31 December 2011

How many books did you read in 2011?

I have had a weak year of reading if you look at the number of books I read in 2011.

2011~ 44
2010~ 85
2009~ 88

It's been a crazy year. I started out pretty strong with my reading. I was only homeschooling our youngest child as 2011 began. Other years I've been homeschooling as many as all five of our kids. Summer hit and with it the need to pick our son up from college classes daily, and to take our daughter to and from a high school summer course. It meant lots of time at the pool too and I read most of the time at the pool. We also had a lot of appointments for health care for our 15 year old daughter. Fall brought more of that. She also began having school at home due to her illness. Life got pretty crazy. I had to be diligent in managing my schedule; especially with a kindergartner coming home in the middle of each day.

Still, it's more than three books a month and that isn't so bad...

Do you track your reading? How? I use www.librarything.com. I can be found there with the username BoundTogetherForGood. I've been using LibraryThing since the spring of 2003 . Recording my reading allows me to refer back to my records and be able to see: when I read a book, to whom I read it, etc. It helps me to give better reading recommendations too.

How many books did you read this year?

22 December 2011

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

I very much enjoyed reading Grisham's Skipping Christmas. There is no Christmas "magic" in it aside from the magic that is noticed as the events are played out.

Luther talks Nora into skipping Christmas. He wants to skip all the hassle. He tallies last year's expenses to find that Christmas cost them over $6,000. With their daughter Blair on a Peace Corps assignment and not planning to come home for the holidays he suggest that he and Nora take a cruise and spend the money on themselves. 

Of course there has to be a bit of havoc. As soon as the neighbors hear that the Kranks are not going to be celebrating Christmas they let their dismay be fully understood. And Blair must figure into all of this too , right? She certainly does.

By the end of the book the Kranks find that Christmas is about giving; giving of yourselves. The book and film show an expression of great love in the midst of modern life.

I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed the film. The film adaptation is titled Christmas with the Kranks. 

21 December 2011

A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd

The movie adaptation of this book is a classic. Our family watches it every year. "You'll shoot your eye out" or "Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie" are heard throughout the season.

While I enjoy the film made from this book, having seen it so many times made the book a bit less remarkable. The book and film hold true to each other except that the film places all the occurrences in the same time frame, which worked really well for the film. 

If you're a fan of the film, it may interest you to know that Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) played an uncredited role in the movie Elf. Here are a couple of links to commercials he was in as a child:

If you've not read the book or seen the film I suggest reading the book first and then seeing the film, of course.

18 December 2011

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

Facing a personal airline travel ban but needing to get to from DC to LA, journalist Tom Langdon had to formulate a plan. He decided to go by train and to turn that adventure into a story. 

The pace moves along nicely in this not-too-long modern-day Christmas book. It has a bit of everything; some romance, some adventure, and a nasty winter storm.

I read it in December of 2004. I rated it 4.5 * at the time I finished it. I might read it again next year. 

17 December 2011

A truly awful Christmas book...

I love to focus on positive things. However, there is one Christmas book that I've come across that is just too rotten not to post about.

Santa's Twin by Dean Koontz

This is the tale of two children who attempt to save Santa from his evil twin, Bob.

It's sounding horrible already, isn't it?

It gets worse. This is classified as a children's book. Sure it is an illustrated book of short length, but I don't see it as children's literature.

What's worse is that I love children's books that are written in verse. I came across this book initially because I was searching for adult books written in verse. To add insult to injury the writing in this is extremely poor. The rhymes are offensively immature, in my opinion.

Why bother to post about this? I hope to save my readers from purchasing it and being disappointed. Besides, you just might be inspired to check it out from the library to share in just how bad it is.

15 December 2011

Travel advice with eReaders

Many people own eReaders now. Many people travel too. That brings up concerns. Books are not expensive. Ereaders can be. If you travel with an eReader, first and foremost, you want to be sure you have it labeled in some manner so that if you lose it and an honest person finds it, it can be returned to you.

After some research I've found some interesting things that I want to pass on to my readers.

