Tag Archives: books

A Mind Like A Steel Sieve


Good morning Everyone!

Today, over at Writers Who Kill, I blog about having a mind like a steel sieve.  If you have a minute, go visit at https://writerswhokill.blogspot.com/2018/09/a-mind-like-steel-sieve-by-nancy-eady.html.

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

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Bibliophilic Friday: And Ladies of the Club


Good morning Everyone!

One of the Paperback Covers for the book

One of the Paperback Covers for the book

This week on Bibliophilic Friday, I am going to share with you the first book we’ve talked about that is out of print and not available as an e-book.  It’s worth the trouble of finding it, though.  This is another one of those books that I have read to pieces – I’m currently on my third copy, although this is the first hard bound copy I have owned, and slowly but surely edging my way forward to needing copy number four.

The book is Helen Hooven Santmyer’s And Ladies of the Club.   It is the story of a group of women in a fictional town named Waynesboro in Ohio who form a literary club in the late 1860’s, shortly after the end of the Civil War.  The book follows the lives of these women from the founding of the club through to the death of the last founding member in the 1930’s after Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected for the first time.  This summary does not do the book justice.

If I had to select two main characters for the book, I would choose Anne Alexander and Sarah (Sally) Cochran, as they are named in the beginning of the book.  We follow both of them through the ups and downs of their lives, pregnancies, marital issues, children, deaths and all of the myriad threads that add up to an individual’s life.  The richness of the novel lies not just in the vivid settings that Ms. Santmeyer deftly weaves through the narrative, but also in the way she brings her characters to life – by the end of the book, you feel like you know and are friends with not only Anne and Sally, but many of the supporting cast – Amanda, who received a degree from Oberlin College at a time when few women did, Kitty Edwards, full of spirit and life, Elsa, Sally’s daughter, a women of strong character and kindness and many, many others.  Nor are the only strong characters in the book females – John Gordon, Ludwig and Paul Rausch and Sam Travers are just a few of the males you make friends with.  This is a book that transports you back to the 1860’s, then walks you forward decade by decade until it ends.

The story of the author is also fascinating.  Helen Hooven Santmyer apparently worked on this book for over 50 years.  It was first published in hardback in 1982 and didn’t make much of a splash.  The the mother of a high-ranking editor in a publishing company picked up the book at her local library, absolutely loved it and then insisted that her son read it and urged him to release it as a mass market paperback.  It was a best-seller in 1984 in that format.  Ms. Santmeyer passed away at the age of 90 on February 21, 1986, having seen her book on the best seller list of the New York Times for 37 consecutive weeks in 1984, including several weeks at number one.

Reading this book, which is over 1000 pages long, may seem like a commitment when you first pick it up, but by the time you are through the  few pages, the length of the book becomes immaterial.

Take the time to find this book – even though it is out of print, there are plenty of decently priced paperback and even hardback copies to be found.  Amazon is a good place to look for them, and I’m sure some other sites, like Barnes & Noble, would be good too.  Then take the time to read it.  You’ll be glad you did!

Have a great weekend!

Nancy

Amnesia Anesthesia


Good morning Everyone!

Bibliophilic Friday will return next week with a discussion of Helen Hooven Santmyer’s And Ladies of the Club, one of my all time favorites, but today I wanted to share a couple of funny stories with you.

1) Anesthesia Amnesia

female dentist

A Trip to the Dentist
Photo Credit: http://www.clickartonline.com

Kayla has had the same dentist since she was 2, a wonderful woman she trusts.  Unfortunately, ever since she was about 7, she also has had to have a lot of teeth pulled.  So, while she doesn’t mind going to the dentist to get her teeth cleaned, she always is a little afraid that she is also going to learn that she has to have some more teeth pulled.

Last year, we found out that she needed to have four permanent teeth pulled out to make room for others, and the dentist recommended that we go to an oral surgeon so that everything could be done at once.  The other option was to stay with Dr. Miller, and go back twice.  Kayla instantly chose to go back to Dr. Miller.

The subject came up a couple of weeks ago, and Kayla started to share the story again.  Indignantly, Kayla said, “She was going to send me to someone else who would have given me amnesia!”  It was a few seconds before either Mark or I could stop laughing hard enough to explain that the correct word would have been anesthesia.

2) Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

Tyra Running from the Rain Photo Credit: www.clickartonline.com

Tyra Running from the Rain
Photo Credit: http://www.clickartonline.com

Tyra also had a moment the other day.  Tyra hates to go out in the rain by herself.  She will happily go out on a leash with a human beside her, umbrella or no umbrella, but she does not do rain individually.  We have accidentally had all three dogs out in a downpour before; Mandy and Darwin come in soaking wet, but Tyra will be bone dry – even if all three of them never left the patio!

We have had a pleasant break from normal August weather, with the temperature getting down into the sixties at night and very low humidity, which means, of course, that the dew has fallen several nights.  The other morning, I let Tyra out and was talking her down the stairs.  When she reached the second stair from the porch to the back ground, a drop of water from the roof fell on her.  She immediately assumed that it was raining and started to turn back around.  It took all my urging to convince her that it wasn’t raining and to get her started back down the steps again!

3) Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

Don't Worry; Be Happy! Photo Credit: www.clickartonline.com

Don’t Worry; Be Happy!
Photo Credit: http://www.clickartonline.com

Finally, we are always trying to encourage Kayla to dial down the drama she lends to every day ordinary events and I suppose somewhere along the way we have exposed her to the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”  We were driving to Montgomery last weekend, and Mark was getting frustrated because the seat belt kept creeping up his shoulder until it hit his neck, starting to choke him.  I’ve been there and done that and it is extraordinarily annoying.  As he began to express his frustration, a voice came from the back of the car.  “Hey Dad!  Don’t worry; be happy.”  Of course, we all had to laugh again!

Have a great weekend!

Nancy

Bibliophilic Friday: The Miracle at Belleau Wood


Good Morning Everyone!

World War I, Alan Axelrod, Maines, belleau wood

The Miracle At Belleau Wood by Alan Axelrod

 Currrent and former members of the United States Marine Corps as well as history buffs interested in World War I or military history will enjoy The Miracle at Belleau Wood by Alan Axelrod.  As a rule, I find military histories somewhat hard to follow – I get lost in a maze of place names and general’s names and dates and lose track of where I am in both time and space.  This book, focusing on a single battle, is an exception.

The book provides the reader with a good description of trench warfare in World War I at its full maturation. It delivers a hard-hitting, clear view of the reality of terms tossed around in history books such as “the fog of war.”

More than anything else, this book is a coming of age story about the United States Marine Corps.  The author’s contention is that this battle consolidated the position of the USMC in the public eye as the leading edge fighters of the United States military, the all-volunteer force that is proud to be “the first to fight.”  The USMC, of course, needed no such consolidation in its own mind; it has always known who it is.

World War I, Belleau Wood

A Marine Machine Gun Unit after 28 days at Belleau Wood

Alan Axelrod does a good job of presenting the build-up to the battle and the battle itself in an engaging manner, but without glorifying the concept of war itself.  The book is replete with anecdotes from people who were in the battle which highlight not only the bravery but the humor men seem to find in even the grimmest situations.  One of my favorite anecdotes is the Marine officer who received a message from a French officer that the Marines were supposed to retreat as the French were retreating.  The Marine looked up and told the messenger, “Retreat?  Hell, we just got here.”  My second favorite anecdote is the exchange between one officer and another when the first officer, Major Thomas Holcomb, came forward to meet with Major Frederic Wise, whose battalion he was to relieve shortly.  As he arrived, the Germans cut loose with a fierce artillery barrage.  Holcomb looked at Wise and asked, “Is this celebration due to my arrival?”  Dead pan, Wise replied, “No…This is only routine.”

Axelrod does not shield the reader from the horrors of war in the trenches, either.  The casualties in this battle were horrific – over 120 officers and over 5700 men.  As Americans rediscovered in another war a generation  later on the shores of Normandy, in spite of their heavy losses, the Marines at Belleau Wood ultimately succeeded because American commanders and officers explained to their troops their objectives and how they intended to achieve them.  American soldiers then used their ingenuity, experience and gut determination to achieve that objective – if they were cut off from their squad or platoon, if the higher ranking officers were killed, the individual soldiers still strived to forge forward to win the battle.

During the battle, the Marines were commanded by an army general, General Harbord.  By the end of the battle, the Marines voted to make General Harbord an honorary marine, an honor he ranked personally as the highest honor he ever achieved.

