Blog Archives

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair

I first saw Nina Sankovitch’s “Tolstoy and the Purple Chair” in a random bookstore in downtown Boise. I wasn’t looking for anything specific, just browsing.

I’ve loved memoirs ever since my senior year of high school when we focused on some great memoirs for an entire semester. I also took a course in college that focused on memoirs. I find them interesting in many ways. For one, you get to see a very personal side of someone’s life. You get to see their life through the lens of a specific theme which they’ve chosen as their backdrop. And then, after you’ve read it, you can analyze their version of events and speculate how other people in their lives may have told the story. The subjectiveness of truth has been the downfall of many memoirs’ reputations. It brings up the question: Is it how events happened that matter, or how we remember them, the message we take away from those events?

Anyway, I was going through the memoir section of this bookstore, and “Tolstoy and the Purple Chair” jumped out at me. I read the back, and found it interesting, but I didn’t really need more books (as if I ever do…) so I put it back. Read the rest of this entry

Abandoned books

Goodreads put together an infographic about book abandonment that I found super interesting.

A few months ago I put together a post about all the unfinished books that I have and a goal of finishing them. I haven’t made a lot of headway. For some reason, I haven’t felt like reading that much lately, which isn’t like me. But this weekend I’m reading Life of Pi. I really like what I’ve read so far, but I just need to buckle down and read.

What causes you to put a book down and just not pick it up?

 

Treasuring Books

How do you treat the books you read? Do you keep the pages close together so as not to break the binding? Or instead of bookmarks do you sprawl the book open at the page you’re on. Do you mark your favorite passages? Or are the pages not to be marred?

I have some very good friends who collect books and they have very strong opinions about how books are to be treated. They do not read their signed copies of science fiction. They have copies that look pretty and are in pristine condition, and copies that can be read, which they still are careful with.

I’m not the world’s neatest person. I keep my books in piles throughout my room, and sometimes they fall or get stuffed in a bag and pages get bent. Sometimes there’s water damage or tears. And it’s sad, but as long as I can read the words, I’m happy. Because the magic of reading isn’t in the mass-produced pages.

I love books. Not just reading, but books themselves. I haven’t succumbed and gotten an e-reader yet. I probably will eventually, but it’s not a high priority. Books feel nice, smell nice, and are fun to have around. But it’s the stories within that are the treasure. And no matter how ratty and battle-worn a book is, the story can shine through. That’s the real power of literature.

After all, the bulk of the heart that an author puts into their book is in the writing. Sure, they have input on the cover, maybe even create it themselves. And some authors choose the paper the book uses. But a lot of the printing process is largely impersonal, or at the very least, not unique to the story on the pages.

So whether you wash your hands before opening your favorite tome, or have to squint to read through the greasy chip stains, or slide through the words on a screen, take some time this long weekend to enjoy a story.

Unfinished

I am a procrastinator. Not in the worst way. I get important things done. But I would get a lot more done if I sat around less and actually did the things I put on my to-do lists.

I love the idea of crafts, and have a giant bin full of pieces of fabric, paper, and knick knacks waiting to be turned into art, gifts, or both.

I love to read, but sometimes I start a book and no matter how much I like it, I put it down never to pick it up again. Read the rest of this entry

Mirrors

I’ve always enjoyed mirrors because they open up a room to all sorts of light. The light reflects off the mirror, but it also seems to open up the room in another way. It’s like being reflected in the mirror allows the world to expand, or creates another world altogether.

Maybe this line of thought is what inspired Lewis Carol in “through the looking glass” Maybe not.

What inanimate objects inspire your imagination?

Powell’s

So, I went to Portland (Oregon) last weekend, and of course, as any trip to Portland requires, I went to Powell’s. For those of you who don’t know, Powell’s is an amazing new and used bookstore. It takes up a whole city block and is three and a half stories high. The rooms are color-coded and organized by section. The blue room has literature and poetry. The Gold room is science fiction and mysteries. The Rose room has a lot of stuff, but most notably children’s literature. The purple room has a lot of non-fiction- race and gender studies. Travel is in the orange room. Graphic novels are in the room with the cafe (brown).

I can’t go to Powell’s without buying too many books. I think once I went there and only bought one or two. Not this time though. My Powell’s and Portland withdrawal led me to purchase a whole stack even though I already own many books I have yet to read. Guess I just need to dedicate more time to reading.

Here’s the list of books I bought, in case you’re interested Read the rest of this entry

From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Some books rock the one-word title; others go for long and slightly absurd. I’m of course going to talk about the latter today.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a Children’s novel published in 1967. It is the story of a brother and sister pair who run away from home and live temporarily in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. They discover a mystery and set out to solve it by seeking out Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, an eccentric, rich old woman. Read the rest of this entry

Stargirl

“We wanted to define her, to wrap her up as we did each other, but we could not seem to get past “weird” and “strange” and “goofy.” Her ways knocked us off balance. ”

One of my favorite books from childhood is Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. The story is told by a high school junior, Leo, who is intrigued and greatly affected by a new girl in school, Stargirl. I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but this book is amazing. It shows the hive mind of high school and the world in general. it shows how people react to those who are “different”. It delves into what is “real” in life, and what we merely construct. It focuses on teenagers growing into adults, interacting with adults, and figuring out what this world is all about. A main point of the book is that it’s the little moments in our lives that can have the largest impact.

My partner and I both love books, so a couple of months ago we went to a few different used books stores. I saw Stargirl and just knew I wanted to read it again. Jordan said he was pretty sure there was a sequel. I was sure he was wrong. I would have known about that.

He was right. Read the rest of this entry

30 Day Writing Challenge

My lovely friend Beth messaged me a week or so ago. “Jeriann! want to do a writing challenge with me?!” She accompanied this excited question with a link to a writing challenge. (I’ll get to that in a minute.) It’s a thirty day writing challenge, with a prompt for each day. I’m not sure if the person who posted it on Tumblr realizes that February is only 28 days this year, but that’s ok for me, because I found a 25 day writing challenge that I can do after that, so that it will be the end of March before I have to come up with my own ideas for posting again.

I’ve done writing challenges and similar things before, and I can’t guarantee that I will follow the prompt each day, but I will try my hardest to be inspired by it. I figure as long as I write every day, the challenge is met. If you’re interested, you can find the challenge I am participating in here: 30 Day Creative Writing Challenge

I would be posting the first day’s writing, except for two things. Read the rest of this entry

Gothic Women’s Liberation Meeting

gothic castle

A couple of years ago I took a gothic novel class. It was really fun, because you could tell it was a class the professor cared about and truly enjoyed. Because of this, the students were able to enjoy it as well. Our final project was to take at least two characters from at least two different novels we had read and make them interact. I wrote a short scene with a bunch of the women in the books.

In gothic literature, women are most often put into one of two categories; the angelic woman or the demonic woman. The angelic woman is innocent, dull, and needs men to think for her. She is easily victimized and if she does not meet ruin it is because of a man saving her.

The demonic woman does not submit to men. She is overbearing, often set on world domination and prone to violence. She is the reason that women must be tamed and cannot be trusted. She is often used as a case for denying women education.

The one exception to this rule is Mina Harper, from Dracula. She is smart and capable of reason and logical thought, but uses her knowledge to help her husband, so is neither the demonic or angelic archetype.

I thought it would be interesting to put a bunch of these very different women together at a woman’s lib meeting and see what happened. This is the result. Read the rest of this entry