Day 17: Weekend Read

When I decided to do weekend reads I had said they would be easy reads…well, this week it would b e a lie to say my pick is easy. It’s small, if that counts for anything, and most of you have probably had to read it before, so it should be familiar, but even as I reread it now, I am realizing what a complex book it is. This week’s weekend read is:


by George Orwell

I know, I know. Heavy. But here is the thing, this is a GREAT book, and now more than ever is it important for us to read and heed this book. “Big Brother” is every where and they are watching you. From government controlled lunches in Chicago to 7th graders being questioned about their Facebook posts, you are all being watched, and it is getting easier and easier for them to do it. Hell, if some sicko can install a program on your computer and watch you and photograph you then what is to stop Big Brother from doing the same?

For those of you not familiar with 1984, it is the dystopian story of “protagonist Winston Smith… a civil servant responsible for perpetuating the Party’s propaganda by revising historical records to render the Party omniscient and always correct, yet his meager existence disillusions him to the point of seeking rebellion against Big Brother.”* And this is what we are waiting for…the sh*t to rain down! And I warn you, it is coming my friends. Viva la revolution!

Ahem…anyway… read or reread this book. The message is hefty, but the writing is profound and eerie, and inspiring, and definitely worth giving a read, particularly now, with your adult eyes. Let them open, my friends, let them open and see.


Day 13: Perks revisited…

This will be a quick one, as I have a ton of work to do today.

Here are some pictures of the building where they were shooting Perks a few weeks ago. Enjoy! (warning…these are boring, but I thought it might be nice to have a reference point when you are watching the movie 🙂 )


Oh how did that get in there?? 🙂

Isn’t he a cutie 😉


Day 9: A recipe…

So I am thinking of throwing a Harry Potter Party for the last movie release… but I am not sure I want the fuss. Primarily I want an excuse to make all the wonderful Harry Potter food in the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Although, today’s recipe is not in there…

Today, or tonight we are making butterbeer. 🙂


Butterbeer-for grown ups


  • Butterscotch Schnapps
  • Cream Soda
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • butter (optional)–use real butter


  1. In the bottom of a pint glass place 1 small scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  2. Add 2-3 jiggers of butterscotch schnapps.
  3. Top, carefully*, with cream soda.
  4. If you choose you can swirl in a half tsp of melted butter (use salted to bring out the flavors) to finish it off.

*the purpose of the ice cream is to create the beer foam head. As with any float it will foam a lot so keep that in mind as you pour.

Day 8: Your chick card is showing–Spoiler Alert

I really try not to fall into the chick lit out there, I really do, but occasionally I find myself in denial.  And they say when you have an addiction, the first step to over coming it is admitting you have a problem, so here it goes.

My name is Ellē, and I am a Twihard. Yes, it is true. I remember when I finally gave in and became and addict; it was 9:00 pm on August 1, 2008.

I was helping run the Breaking Dawn release party at my Borders. Before then I had never even touched the series to shelve it.  I knew nothing about it except that it was an obsessive love story about a girl and a vampire. I did know that one of my co-workers who is a teacher steered parents of younger children away from it due to the obsessive nature. And I was definitely one of those people who got all defensive about the Vampires or Wizards argument (ok so my nerd card is showing too…) because nothing, NOTHING in the children’s/YA vampire category beats Harry Potter. I stand by that statement. There is no comparison. If I had to choose, Potter will always win over vampires. ALWAYS!!

Any whoozle, I was working this party because I always worked the midnight release parties [they are so much fun] and on my break I decided to pick up Twilight and give it a skim. I figured it would be nice to see what it was that I was here to promote. Now, I am not going to go into a full on review, today, but while the writing was not fantabulous in the first novel, the voice sucked you in instantly and the story kept the heart and the blood pumping.  I was hooked. I read all 4 books in 10 days.  It consumed my life for a week and a half, and then I re-read it at a slower pace.

