Getting Personal #147: “The winter is coming, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites, Italy” (Reblogged)

I love sharing Just Wunderlust’s photos often. No matter what photo it is, each one evokes emotion or some sort of connection. Sometimes, seeing these photos spark a daydream, or even a potential writing prompt.

Seeing this photo today made me think of several things, aside from the obvious, “Oh, wow, that’s absolutely gorgeous!”

I started thinking of the road that leads to this area. The characters that live there, both real and fictional. It reminded me a little bit of Beauty and the Beast, but my imagination ran a little wild earlier today. I love it when that happens, especially when everyday life and the normal routine can become so repetitive and dull.

The fog looks so ominous around the beautiful mountains, kissed by early snow.

What are their winters like?

Do tourists come?

Do the children enjoy the snow, the winter?

I’m sure it’s cold, but undoubtedly beautiful.

Italy is such a beautiful country, from what I’ve heard. I hope to be able to visit, someday.

As the fall weather is finally starting to settle in, here in southeastern Virginia, I’m enjoying the crisp air, the changing of the leaves, and the coming holidays. We’ll blink and Thanksgiving will be here in a flash. But, I do love one good snow every year – It turns the whole world white and beautiful!

What’s your favorite season? Why do you love it?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

The winter is coming, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites, Italy

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Awesome Authors #17: Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks

Image Credit: NewInBooks

Nicholas Sparks was my absolute go-to for romance novels for a long time. I own nearly every one of his books, and he was a defining author for me for several years.

In fact, I did my college senior thesis on his books. I studied the perceptions of love and romance from female readers. I would like to eventually publish it!

Born on New Year’s Eve 1965, Sparks was the second of three children. The family moved frequently while his father was pursuing graduate studies in Minnesota and California. Eventually, they settled in California after his father became a professor. On a track and field scholarship, Sparks majored in business finance at Notre Dame.

He married Cathy Cote in 1989, and they have had five children, three sons and twin daughters. He started writing in his early college years. His first publication was as a co-author in 1990. The book was titled Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding.

While selling pharmaceuticals in the early 1990s, Sparks wrote The Notebook. Literary agent Theresa Parks offered to represent him after finding it in her agency’s slush pile and liking it. She secured a $1 million advance from Time Warner Book Group in 1995. After its publication in October 1996, it made the New York Times best-seller list in its first week.

He lives in New Bern, North Carolina, where he donated $9 million to New Bern High School for an all-weather tartan track. He and his wife amicably separated in 2015, and subsequently divorced.

As of October 2018, he has published 22 books. He has published one book nearly every year since 1996, with two books being released in 2003, as well as 2005. Eleven books have been New York Times best-sellers. His most recent book is Every Breath.


A Walk to Remember (1999)

A Walk to Remember (Hardcover).jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I honestly can’t remember if this was truly the first Sparks book I read. But, I loved it, and the movie adaptation (2002) was very good. It was also incorporated into some of our Sunday School classes and youth group activities.

The Notebook (1996)

The Notebook Cover.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I think I read this after the movie adaptation (2004) came out, but this is one of Sparks’s books that I treasure and re-read frequently. The movie adaptation is one of the best that’s ever been made, hands down.

Nights in Rodanthe (2002)

Nights in Rodanthe.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I felt a special connection with this book, since Rodanthe, North Carolina, is only about two hours south of where I live!

I wanted to love the movie adaptation (2008) so badly, especially since I’ve visited the house that’s featured in it multiple times, but it wasn’t that great.

Safe Haven (2010)

Safe Haven Cover.png

Image Credit: Wikipedia

This book was a hard read for me. I myself was a part of an abusive relationship for several years, and this book brought back several memories. Thankfully, by the time I actually read it, I was several years into dating Al.

I’m pretty sure we watched the movie adaptation (2013) together. I liked it a lot, despite the subject matter.

The Last Song (2009)

Image result for the last song book

Image Credit: Goodreads

I waited for what seemed like FOREVER to get my hands on a copy of this from the library! I devoured it on a car trip either to or from Florida.

Most people hated / loathed the movie adaptation (2010), but I liked it.


What about you? Have you read or seen any of Nicholas Sparks’ work?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #136: “Sunflower Sunset, Dreamland, Kentucky” (Reblogged)

I love sunflowers. They make me happy! They’re not my favorite flower, but seeing photos of them make me think of sunshine, birds chirping, quiet, and peace. And I love sunsets, too.

Seeing this post also made me think of the TV show Smallville, which Al and I are currently binge-watching on Hulu. It’s one of the shows that Al grew up watching. Plus, it lasted an entire decade, from 2001-2011. It’s been funny to catch certain cultural references, and reminisce about the technology, hairstyles, glasses, and more.

