Month: May 2016

Small Success: Wiggle Room

Small-Success-dark-blue-outline-800x8001-400x400@2xIt’s time for Small Success Thursday, the empowering, delightful linkup over at CatholicMom.com where we celebrate the little things that mean a lot.

God is good, and this month He helped me with this stuff:

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The gallbladder, after all these months, is scheduled to come out June 2nd!     I have anxiety about this, of course.  Yes, it’s a common surgery.  Yes, complications are even rarer than I like my steak.  However, I’ve realized that when you’re the person to whom something incredibly rare has already happened, the “unlikely” seems a whole lot more likely than it would to your average bear.  So I’m very anxious about this simple, easy surgery.  Pray, if you don’t mind?  Still, just having gotten not one but two doctors to hear me and not need a whole lot of convincing to give me a likely treatment is a huge success in the scheme of how my life usually works.

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We are done with school for the year!  I really wanted to be a bit further along than we are, but technically First Shift is already well ahead of their actual grade level, and Second Shift is… well, not ahead by any stretch but certainly within two grade levels of where she is.  We made our required number of schooling days.  We can be done, so I let us be done.

I also talked to our evaluator about managing high school from home.  It all seemed to intimidating that I was considering sending them to school or at least doing a cyberschool.  Our evaluator has homeschooled her own kids through high school, though, and she demystified the whole process and made it sound… well, kind of exciting.  I’ve already convinced First Shift to give French a go for 7th grade (I used to be effectively fluent but have long since lost the skill but could teach it with the right resources at hand) with a trip to Quebec at the end of next school year as the carrot on their foreign language stick.

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I’ve needed to add exercise back into my life.  Anything impact makes my asthma flare up.  I don’t have time to get to a gym.  My doctor recommended “7 minute HIIT” workouts, which did nothing but give me chronic tennis elbow and a terrible sense of ennui.  So… I looked up “belly dance” on YouTube.  After trying out a few different tutorial styles, I found Belly Dance With Talia to be simple enough for even me to start out using.  My morning workouts are now thusly:

  • 5 minutes stretching
  • 15 minutes improv with moves I’ve already “mastered” (so to speak) to whatever “belly dance playlist” I can find that morning
  • 5-10 minutes learning a new move or two with Talia
  • 3-5 minutes cool down stretches

I’m no Tiffany, but I’m certainly achieving better physical fitness than I would have done whining about how many workouts I can’t do.  Who knew you could break a sweat without even moving your feet?  I didn’t.  Now I do!

[The first one of you to comment with “pics or it didn’t happen” owes me a tank of gas. For the minivan, not the Prius.]

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Took me long enough, but I finally requested a Mass be said for Scott Weiland.  It took so much courage to do that, people.The receptionist is about my age, and it went just about as I feared.

“I’d like a Mass card?  Well, not the card, just the Mass.”

Understanding pleasantries were exchanged.  “Is 7am on August 25 okay?”

“That should be fine, thanks.”

“And the name?”

Through blushing cheeks, I said, “First name is Scott.”

Receptionist wrote that in the book.  “And the last name?”

“Weiland.  W-E-I–“

Receptionist’s pen hovered in the air while she processed what I was asking.  To her credit, she did not ask out loud if I’m bat guano crazy.  Anyway, the first one is done.  Let’s see how long it takes me to dig up the courage for David Bowie’s, though I can always ask for a Mass for David Robert Jones, I suppose.

What’s your success this week:  small, medium or large?  Share it on your blog and link up, or just comment here or at CatholicMom.com

Available for Pre-order: The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion

Pretty cover!

CatholicMomPrayerCompanionCover

The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections is available for pre-order!  I’m honored to have my contributions in there alongside a number of wonderful writer-people.  It should make a great gift.  If you’re wondering more about it than what is available on the webpage, I like to think of this book as “home chapel-friendly.”

And by “home chapel,” I mean… erm… the bathroom.

This is not meant to demean the book by any stretch!  It’s just that sometimes there’s only one room in the house you can lock and get a few minutes’ peace, and these reflections are just the right length to lift you up, mind and heart and spirit, but not to bog you down (::knock knock knock:: MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!  I GOTTA GO!!!!!!)

