Wednesday, October 31, 2007

1st in a Series Challenge

Joy of "Thoughts of Joy" blog fame comes up with some really terrific challenges. First in a Series is one I should probably pass on because it's going to add so many more books to my ever growing TBR list. It's one thing to add one book at a time to the list, but with series you add 3, 4 or many at a time. Plus, there's the added hazard of reading others' reviews and adding even more series to the list. Very risky business, in deed! In I go with both feet planted firmly in a cement block.

The plan is to read 12 books, each a 1st in a Series, between Jan and Dec 2008. I'm very excited because there are some wonderful series I've been looking forward to reading and a challenge pushes me to do that. So here's my list, in no particular order. (The * indicates a book I own.)
1. Truckers by Terry Pratchett (The Bromeliad Trilogy - children)
2. *O'Artful Death by Sarah Stewart Taylor (Sweeney St. George - mystery)
3. *Magyk by Angie Sage (Septimus Heap - fantasy)
4. *Fool's Puzzle by Earlene Fowler (Benni Harper - mystery)
5. *Murder on the Rocks by Karen MacInerney (Gray Whale Inn - mystery)
6. *Jane and the Unpleasantness of Scargrave Manor (Jane Austen - mystery)
7. *The Singer of All Songs by Kate Constable (Chanters of Tremaris Trilogy - YA fantasy)
8. *Them Bones by Carolyn Haines (Sarah Booth Delaney - mystery)
9. Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett (Johnny Maxwell - children's suspense)
10. 16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber (Cedar Cove - mystery)
11. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (starter novel in the Witches Series of Discworld - fantasy)
12. *Still Life by Louise Penny (Three Pine - mystery)
An alternate (just in case): A Thousand Bones by PJ Parrish (Joe Frye - mystery, suspense)

I lean rather heavily towards mysteries. That's one reason I'm doing this challenge is to read more mysteries in 2008. I just didn't get my fill this year. If you would like to check out some of the challenges I want to start you may go this this blog, What? Another Series! And if you really are bored at this moment you can check out the list of series I am already into by clicking on my Serial Hit List. Mostly these sites are to help me keep track, but if they provide you with any help, please feel free to give them a look/see.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Summer Classics Challenge -- A Wrap-Up

A few weeks ago I finished the Summer Classics Challenge hosted by Kathrin from Crazy Cozy Murders. I've been a bit slow on wrapping it up. The challenge ran from July through Nov, 2007 and the goal was to read 3-5 classics of our own choosing. I read the following three:
1. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
2. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
3. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
All three books were wonderful. Pimpernel was my favorite, but I liked the other two a lot.

I have had people asking if I'm going to host the winter classics challenge again in January. The answer is no. I thought this was a much better time to read classics. I find Jan. and Feb. are much better to suited for reading mysteries.

Thanks, Kathrin, for hosting this challenge. I hope you will consider doing it again next summer. I need the push to get me to read the classics.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Something About Me Reading Challenge Completed

One of the fun parts about reading challenges is successfully completing the challenge. (Other fun parts are reading the books and crossing them off as I finish them)

Lisa from Breaking the Fourth Wall came up with this interesting challenge to read 5 books that other participants listed that told something about them. The challenge ran from Aug-Nov 2007. The books I read were

1. Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland (from 3M's list)
2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (this or one of the sequels is on several people's lists, including Tiny Librarian's, Raidergirl3's and Becky's.)
3. All-of-a-Kind Family by (from Alisonwonderland's list)
4. Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (another from Alisonwonderland's list)
5. Booked to Die by John Dunning (this is one from Bonnie's list.)

I enjoyed all these books immensely. My least favorite would be Luncheon of the Boating Party but I'm still glad I read it and I still enjoyed it.

Thanks Lisa, for hosting this challenge. It was very worthwhile and I hope you will be doing it again next year.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Themed Reading Challenge

I originally planned to read books with the theme of place, era, event (WWI) or something else that makes sense. As I was perusing the books on my shelves a weird theme started gelling in my mind instead. I found that I have several books with the same word in the title. So I decided my theme
I will be reading books that all have the word 'BONE' in the title. Isn't that bizarre?!

