Tuesday, June 30, 2009

~The Story of My Life (Helen Keller)~

-by Helen Keller

Back from my trip to Wordview, i had a huge list of books that were requested during the week. The Story of My Life was one of the many. i always had an intrest in Helen Keller and her story, but i never really saw that interest, if you know what i mean.

Anywho, our library had "The Restored Classic" edition, and i was ecstatic. It has Helen's account (part of which is the Story), Anne Sullivan's account, John Macy's account, and some of Helen's letters.

Origanally, i was just interested in the Story, but now that i am finished, i may go back and see the difference in Anne's perspective.

Obviously, my favorite quote is the theme of my blog... "Literature is my Utopia." But the context is a little off. She explains how books are her eyes to the "outside" world that she cannot see or hear.

So her Utopia is our world. But it could also mean literature is everyone's utopia. The ability to go into someone else's world is something only books can let us do.

100 Years

My favorite song since Friday:
Watch on youtube.
I'm 15 for a moment
Caught in between 10 and 20
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are
I'm 22 for a moment
And she feels better than ever
And we're on fire
Making our way back from Mars
15, there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you've only got a hundred years to live
I'm 33 for a moment
Sill a man, but you see I'm a they
A kid on the way, babe
A family on my mind
I'm 45 for a moment
The sea is high
And I'm heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life
15, there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose yourself
Within a morning star
15, I'm alright with you
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you've only got a hundred years to live
Half-time goes by
Suddenly you're wise
Another blink of a eye
67 is gone
The sun is getting high, we're moving on
I'm 99 for a moment
Dying for another moment
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are
15, there's still time for you
22, I feel her too
33, you're on your way
Every day's a new day
15, there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to chose
Hey, 15, there's never a wish better than this
When you've only got a hundred years to live
(Five for Fighting)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dictionary Days - F for Fable

n. a short tale intended to convey a moral truth

Well, i did not know excatcly what i was going to do for this one. Then i thought of a child "fable" that was sung to me when i was little.

Little bunny Foo Foo
Hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
and bopping them on the head.
Down came the Good Fairy and she said...
Little bunny Foo Foo
I don't wanna see you
Scooping up the field mice
and bopping them on the head.
I'll give you three chances
and if you don't behave I'll turn you into a GOON!


And i am guessing you can figure out who gets turned into a goon. i do not think i was swayed in any way because of this fable, but it has a moral to it for sure.

i'm Back!

First of all, i was really disapointed when i found out that i was not going to be here for the Darkwood tour. But i am okay now, because i am really proud of how the tour turned out.

Secondly, i had a great time at Worldview. i am a little deprived of sleep, but i can run on caffine, so everything is good :) . My experience was fantastic and life-changing, and i will definetly want to go again next year.

Thirdly, (and lastly, i promise) kind of has to do with Worldview. When i went, we sat through a lot of deep and interesting lectures. During the lectures, several books were recomended and/or used for them*. i basically wrote down all of the books, but i narrowed it down to some fewer than before.

*i decided to only write down the books that were super interesting to me, so there are a lot more than this that i may get to...

The Deadliest Monster by Jeff Baldwin
The Greatest Among You by Randy Sims
The 12 Trademarks of Great Literature by Jeff Baldwin
Common Sense by Thomas Paine
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The Story of My Life by Hellen Keller
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
The Hobbit by Tolkien
How to Read Slowly by James W. Sire
Eat this Book by Eugene Peterson
Technopoly by Postman
Recovering the Last Tools of Learning by Wilson
Total Truth by Nancy Pearcy
Call of the Wild by Jack London
Darwin on Trial by Phillip Johnson
Defeating Darwinism by Phillip Johnson
On Moral Fiction by John Gardner
Till we have Faces by C.S. Lewis
Man's search for meaning by Frankl
A Severe Mercy by VanAuken

Most of these books are Christian based, and i thought it would be good to read some of the books like Darwin on Trial and Mere Christianity. You probably skipped through my list, and i do not blame you.

The funny thing is that i was just about to post something about book requests when i got back. Ha. i guess i do not need to do that anymore. But if you feel that you must, please comment and give me some good books. *(evil laugh)* :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Darkwood Tour - Interview and Review

M.E. Breen is the author of Darkwood. She lives in California, and grew up around animals.

I am extremely excited to present you with an interview that she took the time to answer:

Are you impressed with the cover for Darkwood? Were there any other choices for cover art?

There was only ever one cover for this novel. We all loved it from the very beginning, though I will admit I was shocked at first to see anothor person's idea of what Annie looked like. It’s not that I had such a fixed idea of my own, because I relate to her more from the inside out, the way you can inhabit someone else’s body in a dream but still feel like yourself. But seeing Alex Jansson’s illustration made Annie feel a little less mine, like she belonged to the world now and was going to go places I couldn’t necessarily follow. Which is good! It just took getting used to. Writing is such a private, loner pursuit that the whole “public” part of publishing takes getting used to, at least for me. And of course I love the cats on the cover. They look just like my cats, except skinnier.

How did you decide to describe the kinderstalk and the other creatures in the book?

The most important thing I had to decide about the kinderstalk was their name. They had to sound terrifying to the people of Howland. And they had to have black fur to match the night. And big teeth, to eat you with. . .

Is writing about a "made-up" world difficult?

