Sunday, June 24, 2012

Well Update

Well-Watered Soul

Love, love, love my miles for millions prayer walks. :) I finally finished Isaiah and am enjoying Jeremiah. Time with family during "Dinner and Discipleship" is sweet. Paul says, "I like doing together as a family if makes everything stick. I like our family." :) Before we did homework on our own and then came together and talked about it. Now, we do it together from start to finish, and it only takes us fifteen minutes longer, but the conversation has been so much deeper.

Well-Educated Mind

Hemingway, Martin Luther, C.S. Lewis, and Plato have been my most recent readings. I finally know where "The unexamined life is not worth living" quote comes from. It is Plato quoting Socrates in the Apologia, that is incorrectly translated as Apology in English when it is really his defense before they condemned him to die. Who knew?

I only have one more Hemingway, and I say, "Hallelujah" to that. I had a talk with Rosemary, and she loves Hemingway. George does too. Great people like him. 

Well-Adjusted Heart

I am good. Had a weird thing where a friend didn't like that I had never brought up one of her character flaws until other people brought it to her attention, and I confirmed it. I didn't know how to respond to that because I think I have over the years. I guess I had always thought that she was aware of it, but I guess not. So, she was shocked when others brought it up.  Still praying for wisdom to respond to that one. 

Well-Tuned Strength

I have gone back to Group Power for good and have done it twice a week for two weeks. I can already see a difference. Pilates was not continuing to strengthen my overall body anymore. It was great as recovery  from my injury, but I have had no back problems since starting Group Power. I have even gone where my back was a bit "kinky," and it worked itself out as I went through all the tracks (12 each session). I am thankful!

The walking/elliptical has been great too. I am adding biking as the weather has improved.

Eating has been good and bad. I am going back to tracking it on the BodyBugg site as I broke down and bought a new one that syncs with my iPod. This will make tracking so much easier. I also plan on take a break from Bible Book Club so that I can move more. :)

Well, I hear the chai tea from George coming. I love my life! (No proofreading. So, expect TYPOS)

52 in 52 Week 26: Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

51r3P-wyJEL SS400 .jpgThere is no author like Thomas Hardy. This is my third by him, and he always draws me in so that I cannot stay away for too long. 

This story was written in 1891 and is part of the naturalism genre. It drew criticism in the Victorian Era because of Hardy's sympathetic portrayal of Tess. The narrator is always sympathetic toward her, and I was too. As I listened to Ralph Cosham's excellent narration, I found myself crying out, "This should be subtitle 'a pure woman'!" not knowing that Hardy had already given it that subtitle to "raise the eyebrows of the Victorian middle-classes" ( 

I knew this story because I saw the excellent four hour BBC mini-series in 2009. Since I knew where it would end up, I thought I would listen to it here and there at a leisurely-pace, but there is no comparison between watching a mini-series and reading  Thomas Hardy's prose which is really more like poetry because he "regarded himself primarily as a poet who composed novels for financial gain" ( Hardy is a master. His stories are so compelling, especially this one which is my favorite of the three that I have read. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Vintage reading : from Plato to Bradbury : a personal tour of some of the world's best books / Robert Kanigel.

Just stumbled upon this at our library website.

I checked this out of the library once, but I didn't have time to really look at it. It overlaps with so many of my favorite books. 

