Thursday, February 14, 2019

#CatThursday (81) #Authors and #Cats - Carole King (and Happy Valentine's Day!)


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and often hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and Cats Thursday. Each time I will feature an author with their cat(s), pictured with a cat(s), or guest posts by cat loving authors who also (sometimes) write about cats.


Carole with Telemachus from the cover of Tapestry

Carole King (b. February 9, 1942) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. She was most active as a singer during the first half of the 1970s, though she was a successful songwriter for considerably longer both before and after this period.

King has won four Grammy Awards and has been inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting, along with long-time partner Gerry Goffin. (from Goodreads)



Pictures of Telemachus at various ages, posted by Carole King on Twitter and Facebook.

Happy Valentine's Day! While I'm not overly fond of the holiday, I do like to celebrate with my Valentines...my cats and my kids. 💙💘💜






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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Reading Life (50) - #Reading plans, plus a couple of short #reviews


I can't believe my last "A Reading Life" post was way back in September of 2017. Wow! I have truly been slacking. Hoping to do better, although these posts will probably be monthly, or bi-weekly occasionally. I think I can commit to that.



Last month, I shared my #BookJar and Random Reading projects, along with the other few challenges I'm participating in this year. One thing was clear to me from the outset...you're going to need a bigger jar. lol  Alas, my pretty little jar with the green lid (pictured in challenge image above) was not large enough for all the slips of paper. I couldn't get them to mix up so I kept drawing the same books again and again. Pictured also above is the new jar with plenty of room to shake, shake, shake.


Coincidentally, the book I drew from the book jar (after transferring paper slips to the new jar) was The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius, which is also one of the books in my Read Your (Book) Shelf challenge stack, and so it's my read for February for that challenge. The Twelve Caesars is also on my list for Book Challenge by Erin 10.0 and my Non-Fiction Adventure challenge list. Also, for Book Challenge by Erin, I'm reading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and listening to Austen's Northanger Abbey on audio. This month's True Book Talk (my Goodreads book group) selection is The Princess of Cleves by Madame De Lafayette (translated by Nancy Mitford). Since February is a short month, I'm not going to pick a Random Reading title this month. I'm already going to struggle to finish what I have slated.


I finished my Read your (Book) Shelf book for January, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. My True Book Talk January selection carried over into this month. I just finished it today, Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Biography by Marion Meade. I also finished today, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (audio book and reread). 

I've become so nervous about writing reviews. I'm not sure why. I guess because anxiety has really entered my life more of late and it extends to all areas. So, most of my reviews are going to be short and sweet. Below, I share my (short) thoughts on the three books mentioned above. 


Orphan Train

Everyone I've talked to loved this book. My mom read it first and she loved it. So did I. I think books like this should be required reading for over privileged kids who think they have it bad. (Hopefully) they will never know a life like the orphans, like Vivian, had in this book. It's difficult to imagine how few rights children had even as recently as the 1920s. This book examines, in a fictional account, the very real phenomenon of the orphan trains which operated from 1854 to 1929, transporting orphans to the Midwest states for adoption, but which usually amounted to indentured servitude. What Vivian experienced was so heartbreaking, never truly finding a family to love her, and where she felt she belonged, even when she did find a family who at least cared for her and took her in as their own. She finally finds true happiness, only to face tragedy again. I really liked how the author tied in the story of a modern day foster child who meets Vivian as an elderly lady and they form a strong bond of friendship through their shared orphan experience. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a poignant historical read, and who loves stories about the triumph of the human spirit. The tears it brought to my eyes several times showed me that this book really touched my soul.

Eleanor of Aquitaine

This was hands down one of the best biographies I have ever read. I have long admired Eleanor, the
woman who was a queen twice, first in France, and the second being the queen to the formidable Henry II of England. Together they sired eight children, two of them becoming future kings of England in their own right. Boy, what she went through and achieved for her children is truly astounding. She was a formidable woman who knew to pick her battles. She most certainly made some mistakes along the way, but for the time period, when women were mostly kept in the background, Eleanor was always in the forefront. She lived to be 82 years old, quite a feat for the time as well. Before I read this book, my only reference for Eleanor was the famous film, "The Lion in Winter." Even then, I fell in love with the woman she was, and have always wanted to learn more about her. This book gave me that and much more. Not only a biography, but a detailed historical account of her life, and those of her husband, Henry II, and her sons. It definitely made me want to read more about the various figures during her lifetime.

