Thursday, March 15, 2012

Books, books and more books...

I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head. I’ve been on a very eclectic reading spree lately; actually let’s say an attempt-to-read spree. It started with a quest to study the idea of church membership which inspired me to read Stop Dating the Church by Joshua Harris. Then I borrowed a few more from the library, this time regarding not just church membership: The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love by Jonathan Leeman, Bitesize Theology by Peter Jeffery and Desiring God by John Piper (the last two suggested by our new pastor). These three are in the waiting-to-be-read pile.

In my continuing quest to read or watch items placed on Reserve by professors, I read the Rough Guide to American Independent Film by Jessica Winter which I found interesting and inspired me to also read the Rough Guide to Chick Flicks by Samantha Cook which was even more interesting. It led to me making a list of about 90 films that I’d like to see – at some point. :) I’ve also been reading through the book The Soul of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by Gene Veith which has inspired me to attempt to re-read the Narnia series. This book and my goal entered a conversation with a friend last night which inspired her to lend me the audiobooks of The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which I intend to start listening to in my car on my commute to and from work.

Additionally I just finished a wonderful book called I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers by Tim Madigan. I am a huge fan of Mister Rogers and if you have received a card or note from me in the past few years you already know that I love to include his quotes (if you haven’t received a card from me with a quote, let me know and I’ll see what I can do :)). Anyways, this book was so inspiring and though it is not a long read it took me quite a long time (by my standards) to read because almost every other page had something I wanted to highlight, write down or simply made me cry my eyes out. It is a lovely book and I will be purchasing a copy for myself soon. It only added even more depth to my already considerable appreciation for the much beloved Mister Rogers and it was such a blessing to have the honor of reading the honesty put forth by the author. I highly recommend this book.

It served, however, to create a new topic of interest – the Catholic priest and writer Henri J. M. Nouwen. I’d read and loved a few quotes from him before, but I discovered he was a dear friend and mentor to Fred Rogers. I found that our library has several of his books and I’ve begun reading one of them this week. It’s called Seeds of Hope: a Henri Nouwen Reader edited by Robert Durback and is basically a collection of Nouwen’s writings under the headings of particular topics. Already I have been encouraged, brought to tears and felt the prick of recognition in just the first few chapters. I’ve been inspired to also read some of his other books – The Inner Voice of Love: a Journey through Anguish to Freedom, Reaching Out: the Three Movements of the Spiritual Life, The Return of the Prodigal Son: a Story of Homecoming, and Bread for the Journey: a Daybook of Wisdom and Faith.

Finally, I’ve been re-inspired in my love for all things Wuthering Heights. I’m almost finished with H.: The Story of Heathcliff’s Journey Back to Wuthering Heights by Lin Haire-Sargeant. It is a very intriguing take on what may have happened to Heathcliff during his absence and it includes some semi-distracting yet also interesting additions of the writers Charlotte and Emily Bronte and the story of Jane Eyre. I haven’t finished it quite yet, but have to admit that it’s a well-written story and would be a though-provoking addition to the classic. It definitely keeps true to the character of Heathcliff and though he is a terrible, selfish, evil and passionate character – I do love his character and the love/hate between him and Cathy. Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite stories of all time and this was an appealing glimpse back into the story. I next intend to read a character analysis and critical essay collection called Heathcliff edited by Harold Bloom. It should be a very fascinating and thought-provoking read.

This is some of what I’m reading…what are you reading?

Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 Wrap Up

Here was my list and in red is what I was able to achieve.

2011 Goals
These are a few of the things that I would like to accomplish this year. I may not get to all of them, but I'm hopeful that it is not too daunting of a list.

1. Find time to paint and/or do art projects

  • While not super consistent, I was able to be more artistic at times this year. I spent time coloring and doing projects with the kids. I wasn't able to do any painting this year, but my hope is to work on this again in 2012.

2. Finish reading the Bible – Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, 1&2 Thessalonians

  • Basically I didn't even start working on this until December. However, I found a website and an app for my phone that allows me to read online in whatever version I prefer. I am reading The Message version and was able to get through all of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and the first 10 chapters of Deuteronomy. I will continue to work on this in 2012 and have found the more I read the more interesting it is to see it all play out and work together.

3. Read the following books - Chronicles of Narnia series, The Catcher in the Rye, War & Peace, Brave New World, Vanity Fair and the Anne of Green Gables series

  • I think this list was a bit ambitious especially since I read so many other books as well. However, I was able to read Brave New World (very interesting and forward-thinking especially for its time), Vanity Fair (the longest book of the year at 912 pages) and I read through the first 5 books of the Anne of Green Gables series (book 1-3 were amazing, book 4 almost made me give up, book 5 redeemed it and book 6 has been really interesting so far). I'm not sure whether or not I'll work on reading the others listed in 2012, but perhaps.

4. Unpack at least half the boxes in our garage

  • I unpacked nothing from the garage but Josh has made it his goal to work on this for 2012. I'm finding it harder and harder to believe that I need much that is out there since its been there for over 2 years without me wanting or needing it...but the packrat in me thinks it must be important.

5. Organize & file all important papers and clean up desk

  • This didn't happen. We NEED to make it happen this year.
6. Try at least 3 new recipes each month

  • This definitely happened, even if not always 3 per month some months had more than three so it worked out. We had a lot of new favorites, and a few that were just ok. But I continue to enjoy reading cooking blogs, collecting cookbooks and trying new things as often as possible and that won't change in 2012.

7. Visit Josh's family, and some of mine, on vacation in May/June

  • This wasn't able to happen - financial reasons, no time off availability, etc. However, Josh was able to visit his Mom, brother & family in October for a week and they had a great visit.
8. Hang curtains in our house to replace ratty metal blinds

  • Hasn't happened yet, but will happen eventually.

9. Mail Christmas cards with letter & picture by beginning of December

  • We mailed/delivered about 140 Christmas cards with photo card and letter by December 14. And only two were returned, so our address book is pretty accurate too! :)
10. Take a trip with my best friend

  • This didn't happen, and since she ended our friendship it won't be happening in 2012.

11. Write on my blog at least once a month

  • I wasn't consistent, but only missed about 4 months I think.

12. Watch film version of classic novels read (Age of Innocence, Anne of Green Gables, Vanity Fair…)

  • I did watch both Age of Innocence and Vanity Fair. I really enjoyed the former and thought that the latter made Becky Sharp into a much more likeable character. Though I've seen all the Anne of Green Gables films, I didn't rewatch them yet...but I will once I've finished the series of books.

13. Watch Film Studies films that interest me

  • I watched quite a few this year - Lost in Translation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Phantom of the Opera, Hamlet (Ethan Hawke version), Scotland PA, Mildred Pierce, Temple Grandin, The Apostle, The Godfather, The Turning Point, I've Loved You So Long, RENT, and Babies.

14. Read 100 books this year

  • I ended up reading 111 books.