Showing posts from August, 2019

83. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

What a great story! I was totally engrossed. I wanted to know the who, what, when, where, and why of all of this story. This story has been around for so long, and I have never really known what it was about, but now I do. Great thriller. It was only a 5 hour audiobook too. Great for a road trip!

82. The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

I absolutely LOVED this book. I had it on hold for months, and I was in the middle of reading other books when it became available, but I plunged right in and could not put it down. 

I had no idea he came from a super wealthy family! It was so great. I highly recommend this book, and I recommend Lavar Burton's excellent and enthusiastic narration of the book. 

He was an exemplary man. It was so interesting to read about his upbringing. He was raised in a Western Pennsylvanian Scottish Presbyterian home just like mine! In fact, he grew up just 42 minutes away from Indiana, Pennsylvania where my ancestors are. 

I wish he had been my neighbor. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. 

Also, if you listen to the audiobook, you get the bonus of a 22 minute interview with the author. It is excellent!

Freewrite Fifteen

Here we go. I wonder when Blogger will update their archaic Blogger stuff. It really is sort of a dinosaur compared to other blog spaces out there. 

No matter. I have had this one since 2004, and I think I am very close to 2000 posts. So I am sticking with this.

Paul is bringing in ice for my leg, and my swelling has gone down considerably because when I go out and about (which I have been doing more of), it swells up. So I am trying to be better at reducing the swelling. I went back to taking ibuprofen. There is a theory out there that ibuprofen inhibits bone growth, but I found no research to back that up, and I like how it reduces my swelling. So I am taking 400 mg every four hours, and it has REALLY helped.

Poor George was really out of it on Saturday. I thought he was getting sick, but he seems to be fine now. He forgot to wash the darks, and I needed shorts for PT. So Paul did a load of darks for me this morning. He has been such a great helper. I hope after I don't need help a…

81. Talking Like the Rain: A Read-to-Me Book of Poems

I wished I had known about this book when my kids were small. I loved the variety of poets highlighted. I loved the illustrations. Great book.

80. It's Great to Suck at Something by Karen Rinaldi

This was recommended to me by someone in the all-women's surfing school I attended in Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico in November 2011 when my friend, Julie, turned 50. I really did SUCK at surfing, and this book is about a woman who makes many analogies from her own journey in surfing, making the point that it is healthy to try something outside of one's comfort zone and to fail/not be the best/perfect.  Her points are super valid, and she has an entertaining writing style, but I felt like her points were so common sense that I got bored at the end. I think this book would be especially good for people who don't try things unless they know they can succeed. I am not one of those kinds of people. 
I could relate to sucking at surfing. I really thought it would be easy for me because I grew up on the beach, body-surfed all my life, and boogie-boarded once or twice and found it easy.  (Both my brothers were excellent surfers, but my parents would not allow me to surf.) In addition,…

Weight Bearing is Coming!

Countdown by
Well that was fun to embed in this blog! The long wait for weight-bearing is almost over.

I have been sitting for much of the morning so I don't know how long this post will be because I have to elevate my leg, AND it never good for my back to sit for long periods of time.

I spent much of the morning sitting and writing and addressing thank you notes for all the people who brought me meals and gave me gifts for my birthday. I needed to call the person who arranged meals, and she sort of chewed me out for not calling her and asking for more meals. I didn't have her number connected to her name in my phone, and I had to get a hold of Carey to contact her. I finally did. The meals stopped last Wednesday, but I was OK with that as I think we will make due until I am weight-bearing, and there are people who bring me meals outside of the church meal train. So maybe more will come. In the meantime, Paul fixed me hard boiled eggs and toast, Café Steamer f…

Sweet Sixteen Saturday Freewrite

I am in the middle of putting my name on a list of a trip that Sharre and Linda are taking to the Alps. It is tour with a bus, but it would be so fun to go with them! So I am putting my name on the list. We each get 300 off because of being the first time and referred. So that might be a nice thing. I have always wanted to go to the Alps, but it would be summer, and they have mudslides in the summer. So not happy about that, but I think they are rare.

