Bye, bye August.

If you lived in the town where I live, you would think Halloween is tomorrow. Every where you look there is Pumpkin Spice soap, Pumpkin Spice coffee, and Pumpkin Spice candles. I like autumn, I have even set out a few autumnal things myself. But, let’s not rush the seasons of our lives by so quickly.

You may have noticed the template, and header, has changed. I don’t know how long I’ll keep this painting by John Singer Sargent (Repose, from 1911), but I like her contemplative look. I like the way she lays against the back of the sofa, considering. It seems to fit this time in my life, of not officially teaching any more, but certainly of laying back a little.

I have become a children’s leader for BSF (Bible Study Fellowship International), and I will teach the 4 and 5 year olds this year. It is a big change, as I am most familiar with public school ways and 8 or 9 year olds. But, I ask myself, “What is the use of having advanced degrees in education and not using them?” What better purpose than to teach the little ones about faith? We are studying the book of Acts this year, and the theme is Unstoppable. It seems a most worthy theme to focus on.

I didn’t finish 20 Books of Summer. In fact, I haven’t finished a book in who knows when. Berta Isla by Javier Marias? Abandoned half-way through, just as I did with One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Moby Dick has been temporarily laid aside for Franklin and Wilson by Joe Meacham for book club. I feel my reading is in great disarray, but I eagerly look forward to the books in my sidebar for review, and two titles recommended by one of my dearest friends: The Mistress of The Ritz by Melanie Benjamin and The Age of Light by Whitney Sharer.

And now, what are you reading? What is filling the last few days of August, and what are you looking forward to in September? The light is changing, and there is much to anticipate. (Such as Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury on audio with my friend, Carol.)

34 thoughts on “Bye, bye August.

  1. I’m reading a really excellent biography about Constance Fenimore Woolson by Anne Boyd Rioux. Woolson was a prolific successful 19th century American novelist who had a very close friendship with Henry James. Perfect match of writer to subject matter.

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    • I am not familiar with Constance Fennimore Woolson, nor the author of her biography; thanks for the ‘introduction’ to them. How wonderful it is when the writer matches the subject matter so well. Thank you for visiting, again, Victoria.

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  2. I’ve just finished Moby Dick. I wasn’t a willing passenger but somehow I found myself on board. The longer I sailed, the more I enjoyed the trip.

    Autumn won’t be here along the Texas Gulf Coast for at least 6-8 weeks. It stays in the 90s and 80s here through most of October.

    As a side note, please know that you are always welcome to add a link to Sunday Salon. I post each Saturday and keep the links open for several days afterward.

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    • I love that you carried on to completion of Moby Dick! It is something I will do, too, having always wanted to read it for one thing, and absolutely loving the first third of the book for another. I can’t believe I’m retired, and things get in my way even now! 😉

      Texas would be so very warm for me. I’m not a great fan of temperatures above 75; Winter in Chicago-land never bothers me. I’m one of the few, of course.

      Thank you for reminding me of Sunday Salon and giving me a place to leave a link. I’ve never been fully on board with that, somehow, and yet what a wonderful place to catch up with other bloggers on things even beyond what we’re reading. I appreciate you visiting and commenting.

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  3. This is my favorite time of year so I do tend to rush it so I can spend a little more time with it. In California it’s really the only time we have to feel cozy. That drop from 90 to 81 is so refreshing. Haha. I actually do not love Pumpkin Spice season. I much prefer mulled cider or something but yes… it’s all over the place. I will try that new Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew at $tarbucks though.

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    • “Drop to 81” does not thrill me! 😉 I, too, like Pumpkin Spice when it comes around in October, perhaps because it is seasonal and soon gone. I also like making gingerbread pancakes in the fall and winter, or homemade applesauce, or even getting the occasional pumpkin scone at Starbucks. (For 900 calories, or thereabouts.) Do you have a Peet’s where you live? Mr. Peet trained Starbucks owners, and in my opinion, their company is far superior. Starbucks in our area has become a bit shoddy…

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  4. That’s a beautiful picture. I went to an exhibition of his work in London a year or so back – it was wonderful. Shame you didn’t finish Moby-Dick, but I’m sure it’s one of those novels that’s not for everyone. I’m 2/3 through vol. 1 of Uwe Johnson’s 1600 page Anniversaries. I’m finding it exhilarating at times, but uneven, and not sure the effort of making sense of its fragmentary, polyvocal narrative is ultimately worth it.

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    • An exhibition of John Singer Sargent’s came to the Art Institute of Chicago one year, and I adored almost every painting. He has a gentle and elegant style which I much appreciate, although I’m not sure an art connoisseur would use those terms. This painting just seemed to capture my mood, so here it is.

      I will return to Moby Dick. I loved what I read while I was reading it, and my intention was to keep on with the momentum until the “bitter end.” I am sorry that I was interrupted due to other demands on my time; I am a slow reader, and I felt I had to meet my responsibility with my book club. However, after beginning Franklin and Wilson, I am yearning for whale tales. I’m not sure how much more can be exposed about those two great leaders.

      I do not know of Uwe Johnson’s work. 1600 pages ought to take you awhile. That reminds me a bit of the length of the Bánffy trilogy which started my reading year of 2019. I hope you’re not disappointed by the time you reach page 1599.

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  5. It’s certainly beginning to feel like fall in central NY – crisp, cool air and leaves in higher elevations are starting to change color – yet it’s still a shock to see Halloween displays in stores! It’s still August!!

