“Personal Challenges is a full-length contemporary romance novel, a wonderful read that I couldn't put down and I give 5 Stars. Thank you KC Wells!” - KD Amazon Reviewer
“The series is worth revisiting…” - Light Amazon Reviewer
“I love the way KC writes! This was a great ending to this wonderful series!” - gruvermom Amazon Reviewer
I was out of town for the weekend starting Friday, and after so much activity and driving around, I'm worn out. Sometimes road trips and vacation can be so exhausting!
At least Baby thinks so. He probably slept a lot more this weekend than anyone else did though, AND he got a nice toy out of the whole ordeal!
The little one was dragging that thing around like a new security blanket, feeling perfectly content to having it just hanging off of him, when he normally doesn't even like having anything bulky or clumsy hanging off of him like that. He must really love the new toy! Mom thinks it looks like a noose though, so she's been removing it; however, it seems a bit heavy for him to drag around in his mouth, so it kept ending up back around his neck.
Anyway, the weekend was busy with my cousin's graduation from Pharmacy school (!!!), and some shopping, and lots of eating. I ended up completing my mission of needing to find a nice outfit for my brother's wedding (!!!) coming up in about a month. And yes, I DID put off shopping for clothes for a long time because, a) I'd been hoping to lose some weight so I could wear something nicer, and b) I just don't like going shopping because it's so exhausting and I suck at fashion trends and stuff anyway.
Needless to say, losing weight is not one of my better skills, so I just had to find something that looked nice on me, but also didn't make me look bigger than I already am. With my mom's help, we managed somehow.
And in the meantime, I continued my penchant for NOT losing weight by enjoying any and all food:
We went for a go at this new place that made rolled ice cream, which was delicious. Unfortunately, being lactose intolerant, I paid for it later, even with the help of Lactaid. Apparently, I'm very good at making poor life decisions, even with my resolutions to quit making myself miserable by eating things I shouldn't. But it was vacation, and rolled ice cream, and there are bananas on my rolled ice cream, and that should count for something... right?
Other food choices included an all-you-can eat Italian buffet called Cinzetti's which was fabulous! The dessert and crepe station was even more fabulous! The Sangria Blanco also hit all the right spots!
We also had appetizers for lunch at a chic little bar, but the food wasn't all that great. I'd never seen a more pathetic looking loaded fries. Then after my cousin's graduation ceremony, my aunt invited everyone out to an Asian Bistro where she proceeded to ply everyone with food and drink because she was so happy for her daughter's achievements. And because we were all so happy for her, we indulged! There might have been some Sake and Sashimi involves well.
At some point in time we stopped for an early dinner wherein I ended up seeing the word "scallops" and "risotto" in the same menu item description and got really, really happy. Also, there's a really good Seared Ahi Tuna appetizer my family and I couldn't pass up, even though my youngest brother and I are the only ones who enjoyed it. Mom ate off of the salad on the side.
At least there were a lot of green veggies on my plates!
That being said, the weekend was very long and very busy and very tiring, which didn't leave me a whole lot of time for reading except during those moments at the beginning of the day when you're sitting around and waiting for everyone else to wake up. Since I'm such a light sleeper, I'm usually one of the first ones up, so I was at least able to get some reading accomplished, even if not what I'd hoped for.
And so, that brings us, finally, back to the Bout of Books update!
So I didn't quite reach my goal of four books and reading for at least four to eight hours each day. I still feel like I made some good progress, but I was really hoping to do better, as well as finish my books before the weekend was over. That being said, my hopeful plans of rolling once again for Booklikes-opoly by tomorrow, 5/16/17, is probably not going to happen.
That's fine. I DO have two books I'm still finishing.
And while my entire body is still a little stiff from driving all day, and then falling asleep in a very awkward position upon arrival at home, I think this weekend has been a pretty successful one in terms of personal life necessities.
At least I got a cute new pair of dress shoes to show for it, and Baby seems to be a lot happier to be home as well!
Anyway, cheers, everyone!
This morning before returning home, Baby decided to make himself quite comfortable on my brother's couch, squeezing in right next to me while I was reading, between a stack of blankets, curling up just small enough to fit into the little space.
Vivian Gornick's book on the art of essay writing was bound to get good marks from me, if only for its extensive drawing of examples from famous books and essays.
Criticism — as compared to reviews — is a singularly rewarding experience, especially in the hands of a good writer such as Gornick. It can open your eyes to a new way of seeing a piece you have already read or turn you on to writers you have never experienced. In the course of this book I was turned on to Seymour Krim, I reopened an essay by Joan Didion, and I've hunted down a PDF of Edward Hoagland's "The Courage of Turtles."
The point is theoretically to help in the writing of essays, but I was delighted to discover that what drew me in was perhaps the point all along. Gornick does not reveal until the conclusion her suspicion of studying "craft" (as it were) and the idea that one can teach writing at all. It's not how to write but how to read, critically and with an eye toward story, that drives The Situation and the Story. Gornick is asking the reader to dig deeper, discover what it is about Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant" that makes it compelling.
"Who is speaking, what is being said and what is the relation between the two," is a repeated admonition as you read into a story. Orwell going out and shooting an elephant could be an act of bravado, it could be an act of cruelty, but in the way he writes it is an exploration of colonialism. What it means to represent a ruling nation among a people who aren't keen to have you there, and especially when you're not too keen on the idea either. What does that position do to someone? This comes through in his voice, in the way he describes "the situation" as much as in the actions he takes. Asking these questions will make such readings more enjoyable and meaningful, but should also inform your own work.
The crux of this lies in a story about one of who students writing an essay about her grandfather — a man she has never met. The story isn't quite working until someone realizes that her learning about her grandfather is the situation, it provides a structure for the story, the actions on which the writer can hang meaning. The story, the meaning itself, is actually about the girl connecting with the grandmother. From there the essay starts to come together in a more satisfying way.
I am not convinced with all of Gornick's stances, her belief in the inborn gift of writing skill is maybe just said wrong or maybe it is magical thinking. And the way her distaste for post-modernism is slipped in does not serve any end except to let you know she is not a fan. But if you are interested in personal writing, either to write or read, this is a good place to start.