Reading

  • Reading

    Classics Club Spin #33 List

    1. An Anton Chekhov novel
    2. The Wimsey Papers by Dorothy Sayers
    3. A Toni Morrison novel
    4. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
    5. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
    6. Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
    7. Cymbelline
    8. Henry VI, Part 1
    9. Henry VI, Part 2
    10. Henry VI, Part 3
    11. Henry VIII
    12. Richard III
    13. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    14. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
    15. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
    16. Walden by Henry Thoreau
    17. An anthology of American poetry
    18. An anthology of British poetry
    19. Anthony Trollope novels
    20. George Eliot’s shorter works
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    In Or Out Tag

    I read Olivia’s answers here, and I thought this would be fun to do.

    Reading the Last Page First
    Out. If I’m not feeling the book I will skim, but I will still skim in order.
    Enemies to Lovers
    In. If it’s not deadly enemies or petty enemies, but the true each a strong person with strong reasons and wit Benedict-Beatrice type.
    Dream Sequences
    Out. No. I hate dreams. I find them disturbing. Also it’s a deception/lazy writing issue in fiction.
    Love Triangles
    Out. Overall. I think it technically CAN be done well (rarely, not sure I’ve seen the type when BOTH options are good, but I’ve seen it humorously done well like the Noel, Gay, and Roger triangle in Tangled Web).
    Cracked Spines
    Out. Cracked spines in my experience mean pages falling out.
    Back to My Small Town
    In. If done well. I can’t think of anything but Hallmark and the jokes right now which aren’t well-done but enjoyable.
    No Paragraph Breaks
    Out. Any visually or reading comprehension difficulty is out. I struggle enough to focus, I’m not reading anything that makes me feel crazy.
    Multi-generational Sagas
    In. If it’s done well. Something like the Anne books. The various Little House series.
    Monsters Are Regular People
    Out. Absolutely not. I don’t like grey areas with evil and confusing morality. I don’t want things simplified, but I don’t want anything posing as amorality either.
    Re-Reading
    In. Absolutely, I need my comfort reads.
    Artificial Intelligence
    Out. Not a huge sci-fi person, and I find AI extremely creepy.
    Drop Caps
    In. Quintessential for fairytales.
    Happy Endings
    In. Pretty much a must.
    Plot Points That Only Converge at the End
    In. If done well. It has to be believable, not lazy-minded bad writing that is to neatly wrapped up or to fantastic to suspend disbelief.
    Detailed Magic Systems
    In. Love the details in Harry Potter.
    Classic Fantasy Races
    In. I prefer the Faerie races to Greco-Roman myth (which I’m rather sick of).
    Unreliable Narrators
    Out. Occasionally I can handle it for a change, but I don’t love deception, especially as a major plot point. And confusing moral issues.
    Evil Protagonists
    Out. I don’t like confusing moral issues.
    The Chosen One
    Out overall. I think it can sort of be done well, maybe. But as much as I love Harry and Harry Potter, it got REALLLYY annoying and extremely contrived.
    When the Protagonist Dies
    Out. Happy endings remember.
    Really Long Chapters
    Out. It can work but my attentions span isn’t super.
    French Flaps
    Out. I don’t think I’ve come across this much, but I don’t like the sound of it, I don’t like to many paper layers and complication.
    Deckled Edges
    Out. HATE this look/texture.
    Signed Copies by the Author
    In. If it’s a favorite author. It’s not a huge deal though.
    Dog-Earing Pages
    In for library books (yes, a crime, I need to work on this), Out if it’s my own book.
    Chapter Titles Instead of Numbers
    In. I prefer both though.
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    Delete That by John Crist

    Long time, no writing. I’ve had a LOT going on. And this sort of touches on some things I’ve been thinking about with regards to my story. And I will probably be delving into more of my background later this year although there is a bit of it in this review for context. Also note, I’m also putting this as my review on Goodreads. I’ve edited both because I thought I took my sarcasm too far.

