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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Book Ends

It's the 22nd and I've read 4 books and 1199 pages. I think that accomplishes this month's goal, but I tell ya, it's hard to stop. Not that I need to, but what happens next? January: 100 miles a month, February: A Book a Week or 1,000 pages total, March: ?

Brian comes home mid-month, so a large part of me thinks I can or should take a break from goals. But that's no fun... I know for a fact that the first several weeks will be a difficult transition for both of us. In light of that, I think it a capital idea to keep myself busy -or occasionally occupied- on a goal of mine. So thinking along those lines, what shall I do?

Ah-HA! I shall sew. My goal will be to make p.j. bottoms for Wilder, skirts for my nieces, a quilt (mine aren't fancy, so that's no big deal) and a dress for me. These are things I've been wanting to do for quite awhile, but lacked the gumption to get crackin' on. I'm scared stiff of sewing with a pattern. It's like using my free time to do long division. Or -gasp!- organize something. I shudder at the thought. So I'm conquering it -this fear of patterns. Heck, I thought I couldn't make truffles (see post below) and look at me now!

Therefore, in March I shall sew. Terrific!

Now for the book reports. I won't make these too in depth, but say just what I would if a friend asked what I thought of each work.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Known as "The Great American Novel" The Great Gatsby offers much more delight and thought provocation than I ever anticipated. I expected something dry, stodgy, something that spent far too much time talking about cars or women's lace. Not knowing what the book was even about before I picked it up (shocking, me an English major not knowing diddly about this book,) I comfortably fell into Fitzgerald's words and world as one would a favorite chair. Scandal, long-lost love, criminal activities, greed, idealism, selfishness. Basically, New York in the '20s :) It's an easy read that will truly enrich your life, so pick it up and enjoy.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
The longest of her short stories (a touch over 200 pages in my edition,) Northanger Abbey follows the creation of a heroine. The main character, Catherine, transforms from an naive teenager to a sensible judge of character and circumstances as she holidays in Bath. It is quite hilarious, heartbreaking, infuriating and revealing of human character. As with all of Austen's works, you delight in the flirtations of her characters and ache for their happiness. There are some darker elements in this story than in others of her's I've read, mainly based on location (Northanger Abbey itself) and what the heroine romantically imagines has happened there. Another MUST on your to-read list.

A Country Called Home by Kim Barnes
Set between 1960 through the mid-70's in the small Idaho town of Fife, folks search for personal freedom and happiness and often terribly miss the mark. Heartbreak, loneliness and unfulfilled dreams swirl as gently and steadily though this story as the river it's characters center their lives around. It's a retreat to a quieter place, though not an escape from life. I'd recommend it if you like the idea of living off the land -or attempting to- and don't mind hearing about sad times in other people's lives.

The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss
Hands down favorite read of the month and a book I'd recommend to anyone! It tells of 15 years after the revolution as the Bank of the United States opens and folks who live out west in a bartering system have to cope when real money comes into play. Hysterically witty banter and clever characters abound with lots of action as you taste history. You go through the entire range of human emotions as you read this work, but on the whole you continue to root for your characters through their sufferings and jump for joy at their triumphs. Espionage, duels to the eye (instead of death, the loser ends up one eye short,) whiskey, stocks and bonds, drunkards, reformers, a clever woman with a will of iron, and stinky men in deer skins. What more could you ask for?

These have been my companions this past month and it has been a joy spending so much time reading that I would have spent piddling away. Like exercise from January's goal, I look forward to continue reading on a regular basis.

1 comment:

Roccy said...

I love your goals. I think mine would be more along the lines of reading 1199 pages while eating 1199 truffles.

I think I'll start with The Great Gatsby - it's about time. Thanks for the review.

Your sewing projects sound like a lot of fun! I'm just starting to get into sewing. For Easter this year I'm making each of my kids a fancy schmancy pillowcase (I know - complicated).

Anyway - enjoy your goals. I love hearing about them. You inspire me to do stuff.

(LOVE the new layout!)


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