Tag Archives: Literature

“Like a Superbowl for Book Lovers!”

A few months ago I had the idea that I wanted to get together the various random people I know that love to talk about books and reading.  Not to talk about one book in particular, but to talk about why we became people who love to read and discuss books!  I thought I would look for some book-related food and drink, book and reading related games, and we would have a grand ol’ time.

Well.  A grand ol’ time was had!  Oh my.  I’m still on a little high.

Long ago I decided that I was not going to let the pressure of hosting a perfect party keep me from hosting parties,.  It makes for a more relaxed evening to know that you don’t have to be a Martha in the kitchen to have a successful party.  I ended up stocking up on frozen Trader Joe’s appetizers, buying a lot of wine and some fruit, and putting out cheese and crackers.  I picked a small Italian theme, because I had a book to giveaway, and that book was set in Italy.  I looked through the “Tequila Mockingbird” cocktail book Iclick the title for the blog about how lovely and perfect this book is!) for inspiration and decided to make the “Gone with the Wine” sangria (red wine, peach schnapps, peaches and oranges) and get the fixings for “Scarlett O’Hara’s” (Southern Comfort and cranberry juice) as well.  My house is usually relatively clean, so I simply dusted and put away the dishes, prepared the punch, decorated with books, and took a nap.  That’s my kind of prep.

The guests arrived promptly and enjoyed the “Gone with the Wine,” and we promptly began discussing the following questions while devouring yummy tapas-like appetizers:

  • What was the first book you remember reading/being read?
  • What is your favorite book of all time?
  • Which book has left the most lasting impression on you?
  • Which book have you read most frequently?
  • What books are on your bedside table at the moment?
  • Name one book/author that you really can’t stand?
  • What type of books do you like reading most?
  • If you were given $30 to spend on a book today, what book would you buy?
  • Where’s your favorite place to read?
  • Which character in a book do you think is most like you?
  • Which character in a book would you most like to be?
  • What book do you plan to read next?
  • Which literary character would you most like to have a ‘significant relationship’ with?

These discussion questions took a good few hours and we never digressed to talking about family or work or anything but books books books!

Then we played Bookish Pictionary with a white board and bestseller book titles!  It was fast-paced and fun – even to those who freaked out about having to draw!

There were a few online games we played via my iPad – like this one, which is matching the people who marry or almost marry in famous books, this one which is first lines of famous novels, and this one, which was hilarious – top 80 words found in Harlequin romance novel titles!  Who knew that Surgeon would be way up there???

Everyone brought a small exchange gift – a jar of Book Worms, favorite classic novels or a favorite book, Well Red wine from Trader Joe’s… creative and fun!

And then everyone got to take home a book from a box of books that I won from TLC Book Tours!  Yay books!

I cannot wait to start planning the next Superbowl for Book Lovers or Bookish Affair or whatever it becomes dubbed!  I will be on the lookout for more book giveaways, bookish trinkets for exchange, and bookish games and recipes!

Do you have any ideas for future bookish gatherings?

What a Difference…

Only a few weeks left in 2012.

Tonight I was looking back in my computer to see if I wrote any kind of “end of year wrap up” for 2011 and found nothing but revisions of resumes and cover letters dated 2011.  I guess that’s where my mind was last year at this time!  What a difference a year makes.

It was fun to go back and read my December 2011 and January 2012 blogs – the books and movies that I indulged in during unemployment and my blogs about what I will and won’t miss about unemployment.  Ah.

Pretty good stuff.  I think I was the most creative during that time!  Blogs in early 2012 were pretty ‘meh.”  I guess brain power was going elsewhere for a while… rightly so!

Anyway, found this list again:

US passport
US passport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

12 Things to Get Done in 2012

  1. See Garrison Keillor at the Fitzgerald Theatre
  2. Visit the Four Daughters Vineyard in Spring Valley (maybe more than once!). Doesn’t it look lovely?
  3. Get my passport – so I’m ready!  This was on my list of 40 Things and it didn’t happen.  It will happen – soon.
  4. Write – at least weekly blogs
  5. Write – more letters. It’s so fun to get mail.
  6. Eat healthy and REAL food
  7. Watch for and attend more Table Trivia Nights
  8. Seek out author and book events, especially for authors and books I love!
  9. Go to New York City to see “Once – the Musical” – you see that, Troy
  10. While in NYC maybe go on a Greenwich Village walking tour with Adriana Trigiani (love her!)
  11. Read at least one GOOD book per month.  Easily achievable.
  12. Try new recipes and cook for myself (or invite others!)
Garrison Keillor
Garrison Keillor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still no passport (eeek!) and no Garrison yet, but NYC twice in a year?  A dream come true.

