Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #3

This past week, I was trolling around on the net, and I caught a trailer for the new John Cusak movie (have I mentioned my love for John Cusak??) It's called 1408 and is taken from a short story in Everything's Eventual by Stephen King (have I mentioned my love for Stephen King??) Now I'm pretty excited. My favorite actor and my favorite author teaming up for a project! In comes my husband to throw cold water on the whole idea. He says, "But don't you think Stephen King movies are generally pretty bad?" Now I will be the first to admit some of his books and short stories don't translate well to the big screen (do I have to remind you of Maximum Overdrive or Children of the Corn?). But on a whole, I think Stephen King has done exceedingly well with movies. In a quest to show my husband he is wrong, I have come up with this week's Thursday Thirteen:

Thirteen of the Best Film Adaptations of Stephen King Stories:

1. Shawshank Redemption - Ok....maybe it's bad that I'm starting with a non-horror novella. But this is one of my ALL-TIME favorite movies!! Tim Robbins as Andy Dufrense and the great Morgan Freeman as Red are both phenomenal. This is the story of 2 men that meet in prison and the friendship that bonds them together.

2. Stand By Me - Yikes. Two in a row...and from the same book (Different Seasons). Not a scary movie by any means. But a story of 4 young boys, their friendship, and a quest to see a dead body. (Did I mention that John Cusak makes an appearance in this movie??) It's a beautiful story and bring tears to my eyes every time I watch it.

3. The Shining - I mean the Kubrick's version, not the mini-series that was on a few years back. What can you say about Jack Nicholson? He brings a creepiness to Jack Torrence that sends a chill up my spine. The pivotal moment when his wife looks at the novel he's been writing.....and the only line that is typed over and over again is "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" so unsettling. And that creepy little boy saying REDRUM....Yikes!

4. Carrie - This is the story of a young high school girl that has telekinetic powers. She is raised by her mother, a religious fanatic, that will lock her in the closet if she does something wrong. Sissy Spacek plays Carrie and is so utterly convincing, you don't know whether to feel sorry for her or be scared of her!

5. The Stand - Anyone who has read this blog at all knows this is my very favorite Stephen King novel. It was made into a mini-series in '94 which is the only way that any justice could be done. Far too much story for a movie. The casting in this movie was phenomenal (except for Molly Ringwald as Frannie....EWWW). Gary Sinese as Stu, Rob Lowe as Nick, Matt Frewer as the Trashcan Man and a genius move of Bill Fagerbakke as Tom Cullen lead an outstanding cast that also includes Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Ray Walston. One of the greatest stories of Good vs. Evil....ever!

6. The Green Mile - This story actually started out as a serial novel written in 6 parts. It's the outstanding story of the lives of guards on death row as it leads up the the execution of a wrongfully accused man with the power to heal. Again, the cast of Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell and Sam Rockwell make this movie what it is. Heartwarming and Heartbreaking at the very same time.

7. Misery - Kathy Bates SO deserved the Oscar for her portrayal of Annie Wilkes to Uber-Obsessed fan of Paul Sheldon, an author (played by James Caan). She completely freaked me out.....and the scene where she hobbles Sheldon, to this day makes me cringe!! Great movie!

8. 'Salem's Lot - I'm always up for a good Vampire movie. And this one delivered. Directed by Tobe Hooper (of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame) and with David Soul as Ben Mears, this movie was incredibly frightning. There is one scene where a little boy comes back to take his brother....and he's hovering around outside the window. I had nightmares about that for years!!

9. The Dead Zone - There aren't many people I find creepier than Christopher Walken anyway! And he's super as Johnny Smith, a man who was in a horrible accident that left him in a coma for years. When he awakens, he can see a person's future by touching them. Martin Sheen is also great as a cowardly presidental candidate.

10. Needful Things - Not everyone likes this movie as much as I did. Max von Sydow plays the role of Leland Gaunt (or Satan) who opens up a store called Needful Things in a quaint Maine town. You can get whatever your heart desires most in this store.....but there is always a price. This movie shows a real dark side to human nature. I loved it!

11. Heart's in Atlantis - Anthony Hopkins is one of my very favorite actors! He plays Ted, a old man that moves into an upstairs apartment. He befriends the lonely little boy that lives with his mother in the downstairs apartment. Ted has "magical" powers, but is being chased by "lowmen". It's a great movie, and Hope Davis as the mother is so cold you can almost see her breath!

12. The Secret Window - Not the greatest movie ever....same sort of premise as The Dark Half. BUT it has an extremely sexy Johnny Depp....and he makes crazy look not-quite-so-bad! John Turturro as John Shooter is also fantastic!

13. Silver Bullet - OK....I'll give you cheezy. But hey! Anything with that crazy Gary Busey is going to be interesting! It's a werewolf movie, and Busey plays the crazy Uncle (go figure) to two youngsters. Corey Haim is great as the nephew who is paralzyed, but uses a wheelchair his uncle built, called the Silver Bullet! There is a seriel killer on the loose, but Marty gets it in his head that the killer is really a warewolf. And he and his sister try to find him. Come's a fun movie!!

