Sunday, November 28, 2010

Beauty

"Look, Megan!" she cries happily, swinging her legs in the booster seat next to me.

So I look, but not at what she wants me to look at. I look at her: hair and eyelashes turning from sandy brown to liquid gold in the sunlight, her smooth skin with its bit of tan, her smiling pink lips.

If I were a poet perhaps I would write about her more, more than the little anecdotes and funny sayings. I would find a way to capture how she is the most beautiful, perfect creature I've ever seen in my life, how I love her so much that it hurts, but a sort of pain so precious that you wouldn't give up a moment of it for a thousand years of pleasure.

But I don't have the words to describe it well; I only have these few halting sentences which I will put up anyway so that maybe someday she reads this and gets at least a little glimpse of my heart.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A really long book meme


courtesy of Salome Ellen

1. Favorite childhood book?
When I was in first grade, this book called Charlie the Caterpillar. When I was a little older, Ella Enchanted. I still love Ella; haven't read Charlie in years to know if it's actually any good.

2. What are you reading right now?
The Brothers Karamazov--for school, but I love it so much that I'm glad for another chance to read it.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
Liturgy of the Hours: Its history and its importance as the communal prayer of the Church after Vatican II, by Fr. Dominic F. Scotto, TOR. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second life, and Beyond: from production to produsage, by Axel Bruns. Watching the watchdog: Blogging as the fifth estate, by Stephen D. Cooper. All books that came in too late to be used in research papers and that I will not be picking up.

4. Bad book habit?
Walking and reading, probably.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

A dozen different things, mostly about marriage because of my last research paper. I need to drop them off in the chute today or tomorrow.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
E-readers are an abomination.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?
Usually I prefer to have 2 or 3 going at once, but in my day I could have a dozen that I was reading all at the same time and still follow the plot of each.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Yes, but that's correlation rather than causation. (I also became a college student in the fall of 2007...)

9. Least favorite book you read this year?

Whatever book that was by David Hume that we read in Honors last semester. I disliked it so much I won't even look up the title for you.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Alex O'Donnell and the Forty Cybertheives, by Regina Doman.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
What's a comfort zone?

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
See, these questions should be reversed. Honestly, the only limit I have is nasty explicit content, and I almost never read outside that.

13. Can you read on the bus?
It's been a while since I've been on the bus, but I have no problems reading on planes and very little difficulty reading in cars, so I'll say yes.

14. Favorite place to read?
The comfy brown chair at home. I am stealing that chair when I graduate.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
My precioussssss...Seriously, though, I will fairly often say to someone, "You should read this book" and then give them my copy of it. Since this only happens between me and close friends, I know they'll give it back.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Very rarely.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Nooooooooooooooooooo (breath) oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

18. Not even with text books?
NOOOOOOOO.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English. I don't think my Spanish is good enough to read a whole book, and my Latin is even worse.

20. What makes you love a book?
When it makes me go into poetic raptures. It's hard to define what exactly will do that, though. (Dostoyevsky and Lewis both have good track records in inducing poetic raptures.)

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If it induces poetic raptures, and I think the person I'm recommending it to is the sort to be able to have poetic raptures.

22. Favorite genre?
I read just about anything, though I'm not a huge fan of what little horror I've read. If I had to pick I'd say sci-fi.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
Going off the last question...I haven't read some good classic sci-fi in a couple years. (Ray Bradbury ftw!)

24. Favorite biography?
Surprised by Joy, by C. S. Lewis.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Of course. My favorite general self-help books are the Seven Habits family by the Coveys. (The only one I've read all the way through is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, by Sean Covey.)

26. Favorite cookbook?
My mom's Better Homes and Gardens cookbook from the eighties. Yay for butter in everything!

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or nonfiction)?
Hmmm...Let's say A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken.

28. Favorite reading snack?
Just about anything. I really like apples and books, even though I hate getting sticky pages as a result.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I'm not sure. There have been plenty of books which I thought were overrated, but I wouldn't say hype ruined my reading experience.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Not very often.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
Go for it, but have reasons. You can't just say "I hated this book" and leave it at that.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
Russian. I'm that much of a Dostoyevsky fangirl.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
War and Peace, I suppose. I didn't end up liking it very much, either.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
After finishing War and Peace, there's not much that scares me anymore.

35. Favorite poet?
Probably T. S. Eliot.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Half a dozen?

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?
At the end of summer and Christmas vacations.

38. Favorite fictional character?
Too many to list. At this moment, Ivan Fyodorovich Karamazov.

39. Favorite fictional villain?
Raskolnikov.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Whatever I happen to be reading at the time.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Does not compute.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Chesterton's Orthodoxy. I'm about due for my biannual attempt at reading that book.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
A lot of stuff. I'm a distractible person.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. (The one that came out a few years ago.)

