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Nothing Like Reading a Good Book

Molly the Cat rubs her face from front cover to back cover of Under a Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes, rather than just one edge of the book. That's how much she is enjoys Mayes' memoir, too.  I'm taking my time with it, savoring a section or two with breakfast. I may have mentioned this before: Mayes has been inspiring me to turn the Mama's house into our home.

Since the Mama's spirit soared into the universe last year, I have been reading a lot. The last time I lost myself in the virtual reality of novels, memoirs, and nonfiction was during my school daze. I read so much back then, the Mama would sometimes say to me, "You read too much. You're going to hurt yourself. Go outside."

Today I've got it somewhat balanced. I read and I go outside. Sometimes, I read outside.





Flurried, not Flustered nor Fluttered

I have been randomly reading A Dictionary of Modern English Usage by H.W. Fowler that has been sitting on my reference bookshelf since 1994, when I purchased it new for a buck, but did not ever crack open until a few months ago. All these years I missed out on the amusing dry wit of Fowler, along with possibly learning when to use some words appropriately sooner. More than likely I bought this book because it was on a list of must-have reference books for writers. Who knows how many times I've thought about selling Fowler's book or donating it to a thrift shop.  I'm glad I didn't.

This morning I read the entry for flurried, flustered, and fluttered. The word fluttered is usually used to describe a timid person who suddenly must deal with a crisis. Fowler did not seem to have much confidence with fluttered individuals. As for the word flustered, Fowler stated that a person so overwhelmed with multiple emotions she can't begin to express herself is best depicted as …

Villa Mia

I'm reading Under the Tuscan Sun right now. This is my third start (maybe fourth) in the last 10 years or so. I enjoyed the movie so I bought the book when I saw it on the "buy 3, get one free" table at a bookstore. 

I finally got to a point that I don't recall having read. This morning I learned that the fig flower resides inside the fruit and a certain kind of wasp burrows itself inside the fig to lay its eggs. If it doesn't succeed, that's okay, it has at least pollinated the flower. If larvae has been deposited, ooh-la-la! According to Wikipedia (yup, I had to learn more), a mature male mates with a female then proceeds to peck its way out of the fig so that all the females can escape. The male, now wingless and, no doubt, quite spent promptly dies. May he forever rest in joyful peace knowing that he did his job well.

Frances Mayes is the author of Under the Tuscan Sun. For those who never read the book or saw the movie, Mayes wrote about her experiences…

Zetabetical

Zetabetical.

Cool word, huh?

I learned it this morning in the novel I'm currently reading, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.  Zetabetical. Google coughed up 39 results of the word, its earliest use in 2003.

In the novel, the protagonist, Eleanor,  organized the tins on her kitchen shelf in zetabetical oder.

Tins? The novel is set in Glasgow.

Zetabetical. From the statement, I take the word to mean alphabetical in reverse order. You know, starting with Z. It wasn't easy for me going backwards, as you can tell in my picture. Giggle.

Today marks the last day for the current ABC Wednesday team. Thank you Roger, Leslie, Joyce, Gattina, Di, Melody, Pheno, and Troy!

Next week, a new round begins under Melody, the new ABCW administer, and her team at a new address. For the next ABCW round, I shall go through the alphabet writing about movies I've seen. Yup.

I've almost forgot. Click here to check out more Z themed posts.

A Sloth Who Likes to Read

"Stop reading," ordered the Mama. "Go outside."

I'd probably been lying on the bed reading for three or four hours that sunny summer weekend afternoon. I was probably 12 years old.

That's what the Mama got for buying me a bed with a bookcase headboard. It was packed full with paperback books that I purchased from the monthly Scholastic book catalog during the school year. Three or four dollars bought me a lot of books back then. I shall always be grateful the Mama and the Daddy let me buy so many, and for leaving me alone to read the books over and over most of the time.

Reading was my favorite thing to do in summer, followed by riding bicycles, watching movies, and eating. Except for the bicycle riding, I seem to have slipped back into my once-upon-a-time summer routine. I'm not getting much done, I admit. And, yes, my clothes are feeling snug. Again.