A Kindle owner can create and send a Reward document to the device, noting that a reward has been offered to the person who turns it in. That's an interesting ability. If the finder is dishonest though, and a reader of books, a reward may not be sufficient to garner the return of the device. In my opinion, you're still in the hands of fate if your device is lost. Amazon has a protocol in place to assist with the return of lost Kindle products.

If you lose your eReader you should deregister it to prevent people from having access to your account.

You can use a service such as www.rewardtag.com to print a tag with a reward offer on it. Anyone finding your device (any type of device) can refer to that tag to return it to you.

If you've lost or misplaced an iPad or an iPhone you can find it using the Find my iPhone app if you've installed it on your device. If you own one and haven't downloaded that app, do it now. I've used it twice to find my iPhone in our house. It's a wonderful app.

click here for >BestBookReadersAdviceOnFindingALostEReader

14 December 2011

EReader recommendations for those with vision problems...

A friend asked me if I had any thoughts on which eReader might be more suitable for a person who has vision problems.

Truthfully, any eReader will likely be good for such a situation. With books, they are either in a format with large type or they aren't. With an eReader it is easy to adjust the font size and style to one that you are comfortable with. It was a good question though and it merited some research. I wanted to advise her well and with more than a generic suggestion.

In my search I found this site which I think substantiates the user's explanation thoughtfully. And so, Barnes and Noble's NOOK products come out just ahead of Kindle.

http://tinyurl.com/PCWorldOnEReaderResolution (Click at the top right of the  page to skip the ad)

"Trade books, mass-market books, textbooks, magazines, newspapers, and children's books all look and function better on the Nook Tablet than on the Kindle Fire.
The Nook Tablet's viewing options; click for full-size image.The Nook Tablet's viewing options in a book.Both tablet's screens have a resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels, which limits how sharp the text they display can be. But the Nook Tablet's screen is less reflective than Kindle Fire's; the LCD is bonded to the glass, which mitigates reflection and increases contrast and sharpness. In comparison, I often encountered glare on the Kindle Fire's display.
I looked at the same magazines and books on each device, and the Nook Tablet was the clear overall winner at rendering text. At comparable font sizes, text on the Nook Tablet looked crisper than on the Kindle Fire.
In presenting standard books, the Nook Tablet offered more meaningful viewing choices. Though both tablets provide eight font-size options, the sizes on the Nook are more useful. It's definitely better for readers who need large type."

09 December 2011

I charged our boys' NOOKs so that they are ready for Christmas morning. (My initial review of NOOK Tablet.)

Boy, oh boy, are these boys going to be excited!
MB just turned 11
ED is about to turn 10

We have a houseful of kids. Along with that comes a houseful of books and technology.

Our 16 year old son has an iTouch. He also has an XBox and all the lovely gadgets that accompany that. He also hopes that we'll be helping him choose and share in the cost of a car soon; just have to find the right one.

Our 15 year old daughter has already received an iPhone 3 as her Christmas present for this year. I gave it to her immediately because I was anxious to get it set up and assure it was working properly. Previously I thought the data plans for phones were too expensive. She agreed to pay for the phone if we would pay for her data plan for a year. We decided that was fair. She uses the phone to record the details of her illness because it affects her daily life. It has been a useful resource in storing information and having it handy when we go to her medical appointments.

Our 5 year old daughter isn't interested in technology this year. She received a vReader last year for Christmas and uses it frequently. She's asking Santa for an American Girl doll for Christmas this year.

Back to the boys. They both really enjoy reading. Right after Christmas 2010 MB started saving his money to purchase a NOOK Color. This year they were both going to put that on the top of their Christmas lists. Then Barnes and Noble came out with the new NOOK Tablet. It didn't take long for their lists to be altered.

I've been researching eReaders for a long time. I was excited to get my hands on a NOOK Tablet to see if it was really all I expected.

Let me tell you...it is!

This week I spent two afternoons getting them set up. I visited our present closet and pulled everything out. I locked myself in my room. I was eventually joined by our five year old who is doing a wonderful job of keeping secrets this year!

I knew that I wanted to at least get both NOOK Tablets charged. I also wanted to charge the NOOK Simple Touch that has been purchased for me as a Christmas gift.

I found the devices very straightforward in functionality.

The anti-glare screen protectors went on smoothly.

I plugged them in, one at a time, and charged them by hiding them behind my husband's night stand.  Charging seemed to take much less time than I expected!

I linked both devices to my existing B&N account. I was happy to find that there is a "Kids" tab that the boys can go to in order to find all of the juvenile book titles! 

I easily found how to set the devices to require my B&N password in order to make a purchase! 

In no time at all I was being sucked in by the NOOK Tablets. I didn't really expect that. I love my eInk. I've mentioned that here time and time again. I really had to do some thinking. Did I want to keep the NOOK Simple Touch for myself or return it at a much greater cost and buy myself a NOOK Tablet also?

I have decided that for now I am going to keep the NST. The boys are in school all day. If I want to borrow one of the NOOK Tablets while they are at school that won't be a problem. This way I still have an eReader that operates with eInk. I find that important mostly because I read a LOT during the summer at the pool, or at the beach if we are fortunate enough to vacation at a beach. EInk screens are as easy to read in sunlight as a printed page, unlike a lighted screen.

I did struggle in making that decision. Ultimately, I already own an iPhone 4 so I have the functionality of a tablet in smart-phone-form at hand. Besides, I only paid $79 for my NST because of the Black Friday price break.

When I bought my original NOOK, Hubs asked me what I thought about it. My reply was that I liked it so much I was confident it wouldn't be my last eReader. I already knew that as the technology marched forward I would want to follow along. And so our family is following. I'm sure I will eventually upgrade again.

For now I can say that I am thrilled with the NOOK Tablets. I know our boys will be too. If any of you are buying eReaders as Christmas gifts I suggest charging them ahead of time, as I did. If you run into any complications or have questions, ask me. If I can't help, we can surely find the answer somewhere.

Happy reading!

08 December 2011

Do you own Christmas-themed books? Do you have a place for them?

The last few years I've been collecting our seasonal books and putting them away with the Christmas decorations each year. I've found it feels wonderful to know that you will be able to find the book you are looking for at Christmastime.

Up until now the books have been in a small box in the attic until they are brought down for our enjoyment.

Last week I could take it no longer. I kept trying to find a place to put the books. The box wasn't going to agree with me as a long-term solution. With seven people in our household there was just no table space available. It didn't take me long to decide that I what I needed was a special bookcase just for our Christmas treasures.

I had a particular store in mind. That's where I went. Home Goods. I haven't been in a Home Goods store since before we moved to England. I can't recall why buy Hubs went to one not too long ago and arrived home saying "Hey, there's this neat store I think you'd like..." Yes, I do like it.

We were in a bit of a hurry the afternoon we went shopping. We walked in and went straight to the tables and shelves and immediately found exactly what I was looking for. It's perfect. It's compact; two shelves. It can easily be moved to other locations in the house if I choose to place it elsewhere in the future. After Christmas is over I plan to send it right up to the attic, along with the Christmas books so that it doesn't become overtaken by other books.

02 December 2011

Christmas book suggestions...

I've decided to post Christmas book suggestions this month.

The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden

This is the story of a little girl who yearns for a doll and a grandmother. It's also the story of a woman who years for a child of her very own. Heartwarming.

Those wishing to teach their children about St. Nicholas might find this lovely book helpful:

The Real Santa Claus: Legends of Saint Nicholas by Marianna Mayer

26 November 2011

We are going to see Hugo today!

The film adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret has recently hit cinemas. It's titled as simply as "Hugo".

We are excited to see whether they capture the true magic of this book on film. We'll go to dinner and then the show...or the show and then a late dinner. It's a family day. My husband and I will be joined by our five kids and our oldest son's girlfriend. Phooey. I just realized we should have invited the girlfriend of another of our sons but our van is already at capacity...

Read my review of the book here:

25 November 2011

Black Friday sale on NOOK Simple Touch today only for $79.

If you haven't bought a basic eReader yet but want one, this deal should catch your attention.

