Thursday, December 31, 2015

Welcome to the 2015 Read 52 Books in 52 Week Challenge

Also the home of  Well Educated Mind, Around the World, A to Z, Dusty and Chunky  and various mini challenges.  

The rules are very simple and the goal -  read one book (at least) a week for 52 weeks.

  1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015. 
  2. Our book weeks will begin on Sunday 
  3. Except for our first week which will run from Thursday Jan 1 through Saturday Jan 10
  4. Participants may join at any time.
  5. All books are acceptable except children books.**
  6. All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc.
  7. Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2015.
  8. Books may overlap other challenges.
  9. Create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  10. Come back and sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" below this post.
  11. You don't have a blog to participate.  Post your weekly book in the comments section of each weekly post.  
  12. Mr. Linky will be added to the bottom of the weekly post for you to link to reviews of your most current reads. 
All the mini challenges are optional. Mix it up anyway you like. The goal is to read 52 books. How you get there is up to you. 

**in reference to children books. If it is a child whose reading it and involved in the challenge, then that's okay.  If an adult is doing read aloud with kids, the book should be geared for the 9 - 12 age group and above and over 100 pages. If adult reading for own enjoyment, then a good rule of thumb to go by "is there some complexity to the story or is it too simple?"  If it's too simple, then doesn't count.  

Sunday, November 22, 2015

BW47: Happy Thanksgiving

Courtesy of  Averie Cooks

The Pumpkin



Oh, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun,
The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run,
And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold,
With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all gold,
Like that which o'er Nineveh's prophet once grew,
While he waited to know that his warning was true,
And longed for the storm-cloud, and listened in vain
For the rush of the whirlwind and red fire-rain.

On the banks of the Xenil the dark Spanish maiden
Comes up with the fruit of the tangled vine laden;
And the Creole of Cuba laughs out to behold
Through orange-leaves shining the broad spheres of gold;
Yet with dearer delight from his home in the North,
On the fields of his harvest the Yankee looks forth,
Where crook-necks are coiling and yellow fruit shines,
And the sun of September melts down on his vines.

Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest,
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam,
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

Then thanks for thy present! none sweeter or better
E'er smoked from an oven or circled a platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o'er its baking, than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Golden-tinted and fair as thy own Pumpkin pie!

Happy Thanksgiving! 


History of the Medieval World
Chapter 63: Basileus  pp 479 - 487
Chapter 64: Creation of Normandy  pp 488 - 491
Chapter 65:  The Kingdom of Germany   pp 492 - 497

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

BW46: Armchair Traveling West of the Prime Meridian

Courtesy of World Atlas

I had an epiphany after last week's post, since we only have a few weeks left in the year. (oh my!) Started giving some thought to 2016 and had a grand idea. For our armchair travels, will split our bookish travels and the world up into four quarters: Traveling East and West of the Prime Meridian and North and South of the Equator. Which will give everyone a variety of ways to go. For example: East of the pm and north of the equator booking it across Europe and Asia or exploring the seas, South of the equator and following the ocean currents or hang out in South America, West of the pm and sail across the Atlantic to North America.  I'm getting excited just thinking about it!

This week we'll be doing a scouting trip West of the Prime Meridian. But let's not forget those countries intersected by the dividing line on the Continent of Africa as well as Europe.  You can dip down into Morocco with Edith Wharton's tales of her journey in 1917 

In Morocco

Before hopping on a steamer ship and traveling across the Atlantic with Simon Winchester.


as well as Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea, which Moby Dick was based upon.  By the way, if you missed the 2012 MD readalong, you'll get another chance in 2016.  More on that later. 

Are you in the mind to explore North America with Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods

or dip down into South America with David Grann's Lost City of Z.

Put on your traveling shoes and join me West of the Prime Meridian.

History of the Medieval World 
Chapter 60 - Great Army of the Vikings pp 458 - 465
Chapter 61 - Struggle for the Iron Crown pp 466 - 471 
Chapter 62 Kampaku  pp 472 - 478 

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

BW45: Armchair traveling East of the Prime Meridian

Seoul Korea - Beautiful steps around the world
courtesy of Kevin Lowry

It's been a while since we've been around the world, armchair style, so thought I'd meander about and see what I could find.  We've traversed the continents, our backpacks filled mostly with fiction, although I remember seeing a few travel and historical books mixed in with our reads.  Time to delve a bit deeper and see what we can see.  This week we'll trek east of the Prime Meridian and start at the North Pole with Hampton Sides and his thriller chiller of a tale - In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette. 

Then drop down into Siberia with George Kennan's Tent Life in Siberia: An Incredible Account of Siberian Adventure, Travel, and Survival 

before exploring a bit of China with Peter Hessler's River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze.

I have a hankering to follow the Silk road across to the Mediterranean sea with Colin Thubron's Shadow of the Silk Road where I'll settle for a while on the Turquoise coast for a breather.

