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Memory Muscles

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About a year ago, I was getting increasingly frustrated and concerned by my failing memory. I was constantly losing my keys, my phone, water bottle, etc. And when I'd go to look for something, I'd forget what I was looking for! Or I'd walk into a room and not remember why I'd walked in there. Several years before, I'd taken voice lessons and, struggle as I might, I could not memorize the songs I was learning. I would hit the same wall with pieces I was learning on piano. And with people, I'd forget names. With books, I'd get to the end and not remember what I'd read. Old age, I guess. But I wasn't happy because I'd once had an excellent memory. An uncannily excellent memory. My brain was a bank of phone numbers, birthdays, names, faces, directions, and more. When I was 14 and we were starting "A Tale of Two Cities" in English I, Mrs. Edwards told us never to forget that Gaspard was the name of the tall joker who wrote "Blood"

My 2022 Reading Challenge

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For my 2022 reading challenge, I've developed seven main categories, each with five subcategories, for a total of 35 possible books. Considering that I read only about 30 books a year, I do not expect to read a different book for each category. Instead, my goal will be to read about three from each category, for a total of about 20 books. I'm allowed to double-dip, where one book can fulfill more than one category, so it's very possible that I'll meet most if not all of my "requirements." Why do a book challenge? Why not just read things? Well, I do that a lot, and I imagine I will read several books that don't fit the categories listed here (or that are repeats). But for me, having a list like this is a kind of discipline, and a way in which I can ensure that I try out books, authors, and genres that I might not otherwise try. Today I'm going to begin by listing the categories and subcategories. Over the next few weeks and months, I'll fill in som

The Reading Challenge

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  I'm in. I'm going to try the " Back to the Classics Challenge " for 2021. This will be the first time in a while that I've done a "prescribed" challenge, and I'm looking forward to diving in and reading some books I've always wanted to read. Only one of these (that I know of)   of these will be a re-read. Here are the categories, with my possible selections. I believe these are all classics; if I discover that something isn't a "true classic" (whatever that means), I will change it to something more ... classic. UPDATE:  I am going to mark the month completed for the books below as I finish them. Book reviews will be forthcoming ... I hope ...) A 19th century classic: any book first published from 1800 to 1899 -  A Tale of Two Cities , by Charles Dickens (1859) (COMPLETED in April) A 20th century classic: any book first published from 1900 to 1971 - Till We Have Faces , by C.S. Lewis (1956) (COMPLETED in August) A classic by a w

Dare I Try Another Reading Challenge?

I really shouldn't. I shouldn't do this. Every year, I start with such grand dreams of reading all my listed books, and every year, I end up reading a bunch of other books instead. Not that that's a bad thing; I just feel silly each year as I re-read the list and realize I've barely read anything I'd planned to read. When I looked at the beginning of my list from last year , I was pleasantly surprised. At some point last year, I read all of the books listed, even though I'd long forgotten about my original list. All total, I read 30 books last year, ranging from a few of my fifth-grader's chapter books to the entire Bible. Here are my stats as of December 25, according to Goodreads. (I've finished two books since then, so I imagine the stats will be updated at some point.) Books read: 28 Pages read; 10,714 Shortest book: Lois Lowry, Number the Stars Longest book: The New Inductive Study Bible Average book length: 382 pages I imagine that, if I didn't

A Short Rant on Bible Reading

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Lately it seems I'm seeing a lot (tweets, articles, etc.) about Bible reading and biblical literacy. I haven't added to the conversation because I am a theological nobody, a lurker on various blogs who is relatively new to Twitter and has few followers. On top of that, I'm a relatively new Christian, though not new to Christianity. But I've been a little surprised at how many Christians are saying they rarely read the Bible, or that they read it in phases (every day for a month, then a few months of not opening it). And many have read only bits and pieces. I would expect this from someone who isn't a Christian, but these are Christians saying this. I honestly don't get this. Maybe I will once I have more years of being a Christian behind me. But I can't get enough of the Bible. It's all I want to read. I get up at 5:00 every morning, sometimes earlier, so I can read the Bible. I gave my life to Jesus last October and immediately began reading through the

That Line Through Our Hearts

People are acting really hateful today. I'm not seeing it on Facebook, but I've checked Twitter a few times ... and whew! I'm newly amazed at how utterly cruel we can become in our self-righteousness. There is another thing I'm seeing, too. The people who aren't being cruel are talking about how they would never be so cruel as to cheer for a leader getting COVID, who would never be so hateful as to wish a sitting U.S. President would suffer and die. I imagine they wouldn't, but I find that thinking that way ("I would NEVER do THAT ...") can be dangerous. Because I don't think we can think that way without some degree of pride in our own personal righteousness. I am reminded of the Solzhenitsyn's words in The Gulag Archipelago: The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either--but right through every human heart--and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it os

Thoughts on "Lived Experience"

I am coming out of my blog-cave today. I have had a LOT of thoughts lately on a LOT of things. I imagine all zero of my readers have as well, since there is much to think about. I haven't had much opportunity to write in my journal (which is where I usually deposit my thoughts, since it's the only thing patient enough to listen to them), so I'm writing them all down here. I am seeing more and more of this concept of, "You can't possibly know what it feels like to be ___." Usually it's directed toward a white person who can't possibly know what it is to be a POC, or oppressed, etc. Sometimes it's directed to a man who has no clue of what women go through day to day. Whenever I hear this, I think, "Do people not read or write anymore?" I mean, isn't that one of the purposes, or at least one of the benefits, of good literature--to take a person out of themselves, out of their small "real world," and into the world, thoughts, an