Merry Christmas To All

If you know me at all, you know that Christmas is my very favorite holiday. I even took these past several days off of blogging just so I could enjoy this blessed holiday and all the days leading up to it. Remember in the midst of all your gift giving, food eating, family reuniting, carol singing and festivities, why we celebrate Christmas.

Luke 2:1-14 NKJV

Christ Born of Mary
1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “ Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Watch a good old fashioned classic like "It's a Wonderful Life", "The Bishop's Wife", "Going My Way", "The Bells of Saint Mary's", "White Christmas", "A Charlie Brown Christmas"... (the list can go on and on)

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a blessed night!


Art, Hokusai and Teaching

As a slight break in the literary postings, but still keeping with some of my subjects I generally post about...

One of my lifelong dreams is coming true tomorrow. I get to teach an art history and technique class! My lovely and talented cousin, Elle is allowing me to visit her 1'st grade class to teach about Katsushika Hokusai, art concepts, terms, techniques and we'll even do two ink paintings with some Kanji.

I'm so incredibly excited! In a few months time, their shool is going to have an art show to sell the kid's paintings. Just my niche, and just what I love doing!


Best Use For A Dollar

My newest acquisition: a slightly thrashed but beautiful old copy of A Tale of Two Cities. Sun bleached and a little worse for wear, it was printed in 1934… And I got it for $1.00!

I almost dove over the tiny desk and hugged the little old lady, (then after a second thought, I worried it might get me escorted out by some sort of library police...) In the end, I restrained myself, paid the lady and danced out like a madwoman. Thank you Friends of the Library Bookstore, I promise I’ll take care of my new [old] book.


Nic's New Reading Lists

Ambitious girl that I am, I have decided on new reading lists. Yes, I meant to pluralize that, I have 4 separate lists. Some I’ve read, some I’ve meant to read, some I’ve never heard of until I went searching. I don’t expect anyone to sit there and read my new reading lists; it’s more for my benefit. When I go to a used bookstore, it helps to pull out a copy of the list so I can figure out what I still need to buy, thus, my current posting. Also, I’ve decided not to read these in any specific order (mainly because some of these will be difficult to find), and if anyone gives me a book that’s not on these lists, you’re out of luck, I won’t read it.

As a side note, I went to
Camelot Books this afternoon and I was blissfully happy there. I’m serious; it’s my favorite store on earth. I love the smell of the books, the workers are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable not to mention the thousands and thousands of books floor to ceiling!

Novels by The Bronte Sisters
¨ Jane Eyre
¨ Shirley
¨ Villette
¨ The Professor
¨ Wuthering Heights
¨ Agnes Grey
¨ The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Novels by Elizabeth Gaskell
¨ Mary Barton
¨ Cranford
¨ Ruth
¨ North and South
¨ Sylvia’s Lovers
¨ Wives and Daughters
¨ The Moorland Cottage
¨ Mr. Harrison’s Confessions
¨ The Old Nurse’s Story
¨ Lizzie Leigh
¨ My Lady Ludlow
¨ Round the Sofa
¨ Lois the Witch
¨ A Dark Night’s Work
¨ Cousin Phillis

Novels by George Eliot
¨ Adam Bede
¨ The Mill On the Floss
¨ Silas Marner
¨ Romola
¨ Felix Holt, The Radical
¨ Middlemarch
¨ Daniel Deronda