The show is set in Kansas, and this is in Kentucky, but it makes me think of farms, country living, and more.

What’s your favorite flower?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

Sunflower Sunset, Dreamland, Kentucky

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Getting Personal #131: “Spiral Staircase, Law Library, Munich, Germany” (Reblogged)

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you have had a good day so far. It’s almost the weekend!

As I prepare for my own busy weekend, and the end of July next week (It’s not possible!), I wanted to share this post from Just Wunderlust. Spiral staircases are, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful and mesmerizing pieces of architecture. And, this photo is from a law library? Swoon!

Have a great weekend! And make sure pick up a book. I’m working my way through my first-ever ARC!!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

Jada Cook
Spiral Staircase, Law Library, Munich, Germany

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Commentary #78: “T10T: Unexpected Levels of Impact” (Reblogged)

Thanks to Destiny at Howling Libraries for inspiring this post!


Here’s my top ten, in roughly chronological order:

Baby-sitters Little Sister - Amazon

1. Baby-Sitters Little Sister series, Ann M. Martin, circa mid-1990s

  • I can’t name a specific book in this series. There’s over 100 books!! I loved the adventures Karen got into, and how realistic her life was. Her entire family, and neighborhood, felt real to me. Martin also covered a lot of poignant issues in the eyes of a child: Divorce, two houses, re-marriage, school trouble, friendship issues, and more! I was about Karen’s age in the books when I started reading them, so I identified quite a bit with her.

Pleasant Company Catalogue Holiday 1991

2. American Girl Central Series, Various Authors, circa mid-1990s

  • I grew up with devouring the six-book series. I’m slowly rebuilding childhood library. I started with Samantha’s books, then Felicity’s, and eventually read all of them. Molly’s books remain my favorite. However, I feel close to Felicity, too, since her stories are set in Colonial Williamsburg!

Image result for harry potter and the sorcerer's stone book

3. Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, J.K. Rowling, circa 2000-2001

  • I was definitely late to the party with reading the Harry Potter books. I remember telling my classmates who had read everything that had been released to that point, “I don’t like fantasy. I’m not interested.” Once I tried it, though, I was hooked. I finished Sorceror’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets by the time the first movie was released, and my obsession only grew!

4. A Walk To Remember, Nicholas Sparks, 2003-2004

  • I’m pretty sure I watched the movie before reading the book. But, it was my first introduction into Sparks and his books. It was sad, but I wanted to read everything that Sparks had written after that. I ended up doing my college senior thesis on his books, so I’m fairly certain his books had a significant impact on my life.

5. This Lullaby, Sarah Dessen, 2004-2005

  • Like Destiny, I was hooked after finishing my first Dessen book. I remember taking out 2-3 books of hers at a time from the library!

Speak - Wikipedia

6. Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson, circa 2006-2007

  • I think I borrowed this from the library? Regardless, I identified somewhat with Melinda, and her struggles. Anderson quickly became another favorite author, and I appreciate her writing and crafting of compelling characters. I’ve re-read this book multiple times, at several different stages of my life, and the impact is the same, every single time.

The Battle of Jericho - Amazon

7. The Battle of Jericho, Sharon M. Draper, circa 2005-2006

  • I don’t remember why exactly I picked up the book from the library, but I loved this book. I laughed, I cried, and I wanted more. Reading this book gave me a glimpse into the lives of African-American teenagers, and I found it fascinating and well-written. I have actively read almost all of Draper’s work because of her storytelling and care for her characters!

Looking For Alaska

8. Looking for Alaska, John Green, 2011

  • This was one of my assigned reading books for my Young Adult Literature class in the spring of 2011. I hadn’t read anything from Green until then, and it was such a powerful book. I thought it was fitting that I took this course during my last semester of college. A lot of the themes resonated with me, and I found myself reading it several times after graduation. Since then, Green has become one of my favorite authors.

Image Credit: www.shapingyouth.org

9. Tornado Warning: A Memoir of Teen Dating Violence and Its Effect on a Woman’s Life, Elin Stebbins Waldal, 2015

  • It was clearly a cover draw when I found it at the library. I remember circling back to it during that library trip before picking it up and taking it home. I cried. It was such a hard book – I felt like I knew Elin and her struggles, given my own with my abusive relationship with John. I was compelled to buy my own copy after borrowing it from the library years later – All I could remember to search on Amazon was the title, and a yellow-orange flower. The copy I own, although used when I bought it, was lovingly signed by the author. It’s a book I will treasure forever.

