An Invitation to Storytime!

Following my discussion related to digital vs. material books in a previous post, several readers responded with comments saying they also prefer the joy of holding, touching, fingering actual books of the paper-and-ink variety. In this post, I thought I’d mention a different (hardly new) dynamic:  reading aloud.

Image by Victoria from Pixabay

It’s an ancient practice, reading aloud. (Is it permissible to describe it as an art?) One person pulls out a scroll/manuscript/letter/book and others gather around, captivated by the material being read. Or let’s go even further back when tales were memorized and recited. (This train of thought brings to mind a post from 2011 in which I wrote about one of my possible forebears, the 13th century German poet der Stricker.) Continue reading “An Invitation to Storytime!”

Reading, Between the Lines

Reading is a particular kind of nourishment for me. Whether it’s research (information and study), relaxation (fiction and literary works) or relational (communing with my God), I read hungrily, interactively, establishing an intellectual (and often heartfelt) connection with the specific work and its author.

Image by Fio from Pixabay

However, I’m a reluctant latecomer when it comes to enjoying books presented in digital format. In fact, one of the most difficult transitions for me has been the gradual acceptance and subsequent adoption of digital books over actual paper-and-ink volumes. Since buying my first Apple iPad (maybe ten years ago?) and an Amazon Kindle (a short while after), I used the hand-held devices almost daily for email, browsing the internet, etc. … but rarely ever as a reading device! Both devices seemed cold and detached, objects which might be considered helpful but still completely devoid of personal connection. Continue reading “Reading, Between the Lines”

Is Enough “Ever” Enough?

Except for the red hair and flashlight, the image below reminds me of a long-ago youngster. I vividly recall lying in bed hidden beneath sheet and blankets, eyes focused on a book which I was determined to read even though the lights in the room were switched off and I’d been duly tucked into bed. Undaunted by the dark room, I depended on an outdoor street lamp which cast its muted light through my second story bedroom window. Many a night I fell to sleep, captivated by tales of heroic deeds and imagined adventures.

Image by Amberrose Nelson from Pixabay

My motto at that time might have been So many books, so little time! Books were my favored pathway and the universe seemed unlimited. After mentioning book recommendations in my previous post, I was reminded of several volumes I (1) have recently started, (2) am currently reading through or (3) have just completed. Contemplating the image above, I understand vicariously the delight and joy reflected in this child’s face.

Continue reading “Is Enough “Ever” Enough?”

To Be Something – More

Book recommendations are one of my major weaknesses. Especially when someone I admire suggests a particular book, I have little-to-no resistance. Given the number of books on my bookshelves (many still unread), it seems I’m dealing with an obsession a costly one!

If I were blessed with unlimited resources, I envision “my” library looking something like the image above from Prague … maybe I’d add a comfy chair or two since the straight-backed chairs on the right don’t look terribly cozy! Give me a cushy chair and footstool (plus a cup of coffee or cinnamon tea) and except for refills, I might not venture out for days (or weeks). Continue reading “To Be Something – More”

A Trip To Mars

There’s a curious film I recently discovered on the Internet Archive. It’s a silent Danish film from 1918 entitled A Trip to Mars. (The original title was Himmelskibet.) Ten years ahead of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, A Trip to Mars captured the imagination of early 20th-century earthbound film-makers and viewers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Trip_to_Mars

Given the founding of the private corporation SpaceX in 2002, an organization whose stated mission is “to enable the colonization of Mars,” space travel to Mars has taken on early 21st-century currency. In May 2020, SpaceX was the first private company (i.e. non-governmental) to send humans to the International Space Station. Continue reading “A Trip To Mars”

One For All

As a child, reading was one of my favorite pastimes. I couldn’t have been very old – maybe ten or eleven – when my imagination began feasting on the classics. (If you’re familiar with any of my posts in 2013, it should be clear my reading tastes tend to be eclectic.) What I especially enjoyed were adventure tales where seemingly ordinary people performed heroic deeds.

Image by Julia Casado from Pixabay

There were particular authors whose works I enjoyed. I devoured stories by Alexander Dumas. I read and re-read The Count of Monte Cristo. Ditto for Mutiny On the Bounty (by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall). Such adventure tales helped my imagination soar; in a way, I was able to live the adventures in my head. Continue reading “One For All”

The Big House

On separate occasions over the last couple weeks, two of my grandchildren have asserted:  “My house is bigger than yours.” Perhaps this is a twenty-first century equivalent to the claim from my era:  my dad is stronger than your dad!strong man

When the five-year old initially made the statement, I gently disagreed with him. “Yes, you live in a big house, but not as large as this one.” Factually, I was correct but this grandson would have none of it. Some weeks later, when my four-year old granddaughter posited the identical suggestion, I admitted the possibility. (She does live in a larger home than the grandson.) Continue reading “The Big House”

Southern Romantic

A couple days ago, I posted in this space about the suggestion by a film critic and New York Post columnist to banish one of my favorite all-time books, Gone With the Wind, arguing it was one more remnant of racist history. Seventy-nine years ago today, GWTW debuted on bookstands.Gone_with_the_Wind_cover

The author, Margaret Mitchell, hoped the book would sell 5,000 copies. To her surprise, during a single day in the summer of 1936, 50,000 copies were sold. The book was her only published novel, earning her the National Book Award for Most Distinguished Novel of 1936 as well as the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1937. Not bad for a first novel, huh? Continue reading “Southern Romantic”

Here Lies . . .

FROM: http://tiny.cc/4pktzx
FROM: http://tiny.cc/4pktzx

Two-thousand-fifteen is the centennial year marking the publication of the curious (though largely forgotten) volume of poems titled Spoon River Anthology.

Written by poet Edgar Lee Masters, the book is a collection of short poems (epitaphs) relating the lives of fictional small town characters (mingled with poems by several true-life figures) who share the same location … they’re buried in the Spoon River cemetery.

Except for the introductory poem, each poem/epitaph is written in the first person, each departed individual telling his or her story from the grave. The poems were initially a series of compositions published in a literary journal.

These compositions eventually became the anthology. Masters published numerous other works including biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain and others. However, the Spoon River Anthology appears to have been his most notable and enduring work. Continue reading “Here Lies . . .”

Lyin’ Eyes

Written in 1975 by Don Henley and Glenn Frey of the Eagles, the song Lyin’ Eyes was nominated for Record of the Year. In concerts following the song’s release, Henley and Frey shared that the song originated when they witnessed a curious encounter in an LA bar. They imagined the scene as an illicit love affair between the man and woman; soon after, the song was born.lying eyesLyrics from the song came to mind today as I was mulling over revelations about Rachel Dolezal, a prominent civil rights activist and current president of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington. Though most of the song’s lyrics refer to a bar romance, the verse shown below could apply to almost any entanglement in which a woman might find herself.

She wonders how it ever got this crazy …
She thinks about a boy she knew in school.
Did she get tired, or did she just get lazy?
She’s so far gone she feels just like a fool.

In case you’re unaware of the predicament of Rachel Dolezal, you’ll find here and here two articles that fill in the details. Perhaps neither Frey nor Henley could have imagined their lyrics might be tied to such a tangled tale! Continue reading “Lyin’ Eyes”