good, loyal citizen.

96. Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space. Cat's Eye By Margaret Atwood (Susan)

97. He—for there could be no doubt of his sex, though the fashion of the time did something to disguise it—was in the act of slicing at the head of a Moor which swung from the rafters. Orlando by Virginia Woolf (dreamybee)

98. High, high above the North Pole, on the first day of 1969, two professors of English Literature approached each other at a combined velocity of 1200 miles per hour.

99. They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (Rachel)

100. The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (icedream)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Banned Books--Bring Them On!!

This is making the rounds in honor of Banned Books Week, which was earlier this month. Here's how it works:

If you have read the whole book, bold it. If you have read part of the book, italicize it. If you own it but haven't gotten around to reading it yet, *** it.

The Bible
2. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
3. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
4. The Koran
5. Arabian Nights
6. Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
7. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
8. Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
9. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
10. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
11. The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
12. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
13. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
14. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
15. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
16. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
17. Dracula by Bram Stoker
18. Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
19. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
20. Essays by Michel de Montaigne
21. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
22. History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
23. Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
24. Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
25. Ulysses by James Joyce
26. Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
27. Animal Farm by George Orwell
28. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
29. Candide by Voltaire
30. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
31. Analects by Confucius
32. Dubliners by James Joyce
33. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
34. Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
35. Red and the Black by Stendhal
36. Das Capital by Karl Marx
37. Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
38. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
39. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
40. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
41. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
42. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
43. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
44. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
45. Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
46. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
47. Diary by Samuel Pepys
48. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
49. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
50. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
51. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
52. Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
53. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
54. Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus
55. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
56. Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
57. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
58. Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
59. Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
60. Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
61. Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
62. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
63. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
64. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
65. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
66. Confessions by Jean Jacques Rousseau
67. Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais
68. Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
69. The Talmud
70. Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau
71. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
72. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
73. American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
74. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
75. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
76. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
77. Red Pony by John Steinbeck
78. Popol Vuh
79. Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
80. Satyricon by Petronius
81. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
82. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
83. Black Boy by Richard Wright
84. Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu
85. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
86. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
87. Metaphysics by Aristotle
88. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
89. Institutes of the Christian Religion by Jean Calvin
90. Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
91. Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
92. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
93. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
94. Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
95. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
96. Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
97. General Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud
98. Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
99. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown
100. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
101. Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines
102. Émile Jean by Jacques Rousseau
103. Nana by Émile Zola
104. Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
105. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
106. Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
107. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
108. Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
109. Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
110. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
111. Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
112. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
113. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
114. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
115. The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Keatly Snyder

I've read 38, and partially read 8. I've loved many of these, and there are a lot more that I'd like to get to someday. Ones that I didn't like were East of Eden and The Bluest Eye. And of course the ones in italics I didn't care to finish, mostly due to boredom rather than offense!

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

Author: Nathanial Philbrick
Narrator: George Guidall

Published by: Penguin Audio (May 2006)

Length: 12 hours, 30 minutes
My rating: 4/5

Before I review this book, I should add a disclaimer that I am not an expert on history, so I can't judge on historical accuracy, depth of research, etc.--I'm just an average Jane who wanted to learn a little bit more about the voyage of the Mayflower! And this was an excellent book for that purpose. Philbrick's aim is to take the well-known "myths" of the Pilgrims and Indians of the Plymouth area, and fill them in with more accurate and detailed accounts of their experiences and challenges. He does this in a very neutral manner, highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly of all involved. I was worried after reading the preface that it would be a very cynical expose of the greediness and cruelty of the supposedly pious Pilgrims, but it wasn't that way at all. The first part of the book tells the story of the Pilgrims: their persecution and escape to Holland, their miserable 9-week voyage to America, and their struggles to establish a colony in the face of death, sickness, and the fear of hostile Indians. I loved the details about individuals--that's what makes history interesting to me--the people involved. The second half of the book did not quite capture my attention as much. After 50 years of a tenacious struggle to keep peace, war broke out between the Pilgrims and Native Americans, culminating in King Philip's War, proportionately the bloodiest war in American history. I found myself spacing out a bit during this part of the audiobook--I think it didn't have as much of the human-interest aspect of the beginning.
All in all it was an excellent "listen." It is a little difficult listening to a history book because you don't always know which parts are quoted from sources and which are the authors words. Sometimes it's obvious due to the differences in language, but other times it is not too clear. Other than that it was fascinating and easy to follow. I would definitely recommend this book to others, but I would suggest reading it in November! It sounds silly, but I wish I had saved it for closer to Thanksgiving!

I also watched Desperate Crossing, a History Channel account of the Pilgrims and their journey. In both the book and the "docudrama, " I felt that taking a way the "myth" did not take away my awe of what these people went through and the some of the ideals they established. And most of all, I'm so glad I did not have to give birth on the Mayflower, as one woman did (I can't remember her name, but I think she named her child Oceanus). Dark, dirty, and no painkiller. The did have a lot of beer, though. I bet she had her fair share that day!

Here's a behind the scenes look at Desperate Crossing:

Monday, October 6, 2008

September: Seven-Word Reviews

I'm so proud of myself that I was able to control my reading a bit this month! I'm trying to think of what I accomplished with that extra time but my mind is a blank. I'm sure I did something productive . . .
Of September's books, two were audio books, two were children's books, and one non-fiction. My favorite of these, In Defense of Food, is known for its simple seven words of advice for healthy eating: EAT FOOD. NOT TOO MUCH. MOSTLY PLANTS. In honor of this wise brevity, I'm going to attempt some seven-word-(ish) summaries of my own. And since seven words doesn't really say a whole lot about a book, I've linked each one to its Amazon page if you want to know more about it.

**Also, if anyone has reviewed any of these books, I would love to add a link of your review to this post.**

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky: (Audio book)
For another review, visit:
Jules' Book Reviews

The Spiderwick Chronicles series by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black (Read-aloud)

Presidential Races by Arlene Morris-Lipsman (Children's book, read-aloud til kids got bored)

Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (Audio book, YA)

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan (Non-fiction)

Friday, October 3, 2008

A New Challenge

Despite my decision to not join any more challenges (how many times have you heard that one?), I decided to sign up for the Really Old Classics Challenge hosted by Rebecca Reads. The challenge is to pick any number of pre-1600 classics to read in the next 10 months. I have decided to do four, but I haven't picked which ones--I'll probably just choose as I go. Why old classics? For me, I feel like reading stuff from ages and ages ago is like going into a mental time machine, and getting to take a look into peoples' minds--how they thought, what was important to them, what they were entertained by, etc. Interesting stuff--if I can understand it. I read The Odyssey a few years ago and it was tough, but I learned a lot about the Greek civilization and their values--like how important hospitality was to them.
So, which me luck. I know I haven't even been posting lately, but I think I'm ready to devote a little more time to my blog again.