Category Archives: Favorite authors

Anais Nin

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When I was younger I read all of Anais Nin‘s diaries and many of her other works. They were fascinating! I took many notes, copying out different quotes from her insightful and eloquent ruminations. There was so many things she said that put into words for me my own experiences or inner thoughts. She was born on this day in 1903. I celebrate her today and the influence she had on me as a young woman.

“There are books which we read early in life, which sink into our consciousness and seem to disappear without leaving a trace. And then one day we find, in some summing-up of our life and put attitudes towards experience, that their influence has been enormous.”
― Anaïs Nin, In Favor of the Sensitive Man and Other Essays

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Wallace Stegner’s Typewriter

In celebration of Wallace Stegner‘s birthday today, I share this photograph I took of his typewriter. It’s on display in the Special Collections section of the University of Utah library in Salt Lake City.  Although this isn’t a great photo, I do love seeing desks or tools used by wonderful writers!

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Novels by Wallace Stegner:
  • Remembering Laughter (1937)
  • The Potter’s House (1938)
  • On a Darkling Plain (1940)
  • Fire and Ice (1941)
  • The Big Rock Candy Mountain (1943), semi-autobiographical
  • Second Growth (1947)
  • The Preacher and the Slave (1950), reissued as Joe Hill: A Biographical Novel
  • A Shooting Star (1961)
  • All the Little Live Things (1967)
  • Joe Hill: A Biographical Novel (1969)
  • Angle of Repose (1971), winner of the Pulitzer Prize
  • The Spectator Bird (1976), winner of the National Book Award
  • Recapitulation (1979)
  • Crossing to Safety (1987)

Making Progress

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Illustration by Alan Lee — from The Two Towers.

I am slowly making progress on my rereading of The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R.Tolkien. It’s a very enjoyable reading project that I started in November as a retreat from the election stresses and strains. Perhaps I’m reading it slowly because those stresses and strains have gotten worse rather than better! But really I’m reading it slowly so that I can enjoy and savor the wonderful writing as well as the terrific adventure of it all. It’s been my evening read, just before I go to bed at night, and it’s a great way to end the day. I’m about 3/4 of the way through The Two Towers so at this time I am traveling with Frodo and Sam, and Gollum, getting closer to Mordor. I am very glad to spend time in their company.

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Little Women

 

img_2517Thanks to Adam @roofbeamreader, I reread Little Women in January for his Classic Book-a-Month challenge 2017. I loved this book when I first read it as a young girl. I am the only girl in my family, with three terrific brothers, but I longed to have sisters. The four March sisters became my surrogate sisters.

A few years ago, I read Louisa May Alcott‘s first book, Flower Fables. I liked it, and loved her writing, but was put off by the heavy moralizing and “teaching of lessons.” I understood that that style of writing was very common in those days and made complete sense in lieu of her background, as well. But she was a young developing author in that first book and by the time she wrote Little Women, she had much more life experience as well as writing experience. Although there was still the “teaching of moral lessons” inbedded in the storytelling, she did not come across as being nearly as didactic as she had in the Flower Fables. Indeed, I was struck this time by her compassion and understanding of human nature. She is a supreme writer and a wonderful storyteller, in my estimation. Her story of the March sisters is timeless despite being set in a specific period of time.

I chuckled and I cried, again, as I read this lovely book. I ruminated on how much it had impacted my life, how much of Jo I identified with and absorbed at a young age, because it was Jo who captured my heart and imagination even though I loved the other sisters, too.

I’m so glad I reread this classic novel this month! (Thank you, Adam!) It would be a lovely project to read all her books — all the ones I didn’t read when I was growing up and rereading all the ones I did!

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Madame Alexander’s Little Women dolls…which I always wanted when I was growing up!

The Most Amazing Privilege

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Last year, I discovered a new-to-me author that I really like. Victoria Connelly writes kind stories, with characters that I enjoy getting to know and that I care about. I appreciate the gentle wisdom she shares with us through her stories and the sense of fun she puts into her writing. My favorite of her books so far is The Book Lovers, because I am a book lover and it’s clear that she is, too!

‘So how did you end up loving books so much?’ Callie looked thoughtful. ‘I’m not sure,’ she said honestly, ‘but I remember one day in the school library. It as one of those quiet lessons where you’re meant to be reading in silence, and I was sitting there looking at all the books on the shelves, thinking that it was the greatest gift in the world to be able to walk up to any of them and choose one, open it up and dive into a brand new world. That seemed like the most amazing privilege to me.’

The Need for Solitude

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Solitude is something I need.  I don’t need a lot of it, but it is a definite need. I recently read Mary Oliver‘s new book, Upstream, and although I knew it already, she and I are kindred spirits…

Not to be alone–ever–is one of my ideas of hell, and a day when I have had no solitude at all in which to catch up with myself I find mentally, physically and spiritually exhausting. When one is alone one is receptive–a ready vessel for the sights, the scents and sounds which pour in through relaxed and animated senses to refresh the inner man.

My moments of solitude each day have almost always been in the early morning before others in the house awaken. I love and need those quiet moments with my cup of tea, a good book or some knitting in hand. Moments for just me…and then I can take on the world.

We Should All Be Feminists

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My first book read in 2017 was a very short but eloquent work by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. We Should All Be Feminists is a wonderful explanation of what exactly is feminism and why it is important to look closely at our ideas about gender and how we raise our sons and our daughters in our culture. She very clearly explains why “Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice” for both women and men. It’s a very important little book to read.

“My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better”

Click here to see a 30-minute YouTube video of her speech on We Should All Be Feminists.

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