Archive for September, 2010

Book Review: Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

Author: L.M. Montgomery
Title: Anne of Avonlea
Publication Info: Books in Motion (1992)
ISBN: 1596077328

By Same Author Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Summary/Review:

I read (listened) to this Anne of Green Gables sequel for the first time.  It picks up where the first book left off.  Anne is still getting into scrapes but all bearing a lot of responsibility for a 16-17 year old.  Not only is she teacher at the local school but she’s helping Marilla raise two more orphan kids, Davy and Dora.  Davy with his willful mischievousness kind of takes over as chief troublemaker with Anne cheerfully trying to rein him in.  There’s also a new neighbor Mr Harrison both curmudgeonly and scandalous and always entertaining.  This book seems more episodic than the previous one, but I’m still looking forward to reading more.  I’m a kindred spirit.

Favorite Passages:

I was just trying to write out some of my thoughts…, but I couldn’t get them to please me. They seem so stiff and foolish directly they’re written down on white paper with black ink. Fancies are like shadows… you can’t cage them, they’re such wayward, dancing things. – Anne Shirley

Rating: ***

Banned Books Week 2010

It’s Banned Books Week again where we celebrate intellectual freedom by reading and highlighting books that have been banned, challenged, or otherwise suppressed.  Usually I pick out a banned book or two to read but I’m behind the curve on this one and haven’t even finished reading a book I started a couple of weeks ago and don’t have time to pick out new books to read.  So I decided to go through the ALA list of frequently challenged books and highlights the ones I’ve read.

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3 The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4 And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

7 Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8 His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9 TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11 Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12 It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13 Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey (one book in series)
14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15 The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

16 Forever, by Judy Blume
17 The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18 Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19 Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20 King and King, by Linda de Haan
21 To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22 Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23 The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24 In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25 Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26 Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27 My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28 Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29 The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30 We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32 Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33 Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35 Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37 It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38 Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39 Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40 Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41 Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42 The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43 Blubber, by Judy Blume
44 Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45 Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46 Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48 Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50 The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

51 Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52 The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53 You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54 The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55 Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56 When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57 Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58 Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59 Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60 Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61 Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62 The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63 The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64 Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65 The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67 A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68 Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69 Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70 Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71 Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72 Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73 What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74 The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75 Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76 A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77 Crazy:  A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78 The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79 The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80 A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81 Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82 Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83 Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84 So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86 Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87 Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88 The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89 Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90 A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91 Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Graighead George
92 The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93 Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94 Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95 Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96 Grendel, by John Gardner
97 The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98 I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99 Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100 America: A Novel, by Frank, E.R.

I have to say, of the books left there are not many I want to read.  I guess just because a book is banned doesn’t make it good, but more power to the people who want to read them.

More coverage of Banned Books Week 2010:

Related Posts:

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3 The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4 And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7 Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8 His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9 TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11 Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12 It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13 Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15 The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16 Forever, by Judy Blume
17 The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18 Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19 Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20 King and King, by Linda de Haan
21 To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22 Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23 The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24 In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25 Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26 Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27 My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28 Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29 The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30 We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32 Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33 Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35 Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37 It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38 Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39 Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40 Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41 Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42 The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43 Blubber, by Judy Blume
44 Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45 Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46 Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48 Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50 The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51 Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52 The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53 You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54 The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55 Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56 When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57 Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58 Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59 Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60 Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61 Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62 The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63 The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64 Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65 The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67 A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68 Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69 Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70 Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71 Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72 Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73 What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74 The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75 Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76 A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77 Crazy:  A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78 The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79 The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80 A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81 Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82 Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83 Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84 So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86 Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87 Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88 The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89 Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90 A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91 Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Graighead George
92 The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93 Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94 Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95 Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96 Grendel, by John Gardner
97 The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98 I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99 Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100 America: A Novel, by Frank, E.R.

Soccer Heartbreak and Gut Punches

The local teams provided the heartbreak and gut punches this week although I also watched some entertaining European matches, albeit lacking the same emotional commitment.

AFC Ajax 5:0 MVV Maastricht (22 Sep 2010) – This KNVB Cup match saw Ajax hosting a Eerste Divisie (Dutch first division) opponent.  There was no upset by the minnows from Maasricht with the game clearly a romp by Ajax.  Ajax even started some of their younger players such as Florian Jozefzoon who scored his first goal.  The rout wasn’t interesting but the web stream I watched had Dutch commentary in the first half and no commentary at all in the second half.  I enjoyed listening to the crowd chants and drumming, and even the shouts of the players on the field.  Match report.

