Els' Rabbit Trails, Uncategorized

El’s rabbit trails: Father’s day thoughts.

Truth.

Happy Father’s Day to the fathers who graciously read my ramblings. I wish you a blessed and glorious day today.

Els.

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coming from where I'm from, Els' Rabbit Trails, writing

Reading is easy. Writing is harder.

This blog is primarily centered around the love of reading and reviewing books. As such, it’s a slow traffic space. That’s fine with me as several book bloggers have noted that blogs generate the smallest amount of interest when they review books. Nevertheless, I am committed to the review format because I sincerely and truly want to encourage reading and expose books to people that they may not have considered.

However, that’s not all this was supposed to be about. I have been flirting with the idea of writing a book for several years. The topic is fresh, largely unexplored in depth, and quite possibly one of great interest. It may even be controversial, which would surprise no one who knows me well enough to have gotten my unvarnished views on the state of the world. Despite this clearly exalted view of my own brilliance and ability to come up with something “new”, I haven’t been able to get myself to start writing, and I am not quite sure why.

By way of encouragement, my beloved bought me a new computer this week. His confidence in my ability backed with concrete action toward helping me move forward is touching. I should be excited and ready to start typing away on my new laptop, but I’m stuck. And struck by the thought that, despite the ravings of my 1th grade gifted English teacher, those seeds which first germinated the hope that I might actually write something someone else wanted to read, the journey from germination to fruit is a long one.

No amount of confidence from my teacher, my husband, my friends or anyone else can prune for me the weeds of procrastination, eliminate the squash bugs of doubt, nor cure the blight of writer’s block which sends me back to the easy comfort of reading books and writing book reviews.

In other words, reading a book is easy. Writing one? That’s hard.

 

Els' Rabbit Trails

El’s Rabbit Trails: Fun Friday post

Those of you who have been reading my quiet little blog since its inception may notice that I changed the title from El’s Reading Room to Reading in Between the Life. I made the change after a whole week without reading anything longer than a blog post or magazine article because life. Life stuff crowded out my time to read.  Sometimes you have to put down the book and gaze at the things and people in front of you.

I rarely go a week without reading at least half a book, but over the past seven months, there have been several book-free weeks as our family journeyed through hard things: some big, some small, and others monumental. You know; the kinds of things that no one posts pictures of on social media, but that we all go through.

Our family vacation this past week was one of the best vacations we’ve ever had, and I suspect it was so enjoyable and refreshing because we all needed it so very much. There are few places I’d wager that are more beautiful than the landscapes you’ll find on the Georgia-Tennessee border, so I thought I’d wrap up this week with some stunning views before I delve back into a couple of bookreviews next week. First up, mountain streams with water so clear I couldn’t help but stop to dip my toes in:

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But of course, to get to a couple of those places, we had to hike a little. Up:

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Up:

 

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That’s my man up there in a cave I was too scared to climb up into.

 

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I didn’t take this picture. Too scared, remember?

 

But the climb is worth it:

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Whoever said jogging around on suburban sidewalks works you out never hiked in the mountains before:

 

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What you don’t see is my husband at the opposite end of the bridge bouncing to freak me out or my daughter annoying me by taking my picture in the first place.

We’re back now, back to the reality of life, laundry, business, and best of all, books!

Have a great weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

Els' Rabbit Trails, tales from the local library, Uncategorized

On lost library books…

…and the resulting loss of dollars.

As much as I love the library, there is the occasional downside to checking out books there. Among those are late fees and lost books.

One of the things I like about our library is that not only do you get three weeks to read your plunder, but you also get three renewals so long as the book isn’t being waited for by another library patron. I routinely keep books for nine weeks. Routinely, and not because it takes me nine weeks to read a book, though that has been known to happen.

No, I keep books for nine weeks because with three bookshelves in the house, and the tendency to read books everywhere from the bathroom to the kitchen, to the car, I often misplace books.  Usually, I find them before they are due and avoid fines. Occasionally, however, they are not found before the nine weeks are up, and fines start to accrue.

Depending on the book (hard cover or paperback, new or old, in demand or no one cares), I risk the fines in the hopes that the book will turn up. It’s worth it to me to pay $3 in fines on a $29 book and the more valauble the book, the more diligent the search, and the more likely it is to be found.

Some books however, such as the one which inspired this mini post, make more sense to just pay for. It’s a really cheap book, despite inspiring more conversation here than this blog has ever experienced before or since. So when the nine weeks and a few days expired, I reported it lost and paid for it. Total of around $12, if I recall correctly.

I just found it. I’ll take it to the library, and they’ll give me back half of what I paid them for the loss. Sigh.

Files this one under tales from the local library.

 

Els' Rabbit Trails, joys of reading, just for fun, Uncategorized

Deciding when to purchase hard copy vs. digital books

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Not all books are created equally, and by extension, we make judgements about how we want to invest our time and treasure into the books we consider reading.

I recently found myself making the decision to forgo purchasing a Kindle download of a book that I want to read when it is released on May 8th. The temptation to do so was strong, because acquiring it via Kindle means I could read it during our fast approaching vacation.

