Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Celie is 14 years old and considers herself to be a good girl.  She hasn’t caused any trouble in her young years and has listened to her mama.  She helps take care of her siblings, helps with the cooking and the cleaning.  But things are about to change for Celie and not for the better.

What happens to Celie over the next 20 years of her life is indeed, The Color Purple.

Read entirely at the cabin

I have several confessions.  One:  I have never read this book before.  Two:  I have never seen the movie.  Three:  I truly had no idea what this book was about.  Sometimes, I think I live under a rock.

Saying that, if you have experienced this book or the movie, you can imagine then my shock and disbelief by the time I read page one.

Yes, page one.

And the pages that follow do not get any better than that.  As I type this review words fly through my mind, shocking, heartbreaking, electrically charged, high emotions…

And yet once I picked up the rhythm of the language and the story line, there was no way I was putting it down.   Celie’s story may be shocking – yes, but it also rang real for me, of a time and a way I know nothing about except from my small presence on the outskirts of Celie’s porch (where in my mind I planted myself within these pages as an observer).

When a woman marry she spose to keep a decent house and a clean family.  Why, wasn’t nothing to come here in the winter time and all these children have colds, they have flue, they have direar, they have newmonya, they have worms, they have the chill and fever.  They hungry.  They hair ain’t comb.  They too nasty to touch.

Page 19, The Color Purple


Much of the book is Celie’s prayers to God.  In fact the first words of the book are “Dear God”.  Later in the book there are letters from Celie’s younger sister Nellie who now as an adult and a Missionary in Africa writes Celie of her life and how she is trying to get back home to her sister.

I appreciated this book that pulled me out of my comfort zone and into a time and a place that is so foreign to me and yet so real.  Real people with real happenings.  I am trying to be so careful with this review as I am sure there have to be others out there that have not yet experienced this read.  And let me tell you – this book needs to be fully experienced.  If you have never had the opportunity to read The Color Purple I highly recommend this book.

Heather had posted discussion questions for this read and I am going to put them on a Spoiler Page – enter only if you have read the book.



Bookjourney has updated the 2010 reading map to include The Color Purple

288 pages

Cover story:  Perfect.  I have what I think is a newer cover on my copy but it shows as much as I think you could possibly hope to know going into this read with no prior knowledge of where this book will take you.

I read this book as part of a read a thon I found on Heather’s Blog 30+ A Lifetime of Books - thank you to Heather and to Nicole at Linus’s Blanket for finally giving me the kick I needed to read this book.  :D

I purchased my copy of this book from Barnes and Noble in Duluth, MN

Morning Meanderings from the North Shore


Good morning.  I am meandering this morning in Finland Minnesota.  Elmo, my trusty sidekick and loyal shih-tzu and I traveled to the cabin yesterday.  Between the traffic and the road work, the usual 3 hour trip took close to over 4 hours.  There was a time in Two Harbors where we just sat in single lane traffic in park for about 25 minutes.

Have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate audio?  :D

The cabin area itself is still internet free.  This morning I decided I would prep the meandering from the cabin and then drive into town and find a nice little coffee shop where I will complete this post as well as my afternoon post – my review of The Color Purple by Alice Walker.  Up to this reading, I have never read or seen the movie The Color Purple – now I can see if I can find the movie.

Blogging from the cabin kitchen...

My goal for my short stint to the cabin was to get some cleaning done and some reading.  Last night I completes washing the sheets and towels, and cleaning the two guest rooms.  I also completed two books and I am thrilled that I have made such progress.

Today I will clean out the cupboards, wash all the dishes (don’t panic – there is not that many!),  dust, wipe down counters, sweep, mop, and vac.  I should have drought my cd player so I could listen to audio while I did most of this but that will be a note to do this in the future.

I am heading back home early afternoon to have dinner with my hubby, maybe a movie, and then tomorrow we move my son to Mankato in prep for college.  Life…. is never dull.

