Throwback Thursday #2

Thursday, October 29, 2020


 Yes, yes - we know. This was suppose to have been done weeks ago. We are so far behind, it appears as if we are ahead again! I really wanted to do this feature on a weekly basis. Even though it's suppose to only be once a month. So I guess I'm half-way covered? 

There are so many spins on the idea of Throwback Thursday, but I still like Davida's idea the most:

  • The Chocolate Lady's #Throwback Thursday takes place on the Thursday before the first Saturday of every month. Yes, there is a linky and it will remain open until she uploads the new one. Thank Goodness. My first and last sometimes gets very confused. 
  • Your post must highlight one of your previously published book reviews and Davida encourages other participants to do the same. 
  • Add the link to your post and remember to link back to The Chocolate Lady's Book Blog And do not forget to #ThrowbackThursday!

This is exactly what we need to get the blog sorted out. Admin is not my Mommy's strongest suit, so we need tips and tools to keep things on track. This week, we've decided to combine Throwback Thursday with Books from the Backlog, hosted by Carole's Random Life of BooksWith this feature, we also get a change to sort out our ever increasing TBR list. My Mommy first saw this over at Katherine @ I wish I lived in a Library and as you know, she is one of my Mommy's favorite blogger friends. This networking is really impressive. 

So let's have a quick look at what two books are we thus featuring today!

For Throwback Thursday we will feature:



This was my Mommy's second Book Review and it was first published on the 18th of April 2016. You can read her full review if you click on the image of the book cover above. It was a quick read with a very nice twist.  I went through it last night and decided to add some questions and answers to this feature:
  1. When was this review first published? - 18 April 2016.
  2. Did you have any idea what you were doing? - I never really know what I'm doing. But with this review, I was still quite the novice and it's obvious. 
  3. Will you re-write this review? - No. It's still how I feel about the book.
  4. Did you tweak this review? - Not at all. Left it just as it was first published.
  5. Will you re-read the book? No. Books with twists tend to be untangled once you've read them. It's like those Elsa Dolls you get with the braided hair. Once you've unbraided the hair, it's never quite the same again. 
  6. Will you recommend others to read this review? Yes! It wasn't a very popular book, so there aren't all that many reviews available.
For Books from the Backlog we will feature:

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

Like most gentiles in Nazi-occupied Paris, architect Lucien Bernard has little empathy for the Jews. So when a wealthy industrialist offers him a large sum of money to devise secret hiding places for Jews, Lucien struggles with the choice of risking his life for a cause he doesn’t really believe in. Ultimately he can’t resist the challenge and begins designing expertly concealed hiding spaces—behind a painting, within a column, or inside a drainpipe—detecting possibilities invisible to the average eye. But when one of his clever hiding spaces fails horribly and the immense suffering of Jews becomes incredibly personal, he can no longer deny reality.


Written by an expert whose knowledge imbues every page, this story becomes more gripping with every life the architect tries to save.


This is the first book of 484 listed on my Mommy's TBR list. Yes, I know in comparison to some of you, her list is really insubstantial. It's still a feat that will take her at least 8 years to complete with her current reading speed. So we do plan on using Books from the Backlog to really consider the importance of reading each book on that list. The Paris Architect will have to remain on first place for a month or two. But it has been moved to our monthly reads folder in order for my Mommy not to forget about it. Again. It's been on that shelf since 01 July 2014. Six years is a long time to wait. Even longer than WWII, the event that made the above novel possible. And that remark is not meant as one of those the pretty and famous people use when they make an acceptance speech. We all wish it never happened.  

Have you read any of the books we've featured today? What books are on your current backlog? If you want to send some of your reviews, or tips and ideas to me, please do so! I am very inquisitive and love to learn new things.



Lots of Love,

Elza  


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Top Ten Tuesday - The Would have, Could have, Should have and Did reads for Halloween 2020

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


 Greetings Humans. It's time for Top Ten Tuesday and I have no idea why that little white ball of fluff thinks this is so much fun. She and Mother always rant and rave about this highly popular feature, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you've been following our blog over the last two weeks, you will know that blogging is not my idea of an afternoon stroll and I do not have Elza's bubbly personality to set the tone. I don't do tones at all. She however, refuses to do this week's Top Ten Tuesday, because she is still scared of the books that might go bump in the night. 

