5 Books for $1

Yes, they were cheap. Yes, they are secondhand. Yes, they are children’s or young adult books. Yes, I’ll read them all.

My family laughed at me when I came home with these five books. My 21 year old son, Daniel, gave me a “You’re old, and you’re reading kids books” look. G just shook his head and continued with what he was doing. And Daniel’s girlfriend just outright laughed her head off. How rude! 😉

At least I’ll actually get through these books. Adult books take too much time, and are too complex for my injured mind. I need something light and entertaining. I love reading “kids” books.

Here’s a list of the books I bought. They are old, but does that really matter?

The Time Tree by Enid Richemont – The tall tree in the park is Rachel and Joanna’s special place. It’s Anne’s too. So it hardly seems surprising that the three girls meet up there – except for the fact that Anne was born over four hundred years ago!

Elidor by Alan Garner – A street map, a deserted demolition site, a football and a church in ruins … four ordinary things which lead Richard, Helen, Nicholas and David into a twilight world almost destroyed by fear and darkness – Elidor.

Ellie and the Hagwitch by Helen Cresswell – “Ellie stood helplessly watching the snow fall. She tried to conjure up the roses in bloom beyond, the trees in full summer leaf, the long grasses. She clung desperately to this picture, as if by thinking of it long enough, she could actually re-make it, could halt that cold relentless fall.” But the darkness grew. The snow thickened and Ellie knew that the hagwitch had begun her attack. First there had been the cats, then Ellie’s mother and father had disappeared and now the snow had come. As this enthralling fantasy unfolds, the hagwitch tries to lure Ellie to her, knowing that with the girl in her grasp her power will be complete…

Crime in the Picture by Emily Rodda – Searching for a lost parrot isn’t Nick’s idea of proper detective work. Surely Teen Power Inc. can find something more important to do? Anyway, the gang’s busy – working for the zany Madame Clarice as well as getting ready for the Raven Hill Fair and Art Show to raise money for a local swimming pool. But Percy’s no ordinary parrot, as Nick soon discovers. The hunt leads the gang straight into a million-dollar mystery – one the whole of Raven Hill is going to know about.

Green for Danger by Emily Rodda – Minding a luxurious house seemed like fun to the Teen Power gang at first. But now Nick is feeling more and more uncomfortable. Suddenly the house has started to seem like a prison. Or a tomb. Perhaps it’s the white marble everwhere. Or the sealed windows and doors. Or the aquarium fish, silently swimming in their endless circles. Or maybe it’s just that a fortune in emeralds was stolen from this house, ruining its owner, and disappearing without trace! Nick tells himself to stay cool. There’s nothing to fear. After all, there’s no-one in the house but him and his friends. Is there?

And my decision is: Elidor by Alan Garner. This is the book I’ll read first.

Reading Update

Bellwether by Connie Willis just wasn’t doing it for me. This author is brilliant, but I just can’t get into this novel. I think it’s meant to be humorous, but I’m not in the mood for that right now. So, I’ve decided to discard this book. However, this is only temporary. I’ll try reading it again when I get my mind back.

Yesterday, we visited the library and they had heaps of books on sale, cheap. Most of them were reference books, which G was pleased to go through. There were only a few adult novels, I think we came upon the sale after the bargains had already been snapped up. But…there were lots of children’s and young adult books. I found five that looked interesting and grabbed those. The total cost was a massive $1 for all five books. What a deal!

Now I just have to decide which one to read first. I’ll give a list of the books and my decision later 😀

Depth of Focus

[ Personal Content Removed ]

On Sunday afternoon/evening I started writing a replacement scene for chapter 11. The existing scene was boring. I knew it, and my test readers made sure I didn’t forget it. This new scene turned out so much better than I had expected. So much better. By the time I decided to “hang up my keyboard” (for the evening; not permanently) I was feeling enthused and inspired. That’s a great feeling.

I’m writing again, and I’m writing well. Yoohoo!

Isaac Asimov: The Legacy of Wine

Short stories have never been a passion of mine – to read or write. However, I have written a few of them over the past few years, but I don’t think they are great or anything. There’s the problem. If I don’t think they are great, why on earth would anyone (meaning an editor) want to publish them? They wouldn’t, so I’ve been thinking that I need to “fix” those few short stories…and make them great.

