Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Reading Challenges: The Long and the Short of It

Every tale must tail off in the long run or the short run. That


I love both the looooong novel and the shortest short story but do not read as many of either as I'd like to. Which is why I choose to join these two challenges.

2010 Chunkster Challenge

From the host:

Definition of a Chunkster:
  • A chunkster is 450 pages or more of ADULT literature (fiction or nonfiction) ... A chunkster should be a challenge.
  • If you read large type books your book will need to be 525 pages or more ... The average large type book is 10-15% longer or more so I think that was a fair estimate.
The Rules:
  • No Audio books in the chunkster. It just doesn't seem right. Words on paper for this one folks.
  • No e-Books allowed - we are reading traditional, fat books for this challenge.
  • Short Stories and Essay collections will not be counted.
  • Books may crossover with other challenges
  • Anyone may join. [If you don't have a blog, just leave a comment on the sign-up post at the host blog to let them know you are playing and your progress]
  • You don't need to list your books ahead of time.
  • Once you pick a level, that's it...you're committed to that level!
You must pick a level of participation (thanks again to Dana for the humor in these categories!):
  1. The Chubby Chunkster - this option is for the reader who has a couple of large tomes on their TBR list, but really doesn't want to commit to much more than that. 3 books is all you need to finish this challenge.
  2. Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? - this option is for the slightly heavier reader who wants to commit to 4 Chunksters over the next twelve months.
  3. Mor-book-ly Obese - This is for the truly out of control chunkster. For this level of challenge you must commit to 6 or more chunksters OR three tomes of 750 pages or more. You know you want to.....go on and give in to your cravings.

Well, hmmm. I just went through my list of finished books for the year so far and found I've already read 5 qualifying so I guess I have to commit to Mor-book-ly Obese. And since two of the large print books are on the edge I'll voluntarily disqualify them and commit to three more or one 450-750 and one 750+. But the year is only half done so I strongly suspect I'll do more than that because I have quite a few chunksters in my high-priority TBR list. So much for thinking I don't read enough long stories.

Here is my list of already read as of today:

  1. The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder / Rebecca Wells 552 p LP
  2. The Expected One / Kathleen McGowan 694 p LP
  3. Under the dome / Stephen King 1074 p
  4. The time traveler's wife / Audrey Niffenegger 643 p. LP
  5. The Girls / Lori Lansens 581 p. LP




Short Story Reading Challenge


From the host blog:

Options 1 & 2: If you're short on time, you can simply commit to reading ten short stories by ten different authors over the course of 2010. If you're relatively new to reading short stories, any ten will do. If you’ve already got a lot of short stories under your belt, make it ten short stories by ten writers whose work you have not yet read....

Options 3 & 4: If you've got a bit more time to devote to this endeavour, you can commit to reading between five and ten short story collections over the course of 2010. Again, if you're a short story novice, the world is your oyster as far as selection is concerned. But if you're a seasoned short story reader, you'll want to choose collections by writers whose short stories you have not yet encountered.

Option 5: This is the custom option under the rubric of which you can tailor your reading list to best meet your personal reading aspirations. You might wish to craft a list that focuses on a particular place, or era, or genre. Or you might wish to include reading about short stories as well ....

The blog dedicated to this challenge can be found here. On it, participants can post reading lists, recommendations, and reviews of specific short stories and short story collections, as well as ruminations on and links related to the short story form more generally.

The dedicated blog is a group blog for which participants can receive invitations to join if they wish to post reviews or recommended reading lists or other on topic material there. Anyone wishing to participate should contact the host, Kate, via this announcement post on her blog or this one cross-posted on the group blog or via email which you can find on either blog. The contest runs from January thru December and newcomers are welcome at any time.

I don't have a list prepared of either read or yet-to-read short stories. I know I've read several since January but I've not kept a record of short stories only books finished and none of those were short story collections. A few of those I read since January were online. I probably dropped a link somewhere in my notes for them. I'll try to track them down as I remember really liking one or two of them and they aren't obtainable anywhere else.

I am going to choose Option 5 the custom one for as a writer I wish to read about short stories as well as read the stories. I wish to read about writing short stories as well as about reading them. I wish to discover new authors and revisit old favorites. And I imagine some of the stories I choose will be found on the Gilmore Girls Challenge list. Which would likely include some Dorothy Parker who would be a new author for me.

Two of my favorite short story writers going back decades are Flannery O'Conner and Joyce Carol Oates. I also remember liking Isaac Bashevis Singer and Jorge Luis Borges. I'm remembering other stories I liked vaguely but without author names or titles attached so I'll leave it at that for now as I go to explore my options.


You can follow my progress in these and other 2010 challenges in the Reading Challenges Portal.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Library Loot June 23-29

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

This week Marg has the Mr. Linky where you can link your own Library Loot post anytime this week if you wish to participate.


Because of a planned visit at my Mom's in Longview WA from July 11 thru mid August, I've cut back to nearly zip on ordering books at the library here so no new ones came for me since last Tuesday. But on Thursday several more DVD arrived and were brought home:

The West Wing. The complete 4th season
Bones season 1 discs 3 & 4 (already watched and sent back)
Coraline
Prime
Milk

Band of Brothers the HBO mini-series
Curb your enthusiasm. The complete first season
Watchmen

The first four I have high motivation to watch before I leave but I may pass on the last three until I can get them back again after I return. They were sent for with my husband in mind or at his request so I'll make the effort only if he is motivated. At the moment though he seems to have other things on his agenda.

That isn't the end of the DVD either. I've already sent for The West Wing season 5 and as soon as it arrives will also send for 6 and 7. I'm highly motivated to get the whole thing watched before I leave as I seem to have been the one to discover the library system had acquired the entire series a couple months ago because I have been first in queue for each so far but the queues are building up behind me and if I wait until I get back in August I'll be in weeks or months long queues for whichever ones I don't get watched before I leave.

Meanwhile the list of items checked out is shrinking. Nearly cut in half in the last ten days and I'm looking at the books left with a sinking feeling as it becomes evident that I can't hope to finish with one quarter of them. Choosing makes me weary. Instead of choosing I spend way too much time moving the piles around, fondling the covers, flipping the pages and sighing as the panic rises. Pathetic or what?

The consolation is that my sister lets me use her card while I'm there and I have access to the library I grew up with and there are dozens of books I've had bookmarks in at some point in the last decade which did not make it to the last page.

