Thoughts. In motion.
Something different. Something fun? More? Maybe NOT? Keep trying?
Thoughts. In motion.
Something different. Something fun? More? Maybe NOT? Keep trying?
My blog is undergoing a transformation or experiencing metamorphosis; perhaps some great cataclysmatic eventing, too. Not sure. YET.
I just decided ‘eventing’ is a word. Deal.
Because I am sitting here facing a challenge at a time of year when I want to both cuddle with my dogs and watch movies while also furiously ranking my best-of lists and getting ready to chunk reading stats and making to-do and goals lists because that is what I love about December. I love the festive hustle-bustle and flipping through my many pie books to decide some new concoction for a Christmas gathering and wrapping of gifts! But I loath getting out the stuff to decorate and worrying about where the tree should go and the pounds I pack on while stressing about what to wear to office ‘parties’ where I have to smile at people who know of me but I don’t know at all. The competing forces of this time of year…
And now, you see, please understand… my blog has been sickly. If you have visited in the last few weeks, you may have noticed that my menu bar had disappeared. This was due to an unsupported theme. A theme that I had been using at least five (six? SEVEN?!) years and loved. I loved the look of my blog. I love(d) the clean-ness, all the white space, the uncluttered, everything-in-its-place feel. I had it just like I liked it, or at least had grown to fondly dismiss any of its weaknesses and those features that I couldn’t change anyway. But now!
Now! I have changed to THIS theme. Whaddya think? It still allows my customizable header photo. My search button is in the same place. And now I get the comment-link at the top. #sadface. And the tags are at the bottom. #cantrecallifthatiswhatIusedtonotlikeandcouldntchange? And the font is BIG. BIGGER. Whaddya think?
Note: the menu bar is confusing here. You must click on the menu title to see THAT PAGE and not just the links to more pages. SO confusing. For example, if you only hover over the 2015 Challenges, you might think my only Challenge is the Classics Club and that’s not true – it is just one more page of specifics. Am I explaining that clearly?
Maybe this is good for me. Perhaps I *should* start thinking about going WP.org. I have had such good times here, though and I feel like I’m deserting an old friend when the friend just happened to got a new hair cut. And I should. I really should get my fingers into the goo of really owning my own blog; cease my dependency on WP.com. I should. I should think of it as adventure. #braveface
Updates. Here’s one: Welcome to this new theme! Don’t get used to it? Be prepared for an announcement that you will have a new url addy to follow! But don’t worry, I do not anticipate this happening soon what-with Christmas being a quick zoom of two weeks or so? Three? Feels quick. I have real life things to do a lot of in the next two weeks, I’m thinking with a side-glance at my calendar…
Updates, some more: NaNoWriMo. Yes! I didn’t finish with a word count of the goal of 50,000 but I DID write 15,000! I refuse to think of this as a failure even if I really didn’t write anything at all the last two weeks of November. Nor much of the second week. But for the first 10 days, I really applied myself. I had zero ZERO idea of what I was going to write about and I actually had a few characters come to a little bit of life and speak to me with ideas. The ideas didn’t pan out but maybe they needed to go to sleep til a later time. OR maybe I just need to actually take some plot-development courses and see what I got? Sure, I had some blahblahblah words that were typed and sentences strung out to multiply word (oh crap, I can’t think of THE word that should go here!) <— such as; this is a great example. I typed in a TON of notes to myself to “explore this further in detail, etc”. So, true, I didn’t “make it”, but I am not unhappy with my experience and I thank Nancy and Athira for checking in on me. Congratulations to all my buddies for their successful 50K counts!
What else? Thank you Kim Lulu Becca & DoingDewey (a blog I need to spend more time with) for #NonFicNov! I am deep in my civics lessons still but am glad for the push to devote the reading time I did to these brilliant texts. Also, on Small Business Saturday, I purchased Devil in the White City by Erik Larson so I can jump into that in December, methinks.
Estella’s Revenge is cussing over at her blog… Having just purchased a book that I apparently already had on my shelf, I guess I need to spend some of my time considering this idea, too.
On a plus note, I have zero books to hurry!!!-and-read to complete any 2015 challenges and THIS is something to celebrate. Reviews of I am Malala and The Bungalow by Sarah Jio (fiction for neighborhood book club) coming soon. Back to my audio of My Brilliant Friend, oh oh yes. Looking forward to this sinister-feeling Italian escape.
Something else to look forward to? TOMORROW, DEC 1, SHOULD GIVE ME BLOG-SNOW! Squeeeeeeeeee (It’s the little things, really).
A group of readers do embark
Upon a readalong this June.
A miserable month to read a book
It’s the merry month of June.
A hoot it will be (thanks Ti!)
Just wait and see ♦
We’ll tweet & scream; No woo woo to be seen
This misery-able month of June.
We’ll do our Uncle Stevie proud,
and tweet out loud our mirth;
Though fears of misery and pain expected,
our duty to read unshirked.
The merry month of June and misery abounds
Authors trapped by crazy fans;
Drinks are spilled, the sledgehammer* sounds.
A poet I’m not
I beg forgiveness for this rot;
I blame it all on Dot. (Parker, Dorothy)
“I cannot stand this frantic misery!” I quote** her
and sadly thus I end this now – Nothing rhymes with Dorothy.
Please twitter-search #MiseryRAL and add this hashtag to your concerns and questions and sharings and odd thoughts. THAT is the only rule. No sign up, just a virtual hand-waving saying, “I’m in!!” The book is short; don’t read too fast and spoil the fun!! Put the book in the freezer if you must; let us know why and when. More things a-comin’. Do comment if you want emails and if you like snail-mail, email me (or DM via Twitter) your address – no matter where in the world you might live.
CHALLENGE: if you want… write your own damn poem.
Challenge the Second: Anyone want to make a button? My computer is dying and I cant’ seem to figure out which application is best to create one… thx
* a clue…
** from Dorothy’s short story SENTIMENT. I found another reference to the word MISERY in her awesome short story BIG BLONDE, page 303: “Misery crushed her as if she were between two great stones.”
Boats Boats Boats Boats: Where is Care?
I have been wandering
over the country side open seas around various marinas on the Atlantic looking at campers-on-water aka BOATS. Very fun and very frustrating.
I have read a book or two (finally) and just want you all to know that I am still around and have BLOG POST(s) on my To Do list today. But it is a long list and priorities being what they are, I might not get to half the items! I subbed yesterday at the High School and am scheduled to do so again tomorrow which severely cuts into my blogging time because well, it just does. I was just sure I had one or two of my readers wondering where the heck I have been hiding lately.
Just so you know, I finished The Doctor’s Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis by Sherwin B Nuland and am ready to start Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna for CitizenReader’s Book Menage. And I have reviews started for Flow by Elissa Stein & Susan Kim and Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Tom Hardy. I probably could post a Part 1 of the John Adams bio by McCullough that I listened to.
Other than that, I have about 3 books half read! That doesn’t count Ulysses. My saying that I have multiple books unfinished-but-not-given-up-on reiterates my obvious need and desire to be a monogamous reader. ONE BOOK AT A TIME. It’s been a crazy spring for my reading life and I blame it entirely on
BOAT SHOPPING. Between MY wants, my husband’s wishlist/criteria, the desire to have two big dogs move around any boat, money, and and and… Frustrating.
Sigh. OH! And next week I am going on a girls trip!!! So exciting. Hopefully I will get a book or two read then, too.
MOTIVATION to READ: As adhoc volunteer librarian at the nursing home, I am charged with the ‘disposing’ of books that are not Large Print. I found this book and ‘rescued’ it by taking it home with me. SCORE! I had seen it on many favorites lists and was aware that it was a finalist for the Orange Prize for Fiction.
FIRST SENTENCE: “My name, in those days, was Susan Trinder.”
WHAT’s it ABOUT: Young Sue, an orphan, has been brought up in a family of thieves in Victorian London. She has been invited to scam a young lady named Maud who will inherit a fortune upon marrying. The scheme involves a scoundrel to be the groom, Sue to be the lady’s maid and help further the affections of Maud so she will agree to elope, and a subsequent dumping of the poor bride into a madhouse soon thereafter. Sue and her family of thieves will get a slice of the fortune for helping but once she meets Maud, begins to have doubts and misgivings.
WHAT’s GOOD/NOT so GOOD: I really meant to take good notes but was so enthralled and swept along that I could only manage turning down the pages that had great quotes or hinted that a refer-back might be necessary. The book essentially has three parts – the first is Sue’s telling and features many, almost TOO many – points (?) of foreshadowing. She was endearing but I was wondering if knowing that plot twists were ahead AND that Sue was hinting that the players were NOT what they seemed made me wonder if it was too heavy-handed and this thinking I was doing was tedious – only perhaps because I wasn’t sure of what was going on but knew I was supposed to be wondering what the heck was up! OF COURSE, we can’t trust the scoundrel! Of course, Maud’s upbringing was bizarre…
The second part was Maud’s version of the same events. I was really captivated and my own guesses were all over the map about who and what she was. I really enjoyed seeing the same actions through another character’s eyes and was delighted by this part tremendously.
The third part is the fast-paced race to the conclusion. I enjoyed the ride; especially when I told myself to stop analyzing and guessing and just get carried away. I was conflicted with my tendency to question how Ms. Waters had structured the whole thing and wanting to be analytical for the sake of this COBC but also not wanting to stop so I could wallow in the WHAT-is-HAPPENING madness!
The gloves. Let’s discuss the gloves, shall we? They are on the cover so we know they mean something. OK, maybe that’s not true but once they were mentioned, I knew I had to pay attention. Honestly, they bugged me a lot. I’m going to go out on a shaky limb and say, for me being all uneducated to literary devices (etc ad nauseam) but fascinated nonetheless, the glove theme represents how we can try as we might to not get involved and keep our hands somewhat clean; but once immersed, we can’t help but get a little dirty. Especially considering how Maud is educated and thus required to help her uncle. Once you’ve got your hand into the mischief, you’re in it all the way? And yet, how knowledgeable she was about certain topics and yet ignorant to the big picture? I think the gloves can also represent the fallacy of class – people are people? Born to it or not, once things get all mixed up, you can’t just take a blood test and find out you are ‘better’ than the common street urchin. The themes of class and gender/sexuality get turned upside down; at least expectations and reality get a bit jumbled.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I do think Waters wrote a masterful story – exciting, great characters, dark settings. For more thoughts of mine, click over here to my Spoilerful Fingersmith post.
RATING: Four slices of pie. What flavor? MINCEMEAT.
OTHER REVIEWS: See my previous post for links of participant reviews of Fingersmith: COBC DAY!
TODAY! We’re talking about Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. Did you read it? Did you love it? Any insight to share? Favorite quotes?
It’s almost 7 am – I have some errands to run and then have all day to devote to discussing this book. We’ll have to figure it out in a few posts, I think…. AND we need to pick a book for OCTOBER 10. I need to take a break for September – I will be out of town and I’m finding it incredibly difficult to blog only with my iPad access.
Fyrefly listened to the audio. –> “The plot was … insanely well-put-together, with twists that I never, ever saw coming, yet that interwove in such a way that everything came together in the end.”
Literary Omnivore –> “Nobody does repression better than the Victorians. Plot is run on conflict, and nothing says conflict like girls in love across class boundaries in Victorian England.”
Kate at Literary Transgressions, “… notice how perfect the structure of the plot was and how beautifully symmetrical the outcome.”
Laughing Stars’ review includes a great discussion of the social and women’s issues of the novel (and a few spoilers if you are wanting to avoid…)
And Amanda didn’t love it as much as most (referred to as The Fingersmith Club!) of the blogging world and that’s OK, too. 🙂
Daphne has a terrific recap and extra thoughts on Fingersmith and the author.
(I’ll keep adding as I find them…. These seem to be most recent.)
I completed my reading of Fingersmith last night – I was a bit bummed that I couldn’t get it into July’s book count but whatever. I have quite a few page corners turned down, too!
So, rather than a review or thoughts post right now, I thought I would just list the few lines and quick impressions. Ask away if you have any questions you would like me to answer. I will hopefully post this weekend or Monday.
In the meantime, keep reading YOUR copy of Fingersmith and come back here on August 10!
Page 117 – is this foreshadowing or right out ‘foreTELLING’?
“We were thinking secrets. Real secrets, and snide*. Too many to count. When I try now to sort out who knew what and who knew nothing, who knew everything and who was a fraud, I have to stop and give it up, it makes my head spin.”
Page 202 – on the status of women:
“Had they been gentlemen, and rich – instead of women – then they would have passed as scholars and commanded staffs.”
page 293 – How thoroughly fascinating is poor Maud’s ‘education’ –
“… I thought desire smaller, neater; I supposed it bound to its own organs as taste is bound to the mouth, vision to the eye.”
page 302 – I don’t quite understand the last line of Chap 10, Part Two.
“And so you see it is love – no scorn, not malice; only love – …”
Page 376 – on deadly fabric dye! I read all about this in a book about the color mauve:
“Only a touch of arsenic in that green – won’t harm you at all, so long as you keep from sweating too hard in the bodice.”
* snide – Brit term for counterfeit.
