a break for autumn…

Fall Break begins tomorrow. But it feels like it’s already started, because my Thursdays almost always feel like Fridays. Tomorrow is just another day to be gotten through, not too much happening, and likely, most of my classes will be empty. So many people leave early, whether their classes are finished or not. But I have to have a really good reason to skip class, so I’m one of the goody-goods that shows up.

10754722_10152785906484976_780152276_oI only had one piece of homework tonight, a map to color and label. Talk about major projects, right? But honestly, I’ve had a busy week, getting through several pieces of writing for one class and beating my way through the most boring history book I’ve ever had the misfortune to read. Thankfully, it was only a little over 100 pages. I read the words, but my brain didn’t comprehend most of it, because I think the writer forgot he was human instead of a live dictionary. And you know, I happen to like words!

10746739_10152783818364976_1290058320_oWhile many students go home, my home is here, so I really don’t have any plans. Except for sleeping in and doing homework. Or studying. So, that means I really need to find something else new and different to do. Maybe I should go to the Botanical Gardens, with my camera, and actually take some pictures, for once. You know, with my real camera. Most pictures you see on here, if you weren’t aware, are from my phone. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just… if I want to take a more detailed photo, my phone camera doesn’t cooperate with me. No closeups of flower buds, you know. Just can’t do it.

10752284_10152785601829976_691994332_oWhat else? I feel like something’s probably slipping my memory. It happens when you’re trying to keep up with all your school stuff. Can’t think of anything else. Whether you’re on Fall Break or not, I hope you have a wonderful week!

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ain’t no time in the present…

It’s that time of the semester, again. When I can no longer read non-fiction for fun. Though to be honest, I was able to read my own history-for-fun books for longer than usual, because I’m only taking one history class. When your only history studies are in early Western Civ, digging into the “excitement” of Mesopotamia, then you can keep reading your books by Larry Schweikart on the history of America and American exceptionalism. But eventually, the amount of study and writing catches up with you. And now, I read well-worn fiction that I’ve read a million times, to pass the time when I’m eating at home. If I’m eating my lunch at school (and I usually am), I’m trying to work my way through C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, when I have time.

So, obviously, my German studies, reading my Geology book, and now my History books are starting to keep me busier. Which is almost too bad, when you’ve discovered some writers in one of your classes that you’d happily discuss books with, for hours on end. And share them. But they’re no more able to read fiction off my bookshelves than I am. Oh, wait, I did manage to fit in the latest books by Rick Riordan, The Blood of Olympus, and the “picture book”, Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods. But those are light reading, easily polished off on a Saturday. DSC_1218Some of my conversations with classmates have set off the “have you read this? have you read this?” default setting that every major bookworm knows and loves. And maybe their friends hate. If they aren’t bookworms, they might just, but then that means something’s wrong with them, right?

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L.M. Montgomery, as well as Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Bronte, & Jane Austen.

For example, thinking about fantasy fiction for a certain class has me thinking about my favorite writers that specialize in creating their own fantasy worlds, or they even retell classic fairytales. My favorite of these is probably Robin McKinley, who both writes a killer fantasy tale in worlds that boggle my mind, or she just rewrites the old favorites in an absolutely brilliant fashion. Take Spindle’s End or Rose Daughter, for example. The former is such a detailed tale of Sleeping Beauty that it still takes my breath away, every time I’ve read it (you know, about 150 times). And Rose Daughter is her second Beauty and the Beast story, the earlier one having been aimed at children, and she still manages to make both of them original and magical. And this is still the author that won the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown, and the Newbery Honor mention for The Blue Sword (which is actually my favorite of the two). And along with the rest of the fantasy loving world, we’re all waiting for the second book in her Pegasus series, because if that book didn’t have the world’s most “horrible” cliffhanger, followed by three years of waiting… excuse me while I go sob in a corner for a while.DSC_1219Ok, now that I’ve pulled back from the Cliffs of Insanity, which is starting to talk about my favorite fantasy fiction, I’ll hit another type of book. Or two. Because when I realized that one of my classmates was minoring in Creative Writing, specifically in Poetry (myself, I’m considering minoring in Creative Writing, in Fiction), I had to start wondering two things. Have they ever read L.M. Montgomery’s Emily books and do they like Emily Dickinson?Quite the contrast, isn’t it? Stay with me for a second. As any reader of my book posts knows already, I’m an avid fan of L.M. Montgomery, but not just because of the Anne series. While not my least favorite of Montgomery’s books, Anne of Green Gable is not my favorite even of that particular series. That is, of course, Rilla of Ingleside. You should probably look up another post on the subject, because if I get started on Walter and Dog Monday, I’ll probably cry. But you really need to read the entire series to reach the crowning achievement which is Rilla.