Wendy from Caribousmom is hosting this challenge. Check out her blog to read all the particulars of the challenge and to join. The basics are to read 4 books in 2008 from your chosen theme.

My pool from which I will choose those four books consists of the following:
1. The Bone People by Keri Hulme
2. Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
3. Them Bones by Carolyn Haines
4. Hearts and Bones by Margaret Lawrence
5. Carved in Bone: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass
6. The Bone Doll Twins by Lynn Flewelling
7. Bone Garden by Tess Geritsen
8. Old Bones by Aaron Elkins
9. Remembering the Bones byFrances Itani
10. Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell
11. Bag of Bones by Stephen King
12. Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs
13. Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver
14. Beat Not the Bones by Charlotte Jay
15. White Bone by Barbara Gowdy

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

All-of-a-Kind Family

by Sydney Taylor

I read this delightful book for the Something About Me Challenge. This was Alison's selection to help us get to know her better. Here's what she had to say about this book:
"I am the oldest in a family of seven daughters and no sons, so I grew up in an "all of a kind family" like the one in this novel. I also think this children's book, read to my sisters and me by our mom, was the beginning of my interest in the Jewish culture."
That intrigued me because my husband and I only have daughters, no sons. And I have an interest in Jewish culture, so the book sounded like a good choice for me to read.

I thoroughly enjoyed All-of-a-Kind Family and since I wasn't fortunate enough to find it in my youth I'm glad I found it now. Thanks, Alison, for suggesting it. The setting is 1910's New York City. It provided a wonderful glimpse into that time period and into Jewish life and culture in a poor neighborhood. I knew about Passover and a few other Jewish holidays, but had never heard of Purim. For that holiday the girls dressed up in costumes (old dresses & shawls) then delivered baskets of goodies to friends and relatives.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Spot of Bother

by Mark Haddon

A very appropriate title - I felt this book was pretty much a spot of bother. I just about gave up reading it, but I read someone's review that said to keep reading. Why did I let someone I don't even know tell me to continue reading a book that I wasn't very interested in and parts of it were disgusting. So I did finish it and I actually enjoyed the end immensely and not just because it was over.

Why did I read this? I read his first book An Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and loved it. This was entirely different and different is good, usually.

What did I like? The ending. I liked how it turned out for the characters and I really liked the event that happened at the end.

What I didn't like? I really didn't like the explicit sex scenes between the gay guys. And I didn't really like Jean, the wife. I did like George even though he's a bit crazy. Maybe that's why I liked him - he's old and off his rocker.

If you're planning on reading this, don't let my impressions sway you too much. I may just not have been in the right mood. The storyline was good and the characters were well developed.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Scarlet Pimpernel

by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

I have picked this book up several times in the past, but always put it back down again after a few pages. Why? I think it was because I am totally in love with the movie and didn't want the book to ruin it by being better. That sounds so inane now that I'm structured that thought in to words. If a book is even better than a movie that you love, than you'll also love the book. Duh!

I loved this book! And I look forward to rereading it, which is something I very seldom do. The Scarlet Pimpernel is the finest adventure and romance I've ever read. It was easy and comfortable to read, but also, very compelling. And I knew what was going to happen. How does an author write so well that you can so enjoy her book even though you know the story.

Since I read Scarlet Pimpernel for the Book-to-Movie challenge, I will compare the two. I am comparing the book to the movie version starring Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour. In the movie Blakeney woes and then marries the actress Maguerite St John, but in the book they have been married already a year at the start of the story. At first I thought that would be a big stumbling block for me, but eventually it didn't bother me. Both version worked fine.

Another difference: In the movie there is a triangular love affair with Marguerite in the middle. That adds some great tension. I really don't think the book needed that extra tension, though.

