Saturday, June 16, 2012

Snapshot Saturday - The Dog Ate My Homework

There are just some things that we don't do in our house.
Tearing up or defacing books is one of them. 

Unfortunately, we forgot to tell Lizzie :(

This is my brand new copy of Laurell K. Hamilton's book, Kiss the Dead, which was auto shipped on its publication date straight to my house because I just could not wait :/
I had only made it to pg. 118 before the horror of all horrors was discovered.

It is tremendously difficult to stay mad at this little one though...

I'm sure you can see why :/

Snapshot Saturday is hosted by Alyce @ At Home with Books

Friday, June 15, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday

This is my first time on Feature and Follow Friday over at Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read! 

I've been blogging for 3 years, and did you know that it just hit me today after reading the rules/instructions for participating in this hop that not everybody can follow another blogger through GFC.  I honestly had never thought about that! I promise I'm a halfway intelligent person :/
Anyhoo, I signed up for the little Blogger Network follow thingamajigie and posted it in my kinda looks funny there right, with only little me following my little self, ahem.  :)

This week's question is 

Q: Happy Father’s Day! Who is your favorite dad character in a book and why?

My answer:
I read a lot of different stuff...from vampire hunters to classics...but the best Father in all the books/series I've ever read is Father Tim from Jan Karon's best selling Mitford series.  Now, don't smirk.  I'm a very tightly wound kind of woman who has more than a full plate of responsibilities (like most of us).  I have to constantly battle to keep my emotions in tact, stay organized and not get overwhelmed.  Father Tim is just the opposite.  He's peaceful, he's trustworthy, he takes in strays (boys and dogs), and he loves others just as they are...but in a believable way, not an unrealistic holier than thou way.  Does that make sense? He's also not perfect but never pretends to be.  
Just an all around older guy who enjoys life and encourages those around him to do the same.
This is where you can find Father Tim:

And, this is what I think he looks like: 

Now, on to find some new blogging friends on the hop!! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Review - Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Harper Collins 2010

Format? Hardback off my TBR shelf
Where'd I get it? My mom gave me this signed copy for Christmas two (gulp) years ago.

Why?  Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter received a lot of blog time right after it was published...however, what sold me was the setting, South MS...I'm a MS girl who didn't really appreciate MS until I actually had the opportunity to leave it.  So, any chance I get to read a book whose setting is my home, I dive right in.  I do tend to be hyper-critical of MS books, Southern accents, and of course, the stereotypical ways anything about the South is represented.

What Now?  This one's a keeper...I liked this one so much that I didn't even look at the end when things began to heat up.  Anybody who knows me knows that's a big crutch of mine...a crutch for which my firstborn won't speak to me for a while after she knows I've fallen back on it :(   This one's going on the keeper shelves in the antique secretary :)

Golden Lines

The trunks were darker in the rain, some shelved with rows of mushrooms or layered in moss.  The air grew cooler the lower he went and at the bottom he brushed at his shoulders and emptied his hat, the hill tropic behind him, its odor of rain and worms, dripping trees, the air charged as if lightning had just struck, squirrels flinging themselves through patches of sky and the snare-roll of a woodpecker a few hollows over, the cry of an Indian hen.

"Can I have the rattles?" the mullet boy asked.
Silas looked at the women.
"Fine with me," the fat one said.  "His birthday's next month."  She winked to let him know it was a joke, and he bent to work cutting the dry cartilage off with the shovel and kicked it out of the snake's range.  The boy picked it up and smelled it, then ran off shaking it,  the other boys and the dogs following.

