“He finds himself bored by the shenanigans of highly spirited young men. Their concerns reside somewhere between balder and dash.” ~ Sara Sheridan, from Secret of the Sands

If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

Friday morning, completely overcast with drizzle and fog, 48 degrees.

I have quite the collection today. My editorial asides are in italics below. Enjoy.


I don’t know why I found this so funny:

This actually happened:

From Memes & Comedy:

Also from Memes & Comedy:

Apparently, this has been a problem for longer than people thought, and no, the irony isn’t lost on me:

The Wichita Daily Eagle, Kansas, December 30, 1899

The Saint Paul Globe, Minnesota, March 2, 1905

The Tribune, Seymour, Indiana, July 13, 1909

The Atlanta Constitution, Georgia, May 13, 1912

The Evening Journal, Wilmington, Delaware, June 11, 1913

Woodson County Advocate, Yates Center, Kansas, August 6, 1915

The Guntersville Democrat, Alabama, June 22, 1921

Oh, the irony . . .

Daily News, New York, New York, February 13, 1925

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, May 22, 1950

I found most of these hilarious, but then, I’m easily amused. Be forewarned, several are audibly groan-worthy:

48 Incredibly Short, Clean Jokes That Are Actually Funny

  1. I bought some shoes from a drug dealer. I don’t know what he laced them with, but I’ve been tripping all day.
    ImHully
  2. I told my girlfriend she drew her eyebrows too high. She seemed surprised.
    megan_james

  3. Two clowns are eating a cannibal. One turns to the other and says “I think we got this joke wrong”
    Moltenfirez

  4. My wife told me I had to stop acting like a flamingo. So I had to put my foot down.
    Spysquirrel

  5. What’s the difference between in-laws and outlaws?
    Outlaws are wanted.
    Dave-Stark

  6. I bought my friend an elephant for his room.
    He said “Thanks”
    I said “Don’t mention it”
    3shirts

  7. I have an EpiPen. My friend gave it to me when he was dying, it seemed very important to him that I have it.
    kate_winslat

  8. I poured root beer in a square glass.
    Now I just have beer.
    PM_ME_TINY_DINOSAURS

  9. What’s the difference between a hippo and a zippo?
    One is really heavy, and the other is a little lighter.
    alosercalledsusie

  10. My friend says to me: “What rhymes with orange” I said: “no it doesn’t”
    DinosRoar1

11. And God said to John, come forth and you shall be granted eternal life.
But John came fifth and won a toaster.
PM-SOME-TITS

12. How many opticians does it take to change a lightbulb?
Is it one or two? One… or two?
Undescended_testicle

13. What do we want?
Low flying airplane noises!
When do we want them?
NNNEEEEEEOOOOOOOOWWWWWW.
Tetragon213

14. What do you call a frenchman wearing sandals?
Phillipe Phillope.
Sooowhatisthis

15. What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?
A carrot.
BiffWhistler

16. What do you call a dog that does magic tricks?
A labracadabrador.
leahcure

  1. So what if I don’t know what Armageddon means? It’s not the end of the world.
    Jefferncfc
  • How do you get two whales in a car? Start in England and drive west.
    fireworkslass

  • A blind man walks into a bar. And a table. And a chair.
    ImHully

  • Why did the old man fall in the well?
    Because he couldn’t see that well.
    rangers_fan2

  • I bought the world’s worst thesaurus yesterday. Not only is it terrible, it’s terrible.
    Rndomguytf

  • This is my step ladder. I never knew my real ladder.
    WikiWantsYourPics

  • My friend asked me to help him round up his 37 sheep.
    I said “40”
    3shirts

  • I’ve found a job helping a one armed typist do capital letters.
    It’s shift work.
    3shirts

  • I went bobsleighing the other day, killed 250 bobs.
    breadman666

  • I have the heart of a lion and a lifetime ban from the Toronto zoo.
    kailey_sara

  • What’s the difference between a good joke and a bad joke timing.
    Melchiah_III

  • Wife says to her programmer husband, “Go to the store and buy a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, buy a dozen.” Husband returns with 12 loaves of bread.
    SuperFreakyNaughty

