Melanie's Musings
January 4, 2016

6 Reading Adventures for 2016

2016 looks like it’s shaping up to be a fantastic/frightening/growing year. I can’t forecast or completely control everything, but I do have 100% say over what, how, and where I read. Here’s what I want to do:

1. Doodle in a book. Remember how I’ve fallen in love with poetry? Most collections feature one poem per page, leaving eons of blank emptiness. It is tempting, and I will fully indulge.

2. Read a graphic novel. I’ve had many friends suggest V for Vendetta, but I’m thinking some familiarity might do me good for my first foray. Pride and Prejudice, anyone?

3. Finish all the series. Maria V. Snyder. JRR Tolkien. Megan Shepherd. Great authors with books I adore. Why did I pause smack dab in the middle? It’s madness!

4. Bake all the food. I mean, this is just a general life goal, but I’m particularly interested in baking book-related goods. The Scorpio Race‘s November Cakes is first up.

5. Read at a monument. One of my favorite things about living in the DC area (did I tell you I’ve moved?) is that people watching opportunities abound. When the weather warms up, I’ll be trekking down to a monument, reading, people watching, and eating a packed lunch. Pretty much all of my favorite things at once.

6. Listen to an audiobook while knitting. I’ve got this neverending baby blanket, and the end is finally in sight. I’m hoping to take advantage of that free trial Audible is always raging on about and finish it off.

Bonus: Be intentional about what I read online. I’ve been noticing that 5 minutes after logging on to social media, I’m knee deep into 5 different Buzzfeed articles or something about a scientific “discovery” I had never heard of before clickbait. While it’s fun for a few minutes, it leaves less time for me to read up on what I’m specifically interested in, like books and travel. Back to the basics.

How will you be bookadventuring in 2016?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Broke and Bookish.
Photo credit goes to Lisboa #05 via photopin (license).

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Posted by Melanie at 8:07 am - Comments (11)
Categories: Uncategorized
December 31, 2015

The Year I Fell in Love with Poetry

Every year I take on a set of book challenges, ones that I’ve learned to view in a less restricted manner (You must read all the books), but rather as guiding lights for reading. 2015 saw me participating in Savvy Verse and Wit‘s poetry challenge.

Somewhere between Pablo Neruda’s Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines and Clementine von Radics’ I Am Jealous of Your Tattoos, I fell in love.

At the beginning and still today, I understand little of the art and science behind poetry. Three minutes into a conversation on iambic pentameter and I am fascinated, but my eyes are glazed over. Throughout the year, I just dove in to see what I could see.

In a somewhat narcissistic sense I suppose, poetry teaches and reminds me a lot about my life. Here are a selection of favorites:

Elizabeth Barret Browning exposes the need to be accepted in Sonnet XXXII. Her work reminds me that I am more of a romantic schmuck than I would ever admit.

Poe’s The Raven brings back delightful memories of dramatic readings done by my father with the rapt audience of a ten-year-old.

Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman sends me into a tailspin regarding the meaning of womanhood, a question that’s been plaguing me lately. Seriously, what does it even mean to be a woman??

And Mary Oliver calls me back to the preciousness of life in The Summer Day.

Reading poetry has brought a fresh air of discovery into my reading life, and I’m excited to further explore in 2016 and beyond.

To end, here’s a favorite from Ethan Coen, entitled Sorry, Pal.

Let you out so you can barf?
Sorry pal, no getting out.
The car is life.
Your barf rides with you.

Brash but true.

What is your favorite poem, my friend?

photo credit: Hardcover photo album via photopin (license)

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Posted by Melanie at 9:09 am - Comments (0)
Categories: Uncategorized
October 28, 2015

Searching for the right words in The Lover’s Dictionary

The Lover's Dictionary
The Lover’s Dictionary tells an everyday love story in a unique way. From the first date on, the narrator introduces moments of a romantic relationship through words. Accompanying each word is a short snippet of its meaning in regards to the relationship, rarely longer than a page.

I’m incredibly impressed by the mixture of creativity and organization in the novel. Like all dictionaries, it’s alphabetized. To be able to imagine and mold words and definitions to the story (and vice versa) is fascinating. Major props to David Levithan as an author.

Not only did I see new ways to look at ordinary words, I learned new ones along the way.

Here are two, with their actual definitions from Merriam-Webster, followed in italics by their definitions from The Lover’s Dictionary.

neophyte, n. – a person who has just started learning or doing something

There are millions upon millions of people who have been through this before – why is it that no one can give me good advice. (Comment from Melanie: But seriously! Story of my life.)

panoply, n. – a group or collection that is impressive because it is so big or because it includes so many different kinds of people or things

We stuck to the plan: you had your bookshelves and I had mine. Yours simply had books, most of them from college, while mine was overrun by souvenir thimbles purchased by my pre-teen self, compact discs that had been orphaned from their cases, mugs from colleges attended by forgotten friends, and jam jars of quarters (just in case, for some reason, I had to quickly launder everything we owned).

You never seemed to mind. Although one day you did say, “if our shelves were a seesaw, my things would be stuck in the air.”

I didn’t know whether you were being judgmental or self-pitying. Bit I had learned: there’s no good answer to either.

Pretty neat, huh? Want more of The Lover’s Dictionary? View the unabridgement on Twitter.

Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by Bermuda Onion. It’s a chance to “share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.”

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Posted by Melanie at 8:44 am - Comments (2)
Categories: Meme,wondrous words