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Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Our week in snapshots:

| highlights |

Summer has hit us hard here in the Lakes Region {if you couldn’t tell from all of the beach snapshots}! It’s been almost 100° F and muggy, so I was lucky to have some time at Camp where the water was cool and the grill was hot – two of my very favourite things. I did have to pay my dues and by spending hours in the garden weeding previous to my dip. But I was quite happy to see that our radishes and lettuce are both ready to be picked! We’ll be away until Tuesday, so I’m hoping my parents help themselves lest those babies just turn into compost!

It is rather comical that a momma turkey and her littluns have taken it upon themselves to enjoy some of our spoils when we’re not around. Several times now when we’ve arrived, we’ve had to chase them from our food supply and shake our fingers at them. Momma turkey does not take kindly to this type of discipline and has actually charged at Ryan in her fury! She’s pretty lucky that we’re vegetarians, otherwise I can imagine another farmer serving his family Thanksgiving dinner in the beginning of summer to pay her back for her antics.

Now Ryan + I are gearing up for our trip to Sunset Hill House! I’ll be sharing our adventures with you every day and you can like them on facebook to make sure that you don’t miss a beat seeing as I’ll be linking every blog post on their facebook page! I do need your help, though, with choosing my next book to read. I’m pretty close to polishing off Mrs. Dalloway, and I’m not sure where to go next. We’ll surely have plenty of time to spend between pages while we’re away, so I’ll be bringing a few options with me for when I’ve finished my current read. I’d love your opinion! {Check out my full reading list here.}

Can’t wait to share our vacation with you!

xx.

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One of the things that we liked about living in the city

was that everything was within walking distance. Turns out, though, that living in a small town is even better. There’s only one of everything (post office, grocery store, library, park, diner) so there is less variety, but they’re all even closer together than they are in cities and much less populated.

Yesterday we walked out our front door and past just two buildings before arriving at our town’s little park and spent some time there reading. We had the whole place to ourselves minus one couple who came in just to eat their lunch then were on their way again, oh, and a pair of Canada geese. We don’t have a Target, Walmart, or ten different pizza places, but it’s still incredibly convenient to live here.

There’s also the most perfect sitting tree in our park. How very Huck Finn-y! Although I was wearing a white dress, I still tried to climb it – it’s that irresistible. Turns out this particular tree is not so good for climbing in dresses {unless you don’t mind a little exposure}, so I let Ryan have the tree to himself and I occupied the blanket below.

We’re off on a walk to the post office now, then to work on our garden. It’s much too nice a May day to stay inside any longer.

Enjoy your Monday!

xx.

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Check another off of the list!

I’m a tragically slow reader, but since we’ve moved to our new apartment, Ryan + I have made it a point to get in bed at 10 pm and read until 11. Setting aside a specific time every single day to dedicate to our books helped me plow through The Richest Man in Babylon {upon request of my Dad}, my Grandfather’s war journal, and Lord of the Flies, all in record speed!

Unlike most people, my high school did not make me read Lord of the Flies. And, I think I’m glad about that. I’ve always gotten more out of the things I chose to do myself than the things others told me to do. Most of the books that I read for school I didn’t like simply because I felt like I was forced to read them. Immediately after serving my last term in college, I finished Fahrenheit 451 and fell in love with reading again. I read it because I wanted to, not because I had to – and what a book it was to start this chapter of my life!

Since then, I’ve made it my personal goal to read all of the classics for me {thus, the list was born} along with anything else that I think sounds good. I hate that it felt like reading was a chore for me in school, and maybe that’s one reason why I decided not to use my English Education degree – I didn’t have any good ideas about how to make reading really exciting for students because I myself felt like I didn’t want to read when I was told to. I’m a weird brand of literature lover…maybe I just have authority issues.

Anyway, my thoughts on Lord of the Flies are all positive. I know I’ve read a good book when after I’ve turned the last page, I attempt to go on with my life like I had before I opened it but find myself wondering about the characters in the book and missing them a little. This was certainly the case with my most recent read. Next up, Mrs. Dalloway!

What book are you currently working on?

xx.

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I’m a very lucky lady.

I have had so many amazing role models in my life, and two of the most inspiring are my maternal grandparents. I often write about my Grandmother because I seem to have inherited a lot of her creativity { I even wear some of the things she had  long ago sewn for my Mom, and do my stitching on her sewing machine }, but I don’t want to neglect telling you about her husband, Stanley, and his equally respectable character.

Recently, his World War II journal was published, and I was given one of the very first copies. My family found it among his belongings when he passed away in 2002, and my Great Uncle Bob { who really is great! } painstakingly transcribed it into type. I remember looking through all of the photographs that are included, for there are many, and newspaper clippings about his efforts, as well. But I had never sat down to read the whole book until I began it the other night.