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Did I mention I love Larry Schweikart? Beowulf AND Tolkien, for the win. And Emily Dickinson.

Ok, I’m getting sidetracked again. Sorry. Emily of New Moon, and the rest of that trilogy, follow a young girl who’s been orphaned and sent to live with family members that don’t particularly want her. No, no, she isn’t Anne, by any stretch, even if she is an orphan and has an amazing imagination. From the very start, she has more determination than her father, and she wants to become a writer. Starting with letters written to her beloved father, she eventually meets a teacher who appreciates her skill and desire to write and the scenes where he critiques her writing and verbally slaughters everything she writes, in order to make her better… they’re priceless. Considering how much I enjoy writing, can you understand that I not only feel a sense of awe over Montgomery’s way with words, but wish that I had a bit of Emily’s skill, too? Because she attempts poetry, as well as fiction, and every writer understands the desire to want to write even better (and more).Back to Dickinson. I rediscovered this author while in my British Literature class, last semester. That may sound odd, since she wasn’t British, but one author that we did read (and I disliked the book, by the way) was fascinated with Emily Dickinson. Some of her lines were in the chapter titles and there was one poem at the beginning of the book, which we concentrated on, as well as the title of the book, Opposite House. It made me curious, because I vaguely remembered Dickinson from when I was in elementary school. I just remembered that she was rather dreary.

But when I looked her up again, all these years later, I was hooked! And despite having a number of poetry collections, and occasionally scraping out a few of my own, I’m not a big poetry reader. But I had to buy a complete collection of Emily Dickinson’s work, and though I still haven’t finished it, I’m fascinated by how she strung her words together. Of course they were supposed to go that way in the poem… but how did she know it?

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Pssst… three of Wrede’s books are on the left side of the shelf. Awesomeness.

A few days ago, I discovered there was a one-woman play that had been written about her, called The Belle of Amherst, by William Luce. Apparently, it’s playing in New York City right now, starring Joely Richardson, and if I could afford to go to NYC for the weekend, I’d go right now. Unfortunately, I have to get back to my schoolwork soon and do tons of writing over the weekend. Oh, and I can’t afford a plane ticket. But I’m going to read that play soon, just to see what another author thought of Dickinson’s words.In the meantime, I’m looking forward to when Charlie N. Holmberg’s sequel to The Paper Magician comes out, though I’m not sure when that is. It’s called The Glass Magician, and I pre-ordered it. Another fictional tale that places magic in Regency or Victorian times. But if I tell you all about how much I love Patricia C. Wrede’s stories set in that type of setting, I’ll never shut up. Some of you have heard it before. Better search for her name in my previous posts.

Now, I need to go read some Geology or do something else constructive. Tomorrow, after school, I’ll really get down to the business of catching up on a few items of homework, just so I can spend the rest of the weekend writing. Because ENGL 345 has my name on it for Thursday, especially, and I have some more drafts to spin out. Auf wiedersehen, good night. :)

a not-hiatus…

I’ve been writing on my blog so little, that I’ve wondered whether I should actually declare (like some do) that they’re taking a certain period of time off from writing. But in the end, I don’t want to do that, because when something interesting which I do actually want to write about comes along… I need somewhere to write it!

But if I’m being honest with myself and my readers, I have reached a different stage in my life from when I started this blog. No adventures in Australia await me, until I can graduate and save up more money, even though I might see some Aussie friends in the next month (possibly in DC). I’m not stuck in a job that doesn’t require much thought, so I don’t have tons of spare time to go take photographs, either on campus or around the local botanical garden.

