Sunday, May 31, 2009

What Book Are You?

You're Animal Farm!

by George Orwell

You are living proof that power corrupts and whoever leads you will
become just as bad as the past leaders. You're quite conflicted about this emotionally
and waver from hopelessly idealistic to tragically jaded. Ultimately, you know you can't
trust pigs. Your best moments are when you're down on all fours.

This was definitely an interesting result. I have no idea why the quiz described me this way because I don't think I agree at all with it. Oh, well!

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday Word Skills

These words are from the book "Let the Great World Spin" by Colum McCann. I have an advanced reader copy of the book and have only read the first few chapters. I'm sure I'll have more words from this book next week.

Anorak = a pullover hooded jacket long enough to cover the hips
Bodega =
a small grocery store in an urban area specializing in Hispanic groceries
Complines =
the seventh and last of the canonical hours

I am enjoying this book, but I've been really busy so I haven't had a lot of time to read. I plan to catch up this weekend (I hope!).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday Mail Call

I'm a little late with posting this, but I was so busy Memorial Day. I worked from 6:30 in the morning until after midnight. Whew! So, here the list of books I received this past week.

1. Jantsen’s Gift by Pam Cope
2. World of Warcraft: Arthas – Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden
3. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
4. All Men Are Cremated Equal by Elizabeth Fournier
5. Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan (this book is for the Barnes and Noble First Look Book Club)
6. Gauntlet by Richard Aaron (I will be interviewing this author on June 23, so be sure to watch for that)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Honoring Those Who Served

Memorial Day 2009

Here in our little city, the VFW goes all out to decorate our cemetery to honor those who served. Around the perimeter, 96 casket flags are displayed. These are donated specifically for the purpose of flying on Memorial Day by families of those who died. I have a flag there dedicated to my sister, who served in the Army.

Beginning at 6:30 a.m., volunteers walk the rows placing small flags on the graves of the 269 veterans buried there.

People come from all over to visit their loved ones' graves. They say ours is one of the most beautiful cemeteries around.

We also have a pioneer cemetery outside of town. There are just a handful of veterans buried there, but they also get a little flag to mark their service to our country. This is my husband Master Sergeant Eric Morgan raising the flag at the pioneer cemetery on Memorial Day.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

This meme is hosted @ we go!

1. Moving on up, to the east side ... .

2. Butterflies are free.

3. My best quality is my ability to put up with others.

4. Don't ignore the details.

5. In nearly 10 years, I still haven't started that darn book.

6. Chocolate is what I need right now!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing, tomorrow my plans include working and reading my book and Sunday, I want to take a drive and read!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday Word Skills

These words are from the book "The Snow Garden" by Christopher Rice.

Carrel = a table or desk with three sides extending above the writing surface to serve as partitions, designed for individual study, as in a library.

Chiaroscuro = the distribution of light and shade in a picture.

Cladding = the act or process of bonding one metal to another, usually to protect the inner metal from corrosion.

Subsumed = to take up into a more inclusive classification.

Sylphs = (in folklore) one of a race of supernatural beings supposed to inhabit the air.

Thrall = a person who is morally or mentally enslaved by some power or influence.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Soloist

In 2005, LA Times writer Steve Lopez met Nathanial Ayers, a homeless musician living on Skid Row.

The Soloist is the story of that encounter, their lives and their friendship.

Every now and then, a film comes along that moves me to the point of no return. The Soloist is one of those stories.

For almost two hours, I literally sat on the edge of my seat as this magnificent story unfolded before my eyes. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I applauded. So many emotions in such a short period of time!

For me, this was more than the movie itself. I'm a journalist. I understand how those special stories come along and how they affect your life. I can imagine the impact meeting Nathanial had on Steve Lopez and on his career. Newspaper reporting is such a different world. It's something that gets into your blood. You live it; you breath it; you sacrifice everything for it. But at the end of the day, when you are bone tired and don't think you can take the pressure any longer, something else comes along to make you grab that notepad and run out the door.

That's exactly how it started for Steve. He doesn't have to say it ... it's obvious. Here's a homeless man who can create sounds that would inspire even the most hardhearted. Yet, he's the only one who seems to hear it. It reaches down into his soul and he needs to know why -- why is this man on the streets and not on the concert stage?

Years ago, mental illness was locked away from society. These people lived behind the high walls of institutions designed to keep out even family members. Then, it was decided this treatment was inhumane and carried too high a price for the taxpayers. So, the institutions were done away with. The walls came down and thousands of the lost were displaced to the streets. The homeless population exploded overnight. Maybe it was better than being confined, but it also meant limited access to the help they needed.

The result was people like Nathanial, who for one reason or another, live under bridges, behind dumpsters, in dark alleys. And some, like Nathanial, are intelligent and talented, but their illnesses -- in his case, schizophrenia -- don't allow them to live a so-called normal life. And it's so much easier for the rest of society to ignore what's going on right under its nose.

But Nathanial meets Steve, who becomes a true friend and wants more than anything to help him. The trick is, he first has to learn how.

This movie is so inspiring. The storyline is very well done and the lead actors did a wonderful job in their roles. Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. should be commended for the outstanding work they did in this film.

To learn more about this movie, including viewing a trailer and listening to the words of the real-life Steve Lopez, visit the official Web site of The Soloist.

I definitely give this movie five reels.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Monday Mail Call

Several good books arrived in my mailbox again this week.

1. Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes
2. Crazy for the Storm by Norman Ollestad
3. Let the Great World Spin
4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
5. Life Sentences by Laura Lippman

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sunday Surfing

I found this really neat site! It's called Fifty-Two Stories and that's exactly what it's all about.

Each week in 2009, Cal Morgan (no relation), the host of the site, posts a different short story. The most current one, as of May 16, is by Oscar Wilde.

