Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Alas, no one reads this blog but I DON"T CARE!!! I have something to say and, darn it, I will say it.

Thanksgiving done, I found my inner-reader and sat down to immerse myself in teen chick lit. I read "Peaches" by Jodi Lynn Anderson and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was in such a good mood. The dishes were done. I had no programs to plan for. My article (for a local freebie weekly) wasn't due for another 36 hours and it was mostly written. So, on Saturday (this past Saturday) I did nothing but read. Oh, and I took a walk and made leftovers for supper.

So the book (Peaches, see above) is about these three teen girls who are totally different. They know about each other since they all live in the same town but one is a wild woman, daughter of the town "slut". One is the home-schooled daughter of the peach orchard's owner. Her mother left recently. And one is the second daughter of the "best" family in those parts and cousin to the peach girl. The three of them meet up at Spring Break at the orchard and work with the migrants and connect, sort of. But when summer rolls around they all return and bond with each other and some cute guys. Of course, there are some roadblocks to total summer chick bonding happiness and it looks like the orchard's going to be turned into condos but in the end... Oh read it. Not all endings are happy, just the best ones. I actually think I liked this better than the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.

I felt so good after I finished "Peaches"!! The world was drenched in sunlight and grace. A fun read will do that to you.

I also picked up Philip Gulley's "If God is Love", a testimonial on Gulley's theology. Gulley's style is so easy to read - as evidenced in his "Harmony" series - that this is one inspirational book I won't have to labor through.

I discovered some new holiday books - in bookstores, book reviews and online - and some old favorites. NO ONE responded to the desperate plea in my last post. No matter! I have friends and family who DID tell me their favorite holiday reading, although the friend who told me she reads vampire books was not altogether helpful. I may even post my informal survey results here early in December. Vampire books will not be on that list. I'll save them for my Valentine's Day list. Hehehehehe!

Anyway, as to NEW holiday books, Dave Barry came out with a memoir-like novel, "The Shepherd, the Angel and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog". Only Dave Barry could write a Christmas book in which frozen bat poop plays a dramatically important part. So read it already.

"The Best Christmas Ever" by Chih-Yuan Chen is my favorite picture book for the year. A poor family has a surprisingly satisfying Christmas, rediscovering their favorite things. The illustrations are spare and full of feeling.

I have a list of my ten favorite -or rather - most notable new books for Holidays 2006. I'll post that with my survey results, too.

Well, that's enough for now. I have books to order and catalog.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Favorite Holiday Books!

Quick! Email me the title of your favorite Christmas, Hanukkah or Winter Holiday book (Kwanzaa anyone, Solstice, perhaps?) Just click on Comments and write a sentence about why you like the book.
I'll post everyone's favorite after Thanksgiving. Names are optional ofcourse.
As I have been telling everyone this week, I have been either sick or away during the last four weeks. So, I have not written anything anywhere except for some journaling on our recent vacation.
Vacations are good. Getting to and from vacations - this could be majorly improved. What good does it do to spend several days relaxing when the trip home turns into a 24 hour marathon of waiting for postponed flights, crawling in stalled traffic and coming home to bills and "urgent" phone messages from two days before?
If someone comes up with Star Trek-type transporter technology I am certainly interested. Of course, it will probably be unbearably painful, or scramble your brains, or something equally horrible.
Ear infections are bad and although I THINK I have banished the nasty bug I still get dizzy several times a day. No one notices though.
As to reading? HA! For the first month in memory, I have not finished a book - at least not since my last post. I have four books home from the library and I might even finish the fourth Charlie Bone book. I started Foundling, the first book in the Monster Blood Tattoo series and it was mesmerizing - until I put it down. Now, I don't really want to continue it. If anyone HAS finished this book, please send me some encouragement. Scrambled Eggs at Midnight is another book waiting for my attention. I read the first chapter and I think I might actually like it - even though it is another "dysfunctional parent dragging around over-responsible teen" novel. We all think our parents fit that description at some point in our lives so we can relate.
So instead of writing about books I will write about my exciting life - something I try hard not to do but oh well.
I told stories for/with a local drum circle's first Halloween bash and it was so much fun. People of all ages, sexes, and races showed up in costume. Some even decorated their drums. The music store provided djembes and rhythmn instruments for people which is good since my only drum is a large frame drum that I don't like to play. (It looks great on the wall, though.)
The leader is an enthusiastic charismatic woman who really goaded these drummers into pounding away. So we drummed for about half an hour.
Then, I told three stories and the drummers played sound effects and it was very very exciting to be hollering over the pounding drums. Then we drummed for another 20 minutes, voted for our favorite costumes and drums and faded into the night.
Drumming is a work-out and a totally relaxing outlet. I wish this group didn't meet on Mondays, though, since I have a long-standing commitment that night.
Then, hubberoo and I went on vacation to Florida - ahh shucks, now you know I don't live in Florida - and on a Carnival cruise. We haven't found a cruise yet that isn't fun and relaxing but we probably won't cruise with Carnival again. The food wasn't up to our exacting standards. We are cruise-food snobs.
Yesterday was marathon day. I belong to a non-profit weight loss organization, TOPS, that held a motivational meeting from 9 to 3 yesterday. I dreaded going since I had a performance in the evening. But, the volunteer organizers (and most of them are unpaid volunteers) put together a truly enjoyable day of activities, awards and motivational talks.
As a fund raiser this year, local chapters donated gift baskets and we held a raffle. I WON!! one of the baskets. After I won, two members of the chapter that donated that basket came up to tell me that there was an Avon collectible soap dish with the original soap in it in the basket and the dish had been valued at $200. Sure enough the dish is engraved with the date 1977. I guess I have to learn how to sell stuff on eBay. Unless one of my loyal readers wants to buy it. Make me an offer.
Well, then I went home, practiced my story and headed off to our performance venue for Tellabration Lehigh Valley. Four of my teen tellers were there and after a disastrous attempt at practicing and moving props around (that we never used)the performance began. Robin Reichert and John Callahan told two very engaging and very different stories. The Black Rose Teen Tellers were third in the rotation and they were great! The story they chose was one they wrote themselves and all of them managed to remember their lines and adlib with style and aplomb. I wish all the teens had been there because I really would like to sit back and watch them as they do their ensemble piece. Unfortunately, we were shy a teen or two so I had to step in. Then, I told a story and the night of storytelling was over. (I think I did a good job of telling, too.)
But weirdness set in. I carried some things down to my car - with the able and much appreciated help of a teen's father and grandfather - but we couldn't get back up to the fourth floor. First the elevator refused to move. Then it went up and refused to open its doors. One of the fathers tried it by himself and was surprised to find himself on the same floor and then another father tried it and came back to say the doors would not open. Ooooooooo! Weeeeeird! Probably some kind of security thing.
THEN, our storytelling guild had a late night meeting at a local diner and I had to attend. Talk about exhausted!
Today, I visited with friends and family and now I am visiting with you. Let me know what you are reading.