Monday, October 31, 2011

My Spooky, Scary Halloween Post About Witches...

I'm not a fan of Halloween, or of scary stories (excluding that brief foray into Stephen-King-land in high school) So, my list of favorite Halloween books contains only three titles - all purchased from Scholastic Book Club during grade-school in the 1960's.  

The Witch Next Door by Norman Bridwell was one of my first read-alone books.  It's the story of a brother and sister who discover a witch has moved in next door.  She does things a little differently - like the way she shops, or moves her furniture, or the fact that all her clothes are black (Personally, I think that's just a fashion plan.  If everything's black, mix-and-match is a cinch.)  But they soon discover that just because someone is different, it doesn't mean they're bad - it means they're interesting.

 Some years ago - 10? 15? - my mother sorted through all her pictures and keepsakes and created albums for each of her daughters.  Included in my album was a letter I had written to my grandparents who were spending the winter in Arizona.  I tried to photograph the letter so you could read it for yourself, but it's written in faded pencil on yellowed Big Chief Tablet paper and no matter what I tried, it wasn't legible.  You'll have to take my word for the contents:

Dear Grandma and Grandpa,

Debbie (little sister) and I stayed at Bernice's (aunt) yesterday.  I would build up blocks and Debbie would laugh when I knocked them down.  It was lots of fun.

I ordered a book at school and it came today.  I payed for it with my own money.  The name of it is The Witch Next Door.

Love, Tami

I think my natural writing talents were obvious, even at that early age.

My next two Halloween favorites are from the Chapter Book era of my reading history.  Between 1969 and 1998, Ruth Chew wrote dozens of books featuring witches and magic.  Yes, I had outgrown Mrs. Chew's books by 1998 (at which time I had an 8-year-old of my own), but when The Wednesday Witch was published, I was eight and it was an instant favorite.  I really wanted a witch to show up at my house on her flying vacuum cleaner and shrink herself to live in my dollhouse.

What the Witch Left came out a few years later.  I can't remember the details of it quite as clearly, but I know it was well-read and my copies of both books still a the basement....somewhere.... Again, you'll just have to take my word for it.

What are your Halloween favorites - childhood or current?

Classic Book Covers - Answers

Top Row (L-R):  And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie; Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell; Ann of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery; Animal Farm by George Orwell; Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

Row 2:  The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne; The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown; A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess; Charlotte's Web by E.B. White; The Shining by Stephen King.

Row 3:  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss; The Color Purple by Alice Walker ; The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum; The Godfather by Mario Puzo.

Row 4:  Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl; Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein; Little Women by Louisa May Alcott; The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg ; The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

She Just Won't Quit...

One more puzzle and I promise I'll stop - at least for a few days.  Besides, I actually have a couple ideas to write about, so I can quit stalling.  Today, I'm testing your recognition of older book covers.  I hesitate to call them "classics" because there is such a dispute over what makes a book a classic.  So for the purposes of our puzzle, these are covers from "older books" - some older than others, certainly none still on the bestsellers list.  They also cover a variety of age groups.

The difficulty of recognizing covers from older books is that they have almost all been published in more than one version, using varying cover art.  In those cases, I tried to select the cover that is the most iconic or that contained the most obvious hints to the title.  How many can you identify?

Click to enlarge

Saturday, October 29, 2011

.Book Cover Puzzle - The Answers

Top Row (L to R): Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo; Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins; Moneyball by Michael Lewis; Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich; A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Row 2:  Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane; 11/23/63 by Stephen King (release date Nov. 2011); Room by Emma Donoghue; Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel; Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

 Row 3:  The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson; The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh; The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larrson; Steve Jobs by Walter Isaccson; The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

 Row 4: The Help by Kathryn Stockett; The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach; Under the Dome by Stephen King; Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen; Does the Noise In My Head Bother You by Steven Tyler

Six Word Saturday

Discovered I like to create puzzles.

Didn't have much to write about, so my posts this week were puzzles I created.  Turned out to be lots of fun.  Scroll down and play along.  No prizes, just the right to wear a self-satisfied smirk.