Do you know what I mean?  Do you steal prayer time in the bathroom?  I used to do so more when my kids were smaller (and when I was avoiding teaching the next math lesson), but I still sneak in some potty prayer time.

Five Easy Tips to Make Your Photos More Beautiful (Guest Post)

Photography is my achilles heel.  In fact, I think I might run a marathon before I’ll take a pretty picture.  Colleen Duggan, however, takes beautiful pictures.  So I asked her to mentor me a little on the subject (note I asked her to mentor me and not any of my distance running friends).  I hope you learn from it as much as I do!


Five Easy Tips To Make Your Photos More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan

5 Tips to Make Your Photography More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan

A priest friend of mine told me recently that the famous theologian Hans Urs von Baltasar once said there are three things that can save the world: truth, justice, and beauty.  It was beauty that Father was encouraging me to focus on in my work as a photographer because contemplating beauty inspires the human person towards the pursuit of what’s good and true.

In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a lot of ugly in the world, but photography gives both the artist and the viewer the opportunity to actually see in picture form God’s majesty in our mundane and sometimes drudgery filled lives. Lately, every time I lift my Canon and click the shutter, I think about von Baltasar’s words and am reminded that by capturing a fleeting moment of beauty or joy or love, I’m participating in God’s work of saving the world.

That’s a hobby worth pursuing, I think.

With the advent of the camera phone, everyone is taking pictures these days.  Hop on any social media site and there is someone, somewhere who has posted a photo of her or her trip to the grocery store or coffee shop.  Have you ever scrolled through someone’s Instagram feed and thought to yourself, “She just seems to have a ‘knack’ for producing pretty images! How does she do it?”

Sure, the woman who posts a bunch of eye candy might have an artistic bent, but my guess is she actually knows a little bit about what makes an image beautiful.  Just as there are rules to good grammar and writing, there are rules we can follow so that we too are able to produce consistently pretty pictures.

So, what are a few of these rules and how can we use them to up our photographic game? Below I outline a few tips below to help you start capturing those important moments so you too can contemplate God’s bountiful beauty and use it to save the world.

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USE THE CAMERA YOU HAVE: I don’t care what kind of camera you own, it’s possible for you to take pretty pictures.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at the following photos, which were all shot and edited with my iPhone camera.

5 Tips to Make Your Photographs More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan5 Tips to Make Your Photographs More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan5 Tips to Make Your Photographs More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan5 Tips to Make Your Photographs More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan

You don’t have to have the fanciest camera blinged out with all the bells and whistles (though if you do, could I use it sometime?) to capture a precious moment in time.

You only need to use the equipment you’ve got.

I never owned an iPhone until last summer and if I had known how great it operated as a point and shoot, I would have upgraded my phone much earlier than I did.  (Side note:  there are full time professional photographers operating only with iPhone cameras these days, that should tell you something about it’s capabilities.)

Learn how to use the camera you’ve got.

There are tons of tutorials online and websites devoted to help newbie photographers figure out how to use their camera phones.  I suggest perusing sites like iPhonephotography.com and DavidMolnar.com for a gluttony of information and tips on the best way to use your mobile point and shoot.

On the other hand, if you do own a fancy dslr camera, I recommend you learn how to take that camera off of the auto dial and place it on the manual setting.  This will be the best and surest way to create better images.  I am limited in the scope and space of this article to explain exactly how to use the manual settings on your camera, but if you have the time and the inclination, there are many books available to teach you exactly how to get started.  I recommend the following titles:

DSLR Cameras and Photography For Dummies

Momarazzi: Every mom’s guide to photographing kids

Beyond The Snapshot: How To Take That Fancy DSLR Camera Off Auto And Shoot Like A Pro

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GET CLOSE:  No, closer.  Still too far!

If you want to add some pizazz to your photos, make sure you are up close and personal to your subject.  (This advice is especially true when working with a point and shoot camera because you can’t swap out lenses to zoom in on your subject.)  Taking photos from too far away leads to boring, ho-hum images.  Filling the fame helps bring subjects to the forefront and also removes a lot of pesky background clutter that detracts from the overall photo.)  Below are three different examples of what it means to fill the frame with your subject.