You know that old term, “brain-pan”? I think it actually means skull, but I always think of it as a sort of dish at the back of the head that holds images and ideas. I dream a lot and I spend a lot of time out in nature and those things fill up the pan, though often I don’t know the ideas are there until I start writing. The hard part for me is making sure everything follows the logic of the invented world, especially since Howland is filled with “the real” as well as the imaginary. For example, I realized when I was working on a late draft that I had someone using a weapon that wasn’t around until about 1920. Even though Howland is a fantasy world, it’s clearly a pre-industrial world, so I had to research things from time to time to make sure they fit.

How did you think of names such as Trewitt, Prudence, and Mr. Gibbet?

One of my favorite plays is The Way of the World by William Congreve. All of the characters have names that tell you something important about their nature or purpose. A suitor named Witwoud, for example, probably isn’t going to be very clever, while a woman named Millamant, which in French means “thousands of lovers,” is likely to be picky about whom she marries. As for my characters, Prudence struck me as a trait you’d want in a guide, and a trait Annie herself sometimes lacks, while Trewitt evokes truth and wit, honesty and cleverness. The name Gibbet was inspired by the name of the character Inspector Bucket in Dickens’ novel Bleak House. As you might imagine, the Inspector is a practical, hard-working man who keeps plugging along no matter what. So what’s in a name? Gibbet means gallows, or, as a verb, “to put to death by hanging."

And lastly, if you could take Annie's place in the story, would you?

This is a great question. A friend sent me a note after finishing Darkwood with the line, “I want to BE Annie!” This friend has a thriving career, a lovely partner and family, and two dogs she takes hiking through desert canyons—a pretty enviable life. So why would she want to be Annie, who spends most of the novel on the run from, and toward, danger? I think most of us want to escape from our lives sometimes, not because they’re bad, but because they’re full of homework and bills and negotiations about what to cook for dinner and wondering whether you can get away with wearing the brown pants to work three days in a row. Annie has plenty to worry about, but she does not sweat the small stuff. On those days when the small stuff feels like the only stuff, yes, I probably would take Annie’s place, but only if there was an escape clause that let me come back to my own life as soon as Chopper showed up.


I found Darkwood extremely exciting. Though I must say, I did not think I would be reading about Annie watching a man fall to his death...it was a bit over the edge (pun intended). However, it was a fantastically written, well played out book, and definitely worth a re-read.

Check out M.E. Breen's web site: here

Check out all the blogs in this tour: A Patchwork of Books, Abby the Librarian, All About Children’s Books, Becky’s Book Reviews, Cafe of Dreams, Dolce Bellezza, Hyperbole, KidzBookBuzz.com, Never Jam Today, My Utopia, Through a Child’s Eyes, Through the Looking Glass Reviews

Saturday, June 20, 2009


After a severe thunderstorm warning in the Chicago area:
Close up just before it disappeared:

But the colors were much more vivid...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

~Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City~

-by Kirsten Miller

I fell in love with this book at the end of the first chapter. It sucked me right in, and I could not stop reading it.

Well, actually I had to, but it took a bit to drag me away from the book...or the book away from me... Let me tell you, I do not give up easily without a fight.

Just kidding, no parents or siblings were harmed in the reading of this book. :)

It was truly spectacular, said the girl who stayed up until 2 o'clock in the morning wondering if the rats were that hungry. No joke. And it was definitely worth the 5 shots on my golf game the next day.

I would strongly recommend this to any girl. Included are also tidbits on how to take advantage of being a girl, how to catch and tell a lie, and how to successfully follow someone. Perfect for anyone with or without the heart of a spy.

Now excuse me while I try the pry the almost-overdue book out of my younger sister's hands.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Next week...

I am going to be out the entire week. Not this week, but Monday thru Saturday (I think those are the dates... don't quote me on this).

I did not know if I could do the Darkwood tour because I found out that it was going to be during the camp I am going to. But no worries, I *figured out how to schedule posts*, and hopefully it will work on Monday.

*This post was actually written on Monday, the 15th so I could see if I really had figured it out. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dictionary Days - E for Eagle

First off, I would just like to apologize again for not posting lately. Summer has proven to be more chaotic than the school year, and I am not sure if I like it.

n. large bird of prey

Something always sticks with me when I think of eagles. I always see them as majestic and all that.

When we first moved, I themed my room to be all-american. Of course, now it is different, with hardly anything red, white or blue.

But when it was themed, lots of the things that I collected were eagles, because it is the national bird.

But since I struck up the subject, does your room have a theme? And if so, what is it?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Bookstore Experience

I had money on a gift card that was not going anywhere, and a whole day at the Promenade. The Promenade is sort of our shopping center, and I hardly ever get to go.

So I got out of the car heading to the bookstore with glee. I knew exactly what I was going to get. Oh, but you know I can not just tell you.

First step into Barnes and Noble... wow that's a lot of books.
Second step into Barnes and Noble... where do I start?

There were so many categories and subsections I did not know where to go.

The coolest thing about the store was their new electronic search computers. Type in Eva Ibbotson: the book I was looking for was in teen romance. Teen romance? I did not think it would have been put under that category.

But, anyway, I got the book, and it did not matter what category it was under, as long as I had it.

Along with A Countess Below Stairs, I got The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie.

($1.09 left on my gift card... what to do, what to do)