I didn’t read much in July. I brought several books on vacation and barely read at all. I was not in the mood, but my younger sisters started watching Psych and got me hooked again. I’d meant to rewatch those at some point. I remember one blogger recently asking if people preferred Monk or Psych. Since at that point I’d watched Psych 7 years ago and Monk recently, I wasn’t sure. Oh, it’s Psych all the way. I was SO thrilled that this show stood the test of time for me. The first time I watched it the 7th season was still airing, and between waiting for episodes and not likening the feel anymore, I quit in the early episodes of that season. This time, I quit sooner. I actually feel the show falls in quality in season 6. But before that, yes, just my thing.
It’s also the first real adult U.S. television show I watched. I think Castle was next, but I didn’t really watch that in order, not sure that will have the same appeal either. Any show needs to end many seasons sooner than it does. Even ones I enjoy. The other shows I’ve watched in more recent years like Parks and Rec and Friends, well, I don’t think those will stand the test of time. I didn’t enjoy them near as much as expected. Television shows are such a “commitment” to me, that I usually (now anyway) see things on Pinterest or clips on YouTube and watch, then I have to feel like starting them.
I’d seen clips and quotes from That 70’s Show years ago, but I wasn’t ready to commit, nor I think able to handle that humor then, don’t get me wrong, Fez almost always crosses the line so far he isn’t even in sight (why couldn’t they have focused more on his naivety and sweetness?!), and there are things the other characters say that bother me too, but oh, my, now, I LOVE this show. And by this I mean the early seasons plus Jackie and Hyde, there are only 6 (5 and 6 are a joke for most characters as they are overused, flattened, or made out of character and their plot-lines are mostly soap operatic) seasons, 7 is a joke (as Jackie and Hyde join the character and plot devolution and soap opera drama) and some stupid fanfic got made into a season unwatched, unmentionable, nightmarish. I think the show should’ve stopped at 4 or 5 after putting Jackie and Hyde together in 3. I don’t like everything in Jackie and Hyde’s relationship (all the drama which is such lazy writing, plus so out of character for Hyde), but wow, overall one of my (if not my) favorite couples ever, I knew they were going to be together before starting the show, and I was shipping them so hard. Of course the writing fell short of this couple’s potential starting at the end of 5 and reappearing again in 6 and then ruining everything later. All this sounds like I hated the show, but I loved the beginning plus Jackie and Hyde so much that the disappointment in the later seasons hurt. So much potential wasted.
Dad bought Avengers: Endgame the day it came out on digital and we watched it that day. I hadn’t cared for Infinity War, I was barely paying attention by the end (probably shouldn’t watch dramatic/action films on my laptop), but I greatly enjoyed this one. And Thor, oh, my. The I got up the next day and watched Spider-Man: Far from Home which was the main reason I’d wanted to watch Engame, while I enjoyed it (although I got there 10-15″ after it started), it didn’t live up to my expectations (this is why I just CAN’T be allowed to look forward to movies!!!). I didn’t care for the plot, it felt kind of “filler.” Plus a bit disappointed in Peter and M.J.’s romance, it felt rushed and not as cute as it should’ve been, perhaps it should’ve been slower and resolved in the next movie.
Now for the books.
Then There Were Five and The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright. #2 and #3 of the Melendy family, very charming, possibly a bit lower than middle-grade? Except something sad/scary in #3, so parents should preview first.
The Chief’s Daughter by Rosemary Sutcliff. Another short story, probably the shortest of hers yet.
Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie. Not my fav.
Thornyhold by Mary Stewart. Enjoyable, a bit different than her usual.
Imaginarium: A Graphic Novel by Amanda Kastner. I’m not usually into graphic novels (I want to work on that). I follow this artist on Instagram, and helped fund her Kickstarter for this. Her illustrations are charming.
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear. Definitely more what I was looking for than The Power of Habit. I read this fast, because I want to get it to read slower and closer.
Death in Berlin and Death in the Andamans by M.M. Kaye
J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter. I’d originally wanted to watch the Tolkien film, so I order tons of biographies as prep, this is the official or best one, I’d realized. I started with that. I enjoyed it so much, and I normally don’t like biographies. It is so well-written and Tolkien was such an interesting person. I actually prefer Narnia to LotR, but Tolkien to Lewis. His mind, interests, and skills, absolutely fascinating. I’ve read the Silmarillion as it’s been put together (by his son I believe) from his manuscripts, but this book made me mourn that Tolkien didn’t finish it himself. That was his true fictional life’s work, LotR was merely a side path.
Pandemics: A Very Short Introduction by Christian W. McMillen and Epidemiology: A Very Short Introduction by Rodolfo Saracci. I believe I wrote reviews for both of these on Goodreads, I know for the former I did.
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. I found this from a list Catherine from Based on the Book had posted. I found it quite enjoyable. A bit odd reading about Corfu from this decidedly unromantic point of view after reading This Rough Magic earlier this year.
