René Descartes Remembered

“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.”

unnamedRené Descartes (1596 – 1650)
French philosopher, mathematician, scientist and writer of the Age of Reason. He has been called the “Father of Modern Philosophy”, and much of subsequent Western philosophy can be seen as a response to his writings. He is responsible for one of the best-known quotations in philosophy:
“Cogito, ergo sum”

(“I think, therefore I am”).

Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes is widely considered to be one of the top philosophical books of all time. For many, Meditations on First Philosophy is required reading for various courses and curriculums. And for others who simply enjoy reading timeless pieces of classic philosophical literature, this gem by Rene Descartes is highly recommended.

“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”

“It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.”


A Seussical Tribute

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

How appropriate that this year UK World Book Day falls on the Birthday of the legendary Dr. Seuss!

drseuss300Theodor Seuss Geisel was born today March 2 in 1904 in Springfield, MA. The pen nameDr. Seuss was developed during his years at  Dartmouth College and the University of Oxford. His first jobs were mainly that of an illustrator, working for such companies as Time magazine, Vanity Fair, and Life. Our beloved Dr. Seuss  later became a famous American writer and illustrator; who we know as the author of famous children’s books such as The Cat in The Hat, Oh The Places You Will Go, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Green Egg’s and Ham

“Try them, try them, and you may! Try them and you may, I say.”



One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”



Horton Hears a Who!

“A persons a person no matter how small.”





The list goes on, and on. I have honestly never read a book by Dr. Seuss
that I did not like, let alone love. drseuss-brand-hero-01

His brilliance and charm have always captured my heart, as well as many others (of all ages and backgrounds.) I believe his clever and inspiring words will continue to have a profound effect on the literary minds of children, the world of education, and serve as an inspiration to those needing to get back to the basics.

Fun Fact:
  During World War II, he worked in an animation department of the United States Army where he produced several short films, including Design for Death, which later won the 1947 Academy Award for Documentary Feature


Please share about your Dr. Seuss experiences, books you love,
quotes that inspire you, etc.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

For the Love of Longfellow

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, And all the sweet serenity of books. “
Born today in 1807:
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(February 27 – March 24, 1882)
An American poet and educator whose works include “Paul Revere’s Ride”, The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, and was one of the five Fireside Poets.

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times
we call a man cold when he is only sad.”


As the most widely known and best-loved American poet of his lifetime, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow achieved a level of national and international prominence previously unequaled in the literary history of the United States.


I adore Longfellow. I fell in love with his poignant yet beautiful poetry early on, and he has remained a favorite of mine. He has a way of mournfully telling you how wonderful life and love are, and someone it makes the meaning stick with a realness that is more lasting. A Psalm of Life was the first poem I ever committed to memory, every line enchanted me.

Afternoon in February

The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead. 

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red. 

The snow recommences;
The buried fences
Mark no longer
The road o'er the plain; 

While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
Slowly passes
A funeral train. 

The bell is pealing,
And every feeling
Within me responds
To the dismal knell; 

Shadows are trailing,
My heart is bewailing
And tolling within
Like a funeral bell.

I end with a quote from my all time favorite:
“Let us, then, be up and doing, with a heart for any fate; still achieving,
still pursuing, learn to labor and to wait.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tribute to Jane Austen

“You pierce my soul, I am half agony half hope.”

On this day Dec. 16th in 1775 the brilliant
Jane Austen was born. I am a huge fan, and have read every novel (I think) she has written.

Jane Austen was an amazing English writer born at Steventon rectory to a substantial gentry family. She had only 1 sister, and 6 brothers. Both her and her sister never married and both almost died from Typhus.

Jane Austen was said to be very fond of dancing. This of course makes us Kindred Spirits. 🙂 One of my favorite Jane Austen quotes is:
“To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love”
(Pride and Prejudice)
My personal favorite Jane Austen novel is
Pride and Prejudice
(although Sense and Sensibility is one of
my favorite movies…)

Here is a great list of things you quite possibly never knew about Pride and Prejudice:

Jane Austen died in Winchester on the 18th of July 1817, at only 41. The cause of death was somewhat speculative between Addison’s disease, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bovine tuberculosis, and/or Brill–Zinsser disease. Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were both published after her death, by her parents Cassandra and Henry.rl1adh2glggyomed-edited
Fun fact: Her works, though usually popular, were first published anonymously and brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen  introduced her to a wider public. Janeite fan culture emerged in the second half of the 2oth century. (fun fact found via Wikipedia.)
I didn’t know the last part of this,
about her nephew.

Now I will HAVE to read
this Memoir!!!

“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”
What is your favorite Jane Austen book and/or movie?

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 on my own, the series was read to us during class. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

Yom HaShoah Tribute

Israel’s Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day May 4th-5thHolocaustRemembrance1920x1080

On this day of commemoration here are a few associated books:

These are two wonderful gifts I received this Christmas.books

“The Holocaust Museum In Washington”
This book was written by Jeshajahu Weinberg, the founding director of the museum. There are hundreds of color and black-and-white photographs throughout the book–photos of kitchen utensils, hair, shoes, forged documents, artificial limbs, and luggage and prayer shawls confiscated from the victims.
Haunting and terrifying are photos showing charred corpses of concentration camp inmates, a starved prisoner in Buchenwald,
a young Jewish partisan woman being hanged in Minsk in 1941, Danish Jews escaping to Sweden on a small boat, and Hungarian Jews arriving in Auschwitz in 1944. The book provides a well-rounded history of  the Holocaust, but I would still really love to visit this museum in person!20160127_154808

“Once We Were Brothers”
a fictional novel by Ronald H. Balson (a Chicago attorney.) His travels to Warsaw and southern Poland in connection with a complex telecommunications case, inspired this book. It is a story about two boys and a family who struggle to survive in war-torn Poland. I have not read it yet, but I have a feeling I will really enjoy it!

Rated 4.6 on



Here are a couple books on my wishlist and tbr list:

(click pictures and titles for more info.)

From A Name to A Number:

A Holocaust Survivor’s Autobiography
A deeply personal story about one man’s lovely childhood that turned into a nightmare at the age of 15. He survives 5 camps and a multitude of atrocities. He is one of few survivors, and resides in my hometown of Portland, OR. I plan to read this book soon, I am fascinated by the prospect of it. 

Rated 4.9 on

Book Bean: Jewish Traditional Apple Tea
In a saucepan, bring a cup of water and allspice (4whole) just to a boil; add 2 black-tea bags. Remove from the heat; cover and steep for 3 minutes. Discard allspice and tea bags. Stir in a cup of apple juice and honey to taste.

The Boy on the Wooden Box:
How the Impossible Became Possible . . . on Schindler’s List
This, the only memoir published by a former Schindler’s list child, perfectly captures the innocence of a small boy who goes through the unthinkable. My watching the movie Schindler’s list is one of a series of events that sparked my intrigue and constant curiosity about the Holocaust. I am looking forward to this book.

Rated 4.8 on

Book Bean: Turkish coffee
A method of preparing coffee using finely powdered roast coffee beans and roasting them in a small pot. Add in a little Cardamon spice for a nice aroma and taste. It is also known as “Jewish coffee” or “Israeli Turkish coffee” or “Arabic coffee”

Fun Fact: It’s a tradition in Israel to bring coffee to a friend’s house for Shabbat or send coffee in a gift basket for a birthday. Coffee is also an excellent addition to a Mishloach Manot basket for the Jewish holiday of Purim.

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Albert Einstein

What related book have you read, that really moved/impact you?