Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

I love the ideas of "Teaser Tuesdays."  The directions are listed below and I must admit I took them directly from the site "Should Be Reading" which is linked throughout the directions.

So here I go....

"He said, lust is simple.  You reach an understanding at once."  p 186

The Collector by John Fowles
Back Bay Books, Little, Brown and Company
Copyright 1963, 1991

So, here’s the idea: Every Tuesday, check out the posts here at SHOULD BE READING for the “Teaser Tuesdays” weekly event! For this event, you do the following, based off a popular meme that has been floating around the blogging / book-group circles for quite some time…

Grab your current read

Let the book fall open to a random page

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

So, here’s the idea: Every Tuesday, check out the posts here at SHOULD BE READING for the “Teaser Tuesdays” weekly event! For this event, you do the following, based off a popular meme that has been floating around the blogging / book-group circles for quite some time…You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!


*** Do NOT post anything that could spoil the plot of the book!!! ***

If your sentences that fall between lines 7 and 12 on the page you turn to give too much away, choose a different page, or a different spot on the page… we don’t want to ruin any surprises for anyone!

Every Tuesday, on the “TEASER TUESDAYS” posts, leave a link to your blog post where you’ve shared your “Teaser“. If you don’t have a blog, share the teaser in a comment on that week’s “Teaser” post.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dante's Inferno

For the past several years I have taught excerpts from Dante's Inferno. By now it would seem logical that I would know this work inside and out; but, I have never read the entire piece. That makes me something of a fraud, I realize, but I guess that is one of the drawbacks of anthologies: We teach what someone else feels is important or significant. That is a post for another day.

As I read I realize that as with most classics, there are many ways to approach the Inferno - as poetry, as history, as religion, or as fantasy. Never one to dwell on poetic elements or devices in and of themselves, I read this as a historical approach to religion. (How is that for compromise!)

I do not remember much from my studies of European history so to examine the poem as a statement on the warring Florentine factions does not mean much to me. Rather, I was more impressed by the lasting influence Dante has had on religious interpretation and divine retribution! Dante had a frightening sense of "the punishment fits the crime." In the sixth circle of Hell Dante condemns the Heretics, those who spoke against God. Since they taught that there was no life after death they are comdemned to an eternal graveyard. As the war-makers wallowed in blood in their lives, they spend eternity in boiling blood (Circle Seven)

I read the Signet Classic edition of the Inferno translated by John Ciardi and the references come from that edition. I found this edition to be easy to read and while Ciardi made every effort to keep the poetry, his notes explained when it was necessary to stray.

I have no desire to read the Divine Comedy in its entirity at this time, but at least I am no longer an Inferno fraud. Reading this also satisfied a selection for the Casual Classic Challenge and I Wish I Had Read Challenge.

Life Takes a Turn

At the time of the last post I had no idea where life would take me. I was struggling with the decision to return to work or to retire. The thought of dressing up every morning and facing the world with an enthusiastic smile was daunting to say the least; so, I chose the retirement option.
For many days, even weeks, I was barely able to pull myself together to shower and dress. My only joy was found sitting in my cozy apartment with hubby, dogs, and BOOKS. The weather did not help my malaise. There was rarely a sunny day and when there was it was so cold I did not want to venture out from under my fleece throw.
Finally, I stumbled on news of the Savannah Book Festival and my spirits lifted. Hubby and I traveled to Savannah and met my cousin and her husband and we enjoyed a weekend of laughter and books. That was just what I needed. Savannah is a wonderful city and the book festival is beyond words. Vince Flynn was the keynote speaker and had he been the only author the trip would have been worth it. He was fantastic. He spoke of his books and his road to writing. It was inspirational and his patriotism phenominal.

While in Savannah the mid-Atlantic states where hit by a series of blizzards making our return questionable, so we traveled on to Jacksonville, FL to visit our daughter and her family. Occasionally we would text the temperature on bank signs to friends and family back home. Although shopkeepers would apologize for their 60 degree chill it was better than the 20 degrees at home.

Upon our eventual return home, I had made peace with my retirement and enjoyed the days of freedom to choose my activities. In May, we made a bold/crazy/exciting decision to pull up stakes and move to the beach. There are several family members in the Delaware shore communities so here we are blocks from the beach at Bethany.