How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living by the Babylon Bee. The Babylon Bee is a Christian satire site or a satire site by Christians, like a Christian or written by Christians version of the Onion. Unlike most Christian media nowadays, it is decently clever. However, apparently some people are born without the ability to understand sarcasm (trust me, I’m sure my family thought I was for a while, but I’ve learned and appreciate it) or to learn it. Also, sometimes some topics need to be handled with kid gloves. Anyway, I personally have enjoyed articles from the site (and skits from John Crist pointing out some issues), however, this book, except for a few things (the quips about the denominations are a scream), I found this depressing and in poor taste; it’s not the same as articles on foibles, it comes across as mocking the motivations of every Christian. Yes, there are problems with American Christendom certainly, but I think that this assumes everyone is acting with terrible motivation rather than in ignorance or conformity or just blundering through. I think is the kind of thing that Pharisaical doctrine obsessed people and non-Christians with issues would use badly. I think this would wound rather than convict.
The Warden by Anthony Trollope. I’d tried Trollope before but didn’t care for that book (The Way We Live Now) and not sure I cared for satire. I found it painful not funny, but is satire supposed to be laughing funny? Anyway, another blogger, Elisabeth Foley, mentioned The Chronicles of Barsetshire, so I’ve started these. I did enjoy this one, and I did laugh at this.
The Gabriel Hounds and Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart. Not my favorite, although the setting of the first was exotic, I guess I found the story a bit bland. The latter was set in England but the atmosphere was more interesting, however, both involve cousin romances, though the latter is, thankfully more distant. As someone in a state notoriously mocked (with reason, my great-great grandparents were first cousins) for cousin marriages because, you know, hillbillies and all that, I find it odd that modern upper-class (well, maybe upper-class in this situation is an explanation) cousin marriages in England were happening so recently. I mean everybody knows the hillbilly jokes, and I can allow (i.e. try to ignore) the Jane Austen stories and to a lesser extent (because set more recent than JA) Eight Cousins because they were so far back in time (still not excusable though, I know people had qualms even then), but that is mostly way back then. These books were published in the late 60’s to 70’s!
Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley. Eh, over-hyped in my small bookish world, found it a bit sanctimonious.
I’ve been pretty burned out lately (clearly that doesn’t take much to happen), and I opted out of the Jane Austen festival. Oh, well, I’ll have a head start for next year. I do have some projects I finished and vacation photos, but I’ll have to wait until I have more motivation. Meanwhile Ivy Miranda at Revealed in Time nominated me for this tag. Considered yourself tagged if you want to answer her questions.
1.) Favorite time period? Probably depends on what movies I’m watching or books I’m reading. I’m really loving old screwball (30’s, 40’s) comedies lately with the glamorous gowns.
2.) What fictional character (from either book or television) would you want to be? I’d like to stay me but be in an L.M. Montgomery novel.
3.) What three wishes would you ask the Genie from Aladdin? To give me the career I would love, to make me a more beautiful version of myself, to give me poise.
4.) Would you rather raid the Galaxy with Han Solo or dig up relics with Indiana Jones? Raid with Hans, more exciting (yet easier to run away) plus less skeletons (I HATE skeletons, used to be one of my phobias, not sure it is phobia level right now).
5.) What frightens you the most? Being powerless.
6.) Do you collect anything? Intentionally? Teacups, sort of, which is ironic since I don’t really care for tea. Unintentionally: fabric, yarn, etc.
7.) Do you like the supernatural (vampires, werewolves, etc.)? If so, what are your favorites? I have to say I’ve not read much of this (easily frightened plus lots of the books are quite silly). Vampires SEEM more attractive, but I think they’d be more dangerous, plus I was team Jacob (in the books, never seen the movies and don’t find Taylor Lautner attractive).
8.) What is the first song you remember hearing? Probably a hymn, “Joyful Joyful, We Adore Thee” was an early favorite.
9.) What’s the most amount of books you’ve read? In a year, as an adult? 140 last year, but many of those were rereads.
10.) Whose your favorite and least favorite celebrity? Whoever I have the biggest crush on at the moment and whoever is the most obnoxious at the moment.
11.) What is your favorite candy or dessert? (you can answer both). Most of them? I’m like all-sweet tooth.
I’m not going to do all the illustrated books (I think I might do that for a freebie). I’m picking books (mostly series) from when I was strongly reading on my own. I’m going with favorites then that I’d want my kids to read.
I guess my age was maybe 9 to early teens or maybe 9-12 for most of these? (And yeah, that’s childhood for me. I was a kid until maybe 14-15). Lot’s of historical fiction (although not the Historical Diaries or whatever they were called that my sisters and others loved, I think those were a little too realistic for me to handle then based on my memories of my unsuccessful attempts). My introduction to Rosemary Sutcliff came right on the heels of these age.
- The American Girls. Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, Molly at first, then later Kit, I was growing out of them a bit when Kaya arrived (and she’s the last of the quality ones in my opinion).
- The Little House books and the Caroline books (and the Charlotte ones I read when I was a bit older).
- Boxcar children (we were all obsessed with these).
- The Borrowers (The Borrowers, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, The Borrowers Aloft, and The Borrowers Avenged) by Mary Norton.
