Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Bucket List and My Art Journal

Watch tons of Classic Hollywood movies
This should be easy!
Read at least half of Classic Club list
Hmm. Not a priority.
Make lots of art and crafts
Well, I’ve put a lot of pressed flower art in my art journal, worked on redoing my first quilt, and worked on dresses for my sisters’ birthdays.
Spend time outside: stargaze, watch the sunset, swim, swing, catch lightening bugs, sleep outside
I’ve spent some time, but I need to make it more of a priority.
You would think this would be easy.
Go on several day-trips 
I’ve been to the zoo and a baseball game at our local university, and I want to plan one for my birthday.
Jane Austen Festival and local art festival
I’m doing the latter for certain..
Go on or at least schedule one major vacation
I meant myself, but our family is going on one in January
Take a trip with my grandparents
Work extensively on genealogy
Make frozen custard
I should've focused a bit more on, um, less costly options.

I had tons of pressed flowers, so I've worked on tons of pages for my art journal. I've rather more pressed flower pages than I would like, but I'm still learning this art journal thing. These are my best pages to date (05/26/2017), I think.

Didn't that iris press gorgeously?!

My paper back copy of the Jane Austen novels split, so I decided to use the pages for crafts.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Personality Again and Links

I'm sure I've posted too many personality posts, but I am continually finding interesting articles or blog posts.

I enjoy taking these for fun . . . but then it gets too complicated and too rule based. Too many little boxes. Meyers-Briggs is fun for FUN but it’s not a good tool for serious issues (well, not much in psychology is really, much of it is quite frankly, opinion, psychologists are NOT medical doctors, psychiatrists are). The T/F is the one where I really saw an issue. That is NOT a continuum. Plus, I always wonder how honest people are about their faults. Anyway. I have a hard time placing myself in these boxes; nevertheless, I find this interesting

I've read about HSP. And well, it smacks of the same special snowflake snobbishness that the introvert obsession does. And then there is this, perhaps we are just extremely selfish and irritable?

Speaking of, is there anyone else that cannot handle certain senses? I have a low smell toleration and low noise toleration. I can't seem to have too many sensory things going on at once.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Structured Spontaneity

My dad quoted someone as saying some people were running on "chaos" theory. While I'm not sure I'm that bad, I certainly run on fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants theory (I certainly did my Senior year of college; my sister, also a Senior then, told me later that I about gave her a heart attack . . . regularly) . . . or maybe moodiness theory. I think that this is part of the reason why I cannot seem to match personality types to a T (if they are very detailed). I like rules and lists, but I don't like following schedules and lists. I follow honor codes and laws, but silly rules don't appeal to me. I keep some things in my head, and I need a few things on paper and in my phone, but when I have too many to-dos, I get overwhelmed.

I guess I like structured spontaneity. I want a list items to choose from, to CHOOSE from, not to be bound toI think that my entire family might be this way, but some of us are more motivated and disciplined. Now, I don't like completely winging errands or vacations . . . especially since that sometimes means we do nothing. Of course, when we do have lists, my energy is quickly expended.

I'm easily overwhelmed. I don't know why I pin or bookmark these pages, sometimes. I think these can be great as bouncing points. I like the lists of activates, books, etc. to pick from, I don't like the lists of to-dos. I need more general ideas, and sometimes somethings are better left in my head or at least I might use lists to get to that point but not to keep as checklists. The more inspirational things, well, I think I'd like to get a chalkboard for that, those types of pages have been wasted paper in my bullet journal, and they don't matter if they don't take root in my heart anyway.

Friday, June 9, 2017

About Fandoms

I'm not big into fandoms. I think they can be super annoying and people can be weirdly obsessed. I think it is especially odd if the fandom is something that really won't last very long. Do fandoms annoy anyone else? I suppose I do sort of fangirl sometimes, but when I go overboard or watch others go overboard or find too much fanart, fanfiction, I get disgusted or annoyed with what I originally liked, you know?

I really liked all the fanart with fanfiction of the HP Marauder generation in Pins on Pinterest, but with my interest came overindulgence, and I found some stupid, sickening stuff. So that and watching the movies (which I don't really care much for) has rather harmed my careful spacing of my re-reads.

And I know I hate when people mess with the oh, so sacred book and story!

I like to constantly read new novels and give myself space to come back to old favorites after a long interlude. Hence my love of the library. Maybe part of all this is I didn't read much as a teen, and so I don't have such a long-read list that I can more naturally have huge gaps in favorites.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ode to the Library

I LOVE the library. I really feel that I don't get the library vibe from a lot of book bloggers, maybe we just forget to talk about it. But I know a lot of people buy books. I do like having books on hand, but I need to know I love them, and right now, I need space and money.

I grew up going to the library constantly. I loved the county library system where I grew up which we used for school and fun. And I loved my childhood church library where we often checked out our favorites ad nauseam. Nostalgia, people.

We don't have a great church library, and our county library system consists of one library, and although expanded, doesn't have a great selection, but I still use it occasionally (it is nice to make a quick movie run). I can use the big city library if I pay taxes or pay for a card.