To see some of the titles of books I still have see yesterday's It's Monday! What are You Reading. Maybe suggest which of the novels I should prioritize.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? #7

Since last Monday (actually since Friday evening as I was watching DVD from Sunday thru Thursday and then had Dr appointment Friday afternoon) I have.

I regret I still have no new reviews to report. Have in fact not even worked on any since last Monday.

Begun and finished:

Emergence : labeled autistic

and

The way I see it : a personal look at autism & Asperger's
both by Temple Grandin. The first a memoir and the second a collection of short articles on issues related to the Autism Spectrum.

Finished:

Lori Lansens The Girls (at noon today after spending all night reading) Too late to return it and avoid the fine so I guess I was renting it since midnight Friday.

Advanced Bookmarks:

Losing my religion : how I lost my faith reporting on religion in America--and found unexpected peace / William Lobdellby (this had to go back to library this morning unfinished)

The value of nothing : how to reshape market society and redefine democracy by Raj Patel

Braids : 250 patterns from Japan, Peru & beyond / Rodrick Owen (had to return this. soooo want my own copy. Even after having it checked out about four times in the last year I've not done more than gaze wistfully at the beautiful pics of braids and read the directions. Have yet to make a card and try to follow the directions)

My ebook copy of Remembrance of Things Past [At least Swann's Way for the Gilmore Girl Challenge]


For the coming week:

Will continue advancing bookmarks in the Patel and Swann's Way listed above.

And also:

Homer's odyssey : a fearless feline tale, or how I learned about love and life with a blind wonder cat [type (large print)] / Gwen Cooper.449 p. (large print) I love cats and I'm legally blind myself so how could I resist this when I pulled it off the shelf 6 weeks ago. (once I start this I'll probably finish it within a couple days, treating it more like a novel than NF, as it's a story and looks like a fast read and the large print is easy on my eyes)

Girl, interrupted [text (large print)] / Susanna Kaysen. 207 p. Yes, I've seen the movie. Several years ago. Had not realized that it was based on a memoir. This too will read more like a story than NF and it's short and LP.

The family : the secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power
/ Jeff Sharlet. (may target this to finish this week)

Patience with God : faith for people who don't like religion (or atheism) / by Frank Schaeffer

Resurrecting Eve : women of faith challenge the fundamentalist agenda / Roberta Pughe, Paula Anema Sohl (may target this to finish this week)

Proust was a neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer

James, the brother of Jesus : the key to unlocking the secrets of early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls / Robert Eisenman. (a 1000+ page book which I was once half way thru but now must restart as it has been years since I sent for this)

Myths and legends of the Pacific Northwest / selected by Katharine Berry Judson ;144 p. Have loved the myth and legend and fairy tail story forms since before I was able to read them for myself. But this is also related to research for one of my characters.

John Adams [text (large print)] / David McCullough. 1123 p. (large print) Having recently watched the HBO mini-series based on this I hope to at least start it this week.

And I will pick one of these novels to begin and if under 300p also finish:

The Good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ by Pullman, Philip 245 p.

The book thief [text (large print)] by Zusak, Markus 757 p.

The red tent [text (large print)] by Diamant, Anita 424 p.

A gate at the stairs / by Lorrie Moore 517p large print

Anagrams : a novel / Lorrie Moore 225 p.

The blessing stone / Barbara Wood 450 p. Started this one the first time I had it checked out last April didn't finish in time. Really hate to have a story interrupted like that but it helps that it is a series of shorter stories following a meteorite stone through thousands of years of earth and human history. I had read the first one. The second one starts on page 41

The evolution of shadows / Jason Quinn Malott.253 p. (short novel and looks fast paced so should finish quickly once started)

Lost : a novel / Alice Lichtenstein. 242p No, not remotely connected to the ABC series. An Alziemer's inflicted man wanders off.

Having trouble choosing as I probably have time for only another 700-1000 pages of novel before leaving town July 11 and do not want to be in the middle of a story that day unless it is one I can also get at the Longview library. The first four are in the Longview collection but some have queues or cannot be held none have the large print option and that first one especially I'm not sure I should be checking out on my sister's card and if I got past those qualms I know I couldn't flaunt that cover around my Mom. It would be unkind.

Besides there are a number of NF books I was in the middle of there last year and this past January that I can't get here.

One of the options I'm considering for fiction for these four to six weeks away is to take my nieces Twilight series which she loaned to me last Thanksgiving. Along with several of the YA she loaned me in 2007!

As for DVD stories...


Since last Monday I have watched:

West Wing seasons 2 & 3

Bones season 2 discs 3 & 4

Up in the Air

Monster Ball

Patti Smith: dream of life

I must watch by next Monday dawn:

West Wing season 4

Prime

MILK

Coraline

Band of Brothers
HBO mini-series. (May decide to pass on this one and send for it again when the queue is shorter. If only it hadn't arrived the same week as West Wing 4 and besides West Wing 5 will be arriving this week. Yeah, I'm hooked but good on The West Wing and a bit anxious I won't get all 7 watched before I have to leave town on July 11)

Curb Your Enthusiasm season 1 (An HBO sitcom by co-creator of Seinfeld. may take a pass on this one too. On the other hand I could sure use a good laugh so may watch one or two episodes just to see what the fuss is about but good chance it's not my brand of humor anyway)

Watchmen (picked by my husband so will only watch if he makes time to watch)

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Serenity #185

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Win!


The three winners of the drawing for my giveaway of The Castaways By Elin Hilderbrand:

Nicole C.
mindy
Nickolay

Congratulations. I'll be emailing you shortly.

Thanks to all who participated.



Link

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Reading Challenges: Science and Religion: Let There Be Light!

Let    der       B LIGHT!


The subjects of Religions and Science are naturally conjoined in my mind in a dynamic dance that is often a struggle something like a WWF wrestling match so it seems natural to combine my announcement of joining these two reading challenges into one post.



World Religion Challenge 2010

From the host:

The rules:

The Challenge will run from Jan 1st 2010 to Dec 31st 2010. There are four categories to the Challenge:

I decided to lift a note from Taoism by calling these Paths (Tao means “way” or “path”) to Reading Challenge Enlightenment:

1. The Bare Bones Path (Also Know As: The *Technically* There’s Only Three Path): Read something about what are *technically* the only world religions, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. (These are considered, by some scholars, to be the only World Religions because while Judaism and Hinduism have the numbers, they don’t proselytize or really invite other people to join, making it more of an ethnicity).

