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Violet Crown

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Violet Crown last won the day on June 17 2013

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About Violet Crown

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    Onward Thru the Fog
  • Birthday August 24

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  1. My physical health continues to be very good (thank you, genes) as I head into my 50s.... but it's distressing that I now struggle with memorization. Learning poetry and Scripture by heart has been an important part of my life. But the old techniques don't work for me anymore.
  2. Only because I completely agree otherwise ... I want to add how annoying it is that HEB often ceases carrying a (competing) name brand when they introduce their store brand product, because sometimes it's not equivalent.
  3. Actually 1980 seems to be the key boundary. Post-1980 fiction I've read since 2013: Tove Jansson, The True Deceiver (1982), Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote (1982); The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake (1983, but published posthumously; Pancake died in 1979); George Mackay Brown, Andrina & Other Stories (1983); John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989); Jose Saramago, Blindness (1995). I liked the Jansson, the Pancake, and the Mackay Brown. The only post-2000 books I've read at all since 2013 are Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (2001) and Phil Lawler, The Smoke of Satan (2018). The Rose was good.
  4. That's good enough. I read Horseman, Pass By (aka Hud) and quite liked it. Which else?
  5. Meanwhile, this week I finished nothing, but got about 2/3 of the way through Dostoevski's The Idiot, which I'm finding frankly incomprehensible. Fortunately I have a book of Critical Essays on Dostoevsky of the 20th Century and I'm going to read the article on The Idiot when I'm done and maybe All Will Be Explained. Hard week in general has led to insufficient reading: bearing up under difficult family news, and at the same time a Small But Noisy faction of my worship community decided to shame us all in front of the wider church community, which unseemly incident needs no details because the Clique of the Pure is probably familiar to anyone who has a church. Sigh. I really prefer my drama in novels. Also reading some of J. H. Newman's Parochial and Plain Sermons, an underappreciated book which I was gratified to find specifically mentioned in Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (it's one of the books kept in a safe by Head Bad Guy, if I remember right). I'm going to see if I can get a Newman's Sermons reading group going at church. Can't help noticing that none of The Pure are avid readers.
  6. Do list them! I have more J. Frank Dobie and Roy Bedichek lined up for my 10x10 "Don't Mess With Texas" category, and some non-Texas cowboy things, but I can always use more titles. My favorite is an adult/child pair: Cabeza de Vaca's Chronicle of the Narvaez Expedition (older readers), and Walk the World's Rim (younger). Anti-Herriot is right! You remember the part where the tourist asks the gas station attendant how this can be cow country, when there's no grass? And the guy says, Moss grows on the undersides of the rocks, and the cows lick it off. So the gullible tourist turns over a couple rocks and says There's no moss under these. And the guy tells him he needs to head up into the mountains to turn over rocks 'cause the ones down here have already been licked clean. Gorgeous pictures, Negin! Dh got to see those on a business trip to Madrid, oh the agonies of the working world. Prayers for your family at this difficult time. How good that you all can be together. Now that you're back, time to cough up some opinions on Texas reading. Oh yes. A folder, with lined notebook paper, with "2019" (or whichever) at the top and a numbered list of books written in number 2 pencil. And an old SonLight spiral-bound timeline, cannibalized for writing each book into its appropriate year. That way if I ever read a book written after 1970, I'll definitely notice. Have you read The Last Man? It's a pretty powerful book about grief, disguised as a post-apocalyptic novel, and really sad when you realize she wrote it after everyone she cared about had died. (((Junie))). High school, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Everyone does. Having a good time on vacation with your husband hardly counts as a reason to neglect your interweb friends, does it? 😄
