Category Archives: books

Teaser Tuesdays

My, how time flies! Here we are again with a snippet from my current reading matter. Rules as always:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for everybody else!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their Lists if they like your teasers!

And here we are:

Line a funnel with cheesecloth (several layers), muslin, or the foot from an old pair of nylons. Place the spout of the funnel in a squirt or pump bottle and decant your new shampoo.

From ‘Make Your Place: affordable, sustainable nesting skills,’ by Raleigh Briggs

Not exactly War and Peace this week – though Mr M has confirmed my conclusions that in a good light my sprinkling of grey can pass as golden blonde highlights. 🙂

Then again – it is Valentine’s Day…

Teaser Tuesdays

At last…I’m reviving the meme orignating from shouldbereading

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for everybody else!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their Lists if they like your teasers!

Today’s teaser

My parents bought the boys a fire engine for Christmas.
At least they waited until they got it outside before filling the pump-action tank with water.
– p36 Wife in The North by Judith O’Reilly

Teaser Tuesdays

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
Be careful not to include spoilers! Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to spoil the book for others!
Share the title and author too, so other TT readers can add your book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.

My teasers are:

I don’t want to be houseman where people look at me as if I were part of a wall.

But I don’t know how I’ll ever get a college degree and rise in the world with no high school diploma and two eyes like piss holes in the snow as everyone tells me.
– From Frank McCourt’s memoir ‘Tis

You were lucky here that that somebody lent me the Frank McCourt at book group last night. The alternative would have been our group choice for the month: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Then again, if I’d done this meme a week ago – you’d have been regaled with some choice titbits from the BT Repair Project Guide: Getting to the heart of the problem on your line. Real gripping stuff!

The stuff of nightmares

Postscript to my Silence in the Library musings: We’ve been asked to ‘bring a dream’ along with us to the ‘Seabirding’ course in a fortnight’s time. I think I’ll cut back on the Dr Who viewing until after we’re done, otherwise goodness only knows what’ll bubble up from my subconscious; could be ever so slightly embarrassing. And on that note, I’ll give our book group choice for the month, Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road,’ a miss for now, as well.

Confessions of a bibliophile

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

An old Dave Walker which about sums up my state of mind, (and the state of the study) on this bright and sunny Bank Holiday Monday. Only in my case, it’s books which are threatening to take over the place. Don’t you just love the way ‘My Failings’ get given a category all to themselves. Even better, a googlesearch has just revealed that there are other bumbling bibliophiles like myself out there. Yes, there really is a blog out there called ‘Overflowing Bookshelf!’ I am not alone! Jessica, when I checked out Exhibit A I thought “But that’s my bookshelf!” Are you sure you’ve not snuck incognito into Maison Miffy with an Amazon package?

So, my dilemma is twofold: How to (reluctantly) find new homes for some of my collection (my Marketplace shopfront is creaking at the seams), and, in the longer term store and catalogue the remainder. I suspect the first will involve going through my inventory pulling out books which are simply not selling, and upending them into a large bag for the next charity drop that comes up. Alternatively, take them into the charity shops myself. Of course, I then run the risk that those of a more…’theological’ bent may get swept up by some well-intentioned soul and ‘offered’ back to the library at ‘Oldchurch.’ Who will then have to spend ages laboriously shifting through them before trying to frame a suitable tactful refusal without mortally offending the donor. And let’s face it, even Oldchurch won’t warm to the sight of my tatty old copy of TPDL, complete with cynical scrawlings in the margins.

Alternatively, suggest that ‘Newchurch’ start a library, then I can lend out those books which I actually value and want to read again. Well..?

Bookaid International don’t accept secondhand books anymore.

Otherwise, the recycling bin is the way to go. Oh dear. 🙁

Cataloging will be more of a long-term project, I think. But useful. For now I’ve begun a spreadsheet though I’m wondering about whether some of the online systems would cut out some of the hard slog. There’s a few pros and cons here. I already have Shelfari, though as I use it principally to display books on my other blog, I’m unsure whether it’s possible to have lists that don’t show up on it. LibraryThing looks to have more shiny bells and whistles. However, it’s only free up to the first 200 books. Hmm.

Either way, it’d be good to have some semblance of order, then I might actually get round to reading some of the stuff I’d fogotten I’d got!

Whizz pop whizz pop pop pop!

Mr M, recycled from last year.