The NOOK Simple Touch is a basic eReader. It's an update from the previous, original NOOK eReader. It has only one screen; a touchscreen. The extended two-year warranty is only $19.99 for full protection from nearly anything except loss or theft.

I already purchased mine, a week ago. I took my receipt into the store after I figured all of today's crowds had passed. At the register the clerk refunded my original purchase price and re-rang it for the reduced sale price. I saved a nice twenty bucks!

21 November 2011

I made up my mind about eReaders for our kids for Christmas.

My two little guys don't tune into my blog so I'm safe to say that when I visited Barnes and Noble on the 17th to check out the NOOK Tablet I decided it was the right fit for both of them.

Our boys are turning 10 and 11 in the next few weeks. Both really enjoy reading. 

I chose the NOOK Tablet and not the Kindle Fire because:
I have already purchased B&N ebooks.
I love Netflix.
I like Barnes & Noble's business philosophy.

I think the Kindle Fire would be a completely acceptable alternative and it can be had for $50 less. Amazon is a great company; we do a lot of business with them since we have five kids. I could also stream movies for free as part of the pre-paid shipping package (Prime) membership that we purchased. Amazon treats the Kindle products as more of a vending machine of sorts than it appears B&N does.

For one son I purchased this: Tasume in Carbon.
It's a cover and a stand, all in one. The red Tasume looks a bit feminine; that wouldn't do. The white, I think, would become incredibly dirty. I went with carbon.

For the other I purchased this: Travel Stand for NOOK Color or NOOK Tablet.
I purchased this cover for him: Franklin Sleeve.
The Franklin Sleeve is attractive Italian synthetic leather with a nylon interior. The corner tab can be secured through the device's corner slot to prevent the cover from coming off when being transported.

Of course they'll be able to trade if they wish, as the NOOK Color and NOOK Tablet are the same dimensions. 

I purchased anti-glare screen protectors for both, to prevent screen scratches.

I know they are going to be so excited about receiving these!

20 November 2011

Plainfield Library to host an eReader showcase Nov 30 7-8:30 pm.

Representatives from Best Buy and Barnes and Noble will be at the library to answer questions and demonstrate eReaders.

Learn how to borrow eBooks from the library.

They are also holding a raffle.

November 30
7-8:30 PM
15025 S Illinois St
Plainfield, IL 60544

Plainfield Library eReader Showcase 2011

19 November 2011

NOOK Tablet Available in Stores

The new NOOK Tablet hit stores a day earlier than expected!

Our daughter and I popped into a B&N store today to check it out. The store is busy. I spent some time with one of the managers who told me that they have already received a second shipment. Still, buying early is always a good idea with Christmas around the corner. You wouldn't want to miss an opportunity to get your hands on one of these if it's in the wish list of someone you love.

The Christian Science Monitor feels the NOOK Tablet comes out ahead of the Kindle Fire.

The manager was also telling me about how to change the digital format of films that have already been purchased, so that they can be made viewable on NOOK devices that support video. I'll report back with more on that when I have the information in front of me.

For now, happy shopping.

17 November 2011

Oxford English Dictionary to follow the times...

In a smart move, the English Oxford Dictionary is going to approve some modern-day abbreviations.

Brand Champions (source)

In general, I am a full-supporter of good, old English. 
I capitalize sentences; and proper names. I also punctuate. 
I don't use text-type when typing texts. 
I don't substitute "U" for "You" or "2" for "to/too" or "UR" for "Your/You're".

If you receive a text or see a Facebook posting from me that utilizes such things you can pretty much figure there's a real emergency going on in my life.

I do, however, utilize only a handful of frequently used acronyms that I learned from other forum-using homeschool mommies over the years. 
Typing a well-known acronym in place of a few or several words saves time.

Are you familiar with these?


Need some help with learning acronyms or text-type?
Webopedia ~ scroll down the page

Do you use acronyms when texting or posting online? Do you use test-type?

15 November 2011

Are you shopping for an eReader this Christmas season?

I just came across a great article that compares the differences between the two new tablets on the market that will appeal to people who want something to use as an eReader.

Specs Appeal: NOOK Tablet vs. Kindle Fire

If you are stuck trying to make your decision between the above two models, the article should help.

If you are looking for something more basic, consider the NOOK Simple Touch or the Kindle Touch.

New eBook Reader Reviews

When it comes to the "Touch" eReaders I think the biggest draw is going to be whether the purchaser has already purchased a significant amount of content from Barnes and Noble or from Amazon. If neither, then I think it is probably a draw between those two. 

There is one thing that I think might draw me to Amazon/Kindle if I were new to the eReader scene... 

ZDNet explanation of Kindle library borrowing
  • If a book is purchased, its notes and bookmarks will be preserved.
  • Amazon’s Whispersync will enable margin notes and highlights on library books. These notes disappear when another person checks out a book. If you check the book out again your notes reappear.   "
I can't say how eager I am for Barnes and Noble to follow suit with regard to the preservation of notes. I take a lot of notes.

Visiting a store and getting your hands on a demo model, or better yet, borrowing one from a friend, will really give you an idea of the feel and functionality of a particular eReader. It's still the best way to make a decision before purchasing. 

Remember, some libraries loan eReaders to their patrons to allow them to get a real feel about eReaders before making a purchase. Our local library allows patrons to checkout: Sony Reader PRS-350 Pocket Edition or B&N NOOK. 

Plainfield IL Library eReader info

12 November 2011

Edward Eager's juvenile fiction books are favorites around here!

It just so happens that Edward Eager was born in Toledo.                                    My husband grew up in the Toledo area and we lived there for the first decade of our marriage. (We're about to celebrate the second decade!) Eager was inspired to write these books for his son when he couldn't find books he wanted to read to him. He credits E. Nesbit as being the best children's author of all time. I've since read some of her titles and have to say that I prefer Eager to Nesbit personally.

When I was homeschooling our children Eager's books came to my attention on the recommendation of other homeschool moms. (I used the curriculum company's online forums occasionally even before we began using their curriculum in 2003.)

I was looking for fun books to read as read-alouds for our kids.

I was immediately charmed! The first book we picked up was                  Magic By the Lake which was set in the Toledo area. In the book, the children are going on a summer-long vacation at the lake. Not knowing anything about the particular theme of the book I packed it to read to our children on our lake vacation with friends. What a lovely little blessing from God to have our pleasure reading line up so perfectly with our circumstances! There is a pivotal  character in this book, a magic turtle; our daughter even went fishing and the only thing she landed was a rather nicely sized snapper!

After we finished Magic by the Lake I looked for other titles. After that we read them in order of pulish date which allows you to read, sequentially, the books that have the same characters.

Half Magic (1954)
Knight's Castle (1956)
Magic by the Lake (1957)
The Time Garden (1958)
Magic or Not? (1959)
The Well-Wishers (1960)
Seven-Day Magic (1962)

These books are appropriate for any child who can snuggle in and listen to chapter books. I would recommend them for any age. The type of magic in the books, you find, is really more a manifestation of the wonderful imaginations of the characters in the books than any true magic. 

11 November 2011

NOOK Tablet release date

I've been wondering when the actual release date for the NOOK Tablet would be. I stopped into B&N the other day and was told that it was in a matter of days and not weeks as I had expected. In fact, it is a week from today.

"The Nook Tablet release date is November 17th, two days after the launch of the Kindle Fire."

Our local store is already taking pre-order reservations. I wonder if I should get in on some of that action. I am expecting that the only Black Friday doorbusters for eReaders will be on older models of eReaders and not on these new, nicely-priced tablet/readers being released by Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Our two youngest boys both believe this is the product that will best fit them. I agree.


Edited to add: 
NOOK Tablet announced, comparisons, specs

09 November 2011

Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 By Stephen Puleo

What an interesting book about a topic that at first seems odd and comical but turns out to cover a very real and serious disaster.

The setting is Boston, 1919. The American economy was fueled by those industries which thrived due to WWII. Molasses was a necessary component in the manufacture of things necessary for the war effort.

Boston was the site where a 2.3 million gallon molasses holding tank was built. It was built in a rush and without adherence to industry standards. It was an accident waiting to happen.

The flood of molasses that rolled forth from the compromised tank left death and destruction in its wake. Puleo writes with a remarkable voice that takes you to the scene of wild devastation. He wrote a wonderful piece at the end of the book that details his sources of informatio; sources that had gone ignored for decades before he consulted their knowledge.

I am not typically one to read about disasters. I don't like turmoil. I love movies but don't even enjoy dramas because they often leave me feeling manipulated. I love memoirs, however, and this felt more like a very important memoir about a very serious topic. Much was learned from this disaster. I am glad I read this book. Thank you, Lisa, for the recommendation.

07 November 2011

NOOK Tablet announced!

Welcome to the newest Barnes and Noble NOOK product!
NOOK Tablet

This NOOK product will act as a color eReader as well as a tablet. The price is significantly less than most tablets while being a little pricier than Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablet. Kindle Fire weighs in at $199.00. NOOK Tablet lists at $249.00.  More on the price difference in a bit...

This article ZDNet compares Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablet. They seem to believe that people making a purchase of products in this price range are really only going to look at price to determine what they'll purchase.
I guess I'm not part of their demographic... I guess I'm a bit serious about technology and, specifically, eReaders. I want to be sure that the best product is purchased for the buyer's needs.

The article points out some things that I find significant for our needs:
Kindle Fire Ram is 512 MB
NOOK Tablet Ram is 1 GB

Kindle Fire storage is 8 GB
NOOK Tablet storage is 16 GB + up to 32 GB MicroSD

Kindle Fire battery provides 8.5 hrs reading/7.5 hrs video
NOOK Tablet battery provides 11.5 hrs reading/9 hrs video

There's more...NOOK Tablet weighs 10% less than Kindle Fire and the iPad2 weighs a whopping
21.28 oz.

GEEK has some really great side-to-side comparisons here, click on "Geek".

What I feel is some of the biggest news about this new tablet/eReader is that it will support both Hulu and my favorite streaming site, Netflix!!

One of the biggest determiners for purchasers trying to make a decision about the Kindle Fire and the NOOK Color is if they have already purchased electronic content from one or the other of the stores, Amazon or Barnes and Noble. I have already purchased many things from B&N since my purchase of the NOOK original in July of 2010. I am super excited about this. The announcement makes me think that for our family the NOOK Tablet will be the color eReader/tablet of choice for any of our children wishing for one for Christmas.

NOOK Tablet Release Date

04 November 2011

Is a NEW Nook Color in the works for this Christmas 2011?

I really wonder what the announcement on 7 Nov will be. I can't wait to hear. I need to make a decision as to what I am going to purchase for any of our children who want an eReader this Christmas.

I am intrigued by the fact that there is wonder about the possibility of B&N cooperating with NETFLIX! That would be a truly fortuitous relationship as far as I can reckon.

CSMonitor ~ Updated Nook Color for Christmas 2011?

01 November 2011

The Phantom Tollbooth celebrates fifty years!

This is a favorite of mine. I have mentioned before that I wasn't a reader as a child. I came across this excellent book as a homeschool mom when I saw it on a library display table.

If you love words and their creative uses you will love this book. Read it.

Here is a video about the book and the love of it:
The Phantom Tollbooth Turns 50

Juster explains that this was his first attempt at writing for children and that the thinking at the time was that fantasy was bad for children. I'm glad he ignored that and wrote the book!

I love this book! I read this to our children in 2003. I read it again, to our middle child this year, in February.

27 October 2011

Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series is being made into a film!

Are you a fan of Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series? My brother and sisters turned me on to the series a few years ago. There are eighteen books in the series and each title highlights which number the book is in the series. I have read five of the books. The first book was my favorite, followed closely by the fourth book.

One For the Money on IMDB.com

I don't recognize many of the stars of the film. I'll tell you the truth, the first person I wanted to find out about was Morelli. I have long pictured Morelli as Josh Holloway. Anyone want to argue with me? Who's cooler and sexier than Evanovich's Morelli? The second character portrayal I wanted to find out about was Grandma Mazur! Debbie Reynolds will be Grandma.

View the trailer on IMDB
The books are rollicking fun. I can't wait to see the film!

  • One for the Money
  • Two for the Dough
  • Three to Get Deadly
  • Four to Score
  • High Five
  • Hot Six
  • Seven Up
  • Hard Eight
  • Visions of Sugar Plums
  • To the Nines
  • Ten Big Ones
  • Eleven on Top
  • Twelve Sharp
  • Plum Lovin'
  • Lean Mean Thirteen
  • Plum Lucky
  • Fearless Fourteen
  • Plum Spooky
  • Finger Lickin' Fifteen
  • Sizzling Sixteen
  • Smokin' Seventeen
  • Explosive Eighteen                                                     
  • 25 October 2011

    Mark Twain...love his writing or hate it?

    I hated reading as a child. Hated it.

    In middle school we had to read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, as I recall.

    In April 2010 I finished rereading Tom Sawyer. It took me a good while to finish as I kept putting it down and having to come back to it. I am rereading Huck Finn right now. I find it much more interesting and easier to read than Tom Sawyer. Anyone else agree? I'm not really sure why though.

    I tried to read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in 2009 but eventually gave up on it (a rarity for me). I just couldn't become interested in it. I think, to be fair, I wasn't reading it frequently enough but it just didn't ever grab me the way I'd hoped it would.

    So, do you love his writing? Do you hate it? Are there books of his you hope to read?

    Hugo, the film adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

    Our whole family loved reading and looking at the wonderful illustrations in The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Our reading of the book holds a special place for all of us as we read it while we were vacationing in France. The story takes place in a train station in Paris. We visited the Musée d'Orsay, a museum specializing in impressionist paintings which our family loves. The museum is a former train station. The cafe is situated behind the faces of two large clocks. Eating in the cafe of the Musee D'Orsay was really a treat for us!
    Musée d'Orsay

    My review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

    I didn't know a film was being made from this book until I volunteered at our children's 
    school's book fair last week. While working I came across this book:

    The Hugo Movie Companion

    I am hoping to put that book on my Christmas list this year.

    I also recently saw that Selznick has another new book on the market. 
    I don't even know anything about the book yet but I'm pretty sure it will find 
    it's way onto my Christmas list also.  

    Here is a Hugo Cabret interactive site sponsored by Scholastic:
    Interactive Hugo

    Preview of Hugo

    Everything you'd like to know about the film on IMDB.com
    I just realized Johnny Depp is in the film as M. Rouleau.
    The film hits cinemas on 23 November, just in time for Thanksgiving! 
    I can't wait to see this with our family.

    I wish the publisher would release Selznick's books as ebooks; I think they'd work great on eInk readers.

    23 October 2011

    Will there be a new NOOK Color for Christmas 2011?

    (My apologies to my readers for not posting much lately. Life has been pretty crazy. Family comes first. I've been really busy managing the health needs of one of our children who has been diagnosed with a neurological disorder this year.)

    I am the owner of an original NOOK. Three months after I purchased it B&N came out with the NOOK Color. I have to say I was a bit envious. Since then I've come to realize that the color screen on the NOOK Color would aggravate and tire my eyes. I love eInk. I do see great functionality possible from a color device though, especially when use for cookbooks. One or two of our five children are dying to have color ereaders.

    In light of that I keep trying to learn more about color ereaders. I want to know as much as possible. I love NOOK and I love that it is the "baby" of a traditional bookstore that has been incredibly smart to move into this new era of technology. I realize that a color ereader may be a distraction from actually reading since so much can be done with a color ereader. 

    While doing some investigating today I came across yet further rumors about ereaders; specifially NOOK Color. Click on the links below to read what may be in the works for consumers shopping for ereaders:




    18 October 2011

    The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is being adapted for film!

    I volunteered at our children's school's Book Fair today.
    That's something new for me.
    I've homeschooled at least one child for the past 13 years and
    this is the first year that all five of our kids are in public school.

    At the Book Fair I saw this book:

    It is a book about the making of the new film "HUGO".
    I haven't had a chance to look for any previews yet.