There are so many other King movies that I love (like Pet Sematary, Cujo, Rose Red, and Cat's eye). Others that I hated (Sometimes They Come Back, The Mangler, and Christine). But I will watch them all!!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Latest Pick from the Queen

Queen Oprah announced her newest selection today. She passed on the Classics this time. No more memoirs. Back to the basics. Fiction! This selection is The Road by the reclusive Cormac McCarthy. It was featured as one of the New York Times Notable Fiction books for 2006. Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist who has authored ten novels in the Southern Gothic, post-apocalyptic fiction, and western genres.

The Road follows a man and boy, father and son, journeying together for several months across a post-apocalyptic landscape several years after a great cataclysm (which is unspecified, but has some of the earmarks of a nuclear holocaust or possibly a large-scale asteroid impact) destroyed civilization and most life on earth. What is left of humanity now consists largely of bands of cannibals and their prey – refugees who scavenge for canned food or other surviving foodstuffs.

This has the makings of some good stuff!! I'm surprised that it is an Oprah pick though. Then again, she does go for some depressing stuff!! McCarthy is actually going to make his first TV interview on the Oprah Show. Should be interesting!!


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Once Upon a Time.....

That's it! I'm certifiably crazy! Another challenge, you say?? Sure. Just add my name. But this one is a challenge that I am REALLY looking forward to. It's a Fantasy challenge. After finishing American Gods by Neil Gaiman, I can see myself firmly planting myself in this genre. It is hosted by the most helpful Carl V at Stainless Steel Droppings and is to take place from March 22 (the first day of Spring) and run till June 21st (Midsummer Night's Eve).

Not only is it just a mere's a QUEST! "A chance to celebrate spring, the time of rebirth and renewal, by experiencing the type of storytelling that connects us with our past." So, I have decided I will challenge myself to Quest #3. Here are my selections:

  • Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan - Fairytale
  • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman - Folklore
  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley - Mythology
  • The Skewed Throne by Joshua Palmatier - Fantasy
  • A Midsummer's Night Dream by Shakespeare

I think that's a pretty good list. The Mists of Avalon is a classic, and I've never read it. Always "one of these days". Well....I guess that day is here. Anansi Boys seemed easy since I just read American Gods. And The Skewed Throne is nominated this year for the Compton Crook Award.'s off to Fantasyland for me!!


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Randomness.....A Few of My Favorite Things

I'm feeling pretty bad here. I should probably be spending more time reading and less time on this blog!! I've only finished 2 books this month!! BUT.....I'm in the middle of 4, which I should have done by the end of this week, so I will be posting a whole BUNCH of reviews!! Anyway, figured I take some time out and add a little randomness for the day!

randomness...feed your mind and your blog

Week of March 25: A Few of My Favorite Things
what's your favorite.....
1. food - Ribeye Steak. ( guessed it. I'm a carnivore. Sorry to all you Vegans out there, but I grew up on a cattle farm. Part of the genes!)

2. movie - Dead Poet's Society - This is awfully hard to pin down just ONE. I love movies, like books!

3. song - Bittersweet Symphony by the Verve. I HEART this song!! (Again, hard to name just one. This is today's mood. Ask me tomorrow and it would probably be different!)

4. color - Fire Engine Red (Wonder what that says about me??)

5. outdoor activity - Walking/Hiking (I love to be outside with the kids)

6. season - Autumn - I love the change of seasons, the bit of chill to the air, and the changing of the leaves!!

7. book - To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (Again....ONE of my favorites)

8. store - Barnes & Noble (finally, an EASY question!)

9. car - 1965 Mustang Shelby GT350SR. (my DREAM car!)

10. animal - Dog (St. Bernard). Yep...I'm a dog person!

till next time....

Friday, March 23, 2007

Twisted Kingdom Relaunch

Since the gals at Twisted Kingdom were kind enough to post my review for American Gods, I thought I would reciprocate! They are relaunching the blog....and have a couple of contests going on. Neil Gaiman is the Author of the month, so stop on by and check out the new site!! Just click on the above link and you are there!!


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #2

OK....I'm not much of an American Idol person. Oh, I watch it sometimes. But my taste in music really doesn't fit with the rest of America, because the people I like never win! I dig the rockers, but the Chris Daughtery's and Bo Bice's just don't seem to make it. Good singers go home and people like Sanjaya Malakar remain in the game. When I was watching him sing on Tuesday night, I noticed (like everyone else in the country) the little girl crying for him. (Now, personally I wanted to cry too...but it was because he mutilated a great Kinks song!) And the one thought that passed through my head was "Lord...that little girl is going to grow up to be a stalker! And one with no taste, either!" I guess that thought is what led me to today's Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen People that I would Stalk....if I had Stalker tendancies, of course !