  • Communism jokes aren’t funny unless everyone gets them.
    -georgie

  • What did the pirate say when he turned 80 years old?
    Aye matey.
    Wicked_Wanderer

  • What do the movies titanic and the sixth sense have in common.
    Icy dead people.
    mysevenyearitch

  • Knock Knock
    Who’s There?
    Dishes
    Dishes Who?
    Dishes Sean Connery.
    Birdie_Num_Num

  • Have you heard about those new corduroy pillows? They’re making headlines.
    Deerhoof_Fan

  • Two men meet on opposite sides of a river. One shouts to the other “I need you to help me get to the other side!”
    The other guy replies “You are on the other side!”
    The2ndKingInTheNorth

  • I couldn’t figure out why the baseball kept getting larger. Then it hit me.
    KaboomBoxer

  • My friends say there’s a gay guy in our circle of friends… I really hope it’s Todd, he’s cute.
    -917-

  • People in Dubai don’t like the Flintstones.
    But people in Abu Dhabi do!
    stevenmc

  • Guy walks into a bar and orders a fruit punch.
    Bartender says “Pal, if you want a punch you’ll have to stand in line” Guy looks around, but there is no punch line.
    justacheesyguy

  • I’ve been told I’m condescending.
    (that means I talk down to people)
    iblinkyoublink

  • How did the hipster burn his mouth?
    He ate the pizza before it was cool.
    plax1780

  • Before your criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you do criticize them, you’re a mile away and have their shoes.
    BoxxerUOP

  • What’s ET short for?
    He’s only got little legs.
    3shirts

  • What’s the difference between a dirty old bus stop and a lobster with breast implants? One is a crusty bus station the other one is a busty crustacean.
    laurtw

  • Why arent koalas actual bears?
    They dont meet the koalafications
    ImHully

  • It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.
    auran98

  • I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather did, not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.
    msdarth

  • Some people think it’s romantic to carve their names on trees in the park while on a date.
    I’m more worried about why they’re bringing a knife on their date.
    I_know_where_you_is

  • 2 cows are grazing in a field. 1 cow says to the other, “You ever worry about that mad cow disease?”. The other cow says, “Why would I care? I’m a helicopter!”.
    Electric_Evil

  • Advertisements

    If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

    Almost every night of my life . . . From The New Yorker

     

    Friday evening. Cloudy with drizzle, 46 degrees.

    Just a straightforward leftovers post. Spent too much time trying to find the perfect present for Corey, and now my back hurts. My life is so weird……..


    Self-explanatory:

    The four horsemen of the apocalypse from memesdaily

    Existentialgingerbreadism

    Also self-explanatory:

     

    From Ultrafacts: Perhaps a lesson here?

    For youngest son who spent years Rick Rolling everyone in sight:

    Also from Ultrafacts:


    Today’s poem was written by UK Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy for the centenary of Armistice Day, November 18, 2018 (I know that I’m late). This day is very important to Europeans, but somehow, 45 couldn’t go out in the rain to pay tribute to the fallen. The background on this sonnet can be found here.

    The Wound In Time

    It is the wound in Time. The century’s tides,
    chanting their bitter psalms, cannot heal it.
    Not the war to end all wars; death’s birthing place;
    the earth nursing its ticking metal eggs, hatching
    new carnage. But how could you know, brave
    as belief as you boarded the boats, singing?
    The end of God in the poisonous, shrapneled air.
    Poetry gargling its own blood. We sense it was love
    you gave your world for; the town squares silent,
    awaiting their cenotaphs. What happened next?
    War. And after that? War. And now? War. War.
    History might as well be water, chastising this shore;
    for we learn nothing from your endless sacrifice.
    Your faces drowning in the pages of the sea.

    “She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” ~ Annie Dillard, from The Living

    book chart the atlantic

    “Unsurprisingly, several children’s books appear in the top 20 on the list; as Adamic and Patel point out, we tend to read these books at a very impressionable age. Favorite books from those early years are likely to lodge themselves deeply in our memories.” ~ Claire Fallon, from “‘Harry Potter’ Tops Facebook’s ’10 Books That Stayed With You’ Meme And No One Is Surprised” (Huffington Post)

    Thursday afternoon. Sunny with climbing temperatures, 87 degrees.