One of the reasons the battle of Belleau Wood was important was that it was the first time that United States fighting forces would fight the Germans essentially on their own. FN.  The Germans hoped that they would be able to squelch and demoralize the American marines completely, gaining a psychological edge on the battlefield.  The Germans also were racing against time – the sheer number of men the Americans would be able to field on behalf of the Allies would ultimately overpower Germany, which was reaching exhaustion.  For the Germans to win the war, this last offensive push had to succeed – and at Belleau Wood, only the Marines stood between them and a break in the lines to reach Paris.

The extent to which the German troops were able to “squelch” and “demoralize” the Marines can be judged by the nickname the German soldiers gave to them – the Teufelhunden, which means “Devil Dogs.”

I was very interested to learn that among the forces on the field during the battle, only the Marines emphasized the importance of marksmanship in regular battle as well as for snipers.  Common military practice at the time was to teach troops to simply point in the general direction of the enemy and shoot, the theory being that you would have so many bullets flying at the enemy at one time that he was bound to suffer casualties.  Not so the Marines – each Marine aimed at a target when he shot, and what he aimed at, he hit.

It does take the author several chapters to ease the reader into the battle – about four – and I would have liked to know a little bit more about what happened to various people after the battle throughout the rest of the war.  The first four chapters, however, provide the reader with important background information without which the reader would be unable to appreciate exactly what the Marines did at Belleau Wood and there are references throughout the book to what happens to certain of the Marines as time goes on.

Marines, Belleau Woods

Members of the 6th – Marines gather on the edge of Belleau Wood resting after the battle

The author’s assessment of the final result of the battle is interesting, too.  Many historians credit the Marines in this battle with preventing the fall of Paris in Ludendorff’s last offensive to break through the trench lines.  However, most historians also believe that once the Marines had done this, fairly early on in the battle, the rest of the fight to take the wood, which cost so many Marine lives, accomplished little. The author agrees, and yet, as he explains, after listing the terrible tally of the battle – 126 Marine officers and 5057 Marine men killed along with many more Germans:

For the U.S. Marine Corps, this investment in blood has never been subject to question or controversy.  It was a mission.  That in itself is all that really matters.  Beyond this however, it was a test of American military capacity and American character, and the marines felt fortunate that were given the responsibility for taking and passing this test. … The reputation of the marines as America’s fiercest warriors, the nation’s elite fighting force, was forged in this battle.  After Belleau Wood, the marines claimed the right to be regarded as the American vanguard, the first to fight and if necessary, the last to leave.

This book is definitely worth your time.

Have a great day!

Nancy

FN.  An army unit temporarily “on loan” to the French had acquitted itself well a few weeks earlier as well in stopping a German advance.  As a rule, General Pershing, the overall commander of the American Expeditionary Force, wanted the U.S. troops to fight as their own units rather than interspersed between French and English troops; however, one of the Ludendorff offensives compelled him to loan the artillery unit to the French.

 

Bibliophilic Friday: Robots and Foundation


Good morning Everyone!

Robot from Print Shop Professional 2.0

I have been (sort of) participating in a WordPress Challenge called “Blogging 201,” which is designed to help bloggers improve their blog.  One of its suggestions is to have at least one weekly feature, so here’s mine:  Bibliophilic Friday.  All the feature really does is give me a chance to talk about some of the many, many books that I love.  I’m not entirely sure that you can be a writer if you don’t also love to read; at least I couldn’t.

We’re going to start with  Isaac Asimov’s Robot series and Foundation series, mostly because that is what I have been reading for the past few weeks.  Many of you are probably familiar with the movie “I, Robot”, which was (very) loosely based on Isaac Asimov’s work.  The movie, however, is nothing at all like the book.  While I did enjoy the movie, as in most cases, the book is much better.  The Isaac Asimov book, I, Robot, is basically a group of short stories tied together by the theme of an interview with robotics expert Susan Calvin that traces  the history of the positronic robots in Asimov’s imaginary future world from their beginnings towards the point where they are an integral part of the world.