I love:
~Using both our county library and the city library the next county over
~Ordering all the books from the various city locations and picking them up in one place
~Using the self-checkout
~Getting interlibrary loans
~Keeping loads of books on my designated library book shelf (I really need two)
~Suggesting purchases (I think the library bought all of them)
~Checking out movies, particularly ones that Netflix and Amazon wouldn't have 
~Listening to Great Courses lectures while I knit

I barely skimmed what our libraries offer; our city library also has:
~Links to online courses
~Digitized old newspapers (I used this for college)
~Reading challenges (the little girls have completed some of these, and we used to do this at our county library when we were younger and in another county)
~Bookmobile for those who cannot easily access the library
~E-books for those that like those
~Audiobooks for those that like those
~Ask-A-Librarian (I think I may have used this, but I was/am trying to find a book by vague memory of illustration and plot . . . I have nothing else, so that is hard, and unsuccessful thus far)

~Historical archives (at the downtown location)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Instagram and Photography

I feel pressured when I take photos; I'm often thinking in terms of my blog (which is why I got my camera), and so when I don't take photos for my blog, when I don't like the time and the pressure, I forget about documenting my and my family's life.

I am not at ease with photography. I hate feeling watched and rushed. I don't understand it or what I'm missing easily. It just doesn't click for me very well. But I've made HUGE progress. I need to keep it up. I'm need to find balance. I don't have to have tons of photos for my blog, but I do need to take photos of my life to preserve memories. And if I want good photos, then I need practice.

I'm a perfectionist. I think that quality is important. This clashes with the fact that I think that not wasting time is important and that I tend to want to see instant results; well, I cannot deliver results without practice. I tend to give up. I tend to waste time in other ways though; I need to learn balance. If I'm annoying impatient people (ahem), I need to learn to speed up my process and to take a break (I didn't need to get San Diego Zoo photos). I need to think in terms of practice as well as time management. I need to think in terms of life as well as blog (by the way, some people have talked of using their blog to preserve memories, to possibly print later; I think that is a lovely idea).

I got on Instagram to grow my blog. After looking at the labor of putting DSLR photos on Instagram, I opted to use my iPhone which I usually use only for my pets, library re-borrowing stacks, and photos for ideas or for notes. I felt pressured on Instagram and was unhappy with my photos even after spending too much effort on them. I found a tutorial that explained editing. . . what a crazy lot of time for "snaps" to go on Instagram. And then I spent so much time scrolling through my feed and not receiving much in return. A low inspiration to time ratio. I got off Instagram. I think that if I ever do use it for my blog, I will try to use photos that I've already taken even if it is tedious. That seems a better use of my time. 

I don't want to spend time on iPhone photos that aren't worth much. I want to focus on quality photos, BUT I do think I need to be willing to sacrifice quality for memories when need be instead of the other way around. These however, wouldn't be for my blog, when I take iPhone photos for my blog, I'm being lazy, when I use them for family and friends, I'm being practical; there will be some moments I miss or people I annoy if don't allow for this.

I need to work on my composition. I love Ginny Sheller's style of photography; I want to catch moments and style crafts like that. I focus so much on pristine photos, but I like this blog; the lady's photos aren't professional but the colors, lighting, subjects, and composition are interesting and in photojournalism style.  

I just spilled all my internal processing out; I'm not a succinct or lucid person, so I don't know if any of this made sense. I'm just trying to work out what works for me.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Another Book Tag

I will use all the interesting tags I find regardless of whether I'm tagged specifically or generally. I found this one here.

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?
For fiction, probably the three tiny Barnes and Noble books I bought ages ago of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Ivanhoe. How I wish I’d snatched up more, but I didn’t know all the books they had at that point in my life. I did find The Secret Garden at Goodwill a couple years ago. I wish Barnes and Noble would put those out again.

For all times, excluding Bibles, Good Housekeeping’s the Illustrated Book of Needlecrafts. I used that so often in the earlier knitting days before I discovered reams of stitches and aids online.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?
My last read was the second book of ND Wilson's Outlaws of Time: The Song of Glory and Ghost. I'm still reading Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry, and I'm also reading Dombey and Son (I just picked up where I left off months ago, and thankfully, the book starting to pick up in interest at that point). As to what I will read next, well, I am a bit random and moody in my reading. I have mostly reference books and history books, but A History of the Arab Peoples by Albert Habib Hourani and Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution are my priority. I have a Georgette Heyer novel, but I might have to make a quickie run to the library or raid my sisters' shelves or something for some fiction to help me finish my nonfiction (yes, that is how that works).

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?
Code Name Verity is popular in the blogosphere, and I wrote a post about my issues with it.

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't?
Many books on my Classic Club list. Except I’ve now pretty much decided not to force myself on some of them.

5. What book are you saving for retirement?  
Anything I’m not motivated to read now that I might be interested in then.

6. Last page: read it first, or wait 'til the end?  Wait for the end!
If I’m enjoying the book, then I try to wait until the end. But if I’m not and decided not to finish reading, then I will skim the rest.

7. Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?
Boring, although I like looking for the author’s family at the end.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?
Maybe Nell, in Lantern Bearers, so I could marry Aquila and experience ancient Britain.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?)
Well, the books from my grandparents’ collection that I got after they downsized or that they gave to me earlier remind me of their old library (it was a bedroom that had a glass door; they had a computer in it, and they had a full bookshelf, a double full bookshelf, and three half bookshelves, or something like that plus boxes of books in the closet). I got several of the books I’d only ever read there (Mother was a gift, but Old-Fashioned Girl and At Boarding School with the Tucker Twins I got to take), but there are a few for which I wish I’d remembered to ask (To Have and to Hold and A Long Fatal Love Chase). And I wonder what happened to their Bobbsey twin books?

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.
I think the above is interesting because two of the books are antique copies, but another interesting one is that my grandmother bought me a book about regency times at a JA festival and the author signed it.

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?  

12. Which book has been with you most places?
I didn’t personally own most of my books when I was younger. Maybe my American Girl books. Although I gave them to my sisters (or they appropriated them) after I got older.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad later?
I didn’t have too much required classic reading. And I loved a lot of the historical fiction we were assigned.

14. Used or brand new?
If used is like bran' new, then both, if not, then bran' new.

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?
The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott (and I watched the movie first, but the book is silly)

17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?  
I like reading about the different food although I'm not sure it would make me hungry. L.M. Montgomery often mentions food that sounds quite delicious.

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
Um, no one? I'll try what I think interesting of many people's recommendations, but I don't implicitly trust to like all any one person's suggestions. Everyone has different tastes, even my sisters although I may take their advice more seriously than I would other people . . . even though the advice may be “you wouldn’t like it.”

19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?
No, I don’t think so. I don’t know how to define out of my comfort zone . . . if I start liking it, then it IS in my comfort zone. Books that seem different or unusual in subject or style, like The Outsiders and Book Thief, might be easier for me to answer. And I just did. Books that I consider out of my comfort zone would fall into genres I invariably dislike or at least feel somewhat indifferent toward, e.g. Science Fiction.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Robin Hood Week Link Up

I'm joining here for Olivia@Meanwhile in Rivendell's Robin Hood Week tag.

What was your first exposure to Robin Hood?
I can't remember. The basic story is common knowledge.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how big of a fan are you?
Maybe a 7?

How many versions and spin-offs of the legend have you experienced?
The first that I can remember is when Robin Hood appears in Ivanhoe (Mom read this to us, and I’ve seen a couple versions). I think I read or skimmed The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green. I've watched the animated Robin Hood movie, and I watched the first two seasons of the BBC Robin Hood. After Marian died and I heard a bit about the 3rd season, I decided it was too sacrilegious (like the 3rd unmentionable Anne movie, though I did watch that and annoyed my family with my raving; of course, the first two are inaccurate also but the inaccuracy increases from movie to movie). I think Howard Pyle has a Robin Hood book, and I'd like to watch the Errol Flynn Robin Hood movie and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Those are all I know of, but I'm open to more.

What is your favorite version of Robin Hood (can be book, movie, TV series, anything)?
The BBC miniseries. This version is so inaccurate both as to the myth and the possible historical period, that the issue doesn't matter to me (I must have either perfect or awful). I just find it, particularly I think the second season, so fun.

Are you one of the lads? (Meaning, have you watched/are you a fan of the BBC show?)
Yes. Alan is my man.

Who is your favorite Merry Man?
Alan. My favorite couple is Will and Djaq, and I don't think they get enough time.

Do you have a favorite portrayal of Lady Marian?
The fox Marian? The first season of BBC Marian is a self-righteous brat, but then she matures.

Do you have any interest in or aptitude at archery?

Fact or fiction -- which do you think? 
Perhaps like King Arthur there might be some very slight shadow of fact, but it is majorly myth.

Do you think Robin Hood has been "done to death," or are there still new twists that can be found?
Oh, no. I'm always up for retellings of myths, legends, fairytales, books, etc.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Depth vs. Complexity

Depth vs. Complexity. I am not good at finding the right words like this (for this reason I was SO happy to see the juxtaposition in the second article; now I know what I mean!), but these are the concepts that I consider when thinking about characters and stories in movie and books. I do think complexity is probably too dignified a term for what I mean (chaotic is probably better) and breadth might be a better one for the article. And I don't want simplistic (for stories) or narrow (for knowledge).

Comprehension vs. Trivia or Depth vs. Breadth. Mindfulness is important in choosing books, in reading the books, and in processing the books. That is why I'm pretty happy with my low number of books, but why I have room for improvement. I think this issue of depth vs. breadth is part of the issue I have with constantly having to "be in the know" with the news . . . you could pick up a book (by a scholar who has studied the subject not someone who has experienced or seen the issues, not all nonfiction by professionals is scholarly!) on the issues at hand, how else do can you understand the world? What is the good of knowing without comprehending (and again, some books are about knowing not comprehending)?

Interested vs. Interesting. I think the issue with many people is one of motivation. Being a homebody can be a lovely thing . . . if it is done from love rather than fear and if the homebody does and can venture out from time to time. Many people are interesting because they are interested and therefore, knowledgeable and confident.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Beauty and the Beast 2017 Review

FYI, I watched this film almost two months ago although I wrote my notes well before this. 

I had low expectations when we watched this, so I like it better than I expected or at least I liked it okay instead of hated it? My expectations for Cinderella barely existed. A friend pointed out that Cinderella was rather a surprise, that it wasn't emphasized very much. When movies get tons of attention, I often don't like them because I forget that I don't have the same taste as other people and raise my standards unintentionally. I prefer to know little going into books and movies. 

So, I had stacked my expectations (known and unknown) against Beauty and the Beast
~Not Cinderella 2015
~Not my favorite plot
~Star-studded (often means stars overshadow movie or character or change movie or aren't really a good fit)
~A musical (I don't dislike musicals; my favorite music is from musicals, but in terms of overall movie choice, I prefer a more developed story)
~Director of Twilight vs. Kenneth Branagh (no wonder Cinderella is so brilliant)
~My dissatisfaction with the casting and the suspicion that Emma Watson couldn't sing, partially proven by movie clips
~The moral scandal (and yes, they did everything quite deliberately with the media focus)

What I liked
~Dan Steven's voice.

~Evermore (I've listened to this so many times).

~Luke Evan's voice ("Kill the Beast" is where his vocals really got me).

~Seeing Dan Steven's facial expressions in the beast (that is so fascinating).

What I disliked aesthetically
~I preferred the bright, clear, sparkling, sunny visuals of Cinderella, and I prefer the greater depth in Cinderella that a non-musical allows.

~My favorite musical themes were cut short.

~I prefer the original version of "Beauty and the Beast."

What I disliked in the plot
~In addition to the fact that a musical format doesn't allow for much depth, this film had waaay too many plot lines and so none of them felt completed or deep. I always prefer simpler and deep to intricate and shallow (i.e. unfinished).

~The original movie had enough plot lines, this one added more and increased the old ones, so much so I felt that Belle and the Beast's romance and the Beast's transformation is eclipsed; both feel comparatively short or rushed, and I feel like they hardly get any attention at the end.

~Enough has been said on the moral issues that I won't address it here except to state that besides the subplot being distraction, the immorality is also a distraction.

What I disliked about the casting and acting
~Star-studded casts often means stars overshadow movie or character or change movie or aren't really a good fit and all three apply for Emma Watson in this; she overacts and cannot sing (you would think an excellent voice is essential for a role in a musical, but after seeing the movie versions of Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera, I wasn't surprised).

~I love Dan Stevens as Edward Ferrars, he is adorable, but he is not the Greco-Roman looking blond god-figure the animated version promised. He is sweet and candid looking, not the kind of handsome that can really pull off regal dignity and arrogance.

~I wasn't happy with Luke Evans either, he is too old and not the fleshy, bold Gaston kind of handsome (I don't think he handsome in this film at all), but I think he performed his role the best.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A to Z Book Tag

I found this tag on You, Me, and a Cup of Tea. Note: this post was written on 5/10/17 so current and just-reads might no longer be accurate, but then I've been dragging my feet so who knows.

Author you've read the most books from
Agatha Christie, around 35. This isn't because she is a favorite author, its just that most authors aren't that prolific, many because they focus more on quality.

Best sequel ever
Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson (such a leap and just so exciting after the slow-moving first) and Nomad by R.J. Anderson (so, so satisfying, this was a stay-up-into-the-wee-sma's-to-finish-book).

Currently reading
Re-reading the American Girl books starting with Kaya, not sure I will continue with that though. And also reading Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry for my self-taught U.S. history course.

Drink of choice while reading
Whole milk

E-reader or physical book
Physical book. I have a hard time focusing when trying to use a screen, and then I don't absorb what I read very well.

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school
I'm trying to think of a book character I "knew" in high school, so probably a childhood book crush. I loved Henry Alden as a kid. I also had a crush on Ethan from Calico Bush and Lewis from the Caroline Little House books.

Glad you gave this book a chance
The Penderwicks and Harry Potter. I had dismissed them as children's books (Why?! Middle grade are the best of modern books!), but when I got hooked into these series, I got hooked!

Hidden gem book
A Snicker of Magic. The Key to Extraordinary. An Ordinary Princess. Wildwood Dancing.

Important moment in your reading life
When I finally started to get the hang of reading again.

Just finished
From Pride to Humility. An excerpt booklet that Mom wanted me to read ages ago.

Kind of books you won't read
Besides books with moral issues, much pop fiction and nonfiction and Christian fiction and anything that I start to really dislike right in the middle or that I can tell won't end well.

Longest book you've read
According to my Goodreads stats (just found that after reading the original tag post and Googling; wow, how much I've missed; you MUST look at yours) Les Misérables at around 1,500 pages. Not worth it. Read the abridged version, the extra pages are literally pointless filler.

Major book hangover because of...
Swift and Nomad and who knows what other books. I think those caused the most major hangovers.

Number of bookcases you own
2. Well, I don't technically own them, I have them in my room

One book you have read multiple times
JA novels and North and South are the ones I've counted.

Preferred place to read
In my bed.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you've read
Captain Wentworth's letter. Actually that entire "scene" in the novel. I noticed so many more details about his movements and listening this time around. And then entire "scene" at the end of North and South.

Reading regret
I am starting quit books I loathe, so I usually regret reading too far. But some series, like The Selection and Twilight series I'm embarrassed to say I enjoyed and/or continued reading when I started getting disgusted (or should've been disgusted).

Series you started and need to finish (all books are out in series)
I think that I'm caught up on all the series I've deemed worth finishing.

Three of your all-time favourite books
I'll try to pick ones that I've liked the longest and that can stand alone in my opinion. Eagle of the Ninth, Emily Climbs, and Calico Bush.

Unapologetic fangirl for...
Hmm. When I get too fangirly I'm at the tipping point of liking, just about to make myself start getting sick of something. I'm not big into fangirling and fandoms, they get annoying.

Very excited for this release more than all the others
The final Penderwick book. I'm very afraid I might hate it or aspects of it, though. Please don't pull a Jo and Laurie trope!!!!!!!

Worst bookish habit
Checking too many library books out and dragging my feet and not getting to them in time. Also, racking up fines at the library

X marks the spot: start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book
Jane Eyre

Your latest book purchase
I don't know exactly, its been awhile, and it was probably nonfiction, so I will do gifts. I received a gorgeous anniversary copy of The Book Thief for Christmas.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late)
I don't remember

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tracking What I Read and Watch and How I Find Books and Movies to Watch and Link Love

I love being able to look at my book reading and movie watching data. I also like having lists for shopping. And I have all my reading and movie watching information spread all over, so I'm trying to streamline my to-read, have-read, to-watch, and have-watched lists. I had had bookmark folders, bullet journal lists, Goodreads lists, library lists, and Amazon lists. I've recently managed to eliminate the bookmark folders; I was just lazily bookmarking instead of putting books and movies on my serious lists. I've also streamlined my Goodreads and bullet journal lists.

