Happy New Year!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.-For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o'kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit,
Sin' auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

And there's a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie's a hand o'thine!
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

-Robbie Burns (1788)

Please Stay Tuned

Since the new year is coming, I'm going to try out some new looks. Don't worry if a link to your blog/challenge/carnival/etc disappears. I will try to have it up and running soon.

BBT: Highlights

Booking Through Thursday

It’s an old question, but a good one . . . What were your favorite books this year?

List as many as you like … fiction, non-fiction, mystery, romance, science-fiction, business, travel, cookbooks … whatever the category. But, really, we’re all dying to know. What books were the highlight of your reading year in 2007?

If you're looking for my Booking Through Thursday post, I'm linking to my Best of 2007 post of last week. I'm still sick and only a little lazy.

Best of 2007

A Christmas Tradition

I swear, every year it happens. I have the flu. I've had it since Sunday through the holiday parties and Santa's visit. I haven't been much fun to be around for my hubby and child. Poor guys. Hopefully, I'll kick it soon. Usually, I'm getting over being sick during the holidays but this year I had to have the worst flu I've had in years smack dab in the middle of it. Ugh!

I did get some good books from my better half:
Thank goodness for online Wish Lists! I think it makes the husband's life easier too.

The Best of 2007

When Becky announced that she is hosting the Bookworms Carnival in January, theme being the Best of 2007, I wanted to do more than just a list. So I came up with the book-a-rama Awards © 2007. Like that? ;) I'm going to give the best and the worst books of 2007 an award of my own making. Yes, I have too much time on my hands.

The Best

Looking back, I wonder if the highest ratings I've given out were deserving or just given in the afterglow of a good read. Have they stuck with me? Do I feel the same now? Let's take a look.

Best Survival Story Award: The Boleyn Inheritance I know Gregory writes fictional accounts of real events, but if Henry was even remotely the tyrant portrayed in the book, it amazes me that Anne of Cleves survived. Henry was lopping off heads left and right. That she not only survived but thrived (big house in the country!) makes her my #1 survivor of 2007.

Best Love Story Award: The Time Traveler's Wi
fe What an emotional story of two people in love in unusual circumstances. It was an unbelievable story that felt believable.

Best Protagonist & Best Pleasant Surprise: A Two-fer and a tie. O Pioneers! and Dead of the Day. Before you say 'WTF?' Yes, they are two completely two different authors in different genres in different centuries but... I never read anything from either Willa Cather or Karen E Olson before. I had no expectations. By the end of these novels, I was a fan. And pleasantly surprised. Both novels had incredibly str
ong female protagonists who, in their own way, took on big challenges and met them.

Best Scared the Be-Jebus Out of Me Award: The Handmaid's Tale A chilling glimpse of the future. I recommend this for book clubs, especially women's book clubs. So much fodder for discussion is in this book.

Best Girl Power Award: The Birth House Very timely. Women are exploring their options in terms of childbirth today. Whether it's at home or in a hospital, the choices are finally theirs. This book is set in the era when the midwife was about to be replaced by sterile hospitals.

Best Creepy yet Compelling Award: Lolita Humbert Humbert is a pervert, a child molester but so arrogant he had me laughing at him. The writing is perfect and lyrical.

Best Atmosphere Award: The Thirteenth Tale Reading this in October was the perfect time for this gothic tale. I lost myself in this book. I was there in that crumbling mansion with those inbred crazy people. They made Cathy and Heathcliff look like upstanding citizens. Since this was my only 5/5, it wins

BEST BOOK 2007!!!!

Will it be a classic 100 years from now? Probably not, but it was a fun read.

So that's my list. If you'd like to read my reviews of these books, check out the sidebar. What made your list? Leave a comment or a link. I'd love to know.

The Worst of 2007

The Worst

Luckily, there wasn't any real stinkers in the books I read this year. However, I was frustrated with a few. I wasn't impressed with Moll Flanders but I can't fault it since it was a product of it's time. Anyway, here are the awards for the Worst.

Most Annoying Character: Queen
Gwenhwyfar in Mists of Avalon was close to being first but Marla from Died Blonde was the clear winner. She was so self-absorbed ("My neighbour was murdered? How does this affect ME?"). She constantly pointed out people's ethnicity in a way that made me squirm. And finally, I didn't like the way she treated her boyfriend and his daughter.

Most Overrated Novel: A Farewell to Arms I just can't warm up Ernest Hemingway's style.

Most Disappointing Ending: Elements of Style (Audiobook)
Wendy Wasserstein's novel just sort of ends, like she lost interest. She died soon after so it's understandable.

