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Tag Archives: Bork

Last night, I sat with my husband Jesse on the porch–I was waiting for my cheeseburger and salad to be ready for pickup; he was waiting for our friends Tim and Pat to pick him up. As we watched Pat’s metallic- orange Acura pull up in front of the house, I grabbed my keys and gave my husband a quick kiss goodnight. I walked down with Jesse to Pat’s car to say my hellos to the boys. Pat asked from the driver’s seat, “Oh, hey Mandy! You coming along?”

Ha! As if! (I’m still heavily influenced by my teen fashion icon Cher, from Clueless.) Drinking and playing pool all night (which I suck at) or reading The Drawing of the Three?

“Nah!” I responded. “I’m gonna go pick up some food and then read my book all night. It’s what I do!”

Pat raised his fist in tribute. He appreciates people who do what they want, when they want.

I have good friends. Pat and Tim are some of the best that I’ve ever had, always respectful of my quirky obsession with reading and books. They both have their own quirky obsessions as well (an intense love for cats, basketball, music, and Castle, to name a few). They’re also my #1 Comic-Con buddies, the ones who taught me to take pride in my borkyness.

My Comic-Con Crew. From left: sis Erika, Jason (who gave me the title "Bork"), Kevin, Tim, Pat (doing his best Platoon), and me with my Stan Lee temporary tattoo. My hubby Jesse is taking the picture.

But, they’re not borks. Neither are the majority of my colleagues at school. In fact, it is shocking how little the English teachers I’ve encountered in my five years of teaching actually read, considering that their job is to push students into reading. A gang of non-readers attempting to create readers. It sounds like a crock of caca to me!

There aren’t many borks in my adult life. People who are passionate about reading, who’d prefer to spend their evenings and weekends finishing their latest read, so that they may move on to the next one. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by passionate people, friends who are obsessed with creating art, films, and music. They understand and respect my obsession. They just don’t share it.

So, what happened to all of the peers I had in elementary school with the same passion? The ones who I spied across the classroom doing the same thing I was doing–hiding a paperback in their lap as they pretended to read from the textbook.

As a kid, I had lots of borks for friends. We would have sleepovers, do a lot of the normal sleepover rituals–eat pizza, watch a movie. But, as it got late, we’d pull out our latest Babysitter’s Club book or Fear Street, and would read contentedly next to each other until we passed out. I was never good at sleeping in, so often would I wake up at dawn, while my friend (or friends) was still asleep, and raid her bookshelves. In 6th grade, I made friends with another girl who shared my adult horror taste, and while she slept until noon, I nearly finished one of her Dean Koontz novels.

What happened to these girls? Are they still avid readers? Or did their passion die as they entered adulthood, now tied up in careers or parenting or some other new passion?

Maybe they’re doing exactly what I’m doing. Perhaps they have discovered this wonderful online community of readers with whom they can have their own virtual sleepovers all over again, reading quietly next to the rest of us, and then sharing their delights via keyboard.

Are all of you my adult sleepover friends? I think so.

So, I want to say thank you to all of the book bloggers and other avid readers on the internet who engage with me daily about our shared passion. A year ago, I thought I was just some odd bookish duck; reading was yet another peculiarity to add to my quirks list. Now I see that I’m not so different–there are many of us.

The next time there’s a big readathon, like the Dewey’s in April, I vote that we all order pizza, snuggle up in the wee hours, and appreciate this wonderful virtual sleepover that we’re all so lucky to have discovered!


I’ve been getting all serious and intense with my writings on Dickens, so I wanted to take a break and get all gushy. Which is good because it’s easy and my brain is mush. So, here’s my top ten list of hotties from the different books that I’ve read over the years…

I have to admit, I feel a little silly and school girl-ish writing this one. If my husband reads this, he is soooo going to make fun of me. If you don’t want to read my gushy-ness, tune in tomorrow, when I return to our regular programming. Well, I just had to make that disclaimer.

1. Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

A very long scene that reflects what I love about Rochester:

I stood face to face with him: it was Mr. Rochester.

‘How do you do?’ he asked.

‘I am very well, sir.’

‘Why did you not come and speak to me in the room?’

I thought I might have retorted the question on him who put it: but I would not take that freedom. I answered–

‘I did not wish to disturb you, as you seemed engaged, sir.’

‘What have you been doing in my absence?’

‘Nothing particular; teaching Adele as usual.’