Seeing “Once” twice?  Amazing.

Even on Facebook in January 2011 I was posting links for the musical and dreaming of getting there.

Fun to start my dream list for 2013!  What do I want to come true this coming year???

I have to review my birthday list of 11 Things to do in the Fall, as the Winter Solstice is coming up soon and it’ll be time for a new list!  Yikes!

More later on that!

11/11 What’s Making me Happy This Week

The things that make me different are the thin...
The things that make me different are the things that make me – me. (Photo credit: deeplifequotes)
  • Symmetry in dates – 11/11 and 11/11/12!
  • A weekend off!
  • Sunshiny weather on my day off Thursday – and being out and about during the daylight!  Durn daylight savings time!
  • Wearing capris in November – one more warm burst for a bit!
  • Poetry reading with the girls – from Shel Silverstein to to e.e. cummings to Japanese Haikus.
  • Poetry written by the girls!  Funny haikus!
    Haikus

  • A surprise party, even if it wasn’t a surprise in the end! It was still a good party!
  • Being with family
  • Watching the boys at the Metrodome tonight – fun to see them win!
  • A good book that makes me want to carry it around and read at every spare moment!
  • Having fun things to look forward to this week – Springsteen and book club!!
E. E. Cummings
E. E. Cummings (Photo credit: o admirador secreto)

Another thing on my list!

Goals for 2012

Towards the bottom of my list is “write – letters.”  So when I read about the website moreloveletters.com, I signed up for their email updates right away.  Their premise is that the world needs more love letters – handwritten letters written to encourage or lift up people who need them.  They collect the handwritten missives and then mail bundles of letters to new college students, people who give and give to others and then find themselves to be in need of support or anyone who is nominated to be a recipient of a bundle.

I’m planning to participate by simply writing brief and uplifting notes including favorite quotes.  I’m not too artsy so I won’t be getting out the glitter guns or making paper origami to mail to a lucky recipient, but I love getting personal mail so  I figure the beauty of the writing won’t matter.

My first quote, a favorite today, is from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

What would you include in an uplifting handwritten love letter to a stranger?

A perforated Penny Red with letters in four co...
A perforated Penny Red with letters in four corners and plate 148, therefore printed 1871 or later. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Starting a Commonplace Book

April 30.  How did it happen that we’re here already?  Very crazy.

I was trying to figure out a way to honor the last day of Poetry Month and was reading 30 things to do in Poetry Month.  One of the things to do was to start a ‘commonplace book.’ It sounds exactly like what we did in high school and that I have done every now and then ever since.

Commonplace book
Commonplace book (Photo credit: vlasta2)

I have owned many blank books over the years to collect words inside.  To-do lists or other kinds of lists (40 things to do before 40 or the Man o’ My Dreams list), favorite quotes or paragraphs from books, ideas of things to try or read or watch or do. Once I kept track of random overheard conversations of strangers.  What fun that was!

So I’m inspired to find a small book to write snippets in again.

Below is the information from poets.org.  Visit the site for lots of inspirational ideas!

Start a Commonplace Book:

Since the Renaissance, devoted readers have been copying their favorite poems and quotations into notebooks to form their own personal anthologies called “commonplace books.” These collections can be a source of enjoyment and solace, reminding the keeper of favorite books and poems, and can even become family heirlooms. You may devote a corner of a regular journal to jotting down quotes or poems that strike your fancy or obtain a blank book just for this purpose.

As Max W. Thomas says in “Reading and Writing the Renaissance Commonplace Book: A Question of Authorship?”, “commonplace books are about memory, which takes both material and immaterial form; the commonplace book is like a record of what that memory might look like.” Or, in Jonathan Swift’s words:

“A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that ‘great wits have short memories:’ and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there.”
—from “A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet”

Today, find a small notebook to record poems or fragments of poems that you come across in your reading. As you add to your own commonplace book, you will be drawing a map of your life as a reader and thinker, creating a valuable portrait of your memory and time.

