Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sepia Saturday 245: 13 September 2014

Alan at Sepia Saturday says:

Three men. One bottle of whiskey. A friendly argument. A woman watching from the sidelines. The photograph was taken in Alberta back in 1916. 100 years later, the discussions still go on and all too often - at our house at least - a decent bottle of single malt will help the participants underline a point or emphasise an argument. The difference is, I am pleased to say, that women no longer hide in the background. There are a bottle full of potential themes for Sepia Saturday participants - drinking, sharing, posing and lurking have been suggested.

Just a short one this week as I haven't really been able to find anything to match the theme.  This is the best I can do I'm afraid.

Three Men on a boat in boiler suits.  A bell is to their left.

There's three men and yes they are posing for the shot.  There's a lot of drink lurking behind them.   

The sepia photo above is from the McLoughlin collection.  I think it is part of the set of photos that I posted about before which seem to be set in Papua New Guinea.  The boat railings look the same don't they?  This is the Macdhui.

I have confirmation of this from Trove here.  Although I notice that the hull is painted all white in 1937 so I don't know if this is an earlier photo.  I suspect it is as my mother was born in 1935 and I would be surprised if my grandfather was away then.  Burns Philp owned the Macdhui.  I think I've mentioned before that my grandfather used to work for De Havilland.  The same collection that has photos of the Macdhu (the Chinnery Collection) also has photos of De Havilland planes in New Guinea so maybe my grandfather went up to New Guinea to work on some planes.  I don't know.

Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Tuesday 10 March 1931
I found what looks to be a really interesting book online called Malaguna Road The Papua and New Guinea Diaries of Sarah Chinnery edited and introduced by Kate Fortune which you can access here.  I'm reading the book as much as I can - there's a great index which does mention De Havilland and the Macdhui. The Diaries cover the time period c 1921-1937.  Interestingly the last chapter talks about the Eruptions of 1937 on Vulcan Island and Tavurvur. It makes for fascinating reading.  

If you want to get a sense of what it was like, check out this video from a couple of weeks ago at the same place!

I think the thing that surprised me most with this video was the noise.  I know it seems silly.  I knew that volcanoes have lava and ash but I didn't realise how noisy they are!!

I'm not really sure how I could research my grandfather's possible trip to PNG anymore.  I'm open to suggestions !

For more Sepia Saturday fun go here.

Book of Me Written By You Prompt 55

Julie Goucher of Angler's Rest created this fantastic meme The Book of Me Written By You and you can find out all about it here.

This is Prompt 55 of the meme.

What is your feel good movie?
Can you remember the first time you went to the cinema?
What did you see?
Can you remember the price?
Who did you go with?
Recall those magical movie moments?
What is your favourite movie or favourite genre?

What is your feel good movie?

Oh boy.  That's a tough one.  I looked at the lists on IMDB and honestly....can you believe that someone put Trainspotting in the list????  I mean it's a great movie but "feel-good" ???

This is difficult because I tend to like melancholic movies best.  Weird, I know.  But for me the best feel good movies (because I can't restrict myself to one) are (in alphabetical order):

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Before Sunrise
Cinema Paradiso
The Full Monty
Muriel's Wedding
Notting Hill
Toy Story

Can you remember the first time you went to the cinema?  What did you see? Can you remember the price? Who did you go with?

No, I can't remember the first time I went to the cinema but my mother told me that my first film was A Hard Day's Night in Edinburgh.  I would have been about 3 years old.  No idea how much it cost.  I probably went with my mother.

Recall those magical movie moments?

I think this is such a great meme because going to the movies has been such an important part of my life.  Julie, it's like you have tuned into the cosmic consciousness as I was only thinking the other day that this would be a good prompt.  The reason I thought that was because I recently ordered my father's first book through the post.    Called A Guide To Canberra Buildings, it was published in 1970.  As someone who grew up in Canberra, I found it fascinating to look through the (black and white) photos and see how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

As I flicked through it, I came across a mention of the Center Cinema. Unfortunately there was no photo accompanying the description but I was interested to read that the architect on the project was Enrico Taglietti. Enrico's daughter and I were in the same class at school.  The Center Cinema used to be in Bunda Street in the city.  All the photos I can find of it on the web are protected by can check them out here, here  or here. And I urge you to click on that last picture when you get to it because it will give you a better idea of what it was like waiting outside the cinema to get your ticket.

