Sunday, September 30, 2012

52 in 52 Week 40: The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

What a visual treat! I checked this out of the library intending to only look at the pictures, but 
my friend, Stephanie encouraged me to read the whole thing. It opened up a world for me that I did not totally understand. I rewatched the whole series with a more educated eye, and it made it even more enjoyable (if that is even possible). 

This is written by the niece of the writer of the series, Julian Fellowes. She organizes it according to different topics: family life, society, change, life in service, style, house and estate, romance, war, and behind the scenes. It made me want to visit Highclere Castle! I had entered a sweepstakes to go there everyday between February and April, and would you know, I would find out the week I read this book, that some guy in Ohio won and not ME! WAAAAH.

Guess I will have to settle for the book, but that is not such a bad alternative!
 I highly recommend it. It is spendy. So, see if your library has it. 

The pictures in this are gorgeous. Here is a 21 page sample of it: http://us.macmillan.com/static/theworldofdowntonabbey/index.html

Here is a video montage on Amazon of the book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/mpd/permalink/m19TAINIJKZY0Q/ref=ent_fb_link



Friday, September 28, 2012

Much Progress!


My back is really cooperating! 

TOTALLY DONE:
  • Christmas Scrapbook 2007-2011 (Including page protectors) 
  • 2007-2011 Michael and Paul
  • 2007-2010 Family
  • 2007-2011 Carol365
  • 2010-2011 Michael's Senior Year 
  • 2011 Family to May 8
  • 2012 Carol365 to Day 238
TO DO: 

-------To Journal : 
  • 2011 Family May 9 - July 13
------ To Book and Journal:
  • 2011 Family July 14 to December 31
  • 2012 Family to March 31 
-------To Upload to SFly
  • 2012 Michael and Paul to July 1
-------To CULL from selected photos in folders
  • 2012 Family April 1 to current
  • 2012 Michael and Paul 7/1-current 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Well Update Freewrite

I have not been taking time to write lately. So I will do a short update before my day gets going.

Well-Watered Soul/Well-Adjusted Heart 

I had every intention of getting through Acts this September, but I bogged down at the stoning of Stephen and decided to take more of a break. I have been walking and praying and enjoying God's presence. That is nice. Yesterday was a day of agitation that I have not experienced in quite a while. I think it was because I started the day saturated in Pandora praise. Not the contemporary stuff but old hymns set in a contemporary style. I danced around the kitchen and just loved my morning. Then I had a little back scare as I put something in a lower shelf. That made me fearful of ten million things.

I took the kids to their ortho appointment and started out rattled but ended up at peace. That continued when Paul had piano, and I went back to sitting in a chair and praising more. 

Maybe the enemy didn't like my morning?


Well-Educated Mind 

I am so close to finishing my 2012 "Great Books" goal. I am listening to All the King's Men and reading The Plague. I have some time between dropping Paul off at school and lunch with Mary. So, I plan on doing some reading during that time, not having my photos in front of me to beg me to finish them.

(Part of my stress might be due to the fact that I am SO CLOSE to finishing two big goals for 2012, and that "straining toward the finish line" usually involves stress for me. I realized I needed to chill out and forced myself to lay down last night.)

Well-Tuned Strength

After probably six weeks of not even a tight muscle in my back, I had an episode that put me in bed for two days. I think it was the combination of sitting doing photos and not being as diligent about getting up and taking a walk around the block and doing my squats and core strengthening. My exercise was there, but it was half-hearted. I realized this and went and lifted weights at the club, and pulled that same left side muscle that goes all the way down my back, parallel to my spine. It was tight and alright, but Dr. Koen's receptionist couldn't get me in for three days. When I got there, barely able to move, she scolded me for not telling her that I was hurting. I called her BACK after scheduling and asked her to PLEASE call if there were any cancellations. That should have implied I was pretty desperate, but I realize you really have to spell everything out with her. But no matter, he popped the leg, and I am on the mend, doing my exercises once again.

I am going to the PT for a good regiment for my back that doesn't involve weight machines. I keep hurting myself. 

BHAG Photo Update


TOTALLY DONE:
  • Christmas Scrapbook 2007-2011
  • 2007-2008, 2010 ALL
  • 2009 Family and Paul
  • 2010-2011 Michael's Senior Year 
  • 2012 Carol365 to Day 238
TO DO: 

------To Journal: 
  • 2009 Michael
  • 2011 Michael and Paul
-------To Put in Book and Journal : 
  • 2011 Family
  • 2012 Family to March 31
2012 TO DO:

  • 2012 Michael and Paul to July 1 Ready to UPLOAD to SFly
  • 2012 Family April 1 to current - SELECTED but need to CULL
  • 2012 Michael and Paul 7/1-current - SELECTED but need to CULL

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Well-Educated Mind

THE BOOK OF GREAT BOOKS

Well, I am narrowing in on my goal of finishing these books in 2012, and I am home bound due to back issues. So, I think it will be a reading day since I have two of these books waiting next to my bed. Here are the final books to be had:


1. All the King's Men
2. Catch 22 (next to my bed)
3. A Farewell to Arms
4. House Made of Dawn
5. The Plague (next to my bed)

INVITATION TO THE CLASSICS

This was my first book about the classics, and I love it. I began reading books from that list in August 2002 (The Divine Comedy and The Brothers Karamazov), but it got hijacked by The Well-Educated Mind list (but many of the books overlapped).  So, I am also reading books from this list. I love this list and the book questions because they get at the intersection of the classics with Biblical values.  Here are the 17 books I have left from this list: 


Ancient 9/12

BC
  1. 425 Peace - Aristophanes
  2. 425 Frogs – Aristophanes
  3. 384 Nichomachean Ethics – Aristotle
Medieval 10/13

AD
  1. 1265 Summa theologica – Aquinas (Reading: prayer and contemplation)
  2. 1400's The Second Shepherd’s Play
  3. 1536 Institutes of the Christian Religion – Calvin


Early Modern 15/21
  1. 1633 The Temple – Herbert
  2. 1670 Pensees – Pascal
  3. 1746 A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections – Edwards
  4. 1759 Essays and Rasselas – Johnson
  5. 1791 The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. – Boswell
  6. 1787 The Federalist – Hamilton, Madison, Jay (on iPod)

Modern 22/30 
  1. 1864 Apologia pro vita sua – John Henry Newman
  2. 1843 Fear and Trembling – Kierkegaard
  3. 1874 Middlemarch – Eliot
  4. 1888 Twilight of the Idols – Nietzsche
  5. 1914 Dubliners – Joyce (on iPod)
  6. 1935 Four Quartets – T.S. Eliot
  7. 1942 Go Down, Moses – Faulkner
  8. 1950 Waiting for God – Weil (reading) 






52 in 52 Week 39: Faust Part Two by Goethe

Faust: Pts. 1 & 2Most lists of "Great Books" only include Faust: Part I, but both Invitation to the Classics and The Book of Great Books list the whole thing. After a few false starts, I read some reviews and settled on a rhyming version that made it much easier to get through. I read it myself for a while, but I found the "text to speech" on my Kindle got the cadence of the rhymes much better than me. So, I enjoyed listening to it as I worked on my photo books.