Six Word Saturday is sponsored by Cate at ShowMyFace.  Want to play along?  Just describe your life (or something in it) in a phrase using exactly six words.  For more information click here.  You can add an explanation, a video, a song or nothing at all.  Visit Cate's blog to link your entry or to read all entries.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Cover Puzzle

Blog:  a Web site containing the writer's experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites. 

I do realize that the "writer" portion of that description has been missing from the blog lately.  Partially because my brain is overloaded with everything else going on in life, and partially because I have discovered that creating these picture puzzles is a lot of fun.  So I'm posting another quiz.  

How much attention do you pay to the covers of the latest bestsellers?  The box below contains snippets from the covers of nineteen bestselling books from the past few years - and one that will be (release date in November, but it's been all over the internet).  How many can you identify?

Click on picture to enlarge

If current hits aren't your thing, check back in a few days.  I'm planning a classics quiz. (I think I'm addicted.  Hello, my name is Tami and I'm a quiz-a-holic.)  Have fun!

Classic TV Collage Answers

The television shows represented in the collage are: (left to right, top to bottom, or as close as I could come)

The Andy Griffith Show; Charlie's Angels; Barney Miller; Starsky and Hutch; Rockford Files; The Dick Van Dyke Show

Soap; I Dream Of Jeannie; Beverly Hillbillies; Munsters; Gunsmoke; Cheers

Bonanza; Dukes of Hazzard, Columbo; Partridge Family

M*A*S*H; Green Acres; Happy Days; Captain Kangaroo; Bewitched

Brady Bunch; Love Boat; Gilligan's Island

And the little spirally thing is:  The Twilight Zone

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TV Collage

The kids haven't done anything funny to write about, I can't work up the concentration to review the books sitting here, the laundry is actually caught up, and I'm avoiding working on cross-stitch Christmas stockings.  All of this adds up to me spending hours collecting and arranging pictures to further challenge your knowledge of classic TV.  Now you have an excuse to sit at your computer and avoid whatever it is you don't want to do.  You can thank me later.

There are twenty-five shows represented below.  How many can you name?  (No need to find the bi-focals, just click on the image to make it larger.)

TV Quiz Answers

So, how well do you remember you TV shows?  If you haven't taken the quiz yet, scroll down to the previous post and try your luck.  If you did take the quiz, here are the answers so you can stop fretting and get back to work.  

  1. Book 'em Danno - Hawaii Five-o (McGarrett)
  2. Dyn-o-mite - Good Times (JJ Evans)
  3. God'll get you for that, Walter - Maude (Maude)
  4. I know nothing - Hogan's Heroes (Sergeant Schultz)
  5. Missed it by that much - Get Smart (Maxwell Smart)
  6. Stifle! - All in the Family (Archie Bunker)
  7. Everybody lies - House (Dr. Greg House)
  8. The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat - Wide World of Sports
  9. Sock it to me! - Laugh-in
  10. Biff!  Bam!  Pow! - Batman
  11. And a one...and a two... - Lawrence Welk
  12. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him.  We have the technology - 6 million dollar man - Six Million Dollar Man (Oscar Goldman)
  13. Howwwdeeee! - Hee Haw! (Minnie Pearl)
  14. Just the facts, Ma'am - Dragnet (Sgt. Joe Friday)
  15. Kiss my grits - Alice (Flo)
  16. Nanoo, nanoo - Mork and Mindy (Mork)
  17. Here's what happened - Monk (Adrian Monk)
  18. Shazam! - Gomer Pyle
  19. Say kids, what time is it? - Howdy Doody (Announcer)
  20. Survey says... - Family Feud (various hosts)
  21. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds - Mission Impossible
  22. Who was that masked man? - Lone Ranger
  23. Won't you be my neighbor - Mr. Rogers
  24. Make it work! - Project Runway (Tim Gunn)
  25. Follow the bouncing ball - Sing Along With Mitch (Mitch Miller)
  26. You've got some splainin' to do - I Love Lucy (Ricky Ricardo)
  27. Did I do that? - Family Matters (Steve Urkel)
  28. De plane! De plane! - Fantasy Island (Tattoo)
  29. He's the guy - Monk (Adrian Monk)
  30. I don't think so, Tim - Home Improvement (Al Borland)
  31. Jinkies! - Scooby Doo (Velma)
Now admit it - how many times did you smack your forehead and say "Oh yeah!" ?