Actually, funny story, while I was reading Eclipse–I have a very distinct memory of reading this one as it is my favorite of the four– at some point I had a day off work. That day I remember I got up and had breakfast with my husband and the minute he walked out the door I plopped on the couch and starting reading. When I couldn’t hold it anymore I got up to go to the bathroom and looked at the clock and it was 11:45 am! My husband [fiance at the time] had left at 9:00 and would be home for lunch in 15 minutes! I rushed through getting ready for the day and was just coming out from getting dressed (I had been in my pjs) when he walked in the door, Eek! Now a normal person would say to themselves, “ok you have wasted your entire morning, make it up this afternoon.” But no, I went right back to the book the minute he walked out the door. I finally tore myself away  in time to make dinner, but only for an hour. At the time we [my husband] were building a retaining wall in our backyard. Immediately after dinner he went out to work on the wall, while I did the dishes. 3 hours later he came in to wash up and get ready for bed and I was still working on the dishes! I had a rhythm..was three dishes, read a chapter, wash three dishes, read a chapter–this was before we had a dish washer–it is embarrassing to think about even now…

And so obsession was born. The movies are not as big of a deal, however, I have been to the midnight release of them all, and they were good enough [I am not going to review them all at this time] that my husband is addicted at well. However, the movies are what I am here to talk about–Breaking Dawn Part I to be precise. Has anyone not seen this trailer yet??? If you haven’:

Now I need to ask you, as readers not viewers, what do you think? As a fan of the books and a reluctant movie lover [I like the films, but they don’t do the books justice,] I feel like they are giving EVERYTHING away. While I understand the idea with movies is to bring in ALL viewers, for those of us committed to the story, this feels like a total jip [I guess my age is showing too…who says jip anymore?]  Before I actually read the first sentence of Twilight I heard the opening chapter of Breaking Dawn, at the party. I remember the swooning and the shrieking of the teens, and the undeniable romance of the story in their reactions to telling Charlie about the engagement.  [Spoiler alert…NOW] But with this trailer, telling Charlie about the engagement, telling Renee about the engagement, the wedding, the honeymoon, and the pregnancy are THE BIG ITEMS ON THE LIST when it come to Breaking Dawn. And they are all ALL covered in the TEASER!!!!!!!!!!! What is left for the trailer, better yet what is left for the MOVIE!?!?!?!? Yes we are waiting on the details, but everything has been given away…well almost everything.  I guess I wanted some mystery. I have been waiting and waiting for this trailer and here it is, disappointment at every turn. And they are splitting this book into two. What is left besides the birth for the second one? The film looks great, but…I wanted somethings to be a surprise and they are giving everything away! I am just so…what is the word…disheartened? by this trailer, I just don’t know what to say besides see the movie anyway… fingers crossed it will be more comprehensive…

Day 7: Freshly Pressed

This morning while perusing WordPress’ Freshly Pressed section I came upon a photo blog titled “Portraits of the ‘book man.'” I feel the need to share this little photo blog post because I fear that this is going to be me some day…

Click to see the photo blog for jacob murphy

If someone ever gave me a store front this is exactly what it would look like. Heck, this is what my home office looks like now…

Day 6: The Line

A few weeks ago I was looking for a new title by an up and comer and based on my previous purchases online (they are tracking everything you know…) The Line by Teri Hall was recommended. This book is a whopping 244 pages and is written in size 14 font and yet I have been reading it for going on 2 months now and am only a ⅓ of the way through it. Now I will be the first to admit that since I have had a child the energy  I can devote to reading has been drastically reduced, but still. I just can not get into it. And it SUCKS because I had such high hopes for it.

The story so far is very boring. Aside from one minor action point in the very beginning of the book, the remaining pages have been nothing but filler. But it sounded so awesome. Futuristic “Unified States” under complete government control and complete lock down to keep “Them” out at the same time keeping us in.