Must Read British/Scottish/Irish Literature
¨ The Dream of the Rood
¨ The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
¨ Utopia – Thomas More
¨ The Faerie Queene – Edmund Spencer
¨ The Spanish Tragedy – Thomas Kyd
¨ Doctor Faustus – Christopher Marlowe
¨ Sonnets – William Shakespeare
¨ A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare
¨ Hamlet – William Shakespeare
¨ Poems & Sonnets – John Donne
¨ To His Coy Mistress – Andrew Marvell
¨ The Mower Against Gardens – Andrew Marvell
¨ Volpone – Ben Johnson
¨ Paradise Lost – John Milton
¨ The Way of The World – William Congreve
¨ Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
¨ Moll Flanders – Daniel Defoe
¨ Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
¨ Pamela Virtue Rewarded – Samuel Richardson
¨ Joseph Andrews – Henry Fielding
¨ The Castle of Otranto – Horace Walpole
¨ The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker – Tobias Smollett
¨ Poems – Robert Burns
¨ Songs of Innocence and of Experience – William Blake
¨ Castle Rackrent – Maria Edgeworth
¨ Lyrical Ballads – William Wordsworth
¨ Poems – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
¨ Don Juan – Lord Byron
¨ Poems – Lord Byron
¨ Odes – John Keats
¨ Poems - Percy Bysshe Shelley
¨ Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
¨ Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
¨ Poems – Alfred, Lord Tennyson
¨ Poems – Robert Browning
¨ Poems – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
¨ The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
¨ The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
¨ Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
¨ The Portrait of A Lady – Henry James
¨ Poems – William Butler Yeats
¨ Howards End – Edward Morgan Forster
¨ Sons and Lovers – David Herbert Lawrence
¨ Ulysses – James Joyce

Martin Chuzzlewit

It’s difficult to choose one aspect of this story I like the best, it must be the vast array of characters. Of those many characters, I suppose my favorites would be Mark Tapley the cheerful servant and Tom Pinch, the sweetly innocent protagonist. Tom Pinch’s character is so amazingly kind and meek; his end seems hardly fair... Certainly he deserves the girl and everything good that can come to him, but Dickens had other ideas. Mark Tapley is one of those characters quite like Sam Weller (Pickwick Papers) or Clara Peggoty (David Copperfield)… Steadfast and inspiringly faithful.

At the other end of the spectrum, Mercy and Charity are absurd, flighty characters who add much humor to the novel (though Merry comes around by the end of the story). Although it is often considered Dickens’ least popular novel, it’s still a thoroughly wonderful story line full of classic Dickens characters.


A Christmas Carol

Why don't more people read A Christmas Carol? It's a fraction the size of any of Dickens' other novels, but just as wonderful! I'm constantly asking people if they've read the story and I almost always get the same answer: "No, I'm familiar with the story though. I've seen the movies."

Let me just take a moment to clear the tears of sorrow from my eyes...

How could anyone possibly think that a film, any film, can do justice to Charles Dickens?! I can't stand how our society thinks that watching a film is an acceptable alternative to reading the novels themselves! At any rate, I encourage everyone to read this novella and see the original beauty of the story.

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach." -Ebenezer Scrooge


Little Dorrit

Oh I love this novel so much! As always, I adore the hero and heroine of the story, Amy Dorrit (aka Little Dorrit) and Arthur Clennam. But the spectacular main story of Amy and Arthur is quite fittingly twisted among numerous subplots all of which are equally interesting. Naturally the villains are villainous indeed, Rigaud, Jeremiah Flintwinch even Mrs. Clennam along with Amy’s own family at times (with the exception of Edward). One of my favorite minor characters is the hysterical Flora Finching mainly because she’s such a good hearted character mixed with an insane amount of ridiculousness. There are mysteries, triumphs, heartbreaks and excitement abounding in this novel and it’s not merely a love story look deeper and you’ll find an impressive social commentary on Victorian society.

This novel especially leads me to wonder how on earth Charles Dickens knew how to write people so well, each of his characters is well developed and believable… The man was truly masterful. Little Dorrit only took me 4 days, though I’d have gladly sat for a few hours and read it in one day! Apparently the BBC adaptation is really something great, although I love Andrew Davies' adaptation of Bleak House... I hate his version of Pride and Prejudice with a deep passion… So I’ll reserve judgment until I see it.

***I hereby issue a profound apology to Mr. Andrew Davies. By some terrible mistake, I mixed up two VERY DIFFERENT versions of Pride and Prejudice. I adore Andrew Davies' version, it's splendid (in fact I've watched it so many times, my DVD skips in certain places)! The version I deplore would be the shoddy Keira Knightley version. Two very different adaptations. I am contrite and most sincerely sorry. To prove my trust in Mr. Davies, I will now go and buy a copy of Little Dorrit***


The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Admittedly, I had never read this partial novel, perhaps out of a total lack of willingness to read an incomplete mystery novel that left me with more questions than answers… Perhaps out of the uneasy feeling that once I read this novel, it would actually sink in, Charles Dickens is most certainly no longer alive nor is he writing anymore. As long as I had a book or two of his that I hadn’t read, there was a sort of illusion that remained, like there were still things to look forward to. Yes, I’m well aware that I’m crazy.

So, here I sit simply trying to accept the fact that I finished a novel I purposely avoided for so many years… And resigning myself to the fact that there is no ending to this splendidly mysterious beginning of a novel. It is fitting, I suppose, that Charles Dickens left the world with one unfinished novel… He’s left us wanting more. My mind is reeling with tons of possibilities of how the story of Edwin Drood was going to end… Oh how sad not to know the actual ending that was planned!

I guess I’ll go read my next novel now, that’ll be my comfort.


Our Mutual Friend

‘Money, money, money…’ the pervasive theme throughout Dickens’ final completed novel. Though money and class issues were prevalent in Dickens’ other novels in moderation, Our Mutual Friend sweeps up dozens of characters into the world of finances, greed, class distinctions and even racial intolerance. It’s difficult in this particular novel to choose a favorite pairing of characters between John Harmon/Rokesmith and Bella Wilfer, Mr. and Mrs. Boffin, Eugene Wrayburn and Lizzie Hexam… you’re hard pressed to find a favorite story line.

I do love John Harmon’s devotion to the mercenary Bella and his beloved Mr. and Mrs. Boffin, I love Mr. Boffin’s antics, Mrs. Boffin’s good natured love of those around her, Eugene’s slightly silly personality and Lizzie’s strength. As an added bonus, Jenny Wren is a fantastic character who adds sweetness and humor to the story. Mr. Riah, is certainly one of the best and most lovable characters (a sharp contrast to Fagin of Oliver twist) and serves as a balancing character to Jenny’s slight strangeness.

By the way, I read this in less than a week. Not quite 6 days. I love you, Charles Dickens.


Dombey & Son

It took me 1 week to read this novel, rather a short time for almost 1000 pages of novel, I think. It helps that I'm extremely familiar with the story, and not being the first time I've read Dombey and Son made it faster. The fabulous thing about Charles Dickens' style of writing: his stories don't get any less interesting with multiple readings, in fact you always catch more the second (or third... or fourth...) time around.

Dombey and Son abounds in antagonists, and the troubles that arise within the novel make for a truly dramatic yet thoroughly Dickensian story. One word especially seems to appear more often in Dombey and Son than most of Dickens other novels: Proud. Yes, it's an excellent illustrator of what happens to people, their families and lives when they only consider their pride. Of course, in Dombey and Son, you'll find one of the most satisfying literary endings, considering all the troubles and woes that plague the central characters Florence, Mr. Dombey and Walter.

In a slightly unrelated event, I've only once seen this book in hardback, and I didn't buy it. I saw it at my local used book store for about $15 and was one of the most splendid old copies I've ever seen... printed in the late 1800s, leather bound and rat chewed. If only I could have gotten that creepy feeling to go away when I thought about rats actually eating the book, I probably would have bought it. But alas, I still make do with my paperback copy.


Modern vs. Classics

Rejoice!!! I just went back and read my post "Oh Charles!" and it occurred to me: I didn't technically have a whole year in which to complete my goal. If I went from when I began to when I plan on finishing, I suppose I should technically have until January 24, 2011. Excuses, excuses, I know, but I just can't believe I let myself get tangled up in reading other people's stuff when I had my own goal! Next year, it won't happen like that.

Here's the thing... I don't like modern day books. Ooh I know I just lumped a vast amount of literature together and flippantly said "I don't like them" but the truth is: I'm a classics kind of girl, and I don't like today's writing styles. Maybe I need to force myself to read some modern day books? No, I've noticed that with the present day stories, they're almost always based on my beloved classics, so not only am I familiar with the contents of the story, I'm disappointed when it's not even near as good as the originals.

I still shudder to think of the Danielle Steel novel a loved one asked me to read last Christmas. It took me about a day and I was miserable. I sped through the painfully cheap version of Jane Austen's masterful Pride & Prejudice and ended up supremely embarrassed that I'd just read a few hundred pages of that stuff. Never again.

Here's hoping everyone will stop giving me books I "just have to read" because "I'll love it"... If indeed, I find a modern day novel that I enjoy half as much as my familiar old classics (and let's be honest, there are hundreds upon hundreds of classics I can still discover), I will happily recant my firm beliefs. As it stands, I'm content sticking with what I love!

Bleak House

Where to begin with this exquisite novel? Part mystery, part romance, part court drama, part coming-of-age tale, part tragedy… there are so many components and so very many illustrious characters that make this such an incredibly complex story. This is one of those rare stories that has something for everyone, while still remaining true to Charles Dickens’ form.

My favorite components of Bleak House (in no particular order):

*Mr Bucket the witty and brilliant inspector
*Esther’s narratives, those parts of the novel that humanize the story
*George (I imagine if he were a real person, I’d be in love with him)
*Mr Guppy reminiscent of Mr. Collins in P&P though perhaps a little less sycophantic on the whole
*The triangle between Mr. Jarndyce, Allan Woodcourt and Esther is fascinating and strangely sweet

This may be a very short post on such a wonderfully long novel, but my words are incapable of doing Bleak House justice. I adore this novel, that's all there is to it.

Great Expectations

It's been a long while, but have I continued reading? Yes. Will I finish by the end of 2010, not quite... In my own defense, I am often given books to read or borrow and people who give them to me expect me to be quick about it. So there I go, I set down whatever literature I happen to be reading at the time and I fall behind. However, I am still determined to read Dickens' novels in succession. Back to it.

Great Expectations. The very title evokes fond memories for me, I'm not the girl who read Dickens once in high school and then swore off his novels. Oh no. I passionately love his novels, every one of them, but this one's truly a childhood memory I cherish. I remember reading it for the first time and being enchanted by the world painted by Dickens... It's not that it's an overly cheery fairy tale type of story, but somehow the characters exist and overcome and that's what makes it so very magical.

Needless to say, Joe Gargery is my favorite character... So any part of the story containing him always makes me smile especially since the sweet simplicity of good Joe reminds me of Ham in David Copperfield. Not leaving out, of course, Miss Havisham, one of my very favorite villains... Ah, the monstrous creatures we can become when those we love betray us! Great Expectations is by far one of the best novels ever written, both in imagery and in character development. Try reading it, whether you liked it the first time or not, just try it, you may find you like it.


Finding Nic

In the confusion and turmoil of an imperfect world, we can lose ourselves in a lot of things. In work, in school, in relationships… Sometimes those things begin to take any ounce of creativity or uniqueness out of you and you become one of the masses. Other times, you just hide, so no one will notice… Commonplace, nondescript, average.

I’ve always had a fear of being too much like everyone else, yet I never enjoyed standing out too much, I never really fit in perfectly and although I have many dear friends who make me feel loved, I’m still a square peg in a world of round pegs. Hmm, how to overcome the dilemma? Forget what people think of you, “Be yourself, after all, there’s only one you” (from one of my favorite childhood books, Babar).

I realized something, I may not fit in with everyone else I know, but that doesn’t make me less. I may look different, but it’s my heart and my soul that truly define me. My ‘packaging’ may not be exactly how I would wish it, but I’m me, and that’s enough. While looking for a reason why I am the way I am, I found myself to be someone I didn’t expect. I’m a Rockabilly, born in the wrong decade, but living with a look and a set of rules that I still value highly. Always be a lady; don’t settle for anything less than a gentleman; listen to the music you like, not the modern day garbage; you don’t have to dress “sexy” to be alluring and never travel without sufficient amounts of: black eyeliner, red lipstick and bobby pins.

So go on, be yourself, be fabulous and don’t let yourself get caught up trying to fit in.


A Tale of Two Cities

Yes, it's terrible, but I really think Dickens himself, with his sharp sense of humor would appreciate this t-shirt.

Finished February 25, 2010

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . ."

I wonder if when Charles Dickens penned those immortal words he knew what an impact his novel would have on millions throughout the years… I’ll never understand why people dislike this splendid novel. It baffles me. I suppose maybe it’s that old “I-have-to-read-this-for-school-therefore-it-must-suck” syndrome… The first time I read this was in junior high, I’ve read it a couple of times since then (always of my own will) I think this may have been one of the novels that secured my passion for history (not that this is an historical document by any means) simply that Dickens showed that the things we read about in history text books were far more than a present day historian’s analysis… Maybe things didn’t happen this way with the diabolical Defarges, poor Dr. Manette, and the heroic Sydney Carton, but it still takes you out of that little box that boring textbooks tend to put you in. It personifies events like the French Revolution and gives one room to imagine the enormous impact it had on the world.

If you read it before and disliked it, try it again, maybe you’ll see the soul of this story, unlike when it was assigned for literature in high school. Although thoroughly Dickensian in its main content, it certainly doesn’t end like most of his stories do, but it’s a thoroughly beautiful novel.

*See if you can get through the scene when Sydney whispers “A life you love…” without crying, I never have.*


The Old Curiosity Shop

Finished February 18, 2010

This one always takes a lot out of me to read, I suppose because of how much hardship goes on throughout the story. It’s a novel of strong imagery without being too flowery and it contains one of Dickens’ most terrifying villains (Daniel Quilp). To do it justice, I’ll merely include Dickens’ own words.

“The town was glad with morning light; places that had shown ugly and distrustful all night long, now wore a smile; and sparkling sunbeams dancing on chamber windows, and twinkling through blind and curtain before sleepers’ eyes, shed light even into dreams, and chased away the shadows of the night.”

“It’s like a book to me,” he said- the only book I ever learned to read; and many an old story it tells me. It’s music, for I should know its voice among a thousand, and there are other voices in its roar. It has its pictures too. You don’t know how many strange faces and different scenes I trace in the red-hot coals. It’s my memory, that fire, and shows me all my life.”

“But as they drew nearer the ruined walls, the moon rose in all her gentle glory, and, from their venerable age, garlanded with ivy, moss, and waving grass, the chid looked back upon the sleeping town,deep in the valley’s shade: and on the far-off river with its winding track of light: and on the distant hills; and as she did so, she clasped the hand she held, less firmly, and bursting into tears, fell upon the old man’s neck.”



It's Singles Awareness Day. Yes I'm aware it's a bit counter-cultural but I refuse to celebrate the more well-known holiday which falls on February 14th. Even when I wasn't single I refused to celebrate the wretched holiday... So there we go. A few things which I consider noteworthy happened today:

1. I had a S.A.D. party which turned out sorta... well, sad
2. Pastor Bob, Pastor Rob, Jeremy, Chris, Brandon, Kellen & Steve played a perfectly amazing cover version of the Turtles' "Happy Together" for their S.O.s at church today
3. My brother bought me a bouquet of flowers which is the highlight of my year thus far

In honor of the end of this holiday, I leave you with the lyrics to a song that sums up my entire love life:

Love you didn't do right by me
You planned a romance that just hadn't a chance and I'm through
Love you didn't do right by me
I'm back on the shelf and I'm blaming myself but it's you

My one love affair didn't get anywhere from the start
To send me a Joe who had winter and snow in his heart wasn't smart.
Love You didn't do right by me
As they say in the song...you done me wrong

My one love affair didn't get anywhere from the start
To send me a Joe who had winter and snow in his heart wasn't smart.
Oh Love You didn't do right by me

As they say in the song...you done me wrong
Yes Mr. Love, you done me wrong

Nothin' says "love" like a little Hyde.


A Thousand Words

My photographs each hold facets of myself in them. Whether they’re simply nature shots, sports photography or photojournalism… everything I shoot has something about it that just makes sense to me. My work ranges from moody to whimsical, but it’s mostly contemplative. Here are a few of my early scenery shots I just found in some old files on my computer…

1. A shot of the French Quarter, LA

2. Standing under Huntington Beach Pier, CA

3. Pumpkins and gourds. Fall in Oak Glen, CA

4. Sunset in Cambria, CA

5. A freezing day at the Grand Canyon, AZ


Hard Times – For These Times

Finished February 8, 2010

Coketown. A fictitious manufacturing town given its life and breath in Dickens’ 10th novel. Everything about this story screams of the injustice and bitterness which pervaded Victorian England. Partly a social commentary, partly a personal history, partly allegorical… Dickens showed what comes of society when all people care about are “facts, facts, facts”: moral decline, loss of love and hope, and the corruption of people’s souls.

How interesting that the industrial Coketown not only turns out too much smoke and not enough compassion, it also serves as the setting where the no-nonsense Mr. Gradgrind “manufactures” Louisa and Tom (among other children). The former becomes a beautiful but emotionally repressed woman and the latter a “whelp” who cares only for himself. Despite the fact that there are a great many characters worth noting, Louisa and Tom always make the greatest impression on me. One of Dickens’ early descriptions of Louisa seems to encompass a great deal of my personality especially in one respect: her devotedness to her brother.

Dickens viciously attacks the industries that caused so much misery to millions of people (including himself), but out of this violent passion, comes a simply brilliant piece of literature. Many readers consider Hard Times the uncharacteristic “black sheep” of his major novels, because it was mainly written to raise sales of the “Household Words” periodical… However, don’t judge the book by those feeble arguments, look close and behold the sharp wit of a true master.


Oliver Twist

Charles Dickens' mug, on a..... mug. I MUST own one of these.
Finished February 3, 2010

This novel never ceases to affect me deeply. I think in order to get a firm grasp on the gravity of this story; one should certainly read John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, seeing as it bears a few similarities (and its name The Parish Boy’s Progress alludes to Bunyan’s own novel). True to it’s predecessor (Pilgrim’s Progress), it’s a story that really highlights mere religion versus the true love of God. The quote from Nancy when she meets with Rose towards the end is heartbreakingly true: “Why ar’n’t those who claim to be God’s own folks as gentle and as kind to us poor wretches as you…?” Dickens poses a simple question that rings as true today as it did in his day, why can’t Christians (myself included) show the love God would have us show to everyone? I wish I knew.

In Fagin’s final scene I am always brought to tears reading Oliver’s sincere plea to allow him to lead the criminal into a prayer. This young character also shows what Dickens deemed to be a true quality of a Christian, one who not only forgives those who’ve done them wrong, but who wants to share God’s love with them in life’s bleakest moments. Far from being a story full of sunshine and laughs (though there are some very humorous parts), Dickens second novel is dramatic and sometimes gruesome, but fascinating nonetheless.


David Copperfield (The Novel)

Finished January 26, 2010. Goofing off to take a picture in between reading.

First thing’s first, a rant. I wanted to attach an illustration (one of the original drawings by Hablot K. Browne a.k.a. “Phiz”) to this blog so I type ‘David Copperfield’ into an image search engine. What do I find? Nothing but pictures of some dark haired man with a cape… Turns out this "David Copperfield" is a modern day magician. -For simplicity’s sake, I’ll refer to him as David Kotkin, his birth name.

Here I perhaps show my naïveté, but I’ll admit until this day I’d never heard of him (Kotkin) however; I find he’s praised as this century’s preeminent magician. How is he so well known and yet this masterful novel is nowhere to be found?! I even found the trivia question: “Did you know David Copperfield took his name from a novel?” What’s happening to the world? Okay… I know it’s probably silly and trivial but I adore David Copperfield and am properly shocked.

As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, Mr. Peggoty and Ham are by far two of my favorite characters. They each embody all that is noble and faithful in men, both as fathers and lovers. Mr. (Daniel) Peggoty is a man who is wholeheartedly devoted to his family, no matter how quirky or troublesome they turn out (quite like my own dad). And then there’s Ham, sweet Ham Peggoty. His love of Little Em’ly and every person he comes across is splendid. Okay, so I’ve never ever met a man anywhere near this great literary character but he is one who epitomizes my perfect dream man. If you want to know my type, you can find him in this superb novel. There’s not much else I can say other than to leave you with one of my favorite quotes, by Ham of course.

“I loved her- and I love the mem’ry of her- too deep- to be able to lead her to believe of my own self as I’m a happy man. I could only be happy- by forgetting of her- and I’m afeerd I couldn’t hardly bear as she should be told I done that. But if you, being so full of learning, Mas’r Davy, could think of anything to say as might bring her to believe I wasn’t greatly hurt; still loving of her, and mourning for her- anything as might bring her to believe as I was not tired of my life, and yet was hoping fur to see her without blame where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest- anything as would ease her sorrowful mind, and yet not make her think as I could ever marry, or as ‘twas possible that any one could ever be to me what she was- I should ask of you to say that- with my prayers for her- that was so dear.”


The Pickwick Papers

I remember reading this novel when I was quite young; in fact I was still in elementary school. One of my great eccentricities growing up is the fact that I read books that were considered much too difficult for a kid my age. My reading level baffled teachers growing up (don’t get me wrong, I don’t profess to be anything near a genius, where I excel in literature and vocabulary, I make up for by being a perfect idiot at math).

But I digress. I finished this book on January 18, 2010 and I think it affected me just as much as it did the first time I read it, perhaps even more so in some points. Now I understand something in a different light, after having lived in the world and experienced heartbreak… the entire Bardell vs. Pickwick case strikes me as a tragically comedic piece. Evidence of Dickens’ genius is his ability to make a potentially serious scene like a breach of promise case a rather humorous glimpse into human nature. What I had never noticed before was the fact that it all sprung from a misunderstanding between an average, lonely woman and the somewhat naïve Pickwick. How easily we women can bestow our affections on men when we think they’re giving us even the slightest attention, and how bitter is the embarrassment and anger that follows these mistakes! At any rate, Mr. Pickwick in true Pickwickian form learns from this entire ordeal and emerges a wiser [if not slightly jaded] man.

Dickens’ signature specialties: strong characters, outlandish circumstances and happy endings abound in this novel. Read it.


Oh, Charles!

I've only mentioned this goal to a few people, perhaps it has to do with my very real fear that I won't actually have enough time to complete this endeavor by December 31, 2010... Here it is: [Re]read all of Charles Dickens' major works in one year.

Doesn't sound too difficult right? He is, afterall, one of my favorite authors! But my problem seems to be my style of reading, I immerse myself in the story so if I can only read about a page at one time, I won't do it. I'd rather sit down and read 100 pages, get a good amount of the story and just revel in it. Dickens paints such pictures, and weaves such remarkable tales that I often pore over certain passages over and over, relishing the imagery he describes. I'll flip back to any part that contains characters I love (i.e. The Pickwick Papers anything with Sam Weller, Bleak House Esther's narratives, David Copperfield Mr. Peggoty and Ham's recurring sections, Great Expectations the mad Miss Havisham etc...) I can't help it, I've always read that way. Unfortunately, this isn't the best habit when you have a timeline you wish to keep. At any rate, it's my intention to try my hardest to complete this goal.


A Look At Myself

I’m a woman.
Made up of both light and dark.
Not beautiful, or even pretty, I’m just me.
An artistic soul,
And a collector of memories, quotes and eras.
A lover of times past, decades I never lived through.
Poetic and literal.
Purveyor of a love that has often been taken for granted.
A dreamer, with a touch of cynicism which shouldn’t be mine to bear.
A painter, a dancer and a reader of novels.
Like sea glass, tossed on the shore, made softer through circumstances.
Never comfortable in large crowds,
Always alone.
Once in love, I bloomed, only to be tossed aside.
Now solitude is my favorite companion.
Often misunderstood, but when looked at without prejudice; perfectly understood.
A kaleidoscopic being, with a million facets,
And so many things I’ve yet to discover about myself.