"And to this purpose"

"If people like to read their books, it is all very well, but to be at so much trouble in filling great volumes, which, as I used to think, nobody would willingly ever look into, to be labouring only for the torment of little boys and girls, always struck me as a hard fate; and though I know it is all very right and necessary, I have often wondered at the person's courage that could sit down on purpose to do it." (In other words: rambling analyses, opinions, ideas, views, and comments from an English major, Essay/paper-writing enthusiastic, Austen-loving Master Librarian on, well, Jane Austen...and a whole lot of other things, too.)

"Celebrated Passages are Quoted"

Heidi's favorite quotes


"What is it really like to be engaged?" asked Anne curiously. "Well, that all depends on who you're engaged to," answered Diana, with that maddening air of superior wisdom always assumed by those who are engaged over those who are not."— L.M. Montgomery

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday Mad Libs

My nephew got a little book of Mad Libs for Christmas. We spent Christmas evening as a family giving him all sorts of words. Being 7, it was interesting to see his spelling of some of the words that only my family would come up with. But before I give you the hilarious renditions, I wanted to give you all a chance to participate yourselves.

There were 3 that we loved. So just post your words for 1, 2, or all of them. I'll post your Mad Lib versions and mine after the deadline. Being the holidays, I'm sure you are all pretty busy with your own families. So I'll give you, um, three days. Hey, I'd give you more, but judging by poll participation, I'm not counting on too much from this either! :-) Besides, whether or not you participate, you're going to love what our family came up with!

Mad Lib 1
adjective
noun
noun
adjective
plural noun
plural noun
plural noun
plural noun
number
adjective
noun
person (in room, if you can. It made it funnier)
noun
noun

Mad Lib 2
person (in room)
noun
adjective
noun
number
adjective
person (in room)
noun
noun
plural noun
noun
adjective
noun
number
adjective
plural noun
noun

Mad Lib 3
adjective
noun
noun
adjective
noun
noun
noun
noun
plural noun
part of body
part of body
noun
verb
noun
noun
part of body
verb
person (in room)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas with Jane - 11, 12, 13, & 14.

"Luckily the visit happened in the Christmas holidays"
-Mansfield Park

Yes, yes. I am lucky beyond anything that my visit to (one of) my childhood home(s) is taking place over the Christmas holidays. The time when I most want to be with family. And I get to be this year. Happy, happy day. Happy, happy week! Happy, happy life!!!

May I wish you these sentiments

"I sincerely hope your Christmas in [insert place here] may abound in the gaieties which that season generally brings..."
– Caroline Bingley, Pride and Prejudice

And perhaps wish me the rest... :-)

"...and that your beaux will be so numerous as to prevent your feeling the loss of the three of whom we shall deprive you."
-Caroline Bingley, Pride and Prejudice

Ha ha. But seriously.

"You are all to come [home] at Christmas."
– Lizzie, Pride and Prejudice

Thank you, Lizzie. I will. Off I go.

Have a most wonderful Christmas, fellow readers, Janeites, and friends!

Thank you for helping make this an excellent year for me, and bringing me joy and happiness. May each of you find it in your lives this Christmas season and all the year long.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009 Book Challenge

Near the beginning of the year, I was introduced to my first Book Challenge by wonderful friend Sara Lyn of The Brambler. It was mostly based upon something she found on GoodReads--where all my reviews for the books may be found. I started to have a lot of fun keeping track. I didn't include any of the 148 picture books I read, but instead only counted books that were at least 100 pages long.

My main goal was to complete each category. I had no idea I would get as many points as I did! It was definitely one of the most fun things I did all year long, and it helped me broaden my reading scope. I am very grateful for that and cannot wait until whatever similar challenge I do next year. Currently I'm considering creating my own. We'll see if I continue. It would have to be something that ties in with the 2010 YA Book Challenge.

So here is my list of what will be finished by Dec. 31st. I have some (sometimes confusing) markings after each title/author which were helping me keep various statistics. (I'm a stats fan!) I tallied up various stats at the end of the list, if you're interested. You'll have to forgive any addition errors on my part. I've ben re-counting books so often, I get a little jumbled.

* = audio
~ = YA
# = children’s (non-picture book)
! = nonfiction
+ = reread
- = from my local library


5 points
1) For Valentines Day: read a book with the word heart or love in it.

I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You – Ally Carter ~ -
The Five Love Languages: Singles Edition – Gary Chapman ! -
Love, Ruby Lavender – Deborah Wiles * # -

2) For Saint Patty’s day: read a book set in Ireland, is by an Irish author, or whose main character is Irish.