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Prince Caspian. Ella Enchanted was pretty bad as well, but Caspian was more disappointing because of how well they'd done LWW.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
$600+ on textbooks.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

Only for school.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
The Second Coming. I usually either give up on a book after 2-3 chapters or read it all the way through. If I make it to halfway I've invested enough time on it that I feel like I have to finish.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Yes, but right now they're not at all.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Depends on if I liked them.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Well, right now I'm avoiding finishing The Brothers Karamazov by doing this meme.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
Moby Dick, because I was 14 at the time and a very black-and-white thinker. I should go back and try that book again sometime.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Brideshead Revisited? I didn't decide I liked that book until about the last 10 pages.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
War and Peace?
I kept waiting for the pace to pick up and everything to suddenly wrap itself up brilliantly, and then...it just sort of ended, instead.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Can I say Dostoyevsky again?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I turned 21 yesterday

Things I got for my birthday:

-45 wall posts on Facebook

-1 card (from my grandmother)

-1 four-page letter (from my darling boyfriend)

-1 mysterious Amazon box (from my family; I'm waiting to open it until we can all be on Skype)

-5 handmade signs on my door, including 1 of a deformed unicorn (from my household sisters, and they were hilarious)

-1 package of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls (bought by my mother while I was home for fall break to compensate for the lack of birthday cake)

-1 cone of Moose Tracks ice cream (from the caf, and thus indirectly from my wonderful tuition-paying parents)

-1 piece of cake (from my roommate, who conscripted one of her friends/my acquaintances into making me cake)

-1 glass of White Zinfandel, to which my reaction was "meh" (also from my roommate)

It was a pretty good day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why I'm not blogging much

My schedule for the next 8 days:

Friday: A 6-to-8-page paper on the history of the Liturgy of the Hours due at 10 a.m.

Monday: A design of a magazine spread due at 6 p.m.

Tuesday: A 10-page paper on alternative forms of journalism due at 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday: A 10-to-15-page paper on the mutual sanctification of the spouses as the primary goal of marriage due at 6 p.m.

Thursday: An 8-minute presentation on new media (Twitter, Facebook, etc) due at 9:30 a.m.

(I feel like there's some sort of grave injustice inherent in the fact that Wednesday is my birthday. I suppose this is what I get for being born in November.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Saturday Evening Blog Post, Volume 1 for me


This is called the Saturday evening blog post. I entered my link on Sunday night, and then I wrote this post on Monday morning. Yeah, I'm a bit behind the curve.

Anyway...I chose this post, for reasons that I think will be obvious. Go to Elizabeth Esther to read some other posts.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Quote of the day

“Perhaps one of the oldest descriptions of good journalism comes from the Bible itself. In the opening lines of the Gospel according to St. Luke, the writer explained that he had ‘carefully investigated everything from the beginning, [and] it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you…to know the certainty of the things you have been taught.’ So a first principle for journalists is to tell the story truthfully in such a way that others may obtain certain knowledge of events to which they were not personally a witness.”~Curtis R. Holsopple, "Mass Media in 2025"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Divine imprudence

The Gospel for today is one that has often puzzled me. Why would a shepherd leave all his sheep in the desert to go look for the lost one? Wouldn't it be a better idea to leave them in the sheepfold? And why does the woman call together everyone she knows after she finds the coin? I recall a different Gospel writer or a different translation which said of this parable that she had a party when she found the lost coin--and probably spent more than the value of the coin on the party celebrating its return. It's just so imprudent of that shepherd and that woman.

It occurred to me a few months ago that maybe that's the point. Maybe we're supposed to come away from this with the realization that God will not search for us only when it's economically feasible. He does not seek to get back from us what he spent finding us. If anything, he risks all his fortune solely for us.

Why? Because he loves us so much that we're worth it.

I give Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you.
~Isaiah 43:3-4

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

G. K. Chesterton to Frances Blogg

I do not have any original thoughts to spare today, so I'm posting this, which I got from here.

I cannot profess to offer any elaborate explanation of your mother's disquiet but I admit it does not wholly surprise me. You see I happen to know one factor in the case, and one only, of which you are wholly ignorant. I know you ... I know one thing which has made me feel strange before your mother - I know the value of what I take away. I feel (in a weird moment) like the Angel of Death.

You say you want to talk to me about death: my views about death are bright, brisk and entertaining. When Azrael takes a soul it may be to other and brighter worlds: like those whither you and I go together. The transformation called Death may be something as beautiful and dazzling as the transformation called Love. It may make the dead man 'happy,' just as your mother knows that you are happy. But none the less it is a transformation, and sad sometimes for those left behind. A mother whose child is dying can hardly believe that in the inscrutable Unknown there is anyone who can look to it as well as she. And if a mother cannot trust her child easily to God Almighty, shall I be so mean as to be angry because she cannot trust it easily to me? I tell you I have stood before your mother and felt like a thief. I know you are not going to part: neither physically, mentally, morally nor spiritually. But she sees a new element in your life, wholly from outside - is it not natural, given her temperament, that you should find her perturbed? Oh, dearest, dearest Frances, let us always be very gentle to older people. Indeed, darling, it is not they who are the tyrants, but we. They may interrupt our building in the scaffolding stages: we turn their house upside down when it is their final home and rest. Your mother would certainly have worried if you had been engaged to the Archangel Michael (who, indeed, is bearing his disappointment very well): how much more when you are engaged to an aimless, tactless, reckless, unbrushed, strange-hatted, opinionated scarecrow who has suddenly walked into the vacant place. I could have prophesied her unrest: wait and she will calm down all right, dear. God comfort her: I dare not....