Thursday, September 30, 2010

Writer's Workshop - 10 Reasons I'm Glad It's Fall

I stumbled across Mama's Losin' It and her Writer's Workshop today and it was truly what I needed to jumpstart my writing.  I am a descent academic writer,  but creatively and expressively I don't believe I write very well.  Most writing challenges are overwhelming and quite honestly scare me, but this one, with its variety of writing prompts made me feel comfortable.  I chose prompt #5, 10 Reasons I'm Glad It's Fall, mostly because for the first time, in Georgia it actually FEELS like fall.  Enjoy.

10 Reasons I'm Glad It's Fall

Pumpkins -
I love anything and everything about pumpkins, the color, the smell, the texture, the taste, basically everything.  My favorite family outing is our trip to the local pumpkin patch.  I have eleven years worth of wonderful pictures of my babies sitting amongst orange pumpkins, large and small. 

Fall Foods -
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy all the fresh produce summer brings, but just as the weather starts to get cooler, I find myself anticipating our favorite fall foods.  Chicken Pot Pie, Chili, Chicken and Dumplings, Bacon and Cheddar Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli Cheese Soup, BBQ, Pumpkin Bread and Muffins, Apple Crisp, all those wonderful comfort foods that just scream cool weather.

Again, my love of this holiday is steeped in family tradition.  Since my son's first Halloween we have hosted a Halloween Hayride through our neighborhood for trick or treat.  It is a coveted invitation.  As the kids have grown and siblings have been added, we have had a purchase a larger trailer not once, but twice.  As my son heads into middle school I am already dreading the day he says he doesn't want to do it anymore.  I think that will break my heart.

Cooler Temperatures -
After weeks and weeks of over 90 degree weather in Georgia, it feels so good to have a temperature break. 

Rec Football -
My son plays rec football and my daughter cheers.  My husband coaches and I am the team mom.  We spend alot of time at the ball park in the fall.  I wouldn't change it for anything.  This time we spend at the park together is so valuable and appreciated.  So what if the laundry doesn't get done, or we are up late doing a forgotten homework assignment.  The time is so well spent.

College Football -
We live and breathe college football at our house.  Saturday mornings are ripe with the cheers of "Game Day" which sends the dog scurrying to find his football.  Alabama and Kentucky are the two teams we follow closely since my husband played for both, but any good SEC game or BCS game will always be on our television each and every week. 

Colors -
Vibrant yellows, rich reds, subtle browns - I just adore the colors of fall.  Other than Christmas, fall is the only time I decorate my house.  I just can't wait to pull out all my lovely fall linens, centerpieces and florals to bring the beauty of fall indoors.

My Back Porch, a Cup of Coffee and a Quilt -
Without a doubt, my favorite "room" in my house is my back porch.  It is covered and runs the lenght of the house.  It is secluded from my neighbors by a variety of trees and it is a very peaceful place.  During the summer I drink my coffee there every morning until it gets just too hot to bear.  The best day however it the day I need to wrap up in a quilt to enjoy my porch in the mornings.

Routine -
Since I am a teacher, our summers tend to just go with the flow.  If we want to do it, we do.  If we desire a day of doing nothing, well, we do that too.  Fall brings back a much needed routine.  Schoool, homework, football, cheerleading, work, Book Club...  Eventhough we appreciate the freedom of summer, there is something to be said for the structure fall brings.

Horse Racing -
Growing up in Kentucky, fall always meant one very special thing -- the races.  Living 3 miles from one of the most beautiful race tracks in the United States was a dream.  We often skipped classes (both in high school and college) to catch the first race at Keeneland.  Watching those amazing animals race at such speeds around the track is truly magnificent.  Eventhough we don't get to go as often anymore, I still have fond memories of the first Saturday in October when the track would open and for 31 glorious days magic was made on the race track. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Banned Book Week

This is Banned Book Week, so I did a bit of research on books that have been banned in the US.  I am always amazed at the books people tend to challenge or ban and their reasons behind those decisions.  A school system in Georgia several years ago had to fight a parent to keep the Harry Potter books on the shelves of their middle and high schools.  The fight went all the way to the school board, not once, not twice, but three times before it was finally defeated and the books were allowed to stay on the shelves.  I am all for censoring what my kids read, but should my opinions infringe upon the choices of others?  I don't believe so.  Do not deprive others of the choice to read a certain book based upon your values and beliefs, please allow me to do that for myself.  OK, off my soapbox now.....