Nory Ryan’s Song ­– Patricia Reilly Giff # -
Maggie’s Door – Patricia Reilly Giff * # -

3) read a classic

Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie * # -

4) Read a book by an author you've never read before

The Fire-Eaters – David Almond * ~ -
The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan * ~ -
Peace like a River – Leif Enger * -
Betsy-Tacy – Maud Hart Lovelace #
Mandie and the Secret Tunnel – Lois Gladys Lepperd # - (finish)

5) Read a memoir

Marley & Me – John Grogan * ! -

6) March is National Women's History Month so read a book where a woman is the main character

Hope Was Here – Joan Bauer * ~ -
Bloody Jack – Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy – L.A. Meyer * ~ -
The Goose Girl – Shannon Hale ~ -
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief – Wendelin Van Draanen * # -

7) Read a book set during a time of conflict

Before We Were Free – Julia Alvarez * ~ -
Enna Burning – Shannon Hale ~ -

8) read a book with any kind of food/drink in the title

Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson * ! -
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows * -
Cream Puff Murder – Joanne Fluke * -
Everything on a Waffle – Polly Horvath * # -
Plum Pudding Murder – JoAnne Fluke * -

9) read a book written in the last 5 years

Carrot Cake Murder – Joanne Fluke * -
For One More Day – Mitch Albom * -
Counting on Grace – Elizabeth Winthrop * ~ -
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says about Us) – Tom Vanderbilt * ! -
River Secrets ­­– Shannon Hale ~ -
Forest Born – Shannon Hale ~ -
The Magician’s Elephant – Kate DiCamillo # -

10) Read a book that you already own

If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn’t Be Hard – Sheri Dew * ! +
Personal Revelation: How to Recognize Promptings of the Spirit – JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton * !
The Book of Mormon ­– edited by Mormon; translated by Joseph Smith, Jr. ! +

5 points category: 165 points

10 points

1) read a book with the name of a month in it.

September Sisters – Jillian Cantor ~ -

2) read a book with an author that has same birthday month as you

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher ~ -
Matilda – Roald Dahl * # -
Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine * # + -

3) read a book with either the word “school”,“class”, "college", "university" or "teacher" in it.

The Teacher’s Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts – Richard Peck * ~ -

4) read a book and then watch the movie adaptation

Inkheart – Cornelia Funke * ~ -
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – John Boyne * ~ -

5) read a book that involves a medical condition (physical, mental, emotional)

Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox – Eoin Colfer * ~
Chocolate Fever – Robert Kimmel Smith * # -
Ida B – Katherine Hannigan * # -

6) read a book with a one word title

Impossible ­– Nancy Werlin ~ -
Incantation – Alice Hoffman * ~ -
Frindle – Andrew Clements * # -
Wings – Aprilynne Pike ~ -
Poppy – Avi * # -
Inkspell – Cornelia Funke * ~ -

7) read a book with the name of a country, state, or city in it.

Cold Sassy Tree – Olive Ann Burns * -
Elijah of Buxton – Christopher Paul Curtis * # -
Meet Me in St. Louis – Sally Benson
Misty of Chincoteague – Marguerite Henry * # -
London Calling – Edward Bloor * ~ -
Two Girls of Gettysburg ­– Lisa Klein ~ -

8) read a banned/challenged book

The Giver – Lois Lowry * # + -
My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult * -
The Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket * # -
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling * ~ + -
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling * ~ + -
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling * ~ + -
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling * ~ + -
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling * ~ + -
Bud, Not Buddy – Christopher Paul Curtis * # -
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling * ~ + -
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling * ~ + -

9) read a book set in a place you've always wanted to visit/live

The Little White Horse – Elizabeth Goudge #
Charles & Emma – Deborah Heiligman ! -
Looking for Anne of Green Gables – Irene Gammel ! -
Call It Courage – Armstrong Sperry * ~ -
North of Beautiful –by Justina Chen Headley ~ -
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy – Gary D. Schmidt * ~ -
Mary Poppins – P.L. Travers * # -

10) read a book written by someone of your same heritage (i.e. Belgian, Swiss, whatever)

Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China during the Cultural Revolution - Moying Li-Marcus # ! -
Dragon Rider – Cornelia Funke * # -
The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield * -
The Cricket on the Hearth and Other Christmas Stories – Charles Dickens -
The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis * # + -

10 points category: 450 points

15 points

1) read a book that has a college student as the main character or is a person that is near your age

Newes from the Dead – Mary Hooper ~ -
The Man in the Picture – Susan Hill -
Daddy Long Legs – Jean Webster ~

2) read a book from an author that was born/or had lived in your state/geographical area

The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch * ! -
Shakespeare’s Secret – Elise Broach * ~ -
Remember this Titan: The Bill Yoast Story: Lessons Learned from a Celebrated Coach's Journey – Bill Yoast, Jr. ! -

3) read a book about/relating to the particular field of study you are in/were in

Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World – Vicki Myron ! -
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak * ~ -
Here Lies the Librarian – Richard Peck * ~ -
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen ­– Syrie James * -

4) Read a book written by a GoodReads author

A Curse Dark as Gold – Elizabeth C. Bunce ~ -
The Adoration of Jenna Fox – Mary E. Pearson * ~ -
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Jamie Ford * -
Shanghai Girls – Lisa See * -

5) Read a book about a person you admire

One Gallant Rush: Robert Gould Shaw and His Brave Black Regiment – Peter Burchard ! -
Where Death and Glory Meet: Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Infantry – Russell Duncan ! -

