This week in the Northern Hemisphere, we saw the start of winter, the longest night and the turning point where days start to get slowly longer. The Winter Solstice in other words. In Iowa (and I'm sure everywhere from here on north) it always seems a little confusing that Winter does not officially begin until December 21st because we've usually already seen Winter weather and temperatures for a few weeks by now. I also celebrated my birthday this week and it was officially the coldest birthday I had ever had at -15 degrees fahrenheit when I woke up. Brrrr.....
The Turning of the Year
We have come to the ridgepole of the year.
Time falls away to past and future; now is pause. The sun is a cold, unwinking eye, sleepless, serene.The day no more grows shorter; the night no more grows longer.
All change awaits the turning.The sun has descended from the mountain of the year into the dim valley.
It awaits upon the renewal of its strength, to begin the climb of the slow hillside of the year ahead.The grass sleeps in the frozen soil.The trees are stripped for their endurance; their juices have fled into the roots.Their branches are black oracular tracery against the stainless sky.
Only a few flying flowers are left; do these reluctant birds mistake the snow for manna?
Black and white are the colors of the day, with sulky tan, bluegray of smoke, and saffron afterglow of the sun.Let us gather the old year into quiet minds.Let us for a while not think to the year ahead.Let us wait for a few moments within this motionless while.
These hours are as timeless as childhood.Now is the mood for old mythologies, for tales of gods and heroes, for virgin mothers and shining babes, for dying huntsmen and weeping goddesses, jeweled gifts for a king’s son, and the nostalgic promises of miracles and forever.
Now, in the pause of the year, when time has stopped, and reality is no more real, let us make our delight of songs, and our feast of poems, and our celebration the telling of old tales.
- Kenneth Patton
Now that we have turned the corner of the year and are heading (nay running) into a new year (thank GOD!), my thoughts turn, among other things, towards book challenges. I really like the idea of book challenges but am really really terrible at them. I have trouble following a reading prescription. The challenge I am currently eyeing is Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge which has the goal of expanding one's reading comfort zone. I tried it a couple years ago and got only about half of the 24 assignments done. My interest has gotten engaged again, though because they have been emphasizing that you can run the challenge however you want - if you're not sure something counts, it does, if you want to knock out multiple assignments with one book, do it. If I could meet all the challenge requirements and not have almost a quarter of my yearly reading be tied up in the challenge, that sounds possibly do-able.
What about you? Any challenges you're eyeing?
What about you? Any challenges you're eyeing?
WATCHING, READING and BLOGGING
I finished up my re-watch of The Vicar of Dibley. I love Dawn French and it gave me so many warm fuzzies. And it ends on such a perfect note with Geraldine being wooed by Richard "oh my Dear Lord" Armitage. Sigh..... Just look at how cute they are:
I then moved on to something completely different but just as awesome - Voltron: Legendary Defender, a re-boot on and by Netflix. Ever since I fell head over heals for Avatar, The Last Air-bender after reading a recommendation of it on The Book Smugglers, I never dismiss recs for kids' cartoons because sometimes they can be really really awesome. The rec for Voltron again came from the Book Smugglers site and it was so right - what a fun show! Currently there are only 11 half-hour episodes (well, the first episode is longer) and they are great. LOVE the female characters on the show and how can you not get jazzed about giant robotic wild cats that bond with their operator and can combine to form an even more gigantic super robot. I flew through all the available episodes and highly recommend it if that's your kind of thing!
Finished Since the Last Time I Posted
- The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets (Enola Holmes #3) by Nancy Springer; This is such a bizarre little middle-grade series that tells the story of Sherlock Holmes little sister. They seem like they should be charming and delightful and instead are intensely depressing and serious. Enola desperately needs a Watson-like sidekick!
- The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Peter Wimsey #5) by Dorothy L. Sayers: Slowly making my way through this series of mysteries. This one is very interesting!
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe: A classic African novel about the downfall of a family.
- Armada by Ernie Cline: I'm listening to Wil Wheaton read this one and it's fab!
- A Plain Malice (Appleseed Creek #4) by Amanda Flower: I've been kind of obsessed with this Amish country mystery series and this is the last book in the series:(.
Added to the TBR:
- Nothing this Week