Category Archives: Holidays

Happy Halloween!


Historical image, Brown Lady Ghost photo. Originally taken in 1936 by Captain Hubert C. Provand (Indre Shire Inc.), and published in the magazine ‘Countrylife’ in the same year – Wikipedia

Whether you’re partying it up, handing out candy, or shutting yourself indoors with some scary movies, I hope that you’re having a wonderful Halloween!  For any readers on the east coast, I hope that Sandy hasn’t caused too much damage in your area and that you’re able to enjoy this day in whatever way makes you happiest!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am a HUGE fan of Dictionary.com and check out the site (and app) regularly.  They’re a wonderful resource to not only check yourself before you (eek!) improperly use a word in a sentence, but also to learn about the history of words, sayings, and beliefs.  Dictionary.com isn’t just a resource for definitions and synonyms, but also for some very intriguing cultural facts.

With that said, there have been a multitude of Halloween-related specials this week.  Today’s article, What is the precise difference between ghouls, goblins, and ghosts? is definitely worth checking out.  You might THINK that you know the differences, but, well, you might find yourself rather surprised…

And what did I learn today?  Well, I never knew that ghouls found children and corpses so irresistibly delectable.  Yikes!

Happy Halloween!

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Favorite Christmas books


Christmas is coming.  We’re only days away and, whether you’re prepared or not, it’s gonna happen.  But what’s a holiday without some good holiday-appropriate books?  Sadly (?), while I had a whole list for Halloween, I’m struggling to remember all of the Christmas books that I read as a child.  The only one that really sticks out is The Night Before Christmas.  The above isn’t a picture of the version that I owned, which is unfortunate, because what I loved most about this story were the pictures.  I also like mice.  And poems.  I guess that I’ve always liked poems.

In celebration of the holiday, please enjoy ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore.  And please do share some of your favorite Christmas tales – whether they’re meant for children, adults, or everyone!

 

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

 

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

 

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

 

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

 

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

 

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

 

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

 

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

 

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

 

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

 

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

 

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

 

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

 

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”


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Filed under Books, Children's Books, Holidays, Poetry

The holidays are coming! A few neat-o gifts for book lovers.

Rudolph & Clarice are TOTALLY the cutest holiday couple.

The holidays are fast approaching.  And even though I started my shopping and planning “early” (read as: not waiting until Christmas Eve to get it all done), I still feel the time quickly slipping away.  It’s crunch time.  This means that I’ve spent a good chunk of every night this week BAKING.  Yes, I’ve decided that, in an effort to not go broke this year, I’m going to give out nifty little cookie tins.

I know that this isn’t an exceptionally unique idea.  I know that it could be risky – what if my cookies are tasteless and hard and horrible?  But – I’m putting a lot of love into them!  So, hopefully people like them.

In addition to cookies, I’ve been trying to direct most of my shopping efforts to vendors on sites like Etsy.  I’ve found some very neat and unique gifts for people.  And, in the process, found some other really neat-o bookish gifts that I wanted to share on here today.  But only a few!  Those M&M cookies won’t concoct and bake themselves…

If you have spent five minutes on my blog, you hopefully noticed that I adore Sylvia Plath.  If you have yet to notice this, then I’m doing something terribly wrong.  Regardless, doing a search on Etsy simply with the keywords “Sylvia Plath” pulls up some fairly interesting items.  Personally, as a fan of her work, I don’t think that I’d want a painting of “her” with her head in the oven for my walls.  BUT that’s just me.

Luckily, though, there are some really beautiful and unique items out there, as well.  Pictured above is a charm on a chain necklace (with lobster claw clasp) featuring a short, but very memorable, line from one of Plath’s poems, Metaphors.  Not a fan of Plath?  Worry not, for the seller’s store (http://www.etsy.com/shop/literallynecklaces) carries other author’s quotes, as well – everything from Dr. Suess to Nabokov.

