Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I've made this recipe for parties and it's always very well received. It's pretty easy to make, and very flexible when it comes to type of bread, fruit, or nuts used. (A variation I like is to use cherries and almonds, and substitute almond extract for the vanilla.) I have one in the oven right now, which I made with sourdough bread and dried mixed berries.

If you're like me and forget to put something together the night before, just add a couple of extra eggs. Combine the egg mixture with the bread in an airtight bowl and shake it around for a couple of minutes so the bread absorbs the liquid, then carry on as if you'd just pulled it out of the fridge. The key is to make sure the bread is soaked through so it will bake soft rather than crunchy.

This is great to pull out of the fridge on Christmas morning, pop into the oven while opening presents, and have ready to eat when the kids are looking for the next thing to do. A sprinkle of cinnamon over the top is never amiss. Enjoy!


1 loaf French bread, cubed or sliced
5 eggs
2-1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Arrange bread in greased 13 x 9 pan.

2. Combine eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg; pour over bread. Cover; refrigerate overnight.

3. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking; sprinkle with pecans. Combine butter and brown sugar; drizzle over casserole. Bake at 400* F for 25 minutes. Sprinkle blueberries on top; bake 10 minutes more until knife in center comes out clean. Makes 6 servings.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I made this recipe for dinner last night, with a few moderations, and it was a big hit. I left out the mushrooms, as we have two fungi-haters here, but substituted frozen spinach. I had no sherry, so I used marsala instead, and that seemed to work well. I also used a full cup of half-and-half, and substituted Colby Jack for the swiss cheese. Additionally, I used up the rest of my French's fried onions (you know, the ones from that green bean casserole everybody makes at Thanksgiving) by sprinkling them around the edges of the dish, and I sprinkled paprika across the parmesan before I put the dish in the oven.

I guess I actually made a different recipe from this one, when it comes right down to it, but it tasted yummy, regardless. I would double this recipe, though, because it was barely sufficient to feed three hungry people. Maybe with side dishes and bread or salad it would be enough, but on its own, we'd have been hungry if my son had been home for dinner.


3 T butter
1 8-ounce package sliced mushrooms
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
1 1.8-ounce package white sauce mix (I used Bearnaise)
1/2 c. half-and-half
2 T sherry
1 c. shredded Swiss cheese
4 oz. dried spaghetti, broken in half
2 c. cubed, cooked chicken
1/4 c. grated parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 325* F. Butter a 2-quart casserole; set aside.

2. Mewlt remaining butter. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook and stir till mushrooms are soft. Transfer to bowl; set aside.

3. In same pan, bring broth and sauce mix to a boil. Add half-and-half and sherry. Stir in cheese until melted.

4. Add pasta to pan. Cook 8-10 minutes until pasta is al dente. Stir in mushrooms and chicken.

5. Transfer to casserole. Sprinkle with parmesan. Bake 30 minutes until heated through. Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I think all of us who love history are drawn to certain times and places. Conversely, there are eras and locales that we instinctively shy away from for various reasons. We accumulate facts and details and are knowledgable about arcane bits of information that most people are completely unaware of.

For instance, if you have ever looked at dolls' hands, you may have wondered why they were molded the way they were, with the middle and ring fingers together and slightly curved inward toward the palm, while the index finger and pinkie were apart and mostly straight. Well, Godey's Lady's Book, the most popular magazine in America in the mid-1800's, had voluminous advice on how fashionable women carried themselves, whether seated, standing, or moving, right down to the way they held their hands. This position I've described was how one was supposed to hold one's hands while at rest. Dolls were designed to reflect the height of fashion, including the positioning of their hands and fingers, and that particular model has been in use right up until the present.

How do I know this? I read it in a book. Why do I remember it? Heaven only knows.

I tend to be drawn to times of hardship and rigor. I'm fascinated by historical tragedies of any kind, from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius to the Pilgrims' first year to the Donner party to the Titanic. I'm currently attracted to stories of America in the 1930s, especially the Dust Bowl and stories about how people made it through the Depression. My fascination with true crime makes this an interesting era for me, what with all the gangsters and Prohibition.

I also feel an affinity with Regency England. I don't know if it's something organic within me, or if it grew from constant exposure, because all the women in my family read Regency romances by the hundreds.

