Affiliation Banner

I have great news for site visitors who want to support independent bookstores. I am now a affiliate. I will provide links to purchase books I review or mention from

I will not be eliminating the Amazon links, especially as changing all the old links for a website as old as this one is just really difficult. I understand some people still prefer to use Amazon, but going forward, I will be highlighting over Amazon. You will find one affiliate link for Amazon purchases on reviews only, but most links will be links.

My rationale for making this change is twofold. First, Amazon has a demonstrated history of treating its workers unfairly, and it’s been particularly troubling to watch this company’s behavior over the course of the pandemic. I have had an Amazon account since 1997 or 1998—back when it just sold books. The company wasn’t always like it is today. Second, at one time, Amazon affiliation was not a bad deal. I never earned very much on commissions, but I earned enough to buy a couple of books each month. In the last few years, they have changed their payment structure such that I earn enough to buy about a book every six months or so. In the same way that the company has demonstrated a lack of care for its employees, it has also treated affiliates unfairly. not only supports independent bookstores, but it also offers fair compensation for affiliates.

I’m really excited about being a affiliate.

Site Has Returned

reading beach photo
Photo by jgoge

I apologize to folks who have been trying to access this site and found it had been suspended by my former host. I wrote a post on my education blog about my experience, so I don’t feel the need to replicate it here. Just follow the link if you are interested. In the end, I was able to find a new host and get my site up and running again within three days. I wish I had spent the last three days reading on the beach instead, but nope!

Some books in the review pipeline:

I have finished the first one and the second and third are in progress. I am reviewing the first two as part of a TLC Book Tour in the beginning of October, so those reviews won’t appear until then. Also, I joined up with three different reading/book subscription boxes—think Birch Box or Stitch Fix for books. I plan to review/unbox each of them here on the blog. I am hoping to get back into it with my reading mojo pretty soon. I did really enjoy The Bitch is Back, but I didn’t read a lot this summer, and now it’s nearly over. One week from today, I need to return to work. Students will be returning soon after.

We did have a good summer, though. We went to Bar Harbor, Maine and visited Acadia National Park, which is probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. We drove up to Montpelier and Waterbury, Vermont and bought maple syrup and cheese and toured the Ben & Jerry’s factory. My oldest daughter visited and we took her to Salem, MA (it was hot as the side of the sun that day!) and Amherst (to see Emily’s house, naturally). We also went to the Worcester Art Museum, and wouldn’t you know it, I recognized this painting from an old paperback cover of The Scarlet Letter. Because that is how I would recognize a painting, you know? It was a fairly excellent summer for exploring New England a bit for sure.

I’ll leave you with a poem.

The Summer that we did not prize
Her treasures were so easy
Instructs us by departure now
And recognition lazy—
Bestirs itself—puts on its Coat
And scans with fatal promptness
For Trains that moment out of sight
Unconscious of his smartness—

Emily Dickinson, Fr# 1622

DailyLit Bookroll

I wonder if anyone reading this blog subscribes to books via e-mail or RSS with DailyLit? I’ve mentioned DailyLit many times on this blog. I love it, and my mother and sister are now big fans after being introduced to it. It’s been the best way for me to read books I otherwise might not read because I read just a bit at a time, and for some reason, that helps me more than telling myself I can just read a page or two at a time of a paperback. I’m not sure why. DailyLit books are free if they’re in the public domain, but you can also purchase books (much more cheaply than they retail for, I might add).

I had been wanting to include a bookroll of my DailyLit books on this blog, but I really didn’t like the way the CSS was coded, and the DailyLit folks did not allow CSS code customization. I knew I could alter my own CSS stylesheet to render the code how I wanted it to appear, but I didn’t know the proper title for the div class. I asked for help in DailyLit’s forums, and thought I would share the solution with you all in case you want to use DailyLit and include a bookroll. I guess I really like for people to know what I’m reading! It was bothering me that I could use Now Reading Reloaded, a plugin that helps me display what books I’m reading, but I couldn’t get the DailyLit code to look right. If you want to see what I’ve read and am reading via DailyLit, check out the sidebar to the right and scroll down to the part where my Now Reading books are. The DailyLit bookroll is right under that section.

New Look

As you can see, I have changed the theme or template for this blog. I have wanted something more fun but still bookish for a while, and my old theme proved stubbornly difficult to work with sometimes. I think I have everything in its place now, but if you see something that needs to be fixed, please let me know.

