Classic Novels Are More Than Book Report Assignments

Books, Reading

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Unless you’ve developed your “reader chops” growing up with the Classics, the very mention of this far ranging genre may cause your eyes to glaze over. We’ve all been tortured with the obligatory book report on Moby Dickor Lord of the Flies. Sigh. I sometimes wonder if this academic approach discourages rather than encourages a love of reading.

I was one of the lucky kids who grew up with an appreciation of the awesomeness to be found in great works of literature. Raised in a knowledge desert on the outskirts of a military base in nowhere America, I took every opportunity to visit my little local library. Devouring everything I could get my anxious hands on, I developed a love for classic tales of adventure, sacrifice and unrequited love.

No movie, Netflix short or TV series can compare to a story written about a certain time and place in history by someone who actually experienced it.

Beloved Books I Discovered in My Youth

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

No Time for Sergeants by Mac Hyman (The movie is hilarious too.)

Books That Make You Think

The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and The Sea or pretty much anything by Ernest Hemingway

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (I know what you’re thinking! The Woman in White is covered in a future post.)

Books for The Adventurous

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Books That Rip Your Heart Out

Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason

I’ve just scratched the surface of this amazing genre. Many other novels and short stories hold a special place among these favorites, but I had to end the list somewhere. Did I miss your favorite? Let me know in the comments section. I’m always looking for book suggestions.

Here is the Goodreads.com list of popular classics. How many have you read?

Happy Reading!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

 

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MURDER, She Read

Books, Reading, Mystery

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Footsteps echo against the crumbling walls of a deserted alley. Heart pounding, I take tentative steps into the suffocating passage. Then I see blood spreading across the cold stone before me. Sucking in deep gulps of frigid air, I’m pulled toward the lifeless mass. Dead fingers reach out into the dark unknown. What happened? I won’t stop reading until I find out.

I’m obsessed with murder mysteries. My book shelves are lined with dog eared copies of detective stories. This fascination doesn’t stop at the written word.  My Netflix, Amazon Prime, Britbox and AcornTV queues are filled with brilliant mystery series.

Why am I and others like me so enamored with this genre? Our brains love puzzles. We put on our deer stalker caps and pit our intelligence against the author’s seasoned detective. Sharing the main character’s anxiety to solve the case, we also compete with the clock.

Warning Dear Author! While I love competing with your detective, woe be it for you if I solve the mystery before they do. This is an unforgivable sin to a mystery lover. I’ve thrown books in the used book bin a time or two and vowed never to read anything by the offending author again. Stump me and I’ll be your loyal fan forever.

All Hail the Queen of Murder

Prolific author and master of the mystery genre, Agatha Christie tops the charts of my all-time favorite. In researching this week’s blog, I discovered discrepancies in the number of books she’s credited as having written in her lifetime. It’s definitely over seventy. Here are my top three:

  1. Murder on The Orient Express
  2. And Then There Were None
  3. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

More Top Puzzlers

Scanning my book shelves, I tend to favor classic British Mysteries like the Sherlock Holmes Adventures by Arthur Conan Doyle or the Father Brown series by G. K. Chesterton. In this post, I’d like to focus on some of my favorite American Authors.

  • Patricia Cornwell – Dr. Kay Scarpetta mysteries
  • Raymond Chandler – Farewell, My Lovely featuring Phillip Marlowe
  • Dashiell Hammett – The Maltese Falcon featuring Sam Spade

Mysterious Links

Have I missed your favorite mystery? Share the name below in the comments section. Stuck for good Mysteries? Check out the links below for suggested reads:

Goodreads Mystery Book Lists

Mystery Writers of America

Happy Reading!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

February Is for Book Lovers

Books, Reading

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It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Chocolate hearts, cupids and plush stuffed animals are everywhere. If you want to capture a book lover’s heart, however, you can skip the flowers. Nothing stirs their soul like engrossing tales told by powerful storytellers.