Table of Contents
   Look Homeward, Angelp. 8
   xThe Portrait of a Lady p. 11
   xAs I Lay Dyingp. 14
   xWuthering Heightsp. 17
   Kimp. 20
   xAlice's Adventures in Wonderlandp. 23
   Justinep. 25
   xOliver Twistp. 27
   xPride and Prejudicep. 30
   xA Passage to Indiap. 32
   xMy Antoniap. 35
   xMadame Bovaryp. 38
   Stories (Heretics, subversives, demagogues) - Dorothy Parkerp. 42
   xThe Princep. 44
   The Devil's Dictionaryp. 47
   xMein Kampfp. 50
   Nana - Emile Zolap. 53
   Ten Days That Shook the World - John Reedp. 55
   xNative Sonp. 58
   xEssays (Books that shaped the western world) - Montaignep. 62
   xDialogues - Platop. 65
   The Wealth of Nations - Platop. 68
   An Essay on the Principle of Population - Thomas Malthusp. 71
   xThe Decline and Fall of the Roman Empirep. 74
   The Origin of Speciesp. 77
   xThe Historiesp. 80
   The Federalist Papersp. 83
   The Annals of Imperial Romep. 86
   xThe Peloponnesian Warp. 89
   xDemocracy in Americap. 92
   Only Yesterday - Frederick Lewis Allenp. 96
   Microbe Hunters - Paul de Kruifp. 99
   Selected Works - Cicerop. 102
   Coming of Age in Samoa - Margaret Meadp. 104
   The Outermost House - Henry Bestonp. 107
   The Amiable Baltimoreans - Francis F. Beirnep. 110
   What to Listen for in Music - Aaron Coplandp. 113
   Gods, Graves, and Scholars - C.W. Ceramp. 116
   The Stress of Life - Hans Selvep. 118
   The Greek Way - Edith Hamiltonp. 121
   A Journal of the Plague Year - Daniel Defoep. 126
   The Doors of Perception - Aldous Huxleyp. 129
   Elective Affinities - Goethep. 132
   Homage to Catalonia -George Orwellp. 135
   Civilization and Its Discontents - Sigmund Freudp. 138
   Arrowsmith - Sinclair Lewisp. 141
   Roughing It - Mark Twainp. 144
   A Study in Scarlet p. 148
 x  The Song of Hiawathap. 150
   The Rise of David Levinsky - p. 153
   Java Headp. 156
   Mr. Pottermack's Oversightp. 159
   A Bell for Adanop. 161
   The Martian Chroniclesp. 164
   Gentleman's Agreementp. 167
   The Ten Books of Architecturep. 172
   The Lives of the Most Eminent Italian Architects, Painters, and Sculptorsp. 175
   The Seven Lamps of Architecturep. 177
   The Nude: A Study in Ideal Formp. 180
   The Elements of Stylep. 182
   A Room of One's Ownp. 186
   The American Languagep. 189
   The Little Princep. 192
   The Education of Henry Adamsp. 195
   Flatlandp. 198
  x Their Eyes Were Watching Godp. 201
   A Mathematician's Apologyp. 204
   My Lifep. 207
   The Structure of Scientific Revolutionsp. 210
 x Gilgameshp. 214
 x  Confessionsp. 217
   The Golemp. 219
   The Razor's Edgep. 221
 x  The Seven Storey Mountainp. 224
   Death Be Not Proudp. 227
  x Ecclesiastesp. 230
   Lost Horizonp. 233
   The Bhagavad Gitap. 236
   xNight - p. 239
   The Varieties of Religious Experience - William Jamesp. 242

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ray Bradbury on Books, Writing, and Being Your Own Self

"How to Be Madder than Captain Ahab"  by Ray Bradbury in Chicken Soup for the Soul:

"I have been a library jackdaw all of my life, which means I have never gone into that lovely holy place with a book list, but only with my beady bright eyes and my curious paws, monkey-climbing the stacks over among the children's and then again where I was not allowed, burrowing among the adult's mysterious books. I would take home, at the age of ten, eight books at a time, from eight different categories, and rub my nose in them and all but lie down and roll on them like a frolicsome springtime dog...."

"and the more you read, the more the ideas begin to explode around inside your head, run riot, meet head-on in beautiful collisions so that when you go to bed at night the damned visions color the ceiling and light the walls with huge exploits and wonderful discoveries...."

"I may start a night's read with a James Bond novel, move on to Shakespeare for half an hour, dip into Dylan Thomas for five minutes, make a fast turnabout and fasten on Fu Manchu, that great and evil oriental doctor, ancestor of Dr. No, then pick up Emily Dickinson, and end my evening with Ross MacDonald, the detective novelist, or Robert Frost, that crusty poet of the American rural spirit.  The fact should be plain now: I am an amiable compost heap...."

"I am a junkyard, then, of all the libraries and bookstores I ever fell into or leaned upon, and am proud that I never developed such a rare taste that I could not go back and jog with Tarzan or hit the Yellow Brick Road with Dorothy, both characters and their books banned for fifty years by all librarians and most educators.  I have had my own loves, and gone my own way to become my own self. I highly recommend you do the same.  However crazy your desire, however wild your need, however dumb your taste may seem to others....follow it!"
And on writing:

To sum it all up, if you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling.
You must write every single day of your life.
You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next.
You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.
I wish for you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime.
I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you.
May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories.
Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.
(Ray Bradbury, "How to Be Madder Than Captain Ahab." Quoted by William Safire and Leonard Safir inGood Advice on Writing. Simon & Schuster, 1992) 

Sunday Morning Summation

Well-Watered Soul

Lovely times in the prophets lately. I always dread them. In spite of the judgment, there is hope and comfort and compassion. I am looking forward to Jesus in not too many days, but I now that I am in the middle of the waters of the prophets, I am not sinking. There is a life ring of hope.

I have walked a prayed quite a bit in the last week. I read something this morning in On Prayer and Contemplation from Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas that I love:

We pray because we submit to the God of the Universe who knows all, sees all, and loves us so much. There have been some things that I am pleading with God about lately. I am desperate in my prayer knowing that only He can do "exceeding abundantly beyond what I ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).

So, my soul feels like it is drinking living water lately.

Well-Educated Mind

I am a bad girl! I said I would finish up all books but spiritually nourishing books for a time,  but The Sun Also Rises was already in my holds at the library. So, I am breaking that rule, and it is such a STUPID, POINTLESS book! Why is it in the "100 Great Books" List? Quite rambling. UGH.

I am reading some classics like the one I quoted above, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses by C.S. Lewis, The Babylonian Captivity of the Church by Martin Luther. I am also listening to The Ascent of George Washington, but that is OK since I had started reading it before I made this decision to knock off the 20th Century depressing novels! LOL!

Well-Adjusted Heart

I am good. Saw someone that is unhealthy for me to be around,  and it was OK. In the past, I would have thought that I needed to twist myself like a pretzel to have them "like" me, but I honestly know that I would not want a close relationship with that person anymore because they are so unhealthy and suck me dry.  It was a relationship of convenience, nothing more. That person needed things from me that I could give, and when the person no longer had need of me for them, there was no relationship left. I don't know if that person knows of another way to relate to people, really. Burned many people. The relationship really was over about this time 15 years ago, but I came back from Malaysia thinking the person was my closest friend in town. Wrong. The good thing I can say is that I have NO other relationships that are like that. My friends are my friends, not because of what I can give them but because there is a meeting of our souls. I am so very grateful for the close friends that You have given me, and I thank You that through this relationship, You have taught me so many good lessons of wisdom and of life. Probably my second most painful relationship (other one was an unhealthy one in college) of all time, but I have so many other relationships that are so healthy and long-term and deep. I am really blessed.

This person was a bit stand-offish, and I wanted to say, "Don't worry, I really have no desire to be around you. You don't have to act like you are better than me, more well-liked than me, or more 'in' the crowd at this place than me." I get your mode of relating, and I don't need to have any part of you anymore." Instead the person plays a game of protection and walls that she doesn't need to play. I have moved on. You need to get over the ego you have about being better than me. You aren't. We are "just as good as and no better than anyone else."  We are free, but she doesn't know it. I realize she may never know it. So, I prayed.

I prayed through the whole hour long that I was around them. I prayed for healing. I thanked God for the joy I feel. It was my Liberation Day from the clutches of a church that was really unhealthy for me and part of that was a liberation from her too. So, I am really thankful. I love her family though. Love them to pieces, but I still have those relationships.

I am so much healthier than I used to be, and I don't have to be friends with everyone, but I am called to love everyone. It may sound like I am bitter, but I am not. I am free. I just feel very sad for the bondage that she is under, but I wouldn't have time for her even if she were healthy. Too many others that I want to spend time with right now!

Well-Tuned Strength

I went to Group Power two times last week, and I was SO sore from Tuesday, but so GOOD! I didn't go Thursday because I was more sore than Wednesday. So, I went Saturday, and I am not sore today. I really liked the instructor too, I think his name was Don. He doesn't keep time with the music, but he is really encouraging as he goes. Liked him.

Eating. UGH! I thought I was doing really well, but the scale does not reflect that. If I don't count every calorie that goes in, I think I am really eating reasonably. I am so close to my goal, but I am SICK of counting calories. UGH!

52 in 52 Week 25: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

 Beautifully written in flawless form. I liked this Hemingway quite a bit! 

This is a wonderful novella about an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago. I do not want to give too much away. My husband gave more away than I would have liked, but he thought this would have been a better introduction to Hemingway than For Whom The Bell Tolls, which is his longest book. 

This is a story about courage, humility and pride, aloneness, companionship and love, age and youth, honor, and heroism. It has many layers of meaning. It won him the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 1953. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

1 Peter 1:3-11

This is from the brilliantly artistic daughter of a high school friend of mine. Isn't it lovely?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tired, Happy, and Sore

Thursday Freewrite 

I find it is feast or famine with me. This week has been active, and I am tired. We went to Silver Creek Falls and The Oregon Garden yesterday for a total of nine hours of being out and about. Then, we came home and went out as a family, celebrating the boys finishing their finals. It was great, but I could barely get out of bed this morning.  I wonder why?

I had all sorts of grand intentions about getting myself to Group Power at 9:20 am, but I cannot seem to move. Tuesday and Wednesday I had so much energy, I wrote for two hours, went to Group Power did elliptical, met with Kathleen. Yesterday I ploughed through all my work early in the morning before our excursion. Now, I am ready to go back to bed.

I am sore from Group Power though. It didn't hit me so hard yesterday, and it was good to walk all day, but I am more sore today than Wednesday. Pilates and private weight lifting isn't cutting it for me. Group Power challenges me beyond, and I haven't been back since I hurt my back (maybe two times). I thought I was getting just as good of workouts, but after Tuesday, I realized that I was WRONG. It hurts right where it should for me to get back to being really strong again. I realized that I never had back problems when I did Group Power. 

So, I am doing it at least two times a week. I feel it today in my triceps and between the shoulder blades (where I am weakest). Surprisingly, I am not sore in my glutes. I thought that would be where I would feel it the most, but I guess all the walking I have been doing has really strengthened that part of my body.

I got through a few chapters of Isaiah this week. So, I am up to Isaiah 54. I would really like to be through it. I skipped and went on to Micah and flew through it. I might skip Jeremiah and go to some Psalms or something. I have big books after Isaiah: Jeremiah and Ezekiel. They are not for the faint at heart. This was the toughest part of Bible Book Club for me last time. I longed for Jesus when I was plowing through the judgment and glad I didn't grow up in Old Testament times! I have 73 more posts for 2012. That is about 2 1/2 posts per week. It is a discipline, but it is such a worthwhile discipline, even if nothing comes of it.

My walking and praying has been the highlight of my life since my personal prayer retreat! I have loved walking and praying for peoples. So rewarding!  I have some really nice days of sunshine for it too. YAY!

Well, I think I am running out of time, and I am really glad I could get my fingers walking through the keys before I tackle another day of writing. Lisa canceled on me today. SO, I have more time and just a talk with Heather and dinner and discipleship with the family tonight. YAY!

I love my life even though I am tired and sore today! Bye! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fifteen Freewrite - GO!

Well-Watered Soul

I couldn't be happier. My soul is feeling so lifted to God lately. I decided to cut back on the morbid tragedies for a while and read some things that life up my soul. Of course, I am reading the Bible, and it really helps that I am now in the "hopeful" part of Isaiah (51) because the judgment part was also when I was going through the little overwhelming mini-funk that I have been going through because of being out of BALANCE! So, that is so great. 

A few of the things that I have read include: 

Holy Invitations:Exploring Spiritual Direction by Bakke 
The Weight of Glory and Other Essays by C.S. Lewis
On Prayer and Contemplation by Aquinas (from the Summa Theologica) 
The Art of Christian Listening by Thomas Hart

I am also taking a course called SoulCare 101 for the Certificate in Spiritual Direction I will earn this summer before I do the more intense Spiritual Direction course through the Shalom Prayer Center in Mt. Angel. It will mean a weekly commute 24 weeks a year, but my soul will benefit greatly from it!

One of the most exciting things is what I am learning as I walk and pray (see a previous post about that). I am praying for a different unreached people group for every mile. I love it! I am trying to get out first thing in the morning before I sit down at my computer and to take "walking and praying" breaks throughout the day so that my body doesn't settle into this chair of mine.

Soul is very WELL-WATERED these days!

Well-Educated Mind

As you can see, I am 81% of the way through the list in 100 Great Books, but I am also reading books from The Invitation to the Classics, because the emphasis in that book is books that a believer should read, and they are a little tamer than some of the books on the 100 Great Books list. I am continuing to love my self-education journey so much. 

Currently I am listening to Faust I, but the audiobook from librivox is not very good! The guy who plays Méphistophélès sounds like he has a cold. It is so annoying!

I finished Tess of the D'Urbervilles, and the book is even better than the mini-series! Review is forthcoming! 

Well-Adjusted Heart

Balance has been replaced in my life. YAY! Our Kingdom Community is over, and that has freed up my time to take a break and do other projects. So, I love having balance!

Well-Tuned Strength

Walking! That is really helping my back. I haven't been going to Pilates, mainly because I am wondering if my days at the Timberhill Athletic Club have come to a close, and maybe I should go to campus (cheaper but terrible parking). I still have to think through all of that.

Need to lift weights today, but I am doing great in this department. 

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Open the Gates of Summer!

Part II of what God told me:

1) Walk - Isaiah 40:31

...............for world - prayer miles for millions (Matthew 5:14) wait on Him - for the next step (Isaiah 30:18-21)
...............for weight control  [with weight lifting] (1 Corinthians 6:20)

2) Word - Jeremiah 15:16

...............Old Testament with the BBC
...............Hebrews with SCC
...............with Weavers in Dinner and Discipleship Thursdays
...............with women

3) Weavers - Titus 2:3-5 my husband by dating him weekly my children by weekly walks, dinner, and discipling at home: cooking, clutter, crafts (photos!), camping
...............Washington D.C. (wedding, Wardrop ancestry)

4) Women - 2 Timothy 2:2

...............Kathleen (every other Tuesday)
...............Stacy (Monday mornings)
...............Abi (World Walking and Downton Abbey)
...............Spiritual Direction, Discipeship, Discernment as needed

Friday, June 08, 2012

Friday Freewrite Fifteen

I just had three glorious days at the Shalom Prayer Center in Mt. Angel, Oregon. What was lovely is that I didn't have some pressing emotional crisis. No one had devastated me by seething out vicious words or vitriol (like last time I was at the beach and had to spend five days working through something like that). 

It is the first extended time where I could just sit and soak. Definitely had some fears just below the surface that came in the quietness before God though. I was able to hear His voice for the immediate future. 

It took about 30 hours before heaven broke through as I unplugged from the world and just sat at a bench perched at the top of Mt. Angel and listened in the quietness. The gardeners with their leaf blowers were gone. The tractor laying fertilizer in the freshly mowed grass left, and there was just me and the wind and the birds and the gorgeous sunshine shining down on the green farmland below. 

Then I sat in the quietness of the church and just listened. Then I heard the monks at Vespers (sunset evening prayer). Then I walked down the mountain with the sun shining in my face, and You spoke clearly and distinctly and all my plans at the bottom of the hill that I had furiously journaled about in pages 5-8 were for not because "the mind of a [wo]man plans [her] way, but the Lord directs [her] steps" (Proverbs 16:9). How foolish I had been in my striving (Psalm 46:10).

Paul required my attention, and it is two hours later that I am getting back to this freewrite. I am going to go and finish Isaiah 48 first. I must complete June, and that is the last post for it.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Leaning Hard on Thee

"I could not do without Thee"  - Havergal

Monday Morning Freewrite

I have much of a full day of writing ahead of me today as I am going on a prayer retreat for three days starting tomorrow morning. I want to work my way ahead in the Bible Book Club so that I can take a vacation this summer. Oh, I also have a meeting with Jennifer in the early afternoon, and I think she is very tired and needs some TLC. I have the energy for it though. I have been much better at balance these days.  I also need to send back the bathing suit and dress that did not fit and cancel a subscription to something. Then, I will be totally free to go on my retreat. 

I haven't had a freewrite in some time, mainly because I haven't been writing much this last week. We finished up our Kingdom Community, and I wanted to finish well by getting all the reading done, getting some evaluations, and helping Heather get out the door to China. I spent most of the day with her on Thursday helping her get her oven cleaned up and dishes packed. She was off by 6 am Friday morning at which time I did a much needed LONG workout at the club including elliptical, run/walk, weights, and Pilates. 

The weekend involved a wedding, retirement party, church annual meeting, and Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. I didn't write one stitch, but George and I did some walking and talking and praying about our role in the Kingdom next year; and again, why I am going to go away for three days to pray. When I get back, we will be taking Heba and her mom to the beach and Silver Creek Falls on Friday and Saturday. Then, I am doing a Wedding Shower devotional for Abi on Sunday afternoon.  

After that, we speak for the career singles class at Northwest Hills and have Micah and Abi's wedding on Saturday. Then, I think I can honestly say that I will have some rest. 

I still need to talk to Stephanie. I had to tell her that I couldn't meet with her until after I was done with all the things with the Kingdom Community, Romans study, etc. I will see how I feel at the end of the time of prayer. Maybe next Monday.

At the beginning of my prayer retreat, I will meet with Sister Joan. I want to find out about the Spiritual Direction program that she has going on. 

Well, I have five more minutes, and I have run out of things to say. Oh, my back has done very well these days. I am not sure what I have been doing differently. Even having cleaned Heather's oven at a sideways angle did not make it go out. I have been really good about getting it back in place lately before it becomes too big of a problem. I do hope the beds at the Shalom Prayer Center are good. 

I cannot believe it has been 1 1/2 years since I have had an overnight prayer retreat. No, I had an aborted one last year at this time when that man kept talking in the library at the Sylvia Beach Hotel, and I could not, for the life of me, concentrate! I got my money back and came back home in the early evening, frustrated. The time before that was about six months earlier when I was at the beach home of a friend, but they saddled me with all these things to do for them while I was there and called me during the time. I was so frustrated by that too and resolved never to go to the home of another unless it could be given to me "responsibility free." That time, it was when I was quite tired and needed a lot of rest. It was when I was doing Revelation. So that would have made it about October 2010. So, I guess that was about a year and a half ago. 

Perfect 10 seconds left. Bye. George has awoken! 

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Summer Lighting by P.G. Wodehouse

I want to read this book someday, but it isn't in my library!

'Summer Lightning' by P.G. Wodehouse
Summer LightningBy P.G. Wodehouse

Reading Wodehouse novels is like dancing wildly to pop records in your living room at three in the morning while glugging alternate mouthfuls of white wine, frozen yogurt, and leftover chocolate from Christmas. This one involves a party at an English estate, single young men, a butler, various attractive women, a rich aunt you want to keep on the right side of, and a large pig. It's impossible to stay in a fed-up, resentful, or self-righteous state of mind when reading Wodehouse.

Read more:

52 in 52 Week 24 :For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

The title comes from the writings of a famous poet, John Donne:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
 (1624 Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions)

Before I start my review, let me refer you to a fascinating NPR radio report by Susan Stamberg about how fierce political opponents, Barack Obama and John McCain, relate with the main character, Robert Jordan HERE

First off, let me say that I have always avoided Hemingway like the plague, but he is one of my husband's favorite authors. Also, four out of Hemingway's seven novels are on my list of "100 Great Books"! Can you believe that? 

