Sunday, August 31, 2008


Desperation by Stephen King was originally published in 1996. My hardcover copy is 690 pages. This is a novel with a strong redemptive, good against evil theme (although the God found in Desperation isn't quite the Christian God of the Bible). Still, even amid all the evil carnage, there is a strong sense of hope because God is in control. Desperation is extra creepy if you've ever lived in Nevada, or perhaps just drove across it. Rating: 4

From Cover:
"Nevada is mostly a long stretch of desert you cross on the way to somewhere else. And with someone else, if you're lucky...because it's a scary place. Headed down route 50 in the brutal summer heat are people who are never going to reach their destinations......In Desperation, Stephen King's sweeping brush paints an apocalyptic drama of God and evil, madness and revelation..."


"Why are they here, Pete? I mean I can understand Vegas and Reno... even Winnemucca and Wendover..." pg. 5

"Because Nevada's full of intense people, Marielle said so and Gary agreed, and this is how intense people act. In a word, weird." pg. 9

"Until Nevada, things had been fine. They started out as four happy wanderers from Ohio, destination Lake Tahoe." pg. 47

"Something about this bothered Ralph, but for now he paid no attention. His fright had grown into a sense of foreboding so strong and yet so diffuse that he felt a little as if he'd eaten something laced with poison. He thought that if he held his hand up it would be steady, but that didn't change the fact that he had become more scared, not less, since the cop had sped them away from their disabled roaming home with such spooky ease." pg. 59

"Kill you? Kill you?....I'm not going to kill you, Mare!... Not when things are just getting interesting." pg. 64

"I talk to God....That's what praying is, talking to God. At first it feels like talking to yourself, but then it changes....He wanted me to find out as much as I could about him....That's why I go to the Methodist church. I don't think the brand name matters much to God, though. He just said to do church for my heart and spirit, and Reverend Martin for my mind." pg. 186-187

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Friday night movies

These special Rice Crispy Treats were the hint for what would be our Friday night movie theme.
Can you guess the star of the three movies we watched?

As you can see, one of our guests started eating a clue.

Here's a close up of one treat:

Have you guessed?
That's right! It was Gammera night! (Or Gamera since the spelling isn't apparently standard.)
We saw:
Gammera The Invincible
Attack Of The Monsters
Destroy All Planets

Just Me ate everything but her Gammera's head:


(Edited to add that reading Just Me's account of the evening makes it seem so much, well, less family friendly.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Last Orders

Last Orders by Graham Swift was originally published in 1996. My hardcover copy has 295 pages. Last Orders was the recipient of the Booker Prize for 1996. This is a quiet, depressing novel in many ways. A group of long time friends are taking their friend's ashes to the sea. But as they take the journey, we are the silent audience to their private thoughts and history. The chapters are short and jump from the voice of one character to another. It would behoove readers to pay attention to the characters in the beginning to easily follow them as the tale unfolds. I would agree with the reviewers who said that this book is set in a closed world. I felt very much outside of their world, perhaps because I'm not British, although the book itself was haunting. Rating: 4

Four men gather in a London pub. They have taken it upon themselves to carry out the last orders of Jack Dodds, master butcher, and deliver his ashes to the sea. As they drive towards the fulfillment of their mission, their errand becomes an extraordinary journey into their collective and individual pasts. Braiding these men's voices, and that of Jack's widow, into a choir of sorrow and resentment, passion and regret, Swift creates a testament to a changing England and to enduring mortality.
"It aint like your regular sort of day." first sentence

"I've been wondering what he'll have with him. So's Lenny, I dare say. Like I've had this picture of Vic opening the pub door and marching in, all solemn, with a little oak casket with brass fittings, But all he's carrying, under one arm, is a plain brown cardboard box, about a foot high and six inches square, He looks like a man who's been down the shops and bought a set of bathroom tiles." pg. 3

"It's a comfort to know your undertaker's your mate. It must have been a comfort to Jack." pg. 4

"But the gist of it is plain. It says he wants his ashes to be chucked off the end of Margate pier." pg. 13

"If he had to be chucked, if it was a case of chucking, if he had to be taken to the end of somewhere and chucked, but count me out, Jack, I won't be doing any chucking, then it had to be the Pier. Though it should have been the Jetty." pg. 19-20

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

San Francisco Is Burning

San Francisco Is Burning: The Untold Story of the 1906 Earthquake and Fires by Dennis Smith was originally published in 2005. My paperback copy has 294 pages. Early in the morning of April 18, beginning at 5:12, San Francisco experienced the great earthquake of 1906 that measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. After the earthquake came the fires. Through the stories of several different people, Smith tells the story of the fires following the earthquake in this historical narrative. This is an interesting book and will highly appeal to those who would pick up a nonfiction on this subject. Rating: 4

Synopsis from back cover:
Killing hundreds and leaving a city in ruins, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 stands as one of the greatest natural disasters in American history. But the aftermath of the quake - the fires that raged across the city for days and claimed the lives of thousands more - was an all too human disaster whose story has remained largely untold. Until now....