Some of the scenes in the movie were exactly as described in the book. Both excellent. The ending - different in both, but I'm not going to talk about it as to not give anything away. I like the movie ending best.

Of course, at points in both the book and the movie songs from the Broadway musical play through my mind creating a wonderful atmosphere. My dream is to someday see the musical performed on Broadway.

I've also watched the BBC version of the Pimpernel and I think it is exceptionally done, but I prefer the one with Anthony Andrews. I wasn't sure I would enjoy Jane Seymour before I watched the movie, but she did a very nice job. My husband, daughter and I are just getting set to watch one of my all time favorite shows on this Sunday evening. If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, you really need to arrange to do both.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Matrimony Challenge

Anybody can enter this challenge - Readathon participant or not. Author Joshua Henkin is giving away a signed copy of his book Matrimony.

For the challenge you can say something about the book, something about a review of the book, something about marriage in general, something about your marriage, or whatever you like. Henekin will choose the comment that strikes him as best/most interesting/most compelling. YIKES! That's just the kind of statement that freezes my brain cells and the little red signals that jump from one synapse to the next fizzles to black ash.

I haven't read this book yet, but I will as soon as my winning copy comes in the mail! The cover strikes me as quite random until I study it a bit longer. Is the story about a couple who have been married for awhile and weathered the ups and downs, ins and outs of marriage. There's a suggestion of intimacy as I look at the toothbrushes side by side in their holder. Or could it be that something holds this couple together even though they estranged? (Notice how the toothbrushes face away from each) No, the bathroom is an intimate space shared by family - it has to be about commitment. Commitment to marriage, to each other, to the children. The more I look at this cover the more I want answers to what the book is really about.

Henekin said we could share a little blurb about our own marriages, so I will. My husband and I will celebrate 35 years together this December. We are deeply in love at this point, but it hasn't always been that way. There have been months of loneliness, and years of happiness. We have grown together and shared a multitude of experiences. We both try to respect the other's individuality as well as out unity. We are dancing the dance of love and though it has slowed to a waltz in our later years, there are those tango moments, too. And always, there are memories and shared vistas for the future.

Joshua Henekin, I hope your book is about the commitment of marriage and the joys that can be experience by toughening it out.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Numb3rs Challenge

Callista over at SMS Book Reviews is proposing an interesting Numbers Challenge - simply read 5 books in 5 months whose titles have a number in them (this includes written numbers like "one" or "forty.")

The challenge runs from Jan 1 to June 1, 2008. You can choose up to 3 novels that are on lists for other challenges, so 2 of your choices cannot be on any other list.*

My list includes some books I'm very excited to read, but I will put off reading them until January for 2 reasons: I have too many books on challenge lists that I must finish before the end of the year and I want to join this challenge so I'll be patient about reading them.

*Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale -- I was going to read this for the Celebrate the Author Challenge, but I have Austenland by Hale that I can read for that one.
2. A Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena De Blasi -- Also reading for In Their Shoes Challenge.
*Sixpence House by Paul Collins -- This is a book I was going to read for the Something About Me Challenge. I ended up with too many for that challenge so I'm moving it to this challenge.
Thursday Next: A First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde -- Also reading for the Numb3rs Challenge.
5. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson -- Also reading for the Books Awards Challenge. It won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature for 2006. I looked at the title of this book and wondered if it would count because Octavian obviously refers to the number 8. Is that stretching things too far? How 'bout if I focus on the word 'nothing' instead?


Instances of the Number 3: A Novel by Salley Vickers
A Thousand Bones by PJ Parrish

*Books that are NOT on another reading challenge list.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Luncheon of the Boating Party

by Susan Vreeland

I read this book because 3M selected it for the Something About Me Challenge. Having enjoyed most of Vreeland's novels and I absolutely loved Girl in Hyacinth Blue, I was looking forward to reading Luncheon.

Obviously the book is about the painter Renoir; with the focus on the time period dealing with his painting of the famous Luncheon of the Boating Party. Each person in the painting has a personal connection to Renoir and, by the end of the book, the reader feels acquainted with them and, in some cases, deeply involved with them.

