Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I was doing a little bit of catch-up blogging last week (slowly but surely people) and saw that Softdrink (aka Jill) is currently hosting a Wuthering Heights readalong.
Gasp! Why didn't anyone invite me? I mean, really. :P Yes, sometimes I do think the universe revolves completely around ME. I am a blogger, afterall, probably the most egocentric hobby I could think of. (Oops, don't throw those nasty glares at me!).
I'm pretty sure I just picked up a new [used] copy of Wuthering Heights since the move, but because I haven't organized my books or my "study" yet (yes, it has been four months!), I can't find it. And it's absolutely possible I've gone crazy and said purchase only exists in my head. I was, however, able to find my much used and abused copy from high school. See below the lovely highlighting and notes and broken spine. The copy peaking underneath is my mantle copy from 1943. It was my great-uncle's before he died in WWII. I obviously never met him but I dearly loved my Aunt Fran who I swear I inherited my bookish tendencies from.
So the book. I'm behind in the readalong and suspect I will be for a few more weeks (I also have a brand spankin' new copy of WH coming in the mail to me--I had to have the copy that Jill has!).
Mr. Lockwood, the resident at Thrushcross Grange, visits the neighboring Wuthering Heights and is met with near hostility by Mr. Healthcliff and a few other curious characters (Mrs. Healthcliff who is not Heathcliff's wife; Joseph the stable hand or servant or something; Hareton Earnshaw, who has a giant chip on his shoulder; and Zillah the maid). Upon his second visit to the house (goes hoping it will be better than the first), Mr. Lockwood is snowed in and ends up sleeping in a shut-up room where he happens upon the diary of Cathy. He has a bunch of terribly strange dreams as apparently Wuthering Heights is haunted by ghosts. Something is definitely rotten in the house of WH!
Why do I love Wuthering Heights so much? The language. It's completely over the top but goodness is it good. I can't type them all up as I'd end up typing three chapters worth, but a few:
"A sorrowful sight I saw: dark night coming down prematurely, and sky and hills mingled in one bitter whirl of wind and suffocating snow" (12).
"In vapid listlessness, I leant my head against the window, and continued the spelling over Catherine Earnshaw-Heathcliff-Linton, till my eyes closed; but they had not rested five minutes when a glare of white letters started from the dark, as vivid as spectres-the air swarmed the Catherines; and rousting myself to dispel the obtrusive name, I discovered my candle wick reclining on one of the antique volumes, and perfuming the place with an odour of roasted calf-skin" (16).
"There was such anguish in the gush of grief that accompanied this raving, that my compassion made me overlook its folly, and I drew off, half angry to have listened at all, and vexed at having related my ridiculous nightmare, since it produced that agony; though why, was beyond my comprehension" (25).
Sigh. Sometimes I think that Emily (yes, we're on first name basis) is talking about nothing and just using up a lot of words, but I don't care. And I'm not even one for deadwood--despite my own ramblings. This book just screams passion to me, though.
PS--see that cute little corner bookmark on the book? It could be YOURS (along with other goodies) if you enter my giveaway this week! You know you love it, too.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Published: 2008 Pages: 278
World War II has just ended and author Juliet Ashton is on tour for her book Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War, but being in between writing projects has left her a little restless for something new to write about. One day she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams from the Channel Island of Guernsey explaining that he came into a possession of a collection of essays that previously belonged to Juliet. He notes that the book was a great comfort to him during the German Occupation of Guernsey when his only other source of solace was the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society he belonged to with several other islanders.
Juliet and Dawsey begin corresponding back and forth and soon Juliet is also corresponding with several other members of the society. Juliet looks to the Society for her next story, first to discuss the philosophical value of reading for The Times, but as she becomes more acquainted with the islanders she realizes that there are so many other stories that need to be shared. The Potato Peel Book is entirely composed of letters written during a nine-month period and through these letters Juliet (and I) learned what life was like during the war for the inhabitants of Guernsey we (Juliet and I) both fell a little bit in love with the members of the society.
I loved this book. It isn't earth shattering and it wasn't the best book I've read, but simply put it was just so nice. I know some people have a tough time with epistolary novels, but there's something so romantic about reading the intimate details of someone's thoughts and desires through the written word. I didn't feel like each writer had his/her own distinctive voice (some more than others), but I did feel like by the end of the novel I really knew each of the characters and their desires. Dawsey is quiet and understated; I wish that Juliet and I were best friends and I can see how all the characters love her; Isola is quirky and mysterious and constantly made me laugh; little Kit is endearing, and Elizabeth--a character who is in some ways absent from the story is still such a colorful force within the book.