In updating the theme, I have also enabled threaded comments, which means that if you want to reply to a comment, it will be clear that your comment is in reply to a comment rather than a post. I obtained the theme free from TemplateLite. I am good with code, but not so much with manipulating images and creating a whole theme from scratch.

Cult Books

The Telegraph has a feature on the “50 Best Cult Books” (via So Many Books). I thought the comments on the feature were interesting, given I had never heard of most of the books mentioned by commenters, and as they are supposed to be cult books, it stands to reason I’d have heard of at least some of them. I don’t pretend to be up on the latest all the time, but I’m no slouch when it comes to books. Of the books mentioned in the article, I have read the following:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I find it peculiar that the Harry Potter series and Lord of the Rings were not included. I should think that both fit the article’s rather vague definition of cult books.

In non-related news, I increased the font on this blog slightly, but found that doing it too much broke my template. It would seem that the font size would need to be tweaked in a number of places, which is a project that will have to wait for the summer. If you have trouble reading the font, you can try increasing the font in your browser. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it would seem the creator of my template or theme didn’t take eyestrain into consideration. Look for some improvements in a couple of months.

Image credit: Nick Today.

Using Fantastico to Install Programs and Scripts

My host, Bluehost, allows users to install various software programs and scripts on their websites by using Fantastico, a one-click auto-installation service.  Users can have WordPress and wikis installed via Fantastico.  I have never used Fantastico, but Steve has.  He recently had his personal site blocked because his site was using more than 20% of the server’s CPU.  Bluehost gets very testy about this if you question them on it, as evidenced it their forums.  I have never received one of these dreaded messages, despite the fact that I have more blogs installed on my site, and all of mine are installed on one account ( and are actually both on the same account).  Steve has received the messages three times, I think.  My conclusion, which may or may not be correct, is that he was dealing with inefficient installations from Fantastico.  After I got Bluehost to unblock his account, which was a bit of a task, I upgraded him to the latest WordPress install and deleted any files that looked like they were related to his Fantastico install.  I also deleted files and folders he wasn’t using for any reason.  He has something like eleven folders on his crime blog domain, and he’s only using two.  I let those alone, but I think he needs to clean up his site.  You can sure tell he has ADD, and that’s no lie.  So far, so good.  No more CPU excess messages, no blocked websites.  We’ll see if the trend continues.  If it does, then I’m going to assume I’m right about Fantastico.

[tags]Fantastico, Bluehost, CPU, WordPress[/tags]

Almost There

The Pensieve has been completely restored (I think) thanks to an old MT export file I made in October.  I had to manually upload entries made after that.  Ditto for the genealogy blog.  I think there are still a few missing from that one.

I’m not sure I can restore the posts I made here after I migrated to Word Press in January — the posts from January and February.  At this point, I can’t figure out how.  I’ll keep working at it.  I especially want to restore the carnival entries.

On the other hand, restoring the education blog will take some major work, as I never did an export of it, and I have decided not to restore the classroom blog.  It’s a shame, but I don’t feel like much of significance was lost.  That’s something my students and I should work on.


This site restoration is looking more involved by the moment.  I don’t know when I’ll get this accomplished, so don’t hold your breath (if you were).

At this point, doing manual reposts is looking like the simpler option, and considering how time-consuming that is going to be, we’re looking at a long period of time.  However, the good news, I have to keep telling myself, is that I do indeed have the posts.  Yep.

I wish I knew something about perl.  If you think HTML or CSS looks like a jumble of characters, try looking at perl.


OK, so unless I have takers to host the Literature Carnival, that’s off for a week.  Also, the HP Carnival I host at the Pensieve (which isn’t close to being fully restored yet) is off for this week, too.

Site Restoration/Literature Carnival

I have had NO free time this week to speak of, and today is the first chance I will have to attempt to restore my website completely. I can’t do everything, so I’m afraid I won’t have time to post a literature carnival, particularly when I have not received enough submissions to cover the whole carnival. I’m afraid that will have to be put off — unless someone wants to host it for this edition, that is.

I’m working on restoring the site right now. My game plan is as follows:

  1. Install Movable Type temporarily and upload each blog into a temporary directory.
  2. Export each blog.
  3. If this fails, restoring the site will take a lot longer than this — months, maybe — as I manually restore each entry.

Wish me luck. This one will be my lowest priority, because I happen to have restored most of it (with the exception of two months of entries).