Tag Archives: Books

Book Spine Poetry

17 Aug

Have you heard of book spine poetry? I just did for the first tine this week, and I think it’s really cool. You take books you own (from what I’ve heard there’s some debate on whether the books should come from one shelf or not) and make the best poem you can using the book titles as they appear on the spines. Here’s my first one:

image

On the road
Rebecca pledged
All the available light.

It’s fun, you should try it! If you do, leave a link on the comments below so we can check yours out!

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Intentionally February

5 Mar

image from thresca on tumblr

We’re two months into the year of living intentionally. January went well, and now it’s time to see how it went in February. I don’t want to bore you with the whole list of ways I want to be intentional this year, so let’s just talk about where things went right.

Moving into a season of greater spiritual and emotional intimacy with my husband.

This one is still going well, though I think this month that’s more due to effort on A’s part than mine. He’s been really on top of keeping boundaries up during tax season, and making the most of the time we have together at home. We’ve had more dates this month and more time out with friends than I can remember us ever having during a tax season February. February is usually the time in tax season where the end is still so far that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, but A and his co-workers have been going at it for so long that they’re burned out. February usually brings significant stress and tiredness on A’s part, stress and loneliness on mine, and an epic fight at some point during the month. Not this month! This month we’re comparatively doing well. I’m going to chalk it up to us both being more focused on keeping the intimacy going  during the lean times. Dreaming of our post-tax season vacation helps too.

Moving forward with the ministry God’s put in front of me.

I’ve made decisions this month about my time over the next year, and keeping out time sucks so I can focus in the upcoming months. So I’m calling this one a win.

Making the most of the relationships I have, and taking time to nurture them.

This month has seen many spontaneous lunches and get-togethers with girlfriends. I’ve baby-sat for good friends, and started working out with girlfriends, which helps with my next intentional goal:

Finding fun, creative ways to get together with friends that don’t revolve around food.

I joined a gym that three of my girlfriends belong to. Within the first week of joining, my unofficial life coach Dianne called me four times to see if I was going to class. Way to motivate, Deed!

Tackling some of the harder things on The List, especially the ones that scare me.

You know how I said I joined the gym? Yeah, the biggest reason was to take yoga. Twice a week. And I’m doing it. Yay!
Also, I’ve got A on board with my vision to redecorate the bedroom, and he’s even starting to set aside a little bit to help me do it. Double yay!

Having more people over for dinner, and not letting time/stress/money get in the way of my love of being a hostess.

Two dinners this month, one quite a random mix of people, both successful. This recipe is fab, by the way. Easy, tasty, and the leftovers were great thinly sliced over salad with the aoli as dressing the next night.

Finding ways beyond words to show people that I love them.

I’ve sent out several offers of help to friends who are hurting this month. As one who has been loved on in this way when I’ve been down, I know how much it means.

Buying locally as much as possible.

I just bought the first strawberries of the season, from California. I’ve been resisting the blueberries and raspberries and blackberries that have been popping up in the store because they were from Chile or Mexico. But last week, three baskets of California strawberries were $6. Um, done. Plus, did you know that Clover milk is native to Nor Cal? It is, so Clover eggs and butter is all that’s on our table.

Reading challenging, empowering, quality books instead of solely feeding my brain a mental fast food diet of chick-lit.

Unbroken
The Paris Wife
Working on The Time In Between at Katie’s suggestion.
Plus I opened a Goodreads account! Loving the bookish camaraderie.

Putting my health first and making the time to exercise.

Hey, did I mention I joined a gym? With friends? I did? Oh, sorry. Well, joining is only half the battle. Am I making the time to go? Let’s just say I have a standing date for Monday and Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings for the foreseeable future.

If you had a resolution or a word for 2012, how’s it going? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment or link to a blog post you’ve written on this below.

Hadley Hemingway Lives in The Paris Wife

29 Feb

After finishing Unbroken, I was hungry for another good book and didn’t want to take a gamble on the bookshelves. So I contacted my Bostonian Bookophile, who of course had a fount of suggestions. When The Paris Wife was among them, I knew it would be my next book, as I’d already had my eye on it for a while. And it was beautiful.

Paula McLain found a way to bring the first of Hemingway’s four wives back to life, giving her a beautiful, lyrical, melancholy voice. The story of a young woman who became intricately entwined with the budding career of one of America’s greatest literary talents only to see her marriage swallowed by the chaotic life of 1920’s bohemian Paris. Most of The Paris Wife is written as Hadley’s interior monologue, peppered with cut-scenes of Hemingway’s betrayals.

hadley and earnest hemingway, 1920. photo from kramblings

When inside Hadley’s head, her voice is rich, fluid, lyrical. When McLain moves into dialogue between Ernest and Hadley it’s as succinct and poignant as the dialogue Hemingway was known for. McLain makes the tragedy of broken promises and failed expectations lovely, and you can almost taste the bitterness of Hadley’s longing as she finds and loses the love of her life. Though I’m not much for sad endings, this book is supremely worth the read.

