• Reading

    Quad not Trio: Ginny Weasley Should Been Part of the Inner Harry Potter Circle

    One thing that really bugs me about the later Harry Potter books is how the trio doesn’t become the quad. That Ginny is unnaturally excluded or pushed to the side with people more naturally not part of the best-friends group. At the beginning it is completely understandable that Ginny isn’t part of “the” group. Towards the middle it looks like that is naturally changing, but then in the later books the progression stops and a weird barrier is put in place around the trio, as if it is more about the marketing idea of the trio than a realistic and satisfying portrayal.

    Oh, bear in mind that I’m talking about book Ginny (Ginny in the movie is as much of a loser as movie Ron, don’t get me started on that subject).

    Two young boys become best friends fairly easily as kids can do. Through unlikely circumstances they befriend a previously annoying young girl. They are all at an age when life is very boys vs girls, when a year’s difference in age is huge in their eyes, and when younger siblings are automatically annoying. So it totally makes sense when one boy’s kid sister isn’t included in their friend group. Add to that the fact that said kid sister has an awkward star struck crush on the other boy and it really makes including her unlikely. Since Hermione and Ginny get along and Hermione is around constantly, its pretty natural that those two become close.

    In the middle books, when Ginny gets over her crush (or hides it well), when they are all at the age when boys and girls start becoming more interested in each other and co-ed stuff is more normal, and with the pattern of the four hanging out over the holidays plus many of the dark events affecting Ginny as much or more than the rest, Ginny is more included in things as expected. Obviously siblings in a friend group can cause some clash, as well as all the complex crush stuff, but she is more obviously in the midst of things.

    Then Ginny is added to the Quidditch team, the DA is started, and Ginny and Harry are mutually interested in each other and then later, together. So it seems as if, with the four so close already, this would make Ginny their equal, right? Not in fossilized marketing fan driven writing land apparently (or whatever it was). No, the trio still have their inner circle catch ups that it makes no sense for Ginny not to be in, on no planet, no reality; she’s with them all the time, she’s sister to Ron, best friend to Hermione, girlfriend to Harry. She’s as smart as them all and braver than two.

    The crowning insult is in The Deathly Hallows when the trio go off on their own, and independent Ginny is forced by Mum to go to school while the others are off on their own adventure, and Harry doesn’t do much to change that. She’s excluded from their plans for “safety” or whatever. She is just a year younger and acts older than Ron anyway. Its not merely that she doesn’t go with them, she is hardly in the book in that period, she’s not given as important a place, she’s just sort of “waiting” for Harry to appear like Prince Charming which is a role that doesn’t fit him or her at. all. Ginny Weasely meekly waiting?! As if.

  • Reading

    The Idiot Part One

    I’m reading The Idiot by Dostoevsky for my Classics Club spin. I’m using this character list, someone took the Sparknotes version and took out the spoilers (why do these character lists have spoilers in the first place?!!!!). I printed it out, so I could have it handy.

    I’m reading on the Serial Reader app. I did get the paid version, so I can read ahead and have more than one novel going. It’s not a subscriptions, so it’s more than fair for me the excellence of it, I mean I’d give more.

    Marian of Classics Considered is rereading it, so if anyone wants to join us, the more the merrier. I’m going to try to post as I go along so we can discuss, she has posted some already on her Instagram, she’s reading a book of notes about the novel so this is really in depth! I don’t think I can think that deep, but we shall see.

    I’m WAAAY behind, I’m about 22% of the way through, per the app, and on chapter 8. My impressions/emotions thus far have been:

    “oh, this is going to be painful, poor precious baby”

    to “I’m bored out of my mind with his pointless boring stories (why must authors stuff their pages so baldly?)”

    to “ooh, now it’s getting interesting”

    back to “oh, this is going to be painful, poor precious baby”

    to “I think some second-hand embarrassment is coming”

    Someone shared this list of general plots of British, German, and Russian novels on Instagram. Can’t speak to the German novels, but the other two sound about right.

  • Reading

    What I Read August 2020

    These High, Green Hills and Out to Canaan by Jan Karon (books 3 and 4 of Mitford). I had decided that I would read Mitford every once in a while and now seemed like a good time for a nice cozy read. Then I thought I’d read them straight through, but since I’ve stuck in book 5, and I’m starting to get my reading interest back, I think, this current month, I think I’ll save the rest for another time.

    Rilla of Ingleside. This book starts out so well, it is so deep and atmospheric and the build up to and after effects of the tragedy are excellent and then everything else seems incidental.

    As Old As Time by Liz Brazwell. I’ve been in the mood for fairytale retellings and this part of a series that takes Disney’s retellings and retells them. I greatly enjoyed it. The prose was decent to be easy to read and it was fast paced. It was very dark, much darker than the usual Beauty and the Beast, not kid or sensitive teen appropriate.

  • Reading

    What I Read, Watched, and Listened To: July 2020

    Books were mostly rereads. I’ve resigned myself to allowing rereads to count to my quota of books.