Even though this book is short and should be easy to read I ended up taking a long time with it. Part of me wanted to savor every bit of it. I didn't want the letters to be over and I was sad when they were. The ending is fairly predictable but this book is just so comfortable. One of those curl up in a cozy spot and just let your mind be transported to another time type of books. This book has certainly made it's way around the blogosphere and I actually read a copy that I bought for my step-mom two Christmases ago. It is one that I will continue to recommend to those looking for an engaging but not overly heavy book.
I'm counting this book as my "future classic" pick for the Classics Challenge. What I've found so interesting is that this book has been recommended by participants for a "future classic" more than any other book this year.
Aren't they delectable and adorable? I told her she was going to have to make one of those corner bookmarks for me too! She has other cute card creations at her Esty shop that you should definitely check out (including a few Mother's Day cards). Yes, I'm shamefully promoting but whatev.
How to enter for the Four notecards and Two bookmarks:
1. Leave a comment below and tell me about the last snail mail letter you sent
2. Leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win
3. Giveaway open to anyone (don't have to be a book blogger!)
I'll draw a winner sometime by the end of next week (May 1st or 2nd or something?) :D
Much Love and Happy Reading,
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Easter at my mom's is always a riot, but this year was extra fun because she proposed an Easter Hat Contest. An Easter Hat? What the heck is that? That's what Scott said anyway. I dunno... Well, below is what we all came up with. If I can be unbiased for a minute I'm going to claim Scott and myself as clear winners. Unbiased...of course!
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter, too! Do you have any fun family traditions?
In life this week:
Busy busy busy with work. I'm hoping for a gorgeous weekend after getting rained out most of last.
Sadly I am not reading much, but I did finish a book! Finished and loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I have a fun giveaway to go along with my review (Brooke (sister) has generously offered to make some of her notecards which are TOO cute--link goes to her etsy shop), so hopefully I can get that done sometime this weekend.
Planted flowers in front yard but rabbits are eating them. Pretty much it.
I've been starting to weed out the Google Reader marking things as read for the first time in six months (no, not joking). After a month Google Reader starts automatically deleting posts so despite my break I never had more than 1,000 posts. I'm down to 550 and am convinced that once it's a non-scary number I'll start hopping again. Or you guys could just stop posting and let me catch up! In all seriousness, I know I haven't been around and some of you know more than others that the past several months have been tough. Thank you for being there (or here or whatever). Ok, enough rambles...
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
So now I am the proud owner of a shiny new Accord Crosstour and I LOVE it. Just like I loved my other Accord (I'm convinced I will always be a Honda owner). I was sad to see Miss Lola Sunshine go, but this car is just as peppy and so much more convenient. Isn't she a beaut? I like to think of her as a CarsUV. :)
No name for the new car yet. Any suggestions? Seems like an Autumn something but nothing is clicking yet... Edited: Thanks to Vivienne's prompting I've decided she'll be called Autumn Flame. Ms. Flame to you... :) Thanks Viv!!
Oh ya, and I'm also now officially a licensed motorcycle driver...but that's a whole nother post!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
For you handful of non-book bloggers whose eyes are starting to glaze over, reading challenges are in abundance in the book blogosphere in any reading category you can imagine (and if there isn't a challenge for it yet, just wait and I'm sure someone will thinking of it). After signing up for approximately 10 million challenges I decided two years ago to branch out and host my own. Two pretty basic book staples--Classics and Non-Fiction.
In an effort to not overwhelm myself, I'm not making lists this time but just noting books I would theoretically like to read over the next couple of months. Since my reading has been pretty sparse lately, even if I can finish a couple I'll be thrilled.
Again, going the lame-o route and only committing to four classics plus the bonus. I'm currently reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (say that five times fast!) and Les Miserables, so there's one bonus and one helluva classic.
Others that are on the shelves that I'd like to get to sooner rather than later:
*Oliver Twist by Dickens. Love that man
*The Odyssey by Homer. Dream on Trish.
*Animal Farm by Orwell. Short enough, right?
*Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut. Because I've always wanted to.
*Wuthering Heights by Bronte (Emily). A re-read but it is my favorite. Ever.
*The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. Ha ha!
*Sense and Sensibility by Austen. Been on the shelf too long.
I remember when I first signed up for Joy's NFF challenge and how petrified I was. Now I hear non-fiction and think of all kinds of good things. Mostly memoirs, I'll admit. But so?
*1776 by McCullough. Hoping it's not dry
*Admit One by James. For review--sorry to those who sent it for my tardiness
*The Crimes of Paris by Hoobler. Crime? Paris? Enough said.
*Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Kingsolver. Makes me feel green...ish
*The Year of Living Biblically by Jacobs. Just looks that good.
*Half Broke Horses by Walls. LOVED The Glass Castle.
*The Happiness Project by Rubin. Hubby wants to read together? Whatev.
In "Real" Life.
Starting my motorcycling class tonight with my Mother-in-Law. I like to think of this as my effort at moral support (for her). I don't really have a desire to get my license, but I guess it might be fun to ride on my own? Mostly I enjoy riding on the back and not having to worry about anything. Should be interesting, though! I'm a mixture of excited and scared out of my freakin' mind.
Blogger is giving me grief. Not only did all my imported comments triplicate but when I try to search for something from the Nook nothing comes up and worse is when I try to click on a post from my archives (specific post), I get a nasty error. This is my third time to import some type of blog and I've never had this problem before. Stupid blogger.
My mom keeps popping over here (Hi Mom!) which means she's looking for the family pictures that I nagged her relentlessly for. This weekend is packed because of the MC class but hopefully soon I'll get up SLC pictures and Easter pictures. Sorry Mom...
Guess that's about it. Been a hectic week with work and now the class but mostly good. Discovered that I have Hydrangea growing in my front yard so yay for that. Bad news is there's an animal who keeps digging holes in our freshly laid mulch. Probably bunnies but I wish they'd stop. No progress on the quilt since I posted those pictures. Oh, the new car! Guess other than that my life's pretty mundane.
Happy Thursday!! (PS--how is it already Thursday?)
Monday, April 5, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
The past three years have been amazing. I've met some wonderful wonderful people and I've been stretched and pulled in directions I could have never imagined. The love of books in this community has been a constant joy for me and I would have never experienced this joy if not for blogging, reading challenges, and different blogging events such as the 24-hour-readathon. I've read things I never thought I'd read and been introduced to authors I was unfamiliar with. I've added hundreds of books to my shelves and even more to my wishlist. I've met bibliophiles from all corners of the world and connected on all different levels. And I've read more than probably all other years combined. I wouldn't trade these experiences for anything.
I want to thank everyone who took the time to leave me a comment, took the time to get to know me and allow me to get to know them, took the time to participant in my reading challenges (Classics Challenge, Non-Fiction Five Challenge, and even the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge). Thank you to the publishers and authors who have sent me books over the past two years. And finally thank you to the community for taking me in and allowing me to grow with you. According to Feedburner I currently have over 500 subscribers and I'm constantly baffled as that number continues to climb and grow even as my blogging has waned. I would have never imagined so many people would take an interest in my thoughts on books! And let me tell you that's a tough thing to give up--quite scary actually.
But with 500 subscribers also comes the pressure of maintaining this blog. Self-inflicted pressure, of course, but nonetheless. Without going too much into the negative (because, really what does it matter what my opinions are about the evolution of book blogging over the past several years), I simply feel as though I need to scale down a bit and simplify my blogging habits. I have started blogging again (although not bloghopping yet) and after months of mulling things over I've decided the best thing is to combine my efforts into one blog. Friends have asked if it might not be simpler to transfer my other blogging to this blog, but I kind of like the idea of a fresh start. And it is tough knowing that I've put hours and hours into this blog and hours and hours more into cultivating relationships with other bloggers and maintaining my place within the community. Of course I'll always consider myself a book blogger because that's how I started, but I don't want to be just a book blogger any longer. I want to have freedom to blog about what I would like to blog and I don't feel that I have that here. Silly, I know, but if you've been following for a while you know that my feelings are not always rational. :)
I'd love to invite you to visit me at my other blog: Love, Laughter, and Insanity. It is a blog where I post about personal aspects of my life but I have transfered all 367 posts and 7,000 comments from this blog over there--and in a way book blogging is personal as well. I do hope to continue blogging about books because I love writing about my feelings of what I read. I do plan to start bloghopping again--my apologies for not being around much these past five months. Whether or not you've missed me I have missed you and the interaction. Simply put I've felt overwhelmed and have needed to take a few months to clear my head and find my place. I partially feel like I'm running away from this blog, but I need a place that can be inclusive of all my blogging.
Plans for this blog. I'm not sure. For now I'm going to devote it entirely to the Non-Fiction Five Challenge. If you're signed up for the challenge, no worries--nothing will change. I'll probably change the name of the blog from Trish's Reading Nook to NFF and after that...I don't know. Honestly I don't want to think that far in advance.
Man--if I hit that "publish post" button this is really official huh? :)
Best Wishes and Happy Reading,
More on the NEW CAR!! later.