Book Report and Joy of Reading Award

The unread books.

The unread books.

Jamie over at the excellent food blog, Life’s a Feast, bestowed upon me the Joy of Reading Award.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never been rewarded for reading other than good grades for English skills.

It’s a good day to be me.

Two books, in particular, served as the gateway drug provoking my addiction. The first was Francina Morey’s The Bears of Log Cabin Village which nobody other than me has ever heard of. The other was Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy which is still being read by younguns.

Morey’s book is about several families of bears living in a community of log cabins. For years I thought the book was lost and mourned its absence. I prowled used book stores looking for it only to have it appear in my mother’s attic a few years ago.

Harriet the Spy and The Bears of Log Cabin Village

Harriet the Spy and The Bears of Log Cabin Village

I’m delighted to have it, but have resisted re-reading. I’m afraid it might not be as wonderful as my memory and the memory is a cherished one.

I can’t remember exactly when I first read The Bears of Log Cabin Village, but it spurred the addiction. My mother used to go to the Honolulu Goodwill and buy me grocery bags of books to feed my habit. I was never without a book. When packing for anything, the first thing selected was a book. I read in the car. I read in bed. I read during math class. I read at doctor’s offices and church, on the bus and in the bathtub.

Now I read on comfy furniture.

Now I read on comfy furniture.

I had a thyroid disorder when I was very young which made me hyperactive. I’d read while rolling around the living room floor. The disorder was rare in a child my age and severe enough that the doctors were amazed that I could concentrate long enough to do anything at all much less track the plot of a book. I think this is one of the reasons Harriet the Spy rocked my world. The book was published in 1964 and I probably got my hands on it in 1968 or ’69.

Harriet was roughly my age and different from her peers. In the course of the story, her difference lands her in trouble and in a doctor’s office. While it’s stretching things to represent my problems as a young girl as parallel to Harriet’s, the over-riding theme of Fitzhugh’s book is that it’s okay to be different, but don’t let your difference make you unkind. It’s interesting that Harriet the Spy landed on banned book lists primarily because it, supposedly, encouraged children to question authority and the status quo. It’s even more interesting to note that the author, Louise Fitzhugh, was a lesbian.


The Joy of Reading Award comes with rules.

I’m supposed to:

1. Collect the book that you have most handy

2. Turn to page 161

3. Find the 5th complete sentence

4. Cite the sentence on your blog

5. Pass it on to 5 other bloggers

Books at hand.

Books at hand.

It is with some trepidation that I grab the first book that it is most handy.

I’m currently reading Li Yu’s The Carnal Prayer Mat. This book is a classic piece of Chinese erotica published in the mid-1600s.  I’m not far enough into it yet to know if it’s a read I’d recommend.

On page 161, the fifth complete sentence is:

At first they made out they knew nothing, but at length, under the pressure of his questioning, they took pity on him as an honest man about to die at the hands of an adulterous wife and felt obliged to respond.

[Whew! Dodged a bullet there – no mention of genitalia or descriptions of orgasm.]

The other book (sitting under Li Yu’s) is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. This book is hailed as a masterpiece and I agree. The author began writing it in 1928 in Moscow. While not as powerful as Murakami’s Wind Up Bird Chronicles, it shares some similarities. The required sentence is even more boring than Li Yu’s, so I won’t bother to type it out.

To round things out, my hardback version of Harriet the Spy (sentences 3 through 6) reads:

Harriet rolled round and round the room. It wasn’t bad at all this being an onion. She bumped into her father, who started to laugh. She couldn’t keep her face screwed up and laughed at him.

The, um, more scholarly books with toys.

The, um, more scholarly books with toys.

Though the thyroid disorder re-appeared a decade or so ago(this time in the guise of an underactive one), I no longer need to roll around the floor when I read. Pity that. As a child, reading was a complete experience uniting body and mind.

Not having ever been much of one for rules (and we have Harriet to thank for that), I am not naming 5 other bloggers to pass this award to. If you want it, grab it. I’m always interested in what other people are reading and what books provoked their love of reading. There are several bloggers I read (and who read me) that I’m particularly interested in knowing their reading habits. If they can be troubled to get their noses out of a book and accept the award, I’d be tickled.

My Cosie Award

July 2009 Best Blogs Cosie Award <br>did you see the word best?  Huh?)

July 2009 Best Blogs Cosie Award
Did you see the word best? Huh?

It’s just been a wonderful day from beginning to end. In reverse order, I got a lot done at the office today without ever breaking a sweat; I had a wonderful (for a chain restaurant) piece of mahi mahi accompanied by a delightful salad tossed with watermelon and blueberries; the coffee was made before the water was shut off for construction; and (ta da!) I won a blogging award.

I was just on my way out the door for work when I got the comment from Cosanostradamus at Blog Me No Blogs that I’d won a Cosie. Talk about whistling while you work! Positive recognition is a right fine way to start the day.

I’m tickled with my July 2009 Cosie Award.   The Cosie is awarded to bloggers and each round is a different niche. The category (Alex, I’ll have women bloggers for $500) was the rather bland women, but Cosanostradamus further defined the category as Liberated Ladies, Drama Queens & Hard-Workin’ Women Writers.

Well, hot damn and cold iced tea, I’m all three.

