• Reading

    Classics Club Spin Pick

    It looks I will be reading The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I figured that after I had to reformat the numbers on my list, not sure what happened, but it look right on the drafting side, but not on the published side.

  • Reading

    Classics Club Spin #24 List

    I was thrilled that I actually participated and read a work off my list the last time, and I’m happy to participate in this newest spin.

     

    1. An Anton Chekhov novel
    2. The Wimsey Papers by Dorothy Sayers
    3. A Good Man is Hard to Find or other Flannery O’Connor novel
    4. A Portrait of A Lady and/or Turning of the Screw by Henry James
    5. A Toni Morrison novel
    6. Beowulf (Tolkien’s translation)
    7. Cymbelline
    8. Dracula by Bram Stoker
    9. Henry VI, Part 1
    10. Henry VIII
    11. King John
    12. Macbeth
    13. O’ Pioneers and/or Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather
    14. 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea or another novel by Jules Verne
    15. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    16. Richard III
    17. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
    18. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    19. The Scarlet Letter and/or The House with Seven Gables by Nathanial Hawthorne
    20. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  • Reading

    Top Ten Tuesday Freebie: Some Favorite Childhood Illustrated Books

    I’m linking up with Top Ten Tuesday. I had this in my drafts as a spin-off of an earlier TTT childhood favorites, I think I went more middle-grade/preteen on that first one.

    In no particular order. A lot of these were from the Five and a Row Series based on the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, definitely the ignition of our love of good books. I’d love to remember all my favorites, I know we loved lots of the little golden books (loved them to shreds), and my grandparents had lots of books we loved including Sesame Street ones that told other stories using Sesame Street characters. And then of course the illustrated series like the Francis books (which I bought my niece when she was born, I wanted to get her a black and white striped badger to go along with it, but I couldn’t find a cute one, I could barely find any badgers, and most were all grey or something), Frog and Toad, Mr. Putter and Tabby, Amelia Bedelia, and Henry and Mudge.

    • Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall
    • The Seven Silly Eaters (Mom gave me a copy of this for Christmas, she’s started to give us some of our childhood favorites for our own current or future children).
    • Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
    • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
    • Corduroy by Don Freeman
    • Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews. I remember learning about color temperature in this book, this book features lots of cool colors.
    • A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert
    • Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. I vividly remember listening to this on tape, we would go to the library and pick the plastic bags that had little hangers attached to the top, in the bag was the book and the tape. We got this one so often I even remember the narrator’s voice reading it.
    • Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
    • Warm as Wool by Scott Russell Sanders

    Also, I have a favorite that I’ve been searching to find ANY clue about, but I don’t think I’ve kept up on the posts I’ve made on various sites about it. I don’t know the title, the author, or the illustrator, but it was beach/ocean/island themed with gorgeous watercolor. It is a sort of Cinderella meets Princess and the Frog (except prince is a large turtle or tortoise in this story). I could have sworn I saw it featured on Reading Rainbow (another thing from the mists of memory), but any list of books featured on the show didn’t trigger any memories. It featured a stepmother/enchantress, I feel like stepsisters turned into birds, and something about a rainbow fish bridge, and the prince as a tortoise carries the princess or maiden, she may not be a princess, to an island somehow, from a ship maybe. I’m not crazy, the sister nearest in age remembers this book too!

  • Reading

    Reading is NOT a Golden Ticket (Silver Bullet?) to Being a Better Person and More Reading Links

    I’m fundamentally contrarian. I’m also currently obsessed in noticing when people are promoting something as a golden ticket or silver bullet or whatever. Which I think often involves using a correlation-causation fallacy. One of these is reading makes a person better.

    A lot of people who read a lot like to label themselves and set themselves apart, or as Katherine Grimm Bowers puts it, “deifying reading” (go read her post, it expresses much of what I’m trying to say). Reading is privilege, it should be a right, not a hobby, everyone should be able to read a lot and help themselves and enjoy good literature. It is true that reading a lot CAN make you a better person as well as a more intelligent person, but it doesn’t necessarily do so (Stalin met this criterion after all!).