Dennis Smith reconstructs those harrowing days from the perspective of the people who lived through them. Smith draws on hundreds of individual accounts and official documents to unearth the true story of the fires - from the corrupt officials who left the city woefully unprepared for disaster, to the militia officers who enforced martial law with deadly force, to the individual heroes who battled the blaze and saved untold lives. San Francisco is Burning is a thrilling account the brings a chapter of history compellingly back to life.

Outside of war, the San Francisco fire of 1906 is bigger than any metropolitan fire in history. The four-day event took more than 3,000 lives, burned through 28,188 buildings, flattened 522 blocks, destroyed tens of churches, 9 libraries, 37 national banks, the Pacific Stock Exchange, 3 major newspaper buildings..., 2 opera houses, and the largest, most richly appointed imperial hotel in the era of turn-of-the-last-century opulence. More than 200,000 people were burned out of their homes..." pg. 3

"The story of the San Francisco earthquake and fires is a hard story of numbing imbalance, of corruption and virtue, of stupidity and enlightenment, and most of all, of cowardice and courage. It is also a story of peculiar fire-loading conditions and of a geological vulnerability that is very dangerous - factors that have proven to be ruinous." pg. 3

"Walter Cook looked out of a window from this high vantage point over the city and what he saw was astounding. Fires were raging in every direction, all burning freely, fifty alarms reported in that first half hour alone, caused by overturned candles, heaters, broken flue pipes, and ashes spread from toppled cooking stoves. Only one thought must have run through his mind: San Francisco is burning." pg. 63

"Disaster is a word that we humans attach to an event to give it status or simply nomenclature, but for the earth an earthquake is no more disastrous than the opening of a lilac's petals. It is part of the natural order, like wildfires, tsunamis, landslides, avalanches, floods, drought, blizzards, cyclones, tornadoes, and lightening, and becomes catastrophic only when human beings are involved." pg. 68

These pictures represent, approximately, the
size of the spider that ran across my bed last night.

Now do you think I over reacted?

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Fairies: Real Encounters With Little People by Janet Bord was originally published in 1997. My paperback copy, including appendix, notes, bibliography, and index is 242 pages. Just Me found this book in the clearance section at our local used book store for next to nothing, which is why we picked it up. It was worth the price. If you believe in fairies, this book will reinforce your already held beliefs. If you are just curious, this book will be very mildly entertaining. There are 14 black and white pictures. Don't let the hype on the back cover fool you. This is not really a serious study. If it were you'd think that a mention could be made that, for example, perhaps leaving food out for fairies might attract vermin. This book is a collection of fairy stories and myths masquerading as a serious book. I'm giving it a personal rating of 1, but if you want a book to laugh at it might rate higher for you. Perhaps Fairies will inspire Just Me to finish her blog series on painting clothes on naked fairies. One can always hope....

Synopsis from back cover:
They have frightened adults, enchanted children, and wreaked so much havoc that homes have been abandoned. Now dramatic proof reveals the real-life existence of fairies, dwarves, gnomes, pixies, brownies, and elves. This fascinating investigation presents tangible evidence that "Little People" exist and lifts the veil of mystery around these legendary creatures.

Author Janet Bord has examined ancient records as well as modern accounts of these strange, seemingly magical beings. Carefully sifting hoaxes and fables from documented sightings, she presents the amazing facts she has uncovered, including:
*Startling information on the UFO connection
*Dramatic testimony about the healing power of fairies
*Detailed descriptions of eyewitness sightings
*Fairy sites you can visit in the British Isles
*The stunning truth behind the existence of fairies in the modern world.