George just helped me take a shower, and I have to say that love feeling clean after no shower for four days. :) 

We are going to a wedding today. It is in a field. So I have to be extra cautious with my crutches. I am getting really distracted with this vacation planning so I am not doing the full freewrite. Maybe I should just start it after I am done. 

I have to go get ready for the wedding. Excited for today. 

79. Richard II by Shakespeare

Richard II by William Shakespeare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No one does it better than Shakespeare. This was a gripping story made better by great British actors. Love it. 

I switched to Shakespeare after being on a "Russian Reading Roll," but Russian can be sort of a downer (LOL). So I needed Shakespeare. This story is about the downfall of a king, but there is something iambic pentameter that makes me very happy. :) 

View all my reviews

78. Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov

I am so steeped in Chekhov this last week that I had a dream about my friends reading him and loving it. That would not be the case as I could not see a single one of my friend enjoying Chekhov, including my husband (who likes Hemingway)!  These are selected stories. Some take a few minutes to read and others take over an hour. I appreciate his genius. The guy can write. WOW! Many of these were written in magazines so he could make some money. They are not considered his finest works. 

I don't think I would have liked to grow up in Russia! I don't think, harkening back to my reading in Proust earlier this month, that I would have liked growing up in France either! Give me American culture any day of the week. We have it stratification in society, but that does not have to be your lot forever and ever. Social strata is NOTHING like Europe had it. 

I am forming a thought about European deeply entrenched cultural things that make for emptiness when it is devoid of God. I cannot even…

77. Henry IV: Part Two

"Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown." Henry IV
I see where this quote comes from! This group does such a good job.
I had to have some Shakespeare today after the heavy Toni Morrison book yesterday! I know there is war, treason, intrigue in Shakespeare, but there is often someone who gives comic relief, and that is Falstaff. I have now read or seen the plays where his is a part. He is a character in three of them and mentioned in the one of them.

76. Beloved by Toni Morrison

How appropriate that I would have this book on hold for six weeks, and it would become available to me on the week of her passing. 

She writes beautifully about very difficult subjects. This is not an easy book to read. There were times where she was so ethereal that I was not quite sure what was happening or who was saying or doing something. It is a book of many flashbacks, and I know my Book Babes Book Club members would hate that (they have a low tolerance for a difficult read and out of their comfort zone). I don't mind flashbacks, but I did finally make it easier on myself by looking up chapter summaries on a website to make sure that I "got" what she was trying to say. Most of the time I did get it, but I wanted to make sure.
There were times where I wept (and was very mad at the white race). Morrison does a good job of putting you in the shoes of whoever the narrator is at that point (point of view shifts all over the place). I can see why it won all sorts of awar…

Athanasian Creed 1-4 (with Freewrite)

I am starting Lectio Divina on Scripture related to the Athansian Creed today. It is this and also a freewrite however God wants to lead me today. Here goes:

1-4 Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic [universal] faith, which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic [universal] faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor diving the substance.  The Scriptures for meditation on this subject (and I may just meditate on one of them today) are:

Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6) The Lord Jesus prayed these words for the unity of all who would believe in Him, "I ask that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You, that they also may be in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory that You ga…

75. Swann's Way (In Search of Lost Time #1) by Proust

Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I tried to post this five times yesterday but to no avail. I also lost the review I wrote on Goodreads. So I will be  brief. This is Proust. It is considered one of the greatest books of the 20th century. So, I am tackling the whole seven volumes while I am recovering from a broken leg. I wrote this in my review of How Proust Can Change Your Life, but it bears repeating that Proust's brother said, "The sad thing is that people have to be very ill or to have broken a leg in order to have the opportunity to read In Search of Lost Time." LOL! 

I listened to an abridged version of Swann's Way 11 years ago. I wasn't super impressed, but I am older now, and I have done a lot of reviewing of my "Blessed History" through the Spiritual Exercises so this is basically Proust's secular recollections of his history. George and I had such a nice conversation yesterday about how certain things trigger our memor…

Friday Fifteen Freewrite

I just love alliterations: Friday Fifteen Freewrite. I have my timer set, and here I go!!!!!!

I just finished The Trinity: A Journal, and I made this monumental decision to do my review on Goodreads and then just use the HTML script that they say you can cut and paste and put it in this blog. That way, I don't have to get a separate copy of the book cover and paste it into this blog. Plus, it links back to the book on Goodreads in case someone might want to buy the book because I think Goodreads is owned by Amazon now (they really are taking over the world) - I might be wrong about that, but the rule of the Freewrite is that you just write and write and don't get distracted from this writing straight through for fifteen minutes. So maybe they don't own Goodreads? I will update this freewrite afterwards if I am wrong.

Anywho, I have read NINE books this week since Sunday. I am on a RUSSIAN READING ROLL (another alliteration, by the way)! What is so funny is that I was reviewi…

74. The Trinity: A Journal

The Trinity: A Journal (Reflections by Kenneth D. Boa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lectio Divina on Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I started it in October 2006 and picked up at the Holy Spirit for the summer, and it was great! Love anything by Boa. 

I am a trying something different by doing the link from my Goodreads to here. I like that it just puts the picture of the book right there in my blog, but it is quite a small rendering.

I love Boa. I had done lectio divina (sacred reading) long before I had picked up this book, but I love his explanation of it. I have also gone through another book in this series about the different creeds s(around the time I started this one in 2006), and I loved that. I have one more of these journals to go, but I might go through the trinity passages in this book again, as the author suggests. I glanced at one from 2007, and it was about anxiety over high school diplomas and college entrance, and homeschooling did not hinder them from both! There was no need to …

73. Uncle Vanya

This is another of Chekhov's four major plays that I read this week and on that 1000 Books list! 

Mustich writes: 

Chekhov wrote more than a dozen plays, but the last four are his most accomplished and most performed, and the quartet—because of their original realization by Konstantin Stanislavski under the auspices of the Moscow Art Theater—are seminal works in theatrical history. In each of these works, subtext is as powerful as action: Characters often speak around their emotions, and a seemingly inconsequential line about the weather or plans for the day can have overwhelming emotional force. Deeply humanistic, Chekhov’s four dramatic masterpieces are emblematic of our modern domestic lives in the same way Greek tragedies are emblematic of a more cosmic and radical vision of human agency. Distanced from the gods and their interventions, Chekhov’s characters move through their modest calamities, losing the homes, habits, vocations, and loves that might provide fragile protection …

72. The Three Sisters

My last Chekhov play! I had someone bring me a meal due to my broken leg, and I told her that I was reading Chekhov in my confinement. She said, "I could never read Chekhov. I am prone to depression, and he just does not put me in a good place." I suppose she is right. He is pretty depressing, but I am finishing up my foray, and I don't feel depressed. I am reading his short stories now, and there is a little biography in the introduction, and he is a fascinating personage, and he can write! I think all Russian writers can be depressing but SO GOOD! I just cannot even formulate my thoughts yet, but all three of these plays just pulled me in.

I told my youngest son, Paul, that I was reading Chekhov, and he said, "Is this so you can 'Check Ov' more books from your list?" Such a clever boy. 

He also told me about the expression I had never heard of: "Chekhov's Gun." This is what it means:

Chekhovs gun(ProperNoun) An element that is introduced ear…

71. The Sea Gull

I am on a "Roll of Russian Reading" since I completed Nabokov last  week. This week, I tackled Chekov and three of his famous plays. 

The Sea Gull is on the 1000 Books to Read Before You Die list.