Instead, I’m continuing on a different “adventure” that occupies most of my time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I made the Dean’s List in my first semester back in school, and then reached the President’s List on my second. I hope and plan to stay on the President’s List for as long as possible, hanging onto all those A’s. Admittedly, it still annoys me that I couldn’t quite make that A in Military History, during that first semester. My ability to remember and explain military strategy for essay exams “did me in”, just slightly.

I try and remind myself of all these things, when I feel like I’m neglecting my blog. But when you spend a lot of time writing for school, and editing and re-editing everything, you don’t always feel like writing anything else! This semester, while I feel a bit like it’s a slower collection of classes, the differences in what I’m required to write fills in the gaps enough to keep me running full tilt.

For example, my Geology and Western Civ classes never have any written homework, only reading, and it’s just a matter of keeping up and being prepared for tests. Other classes have homework, but no exams, and the homework is fairly easy in Geography. The writing for my other class… well, let’s say that it’s a different type of writing than I usually do for my history or literature classes. I have to work hard during the week, sometimes, to give myself swathes of time to write on the weekend. Or at least, empty my head enough of other things, in order to be able to write.

And certainly not least of all, I’ve been getting back into my Bible studies, on my own, and realized the need for my daily times spent in the Word of God. I always make time for that after I’ve finished my homework, which means that I have to stay on top of everything, so that I will be finished.

Perhaps I’m only reiterating what I’ve written about, on and off, in the last few months. But sometimes, I need to write it out to convince myself. I am a writer, which means I always need an outlet to write on. If not on a blog, then in e-mailed letters to friends. But now, I have other outlets that allow me to blow off some of that writing steam that builds up inside.

So, busy as I get, I never plan to go on hiatus from this blog… if I did take a vacation of any sort, I would probably spend more time blogging, especially if I went somewhere interesting. But it may be a long, long time before I come back to blogging as a very regular thing. Because I need the time and brain power for other things right now. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

If you read through all that, thanks for staying with me. Have a marvelous week, and I promise I’ll come back eventually, ok?

is it a weekend yet?

Time and again, this semester, I’ve found that Thursdays seem like Fridays. I think it’s because unless there’s a test in Geology on Friday, I’ve survived the three long days that sit in the middle of the week. I really do not like being in school until 4:30 or 5pm, so I look forward to signing up for classes that get me out earlier, next semester.

Packing the classes closer together, if possible, allows that early departure… and then a time to relax before beginning homework.As of this moment, it doesn’t really feel like I have homework, but that’s just because I’m taking a deep breath after finishing my first essay exam of the semester, and there’s nothing major happening tomorrow. Just go, pay attention, and head home. This I can do.

But I’m not really short on things to do, and plan to get to work on some things for my English class, later. If I whip through the next 5-10 pages of writing for that, in the next few days, then I can breathe easy while finishing all the rest of my homework. My semester is starting to feel busier, but I’ve been able to fit everything in still… without staying up terribly late!

10718210_10152715804469976_362259217_oLet me rephrase that… I really am a night owl, but I don’t do well at staying up impossibly late doing homework, like a lot of college students do. There comes a point when my brain gets fuzzy, and nothing I read is actually comprehended, so what’s the point of attempting to study then? Also, having to get up relatively early for my classes, I can’t stay up all night and stay awake in class.

So, I keep close track of what’s due and try very hard to clear large gaps of time, when I need to write papers, whether it’s fiction or history or whatever. Often that’s on weekends, when some homework can wait. But most weeknights, I finish with my schoolwork at 10pm, study my Bible for a while, and then get ready for bed. I rarely go to sleep before 12:30am, though I do try and get settled before then.

But even with these good intentions, I know that I’m getting a lot more sleep and going to bed a lot earlier than most college students. And thankfully, it’s reflected in my grades. Some people would look at my life and think I don’t have one, because I’m not out partying every night. I look at my life and think that I’m not wasting the loan money that is allowing me to return to school, and hopefully, being on the President’s List will get me another scholarship.10720671_10152715127664976_886496010_o

Anyway, rather than ramble on about schoolwork, the only pictures I have to share are of some of the construction machines that are spending time on the Clemson campus. Not very exciting, unless you’re like some of the two year old boys I know, who love their machines. I took the picture of the crane, with a 2 year old in mind, who I still have yet to meet. But his family’s moved back east, so I hope to meet all the kids soon. There was something so fun about taking a second look at the construction machines, and to try and make a child happy by taking a picture. Especially when he knows all the names of those machines, and I don’t.