Thankfully Trove has a few good articles too about its construction and when it opened.

Architect's drawing of Center Cinema
courtesy of the National Library of Australia - Canberra Times, Wednesday 21 July 1965, page 4
It opened on 4 October 1966 and the opening film was Dr Zhivago starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie.  My son Caspar is trying to finish the book as you read this post.

photo of staircase going down to underground cinema
Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Canberra Times Tuesday 4 October 1966, page 15

I guess the most distinctive features of the cinema were that it was underground, had adjustable seats, huge pixellated mural style photos on the walls of stars/characters like Marilyn Monroe and Citizen Kane and porthole windows from upstairs where you could watch the movie from the Candy Bar if you were running late or had a coughing fit.  It seated 500 people.  Quite a big cinema I suppose by today's standards.

Yes, I remember standing up for the National Anthem (God Save Our Queen) before the movie started.

I remember going to see The Way we Were with Robert (be still my beating heart) Redford and Barbra Streisand with best friend Deb.  It took 6 - 12 months for movies to get here from the USA so even though it was released in October 1973, we didn't get to see it until May the following year.

Advertisement for Streisand Redford Together in The Way We Were
Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Canberra Times Saturday 8 June 1974, page 14

In my research, I also found out that the builder who won the tender was none other than Bob Eglitis, father of another school-friend of mine.

Article about the Manager, the Builder and the Projectionist
Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Canberra Times, Tuesday 4 October 1966, page 16
The Center Cinema closed 1 June 2003 and you can read more people's memories here.  So very sad.  It was absolutely my favourite cinema and none come close to it except maybe the lovely Palace Barracks Cinema here in Brisbane.

I have lots of fond memories of movies in Canberra.  I saw Picnic at Hanging Rock at the Capitol Theatre at Manuka on a school excursion.  Such evocative images and I always felt so privileged to work with Producer Pat Lovell later on in my career.

I went to the National Library on Sundays, I think, with my mother to watch Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies.

Judith and I went to the Boulevard Twin Cinemas (which opened in December 1973) and laughed ourselves sick at the Pink Panther movies with Peter Sellers.

Article about opening of Boulevard Twin Cinema
Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Canberra Times, Thursday 6 December 1973, page 23

I saw Sound of Music and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Civic Theatre.

And let's not be forgetting the Starlight Drive In!!  Once again, click on the picture to see what the entrance was like.

This is a great article about the building of the Drive In.

Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Canberra Times, Wednesday 2 January 1957, page 7

What is your favourite movie or favourite genre?

It's way too hard to choose a favourite movie, I love so many.  As I say I tend to choose melancholy films or thoughtful type movies.  Some of my favourites include: Whale Rider, The Truman Show, Rain Man, Breaking the Waves, Working Girl, 1900, American Beauty, To Kill a Mockingbird, No Country for Old Men....

See I told you I was all over the shop.  Just like a frog!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Follow Friday

maps hanging on map cabinets

What a huge week it has been genealogy wise for me.  Lots of things to learn and discover.

Saturday morning was spent at my Society taking part in a Library Assistant's workshop.  These are held a couple of times a year and are designed to help you be a better library assistant.  One of the mini talks/presentations was about the Map Room.  This is always a vastly underused resource at the QFHS Library.  I'm always amused at how I always learn something despite going into the library at least once a month on duty and having been a member for probably about thirty years now.

maps spread on table

We all practised getting maps out of the cabinets.  The cabinets can be a bit intimidating to newbies.  Once the door is open, I think people are petrified that all the maps are going to fall out if the door doesn't catch.  I've got the hang of it now but was amused to notice for the first time the little "buttons" or knobs on the outside of the map cabinets to hang the maps on. I'd never noticed them before - probably because they usually don't have maps hanging on them when I walk into the room.  So there you go.  I learned something.

Then I read Shelley Crawford's Twigs of Yore blog post this week.  I'm ashamed to say that I had never heard of the genealogy fairy before this.  Now I am wiser and very ready to say I believe in her.  
We don't want any more brickwalls than we have already, thank you very much!

Shelley wasn't the only one to mention the genealogy fairy this week.