But he loved best when the Coca-Cola truck had left six or seven or eight of the red and yellow wooden crates stacked by the machine, the empties gone and the new bottles filled with Sprite, Mr. Pibb, Tab, Orange Nehi, and Coca-Colas, short and tall.   Larry relished unlocking the big red machine, turning the odd cylinder of a key and the square lock springing out.   When you spun this lock the entire red face of the machine hissed open and you were confronted with a kind of heaven.  Long metal trays beaded with ice were tilted toward the slot where they fell to your waiting hand.  The rush of freezing air, the sweet steel smell.  The change box heavy with quarters and dimes and nickels.   Taking bottles from the cases, he'd place each one in its rack, considering the order, taking care not to clink.

Twenty-five years later, his head full of the past, here in Larry Ott's kitchen, Silas stared at the photograph of his mother.  Because they'd lost their things on the trip from Chicago, this was the first picture of her he'd seen in decades, her light skin, hair drawn back in a scarf.  The smile she wore was the one she used around white people, not the one he remembered when she was genuinely happy, where every part of her face moved and not just her lips, how her eyes wrinkled, her hairline went back, how you saw every gleaming white tooth, the kind of smile he'd seen fewer and fewer times the older she got.  But this plastic smile, the photograph, was better than no picture at all.


Silas Jones, better known as "32" and Larry Ott are old friends from childhood.  Silas moved to MS from Chicago with his mama Alice, while Larry has always lived in MS with his mother and father.  The two become great friends who spend their time fishing, mowing grass, catching snakes, and all the other things young boys do.  Silas is a ball player, and Larry likes to read books, yet somehow their personalities compliment each other.   However, there is one aspect of their friendship that works against them, Silas is black and Larry is white in 1970's small town Mississippi where integration is new (1968) and raw.  While as young boys these differences don't make much of an impact on their friendship, by the time they are in jr. high, the two have grown apart.  Silas becomes a popular baseball player who leaves for Ole Miss on a scholarship and Larry becomes an outcast who stays behind reading his books.
During their jr year in high school a young woman disappears.  Larry is the last one to see her alive and becomes the person of interest in her disappearance.  Even though a body is never found and Larry is adamant about his innosence, the rest of the town is convinced that Scarey Larry is the murder.
After graduating from Ole Miss, Silas moves back to MS to become the constable and keeps his eye, albeit from a distance, on Larry, who has become completely ostracized from his community.  Then another girl disappears, and all eyes are on Larry again.  But, Silas knows Larry is innocent.  How he knows and whether or not he can clear Larry and come to terms with his own shortcomings are the conflicts embedded in this fast moving novel.  

What I Liked

Holy Smokes, the writing...I will be reading anything else I can get my hands on by Tom Franklin...I enjoy description done well...I am a lover of words and obviously so is Franklin.   Franklin's vivid descriptions of MS heat, kudzu, sweat, grass, bugs, pine trees, etc are spot on.  The characters themselves are so richly done that you feel like you know them.  You want to cut them some slack but then you don't.  You're sad when good folks mess up...but from a contemporary perspective, you somehow know that these were complicated times...actions that would never occur now unanswered for were commonplace even in the 1970's.

Voncille - the town clerk.  You say her name Von you know how many women I've known named Voncille?  Do you know that I've never seen the name written...anywhere?  Do you know how tickled I was to have a character named Voncille??  Tee Hee :)

"Preciate" - Do you know how many times a day I say this?? This is MS slang for the word "appreciate."  I constantly use the phrase "preciate you" or "preciate it."  We also don't "borrow" things; we "borry" them :)  There are so many other examples of dialogue like this that made me think Tom Franklin had to have grown up in the South.  

The plot - I knew who the murderer was by the time the character enters the story...but this book was about so much more than the identity of this character.  The events were intertwined in such a way that the reader truly becomes emotionally involved in the story.

The story vacillates between the present and the past...again, this book is not just about solving a murder, but it's also about who these men are, who they were as children, where they came from, how they became friends, the societal expectations that fought against their friendship, and of course, the men they each individually became.  There is no good guy, bad guy in this's incredibly complicated...which in many circumstances is so very much how life is.