Join me in exploring East of the Prime Meridian.


History of the Medieval World 
Chapter 58 Foreign and Domestic Relations pp 442 - 449
Chapter 59 The Second Caliphate pp 450 - 457


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Sunday, November 1, 2015

BW44: Non fiction November

Welcome to Non Fiction November.  Are you ready for a month of reading diaries, dissertations and dramas as well as anecdotes, adventures and autobiographies. Our author flavors of the month are Truman Capote, Stacy Schiff and Bill Bryson.  Yes, a rather eclectic grouping and it just so happens that  I have those authors on my shelves. 

I'm actually not a huge fan of reading non fiction, except for writing books,  Which makes it all the more interesting that I'm now leading a flash non fiction writing class utilizing Dinty's Moore's Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Non Fiction.  I've stepped way outside my box and well as comfort zone with the writing exercises.  Which has lead to my wanting to read more non fiction.   

I've gathered quite a collection of world war history books as well as spy craft, thanks to my husband and son. Thanks to numerous recommendations, I now have Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra, Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, Susan Cain's Quiet as well as Erik Larson's Dead Wake and In the Garden of Beasts waiting in my stacks to be read.   We'll see how far I get. 

Also, thanks to the ladies on WTM, Stacia and Rose,  we have in the works for this month:  a comparison reading of Shakespeare's The Winter Tale along with Jeanette Winterson's modern retelling The Gap of Time

Join me in a game on Non Fiction Bingo, made especially for you all, and see how many bingo's you can complete, vertically, horizontally or diagonally.  And if you want to get really creative, try a T or an L or an E.   

Happy Reading! 


History of the Medieval World 
Chapter 56:  The Vikings -- pp  427 - 436
Chapter 57:  Long Lived Kings -- pp 437 - 441 

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

BW43: Jack O Lantern history and the Tale of Stingy Jack

Courtesy of The Harvest Club 

The Irish brought the tradition of carving pumpkins into Jack O'Lantern to America. But, the original Jack O'Lantern was not a pumpkin. Pumpkins did not exist in Ireland. Ancient Celtic cultures in Ireland carved turnips on All Hallow's Eve, and placed an ember in them, to ward off evil spirits.
 The Tale of Stingy Jack and the Jack O' Lantern
 Jack O'Lantern legend goes back hundreds of years in Irish History. Many of the stories, center round Stingy Jack. Here's the most popular story:  Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who took pleasure in playing tricks on just about everyone: family, friends, his mother and even the Devil himself. One day, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree. After the Devil climbed up the tree, Stingy Jack hurriedly placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. Unable to touch a cross, the Devil was stuck in the tree. Stingy Jack made the Devil promise him not to take his soul when he died. Once the devil promised not to take his soul, Stingy Jack removed the crosses, and the Devil climbed down out of the apple tree.
Many years later, Jack died, he went to the pearly gates of Heaven and was told by Saint Peter that he was mean and cruel, and had led a miserable, worthless life on earth. Stingy Jack was not allowed to enter heaven. He then went down to Hell and the Devil. The Devil kept his promise and would not allow him to enter Hell. Now Jack was scared . He had nowhere to go, but to wander about forever in the dark Netherworld between heaven and hell. He asked the Devil how he could leave, as there was no light. The Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of Hell, to help Stingy Jack light his way. Jack had a Turnip with him. It was one of his favorite foods, and he always carried one with him. Jack hollowed out the Turnip, and placed the ember the Devil had given him, inside the turnip. From that day onward, Stingy Jack roamed the earth without a resting place, lighting his way as he went with his "Jack O'Lantern".
On all Hallow's eve, the Irish hollowed out Turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets. They placed a light in them to ward off evil spirits and keep Stingy Jack away. These were the original Jack O'Lanterns. In the 1800's a couple of waves of Irish immigrants came to America. The Irish immigrants quickly discovered that Pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve out. So they used pumpkins for Jack O'Lanterns.

Courtesy of The Pumpkin Nook

Yes, I know, this doesn't have anything to do with books.  However.....   Root (har har) through your bookshelves or look on Amazon and  see if you can find a book with Jack, Lantern, Irish, Pumpkin, Turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets in the title.  You'd be surprised how many books you can find with rutabaga in the title on Amazon.  *grin*


History of the Medieval World 
Chapter 54 - Triumph of the Outsiders - pp 413- 422
Chapter 55 - the Third Dynasty - pp 423 - 426 


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Sunday, October 18, 2015

BW42: Poe's Tell Tale Heart

Edward Gorey's Tell Tale Heart

The Tell-Tale Heart 


Edgar Allan Poe 

 True! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed --not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily --how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees --very gradually --I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded --with what caution --with what foresight --with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it --oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly --very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man's sleep.