Saadia Thompson Dwyer from Queensland State Archives answering questions

The lovely Saadia Thompson Dwyer from Queensland State Archives came to our library on Wednesday and delivered a talk.  She spoke about a particular brick wall in her research and how she prayed to the genealogy fairy to help with her case study on Loveday Finn.  The genealogy fairy delivered the photo she prayed for!  Love it!

If you haven't done so already, you should check out the Queensland State Archives blog.  They have some great stuff there including a whole bunch of stuff on World War 1.  

If you want to catch Saadia's talk about the fascinating Loveday Finn family history case study, you can do so at the Caboolture Library on 12 November or at Broadbeach Library on 30 October. By the way, isn't Loveday an unusal Christian name?

Last but not least I was really delighted to see the results of the labours of QFHS members in transcribing and preparing a database of signatures on three very important Women's Suffrage Petitions from 1894-1897.  You can search the petitions and see if one of your ancestors signed them here.

How was your family history week?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


On reflection, yesterday was one of those "balanced" days.  It was my RDO or Rostered Day Off.

I tried to be good at the outset by not being "shockingly lazy" as revealed in one of my previous blog posts.  I jumped out of bed, got dressed, opened the front door, looked at the sky, went back for my brolly and went for a walk.  It started to rain by the time I got to the bottom of the street and it continued to pour for the next 45 minutes.  Undeterred, I ploughed on, returning home in soaked sneakers and vowing never to wear those particular gym pants again (they would be the ones with the bell bottoms that have always been a bit too long in the leg for me).  They soaked up all the water in the puddles and made a sickening slap slap sound on my ankles as I "burned" up and down the hills.

Exercise done - tick. Humiliation - done - tick.  Washing yet to be done.

Next - the Dentist.  I am very lucky with my teeth (as mentioned in a previous blog post, my husband says he married me for them).  Will you please stop laughing.  My Dentist did say it is extraordinary what people will say on social media - over-sharing I think he called it.  Hmmm.  Perhaps that is me. Thanks Neil.  Of course I'm very lucky with my Dentist too.  He is very kind and gentle.  But anyway, my point is, I went to the Dentist and luckily nothing too awful happened because I usually go every 6 months.

Dentist - done  - tick.

Then I started to walk up the hill to say "G'day" to my daughter.  She's been sick with the flu (which she caught from me poor possum).  On the way I spied the hairdresser.  The hairdresser that used to be around the corner from where I live and now is next to my gym (that I should go to more often).  I strolled in, on the spur of the moment, to see if they could do me a "do". They could.  Bliss. And do you know they had a massage chair?  What a treat! They also serve bubbles as well as coffee apparently but it was a bit too early in the morning for that and I was trying to exercise a bit of self-control.

Hair - done - tick. Coffee - done - tick.  Massage - done - tick.

I went to say "G'day" to Bel at the office.  She was still a bit sick and pale so she didn't notice my hair.  Oh well.  I gave her my Butter Menthols. Also got to give my nephew a hug and complimented my brother-in-law on his rather dashing pair of glasses.

Mothering - done - tick.  Family - done -tick.

"I'll just pop into the Newsagent" I thought to self "and see if they have Inside History - the cover looked so beautiful.  Just the kind of hat Gran would have liked." (here's a previous post on my Gran with a picture of her in one of her hats).

Then I walked a bit further (are you noticing all this walking?  It's extraordinary isn't it?) to the Kenmore Skin Cancer Clinic and made an appointment for the afternoon.

Home for lunch.  Salmon and salad.

Healthy lunch - done - tick.

Then finished off a bag of potato chips - balance is all important I think, don't you?

Then I sat down to read Inside History.

Then I squealed.

Look!  Family Tree Frog is Number 30 on the list of 50 Best Genealogy Blogs. Oh my goodness.  What a lovely surprise.  And look who the Frog is sitting next to!  All these other lovely blogs.  Thank you Jill Ball and Inside History. You made my day!  Well - year, really.

I love Inside History.  It's such a good magazine. It's all that a magazine should be - for family historians that is.  And this month's edition is no exception.  The Editor seems to know just what I'm thinking or wondering about and also introduces me to a whole heap of stuff I didn't even know was there.  Look!  There's an article on DNA.  I am so close to getting a test done. I think I'll ask for that for Christmas.