Seeing that I've tolerated hosted The Fraterfest Read-a-thon on this blog, Elza feels it's my duty to pick my ten favorite scary reads for this annual readathon. Of course she still believes in the goodness of puppies and rainbows and that we've actually read 10 books. We only managed 3 books, 2 short stories, 1 audiobook and 1 graphic novel. The rest was nothing but a bit of hope in a dark and stormy night. 

I just call them the Would have, Could have, Should have and Did reads for Halloween 2020. 

The ones we did manage to complete:

1. The Secret of Skeleton Island (Alfred Hitchcock and the 3 Investigators) by Robert Arthur If you like The Hardy Boys, you will enjoy this one.

2. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson That house needs a cat. A black one.

3. Librivox Short Ghost and Horror Story Collection We've done the complete works of Master Edgar Allan Poe at a previous occasion, but we did a re-listen to The Tell Tale Heart and to W.W. Jacobs' The Monkey's Paw. Imagine a story with a cat's paw. If Elza tells it, it will be like Cinderella. My version might be more sinister. 

4. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen I believe 'delightful' is a proper adjective to this classic novel. It's listed as gothic 777 times. Maybe if the charming lady added a cat, it would have been listed 778 times. 

5. Nancy Drew and the Haunted Dollhouse by Stefan Petrucha What fun a graphic novel can be.

6. Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie Not so much about the scariest vegetable in existence, as about the ultimate forbidden fruit (pumpkins versus apples)


The would have, could have, should have ones are:

7. Angel Fire by Lisa Unger Probably could have finished this one as well. Hopefully before All Hallow's Eve is done. 

8. Bird Box by Josh Malerman The would have. If Mother and Elza weren't too scared to read it at night. 

9. Topper by Thorne Smith The should have. Ghosts from the roaring 20's. That can only be fun. You do of course know I'm talking 1920's and not 2020's. I have a strong suspicion that 2020 ghosts may not be fun to have around. 

10. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King The ultimate should have. No scary read-a-thon can be complete without the King. I hang my head in shame. 


Not that it bothers me in the least, but have you read any of our collection? Mother and Elza would want to know and I might score an extra helping of fancy feast for good behaviour and proper manners. 

I guess it will be polite of me to wish you a happy Halloween. No idea of 'happy' is the correct adjective. Please do chance it as you deem fit. 

Regards, 



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The Sunday Post #16

Sunday, October 25, 2020


Hello all you beautiful Humans! Did you miss me? As you can see, poor Stinkie is dead tired after his week of the Fraterfest read-a-thon. Or maybe it wasn't the read-a-thon, but just life in general that has him so tired. I do know my mommy suffers a bit from that at the moment. What a week the poor woman had! She and Stinkie were planning a nice, normal school week with a couple of hours every day to read their scary books. Alas. Life seriously got in the way this week. Luckily they still have me to always jump in at the last minute and safe the day. Almost like America in WWII. 

Okay, I didn't really safe anything. But I am doing today's Sunday Post - even though Stinkie should have done it. I also cuddled the whole day with my Mommy yesterday and helped her to finish her last two books for Fraterfest Read-a-thon. And that is how you safe the world. Just some small acts of random kindness. That's not my cleverness, it comes from the Big Man himself.


How did you do with the Fraterfest Read-a-thon? Team Mommy & Stinkie's final tally:

3 Books
2 Short Stories
1 Audio Book
1 Graphic Novel
1209 pages

 Yes, they could have done better, but at least they gave it a good go and if there is going to be Christmas read-a-thon somewhere, let me know! As long as it only starts in December.... 

Scratching the Blog Pole


Needless to say, nothing much happened on the blog this week. Only two posts saw the light of publishing and of course the daily updates for Fraterfest. 




Amazing enough, we did manage to at least do the daily Instagram post for Fraterfest. Nope, we did not do Twitter. Thanks for all the likes and lovely comments on our Instagram page! 


On the Couch 

Currently Reading 

The only book my Mommy didn't manage to finish this past week is Angel Fire by Lisa Unger and yes, she will still finish it as she quite enjoys it. We can also finally get back to our books we were reading before Fraterfest started and I like them all so much. 



Currently Watching


I love Emily in Paris!! I really feel like I should be there with her in Paris. Don't you think I will be just the perfect accessory? And where did they get that lovely boy? Lucas Bravo. I'm definitely not a little kitten any more, I will curl up on that boy's lap any time. 

Mommy finished Hallowe'en Party yesterday afternoon and they watched the movie adaptation last night. I like that strange little man with the fancy moustaches and the patent leather shoes. But I don't think he would like me curling up in his lap. It was a good story, not Agatha Christies' best and why oh why do they change so many things in the adaptations?

Okay, I'm a real little chatter box again today and Stinkie is giving me the evil eye. After all I've done... but it is late here with us already and Mommy still needs to do all the link ups.

You can find this post at: The Sunday Salon, hosted by Deb and also at The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimberley. Seeing that my Mommy won't be going in to school early on Monday, we will also link up with It's Monday! What are you reading? , hosted by Kathryn

Hope you will al have a wonderful week and enjoy Halloween! Sure we will have lots of fun post on all your Halloween celebrations next week.

Lots of Love,

Elza 

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Weekend Book Friends #12

Friday, October 23, 2020

It's Friday and the Fraterfest Read-a-thon only has 24 hours left.  My Mommy and Stinkie didn't do very well with this one. Or rather, as well as they've hoped to. Life is what happens while you have other plans. Like a read-a-thon. Maybe if they planned this a bit better and Stinkie didn't like roaming the neighborhood so much, they would have fared better. And if Mommy didn't have such a hectic week at work.

At least they had really good intentions and wanted to read a few classic horror books and authors. We will share the intended list on next week's Top Ten Tuesday. You can't have a scary book read-a-thon without the following authors on the VIP list: 

Shirley Jackson ✔
Stephen King ✖
Agatha Christie ❔

Mommy do hope to at least finish one Agatha Christie. What better choice to end the  Fraterfest Read-a-thon than with this classic Christie?


A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples... At a Hallowe'en party, Joyce—a hostile thirteen-year-old—boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the 'evil presence'. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer...


We haven't read it yet, so it will be a first time read. Our good friend, Katherine @ I wish I lived in a Library did already read and reviewed it. Hope to chat to her about this book after the weekend!

But it's Friday today and we first need to pay a few visits to our Friday Book Friends to share our Weekend Reads. 

Book Beginnings



For our first stop, we will pay a visit to Gilion over at Rose City Reader to share our Book Beginnings.  Every Friday you can link up and share the first sentence of your current read (or the one you plan to devour over the weekend), as well as your initial thoughts and impressions. Hashtags are the one thing I do know on social media, so simply #bookbeginnings so we can find each other. 

Hallowe'en Party opens with:

"Mrs. Ariadne Oliver had gone with the friend with whom she was staying, Judith Butler, to help with the preparations for a children's party which was to take place that same evening.
It was to be a Hallowe'en party for invited guests of an age group between ten and seventeen years old."

I love how formal the book opens and then just a couple of lines down, as soon as the characters start speaking, you are hooked immediately. I wish I could have known Agatha Christie. Imagine being curled up in her lap and have her tell you a story. 

The Friday 56


Next we will pay a visit to Freda over at Freda's voice who hosts the Friday 56. Don't show up empty handed though! 
  • Grab a book (Yes, any book. But it might get you to your other Friday activities a bit quicker if you just grab the book you are currently reading)
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% on your e-reader
  • Find a sentence or two (your other Friday activities might determine this)
  • Post it!
  • Remember to post your link on Freda's Voice and to visit the other guys in the linky.
  • And  last but not least, don't forget to list the title of the book and the author as well.

Lets' see what happens on page 56 of Halloween Party: 

"Anyone peeping through a window could see a children's party was going on, and this poor wretch - if one can really feel pity for these people, which I really must say I find it very hard to do myself sometimes - enticed this child away somehow and killed her. You can't think such a thing could happen, but it did happen."

I can't help but wonder what Mrs. Drake would say about the things that happen in the world now a days.

Friday Face-off




Our last stop for today, is Friday Face-off, a weekly feature where we share different book covers of the same title. This fun-filled meme was originally started by Books by Proxy, but the beautiful Lynn over at Lynn's Books is our current host and she will determine the themes for every week's covers. You can choose your own book. Today's theme is:

Ripped/Torn - interpret as you wish

We'll go for the literal meaning here. Just like Katherine @ I wish I lived in a Library, my Mommy can also talk about Agatha Christie forever and a day. Her beloved Aunt, whom I've never had a the good fortune to meet, but who was my other big brother, KitKat's Mommy, introduced my Mommy to Agatha Christie. (That sentence will shock the grammar police among you right into next week. I know. Sorry). Auntie Rina left all her Agatha Christie books to my Mommy. Most of them are 50 + years old and some are ripped and torn from age, travelling, borrowing and just from begin re-read over and over again. Like this one: 


I can finally use one book for all my Friday Features! How awesome is that. Let's have a look at a few other covers for Hallowe'en Party and see what our favorite one will be. 


Tough choice here. I like all the ones with apples. The pumpkins just hop on the title and create the "Hallowe'en" vibe. I do like the Hungarian one (first one, middle row), because it has the Halloween theme and the apples. However, I believe Dame Christie would not have liked that one, it looks too much luck a cozy mystery and that's not quite where we will place the Christies. So for today, the Romanian cover will have to be my favorite:


Simple, no hassles, but as we know - a picture says a thousand words. Love the bow and the apple in the water. A whole summary in one picture.

But let's get our weekend reading on the way! We would really like to have this one done before the clock strikes midnight tomorrow!

What are you reading this weekend? 


Lots of love, 


Elza   

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Wednesday Wisdom from The Haunting of Hill House

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

It's that time of the year. Everyone is obsessed with ghosts, vampires, zombies, pumpkins and of course - haunted houses. Are there a more well-known haunted house than Hill House? Even if you've never read the gothic classic by Shirley Jackson, I bet you've heard of it. Even more so with the hit series streaming on Netflix. I haven't watched it yet, will get to it soon. 

We are slam-dunk in the middle of the Fraterfest Read-a-thon and what better time to read this novella. It was my first time reading it and I started reading in bright daylight, because I was scared the book might just go bump in the night. I ended up not being scared, but rather psychologically spooked. I strongly suspect that has been the main aim of the book for the last 60 years. 

It's not about what happened, rather about what you thought and perceived. Aaaah perceptions and interpretations. Are you ever really wrong? 

But maybe it really was just a haunted house. Some houses are just not fit for human habitation. 


"It was a house without kindness, never meant to be lived in, not a fit place for people or for love or for hope. Exorcism cannot alter the countenance of a house. Hill House would stay as it is until it was destroyed. "

Then again, can a house really possess such power? After all, it's only a house. It cannot possibly come alive without a living organism taking residence. 

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”


Maybe it's not about the house at all. Maybe it's more about what comes with the living organisms.

“To learn what we fear is to learn who we are. Horror defies our boundaries and illuminates our souls.”

“Fear," the doctor said, "is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. We yield to it or we fight it, but we cannot meet it halfway.”

“I think we are only afraid of ourselves," the doctor said slowly.
"No," Luke said. "Of seeing ourselves clearly and without disguise.”

Or is the whole book just a decent into madness? 


Whatever my perception and interpretation, I'm still glad I finally read it and got some words of wisdom from it. Understanding, not so much. 

I'm very thankful that my house is friendly, colorful and fit for human, feline and canine habitation. 

Have you read this classic? Want to share your perception or interpretation with me?