I don't gravitate toward brother-vs.-brother times of strife. I enjoy reading about the Civil War, but I don't enjoy Civil War romances, where the heroine is on one side of the conflict and the hero on the other. Those types of stories never resolve seamlessly for me, because the reconciliation of diametrically opposite beliefs doesn't ring true. Also, I guess it's natural, given how the war ended, but you rarely find stories where the protagonists are both Southern and everything ends well. Those are always tragic stories of loss and retribution.

Some chunks of English history are less interesting to me than others. I'm fascinated by the Tudors, the Victorians, and the Edwardians. I'll read about any era, really, but those are my three favorites.

Another thing that can pull me out of a historical novel is the use of accents. Ah do not lahk zee foreign ax-ahnts written out phonetically. (This is another reason why I don't like Civil War stories; I think it's a bit patronizing for modern white writers to try to approximate what they think slaves might have sounded like.) I guess I want it both ways. I want to know if the characters have accents or particular speech patterns, but I don't want to have to sound them out.

I admire the research that authors put into their writing. I love authors who respect their readers enough to validate their information and create a convincing universe in which their readers can immerse themselves. I remember being in a writing class in college, and one girl had written a historical romance. (Should I say "an" historical romance?) At first the professor seemed inclined to praise the story, but my friend and I began to point out the historical inaccuracies, much to the other girl's dismay. When the professor asked her why she had so many mistakes and anachronisms, she threw up her hands and wailed, "I didn't think anyone would notice!" A lot of my classmates were upset with us for being so mean to someone else (and causing her to get a less-than-wonderful grade), but even then, I took writing very seriously. Readers do not like to be patronized, and it bugged even then that this girl would assume that romance readers would be too stupid to catch her errors.

People who read history, even light historical fiction, take their reading seriously. They know their stuff. They want to be entertained by writers who also know their stuff.

Monday, July 11, 2011


I've been working a lot on my book the last few weeks. I'm about halfway through the manuscript, and my reading partners seem to like it well enough. One thing I'm very aware of as I write is word choice. My friend Sue pointed out that I used the word "palatable" three times in one chapter. I haven't gone back to edit it yet (it's still handwritten in pencil on a legal pad), but I'll be thinking about what I was trying to say and how I can change up my words so they won't stick in the reader's awareness and pull him or her out of the story.

When you write a book of 200 or more pages, naturally you're going to repeat a lot of words. The trick is not to repeat words or phrases in a way that readers notice. For instance, if you use a really unusual word, such as fungible (which describes commodities that can be traded to satisfy a contract), it makes sense to use it once and then find another word. Of course, since I was reading a thriller that involved embezzlement when I encountered that word several times, perhaps there wasn't another choice, but it really stuck out and subconsciously, I was almost counting how many times the author used it.

Phrases are something to be aware of, as well. I have a tendency to pick up words and phrases that I hear other people use, and I'll use them for a while until something newer and shinier catches my attention. When I'm writing, I try to be aware of repetition, so if I say someone looked like she'd swallowed her tongue, the next time I'm trying to describe a character's expression of shock or surprise, I'll be scouring the wordwork for something that says the same thing a different way.

On a recent drive back to Georgia from Naples, FL, my aunt and I listened to Evermore by Alyson Noel. Nearly every time the main character reacted to something, Noel used the phrase, "I pressed my lips." The first few times we heard it, it was pretty funny, but that phrase grew to be painful before we reached the end of the last CD. This was not the only thing the author repeated. Every time the heroine asked the hero a question he didn't want to answer, "he shrugged." Those two phrases really worked my nerves. I don't know if my reaction would have been different if I'd been reading the story rather than listening to it, but I suspect not, because that's the kind of thing I tend to notice. At any rate, much as I enjoyed the story itself, I could not bring myself to read the second book in the series.

Another peeve of mine is when authors use the wrong word. If someone does something on purpose, they did it purposely, NOT purposefully. I've seen that one a lot lately, and boy, does it grate. I also hate when authors spell celebrities' names wrong. Two I've seen lately are Steven King and Stephanie Meyer. (Should be Stephen and Stephenie.) And why, oh, why cannot people get the use of me vs. I straight? Billy and I went to the store. Mom gave the candy to Billy and me. If you're not sure which one to use, people, for heaven's sake, take out the other person and you'll know which pronoun to use. It's really simple.