2. The Penthouse Path (Also Known As: The Five Biggies Path): Read something about the five major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

3. The Universalist Path (Also Known As: The Above and Beyond Path): Read something by all five of the major world religions PLUS more books about any or all of the following: Shintoism, Animism, Taoism, Confucianism, Wicca, Mythology, Atheism, Occult, Tribal Religions, Voodoo, Unitarianism, Baha’i, Cults, Scientology, Mysticism, Rastafarianism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zorastrianism, Agnosticism, Gnosticism, Satanism, Manichaeism, Deism, Comparative Religion, Religious Philosophy, Jungiansim, Symbolism, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc., etc. etc. (you may also read about another aspect of one of the 5 Biggies)

4. The Unshepherded Path (Also Known As: The Don’t Tell Me What to Do Path): Read as many books as you would like about whatever religions you want.

What to read?

Nonfiction
fiction
religious texts
poetry

Since I have been reading in comparative religion, mythology and cosmology for nearly twenty years I have already been on paths 1-3 for nearly 20 years so I'm declaring myself on the Unshepherded Path for this challenge.

My current interests are in the fundamentalist sects and cults of any of the religions and especially in first person accounts of conversion into and/or out of them. Both because I have my own related story and because I'm writing a novel in which such experiences are featured.

Along that theme I'm currently reading William Lobdell's Loosing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America and Found Unexpected Peace, and have lined up Frank Schaeffer's Patience With God: Faith for People Who don't Like Religion (or Atheism). Both are library books and tho I may not finish before they have to go back this time I intend to finish them by the end of the year.

The rest of these are just a sampling of the possibilities--no promises:

I own and thus could possibly choose John Shelby Spong's Here I Stand and/or Sue Monk Kid's The Dance of the Dissident Daughter (which would be a reread but I've wanted to read through it again taking notes this time) and/or Susan Isaac's Angry Conversations With God.

Also have Robert Eisenman's James the Brother of Jesus checked out of the library but it has to go back next week and I haven't even opened it yet. I made it over halfway through this 1000+ page book in 2002 and kept meaning to get back to it. I'm sure I will have to start it over now but I'll be waiting until after my return from my six week visit to Longview WA in late August to send for it again.

I also own the four volumes of Joseph Campbell's The Masks of God in which I love to browse but have never completed any of my attempts to read straight through any of them so I may target one or more of them. I've also been hankering to re-read Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces but would have to send for a library copy.

There are also novels that might qualify that are on my current high-interest TBR lists: Wally Lamb's The Hour I First Believed; Anita Diamant's The Red Tent; Philip Pullman's The good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.

Also out of the library are Resurrecting Eve: Women of Faith Challenge the Fundamentalist Agenda by Roberta Mary Pughe and Paula Anema Sohl and an anthology of myths and legends of the Pacific Northwest, and Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will transform Your Life and Our World by Michael Dowd.

Which is a nice segue into:

Science Book Challenge 2010

The challenge is to read 3 (or 3.14) books on science, scientists or that which they examine and then contribute a brief note to the scienticity.net site sharing your experience of encountering that book as though with a friend you are trying to convince to give it a try (or a pass).

The only one I'm listing here now is the one that I just got from the library this week: Proust was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer.

I want to leave myself open for the other 2 (or 2.14) as I never know when I'm going to encounter an enthralling science read. Take the above Proust title. It came up in a library catalog search for the novels of Proust and I was intrigued by the concept that many of the discoveries of modern neuroscience had been anticipated by artists from the previous couple of centuries from novelists to painters to composers to chefs. I'm excited about this one on so many levels. The essay on Proust's discoveries about memory is going to help me as I wade through the text of his Remembrance of Things Past in the ebook I created last month. And that's just the least of it. As a writer and story aficionado I've been fascinated by the differences and similarities between the way a scientist and an artist experience their encounters with the world. My earliest memory of that interest is of reading a biography of Madame Currie while in sixth grade.

You can follow my progress in these and other 2010 challenges in the Reading Challenges Portal.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Reading Challenge Spread Sheet


I was planning to join two or three more of the reading challenges that I targeted and for which I registered my intent in the Reading Challenge Portal during Bloggiesta. But as I set about choosing among them I decided that before I took on any more I needed a better way of keeping the info organized--something I could see at a glance. Like a spreadsheet.

So I spent the last three or more hours setting it up and inputting as much info as possible to bring it up to date. I did it in my WhizFolders Organizer Deluxe ap so that I could have it embedded right with the info I'd collected on all the challenges and my progress.

The challenges are listed across the top and the books (titles / authors) are listed in the far left column. Then in each of the cells I indicate if a book qualifies for a challenge with # / # where the first # indicates the number read so far and the second # indicates the goal.

Am already noticing a problem though. It is hard to keep track of which cell you are in once you have scrolled the title list and/or the challenge titles off the screen. I know that more sophisticated spreadsheet aps have ways of temporarily hiding rows or columns to get around that issue. So now I've got to decide whether the problem is severe enough to warrant recreating it in MS Office or Open Office. I could still embed it in the Whiz document but to work on it I'd have to call up the other program which would have a larger RAM footprint and be more complex and less familiar to me.

Would the advantage be worth the time and effort? For that matter is having the spreadsheet at all worth the time and effort? Just think, I could have spent the last three hours reading!

Hmm just had a thought as I was typing the last paragraph. What if I moved the title list into the middle? Who says it has to be on the far left? And then I could copy the column headings row and duplicate it about every ten or fifteen rows which would always keep it on the screen. Just might try it. But not tonight. I want to read.

I spent most of the week watching library DVD as fast as I could and thus haven't read much since last Friday. Even we brought more DVD home from the library today, including season 4 of The West Wing, I've decided to dedicate the weekend to reading. Which means of course that next weekend I'll be frantically watching DVD.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Movie Night



I finished season 3 of The West Wing about 7AM this morning. Had begun season 2 Sunday night. Both were due Tuesday and must be in the library drop box by 10AM tomorrow. Along with four other DVD each featured here.

Just watched Up In the Air with Ed this evening. Great story. Had not realized it was based on a novel and now Ive got to read it of course. Thank goodness our library has it too.



Monster Ball is up next. As soon as I post.



Then Patti Smith: Dream of Life. A documentary of the punk rock poet produced by Steven Sebring.