I really do need to urge me to step outside and do something. There's still time today to water t…

A Pass to Read

Yesterday, as I was weeding out stuff I've been storing for decades, I found a hallway pass that was made out to me in my last semester of high school. The pass allowed me to go sit outside on the Senior Class benches to read my book. Yes, you read that right—a pass to read!

My first period was Reading, an English elective. I loved that class. We read novels and plays of our choice in class and wrote book reports about what we read. Without that class, I doubt I would've ever read such classics as Babbitt, Our Town, Death of a Salesman, The Jungle, Winnie the Pooh, and Rabbit, Run.

I don't know what it's like today, but 45 years ago when a high school senior already had her credits locked in for graduation, life was a picnic. Just as long as she didn't do something stupid, nor get caught for doing something stupid.


Happy Birthday, Anne's Creator!

Did you see the Google doodle today?  It honors L.M. Montgomery, the author of the Anne of Green Gable series and many other books. Today is Ms. Montgomery's birthday. She would've been 141 years young. A baby compared to Methuselah.

Anne of Green Gables was one of the books that Mrs. Patterson, my fifth grade teacher, read to us after lunch to settle us down. It instantly became one of my favorite stories. I didn't want to be Anne, but I did want to be like her: imaginative, creative, kindhearted, mischievous, spunky, intelligent, open, and spiritual. I  learned to appreciate nature through Anne's adventures, as well as to recognize when I had met a kindred spirit.

I don't know much about L.M. Montgomery. Only today did I learn that L.M. stands for Lucy Maud. A nice solid friendly name. Reading this brief biography, I learned how Ms. Montgomery's life somewhat parallels Anne's life.

Going to Prince Edward Island is still one of the places I want to see.


Cool Stuff!

It's not my birthday.

It feels like it though.  

Today, the Husband and I drove over to Freedom to buy food for Molly the Cat. Our task was done quicker than we estimated, so we headed down the road to Watsonville to visit the art store and bookshop before lunch.

I'd only planned to buy a couple of new colored pencils at Wild Rose's Artists' Supplies and Custom Framing, but you know how it goes. I checked out the shop's art paper. Marbled paper. Oooooh. Wavy, corrugated paper. Gotta have that. Small rectangle-shaped suede paper. 25 cents, sold! My plan is to make masks. Yup.

At Crossroads Books, I bought a mystery called Shaking in Her Flip-Flops. Can't go wrong with a title like that.  Another neat thing about the book is that it's written by Joyce Oroz, an author who lives in nearby Aromas. The Husband and I also decided to purchase a copy of The 2016 Farmer's Almanac. That's always fun reading.

To top off getting all this cool stuff, we found …

Five Book Reviews for My 2015 Reading Challenge

I love reading books. Writing book reviews, not so much. I tell myself it's good for me to write them for my 2015 Reading Challenge. Discipline and all that. Of which, I have been finding the time to read for pleasure more regularly. Yay! for that. Boo! though, as a couple of the books I've read don't fit any category. This may mean another level of discipline—finding books that do match the challenge categories. I'll think about it.

Anyway, today, I give you four reviews. Just so you and the FCC know: Should you click on the Amazon links and happen to purchase anything there, Amazon may reward me with a bit of change.

√ A book with magic As I read The Game by Laurie R. King, I traveled back to the Flapper Age, wandering around India with 60-ish Sherlock Holmes and his much younger wife Mary Russell.  The couple was sent there by Mycroft, brother of Sherlock, to find the 50-ish missing spy Kim O'Hara, the once-upon-a-time young boy about whom Rudyard Kipling wro…

"Gone" for the Day

Does anyone put up a "Gone Fishing" sign anymore?

I think it's a good idea to check out now and then. So, I'm posting my sign. Hopefully, I'll get some good reading done. See ya tomorrow.

Reading for Fun 2011

"Don't read so much," the mama said to me, standing in my doorway. "You'll go crazy."