Since I know the story of The Iliad and other classical stories (thank you Susan Wise-Bauer of The Well-Educated Mind), it wasn't too hard to get through. I cannot imagine reading it with no prior background though. 
It was published in 1832, the year of Goethe's death. Because of its complexity in form and content, it is usually not read in German schools, although the first part commonly is. It can be seen as one of the most difficult works of World literature, requiring an extensive knowledge of Greek mythology. In fact, a saying even emanates from this fact: "do not go to the library to read Faust II without necessity.
While there were drafts of this book as early as 1797, most of Faust, Part II was written during the last seven years of his life. (www.wikipedia.org) 
Well, I guess Wikipedia just backed up what I just said in the first part of my review (I had cut and pasted this in my blog several months ago after I read Part I and was thinking I would read Part II right afterward and forgot what it said until right now). 
Goethe finished writing Faust Part Two in 1831. In contrast to Faust Part One, the focus here is no longer on the soul of Faust, which has been sold to the devil, but rather on social phenomena such as psychologyhistory and politics, in addition to mystical and philosophical topics. The second part formed the principal occupation of Goethe's last years. (www.wikipedia.org)
Faust is considered "the cornerstone of classical German drama and a seminal work in the Romantic movement" (Invitation to the Classics, p. 207).

To give you a little background about the legend of Faust. It is based on a real historical figure named Georg Faust (c. 1480-1540). He was a German alchemist, astrologer, and charlatan. Because of his strange and bizarre practices, many tales and legends evolved about him. One of the most notable is Christopher Marlowe's, Everyman, which I read in June of 2008. It was written two hundred years before Goethe's version. While both involve Faust selling his soul to the devil in exchange for unlimited knowledge, Marlowe's version ends differently. In Marlowe's version, since Faust refused to heed the consequences of his sin, he is damned to hell. In Goethe's version, there is universal mercy for Faust's bargain with the devil, and he is taken to heaven.  It isn't biblical, but there you have it. 

I would have liked to meet Goethe, and maybe I will read a biography of his life. I wonder if he was a troubled soul?  He certainly was a ponderer of this great dilemma. 

The idea of "Faustian striving" has made it into Western thought due to this book. When something is "Faustian" it is "pertaining to or resembling or befitting Faust or Faustus especially in insatiably striving for worldly knowledge and power even at the price of spiritual values; 'a Faustian pact with the Devil'" (http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=faustian).

Now I will probably hear this in the news and know what it REALLY means rather than letting it go over my head. That is what I like about reading the classics. 

This was NOT as difficult to read as I thought it would be, but I would heartily recommend breaking down and buying the translation by Robert David MacDonald though. 

Here is the review of Part I: http://carolhomeschool2.blogspot.com/2012/07/52-in-52-week-28-faust-part-one-by.html.

52 in 52 Week 39: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

"Without willing it, I had gone from being ignorant of being ignorant to being aware of being aware. And the worse part of my awareness was that I didn't know what I was aware of. I knew I knew very little, but I was certain that the things I had yet to learn wouldn't be taught to me at Washington High School." 

I think I started to read this when it was given to me as a gift in the late 90's.  Maybe not this particular Maya Angelou book because that one had some pretty gritty language that I didn't appreciate. While this one has a bit, it is mostly her childhood reflections from her earliest memory of being in Long Beach, CA and being sent as a toddler with her brother (without an adult) to Stamps, Arkansas to live with her grandmother. 

I didn't like it at first. I thought it would be another poorly narrated book by an author (I didn't care for Alice Walker's narration of The Color Purple), but I grew accustomed to her slow, southern narration and was drawn into her life. She is a year younger than my dear, departed mother, but she grew up with more means than my mother (her grandmother was savvy and ran a successful store for the black community) and less values. 

She also grew up with more prejudice and a sense of mystery about her father and mother and why they sent her away. She does eventually spend time with both her father and mother in California and has some interesting adventures that leads to the quote above. I don't think I want to read the sequel. Her musing on situational ethics being OK for the black man because of his disadvantaged state bothered me. Her poor life choice at the end of the book really bothered me too.

She definitely led a different life from my mother's. My mother was a person of great integrity and values. I don't see Maya Angelou as being any sort of role model for young black women. 

I get the impression that the seedier side of her life will emerge in her next memoir. Maybe that is the one that was given to me in the late 90's that I did not care for. 

Since she is also a poet it comes through in her brilliant writing. 

Again, it is education and caring educator that open up her world. I loved her mentioning some of my favorite books like Jane Eyre too.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The BHAG Photo Update

I had a very productive week!

