Monday, December 31, 2012

Movie Stats for 2012

Total Movies Watched:  295

Foreign:   9
Classics (pre 1967):  29
Horror:  19
Documentary:  30
Theater: 30
Movies I watched Live (at home): 12

In 2011 I topped out at 301. Slacked off some this year, but I did more reading so I guess it evens out.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reading Stats for 2012

Books Read:    110

Non-Fiction:  56
Fiction:    54

So the ratio was closer than I had hoped.  It is nearly even!

My goal of 85 was reached the first week of November.

Paper books borrowed from Library:  50
E Books: 11 (pathetic)
Audio books:  44
Paper books I own:  1
Classics:  8
Borrowed from Friend who happens to be the author:  2
New Authors:  76
Longest book read:  800 Pages (The Passage)
Longest book listened to:  47 hours (The Count of Monte Cristo)

Favorite Fiction:  The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (audio)
                             May the Road Rise up to Meet You by Peter Troy (paper)

Least Favorite Fiction:  Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Carol for Another Christmas

:Carol for Another Christmas" is a TV movie that was filmed in 1964.  It was scripted by Rod Serliing.  It is the retelling of "A Christmas Carol" but made very modern (for 1964).

Here is a blurb from Wikipedia:

Presented without commercial interruptions, this "United Nations Special" was sponsored by the Xerox Corporation, the first of a series of Xerox specials promoting the UN. Director Joseph Mankiewicz's first work for television, the 90-minute ABC drama was publicized as having an all-star cast (which meant that names of some supporting cast members were not officially released). In Rod Serling's update of Charles Dickens, industrial tycoon Daniel Grudge (Sterling Hayden) has never recovered from the loss of his 22-year-old son Marley (Peter Fonda), killed in action during Christmas Eve of 1944. The embittered Grudge has only scorn for any American involvement in international affairs. But then the Ghost of Christmas Past (Steve Lawrence) takes him back through time to a World War I troopship. Grudge also is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present (Pat Hingle), and the Ghost of Christmas Future (Robert Shaw) gives him a tour across a desolate landscape where he sees the ruins of a once-great civilization. In the final weeks of post-production, Peter Fonda's scenes were deleted, but his image remained in the film, recognizable in a portrait on the wall.

This was aired by Turner Classic Movies on December 16th, 2012 after 42 years.

My thoughts on this film are mixed.  I am a traditional "A Christmas Carol" girl.  I like my ghost of Christmas future not to talk, I like my Tiny Tim and my Bah Humbugs.  This movie had none of that.  If it were not for the 'ghosts', I would not have thought this was a retelling.  However, the fact that Rod Serling wrote this script gives it a definite "Twilight Zone" feel.  This is very dark, and yes I know "A Christmas Carol" is dark, but this is dark even for today's standards.

As a stand alone film, it was thought provoking, I just didn't like having to fit the story I know into this format.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Final Christmas Book of the Season & One Christmas Movie

Christmas Stories: Heartwarming Classics of Angels, a Manger, and the Birth of Hope by Max Lucado 

This is a collection of short stories including:  The Christmas Candle.  Most of these stories take place during the time of Jesus, some take place in an earlier era.  All have heavy religious overtones.  Inspiring but not light reading.  3/5 stars.

This is the 6th Christmas book I've read for the season. I will not be reading any more.  I was not in the Christmas mood this year at all, I am surprised I read as many as I did.
The only Christmas movie I watched this week was "Arthur Christmas".  Arthur is Santa's youngest son.  He goes out one night with his grandfather (the former Santa Claus) but he doesn't start out to be the hero, he just wanted to make sure a little girl got her gift so her faith in Santa will not be shaken.

I wasn't sure I was going to like it, but of course, I did.  4/5 Stars 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

3 More Christmas books

Christmas After All by Kathryn Lasky is a book from the "Dear America" series of children's books. Minnie Swift is a pre-teen girl living in Depression Era America. Her family is not as bad off as a lot of people in America but they still see the times growing lean. They take in Minnie's cousin Willie Fay who was orphaned. Christmas is fast approaching and Minnie is not sure if this will be a Merry Christmas or not. I've never read a "Dear America" book before, honestly I never heard of it. I thought it was pretty good. I wish these were out when I was a kid. 4/5 stars.

The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall is the story of a young Amish woman named Mattie who loves to bake and owns her own shop.  She is dating one man but still has feelings for Gideon, the one who broke her heart.  Gideon is hiding a secret from her.  Will he ever be able to tell her and win her love again?