Most Disappointing. Period: A three way tie. I so wanted to love Adam Bede but I just couldn't. Love in the Time of Cholera, loved by many, didn't float my boat. I also expected more from Amy Tan's Saving Fish From Drowning.

So that's my list. If you'd like to read my reviews of these books, check out the sidebar. What made your list? Leave a comment or a link. I'd love to know.

And, the Nominees Are... Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday

  1. What fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007?
    (Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)
  2. What non-fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007?
    (Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)
  3. And, do “best of” lists influence your reading?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves.

Hmmm. I'm so cheap I hardly ever buy new books. Is that bad to admit? The only books I read this year that were published in 2007 were ARCs. Probably the best was Dead of the Day by Karen E Olson. I really liked that one.

Oh and Lord John & the Brotherhood of the Blade too. Forgot that one- thanks Marg.

I don't often read non-fiction so the second question doesn't apply.

As for lists, I really don't pay attention to them. They're interesting but don't affect what I read. However, I'm making my own Best of 2007 list of the books I read this year. I'll have the post up soon. Hope you'll check that out.

Making Paper Stars

For as long as I can remember, my family had these hanging on the tree. I think they started appearing after my great-Uncle returned from a trip to Denmark.

My Grandmother immigrated to Canada from Denmark in the 1930's. She was just 7 years old. Although the family quickly learned English and became part of the community, they always celebrated their Danish-ness. However, my Grandmother and her siblings were very young and memories fade. As an adult, my great-Uncle returned to the old country and brought back the instructions to making the paper star. A beautiful tradition.

I make these every year with paper ribbon. I've made so many that not only do they hang on the tree but I've connected them together in a chain. I always have to have instructions handy. Here's some online. Have some patience, it takes practice.

For more Christmas ideas, visit Scribbit's Winter Bazaar.

'Tis the Season

For Clementines.

More Wordless Wednesday


One of my New Year's Resolutions is to not take on more than I can handle, especially when it comes to challenges. In 2007, I discovered Reading Challenges and signed up for everything and completed very little. I still have a few books to finish for the TBR Challenge and The Something About Me Challenge. I really hate not finishing things.

Now the new run of challenges is starting and I find myself being drawn in. They're just so tempting. Why is that? Is it the camaraderie of people working towards the same goals? The cute buttons?

Anyway, I'm sticking to a few rules before I join:
  • Try to pick small challenges or large ones spread out over a long time
  • Stick with books I already have
  • Make sure I'm really interested in the theme, or I'll flake out eventually.
That said, I've joined 2 challenges, besides John's Canadian Book Challenge. Hosted by Becky.

Just 2 books for this one. They have to be either by Jane Austen or about her. I have Mansfield Park and whatever I get for Christmas (my husband was given a list ;) )

This one is 6 books over the whole year, books by 19th Century female authors:
  • The Last Man By Mary Shelley (For free from Girlebooks)
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • Anne of the Windy Poplars by Lucy Maude Montgomery
  • A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott
  • Sonnets from the Portuguese (poetry) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Ok. That's it. Really. I mean it this time.

The Long Stretch: Review

John Gillis finally has his act together, sort of. He's got a good job, a lady friend and his alcoholism under control. Then he runs into his long lost cousin Sextus, the author of a thinly disguised work of fiction about their family. John thinks he knows all there is to know about their ugly family secrets until a night of drinking with Sextus reveals the horrible truth.

First my list of grievances...

I spent the better part of the novel trying to keep everyone straight in my head. Here's the rundown:

Sandy is John's father. Jack is John's Uncle and Sextus's father. Jack was a miner. Angus is Effie and Duncan's father and 'like a brother' to Sandy. Sandy, Angus and a guy named Squint were in WW2 together. Effie marries John, then Sextus. Doesn't seem too complicated but the narrator, John, makes vague references to this person and that person and what they did... Oy.

Linden MacIntyre does 2 things that irk me. 1. Fragmented sentences. OMG. Every page. Every paragraph. Annoying. Follow me? Buy a pronoun. Now I'm not the Grammar Police by any means. I don't mind this little trick in small doses. It adds personality to the narrative, but being barraged by them constantly gave me a migraine. I had to keep reading what I already read to figure out who he was referring to.

2. Flashbacks. Again flashbacks aren't bad, but I found myself suddenly dumped into John's childhood, or adulthood or teen years. I felt out to sea.

Okay, enough complaints. I got over it. The story drew me in. John pussyfoots around this 'big secret' so often I read right to the end just to see how bad it was. I would have been pretty ticked if it turned out to be all a trick by MacIntrye. I was not disappointed.