    Two instead of one because it was interesting, I didn’t ha it, and a great starting point for discussion.

    I started this and I was interested, but I got really sick of a grown-a** man’s whining and excuse making. “Everyone is a lying hypocrite so it’s okay I’m a lying hypocrite, it’s not my fault I’m a lying hypocrite, etc.”

    I am a woman raised in the church, we moved from a typical southern Baptist church to a reformed Baptist (hyper) Calvinistic church when I was 11, where as an immature 11-year-old, I realized that I wasn’t actually saved. I’ve lived in that world excluded, I was not one of the elect. In many parts of America particularly the Bible belt there are huge cultural, social, and familial benefits to being Christian. And depending on the situation, not being a Christian cannot merely mean no positives, but it can actually mean negatives, it did for me.

    Some people want all that but they also want all the world has to offer. They want the best of both worlds and none of the consequences. They present as goody-goody, they are the behavioralists, the ones who parents compare the “bad” ones to. The ones who when caught often are excused by the inner circle and always unrepentant, they always have an excuse. Sometimes they stay and claim to be Christians, John Crist seems to be one of these on steroids although it seems that he wasn’t completely excused. Other times they “deconstruct” and blame the entire religion instead of admitting that they were frauds. To both, just take the “L” and own that you snned or that you aren’t a Christian, my stars!

    These types of people have hurt the types of people like me, who are honestly not saved and sometimes as in my case (if a woman especially or maybe even only if a woman), expected to still behave like a Christian. I’m expected to have the worst of both worlds. I’m really not sympathetic to these types of people (plus I’m bitter, clearly). He was also in his twenties, thirties, etc. (I think he’s close to 40 now).

    Crist is very equivocal in this book, not forthwright and honest. He points out hypocrisy, calling people out, but he uses it as an excuse too. “See everyone is a hypocrite, so it’s okay if I am.” Yeah, no, yours is no minor hypocrisy dude, and someone else’s wrong doesn’t make a right either.

    Also, normal people sharing highlights and keeping you know, private things private, is not professing Christianity and living secretly in sin. Social media influencers curating a more cultivated brand authentic to them and being more private since they are public is also not lying and being the total opposite. Not everyone is a huge lying hypocrite about their entire lives.

    He would imply he’s sleeping around with multiple women, no acknowledgement that he was in sin, no repentance know, still trying to act like he was sick, that he couldn’t control himself. He wasn’t merely sinning then, he isn’t acknowledging the gravity now, also this behavior is not merely blatant immorality for a Christian, it is incredibly dirtbag behavior for an unbeliever. But then then later he says, “Even though this was shaping up to be perhaps the first sex scandal in history where no one was having actual sex, I could tell it was going to be a sordid scene in Nashville for a while.” Um, what?

    Elsewhere he talks of calling out and cancel culture (why is it okay for him to do it though?) and Christians calling each other out. He confuses (deliberately) petty squabbles over minor things of Christian liberty with grave doctrinal error/sin/heresy which call for Biblical rebuked and excommunication with petty squabbles of Christian conscience.  If someone defies biblical doctrine and calls God a liar, they do need to be confronted.

    At some point he talks about Jesus not being okay to Christians. Jesus not being “in” with the Pharisees so not comparable to Crist getting caught in sexual sin, with his posturing as a Christian and then turning out to be a white-washed tomb, that makes HIM the Pharisee.

    And then as regards to mainstream culture/humanity as a whole and artists, criminal and flawed are not the same thing. Criminals deserve cancellation and prison. Aspects of #metoo were right, it started out right, exposing and taking down a criminal, then got watered down to include noncriminal acts and then further to slander. Crist seems to be classing all this into “flaws.”

    On page 196 in Kindle version, he mentions visiting a prison and meeting a chill murderer and others, “Physically, these men were imprisoned, but mentally, they were free.” That is called sociopathy.

