Tribute to Tolstoy

imagesBorn today September 9th 1828
Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy
(Usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy) was a Russian aristocrat and one of the world’s most preeminent writers. Tolstoy become famous through his epic novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina.

“We can know only that we know nothing.
And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.” (
War and Peace)


Tolstoy’s fictional work includes: dozens of short stories and several novellas such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Family Happiness, and Hadji Murad. He also wrote plays and numerous philosophical essays.


“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” (
Anna Karenina)

Towards the end of his life, Leo Tolstoy became increasingly interested in a version of pacifist Christianity with support for a strand of anarchist Communism. His exposition of pacifism and non-violence had a profound influence on others – most notably Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
This prompted his non-fiction work;
A Confession and The Kingdom of God is Within You.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

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What’s the Story Wishbone

Wishbone was such a great show because it brought classic literature to life. At a very young age it made amazing works of fiction like Oliver Twist, Moby Dick, and Gulliver’s Travels, something fun and exciting. Some of the books featured on this show are very challenging literary feats, and I love that they did not stick to easy reads. Inspiring young kids and adults to read challenging works of fiction in such a creative way was brilliant. Plus who doesn’t love a Jack Russell Terrier who dresses up and does tricks, the cuteness was like media glue!

I know that watching these shows helped shape me into the reader I am today. In my trip down memory lane I ended up finding these delightful little books, and I want them all!

(click any photo or title for more info.)

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Did you love Wishbone?
wishbonebooks
What was your favorite episode/story?

I loved the show Wishbone growing up, and a fellow blogger inspired me to post about it, thank you for the spark L. Boogie! Check out their blog here.
Fun Fact:  Wishbone’s real life name was “Soccer” and he won the role of Wishbone because out of 100 dog auditions, he was the most expressive.
Click here if you want to re-live your 90’s childhood
Wishbone Collection
or if you want to see what all the hype is about.

Mid-week Meet n’ Greet

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Lets get to know each other:

Share about your love of books
and/or coffee/tea!

Source: Cafe Meet n’ Greet

Who’s your favorite American novelist and
what novel do you consider their greatest?

America in Literature I

119001003406-originalThere is a plethora of great American literature, I could not create a list of less than 20. However, I focused less on the popularity of a novel/author and more on a variety and depth of “American ” (U.S.) content/concepts and ideas/ideals etc. Literature that focuses on the history, growth, and culture of our nation.
So, I was able to narrow it down…

Here is my list of the top quintessential American literary works:

PART I of II

Common Sense
By Thomas Pain
Paine arrived in America from England in 1774. A friend of Benjamin Franklin, he was a writer of poetry and tracts condemning the slave trade. In 1775, as hostilities between Britain and the colonies intensified, Paine wrote Common Sense to encourage the colonies to break the British exploitative hold and fight for independence. The little booklet of 50 pages was published January 10, 1776 and sold a half-million copies, approximately equal to 75 million copies today.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston

Out of print for almost thirty years due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist. Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


By Mark Twain

One of the most challenged or banned books due to racist language, Twain’s novel can be read as an indictment of unenlightened nineteenth-century thinking or as a heartbreaking coming-of-age novel, but what’s undisputed is the novel’s position as one of the most influential books in American literature.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com10ca59f648094240a32e3146b99bce6c

Book Bean: Iced Huckleberry Hibiscus
Brew some hibiscus tea add honey to taste and chill. Lightly crush a handful of fresh huckleberries (raspberries or marion/black berries are great too). Add berries and ice to a tall glass and pour in chilled tea.

 

The Scarlet Letter
By Nathaniel Hawthorne
An 1850 work of fiction in a historical setting, and is considered to be Hawthorne’s “masterwork”. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

By Harriet Beecher Stowe

An anti-slavery novel published in 1852, the novel “helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War”, according to Will Kaufman.Wikipedia. Denouncing the institution of slavery in dramatic terms, the incendiary novel quickly draws the reader into the world of slaves and their masters.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

An exemplary novel of the Jazz Age acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. It is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

green-spritzer-051-mbd109404_vertRated 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Fitz SpritzerGreen tea chilled, fresh lime juice, sugar, and club soda. Pour mixture over ice and enjoy your own Green Rickey 😉 Make it fun, add an olive, lime wedges, and/or mint for garnish.