6) Read a book about a subject you wish you could have studied in school

Marie, Dancing – Carolyn Meyer * ~
Chasing Vermeer – Blue Balliett * # -

7) read a book by an author you hate (Maybe you just got turned off by one book and he/she is actually a good author... you might have just read the one bad book? Or maybe your hatred is warranted.. either way you'll know for sure)

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll * # -
Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There – Lewis Carroll * # -

8) read that book you were supposed to read in high school but instead used SparkNotes (Heidi Note: I never used SparkNotes—or Cliff Notes! But here’s a book I should have read and didn’t)

Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens * -

15 points category: 315 points

25 points

1) book with over 700 pages

Mao: The Unknown Story – Jung Chung * ! -

2) read a book with your name in the title or is by an author with your same name.

Heidi – Johanna Spyri * # + -

3) read a book about a different religion than you are

The Redemption of Sarah Cain – Beverly Lewis * -
Catherine, Called Birdy – Karen Cushman * ~ -
Confessions of a Closet Catholic – Sarah Littman # -Have a Little Faith – Mitch Albom * ! -

4) read a book that you would normally never consider picking up (something daunting, something that is a genre you hate. Etc.)

All-American Girl – Meg Cabot * ~ -
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie – David Lubar * ~ -
Anthem – Ayn Rand -
Return to Labyrinth Vol. 2 – Jake T. Forbes ~ -
Return to Labyrinth Vol. 3 – Jake T. Forbes ~ -

25 points category: 275 points

Grand Points Tally

1205
And here are some interesting (to me) statistics:
Total books from this list: 110 books
Total (adult) nonfiction: 16
Total (childrens) nonfiction: 1
Total (adult) fiction: 16
Total (YA) fiction: 46
Total (childrens) fiction: 29
I'm 2 off, if you counted. I have no idea which ones I forgot. Oh well.
Total re-reads: 13
Total from my library: 101 (Which helped me in completing--twice over--the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge.)
Total Audio: 75. (Which helped me in completing--5 times over!--the 2009 Audio Book Challenge.)

2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge

J. Kaye also hosted the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge, with laste date to join being Dec. 31st. The basic summary of levels:

** The first is to read 12 books from your local library in 2009.
** The second is to read 25 books from your local library in 2009.
** The third is to read 50 books from your local library in 2009.

Any category, format, audience, and age counted.

So, is it considered an unfair advantage since I work at my local library? Hmmm…. Well, there are some people who are at the library as much as I am. And many are older and they aren’t working full-time which means they have more time to read the books they check out. OK. I won’t feel bad. I knew immediately I could go for the 3rd level. (By the way, I counted books that I already owned but which I re-read in a format that I had to check out from the library.)

I read…


248!

141 of those were picture books. See 2009 Book Challenge to see what the other 101 books were, plus the few that I got from other libraries as well as my own. Reviews for all of them can be found on my GoodReads account. If you are not a member, I highly recommend you becoming one!

2009 Audio Book Challenge

Aforementioned J. Kaye hosted the Audio Book Challenge for 2009. I saw it today. The goal: Read at least 12.

I took a final count of what will be finished by Dec. 31st (the deadline to join the challenge). Um, I think I got it. I read/listened to….

75

75! I know!!! Way to go me for taking the bold step and listening to audio at my work desk. It certainly helped make a lot of tasks more enjoyable, while still boosting my reading experience/knowledge. Of those 75,

8 were (adult) Nonfiction

Marley & Me – John Grogan
Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says about Us) – Tom Vanderbilt
If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn’t Be Hard – Sheri Dew
Personal Revelation: How to Recognize Promptings of the Spirit – JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton
The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch
Mao: The Unknown Story – Jung Chung
Have a Little Faith – Mitch Albom

14 were (adult) Fiction

For One More Day – Mitch Albom
Peace like a River – Leif Enger
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Cream Puff Murder – Joanne Fluke
Plum Pudding Murder – JoAnne Fluke
Carrot Cake Murder – Joanne Fluke
Cold Sassy Tree – Olive Ann Burns
My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen ¬– Syrie James
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Jamie Ford
Shanghai Girls – Lisa See
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
The Redemption of Sarah Cain – Beverly Lewis

22 were Children’s

Love, Ruby Lavender – Deborah Wiles
Maggie’s Door – Patricia Reilly Giff
Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief – Wendelin Van Draanen
Everything on a Waffle – Polly Horvath
Matilda – Roald Dahl
Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine
Chocolate Fever – Robert Kimmel Smith
Ida B – Katherine Hannigan
Frindle – Andrew Clements
Elijah of Buxton – Christopher Paul Curtis
Misty of Chincoteague – Marguerite Henry
The Giver – Lois Lowry
The Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket
Bud, Not Buddy – Christopher Paul Curtis
Mary Poppins – P.L. Travers
Dragon Rider – Cornelia Funke
The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There – Lewis Carroll
Chasing Vermeer – Blue Balliett
Heidi – Johanna Spyri