It’s a book!  It’s a bag!  Wait – what?  This is a handbag made out of a recycled vintage version of Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen.  Each order is custom-made when it’s placed, so you know that you’re receiving a truly unique and one-of-a-kind gift.  Browse the store, A Spoonful of Chocolate, and see what other titles are available and you’ll be able to make sure that EVERYONE knows which book if your favorite.

And, no worries, no books are truly, completely, harmed in the making of these bags.  See the seller’s note from the store:

**Please Note*** No pages are harmed during the purse making process.. I take gently used books and only use the covers, the pages are still fully in-tact and you are still able to read the book. I then take the sleeve and wrap it back on to the fully in-tact book and donate it to a Refugee Center here in Arizona. 
However, if you would like for me to re-bind the pages and make a new matching cover for the book, please let me know it would be an additional $15. You can view an example of the re-bound book cover here:
http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=17233784

 

What could be a more appropriate gift than a Christmas Tree ornament?  Well, how about a Christmas Tree ornament chock full o’quotes and lines from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol!  If I were to get one of these, though, I’d be constantly rolling it around in my hands attempting to read the entire story.  The seller has ornaments featuring other literary works, as well, including Jane Austen and Emily Bronte.

I even love the name of the store – Excessively Diverting.  Check it out!

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a cuddly cat in the house to keep them warm while reading – or, possibly better stated, climbing all over your book in order to steer your attention to where it should always, always be – them.  But, no worries!  This adorable little BOOK WORM will do the trick!  And you don’t even need to worry about food and vet bills.  This little guy solely lives off your love of reading and having books around.

Visit Flaky Friends to place your order.  Your lil’ guy will be totally unique and made JUST for you!

Where do you like to do your holiday shopping?  Have you come across any really unique items that, let’s be honest here, you really want to buy for yourself?

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Filed under Books, Holidays

Books for Halloween!

I won’t go so far as to say that Halloween is my favorite holiday, but I certainly do enjoy it!  As a kid, I always looked forward to the excuse to dress up in costume and eating copious amounts of candy – no matter the time or day of week – because it was “special”.  This was all harmless fun, of course, until our Miniature Schnauzer, Hilda, started sneaking into my room and chewing up my stash.  Yup, she devoured everything from my Butterfingers to bubblegum.  She did not discriminate. When you have to worry about your dog eating your treats, for a kid, this adds a whole world of stress that just doesn’t need to ever be associated with Halloween.

Anyway.  My thieving dog didn’t totally destroy my love of this spooky day.  The most powerful reason as to why Halloween is so wonderful, in my opinion, is that it lands smack dab in the middle of Autumn, which is my favorite season.  The air is crisp, the trees are changing color, hay rides, pumpkins, and apple cider are in season.  What is there not to love?

Also, as with any holiday, there are special books!  For kids, it appears as though all favorite characters get their own Halloween special.  Here are some of my favorites:


Clifford’s First Halloween by Norman Bridwell
Find on Amazon. 

There’s really not much to say about this one.  Baby Clifford is ADORABLE.  And watching his Halloween antics unfold before your eyes is ADORABLE.


Berentain Bears – Trick or Treat by Stan & Jan Berenstain
Find on Amazon. 

In addition to the fact that my family read to me regularly when I was a child, I would have to say that I thank the Berenstain Bears for my love of reading.  I adore this series – the characters, the stories, and the illustrations.  Everything about these books is perfect and I look forward to sharing these stories with my kids someday.


Little Critter:  Happy Halloween, Little Critter! by Mercer Mayer
Find on Amazon. 

Little Critter was another favorite series of mine from childhood.  And this Halloween special includes lift-the-flap surprises!  How spooky!
And for the pre-teens and teens, we have R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps and Fear St.  Perfectly scary reads for the Halloween season — or all year round, if you’re into creeping yourself out and/or a freak and totally into the macabre like me.

Find R. L. Stine on Amazon.
So, Halloween isn’t only an excellent excuse to eat all of the candy that you want (no matter how guilty you might feel afterward), but also a good excuse to enjoy some fun, spooky, and, sometimes scary, books!  What scary books do you like to read around this time of year?

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Filed under Books, Children's Books, Holidays