"However the changes that have occurred this century have not resulted in the complete extinction of the fairies: they have survived, because people still see them." pg. 2

"This attitude of deference to the fairies still lingers on. In 1968 it was reported that the course of a new road in Donegal had been altered because workmen refused to cut down a tree which was believed to be frequented by the fairies." pg. 6

"Some Scottish fairies....wore plaids and kilts. Cloaks were often worn, and hats of various kinds: red pointed caps seem to have been popular." pg. 13

"Turning one's coat inside out was said to be the way to counter the fairy spell, but it didn't always work." pg. 15

"Ethereal music may often be associated with fairies, although they are invisible, because of the well-known love of the fairies for dancing." pg. 17

"The custom of leaving out something edible to placate the fairies is deeply enshrined in fairy lore. Among the items traditionally used were barely-meal cakes....cheese....and milk." pg. 25

"[T]he fairy shoe [was] found on the Beara Peninsula in south-west Ireland in 1835...the tiny shoe was 2 7/8 inches long but only 7/8 inches wide, and in style like the shoe of an eighteenth century gentleman. It was wore down at the heel." pg. 26

"Red clothing is often described by those who have seen the Little People, green apparently being the next most popular colour." pg. 44

"In the far north, in the Arctic Ocean coastal community of Cambridge Bay (Victoria Island, Canadian North West Territories), people in the 1,000-strong community are claiming to have seen in recent years a seventy-strong tribe of Little People who are believed to roam the High Arctic. They are said to be about three feet tall, dressed in caribou skins, and carrying bows and arrows....'people are leaving food out there hoping if they were out there they'd take it and come into town and try to be friendly.' " pg. 80

"UFO researchers who have also taken an interest in folklore have noticed some strong similarities between the creatures sometimes seen to emerge from landed UFOs and the traditional fairies or Little People." pg. 106

"Fairyland was most commonly believed to be located somewhere underground, either in hills (natural, or prehistoric burial mounds, or ancient forts) or deep inside the earth. It was entered through holes in the ground, or simply by (apparently) passing through the solid earth, as fairies were sometimes seen to do." pg. 163

Saturday, August 23, 2008

triple feature

Friday night triple feature:
The Thing from Another World
The Day the World Ended
The Crawling Eye.

Good times..... good times

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Sea

The Sea by John Banville was originally published in 2005. My hardcover copy has 195 pages. The Sea won the Man Booker Prize for 2005. The novel consists of the interior dialogue of an ordinary man - his memories, life, and struggles. In the narrative Banville moves seamlessly back and forth in time. There is no strong plot. Banville's strength is in his prose. He is a lyrical writer with a beautiful way of phrasing and a keen sense of word choice. There is a twist at the end of the novel that seemed unnecessary in this novel that is really more a character study. This novel is not for everyone but will likely be appreciated by writers and readers who love beautifully crafted prose. Rating: 4

Synopsis from cover:
...The voice we hear is that of Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who, soon after his wife's death, has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child - a retreat from the grief, anger, and numbness of his new life without her. But it is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, a well-healed vacationing family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time. The seductive mother, the imperious father, the twins Chloe, fiery and forthright, and Myles, silent and expressionless - in whose mysterious connection Max became profoundly entangled, each of them a part of the "barely bearable raw immediacy" of his childhood memories.

Interwoven with this story are his memories of his wife - of their life together, of her death - and the moments, both significant and mundane, that make up his life now: his relationship with his grown daughter, Claire, desperate to pull him from his grief; and with the other boarders at the house where he is staying, where the past beats inside him "like a second heart."

What Max comes to understand about that past and the way it has shaped his state of heart and mind now is at the center of this elegiac, vividly dramatic, beautifully written novel - among the finest we have had from this extraordinary writer.
"They departed, the gods, on the day of the strange tide." first sentence

"I am amazed at how little has changed in the more than fifty years that have gone by since I was last here. Amazed and disappointed, I would go so far as to say appalled, for reasons that are totally obscure to me, since why should I desire change, I who have come back to live amidst the rubble of the past?" pg. 4

"The past beats inside me like a second heart." pg. 10

"We walked out into the day as if we were stepping on to a new planet where no one lived but us." pg 13

"It was as if a secret had been imparted to us so dirty, so nasty, that we could hardly bear to remain in one another's company yet were unable to break free, each knowing the foul thing that the other knew and bound together by that very knowledge. From this day forward all would be dissembling. There would be no other way to live with death." pg. 17

"But then, at what moment, of all our moments, is life not utterly, utterly changed, until the final, most momentous change of all?" pg. 25

