Monday, November 9, 2015

Nathaniel Hawthorne Wrap-up

Well better late than never I guess!

I read The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne and knew I would enjoy it because I had read it before. I don't really know what it is that I do like about it though because it's all so very sad with no light at the end of the tunnel! There is not a lot of hope in this short novel! Even the few depicted happy moments are tainted with some sort of acknowledgement of despair or unknown evil. I did enjoy the character development and the study of how secrecy and living a lie can take a toll on the heart, mind and body.
More than one character experienced that in this book!

I'm currently reading a little book by Polly Horvath called "The Trolls". It is probably considered youth fiction. We used to curl up- 3 in the bed and listen to it on tape! It is absolutely hilarious at any age in my opinion (well at least up to 26!).

Here are a few pictures from a recent jaunt near Goldstream!

Hope you are well wherever you are!


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Washington Irving Wrap-up

The author for June was Washington Irving, an American author who lived around the same time as Cooper, our last month's author. Maybe they were friends or at least colleagues (or rivals!)... They both lived in New York during their writing years.

I read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in June.

Like mom, I also just downloaded this short story from the Internet. I thought it was very creative, and I enjoyed the imagery created of Sleepy Hollow- a beautiful but haunted wood that is immune to the passing of time. As for Ichabod Crane, I liked him at first but then he became a little greedy and I grew less fond.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

James Fennimore Cooper Wrap-up

Hello and happy June 2nd! We've been enjoying a few breezier, brisker days here on the West Coast after a week or so of unexpected spring scorchers. A friend and I walked around Cattle Point this morning- a great way to start the day. 

I know, I know. Totally creepy. 
I checked out the My Idol App, and although it's totally in Japanese, I finally figured out how to make it work! It scans your face, and then you can choose and outfit/hairstyle/accessories that most look like you, and then you can watch yourself groove on the screen along to funky music. I have since deleted the app but I will always have this photo as a wonderful keepsake....

A bikeride to the park with Mark and Alison a few weeks ago! We had a delicous breakfast at Cora's first and then went to a massive book sale. It was our first anniversary weekend!

We have a two wheeled addition to the family! It's name is Big Red, and when I ride it, I become "Globehead". Daniel turns into "Astroboy". It's uncanny how those helmets can transform us!

We found a restaurant that has a games area downstairs! 

A day out on the paddleboards:)


Ok- now onto more important things- like the author of the month!

James Fennimore Cooper. I read "The Deerslayer" (and to be accurate I'm not actually totally finished yet), but I am really enjoying it! Cooper wrote a collection of books about the same main character: Natty Bumpo AKA the Deerslayer AKA Hawkeye, and these books follow him at different periods of his life. The Deerslayer is actually the last one that Cooper wrote but tells about Bumpo when he is younger than all the other books. 

The setting is the wilderness of the Americas in the 1800's (the novel was written in 1841), where the "pale faces" and the "red men" are living, some in harmony, and some in the pursuit of "scalps" and revenge.

Surprisingly, the book has made me laugh more than any of our books so far... Monica and I have had a few good chuckles reading to each other lines from our books. (She is reading Last of the Mohicans").

For example, The Deerslayer is naive to romance, having been brought up among a tribe in the woods. He states his only love will ever be the trees and forest, etc. This is what he says when his friend Sarpant makes a slip in reasoning that the Deerslayer calulates is based on love:
"He'll never be the man he was till this matter is off hs mind, and he comes to his senses, like all the rest of mankind."- "We must sartainly manage to...have 'em married as soon as we get back... or this war will be of no more use!" 

The  manner of thinking has changed alot since this book was written, particularely in respect to human rights belonging to all humans regardless of colour and gender. It's quite interesting to be taken back to that world.

All for now- next month is Washington Irving!

Hope all is well wherever you are!



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Shakespeare Wrap-up

I finished reading Julius Ceaser this morning. I really did enjoy the storyline- it was quite gripping and fast paced! There's really no sense of a timeline, so it seems like everything happened very quickly around the "Ides of March", or March 15th.  It's neat that this play was based on true Roman history. That's all folks. Did you enjoy Shakespeare?

I got to Facetime my lovely sister this morning, and guess who she had with her?! A good friend I met in Iowa. It was so cool to see them together in Scotland. I'll admit, I kinda wish I was over there too! But alas, someone must clip the american express coupons out of the paper, do the crosswords, water the garden and eat the ripe bananas (we have many!).

Have a good day wherever you are:)


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April '15- Shakespeare

I do not remember if this was a sunrise or sunset... I'm guessing sunset.
It's Sidney, BC either way.

A cheesy grin at Coombs market:)

And it's April! Well into April but better late than never to write a blog post, eh?!

William Shakespeare:
Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest

I have decided to read Julius Caesar because it's the only of these four books that I havn't read in high school already. Granted, I don't remember very much about The Tempest and Hamlet. I havn't decided if I will read them later or not! But for now, Julius Caesar and I will spend some time together this month. I found a copy of it in a used bookstore in Coombs that's called "No fear Shakespeare". There is a plain english translation side by side with the old English of the 16th century. 

PS: I have another book on the go right now too! It's the first of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Apparently this series is all the rage right now because a TV show has come out based on it. There are 8 books so far and a 9th is coming out. It's about a nurse who time travels (inadvertantly), from the 1900's back to 1743 through some standing stones in Scotland. {Monica, are you hooked yet?} So far, I'm enjoying this book alot!

Have a good day wherever you are!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Robert Louis Stevenson Wrap-up

Visiting Russell Island off of Vancouver Island last summer. A family of Hawaiians settled here in the 1870's, and their house is still there! Descendants of the original family volunteer their time to keep the house and run it as a informative centre for tourists.