31 were YA fiction

The Fire-Eaters – David Almond
The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
Hope Was Here – Joan Bauer
Bloody Jack – Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy – L.A. Meyer
Before We Were Free – Julia Alvarez
Counting on Grace – Elizabeth Winthrop
The Teacher’s Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts – Richard Peck
Inkheart – Cornelia Funke
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – John Boyne
Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox – Eoin Colfer
Incantation – Alice Hoffman
Inkspell – Cornelia Funke
London Calling – Edward Bloor
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
Call It Courage – Armstrong Sperry
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy – Gary D. Schmidt
Shakespeare’s Secret – Elise Broach
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
Here Lies the Librarian – Richard Peck
The Adoration of Jenna Fox – Mary E. Pearson
Marie, Dancing – Carolyn Meyer
Catherine, Called Birdy – Karen Cushman
All-American Girl – Meg Cabot
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie – David Lubar

And all but 3 were audio books from my local library. Reviews for every one can be found on my GoodReads account. If you are not a member, I highly recommend you becoming one!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas with Jane - 10

In hopes of releiving my melancholy, by directing my thoughts to other objects, they have invited several of their freinds to spend the Christmas with us.
-Love and Freindship




This is my problem. I have yet to discuss activity/visiting plans with my family. Which means I have been unable to plan with friends--who still reside near my home (amazing that people can still be there--I'm sadly too accustomed to moving all the time!)--when, where, and what we shall do. Not to mention that I won't be able to invite others to come and spend with me. It is me hoping they invite me to go spend with them. I don't doubt there will be invitations, it's just that I'm more comfortable hosting in my home than I am being the guest. And it's been some years since I've seen some friends and, well...


Me the Worrywort. The excitement is still there, but some unnecessary, brought-upon-myself anxiety is creeping in. At least I don't have to worry about absolving melancholy with this planning. For I'm already joyously happy!

Christmas with Jane - 9

I will keep my spleen to myself till Christmas
– Mr. Knightley, Emma

I could say so many things. But I'm just going to let you enjoy your laughter.

Humor and Holidays go Hand-in-Hand.

Now I just have to remember to use this quote in every day conversations throughout the year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas with Jane - 8

"I am very sorry to tell you that it will not be in our power to keep our promise of spending our Christmas with you"
- Catherine Vernon, Lady Susan

I am actually not very worried about not being able to keep my Christmas promise of going home, even with all of the snow that was dumped on my eastern home which requires me to drive among the leftovers and pray that my ever-susceptible-to-ICE home state will be kind. Yet even that won't stop me. For as Robert Frost,
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep.

(I loved singing that song in All-State choir.)

Let's just pray that my other family can keep their promise since they will be traveling across the country to come home...to me! :-)

Christmas with Jane - 7

"We have had a very dull Christmas."
-Mary Elliot Musgrove, Persuasion

Well, we can't count on anything positive coming from Mary, can we? It's nice to remember that usually whatever she is thinking or feeling is quite the opposite of how it was. Besides, everyone knows that you only have as much of a fun (or dull) time as you let yourself. I shall have no problem in the least having a fantastic Christmas. It's going to be even better considering the contrast it is certain to have from my last (and absolute worst ever) Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Let's see how we do with this new poll. Favorite Christmas Festivities! I included secular and non-secular and am allowing more than one choice. If you can see by the last option and have been reading my Christmas posts, you can probably guess that anything which involves Family Togetherness is a favorite for me! I hope each of you are loving the joys of the Christmas season as we come together with our loved ones, celebrating the birth of our Savior and Redeemer.

P.S. "Special Family Traditions" requires explanations. And plenty of other choices could do so, too. Let's bring some more true, come-together Christmas spirit to our Austen-loving world!

You Win Some, You Lose Some

I think this was the lowest participation on a poll I've had, yet. Two people. Technically one, since the other voter was me. And there were 3 polls! Maybe it's that they weren't up for very long. But I even advertised them to my family, most of whom (if not all) don't read this blog. Oh well. At least the Best Christmas Carol film version was unanimous for the absolute best version.

Well, here are the results. Any that do not have a number of votes means there weren't any.

Favorite Classic Christmas Stories

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens - 2 (100%)
The Cricket on the Hearth – Charles Dickens
The Fir Tree – Hans Christian Anderson
The Gift of the Magi – O. Henry
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus – L. Frank Baum
Little Women – L. M. Alcott
The Mansion – Henry Van Dyke
A Visit from St. Nicholas – Clement Moore
Yes, Virginia – NY Sun editor

