Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Movie Project: 1935

We've gotten to one of the sections of the Academy Award winners' list where I haven't seen several of the movies, so I'll be doing individual posts for a little while.

Mutiny on the Bounty
I haven't moved forward with this project because this particular movie sat on my dresser for a good month before I got around to watching it. I'm not entirely sure where the reluctance came from. So I finally made myself sit down to watch it and I have to admit that I found it kind of boring. I read a book through most of the movie, only half paying attention to what was on the screen.

This movie is purportedly the true tale of the Fletcher Christian-lead mutiny against Captain Bligh on the HMS Bounty. The Bounty had been commissioned in 1787 to sail to Tahiti to pick up breadfruit plants. They were to bring the plants back to the West Indies, where it was hoped that breadfruit would be a cheap way to feed the slaves.

I think the thing that turns me off most to this movie is that it's supposed to be true but it is, in fact, highly fictionalized. Bligh is painted as an evil tyrant who deserved to be overthrown; Christian is painted as a virtuous hero. In reality, there is very little evidence that Bligh was a harsh captain. In fact, his actions were considered merciful for the times. For example, when 3 men deserted and were captured, he had them flogged, rather than hanged (the standard punishment of the time). He and Christian had sailed together previously. Christian even got his position as master's mate on the Bounty at Bligh's recommendation.

The reality is that it's very unlikely that Christian lead the mutiny because of Bligh's alleged despotism. The Bounty had spent 5 months in Tahiti, during which time Christian had married a local woman and several other men had formed "attachments." The men probably just didn't want to leave their newfound paradise behind.

The mutineers forced Bligh and 18 of his loyalists onto a 23-foot open launch and set them adrift. They somehow managed to reach the Dutch East Indies after 47 days. I think this a far more interesting story. I'd like to see a movie about that.

At any rate, if you want to go with the "Bligh as tyrant" version of the story, I do have to say that Charles Laughton plays him excellently.

Stars: Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone

Bookstore Books 10/23/10

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

A fantasy novel about a young man who, despite lacking the power of "furycrafting" (unlike most people in his world), may just be the one person who can save them all from a terrible war.

I haven't started reading this book yet. I just noticed that it's "Book One" of a series. I hate getting sucked into series, but I'll give it a shot anyway.

The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage

A non-fiction book about the invention, rise, and eventual fall of the electric telegraph.

I've read two chapters of this book. Have found it a touch dry so far, but will continue reading. It's pretty short and I think it gets a lot better.

Coroner's Journal by Louis Cataldie, M.D.

The jacket description of this book has got to be the longest and most complex I've ever seen, hahaha. But I found one sentence that sums up what this non-fiction book is about: "Not for the faint of heart, this is a close-up look at the world of a coroner in a small southern city with big-city problems."

I haven't started this book yet but I'm really looking forward to it.

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

A novel of the young British upper class in 1950s London.

I haven't started this book yet. I'm hoping it's really good.

And finally (a lot of great stuff came my way this week!).....

The Serpent and the Moon by Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent

The true story of King Henri II of France, who spent most of his life in love with Diane de Poitiers (an aristocrat 19 years his senior), even through his politically advantageous marriage to Catherine de Medici. The author is a descendant of both Catherine and Diane. The book includes a truly dizzying family tree of all the key players and lots of sumptuous pictures.

I haven't started reading this book yet.

Bookstore Books 10/16/10

I've been feeling too lazy to take pictures of the books I've picked up recently, which has kept me from posting to the blog. So I decided that all posts today will be picture-free. Here are the books that I picked up on 10/16:

On Fortune's Wheel by Cynthia Voigt

A fantasy (possibly in the YA category?) novel about a young woman who tries to stop a thief in the night and finds herself thrown into the journey of a lifetime.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Probably best known to most people from the recent movie version. This is the story of a young teenaged girl who runs away from home only to find both herself and the real home she'd always desired.

Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks

Nicholas Sparks is a famous novelist who typically turns out schmaltzy fair such as A Walk to Remember and Nights in Rodanthe. I've never read any of his books before because, frankly, they seem a bit cheesy to me. But this book is a memoir that he wrote with his brother. It describes both the three-week world tour the brothers took together in 2002 and their lives growing up together.


I have already read all three of these books and enjoyed them all thoroughly.

Monday, October 11, 2010

And Now for Something Lovely

A gift from one of my fellow volunteers this past weekend. They grow in her yard (and lots of other places here).

Found Pictures: Pregnant Wedding Couple

I have to admit that a fellow volunteer and I shared a snicker over this picture. These poor people look sooo uncomfortable. Why do wedding photographers make people do such awkward things?

I'm pretty sure this picture is on Maui. If not, definitely somewhere in Hawaii. I doubt it will translate well over the computer, but with the physical picture in hand you can see another island very faintly off in the distance. Kind of looks like Lanai.

No writing on the back of this photo. I wonder how old their child is now?

Found Pictures: Consciously Rustic House

Hmm. Not my cup of tea as far as houses go at all. But I do have to admit that I wonder two things:

1. Where is this house? I'm guessing "not Hawaii" due to the evergreens.

2. What does it look like on the inside? Because if it were decorated with bearskin rugs on the floor and animal heads mounted on the wall, that might be kind of cool.

There is no writing on the back of this picture. Alas.

Books from the Bookstore 10/9/10

House Rules by Rachel Sontag. It's a memoir by a woman who grew up with a very controlling father and a mentally ill mother. I read the first few pages the other day and decided that I didn't want to read this book after all.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Perhaps you've heard of this one. It's written by this college professor who was invited to do a "last lecture" (apparently such lectures are common on college campuses these days; college professors are invited to think about their death and lecture on all the things they'd want to say). Only after accepting the gig, Pausch found out that he really was dying of pancreatic cancer and had only a few months to live.

I read the first few pages, couldn't get into it, and set it aside to take back. But I've decided that I want to give it another shot.

Eccentrics: A Study of Sanity and Strangeness by Dr. David Weeks and Jamie James. This one should be fairly self-explanatory. It's a study of eccentrics. I'm excited about this one! Does anybody else find it funny that one of the authors of this book is Jamie James or am I just a nerd?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bunny Suicides

Ah yes, the very rare bookstore purchase.

(I get most of my books from there for free because I take them back when I'm done with them. It's one of the perks of being a volunteer. I buy them when I know I'm not going to bring them back, but since we're moving back to the mainland in the not-too-distant future, I try not to buy too many.)

As stated in my previous post, I'm rather morbid, a trait that extends to my sense of humor. And that is why I love this series:

I was just telling someone this week about the bunny suicides. I don't remember who, but I do remember that they looked more confused than amused. Oh well. To each their own. At any rate, since I was just talking about it, I was thrilled to stumble across the "box of bunny suicides" at the bookstore and I had to buy it.

If you don't know what they are, the title is pretty self-explanatory. It's a bunch of cartoons depicting these cute little bunnies committing suicide through various clever methods. I suppose when I explain it, it doesn't sound very funny, but believe me, it is. I laughed and laughed while flipping through the books last night.

Two of my favorites (warning: nerd alert):

A bunny standing on a transporter pad next to two Stark Trek guys, only he's only half on the pad, so when the transporter is energized, only half the bunny gets beamed up.

A bunny pouring pepper in Sauron's (Lord of the Rings) all-seeing eye.

I love that just 20 cents bought me so much entertainment.

Bookstore Books 10/02/10

I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crossley. I've wanted to read this book for a long time; since before we moved to Hawaii, in fact. So I was pleased to see it finally come through the bookstore. However, I read the first essay in the book last night and started to read a second but got bored. I intend to give it another go at a later date, but I'm beginning to suspect that I don't like "essay books," especially those written by people who think they're vastly more clever than they actually are.