- Grandma’s Attic series and Grandma’s Attic Novels (In Grandma’s Attic; More Stories from Grandma’s Attic; Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic; Treasures from Grandma; Sixteen and Away from Home; Eighteen and on Her Own; Nineteen and Wedding Bells Ahead; At Home in North Branch; New Faces, New Friends) by Arleta Richardson. Our friends read these allowed while we sewed or whatever (I think I was bit older maybe preteens to early teens?).
- Narnia. My dad read these aloud to us twice.
- Sarah’s Journey Series (Home on Stoney Creek, Stranger in Williamsburg, Reunion in Kentucky, Whispers in Williamsburg, Shadows on Stoney Creek) by Wandra Luttrell (so, apparently these are middle-grade Christian fiction but I remember these being good, granted they were favorites).
- Annie Henry: Adventures in the American Revolution (Annie Henry and the Secret Mission, Annie Henry and the Birth of Liberty, Annie Henry and the Mysterious Stranger, Annie Henry and the Redcoats) by Susan Olasky
- Calico Bush by Rachel Field (Hitty is waaay more famous but this was the first one we read, and I’m not sure if I read Hitty at all, if so it was recently).
- Bobbsey twins (to round out the list, these were books I read at my grandparents). For some reason, I never got into the Nancy Drew books or the Hardy boys. I did look at Trixie Beldon, I think those are probably more interesting. I wish I’d read all these when I was younger, some books you can love only if you start young.
I don’t know if all of these are unpopular, they are just opinions/arguments (not the same thing) I rarely see expressed or are expressed and then scorned. But I have a limited exposure.
A lot of these are my ideals. I’m SUCH a mood reader. I feel like I need some escapist reading. I don’t read near enough deep books. But I do think that I should, I just have to have a lot of easy (but still quality) reading on hand, plus ways of planning and motivating myself.
- Show, don’t tell. If I feel like the author is telling me something, forcing something, rather than displaying it, then they’ve failed to convince me (ahem, Jo and Laurie). Books aren’t mere explanations, they are story, art (perfection, okay, maybe an exaggeration). A reason, I think for my avoidance of contemporary fiction.
- Prose, description, characterization, interpersonal relationships, wit, etc. are more important than plot to me, and, (I think) in terms of literary merit at least equal to plot. I feel that this is also why I dislike so much of contemporary writing.
- I dislike the didactic in all forms, and obvious preaching isn’t art, even though some obviously gifted people squeeze it into their books. This goes back to showing, not telling. Y’all, I could find a preacher for anything, but I don’t want preaching, thanks, there is far too much of it already. And I’ve had far too much of it already (and probably done too much of it . . . like now, lol). Again, another reason I tend to avoid contemporary fiction.
- I like my realism idealized (I’m wanting to explore this more later). Basically, when I’m reading a “real” life setting, I’d like it to be idealized, not perfect, just not sordid or mundane or petty.
- Gritty “true to life” isn’t an asset (and isn’t necessarily true to life). Dark doesn’t equal deep. “Realism” can be vicarious reading or voyeurism. I want to escape reality and/or have my mind, ideals, etc. uplifted.
- I like my fantasy realistic. I don’t even know how to describe what I mean about that, but maybe I just mean well-written? I guess I want believable circumstances in a fantasy world, exciting, fanciful, yes, but still “human” I guess? Actually, now that I’m thinking of it, I generally prefer, low fantasy, and this is probably part of why.
- Quality over quality. All books are NOT equally good, well-written, etc. Taste and comprehension are two different things. You can like different genres from other people. But sometimes one genre may be notorious for being shallow and silly.
- Reading is not a hobby. Everyone who can read is a reader. People who don’t regularly read are still readers. Everyone should read as a form of mental exercise, to learn, to be inspired, I think reading for entertainment is good, but that is not the sole purpose of reading, rather an additional purpose.
- Interpretation isn’t up to the readers. Reading comprehension matters, like listening matters. The author chose specific words, for specific reasons. Obviously, we are going to disagree, not understand, view things through our own lenses. But we should try to understand what the author is saying. And then form opinions on what is said, described, etc. Not the actual meanings.
- Reading well matters. Our brains are muscles, reading well is important to our personal development, to our knowledge, to our comprehension, to our families, to our culture, to society, to life. And I don’t mean “current” event copy+paste type reading. I mean read just a tad beyond your comprehension, and then when you get comfortable, a tad more beyond that.
I know I’ve mentioned John B. Crist before, his latest collaboration with Trey Kennedy is Honest Wedding Thoughts and it is spot on.
I guess I hadn’t realized Trey Kennedy was another YouTuber (shows how disconnected I can be, apparently he was a fairly popular Viner?) until now, um, guys, he’s hysterical, he’s funnier than Crist, I think. Here is the spot on Real Life Translations. What people say, or rather I should say Americans, maybe more specifically, Midwesterners and Southerners, and what they actually mean. I’m not great at either lying or being polite, so I’ve probably said or implied some of the actual thoughts, and sometimes certainly expressed them on my face if I was silent. I’m sure there is a middle ground somewhere. I’m trying to reach it.
