Saturday, February 25, 2012

More Goodreads

Well, I have succumbed to not one, but two book crazes. I recently finished reading the Twilight saga, and surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. Yes, it's written for the YA crowd, but this was still good to me. I wasn't so much interested in the supernatural aspects, which is to say, the vampires and werewolves/shape shifters, but the story itself.
See I tend to enjoy stories about journeys, whether physical ones like in The Lord of the Rings or The Dark Tower, or internal ones like, for example, Twilight. Bella starts out as a misfit new girl in school and then falls in love. Her journey, choosing between Edward and Jacob, becoming a mother, and really deciding what's the most important in her life, was fascinating to me.
I'm Team Edward, by the way :)
The other book craze that caught me is The Hunger Games. It's not so much that there's a movie coming out soon, but I've seen several friends on Facebook recommend it, and several members of an online book club I belong to also liked this trilogy. Well, I'm now in the middle of the third installment, and it's such an exciting story.
Katniss lives in a far-distant future North America, where the government rules with an iron fist from the Capitol. There are 12 outlying districts. To prevent another uprising like the one that happened years ago, resulting in the obliteration of a 13th district, the Capitol forces each of the districts to send a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 each year to the Hunger Games, a nationally televised event where the 24 teenagers are locked in an arena, which changes each year, and forced to kill each other, until only one remains. Katniss' younger sister is chosen, so to save her, Katniss volunteers to compete in her place.
It's a violent story, but also compelling. You know Katniss will survive, but how? How will she go on afterwards? Katniss eventually becomes the symbol of national rebellion, reluctantly. I liked the second book, Catching Fire, just as much as the first book. So far, Mockingjay is interesting. I haven't gotten to much action yet, but it's obvious it's coming.
I'm hoping to finish Mockingjay tonight.
I would recommend both of these series to my friends and family who enjoy reading. Even though they're written for a younger audience, I know many people my age and older who have read them all.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Today's busywork

Claire and Natalie are gone until Wednesday on a visit with their father. To keep busy today, I've done the following:
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Change bedding on all 3 beds
  • Wash said bedding
  • Fold and put away laundry
  • Bake brownies for the concession stand at the all-male melodrama in Morristown tonight
  • Vacuum entire downstairs
  • Wash and put away dishes
  • Clean out the girls' dresser and closet
  • Clean out my closet
Tomorrow after church, Bible class, and dinner at Mom & Dad's house, we're going to start a Twilight marathon. My mom and I both recently finished reading the Twilight series (she's Team Jacob, I'm Team Edward) and I bought the first four movies with what remained of my Christmas money. We're going to watch Twilight and New Moon tomorrow afternoon.
I have Monday off for President's Day, so that day I'm planning on mopping the kitchen, cleaning the bathroom, getting all my papers filed, scrubbing the walls where Brinkley "happy tail"-ed all over, and any other cleaning that might occur to me.
I also want to catch up on this season of Grey's Anatomy, which I've been recording on the DVR, and finish Claire's cross stitch bookmark. The evenings get long when Claire and Natalie are gone, so I'm likely to achieve most of this stuff.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Answering Questions

My pastor's daughter recently spent 3 weeks in England. As I was reading about her trip on her blog, she was tagged to answer questions and then ask people more questions. Here are my answers to her questions:

1. Do you write mostly in print or cursive?  Mostly a mish-mash of the two
2. What was your favorite movie as a little kid?  Home Alone
3. If you had three wishes, what would you use them on?  1. To know I wouldn't develop Alzheimer's (or similar) when I get older, 2. To have CVLHS get enough students to remain open indefinitely, and 3. (shallow, I know) to lose all of the baby weight I've gained and not yet lost with Claire and Natalie
4. Who's your favorite LotR character? Eowyn
5. Center or Centre? Center
6. Can you say the alphabet backwards? Yes
7. What's your least favorite song? Any songs by The Cure
8. What book genre is your favorite? It's not specifically a genre, but I love big epics, like The Dark Tower by Stephen King, LOTR by Tolkien, and the like.
9. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose? Right where I am now.
10. What made you choose your blog's name? My dad would read to us the Old Mother West Wind stories, and one of the "characters" in the stories was The Merry Little Breezes.
11. How many times do you run your dishwasher in a day? My dishwashers are my own two hands, and I try to wash dishes every day, but I don't always succeed.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rite of Passage

I got a text from Claire and Natalie's father this morning that his maternal grandmother had passed away. This was not an unexpected passing; Grandma Joan had suffered from a lung condition (I can't remember what it's called) for the past several years, and she had been on oxygen even before the divorce. Claire and Natalie had gone to see her around Christmastime.
This will be the first funeral the girls will attend. I'm glad they're able to go, since I think it's important for kids to see that death is part of life. I'm expecting to answer a bunch of questions from Claire, and maybe from Natalie, about this. I'm sure their dad will also get lots of questions, and he's usually pretty good about answering them.
I've explained to the girls about heaven and dying before, especially with the death of dogs, and watching Bambi, and other times the discussion has come up. Great-Grandma Joan is the first person they've known who's died, so I don't know how/if this will be any different.
Claire and Natalie will probably be fine at the funeral itself. They've obviously attended church all their lives, and the service, while different, will also likely be a traditional service and follow a liturgy (Great-Grandma was Catholic). The girls know how to sit still (mostly) in church, plus they'll have lots of relatives around which will be good. I wish I'd be there, but I really don't think that would be a good idea. So I'll wait for the girls to come home and hear their thoughts and questions and hope everything goes well. Which it almost certainly will.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Good Reads

I just finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This is truly one of the greatest books I've had the pleasure of reading. The choice of narrator is nothing short of genius. The narrator was fascinating. The use of foreshadowing is usually something that drives me crazy (do you hear me, Stephen King?), but because of the narrator, it worked.
It also helps that this book takes place during World War II, an era that has always held a particular fascination for me, in nearly every aspect. I've enjoyed books (fiction and non-fiction) about the European Theater, the Pacific Theater, the Holocaust, the Home Front, books from American points of view, German points of view, etc.
Several of the books I've read in the past year have been set during this era. Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff, Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay, and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford are all great books from differing points of view and in different settings. I would recommend all of them to anyone who likes reading.
I wonder, with Stephen King's wild (and often freaky) imagination, how he would write a book set during WWII. It would probably be one of the scariest and interesting WWII books written.
I'm in the middle of re-reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I'm halfway through #6, Song of Susannah. I've only read this one, one other time along with the final book The Dark Tower. The Master of Horror has another Dark Tower tie-in coming out in April that takes place between #4 and #5, and I'm really excited for it. I am so glad, for a man who retired in 2004, that he's kept writing and publishing his stories.