I use Goodreads to track what I have read, and I recently re-organized my shelves to be able to understand the data better. I emptied my to-read list (not useful and mostly forgotten) and I don't really use my currently reading list (pointless, in my opinion). I've also transferred my to re-read list to my reading notebook (I need to use that more!), and I'm starting to count my re-reads on Goodreads (yay for this option!). I have to pace my re-reads and am a moody reader, but do you have a "literary medicine cabinet"?

I put all the books that I can on my lists in my library account. For the books unavailable at my library, I have handwritten and Amazon inter-library loan lists. These combined lists are too huge to realistically be left to inter-library loans, so perhaps I will force myself to use my Kindle app or will eventually be able to buy or borrow from other people. I almost constantly have many library books on hand and am trying to keep my fiction book collection low for now because of space and my re-reading and pickiness choices. How do you choose?

I have movie to-watch lists in my bullet journal, and I've put some on a basic movie list in my library account. But movies are less likely to be in either of the library systems I use plus I think I just prefer my paper lists right now. I did digitize movies that I have watched already with Letterboxd. I'm still getting used to it, and I cannot customize as much as on Goodreads, but my main need (movies watched by month for blog posts) is answered.


I find many fiction books through the blogs I read, and I find some through catalogs, searching, word of mouth, and common knowledge. I usually search for nonfiction by looking on Pulitzer History, Francis Parkman, and Bancroft Prize Winner lists, looking on Amazon, and sometimes looking on suggested reading lists. With the later two options, I often try to look up the credentials of the author. I'd prefer to read the work of a serious historian on history, an economist on economics, etc., not the work of a journalist, politician or some other amateur on the subject. Occasionally I will find authors mentioned or will read articles they've written which leads me to their works.

For movies I collect my lists through blog suggestions and the occasional search as well. I'm not a film buff and would prefer to keep my book reading pace far faster than my movie watching pace. I do think reading (when reading well) is a far better occupation than movie watching. And I'm afraid as a country we don't take this seriously enough

I've added a new reading challenge page. Check out the Travel the World in Books challenge.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What I Read and Watched April

Yeah, I don't think the quarterly options are going to work, I had to cut down what I wanted to say far too much for the first quarter. And this is going to be long for one month even though I read less than my average last three months. My sister got married at the end of the month, so yeah, my focusing ability ended about that week. I only watched one new to me movie that I can remember, the 1961 The Parent Trap, and we watched that twice and want to own, definitely recommend as its hilarious. And then I found the Studio C/Brooklyn and Bailey Parent Trap spoof.

Northanger Abbey
Pride and Prejudice

Yep, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice are still my favorites. Pride and Prejudice is lighter and funnier and Persuasion is shorter and deeper than all the rest. I still don't understand the worship of Darcy; his character isn't that developed really. You get a clearer understanding of Captain Wentworth in the shorter book than you do of Darcy. I like Persuasion as a romance but Pride and Prejudice as an interesting read, the romance isn't much (nor is it meant to be). Again, I still don't think I understand the level of satire and sarcasm in these novels (and the wider JA culture seems to either not see it or refuse to see it; I mean, people, she literally mocked the type of fangirling and sentimentalism that goes on in her novels). And yet I'm disgusting with the excess of passion in some Brontë novels. Surely there is a balance between total mockery and total excess?! I've never had one favorite author anyway, but I think JA dropped out of the top years ago. When I first read them, it was really both my first foray into classics and into reading again. I was a very literal person then, and I enjoyed a period of history I didn't know exist (well, clearly I knew it existed historically, but I mean culturally). Everything about the experience was novel. Plus, so many people had read or knew of and liked and discussed JA. I think we need more Dickens and Brontë and Gaskell and Alcott and Montgomery discussions.

Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George
I read this out of order. This series is the poorest written and most juvenile of her books. Cute bu meh, is the best description.

Dear Enemy by Jean Webster. Some of this I liked, but the small fun parts mingled with obnoxiousness, inanity, repetitiveness and um, a SERIOUS strains of eugenics. *Clears throat* EUGENICS! Perhaps carelessly recommending it to my sisters wasn't a good idea; I mean I don't think I took this issue seriously enough.

Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving through Deep Difference by John D. Inazu. Yeah, um not as good as his first (plus it lowers my appreciation of his first). I think his reasoning is both lazy and disingenuous. I think that he tried to please too many people or to protect his back plus he had some preaching to the choir. A few things make it two stars rather than one, his definition of pluralism and his call for civic duty. But again, the people that would listen aren't the ones that are the major problem. I did have three stars but after talking about it with my dad and then looking over all my notes, my distaste deepened. Read The Intolerance of Tolerance. That book is intellectually sound.

Israel: A History by Martin Gilbert. I bumped this book down (from four stars to three) also after further thought. I also thought he was being intellectually dishonest in skimming over explanations and presuming knowledge (although Dad said British people would understand, I still think the terms he used were lazy and polarizing, particularly in a global world with such a subject) plus I thought his choice of style, narration with some overly specific details without explanation or background, was not the best. I'm not sure I consider this overly scholarly scholarly though the author is a historian. But what is deserving of applause is that he did not make the issue zero-sum.

Note: I'm trying to move my site and update things, but I'm having issues, so its taking longer than I thought. I'm not even sure what my domain name will be, but I will try to keep everything updated as I progress.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Literary Journey via Literary References in Little Women: Plays, Periodicals, and Miscellaneous Writings

I cannot vouch for these works; I just thought a list would be fun to compile of these references. I've made bold the titles I've read.

How many have you read?

Mary Stuart by Schiller
Merchant of Venice
Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Beaux’ Stratagem by George Farquhar
The Rivals by Richard Sheridan

Punch or The London Charivari
The Rambler created by Samuel Johnson

~Belsham’s Essays

~“Discourse of Sallets”
Essay by John Evelyn

~Greek Myths

~“North Wind and the Sun”
Fable from Aesop’s Fables (Little Women also mentioned these more generally)

~“Steadfast Tin Soldier”
Fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson

~“The House that Jack Built”
Nursery rhyme

~The Parent’s Assistant
A collection of children’s stories by Maria Edgeworth

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Literary Journey via Literary References in Little Women: Poetry and Songs

I cannot vouch for these works; I just thought a list would be fun to compile of these references.I haven't read any of these or I don't remember if I have. I may have read "Bonnie Dundee," I certainly plan to after reading the Sutcliff novel of the same name.

How many have you read?

“A Dream of Fair Women” Tennyson

“Bonnie Dundee” Scott

“Come Ye Disconsolate” by Thomas More and Thomas Hastings

“Do You Know the Country” by Goethe in Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

“Endymion” Keats

“Evelyn Hope” Robert Browning

“Judas Maccabeas” Handel (an oratorio)

“Lakes of Killarney” by Lady (Sydney) Morgan (I couldn’t find any information about this, perhaps the author featured this ballad in a book)

“Land O’ the Leal” by Richard Burns

“Little Jenny Wren”

“Nothing to Wear” (Flora McFlimsey is mentioned)

“The Rainy Day” Longfellow

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Literary Journey via Literary References in Little Women: Books

Since many of these novels are well-known, I've only included the author on lesser-known titles. I cannot vouch for these works; I just thought a list would be fun to compile of these references. I've made bold the titles I've read.

How many have you read?

~A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott (I read this ages ago, at least I think I read it in full; it isn't as scandalous as implied by many, just for her audience at the time; I have, however come across her "Jo March is rebuked by Professor Bhaer writings" which are scandalous)
~Corinne by Madame de Staël
~David Copperfield
~Dombey and Son
~Don Quixote
~Evelina by Frances Burney (this is the least sappy of the three Burney novels I've read and the one I have hitherto decide to keep; the other two I've read are Camilla and Cecilia)
~Heir of Redclyffe
~Little Dorrit
~Mable on a Midsummer Day by Mary Howitt
~Martin Chuzzlewit
~Nicholas Nickleby
~Odyssey (Telemachus is specifically mentioned)
~Old Man and the Sea
~Oliver Twist
~Patronage by Maria Edgeworth
~Pilgrim’s Progress (Dad read this aloud to us, but I'm not counting that)
~Rasselas by Samuel Johnston
~Tailor Retailored or Sartur Resartus by Thomas Carlyle
~The Bible
~The Flirtations of Captain Cavendish (probably Cavendish, or the Patrician at Sea by William Johnson Neale according to this blog)
~The Life of Samuel Johnson James Boswell
~The Wide, Wide World by Susan Warner under the pseudonym Elizabeth Wetherell
~Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughs
~Uncle Tom’s Cabin
~Undine and Sintram stories by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué
~Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith

Monday, April 24, 2017

Literary Journey via Literary References in Little Women: Authors

When we grew up reading Little Women I always enjoyed the literary references even when I didn't understand the background of most of them because I just thought it was fun to be able to do reference with such ease. Now, I recognize more of there references plus I have a copy of Little Women that has footnotes (these are addictive, and now I want that for the rest of the trilogy) for each reference, and I compiled a massive reading list from them. I love reading lists. I cannot really follow them religiously but there is just somethings so addictive and alluring about them.

Little Women features literary references of all sorts: quotes, mention of an author, mention of a work, vague allusion. I organized by type of work and then included a list of authors mentioned by name (their works may or may not also have been referenced in the book) which I'm including here for day one. I only included first names of the obscure authors.

I compiled my lists awhile back, so I hope that they are complete and accurate enough. I've used bold on the authors I've read, and I make a sorry showing today! I cannot vouch for these authors; I just thought a list would be fun to compile of these references.

How many of these authors have you read?

Bremer, Frederika
Columella, Lucius Junius
Cowley, Abraham
Edgeworth, Maria
More, Hannah
Raymond, Richard John
Rousseau, Heloise
Sherwood, Mrs. Mary Martha
Southworth. E.D.E.N.
Tusser, Thomas

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Character Links

I know I've been bombarding you all with links, but I've been trying to declutter my bookmarks and putting links in posts is a way to share and save.

Traits of people with high EQ (and fully functioning and ethical conscience; I posted a link about the dangers of high EQ, earlier, this is a very important point to consider)

More active, obvious people (explosive rather than resentful temper, open hostility or gossip) are often a target for the more passive aggressive, self-righteous goody-two-shoes. You know, the Pharisees. The first is still wrong, don't misunderstand me (let's not pull an introvert-extrovert bashing type mistake here). People just don't realize, that a lot of situations feature two, often equally, wrong people.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Organizing My Books on Goodreads

Did you notice Goodreads now lets you mark rereads? I need to start using that.

I've been trying to organize my Goodreads categories, so I can easily find books by categories or see what categories I read a lot or see how books of certain authors I've read for posts or recommendations or just to see for fun. I only want books on "read" and one other shelf.

So, for each book

~If I have a much read or favorite author, I have a shelf for books by that author alone

~If the author is doesn't meet the above then the book goes on a specific genre shelf for genres that I consider significant

~If the book is still not placed,  I have a shelf for random fiction and a shelf for random nonfiction

Monday, April 17, 2017

Balance in Hospitality

The best way to deal with issues is with preemptive measures like these: 

~Limit number of guests.

~Limit time.

~Ask other people to bring food.

~Set up a clean-up plan so all family members help.

~Put out toys, games, etc. that are durable and put away anything easily broken or precious.

~Limit range of house and grounds (make sure the parents and their children both hear).

Passive aggressiveness only enables the offendors to hurt other unwary hosts, and unforgiveness or harshness hurts the sensitive or sane guests, so

~Ignore irritations and small issues, don't make guests feel bad for small issues (or even some bigger issues); they should still feel welcome if they act like sane people. Just make sure boundaries are clear. Here are some books on hospitality. My family has always been hospitable, so our problem is not with welcoming.

~Respectfully ask for help or cessation (depending on the situation) when guests are continually excessively inconsiderate.

~Address the beyond rude guests with their sin strongly (we've had a HUGE issue, so I'm not talking about the above).

I cannot share the major issues, but I will share one lesser issue. We had an irate neighbor (of course, I think this neighbor looks for offense; they've watched us in our yard and clearly weren't thrilled that a family of 6 kids moved next door) ring our doorbell about guest kids trespassing (and another innocent guest had to answer the door and take the heat); we have 3 acres, that is plenty of room to explore.

How to be a good guest.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I Wasn't Tagged But I'll Answer Anyway

I decided I wanted to answer the questions from the Sunshine Blogger Award post here.

1.)  Is there a particular fictional genre to which you keep returning? (i.e. period drama, action, fantasy, etc.)
Probably period drama and fantasy.

2.)  What type of toothpaste do you use? ('Cause I'm weird like that.)
When I can I prefer to use natural toothpaste. I'd been using this one for awhile, but now I just use whatever Mom buys.

3.)  In general -- can be for yourself or for others or for both -- do you prefer straight, curly, or wavy hair?
I have "straight" with body and while I would prefer more curl or wave, I'm pretty happy with how mine keeps waves, curls, straightening when I style my hair.

4.)  Do you like musicals?
I'm not naturally drawn to musical theater (I'm not musically and am rather sensitive in the irritable way, to sound), but after awhile I grew to love The Phantom of the Opera.

5.)  What is your third favorite season?
Summer probably. I like Spring and Fall because they are "fresh" (as in warm after two cool seasons, and cool after two warm seasons) and mild. Summer and Winter both get monotonous, but although I hate heat, I like bright and happy, so I would probably prefer Summer over Winter. Hello, I'm an overthinker.

6.)  Jewelry -- yea or nay?
Necklace and earrings. But eventually I get ready to take those off.

7.)  Have you seen any of the live-action remakes of the classic Disney movies (MaleficentCinderellaAlice in WonderlandThe Jungle Book, etc.)?  If so, what are your thoughts on them?
I've seen Maleficent (meh, I don't like when famous actors/actresses dominate the movies plus scary AND boring, yes its possible), Beauty and the Beast (my expectations were very low by the time I saw it, I enjoyed it better than I thought I would, I mean it felt "Disney" in some way), Mirror Mirror (hilarious, not a serious adaptation), and Cinderella (ruined me for any other adaptation, nothing can top this).

8.)  Are you adept at cookery?
If I am paying attention.

9.)  Is there anybody you really wish would start a blog?  
I wish people wouldn't STOP blogging or change their direction to something narrow and commonplace. I wish anyone near my age would start classic bookish blogs and maker blogs. I feel like my blogosphere is shrinking, and I don't know how to find good blogs. I wonder if more people are turning to other social media like Instagram (sorry, not as interesting, inspiration, or thoughtful).

10.)  Do you know what your Myers-Briggs personality is?  If so, do share.
I've gotten ISTP most often, but also ISTJ and ISNP. None of them fit me closely at all. Bear in mind that this is NOT a scientific or serious test. The only sensible part is the I-E continuum, and I'm more of an ambivert. Myers-Briggs is only fun if it isn't taken as gospel.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

How to Deal with the News Links

Yes, I know the election is old news, but these are (mostly) general and timeless attitudes and responses.

A safe and hospitable home no matter the news and ways to cope with the news cycle and paying attention to news close to home

Ways to pray on election day

News consumption News is biased in so many ways. One major way is toward anger and fear and gloom and doom. That is not honest.

Opinions and beliefs are not the same thing

9 Sins the Church is Okay With All of these are quite tied to this posts title, believe me. Along with a dose of arrogance and self-righteousness

Kind over Epic

And Lord of Ring responses to the world and evil This is a serious article and quite good

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Code Name Verity and Insensitivity Regarding WWII

*Takes a deep breath before exploding*

Even though I consider Code Name Verity is a waste of reading time, I still appreciate the ability to juxtapose my impression of it next to All the Light We Cannot See and The Book Thief. Both novels use shadows and hints and impressions to create the fear and horror of the war without stooping to the inferior and disgusting method of graphically detailing the abominations for a sort of violence voyeurism. My understanding of all the novels is of course based in in my somewhat different knowledge of WWII. I still prefer The Book Thief. Characterization is FAAAAAR better in this novel. But All the Light We Cannot See is more accurate in reproducing the feeling of surreal horror without graphically painting all the horror.

Code Name Verity is a trivial, insensitive, shallow, silly WWII story. Such a stupid 10-year-old "girl power" story has no place in the gritty, horrifying history of WWII. But the worst of it was that the fantastic plot is INCREDIBLY disrespectful

I mentioned the disrespect to my sister, and I meant disrespect to the real heroes, the men and women who self-sacrificed to save others in what compared to this ludicrous book would seem a "hum drum" way. My sister thought I meant disrespect to victims. That is true too, for many of the same reasons and more. WWII is not some sort of freak show to watch. *

The author of the book apparently forgets how weak we are when we are merely hungry or frightened. How much more are we when terrified, starving, isolated, sleep-deprived, tortured, depressed, and injured all at once? In such a situation, basic efforts are a struggle. This novel exhibits an incredible level of ignorance of humanity, war, trauma, and history. And yet in this fantastic novel a pampered genius could originate a mind-boggling elaborate plot in code under all the deprivation and trauma. This ridiculously unreal ability devalues the work of the real people who went through real deprivation and real trauma.  

I don't think people really understand or take WWII seriously enough. I am not well-versed in it; I'm not a historical scholar (nor is anyone who does summary "research" for a "historical" novel). I took a lower level class but most of what I remembered was first-hand accounts of American soldiers. The textbook focused on war strategies and battles. I don't have a good grasp of what happened on the Continent to the civilians, to the prisoners, etc. I don't know Gestapo methods. I do know much more about the Eastern Front, the history of the horror there that led up to the war because of my graduate level Stalinism class. I know how Stalin and Hitler destroyed people between them. I know some nightmarish stories that are censured from popular history books. I don't appreciate the gung-ho American attitude. The greatest generation attitude. The mighty heroes. How about we understand the devastation first? War isn't so clear cut, especially on motivation. People, we weren't fighting to stop the Holocaust. And yes, people did know it was happening (and I'm skeptical about the lack of knowledge of what Stalin did too; I feel like we should've, could've seen through the sham tours and show trials). I'm reading a history of Israel now, and the Allies don't appear like such heroes. Antisemitism is an insidious sin.

*Hogan's Heroes could be legitimately criticized for disrespect too, but I think that something that purports to be serious is worse.

Monday, April 10, 2017

I'm Just Not a Social Media Person

I deleted my Instagram, again, this time really trying it (not all out like a professional but more than just having an account). I feel like that I need to enjoy whatever online or digital tool I use for its own sake. Social media that I don't find personally helpful and interesting are not worth merely using as a tool for blog promotion, at least right now. Any marketing that eventually came out of it isn’t worth the effort (I really dislike of selling and advertising).

The only big social media that I use are Pinterest and Blogger.

I love blogging. I love finding and reading blogs. I am inspired to knit more. I discover new (to me) books and movies to try. I find more natural beauty options I love the sewing and fashion inspiration. I just really feel that my little curated collection of blogs is so often truly, practically inspirational. Oh, sure I've wasted time on blogs that I don't benefit from, but overall, I think the blog world is worth my time. I think blogging myself is enjoyable, especially since I can schedule, and so I am planning to make more of an effort to grow it into possibly a bit of job.

Pinterest is another love of mine. I did get my account in the extremely early stages during which you had to be invited, but I didn't understand or use it much until it really sprang into life. Then I went crazy. I think that Pinterest is a great search engine and curating site even with the changes I dislike. The blog promotion is a nice side benefit.

Ravelry and Goodreads both have social media capabilities which I may at some point use (or use again), but right now I enjoy them for their main capabilities.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Other Movies I've Watched This Quarter

I’ve watched 5 new Hallmark movies: Love on Ice (eh), A Royal Winter (adorable), Birthday Wishes (hilarious), Love Blossoms (gorgeous setting and scenery and fun story with decent actors for Hallmark), and Campfire Kiss (absurd and with bad actors, even for Hallmark).

I've watched 7 more miscellaneous films and miniseries, which I organized by date.

Sword in the Stone, 1963

The Great Mouse Detective, 1986
This is Sherlock Holmes for mice which is a funny concept, but I thought the movie too sad and scary for an animated children’s film. Boring for adults.

Henry V, 1989
While I prefer the Hollow Crown version, I enjoyed this film. I like the play or at least the performance of it. I don’t enjoy every single minute, but the speech is thrilling, the fencing of words and challenges with the French is interesting, and the courtship charming. I love Henry’s stalwartness and dignity.

Howl’s Moving Castle, 2004
I need to re-read this book because I don’t remember much, and I think the filmmakers changed quite a bit. Also, I didn’t care for the anime; Howl is SO effeminate despite Christian Bale’s awesome voice.

Little Dorrit, 2008
I read the novel a couple of years ago, so I didn’t remember everything. And watching a creepy, disturbing story is different than reading it. Andy Serkis’ character is truly a psychopath, and I do think the filmmakers made some parts worse (although everything fit in with Dicken’s story) plus violence is worse when watched. I skipped some scenes and would skip more next time, so be warned.

The miniseries captures the story brilliantly. I thought the plot, most of the characters, and scenery excellent. Amy and Arthur are perfect. I loathed Matthew McFadyen as Mr. Darcy, but what little else I’ve seen of him, I’ve liked, and I LOVED him here; Arthur Clennam’s character is perfect for him (I had a eureka moment after pondering all this, and realized he would be the perfect Colonel Brandon).

Letters to Juliet, 2010

Austenland, 2013
Although this film is rift with objectionable aspects and has a super awkward heroine, I did enjoy it well. And I loved J.J. Fields (especially in modern clothes at the end).