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Happy New Year of Reading!

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

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By Mirah W. (mwelday)

I hope 2016 brought you many wonderful reading experiences and that you’re already gearing up for some great reading in 2017!

I read some really great books in 2016 and I’m already looking forward to another year of discovering new stories, characters, and authors.  Here are just a few of the books on my list for 2017:

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2
by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

2016 felt like the resurgence of Harry! I got this one for Christmas and I’m looking forward to reading it since it doesn’t look like I’ll make it to London to see the stage production!

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

I’m a little late to the Miss Peregrine’s party. I should have read this book way before now!  It is on my bookshelf just waiting for me.

 

Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me
by Ron Miscavige

I read Troublemaker and Beyond Belief in 2016, both autobiographies about escaping the clutches of Scientology. I find the topic fascinating and look forward to reading more.

Where the Dead Lie
by C. S. Harris

I love the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series and the next installment comes out in April 2017. What will Sebastian and Hero get into next? I’m sure this book will be devoured quickly!

Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarty

I love this author and have been making my way through her books. Big Little Lies has gotten a lot of recommendations from friends so I’m excited to get to it.

Petty: The Biography
by Warren Zanes

Tom Petty is one of my favorite musicians and I am really interested in reading this biography. I just hope I don’t learn anything that taints how I feel about Tom!

 

These are just a few of my picks for 2017.  What do you want to read in the coming year?  Share your picks in the comments and let’s share some ideas!

Happy New Year of Reading!

 

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Gargoyles and Grotesques – Halloween Musings

Friday, October 30th, 2015

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Happy Hallowen by Cheryl G. (Poncer)

I have always been fascinated by Gargoyles and Grotesques, those stoic stone monuments guarding buildings and cemeteries day and night, night and day. My fondness has resulted in friends taking photos of the creatures they discover and send me the photos. Like the one above by fellow member Pat L. (PitterPat), took on a photo tour of Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.

It was previously thought that gargoyles came into being in the 13th century, when Gothic Architecture was just beginning. But there is evidence that ancient civilizations, such as the Greeks and Egyptians used Gargoyles on buildings, too.  Originally, Gargoyles were mere water spouts, a way to divert rain water away from buildings and their foundations. So the true definition of a gargoyle is a decorative water spout. Grotesques are purely decoration, with no practical purpose but to scare away evil spirits.

It is believed the Catholic Church used gargoyles and grotesques as a way to spread their theology to the mostly illiterate pagan population. After all, a picture paints a 1000 words.

Whether a gargoyle or a grotesque, sometimes called chimera, this art form is fascinating to me.

And a quick search through books currently posted and available for swapping gave me a plethora of choices. Below are some books relating to Gargoyles.

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

The narrator of The Gargoyle is a very contemporary cynic, physically beautiful and sexually adept, who dwells in the moral vacuum that is modern life. As the book opens, he is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows. He crashes into a ravine and suffers horrible burns over much of his body. As he recovers in a burn ward, undergoing the tortures of the damned, he awaits the day when he can leave the hospital and commit carefully planned suicide–for he is now a monster in appearance as well as in soul.

A beautiful and compelling, but clearly unhinged, sculptress of gargoyles by the name of Marianne Engel appears at the foot of his bed and insists that they were once lovers in medieval Germany. In her telling, he was a badly injured mercenary and she was a nun and scribe in the famed monastery of Engelthal who nursed him back to health. As she spins their tale in Scheherazade fashion and relates equally mesmerizing stories of deathless love in Japan, Iceland, Italy, and England, he finds himself drawn back to life–and, finally, in love. He is released into Marianne’s care and takes up residence in her huge stone house. But all is not well. For one thing, the pull of his past sins becomes ever more powerful as the morphine he is prescribed becomes ever more addictive. For another, Marianne receives word from God that she has only twenty-seven sculptures left to complete–and her time on earth will be finished.
3.9 stars, based on 78 ratings of PaperBackSwap members

 

 

In the Shadow of the Gargoyle
Nancy Kilpatrick (Editor), Thomas S. Roche (Editor)