    My goal is to clean today . . . but first . . . not.

    Ah, to meme or not to meme . . .

    The above graphic (click for larger) is taken from an article in The Atlantic based on a recent meme making the rounds on Facebook in which people have been asked to “List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way . . . Don’t take more than a few minutes, and don’t think too hard. They do not have to be the ‘right’ books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way.”

    Another article (have forgotten writer, sorry), glibly stated that the addition of Harry Potter to so many lists proves that adults don’t really read books. Um, what? I read all of the Harry Potter books as a bona fide adult. At first, I had wanted to see what all of the commotion was about, the naysayers saying that it was demonic, and the supporters saying that it was a wonderful series. Of course, I agreed with the latter. Reading the series with my kids became a family rite of passage that I wouldn’t trade for anything, and truthfully, I miss the anticipation of the next release date, getting in the car with Brett early on a Saturday morning, hitting Krispy Kreme for hot donuts, and then making our way to the almost pristine cube of books placed immediately in the entrance. Good, good times.

    “Indeed, if there is a backlash, I imagine it will be fuelled by accusations of elitism. Weirdly, reading is seen as a middle-class practice . . . This is one meme that has nothing to do with showing off. It’s a place to be honest about what brings you personal delight” ~ Daisy Buchanan, from “Facebook’s ‘Share 10 books’ meme shows that social media doesn’t have to be vicious or bullying” (The Telegraph)

    I’ve been reading snarky comments from different people about how people are padding their lists, how most people haven’t read the things they claim to have read. Well . . . maybe. Who knows, but more importantly, who cares?

    My point is (and yes, I have one) this: Does it really matter which books have stayed with people? Does it matter if they’ve padded their lists? Does it matter if childrens’ books and YA books appear frequently on peoples’ lists? No. These lists are proof of several key things:

    1. People read. People of all ages read all kinds of things. How can that be perceived in any negative light?
    2. Even if they haven’t read what’s on the list, they are thinking about things they want to read or things they think they should read. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    1. The fact that childrens’ book show up on these lists is wonderful. Study after study show that children who are introduced to reading from very young ages will continue to read on their own. A groundbreaking study found that “having as few as 20 books in the home still has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education, and the more books you add, the greater the benefit” (from The National Literacy Trust).
    2. The people who participated in this meme are proud of their reading, and they should be. So who cares what they read? Bear in mind that unfortunately, access to books, or the lack thereof, directly ties to a person’s success. According to The National Commission on Reading, “The single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.”

    I could go on and on as I am wont to do, but you get the point. All of those naysayers out there who are making fun of the lists need to shut it. Instead of criticizing, donate some books to a school, or donate some money to First Book, a wonderful organization that helps to connect books with children who don’t have any.

    And my final point is this: In this society that places people on pedestals simply for being famous or for having a pretty face or for dunking a basketball or whatever, this meme is a refreshing change. Instead of reading about bullying on Facebook, or hearing about a group of teens who posted directions on how to kill someone (yes, this is true), we are being treated to something real in people’s lives, something that matters, something that adds to the world in which we live: Reading.

    “But passionate readers believe books are for all people. Many of us have grown up feeling obscure and alone. Books were our friends when we had no human ones . . . the best literature educates by stealth. Books are there to make us more empathetic and kinder—and in times of emotional turmoil, they can comfort.” ~ Daisy Buchanan, from “Facebook’s ‘Share 10 books’ meme shows that social media doesn’t have to be vicious or bullying” (The Telegraph)

    Listen, books saved me—not just once but time and again. Being an only child is lonely. I found friends among the pages. And when I hit my teens and began to suffer from clinical depression, books helped me to understand what was wrong, and they helped to comfort me. And when I lost my beautiful baby girl, books (not self-help books) helped me to escape from the pain.

    I can go several weeks without reading a book, and then I can read six books in four days. It doesn’t matter. My to read stack has tripled in size this year, and I know that is mostly as a result of Corey’s new schedule.

    Hey, I don’t need to go to bars or hang out with people who aren’t really my friends. I have my one true love, my kids, my dogs, and my books. It may not work for some people, but it works for me.

