Thursday, September 30, 2010

Booking Through Thursday

If you read series, do you ever find a series “jumping the shark?” How do you feel about that?

And, do you keep reading anyway?

I don't usually read series, however, I've read some.
The three most famous are Harry Potter, Narnia and LoTR and we all know how great those are.

A long time ago, the first series I read was "The Green Mile" by Stephen King. This was when that book was in 6 serial books. We passed it around work, I blew through that series, it was fun.

Other than those, I've read 2 other series:

Sisters of the Quilt series by Cindy Woodsmall

Crossroads of Grace series by Allison Pittman

I'm sure you can tell by the titles that these are Christian/Inspirational fiction. I actually read the Crossroads of Grace series out of order, but when I went back to book one after reading book 2, I was not disappointed. This was my first try at reading a series that wasn't 'popular'.

Sisters of the Quilt series revolved around the Amish community. I found it informative and interesting.

None of the above had Jumped the Shark, I found them all very good. I have never not finished a series.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Booking Through Thursday

What are you reading right now? What made you choose it? Are you enjoying it? Would you recommend it? (And, by all means, discuss everything, if you’re reading more than one thing!)

I am in the middle of 4 books right now, so I'll pick the two that I find most interesting.

Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano

Elizabeth Street is a novel based on true events. It is based on Laurie Fabiano's great grandmother and other relatives from the early 20th century. The book talks of their immigration and the reasons behind it. It also talks about the early Italian-American culture in New York at that time. This is not just a history book, there is a story of tragedy and hope entwined in this book.

I discovered this book when looking for books to read about New York City. I love reading non-fiction books about it, and I occasionally come across a fiction book or two that I find interesting, this was one of them. I am half way through, and am enjoying it very much. I recommend this book to everyone, and if someone lives in NYC, they may find it even more interesting, but I think anyone could enjoy this story.

*Elizabeth Street is a street in New York City's Little Italy.

The other book I'm reading is called Mustaine. It is an autobiography (or as he puts it, A Heavy Metal Memoir) about Heavy Metal guitarist/singer Dave Mustaine from the band "Megadeth".

I have this in audiobook format, and though Mustaine himself is not reading this, the narrator that is sounds very much like him. Mustaine talks about his messed up childhood, his messed up parents, his drug riddled youth, his drug riddled adult hood... you know, same old same old.

Since I have been a Megadeth fan since 1986, I knew a lot of this stuff, however, I didn't know all. I am not shocked about what I hear, but I am interested.

This book is not for all audiences. It is filled with profane language, drugs and violence. I think an interest in the band, or at least Heavy Metal music is necessary to really find enjoyment here.

I came across this book accidently while looking through books at There it popped up, big as day, of course how could I not buy it?

*Dave Mustaine wrote this at around age 47. A good age, I think, to write a first memoir.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The True Book Addict has a mini-challenge. Banned book week is approaching, and this challenge is to pick a banned book I have read (if you haven’t one you would like to read), and write about my reasons for reading it and my thoughts on it.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is on the banned list and has been for years. It cites racism and offensive language as the top two reasons for its banishment. I read this book in 2009. It had been sitting on my shelves for years, and I had seen the movies years prior. I had always heard how wonderful this book was and that it is a must read before I die, so one day I sat down and started to read it.

My son had read this book in his freshman year of high school. A mistake had been made during the summer and he was not sent his summer book reading list. The first day of school, he was told he needed to do a book report (on 2 books, the other which is also on the list “Animal Farm”) or he’d fail. He had read “Animal Farm” in the 8th grade, so it just left him having to read “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I managed to find a copy in the library (they didn’t have a copy in, but as I was about to leave, someone was just returning it…I have the luck of the Irish).

My son was up for 4 hours reading this book, he was enthralled. I had never worried about any book the school required my children to read. I find the reasons most books are banned are ludicrous. I never felt my children’s morals were at risk, and they quite enjoyed the banned books they’ve read (my daughter read some Judy Blume). Why should children be sheilded from the ugly realities of the world? Yes, "To Kill a Mockingbird", is full of racism, but the world was full of racism in the 1930s. We cannot sweep it under the rug and hope the past vanishes. As far as 'offensive language' I can honestly say, I do not recall any words that I don't hear in the street on a daily basis.