James Mustich writes:
“Why do you always wear black?” a schoolteacher asks a young woman at the start of The Seagull. “I’m in mourning for my life,” she replies. It’s true that Chekhov’s plays are filled with unhappy people, and if you suffer through a bad production, you might think there is not much more to them than miserable Russians moping on country estates, moaning about failed affairs and thwarted ambitions. Then again, an inept production of Oedipus the King might make Greek tragedy seem like some sick combination of soap opera and horror movie. But just as Aeschylus and Sophocles treat the fundamental and enduring themes of human existence—fate, inheritance, savagery, pride, justice—so Chekhov treats the worries of our daily lives: loneliness, love, financial uncertainty, th…

70. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

I read Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler with my book club in 2007, and it only got a 6.3 out of 10 (but they are a tough crowd, and I am always shocked at what they like and don't like). I remember I liked it OK, but it wasn't earth-shattering for me. 
This book was much better. It helped me to ponder my own journey with an abusive mother (something I am only now making more public 12 years after her death) and a father who couldn't be there all the time because he was 1) at work from 6:50am until 5:30pm five days a week and 2) in the garage working on things and with his friends from 5pm Friday night until 5pm Sunday night (our garage was a huge complex separated from our home by a backyard) only coming in for dinner. So, he did not see or hear most of the abuse. It never crossed my mind to tell him. When he was present, and she went off in anger about something trivial (one time is was about me saying, "It is so hot."), he did defend me and send my mother to her …

Freewrite on a Monday Morning

I am on Day 18 of this newest trial. My Enneagram Thought this morning was about Type Twos usually having a "positive outlook" on things, and that is me. I have been looking on the bright side of all of this, but the Enneagram Thought encouraged me to express my real feelings. This is hard because I really do, with all my heart, not denying, see that this has been a good thing for me! I love reading all day and not feeling guilty about it. I usually feel like I "should" be doing something. But doing something doesn't always have to be WORK. Part of it is that I am saying to myself, "You need to move to keep your muscle loose and 'motion in the lotion' for my pain management." That is "body-work" to avoid the consequences. I also count meeting with friends as part of my mental health work. So, it isn't all "work, work, work" (I feel a Rhianna song coming on). 

George is staying home for at least the morning because Paul h…

69. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Delightful! I had only seen My Fair Lady and had never read the original play that has quite a different ending! This was so well done. I love listening to plays as I recover from this tibia fracture. Last night was one of my harder nights and listening to something that makes me laugh is just what the doctor ordered. 

In today's world, Henry Higgins' words toward Eliza Doolittle would probably be considered abusive. Whereas in Shaw's time, it elicited laughter. Listen to it and see what you think. I always like LA Theatre Works productions. They are top-notch!

68. Henry V by Shakespeare

Loved it! I always start out listening to Shakespeare and panic that I am not understanding. Five minutes later I am totally engrossed and following the story! I loved this drama too. Samuel West does such a great job as Henry V! 
I have not listened to Shakespeare since my Well-Educated Mind journey of reading. Although I have gone to several plays since then. It was great to be back! 

67. Speak, Memory

This man can write! What a fascinating life. I was hoping to get more into his mind, and why he would write a book like Lolita, but it is mostly about his childhood growing up in Russia, a member of the aristocracy. He read War and Peace at 11 year old! Say what?
It gave me insight into Russia, the revolution (his family had to flee and went from rich to paupers), and on to England, France, and even Nazi Germany. It was a fascinating read, but I still want to read WHY he would want to write a book like Lolita!

66. 40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This is a devotional book that I have been doing for this summer. It has excerpts from The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together, Scripture for meditation, questions for journaling, and prayer for intercession. I really enjoyed it as I love those two books very much.

65. Lolita

This whole concept made me cringe, and it is so creepy as you read this book, but there is something about Nabokov's writing that is amazing. I could not put this book down even though it made my skin crawl at times. Who thinks to write a book about this subject? 

I read this because it is on most lists of "books to read," and I had been strongly encouraged to read it in June of 2007 by someone who loves Nabokov. I see why one would love Nabokov. The story is perfectly crafted. Seriously.

Another thing that is perfect, Jeremy Irons' narration! Then I found out he is the creepy man in a movie. I cannot imagine him playing that part. I should mention that the novel is a first person narrative (which is my favorite point of view, think Jane Eyre). So I cannot imagine being Jeremy Iron's narrating this and not wanting to throw up.  Being inside of the mind of pedophile must mess with your head. This book is about obsession and addiction. Sad.