Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Introducing My First Guest Blogger: Beth Whitney-Lanier

My first Guest Blogger also happens to be my sister.  She loves books like I do, and when I asked her to do a guest post on my blog, she gladly accepted.  She and I like a lot of the same books, but our tastes do differ slightly.  I think that makes a good reading buddy.  She reads a lot of books that I wouldn't think to read, but our tastes are similar enough that most of the time I end up liking what she suggests.

I gave her a list of questions to answer, so we can all get to know her a little better.

1.What's your favorite book?  That's a tough one!  I love Gone With the Wind, however, Little Women, Little Men and Jo's Boys hold an extremely special place in my heart.  I can't choose one, so I suppose four will have to do.

2.Where's your favorite place to read?  My favorite place to read is lying in bed at night in the dark with my book light.  I like peace and quiet when I read.  I feel totally immersed when I read in my favorite place.

3.Where's your favorite place to shop for books?  Anywhere good books can be found!

4.How do you decide what to read next?  I don't have a set way I pick out my books.  A lot of times my sister, Amy, recommends a book that she has enjoyed.  Sometimes I search online, but lately I think about a certain author and get very interested.  I want to read all their books and research about them.  Right now my obsession is Ernest Hemingway and F.Scott Fitzgerald.  Every now and then I come across a good one that takes me by surprise.

5.Who is your favorite literary character?  Another tough one!  It's hard to choose one.  I love Scarlett, but you can't love Scarlett unless you love Rhett too.  Of course, all the March sister are wonderful, but I'll never forget Dan from Little Men and Jo's Boys.  He's special to me.  All of those are my favorites.

Beth Whitney-Lanier
Source:  My Photo

Visitin' Whistle Stop
By Beth Whitney-Lanier

When I sat down to read Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg, I thought I knew exactly what I was in for.  I have watched the movie several times and loved it.  However, I was totally surprised by how different the novel is from the movie.  For example, Idgie and Big George go on trial for the murder of Frank Bennett after Ruth has passed away.  Also, Stump, Ruth and Idgie's "boy", has a more prevalent role in the book.  His presence allows us to see more into the dynamics of the relationship between Idgie and Ruth, about which I wonder if it is not more than friendly.  I'll let you "ponder" that one!  Fortunately, like most books, it was leaps and bounds better than the movie. 

Idgie and Ruth from the movie

Beginning on page one, you are transported to the charming, yet at times cruel, South of the 1920's, then whisked away to the conservative 1980's and everywhere else in between.  I felt like I was time travelling and so very lucky to hear the story of Whistle Stop and its "tough as nails" inhabitants.

Evelyn and Mrs. Threadgoode from the movie

Ultimately, Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe is a story about strong, dedicated women.  Of course, there are characters like Smokey Lonesome, Big George, and Sipsey that the book would not be the same without.  However, the book revolves around the lives of these four women.

Idgie:  wild, tough, yet irresistible to love

Ruth:  quiet, faithful, loving, and strong

Mrs. Threadegoode:  content, thankful, and full of knowledge that we all crave for

Evelyn:  confused, lost, searching, and on the verge of a breakthrough or maybe a breakdown

These four ladies show us that there are always lessons to be learned and that you can discover secrets of the past that will help you navigate the future.  It is a blessing how the lives of others can touch us decades later. 

I have now placed Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg in my Top 10 Favorite Books of All Time.  Where it falls on that list I'm not sure, but it is definitely there.  I laughed, cried, and was touched by this book.  So, if you aren't busy, go down to the Whistle Stop Cafe and have some fried green tomatoes with Idgie, Ruth, and all their friends.

My Recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes

1 med. green tomato per person, sliced
1 cup Flour or white cornmeal
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp. milk
oil, enough to cover the bottom of a skillet


1. Whisk egg with milk
2.Dredge tomatoes in the egg and milk mixture
3.Dredge tomatoes in seasoned flour
4.Heat oil
5.Fry tomatoes until golden brown on both sides

Recipe Source:  Beth Whitney-Lanier


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Louisa May Alcott: Writer, Feminist, Abolitionist

Book list 171-180
171.Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
172.Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik  (6/9/2010)
173.Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks
174.Devine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
175.The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Neffenegger  (11/1/2010)
176.Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
177.Sounder by William H. Armstrong
178.Little Women by Louisa May Alcott  (1/16/2011)
179.Little Men by Louisa May Alcott  (1/21/2011)
180.Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott  (1/26/2011)