Favorite Christmas movies

B.C.: A Special Christmas - 1 (50%)
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - 1 (50%)
A Charlie Brown Christmas - 2 (100%)
A Christmas Story - 1 (50%)
The Christmas Toy - 1 (50%)
Claymation Christmas - 1 (50%)
Elf
The Fourth Wiseman - 1 (50%)
Frosty the Snowman
Holiday Inn - 1 (50%)
Home Alone
It’s a Wonderful Life - 2 (100%)
Jack Frost
Jingle All the Way
Joy to the World
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
The Little Drummer Boy
Little Women (1933)
Little Women (1978)
Little Women (1994)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947) - 2 (100%)
Miracle on 34th Street (1994) - 1 (50%)
Mr. Krueger’s Christmas - 1 (50%)
A Muppet Family Christmas - 1 (50%)
Muppets’ Christmas Carol - 2 (100%)
The Nativity Story (2003) - 2 (100%)
Nestor the Long-Eared Donkey
The Polar Express
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
Sesame Street Christmas
The Testaments - 1 (50%)
White Christmas - 2 (100%)
Year without a Santa Claus
Yogi’s First Christmas


Your Favorite Christmas Carol

An American Christmas Carol (1979) – Henry Winkler
A Christmas Carol (1935) – Seymour Hicks
A Christmas Carol (1938) – Reginald Owen
A Christmas Carol (1951) – Alastair Sim
A Christmas Carol (1984) – George C. Scott
A Christmas Carol (1999) – Patrick Stewart
Christmas Carol: The Musical (2004) – Kelsey Grammar
A Flintstones’ Christmas Carol (1994) – Fred Flintstone
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) – Scrooge McDuck
Muppets’ Christmas Carol (1994) – Michael Caine - 2 (100%)
Scrooge (1970) – Albert Finney
Scrooged (1988) – Bill Murray

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What-YA Readin' 2010?

This was my first year to participate in a book challenge. I had so much fun with the one I was doing that I created my own which was not as mind-expanding or boggling, but still enjoyable. I would like to be in another one or two next year, but hadn't put much thought into what they would be until I came across J. Kaye's Book Blog. She will be hosting the 2010 Young Adult Book Challenge.
Here's the scoop (fuller details and signing up at J. Kaye's blog):


There are four levels:

--The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.
--Just My Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 25 Young Adult novels.
--Stepping It Up YA Reading Challenge – Read 50 Young Adult novels.
--Super Size Me YA Reading Challenge – Read 75 Young Adult novels.

Audio, eBooks, re-reads all count.

No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010.

You can pick one level and move up if you finish that level.

I just calculated the books that I read for 2009 so I could determine what YA level to reach for in 2010. (So far. I still have a few that I will be finishing.) I was surprised in many ways:


17 adult fiction
16 (!!) adult nonfiction
147 picture books ("easy readers")
31 juvenile/children's ("younger readers chapter books")
43 YA

Here is the dilemma. When I finish my YA this year, I'll only be 5 shy of the Stepping It Up level. Should I set that as my goal next year, or should I really push it and try for Super-Size Me? Because while I love me some YA books, there are plenty out there that I don't even want to see let alone read! I'm opting for the lazy route of just doing the Stepping It Up level. Then again, I don't think I'll have story times to plan for, so I might have time to work in the highest level.

Hmmm. What do you think?

P.S. The total of books, in case you don't want to add them yourself, is 243. 11 were re-reads. 72 were audio.

Christmas with Jane - 6

At Christmas every body invites their friends about them, and people think little of even the worst weather.
– Mr. Elton, Emma


True. Very true. Not that I've been experiencing any of the "worst weather." Haven't even had bad weather. It's not even that cold!! In my opinion, it isn't cold until you see your breath when you are outside. And that has happened maybe twice in the last couple of weeks. We're still getting a lot of rain. If this place only knew how to get cold it could actually become snow. Not that I want to see how these bad-drivers-in-the-rain would react to snow. But I will certainly put up with the weather of my home (wind, bitterly biting cold, ice) if need be when I'm home. Not only is it what I was accustomed to growing up, but as Mr. E. says--I'll have my friends (and family!) about me. Why would I think of anything else?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas with Jane - 5

"I hope I shall remember, in future," said Lady Russell, as soon as they were reseated in the carriage, "not to call at Uppercross in the Christmas holidays."
-Persuasion


This quote makes me think of Christmases with my family when we were growing up. A large (by today's standards, unfortunately) family, we were rather a rowdy, boisterous, fun-loving, noisy bit of a group. From the inside looking out, I have no idea what others thought of us. I loved us! I wouldn't change any of it. I can't comprehend small families. I truly cannot. But I guess the small ones can't comprehend the large! :-)

I don't know if Christmas was more or less rambunctious. Part of me thinks we were a little calmer, for after the Christmas story reading and the fun family present opening (I loved doing that all together), we went off and did whatever. Played our new computer game(s). Watched our new movies. Read our new books. Ate our new cereal. (Mmmm...) Played with our new toys.

As we got older, the football games came on and the family games came together. Lunch became a deli smorgasbord that I loved. It was an entire day of the entire family in the entire house. Those moments have always been rare. So one can imagine why I love Christmas!

But I am biased. Of course. What did the outsiders think of us? Did they go away like Lady Russell, thinking "Oh my word that family is crazy!!!" They weren't off the mark, but I wonder if they thought it was a bad crazy instead of the awesome crazy that I know it as. And did they think we were worse at Christmas time? Personally I would say no. I really think we only got quite riled up when the missionaries came over on Christmas Eve. (I will never forget watching 6 elders doing The Brady Bunch while waiting for my older brother to come home for the holidays.)

