Top Ten Books I ReRead

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday (and a Day) by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. This week was the top 10 Books to Reread. I puzzled about that…Books I’ve reread the most? Books I’d like to reread for the first time? I decided to go with books that I’ve reread a lot in recent memory, as opposed to of all time. So, here it is:

Top Ten Books For My Rereading Pleasure

1. The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye
Every spring. “There had been a long debate in Council on ‘The Advisability of Inviting Fairies to the Christrening.'”
ordinary princess

2. Gwinna by Barbara Helen Berger
Gwinna

3. The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope
Every fall, this retelling of Tam Lin. “The Night is Hallow’een, my love, the morni s Hallows’ Day-”
perilousgard2

4. Let Your Mind Alone by James Thurber
-This book includes several wonderful satires about early self-help advice and just humorous essays about life that work wonders about putting things in perspective, covering issues like travel, wanting a javelin, turtle-catching, and solving life problems with index cards, plays, and ghostly visitors. I reread it whenever I need to take my mind off of life-problems or just laugh.
typewriter ribbon-1

5. The Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett

6. The works of A.A. Milne
“Forget about the crackers, And forget about the candy; I’m sure a box of chocolates Would never come in handy; I don’t like oranges, I don’t want nuts, And I HAVE got a pocket-knife That almost cuts. But, oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all, Bring me a big, red india-rubber ball!”
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7. A Royal Pain by Ellen Conford
-It’s just such a fun one to read out loud. “Right off the bat I have to say that no matter what you may have read in the papers, I don’t think I was such a terrible princess.”
a-royal-pain-img

8. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
-Have you read those ogre and bird languages out loud? It’s marvelous!

9. The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern (William Goldman)
Princess-Bride-movie_572

10. My Mother, She Killed Me, My Father, He Ate Me edited by Kate Bernheimer
-This collection of fairy tale retellings is spooky, and funny, and touching, and haunting, and wonderful.
My-Mother-She-Killed-Me

Happy Halloween

(from Trixie)

Trixie_halloween

Top Ten Characters I’d Dress as for Halloween

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday (and a Day) by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. This week was the top 10 literary characters I’d want to dress up as for Halloween. This took a lot of pondering as a lot of my favorite characters don’t have any distinguishing costumes…So, here I go:

Top Ten Characters I’d Be for Halloween:

1. Millie Chant from “The Chrestomanci Chronicles” by Diana Wynne Jones
-Extra set of arms, magic, cats, count me in. I’d have to go around explaining who I was and a lot of people wouldn’t know her, but Millie’d be worth it.

christopher-chant

2. Christopher Chant from “The Chrestomanci Chronicles” by Diana Wynne Jones
-This is mainly so I can swan around in his fantastic robes. I need some of those robes in my life.

3. Tiffany Aching from “Wee Free Men” etc., by Terry Pratchett
-I long to wear a green dress and wield a frying pan and measuring tape while eating excellent cheese and feeling witchy. This is also kindof a life goal.

4. The White Witch from “Narnia” by C.S. Lewis
-This just feels like the perfect costume for both eating/distributing sweets and celebrating approaching winter. It also gives the coming season a “This time shall be mine!” spin, which I always like.

5. Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman
-I go around quoting him anyway, this character would be a piece of cake. Of sharp, on-point, delicious cake. And if they didn’t recognize this outfit with a girl in them, there’s the easiest fix in the world.

6. The Mad Hatter from “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carol
-I like hats, I like tea, and I like him. Another character I go around quoting, I feel this would be best for a sit-down costume party.

7. Dorothy from “Wizard of Oz” by Frank L. Baum

-Feels perfect for the night of ghouls to run around going “lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!!” Plus, this is probably the easiest and most recognizable of my choices.

8. Calcifer from “Howl’s Moving Castle” etc., by Diana Wynne Jones
-He is the best and I’m sure whatever costume one could come up with would keep you warm.

9. Jane from “Ironskin”
Ironskin-cover
-She has so many striking looks and one could go around muttering outrageous ragey thoughts whenever taking off your mask…She has a built-in mask!

