Wednesday, July 6, 2011

7 in the 7th Month

My 4th of July weekend was spent in the best way possible--reading a ton of books. After traveling to Niagara and my family reunion the past two weekends, it was exactly what I wanted to do. Working fulltime has really made me appreciate the big blocks of free time. I have to squeeze so much out of my mornings and evenings that it's nice to just have the day.

Other things certainly happened. Mike was on deck for leading worship July 3rd. We visited a couple families afterward. We're housesitting/dogsitting for a family while they go down to Destin next week so we went to learn where dog food was and the like. Then we visited with the family I normally do laundry with--though not so much now that my weekdays have been squished to reconnect with them.

Anyway on to the books.

Sisterhood Everlasting
I love the Traveling Pants books, really deeply truly. They were my reentrance into the YA world. And I thought because of that, I'd really like this book. However, I forgot how much those books made me cry. And this one was about 10 times normal. I cried through the entire book. Lesson learned: do not divert yourself from your reading list. (That's a lie; I'm always up for a good diversion.)

A Circle of Quiet
This is the first in Madeleine L'Engle autobiography series. And it was really fascinating to glimpse inside her world. Since I had my list, I knew A Wind in the Door was next so I could see the themes of maturity as freedom and naming that are so prevalent in the novel clearly on her mind in this first journal. Also, I kind of want to live her life (which is totally not the point--the point is to live my life within the structure God has given me). Sigh.

A Wind in the Door
We return to Meg and Charles Wallace in their big drafty house which I now know is very much based on Crosswicks, her New England home. This time Charles Wallace is sick, and Mrs. Murray believes it has to do with his mitochondria. Meg and Calvin are helped by a teacher Blejany and a cherubim, Progonoskis, to help the farandalea in Charles Wallace's mitochondria deepen and mature. It means giving up the freedom of movement for conversations (kything) with the stars. However, they are hindered by the Echthroi who wish to annihilate, well, everything, but they're happy to start with Charles Wallace. Meg must use naming and the love behind naming to combat them. It sounds ridiculous, but I forget how much this book typifies what I love about L'Engle. The plot's okay, the themes are fantastic.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
This fifth book of Harry Potter takes the series deep into the darkness. I remember being surprised at how Harry hard took Cedric's death, but I get it now. But it's still an awfully hard book for me to read. Harry gets so much piled on him that it doesn't seem fair and I don't understand how the other characters don't get that--and least until I realize exactly how inward focused I am and would probably react the same way. This is a book I just like to get done.

The Summer of the Great-Grandmother
This is the second in the Crosswicks Journal series. In it, L'Engle recounts one specific summer at Crosswicks where her mother spent her last days with the people who loved her most. It's a touching memoir where L'Engle wrestles with the mother she knows, the old woman she sees before her and the young woman who existed before Madeleine was in the world. It becomes a family history and I learned that most of L'Engle's fantastic storylines came from her ancestry. And here I thought she had to work to attain the Southern Gothic tones in her novels.

Dragons in the Waters

And right on the heels is a story which uses some of her family history. An adult Calvin O'Keefe with his oldest children, Poly and Charles, take a freight ship to Venezuela. Also on the boat is an adolescent boy, Simon Bolivar Quentin Phair Renier. Simon is traveling with his recently discovered Cousin to give their last family treasure, a painting of the South American revolutionist Simon Bolivar, to the Venezuelan government. However, most people on the boat are not whom they appear to be. And intrigue abounds. Also, check out the Amazon link!!! They're re-releasing the book with a new shiny cover.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Gah! This book causes so much angst. I love the Dumbledore/Harry relationship. I wish it had been that way the entire series. But mostly I like this as a prequel to the last book as so much of what goes on in this book finds it fulfillment at the end of the series. And as I mentioned in the Chamber of Secrets review I love the Voldemort history.

So 7 books since the start of July. Not too shabby, eh? AND I'm almost done with Harry Potter and I'm officially 1/3 done with L'Engle's complete works. (I did skip 3 books I'm waiting for via ILL--just to be on the up and up.)

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