I underlined much of this book, as I’m a sucker for a clever turn of phrase. Here’s one of my favorite bits:

If you looked at the bicycles one way, they looked very solid, like sculpture, with afternoon light glinting cleanly off the chrome handlebars–one, two, three, all in a row. If you looked at them another way, you could see just how thin each kickstand was under the weight of the heavy frame, and how they were poised to fall like dominoes or the skeletons of elephants or like love itself. But when I noticed this, I kept it to myself because that, too, was part of the unwritten contract.

I really like 101 Book’s habit of including the first line of each book he reads in his review, so I’d like to do the same, with my own twist:

Opening line (Prologue): Though I often looked for one, I finally had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris.

Opening line (Chapter 1): The very first thing he does is fix me with those wonderfully brown eyes and say, “It’s possible I’m too drunk to judge, but you might have something there.”

Closing lines (Main book): He nodded yes, and I folded Ernest’s letter, creasing and squaring the edges until it seemed sturdy. I gave it to Bumby and together we waded out into the surf and let the boat go. It bobbed and dipped, words on water, and when the waves gradually took it, I only cried a very little, and then it was gone.

Closing lines (Epilogue): There was nothing Paul could possibly do for me except let me go – back to Paris and Pamplona and San Sebastian, back to Chicago when I was Hadley Richardson, a girl stepping off a train about to meet the man who would change her life. That girl, that impossibly lucky girl, needed nothing.

Intentionally January

1 Feb

image from chasing vivid dreams

Let’s see, one month ago I was waxing poetic about all the things I wanted to do to make 2012 the year of living intentionally. I thought today, on this first day of February 2012, would be a good time to look back on the month before through the lens of being intentional. Let’s see how we did, shall we?

Pursuing the Lord’s heart like I did when I first loved Him.

I did ok on this one. Instead of just skimming over my daily verse and thinking “oh, that’s nice,” I started saying a prayer about that verse. Usually that God help me to apply it to my day, or let me understand Him better through His word. Not a bad start, but I could have done better.

Moving into a season of greater spiritual and emotional intimacy with my husband.

This one went well, I feel. (Will have to check with A. and see what he thinks.) A is neck-deep into tax season, and traditionally this time of year we are never at our best, intimacy-wise. But remember my idea for building intimacy through wine and cheese? We’ve kept it going, every night A is home for dinner and we don’t have to rush out the door, which usually means 2-4 nights a week. On Sunday we were doing our big grocery run for the week, and I started tallying up what portion of our food budget we spent on wine and cheese. It wasn’t obscene, but definitely more than we’d usually spend just to have a little luxury. I said as much to A on our drive home, to which he replied, “yeah, but you know? I see it as an investment it us. It’s not really spending money on food, we’re spending money to bring us closer together, which we really need right now. Plus, it’s cheaper than going out to dinner.” True dat, my love, true dat.

Moving forward with the ministry God’s put in front of me.

Yeah, this one I haven’t paid much attention to this month, except to worry about how much I’m not doing, and time is slipping away. This month will be better.

Making the most of the relationships I have, and taking time to nurture them.

I haven’t done much with this one either, though now that I think about it, how would I measure this? I did well with A, as noted above, but I don’t know about my other relationships. Do my dogs count? Truth be told, one of the hardest things to deal with as I work through S.A.D. is feeling distinctly anti-social. It’s hard, because I’m a very social person. I’ve really appreciated how a lot of my girlfriends and sister have made a point of reaching out to me, and I’ve loved going out when they suggest it, but it has sometimes been hard for me to make that phone call. So I haven’t been proactive about making active time to nurture my relationships outside of A.
Wait! I’ve got a success! (Little stream of consciousness here.) My friends all seem to have a lot going on in their lives right now, and in January I’ve felt more of a burden to pray for all of them than I have in a long time. They might not know about it, or be able to see it, but right now when my time and emotional resources are limited, I’ve been praying. And truth be told, I feel like I love them and appreciate them more now for doing it.

Tackling some of the harder things on The List, especially the ones that scare me.

As I’ve said, January didn’t see me cross anything off my list. I am working on learning the guitar, and have started a teeny-tiny dream fund, but no actual crossings yet. I’m hopeful for February.

Having more people over for dinner, and not letting time/stress/money get in the way of my love of being a hostess.