    So even though I don’t do Facebook, I do do bookish memes, so here’s mine, off the top of my head, without any second thoughts, and I know that my list is longer than proposed, and I know that I have two lists, but whatever. So in no particular order, here are the books that have stayed with me, and by that I mean the books I have read over and over, the books from which I can quote, even the books that just thinking about make me pause and smile:

    • The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje
    • The Harry Potter Series, by JK Rowling (I’m cheating in counting these as one, so sue me)
    • Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien (same here)
    • The Little Prince, byAntoine de Saint-Exupéry
    • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
    • Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë
    • Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt
    • Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden
    • Rich in Love, by Josephine Humphries
    • The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides
    • The Things they Carried, by Tim O’Brien
    • The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
    • Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood
    • Sherlock Holmes (all the collected works), by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • The Fault in our Stars, by John Green
    • The Alchemist, by Paul Coehlo
    • Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman
    • Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom
    • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Richard III/Henry V, by William Shakespeare
    • Hunt is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers
    • The Shining, by Stephen King
    • The Weight of Water, by Anita Shreve
    • Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris
    • A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
    • Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf
    • Shogun, by James Clavell
    • The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak
    • Children of Men, P. D. James

    ” . . . reading novels as a child — implying literary engagement with life’s social, cultural and psychological complexities — can have a positive impact on personality development and social skills. A study published last year in Science found that reading literary fiction, as opposed to popular fiction or nonfiction, results in keener social perception and increased empathy” ~ Bret Stetka, from “Why Everyone Should Read Harry Potter” (Scientific American)

    Here are my runners up. I will admit that I cheated for this list; I went to my Goodreads list of books and did a quick scan and was surprised by the titles I had forgotten. So again, in no particular order:

    • Reflections in a Golden Eye, by Carson McCullers
    • Cover her Face, by P. D. James
    • Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer
    • The Bone Collector, by Jeffrey Deaver
    • Dr. Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe
    • Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
    • Dune, by Frank Herbert

    • The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
    • Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey
    • The Duchess of Malfi, by John Webster
    • 1984, by George Orwell
    • Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin
    • Murder Must Advertise (Lord Peter Wimsey), by Dorothy L. Sayers
    • Mystic River, by Dennis LeHane
    • A Child Called It, by Dave Peltzer
    • Darkness Visible, by William Styron
    • The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
    • Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
    • Heart of Darkness, by James Conrad
    • Dubliners, by James Joyce
    • The Hours, by Michael Cunningham
    • The Velvet Room, ZK Snyder (has stayed with me since 7th grade)
    • The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway
    • In the Woods, Tana French
    • Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O’Dell (has stayed with me since 6th grade)
    • Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger (wish I could find my copy of this)

    And yes, I have read all of these, even James Joyce.

    More later. Peace.

    Music by Zedd, featuring Foxes, “Clarity”

                       

    The Pleasures of Reading

    On his deathbed my father is reading
    The memoirs of Casanova.
    I’m watching the night fall,
    A few windows being lit across the street.
    In one of them a young woman is reading
    Close to the glass.
    She hasn’t looked up in a long while,
    Even with the darkness coming.

    While there’s still a bit of light,
    I want her to lift her head,
    So I can see her face
    Which I have already imagined,
    But her book must be full of suspense.
    And besides, it’s so quiet,
    Every time she turns a page,
    I can hear my father turn one too,
    As if they are reading the same book.

    ~ Charles Simic

    “. . . the reason all these smart people are chilling their brains is not some new health fad but to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the lethal neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The original idea was that when the gauntlet was thrown down in the ice bucket challenge, you either need to give $100 to ALS or dump ice water on your head.” ~ Matthew Herper, Forbes (8/19/2014)

    (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

     

    Sunday afternoon. Cloudy and cool, 70’s.

    Hello folks. Long time, no write.

    I know that I’ve been missing for a bit. It’s been very hectic around here, things we’ve been doing and taking care of, and I just haven’t had the time to sit and gather my thoughts. I’m hoping to remedy that this week.

    For those of you who have recently begun following this blog, I wish you greetings and thanks.