Also, he does a lot of basic people stuff like Crist, like this one with the mom and technology part. I was at work watching this in the break room on lunch with a cold, and the moms and technology part, oh.my.stars; I was cry-laughing hysterically, and I do mean hysterically, and I was a disgusting mess, luckily nobody came in. His facial expressions are absolutely killer. I think that is an essential part of humor for me (and why I think he’s funnier that Crist, although Crist’s vidoe concepts are more often funnier?). I prefer Tim Hawkins to Brian Regan (many if not most of my siblings prefer Regan), and that is part of why.
And his basic white people song (you know, Starbucks, Target, terrible dancing, pumpkin spice lattes). Hysterical, of course, I don’t think I’m “that” basic which is probably why I find it so funny, but then I am a basic homeschooler, and I love all Blimey Cow’s essentially basic homeschooler stuff.
YouTwoTV. These two are just hilarious. The channel is more PG-PG13 btw. I think I start first watching the ones like this about strict parents or Indian vs. white parents, etc. They are hilarious as are the more mature girlfriend/boyfriend ones. Although, my parents were/are (that distinction comes between the older children vs. the younger children, I tell my much younger siblings they have a totally different set of parents) waaaay more like the strict ones.
Also, all the videos, posts, etc. in general I’ve seen about strict parents feature sneaky kids, yeah, I was too afraid, not even capable of that, wouldn’t have wanted to do that. Y’all, there is only so much strictness possible if you go to public school, I mean your parents can’t watch you at school.
Anyway, I binge watched them awhile back, and now I’m binge watching them again (they have a TON of videos). Their annoying/types of people series are hilarious too, like annoying people on Instagram or annoying people on social media. Everything is basically.
Personalities at job interviews. And this other guy’s various different personalities in love, at school, etc. These are funny, but I think if I knew all the Myers-Brigs personalities better and had one that really was “me,” I’d find it even funnier.
The Perfect Date. This was so awful I’m ashamed I finished it. The lines were like stereotypes of cliches of stereotypes. Just absolutely mind-numbingly stupid.
Little Women (modern). This was adorable. I loved the switching between past and current times. I liked the professor and didn’t like Laurie, so I wasn’t near as mad about how things ended up. The portrayal of the March family and their uniqueness was just so stinking cute (also, love the homeschooling). All the individual girls portrayals were great, everyone a good age. The acting wasn’t great, I obviously think Laurie is a character worth doing well, and I wish John and Meg had more time, but since I frequently get so frustrated at how Little Women is portrayed plus the actual story, and this was quite a refreshing little movie.
Khoobsurat. So, shallow points here, I think my sister and I were talking over attractive actors, and she told me I had to watch this. I’ve never watched a Hindi-language film, so that in itself is interesting. And then the setting, the clothing. The switching between English and Hindi and the switching between the speaking of actual thoughts and speaking was awesome (although confusing at first as I didn’t realize at first some things WERE just thoughts). The main actor is sooo handsome, also the serious type, so super attractive, and the film is just overall hilarious.
The Proud Rebel. Hamlette mentions Alan Ladd all the time, so I decided to watch some Alan Ladd movies. This was not a hit, I was so bored, not sure why I made myself finish it. I’m still going to watch more of his movies, I’m particularly interested in This Gun for Hire.
The Matchbreaker. An indie film from my list, I think I skipped a lot, I was mostly into the film for the friend (who was hilarious) and sister romance.
Avengers: Infinity War. Eh. Mostly explosions and boring fight scenes. I was watching this online and was definitely on other browsers and tabs for much of it.
The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer. Cary Grant, Myrna Loy (two of my favorite classics actors but didn’t love them together), and Shirley Temple (what little I saw as a child of her child-acting annoyed me, and she’s still annoying as a teenager, her facial expressions heighten the annoyance, especially as she’s too old for that here). An uncomfortable premise to modern audiences, not any chemistry between leads, not hilarious enough for me.
The Amazing Adventure. Cute glimpse of a young Cary Grant. His romantic counterpart was boring, but overall the plot was interesting, could be seriously improved upon though.
Operation Petticoat. Tony Curtis and older Cary Grant (this is the Cary Grant* I saw too much of when I said I didn’t “get” his appeal; he’s good here as like a foil or something to Curtis). Hilarious screwball. Screwball is quite my cup of tea right now.
When You’re In Love. I need to not watch blah movies just because Cary Grant is in them.
Talk of the Town. I’m more for Cary Grant screwball comedies, but another person might enjoy this better. I think it’s worth watching for the last scene which I rewatched at least twice more.
Holiday. I think Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn have great chemistry. This wasn’t my favorite movie, not quite hysterical enough for me, but I liked it. I’d also have liked it better if I wasn’t fighting with the absolutely awful itunes. Seriously, it was awful. I’m not buying anything on itunes again. The lag is so bad its unwatchable, and they have such stupid protections, so I can’t move the files easily.