Sounds like a great read! I just hope it gets better and picks up otherwise I am really going to have to start questioning the reviewers that gave it such a big thumbs up…

Day 3: Weekend Read

I am thinking of starting a weekly section called the Weekend Read to be posted on Fridays so that if you are looking to read a book over the weekend (or on vacation) you have a place to find a good title. How does that sound to everyone? As if you all have nothing else to do on the weekend.

The Weekend Read will be a fairly easy read that an average reader can knock off in 2 or 3 days, will be entertaining, generally lighthearted, and will be something I have already read.

Are we agreed then? Yes? Good.

So, for the first Weekend Read suggestion and review we have…drum roll please…

Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris 

For those of you familiar with the Sookie Stackhouse Series or with the show True Blood on HBO, this will definitely suit your reading style. Although, if you are looking for vampires, werewolves and other supernatural critters, this is not going to be your book. Shakespeare’s Landlord  is the first book in the Lily Bard Mysteries series and it is a perfect little murder mystery blended with just the right amount of romance to make it a little naughty and a lot of fun. Set in the tiny town of Shakespeare, Arkansas, this whole series centers around a quiet girl with a rough past and the mysteries that ensue when privacy and self protection are your only concerns.

When maid-for-hire Lily Bard discovers the dead body of her nebbie landlord while out on a late night walk her grand plan for starting a new, quiet life in the little town of Shakespeare is thrown out the window, and replaced by mystery, intrigue, murder and sex.

Not one of Harris’ best works of fiction (although the series gets better as you go along,) Shakespeare’s Landlord draws you in and keeps the pages turning. At only 214 pages it could easily be read in a long weekend, or short, rainy or lazy one.  It is fun, sexy, and makes you want more. I would give it 3 ½ stars for story quality and 4 for readability and fun.

Oh! and if you are one of those people trying to read a book a week for a year and are finding yourself behind, this is a great way to knock one off the list.

Have a great weekend!

Day 2: Misogynist Pig–Say No to VS Naipaul

My friend Julie shared a link to this article on Facebook today and I felt compelled to share it. I feel it is my responsibility as a reader, a writer, and a woman to make you all aware that there is misogynist pig lurking on our bookshelves and we have given him the Nobel Prize!

VS Naipaul finds no woman writer his literary match – not even Jane Austen

Nobel laureate says there is no female author whom he considers his equal.

VS Naipaul, no stranger to literary spats and rows, has done it again. This time, the winner of the Nobel prize for literature has lashed out at female authors, saying there is no woman writer whom he considers his equal – and singling out Jane Austen for particular criticism.

In an interview at the Royal Geographic Society on Tuesday about his career, Naipaul, who has been described as the “greatest living writer of English prose”, was asked if he considered any woman writer his literary match. He replied: “I don’t think so.” Of Austen he said he “couldn’t possibly share her sentimental ambitions, her sentimental sense of the world”.

He felt that women writers were “quite different”. He said: “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”

For the full article visit

Now it is no secret to those who know me that I am not a Jane Austen fan. Feel free to revoke my woman card at anytime. Several of my book buddies already have. But to say she is not a great writer is simply ignorant. She is like Voldemort…she may have written terrible(ly boring) things, but they are great…

However, Naipaul’s interview had to be one of the most ostentatious displays of arrogance I have ever heard. I have not read his books, so I cannot judge whether or not he delivers a better story than Jane Austen does, but to say that there are no women that he could consider and equal and to believe quote:

“I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”

The author, who was born in Trinidad, said this was because of women’s “sentimentality, the narrow view of the world”. “And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too,” he said.

So, sentimentality gives you a narrow view of the world and because a woman is “not a complete master of a house,” she can’t be a great writer? Who the hell does he think he is?!? Not the complete master of a house! Has he ever witnessed the life of a working mother?? Modern mothers are the  effing MASTERS of the house!!!!! We do everything! And we find time to write too. And as far as sentimentality goes, eff you man! How can you possibly gain a complete view of the world without sentimentality?