As an aside, it really bugs me when people buy sale books at Borders or Barnes & Noble or whatever and can't be bothered to take the stickers off of them. Why would you want to carry around a book with a sticker on it that says "Buy one, get the second one half price"?

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond. I also have his book Guns, Germs, and Steel, which has been sitting in the "to read" pile for quite some time. I don't anticipate reading either any time particularly soon.

Knockdown: The Harrowing True Account of a Yacht Race Turned Deadly by Martin Dugard. This is the account of the disaster that befell the 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race, when a freak storm paralyzed several of the boats, causing multiple deaths. I actually remember hearing about this disaster when it occurred.

I'm rather morbid. I love a good disaster story, so this is the one I'm most likely to delve into first, along with my European village book (see 9/26/10 blog post) and my Genghis Khan book (which had been in the "to read" pile for a very long time until recently).

Found Items: MFOL bookmark

Bookmarks are, of course, commonly found in donated books at the bookstore. And one of the volunteers (I don't even know who) does make these cardstock paper bookmarks with funny sayings on them that people can have for free.

But the twain, as Robert Frost would say, rarely meet. This weekend, however, one of my fellow volunteers found an MFOL (Maui Friends of the Library) bookmark in a book that was returned to us, and it's one I'd never seen before:

"Canadians know a good deal when they see one, eh," it says. "They shop at Maui Friends of the Library Used Book Store."

I have to say that I'm rather tickled by this bookmark, especially since there's a "Canadian" joke that is frequently mentioned in my household.

At any rate, the MFOL bookstore is in fact a good deal - just 10 cents per book - so if you live on Maui you should check it out.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bookstore Books 9/26/10

I've decided to add a new feature to my blog: books that I've brought home from the bookstore where I volunteer.

Maybe if I add enough features, I'll finally persuade myself to update my blog more than once a month, hahaha.

Due to the stacks and stacks of books that now sit around the house, accumulating faster than I can read them, I've tried to limit the amount of books that I bring home. But when books are both free and interesting, I have a hard time resisting. Nonetheless, I brought home just two last weekend:

Life in a Medieval Village by Frances and Joseph Gies. The title is self-explanatory. It's a non-fiction work describing what life was like in medieval English villages. So far, I have read the prologue and first chapter of this book. I have to admit that they were a little dry. However, I'm hoping the book gets a bit more engaging now that I'm past the anthropological "how villages arose" part and getting into the "what life was like" part.

Nathaniel's Nutmeg: How One Man's Courage Changed the Course of History by Giles Milton. This is one of those maddening books where it gives you absolutely no synopsis of what it's about anywhere on the jacket. Seriously, why do publishers do this? I don't want to read critics' praises on the jacket; I want to know what the damn book is about!

At any rate, judging by the cover (!) and a glimpse at the first few pages, I gather that this book is NOT about the man who invented the soccer move of kicking the ball between an opponent's legs and instead about the European (possibly Englishman?) who discovered the spice nutmeg being used by foreigners in some distant land and brought it back to Europe. It is a non-fiction book. I have not yet started this book and probably will not for some time.

Found Items: Hotel Lanai postcard

After a month-long hiatus from the bookstore, I returned last weekend and came home with this find:

The caption on the back says: "Located in the heart of tranquil Lana'i City is the 11-room Hotel Lanai, with all its quaint and rustic charm from the plantation era."

Ha, traquil is right. Coming in at just 3,124 people at the 2000 census (nearly the whole population of the island), it's the only town on Lanai. A friend once told me that when he was staying there one night, he saw a herd of deer run right down the main street of town. If you want to get away from it all, Lanai might just be the place for you. When he got married to Melinda, Bill Gates rented the whole island for the weekend.

The postcard is not filled out to anyone. It was being used as a bookmark.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Movie Project: 1933 & 1934

1933: Cavalcade
Sadly, this is another movie that's not available to me to watch. Too bad - it sounds kind of interesting. A little bit like Cimarron in that it follows the story of one family over about 40 years, although this family is British and high-class. A little research shows that it's only available on VHS, so even if I could find a copy, I don't have anything to play it on (no VCR).