There are several lists of banned books to be found online.  I randomly selected this one from Adler Books.  Upon reading the list, I found several of my favorite and most memorable books on the list (*books are books I was assigned to read for school assignments)-

To Kill a Mockingbird*
The Grapes of Wrath*
The Bastard
Prince of Tides*
100 Years of Solitude
How to Eat Fried Worms
Fahrenheit 451
A Wrinkle in Time
Flowers for Algernon*
Bridge to Terabithia

What banned books have you read?

Fall Into Reading Challenge 2010

I LOVE Katrina's Reading Challenges at Callipidder Days.  I am so glad to be joining the Fall Into Reading Challenge again.  I failed miserably with the Spring Challenge and I hope I am being more realistic with my goals this time around.  I can always depend on these challenges to jumpstart my reading.  Here is my list of books I hope to read between September 22nd and December 20th. You can find the information to join here and the post to link you list to here

Little Bee by Chris Cleeve
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Count of Monte Cristo (unabridged) by Alexandre Dumas
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Next by Stieg Larsson
Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Book Club pick for November
Book Club pick for December

I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali
The Know It All by A. J. Jacobs

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Meme of Reading Questions

Found this gem while perusing all the Booking Through Thursdays I have missed on my unintentional book blogging hiatus.  Couldn't resist!

1. Favorite childhood book? My Brother Sam is Dead.

2. What are you reading right now? The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Know It All by AJ Jacobs, The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo by Steig Larsson

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
none, I owe too much money in fines to use the library!

4. Bad book habit? I fold down the corners of my pages if I don't have a bookmark.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?  nothing, see  #3

6. Do you have an e-reader?  Yes, a Nook, LOVE IT!

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?  I read several books at once.  Usually my book club book, a book for school and one just for me.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?  I choose from a more eclectic list and I HAVE to have a book the day it comes out because everyone has already read an advance copy and I feel left out!

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)  Sacred Hearts

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?  The Help

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? not often.  Usually if it is a book club pick or a student recommends it so highly and so often, I have to read it to get them off my back

12. What is your reading comfort zone?  Historical fiction, biographies, chick lit, mysteries, true crime

13. Can you read on the bus? Only if I want to throw up on the person sitting next to me.

14. Favorite place to read? My back porch or my bed - depends on the time of day and the weather.

15. What is your policy on book lending?  The saddest thing is a book unread.  I loan most of my books, if they don't come back, I just hope someone is reading them somewhere.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?  Yes

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?  All the time, especially if I am reading for research for school or for my book club.

18. Not even with text books? I write more in my textbooks than the author did.

19. What is your favorite language to read in? English

20. What makes you love a book?  an engrossing story with great characters.  If I can empathize the characters I am hooked.  Historical accuracy - as a history teacher, gross errors really turn me off.  If I can't stop thinking about the characters and what happens next after I finish the book, it goes into my list of favorites.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? a great story, especially if there is a strong female character.  I like my students to read about strong, intelligent women.

22. Favorite genre? Historical fiction, by far

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?) Fantasy

24. Favorite biography?  The Six Wives of Henry VIII

25. Have you ever read a self-help book? Yes

26. Favorite cookbook? The Southern Living Ultimate Cookbook

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?

28. Favorite reading snack? M & Ms or a glass of good pinot grigio

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.  Harry Potter

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book? not often

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?  I will give a negative review based upon my experience with the book only.  I try really hard NOT to attack the author, just tell why it did not work for me.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose? French

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin? Atlas Shrugged - had it on my shelf for 2 years now.  Took me 10 just to buy it.  Guess I'm making progress....

35. Favorite Poet? Langston Hughes

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? None, see #3

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread? All the time

38. Favorite fictional character? Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With The Wind

39. Favorite fictional villain?

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation? Historical Fiction or Crime/Suspense/Thrillers

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading. 3 - 4 months of reading for pleasure.  I am always reading something for school

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish. Atonement and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? TV

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

45. Most disappointing film adaptation? Twilight

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?  Can't answer, my husband just might stumble upon this post....

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? Maybe once, if at all

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?  A story I can't get into or characters that are really unbelievable to me.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?  I try....

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? I keep them until someone wants to read them or I run out of space.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?  The Hunger Games, not sure why.... want to read them, but just can't....

52. Name a book that made you angry.  My Sister's Keeper.  Threw it across the room when I finished it!

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?  The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) and The Red Tent

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?  Sacred Hearts by Sarah Durant

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?  Mystery/Crime/Suspense formula books.  Jonathan Kellerman, Lisa Gardner, etc.