1. John Cusak - I should probably preface this by saying, I am John Cusak's #1 fan!! He is literally the man of my dreams....and has been for almost 20 years!! Since the day I saw him holding a boom box over his head, playing "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel for a girl in "Say Anything", I was hopelessly in love. He is the perfect man: gorgeous, intelligent, sensitive and funny! Even when he plays a psychopath or a hired killer, he's my man!!

2. Kiefer Sutherland - 24 has certainly made Keifer a big name, but I have been enamoured of him since the days of "The Lost Boys", when he played bad-boy Vampire David. It's not so much his looks either (although, I must say he is one FINE man)'s his voice. Whenever Kiefer Sutherland talks, I go weak in the knees. So.....if I'm ever on a plane that is armed with a nuclear weapon taken over by terrorists who are working with bad members of our government and I need rescuing, I certainly hope Jack Bauer is there!!

3. Bono - The man doesn't even NEED a last name! There is nothing sexier than a man who can sing. When I was standing on the floor of the United Center in Chicago on the How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb tour and he sang With or Without You to me (hey now....a girl can dream right?) I actually had tears in my eyes. That man AFFECTS me. And he's a wonderful humanitarian to boot!

4. Trent Reznor - Ok...this one shows a little bit of my dark side. Trent is dark, gloomy and dangerously sexy. Another man that can sing. I've seen Nine Inch Nails live 6 times, and will probably see them on their next tour as well. So what if Trent thinks the end if near? We could spend it together, rocking the night away!! Old picture, but you get the point!

5. Gerald Butler - You may be asking yourself who?? But Gerald Butler is the Scot that starred as King Leonidas in "300". Talk about a hottie!! This man sizzles! If you haven't seen 300 yet, let me just clue you in. Gerald spends most of it wearing the equivelant of a speedo! I haven't seen a six-pack like that in ???? EVER! I actually liked him when I saw him as Dracula in "Dracula 2000". I know. Again with the vampires. But Vampires are SEXY!

6. Clive Owen - speaking of sexy foreigners, you can't forget Clive. Not only did he play King Arthur, he was in Sin City (such a cool flick), Closer and Derailed. He can be a tough guy, and yet, there is something surprisingly sensitive about him. Oh yeah. The accent. If you have an accent, you are already a leg up on the Americans. And good looking to boot?? Yep....I'm adding this Brit to my Stalker list!

7. Dave Navaro - I have a thing for guys with Tats! What can I say? Dave Navaro is truly beautiful.....bad boy biker, guitar player extraordinaire, poker player, tattooed, and gorgeous. I'm in heaven!! I cried when Jane's Addiction broke up. But Dave has the staying power and will be around for a LONG time!

8. Daniel Craig - So he's not suave like Sean Connery, stiff like Roger Moore, or pretty like Pierce Brosnon. (There was another guy, but he was so forgettable, it's not worth mentioning!) This 007 rocks!! He's tough, edgy and looks hot in a tux AND A speedo. How many men can pull that one off?? Add another Brit to my list!!

9. Hugh Laurie - That's right. Dr. House. He's sexy. He's British. And he's so funny! The man has more snark than I do (and to those who know me, that says alot!) I'd stalk this guy any day of the week!

10. Matthew McConaughey - Oh my goodness....will you look at those dimples and those baby blues??? If that doesn't leave you in a puddle, I don't know what will!! He's adorable, has a cute little Southern accent.....and who can resist a man that smokes a little weed, and plays the bongos naked at 3 am???

11. Billy Bob Thornton - I know. This is probably a weird one. But I can't help myself. There is just something......dirty about him. And incredibly sexy!! I'm not sure if it's the tattoos that I'm attracted to....or just the eccentricity. Either way, I'd stalk this man in a hurry. I mean...what's not to love about a guy that makes Santa Claus a dirty name!

12. Adam Sandler - OK....granted. Not the most handsome man in the list. But I'm seriously digging the new Bob Dylan look. Suits him perfectly. Adam Sandler's personality just makes me want to hug him!! I love, love, loved the Wedding Singer. And he makes me laugh. What' s more important than laughter?? Should be very high on the stalkability list!

13. Paul Newman - My last name on the list. Is it weird that I want to stalk a man old enough to be my Grandpa? Probably. But Paul Newman is such a wonderful human being. And still a handsome old coot! Besides, I'm actually talking about the Ol' Blue Eyes, Long Hot Summer, Cool Hand Luke, The Sting, Butch Cassidey Paul Newman. He rocks my socks!

Well...that's it. I promise the next 13 will be about books. Since that's mostly what I'm about!


Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, March 19, 2007


What is it with me and the word "Challenge"?? As a new blogger, especially one that deals mostly with books and the written word, I have been AMAZED at the amount of challenges that seem to float through the blog nation. And every time I see a new one, I just can't seem to help but put my name next to it!! Since I failed miserably at the Winter Classics Challenge, one would think that I would be a little more selective at the challenges that I get myself involved in. But no...that doesn't seem to be the case!! Of course, now that I have conceded that there has to be some cross-challenge books, it's a little easier to justify it to myself!! So I guess I should just get to posting the new challenges that seemed to have jumped onto my radar:

Well, Michelle at 3M said she started this as a personal challenge, and there was so much interest, she opened it up to all. It was originally 15 books for 15 decades, but she said you can do as many (or as little) as you want, as long as they are in consecutive decades. looks like it will be 18 books/18 decades for me. Mostly this is just because I wanted to add Wuthering Heights, but if I stayed in the 1840's, that was only 17. And 17 just sounded so uneven!! Anyway, here is my list:

  • 1830's - Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickley by Charles Dickens

  • 1840's - Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte *also used for the TBR challenge

  • 1850's - The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas

  • 1860's - Little Women by Louisa May Alcott *also used for the TBR Challenge

  • 1870's - Far From the Maddening Crowd by Thomas Hardy

  • 1880's - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain

  • 1890's - Dracula by Bram Stoker

  • 1900's - House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

  • 1910's - O'Pioneers by Willa Cather

  • 1920's - The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • 1930's - Brave New World by Aldous Huxley *also for the Banned Books Challenge

  • 1940's - Methuselah's Children by Robert Heinlein

  • 1950's - My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier *completed 2/19 for Winter Classics Challenge

  • 1960's - Caravans by James Michener *Essencia Island Read

  • 1970's - Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow

  • 1980's - Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood *also used for the TBR Challenge

  • 1990's - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon *also used for the TBR Challenge

  • 2000's - Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors

Finally, I saw this challenge and decided to add myself to the list. Figured 5 books would do. It is hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days. March 21 - June 21st. Read books! Isn't that easy? I'm thinking, I can handle this!! Here are my 6 books:

  • Little Children by Tom Perotta
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
  • Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller
  • Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart
  • Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult *just added because I just bought it!

Do you think this is enough to keep my mind occupied? I also have the TBR Challenge, The Banned Book Challenge, The Non-Fiction Five Challenge and the Chunkster challege. Rumor has it, there is also a Fantasy challenge coming up that I might like to get in on.......I think I need to have my head examined!!

Later !

Saturday, March 17, 2007

An Incredible Trip Across America

American Gods (William Morrow, 2001 pgs. 465) by Neil Gaiman is a book that I've had on my shelf for ages. Thanks to the TBR Challenge, I finally pulled it down. And I'm SO GLAD I did!! It's a fantasy book, which is a fairly new genre for me. But I couldn't ask for a better book to solidify my new love for it! 5/5

"Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough and looked don't-fuck-with-me enough that his biggest problem was killing time. So he kept himself in shape, and taught himself coin tricks, and thought a lot about how much he loved his wife." And so begins our journey.

The book follows the adventures of ex-convict Shadow upon his (few day) early release from prison due to the death of his wife, Laura, in a car accident. He is hired by the mysterious Mr. Wednesday to act as an escort and bodyguard, and travels across America visiting Wednesday's colleagues and acquaintances. Mr. Wednesday, we come to find out is actually an incarnation of Odin the All-Father. Wednesday is recruiting American manifestations of the Old Gods of ancient mythology. Whenever someone came to America, they brought with them the Gods they believed in. Gods they worshipped. But these Gods have lost a lot of their power as their believers have decreased in number. And why is Wednesday recruiting Gods? Because the Storm is coming and there is going to be a war. A war against the new Gods of America....the Internet, the Media, Television and Hollywood, Technology, Computers....anything that Americans today worship.

I loved this book! Not only was it a great story, but I got a chance to learn a lot about mythology. We meet Odin, Loki (the mythical being of mischief), Anansi (a trickster and a God of West African Lore), Czernobog (a dark Slavic God), the Zorya (the guardian goddesses known as the Auroras). We also meet Mad Sweeney (a leprichan) , Johnny Appleseed, and Bliquis (the Queen of Sheba). At first, I was a bit confused because I just had no idea where this book was going. But the plot is drawn out very subtlely. We travel all across America to roadside stands and attractions. And I think Gaiman hit the nail on the head with this one. He shows us a different side to America. One of a country that is basically filled with Immigrants. And every person that has settled here brought a little piece of their homeland. Gaiman also shows us how fickle we really are. The Gods of Today won't be the Gods of Tomorrow. He definitely gets a "A" for effort! 5/5

Blogger's List of 10 Books I Can't Live Without

Well, since Kelly actually sent me the email she owed to me, I thought I would make my list!! Oh her site, The Written World, she ran a list that was in the Guardian and decided to come up with a BLOGGER'S list of the 10 Books that You Can't Live Without. The Guardians list was actually 100, and had a decidedly British Twist to it. Now...after giving this some thought last night, I've come up with my list!! My ten might not be the best books ever, but they are to me!! They are books that have had an influence on me.

Drumroll please........

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee- I read this book for an English assignment in High School. And I have re-read it 2 more times since, and may even throw in another re-read this year....because it's been awhile This book has stayed with me for so long. No matter how many books I read, this one will always be at the top of the list for me! And if you want to watch the movie, Gregory Peck is so incredibly good as Atticus! This is one movie that actually does justice to it's written form!
  2. The Count of Mont Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - It's amazing to me that this book was written in 1844! It reads easily and has just about everything a book could need. Good guys and villians; prison breaks and Pirates; Love and Revenge. This book is a roller coaster from the start, and one of the best novels I've ever read!!
  3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - This book was written in 1862 and is another door stop. But Jean Valjean as a hero is fantastic! This story of an ex-convict (for stealing a loaf of bread for his family) trying to redeem himself speaks loads of social commentary on good vs. evil, morality, justice and the law. It is an excellent book and I feel that I am a better person for having read it.
  4. Gone with the Wind by Margeret Mitchell - This story is my Grandmother's favorite. I had never actually planned on reading it, but my good friend Kendra talked me into it. It is a wonderful story of the American Civil war and one woman's quest to overcome the odds. It doesn't have the romantic fairy tale ending, but it's a excellent book with lots to say!
  5. The Stand by Stephen King - Is it cheezy to add a Stephen King book to this list of Classics? Maybe. But this is an epic tale of good vs. evil and probably the best thing he has ever written. It's also one of the few books I have ever re-read. I loved this book, although I have to say it scared the bejesus out of me the first time. And it solidified King as one of my all-time favorite writer's.
  6. The Nancy Drew Series by Caroline Keene - This is the series that started my love of books. I was a sick child, in and out of the hospital when I was young. These books were my friends when I couldn't go outside and play. And they showed me that a girl can be strong and smart and fearless. Isn't that what good books are about? Inspiring others. Nancy Drew inspired ME!
  7. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut - This book is a strange book. One that mixes a bit of science fiction in with a tale of the horrors of war. It's about the Dresden bombing in WWII, as well as a bit of time travel. Vonnegut's anti-war stand and his look at human nature is one that everyone in today's sociey should read.
  8. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - The book seems to polarize people. Either love it or hate it. I happen to fall in the category of love.....this little book really changes a person. It's a tale of following your heart and following your dreams. I think there would be more happy and contented people in the world today if more people read this book and took what it said to heart. "It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting."
  9. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - Another polarizing book. This one gave me nightmares! Talk about learning not to take the freedom we enjoy today for granted!! As a woman, reading about how women completely lost their identities and freedoms under the guise of religion, I was truly scared. This book certainly had an effect on me.....and that effect is the reason I added it to my list.
  10. Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne - For anyone who has ever been to the Oprah book clubs and have seen my avatar, this will come as no surprise. Winnie the Pooh is probably my very favorite character....ever! I read these stories when I was young, and Pooh and friends have stuck by me all these years. Winnie the Pooh really is a beautiful story of friendship and love.

OK...that's it. No cheating here, although I'm pretty sure I could find 10 more to add to this list!! Books, as a whole, have shaped me into who I am today. These are just a few that I hold dear in a special place in my heart!


Thursday, March 15, 2007

My Visual DNA

Couldn't help myself. This is WAY too cool.......

Weekly Randomness - Bookworm

Well....while I was out reading up on my blogs for the week (I've been so busy I haven't even had a chance to read any of my friend's blogs!), I found this on Chris' blog. So I thought I would throw it in here as well. The topic was Bookworm!! What can I say? It fits!

randomness...feed your mind and your blog

week of March 11: Bookworms

If you're like me, your a bookworm.
I love to read. Whether it be a book, magazine, back of the cereal box...anything.
However I do prefer a good long novel.
So for this week, lets talk about our fav books.

1. Do you like to read? What is your fav book? author?
OF COURSE, I like to read!! HELLO, check out the name of my blog! My very favorite book of all-time is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. But I would have to say that The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is a close 2nd! I love Stephen King....since High School. So I'm going to throw him in as one of my favorite authors. But also: Jodi Picoult, Thomas Hardy, JK Rowling, and soon to add Neil Gaiman!

2. Do you hate it when they turn a book into a film?
I'm a very visual person anyway. I LIKE to see books on film. But the truth is, most of the time the author's work gets butchered. There are rare exceptions, including To Kill a Mockingbird and Gone with the Wind. Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me.

3. Has a book ever changed your life? How?
I can't say a book has ever CHANGED my life. But there are some books that I have read that have impacted me. The Alchemist certainly made me think about the decisions I make.

4. Do you tend to borrow books from the library or do you prefer to buy them?
I borrow AND buy. I prefer to go the book store and buy brand new books of my own. But let's face it. I can't afford to buy all the books I want to read. And I don't have the room in my house for them. Besides...the librarians now know me by name!

5. Which book are you planning on reading next?
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemrovsky and The Keep by Jennifer Egan

'Never judge a book by its movie.' J. W. Eagan

till next time....

Thursday Thirteen #1

Hmmm.....this Thursday Thirteen seems to be an internet craze.....and one that I can't pass up!! So, since today is the start of the NCAA Basketball tournament, I thought I'd post 13 reasons why there really IS MARCH MADNESS!!

