Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Top Ten Books

What would be on my Top Ten Books list? A hefty question, that. For me, a favorite book is the result of the work itself combined with the time and place it came into my life. Not necessarily literary merit, but a measure of how the work resonated with me. A glance over the bookshelves (and even d├ęcor) in my house and on my Good Reads page illustrate the books I love the most (in no specific order):

1. Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery.
Who doesn't love fiesty, unlucky Anne and her beau-to-be Gilbert? Amy and I are traveling to Anne's land next month. First on my to-do list: take a carriage ride with Matthew Cuthbert (creepy, yes but I wouldn’t miss it).

2. Suzanne Brockmann's Navy Seal series (Troubleshooters, Inc. and Tall, Dark, and Dangerous) Romance and adventure mixed with some historical fiction make up these steamy military novels. Hubba hubba.

3. Nora Roberts books. Yes, Nora Roberts. Don't judge me – just admire my honesty. Specifically, I love these series: The Gallagher's of Ardmore (Irish Trilogy), Born In... (Irish Trilogy), and The Chesapeake Bay Saga. Love set on the shores of Ireland or New England - sigh.

4. The Lord of the Rings series. One of my best ever memories - Amy and I getting tickets to the Lord of the Rings movie marathon when the third book was released! Frodo lives!

5. Walk Two Moons/Bloomability by Sharon Creech. Huzzah, huzzah. Lyrical language and touching stories are the draw for me in both of these wonderful novels. The audiobooks are terrific, as well.

6. Truman by David McCullough. Ok, so I haven't actually finished it yet - probably because the a few hundred pages literally fell out of the book. For an inside look at a president as well as the historical perspective of the day - there is no one than McCullough.

7. The Ender series by Orson Scott Card. I read Ender's Game on Christmas Day while driving from Denver (away from the hospital) to Omaha. The complex and compelling science fiction saga of young, genius Ender being taken to the military school in the sky was just the thing to distract me during the 9 hour trip. I also really enjoyed Ender’s Shadow. Go Bean!

8. The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. The perfect fantasy series complete with a courageous and naive assistant pig keeper/hero, a clever princess, a wandering bard who just happens to be a king, and a smelly creature always looking for more crunchings and munchings.

9. Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe Books (Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, Protector of the Small, Daughter of the Lioness) I've read and listened to these series more times than I can count. I have several favorite scenes - Alanna standing up the bullies, Kel's friends following her when she goes AWOL to save the people she vowed to protect, and more!

10. Harry Potter / His Dark Materials. Of course.

Honorable Mentions: The Thief series by Turner, The Cassen Family books by McKay, the Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and I suspect the Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins will soon rate up there as well.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Palatine Area Community Marching Band

Stacy and I broke up the monotony of our lives as a computer guru and librarian by joining the newly formed Palatine Area Community Marching Band.

Started by two local teachers, it was billed as park district class and ended up being fun, challenging and inspirational. We practiced twice a week throughout June and marched in the Palatine 4th of July parade (on July 5th thankfully since we were already committed to a parade on the 4th). Stacy even volunteered to play the bass drum since too many trombones and not enough drummers were in attendance.

We had a lot of fun - more than I anticipated I would. I realized that I miss playing in a group just as much as I miss performing. We received lots of positive feedback along the parade route as we marched and also as Stacy and I walked back to our car after visiting the food tent. Most of all, I was touched when I realized how many people had been watching for us - friends that knew we would be marching and made an effort to keep an eye out and even take pictures for us. As transplants to this area - that meant a lot.

Watch for us (or join us) next year!

Missed the parade? Check out the Pictures (some ours and some courtesy of Amy and Kevin) and Video (via YouTube and taken by knapp216) and more video (both songs)!