"Life, authentic life, is supposed to be all struggle, unflagging action and affirmation, the will butting its blunt head against the world's wall, suchlike, but when I look back I see that the greater part of my energies was always given over to the simple search for shelter, for comfort, for, yes, I admit it, for cosiness. This is a surprising, not to say a shocking, realisation. Before, I saw myself as something of a buccaneer, facing all-comers with a cutlass in my teeth, but now I am compelled to acknowledge that this was a delusion. To be concealed, protected, guarded, that is all I have ever truly wanted, to burrow down into a place of womby warmth and cower there, hidden from the sky's indifferent gaze and the harsh air's damagings. That is why the past is such a retreat for me, I go there eagerly, rubbing my hands and shaking off the cold present and the colder future." pg. 44-45

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Readers Bill of Rights

I, and you, have:

1. The Right to Not Read
2. The Right to Skip Pages
3. The Right to Not Finish
4. The Right to Reread
5. The Right To Read Anything
6. The Right to Escapism
7. The Right to Read Anywhere
8. The Right to Browse
9. The Right to Read Out Loud
10. The Right to Not Defend Your Tastes

(Used with thanks to Sally .)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reservation Road

Reservation Road by John Burnham Schwartz was originally published in 1998. My hardcover copy has 292 pages. This is a book about a tragedy. It is about families, fathers and sons, grief, guilt, and responsibility. Giving each character their own narrative allows Schwartz to explore the thoughts of these characters. We experience their grief. We feel the marriage unraveling, we see a man haunted by his constant mistakes. Although it is described and marketed to some extent as a crime fiction novel, this is literary fiction. We know what happened and who did it at the beginning of the book. This book was very good, in spite of the few qualms I have with the characters. Rating: 4

Synopsis from cover:
"A riveting novel of feeling and suspense in which grief and punishment become tragically intertwined.

At the close of a beautiful summer day near the quiet Connecticut town where they live, the Learner family - Ethan and Grace, their children Josh and Emma - stop at a gas station on their way home from a concert. Josh Learner, lost in a ten-year-old's private world, is standing at the edge of the road when a car comes racing around the bend. He is hit and instantly killed. The car speeds away.
From this moment forward Reservation Road becomes a harrowing countdown to the confrontation between two very different men.....

In a gripping narrative woven from the voices of Ethan, Dwight (the hit and run driver), and Grace, Reservation Road tells the story of two ordinary families facing an extraordinary crisis - a book that reads like a thriller but opens up a world rich with psychological nuance and emotional wisdom. Reservation Road explores the terrain of grief even as it astonishes with unexpected redemption: powerful and wrenching and impossible to put down."


"I want to tell this right. On a beautiful summer's day we picnicked in a field as an orchestra played under a yellow tent." opening sentences

"I will never forget the final movement. How the voices entered forcefully from the first, resonant yet still earthbound, to be joined by a multitude of others. How the sound grew from inside the yellow tent until it became a god, and the conductor's body seemed to beat to its calling. And, finally, how my son, alone among us all, got to his feet and remained there, standing and silent, long after the music had ended." pg. 5

"The car kept picking up speed. Then we were gone from that clearing, swallowed up by the trees." pg. 21

"I found I was trembling uncontrollably. And I fell again into that crouch, that ungainly squat from which I could place my palms flat on the ground to staedy myself. Anything to touch the world as it had been before. But it would not go back. I kept trambling. Thinking now about my Emma, the waves of grief and fear roloing through her, and no end in sight." pg. 30

"I left my car sitting in the driveway, its busted nose pointing at the road, bright as a neon sign, saying Punish Me." pg. 50

"There are heros, and there are the rest of us. There comes a time when you just let go the ghost of the better person you might have been." pg 60

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Runnin’ at the Platte

For the three of us older bottle-collecting-siblings, one of our preferred family playground destinations in the 60’s was the Platte River in Nebraska. Platte, as named by the French traders, means shallow or flat. The Platte River in the summer was more akin to a wide sandbox with little streams of water running between the sandbars. It was a great place to let loose and play all day.

Now I know that our trips to play at the Platte were mostly due to the fact that, as my mom would freely admit, my parents were young, poor, and needed to entertain three kids, as well as themselves. Still, looking back, it was a perfect playground and guaranteed a full day of entertainment. It also seemed like wherever we lived in Nebraska, we lived near the Platte. I would have been playing with my sister, the one I’ll call High Powered Executive, while my older brother, whom I could call El Dictator, was very likely off fishing with my dad in the main channel of the river.

