Tuesday, December 04, 2012
LOL Dawn, picking a favorite book is a lot like picking a favorite child - I love so many.
Limiting myself to books written for adults, the book I've read the most - which one might say is my favorite - is Pride and Prejudice. I came to it as an adult, so I already knew what it was to be at a cocktail party with a bunch of affected, nervous people putting on a false front. (mind now, not that everyone at cocktail parties does that - but you get the picture). The cleverness with which Jane Austen pricks out each person's weaknesses absolutely sent me over the edge in laughter. Darcy's proposal is a classic piece of hilarity.
And at the same time, I completely understand how a perfectly rational intelligent person can open her mouth and watch black bats and squiggly worms squirm out! I've DONE it!
Since I have read P&P maybe ... what? 40 times? I'd have to claim that as my favorite
then I think about other books I adore ... like
The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi - where the priest prays just the same way I do and gets the same sort of answers I get
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - where the essential dilemma of How Do You Choose Between Your Head and Your Heart is worked out to my own complete satisfaction.
Sword and the Swan by Roberta Gellis - who can take the words from the old Scottish folk song Geordie and weave it into the plot of a story. And nobody can write a battle scene as vividly as she does. I like all her novels, especially because she chooses my kind of hero.
Faro's Daughter (or pretty much anything else) by Georgette Heyer - who is the ONLY person who can write a regency romance worthy of following Jane Austen ... who was not writing historical fiction anyway - but contemporary fiction.
Shinju by Laura Rowland - a murder mystery set in the Shogun period of Japanese history but so tightly written you could set it in modern times
Portuguese Irregular Verbs by alexander McCall-Smith - the whole trilogy, actually - I am laughing now just remembering the silliness of it - how Englishmen poke fun of Germans so so funny
Life of Pi by Yann Martel - which I loved so much I will never see the movie - no matter how good it is
Ditto "Schindler's List" by Thomas Kennealy - even though I adore Liam Neeson
some books should remain in our hearts and in our heads
Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett - such a perfect spy novel - so precise, with no plot flaws, perfect pacing, characters to care about - that I didn't read another of his books until he started writing about Cathedrals.
Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice - juicy and erotic but so well written you can't really classify it as erotica. The plot is as true as glass. No flaws and she gives an amazingly accurate depiction of how a classical musician is trained. her descriptions are so vivid you feel yourself in the molding damp world of 17th century Venice.
Well - that is 10 of my top 100 in no particular order and alas, I could go on and on and on forever. This started out as an answer to a question but I decided to turn it into a blog post. Happy Reading to my spark pals
Monday, December 03, 2012
So here it is - the last month of 2012 - packed with Christmas plans, thoughts about the past year, ponderings about the coming one - and I am adding the last habit into my life. It may sound like an odd one for a librarian - but it is important for me to reveal the Great Librarian Secret:
We do not read books all day
Yup. That's right. We don't sit around reading all day.
What do we do?
We introduce little ones to their first act as citizens - to benefit from the common good, to care for the borrowed books, and to return them to share with someone else.
We help 9 year old boys find something they can do a book report on that isn't full of princesses and dresses.
We listen to teenagers as if they were adults. And then we answer them as if they were adults.
We help your mother log on to the Internet to see the pictures you emailed her.
We mop up the bathroom after somebody evil has made a mess.
We fix the lights outside.
We explain to county/city/state/federal sources why they need to fund the library
We entertain the Rotary/Lions/Chamber of Commerce/Masons/Women's Club with stories about life among the stacks - before we ask them for money too.
Oh yes. And then there is the paperwork.
So - what we tend to read all day are book reviews. We only get to read books at home .... like you. And for a couple of reasons - I don't seem to have enough time to read all the books I want. this is especially true for reading teen and tween fiction - where I believe some of the most innovative writing is happening today. Don't get me wrong - I love a good mystery and now and again I can find a historical writer who is not into Vampires or time travel. Ken Follett comes to mind first but there are other great historical writers out there who can put a convincing amount of modern mores into the world of Castles and Kings. But I don't like a lot of the adult fiction that's coming out right now: Mean complaining women and weak men ... Ugh.