It's really a story about fathers and sons. Sandy is a hard man who doesn't think John is hard enough. Bitter and resentful, John grows to hate his father. John's mother complains that Sandy went to war one person and came back another. Jack is different. John can talk to Jack, but Sextus is ashamed of his uneducated father. Effie ends up leaving both cousins because of their obsession with what really happened in that barn in Holland where Sandy was shot.

The people of the Long Stretch, an isolated piece of road in Inverness County, Nova Scotia, are a complicated lot, entangled in each other's lives by blood and experiences. Like people in small communities everywhere, everyone thinks they know what your problem is and what you should do about it. They have no idea just how deep the scars are here.

It's not a light happy story but I did enjoy it.


#2 The Canadian Book Challenge (Nova Scotia)

Booking Through Thursday: Catalog

Do you use any of the online book-cataloguing sites, like Library Thing or Shelfari? Why or why not? (Or . . . do you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking to?? (grin))

If not an online catalog, do you use any other method to catalog your book collection? Excel spreadsheets, index cards, a notebook, anything?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

I use Library Thing. I was signed up for a while before I actually used it. It's a bit daunting to catalog a library. Once I started, though, I was hooked. It's so easy when you type in the ISBN number. I also like seeing what other friends have on their shelves and who shares my tastes. I'm signed up as Chrisbookarama, if you'd like to add me as a friend.

I've checked out Shelfari. It didn't really appeal to me. I heard they had problems with spam lately as well. I've signed up for Good Reads (haven't used it yet) and Chapters (the book store). I'm not impressed with Chapters. You can't browse their groups. I don't get that. Plus, it's difficult to navigate. I think they need to work on it.

Really, there's a catalog for every book lover. Kimbooktu tested several. Check it out here.

My Grown Up Christmas

The true test of a marriage happens during the Christmas season. My husband and I are just two boring white folks. You’d think combining our traditions wouldn’t be complicated but Christmas emphasizes our differences. It’s funny the things we hang onto from our childhoods. Remember that Friends Thanksgiving episode where Monica has to make different styles of potatoes to please everyone? I know one couple who makes two different batches of cabbage rolls. A cabbage roll is a cabbage roll, right? Not so. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without his Mom’s recipe and the same goes for her.

In our house, my husband takes a whole day to make perogies from scratch. His mom is Polish and perogies are typical Christmas fare. The kitchen looks like a bomb hit. Potato coats every surface. In the end, there is enough perogies to feed the entire Polish-Canadian population of the island. And I don’t eat perogies. Still, it’s sweet that he keeps this tradition. My own family has Danish roots. Every year we’d make Red Cabbage for our traditional Christmas dinner. It’s not Christmas without the smell of cabbage and caraway. I’m the only one who eats it. Here’s the recipe: Small red cabbage (chopped), 2 Tbsp vinegar, ¼ cup sugar, 1 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp rolled oats, salt & caraway to taste. Cook on low heat, stir often.

I don’t mind his Mom’s Melt-in-Your-Mouth Shortbread recipe though. These are the best!

Mary’s Shortbreads
1 lb butter
1 cup sifted icing sugar
3 cups sifted flour
½ cup cornstarch
Cream butter, add sugar & gradually add flour & cornstarch sifted together. Whip mixture until fluffy & mixture breaks or looks curdled. Drop by teaspoons or put through cookie press onto cookie sheet. Bake at 300F until light golden brown (about 20 minutes).

Today is the 12th, halfway between the 1st and Christmas Eve. Things are pretty crazy in the stores, office Christmas parties are underway. Take some time out to de-stress.
Make yourself a batch of my Mother-in-law’s shortbreads or try these Bittersweet Shortbreads (I use dried cranberries instead of pecans).

While you’re at it, how about a nice adult treat: Bailey’s Coffee
{1: Prepare some fresh coffee in a coffee mug 2: Top up with steaming hot milk 3: Pour in 50ml of Baileys}

Put up your feet and enjoy this free Christmas story from Girlebooks: The Romance of the Christmas Card. Or The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson (another Dane). The illustrations are quite pretty.

I love The Christmas Album from the Barra MacNeils. They're a group of siblings who play traditional Cape Breton and Celtic music. Here’s a sample: O Come Divine Messiah.

Wintersong by Sarah MacLachlan is so mellow. It’s sure to relax you.