What I Didn't Like

Of course I don't like any portrayal of MS as a racist state...but duh.  I think history must include the pieces we're not proud of as well as the parts we want to shout to the world.  Part of what's wrong with our world today is that we've grown up with a whitewashed version of our country's history...we're proud of things that either never happened or events that have been exaggerated or strategically altered so that we always look like the good guys.  I've read and been depressed enough by Howard Zinn's book The People's History of the United States to realize the dangers of blindly filling in the blanks to fluff things up a bit.  Franklin doesn't fluff anything up; there were parts of this book that were tough to read for me...even places where I winced. But, sometimes the truth hurts.  Truth that matters, anyway.
There's also a part of this history that is simply ours as Southerners...the barefooted kids playing running around with a rattlesnake rattle, the language, the heat, the diner, the sittin' on the front porch, smokin' a cigarrette, drankin' a beer kinda stuff. ;)

The dialogue was a little over the top at times...while we all slide into the deep deep dialect at times, Franklin's characters seemed to always leave out their verbs or talk like the most ignorant people you've ever met.  That stung a little bit I think simply bc that's not my day to day experience...depending on who you're talking to, the level of education, and where they live depends on how much dialect you have to stomach.  Professional Mississippians generally speak standard English in professional situations, but Franklin's characters seem to always be in backwoods mode. I grew up and live in the rural South and do fall back into  a conversational country tone most every single day (depending on who I'm talking to, of course), but when I'm "on the job" so to speak, I am very careful and very cognizant of how I sound to others.  Of course, as I'm typing this, I'm also remembering that I work in a community college and my professional expectations are probably very different from what's expected of Franklin's characters.  The dialect is definitely something to prepare for though bc you can't overlook it.

Overall Recommendation

This is a great story and a honest look at life in a small Southern town...two friends, two races, other differences and societal expectations concerning those differences.  It's also about how stereotypical ideas can hurt the innocent while covering up guilt...and I'm not just talking about black and white.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Picture This - Book Review

Picture This by Jacqueline Sheehan
Harper Collins 2012

Format? Oversized paperback 
Where from?  TLC Book Tours sent me this one for review :)

Why? I'm all about stories where there's a good dog, supposedly rescued by a human...when in actuality, the dog is the one doing the rescuing :)  
Picture This is the sequel to Lost and Found, which I reviewed yesterday.

What Now?  I will certainly be on the lookout for anymore books by Sheehan about Rocky and Cooper :) I will more than likely pass this one on to the library.

Golden Lines

It wasn't that Rocky disliked donating to libraries or animal rescue organizations, and she considered explaining that to the caller, but she didn't like being called.  She didn't like the membrane of this fragile, tiny house being punctured by the outer world.

Cooper greeted Rocky's entrance with his full-throttle, body twisting euphoria, as if he was amazed at her return.

We can go as slow as we need to," he had said.  "Your husband made the terrible error of dying, and I know that you're still sad and you'll miss him for as long as you live.  I am 90 percent through a divorce, so you and I aren't exactly at the starting gate.  But I don't want anyone except you.

Cooper had stationed himself in front of the screen door, catching the morning breeze, lifting his nose in celebration of a good dog day.  Peterson entertained herself by pouncing on Cooper's tail whenever he moved it.

But every dog carried the thread of genetic material that could be instantly tapped if the home was in danger.  There was a responsibility for everything, and he willingly paid the price to protect his pack.  The scent hovering around Natalie made Cooper stand up.  He would have to listen more intently, sniff more carefully.  Something was coming closer.

Caleb spoke up. "And now may I ask a question?  What were you thinking?  Why did you let this girl move into your house?  Is your brain shrinking?

Melissa heard something familiar in Rocky's voice, the smarter, kick-ass part of Rocky, and she breathed in a sliver of relief.  She had nearly given up, had been ready to abandon all hope for Rocky as an intelligent life form.