Prez: A Story of Love

10. Prez: A Story of Love, Margaret Garrison, 2018

  • This book impacted me in several ways. First, it’s written by a fellow P.E.O. sister, which boosted my confidence in wanting to become a published author. She signed my copy, and it’s a really good story. It’s Garrison’s debut novel, and it’s an impressive one. I loved the story, the element of historical fiction, and having a woman break the proverbial glass ceiling in university administration.

Tell me about a book (or two, or five, or ten!) that impacted your life!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

howling libraries

TTT-Big2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s prompt was to list ten books with Sensory Memories, and I decided to take it a bit further.

These are ten books that impacted me on an unexpected level, in a good way. Some of them are books I expected to impact me at least a little, but not as much as they did in the end.

These are sorted in order from oldest memories to newest. 🙂

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Tag #64: The Muppets Book Tag

The Muppets

Image Credit: Disney

I stumbled upon this tag from Bibi’s Book Blog at the end of June. Most of you know that I love the Muppets, so I definitely wanted to do this tag!

Here’s the link to Bibi’s post:


Swedish Chef

Name a book that should have been good but left the foulest taste in your mouth…

Swedish Chef

 

Allegiant. I had such high hopes …

Fozzie Bear

Name a book that you couldn’t help but laugh at the jokes or characters

Fozzie Bear

Harry Potter. Ron Weasley, especially.

Bunson Honeydew and Beaker

Name a book that made you feel a little smarter by the end of it

DR Bunsen Honeydew And Beaker

The Unknown and Impossible: How a research facility in Virginia mastered the air and conquered space. I learned so much about NASA, and it’s ties to the Hampton Roads area!

Crazy Harry

Name a book where a character or something about the book drives you crazy

Crazy Harry

The Casual Vacancy. I didn’t like how many characters there were! It was hard to keep up.

Janice

Name a book that was an easy read and gave you good vibes

Janice

Any of the American Girl books. I love reading about history!

Stalter & Waldorf

A book that you loved and was turned into a movie that you hated

Stalter and Waldorf

Oh, goodness. I’m not sure I have a true answer for this one!


Tag – You’re It!


Who is your favorite Muppet?

I’m with Bibi – I was disappointed to not see Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Sam the Eagle, Animal, and Rizzo!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #16: Chris Van Allsburg

Chris Van Allsburg

Image Credit: Quotefancy

Chris Van Allsburg was practically a household name when I was younger. He has created some of the most beautifully illustrated books I have ever seen. Our future kids will definitely know about him, too.

Born in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, in June 1949. Van Allsburg has an older sister. His parents moved a few times between East Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids. After graduation, he attended the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Michigan, where the art school was located at the time. After graduating in 1972, he went on to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he obtained a master’s degree in sculpture in 1975. He opened a studio. Struggling with time in the studio, he started to sketch his ideas and designs at home. His wife thought his drawings would be good for children’s books. His first book, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, was published in 1979.

He resides in Providence, Rhode Island, with his wife, Lisa. They have two daughters, Sophia and Anna. Van Allsburg converted to Judaism, which is Lisa’s faith.

He has received several awards, including two Caldecott Medals for U.S. picture book illustration. He was the 1986 U.S. nominee for the biennial, international Hans Christain Andersen Award, the highest international recognition for those who create children’s books. In April 2012, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from his alma mater, the University of Michigan.


The Polar Express (1985)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

My parents have had a copy of this book since before I was born. It was a Christmas tradition for years to read the book and/or listen to the story on cassette tape. We even had a collector’s set with the book, cassette tape, and a silver bell. If you haven’t read it, you should.

Also, the movie adaptation (2004) is wonderful. We went to see it in theaters, likely the weekend it was released. We love Josh Groban in our house, so we also got the soundtrack and DVD. It’s a thing.

Jumanji (1981)

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’m pretty sure I first read this book through either the Chittum Elementary School library, or the Russell Memorial Library. I remember the Reading Rainbow episode, too.

Like The Polar Express, the movie adaptation (1995) is awesome, with Robin Williams and a cast of characters. I think I saw it on TV first. It’s one of my favorite movies that will never get old. We also saw the sequel (2017) in theaters, and it was pretty good, too. We miss you, Robin. There was also a TV series that ran from 1996 to 1999.

The Wreck of the Zephyr (1983)

The Wreck of the Zephyr.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

This is one book that I hadn’t heard of! I need to see if the local library has it.

Zathura (2002)

Zathura book cover.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

This is one instance where I saw the movie adaptation (2005) before I read the book. It’s always fun to think about and dream about space. We actually watched the movie again recently – It’s really well-done. Plus, it’s fun to see several actors when they first got their start in the film industry.


What about you? Have you read or seen any of Chris Van Allsburg’s work?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