Tag Archives: Journal

My Reading Journal

Before I started this blog, I kept a reading journal in a black composition notebook.  I started it in 2005 and I still use it.  It’s been my catch-all place for books I’ve read, stickers, articles, comics, notes on difficult books, reading lists, and favorite quotes.

Front Cover

Back Cover - I got the "trust SNAPE" sticker at Borders for preordering HP7. I'm so glad I was right.

Here’s how I have the pages organized: I have 3 columns – one for the year I finished the book, one for the title and one for the author. Books without a date haven’t been read yet.


I scribble in the margin where the year usually goes when I’m writing a quote. At the end of the quote, I write the author name and the book it came from.
I recenlty put sticky notes that authors signed. When I met author’s whose books I had in ebook on my kindle, I didn’t know what to have them sign. I decided on sticky notes so I could keep them in my reading journal.

 What would you have an author sign if you bought their ebook?


Why I Started This Blog

I have tried blogging before and I didn’t like it. I’m also not a fan of personal blogs mostly because I’m a private person but also because I like to be honest in my journal and I’d like to keep my honesty to myself, at least concerning my current life events. My sister, Andrea,  loves blogging and she tried to convince me to write one. I told her the only things that interest me are books…and I’ve been wanting to write these stories from my past. That’s it! I’ll write a book blog! I’m loving it so far.

I’ve always wanted to write down my memories as I remembered them.  Looking back on my life makes me realize how funny it was.  Painful at the time, but hilariously funny now. As an adult looking back, I realize now that some of the things I remember are not factual.  So when I call my writing “true stories,” I mean it in the sense that they are true to the way I saw, felt and experienced them at the time and children don’t always get the facts straight.  I think imposing my adult paradigm on my childhood takes the truth out of them. So what I tell you is true…from a certain point of view.  And a wise man once said, “You’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

Some of you may notice that a lot of my Flashback Friday posts have a lot to do with digestive distress. The reason for this is I was recently diagnosed with IBS and I felt this light bulb go off in my head – oh, that’s why all those things happened to me! Suddenly, all of these memories that I thought were random started connecting with an undiagnosed problem that I had my whole life. These memories kept bouncing around in my head and wouldn’t give me any rest until I wrote them down. I actually wrote the Civil War in 3rd Period English piece months before I ever started this blog.  Many of these stories I kept secret because I was ashamed of them, but I realize that they are part of who I am and finding the humor in my trials and then telling them publicly is so liberating to me.  It frees me from the shame that I’ve felt for a long time.

Once a reader, always a reader. My two-year old self even loved reading.

Ongoing Series I’m Reading Right Now

I like to wait for all the books of a series to come out before I read it, if I can, because I love reading a new series all right in a row over a weekend. But sometimes peer pressure gets the better of me and I have to read what everyone else is reading. Here’s a list of series I either haven’t got around to finishing or the rest of the books haven’t come out yet.

  • The Mortal Instrument Series by Cassandra Clare (This was supposed to be a trilogy and I read all three in a short time.  Then she extended it.  They’re really good, but now I’m waiting for the other TWO books to come out.  Like Inigo, I hate waiting.)
  • The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner (I’m waiting for the final book in the trilogy which comes out in October)
  • The Wolves of Mercy Falls Series by Maggie Stiefvater (The first two in the series are Shiver and LingerForever comes out in July!)
  • Wings by Aprilynne Pike (The fourth and final book comes out who knows when, but I hope it’s soon!)
  • Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (All of these books are out – I just haven’t gotten around to reading the rest of them)
  • Matched by Ally Condie (She just barely wrote the first book.  I don’t usually jump on a series train so soon, but she was at the Utah Book Festival and I didn’t want to meet her without reading her book first!)
  • The Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare (This is a prequel series to the Mortal Instrument Series and she said the series don’t spoil one another, but it’s a good idea to read them in order of publication. Okay, I will.)
  • Body Finder Series by Kimberly Derting (I didn’t really like the first book and I’m having a hard time convincing myself to read the second one.)
  • The Host Series by Stephenie Meyer (This is supposed to be a trilogy, but I think Stephenie Meyer must be busy or something)

My “Follow the Owl” Theories

I wanted to post some screen shots I found while “following the owl” on http://www.secretstreetview.com.

The first one is from Salem.  You can see a brown owl taking off from the awning and heading west.  You can also see the “magic” letter J.K. Rowling used as a teaser for what the website would be called. If you head west (the same direction as the owl) on the Secret Street View website, it takes you to Toronto. I have yet to find an owl in Toronto (or anywhere else I’ve looked), but I’ll keep looking. (Click the images to see them larger.)Here are some of my theories.

