Sunday, January 29, 2012

Movies and shows of 2011

I don't have cable or satellite TV, so I stream series or movies to my computer through Netflix. I like to keep a record of what I've watched the past year because, like the books I read, this is the input I've put into my brain which helps fuel my thoughts and writing.

Lois and Clark (season 3)
The Devil Wears Prada
The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency (season 1)
Outsourced — An enjoyable look at cultural differences between America and India.
Did You Hear About the Morgans?
The Book of Eli — One of those movies with a great twist that makes you want to watch it again, immediately.
Eat Pray Love
A Room With a View — I liked this in college and wanted to see it again.
84, Charing Cross Road — And then I went to England!
Avatar — I liked it.
Forbidden Planet (1956)
An Education
The Millionairess (Sophia Loren, Peter Sellers)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Thomas Crown Affair (Steve McQueen, 1968)
The Jane Austen Book Club
Despicable Me — Very funny!!
Roswell (seasons 1, 2 and 3) — My naughty indulgence last summer was to watch this all the way through.
The King's Speech — I didn't know this bit of history, which made some items I have in the bookshop more significant.
Carribean (1952)
Soul Surfer
Emma (Gwyneth Paltrow) — Not bad, but the characters seemed so different from the A&E version that I have now have trouble picturing them in my head. I had to go read the book. It didn't help.
The Cowboy and the Lady (Gary Cooper, 1938)
Alfie (Jude Law) — Not a happy movie.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 1 and part of season 2) — I stopped for the same reason I stopped watching the original series: I knew it was going to get darker and darker and, unlike Roswell, the characters would never find happiness.
Toy Story 3 — (I haven't see Toy Story 2, yet)
Happy Accidents — I really liked this movie, the kind that makes you think and re-watch parts. I didn't know who Vincent D'Onofrio was (yes, I live under a rock). Caution: lots of foul language.
Here Comes the Groom (Bing Crosby)
Food, Inc. — If not completely life-changing, this documentary at least makes you think about where your food comes from and what you're eating.
Signs of Life — Fascinated by Vincent D'Onofrio (but not a fan of police TV), I found this 1989 movie.

I forgot to list the one time I went to a theater; I think it was late summer or early fall. I watched Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I have the nicest customers at the bookshop.

I told one of them about the food soldiers ate in colonial times. He's more interested in the Civil War, and had ordered some "authentic" hardtack. He promised to bring me a taste.

And he did!

He insisted I wait and eat it with strong coffee. The soldiers would have boiled their coffee and drank it with grounds in their cups.

A box costs quite a bit, so he gave me one of the large crackers.  I took it home and divided it with my family.

We brewed some regular coffee, since that's all we had.

It tasted a lot like a saltine, maybe a little more flour-y. We all agreed that it would taste pretty good if you're a hungry soldier on the march, but we wouldn't want to eat it all the time.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Vintage books in Thomasville

A customer told me about a library booksale in progress. I had never been to the one in Thomasville and didn't have high expectations, but I decided to squeeze in a trip on Saturday morning, when they had their best bargains.

When I walked into their conference-turned-booksale room, I wondered if I had wasted a trip. The tables looked to be filled with moderns and old texts that didn't look very interesting.

I swept around the room. Finally, a side table full of biographies sparked my interest. I found Old Books, Rare Friends, a bookseller memoir I've been seeking. Maybe this wasn't a wasted trip, after all. I picked up another biography, but I was proud of myself for the ones I put back. I'm slowly learning to be more selective.

I went back and looked carefully through the long tables, gleaning a few vintage hardbacks with dustjackets.

One fun title was Pilgrims in Paradise, starring "the Puritan and the temptress." Oh, those lusty Puritans! I shouldn't laugh — someone has probably written steamy romances about Quakers, right?  *grin*

Look! Librarian with Wings — could anything be more appropriate for me?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Books of 2011

I didn't get much writing done (except during nanowrimo!) in 2011, but I feel like I devoured books. Let me count them up and see.