(turns out – I am posting this from a cafe in Silver Bay Minnesota – Northwoods cafe. )

Morning Meanderings…. Back to the North!


I am heading back to the cabin this early afternoon. This time – I am going alone, well, except for my dog Elmo. Elmo LOVES to ride in cars and we just do not travel to enough places that he can go along, unlike when the kids were growing up we were on the go all the time with the dogs and the kids…. (oh the memories!)

This time I am just going for today and will be back Saturday afternoon.  My goal is to do some cleaning and a lot of reading.  Just a little break from it all.  I would stay until Sunday but we move Justin back to Mankato  on Sunday so I need to be ready to roll in that direction.

I am taking Lap Top with me as I think I can find a little coffee shop to hopefully hang out in and do a little catching up blog wise as well.  Should be a good adventure I hope – oh and audio all the way of course!  :D

That leads me to the books I am taking with, I have the books I am reading this week to work on and of course I said today I would choose my random winner from the “Choose The Next Book I Read” post.  That winner – and the book is:

Jennifer (at Jennifer Justice reads)

and her pick:

Please Stop Laughing At Me by Jodee Blanco


Adult/High School-From fifth grade through high school, Blanco was teased, shunned, and, at times, physically assaulted by her classmates because she was different. She befriended handicapped students, “ratted” on the activities of fellow 12-year-olds at her first boy/girl party, and could not bring herself to dissect a fetal pig. Her experiences with school bullies occurred in a variety of settings, including religious and private schools. At various points in this visceral memoir, Blanco fumes at the injustice of being subjected to psychiatric diagnosis and medication while her tormentors remained unbothered and oblivious, and states that “sticking up for people” and/or being different is a “social death warrant.” While her loving parents were sympathetic and supportive, their well-meant admonitions to ignore her harassers and “rise above it all” sprang from adult logic; adolescents simply interpreted her indifference as weakness. The author’s emotional torment was partly due to a breast deformity; corrective surgery performed prior to her senior year allowed her, finally, to begin viewing her future optimistically.

That’s the book traveling with me…. and others.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend – I will have a review or two up int he next couple of days here.

Here is a video of my hubby asking Elmo if he wants to go for a ride….. love the head tilt (Elmo’s not Al’s)  ;)


Game On Diet by Krista Vernoff and AZ Ferguson

Wha….  what’s this about?

The Game On Diet is a book written by two co-workers, Krista Vernoff and AZ Ferguson.  Krista is the Executive producer for Grey’s Anatomy and AZ is the Body-For-Life Million Dollar Champion.

The book is set up as a competition.  Through teams, points are earned each day by eating right, avoiding certain foods/beverages, and spending at least 20 minutes a day through exercise.  The teamwork aspect is an additional “kick in the pants” to get you on track and stay on track.  Heckling the other team and encouraging your own is HIGHLY recommended.

What I really like about this book is that when you read it – it is doable.  When you look at the food lists, they are all great food choices and not really restrictive.  There are also yummy healthy recipes in the book that I can’t wait to implement.  What the Game On Diet is doing is teaching you healthy habits that will in turn create – a healthier, slimmer you.

  • 20 minutes a day of exercise 6 days a week is not a big commitment.  Take a walk, a bike ride, run stairs…
  • 7 hours a sleep a night or lose points?  BEAUTIFUL – I love this!
  • Avoid pop…. even diet.
  • Avoid fried foods and high fat foods
  • Avoid white sugar
  • limit breads
  • You eat five meals a day (WHAT?)  yes – five
  • One day off a week (ooh, I like that!)
  • Dropping bad habits (this is worth points!)
  • Implementing new good habits (also worth points!)

While much of this is “back to the basics” stuff, I still read this book and found myself getting excited about actually doing this.  The accountability is huge for me and the goal is one I have been trying to reach on my own for months now and failed – two steps forward…. three steps (and perhaps some ice cream) back).

