World trip, baby!

“Mr. Fogg played, not to win, but for the sake of playing.”


“Why, you are a man of heart!”
“Sometimes,” replied Phileas Fogg, quietly. “When I have the time.”

–Jules Verne, Around the World in 80 Days

One of my recent reads was Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne.  I’m not sure how I made it out of elementary or middle school without reading this book, but somehow I had.  I much would have rather have read this instead of Great Expectations, but the education system did not ask for my input.

I struggled initially to get into this book.  It wasn’t a bad book, just not grabbing my attention.  Then again, I’m a 30+ year old read it and not a pre-teen.  The book started gaining momentum about half way through the book, but by three-fourths of the way through, I was hooked.  I was bound and determined to finish the book, so I was grateful and relieved when I was finally hooked.  Thus, it was a good book for me, just a slow build.

Phileas Fogg doesn’t believe in chance.  He truly believes he can account for everything.  He wagers he can go around the world in 80 days.  He sets off on his way, methodically keeping track of time and events.  While he is the main character of the story, the heros in my opinion are the two who save Fogg from himself.  You cannot help but love Fogg for his quirks and his servant Passepartout for the events that occur to him.



It’s truly a tragedy

Et tu? – Julius Caeser by William Shakespeare


I enjoyed A Midsummer’s Night Dream so much, I opted to read Julius Caesar fairly soon afterwards.  This.was.painful.

Then, apparently to increase my torture, I listened to the free audiobook version.  It was bound to be better.  It had Kelsey Grammer in it, for pete’s sake.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  TORTURE.

Thus, I have learned while I like Shakespeare’s comedies, I do not particularly care for Shakespeare’s tragedies.  To my former literature professors, I tried.  I really did. 

The book was easier to follow that the audiobook.  At least in the book, you could follow who was speaking, whereas in the audiobook, it was just noise.  Other than Richard Dreyfuss and Kelsey Grammer, I couldn’t tell you who was speaking when.  I was impatiently waiting for both the book and the audiobook to end, but I made myself finish them. 

I still consider it a historic piece of literature, just not one I’m going to re-read willingly at any point.  EVER.  I’m proud of myself for starting and finishing both versions, especially after I had finished and disliked the first.

With that being said, that shouldn’t stop someone else from reading this.  There are others out there who love this story.  I’m just not in that fandom, which on some level I think is a tragedy.  Shakespeare was a great writer, but I think I might stick to his comedies more.

Unless another free ibook or audiobook appears.  Then I freely admit I’ll be suckered in again.


William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Publisher: L.A. Theatre Works

Source: Audiobook Sync
Format: MP3 Audiobook


2 parts


Bonnie Bedelia – Calphurnia

John de Lancie – Cassius

Richard Dreyfuss – Marc Antony

Harold Gould – Caesar

Kelsey Grammer – Murellus

Stacy Keach – Marcus Brutus

JoBeth Williams – Portia

Paul Winfield et al…

Truly alone

“Enola spelled backwards is alone.” – Nancy Springer, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline

I gave myself a break from WWII and listened to a fun mystery.  It was as fun as I had hoped.

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer is book #5 in the Enola Holmes series.  I was a HUGE fan of The Boxcar Children series as a chlid, so a child solves a mystery premise was right up my alley.

Enola Holmes is the (much) younger sister of the great world detective, Sherlock Holmes.  Once her landlady is kidnapped, Enola is now very much alone in the world.  Her mother has disappeared and she’s run away from her brother to avoid boarding school.  Mrs. Tupper was her companion in her young world of fourteen.  Enola sets her mind to finding Mrs. Tupper, during which you can see genius must run in the Holmes’ family.  You can see the fourteen year-old mind fight against much more mature insight and instincts.  I’m not sure I’d have that level of a head in my thirties as Enola does at fourteen.  Actually, I know I wouldn’t.  My mom stepped on a piece of broken glass one time, and my stepfather joked he thought her foot was cut off by the way I described it.  Calmness isn’t something I embody, but Enola does repeatedly..

Until she’s about to be busted by her brother.  What teenager wouldn’t freak out then?