3M from 1 Chapter More shared this wonderful personal experience on her blog.
Did you know there is a phenomena in which people cry uncontrollably in front of paintings or other art? I didn't know it either until it happened to me. I took my 7th grade class (back when I was a teacher) to an art museum in Nashville where they were having a special exhibit on impressionism. I was looking at this painting, and lo and behold, I started sobbing without any warning. It was so beautiful. It was like I was seeing it in 3-D. I couldn't believe the beauty of it. What was the painting, you ask? It was Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir. If you just see this in an art book, you may ask what the big deal is as there doesn't seem to be anything special about it. See it in person and you'll see a huge difference, believe me.
What a thrill to actually enjoy this masterpiece in person. Thanks for sharing that moment with us, 3M.

I don't know what exactly was happening in my life or with my mood, but I didn't get drawn into the story right away and I didn't feel compelled to keep reading. I am enjoying it more in retrospect than I did while reading. I really think the problem was mine, not the author's.

My favorite character was Alphonsine. I really liked her and found myself trying to counsel her not to fall in love with Renoir. She was so aware and thoughtful of all around her. I didn't care that much for some of the other character's pains, but I did for hers.

I am glad I read this book. I knew nothing of Renoir's life and could not even name one of his works before reading Luncheon. I got a good feeling for Paris and the countryside in 1880. And I found this site that shows all the paintings, Renoirs and others, that are mentioned in the book along with the passage. It's been fun looking at those.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Armchair Traveler

I finished another fun challenge that took me to several wonderful vacation spots. What a way to travel! My original list was tweaked a bit, much the same way as travel plans are modified before the trip actually takes place.

Here's what I DID read and the country or city the books transported me to:
Quebec City - Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather
Peru - Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
Newfoundland - Shipping News by Annie Proulx
Afghanistan - A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Nova Scotia - Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan
Prince Edward Island - Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Shipping News was probably my least favorite, but I'm still glad I read it. The other 5 I loved.
Actually visiting Canada this summer enhanced my reading of the books set in Canada.

I'm definitely looking forward to joining this challenge again next year. A great big THANKS to A Life in Books for hosting this challenge.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bridge of San Luis Rey

by Thornton Wilder

I didn't realize that Thornton Wilder wrote anything but plays. He authored the Pulitzer Prize winning plays, Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1943), but he also wrote several novels. He won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1928 for The Bridge of San Luis Rey.

When I first listed this book for the By-the-Decade Challenge as my 1920's selection, I thought it was a war story. Even before I read the book, I discovered that I had the story for The Bridge on the River Kwai in mind. Obviously my mind had criss-crossed paths before it ever reached 'The Bridge.'

Wilder's Bridge concerns itself with 5 people who fell to their deaths when Peru's finest bridge collapsed in 1714. A Franciscan monk, Brother Juniper, witnesses the tragedy and begins to wonder if what seemed like random misfortunes were actually part of God's plan. He spends years researching the lives of the five people and then compiles and publishes his findings. The results were unexpected.

I liked this book, both for it's quickness and the questions it posed: Is there an overall plan by an unseen God? Is there a purpose behind tragedy? Wilder doesn't really answer these questions. In fact, he doesn't even address them in so many words, rather the story unfolds and the reader is left asking these questions.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Decades Challenge 2008

I have enjoyed doing the Decade Challenge this year and so, of course, I'm going to jump on the bandwagon again for 2008. Thanks to 3M from 1 More Chapter for hosting this fun challenge.