” ‘Whizz pop whizz pop pop pop poppety pop pop,’ faster and ever so much faster flew the pancakes. Thicker and thicker. Bigger and bigger. They came out flatways and edgeways. They shot high in the air and stuck to the ceiling. One sailed across the room and hit the Vicar in the waistcoat, where it may or may not have reminded him of the ironholders for the South Crashbania natives. Pop poppety, pop pop pop. It was like a machine gun but much more sploshy. The Professor struggled out of his pancake just in time for another one to drop over him. Two pancakes were on the clock, four were draped over the light. The Mayor was eating his way through a complete set of pancakes of varying sizes that had fallen in front of him. The four firemen put their helmets on and brandished their axes, but only succeeded in smashing two cups, one saucer and the sugar basin. Mrs Flittersnoop put her head gingerly out from under the table and was immediately gummed to the carpet by a three-foot pancake two inches thick that had just shot out.”
From The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm by Norman Hunter

Is anybody here old enough to remember the Professor? Colonel Dedshott? Mrs Flittersnoop? And the wonderful pancake-making machine which goes berserk and attacks the Great and the Good of Lower Pagwell? Though in true make do and mend tradition it takes on a new lease of life making paving slabs for the town council.


Thawing out and thinking

Forget my theory of ecclesiastical hirsuiteness; I guess Mr M’s powers of observation may have been skewed by one too many “wee drams.”

The course down in the land of seabirds and brisk sea breezes continues apace, weather notwithstanding. In the end, we didn’t combine Carmelite with Evangelical and Charismatic spirituality. (Shame – that would have been fun!)

Since then we’ve worked our way through an excellent session on spirituality in later-life, followed last weekend by a morning dealing with postmodernism. With apologies to any readers who hold this last topic dear – up to now I’ve thought of this as being something rather vague and amorphous; hard to catch hold of, and, which tends to make my head go round and round with the effort needed to understand it. Happily, this weekend helped clarify my understanding, if not my thoughts!

The session began with a swift, but thorough overview of the origins, background, and characteristics of pre, modern, and postmodern schools of thought. The morning continued with a more in depth study of two exemplars of postmodernity – Thomas Merton and Etty Hillesum, presented by the author of “Etty Hillesum – A Life Transformed,”. >. Whilst I’d read fragments of her writings, what I hadn’t appreciated was that hers was a spirituality shaped largely over only a few short,(too short) years. This search for identity and integration (“God is what is deepest and best in me.” ) resulted in a transformation of her inner life that enabled her to transcend the violence and horrors of the Holcaust and offer hope to those whose sufferings she shared.

Etty wasn’t conventionally ‘religious,’ (she was a non-practicing Jew), with none of the points of reference one would expect, and the focus of her search was as much “Who am I?” as Who is God?” She needed to ask the former in order to reach the latter; to reject the norm in order to travel beyond it and integrate the psychological and spiritual in a new understanding. The means by which she reached this were equally unconventional (her relationship with therapist Julius Spier, for instance, would definitely raise a few eyebrows today).

I was struck firstly by the shortness of her journey from a deeply troubled young student to somebody with more sense of self than many of us attain in a lifetime, (she was only 29 when she died at Auschwitz). As we reflected, some never embark on the rejection needed for the first part of this journey. Then again others become stuck in this stage and never move beyond it!

Secondly it reminded me, not for the first time that a proper interiority always results in a movement outwards in compassion and practical action and compassion towards others; the first is a prerequisite for the second. An encouragement for those of us more contemplative souls who sometimes feel vaguely (or not so vaguely) guilty about our meanderings.

Another point that we noticed was the necessity of the whole cycle of rejection/deconstruction/rebuilding for healthy spiritual development; implications which IMHO aren’t always taken into consideration in our religious institutions. It reminded me of philosopher Paul Ricoeur’s “second naïveté,” the theory that, having distanced ourselves from those elements we once held as ‘truth,’ we come to a place when we wish to be ‘called again,’ to reengage with and reinterpret them on a deeper, more symbolic level. A cycle which repeats itself over and over again. Believe me, I’ve been there!

So, all in all, a valuable session which has helped clarify some parts of my own journeying, introduced me to much else, and, as all good teaching should, left me with as many questions as answers. (And poor Ms M with a headache as Mum enlivened Saturday dinner with such delights as “overarching metanarrative”, “micronarrative,” and “deconstructionist,” concepts which, as an ex design student she’s only too familiar).

DIY Antics – Never Again!

It seemed like a good idea at the time; just a quick spot of DIY. What I didn’t allow for is that my technical skills are as lacking in the virtual carpentry department as they are IRL. What should have been a few minutes widgeting over on Shelfari has taken up most of the afternoon, taking in system crashes, books vanishing into the ether and shelves almost as wonky as the ones chez Miffy. Happily, all’s well now. Should you fancy a quick browse, do hop over to Greenpatches.