1. Well, silly, of course. It's the NCAA Big Dance!! It's the Division 1 basketball tournament! It's a time when Cinderella's are born and dreams are broken!! Don't you just love this time of year?

2. NIT Basketball tournament. For those teams that weren't lucky enough to get a bid to the dance, the consolation prize is a bid to the NIT. And since a bunch of the mid-majors got screwed this year, I wanted to be sure to include them in the madness!! GO BRADLEY!! (Gotta shout out to my alma mater, that beat Providence handily last night in a first-round game!)

3. Kick-Ass Office Pools. Only during the NCAA is it "legal" to gamble in the office. Gotta keep my streak up of totally beating the pants off the men. And YES, I figure out my own brackets. No advice from the men. This "little girl" can handle it all by herself!

4. Birthdays, Birthdays, Birthdays. March seems to be the month of birthdays. My husband's, my brother, my brother-in-law. Even Rocco's birthday (my St. Bernard) is in March!

5. Mom & Dad's Anniversary. I throw this in only because it's madness that the 2 of them ever got together in the first place....let alone are celebrating number 40 this year!! Gotta love them (even if it is completely uncomprehensible that those 2 right-winged Conservatives conceived 2 of the most liberal Democrats EVER!)

6. Bonus! I get my bonus at the beginning of March! Strange time for it, although Mike always does well on his birthday because of it. This year I splurged on me and bought 10 new books!! (imagine that!)

7. The Weather. It is said that March "Comes in like a Lion and Goes out like a Lamb". No kidding. The first of March it was in the negatives. Yesterday it was 78!

8. St. Patrick's Day, the feast of Ireland's patron Saint. What did St. Patrick really do? Supposedly he banished all the snakes from Ireland (Cool!). Truthfully, St. Patrick's Day is an excuse for the Irish (and the Irish for a day) to get drunk on green beer!!

9. Women's History Month. March is Women's History month and that's a very cool thing to celebrate.

10. The Spring Equinox is in March. This is a day when the Sun can be observed over the center of the Equator. The Sun spends an equal amount of time above and below the horizon. That's kind of neat, don't you think?

11. Ides of March. Julies Cesear was assassinated on this day in 44 BC. Now it means impending doom! Oh NO. THAT'S TODAY!! YIKES!! DOOM IS COMING!

12. March was named after Mars the Roman God of War. And War is truly madness!!

13. Taxes. Since I couldn't think of anything else, I thought I would throw this in as a last resort. Since I'm such a slacker, I am just now doing our taxes. That's pretty bad considering we are getting money BACK this year!!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Monday, March 12, 2007

King of the Beat

On this day in 1922, the man who's name is synonomous with the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac, was born.

Jack Kerouac was born Jean-Louis Kerouac, a French-Canadian child on March 12, 1922 in working-class Lowell, Massachusetts. Ti Jean spoke a local dialect of French called joual before he learned English. The youngest of three children, he was heartbroken when his older brother Gerard died of rheumatic fever at the age of nine. (He wrote the book Visions of Gerald in his honor). Ti Jean was an intense and serious child, devoted to Memere (his mother) and constantly forming important friendships with other boys, as he would continue to do throughout his life. He was driven to create stories from a young age, inspired first by the mysterious radio show 'The Shadow,' and later by the fervid novels of Thomas Wolfe, the writer he would model himself after. Lowell had once thrived as the center of New England's textile industry, but by the time of Kerouac's birth it had begun to sink into poverty. Kerouac's father, a printer and well-known local businessman, began to suffer financial difficulties, and started gambling in the hope of restoring prosperity to the household. Young Jack hoped to save the family himself by winning a football scholarship to college and entering the insurance business. He was a star back on his high school team and won some miraculous victories, securing himself a scholarship to Columbia University in New York. His parents followed him there, settling in Ozone Park, Queens.Things went wrong at Columbia. Kerouac fought with the football coach, who refused to let him play. His father lost his business and sank rapidly into alcoholic helplessness, and young Jack, disillusioned and confused, dropped out of Columbia, bitterly disappointing the father who had so recently disappointed him.