Rocky has been living on Peaks Island, Maine for over a year since her 42 year old husband Bob died suddenly of a heart attack.  She has finally begun putting the pieces of her life back together when a young woman named Natalie calls claiming to be Bob's daughter.  Rocky's new world is shaken by the possibility that a part of Bob still exists. Natalie is damaged, having been left by her mother and passed through the foster care system, but Rocky is determined to be the family Natalie never had, something she knows for sure that Bob would want his daughter to have.  Rocky's friends are concerned as she begins making quick and large decisions about her life based on Natalie as part of her family before Rocky is even sure that Bob was Natalie's father, and Natalie's appearance particularly puts a wedge between Rocky, Melissa, Cooper and Hill.
Is Natalie who she says she is? If so, how can Rocky gently assimilate her and create their own new family?
If Natalie is not who she says she is, then what is her true agenda? And how will the lives of those at Peaks Island be affected?

What I Liked

Rocky's relationship with Melissa - these two have figured out a way to co-exist...counselor and eating disordered teen...without every really discussing Melissa's's as if they have their own language about it.  This speaks volumes to me about what kind of counselor Rocky was...a very smart one indeed...she knows when to push, when to back away, and when to ease into something.  This is also the reason I was so mad at Rocky through half the book when she started acting like a doofus.

Hill - what a guy.  Rocky's ambivalence toward him frustrated me.  Is it so hard to find an honest, hardworking fella to spend the rest of your life with?  And, would it be too much for her to quit jumping to conclusions?  

Melissa - I want to know more about this girl.  Damaged herself, she doesn't take crap from anybody...and she sees the truth before anyone else does.  She's found her therapy in Cooper and in her newfound eye for photography, and she fights her eating disorder straight on without whining.

Tess and Len - this is THE love story, the recovering alcoholic ex-husband who realizes all he's missed, but is satisfied with being friends with his ex-wife if that's all she'll allow him to be.

The End - everything's not wrapped up in a nice little package at the end, leaving room for another Cooper/Rocky novel :) but also when you're dealing with damaged individuals (and aren't we all damaged somehow?), every single day is a work in progress.  

Everybody can't be saved - there's a huge bite of reality here...those who want to work on their issues work on them.  Those who don't, don't.  And, sometimes damaged people are just too far gone, some hurt runs too deep, and trauma can change a person's very core.

What I Didn't Like

The House's perspective - I can actually see where a story told from a House's perspective or as a major part of another story would be effective...but this felt thrown in to me.  There were only a few places where the old house Rocky buys is the focus of the chapter, but again, it just didn't feel right.

When Natalie appears, Rocky loses it.  Her behavior becomes erratic and I got really really tired of it. She could also come up with some really corny reasons to justify her impulsive actions...and the mother instinct thing got old fast as well...who in their right mind would long to parent a teenager...let alone allow one to move into your home without checking him/her out thoroughly????? 
Honestly, when I looked back at my annotations in the book before writing this review, I actually found some frowny faces, the comment "OH BROTHER" and several cartoon faces with the tongue stuck out.  I loved one particular quote by Melissa because she said EXACTLY what I was feeling, "It was like Rocky had gone stupid."  I drew a big smiley face with stick hair by this comment :P
As much as I dislike this Rocky, I realized eventually that Sheehan very possibly made me feel that way on purpose.  I just wish she'd let me in on her strategy a little sooner because honestly for about 1/2 the book, I was so disappointed...then WHAM, here we go.  I couldn't put it down after that.

Natalie - I can't say much here except that she gave me chills in places...and not the happy kind.

Overall Recommendation

As with Lost and Found, an interest in animals and psychology are a must for this story as is reading Lost and Found first.  I think if you've read Lost and Found and already love these characters, you'll push through the slow parts and get to the really good stuff.

