My Bookshelf A to Z

[Thanks to Heather over at bitsnbooks for this idea.]


top of books


Ais for author you’ve read the most books from.

Terry Pratchett is the clear winner with 44 books, including the one’s I’ve read that he co-authored: Good Omens and The Long Earth Trilogy.

 

 


Bis for best sequel ever.

An impossible question.

Moving on.

 

 


C

is for currently reading.

I’m currently reading three books (as usual):

From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

Of course, this list is soon to be outdated.

Take a look at the bottom of the page to see what I’m reading when you read this!


Dis for drink of choice while reading.

Lemon Water or Coffee.

Mainly Coffee.

I gave up on blood and had a coffee transfusion.

 


Eis for e-reader or physical book?

Physical.

Here’s why.

 

 


Fis for fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school.

I didn’t date in high school; I was interested in academics and not girls. Girls would have brought down my GPA. Never mind the fact I was probably related to 99% of them – no exaggeration.

I’m also much different now than I was then, so those factors must be taken into account. I’m going to have to say Wednesday Addams.


Gis for glad you gave this book a chance.

Ulysses by James Joyce.

Despite a rocky start, Ulysses has really grown on me.

 

 


His for hidden gem book.
The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl

From Goodreads: A series of grisly murders is rocking the streets of nineteenth-century Boston. But these are no ordinary killings. Each is inspired by the hellish visions of Dante’s Inferno. To end the bizarre and bloody spree, no ordinary detective will suffice. Enter the unlikely sleuths of the Dante Club: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and J. T. Fields — renowned scholars with the skills to decipher the devilish clues. But can this band of bookish gentlemen outwit a crafty killer? A terror-stricken city — and their own lives — depend on it.


Iis for important moment in your reading life.

The day I was first introduced to Dante and his Commedia.

Literally, a life-changing experience.

Also, a life-changing literary experience.

 


Jis for just finished.

I just finished reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Based on Goodreads reviews, people either love it or hate it.

Personally, I loved it.

 


Kis for kinds of books you won’t read.

Erotica / Bodice Rippers and the like.

Some works have no merit.

Except as kindling.

A part of me died just writing that.


Lis for longest book you’ve read.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

or Ulysses by James Joyce

or Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

I’m not sure; page numbers vary by edition.


Mis for major book hangover.

Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer.

Please, go out and read it.

Now!

Hey, I said please . . .


Nis for number of bookcases you own.

Four:

Two are standard chain-store bookshelves sagging under the weight of the books they hold, one is a low school library bookcase, and the other is a 6ftx5ft custom job I built in high school.


Ois for one book you have read multiple times.

I’ve worn out 2 copies of Dante’s Commedia.

 

 

 


Pis for preferred place to read.

Either in my chair on on my sofa wrapped up in my comfy blanket with coffee close at hand and Smokey on my lap . . . though he does tend to sit on the book more often than not.

 

 


Qis for quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read.

“In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.”
― Dante Alighieri, Inferno

 

 


Ris for reading regret.

Twilight

Need I say more?

 

 


Sis for series you started and need to finish (all books are out in series).

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare – I still have to read City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl – I need to read Beautiful DarknessBeautiful Chaos, and Beautiful Redemption.


Tis for three of your all-time favorite books.

I’m going to cheat and use book series.

Dante’s Commedia

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia


Uis for unapologetic fanboy.

Dante Alighieri

Terry Pratchett

Neil Gaiman

 


Vis for very excited for this release more than all the others.

The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett.

A Tiffany Aching book, it will be the last book set on Discworld written by Sir Terry.

 


Wis for worst bookish habit.

Not using a bookmark even though I have about a dozen of them.

 

 


Xis for X Marks The Spot.

Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf

 

 


Yis for your latest book purchase.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

 

 

 


Z is for ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late).

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Teaser Tuesday: American Gods and Summer Reading 2015

I – and my students – survived another exam week; this means that school is officially over for the year!

However, as any teacher can tell you, we don’t really get breaks in the summer. Personally, I’ll be updating the curriculum for at least two classes to finish their alignment with state standards by the due date. Fun stuff. (Really!)

The wheel of time has turned in its course to

Teaser TuesdayJust in case you don’t know, Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share two sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!*

*I wish I could take credit for this introduction, but I shamelessly stole it from Heather over at bitsnbooks. To help me make amends, you should go check out her blog.


This week I’m reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

I picked a line from page 32, using the supreme logic that 32 is my favorite number:

He reached into his pocket, produced a folded newspaper, 
and handed it to Shadow. "Page seven," he said. "Come on 
back to the bar. You can read it at the table."

American Gods Cover

In Prospect

I haven’t yet solidified my Summer Reading List, but there are several titles sitting on my shelf that need reading. Help me decide what to read next!

Bookshelf Summer 2015
I have:

From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

Atonement by Ian McEwan

1916: The Easter Rising by Tim Pat Coogan

A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

Boneman’s Daughters by Ted Dekker

Living History by Hillary Clinton


A special thanks to the Crone Chronicler for the suggestions of Room by Emma Donoghue and The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery!


Don’t forget to follow me on:

 

Facebook – where I share news stories, articles from other blogs, and various and sundry miscellany that happens to catch my eye. It’s stuff you won’t see here! Well, mostly.

 

Instagram – where I show you my Life in Motion and share quotes and such. The widget only shows my last three photographs – don’t you want to see them all?

 

Twitter – where you can see my thoughts in 140 characters or less. Also, funny retweets.

Memorial Day 2015

National CemeteryToday is Memorial Day in America:

A time for barbecue

A time for beaches

A time for sales

A time for sports

A time for family

It’s also a time for remembrance.

Over the past week, people have been posting images like this on social media:

Memorial-day-not-for-bbqNow, depending on how long you’ve been reading my blog, this is where I’d post something like “In Flanders Fields” or “Dulce Et Decorum Est” to represent my conflicting views of war.

However, I’ve begun to think differently about Memorial Day.

Yes, men gave their lives.

Yes, we should be grateful for their sacrifice.

But I’ve also begun to ask: what – exactly – did they sacrifice their lives for?

I don’t think those who gave their lives would want us to perpetually mourn.

After all, I sincerely doubt they held Rat’s opinion:

Humanity Stands Rudderless Pearls Before Swine
From Unsportsmanlike Conduct (p. 37)
A Pearls Before Swine Collection by Stephan Pastis

 Yes, remember their sacrifice. But they died so we could live normal lives. So that we could hold barbecues on the beach while listening to our preferred sport on the radio with our families. Or whatever your tradition is this weekend.

@TheDemocrats took flak this weekend for posting this:

TheDemocrats President Obama Ice CreamYou know what? I have no problem with the President enjoying an ice cream.

What I do have a problem with was this being the very first Memorial Day post from the Democratic Party.

Things didn’t get much better with their second and third Memorial Day posts:

TheDemocrats Memorial Day Sale TheDemocrats BarbecueThey finally got around to thanking the fallen two days after posting that first image:

TheDemocrats Thanks 2 TheDemocrats Thanks 1Again, this is just my opinion and I understand that this Twitter feed belongs to the Democratic Party and not President Obama, but since one of the President’s roles is Commander in Chief, it only makes sense that the first Memorial Day posts would thank the troops. Maybe that just me.

All this to say: enjoy your Memorial Day how you see fit, but take a moment of silence to remember those who gave their lives for normalcy.


How can I resist sharing a poem on Memorial Day?

This year I’ve selected


                  For the Fallen
              Robert Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

 

Don’t forget to follow me on:

Facebook – where I share news stories, articles from other blogs, and various and sundry miscellany that happens to catch my eye. It’s stuff you won’t see here! Well, mostly.

Instagram – where I show you my Life in Motion and share quotes and such. The widget only shows my last three photographs – don’t you want to see them all?

Twitter – where you can see my thoughts in 140 characters or less. Also, funny retweets.

Sunday Snapshots

Exam week looked something like this:

IMG_3018

Surprisingly, the year yielded no fodder for the funny folder.

Oh well, there’s always next year.

After grading a seemingly endless pile of papers, I needed a break.

I braved the unseasonable heat and took a few pictures at my in-laws’ house:

I also worked on my flame technique by lighting matches in the bathroom:

Flame 1The last day of school was a grab bag of sorts.

I took pictures of the school “mascot” sculpture and the last pot of coffee

Coincidentally, it was the last of the office coffee, too.

I enjoyed coffee and donuts:

It was also a day for several student gifts, like this gift card to Staples, with which I purchased a pencil sharpener for my black pencils – the ones with which I’m writing The Book. I also received a $15 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card, but I neglected to take a picture before writing this post.

Sharpener 1

Then, it was time for Graduation:

The weekend began a month-long line of graduation parties.

In the South, that means barbecue and cheerwine.

It also meant I didn’t have to wear dress slacks and shirts.

Hello summertime tees!

Teaser Tuesday: Exam Edition 2.0

A mountain of exams threatens my coffee and donuts. To save these delicacies, I must consume them.

Dunkin’ Donuts claims “America Runs on Dunkin” and today I’m doing my part to prove them right.

Unbelievably, the wheel of time has not only turned to, but also passed

Teaser Tuesday

Just in case you don’t know, Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share two sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!*

*I wish I could take credit for this introduction, but I shamelessly stole it from Heather over at bitsnbooks. To help me make amends, you should go check out her blog.


Yes, I’m still reading Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia by Fiona Ritchie. It’s really quite good, but end-of-term has intruded into book time.

There have been no funny/wrong answers to share (yet), but I’m 99.99% certain I’ll get some today and tomorrow. Stay tuned.


IMG_3018It took me 3.5 hours to grade 14 Physics tests. Brain = fried.

Not Quite In Retrospect

I decided to give Finnegan’s Wake a pass for now. I’ll try again sometime this summer.

Speaking of summer, do you have any suggestions for my summer reading list? I’m open to (almost) anything.


 

Don’t forget to follow me on:

Facebook – where I share news stories, articles from other blogs, and various and sundry miscellany that happens to catch my eye. It’s stuff you won’t see here! Well, mostly.

Instagram – where I show you my Life in Motion and share quotes and such. The widget only shows my last three photographs – don’t you want to see them all?

Twitter – where you can see my thoughts in 140 characters or less. Also, funny retweets.

Writer’s Block on a Sunday Afternoon

The blinking cursor mocks me.
 The blank page stares back at me.
  Pencils remain unsharpened.
   Pens stay capped.

Writer’s Block strikes again.
 Nothing for The Book.
  Nothing for The Blog.
   Nothing for The Class.

Simply Nothing.
 My thoughts combine to static, droning like bees:
  Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Good a time as any to watch Broadchurch: Season Two 
and eat Berry Crunch cereal.

Sunday Snapshots

The week started with one of the earliest tropical storms on record: Tropical Storm Ana.

For reference, the ditch in the second picture is approximately 5 foot deep.

The photograph was taken approximately 6:00 AM on Monday morning.

Things did not improve until early Tuesday.

Personally, I like how the downspout turned out.


On Tuesday, we held a surprise Spring Recital for F_____’s wife. Normally she puts this on herself; with everything that’s happened, she cancelled it this year. My cousin, one of her students, organized and put on the recital for her. One of my jobs was to make this chocolate piano keyboard.

Chocolate Piano Keyboard

I didn’t get the right dark bars – I got the “mini” kind instead of the “fun size” ones – but still think it turned out okay. Actually, there were two of them, and only one white bar remained at the end of the evening.


Things were both normal and hectic on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; you know, typical end-of-term stuff. My principal surprised me with not one but two kinds of sushi: eel (my favorite!) and yellowfin (which I hadn’t tried before but found to have just the right amount of spice and kick to it).

Eel and Yellowfin Sushi


Saturday I cleaned the house (laundry and dishes) and cut the grass. Go me!
Mown GrassNow I can treat those annoying anthills . .

Springtime for Hitler

I have four unfinished drafts. How can I decide which one to finish?

Chaucer Doth Tweet Stay In And WriteWell, OK then. I’ve got one that fits the bill – one I’ve entitled “Springtime for Hitler.”

 


 

I suppose it was inevitable, given my profession and Teutophile proclivities, that I would eventually have to tackle Nazis in some manner.

First, the estate of Joesph Goebbels is suing Random House for royalties, an act Random House describes as “immoral”.

Goebbels Getty Images

Now, I’m not a copyright lawyer, but I imagine that at some point contracts were signed.

One cannot simply get out of a contract because they find the recipient distasteful. Were that the case, the real estate, automotive, and student loan companies would immediately collapse.

In this case, Cordula Schacht – the copyright holder – is of no relation to Mr. Goebbels; in fact, her own father was acquitted at Nuremberg. Therefore, one cannot make the claim that royalties would benefit a convicted war criminal.

Peter Longerich, the biographer involved in the matter, has argued that a private person should not be given control of important historical documents. To which I ask: who gets to decide what is important?

Were I the judge in this case, I’d rule against Herr Longerich. Others disagree with me; some selections from Twitter:

All royalties should be paid to the Holocaust Museum / Memorials! He shouldn’t even be allowed an estate!

Any money paid by the publishers to any estate connected to the Nazis would be blood money.

No one should profit from this unless it’s as a donation to those affected by the Holocaust or a memorial/museum. Disgusting!

The Spawn of Satan should have no royalty rights under the law.

They ought to be ashamed that he is a family member. But people are greedy and will take $ from whatever source.

 

And now, a word from our sponsor:

 

It might not be the original (because let’s face it, Gene Wilder is beyond compare), but John Barrowman redeems the production. Pun intended.

 


 

OskarGroening via BBCSecond, yet another former Nazi is on trial seventy years after the war ended, this time the so-called “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz“. Now, before you get offended or hot and bothered about my tone of type, please hear me out. I am not an apologist for Nazism by any stretch of the imagination, neither do I think war crimes have a statute of limitations. However, I find the overall treatment of former Nazis incongruous.

Case in point: Japanese pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor were welcomed back sixty years after the fact. In fact, it seems they were forgiven some time ago, as evidenced by this article from the New York Times. I wonder why the world holds such special hatred for the Nazis when other dictators and regimes have been responsible for death on a much larger scale (like the Soviets and – by some estimates – the Chinese).

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I’ve nothing against prosecuting Nazis guilty of crimes for which they’ve never been punished, but I don’t understand why we’ve forgiven some and not others.

Another part of me wonders what will happen in ten years’ time (give or take) when the final Nazi is dead. Who will then become the bogeymen of the world?

 


 

I suppose it’s also fitting that I’m watching/listening to a Twilight Zone marathon while I work on this. Rod Serling dished out devious damnations to nefarious Nazis in “Judgment Night”, “Deaths-Head Revisited”, and “He’s Alive”. There may be more, but those are the three that come immediately to mind.

In fact, Serling’s closing narration to “Deaths-Head Revisited” has become a staple in my classroom when discussing World War II and how we come to terms with what happened:

All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, 
the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes – all of them. They must remain 
standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some 
men decided to turn the Earth into a graveyard. Into it they 
shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but 
worst of all their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the 
moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance, then we become 
the gravediggers. Something to dwell on and to remember, not only 
in the Twilight Zone but wherever men walk God's Earth.

Teaser Tuesday: Exam Edition

Assuming that Tropical Storm Ana has moved out of the area, I’m off on another field trip: taking a group of top-fundraising students to a fun park. Maybe I’ll get some interesting photographs for Sunday Snapshots.

Inexorably, the wheel of time has once again turned to

Teaser Tuesday

Just in case you don’t know, Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share two sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!*

*I wish I could take credit for this introduction, but I shamelessly stole it from Heather over at bitsnbooks. To help me make amends, you should go check out her blog.


This week I’m still reading Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia by Fiona Ritchie of Thistle and Shamrock fame .

I’m also reading my own work. No, I haven’t finished The Book; I’m reading exams. Here’s a sample from my physics review:

A .22 rifle weighs 2.49 kg. The bullet has a mass of 2.60 
g and a muzzle velocity of 487.68 m/s. Calculate the 
kinetic energy of both the rifle and the bullet.

What I’d really like to ask is this:

What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Test Stack and Coffee Cup

Not Quite In Retrospect

I may have to give Finnegans Wake a pass at this point. I’m not sure why I thought I could knock it out in four weeks at the end of a school year.


 

Don’t forget to follow me on:

Facebook – where I share news stories, articles from other blogs, and various and sundry miscellany that happens to catch my eye. It’s stuff you won’t see here! Well, mostly.

Instagram – where I show you my Life in Motion and share quotes and such. The widget only shows my last three photographs – don’t you want to see them all?

Twitter – where you can see my thoughts in 140 characters or less. Also, funny retweets.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: