Showing posts from February, 2012

February Reading List

FEBRUARY 18!  (And my hubby was born on February 18!

(100 GB = Great Books)
All reviews are below with the exception of the last five which will come on Sunday. 
6. Tom Sawyer (100 GB) 7. Othello (100 GB) 8. Julius Caesar (100 GB) 9. The Awakening (100 GB) 10. King Lear (100 GB) 11. Romeo and Juliet (100 GB) 12. Hawaii: From Origins to the End of the Monarchy 13. Billy Budd (100 GB) 14. The Call of the Wild (100 GB) 15. Daisy Miller (100 GB) 16. Ethan Frome (100 GB) 17. David Copperfield (100 GB) 18. Brave New World (100 GB) 19. The Tempest (100 GB) 20. Macbeth (100 GB) 21. Of Mice and Men (100 GB) 22. King Henry IV, Part 1 (100 GB)
23. The Taming of the Shrew (100 GB)

Still Peace Freewrite

The counter ticks from 15 minutes, but I will type slowly and deliberately today. It is early morning, and the house is ever so quiet. I love it when I can wake up early enough to have this space all to myself for what seems like an eternity. I use this for my time of meditation and writing and reading. Today the reading was Henry IV, Part 1 as I made my chai tea. 

My sleep was fitful owing to the tough strengthening workout from Shandra. She helped me before I went surfing so I would not injure myself, and I had one more session left. Here it is almost four months later, and I finally did it. I asked her for a weight work out, but she gave me a strengthening one that is time consuming, but it is effective. I am sore (but not too sore) and could feel it coming on even last night as I drifted off to sleep.
My dream was a big group and going to places for showers and having to wait for privacy. I finally realized I could wake up and go to the bathroom all by myself. LOL! We had a mission …

Sunday Morning 15

I have done this everyday but Tuesday! I have never had so many freewrites in one week, but they really do help me warm up to my morning writing routine. I have put a lot of hours into my book this week, and it is quite rewarding. I don't know what I am going to do with myself when I am done with the Gospel Harmony Book Club posts in the next month! Ha! I have much to do, and I have many rewrites and editing ahead of me on that score. I just wanted to get it out as I went through it with my Kingdom Community, and that is what I did (with few people viewing what I am sure are many typos and errors!). 

I am feeling better, but George is down with the same thing that I had from Sunday night to Friday morning! It helps to know it wasn't all in my imagination. It is the strangest little bug that doesn't really amount to anything major, but it just runs you down and has you stop. Thankfully, I did, and all was well with the people that I had to postpone meeting with. So, it is go…

52 in 52 Week 9: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Oh my goodness! 

What a book! I LOVED it.

It is absolutely brilliant!!!! 

 We inherited it from my well-read, departed  father-in-law, and it has been staring at me from the bookcase that faces my bed, but I was afraid of it. My husband warned me, "Carol, it is PG-13." He tried to read it, and he didn't like all the sex. So, I have always been a bit hesitant about reading it.

Well, the sex isn't described in detail, and Huxley is satirizing the cheapening of sex in  this "civilized" society. The promiscuity is seen as a bad thing in the novel. Just want to make that clear from the beginning. 

In Brave New World, Huxley creates a world without Shakespeare and roses and God. Yet, Shakespeare is quoted throughout the book! How fun that I had just finished reading Othello, Romeo and Juliet, and King Lear, and will be reading The Tempest as my next book! These works (and many more) are quoted.  

In fact, the title of Brave New World comes from The Tempest:

How many goo…

52 in 52 Week 9: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Happy 200th Birthday,  Charles Dickens!

I'm a bit giddy about finishing this most satisfying read. It took me 10 days, and I did a combination of reading it on my Kindle and listening to the Frederick Davidson narration (which was excellent) as I worked out and read.

Yes, it is very long (because he wrote it in serialized form, maybe?), but Dicken's is so melodic in his prose. That man just knew how to write. He makes effortless similes (unlike most contemporary writers who make it very obvious that they are trying to accomplish that feat and overdo it). 

It stuck me just how funny Dickens is too. Yes, the story has some tragic twists and turns, but David also brings out the joy and laughter in life (Aunt Betsy and the donkeys is one example) too!

I read this on the heals of four American tragedies in the Naturalist/Realistic era of literature, and I ran back to Victorian Britain for a good old story where the good guys are really good, and the bad guys are really bad, and good tri…


I didn't warm up my fingers today with a freewrite. I dove into Luke 16 early this morning as the rain softly (and sometimes wildly) fell. Now, the sun has broken through the clouds, and bathing my backyard in beautiful morning glow. My living room is also bathing in light.

Good morning, LORD!  I really enjoyed this morning. I pray we can all be good stewards of all that You give us.

Friday Freewrite

I don't have enough time to start a new Bible Book Club/Gospel Harmony Book Club post before I walk to Pilates. So, I will just do a 10 minute freewrite here and then go.

I felt lousy again yesterday, but like Wednesday, I started feeling better at 11 am. That was enough time to write about Luke 15 and the lost sheep, coin, and son. I learned some new things too! I did all my back and shoulder exercises and go ready for my afternoon.

Then, I got ready to walk to campus to meet with someone I was supposed to meet with on Tuesday morning. Wisely, I scheduled it for 1 pm when I knew I would feel better. I started to go out the door when Michael came running back from the bus stop to get another notebook, and he tried to run back, but the bus went by. So, since I was going to that way anyway, I decided to drive to the library, bring back things due, and he walked to the Linn-Benton Loop Transit Center from there to catch the bus out to LB. I also knew that I could go shopping if I had t…

Thursday Freewrite

This is starting to be a more regular thing to do. It really helps me to get whatever is on my mind (on my plate) down. I used to have that in my journal, an "on my heart" time, and I loved that, but it seems my journaling is more here as of late. Maybe when I am done with the Bible Book Club/Gospel Harmony Book Club, I will be doing more physical writing, but this is more convenient at present.

I have been under the weather for three days now. Yesterday, I was good from 11-7, and I was able to write five posts and finish David Copperfield by 5 pm, but I faded in the middle of Kingdom Community last night. I feel better this morning than I did yesterday. So, I am on the upswing and am even going to attempt to walk to campus to have lunch with Heba at 1 pm. The other two mornings, I was going to meet with her, but I usually don't start feeling better until about 11 am. So, I scheduled our time for the afternoon. I know she meets with George at 3:30. So, I can walk back an…

Wednesday Freewrite

Warming up my fingers for 15 minutes again. It always seems to help me write later.

I am making the switch back to the Old Testament as I am up to March 4 on the Gospel Harmony Book Club. Luke 10 took me 1 1/2 days to write, and I was already feeling puny (Didn't know this was a Southern word until Lisa O. pointed it out to me on Facebook today. Wonder how it got into my vernacular as a child? Southern Cal?). I also felt some attack from the enemy! It figures because Luke 10 is such a key chapter. I hadn't realized it until I dug deep into it.

I am sorry that I had to cancel on two people yesterday because of my puniness (love that word). One is going through a really tough time but also very busy. So, I really can't risk her getting sick. Plus, her stuff is pretty intense, and I am not all there mentally. The other was a long needed catch up because we haven't met since before we went to Hawaii. We started catching up on Sunday afternoon though. So, hopefully, we can …

From My iPod

I haven't used this from here in ages. Loved this photo!

Monday Morning Freewrite

I am setting the timer and going at it before I start my "real" writing for the day.

15 minutes and ready go!

I think I will give "The Well" update . . .

The Well-Educated Mind: Well, of course, the real list is completed, and I am immensely satisfied in the result. I don't think I am necessarily "Well-Educated," but I know so much more than when I first began. I am thankful. I have to say that this new list I am tackling, The 100 Great Books, is a cinch comparatively! I love that it is all fiction. I find them very easy to get through and understand. Many of them are plays that I can read/listen to in an afternoon. So, this is lovely.

I still have it in my mind to do an annotated bibliography of the 158 books that I read in The Well-Educated Mind and maybe even find a separate website for that subject. I want to be able to share what I learned with others who are on the same journey. It is exciting for me.

I am also loving learning about the time peri…

52 in 52 Week 8: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

Ethan Frome (1911) by Edith Wharton

I read House of Mirth many years ago. I loved it, but most of my book club didn't like her gritty realism. Ethan Frome is the same kind of novel.
Edith Wharton  "became known for her psychological examination of characters faced with changes in the moral and social values of middle-class and upper-class society. Her novels and short stories provide numerous expert characterizations of complex men and women"  (THE WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA © 2007 World Book, Inc.).
This is a "no way out" kind of story. It made me really sad, but Edith Wharton is such an excellent writer! I couldn't put it down. I wanted to know what was going to happen with Ethan, Zeena, and Mattie!
I did not plan to read all these American tragedies for Week 8! 
I need a happy novel or at least one with a happy ending. So, I am going back to Britain and Charles Dickens!

52 in 52 Week 8: Daisy Miller by Henry James

Daisy Miller (1879) by Henry James.From Wikipedia:
"Henry James (1843–1916) confronted the Old World-New World dilemma by writing directly about it. Although born in New York City, he spent most of his adult years in England. Many of his novels center on Americans who live in or travel to Europe. With its intricate, highly qualified sentences and dissection of emotional and psychological nuance, James's fiction can be daunting. Among his more accessible works are the novellas Daisy Miller, about an enchanting American girl in Europe, and The Turn of the Screw, an enigmatic ghost story."
I loved Portrait of a Lady by James. I didn't find that daunting but an amazing psychological portrait of an innocent lady and the evil around her.

This is in the realism genre. I do love how James writes, and it is more a cautionary tale with some boundaries of right and wrong which I didn't like in some of the other realistic/naturalistic novels I read this week. 

Again, the Portrai…

52 in 52 Week 8: The Call of the Wild by Jack London

The Call of the Wild (1903) by Jack London

This book was also from the Naturalism time period (1890's to 1920's):
Other writers associated with naturalism include Jack London (1876-1916), who often explored the Darwinian contiguity between humans and animals and how the otherwise buried animalistic survival instinct surfaces in extreme circumstances. This is exemplified in THE SEA-WOLF (1904), but is frequently a theme in London's Klondike stories, and distinctions between human and animal behavior were often blurred in his writing, as in THE CALL OF THE WILD (1903) and WHITE FANG (1906). (literary determinists) believed that life is determined by environment, heredity, and chance. Jack London's THE CALL OF THE WILD, seven interrelated short stories -- each with its own characters, plot, and climax -- is unified by Buck, a tame dog that reverts to his original primitive state when removed from his …

52 in 52 Week 8: Billy Budd by Herman Melville

Billy Budd, Sailor (1891)by Herman Melville
If you want to read the genius of Melville without having to read Moby-Dick (although you probably should do that too), this is a great alternative. At his death, he left the manuscript of BILLY BUDD, SAILOR. This short novel, first published in 1924 and considered Melville's finest book after MOBY-DICK, is a symbolic story about the clash between innocence and evil, and between social forms and individual liberty.From THE WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA © 2007 World Book, Inc.From Wikipedia:  [Nathaniel] Hawthorne's fiction had a profound impact on his friend Herman Melville (1819–1891), who first made a name for himself by turning material from his seafaring days into exotic and sensational sea narrative novels. Inspired by Hawthorne's focus on allegories and dark psychology, Melville went on to write romances replete with philosophical speculation. In Moby-Dick, an adventurous whaling voyage becomes the vehicle for examining such themes …

52 in 52 Week 8: Hawaii: From Origins to the End of the Monarchy

Hawaii: From Origins to the End of the Monarchy by Brien Kalai Foerster

Above is a video posted by the author that basically has all the pictures and maps in the book. 

As I sat on the beach at Waikiki, I wondered how the United States acquired such a lovely place. My mother-in-law said, "Well, I think we took it!"  So, I found a Kindle book and downloaded and started reading it where the sand meets the sea at Waikiki! 

I guess it is true to its cover that it goes to the end of the monarchy, but I wanted to know more about what happened after the monarchy. It was interesting to read about the ancient peoples, but it got really bogged down at the end with all the myths about Maui and the long names. It is the only book of its kind out there though.

I really think it is stinky that the US just TOOK this lovely group of islands away from their monarchy!  I guess Hawaii is glad to be part of the US though.

52 in 52 Week 8: The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Awakening by Kate Chopin (1899)

How interesting that this book began and ended at the sea, and I was reading it by the sea! 

This book is considered an early feminist novel and from the Naturalism time period (1890's to 1920's) in American Literature.
. . . in spite of the romantic tradition in which she wrote, Kate Chopin explored naturalistic ideas. This is especially so in THE AWAKENING (1899), in which she expresses through the character Dr. Mandelet the naturalist view that romantic love is an illusion damaging to women's social status since it determines for them the biological role of motherhood. The illusion of love, he says, is "a provision of Nature; a decoy to secure mothers for the race." In spite of this, Chopin's heroine, Edna Pontellier, maintains a romantic view of experience and her suicide, in sharp contrast to that of Crane's Maggie, is a triumphant expression of individual will over circumstance.(from:…

Saturday Morning Freewrite

I'm setting the timer for this. Fifteen minutes will do. Then, I am getting some writing in, bake a Bonnie Butter Cake and go to Book Babes at 8 am

I woke up at 4 am with a hot flash. Sometimes when it is that late in the sleep cycle, I can't seem to go back to sleep. So, I got up at 4:30, made some chai tea as I listened to David Copperfield, set the butter to softening for the Bonnie Butter Cake (LOL! Bonnie Butter and Book Babes before breakfast - love alliterations),checked responses to the Downton Abbey finale post on Facebook, and read John 14. I love the Upper Room Discourse.

