The Future of Blogging and Some Free Books For You…

IMG_20130803_210346The twins have changed my life in many ways. One of those ways involves reading and this blog. I am still reading, but not nearly as much. I no longer have the luxury of staying up late to read. Sleep is a necessity for my survival. I am also reading more on my Nook because it is easier, but most of my classics are paperback books. So, my reading has become more varied. Finding time to blog has been difficult, but I would like to begin getting back in the blogging routine. I will continue to read and journal about the classics on my list, but you may also find some posts about more contemporary selections. Along with my TBR pile, I am growing and changing as a reader, in large part due to the network of other amazing readers I have found through Twitter. I recently participated in two read-alongs for Stephen King’s Under the Dome and John Irving’s A Prayer For Owen Meany. Owen Meany was a re-read for me, but remains one of my favorite books of all time.  In fact, I have been having a hard time starting another book as Owen is still running around in my head. Under the Dome was my second experience with Stephen King…11/22/63 being the first. I had always avoided Stephen King in the past, but I ended up really liking both novels. I would have liked to have put up posts for both of these read-alongs, but I just didn’t get to it. In the future, I hope to be better at this read-along component.

 I recently updated my copy of The Scarlet Letter and Jane Eyre with Penguin Classic Deluxe Editions and my copy of The Great Gatsby with a Penguin Modern ClassicsIMG_20130804_114022 Edition. So, if anyone is interested, I would be happy to send you my original copies of these books. They have each been read once and then sat on my shelves. First come first serve…leave me your email address so I can get your mailing information.

Hello Out There…

I am still here. I have been reading, but not from my project list. Why? Well, because the last 8 months with the twins have been, uh, busy and I didn’t want what happened with Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to happen with other project selections. I read the book, but by the time I had a chance to actually write a blog post I had nothing to say. Too much time had passed. My mind was blank. I keep a reading journal via my blog so that I can record my thoughts while they are fresh and then remember the books in the future by rereading posts. People keep telling me this raising twins thing gets easier, but I am not so sure. In the mean time, I will read when I can, blog when I can and check in when I can. Happy Holidays All!


Here is what I have downloaded to my Nook since we last chatted:

1984, George Orwell

The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote

And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, J Randy Taraborrelli

Walking in the Shade, Doris Lessing

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, Bob Spitz

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, Susannah Cahalan

Bringing Up Bebe, Pamela Druckerman

Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin

Moranthology, Caitlin Moran

The End of Your Life Book Club, Will Schwalbe

The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling

Sweet Tooth, Ian McEwan



I miss reading. *sigh*

So tired, just like her mommy!

The twins are almost 7 weeks old. The weeks have flown by in a sleep deprived blur. I miss sleep. I miss reading. I am not sure why I had imagined that I would be able to read a little when they are napping. I am home alone with them during the week days. When they do nap at the same time, I run around like a lunatic taking the dogs out, grabbing some food, and getting daily chores done. And when they go down at night, I go to bed too so I can get a few hours sleep before they wake to eat. I am really looking forward to when they both start sleeping through the night … or at least both sleep in a nice 7 hour stretch at the same time! I think then I will be able to read for an hour or so before bed.

I had hoped to participate in a read along of The Color Purple this month, but that didn’t work out. I am still hoping to participate in Allie’s Victorian event in June and July. Perhaps I can at least get Wuthering Heights read.

After delivery, I treated myself to a few new books. While I love my selections, I wish I had treated myself to the Nook instead. A few years ago, I purchased a Kindle. I ended up returning it, though, because I found that I still much preferred the paper book and so I could not justify spending the money for it. At the time they were new and much more expensive than they are now. I didn’t think I would ever consider an e-reader again, but I am now. I can’t hold a book to read and feed at the same time, but I could do it with a Nook. It would be no different from how I sometimes use my phone to read blogs while I am feeding. Has anyone else found an e-reader useful in this capacity?

The new selections (that I will hopefully read one day…lol!):

Margaret Mitchell and John Marsh: The Love Story Behind Gone With the Wind by Marianne Walker, The Bronte Myth by Lucasta Miller, Bleak House by Charles Dickens, The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown


Bookstore Adventures…

After a third trip to the Borders closing sale, my husband has officially banned me from returning. But, this week I received an e-mail that says literary fiction is 60% off plus Reward members get another 15% off … so I am thinking what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, right … right?

Anyway, the most recent loot:

The 2012 Happiness Project Page-A-Day Calender

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

A Separate Peace, John Knowles

Treasures From the Attic: The Extraordinary Story of Anne Frank’s Family, Mirjam Pressler

I was unbelievably excited to find a copy of I Capture the Castle because I had looked for a copy at my Borders for months to no avail … and then during the 50% off phase, suddenly there one was!

Hope you all are having a terrrific Tuesday! 🙂


Bookstore Adventures … and a GWTW Giveaway!

