Sunday, May 24, 2015

Why I Love Being in a Book Club.

Despite my life-long love [translate: obsession] of reading, it never crossed my mind to join a book club. After I'd begun working at the Riverdale Public Library I said I'd like to join theirs, especially once I'd gotten to know the patrons who made up the group, who were really fun people - but I never actually decided to partake. And then my boss asked me to cover the desk during their meeting nights, so I lost my chance of joining in (although why I never thought of simply reading the book along with the book club even though I was unable to join the discussion, I don't know).

It wasn't until about a year after I'd begun working at the Boonton Public Library, after all of the building renovations had been completed and things were settling down, that I finally got my wish: our director decided to start up a brand-new adult book discussion group, and, because it met on Tuesday nights, I could join!

And join I did! Once a month since our inaugural meeting in February, I have put in my shift at the Riverdale Library and then headed straight over to Boonton for book club. We've quickly evolved into a small, fun group, and I love it.

I love it because the five of us enjoy each other's company and because our book discussions can easily segue into other topics that cause much laughter. But I also love it because (so far) the books we've chosen to read have really challenged me; they were stories that I would not have picked to read by myself. But that's what I wanted - to be pushed outside my comfort zone and expand my "literary horizons." And while I didn't finish reading the first two books (I ran out of time with The Boy Who Drew Monsters and The Martian probably would have been easier to digest if I'd listened to it on audio), I did finish - and thoroughly enjoyed - the next two (thanks again to my buddy Michelle Greco for recommending Little Mercies)!

Our book club title for June is The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker; I know that this was a former book club title at the Riverdale group, and from what I recall, they enjoyed it, so I'm hoping that I will feel the same.

But no matter whether I finish reading the book or not, and whether or not I enjoy it, I will still be happy just to have had the experience of dipping my toes into a book that I never would have chosen for myself.

Are you part of a book club? Have you ever thought about joining one but never did? Leave me a comment!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Book Review - "Keep It Shut" by Karen Ehman

Everyone knows the old childhood adage “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” But guess what? Words can hurt – unless, of course, we make a conscious effort to guard our hearts and minds, the places in which our words actually begin…

My latest review as a BookLook blogger is for the book Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All by Karen Ehman. An author and speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries, Karen Ehman walks us through what we need to know when it comes to learning to tame our most dangerous body part – the tongue. While it’s true that our words can lift people up, they can also cause their share of trouble too! 

I really enjoyed reading Keep It Shut because Ehman’s writing style doesn’t talk down to the reader, and because she uses personal examples from her own life to show us that we’re definitely not alone when it comes to having issues with our words. For me personally, I’ve been told that I’m a good listener – but I often feel that there are still plenty of times where I catch myself talking too much (and not listening) or saying the wrong thing (and sticking my foot in my mouth)! It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in feeling this way, and that there is hope in learning how to be more careful with my words. Ehman penned Keep It Shut in a friendly and engaging style – almost conversation-like – and backing all of her information up with both key verses in Scripture and examples of her own personal experiences. The book is also nicely separated into 11 easy-to-digest chapters that discuss topics ranging from learning how to communicate with family and friends and learning how to really listen to stopping gossip and controlling your tongue in the digital world.

Sure, taming your tongue isn’t easy but as Karen Ehman shows you in Keep It Shut, learning to reign in your words at their source is something you can learn to do!

You can purchase a copy of Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman on Amazon.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for a copy of Keep It Shut in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Next in the Queue

With only 2 1/2 pages left of Journal #25, I've got Journal #26 all prepped and ready to go! :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Memories are All I Have

photo credit

I'm a huge nostalgic. I love looking at old photos from my childhood (and earlier). I love flipping through the pages of my old journals. I love rifling through my collection of old toys that I've saved since I was little.

But there's also a part of me that wishes that time could be stopped, so that the people, places, and things I remember from my childhood could stay exactly the way they were then, when they happened. Those are the times when I wish the Doctor to be real, so that he could whisk me away in his TARDIS to go back in time to revisit different moments from my growing up years, to help me really remember and re-live those moments - and to really, truly appreciate them.

Of course the Doctor isn't real, and there is no way to revisit my past except through the writings and possessions that help me remember. The memories are all I have.
Today, after enjoying some time at a flea market & collectible show in Wayne, I decided to stop over at the Wayne Hills Mall, which I frequented quite a bit during my childhood and teenage years - just to see if there was anything left of it. I have so many good memories of this mall, but unfortunately it has been steadily declining for more than a decade; every time I visited there as an adult I'd find more and more of my favorite shops gone. I don't think it really, truly hit me, of course, until the video arcade packed it in. Then I knew that the Wayne Hills Mall would never be the same.

Sam Goody was one of the first stores to close its doors; it was there that I, as a tween / teen, bought all of my Stevie Nicks, Wilson Phillips, Fleetwood Mac and B-52s cassettes. I think it was there that I also bought my first and only piece of sheet music - Release Me by Wilson Phillips.

 Unfortunately the store's moniker still hangs on the outside of the mall.

Now all the stores are gone, save for its anchor store, the Burlington Coat Factory - which took over the space from Meyer Brothers, the department store that moved in when the mall began in the early '70s until it rang up its last sale in 1995. Even the two enormous, beautiful fountains, once situated at either end of the mall that patrons could thrown coins into, are gone. All that remains are my memories of shopping excursions at this once beautiful mall, and the happiness it brought me, once upon a time.

Wayne Hills Mall is now, officially, closed to the public.

And despite this optimistic sign taped up on every single door at every single now locked entrance, I can't see it re-opening ever again. There is too much politics involved. Unfortunately, the only future I see for this building is what it's already been for the last several years: an eyesore.

If only I could have stopped time during the years I frequented the Wayne Hills Mall, so that the stores and the experiences could still be exactly as I remember when they first happened. I still have the cloudy memories...and that's all I have.But at least it's something.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Video Post


Mylo is very much used to simply coming into my room and, if my closet door is open, walking right in to inspect things (as he does with the entire apartment when he and Lucky are visiting).

Unfortunately for Mylo, I now have a shoe rack in the front of my closet - and tonight when he was doing his "rounds," I laughed by how confused he was by it. "What is this thing? And why is it here? How do I get inside?"

In the end, as you can see, he gave up. :)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Behold..."The Stack"

Check out this stack of library books I have hanging out in my room (yeah, forget the DVDs at the top; they don’t count). I’ll admit, there was something of an ulterior motive to how this stack came into existence, but even so, if you didn’t already know I was a bit of a book nerd, you would definitely know now!

So what was the ulterior motive, you ask? Well, here’s the thing: stats have been a little low lately at the one library I work at…the other day my boss was lamenting about how we needed more of our new books to get checked out…and after a bit of cajoling on my boss’s part (because, you know, it doesn’t take much to twist my arm), I headed to the shelves and returned shortly thereafter with a small handful.

The rest of this stack materialized after a bunch of requested items arrived for me at my home library, and then there was yesterday after work when a few more items decided to come home with me…

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Interview: James D. Schumacher III, Filmmaker and Writer

It is not uncommon to see a comic book writer to dabble in movie making or a movie maker use his talents to make comic books.

Writer James D. Schumacher III is sharing with the trailer for his short film THE ASTRONAUT and his comic book INHERITANCE (brought to life by the amazing artist James Burton of Angry Brain Artworks). 

We reached out to James Schumacher to ask about "runnin' down his dream" being a filmmaker and comic book creator.