I hope that you enjoy your weekend! I plan to, once it starts, but don’t have any new and exciting plans for myself. Outside of schoolwork, of course. I’ve been reminded that there’s a football game this weekend, and tell myself that maybe I’ll go to one, someday. But who wants to go to one alone? Not me, that’s for sure.

falling saturdays…

For the last week or more, we’ve been keeping our windows open to let in the (mostly) cool breezes at night. I’ve had to get used to hearing the crickets, because during the summer, you can’t hear them over the air conditioning. But fall is on its way in, and the leaves are starting to fly by the windows. Wasn’t it just a little while ago, when I was actually remembering to take photos of the leaves changing, last autumn? Hard to believe I used to get my camera out more often, too.10712227_10152705560894976_2100707239_oSaturday was a little lazy, sleeping in and goofing off a bit before starting schoolwork. It was quiet, because some people were away and not everyone was up. But I remembered to go outside with my phone, and check out the last bunch of blooms that we’re likely to have this year, lit up by sun at noon.

If you’re wondering what I’ve been working on in school, then you’ll be thrilled to know that I spend some of my time coloring maps for my geography class. Yes, it’s right back to elementary school for me. But I doubt that our unit homework would be handle-able by an elementary student, so there’s that. Not that it’s difficult homework, just questions about different countries and videos that we’ve watched, with the intent to make us think. If you use your brain just a little bit, and show up for class, there’s no difficulty in acting the course. 1503014_10152706350404976_648931595_o

All my other classes are going well and keeping me busy, and with my first “official” German test and early Western Civ test, I’ll be spending a good chunk of the next few days studying. When that’s done, I’ll be studying sedimentary and metamorphic rocks for my geology lab quiz and my next geology class test. You get the idea. It’s a lighter semester, in some ways, and busier in other ways. My ENGL 345 class keeps my brain occupied on the weekends in a way that writing my history papers never did.

I hope you’re enjoying the fall colors, or the beginnings of cooler temps, wherever you are! Grab a cup of coffee, and just soak it up.10685953_10152703854974976_762651423_o

another week, another friday…

Who doesn’t love Fridays? Actually, though I don’t pay much attention to the “hump day” commercial, Wednesdays always trigger the almost-weekend feels. Probably because my Geology Lab is that day, and though not usually difficult, I still don’t like having to stay at school until 4:30 to 5. Yes, I know, you’re very sad for me. But my last two semesters, my classes were always done by 2-3 and I had a full schedule. So that gave me some time to veg out and get a breather, before working on school work.

But Mondays and Fridays fly, because there’s only two classes and not too huge a gap between them. Except my Geology class had a sub, and then he went through the slides on sedimentary rocks in twenty minutes. And announced that that was all. We blinked in surprise, and moved out. So, I had more time to sit outside in the cool fall breeze, eating my lunch and reading a few chapters of Mere Christianity.

Hmmm… I really should have taken some pics on campus, but I’ve been lazy. There’s still plenty of construction, but at least the second parking lot at the library has reopened, so that area doesn’t look as chaotic. It also seems really wide open, because they took a tree out over that corner of the pond. I had to stare at it for a long time in order to locate where the tree’s trunk must have been, because I know that spot used to be shadier. But when you walk past the library, heading towards Riggs, now, you get a nice view of the old and new sections of Rhodes Hall, so I guess that’s a plus.

Some tests are coming up next week, the first ones in my Western Civ class and one in German. I’m a little nervous about the history one because it’s essay format and you never know how a new teacher will grade or what he might throw at you for an essay question. Especially when you don’t get the question in advance. so, have to spend some of my weekend, reviewing the Greeks, Romans, and Mesopotamians, and try and forget the hogwash he taught us about the Israelites. Well, maybe I mean to remember some of it, but forget it when the test’s over.