Books I read completely:
1. Shelf Life - Memoir set in a bookstore. OK, but it didn't live up to the promises on the cover.
2. Dewey - A library adopts a stray cat. Wonderful and well-written memoir.
3. Quaker Homespuns, 1655-1833 -  An earlier historian's short stories about some of the same people I'm writing my novel about.
4. Mr. Midshipman Hornblower
Reading at the beach!
5. Midsummer Night in the Workhouse - Literary short  stories. I feel expanded.
6. The Preacher's Bride - Historical inspirational fiction similar to what I want to write.
7. Sea Change - A Jesse Stone mystery. I enjoyed the straight-forward, masculine prose.
8. Hash - Quirky! Umm... you had to be there.
9. Emma - I had seen two different movie versions and wanted to read the book.
10. Persuasion - Much more mature work than Emma.
11. Daughters of the Witching Hill - Excellent historical with just enough vernacular and lots of details to pull you into the story.
12. No Plot? No Problem! - Encouraging and practical (especially in November!)
13. One Second After - Everybody should read this book. Everybody! Realistic story of a small town cut off from supplies and communication after a U.S. national disaster. Hard to put down.

Children's books:
Indian Two Feet and His Eagle Feather
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
Your Personal Penguin
14. Gift of the Magi
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
(A Thomas the Train book, I don't remember the title)

I read lots of articles, but here are two I wrote down:
"Why I Write" by George Orwell, 1947
"From A Soldier's Wife," Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Oct. 1864 (622-628)

Books I read parts of:
15. (finished) Arctic Ireland - history research for my novel
The Daily Writer - great writing prompts
Writing the Christian Romance - ditto
English Social History (yawn)
The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Angel Chronicles, Vol. I
Charity Cook: A Liberated Woman - history research for my novel, but not as specific as I'd hoped.
Eating Well for Optimum Health - seriously educational; I read about half and may read more.

So, 15. I added four that I'd forgotten to write down, so maybe I missed others. Or maybe I didn't read as much as I thought I did. In 2010, I read about 20 books. In 2009, I read 7 in entirety, and started several others that I finished the following year.

This year, I don't have a reading list. I've researched my book the last few years and now's the time to finish it. At the moment, I'm staying away from similar books until I get my third draft finished, because I don't want to accidentally copy anything. I will continue to read lots of articles, writing books and nonfiction. When I need a break, I'll pick up some "mindless" entertainment in other genres, like mysteries.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Little Bookseller

Those of you who "like" Tannery Books' Facebook page know that I had an "assistant bookseller" for a couple of days.

My 4-year-old great-nephew Aidan helped me put away the Christmas tree and I assigned him to the window display. I had borrowed a little snowman and started pulling winter-themed books. Aidan informed me that we needed more kids' books, and he proceeded to fill the display with Dr. Seuss, The Berenstein Bears, and Star Wars. He finished the display all by himself, and did a great job!

Of course, when you're 4, all work and no play make for a dull day. We adopted the philosophy of work-a-little, play-a-little. He played with his new toys while I listed books, and our agenda included an afternoon game of hide-and-seek among the bookshelves (I had no idea my one-room shop had so many hidey places!). And of course, we had to read a few books.

When Nana came to pick him up after work, she was amazed that we hadn't pulled out any of his electronic games 'til after 4 p.m. Even better, the next morning he picked up his packed lunch and told Nana he had "to go to work."

My new apprentice chose classic Dr. Seuss and Thomas the Train for his paycheck. Excellent taste, I must say.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Eureka! Goals for 2012

I was so busy in 2010, I didn't write down my goals until June. Last year, I didn't write down any at all; 2011 was like riding a tidal wave. That's not to say I didn't accomplish anything. I opened a bookstore, started a new job as assistant archivist in the Friends Historical Collection, went to England, researched my ancestors in South Carolina, and wrote 50,000 words in a month during nanowrimo. I also hurt my back, which still slows me down, lost two members of my extended family and have two more in and out of the hospital. The year was full of trials and blessings.

My main goal for 2012 was to have goals, so I can focus. I like Robert Lee Brewer's 2012 list, which includes both writing and personal goals. I sat down with pen and notebook, intent on making my own list.

And I was overwhelmed.

I've been pulled so many different directions — work, volunteering (too much), family, health — I knew my list could be too long to be helpful.

I turned the page to a blank one and thought: What if I could do anything I wanted in the coming year? I jotted down three things. I looked at those three things and had a light-bulb moment. That was my list! I felt as if a burden had been lifted off me.
Path at Woodbrooke in England

1. Finish my novel.
2. Reconcile with an estranged friend.
3. Find our Maness ancestor.

Work, survival, family crises — the "shoulds" in my life will happen. I'll do the things I have to do. Part of me said, I should work on my relationship with God, I should pay off bills, I should spend more time with family. Well, my little list is simple, and it's not.

I consider that novel my ministry and writing my gift, which makes it important. Reconciling is what God tells us to do. And that missing ancestor? That's a project I work on with my uncle, who is very sick. Time is running out.

Accomplishing those three things would not only make me happy, but also fit into the bigger picture.