 I usually like Cindy Woodsmall books, but I thought this one was just OK.  It was slow, It was predictable.  Mattie's character got on my nerves.  What a whiny, bubble-head.  3/5 stars.

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs was FANTASTIC. I loved this book.  Meg is a young woman who is in a train accident during a snowstorm.  She is unhurt but needs to get home.  Gordon Shaw, another passenger, offers to see her to safety.  Yeah, I know it sounds like a love story. But Oh My, this was some trip!  Not predictable at all. Loved every minute of this book. And to top it off, it was Christian.  4.5/5 stars.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday Movies - Week 2

Christmas on Chestnut Street:  A department store decides to have a 'Holiday Lights' contest.  The winner gets a shopping spree.  Neighbors try to outdo each other -- The Bigger The Better.  Sub plot of a romance developing.  In the end, people realize the true meaning of the holiday's (Hanukkah is not left out of this movie -- bravo).

A Tyler Perry's Madea's Christmas:  Tyler Perry started out producing plays.  This was one of them.  A bourgeois black family plans for their Christmas celebration.  They 'require' their maid to work on Christmas day, so she is unable to spend it with her family.  The daughter of the bourgeois family thought it would be nice to invite the maid's family over to their house for Christmas. Little did they know that this includes Madea.  Lots of laughs and lots of soulful singing.  And as always, this makes you think, as Tyler Perry is so masterful at doing.

Crazy For Christmas:  A wealthy man is chauffeured around by his daughter who he never met. She doesn't know who he is and finds his behavior eccentric, however, she is a single mother and really needs the money.  Eventually she finds out that this man is her father and the story takes an interesting twist.

Christmas Unwrapped:  This was a non-fiction film that highlights how Christmas has changed over the years.  Interviewing older and younger people about what is special about Christmas for them.  It also gave ideas on how to make the holiday more memorable for your family while keeping it simple and to remind us what the holiday is truly about.

New Year's Eve:  An  all star cast.  The lives of several New Yorker's on New Years Eve.  The stress, the loneliness, the absurdity.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reading 2013

I’ve been going around in my head about what I will read for 2013.  I’ve done alphabetical lists, I’m really not interested in doing a geographical list, so what is left?
I’ve decided that I will read MOSTLY new authors for 2013.  I would say I would read only 100% new authors but the truth is, there are some books coming out next year by authors such as (Stephen King, etc.) that I will read, as well as finishing up some books I let lie around, not to mention the trilogies I’m in the middle of, and that J.K. Rowling book that I’ve yet to read.  HOWEVER, I will be reading a good portion of new authors. 
I was going to cut out the non-fiction reading all together, but there are so many interesting books I want to read, however, most, if not all of them are from authors I’ve never read. So it will work.
I have to set rules for myself or I will go astray.
  1. I can read two books by a new author (i.e. Marilynne Robinson’s “Home” and “Gilead”).
  2. Read a percentage of new authors based on anticipated total books read.  I will start with reading 60% new authors.  If I plan to read 85 books next year, then I will read 51 new authors.  This will not include 2 books by the same author, so Marilynne Robinson will be counted only once.
  3. I can books from a collection as long as I’ve never read the author. (i.e. “Star Trek: Children of the Storm” by Kirsten Beyer).  I’ve read many Star Trek books, but not one by this particular author.
  4. Don’t get stuck on a particular subject.  For instance, last year I found that I enjoyed books that were about the antebellum south.  So I read a lot of them one right after the other.  There is nothing wrong with reading books you enjoy, but I will try not to cluster them.  The only exceptions will be in October (Halloween/Horror) and December (Christmas).
Looking back on 2012, out of the 98 books I’ve read to date 70 of these books were by authors I’ve never read before, but this was purely accidental. I didn’t start out planning to do that, I just felt I needed to expand my reading scope.  However, far too many of these books were non-fiction, which is not hard to find a new author in that genre.  Out of the 70 new authors only 37 of those were new fiction authors.  So my goal is two fold, I need to read more new authors of fiction while reducing my reading new authors of non-fiction, thereby bringing my overall non-fiction reading number down considerably.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Holiday Movies

I've started watching Holiday films.  Here is what I've watched so far:

Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade - Technically a 'Thanksgiving' movie, but it is the start of the Holiday season.  Romantic movie about a woman whose boyfriend is reluctant to propose so she breaks it off.  She is forced to work with a guy who she thinks is a jerk.  Do I really have to spell it out?

