The End Game

I don’t usually review books but once upon a time I listed them here and wrote a blurb about each one. Scaling down was the best option for me a few years back, but if you’re interested in what I’m reading, you can track them on Facebook. It’s not as visually pleasing but I update whenever I start something new.

That being said, I’m not going to post a book review, rather praise a novel’s introduction. Yep, the introduction. Though from what I’ve read so far, the book is good, too.

The fastest way to bump a book up on my TBR (to be read) pile is to release a movie. ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card has been on my “pile” for at least a decade. (The pile is too big to stack: I have books on random shelves around the house plus a list of books to get—at some point—from the library or at the bookstore.) This November is gonna rock in theaters! I might go to the movies twice a year, but with THOR: THE DARK WORLD, CATCHING FIRE, THE BOOK THIEF, and ENDER’S GAME all releasing in November, I might be going weekly. I used to collect THOR comic books (still have them), I’ve read The Hunger Games series as well as The Book Thief, and now I’m into Ender’s Game.

The old paperback that's been around the house for YEARS.

The old paperback that’s been around the house for YEARS.


Two nights ago, I started Ender’s journey from the beginning. I read books from beginning to end, from copyright page all the way through the dedication and to the author’s biography at the end. I love introductions and author’s notes and the introduction to the “Author’s Definitive Edition” of Ender’s Game published in 1991 was no let down. Orson Scott Card imparted reader/writer wisdom in a way that everyone can understand.

Here’s the breakdown of the main points that spoke to me:
1. A writer is always developing.
2. Simple writing does not equal weak writing. (One of the reasons I love children’s literature—it is powerful.)
3. Truth in fiction is what the reader learns about themselves while reading the story.
4. Writers bring the tools; the readers build the story in their own minds.

If you’re an avid reader or a writer—of any genre—I recommend tracking down a copy with the introduction and read it for yourself. It made me want to rush out and tackle my literary dreams as well as lose myself in a great book.

June’s Highs and Lows

June was a month of many miles: physical and emotional. A wedding, a funeral. Harsh realities and re-envisioned dreams. First times, and also, some repeat situations.

I’d like to revisit some of June’s milestones in the next few posts and I’ll begin with a geek moment.
On June 14th I took my eldest child (son with autism) to Springfield, Illinois to see the Dana-Thomas House. No, we didn’t travel all the way up from the Gulf Coast to visit the house—we were only an hour and a half away staying with family—though I would if I could for Frank Lloyd Wright. This was my son’s favorite spot, the Lego model of the home in the carriage house. 100_3029

It was my first time in a Frank Lloyd Wright residence. I was able to go to the Guggenheim Museum when I was in NYC last year, so that was my first FLW building, but his homes! I’ve been collecting books about and drooling over them for years. 100_3052

The home was everything I expected and more. My favorite rooms were the library and concert hall, both in The Gallery wing. The built-ins in the master bedroom and dining room were gorgeous and the bowling lane in the basement wasn’t too shabby either. 100_3044

If you want to learn more about this historical home (with a great gift shop) visit http://www.dana-thomas.org for more information.

P.S.
Remember, you can find a featured story or essay on my “SHORTS” page. The current one is “Midsummer Ado”, a historical fiction piece perfect for this time of year.

Orderly Books

As noted earlier this month in my Three Confessions post, I had a messy book situation. The books were tidied up more than a week ago and here at the visuals to prove it.
BEFORE:

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AFTER:
Do you see any of your favorites?

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I do have a few more bookcases not pictured, but they are looking good as well. Some of the books are still in cabinets, but they are easier to see and find. What shape are your bookshelves in? Do you have any goals to fill, reduce or organize them?

Three Confessions

Confession #1: I have a lot of books.
Confession #2: I have a lot of bookshelves (but I could always use more.)
Confession #3: I keep my most treasured books behind closed doors.

I first started hiding my books after my eldest child started to “wear out” his own books. Lift-the-flap books with no flaps to lift. Using books as bridges, literally walking on them across the floor, was a favorite activity. And with his books, spines were optional. I feared for my beloved books, as well as my husband’s collection.

Our favorite books went from the top shelves—he could scale the bookshelves—to high levels inside cabinets. I could hear the cabinet doors opening, but I didn’t always hear him at the bookcases until it was too late.

In the past three years that I’ve been homeschooling, the book population has hit overdrive.

The main wall of books--about a third of what we have.

The main wall of books–about a third of what we have.

The non-fiction area has doubled and the sum of the middle grade novels that my oldest son reads every night is greater than anything I ever held as the lone reader of them. My youngest has a two shelf bookcase of picture books and all things pink while the middle child hoards The Magic Tree House and military history.
Last year I wrote a post about my oldest turning into a reader and he hasn’t slowed down. The other night, when he came looking for another book amid the post holiday explosion, I realized he hasn’t read Bridge to Terabithia or A Wrinkle in Time. All of the Katherine Paterson, Madeleine L’Engle, Laurie Halse Anderson, Terry Brooks, and Orson Scott Card books are behind closed doors. Not to mention Narnia, Green Gables, Hogwarts, and The Shire.
Parenting fail!
So, my goal this month—hopefully this week—is to get these books out and into circulation among my household. No more restricted section in the family library. I’ll document this effort with photos, so stayed tuned!

A Very Literary Christmas

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And my favorite part of the wonder of Christmas is the magic of Christmas stories. Rather than stowing 100_1778a bunch of gifts under the tree for the month—tempting little fingers to pick and peek at them—I scatter our collection of Christmas books under the branches. This gives my kids something they can handle, old friends they can revisit from the previous years.

 

We spend a few days reading through a chapter book or read a picture book each night while enjoying the sparkle and messages of the season. So far this year, we’ve read CHRISTMAS MAGIC by Patricia Hermes and YOU ARE MY MIRACLE by Maryann Cusimano Love and Satomi Ichikawa.

 

Another thing I love is Christmas music. Here’s a sample of one of my favorite voices—Mitch Malloy—singing Silent Night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFOdUJ8W9rs&feature=g-hist

What are your family’s traditions? Your favorite Christmas story? Song?