I decided to count how many books I needed to read in order to finish all my challenges for 2010… I need 37 books to finish everything! I’ve only read 40 in the first 6.5 months of this year; do-able but scary. Scary because I’m worried that I’ll rebel and not want to read what I ‘have to’ read.
I haven’t finished any challenges yet. I have one 1 book to go in 3 challenges…
It just occurs to me that 37 is likely a high number because I can duplicate books over challenges. Whew! For example, if I read Dykes to Watch Out for by Alison Bechtel, I could count it for the Twenty-in-Ten as my Graphic Novel selection, for Women Unbound AND for the GLBT Challenge! (How sad – only one copy of this in the entire InterLibraryLoan system…)
I just finished The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama and am glad to count this for the What’s in a Name 3 Challenge (for Place) and the Global Challenge since it is set in Japan. I could also count it for the New-To-Me-Author in the Twenty-in-Ten but I don’t think I need to – I should have plenty of new authors by the end of the year.
I have one more to go to finish Women Unbound, the GLBT Challenge, and my Reading Deliberately Personal Challenge. I have two more books to read to complete the Flashback Challenge per my original list but I could count a re-read that I didn’t schedule so we’ll see what happens by December. I have three more to go for the What’s in a Name 3 Challenge (titles are scheduled) and the Global Challenge (totally open and unknown at this time!); four for Read-Book-See-Movie, five more for my own Cusack Challenge – which is the one I find to be the most intimidating. The Twenty-in-2010 Challenge is a fun one and I love that I have two OPEN slots which means they will be easy to fill at the last minute but I also realize I need to shop at Goodwill or somewhere to fill two slots. Let’s go shopping! If you are counting along with this tally, you may think I’m missing some but that’s because I have a few monthly readalongs I have the remaining months of the year to read for my In-Real-Life club (the Bookies!) and for my own COBC. (Interested in reading Fingersmith with us?!)
Besides the actual reading to-dos, I have been quite the slacker at tracking my page counts and various other categories on my personal spreadsheet so I need to do that, too. So no Fiction vs NF stats to share, sorry. Pretty boring post, huh? 😛
Kim the Sophisticated Dork asked me to post a photo of my new iPad, so this is for her:
I have no books downloaded yet because the few titles I’ve searched for are not available (yet?); I guess I need to download the right ebook app or keep searching more titles. Both, probably.
Just realized that I still don’t have a button….
Allow me to introduce the selection for the August Discussion of Care’s Online Book Club. (You did figure out that COBC is the acronym for Care’s Online Book Club, right? good.)
FINGERSMITH by Sarah Waters!!!
Blurb on my copy, quote from Entertainment Weekly:
A deftly plotted thriller with two equally compelling heroines, orphans Sue Trinder and Maud Lilly. Manipulated by someone she knows only as Gentleman, Sue is sent to a country estate to work as Maud’s maid and help him woo the simple heiress. The plot twists = then again and again – until one girl is in a terrifying insane asylum and another and another held captive. An absorbing and elegant story that’s old fashioned in the best way.
How about I share the link in Wikipedia to the novel (there’s also a BBC television series? oo la la!) and what I found in imdb.com for “Fingersmith” which is also about the TV series, I guess… Anyone seen it?
I want to read this because of the author mostly – I probably thought I would start with Tipping the Velvet but this one fell into my house one day – can’t quite recall how. Fingersmith does seem to pop up often on the best-of lists around the blogosphere.
I do think we need to change up the format until we get something that… feels right. The best ReadAlong that I’ve participated in set a date and then everyone who participated blogged on or after (some before, I guess – that’s fine, too) said scheduled date and the Leader would post the various links to everyone’s posts. Then everyone and then some commented at the Leader’s post and everywhere else. Any suggestions? Or we can keep trying what I’ve attempted so far which is a list of questions from yours truly on the 10th of the month and participants may comment answers or whatever strikes the fancy. Ever flexible, I take suggestions.
Tell me now, have you read Fingersmith? ☆ Loved it? yes or no. ☆ I am guessing the genre is Victorian Thriller. Is this a genre you adore? ☆ If you haven’t read it, is it already on your tbr? ☆ If the answer is YES to that last question, why do you want to read it? ☆ Are you going to join me? If you need help being convinced, does knowing it was a finalist for the Orange Prize assist you in deciding?
If you’ve already read Fingersmith, you can leave a link here and/or come back on August 10. Thank you all.
The following should be considered Part 2.