‘And getting a good deal paler than you were– as I saw at first sight. What is the matter?’

‘Nothing at all, sir.’ […]

‘Return to the drawing-room: you are deserting too early.’

‘I am tired, sir.’

He looked at me for a minute.

‘And a little depressed,’ he said. ‘What about? Tell me.’

‘Nothing–nothing, sir, I am not depressed.’

‘But I affirm that you are: so much depressed that a few more words would bring tears to your eyes- indeed, they are there now, shining and swimming; and a bead has slipped from the lash and fallen on to the flag. If I had time, and was not in mortal dread of some prating prig of a servant passing, I would know what all this means. Well, to-night I excuse you; but understand that so long as my visitors stay, I expect you to appear in the drawing-room every evening; it is my wish; don’t neglect it. […] Good-night my–‘ He stopped, bit his lip and abruptly left me.

At this point in reading, I knew

A. Mr. Rochester had it bad for Jane,

B. I had it bad for Rochester, and

C. My #1 for 10 years, Mr. Darcy, had been bumped from the top of my book boyfriends!

Mr. Darcy Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice

2. Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

Oh Darcy. How I love your social awkwardness and your upfront ways. You had me at “she is tolerable.”

3. Julian from The Forbidden Game by L.J. Smith

Light to darkness, Jenny. Darkness to light. It’s always been this way.

My teen crush. He was the antagonist AND the love interest–it totally threw me for a loop that I was crushing on a bad guy. This one definitely influenced my love for Spike from Buffy.

Bill Denbrough from It by Stephen King; Jonathan Brandis

4. Bill Denbrough from IT by Stephen King

Bill was here, and Bill would take care; Bill would not let things get out of control. He was the tallest of them, and surely the most handsome. […] Bill was also the strongest of them–and not just physically. There was a good deal more to it than that, but since Richie did not know either the word charisma or the full meaning of the word magnetism, he only felt that Bill’s strength ran deep and might manifest itself in many ways.

-Richie Tozier on Bill Denbrough

Before I liked bad boys, I liked the good boys. And Bill was the best. I was 11, he was 11, it was perfect. This was before I knew that the class clown was the way to go–Richie Tozier would have been my book boyfriend if I read IT a few years later.

Benedick; Much ado about nothing; shakespeare

5. Benedick from “Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare

Benedick, Act 1 Scene 1: it is certain I am lov’d of all ladies, only you excepted; and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truly I love no one.

Bendedick, Act 1 Scene 1, later: In faith, hath not the world one man but he will wear his cap with suspicion? Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again?

Benedick, Act 2 Scene 3: The say the lady is fair; ’tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous, ’tis so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her. I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me, because I have rail’d so long against marriage; but doth not the appetite alter? […] No, the world must be peopled.

Oh Benedick–you have no interest in love and marriage until you find out Beatrice loves you, and then you’re all lovey-dovey. Benedick and Beatrice are one of my all-time favorite couples, as they are both so witty and are one of the most well-matched and equal pairs in literature.

Tyrion Lannister Game of Thrones Dinklage

6. Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind […] and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.

The beauty of Martin’s writing is that his characters develop so much and slowly through the book, that you find yourself and your opinions of them developing without your even noticing it! This was the case with Tyrion, whom I was amused by at first, then admired, and then, come A Feast for Crows, Tyrion is no longer in the book, and I truly missed him.  And no, that’s not a spoiler!

Gilbert Blythe ; Anne of Green Gables

7. Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Nothing mattered much to me for a time there, after you told me you could never love me, Anne. There was nobody else–there never could be anybody else for me but you. I’ve loved you ever since that day you broke your slate over my head in school.

I think Gilbert might have been my first book boyfriend. Interesting how the very good guys get pushed aside for the rogues, scoundrels, and jerks as we grow up…I wonder what these book boyfriends say about me…

8. Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

‘Sir,’ she said, ‘you are no gentleman!’

‘An apt observation,’ he answered airily. ‘And, you, Miss, are no lady.’

This line runs through my head constantly, as I am truly not a lady either, and can hear Rhett in my head whenever I fall down stairs, curse, burp, punch, etc. I love Rhett’s honesty, and I love that he loves that Scarlett isn’t a lady. He’s the best kind of man–the kind who will let you be exactly who you want to be and are, and love you all the more for it. Plus, he’s witty and generous and experienced! Rhett is the best!