However, I still did not have the desire to read it; I’d seen the film after all. Last September during banned books read I finally picked it up. I read it because it was a TBR, that fit a challenge I was participating in.
I’ve heard about American racism first hand through my older relatives, so there was no shock factor in reading what was in this book. It is rather a sad story, and makes me happy that we, as a nation, has improved for the most part. I appreciated the precociousness of Scout and the curiosity of her and her brother & neighbor.

When asked what my favorite book is, I know tell people it is “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Most people I know have not read it, so I urge them to. It is an excellent piece of historical fiction, and banned or not, has stood the test of time.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall Catch Up Readathon


There is a week long book challenge. It is a catch-up read-a-thon. This is something I NEED! I have so many I want to finsih and get to....

Books on the list:

Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano (will finish)
Call of the Wild by Jack London (will finish)
Anne Bradstreet by D.B. Kellogg (will finish)
Mary Baker Eddy by Gillian Gill (will be in and out, it is huge)

That is it at this point, hopefully this will give me the push I need to finish these books.

Monday, September 20, 2010



The 2nd read-a-thon is approaching. It will be on October 9th. I orginally was not going to join, because on Saturday, I have guitar class from 4pm - 5pm. However, I thought about it and I really want to do this. I will not win, but I'm going for it, and read at all other times (waking hours), even in transit. I can do that since I will be taking the subway to and from class.

I have not chosen any books yet, but I believe I will read what I have here, I have many TBR books on my shelves and on my Kindle.

The last time I attempted this was April 2009, I failed, I only read one book. How sad is that!!

My minimum goal is 4 books and I hope to read 6. Once I get a preliminary list together, I will post.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Clarissa's First Time Cooking Dinner

Clarissa made dinner today. It was Cream of Celery with Cheesy Toast. I only helped a little by cutting the smaller pieces. So here is her adventure.
First she diced the celery and onions in a food processor. Her eyes teared up!
Then she sauteed them in olive oil for 5 minutes.

The diced potatoes were placed into the crock pot along with the sauteed onions and celery and vegetable broth.
A little while later she stirs it.

Time to make the cheesy toast. She used italian bread, butter, garlic and 6 blend Italian cheese. So it was more like cheesy garlic bread.

Serving with the ladle.

Soup's up! Looks good, tastes good.
Clarissa's first meal was a sucsess. The soup reminded me of French Onion soup. We added the cheese to the soup and it was even yummier.
Thanks for cooking dinner Clarissa.

Monday, September 13, 2010

JIMMY PAGE BY JIMMY PAGE only to be afforded by JIMMY PAGE

$683 USD
$710 CND

"He's a really big legend all over the music world but after you learn the price of his autobiography you might think he's an even bigger legend in his mind."

Jimmy Page is my longest and first love, but I will be damned if I am going to pay that much for any book he puts out. A long-awaited autobiography will be released on
September 27, 2010 and is to be called Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page.

However, this is a book about his career and it is in pictures. Only 2,500 copies are being sold, each of them signed and hand-bound in leather and laser-cut Perspex. The pages and spine are decorated in gold, and the book is presented in a silk-bound slipcase. Definetly a collectors item.

A proper autobiography will most likely not be released in his lifetime. He is really into the posthumous idea. I don't know if I will be able to read a posthumous book, I will most likely be too heart broken. And what does he have to hide? We know how rock stars are....really Jimmy? We know you slept/sleep around. Just because you are 66, doesn't mean you stopped being a man!

*sigh* I still love you! It's worked hard in your life, sit back and reap the rewards of super stardom.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Homemade pizzas

Homemade pizzas
Originally uploaded by kelsokraft

I have never made a homemade pizza with homemade crust before. I've used pita bread and pre-made crusts. This crust was from scratch. It is whole wheat. I found the recipe in a vegetarian cook book. I didn't make the sauce this time, because I'm too lazy, but the crust is the hard part.

It came out well. We made 2 pies, but I forgot to take a picture before we ate it, so my half is the one on the left, and Clarissa's half is the one on the right.

