27 July 2009

For the Love of Books

(Picture from http://www.julieandjulia.com/)

Last week I finished reading "Julie and Julia." Bought it forever ago, started it and was smitten, and then somehow it got lost in the shuffle of life and I never finished it. But I knew I had to read the book before seeing the movie, which I definitely want to see. I loved, loved, loved the book. Loved the humor and the crazy scenes, loved the various characters, and shuddered repeatedly at the idea of following some of Julia's recipes. It probably doesn't help that for all of my love of food and cooking, I'm not a huge fan of French food. I know, shoot me. But man, oh man, the enjoyment I got from the book just makes me even more eager to see the movie!

It also made me realize that I never mentioned that I did manage to accomplish a few things on my birthday list that I created a year ago. Some of it I failed at, much of it is still a work in progress for this year too, and some things I accomplished. I read three "classics," and surprised myself by picking two nonfiction classics. I tend to gravitate towards fiction.

My first choice was an easy one: Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." Okay, a very easy choice! Especially since I have the BBC mini-series version practically memorized, and it stays very true to the text of the novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it in written form, though I do believe that I had read it once before. I didn't remember that until I was deep into the story again, so I'm counting this one. I also purchased Austen's "Mansfield Park," but didn't delve into it after reading the foreword and learning that it's one of her most controversial works, and not quite as light-hearted as her others. I've picked it up again this weekend, and plan to tackle it for this year's classics.

Next up I chose Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood." I've not seen the movie (of the killing or the author's biopic), and knew just the bare bones of the story. I was enthralled and couldn't put it down, in the "accident on the side of the road" way of horrific voyeurism. I enjoyed it, as much as one can a story where you know 'who dun it' and what's going to happen, but the gruesomeness was hard to think about.

You might think that my third choice followed in the same line, and I did read them back to back, mostly because I'd procrastinated and time was short. But I don't connect Capote's telling of the murder of a family with Elie Wiesel's "Night," which is his autobiographical account of surviving a Nazi concentration camp. I've had the book for over a decade, buying it at a time that I was reading a lot about that horrible period of world history. I could never bring myself to read this personal account, however, because I knew how it would tear at my heart. To be honest, the only reason I finally read it was because of all the "classics" I have waiting on my bookshelf to be read, this was the shortest one, and I was down to the week before my birthday. It was a gut-wrenching, horrifying, and terribly beautiful story. I'm glad I read it, but oh how it has haunted me.

So, at least I can check that task off for my 35th year, though I want to match it for this year as well. Possibilities include the aforementioned "Mansfield Park," "All the Kings Men," "A Tale of Two Cities," and "The Picture of Dorian Gray." There are probably others on the bookshelf as well, but these come to mind.

23 July 2009

I Got Nuthin'

Hi there. Yes, I'm still here. I'm just in one of those ruts where I don't think I have anything very interesting to say. The house buying is progressing. I'm closing on August 5th and hoping to move on September 3. I've picked out paint colors and will be buying the paint on Saturday because it's on sale and the savings are worth having to store it for a few more weeks before being able to start actually painting.

Over July 4th weekend Mom and I went up to Cincinnati to shop at all the great stores Louisville unfortunately doesn't have, like Ikea, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, and Restoration Hardware. While we spent two whole days shopping, we honestly didn't buy too much. It was mostly a planning and documenting trip with plans for a repeat visit once I have the condo, and more importantly, the first time home buyer's money! In terms of big ticket items, we found a couch (unplanned), a dining room table, and pieces to make a "mud room" sort of bench/cubby combo. I did buy the bed I wanted, because I didn't want to move a full size bed and only weeks later have to remove it for the queen that I'm splurging on. The best part was that I was able to use my iPhone to take pictures of all the items I want to purchase next time and their information tag, in the case of Ikea products. That will make the return trip much easier to handle.

In the meantime, the house is a wreck and awash in packing boxes, piles to be sent to Goodwill, yard sale items (those are Lisa's; after last year I swore no more yard sales for me), and stuff to be thrown away or recycled. I'm trying very hard to take only what I need or what I love. We'll see.

In the craft department, I've packed up most everything I have, mostly to make sure I'm not tempted to procrastinate the packing process too much. The one item I left myself was a very large, long-term knitting project that is for someone who reads this blog. So I can't even show you a picture of that, because even if I didn't identify what it was, she would know it was for her because of the color.

Anyway, be forewarned that any future posts, at least through September, are likely to be house and moving related. I'll try to at least post pictures to make it visually appealing. This will be easier once the place is actually mine and I can get into it at any time, without the help of my realtor and permission from the seller's realtor.

In the meantime, enjoy your summer!