Remember to visit these other bloggers during the Advent Blog Tour:
13 December - Jill (The Well-Read Child)/Stephanie (The Written Word)
14 December - Robin (A Fondness for Reading)
15 December - Alyssa (By The Book)
16 December - Rachel (A Fair Substitute for Heaven)
17 December - Literary Feline (Musings of a Bookish Kitty)/ Stephanie (Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holic)
18 December - Dev (Good Reads)
19 December - Callista (S.M.S. Book Reviews)
20 December - Tiny Little Librarian (Tiny Little Librarian)
21 December - Carla (Carla Nayland Historical Fiction)/ Susan (Reading, Raving, and Ranting by a Historical Fiction Writer)
22 December - Carolyn Jean (The Trillionth Page)
23 December - Booklogged (A Reader's Journal)
24 December - Kailana (The Written World) / Carl V. (Stainless Steel Droppings)

Thanks to Marg and Kailana for organizing the Blog Tour. I've spent so much time putting this post together. I really enjoyed it. Also check out Scribbit's Winter Carnival today for more Christmas ideas.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

5 Things Meme

Stephanie at Confessions tagged me for a meme. This one requires relying on ones memory. Oh boy, not always reliable.

5 Things I was doing 10 years ago:
1. Getting ready for my first Christmas in my first house!
2. Working at the Dollar Store (Worst Job Ever)
3. Enjoying being engaged
4. Meeting my baby niece-to-be who I ended up being a nanny to
5. Driving an old Bronco (my man won it at a police auction)

5 Things on my T0-Do List today:
1. Start Christmas cards
2. Send some Christmas cash to my bro (he really needs it, poor dude)
3. Bake cookies
4. Take movies back
5. Enjoy Saturday!

5 Things I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. Pay off my house
2. Build a bigger one
3. Share with my friends and family
4. Take lots of vacations all over the world
5. Set up a fund for my local library

5 Things I'll never wear again (or have never worn):
1. Leg warmers
2. Bikinis
3. low, low rise jeans (hello, butt crack!)
4. crop tops
5. Maternity clothes ???

5 Favorite Toys:
1. Laptop
2. New Camera
3. MP3 Player
4. Kitchen Aid Mixer
5. Canon Selphy Printer (for the scrapbooker in me)

Everyone I thought about tagging has been tagged! If you visit and you haven't been tagged, then tag! It is a lot of fun. Send me the link to your answers.

Booking Through Thursday: OOP and a Contest

Booking Through Thursday

This week’s question is suggested by Island Editions:

Do you have a favourite book, now out of print, that you would like to see become available again? (I have several…)

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

My answer was going to be these books until I did a Google search and found that they are still being published. Just a couple of years ago, I looked for the Henry the Duck books and couldn't find them. I actually found Henry's Awful Mistake at a library book sale. I just might have to order the others. They were real favorites as a kid. So I guess my answer is no as far as I can remember.

And a contest meme from Book Binge. If you want to enter too, click the link:

Book Binge Christmas Contest

The Christmas Season is upon us and we have one burning question: Have you been naughty or nice this year?

Regardless of your answer, we are inviting our lovely readers a chance to win an eBookwise eReader!

All you have to do is answer a few simple (okay, 10) questions on your blog/journal and leave the link to your Meme in this post. If you don't have a blog or journal, you can email us your answers. The winner will be chosen on January 5th, so you can enter up until 11:59pm on January 4th.

Merry Christmas!

Casee, Holly, Isabel & Rowena

Christmas Meme:

1. What is your favorite Christmas romance to re-read each year? Wuthering Heights (not really a romance)

2. What is your favorite Christmas movie/show? A Christmas Story (Ralphie's Christmas)

3. What is your favorite Christmas cookie? Shortbread (I'm posting the recipe for my Advent post. Stay tuned!)

4. When do you start Christmas shopping? This year, early November. I'm pretty much done.

5. Do you re-gift? No way.

6. What is your favorite Christmas song? So many! But for classic songs Good King Wenceslas

7. When do you get your Christmas tree? If it's a real tree, the week before, but this year we went artifical. We put it up yesterday.

8. Wrapping presents: Love it or hate it? Start out loving, end up hating.

9. Who is the hardest person to buy for? My mother-in-law. No doubt about it!

10. Christmas tree: Real or artificial? I like real but just bought an artificial. It's cleaner.

Tinsel Tree

Scribbit is still hosting the Winter Bazaar. This month's theme is Christmas (of course). Here's my contribution.

This was Martha inspired. I made 4 of these a couple of years ago in 2 different sizes. They look great on a mantel.

Here's what you need:
  • Foam craft triangles
  • 'Fluffy' garland in any colour
  • straight pins
Wrap garland around triangle shape making sure to cover well. Secure with straight pins. Oh and store carefully!

