Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Finally got my favorite picture posted to my profile. It was taken in my office at ECU with me surrounded by children's and YA books. Pretty much what my home office looks like too.

The birds woke me before 6 a.m. Half asleep, reaching for his first Diet Coke out of the fridge, Steve mutters at me, "Why are you awake?" Guess he thought I was going to fuss at him about his cacophony of snoring that either keeps me awake or sends me fleeing to the extra bedroom. But, he must have woke up a bit more shortly after as I was sitting in bed reading a review book for VOYA when he "galloped" across the bedroom in his undies. I asked him what the heck the deal was with that - he told me it was his jockey shorts, of course! See what happens when you live in horse racing country! Let's just say life with Steve is never boring, even at 6 a.m. in the morning!

Am starting to recuperate from our trip to Detroit last week. We drove up late Thursday afternoon and hit rush hour traffic in Cincinnati and Dayton so we didn't get in until after 11:00. We got about 45 minutes without rain the whole trip so I was chilled and achy from getting out in the rain for pit stops. Thank goodness for the heated seats in my Santa Fe. I'd never have another car without them. Now to find a lap blanket with a car plug in. Steve was using the GPS and what a pain as we took 75 straight up and it kept telling us to get off at every exit. He had it set up to avoid freeways. I had to laugh at the "caution!" quip every time he was speeding! I am surprised he didn't turn that off. We had a great time at the festivities at the Birmingham Country Club, thanks to an invite from Microsoft. Steve's team came in first at the tournament so he came home happy - a free driver and putter, with selection help from the club pro. I won't even talk about getting lost on the way back to the club for dinner - I saw parts of Detroit I didn't want to see!!

Down side - we didn't get to see my brother, his wife or my niece. I made the mistake of trying to lift a box of books into the house before we left and I woke up Saturday so sore I could hardly breathe and exhausted. So we came straight home - I dozed off and on the whole way and spent the rest of the weekend in bed. Can't wait to get in to the specialist next month. I am so tired of hurting and being exhausted. I had never even heard of fibromyalgia 6 months ago - well, I sure know what it is, first hand!!

I am listening to Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts. (Thanks Diane!) Great book that I think teenage girls would love as it starts out with the main character, Rena Hale, at age eleven when she is the first to see the fire engulf their family restaurant. Due to this traumatic event, she plans to become an arson investigator. I am at the point where she is in college and the son of the arsonist, who had attacked her when he was only twelve, has been released from prison and is out for revenge. He has a love of fire and the sound of crackling human flesh as it burns. I couldn't help but vocally voice my opinion about that scene while driving home from the mall. The people in the cars around me must have wondered what I was carrying on about and why I had such a grossed out look on my face. Anyway, I am loving this suspense romance. Haven't read on her books in years.

I remember back in the early 90s when I took a YA Literature course from Betty Carter at TWU as part of my Ph.D. program and we read Killing Mr. Griffith, which was made into a movie. After reading it, I did my booktalking session for that course on thrillers. Ever since then I have been a Lois Duncan triller fan and one of my favorites is Gallows Hill It came out in 1997 and is only available in paperback now but I watched a movie, during my Sunday morning wallowing in the NYTimes and movies, with a plot that sounded very familiar, I've Been Waiting for You. The credits note that it is indeed based on Duncan's Gallows Hill. And, as per usual, the book is much better. I became fascinated with Duncan as an author and the types of books she writes after reading her autobiographical Who Killed My Daughter? In 1989, Duncan's college age daughter was shot and killed while driving home in Albuquerque, NM. After getting little help from the police, consulting psychics, and hiring a private investigator, Duncan learned her naive daughter had gotten caught up in an Asian drug ring due to her boyfriend. I read the book well over 10 years ago, but I remember crying while I read it. A quick browse of her web site will give you an idea of how many YA novels she has written, if you aren't already aware of this well known YA author.

I finished Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games and am impatiently waiting for the next book, even though this one won't hit the bookstores until September 2008. Fantastic book! The teens who love virtual reality war type games (the ones that take skill and aren't just gory) will really get into this book as it recruits 13 pairs of teens, ages 12 - 18, and pits them against each other in a broadcasted battle for their lives. The rich viewers can bet on their favorites and send "gifts" to help them out - like water or medication - in this case a salve to heal a nasty burn on sixteen-year-old Katniss' leg. If you don't find yourself rooting out loud for Katniss while reading this book, I will be surprised. I woke up Sophie with my whoop of support when she survived an ambush. Anyone who says reading or listeing to a book is a passive act, has never been around me when I am interacting with a book. Passive - my fanny! Scholastic is releasing Hunger Games in audiobook format at the same time, so there's another option for the teenagers who don't read but have ear buds in at all times.

I'll end today's post with a really fun graphic novel style picture book for the elementary age (well - any age person who loves super heroes - even dinosaur ones) boys who aren't ready yet for the adult level superhero graphic novels/comics. Following up the popular 2005 Captain Raptor and the Moon Mystery, Kevin O'Malley and Patrick O'Brien join forces again with the 2007 Captain Raptor and the Space Pirates Walker has published both and they should readily accessible as the second one was published last summer, but I wanted to talk about it now as schools are creating summer reading lists. This is a great one to add for 2nd and 3rd grade. The boys will love a dinosaur superhero in space. I was chuckling aloud at the pirate jargon used by Bloody Bart Scalawag, the pirate captain who tries to trick our superhero, but he is no match for the brawn and wits of Captain Raptor. Way cool books!!