It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously --cautiously (for the hinges creaked) --I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights --every night just at midnight --but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watch's minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers --of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back --but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in bed, crying out --"Who's there?"

I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed listening; --just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall.

Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief --oh, no! --it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him.

He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to himself --"It is nothing but the wind in the chimney --it is only a mouse crossing the floor," or "It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp." Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions: but he had found all in vain. All in vain; because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel --although he neither saw nor heard --to feel the presence of my head within the room.

When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little --a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it --you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily --until, at length a simple dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye. It was open --wide, wide open --and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness --all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man's face or person: for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot.

And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense? --now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man's heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.

But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eve. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. The old man's terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! --do you mark me well I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder!

I thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me --the sound would be heard by a neighbour! The old man's hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once --once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.

I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye --not even his --could have detected any thing wrong. There was nothing to wash out --no stain of any kind --no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all --ha! ha!

When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o'clock --still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart, --for what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises.

I smiled, --for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them search --search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.

The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct: --It continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definiteness --until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears.

No doubt I now grew very pale; --but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased --and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound --much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath --and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly --more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men --but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? 

I foamed --I raved --I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder --louder --louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! --no, no! They heard! --they suspected! --they knew! --they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now --again! --hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!

"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! --tear up the planks! here, here! --It is the beating of his hideous heart!"


History of The Medieval World
Chapter 52 - The New Sennacherib - pp 396 - 404
Chapter 53 - Castle Lords and Regents - pp 405 - 412


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Sunday, October 11, 2015

BW41: Alfred Hitchcock

Ominous October would not be complete without our master of suspense - Alfred Hitchcock.

I love Alfred Hitchcock movies.  They are so entertaining and creep you out at the same time. The first time I ever watched "The Birds," I ended up in the hallway, peeking around the corner.  I think I was nine at the time.  Silly, I know, however, it began my love affair with scary movies.  Not the blood and guts gory type, but the psychological thriller types.  Ones that leave it to your imagination, the murderous action just off screen.  Heart pounding, hand clenching, break out in cold sweat, jump in your seat, make you squeal stories. Speaking of squealing, my dad is the nervous sort and can't sit still during intense scenes.  He'd leave, come back. (now I know where I got it from).

Did you know some of his movies came from books:

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Lifeboat was an unpublished short story by John Steinbeck
Rear Window was based on Cornell Wolrich's 1942 short story  It Had To Be Murder
Psycho from a 1959 novel by Robert Bloch
Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
Suspicion was based on Before the Fact by Francis Iles
39 Steps taken from the novel by John Buchan
Vertigo written by Boileau-Narcejac

Check out this biography by Michael Wood which is available to kinder unlimited readers for free.

as well as the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine at The Mystery Place

and Goodreads list of Alfred Hitchcock anthologies, plus Popular Dark Gothic Hickcockian novels.

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” 
― Alfred Hitchcock


History of The Medieval World 
Chapter 49:  Charlemagne pp 371 - 379
Chapter 50:  the An Lushan Rebellion  pp 380 - 386

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

BW40: Ominous October - Bwahahahaha!

Courtesy of Antero Haljand

Welcome to Ominous October and our reading spooktacular where we read all things chilling and thrilling,  What do you think of when you hear the word horror?  My idea of horror lends itself to psychological thrillers, spine tinging, fingernail nibbling, keep you awake reading till all hours of the night, type of stories.  I remember years ago reading a science fiction story  and someone else curious about the book, classified it as horror.  I was taken aback and left me wondering what's the difference and asking how can you say that? There isn't any blood and guts.  

The official definition is:

an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear.

The Horror Writer's association says horror really can't be defined and the genre lost its way back in the 80's with Stephen King's Carrie and all who jumped on the bandwagon and followed his style. Now the genre has come full circle. 

As the horror boom of the eighties turned into the drought of the nineties, horror went underground. In order to save itself, it became a chameleon, masquerading as other genres, hiding itself in other styles. And therein lay its salvation.
 Horror has once again become primarily about emotion. It is once again writing that delves deep inside and forces us to confront who we are, to examine what we are afraid of, and to wonder what lies ahead down the road of life.

That leaves quite an open field of books and authors to explore.  Our author flavors of the month are Anne Rice and Kurt Vonnegut.  Rice is one of those authors I've always said I'd get around to reading some day. She took a 5 year break from supernatural fiction and returned back in 2012 with her Wolf Gift Chronicles. Her newest release, Beauty's Kingdom continues her 1980's Sleeping Beauty series.  