Divergent by Veronica Roth

9. Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth

 ‘You think my first instinct is to protect you. Because you’re small, or a girl, or a Stiff. But you’re wrong.’
He leans his face close to mine and wraps his fingers around my chin. His hand smells like metal. When was the last time he held a gun, or a knife? My skin tingles at the point of contact, like he’s transmitting electricity through his skin.
‘My first instinct is to push you until you break, just to see how hard I have to press.’ he says, his fingers squeezing at the word break. My body tenses at the edge in his voice, so I am coiled as tight as a spring, and I forget to breathe.
His dark eyes lifting to mine, he adds, ‘But I resist it.’
‘Why…’ I swallow hard. ‘Why is that your first instinct?’
‘Fear doesn’t shut you down; it wakes you up. I’ve seen it. It’s fascinating.’ He releases me but doesn’t pull away, his hand grazing my jaw, my neck. ‘Sometimes I just want to see it again. Want to see you awake.’

I don’t know how, but Four made me feel fourteen all over again! He is the newest inductee into my book boyfriends, the latest since Rochester. This scene in particular made me want to write “I heart Four” on my notebook cover and squee! with my girlfriends.

10. E.E. Cummings from “i carry your heart with me” (especially when I hear it read like this)

And then there’s this poet who wrote the most beautiful poem that I’ve ever heard. I didn’t quite realize how beautiful it was until I heard it read aloud—and it was read aloud by Heath Ledger, so that really made me take notice. I recommend you listen to it! A big thanks to Amy at Lucy’s Football and GreenGeekGirl of Insatiable Booksluts for introducing me to this poem and Heath Ledger’s reading of it!

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

By E. E. Cummings1894–1962

Booking Through Thursday

I’ve been hard at work, writing difficult reviews and researching Dickens for a profile post, so I thought that I would take it easy on the blog today and submit my answers to the interview questions presented at Booking through Thursday. It was a fun meme, and I encourage you all to participate! Here are my answers:

1. What’s your favorite time of day to read?

My favorite time to read is afternoon to evening. This is when I allow myself to simply be and do as I please. No concerns for getting work done, running errands, or cooking. My favorite time of day.

2. Do you read during breakfast? (Assuming you eat breakfast.)

Yes, though I’m not reading books often at this time, as I am usually at work when I eat breakfast. I spend breakfast reading student essays or texts to be taught in class. Pleasure reading during breakfast only occurs on the weekend!

3. What’s your favorite breakfast food? (Noting that breakfast foods can be eaten any time of day.)

Pigs in a Blanket, served at a little diner my husband and I eat at occasionally. It’s scrambled eggs and sausage rolled up in a pancake. All of my favorite breakfast foods rolled into one–genius!

4. How many hours a day would you say you read?

On vacation (which I am still on), I read somewhere between 10-11 hours. During the normal working year, I read anywhere between 2-7 hours.

5. Do you read more or less now than you did, say, 10 years ago?

I am reading more than ever! Actually, I might have read nearly as much as a tween, but with parental restrictions on my daily habits (“You should go outside and be with your friends, Mandy!” or “Turn out that light and go to bed!”), I doubt that I read more than 3 hours a day. Although, I think I did get a lot of secret reading in at school, so I’ll say that I am probably reading as much as I did when I was 11-13.

6. Do you consider yourself a speed reader?

Yes and no. I do read relatively fast, but only as the book dictates. I tend to pick up speed as I move through the book, picking up momentum as I gain familiarity with the plot and style. So, it depends upon the book and at which point in the book I am.

7. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

The ability to fly–that’s a recurrent power I have in my dreams, and I really enjoy the experience!

8. Do you carry a book with you everywhere you go?

No–only if I plan on being somewhere for a while. I have to have a certain kind of environment when I read, and if I don’t have it, my comprehension suffers, so it’s a waste of time.

9. What KIND of book?

But, if I do bring a book with me, it doesn’t matter what kind. Usually it’s simply whatever my current read is. Last night, I took Bleak House with me and read while I waited for my takeout order. It was pretty much a fail as I had to re-read everything once I got home. As mentioned in the previous answer, the noisy restaurant wasn’t an ideal reading spot and my comprehension suffered.

10. How old were you when you got your first library card?

I was five or six, and I remember the day. It was a children’s library event at the local library in Tucson, and there were balloons and lots of other children, and I received some stickers that featured a cute green reading frog. It must have been really exciting to leave such an imprint on my memory.

Antique Shakespeare and Frankenstein and Grapes of Wrath

My Antique Library: 19th Century Shakespeare, Frankenstein (1902), The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

11. What’s the oldest book you have in your collection? (Oldest physical copy? Longest in the collection? Oldest copyright?)

The oldest physical copy: The Dramatic Works of William Shakspeare (seven volumes), printed in 1815!

Longest in the Collection: What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry (been in my family since the late ’60s).

Oldest Copyright: The Epic of Gilgamesh (pre-copyright, obviously, as it is the oldest written story on Earth, written on tablets, some time between 2750 and 2500 BC)

12. Do you read in bed?

Yes, although my preferred spot is on the couch. I fall asleep quickly in bed, and use reading in bed as a tool to fall asleep–it’s not reading for reading’s sake, but reading for sleeping’s sake.

13. Do you write in your books?

I write on Post-Its in my books. I don’t think I’ll ever write in my books again!

14. If you had one piece of advice to a new reader, what would it be?

Start with what you know you love. If you love a movie based on a book, read the book. If you loved a movie not based on a book, read a book similar in genre and/or themes. If you love history, read a nonfiction book delving in a favorite era. If you love reptiles, and so on… Start with what you love and go from there!

Booking through Thursday is a weekly meme about books and reading.

My Wedding Day

The blushing bride after getting hitched!

It’s December 31st, the last day of 2011, and looking back, I realize this has been a really big year for me! I have had a lot more ups than downs in my life this year, and I think it might be hard to top in 2012. Here are some 2011 highlights for me…should I start with the bad or the good? Or should I just create a timeline? I’ll create a timeline like one finds at the beginning of classics books. Then, I’ll follow with all of my 2012 reading stats!



Historical and Cultural Background


  • Attend the ALA Midwinter Conference in San Diego; learn that books can sometimes be free with the introduction to ARCs. I thought I was stealing at first!
  • Beginning of 8 month silence with sister Erika.
  • Gabrielle Giffords shot on Jan. 8.
  • Charlie Sheen is “winning”.


  • Arab Spring protests begin.


  • Japan Earthquake on Mar. 11.


  • Spring Break begins.
  • Read constantly to complete Spring Seasonal Reading Challenge; end up reading 28 books in April.
  • Get married to long-time boyfriend Jesse during a spur-of-the-moment day trip to Reno. Both the groom and bride were lovely in their T-shirts, jeans, and hiking boots.
  • Get pink-slipped for the third time in four years of teaching.
  • Deadly tornadoes sweep the US, 207 touch down on Apr. 27, killing 346.
  • Royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton (I didn’t watch, in case you’re wondering).


  • Death of Osama bin Laden.


  • Go to Wisconsin for a fishing weekend with Jesse’s family. Fire my first (and only) gun once, and find out that I have a propensity for fishing (caught a trout, a bass, and a blue-gill).
  • Dad visits, temporarily reunite with sister, begin 6 month silence with Dad.


  • School year ends on 1st day of Comic-Con; although I arrive at Comic-Con from work in record-breaking time, I FAIL to get into the Game of Thrones panel. Boo.
  • Comic-Con is not as epic as years past: it’s far too crowded and hard to get into panels. But, I do buy a bunch of Twilight Zone toys.


  • Buy a desk and create an office in spare room devoted to writing.
  • Begin pursuing writing fiction seriously via exercises in Bell’s Plot & Structure and The Artist’s Way program.
  • Start writing three pages daily in journal.
  • Break the silence with my sister.
  • Read Hussey’s Create Your Own Blog, study and analyze popular book blogs, and set up my own blog Adventures in Borkdom.
  • Published my first post on Aug. 24.
  • When regaining my teaching job appears unlikely, Jesse and I consider moving out of state. North Carolina, Virginia, and Illinois are our top choices.


  • Rehired at school, one day before the first day of school.
  • Learn how to balance blogging with a full-time job.
  • Occupy Wall Street protests begin in NYC.


  • Participate in RIP challenge.
  • Complete my first 24 hour read-a-thon.
  • Death of Steve Jobs.
  • Death of Moammar Gadhafi.


  • Death of Andy Rooney.


