#932 The Camp Out Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Camp Out Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Camp Out Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Grandfather is taking the kids camping. He has a friend who is nearby. There are two women who are sisters, one is nice and one is not. The Aldens start hearing music at night when they’re trying to camp and it’s getting kind of weird. Where is the music coming from?

One day Grandfather goes out and doesn’t come back. Has something awful happened to Grandfather? The Aldens hope to figure out the weird music and the strange happenings.

What I liked

I have never been camping-camping. I’ve been sort of camping. I might go camping-camping someday, especially since Grizzly Pirate Wynn likes to go camping. It might be fun, especially if there’s music like in this book.

What I didn’t like

This one was a little scary. I think I’d be severely concerned if the only adult with me disappeared, at night, and I was alone in the woods. I’d be out searching for them right away. I know the Aldens are fairly self-sufficient, but I would be a little scared.


Put a GPS tracker on your Grandfather if you go camping.

Weigh in

What would you do if a member of your camping party disappeared for hours?

What is your go-to camping essential that might be a little weird?

#932 The Camp Out Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner was originally published on One-elevenbooks


#731 The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

The Best of Me by Nicholas SparksThe Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

Amanda and Dawson were high school sweethearts, but because of their family backgrounds, they grew apart. Amanda’s parents didn’t like her hanging out with someone who was essentially white trash in their view. Dawson’s family was poor enough and he didn’t have a lot of advantages. Something unfortunate happened and he ended up going to prison for a while.

Amanda moved on. She went to college. She got married. She ended up with several children, one of which died very young. Her husband is an alcoholic. She doesn’t quite know how to deal with the situation anymore.

A common thread between Dawson and Amanda, even these days, is a man named Tuck. He has been something of a mentor to both Dawson and Amanda. When they had no one else to talk to, they talked to Tuck. He knew their troubles in life and he saw through both of them, down to the root of a problem. Tuck himself lost his wife many years ago, and sometimes he still talks to her. He kept a garden up for her, all these years later.

When Tuck dies, both Amanda and Dawson find themselves in each other’s presence again. They share a short time together that will leave Amanda with a piece of Dawson in a way she never expected.

What I liked

I feel like Nicholas Sparks is having a competition with Pixar to see who could write the thing that will make people cry the most. This book certainly has some “feels” as some people might say. I wonder if Nicholas Sparks secretly writes all those sad Pixar movie moments.

I liked that, again, this book is kind of local. By local, in this sense, it’s about five hours away. Oriental is a real place, not too far away from New Bern, on the coast of North Carolina. Back in March, I spent some time in New Bern when my boyfriend’s father died. The family is from New Bern and the Outer Banks area. They have a lot of history there. I liked that I could experience some of this book, almost in real life, because I’ve been to New Bern. It’s home to the Tryon Palace if you’re looking for touristy things to do there.

What I didn’t like

This was sad.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been through a divorce and I’ve seen what a relationship with someone compatible and someone non-compatible looks like, but I just plain don’t like the idea of staying with someone just because you’re married to them and refraining from being with someone else who is much more compatible. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you should run off from a marriage every time you think someone better has come along, but if your spouse is not better, or not even good, or not even adequate, and you know from experience that the other person is better, you used to date them in high school, for example, then I don’t see why you would stay with the person who is not very good.

If I were in Amanda’s place, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t stay with an alcoholic husband who seems like a waste of space. A person only changes when they want to change and that may be never. There’s no point in suffering on their account.


I bet Nicholas Sparks and Pixar secretly get together to watch/read each other’s stuff and then cry about it.

Weigh In

What do you think about books and/or movies that are written to be purposely sad?

What do you think? Could you stay with the alcoholic husband?

#731 The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks was originally published on One-elevenbooks

#730 The Canoe Trip Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Canoe Trip Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Canoe Trip Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Alden children are going on a camping and canoeing trip with their Aunt Jane. Apparently, she still gets around just fine. Aunt Jane makes sure the children have supplies and they start off on their trip. They are told that there might be wild wolves in the area, but Grandfather assures them there aren’t wild wolves in this area anymore.

Along the way, they hear about a stolen coin collection and they start finding clues. Someone broke into a museum and stole some coins that are worth quite a bit. The Aldens want to figure it out. They meet a scientist and several other people along the way, not all of them are nice.

What I liked

I know more about coin collecting than I would like to know because of my ex. People can get really riled up about collecting coins. Yes, some coins are worth a whole lot of money, particularly the ones that ended up messed up and still ended up out in circulation. So would this much fuss be made about a stolen coin collection? Yes, probably.

What I didn’t like

This is another one of those Boxcar books where you’re just like, “Eh..” It’s not that exciting. It’s not that memorable. I actually had to read a summary of this one online to jog my memory about what I had read.

Do the Aldens ever go anywhere and not solve a mystery? Really? Don’t they get tired of it? Can’t they just go out for ice cream and come back with just ice cream, not a mystery?


I wonder if they solved the mystery of who left their toilet paper in the woods during this one as well.

Weigh In

If you encountered a mystery you had to solve everywhere you went, would you go anywhere?

Do you collect coins?

#730 The Canoe Trip Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner was originally published on One-elevenbooks

#929 The Private History of a Campaign that Failed by Mark Twain

The Private History of a Campaign that Failed by Mark TwainThe Private History of a Campaign that Failed by Mark Twain

Mark Twain was in the military for a short time, about two weeks or so and it did not go well. At the very least, according to him it didn’t go well. This story is his side of what happened during his two weeks in the military. As you can imagine, there were some interesting happenings.

What I liked

Mark Twain was a funny guy. He even made himself up a silly pseudonym to go with his writing.

Mark made his was experience seem funny, no doubt he exaggerated quite a bit. War isn’t funny, but Mark was able to make it a bit funny. There’s some not-so-great moments, of course, but overall, this was pretty entertaining.

What I didn’t like

I can’t really say that I didn’t like it.


I wonder if he wore that suit to war.

Weigh In

If you went through a terrible time, would you find a humorous way to tell it to others?

Were you ever a part of something that was supposed to be great, but ended up pretty sad?

#929 The Private History of a Campaign that Failed by Mark Twain was originally published on One-elevenbooks

#928 A Life that Matters by Mary and Robert Schindler

A Life that Matters by Mary and Robert SchindlerA Life that Matters by Mary and Robert Schindler

For fifteen years Terri Schiavo lived between hospitals, nursing homes, and being taken care of her family. Her husband, Michael, had complete legal right to make all medical decisions for Terri, but those decisions weren’t always the best.

The whole thing started when Michael called his in-laws one night saying that Terri had collapsed. No one knew what happened or why. The family soon learned that Terri was never going to be the same again. The doctors didn’t think she would ever recover, but there was some hope. Terri could do small things and was getting rehabilitation at some point, but there was no money. Michael went to court to try to get money for Terri’s rehabilitation saying that all the money would go towards Terri’s care, but that didn’t happen. The money seemed to disappear. Michael got a girlfriend.

Terri was moved from facility to facility. Sometimes her parents and family would be barred from seeing her. There were multiple times that her feeding tube was taken out. Ultimately, there were several trials where the family argued against Michael about whether or not Terri should continue receiving food and water. Meanwhile, Terry could respond to some things. The family sought the help of the Florida governor, Jeb Bush, and got the support of many celebrities, but ultimately, Terri’s feeding tube was removed and she did die. The family has worked since then to help people in similar situations.

What I liked

The name Terri Schiavo is a name I’ve heard before, but I didn’t know the full extent of what happened, so I found this whole book very interesting and enriching, even if it is quite sad.

There is definitely a huge ethical argument in Terri’s story that people do need to think about.

What I didn’t like

There are two sides to this story and this is only one side. As is, I lean towards Terri’s parents’ side. If there was any response from Terri, that she could respond and interact, then she shouldn’t have been taken off of her feeding tube, especially, if her parents wanted her alive.

I used to work in a nursing home. I took care of several people on feeding tubes. None of them were entirely unresponsive. I even took care of several people who never spoke, but were definitely still in there somewhere. They had to be fed and cared for in all ways, but they still had responses to things–facial expressions and so forth. Would I have ever said that any of them deserved to be starved to death just because they didn’t respond like everyone else? No. They were people, someone’s mother, grandmother, whatever.

On the other hand, if I had had a patient that didn’t move, ever, and did nothing, and just existed on a feeding tube and catheter, I would feel very sorry for that person. There’s obviously nothing there.

On the one hand, I would never want to be in a state anywhere near Terri’s state. I wouldn’t want to live. I kind of think that if you have some incurable condition and you don’t want to live, it’s your choice. That’s why people have DNRs. For example, let’s say you have a living will stating that if your brain is without oxygen for five minutes, or whatever, that you don’t want to be resuscitated because of all the brain damage you would have, that’s a legitimate thing. Some brain damage is ok, but who wants to live in a state where their brain has been so severely damaged that they’re not remotely who they were before? Or they can’t walk? Or talk? Or eat? Or whatever?

On the other hand, if what Terri’s parents’ say about her being responsive to some things is true, then her parents should have been able to have kept Terri around. Terri should have lived. If Michael didn’t want to be the guardian over Terri, then her parents should have been able to do it.

Part of this whole thing really sounds like Michael just wanted to be rid of his wife. He didn’t want the responsibility for her–that’s really what it sounds like. Fine, let her parents do it. Don’t be a jerk about it. He even had Terri buried without her parents even knowing, which is a terrible jerk move.

On the other, other hand–if Terri had really expressed a desire to die if something like this ever happened to her, then that should have been written down somewhere. If you feel so strongly about something like this–write it down. Get it notarized, or whatever. That way, if it does happen, your choice is already made and people know it.

This whole thing is very sad.


This whole thing would have been solved with a living will.

Weigh In

What would you do if you were in Terri’s place?

Who do you think was in the right? If anybody? Maybe they were all wrong.

#928 A Life that Matters by Mary and Robert Schindler was originally published on One-elevenbooks