TOTALLY DONE:


  • Christmas Scrapbook 2007-2011
  • 2010 Family
  • 2010-2011 Michael's Senior Year (see Shutterfly book in a previous post)
  • 2012 Carol365 to Day 238
TO DO: 

------To Journal: 

  • 2007-2009 ALL 
  • 2010 Michael and Paul 
  • 2011 Michael and Paul
-------To Put in Book and Journal : 
  • 2011 Family
  • 2012 Family to March 31
2012 TO DO:

  • 2012 Michael and Paul to July 1 Ready to UPLOAD to SFly
  • 2012 Family April 1 to current - SELECTED but need to CULL
  • 2012 Michael and Paul 7/1-current - Need to SELECT 




Sunday, September 16, 2012

52 in 52 Week 38: The Story of a Ghost Town: Parts I & II by Harry Kinney

These are very short books about my grandmother's hometown, Cross Fork, Pennsylvania, written by a man who was the son of my great grandmother's younger sister (making him my grandmother's cousin who was fourteen years younger).

We visited there on our vacation in July, and it was an amazing trip. I have dreamed of traveling there for 22 years, ever since I went to the LDS Church to research my family genealogy so I could fill out my wedding book (being the youngest of all the grandchildren and getting married later in life, my grandmother was already dead, and I couldn't pepper her with questions).

This town is so out of the way in the Pennsylvania Wilds of north central Pennsylvania, but a wedding of a dear friend in Pittsburgh combined with having saved for fifteen years for a trip to Washington, D.C. and my desire to go to the place of my ancestors, made it the time for us to combine it all together in one plane ticket. SO worth it!



After being encouraged by the person cleaning our room at the Cross Fork Motel, I timidly walked into  Jeff's Store and said, "I think we are distant cousins." I know now that Jeff and I are 2nd cousins, 1x removed. I had corresponded with his older sister, and the last time I heard from her was 2002. I found out that she died that year. She had graciously sent me pictures of my great grandparents and news about her little town of Cross Fork, PA. I pray she is resting in peace.

I cannot describe this experience in words. You can see the videos in Flickr. I filmed the land owned by my great grandparents and her parents before her (The Caldwells owned part of the farmland, but the deeds said other parcels were purchased from a variety of people).




What was so great about Jeff was that he had a TON of pictures! So fun! He also knew much of the history of the town, and his father, Harry L. Caldwell, had written these great books! What an intelligent man for a self-professed "country boy." I have found several newspaper articles written by him also. 

Jeff only had Part II, but I emailed the newspaper in the area, and they sent me Part I. It was thrilling to read all about my Pennsylvania "roots." 

The town of Cross Fork was a BOOM TOWN for the lumber industry in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Then, not long after my great grandparents died (leaving my grandmother an orphan at 11 years old), the town died when the lumber company pulled out. Harry tells the story well!

By the way, I write these post and schedule them once a week. So, I am writing this not long after returning from my trip, but it turns out that it will post on what would have been my grandmother's 117th birthday. This trip was for you, Wardie. Rest in Peace. I will tell your story.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What is Left of the Great Books

1. All the King's Men
2. Catch 22
3. A Farewell to Arms
4. Faust: Part II
5. House Made of Dawn
6. The Plague
7. A Separate Peace
8. Sons and Lovers 

Sunday, September 09, 2012

52 in 52 Week 37: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Awesome and brilliant. I didn't realize it was a novel. From some reason, I thought this was a non-fiction book about the meat packing industry in America. It is SO much more. He writes so wonderfully!

Do not get me wrong. This is a propaganda novel for socialism! The last part is very "preachy" on that score, but it  is still brilliant. 

How strange that I would be reading it at the same time I have been doing genealogy research on the Swedish side of my family. My grandparents came as single people in 1923, met, and got married in Chicago, Illinois. What guts. I am sure they experienced great hardship but they ended up millionnaires in the end. 


Sorry Upton, Capitalism rules!