Is there anything better than a chair on the beach with the water tickling your feet as you read a good book? Not that I can think of. I think now I have come full circle.   Now I am ready to resume my "Jottings on a Page."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Afraid to Return

I am almost afraid to return to my blogs. I have been away for so long but "life happened." I think more than anything I need to get back to the basics of reading and writing. It is my intention to keep this blog just for my book discussions and review. I'll use Joyful Jottings as my online journal of sorts. I have been reading - quite extensively - but I haven't written the reviews that I have wanted to. It seems odd that spring prompts me to return to my computer but perhaps the rebirth of nature encourages the rebirth of a creative spirit. So with renewed vigor and enthusiasm I will slide back into my blogging world and rejoin the writing world.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday Musings

I am a day late and a dollar short on Monday Musings but since it is the last one Mizb is hosting I will do this even though I am late!

"Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is a short meme:


I just started reading Candy Cane Murder by Joanna Fluke and I am rereading The Pearl by John Steinbeck (with the 10th grade class I am teaching).


The book I just finished was Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry. I loved it. I thought I had read it before but it was totally unfamiliar to me. Two weekends ago, my husband and I spent a long weekend in Chincoteague. I saw the fair grounds where they have the pens and auctions and we went to the wildlife sanctuary on Assateague. Although we have been to Chincoteague before, this trip made me want to read the book. I will do a review of the book itself.


I am in the midst of the Winter Holiday Reading Challenge so my next few books are all Christmas themed. I think I will read A Christmas Journey by Anne Perry



Monday, November 17, 2008

Unplug the Christmas Machine

Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: October 1991
SBN-13: 9780688109615
207 pages

Finish on 11/15/2008
Rating: 8/10 B Very Good

Back Cover:

Nine years and thirteen printings later, Unplug the Christmas Machine is still undisputed guide to creating a joyful, stress-free holiday season. Revised and filled with new material, this book will enjoy even greater popularity in the years to come.

"Unplug the Christmas Machine offers a wealth of suggestions for combating commercialism and filling the holidays with simple, spiritual celebrations that help families draw closer together." The New York Times Book Review

Who hasn't said at one time or another, "I need to slow down" or "Why are the stores putting up decorations so early"? Doesn't it seem that we are seeing Christmas decorations or hearing Carols earlier and earlier? At our house the mere mention of Christmas can cause a near rumble. My husband yells that we spend too much; my son wants to be with his family alone; and all I want is a Currier and Ives print with me at the center sitting with my feet propped up and my dog in my lap staring dreamily at the fire.

I was drawn to this book the minute I saw it in the public library. How can I bring peace and joy to our holidays? The chapters of this book offer insight into the celebrations of some pretty typical families and exercises to help the reader examine his or her views on the subject. The authors offer suggestions to handle the more frequent roadblocks in the effort to "cut back."

"When they [adults] have a better sense of the many subtle ways that commercialism has altered Christmas, they can see why the modern celebration seems so flat." (16)

As the above quote shows, much of the book was "preaching to the choir." The authors were not telling us anything new. We spend too much; we rush too hurried; and we all too often forget the purpose. What was new were the suggestions on ways to divert the mad dash and ways to spread the load.

I found the book to be a good resource to help me slow down and it was particularly reassuring that there are ways to avoid the commercialism attached to the season. Christmas is not about the sales. I don't have to buy the bill of goods the malls are trying to push on me.

Even though I intend to string up lights; I can Unplug the Christmas Machine and enjoy my holidays.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What's In a Name 2

Here is the next challenge that I am signing up to join. I shamelessly copied and pasted the rules from Annie's blog. I have to say that I really puzzled over these catagories. I wanted to read books that I knew not ones I just chose to fit the category. Admittedly some might be a stretch but I am not reading for the prizes but to whittle down my TBR lists.

*This is a challenge that anyone can join, no matter what types of books they like to read. You should be able to find books from any genre that will work.

*Dates: January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009

*The Challenge: Choose one book from each of the following categories.
1. A book with a "profession" in its title. Examples might include: The Book Thief, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Historian
2. A book with a "time of day" in its title. Examples might include: Twilight, Four Past Midnight, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
3. A book with a "relative" in its title. Examples might include: Eight Cousins, My Father's Dragon, The Daughter of Time
4. A book with a "body part" in its title. Examples might include: The Bluest Eye, Bag of Bones, The Heart of Darkness
5. A book with a "building" in its title. Examples might include: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Little House on the Prairie, The Looming Tower
6. A book with a "medical condition" in its title. Examples might include: Insomnia, Coma, The Plague

*You may overlap books with other challenges, but please don't use the same book for more than one category.

So here is my proposed list. Luckily we didn't have to list books ahead of time so I guess that means I can alter my list as I go along.

1. Profession: The Dollmaker by Harriet Arnow
2. Time of Day: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
3. Relative: The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty
4. Body Part: Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
5. Building: The Gate House by Nelson Demille
6. Medical Condition: Life Support by Tess Gerritsen

I will post reviews as I finish them.