    He kept mentioning feeling empty, left out, having a void. A genuine Christian would know God and his church are to fill that hole. He mentions mental illness, I can’t really tell how much of that is just innate or a consequence of his choices or put in there to be a smoke screen for obvious sinful choices, he seemed to function pretty normally in wild circumstances which in my personal experience I could not do in mild situations. Everyone is different, it just felt like it fell right in line with his long overt and implied excuse-making. Regardless a Christian starts with God, Bible, church, counseling and a doctor to deal with life. Any or all of those above booze and women, plenty of unbelievers do too.

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    Goodreads Yearly Reading Summary

    Here is my yearly reading summary. I love that Goodreads does this. Sometimes Kindle books get marked done before they are so it’s actually 43. In terms of numbers worst reading year in a decade. Not great in variety either, however I did read the weirdest book I’ve ever read (it’s the shortest one).

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    Classics Club Spin #32

    Post is here.

    1. The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
    2. An Anton Chekhov novel
    3. Another of Sigrid Undset’s works
    4. Beowulf (Tolkien’s translation) WINTER
    5. Cymbelline
    6. George Eliot’s shorter works
    7. Henry VI, Part 1
    8. Henry VI, Part 2
    9. Henry VI, Part 3
    10. Henry VIII
    11. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
    12. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    13. Pamela by Samuel Richardson
    14. Persian Book of Kings
    15. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
    16. The Scarlet Letter and/or The House with Seven Gables by Nathanial Hawthorne
    17. War and Peace
    18. The Idiot
    19. Macbeth
    20. King John
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    TTT August 30: Required Readings That Inspired My Love of Books

    I decided I needed to get back into doing these! Link here.

    My mom started our homeschooling with 5 in a Row, which I believe is based on the Charlotte Mason method. In middle and high school some of our history was the Beautiful Feet curriculum which is also I believe based on the Charlotte Mason method. So we had a rich experience with good books starting with wonderful illustrated classics. Either these books were part of the school program (either read to us  or assigned to us) or they came from learning about the author from a different book we were assigned. I’ve included some of the stand-outs in the kids (so many other great ones though).

    1. Miss Rumphius
    2. Lentil
    3. Blueberries for Sal
    4. A New Coat for Anna
    5. Calico Bush
    6. Mara, Daughter of the Nile
    7. The Eagle of the Ninth (first Sutcliff, feel in love with these novels and Roman Britain)
    8. Warrior Scarlet (first books I remember crying over, granted I think I was already emotional at the time but still)
    9. Black Ships Before Troy (Sutcliff’s writing with Alan Lee’s Illustration, y’all!)
    10. The Wanderings of Odysseus (same as above)
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    What I Watched May, June, and July 2022

    May

    Rewatched both Princess Diaries. Always a comfort duo.
    Breakfast Club. So, maybe this was ground breaking at the time (?), but I was bored and unimpressed.
    Miss Congeniality. Hilarious, also, wow Benjamin Bratt was super attractive, I was trying find other things he was in near that age that I’d be interested in watching.
    Only You. Young Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei. Cute and funny. I’m not sure I’d even heard of this before I found it from someone’s Insta story (I think).

    June

    If I watched anything I didn’t document it.

    July

    Top Gun, original, I enjoyed it.. Now, I need to watch the new one.
    Rewatched The Magic of Ordinary Days. Super sweet, sometimes a little to raw real, and awkward.
    Persuasion 2022 (wrote about that in detail here).
    Rewatched Love Comes Softly. First time I’ve seen it since I watched it over 15 years ago. Raw emotion that it’s hard to watch.
    Tombstone. Cheesy, Kurt Russell’s character irritated me. Also, didn’t scare me that much (except for the dark, rainy night part, anything predatory like that scares me). I didn’t feel much at most of the deaths.
    Juno. This popped up free on Youtube, I already knew the story, I didn’t know how cute and funny it was. Also, because I knew the story I skipped through almost everything with Mark in it.
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    Random Fun Stuff: Book Harry and Ginny vs Movie, Romantic Tropes, The Longest Novels in the World, Etc.