What Krista and AZ have written here works because it reads like a game.  It is a game…. and with friends, co workers, and in my case, fellow bloggers – you all work together for the same goal.


Ok – confession time.  Here is why I want to play.  A year ago I was a calorie burning machine.  I ate well, portion control, worked out and managed my health well.  Maybe – too well.  I love love LOVE to eat and there really are not too many foods that I do not like.  Over the winter I slowly got away from my healthy habits and I am saddened to say – have lost my “muchness” for staying at the fitness level that I know is right for my body type.

The opportunity here for me is that I tend to over achieve.  I set my mind on something and I will be counting calories down to the blueberry.  I am discouraged if we are invited out to eat with friends because I do not have control over every thing in my food.  This is where I start to fail.  I can maintain my strictness for so long (months!)and then I cave in to cravings…  I know because I have lost the weight time and again and about a year or so later it creeps back.  I go too far.  Again and again.

For those of you who read my blog know I work out frequently and lead an active life.  That part I handle pretty well and thank goodness because man I do like good food!  :D  What I like about what is presented here is that it is not calorie strict, it teaches portion control.  You are encouraged to eat 5 meals a day, keeping them between 2-4 hours apart but never more than four hours.  Training yourself to eat this way will eliminate that need we (and by we, I mean I) have to snack throughout the mid afternoon or late evening (both trigger times for me).

Twelve bloggers have joined together to do this one month program starting August 1.  On August 1, I will step on my scale (*gulp*) for the first time in 2010.  I am going to do this, and I am going to do it right.

My goal?  Getting back into good eating habits, retraining myself to drop the snacking habits I seem to fall into and to get back into my favorite pants without passing out.


Ok… that was awkward. BUT, I think if I post the picture… tell the truth in what I am trying to do to the world, I am more likely to succeed.  *Deep breath*

I will post weekly my progress.  I have to share it with the others and turn in my points weekly to them, so I may as well share it with you as well.  One month.  That’s all it is.  If it is everything I am hoping it will be – I will continue beyond the month.

You can check out the Game On Diet here on-line.  I purchased my copy of the book from Amazon.

*Once I get started I am going to have a widget for the Game On Diet on my upper side bar so you can follow along on my progress if you so choose.  I will use that as an online diary of where I am at.

You can link to my Game On Diet Journal here (this is where I will rant and hopefully rave as I do this diet in August with 12 other bloggers.

I Purchased at Amazon

Morning Meanderings…. Best Books of 2010

This is the list that arrived in my mailbox this morning from Amazon.  These are the books that are saying are the best books of 2010 so far:

The Best Books of 2010… So Far
1 The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Read more
2 The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald
The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald
Read more
3 Country Driving by Peter Hessler
Country Driving by Peter Hessler
Read more
4 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
Read more
5 The Big Short by Michael Lewis
The Big Short by Michael Lewis
Read more
6 Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
Read more
7 The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
Read more
8 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Read more
9 Just Kids by Patti Smith
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Read more
10 The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
Read more

I am currently listening to #1 – The Passage.  As I only listen to it in the morning as I get ready for my day, it is slow going.  I probably get in about 15 – 25 minutes a day on it and it is a 35 hour audio.  I can’t really say how I feel about it yet.  It is different and the initial story line hooked me in and I am waiting for that to come full circle.  It also has really made me think about the future of the world – not to this end, but as to how much we fully rely on electricity etc…. but , that is quite literally… another book.


I had a goal this summer to read the books of the series of #4.  I have heard so many good things and I do have the first book, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I just need to start it.  Sometime.  Hopefully soon.  :D


#8, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks fascinates me and I really REALLY want to read that one.


The rest 2,3,5,6,9, and 10 I know little about but at this time have no interest in reading any of them.

How about you?   Are any of these Amazon “Best Of 2010″ on your “to be read” list – or do you have any others you would add as the best of the best so far this year?