    It DOES matter what you read. If a person is reading poor quality writing regularly, how are does that benefit his/her mind?

    It does matter how you read. I barely skimmed the surface of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well (I’ve got to buy this and read and reread, she so eloquently expands on this subject of books and how we actually need to use them in order to use them well), and she mentions the importance of reading to understand NOT impose our own opinions onto another person’s words.

    We have to stop reading sometimes and apply the things we’ve read or even just live our lives. I’ve read/heard lots self-help people mention how many forget that reading can’t be substituted for doing. (Yes, I definitely have this problem). If one doesn’t apply anything one learns in living a life, what was the point? Reading is supposed to HELP us in life, not distract us from life.

    BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content. Awesome video on bookstores around the world and reading.

    A Realization and A Revelation. What draws you to certain books and characters? What pushes you away?

    Dethroning Books. I love books but being contrary, I dislike when people act like books are a golden ticket to some state or attribute (actually, I dislike when people make anything, cough, college, cough, a golden ticket) such as erudition, intelligence, etc.

    A section towards the end of this podcast episode discusses the effects of reading so much you have no time for development and application.

    What To Do If You Hate Reading. These tips will probably work for those in a reading slump or burnout as well. I find that I can relate to a lot of these types of suggestions.

  • Reading

    What I’ve Read: May and June 2020

    I read 23 items in these two months, 6 of those were short fairy tale retellings and 2 plays. Only 7 were new-to-me reads.

    These were:

    Coriolanus. There is a reason why this one is less famous. More on that in a later post.

    Hamlet. I’ve already review this for the Classics Club here.

    Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer. This was fun (and NOT the rake and young dope version, young rake and his childhood bff). I’m exhausting the treasury of historical Heyer novels. One was so boring and unsatisfactory I opted not to finish.

    Restless Empire: A Historical Atlas of Russia by Ian Barnes. Highly recommend, extremely fascinating. This was supposed to go along with my reading of War and Peace, but said reading has been nonexistence.

    Listening Valley by D.E. Stevenson. Sweet and a nice happy read. I think that is what another blogger wrote which is why i got it.

    Framed! by James Ponti. A darling middle grade fiction mystery. I need to look up to see if there are more. This is a very fast read.

    Penhallow. So I thought I’d try a Heyer mystery. Yeah, so besides not actually being a mystery to the reader and an unsolved one for the characters, it features unarguably a patriarchal, narcissistic, god-awful horror of a man and his piggish progeny. It could have been set in a older time, the vague mention of cars clued me in to it being contemporary to Heyer. The manor house with the men who impregnate village women (over generations, so what an incestuous mess that probably was) and who are basically moneyed Neanderthals. All of these criticisms have lost their weight because over and misuse have diluted their meaning. But as I rarely use them please understand that I mean them fully.

    Yeah, most characters were awful, often inconsistent. The one character I leaned towards has a horrible end, kind of gave me nightmares because of the overall ick and the despair and the non-ending, ending. I rated it one star, the reason I have so few one stars is that I view books that derisive that rating as books that should not be read, so I don’t finish them and therefore don’t rate them. This is one I should not have finished I felt guilty reading it. It was muck with no literary merit. It was interesting in a grotesque way, but I was disgusted that I’d allowed myself to read this completely through.

    Rereads:
    The Fairy’s Return, For Biddle’s Sake, Cinderellis and the Glass Hill, Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, The Princess Test, The Fairy’s Mistake. All the princess tales by Gale Carson Levine. Again, lovely quick escapist relaxing reads.
    I started the Grandma’s attic novels in April and read most of them in May. So that is 7 right there.

    The Silver Chair. I stuck fast on this one for a while. Bear in mind that Narnia was supposed to be my Christmas treat, but I dragged on many of them. I’m currently stuck fast in The Last Battle.