Also, for research purposes – and the fact that I can’t concentrate long enough to read novels at the moment – I made a decision to buy an old copy of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which has evolved into Asimov’s Science Fiction. This copy of the magazine/book (whatever you might want to call it, I’ll call it a book because it doesn’t resemble a magazine to me) is dated July 1991. It includes an article written by Orson Scott Card, and numerous short stories.

I plan on reading it from cover to cover and seeing if it helps me to write better short stories. Maybe I’ll recognise something that I’m doing wrong. Maybe there will be some tricks that I haven’t been aware of before now. I’m not sure how I’ll go, but even if I just enjoy the stories, it will be $2 well spent.

Weights and Measures

The unit of weight used in Ancient Egypt was the deben. It was equal to 91 grams and was divided into 10 parts. Bread was weighted by the loaf, which weighed between 28 and 33 ounces.

Liquids were measured by the jar, which was the equivalent of .13 of a gallon. Cereals were measured by the barrel, corresponding to nearly 1.1 gallon. Length was measured in royal cubits divided into 28 fingers, or the length of the arm from the end of the middle finger to the elbow. There was also a small cubit, used by architects and divided into 24 fingers.

Egyptians calculated distances in units of 20,000 cubits, which would be the equivalent of 6.5 miles. They measured area in a unit equal to 100 square cubits, or 29,440 square feet.

Source: Journey to the Past – Ancient Egypt

Deir el-Medina

deirelmedinaSituated on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes, this ancient village was the home of the workers of the secret tombs of the royal family. These workers include sculptors, painters, potters, carpenters, glassblowers, jewellers, and cabinetmakers.

The village once had small white houses with courtyards. The houses were quite similar, clean and well-kept. The straight roads were dotted with green palms, which offered a pleasant contrast with the ocher-brown colour of the mountains. There was a school, a clinic, a courthouse and many guards.

Why?

The reason is simple. First, the village belonged to the pharaoh. Second, the workers who live there were special because they worked on the necropolises of the Theban kings, including the sarcophagi, or stone coffins, and the decorations. Even the name of the place sounds important. It was known as “the residence of the servants of the seat of truth”.

Bes

besThe most common lucky charm to be worn in Ancient Egypt was an image of the god Bes. This ugly, diminutive deity did not belong to the higher echelons of the great gods, but was immensely popular amongst the people. Probably African in origin, Bes may represent a pygmy wearing a lion mask and a plumed head-dress; he is also unusual in that he is shown full-faced rather than in profile, as was the convention in Egyptian art.

Known for his kindliness, Bes progressed from his role as protector of sheep and shepherds to presiding over revelry, dancing and inebriation (many of the Bes charms show the merry little god with a musical instrument). Marriages were also linked with the pygmy deity and he was associated with aiding women in childbirth; Bes is shown on the walls of the temple of hatshepsut in Western Thebes in the scene depicting the birth of the great Queen.

As Bes was the guardian of children, he became the mortal enemy of serpents, scorpions or any creature that could do his charges harm.

Source: Chronicles of Ancient Egypt by Jonathan Dee

Photo taken by Hajor, December 2002 Released under cc-by-sa and/or GFDL.

The Opet Festival

On first impression, Ancient Egyptian society may appear morbid, centring on mummification and the afterlife, but nothing could be further from the truth. The inhabitants of the Two Lands viewed the celebration of life as complementary to the ritual of death. The Opet, or Heavenly, Festival in particular, was a spectacular excuse to loosen the bonds of propriety.

The festival occurred in the second month of the season of Akhet, or July by our reckoning, and lasted from two to four weeks. It coincided with the helical rising of the exceptionally bright star Sirius, or Sothis as the Egyptians knew it, identified with the goddess Isis. This, in turn, marked the annual flooding of the Nile which was vital for agriculture and survival. It was also believed to represent the fathering of the Pharaoh by the mighty Amun-Ra himself.

From the Great Temple of Karnak the processional boat of the god Amun would be brought out bearing his image. Likewise a boat was carried from the nearby temple of Mut the Mother. When the two met on the avenue of the ram-headed sphinxes it signalled rejoicing, drunkenness and wild abandon as temple offerings were redistributed amongthe people.

At the climax of the festival the King entered the dark and shrouded inner sanctum of Amun where mysterious rites enabled him to take on aspects of eternity before returning to his people as a living god.

Source: Chronicles of Ancient Egypt by Jonathan Dee