You need to go back into the archives, beginning in January, to start at the first story. Glancing through the site, I found stories from many authors I've read before and some I've never heard of. All the stories look like good reads.

The stories are taken from recent books that are available for purchase through the site. They are part of the Harper Perennial collections.

A new story is posted each Sunday and I'm anxious to see what's in store for readers today! I hope you enjoy this site as much as I do.

Saturday Sightseeing

Driving through the desert of eastern Washington, one wouldn't expect to find so much water flowing in the middle of nowhere. But there it is!

Palouse Falls ... one of the last remaining sites providing evidence of the great Missoula Ice Age Floods that created the landscape of this unique area I call home.

I have visited the falls many times and each is a treat to behold. Depending on the time of year you are there, the water flows at a different rate. Dropping 200 feet into a turbulent pool, it is such a spectacular sight.

The Washington Parks Department has taken great care of the surrounding area. There are picnic tables, public restrooms, a campsite, hiking trails and interpretive signs.

And wildlife!

I took this picture the last time I was at the falls.

Palouse Falls is located about 60 miles from my home. It makes for a lovely weekend drive.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

This meme is hosted @ we go!

1. If we had no winter we would have no snowmen.

2. Gazing at the night sky is a perpetual astonishment.

3. If I had my life to live over I'd still do everything the same because I would want to have the same children.

4. I hope to get some sleep inside of four and twenty hours.

5. If you've never been thrilled get up very early and spend a few minutes listening to the morning birds sing.

6. To be interested in the changing seasons you have to invest in four different coats.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going out for a nice dinner, tomorrow my plans include working and writing and Sunday, I want to try to relax with a good book before a busy week begins!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Now You See Him

In this book by Eli Gottlieb, the death of his childhood friend sends Nick Framingham into a downward spiral. His already on-the-rocks marriage gets worse as he begins spending more and more time with his friend's sister (who his wife despises, by the way). He begins taking his frustration out on others around him. He's absolutely a total mess.

The question throughout the book is why ... why has this event had such a profound impact on Nick? He really hasn't had much contact with his friend over the past 10 years or so. Yet, his life is totally thrown upside down.

As soon as I began reading this book, I was sucked into the story. I couldn't wait until I had even a few minutes to read it.

I've had this book on my shelf for quite some time and have several times picked it up thinking I ought to read it. I'm glad I finally did. This is one of the best new books to come along in the last couple years. It is very well written and I loved the twist at the end. In fact, it's one of those that make you say, "Wow, I never saw that coming!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday Word Skills

These words are from the book "Now You See Him" by Eli Gottlieb. I hope to have a short review of this book within a day or two (sooner if I can find the time to get it done).

Armamentarium = arsenal; resources for work in the field of medicine
Brazier = a person who works in brass
Carrel = small enclosure or space in the stack room of a library
Cavil = trivial faultfinding; to object when there is little reason to do so
Cognate = having the same nature or quality
Dyad = two units regarded as one; pair
Exurb = a region, generally semirural, beyond the suburbs of a city, inhabited largely by the upper-income group
Filial = suitable to or due from a son or daughter
Fulcral = exerting influence or pressure
Grandiloquent = using pompous words or expressions
Hecatomb = large scale sacrifice or slaughter
Hippogriff = a mythical monster with the hindquarters of a horse and the head and wings of a griffin
Illimitable = without limits or bounds
Ineffable = too overwhelming to be expressed or described in words
Insouciance = calm and untroubled, carefree or indifferent
Moue = a pouting grimace
Nimbus = halo or aura
Originary = primitive, primary, original
Pantheon = a building in which famous dead people of a nation are entombed or commemorated
Pantisocracy = a utopian community in which all rule equally
Picaresque = sharp-witted vagabond or rogue
Propitiate = appease; win or regain the good will of
Quicksilvery = of or like mercury
Sepulchral = dismal, gloomy, melancholy
Wiggy = wild, exciting, crazy; pompously formal or elegant

And this was my favorite:

┼░berdorky = exhibiting qualities of incompetence, social maladjustment, fashion retardation or just general dumbness that far exceeds those possessed by a run-of-the-mill dork

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Children's Book Week

May 11 - 17, 2009

In 1913, Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, began touring the country to promote higher standards in children’s books. He proposed creating a Children’s Book Week, to be supported by publishers, booksellers and librarians.

He enlisted Frederic G. Melcher, the editor of Publishers Weekly, and Anne Carroll Moore, the superintendent of children’s works at the New York Public Library.

With their help, the Good Book Week was created in 1916 through the American Booksellers Association and the American Library Association, in cooperation with the Boy Scouts.

At the 1919 ABA convention, a commitment was procured for an annual Children’s Book Week. A few months later, the official approval of the ALA was also secured during its first Children’s Librarians session.

In 1944, the newly established Children’s Book Council assumed responsibility for administering Children’s Book Week. Last year, it was moved from November to May and responsibility was transferred to Every Child a Reader, the philanthropic arm of the children’s publishing industry.

Children’s B
ook Week is celebrated in school, libraries, bookstores, clubs, homes … any place where they are children and books. In some areas, the week includes storytelling, parties, author and illustrator appearances and other book-related events.

“The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats is one of the books I regularly shared with my children when they were little. In fact, I think they all eventually knew it word for word without even looking at the book.

It features a little boy named Peter who is exploring his neighborhood after the first snowfall of the season. With wonderful illustrations and a simple storyline, it’s a treat not only for children but also for the adult reading it to them.

In 1963, “The Snowy Day” received the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book for children in 1963.

Do you remember a special book you read as a child or one you shared with your own children?

To learn more about Children's Book Week, visit the official Web site at