    Murder Must Advertise and Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. Favorites are soothing even if they are mysteries or perhaps sometimes because they are.

    Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley. Balm to the soul, as always.

    As Old as Time by Liz Braswell. This was a Disney sanctioned Beauty and the Beast Retelling. I’ve been going through Fairytale Central’s awesome fairytale collections to find which books I’d want to try and which my libraries have. I was totally sucked into this one.

    My newest favorite podcast is Not Overthinking. The way they think so honestly (reminds me of Trollope really, it’s a particular way, merciless but not really, it’s blunt and but not inhumane, hard to describe) and the brotherly banter and the facetious British slang. It can be really serious but sometimes really normal, for example, one of the first things that caught me was Taimur describing his jealousy over Ali’s magic, it was just hilarious. I mean Taimur is a data scientist and Ali is a doctor and big Youtuber (which is how I found the podcast), and the magic tricks were what made Taimur envious, it is SUCH a sibling thing. Also Taimur constantly pushes at Ali when Ali is perhaps telling something maybe slightly ridiculous like when Ali wrote his crush a letter,”You wrote her a letter, did she live halfway across the world and this was the 1800’s?” And the way the slip in jokes at the other’s expense, and the whoever the joke is at stops and acknowledges the good hit. Right in the middle of an intellectual discussion, it’s just awesome.

    I need more podcasts though, once I finish bingeing this one I will have a couple caught up, but some of the funny one’s I’m sick of so I do need more variety. I’m such a princess.

    I’ve just not been into watching any movies or tv because I haven’t had much time with school and wedding and work and my terrible attention span. I did start a K-drama in August, but that is for an August post. Yet, I’ve collected quite a list of others’ recommendations from blog posts and such, if I could just motivate myself.

  • Reading

    Inklings August 2020: The Apple Dumpling Gang

    I’m linking up with Heidi’s Inkling prompt series here.

    The prompt for this one was a bar scene. I haven’t seen too many Westerns, and it would have to take a super fantastic bar scene to wipe out the first one that came to mind which was one from The Apple Dumpling Gang.

    Oh, how we love this movie in our family! This movie has adventure, stellar slapstick humor, tons of sarcasm with killer delivery, genius timing, romance. It is just about perfect for a de-stressing fun movie night. Lots of quoting done by the people who can remember the exact quotes, bless Imdb for their quote section.

    Here is a taste of a few:

    Theodore: “You know something, Amos? The Lord poured your brains in with a teaspoon, and somebody joggled His arm.” 

    Frank Stillwell: “If I ever get within shootin’ distance of that doggone Amos Tucker, he’s gonna have winders where his ears was.”

    Sheriff McCoy: “You two couldn’t steal candy from a baby without coming out on the short end.”

    John Wintle: “I’m leaving for San Francisco tonight.”
    Sheriff McCoy: “San Francisco’s loss is Quake City’s gain.”

    The bar scene.

    So it really starts with the rather slick, sleek Donovan getting married to Dusty (her nickname for a reason), a no-touch, for the children’s sake marriage (see this romantic photo). Then Donovan gets right back to his gambling addiction and saddles Dusty with babysitting the kids. She takes the kids to the general store for candy and discovers (so she thinks) that Donovan bought the bed she was admiring for the two of them.

    She marches right to the saloon where Donovan is peaceably playing cards:

    “DONOVAN!”

    He looks shocked, “Who me?”

    “Yes you, you snake oil salesman! Are you coming out here or am I coming in there?

    “What’s the matter, Dusty? Is there some trouble?”

    “Yes, there’s trouble all right! And you’re in it!”

    She then proceeds to chase him around the saloon flinging epithets (among other things) at him while he tries to simultaneously get away from her and inquire why she is angry. Everyone else tries to get away from both of them while the poker and billiard area is being destroyed. One flabbergasted townsperson asked, “What happened with them two?” to which the the Sheriff replies in a deadpan manner, “They got married.”

    Finally Donovan manages to get an answer as to what the whole fiasco is about: “That’s it? The bed?” and then it’s his turn to get angry. A very quiet anger at first, “The bed happens to be for the kids, Dusty. When the nights are getting colder, they’ll need a warmer place to sleep. So the brass bed is for the boys, and the smaller bed is for CELIA!!!

    I cannot explain the hilarious way this line is delivered, but the crescendo is just absolutely killer.

    After which Dusty meekly and daintily insinuates it’s all his fault for not explaining and sweeps grandly out of the wrecked bar with Celia in tow leaving everyone in stunned silence.

    There are so many details of hilarity, sarcasm, contrast etc. This scene just perfect in conception and delivery and while this movie has tons of excellent scenes, I think this has to be the best.

    Go watch this movie.

    Also, for extra credit. Apparently a great-great-great uncle went to prison for killing a man in a bar brawl over a woman. In the great Wild West state of . . . Illinois.

  • 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.