Stars: a bunch of people I've never heard of

1934: It Happened One Night
I've seen this movie multiple times. It's one of those movies that probably should offend my modern sensibilities but is enjoyable enough to transcend all that.

It Happened One Night is the story of a poor little rich girl who gets fed up with her controlling father and runs away. A newspaper reporter looking to get a scoop on the story finds her and steers her back towards her family, but along the way, they fall in love.

This is a classic romantic comedy - Hollywood has continued to do romantic comedies like this over and over throughout the years. The two leads have great chemistry, and there's a lot of humor. 4 out of 5 stars.

Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert

Movie Project: 1931 & 1932

1931: Cimarron
I just watched this one a few days ago. I'm not sure if this is one of those movies where my modern sensibilities are getting in the way of my enjoyment, or if this movie wasn't very good.

Cimarron (the film adaptation of a popular book) is the story of Yancey and Sabra Cravat, a young couple who move to one of the wild new "boomtowns" in Oklahoma after the territory opens to settlers. Yancey starts a newspaper, runs the bad guys out of town, protects the downtrodden (including Jews, Native Americans, and harlots), and essentially becomes the town hero while Sabra mostly simpers. That is, until he gets itchy feet and abandons his family for five years. Sabra runs the paper in his stead (although she never takes his name as editor off the front page) and raises their children single-handed. Then he comes back for a couple of years, where he proceeds to lecture Sabra about how wrong-headed she is about pretty much everything, before disappearing for another 20-odd years. He comes back one last time, only to die immediately in Sabra's arms. A statue honoring him is unveiled. The End.

Of course, the message of this film annoyed the heck out of me. The guy abandons his family, but everybody talks about how awesome he is and Sabra remains devoted to him always. Even though, at the end of the film, she is elected to Congress, he's still the hero, not her? Puh-lease.

Also, the racist caricature of the only black person in the film was seriously cringe-inducing. However, he did get perhaps the most epic death scene of any movie character I've ever seen, so there's that. The treatment of other minorities is done very sympathetically, especially for a 1930s movie, so I was impressed by that. And once I realized that the opening scene of the movie (men on horses, carriages, and bikes racing for a plot of land when the Oklahoma territory opens up) was essentially a 1930s car chase, I was highly amused by it. 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Stars: Irene Dunn, Richard Dix

1932: Grand Hotel
This is another one that I saw probably 15 years ago, and I don't remember a whole lot about it. It's about a bunch of people staying in a fancy hotel and all the drama that goes on in their lives. I really only clearly remember the last scene, which I won't spoil, because it's pretty epic. I hardly remember enough to rate it, so I shouldn't, but I'm going to give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. I remember liking it. I'd watch it again except I have too much other stuff to watch.

Stars: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford

Monday, August 16, 2010

Movie Project: 1929 & 1930

I forgot to say in my first movie post that some of my reviews will contain spoilers. I will mark said reviews with a spoiler warning.

1929: The Broadway Melody
Two sisters with a popular song-and-dance act in the West head to the Big Apple to make it big, with help from the elder sister's fiancee. They get into an act, but the younger sister's star shines brighter. At the same time, she begins to fall in love with her sister's fiancee. After much screaming and yelling, the elder sister eventually realizes that her sister and fiancee are in love and lets her fiancee go in order to make her sister happy. While they get married, she goes off on a traveling act with a woman she hates. The End.

I give this movie 2.5 out of 5 stars. The arguments between the sisters over the younger one's pursuit of an unwise romance (which she is pursuing in an attempt to forget her sister's fiancee) seemed to make up the bulk of the movie and they were interminable. And the overall message left this modern woman a little cold: young, beautiful woman with talent leaves her career behind for a man while the older, less pretty (not in my opinion; I thought she was prettier) and less talented one is left man-less and unhappy in her career. Yuck.

However, I was touched by the older sister's sacrifice and I loved the song and dance routines.