Ah well. Lady Russell was a bit of a snob, had no children of her own. and was a widow of however many years. She had no family to know that Christmas just isn't Christmas without some element of family. No matter how noisy.

More Christmas Polls!

To put us all even more into the holiday spirit, I’ve put up 3 polls! The first was because I felt we should go the literary route, particularly the classics literary route. I put Christmas stories that I’ve read (forgotten some, I’m sure). Well, OK, there is one on the list that I’ve only glanced at. But I’m fairly familiar with the story. I figured that some might not be familiar with the others. And as they are considered classics (in one of my definitions, I would beg to differ), I am putting links to them should you feel inclined to read them on your own.

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
The Cricket on the Hearth – Charles Dickens
The Fir Tree – Hans Christian Anderson
The Gift of the Magi – O. Henry
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus – L. Frank Baum
Little Women – L. M. Alcott
The Mansion – Henry Van Dyke
A Visit from St. Nicholas – Clement Moore
Yes, Virginia – NY Sun editor

Then I thought we’d go for a less Austen-like poll and put up a whole bunch of Christmas movies I’ve seen. Many are from my childhood. Some are recent discoveries. Some I absolutely love, and others I’ve tolerated. Again, I’m sure there are some I’ve forgotten. And others I didn’t know the names of. But have fun in the land of nostalgia!

In looking over the 2nd poll’s choices, you may notice the extreme lack of Christmas Carol versions. I created a 3rd poll of just Christmas Carol adaptations, leaving my very favorite on the Christmas movies poll. I know there are one or two CC versions I’ve seen, but I can’t remember which ones they were. If you had over 50 adaptations to choose from, I think you’d have the same problem. If only I’d been able to go to my friend Steve’s ScroogeFest while in Utah, I would have a lot more versions on the list and distinguish better between them all. (He is the most CC-movie knowledgeable person I know.)

So, have fun voting! Please be sure to make any comments or questions. I’m still a big fan of discussions!

Latest Poll Results

Wow. I'm not sure where they all came from, but we had 7 votes on the latest poll! Woohoo! Yay for readers!

Favorite Christmas Scene(s) from Period Drama Films Results

Anne of Green Gables 0 (0%)
Emma (1996) 2 (28%)
Little Women (1994)-1st Christmas 0 (0%)
Little Women (1994)-2nd Christmas 1 (14%)
Little Women (1994)-3rd Christmas 1 (14%)
Meet Me in St. Louis 0 (0%)
Pride & Prejudice (1995) 0 (0%)
Under the Greenwood Tree 3 (42%)

Those are some good results. What I'm shocked about is the winner: Under the Greenwood Tree! I mean, I'm thrilled. I was one of the voters. What surprises me is that the movie is not as well known, especially compared to the others on the list. Two other voters! Wow. I'm very, very happy. I hope others can come to love that movie, including its beginning Christmas scene(s).
Who cannot love Dick Dewy's mesmerization with Miss Fancy Day?!
Or their Christmas dance?

Ai, mi. Mmm-hmm.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas with Jane - 4

"[H]er great aunt had read her a lecture on the subject only the Christmas before..."
-Northanger Abbey

The above quote out of context could relate to all sorts of things. But I thought I would add the context and tie it into the last Jane Christmas quote that I used.

"What gown and what head-dress she should wear on the occasion became her chief concern. She cannot be justified in it. Dress is at all times a frivolous distinction, and excessive solicitude about it often destroys its own aim. Catherine knew all this very well; her great aunt had read her a lecture on the subject only the Christmas before; and yet she lay awake ten minutes on Wednesday night debating between her spotted and her tamboured muslin, and nothing but the shortness of the time prevented her buying a new one for the evening."


I cannot help it. I love to dress-up. Considering all of the times I have been a maid of honor (once) and a Bridesmaid (3.5)--or almost a Bridesmaid (never a bride...)--as well as formal dresses needed for choirs (at least 3), you can imagine that I had a decent amount of dress-up dresses. One I've been able to wear to church in the succeeding winters and it's been nice to get some good use out of it. (Velvet Sunday, coming up!!) And there's the all-purpose green formal that has been worn numerous times. I've down-sized on the number of formals, but I still have 4. Been trying to get rid of one, but no one wants it. I've only worn it twice!

Anywho. Yes, I find it funny that I love to dress up so much. And it doesn't have to be a dress-up dress. It can be a Heidi dress. (I'm of the old-fashioned group, loving floor-length dresses and anything that makes me feel elegant, sophisticated, feminine, and ladylike. No casual skirts on Sundays for me, thank you. Dresses. All the way.) Anything that gives me a chance to wear a dress, and I'm pretty happy to take it. Only one thing is more comfortable and exciting for me to wear--big, comfy PJs. (One pair of PJs is a floor-length nightgown. Uh, yeah. The "vampire dress.")