5 Tips to Make Your Photographs More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan5 Tips to Make Your Photographs More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan5 Tips to Make Your Photographs More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan

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CHOOSE YOUR BACKGROUND CAREFULLY:  I’m a bit of a freak about this particular photographic tip.  Maybe it’s a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but to me a cluttered background can really ruin an otherwise awesome picture.  Setting up an image is as much about the subject as it is what’s behind the subject.  Pay attention to the random photo bombing objects or people who wander in and out of your photos and detract from the overall look.  See below for examples of photos with fresh, clean and interesting backgrounds.

5 Tips to Make Your Photos More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan5 Tips to Make Your Photos More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan5 Tips to Make Your Photos More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan

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PERSPECTIVE: If you want to take interesting photos, think of creative ways to look at a scene or subject differently than you might usually.  Lie on your back and look up at your subject or climb on a table and shoot from there.  I live in a rural area and I routinely take pictures out my window in order to capture images of the beautiful, country landscape.

(Hey, if you are serious about photography, you do what it takes to get the picture.)

See the images below to see what I mean about varying perspective and start thinking of different ways to capture an image.

(Note:  What I’m encouraging here is changing the way you look at a scene in front of you, which will most likely require you as the photographer to move your body either closer or father away from the subject.  I’m not, however, encouraging you to slant your camera at a weird angle.  Nothing signals an amateur photog than a picture taken from a weird or tilted stance. It’s also a personal photographic pet peeve.  End rant.)

5 Tips to Make Your Photos More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan

I shot the photo above on the floor of my son’s bedroom while he peaked down at me from his crib perch.

5 Tips to Make Your Photos More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan

I shot this with my iPhone camera lying down beneath the swing set while my daughter flew in the air.  I made a conscious effort to disregard any of the stares from onlookers…and there were stares.  I also tried not to get nailed in the head with her heavy feet.

5 Tips to Make Your Photos More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan

Instead of taking a picture of my daughter smiling while holding her newly picked “flowers”, I focused on the large bouquet of dandelions she gathered.  This image tells an entirely different tale than it had if I had included her face.  This photographic decision illustrated how much time it took her to collect those dandelions and highlights her thoughtful attention and gesture, which is a much different story than the one I would have told if I had included her face in the photo.

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The most fun perspective shots are often action ones.  If you are taking pictures at sporting events, try to capture the subject as he or she is moving.  Full disclosure:  in this photo, my husband threw my son into the pool.  However, to make the image pop more and to give a more visual “WOW” factor, I edited my husband out of the image so all you can see is my son flying through the air and into the pool.

A note of caution:  If your subject is a child, make sure you crouch down to get on the child’s level.  For a more visually appealing photo, it’s important to get eye to eye with the kid.  Compare the two images below to see what I mean.

In the first image, I’m holding the camera at a downward slant, a common mistake most newbie parents and photographers make.

5 Tips to Make Your Photos More Beautiful by Colleen Duggan

In the second image, I’ve changed positions and am at eye level with my child.  I’ve also moved to the side of him in order to capture a prettier background.

In the first image, I’m holding the camera at a downward slant, a common mistake most newbie parents and photographers make.

See the difference?

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REMEMBER THE RULE OF THIRDS:

When my daughter asked me to teach her a little bit about photography, the first rule I exposed her to was the rule of thirds (see image above for a visual).  If you are trying to improve your overall look of your photos, remembering this simple design trick will instantly increase the wow factor of your pics.

Newbie photographers often make the mistake of putting the subject smack dab in the middle of the grid shown above.  While it’s ok to break this rule sometimes, an image is more interesting if the subject is placed at one of the intersecting lines of a tic tac toe grid.  (The scientific explanation has something to do with where our eyes fall when looking at a picture.  I don’t know much about science, but I know I do follow the rule of thirds as often as I can.)

In the first image, I’m holding the camera at a downward slant, a common mistake most newbie parents and photographers make.

 

 

Imagine the tic tac toe grid over this photo.  See how my daughter’s body is almost directly on the left line of the grid?

