Monday, June 30, 2008

A sign of the times...........


On Saturday my hubby and I decided to take a ride out to Canterbury Village, which is a quaint little Christmas village located here in Michigan. It reminds us a lot of Frankenmuth Michigan but on a less grander scale. We like to take a ride out to Canterbury Village occasionally to experience the ambiance, see what kinds of activities are going on, or even make a purchase or two, but overall we have always felt many of the items for purchase in the various shops and stores were just a wee bit over priced. Every now and then we would also stop for lunch or dinner at the castle restaurant and banquet hall which is located on the grounds.
We arrived at the village at approximately two o'clock in the afternoon. Although it is still a very pretty little place to visit something was notably missing. There were no people. The humming little bustling village my hubby and I remembered so well was almost completely empty. There were hardly any cars in the parking lot, no children playing on the manicured lawns, no music piped out into the village over the intercoms, and the Merry-go-round was completely empty as you can see in the following picture. The streets were basically deserted. There were several large signs indicating half off sales. It seems our dear sweet Canterbury Village is going the way of so many businesses here in Michigan. If you would like to learn more about this village, or purchase items on line, please go to

Somebody enjoyed her trip to the village very much as usual. In fact she was indignant when I put her back into the car. If you click on this last picture ,and look at the car in the parking lot, you will see a little head with two big ears in the window. Charli doesn't believe in staying home alone......

With warmest regards,

The Dancing Queen......

Graphic courtesy of


Something you may not know about me is that I have always loved to dance! I danced through my twenties, and early thirties, taking modern jass and belly dancing classes with a small group of girl friends. It really was great exercise as well as a terrific stress buster. My friends and I would get together any time, any place we could, and dance, dance, dance to all kinds of different music..........

Something else you may not know about me is, that with all of that dancing, and working on orthopedic/rehabilitation units for twenty-six and a half years, I never once sustained a back injury or any other type of injury of any kind. I think I may have developed a false since of infallibility because of it.........

Some of you may know from following my blog that our granddaughter Jessica recently got married. For some odd reason I never expected that I would be dancing as much as I did at her wedding. I figured I was older now, so maybe I would dance a couple of slow dances with the hubby, and that would be it. With that mind set, I didn't wear proper shoes, or do any kind of stretch or flexibility exercises prior to the wedding, and I didn't take into consideration that with retirement comes a somewhat sedentary life style. As a nurse I was very physical. I was used to walking, bending, lifting, and even pulling heavy loads. I am only mentioning all of this here in the hopes of preventing someone else of making the same mistake I did.......
At the wedding, when the music started, the hubby and I got up to dance. It happened to be a slow dance, but surprisingly we were both tired when it was over. We even joked and commented to one another that we should really slow dance more often because we obviously were out of shape. We wondered if it was possible that we may be getting older? Well heaven's forbid! I mean it's not like we don't exercise, although certainly not as much as we should, but we do use a treadmill. We reasoned of course that we were just using different muscles groups than we normally do. Smart hubby stopped right there, but as the music rived up, so did I. I was a Dancing Queen! I danced just about every dance that night, thinking for sure I would have a cardiac arrest as each one ended, but then hearing yet another great song I would throw all caution to the wind. I danced my heart out and I have to say I had the one of the best times of my life! I kept up with young, and old a like, but somewhere between the hokey Pokey, the Chicken dance, and the twist I injured my back. The problem was I didn't know it until the next day so I just kept right on dancing..........
It took me a week and a half to feel better. Finally I was able to get back on the tread mill, and I actually had two or three pain free days. Then another mistake.... I forgot all about my back injury and went grocery shopping. When I got home, I unpacked the groceries, made a cup of tea, and read a while only to discover I could hardly get back out of the chair. I could barely walk, stand, or sit for the next three days. After a trip to the doc for steroids, pain medication, and muscle relaxers I am on the mend again. I have learned some valuable lessons here. DON'T DO SOMETHING AS SILLY AS I DID. If you do hurt your back take it easy. If you are going to a wedding, you like to dance, and haven't done it in a while, limber up before you go and wear good comfortable shoes. If you have back pain one of the things I have found helpful is the ThermaCare heat wraps after the initial ice applications. Of course check with your doctor first.
I have been very fortunate because our daughter-in-law Amy is part of a rehabilitation team at our local hospital. The minute she heard what happened she came right over and has taught me some great muscle strengthening exercises and tips for my back.........
I just can't believe what a dumb thing I did, and especially since I should know better, but back injuries can occur at any time, any place, and doing almost anything, especially as we get older, or our routine changes......
If any of you are anticipating becoming a dancing queen I hope I have given you some good sound advice.......
My thanks to all of you who have been so kind and sent me well wishes......
With warmest regards, Carol

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Ryan.........

