Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I've moved!

I've moved my blog over to Wordpress. Please update your readers:

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday's Quote

“My library

Was dukedom large enough.”

William Shakespeare, The Tempest (1611)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Notes to Self - Samara O'Shea

Having an acute sense of self is about balance. You have to be kind to yourself, but not so lenient that you can’t be occasionally critical and enact self-discipline–and not so critical that you spend too much time degrading yourself . . . Knowing your physical and emotional strengths and weaknesses and being able to accept them is key to the well-lived life.

-Samara O’Shea, Sense of Self

I didn’t really know what to expect when I picked up Note To Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Samara O’Shea. At the time I was in a writing slump; overwhelmed and stressed out from my everyday life, I knew it was because it had been weeks since I last wrote in my journal. Enter O’Shea with her second book.

Note to Self is a guidebook for anyone interested in keeping a journal. With chapters like “Sense of Self,” which the above quote was taken from, “Romance on Record”, writing about the relationships that went right (or wrong), or “Intimate Details” about being honest with yourself when writing, O’ Shea did a great job in bringing almost every area of journal writing to readers. You also get the understanding for O’ Shea that journal writing isn’t just a hobby but a passion.

I’m a journal writer who paints, draws, and put photographs and other momentos in my journal. O’ Shea didn’t really address the creative side of using art in your journals like Keri Smith does in her books, Wreck this Journal or How To Be an Explorer of the World. If you’re a journal writer who not only documents their life with words, this journal might not help you with that aspect of journaling but it is a great read.

Some of the things O’ Shea discussed that I really agreed with were:

  • The use of quotes in your journal. Nothing brings you more inspiration and peace during hard times like other people’s words.
  • Pose a question. Asking yourself questions helps to get the ball going when you’re feeling stuck in your life.
  • Set literal goals. When you place your goals in your journals they are always there to remind you and keep you going.

Another great thing about the book is that O’ Shea also uses a ton of excerpts from her own journals and the journals of others like Anne Frank, Samuel Pepys, Thomas Paine, John Wilkes Booth, and many others. She even brings up the famous young protagonist from Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I finished reading this book last month and still I refuse to take the post-its out until the day this book is due at the library. One more quote I would like to share:

This, more than anything, is what a journal leads to — finding your sense of self. . . You may think you’re living one way, but your writing says otherwise. Some of my math teachers were kind enough to give points for the work even if the answer ended up being wrong, so I say that’s how we go about doing this, too. Write out the work in the equation of yourself, and don’t worry about the definitive answer just yet. It’s a lifelong process, and herein lies the benefit of aging — knowing yourself all the more.

Read for The Year of Readers Challenge, A to Z Challenge, and A Novel Group Mini-Challenge #3

Sunday Salon: Reading Journal

“It is life that shakes and rock us; it is literature which stabilizes and confirms.”

-Heathcote William Garrod, The Profession of Poetry and Other Lectures (1929)

Good morning! Right now it’s so early that the sun has not came up yet and most of my family is still asleep. I have a pot of coffee brewing and one of my current reads in front of me. For the past several days I’ve been taking advantage of early mornings and late nights to get some of my personal reading done. It’s been such a great experience to get lost again in a book without the interruptions of life.

I’m currently reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. The New York Times calls it “eloquent little essays in time, beauty, and the meaning of life” and I have to agree.

The narration of the novel goes back and forth between Paloma Josse, a 12 year-old genius and the concierge of the building she lives in, Rene Michel. Rene is a great character. Smart, charming, funny with a love for The Hunt for Red October, tea, movies, and books, Rene’s voice is full of life as she observes what goes on in the building and gives the reader her own philosophical commentary. I’m not as crazy about Paloma as I am about Rene but she too has a great voice.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog was a bestseller in France before being released in the States last year. I picked it up out of curiousity and the great reviews. It was also one of the last books that Dewey was reading when she passed. Dewey was ahead of the crowd. I wonder what she thought of it. I have many passages marked with post-its.