    10 TROPES We Hate About Rom Coms. This channel is just so good. I just love their breakdowns of various tropes, relationships, character development, etc. in entertainment.

    So here is another. Relationship Therapist Ranks Disney Romances. I so appreciate the breakdown of Tangled, love, love that movie, and this makes me love it more.

    A huge round of applause for this influencer acting out how awful movie Harry and Ginny were compared to the book. She does more book to movie differences, too.

    The Five Stages of Gender Reveal Parties. I’m crying. The headline.

    The Longest Novel Ever Written.

    Ancient Roman Bust Found at Goodwill. Absolutely wild.

    16 Personalities Confessing Their Love.

    For when you need the warm fuzzies, Top 5 Katniss and Peeta Moments. Those moments in Catching Fire always get me (they missed a few). They didn’t top those in the last (of course Peeta got wrecked by the author, so that kind of wrecked that).

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    Classic Club 10 Year Celebration Questionnaire Answers

    See post on Classic Club here.

    When did you join the Classics Club?

    Looking through my old posts, it looks like I’ve been part of it since the first year, 2012 (I was not quite 22 at the time of my first post). I didn’t finish my first list, I forgot about it/fell off from it, and since I moved my blog, when the new moderators cleaned up their links, my old ones were removed since I didn’t update the links. Classic procrastinator.

    What is the best classic book you’ve read for the club so far? Why?

    I don’t think I have my old list saved any where (stupid, I need to remember to preserve this one in a post), so I’m going by the reviews I did manage on my blog. I started the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries and fell head over heels for him. I don’t care for all of the novels, but the ones I do are now on my comfort reads list.

    I see that I tried Jeeves and Wooster again (I didn’t get it when I tried for our church bookclub), and this time it stuck. Definitely another comfort read for me.

    What is the first classic you ever read?

    I can’t remember, I know my dad read Narnia to us when small. I know I loved Little Women as a tween and teen. And then later more of Alcott and LM Montgomery. My first “grown up” classics that I can recall was Pride and Prejudice at around 14 or 15, I believe (my mom borrowed after we watched the 95 version with friends, both the film and the book were a touch beyond my total comprehension at the time, but that started my JA novel/movie obsession of the time). I think I’d skimmed the Bronte novels, but I didn’t read the two most famous in their entirety until I was 19 I believe.

    Which classic book inspired you the most?

    I feel like the introduction to Jane Austen as well the homeschool classics blogging world as a teen as well as few years later as being part of a church book club got me more into the classics; my reading/focus ability crashed and burned due to some OCD or some mental break as a teen, all this slowly helped me back.

    What is the most challenging one you’ve ever read, or tried to read?

    Lis Mis was challenging in it’s length and tediousness. Same for Brothers Karamazov. Also, the philosophy of the latter was beyond me.

    Favorite movie adaptation of a classic? Least favorite?

    2022 gave me an easy least favorite, Persuasion. Favorite is harder. I’ve many Jane Austen adaptations, and some are more accurate than others, but in the last several years Emma 2009 has become a comfort movie for my sisters and me. I think that Emma herself is one of the least accurate, but the overall movie is peaceful (excluding Box Hill) and hilarious and the scenery is beautiful, the music is wonderful, and I just love the costumes.

    I grew up (at least teens I think) with the 1994 Little Women, so although the Laurie Jo plot still infuriates me to this day, nostalgia, you know?

    A childhood favorite was the 80’s made for tv Heidi. I watched that obsessively, and in my tiny heart crushed on Peter, envied Klara her boots, and called milkmaid braids Heidi braids until I learned as an adult they were already named milkmaid braids.

    I’m sure there are more (like I said, favorites are harder), but this is off the top of my head.

    Which classic character most reminds you of yourself?

    Marianne Dashwood.

    Has there been a classic title you expected to dislike and ended up loving? Respecting? Appreciating?

    Middlemarch was a dark house, and it was a slow start, but then I really got into it. I need to reread it. Talk of underwhelming adaptations and underappreciated classics.

