Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Alice I Have Been

This is what I am reading now. I wanted to show the cover, but the library has its big bar code right in the middle of the book.....duh. I read a review about this book awhile ago in a magazine. It intrigued me then, and I made a note to read it as soon as I was able. I meant for it to be my first E-reader download, but, it was never available when I needed to read it. I found it one night as a hardcopy at the library. It is written by Melanie Benjamin. Melanie spent a great deal of time researching all known facts and papers available regarding Alice Liddell Hargreave's life, who is also, the real Alice, the one written about in the Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

This book is her research in story form. She has tried to remain true to what is known, and hinting at possiblities of what is not. The axis of the research remains: what was Alice's relationship regarding Lewis Carroll.

She spins a believeable set-up of how the rumors begat. She knows an innocent child who only living honestly finds herself involved in a scandal that changes her life forever, and she cannot figure out why or how, or how to regain what once was. She is not allowed to consult with the involved parties, as children were not considered part of adults consult. Therefore, nothing could be proved or tried, nothing could be sure or not, yet, people suffered. The child suffered greatest of all, not knowing what the adult mind could make of a child's innocent freedom.

Like Alice in Wonderland, one day, Alice, the real Alice, did find herself falling down a rabbit hole and not being able to stop, and not knowing when it would stop.

Well written. I could easily identify all the thoughts Melanie was able to capture and illustrate. I loved that not only did she write, but she wrote truth. Not necessarily, that it was true in Alice's world, but that it was truth in general. Things are not always as they seem, and yet, they may be very much what they seem, just yet not discovered.

Melanie does not leave you bored. Even though she can be verbose, it is an interesting play of words. Time moves slowly through the book, but I found myself so absorbed I didn't care. I have not finished it yet, but I know it ends how life almost always does. A little disappointing, a little sad. I feel sorry for Lewis Carroll, although, I wonder in the back of my mind if I shouldn't. I really feel sorry for Alice, who fell into it. Who was wooed, cooed and courted, without her really knowing it. I feel sorry that it damaged her so, but I think it was mostly because no one would talk of it.

I will come back and tell more. But so far, I give this a very good rating. I suspect this book isn't for everyone. There are those who have escaped the things in childhood Alice saw, and therefore, would think the book not interesting. It is a contemplative book, not a rollercoaster. It leaves you with thoughts long into the night after reading.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Minimalizing Your Books?????

Found this interesting site via StumbleUpon. I bookmarked it because there is so much truth in it, and its where I am right now in Life. Too much input, I am afraid. Here is the link: and really, I didn't find anything that I dont want to read of this blog.....

I have lots of books, for lots of reasons. I could easily become a book hoarder......or, maybe I already am.......I have carried boxes and boxes of books that I have collected for 40 years to the Library, to a fund-raising book sale, to the thrift shops, to whoever would take them......

Seriously, I could set up a living space surrounded by tall shelves of books and be quite content.

I don't enjoy our library anymore. They have replaced it with a new building. It's carpeted and metal and steel shelving, and too much space, and too much light and all the old volumes have been replaced. It's not fun anymore. I don't enjoy reading classics in the new jackets. I don't know if I can purchase a Kindle. That said, I have found some e-book sites and have read on-line and find that quite satisfying-----however, if I really like the book, I must have it in my hands, and feel it, and write in it, and carry it around with me to meditate on it.....

I recently won some old G. H Pember books on ebay. Can't imagine anyone parting with them, they are so rich in expository commentaries of the Bible. Reminds me of Nehemiah searching for lost and old volumes because the truth had gotten so buried that it was no longer available. The old paths, find....scripture tells us.....I see why, today.

I think that is my fear of electronic books. The limitations of what is available to read. A sort of self imposed censorship, without even really realizing it. Only what the Kindle people think is popular and classic is available. I have always had an aversion to popular.....anything. And, like I said already, classics just don't read well in aluminum and glass........

I decided after reading the article on minimalist book keeping that I need to make a list of my favorite authors and see if I can keep the collection to what I would take on a deserted island......helpful?

I probably wouldn't take my collection of Alice in Wonderland books, because I am mainly collecting them for one of my sons. He can take them to his deserted island.......

The book illustrated at the beginning of this post is one that I am offering on ebay right now and its a beautiful volume, but I have no other interest in it except that. I decided that keeping books because they are beautiful is not one of my criterias.