Grandpa and I just can't believe your seven years old!.........
What a wonderfully sweet and kind little grandson you are!
You make us smile every single day. You are our precious little angel and we are truly blessed because of you.......
We love that sweet little smile of yours.
We love to hear all the funny and neat little things you say that make you so dear to all of us.
We can't believe you got another fish today. You are becoming quite the little fisherman.
Grandpa and I hope you will always know how very special you are to us.
Happy birthday little guy. We love you very, very much!...............

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dogs on Thursday........

Just a little note to let you know we couldn't post yesterday because mom hurt her back. She is doing much better today. Of course I'm taking very good care of her :>) I have been giving her lot's of hugs and kisses. We will have more to post next week for sure but you can head on over to Dogs on Thursday, at, to see how the rest of our little friends are doing........

In the mean time we just wanted all of our blogger friends to know we are thinking about them. We hope each and everyone of you are blessed with a wonderfully spectacular day!...........

With warmest regards, Charli and me

Graphic courtesy of :

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Excerpt from "The Wind In The Willows"........

Illustrations by Michael Hague
The Wind In The Willows,
written by Kenneth Grahame.........

Ah, poor, poor Toad... He was so sad..... All he wanted to do was go home.......

An excerpt from The Wind In The Willows.............

"When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in it in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cozy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries. Toad sat up on end once more, dried his eyes, sipped his tea and munched his toast, and soon began talking freely about himself, and the house he lived in, and his doings there, and how important he was, and what a lot of his friends thought of him."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lily-Bell and Thistledown Song

Photos courtesy of

Awake! Awake! for the earliest gleam
Of golden sunlight shines
On the rippling waves, that brightly flow
Beneath the flowering vines.
Awake! Awake! for the low, sweet chant
Of the wild-bird's morning hymn
Comes floating by on fragrant air,
Through the forest cool and dim;
Then spread each wing,
And work, and sing,
Through the long, bright sunny hours;
O'er the pleasant earth
We journey forth,
For a day among the flowers.

Awake! Awake! for the summer wind
Hath bidden the blossoms unclose,
Halt opened the violet's soft blue eye,
And awakened the sleeping rose.
And lightly they wave on their slender stems
Fragrant, and fresh, and fair.
Waiting for us, as we singing come
To gather our honey dew there,
Then spread each wing
And work, and sing,
Through the long bright summer hours
O're the pleasant earth
We journey forth,
For a day among the flowers.
Louisa May Alcott

Monday, June 23, 2008

"I remember Laura" Blog-a-thon.....

Week four, and the final week, of the "I remember Laura" Blog-a-thon, hosted by Miss Sandy, at
Quill Cottage,
Thank you Miss Sandy for hosting this fun filled Blog-a-thon. It was so enjoyable and has brought back so many warm memories. I would like to thank everyone who has participated in the Blog-a-thon. It was wonderful to read all of your posts. They were truly inspiring and I feel like I have gotten to know all of you so much better. I would also like to thank all of you for your lovely comments on my posts.

This week we are supposed to share our favorite books and/or music as well as all of the memories associated with them.

When I was growing up books were scarce and reading really was not encouraged in our home. However, we were expected to perform and do well in school. I don't ever remember taking a trip with my family to a local library but we did receive books on occasion as gifts. My favorite childhood books most likely had to do with availability. I loved Peter Rabbit, because like me at the time, he seemed to be a free spirit who didn't aways listen well and had a habit of getting into trouble. I also loved The Wind In The Willows. My brother used to read it to me at night and I was positive that someday we would all live in Toad Hall together. Another favorite of mine was The Box Car Children. I have devoted a whole post to that book in my blog. It's listed under a post called Weekly Geeks. As I matured my favorite book became Little Women. I just loved everything about it and became very interested in Louisa May Alcott because of it. Did you know she was a Civil War nurse? I have read the book Little Women and watched the movie over and over again.