Miracle At Sage Creek
- I finally watched this.  A pioneer family is about to lose there home because of a unhappy land owner who hates Native Americans.  Will this 'scrooge' have a change of heart?  Sometimes we get mercy even though we don't deserve it.

Holiday Spin - I have only two words RALPH MACCHIO.  Yes a 50+ year old Ralph (who still looks at least 10 years younger) is a dance instructor who gains custody of his estranged teenage son.  We get to see Ralph glide across the floor.  Another treat in this movie is Benji Schwimmer, who plays a real jerk (go figure).  Those of you who are "So You Think You Can Dance" fans know who that is.

A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas - Not my favorite H&K movie.  It was silly but touching in parts.

Christmas Song - A Girl's High School merges with a Boy's High school. Jobs will be made redundant, and to determine which music director stays on one of them will have to win the Christmas Singing contest.  Will it be the boys or the girls music director?

The History of the Holiday's - A set of documentaries put out by the History Channel.  These four discs include One about the birth of Jesus, one about Christmas at Wartime, another about the origins of St. Nick and one on various Christmas origins. Very interesting and informative.

It's A Wonderful Life - This is my favorite Christmas movie in the whole wide world!!

No man is a failure who has friends

Friday, November 30, 2012

Star Bright by Father Andrew M. Greeley

This is a great little romantic Christmas story that is not typical in one sense but in essence there are only a handful of stories to tell. I enjoyed the ending.

This was my first Andrew Greeley book. Being Catholic I felt obligated to at least read one. I can say the story telling is average, however, someone needs to find this Priest a new editor, proofreader or whatever, because the typos, mis-spellings and tense confusion in this book were appalling.

I borrowed this book from the library, and a previous reader was so kind as to underline every single mistake in the book. I would say there were 10 or more. For instance, the phrase "difficulty family" as opposed to "difficult family”.

That did distract me from the story a bit. I will give another one of his books a try, but if that is something I have to contend with, I will not be reading any more.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
It's beginning to look a lot like an American Christmas: unpleasant relatives, miserable travel, a slobbering dog-and one "harmless American of Irish origins," Jack Flanigan, who is reluctantly falling in love with a young Russian woman studying at Harvard.

She's spending Christmas alone in a foreign country, so he invites the dark-eyed beauty home to Chicago for the holiday. Even though it isn't Christmas in the Russian Orthodox calendar, she accepts!

What happens when she gets to Chicago and caught in the maelstrom of commercialized Yuletide? Enough to say, there's a tree, and a feast, and midnight Mass, and a gaggle of contentious Flanigans of all ages-who have the merriest Christmas ever-and nothing will ever be quite the same for any of them.

Especially for Jack.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Winter Dream - Richard Paul Evans

Richard Paul Evans' new Christmas book "A Winter Dream" is out in bookstores now.  This story is based on the Bible story of Joseph and his brothers.  This modern day account has ad exec sacrificed & banished due to jealousy.  Joseph Jacobson has a few bumps along the way and one wonders if he will ever find happiness.

I don't want to give too much away because I know several people are reading this one.  I enjoyed it. 

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

This is my FIRST book for the challenge.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012 through Sunday, January 6, 2013 

Visit her site to see more details. 
 These are the Levels:
 --Candy Cane: read 1 book --Mistletoe: read 2-4 books
 --Christmas Tree: read 5 or 6 books (this is the fanatic level...LOL!) 

 Last year I was Christmas Tree. I went nuts. I probably will read 5 books this year (last year I read 7). I will also be watching lots of Christmas Films.

My first book will most likely be Richard Paul Evans "A Winter Dream". It is waiting for me at my library. I read his Christmas books every year. I will be very disappointed when he stops. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Library Discovery

The library I normally go to is the Mid-Manhattan Branch, but when I feel like going to one in my neighborhood I go to the Parkchester Branch.

