Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest Blogger Beth Whitney-Lanier: "Birthday Books!"

I'd like to thank my sister once again for doing a great guest blog today!  This is her third one, and they have all been great.  If you missed her first two check them out in the blog archive.  Enjoy!!!

Source:  My Photo

On July 20th, 2011 I turned 29 years old.  It's hard to believe I'm almost 30, but that's beside the point.  They say the older you get the wiser you become.  I hope that's true in my case.

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."    -Socrates 

Anyway, I had a great birthday and received some cool gifts from different members of my family.  Since this blog is about books, I will tell you about the birthday gifts I got from my sister, Amy.  I received two books from Amy,  The first one I read was The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which is also currently being played in movie theaters.  This book takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in the year 1962.   It takes you into the lives of black maids and what they had to endure at the hands of their white bosses, especially the white women they work for.


There are actually some funny parts in this book, but mostly you see how horribly these maids where treated.  It is a shame how human beings can treat each other.  I read The Help in about a week and a half.  It was a fast read as well as an interesting, eye opening story.  Any of you who might be participating in the The Southern Belle Challenge this month along with my sis, Amy, should consider reading The Help.  I really enjoyed reading this book.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is the other book Amy gave me for my 29th birthday.  Ironically, this book is also in the process of being made into a motion picture.  Now, if you check books out at the library this one will be in the Juvenile Fiction section.  In my opinion, however, this book is anything but juvenile.


I have not read a book like The Hunger Games  in a very long time.  At first I wondered how I would like the book and if I would even enjoy it.  However, this futuristic thriller totally surprised me!   It takes place in what used to be the United States of America and things are nothing like what we know now.  The US has been taken over and shaped into 12 Districts and ran by the Capitol.  Once a year they hold The Hunger Games.  The surprising part is who they choose to compete in these games and the violence it ensues!

This book is filled with tons of heart pounding action and suspense.  It is definitely a page turner and constantly keeps you guessing about what in the world can happen next.  It was quite a read and I enjoyed the change in style and genre.  I'm looking forward to reading the next books in the series, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.  

In closing, I just want to say that I loved my two "Birthday Books".  Reading books and talking about them always gets me excited.  To be given a book as a gift is an awesome thing for me.  When you receive a book from someone you might get a wonderful book that you wouldn't ordinarily read.  Actually, I don't think I have ever gotten a book as a gift from anyone but Amy.  She never fails in getting me a book I like or might even come to love.  Three book that are in my Top 10 Favorite Books of All-Time were gifts from Amy and her family.  I received Little Women, Little Men, and Jo's Boys as a Christmas gift about 2 years ago.

Thanks for the books, Amy!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's Not The First...It Won't Be The Last!

Every now and then I get the urge to read Louisa May Alcott.  This time I chose Rose in Bloom, the sequel to Eight Cousins.



From the Back Cover...
"Rose in Bloom is a novel about a 19th century girl, Rose Campbell, the heroine of the story, who is trying to find her way in society.  This story is the sequel to Eight Cousins and was published for the first time in 1876."


As authors may be supposed to know better than anyone else what they intended to do when writing a book, I beg leave to say that there is no moral to this story.  Rose is not designed for a model girl, and the Sequel was simply written in fulfillment of a promise, hoping to afford some amusement, and perhaps here and there a helpful hint, to other roses getting ready to bloom.

L.M. Alcott
September 1876


I know this is not my first blog post about Louisa May Alcott and her books, and I'm sure it won't be the last.  I love her books.  They make me feel warm and safe and happy.  They are familiar and every time I read one it's like visiting an old friend.  Rose in Bloom does not disappoint.  If you enjoy reading Louisa May Alcott you'll love this book.

"Some stories are so familiar its like going home."
Louisa May Alcott
(Source:  Goodreads)

Monday, August 29, 2011

We Went to the Library!

After I picked my daughter up today, we went to the library.  She's been wanting to check out some Goosebumps books, and I wanted to get some books myself.  She ended up getting ten "Goosebumps" books.