Other Stops on the TLC Book Tour 

My Bookshelf

Visit Jacqueline Sheehan's website
Jacqueline Sheehan's Facebook page

**I received a complimentary review copy of Picture This from the publisher via TLC Book Tours; however, the opinions and content of this review are my own.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review - Lost and Found

Lost and Found by Jacqueline Sheehan
Harper-Collins 2007
Format? Kindle download

Why?  For one of the June TLC Book Tour choices, I requested the book Picture This because I loved the sound of it...a middle aged woman, a trained counselor, a dog she loves, building her own life again after the death of her husband, etc.  I chose it with full knowledge that there was a prequel for the book called Lost & Found.  My plan was to buy it, but thankfully I discovered that I'd already purchased it on my Kindle during a .99 cent sale! I was obviously meant to read these books :)
What Now? I'm anxious to find out what happens next to Rocky and the dog Cooper-Lloyd :)

**My review for Picture This is scheduled for tomorrow, I've been saving the review for Lost and Found for the day before (today)...with the pesky virus running around our house, I almost forgot! **

Golden Lines 
Deep howls emptied out of her and jerked her body as if her tendons had sprung loose.  Each blast of sound battered her until she wondered if her neck would snap.  In the end, Rocky lay on the floor with the urn and saw the boundary land of madness open up before her and felt a seductive pull.
She was on a four on a ten-point scale of anxiety and she could ride this out.  She hadn't had another panic attack after the first one, two months after Bob died.  And although the sound of another person breathing in her house was now reaching tolerable levels, the thought of Sam and Michelle seeing inside her house made her want to throw up.  Her blood noticed the threat and picked up the pace and her heart rate quickened...
...Her ancient brain came forward like a crocodile, eyes bulging, peeking over the surface of the water.

By the time Michelle pulled up, Rocky had put the cap back on her adrenaline, but her armpits were drenched from the experience.  She had not had a panic attack, but the effort of averting one had drained her.  When the couple left, she was exhausted.
This black dog is Cooper and I eat four kibbles from his dog dish and he is teaching me to eat again and when I am ready to scream in terror at the food sliding down my throat into my stomach, this dog presses his head into my palm.

She felt the pain again in her lower abdomen, saw the hard edges.  She was driving to Orono with Rocky and she could smell the panic coming off the younger woman's skin, a scent like cider vinegar and mangoes that had gone too far past ripe. 

When she slept, her attempt at alpha nature evaporated and her terror began.  He smelled it the first night, even groggy from his own surgery, his own disaster.  He sensed the alarm, the hunt.  Her body restless in sleep, carried traces of an ancient hunter, tracking senselessly, flailing about, sending off waves of scented pain to him.

Rocky's veterinarian husband Bob dies from a massive heart attack suddenly one morning in their upstairs bathroom.  After CPR fails to revive Bob, Rocky stumbles through the next few days of Bob's funeral arrangements and decision making about her future.  She ends up taking a year long leave from her job as a psychologist at a university counseling center and renting a house on Peak's Island, a ferry trip away from Portland, Oregon.
On the island, Rocky falls into an Animal Control Warden job and a recently vacated rental cottage that belongs to former minister Isaiah and his wife Charlotte.
Among her first rescues are a tabby cat who's been left behind by negligent renters and a big black lab injured by an arrow shot.
Rocky makes friends with year round resident Tess, an older divorced woman/physical therapist and a teenager with a secret eating disorder named Melissa.  Both Tess and Melissa have their own psychological handicaps, which makes them perfect for Rocky who suffers from an anxiety disorder.  Topping off their friendship is the black Lab whom they call Lloyd...Lloyd has something each of the women needs.  
Upon investigation, Rocky finds out that the arrow that almost killed Lloyd belonged to his former owner, competitive archer, Elizabeth Townsend who is found dead in her home under suspicious circumstances.  According to her vet and everyone who knew Elizabeth, even though she struggled with her own psychological issues, she would have never hurt Lloyd...who's real name is Cooper. 
In order to keep Cooper-Lloyd, Rocky has to solve the mystery of Elizabeth's death and essentially save her own in the process.