(See Platte River Alliance tour - Photo Gallery One)

What made the Platte River so special was the fact that it is a shallow braided river. During the summer water levels were low and entertainment value was high. First, there was the wide expanse of sand. Then there was the water. Sand and water were always a big draw for my siblings. One of our favorite sandbox games was Flood! but that is perhaps a story for another time. (As a family we did experience a flood, of the Platte River, which likely fueled our zest for this game.)

What I recall now are days spent running along the sandbars, splashing through shallow water, trying to catch minnows, looking for small clams, digging canals, finding beautiful rocks, and, well, using our imaginations. There was nothing like spending a day outside running across the sandbars and through the shallow water at the Platte.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Letters of a Woman Homesteader

Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart (N. C. Wyeth, Illustrator) was first published in 1914 and there have been numerous editions since that time. My paperback edition, published by Houghton Mifflin Company, has a 1988 copyright on the foreword by Gretel Ehrlich. It is 282 pages. Elinore Pruitt Stewart was a widow who moved to Denver in order to earn a living working as a house-cleaner and laundress. She decided to improve her conditions and accepted work as a housekeeper. She wanted to work for a rancher while learning all she'd need to know about homesteading. In 1909 she went to work for Clyde Stewart, whose ranch was near Burnt Fork, Wyoming, and within six weeks she married him. The letters written by Elinor are to her former employer in Denver. This is a book that doesn't need a rating because it is what the title says it is and will appeal to a select audience.

Ehrlich writes in the foreword:

"Letters of a Woman Homesteader, first published in 1914, are the letters written by Elinore Pruitt when she and her young daughter, Jerrine, came to the sage-covered benchland of southwestern Wyoming in April 1909." page xiii

"What began as quaint personal accounts turned into Elinor Stewart's version of Pilgrim's Progress, and in the process she reveals herself not only to be tenacious and resourceful but saintly as well." page xvii

"During the four years spanned by these letters, Elinore Stewart bore four children, raised all the food on the ranch, helped with every ranch job, and proved up on her own homestead." pg. xix


"They have just three seasons here, winter and July and August. We are to plant our garden the last of May." pg. 6

"The mother is one of those 'comfy,' fat little women who remain happy and bubbling with fun in spite of hard knocks." pg 46

"No Westerner can ever understand a Southerner's need of sympathy, and, however kind their hearts, they are unable to give it." pg 202

" 'Why,' he asked, 'do New Yorkers always say State?' 'Why, because,' she answered, - and her eyes were big with surprise, - 'no one would want to say they were from New York City.' " pg 252

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Horse Heaven

Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley was originally published in 2000. My hardcover copy is 561 pages. This is a massive book covering two years in the lives of people and horses involved in the world of horse racing. While it is a very enjoyable book, in the end the various stories involving the huge cast of characters were not resolved as well as they might have been if the writing had been tightened up a little more. Rating: 4

From Publishers Weekly, at Amazon:
[T]his novel about horses and their breeders, owners, trainers, grooms, jockeys, traders, bettors and other turf-obsessed humans is another winner. Smiley, it turns out, knows a prodigious amount about Thoroughbreds, and she is as good at describing the stages of their lives, their temperaments and personalities as she is in chronicling the ambitions, financial windfalls and ruins, love affairs, partings and reconciliations of her large cast of human characters. With settings that range from California and Kentucky to Paris, the novel covers two years in which the players vie with each other to produce a mount that can win high-stakes races. Readers will discover that hundreds of things can go wrong with a horse, from breeding through birth, training and racing, and that every race has variables and hazards that can produce danger and death, as well as the loss of millions of dollars. (A scene in which one horse stumbles and sets off a chain reaction of carnage is heartbreaking.) Characters who plan, scheme, connive and yearn for a winner include several greedy, impetuous millionaires and their wives; one trainer who is a model of rectitude, and another who has found Jesus but is crooked to the core; two preadolescent, horse-obsessed kids; a knockout black woman whose beauty is the entrance key to the racing world; the horses themselves (cleverly, Smiley depicts a horse communicator who can see into the equine mind); and one very sassy Jack Russell dog. Written with high spirits and enthusiasm, distinguished by Smiley's wry humor (as in Moo), the novel gallops into the home stretch without losing momentum. Fans of A Thousand Acres may feel that Smiley has deserted the realm of serious literature for suspense and romance, but this highly readable novel shows that she can perform in both genres. Random House Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Now Eileen trotted into the room. It was clear to Mr. Maybrick that the dog was intentionally ignoring him." pg. 12

""A Thoroughbred is not a natural phenomenon. His mommy and daddy didn't fall in love, get married and decide to have a baby. None of these horses would be here if they weren't meant to race and win. The breeder is their God and the racetrack is their destiny and running is their work, and any other way of looking at it is getting things pretty mixed up, if you ask me." pg. 16

"If your mother was determined to see your life choices as a set of symptoms - depression, isolation, horse-obsession, overwork, no love life - then it was very hard to convince her that what these really amounted to was a sense of calm and peace, lively interest in a fascinating animal species, plenty to keep you busy, and a choice not to repeat old mistakes." pg. 25

"Rosalind saw that, if you had enough self-possession, you could reconnoiter, plan ahead, take your time. It went beyond being careful. Being careful was something you did if you were in a rush. If you were self-possessed, you never had to be in a rush." pg. 30

" 'You're saying he thinks anything he buys is a bargain.'
'No matter what the cost.' " pg. 72

"But in his family, the thing is, you never buy it. You learn it. There isn't even any discussion about it. When you can't think what to do next, you enroll." pg. 266

"Sometimes, in spite of yourself and everything you knew about appearances' being deceiving, even though you were ages old and had been in the horse business all your life and had seen every deceptive appearance fall away to reveal the plain and sometimes ugly reality within, even though you had a wife and kids who had kids of their own and you knew in your very bones that beauty was the most fleeting of all, appearances ravished you anyway, and gave you the strange sensation of a finger running up your spine and tickling the back of your neck until you thought that, if you weren't in public every day, surrounded by cynical and hard-bitten men, you might tremble at it." pg. 172

Saturday, August 16, 2008

crab monsters and Zontar

Friday night double feature.

Do we know how to have fun or what!?!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Kwai, Way

Tuesday and Wednesday movies

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Flight of the Phoenix

The special Monday night movie:

The Flight of the Phoenix

Monday, August 11, 2008

I haven't been able to really concentrate on reading lately because I've been so busy juggling various tasks that must be accomplished.
Having finished up a good portion of my to-do-list this weekend, however, I hope to be back posting book reviews soon.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Father Goose

Saturday's featured movie

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Day After

Friday night movie

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Can't Wait to Get to Heaven

Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg was originally published in 2006. My hardcover copy has 365 pages, including the recipes in the back. As Flagg takes us back to Elmwood Springs, fans will recognize many familiar characters. While contemplating what to write for this review, I need to make it clear that Can't Wait to Get to Heaven is going to have some powerful appeal to Flagg's fans. New readers might be put off by the cast of characters and should really start with Welcome to the World Baby Girl and Standing in the Rainbow before Can't Wait to Get to Heaven. This is really a book for her fans. Fans will view Can't Wait to Get to Heaven as a treasured visit with old friends.

Now, there is, in fact, a visit to heaven in Can't Wait to Get to Heaven. If I judge Flagg's book solely on that, her rating by me plummets. If you are looking for a book to read about getting to heaven, this isn't the one you want. Flagg's view of heaven through Aunt Elner is simplistic, silly, and a tad bit stupid. But, if you've been reading Flagg's books you'll ignore that because of her character's humor and charm. This book is pure sequel escapism, not a treatise on theology. I want to rate it a 4.5 for fans and a 3 for the general reading population, who would likely skip over this book anyway, so we're compromising with a rating of 3.75.

Synopsis from cover:

Combining southern warmth with unabashed emotion and side-splitting hilarity, Fannie Flagg takes readers back to Elmwood Springs, Missouri, where the most unlikely and surprising experiences of a high-spirited octogenarian inspire a town to ponder the age-old question: Why are we here?

Life is the strangest thing. One minute, Mrs. Elner Shimfissle is up in her tree, picking figs, and the next thing she knows, she is off on an adventure she never dreamed of, running into people she never in a million years expected to meet. Meanwhile, back home, Elner’s nervous, high-strung niece Norma faints and winds up in bed with a cold rag on her head; Elner’s neighbor Verbena rushes immediately to the Bible; her truck driver friend, Luther Griggs, runs his eighteen-wheeler into a ditch–and the entire town is thrown for a loop and left wondering, “What is life all about, anyway?” Except for Tot Whooten, who owns Tot’s Tell It Like It Is Beauty Shop. Her main concern is that the end of the world might come before she can collect her social security.

In this comedy-mystery, those near and dear to Elner discover something wonderful: Heaven is actually right here, right now, with people you love, neighbors you help, friendships you keep. Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven is proof once more that Fannie Flagg “was put on this earth to write” (Southern Living), spinning tales as sweet and refreshing as iced tea on a summer day, with a little extra kick thrown in.

"After Elner Shimfissle accidentally poked that wasps' nest up in her fig tree, the last thing she remembered was thinking 'Uh-oh.' " first sentence

"I'm in big trouble now....I may have just lost ladder privileges for life." pg. 5

"He had learned the hard way; whenever there was a problem with Aunt Elner, having Norma there only made matters worse, so he made Norma stay at home until he could get to Elner's and size up the situation." pg. 7

"As far as Norma was concerned there was no excuse for having bad taste anymore, or at least, none that she could think of, when all you had to do was look in magazines and simply copy what you saw, or watch the design shows on the Home & Garden Channel." pg. 10-11

"Norma had been waiting for years for something like this to happen, and now that it had, she was glad she'd had the foresight to plan for it. Ten years ago she had prepared a file marked HOSPITAL EMERGENCY, AUNT ELNER." pg. 15

" 'Now I read that even Canada hates us...Canada! And we just love them, everybody's always wanting to go up there and visit. I never knew Canada hated us. Did you?'
'No, I didn't....I always thought Canada was our friendly neighbor to the north.' " pg. 38

"Norma, for example, was a neat freak. Macky used to say that he was scared to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom because by the time he got back, she would have made the bed." pg. 47

"Tot's children had been nothing but trouble from the beginning, even more so after they hit puberty. If there was a fool within fifty miles, they had either married it or had numerous offspring with it. Tot had begged her children to please stop breeding." Pg. 88

The Lost World

For a special Wednesday edition of movie night we had a double feature.
The Lost World, 1960, and the silent of 1925.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Journey to the Center of the Earth

The feature for movie night

on Sunday night

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Question: When you visit this blog would you describe the background color as a soft bluish purple, a light periwinkle purple, OR would you say it is more of a pinkish purple?

It was designed to be a soft periwinkle blue, however I noticed that it comes up as much more pink on Just Me's monitor. I want it to be seen as more blue by most people, so your comments are important. Thanks!

Edit: Never mind.... I went to a gray background with some blue added.

Please Don't Eat the Daisies

This weeks Friday night movie.

Just Me and I love Doris Day

Flamingos in formation

This is dedicated to my sister

Friday, August 1, 2008

Critical Judgment

Critical Judgment by Michael Palmer was originally published in 1996. My paperback copy has 450 pages. In the end, this was a very enjoyable medical thriller. It started out a little slow. For about the first third of the book I was silently urging Abby to admit she made a mistake and just leave the small town behind. The pace did pick up and I was glad I stuck it out. Rating: 3.9

Synopsis from cover:
In the tiny town of Patience, California, newcomer Dr. Abby Dolan has noticed a frightening syndrome among her emergency room patients. It begins with a baffling, seemingly minor set of symptoms, but builds relentlessly until it plunges its victims into insane, murderous rages. As she searches for clues to this deadly mystery, Abby's superiors make it clear her probing is unwelcome.

Soon Abby will learn just how high the cost of the truth may be—and how far someone will go to keep a lethal secret. But she may not find the answer until it's too late to save her patients, her career...her life.

"It was just after noon when the flickering lights began again - countless slivers of rainbow bathing the inside of his eyes." opening sentence

"Hey, what's that in your eyes?....Some weird kind of contact lenses or somethin'?" pg. 5

"She hadn't been relaxed about her job since the day she had accepted it. For the umpteenth time since then she wondered if she had made a mistake." pg. 21

"He seems to have an opinion about pretty nearly everything and everybody. and he isn't the least bit shy about spreading it around. Sort of like fertilizer." pg. 24

"And at one edge of the perfect scene, an ambulance carrying a woman slashed by her own hand - a woman consumed by the most virulent hatred imaginable. Hatred directed inwardly... at herself." pg. 69

" 'I have problems with them,' he said with unexpected force." pg. 82

"I don't know what's going on with you, Claire, but I don't think it's in your head." pg. 84