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Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Floss! Trivia Time!

Ten Famous Homeschooled People

1. Agatha Christie. Agatha was a painfully shy girl, so her mom homeschooled her even though her two older siblings attended private school.

2. Pearl S. Buck was born in West Virginia, but her family moved to China when she was just three months old. She was homeschooled by a Confucian scholar and learned English as a second language from her mom.

3. Alexander Graham Bell was homeschooled by his mother until he was about 10. It was at this point that she started to go deaf and didn’t feel she could properly educate him any more. Her deafness inspired Bell to study acoustics and sound later in life.

4. If Thomas Edison was around today, he would probably be diagnosed with ADD – he left public school after only three months because his mind wouldn’t stop wandering. His mom homeschooled him after that, and he credited her with the success of his education: “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”

5. Ansel Adams was homeschooled at the age of 12 after his “wild laughter and undisguised contempt for the inept ramblings of his teachers” disrupted the classroom. His father took on his education from that point forward.

6. Robert Frost hated school so much he would get physically ill at the thought of going. He was homeschooled until his high school years.

7. Woodrow Wilson studied under his dad, one of the founders of the Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS). He didn’t learn to read until he was about 12. He took a few classes at a school in Augusta, Georgia, to supplement his father’s teachings, and ended up spending a year at Davidson College before transferring to Princeton.

8. Mozart was educated by his dad as the Mozart family toured Europe from 1763-1766.

9. Laura Ingalls Wilder was homeschooled until her parents finally settled in De Smet in what was then Dakota Territory. She started teaching school herself when she was only 15 years old.

10. Louisa May Alcott studied mostly with her dad, but had a few lessons from family friends Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Can you imagine?

Kitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty Goes to Washington is the second book in Carrie Vaughn’s fun, supernatural series. This book follows our heroine, Kitty the Werewolf, (how cute is that name?) as she is ordered to appear before a Senate Committee and testify during a Senate investigation of “paranatural phenomena”. Along the way, Kitty meets up with vampires, both the evil sneaky kind and the sophisticated old world type, were-jaguars, were-bears and a creepy other worldly creature that’s sort of like the nastiest evil fairy/troll you could ever meet up with. Who woulda thought we would wind up feeling sorry for werewolves and vampires?

I think one of the things I love about these stories is that Kitty herself is darn human. She has the same fears, hopes and worries that everyone has, but with a really heightened sense of smell, and a bit of a fur problem once a month. I enjoy how the author takes the folklore surrounding supernatural creatures and manages to tweak it just to enough to give it an original edge, but not so much that it makes it irrelevant. For example, Vaughn keeps the “silver bullet equals death” theory, but allows her werewolves to choose to go “wolf” or be human, with the exception of full moon nights. Even then, she allows the wolves to be wolves, not some inhuman monsters that are out hunting just for the sake of killing. She alludes to the fact that there are werewolves who go completely wolf, and that they can be the scary monsters of childish nightmares. However her characters are such a good read because we can still identify with them. They control the monster within, and really, isn’t that what we hope everyone does?

I’m really enjoying the Kitty series, and I’d recommend them to anyone looking for a good satisfying book.

My rating:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brought to you by the letter K

sizzlesays has a fun post up from earlier this month, and by golly, I thought I'd give it a whirl and, I'd like to point out...its not as easy as it looks!!

Ten Things I Love (brought to you by the letter K)

1. Kids. Mine to be specific. I mean, I'll bet your's are pretty great too, but really, its my kids that I'm crazy about. All four of 'em.

2. Kim. My sister, who I fought with every day of my growing up years. Or so it seemed! What would this world do without her?

3. Kookie. Our dog and honest, cross my heart, its how we spelled her name when we first named her. Its even on her vet records that way. Then I got lazy and didn't want to correct things so its sort of became Cookie. But really, its not like she has to sign any documents so does it really matter?

4. My kitchen. Nope, still sorta sick of day to day cooking, but since we finished the kitchen in November--I just sits and stares at it. Sometimes I cooks, but I like just sittin' and starin'. Before and after,except for a few little things that we've since finished.