10. But my ultimate costume, if I could pull this off, would be to go as Baba Yaga in her house on chicken-feet from Russian folklore. Or just the house. Skull fence, chicken-feet, in-character tricks and turns, and getting to cackle all night while demanding payment/food…it would be glorious. Glorious, I say! (If anyone has seen this done or pulled it off themselves, I need pictures.)
babayaga

And that’s me! What costumes appeal to you from the literary world?

Snow Queen for Halloween?

Halloween’s fast approaching,
Those ghouls are encroaching,
And if you or yours have chosen
To emulate the queen of Frozen,
Dress-up fit for a Snow Queen,
At Sonshine Smiles Shop can be seen!

Located here: https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop

This is my niece as model in this dress:
ad_dressM ad_dressback

And it comes with matching hairclip!
ad_dressclip

She also has an official version of a Snow Queen dress, but this is by far my favorite. And, honestly, looking at this versus the official ones, which dress looks like it could better keep the cold from ever bothering its queen?

Orders must be placed soon for delivery by Halloween!
https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop, where custom dresses like this can be ordered for estimated $30-$50, depending on size.

Top Ten Places Books Make Me Want to Visit

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. This week was the top 10 places books made you want to visit, whether real or imaginary. I had trouble with this one because I’m a lot more eager to go around meeting people from books rather than places. So, here we go:

1. Phantasmorania from “The Ordinary Princess” by M. M. Kaye
ordinary princess

2. Ireland from “Lion of Ireland” by Morgan Llywelyn
lionofireland

3. Verona from “Master of Verona” by David Blixt
(Full review here: https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/the-master-of-verona/)

4. Narnia from the series “Narnia” by C.S. Lewis

5. The 100 Acre Wood from all of “Winnie the Pooh” by A.A. Milne
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6. The Paris Opera House from “Phantom of the Opera” by Gaston LeRoux

7. The cat hills from “Millions of Cats” by Wanda Gág
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8. Frell from “Ella Enchanted” by Gail Carson Levine

9. Luster from “Into the Land of the Unicorns” by Bruce Coville
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10. Ingary from “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones
Howl-s-Moving-Castle-howls-moving-castle-913538_1024_768

What about you? Do you want to visit Frell mainly to meet Ella and her friends, or would you just enjoy the scenery? (I’m characters.) Would you love to run amuck in Howl’s house or kingdom alone or do you just want to talk to him? (I’m for the house more than the wizard.) What sort of places intrigue you?

Holiday Shopping Spot!

Today, I have a very proud announcement to make. My enterprising nieces and crafty nephew have opened a small business on Facebook called the Sonshine Smiles Shop! Find it here: https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop

The holidays are coming and this is a wonderfully cheap way to get some lovely gifts-I’m their loving aunt and some of these things are even more gorgeous and special than I even expected! So, if you know of anyone who would love to trick-or-treat in a beautiful Snow Queen dress…

Niephews_snowqueen

Or a baby in need of a fancy pink princess/birthday/holiday dress….

Niephews_pinkdress

Or some young ones who could use some sweet-smelling play-doh with jewels to find and decorate with…

Niephews_playdoh

Or anyone in need of special Mama Necklaces, organic wool dryer balls, toddler-safe Jedi light sabers, or $4 aromatherapy bath salts, please stop by https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop today! And they take special orders, too! Tell your friends!

Niephews_facebook

Happy National Hobbit Day 2

Happy National Hobbit Day!
(Previous festivities here: https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/happy-national-hobbit-day/)

“An Ode to Hobbitiness”

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Couldn’t be a Bilbo, and leave it all behind.
Couldn’t be like Frodo, to burden so resigned.
Hardly a Samwise, with smile always on-
Where has all my hobbityness gone?

Not a fan of mushrooms,
My home’s above the ground.
Don’t care much for foot hair,
No garden to be found.

But I love growing things, without the thumb of green-
And rhyme and sing to tell the wheres I’ve been,
Merrily, I’ve stolen time in fields and fireworks-
Could it be my inner hobbit lurks?

Will travel in my time,
Too impatient for the ents.
Won’t worry for the silver,
But electricity and rent-

It’s hard to be a hobbit, without a Party Tree,
Without second breakfast, elevenses, and tea,
Just hosting thoughts of friends too far to see-
Still, I’ll be the best hobbit I can be.

