Monday, August 3, 2015

5 Books I Don't Think I'll Ever Read

Of course, who knows? But I will say that these are probably not anywhere near my TBR each for a variety of reasons!


I'm counting this as one. My blog my rules :)




Friday, July 31, 2015

All Lady July Wrap Up

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Well, today marks an end to All Lady July!

Thank you for being here and for reading!

Thanks to my wonderful guest posters Jen and Jamie!

This weekend I'll put all the links on the top at the All Lady July tab so you can go find your favorite posts easily in the future.

I realized that I was going to try to do a giveaway, but with moving and starting a new job time just got away from me. There's one in the future. Maybe in November for my birthday?

Can't wait to do this again in a year :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

An All Lady July Dinner Party...

If we’ve learned nothing else from this week, we’ve learned that the world is full of talented women. I made a list of 5 of them who I would like to have a nice long and leisurely dinner with, and after that of course, drinks in the library. (I don’t know whose mansion we are having this dinner at but it sounds really nice!)

Mary Roach

Mary seems like she would be a hoot and a half. Smart and funny, I bet conversations with her might verge on the “not a conversation you want to have while you are eating” kind.

Karen Russell

I hope that by hanging out with Karen some of her awesome will rub off on me. She’s young, super talented and everything that she writes intrigues me. “St Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” is the best short story collection I’ve read in such a long time.

Lucy Knisley

I think Lucy and I would talk about cheese and bread the whole time. I feel like those two topics alone would make a great conversation but we could also talk about other food, traveling and her little manatee doodles that I like so much.

Margaret Atwood

The lady is a legend, and she will definitely lend some gravitas to this gathering. Or else it will be talk of alligators, “prison wallets” and the fact I can’t get too close to bleu cheese without feeling a little stomach heav-y.

Jen Hatmaker

Jen would bring some of her southern charm (and hopefully some of the tasty sounding snacks she makes) to this gathering. I like Jen because even though she writes really interesting theological books she’s also a goof who occasionally hides from her kids and just seems like she’s a big ol’ ball of love.

How about you guys? Who is coming to dinner at your imaginary mansion?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Graphic Novel review: "Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me" by Ellen Forney

Ellen is one of those people, who I suspect, was always the life of the party. A talker, hypersexual, creative on the go type of person. She's a cartoonist (kind of obvious, I suppose) and loves drama and theater. One summer she starts to feel pretty consistently and begins to see a therapist. After not many sessions the therapist begins to suspect Ellen might have a personality disorder (manic episodes, not much sleep or appetite, the hypersexuality, family history, among other things). When they open up the DSM-IV and Ellen reads the symptoms she sees herself outlined on the page.

What follows is a story of Ellen's struggle to find the right balance of medications, her own struggle with her creativity and motivation, interesting stories about her friends and family (one with a really sweet Greek name) and more. She also looks to different "tortured" artists to see how their mental illnesses affected them and their work.

I think two of her questions she asks herself were pretty profound, and must have been scary to contemplate:

-I thought this was just my fun, zany personality; but you're telling me these are all symptoms of a disease?

- If I take meds to prevent my mood swings, am I choosing to be less creative?

This was not my favorite graphic novel, but I really appreciate that she laid everything bare. Her struggles not just with medication and side effects, but what the disease meant for her as a person as an artist. I also appreciated the sobering statistics that she included, foremost the pages where she outlined artists who had attempted or had committed suicide. It was a depressingly a lot of people. 3 stars out of 5! (The book does contain a fair amount of female cartoon nudity...just in case you were planning on reading this with a small child or your grandparents or something)


Friday, July 24, 2015

All Lady July Guest Post: Jamie from Books & Beverages talks about what person and what books shaped her as a reader!

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Today on the blog I'm pleased as punch to have the amazing Jamie from Books and Beverages guest posting. All of her info is at the bottom of the post, and I highly reccomend you make regular visits to her site. If for no other reason to talk Tolkien and Lewis (Tollers and Jack to those in the know) during the Inklings readings! I love that Jamie chose this topic to write on! Thanks for being here today Jamie friend, and happy belated birthday! :)

Hello everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of All Lady July this year! Thank you so much Wesley for letting me join in the fun! One of the ideas Wesley came up with was who encouraged me to read. This question fits perfectly because I get to talk about one of my favorite people on the planet and she’s also quite the lady - my Mama!

My Mom has always encouraged my siblings and I. She continues to do so, even though I’m well into my adult years. From building sets (and lots of Legos) to pets, sports and everything in between, my Mom has always encouraged me to explore and find what I love. One of those early on was most definitely books.

I loved the times during summer (when we weren’t running around our neighborhood) when we’d go to the library. To this day my heart holds a special place for my hometown library (and I really hope they have the same 70s carpet and shelves). And those summer reading challenges? My mom was the one to introduce me to them and encourage me to join (I did not mess around people. There were some serious prizes waiting for me - like free books!).

She would often buy me books and my love for literature and reading has never died down. I’m so thankful for those memories and developing an early love for books. Now I’ve been able to return the favor by giving her plenty of recommendations and lots of books - it’s so fun!

I still have many of these books from childhood (I can let go internet, I can’t). I’ve re-read a couple in recent years and y’all - they are just as fun now as they were back then.