So Many Book Genres, So Little Time

I’m dedicating DTJ’s February posts to Book Lovers. Highlighting a different genre each week, I’ll discuss my favorite books and provide links to more great stories. Join me for the book chats!

Feeding the Addiction

I grew up in a family of avid readers. No stranger to the library, I rush to their “New Books” and “Recommended Reading” sections. Technology offers Book Lovers additional ways to discover their next great read. Here are a few suggestions:

Goodreads.com– Essential source to discover, track and discuss your favorite books

Bookbub.com– Sign up for the genres you enjoy. Bookbub sends daily emails with suggested reads on sale at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Rifflebooks.com– Similar to Bookbub, but may carry different books in each genre

Happy Reading!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Blizzard Days

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Blizzards. The very word conjures up images of white out skies and blustery winds. We try to stay safe in our fortress, preferring to avoid the tempest. Sometimes we peek through the glass. Our greatest fears are realized. The world outside our window is utter chaos. Cold and harsh, we withdraw from it and hide beneath warm blankets until the storm passes.

Growing up at the feet of the Rocky Mountains, I’ve experienced a great many blizzard days. They can be frightening. You are literally isolated from the rest of the world. These brutal storms, however, can usher in a time of rest. They force you to stay inside with books, movies, hobbies and whatever else keeps you distracted from the chaos.

Everyone needs a Blizzard Day no matter your local climate. Life is managed chaos. Even the healthiest of people need a day to relax and recuperate. Grab the book you’ve been dying to read. Curl up under your blanket and let the world rage outside.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Are You Struggling with the Effects of Overwhelming Negativity?

Hostile negativity is everywhere. You turn on the news to check your local weather only to be bombarded by stories of embattled governments or acts of unsettling violence. Browse your favorite social media platform and there it is again. Negative comments. Trolls. Neighbors turning against neighbors.

Hope Can Come from Unlikely Sources

BE SILLY! IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL!                            © alexei_tm – Stock.Adobe.Com

Do you remember a certain animated movie about monsters working in a factory collecting screams from children? A happy accident helps them discover gathering laughter fuels their energy containers much faster than the old methods of scaring. Positivity, laughter and love are more powerful than fear, hate and anger.

 

Arm Yourself with Affirmations

A tsunami of negativity seems to have flooded our world lately, but you don’t have to drown in its murky waters. Here are some affirmations to help you stay positive and empowered:

“I have the power to turn off my TV or social media platform.”

“It is my choice whether to be positive or negative today.”

“I choose my own reality.”

Do you notice a reoccurring theme to the affirmations? Choice. We are in control of our own lives and destinies. Choose health and wellbeing.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Sometimes You Have to Start in The Middle

Zodiac Horoscope Puzzle by In GooooD

Jigsaw puzzles are a bit of an obsession for me. Nothing stimulates the old noggin like the smell of freshly cut cardboard. The satisfying sound of glossy pieces spilling through my fingers as I search for the perfect shape. Then the ultimate victory of the final reveal when each piece has found its proper place to expose the original picture.

Unfortunately, my precocious kitty enjoys puzzles as much as I do. Unable to set up the pieces undisturbed on our kitchen table, I had to go digital. It’s not the same. Needless to say, I was delighted to receive a round jigsaw puzzle for Christmas. It fit perfectly on my Lazy Susan. Kitty proof!

I eagerly started the puzzle as I usually do by digging out the exterior boarder pieces. After two days of frustration, I was getting nowhere fast. I started over at least three times, but still couldn’t figure out how the pieces fit together. Close to giving up, I decided to try assembling the sun and moon image located at the puzzle’s center. It worked! I began to understand how different circular puzzles were from the traditional square or rectangle ones. Sometimes you have to start in the middle.

Completed puzzle! Hooray!

Is there something in your life you are struggling with right now? Are you approaching it as you’ve always done? Stand back and look at your puzzle as a whole. Is there another way to approach it? Good luck! I know you can solve it!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.