  7. Still haven't gotten to last week's thread. More life stuff coming fast and furious. But meanwhile, I read a book loaned by Middle Girl: Up To My Armpits: Adventures of a West Texas Veterinarian, by Dr. Charlie Edwards. Great reading! Pretty much unedited, so rough in places, but keeping lots of West Texas vernacular, super-dry humor, and charm. Edwards practiced from the late '40s through the '90s, and saw the devastation of the 1950's Big Drouth (which Middle Girl first learned about in Lois Lenski's Texas Tomboy, which I make everyone read as part of their Texas History unit) and the many changes brought by weather, demographic shifts, technological improvements, and the gradual passing of the last of the Old West. Favorite story: Dr. Edwards is applying pesticide to a herd, where the hands shove the cows into a chute, Dr. Edwards pours the "Ivomec Pour-On" all over the cow's back, and then, released, she dashes forward into the pen to lose herself among the already-treated cows. One cow balks, and the vet's assistant touches her with the electric cattle prod. She springs forward. "We watched in amazement as she burst into flames, the solvent in the Ivomec burning. She was headed for the bunch of cows.... We stood helpless, fearing the worst. Only Topper [the ranch manager] had the presence of mind to shout instructions, 'Lie down and roll, you dumb cow!' I don't guess she heard, because she didn't even slow down." Fortunately the stuff is super-volatile and scorches the cow's hair without burning her skin, and goes out before she sets the other cows alight. The hands, being cowboys, then attempt to re-create the flaming cow incident for the benefit of their friends who missed it. Dr. Edwards is only able to make them stop by pointing out how expensive the Ivomec Pour-On is. 5 stars. 10x10 category: Don't Mess With Texas. Back to Real Literature (TM) with Jonson and Dostoevsky.
  8. Sorry to be late, again, and I'll go back and read. Yesterday was filled with excitement: Middle Girl was confirmed at long last, and had a lovely reception for which she made and decorated the cakes. The Bishop's Pentecost/Confirmation sermon was on the Holy Spirit coming into our lives as a great wind that renews us. In the evening we cowered in the central hallway with the cat and two guinea pigs, as the tornado-level winds ripped up our neighbor's big ash tree and dropped it on our roof. Thanks, Bishop. Dh got back home Saturday, so my reading should pick up a bit now that I'm not single-momming. Meanwhile last week all I got finished was Gide's The Vatican Cellars, which was good French farce. Trigger warning for those triggered by bedbugs, fleas, and/or mosquitoes; but the Hapless Traveler passage on its own made the book worth reading. Currently reading some Nathanael West and Dostoevski's The Idiot. With chainsaws in the background.
  9. Not too strange. But a reader should set aside modern expectations for short fiction.
  10. Sandy gave a description and link, so I'll just give, as an example, my ten categories in which I hope to read 10 books. Possibly someone will add some extra months to the year so I can do that. The Brexit Special: 10 European countries, not including the UK (7 books so far) Scots Wha' Hae: Scottish books (3) Don't Mess With Texas: Texas, cowboys, or both (3) Plucked From the Air: chosen via the atmospheric noise Truly Random generator (4) Little Oval on the Spine: published by New York Review of Books (2) A is for Amy who...: cover art by Edward Gorey (2) Bad Catholic: the sort of books they read at that parish you don't go to (3) Dramatic, Lyric & Epic: all the poetry (7) Crime & Punishment: mostly noir (6) The Hollow Crown: Tudor and Jacobite chronicle plays (4)
  11. "Coronation." <snort> So glad I wasn't the only one with that reaction to The Immoralist. However now I'm wondering if I wasn't being sufficiently sensitive to Gide's understated satire, as that's definitely a thing going on with The Vatican Cellars. Will report back....
  12. Late late late. Last week I finished Miguel de Cervantes' Exemplary Stories, the last of which was a strange dialogue between two dogs suddenly gifted one night with speech and reason. One tells his picaresque adventures, while the other waits impatiently and tries to cut off his friend's frequent digressions into social and political philosophy, in the forlorn hope of getting his own turn before the sun comes up. 10x10 categories: Brexit Special (Spain); Plucked From the Air. This week Great Girl is visiting for a few days, having accompanied Middle Girl to an out-of-state math camp (GG coached), so not so much reading. In spare moments, André Gide's novel The Vatican Cellars, which so far is a bit like "what if Dostoevski had been a French Symbolist?" 10x10 category: Bad Catholic.
  13. I have no solution. I found Wee Girl reading "Freeing Your Child From Anxiety" in her bed, when I thought it had been squirrelled away from prying wee hands. She's been explaining OCD best practices to me since. And yesterday Middle Girl asked casually who Jean Genet was. I said, Someone you can read when you're 21 and not living here. So much for double-shelved, in the back, bottom corner.
  14. Sandy, I'll check with MG and see if she'd be interested. Thanks!
  15. Congratulations Matryoshka on 52! Junie, tell more about your taste for French literature. Any recommendations for the young beginner? I ask because Middle Girl has started reading French lit in earnest; it's too bad they don't offer the AP anymore. I'm casting around for readable texts besides the usual high school warhorses (Voltaire, Racine, Flaubert, Sartre, Duras, etc.), but my French is too weak to think of much. She's enjoying Bernanos right now.
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