Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The World's Most Beautiful Libraries

Look what I found linked to Barbara O'Connor's blog:

Not only the most beautiful libraries, including the amazing Trinity Library in Dublin, if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you can see some pretty awesome churches, too.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in Florida, Pt. 2

OK, I can't resist. These are just 2 of the many photos taken while family visited us, off and on, for a Florida Christmas. Taken at the light show at the Botanical Garden...

(That's it for the holidays. Now back to reading and writing. I'm finished with the cooking and eating.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!

The Night Before Christmas...
My grandmother claimed I could recite this when I was two. I kind of doubt that. But she was a great storyteller, everything from bedtime fairytales to the latest gossip from the church ladies, so I'm sure she embellished.

Click here for a most unusal telling of the Santa story. Thanks, Jack, only a true Dylan fan could unearth this one.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas in Florida

Is strange. Strange in a good way. 68 degrees and sunny strange. Sunsets. A walk on the beach to check out the sandcastle building contest (see below for what the professionals did). Old friends, lots of family. Singing Frosty the Snowman along with the radio - and a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old.

I'm convinced they think Frosty is that inflatable thing in our neighbor's front yard.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What I'm Reading Now

1. Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning. Nice to read a first novel by a fellow Floridian, Danette Haworth. Violet's got a voice that's appealing and true. Great cover on this book, strong characters, and set in a sleepy little town in Florida.

2. What I Saw and How I Lied. I'm reviewing this one for the Christian Science Monitor, and my first reading didn't impress me that much. But, hey, the book won the National Book Award. I gave it a second read. And now a third as I write the review. I think this book grew on me and even the peachy-keen slang became an inseparable part of the appeal. Plus, I don't know a teen reader who will resist the cover.

3. Truth and Beauty. When I got the exciting news that I will be a part of Ann Hood's nonfiction workshop next month at Eckert College, I immediately went to the library and looked for the "suggested" reading list books. But I found Truth and Beauty on my own bookshelf. Ann Patchett is a favorite writer of mine. I think Bel Canto might be my top recent fiction book. The writing here is topnotch, but the subject matter is tough. I'll never be able to write like Patchett, but I'm hoping I'll learn a few tricks at the Writers in Paradise conference in January.

4. The Blues Route by Hugh Merrill. My so-far-pretty-vague-but-will-be-better-by-Wednesday (when it's due) topic for Writers in Paradise is The Blues and The Delta. I have a whole stack of books, and this is just one of the more helpful ones.

Now, back to work.

Friday, December 12, 2008

In Our Jammies, Whimsical Scribbling

"SHATTERING PRECONCEPTIONS...Contrary to popular belief, Writers & Illustrators do NOT sit around in their jammies all day!" Lisa Michaels, illustrator

Thanks, Lisa, for lending me your picture of Bunny Writer. But today in frigid New Jersey, slippers and warm jammies are just what you need for writing inspiration. OK, maybe not all day, sitting around. But those bunny slippers are first on my list for all I want for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More books! All We Want for Christmas

It's good to read the best. And maybe just to read what the best are reading. So, click here for Stephen King's "Top Ten"- a list of books he's liked this year.

The Blog #2

You can now click over to A Good Blog is Hard to Find, and if you're clever and can figure out how to scroll down to part 2 on Dec. 9, you'll see my posting about Southern words and Roy Blount and lightning and a whole bunch of other stuff. Somebody posted on the same day that I did, a mistake no doubt but I'll forgive her, so you'll get to read two on the same day. And while you're at it, scroll down to that funny one on Nov. 24th. There's a lot to read on that blog of Southern writers.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Mail for Heroes

Just a few more days left to send a card to someone in the military. Read all about it on the Red Cross's website.

Here's the address:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791

Cards must be postmarked by Dec. 10. You can put a whole bunch of cards in one big envelope and send it along.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All They Want for Christmas

What a novel (pun intended) idea! Check out what your favorite writer is giving and wants to receive for Christmas. Thanks to Marjorie Kehe's blog for this suggestion.

Thanksgiving Week Sky

Gazing up at the stars is easy here in Florida. And lately it's been fascinating to watch Jupiter, Venus and the moon line up in the southwest sky. My local paper tells me that the two planets and the moon will not be this close together again until 2052. A similar night sky was visible in 3 B.C. and is considered to be a possible explanation for the Christmas Star.

This is not where I am. Click for more pictures of the sky in Paris, where I'd like to be.
Nice, huh? Or should I say, mais oui?