Posted in in the garden, in the reading room, list-mania

another week of summer gone…

Again, I don’t feel like I kicked major butt on my “summer to-do list,” but there is still that fact that I haven’t yet fully reached that summer state-of-mind because we’re still hustling to finish up the current school year. Still a week plus maybe a little to go…and then freedom! Or at least a lot more freedom than is available in making choices with my time while the school year is in session. 🙂

6. Read at least 20 books. (#20booksofsummer).

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Running a bit behind, it would seem,  in that I just finished my first book. And obviously I can’t cross this off the list, as I’m only 1/20 of the way there. But again, I’m not really worried yet. My first book of the summer–oh my, huge tally in the win column! I pretty much knew it would be. Ana never steers me wrong. Never. And it is Terry Pratchett for goodness sake. But still, that “knowing” that I’m going to love a book can sometimes lead to overblown expectations, and then I end up feeling a wee bit of disappointment even when I do really love the book. Not sure if anyone else ever feels that way or not. Anyway, I need not have feared in the slightest. Because Small Gods, yeah, just yeah. *swoon*

 

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I feel like there are perhaps a hundred different reasons I could give for loving Small Gods, ranging from Pratchett’s incomparable satiric wit to his incredible ability to portray what it is to be human, but I’m just going to record a bit that struck me so hard that I had to pause and set the book down. (I apologize if anyone is reading this, especially if they have not read the book, because I know this particular passage lacks its power without knowing and understanding the characters involved in this conversation.)

“Why do you even bother with him? He’s had thousands of people killed!”

“Yes, but perhaps he thought you wanted it.”

“I never said I wanted that.”

“You didn’t care,” said Brutha.

“But I–”

“Shut up!”

Om’s mouth opened in astonishment.

“You could have helped people,” said Brutha. “But all you did was stamp around and roar and try to make people afraid. Like…like a man hitting a donkey with a stick. But people like Vorbis made the stick so good, that’s all the donkey ends up believing in.”

“That could use some work, as a parable,” said Om sourly.

“This is real life I’m talking about!”

“It’s not my fault if people misuse the–”

“It is! It has to be! If you muck up people’s minds just because you want them to believe in you, what they do is all your fault!”

This book. What can I say…it is brilliant, funny, deeply thoughtful, and incredibly insightful.

(And being a book from my Happiness Project, it also counts toward my 100x100by100, at #96. Read 100 books from my Happiness Project. It is one of the rare two-for-the-price-of-one-books from my happiness project, put on my list both by Ana and by Rich. 🙂 Yep, how cool is that.)

#15. Finish getting the garden in: build cucumber trellis and build pumpkin and/or melon mounds.

Woohoo! Something actually crossed right off the list! And damn, does it feel good to have the garden in…

#36. Finish watching the first 7 seasons of Columbo with Rich.

Not a cross off, but we did finish up season 2. Go us!

39. Bring in fresh flowers from outside every week.

IMG_8655Two for two now. This week it was the very first peony of the season. Peonies used to be one of those take-it-or-leave-it flowers for me. Until I found out how very much Chris loves them. Since then, my appreciation for peonies has skyrocketed, and I can’t see a peony without thinking of him. And well, that makes every peony on the planet a very special treasure. 🙂

46. Drink iced tea. Every day.

This one is just too easy. 🙂

47. Make at least one scrapbook layout/Project Life layout/memory-keeping project a week.

And this one was not. 😉 I have already blown this one. And I can’t even say I’m that sorry. I considered forcing myself to whip out a layout last evening, but I just wasn’t in the mood. And the point of my summer list, aside from getting some things done that truly need to get done, was to have fun, to enjoy summer to its fullest. And hey, 52/53 is better than 98%, and that’s still a pretty good grade if I reach it, right?

52. Read at least one essay, one short story, one poem, and one fairy tale each week. Read as many outside as possible.

Still working my way through a reread of Mary Oliver’s Twelve Moons, and read several more poems this week. Two of them, “Two Horses” and “Harvest Moon–The Mockingbird Sings in the Night” completely captured my heart and demanded reading after reading after reading. One melancholy, one celebratory, both insanely wonderful.

This week’s essay, titled “Making Peace,” and again from Barbara Kingsolver’s High Tide in Tucson, was more of a hit than last week’s. It was largely about humankind’s ideas about the ownership of land. So much of what she said struck home, and these are definitely issues I have pondered before. I  struggle with my feelings of entitlement over my garden’s produce and get frustrated as all get out at the wildlife, who of course see it as fair game. 😉

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie continues to assure her place in my list of favorite short story authors. I’m guessing she’ll do the same when it comes to novels when I finally get around to reading any of them. This week’s story, “A Private Experience” from The Thing Around Your Neck, was a story of a fleeting connection between two women from different worlds who in escaping from a violent riot are thrown together for a day and night. It’s beautiful, though not particularly happy (both women lose someone in the horrible violence). Yet it is the kind of story that continually fills me with hope, a story in which two people find connection.

And this week’s fairy tale, oh my goodness, what a delight! A tame version of “Cinderella,” no cutting off of toes and whatnot. But what made it so special was the art by Roberto Innocenti. While the story itself was not updated, the art completely made me believe it was taking place in the 1920s. I wouldn’t have believe this could have worked had you told me so beforehand, but it did. Perfectly, charmingly. I had fully intended on getting rid of this book when I finished reading it, but I’m seriously having second thoughts. 🙂 (This counts towards my 100x100by100, #5. Read 100 fairy tales.)

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just a middle-aged lady who gets giddy about lots of things

8 thoughts on “another week of summer gone…

  1. The book sounds wonderful, Pratchett always delivers! Also, what a fitting turtle 🙂 You are off to a great start with your summer reading! And the stories by Kingsolver and Adichie sound amazing. I need to finally get a move on with Kingsolver, but she’s written so much, where do I start? Kudos on the garden accomplishments? I’m enjoying my mum’s garden at the moment though I do hope the weather will get a bit bettr, it’s much too rainy for June.

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    1. I know what you mean about Kingsolver–I haven’t read any of her fiction either, all I’ve read is her essays. I’m not really sure what’s holding me back aside from the fact that I don’t know where to start. Oh okay, and the fact that there are so many damn books out there in the world that I really want to read.
      Sorry about your overly rainy weather! Ours has been nearly the opposite.
      Have a great weekend, Bina!

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  2. since you love lists so much… where you have things you are to do “everyday” or “everyweek” lists the days or weeks also so that you can be crossing them off and feeling more accomplished!
    you set such high goals… you are incredible lady.

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