Snow: Wordless Wednesday

Christmas Contests

You like free stuff, right? Here are 2 Christmas related contests:

First, Booklogged is giving away Christine Kringle. All you have to do is leave a comment. Ends on Dec 5th.

And the Bronte Blog has an ambitious contest. It's a bit more work but you have a chance to win BBC's Jane Eyre DVD (I recommend it) plus 1998 Wuthering Heights DVD. Ends on Dec 16.
Good Luck!

Hello December!

Saturday morning, the first day of December, we woke up to snow- real snow, not just flurries but big fluffy flakes. Throughout the day it snowed off and on, hubby put on the snowtires and we went out for the day. We looked at Christmas trees (I'm going to ask a question about this later) then watched Enchanted. That was a cute movie and recommend it to all you romantics out there. By the time we left the theatre, the fluffy flakes had turned into blowing snow. It was a little dicey driving back home. I was glad for those snowtires!

Anyway, now for my tree question:

This is our first Christmas in the new house. For years, we'd get a real tree, but our house was so small we had to find the skinniest tree we could and stick it in the corner. This year I have plenty of room for a big tree. However, my hubby wants a fake tree. No mess, no watering. All this appeals to me too. I told him I didn't want a faky-fake tree. I hate a tree that doesn't look like a real tree. This weekend we found one that I approve of. It's also a bit pricey. I'm torn between my practical side and my sentimental 'smells like Christmas' side.

So do you do real or fake for Christmas? I'm going to make a poll but I'd love to see comments too. What is your thoughts on this important issue? Enquiring minds want to know!

And if you get a chance, visit the latest stop on the Advent Blog Tour.

Chocolat : A Review

Vianne Rocher arrives in the small French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes on the first day of Lent in Joanne Harris's novel Chocolat. As the title suggests, chocolate is Vianne's business, or more appropriately, magic. In a matter of days, with the help of her daughter Anouk, she transforms an abandoned bakery into the decadent La Celeste Praline chocolate shop. Vianne watches her potential customers on their way to church, right next door, and slowly entices them into her shop and away from their Lenten fast.

Watching her is the priest Francis Reynaud. He sees Vianne as an usurper of the church, a pagan, and probably a witch. Where Reyaund belittles the problems of his flock, Vianne listens with an open heart. In a short time, Vianne wins over the people with her warmth while Reyaund never really fit in to begin. He disapproves of even the simple pleasure of good chocolate. When Vianne plans a chocolate festival on Easter Sunday, Reynaud views it as a battle for the souls of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes.

Chocolat wasn't a bad little book. The prose was lovely and the thought of all that chocolate...slurp...sorry, drooling. However, it was a little over the top. Reyaund was just so evil, it was almost silly. He is a caricature: Vianne's Black Man brought to life. I guess I should keep in mind that this is a modern fairy tale with Vianne as the Good Witch and that every fairy tale needs a dastardly villain.

Vianne herself was the least interesting character for me. She's nice, she makes chocolate, she had a hard childhood. Josephine, Armande, Guillaume, Roux, although secondary characters were lively, complex characters with odd quirks that made them fun to read about.

Having two narrators, Vianne and Reynaud, was a nice touch. A fun diversion, I did enjoy this book enough to give it...


Also Reviewed By: Naida The Bookworm

Booking Through Thursday: Rolling

Booking Through Thursday

Do you get on a roll when you read, so that one book leads to the next, which leads to the next, and so on and so on?

I don’t so much mean something like reading a series from beginning to end, but, say, a string of books that all take place in Paris. Or that have anthropologists as the main character. Or were written in the same year. Something like that… Something that strings them together in your head, and yet, otherwise could be different genres, different authors…

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

It's funny I thought my answer was a definite no. My tastes are pretty varied, but I do participate in challenges and challenges usually have a theme. I recently completed the RIP challenge, the theme being the macabre. I read a handful of stories by Daphne DuMaurier and a book of ghost stories. It was a lot of fun reading spooky books for Halloween. Now I'm participating in the Canadian Books Challenge, books written by Canadians or about Canada. That said I'm not reading them one after another. I have a list of books TBR I pick from but not in any particular order.

Does that answer the question? lol!

Reindeer Moss

Looks like snow, doesn't it? I found this on a hilltop while hiking. The name makes me think of Santa.

More Wordless Wednesday

Forbidden Fruit?