Great memories! Can't wait for summer again:)

Dinner with a view!


Hello! Hope you have had a great week so far.

I ended up reading A Child's Garden of Verses this month! It was short but very sweet! I loved the short poems, all from a child's creative, innocent, yet limited point of view. You get a good sense of a child's play and simple fancies indoor and out. Some of the poems focused around bedtime, especially the injustice of going to bed when it was still light out, and dreaming once in the "land of nod". I think this is a good little selection of poems to have on the shelf to read to your kids (should you have them!) They publish illustrated copies which might be more interesting for kids to look at too!

I like this one:

Looking Forward

When I am grown to a man's estate
I shall be very proud and great,
And tell the other girls and boys
Not to meddle with my toys.

 What did you read this month???

Friday, February 6, 2015

February '15- Robert Louis Stevenson

A friend is off to San Francisco Monday- so I'm thinking of that beautiful city today! A year and a half ago, three young ladies had a BLAST of a time in San Fran and beyond. Our trip pictures are here! The photo is of Alcatraz island. 

Next up on our reading journey: Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
A Child's Garden of Verses

I'll admit I have not started yet... I hear Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is quite short so I figure I can start later! I'm still recovering from Vanity Fair!

I am proposing a twist on our book club- hear me out.

What if every four months, we have a free month where we read whatever we want?  

So that would mean that next month, March, I could start the 44 Scotland Street series I have been meaning to read! 

Today is Friday, woohoo! This weekend Daniel and I heading out of town to spend some quality time on Denman Island at the cabin with his sister, brother in law, and whoever else is there! I've made plenty of chocolate zucchini muffins to share. The thought was to get some skiing in at mt Washington, but we shall see about the status of the snow after a week or two of rain and warm 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

William Thackery Wrap-up '15

Well, I jumped up and down and made all sorts of celebratory sounds when I finished Vanity Fair this evening... not at all because I didn't enjoy the book, just that it was so long! I'm not accustomed to reading that length of book in one month. 

I really loved the book, and found it gripping if not suspenseful! Maybe some may disagree? I loved Thackeray's extensive vocabulary and his wise, sometimes tangetial asides as the all-knowing storyteller were insightful. 

We must bring up character names. Lord Tapeworm? Ladies Hornblower and Sheepshanks? Lord Heehaw? And there's another really good one which I can't remember... but Monica and I were just talking about it today so I'm sure she'll tell us! 

The author seemed partial to all his characters, and although some were definately better people than others, there were times when he seemed to favour the bad... Rebecca Sharp/Crawley. Or maybe just admire her spunk and intelligence and sympathize with her?

Please tell us what you think of this book (or another of Thackeray's novels if  you read a different one!) I can't wait to hear your thoughts!!!

Here's a few quotes I liked:
" This, dear friends and companions, is my amiable object- to walk with you through the Fair, to examine the shops and shows there; and that we should all come home after the flare, and the noise, and the gaity, and be perfectly miserable in private."

"Time has deat kindly with that stout officer, as it does ordinarily with men who have good stomachs and good tempers, and are not perplexed overmuch by fatigue of the brain". {Said of Colonol Sir Michael O'Dowd}


I'm all tuckered out from a few curling games this evening! I was invited by my sister and brother in law to play with them in a "bonspiel" at the local curling club. We played three games and won one of them! And I got a parking ticket. Grr. 
One reason Daniel is good for me is that he is sensible and never lets me park in a spot where I could get a ticket even when I say "but it's only for a couple minutes", or "but I've never had a probem here before", or in this case "it is a residential parking spot but the houses around it are under construction so no one will care". Turns out they do. Maybe I shouldn't drive anywhere when Daniel is away for the weekend. 

Have a good day wherever you are!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January '15 William Thackeray

Happy 2015! 

Here are our options for this month! I am just starting Vanity Fair... really looking forward to getting more into it. 

William Makepeace Thackeray

Henry Esmond
Vanity Fair
The Virginians

PS- above is a snapshot of the German Christmas Market (all the red roofs), and the Edinburgh Castle from 287 steps up the Walter Scott Monument! I'll bring out a picture of the monument when we read him in August;) Not that you couldn't just look it up or something.... 


Have a good day wherever you are!

Charles Dickens Wrap-up '14

Jan 7, 2015
I'll blame my tardiness on an unrelenting bug I picked up somewhere in Edinburgh which has followed me home and has let loose its fury! I've got some energy back today, but am continuing to breeze through tissue boxes and cough drops like nobodys business. 
BUT- Scotland was great! We had such a fun time and saw a lot. Maybe some more pictures will show up on here. The photo above was taken on a hike we did near Holyrood Park in Edinburgh on New Years Day. You can see the city below. This was not the summit... my phone died before we got there and I hadn't brought my real camera because it was raining and I didn't want to get it wet. Which was wise because everything else got wet. Like through all the layers. Sterling even had little ponds at the bottom of his shoes. 
Oh the wind!!! 
You could actually lean into the wind and not fall over. Running with the wind on the open areas was like getting running lessons from a gazelle- more distance with less effort! It helped with the upward climb because the wind was at our backs. 

As for Dickens....

I enjoyed reading A Christmas Carol. 

I like how Charles Dickens builds himself into his stories... he has not only put the story on paper, but his persona as a storyteller is there with the audience as they read it.

"The curtains of his bed were drawn aside; and Scrooge, starting up into a half-recumbent attitude, found himself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them: as close to it as I am now to you, and I am standing in spirit at your elbow."

"If you should happen, by any unlikely chance, to know a man more blest in a laugh than Scrooge's nephew, all I can say is, I should like to know him too."