Writing is not always easy, I'll be the first to admit that. A little extra work on the writer's part, however, will make it a lot more rewarding for the reader.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


One of my favorite hobbies is collecting recipes. I love to try new ways to put my favorite foods together, and I am a pretty good cook. I get my recipes from cookbooks and cooking magazines (especially those digest-sized ones you buy at the supermarket checkout line--love those!), newspapers, websites, and wherever else I can find them. I have been known to tear a recipe or ten out of a magazine in a doctor's waiting room (especially if they have several of the same magazine), and have gotten some of my favorite recipes that way.

The problem comes when magazines scatter a recipe across a couple of pages, especially when you have to turn to a completely different page (at the back) to find the rest of your recipe. I find that really annoying, mostly because I've made more mistakes in copying recipes or following them when I've had to flip back and forth. If I'm reading a recipe (whether I plan to clip it or not), I want to read it all in one chunk, without having to flip to another page to see how it will turn out. Cooking magazines keep a recipe in its entirety on one page, but many of the so-called "ladies' magazines" are guilty of splitting recipes up.

A recipe is not the same as an article about the latest trend in makeup, a short story, or any Kardashian's advice on relationships, the pitfalls or celebrity, or how to keep all that junk in the trunk. When I'm reading those, I'm perfectly willing to flip to the back of the magazine to finish reading. However, a recipe belongs on one page, ingredients and instructions united. The only exception to this is a photo of said recipe, which can appear on the next page. Anything else is just making life harder than it has to be for everyone involved, but particularly the person trying to follow the recipe.

Magazine editors, take note: Recipes on one page, please!

Sunday, June 05, 2011


Hillary wrote these several years ago, and they've been posted on my freezer ever since. Bedtimes are optional now, but most other rules remain the same, especially the last one.

1. Hillary's weekday bedtime is 11 PM. Evan's weekday bedtime is 10 PM. On weekends, bedtime is midnight.

2. You will be quiet in this house when Dad is in bed.

3. You will do your chores.

4. You will go to church.

5. Spiders die in this house.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Some people plan their charitable donations, keep their receipts, and get a little break on their taxes every year. I wish I had the organizational skills to do that, but I have a more haphazard approach to charity. I don't keep track of what I give, and I don't get receipts for it. It's kind of random, but in a way, I like it that way. I like to get unexpected surprises, and I guess I feel like I'm giving someone else a little something they weren't planning on.

You might almost say it's Nora Roberts' fault. I don't remember which book it was, but one of her heroes threw all his charitable requests into a drawer, and then, once a year, he would just randomly pull out requests and write hefty checks. He didn't look at whom he'd given to before or favor any particular organization; he just drew names.

I really liked that approach. There are so many groups out there that do great things, and I feel like most of them are deserving. I can't help all of them, so I do my giving by impulse. Maybe I bring furniture, clothes, or snacks to the women's shelter. I routinely drop stuff off at Goodwill, and I don't wait around for a receipt. I volunteer to help with projects and activities. I feed stray animals and have birdfeeders and birdbaths in my yard, and sometimes I take bread or crackers out to the woods and strew them for the animals out there to find. I toss money into the basket at church (the only consistent donation I make). Twice I've set up book swap shelves in the teachers' lounges of the schools I've worked at, and saved up enough books to fill the rack before I put it together. I also donate books to the swap shelves of the public library in town and the library on post. I try to find homes for things rather than toss them into the trash. I recycle at home and at work. I've cooked (and scheduled others to cook) meals for families in crisis. During my tenure in various clubs, I've organized fundraisers to support various charities and scholarships. I've also been active with Relay for Life over the past 13 years.

I would also point out that prayer is, in my view, a form of charity, and possibly the sincerest form of charity because it truly is anonymous to the recipient. I believe in the power of prayer, and I know there have been times when my life has been blessed in times of crisis by the people who lifted me up with their prayers and positive thoughts. I really believe the universe benefits when people are sending out positive energy on the behalf of others.