The challenge runs from Jan 1 through Dec 31, 2008. The goal is to read 8 books from consecutive decades. 3M has set up a blog dedicated to the challenge where you can sign up and get suggestions of books for 20 decades. I really have to hand it to 3M for the wonderful resource she's provided. She's put in some hours creating this blog. Thanks, 3M. You're awesome! Decades Challenge 2008 Blog

My selections -
1920 - Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly (Newbery Medal 1929)
1930 - Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (Newbery Medal 1936)
1940 - Matchlock Gun Walter D. Edmonds (Newbery Medal 1942)
1950 - Beat Not the Bones by Charlotte Jay (1st Edgar Award 1952)
1960 - Death and the Joyful Woman by Ellis Peters (Edgar Award 1963)
1970 - Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett (Edgar Award 1979)
1980 - Bone People by Keri Hulme
1990 - Them Bones by Carolyn Haines

Sunday, October 07, 2007

888 Reading Challenge

Hostess: 3M of the fabulous 1 More Chapter blog

The Goal:
Read 8 books in each of 8 different categories in 2008 - Participants choose their own categories

Time Frame: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2008

Challenge Page: 888 - All the rules and the participants (with their lists) can be found on this page.

After much deliberation I have chosen the following categories and books. Books that overlap are highlighted.

Young Adult Novels
1. River Secrets by Shannon Hale
2. Singer of All Songs by Kate Constable
3. Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan
4. Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
5. The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
6. The Astonishing Life of Octavia Nothing by M.T. Anderson
7. Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
8. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

First in a Series

1. Magyk
2. Jane & the Unpleasantness of Scargrave Manor
3. The Queen's Man by Sharon K. Penman
4. High Rhymes and Misdemeanors by Diana Killian
5. Singer of All Songs by Kate Constable
6. The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling by Lawrence Block
7. Goodnight, Irene by Jan Burke
8. The Seventh Sinner by Elizabeth Peters

Favorite Authors
1. Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett
2. Touchstone by Laurie King
3. The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz
4. We Shall Not Sleep by Anne Perry
5. Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
6. Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
7. Everywhere That Mary Went by Lisa Scottoline (her 1st book)
8. The Seventh Sinner by Elizabeth Peters

Books from Eight Different States
1. O' Artful Death by Sarah Stewart Taylor (Massachusetts)
2. Witches' Bane by Susan Wittig Albert (Texas)
3. Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass (Tennessee)
4. Goodnight, Irene by Jan Burke (California)
5. Spartina (John Casey) (Rhode Island)
6. Murder on the Rocks by Karen MacInerney (Maine)
7. The Romance Reader by Abraham Pearl (New York)
8. Murder Runs in the Family by Anne George


1. The Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia A. McKillip
2. Yarrow by Charles de Lint
3. Wildwood by Charles de Lint
4. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
5. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
6. Cruel Miracles by Orson Scott Card
7. Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
8. Invasive Procedures by Orson Scott Card

1. Death of a Mystery Writer by Robert Barnard
2. Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear
3. The Body in the Kelp by Katherine Hall Page
4. The Queen's Man by Sharon K. Penman
5. Murder on the Rocks by Karen MacInerney
6. High Rhymes and Misdemeanors by Diana Killian
7. Alone by Lisa Gardner
8. Murder Runs in the Family by Anne George

Books That Have Languished on My Shelves for Over a Year
1. Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth
2. Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Look by Katharine Weber
3. Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint
4. A Spectacle of Corruption by David Liss
5. Cassndra Lost by Joanna Catherine Scott
6. Green Darkness by Anya Seton
7. A Catch of Consequence by Diana Norman
8. Grandmother and the Priests

Books I've Received Free (Contests, ARCs, Gifts)
1. The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose
2. Birth House by Ami McKay
3. Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
4. Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
5. The Constant Princess by Phillippa Gregory
6. 3:16 by Max Lucado
7. Everything by Design: My Life as an Architect by Alan Lapidus
8. Alone by Lisa Gardner
9. Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb
10. On Borrowed Wings by Chandra Prasad
11. A Simple Plan by Scott Smith

Whew! Am I up to this big of a challenge? The really great thing about this list is that all the books, except one, are books that I own.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Canadian Book Challenge, Eh?

