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Showing posts from July, 2014

Things I Will Be Doing INSTEAD of Reading This Week

Starting this Sunday, I will be on a volunteer trip to repair trails in the wilds of some area of the United States whose name currently escapes me.  I've done this kind of thing once before.  Basically, we start out at some kind of wilderness headquarters and hike out to a patch of trail that needs maintenance.  Then we come back five days later, dirty, reeking, and very happy to see a flush toilet.  
          There will be very little space in my monster hiking bag for frivolities such as books, so I will not be reading much this week.  This is a list of what I will be doing instead:

          1. Stuffing my monster hiking backpack with supplies, struggling to hoist it onto my shoulders, and then buckling under the weight like a sad and metaphorically charged statue, like my friend did on our last trip.    
          2.  Burying unwanted food scraps such as apple stems so that my counselors don't make me eat them.  Littering is, of course, COLOSSALLY frowned upon on …

Lessons to be Learned From the Princess Sara Crewe

Have any of you read A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett?  It was the book that made me love books.  (Does every book-lover have one of those?  Do you?)  I first read it when I was very little and have spent the last two days rereading it, as I tend to do every few years.  
          But the thing that struck me about the story this time around is that the story's preteen heroine, Sara Crewe, seems to have life completely figured out.  Even when she loses both her father and her fortune and is working as a hated scullery maid at her London boarding school to pay off her debts, she never sacrifices her virtues of benevolence, hope, and grace.  Her secret is that she considers herself a princess in spirit, even when she is no longer as wealthy and privileged as one.  Sadly, I have not yet gotten my life philosophies together and lack Sara's ability to gracefully accept whatever life throws at me.  So, in order to stop feeling inferior, I have compiled a list of…

Book Review: My Greatest Challenge This Summer, It Seems, Is Deciphering The Dubliners by James Joyce

Which means, I suppose, that I'm having a nice, relaxing summer so far.  My only other challenges have consisted of soaking up sunburn and working as an intern at a writing class for little kids.  But reading The Dubliners, a famous collection of short stories set in Dublin, has proved harder than either of those.  To give you an idea of why, allow me to quote a few passages from the book:

          "'Some of these fenians and hillsiders are a bit too clever if you ask me,' said Mr. Henchy" (pg. 125).
          "'But I'm greatly afraid our friend is not nineteen carat.  Damn it, I can understand a fellow being hard up but what I can't understand is a fellow sponging'" (pg. 124).
          "'He takes th'upper hand of me whenever he sees I've a sup taken'" (120).
          "'Sure, amn't I never done at the drunken bowsy ever since he left school?'" (120).
         "'Hasn't t…