In looking for a trailer about Ken Burns' National Parks series I discovered what looks like the opportunity to watch the entire thing online courtesy of PBS. All I have is the third of six discs and was in queue a long time for it and had no control over which disc comes to me each time I get in queue. I'm hoping I'm reading this right but I think I can relax about getting back in queue for more of the discs and possibly about watching this one before 10AM

I have more DVD waiting for me at the library. Including Season 4 of The West Wing. Band of Brothers. Coraline. Curb Your Enthusiasm season 1. Mlk. and Prime.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

West Wing Rapt


Have watched 33 episodes of West Wing in the last 44 hours. All of season 2 and half of 3. Really want to get back to the story. And not just because the DVD sets from the library are going overdue at midnight. My head and heart are owned by the story. It's going to be hard when that sixth disc finishes. But at least my account shows season 4 as shipped so I should have it Monday if not Thursday.

That top vid was the finale scene of season 2 and it has not been doctored. It really was like a music video set to the Dire Straits Brothers in Arms. And boy was I glad I was able to pop disc 1 of season 3 in immediately after that. Much better than waiting two weeks as I did after the finale of season 1. But of course everyone who watched it when it aired had to wait weeks between episodes and whole summers between seasons.

The next three vids are just examples of the smart, fast paced dialog, the sense of humor and the camaraderie of the cast that all contributes to the story being so captivating.





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Monday, June 21, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? #6

FYI I'm hosting a giveaway for Elin Hilderbrand's The Castaway, a summer beach read ends this Saturday.

For the second week in a row I didn't finish any books since last Monday. I advanced my bookmarks some in the one I mentioned last week and in several I didn't mention. That's sometimes my habit with NF. I like to read a little in a lot of different subjects. But it also happens when my time for reading is carved out in minutes instead of hours.

I find it irritating for fiction stories to be interrupted frequently so I pick up the nearest NF book when waiting for a five minute download, a two minute microwave timer or the call to dinner coming any minute even when those minutes stretch into forty.

Eating into my reading time the last couple of weeks and probably this week as well are the many DVD checked out of the library that I'd been in queue for for weeks or months that flooded in since the first of the month. Many of them TV series seasons.

So why, you might ask, am I bothering to participate in a What are You Reading meme? Well, because, I think I read more this past week then I would have if not for having committed to it in these meme posts. I may not have finished books at the rate I anticipated but I chose reading books over crochet, net surfing, news pods, day dreaming etc many times in the past weeks what with having this meme in the mix.

So in spite of having two movies and 2 seasons of West Wing to watch by Thursday morning, I still hope to finish Lori Lansens The Girls and Losing my religion : how I lost my faith reporting on religion in America--and found unexpected peace / William Lobdellby next Monday and to advance my bookmarks in:

Emergence : labeled autistic and The way I see it : a personal look at autism & Asperger's both memoirs by Temple Grandin.

Thank God for evolution! : how the marriage of science and religion will transform your life and our world by Michael Dowd



The value of nothing : how to reshape market society and redefine democracy by Raj Patel

Come home, America : the rise and fall (and redeeming promise) of our country / William Greider.

Braids : 250 patterns from Japan, Peru & beyond / Rodrick Owen

The family : the secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power / Jeff Sharlet.


Patience with God : faith for people who don't like religion (or atheism) / by Frank Schaeffer




Resurrecting Eve : women of faith challenge the fundamentalist agenda / Roberta Pughe, Paula Anema Sohl


Also, I started reading Remembrance of Things Past [At least Swann's Way for the Gilmore Girl Challenge] a couple weeks ago in ebook on my netbook and tho it is a novel I'm listing it here with the NF because I seem to be finding it easier to read in snatches like NF than as a story. I'm not sure what that means yet. Other than I've been intimidated by the book for years and like many things in my life I tend to stick my toes in a millimeter at a time.

Since last Monday I have watched:

Don Juan Demarco

Adam

Push

Bones
season 2 discs 1 & 2

I must watch by Thursday dawn:

West Wing seasons 2 & 3 (have watched disc 1 of season 2 so far--180 minutes down, 1774 minutes to go. I'm watching at 1.10 speed tho which shave some minutes off each episode.)

There is also:

Bones season 2 discs 3 & 4

Up in the Air

Monster Ball

Patti Smith: dream of life

all, like West Wing checked out last Tuesday and thus due tomorrow which gives me until Thursday morning to turn them in without incurring a fine.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Serenity #184



Just finished watching the 7 part HBO John Adams mini-series this morning and I was noticing throughout how much reading and writing by candlelight and firelight they had to do. Because of my visual impairment I have to be grateful that I live in time when very bright reading lamps are available. Yet I couldn't help but note the serenity of some of the scenes depicting books by candlelight.

BTW I high recommend that mini-series. Besides being a very good story it is very educational.

I have the book by David McCullough on which the mini-series was based check out of the library at the moment. Now I'm really hoping I can get to it before I leave for Longview next month for my 4-6 week visit with my Mom and siblings and families. But it is one of many books and DVD I have such hopes for and there isn't enough time for all of them.


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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Now There's a Thought!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures>


Today was laundry day. Extra loads because I blew it off during the Bloggiesta last weekend. Had a workout. Exhausted. Ready for some down time: Either read or DVD or sleep. In between and after dealing with two more loads still in the machines that is

Oh my achin' bback! And my poor arms are screaming they cannot lift one more sock let alone that flannel sheet still bunched up on the couch which Merlin burrowed into when it was fresh out of the dryer.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Forays in Fiction: Where Do You Get Your Stories?



I've been working on a book review for this post for several days but kept getting interrupted. Last night by the unexpected email I posted about yesterday. This afternoon by an unexpected phone call from my sister asking for my help with a project our nephew was working on for his Dad's Father's Day gift: a collage of pictures from his childhood to serve as a desktop image for the new laptop he got him and which he wanted to present to him when he gets home from work at midnight tonight.

In case it's not clear, this is my brother's son. And they called me because I already have most of the family pictures scanned into my computer. So I set about going through my scan files and emailing likely candidates to my nephew. This is the nephew who is in the middle of his second tour as an Army Medic in Iraq. He is home on leave and heading back next month. He was supposed to finish his tour in August but they've extended it and gave him the nearly month long leave instead.

So I spent most of the last 7 hours 3pm-10pm on this project and my eyes are smarting. So I needed to come up with an easier post and I remembered one time doing a Friday Foray's post that was on the theme of finding stories in photos which was inspired by my work with these family photos. And I decided that would be fun to do again and found five fresh photos that range across time between WWI and the 1970s featuring three generations.