A Discovery of Witches
This was a reread (I listened on audio). I wanted to read it again before the series aired (on Sundance or Shudder). I didn't quite get there, but I watched the first eight episodes and will now finish watching the last two. I have to admit, I liked this better when I read the print book the first time. I think it was the voice of the audio book reader. Listening to her read it made it sound more corny to me. Has that ever happened to you? It just seemed more romance-y to me this time. Maybe I'm just more jaded than I was back in 2011. All this being said, I still like the story. I love the history tied up in it, and the idea of witches, vampires and demons existing along side humans. So, I'm looking forward to reading the second book, though I won't be listening on audio. Not sure when I'll pick up, Shadow of Night, but it will definitely be before the next season of the television series (which is pretty good, by the way, although a bit different from the book).

What's going on in your reading life?




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Thursday, February 7, 2019

#CatThursday - Some scary #cats


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

Since I'm going to see a horror movie this weekend (my favorite!), I thought I'd share some scary cat memes (not too scary though). 









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Sunday, February 3, 2019

2019 Reading Challenges - #BookJar Project and Random #Reading


There are TONS of reading challenges on offer every year, as we all know. Heck, I even have a group on Facebook where people post reading challenges. I compiled all the posts into documents, listing each challenge, and a link to the sign up post. There are literally tons! (If you're curious about the group, and aren't already a member, it's Sleep Less, Read More.) For people like me, it's SO tempting to sign up for a lot of them (or all of them. lol). However, every year I sign up and fail miserably. Most of the failure stems from not reading enough, but also, not keeping track and updating my progress. So, though I thought about signing up for a few, on top of the yearly challenges I host myself, and a couple others I committed to, I decided against it.

One of my biggest problems is thinking about the long term and perpetual challenges (many hosted by me) I take part in. I find I'm not making much headway and I started thinking of a solution.

Here is a list of those long term and perpetual challenges:

13 Ways of Looking at the Lifetime Reading Plan
The Classics Club
The Fantasy Project
The Michener Challenge
The Never-Ending Anne Rice Challenge
A Non-Fiction Adventure
The Stephen King Challenge

My other dilemma is my massive home library of over 3000 books. I know I'll never read them all, but I know there is a way to read more of them (I mostly read from my own books, but I'm always buying new ones...I'm sure many can relate).

I had been kicking around the idea of a book jar for years, but then it dawned on me. Why not include in the book jar only the books on my lists for the above long term and perpetual challenges? So that's exactly what I did.



#BookJar Project 

Guidelines

  1. Draw one book per month
  2. Three draws allowed, in case I'm just not in the mood for that one, or I can't find the book (because I'm living with my mom, the way my library is set up, there are some books I can't get to. lol).
  3. That's it! Easy!

To tackle the second part of my dilemma, I came up with Random Reading. This involves my book catalogue which I use to keep track of the books I own. It is arranged by author last name, alphabetically. Each letter has it's own section and I number each book (see image above). What I will do is randomly select a letter of the alphabet (1-26) and then randomly select a number from the section of that letter. So, if the letter 'A' has 115 titles, I would randomly select from 1 - 115. Same guidelines as above...

  1. Draw one book per month
  2. Three draws allowed, in case I'm just not in the mood for that one, or I can't find the book
Other Challenges
Here is a list of the other challenges I'm participating in. The first three are the ones I host at Gather Together and Read. I've included full info on the 2019 Reading Challenges page (tab in the blog menu above). 


I guess this is kind of my 2019 reading resolutions as well. My reading numbers have been on the mediocre side the past couple of years. Back in 2014 and 2016, I read over 50 books. 2014 was actually almost 60. I want to get back up to that and beyond. My Goodreads goal each year is 75 and I'm going to hit it one of these years. I know it! Then, the sky's the limit!



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Thursday, January 31, 2019

#CatThursday - #Cats in #Art (36) Romanticism and Pre-Raphaelites


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

This one is my favorite. I loved it so much, I set it as the wallpaper on my phone.


The Love Potion - Evelyn de Morgan


detail of cat from The Deceitfulness of Riches, 1901 - Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale


La Dame avec Son Chat (Woman with Cat) - Marguerite Gerard


Portrait of Louise Vernet as a Child, with her cat, 1818-1819 - Theodore Gericault


Puss in Boots - John Everett Millais, one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.




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Thursday, January 24, 2019

#CatThursday - Bath Time! #Cats


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

The only time I ever bathed my cats was years ago when fleas were so hard to get rid of. Now that we have such excellent products out there, it's not necessary. Plus, I've had some terrible experiences. So, I don't bathe the girls. They don't go outside and the fleas are managed. I do brush them periodically though. Do you bathe your cats?








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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Heath Ledger - Yearly #Remembrance (late again this year!)

A Knight's Tale (2001)

April 4, 1979 - January 22, 2008

Still missing you. Wishing I could still look forward to hearing about new films you were going to be in. Today, I think I'll share some images of my favorite film you starred in.

The Patriot (2000)

Four Feathers (2002)

Casanova (2005)

Brokeback Mountain (2005)



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Thursday, January 17, 2019

#CatThursday - Funny #Cats Miscellany


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.









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