  • Break silence with Dad at Christmas.
  • Hit my 100th post.
  • Biggest month for blog hits; doubled last month’s number.
  • Read my 100th book in 2011, the most books that I’ve ever read in a year!
  • Death of Kim Jong Il
  • Last US troops withdraw from Iraq.

Reading Stats

Note: Of books read in 2011, 7 % were Young Adult books.

2011 in Numbers

– I successfully met my reading goal of 100 books read in 2011!

– Total Number of Pages Read in 2011: 35, 359

– Number of Books over 1000 pages: 4

– Number of Books over 750 pages: 7

– Number of Books over 500 pages: 15

2011 Reading Challenges

– Spring Seasonal Reading Challenge–Almost completed

Summer Seasonal Reading ChallengeNot even close

RIP Reading Challenge: Complete!

2011 Reading Events

Dewey’s Read-a-Thon: Read for the full 24 hours!

So, that was my 2011 year! Currently, I am reading my 101st book for 2011, and then I’ll be all amped up tomorrow (if I’m not hungover) to declare my 2012 goals!

Swuh-Swear to muh-me that you’ll c-c-c-come buh-back.[..]Swear to me that if Ih-Ih-It isn’t d-d-dead, you’ll cuh-home back.

-Bill Denbrough, Derry, Maine, August, 1958

IT by Stephen King

I swear, Bill.

As did Beverly, Richie, Ben, Eddie, Stan, and Mike. The Loser’s Club. Lucky seven, plus me equals eight. I made this vow subconsciously in 1990, when I read IT at 11, and finally, it seems that the Turtle has pulled me back into honoring this oath.

IT by Stephen KingIf you’ve never read IT by Stephen King, you probably have no idea what I am talking about. You don’t know about Bill and the rest of the Loser’s Club, and certainly don’t know about the Turtle. But stay with me friends and readers, as what I’m about to share should connect with all constant readers, even if you’re not one of Uncle Stevie’s Constant Readers.

Have you ever read a book that was so engaging that you felt that you were there, knee-deep in the thick of it? Have you ever felt a friendship, a kinship with the characters that was so strong that you laughed with them, cried with them, and would go to the ends of the earth for them if they asked you? You know exactly what kind of soda they drink, what movies they want to see, what their bedtime ritual is, even though the author has never told you. Do you ever look back at these characters and wonder, “What have they been up to?” and think about how much you miss them?

I don’t think I’m alone in this, and I don’t think that readers who feel this way are mentally unhinged or are lacking in real life social skills.

I have been missing my buddies in the Loser’s Club for almost 22 years! I look for references to them in King’s other books, and sometimes see or hear about them in their later years (Insomnia comes to mind immediately), but still haven’t seen them in a while. I hope and hope that IT will come back and that the gang will have to honor their promise once more (although, they’ll be pushing 60 at this point), googling “sequel to IT” about once every two years. No dice yet.

11/22/63Of course, I don’t just read Stephen King novels for references to Derry (the fictional setting for IT), and I certainly wasn’t looking for any leads in his latest novel 11/22/63. King’s latest offering attempts to answer the questions “What if you could stop the assassination of JFK? What effect would it have on the world?” Well, the assassination took place in Dallas, not Maine, and seemingly has no connection to child-killing monsters. Thus, I had no reason to believe that I might get a peek at what’s going on in good old Derry.

Semi-Spoiler Alert!!!

Imagine my surprise (and burgeoning hope) when the protagonist, who has found a way to travel in time to 1958, decides that he needs to spend some time in Derry, circa September-Halloween, 1958. This would mean he would be in Derry right after I last saw The Loser’s Club all together! I get to see what happened next!

I almost wept tears of joy when I read on and found myself right back in the rotten little town I knew so well. The standpipe was there. Mr. Keene and his drugstore. The Barrens! The (gulp) Kitchener Ironworks (I know what’s in that gigantic pipe!). Honestly, I would have been happy with just the first line that the narrator writes as he enters Derry: “There’s something wrong with that town.” But, no, King takes me back to everything! And the best part: I got to see a few of my favorite Losers! I was so happy! Thank you Uncle Stevie!

This is where I stop with the spoilers.

I am now past the Derry interlude in 11/22/63, and I am content. I got a check-in with a few of my pals, I know they’re doing good in 1958, and I am hopeful that we will have another run-in (maybe an even longer visit! Fingers crossed!) in the future.