With this coming weekend's choir Christmas performances, the majority vote was for the women to wear red. I always forget that I don't have much red in my wardrobe. (Not much green either, which is heart-wrenching since it's my favorite color!) You can imagine that out of the, um, 2 items in the wardrobe that are red, not many of them are dresses. Only 1 in fact. And I really don't want to wear it 2 days in a row, because whatever I wear for the concert Saturday has to be worn to the time I'll be at work, and on Sunday it will be what I wear to Church. I like to get my use out of clothes--but two days straight? Ick. Can't do it.

Thus, the past week or so I have been as Catherine--ignoring her great aunt's advice and thinking way too much on what dress to wear. It didn't take me long to realize that, well, this just might be the excuse for me to go look for The Red Dress (a story in itself) that I have been looking for 15 years to buy. Obviously haven't found it, yet, or this coming weekend wouldn't present my current, self-imposed dilemma. And with the completely unexpected Christmas bonus coming in from my job, I think it could be understood for me to use the ever minisculist amount (still budgeting here!) to buy a red dress. Something lovely and yet practical that I can wear many, many times. And something with already built-in sleeves! I get tired of altering clothes.

So, yeah, I thought that quote highly appropriate on my eve of going out Red Dress shopping. I'm not relying too much on finding anything, and have a back-up option if need be. But if I could finally find my Red Dress...*sigh*

To close, I must include the rest of the quote--the showcasing of Austen's and Northanger Abbey's wit, humor, and true-to-life hilarity!

"This would have been an error in judgment, great though not uncommon, from which one of the other sex rather than her own, a brother rather than a great aunt, might have warned her, for man only can be aware of the insensibility of man towards a new gown. It would be mortifying to the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little the heart of man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire; how little it is biased by the texture of their muslin, and how unsusceptible of peculiar tenderness towards the spotted, the sprigged, the mull, or the jackonet....No man will admire her the more, no woman will like her the better for it. Neatness and fashion are enough for the former, and a something of shabbiness or impropriety will be most endearing to the latter. But not one of these grave reflections troubled the tranquillity of Catherine."

It's a good thing that 99% of the time I don't care what the male gender thinks of my clothes. It's all about me. Yes, Jane, you were right. You still are.


"Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas with Jane - 3

"If they were at home to grace the ball, a ball you would have this very Christmas."
- Mrs. Norris, Mansfield Park

I have always wanted to have a Christmas Ball. Once or twice growing up they had the church youth dance close to New Year's be a dress-up/formal one, but it wasn't the same. It wasn't Christmas. I wanted a Christmas Ball.

Today I watched the last 2/3 of HP and the Goblet of Fire, and there they had their Yule Ball. A dress-up-fancy dance at Christmas time. With the kind of dancing and music that you see at the beginning of their ball.

Yes, indeed. I would love a Christmas Ball. (With modest dresses, of course!) But I guess I just have too many Mrs. Norrises who think nothing of a Fanny Price, and say a ball will not be given because other supposedly more deserving women are not present to be given the ball. Where oh where is the Sir Thomas who would give a Christmas Ball "principally for [my] gratification?"

*sigh*

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas with Jane - 2

"These kind of things are very well at Christmas, when one is sitting round the fire."
– Mrs. Elton, Emma

There are so many things that I find "very well at Christmas." Many are great the rest of the year, but there is just something about them at Christmas that brings back the years when Christmas was so magical--full of home and heart. So when I put them into my life now as an adult, I bring back a little of that magic no matter what my situation is in life.

Food
So, I love food. A lot. A whole lot. And most of my caution goes to the wind during the last 5-6 weeks of the year when I enjoy the many different possible foods there are to eat. We're going out to eat? No problem. You tried a new cookie recipe? I think I could taste-test a couple. Meats and cheeses with all kinds of crackers? If you insist. You want to give me my own gallon of eggnog? I'll try to make it last more than a couple of days.

This year while I will still probably throw that caution back to the wind again, I will be trying to instill a sense of exercise that somehow likes to connect itself to that caution. I have a race on New Year's Day, and I want to consider myself "in training." So while I can still (hopefully) enjoy the many tasty things of the season, I'll still try to go running at least once a week. Or at least stand up while eating in order to burn some of the calories that I'm consuming.

Games
"Do people play games at Christmas?" - Scrooge
"I love games!" - Ghost of Christmas Present
Muppet Christmas Carol

I love games, too. The right kind with the right people. My family is a game family. They are a year-long thing. But come any get-together time (frequently the Christmas season) and we are constantly playing games. The ones that last a couple of hours as well as the ones that last days. I love them. It's the best setting for our very-varied personalities to come together in laughter, teamwork, friendly competition, fun, and battle of wits...or wit. I love games. Even if I have to play 3 or 4 hands on my own, I must be sure to include some games this Christmas.

Movies
I am a movie fan. A little particular about certain kinds, but still a fan. Some that I love are the Christmas movies I watched with my family. As I create my own family, I am trying to increase my Christmas movie stock. I'm still quite shy of what the original family had, but I can fill the spaces with offerings through Netflix and local libraries. (Yay!)