Alas, I've resorted to reading mostly non-fiction or familiar old friends - novelists I can depend upon - Austen, Bronte, Lovelace and Wilder - and while this is certainly alright - my choice - even a good thing, the danger in avoiding contemporary fiction is that one looses touch with the values and beliefs of society - for it is only through fiction that we pass on what is important to us to the next generation. The teacher in me wants to find out what type of fiction - story - is actually reaching young folk these days. So this month's habit is to add reading YA and junior fiction for 20 minutes a day.
And how am I doing with my other habits? How was November?
Clean the kitchen every night.
Not perfect but good enough to make me take notice how pleasant it is to walk into a kitchen that is clean and tidy. I would give myself an A-
eh - there have been some days when I just didn't bother - but then there was Thanksgiving when I Pre-tracked! I give myself a solid B
Yep. here I have done well - and even done very well so it gets a solid A
Drink 6-8 cups of water every day
Can't figure out why I haven't been drinking water - but I can feel it. Not a failure but I need to do better. I give myself a D+
The Charles Schwab list at work
I realized I was letting this slip and ... uh. no. not a good thing. Not enough work gets done when I forget. I earn a C
Read my 5-year plan every morning week
Eh. Not. What was I thinking? This earns a C-
Compliment someone on my staff every day
This month has been all about planning for someone's retirement so I was aware of what everybody does and how valuable they all are - and said so. I get a B
Draw 20 minutes a day.
I did some art most days till I finished the 40 watercolor Christmas cards I'm sending out - and then I stopped because ... there are other things to do that demand artistic effort - I get an A
Select a big life goal - a big personal thing - and take one step towards it ... every day.
Got to admit this - I have drifted a bit in November. It's the beginning of the Holiday Season so I won't be too hard on me, but I will only give myself a C
Ditto at work - Same issue - same grade C
I realized last month that I needed to do lots more of this ... and I did. the healthy, kind, grateful, honest kind. I'm proud of this. I get an A
Saturday, December 01, 2012
I'm SO close to goal. I've been futzing around weight loss for SO long. I'm getting bored with the denial aspect of this process. I keep discovering blogs, posts, comments, ideas from OutThere that point to an attitude adjustment I really ought to make.
There was the SP article about research studying people who went on maintenance first and then on weight loss and how much better they did over the long haul - tracked a year later - than the people who went on the weight loss and then followed up with some weeks of maintenance eating. WOW.
Then there's the Spark Blogger who has only stepped on the scale 4 times this year! She's lost 71 lbs but she just does not go there - she's concentrating, every day, on healthy eating.
There was that Other Spark Blogger who said she looks every bite and asks "Is this something that will fuel my body with nourishing food?" Not - can I fit this into my daily caloric intake ... which, I confess, I do, with the help of my School Marm Left Brain and her list making, system fooling, rule breaking sneaky self ... prodded by impish Wild Child Right Brain - who is always looking for blueberry donuts or chocolate.
I think it's time for a mind-shift. I think it's time to look at things from a different perspective. I think it's time I stopped focusing on what it takes to lose weight and push my brain over to the What It Takes To Live A Healthy Life table - where perhaps I can feast upon much wiser choices.
As I get closer to that joy filled day of possibilities - January 1 - and New Year's Resolutions - I want to ponder the options and come up with something different - and perhaps, something more lasting. We shall see. It will be fun!
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
yes. it's true. I am now 4.4 lbs away from my goal weight, 2.2 lbs from not having to pay for WW meetings and I've got freakin' CANDY in my kitchen!!!
There's no mystery about why I am not losing weight. The mystery is why I am eating the trash food that's keeping me stuck here - why I even bring it into the house!!
so let's talk to those twin selves, School Marm Left Brain and Wild Child Right Brain.