A couple days ago I told you about a reading challenge I'm participating in during the month of September.  It's called the "Southern Belle" challenge, and the idea is to read books set in the South.  It is hosted by Brenda Gail at Curling Up With a Good Book.

I got four books from the library today to get me started...

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg


The Secret Life of Bees: A Novel by Sue Monk Kidd


My Summer of Southern Discomfort by Stephanie Gayle


Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ten Books I Thought I'd Never Read: The Teeth of the Tiger by Tom Clancy

Ok let's recap...

When I started this feature, I came up with ten genres I don't normally read and decided to read at least one book from each one. So far I've completed romance, western, celebrity memoir, and mystery.  It turned out that I liked each book from these genres.

Now that I've FINALLY finished The Teeth of the Tiger I can officially say I've finished the military genre as well.

431 pages

From Goodreads...
"A man named Mohammed sits in a café in Vienna, about to propose a deal to a Colombian. Mohammed has a strong network of agents and sympathizers throughout Europe and the Middle East, and the Colombian has an equally strong drug network throughout America. What if they were to form an alliance, to combine all their assets and connections? The potential for profits would be enormous--and the potential for destruction unimaginable.

In a nondescript office building in suburban Maryland, the firm Hendley Associates does a profitable business in stocks, bonds, and international currencies, but its true mission is quite different: to identify and locate terrorist threats, and then deal with them, in whatever manner necessary. Established with the knowledge of President John Patrick Ryan, “the Campus” is always on the lookout for promising new talent, its recruiters scattered throughout the armed forces and government agencies--and three men are about to cross its radar.

The first is Dominic Caruso, a rookie FBI agent, barely a year out of Quantico, whose decisive actions resolve a particularly brutal kidnap/murder case. The second is Caruso’s brother, Brian, a Marine captain just back from his first combat action in Afghanistan, and already a man to watch. And the third is their cousin . . . a young man named Jack Ryan, Jr.

Jack was raised on intrigue. As his father moved through the ranks of the CIA and then into the White House, Jack received a life course in the world and the way it operates from agents, statesmen, analysts, Secret Service men, and black ops specialists such as John Clark and Ding Chavez. He wants to put it all to work now, but when he knocks on the front door of “the Campus,” he finds that nothing has prepared him for what he is about to encounter. For it is indeed a different world out there, and in here . . . and it is about to become far more dangerous."


This book wasn't for me!  It was more intelligence...NSA, CIA, etc... than military, and I had trouble keeping up with all the jargon and organizations known by initials.   And if I read the word "bro" (aka brother) one more time, I'm going to throw up.  A lot of the writing was "macho" and I found myself rolling my eyes several times.

There were parts of the book that I really liked though, and if the first three quarters of the book had been anything like the last quarter, I would have really enjoyed it.  If anyone out there knows a really good military book leave me a comment and let me know. 

I've got five more genres to go in my feature "Ten Books I Thought I'd Never Read"...sci-fi, horror, sports fiction, true crime, and chic lit.  I think the next one I'll tackle will be chic lit, and I'll be reading Bitter Is the New Black by Jen Lancaster.  It was suggested to me by Lisa at Parenting, Politics, and Religion.



"The Only way to do all the things you'd like to do is to read"
Tom Clancy
(Source:  Goodreads)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blog Archive, My Blog List, and Thanks...

I'm going to spend the day catching up on some reading! If you are new to my blog (or even if you're not)...I'd love for you to take some time to look through my Blog Archive.  I love getting comments so please feel free to comment as much as you like.  Also check out My Blog List...there are some great bloggers on there...very smart, very creative, and very funny people!

Gardens at Monticello
Source:  My Photo

You can join my blog and let others know that you like it by clicking on the "join this site button" then just follow the directions.  It only takes a few minutes.  You can also sign up by email, and you will receive an email when I add a new post.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home
Source:  My Photo

Thanks to all of you who read my blog...I've had views from several countries such as...USA, Germany, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Brazil, Netherlands, Latvia, and Pakistan.

Alley Spring
Source:  My Photo

I always like to have photos in my blog posts, so I've just added a few photos that I really like from places we've been.  I think I have blogged about the places in most of these photos at some point. 

