Sunday, July 18, 2021

BW29: The Cane-Bottom'd Chair by William Makepeace Thackeray



The Cane-Bottom’d Chair

by

William Makepeace Thackeray
July 18, 1811 - Dec. 24, 1863

In tattered old slippers that toast at the bars,
And a ragged old jacket perfumed with cigars,
Away from the world and its toils and its cares,
I’ve a snug little kingdom up four pair of stairs.

To mount to this realm is a toil, to be sure,
But the fire there is bright and the air rather pure;
And the view I behold on a sunshiny day
Is grand through the chimney-pots over the way.

This snug little chamber is cramm’d in all nooks
With worthless old nicknacks and silly old books,
And foolish old odds and foolish old ends,
Crack’d bargains from brokers, cheap keepsakes from friends.

Old armour, prints, pictures, pipes, china (all crack’d),
Old rickety tables, and chairs broken-backed;
A twopenny treasury, wondrous to see;
What matter? ’tis pleasant to you, friend, and me.

No better divan need the Sultan require,
Than the creaking old sofa that basks by the fire;
And ’tis wonderful, surely, what music you get
From the rickety, ramshackle, wheezy spinet.

That praying-rug came from a Turcoman’s camp;
By Tiber once twinkled that brazen old lamp;
A Mameluke fierce yonder dagger has drawn:
’Tis a murderous knife to toast muffins upon.

Long, long through the hours, and the night, and the chimes,
Here we talk of old books, and old friends, and old times;
As we sit in a fog made of rich Latakie
This chamber is pleasant to you, friend, and me.

But of all the cheap treasures that garnish my nest,
There’s one that I love and I cherish the best:
For the finest of couches that’s padded with hair
I never would change thee, my cane-bottom’d chair.

'Tis a bandy-legg'd, high-shoulder'd, worm-eaten seat,
With a creaking old back, and twisted old feet;
But since the fair morning when Fanny sat there,
I bless thee and love thee, old cane-bottom'd chair.

If chairs have but feeling, in holding such charms,
A thrill must have pass'd through your wither'd old arms!
I look'd, and I long'd, and I wish'd in despair;
I wish'd myself turn'd to a cane-bottom'd chair.

It was but a moment she sate in this place,
She'd a scarf on her neck, and a smile on her face!
A smile on her face, and a rose in her hair,
And she sate there, and bloom'd in my cane-bottom'd chair.

And so I have valued my chair ever since,
Like the shrine of a saint, or the throne of a prince;
Saint Fanny, my patroness sweet I declare,
The queen of my heart and my cane-bottom'd chair.

When the candles burn low, and the company's gone,
In the silence of night as I sit here alone—
I sit here alone, but we yet are a pair—
My Fanny I see in my cane-bottom'd chair.

She comes from the past and revists my room;
She looks as she then did, all beauty and bloom;
So smiling and tender, so fresh and so fair,
And yonder she sits in my cane-bottom'd chair.

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Count of Monte Cristo 

Chapter 70. The Ball
Chapter 71. Bread and Salt
Chapter 72. Madame de Saint-Méran

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Sunday, July 11, 2021

BW28: 52 Books Bingo - Maps

 

World of Harry Potter


Happy Sunday!  Did you know today is National Blueberry Muffins day?  Plus it is the anniversary of E.B. White's birthday, and the anniversary of when Robert Bailey Thomas published the very first Farmers Almanac in 1792.  So grab a muffin and come along with me on a journey of discovery as we explore with our next 52 books category - Maps. 

Whether you explore by foot, car, train, sailing ship or  space ship, authors and characters like to explore and helpfully provide us with maps of their worlds and their journeys. Read about real life geographers, explorers and adventurers.  Read about a character mapping the world or possibly uncovering new worlds.  Read a book with a map on the cover or in the title.  Read about the history of cartography, or even a cartographical mystery.  

There are many different types of maps so there are a number of ways to go with this category and you can interpret it anyway you like.






And last but not least, one of my favorite things is creative cartography which was introduced to me in a writing class and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer.

Have fun following rabbit trails and see where they lead you!

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Count of Monte Cristo

Chapter 67. The Office of the King’s Attorney
Chapter 68. A Summer Ball
Chapter 69. The Inquiry

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Sunday, July 4, 2021

BW27: Fictional Librarian - Israel Armstrong

 



Happy Independence Day.  Our fictional librarian for July is  Israel Armstrong, created by Ian Sansom.  We are journeying along with Israel to the fictional town of Tumdrum in Northern Ireland.  He has taken the job of librarian only to discover the library has been replaced with a mobile library in The Case of the Missing Books.  