She said that to me a long time ago when as a kid I had again lain too long on my bed reading yet another book. I'm sure what she meant was something like "Go play outdoors!" Did I lay my book down and go outside? I doubt it.

Since the husband and I moved to Hollister seven summers ago, I haven't done much book reading for fun. Most of my reading has been research for work. I want to change that in 2011. The last few days, I've been pulling books from the bookshelves and the various book piles throughout the house. Those plus the ones I got for my last birthday come up to 70 books.

Soooooo, I shall be reading 70 books in 2011. It's not so bad though. About a third of them are children's books, which is still one of my favorite types of books to read. To see my list of 70, please click here.

To make my reading quest even more fun, as well as to …

Result: The All Things Alcott Challenge

Back in November, I signed up for the All Things Alcott Challenge.  Because it was during the last six weeks on the challenge, my goal would be to read one book by or about Louisa May Alcott. I'm sorry to say that I didn't make my objective.  I read the Wikipedia article about Ms. Alcott's life and read one short story, "An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving."

The Wikipedia article about Ms. Alcott is a great introduction to her fascinating life.  Here are five facts about her:
Ms. Alcott was born on her father's birthday. Her father was Amos Bronson Alcott, one of the founders of American Transcendentalism. One of Ms. Alcott's teachers was Henry David Thoreau, author of Civil Disobedience.She wrote novels that Wikipedia describes as "passionate, fiery novels and sensational stories," which perhaps would be categorized today as Chick Lit.The character "Laurie" in Little Women may have been based on Ladislas Wisniewski, a young Polish man she me…

L is for Luxury

I'm rolling in luxury.

Well, I shall be next week.

The husband indulged me with a gift certificate for books for my birthday. That is my favorite kind of present. Thank you, sweet husband!

This year, I took my time selecting the books that would be lined up to be read in the coming year. I wandered around a bookstore first, checked out several book blogs, and glanced at a few book lists. Here's what I finally chose (If you want to hear today's Christmas song as you read about the books, scroll down and click on the video first):

A Night Too Dark by Dana Stabenow. This is the 17th novel about Kate Shugak, a private detective in Alaska, who has a homestead in a national park. In this story she investigates the murder of a roustabout who works for a company that wants to open one of the largest gold mines in the state.

Locked In by Marcia Muller. The author's Sharon McCone series has been around since the late 1970s. It's one of my favorites. Sharon is a private detecti…

A Reading Challenge

Yes, another reading challenge for me to try.  This one is all about Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women. It was one of my favorite stories when I was a teenager.  I identified with Jo, the tomboy, the fun sister, the romantic,  the outspoken one, and the writer. Who didn't?

So, this challenge, the All Things Alcott Challenge.  What's it about? Click on the link to read the details. Essentially, participants decide how many items related to Louisa May Alcott to read, listen to, or watch that they hope to complete by December 31. My goal is the number 1. Between now and then, I will read at least one book by or about Ms. Alcott.

Update of Other Challenges
The 200 sit-up challenge. I finished that last week. Did 200 crunches all in a row. Yep, I did.

Jumping three times daily. That's on hold. My right ankle is now screwed up.

Teaser Tuesday: Bones of the Barbary Coast

I'm still not reading books for fun regularly like I did before there were blogs, but at least I'm getting back into it. Last night, I finished Craig Ferguson's autobiography and picked up my latest to read from my pile of books yet to read. Really, I shouldn't even be thinking of buying new books or browsing for books at the library. But, I am.

Since I have new book, I'm participating in the weekly book meme called Teaser Tuesday. Basically, you open the book at random and choose two sentences (though some bloggers choose more) to quote. The objective: To provide enough of a tease that others may be interested in reading the book, too.  So, after reading my offering, come join me at Teaser Tuesday to discover possible future reads.