Yesterday, Alexa and I visited Borders … probably for the last time. Literary fiction and children’s books were all 20% off and I was still able to use my Rewards Plus 10% discount. The coupons and member discounts that Borders offered over the recent years allowed me to add so many books to my shelves that I otherwise might not have been able to afford, but I can’t help but feel sad that those savings were probably a large factor in the store’s ultimate demise. I will miss Borders for sure! 😦   The Loot:

I like to give books as part of any baby shower gift, so I picked up these two Curious George selections for my cousin. The one is a lift-the-flap book (I used to have a Paddington Bear lift-the-flap that I adored as a child) and the other is Curious George Visits the Library which I thought was fitting since I am such a book nut.


I was excited to grab the last copy of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood, by Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley, that was in the store. I also picked up Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations …



… and Middlemarch by George Eliot, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and an upgraded copy of Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell … which brings me to my GWTW giveaway.



Erin at the Heroine’s Bookshelf is hosting the Great Gone With the Wind Read-Along this month (click on the button in my right column for a link to her site and more information) and since I have upgraded my copy of GWTW, I am giving away my gently used (read once) mass market paper back edition of the novel to one interested reader. All you need to do is comment on this post with your name, e-mail address (so I can contact the winner for an address), and tell me your favorite GWTW character. The giveaway will close next Wednesday, August 10th when the winner will be selected at random.

Hope you all are having an awesome August!

Bookstore Adventures…


While browsing my local used bookstore and Goodwill, I found some great loot: nice, clean copies of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton, A Room With a View by E.M. Forster, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, and Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. All this for $10! What are your latest acquisitions?

Why Don’t We Write Letters Anymore? Anne Sexton: A Self Portrait in Letters

I consider the extinction of letter writing one of the great downfalls of technological advancement. I love reading journals and collections of letters. I recently picked up a very nice hard cover edition of Anne Sexton: A Self Portrait in Letters for less than $5 at a used bookstore. Anne Sexton wrote and published poetry in the 1960s. A suburban housewife and mother, she began writing poetry as a form of therapy. Anne, along with other poets such as Sylvia Plath, is often referred to as a confessional poet. This kind of poetry deals with intimate, and sometimes painful, details of the poets life such as mental illness, marriage, divorce, and sexuality.
Born on November 9, 1928, Anne was actually my grandmother’s age. Sadly, after a life long battle with mental illness she committed suicide in 1974, shortly before her 46th birthday. Her letters paint an interesting picture of the roller coaster ride she lived on. Through her written voice, the reader can tell when Anne is feeling “normal”, manic, disjointed, needy, depressed, and medicated. I have always felt that there is a thin line between genius and insanity. So, the fact that so many famous writers seemed to have suffered from mental illness, most commonly bi-polar disorder, absolutely fascinates me. Anne’s case is no exception.
She corresponded with many different individuals over the years including other writers and, even, a monk. It seems that many of these exchanges started out with an intensity on both sides, but inevitably the “friendship” would slowly dissolve as Anne became too needy. She expected these individuals to be her therapist, poetic sounding board, and lover all via a letter exchange.
Her letters were often witty, passionate, and raw. Anne was a horrific speller, used unconventional punctuation and typed most of her letters. In a letter to Tillie Olson, another writer, she says: I wish my letters could look like a poem…your writing is so tiny and perfect that it looks as if a fairy with a pink pen and rubies in her hair had sat down to write to me. And I…I must look like a rather stout man who sits by a very respectable black typewriter.”
Some of my other favorite excerpts:
“I wish I were nineteen. Not that it’s better or worse to be me at 36 but it gives you so much more time to grow. Inside I’m only thirteen and outside I have wrinkles and a family and many who depend on me.”
 “how does one go to sleep without pills? how does one live with the knowledge that death, their special death, is waiting silently in their body to overtake them at some undetermined time? how can this be done if there is no God? how does one not get struck by lightning when everyone knows it could and just might strike YOU? or tornadoes that suck you right up into a cloud?
Sleep without pills? impossible. take pills! death? have fantasies of killing myself and thus being the powerful one. God? spend half time wooing Catholics who will pray for you in case it’s true. Spend other half knowing there certainly is no God. Spend fantasy time thinking that there is life after death, because surely my parents, for instance, are not dead, they are, good God!, just buried. Lightning? wear sneakers, stay off phone. Tornado? retire to cellar to look at washing machine and interesting junk in cellar.”
* Oddly enough, Anne’s advice on lightning was exactly that of my Grandmother’s … which cracked me up!!
A Self Portrait Rendered by Anne
“Your traveling Button will now walk somehow down the stairs and out of her tears.”

“Lonliness is a terrible thing and to be alone with people can be pretty horrible.”

On suicide: “There are those that are killed and the few that kill and then the other kind, those that do both at once.” At one point in a letter to Anne Clark, a friend who was also a therapist, she is again writing about the concept of suicide and then suddenly says: “Sandy and Les are coming over for a drink. I shall now go out to new kitchen and prepare shrimp and cocktail sauce.” What a contrast.