Mareli 



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The Sunday Post #15

Sunday, October 18, 2020


Greetings Humans. Trust you all had a prosperous week and are enjoying a comfortable weekend. As I'm sure you've noticed just from the tone of voice, it's not the little, annoying kitten talking to you today. Stinkie here. Your reluctant host for Fraterfest Read-a-thon 2020. Elza has been in hiding for the past 3 days as she is scared of horror and scary stories.  It's impossible to deny her anything, therefore I need to play host for todays post and all the Fraterfest updates.

This might only be in your favor as I don't have time for all that chitter-chat. Our week was good. How was yours? 

Are you taking part in The Fraterfest Read-a-thon? Not much interested in your progress, but Elza and our mother will be aghast if I don't at least ask. How's it going? 

Scratching the Blog Pole


You will notice that Elza has been in charge of all the posts. If you haven't read all her chitchat yet and have time for that sort of thing, simply click on the image that finds your favor. Direct links are added.


A ridiculous Top Ten Tuesday Post. But they loved it.  


Our sign-up post and updates. 


Featuring our First Fraterfest read and a certain well-known spider. 


At least the current read-a-thon is helping this on a bit.

On the couch

Yes, that is exactly where I would like to be. As soon as I can get Mother there as well, Elza might return from hiding and I can go roaming the neighborhood. That is my actual job, you know. Not this bantering. 

Currently Reading 

We've already finished two books for the read-a-thon (Yes, Master Greg. The vintage covers where chosen just for you) 


A few Librivox recordings are on the cards for this afternoon -


If it's still light outside, we might start with -


As soon as the sun sets, Elza starts jumping at every little thing that goes bump in the night. Most of the time, she's the little thing that goes bump and her own shadow scares her. You might have guessed that she's also responsible for the post header. Apparently the skull all by itself, is way to scary.  Therefore, we need some help.

Any suggestions for scary stories that are a bit more on the lighter side? Humorous ghosts or cozy mysteries featuring Halloween characters? You know - ghosts, zombies, vampires, dogs. Those type of things. 

Oh and Stephen King. Any suggestions for a great novella or a book shorter than 300 pages by the King of scary doorstops?

I believe I've wasted enough of my roaming time and your precious time now. I'm sure Mother and Elza will be pleased with my cordial manners. 

I understand there are link-ups that need to be added. Do as you must.                                  


Regards,


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Nine and three quarters through a reading challenge

Saturday, October 17, 2020


If I'm not mistaken, we should be about nine and three quarters through the year by now. Halloween is staring us in the face with those creepy eyes and Christmas is just around the corner.

According to my Mommy's Goodreads 2020 Challenge, she is at 102% with her reading challenge. How is that even possible? I'm very proud of her, although she's a bit of a cheat. She constantly gets off-track from her planned Alphabet challenge. The one with the 27 letters in. She has to complete 27 books starting with each letter of the 27 letter alphabet, as well as 27 books whose authors start with each letter of the 27 letter alphabet - before 31 December 2020. Unfortunately, she is is bit like the dog in Up, very easily distracted. Mostly by other books.

I just had her back on track, but she's currently distracted by the Fraterfest reading-a-thon and it's not as if she picks books that can qualify for the reading challenge. This is a useless battle. 

I gave you an update on her progress when we were slam dunk in the middle of the year The Battle of Midway (halfway through a Reading Challenge). Let's see how far she is now:

    -
-
    -
    -
    - 
    -
    -
-
    -
    -
-


I guess it could have been worse. 12 Books to go. She is currently busy with authors O, U, Y and titles Y. Then it's 8. We just need to reach none. She might just re-read the classic Christie if she pulls this challenge of.

Are you doing any specific reading challenge this year?

Hope you are also at least nine and three quarters through it!

Lots of Love,

Elza 



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Weekend Book Friends #11

Friday, October 16, 2020


It's Friday and the Fraterfest Read-a-thon is about 12 hours in. Are you taking part in this fun event hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer? Neither am I, but my Mommy and my big brother Stinkie is. I'm way to scared of ghosts and other creepy things. Stinkie isn't scared of anything. If you want to join in the fun, just follow the link above, or have a look at our signup post - Elza Reads are joining the FraterFest Read-a-thon

My Mommy thought it clever to just use the first book she plans on reading for the read-a-thon, as the featured book for this week's Weekend Book Friends. 


