I want to learn all I can, live as wisely as I can, and savor every moment on the journey.
It’s been a busy month for me, so I haven’t blogged much. But here’s what’s been going on in my reading and writing life.
I got to read some new-to-me classics this month…
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
As with several other top-prize-winning (Pulitzer, Nobel, etc.) books/authors I’ve read, I found this to be a very strange book. I did enjoy reading it, but it required a lot of patience and what my friend calls “holding on loosely” because of its unusual narrative style. (I think it helped that I listened to it as an audiobook: I could let the story just wash over me and not get too invested or analytical. The downside was that it was really hard to keep the characters straight without having a copy of the family tree that’s in the front of the print book.)
This book takes the “authorial omniscient” point of view to the extreme by moving super fast through the narrative and, rather than letting you get immersed in the perspective of any one character, just hitting the highlights of what happened in the lives of each member of the Buendía family for a century. Theme repetition helps unify the story, and plenty of magical realism adds to the strange, exotic feel.
As a warning, there’s quite a bit of explicit content in the book.
The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric Kelly
I enjoyed this classic children’s book, especially for its interesting historical setting (medieval Poland), but I wouldn’t say it gripped my soul or anything.
It’s similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude (but not nearly to such an extreme) in that it distances the reader emotionally by using an authorial-omniscient voice with a resulting lack of consistent focus on characters’ perspectives and feelings.
Still, the story is suspenseful and interesting. My impression is that boys would enjoy it more than girls.
The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side by Agatha Christie
It was nice to begin one of Miss Marple’s stories with Miss Marple herself for once, rather than with the subjects of the mystery that she will later solve.
The only downside of reading this book is that now there’s one less book on the list of Miss Marple books I haven’t read. I just love her!
Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore
I finally finished this book after a year and a half of reading it, but I don’t yet feel up to the task of talking about it here. I need to digest it more first—and adjust my eyes to the blinding light of its glory! It’s simply too brilliant, profound, significant, sacred, life-changing, and wonderful!!
Well, I’m not going to complete the NaNoWriMo challenge of writing 50,000 words of a novel in November. I’m barely at 10,000 right now (but I do have the whole novel plotted out—in NaNo lingo, I’m a “plotter,” not a “pantser”). Real life got unexpectedly stressful this month, and it just wasn’t a good time (but is there ever a good time?) to be pushing myself and adding more stress to my life on purpose.
So I decided that if I couldn’t write 1,667 words a day (the amount needed to reach 50K in 30 days), but I could write, say, 700, then that’s what I would do—just go at my own pace, but keep going.
I don’t consider it a failure to not complete the NaNoWriMo challenge. Just participating in it helped me get a big start on a novel that I’m really enjoying and that I otherwise might not have started.
But I do hope I will finish it eventually! If I do, it will be my first completed novel.
If any of you access my blog via a link you have saved (such as in your Bookmarks, Favorites, etc.), you may need to re-save the link, because I have deleted all my “vanity” (custom) domains associated with this blog in favor of returning to my good ‘ol original free WordPress URL: abringerofnewthings.wordpress.com. I guess the novelty of having custom URLs has finally worn off, and I see that I really don’t need them and that there are plenty of better things I could do with that cash.
I’m a fan of the hit pop acapella group Pentatonix, and a song on their new album contains these lines:
“So count your blessings every day—
It makes the monsters go away.”
– “Light in the Hallway” by Pentatonix
I find that true in my own life: mentally listing things I’m grateful for can really pick up my mood.
I hope you have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!