I just finished listening to CBC Radio's Q found in the "Related" section of this news article on book challenging. If you do not wish to listen to the program, the article pretty much sums it up. Book challenging is in the news here in Canada because the Halton Catholic school board is reviewing whether or not to pull The Golden Compass from their shelves after a complaint. I at least give the school board kudos for reading the book and taking the time to discuss it, rather than just pull it from the shelves.

A Catholic or any religious school is going to be run a little differently than your average public school. The parents of students are looking for a specific type of education geared towards their beliefs and values. However, as Pearce Carefoote, author of Forbidden Fruit, a book on banned books, says, even bad ideas need discussion. Here's a perfect opportunity for the school to say, 'we don't agree with the author and here's why.' During the program, Philip Pullman also makes a good point:

"If you want people to read a book, then make a fuss about it, make it controversial. Tell your children they are not to read this book under any circumstances. What is more likely to make them go to the shelf and take it down and read it from there?"

It's not surprising that The Golden Compass has been challenged. A couple of book friends received emails urging them not to let their children read it because it's anti-religious. Plus, the new movie just brings it to people's minds. The book came out 10 years ago. People are just getting riled up now? I wonder how much of this controversy will actually encourage people to see the movie.

Carefoote points out that book challenging is on the rise but actual banning has decreased. He seems to believe that it's because of more reading material and a more literate society, but he also so says that book challengers are 'disenfranchised'. So, does that mean that more people are feeling disenfranchised or that more authors are writing controversial books?

Forbidden Fruit should be an interesting read for Banned Book week when it comes around again. I found it interesting the the most famous cases of book challenging in Canada were of books written by well known female Canadian authors. We Canadian chicks...what a bunch of trouble makers ;)

NaBloPoMo Blo's

Not really, but...

I was breezing right through this month. Topics were flying at me from every which way- until today. I couldn't think of a thing to post about. I think I've run out of things to say. [Gasp!] So let's see, what can I talk about?

-I've got a good bite out of my Christmas shopping. Of course, I have the hardest ones left to buy for.
-I had the sudden urge to paint something today. Not art, window ledges.
-I'm struggling with Bleak House.
-I'm enjoying Chocloat.
-I'm resisting Christmas decorating but over the weekend we had a smidgen of snow. I got that Christmas feeling. So far, I only brought out the singing penguins and my Willow Tree Nativity set. Oh and a wreath for outside. That's not really much.

If you haven't fallen asleep by now, please offer me some encouragement. Just a couple of days of daily posting to go!

Time Wasters

I'm always looking for new ways to procrastinate. First, there was Solitaire for Windows, then my kid's Webkinz account (addictive). Now my fellow bloggers have lead me into temptation again.
  • Literary Pursuit posted this link to The Goodhue Codex, a mystery library game. I can see it might be addictive. Besides the main mystery, you can play library related games. I ran over a few library patrons with Bobo.
Give it a try but don't blame me if the laundry piles up!

Books Worth Sharing

After standing outside in the cold for 2 hours watching the Santa Claus parade with my daughter, she looked up at me, red nose and all, and said, "I loved the parade. It was fun." I'll forget my frozen fingers and toes but that will stay with me forever. Making memories with my girl is one of the highlights of motherhood for me.

Today is the final day for Children's Book Week. There are so many books I want to share with my daughter as she grows older. I thought I'd share my list with you all. I know it's a girly-girly list but, hey, I'm a girly-girl.
  • The Endless Steppe This story has stuck with me since my parents gave it to me for Christmas in my Pre-teens. Esther's struggles as a young girl in a Russian interment camp revealed to me how lucky I am. I still remember her disastrous attempt at washing her hair.

  • Little Women The first 'real' book I ever read. Another Christmas gift. I didn't have any sisters but if I did I'd want them to be like the March clan- with me as Jo, of course.

  • Heidi I still have the copy my Grandmother gave me. I loved this story of a little girl living with her Grandfather in the Swiss Alps.

  • Charlotte's Web I was never a fan of spiders, still not, but a spider helping a pig is a great story for kids.

  • Anne of Green Gables After reading Anne, I wanted red hair and freckles, or at least be her friend Diana. I can't wait to share this Canadian classic with my daughter.

  • Nancy Drew Yes, they're terribly old fashioned and predictable, but I thought Nancy's adventures were great fun in my younger years.

Whether you have kids or not, what books would you share with a child?

Booking Through Thursday & American Thanksgiving

Although we here in Canada had Thanksgiving in October, I'd like to wish my American friends a Happy Thanksgiving. Love that Macy's parade!

