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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Patty Pick for 9/29/16 is #BannedBookWeek2016

How in the world did we compile a list of classic Banned Books like the list below! Our country was born on the right of individual freedoms. To think that people are out there fighting for the removal of books from our library shelves today, just blows my mind. If you don't like the subject matter or theme of a book, then by all means do not read it. You have control on what your children read so check out what they are looking at or have picked and talk with them about why they are appropriate or not. Be involved. :)

Books are stories and even though some are better than others they all have a place in this world. There are some very amazing classics on the list below that are some of my favorites, but if you don't like them or want to read them, that's ok. America was formed because our founders wanted to have the freedom to make their own laws and have the freedoms they deserved in life, religion, and all other areas. Check out the full lists of banned books and tools to help you make informed choices at :

So please read these or not, but just read!  

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell

11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway

*Some of my favorites. Choose your own!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Patty Pick for 9/21/16 is "The Gift of Reading to your Children"

They say with age comes wisdom, but I think we just get a perspective on life that 
you have a harder time seeing when you are younger. I have always loved to read and 
write so you know I'm a big proponent of reading to your children. There are tons of articles on the importance of doing this for their development and language skills, but 
the real reason is much deeper. There is not a more special moment with your 
child or children than sitting or lying beside them and totally immersing yourselves
together in a book. Sometimes you will smell, visualize, and become the story you are reading. The bond that you will share during these times is irreplaceable.

The quiet times, the funny times, the times you laugh and the questions that books will inspire will be events with your children that benefit you as much as it benefits 
them. There are, of course, other very important times that you will and can spend with your children, nieces, grandchildren, or just kids of friends. But the quality 
time that comes from sharing a book, a story with or without pictures are some of the most special. 

When my daughter and I would read before bedtime together, those moments were some of the most memorable and singularly important times we spent together. The questions and discussions that books can and should lead to with your children will amaze you. You had better be ready for some tough ones. That old saying, "Children say the darnest things!" will bear out during your reading sessions over and over again. So start early and often is my motto. You don't have to spend tons of money to read to your child. You can go to the library together and pick out some books to read. Be sure to include your own childhood favorites. I know I did. I saved our favorite ones that made it through the rigors of childhood for my daughter to read to her children someday. 

Some of our favorites were Goodnight Moon, Charlotte's Web, Corduroy, The Polar Express, The Cat in the Hat & Oh, the Places You Will Go - basically anything by Dr. Suess. Others include 
Rainbow Fish, Winnie the Pooh and Guess How Much I Love You
You may not make your child become the most prolific reader in the world, but you can be sure that they will enjoy the time you spend together. They will learn along the way, but the most important lesson is that you are interested in spending time with them. If you can give your children anything, just give them some of your time. That gift will come back to you fourfold over the years. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Patty Pick for 9/15/16 is "Brain on Fire" by Susannah Cahalan

Brain on Fire is a scary but true tale by Susannah Cahalan in which she describes to us, through her own recollections and those of the people around her, the story of her harrowing experience with a strange, rare disease. As Susannah's behavior and health takes a strange and quick descent to disaster, we are drawn along for the ride. 

Susannah writes that a large portion of the time from her days of illness she can not remember herself and sometimes the memories are false ones. She eloquently describes how her parents and loved ones search for answers as Susannah continues to spiral downward. This true story will read like a medical thriller but unfortunately it is a true one. 

This bright, smart college graduate has her first job with the New York Post but she starts to feel strange. She continues to display unusual symptoms. Her symptoms point to schizophrenia and then epilepsy. Doctor after doctor struggles to find out what is changing this woman into a vegetable. Finally she is seen by Dr. Souhel Najjar, known as a real life "Dr. House". He has discovered a new, rare disease called Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. This auto-immune disease commonly attacks young women and the only way currently to diagnose is to do a brain biopsy to look for inflammation. Through treatment and rehab some patients make a full recovery. Susannah's physical outlook is good, it was caught in time. 

She is sharing this story in her book to make us all aware that this is a disease to be tested for and treated progressively. Through her own words, her "Month of Madness" is very hard to read at times, but important to understand that there are dangerous and unknown disease forms out there and we need to educate ourselves and the medical professional which are our first line of defense against these. You will be touched by her and her family's struggle to find out what is happening to her and her will to find her way back to her life. A definite thumb's up! 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Patty Post for 9/1/16 is "The Value of a Book Club"

Are you members of a book club? I love my book club! Being part of a book club helps me to read books that I would not have otherwise chosen. We have good discussions that usually present different aspects of the book to me. It's amazing to me how 15 people can read the same book and remember different parts or arrive at different conclusions. 

We usually get together and enjoy snacks and drinks provided by the hostess. Some of the time, the member hosting will tie the food choices into the theme of the book. The imagination of some of these wonderful women is amazing to me. Over all, the food is delicious and we share in a few glasses of the beverage of our choice while catching up on the latest news with each other. 

Watching my book club interact a few nights ago, made me realize that as a woman I really need time spent around other women. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and family and enjoy my guys at work, but being around other women will usually uplift me in a special way. There is some sort of acceptance and ease that comes from the common cause we share. We have been together 12 years so there is a special bond there, but beyond that we have shared alot with each other over the years. We have watched each other's children grow up and go off to careers or college. We have watched our daily lives change and adapt to the place in time we inhabit now. Just aging from your 30's to your 40's, or like some of us from your 40's into your 50's, bring big changes to a woman's life - 
to anyone's life. 

Women just need other women friends. I'm not some huge feminist but the opportunity to bond with other women can not be overrated. I wish everyone could have this experience in their life. Maybe I feel this way because I love to read and write more than most things I do, but I think it's deeper than that. Women just need other women to share thoughts with and bounce ideas off of along with our spouses, partners, families and loved ones. 
If I ever do move on from my current house into a new phase in a new location, I will miss this special group of women. 

I few years ago my sister-in-law gave me a documentary DVD on a group of women that have had a book club for in the Washington DC area by Hope Hartman showed how important a book club is to women. They shared much more than books they read.  They shared 70+ years of their lives together. I don't know that my book club will be together for 70 years but I do know that the friendships I have gained through my book club are 
irreplaceable. Spending time together doesn't let us change the world per se, but it does 
change our own worlds just a little bit. And that in itself is a miracle worth cherishing.