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Fourth of July Book Sale = Sunburn!

I hope all of my fellow Americans enjoyed their Independence Day as much as I did!  I felt like I had so much to celebrate this year.  My enjoyment of the day was a little unconventional in that I attended an annual used book sale held every year on the Fourth of July.  Of course, every time I attend I vow it will be my last.  But I went again this year anyway and paid for it by getting severely sunburnt!  It is still blistering and killing me as I post this.

Here are some of the great finds I pounced on:

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2017 in Book Shopping

 

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The Return of thestorygirl!

little_book_profitable_tales_1701That’s right!  After a two year hiatus I, booklearner (aka thestorygirl on Librivox) am back in the ‘recording studio.’  This time, I have plans to stretch my recordings beyond anything I’ve done before.  There are many short projects currently in the works, but I plan to begin my first solo shortly.  Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here is a collaborative project I helped work on featuring many Librivox volunteers lending their reading voices to ‘profitable tales’ for children from the 1800’s.  I participated in two short stories in the project: The Mouse and the Moonbeam (loads of fun!), and The Robin and the Violet.  I hope you enjoy!

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2017 in LibriVox

 

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2016 Year in Review

03e0a3b69636ab4a344b3bf6a50d257dAnd now it’s time for one of my favorite annual blog posts—Year in Review! This is where I stand back and evaluate all of my reads of the past year and decide what were my favorites and why.

But before we get to the Awards, I want to make a confession: for the second year in a row I did not complete as many books as I would have liked. I have realized that some things in my life have changed and I have other interests so that I just don’t have the same amount of time as I used to.  This hasn’t meant I’ve quit reading or quit accumulating a never-ending TBR list!  Just means I’ll probably be finishing that list on the other side of heaven (you know- I mean, after I die).  I am trying to not be so hard on myself, and to just accept what I do get accomplished.

This year I read a total of 17 books (11 fiction + 6 nonfiction), down from last year. L I still hope to finish 3 other books yet by the end of the year, which are: “Tangled Ashes,” by Michele Phoenix; “101 Secrets for Your Twenties,” by Paul Angone; “The Lost Shipwreck of Paul,” by Robert Cornuke.  But I won’t hold my breath!

As always, I skim read a lot more non fiction books than is listed in my Complete List of Books Read page. But since I don’t count skimming as actually reading it in honesty, the numbers belie how much read-consuming I do.  Among the many non fiction subjects I read about were: sales & marketing, modern-day entertainment, biography, rust belts of America, art and philosophy.  I’m also quite proud of myself for completing one of the longest novels I’ve read in years.

Here is a fun little exercise I make it my yearly review tradition to complete, using the titles of books I’ve read during the past 12 months:

Describe yourself: Eyes of the Heart, by Christine Valters Paintner

How do you feel: The Prisoner of Zenda, by Anthony Hope

Describe where you currently live: ?

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: From Bondage to Bonding, by Nancy Groom

Your favourite form of transportation: Sensible Shoes, by Sharon Garlough Brown

What’s the weather like: A Season of Shadows, by Paul McCusker

You and your friends are: A Flickering Light, by Jane Kirkpatrick

You fear: In Sheep’s Clothing, by Susan May Warren

What is the best advice you have to give: How to Live Like a Lady, by Sarah Tomczak

Thought for the day: Lavender and Old Lace, by Myrtle Reed

My soul’s present condition: Finding Truth, by Nancy Pearcey

How I would like to die: The Art of Immersion, by Frank Rose

That was fun! How would you answer these questions with the book titles you’ve read the past year?

And now for booklearned’s 2016 Awards! Click on the pictures below for the winners in each category, along with my comments and links:

And my favorite fiction book of 2016 was…

2016 Best Humor; 2016 Most Beautifully Written; 2016 Best Atmosphere

“Titus Groan,” by Mervyn Peake

 

It was a hard deliberation between Titus Groan and Sensible Shoes.  Both made it into my Top 20 list of all-time favorites. On one hand, I learned so much while reading Sensible Shoes.  I read it with a book club where we got together periodically to discuss it together and that was a fun experience.  But when it comes right down to it, Titus Groan refuses to leave me alone with it’s potent atmosphere.  I don’t want to give it away, but count on a book review coming on it soon.  In fact, book reviews will be available on all of these reads within the next coming months.  As soon as I get caught up finishing my book reviews from last year’s reads!  Oh, dear- I’m so far behind.  But I am determined to catch up, I promise!

What were your favorite books from 2016? Share them with me!

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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P.L. Travers Christmas story on BBC

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I came across a beautifully dramatized Christmas story on BBC this afternoon, originally written as a short story by P. L. Travers.  It’s called “The Fox at the Manger” and the voices and music are lovely to listen to.  Actress Wendy Hiller lends voice as the narrator.  It would make a great bedtime story for children this holiday season.  It is available for a limited time only.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2016 in Audio/Radio Dramas

 

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Merry Christmas! Used Book Finds

I hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas holiday just as much as I am!

I wanted to update my latest batch of random used book finds.  Most of these were gotten for FREE or an ave. of 11cents each.  🙂  As you see, there are some good Christmas ones, as well as appropriate books for New Year’s.  As always, click on each book to read my comments and for links.

 

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2016 in Book Shopping

 

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Movie Review: “America: Imagine a World Without Her”

MV5BMjM0MjgyOTQ4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTQ1NzQ3MTE@__V1_SX214_AL_Based on the book by Dinesh D’Souza.

Version: 2014.

Genre: documentary

Plot Summary: [from IMDb]: “A story that questions the shaming of the US through revisionist history, lies and omissions by educational institutions, political organizations, Alinsky, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other progressives to destroy America.”

My Review: Disclaimer*: I have not read the original book, so this review will not be comparing it to that novel.  Only as a story in and of itself, totally unrelated to the book.  

“God damn America.” You hear it everywhere nowadays.  Sometimes in so many words, sometimes only implied but it’s message becomes more popular all the time.  Indeed, sometimes it can be hard not to be embarrassed because of some of our leaders’ choices in this day and age.  But is what we so often hear said about America in school, on tv, and in books correct?  Should we be embarrassed about the idea of America and what it was founded on?

Settling down to watch this on Independence Day last year, I found this documentary to be enlightening and spot on with its assessment of America’s past. Writer and director Dinesh D’Souza addresses such topics as the discovery of North America, colonization, slavery, treatment of the Native Americans, and America’s wars up to the present day.  Saul Alinky and Howard Zinn’s books and worldviews are also discussed.  Some shocking stories from this country’s history that haven’t made the history books are also uncovered.

At first I felt depressed as I watched the facts about the present state of our nation honestly dealt with.  It was so heartbreaking, I wasn’t so sure I could watch to the end because I felt despair taking over.  However, about halfway through the film, D’Souza provides us with some inspiration to be the America we need and that the rest of the world needs.  By the end, I felt uplifted and encouraged.

Lest you might be hesitant to watch a film with snarky back-biting and mud-slinging, I’ll assure you that you won’t find those types of negative elements in this one.  Instead, I appreciated that D’Souza (himself an immigrant from India) treated with respect all of his interviewees who held a different opinion than his.  I would be interested in seeing D’Souza in a debate or lecture in person sometime.

Much of this documentary is dramatized for us through actors’ portrayals.  Overall, I found the film to be eye-opening, truthful, and balanced.  This would be great for families to watch together (especially high school/college age kids), or for the regular joe who would like some good arguments the next time he finds himself in a discussion about politics.

~Happy Independence Day, America!~

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2016 in Movie Reviews

 

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Edgar Harrell’s Story

d0514d0abee471e4c05a881c3932ed31Not one weekend newspaper goes by that I don’t see at least one -if not several- World War II veteran obituaries.  It is estimated that 430 of the ‘greatest generation’ vets pass away each day.  So with Independence Day approaching, I thought I’d post a link to the story of a noble WWII vet with a remarkable survival story.  I remember listening to Edgar Harrell being interviewed years ago by Charles Morris on Haven Today.  It was such an edge-of-your-seat true tale that we didn’t dare miss the next day’s episode!  I wasn’t able to find that same interview unfortunately, but you can listen to Harrell’s interview on In the Market with Janet Parshall by clicking here.  You can also watch him tell his story on a video posted below.  Edgar wrote an autobiography about his experiences called “Out of the Depths.”  I highly recommend this to you!  And don’t forget to say thank you to the veterans who fought for your freedom (regardless of which war) in your life!

 

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