Booking Through Thursday is a little different this week. First, it was posted on Monday and, second, it's hosted by someone else. So here it goes:

Connecting Words

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Okay, today’s question is going to be a little different. First, I’m posting it early because Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and I’m going to be busy making and eating turkey as I’m sure some of you will also be, so I want to give everyone time to play. And two, because I’m basically going to link you through to somebody else’s blog with a question that I thought was pretty interesting.

Joanna and Brad are asking about “connecting words,” and they don’t mean conjunctions like “and” or “but.” No, what they’re looking for are unique, or treasured words that we’ve found out and about in our daily travels, words that might not be common usage, or often heard, but which struck a chord for some reason.

This is unorthodox, of course, but here’s the thing: if you link back to Joanna’s post (which is where the rules are written), you’re eligible to win a prize. Not to mention joining in some great conversation about interesting words.

I’m not sure if you’re supposed to leave a comment there or not. She only specifies that you should link to it in your post, but . . . I suppose a comment wouldn’t hurt. But, as always, comment here, too, please so that all of us can play along. I’ve already answered this one here.

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments.

This is an interesting question. Through the internet, I've learned a plethora (haha- saw that in someone else's post) of dirty words and acronyms (LOL). It's difficult to remember the ones I've picked up from other bloggers, but there are a few that stand out.
  • Poppet. The first time I saw this I thought, "What the heck is a poppet?" When I saw those cute little roaming knomes of the internet, I just had to have one.
  • Enbiggen & savvy. Kookiejar is the Pop Culture Queen and some of her words attach themselves to me, like enbiggen (from the Simpsons) "It's a perfectly cromulent word" and savvy (from Captain Jack Sparrow)
  • Bookaholic. As in Stephanie's Confessions of... A good description of myself.
  • ARC. A beautiful word for bookaholics. Advanced Readers Copy (free books!)
My island has an interesting vernacular and I thought I heard it all until my brother-in-law used the phrase "Fill your boots." It's kinda similar to "get 'er done" or "give 'er". Want some more turkey? Fill your boots. (Use that around the table today!) Here are some other local words:
  • Sook. A whiner, cry baby.
  • By'. Usually 'boy' but can be used at the end of every sentence. "You should have seen her face, by'"
  • Puck. To hit someone. "If you don't stop it by', I'm going to puck you in the head."
  • Bun of bread. My husband hates this one. A loaf of bread.
There's a ton of them but that's the ones that stand out.

Wordless Wednesday: Fall Visitors

International Children's Day

International Children's Day coincides with Children's Book Week. I don't know if this was on purpose or not but it certainly brings to mind children's literacy around the world. I recently read this article about declining reading skills in the US. There was a lot of information in the report sited in the article but one ray of hope appeared regarding 9 year olds:

"I think there's been an enormous investment in teaching kids to read in elementary school," said NEA chairman Dana Gioia.

It's seems that as kids get older they abandon reading. Teachers, librarians are trying hard to encourage reading. It's difficult to keep their attention with the lure of technology.

Recently, my family went to a Robert Munsch show. He's quite a character. He didn't just read his stories, he performed them and got the kids involved. It was loud and chaotic but lots of fun for the kids. The adults enjoyed it as well. The stories can be a little weird and not always about the politest of subjects, but a giant green and purple fart certainly captures a Kindergartner's imagination.

Apparently, it's much harder to capture the imagination of a 15 year old.

Name that Short Story!

Detective investigates suspicious disappearance: man-eating couch.

Inspired by Gentle Reader's contribution, six word stories, for the latest edition of Bookworm's Carnival hosted by The Armenian Odar, I'm attempting to describe a short story I read when I was a teen. It was one in a collection of short stories, possibly horror stories. I remember the details of the story pretty clearly but can't figure out the title or who wrote it. Here's the gist:

A detective questions the wife of a missing man. The woman seems distressed but hasn't a clue about what may have happened to him. The woman leaves the room to make tea or something. The detective sits on the couch, quite a comfortable couch, maybe he'll just have a quick snooze. The couch very slowly folds it's cushions over the man and eats him.

I'm pretty sure I didn't dream this one! If you can tell me the name of this short story, I'd appreciate it.

For more short stories, visit the Carnival (see above) and The Book Mine Set.

Knuffle Bunny: Children's Book

Since this week is TD Canadian Children's Book Week (Nov 17-24) and I have a child, I thought I'd write a review of a book we both enjoy.

If you've read of Don't Let a Pigeon Drive the Bus with your kids then you know who Mo Willems is. In Knuffle Bunny, Mo tells the tale of Trixie and her Dad's trip to the Laundromat, the loss of precious Knuffle Bunny and his rescue by Trixie's Daddy.

