My Failed March Magics Post

I can’t finish this book. I’m so sad. OK, better truer words:  I won’t read this? I am “choosing to not continue” to read this. I just want to fall into a story and get swept away and this one is making me think too much about whether or not I should keep reading. I find myself carrying the book around and then never opening or maybe reading 2 pages slowly and not paying attention. OBVIOUSLY this book is not for me.

(I still might gift it to my niece. I hope she likes it. I trust my good reading friends who adore DWJ will find this to be a successful resolution to this problem.)

Fire and Hemlock fahbydwj  FIREBIRD / Penguin Group 2012 (orig 1985), 438 pages

DNF’d – could not abide the bad spelling even if it was supposed to be like that. Ugh! I can’t translate bad spelling into what the words are supposed to be and then SO DISTRACTED and bothered. Also, couldn’t figure out the two memory thing. DWJ is just not for me. I have not the DWJ-appreciation gene; NOT that I don’t admire and respect her talent and success. I will let others enjoy her work.

Attempted to read for #MarchMagics because so many lovely readers I admire love DWJ.

Will be gifting to my Middle-School-aged niece.

Also, bad parenting. UGH again. (in the book, not referring to my niece!)


So. I am substitute teaching mathematics to HS freshman in two classes and to HS seniors in another class. Plus I have a “home room” of 3o minutes with about 20 kids. Two weeks down, one week to survive til one week of totally glorious spring break and then 3-4 weeks after and then the teacher I am subbing for comes back. It’s fun, it’s exhausting, it’s overwhelming. I’m making mistakes, I’m beating myself up, I’m falling in love with the lil cherubs, I’m learning slang and other stuff, the staff is amazingly professional and inspiring, and I couldn’t have walked into anything better right now. I am trying to counter the “I’m so exhausted” thoughts with more energetic ones; but as they say, it takes 21 days to make a habit. I’m working on it!

I haven’t finished a book in what feels like forever and I am totally bonkers for the Tournament of Books. BONKERS, PEOPLE!!! I just started an audio of The Sympathizer and I think it will be a good one. I’ve also embarked on a readalong  with Book Chatter Ti of The New World to my surprise (what am I thinking trying to add something new now to my plate?) – but it is super-dooper intriguing because it is a phone app and I don’t know what to expect, really, but it’s a terrific book for #Weirdathon.

What else? I’m sorry I’m not visiting y’all’s blogs or responding to comments but thank you. And a big thank you to all those who have written me personal hand-written (and typed!) letters and postcards this past week! I got quite a bit of nice mail in that box at the end of the driveway and I love it. I’m so blessed.

Have a dynamite wonderful book-filled week!


Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Howl’s Moving Castle

Thoughts  hmcbydwj Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, A Greenwillow Book EOS • An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers 2008 (orig 1986), 429 pages

I have been wanting to read this since Jenny of Jenny’s Books educated me on the MUSTS of knowing this author.

I wrote all about my attempt to participate in the first DWJ Week way back when in my review of her short story collection Mixed Magics.   <– click on that underlined part Miss Mad…

I enjoyed Mixed Magics and I must say that Howl’s Moving Castle is just as delightful.

Delightful and LIVELY. Lively was the word I used to describe Mixed Magics and it applies here, too. Especially the beginning. I was grinning and giggling and very much excited to continue once I began. Ms. Jones just writes extremely engaging and SMART stories.

So this time around, “they” declared March as DWJ month and tweeted and twitted about it with hashtag #dwjmarch. I was a bit late to the party and was proud of myself for getting my hands on this book. Finally. AND reading it in March. Though I had to finish it in April.

I’m not going to yap too much what it’s about. An eldest daughter realizes that because she is the eldest, her chances of adventure are non-existent but things end up happening to her anyway. I’m actually liking the story even more reflecting on it.

Question for you parents of 11 year olds…  Is this the perfect book for an 11 year old niece of mine? I’ve been just the wretchedest of aunties and forgot her birthday. I know, I feel horrible. So much for vying for FAVORITE-AUNT.

I actually am thinking of sending her the non-perishable ingredients plus recipe for Coconut Custard Pie – I just don’t know if she likes coconut!  oh well, I think I’ll do it anyway…

SO then, let me know if you think I should buy this for the poor niece of mine who has been treated shabbily by Auntie-Care and do have a delightful day!

NEVERMIND. I believe this will be PERFECT for her. (I just read that post of Jenny’s again that I link to above…)

Copyright © 2007-2013. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Mixed Magics

Thoughts   Mixed Magics:  Four Tales of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones, Harper Trophy 2000, 193 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:  Diana Wynne Jones Week is was the First Week of August!    Thank you to Jenny of Jenny’s Books for her contagious enthusiasm and encouragement.

When the announcement of DWJ Week broke and I had never heard of the author, I asked for a recommendation.   I liked the suggestion of Eight Days of Luke being an influencer of Neil Gaiman (rock star) to write American Gods.   Unfortunately, I was asleep at the wheel when I was IN the library, the book was waiting for me, I failed to realize it!   I also didn’t have my library card* with me and it’s a fiasco to attempt to check out anything without it.   So the book was returned to wherever and I didn’t have it in time to participate in DWJ Week.   (*sniff*)

So, in the very middle of DWJ Week and I’m hyperventilating because I don’t have a DWJ book in hand and my brother and SIL are visiting (very rude, you know, to say, um-we have to go to the library and I really need to be reading…), I realize that my town’s library IS a TOURIST ATTRACTION!!!!     Hurray!   So I shove my Bro and SIL into the library to admire the paintings of General Tom Thumb and his lovely wife Minnie Bump as I scour the shelves for the shortest DWJ book:   Mixed Magics wins.    A collection; a variety of short stories with a range of subject manner all featuring Chrestomanci (doh.)