The photos of books are all courtesy of

Music was a huge part of my life growing up. I come from an Irish Catholic family on my mothers side. They didn't have a lot of money, but the one thing they did have and shared with all of us, was a love of music. There was a total of eight brothers and sisters plus all of my aunts and uncles by marriage. When we got together every one of them sang along with all thirty two of us cousins. In addition we also had second cousins who we saw on a regular basis. Can you just imagine? We usually met at my Uncle Hank and Aunt Jenny's farm or my Aunt Rose and Uncle Al's house. My Uncle Bill played the guitar, banjo, clarinet, and the harmonica. My Uncle Hank played the banjo. Both were self taught musicians and they were great! Most of us were together at least once a week, and sometimes more, where my cousins, brother, sister, and I would clap our hands, sing, beg for our favorite songs to be next, and sometimes even stomp our feet to the sound of the music. We sang songs like....That old Gang of mine, My Wild Irish Rose, Goodnight Irene, Sweet Rosie O'Grady, Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, and Danny Boy. We also sang old World War Two songs and some popular music of the day. Of course, like all families, we had our ups and downs, but I could never even begin to describe how wonderful it was to grow up in a family where music resonated. How blessed we were to have that special time together. Most of my cousins feel the same way I do about it and we keep in touch to this very day. What's sad for all of us is that there was no fancy equipment like there is today to record or video tape it. All that's left for us is our most cherished memories but cherished they are indeed.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Summer..........


Summer Sun

Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Trough empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.

Through closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.

The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tile
Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.

Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy's inmost nook.

Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the world, he goes.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dogs on Thursday........

I can't believe it's already Thursday! Where does the time go?..........
This post is called Dogs On Thursday. We are a group of people who get together on Thursdays to talk about our precious dogs and other animals. If you would like to read our posts, or perhaps join our group, please go to for further information.
I was hoping to post a picture of Charli today but she is having no part of it. I tried to get her to pose for me but every time I took the camera out she ran figure eights all over the yard. Then she would stop, lay down with her butt in the air, and proceed to tear up the grass with her teeth. She is such a hooligan! Well at least we know somebody was having a good time........
Charli, and for that matter my hubby and I, have not had a good week. We have had lots of storms in our area with rolling thunder, high winds, and lighting. Most of them have been occurring during the late evening or early morning hours. Charli has been literally petrified. If she even senses a storm she attempts to round us all up to go sit in the bathroom with her while she hides behind our toilet. There she will sit with wide staring eyes, head jerking back and forth, ears up, shaking like a leaf, and whining. Nothing we do will calm her down. I have even tried rocking her with her favorite blanket. She will settle down for a few minutes, but then wakes us back up again, and runs for her life back into the bathroom. Finally after the tenth time one night, while sitting on the rim of the bathtub, I said, "Charli we can't do this any more. We are just to tired, and look at you, your exhausted. I am going back to bed." Well I crawled back into bed but then I started to worry because she didn't come to get us. I went back to the bathroom to check on her but she was gone. I checked the house, all the while calling her name, but no response. I got a flashlight and started looking under beds, behind doors and furniture, but no Charli. I thought maybe my hubby had taken her back to bed while I was looking other places for her, but no Charli. As I was walking out of the bedroom I noticed the closet door ajar so I shined my flashlight into the closet. There, huddled way in the corner, were two big eyes staring back at me. I said "Charli! What are you doing in here?" I tried to coax her out of the closet but she would have no part of it. I finally put her bed with her favorite blanket on it in the closet and she crawled on. She stayed in there the whole night. Now every time she hears thunder she scratches at the closet door and cries to get in. I guess we have solved our problem. We just leave our closet door ajar on stormy nights, and at least for now, we all get a good nights sleep.
Best wishes to all of you. We hope you have a wonderful week.
With warmest regards, Charli and me

BookingThrough Thursday.......