If an apartment can be a homely house,
And savoring meals can make it two-
If I can celebrate simple things,
and friends like me and you

Then a hobbit’s stout heart can face a future scary,
And anything that comes along won’t be too much to carry.
And I’ll survive mistakes as foolish as a Took’s,
And make it there and back again, like hobbits do in books.

So let all hobbit selves appear like burglar Bilbo,
To frolic and indulge as much as they will, though
Real life might return to push the shire away,
Just snack and let it be a Happy Hobbit Day!

Top Ten Authors I’ve Only Read One Book/Series of but need to read More

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. This week was top 10 authors I’ve only read one book by but need to read more. I have expanded it to one book or one series as I’ve just recently managed to cross off a few authors that would have fit this meme. Here we go:

Top Ten Authors I’ve Only Read One Book/Series of but need to read More:

1. Sarah Rees Brennan of “Unspoken”
(Full review here: https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/unspoken-the-lynburn-legacy/)
kami

This first book of a series blew me away and now I’m in the ridiculous situation of being behind on a series I started all my friends on because none of the bookstores seem to still be carrying the sequel now that I’m at liberty to read it. Even my local library has failed!

2. Rachel Hart of “Seraphina”
I love the characters and the issues in this work and am eagerly awaiting whatever she comes out with next, be it a sequel or something entirely different.

3. Kristin Cashore of the “Graceling” series
(Full review of “Bitterblue” here: https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/bitterblue/)

I adore the way her mind works and whatever’s next, sign me up!

4. M. M. Kaye of “The Ordinary Princess”
ordinary princess

This is perhaps my longest lagging. Those of you following this blog will know that I am absolutely enraptured with “The Ordinary Princess” and my expectations for her other works are through the roof. So far I haven’t been able to push myself into active pursuit of them in case said expectations get shattered. Still, it is a meandering sort of search…

5. Lauren DeStefano of the “Chemical Garden” trilogy
(Full review of “Sever” here: https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/sever-chemical-garden-trilogy-3/)
(Poem based on “Fever” here: https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/madames-turn-in-fever/)

DeStefano’s lyrical writing style draws me in and inspires me, as shown in the poem above!

6. Elizabeth Loupas of “The Second Duchess”
books_duchess

History, mystery, supernatural presence, and literary references lead by a courageous and persistent heroine, bring on more!

7. Alan Gordon of “Thirteenth Night”
thirteenth_night

I still must read more of this world where jesters run the show and Shakespearean intrigue continues.

8. Tom Reiss of “The Black Count”
(Full review here: https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/the-black-count-glory-revolution-betrayal-and-the-real-count-of-monte-cristo/)
BLACK-COUNT-COVER

This historian has fantastic narrative, transparent research, literary references, and even the best footnotes ever. For example, one told the story of a British officer stationed in India who came to join (and die) in the French revolution, having developed “a strain of militant, Jacobin vegetarianism.” In the brief space of a normal footnote, not the giant “Moby Dick” type ones, too. Go read about Alexandre Dumas’ father!

9. Anne Eliot Crompton of “Merlin’s Harp”

This author’s version of fairies is the most similar to mind that I’ve yet seen in print. Also, we all know I love a good Arthurian tale, no?

10. Helen Frost of “Diamond Willow”

This book’s words are shaped in beautiful silhouettes, with bold words making a message at the heart of each section of this story about family, about love, and about growing up in a world where humans reincarnate as animals to watch over their descendants and survival is as much about friendship as oneself. It’s beautiful.

So, have any of you read any other books by these authors? Are as excited as me to see what else the newer ones will come up with? Have your own authors you haven’t got enough of through your slowness to find or their slowness to write?

Behind Every Good Whisky Is A Trusty Distillery Cat

Behind Every Good Whisky Is A Trusty Distillery Cat : Parallels : NPR.

Cats-even more necessary than you thought! For alcohol, ambassador missions, and world records, go read yon article. And use it as another excuse to visit distilleries, visit Scotland, honor cats by drinking, or look up more cat pictures on the internet. Learn important facts like:

“On the central path between buildings at Glenturret [the oldest distillery], the scent of leaves and grass mixes with the smells of wood, smoke and caramel from the whisky-making process. Looming over it all is a proud bronze statue. It’s not the company founder, or a bottle of whisky. It’s a cat. The greatest distillery cat of them all.