When my daughter asked me to teach her a little bit about photography, the first rule I exposed her to was the rule of thirds (see image above for a visual).  If you are trying to improve your overall look of your photos, remembering this simple design trick will instantly increase the wow factor of your pics.    Newbie photographers often make the mistake of putting the subject smack dab in the middle of the grid shown above.  While it’s ok to break this rule sometimes, an image is more interesting if the subject is placed at one of the intersecting lines of a tic tac toe grid.  (The scientific explanation has something to do with where our eyes fall when looking at a picture.  I don’t know much about science, but I know I do follow the rule of thirds as often as I can.)

In this picture, I placed my little girl on the opposite side of the grid.  Doing this naturally creates a more interesting picture than if her body was dead center.

A final note, with a little bit of practice and study, it is possible to improve your photo taking efforts.  I wish you much luck and photographic success!

P.S.  Rules are meant to be broken.  Feel free to break one or all of these guidelines as you see fit.  No photographer follows all the rules all the time, and you don’t have to, either.

Now get out there and experiment with your camera and be sure to send me your results!

Words and Images Copyright 2016 Colleen Duggan except where noted.  

An Anniversary Present for 10 Years of Jane E

God willing, on June 24 of this year, I will begin releasing my first novel, Jane E: Friendless Orphan as a series of ebooks.  Here’s the 2006 cover by Anthony Volpe:

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Unclaimed is scheduled for a June 24 release.

Look for Nameless in September.

Runaway should drop in early December.

I’m still waiting on the final cover design.  I also offered a free review copy of Unclaimed to subscribers to my newsletter.  I’ll probably be doing the same for Nameless and Runaway, so if you don’t subscribe to my newsletter yet, what are you waiting for?

So, Unclaimed… what are the ARC reactions so far?

 

“Science fiction readers will love the creative futuristic elements in Unclaimed by Erin McCole Cupp. At times humorous and other times heart-wrenching, this story delves into issues worth considering as society advances. Having developed a strong connection to Jane E, I found myself incredibly moved by a climactic scene where faith plays out in a natural but powerful way. Unclaimed: The Memoirs of Jane E will leave you wanting more.”  Theresa Linden, The Chasing Liberty Trilogy

“Jane Eyre does not need to be updated.  It needs to be read and re-read and treasured for its timelessness.  But too often, the people of a world obsessed with progress refuse to remember the wisdom of the past.  Sometimes, an author must dress the eighteenth century in futuristic salawar kameez to remind the present day that the human story never changes.  Whether in Georgian England or the global community of a technocratic future, there will always be orphans who can teach the rest of us how to love, if we will only take the time to learn.  This is the reason we need books like Unclaimed.” Karen Ullo, Jennifer the Damned

“This dystopian spin on Jane Eyre transports the reader into a world that, disturbingly, seems just around the corner. I was captivated by Jane E’s boldness and resilience as she navigated the challenging circumstances of living with a genetic defect in a designer-gene world. Erin McCole Cupp’s novel is a blend of three genres I rarely read (19th-century novel, dystopian fiction and fanfic) and it’s definitely a combo that works.” Barbara Szyszkiewicz, Editor, CatholicMom.com

“I really enjoyed [Unclaimed] because it was quite different from anything out there right now; the setting, the voice and the story… a good addition to any library or home.”  Anna delC Dye, Kingdom by the Sea

“Unclaimed, a remake of Jane Eyre, has all of the sophistication of the original and an intriguing, futuristic spin that makes the book hard to put down.”  Dawn Witzke

“This is a genre I’m not very familiar with, so my expectations were a blank slate when I embarked. Before I could catch my breath, I was completely absorbed into the setting, and developing a maternal love for the endearing main character, Jane. I so desperately wanted Jane to find hope, love and acceptance, and her journey towards these things resonated deeply within me. As well, the element of faith in this novel absolutely intrigued me, and I cannot wait to read more of Jane’s story!” Tiffany W., Life of a Catholic Librarian

“[Unclaimed] is a dystopian sci-fi take on Charlotte Bronte’s well-loved gothic/romantic novel. Jane Eyre, as a person and as a story, translates well into a new setting–a near-future cultural mélange that will make Browncoats smile while Bronte lovers nod along to the beat. Erin McCole Cupp has got something here. With barely a bump in a smoothly-written narrative, she combines faith and philosophy with a familiar-but-new story and delivers an ending that’s a pleasantly cruel tease of the gothic that will leave fans checking the release date of the next volume.” Joseph Wetterling, The Baptized Imagination