This week at Booking Through Thursday,

we are asked to think about our favorite authors, our favorite books.......what is it about them that makes us love them above all other authors we have read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they are unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is about these books and authors that make them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors don't?
Please go to the above site for further information or to join our group.
Unfortunately I did not like history in Elementary, Junior, and Senior High School. To me it seemed like history was based on fact, fact, fact, and all we did was learn events, dates, and places. I don't know if it was due to the way the curriculum was taught, or it was something inherit in me, but it was the most boring subject I ever encountered in my school years experience.
After graduation I pretty much stayed clear of any books that had anything at all to do with history until I came upon a few authors like Anne Rice, who would throw in tidbits of history, and or, facts about France, the French Quarter of New Orleans, or some other place or time I found interesting. I think it was actually through Anne Rice that I started experimenting with different authors who also added an historical flavor to their books.

When I went to college I was required to take an International Study Course, as well as, a European History Class. I was not looking forward to either of them, but much to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed them both. They were taught very differently from anything I had ever experienced before and through them came a life long love of history and historical novels.
So what do the books I have added to this post all have in common? (Books available at )They are all based on history, and yet can be very entertaining like The Sunne in Splendour, or they give an accurate account of history like Team Of Rivals, and even sometimes a personal account like Katherine Grahams Personal History. Each of them offers me a step back to a different place and time. I am able to learn from the author what the people were like at the time, what types of clothes they wore, what they may have been thinking and feeling, and why something in history may have transpired the way it did. I am able to get a glimpse at the human side of history. Someone once told me "We can never fully appreciate who we are, or grow from our mistakes, or even understand our selves as human beings until we understand and appreciate our history."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"I remember Laura" Blog-a-thon.....

Week three of the "I Remember Laura" Blog-a-thon.

This week we are being asked to "share family recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. Did your grandmother make the best apple cake? Did your aunt make melt in your mouth molasses crinkle cookies? Perhaps you will begin the tradition of handing down a current family favorite, share it!" This week Miss Sandy at asks us to share family recipes and tell a story of where and how they were served. She also asks us to share why this particular recipe is important to us. Please go to the above web site for further information.

I actually have four recipes to share. These simple delicious comfort foods were served over and over again in our home while my sister, my brother, and I were growing up. None of us could ever think of home without warmly remembering the following recipes. I think my sister and brother would agree that of the three of us I am the most traditional. I have served all four of these recipes over and over again in my home. They have their particular favorites out of the four and tend to serve those the most often. Regardless, when any of us hear about, or serve any of these recipes, we are automatically transformed back to our childhood again.....


One Duck
Five to six apples (Peeled and cubed)
One package egg noodles
1/2 chopped onion
One to two tablespoons cinnamon (more if desired)
Salt and pepper
Cranberry sauce.
Rinse the duck, salt, pepper, and remove extra fat from bottom. Take a small amount of the fat, chop in little pieces and fry with the onion, salt, and pepper. Cook noodles and drain. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Add apples and cinnamon. Mix well. Place duck in a pan with small wire rack. Stuff the duck and layer noodles towards the end. Cook extra noodles in side dish and baste once with duck drippings. Cook in oven at 350 to 375 degrees until duck is golden brown and leg pulls from torso easily.
This dish will fill your home with the most amazing aromas. Every year we had Duck and Noodles sometime during the Christmas season, and many times at Thanksgiving, or Easter, along with the Turkey or Ham. When served with cranberry's it is absolutely delicious! When I make Duck and Noodles I always think of my grandmother. I can still invision her standing at the stove, wearing her apron with the little blue flowers, and holding a big wooden spoon.

Five or six large oxtails
One onion
One glove garlic
One large can whole tomato's with juice
Two cups of large uncooked Lima beans
Add one small package of carrots sliced (the last hour of cooking)
Water (enough to cover oxtails)
Salt and pepper
Place oxtails in a pot and cover with water. Bring to boil. Skim top of water to remove excess fats from meat. Then add all of the other ingredients but carrots. Simmer for approximately three hours. Add carrots the last hour of cooking. Meat should be tender when done. Serve with large chunks of french bread. This is sooo delicious! There was nothing like coming home on a cold winter day and having oxtail soup! This was another recipe of my paternal grandmother's.

Two cups graham crackers (crushed) I used to help do this with a rolling pin.
1/2 cup soft butter
One tesp. Cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

Two cartons cottage cheese (I used to help put this through the strainer)
Four eggs
One cup half and half
One cup sugar
One tesp vanilla
1/8 tesp. salt
Three tbsp flour
Mix all of the ingredients for the crust and divide in two. Place part of the filling in a 9x13 glass pan. Pat down. Mix all of the ingredients for the filling in a blender, food processor, or strainer. Poor carefully over the top of the bottom half of crust. Sprinkle the rest of the gram cracker mixture on the top and gently spread to cover. Bake in an oven at 375 degree's for one hour. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for an additional hour. Cool and then refrigerate.
This is very different from most of the cheese cakes we have today. It was a lot of work to make one in the days before all of the fancy kitchen equipment. When our mother baked us one of these yummy delicious cakes we felt very special indeed.

One box yellow and chocolate cake mix
One box of white and chocolate frosting
One bag of M&M's
One bag of candy corns
One package crushed nuts
One tube of red, pink, or orange cake decorating icing
Lot's of love.
Bake cupcakes as directed. Let cool and frost 1/2 with the white and 1/2 with the chocolate frosting. For the hair tip the cup cake and sprinkle nuts across the top corner. Add the M&M eyes, the candy corn nose, and the decorating icing for the mouth.
My mother made these charming little cupcake's every single Halloween that I can remember. She would make them for all of our school Halloween parties as well as for home. On Halloween my Aunts and cousins, who lived near us, would all come over so we could trick or treat together. When we got home back home my mother would spread blankets on the living room floor. Then all of us children would divide, barder, and trade our candy. After we had finished, and the grown ups had visited for a while, my mother would serve us all Happy Face cupcake's with tea and milk. Halloween was always so much fun and those little cupcakes were the very best. I remember how proud we were that our mother would take the time to bake those cupcakes for our school parties. Every year I make Happy Face cupcakes at Halloween too. It just wouldn't be Halloween without them. Everyone seems to love them. Some perhaps even more than others. My sensitive and sweet nephew Jon used to say, even at age thirty four, "Oh cool! Aunt Carol you made the happy face cupcakes!" To this day I still have such wonderful memories of my mother tirelessly baking and decorating those silly little cupcakes.
Graphics courtesy of

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thank you Alice..........

Wow! Imagine my surprise when I found out that I had received an award from one of my favorite bloggers, Alice at Thank you so much Alice! Had I received this award from anyone else you most certainly would have been one of my chosen five. You have the most amazing and lovely blog. All of your tea information and recipes are priceless. I use your recipes and find your ideas helpful all the time. When I am planning a little get together, or party, the first place I go is over to your blog to see what kinds of suggestions you might have. I am so pleased and honored that you thought of me. Thank you very much.

This award is "dedicated to many who nourish and enrich the spirit and creativity. They see dedication, creativity, camaraderie, joy, and above all ART, much art. I wish that this prize is entertaining to all those bloggers and to bloggers who day by day share this space and enrich it a little more each day." Arte Y Pico at

Now for the rules:

1) Select 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter what language.

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award-winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

4) The award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show a link of "Arte y pico" blog, so everyone will know the origin of the award.

This is always the most difficult part of receiving any of these pass along awards. How does one choose the five blogs? Certainly everyone on my favorite list deserves to receive this award. They are all dedicated and wonderfully creative bloggers who have interesting and entertaining blogs, but Since I can only pick five they are as follows:

Sandy at I love Sandy's blog. If you are looking for a giggle and most assuredly a smile this is the place to go. She is fun, and witty, and you will never leave her blog without feeling that you have been entertained. I hope you will take the time to visit.

Inland Empire Girl at I have been following this blog for quite a while. I absolutely love the stories about her classroom, class activities, and animals. You can always find terrific stories, beautiful pictures, and wonderful scenery on this blog.

La Tea Dah at This favorite blog of mine is all about family, garden, home, recipes, and well, you name it. There is always something interesting going on. She recently hosted the most amazing Tea Blog-a-thon. It was truly an unforgettable experience for me.

Laura Ingalls Gunn at I recently came upon this lovely blog. I love her decorating information, tips, and expertize.

Miss Sandy at This is a wonderful blog all about faith, friends, and family. It is also about crafts and travels. Right now Sandy is hosting an "I remember Laura" blog-a-thon. It is really fun, and if you get a chance, I hope you stop over.

I also would like to mention the Button Willow Chronicles This blog, at , is my daily inspiration. It is very artistically done. You actually are able to travel back to a much simpler and lovely place and time. Everything about this blog is exceptional from the music, to the artwork, to the poetry, and the stories. If you haven't had a chance to stop by please take the time. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day........