I don't really like telephone solicitation, mostly because I always try to say yes, and then I really have to be organized to follow through with my promise or pledge. I'm much happier if there's a website I can go to when apporoached and make an immediate donation with plastic. Then there are the checkout charities. You know the ones I mean, the "Would you like to donate $1 for Jerry's Kids" as you're presenting your payment for the groceries you just bought. My rule is, if they ask me to donate, I do. I love to put canned goods out for the post office food drive, "buy" jeans passes at work by donating for various causes, and support my children's school fundraisers. If you're selling raffle tickets, I'm the girl to approach. I never win those things, but I feel like I've helped if I've purchased tickets, candy bars, cookie dough, or gift wrap. Don't get me wrong. I understand that a concentrated gift to one particular target does a great deal of good, but I'm not in a position to give an amount that would make a substantial difference to anyone.

Neither am I bragging. I know it might sound that way, but really, what I'm trying to say is that every little bit really does help. Times really are hard now, and I fear that things are only going to get worse. So I stock up my pantry, clean out my closets, and give my time or money when I can.

If you feel guilty that you're not helping enough, I urge you to look at what you're doing. I'll bet you're helping a lot more than you realize. If you've done any of the things I've mentioned above, or anything like them, you've aided a charity, whether it was personal or professional. It may be haphazard, but it's still charity, and it's always appreciated. And remember that old saying: Time IS money. If you can't give goods, you can always give services. Change the World: Volunteer!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


When you work in an elementary school classroom, the one thing you can guarantee is that there are always pencils that need to be sharpened. And if you don't want your jaw to rattle all day with the sound of the electric sharpener (a noise akin to that of a dentist's drill, to my ears), you might sharpen them yourself with one of those 50-cent sharpeners that gather the shavings in a self-contained holder. There are 24 students in the second-grade classroom to which I'm currently assigned, and between their wanton destruction of the pencil population and their heavy hands when it comes to putting pencil to paper, pencils need to be sharpened at about the rate of six per minute.

As I was sharpening the latest batch this week, it occurred to me to wonder why pencils are usually yellow. Not just yellow, but the orangey-yellow of Velveeta cheese. I know you can buy pencils in every color of the rainbow nowadays, and with any picture or words, glitter, velvet, and other embellishments you can imagine, but if you go to the store to buy cheap pencils in bulk, they are going to remind you of Kraft macaroni and cheese. Why? Who decided that was the color pencils should be?

Furthermore, why are erasers always pink? Pink erasers and orangey-yellow pencils don't even match, but if you look up clip-art of pencils, nine times out of ten, they'll be yellow pencils with pink erasers.

There are a lot of these unspoken rules about what we agree things should look like. My daughter says that all pizza should be pepperoni. As proof, she points out the fact that whenever you see an illustration of a slice of pizza, it is invariably topped with little reddish-brown circles of what is clearly pepperoni.

All babies have blue eyes. Well, Caucasian babies. Except mine, who were all born with murky gray eyes that were clearly destined to darken and never had a hint of blue in them, regardless of the myriad blue-eyed relatives on both sides of the family tree.

I listened to a teacher berate a child who had colored leaves purple, saying that was not a color that occurs in leaves. In fact, it is. I don't know the name of the plant, but I have seen it for sale at Walmart and its leaves are purple. (I know this doesn't support my topic, but it's kind of the inverse of my point, so I left it in.)

Who eats eggs sunnyside up? I'm an over-easy gal myself. (Hmm, maybe that's not the best way to put that.) Pictures of eggs? Sunnyside up.

How about cupcakes? Cupcakes always have pink frosting. The weird thing is, a lot of the time they have cherries on top, but I've never had a cupcake with a cherry on top. Of course, sundaes are always shown with hot fudge, and cookies are always chocolate chip. Maybe chocolate trumps everything else.

Apples are always red. We know that apples can be green or yellow or even pink, but when we draw apples, we always color them red.

Don't you feel bad for oranges? They don't even get their own name; they have to share it with their color. Why don't we call lemons yellows or limes greens? Could it be that oranges are just that unique that the color was named for them rather than they being named for the color?