This was a delightful story.  I hope to introduce this series to my children one day.  I left this audiobook in my file to listen to again later.  I was sad when it ended, but I can repeat again later as desired.  Any story/book that makes me think that is a great book.  This is highly recommended for a fun break.

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer
Narrator: Katherine Kellgren
Format: MP3 Audiobook
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Source: Audiobook Sync
3 parts, 14 chapters
3 hours 8 minutes 51 seconds

Link for (physical) book purchase through Barnes & Noble:

The Hiding Place

“Corrie, if people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love! We must find the way, you and I, no matter how long it takes.”–Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

It’s apparently history month for me.  I’ve listened to another history book without intending to, and of course I didn’t pay attention to the cover.  Just as a FYI, I just downloaded 2 more free audiobooks from AudioSync.  They, too, are history books about WWII.

The Hiding Place is Corrie ten Boom’s experience in WWII.  She transformed from a watchmaker to a hero, a survivor, and an evangelist.  She helped save Jews via the underground, she survived Hitler’s camps, and she’s lived to tell her tale to others, helping herself and them find forgiveness.

This woman is amazing.  I haven’t been through a fraction of what she has endured, and yet it is my faith that falters at times.  I am in awe of her faith and perseverance.  She has survived literal HELL ON EARTH and still remains faithful to God and upbeat and optimistic.  I’m willing to bet most people get ill over a bad look, a cross word, or a bad driver.  She SURVIVED HELL and has a better outlook that us.

There is so much to learn from her.  We each need to learn this lesson in life, me included.  Her autobiography is a must read for everyone.  This story is a history lesson, a faith lesson that can be applied to all (to have faith even if you don’t believe in her God), a humanity lesson.

I just cannot get over all she accomplished.  She is very right, you know.  People are taught to hate, which means they can be taught to love.  We should all be trying to find the way to love others and ourselves instead of hating and tearing each other down.

Four little letters, yet we find them so difficult.  L O V E.

Read this book.  You won’t regret it.

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill, and Elizabeth Sherrill
Narrator: Bernadette Dunne
Format: MP3 Audiobook
Publisher: christianaudio
Source: Audio Sync
8 parts, 15 chapters
9 hours 23 minutes 50 seconds


While the World Watched

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King Jr.” – Carolyn Maull McKinstry, While the World Watched

I purposely picked a history audiobook this time, again just to move it out of my audiobook file.  This time, it was a true account of Ms. Carolyn Maull McKinstry’s life and how the Birmingham bombing effected her.

September 15, 1963 was a day that forever changed Ms. McKinstry’s life: she survived the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama by mere feet.  She had just exited the girls’ restroom, where the bomb was planted by the Klu Klux Klan, when the bomb exploded, killing 4 of her friends.  As a 14 year old, she became a war survivor.

It was interesting to hear her life pre- and post-bombing.  I was able to picture her as a child, at church, at home, integration laws, etc.  I thought back to stories my mom and grandparents have told me about integration.  I was able to imagine her suffering and depression, her struggles as an adult, by taking what I’ve experienced and multiplying it.  I thought of 9-11 as she described the bombing and the chaos.  I just can’t fully comprehend and imagine what she went through first hand, but I tried to put it in perspectives I could identify with.

I’m not a history buff, as I’ve stated multiple times, but I appreciate the book for it’s value and what it represents.  I found it to be interesting and thought-provoking, which immediately means it’s a book worth one’s time.  It was a honest, real account of her life, not a history lesson gone over in 90 minutes and now you’re going to be tested on it.

She is a marvelous woman who survived hell and can tell you about it.  She is living history worth reading about and listening to.  If I ever make it to Birmingham, Alabama, I hope I can visit the museum and see the church first hand to add more to this story.

Any history book that gets me thinking about history and politics is worth your time.  Ms. McKinstry’s story is a real treasure to add to your reading list.

While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age during the Civil Rights Movement by Carolyn Maull McKinstry
Narrator: Felicia Bullock
Contributor: Denise George
Format: MP3 Audiobook
Publisher: Oasis Audio
Source: Audiobook Sync
7 parts, 23 chapters + epilogue + introduction
7 hours, 53 minutes, 23 seconds