LB So, sweetie, how are you
RB Don't sweetie me.
LB Whoa, Nellie. What are you so angry about?
RB I hate getting older. I hate it that I'm not 14 again and looking forward to going to the Christmas Dance
LB But you didn't go to the Christmas dance. In fact, you didn't get asked to any dances at all.
RB I hate that too. I hate that my hopes and dreams didn't come true and now I'm an old lady and they'll never come true
LB Wait a minute. LOTS of dreams came true. You wanted to live in a Little House in the Big Woods and you got to. How many people can say that?
RB I did that 37 years ago.
LB So - do you want to do it now?
RB Of COURSE not. I want to be 37 years younger.
LB Too bad. That doesn't happen.
RB That doesn't mean I don't want it.
LB So what else do you want.
RB I want my mama to be young and have her own house, not be lying in a bed in a nursing home. I want her to still be in the house on The Boulevard - and I want to go play with her Christmas Tree
LB She hated Christmas trees and always made us wait for weeks to put it up. It was Daddy who loved the Christmas tree
RB Yeah, but he always ruined it for us by having a meltdown at Christmas and making everybody weep. Mama bought foil covered candy balls to hang on the tree
LB Yeah - and look how fat she was.
RB I want to be 13 and eat foil-covered candy ornaments and .... and be thin too but not as much as I want the candy
LB But eating the candy won't make Mama young again or make us thin ... which we never were when we were teenagers. In fact, for half our adolescence we were very fat
RB You asked me what I wanted, not what was true
LB Well - but I am unhappy when you are unhappy - and I am VERY unhappy right now so you must be too. What's going on.
RB I don't want Lois to retire and I don't want Becky to have to quit working and I don't want anything to change at work and I want it to be last year and I want to get to do it all over again.
LB Oh Honey - don't worry about things passing - they really do still live inside you.
RB But it's so hard to look forward to anything. There's nothing to look forward to!
LB But there are WONDERFUL things to look forward to
RB like what?
LB Like more painting, and becoming a better drawer, and building a new fabulous work team to run a super great library, and being slender enough to wear a shirt tucked in with a belt around your waist.
LB Like cooking that vegan spaghetti sauce that Ed loved so much and trying that vegan lasagna on Thursday!
RB oh. ... hmmm
LB Like Frances coming to visit THIS WEEKEND!
RB oh yeah. I forgot about that
LB Like redoing the kitchen some day - with new appliances that don't leak or freeze or burn food
RB yeah, that would be nice
LB Like getting together with C and M .. and maybe making it something regular
RB oh yes. I really do miss those women. I love them so.
LB So maybe you have some things to look forward to after all - even if there are changes you don't look forward to. do you remember when William went off to college - and you thought you were 40 years old with nothing left in life? And you thought you'd just have to live in that emptiness for the next 40 years?
RB Yeah. I remember that. It was horrible.
LB But it wasn't true, was it? Lots and lots and tons of things happened, didn't they? Fun things. Rewarding Things. Things you're proud of. Things you're happy about. Things that are still going on.
RB yeah that's true. I guess I've just been full of sadness about Things Ending and feeling like ... if I only ate some chocolate it would be Long Ago.
LB Looks like that to me. But I KNOW we don't want to gain weight back during this holiday season. What can we do to keep from trying to eat our way through it? How can I help?
RB I want to do some Christmas charity work this year. And I want a plan for the New Year. Now. so I feel safe.
LB I think I can find some Christmas charity to devote time to. and I think we can come up with A PLAN too. I like planning.
LB well. I can call about the Christmas Mother today. And I can also call up C and M and schedule something fun to do. and remember, we have to plan that retirement party for Lois. I'll call everyone about that too. I can do that today - in fact, I better. We don't have much time to plan that. What do you think?
RB Hey - thinking is your department. I'm all about the feelings.
LB Well then, Feel better?
RB Yeah. Thanks
LB You're welcome.
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