Why are school buses yellow? Why are tractors red (when they're not John Deere green)? When did car manufacturers agree that they could paint cars in colors other than black?

Look at any picture drawn by an elementary school child and notice that the sun is always angled across one of the top corners of the paper, with huge spiky rays extending from it. Have we ever actually seen the sun look like that? I doubt it, but we've all drawn the sun that way. Furthermore, we most often draw the moon as a crescent, even though it only appears that way about a fourth of the time. Is it to distinguish it from the sun?

I guess it boils down to a form of shorthand. We portray things the way we most often see them, and then we know exactly what we're talking about. When we see an egg sunnyside up, there's no doubt we're talking about an egg. If we see an oval, it could be an egg, but there's always that tiny shred of a chance that it might be something else. If it's yellow, it must be a pencil.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I heard on the radio a couple of weeks ago that one of the major publishing houses was trying to figure out a way to limit the number of times a library could loan an e-book before having to renew its purchase. My initial reaction was critical of the idea, but then I started thinking more about it, and now I believe the publishers have the right idea.

E-books are more popular than ever, and those of us who own e-readers are always looking for good free content. Naturally, we might look to our local public libraries to give us access to the hottest new releases, but electronic loans are a very different concept than physical book loans. Think about it.

When you borrow a book from the library, you have one copy of it in your possession for two weeks, usually. During that time, no one else can borrow the book. Maybe you return it early, probably you return it on time, and possibly you return it late. The amount of time you have the book determines how soon someone else can have it. Perhaps your library buys or leases several copies of the same book because there's a huge demand for it. Even so, the number of readers of each book is limited. People who really want to read it may lose patience and buy a copy, and sometimes friends will share a hot new book within their circle of readers. Publishers count on the fact that our impatience to get our hands on a certain book will bump their sales.

With an e-book, one could theoretically loan it to thousands of people at a time. There's no profit in that for the publishers, and let's face it, the bottom line is the need for the publisher (and of course the author) to sell as many copies of the book as possible to generate revenue and royalties. It makes sense that publishers would look for a way to limit the number of times an e-book could be shared before the rights would have to be re-purchased. The numbers being tossed around in the radio piece seemed unrealistic to me (26 uses per purchase, figuring on the number of times a hard copy would be loaned in a year). I agree with the idea of rights being tied to the number of uses rather than a time-frame; again, one could theoretically loan an e-book thousands of times in a very short period. However, repeated purchasing of loaning rights also brings up the question of the library's budget--the more money being spent on rights to ebooks, the less money there is for other library needs.

So what's the solution?

My suggestion would be to charge a nominal fee for e-books, maybe $1 per rental, and split the money between the publisher and the library. I know that would likely entail some changes in how libraries are run and funded, but we have to keep up with technological advances and adapt old ways of doing things to new possibilities.

There will still be plenty of us who will buy actual books that we can hold in our hands and read, and share with our fellow readers. I'm reminded of Capt. Picard on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. With some sort of e-books available to him, he still preferred to sit in his quarters and read his beautiful, gilt-embossed hardcover books. Likewise, I can't imagine gathering my grandchildren around me to read to them from my Nook, color or not. There is a time and place for each type of book, and we can have plenty of options with each. All we have to do is figure out what's fair for all the parties involved in e-reading. If everyone gives a little, everyone can gain a lot. There's plenty of room for compromise.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


My imagination is quite child-like, and it manifests itself in strange and unusual ways. From the time I was quite small, I would come up with games and routines that would stave off boredom, or that were inspired by books or movies. The fact that I can be somewhat OCD simply intensifies those tendencies. These games I play with myself are mostly private, weird little things that I've rarely if ever shared with anyone else.

When I was a kid and would play house with other girls, I would create detailed backstories in my head, usually centering on great poverty as evinced in books by Louisa May Alcott, Kate Douglas Wiggin, and Sara Crewe's ordeals in A Little Princess. My "children" and I would carefully gather wood for heat and cooking; we would be poor but honorable, doing whatever we must to survive hardship and deprivation. I'm still drawn to stories like that: a recent read was Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas.