Leaves of Grass

By Walt Whitman

A visionary volume of twelve poems. Showing the influence of a uniquely American form of mysticism known as Transcendentalism, which eschewed the general society and culture of the time, the writing is distinguished by an explosively innovative free verse style and previously unmentionable subject matter.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Beloved

By Toni Morrison

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery,  the novel is inspired by the story of an African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in Kentucky late January 1856 by fleeing to Ohio, a free state. Set after the American Civil War (1861-1865) this spellbinding novel transforms history into a powerful story as intimate as a lullaby.

Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

The Grapes of Wrath

By John Steinbeck
A Pulitzer Prize–winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com


Book Bean:
California Frappe
Frappe-1080x631Cut off peel and white pith from 2-3 orange wedges. Bring 1/2 cup of dry red wine, 2 Tsp. of sugar, a grate of orange zest, and 1/2 Tsp. of cinnamon to a simmer, add the orange wedges and simmer for approx. 10 min. mixture should reduce to a syrup, let chill. Pull 2 shots of espresso (or use 4 oz of brewed coffee chilled.) In a blender add ice, coffee, syrup (for an easier option use marmalade 😉 ), and milk (to taste) blend and enjoy!

Stay tuned for PART II this evening!

While you wait vote for you favorite American Author 

 Share with us about your vote, what do you love about this author, and what makes them “A Great” in American literature?

Schoolhouse Reading Gems

apple_on_book_bigNow that school is out, it has me thinking about my school days. I keep thinking about the books I chose to read and had to read in school, and decide to write about my favorite experiences. Now in high school I had a fierce addiction to Dean Koontz and Steven King, so it took a lot for me to want to read anything else. However, throughout elementary and high school there were several books that either impacted me as a reader, or just stayed with me.

Here are the books I read in school that I most treasure:

The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe
By C.S. Lewis
I didn’t read this in school but it was read to us before I was able to read chapter books. I can remember waiting all day in anticipation for story time to hear this book. I fell in love with C.S. Lewis and he is my favorite author to this day.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

The BFG
By Ronald Dahl
I remember us reading this together as a class and being completely in love with it. There were other stories by Ronald Dahl that I loved as well including “James and The Giant Peach” and “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.”

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Number The Stars
Lois Lowry
This was the first chapter book I read on my own from school, and I was completely mesmerized by it. This is the book that sparked my fascination with the Holocaust and WWII. I still love reading WWII memoirs, historical fiction, and the like.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher
By Bruce Coville
This book I picked up from a school book fair. School book fairs were the highlight of the year for me. I usually only got to pick one book, and I remember every day looking through the books weighing and analyzing them to decide which would be my treasure. I loved this book, and it started my love of Fantasy Fiction.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The Indian in The Cupboard
By Lynne Reid Banks
Another book we read together as a class. I don’t remember why I enjoyed this book so much, I just know that I did. I can remember constantly reading ahead of the class, because I hated stopping.
Part of me would like to read it again just to see what I think of it now.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
By Avi
I’ve written about this book before, because I loved it so much. It was also a School Book Fair treasure, and by far the best one I ever got. I was in love with this story through and through, and I remember
carrying the book with me everywhere  I went.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Animal Farm
By George Orwell
One of the Jr. High required reading books that I most enjoyed, there were others that were okay like Fahrenheit 451, but this is the one that stuck with me. I remember thoroughly enjoying it’s weird quirkiness, but also it’s depth and meaning. “1984” is another Orwell classic on my recent TBR list.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Of Mice and Men
By John Steinbeck
The ever famous small yet poignant classic. This book packed so much great literature into such a small package. I loved it, and I love Steinbeck. It was because of this book that I sought out other Steinbeck treasures. I have not read as many as I’d like but everything I’ve read is gold, and I look forward to the ones still awaiting my time.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee
Another treasured classic I can thank my high school required reading list for. This book was moving and stayed with me. I later watched the movie which I equally loved (doesn’t happen often.) Watching this also started me watching black and white classics. Although I have to thank Carry Grant in “Arsenic and Old Lace” for really fueling my love for classic movies.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
By Ken Kesey
It’s hard to say what I liked so much about this book… Maybe it was how simplistically complicated Randle was. I was also very intrigued by the picture of mental health that this book paints; how we think about and treat people. It was such an interesting and gripping story. Although I am not a fan of sad endings, the sadness is what made me really think about the story on a deeper level.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

These are books that had an impact on me as a reader. Books that moved me and/or got be thinking about life and about literature.

What books did you read in your school years that impacted you?

Profound Paragraphs VII

In honor of the graduating season, I thought I’d share this Seussical gem.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

Oh The Places You’ll Go!, Dr. Seuss
“Life may be a ‘Great Balancing Act,’ but through it all
‘There’s fun to be done.’”

What’s your favorite Seussical quote?