    Gaudy Night and Murder Must Advertise. Two of the best Wimsey nove.. I think next time I’ll skip a few and reread only the best. I’m saving the final novel to finish on my birthday.

  • Reading

    Hamlet

    As I mentioned before Hamlet was my Classics Club spin pick. I put off reading it until literally the last day of May, and I finished it in one day while accomplishing other things like a ridiculously long process of hanging a very high curtain rod that possibly triggered a large nosebleed, but that is another story.

    I know I’ve skimmed this story version of Hamlet and possibly the real version ages ago. To me it seemed pointless, confusing, fatalistic, with lots of meaningless tragedy and angst. Oh, and overrated. My “where’s the love story?” teen/early twenties monomania was not satisfied with the left-over love story wreck I found. And philosophy has always eluded and bored me. Hence, my not reading this VERY (if not most) famous play and instead reading some lesser favored ones instead.

    I read Sparknotes No Fear Shakespeare (I apparently got an older version, but there is an expanded version?!) which has Shakepeare’s original one side and modern English on the other side. I’m proud to say I did manage to mostly read from the original, but I found the modern and notes helpful. I’m in love with this version and want to get all the plays.

    So many of the famous Shakespeare quotes are from Hamlet, I knew the most over-used of course, but “frailty thy name is woman (Brandon)” was the best because I just love when literature quotes literature.

    I remembered Ophelia died, and Hamlet’s death although rather forgotten was not a surprise. I was a little confused about Claudius since the notes threw a question on what the “ghost” actually was. Oh, he was guilty, he admitted it, but I was thrown off for awhile. And I was worried he wouldn’t meet his just deserts.

    I was pleasantly surprise by how quick my interest was caught. I found it less dull and melancholy (not really melancholy at all) than I’d remembered. I learned (unsurprisingly) some dirty Shakespearean modern English (yes, the modern period started around then) slang.

    Hamlet (surprisingly) was awesomely sassy. Full of smart comments and tongue lashings. And him popping up to annoy Claudius, especially at the end when he returns from the ship was just hilarious in timing and tone. And because of all this, was he truly mad or feigning madness or both? He sure seemed to enjoy pushing Claudius’ buttons! I’m not sure what the standard interpretation of Hamlet’s behavior is.

    Ophelia was as seemingly incidental in role as I remember, we didn’t “see” Hamlet and Ophelia during their love affair, nor do they seem to have any affection, particularly not he, when we do see them together. I loved her flower bit; her innocent rapier thrust with the language of flowers. Now, she was truly crazy.

    The evil pair did get their just deserts, but I felt the play dragged towards the middle end and then everyone was finished off in a slap-dash manner, and then it ends in a ludicrously quick manner.

    So, while I do think it is overrated in terms of depth, I am inspired to watch versions of Hamlet, and I did enjoy it more than I was expecting. And I’m especially inspired to read and re-read more Shakespeare. On to reading Coriolanus, so that I can watch the play which premieres on Youtube the day this post comes out!

  • Reading

    Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge

    I’m joining up with Tarissa from In the Bookcase  for the Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge.

    I have the Alcott books on my list of rereads for this year, but we don’t have all of them, and I don’t know when the libraries will start the curbside process.

    I know we/I have Little Women, Little Men, and An Old-Fashioned Girl. I’d like to read Eight Cousins and Rose In Bloom. I may buy them if the library doesn’t open.

  • Reading

    Would You Rather Fictional Grab-bag Edition

    I saw this tag Ivy did that Cordy created and I thought it looked super fun.

    Would you rather, be a tenant of Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley?
    Mr. Knightly, he is less intimidating.
     
    Would you rather spend a day in the 100 Acre Wood or Neverland?
    100 Acre Wood. I’m about to metaphorically, because there are some bbc radio dramas of Winnie the Pooh, and I need something soothing to listen to.
     
