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!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

20 in 2009 Challenge

While I've been slow identifying my 100 species, I think this challenge is definitely something I can accomplish within the allotted time frame--reading twenty books in the year and posting about them here. Remembering the books is more of a challenge for me than actually reading them (sporadic insomnia tends to leave me with stretches of time to read), but I welcome the task of organizing my thoughts about twenty books I read this year.

Updated 1/29:

I've finally realized that if I wait until I actually have time to review the books I'll probably start losing track of what I've read, so I'm going to start a list and update it with comments about the titles later. I can at least rate them, based on my enjoyment of them:

Don't bother.
☆☆ I didn't like it much, but you might.
☆☆☆ I enjoyed it and would recommend getting it from a library.
☆☆☆☆ I loved it--if I don't already own it, I'll probably buy a copy to keep.
☆☆☆☆☆ You've got to read this book!

1. The New Policeman, by Kate Thompson. (☆☆☆☆)
Have now passed this one on to O. (11) to read.

2. Mozart's Ghost, by Julia Cameron (author of The Artist's Way). (☆☆☆)

3. Tell Me, Pretty Maiden--a Molly Murphy Mystery, by Rhys Bowen (author of the "Evan Evans" mysteries). (☆☆☆½)

Updated 2/10:

4. O' Artful Death, by Sarah Stewart Taylor. (☆☆☆☆½). Uh-oh, I've found new mystery series to read. That generally means that other things get pushed to the back burner, though I have found I can throw in a load of wash while reading (who cares if those reds get put in with the whites?) and give my younger two kids a bath while reading (wow, look how wrinkly your skin can get!), amongst other things. Still, it looks like there are just three more books in the Sweeney St. George series for me to read, for now, anyway. Taylor's protagonist is smart, likeable, and just a tad melancholy. A bit of gloom suits her, though--after all, she is an art historian who specializes in funereal art!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Poetry Friday - Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)

I Am in Need of Music
Elizabeth Bishop

I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

I'm continuing in my quest to find poetry about music. Elizabeth Bishop was born not too far from here, in Worcester, MA, though throughout her life she traveled far and wide, and her poems often reflect this fact.

Poetry Friday is being hosted today at Wild Rose Reader.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Well-Trained Mind release update

For those of you who care-- ☺

In a recent post I mentioned that the newest edition of The Well-Trained Mind was scheduled for release from Amazon on February 4th. Unfortunately the release date for the book has been pushed back. According to Amazon, it will now be out on May 6th. I couldn't find any information on the website of Peace Hill Press or on Susan Wise Bauer's blog about the potential release date, but then my morning caffeine hasn't kicked in just yet. I know there was a problem with the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia being out of print (though copies are still available via Amazon), possibly for good (Kingfisher got bought out by Houghton-Mifflin), so that certainly could have something to do with the delay.