Posts Tagged ‘books’




Over the years, I’ve accumulated a small collection of ‘Hiking (fill in the state) with Kids’ guidebooks.  I pulled this one from my shelves again because I thought the gentler kids’ hikes would be good for the recuperative process I’m going through since breaking my leg badly just after Christmas.

Last year we day-hiked around Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  (You can read more about it here, and hereabouts.)   This year we’re staying closer to home.

If you’d like to read my “review” of the book, it’s here.  One of my favorite features is the month-by-month rundown of hiking conditions in the state.  I come from the West, and hiking is different there than in the Middle South.  For instance, I never thought about checking the weather forecast for tornadoes.  Getting local information to augment the generalities of hiking how-to makes for a much more pleasant experience. This is true whether or not you are hiking with children.

I’m putting in a plug here for these types of books.  They are a great resource if you have children or grandchildren, or you are recovering from an injury, just getting started hiking, or simply looking for more easier hikes.  They are available for many states (perhaps all, though I could not attest to that) and are easily found, in my experience, in the local interest sections of bookstores.  Pick them up for dayhikes or camping trips close to home, or check them out for a fresh air break from driving, side trip, or destination when you are traveling farther afield.

Almost forgot: Here’s a link to Hike Arkansas, website by Tim Ernst, co-author of this book, well-known nature photographer and outdoor guidebook guru.


I have a weakness for reading lists– all those fabulous titles laid out neatly, all those stories and perspectives and styles, all the possibilities.  Truth is, I’ll never read everything that’s been written.  I don’t even want to.  Reading lists give me some guidance, impose some order on the overwhelming quantity and scope of literature available today.  Of course, reading lists are subjective just as literary taste is subjective.  Hence, I will not presume to suggest that I present here THE reading lists you should follow.  These are simply a starting place.  See if you agree with what is listed, based on your past reading, or try a few of them out and you might find something new.  Other great places for finding reading lists are through your public library or through universities (these may yield wildly divergent suggestions).

I’ve put together a few internet sources for reading lists of various genres.


  • Bookspot–a general reading website with links to multiple reading lists
  • Goodreads 2012 Choice Awards–Readers’ choice awards for the year
  • Brain Pickings–Best-of 2012 lists covering non-fiction topics such as art, history, food, science
  • Library of Congress–2 here: Books That Shaped America (not necessarily a “best books” list, but intended to promote thought and discussion) and (links to reading lists, and a lot more!)
  • Modern Library–This is 2 classic 100 Best Novels lists in one, a board’s list and a readers’ list.


POETRY–Because sometimes it’s harder to know where to start with poetry than with fiction.

  • Poem Hunter Top 500–Admittedly, I have not read everything on this list and cannot attest to its quality.  This is, again, just a jumping-off point.  Another good way to get into poetry is simply to pick up an anthology.
  •–a great site where you can find out about the poets as well as sample their work.  They do have lists as well, like these.

SHORT FICTION–similar to the poetry situation.  There’s too much to really know where to start.  Anthologies are a good way here as well to sample and find your favorites.

  • John Horner Jacobs–I don’t think I’d come up with the same top 10 as his, but there are some good ones on this list.  There are others I haven’t read, but I might try them out.
  • 50 Best Short Stories of All Time--I’m a little embarrassed at the source for this one, and I’m not promoting earning your Doctorate online, but it’s a pretty good classics list.
  • 1001 Short Stories–Don’t panic!  Remember you don’t have to read them all.  This is only a list of options.  Currently, there are only 334 stories on this list anyway.  It’s a work in progress.

Happy reading!  Hope you find something new and wonderful somewhere in these lists.  If you have any lists you particularly like, I’m always looking for a new one.

I have to say I’m proud of myself for finishing this one!  I’ve intended to read The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, for years.  I’m not a very fast reader, however, and the size (600+ pages) was intimidating.  I wondered whether my ADD would allow me to make it to the end.  One of my big questions upon finishing it is whether I would have enjoyed a different translation more.  Not that this one was bad.  I hope you will read my Goodreads review here.

Now for the Hollywood version.  While the movie may be action-packed fun, full of romance and happy endings, and have the same character names as the book, it is not the same story.  Oh, the idea of vengeance is still present, but this is not an example of a great novel-to-movie adaptation.  Still, for a cut-and-paste frolic based on a complicated Classic, it’s worth its popcorn.  Check out Rotten Tomatoes’ take here.

I’m in the middle of re-viewing the Gerard Depardieu mini-series.  Much longer and more involved.  Depardieu is more believable than Jim Caviezel as a man who has been locked up in a stone prison for well over a decade, although he is a little hefty for someone who survived on moldy bread during that time.  Take your pick on which way you want to suspend disbelief.  The storyline(s) is closer to the original, although some license is taken (as expected).  If you don’t mind subtitles, you might want to try it out.

Riddle:  What did the Count eat when he got out of prison?  A monte cristo!  Sandwich, that is.  It’s pretty simple and there are variations on the recipe all over.  I’ve heard of it made with swiss, gruyere, gouda, or cheddar cheese, and even American (although I really could not suggest using that type.)  Here’s Food Network’s version.

I think this weekend I might settle in with a book or a movie and a nice fried meat and cheese sandwich and enjoy a Monte Cristo evening at home.