Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday morsel (and Twitterature): Purpose, Imagination, Unity



Monday is my day for quotes on this blog -- a.k.a. "Monday morsels"-- and this Monday also coincides with Modern Mrs. Darcy's monthly "Twitterature" linkup where we share what we've been reading.  (I love "Twitterature," but believe me, I couldn't keep up if it happened any oftener!)







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1.  I just finished reading Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls.  (I read her memoir The Glass Castle some time ago.)  This "true life novel" is the story of Walls' maternal grandmother, Lily Casey Smith.  Lily grew up in Texas and Arizona and became a horse-breaker at age 5 and a travelling schoolteacher at age 15, then later a rancher and pilot.  I can't say this book particularly moved me:  Walls speaks in Lily's voice, adopting a certain "when the going gets tough, the tough get going" style that can prevent the reader from making a strong emotional connection.  But the details are fascinating, and I liked Glass Castle so much that I found it extremely interesting to learn more about another eccentric member of Walls' family.  Lily was, as Walls herself puts it, quite a character:  tough, driven, and fearless.  In this excerpt, Lily has just suffered a ruptured appendix in a baseball game and is now in hospital:

"Don't worry, angel," [Dad] said.  The appendix, he explained, was a vestigial organ, which meant it had no Purpose.  If I had to lose an organ, I'd chosen the right one.  But, he went on, I'd almost lost my life, and to what end?  I'd only been playing a game of baseball.  If I wanted to risk my life, I should do it for a Purpose.  I decided Dad was right.  All I had to do was figure out what my Purpose was.

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2.  I'm re-reading Jane Eyre as part of a synchro-read with Classical Quest.  I first read JE as a  university student and have returned to it several times since.  It is such a wonderful book, gripping readers right from the gloomy opening sentences and drawing them right into the heart of a strong, passionate character.  For a great quote, see my "Monday morsel" post from last week:   "... the restlessness was in my nature ...".


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3.  In conjunction with Jane Eyre, I'm also re-reading Margot Peters' biography of Charlotte Bronte:  Unquiet Soul.  I love reading about the Bronte sisters, whose lives of reclusive obscurity belied the worldwide fame of their books -- and especially about how Charlotte's own life and personality informed her novels.  This book makes me want to read more biographies of the sisters.

The death of their mother was a deeply traumatic experience for the six young Bronte children.... It created in all the children an insecurity so severe that it can be said without exaggeration that all their lives not one of them was able to cope successfully with the world outside the parsonage walls.  At the same time, it drove them together; they clung to each other like tender vines, deriving all their comfort and strength from their intense emotional and physical unity.


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10 comments:

  1. Yeah, it's the Purpose thing that is so elusive!

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    1. And when you put a capital P on it, it's really intimidating!

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  2. I haven't re-read a classic in ages, but the idea of reading one while also reading about the author is intriguing. Now to find that ol' copy of JE I have lying around...

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    1. My friend Adriana has a blog called Classical Quest (see link at top of this post) in which she discusses her journey through the classics. She has had several synchro-reads in which anyone who wants can read a book along with her. I've done a few re-reads of old favourites (Oliver Twist, Pride & Prejudice, JE) and it's been really enjoyable! And I love biographies so this has been fun.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Unquiet Soul sounds so good.

    I couldn't even finish Half-Broke Horses. So disappointing, given how much I loved The Glass Castle. I'm looking forward to her new book, The Silver Star.

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    1. Yeah, The Glass Castle was an amazing book. Pretty hard to top that one, I have to say. Her new book's a novel, isn't it? I will have to check it out.

      Thanks for stopping by; have a good day!

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  4. Love the Bronte pairing! Jane Eyre is my favorite of the Bronte's but it has been years since I re-read it, so maybe I'll have to curl up with that and your biography suggestion this fall!

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    1. That does sound like a good idea! Thanks for stopping by, Moira.

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  5. Oh my, I like your picks! I still remember quotes from The Glass Castle and would totally check out her other stuff. Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favs, but I'd never thought of looking into a biography on Bronte. Will have to do that. :)

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    1. I find it so interesting to read about famous writers!

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