“As deftly and intricately woven as the ‘contracts’ that the Naomi girls produce in the story, Unclaimed tells the powerful story of Jane E, an unclaimed embryo who has grown up in foster care without the love of a family…. This is a riveting story, set in the not-too-distant future, that raises many questions about the morality of reproductive technology and the effects of it on a society that does not value human life for itself, but for what it can provide for others.” Amy M. Bennett, The Black Horse Campground Mysteries

“Unclaimed is a unique take on the classic Jane Eyre but it’s much more than that. When I started it I kept trying to compare it to the Bronte version but instead I ended up getting swept up in the story and just going along for the ride. The settings and cultural details of this world immerse you in the story. It really doesn’t matter if you are a Jane Eyre fan. If you like original science fiction then this is the book for you.” Sherrie Palmer, Sherrie’s Scriptorium

“What a great read! Jane E has Hollywood written all over it: strong, complex characters; rich settings, adversity, action and intrigue—it’s all here in this modern updating of Jane Eyre. I couldn’t put it down!”  Rhonda Ortiz, The Virtuous Jane Austen

 

“A brave and thought-provoking story rich with vivid details and authentic, memorable characters.” Therese Heckenkamp, After the Thaw

“This futuristic retelling of Jane Eyre is not only compelling and thoroughly enjoyable, it also evokes from the reader compassion for anyone who feels they don’t have a place in the world and helps them realize that all human life has value no matter how small or powerless. Are you a fan of science fiction? The classics? Then you’ll love Jane E!”  Laura Nelson, Seeking Suburban Sainthood

“Erin McCole Cupp has a gift for painting the social misfit in brush strokes so sharp and transparent, they cut you to the heart within a handful of paragraphs. I devoured this book and wait breathlessly for the next installment.”  Kathleen Basi

Thank you to everyone on the Unclaimed ARC team for all your time, energy, and kind words!  

April’s Shower of Open Books

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

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Grown-up Reads

Man in the Woods by Scott Spencer

ManInTheWoodsCover

I’ll admit it: my “usual fare” over the past coupla years has been dictated by my lack of cash and the review copies available to me through networking in the Catholic writing community.  Even if that community isn’t offering me free books, they are recommending things by PercyO’ConnorTolkienKoontzEtc.  This book made me want to aim towards a practice of reading one book each month that is not my usual fare.  Man in the Woods is a psychological thriller that deals, among many other things, with the definition of what makes a man a man in our detached, sterile society.  Given that theme, it is set in the midst of the Y2K anxieties… and what happens when those anxieties do not reach their dreaded fruition.  Paul is a craftsman, a highly sought-after carpenter, who commits a crime of passion, the only witness to which is a stolen dog.  Paul is a likable character with flaws and secrets and a doubt-smothered faith that is simultaneously stagnant yet budding under the shadow of his live-in girlfriend’s success as a non-threatening, everything-is-awesome Christian self-help writer, speaker and radio host.   Both girlfriend Kate and Paul blunder on against the realities of their choices to act as if all is perfect on the surface when, just beneath the veneer, it most certainly is not.

Warnings: If you’re a reader who can’t handle any hints at pink bits showing, foul language (even though it’s not extraneous and does serve to illustrate character), and you just can’t possibly imagine liking characters who are living in sin, this won’t be the book for you.   However, I picked up this book and read it through to the end and am giving it five stars, because it opened a window on the reality of humanity.  I doubt even the author knows that the fruits of these characters’ entirely culturally acceptable choices are actually the fruits of, well, sin driving the plot to its inevitable and yet surprising and satisfying end.  Well… I say, “satisfying end.”  The second warning is that if you don’t like endings that might be just a teensy bit open-ended, you’ll feel cheated by this one’s ending.  I, however, LOVE that kind of ending and thought this one was particularly well done.

An Open Book: May the Fourth Be Bookish

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

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Ugh.  I know, I know.  That post title is pathetic, but I’m running on fumes here.  What kind of fumes? The kind that broke me enough to give in to… audiobooks.  Audiobooks have been around longer than books, actually, because hello? Storytelling around the fire while digesting the freshly roasted mammoth meat?