Now I've lived in my neighborhood for a total of 15 years.  5 years in the early 90s and recently for the last 10 years. And I've been on numerous walks over the years and I have never ever realized there was another library so close to my home.  I am happy to know I have another option.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thanksgiving Movies & Books

Thanksgiving Movies
I am filling up my DVR with Holiday movies.  It is November after all.  I came across a Thanksgiving movie that is new, so I thought I’d pass it along.
Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade
Premiere:  Sunday, November 4, 2012
Time:  8pm
I get excited when I come across Thanksgiving movies. There are not many out there.
If you surf around you will see that there are a lot of movies that claim to be Thanksgiving movies, but I don’t feel are really.  Movies like ‘Pocahontas’.  I think of Thanksgiving movies as movies about Families and Thanksgiving.
Hannah and Her Sisters
Soul Food
Who Made the Potatoe Salad? (the e is not a typo)
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Thanksgiving Family Reunion
An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving
Miracle on 34th Street (It encompasses both holidays so I put it for both)
A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion
The Thanksgiving Treasure
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Ice Storm (depressing)
A Time to Remember (depressing)
These are others, which I didn’t like, but still are Thanksgiving movies:
Home for the Holidays
Pieces of April
The Myth of Fingerprints
Thanksgiving Books
I’m only going to read one Thanksgiving book this year I think:
Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich.
It’s a romance novel, which I usually don’t read, but it is short and it is Thanksgiving themed.
Of course the Libraries in NY have to go back to full power before I can see if it is even ready for me to pick up. Hopefully they will extend the pick up time.
I can’t talk about much since news has been on all day since Monday and many shows have not aired.  I managed to catch some of them on Free on Demand.
Revolutions:  OK now this is getting interesting
Upstairs/Downstairs:  I wonder if we can write a petition to have Amajad killed off.
That’s it.  I haven’t watched “World Without End” yet, I’ll watch it this weekend.
Two and a Half men didn’t have sound last night, we had very bad cable last night, so I’ll try and watch that and “The New Normal” on Free on Demand.
We finally got WPIX (The CW) back on our cable service, but of course, nothing has been on. But I’m happy because with WPIX gone we also lost Antenna TV. How am I supposed to live with out all of my shows from the 1970s???  I was going through withdrawal.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricaine Sandy Aftermath - Picture Heavy

This tree fell on the graveyard by my church.  None of the headstones seem to be damaged, but the sidewalk out front and the gate are destroyed.  This is the worst uprooting I've ever seen.

We got a new Applebee's opening up next week, but unfortunately they lost part of their awning.  I am not sure who dragged it out of the street over to the island, but not only were they ripped from the facade, they were mangled beyond recognition.  I'm sure they will have this repaired before they open on the 5th.

Precariously perched traffic lights. The one on the bottom is roped off to cars and pedestrians, however, the one on the top is not.  It seems just as dangerous to me.

The playground is closed.  A branch managed to get caught on the gate and the grounds are a big mess.  Clean up will be needed before the kids can enjoy it again.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Christmas links

I am sitting here waiting for Sandy to hit us. No work, no school, no transit. At least we have cable and electricity. So I have some time to actually surf the web. I thought I'd put up my favorite Christmas links.

The Christmas Spirit: Christmas year round

As much as I like Christmas, I do think that it is too early for stores to have Christmas ornaments and trees on sale. And I'm not in to this years trend. Teal.  Nope.  I'm not to thrilled with the fuchsia either.  I either like the traditional red, green, gold and silver.  I like darker blue ornaments too.  My theme is pastels.  Other than that, I'm not feeling it.

OK so now on to books. I have my Christmas reading list ready. It is very long. I anticipate getting to about 5 of them.
I read every Christmas book Richard Paul Evans writes. This year is "A Winter Dream".  This is one I WILL read 100% this year.  Probably within the next 2 weeks as I am next in the library queue.

From Goodreads
Based on the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors. Joe is forced out of the family business by his jealous siblings. Moving on to another company, he soon becomes chief advisor to the CEO. But when the economy turns, Joe’s siblings need his help to save the family business.

      Based on the Old Testament story about Joseph and the coat of many colors and including a love story, A Winter Dream can be embraced for its message of forgiveness by believers and nonbelievers alike.

This is a book written by Father Andrew Greeley.  He is best known for a series of books about mystery-solving priest Blackie Ryan and the fey, amateur sleuth Nuala Anne McGrail.

But this book is not about either of those characters. 

From Goodreads
It's beginning to look a lot like an American Christmas: unpleasant relatives, miserable travel, a slobbering dog-and one "harmless American of Irish origins," Jack Flanigan, who is reluctantly falling in love with a young Russian woman studying at Harvard.

She's spending Christmas alone in a foreign country, so he invites the dark-eyed beauty home to Chicago for the holiday. Even though it isn't Christmas in the Russian Orthodox calendar, she accepts!