For centuries, they have watched over us. Leering from the arches and peaks of ancient cathedrals. Spreading their wings across hallowed doorways. Even decorating our homes in stony, silent elegance. Are they angels or demons? Sacred or profane? In the Shadow of the Gargoyle features fifteen original stories and two classic tales of the legendary gargoyle. The contributors range from bestselling masters to the hottest newcomers — award-winners, artists, musicians, and, yes, gargoyle collectors. Each of them experts at drawing blood from a stone… Contributors include:* Harlan Ellison * Neil Gaiman * Katherine Kurtz * Brian Lumley * Jane Yolen * Charles L. Grant * John Mason Skipp * Nancy Holder * Alan Rodgers * Lucy Taylor * Jo Clayton * Don D’Ammassa * Christa Faust * Robert J. Harris * Brian Hodge * Caitlin R. Kiernan * Marc Levinthal * Melanie Tem * Wendy Webb
3.8 stars, based on 3 PBS Member’s ratings  (this one is currently on the way to me!)

 


Song of the Gargoyle by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
A strange sound awakens thirteen-year-old Tymmon  in the dead of night. In a blink of an eye his  father, the court jester of Austerneve, is  mysteriously kidnapped and the terrified boy must slip away  secretly to avoid capture  himself. — Hiding in the dreaded forest nearby, Tymmon is adopted by a huge, furry, dog-like creature–a  gargoyle–who has the loyalty of a dog and the fearsome  powers of an enchanted  being.
Together, hungry, the two make their way to town, where Tymmon earns a living by playing his flute and learns to be happy. At least as happy as he can be  without his father. Will he ever find a way to  rescue him and be with him again?
3.7 stars, based on 3 ratings

 


St Patrick’s Gargoyle by Katherine Kurtz
From his perch high above the bustling Dublin streets, a gargoule named Padraig keeps watch over his beloved city. It was once beautifully elegant, brilliantly sacred. But now something has changed. He can feel it… — On a bitterly cold December night, vandals break into St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Paddy melts into the darkness in search of revenge-but nothing could have prepared him for the evil that descends when he finds it…
3.6 stars, based on 27 ratings

 

 

 

Geis of the Gargoyle by Piers Anthony
Since Xanth began, the gargoyles of that magical place have been under a magical compulsion to protect the purity of the Swan Knee River which flows in to Xanth from dreary Mundania. But recently the pollution from the outside world has grown ever greater, and young Gary Gar, latest in a long line of gargoyle guardians, is finding it ever more difficult to fulfill his responsibilities.

So Gary does what any sensible Xanth resident with a dire dilemma would do. He goes to see the Good Magician Humfrey, who sends him on a peculiar quest–to transform himself into human shape, tutor a precocious child with more than her share of wild magical talents, and find a philter which can restore the river to its previous pristine state.
4.1 stars, based on 110 ratings

 

And then there is this adorable children’s series by Philippa Dowding, but alas, none are currently posted. The Wish Lists aren’t very long though.

 

 

So here’s wishing everyone a safe and happy Halloween, and remember to look up. You never know when a gargoyle or grotesque may be looking down at you.

 

The Joy of Books, A Word from our Founder

Monday, November 17th, 2014

By Richard Pickering, PBS FounderThe Joy of Books

I knew that the 2014 PaperBackSwap Cruise would be a great time to meet club members, participate in book-themed events, and share in our love of reading. It was going to be fun (and it was)! But I never expected that our itinerary held an event that would affect me deeply.

As the cruise ship pulled into Belize, I was informed that there was a surprise event scheduled, in which I would be needed to participate.  “Dress appropriately, as a representative of PaperBackSwap,” Cheryl G. (Poncer) said. That was all I was told.

About a dozen of us —PBS members and some staff — got off the boat and made our way to the taxi stand, where we boarded a van that whisked us away. As the roads became bumpier and turned from asphalt to hard-pack dirt and stone, my curiosity mounted. “Where are we going?” I asked. The rest of the group smiled knowingly, and Cheryl G assured me that this would be an adventure that I would never forget for the rest of my life.