I’m glad my cold is getting better, and hopefully by Monday, I won’t sound like a frog anymore. I keep reminding myself that no matter how much my nose runs, I’m thankful to be past the sore throat part. That’s always the worst.

Enjoy the weekend and the fall weather!

yes, school did begin…

Wow, I obviously haven’t blogged in a long time, since a bunch of the layout of WordPress has changed since I posted last. While I pause and take it in, I was also amused to see the words “beep beep boop” appear, while it was loading something. I like it. However, if I had time to write a longer post, maybe I would find things I don’t like, who knows? Later is soon enough for that. I’ve been dawdling too long before starting my homework, since I only got home a little after five o’clock.10663419_10152641779959976_2114633157_o 10631944_10152639017179976_1356275817_oAs you may have guessed, school has started, and while it MIGHT be a slightly easier semester, that doesn’t mean I’m not busy. On the contrary, when a class decides to make things easier for me by not assigning homework or not having exams (believe me, I’m not complaining), I make sure I’m not slacking. I will read the required chapters in the textbooks, even if my classmates never do…10631615_10152632571709976_1372230258_o10677506_10152652087769976_751291241_oClemson campus is a bit chaotic in spots, because construction seems to be going on everywhere. Well, they ripped down the front of Freeman and are rebuilding it, and they’re building a HUGE new building behind the library that will play “bookends” with the Academic Success Center. In the meantime, it’s a mudhole surrounded by blue walls, and the amphitheatre in front of (or is it out back?) Strom Thurmond might be gone forever. I’m not sure.10647438_10152652332859976_1213714174_o10612340_10152656663014976_2081171943_oI will try to be less remiss with my writing, in future… but school comes first. And I have plenty of writing to do for a few of my classes, as I’m sure you understand. Have a great semester, and I’ll try to get on here a LITTLE more often.10667837_10152652362439976_1318342408_oP.S. Please notice that while construction seems to be everywhere, there are still plenty of lovely views all over campus. It’s good to not ignore them, amidst the chaos.

booking my way through…

Maybe this is cheating, but for those who like to read and might be interested in what I’ve read, or how many books I’ve read so far this year, I’ve just updated my list. But since glancing through the list, it might just be more interesting to make a post of it… also to wrestle with the font size on my blog. Probably the only thing I dislike about this layout, is the fact that I can’t make the font any slower when I want to. So, when you write a list of books… it gets spaced out and things look worse, I think. No MLA format here, except when I’m writing up the post. Which is cheating. I have an idea that the font will look normal, and then it doesn’t. But I like the rest of this page’s layout, so I deal with it.

In the process of transferring the list over, I have discovered that using bullet points may help my list look more compact. I may have to start doing it that way on the official book pages.

  • January
  • Maid to Match – Deeanne Gist
  • The Far West (Frontier Magic #3) – Patricia C. Wrede
  • Rosemary Cottage (Hope Beach #2) – Colleen Coble
  • The First Dragon (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica #7) – James A. Owen
  • Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire #8) – Naomi Novik
  • Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832 – Stella Tillyard
  • Total: 6

You can probably tell that my January list is a combination of a slowly starting semester at school and me trying to finish all the books that I received for Christmas (or bought myself, afterwards). The First Dragon was a long-awaited finale to a fantastic series, and I’m only sad that there will be no more books in that series. But I can always read them again, because there’s always more to get out of Owen’s amazing stories. But the final book, Aristocrats, is the start of my school reading, and I had decided since it was a fairly thick book, I was going to get started long before we needed to read it for Irish History. So, a month or so later, while my classmates were racing to read it or skim it, I just reviewed. It was quite an interesting true story, based completely on the letters of the four sisters… but the writer makes it read almost like a novel.

