28 November 2010

Sunday Sidelines

This has been a very difficult month and an especially difficult week. My mother died on Tuesday evening (November 23, 2010) ~ she has been ill for about three years, but we have known the end was near for about a month. She was at peace. Now my sister and I are trying to find the same peace. The funeral is tomorrow, so I am hopeful that it will make me feel some better...to officially give her over to God. She was 83 years old and I will miss her every day for the rest of my life.

BBC Booklist!!

"The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here."


•Copy this list.
•Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
•Italicise the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.
•Tag other book nerds.
•Highlight the ones that you have but haven't read.

So, here is my list (feel pretty good about reading 39 of these great books):

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The King James Bible
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
Emma -Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Wishing you all a wonderful week ~ with reading and love for your family. Please say a little prayer for me and mine.

27 November 2010

Two Little Girls in Blue

I have to admit that the last time I read a Mary Higgins Clark novel it had to have been 1991 with The Cradle Will Fall which scared me half to death - not necessarily the mystery (SUSPENSE) to read when you have four children alone in a house! So, I was rather surprised when my mother gave me two of these NEW mysteries. I read this book sitting next to my mother at the hospital and was desperate when her room was changed and I, with only 20 or so pages left to read, could not find the BOOK! AHHHHH! I found it a few days later exactly where I left it at my desk at work. Thankful sigh!

Two girls in blue - the twin daughters of Margaret and Steve Frawley - are kidnapped. In an interesting twist, we know who took them from the beginning, we just do not know until the end who orchestrated the kidnapping or why really. And believe me, there are plenty of people who had their own reasons to be the ONE. When the girls are separated, special twin communications help to reunite them...but will it be in life or in death?

TITLE: Two Little Girls in Blue
AUTHOR: Mary Higgins Clark
PAGES: 390
TYPE: fiction
RECOMMEND: I love a good mystery and this one was exceptional!

26 November 2010

Blog Hop Friday

It is Friday!! And time for another HOP! Visit Crazy-For-Books and link up your response to the question, then blog about it on your site, then visit some phenomenal bloggers!

This week's question comes from Sarah who blogs at Writer, Reader, Dreamer:

"What is your favorite book cover?"

One of my favorite book covers is Oh!: A mystery of 'mono no aware' by Todd Shimoda. I really do not think the beauty of this book can be translated to the eye without holding it in your hands. The inside is equally as beautiful with high quality paper and lovely illustrations by the author's wife.

I reviewed this book here (the cover looks more the way it looks in real life on my review page).

Another book cover that I love is What I Loved by Suri Hustvedt. It reminds me of a Dali painting that I also find enchanting.
I reviewed this book here. It was one of my favorites this year.
I am trying desperately to get everything I have read over the last few months reviewed.
Please hop around and see how I am coming along! And I plan to visit as many people on the list because it has been a while since I have participated.

25 November 2010

Enquiring Minds want to Know!

Visit DollyCas to share a little about yourself with other bloggers!

1.What is your favorite vegetable? There are not too many vegetables that I dislike. I love eggplant and squash. I think maybe my favorite though are sweet potatoes ~ can that count. If not, then onions.

2.What is your favorite fruit? My absolute favorite fruits are Queen Anne cherries ~ which are the white cherries only available for a short time here each year. I just eat them up and settle for regular red cherries the rest of the year.

3.Do you grow any of your own fruits & vegetables? No, we live in a rental house. However my sister's family has a Farmer's Market and we often have access to very fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Outer Banks House

The Outer Banks House by Diann Ducharme came to me via Crown Publishers, a division of Random House. As the name suggests, the setting is the Outer Banks of North Carolina. And the book is filled with the richness of North Carolina history and scenery. Taking place just after the Civil War, the tensions of the post-war South also play a significant role in the development of the book.

Abigail Sinclair, her parents, and her siblings come to the North Carolina shore with Abigail looking toward her marriage in the near future while her father is hoping to escape a plantation that is faltering with the loss of slave labor. The family quickly, if reluctantly, joins in the rythms of the island. Abby is introduced to the island by Ben who is a young man with deep ties to North Carolina life and history. Abby teaches Ben to read and their temperments clash until Abby realized that Ben has much to teach her as well. While she becomes more involved in the lives of ex-slaves living nearby, Abby's father becomes involved in local attempts to put the ex-slaves back in their place.

Of course, Abby and Ben fall in love, struggle, come apart, and come back together. It is actually this part of the book with which I have the most trouble. Perhaps the book follows the tried and true method of plot build up, conflict, and resolution ~ but I just did not find it to be real. Maybe as someone who lives in the South, I did not like the racial undertones of the conflict for Abby and her family. So I enjoyed the book for the descriptive narrative, but not the human interactions.

TITLE: The Outer Banks House
AUTHOR: Diann Ducharme
PAGES: 291
TYPE: fiction
RECOMMEND: I did not particularly care for this book. I appreciated what the author was trying to accomplish, but it just did not feel true for me. However, the descriptions of the North Carolina shores were beautiful.

24 November 2010

Kasey to the Rescue

Thanks to Library Thing Early Reviewer program and Hyperion for the opportunity to read and review this fascinating family saga. I was so excited to receive Kasey to the Rescue. My husband and I always visited the two small monkeys at our local pet shop. I also love the idea of service animals of any sort.

In this true account, Kasey becomes the service monkey for Ned, a young man who was paralyzed in an auto accident. His mother tells the reader about the accident, her son's recovery in the face of low odds, and how Kasey came into their life as a miracle!

Ned was your typical college student when he was injured in an accident. His mother rushed to his bedside only to hear the words no mother wants to hear - that their child might not make it and will be a quadripilegic if he survives. With a life that was crazy enough to begin with, Ellen Rogers stays with her son through his recuperation and brings him home where he lives in the living room. Recognizing that her son needed assistance and even perhaps a new focus in life, the family explores the Helping Hands program which provides capuchin monkeys for the disabled. This is a remarkable and funny story of the determination of one family to get through tough times with the miracle of a monkey! (I hope you will visit the website above and consider supporting their program).

As a parent, I certainly could identify with Ms. Rogers and her love for her son and her other children shines brightly in this easy to read book. I know the delight of a miracle. My daughter is also a miracle - but from birth. I know the wonder of a life saved. If you don't have time to read this book, try to make time. You can also view a number of interviews and videos online:

Recent interview with Ellen Rogers - at Paw Nation
Kasey to the Rescue website - book website
And even a Facebook page - Kasey to the Rescue

TITLE: Kasey to the Rescue: The Remarkable Story of a Monkey and a Miracle
AUTHOR: Ellen Rogers
COPYRIGHT: November 2010
PAGES: 288
TYPE: non-fiction
RECOMMEND: If you have a love of animals, you will likely be enchanted by Kasey. If you love the triumph of the human spirit, you will love Ellen, her son Ned and her younger children. Altogether a fascinating story of love and faith and a little helper monkey!

04 November 2010

National Non-Fiction Day ~ YEAH!!

I have always loved non-fiction. I like Holocaust narratives, history, memoirs, cookbooks, and just about any how to do it book. When I was a child, my mother said I even read the phone books. So I thought I would do two things today. I am going to write two reviews on non-fiction books I have recently completed and then tell you a little about a non-fiction book I just loaded on the Kindle and am looking forward to reading.

My dear, dear boss JVK brought me an autographed copy of this book. She stood in line at ALA and I am very glad that she did. The idea is how librarians and cybrarians can help in the organization of what has quickly becomed gluts of information.

One of my favorite quotes is early in the book - the author is speaking of the information explosion that came with the Internet: Information and new forms of information were washing over me in oceans and it was fun to splash in the wake. (p. 17) Now that I have read the Internet back and forth ten thousand times, I am nearly done with the splashing.

Here is the best advice found in the book: Just because librarians like to search for author, title, subject the way they used to in the old card catalog doesn't mean the general public does that anymore. The card catalog is dead, people. Move on. (p.41)

TITLE: This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save us All
AUTHOR: Marilyn Johnson
PAGES: 272
TYPE: non-fiction
RECOMMEND: I laughed and laughed ~ I have lived so many of these moments. Never more proud to be a librarian.

For students of Jewish or European history, it is a well known fact that the Hungarian Jews were the last to be sent through the Hitler killing machine that decimated the Jewish population of Europe. In 1944, late in the war that Hitler was slowly losing, Swedish Raoul Wallenberg, educated in America and a world traveler, found himself with the knowledge that the Jews in Budapest were being rounded up and sent to their deaths. He felt that he must try to save as many people as possible and began to do just that.
Using fake protective passports, Wallenberg saved between 30,000 and 100,000 Hungarian Jews. He set up safe houses and managed to move the hunted Jews to safety. In doing so, he put himself in danger. As the Soviets came closer and closer to the Hungarian capital, they became convinced that Wallenberg was a German spy. After the war, Wallenberg was captured by the Soviets and has not been seen since the end of the war.

TITLE: Raoul Wallenberg: The Man Who Stopped Death
AUTHOR: Sharon Linnea
PAGES: 145
TYPE: non-fiction, Holocaust narrative
RECOMMEND: This book made me sad - although why it should have more than others, I don't know. I think it upset me because a man who saved the lives of others could not be saved.

This is the personal account of Carolyn Jessop's escape from a fundamentalist Mormon polygamous marriage. I have heard her speak about her ordeal, from the time she was married in her early teens to her life after escape. I expect this book to be very interesting. To make it even better, I am going to read it on a Kindle.

TITLE: Escape
AUTHOR: Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer
COPYRIGHT: October 2007
PAGES: 432
TYPE: non-fiction
RECOMMEND: I can't really say yet, since I am only starting the book, but I know I will like the topic. And I have seen very good reviews.

All in all, non-fiction remains my favorite genre. As they say, truth is stranger than fiction and I love it that way!!