We headed into the heart of the country, passing small farms and an occasional building that boasted some small trade or service for the local population. Finally the van slowed, and the driver leaned out the window to ask directions. We were in the middle of a very rural area – I could see thatched roofs around us, and I learned later there was no running water and almost no electricity. We were in the proverbial “middle of nowhere.” Liberty Children's Village in Ladyville, Belize

The van turned down one last dirt road. There was a gate at the end, and beyond that, the building that was apparently our destination. Finally, I was let in on the secret: this was a small orphanage, home to 42 children whose parents had died of AIDS.

The staff greeted us with open arms and thanked us for coming.  Many of the older children were in school, but the younger ones were there, and anxious to meet us.  We went into the day care center, which was very clean and nicely appointed. The high ceilings and fans kept the room cool, and the walls were covered with drawings that the children had made and gold stars for good behavior or outstanding scholarship.

Another surprise! The group (led by Gail P.(TinkerPirate and Cheryl G. Poncer) had brought along over 100 books for the kids, carrying them in their luggage onto the cruise. That was enough so that each child would get a couple of books, with plenty more to share with each other. I read a story aloud to the kids, about a farmer with a problem – cows that could type! The cows had a lot of demands for the farmer. It was a fun story, and the kids were very attentive. After the story, our team distributed the books and also gifts that the group had brought, and then we spent some time playing games with the kids.  After goodbyes and hugs, it was time to leave.

Click Clack Moo, Cows That TypeCheryl had been right — I would never forget the day, the kids, the orphanage staff who took such loving care of them, the appreciation for the books and our visit. It was so moving to consider the life that the kids had led, the circumstances that brought them to this place, and the life ahead of them.  I was proud of our group for coming up with the idea to visit the orphanage. On top of planning all the fun events of the PaperBackSwap Cruise, they had gone deeper and found a way to give back. How typical of PaperBackSwap members! It’s been 10 years since the club’s launch, and the generosity and kindness of our membership continues to amaze me.

It’s the kind of giving that makes our Books for Schools campaign such a success every year. So many members have asked us when the next Books for Schools will go live. We’re happy to say that BFS 2014 will be launching very soon! We are planning to begin right after Thanksgiving.


You can read about Books for Schools,  see a list and details of previous participating schools, suggest schools for future inclusion, and if you want to get a head start on donating before the BFS 2014 launch, you can use the Give Credits button on this page.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with those children in Belize. May God bless each and every one of them, and guide them in their lives going forward. And may God bless each and every one of our club members. We love your giving spirit!

cari

Thanks to all those who made the Orphanage visit happen: Gail P (tinkerpirate), Cheryl G (Poncer),  Ajay I., Barbara S (barbelaine1), Cari (ladycari), Kareena I., Len S (lens), Marie N (pottergal), Rick (RickMatt) , Sonal S (ComeGo), our driver Stanley, the staff at the orphanage including Director Agatha Valentine, and of course the kids!!!

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A very special package

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

By Nikki G. (nikkig224)

 

I am a reader, an avid reader at that. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you. If I could, I would have walls lined with all of my books. But of course, that is in my fantasy world. In the real world, I have no room to keep the books I have when I get new ones. This is why I joined PaperBackSwap. My beloved books would get sent to a new owner to treasure them, and in turn I get the opportunity to discover new books. It’s a great win-win situation for any reader.

Now I’ve been a member for quite a while. I’ve sent out and received my fair share of books in all sorts of packaging. There is the classic “two sheets for a small paperback”, or a white envelope cut to fit a larger book. I’ve even seen people take recycling one step further and send me books in envelopes they had received books in previously, and I have a tendency to ask for paper bags at the grocery store to send out brown paper-wrapped books. But last week, I received a book from a member that takes recycling to a whole new level.