Leave me a comment letting me know what's been your favorite post so far!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday: The Son of Neptune

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine , that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't wait to read" selection is:


Heroes of Olympus #2: The Son of Neptune
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
In The Lost Hero, three demigods named Jason, Piper, and Leo made their first visit to Camp Half-Blood, where they inherited a blood-chilling quest:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,To storm or fire the world must fall.An oath to keep with a final breath,And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.Who are the other four mentioned in the prophesy? The answer may lie in another camp miles away, where a new camper has shown up and appears to be the son of Neptune, god of the sea. . .
With an ever-expanding cast of brave-hearted heroes and formidable foes, this second book in The Heroes of Olympus series offers all of the action, pathos, and humor that Rick Riordan fans crave.


I don't know who's looking forward to this book or my daughter.  She's the one who got me into the Percy Jackson series, and now we're loving the Heroes of Olympus series.  The Lost Hero was awsome, and we can't wait for book number two!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Southern Belle Challenge

I read about a cool reading challenge at The Crazy Life of a Bookaholic Mom.  It's a challenge for the month of September called the Southern Belle Challenge, and it's hosted by Brenda Gail over at Curling Up With A Good Book.  This will be my first reading challenge, so I'm really looking forward to it.  Since I'm a southern girl myself, I love books set in the South.

I'm going to set a goal for myself of one "Southern Belle" book each week of September.  Wish me luck, and be sure to sign up yourself.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Living Room Classics And A Few Other Things...

My husband and my daughter are playing baseball on the Wii, and since I went through and made a list of these books earlier today, I thought I'd go ahead and post it.  So here is the list of all the books in the living room.   Most of them are classics, but not all.  I've read some of these, and I'll put an asterisk in front of those titles that I have read.

*A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
*The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
The Pioneers by James Fenimore Cooper
*Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
*The Mutiny On Board H.M.S. Bounty by William Bligh
*Billy Bud and Other Tales by Herman Melville
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
*A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery
Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman
Four Great Plays by Ibsen
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
We The Living by Ayn Rand
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
*White Fang by Jack London
*The Call of the Wild by Jack London
*Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse by Anna Sewell
*The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
*Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
*The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes by John H. Watson, M.D.
1984 by George Orwell
*Dracula by Bram Stoker
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
*The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
*Macbeth by Shakespeare
Henry IV Part 1 by Shakespeare
The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare
*Julius Caesar by Shakespeare
All's Well That Ends Well by Shakespeare
*Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
*The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
*The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
*The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchanan
Moby Dick  by Herman Melville

The Laura Ingalls Songbook
Little House in the Ozarks by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Death of a Stranger by Anne Perry
*Keeping Chickens by Jeremy Hobson & Celia Lewis
*Harper's Pictorial History of The Civil War
*Blogging for Bliss by Tara Frey

So there is the list of the books that are in my living room today...46 in all.

Here are few quotes from some of the authors listed above.

"I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed!"
William Shakespeare
(Source:  Goodreads)

William Shakespeare


"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."
Jack London
(Source:  Goodreads)

Jack London


"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects."
Herman Melville
(Source:  Goodreads)

Herman Melville

And Now The Pictures...

Ronnie got me this book shelf for Mother's Day a couple years ago.

Top Shelf
Source:  My Photo

2nd Shelf
Source:  My Photo

3rd Shelf / Women Authors
Source:  My Photo

4th Shelf
Source:  My Photo

Bottom Shelf
Source:  My Photo

Source:  My Photo

The Bottom Shelf...#5

So I've reached the last shelf of my bookshelf. There are 55 books currently on this shelf.  I'll put an asterisk in front of the titles I've read.

The first seventeen books I will list are all books written by L.M. Montgomery.


*Emily's Quest
*Emily Climbs
*Emily of New Moon
*The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook
*Anne of Avonlea
*Anne of the Island
*Anne's House of Dreams
*Anne of Windy Poplars
*Anne of Ingleside
*Rilla of Ingleside
*Rainbow Valley
*Magic for Marigold
Pat of Silver Bush
Mistress Pat
*Chronicles of Avonlea
*Kilmeney of the Orchard


The next 6 titles are all about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family.

