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The Week in Words


I’ve been enjoying Leaving Gee’s Bend, a juvenile fiction selection by Irene Latham.   For the past several days, it has been my “recreational” read while I work through Mornings on Horseback for March’s Semicolon Book Club.  I’m enjoying both books, but today I wanted to share a little portion from Leaving Gee’s Bend.  It is a lovely, lovely story, and while this little snippet doesn’t really communicate exactly why I like the book so much, it’s a word picture I want to remember. 

I reckon Mama had been saving them potatoes to pay Teacher on the first day of school.  With the cotton harvest almost all done, school would be starting early next week.

I sighed as I put ’em in my pocket.  Now there wouldn’t be nothing to give Teacher for coming all the way from Camden.

Then again, could be Mama had something else stored up that nobody knew about.  Something else that would be just right for Teacher.  Like last Thanksgiving when the food was all set out and we was just about to say the blessing and Mama said, “Wait.  Everybody close your eyes.”  When we opened ’em, there was a fat, ripe tomato sitting in Mama’s hand!  Like it was August instead of November.

She’d wrapped that tomato in newspaper and buried it in the dirt behind the barn.  Not a one of us knew about it till she held it out, then sliced it up and put it on the table.  Didn’t matter that it was soft and a little mealy.  It was a fresh tomato when everything else had long since been blanched and preserved, then stored in jars on a shelf in the barn.  (53)

For more Week in Words posts, visit Breath of Life.


The Week in Words


I did it!  I finished A Tale of Two Cities!  I’ll save my thoughts, such as they are, for another post, but I can’t resist sharing a few quotes from this fabulous story one last time. 

I like all the descriptions of Jerry Cruncher because I like Dickens’ brand of comic relief.  Here’s one more:

. . . Mr. Lorry looked at Jerry in considerable doubt and mistrust.  The honest tradesman’s manner of receiving the look did not inspire confidence; he changed the leg on which he rested, as often as if he had fifty of those limbs, and were trying them all; he examined his finger-nails with a very questionable closeness of attention; and whenever Mr. Lorry’s eye caught his, he was taken with that peculiar kind of short cough requiring the hollow of a hand before it, which is seldom, if ever, known to be an infirmity attendant on perfect openness of character.  (301)

Can’t you just picture this?

My favorite scene in the whole book, though, is when Miss Pross and Madame Defarge face off.  I positively laughed out loud at this, even though I know Madame Defarge to be a seriously evil character.  I love Miss Pross in this episode!

‘You might, from your appearance, be the wife of Lucifer,’ said Miss Pross, in her breathing.  ‘Nevertheless, you shall not get the better of me.  I am an Englishwoman.’  (358)

Will you indulge me for just one more from Miss Pross?

‘If those eyes of yours were bed-winches,’ returned Miss Pross, ‘and I was an English four-poster, they shouldn’t loose a splinter of me.  No, you wicked foreign woman; I am your match.’ (358)

One more time:  I love Miss Pross.  🙂

To read more quotations collected by bloggers  for The Week in Words, visit Breath of Life.  Oh, and stay tuned for my thoughts on A Tale of Two Cities!

The Week in Words



As a distraction/break from A Tale of Two Cities, I’ve been reading a memoir called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  (This couldn’t possibly be why I still haven’t finished Two Cities. 😉 )  The Happiness Project is immensely quotable, but I found one part that just completely resonates with who I am.  I think Gretchen and I might have a thing or two in common. 

But what, exactly, did I find fun?  What did I want to do?  I couldn’t think of much.  Well, there was one thing:  I really loved reading children’s literature.  I’ve never quite figured out what I get from children’s literature that I don’t get from adult literature, but there’s something.  The difference between novels for adults and novels for children isn’t merely a matter of cover design, bookstore placement, and the age of the protagonist.  It’s a certain quality of atmosphere. 

Reading this for the first time was like reading something I’ve thought all along but never had a reason to put into words. 

For more Week in Words posts, click over to Breath of Life.

The Week in Words


Nothing from A Tale of Two Cities this week, ‘though I could.  (Yes, I’m still reading it.  Yes, I’m still enjoying it.  I’m just slow.  I’m savoring it.  😉 )

Instead, I thought I’d pull out some verses from Proverbs this week.  I found them convicting when I read them last week.  I need the reminder.

When words are many, sin is not absent.

but he who holds his tongue is wise.

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,

but the heart of the wicked is of little value.

The lips of the righteous nourish many,

but fools die for lack of judgment.

–Proverbs 10:19-21 NIV

Did something you read over the past week resonate with you (or convict you)?  Share it over at Breath of Life!

The Week in Words


As I write this, I’m still in the midst of absorbing the first Charles Dickens novel I’ve read in some twenty years (!!).   I can’t resist sharing a few quotes from A Tale of Two Cities again this week. 

Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat away at him.  (97)

This is, of course, a description of Sydney Carton, whom the back-of-book summary tells me is “heroic.”  I wonder what turn of evens in the novel will bring about this change?  (Don’t tell me!  Don’t tell me!  I don’t want to know.)

This other quote is self-explanatory, but it made me think of Judy Plum in Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat, so I just had to share it:

Mr. Lorry knew Miss Pross to be very jealous, but he also knew her by this time to be, beneath the surface of her eccentricity, one of those unselfish creatures–found only among women–who will, for pure love and admiration, bind themselves willing slaves, to youth when they have lost it, to beauty that they never had, to accomplishments that they were never fortunate enough to gain, to bright hopes that never shone upon their own sombre lives.  He knew enough of the world to know that there is nothing better in it than the faithful service of the heart; so rendered and so free from any mercenary taint, he had such an exalted respect for it, than in the retributive arrangements, more or less–he stationed Miss Pross much nearer to the lower Angels than many ladies immeasurably better got up both by Nature and Art, who had balances at Tellson’s.  (102)

I like this description, especially since I find such characters in book to be endearing.  (I’d have to think very hard to figure out if I know any such women nowadays.)  I also like the idea of “faithful service of the heart” that is “free from any mercenary taint.”  Surely service offered out of a pure heart is the most rewarding (and rewarded).

I’m really enjoying both A Tale of Two Cities and saving little snippets to share for The Week in Words.  Won’t you consider joining in this fun carnival at Breath of Life?

The Week in Words


 This week’s quote comes from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.  I’m determined to make good on my failed attempt to read it at the end of last year, so I started over again on it at the end of last week.  I’m finding it more readable the second time through.  Dickens–well, what can I say about him?  He’s masterful at drawing vivid descriptions, and quite often, they are humorous.  Case in point is this description of Jerry Cruncher, the jack-of-all-trades who plies those trades outside of  Tellson Bank:

He had eyes that assorted very well with that decoration [his hat which hides them], being of a surface black, with no depth in the colour or form, and much too near together–as if they were afraid of being found out in something, singly, if they kept too far apart.

And one more bit:

Except on the crown, which was raggedly bald, he had stiff, black hair, standing jaggedly all over it, and growing downhill almost to his broad, blunt nose.  It was so like smith’s work, so much more like the top of a strongly spiked wall than a head of hair, that the best of players at leap-frog might have declined him, as the most dangerous man in the world to go over.  (22)

I love it!

For more quotes, or to share your own “Week in Words,” visit Breath of Life!


The Week in Words


Melissa @ Breath of Life is starting up a fun, new carnival today, and I thought I’d join in.  It’s called The Week in Words, and the idea is just to share a quotation from something (magazine, blog, book–anything!) you’ve read in the last week.  I love quotations, and I especially love to save particularly compelling bits of the books I read, so this suits me just fine.

The last book I finished reading is The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, and my quote comes from it:

But why should I want to go to Zululand?  Why should I ever want anything but to live in Botswana, and to marry a Tswana girl?  I said to him that Zululand sounded fine, but that every man has a map in his heart of his own country and that the heart will never allow you to forget this map.  I told him that in Botswana we did not have the green hills that he had in his place, nor the sea, but we had the Kalahari and land that stretched farther than one could imagine.  I told him that if a man is born in a dry place, then although he may dream of rain, he does not want too much, and that he will not mind the sun that beats down and down.  So I never went with him to Zululand and I never saw the sea, ever.  But that has not made me unhappy, not once.

Isn’t that lovely?  I hope to have a post up about this terrific book in the next couple of days.