The book was “Raw: A Love Story”, and it had been on my Wish List for a while. However, I had no idea what it was when I first opened my mailbox. What I saw was a strangely colorful, patterned package staring back at me. Despite my confusion, I picked it up and looked at the back. There, staring back at me, was Kentucky. Not just a picture of my home state, but a detailed map of Kentucky.

Now there are quite a few reasons I was excited about this package. It was a new book, of course, and one that I had wanted for a while. But here is was wrapped in a map of my own state. Some member, Lynda G. in fact, took the time to see where I lived before wrapping the package. Oh sure, she bundled it up to protect it from the elements better than any wrap job I have seen. But as I looked at it all I could think was about all of the places I was seeing on this package that I had traveled to.

I’m sorry, fellow PBS swappers, you won’t be getting this book from me. No, Lynda G. took too much time and effort to personalize this package and make it seem really special to me. That, and it is completely awesome.

 

That’s My Resolution and I’m Sticking to It!

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

By Mirah W. (mwelday)

 

Oh, the New Year. How quickly it did approach. And, thus, arrives one of the banes of my existence: New Year’s resolutions. Every year I balk at those who set New Year’s resolutions. Every year it happens (and now, thanks to social media, resolutions are shouted from the digital mountain tops)…people make resolutions, they are committed to their resolutions for a few weeks (if we’re lucky), then they cast the resolutions to the sidelines and life continues on as it did in the previous year. It appears that life change really wasn’t all that important after all. I decided years ago (so long ago I can’t remember when) I wouldn’t set resolutions. It’s great to look forward to things or set goals but putting them under the resolution cloak just irritates me. Why wait for a new year? I suppose I should have posted a ‘Snarky Comments Ahead’ warning at the beginning of this post. Sorry about that.

 

But I confess to you all that I now realize I’m a hypocrite. I, the denier of resolutions, have been making resolutions without even realizing it. I’ve engaged in book challenges for several years. There have been all kinds…reading a specific number of books, reading books with specific words in the titles, reading books from specific genres, reading books by specific authors, etc. I’ve called them challenges but that’s just a disguise for what they really are: resolutions. The truth shall set me free and, much to my chagrin, make me eat crow. And it’s not tasty; those ebony wings are a choking hazard.

 

But it gets worse. Don’t worry; I hear your chuckles and mutterings of ‘serves her right’ and I agree. Now I’ve become what I loathe because this year I failed to reach my challenge. I am a resolution failure. I didn’t read as many books as I said I would/could in 2013. I won’t get into the details of numbers; it’s embarrassing enough that I have to admit my failings.

 

I suppose I should do what typically comes next and provide you with the reasons (not excuses, I wouldn’t do that) for my admitted failure…. working more than recent years, taking on more responsibilities with my job, getting through my husband’s deployment, moving to another state, spending time with family and friends, feeding my cat. Now I’ve sunk to new lows and I’m blaming my cat for my resolution failures. What have I become?

 

So this year I’m done. No more. I’m kicking the bucket. I’m leaving those challenges (ok, resolutions) behind. I don’t want to pick books because they meet a challenge quota or requirement. I want to read. Just read. I want to choose what I want, when I want. I want to take my time if want or read a book in a day if I want or not finish a book if I want. I won’t be bound by rules. I am a free reading spirit. So I guess in a way that’s a resolution, too. But that’s one I can live with. That’s my resolution and I’m sticking to it.

 

 

 

 

Musings – How do you spend your vacation days?

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

By Mary (kilchurn)

 

 

So what makes you spontaneously take a day off from work?  A big sale at your favorite store? A beautiful day that just begs to be enjoyed?  A friend comes into town unexpectedly?

For me, apparently, it is the release of the latest book by one of my favorite authors.

I’ve had the date March 26th circled on my mental calendar for almost a year.  JR Ward’s latest book in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Lover at Last was coming out.  In the preceding weeks, I had joked with co-workers about taking the day off.  Last Thursday, I began to seriously consider it.