I also am glad that there is something in my Janeite-ness that leads to Period Dramas feeling Christmasy. Why? Not too sure, but I have a guess it's because some of those Period Dramas leave me feeling the way I do during the Christmas season. The love stories of Our Mutual Friend. The smile from North and South's train scene. The sweetness of friendship from Anne of Green Gables. Many things. It's a good thing my family (of one) has no problem whatsoever of watching Period Dramas at Christmas...and all year long.

Music
Nothing sings Christmas like music. (Ha ha. Me and my wit.) I love many kinds of music. And over the years I have gotten less adverse to listening to Christmas music during non-Christmas parts of the year. But to listen to Christmas music during the Christmas season--oh, it is bliss! Snuggling up in blankets and drinking my family's much-loved hot chocolate is all the more cheery as I hear John Denver singing with the Muppets, Hilary Weeks creating the beautiful atmosphere, or Josh bringing back a bit more of the wonder of Christmas. The leafless trees reflect a bit more of their unique beauty as I listen to Linda Ronstadt wonder as she wanders, or Bing hope as I do for that White Christmas we knew of long ago. And the true meaning stays close inside as I hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir proclaim the joy that is the whole reason we celebrate!

Family
Well, I've already mentioned that I'll get to be with mine this Christmas. I'll try to contain myself a little bit so you don't think I'm as much of a spazz as I really am.

Much more that I could write that I love. And each one had something in common--they are things I love to do throughout the year, too! So if we want to give in to that wish of making every day like Christmas (which is a wise thing to do), then we shall ignore stuffy Mrs. Elton's view that some things are only for Christmas and enjoy them any ol' time we want.

If I happen to double or triple the amount of them at Christmas, well, so be it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas with Jane - 1

"Yes, she will remain there till Christmas."
– Fitzwilliam Darcy, Pride & Prejudice

The "she" in the case of this Christmas refers to me.
Yes, I am remaining in one place until Christmas.
Where do I remain? Well, in my current residence.
But wait--that must mean that I am leaving for some place come Christmas? Indeed. You are right.
For the first time in 4 years, I am going home for Christmas! Though it will be slightly different than other Christmases. Considering
  1. We will be without 5 of the original kids. (And their families.)
  2. We will not be in a home I have lived in. (We won't even be in a home.)
  3. We (both my parents + younger brother and I) will be traveling for hours to get home.

But I do not care. I am all in happy anxiety to return to my family for Christmas. So I can bear to "remain [here] till Christmas." Or Christmas Eve. For on that morn I am off for an entire week with my family in the place that saw 8 (combined) years of my life. As that's almost 1/3 of my life-span, I would consider it significant.

"It's the Spirit of the Season"

This blog's Spirit of the Season is going to be

Christmas with Jane Austen!!!
I know you're excited. I can just feel it. I'm excited, too! It's going to be plenty fun. To get us going, I've put up a new poll. Well, it's was a stretch to be Austen, but it does get us into the Christmas spirit.
You all are going to have to help me on this one, though, because I know I've forgotten plenty of Period Dramas on Film that have Christmas scenes in them. So please remind me of which one's I've forgotten. And don't forget to vote for your favorite of the options I've provided. I certainly know which one is mine--and I can't wait to watch it (2 or 3 times) in the next couple of weeks!

A Happy Unanimous

The results are (or, well, have been for a while) in! And the unanimous winner of we 3 voters who voted on some book series that I loved at some age or another for some reason or another is....

Harry Potter!
Yay! (Think Potter Puppet Pals, there.)

As I just finished reading that series for my second time (first time in audio), I whole-heartedly agree. It's amazing and well worth loving!
And here are the full results for documented purposes:

Little House (by Wilder) 2 (66%)
Anne of Green Gables (by Montgomery) 2 (66%)
Emily (by Montgomery) 2 (66%)
Murry Family (by L'Engle) 1 (33%)
Baby-Sitters Club (by Martin) 0 (0%)
Baby-Sitters Little Sister (by Martin) 0 (0%)
Tennis Shoes (by Heimerdinger) 1 (33%)
Sleepover Friends (by Saunders) 0 (0%)
The Bee Theres (by Littke) 0 (0%)
Nancy Drew (by Keene) 2 (66%)
Chronicles of Narnia (by Lewis) 0 (0%)
Rocky Ridge Years (by MacBride) 0 (0%)
Hannah Swensen (by Fluke) 1 (33%)
Sarah, Plain and Tall (by MacLachlan) 1 (33%)
Artemis Fowl (by Colfer) 0 (0%)
Harry Potter (by Rowling) 3 (100%)
Books of Bayern (by Hale) 0 (0%)
Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman (by Aidan) 1 (33%)
Twilight (by Meyer) 1 (33%)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Thought

I believe that to me the misspelling of the name of Jane Austen is slightly more irksome than the misspelling of mine own. Slightly. Perhaps on the dependance upon varying situations and depths of the knowing of and acquaintance with the perpetrator.