It's not a long book but the story is so endearing. What parent hasn't been frustrated by their child's inability to communicate and vice versa? The illustrations feature real photographs of a New York neighbourhood and delightful drawings of people. I thought the expressions on Trixie and her Dad's faces were priceless.

So simple but so enjoyable. This is one I don't mind reading over and over and over and over....

Cotillion: Review

After reading An Infamous Army, I couldn't wait to give Georgette Heyer more of my time. Cotillion is quite a different novel than An Infamous Army. Kitty Charing, the ward of a cantankerous miser, must marry one of the old man's great-nephews or be left penniless upon his death. Kitty's choices are: the stogy Hugh, the simple minded Dolph, the dandified Freddy or the rakish Jack. Kitty can only image marrying Jack whom she's adored since childhood. Jack refuses to be pushed into marriage; it's too much fun being a sought after bachelor in London.

Kitty, desperate to get to London and out from under the thumb of 'Uncle Matthew', devises a scheme. She convinces Freddy to pose as her fiance to make Jack jealous. Sure of her plan, she drags Freddy all over London stumbling into misadventures only Jack, Chrissy and Janet could appreciate. Kitty involves herself in unlikely couples' romances and neglects her own. To know how it all turns out for Kitty, you just have to read it. I don't want to give too much away.

Cotillion is a thoroughly enjoyable novel. Kitty is adorable and warm hearted, but she never thinks through her plans. Freddy somehow manages to pull her out of her messes with a calm practicality that surprises everyone. At times, it reads like a Regency version of "Dumb and Dumber" (without the gross). Their trip to the museums was quite funny. Here is Freddy's reaction to 'treasures of ancient Greece':

"...he was called upon to admire the Three Fates, from the eastern pediment. 'Dash it, they've got no heads!' he protested.
'No but you see, Freddy, they are so very old! They have been damaged' explained Miss Charing.
'Damaged! I should rather think so! They haven't got any arms either!..."

While reading An Infamous Army, I was often overwhelmed by the painstaking detail of the battle of Waterloo. The only battles here were ones fought by ambitious Mamas but I was frustrated with Freddy's vernacular. First, he has an aversion to pronouns and also uses a tremendous amount of slang. It took me awhile to get used to it. A glossary might be helpful. Now I see that it was a device used by Heyer to convince the reader that Freddy isn't very bright.

Although it's comic, it also has a lot of heart. I really loved each of the characters. The book also emphasizes how little control a woman of that time had over her own destiny.

I definitely recommend Cotillion if you are in the mood for something light and fun as well as well written.


Booking Through Thursday: Preservations

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Today’s question comes from Conspiracy-Girl:
I’m still relatively new to this meme so I’m not sure if this has been asked yet, but I’m curious how many of us write notes in our books. Are you a Footprint Leaver or a Preservationist?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

I'm a preservationist. I can't stand the thought of marking up my books, especially if they're new. The only thing I will do is write my name (in pencil) on the first page, but only if it's a book I'm lending out.

Wahoo! for Bookfool

Other Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made On had a great idea. Our blogging friend Bookfool (Nancy) is unable to keep up her blog and her Wahoo Wednesdays because of some health issues within her family. So Chris decided to Wahoo Wednesday himself in her honour.

Gourdie says Wahoo!

Wahoo for Bookfool! Hope she's able to Wahoo soon herself. We all miss her.

Wahoo for Chris! Book bloggers are the nicest people on the planet and Chris just drives that fact home.

Wahoo for unexpected sunny days. Today was a gorgeous day- not too cold- and in November.

Wahoo for great things in the mail! During the 24-hour Readathon, I won a Curious George journal from Dewey. It's so cute.


Wahoo for Chickadees! This little fella was so tame even though he lives on a remote hilltop. What a brave little dude! And yes, that's my arm and my hair.

Wahoo for Christmas music! I dusted off some of my favorite discs for the season. Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong is a favorite from last year. A Song for a Winter's Night makes me tear up- in a good Wahoo way.

Wahoo for Martha Stewart's Everyday Food (December 2007)! It's all about baking for the holidays. I especially love the look of the Cranberry Scones. Mmmmm....scones.

And Wahoo for making it through the first 2 weeks of NaBloPoMo!

Whoopsie Wahoo! Chris informed me that it was CJ's idea to Wahoo Wednesday. So Wahoo to CJ at My Year of Reading Seriously!

Wordless Wednesday: Why Yes, I do have a New Camera

Still trying to figure out how to use it though.

More Wordless Wednesday.