Monday, January 20, 2014

"Tragedies come in the hungry hours..."

While not on my Classics Club List, I agree that Virginia Woolf's The Voyage Out is one worthy to be counted among the Classics. It's style is unique. It's story is not typical. It's heroine isn't much of a heroine. But yet despite all of that, it is written with beautiful imagery and an incredible amount of heart-felt emotion.

Virginia Woolf was a lady who faced a lot of tragedy and heartache. So much so that it drove to her to some dark times of depression and eventually to taking her own life. But when she came out of those dark times, she was able to write. She was able to put pen to paper and spin a story of love, life, family, heartache, travel and adventure. She was able to write in such a way that her readers could sit back for a moment (or a day) and breathe in the salty air that one would breathe while crossing the ocean or hear the sounds of the jungle while riding up the river. She wrote in such a way that her readers could ache with Rachel or question with Terrence or worry with Helen. Despite her own personal heartache and times of darkness, she managed to write a story that connected her to her readers.

While at times it was hard to understand Rachel or to even appreciate her, by the end you couldn't help but ache with her. She was a young lady who lived a sheltered, quiet life who didn't really know how to interact with people. She was a young lady who didn't understand some of the things that come with life that most people take for granted. She was a young lady who was afraid of how life would change when a man proposed to her. She was a young lady who just didn't know or understand. And because of that by the end, you can't help but feel sorry for her. You feel sorry that she doesn't know the joy of a warm hug and kiss from your husband. You feel sorry that she doesn't understand how much joy marriage can bring to one's life. You feel sorry that she doesn't understand that not everyone is silly and that people can be good friends and confidants. You feel sorry that she seems to have missed out on some meaningful relationships and life experiences.

Virginia Woolf wrote some masterpieces. All of them distinctly different. All of them distinctly emotional and telling of her own heart and thoughts. And that's part of what makes them classic. They have stood the test of time. They are timeless because there is always someone who is hurting, someone who is fearful, someone who is withdrawn, someone who is searching. And Virginia Woolf has written for all of those and so many more.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Another month, another year gone...

I sit here at the end of January 1st wondering how in the world the last month, let alone the last year, could have gone so quickly. I am anxious at the thought of a new year being here and the possibilities that are to come. I am anxious because I don't want to miss a single moment and I don't want to waste another year full of empty promises, goals and resolutions. I want this year to be a year of moments. A year of taking every moment and cherishing it and using it to it's fullest potential. I have a few goals that I have come up with for this year. Two specific dreams that I want one or the other to come true by next January 1st. I am keeping them a secret so that my heart is protected in case they don't come true. Call me silly. But I hate getting my hopes up and then having them dashed. I always have and I always will. That's just me. And maybe this year will be different. Who knows?

As far as reading goes, I have no set goals or plans for this coming year. Last year my only goal was to beat 2012 in how much I read, even if just by one book or one page. And let me tell you, that I more than doubled my reading this year! The only real plan for this year is to continue working through my Classics Club list and I will probably join in with Austen in August again. Those are two that I am comfortable with and know I won't feel obligated to complete. I just want to enjoy another year of reading. Another year of having good enough eyes to see the words on the pages. Another year of having memories relived with old favorites and new memories made with new favorites. Another year of resting and escaping into the words and stories of adventurers and missionaries and families and God-followers. Another year of breathing in the lovely smell of paper and ink before picking a title off of the shelf. I want to enjoy another year of reading simply because I can. Simply because I love to read. 

With it being the beginning of a new year, I suppose it's time to wrap up 2013. As usual, I read more than I thought I did in December. No surprise there. And I loved all that I read. I read a great deal of Tolkien and some lovey-dovey/make-you-cry books. I read three of my Classics titles. And I enjoyed every minute I had for reading (mostly while in the car driving for the holidays or staying up for the New Years Eve all-nighter last night). 

Books read in December: 
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 
Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson
P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern 
The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman
J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter 
The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien 
Favorite book read in December: 
 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens... 
I loved reading his short story. It was my first time reading
 it and it made me love Dickens even more. 

Least favorite book read in December: 
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien...
While I didn't hate it, it was just a little harder for me to get through 
and in light of the other titles I read, it just wasn't my favorite.

Number of pages read in December: 
2,570 pages  

Number of pages read in 2013: 
32,558 pages
(17,289 pages in 2012)

Number of books read in 2013: 
111 books
(55 books in 2012)

Number of Classics read so far:
21 of 76

Fiction/Non-fiction read in 2013:
46 = non-fiction 
65 = fiction 

Re-reads in 2013:  
21 out of 111 (not bad!) 

Best book(s) of 2013: 
Walking His Trail by Steve Saint
 Joan of Arc by Mark Twain

Most disappointing book of 2013: 
The Last Romanov by Dora Levy Mossanen

Most beautifully written book(s) of 2013: 
Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

Most surprising book (but in a good way) of 2013: 
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 

Most thrilling or un-put-down-able book of 2013:
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Book that had the greatest impact on me personally in 2013: 
Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan  

Best series discovered in 2013: 
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan