Friday, July 20, 2007

At Large and At Small

This was a charming book of essays by Anne Fadiman, author of another great collection of essays about books called Ex Libris. It is filled with familiar essays, which find the middle ground between the completely personal and the completely academic essay. Some I didn't enjoy as much. I particularly liked the first one in the book about the history and her history of collecting and naming butterflies.
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I Capture the Castle

This was the book for July bookgroup. It was a fun, light summer read. I didn't love it, but it was ok. The narrator is a dynamic, smart, charismatic 17 year old and the book is her journal. I personally can't imagine any 17 year old writing the way she did, but it was a decent read.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Predictions for Book 7

Well, in anticipation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows coming out tomorrow, I reread book 6 to get my mind working and to prime my last final theories. JK Rowling is a master author and I love the Harry Potter books. I got choked up (again) when Dumbledore dies, and in particular when Fawkes sings his mourning farewell to his beloved master on the Hogwarts grounds. There were a few things that I noticed in rereading book 6.

1. Regulus Black is mentioned a few times in the early part of the book. I am convinced that RAB, who found the Slytherin locket that Voldemort made into a Horcrux, is Regulus Black. And my theory is that Regulus is still alive. When Dumbledore was trying to get Draco to turn from Voldemort's side, he said that they could protect Draco and his family. "We can hide you more completely than you can possibly imagine." This made me wonder if perhaps Regulus death has been faked so that Voldemort doesn't try to find him, but that he has been in hiding all these years, and that in book 7 we will see him revealed. Harry is an underage wizard. He has a lot going for him, but he won't be able to find the Horcruxes by himself, even though in the final pages of book 6 he laments his ultimate aloneness in the task in front of him. He will need the help of someone more than Ron and Hermione to destroy the Horcruxes and ultimately vanquish Voldemort. I think that this person will be Regulus.

2. Harry mentions Godric's Hollow as a possible starting place for his mission. This is where he parents were killed. I think that Voldemort managed to create a Horcrux with a connection to Gryffindor. Dumbledore insisted it wasn't the sword, but maybe the connection is about a location rather than an object. Godric's Hollow has to be connected to Gryffindor.

3. This insight wasn't from book 6, but from watching the movie of The Order of the Phoenix. When Sirius mentions that he ran away from home at age 16, he tells Harry that he went and stayed with James Potter and his family. Why is it that we haven't heard one single word about James Potter's family? We know that Petunia Dursley is Lily's sister, and that she came from a Muggle family, but what about James? I am betting that we will find something out about his family, if not someone.

4. DEATHS: I think Snape is good and will redeem himself by sacrificing his life to overthrow Voldemort. We will finally learn what made Dumbledore trust him all these years. I definitely think Snape will die in book 7, as of course, will Voldemort. I also think that one of the Weasley sons will die--either Fred, George, Bill, or Charlie, and that this will cause Percy to finally reconcile with his family. And I think that Neville will finally find his wizarding feet and will redeem his family by killing Bellatrix Lestrange,

5. I think that Harry and Ginny will get back together, and so will Ron and Hermione. I am also thinking that perhaps Luna and Neville will too. I love Luna so much more after seeing her in The Order of the Phoenix.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Bookshelves

I just rearranged my book shelves yesterday. I have been needing to do it for a while—we have limited book space and I have been collecting books from a variety of sources. The event that finally pushed me to act was that I was at my parents’ house and I went through all my stuff that was still sitting in their basement. I found a lot of my old books from my childhood and high school years and decided to bring them home. Plus, I had taken quite a few books from Andy’s mom’s shelves that she was looking to get rid of.

I like to order my books by topic. I like to browse my shelves. I feel happy with their order and with the memories of all the happy, interesting, and fascinating times that I’ve spent with them. So that I could put all my new books onto the shelves, I had to pull some off and take them downstairs. I decided that all the dusty scriptural commentaries, as well as all the Institute student manuals could go. I also took down a bunch of Ensigns and relegated them to the basement as well. That gave me some more space to play with. Of course, that space was located on my church shelves. So, I decided to first shelf all my Mormon women books. This is my new reading obsession. I am reading books by historians about Mormon women. I am reading essays about Mormon women. And in so doing, I have collected quite a few things that deserved their own place on my shelves. I wanted to give them a place of honor and dignity. The top shelf of the church section is mostly the writings of prophets and biographies of the prophets. I wanted to put them side by side with the prophet books. Should I move them over to the next shelf so that they could be on the same level with the prophets? But, then I would have to displace my Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, and Lord of the Rings. I felt it would be better to keep the church books on one shelf. So, I moved down all the other general authority writing to the third shelf, and put my Mormon Women’s collection together on the second shelf below the prophet section. Now, I am wondering if I should split the prophet collection and put half on the top shelf, half on the second shelf. And do the same with the Mormon Women so that they could stand side by side.