I had seen the movie, "Little Women", years ago and loved it.  I have owned a hardback copy of the book for even longer.  I'd say I've had it for fifteen years, yet I had never read it until this year.  I don't know why really.  My reading list is forever long and always growing, and I guess there was just always something else to read.  Why after fifteen years did I decide to read it this year?  The answer is very simple--my sister read it.  I am very lucky to have a sister who loves books as much as I do.  I can't tell you how many books I've read at her suggestion, and Little Women happens to be one of them.  I'm glad I finally got around to reading it, not only because I love the book, but because it opened the door to a new author that I truly enjoy.

Numbers 178, 179, and 180 on this portion of the list are all Louisa May Alcott books.  This series of books about the March family is one of my favorites of all time.  It's right up there with The Little House and Anne of Green Gables series.

Louisa May Alcott




Louisa May Alcott was born on November 29, 1832 in Germantown, Pennsylvania.   She was the second of four girls and a tomboy.  Her sisters were Anna, Elizabeth, and May.  Her mother's name was Abigail, and she was educated mostly by her father, Bronson Alcott, who was a noted transcendentalist.  Some of her father's friends were fellow transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Fuller.  Bronson Alcott along with a friend, founded a commune named Fruitlands.  It was a 90 acre farm with a run down house and barn.  No animal power was used in the growing of their food, they ate no animal substance, drank only water, took cold baths, and used no artificial light.  It lasted seven months.  Louisa May Alcott's book, Wild Oats, is about her time at Fruitlands.

According to, transcendentalism is...
"A movement in nineteenth-century American literature and thought. It called on people to view the objects in the world as small versions of the whole universe and to trust their individual intuitions. The two most noted American transcendentalists were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau."
(Source: {})

Bronson Alcott

You can learn more about Louisa May Alcott and her father in the book Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and her Father.  I haven't read this one, but it's on my list.  You can also learn more about Bronson Alcott and

Louisa May Alcott was a feminist as well as an abolitionist.  She died on March 6, 1888, and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Louisa May Alcott Grave Site

Beth from Little Women...
"Love is the only thing we can carry with us when we go, and it makes the end so easy."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Book list 161-170

161.A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle  (9/10/2009)
162.All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren  (10/2/2009)
163.Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado  (10/23/2009)
164.Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
165.The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks  (2/2/2010)
166.Fearless by Max Lucado
167.The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F.Scott Fitzgerald  (3/17/2010)
168.The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski  (3/23/2010)
169.Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
170.Six Hours One Friday by Max Lucado

 In Number 163, Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado, Lucado uses the story of David and Goliath, as well as David's later life to show us how we can slay the giants in our own lives whatever they may be.

From Facing Your Giants...
"First thought of the morning, last worry of the night--your Goliath dominates your day and infiltrates your joy."

 I Samuel 17:48  KJV
And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.

In Number 166, also by Max Lucado, he talks about how fear sucks the beauty out of life and robs us of our happiness.  He reminds us--if we just keep our eyes on Jesus, and trust Him, we have nothing to fear.


Matthew 10:31 KJV
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Number 170 is Six Hours One Friday by Max Lucado.


From Six Hours One Friday by Max Lucado...
"Six hours on one Friday.  Six hours that jut up on the plain of human history like Mount Everest in a desert.  Six hours that have been deciphered, dissected, and debated for two thousand years. 
What do these six hours signify?  They claim to be the door in time through which eternity entered man's darkest caverns.  They mark the moments that the Navigator descended into the deepest waters to leave anchor points for his followers. 
What does that Friday mean?
For the life blackened with failure, that Friday means forgiveness.
For the heart scarred with futility, that Friday means purpose.
And for the soul looking into this side of the tunnel of death, that Friday means deliverance.
Six hours.  One Friday.
What do you do with those six hours on that Friday?"

Max Lucado

You can find out more about Max Lucado by visiting his website:

I want to end this post by sharing one my favorite Bible verses...