    Also, after a couple other Russian tries, I was pleasantly surprised to find when starting Anna Karenina (I’d skimmed as a teen and maybe early twenties, not ready for it then, so I did know a lot of the story), that I enjoy it.

    Classic/s you are DEFINITELY GOING TO MAKE HAPPEN next year?

    Well, hopefully most of the ones on the list I don’t get to this year, since my end date is next September. I’m currently almost done with Anna Karenina, about to start Count of Monte Cristo, and hopefully will start War and Peace after that.

    Favorite memory with a classic and/or your favorite memory with The Classics Club?

    I love rewarding myself with film adaptations after finishing a novel. I did read a lot (but very repetitively) as a child, but I struggled as a teen, and I’m not naturally drawn to super long novels, so finishing a novel that is a bit harder to get through and then getting to watch a film is fun.

    I also of course love learning about new favorites to add to my comfort reads.

  • Reading

    What I Read the 1st 5 Months of 2022

    I’ve not done well on reading this year, I’ve had a lot going on, and while I certainly had time still, I had a lot of misses, and I just wasn’t finding it easy to get into reading when nothing was inspiring and was too overwhelmed to try to find more options. I’m getting out of it, I decided to reread Jeeves and Wooster, and I also decided I was going to have to drive to the city for books since the library here isn’t enough, and the Kindle from the city library doesn’t have enough options.

    I read 4 books in Jan, 7 in Feb, 2 in March, 2 in April, and 1 in May.

    The Christmas Box. Eh.

    An Irish Country Doctor. Not worth continuing.

    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Eh. Decided not to read the Moonstone. That’s a large book for “eh.” I do want to watch the movie though.

    The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald. Cute and funny. Might try and read more of the series.

    “Things got mighty dull after The Great Brain decided to give up his crooked ways and to walk the straight and narrow. So dull Papa didn’t even bother to come upstairs and see if Tom was in bed the night the schoolhouse burned down. So dull there is no more to tell.”

    The Wintringham Mystery by Anthony Berkeley. Decent. I need to see if I can find more of this author on Thriftbooks or a similar site since this is all the library had.

    PG Wodehouse. Mike and Psmith and Jill the Reckless I enjoyed. Love Among the Chickens and Psmith in the City were meh.

    Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbot. Defies rating. Defies sense. I don’t know how my sister found this or what possessed the author to write it. If you read, don’t look up anything, any blurb, anything.

    Hunter’s Green and Woman without a Past by Phyllis A Whitney. Eh.

    Kingfisher by Patricia McKillip. I enjoyed, but my library didn’t have a lot of options on Libby.

    Geekerella by Ashley Poston. Cute, nothing to write home about.

    Nonfiction

    Taste: My Life Through Food. I found this interesting. His tone started jarring on me. And it did seem that all Italian cooking involved Italian herbs, tomatoes, and pasta.

    How Not to Die Alone by Logan Ury. I think I’m going to try and buy this. Or at least reread.

  • Reading

    Classics Club Spin #30

    So, I started but didn’t finish Richard III for the last spin, and I’m about 1/3 of the way through Anna Karenina, and I still haven’t picked up The Idiot again, but hey, let’s do another Classics Club spin anyway. I am going to add those on there as well, maybe it will force me to at least pick up the pace/finish them. I’ve divided up my list according to seasons (obviously involved some guessing, since I don’t know much about some of the books), and put spring and summer ones on this list.

    1. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    2. Through the Looking Glass
    3. Walden by Henry Thoreau
    4. An anthology of American poetry
    5. An anthology of British poetry
    6. Anthony Trollope novels
    7. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
    8. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
    9. House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
    10. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
    11. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
    12. Anna Karenina
    13. The Idiot
    14. Richard III
    15. A Good Man is Hard to Find or other Flannery O’Connor novel
    16. 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea or another novel by Jules Verne
    17. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    18. Grapes of Wrath and/or East of Eden and/or Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
    19. O’ Pioneers and/or Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather
    20. Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson