Thursday, April 30, 2015

Poem in Your Pocket Day

The Academy of American Poets encourage people to carry a poem with them and share it with other throughout the day.

I had originally thought to use a poem provided for this year's celebration by
Song of Myself, I by Walt Whitman 
I Celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. 
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass. 
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.  
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

I really liked the opening stanza to this poem. But then I picked up Christine Hppermann's Poisoned Apples and read the poem To My Sheep, Wherever You Are. The last two stanzas are great!
But I'm happy now. I have a new job
at the library, where all the books are arranged
so they're easy to find.  Even then there are no
guarantees, which is why I steal my favorites
and stack them beside my bed. I keep them 
safe from the man who likes to read
in the tub, the toddler with the Sharpie marker,
the woman who stands at the circulation desk
telling me she's looked everywhere. Really,
she doesn't know what happened, it's just

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Daily Themes - April 28

Write a poem about your favorite person, place or animal. 

This is a poem I wrote about my Dad after he passed away when I was 16.

My Daddy

To every little girl, her father is unbreakable.  He’s strong and brave. He is her white knight, always riding to her rescue.

Then as she gets older she comes to see that he gets sick. He can get hurt. Still he fights the cold, no sweat. A flu; piece of cake. There is nothing he can’t do.

When she becomes a teenager she’ll get embarrassed by him. She’ll get mad at him. They’ll fight, but when no one’s around they go back to being a little girl and her daddy, the white knight. Now she’s dating and dreaming about her wedding. She knows how proud he’ll be.

One day she’ll find out that her father is breakable.  It will break her heart to find out, but it makes her stronger to know that he was unbreakable.  She’s just like him.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Read Harder Challenge - A collection of short stories

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and DisturbancesTrigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Neil Gaiman. I didn't love this book. There were only a handful of stories I really liked and a few of them I had read/heard before picking up this book.  A few I had heard Neil read during a speaking engagement. A few I had listened to in audiobook format.

I enjoyed:

  • The Thing About Cassandra
  • Down to a Sunless Sea
  • The Truth is a Cave in the Dark Mountain
  • My Last Landlady
  • Orange
  • The Case of Death and Honey (a Sherlock Holmes story)
  • Click-Clack the Rattlebag
  • Nothing O'clock (Doctor Who story)

A number of the stories just weren't holding my attention and I ended up just skipping over them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Read Harder Challenge - A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat FriendThe DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've been sitting on writing this review for awhile now.  I don't know what to really say about this book.  I went into reading this book after reading a lot of reviews which were all over the place.  A number mention how the story is all over the place and the characters are unsympathetic and I fully agree.

I started reading and quickly found that I wasn't finding a connection to these characters so I started skimming the book.  At some point I found myself no longer skimming but really reading the book.  While I never cared about the characters, I found I wanted to know how this story played out.

Bianca built barriers to keep herself apart from those around her. Wesley was able to break through her barriers.  Wesley, like Bianca, has sort of built a persona around himself to protect himself from the facts of his life.  Even knowing that they are this way as a kind of defense, I still don't like either one of them.

I think the best review (the one I agree with the most) is this one from a reviewer on Goodreads.  She writes it so much better than I could.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Daily Themes - April 17

I met my best friend in a used book store. We bonded over our mutual love of Gothic Fiction and our dislike of The Bard. We share the same biting wit, and views on society. I found her in a copy of Northanger Abbey. She goes where the book goes. BFFs for life and beyond.

Your best friend is a ghost.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

TBR Pile Challenge - The Physician's Irish Lady

The Physician's Irish LadyThe Physician's Irish Lady by Susan Macatee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't know where I got this book (I'm thinking free download) but I have been wanting to read it for awhile now.  I knew putting on my TBR Pile this year would mean I would get to it and I was happy to finally get to it, but as you can see by my rating I wasn't thrilled.

The story idea was good. An Irish lady escapes from indentured servitude in Australia and ends up in NYC. There she escapes being forced into prostitution and ends up on a train leaving Philadelphia.  She treats herself to an upgraded ticket and faints.  On the train is a doctor, who is very upstanding and he can't leave this poor girl alone at the train station.  So he take her home with him to his little Pennsylvania town where he lives with his aunt. The bad guy who tried to force her into prostitution shows up and claims she's his wife but with no proof the sheriff won't let him take her.  In order to protect her the doctor's aunt thinks they should marry and they do.