So this is my first foray. The tipping point toward reading came when I saw Midnight in Paris, and my husband laughed through all the lines of the Hemingway character, and I realized that he was the only author in the movie that I had not read (If you love art and literature, you HAVE to see Midnight in Paris. It is so fun!). Now that I have read through my first Hemingway, I know that Woody Allen TOTALLY pegged him in this movie. I need to see it again now that I have finally read him!

Francisco Franco ruled Spain
from April 1939 - November 1975
This book is three days in the life of an American professor who has come to blow up a bridge with the republican guerrillas fighting against Francisco Franco's regime. I lived in Santiago de Compostela, Spain in 1982, just seven years after Franco had died. So, the memory of his dictatorship still was fresh in the minds of the people. When he wrote of Galegos, I knew he was writing of the indigenous people of the province of Galicia, where I lived. He mentioned many town that I had visited too. This all made it more interesting for me. 

I like books that make me think of history and war. Hemingway had an agenda. War stinks ("a bitchery" as one of the characters in the book says toward the end). I agree. The story was very slow moving, but I have to admit that Hemingway finally captivated me about 1/2 way through the almost 500 page book. I had been listening to it on audiobook, but there was something about seeing Hemingway's words that made me appreciate him for the craftsman that he truly was. 

When I was stuck on that first half, I checked out the 1943 movie version with Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman (really, a blonde-haired, blue eyed Swede playing a Spaniard?). A visual picture sometimes gets me through a book. By the way, this is the only movie adaptation that Hemingway liked, and he loved Gary Cooper, his friend, playing the role of Robert Jordan. 

Prior to the halfway point, I would have said it was pretty boring. Wondering if anyone else thought Hemingway boring, I found a fascinating article by Googling, "Is Hemingway Boring?"  Read it! It is great (It has a few spelling errors, but don't let that deter you.).  My husband tells me that Hemingway was the first of his kind. How he wrote was so ground-breaking that he won the Pulitzer Prize for literature.  Today's reader might not appreciate this. 

As I read it, I did wonder why is it that so many Twentieth Century authors wrote so brilliantly when they were drunk or high on drugs? I feel like it is like a "Photoshop for authors" because it enhanced their writing like Photoshop enhances photos. It is sort of like cheating.   

Why were so many of them such troubled souls? Many of them died tragic deaths with suicide or the slow suicide from the substances they abused. Hemingway's suicide was related to all the health problems related to hard living, but it was also because he was severely depressed after the death of his friend, Gary Cooper (star of For Whom the Bell Tolls), from cancer two months earlier. 

All that said, I ended up loving this story. I couldn't put it down (and even brought it to our church's annual business meeting and read it during less interesting points in the evening. LOL!).  

The movie, like the book, is incredibly slow in the beginning, but it picks up in the second half and leaves you quite moved and contemplative in the end. Their love story was mesmerizing (and much cleaner in the movie than in the book!). 

Friday, June 01, 2012

52 in 52 Week 23: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

My Book Dames Book Club decided to read this because we read Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Alice Walker has said that her inspiration comes from Hurston. Hurston's writing was so beautiful. I found Alice Walker's less so. I know that The Color Purple is considered a classic, but I don't feel like it is well-written, and it is pretty crude, raw, gritty in parts. 

I warned my book club of this three weeks ago, but no one had responded. So, I plunged ahead with it. Just as I was finishing the last line on my iPod this morning, I heard a "ding" from Facebook with another person in the club who started it last night and said, essentially the same thing. I guess they didn't see what I wrote three weeks ago. So, we are rethinking it.

I am really conservative. I know life can be gritty, but I felt Hurston did it in such a non-offensive way, whereas Walker (and Toni Morrison in The Bluest Eyes) are just distastefully crude. 

I felt like I needed to take a shower afterward. I think it is sad because there is much in the book that is really quite beautiful (Nettie's letters), but the crudeness spoiled the book for me. I really, really wanted to like this book, but I didn't really care for it. 

Also, Alice Walker, while sweet, should stick to writing books and not narrating them. She is no actress. So, it was really stilted and boring in parts. I read from a print copy when I could. 

Tuesday Ten Minute Freewrite

I am going to go great guns for 10 minutes on this freewrite. I am meeting with a person (not sure if she wants direction - she just wanted ...