"Bart was right to warn her it wouldn't be easy. The mayhem, the turbulence, the mushrooming growth, the scope and pervasiveness of underworld activity, topped off by the massive disruption of the earthquake and fir…

Teaser Tuesdays: A Bookish Meme

Yep. I found us—you, dear gentle readers and—another blog hop to check out. This is a fun, short one for all of us book-loving readers. 

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. The idea is to randomly pick two sentences from a book you are currently reading.  Check it out! Of course, read my offering first, then head over to here.




"Giants and fairies was how he described classical music. He could just as well have been talking about show business."

~ American on Purpose
by Craig Ferguson page 26

Cozy Mystery Challenge: Book Number Seven

The Moai Murders by Lyn Hamilton is my last entry for the Cozy Mystery Challenge. Hurrah!

Lara McClintoch is an antiques dealer from Toronto, who Lyn Hamilton has made as the main character of her archaeological mystery series. The Moai Murders is the ninth tale in the series. It's the first one I've read.

The story is based on Easter Island or Rapa Nui.  The author sidesteps the mystery of the Easter Island statues, but does weave the history and culture of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, into the plot. Lara and her best friend Moira go to the island after Moira, who just won her bout with cancer, decides to go somewhere that she always wanted to go. Lara goes because Moira has asked her.

Upon arrival at their hotel, the women walk into a lobby full of Rapa Nui enthusiasts who are attending a conference. They decide to sign up for the conference to learn more about the maoi. Almost immediately, they are witnesses to the ugly rivalry between the two Rapa Nui experts. 

Not one, not …

Cozy Mystery Challenge: Book Number Six

The Dark Tort is part of the Goldy Schulz cozy mystery series written by Diane Mott Davidson (The link takes you to Davidson's website).  It's adventure #13. Davidson has written 15 thus far.

The title is a clever play on words: tort/torte.  The tale opens with Goldy stumbling over a dead body at the law office for which she has been catering the last several months.

At first, Goldy thought the lawyers were playing a joke on her. Pretty sick attorneys, if they were. But, it turns out the law firm is full of dysfunctional people, from the rich head partner to the very uptight office manager to the young paralegal-in-training who was murdered. After many outings of solving murder cases before the cops in her town, Goldy is known for her detective skills as well as for her cooking prowess. So, it's believable for the murdered young lady's mother to ask Goldy to solve the case. The mother thinks that the cops will overlook her daughter's case because they aren't ric…

Cozy Mystery Challenge: Book Number Five

Like a Hole in the Head by Jen Banbury was the fifth book I read for the Cozy Mystery Challenge. Some reviewers likened the author's work to that of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. I think Banbury's style is her own, with comparison to no one in the mystery genre. She caught my attention immediately when I randomly picked her book at the library.

"I woke up with a hangover and roof tar on my feet and a vague recollection of pacing around up there half the night. . . ." 
That's her first line. Uh-huh.

Jill is the name of the main character. She lives in Los Angeles and works at a used bookstore. For the past few years, she has been running away from the memories of her mother's death. Every so often the author cleverly lets some of those memories enter Jill's mind, and we, the readers, learn that her mom was painfully dying from a terminal disease. Her mom may have asked Jill to help put an end to the misery. With that bit of background, it is underst…

Cozy Mystery Challenge #4 Review

Chapter and Hearse by Lorna Barrett is the fourth title of the Booktown Mystery series. It's the first one I've read. I doubt I'll read any of the others. The protagonist, Tricia Miles, is the owner of a mystery bookstore in a small (fictional?) town in New Hampshire. That alone ought to be enough for me to enjoy the series. It's not. 
I don't care too much for Tricia. She doesn't have much confidence in herself, though she was much better about her worth by the end of the book. After all, her husband dumped her because he went off to Colorado to find himself. A reporter guy likes her, almost stalkingly. The police guy who likes her put their relationship on hold because he decided to care for his ex-wife who is being treated for cancer. To add to that, her older sister is a type A author, bookseller, and cook. So, Tricia does have a lot to get herself out from under. I'm just not curious to see how her life progresses in future books.
The plot? The bookstore…