Something about gazing at these pictures inspires my muse. What about yours?




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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Exuse Me While I Go Play With My New Toy


A screenshot of WhizFolders Pro as I typically used it. Note all the different sized windows stacked and scattered across the screen.

I got a surprise in my inbox this evening.

I've blogged about my use of WhizFolders Pro for all note-taking and draft work many time over the last 2.5 years since I bought it and before that I blogged a number of times about the free version, WhizNotes, in which I did my NaNoWriMo draft several years running. The two latest posts about Whiz are here where I created and ebook and here showing how I used it during Bloggiesta.

Well recently Whiz generated an error report automatically which I agreed to send and a few hours ago I got a reply from AviTech, the creator of the ap, informing me that the bug had been addressed in the latest updates but that he noticed that my two years of free updates had expired last February but he was also aware that I had blogged about Whiz and because of that he was extending me a complimentary upgrade. Not only to the latest edition but to the Deluxe Edition which is a step up from Pro!

I was just sitting down to prepare Thursday's post and planning to work on a book review of The Girl with Glass Feet for Friday's post when this e-mail arrived. Ed was sitting beside me about to prepare for bed but when he saw that he was as excited as I was and he, (who is my tech go to guy) agreed to stay up long enough to walk me through download and installation of WhizFolders Deluxe.

Below are a few screenshots I took after the installation. With most of the same files open my desktop now has only two Whiz windows because Whiz now has tabbed view for the file windows as well as for the topics in the editor window. This is going to eliminate one of the minor hassles of loosing the smaller windows under the bigger ones and having to call up the master list of open windows to find it. Minor but annoying, so this is going to be nice.



Here the editor window is under the files window and the file selected is my Web Map which is my Web bookmarking file. The topic open is the one for reading & writing related blogs which I added dozens of links to during the Bloggiesta this past weekend. The reason I prefer to bookmark web pages this way is that I can drop comments with the URL that remind me of the relevance of the link to whichever interest or project.


Here I've selected the tab for my Reading Journal Whiz file. Note the colored topic titles in the list at the left. This feature was part of Pro and allows me to color code items. In this case these are the bibliography slips for library books and the colors indicate:

  • green = currently checked out
  • red = previously checked and begun but currently at the library
  • teal = never checked out but confirmed the library possesses. You could call this a wishlist. I create these as I read reviews online that intrigue me.
  • lavender = previously checked out and finished reading but not finished with book review
  • white = read and review posted

Not visible above:

  • purple = short story collections
  • yellow = finished reading, still in my possession and available for review
  • navy = books about writing
  • maroon = books relevant to an ongoing research project related to my fiction WIP


Here the tabbed editor window (looking pretty much the same as before) is on top of the new tabbed file window showing the book review topic for The Girl with Glass feet. Note the ability to drop a thumb of the book cover. into the file. This is helpful to me as my memories are stored with associated images so being able to gaze at the cover helps me remember the experience of reading the book--the story, characters and plot as well as my thoughts and feelings at the time. This enables me to write a review after the book has gone back to the library.

Well, as you can imagine, I'm anxious to continue exploring the new features. Some would be new to Pro but many are for the Deluxe edition only and I'm eager to play with them.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Library Loot June 16-22

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

This week Eva has the Mr. Linky where you can link your own Library Loot post anytime this week if you wish to participate.





Books:

The Good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ by Pullman, Philip
---I read Pulman's His Dark Materials series several years ago so am anticipating a good story that makes you think.

The book thief [text (large print)] by Zusak, Markus
---I've been seeing a lot of favorable reviews online for some time and figured it was about time I sent for this. The first time it hit my radar was when my local librarian personally recommended it to me, knowing my tastes. But that was in 2007 just before the libraries closed for 6 months and at the time it had long queues. [This would qualify for a books about books challenge which I would dearly love to join but the only one I've spotted so far was closed to new entrants as of January 31. I'm tempted to start one myself as I'm a sucker for books, whether fiction or NF, that feature books, reading, story, libraries, bookstores, book collecting, study & research (academics from grade school to grad school and including the writing of and publishing of books]

This is showing as held but Ed didn't see it when he picked things up for us yesterday afternoon so it'll be there when he goes back next either Thursday or Monday. Maybe Tuesday. It depends on his work schedule's compatibility with the libraries limited 20 hours a week over three days--Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Whenever I'm tempted to complain though I remember how much better 20 hours per week is than zero. *shudder*

The red tent [text (large print)] by Diamant, Anita.
---This is one of the many novels I've had checked out several times and at least once actually stated it. Read several raves online recently so sent for it again. [Plus it will qualify for both the Women Unbound Challenge which I've joined and the Colorful Reads Challenge which I'm about to join. See my Reading Challenges Portal to follow my Challenges progress.] It's not in my possession yet but is showing as shipped on my library account so I'll probably be picking it up Thursday or Monday.

The value of nothing : how to reshape market society and redefine democracy by Raj Patel
---Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved, addresses the fact that the price we pay for things does not reflect the true cost of producing them which is why faith in the free market system is misplaced as long as long as the producers are not required to factor in those costs when setting the price and if they did most of us couldn't afford the product, considering that his estimate of the true cost of a single hamburger would be $200 dollars.

I just had this checked out for several weeks recently and had just started reading it a week before it had to go back and was so intrigued by it that I sent for it again immediately which I rarely do as it's a bit embarrassing to 'hog' a book for nine weeks and then ask for it again the same week you return it. It's less embarrassing when you can put it on a different card the second time though. :) My husband graciously agreed to it.

It took over two weeks to make the turn-around though. I hope I won't have to start it over.

Proust was a neuroscientist by Lehrer, Jonah.
---I started reading Remembrance of Things Past [At least Swann's Way for the Gilmore Girl Challenge] a couple weeks ago and while perusing science categories in the library catalog for the Science Reading Challenge I'm intending to enter, I came across this and immediately sent for it. It's not in my possession as yet but it is showing as shipped on my account so I should be able to pick it up by Monday or Tuesday.

Proust was just the literary figure featured in the title. The book actually consists of a number of chapters or separate essays each featuring a different artist whose art anticipated future discoveries by neuroscientists:

Walt Whitman : The substance of feeling -- George Eliot : The biology of freedom -- Auguste Escoffier : The essence of taste -- Marcel Proust : The method of memory -- Paul Cézanne : The process of sight -- Igor Stravinsky : The source of music -- Gertrude Stein : The structure of language -- Virginia Woolf : The emergent self

I'm really looking forward to reading this one. [This would qualify for my concept of a book about books challenge as well as the science challenge as it is a book featuring authors.]