Now, I am warming up my fingers before I write about John 14. 

I love to write. I was around a lot of writers for many years, and I always felt that they made it clear that they were writers, and I was not. Just as when we got into photography, and some took on the air of being the experts in critiquing other's photos because they had evolved into photographers, and some had not. Who defines that?…

Valentine's Day Freewrite

I stayed up and read my book a little bit longer last night so I could wait until the pea soup in the crock pot was done (put it on high to be done by about 11:55 pm. I turned out my light for "just a few minutes," and I was out like a light. I woke up at 3 am to the smell of the pea soup and realized that I hadn't put it away.

So, I got up, and then I couldn't fall back asleep again. So, I got up at 4 am and worked a bit on Bible Book Club and Gospel Harmony Book Club. I also listened to David Copperfield a bit.
I love this book, but it is VERY long. I loved the "short Shakespeares" that I read over the vacation. That and finishing up Tom Sawyer on the plane, the Hawaii history book while there, The Awakening, , Billy Budd (plane back)Daisy Miller (partially on the plane back)The Call of the Wild, and Ethan Frome. It was nice to read "a book a day" for the first 11 days of February, but I realize that at the rate I am going, David Copperfield…

52 in 52 Week 7: Shakespearean Tragedy - Romeo and Juliet

I wanted to wait until Valentine's Day to read this, but I couldn't wait. It is during Valentine's Week though!

"My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee,  The more I have, for both are infinite.   - Juliet
Isn't that just beautiful? I read this by the sea in Waikiki and was so moved. What an amazing and tragic love story.
Last month, one of my sons' friends expressed how vehemently he hated having to read this play for one of his classes in high school. Another reason why I think that some classics are best left when a person is older and can truly appreciate it! We all need to "ease into him.  I started my kids in elementary school on the "cereal" of Shakespearean comedy by reading them Lois Burdett's Shakespeare Can Be Funseries. Then, I took them to plays based on those versions put on by our local community college. By the time they were in middle school, I took them to great productions of the comedies, …

52 in 52 Week 7: Shakespearean Tragedy - King Lear

The weight of this sad time we must obey;  Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.  Albany in King Lear

Cordelia is so courageous. What a heroine. I love the moral of this story. Evil lurks in the halls of power. King Lear is loonie! Even though this is a tragedy. Some parts made me laugh. Scofield (A Man for All Seasons) was amazing as King Lear!

This is the only dramatized edition that really wasn't unabridged. So, I followed along with my Kindle version and turned it off to read the small parts that were omitted. It added so much to the reading to have these fantastic actors make it come alive!

Here is what the jacket from the dramatization says: 

The tragedy of King Lear receives an outstanding performance in an all-star cast led by Britain’s senior classical actor, Paul Scofield. He is joined by Alec McCowen as Gloucester, Kenneth Branagh as The Fool, Harriet Walter as Gonerill, Sara Kestelman as Regan and Emilia Fox as Cordelia. This is the ninth recording of Shakespeare p…

52 in 52 Week 7: Shakespearean Tragedy - Julius Caesar

"Beware the ides of March."

Did the saying, "It was Greek to me" originate with this play?

I have said it once, and I will say it again: Shakepeare was not meant to be read but experienced dramatically. Since you cannot follow along with a book while you are watching a play, I follow along to a dramatized version. Most of these are unabridged. If they skip anything, I turn it off and read until I get the dramatized version picks up again.

I got this through the Oregon Digital Library, but it is only $3.95 on iTunes! It is part of an educational program put on by LA Theatre Works.  Fantastic!

Richard Dreyfus as Mark Anthony! This is on my 100 Great Books. Shakespeare's tragedies move and stir, but they do not depress. I loved it. Shakespeare took much of this play from Plutarch’s Lives. Since I read Plutarch a few years back, it was fun to get a dramatic rendition of it (although not historically accurate). Brutus is a somewhat sympathetic character in this one, and…