Quote of the Week

“Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.”

“The Last Rose of Summer”, Stanza 1.
Thomas Moore [1780-1852].

From Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett.
Published by Little, Brown and Company. 1955. Page 439.

To read more about Thomas Moore: Poetry Foundation.

To read the complete poem: Poets.org.

[Review] The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun by J. R. R. Tolkien

Publisher and Publication Date: Mariner Books. First Mariner edition 2010. First published 2009.
Genre: Fantasy fiction. Poetry.
Pages: 381.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Tolkien readers. Readers of myths and legends. Readers of Old Norse poetry.
Rating: Very good.

Link for the book @ Amazon.

J. R. R. Tolkien Goodreads author page.

The Tolkien Estate, the official site.

This link is to read an article about Tolkien from the Smithsonian Magazine: How J. R. R. Tolkien Came to Write the Stories of The Rings of Power.

Summary:

The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun is Tolkien’s version of ancient Dane stories. The Danes were an ancient Northern Germanic people who lived in what we now call the modern countries of Denmark and the southernmost area of Sweden. Their time period is roughly 500 BC to 1050 AD.

His story is told in two poems. Lay of the Völsungs. Lay of Gudrún.

These poems are from the heroic age of Vikings, after 700 AD.

They are in verse form, an old 8-line stanza. And each line is 3 to 4 words.

Even though there are old sources that these new poems loosely came from, it is stated in the Foreword: “He scarcely ever (to my knowledge) referred to them.” This book of Tolkien’s’ poems is not to be thought as “translations” of the previous. They are new. Tolkien called them “New Lays.” Tolkien possibly wrote them in the 1930s.

My Thoughts:

Reading through the book is the easy part. Understanding what I have read is difficult because I have little knowledge of Dane history, culture, society, and literature. I focused on reading for pleasure. I have since reread the Foreword and Introduction and this has helped. In addition, there is a commentary chapter after each of the two poems. My advice is to read these features.

I feel like I’ve been on an adventure reading these two poems.

The poems are dramatic, masculine, vivid, physical, and haunting. The words in the poems are purposeful in carrying the serious dark nature of their world.

I don’t consider the poems to be ethereal or romantic.

The poems are not to be compared to Tolkien’s well-known Lord of the Rings books.

Some of my favorite lines are in reference to the dragon, Fafnir. I love reading about dragons!

I believe this is a perfect book to read aloud. I’d love to hear it read through Audible.

Themes in the poems are injustice, betrayal, death, marriage, courage, and bravery.

The Sunday Salon

It is Saturday afternoon in my little area of the world. The temperature is 88. Clear sky, bright, and sunny. No rain over the past several days.

My husband is working. With the exception of a visit with my son Paul and his family who came over in the late morning for a brief visit. It is a quiet and restful day.

Everyone in the family is well and adjusting to the new school year.

~~~

I’ve thought a little about simple living or living a simple life that I’d written about in last Sunday’s Salon.

My first thought in reference to simple living is having less distractions.

Distraction means to draw away the mind and attention to another direction. To draw in conflicting direction; create conflict or confusion.

When I think about the greatest distraction in my life it is the iPhone, iPad, laptop, television, and social media.

I’ve asked a few questions:

  1. How often do notification alerts sound?
  2. How often do I look at these devices?
  3. What can I do to make changes?

At least with the television I turn it on and off and there are no notification alerts to draw away my attention.

Back in the day when people only had a landline with a corded telephone, few calls were telemarketers or strangers, most were people we knew.

While reading or doing art, my attention is drawn away from what I’m working on because of a notification alert sound. I’m hesitant to keep the phone on no sound because what if I get an important call or text.

If I am sitting, then I am looking at a gadget like iPhone or iPad.

Why do I always need some kind of stimulation?

Is it possible to sit for 15 minutes and relax without a tech gadget nearby?

There is great pleasure gained from being able to sit, relax, and take a deep breath.

Somewhere along the way I have forgotten how to relax.

Is the checking of phones, tablets, and scrolling through social media a form of escape?

If asked, can we name the things we want to escape from? It is going to be a long list.

To an extent we read and take vacation and do other hobbies and activities that help us, and in an enjoyable way, to escape from the stresses of life. But when the escape takes us away from engaging with people and life overall, that is a problem. Because essentially, we are checking out.

A favorite memory of mine is my parents went for a 30-minute walk after supper every night. Then they sat in a porch swing together. They’d have conversations about their children, church, dad’s job, other family, friends, neighbors, and current world events. But sometimes they were silent. sitting beside one another, shoulder to shoulder, swinging in unison and unity.

My answer for this topic is to have boundaries. I have implemented some boundaries. Simple things. For example, no social media on my phone or pad except Pinterest. I only look at Pinterest before bed. I have a planned and timed spot in the day where I sit and do nothing. I set the owl kitchen timer for 15 minutes. During that time, I take deep breathes, lay my head back, and relax. On purpose, I leave my phone in another room. The downside of that is I forget where I placed that darn phone.

Are techie gadgets and social media taking us too far away from not dealing with the stresses of life and community?

The Sunday Salon is hosted by Readerbuzz.

[Review] D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose

Publisher and Publication Date: Crown Publishing. April 23, 2019.
Genre: Nonfiction. History. Resistance in France during World War II. Espionage. Women in literature.
Pages: 394. I counted every written page. From pages 289 to 394 is Acknowledgements, Notes, Bibliography, Index, and About the Author.
Format: Hardcover. Library binding.
Source: Public library.
Audience: World War II history readers, especially those with an interest in the Resistance work in France.
Rating: Very good.

Author page @ Goodreads for Sarah Rose.
Website/ Twitter.

Summary:

A character chart is located before the first chapter. The characters are Andrée Borrel, Lise de Baissac, Odette Sansom, Yvonne Rudellat, Mary Herbert, Francis Suttill, Gilbert Norman, Peter Churchill, Claude de Baissac. In addition, I noted other characters: Hélène Aron, Andre Girard, Major Karl Bömelburg, André Marsac, and Phyllis Latour.

Beginning in 1940, England recruited 39 women to train for various spy work in a new government agency called the Special Operations Executive or SOE. These women were recruited because most young men were busy in military service. These women were from all walks of life. They spoke French. They were all trained with knowledge and abilities to carry out specific spy and espionage work in France. Some examples of the work are radio operators and sabotage efforts.

The inside flap cover of the book mentions Sarah Rose used extensive research for the book, including “recent declassified files.”

Odette Sansom was recruited in 1942. Her story has been written about in other books I’ve read, and she is a defining character in D-Day Girls.

The book begins in 1942, and the climax will be during the D-Day invasion of Normandy beaches in France.

My Thoughts:

I’ve mentioned this before, but World War II history is one of my favorite subjects to read. It doesn’t matter if it’s nonfiction or fiction. I like all of them. I’ve read children to adult books in this subject.

The principal reason I love this genre is my dad was a veteran in World War II. He was a veteran of Omaha Beach, D-Day, June 6, 1944.

I stood on that beach with dad and other family members in the fall of 1999. Dad reminisced about that event. It was then I realized his story was no longer a story told in bits and pieces at the dinner table. His story was real. Violent. Historical. Memorable.

Several reasons why I love D-Day Girls:

  1. There is no fluffy stuff in the book. What I mean is the book delivers exactly what the inside flap summarized about the book. The women involved in the SOE work in France in the two years before the D-Day invasion. Fluffy is added material in a book that creates a larger and longer work with information not necessarily pertaining to the main topic.
  2. No one character is in the spotlight. The work they all did as a whole is explored and studied and recreated for the reader.
  3. I’m amazed at the courage, bravery, ingenuity and savvy nature of all of them. Even one of the last characters in the book who is suggested as not that bright is a person of determination.
  4. I saw one of the most important traits of a spy, to be one step ahead of the enemy. To think and plan and be one step ahead of them.
  5. A baby is difficult to hide. In one person’s case it is a double blessing for them.
  6. D-Day Girls is a concise, panoramic view, and engaging read.

Quote of the Week

“No, the heart that has truly lov’d never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close;
As the sunflower turns on her god, when he sets,
The same look which she turn’d when he rose.”

Irish Melodies, Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms, by Thomas Moore [1780-1852].

Quotation from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett.
Published by Little, Brown and Company. 1955. Page 439.

To read more about Thomas Moore and this poem: Poetry Foundation.