Royal Wedding. I just don’t care for Fred Astaire nor dancing movies too much really, I do admire the talent, but I get bored. I also didn’t find it overall that funny.
Aladdin. I’m just going to copy paste my comment from Hamlette’s blog. “I didn’t love the animated Aladdin. I know I saw it a couple times growing up, but I’m not sure we owned it, so I didn’t watch it as much. It doesn’t have quite the nostalgia, I guess? Anyway, I didn’t care for it much rewatching it as an adult; the story overall, Jasmine’s brattiness, the Genie’s jarring modernity, Jafar was too much. I love the music though, and I think I’d forgotten about all the songs except “A Whole New World.”
So, I didn’t thinking I’d see it in theaters. Some of my siblings went (they like the original). Then I heard a clip of Jasmine’s song, and was like,”No, I really need to see this in theaters.” So I did. And I greatly enjoyed it. A lot of what I didn’t like in the original was changed enough plus the overall costuming, setting, etc. is just gorgeous in live-action. Jasmine is SO much better. I loved Will Smith’s Genie and how they blended him into the story both in terms of his actual story and the lessening of the weirdly modern aspect that threw me off in the original. I liked that there was enough change to make the story richer (similar to the ever-perfect similar Cinderella) but not to distract from the story (like in Beauty and the Beast, also, that one was spoiled with star-struckness, too many stars)
Because I’m me, and because this isn’t Cinderella 2015 (which is the most perfect movie ever made, I kid, maybe) I did have some quibbles, Aladdin’s jarringly modern North American accent. I guess I didn’t realize he grew up in Canada, I feel like his accent stood out more than anyone else’s?
I think the music and vocals could’ve been better. Except for Jasmine’s song, that blew everything else away.
…And then there is Jafar’s pipsqueak voice.”
From Friend to Fiancé. A Hallmark, fun, but not a fav. I feel like a watched or rewatched another Hallmark with Mom, but maybe that was just when we attempted to find one, and I just didn’t care to see any we had. I have one more I want to watch from the Spring, but I’m doing pretty good and not relying on them. However, now I need to nip my mediocre oldies and regular moderns in the bud.
*I’ve decided there are three Cary Grant “types.” His younger roles are the aware, slightly sarcastic, sweet-idealist types. His middle roles are the more cynical, sometimes oblivious, highly sarcastic types (the more screwball roles, my absolute favorite), and his older roles are the often humorless/not very funny, grouchy types (seriously, he seems like he’s always frowning in many of his older roles).
Westside Story. Clearly didn’t make too much of an impression on me seeing as how I only remembered I’d watched it after I saw Studio C’s Bollyside Story. Like I said before, not overly crazy about too much dance stuff. Tony, well also Maria in theory, but Natalie Wood is annoying (also NOT Hispanic, neither was Bernard either, which made the love story drama just ridiculous, yeah, I know it was the 60’s but seriously?) were the only people I cared much about. Tony was too pure for that world, didn’t make sense that he’d be best friends with that other dude (who by the way played the precious Gideon in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, talk about opposite roles).
Continuing on from earlier this year in children’s lighter classics that I didn’t read as a child.
Knight’s Castle by Edward Eager. I read Half-Magic ages ago but forgot everything about it. This is fun, I’m reading more of the series, but it’s not the most thrilling middle-grade lit for adults.
All-of-a-Kind Family, All-Of-A-Kind Family Downtown, More All-of-a-Kind Family, All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor. These are okay, not the most interesting in tone and description, rather didactic, definitely a lower reading level than middle grade. I ended up DNF-ing the last book, a juvenile tone and writing style doesn’t work with adult life.
The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. This is far closer to the sweet spot for excellent children’s literature, and I think I want to get more of these for vacation reading.
Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary. This is below middle-grade, definitely want future kids to read or to read aloud with them but just not inspiring enough/high enough grade level for an adult although I’d still like to try Ramona Quimby because I’ve heard those are more popular.
What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. I saw a gorgeously illustrated set of this series on a British Instagrammer’s page, it turns out they are American but for some reason I got the impression that they were less popular here, the reprint has a note from a British lady. I guess I thought that was odd, it feels like its usually the other way around usually? Also this kinda has that classic American North moralizing (the Northern authors moralize; the Southern authors write about crazy, and I mean CRAZY, people; and the Midwest authors manage to make everything banal, despairing, and demoralizing in my little, ironically, exposure to the grown-up American Classic scene) without the charm of better authors (think Alcott). At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to read more, but those covers! Maybe the others are better?