    Here is a little something I’ve been wanting to share ever since I saw my son Eamonn’s video of his own ice bucket challenge. I love how my kids can still amaze me with their kindness and thoughtfulness.

    Enjoy.

                       

    From the Huffington Post:

    There’s been such a deluge of videos made of these ice bucket challenges (some of which have been hilarious, others more serious) that you might be tempted to skip this new video that was uploaded Monday by a man named Anthony Carbajal. But as Upworthy put it, this is one clip that “you really should see.”

    The video begins humorously as Carbajal, a photographer, dresses up in a neon bikini top and soaps up a car before being doused with ice water. “OK, that was probably the most embarrassing thing that I’ve ever done in my entire life.”

    But the clip, at around the two-minute mark, takes a somber turn as Carbajal explains why he chose to take the challenge. “I’ve been so terrified of ALS my entire life because it runs in my family,” he says, breaking down. “My grandmother had it. She was a second mother to me. My mother was diagnosed when I was in high school and five months ago, I was diagnosed at 26 years old. ALS is so, so f—king scary, you have no idea.”

    Carbajal says he’s already started losing movement in his fingers. Eventually, just like other ALS patients, he will lose the ability to walk, talk, eat and breathe on his own.

    In the video, Carbajal shows footage of him caring for his mother who cannot walk or eat without assistance. “I hate talking about [ALS],” Carbajal says in the clip. “That’s probably why nobody talks about it because… it’s so challenging to see, and to talk about. Nobody wants to see a depressing person that’s dying… they don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want their day ruined.”

    But we need to keep this discussion alive, says Carbajal, so pharmaceutical companies and others will continue to be pushed to find a cure for this fatal disease. According to the ALS Association, more than $31 million has been raised so far for ALS research and patient care thanks to the ice bucket challenge.

    “This is the first successful advocacy [ALS has] ever really… had and I’m so, so, so grateful,” he said. “You have no idea how every single challenge makes me feel, lifts my spirits, lifts every single ALS patient’s spirits. You’re really, truly making a difference.”

    In Carbajal’s video, there’s a suggestion made that viewers should watch all the way to the end.

    Please do.

    Anthony Carbajal Ice Bucket video:

    For more information:

    ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Blows Up Social Media

    What is ALS?

                       

    Music by Laura Jansen, “A Call to Arms”

                       

    Alone With Everybody

    the flesh covers the bone
    and they put a mind
    in there and
    sometimes a soul,
    and the women break
    vases against the walls
    and the men drink too
    much
    and nobody finds the
    one
    but keep
    looking
    crawling in and out
    of beds.
    flesh covers
    the bone and the
    flesh searches
    for more than
    flesh.

    there’s no chance
    at all:
    we are all trapped
    by a singular
    fate.

    nobody ever finds
    the one.

    the city dumps fill
    the junkyards fill
    the madhouses fill
    the hospitals fill
    the graveyards fill

    nothing else
    fills.

    ~ Charles Bukowski

    If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

    Welcome to this Friday’s edition of leftovers. I’ve gone to great lengths to assimilate tidbits from the interwebs for your viewing and reading pleasure. I highly recommend a dry white wine to accompany this week’s dose of snark and sass. Please sit back, turn off your cell phones, and enjoy . . .

    This week’s headline:

    “Did you just ‘He who smelt it, dealt it’ racism? Did you really?” ~ Jon Stewart, “The Daily Show” (8-26-14)

    Watch it:

    One more headline on world issues because it really helps to put things in perspective:

    “I hate when women wear the wrong foundation color, it might be the worst thing on the planet when they wear their makeup too light.” ~ Kim Kardashian, world-renowned spokesperson for everything from the asinine to the insipid

    Since I missed it on Tuesday:

    I told you, Corey.

    LMAO:
    Photo: Oh, I'm sorry. Did I break your concentration?

    Oxford comma all the way!

    So this is where those crop circles originated:

    This is actually a thing, and it costs about five bucks:

    public toilet

     

    How cool is this?

    Being passive aggressive at work:

    So I found this site called Cake Wrecks . . . almost as good as the bad tweets:

    That’s right . . . imagine being able to spell achieve . . .

    Um . . . too literal?