Friday, September 07, 2012

Photo Book

Click here to view this photo book larger

Start your own Shutterfly Photo Book today.

Update on Photo Book Big Hairy Audacious Goal

Current BHAG of getting my photos done:


Here is my progress, in red, from my list last week:

2007-2011 Carol365 is DONE!

2007 ALL - BOOKED and need to journal 

2008 ALL - BOOKED and need to journal 

2009 ALL - ORDERED at Snapfish (I thought I already had, but I remember I went to Shutterfly to make their deadline and didn't order. I would go totally with Shutterfly but all these photos are either unprocessed on CD backups OR on Flickr. So, too much of a hassle to redo OR download from Flickr and upload to Shutterfly if already in the "bag" at Snapfish.)  

2010 ALL  - ORDERED at Shutterfly

2011 Family - Up to July 18 UPLOADED to Shutterfly BUT NEED TO INCORPORATE MORE SEA
2011 Michael and Paul - PRINTED and waiting to be book

(Should I do books for SEA and Mexico or just order the prints?) - Just ordering prints. Too expensive and a hassle. 

Made book for Michael's Senior Year - Will order on Shutterfly as soon as I can get free shipping

2012 Carol365 to #238 - PRINTED and waiting to be booked 
2012 Michael and Paul to 7/1 Culled  - Need to upload and order (may wait)

2012 Family ORDERED to March 31 at Snapfish
2012 Michael and Paul after 7/1 - Nothing
2012 Family after 7/1 - Partially processed 

(Should I do a book for our East Coast trip or just order prints? - SO MANY PICS - too expensive. 

2008-2009 Christmas - Ready to scrapbook
2010 Christmas - Uploaded to Shutterfly and will order at next sale
2011 Christmas - Need to process and cull 

Snapfish Video Comparison with Shutterfly

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

How I Spent My Labor Day

George says that the purpose of Labor Day is to rest from your labors, but I worked all day on pictures!  

Here is my progress, in blue, from yesterday's list:

2007-2011 Carol365 is DONE!

2007 All - Need to journal 

2008 All - Ordered from Snapfish (due 9/5-10)

2009 All - Ordered from Snapfish (due 9/5-10)

2010 Family - Culled - Need to upload and order at next sale
2010 Michael and Paul - Foldered - They need to cull CULLED and PAUL UPLOADED

2011 Family - Culled - Need to upload and order
2011 Michael and Paul - Ordered (Shutterfly due 9/5-10)
(Should I do books for SEA and Mexico or just order the prints?) JUST NEED TO JOURNAL IN SEA BOOK, organize a bit more in Mexico (Still don't know if I want to spend the extra money!)

2012 Carol365 to #238 - Ordered (Shutterfly due 9/5-10)
2012 Michael and Paul to 7/1 Culled  - Need to upload and order (may wait)
2012 Family to 7/1 - Unsure - will check PROCESSED AND CULLED through April (bulk of day spent doing this because I had not done it for our Hawaii or Spring Break trips. 
2012 Michael and Paul after 7/1 - Nothing
2012 Family after 7/1 - Partially processed 
(Should I do a book for our East Coast trip or just order prints? - SO MANY PICS - too expensive. 

2008-2009 Christmas - Ready to scrapbook
2010 Christmas - Culled - Need to upload and order

Monday, September 03, 2012

Labor Day Freewrite

After almost a one month hiatus, I am back to Acts for the month of September. YAY! I pretty much worked on Acts 1 all of August without ever finishing it, and I am determined to finish it today. I have missed it, but I have also really appreciated the break during my vacation and break after I finished the whole Old Testament in the second week of August. My brain has born new pathways of power for writing. That is lovely. :)

I was supposed to do a walking study through OSU. I totally forgot about it. I should write that guy, but I also know that my goal has been to finish up my long overdue project of getting all my pictures printed and in books. It was only because 2007 was such a hurdle of pictures (10,000). I love to take them, but I don't have the time to process them. I also don't have the expensive software to process them, and I probably will not. Some day I may do the "artsy photography" route because I have the eye, but I do not have the time. Post processing and sitting in the chair is too much on top of trying to write for the Bible Book Club, and I think the Bible Book Club is my destiny and calling. I  do not know where it will go from here, but I am determined to see that through to writing completion in 2013 and editing in 2014. Then we can see about doing more photography.