In a letter to her daughter Joy she says: “You went to the library yourself. Gee whiz I am happy … now you will be free in a way you have never been free. I mean now you can go to the library and find a friend anytime … long ago, when I was your age, I loved most to go to the library alone. To me it is one of the most important steps in growing up. JUST as special, I think, as getting breasts and all that kind of thing.”
“I hoard books. They are people who do not leave.”

 “Letters are false really-they are [sometimes] expressions of the way you wish you were instead of the way you are…(poems might come under the same category).”

“Oh, I really believe in God – it’s Christ that boggles the mind.”

“But you got only praise. But I know, praise can be heavy too. Yes. I understand.”

The collection was edited by Anne’s daughter, Linda, and Anne’s friend, Lois Ames. Between letters some biographical information is provided to allow for better comprehension of the letters, but I am still left wanting to know more details. I plan to read her biography and then after that I plan to examine her poems. I think it important to have an understanding of Anne the person before delving into her poetry since her style is so autobiographical in nature.

More Bookstore Adventures…

My daughter is on winter break this week. Today the snow is flying, but yesterday we made it out to lunch and a movie and stopped in to the only used book store in my area. I had 5 selections that I had decided to trade in and we came home with 6 new selections with $0 spent! I found clean, like new copies of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (which was my favorite find of the day), The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (because it was such a nice used copy and Allie has such good things to say), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. Exciting, but perhaps it is time to stop adding to the TBR pile and start reading!!! 🙂

Checkin In…Bookstore Adventures…

Well, the cold, hideous winter weather has returned. I am wondering if the weather could account for so many bloggers being in a reading rut…myself included. I know that my OCD need to finish one book before I begin another is playing a role for me. I was keeping a pretty good pace with War and Peace, but am having a really hard time finding the necessary motivation to finish the last section so I can officially move on. So, tonight I decided to move outside of my box and just go ahead and start something else…something lighter (at least compared to War and Peace) to get me back on smoother reading ground: Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

I picked the play up today along with Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and East of Eden (I seem to have lost my other copy and I feel a re-read coming in my future…), The Color Purple by Alice Walker and a collection of short stories including The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I was thinking about reading a “non-classic” to bring me out of this slump, but that didn’t really appeal to me either. I am hoping that snuggling up with this play in my freshly cleaned bedroom (with my stylin new curtain rods) will do the trick.

Checkin In…Bookstore Adventures…

“The weather outside is frightful” in upstate NY! It was 12 degrees on the bank clock when I ran out to the library this morning. It is certainly a good time to curl up with a book! Tomorrow, I have to go for my third colonoscopy in four years so the specialists can take a closer look at the current status of my Crohn’s disease. As this procedure requires that my intestines be “cleaned out”, I will most likely be curled up near the bathroom! J At the library, I picked up The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot which I have been interested in reading for months now. Some of Henrietta’s cells, now known as HeLa cells, were taken from her cervix without her knowledge and continue to live on by the millions although she passed away almost sixty years ago. These cells have been used to research things such as the polio vaccine, cancer, viruses, cloning, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization. Hopefully this book puts a real face to the famous cells and will be an interesting look at the value of ethics versus that of scientific research.
My thoughts about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love have finally been posted. I am not sure that I have done the book justice. I have always been a fast reader, but it seems that blogging about the books I read may force me to slow down and begin reading in a different way. However, I am still struggling a bit with remembering the thoughts I have while reading and then transferring those thoughts into words for the blog. I am also not a multi-tasker when it comes to reading and writing. I really almost never read more than one book at a time. I may have two books listed under my “currently reading” section, but that means I will be reading them back to back not reading from both at the same time. Posting on my blog may be at a slower pace than some are used to because I find that I have to read one book and post on it before I can move on to start reading the next. I have never understood how easy it is for some people to be reading two or three books simultaneously.
Hence, I am really nervous about my plans for January. I am going to be participating in Allie’s read-alongs over at A Literary Odyssey for War and Peace, The Woman in White, and Rebecca. Saturday, we had to travel about two hours for one of Alexa’s indoor soccer tournaments. On this town’s main street, I spotted a charming little bookstore and found a cheap copy of The Woman in White. Sunday, I popped into Borders because I had a 40% off coupon and $15 in free Border’s Bucks. I ended up getting two CDs that Alexa wanted for Christmas and a copy of Rebecca all for $10…what a deal!
I must confess that I have cheated a bit and read the first few chapters of Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, out of curiosity. Although I am sure that the writer is using a technique to build suspense, I find it troubling that we know so little about the narrator (Mr. de Winter’s second wife). We don’t even know her name and I am having a difficult time picturing her in my mind’s eye.
For the rest of December, my only other plans are to finish up Little Women. I hope you all are having a happy holiday season!