The Changeling, The Truce Of The Games, Shifting Sands by Rosemary Sutcliff. And now for the taste of genius. I’ve exhausted most of the best novels of Sutcliff and had been getting some of her less inspiring reads. But these short stories that are part of an older children’s collection, are the true Sutcliff storytelling magic. I think that she wrote more of these (they are published by or part of Antelope books and feature woodcut illustrations, I believe), but I’ve had to get them a few at a time through interlibrary loans.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. This, thanks to my more capable reading abilities plus age, is much shorter than my memory of it. Also, Puritan stereotypes are still annoying as heck. This is sheer historical ignorance, for example black was a GOOD color, a wealthy color for Puritans. Per David Hackett Fisher in my beloved Albion’s Seed Puritans were far more egalitarian (second to the Quakers who were the most) in gender roles and economics than the two Southern cultures (he divides early developing U.S. into four basic cultures coming from four in England) which would’ve have been more similar to Kit’s, I’d imagine, and she’s just used to being on the top too. So, a lot of this story is just nonsense. A lot of this just feels like modern projecting based on some dramatic events without any understanding of the overall times. Nat’s still awesome though.
My Escapist Reads
False Colours, Arabella by Georgette Heyer. These were both 3 stars for me, the first featured identical twins as hero and side character, one normal, one a rake. The second featured a girl with a brain . . . and a rake for a hero. Well you, know, that’s her favorite “hero.” I decided to take a break to keep any other Heyers in reserve.
So then, I started on Mary Stewart and MM Kaye and found another therapeutic reads, of course I’ve mostly exhausted Kaye as she didn’t write very many.
Death in Cyprus by MM Kaye and The Moon-Spinners and This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart which I read in that order and fairly close together (followed up by Death in Zanzibar), and I kind of started blending the author’s styles a bit, they are both British, suspense for the former, mystery for the latter; have a lot of similarity in the hero-types; and hilariously, were each set on an Island in the the eastern Mediterrean starting with a “c”: Cyprus (no, really?), Crete, and Corfu, respectively. I greatly enjoyed all three. I’m so glad I started both authors like this and read these books in this order, it just fit so well, and I highly recommended anyone new to these authors to do this.
The Ivy Tree (My least favorite Stewart, I preferred the villain, I kept hoping against hope he wasn’t the villain, I hate the inclusion of infidelity, that was the love story, also, just not a great love story, period, rather sickening.)
Wildfire at Midnight (Not super crazy about this one, also has a bit freaky stuff, again, cheaters. And the women are just supposed to ignore and forgive the not-truly-repentant cheaters to “keep” them. NO.)
Nine Coaches Waiting (I think my expectations were too high as I adore the first two I read, and this is the most famous and didn’t match those first two in tone for me.)
My Brother Michael (I really enjoyed parts, but kind of felt choppy in quality, also, be careful with this one, I feel like trigger warnings are needed, there is a psychopath here and some sexual stuff, one part is pretty awful, not rape although I thought for a bit it was implied in different episode which without the first I wouldn’t have thought at all, but then Simon and Camilla were too calm in their response, but it doesn’t stretch to the imagination that the villain would; anyhow, this is darker than the others.)
Madam Will You Talk? (This one was thrilling, for more overall evenly intriguing but still doesn’t come close to my original favs.)
Thunder on the Right (Eh, far more buildup than delivery.)
The Wind off the Small Isles (This was an enjoyable short story.)
All by Mary Stewart. A lot of my liking of these novels involves her evocative settings, so if I didn’t like the settings/her descriptions just didn’t match the atmosphere of previous ones, that fact was also mixed with any dislike of the story.
Death in Zanzibar, Death in Kashmir by MM Kaye. The former is up there with Death in Cyprus, the latter is enjoyable. I DNFed Death in Kenya. I think there is two that I have ordered/will order via interlibrary loan.
True Grit by Charles Portis. Eh.
Shane by Jack. Eh, but in the hands of a better author could’ve been awesome.
I’m going to keep trying, albeit slowly, on Westerns, though.
Arthur by Stephen R Lawhead. I have Pendragon (the 4th book), but I think I’m done with this series for now. I felt so lost and felt that the author was as well.
Outer Order Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin. This isn’t really a book, rather a collection of organizational/personal environment ideas. I felt it “spoke my language,” others may not feel so. I think motivational/self-help books are VERY specific to each person, I mean within the exact same topic, if one author doesn’t work for you, find another.
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H Pink. Eh, considerably overstretched the “scientific” aspect, if you could even call it that; books like this and The Happiness Advantage (I DNF’ed for this reason, the lack of new concepts, and the tone) tend to stick “scientific” in quite too often and, I think, not very accurately. Sorry, not every scholarly study, undertaking, etc. is scientific. Also, protesting too much.
The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey. Overall, great basic money advice. As with everything can be tailored to personal situation (something I didn’t realize in my foolish youth with his first book). Don’t agree about no credit cards, nor about super specific budgets all the time, ain’t gonna happen for this girl. But all the way there for the emergency fund!!!
I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. He speaks my language, and I find him hilarious. He also writes more for my age and situation. I want to get the newer copy of this book for myself. I agree with more of what he had to say/the way he said it than Ramsey although, truly, the overall advice isn’t wildly different (no helpful financial advice is at bare bones). But I found Sethi’s breakdown extremely helpful to me.