I dragged myself back to the clinic for my skin check.  The thing on my nose which has been bothering me for a few months (my husband says I'm turning into a witch) looks suspicious.  So the Doctor popped me on a chair, took a biopsy and I've to ring for results on Friday.  I fear my pointy nose may not be so pointy in future.  My imagination has run riot and I suspect I may have to learn to breathe through my ears and/or bring veils back into fashion. 

Bother the sun.  I knew going outdoors wasn't good for one. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Book of Me, Written by You: Prompt 54

A word cloud for the Book of Me Written By You - the words are family history legacy memories writing journal genealogy you written discussion me prompts book by enjoyment the reflection of

This post is part of the Book of Me, Written by You meme created by Julie Goucher of Angler's Rest.

This week's prompt is - 
School Trips
Did you go on any school trips?
Where did you go?
Memories and trinkets of those special days?

An open suitcase on a bed with a pile of clothes behind

Okay - yes I did go on a school trip in what was I guess the September holidays when I was in Grade 10 in 1976.

The photo above is taken at 54 Wright's Road Drummoyne.  Looking at the map, I think this building must have been knocked down now because I remember it being an older style building, like the ones across the road.

My parents had moved to Sydney to look for a house and my father had started working at Sydney University.  The flats at Drummoyne were owned by the University and were somewhere for staff to stay until they found somewhere more permanent to live.  I was getting ready to board at Canberra Girls Grammar in Deakin.  I was very excited about seeing the desert and going on this big road trip.  

I remember working really hard to try and lose lots of weight because I was starting at a new school the next year and thought I would make more friends if I was thinner.  Ah yes - the teenage years.  Don't they just bring back great memories?

I remember that we flew to Cairns from Sydney. It's a distance of about 
2,417 kilometres and the flight probably took at least three hours.

A little island on the edge of the Barrier Reef

We took a boat out to Green Island.  We probably swam a bit but I think I found it all a bit too hot and ho hum.  I remember looking out the bus window in Cairns and seeing school girls running around playing hockey in unbearable heat.  Such a contrast to cold old Canberra.

Then we went up to the Scenic Railway at Kuranda and the bus trip really started.

I can't be certain but I think we went to Normanton, then down to Mount Isa, to Birdsville and then to Cooper Creek, the Burke & Wills Monument. I know I had a photo of the Birdsville Hotel somewhere and Mrs Shaw on the boat going to Green Island but they've got mixed up in another album. Sigh.  Oh to be organised.

Here I am trying to impress a young man I was a bit keen on...for the life of me I have no idea who he was.  I want to say his name was Barry but I can't remember.

A young man watches Alex expertly levering out tent pegs with a mattock

 Innaminka rings a bell so I think we went there and I suppose we must have gone to Cameron Corner and stood on three states at once - Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales.  Then to Broken Hill and back to Canberra.

You can see a rather badly drawn map of the trip that we took here.

Group of children pulling out tent pegs

We had to be on our very best behaviour though as our headmistress Mrs Shaw was one of the teachers on board.  What a stalwart she must have been to put up with all of us boys and girls.

I'm not sure where this is but I suspect it is a view of Mt Isa. I'm happy for someone to advise me one way or the other.  Broken Hill is a bit flatter I think.

View of Mt Isa with student photo bombing

Here we are having dinner somewhere in the desert.  Which desert?  I'm thinking the Sturt Stony Desert.  I remember being told that if we went to the loo in the night to make sure that we didn't stand on scorpions.  Great!

Group of children sitting in circle having dinner at dusk on camp stools

I would love someone to tell me where the photo below is taken.  I'm ashamed to say that I can't remember.  I think it's Innaminka but I can't be sure.  That's friend Judith with her back to us in the foreground with the dark top on the left.

Children standing near ruin of house on hill

I suspect that this is the Burke and Wills Dig Tree monument.

Two people standing next to monument

And that this is Cooper Creek.

Base of tree trunk beside creek

We had a lot of fun on the trip and the bus driver must have been enormously patient.  Remember that this is in the days before we had DVDs on buses so there was long days of driving in difficult conditions.  Photo bombing is not a new concept and this driver had a well developed sense of humour as I remember.  