John 16:33  KJV
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation:  but be of good cheer;  I have overcome the world.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Emily Bronte as Ellis Bell

If this is your first time viewing my blog, THANKS for checking it out!  I hope you will click the FOLLOW button and subscribe to this blog.  It's totally free!  This is the newest post, and as you scroll down it goes from newest to oldest.  When you come to the bottom look for "Older Posts", and it will load another page.  You can also look through my blog archive at the side of the page to see past posts.

I started the Book list below ten years ago this September.  My very first blog explains about the list and why I started it.  I've listed ten books on each post starting with #1...this post will deal with 151-160.  As of today my list has 202, so I've got a few days to go before I list them all.  If you've been here leave a comment to let me know what you think, and if you like what you see tell others about it.

Book list 151-160

151.Unafraid by Francine Rivers
152.Journey to the Well by Diana Wallis Taylor
153.The Priest by Francine Rivers
154.The Warrior by Francine Rivers  (05/19/2009)
155.Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
156.New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
157.Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
158.Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer  (07/11/2009)
159.Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte  (07/30/2009)
160.The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Number 159, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is one of my all time favorite books...Top Five of all time for sure.  It was published in 1847 to mixed reviews under the pen name Ellis Bell.  It is her only novel, but she was a poet as well.   Bronte used her own home, Yorkshire moors, as the setting for the book.

Top Withens is believed to be the inspiration for the setting of Wuthering Heights.


Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights...
"Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living! You said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe—I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad!  Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh God!  It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!"


Emily Bronte
Portrait done by her brother, Branwell Bronte

Emily Bronte was born on June 30, 1818.  She died on December 19, 1848, and is buried with her mother, father, brother-Branwell, famous sister-Charlotte Bronte, as well as her other two sisters-Maria and Elizabeth at the Church of Saint Michael and All Angels in Hawthorn, West Yorkshire, England.

Birthplace of Emily Bronte
74 Market Street in Thornton

St. Michael and All Angels Church

Bronte burial vault

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's Quiet, It's Green, and It's Beautiful!

Book list 141-150

141.The Letter by Richard Paul Evans
142.The Garden of Ruth by Eva Etzioni-Halevy
143.A Hundred Years of Happiness by Nicole Seitz
144.Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
145.The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
146.So Many Books, So Little Time by Sarah Nelson
147.Unveiled by Francine Rivers
148.Unashamed by Francine Rivers
149.Unshaken by Francine Rivers
150.Unspoken by Francine Rivers

Number 144 is Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani.  I had never heard of Big Stone Gap, Virginia before I met my husband.  That's where his Mother's family is from, and over the years we've gone lots of times.  I absolutely love it, and I told my husband that if we ever get rich enough to have a second home, I'd love for it to be there.  It is quiet, it's so green, and it is beautiful!


My mother-in-law's mother lived in a trailor on the side of a mountain, and I can remember the first time Ronnie ever took me up that winding dirt/gravel road to her house.  She was a tiny woman, but tough as nails, straight forward (if you didn't want the truth you better not ask),funny, and so loving.  She absolutely loved the television show Law & Order.  She has passed on now, but I will always think fondly of her.  She was so fun to be around.

Source:  My Photo

My mother-in-law's father lived in a little house at the bottom of the mountain.  He had his own jewelry shop.  He was a very sweet man who loved the Lord and sang.  He made the wrap for my engagement ring.  He has passed as well, but I will always remember his smile.

Source:  My Photo

Papaw Jim's jewelry shop is on the left
Source:  My Photo

Near Big Stone Gap
Source:  My Photo

Near Big Stone Gap
Source:  My Photo

Adriana Trigiani used her hometown for the setting of her first book, Big Stone Gap.  Along with Big Stone Gap, she wrote a continuation of the story in the novels, Big Cherry Holler, Milk Glass Moon, and Home to Big Stone Gap

Adriana Trigiani

There's lots to do and see in Big Stone Gap!

**Southwest Virginia Museum

Southwest Virginia Museum

**Harry Meador Coal Museum

Harry Meado Coal Museum

**The June Tolliver House


**John Fox Jr.
**Trail of the Lonesome

John Fox Jr.
According to

"John Fox Jr. was a best-selling author of the early 1900's in this country.  Born in Paris, Kentucky in 1862, he received his formal schooling at his father's school, Stony Point Adademy and then entered Harvard University at the age of 16 as a sophomore.  He loved the arts, played the mandolin, was a member of the acting club, and a member of the tumbling team (which resulted in a lung injury from a fall on a trampoline that gave him problems the rest of his life).  He began his writing career as a reporter for the New York Sun.
His two most famous books were Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, which was declared a classic, and Trail of the Lonesome Pine, one of the best selling novels of all time.  Before the convenience of paperback books, Trail of the Lonesome Pine had only been outsold by the Bible and Gone With the Wind."