40 Things (38)

Nick Hornby

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 38!

38) An author crush

This is a toughy, because although I can be an author-stalker, I don’t necessarily think about them as crushes.  But one author that I immediately looked for on Goodreads because I love to read anything by him, would be Nick Hornby.  His books are clever and witty and apt.  I would love to meet him and see if he’s anything like the characters he writes.

#38 on my list was: Drink before noon.  How silly is that?  It wasn’t a well-thought-out addition or something I had been dreaming about doing for years, but rather added as the opportunity came about.  🙂  We have a small cabin on a small lake about an hour from where I live.  It’s absolutely perfect.  This drink happened one morning at the end of the dock to celebrate my brother’s birthday and the nearing end of summer.  I always say that the end of the dock is my favorite room at the cabin… whether it be with coffee or wine, alone or with friends, with a book or purely sun worshiping.  It’s the best.

My Favorite Room at the Cabin

Off to read!

40 Things (29)

Garrison Keillor and cast members of A Prairie...
Keillor and cast in Lanesboro, MN Image via Wikipedia

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 29 –

29) A favourite book with animals in

When I was young (5th grade? 6th grade?) I loved “Where the Red Fern Grows,” but I haven’t read it since then, so  it’s hard to say it’s a favorite, because when I think of books with animals in it, my mind goes immediately to “Life of Pi.”  I listened to that book on audio first and simply fell in love with the story.  I loved the cadence of the reader, the description of the animals in the life boat, the floating island, and the horror of the story.  A few years later I read the book for book club (at my insistence) and I enjoyed the story just as much and loved talking about it with everyone (although most didn’t share my love for the book).

#29 on my list of 40 things was: Go to Michael Feldman or Garrison Keillor.  Michael Feldman and Garrison Keillor have weekly entertainment radio shows on public radio.  I have listened to Garrison Keillor since I was introduced to the show when I was about 12 by my aunt and uncle.  I don’t listen religiously, but whenever I am in the car or at home and remember, I will turn on The Prairie Home Companion,which is taped in St. Paul, MN or NYC.  Michael Feldman’s show, “Whad’ya Know?” was introduced to me much later – in the late 90s – and it is less musical and more interview/comedy based with local color.  It is taped in Madison, Wisconsin.

On May 31, 2007 Garrison Keillor came to a small artsy town about 20 miles from where I lived, so I got tickets and went with a bunch of friends.  He recorded the show on a baseball field outside and the weather was perfect, the guests were colorful and fun, and his show was fantastic.  It would be fun to see him at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul sometime and I hear he’s going to retire soon, so I’ll have to get on that.

Off to read!

School Library Days

Here Come the Littles
Here Come the Littles Image via Wikipedia

I read a lot of book blogs and someone posted some questions about memories related to school and books.  I have a lot of memories about reading when younger, so I’ll answer a few of the questions – and hope you will too!

  • What’s your favorite bookish school memory?
  • Did your teacher read aloud to you? Do you remember what book it was?
I vividly remember Mrs. Karnath reading aloud “The Call of the Wild.” I know she read a lot of books aloud but that’s the only title I can remember right now. That was 5th grade!!
  • Do you remember what books you checked out at the school library?
I was just telling my niece that my favorite book that I would check out over and over was “No Flying in the House.” It was about a girl who realizes that she is a fairy and can fly around. You can tell if you’re a fairy if you can kiss your elbow. 🙂 Years later I went to the elementary library and looked for this book and it was gone. I haven’t searched for it online … yet. I also remember reading all the books about the Littles – little people who lived in the walls and had tails. I never read the Borrowers, but think they’re similar genres. And Trixie Beldon books were favorites with me and Maureen.
I loved the library and going there.
I didn’t start going to the public library until after college. It was always such a dark and quiet place with a crabby librarian, so it didn’t feel inviting at all.
  • What was one of the first book reports you did for school?
  • Do you have a favorite book or author that you first heard about from a teacher or school project?
  • Do you have a not-so-pleasant bookish memory from your school days?
How about you? Any answers to the above questions? Any great memories of reading in your school years?
Off to read!

Did ya miss me?

P question
??? Image via Wikipedia

Wow.  I was blogging pretty regularly for a while and then I stopped!  I’ll tell you what happened.  A few things, actually.

