Ah, Interwebs. You have brought me the awesome.

I was hopping around on the web this morning and ended up on Project Gutenberg.  One of the “new” books listed was Dave Fearless and the Cave of Mystery–written in 1918 by Roy Rockwood.  This is one in a series of Dave Fearless books “for boys” because, obviously, girls would never be interested in this sort of thing…

Thoughts passing through my head:

#1.  I’m a girl and I will prove you wrong.

#2.  The whole title of the book is Dave Fearless and the Cave of Mystery, or Adrift on the Pacific.  What a mouthful!

#3.  It fits my adventure theme this month.  [This dovetails nicely with today’s paper-grading procrastination.]

#4.  The writing!  Seriously.

We have been tricked, robbed! After all our trouble, hardship, and peril, I fear that the golden reward we counted on so grandly has slipped from our grasp. (Chapter 1)

[I laughed so hard because it sounds like much of the writing I see from my students.  I am a mean teacher…]

#5.  How can I pass up a character named Dave Fearless?

Yep.

I am definitely reading this today.

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Are you looking forward to it?

happy new year

On to 2013!

A New Year’s Toast

Thank you to all who have stopped by for a visit.  To those who have shared their thoughts:  I appreciate every idea and kind word.

For the upcoming year, I wish for you and your families love and hope and joy in moments unexpected or commonplace.  And, as always, may you find your dreams well within your reach!

A promise to myself

For 2013 I only have one real resolution:  be healthy.  Of course, everyone says “I want to lose weight,” but that’s not really my plan.  While it will be an added bonus, I am more concerned with boosting my immune system and upping my vitamin intake naturally (without vitamins).  I want to feel energized and like I’m on the right track with food.

My sister and I watched several videos recently about a more vegetable centered diet:  Forks Over Knives, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue.  And, something clicked for me.  I’ve known for years that my diet left much to be desired, but I just didn’t feel compelled to change it.  Now, I think I am ready.

Will I be a strict vegan?  Not going to happen.  I refuse to give up my leather shoes and I like honey.

Will I be a strict vegetarian?  Probably not.

What am I willing to change?  I will overhaul my kitchen.  I will make healthy food decisions.  I will listen to my body when it tells me that I need something (like watermelon or onions or hot peppers).  I will cut out soda, milk products, hfcs, and most meat.

  • Soda.  Well, I’m only attached to one type of soda:  I’m a die-hard Coke drinker.  I know it is bad for me and it doesn’t even make me blink an eye.  I’m an addict and I know it.  This is the first order of business in the new year:  stop drinking it cold turkey.  [This will be the most difficult and ugliest part of the plan.]  I am hoping a lot of water and green tea will help.
  • Milk products.  I haven’t been a milk drinker in years so that isn’t difficult to handle.  The milk products–specifically cheese, ice cream, butter and cottage cheese–well, that’s a different kettle of fish.  A very grumbly, stab-you-with-a-fork kind of fish.  I know there are substitutes for some of these things, but I can’t imagine that they are any better for me in the long run.  So, I can give up the ice cream and cottage cheese cold turkey.  I can even mostly weed out cheese (unless someone is buying me some very excellent French cheese and then all bets are off!)  But, I am not convinced that there will not be an occasional need for a bit of butter now and again.  We shall see.
  • High fructose corn syrup.  This is a nasty chemical that needs to be eliminated from everyone’s diet.  It will be easier to avoid when I stay away from processed foods (and Coke) and move toward a whole foods diet.
  • Meat.  I am not usually a “must have meat” kind of person.  Growing up, most of my meat intake occurred for Sunday dinner or the occasional burger during the week.  In the last ten years, my body didn’t often crave meat; I would go weeks or months at a time without even thinking about it.  That doesn’t mean healthy food was on the agenda.  Do you know how much crap you can actually eat that doesn’t have meat?!  However, for the purposes of my year-long project, I reserve the right to eat a small amount of organic, local meat now and again.

How am I preparing for the changes?  To be honest, the only big change I’ve made is homemade muesli for breakfast most days since Thanksgiving.  It is quite yummy and it fills me up well–not a single snacking impulse even though I don’t usually eat lunch until 2 or 3.  Two smaller preparations:  I started drinking more water this week (although I’m still woefully below daily recommendations) and I readied a notebook to be a food diary.

The last days of 2012.  Mostly my food intake right now is dreadful and horrid and blush-worthy.  And I’m going to enjoy it until midnight on December 31!