Two girls and bus driver photo bombing photo

Here's a picture of the kind of terrain that we traveled through on a daily basis. My memories were of drifts of red sand - endless horizons.  At first you mentally fought the sheer size of the landscape and longed for variation.  Then you embraced it and never wanted to go back.  I remember feeling that this was the real world and the rest was a fiction.

Bus on side of road on flat terrain

I'd like to experience that again.  What a country we live in!

Sepia Saturday 244: 6 September 2014

This week's Sepia Saturday theme features a monkey, people in hats - it's all a bit of a circus really, though the little girl doesn't look very happy.  I think she's got the sniffles.

I am delighted to be able to produce monkeys from my mother's photo album from 1950.

She went to Taronga Park Zoo in the August Holidays.  She would have been 14 years old.

monkey sitting on top of monkey house with balloon and others below watching

This is her writing underneath and it says "The monkeys playing with a balloon at Taronga Park."

Here's another photo.

monkeys on branches with people behind wall looking at them

It says: After the ballon (sic) had burst the monkeys had to amuse themselves.

My mother was an only child like me and no doubt had to amuse herself when she got home by pasting in the photos in her album and writing captions underneath in white ink, once the photos had been processed.  

I wonder what type of monkeys these are?  I think they might be black-handed spider monkeys.   And because I am a freshly hatched Librarian and we like to classify things, here's the drum:

Scientific Name: 
Ateles geoffroyi

Phylum: CHORDATA Species class: Mammalia Order: PRIMATES Genus: Ateles Species: geoffroyi

I wish I could say that I knew that but I completely copied it from the Taronga Park Zoo website. 

Let's have a closer look at that second photo.  See the humans over there to the right.  Do you think that Mum has lifted her little girl up on to the enclosure so she can see better? The little girl seems to be wearing a scarf. Please note that the men are wearing suits.  And the women hats.  Better standard of dress in those days I think.  

Close up of Monkeys and people looking on at Taronga Park Zoo

This is where Taronga Park Zoo is.

This map shows you how far it was from her home to the zoo on the other side of the harbour.  I think they would have caught a train and then a ferry.
But they might have caught a bus.  It's more fun on the water though.

When things get hectic at work, I usually start whistling a dreadful merry-go-round theme that indicates madness.  What about you? 

This video is a bit unsteady to begin with but the music is what I'm trying to convey.

One Lovely Blog Award

What a lovely surprise!  Sharon from Strong Foundations nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  I'm pretty sure I "met" Sharon and her lovely blog through participating in the Sepia Saturday meme.  Sharon shares my love of Family History and finding fabulous articles on Trove.  Thanks Sharon!

Here are the Rules for the "One Lovely Blog Award":

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to that blog
  2. Share Seven things about yourself - refer below
  3. Nominate 15 bloggers you admire (or as many as you can think of!) - also listed below
  4. Contact your bloggers to let them know that you've tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award
Seven things about me:

Alex reading a little book
Alex reading a little book in Edinburgh - as you do.

  1. I'm an only child (can you tell????)
  2. I love words and finding new words.  My husband Robert and I joke that we only buy The Guardian to do the Quick Crossword and the Sudoku. He does the Sudoku and we share the Crossword.  I was excited to find a new word today on one of the blogs Sharon recommended - taphophilia - a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries - who knew???
  3. Robert and I suffer from Tsundoku - aka book hoarders.  I don't ever remember a time I didn't like books and I find them particularly difficult to resist.  Finding decent bookshops is a joy.
  4. I am quite nutty about animals.  I particularly like cats.  Horses know that I am a pushover so I won't ride them, unless pressed, but I do love seeing them and being near them.  I find donkeys particularly adorable. I dream of living on a larger block and having a menagerie.
  5. I have a very loud laugh.  This is not an asset working in my new career in libraries.  I have tried to tame it and I know that it is not particularly attractive.  But there you have it.  I do like a good laugh and pounce on comedies and funny people with delight. 
  6. I am shockingly lazy when it comes to exercise.  I know I need to do it. When I'm actually out doing it, I quite enjoy it.  But I really need an exercise buddy.  I want to share the enjoyment with someone and it needs to be kind of purposeful e.g. going for a bushwalk or catching up with someone while I'm doing it.
  7. I love getting lost in a good movie.  It's a cheap way of traveling to another country or world.  I think it is a sublime art when it works well. It is quite a treat to sit in a cinema with a whole bunch of strangers and all be transported to another world and be moved to tears or laughter together.  What an extraordinary species we are!
Jim Conner and daughter Alex editing home movies
My father introducing me to the world of movies

15 Bloggers I admire

Crikey - this is tough because there are so many - here we go...and be prepared to be surprised by the range of topics - remember - I'm a frog and jump all over the place.