  • February
  • The Phantom Ship – Frederick Marryat
  • Never Trust a Liberal Over Three: Especially a Republican – Ann Coulter
  • Head in the Clouds – Karen Witemeyer
  • Latino Immigrants and the Transformation of the U.S. South – Mary E. Odem & Elaine Lacy (editors)
  • The Foundling – Georgette Heyer
  • Total: 5

You may already have guessed, but I never would have read that book on Latino immigration, if it wasn’t required for one of my history classes. Not a heavy read, by any means, but so many big words and explanations of moving populations and things. We later had to do research on immigrant populations in our hometown, which was an interesting project, since some of us did our research on modern times from newspaper articles, while others researched back into the early 1900’s in their towns. The Phantom Ship was a Gothic novel that we read for my British Literature class, and definitely not what I expected, either in the book or the class. Based on the tale of The Flying Dutchman and Captain Vanderdecken, it’s a slightly different spin on the story than some of us have heard… if we’ve heard any of them at all.

  • March
  • The Spanish Bride – Georgette Heyer
  • The Black Moth – Georgette Heyer
  • The Eternal Paddy: Irish Identity and the British Press, 1798 to 1882 – Michael de Nie
  • These Old Shades (Alastair #1) – Georgette Heyer
  • The Opposite House – Helen Oyeyemi
  • Devil’s Cub (Alastair #2) – Georgette Heyer
  • Friday’s Child – Georgette Heyer
  • The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
  • Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2) – Suzanne Collins
  • The Burning of Bridget Cleary – Angela Bourke
  • Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) – Suzanne Collins
  • The Quiet Gentleman – Georgette Heyer
  • Death in the Stocks – Georgette Heyer
  • Total: 13

While doing some heavier reading for Irish History, in March, I went on a Georgette Heyer binge, to give myself a bit of an escape. I was writing plenty of papers at this time, too, so Heyer was perfect for reading while I ate. I think I saw the movie Catching Fire, somewhere around this time, so I decided I needed to read the trilogy again. And while I did NOT enjoy reading The Opposite House in British Literature (I developed a hatred for “magical realism” during the previous semester), I do credit Oyeyemi’s book with re-introducing me to the poetry of Emily Dickinson. I had a vague impression, left over from elementary or middle school, that Dickinson was dark and depressing. No, she’s delightful and fascinating. Maybe I just wasn’t ready for her, when I was younger.

  • April
  • They Found Him Dead (Inspector Hannasyde #3) – Georgette Heyer
  • The Misfit Soldier: Edward Casey’s War Story, 1914 to 1918 – Edward S. Casey
  • No Wind of Blame (Inspector Hemingway #1) – Georgette Heyer
  • The Unfinished Clue – Georgette Heyer
  • Behold, Here’s Poison (Inspector Hannasyde #2) – Georgette Heyer
  • Envious Casca (Inspector Hemingway #2) – Georgette Heyer
  • Why Shoot a Butler? – Georgette Heyer
  • Royal Escape – Georgette Heyer
  • Apes and Angels: The Irishman in Victorian Caricature – L. Perry Curtis, Jr.
  • Belfast Diary: War as a Way of Life – John Conroy
  • The Unknown Ajax – Georgette Heyer
  • Ireland: A Short History – Joseph Coohill
  • Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
  • Her Mother’s Hope (Marta’s Legacy #1) – Francine Rivers
  • Total: 14

In April, I continued reading my entire collection of Heyer, including her mysteries, while I developed a sincere dislike for the character of Edward Casey. His small memoir was required reading during Irish History, and gave us another viewpoint during WWI and the Easter Rebellion in Ireland. But Casey was not a nice person, let’s just say, and I didn’t appreciate some of the dirty spots in his narrative. On the other hand, Belfast Diary was a fascinating book, and I had difficulty believing that I wasn’t reading a dystopian novel, instead of about Northern Ireland, just a few years ago. And Apes and Angels was a short read, with lots of pictures, because I had to write a paper comparing it with The Eternal Paddy (previous month’s reading) for Irish Hist. I had some difficulty figuring out how to compare them, since I had never written a paper for that teacher before, but the books were very interesting, which helped. And with the end of the semester, I rounded off that month with rereading Mansfield Park, and as always, trying to figure out how they could turn that into a movie that does the book justice. Because no movie version of this Austen book can ever get it right, because Fanny Price is shy, quiet, and physically weak. In this day and age, how do you get an audience to root for a heroine who never speaks up for herself, and doesn’t have the strength for a long walk? No, they always mess with that formula, because the studios can’t figure out how to do it. Maybe they could take a page from the BBC production of Little Dorrit, though…

