Quote of the Week

“In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter,
Long ago.”

To read the full poem: Poetry Foundation.

Christina Georgina Rossetti [1830-1894]

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett.
Published by Little, Brown and Company. 1955. Pages 649-650.

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[Review] Sabriel by Garth Nix

Publisher and Publication Date: HarperCollins. 2021.
Genre: Young adult. Fantasy fiction. Dystopian.
Pages: 368.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: Self-purchase @ Amazon.
Audience: Readers of young adult fantasy books.
Rating: A very good story-well-written-engaging. It is not my kind of story though.

My copy is a 25th Anniversary Classic Edition.

Link @ Amazon.

Sabriel is book one in a series of six books. The link is to Amazon to see the list of all the books.

Garth Nix’s Goodreads author page.

Website for Garth Nix.

Summary:

Sabriel is a teenage girl aged 18. She has just finished the last term at a boarding school at Wyverley College.

A strange creature of death came to her school and delivered a sack with her father’s tools (he is the Abhorsen.) Principally his sword and silver bell. She immediately knows her father is in danger, probably dead, but maybe not beyond the gate of returning him.

Her father is a necromancer. A person who communicates with the dead in order to help understand and change events. Black magic is used. Often affiliated with a warlock or witch.

The plot of the story is Sabriel’s journey to the other side (the Old Kingdom) in order to find out what happened to her father and help him.

My Thoughts:

Now, isn’t this a book I usually read. No. But I wanted to read a story that is out of my usual. I wanted to read a story that appeals to young adult audiences so I can be informed. Informed about why the enticement to read this type of story.

As far as the storyline, plot, ending, characters, and all the events that unfold. The book is highly imaginative and readable.

I can understand the allure of the story. Sabriel is an antihero. She has an interesting upbringing. She has interesting abilities. She has a father who does not have the norm type career. She has been educated in a posh school for “young ladies.” But she does not overtly stand out with beauty and popularity. She is noticeable in her own way. If a person is observant.

Magic, charms, and spells are used to bring strength and power to help combat evil. These are tools of control that a human can use.

There are internal and external conflicts. The external conflicts are immense.

It is not a scary book. It is not an edge of the seat thriller. It is a journey, with a trial of testing during the journey.

The story is dark. It is depressing.

To an extent, people read fiction and especially fantasy fiction as a way of escaping real life. Except, Sabriel is an escape to a world of darkness and death. The spells and charms and tools of being an Abhorsen does not protect the person from danger and death. There is a limit to the ability of even an Abhorsen.

If a young adult is already depressed, is reading this story going to make them feel better? Will it lift them up? It is possible it will help them escape for a time.

I’m reminded of the reasons people engage in horoscopes, tarot cards, sorcery, etc. It is a way to control an outcome. A source of protection. A way of feeling strong and powerful. It is a person who wants to rise above and take charge of their life. It brings a security and satisfaction if only for a time. In the end, the reality is death comes to all. What then? In this story, there is a series of gates with horrible entities that haunt and beguile and torture. Sheesh.

I do not believe in, nor will I agree to ever ban a book. Nope. If my children were younger and wanted to read this story, I’d at the least say, “let’s read it together and talk about it afterwards.” Conversation after a story is a great way for families to connect.

My final thoughts:

Death comes to every living thing. We do not have control over it. We can eat healthy. Exercise. Do everything in our knowledge and power to do the right things to live a healthy long life. But death is certain. We do have a choice about what happens after our body dies. I believe in the afterlife. I believe that when I die my spirit is going to go somewhere. I am promised that I will have eternal life with Jesus Christ.

Rarely do I talk about my faith on this blog. But this book brought it up. I cannot let it go.

Will I read a book like Sabriel again? Probably not. It is well-written. But it is not the kind of book I enjoy reading.

[Review] Whitman, Poetry and Prose by Walt Whitman

Publisher and Publication Date: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1982.
Genre: Poetry.
Pages: 1407.
Format: Hardcover. Library binding.
Source: Public library.
Audience: Readers of poetry.
Rating: Very good to excellent.

Link for the e-book @ Amazon. The price is .99 cents on this date.

Walt Whitman’s Goodreads author page.

Further links:

Britanica.

Poetry Foundation.

LitPriest.

Summary:

A complete book with Walt Whitman’s poems, prose, essays, and letters.

Walt Whitman was born in 1819. He died in 1892.

He was an American poet of 19th century America.

Whitman wrote the famous, Leaves of Grass. This is the poem that is most affiliated with his name. He continued to add to and edit the Leaves of Grass poems. When they were first written, they were untitled. Later, he added titles.

My Thoughts:

Before reading, Whitman, Poetry and Prose, I’d heard of him, and I’d heard of the poetry collection, Leaves of Grass. This is the first time to read in any of his poems. So, I jumped into this chunkster book of Whitman’s writings with no previous knowledge.

Do I love his writing style? Yes.

Do I love his poems? Yes, but not all of them.

Do I feel he is unique or an important poet? Absolutely.

While reading, I wondered if I’d read another poet who writes in such a huge arena of different subject matters. I don’t think so.

Most poets have a certain type of poem they write. Their own voice speaking through the poems about what they love, or who they love, or nature, or fears and uncertainties, or a rich fantasy world.

Whitman writes about everything. I love this.

I kept a list of different topics. The list below are examples:

  1. Soldiers.
  2. Tears.
  3. Ships.
  4. Beaches.
  5. People. People of various skin color and personalities and cultures; a community of people.
  6. A hand mirror.
  7. Memories of President Lincoln.
  8. Compost.
  9. Ireland.
  10. A prison.
  11. A Prostitute.
  12. India.
  13. Faces of various types.
  14. Friendship.

I love his writing style. He is independent. He speaks with transparency. He ponders things. There is a fluidness and freedom, intelligence; and his poems are inspiring.

A couple of favorites:

Song of Myself pages 188 to 247.

“Ashes of Soldiers.” Pages 598-600.

The Sunday Salon

The Sunday Salon is hosted by Readerbuzz.

What I’m reading now:

I read a chapter a day in Adam Bede by George Eliot.

Dark Night of the Soul by Saint John of the Cross.

Sabriel by Garth Nix.

The Fall of Numenor by J.R.R. Tolkien.

In Good Time by Jen Pollock Michel.

The Viking Heart by Arthur Herman

Walt Whitman, Complete Poetry and Collected Prose.

I’m enjoying all of the books. Sabriel is out of my normal type of book to read, and I did this on purpose. I want to explore/read this type of genre.

All the above links are to Goodreads.

What else is going on in my life?

This afternoon at 2 PM it is 59 but feels cooler. The humidity is high. The wind is slight and from the south. Heavy overcast sky has gone away, and I see only bright blue sky.

On January 1, that evening, my 17-year-old grandson who has several mental health conditions had a violent outburst at his home. Then he talked of ending his life. The next morning, he voluntarily went to stay in a psych treatment center for several days. He had medication changes. He is in counseling. After 5 days he was discharged home. This was emotionally draining on all of the family. It is a difficult and ominous way to begin a new year. So far, he is fine. Back in school. Track began last week.

My husband has a sinus infection…again. He has probably had it several days or weeks. Yesterday, after a doctor appointment, he is on an antibiotic.

I am fine, busy with life and busy with several books I’m juggling to read.

Today is a lovely day at home.

Enjoy your weekend!