Monday, October 24, 2011

TV Catchphrase Quiz II

A year or so ago, I tested your memory of classic TV catchphrases.  Now it's time for round two.  Can you identify the television show and/or the character who said these lines?
  1. Book 'em Danno. 
  2. Dyn-o-mite!
  3. God'll get you for that, Walter.
  4. I know nothing.
  5. Missed it by that much.
  6. Stifle!
  7. Everybody lies.
  8. The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. 
  9. Sock it to me!
  10. Biff!  Bam!  Pow! 
  11. And a one...and a two... 
  12. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him.  We have the technology. 
  13. Howwwdeeee!
  14. Just the facts, Ma'am .
  15. Kiss my grits.
  16. Nanoo, nanoo 
  17. Here's what happened. . .
  18. Shazam!
  19. Say kids, what time is it? 
  20. Survey says... 
  21. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. 
  22. Who was that masked man? 
  23. Won't you be my neighbor?
  24. Make it work! 
  25. Follow the bouncing ball. 
  26. You've got some splainin' to do.
  27. Did I do that? 
  28. De plane! De plane! 
  29. He's the guy.
  30. I don't think so, Tim.
  31. Jinkies! 
And of course:  Just one more thing . . .

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Read-A-Thon Wrap-Up

Another 24-Hour Read-a-Thon is done.  Not my most successful in terms of pages read, but who cares?  There's no prize for the most prolific reader, and I had a lot of fun - so that's a win-win in my book.  Here's what I learned:

1.  Sharing the RAT with a friend doubles the fun.  This was the first read-a-thon for my sister/friend, Teri.  We chatted via instant messenger as she navigated her way through challenges and blog posts.  We were our own personal cheer-leading team.  Rah!

2.  I suck at goal-reaching.  My goal was to read 45 minutes of each hour, with 15 minutes for challenges, posting updates, grabbing snacks, and other "personal needs" after a jillion cups of coffee.  Yeah, that didn't happen.  I spent too much time reading about/entering challenges, watching fun videos posted by hostesses, etc.  My 15 minute break was usually closer to 25.  

3.  It's as much about the people as the books.  I love the book-blogging community and did a little squeal every time someone left me a comment.  I have made some wonderful on-line friends though this event.  Over the next few days I will visit the blog of everyone who left a comment and return the favor, and I'll probably add a new string of blogs to my reader.

4.  Hosting a challenge is amazing - large return of fun for a minimal amount of prep!  During the hour that our challenge posted, I did even less reading than average because I kept checking to see if people were entering.  Once the entry time had expired, I spent an entire hour reading all the entries, discussing them with Dave, and selecting a winner.  It cut into my reading time, but who cares?  I'll definitely be volunteering to host again.

5.  If you build it [a challenge, that is] they will come - and leave comments in droves!  It seems to be a universal trait - people who love books love to share books.  Seventy-five people left us fascinating comments with ideas on how to share the love of books.  I'll be posting a wrap-up of all their ideas with the next day or so.  

6.  The most important piece of new information I gleaned from this read-a-thon, which I will be sure to remember and use in the future:  Take your medicine, you idiot!  I take medication for headaches that makes me drowsy.  One little pill at bed-time affects my sleep patterns and keeps me from waking up with a headache that starts in my temples, radiates over the top of my head and ends just below my should blades.  I know this for absolute, un-arguable fact!  I lived with these headaches for years (and years and years) before one genius doctor finally diagnosed the solution.  As long as I take that tiny little pill, headaches are rare.  BUT, they make it difficult to wake up in the morning.  So, being the total genius that I am (NOT) I decided that one night without medication would be ok and would allow me to be more alert to read.  Really, really bad idea!  Drowsy is better than in pain.  Next time I'll remember - Take the pill, stupid!