He tried and failed to fit in with the military (World War II had begun) and ended up sailing with the Merchant Marine. When he wasn't sailing, he was hanging around New York with a crowd his parents did not approve of: depraved young Columbia students Allen Ginsberg and Lucien Carr, a strange but brilliant older downtown friend named William S. Burroughs, and a joyful street cowboy from Denver named Neal Cassady. Kerouac had already begun writing a novel, stylistically reminiscent of Thomas Wolfe, about the torments he was suffering as he tried to balance his wild city life with his old-world family values. His friends loved the manuscript, and Ginsberg asked his Columbia professors to help find a publisher for it. It would become Kerouac's first and most conventional novel, 'The Town and the City,' which earned him respect and some recognition as a writer, although it did not make him famous. It would be a long time before he would be published again. He had taken some amazing cross-country trips with Neal Cassady while working on his novel, and in his attempt to write about these trips he had begun experimenting with freer forms of writing, partly inspired by the unpretentious, spontaneous prose he found in Neal Cassady's letters. He decided to write about his cross-country trips exactly as they had happened, without pausing to edit, fictionalize or even think. He presented the resulting manuscript to his editor on a single long roll of unbroken paper, but the editor did not share his enthusiasm and the relationship was broken. Kerouac would suffer seven years of rejection before On The Road would be published. He spent the early 1950's writing one unpublished novel after another, carrying them around in a rucksack as he roamed back and forth across the country. He followed Ginsberg and Cassady to Berkeley and San Francisco, where he became close friends with the young Zen poet Gary Snyder. He found enlightenment through the Buddhist religion and tried to follow Snyder's lead in communing with nature. His excellent novel 'The Dharma Bums' describes a joyous mountain climbing trip he and Snyder went on in Yosemite in 1955, and captures the tentative, sometimes comic steps he and his friends were taking towards spiritual realization.

His fellow starving writers were beginning to attract fame as the 'Beat Generation,' a label Kerouac had invented years earlier during a conversation with fellow novelist John Clellon Holmes. Ginsberg and Snyder became underground celebrities in 1955 after the Six Gallery poetry reading in San Francisco. Since they and many of their friends regularly referred to Kerouac as the most talented writer among them, publishers began to express interest in the forlorn, unwanted manuscripts he carried in his rucksack wherever he went. 'On The Road' was finally published in 1957, and when it became a tremendous popular success Kerouac did not know how to react. Embittered by years of rejection, he was suddenly expected to snap to and play the part of Young Beat Icon for the public. He was older and sadder than everyone expected him to be, and probably far more intelligent as well. Literary critics, objecting to the Beat 'fad,' refused to take Kerouac seriously as a writer and began to ridicule his work, hurting him tremendously. Certainly the Beat Generation was a fad, Kerouac knew, but his own writing was not.His sudden celebrity was probably the worst thing that could have happened to him, because his moral and spiritual decline in the next few years was shocking. Trying to live up to the wild image he'd presented in 'On The Road,' he developed a severe drinking habit that dimmed his natural brightness and aged him prematurely. His Buddhism failed him, or he failed it. He could not resist a drinking binge, and his friends began viewing him as needy and unstable. He published many books during these years, but most had been written earlier, during the early 50's when he could not find a publisher. He kept busy, appearing on TV shows, writing magazine articles and recording three spoken-word albums, but his momentum as a serious writer had been completely disrupted. Like Kurt Cobain, another counter-culture celebrity who seemed to be truly (as opposed to fashionably) miserable, Kerouac expressed his unhappiness nakedly in his art and was not taken seriously. In 1961 he tried to break his drinking habit and rediscover his writing talents with a solitary nature retreat in Bixby Canyon, Big Sur. Instead, the vast nature around him creeped him out and he returned to San Francisco to drink himself into oblivion. He was cracking up, and he laid out the entire chilling experience in his last great novel, 'Big Sur.'Defeated and lonesome, he left California to live with his mother in Long Island, and would not stray from his mother for the rest of his life. He would continue to publish, and remained mentally alert and aware (though always drunken). But his works after 'Big Sur' displayed a disconnected soul, a human being sadly lost in his own curmudgeonly illusions.

Despite the 'beatnik' stereotype, Kerouac was a political conservative, especially when under the influence of his Catholic mother. As the beatniks of the 1950's began to yield their spotlight to the hippies of the 1960's, Jack took pleasure in standing against everything the hippies stood for. He supported the Vietnam War and became friendly with William F. Buckley.Living alone with his mother in Northport, Long Island, Kerouac developed a fascinating set of habits. He stayed in his house most of the time and carried on a lifelong game of 'baseball' with a deck of playing cards. His drink of choice was a jug of the kind of cheap, sweet wine, Tokay or Thunderbird, usually preferred by winos. He became increasingly devoted to Catholicism, but his unusual Buddhist-tinged brand of Catholicism would hardly have met with the approval of the Pope.Through his first forty years Kerouac had failed to sustain a long-term romantic relationship with a woman, though he often fell in love. He'd married twice, to Edie Parker and Joan Haverty, but both marriages had ended within months. In the mid-1960's he married again, but this time to a maternalistic and older childhood acquaintance from small-town Lowell, Stella Sampas, who he hoped would help around the house as his mother entered old age.He moved back to Lowell with Stella and his mother, and then moved again with them to St. Petersburg, Florida. His health destroyed by drinking, he died at home on October 21, 1969. He was 47 years old.


Thursday, March 8, 2007

Favorite Children's Books

It has been such a busy week at work, I've barely had time to log on, let alone post! This blogging thing can certainly become an addiction!! I've missed posting. I've also missed reading. I've been working late trying to finish up system testing a change this week. It's pretty bad when you are too tired to READ!