DVD:

As you can see here I did not manage my request account well what with several series seasons coming through inside a week. A few of these I've not yet picked up but most were picked up yesterday. Besides these there are a few I listed last week I'm not yet finished with. The HBO John Adams mini-series for one. I have the option of letting a request sit inactive without loosing my place in line but once I deactivate it I can't track where my place in line actually is. So my practice is to watch my place move up into the top three positions and then deactivate it until I'm ready for it. I have repeatedly miscalculated in the last few months and ended up with a flood of 500 to 1000 minute DVD sets inside ten days at least three times in the last three months. Sometimes that means I have to speed up my player to get them all watched which is the meaning of my standing joke that I'm watching as fast as I can.

Bones. Season two. Disc 1 & 2 [videorecording (DVD)]
Bones. Season two. Disc 3 & 4 [videorecording (DVD)]
The West Wing. The complete second season [videorecording (DVD)]
The West Wing. The complete third season [videorecording (DVD)]
Curb your enthusiasm. The complete first season [videorecording (DVD)]
Up in the air [videorecording (DVD)]
Monster's ball [videorecording (DVD)]
Patti Smith [videorecording (DVD)] : dream of life

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? #5

FYI I'm hosting a giveaway for Elin Hilderbrand's The Castaway, a summer beach read.

I didn't finish any books since last Monday as I started prepping for the Bloggiesta as soon as I learned of it in the wee hours of Wednesday and have been focused on P. E. D. R. O. ever since. Thats Plan. Edit. Develop. Review. Organize.

Thus my goals for this week are much the same as last week. Thank goodness I still have over a week with the books i started last week before the must go back to the library.

I'd hoped to get some reviews ready to go as part of Bloggiesta but didn't get to that project. So...

I'm Targeting Two reviews to get ready to post:

The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw

Shadowtag by Louise Erdrich (which I read for Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon April 10)

Both books have gone back to the library and I used to think that meant I had to wait until I could get them back but my experience recently with posting about The Kite Runner more than a year after I held it in my hand has me reconsidering that limitation.

Two Books I've Targeted to Finish:

The girls [text (large print)] / Lori Lansens (a novel by the author of rush home road which I reviewed here) the life story is of a pair of conjoined twins so this was a very strange choice of cover for the large print edition. You can see the regular print editions for Canada and US on Lori Lansens site which I've linked the title too. I've just ordered her latest The Wife's tale from the library but there is a queue.

I was well over a hundred pages in by Tuesday evening last week when I made the wrenching choice to set it aside to work on Bloggiesta projects. When I had spare moments or needed a brief break I picked up Lobdell's book because I knew it would be easier to lay aside again. Not that his story isn't also riveting. Just not quite in the same grab your heart and squeeze way of Lansens' The Girls.





Losing my religion : how I lost my faith reporting on religion in America--and found unexpected peace / William Lobdell

Emergence : labeled autistic and The way I see it : a personal look at autism & Asperger's both memoirs by Temple Grandin. Both had queues since the airing of the HBO drama based on her life a few months ago. But why or why did they both come for me the same week?






I also hope to make significant headway in this 1121 page chunkster which I've had checked out three times in the last year: The hour I first believed [text (large print)] : a novel / Wally Lamb.



Be sure and watch this if you love as I do stories about how writer's work and how they translate the story in their mind to the page or screen.

Then there is a whole slew of books due five days after those five. They are mostly novels so I won't talk about them until next week. But I hope to start spending time with the two NF:

Thank God for evolution! : how the marriage of science and religion will transform your life and our world by Michael Dowd

Come home, America : the rise and fall (and redeeming promise) of our country / William Greider.


And DVDs (as I explained last week):

Since I'm spending at least as much time watching DVD as reading lately and because whether I'm reading or watching a story I'm doing so with the eyes of a writer and story aficionado I'm going to start listing the stories I'm watching as well as the ones I'm reading in these posts. I hope I'm not stepping out of line.

Since last Monday I have watched:

The Changeling
A lovely film. And I mean that in the literal sense. Not only was the story enthralling but the visual experience was breathtaking. Clint Eastwood was the director. Who knew. I had no idea he directed let alone he was so artistic. The story was set in the early 20's and the colors on the screen were faded and sepia tinged. It's based on the true story of a woman whose 6 year old son disappears and a corrupt LAPD bungles the search for him then brings her an impostor and makes her out to be a bad mother for refusing to recognize this boy as her own. I highly recommend this one.

The Beach Not so much. A very disturbing story about an unmapped island near Thailand which only a very few know of and know how to get there. Two different groups with different agendas occupy it keeping separate from each other and under an uneasy truce. The group which is the focus of the story is an idealistic commune whose members are unable to come to grips with the evidence that they are not in paradise. They continually refuse to look at the dark side of nature and of human nature and that refusal leaves them wide open for succumbing to their own dark sides in defense of their 'paradise'. The theme was powerful and profound but I've seen it dealt with in more satisfying ways.

Monster-in-law Very very funny! A bride-to-be is harassed by her beaus self-involved, controlling mother who is trying to stop the wedding by gas-lighting her future daughter-in-law. When the bride catches on to what's going on things go from funny to ROFLOL as the tables are turned and the mother can't let on or defend herself without revealing to her son what monstrous things she has done to his love. I had one issue with this: I thought the son was an empty jar. Nothing there. The character wasn't just flat it was insubstantial. He was as ditzy as a valley girl, as clueless as Darren in Bewitched but much less interesting.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin another must see. Set on a Greek island occupied by Italy during WWII it is the story of a love that develops between the Italian Captain and the Doctor's daughter. This was another of those rare times when I chose to watch the movie before reading the book. I try to avoid that but at the time I sent for the DVD I'd just seen a trailer on another DVD and briefly forgot it was also a book.


I must watch by 9AM Tuesday (that's overnight):


Don Juan Demarco

Adam

Push

I must watch by next Monday dawn:

The last five hours of the John Adams HBO mini-series (tho this has a slim chance of renewing for me)

Bones 2 discs 1 & 2

Will be bringing home from the Library tomorrow:

West Wing 2 & 3

Up in the Air (sent for this during the Academy Awards)

I suppose I should start doing reviews of the movies eh? Well, once I get on track with the book reviews I'll consider it.

