Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Radio silence

I've combined this blog with my original blog, Rockhound Place, as keeping up with four blogs is not something I can currently manage.  I still have lots of book recommendations in my posts, and hope to start participating in Poetry Friday again when things around here settle down a bit.  This blog still gets Google hits quite a bit, so I plan to keep it up, if not running, but all of my previous "A Habit of Reading" posts can now be found over at Rockhound Place.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Poetry Friday - Sara Teasdale, again

Another little bit of serendipity came my way this week in the area of music meets poetry. Last week my PF post was a poem by Sara Teasdale ("April"), and three days later I sat down in a choir rehearsal to begin working on a song called "A Blessing," by New Zealand-born composer David N. Childs (SATB, piano, flute; published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Inc.). The lyrics just happen to be based on another poem by Sara Teasdale that I find very moving:

Sara Teasdale

Peace flows into me
As the tide to the pool by the shore;
It is mine forevermore,
It ebbs not back like the sea.

I am the pool of blue
That worships the vivid sky;
My hopes were heaven-high,
They are all fulfilled in you.

I am the pool of gold
When sunset burns and dies--
You are my deepening skies,
Give me your stars to hold.

Poetry Friday is being hosted today at Becky's Book Reviews.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Poetry Friday - Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)

Sara Teasdale

The roofs are shining from the rain,
The sparrows twitter as they fly,
And with a windy April grace
The little clouds go by.

Yet the back yards are bare and brown
With only one unchanging tree--
I could not be so sure of Spring
Save that it sings in me.

My sentiments exactly.

Poetry Friday is being hosted today at Carol's Corner.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A seasonal quote from Charlotte Mason

"A girl who knows something about wildflowers, for example, will be a popular walking companion with all kinds of people in various circumstances." ~Home Education in Modern English: Volume 1 of Charlotte Mason's Series
Love it! Thanks to the Hearts and Trees newsletter for the quote. A new blog entry at the Hearts and Trees blog titled A Few Spring Nature Study Ideas is worth checking out!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Poetry Friday - John David (b.1946)

"You Are the New Day"
by John David

I will love you more than me
and more than yesterday
if you can but prove to me
you are the new day.

Send the sun in time for dawn,
let the birds all hail the morning.
Love of life will urge me say,
you are the new day.

When I lay me down at night
knowing we must pay,
thoughts occur that this night might
stay yesterday.

Thoughts that we as humans small
could slow worlds and end it all
lie around me where they fall
before the new day.

One more day when time is running out
for ev'ryone,
like a breath I knew would come
I reach for a new day

Hope is my philosophy,
just needs days in which to be,
love of life means hope for me,
born on a new day.

Well, I don't know if it stands alone enough as a poem, but Welsh songwriter John David's song is very moving, especially as sung by The King's Singers (try to ignore Barney and the Teletubbies--I do):

The local community chorus with which I sing is singing an SATB arrangement (by former King's Singers member Peter Knight) of this song in our upcoming spring concert, along with some other lovely choices.

Poetry Friday is being hosted today by children's book author Julie Larios over at The Drift Record.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's in your TBR stack?

Melissa of Here in the Bonny Glen posted a picture of her TBR stack, and I thought it would make a nice meme to get others to share what is in theirs. Here's a pile of my TBRs:

What's in yours?

Hey--I just noticed that if you click on the photo the picture gets bigger and the titles are actually legible!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Poetry Friday - Nancy White Carlstrom

Today, in honor of Alaska's Last Great Race, the 2009 Iditarod, which begins tomorrow at 10 a.m. Alaska time (2 p.m. EST), I am posting the "spring" part of a poem celebrating the four seasons by Nancy White Carlstrom, from her book, Midnight Dance of the Snowshoe Hare--Poems of Alaska (1998), with the author's permission. The book's lovely illustrations are by Ken Kuroi.

from "Raven Cries River"
by Nancy White Carlstrom

Snowshoe Hare, white on light,
Sled Dog dreaming big race
Grouse family comic
Roosting tree like joke
Red Squirrel carries sunshine.
Gangly Moose
Dangling new buds
Stamping mud from snowmelt.