I’m further delighted by the name of the organization bestowing the award: The American La Cosa Nostradamus Foundation For The Advancement Of Blog People And Their Blogs or TALCNFFTAOBPATB (seeming pronounced exactly as you would think). Now those of you who know me know I love a good acronym. Isn’t that a wonderful one? Doesn’t it look like something Bill the Cat would say while twirling his tail?

My fellow (girlow?) awardees are an accomplished bunch. I’m most familiar with AKMuckraker (who is a Feisty Grrrrl of the First Order) and as soon as I saw my blog name mentioned with hers, I twirled and preened and was, generally, so full of myself that even I got disgusted. Fortunately, my attack of excessive self-love wore off before I arrived at the office. (There’s nothing like standing in line at the post office to take a person down a peg or two.)

Nonetheless, it kept some zing in my walk and my words today. (Yesterday’s Powerful Communication for Women Seminar Trainer would be puffed up with pride at her teaching skills because my body language and oral communication skills were exemplary.)

So, besides thank you to the incomparable Cosanostradamus (whose blog is a bastion of searing political and social commentary, among other things), I’d like to say to y’all – go out and tell somebody that they’re doing a good job doing what they’re doing. Maybe if we’re all whistling while we work, we can effect world peace. Or buy the world a Coke. Or something like that.

And the Bella Award Goes To. . .

The Bella Award

The Bella Award

 Buzzardbilly gave me the Bella blog award the other day and I was so stunned I completely forget to pass the award on.

The rules say that I must choose 15 new blogs that I read that are deserving of the award. I’m new to the blogosphere and many of the ones I read have already been awarded the Bella.

So, taking a cue from Spike Nesmith, I’m going to award 8 and ask y’all to nominate the remainder.  In no particular order:

Life’s a Feast: Confessions of a Gourmande

I know Jamie from another cyber-world and was delighted to find she had a blog. She’s an ex-pat living in France.  For those of us who love to eat and/or love to cook, Jamie’s blog is a feast for the eyes. I can’t summon up the motivation to cook for one, so I don’t make any of her recipes. I go to the blog for the story-telling and the food photo erotica.

Clicks and Pops

I know Alex from the same cyber-world I know Jamie from. Alex’s musical blog is a wealth of information and trivia. As Alex says, “I grew up in a college town with too many great used record stores. This explains a lot…”


I know Jim  from real life and his was first the blog I read regularly. He’s a little too busy with Twitter and Facebook these days, but I love his passion for being a dad and a husband. The world definitely needs more dads like him.  When he’s not talking about his family, he’s likely to be doing some pretty fine political analysis.

Frames of Mind

Hogpath’s Frames of Mind is a place of poetry and story-telling. It’s hypnotic and addictive. There aren’t frequent posts, but my spirit feels cleaner after a visit.

 Life in the Country

I also know Snoskred from another cyber-world. She’s an Australian and engaged in blog hosting, scam baiting, and kayaking. Her posts run the gamut and they’re always enjoyable and/or useful.  For those of us new to blogging, her site is a wealth of information.

Hundred Mountain

I know Doug in real life and he and his wife are responsible for my being a spectacle at the Obama Pajama Party and the subsequent formation of Drama Queens for Obama. His site is a visual delight and be sure to take a look at the Italy section – there’s some fabulous storytelling, slideshows and video.

Vera’s Weblog 

Vera’s Weblog the site of another friend I met online. She’s a ex-pat German living four feet from the Canadian border in Minnesota. Her take on life, her lifestyle, and her photography are breathtaking.

Esse Diem

And, finally, there’s Esse Diem. Like me, she’s new to this, but her posts rock. I suspect we’re kindred spirits.


Aw, man, I forgot this guy so I’m editing this post.  He’s another Mudpuppy.  His site is a veritable cacophony of information and links.  Truly, one of my favorites.

So that’s 8 9 Tell me who the 7 6 are that I’m not reading (see blog roll) who are deserving of a Bella.

The Bella Award (or why I’m twirling and preening)

My First Award

My First Award - The Bella

BuzzardBilly over at BuzzardBilly: Appalachian Being gave me a Bella Award. Woo Hoo!!!! I came in 16th out of 15 and I couldn’t be more tickled. This is my first award. Yes, it’s true. Citizens of Cyberia have not come flocking to my blog to partake of my wisdom. Incredible, yes, I know. But BB knows a good thing when she sees it. Even if she initially forgot (sniff).

My Faithful Readers, I think, have formed a secret cadre to keep me a secret. I guess that’s okay, if it’s done out of love. Still, I’m getting several, some times many, hits a day from people looking for peignoirs. I’m tellin ya; there’s a fortune to be made in negligees. Or I could just post about negligees exclusively and watch the hit counter go wild. (My stats for May are in the toilet because I’ve been too busy to blog so I have to use the word negligee at least one more time.)

I think I’d rather have a small group of connoisseurs than teeming masses of the great unwashed.  Kind of like an artisan beer, I’m an acquired taste though immediately pleasing to the more sophisticated palate.

I’m supposed to pass the award on to another 15 people (or 16 or 20 – seems the rules are kind of fluid). That’s going to take some studying on.

So. Picture me twirling and preening, clutching my award to my chest, occasionally hollering Tuwanda!  I’ll be passing out awards tomorrow.  (Note:  I am open to bribes.)

–Connie (clearly this thing has gone to my head cuz I haven’t drunk enough of the Michelob yet to explain the rampant ego in this post.   Hopefully folks realize its tongue-in-cheekiness.)