Books I have read recently

  • Shirley by Charlotte Bronte — I'm reading a giant biography of the Brontes "Wild Genius on the Moors" By Juliet Barker (amazing!! but I'll post on that when I finish) So I'm reading each novel as it's discussed in the book. I loved Shirley. I have to agree with the critics that it is a slow painful start and it does take about 150 pages till we meet the title character Shirley. But besides that, it is so well written. Caroline Helstone’s angst is beautiful and poignant. And knowing that the last third of the book was written after Emily & Anne died explains so much about the change in the book. Charlotte likes to fix her world by writing about it and in her version the sick heroine recovers where her sisters did not. I definitely recommend Shirley for the Bronte fan. Don’t skip it.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas --- It took me a couple chapters to really dive in but after that I was in love. I had read somewhere that it was based on Beauty & the Beast, which is great. What I did not know is that it is a retelling of one of my favorite fairytales: East of the Sun, West of the Moon!!! What a treat when I discovered that. I love that story. It's whimsical and the girl saves the day which I love love love. Sarah does a beautiful job of it and I can't wait for the next one!!
  • Miss Buncle’s Book by D. E. Stevenson —What a little treat. My mom gave these books to me for my birthday and there are so much fun. It’s a light easy read and it made me chuckle.
  • Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder— I adore her soul finder books. I’ve been reading them for years. She builds beautiful strong women and sweeping romance. Her magic system is unique and I want to live in her world.
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr and E. B. White — A must read for every writer. Thanks to Stephen King for the recommendation. It has all those little things that I had questions about and answered them quickly and succinctly. It’s not the funnest read but it’s helpful.
  • Click of Titles to go to the book's Amazon page

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sugar and Spice and Everything that makes you want to cry

As the movie began, I thought I might like it better than I did the first time. The prospect of watching it again had tempted me before. So Britt and I suspended out Boggle game to watch Mean Girls. Perhaps one of the reasons I dislike the movie is because it is real. If you have never been a middle school girl you will not believe me when I say that that cruel world indeed exists. Although, true, it is no as glamorous but there is just as much drama. The movie is far too reminiscent of who I was and what I could have become. If you come to know me now you will ,hopefully, find me to be an average if not an overly studious young lady. So coming to this conclusion you are now bracing yourself for a sadly pathetic story of how I was gossiped about and maligned by the school "mean girls", how they have come to a rotten end, and how my uncool kindred spirits and I are well adjusted, rich, and happy. But most unfortunately that is not my tale. Since I was in 3rd grade i was part of the cool clique. Mind you that our class was small so the exclusion from this group was felt keenly. I don't know if I attract dramatic people or if I bring out that behavior in others but either way drama came. It seems silly now but it most surely felt like the end of the world when the other two girls of the clique uninvited me to their birthday parties. So along the line of growing up I learned to be cunning. My creativity always gave me a leg up in game playing and the specialty of creating a kingdom with room for few. I would make laptops and cell phone out of paper so we could call our favorites of the Hanson brothers. Then later in middle school I would create elaborate stories to keep our minds from the three fourths of a mile we still had to run in P.E. Weaving the tale of how we were witches and the bird on the field was the enchanted prince Henry, we took on the nicknames of Wendy, Casper, and Flora so that if our notes were ever intercepted our identities and secret crushes were safe. Now this all sounds lovely if not ideal but the story gets ugly.
This is when we (probably me, it stinks of my creation) coined to term "fish". This was an unfortunate, uncool girl who found our companionship something to be desired and decided to try and become our friend. We did not smile on those who tried to enter our secure trio. So we plotted. We made vicious plans on how to regain our freedom. I shake my head remembering how I loved the thrill of secrecy, how I felt that we were a secret organization, that we were generals preparing the assault. So these poor girls (yes girls plural) were victims in our usually cruel, always elaborate plans. Though as you can imagine, we rarely had the clean break we anticipated. My mind has protected me from most of the things I did but several still haunt my conscience. One occasion is more vivid that the others.
The current "fish" was Kara, an overweight girl who had grown up with Casper and Flora while I was fairly new to the school. One afternoon while descending from our third story band class we began to plan and gossip. One of us, I do not deny it could have been me, made some comment about Kara being fat and some other insult I can't remember. She was a little ways behind us coming down the stairs. I must have been in 6th or 7th grade. My companions and I were later taken from class and confronted on the accusation of saying mean things about Kara. The teacher who did the confronting was an English teacher I greatly respected. She asked me if these things we true and looking her in the eyes I lied... We explained she must have misheard us. That we would never say anything like that to her; we were friends. She believed our sugar story and we were saved from some still unknown horrible fate. Other moments stick out throughout time and thankfully I finally got the strength the break free of the group announcing to one of them that I hated who I was when I was with them and that we could no longer be friends. I proceeded then to live a mostly normal life having little drama with friends and recognizing the signs, would break off potentially harmful friendships before they were all consuming.

But at moments I look in the mirror or see my actions from the corner of my eye and I look too much like that girl with long bangs gelled to her temples. My personality type naturally drives me to the development of several close friends as apposed to always meeting new people and craving the large group. I love the comfort and security a couple best friends offer. So at school once I found this group of girls I noticed myself reluctant to allow the socially underdeveloped to join. One such individual is Julia, a girl from Ukraine. She speaks great English but does not understand how conversation flows and adds long, random story at awkward times during lunch. The other girls of my close-knit group do not care for her in the least but most of the time the Holy Spirit gives me a sound upset stomaching when I see her siting alone. Was it not just 6 months ago when i was alone and terrified about not knowing anyone? What right do I have to deny why I prayed for without ceasing the month preceding my first day of school? So if anyone reads this challenge me and hold me accountable to go out of my way to love this girl like Jesus does.
That is quite enough honesty for the time being. My memoir will be on the shelves in in 3-4 months once the editing is done, so if you enjoyed my soul barring be on the look out.

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