Contemplation

Last Friday I finally finished The Brothers Karamazov.  (I know I’m still on about this.  I promise this is the last post.) Anyway, it was…dense…heavy…long.  It is not a book I would really recommend.  There are many other classics I would recommend instead.  But on Friday night when I was standing in my kitchen updating my Goodreads account, I realized with a thunder bolt like flash that I had to give this monstrous tome four stars.

How is it that you give a book four stars, but not recommend it?  And use less than flattering adjectives to describe it?

Well…

There are books.  And then there is literature.  This is literature.  And literature at probably its finest. It is extraordinarily well written. It has a remarkable number of moving pieces that come to relevance in the end.  It presents profound philosophical views of religion and morality.  It employs psychology and examines intent versus public lip service.

It is one of those strange reads that I won’t be re-visiting.  I can even quite decide if I liked it or not, but I understand the respect that it gets and deserves.  It is something that I’m glad I read, and yet I’m also very glad it’s done.

It is a bizarre quandary.  A book I didn’t exactly like, but I admire for what it is.  I guess it’s like the Mona Lisa.  I don’t particular care for the painting, but I admire and respect it for what it is and what is stands for in the artistic world.  Perhaps that’s the best description that I can give that others may understand. This truly is a masterpiece, but not necessarily one I would want to hang on my living room wall.

Does this make any sense?

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Box o’ Books

The past few Christmases my parents have given me a box of books instead of just a Barnes and Nobles gift card. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with B&N gift cards, but there is something truly delightful about getting actual books for Christmas.  Maybe it’s because there is no delay in being able to thumb through them, smell their pages, and ogle their pretty covers.  Wow…that’s creepy.  But you get the idea.

Since this has become a tradition of sorts, and I’m just about to finish the last book from last years box.  Yes, I’m still reading  The Brothers Karamazov, but I’ve almost conquered the beast. Woof.  But that’s another blog post.  However, since the Christmas season seems to be upon us (even though it’s only November), I thought I should start making this years list.

Yes, every year I give my parents a list.  I read too many books for my mom to stab in the dark.  This year the process of making the list has been much harder.  There are just so many wonderful books out there, and I struggled with what I should ask for specifically. Nevertheless, after much contemplation I have the list.  Like any wish list I will not obtain the full list and my mom may throw in one or two she thinks that I might like, and naturally this makes it all the more fun!

Okay, I’ll shut up. Here’s the Box o’ Books  list of 2017:

Rebecca by: Daphne du Maurier- A former roommate mentioned that this was one of their favorite books and for whatever reason, it’s been stuck in my head ever since.

Brave New World by: Aldous Huxley- I’ve seen this book appear numerous times on lists of books everyone should read, so I thought perhaps I should see what everyone is on about.

Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us by: Sam Kean- Mr. Kean is my favorite non-fiction writer, so his latest book was an absolutely must on this years list.

The Rithmatist by: Brandon Sanderson- I’ve again see this book recommended quite often, and I’ve liked Sanderson’s other work.

Words of Radiance by: Brandon Sanderson- This is the second book in the Stormlight Archives series.  I really enjoyed the first one which I received in last year’s box.  Naturally, I want to find out what happens next.

The killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by: David Grann- This book was recommended to me by my aunt and uncle-in-law. They said it was a tremendous read and apparently many others agree.  This book was originally on my book date list, but it didn’t make it into my basket that day.

Sense and Sensibility by: Jane Austen- I’ve only read one other Austen novel: Pride and Prejudice while it wasn’t my favorite. I’ve decided I need to give Austen another go.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper  by: Phaedra Patrick.  This book also was on my book date list, but I could not find a copy in our search.  The title has me very intrigued.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by: Benjamin Alire Saenz- I know nothing about this book, but I thought the title and cover were amazing and thus on the list it went.

When the Moon was Ours  by: Anna-Marie McLemore- Yes, I also shamefully picked this book because of its cover.  It looks so magical.

Otherland by: Tad Williams- I have been meaning to read this book for years.  It was recommended by a few friends, and I thought maybe it was high time that I get around to reading it.

There it is folks! Thoughts?  Did I pick some doozies or duds?  Let me know your thoughts below!

Happy Friday!

#Truth

I mentioned last week that life had been a bit stressful, but things are looking up.  However, due to life craziness I’ve been a bit neglectful in blogging, but I hope to be back into the swing of things on Friday.  Until then I’ll leave you with this truism.

Book reality

Happy reading!

Happy Reads

Hey folks!  Happy Friday!

This week has been really stressful. But I got my fingers-crossed for good news next week. In the meantime, I thought for those of us who’ve had it a bit rough week that we could use a short list of feel good/funny books. There really nothing as great for the soul as a cup of coffee and a delightful book. Do any of these make your list?

One of the Money by Janet Evanovich.  This is the first in the Stephanie Plum series, and they are hysterical. This is the first book I ever read where I laughed out loud. It’s pretty easy to smile when reading about the shenanigans of this klutzy bounty hunter and her Jersey family.

The Rossetti Letter by Christi Phillips. I loved this book!  It has such a feel good ending.  I read it ages ago, but I still remember the warm fuzzy feeling I had at the end of it.

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen.  It was a short, sweet, wonderful read. Again, it leaves you with that fuzzy feeling. It’s fluffy, but it’s perfect to brighten the mood.

Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven by: Fannie Flagg.  This is a good chuckle.  You can’t help but love the main character Elner Shimfizzle. She is a hoot! It’s a smile between two covers.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by: Alan Bradley.  This is actually a murder mystery, but its main character is an eleven-year old amateur chemist and sleuth, Flavia de Luce. This is a first in a series, and while it’s not the lightest of topics it’s really hard not to like Flavia and her trusty bicycle, Gladys.

Keep smiling folks it’s Friday!

What are the feel good books you would recommend?

The Update

Happy Halloween!!

As promised, I thought I would do a little update today.  We are 290 pages into The Brothers Karamazov. I got a bit behind schedule last week, but wading through two of the most infamous chapters: “The Rebellion” and “The Grand Inquisitor” was indeed a girthy task. Dostoevsky presents remarkable ideas in general, but particularly for the time period he was writing in. I’m enjoying the journey, and I’m very interested to see what happens. I do admit that thus far I think I enjoyed Crime and Punishment more, but I will keep an open mind given that I haven’t even made it half way through yet.

In other news, I did mention in Friday’s post about taking a tap workshop this weekend. This ended up being a bit of a crash and burn scenario. But that’s kind of how learning goes, right? I had a few things going against me, namely that I’m nearly 30 while all the other participants were between the ages of 8 to 16, and I’ve only been tapping for two years while these girls had been tapping for between 4 and 13 years.

Okay so, old Bessie in back couldn’t quite keep up.  And while I did get very tired and frustrated, I never felt demoralized or that I should just give up. This is great news! I would do a workshop again, but I’ll need a few weeks…maybe months.  My brain needs to process all that happened Sunday, and I need to be able to get pants on without all my leg muscles screaming at me.

Nevertheless, the learning continues in full swing whether I’m reading a classic or dancing around embracing that while I have laugh lines I have the ability to buy really cool tap shoes!

Towanda!

P.S. Twenty life points to those that get that reference.

P.S.S. I have no idea what life points are.  I just made them up because I don’t have a real prize.

A Different Tune Today

One of the reasons I read is to learn. I want to continually expand my mind. I want to exercise my brain and discover new things, but sometimes this process doesn’t necessarily happen via ink.

About six and half years ago I made an acquaintance with a new co-worker.  We were both new to the job, so we found ourselves hanging around each other frequently. This frequency led to friendship and this friendship lead to the best of friendships. One of the many fascinating facts about this co-worker, turned acquaintance, turned friend, turned best friend, is that she is also a professional tap dancer.

She has and does get paid to tap dance.  She is also currently a part of a tap dance company. And for whatever reason, we got the harebrained idea about two-ish years ago that she should teach me how to tap. I will admit that I did not have high hopes for this endeavor.  I feared that it may turn our friendship awkward when it was either discovered that I had no ability to tap dance or worse, I had no interest in tap dance.

Lucky for both of us, neither came to fruition. I, in fact, have some ability to tap, and I find it absolutely mesmerizing. It should be noted that I always enjoyed watching tap dance, but didn’t ever possess the desire to try it until I met Kelsey. (Yes, the editor is the professional tapper.  She is quite multi-faceted.)

Anyway, fast-forward these two-ish years, and we are still going strong.  We have class once a week. I own epic tap shoes. I have learned a good variety of steps and techniques. (I’m attending my first tap workshop this weekend. Wish me luck!) But I have also learned a world of knowledge about music.

I played a couple of instruments growing up, so I can read music, and make music specifically on the piano and the saxophone. But I had never attempted to work within the music that someone else was making.  Since I always created the music, I didn’t need to listen for certain cues that dancers must learn.  I also had sheet music in front of me to “cheat.”

However, since taking tap I have learned how to listen to music. I can count music now, and understand what makes certain pieces easy or difficult beyond just the steps. I have obtained a knowledge base and language that was never available to me before. It has stretched my mind in new and different ways. Listening to the radio is so much more interesting these days. Can I find the one?  Did they throw in any irregular bars?

If someone had told me six years ago that I would be tap dancing once a week, every week, staying relatively upright while doing it, and learning gobs along the way, I would have looked at them strangely, and thought not only that I would be too klutzy, but how much could I actually learn by making a lot of noise?  The answer: enough to write a book.

The Beast

After reading a series of quick reads, I’ve decided it is time for me to take on the 702 page classic with breathtakingly small font: The Brothers Karamazov. This will be the last book that I have to read from my box of books I received from my parents last Christmas.  It will be the first book ever that I read that I’m not 100 percent sure how to pronounce the title.

I adored Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.  And thus, I have high hopes that after days and weeks of reading, which I’m sure will cause me to have to strengthen my contact prescription, that this verbose work will have been well worth the effort. I do understand that it may be another Anna Karenina which after a month of painstaking dedication I determined that time would have been better spent elsewhere.

Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to this endeavor because let’s face it 19th-Century Russian literature is always a challenge.  Progress will be slow, but I will keep you posted on my new adventure.  I hope to have about 300 pages read by the end of the week, but I’m not going to hold my breath on that one.

But until then…Happy Reading!!