This Week’s Reading

I plan on finishing The Elegance in the next couple of days. The Scarlet Letter is required reading this week for my American Lit. class. My classmates and I are required to read it twice this week and then write an essay on it by this Saturday. This week will be busy. I hope you have a great Sunday!

What are you plans for this week?

Women's History Month Challenge

Lu at Regular Rumination is hosting a Women’s History Month Challenge. I’m in and my goal will be to read at least five books written by women. The majority of the books I read are by women but this month it might be a problem. Next week I have to read The Scarlet Letter for one of my classes. Plus, I only have two weeks to read Atmospheric Disturbances and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. No matter what I plan on finishing this challenge though. Here are some of the books I plan on reading:

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. I’m currently reading this.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. After waiting weeks for this book, I only have three weeks to read it before I have to return it to my library. No holds are allowed since this book is the book right now.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. It’s been years since I read this, so I wanted to reread another strong and female voice.

First, Body by Melanie Rae Thon. I first read this collection of short stories years ago. I can’t wait to reread it.

Do you have any suggestions on great books I should read by women? I would love to hear them.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weekly Geeks 3/7/09


This week’s Weekly Geeks is to post a quote a day for a week. This is one of my favorite w.g. activities. My quotes for this week will be coming from a great book called Speaking of Books: The Best Things Ever Said About Books and Book Collecting by Rob Kaplan and Harold Rabinowitz.

Bibliomaniac: A victim of the obsessive-compulsive neurosis characterized by a congested library and an atrophied bank account.

-Maurice Dunbar, Hooked on Books (1997)

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

We’ve all seen the lists, we’ve all thought, “I should really read that someday,” but for all of us, there are still books on “The List” that we haven’t actually gotten around to reading. Even though we know they’re fabulous. Even though we know that we’ll like them. Or that we’ll learn from them. Or just that they’re supposed to be worthy. We just … haven’t gotten around to them yet. What’s the best book that YOU haven’t read yet?

I'm going to limit my books to the ones on my bookshelves.

  1. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck.
  2. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  3. Beloved - Toni Morrison
  4. Sula - Toni Morrison
  5. The Year of Fog - Michelle Richmond
  6. The Gravedigger's Daughter - Joyce Carol Oates
  7. Loving Frank - Nancy Horan
  8. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
  9. Nights at the Circus - Angela Carter
  10. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
Have you read any of these books? What were your favorites? Which one should I read next?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Orbis Terrarum Challenge

I'm in! No list though I am reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery from France.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sick Week

The past seven days have been very chaotic. Hours after coming home from school last Tuesday, I became very tired and went to sleep early, hoping that all I needed was some rest. Wrong! I ended up with a fever of 104 and unable to go to the doctor because I was too sick to get myself there. Soon everyone in the Vasillis household was sick. From Grandma to the baby, all of us except my oldest were coughing, feverish, miserable lumps.

Today is the first day I felt okay. Everyone else has felt better for days but every time I thought I was getting better I would later end up exhausted and in bed again. I couldn't even read while I was sick which is a first in my life. I want to thank everyone for their get-well wishes. I really appreciate it.

February Update
February turned out to be a horrible month for reading. I read a total of nine books:

1. Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile - Bill Willingham
2. Fables Vol. 6: Arabian Nights - Bill Willingham
3. The Poet Slave of Cuba - Margarita Engle
4. Daphne's Book - Mary Downing Hahn
5. Ziggy's Blue-Ribbon Day - Claudia Mills
6. Chicken Feathers - Joy Crowley
7. Potato Joe - Keith Baker
8. A Couple of Boys have the Best Week Ever - Marla Frazee
9. A Child's Day - Ida Pearle

I enjoyed every book but I can't believe that I only read two adult reads. Let's hope March will be a better reading month. Now I'm off to sleep. I'm exhausted still.