I resisted putting any new volumes on my shelves for a very long time, but some books I haven't been able to find in an old volume, and some are just recently published, so, I have to compromise there.

And you know one of my weaknesses is, if I find my favorites a second and third time, I might have to purchase them in case I want to give one away....or....just because. I did that with my William Barclay commentaries. I found some at a rummage sale for 50 cents each, and although I already had them, I could not resist purchasing them at that sale. I think I tried to give a few away....but learned--my love isn't everyone else's love......

The kids love Roald Dahl. I buy anything Roald Dahl I can find. Even if I already have it, because I have four boys that all love to read him. I can pass them on, and they can have them for their new libraries.

Well, I have a new project. Minimalizing my book collection. It should be quite an adventure. I get to list 100 items on ebay right now for free. I only pay if I sell them. It's a good time to purge 100 books that I liked at one time, collected for some reason, but now, feel no need to hoard them. Let's see how I do.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Favorite Commercial-Stole My Heart

It's the New Kindle Commercial, Stole My Heart.......hope the link works Enjoy!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Thirteenth Tale

I cannot believe that I am reading a novel. I read. But I feel like I need to use my reading time reading something that will change me in some way. Novels can do this. I have read some, for instance, The Sojourner by Marjorie Keenan Rawlings. If you have a passive temperament, you should definitely read this. If you are choleric, or a fighter, it will just make you mad, and even less tolerant of those who flee rather than fight.

I mostly read turn of the century writers. Harriet Beecher Stowe is one of my favorites to read aloud. Her words are so delicious to the tongue. Although known for Uncle Tom's Cabin, I found that very painful to read, my choice of her writings was A Minister's Wooing.

I like Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss because it is in first person and is written diary form and begins in the life of a sixteen year old and finishes at the end of her life. Lots of wrestles that I have experienced, and exposing of real life meets ideal faith. I thought it was honest and not all flowery like some religious writing. While not church=ey, (sermons), just as if someone wrote down their honest thoughts as they experienced life trying to live out faith. It gave me freedom to be honest with God, and now I am known in His presence to be sassy sometimes. Not that I wasn't before-------it's just that now I see it, and can admit it----I am not confessing to Him, after all, He knows.....I am confessing to me and coming clean.

Well. Now we come to The Thirteenth Tale. Even its appearance matches the book somewhat.

I lost a very dear friend to Ovarian cancer a few years ago. Her husband eventually gave me a few bags of her books because he knew what a bibliophile I am. Because he doesn't understand that not all books are alike, he would not know that we had different reading tastes. Perhaps this is why my friend never suggested I read it. I told her that I rarely read novels, as I find them not written very well, and they are either disappointing in the end, and can't keep me in them.

I recently read Chesapeake by James Michner. Oh, I could hardly put it down. But he did two things which make me not pick up another. One chapter he put in the middle of the book was a completely different book and only annoyed me, and I skipped most of it. The end of the book was not even close to the beginning in quality and understanding of his story. It's like he experienced the first half and guessed at the second. This was true of his mini-series Centennial. Everyone I share it with loves the first five or six dvd's. After that, it just becomes another soap opera, and lacks the "wonder" of the beginning of the story.

I have another friend who is an avid reader if she isn't able to garden. One day when she was over, she picked the book out of the bag, and after looking it over, said, "I'll take this one and read it and let you know how it is." We meet about half-way in reading. She mostly listens to books on tape, and while I did not like "The Time Traveler's Wife", she thought it very good. We both like books written above the fourth grade reading level-----you know what I mean. I tend to like books that are over my head, and stretch me and make me work at understanding them.
I don't know why, but I get bored otherwise, or want to rewrite it.

Whoever wrote the summary to The Thirteenth Tale did it an injustice. I never would have read it from that. My girlfriend reported that she was sure that I would like it and that I should give it a try. I was currently reading Walter Cronkite's story and finding it quite interesting. I hate to stop one book and start another, but sometime I picked it up and looked beyond the back summary and book flaps.

This is a book lovers book. All bibliophiles should read this. We like bookshop stories. We like the smell of old books, we like their personalities, their hand-written footnotes of those who discovered them before us.

"Remember that picture of Dickens in his study?.........in the picture he has pushed his chair back from his desk and is drowsing, eyes closed, bearded chin on his chest..........around his head, characters from his books are drifting in the air like cigar smoke.........