I know myself very well, once I start a book, I’m not going to put it down until I’m done.  The Kindle version that I’d pre-ordered would be available at midnight and I knew if I was still awake when it came out, I’d start reading – and not stop.  So Monday afternoon, I peeked my head in my bosses’ office and asked him if he had a problem with me taking Tuesday off.  He looked at me strange and asked why (I have most of my vacation days allocated at the beginning of the year).  I could hear the birds chirping over the bizarre silence as I tried to figure out what to say.  Do I tell him the truth?  Tell him I have an appointment?  I opted for the truth which got me another strange look.  You could see him processing the fact that I wanted to blow a vacation day to read a book.

But it wasn’t just any book!  It was the story I’ve been waiting on pins and needles for – for YEARS!  It was the story I was terrified would never get written!  There was no WAY I could sit at the office on Tuesday and wonder all day at the fate of Blay & Qhuinn!

Luckily, the boss was planning on being in the office on Tuesday, thus any of my projects would be covered so my vacation day was granted!

I went to bed Monday night comforted in the fact that come the morning, I could sit in my recliner and enjoy!  It took me about 8 hours to cover 608 pages and it was SO worth the vacation day.  The story was all I’d hoped it would be.   I laughed, I cried, I raged –Tuesday was possibly the best vacation day I’ve had in years!

PS – Another of my favorite author’s books is going to be released sometime this week, originally scheduled for Saturday – I see another vacation day in my future.

 

Musings, Memories and Miscellany from our MoM’s

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

NICOLE H. (tinyavenger) was named our Member of the Month in December 2012.

 

I joined PBS on January 24, 2008. A couple co-workers and I were discussing my love for books as I was always reading during lunch. One of the ladies mentioned hearing about PaperBackSwap.com.

I joined after researching and figured I would give it a try for a few months. I had never heard of a site like this one and just knew there had to be a catch. After being with this wonderful site for 5 years my own library has increased. And there is the catch!! You meet lovely people here and get so many great book recommendations that your collection grows.

I began reading new series and books I would never thought to have given a shot to much less probably discovered on my own. When I finally started venturing onto the Discussion Forums I found a whole fun new side to PBS. I love the daily discussions and participating in the games/swaps that I have been a part of so far. So now five years later the one extremely full bookcase I had when I first became a member is still in the living room along with three more upstairs! Thanks to PBS I seem to always have a steady stream of books going in and out. Our postman even once asked my husband what these packages were that I was always getting and sending. When he told him they were books he asked him if I actually read that much!

 

It is so hard for me to pick favorite books because I can not remember a time when I didn’t love reading. When I was a kid I would have to say that some of my favorites were Where the Wild Things Are, Green Eggs and Ham (who didn’t love Dr. Seuss when they were 5!!), Charlotte’s Web, The Indian in the Cupboard, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, Eating Ice Cream with a Werewolf and any Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on.

 

 

 

                                       

 

 

 

When I was a freshman in high school we read The Hiding Place, the story of Corrie Ten Boom and her family helping Jewish people escape Nazis during WWII, for a class.
By the time the class was on chapter three I had already finished the book. It is one of the first books that I can remember being brought to tears by.

 

 

 

 

 

As an adult I have read a lot of great books (many thanks to this site) that it is so hard to choose. I think some of my favorites just in the last year have been Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, Stephen King’s Under the Dome, Ghost Story (Dresden Files #12), Warm Bodies by Isaac Martin, The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

           

 

 

I am one of those people that usually have a couple books going at once and am currently reading J.D. Robb’s Calculated In Death (In Death Series #36) and Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon.

 

 

 

 

My reads currently on deck are Guilty Wives by James Patterson, Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck and Paper Towns by John Green.
     

 

I am so glad I was pointed to this site as I have come across some great people and been introduced to so many more books and authors! PBS is one of the first sites I check daily and am always excited for the daily Wish List e-mail to see what other books members are putting on their lists. Helps me keep my Wish List maxed out! Many thanks to the people who make this place amazing!

(Oh and for any of those that may still be wondering, the thing I did on 11/5/12 that people would think I was crazy for….I put up my Christmas tree and decorated it!!)