Monday, July 18, 2011

Gaskell & Ephron

Here are my summer book picks for all you avid readers. While I was a little late in beginning my summer reading I started off the tradition with two fantastic & extremely quick (which, when they're as good as this means way too quick) reads.

The first one I picked up was my lovely, green Penguin edition of Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford.

 I recommend this book to anyone who has enjoyed Jane Austen's novels. Written in a similar style that blends delightful irony with quaint but serious tragedy, I was quite literally laughing out loud and not moments later crying (& all out of a singular paragraph!). I delighted in this book, in its sheer "britishness" but also in the sweet heart that felt & told these stories so dearly. Elizabeth Gaskell wrote two other novels that go along with Cranford  and that are woven into the television mini-series starring Judy Dench and Michael Gambon. The series has been wonderful so far, even Bryce is anxious to start the new disc (whenever Netflix graces our mailbox). I've come to understand through Bryce that British Television is somewhat of an acquired taste, however, he seems to have jumped into this particular series more quickly than any other I have made him watch. In fact, as I write this we are fixing up our famous (amongst ourselves, anyway) homemade pizza in anticipation of a Cranford night (white wine was invited as well)! 

And next we have the hilarious Nora Ephron's book, I Feel Bad About my Neck

In a word, this book is scrumptious. I laughed so many times & had to read so many parts of it out loud to whoever was fortunate enough to be sitting near me. To say I am recommending this book is really not accurate. You must read it. For those of you unaware of Nora Ephron & her work, she is responsible for one of my dearest & most treasured movie treats, You've Got Mail. Not only did she write it, she directed it as well. The same wonderful sensations that tickle my brain when I watch the film are found in each page of this short (only 120 page) book. She writes the way she talks & about midway through the book Bryce caught me referring to her on a first name basis - "Nora just said yatta yatta yatta . . . " - that is always a great sign. Take my word on this one, you will not be able to, nor will you want to put this down, much less have it end. It is a perfect little book on life, on lovely writing, on aging, cooking, the Apthorp, & what being a real person is actually like. 

I invite you to come visit me at my "Fox Books" (to quote my father who relishes in reminding me that I work for a nasty book chain - but please note all of you Got Mail fans that I know who Noah Streatfeild is!) & pick up these two titles. If you have other recommendations for me I'd love to hear them. 
I'm picking my way through Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White right now & it is turning awfully & chillingly mysterious. Look for my review on that one sometime next month.

*Pictures of these books are included for those of you who go into book stores armed with only the information about what color the book is. Thankfully these two are very bright & I will at least know what you mean by "the yellow funny one". But please, do try to remember the titles!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter

have you?
if you have never been stuck to a Harry Potter book than i'm telling you now, go get stuck. i was a doubter of the phenomenon myself being an accomplished english major and was convinced the books were below me, far, very far down below me. i was wrong and happily i discovered this about five years ago, in time to make it to the midnight premiers of movies 4 to tonight. TONIGHT.  i'll be camped out starting at 7pm (which is when i get off work) with my wand in one hand & a venti quattro-kajillion shot white mocha in the other. but while i look forward to tonight it is an ending and like all great things in life, there comes a time when we have to say goodbye. i am going to lose the thrill of eagerly anticipating the next movie/story & while other things will come along there is precious little out there that will keep me happily in a line till midnight. i hate the feeling of loss that comes with endings & farewells. tonight will be like finishing the books all over again & if there is something i loathe about a good book, it is the end of it.

in this moment of fandom i would like to just say a few things,

You have been a wonderful friend, I don't have the words right now to truly tell you of the joy, zeal & depth of feeling that your story has led me to. I'm so happy to have gotten to know you & happier to know how many others feel the same as I do.

I have stuck with Harry until the very end.

i'll see you all in line tonight i trust - with a lightning bolt on my forehead.
until then,


broken legs

pray for my husband will you? he's speaking at a camp and while he only has one night left, it is often that one last night where all the changes finally take root and show themselves. so if you'd pray for him, not only i, but i'm sure a great many souls would be thankful.

i wanted to just share a small thought, one that i absorbed from my father, a very wise man who shared with me over a chocolate shake & bacon burger his thoughts concerning our struggle in this life to model Christ. this is what he told me:

-  we are all dancing on broken legs  -

this has been a week of failures. i failed to move the car in time for street sweeping (something b normally does for me) and as a result our month just got a little tighter. i've had some frustrating customers this week as well & while i'm confident i didn't deserve or provoke their anger i'm not as confident that i cared at all to diffuse or be extra kind to them. i've had other small things go wrong that no one has noticed but me, and always in my mind are flawed thoughts that i turn around & around, and scold myself for thinking. ive never had a perfect day & even when i have that shift at work where just maybe i won't have that customer they inevitably show up. in short, i have felt a lot of shame this week, anger & frustration. but you know what i tell myself? grace abides. ah yes, i was blind but now, oh now i see. 
about a month ago i was sharing the story of my numbers, 925 & that exact phrase about coming out of blindness. my friend asked me, "is it better to be blind or to see?" and while the answer seems obvious it holds so much pain at the same time. to see & really see what is to be seen is a difficult & tricky business. i've confronted a great deal within myself that i didn't know was there; new flaws, new failures, new things to be ashamed of & learned that having my sight is in someways a true burden. my response to the question was, "i would rather see, but i am afraid of what i will have to look at". but in all of that looking i have seen a theme emerge and that (surprise!!) has been grace. 
i am trying to dance through the path God has purposed but i am doing it with a body that is broken, a body that hurts with each graceful leap. dancing on broken legs is precisely how i feel, but i take heart in my lord who has  overcome the world & who also delights in my poor but determined dancing.