From Andy’s mom, I placed a book called Mormon Sisters with chapters on women from the early days of the church in Utah, a volume of poetry by Carol Lynn Pearson, and a tantalizing book about women by Belle Spafford (I can’t wait to read and see how the context of her times shaped her views of women in the church), plus a few other things. I added the history of the Relief Society, Sisters in Spirit, and the Emma Hale Smith biography. 4 Zinas is still sitting out—I want to look through it some more before I shelf it. When I pulled together the new things I have gotten, and put some of my other books with it—collections of women’s conference talks, a book about Minerva Tiechert, books by Chieko Okasaki, Anne Poelman, and Sheri Dew, I was happy to see that I had a goodly amount. And I only plan to add to it in coming weeks.

Next, I started to rearrange my fiction section. I extended my children’s shelf extensively by moving a basket and stacking books on their sides. I put all my children’s books together on one shelf. From my parent’s home, I brought quite a few. First, my set of Little House on the Prairie books that I got them for Christmas when I was about 8 . I had inscribed my name and address on them in a childish scrawl. The list price on each of the books was 1.95. I also found my set of The Chronicles of Narnia. I had also put my name on their cardboard cover as well as affixing two Muppets stickers, including Animal and Miss Piggy. There was Island of the Blue Dolphin and a Sprout book that my first grade teacher had given me as a prize for reading a certain number of books. Plus, I also located battered copies of Charlotte’s Web and Anne of Avonlea. All these went together. Then, I added The Goose Girl, Harriet the Spy, The Bridge to Terabithia, and Walk Two Moons that I had picked up from garage sales.

I went down to the bottom shelf and looked at all my classics. I rearranged them somewhat my time period and genre, and then added in the books I brought from home. Most of them, I read in high school English classes: a couple of Hemingways, Slaughterhouse Five, The Mill on the Floss, and Metamorphoses. And then some of my personal books. The tragic Tess of the D’ubervilles, a well loved copy of the Princess Bride. Looking at all my books made me yearn for the time to pick them up and reread them.

After I was done, I surveyed my shelves with content. I felt happy with the books that I added to our collection, and felt that all in all, the books we have is a good reflection of the people that we are. And I noted with anticipation and excitement the empty spot in the Harry Potter for book 7 that comes out on Saturday.
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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Last Day

Saturday: AJ and I get up early and go for an easy nearby hike together called Peaks Trail. It takes us a while to find the trailhead, but once we did, we had a great trip. It starts out quite chilly and we are in the woods for most of the time. We walk along a stream, had some great views of mountains, saw quite a few mountain bikers. It was nice to talk—about the kids, the week, 4 Zinas and some of the craziness of polygamy, our future. This was really the first time all week that we had to really talk much.

We come back, take family pictures in our Breckenridge t-shirts, and then I jump in the pool with the kids. It’s a combination hot tub-pool, and this morning, it is very warm. The kids have been enjoying it all week. We play for a while, then get out for lunch. Now, it’s time to start thinking about packing everything up. T naps, and we leave at about 5 to head back to Denver. We stop at Beau Jo's pizza in Idaho Springs on the way home. Such a great week.

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Friday: All of the F kids plus W’s friend and C go white water rafting. Thinking of both the cold water and my propensity for motion sickness, I decide not to go and stay with the kids and with AJ’s parents. I play Sorry and Memory with the kids and then take them into town to play for a while. We walk past the river and find a mini-playground. We are able to kill the morning this way and then head home for lunch. T goes down for a nap and the rafters get home mid-afternoon. For dinner, W and E do classic summer grilling—hamburgers, hotdogs, and add to that corn on the cob, watermelon, and root beer and I’m in heaven. We eat outside. AJ gets addicted to spider solitaire, and I soon follow suit. C builds a fire outside in the metal fire grate, and we roast marshmallows, make s’mores, and tell stories. The kids go to bed. We play a few rounds of Dalmuti to decide the order of special prizes. There are some yummy European chocolates, soap from Italy, and a few gags. I get a new copy of Dick and Jane, perfect for MJ to read. Too bad it is sexist and racist. AJ gets a CIA mug, his top choice.

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