7.  READERS ROCK!  Thanks to everyone who organized, cheered, read, commented and challenged. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Re-Reading Mini Challenge

In the days when we didn't have a local library, I did a lot of rereading  Now that I have easier access to books, it doesn't happen as often.  However, there are a few old friends that I still continue to visit:
Beautifully written love story.
 There are certain passages I re-read within each re-read.
At 1400 pages, it doesn't get re-read very often, but once you
 start reading, you just fall in and don't want to come out.
This series is my "go-to", easy grabs when I just need comfort, old friends and an always
 well written story.  Some of the later volumes suffered with Ms. Braun's advancing age (she passed away in June at the age of 97),  but the early entries are fun and familiar.

Phase IV

I accomplished very little during Phase III.  You remember Phase III, those hours I had in the peace and quiet to do some serious reading?  Yeah, not so much.  Now Dave is home so there's noise in the house and more distractions - but I'm going to keep trying.

Update: 10:41 PM - The headache is getting the better of me so I'm going to try a few hours sleep and rejoin for the home stretch.  Until then - Read on, Thonners!

Mid-Event Survey

1.  What are you reading right now?  Back and forth between Shakespeare's Christmas by Charlaine Harris and Katie's Way by Marta Perry

2. How many books have you read so far? Finished one and part-way through two others.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?  I have the latest Sandra Brown waiting in the wings, but doubt that I get to it.

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? Just get all my weekend chores done in advance (cleaning, laundry, etc) so I could read guilt-free.  The joys of an empty nest. :)

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?  Hubby came home for lunch and to watch the KSU/KU football game - which KSU won easily, by the way.  Our house is small, so there really wasn't any place to get away from it.  So, I spent a large part of the time reading the entries in our mini-challenge and watching instant replays.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?  It always surprises me how much time you can spend on-line and not reading.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  I should win multiple prizes and someone should deliver gourmet snacks and meals to my house.

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?  This is my 5th readathon, so I've got a pretty good routine worked out.

9. Are you getting tired yet?  No.  I took a short doze this afternoon (less than an hour) and in my time zone it's only 7:00 PM.

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?  Don't sweat the goals.  I say that every time.  It sucks all the fun out if you get upset because you aren't getting tons of books read.

Read-A-Thon Phase III

I made it through Phase I: the early hours of excitement and anticipation, and Phase II: the busy hours when we hosted a mini-challenge, read all the responses, selected a winner, Dave was home for lunch, KSU/KU football game was on (Yeah, Cats!!) and concentration was at a minimum.

Now I'm set for Phase III:  The house is quiet again and I've got several hours of quiet before Dave will be back home (we're in harvest here, so he's working 12-14 hour days).  But the "newness" has warn off, and I'm getting drowsy.  Time to hunker down and do some serious reading. 

Hang in there readers!

6:00 update - Started a new book, Shakespeare's Christmas by Charlaine Harris.  No, I haven't finished Katie's Way, thank you for asking, but my mind needs some variety at this stage of the game.

7:00 update - really not much to update.  More of the same book.  I bought this paperback at a used book store because I was curious about Ms. Harris' writing, but I couldn't get interested in the vampire stories.  This is a really well written cozy mystery.  

We Have a Winner!

We have selected a winner in our Share a Book Mini-Challenge.  Congratulations Mocha Girls Read!  Here is how she shares her love of reading:
I started Mocha Girls Read because I was the only woman of color I knew (family not included) who loved to read. I thought there must be others so I started the blog then we grew quickly and now have two chapters and over 100 twitter followers and just got 80 Facebook Likes all in two months.
Unfortunately, she did not leave her e-mail address so we can't contact her.  If you're out there, Mocha Girl, please leave us a comment with your e-mail address.  

Thanks to everyone who played along.  We were amazed at the number and variety of entries.  I'll put up a summary post in the next couple days so maybe you can borrow an idea from someone else and continue sharing books. 

Happy Reading!

Hour 6 Mini Challenge - Impatiently Waiting

Lisa @ Lisa's World of Books is hosting this fun challenge to list the Top 5 books we're anticipating.  Or, as our nephew said many years ago, "I can't wait.  Can you wait?  I just can't wait."  :)   Here are my choices:

Share a Book Mini-Challenge

You may have noticed the banner at the top of our blog - The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.  We believe that and encourage you to spread your love of reading.  There are many other ways to share a good story - reading to children, reading to the visually impaired or nursing home residents, book clubs, author events, blogs...

My sister, Teri, and I share books in our own two-person book club, taking turns making bi-monthly reading selections and creating fun activities to go along with the book.  My husband, Dave, and I enjoy sharing books by reading them aloud to each other and discussing the plot points as we go along.  We started this blog to encourage others to do the same.

To enter our mini-challenge just tell us your favorite way to share a book - brief description, picture, poem or even a link to a previous blog post - anything that expresses how you share your love of reading.  The winner will receive a trade-paperback copy of I Don't Know How She Does It, by Allison Pearson (now a movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Pierce Brosnan) and an Internet Journal for storing favorite web-sites, sign-in/password info, and more. (Open internationally.)  Just leave us a comment and then go double your reading pleasure and share a book!  The challenge will remain open for two hours - till 1:00 PM Central Time (US).  Please leave your e-mail address with your entry if it is not linked with your user name.  

Thanks and Happy Reading!


The Read-a-Thon Begins

Ok, Mom, I'm up.  *drags self out of bed*

Off to a drowsy, stumbling start, but I'm off.  The coffee is almost ready, the house is dark and quiet, so here goes...

1)Where are you reading from today? - Green Acres, Verdon, Nebraska, USA

2)Three random facts about me…
 1.  My sister (check out her blog) is participating with me in her first readathon (Yeah!)

 2.  I'm hosting my first mini-challenge.
 3.  I bought cheese puffs for snacking and left the bag open for the last two days because I like them slightly stale.  How weird is that?

3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? - about 30, but realistically I hope to get to four.

4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? My goal is to read for 45 minutes of each hour for about 12 hours (I'm too old to stay up all night), to get through at least two complete books and maybe a little more, and to have tons and tons of fun.

5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?   Relax about the goals, don't try to enter every mini-challenge, and have fun.  Meeting people is the best part.

Now for my first read - The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson.

8:00 update - Doing well, need more coffee.  Making progress on The Christmas Wedding.  AND I WON A PRIZE THE FIRST HOUR.  What a great way to kick off the readathon.

9:00 update:  I'm still awake and still reading.  My first book is an easy read, so I should finish it easily within the next hour or two.  That's a good way to start the readathon.  

10:00 update:  Only 40 pages to go on book #1.  Switching from coffee to Diet Coke.

12:00 update:  Wow!  That morning went fast.  I took the last hour off from reading to get cleaned up and, as my mother-in-law would say, "look like I'm up for all day".  Switched from pj's to sweats, cause there's such a difference. :)   Finished book #1, so now I'm starting Katie's Way by Marta Perry.  Our challenge ran during this past hour and continues until 1:00.  Wonderful response - and lots of fun.  Wish everyone could win.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Read-A-Thon Prep

Tomorrow is the Read-A-Thon, one of my favorite book events.  If you haven't signed up yet, go here and get your name on the list.  You don't have to have a blog, just a desire to read, meet other book fanatics, win prizes and have a lot of fun.  

Today is Official Read-A-Thon Prep Day, so I'll be spending my day getting rid of all possible distractions, like the dust on the end table, the stack of laundry, the tomatoes that need canned, and the dirty dishes.  Once the house is reasonably free of distractions, there is food prep - a make-ahead meal that can be popped in the oven tomorrow evening, something easy to grab for lunch, and lots and lots of snacks.

Step three is book selection.  This is the toughest part, but if I don't have a general line-up in mind, I waste too much time deciding what to read.

My current read (Christmas Wedding) plus books from the library.

Recent book purchases and gifts.

ARCs and a few others that should have been read long ago.
The pics aren't very clear, but if you see something there that I should put near the top of the pile, please let me know.   During previous read-a-thons, I found it easier to keep focus if I jump back and forth between a couple books, and if I don't read anything too deep.

The final piece of the perfect read-a-thon day is ambiance.  Since it will be a crisp autumn day here, I think some Christmas music and the scent of apples/cinnamon are in order.

I better get to work.  What are your read-a-thon plans?