  • May
  • Venetia – Georgette Heyer
  • Mirror Sight (Green Rider #5) – Kristen Britain
  • The School for Good and Evil, #1 – Soman Chainani
  • The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict – Trenton Lee Stewart
  • A Turn of Light (Night’s Edge #1) – Julie E. Czerneda
  • Total: 5

I got a surprise package in the mail, in May, because I had ordered Britain’s latest book in the Green Rider series… and forgotten about it. I think I pre-ordered it in January. So, it didn’t matter HOW many pages were in that doorstop of a book. I finished it in 24 hours. And while Stewart’s latest book about Nicholas Benedict was aimed at kids, I found it charming and a wonderful read. After that, I took a swing at a completely new author (to me) from the fantasy book section, and really liked Czerneda’s A Turn of Light.

  • June
  • Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education – Glenn Beck
  • The Reluctant Widow – Georgette Heyer
  • Frederica – Georgette Heyer
  • Arabella – Georgette Heyer
  • The Talisman Ring – Georgette Heyer
  • The Nonesuch – Georgette Heyer
  • The Host – Stephenie Meyer
  • The Maiden of Mayfair (Tales of London #1) – Lawana Blackwell
  • East – Edith Pattou
  • The Sable Quean (Redwall #21) – Brian Jacques
  • Ballet Shoes – Noel Streatfeild
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Year 1) – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Year 2)- J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Year 3) - J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Year 4) – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Year 5) – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Year 6) - J. K. Rowling
  • Total: 17

When I didn’t find a part-time job for the summer, I continued to work on straightening up my other room downstairs, going through boxes and donating things. Also, rearranging the books after I had to empty the shelves and move them, because of a water leak. I promise, when I read this many books, I’m still finding other things to do, I just have plenty of reading time on my hands, late into the night, or whenever. While I enjoyed rereading Meyer’s The Host, I finally watched the movie version. They obviously didn’t have a very big budget, and a few good actors didn’t make up for some of the sets or special effects. Also, the fact that Saoirse Ronan’s character had an “inner voice” was played for too much effect, and it became annoying. The book is much better. And yes, I went on a Harry Potter kick and read them all in about a week.

  • July
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Year 7) – J. K. Rowling
  • The Masqueraders – Georgette Heyer
  • The Corinthian – Georgette Heyer
  • Cotillion – Georgette Heyer
  • Lady of Quality – Georgette Heyer
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard – J. K. Rowling
  • Pistols for Two – Georgette Heyer
  • Bath Tangle – Georgette Heyer
  • Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning – Jonah Goldberg
  • In Defense of Internment: The Case for ‘Racial Profiling’ in World War II and the War on Terror – Michelle Malkin
  • Bamboo & Lace – Lori Wick
  • Total: 11
  • Grand Total: 71

And now, my total for reading this year, thus far, puts me well ahead of my reading goals for the year. I set myself a lower number on Goodreads, in case being in school caused me to read less. Well, I was keeping up just fine, even before summer started. Because I can never read my school books while I’m eating, so I’m always reading multiple books at the same time, during the school year. If you’re checking my July list, I finally finished up with my Georgette Heyer books, INCLUDING some of her serious historical fiction books, which are a lot heftier than the mysteries and romances. At the same time, her books that concern the Napoleonic Wars, some of them have been used at military academies, in the past, because her write-up of certain battles were that good. The Spanish Bride (which is based on a real couple, and Harry Smith’s diary was one of the references) is supposed to do a phenomenal explanation of some of the battles and campaigns, as well as the descriptions of some of the generals.

How did I get off on that tangent? For July, I also decided I had to finish one of the books that I started after Christmas… but got totally sidetracked when school started. I just could not get back into it while the semester was underway, so I have finally finished reading Liberal Fascism. I’ve owned it for several years, but then my brother borrowed it and it took a few years to get it back.  : )  At present, I am racing through Whittaker Chambers’ Witness, with every intention of being finished with it before school starts. Let’s see, it has about 800 pages and I began it slightly over a week ago. I’m just over halfway through. He was one of the men that broke with Communism before WWII and testified against Communists in the State Department. And if you HAVE heard about this subject, and disbelieve it, his testimony has been verified by the Venona decrypts, which were declassified several years ago. Chambers was vilified by liberals as a liar who slandered Alger Hiss and others… but he was right. There were Communist spies working in the State Department, doing their best to help the Soviet Union and bring the United States down.

