Harvest Ride

It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn. - B. C. Forbes

It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn. – B. C. Forbes

Fall is my favorite time of the year.  And even though the trees are just starting to change color, there’s beauty to be found along the roads of central Illinois.

So many books. So little time.

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A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

I hate when I finish a book that was truly a waste of my time.  I have a reading goal (125 books this year -yeah, I’m weird like that) and those are the books that put me behind.  I read all sort of books about different things.  I can almost always  find something good about a book – even a trashy romance, as they are just for fun.  No big expectations except to have a nice time reading it.  They usually deliver.  Some books are meant to just be fun.  Some thoughtful.  And when you can find both fun and thoughtful in the same book, you’ve hit a home run.  Each year I try to read a couple of classics to round out what I think I was missing from my education.  Great Expectations – meh, not what I was expecting (pun intended), but I’m glad I read it.  Wuthering Heights – oh my gosh.  The darkest and most depressing novel ever.  But there was something I liked about it.  Maybe it was gloomy moors?  Or the tormented characters?  I’m not sure.  Jane Eyre– I LOVED it and have no idea why I didn’t read it when I was younger. To Kill a Mockingbird was a book I had read and not liked.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  I read it again as an adult and loved it.  I’ve read most of Jane Austen’s books and while I generally like the stories, her writing isn’t really my cup of tea.  Lady Chatterley’s Lover – because I just had to see what all the hype was about. (Yes, there’s sex, but to me it was much more about the social/labor climate in England at the time.)  I’ve been reading Les Miserables for quite some time.  I’m not done, so I can’t really say quite how I feel about it other than Hugo was a very wordy bugger and he spent WAY too much time on the Battle of Waterloo.

So back to the book that set me back on my goal.  The Story of Land and Sea: A Novel.  A debut novel as I understand it, so I’m going to try and be kind.  I had high hopes for this one.  I love the setting: low-country North Carolina at the end of the Revolutionary War.  I think that the author’s writing was lovely in places. It was depressing (which if Wuthering Heights is any indication, isn’t a complete turn-off for me).  And boring.  Very boring, indeed.  Boring to a spectacular degree.  Nothing much happened.  And then it just ended.  I thought I had a few more pages to go when it just ended.  Ugh.  I hate abrupt endings.  But in this case, it was a merciful release. Truly.  I was glad thrilled to be done with it.   On Goodreads, it actually has pretty good reviews.  And the Charlotte Observer gave it a nice write up – but maybe that’s Carolina bias coming into play.  I didn’t find the characters at all compelling with the exception of the children in the novel.  Ms. Smith could work on character development.  Perhaps I expected too much from it following the last book I read which I really enjoyed – it was a “home run”.  Let me tell you, Jojo Moyes can tell a story.  I would recommend any of her books but especially The Last Letter From My Lover and Me Before You were wonderful.  Anyway, I really have to get better at dumping books that I’m not enjoying.  For some reason I think I need to see it through.  Maybe it was the way I was raised, my personality, or that my mother was a librarian but quitting a book is just hard for me.  I just keep telling myself it will get better, that something will happen, and when it doesn’t I’m incredibly disappointed.  So now I am off to find my next book.  And I hope this one shows itself to be a pearl.

Turn the page

Abandoned house in decay.  Greene County, IL

Abandoned house in decay. Greene County, IL

. . . Another fall, another turned page. – Wallace Stegner

Although technically it’s not officially fall yet, it’s just around the corner.  And it’s wonderful.  I’d have to say that fall and winter are my favorite seasons so I feel a sense of excitement about it’s nearness.  The photo above is a favorite of mine that I snapped couple of years ago while were on the motorcycle on a fall day. I’m fortunate that my husband is a patient man who humors me by stopping and letting me take pictures.

And it’s done. . .well sort of.

 

Page 23 - A ride through the Badlands.

Page 23 – A ride through the Badlands.

I am finally finished with last year’s vacation “scrapbook” .  It’s uploaded and waiting to be printed.  I’m not sure why, but I’m always a bit anxious about the process.  I read and reread all my journal entries to proof them for spelling and punctuation, but it never fails that one tiny little error slips through.  And my son is always the one to notice it. Always.  Sometimes it’s not spelling.  One time I left a staple in his friend’s head.  I tell myself that nobody notices.  Anyway, this time I am more anxious than usual since I sent it to print at Blurb, a new experience for me.  It saved me a little money (and I found a coupon code online that saved even more) and by all accounts offers a product that’s equal or better to the printer I’ve used in the past.  We shall see.  The process was a little time consuming since I had to save all my pages as high quality jpeg files, and then import them and drag them on to the new pages.  That actually went really smoothly.  And I will say that in that respect, BookSmart worked perfectly.  And it was faster than you might think even with 43 pages.  It was just that when I looked at where the page would be trimmed, well some elements (photos, journal entries, flowers, etc) were a little to close for comfort.  In the end, I had to edit about a fourth of the pages to move some things away from edges, and then do it over. So what I thought would be a quick relatively quick process took me a bit longer.  Then I had more choices that I did at my old print shop.  Different colors of end pages.  Various papers of different weights and finish.  I hope that when it arrives in two weeks (because I was too cheap  thrifty to spend twice the amount on shipping to have it next week) I will love it.  I’m sure I will.  But the waiting to see if I got it right makes me a little crazy.

The scrapbook may be done, but this project is not.

Provence baby sweater for Noa.

Provence baby sweater for Noa.

The sleeves are done.  And I’m about halfway to dividing for the underarms.  I’ve got several hours of knitting time next week so hopefully, I can get this project all finished up.  Would be nice to deliver it to Noa when we see her (hopefully) in Germany next month.  It’s quite soft.  Beautiful color.  Washable wool.  It’s just that the yarn isn’t much fun to knit with.  And my new beautiful yarn is calling to me.  But I refuse to give in until this sweater is done.  So until then. . . I knit on.