Stars: Bessie Love, Anita Page, and Charles King

1930: All Quiet on the Western Front
Honestly, it's probably been a good 15 years since I saw this movie. It is, of course, an adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's classic novel of World War I - one of my favorite books of all time. I remember not like it as much as the book, although I by no means think of it as a bad movie. In all honesty, I would do well to both read the book and watch the movie again, but I have time for neither.

One thing I do remember from this movie is the beautiful, gripping ending. 3 out of 5 stars.

Stars: Lew Ayres, John Wray, and Louis Wolheim

Movie Project

I recently decided to watch all of the Academy Award winners, or, at least, all the ones that I hadn't previously seen. It's not the most original of ideas. I'm sure I'm not the first to have ever done so, and I'm sure I won't be the last.

But I thought it would be fun to watch them and write brief reviews. Because these reviews will be relatively brief, I'll probably list a few at a time. Today I was thinking that after watching the Best Movie winners, I might watch the Best Foreign Films. That will probably be way more interesting.

So, away we go!

1928: Wings
Sadly, I have not been able to watch the first Academy Award winner. All of the movie rental places in my town have gone out of business, and Netflix doesn't have this one. Neither does my local library.

I did find a copy on Amazon for $15.00. However, I'm not dedicated enough to the Awards quest to shell out extra money for it. So I "saved" it on Netflix. Hopefully it will come in some day. But I'm a little sad that I couldn't start out My Quest with the actual first winner.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Found Items: Physics Equations

This weekend at the bookstore, a family brought in six large plastic bins full of science books. The books had belonged to the wife/mother's brother. He had recently passed away.

As we went through the books, it became increasingly more clear what a rare gift we'd been given. Science and math books don't find their way to the bookstore very often. When they do, they're usually very, very outdated. But these books were absolutely beautiful and new. He had obviously loved his books well, and, judging by the little pieces of paper with notes on them that we found in each book, he must have read every single one of them.

The variety was mind-boggling: microbiology, neuroscience, astronomy, quantum theory. And those are just the ones that I can remember (and pronounce). One of our fellow volunteers is a science buff. We had to consult with him to even figure out what some of these books were about!

I have to say that watching his face light up when he realized what all the books were about was priceless. It's a good lesson to keep in mind, folks. I used to hold on to all of my books, but now I think I'll always give all but the ones I like the most away. If you're also a reader, then you can probably imagine how much joy you feel when you find a book that you've always wanted for cheap.

At any rate, this man was obviously a genius and a modern-day Renaissance Man. I thank his family from the bottom of my heart for sharing this gift. Here is a page of some of his physics equations that I found in one of the books:

Found Items: It's Patriotic Bookmark Week!

I have to admit that the idea of a patriotic bookmark had not previously crossed my mind. I mean, if I didn't have this blog, I wouldn't be showing my bookmarks around to anyone, so I don't feel like I have to "prove" my patriotism through my bookmarks. Nor do I feel the need to remind myself that I am patriotic.

But I'm beginning to wonder if I am in the minority here. Perhaps patriotism doesn't stop with flag pins or t-shirts. Perhaps my books need a reminder that they're being read by an American. This is something I'll have to ponder further.

As an aside, you know what I find is most frequently used as a bookmark (other than random scraps of paper)? Paperclips. I think it's weird. They're very obtrusive, leave grooves in the pages (if left long enough), and the metal ones leave rust marks!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Found Items: My Magnetic Bookmark Collection

I have to admit that I'm pretty sure that I didn't know that magnetic bookmarks existed prior to finding some tucked away in books at the bookstore. Here is my collection as it currently stands:

My first find was the "Oregon" bookmark that appears to showcase Multnomah Falls. Prior to finding this bookmark, I was never much of a bookmark user. I would just set books aside and find my place the next time I picked them up (sometimes unsuccessfully). But this bookmark appealed to my sentimental side.

Now I love magnetic bookmarks. What a fantastic invention!

