Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Lure of Royals

I'm slightly ashamed to admit that my knowledge of American history is not what it should be. In fact, I needed to get myself to a library to find some books on the post-Civil War era for the little consulting project I mentioned the other day.

My knowledge of English royal history, however, is pretty good. I've always been fascinated by Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. And you can't beat Henry VIII for all kinds of juicy stories. Now Antonia Fraser is tempting me with French royalty. Her new book, Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King, sounds wonderful. This is definitely going on my list.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Write a Novel, Write a Blog

I've heard about National Novel Writing Month before, and I'm awfully tempted to sign up. I think I have a few stories floating around in my head. I'd probably be much happier if I got them out of my head and onto paper. The idea is to write a complete 50,000-word novel between November 1 and 30. The web site is fun, and has lots of great features, including a forum -- so you can get some help if you get stuck in the middle of your story. There's no prize; just the satisfaction you'll get from writing a story with a beginning, a middle and an end.

November is also National Blog Posting Month. The idea here is to make a post every day in November. This seems a bit easier to me. But then again, I only made two posts in the first 23 days of this month, so what do I know?

I might try one, but I'm definitely not doing both at the same time!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Still Time for Some Scary Stories

In case you haven't finished your RIP books, or you just want to sneak in a few extra stories, Google Book Search has posted 25 stories online -- just in time for Halloween. There are classics such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There are also some that are new to me, with some very intriguing titles: The Damned Thing by Ambrose Bierce and The Other Wing by Algernon Blackwood. I'm probably going to download Edith Wharton's The Eyes. I've enjoyed all of her other novels, so it will be fun to read something of hers in a different genre.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Levenger = Trouble (For Me, Anyway)

Seriously -- I would buy just about one of everything that Levenger sells. Their tage line is "Tools for Serious Readers." In addition to book lights, bookstands and book shelves, they carry a variety of office supplies, bags and totes, lighting, even furniture.

The new Bloomsbury Bag is a great deal. At $58, it's a great bag for toting around all your books -- plus it's stocked with a bunch of extra tools like a book magnifier and Levenger note pad. (You have to try their notepaper sometime. You'll hate going back to the cheap stuff you get at your local office supply store.)

Now it's just a matter of restraining myself from buying it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tombs and Curses

This would be right up Amelia Peabody's alley: the tombs of three royal dentists have recently been discovered in Egypt. Not only that -- but the tombs come complete with their own curse. Anyone violating the tombs can look forward to being eaten by a crocodile and a snake.

I'm not generally a mystery fan, but I love Elizabeth Peters' series about the intrepid archaeologist Amelia Peabody, her husband Emerson and their son, nicknamed Ramses. The series starts in the late 19th century and the most recent in the series, Tomb of the Golden Bird, takes place around the discovery of King Tut's tomb by Howard Carter in 1920.

Easily found at used bookstores, this series is very entertaining (and just slightly educational for those of us who like that kind of stuff). Start at the beginning and read them in order. You'll enjoy them more that way.

And don't forget: The Field Museum in Chicago is featuring a rare display of Egyptian antiquities in Tuntankhamun and The Golden Age of the Pharaohs through January 1, 2007.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A New Look

I love that Blogger has so many templates to choose from. I don't pay attention to this blog for two weeks and now I can't leave it alone! Just decided I needed something more "fall" looking. And this seems a little easier on the eyes as well.

I Haven't Disappeared

I haven't been blogging for awhile -- we all know how life catches up with us in other ways. But I have missed it and I'm going to try to get back on track.

Fortunately, while work and some stuff around the house kept me busy, I still found time to read. I finished The Gothic Tradition. It was okay; it's really designed as a textbook so there were some thought-provoking questions. But even though it was designed to be used by graduate students, it was a little too broad for me. I would have liked a little bit deeper look at the history of the gothic novel.

After that, I started Jonathon Franzen's Strong Motion. It's the first book of his that I've read. Starting was okay, but I seemed to have lost interest. I just don't have that much taste for most modern fiction. I haven't completely given up on it, but it's not on the top of my list right now.

Then I quickly raced through Laurel K. Hamilton's Guilty Pleasures. I've been hearing a lot about the Anita Blake series, so the RIP challenge was a perfect excuse to finally buy one. I enjoyed it -- though I still think I like Buffy better. But I'm awfully tempted to buy the next two or three books in the series!

I also started my last RIP book, The Moonstone. It's been years since I read it and I forgot how truly funny it is. There aren't too many books that make me laugh out loud, but this is one of them. Whether I'll actually finish it by next week when October is over is a mystery all its own.

Finally, I also snuck in a fast read with The Civil War by Bruce Catton. I worked in a museum for seven years, managing new exhibit projects. I've been asked to help out with a bid to restore a historic building that would include a small museum experience. The building was originally built for Civil War veterans at the end of the 19th century. So I needed to do a little studying. The last time I studied the Civil War was as a freshman in high school -- and that was a long time ago! Bruce Catton was one of the leading authorities on the Civil War and his book is a great broad overview.

Okay, that's it for now. But I do have an idea for a post for tomorrow -- yeah for me! Thanks for missing me, Kirsty! (Go check out her blog. It's got tons of great pictures!)

Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm Back...with more clothes

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week -- the muse just wasn't there.

I did stumble across this cute T-shirt today in my morning wanderings on the Web. With all of my clothing-related posts lately, I may have to rename this blog.

I should have another, more substantial post later today.

Via BeautyAddict.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

LibraryThing Catalog

I'm finished! I finally entered the last of my books into my LibraryThing catalog. A grand total of 632 books. I had a dozen or so that needed to be entered manually and I finally got tired of dusting around that pile. So they are finally all in. I've even figured out how to access my catalog from my mobile phone. That will be a big help the next time I'm buying books and can't remember what's in my library.