Have I bored you yet?   Oh well, that’s how I came to this book.

It’s charming.  If I had to choose one word to describe this collection, I would say ‘lively’.   It’s got beautifully drawn characters; from bad guys to kids with magic talents to the revered Chrestomanci.    I loved the humor and intelligence.    And now I need to read more Diana Wynne Jones and will likely buy for a few of my N&Ns.**

Please go to Jenny’s blog and see how successful her campaign was to get so many to read Ms Jones!   and I also must call attention to Villa Negativa’s excellent essay, The Hotties of Diana Wynne Jones, or Why Are All These Grown Women Reading Children’s Books?

“Very well. Thasper, son of Imperion, I reluctantly give you my blessing to go forth and preach Dissolution.  Go in peace.” (golly, I hope that isn’t a spoiler.)

RATING:    Three slices of pie.   Only because they were too short and I wanted a bit more.

* How do I go to the library without my card!??!   I don’t know.  #hangsheadinshame

** N&Ns = Nieces and Nephews


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Friday Free For All

Hello.   How long has it been since I treated you to a random spouting of whatever is on my mind?    I think I could yap for many words this morning AND still keep it about books.     Got LOTS to say, it seems, and of course, all my sentence/thoughts are TOO LONG for Twitter.  😛   Besides, sometimes yelling into the Twitter void is loneliness-inducing.    I’ll say something and no one reacts.   So I just fell silly.   Like I’m in a room full of people shouting something (not) profound; everyone keeps right on talking.    Even worse, is the feeling that everyone stops for just a silent second to glance at me and then resumes talking.   Twitter CAN be intimidating, admit it. (yes, I do know that I should just jump in and react to someone else’s tweet – gotta be a friend to have a friend…)

See?  I’ve already rambled on and have barely even started.

I am now reading Night by Elie Wiesel;  inspired by my finishing The Book Thief (and the fact that Night is less than 200 pages, who am I kidding?!)       I have a confession.   Of course, I knew this book was about his time in the Nazi concentration camps but I didn’t realize it was about his crisis of faith.    I don’t know why this gives me pause, but it is sobering and somber and quietly dread-full.       I think I might have to seek out Viktor Frankel’s Man’s Search for Meaning as a counterpoint/companion read next.   How did I get on a Holocaust themed book run?

On a lighter note, I decided I could very well pop in an audio book to help Jen celebrate her Audio Week Extravaganza!    So I’m halfway through listening to Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson and I am IN LOVE with the setting!    What a wonderful NYC book!   I’m fond of this book already; fond of the main character and her family.

Which brings me to a question that you may want to address in a comment if you so wish:     Does it intimidate you to see the HOURS of LISTENING on an audio book case as compared to a book’s page count?     It does me.      So, when I saw that Suite Scarlett is NINE hours, I thought “OK, quite do-able.”    and yet, I *know* that I can read about 50-60 pages an hour and could if I wanted to convert a book reading time to hours, but I never do.

On similar note (maybe), I downloaded the audio of The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace and the key-card doesn’t tell me how many hours it is.   WHY do you think I assume it is many?   Many like is LOTS?    I’m scared to look up the page count…    I was about to write another sentence with a form of the word ‘intimidation’ in it and that’s just silly.   I have to get over what that word means!

Which reminds me of that quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

I am hoping to put together a pre-discussion post of  questions for Franny & Zooey – I suppose, I should write a review, too – and just wanted to let you know that I ended up liking it very much.    Not what I was expecting to after the first 40 pages.   In fact, I may have to re-read the Franny section.    I didn’t do a good job of taking notes so I might have to re-read the whole thing…   oh well.

I’m also reminded that I need a button.  and a note in my sidebar.   And I want to thank Florinda for sharing the link to the kickoff in one of her announcement posts!

AND.     For August 10, I hereby announce the book will be Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

Maree is hosting a discussion/readalong of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods on July 10th, too.   I got the book! I’ve been saying I need to read some NG for years now.

Jenny over at Jenny’s Books will be celebrating Diana Wynne Jones (an author I had never heard of until I started to read Jenny’s blog which you should read, too) – check out her announcement of that special week here.   I want to read Howl’s Moving Castle or Eight Days of Luke.

Have I also shared that we are planning on vacation for July 10th (the F&Z discussion) and it is extremely possible that I won’t have internet access on that date?!?!??!?!?     I’m sticking my head in the sand and refusing to acknowledge this possibility.   DRAT IT ALL.    I can’t go and tell the Hub to cancel vacation because I screwed up and scheduled an internet chat, now can I?     Well, I wish I could but he’ll just turn around and ask me how much money I’m making on this blog-thing and ha-ha…   I’ll see what I can do.   Maybe I can get that I-Pad thingy figured out by then?   It’s on my list of to-do’s before July 4th.

What else, what else?    I had a brain full of topics to address!  Where did they go?

I received Making the Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa, MD from my new-friend-from-BEA Esme at Chocolate & Croissants (thank you!) which she was so wonderfully generous to send me because I was complaining that I couldn’t find this book in LARGE PRINT.    (The one she sent isn’t in large print, either – I don’t think they printed an LP edition.)   My desire was that I wanted to get this for the library at the HOME FOR THE AGED where I volunteer and the residents prefer Large Print.     (It’s the largest Large Print library on the southcoast of Massachusetts!)

Finally, I leave you with a photo of a DOG named Oscar.


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.