I thought this was really creative/fun/easy topic. I don’t pay too much attention to specific publication dates, more to decades/centuries/eras, so I was curious to see what would come up for me. I exported my Goodreads library and cutting down out extra columns, I managed to look at the years 2018-2009 on publication dates for books I’d rated 4 or 5 stars. I aimed for fiction when I could, but a few years I only had nonfiction. If there were two, and I thought that I preferred one over the other, I picked that. If there were two, and I thought both were equally deserving, I put both. I’m pretty sure I’ve featured most of the fiction on TTT multiple times, but what can I say, I love my favorites, and I’m quite picky. But, somebody PLEASE give Faerie Rebels and the Swift duo more attention.
- 2018 Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life by Sarah Clarkson
- 2017 The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse
- 2016 The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd (a standalone middle-grade novel, my favorite of hers, Appalachian magic, like the first, which I love; I usually think magic belongs in Old World settings, but there are specific areas/cultures where it fits in the New World, and Appalachia is one)
- 2015 The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall (book four of The Penderwicks)
- 2014 Nomad by R.J. Anderson (the second book of Swift duo, was supposed to be trilogy, but that hasn’t come and might not come, mourning)
- 2013 Death by Living by N.D. Wilson
- 2012 Swift by R.J. Anderson (book one of Swift, a continuation of the world from Faerie Rebels)
- 2011 Entwined by Heather Dixon (a slight eery yet lovely retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairytale) and The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall (book three in a charming middle-grade series about four sisters)
- 2010 The Chesnut King by N.D. Wilson (the third book in The 100 Cupboards trilogy, a wonderful middle-grade fantasy trilogy)
- 2009 Knife and Rebel by R.J. Anderson (books one and two of the Faerie Rebels series, an awesome fantasy series that straddles the line between middle grade and teen like Harry Potter)
5 Things You’ll Find in My Purse
I don’t think I have anything unusual in my purse, also, I have a smallish, crossbody since that seems to work best for my current situation, so not much will fit in, although I’ve managed to squeeze in a paperback before.
- Timecard for my temp job
- Various papers, cards, etc. related to my (will remain unnamed) side gig
- New sunglasses
- Tiny notepad
5 Things You’ll Find in My Bedroom
- A hoarder’s supply of yarn
- A hoarder’s supply of fabric
- A hoarder’s supply of toiletries
- Books including some of the 52 (the two interlibrary loans were allowed past the 50 limit) library books I have out. The rest are with me at my grandparents
- A budding collector’s supply of pens and markers (this is what happens when you watch bullet journal videos)
5 Things I’ve Always Wanted to Do
- Make a full regency outfit for the Jane Austen festival (I’m hoping I will manage that for this year)
- Go to England and Ireland (at least, I theoretically want to travel, but I can’t seem to make myself drive out of my city, or even really into it)
- Be fit
- Sew a considerable portion of my wardrobe (part of the hang-up here relates to 3)
- Be proficient in a multitude of art mediums and handicrafts (I’m learning to streamline this)
5 Things That Make Me Feel Happy
- Watching tv with my grandparents
- Holding my precious, baby niece
- Cuddling my sister’s precious mini cat (she looks like a kitten, courtesy of being a runt, but she’s grown)
- I have to steal Olivia’s because this is especially true for me this year, finishing a book and updating my Goodreads to reflect that. I then look at how I’m (currently) crushing my reading goals
- Similarly, using my mildliners to fill out the squares of my habit chart
5 Things I’m Currently/Was Recently Into (I feel like I’m in between things)
- Mary Stewart romantic suspense novels. I know I’ve not ranked some of them high, but that is because I didn’t like the romance part of these particular ones. When thinking over this, I realized I kind of have three separate rating systems/points: morality, quality, and likeability. I usually focus on the first two and usually the first two are what affects my liking or finishing the book or not. But occasionally I find book that meet these standards but not the last.
- M.M. Kaye mysteries (she only wrote a few, and I think I’ve exhausted all of them except the one I skipped and one our library doesn’t have). I was reading these few with the Mary Stewart novels and kind of got them mixed up although they are different genres. They both often have such exotic (to me) settings (Cyprus, Crete, Corfu).
- Watching Monk with my grandparents. Well, I was until Sharona was replaced. Everything changed. I would’ve been okay if no one was substituted in or a totally different side character (this woman is a caricature of Sharona’s role), but now I’m done. I want to watch the later ones (that round up the show) when she returns.
- Taylor Swift songs again. I don’t know how to explain how little of a music person I am. Everyone seems to have Spotify or Pandora, but to me it’s huge that I installed Spotify on my phone. And I really don’t like much music, and what I do like I really have to in the mood for. Taylor Swift seems to have a song for everything or that fits any period of life? I was trying to figure out why I liked her stuff overall while with other pop singers I only like a song or two. I think it’s because the music is important, I mean the instrumentals. It’s not just a stripped background accompaniment. And her vocals go well with the music, they fit in but don’t drown (as opposed to the songs that ARE the vocals, I don’t like those). I think the lack of this is part of why I tend to prefer instrumentals (I love the Piano Guys versions of everything), soundtracks, and more tradition/folk music (and Peter Hollen’s covers!). I just think pop is not really good, and now I think I’ve indentified (for a non-musical person), why I really don’t care for it. I prefer not to HAVE to focus on the lyrics. Her lyrics are less inane too. They are also quite . . . psychologically interesting? I can’t agree with much of the overall tendency, but yet it’s all sort of hilarious?