The reason I remember it so well is that it seems to be an image of the way I have lived.......I have closed my study door.........I have eavesdropped with impunity on the lives of people who do not exist. I have peeped shamelessly into hearts and bathroom closets. I have leaned over shoulders to follow the movements of quills as they write love letters, wills and confessions. I have watched as lovers love, murderers murder and children play their make believe. Prisons and brothels have opened their doors to me; galleons and camel trains have transported me across sea and sand; centuries and continents have fallen away at my bidding. I have spied upon the misdeeds of the mighty and witnessed the nobility of the meek. I have bent so low over sleepers in their beds that they might have felt my breath on the faces. I have seen their dreams.

My study throngs with characters waiting to be written. Imaginary people, anxious for a life, who tug at my sleeve, crying, 'Me next! Go on! My turn!' I have to select. And once I have chosen, the others lie quiet for ten months or a year, until I come to the end of the story, and the clamor starts up again."
************from The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

BRAVO! I am clapping!!!! I just wanted to get you a sample of the style of writing. This is not the plot of the story, but the backdrop. It is intriguing and well written. I am not finished with it yet, and I hope she can keep up the quality. I don't know if she has written anything else, but I would be interested in reading it if she has.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Blogged at my other (art/craft) blog: shebrews
My thoughts for today. shebrews (specific post)

Working on this. To be friends. With my mate. Some days go well, some days stink. Some days its my fault, some days its his, somedays, neither of us try very hard. We celebrated 39 years of marriage, and two years of dating this year. Lots of water under the bridge, as they say.

This week he chose to use Brut after shave. It's amazing what a scent will do for memory. Immediately, I felt the upholstered bucket seats in his 1965 GTO, and heard the rumble of the glass packs as it idled where we always parked. That smell mesmorized me. I told him that he should wear it more often, as it invoked good memories, and made me think good thoughts for building our relationship. As I began to remember the things I admired about him, and the little things he did for me, that perhaps he only abandoned as I took them for granted. Little things matter. They say, little foxes spoil the vineyard. Yes, I agree.

When I get the scent of Brut, I immediately remember the feeling of safety in his arms as a young woman dreams about their future mate. Even now, as I write, it isn't hard to imagine his face back then, his gait, his breath, his quiet voice on the phone so his mother couldn't hear what he was saying to me.

Somethings happen to spoil the magic after all the crisis and drama of raising five children and their friends and acquaintances. Things we differed about became larger than things we agreed on. Sides were taken, preferences made, prejudices built. But, luckily, every now and then, we come together on something so strong, we know we must keep trying. We must remember what drew us together, and once again, appreciate that.

I am going to a 50th wedding celebration tomorrow. I cannot imagine, except, I am so close to that. I watch my children going through the stages of married life and hope they keep the good memories somewhere near the top. Too many give up too soon. I think of one of their favorite movies to watch where the theme song rang: "There are no cats in America, and the streets are lined with cheese."

Yeah, we mice planned as good as we could to expell the cats, but I am reminded of a Proverb that came to my in my first married years, and sustained me because of it. "Where no oxen are, the crib is clean, but strength is in the Ox. "

There is a lot of muscle-lacking today. We have no stamina for the hard stuff. We can afford to ward it off. Or we take the easy way out.

It's hard to keep my arms lifted to Heaven. God doesn't seem to talk much these days. I think He's waiting for us to quiet down. He doesn't really like shouting. He more likes burning bushes and goats on the mountain side. That's what makes me so mad, He doesn't get mad about the things I get mad about......

But, my arms are still up. Like the disciples once told Jesus, "To Whom else would we go?"
So, my mate and I, we struggle along, together. Some days we make it difficult for the other, and some days we just couldn't do it without the other one by our side. It is what it is. He holds my arms up, and I hold his arms up, when we can't do it alone because we are too tired.

Two are better than one, says the same Proverb writer, "For if one falls, the other is there to pick them up." My question is, "Is the fall necessary?"

Come see my art/craft blog: shebrews

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Things I Wish Someone would have told me......

about naming your blog, your on-line etsy store, your Flickr, your Stumble-Upon, your Technorati, and which blog to choose. I am running into problems four years after the fact. The bottom line is, I made some big mistakes. No one told me.

I started out with a completely hand-built web site involving almost a hundred pages, with rolling sizes of pictures of my collages and artwork. This was pain-stakingly done by a dear friend of mine, Nancy, who designed all the templates and instructed me how to upload, change information and fill in the blanks. I had no idea what I was really doing, but managed having a very impressive web-site. I remember the feeling of dragging friends and family over to the computer and watching my then, "dial-up" slowly load the title page. How fun it was to see my artwork on-line!

The problem was, I didn't know enough about writing html to make the needed updates, and change things around occasionally, much like gift shops do, so that the next time you visit, it feels new and wonderful. I am sure that I had this site for at least three years, with a few sales, but it was time for me to come up with my own site that I could manage.

After checking my favorite bloggers, I noticed that the majority of them went with typepad. Typepad had really pretty user friendly templates, but to my surprise, I discovered it wasn't difficult to create your own with their easy tutorials. Typepad gives you thirty day free trial, but, that still isn't enough information. What typepad doesn't tell you is that it is difficult to become one of the community members in quite popular groups because they won't let you link unless you are incredibly computer savvy. Typepad also charges for their services. I always thought that you get what you pay for, but, in my case, I don't feel that way.

Now, I have established my site with Typepad, and changing would be a pain in the "arse". I have my domain located there, etc, etc. When I set up my Technorati, all was well, until I purchased my public domain name, Shebrews, and then something went wonky with the "ping" and I don't have true stats. It doesn't even update my post entries......*argh*.

This week I discovered that I was dropped from the Wist-Etsy group that I joined three years ago, because they couldn't find my Etsy store. My etsy store was named with little thought of linking it to a blog. Etsy name: Ohmy1.

I have a good history of sales there and a "somewhat" following. Do I change my Etsy name now? I lose all that credible history. I need to be trusted, and my previous sales help that, don't they?

I discovered another reason I couldn't find my Wist-Etsy group is because it is listed under my Yahoo group name: Hoursdontcount. Who knew this mattered? I joined the Yahoo group so I could be a member of Flickr and also, join some groups on Etsy. *sigh* Now, how to I link the name Hoursdontcount with Shebrews? They let you link a blogger blog, but not a typepad. Go figure.

I opened a "free" blog account with Google's Blogger because I felt "not connected" with a lot of blogs when I wasn't allowed to open ID to leave comments. I have a blogger blog mostly because I need to leave comments on blogs. That's just what I do. I want to feel a part of the "group".

I loved the idea of Friend Connect. Do you think that typepad supports this? Nooooooooo. I cannot upload the widget for nothing. Blogger seems to be in the know. AND ITS FREE, PEOPLE.

I am telling you now these very important things.
Get your free blog from Google. Get your Friend Connect widget and get some friends. Use the same User Name on all your accounts. That way, when they google your user name, all your stuff appears magically. No confusion. No searching. This is so terribly frustrating. Purchase your domain name at relatively low costs. I went with Go-Daddy, but am not sure that was the smartest, either. I suspect that I am paying for things I don't need. They throw so many options at you, that you get confused and panicky.

My first web page was a clear and simple $4.95 a month. No questions asked, No harrassment with options.

I will continue to try to update this, as it links me to my REAL site, shebrews.
Please go to visit that to see what I am up to in my art/craft world. I would sincerely appreciate that.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Six words to describe your life....

"I am completely taken by surprise"

These words would truly sum up my life so far. All that I imagined, all that I interpreted about life has completely been topsy-turvey. It's true. Life is what happens when you are making other plans..........

I am one of the lucky ones, in that, I have had a colorful and eventful life. There has not been much dull drum here----and, interestingly, it's not that I went pursuing any particular event. In fact, the things I pursued eluded me. Something always won out ahead.

I read an old book that was written in the form of a diary. It's starts out with a twelve year old girl journaling. It was written in early 1900's and is now in reprint. It is titled, "Stepping Heavenward" and is by Elizabeth Prentiss. In it, she grows up, marries, has children and many tough times. In the spirit of Victorian writing, it is mostly sad, but, probably more realistic for the "normal" person.

I know a few people who have escaped the tumbling, ripping and burning events that happen along our way home........and, they seem quite content with this "uneventful" fate they have. In my younger years I thought it was because they did everything right and I continued to fall and trip along the way.

My daughter describes it as "skipping through the woods, singing your favorite song and something pushes a stick in your path and you find yourself on the ground before the last note escapes your lungs".

Hmmmm, well. That's about how it feels. For the most part, I never saw things coming. The things I prepared for, and thought possible, never happened. The things I never thought would be part of my life, were very large.

It's got me thinking about the next life...........

*for my art/craft blog visit me at: shebrews