The game that has had the most lasting effect on my life, however, is one I like to call The Jane Moffat Project. In one of the Moffat books by Eleanor Estes, Jane decides to read all the books in the library, so she starts with A and begins to read her way through. Even as a kid, this idea appealed to me, and every so often, I would take a stab at The Jane Moffat Project. I never got very far, because I would be seduced away from the books I "should" read by the books I "wanted" to read. Eventually I would have to admit that I had gone off the wagon, and for a while I would put the project out of my mind.

The most recent iteration of the JMP began this year when I decided I would attempt to read all the books in the library at the school where I work. I didn't get very far at all. Well, maybe I did, because I took a multi-pronged approach to the project. In addition to starting at the A section of the chapter books, I started at the first shelf of non-fiction, and would also read a few picture/story books with whatever classes I subbed or aided in. And of course, after so many years of reading, I had already read many of the books in the school's collection.

I'll never know whether I could have done it, because I've been informed that I'm being transferred to another school in the county. I am deeply saddened by this, because I have grown to love where I've been and have come to feel that I've been an asset to the school. I just don't know if I have the heart to go through the process yet again of getting to know my co-workers and creating a niche for myself. People have tried to console me by reminding me that I'm lucky I still have a job at all. Well, yeah, I know that, but it doesn't make it easier to reconcile myself to reality after I've come to know most of the students by name and made some friends. I don't know if I can put myself out there again.

On the other hand, there are two local libraries (one on-post, one off) nearby. Perhaps Jane Moffat will lead me to another tilt at this particular windmill. Reading has always gotten me through tough times. I will tuck my Nook, well-stocked as it is with nearly 700 books, into my purse and rely on it to ease the transition. I could do a mini-Moffatt simply by reading all the books I've downloaded. Alternatively, there's always graduate school.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I've spent a lot of time in kindergarten and first grade this year, and have become re-acquainted with the beginner books written by Margaret Hillert. Ms. Hillert is a former first grade teacher who developed a series of books designed to improve reading fluency in very young readers. For that purpose, her books are quite effective.

However, most of her books are baby bowdlerized editions of popular stories that manage to retell those stories without using key words. For example, her version of "Jack and the Beanstalk" does not use the word "beanstalk!" She does use the word "something" in that book, so it strikes me as particularly odd that she would omit beanstalk. I understand that she is trying to reinforce sight words for beginning readers, but in endeavoring to stick to that vocabulary, she misses the opportunity to introduce a word that the children she's writing for are certainly familiar with already. It boggles my mind.

So why is this on my mind at all? As I said, I've been re-reading many of Hillert's titles with my young charges, and reliving my son's early reading career. On Friday, I reread Hillert's What Is It?, a very cute story about two little elves following a long red string. Evan and I loved this book when he was little. The pictures are fun to look at, and we loved talking about where the string might lead next. Imagine my disappointment when Evan came home from school and told me that he'd failed the Accelerated Reader test for this story. I couldn't guess why he had failed, since we'd read the story several times and talked about each page at length. He read other Hillert titles with similar results, and that's when I discovered what the problem was.

Hillert's books are filled with such sparkling lines as "Up, up, up! We go up. We see something. What is it? We will go. Go, go, go!" These are not actual quotes, but quite similar to the content. AR questions are very specific, but Hillert's books are so nebulous that many children find it hard to answer the questions about them because they're so content-free. As I said earlier, they're great for developing fluency and teaching children how to read with expression. For telling a story and remembering details, however, they are poorly designed and not a good fit for the AR program. Since many school libraries are so focused on ensuring that every book in their collection has a corresponding AR test, and since the Hillert books are so good at what they were designed for and so bad at assessing reading comprehension and retention of material read, I suspect teachers are sometimes not getting an accurate picture of their students' reading ability.

Evan read very well as a beginning reader, but his teachers were not convinced because his AR test results were so poor. I finally had to tell them not to allow him to check out any more Hillert books. Only then did his reading scores improve.

I'm a huge fan of Accelerated Reader, and completely envious that my children got to participate in it, because there was nothing like it when I was a kid. I would have knocked it out of the park! I just don't believe that every book should have an AR test. Furthermore, I think parents, teachers, and students alike need to remember that sometimes you should just read because you like the book, not because you have to earn a certain number of AR points in a certain length of time. YMMV.*

*Your mileage may vary.