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books

I’ve read a few books so far this summer. I’ve deviated from my normal diet of English Literature to incorporate some different titles.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire: I am still trying to get the point behind this one. I was very confused about it all. Basically it is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West and how she came to be known as such. I am pretty sure Frank L. Baum would not approve. It took a lot of effort for me to finish it and I don’t recommend the book. However, I have heard that the musical is much better and nothing like the book. (Please don’t give this book to your teenager, it is for mature audiences only.)

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern: I was hoping this would at least be funny and sweet. It wasn’t. It was like eating cardboard. However, it convinced me that I could write chic lit. I am already 2000 words into writing my first badly written novel folks! Just 78,000 more to go!

French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano: This was refreshingly well written. Granted it was nothing I haven’t heard before from my own mother, but it was still good to hear. Warning: by the time you are finished you will be convinced that you need to drink a glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne every day – in theory not a bad idea, just not feasible for most pocketbooks.

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser: Very informative, scary, and inspiring at the same time! How is it inspiring? Did you know that the founders of Carl’s Junior (Hardee’s to all you East Coast folks), McDonald’s, and Disneyland (Walt Disney), all dropped out of high school? Amazing!

Easter Vigil & Other Poems by Karol Wojtyla: A great little book of great poetry by Pope John Paul II!

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dorothy l sayers

Today Dorothy L. Sayers would have been 120.

If you don’t know who Dorothy L. Sayers is I want you to drop everything your doing right now and 1) pick up any one of her mystery novels (my favorite is Gaudy Night, but please don’t start with that one, it would be unjust, start with Whoose Body or The Nine Tailors. Guady Night needs to be surrounded by a sense of anticipation in my opinion.), 2) get both volumes of her letters and start reading. And when you’ve read those pick up Creed or Chaos.

This woman was phenomenally brilliant. To say she was just a good mystery writer would be unfair. She wrote everything! Plays, prose, poetry, novels, philosophy. You name it. She even completed a translation of the Divine Comedy.

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I haven’t been able to read a whole lot lately, but I have finished a few good books! I’ve also bought a ton of books too. I am currently on a self imposed book-buying probation until all my current un-read books have been read, or in the event the library that has taken up residence in my bedroom (for really, it is a library) spontaneously combusted, and I am, somehow, left bookless.

First on the list . . .

An Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis De Sales. I’ve been reading this one page by page for at least a year now. It is so good. I read it slow on purpose just to make sure that I was giving it the attention it deserved instead gorging on text. It’s a very good guide for living a virtuous every day life.

A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. This one was first recommended to me in college my dear roommate. I’ve been meaning to read it ever since she told me about it and I finally did! It is the love/conversion story of a couple. Both knew C.S. Lewis and the books has a lot of his letters to them (which was a treat by itself). Word to the wise – read it with a box of tissues. The image above comes from their description of how they guarded their love. They built via various habits, practices and virtues what they called the “shining barrier.” I really liked the concept.

Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene. I am not the world’s biggest Graham Greene fan, he is just too dark for me. However, Travels with My Aunt was a great read, it hardly felt like Graham Greene! It was full of dry, English humour, wit, and a happy ending! What?! Not to mention that the Aunt character is a total riot.

Just an idea of what I am up to today! If you have a snow day today enjoy!

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(Just as an fyi, my livingroom isn’t that dark, it’s just a filter.)

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Here are a few books I’ve recently finished:

Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger: Loved it! It’s a really quick read. My favorite line being “there isn’t anyone out there who isn’t Seymour’s fat lady.” Read it and find out why!

West With the Night by Beryl Markham: An autobiographical piece about a young woman who is a bush pilot in Africa during 1920’s + 30’s. It’s really interesting, well written, and enjoyable! I would love to teach a class that compares West With the Night with Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The book being Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s experiences as a pilot. I think they are both around the same time period.

Bridge to Terabithia by Thomas Crowell: Granted this one is a juvenile fiction, but I wanted to read it. It was so depressing. It’s about two friends and the imaginary kingdom they create. I won’t spoil the end, but it is really sad.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt: I loved this one, but also found it bittersweet at the same time. This is another piece of juvenile fiction – it’s about a family that never ages and a little girl who discovers their secret.

The Glory of Hera by Caroline Gordon: This book was awesome. It’s the story of Hercules retold.

The Mystery of Joseph by Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe, OP: This is a phenomenal look at St. Joseph and the role he plays in life of Jesus and Mary, and the Church. Very well thought out, very well written. If you can only read one of these books, read this one.

How cool is this website? It gives you a page by page view of the prayer book of Queen Claude de France!

“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.

“So it is.”

“And freezing.”

“Is it?”

“Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

~ A.A. Milne

Dearest Charles–
I found a box of this paper at the back of a bureau so I must write to you as I am mourning for my lost innocence. It never looked like living. The doctors despaired of it from the start…
I am never quite alone. Members of my family keep turning up and collecting luggage and going away again, but the white raspberries are ripe.
I have a good mind not to take Aloysius to Venice. I don’t want him to meet a lot of horrid Italian bears and pick up bad habits.
Love or what you will.
S.
Brideshead Revisted by Evelyn Waugh

I haven’t been reading anything new for a while, a combination of excuses – to busy to find something, all the somethings I did find were boring and depressing, John Muir’s Wilderness Essays have been sitting on my nightstand and feel like I should finish them before I pick something else up but they are just so dull.

But while I was in Poland I read two books, one on a train and one on a plane.

Lancelot by Walker Percy, I read on a train. Like most of Percy’s stuff it was Southern, dark, and disturbing, but it was fascinating. (As a rule I don’t read Southern literature in the winter months, I just can’t handle it, but I made an exception for this.) It is about a man, Lancelot, who discovered the infidelity of his wife and subsequently goes crazy. But then again the main character may be the Percy, the man who Lancelot tells his story too. Read it and find out. CAUTION: this book is for mature audiences only, don’t hand it to your teenager.

The Mating Season by P.G. Wodehouse, I read on a plane. A lovely bit of silly, witty fluff involving Bertie Wooster and his man Jeeves. If you’ve never read anything by Wodehouse I suggest you find anything by him and read it. All his work makes me laugh out loud – which can be embarrassing when you are on the Metro surrounded by other people.

Check it out! A list of all the books that are mentioned by Rory Gilmore  in the TV series Gilmore Girls! I lined through the ones I have read . . . Read the rest of this entry »

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