Choose (AND WIN!) The Next Book I Read


We have played this before and it is time for round three of “Choose The Next Book I Read!”   For those who are new to this occasional post, I will explain what this is.

I LOVE book sales and our local library has a spring and a fall one that are wonderfully priced books that I can not resist.  The books are beautiful and gently used.  The opportunity lies in the fact that once I bring these treasures home they tend to stay in the box I placed them in when I purchased them for months to come.  This is where you come in.

What I am posting here is the pictures of all the books I have picked up from the spring library sale as well as the new additions of the books I purchased last weekend at the Silver Bay Minnesota Library sale.

All you do is look over these titles and leave a comment here with the name of the book you would like to win.  On Friday morning I will use random.org to choose a winner.  Then that book will go with me this weekend to be read and once read I mail it on to the winner.  It is a win – win!  I actually read one of the treasures that I bought, and you get a book that you would like!  :D

So here my little beauties are – have fun picking!

New From The Silver Bay Sale

Part 2 of the Silver Bay Sale

Brainerd Spring Sale

Brainerd Spring Library Sale

Brainerd Spring Library Sale

You choose the book :D

Morning Meanderings… Driving Without Brakes


Morning! I thought I would use this morning to share a little with you about the highlights of last weekends cabin trip with two of my friends Amy and Sara.

First off we left my house about 4 pm and headed North.  We made it to Duluth a little after 6 pm and of course there was the dreaded dirty words “road construction”.  We turned into the detour lane and then promptly into the parking lot of a Burger King for a much  needed rest room break.  Back on the road and we travel up into Duluth (Duluth is hilly – really hilly) and wind our way through the detour signs that make no sense.  45 minutes later we are lost and frustrated.  Normally Duluth is a straight shot through.  We are coming back down the hill to see where we goofed the detour when I start pumping my brakes and I have …. uh…… nothing.

*gulp*

As we are rolling I keep pumping and fill a slight grab to the brakes but nothing great so I get up against the curb until I can stop.  At that point black smoke pours out of the front of my car.  We are still an hour from our destination.   I am thinking that maybe the car has overheated due to all the hills, I have seen that happen before.  I wait a while – the smoke goes away (although it leaves this nasty burnt smell) and then I slowly put it into drive to see if I can brake.  I am still on a hill after all – going down – into a stop light, and beyond that – Lake Superior.

The brakes do grip and I ease my way down the hill to a gas station to find that the 16-year-old boy working there knows nothing about cars.  he sends me down the road to a car wash/ body shop.  The 19-year-old girl working there also knows nothing about cars, the body shop is closed – it is Friday evening after all, and she just moved here and doesn’t drive so can not help us. :roll:

Anyway – to wrap this up, the car felt good to me – it had cooled down – my brakes were working and we found that our correct detour did not go up the hill at all – but where we turned to go into Burger King, we needed to keep going on that road.  A flat road.  So we cautiously moved forward and the vehicle worked great the rest of the weekend.  (And yes, upon my return home – the Durango is now in the shop and they are saying it was a faulty part when the new breaks were put in two months ago).

The Cabin book shelf.... (you knew there had to be one) :D

The rest of the weekend went wonderful – we ate out Friday night, Saturday hit the library sale (you will see these books this afternoon here), went on the Alpine Slide at Lutsen Resort, watched a movie at the cabin, went to a street dance and on Sunday after a wonderful brunch we made our way (safely!) home.


Today the sun is out again!  We have had some dark days here and I for one am tired of the funky weather!  I work and then I work out with my friend Wendy and tonight I have a meeting where we are planning a food bagging event for Haiti.  I hope to finish The Game On book tonight for tomorrows review and put some final touches on reviews I need to get posted.