I found MOST of 2010 on CD's but July - October 23 was missing. I honestly do not think that I took that many pictures during that time because my back was so bad, but there are two significant events that I regret losing: George's dad's  memorial at Willamette National Cemetery and the Digital Double Immersion Program in Redmond. I had a wonderful time walking through Redmond, but I am pretty positive I did not take my camera because of the strain on my back. I know I took some pictures in the studio, and they are totally gone. I had uploaded one party that we went to in August and taking our friends to the airport too. So, really it is just the memorial service because I had videoed Paul getting the flag and the things said at the service. I had also gone to the side of the funeral home and taken pictures of them loading the casket. I don't know why I was not uploading to Flickr that year because I paid for the subscription. My back was just too much for me to sit in a chair to even upload picture. 

All that to say is that I did have about 600 pictures to process and cull. I did that in two days. That is so different from the two months it took me to process 2007. I also didn't do a Carol365 for 2010. So, I am only printing up about 250 pictures as opposed to 365 + 200-400 extras. That is nice.


I think I will discontinue doing 365 but still blog my pictures. The camaraderie of 365 with a group of dedicated  individuals is gone. So, I am a bit sad about that, but I will post the "Best of 2013" to Flickr or a Blog. That is a fun discipline. I love it. :)

So, this is the status (according to my spread sheet): 

2007-2011 Carol365 is DONE!

2007 All - Need to journal 

2008 All - Ordered from Snapfish (due 9/5-10)

2009 All - Ordered from Snapfish (due 9/5-10)

2010 Family - Culled - Need to upload and order
2010 Michael and Paul - Foldered - They need to cull

2011 Family - Culled - Need to upload and order
2011 Michael and Paul - Ordered (Shutterfly due 9/5-10)
(Should I do books for SEA and Mexico or just order the prints?)

2012 Carol365 to #238 - Ordered (Shutterfly due 9/5-10)
2012 Michael and Paul to 7/1 - Culled  - Need to upload and order (may wait)
2012 Family to 7/1 - Unsure - will check
2012 Michael and Paul after 7/1 - Nothing
2012 Family after 7/1 - Partially processed 
(Should I do a book for our East Coast trip or just order prints?)

2008-2009 Christmas - Ready to scrapbook
2010 Christmas - Culled - Need to upload and order


Although it may not seem like, I am very close to finishing this, but I am giving myself until December 31, 2012 to finish this goal. So, I will plan accordingly. I plan on spending nights through the fall journaling in the books!  I might have "craft nights" with others for doing my Christmas Scrapbooking too. 

Well, I really need to get back to Acts 1. I am so close to finishing I can taste it. I can also taste my Chai Tea that has finished brewing and is in my "heaven cup."  

Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Homeschool Things I Cannot Part With.jpg

Tuesday would have been the beginning of a whole new school year. I hear the younger moms online talking about curriculum, and it makes me miss those days. I love my life now, but I do miss homeschooling, especially the day after Labor Day!

52 in 52 Week 36: Charles Dickens by Lucinda Dickens Hawksley

Charles DickensThis book, written by the great-great-great granddaughter of Dickens, is a visual feast in honor of the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens. Here is what Amazon.UK says about it:


