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Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Fun: Birthday Edition! How old are you?

Hello! It's my birthday today and that got me thinking about the question, "how old are you?" When you're little, your age does say how old you are. There are certain milestones in development that accompany ages.  As you accumulate more years though, how young you remain or how old you become is affected greatly by how well you take care of yourself. In that vein, maybe if we take care of ourselves we don't automatically turn older each year. Maybe we simply acquire more memory years. If you happen to share my birthday, Happy Birthday to you! If not, happy Unbirthday to you! Either way, may the year ahead be your best yet!

My best to you all,

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Writer Wednesday: Quantum

On today's Writer Wednesday, I'm discussing Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality by Manjit Kumar.

The beginning of the twentieth century heralded in a new era for physics. Theoretical physics, mathematical physics and the new branch of quantum mechanics thundered onto the academic scene. In this highly engaging story, the readers are offered a behind the scenes tour of the scientists, the lives they led and their discoveries.

One highly appealing aspect of this book is the way that it's written. Quantum physics might not seem like a riveting topic, but Kumar has the readers on the edge of their seats throughout. Another highlight is understanding the great respect that the men had for each other, even when their ideas differed, as well as seeing the scientists as humans. Their flaws, personal and academic, are exposed as well as greatness. It allows one to not only understand the quantum and the great scientific discoveries of the age, but also to realize that even greatness had setbacks. This is an inspiring and highly informative work for anyone interested in science or early twentieth century history.

My best to you all,

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books from Childhood and Teen Years I'd love to revisit

Today's Top Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish is "10 Books From My Childhood (Or teen years) That I Would Love To Revisit"

1. Nancy Drew- I've read some Nancy Drew mysteries, but there are still many more to read. I'd love to dive back into them and read some more.

2. American Family portrait series- Generations of historical fiction, full of suspense! I read these out of order, first seeing The Allies on the shelf in the book store and wanting to read it immediately. 

3. Ella Enchanted-  The author visited my school in middle school. I somehow only read half of this (not for lack of interest!) and would like to finish it!

4) Both Sides of Time- I read the first three books in the series this is a part of. I never knew there was a fourth until writing this! 

5) Babar the Elephant - I remember the librarian reading these to us in elementary school library time. I loved them! 

6) Little House on the Prairie- I read several of the books in this series and even have a Little House cookbook! 

7) Harold and the Purple Crayon- This book is just fun! It's great how he draws his way through the pages. 

8) Corduroy- Aw, Corduroy! What a loveable bear

9) Paddington- Aw, Paddington- What a loveable bear (same as above!) and he lives in London! London is kind of fantastic, you know. My friend got me a signed copy too :)

10)  Thunder cake- A special cake for a thunderstorm and gorgeous illustrations? Yes, please!

My best to you all,

Monday, March 23, 2015

What Spring in the Garden teaches for Life and for Writing

It's Spring. This weekend was sunny enough to return to the garden. After it's slept for months under the warm blankets of dried grasses, the ground underneath called out to be freed. Pulling away the grasses, that naturally bend over to shield the earth from the harsh winter, also uncovered the stone border that separates the flowers from the grass. As I turned over each stone, a host of bugs swarmed through the dirt, showing that not all life had left the garden for the winter. There was an abundance of movement, of squirming just out of sight. Even the stones, that moments before were not visible, were still there.

The foundation of anything- be it in real life or a story remains there. Even when weeds seem to be in the way, in the form of obstacles or uncertainty, the stones do not disintegrate. They remain there. Even under the stones, forces can be at work, tiny bringer of life, of fulfilment. So if you're feeling discouraged ever, pause to remember that even the garden is at work when it appears to be sleeping.

And in terms of writing, my tip for you would be to stir lively interest not only on the surface level, but under the action as well. Make the foundation, the bones of your story, dependable but include surprises just lurking below, ready to awaken, to be turned over and for spring to bloom.

My best to you all,

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday's Quotation to Inspire- Welcome Spring from Sitting Bull

"Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!"
Sitting Bull

Monday, March 16, 2015

7 Things you might not know about Ireland...

Tomorrow is Saint Patrick's Day- a time when the world over people celebrate Ireland or green or something...

I'm American but my husband is Irish and I've lived in Ireland for seven years now. Here's a few inside secrets.

1) The whole pinching someone who doesn't wear green thing is not Irish. People don't do that here.

2) Then do people wear green? Some do. Some wear a combination of green, orange and white, which are the colors of the flag. Green is for Ireland's tradition, the Catholic side. Orange is for the Protestants, as in William of Orange. And white is for the peace between them. Some wear regular clothes.

St. Patrick's Blue
3) So the official color of Ireland is green, right? Nope. It's blue. In fact it's called Saint Patrick's Blue.

4) But Saint Patrick, he was Irish, right? Not exactly. Saint Patrick was a Roman Britain, who was captured into slavery and brought to Ireland. Later, he returned to Ireland to spread Christianity. March 17th is the date of his death and many people go to church or mass on Saint Patrick's day morning to commemorate this. Later, many towns have their own parades and there is a large one held in Dublin each year.

5) Does everyone have red hair? Red hair is actually not that common, especially on the east coast. Waves of settlers: Vikings, Norman and English invaded Ireland and pushed the native Irish farther west. The Viking influence can be seen in the blond of Dublin, while the west is where you will find the greatest number of redheads and Irish (Gaelic) speakers. Both Irish and English are official languages of Ireland and everyone learns Irish in school, but only approximately 7% of the population speaks Irish fluently.
Many other cultures are also making Ireland their home. Ireland is deeply rooted in tradition, but it's also a place of opportunity and multiculturalism. In fact, I'll be having my town's once yearly Indian buffet at the local Indian restaurant in honor of St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, before watching my town's parade.

6) The longest female presidency in the world was held by Ireland- Mary Robinson and then Mary McAleese served from 1990 until 2011. They were the 7th and 8th presidents of Ireland. Considering, Ireland is only currently on their 9th president, that makes the female presidency record even more impressive.  Women's rights is nothing modern in Ireland though. The Brehen laws (that ruled Medieval Ireland) are famous for their near equal status that women enjoyed under the law.

7) Yes, it really is as beautiful as the postcards and it really is that green. There's a good reason- we get a lot of rain. And it's cold here, very cold, often. In 7 years, I've had two days that made it past 75 degrees F. Temperatures tend to be much cooler, and even in the summer the 50s and 60s are normal. In fact, the Romans never made it to Ireland. Perhaps it was because they named it Hibernia: Land of Winter.

Here are a few of my photos of lovely Ireland, a place that I call home.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

My best to you all,

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books for Readers who like History!

From The Broke and the Bookish

Hello! Today's Top Ten Tuesday, from The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Books for Readers Who Like _______. For my fill in the blank, I've chosen History! If you like history, have you read these? What else would you add to the list? The books below are in no particular order. 

 This book takes an extremely long view of history, beginning millions of years ago and expands into the future. It examines both the west and the east and how their different developments have led to the balance of power at various points in history. 
This is more than just the story of the Jewish people. This is life across the middle east and  Europe, the interactions of the Jews with Christians and Muslims, the various ideas that developed and the history of us all. 

Washington, part man, part legend. This book delves into every aspect of Washington's life, from his birth through his lasting legacy.

Every author is influenced by his or her world So too was the case of the playwright, Shakespeare. In this book, objects from Renaissance England are re-examined in their context to Shakespeare. 

Every nation's history is unique. Often, we learn the histories of the nations through a single author, though. In this masterful work, the history of each country is told by a writer from that particular country. 

 100 Objects to tell the history of the world- that's the goal that is laid out in this fascinating work. Each object is from the collections of the British Museum, in London. From 2 million years into the past through to the present, a human story unfolds in the pages. 

The English influence in Ireland is well-known. Less people know of Ireland's Viking heritage. 1014 examines the Battle of Clontarf, outside of Dublin, and the clash of Vikings versus Irish. Not all is as simple as this, though, for Ireland was divided into regions which led to interesting alliances and a drive to determine who would rule the lands of Ireland. 

 World War I. Its atrocities still shock us. Its aftermath led to the seeds of WWII. Prior to its start, though, the world was a different place. Decisions, alliances, and entangled events interfered with a peaceful life. 
 Paris 1919. When WWI was over, peace talks in Paris set about making reparations and determining what lands needed to be redistributed. The wrongs of the war were supposed to be corrected. In the decisions undertaken, though, our world is continued to be shaped. 

Everything one could want to know about being a Victorian (particularly the every day Victorian, rather than the royal or high society) is examined in this book. From washing, to food, to fashion to school, it's all here.

My best to you all,

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Writer Wednesday: Fangirl


On Writer Wednesday, I discuss another author and his or her book. Today's pick is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

Fangirl is the first book that I read by Rainbow Rowell and it's also the first book I've read that is part of "new adult" fiction. New adult books rest between traditional adult and young adult books. They explore coming of age stories in the earliest years of adulthood.

Fangirl explores the story of twin sisters entering college, their relationship to each other, their relationship with their bipolar father and the mother who left them as children, as well as their love of fan fiction. A character that seems like a cross between Harry Potter and Twilight exists as the cultural phenomenon of Fangirl's world: Simon Snow. Cather (the main character) clings to her secluded life, preferring her internet fans to real life. Her twin, Wren, is ready to embrace all that college offers, mostly through new friends and drinking.

Each chapter begins with a portion of the Simon Snow books or a portion of the Simon Snow fanfiction. This idea was really effective in portraying how life can impact an author's work and how the books that we read can speak to us and the happenings of our own lives in sometimes very personal ways.

At its heart, Fangirl portrays one very important lesson: growing up doesn't mean outgrowing your personality, but finding the people who embrace it and can help your inner light shine even more.

My best to you all,

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday- All Time Favorites within the last 3 years

from The Broke and the Bookish

Today's top ten from the Broke and the Bookish is "All Time Favorite Books from the past three years." I'm interpreting this as books I've read for the first time within the past three years, not only books that were published within that time. And I love a lot more, but here are just a few that stick out..

Here they are...


The War that Ended Peace: the road to 1914 

Histories of Nations: How their identities were forged

A History of the World in 100 Objects

Shakespeare's Restless World

A Return to Love 

The Book of Awakening

Why the Rest Rules for Now


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

The Alchemist

The Night Circus


...and one more, that I just can't resist adding! 

The Wind in the Willows 

What are your top ten all time favorites that you've read in the past three years?

My best to you all,