I am not one to usually post food, but I am very proud of our creation!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Son at School / Regis Philbin Avenue

One of his classmates snapped a picture of my son in action. This is him at the board in his JAVA class. I'm not sure if he is explaining a problem, or working something out. But it is nice to get a picture of him there.

The Bronx has some heroes. One that is still alive and kicking is Regis Philbin. His old neighborhood is about a mile from my home, and I finally managed to go that way and take a picture of the sign. The block itself, doesn't look like much, but I am sure it was much nicer 75 years ago.

A stretch of Cruger Avenue in the Bronx where Philbin lived as a child has been renamed Regis Philbin Avenue.

Philbin attended Our Lady of Solace grammar school in the Bronx. He went on to graduate from Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Booking Through Thursday

You’ve just dropped your favorite, out-of-print book into a bathtub, ruining it completely … What do you do now?

1. Curse like a sailor

2. Go into denial "It isn't that badly ruined"

3. Cry

4. Curse like a sailor again

5. See if I can find a replacement somewhere

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Middle School Starts / Movies

Today was the first day of Middle School for my daughter. She started 6th grade. I am hoping this year will not be as awful as last year. She is still on academic probation. She will be on until December, if she misbehaves, she will be expelled. I'm worried because Middle School is a whole new routine. Lockers, switching classrooms, different teacher for each subject. Well I made it through, she will too. It is just so different than when my son went to that school. It is a PK - 8 school, but once you hit 1st grade, you were in the 'same school'. The past few years, they made grade 6,7,8 a 'separate school', having their own entrance and floor.

The past 10 days movie watching has been all over the place. 2 movie theater movies and the rest at home.

The Last Exorcism
What a waste of money. I was expecting something on the level of "The Exorcist", but it wasn't. It was done documentary style (Like Blair Witch), however, it wasn't scary, not in the least. The ending was garbage. I do not recommend, I was disappointed.

Dear John
I read the book by Nicholas Sparks a few years ago. My daughter wanted to see it, so we got it from the library. Pretty good romance movie, predictable, somewhat. Boy meets girl, They fall in love, boy leaves girl....blah blah blah.

Clash of the Titans (2010)
Remake of the 70s movie with better FX & costumes. Nothing new here.

Berkley Square
The latest BBC miniseries from my list. Story of 3 nannies at the turn of the 20th century in London. These young nannies become friends, as they all work on the same block. They all come from very different backgrounds, but find common ground in their lot. It is roughly a 9 hour miniseries and great acting. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Robert Rodriguez does it again with his 70 style exploitation type violence. Starring Danny Trejo as Machete, this fast paced action film has everything from sex & violence to a bit of comic relief. Fun movie, don't walk in expecting high art, it is not that, but a 4 out of 5 stars.

The Little Prince
Yes, like the book. A 70s live action movie based on it. Very accurate, and cute.

Nanny McPhee Returns
Little c, big P. A charming sequal to the original. This movie, moves up in time about 75 years. This takes place during WWII in England. Nanny comes to help children in need and in the processes teaches them something about family.

D.O.A. (1950)
Film noir at its best. A man has discovered he has luminous poising and has only days to live. He has to find out who his killer is.

The Back-up Plan
I like Jennifer Lopez as an actress, more so than a singer. This is a cute romantic comedy. I recommend for a light movie day.

Korean language movie. A mother goes to great lengths to protect her mentally challenged son. This thriller has a twist, so pay attention.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What's Up with Reading?

Some of you are probably wondering what happened to my reading. Truth is, it has slowed way down. Currently I am reading "The Girl Who Played With Fire" by Steg Larsson. It is a library borrow, so I will be done with it before the end of 2 weeks. The queue for this book and the 3rd book (1st one too) is mega long. Although it goes fast. I was at #1,300 when I put it on the queue, but it only took about 8 weeks to get it.

I'm listening to 2 books, as I posted below. "Mustaine" about Dave Mustaine of Megadeth/Metallica fame, and still listening to the Dale Carnagie book. These audio books are pretty long...around 13 hours each. I listen to about 30 min a day on most cases, although "Mustaine" is awesome. I love hearing about Dave Mustaines upbringing and his start in the music business, so I am really enjoying it, and really listening to every word said.

I'm bummed because I cannot find my copy of "The Artists Way". I've had that book forever, and I know it is in this house somewhere!!