    Obviously I cannot draw any puzzle pieces, but I can draw your request for some instead . . .

    Apparently, someone got a promotion, and the request was for a ladder with a stick person climbing up . . . oh my . . .

    Silly, silly man. Never tell a woman what to do . . .

    Do yourself a favor, go here and read all of the comments and questions on this baby. Just don’t do it with a mouthful of coffee . . . very hard to get off screen . . .

    Samsung UN85S9 85-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV
    Samsung UN85S9 85-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV
    $39,997.99

    And finally, reaffirmation that love, honor, and respect still hold sway in some corners of the world:

    “I come from a place where breath, eyes and memory are one, a place from which you carry your past like the hair on your head. Where women return to their children as butterflies or as tears in the eyes of the statues that their daughters pray to.” ~ Edwidge Danticat, from Breath, Eyes, Memory

    Rockwell Kent illustrations from Moby Dick
    Rockwell Kent Illustration from Moby Dick (published by The Modern Library, 1982)

    “I wish you what I wish
    myself: hard questions
    and the nights to answer them,
    the grace of disappointment
    and the right to seem the fool
    for justice. That’s enough.
    Cowards might ask for more.
    Heroes have died for less.” ~ Samuel Hazo, from “To a Commencement of Scoundrels”

    Wednesday afternoon. Partly cloudy, 80 degrees.

    This morning after I went back to bed to try to get some lost sleep I had a very strange dream in which I was on vacation on an island with a bunch of rich people who I didn’t know all that well. I decided I really needed to fly home, so I went to the airport and made arrangements. Apparently, I was flying in a private cabin that was stocked with liquor. I didn’t even ask how much it would cost. Obviously, a dream.

    So I’ve realized something: I like doing these posts that contain content from other sites. I like them, so there’s no reason why I should stop doing them.

    I had thought that it meant that I wasn’t being true to myself because I wasn’t writing the content, but you know what? I can write a nice introduction and still share with you some of the amazing things I find on these interwebs, things that make all of the other banal crap just fade away.

    So there’s that . . .

    Also, I have to do a lot of cleaning today because Corey comes home tomorrow. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to make his flight today, which means one less day for us to have together. I realized last night that I’m spending half of my time alone now, and to be truthful, I really haven’t figured out how I feel about that.

    Anyway, enjoy.

    More later. Peace.

                       

    The small things that are really big things:

    Something beautiful from beauty // terror:

    Always remember . . .

                       

    The Conversations I Remember Most

    The way a sweet cake wants
    a little salt in it,
    or blackness a little gray nearby to be seen,
    or a pot unused remains good for boiling water,

    the conversations I remember most
    are the ones that were interrupted.

    Wait, you say, running after them,
    I forgot to ask—

    Night rain, they answer.
    Silver on the fire-thorn’s red berries.

    ~ Jane Hirshfield

                       

    Music by Ruu Campbell, “The Call”

    “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” ~ William Styron, from Conversations with William Styron

    Literary circles of influence

    “Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.” ~ Cassandra Clare, from Clockwork Angel

    Thirty Day Book Challenge

    For this meme, I’m only going to talk about fiction, no poetry or drama. So here goes . . .

    Day 01: Best book you read last year

    The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. I was pleasantly surprised by this book, which I began reading as an ARC; however, I dropped the ARC in the pool, so I had to grab a new copy as soon as the book hit the market. Actually, that was probably a couple of years ago. Last year’s favorite was predictably The Fault in our Stars, which was luminous.

    Day 02: A book that you’ve read more than 3 times

    J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. For a while, I read this series once a year. I haven’t done so in the last four or five years, but I plan to bring back this annual pilgrimage to Middle Earth. Coming in at a close second are all of the Harry Potter books, and books 1-6 of the Dune Series.

    Day 03: Your favorite series

    You would think that it would be #2 above, but it’s not. My favorite series is actually the Harry Potter series. I was a little late in coming to the series as I mistakenly believed that they were children’s books, but once I had read the first, I devoured books one through three and then had to wait for the next one.