Vonnegut is one who defies definition when it come to genre.  Besides writing, he is also a graphic artists and samples of his art work may be found on his website. The book he's most well known for is Slaughterhouse Five which was actually banned in 2011 from the libraries in a Missouri school district.  Free copies of the book were given out to district students (if they asked) through the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

Our spooktacular wouldn't be complete without reading one of the classics.  We've read Frankenstein, Dracula, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. If you haven't read any of them yet, now is your chance.  Put away your expectations, because you just may be surprised when they don't turn out how you suspect they will.     This year decided it was time to give a little book love to The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Also on my nightstand are Henry James' The Turn of the Screw and Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World as well as two more contemporary novels, Horrostor by Grady Hendrix and Night Film by Marish Pessl.  We'll see how far I get.  *grin* 

Join me in reading all things spooktacular this month! 


History of the Medieval World 
Chapter 48 - The Abbasids  pp 363 - 370

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

BW39: Book News

Kitties, kids, kitchens, kisses, kings, keys, keepsakes and foolish thinkers who wants to install speakers in kayaks are all on my mind this week which is why I am bringing you the wonderful world of babbling book news.   Guess what we are learning this week?  *grin*

The Humbug:  Edgar Allan Poe and the economy of Horror

Happy birthday, Truman Capote - Interview in Paris Review  (spr/sum 97 issue)

My son has been insisting I watch Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator which is why Charlie Chaplin's Scandalous Life and Boundless Artistry caught my eye.

Letters of Note:   Kurt Vonnegut, a private during WWII was captured and became a prisoner of war. He wrote a letter to his family letting them know he was alive and ready to come home. 

Ten Things You Should Know about H.P. Lovecraft 

The Dark and Starry Eyes of Ray Bradbury 

Have you figured out the theme yet?  As if you didn't guess, we are heading into October and our Spooktacular Reading Month which will begin next Sunday on October 4th.   If you haven't read the staples of the genre - Frankenstein or Dracula, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Grey or Something Wicked This Way Comes - now is your chance.  Put away your expectations, because you just may be surprised when they don't turn out how you suspect they will.  Start looking through your shelves and pull out those spooky stories you've been meaning to read and get ready for a thrilling month.


History of the Medieval World 
Chapter 46 - The Kailasa of the South pp  351 - 356
Chapter 47 Purifications  pp 357 - 362 

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

BW38: September Equinox

Prelude to a Kiss - Josephine Wall

The September Equinox is upon us as of Wednesday the 23rd.  Here in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the beginning of Autumn and for those in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the beginning of Spring. Both day and night are exactly 12 hours long all over the world and the earth's axis which is usually tilted at about a 23.5 degree angle towards the sun, will be perpendicular to the sun's rays.  It is the tilt in the Earth's axis which is responsible for causing the seasons.  Fascinating! 

I love autumn's cooler days and vibrant colors and curling up with a good book. Which brings us to our annual fall/spring reading mini challenge.  Think of all the symbols and sounds of the seasons.  What immediately came to my mind for Autumn is rain, pumpkins, orange, red, yellow, leaves, crunchy, splash, cool, shadows, thanksgiving, wood smoke and rain coats.  For Spring, dancing, may pole, eggs, purple, yellow, birds chirping, and water.   Chose a symbol or sound and find a book with that word in the title.  It can be one already on your shelves, a reread or a brand new find.  

I went with orange and found a delightful cozy tea shop mystery series which includes Blood Orange Brewing by Laura Childs

Then yellow and found Carolyn Brown's The Yellow Rose Beauty Shop, # 3 in her Cadillac series which looks like a fun, cozy read.  

Pick a word and pick a book and have fun! 


History of the Medieval World 

Chapter 45 -  Paths into Europe  pp 341 - 350

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

BW37: Afield at dusk

Courtesy Bloglovin Best Travel Photos


Afield at dusk


Robert Frost

WHAT things for dream there are when spectre-like, 
Moving among tall haycocks lightly piled, 
I enter alone upon the stubble field, 
From which the laborers’ voices late have died,
And in the antiphony of afterglow 
And rising full moon, sit me down 
Upon the full moon’s side of the first haycock 
And lose myself amid so many alike. 

I dream upon the opposing lights of the hour, 
Preventing shadow until the moon prevail; 
I dream upon the night-hawks peopling heaven, 
Each circling each with vague unearthly cry, 
Or plunging headlong with fierce twang afar; 
And on the bat’s mute antics, who would seem 
Dimly to have made out my secret place, 
Only to lose it when he pirouettes, 
And seek it endlessly with purblind haste; 
On the last swallow’s sweep; and on the rasp 
In the abyss of odor and rustle at my back, 
That, silenced by my advent, finds once more, 
After an interval, his instrument, 
And tries once—twice—and thrice if I be there; 
And on the worn book of old-golden song 
I brought not here to read, it seems, but hold 
And freshen in this air of withering sweetness:
But on the memory of one absent most, 
For whom these lines when they shall greet her eye. 


History of The Medieval World 
Chapter 44 - Days of the Empress pp 333 - 340 


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