One of my favorite stories in the book tells the trials and tribulations suffered by a two-man field team of robotics experts whose job is to test all of the new robots that are developed by the company.  In this particular story, they have been assigned to assemble and teach a new group of robots to handle an energy beam for earth; the energy beam has to be directed “just so”, or it will lose focus and end up frying major cities such as London or L.A..  The most important jobs the robots have is to keep the beam focused during radiation storms in space.  Well, our intrepid duo puts together a robot, who, with its positronic brain, deduces that it would be impossible for the men to have created it, given how much flimsier and less intelligent the men are then it.  Instead, the robot decides that its creator is the computer running the energy beam and that the job of all is to serve it.  It also deduces that the computer creator has given the men the delusion that they created the robots out of kindness and concern for their weakened condition.  The robot also converts all of the other more primitive robots in the energy station.  When one of the men gets frustrated and says something negative (ie., expletive deleted) about the energy beam computer, the men are locked out of the control room for blasphemy. The story goes forward from there.  It is really very funny!  The other stories in the book are equally entertaining, with just the right mix of humor, emotion, intellectual challenge and sometimes even pathos.

After re-reading #25 or so of  I, Robot, I decided to read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy.  It is considered one of the cornerstones of modern science fiction but I just never had gotten around to it.  I am delighted that I finally did!

The original three novels are the kind of books that you have to stay up until midnight reading just because you can’t wait to see what happens next.  There are two prequels (actually written after the first three novels) that are just as exciting.  In the Foundation books, a mathematician named Hari Seldon has developed a system of mathematics called psychohistory that is capable of predicting the future based upon the acts of billions of individuals.  At the time of the book, mankind is spread out over millions of worlds and part of a galactic empire that has existed for tens of thousands of years, but which is about to fall.  Seldon uses his branch of mathematics, psychohistory, to develop a plan that will reduce the period of  “the dark ages” that would result from the collapse of the Empire from 10,000 to 1000 years, and the first three books are about the plan during is first 400 or so years of existence.  The prequels are, of course, about Hari Seldon and how his psychohistory and the Foundation that supported it was developed.  (There are at least two other, later Foundation novels, but I haven’t read them yet so can’t recommend them.)

One fascinating development since Asimov wrote the Foundation novels is that something approaching psychohistory seems to be developing today.  There are people working on developing models that will use all of the data, chatter, discussions and decisions out on the Internet in order to predict future geopolitical events.  Google  and Bing already do some predicting on an individual basis – if you’ve ever noticed, while you’re writing a search query, they busily try to give you choices on what you are trying to ask based on what they predict your questions to be.

So, for you science fiction fans out there, what is your favorite Isaac Asimov science fiction book?  If you are a fan of some of his non-fiction work popularizing different sciences, let me know which one of those are your favorites!  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Have a great day!

Nancy

Thoroughly Thoreau


Good morning Everyone!

My Side of the Mountain

From Amazon.com - The Book Cover

I was driving Kayla to school last week, when suddenly she asked me if I had ever heard of a book called My Side of the Mountain.  I told her “no” at first, but then after she described it for a minute or two, I realized that I had read it in elementary school (lo these many years ago) and that it had been one of my favorite books.  She really liked it too, so she and I had the fun of discussing a favorite book together.

Catskill Mountains

An overview of the Catskill Mountains from en.wikipedia.org

Of course, she was much more familiar with it than I was, having read it the prior week, while it had been at least 37 years since I read it, but still I remembered a good portion of it.  In the book, a young boy (I don’t remember his age, but he is either a tween or in his early teens) runs away from home to go live in the wild in the Catskill Mountains.  He makes a home for himself – in a large tree, if I remember correctly – and has a pet falcon and gets to know many of the animals in the area, as well as having some incredible adventures.  He manages to stay there about 2 years before he finally is discovered by the public and then decides to go home.

While he is in the wild, he meets a hiker one day who has gotten lost.  The hiker is an English professor, who gives the boy a nickname.  Kayla told me that the nickname was “Thorough” and then got very thoughtful.  She added, after a minute, “I think it was because the boy cooked his food so thoroughly.”

Henry David Thoreau

A photograph of Henry David Thoreau

After a hasty cough on my part to help swallow a laugh, I gently suggested that perhaps she had heard the word wrong, and the nickname was in fact “Thoreau,” based upon the Thoreau who lived in a cabin on a pond in Massachusetts.

Walden Pond Thoreau

A photograph of Walden Pond, from a post by Mike Dash on blogs.forteana.org

She said, “Well, maybe so.”  Then she brightened up and added, ” But at least that wasn’t on the test!”

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

The ABC Award


Good morning everyone!

My friend, Drusilla Mott, in her blog at www.drusillamott.wordpress.com, awarded me the ABC award a couple of days ago.  Like most blogging awards, there are certain rules.  The first is that I need to put the ABC Award Icon on my front page permanently somewhere; I’m still working on that, but I’ll figure it out.  The third requirement is that I nominate other blogs for the award.  I’m thinking through that one, too.  I’d really like to nominate all of the blogs I follow, but some of them don’t care for awards and others may not have time to worry about the second requirement.  The challenging part of the ABC award is the second requirement, which is where you use each word of the alphabet to tell your readers something about you.  That is my challenge for today, so here we go! 

A pastel I did of Tyra

A – Artist

Mandy

B – Boo, one of Mandy’s many nicknames

C – Courage – the courage to continually battle my depression every day

D – Dogs – If you read this blog regularly, this doesn’t need any more explanation!

E – Everyone – I believe that we should have an innate respect for the worth of every human being.

Our Family, Early in 2005

F – Family – My first and primary human priority.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

G – God – My first and primary priority.  I am so grateful to Him for so many things!

Plastic Canvas Ornaments, in a "folksy" style

H – Hobbies – I have many hobbies besides writing, which is turning into a quasi-profession.  Some of my hobbies are reading, counted cross-stitch and, occasionally, working with the scroll saw.  I’d like to start jewelry making, too.

I – Introvert – You might not guess it from this blog, but I am fairly introverted in person, unless I know you.  Of course, since I am introverted, it takes a while for me to get to know you!

J – Justice – What I hopefully am pursuing in my career as a lawyer.

Kitten

K – Kittens – Yes, they’re cute, but never will we have one in our house!

L – Love – Yet these three remain – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love.

M – Mom – my second most favorite role of the many roles I play in my life.

Darwin aka No-No

N – No-No.  The words most commonly used to admonish Darwin, and hence one of his many nicknames.

O – Oliphant – Something that appears in one of the scenes from one of my favorite sets of books of all time, The Lord of The Rings.  I’m pretty sure I’ve read it over 50 times.

P – Patient.  Most of the time, I am very patient.  Except when my 10-year-old pushes my buttons.  She is the only person who can pierce my patience in three words or less!

Q – Quiet.  (See I – introvert.)

R – Risks.  I am not one normally to take many risks, but the few times in my life when it has really counted, I have taken some big ones.  For example, see my post on why our family celebrates December 15. 

Science

S – Science.  One of my favorite subjects to read about. 

T – Tardy.  My sister says that, unless Mark is in charge of the expedition and she doesn’t count those, I am at least 10 to 15 minutes late to everything.  I’m not always convinced, but sometimes I have a sinking feeling that she may be right!

U – Umbrellas.  I never have an umbrella handy when I need one, and if I have one handy, you can be sure that it will not rain!

A picture from one of our vacations

V – Vacation.  I love vacations!  I love traveling on vacations.  I love staying home on vacations.  I love sleeping in on vacations.  I love eating out on vacations.  I love…. (You get the idea!)

W – Wife – My first favorite role in my life.

X – Xerxes/Xenophon.  (Ha!  Bet you didn’t know how I was going to get around “X”).  This represents my interest in ancient Greek and Roman history, which includes reading English translations of some of the ancient sources, including Thucydides, Herodotus and Xenophon.  And Polybius.  Polybius is way cool!  See my post on my bookshelves.

Y – Yaks.  I don’t really have any particular affinity for yaks, but it was the only “Y” word that popped into my mind. 

A picture from the zoo!

Z – Zoos.  I love to visit zoos.  It’s fun.  

Well, that is it; odds and ends about me from A-Z.  If you’re still awake, I’d love it if you would pick one or two letters and use them to tell me a little bit about yourself, too!

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

The Blank Page: Analogy and Reflection


Good morning Everyone!

Have you ever thought about the possibilities inherent in a blank page?  Every single book ever written began with one, even the Bible.  A page is anything that is written upon, physically or electronically, which includes all medium from leather hides, cuneiform clay tablets, papyrus, paper, computer screens and napkins and paper towels (for those of us like me who are organizationally challenged and can’t find paper all the time when they need it.)

A blank page can be intimidating, especially when a deadline is looming.  It stares back at you, unblinking, demanding that something be written on it.  At my work, it usually is demanding that something be written on it quickly, with accurate legal citations, and adequate evidence to prove my point.  When I am just writing, as I am now, sometimes it gives me a softer, gentler stare, reminding me that I can write about anything that I want, and sometimes the stare challenges me, telling me I can do better and it’s time to start writing.  

One typewriter Ernest Hemingway used to fill blank pages

A blank page can be comforting.  Each one is a new start, a new opportunity, a chance to write something that no one has every written before.  With each one, the possibility exists that the magic inherent in the written word will strike, and that elusive combination of words that goes straight to the hearts of others and makes them laugh or cry or think, that makes those particular words matter and live on past the immediate moment of their writing will be formed.

Kayla at what can only be called the "heirloom typewriter" for our family.

A blank page is both malleable, and inflexible.  A blank page, once I write on it, will let me erase the words I have previously written and start over again, if I need to, (with the exception of leather hides and cuneiform clay tablets; that’s more complicated) but I always reach a point where I am locked in to what I have written, and the story or brief acquires a life of its own.

Kayla, during her first Christmas ever with us.

I think that’s one reason that children are fascinating.  At the very beginning, they seem to be a blank page as well, but a blank page that, as it grows, like any good story, takes on a life of its own.  I have noticed that with Kayla.  While I see her growing into being her own wonderful person, I can see traits that mirror traits that Mark or I have, both good and bad.   She can be very flexible, at times, and absolutely intransigent (I can’t imagine where that stubbornness comes from!  Family members, no laughing please) at others.  She has been participating in writing her own story from the blank page that she started as, and as both a writer and a watcher of it, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Kayla driving the Southern Star, our dolphin cruise boat, this summer

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

Books: The Adventures of a Thousand Lifetimes


Good morning everyone!

My designated breakfast spot puts me at a place at our table where I can look over at the 10 bookshelves that line our fireplace, five on each side. 

There are one and a half shelves dedicated to cookbooks.  Anyone who didn’t know me would think that meant that I was extremely interested in cooking.  Those who do know me are rolling on the floor laughing at the thought.  Still, even those of us who cook because it is necessary, not because visions of gourmet meals dance through our heads at night, need a few reference books, which is where the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook and the Joy of Cooking come in.  The rest of the cookbooks are there, I guess, in case I ever desire to elevate cooking from a necessity to a hobby.

DVD Player Photograph from http://www.wikipedia.org

One shelf contains all of our audiovisual equipment, which I would be absolutely unable to use were it not for the universal remote my husband thoughtfully set up for me.   (It’s better than trying to start the stuff on my own, even if the remote does like him better than it does me.  See, The Differences Between Men and Women.)

A Collection of Seven Nero Wolfe Books

The other seven and a half shelves contain adventures from a thousand lifetimes.  On the top shelf is my Nero Wolfe collection (a grand name for the primarily paperback books I have bought over the years of every Nero Wolfe book I could find.)  If you haven’t yet met Nero Wolfe, his right-hand man Archie Goodwin, his exceptional butler and cook, Fritz Brenning, and Theodore Horstmann, the grumpy gardener who tends the orchid collection on the top floor of the brownstone in New York City where they live, I highly recommend you do so.  They are pure fun.

A relief showing Polybius (I think)

I also have books that were written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth.  My favorite of these, so far, is the history of Rome written by Polybius, a Greek general who was a friend of Scipio Africanus (the Roman general who defeated the Carthaginians in Africa).  Polybius was originally taken as a hostage to Rome, ended up becoming Scipio Africanus’s friend and participating in the Carthaginian campaign, then was allowed to return to Greece.  Polybius believed in telling the facts, and nothing but the facts in the history that he wrote.  He died at the venerable age of 90 when he took a fall from his horse while hunting.  Any ancient writer/general with such a full life deserves to have his book at least sampled.

Cover of The Arms of Nemesis, by Steven Saylor

I also have most of the books written by Steven Saylor, a mystery writer whose mysteries are set in Rome during the lives of Cicero and Julius Caesar, and Colleen McCullough’s fictional series on Rome.   Both series are good; it is interesting how their portrayals of the major historical figures of the era are very different.

Patriot Games, by Tom Clancy

Lest you think we are stuck merely in the ancient world, we also have a set of the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan novels, several books about American history during the American Revolution and its aftermath, and the biographies of several presidents.  My favorite presidents are John Adams and Theodore Roosevelt, and they are well-represented on the shelves in front of me.