There are a variety of ways to complete this challenge with plenty of rabbit trails. Read a book with one or more of the following (but not limited to) and have fun exploring:


  • Spell out the first and/or last name of the character's name - one book per letter from the title on the cover.
  • Spell out the first and/or last name of the author - one book per letter.
  • Read one or more books in the series.
  • Read any book written by the author.
  • Follow in a character's footsteps and read a book set in the country or time period of the story.
  • Follow in the author's footsteps and read a book set in their place or time of birth.
  • Read a book with the first or last name of the character or author in the title.

Happy Trails! 

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Count of Monte Cristo Readalong

Chapter 64. The Beggar
Chapter 65. A Conjugal Scene
Chapter 66. Matrimonial Projects

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Sunday, June 27, 2021

BW26: Nothing Gold can Stay by Robert Frost

 

Josephine Wall Surreal 

We're halfway through the year and July is almost upon us.  Where have your reading journeys taken you so far this year?  My year has turned into 'what are you in the mood for' which means lots of romance and dragons, librarians, and villains.  Can you just hear lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Just me? Oh well! I'm also enjoying rereading Nora Roberts back list which has been comforting as well as feeding my muse and inspiring me to be creative.  What inspires you to create a story, a song, a recipe, a new crafts project? Share some of your creations.   

This week's mini quest is to read something with half in the title. And since we're about to go through another heat wave, better yet, read something cozy.  Perhaps take a literary trip to the Antarctic or maybe while a few hours away in a tropical climate while drinking a fruit cocktail with one of those cheerful little umbrellas  ~Cheers!  


Nothing Gold Can Stay

by

Robert Frost 

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.


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Count of Monte Cristo


Chapter 61. How a Gardener May Get Rid of the Dormice
Chapter 62. Ghosts
Chapter 63. The Dinner

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Sunday, June 20, 2021

BW25: Summertime


 

Happy Father's day to all our dads! It's officially Summer in our neck of the woods and we are a hot 105 degrees at the moment.  Thank goodness for air conditioning! Are you in the mood for a light summer read or something more heady?  Perhaps that chunky book you've been meaning to read for quite a while. And if you are on the other side of the world celebrating the start of Winter, maybe a fun beach read will help make those long winter nights seem just a bit warmer.  Maybe you could use  a literary hug.  

Dive into summer reading with a book set during the summer, with a character named summer, or challenge yourself to spell out summer.  Read a book in which things heat up, nature wise or relationship wise.  *grin*   Read a book set on a beach or set in a beach town, near the water somewhere, or even on the water.  Read a book picked by the queens of writing beach reads

Have you ever thought about what your favorite literary characters get up to during the Summer?  Or which literary characters love to read?  What are they reading now?  Hmm! 

Dive into the books of summer and have fun following rabbit trails! 

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Count of Monte Cristo

Chapter 58. M. Noirtier de Villefort
Chapter 59. The Will
Chapter 60. The Telegraph

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Sunday, June 13, 2021

BW24: 52 Books Bingo - Different Cultures


 

Happy Sunday! It's time for another round of 52 Books Bingo and our category this week is different cultures. According to livescience.com:

"Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts.

The Center for Advance Research on Language Acquisition goes a step further, defining culture as shared patterns of behaviors and interactions, cognitive constructs and understanding that are learned by socialization. Thus, it can be seen as the growth of a group identity fostered by social patterns unique to the group."

From historical fiction to contemporary fiction to non fiction, there is a wide variety from which to choose to read and learn. As we all know, literature opens our eyes and minds to different places and times, cultures and ideals. 

Finding culture and identity through books

Reading while Bilingual: How Translated Books Helped Shape My Cultural Identity

Experience New Things with These 21 Books About Cultures That May Not Be Your Own

10 Cross-Cultural Novels that Illuminate the World We Live In

Around the World in 27 Books: Travel Writers’ Recommendations

Become a Multiculturalist with These 11 Books About Different Cultures

There are a number of ways to go with this category and you can interpret it anyway you like, so have fun following rabbit trails and see where they lead you.

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Count of Monte Cristo Readalong 

Chapter 55. Major Cavalcanti
Chapter 56. Andrea Cavalcanti
Chapter 57. In the Lucern Patch

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Sunday, June 6, 2021

BW23: Chanson d'Automne by Paul Verlaine

Courtesy of World War Media

 

Today is the 77th Anniversary of the D Day invasion when allied forces launched operation Overlord to free northwest Europe from Nazi occupation. 156,000 United States, British, and Canadian troops stormed five beaches that day in a large amphibious assault.   One historical tidbit is the French Resistance had been told the invasion would begin shortly after the first three lines in Paul Verlaine's Chanson d’Automne was read on BBC's Radio Londres in a real time radio broadcast 

Chanson d'Automne

Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l’automne
Blessent mon coeur
D’une langueur
Monotone.

Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l’heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
Et je pleure;

Et je m’en vais
Au vent mauvais
Qui m’emporte
Deçà, delà,
Pareil à la
Feuille morte.
 
Autumn Song

translated by Arthur Symons

When a sighing begins
In the violins
Of the autumn-song,
My heart is drowned
In the slow sound
Languorous and long

Pale as with pain,
Breath fails me when
The hours toll deep.
My thoughts recover
The days that are over,
And I weep.

And I go
Where the winds know,
Broken and brief,
To and fro,
As the winds blow
A dead leaf.

We honor those soldiers who fought and died in service to our countries.

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Count of Monte Cristo Readalong


Chapter 52. Toxicology
Chapter 53. Robert le Diable
Chapter 54. A Flurry in Stocks

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Sunday, May 30, 2021

BW22: Fictional Librarians - Cheshire Cat


 

My heavens, June is upon us and it's time to climb back aboard our airship, the 
Pum Deg Dau o Lygrau and weigh anchor.  Join me as we set sail for Jasper Fforde's world of  alternative history in the Nextian Universe. We are off to join literary detective Thursday Next as well as our fictional librarian of the month, Cheshire Cat who makes his first appearance in Lost in a Good Book as head librarian for the Great Library.  He goes by many names including the Cat Formerly Known as Cheshire, Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat, or, Archibald which is what his mother calls him.  He appears in books #2, 3, and 4 in the Thursday Next series.  

There are a variety of ways to complete this challenge with plenty of rabbit trails. Read a book with one or more of the following (but not limited to) and have fun exploring:

Spell out the first and/or last name of the character's name - one book per letter from the title on the cover.

Spell out the first and/or last name of the author - one book per letter.

Read one or more books in the series.

Read any book written by the author.

Follow in a character's footsteps and read a book set in the country or time period of the story.

Follow in the author's footsteps and read a book set in their place or time of birth.

Read a book with the first or last name of the character or author in the title.

Jasper Fforde is a British novelist who resides in Wales and has a great imagination as well as a fun and fact filled website. Today, May 30th, marks the 17th year of the Fforde Fiesta, a weekend of silliness with Jasper Fforde and is virtual this year. Be sure to check it out. 


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Count of Monte Cristo Readalong


Chapter 49. Haydée
Chapter 50. The Morrel Family
Chapter 51. Pyramus and Thisbe

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Sunday, May 23, 2021

BW21: World Turtle Day

Courtesy of Troy Mayne World Wildlife org

 

And now for something completely different.  Today is World Turtle Day.  Did you know that all tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises?  What's the difference?  So glad you asked. The key difference is where they live: Tortoises are exclusively land creatures, while turtles live in the water or at least spend most of the time in the water.  Physically their shells, legs, and feet are difference and turtles stay away from water unless they are drinking or bathing because they can't swim.  

The turtle has been around for millions of years and symbolizes many things for different cultures and is a big part of myth, native American folklore, fables.  He is considered the old wise man who moves through the world slowly and there are lessons to be learned from the popular fable The Tortoise and the Hare.   

So read a book with turtle in the cover, set in a place called turtle, or with a character by the name of turtle, or about a fictional or nonfictional turtle. 

Have fun! Slow and steady wins the race. 

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Count of Monte Cristo

Chapter 46. Unlimited Credit
Chapter 47. The Dappled Grays
Chapter 48. Ideology

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Sunday, May 16, 2021

BW 20: 52 Books bingo - High Adventure

 


Happy Sunday!  This week we are going to go on a High Adventure for our next 52 Books category. Where will our daring do's take us on our nonfiction and fictional literary adventures this week?   Perhaps we'll climb the highest peak, dive to the bottom of the sea, hike narrow pathways and suspension bridges, brave the elements in the Antarctic or take an impossible quest that stretches the imagination.  

There are a number of ways to go with this category and you can interpret it anyway you like, so have fun following rabbit trails and see where they lead you.

Reedsy takes us to the heart of the jungle, across and under the sea, through the desert, sky, and space with 100 Best Adventure Books of All Time.

The Art of Manliness talks about what every man should read during their lifetime in The Essential Man’s Library: 50 Fictional Adventure Books Edition and Trail and Kale talks about women who inspires us with Best Women's Adventure Books.

When I think of high adventure I always think of westerns for some reason.  Outdoor life brings us a fictitious roundup of 19 Best Western Books of all Time.

And of course, I can't leave out Goodreads major list of High Adventure Novels.

 
Have fun! 

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Count of Monte Cristo

Chapter 43. The House at Auteui
Chapter 44. The Vendetta
Chapter 45. The Rain of Blood

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Sunday, May 9, 2021

BW19: Motherhood by Katherine Dykstra

 


Happy Mother’s Day, my lovelies. This week is dedicated to you and all mom's everywhere including our angel moms. She who goes by many names including ma, mama, mum, mother, mumsy, mamman, mutter, mathair, mor, madra, majka, maji, mater and my favorite, she who rules the roost. 



Motherhood

by 

 Katherine L. Dykstra


Baby dolls and dinosaurs-
one that cries, one that roars
The pitter patter of little feet-
a bike race in which they want you to compete
Fruity Pebbles, pancakes, no wait! a pop-tart-
those daily moments that steal your heart
One throws tantrums, the other just pouts-
ahh, the joys of motherhood- what life is all about
Another birthday - two paychecks in all-
but, it is so worth it with smiling memories on the wall
From late night tears to early morning grumps-
through all the bruises, scrapes and bumps
The kisses and hugs, the encouraging words-
from nursery rhymes to the bees and the birds
The laughter, the memories, those looks in their eyes-
never trade it for anything - never compromise
The toys left out, the clothes on the floor-
these are the moments we mothers live for
For we are the ones who are there through it all-
to always make it better and pick them up when they fall
From kissing their boo-boos and making sure they're fed-
passing down stories while tucking them into bed
Through the weight gain, cravings, labor and more-
to that one special moment we spend 9 months waiting for
Eighteen years is what they say, but our work is never done-
a lifetime of tears, laughter, sadness and fun
Nothing in the world can even come close-
to the one special bond God made matter the most
A relationship only two certain people can share-
a mother and her child, nothing will ever compare...

Happy Mother's Day

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Count of Monte Cristo Readalong


Chapter 40. The Breakfast
Chapter 41. The Presentation
Chapter 42. Monsieur Bertuccio

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Sunday, May 2, 2021

BW18: Fictional Librarians - Beatrice De Nova


Welcome to May and our celebration of mysteries, mothers, Memorial day, macaroons, and much much more including all things Star Wars.  May the fourth be with you!  We are climbing back aboard  the good ship Pumdeg Dau o Lyfrau and floating through our interdimensional portal to Texas to begin our librarian adventures with Beatrice De Nova.  

Beatrice is the assistant librarian in the Special Collections reading room at the Houston University Library and her adventure begins when she meets Giovanni Vecchio, an Italian bookish vampire who loves whiskey, in A Hidden Fire, the first book in the Elemental Mystery series written by Elizabeth Hunter

There are a variety of ways to complete this challenge with plenty of rabbit trails. Read a book with one or more of the following (but not limited to) and have fun exploring:

Spell out the first and/or last name of the character's name - one book per letter from the title on the cover

Spell out the first and/or last name of the author - one book per letter 

Read one or more books in the series.

Read any book written by the author

Follow in a character's footsteps and read a book set in the country or time period of the story.

Follow in the author's footsteps and read a book set in their place or time of birth.

Read a book with the first or last name of the character or author in the title.


Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me!!!!

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Count of Monte Cristo Readalong

Chapter 37. The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian

Chapter 38. The Rendezvous

Chapter 39. The Guests

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Please share your book reviews and link to your website, blog, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblers, or Instagram page. If you do not have a social media account, please leave a comment to let us know what you are reading. The link widget closes at the end of each book week.

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