LostI am so grateful for books like IT that provide such a thorough and complete reading experience that it completely comes alive for me. Books can be real. Characters can be real. This is truly why I read. Anyone who doesn’t read is missing out on this experience. There are very few other mediums that can offer this experience that reading offers. Television serials comes close (Lost and Twin Peaks immediately come to my mind. I will wonder what’s going on with those characters for years as well).

If you have never had a kinship with characters like I (and many, many others) have had with the Loser’s Club from IT, I hope that one day you will come across that book that provides it. Maybe you could read IT and join up with the Loser’s Club like me. It is an amazing and very satisfying experience.

Lucky seven (+1) for life!

Sunday SalonSo, as is the case every year, November’s gone and December is here. It’s weird how that always happens, huh?

November wasn’t very productive for me, reading-wise, but I was a good girl and wrote quite a bit. Of course, if I hadn’t gone AWOL during Thanksgiving break, it would’ve been quite a bit more productive. Especially since I signed up for a read-a-thon that I didn’t end up participating in. Shameful!

However, there are a couple of things that I am especially proud of in relation to my blog that have just transpired. First, I hit my 75th post yesterday! I know it’s not that big of a number, but remember that I only just started blogging (I started in late August!). Plus, I have a tendency to start something, get obsessed with it, and then get over it and move on to a new hobby. So far, this is not the case with blogging. I am proud to say that I am writing several hundred words every day (almost) here on my blog, which has been a goal of mine for years! Finally, I am writing regularly! Huzzah!

Achievement Unlocked

Similarly, I have hit 25 followers on my blog this last month. Tiny number to many, but to me it is simply astounding. I can’t believe 25 of you are interested in reading my writing on a day-to-day basis! I am so very flattered and I appreciate your support and interest. Thank you to any and all who read my daily posts!

Finally, yesterday I made a monumental move and came out to my closest friends about what I am doing here. I have been keeping my blog address a secret, as I wanted it to be my own private place where I could write about whatever I wanted and not be influenced by the people in my day-to-day life. However, I now feel comfortable with what I am doing here, blogging is a very important part of my life, and so I revealed my blog site to my good friends Leigh and Jason. If you happened to read my very first post, you might remember that Jason is the man who came up with the moniker “Bork” for me, and thus is responsible for the title and theme of my blog. Leigh is my favorite bookish person in real life. It is she with whom I spend countless hours on the porch, drinking coffee and discussing our latest books. Without Leigh, I probably would have never had the guts to start this book blogging project. So thanks, Leigh and Jason for helping inspire this blog, and if you are now reading this, welcome!

So, since I’m all meta right now, discussing blogging and such, here is November’s blogging in review:

Number of Books Read in November: 4

Number of Reviews Written in November: 8

Horns by Joe Hill

The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Sticky Readers: How to Attract a Loyal Blog Audience by Writing More Better by Margaret Andrews

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Mad Men (Television Show on AMC)

I also signed up for a couple of challenges in November to be completed in 2012. These are:

A Classics Challenge

Back to the Classics Challenge

The Award-Winning Challenge

In addition, this month, I am taking part in some holiday events relating to book blogging, which I signed up for in November:

Book Bloggers Holiday Card Exchange

Book Blogger Holiday Swap

The 2011 Virtual Advent Tour

November was a good month, and I am looking forward to making December an even better one!

It’s Saturday, when I like to just share the random, disconnected thoughts in my head. I have a whole lot on my plate and they’re not all necessarily book-related. Really, I’m just putting off the inevitable–all those book reviews I still need to write after my Read-a-Thon extravaganza. Not that those reviews will be too much work…I just want to spread them out! I wrote two yesterday…four more to go!

Halloween Costume: What to Do?!

So, as always, I have put off my Halloween costume until the last minute. I am going to a Halloween party tonight and am completely unprepared. Every year, I want to dress up as Dana Scully from The X-Files, but I didn’t buy my red wig and gold cross in time! So, that’ll be next year. At least I found the items on Amazon, so I can purchase them this year and hold on to them for next year.

I’ve put some thought into it (only about 30 minutes worth), and I’ve decided that I want to go as one of my favorite book characters. The easiest one I can think of (as long as I can find a few items) that is one of my current favorite book characters, is Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. I just need to do some tricky work with my hair, find a wooden sword, some sort of beige-y, baggy shirt, and I’ll have a costume. Maybe a cloak too if it’s cold. Then, I’ll dirty up my face, let my hair be a mess (she’s such an awesome little tomboy!) and I’ll be ready to go! Here’s the look I’m going for:

If I get it pulled together, I’ll take a picture and post it here!

Reading Safety Tip: Don’t Open the Door!

When I got home from work yesterday, it was very warm (San Diego, remember?), so I left my front door open with the screen door closed and locked. As is typical on a Friday, I got to work on catching up on blogging and was in my own little world, reading my favorite blogs on my IPad. Walking into the living room, with my eyes glued to the IPad screen, I heard a soft knock on the screen door. Typically, I avoid answering the door (the best way to avoid solicitors is to just ignore them), but unfortunately I was caught–the man at the door had seen me through the screen.

So, I went and talked to the man through the screen door. I won’t describe the man, because it could come off as biased, prejudiced, or even racial profiling. Let’s just say it was a 30-something man of medium build who had a nervous look to him. He told me he was selling whole-sale meats (steaks, shrimp, etc.) from his car or truck or something, and said he was practically giving them away and wanted to know if I was interested in checking them out. I wasn’t thinking anything was fishy, I just don’t do solicitors, so I said, “That sounds great, but I don’t have any cash on me…maybe come back another time.” Persistent, he was, and said he took checks, atm cards, etc., so I just said, “This isn’t a good time, sorry.” Then he quickly replied, “I could just get you a business card,” and before I could say “that would be great,” he literally ran down the porch steps and down the street. I waited for him to return, and after about 5 minutes, I stepped outside and looked for him. There was no sign of a truck, or van, or him…he just took off.

This got me thinking…what just happened, or could have happened here? I see a lot of “MISSING” signs posted around my neighborhood, usually of Hispanic teenagers, and I’ve got a pretty good knowledge base of serial killers (My mom owns a copy of The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers) so I have an active imagination. Was I a potential kidnapping victim? Probably not, although the situation did feel off and peculiar. It could have been a perfect scenario: I walk with him to his vehicle, he somehow incapacitates me and gets me in his car, and then takes off. No one would have noticed for a few hours…actually more than that as my husband was out of the house until 11:30.

Lesson: I need to be careful about always locking my doors (front and screen) when I am in La-La Land, reading. I need to make sure to not ever open my door when speaking to strangers on the porch. Even if I wasn’t in any danger, I always am in danger- I’m a woman. I can’t go jogging unless it’s between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.. It sucks. I always have to be vigilant. So, my purpose in telling this story is to remind all female readers to be cautious of their surroundings. It’s great and easy to get caught up in a book, but don’t lose sight of the real world. There are scary people out there!

A Lot of Love for Buffy Alumni

This week, everything seems to be coming up Buffy. First, Amy at Lucy’s Football, tweets and blogs about seeing Adam Busch (a.k.a. Warren the Tara-killer, leader of The Trio) and his band at a recent show. Then, I got caught up on Supernatural last night and was pleased to be reunited with James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter.

I should inform my readers that I am a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. This show had a major influence on my viewing and reading tastes and all of the castmembers of the show have a special place in my heart. This is one of the major reasons why I love Comic Con so much–Joss Whedon is the King of Comic Con and Felicia Day (of season 7 of Buffy) is queen, and the rest of the alumni always seem to pop up in some way. Amber Benson (Tara of Buffy) is always contributing to panels on writing, Nicholas Brendon (Xander of Buffy) is sometimes signing autographs, and Nathan Fillion, Eliza Dushku, Anthony Head, always are promoting their ever-geeky projects. Then there is the annual showing of the Buffy episode “Once More With Feeling”, which always is the last event of Comic-Con, where the fans gather to watch and yell “Shut up, Dawn!”, and of course sing along (my favorite is “Going Through the Motions” and Spike’s “Let Me Rest in Peace”). I love Buffy!

So, I’ve been thrilled to have Buffy pop up all week. Especially since my major crush on Spike/James Marsters is apparently still going strong. He appeared as an ages-old witch (warlock? wizard?) on the episode “Shut up, Dr. Phil” on Supernatural and was great as usual. And hot. He’s a bit older, but is still handsome as ever, and radiating Bad. I love James Marsters. It’s still weird to not hear him use his Spike accent, but doesn’t matter. James Marsters still has some sort of hold on me! Well, enough of my crush. Just thought I would share a bit.

So, that’s what’s on my brain today! Enjoy your weekend!