Sunday, July 25, 2010

Oh my - over a month since I blogged last. I was doing really well for awhile with the occipital headache going from feeling like I had been hit in the back of the head with a 2x4 to being hit with a small branch due to the occipital nerve injections. It wasn't touching the headache around my eye but I was in good spirits as any relief was a blessing. Steve even noted I had more energy and was more upbeat. Then I landed flat on my face and left knee on the hardwood floor. The short bookcase I normally use for balance coming out of my office and into the living room had been removed to make the living room look bigger and there was nothing to grab onto when my left knee gave out. I didn't even get my hands out. I hit so hard I flattened my glasses and when my head bounced they flew off. I thought I had broke my nose but I "just" made a hole in my upper lip with my front teeth. I had the Goldie Hawn Death Becomes Her plump upper lip without having to pay a penny for it! Since Steve was home I didn't have my cell phone on my hip but he was out mowing the lawn. So I lay there and cried until he came in and helped me up and to bed with frozen veggie bags on my face and knee. What a mess! So, I took two steps forward and then four back as the doc said I had re-injured the occipital nerves and the whiplash damage from the fall in Denver. So now I'm wearing my knee brace more and using a cane and waiting for the Worker's Comp. approval to buy a walker to use on the really bad days and when Steve isn't home. Thank goodness he works from home! Boy is this all making me feel old but I now admit how helpful the cane actually is for balance.

And, teaching three sections of Children's Lit this summer has "eaten my cookies" and then some. Grading assignments for that many students is more than a bit time consuming as I spend a lot of time offering input as I want my students to leave my youth materials courses with a strong skills set for how to locate both award winning and "just fun" reading for youth. And, they read - a lot!!

I treated myself to a day off - today - as I actually caught up with the assignments turned in as of last night. It is so different to sit at a computer and grade papers via the Word track changes option so I can "talk" to them as I grade. No more carrying around a briefcase full of papers but I feel like I am attached to the computer or cell phone that checks email 24/7.

I made good use of my day off - I wallowed in the NY Times and chuckled over an old b/w Cary Grant movie and sat down to go through the 14 paperbacks in Christine Feehan's Dark series from Half Price Books. Of course, I am missing the first book - Dark Prince which is no longer available from Barnes and Noble and back ordered on Amazon and Borders. I found it on Boy could I spend a lot of money on that site as shipping is free even if you are buying one paperback. :-) I did end up buying the 6th in the series too but I don't think I will get these Carpathian vampire books read anytime soon. Mary has read them all and is working her way through my favorite Drake Sisters series by Feehan. Feehan is a wonderful beach read author but I wouldn't give these to a teen as they are quite racy!

Speaking of vampire series, I read the first 6 titles in the YA level House of the Night series They are written by a mother/daughter team, P.C. and Kristen Cast. I ordered the 7th title, Burned today and it will be my treat when I get the final grades in for the summer session. I read all of the Twilight series but I didn't think they were very well written as they dragged, really draaaaggggged, for me. I just wanted Edward to bite whiny Bella and be done with it! I am devouring the Cast titles as they focus on a strong female protagonist - Zoey Redbird, a Native American from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who is in the process of becoming a vampire. She is progressing faster than the other fledglings but she has a great group of friends who are there for her. Stevie Rae is her roommate, best friend and the first red fledgling. Then there is Aphrodite who started out as Zoey's archenemy and is now one of her strongest supporters. And the other "insiders" are a kick - a gay guy and his guy pal and "twins" (one white and one black who grew up no where near each other) who finish each other sentences. Lots of teen angst, romance, and a really great storyline that I am happy to follow for as many more books the mother/daughter team want to write about the inhabitants of the House of Night.

There was no way I could not dive into Lisa Desrocher's debut Personal Demons It is a page turner and then some! Imagine an angel and a demon fighting over your soul, but somehow both have fallen for you. That is exactly what happens to 17-year-old Frannie, a "good" Catholic girl who have never forgiven herself for her twin brother's death when he fell out a tree when they were seven. She blames herself for his death and doesn't believe she deserves to go to heaven. So in steps Luc, a sexy looking demon, who Frannie falls for. The feelings are reciprocated. Frannie has the ability to "sway" people's (demons and angels too) minds and emotions and Luc has no defenses against what she doesn't even know she possesses but both God and the devil do. Who should arrive next in Frannie's high school and work his way into her heart as well? Gabe, the angel who is to tag her for heaven. One would never believe an angel and demon would work together to save Frannie from herself, but they do. And, in the process Luc is becoming human and that isn't going over well with his boss. What a wild ride! I laughed, I cried, and I gasped - all of the emotions an author wants to elicit in a reader and Descrochers sure accomplished that as far as I am concerned. She may be a physical therapist in her "real life" but she is one hell of an author and I think Luc would agree! If this is what she can do in a debut novel, I can't wait to read her next book.

I'm not a big nonfiction reader but I could not resist the chilling photograph of the KKK hood on the front of Susan Campbell Bartoletti's They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of An American Terrorist Group The subtitle took my breath away as I realized we are so intent on foreign terrorists that we often forget that our own South is the birthplace of a vicious group of men who terrorized and murdered African Americans. The realization that these men would ride through garden parties in the South and the attendees would chuckle over their costumes made me shiver. I'd like to think they didn't know what occurred in the dark of the night but I am sure many did. The time period illustrations and Bartoletti's impeccable research make this a must have title in any level library, but more importantly, she doesn't shy away from making the dark side of U.S. and world history accessible to young people. She is also the author of Hitler Youth and Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845 -1850 which won the Sibert Award for nonfiction. Like Russell Freedman, Bartoletti is a nonfiction author who not only is an excellent writer, but a superb researcher.

That's it for me today. I still have the local Sunday paper to enjoy. Please excuse my typos - I seem to be making a lot of those these days.