    Would you rather attend a tea party with the Mad Hatter and company or meet the Wizard of Oz?
    The Mad Hatter, that would be funny. I’m not a big Wizard of Oz person.
     
    Would you rather spend a summer at Netherfield with Jane and Mr. Bingley, or at Hamley Hall with Squire Hamley?
    Netherfield and Jane and Bingley, Hamley Hall is only worthwhile if Roger were there and single, and well, he’s taken.
     
    Would you rather be “rescued” by Gilbert Blythe or Colonel Brandon?
    Gilbert, can’t stand Colonel Hum Drum. Unless he was played, as he should have been by Matthew McFayden. But still, Gilbert.

    Would you rather marry Laurie or John Brooke?
    Laurie, if he’d grown up as he should. People, growing up doesn’t mean becoming staid and boring. That isn’t how Laurie really would have grown up, he’d have kept his personality and added some sense of responsibility not turned into a boring, sanctimonious prick. John Brooke is underrated. But I tend to like the teasing guys.

    Would you rather have to participate in a skirmish as a member of Robin Hood’s Merry Men, or as a member of the Musketeers?
    Robin Hood’s Merry Men. I rather think they had better morals (yes, I realized this is ironic coming after my above comments).

    Would you rather have a jolly holiday in a chalk painting or enjoy a tea party on the ceiling with Uncle Albert?
    Not sure what this reference is from, but holiday.

    Would you rather have to chaperone, through their entire courting experience, Lydia Bennet or Anne De Bourgh?
    Anne De Bourgh, she’s quiet and not interfering, basically the opposite of Lydia. Can you imagine how annoying Lydia would be, not to mention the telling at the top of her voice of anything embarrassing?

    Would you rather marry Mr. Wickham or Mr. Elton?
    Mr. Elton. I think I could whip him into some shape. Wickham would just continually cheat.

    Would you rather spend the rest of your life in Middle Earth (starting from the time of the journey of the ring), or Narnia (starting from the time of the Pevensie’s first visit)?
    Narnia, Narnia all the way! And marry Tirian. And change the entire course of the last book starting with banning all primates from Narnia or uninventing them or something.
  • Reading

    Classics Club Spin List

    I decided this most recent spin might be a good way to force me to read something off this list. I left all the Shakespeare on the list because I own all Shakespeare (and plays are quicker than novels). I think I could get some of the others on Serial reader and maybe from family members’ personal libraries. Most of the rest I’ve been meaning to get to more recently (usually to round off reading the author). War and Peace I’ve been meaning to restart. Doubt I’d finish if this got picked but it would perhaps propel me into reading it.

    1. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
    2. Coriolanus
    3. Cymbelline
    4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
    5. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
    6. Hamlet
    7. Henry VI, Part 1
    8. Henry VI, Part 2
    9. Henry VI, Part 3
    10. Henry VIII
    11. King John
    12. Macbeth
    13. Mill on the Floss by George Elliot
    14. Richard III
    15. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
    16. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    17. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
    18. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
    19. Torrents of Spring by Ernest Hemingway
    20. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Reading

    Jane Austen’s Leading Men or Heroes Ranked (Tentatively)

    Thinking about this after Katie’s comment on this post. But I’m due for rereads, so I may have to revisit this post. I know my top two. Also, movie portrayals matter, I watched many of the movies before reading and have watched the films many times sense. I think with many of the characters, the book leaves some openness in interpreting the characters (not all of them), actually, to me the some of the most famous (Darcy, Knightley, and Brandon) are that way. Because they are older/more reserved maybe?

    1. Captain Wentworth. Decisive, military, passionate, I do have to wonder though, how well this would work in reality. I mean does a Marianne-type character work with admittedly something of the male-equivalent in intensity.