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almonzo Wilder

*On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder
*West From Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder
*A Little House Chapter Book: Pioneer Sisters by Laura Ingalls Wilder
*Laura's Rose by William T. Anderson
*The Story of the Ingalls Family by William T. Anderson
*My Little House Cookbook
*The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker


The next set of books are based on the childhood of Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane.   All of the books were written by Roger Lea MacBride.  He is known as the "adopted grandson" of Rose Wilder Lane.

Rose Wilder Lane

*Little Farm in the Ozarks
*Bachelor Girl
*On the Other Side of the Hill
*Little House on Rocky Ridge
*On the Banks of the Bayou
*New Dawn on Rocky Ridge
*In the Land of the Big Red Apple
*Little Town in the Ozarks


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 1

The next fourteen books from my bookshelf are all James A. Michener books.  I was introduced to Michener is high school by my U.S. History teacher, and I've been reading him ever since.  I read anything of his I can get my hands on.

James A. Michener

*The Novel
*The Voice of Asia
*The Source
*The Eagle and the Raven
*The Drifters
*The Bridges at Toko-Ri
*The Covenant


The Bastard by John Jakes
The Haj by Leon Uris
*The Power of One by  Bryce Courtenay
*Dreamcatcher by Stephen King
Segova by Mario Grau Sanz
Madrid by Lorenzo Lapez Sancho
*Hondo by Louis L'Amour
*Pregnant by the Playboy Tycoon by Anne Oliver

Sunday, August 21, 2011

And Here's Shelf Four...

Well after a busy weekend, here's shelf four...

I'll put an asterisk in front of the titles I've read.

The Tennessee Outdoorsmen Cookbook by Holt & Summerlin
How to Win Friends and Influence People & How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
---by Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie's Scrapbook:  Edited by Dorothy Carnegie
The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking by Dale Carnegie
You're Joe's boy ain't ya? by Phillip Van Hooser
We Need to Talk by Phillip Van Hooser
*The Way of the Shepherd by Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak
Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and  Al Switzler
*Eastern Birds by Roger Tory Peterson
*Danger in the Dark by J.E. Wood
Butter My Butt and Call Me a Biscuit by Allan Zullo and Gene Cheek

All of the above books are my husband's.  Most of them he has used in classes and training for work. I have read The Way of the Shepherd though, and I really liked it.


*MicroPedia American History
*The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck
*The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
*Night by Elie Wiesel
*Angela's Ashes Frank McCourt
*The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks
*Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Coal Tattoo by Silas House
This Holler Is My Home by Alyce Faye Bragg
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
*Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
*Sounder by William H. Armstrong
Mistress of Riverside: The Plantation Letters of Rosalie Stier Calvert 1795-1821
----Edited by Margaret Law Callcott
Virginia Woolf: A Biography by Quentin Bell
*Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Souvenir Guidebook
*Monticello: A Guidebook
*One Tank Trips by Danny Trease
*Mammoth Cave: Official National Handbook

So there they are...32 books in all on this shelf.

I'll end this post with a couple quotes from one of the authors I've listed...

"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends & Influence People)

"If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don't want to be. "
Dale Carnegie

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The 3rd Shelf And It's All About Women

I'm still doing book inventory and I've made it to the third shelf of my book shelf, and it's devoted to women authors only.  I haven't read all of these books, so I'll put an asterisk in front of the books I've read.

*Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
A Jury of Her Peers: Celebrating American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx
---By Elaine Showalter
*The Ghost in the Little House: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane by William Holtz
*Jane Austen: The Complete Novels
*Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
*Three Complete Books:  The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Little Lord Fauntleroy
Moods by Louisa May Alcott
Work: A Story of Experience by Louisa May Alcott
*Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
*Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
*Jo's Boy's by Louisa May Alcott
*Civil War Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott
*An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
*Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott
*Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
*A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
*Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
*Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
*Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
*New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
*Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
*Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Sister's Choice by Emilie Richards
---I'm very interested in this one, and I'll be reading it soon.  Here's the Goodreads synopsis...
" Kendra and Jamie were never storybook sisters. But after a long estrangement, Jamie has offered Kendra and her husband their ultimate dream—a child of their own.
Despite some lingering misgivings about her once-wayward younger sister, Kendra agrees, and Jamie, a promising architect and single mother, becomes a gestational surrogate for Kendra and Isaac. In addition to this amazing gift of life, Jamie designs a house for the couple on Isaac's ancestral property along the Shenandoah River. She hopes Kendra will finally see the woman she has become.
But when a medical crisis threatens Jamie's health and her budding relationship with Kendra's builder, the enigmatic Cash Rosslyn, Jamie learns that the most difficult choice in her life is still ahead, and its cost may be beyond calculation."

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
*The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
*Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik
Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley
*Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
*My Story by Marilyn Monroe

So there are the books on shelf number three, 33 books in all.

Here are some quotes by some of the women listed in today's post...

"I want to do something splendid…
Something heroic or wonderful that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead…
I think I shall write books."
Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott


"Lock up your libraries if you like, but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind."
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own (Bloomsbury Classic))

Virginia Woolf

"Reader, did you ever hate? I hope not. I never did but once; and I trust I never shall again. Somebody has called it "the atmosphere of hell"; and I believe it is so."
Harriet Jacobs (Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl)

Harriet Jacobs
"I am satisfied that if a book is a good one, it is so whatever the sex of the author may be. All novels are or should be written for both men and women to read, and I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be really disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man."
Anne Brontë (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall)
Anne Bronte

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Second Shelf

The second shelf of my bookshelf is at my eye level, so that's why I chose to put the books here that I did.  I can see them every time I walk by.  I have read or used most of these books, and again I will put an asterisk in front of the titles I've read, used, or listened to.  They are as follows...

*the Word of Promise New Testament NKJV Audio Bible


*The Picture Bible (I've had this one since I was a little girl)
*Fearless by Max Lucado
*Come Thirsty by Max Lucado
*Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado
*Six Hours One Friday by Max Lucado
Having  a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver


The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan


From Goodreads...
"The Pilgrim's Progress has been printed, read, and translated more often than any book other than the Bible. People of all ages have found delight in the simple, earnest story of Christian, the Pilgrim, and his life-changing, life-affirming adventures."

Like Gold Refined by Janette Oak
*The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
*The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
Baptist Church Manuel by J.M. Pendleton, D.D. (Ronnie's book)
The Baptist Deacon by Robert E. Naylor  (Ronnie's book)
*Nelson's Student Bible Dictionary
*Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible by Editor: Herbert Lockyer Sr.
A Scientific Analysis of Genesis by Edward R. Blick Ph.D.  (Ronnie's book)
*Holy Bible KJV
*Nelson KJV Holy Bible Large Print
---This Bible is the Bible that Ronnie gave as a gift to his Mamaw Dora. It was given back to him after her death.

Mamaw Dora
Source:  My Photo

So there's the second shelf--18 books in all. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's Time To Do Some Inventory

Since I somehow missed "spring cleaning" all together this year.  I've decided to do a major fall cleaning, and in walking around the house to see what I wanted to tackle first I have noticed something about the rooms in my house.  There are books everywhere.  There are books stacked in my room.  There are books, neatly put away in her bookshelf in Sophia's room.  There are stacks of recently purchased books in the kitchen .  There are books on the shelves in the living room and in the foyer, books on my book shelf (which is quickly filling up, I'm all ready doubled up on some shelves). There is a huge box of very old books in my foyer closet that was given to me that I have yet to go through and find a home for.  I'm thinking these will get a new shelf all their own, and then there are books in storage that I've been meaning to get at for years. 

I do have quite a few books, but I rarely buy "new" books.  I shop at thrift stores, goodwill, yard sales, flea markets, antiques shops, used book stores, library book sales and ebay.  I rarely pay more than a dollar for any book.  I occasionally shop on if I need or want a book that I can't find around here.  The only books I regularly buy new are my daughter's books as they are sometimes hard to find used.

