Monthly Archives: October 2011

Let There Be Letters

As I wrote about on this blog, I lost my paternal grandmother in October 2010 and maternal grandmother in February 2011.  In those losses, I realized that I have not taken the time that I want to with my grandparents, despite how much I love them.  I would ask my mom how they were on the phone, but not take that step to call myself.  I resolved to avoid that regret with my maternal grandfather, so I write him letters.  I try to write every week, but often end up writing every other week.  He knows I am busy and well intentioned, so he doesn’t mind if they are a little sporadic.

At first, they felt incredibly self indulgent, because it’s not a back and forth correspondence.  Grandpa doesn’t have the hand dexterity for it.  So, I write about  H, about work, about books I’m reading and all sorts of random things that I think and do, like going to the apple orchard or building bookshelves.  My great aunt also lost her person in my grandma, so I have started sending her letters as well.  They’ve both expressed how they appreciate them.  It’s amazing to me how much they retain from my little stories and anecdotes.  They ask about my coworkers, my experiences, and the things I mentioned in passing in these letters because they stick with them.  My grandpa told my mom that he reads the letters at least three times, just to make sure he gets everything out of them.

To the three people who actually read this little blog, I would petition that you write letters to your grandparents.  The world of the young is big, busy, and full of dynamic motion.  Sharing even a little photograph of that with the men and women we love whose days have slowed down is a simple thing that will be a source of happiness, connection, and love for you and for them.

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Bibliophilia: September

Two days in a row, I’m practically a professional.  I read several books in September, but the only one from this book list was Slaughterhouse-Five.  I had intended to stick to this book list, because 1294 books really is enough for me to tackle, but there is a book list from the Guardian, which is often credited to the BBC, I believe.  It filters around Facebook from time to time.  Anyway, it’s a list of 100 books that well read people should have read.  I have read some, but not all, so I decided to sprinkle those in.  From that list I read The Kite Runner, The Secret Garden, and Anne of Green Gables.

It’s been a nice process to work through some of the books that I never got around to reading when I was younger.  I jumped right into fantasy in middle school, so I’m doing some backtracking, although I will never be able to get through all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  It just isn’t possible.

Mini Review: 

Slaughter-Five is the second work by Vonnegut that I have tackled.  It uses science fiction tropes like time travel and aliens to create a picture that is highly unusual.  Billy Pilgrim’s life bounces around from moment to moment, centering on themes of war and fate.  It’s a quick read, but has a lot of depth.  I am glad that I encountered this particular book, even if I wouldn’t choose literature like this for every book.  It’s worth a read.

 Queued Up: I’m planning to tackle A Room with a View, keep plodding through War and Peace and will maybe try to get through Uncle Tom’s Cabin in time for a October report.

 Total: 57/1294

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Bibliophilia: August

Well, I’ve been busy and neglecting my little corner of the internet.  To make up for that, I am planning to post at least a few days in a row to get on track with things.  With that, August’s Bibliophilia

Mini Reviews: 

The Fountainhead Oof.  What do I even say about The Fountainhead?  It is incredibly Individualist.  Let me clarify.  It will beat you over the head with the theme of INDIVIDUALISM so many times that you will suffer brain damage and start to lather at the mouth.  IT IS ABOUT INDIVIDUALISM.  The man will not keep you down IF YOU ARE AN INDIVIDUALIST.  This book was 700+ pages of how being an INDIVIDUAL will be all you ever need.  It was my favorite book I’ve ever read, clearly.  Then, to add insult to injury, I realized it isn’t even on the stinking book list!  It’s on A DIFFERENT book list I have looked at.  <twitch>  We will not speak of this again.

Actual book list books were:

Their Eyes Were Watching God which I actually tried to read last summer, I started with this one, and for one reason or another, I wasn’t able to make it through.  It was too much for me to get past the ebonics.  This time I knew about them going in, and was better able to get through them.  It ended up being a compelling read.  I understand why it has become a seminal work in the literature of African-American authors.  This one is worth picking up, even if you aren’t reading a book list with it included.

The Metamorphoses of Ovid is the other one I picked up.  I finished it after reading it for a few months in small pieces.  It’s a wonderful amalgamation of Greek mythology.  I took Latin as an undergrad, so it has been nice to reread and learn some of the mythology that I so enjoy.  However, it also had the side effect of making me want to name my theoretical future offspring things like Io and Arachne.  Thankfully, this has passed.

Queued Up: I’m working on The Kite Runner and a few other things, but we’ll see what I finish in September.

Total: 56/1294

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