Oh and you may have noticed I have been going a bit emoticon crazy as of late (I do love those little guys!)  Here are the codes I found for wordpress:

con text text full text icon full text
smile :) :-) :smile: lol :lol:
biggrin :D :-D :grin: redface :oops:
sad :( :-( :sad: cry :cry:
surprised :o :-o :eek: evil :evil:
eek 8O 8-O :shock: twisted :twisted:
confused :? :-? :???: rolleyes :roll:
cool 8) 8-) :cool: exclaim :!:
mad :x :-x :mad: question :?:
razz :P :-P :razz: idea :idea:
neutral :| :-| :neutral: arrow :arrow:
wink ;) ;-) :wink: mrgreen :mrgreen:

Ok… LOL…. It didn’t show the codes, because the codes in the post turned to emoticons.  So – here is the link instead.  Smiley Codes.

Have a lovely day!

Not Without Hope by Nick Schuyler

Nick Schuyler loved hanging out with his friends.  Having known each other since high school, Nick, Will Bleakley, Marquis Cooper, and Corey Smith, liked to get together when they could.

One weekend, the guys decided to do a day fishing trip.  This was supposed to be a day of friendships and fun as the four guys left on Coopers 21 foot boat and anchored 70 miles out.  As the afternoon went on, the weather took a turn for the worse, and the guys decided it was time to pack up and head into shore.

When the anchor seemed to be caught on something, the  boaters thought if they tied the anchor to the back of the boat and then hit the throttle the anchor should work its way free.  Instead, this move caused the boat to capsize.  All four of the men went into the water.

40+ hours only one man came out.

This would make for a sad, emotionally charged, fiction read.  However, this book is not fiction.  Nick Schuyler was the one survivor of this horrifying accident.  What ‘Not Without Hope’ is about, is the retelling of the details of what happened that day, and the hours to follow as the 4 men awaited, and prayed, for rescue.

Of course, this is a hard review to write.  My heart is heavy as I type these words.  I finished this book late last night and knew I had to share this review while the book is still so fresh in my mind.

The Coast Guard picture as they came upon the capsized boat

Nick starts this book with the background of himself and his friends.  Nick was at the time, a twenty-four year old personal trainer.  His friends Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith were both NFL payers and Will Bleakley, Nick’s best friend, once played football for the University of South Florida.

What happened from the time the boat capsized until the time of rescue is the majority of the book.  Nick shares in great detail what he recalls as each of his friend fought against hypothermia in the frigid waters, battling the salt water in their mouths and on the cuts on their bodies from struggling to keep a hold of the overturned boat.

As each of Nick’s friends loses their lives in this battle against the elements, I cry.  I grieve.  I can not even fathom what it had to be like to watch your friends take their last breath, say their last words, and then disappear below the deep waters.

Marquis Cooper * Corey Smith * Will Bleakley

A powerful book that I understand comes with controversy.  Nick himself is all too aware of the rumors that circulated about what happened that day.  From the articles I have read as a followup to this book, the proceeds of this book are going to charities.  Nick’s father is quoted to say that “This year since the accident has left Nick in a state of depression.  Nick has not even talked to his own family about all the details of what happened that day.” Nick’s father believes that the book was a way for Nick to express to everyone all at once what had happened.

A hard book to read, but one I am glad I did.  I pray for peace for the families and all involved.

Links:

NFL players on fishing trip, missing

Families of missing men start their own search


I borrowed this book from my local library

Morning Meanderings… I am on the lam!

The Cabin coffee Mug

Good morning!   Coffee Cup and I are lying low, I am working on growing a mustache and going by the name of “Vinnie”.  I have really gone and done it this time…..


I have over due library books.

I received the letter last Friday and I have never received a letter before.  Usually it is an email.  In fact the book they mentioned I had forgotten I had checked out and had to do a search and rescue off the shelf to return.  SO – I did actually go to the library (the scene of the crime) before I left town on Friday – and I had good intentions to return the several (GULP!) late items I had – but….. here’s my story.