What I Liked
Animal facts - Rocky's husband Bob was a vet so there were many times that Rocky would fall back on things she knew about certain animals bc of things Bob had told her from time to time.  Many of the animals Rocky is called on to help are not in the best shape...mentally or physically and Rocky falls back on her knowledge very naturally but also in a way that's interesting to the reader.  I think it's a given that to read and enjoy this book, you need to be an animal lover or at least interested in them.  If you're not, I'm not sure you'll appreciate this tale for all its characteristics.
Synesthesia - a psychological syndrome where a person responds from two places in their brain to an action...when Tess stubs her toe, she sees orange but also yells orange bc she sees and feels orange at the same time.
Panic attacks - Rocky has them.  She has learned through her own experiences and her training as a counselor to work against them...learning the early warning signs and keep them from controlling her.  As a fellow panic attack sufferer, I appreciated this part of the story more than you know.  It's nice to have a character, strong but flawed, who is not crippled by her anxiety.  The story is also written from the perspective of someone who understands the science and medicine behind psychological disorders...this is obviously Rocky's perspective as a psychologist, but it's also apparant that Sheehan has some experience in the mental health field as well.

Melissa - at first I couldn't figure out the connection here...and Melissa sortof felt thrown in at times...Getting Cooper-Lloyd's perspective felt more natural to me than Melissa's.  I eventually saw the need for Rocky's life to mean something to someone else, no matter how fractured she felt; Rocky's existence and the turn of events in her life were for a purpose of some kind.  Her life still meant something to someone.  But, I still felt like this connection could have been done was just not as seamless of a connection as Rocky's with the other characters.

What I Didn't Like
The point of view switches were a little confusing at times bc there didn't seem to be a pattern for them.  More than half way through all of a sudden Sheehan brings in the dog's point of view. 
 Yes, I said the dog's point of view.  
At first I found this weird...but it grew on me bc Sheehan doesn't try to bring in illogical thoughts or human thoughts to the dog.  She simply imagines what the dog would be thinking based upon, again, what scientists know (or think they know) about how dogs respond to their environments and the events in their lives.

While I could understand Rocky needing some space and not wanting to tell everyone her story, I found it a little strange that she chose to re-invent herself literally...technically lying about who she was.  Again, I realize the she was making decisions while still in shock from the sudden death of her husband, but those decisions could have impeded her ability to go on with her life eventually.

TMI - there were a few places where Rocky would remember specifics about her life with Bob that were TMI for me and one place where Rocky and Tess share a tub that was a little unbelievable for me.  They made me uncomfortable more than anything, but I also didn't think they were necessary for the storyline.  I don't even begin to know what life is like for a woman who's lost her husband (nor do I want to), so Rocky's flashbacks about Bob may be more than perfectly realistic in her situation...they were just hard for me to wrap my mind around from my own personal perspective.

Overall Recommendation
Psychology and animals are huge themes here so I'm pretty sure it's imperative for a reader to be interested in both of these areas to appreciate this novel. 

Discipline and Control - the German Shepherd Way

Thanks to her best buddy by her side, the youngest is feeling much better this morning.
So much better, in fact, that she's reached that point where she's beginning to get on my nerves :/ 
You know that point, the one where they're ready to go for a run around the neighborhood, but you know they shouldn't do that just yet. 
Anyhoo, the middle daughter, who just returned home from a church trip woke up this morning sick.  
Whatever this virus is, I just hope my husband doesn't get it next :(

I'm keeping the well kid on one side of the house and the sick one on the other.
Layla's still with her girl on the well side of the house...

...getting some lessons on which stuffed animals are ok to play with and which ones are not :P

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Salon - Drama, drama, drama

I am the mother of 3 daughters...2 who are teenagers, only 16 months difference in their ages.
To say that drama in our lives is a mainstay would be a serious understatement.
When I started blogging 3 years ago, I was naive enough to think that blogging would provide an escape from some of that drama.