  • Why would J.K. Rowling go through so much effort to make an entire website with real-life GPS coordinates just to hide some letters for people to find out a name?  I think there’s more to this website.
  • This owl that I found is going in a very obvious direction and you can see it no matter what view you use (this isn’t true with other various birds and airplanes I’ve found in other locations on Secret Street View).
  • All of the owls on her YouTube page and even on Pottermore are all brown – no snowy owls to be seen.  This is important because I found a white bird in Toronto that I thought was an owl at first, but turned out to be a seagull.

Another view of the brown owl in Salem. It doesn't disappear no matter where you look at it from.

Two white birds on the same screen in Toronto. I was really hoping this was an owl, but it disappears if you move the angle. And it's not brown. Plus, why would there be TWO owls going different directions??

Another bird in Toronto. It also goes away with different views.

By the way, if you change the URL on Pottermore.com, you get this screen:

If anyone wants to follow along, here’s the information I got from Potterish.com  about the scavenger hunt on June 15.

Site coordinates came from: GPS Location – name of place.

1. The Leaky Cauldron : 42.523356, -70.890698  – salem
2. Mugglenet : 51.530377, -0.123259  – king’s cross station
3. Harry Potter Xperts : -34.410362,150.900671  – australia
4. Univers Harry Potter : 29.952313, -90.067849 -new orleans
5. HPANA : -29.239004,24.507602 – Africa
6. Blog Hogwarts : 34.730748,137.383786 – Japan
7. Slug Club : -23.547149, -46.520266 -brazil
8. Snitch Seeker : 51.781383, -2.56844 -forest of dean
9. Portkey : 43.640408, -79.388795 -toronto
10. pottermore @ : 53.476311, -2.22971 manchester station 

I entered these GPS coordinates into Google Maps and this is what it looks like. Zoom out if you can’t see the world map.

I’ve noticed that people have been coming to my site from Google and I hope these screen shots help.  If anyone else has any theories to add to mine, please leave a comment and let me know!

“Follow the Owl”

I found some screenshots for Pottermore.  Aren’t they great?

I was sad that I didn’t do some sort of marathon for the very last Harry Potter movie ever, so I’m super excited about Pottermore because it will be just as fun, if not more. For Harry Potter 7.1 I had a marathon with my sisters.  I even had a tag line: 7 Books, 7 Movies, 7 Weeks. We had a blast.

On July 31 there will be a challenge that will allow the first 1 million people who complete it to join early.  Part of me really really wants to be one of the first to get onto Pottermore (I already have my screen name picked out:) but the other part wants all the really excited eight year-olds to get on instead of me. Or I’m just telling myself that so I won’t be disappointed if I’m not one of the 1 million lucky people.

So if you watched the announcement, you’ll notice that she gives a hint for how to do the challenge. “Simply, follow the owl.”

I sat at breakfast trying to figure out what she meant, and then I remembered the scavenger hunt she did on June 15 for people to find the letters to Pottermore in a special GPS map at http://www.secretstreetview.com.  Various fansites had the GPS coordinates and I played along on June 15.  I also wrote them all down, so I decided to check out the website again and low and behold I found an owl in Salem, MA heading west! I followed the owl and I’m so proud that I know what she’s talking about.  My hunt hit a dead end, but I’m glad I was going in the right direction. I’m feeling a little Hermione-esque and it’s great fun.  I’m going to keep trying and maybe I’ll get lucky!

UPDATE: To read more of my theories and see screenshots and a map, click here.

What to read next…

I’m getting that bogged down feeling when I’ve read something long and hard.  It’s like eating really healthy, high-fiber food for a week and you just want a Twinkie or something.  I like long, hard books (and high-fiber food, for that matter) but I need something fluffy, sweet and entertaining to get me in the mood for more of the difficult books on my to-read pile.  This is why I usually alternate between classics and YA (Young Adult) fiction.  After reading YA stuff, I want something with some depth and meaning.  When I finish a hard book that took me forever to get through, it’s nice to have something like YA books that boost my confidence and remind me that I am good at reading after all.

So here’s my dilemma.  I have read so many first books in YA series that I’m worried I’ll start forgetting who’s who in all these series by the time the rest of the books come out.  So, no new series.  That whacks off half of my YA to-read list.  Plus, I’m out of money so that leaves me with the selection at the library or on lendle and I’ve looked – there’s nothing there but Book 1 in some series I haven’t read yet. GRRR.  I’m going to finish my book tonight and I want something new to read NOW.  Maybe my husband’s got 10 bucks he won’t miss.  I’ve really wanted to read Beastly by Alex Flinn before I watch the movie from Redbox.  In fact, I think I’m going to go look for my husband’s wallet right now…

P.S. I think I’m totally waking up at 5 am to watch J.K. Rowling’s announcement live. Chances are YouTube will crash with all the visitors, but I don’t care.  I’ll sit there with the rest of the world refreshing the page til it works and I KNOW what the heck her website is about.