Towser the Mouser is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records for catching mice. Estimated lifetime kills: 28,899.”

Hurrah for the cats!

Top Ten Most Underrated Childhood Books

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. This week was top 10 underrated books in a genre, and I have chosen to do Childhood Books because frankly, there are too many wonderful books that no one else seems to have read and/or are out of print. So, if any of you have also enjoyed these works, please tell me!

Most Underrated Childhood Books

-Picture book section:

1. The Keris Emerald by Mary Parke Johnson
books_Keris

This is a fairy tale about a Russian lad who wants to gain the attention of a princess by giving her the greatest of all emeralds, hidden in the forest of the Keris fairies and guarded by a snow leopard…It’s gorgeous, and strange, and lovely.

2. The Princess on the Nut by Michelle Nikly and Jean Claverie
books_nut

This is the tale of the son of the princess on the pea and his search for a bride who isn’t so “perfect” or princessy as his mother. The pictures are gorgeous and give a lot of extra information, too!

3. The Magic Pumpkin by Lucille E. Sette and Phyllis L. Tildes
books_squiggs

One of my favorite Halloween books, The Magic Pumpkin is about old Mr. Squiggs, who loves Halloween because he gets to be even more unpleasant and dreadful, and it is sanctioned! I love the way this writing goes in threes: how he interacts with men, with women, with children, his jack-o-lanterns are dreadful, are hideous, are frightening! Only this year, the pumpkin has something to say about being so horrible.

4. All works by Barbara Helen Berger
Gwinna Animalia
This artist/writer creates such gorgeous, magical works that I cannot recommend them enough. My first was “Grandfather Twilight” and I think that’s the easiest one to find, though.
Grandfather-Twilight-petting-dog

5. This Is the Place for Me by Joanna Cole and William Van Horn
books_placeforme

This charming book is about a bear who’s fed up with his house and goes looking for a better place to live. I still think of this bear when I need some perspective or am thinking of making crazy, impulsive life-choices, and the images still make me smile in amusement, so what more could one want in a picture book?

(Extra): Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady by Selina Hastings and Juan Wijngaard
books_loathly

-Since it’s a well-known tale I felt this was more of an extra mention, but this work probably began my great love with all things Arthurian, the artwork is amazing, and it’s just one of the most vibrant treasures.

Chapter Books:

6. The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye
ordinary princess

Again, I cannot recommend it enough-a committee suggesting they hire a dragon to help wed their plain daughter, a princess who runs off rather than having it and finds living with animals in the wood a rather unpractical affair and so gets work with her non-anthropomorphized squirrel and crow…read it! I do every spring.

7. The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope
perilousgard2

And this is the book I read every fall. It’s set in England during Mary Tudor’s reign, with the stubborn, curious, and practical Kate sent into exile in a palace full of mysterious circumstances and tales of living elves…It’s a retelling and expansion of the Tam Lin tale and it’s brilliant.

8. The Gammage Cup: A Novel of the Minnipins by Carol Kendall and Erik Blegvad
TheGammageCup1

This world is delightfully filled with poetry, courage, and discovery.

9. A Royal Pain by Ellen Conford
a-royal-pain-img

This one is more real-world…almost. “A sixteen-year-old in Kansas, who discovers she is really a princess, is taken to a tiny European monarchy to assume her duties and marry a distasteful neighboring prince, and in the ensuing weeks tries to become such a “royal pain” that everyone will want to be rid of her.” It’s great fun, and a good read-aloud book.

10. My Angelica by Carol Lynch Williams
books_angelica

Angelica is an elementary student who dreams of becoming a great and famous romance writer! Unfortunately, her book is filled with sentimental tripe wrapped in hilariously absurd euphemisms. Her best friend is both a good poet who’s aware of this problem and utterly in love with her. It’s a ridiculously charming read. Why it didn’t catch on I do not know.

So! How about you guys? What are your favorite childhood books that other people’s lack of knowledge keeps you from talking about? Have you read any of these?

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