However, upon further thought, I decided that this particular book was one I preferred to own in hard copy so that it would be around for years to come. Digital, despite our heavy cultural and occupational dependence on it, is quite fragile.Ask anyone who has lost a treasure trove of digitally stored photgraphs!

Despite the ease of being able to carry thousands of books around with us in one digital device, hard copy books are sometimes worth the expense and the attendant sacrificing of real estate on the book shelf.

It often seems implausible to us in this technological age of easy access to information, but there have been many books written about, movies filmed depicting, and periods in history when unapproved books or literature were sought out for destruction as dangerous to possess. The book I am purchasing doesn’t appear to be remotely at risk of ever being such a book. Nevertheless, it is one that I believe is worth having in hard copy rather than digital. So, I’ll have to wait an extra week before I can order it.

Other books, such as Miss Maitland Private Secretary, are definitely for my reading purposes, best purchased in digital format or borrowed from the library. As enjoyable as it was, it didn’t rise to the level of a book to build a library with in the way novels such as Jane Eyre, Peter Pan, or If Beale Street Could Talk might.

As I considered these questions I thought of the number of books I’ve read as part of Christian mommy book clubs or must read magazine lists that I later wished I had borrowed from the library or purchased in a cheaper, less cluttery format. There are still several of them on my bookshelves, just waiting to be donated.

This thought exploration made me curious how many readers here make similar disticntions when purchasing books. How do you decide which ones are worth buying in hard copy form for your personal  library,which ones are worth buying the digital downloads, and which are best borrowed from the library?

Picture credit, Tim Challies, whose linked article dovetails with this one.

American history, Culture, educational, Els' Rabbit Trails, intriguing authors, nonfiction, tales from the local library

Change of plans…

It is invariable that the moment I solidify my list and order of reading, something else catches my fancy and off I go, tiptoeing through the bibliophile tulips. Two books have recently knocked my previously arranged list out of order.

Florida, A Short History keeps its place as my current read because I need it to build my fall curriculum.  It’s also going to take a while to dig for the gems I don’t know and figure out what to put where, what is worth assigning extra work, and so and so on. After that, the queue gets shuffled as two other books have earned top spots.

I chose not to purchase Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules to Live By because the reviews -including the relatively positive ones- left me thinking I might regret the investment if I did. As a result, I ordered it from my library, where I was supposedly number 44 on the list of patrons waiting for it. I figured it would take at least two months for me to get it. It didn’t, and I got it yesterday. Since there is a waiting list for it, I won’t be allowed to renew it so I have to get it read over the next 21 days. Easy peasy.

The second book which has moved to the top of my heap is called Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” , which Zora Neale Hurston reportedly penned before her death. History.com reports that Hurston conducted an interview with the last known survivor of a transatlantic slave ship back in the early 1930s but struggled to get the manuscript published. It is finally being released on May 8. I have to read that, and right away.

The best laid plans and all that good stuff. I’ll log this as a reminder of why I shouldn’t publish reading queues and schedules. No one who really knows me would ever call me spontaneous or an improviser (especially if they know my man), but when it comes to my reading habits, both words definitely apply.

h/t: Bike Bubba for the history.com link.

RELATED:

Intriguing Author Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Hurston Confirms Solomon’s Declaration.

Big Ideas Offered in Short Stories

Dust Tracks on a Road

Have a great weekend!

 

 

Christian, Els' Rabbit Trails, films

Like Arrows: Movie by Family Life, with thoughts on Christian filmmaking.

This is more of a public service announcement than a movie review. Like Arrows: The Art of Parenting is a production of Family Life Ministries, and is available as a limited run film in select cities through tomorrow night. If anyone is interested in supporting the effort, you can check online to see if it is playing near you.

We saw the film last night with several friends. I don’t want to offer a full review of the film, and here’s why. I have recently developed an understanding that there is a distinct difference to be found between religious themed  films produced by film makers and movies produced by vocational preachers which are more accurately described as sermons presented in cinematic format.

For example, The Passion of the Christ was produced by an accomplished filmmaker with a passion for and commitment to the historical integrity of his film’s subject matter. The result was a film that both religious and nonreligious people appreciated. It was great film making, no matter what your particular belief system, because it was made by a great filmmaker. As such, it was also an effective witnessing tool.

Contrast The Passion of the Christ with a movie such as Courageous, which was produced by a pastors turned film makers, the Kendrick brothers. The result of their efforts was a film which catered to the beliefs and convictions of your average Sunday morning churchgoer. Effectively,  it was a sermon transformed into a narrative on film; encouragement for Christian fathers “fighting the good fight”. That isn’t to say I agree with every perspective offered, but I respect their overall intent.

Once this distinction between the two types of films was fully absorbed, it changed the way I approached such movies. Last night’s excursion was for us, more than a trip to a Christian movie. It was friends, fellowship, a night out, and a chance to receive some parenting encouragement as the focus of this movie is Christian parenting. The title of the movie is drawn from the Scripture verse found in Psalm 127: Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.

So to reiterate, this is more of a public service for my Christian readers interested in knowing about Christian film releases. The trailer is below, and any burning questions about my specific thoughts on the film I’ll answer in the comments.