- Backing up my TBR list. I can place any orders I want directly from the library lists, so I’ve tried to clear up any other collections of books. I’ve never found the Goodreads TBR list particularly useful for me. I use it occasionally, but I’m trying to immediately add any books I read about straight to my library lists, so I’ve cleared out most of my Goodreads list (a couple times over the years). I also had a bad habit of just bookmarking blog posts and such instead of directly adding them to shelves. I cleared out that folder. I previously had a list on Amazon for interlibrary loans but transferred that a while back to an Excel workbook. I then realized that if anything happened to the library site or if I moved, I’d lose years worth of TBR collecting. So, I’ve been backing that up on a separate sheet of the Excel workbook. I will have to put items on both the library lists and the Excel one from now on, but I think it is worth it. I just need to brush up my lists (make the formatting match, clear out any duplicates, etc.). I’ve included all reference books, cookbooks, etc. on the list as well, anything I want to look at. The total of the interlibrary loan possibilities plus the regular list currently stands at 1960. I know I do have a few duplicates to clear out. Possibly also books I’ve read and haven’t removed or kept on the list to reread (not usual). Bear in mind that TBR to me means that to-possibly-read. So TPR, I guess.
5 Things on My To-Do List
- Find second job or a different one entirely
- Finish my second associate’s degree in about a year (possibly two)
- Get fit
- Complete my Regency/Federal outfit for Jane Austen festival
- Complete the art project I have in mind for a (very) late Mother’s Day present. In the interim I made her a smeared (as much as I’d love to blame being a leftie, I’m sure most of the blame is my impatience and carelessness) doodled calligraphy card. I used AmandaRachLee’s doodling tutorials for lavender and for butterflies (the tutorial starts at about 4:36).
I’m picking characters with at least some similar personality characteristics , I’m not sure I think any or most of them are exactly like me. The first 5 are characters with similar personalities (i.e. rather brash/emotional/out of control types); generally speaking NOT the oldest sibling who seem to always be cast in the quiet, responsible cast, again, ouch. The other characters are those with traits I see in myself but who are not otherwise very similar.
I’m wanting to do a post about how so often, I’m like the traditional portrayal of tomboys in personality, but not in outlook or tastes or goals or bravado/bravery. Many of the characters with my outlook, tastes, and goals are meek, sweet, or annoyingly poised. Then also, there are the uptight, old-maid characters whose opinions/outlook I can relate too. OW!
- Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility. I also get Marianne on these quizzes.
- Jo March from Little Women. The unbridled tongue and temper, um yes. The tomboyishness, no. (Rose in Rose in Bloom and Eight Cousins is a well-balanced character now that I’m thinking Alcott characters)
- Skye from The Penderwicks series (the “Jo” of this loosely modern middle-grade version of Little Women). Again, the brashness.
- Laura of the Little House books. Just generally being the one who gets in trouble, particularly because of her words. Overall my childhood personality and proclivities were similar, outdoors and a bit rebellious but still not a tomboy.
- Oh, and this one is going to be good. Susan Pevensie. There have been a couple defenses of Susan Pevensie recently, more or less with the same criticisms of the book that I first saw years ago from a favorite author. However, I disagree with all of them, and Susan is definitely my least favorite of most of the children. And yet, a lot of what I see to dislike in Susan, I see in myself (bossiness mainly, for example). I think I’ll save more of my opinions for when I re-read Narnia, hopefully in the near future.
- Johnny Tremain, from Johnny Tremain. Quick spoken, quick tempered. Sense a pattern here?
- Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey. No, overall I’m not like here, but I’ve frequently, particularly when I was younger, exhibited a great deal of her gullibility.
- Donna in a Tangled Web. Pretty sure that’s exactly how I would act in love (also, see below). Peter and Donna are absolutely the most ludicrous, hilarious over the top people. Of course, I can also see myself making a goose of myself like Jocelyn too though.
- Mara, in Mara, Daughter of the Nile. Now, this is going to sound vain, “Oh, yes, I’m exactly like a clever double spy!” No, what I mean is I’m rather (!!!) readable and manipulatable, like Mara is to Sheftu, he knows all along how much she is attracted to him and toys her with it. This aspect is similar to many of the older Heyer heroines.
- Every unimaginative character in L. M. Montgomery books. Yes, I’ve always been the literal person, however much I now want to be like Anne or Emily or Pat.
Knitting another baby blanket with KnitPicks Shine Worsted (of course), a variation on this well-loved pattern. I’m on the second book of All-of-A-Kind Family, although I’m obviously much above the intended age range (I don’t have much mental space at the moment, and I like to read books I feel I “missed out” on in my childhood), I’m enjoying them (also, five girls, one boy is a familiar situation!).
I’m linking up here on Ginny Sheller’s blog
and here for Crafting On.