On a quest- little known books of the famous

I was one of those readers who used to read books recommended by others. Sometimes I selected books if I had read other books of an author before. Often times it was what I had heard about a book that led me to look for it and read it.

I have been bored with the choices of books I have in recent days. The books I have been reading are hardly worth even one read. I have been exasperated with some writers. I have wanted to shake a few.

I wished there were modern authors like my favorites- M M Kaye, Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery. Ones whose stories we could read and read again and wonder what happened to its characters long after the book was put down. These are books I have collected. I must have read “How green was my valley” at least 25 times- or ” The Far Pavilions” fifty. Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s boys and all the rest of those have been stories I have stored in the recesses of my brain, though I have not copies of those books now. Sometimes I long for the ” good old days”.

Recently one blogger, whose writing I love – therabbitpatchdiary.com – wrote of other books of Louisa May Alcott – Under the lilacs. I had never heard of this title before.

Thus started my quest. I work in a university with a very large collection of books- mostly digital versions but some hard copies too. I looked through Amazon and Good reads and looked for other titles written by Alcott and found quite a few. I soon found ” Eight Cousins”, ” Rose in Bloom”, Behind the mask and ” An old fashioned girl”. All delicious, scrumptious books. The writing magnificent, and the stories though time tested, told in a different way. I have with me a copy of ” Jack and Jill”, which is locked up in my draw to read when everything is quiet for I do my best reading then.

Then I looked for other titles by M. M. Kaye- to be honest, I had read a few already- Shadow of the Moon being one of them. There was no harm in procuring a copy through my library, which was so happy to have one reading asking for its little- borrowed titles. This quest let me to another period novel – The Zemindar, which spoke of the ” First Mutiny of Indian independence” like all the other titles did. Reading them was a week’s work for me. When I read books I like, really like, I find I take time and am not a fast reader any more.

Finally I am now on to the L. M. Montgomery books- I just read ” A tangled web” yesterday and now have started on ” Emily’s quest”.

I am grateful to have access to a library that allows me to read and enjoy books at my will and at little or no cost.

Have you looked for the entire collection of books written by an author ? Do you find differences in the writing between books or is there a commonness you find among books written by one author ?

On my 25th wedding anniversary, there could be no better post by me than one on books and hence this one.

 

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A birthday party

 

Yesterday was Pepper’s 1st birthday. We were all invited. My elder daughter dog-sat her a few times, so she was going anyway. The younger daughter and me we accompanied her to the party.

Pepper had a little party frock, all in pink. She tripped over the dress a few times but generally survived.

 

Pepper’s cake

Pepper in her birthday frock

Mr. Bob, Pepper’s friend, invited to the party

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Birthday treats for humans

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A birthday card for Pepper- with Pepper, sister Elsie and brother Max represented

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The decorations 

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Pepper with other friends, Samba, Bobo

With Samba, Bobo, Mr. Bob, Jackson, Suhana and her own two siblings Elsie and Max, there were nine dogs.

Two pair of human twins, one 18 month old girls and the other 7 year old boys made up the children invited to the party.

My own two girls, were the other children but categorized as adults per their age.

Cyn with Jackson and Mr. Bob’s owner; Samba, Suhana and Bobo were the very active people and dogs around.

There were no dog fights . Only one human ate a dog treat, which she declared incredibly tasty and lived to tell the tale. Cat, the hostess thought she had bitten off more than she could chew when she saw her beautiful, well maintained house being reduced to shambles in a matter of minutes. Kids, dogs, human kids, all ran amuck.

A good time was had by all. It was a great day and we all needed it. Being all dog lovers, all of us were our natural selves, there was no artificiality and people who hadn’t met before bonded over dogs and the snacks.

It takes animals to bring out the better side of humans. Thank you, Pepper; wish you a very happy year ahead.

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Getting irritated when called ” fat”

I recently had a situation where someone in my family  took a look at my plate( in which I had served rice and curry for lunch), and said, ” So little rice- is that what you eat usually ? Surprising how you are fat with this amount of food.”

Have you ever faced a situation where a personal comment was made about your appearance ? To your face ?

It is happening with me quite frequently these days, especially after I let myself go after a few stressful situations in my life. I am on a ” don’t care” plateau now.

But the point is – would you make a comment like this about any one ? Their hair going grey, their teeth falling off, their weight gain, or their hair loss ? Or additional wrinkles on their faces or any thing else?

This person had made a similar comment about my weight gain many times in the past. I usually smiled it away. This time, I lost my cool. It makes me feel good that I responded in  an as yet unfamiliar way . I said,” I like being fat. Who makes these rules that everyone has to be thin to look good ? ”

The look on her face was a sight to behold.

 

Aside

Life like a plum cake

Today I want to share a passage from a book I just finished reading, a book so old that it is a 1912 edition. It is titled ‘ The old Fashioned girl” by Louisa May Alcott. The context is a small sermon given by the heroine Polly to her friends, Tom, Fanny and Maud.

 

” Life, my brethren, is like plum cake.

In some the plums are all on the top, and we eat them gayly, till we suddenly find they are gone. In others the plums sink to the bottom, and we look for them in vain as we go on, and often come to them when it is too late to enjoy them. But in the well-made cake, the plums are wisely scattered all through, and every mouthful is a pleasure. We make our own cakes, in a great measure, therefore let us look to it, my brethren, that they are mixed according to the best  receipt, baked in a well-regulated oven, and gratefully eaten with a temperate appetite”.

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Travel stories

My daughter’s college admissions were keeping us busy over the past few days, even months. She is the one who just completed high school in March.  She was with her grandparents trying to sort things out with the college admissions. As my husband was in Singapore for his own training, he wasn’t able to be help her much this year with the process.

Just these last few days, we were able to make time to be with her and help her with her final applications. Seems like she will not get admission to the college of her choice this year and she will need to take a year off from studies to apply again the next year.

There were a lot of tears during this period while we helped her understand one year is not a big deal in the whole scheme of things. For an adolescent a year seems a lifetime, for us, who have lived longer, a year quickly flows away. It is difficult to convince a teenager that her life is not slipping away though her fingers.

We managed to get her admission to a learning center where she can hone up her skills and learn hostel living with children of her own age. So in a few days time she will be with them, on her own.

At this time, I went to visit my mother and was able to be with her during her third chemotherapy sessions for which I am immensely grateful.

The days at home flew by and I was completely off the internet and connectivity, I enjoyed the rest from the cacophony.

Now I am back home and looking forward to a few days of rest before rejoining work.