I should have known better than that.

Now, before I get started with this rant, let me just say that I have no part whatsoever in any of this drama.
Thank goodness.
And, I'm going to say/insinuate with photos some things about women that are stereotypical.
Get over it.
I'm a woman.
I'm raising young women.
Whether women like it or not, we are sometimes our own worst enemies.

Lately, there seems to be a lot of drama in the book blogging world.
I will  not be naming names bc I refuse to give any of the participants any more attention than they've been  given already. But, one of the more incredible "discussions" even involves an author who's angry over a particular blogger's review of her book.  The agent got involved as did other bloggers...and the sh*% has more than hit the fan with groups of bloggers taking sides and posting on Twitter, Facebook, on blogs etc. where they stand on this particular situation.
What would have been intelligent conversation between author and blogger about the book in question and the debate over what makes a good read for the individual...has turned into a bitch slap.

Everybody wants to wear the proverbial pants in this wrestling match...with the major argument being who is worthy of wearing those pants...who is worthy of making the decision on what makes a book "good."

Um, am I the only one who sees how stupid this argument is??

I want to say 10 things about this ridiculous drama:

1.  Every. single. one. of. us. is. entitled. to. her. own. opinion.  Get. over. it.

2.  Expressing your own opinion within your own blog is expected; however, if you call someone an ugly name, you're essentially asking for a rebuttal...and not necessarily a nice one.  You started it, so don't get mad when somebody else steps in to finish it.

3.  Children in preschool and kindergarten are taught to play nice.  Adults who forget this very important societal expectation should probably sign up for therapy and/or medication.  I should know.  I do both.  They work.

4.  Negative reviews are a reality.  (See #1). Most bloggers I read go out of their way to address the positives and negatives for themselves as individual readers...what worked for them, what didn't and why.  If you can't handle constructive criticism, then you probably need to just stay inside your house.

5.  If you attack nice people, go ahead and expect their friends to stand up for them.  People, there's a way to disagree with someone without ATTACKING them.  What are we...intelligent human beings or crocodiles???

6.  Yes, it's your blog and you can say whatever you want.  However, you choose to open your blog up to the rest of the world when you join this online society.  See #2.

7.  If a particular blogger/author/person gets on your nerves, use your DELETE button.  You don't have to read their stuff and you certainly don't have to comment on it.
You really don't.
 It's kinda cool.  I have a physical delete button on my computer as well as a symbolic one I use for real life :)

8.  Why are we arguing about books?????  I teach.  I see glimpses of the future every single day when only 2-3 of my students have ever read a book.  Many of those who enjoyed reading when they were young children eventually got tired of someone trying to tell them what they should read and what they shouldn't read.  My middle kid hates to read...hates it.  If she picks up anything...and I mean anything...and says she wants to read it, I hand her the $.  Even if what she picks up is not something I would normally read.  I'm glad she's reading...and I want her to learn to learn higher level thinking skills that come along with analysis and evaluation, making choices and logically defending those choices.  Blind conformity - going along with the choices of others just because - is not pretty.  Please see any of the dystopian novels in publication right now.

9.  Variety is the spice of life.  If we were all the same, we might as well go ahead and sign up for a futuristic army whose sole purpose is to carry out the wishes of Big Brother. (Yes, I'm on a dystopian kick today)

10.  We all have preconceived notions about lots of things.  I happen to like German Shepherds, but some people don't...and they feel very strongly about their dislikes of German Shepherds.  That doesn't mean we have to fight about it.  I prefer big dogs to small dogs based on preconceived notions and my own personal experiences with dogs of varying sizes.  That doesn't mean my way is right and there's is wrong.  We can all live together/read together in harmony and even disagree in harmony...if we choose to.  The only other option is a fight to the death...and in that case, nobody wins.