Thinking of you Dad............
Unfortunately my father passed away many years ago but I would like to wish all father's out there in blog land a very happy and joyful day......
Though we may not shower him with praise
Nor mention his name in song,
Though sometimes it seems that we forget
The joy he spreads as he goes along,
It doesn't mean that we don't know
The wonderful role he has had.
And away down deep in every heart
There's a place that is just for Dad.....

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Michael..........


This is what we love about you!..........

We love your smile.

We love the twinkle in your eyes.

We love that your so tall and handsome.

We love the fact that you are so very intelligent.

We love having discussions with you about history, literature, and currant events.
We love how you get excited about sports.

We love how you made us the happiest grandparent's in the whole world the day you were born.

I remember standing right outside the hospital room door, and hearing your dad say, "Anne....Oh Anne! My God we have a son! " With tears of joy streaming down my face I thought, Oh my gosh! We have a grandson!

We love how you look out for your little brother, your big sister, and your parents.
We love how you open doors, help and care about people, and have such great manners.
We love how we have watched you grow into the fine young man you are.
We love absolutely everything about you! Grandpa and I are so blessed because of you!
We hope you have a wonderful birthday Michael!........
With all our love and more, Grandma and Grandpa

You're a Grand Old Flag

Flag Day June 14TH.........
YOU'RE A GRAND OLD FLAG..............
You're a grand old flag,
You're a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You're the emblem of
The land that I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev'ry heart beats true
'neath the Red, White, and Blue,
Where there's never a boast or a brag.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.
George M. Cohan

Happy Birthday Kurt......

Photo courtesy of

Yeah!....... It's your birthday!.......
Time to celebrate!.............
We love you very much and we are so proud of the man you have become!.........
We hope your birthday is spectacular in every way!............

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Booking Through Thursday.......

This week, at Booking Through Thursday, our suggestions for discussion questions come from Heidi and litlove. The above web address will provide links to their blogs, as well as, to the rest of our group........

This weeks questions are as follows............

Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group (or if you haven't been, what do you think is the best way to choose) the next book and who would lead the discussion?
Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will? Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?

I do belong and have belonged to several book clubs in the past.........
The first book club I belonged to was actually formed by my brother. It included my sister-in-law, him, my hubby, and myself. It was a wonderfully intimate little group. Each month we would meet for dinner and have the most intellectual and stimulating book discussions. Every month someone different in our group would pick the book we were to read, and then in addition to our opinions about the book, we could bring other literature, art, poems, and anything else we thought would compliment what we had been reading.
The second book club actually came about because my brother and sister-in-law moved and all of us missed our first book club so much. I decided to form an on-line reading group. We started out with approximately eight people and grew to over twenty. By mutual decision we called ourselves The Reader's Of The Purple Sage. Each month a different member of our group would select the book we were to read. Then we would write a review of the book as well as add our own personal impressions and opinions. Sometimes we would invite someone to talk to our group about a subject we were reading and they would e-mail us a little lecture of sorts. It was so much fun! Everyone in the group said they patiently waited and were excited to receive the reviews per e-mail each month. We had a dead line so everyone committed to sending out their review on the same day. There were many follow up communications back and forth as we all discussed our reviews with one another. It was a great book club but it became some what overwhelming as we grew monthly by leaps and bounds. By the time we decided to dismantle out group we had people from all over the country participating and most us had never met. It was so interesting to read each others reviews each month. I would highly recommend this type of a book club to any one who has the time to organize and commit to it. My book club ran for approximately three years.
Presently I am participating in a book club at our local library. It is chaired by a librarian and the books are all selected by the library personnel. We are able to submit our suggestions at the end of every year, but the library makes the final decisions, and sends out a book list at the beginning of each new season.
I appreciate books I am obligated to read because it takes me out of my comfort zone and forces me to read something I wouldn't necessarily choose on my own. Even if I hate the book I will plow through it and learn the most amazing things. It has definitely made me a well rounded reader. I choose books with much more complexity on my own now then I previously did.
Being in a book club has a definite affect on my reading experience because it reinforces my thoughts, leads me to knew ways of thinking, and always offers me a alternative point of view. It also introduces music, art, science, and many other venues into my reading experience.
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