So you’re trapped on a desert island

I always think it’s a fun question, you’re trapped on a desert island, a seemingly magical one where your basic needs are taken care of so most of your day is spent lounging in a self made hammock, sipping fruity drinks and reading books. The question also asked is what ten books (yes the joys of arbitrary numbers) would you pick? Comment below and let me know

My picks:

1) Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut

2) Ariel by Sylvia Path

3) Walden by Thoreau

4) Man Without A Country by Kurt Vonnegut

5) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin

6) Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange

7) Winkie by Clifford

8) Alice in Wonderland by Lew Carol

Totally cheating) Rurouni Kenshin (series)  by Nobuhiro Watsuki

And 10) ???? Well I’m not sure, maybe you could help me pick that last

(For REM fans, here’s a fun look at what Michael Stipe would choose)

How do you fit reading into an overscheduled life?

It’s the time of year we in the educating field love, almost-winter break time. Not a great time for the bank account (sad,sad falling numbers which will plummet in the next few weeks) but precious free time. Time to sleep. Time to write. Time to finish up projects, and most of all, time to read. ( I still have Insurgent waiting on my shelf to be picked up.)

I like way too many people live an over-scheduled life.  I hardly have enough time in the day to get what I have to get done much less have time for the fun little extras like reading.woman-reading

Barnes n Noble had a blog asking readers to tell them how they squeeze reading into their day. Some are silly. Some are genius. And others will baffle you.

So here’s my question to you, how do you fit reading into your day?

Little Free Library the coolest idea ever!

A little while ago, I noticed this outside  on one of the streets of Bloomington, Illinois,  which is a stone’s throw away from where I live.

The concept is beautiful, sharing books with your neighbors.  Take a book. Leave a different book. Let the love spread. Interact with your neighbor and bring your love of books beyond the schools and libraries where they live.

little free library

little free library

I think this is an amazing idea! If you visit their website, you can get complete details.  The kits can be a bit pricey (anywhere from 250 to 1000) dollars.  But you can always just build one yourself.  This could be the perfect idea for people like me who absolutely dread winter. And the website has building tips. (They also have a book bench idea, which is pretty snazzy.)

This is a great idea for book lovers like myself who find their library overflowing with books.

They have a “make it official” package which gives you some benefit , but again, if you want to set up a rouge library, you can help people and feel like a rebel as well.

I definitely intend to work on one for my little town. We amazingly enough have a library, which I do love. But it has a limited supply of books which is greatly different than my collection.  Besides, it seems like an amazing way to interact with your neighbors!



Isn’t that just Orwellian?

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” -Kurt Vonnegut

This has been a guiding principal of my life since age sixteen when I first picked up Mother Night. As I grown and matured in my studies, however, I’ve taken it a step future realizing not only are we what we pretend to be, we are what we say.

The importance of language is often taken for granted. Being born into a world where, for most language formation is a given, it is easy to forget that our constructs of life,  how we interpret the world, is structure through language.

I came across an article early this week by Jason Slotkin, lamenting the buzz term that “Orwellian” has become especially in light of the NSA.

Personally, I’ve heard the term used repeatedly this week on several 24 news stations with no regard on the validity of the term’s usage.

This isn’t the first time Orwell’s work and ideas has been corrupted. Apple so famously borrowed from his work 1984,which was a brilliant marketing move, though something I’m sure old George would have hated.

This is the danger with writing, once it leaves us, we have no control on how it is used or interpreted. Words are beautiful and dangerous creatures.

As an author and a responsible user of the English language, I believe that we have some ownership in how words are co-opted and used.

Words are powerful especially worlds the elicit emotions. Words can be used and manipulated by people with varying political agendas. Words can become so cliche that any power in them designates.

We are what we say. We are what we write. We are what we read. And we must be careful with it.

when you mix nuts and booze.

I have always had a fascination with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, so much so that I spent a semester writing a paper on Dick Diver’s male ego as a reflection of F. Scott’s own loss of self-esteem in his relationship with Zelda.Image

Maybe it’s because it is a historical bad realty show, a train wreck unfolding in front of you, and as much as want to look away you just can’t.

As my father says, that’s what happens when you mix nuts and booze.

Deeper, though their relationship and their lives show the flame of art that burns most brightly sometimes only burns for a few moments.

A new website chronicles their lives. If you are a fan or just an interest reader of Scott’s work, I suggest you take a peek. You won’t be disappointed.

A laugh because Mondays suck

Let’s face it Mondays usually aren’t fun. The alarm rings too early. The day winds on too long. And worst of all, there are four more days of it left. imagesCAUCEXP82

So before you hit repeat on the work week, I thought I’d provide you with a few laugh links.

I’m not a grammar Nazi by any means, but a misplaced comma always brings a smile to my face,  especially with the newly formed unintended meanings.


1) A homoerotic pickup truck 

2) 25 phrases the needed commas 

3) A pleteria  of hilarious  mistakes

Walkin’ in the shoes of Mr. Darcy

For those word nerdettes like me, who are obsessed with all things Pride and Prejudice and, of course, all things related to Mr. Darcy, Radio Times Travel has a treat for you. They have mapped out the ironic walk Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet took in the BBC’s 1995 adaptation.

If you read my blog, you are well aware that I dislike this version (sorry!). Colin Firth and  Jennifer Ehle’s just rub me the wrong way. But even though I prefer the 2004 and 1980’s adaptations, this has just been added to my bucket list. Now, I just have to find my way over to England……

Even if you aren’t a fan of the book, you should take a look at the article. The the walk has some beautiful sights that would entice any nature lover.

So lace up your shoes! It’s time to follow in some great literary footsteps.

Walking with Darcy

I’m not mature enough for a Nook

I am a sane person. Let me stress this, when I’m not on an adventure or at a concert, I’m an in bed at ten p.m. on a Friday night sort of girl. I drive a Taurus. I work with 5 year olds. I live an unassuming life in a quiet town in the heart of Illinois.

Nothing terribly exciting.

Except now I’ve lost it.

I purchased a nook days ago, and before the soft glow of its artificial light had grown dim, I found myself glued to the computer like a crazy-cat lady is to icanhascheezerburger, desperately seeking out all free ebooks, that the Nook has to offer.

Obsessed with the Nook

Obsessed with the Nook

Books and more books. Old friends, Hemingway, Dickens and Plath are just a touch of the finger away and others, writers who I have never heard of, are pulling me away from reality, inviting me to dance in their world.Do any of you have a Nook? If so how do you resist the urge to spend all of your time seeking out new works to read?

How do you budget?

I could see myself spending much too much on this, especially since you can set up an online account with a credit card (so I won’t have to see the total until I get the bill.)

A friend of mine advised me to buy a gift card at the beginning of the year and allot my money that way. I’m thinking about try this and if I do, I’ll let you know how it works.

Date a Girl Who Reads (A reblog must read)

It isn’t Valentine’s day yet, but since it is coming up, I thought I would share one of my favorite blogs of all times. I only wish I  wrote it.

Share this with the girl in your life that reads. It is sure to make her smile.

Date a girl who reads


“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or if she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”

Rosemarie Urquico (in response to Charles Warnke’s You Should Date An Illiterate Girl)