The white one with the flower was my second find and is probably my favorite because it's pretty.

The monkey one is my latest acquisition - just this last weekend, in fact. I like it because it's a nice size, but it perplexes me. Why would a monkey be shushing anyone? Aren't they kind of loud themselves?

Found Items: Geisha Lady (?) and Christian Bookmark

Not found in the same book, hahaha.

I actually doubt that this is a geisha, but rather probably a woman in traditional Japanese dress. I say this because the name "John" is written on the back in childish cursive, leading me to believe that she was cut out and colored as part of a school project. And I doubt they're teaching the young kids about geishas these days. I commend John for his excellent cutting and coloring skills, in addition to his imagination: I don't think you can see it in the picture, but in pencil he drew a fan in her hand.

The wording on the bookmark below reads thus: "The most important principle I can share is: anchor your life in Jesus Christ, your Redeemer. Make Heavenly Father and his beloved Son more important than a beloved companion or children or anyone on earth. Make their will your central desire. Then all that you need for happiness will come to you. (Richard S. Scott)"

I don't know who Richard S. Scott is. A very cursory "Google" search turned up many Richard S. Scotts in the world, the most prominent of which was an actor - confusing, seeing as how his one acting credit was a movie called "Solar Crisis" in 1990. Huh.

At any rate, I have to say I disagree with Mr. Scott. Personally, I wouldn't be too thrilled if my husband considered invisible people more important than me or our hypothetical children, but to each their own, I guess.

Found Pictures: Jacaranda Tree

Who doesn't love jacaranda trees? 'Tis the season to be finding a picture of one in bloom:

If these trees bloomed all year round, I wouldn't be sad about it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Found Pictures: VW Camper

It never ceases to amuse me, the random pictures that I find tucked away in books.

With a much-needed influx of books received last weekend, I finally found another gem:

This one has three inscriptions on the back. They say: "'87 VW Camper"; "HCts Beach lot - camping area - Paia - Date was Brian - Ross' 60th Bday Gathering"; and "Paid 400 - to Donald Gusman of HCts - sold it for 2400 - couldn't get it to run well."

I haven't yet figured out what "HCts" means, although the town mentioned, Paia, is here on Maui. The rest seems self-explanatory.

I have often wondered what sort of person uses a photograph as a bookmark. For me, pictures are precious and I would never use one to mark my place in a book. But this one in particular fascinates me. Who takes a picture of a vehicle to commemorate a party they went to? And then writes down the name of their date on the back? Why no picture of the date?

On the other hand, I would like to congratulate the owner of this picture for selling the showcased vehicle for $2,000 more than they paid for it, particularly since, as they say, they "couldn't get it to run well." Good show!

Tales from the Bookstore: Necklace

Two weekends ago, when I was at the bookstore, I admired the necklaces that a man and his wife were wearing. It turns out that the man made these necklaces from glass that he's found on various beaches around the world. He doesn't do anything to the glass, just fashions it into a necklace as-is, with truly beautiful results.

The man was delighted that I had complimented his artwork and said that he had more necklaces in the car. A few minutes later, he came back in with the necklaces in-hand. He insisted that one of my fellow volunteers and I both pick one free-of-charge. Here is mine:

And a close up of the glass:

I wish that I had taken a photo of the other volunteer's choice, a piece that looked black when lying flat, but a deep, rich green when held up to the light.

I was deeply moved by this freely-given gift. It brightened my whole day. In a world where we seem to be hearing the worst news all of the time, it's nice to know that people can still surprise and humble me with their kindness.

Tales from the Bookstore: A Taste of Home

Several weeks ago, I missed my day at the bookstore due to a bad case of death-flu. Since coming back, pickings there have been a little slim. These last few weeks, we've had the least amount of donations I've seen since I started volunteering there some 8 months ago.

Needless to say, found objects have been a little scarce. However, the weekend I came back from the death-flu, I found this lovely little bookmark:

Oh Powell's, how I do miss thee, one of favorite things in my adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon.