    Day 04: Favorite book of your favorite series

    This one would is hard as I really love books 3 and 5. The Prisoner of Azkaban introduced Sirius Black, one of my favorite characters. The Order of the Pheonix killed Sirius Black. I believe that these two books represent Harry’s headlong rush into maturity as he was buoyed along by circumstances not of his choosing.

    Day 05 : A book that makes you happy

    Another hard category for me because I rarely read anything with a happy ending, but after giving it some thought, I would have to say Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss. Timeless, the inherent silliness of the wordplay in this book inspires a smile. I once used this particular book in a literature class to illustrate dramatic effect: rising action, falling action, dilemma/conflict, denouement, etc.

    “Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates

    Day 06: A book that makes you sad

    Michael Cunningham’s The Hours. The three women in this book all face life-changing decisions, but the way in which Cunningham weaves together the three different streams of consciousness is remarkable. A close second would be Tuesdays with Morrie, but it’s not fiction.

    Day 07: Most underrated book

    Josephine Humphreys Rich in Love. I loved everything about this book, and it left me thinking for days.

    Day 08: Most overrated book

    Ulysses, by James Joyce. Oh, I know, I’m supposed to love this book because of the whole English literature thing, and at one point I really did love it, but as time has passed, I have realized that only English majors and professors could really love this book.

    Second is Kafka’s Metamorphosis. I just can’t get past the whole cockroach thing. I know that it’s a metaphor about life and alienation and comformity, but still, a bug.

    Day 09: A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

    Before I read The Hour I First Believed, I hadn’t touched anything by Wally Lamb. I kept hearing about the book, but didn’t buy it, probably because of the title; it just sounded too uplifting. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth, and equally surprised by just how much this book touched me.

    Day 10: Favorite classic book

    I am actually very partial to Charles Dickens, especially David Copperfield more than Great Expectations; I still haven’t been able to make myself like Moby Dick. And of course, pretty much anything by Fitzgerald or Woolf is on my top list.

    “Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.” ~ Fernando Pessoa, from The Book of Disquiet

    Day 11: A book you hated

    Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. That’s a few hours of my life that I’ll never get back.

    Day 12: A book you used to love but don’t anymore

    This would be almost anything by Patricia Cornwell written after book five in her Kay Scarpetta series. Initially, I loved Scarpetta, a tough, intelligent woman, but as the series continued, Cornwell became so formulaic that Scarpetta turned into a whiny shell of her former self.

    Day 13: Your favorite writer

    This one is impossible. I have a favorite writer for each genre, for example, P. D. James for mystery; J. R. R. Tolkien for fantasy; Frank Herbert for science fiction; Anne Rule for true crime; F. Scott Fitzgerald & Virginia Woolf for classics; J. K. Rowling for young adult; Thomas Harris for thrillers; Ian Rankin for detective stories. Actually, I could probably come up with more, but I think that I’ve completely missed this one.

    Day 14: Favorite book of your favorite writer

    I love The Great Gatsby. I still believe that it’s wasted on juniors in high school. You need some adult experience and perspective to appreciate all of the nuances of this book.

    Day 15: Favorite male character

    At the moment, I am completely enamored of Tyrion Lannister (Song of Fire and Ice series). I love everything about him, his wit, his wisdom, his perspective on life and family. Everything.

    “One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.” ~ Carl Sagan

    Day 16: Favorite female character

    This is so hard, so very very hard, but if I must narrow it to one, I think it would have to be Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander from The Millenium Trilogy. Lisbeth is incredibly smart but terribly flawed. She is seemingly unafraid and simultaneously uncomfortable and ill at ease.

    Day 17: Favorite quote from your favorite book

    “There are betrayals in war that are childlike compared with our human betrayals during peace. The new lovers enter the habits of the other. Things are smashed, revealed in a new light. This is done with nervous or tender sentences, although the heart is an organ of fire,” from Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient

    Day 18: A book that disappointed you

    This may sound strange, but I was disappointed in Dr. Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak. I saw the original movie when I was just a girl, but I fell in love with the characters, the story, and especially, the scenery. So years later when I read the book, I just couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed that I didn’t come away with the same feelings that the movie inspired in me.