FC Dallas 2:2 New England Revolution (22 Sep 2010) – This is my fault.  I started writing the match report in my head at about 75 minutes.  I was excited that the Revs could play on the road versus a team with a 15-game undefeated streak and carry out a convincing shutout.  They even survived a penalty kick by FC Dallas that went wide.  Then in the 80th minute Darrius Barnes took down David Ferreira in the penalty area and he didn’t miss the PK this time.  Suddenly it was a knuckle-biter to see if the Revs could hold on for the win but Jeff Cunningham’s stoppage-time equalizer seemed almost inevitable.  Match report.

Boston Breakers 1:2 (OT) Philadelphia Independence (23 Sep 2010) – The WPS Super Semifinal started well with the Breakers hosting in Harvard’s new soccer stadium which has less seating more spacious field and a complete absence of football gridiron markings.  The Breakers scored first on Lauren Cheney’s 22nd minute goal and had the better run of play in the first half although Caroline Seger equalized for Philadelphia in the 29th minute.  Boston looked outmatched and tired in the second half but held the score to a 1-1 tie into overtime.  Then came the heartbreak on an apparent handball by Philadelphia’s Danesha Adams.  Handball or not, the Breakers lethargic play allowed too many opportunities for Philadelphia.  They put together a great desperation attack in the final minutes with one excellent chance on goal, but it was too little, too late.  Match report.

FC Twente 2:2 AFC Ajax – Another hotly contested Eredivisie match for Ajax this time against the reigning title holders.  The pre-game histrionics at Twente’s Grolsch Veste included banners the size of entire section of the stadium, explosions and red flares, and unison singing of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (at least Wikipedia says it is that song, it sounded like something else, maybe being sung in Dutch?).   They put US sports’ fans to shame. Ajax went down early on a gorgeous finish by Twente’s midfielder Theo Jansen.  Ajax equalized a few minutes later with a clean follow-up by Morrocan star Mounir El Hamdaoui.  Jansen scored again an hour into the game but Ajax fired back six minutes later with a blistering long-range shot by Eyong Enoh.  That was all the scoring but this was an exciting, fast-paced game with lots of end-to-end play, shots deflected by the wood, and great saves by the keepers.  A point well earned for Ajax.   Match report.

Athletic Bilbao 1:3 FC Barcelona (25 Sep 2010) – In the pouring rain, Barça faced off their host in a another Messi-less league match.  I learned that Bilbao tries to maintain a roster of players entirely from the Basque country and despite the limited player pool have never been relegated and are among the top La Liga teams of all time.  Nevertheless, they were no match for the champions who may have been a little sloppy in the mud and should’ve had more goals.  Bilbao should get some credit for managing to hold Barcelona goalless for almost an hour despite losing a player to a red card.  Things were interesting in the last five minutes of the match when Barça lost David Villa to a red card and Bilbao scored their goal to make it 1:2.  Busquets ended any intrigue with Barça’s third goal in stoppage time.  Match report.

New England Revolution 2:2 Columbus Crew (25 Sep 2010) – I hate reruns.  In this case, the Revolution had a convincing 2-0 lead (scoring the first goal 80 seconds into the match) against one of the top teams in the MLS, only to allow their opponent to score two goals late in the second half and settle for a tie.  How can a team so low in the standings with no realistic hope for the playoffs still have so many gut-punching loses?  Match report.

FC Gold Pride 4:0 Philadelphia Independence (26 Sep 2010) – The WPS Championship match featured the best team by far in the WPS facing the upstart spoilsports from Philadelphia.  I actually hoped that the Independence would make something of their unlikely position in the final after eliminating the Breakers, but it was not be.  I’ve grown fond of Amy Rodriguez and glad that we have her on the US national team at least.  The star for the Independence however was goalkeeper Val Henderson who made several great saves while the rest of her team could do little before in front of her.  Still, 4 goals ended up in the Independence’s net and that was that for the WPS season and congratulations to FC Gold Pride for dominating the 2010 season. Match report.

Hub on Wheels

Today, Peter & I participated in the Hub On Wheels community bike ride and cycling celebration in Boston.  This was our first time riding although I signed up in a previous year and then slept through my alarm.  The only ride of this sort that I’ve participated in before was the Bike New York Five Boro Bike Tour back in 2001. Although there are no awe-inspiring moments like crossing the Verazanno Bridge, I’ll have to say that Hub On Wheels felt much better organized than the New York ride as the volunteers spaced out the bikes to avoid back ups.  In the latter part of the rides cars & bikes shared the road without much fear of bicycle safety or delay for the cars.  And unlike New York, everyone was well-behaved with no punk teens doing stunt riding.

Highlights from the ride for me:

  • riding on the Orange Line with more and more riders and their bicycles boarding at each stop.
  • check-in at the pre-register desk was pretty easy, and presumably on the honor system since no one asked for my name.
  • we didn’t get started from our point in the line until 8:20 but after that there were no “bike traffic jams” and all the riders could cruise along at their own speed and ability.
  • speeding along Storrow Drive without those pesky cars or joggers in the way.
  • while crossing the Charlesgate flyover, I noticed that the wall was battered and covered in broken car parts.  Do people really crash there that often?  Crazy!
  • Riding along Riverway bicyclists were pelted with falling acorns.  One bounced off Peter’s helmet with a loud crack!
  • lots of people said hi to Peter and told me how cute he is
  • Gorgeous views of Jamaica Pond from Perkins St. and Parkman Drive.
  • I have my own cheering section on the hills chanting “Go! Daddy! Go!”
  • Big line at the Arnold Arboretum rest area but then the volunteers walked around handing out the snacks.
  • Peter checked out the pond at the Arboretum and suddenly almost all of the bikers were gone!
  • Peter chatted with a 1-year old who was riding in a trailer behind his Mom.
  • Actually, almost all the people left at the back of the ride were people riding with kids.
  • If I didn’t feel slow enough already, at the point where the 30-mile ride and the 50-mile ride merged back together, there were dozens of 50-milers speeding in!
  • Forest Hills Cemetery is a gorgeous place to ride.  I live right next to the Cemetery, why don’t I know this already?
  • At the Forest Hills rest area, Peter enjoyed running around and around and getting out all that pent-up energy.  I followed on my sore legs.
  • Peter also picked up acorns off the ground and threw them over his head.
  • Forest Hills was our “Finish Line” and we dropped out to go to Java Jo’s for a celebratory smoothie (and coffee for a tired Dad.

I’m looking forward to doing this again next year.  My goal will be more miles and encouraging more people to ride with us!

Check out my photos from the ride in this slideshow:

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Beer Review: Allagash White Ale

Beer: Allagash White
Brewer: Allagash Brewing Company
Source: Draft
Rating: ** (6.1 of 10)

Comments: This is cloudy, bright yellow beer with spicy, citrus aromas & flavors.  It’s a nice balance although my glass tasted somewhat weak and flat compared to previous tries of this beer.  Perhaps a bad keg or a bad pour?  At any rate, a decent refreshing beer.

Beer Review: Mayflower Autumn Wheat Ale

Beer: Autumn Wheat Ale
Brewer: Mayflower Brewing Company
Source: Draft
Rating: ** (6.9 of 10)

Comments: A reddish-brown beer with a thick head, it offers a dark-roasted aroma and a good balance of sweet & bitter flavors.  It kind of seemed like a wheat beer evolving into a porter.  It’s an interesting beer and a nice change of pace.

Beer Review: Anchor Humming Ale

Beer: Humming Ale
Brewer: Anchor Brewing
Source: Draft
Rating: ** (6.6 of 10)

Comments: Starting with an orangish hue this beer has a juicy motif that screams citrus in aroma and flavor.  It also leaves a slight taste of wheat on the lips. It has a lot of hops so it’s very bitter but not to the detriment of this beer.

Related Post: Anchor Liberty Ale

Beer Review: Inkwell Imperial Stout

Beer: Inkwell Imperial Stout
Brewer: Offshore Ale Company
Source: Draft
Rating: * (5.5 of 10)

Comments: Another beer sampled on our Martha’s Vineyard weekend.  The beer had the blackness of its name and style, but flavor-wise it was lacking the stout punch.  Other than some chocolaty overtones I found it tasted weak and watery.  I was disappointed by this beer.

Beer Review: Islander Pale Ale

Beer: Islander Pale Ale
Brewer: Off Shore Ale Company
Source: Draft
Rating: ** (6.2 of 10)

Comments: Sampled this at the Off Shore Ale brewpub in Oak Bluffs. A light brown beer with a thin, quickly-disappearing head.  The taste is bitter hoppiness followed by a fruity tang that tickles the lips.  A good beer but I’m not crazy about it.

Beer Review: Tap Nico Kölsch

Beer: Tap Nico Kölsch
Brewer: Haverhill Brewery
Source: Draft
Rating: ** (6.6 of 10)

Comments: This straw-colored beer had a sweet tangy caramel flavor with fruity overtones. Not bad.

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