Done! We had A’s bff from work and his wife over for dinner. They brought wine, she baked my favorite cookies ever, my chicken was dry (per usual), but we had a great time. It was the first time I’ve felt a little hangover in awhile, let me tell you. Accountants, man, they be crazy! There was a time in the not-too-distant past that having one couple over for dinner in a month would have been a step down for us. But looking back on 2011 (which will forever be known as The Year Suck) we really didn’t have people over. So one this month is a step in the right direction. Yay, Team Aylesworth!

Finding ways beyond words to show people that I love them.

I’m going to defer to my note on praying for people on this one. And my successful implementation of wine and cheese nights with A. Oh, and yesterday I picked up a bag of gummy bears for A while I was at the store. (They’re his favorite, and I’ve never seen them carried at Trader Joes. All of a sudden, there they were! Get while the gettin’s good, I say.)

Buying locally as much as possible.

This has been a mixed bag. I just put a temporary hold on our CSA order, as I’m not cooking as often or as much as I have been, and it was starting to be a waste. But I continue to seek out local veggies at the store (again, SO BLESSED to live in California!), buy from local dairy farmers, and I just found an egg supplier who is local as well for year-round egg buying. Score! (Come summertime I buy eggs from my friend Danielle, our church’s very own urban farmer, if she has enough. You don’t get much more local than that!)

Finding fun, creative ways to get together with friends that don’t revolve around food.

I had two FWF dates this month. BOO-yah!

Reading challenging, empowering, quality books instead of solely feeding my brain a mental fast food diet of chick-lit.

Hmm, let’s see. What have I been reading this month? Not a whole lot, unfortunately, the newest issues of Relevant and Runners World aside. I finally picked up The Man Who Ate Everything. Loved The Night Circus. Finished Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) and The Handmaid’s Tale. There were two chick-lit books thrown into the mix as well that I don’t really remember (mental fast food indeed), so three chick-lit, three non? I’ll call that a win.

Putting my health first and making the time to exercise.

I went out four times, which is better than my previous month’s score of zero. Still working on shaking of my sense of inertia courtesy of S.A.D, and I hurt my foot somehow. It’s really quite the mystery. I have a doctor’s appointment on Friday if it doesn’t feel better by them. For now I’m walking on my toes on my left foot.

All in all, I’m going to say not bad. This year isn’t about doing everything all the time. No one can do that, especially me. I’d exhaust myself trying, and drive myself crazy thinking about all I’m not accomplishing instead of focusing on my successes. No, I can’t do everything, no matter how much I’d like to. But I want to do something, and cataloging my journey towards being intentional is part of my being intentional; I know myself, and if I didn’t purposefully take a look at how I’m doing I’d get nothing done. So now I know what I’ve done and what I want to work on next. Less of a check list, more of a status check on my journey thus far.

If you had a resolution or a word for 2012, how’s it going? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment or link to a blog post you’ve written on this below.

Friday Five – Hard Cover Titles I Want Right Now

6 Jan

My mom got me a Kindle for my birthday, and as much as I preach the pleasure of cracking open a new book, I’m slightly addicted to it. It’s so amazingly convienient; press a button and a book appears as if by magic! No waiting until I have time to go to the bookstore, no exchanging of actual money (because virtual money doesn’t count, right???), just good books that I want, when I want them. It’s dangerous on my pocketbook, to say the least.

Anyhoo, I stand by my claim that (eventhoughtIlovemyKindleandneverwanttobewithoutit) real books will always be better. The thrill of browsing the shelves and picking up the perfect book, like rediscovering an old friend. The sound of the spine cracking as you open it for the first time, the sound that promises unlocking adventure. I love the romance of books – their promise, their ability to take you to places you never imagined, the way they sit on your shelves so patiently while you read newer, flashier titles, knowing that you’ll love them just as much when you finally come back and read them again. I even love their smell, that’s how much I love a tactile, tangible, real-life book. To this day, one of the most romantic things A can say to me (and he often does, good man) is “how about we go to the bookstore tonight, grab a cup of coffee, and buy you a good book.”

So even with my newfound Kindle-love, there are more than a few books I would die to have right now. I’d love the Kindle version, goodness knows they’d be cheaper, but I’ve wanted these titles long enough that I’d love to have them grace my shelves in hardback. Heck, I’d take them in softcover, but nothin’ says lovin’ like a hardback book. So here, in no particular order, are the top five books I’d love to have in real-print editions right now:

1. Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe, etided by Bernard Comment

2. Bossypants by Tina Fey

3. The Bitch in the House by Cathi Hanauer

4. Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmer’s Markets by Deborah Madison

5. Amphigorey: Fifteen Books by Edward Gorey

Love. Edward. Gorey.

Do you still die for hardback books, or do you prefer the downloadable version? What’s on your must-own book list right now?

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