5. Koontz, Dean (and Trixie). One of my all time faves. I especially loved Life Expectancy, From the Corner of His Eye, One Door Away from Heaven, The Face, By the Light of the Moon and Trixie's first book, Life is Good, Lessons in Joyful Living.

6. Kamakawiwo'ole, Israel (Brudda Iz). I absolutely love his version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World. And nope, I totally can not spell his name, I copied and pasted!

7. Kris Kristofferson's album Songs of Kristofferson. All those wonderful old songs, Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down, The Pilgrim, Silver Tongued Devil,Who's to Bless and Who's to Blame, etc.

8. The Kissing Hand, a sweet little book I read every morning to my frightened little kindergartner when she was scared to leave me and go to school.

9. Kwilting. Yes I know, I'm getting really desperate.Or my spelling skills have deteriorated badly. Okay...so I'm cheating! Maybe someday I'll actually figure out a way to find the time to read, blog and make as many quilts as I'd like to.

From Blogger Pictures

10. Last, well its hard, I can't say Kittens, because no matter how cute they are, they grow up into cats, which are okay, but really I'm more of a dog person. (See #3.), can't say Kisses, because if my kids read this, they'll be like....ewwwwww.....gross....., I love Ketchup as much as the next guy, but is it a top ten list item? My new cordless Keyboard and mouse are absolutely the best! Maybe they should be number 10. I know...how about Knights Tale, as a representative of all the silly fun movies I've loved!

Okay--that's my K list, and it wasn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be.

What about you? Wanna play?

**If you want to participate, leave a comment on this post and I will assign you a letter, using my very scientific method. (Which involves yelling up the stairs at whoever is home, "Quick, first letter that pops into your head! Or closing my eyes and stabbing a finger at the keyboard.) You then write about 10 things you love that begin with your assigned letter and post them on your blog. When people comment on your posted list, you give them a letter and the chain continues on and on.

Is this a blatant effort of increase my traffic? Damn Skippy it is! Since I took some time off to work on the house, my traffic has gone ker--splat...So we do what we can!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Name change a'comin'

While perusing blogs lately, I've noticed another bookfool out here in blog-land. That bookfool has been around a lot longer than me, so I'm thinking about changing the name of my blog. My daughter came up with the address, Bananas4Books, so I think I should reflect that I am, in fact, a bit daft for books. She says I should just call the blog the same thing as the address, but I'm not sure I want to be a banana. I love 'em, they're tasty, but....

Open to suggestions. I still liked my first name, Monkeybrained Bookfool, but my hubby said he didn't get it. There really wasn't much to get, I just thought it sounded funny.....

Kitty and the Midnight Hour

Kitty and the Midnight Hour follows the life of Kitty Norville, a late night DJ at a Denver radio station. Kitty is also a werewolf. Yup….a werewolf. One night, tired of the lame requests for songs she can’t stand to hear again, Kitty inadvertently starts a feature on her program she calls, The Midnight Hour, sort of a late night “Dr. Laura” for the supernaturally challenged. Before you can say “well stake me in the chest and rub me with garlic”, vampires, werewolves and witches are calling in from all over the country. Suddenly, Kitty has a hit on her hands, a killer handsome werewolf hunter on her “tail” and a whole passel of pissed off homicidal undead crazies looking for her.

I must have really been in the mood for fun, light, fluffy fare because I had a blast reading this book. The author is very clever, she alludes to past events and then later in the book manages to work them into the plot. Before the book is over, you know all about the protagonists past, without having been smacked over the head with it. The book is great fun, and I’m looking forward to number two in the series.

My rating:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

Gonna try a new meme. Top Ten Lists!
This weeks is:
10 Favorite Ethnic Foods

1. Cornish Pasty
2. Bruschetta
3. Enchiladas
4. Fettucini Alfredo
5. Mandarin Chicken
6. Tacquitos
7. Gyros
8. Spaghetti
9. Chow Mein

In no particular order

Thanks to Yano at Ten on Tuesday for this meme!

Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult (review to follow)

I just finished Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult. Don't waste another second reading this, get yourself over to Amazon and get this book pre-ordered. Do whatever it takes so you can have it in your hands when it comes out next Tuesday. Camp out Monday night at Costco, sleep in the parking lot of Barnes and Noble, stand on a freeway on-ramp with a sign reading, "Will Work for Handle With Care". Whatever it takes....

This book is just...extraordinary. I promise I'll write a review, I just have to let it percolate a little bit. Its harder to write a review when you know in your heart that nothing you say can come close to what the book itself says.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday's at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

Sunday’s at Tiffany’s by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet follow the life of a perfectly lovely, lonely little girl, Jane Margaux. Jane has one friend, Michel, who she turns to for comfort, kindness and attention. Michael, however, is her imaginary friend. Jane’s mother is a powerful theatrical producer who only has time for Jane scheduled in once a week, for their weekly stop at Tiffany’s to admire the jewelry. In the world of imaginary friends, rules exist. And Michael must leave Jane on her ninth birthday. According to the rules, Jane won’t remember Michael and he will move on to yet another child that needs him.

Fast-forward thirty years, Jane is working for her overbearing mother, dating a total self-absorbed jerk, and is still a lovely, lonely girl. Yet, she remembered Michael through her whole life. When something, call it fate, conspires to allows them to meet again, it could be her one chance at altering her life forever.

This is the first audio book I’ve ever listened to. I have to say that I’m hooked. How cool is it, to be able to listen to a book while doing all the things I have to do during the day. Thanks to the “culture of the Ipod”, it’s acceptable to walk around with earbuds in ones years. “Reading” while shopping, driving, cooking and cleaning. That’s my kind of multi-tasking! One more excuse to never watch or listen to the depressing news again!

Sunday’s at Tiffany’s is a very mushy romantic book. Part way through, I found myself thinking, “Wow, Patterson is a huge mushball!” I don’t know the logistics of the writing when James Patterson partners with another author, but after listening to this book, I would guess he’s more advisory than hands on. This is a book written by a woman, for women. I usually avoid books like this like the plague. I don’t like romance novels, and have little patience for the whole heaving bosum genre.

That said though, I enjoyed this book. The plot had a clever take on the whole imaginary friend thing. Although I’ll admit that I was a teeny bit creeped out by the adult imaginary friend. Everyone I’ve known with imaginary friends always has other kids as friends. (Yep, I’ve known quite a few people who will admit to having had them, either we’re all really imaginative or seriously messed up…..) I think that Michael could have been a bit older child and still been an adult when they met again, but that’s just my perspective.

For all that, I still enjoyed this book a lot. I was standing in line at the post office near the ending of the novel, in a particularly touching moment. I realized I was really really close to puddling up. (Note to self…don’t listen to tearjerkers in public places….) I realized then, that I did not only like the idea of this book, but the book as well.

Sunday’s at Tiffany’s would be a fast read, light and a bit fluffy, but good for some easy entertainment. Ellen Archer beautifully narrates the audio book to which this review refers.

My rating:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Animal Athletes?? Oh sheesh ....

This evening, as hubby channel surfed, he paused for a minute. Even though I was reading, because really, all the channel changing could drive a sober preacher to drink, something caught my ear. I stopped reading and listened. I heard a host/announcer type guy extolling someones virtues. He was exclaiming that "this is a superb animal athlete! Just superb!" I thought, "huh? animal athlete?" And the gent continued, "His kicking and bucking are terric!" Wait a cotton pickin' minute, this guys wearing a cowboy hat, and he's standing next to a rodeo chute. Oh my gosh, he's talking about a freakin' BULL??!!! Animal athlete??? Wow--I wonder if old Bucky has to be drug tested, and how exactly is this twerp gonna get a urine sample?

My brother and his buddies weren't just trying to ride the yearling bulls when we were growing up. Heck no....apparently they were training the local animal athletes....


Elisha's Bones by Don Hoesel

From Amazon

Every year, professor of antiquities Jack Hawthorne looks forward to the winter break as a time to hide away from his responsibilities. Even if just for a week or two. But this year, his plans are derailed when he's offered almost a blank check from a man chasing a rumor.

