Sisterly bonding over literature and the Dread Pirate Roberts


Today is my sister’s birthday!


Here we are three years ago, laughing at the fact that we unintentionally wore twin outfits on a day when we were seeing each other for the first time in probably months. (We are not twins. I am on the right, if you need help with that. Some people do.)

We had a good chat on the phone today while she opened up the gifts that I mailed her.

(It’s the birthdays and other special occasions that making living far apart a little harder. We manage, though.)

I got to put my crafty itch to good use by making her a necklace and earring set with turquoise beads from the local stone and bead store. (Turquoise is one of the December birth stones.)

Homemade jewelry usually seems to be a hit with family members. (I haven’t tried it with my dad, though.) Anything homemade is typically well-received. Plus, those kinds of gifts are fun to make.

In honor of my big sis, I started reading a book she’s been recommending to me for a while.

Okay, I actually just wanted some easy reading this morning. I bought the book a couple of weeks ago (ish) because I needed a fifth paperback to get the 5-for-$1 deal at the thrift store, and my sister had been talking it up for long enough that I decided it was worth 20 cents.

That came out sounding wrong, but it’s the truth.

What I’m reading is The Lightning Thief, the first book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.


cover image courtesy of

One of the many things my sister and I have in common (not that we aren’t really quite different in numerous ways) is a love of young adult fiction  – especially fantasy. We just never grew out of it.

And there’s not a gosh darn thing wrong with that. Books for teens and so-called tweens can be every bit as good as books for adults. Some of my favorite authors, who are excellent writers, write mostly or all books for folks younger than themselves.

I had a bit of a rushed morning, so I haven’t made a great deal of progress in the book, but so far I’m enjoying it and eager to read more.

I’m a bit disappointed that there’s apparently only one film, but then again, I may not even want to read the other books when I’m done with this one.

Sometimes I need to remind myself not to put the cart in front of the horse.

I gave my sister a book for her birthday in addition to the jewelry, one that corresponds to another shared love – The Princess Bride!

At our charming local bookstore, I found a copy of As You Wish, which is sort of a behind-the-scenes tale of the production of the film The Princess Bride.


Let’s just get a closer look at Cary Elwes in that costume, shall we?


image source:

All righty. I’m good.


The book looked like a lot of fun for someone who has probably seen the film at least as many times as I have, which is firmly in the double digits. Firmly.

Also, this is the same sister (I only have the one) who once gave me a gorgeous copy of the 25th anniversary edition of the book.


image source:


Given the evidence, this year’s gift of As You Wish seemed appropriate. I hope it’s good.

Even if it’s only mediocre, there are still pictures of a young, swashbuckling Cary Elwes inside it, and honestly, that’s probably enough.

So, Happy Birthday to my sister, and happy reading to all (and to all a good night).



Burying myself in books

I just learned about the Dakota Pipeline decision, and it feels awfully nice to see some good news right now. These days, I just can’t understand much about the world around me, and it feels like things are so much worse than I ever realized, and only getting worse.

So, the tabling of the pipeline is very welcome indeed. I can’t even imagine what it feels like to the residents of that area, those whose lives were the most intimately impacted by this saga.

All the societal upheaval right now is happening at a time when I’m experiencing personal upheaval, which is inconvenient, but there it is. Time and tide wait for no woman. The world doesn’t toe the line just because I’m in a rough patch.

Not that I haven’t been a rough patch for a while, it’s just a slightly different part of the patch, a more revelatory part, and hopefully that means I’m headed out of the rough patch.

It has simply been tough to navigate how much to pay attention to the outside world and how much to focus inward. There’s a delicate balance somewhere, and I’m hovering near it, but still having to make adjustments.

I’m doing a lot of reading lately, some online, but mainly an assortment of fiction and nonfiction books that I’m juggling. It’s helping me to cope with stress.

I try to alternate content to keep from getting to overwhelmed by information. I also have to switch it up based on where I’m reading; a large, heavy hardcover from the library – out of which I’m jotting down notes into a spiral notebook – is not the best choice for bathtub reading (another highly effective stress-reduction technique). I prefer paperbacks for that.

What I’m currently reading:


cover image courtesy

Actually, I just finished The Magicians this evening. I was reading it out loud to my husband. (This is a lovely activity that I recommend over TV-watching, not that we don’t do our fair share of that.) We own the boxed set of Lev Grossman’s trilogy, and The Magician King is next.

I’m also reading Judith Herman’s Trauma and Recovery.


This one was recommended to me. It’s quite good, but it’s an interlibrary loan, and not the only one I have, so I’m probably not going to finish this copy. I think I’m going to end up buying it.

The other interlibrary loan I’m currently reading, which is due back on the 10th of this month, is another PTSD-related book, also recommended to me (by the same person).

18693771Bessel van der Kolk is a colleague of Judith Herman, and their books are similar, though The Body Keeps the Score is more in depth and much more recent. It’s another one I think I’ll have to buy, since it’s full of very useful information and I likely won’t finish it by the time it’s due.

I finished another book today, this one by myself, by Margaret Atwood.


I bought The Heart Goes Last at a thrift store recently, with four other books. I paid $1 for the bunch. I decided to reread The Handmaid’s Tale first, since that’s going to be a series on Hulu soon. (How exciting is that??!)

I much prefer that one to the more recent “speculative fiction” story. Margaret Atwood definitely does creepily plausible near-futuristic scenarios very well. The Heart Goes Last jumped around, in my opinion, and wasn’t quite as chilling as The Handmaid’s Tale, but it was still entertaining and unsettling.

I’m not sure what I’m going to choose as my next novel. I have A Tree Grows in Brooklyn off the bookshelf and on deck, but also Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, and Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend – none of which I have read yet, and all of which are my own personal copy.

I’ll just have to see where my mood takes me tomorrow when I get in the bath.

My friend published a book!

Time to support a fellow writer! One of the women in my writing group has self-published a kindle edition of inspirational quotes as a companion book to one she is currently writing about her experience as a “transmitter” of information from beings that are not quite of this earth.

In her words, “Star Many is a wise and emotionally intelligent organization of Energy Beings.”


Levity Laughing Star is trained as a medicine woman and has done past life regression, and now her calling is to translate the wisdom from this plural energy entity that has sought her out in order to help us humans with our lives.

That’s basically what she has told us in the group, and I apologize if I didn’t explain it clearly enough. The author bio on the page for the book goes into more depth. She is a very vibrant and warm person, sincere and caring. She wants to share the things she has learned with the world, and that’s a noble thing.

Anyway, though we have at least one published author among our group, Levity Laughing Star (who I also know as Laurie) is the first of us to self publish, and the first to publish since we began meeting as a group.

I’ve spoken with Laurie/Levity at great length about her life and experiences, and she has fascinating stories that I hope will come out in the book that is her work-in-progress.

Here is her website, if you’re interested:

I would share some snippets from this book, but I did not yet ask her permission to do that, so I will let you discover what Star Many has to say for yourself (there is also a preview/sample available).

If you’re interested in these tidbits of cosmic wisdom, whatever the source, check it out!

I receive no kickbacks (other than a hug, I would guess) for promoting this book. I’m simply trying to offer a leg up to a friend who has little experience with social media or self-promotion.

Here is the link to the book on Amazon:

Star Many Says E-Book

If you do end up reading it, please let me know how you like it, and also please leave a review on Amazon!

Thanks, folks!