John from The Book Mine Set is hosting this challenge which runs from NOW until July 1 (Canada Day). The goal is to read 13 books (because there are 13 Canadian provinces, mate). He has lists of books from each of the provinces, but is allowing us to choose our own method for selecting the books we want to read.

My method: Read from the books I already own. I did an inventory and I have about 16 Canadian books by Canadian authors that I have NOT read. At least, that I KNOW are Canadian authors. There may be others, but for now, I have 13 books.
1. I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven (British Columbia)
2. Wildwood by Charles de Lint (Ottawa, Ontario)
3. Yarrow by Charles de Lint (Ottawa, Ontario)
4. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (Prince Edward Island)
5. Birth House by Ami McKay (Nova Scotia)
6. Birds in Fall by Brad Kessler (Nova Scotia)
7. Pelagie: The Return to Acadie by Antonine Maillet and Philip Stratford (Nova Scotia)
8. Kit's Law by Donna Morrissey (Newfoundland)
9. Random Passage (Newfoundland)
10. Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston (Newfoundland)
11. The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede (Newfoundland)
12. Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark (Newfoundland)
13. A Word for Home by Joan Clark (Newfoundland)

I'm heavy on the maritime provinces, aren't I? If I get all these read I'll be ready for a trip to some of the provinces I've never visited. Trips always spark a purchase of new, indigenous reading material.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

R.I.P. II Challenge Finished

Another successful year of creepy, skin-crawling stories. My thanks go to Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings for again hosting this seasonal challenge. I have enjoyed it immensely.

The books I've read for this challenge are
Bones by Jan Burke

Lily Dale: Awakening by Wendy Corsi Staub

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Gift from the Sea

by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I read this book for the Something About Me Challenge. It's one of Alisonwonderland's selections. This review could take pages of 'internet paper' if I wrote all the meaningful quotes I've marked in the book. I'm really glad I chose to read this book. Thanks, Alison for the great suggestion.

Lindbergh takes a needed break from her hectic life to the solitude of a small beach cabin. There she gathers shells and ponders how their design signifies stages in a woman's life. Gift From the Sea is reflective, contemplative journal writing that Lindbergh edited to share with the world.

There are passages galore that spoke to me with their beautiful simplicity and sage wisdom. Words that reaffirmed my beliefs and self-concepts. Others that caused my thinking to grow beyond its bonds. I enjoy that feeling of stretching and growth.

I read a library copy and now will have to buy my own so I can transfer my bookdarts and leave them in place. Books like this are great to have on my bedside table and open up and randomly read passages I've marked.
This quote helped me to identify for myself one reason I like to travel and be away from home on my vacations. "The past and the future are cut off; only the present remains. One lives like a child or a saint in the immediacy of here and now. People become like islands in such an atmosphere, self-contained, whole and serene."

Here's a feeling we can all identify: "What we fear is not so much that our energy may be leaking away through small outlets as that it may be going 'down the drain.'"

"Purposeful giving is not as apt to deplete ones resources; it belongs to that natural order of giving that seems to renew itself even in the act of depletion. The more one gives, the more one has to give."
One of my favorite discussions in the book was that of romantic love. Such moments are fleeting, but valid and can be revisited. Feelings of love ebb and flow just as life, energy and seasons do. Too many panic when the honeymoon ends and real life creeps in and the romance thins. Romance and love need to be kindled and cherished.

I highly recommend this book that still speaks wisdom over 50 years after being written. It's a sweet, gem of a book.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

by Robert Louis Stevens

After finishing Jekyll and Hyde I felt much the same as I did when I finished Dracula. Enlightened. All my life I have seen or heard tidbits of information from the book and I've seen distortions of the original story but now I KNOW the original. Puzzle pieces of information fit together, characters are more than a name or a bit of trivia, and in both cases, the original telling of the story is better than any movie or take off.