It feels completely surreal to embark on this journey with him. I keep forgetting that he’s my Grandfather, as he describes the heaviness of the cannoned ship in which he crossed the ocean. And when he speaks of his last sighting of the Boston skyline, I wonder how different it must have looked then to him than it would now to me. I also continually find myself imagining where my Grandmother, his future wife, would have been as he willingly heads toward the warfront and away from her.

My reading list will have to wait for a little while. For, when my Mom handed me this newly bound journal, it immediately took precedence.

Sundays are made for reading.

xx.

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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Remember when I told you that I’m an incredibly slow reader?

Well, if you didn’t believe me then, you will now; I started reading Frankenstein before Halloween and I finished it today. Part of that is the fact that I’m busy all of the time and feel a little guilty when I sit down to read because I think about what I should be doing instead { cleaning, working, etc. }. But another part of it really is that I’m a slow reader. Either way, I will make it through the reading list I came up with, and polishing off this piece has gotten me one step closer to the end!

Here’s what I thought of it:

When I first lifted the cover of this story, I was full of expectations. Throughout my life I’ve continuously seen images of “FRANKENSTEIN” the green tinged zombie with a flat head and a bolt in his neck. I knew that Frankenstein was actually the name of the monster’s creator rather than the creature himself, but that was about all I knew of the book. Anything else I thought I knew was a complete fabrication. Wasn’t Dr. Frankenstein supposed to have a sidekick named Igor? Wasn’t the creature supposed to be a big dumb oaf? Didn’t it all take place in a huge stone castle at the top of a mountain where the weather was constantly stormy? I thought all of this to be the case, so when I was a chapter or two in and following some guy named Walton who was sailing a ship toward the North Pole, you can imagine my confusion. Turns out the book was completely different than I had expected!

But I was pleasantly surprised. I swooned over the fondness of nature that Shelley described through the eyes of her main character. His affection for Switzerland was tender and sweet, and made me sick for my own home. When I wrote my novel this fall, I struggled to describe the autumn foliage that burns with colour, but provides no warmth. Every day that I wrote, I searched within myself for the appropriate words to capture this phenomenon, but came up empty handed or with a little something compromised. Shelley, I have now found, had already written the very words I was in search of. She described exactly what I hoped to, with infinitely more eloquence than I could ever hope to muster. She wrote: “…the sun shone on the red leaves that strewed the ground, and diffused cheerfulness, although it denied warmth…”. And that wasn’t the only occasion. Several times her words struck a chord with something I had felt a million times while walking through my native woods, but never known how to put in English. Bravo for that, Mary!

And she describes terrible things, too, with the same accurate descriptions. For in this story, there are many terrible things. That, I will leave for you to discover.

What a comment on humanity, necessity, and religion this piece was! What exactly is the relationship of creator and created? What do we as humans really need to survive — just shelter and nourishment, or also affection and companionship? All of these grand questions could be gleaned from her story even if it takes you months to finish. So, really, you should give it a try. I highly recommend it.

See you tomorrow, friends!

xx.

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I have been waiting for this movie to come out for such a long time.

I’m so fascinated by the debate about Shakespeare. Did he write or did he not? Was he even a real human? What’s the story behind one of the greatest storytellers in history? Of course, I know he was real, + an actor, but this whole mystique about him is captivating to me. And, no matter what conclusions I may draw, the truth is long lost + never to be uncovered.

So, you can imagine my excitement about Anonymous. I can’t wait to see it + get caught up in that world again. I highly suggest you see it, too, if you have any interest in this sort of thing. If the only bit of Shakespeare that you’ve gotten is from some droning high school English teacher, then you should try him again starting with the book above. Bryson’s wit + the simplicity of his writing style make Shakespeare totally approachable {and -gasp- interesting}! Go on, have a look, then!

Have a lovely Saturday!

xx.

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Wuthering Heights | My Thoughts

In the bones of winter, from my experience, there is but one option for escape: a good book.

Yet, there I was a couple of weeks ago, in the last dreamy days of a golden summer, hiding away between the pages of one of the dreariest stories ever penned: Wuthering Heights. (Yes, I should have made this post awhile ago. I clearly don’t time things well.)

The interesting bit is that the whole story was concocted within the imagination of a very unlikely writer; a sheltered young girl probably not unlike Cathy (one of the main characters) herself.

But the power of the stormy heaths had propelled me to read on, and I finished the book almost wishing that I had never started it at all. That beast of a human, Heathcliff, leaves a bad taste in my mouth after all is said and done and I think it would have been great if he’d never been imagined at all. Still, I would encourage you to read the story at least once in your life, but do it in the darkest days of winter, and know that real life exists as an escape from that miserable world.

I’m now in the midst of Frankenstein, and will let you know my thoughts on that when it’s done.

Read on, my friends, read on.

xx.

(Click image for source!)

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