Billionaire Gordon Reese thinks he knows where the bones of the prophet Elisha are--bones that in the Old Testament brought the dead back to life. A born skeptic, Jack doesn't think much of the assignment but he could use the money, so he takes the first step on a chase for the legendary bones that will take him to the very ends of the earth. But he's not alone. Joined with a fiery colleague, Esperanza Habilla, they soon discover clues to a shadowy organization whose long-held secrets have been protected . . . at all costs. As their lives are threatened again and again, the real race is to uncover the truth before those chasing them hunt them down.

The bones of the prophet once raised the dead to life... but they vanished from history in a whisper. Now Jack Hawthorne, part-time skeptic and full-time professor of archaeology, is enlisted to sift them from the sands of time. Bankrolled by a dying man of unlimited means, Hawthorne's hunt spans the globe and leads him into a deadly conspiracy older than the church itself. And he soon discovers those sworn to keep the secret of the bones will do anything to protect them.

Elisha’s Bone has it all, a mysterious organization stretching back through the ages, reluctant brainy hero, beautiful genius sidekick, wealthy good guys who might just be bad guys. This globe trotting novel spans globe as well as the centuries. It’s filled with action, adventure, mystery and intrigue. I should have loved it. Why I didn’t? That’s the mystery to me. These types of books are usually right up my alley.

I’ve always been an archaeology buff, love ancient history and a good action yarn is my favorite. But it took me a couple of weeks to get through this slim novel. I caught myself turning on the tv instead of reading the book. I would read the newspaper that was next to me instead of walk across the room and pick up the book. It wasn’t conscious avoidance, just a total lack of compulsion to read it. And really, there’s not a darn thing wrong with this book. I just couldn’t get into it. I’ve decided that I didn’t connect on any level with the protagonists of the novel. I don’t know if this is a problem with the character development or if it’s a problem that I had with the writing. I wish I could point to something in the book that seemed bad, pin my ennui on something within the pages, but I simply can’t. I suspect the book is quite a good read. It just wasn’t what my pointy lil brain was looking for at that time.

My rating:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Floss! (Kind of that is....)

Not from Mental Floss website, but still keeping with the spirit of silly Friday quizzes.. here's today's edition. Good Luck!

What Book Is It?

No literary genius am I...I scored a 7 out of 10....

Thanks for playing along!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein

Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein takes an interesting foray into the depths of the New York Public Library. Assistant D.A., Alex Cooper is called to the apartment of an assault victim, Tina Barr. Barr, who is a conservator of rare books, won’t cooperate with the D.A. or the police. No one thinks this is anything more than a typical home invasion assault, until a dead body shows up in Barr’s apartment shortly after the assault. Tina Barr disappears, and we are taken on an adventure involving the world of rare books and maps.

This is only the second Alex Cooper book I’ve read. I sort of feel like to give the book justice; I should have read the preceding novels. There seems to be quite a history between the characters, and sometimes I felt sort of like the kid on the playground who didn’t get the inside jokes. However, I don’t think the author should have put more background in the book. She added enough background to help this reader see the basics of the relationships, without making it a complete re-read of the previous novels. As a reader of many series, that is a pet peeve of mine. Instead, my interest was piqued, and I’ll probably take the time to read the series someday.

I found the inner workings of the NY Public Library fascinating in this book. The story about the family living within it was especially interesting. I’ve been wondering if that part of the novel is true. Yes, I’ve googled it and No, I can’t find anything. Sigh….disappointment….

I’m not terribly fond of the main character’s love interest, a gentleman named Luc. I didn’t read the novel where this character was introduced, so I’m sure I’m just missing something. To this casual reader, he seemed a bit…. Well…. smarmy. I found him to be a distraction from the novel, not a welcome addition.

If you’re a fan of the Alex Cooper series, you should pick up this novel and give it a read. And if you’re a fan of libraries in general, you should as well.

My rating:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thomas Jefferson

What would Thomas Jefferson have thought about the Stimulus Bill being voted on today in the Senate?

"To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we (will then) be taxed in our meat and our drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they (will) be happy."