    Hugo at IMDB.com

    10 October 2011

    A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

    Have you ever heard of Snicket's book series A Series of Unforutnate Events?
    I heard about it from fellow homeschoolers.

    The premise is that three children are on their own in life, following a fire and the presumed death of their parents. The series consists of 13 books. I bought them all; I read them, and enjoyed doing so.

    1. The Bad Beginning
    2. The Reptile Room
    3. The Wide Window
    4. The Miserable Mill
    5. The Austere Academy
    6. The Ersatz Elevator
    7. The Vile Village
    8. The Hostile Hospital
    9. The Carnivorous Carnival
    10. The Slippery Slope
    11. The Grim Grotto
    12. The Penultimate Peril
    13. The End

    Snicket tells the reader, right up front, not to expect a happy ending; as he puts it, it's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" after all. I'll admit it. I held out hope. Hope is ever-present in this series; the kids in the story always hold onto hope. I like that. Even if I didn't like that it ended without the happiness I really had built a hope for. They are still good books and a lot of fun in an odd sort of way.

    One really great thing about the books is the quirky way that Snicket writes. He's very funny, but also educates along the way. He uses big words and manages to define those words for the reader in a way that garners a smile and not a frown at a bit of education being thrown in.

    Here is a site with some quotes from the books: Lemony Snicket quotes
    There may be better quotes to be found, as I am sure there are, but a peak at the page above won't ruin the story-line for you and may whet your appetite.

    A film was also inspired by the book. It was okay. I didn't love it but I also didn't hate it. The film definitely felt darker than the tone of the books. 

    I think some kids who are good readers could be as young as 7 or 8 and be allowed to read these books. The film is a tougher call; a parent might want to watch it first or read a review such as this one: PluggedInOnline

    Oh!! Before I forget...I also own the first three books on audio CD with TIM CURRY as the reader! He's fantastic! If you begin the books and like them, get your hands on these particular CDs. I own some of the other books with Snicket reading, but Curry is priceless!

    09 October 2011

    How is your reading going for 2011?

    This is  my first year since 1998 that I am homeschooling no children. It appears the number of books I am going to finish reading this year is extremely low in comparison to other years though.

    Why? New things are pulling me: Netflix streaming is a big one, and Words With Friends, and my iPhone in general. I love watching old tv shows or movies with our kids. I love playing Words With Friends, mostly with one of my brother.

    I have found that the 3-3.5 hours it takes each time our daughter has physical therapy for a newly diagnosed neurological disorder (about an hour away from home) is mostly dead time for me. I can't read while driving, can I? I also can't seem to read during the appointments as Gigi, our precious five year old, usually keeps me engaged whether...I want her to or not.

    I'm not really complaining. Okay, I am, I guess. My complaint isn't against the things that are taking my time, but, rather, against the fact that I just can't do all those things AND read more; or at least as much as usual.
    I haven't found a way to add hours to my days yet. I have thought about ways to squeeze more productive time from my days though (more time for reading). I am considering getting up earlier to see if I can cope with that. When I was a homeschooler I kept a book with me at all times and tried to find value in every minute of my day. Now that I have more time on my hand I feel as if I am not valuing my time as much as I should be.

    07 October 2011

    Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix (2nd in the Missing trilogy)

    Sent is the second book in the "Missing" series of juvenile fiction. I read the first book in May 2011. 
    This book takes Jonah and his sister Katherine and two of their friends on a quest into the past, literally, via time travel.

    It's a bit of a heavy topic for kids. Goodness, it's a rare book about time travel that doesn't find me arguing against it being possible. I must have outgrown that annoying trait though, or else my love of The Time Traveler's Wife and Back to the Future caused me to just get a grip and go along for the ride!

    The premise for this series is that some children were removed from their proper time in the past because of what appeared to be inevitable death; another heavy topic.

    The author manages to handle both topics in such a way that it makes for fun reading, action, and a bit of historical context for young readers.

    Our sons are reading these books. Matt, age 10, read the first book and insisted I begin it! I love that! So, yes, I am along for the ride! I will probably try to start reading book 3 as soon as I am able. When will that be?
    My review of Found (Book 1 in the Missing trilogy) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
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