1.  I am in my car on my way to the library and there is a train.  SO while I wait, I pull open one of the books sitting beside me.  I chose Not Without Hope by Nick Schuyler.  I had started this one but did not get it finished.  A true story that actually happened in early 2009, when 4 friends went out on a fishing trip and only one came back.   I started flipping through the pages while I waited for the train.  I hooked myself into the book and knew I could not return it yet.  While I went into the Library, Not Without Hope stayed in the car with me.

2.  Also over due are the CD audio for Happy Potter and The Deathly Hollows.  This one  I have been listening to all along, but it is 17 CD’s.  I haven’t had a large road trip as of late to get this one in and have listened to it as I puttered around town but that has got me to CD #14 by the time of the overdue notice.  CD #14 out of 17.  I can’t stop now….. I have to finish……. so that one has not been returned either.

Today however – both will be going back.  I finished up Not Without Hope over the weekend and that review will be up today.   I am on CD 17 of The Deathly Hollows and I will finish it even if I have to sit in my car to do it.


I had a wonderful weekend with my friends on the North Shore.  I posted a picture yesterday with the Monday What Are You Reading post.  We visited the shops around Silver and Beaver Bay, spent Saturday afternoon at Lutsen riding the sleds down the Alpine Slide, enjoying yummy salads and that evening we attended a street dance.

It is good to be home and it looks like I am going to go back this next weekend just Friday and part of Saturday to do some cleaning that I just couldn’t get to with company.  I have to be back Saturday because Sunday morning we are driving my son and his belongings back to Mankato to his new apartment.

My friends Amy and Sara on the lift ahead of me

Tonight said son and I are going to the movie Inception.  He says I have to see it!  Busy week!  How about you anything happening this week – bookish or otherwise?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Mondays come around fast don’t they?  I was gone all weekend and just popped in the door around 4 pm on Sunday afternoon.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme.  I offer a weekly contest for those who visit 10 or more of the Monday Meme participants and leave a comment.  You receive one entry for every 10 comments, just come back here and tell me how many in the comment area.

Last weeks winner (using Random.Org) was:

Lynne – Lynne’s Book reviews

Congratulations!  Please choose an item out of the PRIZE BOX and email me your choice with your mailing address as well!   journeythroughbooks@gmail.com

As I was saying above, I just came home Sunday afternoon from our cabin up North where I spent the weekend hanging out with a couple of wonderful friends.  We had wonderful weather as we did some exploring, road carts down a ski hill and even went to a Library Sale.  (more details on all this with pictures on Tuesday during the Morning Meanderings.  :)


I did not get squat down for reading this weekend but did a little during the week:

Review:  Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook (I sooooo enjoyed this fun beachy read!)


Author Chat with Claire Cook (how fun is this woman?)

Review:  The Icing On The Cupcake by Jennifer Ross (a sweet read that didn’t quite hit the mark for me)

Review:  The Accidental Adult by Colin Sokolowski (a humorous closer look at the guys who struggle passing into adulthood)

(I have a few reviews I need to get posted too)


That’s it.   Not the most productive week I have had but that’s summer.  :D  I am going to set my goals lower for this week as I have a few books to finish up on and if all goes well I am going to the cabin this next weekend alone to do some cleaning so I will get in some good reading time as well if that happens.   Here is my new books I plan to start this week:

Yes, another Claire Cook book.  I am anxious to read her again!

One that has been on my shelf too long…

Another one from the TBR shelf…. my friend Angie (By Book Or By Crook) was recently reading this one and spoke highly of it at our last book club gathering.


This one is on my personal book shelf – unread but it needs to be so it is coming on the list!


So that is the lofty plan.  I hope to read each night this week and really have a pretty open week to do just that.  If I go to the cabin alone, that gives me 3/12 hours audio each way so that helps too.

I can’t wait to get around and see what you are reading!   Enter the link to your Monday What Are You Reading below where it says Click Here.  Have a good week with great reads!  :D

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