    2. Henry Tilney funny, kind, honorable. This I know would work for me in reality.

    Now for the others. I do think I’d pick Mr. Knightley next (or would I?), but I’d prefer John Knightley from the 2008 Emma. That smart-aleck and family loyal character is absolutely my style. I’m not sure what I think of Knightly, I’m not sure he’s as clearly defined, all the movie versions are sort of accurate in a way, but also not. He can seem a bit too, puppy-dog, like trailing after Emma which I don’t like. So maybe I would pick Bingley next although. Bingley and Edward Ferrars I kind of group together. I have difficulty respecting them, and I’m afraid I’d steam role right over them, but I’d pick them over the melancholy Brandon, or the boring (!) Darcy.

    Bingley, precious and sweet but too easily led. But he doesn’t do anything wrong, and he does come back without prompting, I think, although with some hints maybe, or encouragement after seeing Lizzie. My understanding was Darcy said something to him after he came back, but like I said I’m due for a reread.

    Edward Ferrars. Grow a spine dude. It’s not honorable to love another and stay engaged, sorry, that isn’t actual faithfulness. However, he is funny.

    Edmund Bertram. Ah, Edmund, I loved you so much until I despised you so much. And yet, I still think I’d want him before Colonel Brandon. I mean if Edmund hadn’t fallen for Mary, or at least for that long and so hard. Early Edmund would be closer to the top.

    Darcy. I belong to the Darcy is overrated club.

    Colonel Brandon. I’m afraid the unfairly ancient and/or slimy casting of Colonel Brandon has forever tainted him to me. If Matthew McFadyen had played him (ala Arthur Clennam) as I think would have been ideal. I think he needed to be brought to life in such a way as too make him appealing. He’s too melancholy a person for me ideally.

  • Reading

    Rereading Planning

    As I’m a highly picky mood reader, I tend to reach for my favorites a lot, but as I also tend to tire/bored of things thanks to my obsessive repetitiveness, I try to space out my reads. I’ve handwritten lists, but this time I added another tab to my books excel file (for my TBR lists, one tab that is interlibrary loan, one for those at my library), to which I added all my favorite books using Goodreads as a guide, the dates I’d read them previously (if I had them) and the dates I could read them next, generally 4-5 years. I ended up with 30 books and authors I could read in 2020.

    I have an Evernote workbook dedicated to fun. And I was working on seasonal files (food, activities, movies, books, etc.). I’d already had a general breakdown of books for the seasons, and I used my 2020 reread list to update this for this year (and will add to it each year, unless I get bored and find another system . . . which is also a habit of mine). As it currently stands here is my seasonal rereading possibilities list:

    Winter

    • Narnia
    • Lord Peter Wimsey
    • Entwined 
    • Wildwood Dancing 
    • Middlemarch, Eliot
    • Dickens
    • Aunt Jane’s Hero
    • Scott’s Poetry and Ivanhoe 
    • Evelina
    • Romeo and Juliet (February)
    • Friendship and Folly and all the ones I haven’t read

    Spring

    • Anne of Green Gables series
    • Grandma’s Attic series (towards summer)
    • Spring-ish (not main ones) LM Montgomery
    • Gail Carson Levine
    • Gaskell novels
    • Little Women and sequels
    • To Have and to Hold 

    Summer

    • Magic for Marigold 
    • Jane of Lantern Hill
    • A Tangled Web
    • Snicker of Magic 
    • Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom
    • Key to Extraordinary 
    • Sarah’s Journey series
    • Annie Henry series
    • The Borrowers series
    • To Kill a Mockingbird 
    • Katherine Patterson books
    • Much Ado About Nothing 
    • Mother 
    • Abby books

    Fall

    • Blue Castle (end of summer/early fall)
    • Emily trilogy
    • Pat duo
    • Celtic mythology book
    • Brontë novels
    • Sherlock Holmes
    • An Old Fashioned Girl 
    • Thirteen Secrets trilogy
    • The Screwtape Letters

    Christmas needs a little work, but I have plenty of time before that comes around again.