I, however, just never got into audiobooks, because:

  1. I can get to the end of the story so much faster in my head.  Why would I wait around for someone else to read it for me?
  2. All my time available for audiobook listening, if I could get past that first issue, is spent in the car with kids, and you can’t listen to grown-up audiobooks if you have little pitchers and their big, giant ears in the backseat.

Why did it never occur to me that it’s not just contemporary pulp on audiobook but literary classics as well?

So that library trip when I stumbled upon this on our weekly trip to the library:

The Adventures of Odysseus by Hugh Lupton & Daniel Morden, Illustrated by Cristina Balit

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This was my very first audiobook, and since it wasn’t packaged as an audiobook, I was cleverly tricked into picking it up.  I didn’t even see the CDs in the front and back of the gorgeously illustrated covers until we were in the car and headed for our next task.  The Odyssey was one of my favorite reading assignments from college, and I was pretty sure there wasn’t anything completely untoward for both shifts of kid to hear (I’m more comfortable with kids learning of the horrors of war than the seduction of the flesh, frankly).  I was not disappointed in this version: there’s nothing immodest, and the retelling of the tale does not skip over the violent parts (Polyphemus and Scylla aren’t tidied up, for instance).  The narrators never use syrupy voices-for-the-kiddies.  I loved hearing Second Shift cheer when Odysseus sent the arrow through the axe handles.  All in all, I highly recommend this version.  Everyone can listen to the story while those who aren’t driving and can’t even read yet can appreciate the gorgeous, stylized illustrations.

Once we’d enjoyed that, I tried thinking back to literary classics I’d tried to get First Shift to read but which they’d eschewed because they prefer non-fiction so blastedly strongly.  The first one that came to mind was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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I’ve struggled to get my older kids to read fiction, because their interests are limited, and they don’t see the point in fiction.  Even if they never, ever enjoy fiction (sniffle!), fiction-reading is still a part of learning how to be human–seeing how characters face conflict and deal with it, for good or ill.  Then there’s the ability to follow along with literary allusions without getting lost.  Both of those tasks can be conquered adequately (perhaps not well, but adequately) through audiobooks–force-fed to unwilling brains while on long car rides.  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of those books that my kids just did not want to read but that we enjoyed listening to (maybe not as much as the next one, but more on that in a bit).  Narrator Jim Dale handled the ridiculousness with the exact right amount of wryness but still kept it whimsical.  I enjoyed this version immensely, moreso than I ever enjoyed the text version or any movie version (Sorry, Mr. Carroll).

Lastly, a book I read only once in my college years: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.

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The story, as always, is wonderful: the tale of an unwanted orphan who finds family in the most unlikely pair of brother and sister Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert.  The example of a flighty but well-meaning girl who gets into particularly feminine adventures, who in turn learns from each hilarious mistake she makes, is a precious example I really wanted to share with my three young ladies.  Hearing the story now as a parent myself was that much more poignant than it had been when I was a childless college student, struggling to pass her own exams and such.  I love how much of a family story this is, with appeal across the ages.

As for this production in particular, the editing in this one could use some smoothing out, and I think the narrator went a little too far on the wry side and not far enough on the wonderment side.  That said, we had a great time listening to this one.  Second Shift loved it as much as I did; as Cordelia Chase would say, “Overidentify much?”

Adding audiobooks to our homeschooling has already been such a boon.  First Shift has phenomenal reading skills, but they shy away from personal stories; Second Shift loves fiction but struggles mightily with reading.  Audiobooks have given us the opportunity to share literature with each other, discuss it, talk about conflict and description and language.  I can’t believe I’ve let us miss out on this rich resource for so long.

In the time I’ve had to read books rather than listen to them, I’ve started in on From Grief to GraceFrom Grief to Grace coming out next month by Jeannie Ewing.

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I’ve also read another Chime Travelers book by Lisa Hendey, but that one won’t be out until Christmas, so look for a review in, say, November.

Do you have reluctant readers?  How do you tackle their challenges?  Do you use audiobooks?  What are some of your favorites?  And don’t forget to link up with Carolyn!