Read more...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Time to Wrap Up. And I Don't Mean In a Tortilla.

teh fiesta tuckr me tak hat      off nao me can haz siesta?


I have easily put in 50 hours on blog improvement tasks since 8AM Friday morning. And that was after a good 20 hours of prep between the wee hours of Wednesday and the wee hours of Friday. I spent that prep time preparing a task list with every thing I could think of that needed doing. That list wasn't just for Bloggiesta weekend goals but for the long haul. I surprised myself by how long the list got and so quickly too. Apparently I'd been keeping that list in my head for months and years. Nothing on it was something I had never considered before I learned of the Bloggiesta Tuesday night.

Turns out keeping that list in my head instead of putting it in visible and manipulateable form had been a major cause of the sense of overwhelm I felt every time I began to think about beginning and improvement project. When I first started listing I typed as fast as I could taking no care to keep ideas in any order. I just got the tasks listed. Then after they started coming slower, I started moving items into related groups and after that I prioritized it and then I marked tasks that I felt I lacked knowledge or understanding to complete. That was the state it was in when I posted it.

Then during the weekend I continued to add to the original list and move things around, regroup them, clarify them etc. And all through the weekend I pasted links next to items on the list with resources specific to the task. I got those links while surfing participants blogs and following the links I found there whether in the Bloggiesta posts or in their older posts or in their sidebars.

One of the tasks on my list was to organize my note ap to make keeping track of all these tasks and the new info I anticipated accumulating. I didn't stop to organize it first though. I let the way the information came guide me into how best to store it. I've blogged many times before about WhizFolders Pro and the various ways I use it. It is an application for note taking that allows you to move blocks of info around inside the file using nested topics. It uses RTF and allows for object embedding, colored text and highlights, and live links both within the documents, among the Whiz files, to any ap, program or file on my computer and URLs. I use Whiz exclusively for all note taking, journaling and rough drafts and for creating e-books of public domain classics. I also use it for bookmarking the web, for creating task lists and organizing projects of all kinds.

Relevant to my current blog revamp project, because I am focused for now on the book blogging aspects, there are three main Whiz files I needed to tend to this weekend--Joystory, Reading Journal and Book Reviews. You can see portions of all three of them in the image below. In a few weeks I hope to put a similar focus on the creative writing aspects. At least by-the end of summer when it is time to start prepping for NaNoWriMo.



I can adjust the window sizes of each file so I can have portions of several visible at once when i wish to hop back forth or I can have any one file full screen like this:



There you see the section of the Joystory Whiz concerned with Reading Challenges. The two panes are also adjustable. There are nearly 200 topics in this file so that is not even ten percent of them showing there. The topic list on the left can be color coded and the ones marked in the royal blue there are the four challenges that I've already joined. The rest of them are lined up and ready for take-off. That was THE major project I accomplished on Saturday. Chasing down those challenges, collecting images, links and rules and making tentative book lists. All of that collected in the Joystory Whiz. The culmination of that project was to create the Reading Challenge Portal post which was Saturday's post and will be the portal to my status on the challenges.

In the Reading Journal Whiz I keep records of all my library due dates, bibliography slips for each item checked out, wish lists, recommended reading lists, quotes, reading notes, and because I check out so many from the library also DVD, which I may eventually move into their own Whiz. This file has nearly 600 topics and is growing by tens and twenties every week. Because I didn't start keeping my bib slip records this way until about a year ago, one of the projects I worked on this weekend was to get bib slip topics made for as many books which I finished in the year or two previous to last June that came to my mind, looking them up in the library card catalog and copy/pasting the bib info. Then I made a duplicate of the topic to put in the Book Review Whiz. One of the tasks I added to my comprehensive task list was to start making bib slips in this file for all the books I own.

The idea is that with those bib slip topics created and me using the file regularly I will keep seeing certain titles and be inspired to begin a review and said inspiration won't be dampened by not having a quick and easy place to dump info and musings and begin drafts. There are nearly 200 topics in Book Review Whiz and only a handful of those are child topics so that means there are nearly that many reviews. Some 20 have been posted already. The rest are in various stages from blank beneath title/author to awaiting final edit or a needed link or cover image..

One of the things I made a point of all weekend was to study the blogs I visited and to harvest things off them. I don't mean proprietary or copyrighted things. I mean I took notice of every banner, button, link, gadget, widget, promo etc, etc and if it looked like something I might want or I just wanted to look into in more depth later, I put the link in the appropriate topic in the appropriate Whiz and also the link to the page I had seen it on.

One thing I regret is not spending more time leaving comments and participating in the mini-challenges. I had intended to but as often happens with me, I got hyperfocused on one set of tasks and barely took time to sleep or eat until Sunday evening when we had company over and I couldn't (nor did I want to) stay holed up in my room.

One major task I had hoped to accomplish by Sunday evening was a template change to one with more than two columns. One task I did complete was to hunt down the perfect free template. One that can have up to 8 columns (with 3 in the footer). But I was too intimidated to make the transfer without help and Ed was supposed to help me Sunday afternoon but then we had the company and he discovered he had to leave for work at six this morning so the template change will have to wait a bit. But because I knew this template change was in the works I chose not to put too much effort into adding or subtracting or rearranging stuff on the current template. So there is little visible on the blog to show for all the work I've done besides the three (now four) posts themselves. (Yeah, yesterday's Sunday Serenity post, tho a bit of an aside, was relevant to the weekend's work)

I participated in one mini-challenge only, Write Your To Do List, at the 2010 Blog Improvement Challenge, which by the way I'll be going back to again and again as I continue to work chip away at my list. Here's hoping I can start marking things as done faster than I add to things to it pretty soon. There were other accomplishments for the project I meant to give a mention here but I'm starting to fade which means I'm probably boring the sombreros off anyone who even managed to read this far.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Serenity #183


This is a picture of a copy of the same edition of War and Peace I had while in high-school. It has the same dust cover picture. I'm totally going all teary-eyed gazing at it. I'd inherited it from my great-aunts shelves when I was 17 and had it for a year before I ventured to begin reading it. This was the book I chose to read during the free-reading half of the college-prep reading class I took my senior year in high school. In the 20 to 30 minutes per school day throughout the semester, I managed to advance my bookmark around 300 pages. Then the summer after graduation, I was out of town--way out--a lot and a 2 inch thick book does not make a very good traveling companion.

So my bookmark remained around a quarter of the way in that year...and the next...and was still there when I was unpacking my books after I got married in 1978. Not long after that I decided I needed to start over so I moved my bookmark to the beginning. I can't remember how far I got. Not far. Probably less than 100 pages before I got distracted again. Another move maybe. There were lots of moves in the first ten years of our marriage and lots of times in between when my books would be in storage.

At any rate, it wasn't the story's fault. And in the mean time I had read Anna Karenina and fell in love with it. And after that moved on to Dostoevsky, reading Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov and The Idiot, and then on to Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago and a number of Chekhov's short stories and so many of Solzhenitsyn novels and non-fiction I won't list them. Though I'm not sure if I finished The Brothers Karamazov, as I have a clear memory of having to restart that one at least twice and no clear memory of turning the last page.

Thus, in the early 80s I was in love with the 19th century and a few 20th century Russian writers so when I went back to school in 1985 I began to study Russian with the goal of learning to read my favorite authors in their own language. I was planning to take Russian lit courses in my final year but I didn't get that far. Nor did I learn the language well enough to read for pleasure in it. Another unavoidable move forced me to drop out before my senior year and in that 1987 move I lost my copy of War and Peace.

We still had another copy of it. Ed had bought a set of the Britannica Great Books from the PX while he was in the Corp and we rescued half the set in that move. All of the fiction and the first 18 volumes--Homer through Augustine and the Syntopican. I tried several times to get started reading War and Peace in that edition. It was the same translation (I'm not sure I knew that then) but the pages were two columned and the font a bit smaller. That wasn't the most important difference though and wouldn't have stopped me if it hadn't been for the loss of the 'cheat sheet' that had been part of my edition. It was actually a pamphlet of several pages and it was also my bookmark. It contained a roster of the characters with all of their nic-names and titles, a time-line for the first half of the 1800s, battle maps of the war between Russia and Napoleon, and a street-map of Moscow.

I suppose I could have done the research to collect the same info and made my own 'cheat sheet' and several times I began that project but it kept getting set aside. And then in the move from California to here in 2001, we lost the remaining volumes of the Great Books along with what remained of our personal libraries after we had sold hundreds of volumes for necessities. Well, mostly necessities. In that move I also lost my Russian history and language text books that I'd managed to hang onto and for several years after leaving college had continued to practice reading the language and learning new vocabulary.

So in 2001 I was without a copy of War and Peace for the first time since 1975 and remained so until 2005 when I was able to buy a still shrink-wrapped set of the Great Books from the library sale table. The entire 54 volume set for one buck per book! I thought I was in heaven. That was shortly after I started blogging so I posted about it but I'm not sure I'd recommend anyone bother reading it as that was when I treated my blog like a personal journal and frequently rambled for several thousand words on whatever was on my mind. Hypergraphia anyone. It did generate my first comment though and from England at that. Which startled me and possibly made me shy because I all but stopped posting for several months after that.

And I'm rambling now. All of that and I'm still not close to making the point I began this post to make.

Yesterday doing Bloggiesta related tasks, I came across the Chunckster Challenge and immediately thought of War and Peace. So I got the Great Books copy off the shelf to check its page count to see if it would count for the over 750 page books of which you can read 3 instead of 6 over 450 to qualify for the highest rank. And that was when I came up against the two column per page issue. I have for many years--since 1978 when I began reading the Great Books set, counted every double columned pages as two pages. Yeah. Even before book blogging I was an obsessive page count tallier. :) But I wasn't sure if I could get away with that in this case. The Great Books edition is 696 pages and doubled that puts it well over 1300 pages.

I thought I remembered that my copy had been over 1300 pages but I couldn't swear to it. Plus I wasn't sure it was the same translation which could make it different enough to make a difference. So I set out to try to find referenced online a single volume, single column pages, by the same translator's, Louise and Aylmer Maude, to see how the page count compared, and while I was at it any mention of what might sound or look like my old edition. That was a very interesting search because I had no memory of the translator's name, nor the publisher, nor year except that it had to be well before 1977 because the book was obviously on the older side by the time I got it. I vaguely remembered it was older than me by a few years which wold put its pub date some time before 1955.

Two things I remembered clearly. The dustcover and the cheat sheet. Also that the cloth cover was red and and embossed and there were pictures or maps inside the cover and the edge of the pages across the top were dyed dark blue and the front edges were cut in the raggedy way.

I started out by limiting my search to editions using the Maude translation and it was very hard to find any single volume hardback editions. But then I stumbled onto this cover image. Which made me gasp and my heart skip beats.. Gazing at it is almost like looking at my book through a glass window.

For those interested in such details: the publisher was Simon and Schuster NY and the pub date was 1942 and it was a limited edition called INNER SANCTUM. I found it on the UK site for Abe books but the seller is in New Mexico USA. The asking price is 35 pounds or $50 plus shipping which they warn will be nearly double their usual shipping cost because the book is so heavy. Yeah, I can vouch for that, carrying it to school every day for a semester. Yet in spite of that I kept my copy in better shape than this one is by the seller's description. (Which you can see by clicking on the image) Who knew I was reading such a special edition. I guess I'm glad I didn't know it then because I might have been intimidated and kept it on the shelf looking amazing. i surely wouldn't have carried it to school every day for months.

Well this has turned into something I hadn't intended when I set out. I was planning to just write a sentence or two along the order of This is a pic of the copy of War and Peace I owned once upon a time and finding it online makes me a little bit sad and a little bit joyful and a whole lot nostalgic. The sad part is obvious. The joyful part? Some of that is from looking at the picture and remembering good times associated with it. But most is about loving the research process and feeling very rewarded by the success. I need to make note of that and look for more opportunities to achieve such rewards.

Watch for my entry into the Chunckster Challenge later this week. Don't know yet if I'll put War and Peace on my TBR for that or not. I want to but the year's half gone already and I'm going to be out of town for six weeks this summer and when I get back it'll be time to start prepping for NaNo if I haven't already. Plus, I am after all reading Proust's Remembrance of Things Past in the e-book format I posted about a bit over a week ago which, even tho it's 1.3 million words long it won't count as a chunkster because it's an e-book. I'm at least reading the first book of it, Swann's Way, for the Gilmore Girls Challenge. Plus I'm planning to join the E-Book Challenge as well and will count each of the seven books in the Proust I manage to read as one for that.

Before picking up War and Peace again though, I want to make my own cheat sheet. At the very least of the time-line and the roster. That should be much easier now with the internet, Now there's a research project to sink my teeth into.

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