I not only remember these books, but each impacted me in different ways - even if I didn’t realize that at the wise age of 10. Whether for their bravery, courage, inspiration or all of the above, here’s a few of my old favorites:

Roll of Thunder Hear MyCry by Mildred D. Taylor - This book wasn’t a light read, but an important one and helped myself, along with plenty of other people, understand racism from a young girl’s perspective in the South.

Island of the BlueDolphins by Scott O'Dell - This book was based on the true story of Juana Maria, who lived on the island by herself for 18 years. I remember thinking - girls DO have what it takes.

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary - This book? It showed me reading is fun.

The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett - This is one I need to re-read soon, but I don’t think there’s many people who didn’t like this book.

Wesley Note: Jamie and I want to do a read along of this book. Maybe in the fall? Anyone interested in reading along?

A Murder For Her Majesty by Beth Hilgartner.  This was probably the first clue that I would become rather obsessed with Criminal Minds, Monk and Psych. Mystery and witnessing murder? Nothing an 11-year girl can’t figure out right?

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. After I read this (I remember watching the movie back in the day too!) I desperately wanted a secret garden. I re-read this recently and I loved it all over again.

Anne of Green Gablesby Lucy Maud Montgomery. I have to confess, I grew up only with the movies. Yet, this was a story that still impacts me and was a favorite to watch with my sister and cousins. I haven’t been able to watch it since the death of Gilbert Blythe though. Sigh…

Black Star, Bright Dawn by by Scott O'Dell. Another classic from Mr. O’Dell. It involves a husky, so of course it would be a win for me! Bright Dawn’s story was yet another reminder that women can accomplish some pretty amazing feats.

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Another reason I love Jamie's blog, she takes a wonderful picture.

Do you have favorite books from your childhood?

Thanks for reading and I’d love to connect with you! I write over at Books and Beverages ( and can also be found on Twitter Facebook  and Instagram 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

All Lady July 2015 Shopping Spree

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All photos have links to the Etsy shop and their sellers. Lots of fun options for yourself or your book loving friends!

Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse - Literature Poster Literature Art Print Book Art Classic Literature Decor - Multiple Sizes

So many great items from this etsy shop! Some designs also are available in sweatshirts!

Vintage 1995 American Women Authors Playing Cards & Educational Card Game by U.S. Game Systems

"Vintage"! The most important thing is, can we turn it into a drinking game? Hmmmm....

Maya Angelou Hand-Cut Paper Silhouette Portrait

Lots of authors available! Cameos are so in right now, it seems like...

Jane Austen Novel Quote Burlap Pillow literary decor

Just Jane, telling it like it is...

Book phone /iPhone flip Wallet case- Gone with the Wind for iPhone 6, 6 plus, 5, 5s, 5c, iPhone 4, 4s- Samsung Galaxy S6 S5 S4 S3, Note 3, 4

So cute! And at about $30, not unreasonable!

Women Literature T-Shirt - Agatha Christie - Favorite Author Book Novel Classics Love Reading Clothing Art - Multiple Sizes & Colors

Get your detective on!

Margaret Atwood, A Word, Power, Writing, Quotes, Learning, Inspirational, Literature, Author Quotes, Books, Power of Words


Monday, July 20, 2015

All Lady July Book Review: "When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped us Win World War II" by Molly Guptill Manning

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You guys. This book. It made me a weepy, grateful mess. But let's start with the basics that everyone already knows.

World War II was terror and death wrapped in bombs and shrapnel. Nazis were (are) assholes. For a soldier, there was a lot of waiting around for the fighting to start and then when it did it was pants shitting horror. Many of the fighting men and women had no creature comforts, and nothing to take their mind of their surroundings, loneliness, homesickness and fright. But a couple of smart people realized that there was a simple thing to lift their spirits and keep morale sliding any more dangerously low - books.

There were a couple of problems:

- A lot of times the government didn't have the money to kit out a soldier completely, and know they have to spend money for books too?

- At first there was a book drive and a million books were collected. However, not all of the books were of interest to the average fighter (obscure theological tomes anyone?) And since paperback books were just starting to be made, most of the books were hardcovers.There was reports of men in the jungles of the Pacific leaving things like gas masks behind to lighten their loads, they are not going to carry a heavy hardcover.

- "In 1943, publishers were only allowed 37.5% of the paper they had been allowed in 1939". Because, you know, there's a war on and you gotta make do.

The solution that was come up with was the American Services Edition. They were paperback, lightweight, designed to fit in pockets and bags (they even measured all the pockets on different armed forces uniforms to make sure). Even the longest ASE (521 pages) fit snugly into pockets.

How were books chosen?

1. Publishers went through their catalogs and tried to pick out books that would have the most appeal.
2. An outside council read the recommended books and discussed their merits. They'd make a list.
3.The government had to approve the books, and the ones they approved got printed and distributed.

The best part of this book was learning about the books the soldiers loved. There are some surprises! They were desperate for the books, they were the hottest commodity in camp next to lighters. Many men said that they weren't really readers but those little books turned them into readers for life! And some books were designed specifically to help men get back into civilian life after the war.

I was just a big spongy mess reading this book, for real. What these books did for those people is extraordinary.

So if anyone wants to buy some ASE's for their own personal library (I know I do!) try eBay.

The last line of the book summed up the whole thing for me. I'm going to put it in italics because putting it in all caps would be me yelling at you (though it deserves yelling: "More than 141 million books were given to the american armed forces. More books that Hitler ever destroyed".