This is the basics of this story and this sounds great to me, but the story lacked romance for me.  These two barely share any page time courting and next thing you know they are married which is what they both want because they do love each other.

The other thing I would have like to have seen was a bit more of her back story. Instead of just a summary of what happened, I would have liked at least a few scenes set in either of the two bad spots in her life.  Something just for comparison to how good she's got it now living with the doctor.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Just a Little Fun - Naming Your Book

Mine is:
A Clockwork Anxiety of Loss

It's not a bad title/idea...hmmm

Readers' Workouts - FitBit Healthy Habits

I'm going to try Fitbit's Healthy Habits.  Week one deals with stress, and I have a lot of stress.  Most of it from my own making, but when you have mild anxiety and social issues it's easy to generate stress for yourself.

Day 1 - Mediate for 10 minutes.  I did this before bed, doing a simple breathing exercise of just focusing on my breaths.  I used to count (in 1, out 2, in 3, ect) but after reading 10% Happier by Dan Harris, I find that it's easier to just focus on in/out with each breath.

Today's habit is to walk for 15 minutes outside but it's raining. So I'm going to go for three 5 minute walks around the library today.  This helps because on a rainy day a good number of our patrons don't venture out since we're a big walking community. This plan will get me up and moving instead of sitting all day.

Day 3 - Drink a decaf cup of tea...I don't know if I have any in the house, I'll have to check.
Day 4 - Listen to music that makes you happy - Since this will be Thursday I'll probably be listening to the Throwback Thursday playlist on Spotify.
Day 5 - Do an "Equal Breathing" Exercise - Had to look it up, but back to a meditation technique.
Day 6 - Write about your day in a journal - I have one of those 5 year journals that you write one or two sentences is, I'm really bad about it, but maybe I'll remember today.
Day 7 - Take time to socialize - I'll make sure to do that!

My quick review of 10% Happier

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Daily Themes - April 7

Tell this story

Rewrite the ending of your favorite book. 

It's not my favorite book, but it's the one ending to a book I wish was different.  He's my quite attempt at a rewrite of the last chapter of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

After a proper resistance on the part of Mrs. Ferrars, just so violent and so steady as to preserve her from that reproach which she always seemed fearful of incurring, the reproach of being too amiable, Edward was admitted to her presence, and pronounced to be again her son.
Her family had of late been exceedingly fluctuating. For many years of her life she had had two sons; but the crime and annihilation of Edward a few weeks ago, had robbed her of one; the similar annihilation of Robert had left her for a fortnight without any; and now, by the resuscitation of Edward, she had one again.
In spite of his being allowed once more to live, however, he did not feel the continuance of his existence secure, till he had revealed his present engagement; for the publication of that circumstance, he feared, might give a sudden turn to his constitution, and carry him off as rapidly as before. With apprehensive caution therefore it was revealed, and he was listened to with unexpected calmness. Mrs. Ferrars endeavoured to dissuade him from marrying Miss Dashwood, by every argument in her power;—told him, that in Miss Morton he would have a woman of higher rank and larger fortune;—and enforced the assertion, by observing that Miss Morton was the daughter of a nobleman with thirty thousand pounds, while Miss Dashwood was only the daughter of a private gentleman with no more than THREE; but when Edward found that, though perfectly admitting the truth of his feelings, his mother was by no means inclined to be guided by it, he judged it wisest, from the experience of the past, to submit—and therefore, after such an ungracious delay as he owed to his own dignity, and as served to prevent every suspicion of good-will, he issued his decree of consent and married Miss Morton.
Elinor's failed engagement meant she spent much time with her family. Mrs. Dashwood wish of bringing Elinor and Colonel Brandon together was hardly less earnest. It was now her darling object. Precious as was the company of her daughter to her, she desired nothing so much as to give up its constant enjoyment to her valued friend; and to see Elinor settled at the mansion-house was equally the wish of Marianne and Margaret. They each felt his sorrows, and their own obligations, and Elinor, by general consent, was to be the reward of all.
With such a confederacy against her—with a knowledge so intimate of his goodness—with a conviction of his fond attachment to herself, which at last, though long after it was observable to everybody else—burst on her—what could she do?
Colonel Brandon was now as happy, as all those who best loved him, believed he deserved to be;—in Elinor he was consoled for every past affliction;—her regard and her society restored his mind to animation, and his spirits to cheerfulness; and that Elinor found her own happiness in forming his, was equally the persuasion and delight of each observing friend.
Marianne Dashwood was born to an extraordinary fate. She was born to discover the falsehood of her own opinions, and to counteract, by her conduct, her most favourite maxims. Instead of falling a sacrifice to an irresistible passion, as once she had fondly flattered herself with expecting, — she found herself at nineteen remaining with her mother, and finding her only pleasures in retirement and study, as afterwards in her more calm and sober judgment she had determined on. It would be a few years more until Marianne would find a young man who would take her away from her mother’s cottage.
Mrs. Dashwood was prudent enough to remain at the cottage, and fortunately for Sir John and Mrs. Jennings, when Marianne was taken from them in her retirement, Margaret had reached an age highly suitable for dancing, and not very ineligible for being supposed to have a lover.
Between the women, there was that constant communication which strong family affection would naturally dictate;—and among the merits and the happiness of Elinor and Marianne, let it not be ranked as the least considerable, that though sisters, they could live without disagreement between themselves, or producing coolness between their husbands.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Daily Themes - April 6


"Yes, this is how I express myself." 

Walking into the house I find my four year old son in an extremely mixed matched outfit, sitting quietly watching television. This was not the outfit I had laid out for him so I was a bit confused but figured he might have changed due to an accident or his tendency to get dirty. I called out a hello to my mother in the kitchen before walking down the hallway to my room.  As I passed by my son’s room I notice the outfit I had picked out for him was still laying neatly at the foot of his bed.  I changed out of my work close and headed into the kitchen.

“Mom, why isn’t Jase wearing the outfit I left out for him?” I asked while walking into the room.  

My mother stood at the stove stirring a pot of sauce.  Not only did she watch Jase for me during the day she also cooked us a nice dinner before going home to make dinner for her and my dad.
“Here taste this.” She held the spoon up for me to taste.  Going on reflex I tasted the sauce, which was perfect.

“Nana can I taste?” Jase came running into the room, his nana’s sauce being his favorite thing to eat. Now that he was standing I got a better look at his outfit.  He wore a pair of shorts (it’s the middle of winter), an old t-shirt that should have been in the last donation bag since it was slightly too small for him, one green sock, one yellow sock, and a tie loosely looped around his neck.

“What’s with the outfit buddy?” I asked after my son got his taste.

He shrugged.

“Letting children pick out their own close is a way to help them express who they are during a time period when everything is dictated to them by their parents.” My mother put the lid back on the pot. “The sauce should be good to go, you just have to drop your pasta. There’s salad in the fridge.”  She bent down, kissed Jase and then came to hug and kiss me. “Isn’t he adorable?” Then she breezed right out the door.

“A way to express themselves?” I mumbled to myself as turned the burner on under a pot already full with water.

“Yes,” Jase said, take a spin on his socked foot, “this is how I express myself.”  He skated out of the kitchen on his miss-matched socks.

I’m going to have to talk to my mother. Shaking my head I finished making dinner.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Daily Themes - April 3

Tell this story

There are three children sitting on a log near a stream. One of them looks up at the sky and says... 

The three boys, brothers, sat on a log near a stream. One of them, the youngest, looks up at the sky and says “Do you think we should have killed them all?”  The other two look at each other and shrugged. “Yup,” the oldest answered.  The middle brother nodded in agreement, “We had too.“

Finish the Series Challenge - The Lonely Lords

The Lonely Lords by Grace Burrows
#6 - Gareth
#7 - Andrew
#8 - Douglas
#9 - David
#10 - Trenton
#11 - Worth, Lord of Reckoning
#12 - Hadrian

I had gotten behind in reading this series and was excited to catch up (not so much finish because I see she's writing more).  However, I feel like this series might have gotten away from the author.  The last few stories, had what felt like loose connections to the original set up of the series. They also start jumping back in time and I felt like they played with the time line a bit.  There were things in some of the earlier books that didn't match up with books that are supposed to be taking place either during the same period or in between earlier books.

She has a family tree but only with characters up to book 10, Trenton's book.  I really feel like at this point the series has ended and the next two books are just Lonely Lords that needed a series to belong too.  That being said I'll keep reading, as long as she keeps writing.