Trail of the Lonesome Pine
Source:  http://www.trailofthelonesomepine/.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Selfish, Shallow, and Violent Boy

Book list 131-140

131.The Paper Bag Christmas by Kevin Alan Miln
132.Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
133.Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
134.Prairie Girl: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson
135.The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough
136.Laura's Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook by William Anderson
137.Little House Traveler by Laura Ingalls Wilder
138.The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
139.Timepiece by Richard Paul Evans
140.In the Hope of Rising Again by Helen Scully

Number 133 is Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, and even though most know the story of Peter Pan through the Disney animated film, I think some would be surprised by the book.  The main ideas are the same, but the characters are a little different.  Pan himself is a selfish, shallow and violent boy with little to make him likable except maybe courage.  Even his courage, however, is a product of his arrogance.  Tinkerbell, the fairy, is a jealous, vengeful, foul mouthed little thing whose love for Peter allows her to attempt the murder of Wendy.

The story is a good one, though maybe not for very young children.  There is much talk of murder and bloodshed.  The most endearing part of the book comes at the end with Mrs. Darling's undying love for her children and the open nursery window.

Perhaps Pan is what a child might become without the love and guidance of a parent.

Although, I've only read Peter Pan, there are other Pan books.

*The Little White Bird: or, Aventures in Kensington Gardens (1902)
*Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906)
*When Wendy Grew Up:  An Afterthought (1908)
*Peter and Wendy (1911)

Source:  www.


J.M. Barrie was born on May 9, 1860 in Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland.  He died on June 19, 1937.  The 2004 film "Finding Neverland" is based on his life.

J.M. Barrie Headstone

2004 Film based on J.M. Barrie's life

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Would Definitely Recommend!

Book list 121-130

121.Revolution in Missions by K.P. Yohannan
122.Traveling Light by Max Lucado
123.Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech
124.Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans
125.Grace by Richard Paul Evans
126.Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
127.The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
128.The Christmas Child by Max Lucado
129.The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck
130.The Gift by Richard Paul Evans


Traveling Light is a study of one of the most comforting and beautiful chapters in the Bible, the 23rd Psalm.  It strives to show us how to let go of the burdens that we don't have to carry.  The book illustrates this by discussing the invisible luggage we carry around everyday...worry, fear, jealousy, and doubt.  Traveling Light breaks down the 23rd Psalm verse by verse, and shows how each verse allows us to set those bags down.  It makes perfect sense.  It doesn't take itself too seriously, and it's funny in some places.  I found it to be an informative and comforting read.  I would definitely recommend!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One of my Favorites!

Book list 111-120

111.Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh
112.True Believer by Nicholas Sparks (5/13/2008)
113.Sense and Sensability by Jane Austen  (5/22/2008)
114.The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  (5/26/2008)
115.Lady Susan by Jane Austen  (5/26/2008)
116.A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
117.A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett  (6/3/2008)
118.Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
119.The Shack by William Paul Young  (10/23/2008)
120.Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I absolutely love to research authors.  I especially love women writers.  I wonder what it was/is in their life that drove them to write.  Are they happy or sad?  Are they sane or mad?  Did they have a great love, or have they always been alone?  Where did they live?  What was their day to day life like?

One of my favorite female authors is Jane Austen.

Jane Austen

Her works include:
Lady Susan
Love and Friendship and Other Early Works
Masfield Park
Northanger Abbey
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 in London, England.   According to Jane, she was educated at a boarding school then returned home.  Her further education consisted of what her father and brothers could teach her and her father's extensive library.  She and her sister both started writing from a young age.  She did have a love in Tom Lefroy but his family didn't like the match and kept them apart.  She died some now believe of tuberculosis on July 18, 1817.  She is buried at the Winchester Cathedral in Winchester, England.  If you'd like to find out more about Jane Austen, you can go to

The Cathedral’s imposing west front, with its great 14th-century triple porch and gothic window. Photo by John Crook

  There are two movies that I love related to Jane Austen.  Sense & Sensibility is based on the novel written by Jane Austen.  It stars Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, and Hugh Grant.