Photograph of Theodore Roosevelt

Kayla has a couple of books in this set of bookshelves, but most of hers are in the well-filled five shelf bookcase in her room.  Several of my old science fiction/fantasy favorites are in the fireplace bookshelves, including The Dragon and the George, and James P. Hogan’s Series on the gentle giants of Ganymede, but more of those are in the bookcase in the study that Mark built, and the bookcase in the spare bedroom where I have squirreled away many of my oldest and dearest favorites.  (Most of my science books and Christian books are in the study bookcase also.)

Picture of Edward Gibbon

Oh, and I have an unabridged set of Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, all six volumes.  I have only managed to read Volume One through from cover to cover, but before I die I intend to make it through Volumes 2 through 6.

Picture of Louisa May Alcott

A very well-worn paperback version of The Three Musketeers is up there, along with several of my childhood favorites by Louisa May Alcott, a small smattering of romance novels and one volume containing the complete works of William Shakespeare.  Willa Cather’s Death Comes to the Archbishop, a favorite of mine, graces a shelf between The Mapmakers and The Neanderthal’s Necklace.

Quill Pen

We take for granted how powerful the written word can be; how it can transport us away from our current life into lands and times far away from where we are now, or even places that never existed, but we wish did.  The written word makes us think, entertains us, stimulates our imagination and introduces us to countless lives and worlds we never would be able to experience otherwise.  Looking at my bookshelves, I am glad to have to have my own small treasury of that magic, and look forward to participating in it for the rest of my life.

I would love to hear about your favorite books and the books on your bookshelves, if you have time to comment.

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

My Kindle


Hi Everyone!

I am running late today, not aided by the fact that neither Kayla nor the dogs have come up with anything interesting to talk about the last couple of days (besides Darwin losing his collar outside, we don’t know how, but we did find it again!)  So, the time has come to talk about my Kindle.

First of all, I love books!  I have shelves and shelves of books at the house, and a few of my office shelves devoted to some personal books also.  I had loaded books onto my phone before, but never did enjoy reading them that way.   

I got my first Kindle two Christmases ago.  I think Mark decided that I was incapable of not purchasing books (and that’s true – I still can’t go into a book store without buying something!)  and was looking for a space-saving option.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that I lobbied for it for months, too. 

The first one’s screen broke about four months ago, so I purchased my second Kindle then.  I cannot tell you how much I enjoy the Kindle!  The best things in my life are my husband and my child, the best gifts my husband ever gave me were the dogs, but the best non-living gift he ever gave me was my Kindle. 

The Kindle is small enough to fit in my purse (granted, I like really, really large purses, because then it is harder for them to camouflage themselves when I lose them somewhere in the house), and the one I currently have is holding 112 books on the device, with 10 magazine issues.  The books include books on science, children’s literature (for me, not for Kayla), science fiction, books on Christian living, history and computers.  Because I like to read such a wide range of books (and I usually am reading 2 or 3 or 4 at a time, depending on my mood), the Kindle gives me a welcome anonymity, so that if I want to read a book on the Franco-Prussian war or re-read Little Women, I can do so unapologetically and without needing to explain.  I used to feel a little self-conscious walking into a restaurant at lunch with some of the books I like to read, but now I don’t. 

Oh, and I have another 61 items in the archives, which include both magazine issue and books I have read and removed from the device, but which I can re-load any time I want. 

Reading my Kindle feels very much like reading a book; the type is made of ink that is electronically arranged, and for those of us whose eyesight is, shall we say, in a state of flux, the type can be re-sized up to a very large font, which is nice. 

Book shopping on the Kindle is fun, too, because I can do it any time of day or night.  There’s nothing like sitting in bed at 10:00 p.m. at night and book-shopping in the privacy of your own home!  In fact, book-shopping is a little too easy; I have to work to restrain myself a little bit.

The Kindle will also let me connect to the internet, although navigating the internet on the Kindle is a little cumbersome, so I only use it as a last resort. 

Because I purchased the cover that goes with the Kindle (and the cover for the new Kindle includes a built-in reading light that runs off the Kindle battery itself – way cool!), it feels very much like a book when I read it.  There is a button you click to turn the page, which feels much more book-like than scrolling on a screen like you do on the computer. 

Do any of you use a Kindle, or another type of e-reader?  How do you like it?  Do any of you have a version that has color?  How does that impact your reading?  What kind of back glare do you get with your reader?  (My Kindle has virtually none, but then it is not color, either.)  I would love to hear from all of you on this subject, because I am curious. 

Well, that’s enough for today.  Have a great weekend!  I hope all of you get a chance to read something good!

Nancy