So as part of my fall cleaning I am going to do an inventory of all the books in the house, and yes of course make a list.  I would eventually like to catalogue edition and date of publication, but that will have to wait for another time.  For now, I'm going to list title and author, and since I'm doing all this work anyway I thought I might as well blog about it.

I'm starting with the top shelf today which is mostly classics.  I have by no means read all of these books, but I hope to one day.  I may find out that several of them are over my head, but I'll give it a try anyway.  I'll put an asterisk in front of the titles I've read.

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (I've read a lot of Shakespeare but not all)
*Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
*One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
*The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
*All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
*As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Sound in the Fury by William Faulkner
Light in August by William Faulkner
*The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
*The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
*Immortal Poems: Edited by Oscar Williams
*King Soloman's Mines by Rider Haggard
*Allan Quatermain by Rider Haggard
*Heidi by Johanna Spyri
*The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne
*The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Ambassadors by Henry James
*The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
*The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
*Billy Bud by Herman Melville
*One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Cancer Ward by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
*Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
*Grand Ole Opry Picture History Book (This one's a bit out of place here, but it's on the top shelf)
*The Impressionists: Steven Adams (art book with lovely pictures!)
*Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
*The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Evangeline and other poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Adam Bede by George Eliot
The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough
Paradise Lost & Paradise Revisited by John Milton
2001 a space odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
Candide, Zadig, and Selected Stories by Voltaire
The Divine Comedy Vol. 1 Inferno by Dante
A Collection of Critical Essays by D.H. Lawrence
*The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald
Idylls of the King by Alfred Lord Tennyson
*Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
The Tolkien Reader by J.R.R. Tolkien
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
The Politics of Experience by R.D. Lang
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
St. Maur and the Man Who Died by D.H. Lawrence
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
The American by Henry James
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
Hamlet by Shakespeare
As You Like It by Shakespeare
The Odyssey by Homer

So there's the top shelf (55 books).  More classics to come later!  I love having books around the house.  They just make me happy.

Here are a few quotes about books that I think go along with today's blog post...

Mark Twain

"In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them."
Mark Twain

"Classic' - a book which people praise and don't read."
Mark Twain

Thomas Jefferson

"I cannot live without books."
Thomas Jefferson

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ten Books I Thought I'd Never Read: My Story by Marilyn Monroe

In the original post "Ten Books I Thought I'd Never Read" I discussed how I was trying to broaden my reading horizons, and be a little less of a book snob.  I decided to branch out and read genres that I would not normally be drawn to.  I have read books in the romance, western, and mystery genres and really liked them all.  I am still reading Teeth of the Tiger which is in the military genre, but in the meantime, I've finished another book from a genre I don't normally read...celebrity memoir.

The book I chose for celebrity memoir is, My Story by Marilyn Monroe.


I am not surprised that I really, really liked this book.  First of all it had wonderful photos of Marilyn from the Milton H. Greene Archives.  Secondly it shows a side of Marilyn Monroe that I never knew existed.   She was not just a dumb, blond, bimbo that slept her way to the top...quite the contrary actually.  She overcame a horrific childhood and sacrificed in ways that most people would never dream of, but most of all she worked extremely hard.

It's not hard to read.  It is straight forward and I almost felt as if I was reading some one's diary.  It is written in the way Marilyn must have spoke as she tells about her relationships and "feuds" in Hollywood.  Lots of famous names are mentioned.  It took me a few hours to read it. If you like to read biographies I highly recommend this one.  If you are a Marilyn fan it's a must read.

 "I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."
Marilyn Monroe

Friday, August 12, 2011

Audio Books Anyone??? Edgar Allan Poe: The Complete Short Stories

I recently decided to give audio books a try, and my first choice, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Usher, was a huge success.  I finished it quickly and immediately started looking for something else.  I was looking at the classics on itunes when I came across Edgar Allan Poe: The Complete Short Stories...16 hours of short stories for $2.95.  I decided to download it.


