Saturday, July 31, 2010

I Am a First-Born...

There is nothing I can do about this fact.

I am a first-born and all that comes with it...Type A, perfectionist, list-maker, planner to the smallest detail, everything lined up, "t"'s crossed and "i"'s dotted..

I live with a creative, "good enough", free-spirit fourth-born sister who I love and can't stand all in the course of two minutes. (is it supposed to be who or whom? I can't remember.)  That is beside the point.

She is gone this week and I was opening up our house for some guests.  So being the first-born person I am - I cleaned from top to bottom. Washed the sheets, scrubbed floors, dusted all the crown-molding and mop boards, making a to-do list, etc.

You get the picture.

As I was spending an inordinate amount of time making sure the sheets and blankets were even on both sides of the beds- it hit me.

"Look at yourself. You're fussing over how long the sheets are on each side.  Your sister would have just thrown them on, made sure it was kind of even and called it good. Here you are going crazy because it is 1/2 inch off.  No one will notice."  And I chuckled.

copyright: needmorebookshelves 2010
I think that is the first time I have actually laughed at my idiosyncrasies. Usually it is other people who come along side and tell me to "stop stressing out!"

Maybe my sis is rubbing off.
To show myself that I could be just as easy-going ---I threw the sheets on my own bed and tucked them in.

(I only checked to make sure they were mostly even ... twice.) LOL!
Thank you, Lord, that you love me in spite of myself

Have You Seen the Rest of My Book? It's Missing.

There is a pet peeve...well one of several...that really bugs me.  Like a stone in my shoe - it doesn't bother anyone else usually. Just me.

I recently purchased "The Count of Monte Cristo" from a well-known bookstore.  Blissfully, I brought it home and started reading it.

During the nagged at me. Some bit of story is missing since the first time I read my brother's copy.  The characters have lost some depth; some descriptions are less colorful; a sub-plot seems flat.

That's when I flipped to the title page and saw the dreaded word!


These should be banned from all self-respecting bookstores. If stores must sell them - then clearly mark them as such with big red letters across the cover of the book so buyers know ahead of time.  Not sneakily and quietly placed inside on the title page where nobody looks!

Why would I want to pay good money for a book and only get part?  That is like getting a piece of cake without the still tastes good but it would be even better with the frosting.

Now I have a watered down book.  It's a good story and if you've never read the complete novel you won't miss the cut-out parts.  But I miss them...the count becomes too tame.  He loses some of the single-minded revenge that builds up through the book. Some of the irony is gone.

As my friend Pooh says, "Oh bother".

What is your opinion?  Abridged or not abridged?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's been a very warm and humid few weeks here.  I've been camped in front of the fan reading.  What have I been reading you ask?

  • And the Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers
  • I am the Clay by Chaim Potok
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (more about this in a later post)
  • The Little Princess by Frances H. Burnett
  • Waking the Dead by John Eldredge
  • The Dead Don't Dance by Charles Martin
I admit it...I like the old classics. But I try to throw into the mix a few books that make me think - both non-fiction and fiction.

I am the Clay is not at all what I was expecting.  My past experience with Mr. Potok has been The Chosen and The Promise - both are set in NYC, both are kind of "coming of age' books.

This one is nothing like that.  It is set in Korea during the war. The style of writing feels Asian...almost like reading a haiku.  It is more descriptive and you are inside the character's heads as they think and plan and survive.  There is a sense of loss that flows through it all. The sadness of war.

A little boy has lost his whole family and village. An older couple rescues him from death as they weave their way through the country-side just ahead of the battle.
The couple lost their only child as a toddler and the old lady feels this is her second chance at motherhood.  The old man resents the boy, the food he eats, the burden of his care -eventually the man changes his mind.

Together they try to rebuild a shattered world.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Topic of Discussion

Living in the Midwest there is one topic that is probably discussed more than any other.

The weather.

I ran across a diary account from 1886 that talks about a spring storm.

Wednesday, April 14, 1886- we witnessed what was know as Cass county and Audubon County cyclone.  It was preceded by a terrific hail storm which stopped suddenly and it was followed by a ground fog which we noticed was traveling rapidly to the south.  Going out on our front porch we first saw it coming towards us form the south in the form of a black, funnel-shaped cloud several miles distant.  It gradually swung to the east and went directly through Grove City where we first saw the buildings, trees and wreckage flying through the air.  The whole storm was in plain view of where we stood about two miles southeast of us on the opposite hill across the valley.  It passed through the Troublesome Creek valley directly east of us tearing its way through the trees and demolishing houses, and disappeared to the northeast leaving a swath of destruction in its pathway that was marked for many years after.
 by Abbie Mott Benedict
                      ~ excerpt taken from Prairie Voices: Iowa's Pioneering Women edited by Glenda Riley

  We still have tornadoes, hail, wind, rain, snow and everything in between.  Weather hasn't changed much in 120+ years.