Only 8 months until Christmas! I know, what an odd way to start a Sunday Salon post, but when I was younger, I was a Christmas fanatic and would always countdown the days from December 26th. Every 25th of the month was a very special day for me. It used to seem like time dragged on and on until the cooler fall months, but now it seems as though it is constantly rushing by. Anyway, there is my happy thought for the day.
I have a unique outing planned for today. A co-worker called me about a month ago and invited me to a Shakespearean Tea: a local theater company will perform bits and pieces of As You Like It and serve a high tea refreshment. Apparently some ladies really go all out and dress in period costume, etc. This particular teacher is the art/photography at school and has all kinds of creative thoughts running through her brain. She has made the two of us hats to wear to the event (but thank goodness she made mine rather subdued — just a simple straw hat with sage green netting around the brim and simple white flower). Anyway, this will be my cultural activity for the year!
I continue to be swamped with grading, but I am trying to use the advice: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” I try to grade about 4-5 research papers each day off and this has helped me keep sane. There are only two more weeks of school (6 classes) and then a week of finals. I now know that I can make it to the end, and that is a liberating feeling.
While grading definitely takes precedent over pleasure reading, I did manage to find time to read my recent edition of Bookmarks Magazine this weekend. I already wrote in detail about 3 books that I have added to my TBR list, but I must confess that there are several others that have attracted my attention:
- The 3 Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine The few reviews that I have read about this book compare it loosely to Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. That, and the fact that I used to live in Westport, CT, has attracted my attention.
- So Much for That by Lionel Shriver The only other book I have read by this author is What About Kevin, and while deeply disturbing, it had a profound effect. This one deals with retirement – and saving up a nest egg with grand plans for how to spend the golden years, only to have the best-laid plans turned upside down by a debilitating illness. I don’t know, it may hit a little too close to home (sans the nest egg portion).
- Shadow Tag by Louise Eldrich Secrets kept and falsehoods shared between a husband and wife are not the makings of a happy marriage. The characters sound fascinating and the plot, while depressing, sounds intriguing.
- Grange House by Sarah Blake Actually this is not the new release book written by the author (the Bookmarks review was for The Postmistress), but a gothic story involving a Victorian hotel off the coasts of Maine sounds too good to pass up.
- Blackout by Connie Willis The setting is Oxford, the time is 2060 and the characters are time travel historians. The plot seems to focus on World War II and it is my understanding that this is the first of a two book series, which apparently results in a cliff-hanger ending.
- Doors Open by Ian Rankin Three well-to-do Scots decide that the National Treasures housed in a warehouse should be liberated for the entire country to enjoy. I have not read this author, so I have no ties to his popular Inspector Rebus series. Those who adore this series seemed to be disappointed with this new release.
- Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt Several of you have already read this touching memoir by a father who takes a year off to help his grandchildren and son-in-law cope with the death of his daughter (their mother and wife). I simply must make the time to read this soon.
I mostly fill my free time by continuing to do research for my story idea. I feel as though I know Degas, Cassatt, Caillebotte, Manet, and Renoir fairly well. I am starting to look at their paintings with a more discerning eye, and sometimes I can even tell the artist’s style before looking at the signature. That is a huge deal for me – as I used to brag that I could tour the entire Metropolitan Museum of Art in half an hour! Anyway, I am now wanting to do a bit of research on Time Travel novels. I am not quite sure why I have the idea to write one when I have never been drawn to read this genre before, but there you have it. So, I ask you dear readers, can you recommend any YA time travel novels that I might enjoy? I know that the more I read books that are similar to my story idea, the more I will learn how to effectively write one.
And one final bit of “bookish” news —- I have hit 300 followers on Google Reader! That is simply amazing to me, as when I first started this blog a little over 15 months ago, I thought I would be writing for an audience of one. While I try not get caught up in the “popularity” of the blogging world, or the occasional drama — I am in awe how the world wide web can help bring total strangers together in a harmonious way. I have “met” several online friends who truly enrich my life by their postings. Thank you!
I hope you all have an enjoyable, relaxing Sunday. I am off to read a summary of As You Like It so that I am not totally lost during today’s performance.