I am still reading Wicked, which is so excellent that I went back and started from the beginning. This title was published two years before the first Harry Potter book, and I find myself wondering whether J.K. Rowling had read this book before or while writing about Harry, and possibly got some of her inspiration from author Gregory Maguire. (I’m still about 60% into Wicked since I started over.)
I am listening to the latest Agatha Raisin mystery, Beating About the Bush (2019). I love every Raisin book, and author M.C. Beaton is still making me laugh. At six hours plus some change, this is a quick listen. I have about two hours to go.
Work continues on the new web site, which I still anticipate launching by the end of October at the very latest.
Over the next few months the content on this site will migrate to a new book discussion and reading space called Your Book Group. You can visit that site now at www.yourbookgroup.com; send an email to the address shown on the that page if you would like an invitation to the new space once it’s live, and don’t forget to bookmark the page while you’re there.
As previously mentioned, I will continue to post at least once weekly on this page as well.
Somewhat regular Nightstand posts will replace the Currently Reading page, since I can’t seem to keep that page updated.
I am reading:
Wicked (Gregory Maguire, 1995) –the “real” story of the Wicked Witch of the West. It’s been around for a lot of years, and I think I’ve been reading it on and off for at least two years. It’s an excellent book, but hard for me to revisit for some reason. I’m about halfway through. For more information visit HERE. I’m reading the Kindle version.
Evensong (Gail Godwin, 1999) – the tale of a female Episcopal priest in the Smoky Mountains. I picked up the hardcover edition used somewhere – in the used books section at Schuler Books maybe. It’s slow going at first, lots of uninterrupted exposition, but it’s got great reader reviews on Amazon so I’m sticking with it. I’m about 30 pages in. Probably because the protagonist is Episcopalian, I have to keep reminding myself she is not in England.
I am listening to:
To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee 1960) – this is 99% likely to be the subject of the next virtual book group. Sissy Spacek narrates beautifully. No links included; you’ve either read it already or know how to google it.
The Power of Habit (Charles Duhigg, 2012) – a very ‘listenable’ book about the elements of habit and how to leverage those elements to change harmful habits. The book includes the case study of a man who suffered severe brain damage from meningitis, virtually eliminating his short-term memory. The case study alone is worth the listen, especially if you can snag it from your local library. Duhigg has his own website; visit https://charlesduhigg.com/the-power-of-habit/ to learn more. Also, view this three-minute YouTube video.
I was thinking last evening that I miss the comfort of hearing the grownups talk – parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles laughing, sharing family news, playing cards while we kids / teenagers / young adults hung around the sidelines or listened from the next room. My father died in 2017 (in fact, tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of his funeral) and my mom passed in December. I live far from my aunts and uncles now and don’t see them often, but really these overheard conversations had been growing quieter and quieter for years before my parents’ voices were silenced.
As I was mourning this loss (we are mourning so much now, yes?) I walked past our guest room and saw a light under the door. I went into the room to turn off the light, having no idea why it was on in the first place, and saw a Jim Harrison book that belonged to Grandma Genevieve, that I’d left on the nightstand sometime last year. Opening the front cover, I found a note from Jim (he and Genevieve corresponded quite a bit), and then opened the book at random to the page in the last photo.
It turns out I can still hear my elders if I listen closely. Thanks Grandma.
Big changes are in store for this blog over the coming weeks. While I work on those changes I will be posting less frequently this summer – but I will commit to posting at least once per week. You can always find my page on Facebook: @MittenBookish.
Sunday morning edit: I wrote and published this at 3:00 AM, which is apparently a bad idea from a spelling perspective. All fixed now, hopefully.
Marbles, jump-ropes, paper dolls. For the child Elaine they are the props of a childhood marked by anxiety as she navigates the playground with its baffling rules of engagement, at the mercy of “friends” who smile for the parents while whispering cruelties in her ear.
Margaret Atwood has mastered the art of time travel in Cat’sEye; this novel is not a reminiscence. Although grown-up Elaine opens the story, it is the child Elaine who describes her first meeting with Carol, then Grace – and then with Cordelia. As the narrative shifts among the different Elaines – Elaine in her teens, college student Elaine, wife and mother Elaine, and Elaine in her fifties, there is never a hint of any other age; events recounted clearly by the child Elaine are vague and suppressed when we listen to the voice of Elaine in junior high. Toys that are very important to the child Elaine, described in loving detail, are shrugged off by adult Elaine when seen again with no memory of their importance.
There are so many themes one could explore in this book – motherhood, sibling relationships, wealth, marriage, infidelity, loss, grief – and I suppose we could do that with enough time to dissect it thoroughly. At its essence though, in addition to being beautifully crafted, this story is eminently readable.
I have no suggestion for where to read this or what music to play in the background; this book transcends those suggestions. Just read it. You won’t be sorry.
Haven – based on Stephen King’s The Colorado Kid, about an FBI agent assigned to a small town with strange happenings. I saw a few episodes; I don’t think I read the novel.
Bones – based on Kathy Reichs’ crime series featuring main character Temperance Brennan. I’ve read a couple of the books and seen several episodes of the series, and enjoyed both.
M*A*S*H – you all know it. M*A*S*H was a spin-off of the movie by the same name, which was based on the book MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, by Richard Hooker. I might be convinced to read the book if I found a copy lying around.
Dexter – the debut season is based on Jeff Lindsay’s book Darkly Dreaming Dexter, the first in a crime series about the serial killer who just needs a little affection. Like so many others, I was sucked into the dark TV series, but I haven’t read any of the books and don’t plan on reading them.
Outlander – this series has run four seasons, each season based on a book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. The only show in the list that’s still in production, its fifth season will be based on the fifth book in the very well-written and engrossing saga. I haven’t seen the show and don’t plan on watching it.
If you’re looking for an Enneagram personality type quiz, you’ve got the wrong book.
If you seek a tool to help you identify and address your patterns of thinking, feeling, behavior, and interacting with others – in a compassionate, affirming way – keep reading.
Deep Living With the Enneagram: Recovering Your True Nature is a revised and updated version of Dr. Roxanne Howe-Murphy’s 2013 book titled Deep Living: Transforming Your Relationship to Everything That Matters Through the Enneagram. The main body of the book is divided into three parts and an Appendix (don’t skip the Appendix!) along with valuable resources for further exploration.
In Part I we are introduced to new terminology and concepts that run counter to every “quick-fix” self-help book out there. Don’t rush through this section; it’s not light reading. As you make your way through its pages, you may find that specific concepts or phrases tap you on the shoulder. Have your highlighter ready.
Part II is devoted to a detailed description of the framework used to explain the blueprint of the human personality – a framework then applied to the nine personality types of the Enneagram. Each type is described in depth, using terms and concepts that have been introduced earlier in the book. The graphics in this section are simple and clear, providing a comprehensive visual snapshot of each type’s characteristics and dynamics.
Part III, “Change for Life,” provides concrete, practical steps for effecting personal change. The reader will enjoy this section and can implement these strategies immediately.
There is more practical advice in the Appendix, which guides us through an exploration of the use of presence for healing. Be sure to take advantage of the additional helpful resources following the Appendix.
The author refers to the Enneagram as “ancient,” which piques one’s curiosity, but there is minimal mention of its ancient origins prior to its introduction to the Western world. While mildly disappointing, this does not diminish the book’s message or value.
Regardless, the body of knowledge shared in this expertly crafted book is impressive, exceeding this reader’s expectations. Dr. Howe-Murphy has produced a reference and healing tool that belongs on the bookshelf of anyone interested in real change, as well as on the shelves of those called to support others through that change.