Excuse my French, but it needed to be said. See you tomorrow…


A new book or two, or four for Benji

I am slowly forcing my book obsession on my son. This weekend was employee appreciation weekend for Borders employees (which is one of the few reasons I work those 4 little hours every week,) So with my extra 17% discount I went a little book crazy[er.] I got myself a new copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, mine has long ago gone missing, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare which I have been fighting reading, and Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer–she’s an up-and-comer who is getting great reviews.  All these YA titles, I know, but summer is around the corner and I am gonna need some light reads to balance out the heavy ones we are doing in my book club.

Benji is the one who made out like a bandit. He got Little Quack, two new Elephant and Piggie Books, Time For Bed, and Otis by Loren Long. Otis the one  I am truly excited about. The artwork in this book is so beautiful and full of contrast that it easily holds Benji’s attention and the story of the little tractor and his best friend the calf is something that he will be able to enjoy and learn from well into his kindergarten years.

I was going to get the board book version of it simply for it’s sturdy build but after talking with a friend about it, she convinced me that this is a book that I am going to want to have in hardcover as a keepsake after he out grows it. She was right. After just one read through of this book, I am in love with it. It’s sweet and sad and uplifting and delightful to the eye and I think is a must have for any baby boy collection, although I think this a necessity for every picture book lover out there too.

Even the government is preparing…

Whether it is the Rapture or the Zombie Apocalypse everyone should be prepared. The CDC has issued a warning about the Zombie Apocalypse including a list of how to be prepared. For more information on how to be ahead of the game in the event of Zombies (or the Rapture, if you get left behind,) click on the link below:

Of course you could always go the literary way and check out these titles by Max Brooks:

Whether you are looking for humor or looking for horror, Brooks’ books are sure to be the ticket. World War Z will open the window into what this world is going to look like after the said Zombie Apocalypse, where as The Zombie Survival Guide will give you a good resource for how to survive a zombie attach and will give you good laugh as well.

On a more serious note, “they” say the Rapture is coming tomorrow, so that is something to be aware of. If you are looking for a more realistic look at what our post Rapture world is going to look like you may want to turn your eyes to The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Talk about a haunting look into the future. Now I am not going to lie, this book is a little tough to get used to. In fact the writing style is so unconventional that I had to put it down the first time I tried reading it. HOWEVER, after rave reviews from my other bibliophilic friends, I forced myself to try it again. And I am so very glad I did. Grim, depressing, and downright scary, The Road teaches us to always have hope, even in the darkest of times.

“You have to carry the fire.”
I don’t know how to.”
Yes, you do.”
Is the fire real? The fire?”
Yes it is.”
Where is it? I don’t know where it is.”
Yes you do. It’s inside you. It always was there. I can see it.”
Cormac McCarthy (The Road)

If you don’t have time before “The Rapture” tomorrow to read the entire book, I highly recommend the film that came out in 2009. Produced nearly scene for scene from the book, this film translated the original work impeccably. The acting is amazing, the art is profound. Another picture that was shot here in Pa. (not I am not a yinzer, I swear! this is strictly coincidence,) the abandoned mills and destroyed neighborhoods of Pittsburgh in correlation with the bleakness of Erie Pa. in the winter created a remarkable setting for this post-apocalyptic world.

I was lucky enough to spend an evening chatting with “the kid,” Kody Smit  McPhee during the filming and let me tell you, that kid is talented! And sweet! Him and his father were eating at the table next to my friend and I and we happened to start chatting with them. We talked all night. He was one of the smartest and friendliest 11-year-olds I have ever met, and his father was so personable and kind. My friend kept in touch with them for a while and we were even invited to the movie release party in New York. Unfortunately [for me and my friend,] the studio ended up pushing back the release date for the film for over a year, and we  lost touch with the family.

Any whoozle–good luck during the Rapture tomorrow, and for those of you still around next week, I look forward to seeing you 🙂

“Perhaps in the world’s destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made. Oceans, mountains. The ponderous counterspectacle of things ceasing to be. The sweeping waste, hydroptic and coldly secular. The silence.”
Cormac McCarthy (The Road)

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