Read-a-thon continues

The Victorian Era

After breakfast, spent the rest of the morning savoring the language of Victorian England: Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, and Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit.  I’m embarrassed to admit (though the info is easily viewable in my LibraryThing catalog) that I started Little Dorrit a year ago (during the PBS airing of a Masterpiece Classics version).  Slow going and nearly 800 pages long, but I’m over 2/3 through.  And I just love his descriptions of the Barnacles and their “Circumlocution Office” with its mind-boggling bureaucracy and miles of paperwork and red tape.  Then there’s Mrs. General varnishing and polishing people into “proper” behavior . . . it really is delightful, despite the length.  And the financial ups and downs of the characters are eerily familiar today.

Then I took a very long nap.  Interrupted by some helpful citizens ringing my doorbell to tell me about a new “Make your home energy efficient” program that I can’t afford to participate in.  When I arrived at the door in my bathrobe to tell them to stop ringing the bell and go away they tried to talk to me anyway!

Time for shower and lunch break . . . then I probably need to start on that review of The Undervalued Self.

Read-a-thon First Report

Woke at 6:45am with a nasty headache, but took some Tylenol and made my cup of Welsh Morning tea.

7 am arrived while the tea was brewing.  In order to get started on time, I read the introduction to The soul of a new cuisine : a discovery of the foods and flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson.  In talking about community and food rituals he describes the custom of leaving a little bit on your plate at the end of a meal, to indicate that you had enough to eat.  So opposite to the Western “eat every morsel on your plate or the cook will be offended” notion.

7:10 am – 8:40 am Sat in my “Field of Dreams”  reading lounge with my cat Marvel on my lap (see pics below).  Read Morning Prayer from the Daily Office and then worked my way through a large part of Uncommon Prayer: A Book of Psalms by Daniel Berrigan.  These poems are reflections on and interpretations of the Psalms, written in the 1970s and viewed through the eyes of a man in prison for protesting an unjust war.  They require slow and prayerful reading (and an occasional break to go read the original Psalm).  It took about an hour to read about 30 pages. I had been reading them one poem/psalm at a time, but this more concentrated reading really lets the message sink in.  It’s amazing how relevant they still are today, over 30 years later.

This reading break is also time for a brief breakfast.  Oatmeal is sitting on the stove waiting for me, so time to go.  After oatmeal I’ll be reading Part 20 of The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins.  Published by Charles Dickens 150 years ago, it is being re-released in the same weekly installments as the original.  You can learn more about the project at:


Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams Reading Lounge



Read-a-thon Preparation

I’m printing out my list of “Currently Reading” books from my LibraryThing Catalog.  My goal tomorrow is to reduce the size of this list (currently at 15 books).  I’ll start my day at 7am with tea and the Morning Prayer service (which I read from a downloaded pdf file) and Daniel Berrigan’s Uncommon prayer: a book of Psalms.  Later in the day I’ll be working on reading/reviewing a new book by Elaine Aron called The Undervalued Self (received through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program).  Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta will spice things up when I need a change.  Also have the latest chapter from The Woman in White which I’m reading in weekly installments from

I may download an audio book just in case my eyes get tired, probably something by Willa Cather from or

Another little twist: I have three books on Jazz Violin that actually include music as well as essays, so I may do a little playing (which will count as reading, because “sight reading” music is reading 🙂

Enough of a preview for now.  Keep checking back.


Dewey’s Read-a-Thon, April 10, 2010

I’ve signed up to participate in a 24-hour-read-a-thon beginning this Saturday, April 10 at 7 am CDT. I will admit from the outset that, as a person with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I have no intention/hope of staying up for 24 hours reading.  But the website indicates that sleeping is allowed, so I will do my best to read-nap-read-nap, etc.

My goal is to work through my huge pile of “currently reading” books and perhaps some of The New Yorker pile as well (have to check the rules on books vs. magazines).

Check back here for updates on my progress . . . (the idea is to read & then blog about it).

I’ll let you decide which of these images best represents your image of me during the read-a-thon 🙂


A. Easy Chair

B. Multitasking

Read-a-thon Kitchen

C. Kitchen

D. None of the Above

Post-Lent Review

Apologies for the falloff in my Lenten posts.   (Not sure what happened, though some health issues intervened to disrupt my Lenten plans.  Much to my relief, the issues were not as serious as I first feared, but still required doctor visits and tests to rule out the worst.)

Giving up Facebook for Lent did provide me with time to pursue other projects (as described in my March 5 post, these included Music, Cooking, Sewing, and Reading, with a bit of Spring Training on the radio thrown in).  Unfortunately, by the end of  Lent these disciplines had left me “wandering in the wilderness”, rather than “journeying to Jerusalem”.  Still pondering why that is and will try to post more if I find any insightful answers.


I did manage to finish all 430 pages of Lactantius’ Divine Institutes for my Lenten Reading Group.  By the end I was pretty sure that if what he was arguing for was what Christians should believe than I probably wasn’t one. In fact, his main point, that “religio” (the worship of God) and “sapientia” (wisdom) cannot exist separately from each other, became my main sticking point.  The difficulty was in part his description of what “worship of God” looks like (heavily stressing obedience to God as a way to gain immortality) and in part my disgust over current practices passing for “religio“.  Seems to me most Christian Churches are so far removed from God as not to be worshiping God at all.  And don’t even get me started on the mess in the Catholic church and why a strict hierarchical church structure is a recipe for abuse of many kinds!

In addition to Lactantius, I finished four other books: Alexander’s Bridge and O, Pioneers! by Willa Cather, Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell, and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.  Also started a few others, including some Mexican and Ethiopian cookbooks which I won’t be reading cover-to-cover.  Most of these can be found in my LibraryThing catalog


I checked out (from the library) a bunch of CDs and books on Jazz Violin and have been trying to immerse myself in the sound and history of the violin as a jazz instrument.  Still not very good at implementing the concept on my own instrument, but “playing around” at it nonetheless.

Also checked out some Chopin piano music (to supplement the books I already had) and really enjoyed the month-long celebrations of Chopin’s 200th birthday.


Totally dropped the ball on this one.  No progress on any of my sewing projects since my post on Feb 24th.


Did pretty good at simplifying my cooking and eating during Lent, though I’m not sure I saved much money.  Lots of Black & White Burritos, Brown Rice w/ Veggies, Pasta . . . Tried to use up stuff in my pantry.  Managed to avoid baking goodies (though as soon as Lent was over I baked two loaves of bread, a lemon cake, and cornbread).  Lost a few pounds and have already gained a few back.  I’ll try to find time and energy to calculate any monetary savings and post more on that later.


I’m suffering a bit of baseball withdrawal (yes, I know the season just started) due to no longer having cable TV.  The Twins are usually on over-the-air TV on Sunday afternoons, and I’ve been able to listen to several Cubs and Twins games over the radio, but my annual Opening Day ritual involving 14-hours of non-stop baseball was missing this year.  So I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself, though I know I’m better off not having the cable (so I can afford to eat 🙂 . . . And with any luck I’ll get a few more summer projects done this year than in the past few years.


Both my yoga practice and my walking suffered a decline during Lent, which might explain why I feel so out-of-sorts.  Will try to get back to those very soon.

Not a very uplifting post-Lent post, but such it is . . .