Jupe, Pete, and Bob's next case sends them to Skeleton Island, an eerie spot inhabited only by pirates' bones and a young girl's ghost. A movie company has chosen the island as the perfect place to make a scary film, but mysterious events are disrupting the crew. They call in the Three Investigators. But just as the boys arrive on the island, so does the ghost!

My Mommy took this book from the school's library and apparently, anything with the name Hitchcock, will be perfect for a read-a-thon of scary books. 

Let's go and say hi to a few of our regular Weekend Book Friends. Remember to pay them a visit as well! 

Book Beginnings



For our first stop, we will pay a visit to Gilion over at Rose City Reader to share our Book Beginnings.  Every Friday you can link up and share the first sentence of your current read (or the one you plan to devour over the weekend), as well as your initial thoughts and impressions. Hashtags are the one thing I do know on social media, so simply #bookbeginnings so we can find each other. 

The Secret of Skeleton Island opens with:

"WARNING! Proceed with Caution!
The above warning is meant for you if you are of a nervous nature, inclined to bite your fingernails when meeting adventure, danger and suspense. However, if you relish such ingredients in a story, with a dash of mystery and detection thrown in for good measure, then keep right on going."

Thanks for the warning, I will go and climb under the covers now. 

The Friday 56


Next we will pay a visit to Freda over at Freda's voice who hosts the Friday 56. Don't show up empty handed though! 
  • Grab a book (Yes, any book. But it might get you to your other Friday activities a bit quicker if you just grab the book you are currently reading)
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% on your e-reader
  • Find a sentence or two (your other Friday activities might determine this)
  • Post it!
  • Remember to post your link on Freda's Voice and to visit the other guys in the linky.
  • And  last but not least, don't forget to list the title of the book and the author as well.

Lets' see what happens on page 56 of The Secret of Skeleton Island: 

"It was the first time Bob had run into any trouble underwater. A pang of alarm shot through him and he kicked his leg to free it. The grip on his ankle tightened. He was sure he could feel himself being pulled backwards."

Anyone else want to come and take cover with me?

Friday Face-off




Our last stop for today, is Friday Face-off, a weekly feature where we share different book covers of the same title. This fun-filled meme was originally started by Books by Proxy, but the beautiful Lynn over at Lynn's Books is our current host and she will determine the themes for every week's covers. You can choose your own book. Today's theme is:

Spider Web 
"Farewell Aragog, king of arachnids whose beyond faithful friendship those who knew you would never forget."

Spiders are scary little buggers, so I guess a Spider Web fits perfect with the October/Halloween theme that is currently the going trend. As you know, my Mommy is the school's Librarian and books and spiders have been the best of friends for centuries. There are always a couple of Daddy-Long-Legs in the Library and as soon as you name them, the kids don't find them scary anymore. The most popular name my Mommy bestows on these eight legged friends, is of course: 

Charlotte 


Such beautiful covers for one of the best children's books ever written. The original cover (first cover in the middle row and second in the last row), is well known to any book lover. As you can see, I came across a few interesting ones. Both Kindle editions are catchy (first one in the bottom row and and second one in the middle row). I especially like the suggestion of spider legs on the pink flower. But then again, it doesn't catch the ambiance of this classic at all. 

So which one is my favorite? I am well aware that my choice will shock you and I can already here a couple of gasps. Never ever ever chose the movie cover..... but yes - my favorite cover is the Harper Entertainment one. 


This movie is such a beautiful adaptation and I know when I read the book again for my Classics Club Reading Challenge, I will picture all the characters just like they are in the movie. Hence the reason for my choice. 

What is your favorite cover for Charlotte's Web? What books are you planning on reading over the weekend or even better - what are you reading for the Fraterfest Read-a-thon?


Whatever you read and do, be safe and be kind to spiders. Have a wonderful weekend!

Lots of love, 


Elza   


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