The find was not too much of a surprise; a lot of people move here from Oregon and vice versa. But it sure gave my little heart a thrill.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Found Pictures: Cute Dog

The universal response to this picture (thus far) has been: "Awwwww."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


The husband and I were talking about evangelism the other day. The conversation was prompted by the behavior of a friend, who is what I would call a "conspiracy theory evangelist." This person is constantly harping on various conspiracy theories and predicting imminent doom and gloom. I find it tiresome because I do not believe in conspiracy theories. I also like to enjoy my life without a constant fear of impending worldwide disaster.

At any rate, our conversation strayed to another friend, who has become a bit of a "health food evangelist." Personally, I have pretty big walls up when it comes to discussing eating habits. I am an anorexic who has thankfully been in recovery for some 12 years, but food is still a touchy subject with me. Those "anorexic thoughts" never quite go away, no matter how much you grow emotionally and mentally. So when a friend, out of blue, tells me that my current eating habits are the root cause of all my life's problems, that tends to get my hackles up.

My husband, on the other hand, is an evangelist himself. He's an "anti-religion" or "anti-theist" evangelist. He really hates religion. A lot. And he will bend almost any conversation you have into a diatribe against religion, which gets on my nerves. Not every bad thing that's ever happened in the world has been caused by religion. And I'd like to have a conversation without discussing the "evil" that is religion.

Being surrounded by all these evangelists got me to wondering. Is everyone an evangelist? Do we all have something that we just can't shut up about? Or is evangelism something that strikes from time to time? Perhaps only a certain type of person becomes an evangelist and I just tend to attract them.

Am I an evangelist? I've been thinking about that a lot. Perhaps I go on and on about some topic that bores my friends to tears and/or annoys them. I like soccer a lot, but I try not to blab about it too much to people who don't care for it. I also like books a lot. I think if I were ever actively an evangelist for anything, it would be reading.

Mostly, I worry that I'm a "self evangelist." Perhaps I talk about myself too much. I do have a blog, after all, which is kind of the height of self-promotion.

I have no conclusions here. Just thinking out loud. Perhaps I should become an evangelist for anti-evangelism.

A Banner Day for Found Items

Lots of great stuff at the bookstore last Saturday! I now wonder if there was always this much stuff to be found and I wasn't looking. What have I missed out on all these weekends?

The theme of last Saturday seemed to be postcards. I found three of them:

I find it interesting that two of them had a "space" theme, even though I found them in different books, neither of which were space-themed themselves.

I also found this shellacked Canadian two dollar bill bookmark:

No one else wanted it, so it came home with me, even though I don't tend to use bookmarks. Why would you pass up shellacked money?

Found Pictures: Lady in Repose with Kayaks

She's a little hard to see; I didn't even notice her the first time I looked at the picture. I suggest viewing the expanded version.

I wonder where this picture was taken? It looks like a beautiful spot.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Sad Little Library Book: The Update

I gave it the old college try, but I just couldn't get into The Sword of Shannara.

The book was in such a sad state that I felt bad taking it back to the library largely unread. Several years ago, I had tried reading the book for the first time as an adult and had found it too wordy. But with my love for reading recently rekindled, I thought maybe I'd have a different experience this time around.

Not so. I still found the book too wordy. In fact, I often found myself thinking, "Good God, man, get to the point already!" And this from a person who reads lots of dense, wordy non-fiction books.

I'm not quite sure how I zipped through these books as a teenager, but I guess the Shannara series will have to remain a love affair of my 15-year-old self. Thanks for the memories, Terry Brooks.

Found Pictures: Lady with Cat

I found the discovery of this particular picture rather coincidental, as earlier in the day I had put away a book entitled Cats and Their Women. The book is a collection of pictures of women with their cats. It had a very strong crazy cat-lady vibe.

At any rate, I'm rather fond of this picture. Was this lady actually just chilling on the couch, reading, when someone (husband?) came along and decided to snap a picture or was it posed? I guess we'll never know.