Where I am in the process so far: Kim and I have not formally set a time table but I’m already on page 129. I was already starting to jot down a plethora of notes and questions that I thought it might be a good idea to study up on who the main players are and get a grasp of what the political climate was when Mr. Thompson decided to write this book. To say I started blind, is not an exaggeration. I was in First Grade in the Fall of 1971 (Kim wasn’t even born, if I assume correctly based on where she is on the educational-path.) Only a few names are recognizable and I wouldn’t attempt to win any guessing games if pressed for more details. This is my attempt to give myself a better pre-understanding; to ‘set the stage’ not only for myself but for Kim and anyone who wasn’t around for the 1972 American Presidential Election. If you don’t care, believe me – I won’t be offended if you skip this post and wait for something more fun!
But fun, it is – I am most happy to report that the reading is zooming along quite speedily, despite not really knowing who is who and all the times I have to stop and write down a question.
WHO/WHAT – Kim does a great job explaining who Thompson is and why he wrote this, so start there. I won’t repeat it.
but I will expound a bit: Thompson wrote on the campaigns of Nixon and the hopeful Democratic challengers for Rolling Stone Magazine and these articles were combined to create this book. It is chaptered by time, usually by month, but some months are broken up. It covers his reasons for joining the various campaign trails, through primary states, the convention, the election and after. For everything that follows, I referenced Wikipedia almost exclusively – which is to mean that it can’t be trusted? I don’t intend to go into depth; bear with me.
1963-68: When President Kennedy was shot and killed in 1963, Lyndon B Johnson assumed the office of US President. He then won the 1964 Election and served to 1968. He chose not to run for another term due to turmoil within the Democratic party and the escalating Vietnam War.
June 1968: Robert Kennedy assassinated. He possibly would have been the leading Democratic candidate for the US Presidency in the 1968 elections.
1968: Republican Richard Nixon wins the Election; Hubert Humphrey (Lyndon’s VP and a Senator from Minnesota) was the Democratic candidate. George Wallace, Alabama Governor, ran as an Independent.
1972: Election – Nixon wins second term (to read abt the whole thing, click this line); George McGovern (Senator from South Dakota) was the Democratic candidate.
NIXON, Richard – Republican. US President seeking re-election in 1972. Click here for more on his terms of service posted at the Nixon Library website.
MUSKIE, Edmund – Democrat, Governor and Senator from Maine, candidate for president 1972 – a frontrunner for the nom in August 1971.
McGOVERN, Geo. – When front-runner Muskie didn’t show as hot as expected in the NH primary, McGovern was the next big choice. He ran on a platform of withdrawing from the Vietnam War.
HUMPHREY, Hubert – Ran in 1968 but just couldn’t pull in enough support to win the 72 Democratic National Convention.
WALLACE, Geo – won 42% of the vote in the Florida Primary, but…. Went back to being Gov.
McCARTHY, Eugene – Challenged Johnson back in 1968 for the Democratic nom which resulted in Johnson bowing out but Robt Kennedy had most support and then he was killed but somehow Humphrey got the nom. I think. The sequence and timing of that is off but so shows the political whims of popularity in politics! (Do not confuse with Joseph who was extremely anti-communist and died in 1957 – different guy)
CHISHOLM, Shirley – NY Congresswoman – First major-party black candidate for the presidency.
Clifford Irving? – an author who wrote a ‘fake’ autobiography of Howard Hughes
Tons and tons of names that I don’t even know if should follow-up on… So I won’t.
MY JOTTED DOWN NOTES & Qs
“I feel like I’m reading a Vanity Fair article – tons of references I suppose I should know and the author assumes I do. But all very playful, sarcastic and somewhat snobbish.”
Most of my scratchings request clarification of the above who and when stuff. But Thompson does like to use the term ‘waterheads’ which I am unfamiliar with. It is similar to ‘knucklehead’; so I get it…
“Objective journalism is a pompous contradiction in terms.”
We are in for a wild ride. I intend to enjoy it and not get too upset with what I don’t know. But if it strikes me, I will jot down notes and collect them here – or will if they continue to interest me at that time I finish the book.
AND, for your musical enjoyment, I thought it might be fun to find a hit song from 1972 – I thought I would see a few more political ones but perhaps they weren’t pop or HIT enough to claim the billboard top spots, so I choose this: LEAN ON ME.
I have a memory where I met the songwriter of this song at a Lutheran Youth Convention; I would have been in High School. HOWEVER, the research is telling me that Bill Withers authored and performed this and yet, I recall the guy saying he was a Kindergarten teacher! I can’t verify this…