And Raven,
Bold rascal Raven
Cries River
Ice chunks crashing
Water rushing
Spring breakup!

The rest of the poem tells of each of the other three seasons from the animals' perspectives. The other poems in the book are also told in the voices of various Snowshoe Hare--young ones, wise grandfather hare, and others. Carlstrom's usually spare verse doesn't verge into cutesieness, so, although this book is likely aimed at the four to eight crowd, older readers will also enjoy it.

We've read the Jesse Bear books by Carlstrom, and have copies of Who Said BOO? Halloween Poems for the Very Young and Thanksgiving Day at Our House--Thanksgiving Poems forthe Very Young that we get out each fall. The author has a website, with a list of the Jesse Bear books, plus a list of all of her other books to date.

For more of my posts about the Iditarod, including lists of books, dvds, and other resources concerning the race, Alaska, and the Arctic, visit one of my other blogs, Rockhound Place.

Poetry Friday is being hosted today at Picture Book of the Day. Check it out!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Poetry Friday - Dante, and more

"Divine Geometry"
from Dante's Divine Comedy
translated by Dorothy L. Sayers

As the geometer his mind applies
To square the circle, not for all his wit
Finds the right formula, howe'er he tries,

So strove I with wonder--how to fit
The image of the sphere; so sought to see
How it maintained the point of rest in it.

Thither my own wings could not carry me,
But that a flash my understanding clove,
Whence its desire came to it suddenly.

High phantasy lost power and here broke off;
Yet as a wheel moves smoothly, free from jars
My will and my desire were turned by love,

The love that moves the sun and the other stars.

from The Pythagorean Liturgy

Though in noon's heaven no star you see,
Know well that many there must be.
And with your soul's extended ears
You'll hear the music of the spheres.

Read about Pythagoreanism here. And for an interesting look (and listen) at one man's attempt to hear literally the planets as they orbit the sun, visit Carmen of the Spheres.

Poetry Friday is being hosted today at The Holly and the Ivy. Head on over and check it out!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

100+ Books List

Saw this without the meme on Suji's Funschooling blog, then with the meme at LB's. (Am I using the word meme correctly, LB?)

I love lists. Especially lists of books. Changed the name to 100+ because I'm a recovering type A and there are more than 100 on the list.

Bold those you have read.
Italicize those you intend to read.
Do audio books count? You decide. Movies, decidedly no.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (many times over--one of my all-time faves)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (read in high school, much to the dismay of my BFF who couldn't understand how I could disappear inside books the way I did these).
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (read it because I wondered what I was missing in high school--BJU textbooks, don't get me started!)
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 1984 - George Orwell (college? can't remember)
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (have read parts)
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (have read some for the same reason as #5)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (see #2--read all four in almost unceasing obsession--um, succession)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (ooh, tried this one and found it annoying)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell (another high school read that annoyed my BFF)
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (loved it, especially the answer)
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (favorite of mine)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (another favorite--but can't get it to work as a read-aloud for some reason)
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (hmm, wasn't this just mentioned, at #33?)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (won't read it)
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (as part of a book club)
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (started it, never finished)
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins (started to read)
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (another all-time favorite)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Started, don't think I finished it)
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (Did I? Might be confusing it with The Scarlet Pimpernel)
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding (laugh-out-loud book)
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson (had this on my "to read" list last summer)
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath (for college class)
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt (loved it)
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (these are right up there with the Austen canon for me)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (read so long ago I want to read it again)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams (started, never finished)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Well, that was fun. What a great reminder of some classic titles I've been meaning to read. I'll set a goal to read at least one of the italicized books this year.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Poetry Friday - Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

After the Dazzle of Day
Walt Whitman

After the dazzle of day is gone,
Only the dark dark night shows
to my eyes the stars;
After the clangor of organ majestic,
or chorus, or perfect band,
Silent, athwart my soul, moves the
symphony true.

The Walt Whitman Archive has an incredible amount of information, photos, and, of course, the works of the poet--definitely worth a visit, so mosey on over if you have the inclination. There is even a photo of Whitman's original manuscript of this poem, among others.

Poetry Friday is being hosted at Big A little a. Check it out!