A bit of Tuesday inspiration

I caught The Daily Show in my Hulu queue early this morning (yesterday’s episode)…guest:  JK Rowling.  They put up the extended interview online:

Part 1 (from show) and Part 2 (extended exclusive)

I was intrigued by her difficulty to write heroes and how she views the mythic hero as a figure.  All in all, it was a fun bit to watch.

To see what there is to see

Because I am currently procrastinating grading student essay reference documentation on boring topics like global warming and the truth of the myth of Atlantis, I decided to have a look-see through my library for supplemental books to aid my reading during Austen in August.

Happily, these should be waiting at the library for me tomorrow–as they were all available for check-out.  🙂

Jane Austen’s Letters.

Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners:  Compliments, Charades & Horrible Blunders by Josephine Ross and Henrietta Webb.  Discusses the social conventions and etiquette of the time using Austen’s letters and her novels to illustrate the points.

A Truth Universally Acknowledged:  33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen edited by Susannah Carson.  Gathers multiple essays on Austen from authors like Virginia Woolf, C. S. Lewis, and Anna Quindlen.

Virginia Woolf’s Nose:  Essays on Biography by Hermione Lee.  Discusses what happens in the art of creating biography.  There is an essay inside about Austen.

Audiobooks–because why not squeeze more Austen into the month?

  • Emma
  • Sense and Sensibility

Maybe I’ve gone a bit mad.  I am hoping these supplemental books will be as interesting to look through as their titles and summaries suggest!

OK.  Note to self:  grade now, read later.

Take time for a story on a Sunday

Hi everyone!

PodCastle is a wonderful website website that offers a weekly fantasy story via podcast.  I think of it kind of like an old-fashioned radio broadcast where someone reads a “story of the week.”  It has two sister sites:  EscapePod (science fiction), and PseudoPod (horror).

Sometimes it is nice to have someone read to you.

So, on a lazy Sunday, grab a story while you are doing whatever it is that you do and enjoy!

 

Done: The Wise Man’s Fear

I stumbled across Patrick Rothfuss’ first novel, The Name of the Wind, back in 2010 while meandering through the sci-fi/fantasy section of my local library.  Since I am a bit flip about book choice, it takes a really strong voice and great writing to pull me in.  However, with Rothfuss, it was effortless–and now I am hooked in for the long haul.

I do mean long haul in every sense.  The first of the Kingkiller Chronicles was published in 2007 and The Wise Man’s Fear hit the shelves in 2011.  Readers waited four years between books.  Now, I’ve seen complaints that the gap between books is too long.  That is just plain jackassishness; I would much rather have the wait if it makes a better book.  The fact that these complainers are waiting means that there is something they are looking forward to, something worth waiting for.

And the wait is on for Book #3.

What is difficult to consider is my own lack of focus.  It took me a very long time to get through Book #2.  Believe me, this is in no way due to the story or the writing!  I just couldn’t sit still for long periods of time this spring–not enough to read a book borrowed from the library.  I checked it out two different times, but still couldn’t manage it.  So, I grabbed the audiobook and that was MUCH easier for me.  I could still listen to the novel and do other things around the house or work on the computer; I wasn’t tied down.

As an audiobook, there are 36 discs.  As a hardcover, it is 994 pages.  To give you some comparison:

  • George RR Martin.  A Game of Thrones.  28 discs.  704 pages.
  • JK Rowling.  Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix.  23 discs.  766 pages.
  • Robert Jordan.  The Shadow Rising.  34 discs.  699 pages.
  • Patrick Rothfuss.  The Name of the Wind.  23 discs.  672 pages.

I made it through 3/4 of the book in the last week or so.  And I am glad I did.

When I am reading through a series of books, I want the author to leave me with questions and clues to pull me into the next book.  When I am no longer curious, I stop reading.  This is what happened to me during my read through of Jordan’s Wheel of Time series; I had no questions or concerns after book 4–everything seemed to endlessly repeat.  But Rothfuss has not disappointed me!

  • Bast…seriously, what the hell?
  • What is going on with Kvothe?  Is he ill?
  • What of the box?  What of the library door?
  • Will he return to Felurian?  Will the sword go back to the Adem?
  • What of the current situation the country is in?
  • I’ve got a million more…

What do I hope?  That the final book is awesome.  I cannot really see how he will quickly finish the loose threads and come to the end of the whole tale without a fourth book, but I am looking forward to reading the result!