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Showing posts from December, 2018

New Year's Eve & Reading Goals for 2019

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Hoping all of you have a lovely New Year's Eve, whether it's already past midnight for you, or, like us West Coasters, you're still waiting.  :)

I typically spend New Year's Eve all warm and cozy at home with a book.  It'll probably be AI Superpowers (published just this year), which I started a couple days ago.  So far, it's really intriguing:

The Code of the Woosters - A Novel for New Year's Resolutions

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Already feeling the post-holiday blues?  Sometimes you just need a good British comedy to help get you back into the festive spirit.  And for good British comedy, you simply can't go wrong with P. G. Wodehouse.

The Code of the Woosters (1938) is book #7 in his Jeeves and Wooster series but, as with many of the adventures of this duo, it can be read on its own. The scene opens with Bertie Wooster, an idle man-about-town, shunning the opportunity of a Round-the-World cruise, against the counsel of his smarter but dutiful servant, Jeeves.  Wooster's boredom disappears when his beloved Aunt Dahlia shows up, demanding he steal a silver cow creamer from collector Sir Watkyn Bassett, who, she believes, wrongfully acquired what was rightfully her husband's.  The trouble is, Bassett is the same magistrate who Wooster had a run-in with before, not to mention the father of his dreaded sometime fiancee, Madeline Bassett.  Wooster's friends Gussie Fink-Nottle and Stiffy Byng compli…

2019 Christian Greats Challenge: Past & Present

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Carol at Journey and Destination is hosting a new challenge - focused on Christian literature!  Though I've read Christian classics on-and-off through the years, I've been meaning to read more, and this seems like the perfect chance! 

Here is my (overly ambitious) list:

The Divine Comedy - Parts 2 & 3: Purgatorio and Paradiso

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Previously:Part 1: Inferno

PurgatorioAnd of that second kingdom will I sing
Wherein the human spirit doth purge itself,
And to ascend to heaven becometh worthy After enduring the nine circles of Hell, Dante and Virgil finally make it out of the underworld and back to the surface of the earth.  Under a starlit sky, they watch as a boat filled with souls and captained by an angel approaches the foot of Mount Purgatory.  Dante continues on his own journey as he follows Virgil up the nine levels of the mountain.  Together, in a similar vein to their experiences in Inferno, the two travelers observe the different disciplines which souls must endure before they have been "purified" of their remaining sins and made fit to enter Paradiso.

Mount TBR Challenge 2019

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This is a favorite challenge of mine, all about reading books you already own.  (FWIW, I'm bolstering my list with a couple of my parents' books.  We share with each other!)  It's crazy, but I'm also choosing a steep challenge this year: 24 books.  Don't know how far I'll get, but I'm pretty excited with the list!

Here it is, in no particular order (and subject to change):


MOUNT BLANC - 24 BOOKS
Fiction:
Nostromo - Joseph Conrad✓ The Professor - Charlotte BronteCancer Ward - Aleksandr SolzhenitsynLight in August - William FaulknerThe Moonstone - Wilkie CollinsAll the Light We Cannot See - Anthony DoerrThe Red and the Black - StendhalThe Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre DumasMoby-Dick (reread) - Herman MelvilleJane Eyre (reread) - Charlotte BrontePilgrim's Progress (reread) - John Bunyan✓ The Time Machine (reread) - H. G. WellsBonus: Wuthering Heights - Emily BronteBonus: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne BronteBonus: Bleak House by Charles Dickens If I…

The Divine Comedy - Part 1: Inferno

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Dante, lost in a dark forest, is overcome by feelings of fear and loneliness, until he is met by the spirit of Virgil, the Roman poet and author of the Aeneid.  Virgil was sent by Beatrice, Dante's deceased childhood sweetheart, to come to his aid and help him back into the way of light and salvation.  The way back, however, starts as a downward descent into and through the nine circles of Inferno.  The journey becomes a test to Dante's courage as he, led on by Virgil, faces the cries, tortures, and apparitions of sufferers in Hell, some of whom he recognizes.

Catching My Breath - Christmastime, Dante, and Beyond...

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After patiently saving vacation days, today I can at last disconnect from work emails and other stressors.  I really want to slow down even more over my almost two-week holiday, beginning with these last few days of Advent.


Top Ten of 2018 + Reading Goals Recap

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There's three weeks left in the year, but I honestly don't expect to get much reading done till my Christmas break (beginning the 20th!!!), so I thought I would start my yearly retrospective a bit early.

These were my reading goals for 2018:
Bring back Book Journals - Kind of a fail. I started a book journal with Ben-Hur but lost momentum early on.  I'm still tacitly reading it, and maybe during my break will start posting about it again.Read more non-fiction.  Check!  Of the 45 books I read (or partially read) this year, almost a third were non-fiction, and some of the fiction was based heavily on real life.  That's pretty good for me.Escape the comfort zone.  Check.  I read a number of books this year that definitely challenged me, and some made me extremely uncomfortable.Revive the blog.  Check.  While podcasting, I made an effort to write posts that complemented the episodes, and that worked out nicely. In spite of having more or less reached my 2018 goal of 40 boo…

Slowing Down with Tolkien, Lectio Divina

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With all that's been going on in my life lately, I've been finding it necessary to take action to slow down.

I know, that sounds like an oxymoron.  But as a recovering perfectionist and incorrigible planner, I tend to labor over any life changes, even if it's merely the quest to find a little peace and quiet.  I have learned a few things from this methodical approach, although in reality, just the awareness of trying to slow down has helped lead me into some more practical, if unexpected, steps.

Turning off the "TV" Prior to all of this, I had (for other reasons) decided to take a YouTube fast for three weeks this past November.  For me, YouTube is the equivalent of cable TV, except that I get to choose the content through a very personalized subscription list.  Typically, I can spend hours just trying to keep up with each channel, and I actually avoid some channels in part because I can't keep up.

Taking a break was really hard, but very good.  I did not fee…