  1. Male Pattern Boldness - Yes I know this isn't a genealogy blog.  I told you to be prepared to be surprised.  I have inherited my mother's love of fabrics and design (which doesn't mean I'm a great or prolific seamstress - just that I have a cupboard full of fabric).  Now whilst Peter says he's lost his Mojo in his latest post, I can only believe that it will be for a minute.  The exuberance in this blog is completely infectious.  
  2. Julie Goucher at Angler's Rest.  What a woman!  What a great idea Book of Me, Written by You is and what a champion to have given us this gift. Thanks Julie. Not to forget Worldwide Genealogy - another great blog idea from Julie and Jill Ball.  But they're not the only authorial voices.  To quote from the blog "Each day a blogger from across the genealogy or historical community will post to Worldwide Genealogy." Brilliant! 
  3. Diane Bohlen from Adventure Before Dementia has a great blogging voice and tells an absorbing story.  I just love the title of her blog.
  4. Have I said that this list is not in any particular order?  Did I mention that I jump?  If I had to choose one blogger over the rest the lovely Jill Ball is probably my favourite at Geniaus.  Powerhouse is the only way I can describe her!  Thanks for all that you do Jill. Yes, she's been nominated already but I can't not nominate her. But don't worry Jill you don't have to do this exercise all over again - just bask in the glory.
  5. He's probably been nominated so many times that he'll groan at this nomination again but Thomas MacEntee must be acknowledged for all the hard yakka he does in bringing the genealogy blogging community together through such blogs as Geneabloggers and Hack Genealogy
  6. Did I mention that I love food?  I have a particular penchant for retro cookbooks and one particular blogger made me howl with delight with her account of a retro-dinner party. Skiourophile has several blogs and her blog Bibliothas has already been nominated for one lovely blog too. Don't worry Skiourophile you don't have to do it again - like Jill, just bask in the glory.
  7. I haven't lived in Brisbane all my life and so am always keen to learn more about it's architectural heritage.  The foto fanatic is to be commended for his great blog called Your Brisbane Past and Present. Every post is well constructed and so interesting.
  8. Shauna Hicks and her blog Diary of an Australian Genealogist  is always illuminating and her website well worth exploring in terms of resources.
  9. I've always been a bit of a fan of women's writing and collect Virago Books and have recently been introduced to Persephone as well.  Imagine my delight when I discovered the Australian Women's Writer's Challenge blog.  It is so meaty, there is always something of interest there and I love being exposed to new authors.
  10. I have never been to Canada but there is just something lovely about every Canadian I've met.  I think sometimes Canadians and Australians are kindred souls, yes?  Check out North of 49 for some great photos, whimsical musings and just a great escape from our hemisphere.
  11. I told you these were in no particular order....yes Alan Burnett and Kat Mortensen, I haven't forgotten you - thank you Sepia Saturday for keeping me focused on blogging and introducing me to so many other lovely bloggers. Bask in the glory, bask in the glory.
  12. I like a bit of fun and some blogging exercises - Randy Seaver from Genea-Musings never fails to provide inspiration.  Thanks Randy.  
  13. Another great blogging "voice" is the lovely Kristin from Finding Eliza.  I don't know why but her blog posts always speak to me and trigger all sorts of thoughts/memories.  Thank you Kristin.
  14. I love knitting, yarn, wool and stories of courage, determination and perseverance - if you haven't checked out Kate Davies blog you are in for a real treat.
  15. And for a bit of whimsy - what about Bent Books blog Stuff in Old Books. 

Oh my goodness.  Please don't be offended if your blog is not included in this list.  It's difficult to limit it to 15.  Thanks again Sharon for your nomination.