Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

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This week’s photo challenge theme is ‘inside’. I decided the inside subject would be myself. I attended my first Seattle Mariner‘s baseball game this summer. (I think they won because I was there.) I took a photo sitting inside the giant mitt outside the stadium. Another photo shows me inside a llama. Why? I went to a ‘knit and pitch’ event at the game. There was yarn and other supplies to buy. I bought nothing knitting related, instead just tons of baseball food that got me a little sick. I also included photos inside the stadium.


Check out more inside photos here:

Book Review: Jack Calhoun and the Perfect Baseball

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Jack Calhoun and the Perfect Baseball: A Boy’s Baseball Adventure during the Civil War 

Written by P.A. Kernan
Published August 8, 2012
Genre/Topics: Historical, Adventure, Sports
Ages: 8+, 100 pages 

Jack Calhoun is a typical 10-year-old boy who lives in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, during the early 1860s. Baseball is Jack’s passion. Jack and his friends simply played casual ‘townball’ until a Confederate solider explained the official rules of baseball. Jack’s days are not always filled with fun baseball games. The Civil War has begun and Jack faces bullies on a daily basis from ‘Scrat the Rat’ and his gang. Jack’s father is a Quaker who doesn’t believe that war is the right choice, so he goes away into the mountains. Before Pa leaves he gives Jack a homemade hog skin baseball that Jack treasures and always keeps with him.  Now Jack must be strong with his Ma and younger siblings on the farm. While Pa is away Jack deals with the Home Guard who visit each house to demand all capable men fight against the Yankees and confrontations with his bullies. Jack even plans a humorous revenge on the bullies. Finally, Pa returns when the Exemption Act is passed which allows individuals with religious beliefs against fighting to avoid being in service. Jack’s life is somewhat back to normal with his Pa back and fewer bully situations. Baseball is always in Jack’s heart through all his hardships.

I thought Jack Calhoun and the Perfect Baseball was wholesome, humorous at times, and educational without being boring. Children won’t realize that they’re actually learning about the daily life during the Civil War, instead they’ll gain pleasure as they read about baseball and typical bully pranks. This book can be used to spark children’s interest while teaching about the Civil War.

Visit the author’s Goodreads blog and on Smashwords.

Book Review: Gold

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Written by  Chris Cleave
Published by Simon & Schuster on January 1, 2012
Genre/Topics: Adult Fiction, Sports, Relationships 
324 pages 

The 2012 London Olympics are over, but Gold may uplift your sport spirit. Gold is the story of two star cyclists, Kate and Zoe, who are both most likely to participate and win at the London Olympics. Kate and Zoe have known each other since they were nineteen and are also good friends, yet the competition sometimes gets in the way of their friendship. They even have the same coach, Tom, who has difficulties deciding who he wishes to win gold. However, events occurred and Kate wasn’t present at either the Athens or Beijing Olympics as she watched her friend compete on television. Kate is married to another star cyclist, Jack. Zoe is featured on billboards and is well-known, yet she doesn’t always show ‘gold’ behavior in real life. She’s often reckless and sometimes doesn’t think about the consequences. Meanwhile, Kate and Jack have a child, Sophie, who has leukemia. Sophie is the reason for Kate’s absent at the Olympics. At age thirty-two and probably her last Olympics chance, Kate strongly desires to  compete and win gold. Kate continues training even while her daughter fights through her illness. Gold highlights perspectives from Kate, Zoe, Jack, Tom, and even Sophie. The book also moves from the past to present to understand Kate and Zoe’s relationship. Sophie never wants to tell her ‘golden’ parents when she feels sick, because she doesn’t want to hurt their Olympics chances. Gold was an enjoyable read to gain some insight into sport hardships and difficult decisions individuals must make.

I have mixed feelings about Gold. I really enjoyed Chris Cleave’s book, Little Beehowever I don’t think Gold compares at all to that book. At times I thought the book was a little predictable and lacked emotion. I thought the conclusion was slightly rushed. On the positive side, it felt as though I got a peek at what it takes to be the best and win gold. Did I enjoy Gold? Yes, but I wouldn’t reread the book and I would recommend other books before this one.