Becoming Jane starring Anne Hathaway is based on Jane Austen's life.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Without Him Nothing Else Matters

Book list 101-110

101.On the Other Side of the Hill by Roger Lea MacBride
102.Little Town in the Ozarks by Roger Lea MacBride
103.New Dawn on Rocky Ridge by Roger Lea MacBride
104.On the Banks of the Bayou by Roger Lea MacBride
105.Bachelor Girl by Roger Lea MacBride
106.Laura's Rose by William T. Anderson
107.Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
108.Deception Point by Dan Brown
109.The Ghost in the Little House by William Holtz
110.The Way of the Shepherd by Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak

In my last post I talked about our visit to Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in Mansfield, Missouri.  Before that trip I had never really heard of Rose Wilder Lane.  I mean, I knew Laura and Almonzo had a baby, but that's it.  It turns out that Rose was a famous writer in her day.  She was famous before her mother.  An entire section of the museum at Laura's home is dedicated to Rose.  As you can tell by this portion of the list I came home very interested in Rose Wilder Lane.  That lead me to read the Rose books.  They are set at Rocky Ridge Farm and tell of Rose's life growing up.  Roger Lea MacBride was the adopted grandson of Rose and eventual heir to the Little House series.  He may be best known as the 1976 Libertarian Party Candidate for president.

# 101 of my book list

Rose Wilder Lane Was born in DeSmet, Dakota Territory on December 5, 1886.  She was a journalist, travel writer, and novelist.  She is also credited as being the mother of the Libertarian movement.  If you want to read about the Libertarian party you can go to

Rose Wilder Lane
Number 109 on the list is The Ghost in the Little House.  It is a biography about Rose Wilder Lane, and if you like reading biographies, I would highly recommend it.

According to my notes I finished this book on February 28, 2008.  In my journal it reads:

"Well I finished the RWL biography.  I have to say that this book has made me think more than any book has in a long time."

I admired her tenacity, her strength, her independence, and her intelligence.  I sympathized with the battles that raged in her mind.  But most of all I was saddened and disappointed to learn that she claimed to be an atheist.  How can someone who is so smart be so blind to the truth.  Her self induced misery stemmed from one thing...the absence of Jesus Christ in her life.  Because without Him, nothing else matters.

Front View Rose Wilder Lane Headstone
Source:  My Photo

Back View RoseWilder Lane Headstone
Source:  My Photo

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Farm and Throwed Rolls

Booklist 91-100

91. Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
92. Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery
93.Emily's Quest by L.M. Montgomery
94.West From Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder
95. Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Montgomery
96.Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
97. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown (10/27/2007)
98. Little House on Rocky Ridge by Roger Lea MacBride
99. Little Farm in the Ozarks by Roger Lea MacBride
100.In the Land of the Big Red Apple (11/5/2007)

A few years ago, after I had read the Little House Series, but before I read the Rocky Ridge books we took a trip to Mansfield, Missouri.  Mansfield is the home of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum...  On the way there we stopped in Sikeston, Missouri and ate at Lambert's Cafe: The Only Home of the Throwed Roll...  And they're not kidding.  They really do throw the rolls.  They come out of the kitchen with the rolls, you hold up your hand and they throw it to you.  My daughter was beside herself with joy, and needless to say she ate a lot of rolls!

Lambert's in Sikeston, Missouri
Source:  My Photo

Number 89 on my booklist is On the Way Home.  It tells of the Wilder's journey from South Dakota to their farm in the Ozarks that they would name Rocky Ridge Farm.  Rocky Ridge Farm is the setting for number 99 and 100 on this portion of the list.  It was neat reading these books after we'd been there because I didn't have to imagine what it looked like.  I knew!

Source: My Photo

The Farm House on Rocky Ridge Farm
Home of the Wilder Family
Source:  My Photo

Front View of the House
Source:  My Photo

Laura's Library in Mansfield
Source:  My Photo

Near Mansfield, Missouri
Source:  My Photo

Alley Mill
Source:  My Photo

Alley Spring and Mill
Source:  My Photo

Alley Spring
Source:  My Photo

Story Creek School
Source:  My Photo