Yesterday (or the day before....who can keep track anyway), Bonnie, my personal buddy from Bonnie's Books asked the question, "What is your favorite Children's Book?" Well....topped with the fact that I took my kids to see Bridge to Terabithia on Sunday made me start looking at all those books I loved as a child. I never read Terabithia. And after seeing the movie it makes me sad to think that I missed such a wonderful book (it has to be good if the movie was fabulous, right??) Here are some questions? Did your parents read to you as a child?? Did you go to the library with them? parents never read to me. My parents weren't really readers at all. Now, my Grandma always had a book in her hand. She used to take me to the Little Professor Book Store (you know....before the days of the big chain stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders). And she would buy me a book EVERY time we went!! Aren't grandma's the best? That's how I ended up with my collection of Nancy Drew's and Trixie Beldens. Grandma loved mysteries. And I was a really advanced reader. I was in the hospital a lot as a child and I had a private tutor. I was so far ahead of the other kids in my class by second grade I was reading Nancy Drews. But I don't ever remember reading good old fashioned picture books and stories!!

The book above is one that my son brought home in first grade and we fell in love with it. I went right out and bought a copy for our home, and it is starting to show some wear now that the 3rd kid is reading it!!! It's called The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau. It is filled with BEAUTIFUL illustrations by Gail De Marcken. It is the tale of a gifted quiltmaker who makes outstanding quilts. She never sells her wares, but gives them away to the poor. A greedy king so loves presents that he has two birthdays a year, and commands everyone in the kingdom to give him gifts. Everyone brings presents till the castle overflows; the king, still unhappy, locates the quiltmaker and directs her to make him a quilt. When she refuses he tries to feed her to a hungry bear, then to leave her on a tiny island, but each time the quiltmaker's kindness results in her rescue. At last, the king agrees to a bargain; he will give away his many things, and the quiltmaker will sew him a quilt. He is soon poor, but happier than he's ever been, and she fulfills her end of the bargain; they remain partners forever after, with her sewing the quilts and him giving them away. It's a beautiful story.

I also love The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. It's about a little raccoon who is going to school for the first time. He is scared, but she kisses his hand and says her love with be with him all the time he is gone! My daughters both love this one.

Do you have any favorite books that you read as a child? As a reader, do you/did you read to your children? Just a few questions to see if anyone is out there!!


Friday, March 2, 2007

How Many of These Books Have YOU Read??

I have never tried one of these list memes before. Thank you, Ms. Literary Feline (who got this meme from Bookfool). Apparently if you read it, you are automatically tagged! So, I guess that means if you are reading MY list, then you are tagged as well!!

Look at the list of books below: *Bold the ones you’ve read* Italicize the ones you want to read* Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in. If you are reading this (and haven't participated yet), tag, you’re it! **If there are any books on this list that I didn't italicize and you think I should read, let me know in comments! (on a side note, I high-lighted in blue the books that I actually have on some challenge lists for the year!!) Sounds like fun, right? Right!! It's a strange list of books, I'm not really sure where they came from. Some Classics, some bestseller, some award winners. Very Ecclectic!!

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) Alternate TBR
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) Alternate TBR
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible (Actually, I've read a bunch of the books....never all at once)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Wow. I've only read a little over 1/4 of them.....29, to be exact. And I have a lot on my TBR. Let's hear some of your opinions!!


Thursday, March 1, 2007

National Women's History Month

Since March is National Women's History Month and this is a blog about books, I thought I would take this time to honor a few of the great female authors of this century. Here is a list of all the women who have won the presitious Pulitzer Prize for Fiction:

1921 Edith Wharton for The Age of Innocence
1923 Willa Cather for One of Ours
1924 Margaret Wilson for The Able McLaughlins
1925 Edna Ferber for So Big
1929 Julia Peterkin for Scarlet Sister
1931 Margaret Ayer Barnes for Years of Grace
1932 Pearl Buck for The Good Earth
1934 Caroline Miller for Lamb in His Bosom
1935 Josephine Winslow Johnson for Now in November
1937 Margaret Mitchell for Gone with the Wind
1939 Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings for The Yearling
1942 Ellen Glasgow for In This Our Life
1961 Harper Lee for To Kill a Mockingbird
1965 Shirley Ann Grau for The Keepers of the House
1966 Katherine Anne Porter for The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter
1970 Jean Stafford for Collected Stories
1973 Eudora Welty for The Optimist's Daughter
1983 Alice Walker for The Color Purple
1985 Alison Lurie for Foreign Affairs
1988 Toni Morrison for Beloved
1989 Anne Tyler for Breathing Lessons
1992 Jane Smiley for A Thousand Acres
1994 E. Anne Proulx for The Shipping News
1995 Carol Shields for The Stone Diaries
2000 Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri

Although I haven't read many of these books, I count Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind as two of my very favorite books!! So, here is a quick note of thanks to all the women out there who have strived to make this world a better place. Check out Women's History Month at Infoshare to see some of the wonderful accomplishments that we need to celebrate this month!!