newthingsold

The wise man is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things both new and old.

Month: June, 2017

Sometimes I hate being a bibliophile.

I want to share a “dumb” thought, which as a bibliophile (lover of books) really (is in actually or in fact) causes me anxiety from time to time:

More good books exist now and will come into existence than I will be able to read in my lifetime.

I love the written word; this is part of why I review books as a hobby. No matter how many books I am concurrently reading, whenever at the library I will still look at the new books section to see if I can justify adding one more onto my reading list. But still, this doesn’t put a dent in the amount of good books out there.

I guess at least I know I will never run out of reading material.

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Music and memory.

This year, I am reading the King James translation of the Bible from cover to cover. I “did” this once in high school. The word did is in quotation marks because, while I may have read most/all the words of the KJV, my eyes glazed over a lot and I didn’t recall much.

Can anyone commiserate?

This time though, as I am reading different verses in the Bible, coming to my mind are these short choruses that we used to sing in the fundamentalist church that I grew up in. Some of these songs I haven’t sung in almost 20 years, but in reading the sections of the Bible that inspired them, it is like I just sang them yesterday.

What is it about music that it can create moments like this? Can anyone relate?

Review: “Hag-Seed” by Margaret Atwood

This is a review of the book Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood.

Shakespeare (probably) last play, The Tempest, was a genre mixer for him that broke many of his typical was of doing things. The Tempest blends elements of comedy with aspects of tragedy, and all throughout the play his writing critiques the very craft he is using to present the critique. In a similar fashion, Margaret Atwood’s retelling of the narrative of The Tempest in her book Hag-Seed is a book that seemingly deviates from her normal authorial modus operandi.

When one thinks of Atwood and her writing style, the words that come to mind are: emotional, poignant, and even sharp. Hag-Seed is all these things. But it is also leveled, unsettled, and funny.

Hag-Seed moves the drama of The Tempest from a Caribbean island to a non-descript populated area with small towns, a metropolitan area, and a jail. The protagonist is no longer the political exile Prospero with the daughter Miranda, but now a professional exile named Felix with a deceased daughter named Miranda. There is still an element of revenge, and in the end the protagonist still encounters something about himself that makes him do a similar action to Prospero when Prospero breaks his magic wand and rid himself of his spell book (I am being elusive for the sake of avoiding any spoilers). But for all of the serious elements, Atwood does something brilliant which is understated in a many of her other works: she incorporates a darkly comedic element to the writing.

This is what makes Hag-Seed worthy of being a retelling of The Tempest, it masterfully incorporates a style of humor into an otherwise dramatic and almost tragic narrative. Shakespeare did this dexterously and in this book, Atwood does the seem with an equal level of balance and finesse.

For the Shakespeare fan, Atwood fan, and the appreciator of good fiction writing, consider picking up a copy of Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed. The reader does not necessarily need to know or be familiar with Shakespeare’s The Tempest to enjoy this book, but knowing it will make some of the inside jokes stand out. In the end, Hag-Seed is an enjoyable read for the literature lover who wants something to engage him or her on many different emotional levels.

I received my copy of this book for free through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for reviewing it. I was not obligated to post a positive review; the opinions expressed are mine.

Review: Rory Fleek’s “This Life I Live”

This is a review of the book This Life I Live by Rory Fleek.

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Close your eyes and imagine this scene (well, do it after you finish reading this or you won’t be able to see the words). You live out in the country, about five miles from town. Across the road from you lives a man in his 50s. You see him come and go, occasionally you notice family and visitors stop in to visit him. By the looks of this guy, just his appearance says that if you get the chance to talk to this guy you’re not going to want him to stop talking, because you know he has a good story to tell. That is Rory Fleek, and this extended description captures what is contained in the pages of This Life I Live.

Within a few pages, the reader quickly understands why Fleek is a successful songwriter- and now author. His gift is storytelling, and his approach at sharing his stories is accessible. Most people considering picking up this book are probably familiar with the circumstances around how Fleek lost his wife Joey, and there is a good portion of this book that deals with it. And those chapters are intense.

But that isn’t all the book is about. Fleek writes about family, faith, the music business, love, and his wife in a way that is emotion-charged, but never comes across like he is looking for supporters. Everything is laid out for the reader in a way that, although seemingly simple is actually really complex. “Die Living” and “A Clean Slate” were two anecdotes from the book that really rocked me, or as the kids these day say: “They really hit me in the feels.”

This Life I Live is a special kind of book from a special kind of guy who you should wish you had as a neighbor. Rory Fleek’s talent as a storyteller has been reflected in his songs, his blog, and now in another format in this  book. Read this book.

I received my copy of this book for free through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for writing a review of the book. I was not obligated to write a positive review; the opinions expressed are my own.

“An Afternoon at the Zoo”- a guest post from my wife.

This is a guest post written by my wife, Sarah.

Life with a toddler is ever eventful; you never know what the day holds. This afternoon has already been my adventure for the day. Kizzy is very fussy when it comes to eating and we struggle to get her to eat much more than her bottle. Today I got her to eat some prunes and some pear and blueberry sauce. She then moved on to some Cheerios. She would feed them to the dog and maybe attempt to eat some herself. 

All was well until she gagged on a bit of Cheerio. Next thing I know the vomit volcano is errupting. There went everything she had just eaten down the front of her. We quickly moved to the bathtub for a strip down and rinse off. 

Kizzy was happily playing in the water, so I let her play while I rinsed the puke-covered clothes in the sink. I was keeping an eye on her, but didn’t notice quickly enough that she had deposited some floaters into the bathtub. By the time I noticed the floating nuggets of poo, she was picking them up and throwing them out of the tub. 

Awwwww! It was like a bad experience with a monkey at the zoo, except this was my child in my bathroom throwing. Poop was picked up and fished out of the tub, and there was another wash down and rinse off for Kizzy. Nap time anyone?

This mama will be getting a pedicure on Monday for her suffering!

Powerless.

That is what my family was at 6:30 this morning: powerless. By 9:15, power was restored. But, in a way, we (and you) are still powerless. Like it or not, there are just somethings which we cannot control.

It is a downer of a thought, but it is true. 

At least I can binge watch Lost again.

I think I have already forgotten more than I know.

I did something crazy today: I looked at my old high school yearbook before turning 40.

Sure, it had benefits. For example, I uploaded the group class picture to Facebook so that we could all remember how awesome we were back in the day.

But there have been drawbacks. It hs already been 13 years since I graduated high school and the yearbook reminds me that time is fleeting. Seeing people from my graduating class who I don’t remember also tells me that I have officially hit that point in life where old memories and new ones coexist in the same space. Old memories and information are now getting filed away or forgotten. Thanks, aging process.

At least I was reminded of how great the people are I went to school with.

A problem I (sometimes? often?) have.

I enjoy quirky films like Napoleon Dynamite and Moonrise Kingdom. I enjoy off-beat T.V. shows like Twin Peaks. My head is just kind of wired like that.

Anyways…

I have a problem that I am wondering if anyone else can relate to. I will get a random thought which strikes me as funny. But as soon as I share it and have to deconstruct it, it suddenly becomes less funny to me. Anyone else?