What happens when she gets to Chicago and caught in the maelstrom of commercialized Yuletide? Enough to say, there's a tree, and a feast, and midnight Mass, and a gaggle of contentious Flanigans of all ages-who have the merriest Christmas ever-and nothing will ever be quite the same for any of them.

Especially for Jack.

*  *  *

I'll post more of the books I may read later down the line.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gearing Up - Nanowrimo 2012

This year I am not flying by my seat.  I am outlining. This is a new thing for me, I like not knowing where my story is going, however, this year my story is a little complicated and I need some structure. 

I have created my outline on colored index cards.  So far I have 23 chapters and 4 parts.  I've done as much research as time allow.  I am sure I will have to do more during Nanowrimo, because I am going back to 1962.

I honestly don't know how writers write Historical Fiction.  The research that must go into it boggles my mind. I'm only going back 50 years and I have more information than I ever thought I would need.  However, to be reliable, I have to have my facts right.  I don't mind doing the research, but time is running out.  Next Thursday is T-30.

If the storm prevents me from going to work, I will spend much of the day researching.

I wish everyone who is participating this year the best of luck.  50K here I come.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I decided to gather all of my notebooks and put them in one place. New and used.  It turns out I have 27 of them.  most of them are Molskines, but those were bought recently.  I have some spiral type journals which i realize I don't like, but those are old. I have one Red & Black too.  Some of them are art journals and have paintings/drawings.

I have work in one of these from 1986. They are typed poems.  However, I didn't start the book until 1994.  I didn't always write in notebooks.  I stepped away from it for many years.  The main reason is that a lot of the stuff I was writing was very depressing.  I only started writing in them again recently. 2006 was when I went back to it. Although I still was not doing it daily.

I currently have 5 notebooks going at once.  One big one which I leave at home because it is too cumbersome to carry, one hard cover smaller one that I carry to work and a soft cover one which I also carry to work sometimes.  I have the little red one for taking notes in transit and a soft cover one for my dreams.  It sounds like I am ADD but I'm not. 

I have also put table of contents (on the last page, so is that an appendix?) So I can find things much easier. 

I don't think I'm an 'addict' but I do like them and will be using them probably for the remainder of my life.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Escape from Camp 14

Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden

What a heartbreaking story. I am very ignorant to what is going on in N. Korea. This young man's story was an educational moment for me. We learn about why N. Koreans are put into these camps. I assumed (with my Western mind) that they committed crimes, but this isn't the case at all. In N. Korea, you truly are visited by the sins of your father. I am going to continue to read more about N. Korea and try to get a broder view of what goes on there.

This biography was written by Blaine Harden an author and journalist who reports for PBS and Frontline.  Not only do we hear Shin's story about how he escaped the camp but we also learn some of the inner workings of N. Korea.

Shin Dong Hyuk now lives in the states and is a human rights activist.

Another book was mentioned in this one and I plan to read it soon. 
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick



Thursday, October 18, 2012


November is Nanowrimo.  I haven’t completed a Nano in about 3 years.  I had done it for many years before that and finished, but I don’t know what happened.  This year I’m going to finish.  I will post updates about that here.
Right now I’m in research mode.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to write a fictional account of my uncle’s death.  It is not going to be about my uncle’s death per se, rather the aftermath.  I wasn’t born when he died (1962), but I obtained details from my mother about the death.
One of the true aftermath’s of his death was me (not going in the novel). If he didn’t die, my mom would have married him instead of his brother, I wouldn’t be here as me, I’d be someone else LOL!
As I mentioned in my last post, I will be reading shorter books until the end of the year.  I just finished up “The Omen” by David Seltzer.  I know that the movie(s) were graphic, the newer one was more graphic than the original, but I feel that this book is even more graphic. It could be my imagination. Maybe it has something to do with reading it.  My next book is “Psycho” by Richard Block.  I have a lot of things to read, but I’m trying not to over load myself.  I think some books are coming in from the Library, so not sure what is up next.
Movies (TV and Theater)
I saw “Sinister”.  It is a good horror film, but I wasn’t as scared as some other movies I’ve seen in the past.  “Insidious” and “Possession” were scarier for me.  I was talking with Michelle / The True Book Addict, about this.  I was saying I think horror films are subjective.  Whatever we are most afraid of will scare us most on the screen, even if the fears are deep routed.  If my daughter saw a spider in any movie she’d run out of the theater.  The subject matter in “Insidious” and “Possession” are some ‘issues’ that I have.  “Sinister” did bring up those ‘issues’, so although I could see how it could scare some, it doesn’t scare me.
Who saw “Steel Magnolias” on Lifetime? I wasn’t sure why it was remade for the small screen, but it has been years since I’ve watched it, so I went ahead.  It was really good.  All the actresses were on point.  Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad, Condola Rashad, Jill Scott and Alfre Woodard played their parts to perfection.  Now I have to go back and watch the original to see how closely they followed.  From what I remember, it was identical.
TV Shows
I’m watching “Upstairs, Downstairs – Season 2” on Masterpiece Classics.  We are picking up where we left off last year.  We are now being plunged into WW II.  If anyone is watching it, I just want to say that Percy is a B****. She needs to fall off of a cliff.  I also do not like Mr. Amajad, I liked him more last season.
I started watching “World Without End”.  I didn’t know it was even coming on. Actually I didn’t even know it existed until Michelle / True Book Addict, mentioned it.  Hopefully I will like it, it is hard to tell at this point since I only watched about 30 minutes of it. So fingers crossed.
Bummed that they pushed “Whitney” back. It was supposed to come back on October 19th, however that show and “Community” were pushed to an unknown date.  No real explanation given, but I suspect they are waiting for a sweep. Because let’s face it, some of this junk on TV really shouldn’t be there. 
“American Horror Story” is back.  I haven’t watched it yet, but it doesn’t matter.  The show is a hit. I will watch that one tonight with my daughter.
My daughter is making me watch “The Mindy Project”.  I don’t like this show. I don’t like Mindy, she is an annoying, whiney, man-hunting, spinster….sorry.
And the rest of my watch list:
2 Broke Girls, 2 and a Half Men, Revolution, The New Normal, Bones, Guys With Kids, Project Runway, Grimm, New Girl, Glee.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My thoughts on 3 books

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Dysfunction at its highest! I felt this was a good story and is expertly paced. I thought the points of view switching back and forth from husband to wife helped the story stay interesting enough. I would have liked a little more ‘umph’ at the end, but closure is closure.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

 I finally read it, we listened to it. I listen to a very good version with a few narrators, both male and female.  I am not a fan of diary entries but this book moved pretty quickly through them and changed authors enough to keep it interesting.  Classic literature is sometimes hit or miss for me.  I'm glad I finally got to this one.

The Passage by Justin Cronin

I'm not a reader of contemporary vampire books and although I do read dystopian novels, I don't read them too often as I found them depressing.  I read this book for one of my Goodread groups (Thanks Michelle).  We had 8 weeks to read it, but when you borrow from the Library, you only have 3.  I got into it right away but then my interest waned. I felt the book could have been a tad shorter. Anyway, if you like the whole vampire thing then go for it. 


Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Reading for the Remainder of 2012

At the time of this writing I have read 75 books out of the 85 I had planned.  I'm ahead of schedule.  I will no doubt finish my goal with no problem.  I didn't have a reading plan when I started at the beginning of this year, and now that the year is almost over, it seems silly to have any goals, but I have a few to make the last 3 months go off without a hitch.

1.  For November only:  Read Books that are 300 pages or less.  Preferably 200 pages or less.  This is because I plan to participate in Nanowrimo, and my reading time will be taken up with writing time and I want to make sure I can finish a few books in November.

2.  I am doing an alphabetical title challenge on Goodreads.  I need to read 3 more books.  The letters I need are Q, U & V.  I need to read these before December 31st.

3.  Any audiobooks will be 6 hours or less.  

4.  Balance Christmas reading.  Last year I read a lot, but I didn't read much else during December. I like Christmas books, but I will not read as many this year as last year (I say that now).

5.  No more non-fiction (except the one Christmas Non-fiction book I have planed), for the rest of the year.  Non-Fiction dominated my reading this year.  Time to put it to bed.

I think these are 5 doable goals.

I will be posting my reading goals for 2013 in a few days.  As well as some ideas for keeping up with my journals / writers notebooks.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Writing Space

I bought this desk in March.  I worked on it but it wasn't really set up for any type of writing.  I finally got things sort of the way I want them.  I'm sure this will evolve over time.  I have to see what works and what doesn't.

Nothing on the cork board yet...hey, these things are important.  I haven't had a place to work other than my lap for about 9 years.  It is nice.

OK so it is not beautiful but hey, it is functional.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I haven't been writing in my journals for a while.  I've taken some notes in Journal 5, but no real meanderings.  I decided to pull out some older volumes.  Volume 1 which I started in September 2008.  I've only completed 3 volumes (1, 2 and 4).  Volume 3 is not completed, it is a larger size book and harder to carry around, but I'm working on it again.  There is a volume 6 (not pictured) that is in process as well.

I found it interesting looking through them.  I like to cut out pictures and paste them in.  Sometimes I use them as research or food for thought.

 I was working on a story from the 70s and 80s.  Although I lived through the eras, I wanted to take notes on the fashions.

 This was a collage on something called "The Sylvia Plath Effect".  The Sylvia Plath effect is a term coined by psychologist James C. Kaufman in 2001 to refer to the phenomenon that poets are more susceptible to mental illness than other creative writers.  I suppose this would have been a dark time in my life.

 On the inside covers of some of my journals, I pasted pictures and/or quotes.  On volume 1, i posted a lot of angels and saints.  They make me smile.

 This was some research on Archangels. Gabriel mainly.  Was working on a story (still am) about them.  I zeroed in on Gabriel because she is my favorite angel.

 I did do writing in the journals too.  I also pasted some pictures that had nothing to do with a story, but I thought could lead to inspiration.

 I also am inspired by personal libraries.  And i really loved the pearl choker.  Again, no reason other than that it made me smile, and still does.

More research on fashions from the past.  Now we go back to 50s and 60s.  Can't really recall what I was thinking on writing.  There are notes on the pictures but no notes before or after this page. So it seems to be random.

I look through these books and sometimes I find random blurbs and wonder what the heck was I thinking.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Let me tell you what I didn’t like about this book:

1)    The name dropping stories will (and in some cases already are) dated.  This book will not hold up over the years.  He talks about people, TV Shows, movies etc, that in 75 years, no one will know what they are or who they were.  I had this problem when I read Napoleon Hill’s books.  Stuff that was a normal mind set when he wrote the books are no longer applicable.  This caused me to grow frustrated while reading it.

2)    The later principles talk about financial success.  Where the information is sound, it doesn’t work for everyone. It is not a blanket approach.  He says “Don’t think you can’t do it”.  Well, let me see, if I save 50% of my paycheck in a savings account what will I be?  Rich? No I’d be homeless.  If you make $100K a year, then this is a possibility. If you make $40K a year, live in NYC and have a kid in college along with being a single parent, saving 50% of your check is not something you should be doing.

3)    A lot of regurgitated information.  Most of the stuff in the earlier chapters I’ve read or heard about over the last 20 years.  There is no new information in here.

4)    Too much book plugging for his “Chicken Soup for The Soul” books.  We get it. You made money with these books.  You had a million dollar idea…blah blah blah.

Let me tell you what I did like about this book:

1)    I listened to the audio version so it was abridged.  I do have the physical copy, but I don’t think I’ll be reading that any time soon.

2)    There is some good information in here for those who are new to Jack Canfield and or this way of thinking.  If you have been a student of manifesting and metaphysics for a while, this book will be too elementary.

3)    I did like his principle on how you can self educate yourself.  People think schooling is the only way to get ahead. Don’t get me wrong, it sure helps, but you can learn things by reading or watching educational TV or films.  Or you can talk to people who can stimulate your thought process.  He talks about staying away from negative people and those who will pull you down.

4)    He did mention Stephen King. 

And I do understand that this is not an instant fix.  It should take years and years to master these principles.  This is a great book for a 25 year old.  For a 50 year old who has kids in college and gets paid minimum wage…not so helpful (financial info).  Although we can all have a successful mindset, and because of that, this book has merit.

This book was not very motivational for me.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

October Reading

October is just about here and I am planning to read some horror. I've joined The True Book Addicts @ Castle Macarbe's Season of the Witch Challenge

As usual, I have a lot of horror reading planned, but let's see how many I actually read.

1. The Omen by David Selzer
2. The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton
3. Dracula by Bram Stoker

And if time allows

4. Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell
5. Vlad by Carlos Fuentes

As you know, I can't do October with out horror films. Here is what I have planned

The Cabin in the Woods 
The Final
Dr. Terror's House of Horrors 
The Tall Man (Thriller) 

As well as some classic horror films that will be gracing TCM all month long.