The past two weeks I've listened while I mowed the yard, and I have to say that even in the broad daylight I find these stories spooky and sometimes gross.  I can't imagine listening to the haunting voice of the narrator telling theses stories on a dark night.  I'm easy to scare anyway.

This was a good choice for me as far as audio books go.  These are short stories that I probably would never have read on my own.  That's why I like audio books.  It's a way to get more books in while you're doing other things.  Plus it has made the time mowing go by much faster.

Here are the short stories I've listened to so far...

  • "The Angel of The Odd"

  • "Berenice"

  • "The Black Cat"

  • "The Cask of Amontillado"

  • "The Maelstrom"

  • "Eleanora"

  • "The Facts in the Case Of M. Valdemar"

  • "The House of Usher"

  • Other short stories in this collection include...

  • "Hop Frog"

  • "Imp of the Perverse"

  • "Island of the Fay"

  • "Ligiea"

  • "Man of the Crowd"

  • "Message in a Bottle"

  • "The Masque of the Red Death"

  • "Mesmeric Revelation"

  • "The Murders in the Rue Morgue"

  • "Never Be the Devil Your Head"

  • "The Oval Portrait"

  • "The Pit and the Pendulum"

  • "The Premature Burial"

  • "The Purloined Letter"

  • "Silence - A Fable"

  • "Some Words with a Mummy"

  • "The Spectacles"

  • "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather"

  • "The Tell Tale Heart"

  • "William Wilson"

  • "The Raven"

  • ________________________________________

    Edgar Allan Poe

    Edgar Allan Poe is the author of such classics as: "The Tell-Tale Heart", "The Raven", and "The Fall of the House of Usher".  His works have been in print since 1827, and he is believed by many to be the inventor of the modern detective story.

    Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809.  His first book, Tamerlane, was published when he was just 18 years old, and by 1831 he had enlisted and been discharged from the army and thrown out of West Point.  He married his 13 year old cousin, Virginia Clemm in  1836.  He was 27 years old.

    In 1835 he took a job at the Southern Literary Messenger where he made a name for himself as a harsh critic, and made a future enemy in the anthologist, Rufus Griswold.  In 1838 his only novel was published and he moved to Philadelphia.  Later in 1840 his first book of short stories, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, was published, and he received 25 free copies as his only pay.  "The Raven" was published in 1845, and his wife died two years later of tuberculosis.  Poe himself died to years after her under mysterious circumstances on October 7, 1849.  He was 40 years old.

    His last words were, "Lord, help my poor soul."

    Rufus Griswold hated Poe, and according to, Griswold wrote a book about Poe in which he described Poe as "a drunken, womanizing, madman with no morals and no friends."

    Griswold also wrote a vindictive and some say inaccurate obituary about Poe that would influence how people would view Edgar Allan Poe for decades.  Recent research has shown what some say is a more balanced and accurate account of Poe's character and life.


    "From childhood's hour I have not been as others were"
    --Edgar Allan Poe

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    We Share A Passion For Laughing Together

    Most of the time when I talk about books it's with my sister.  I'm six years older than her, so when we were kids she got on my nerves.  We fought a lot, but as adults she's my best friend.  We share a passion for reading and laughing together.  Very few people can make me laugh like she does.  Even fewer understand me like she does.  We went and walked at the park today then spent an hour and a half sitting at a picnic table talking about books, the world, religion, our kids, our family...our lives in general.  I love every moment I get to spend with her and it's like therapy for me.  I don't know if she understands how important she is in my life.

    My sister and also monthly guest blogger
    Source:  My Photo

    Our kids go to the same school, and she was behind me in line waiting to pick them up at the end of the day today.  She got out of her car and came and hopped in with me.  She immediately started telling me about her trip to the library today and the books she checked out.  I just kept lucky am I that my sister is my best friend and a book lover too!

    I'm on the back and Beth's in the front. 
    If you look closely at the kids you can see that they thought this was hilarious.
    Source:  My Photo

    Beth at her college graduation a few years ago.
    So proud of her!
    Source:  My Photo

    Me and Beth
    Source:  My Photo