It's refreshing to read a classic that a regular person can understand why it's been a beloved story for so many years. As the story progressed I compared it in my mind's eye to eating an artichoke. Each leaf brought you closer to the heart of the matter, but revealed only a tantalizing morsel at a time. The story was told from Dr. Jekyll's friend's point of view. He had to work to reveal each part of the mystery. I can see that reading this book without knowing the heart, the climax, the end; the reader would be as confused and curious as Jekyll's friend. Even knowing the climax of the story, Stevenson's writing held me captive.

Jekyll and Hyde was published in 1886. It would have made a great pick for the 15 Decades/15 Books Challenge. I would encourage you to consider it for next years Decades Challenge.

Now to compare the book to the movie, rather the musical. That's right - a musical of Jekyll and Hyde. It's actually pretty good. Ready for another shock? The lead is played by David Hasselhoff! You know, the Bay Watch and Knight Rider guy.

I thought the musical was marvelous and Hasselhoff does a amazing job - amazing because I was surprised, but he was also good. His depiction of the battle between Jekyll and Hyde for control of their shared body is outstanding. You really need to see it.

How did it compare to the book? The movie takes lots of liberty. In the book Jekyll is a middle-aged man (50-ish) and Hyde transforms into a younger, evil man. The movie has both men in their late 20s, and Jekyll is engaged to be married. There's no love interest in the book. Murders in the book - one; several in the movie. The movie is told from Jekyll's point of view and the book from the friend's.

My recommendation would be to read the book first and then watch the musical. Both worthwhile, but the book is the best.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Series Challenge

Kathrin at Crazy Cozy Murders has more series started than I do. Amazing! Anyway, because she has this 'sickness' to start but not finish or get up-to-date on all these series she created a challenge to help herself out of the mire. Being a real sweetheart she is allowing the rest of us to join this challenge. It's kind of like an AA meeting, 12-step program to help all those with the same 'sickness' to get the help we need.

I realized after looking at Katrin's list that I NEEDED to make a list of all the series I've started and would like to read further. I LOVE making lists, so I did have fun even though it took awhile. My list is at Serial Hit List. My dear husband came up with this clever title for me.

The challenge runs from Dec 1, 2007 through May 1, 2008. Since we can choose how many books we'll read and in what series, I've decided to read 6 books. Each book will be from a different series that I've already started. In a few cases this will finish the series. In others I will just become reacquainted with old friends.

1. We Shall Not Sleep This is the 4th and final book in Anne Perry's wonderful WWI series.

2. The Bleeding Dusk This 3rd installment of Colleen Gleason's thrilling Gardella Vampire Chronicles will be available Feb 5, 2008. After reading this I'll be current with this series.

3.Messenger of Truth Book four in the Maisie Dobbs series will almost put me up to date. I just discovered the 5th is coming out towards the end of Feb. Yay!

4. The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog It's been quite awhile since I've read one from the Amelia Peabody series and I'm feeling in the mood. Unfortunately, this will NOT get me current. This is only book 7 out of 17 or so.

5. River Secrets Another series I haven't visited for a long time. River Secrets is the last in the Goose Girl Trilogy by Shannon Hales. I'm looking forward to rejoining the young characters in this series.

6. Goodnight, Irene I recently read book 7 without realizing it was a series. For this challenge, I'm going for book one.

7. Thursday Next: First Among Sequels Who else but Jasper Fforde would name book 5 The First Among Sequels? I'm excited to read this one because I love the series but also because I won it in a drawing from Emily (Lost in the Pages)

8. Wintersmith This is book 4 in the Tiffany Aching YA series. Sooooo fun!

9. The Light Fantastic I can't not add a Terry Pratchett book. The more I read of his Discworld series the more I love it. Only 34 more to get caught up!

10. The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis Book 6 in the Chronicles of Narnia.

11. The Last Battle The final book in the Chronicles of Narnia.

12. The Sign of the Book This is the 4th in the Cliff Janeway series. Only 1 more to go!

Okay, I know I said I was setting my goal at 6, but making the list was just too much fun and I got carried away in the moment. I hope to read all 12, but my goal is still 6. We'll just see how things turn out.