"Charles Dickens" is the definitive illustrated guide to the man and his works. It follows Dickens from early childhood, including his time spent as a child labourer, and looks at how he became the greatest celebrity of his age - and how he still remains recognized as one of England's greatest celebrities, even in the twenty-first century. The book also takes an intimate look at what he was like as a husband, a father, a friend and an employer; at his longing to be an actor, at his travels across North America, his year spent living in Italy and his great love of France. Alongside Dickens himself, readers will meet his fascinating family and his astonishing circle of friends - and will discover when and how life and real-life personalities were imitated in Dickens' art. The cast of characters in "Charles Dickens" embraces an incredible array of famous - and occasionally infamous - Victorians. This exploration is made all the more special by the inclusion of rare, removable facsimile items from Dickens's life, including his hand corrected proof manuscripts and his original design for his writing table.
You have to buy it through sellers in the US, and it is spendy:

http://www.amazon.com/Charles-Dickens-Lucinda-Hawksley/dp/0233003290

It is only sold through amazon.co.uk. But it is so beautiful! There are replicas of actual manuscripts tucked inside pockets. 


Thankfully my library had it, and I was the fifth person to check it out. Sadly, it came the day before I was to leave on vacation. So, I interrupted my reading of Hard Times (I figured Charles would not mind) and read it in the car on our two hour round trip to Eugene and back and feasted! 


If you are a lover of Dickens, you will LOVE this book!!!!

52 in 52 Week 36: Hard Times by Charles Dickens




Charles Dickens - Hard TimesPublisher: BBC Audiobooks America | ISBN: 1572703377 | Publish Year: 2004 | MP3 @ 96Kbps | 440 mb

One of the most widely read of Dickens' major novels, Hard Times is Dickens' powerful and withering portrait of Coketown, a Lancashire mill town, in the 1840s. The novel is particularly harsh in indicting England's educational system, represented by Thomas Gradgrind, who runs aschool in which he focuses on driving wonder, fancy, and imagination from children's minds to be replaced only by facts. Gradgrind finally sees the error of his ways and abandons Utilitarianism and resolves to learn the philosophy of the circus.
96 kbps CD Rip narrated by Martin Jarvis

I listened to Martin Jarvis narrate David Copperfield, and I did not care for how he made David sound. David was not arrogant and stuffy, and Martin has an arrogant and stuffy regular voice for the male characters. He was fine for this book though because most of the male characters were not very appealing. He did make the female characters sympathetic sounding.

This is the shortest of Dickens' novels. It is the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Dickens, and I have read two of his wonderful works this year. 

Here is a list of all his major works from the most copies in people's libraries on Librarything.com:

Charles Dickens (1)

Great Expectations 18,067 copies, 197 reviews
A Tale of Two Cities 16,487 copies, 187 reviews
Oliver Twist 10,307 copies, 84 reviews
David Copperfield 10,260 copies, 109 reviews
A Christmas Carol 9,113 copies, 194 reviews
Bleak House 7,026 copies, 128 reviews
Hard Times 5,708 copies, 57 reviews
The Pickwick Papers 4,146 copies, 59 reviews
Nicholas Nickleby 3,283 copies, 41 reviews
Our Mutual Friend 2,945 copies, 30 reviews
Little Dorrit 2,706 copies, 48 reviews
The Old Curiosity Shop 2,416 copies, 27 reviews
Martin Chuzzlewit 2,089 copies, 14 reviews
Dombey and Son 1,594 copies, 14 reviews

Hard Times is farther down on the list of popularity. It was probably my least favorite of all the Dickens I have read, but, hey, it was Dickens. So, of course, I loved it! 

My 100 Great Books book says it is a "social protest" novel. I don't have the book in front of me (I am on vacation), but I think it is called that because it is an exaggerated look at how industrialization took humanity out of society and the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. It is a protest about the English educational system that drives creativity out of children. I heartily agree! I still think the American educational system, despite its flaws, is the best in the world. :)

There is also a Librivox recording of this fine book, and I might like this amateur reader better than Jarvis. It is all free and fully downloadable to your iPod or MP3 player.

Librivox: http://archive.org/details/hard_times_dickens_0709_librivox

Old Herbaceous

This was a sweet story about a gardener in England from the time he was a boy to an old man. It made me cry it was so short and sweet.  Here...