Reason #1- I got an iPad 2 from work.  Less need to sit at the laptop or desk top and less convenient to blog on the iPad.  I now read all my blogs, read tweets, search the library website, check email and facebook, and play Words with Friends all on the iPad!  Tonight I downloaded my first library book to the iPad!  Who has time to blog!  🙂

Reason #2 is that I received some news that kinda rocked my world a few weeks ago – they are looking at cutting my position at work for next year.  It’s been an emotional roller coaster.  Tons of sadness, a little anger, and growing excitement at what may be.  Every day at work is emotional because it is hard to talk about it with coworkers.  Hard to think about not working with them and the district families anymore – after 18 years of being there.  But I’m thankful for the support I am feeling from coworkers and parents so my new coping strategy is an attitude of gratitude.  I hope it helps me sleep at night. 🙂

Reason #3 is that Easter happened!  Monday night (5/2) when I crawled into bed, I realized that it was the third night I’d slept there since April 20.  I went to Mom and Dad’s for quite a few days during my break from work and then we left last Thursday for a trip to Denver for a wedding!  It’s a lot easier to blog when I’m home and alone.

So with all of this going on, my house is suffering.  Tonight I dealt with the piling up of clothes and tomorrow I’ll have to tackle the mail and dust.  As I said, I also tackled downloading an e-book from the library tonight.  That was quite a task.

So about the iPad.  It’ll have to go back if/when I leave my job but I really think that I will need to get my own.   I have the nook, kindle, and iBooks apps on there.  Overkill or what?  And then to download library e-books, I had to download Overdrive and Adobe.  They don’t work together?  I’ve been wondering about just getting a nook or other e-reader, but I might just need the whole iPad she-bang.

Thoughts?

And now about books (and maybe a movie) – My Spring Thing reading list is below – and there is progress!  How fun is that?  I just finished “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” and it was good.  Not super good, but good.  I liked the characters, was confused about the inclusion of some of the characters, but would like to meet Major Pettigrew.  Or just travel to England. 🙂  Before that I read “The Hundred Foot Journey.”  Can’t remember if I blogged about that, but I liked that book, too.  Again, not life-changing, but good. I really need to get some good Indian recipes in my repertoire.

On Easter Sunday Marissa and I went to see “Water for Elephants.”  It was good, but not nearly as good as the book (of course).  You just don’t get the emotions and tensions that you get in the book.  The characters were pretty well cast, although I didn’t picture the main guy to be as cute as Pattinson.  🙂  But it was true to the story.

Spring Thing Reading List:

  • Mockingbird
  • The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
  • Heart and Soul
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey
  • Fly Away Home
  • Winter’s Garden
  • Harry Potter (2)
  • Harry Potter (3)
  • Harry Potter (4)
  • Harry Potter (5)
  • Harry Potter (6)
  • Harry Potter (7)
  • Jane Eyre
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

Well, off to read!  On the iPad!

Teaser Tuesday

Cover of "Faking It"
Cover of Faking It

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I’m reading “Faking It” by Jennifer Crusie.  Picked up the paperback at the library, wanting a quick fun read before I delve into a couple of my next book club books.  I’m not too far in the book, so I’m just gonna pick a few places:

“So I thought I could go and distract them and you could sneak in and steal it,” Gwen said. “And then we can bury it in the basement again.”

Three blocks away, Clea sat at the breakfast table, tapping her fingernail against the coffee cup.  It was the closest she could come to throwing the damn thing at Mason and still project loving warmth, the kind of woman he’d want to face over the breakfast table for the rest of his life.

 

I guess I didn’t follow the rules exactly, as I chose two different locations in the book!  Oh well.  They were fun and random little teasers from a fun little book!  I also had to look up the definition of ‘meme’ because I keep seeing it places!  According to Wikipedia (the source I love to use when I don’t care about the research!) a MEME is:  meme (play /ˈmm/, rhyming with “cream”[1]), a relatively newly coined term, identifies ideas or beliefs that are transmitted from one person or group of people to another. The concept comes from an analogy: as genes transmit biological information, memes can be said to transmit idea and belief information.

A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes, in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures
Your turn!!!  Comment with your thoughts on MEMES or your teaser!

Off to read!