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text 2017-12-05 21:27
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Sixth Square - Sinterklaas / Krampusnacht / St. Nicholas's Day & Bodhi Day

Sinterklaas / Krampusnacht (December 5th) / St. Nicholas Day (December 6th)

Saint Nicholas, also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor (modern-day Demre, Turkey).  Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker.  His legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus, through the Dutch Sinterklaas.  Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of everybody from sailors and merchants to archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers and students in various cities and countries around Europe.  The best-known legend associated with him is his secret nightly gift of money to a pauper whose daughters would have had to remain unmarried if their father had not been able to pay their dowry.  According to one version of the legend, in order to remain undetected, St. Nicholas dropped the final bag of gold down the chimney.  According to another one, the daughter who was the intended recipient had washed her stockings that evening and hung them over the embers to dry, and that the bag of gold fell into a stocking. – Gifts that children find in their shoes (or stockings) on Sinterklaas / St. Nicholas Day include tangerines, walnuts, chocolates and cookies.


In German and parts of Central European folklore, St. Nicholas has a companion variously known as Knecht Ruprecht or Krampus.  While Knecht Ruprecht is a human, Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure, half-goat, half-demon, possibly of pre-Christian origin.  During the Christmas season, this companion punishes children who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts.  Children can avoid punishment by, inter alia reciting a short piece of memorized poetry to St. Nicholas as a sign of good behavior.


The Reading Tasks:

Read a story involving children or a young adult book, or a book with oranges on the cover, or whose cover is primarily orange (for the Dutch House of Orange) –OR– with tangerines, walnuts, chocolates, or cookies on the cover.




Other Tasks:

Write a witty or humorous poem to St. Nicholas –OR– If you have kids, leave coins or treats, like tangerines, walnuts, chocolate(s) and cookies [more common in Germany] in their shoes to find the next morning and then post about their reactions/bewilderment. ;) If you don’t have kids, do the same for another family member / loved one or a friend.



Bodhi Day (December 8th)

Bodhi Day is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, experienced enlightenment, also known as bodhi in Sanskrit and Pali.  According to tradition, Siddhartha – an ascetic born as a prince in the Northern part of the Indian Subcontinent, in an area today partly in Nepal and partly in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh (India) – had recently forsaken years of extreme ascetic practices and resolved to sit under a peepal tree and simply meditate until he found the root of suffering, and how to liberate oneself from it.  As the morning star rose in the sky in the early morning of the third watch of the night, Siddhartha finally found the answers he sought, became enlightened, and experienced Nirvana (in Buddhist belief, the ultimate state of release from the cycle of birth-and-pain-and-death).  As a result, he became a Buddha or Awakened One.


The Reading Tasks:

Read a book set in Nepal, India or Tibet, –OR– which involves animal rescue. (Buddhism calls for a vegetarian lifestyle.)




Other Tasks:

Perform a random act of kindness. Feed the birds, adopt a pet, hold the door open for someone with a smile, or stop to pet a dog (that you know to be friendly); cull your books and donate them to a charity, etc. (And, in a complete break with the Buddha’s teachings, tell us about it.) –OR– Post a picture of your pet, your garden, or your favourite, most peaceful place in the world.


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review 2017-12-01 01:14
A Spellbinding Gay Fiction Read
Under the Maginot - Nicholas J Knowlton Under the Maginot - Nicholas J Knowlton

Frankie plans on a special summer after he graduates high school, and is on track to enter college in the fall of 1939, but though he dreamed of adventure, he didn't anticipate adversity.


When his family falls apart, he finds himself on an ocean liner bound for Europe, involved in with man who may hold the key to a war looming on the horizon which will change not only Frankie's world, but everything.


Under the Maginot is a powerful saga that's hard to put down - and is just as hard to easily categorize. It could be called a 'gay novel' because the main characters develop a relationship that both changes and defines their lives, but it doesn't follow the usual sexually-charged descriptions of so many stories of gay relationships.


It opens with a torture scene made especially vivid through a first-person narration that pinpoints exactly how the protagonist came to be in this situation.


As Frankie's world changes, readers follow him through the madness that follows, from a life that begins innocuously to one involving an identity revelation, romance, a powerful landing in Europe at exactly the wrong moment in its pivotal history, and a German motorcycle odyssey through Maginot lines, war, a new boyfriend's secret political and military involvements, and ultimately, a test of faith, love, and self.


As he comes to understand Ray's real goal and efforts, Frankie faces moments that promise to change his world as his journey provides readers with a gripping saga of horrible suffering, life's promises and potentials, and the realities of gay relationships in the 1940s.


The result probes relationships, gay survival practices, and war's effects on everything as it overlays Frankie's life and ultimately determines his future.


Under the Maginot is a spellbinding read, highly recommended for followers of gay fiction who want more depth and detail than the sexual encounters and ribald, racy descriptions offered in typical genre reads.

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review 2017-11-30 12:43
Holy Fool Holy Father - Nicholas A. Marziani Jr.

Holy Fool, Holy Father by Nicholas A. Marziani Starts out with glossary of words and what they mean. This book will entertain you throughout the course of reading it as it has a bit of everything that will keep you interested and turning the pages. Story starts out with the life of Misha as a boy in Russia and how he's trained from others to believe in God and he likes adventure. He hopes to improve by going to school. Love correlation of dance and religion. Love skills the parents teach him so he can survive in the future. Love hearing of the customs, traditions and locations traveled to, so enlightening. Learned so much from the perspective of the priests side of things. Dancing just brings everything together as it holds a special place for both. Loved learning about the love locks, have seen them in locations we've visited but never knew the whole story. It's the little things like Murano glass that makes an appearance here. I search for the other treasures hidden throughout this book. Book goes forward and love the premonitions of things to occur and I can see the world as described in my own eyes and think electric/digital age could expire. Love hearing of the electrical/electronic discussions and all the math and numbers and combined with everything else, it matters. I was given the book by the author via Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and this is my honest review

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review 2017-11-20 00:00
Not His Vampire
Not His Vampire - Annie Nicholas Not His Vampire - Annie Nicholas Book Reviewed: Not His Vampire (Not This #3)
Author: Annie Nicholas
Publication Date: 11/20/2017
Reviewed by: Tammy Payne- Book Nook Nuts
My Rating: 5 Stars

I enjoyed the previous 2 books in this series but this one well it is now my new favorite.
We finally get up close and personal with the Vampire in Eion's Dungeon. You remember him right?
Victor and Eion are good friends so him being down there is for his own good.

One moment he is sitting all alone in the cage he has called home for a bit and the next he is falling head over fang for a pink haired bouncy beauty. Trixie.

Trixie is the towns dog catcher and she has to make a stop at the castle owned by the dragons.

Trixie is hilarious, full of life until she isn't.
Grab your copy and get reading...

[a:Annie Nicholas|3132972|Annie Nicholas|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1350243606p2/3132972.jpg]
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review 2017-11-10 21:40
Lady Macbeth - Nicholas Freeling

The storyline is not a bad idea(a woman goes missing after a quarrel with her husband and her neighbours ask Henry Castang to look into her disappearance )but the fact that every chapter is told by a different character makes it difficult to keep one focused. The whole story tended to wander. And I can't say that Henry Castang, the police inspector, actually charmed me or kept my interest. 

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