Monday, May 18, 2009


My brother-in-law had the ingenious idea to start up a summer book club over the next few months to keep us busy...& enlightened. So far we only have 3 members, myself, my brother-in-law & his girlfriend, but we are expecting to add a few more next month after we finish our first book. We weren't quite sure how to go about starting things off, so we all took a vote & picked a book that we wanted to read. We had our first meeting last night & didn't really know what to do! We mostly talked about what we thought we should do for future meetings, then loosely discussed the book & the main characters & our predictions.

The book we all decided on is Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth". It's almost 1,000 pages & the excerpt on the inside cover doesn't give a very exciting description, which is why it's been sitting on my bookshelf for 5 months since I receieved it as a Christmas gift. I was a little bit intimidated by the number of pages & by the dry-sounding content, it's technically a "historical novel" & history is NOT one of my major interests! It's a story about a monk & his brother who is a priest, set in 12th century England during The Anarchy & the death of King Henry I on the sinking of the White Ship; when society, politics, & religion were all in a time of upheaval resulting from King Stephen's reign. However dull all of that may sound, the characters are suprisingly likeable & well developed, the plot is very interesting & unpredictable. We are only 110 pages in, but the book reads so much faster than I expected & I find myself having a hard time putting it down!

We are reading 235 pages for next week, to the end of Part I, & will probably have much more to talk about! I'll keep you posted on how the book goes, & if anyone has any suggestions on how to run a book club, please don't hesitate to comment! Happy reading!

Monday, May 11, 2009


I just have to take a couple minutes to brag about my little (well younger, maybe not so little anymore!) brother & his amazing band, The Shelf Life. They have 3 brother is the lead singer & acoustic guitar player & the other guys play the banjo & mandolin & do some backup vocals. Anyway, they've been playing as a band for a while now & even though they are struggling college students & starving artists at times, they always put their music first & make sure they can scrape together the money to keep their instruments & their band going. They've been doing incredibly well with marketing themselves & getting their music heard all around Pittsburgh. Not only have they played many of the local clubs & watering holes throughout the city here, but they've even gotten air time on the radio & now they actually have out-of-state venues scheduling to have them perform! In fact they just won "Battle of the Bands" last night at a local hotspot called the Beehive & the competition was broadcast live streaming online taking votes like it was American Idol! It was really great to watch & just see their hearts & souls come out in their music which is suprisingly soulful & has such meaningful lyrics for guys their age. While most of the newer music out there is very "pop" or "punk", they are more of a throwback to legends like Neil Young, Bob Dylan & David Bowie. They have a young, unique sound but really sound like old souls when they's such REAL music!

As a big sister, I couldn't be more proud of how my brother really stuck with this & followed his heart no matter what & really made his dreams come true. I'm so excited for him & his band & all that they are accomplishing! I hope you will all take a moment to listen to some of their best work: I think it will make you proud too!