But it’s a FASCINATING book, not just because of the subject matter, but because he’s a phenomenal writer. He reminds me a bit of G. K. Chesterton, and I have difficulty reading some of Chesterton’s stuff because he’s so brilliant. Chambers has a power of description and a way of explaining both his early life and his times with Communism… taking you into why people really become Communists and turn against their country. And how he managed to break free, when he became disillusioned with it.

As I said, I still have at least 350 pages to go. I should be finished in another week, because rather then read constantly, I’ve been doing other things around the house, and studying my German. I want to be ahead of the game when school starts, rather than completely out of practice, like the rest of my classmates. So, otherwise, I’d finish the book a bit sooner.

I hope the rest of your summer is enjoyable, and I’ll keep updating my book list, as the year goes by.

blueberry summer…

Nothing says summer quite like picking and eating lots of blueberries! My family freezes over 100 quarts of them every summer, for daily eating year-round.

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And now, it’s peak season again, and I picked 3 gallons in two hours. That’s about 18 pounds of blueberries, and to pick that many, that fast, the berries need to be hanging in clusters that seem almost like grapes. We were just stripping the bushes as quickly as possible.

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Well, I hope your summer has been as yummy as ours!

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havin’ some slow days…

I suppose I could cheat and just post lots of pictures from my phone, for Wordless Wednesday… but WW is only fun when there are one or two really quality pics to show off. It’s much more fun to explain what’s in them, when possible. For now, I just caught up on emptying last month’s photos off of my phone… even my Seabrook phone photos (with a few small exceptions) hadn’t been pulled for those posts. I had to go and review what pictures I had posted last… and it was all dessert and Seabrook and Asheville! Wow, those were some time ago… IMG_20140516_200126IMG_20140517_223833IMG_20140518_181259Well, since my time at Seabrook and in Charleston, I’ve been doing a few things around the house, searching for a part-time job, and enjoyed having my brother’s best friends over with their new baby. Not necessarily in that order. As you’ll see, I’ve included a few of my Instagram pics from my weekend in May…IMG_20140519_141438IMG_20140519_141541IMG_20140520_091511And then Jon’s friends came over with their little A, and isn’t she a beauty? My mom and I, of course, volunteered to hold her as often as needed, so that our friends could chow down on the homemade spaghetti and Italian bread (yes, homemade pasta, as well as sauce and bread). IMG_20140528_205044IMG_20140528_190953IMG_20140528_220747While at home, and in-between trying to remember that the pool is open, and I can also go to the gym again, I’ve been working on my spare room, rearranging things, and emptying more boxes. I found my old Barbie clothes (handmade, by my grandma, mostly) and took the time to wash them all. Then I discovered a past water leak had warped one of my shelves… and I had to empty them! Trashed the room again, in order to move the shelves around, but finally got that done. Some paint and plastic sheeting, and finally they were ready to go up again, which is what I spent some of today working on. But I either got a charley horse the other day, or pulled a muscle, so I’ve been moving slow for the last few days, and trying to get things back to normal. IMG_20140601_205827

IMG_20140603_220831IMG_20140605_191530Oh, and before I had to take the big shelves apart, I did manage to get another desk set up in the corner, with my Temeraire picture and Gandalf set up, as well as hanging another shelf in my bedroom. Trying to be good about getting rid of things I really don’t need, and find a place for everything that I keep. It’s not easy, is it?IMG_20140617_200257IMG_20140618_140623IMG_20140618_225150Hope you like the photos… I really enjoy how some of my Instagram pics look, so I’ve included them here, since I used camera photos for my last few posts. I hope you are having a wonderful summer! (Ok, if you’re in Australia, I hope you’re having a great winter!)IMG_20140624_203219Now, I’m going to get another cuppa, and go back to reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (again).  : )IMG_20140528_183319IMG_20140622_124812