    Day 19: Favorite book turned into a movie

    Sorry, but this has to be the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I know that I’ve already mentioned this, but truly, Peter Jackson’s interpretation was brilliant. But a close runner-up would be A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess. The eye scene still haunts me. And third would be The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink. Honorable mention: Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence.

    Day 20: Favorite romance book

    Oh this would have to be Wuthering Heights. I don’t read romance in the vein of Harlequin romance, but as far as a love story, this one wins. Heathcliffe.

    “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” ~ C. S. Lewis

    Day 21: Favorite book from your childhood

    Another tie, this time between A Secret Garden and Island of the Blue Dolphins. Both books featured adventurous female protagonists, and I read and reread each of them many times between the ages of 8 and 14.

    Day 22: Favorite book you own

    You might as well ask me who my favorite child is, or who my favorite dog is because this one is completely impossible to answer.

    Day 23: A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t

    I feel that I should read something by David Foster Wallace, like Infinite Jest, yet I can’t help but feel that he’s highly overrated, which is purely a gut feeling and probably unfair. And I’m also shocked to say this, but I haven’t read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

    Day 24: A book that you wish more people would’ve read

    Carson McCullers’ Heart is a Lonely Hunter. I know that it shows up as required reading in some college courses, but still, the characterizations alone make this simultaneously beautiful and heartbreaking.

    Day 25: A character who you can relate to the most

    I’m basing this on a book that I just read, Chez Moi, by Agnes Desarthe. The protagonist in this book is a woman who is in the middle of trying to figure out her life. She has made mistakes, has suffered losses, but throughout, she survives, and eventually thrives.

    “My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.” ~ Edith Sitwell

    Day 26: A book that changed your opinion about something

    Sho-Gun by James Clavell. I first read this book while I was an undergraduate. It wasn’t the length that made me wary, but the things that I had heard. I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted a historical novel. I was so wrong. This book was a sweeping epic of feudal Japan, and I’m heartbroken that I cannot find my original two-volume hardbound set.

    Day 27: The most surprising plot twist or ending

    I hated what happened at the end of Ken Kesey’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. McMurphy is erased as a human being; however, the redemption comes through Chief Bromden, who finally releases himself. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Griffin & Sabine trilogy, by Nick Bantock; everything about these books is surprising.

    Day 28: Favorite title

    Their Eyes were Watching God. I love everything about this book.

    Day 29: A book everyone hated but you liked

    I’m actually going to switch this around to a book everyone liked but I hated: Gone with the Wind . . . boring . . . Second would be Catcher in the Rye . . . seriously?

    Day 30: Your favorite book of all time

    Heart of Darkness Catch22 The Shining The Handmaid’s Tale Kafka on the Shore The World According to Garp Lolita Member of the Wedding The Alchemist Silence of the Lambs The Bone Collector The Naming of the Dead A Game of Thrones The Hunger Games The Golden Notebook A Wrinkle in Time Gorky Park Ethan Frome Remorseful Day The Weight of Water The Godfather Red Dragon The Blind Assassin Snow Falling on Cedars…………………………………..

    Music by Jackie Greene, “I Don’t Live in a Dream”


     

    Sections in the bookstore

    – Books You Haven’t Read
    – Books You Needn’t Read
    – Books Made for Purposes Other Than Reading
    – Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong to the Category of Books Read Before Being Written
    – Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered
    – Books You Mean to Read But There Are Others You Must Read First
    – Books Too Expensive Now and You’ll Wait ‘Til They’re Remaindered
    – Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback
    – Books You Can Borrow from Somebody
    – Books That Everybody’s Read So It’s As If You Had Read Them, Too
    – Books You’ve Been Planning to Read for Ages
    – Books You’ve Been Hunting for Years Without Success
    – Books Dealing with Something You’re Working on at the Moment
    – Books You Want to Own So They’ll Be Handy Just in Case
    – Books You Could Put Aside Maybe to Read This Summer
    – Books You Need to Go with Other Books on Your Shelves
    – Books That Fill You with Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified
    – Books Read Long Ago Which It’s Now Time to Re-read
    – Books You’ve Always Pretended to Have Read and Now It’s Time to Sit Down and Really Read Them

    ~ Italo Calvino, from If on a winter’s night a traveler