Bill Cannon’s A Treasury of Texas Trivia II

Overview: Where can you find a boot-wearing Jesus? Or a barbed wire museum from…um…intimate origins? This book is loaded with these stories, and so much more. Let’s see what secrets, surprise histories, and just fun facts that the Lone Star State has to offer us.

Story Telling: Trivia books are just that, books full of short stories and facts.

Likes: Oh. This book’s structure makes finding certain facts easier. If you’re looking for fun stories, look under “Truth is Stranger than Fiction.” Looking for landmarks or other fun places to visit on your next trip? Start with “Unusual Claims to Fame.”

Favorite Stories: There’s so many of them. But, I’ll try to cut it down some. There’s “German Ingenuity,” “Only God can Make a Tree…” and “…One Riot–One Ranger.”

Conclusion: Enjoy this book. Maybe you’ll find some places to visit. Or you could find a few bits of trivia to win a drinking game.

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Miriam Morrison Peake’s 101 Things to Make for Fun or Money

Overview: Etsy and other online craft malls seem to be getting quite popular of late. But how does one go about getting started? Getting good at a handcrafted style might help. But where does one start at that point? Ms. Peake has your answer.

Story Telling: This is a combination of a pattern book, encouraging self-help, and an educational guide.

Likes: Ms. Peake not only gives us many different craft styles, she reminds us that quality of craftsmanship is just as important if you are making things for your loved ones as it is if you intend to sell.

Favorite Project: It’s the Chapel cap.

Conclusion: This book is a nice little resource. Enjoy it, learn from it. And try a new craft. You just might find your niche.

Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales

Overview: What happens when you have a group of pilgrims on a journey to Canterbury do to keep their spirits up? Well, the host of the troupe has a great idea. A story challenge, one story each up to Canterbury, and one tale each on the way back. Loser buys the drinks. Maybe that’s just a great idea for any aspiring writers. Let’s see how the guests handle the challenge.

Story Telling: This is a fanciful short story anthology. This is also one classic that you might be able to encourage older children to read.

Dislikes: A few of these stories have a decidedly Catholic bent, one of which is a sermon. Now this is just part of the time frame. In the 1300’s there was still the on the pain of death and losing your eternal soul, you had to be a Catholic attitude.

Unfortunately, Mr. Chaucer died before he was able to finish this piece. So the book, as well as a few stories are unfinished.

Likes: Most of the completed stories were quite entertaining.

Favorite Story: It’s “The Franklin’s Tale.”

Conclusion: Enjoy the tales. Though if some of your younger family members find it, just be glad that they’re reading.

Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy

Overview: Dante is struggling with problems so big, that he cannot begin to understand. How did he get to this forest? And, while he is grateful for his hero coming to help him, the road seems too hard for a mere mortal to traverse. Can he make it? For his Beatrice, he’s willing to attempt it.

Story Telling: We haven’t left the epic poetry just yet. This one has a high theme, namely the redemption of mankind, yet it’s written in the everyday language of man of Dante’s day.

Dislikes: Sorry to say, but it was the entire “Paradisio” section of the poem. Part of it was Beatrice. The rest, happened to be the overwhelming Catholic beliefs that permeated it. Such as the only surefire way into paradise was to be a perfect nun or other clergyman that didn’t fail in one spot of the vows. This is also based on the time it was written.

Likes: Virgil kept Dante’s spirits high. He was a terrific guide, and one who didn’t seem to belittle his follower.

Conclusion: At least read the “Inferno” and “Purgatorio.” You’ll enjoy the story.