    I haven’t read much of anything this summer… just one book of note, The Leavers by Lisa Ko. This week I’m reading The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. It’s an easy-reading, popular thriller. That’s about all I can handle as we prepare to move out of our NY home. We’re FL residents now and will likely look for a bigger place there this fall/winter.

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    • I’m so glad to hear from you, JoAnn! I saw (briefly) on facebook? Twitter? That you were making the move to Florida. It sounds ideal for your life right now, although moving is never fun, or easy. Will you miss the four seasons when you live down south? I was in Naples for Christmas one year, and eating turkey on Christmas Eve, by the beach, when it was 82 degrees was just…weird. Plus, all the light covered dolphins and green/red coconuts! I guess you can tell I’m essentially a northern girl. Your pictures of your getaways show a lovely side, however.

      I haven’t read much this summer, either. I got to about 12 of 20 Books of Summer, but somehow bogged down in August. For me, it was Incompleted Books of Summer! Popular thrillers are just the ticket for a move or a reading slump. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  6. I just read a wonderful book by Kate Norton entitled The Clockmaker’s Daughter. I enjoyed reading this ghost story centered on a group of painters in England (pre-Raphaelites). The modern day and 1860’s time period switches were wonderful, and the novelist threaded it all together superbly. I can’t remember where I found the title (I thought maybe here), but I actually wrote down the title and then downloaded the book and read it all in the span of a few days. Could not stop reading! And I have only read a mere 10 books this year. Work prevails. Cheers, MDC

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    • I know of neither Kate Norton, nor The Clockmaker’s Daughter, but doesn’t a ghost story sound wonderful?! Especially from the 19th century. (How sweet that you thought it may have been here that you found the title; I am complimented!) As for how many books we read, really, it is a journey not a race, as one of my teaching colleagues once said about school for the children. We don’t want to make our joy into a job, do we?

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  7. The light is changing for us too in Sydney. The mornings are getting light earlier and the evenings are slowly drawing out. We’ve had a few stunning, spring-like days to give us hope and now a few days of rain – finally – to help our driest winter ever, not end so dry.

    Autumn and spring are such lovely seasons wherever you are 🙂
    Hope you continue to enjoy yours….with some quality reading time thrown in.

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    • It’s so fun to think of us at opposite ends of the earth, experiencing exactly the opposite seasons, but reading the same book (Moby Dick)! I’m glad you have lengthening days; I’m glad we have seasons that change. I could never bear to be in the same one all year.

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  8. Wonderful image, love John Singer Sargent. Have seen some of his paintings in Tate Britain. What a perfect photo for this time of the year. Still lucky here in Sweden with warm weather. I just hope for a wonderful, sunny autumn, which is rare here. You have the same lamp as me!
    I signed up for 20 books of summer and it seems this was an indication that I should not read any at all. Although retired, I have had six weeks of ‘holiday’ with family and friends, no time for reading or blogging. But I guess that is what summer is all about. Now comes the time when it is nice to cuddle up inside with a good book.

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    • I am glad that you like the painting by John Singer Sargent, Lisbeth, as I do, too. And, we have the same lamp; we must be kindred spirits. 😉

      You made me smile in sympathy with signing up for twenty books of summer was an indication of not reading any at all. I am retired as well, and I thought I would have endless days in which to read which is not the case. Summer is about family and friends, actually, all of our time should be prioritized on those we love. And how wonderful it is to finally find the time to cuddle up inside with a good book.

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  9. Same here. Halloween and autumn paraphernalia have invaded us.

    I love Sargent, the header is beautiful and fitting.

    At church I have taught Acts twice to 2nd and 3rd graders, it was fabulous. Both times we teachers had 3 months of Bible study on the book by our preacher, and that made the whole difference to me.

    My reading is also a bit messy. I am reading Ubik at the moment, great escapism sci-fi, and I am half way through Moby Dick, but I want to come back. I haven’t touched my other ongoing books. I’m busy subbing at the moment.

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    • Another vote for Sargent, hooray! I’m so glad that you think it is beautiful and fitting, too.

      I have never taught Acts. It sounds like you were well grounded in it before (or during?) the time you were teaching. I am fortunate in that I am studying Acts with my adult group on Tuesdays, then teaching the little ones on Wednesdays. I rather think that their simplified lessons will help enrich my own understanding.

      I do not know of Ubik; look at all the titles and authors which have been left in this thread of whom I’ve never heard! I am halfway through Moby Dick, too, and I am determined to finish it without more interruptions. I do not like to lose my momentum in such a hefty novel, just as I plowed through Middlemarch. It’s much better that way for me than picking up, putting down a dense novel.

      Blessings on your subbing days!

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      • At church, our preacher and wife understand teaching so well that they teach the teachers for 3 months, and then we teach 3 months. During those 3 months we prepare the lessons with a partner. We are two per class and we teach Sundays and Wednesdays. I see you are studying also with adults. That’s key. Even when you learn at a higher level than the lessons which are simpler for the kids, it’s excellent to be well versed in the content. Lessons are less busy and more meaningful. I know you will do well and learn a lot. Hopefully you can also develop a system. (We chose some map work, the people of Acts, a good outline, some verses to memorize, and songs to go with the lessons). I wish you the best.

        Ubik is a not too long but altogether absorbing and interesting title I picked on a whim. I was at Goodreads reading my friend Fernando review of Moby Dick. Fernando loves Dostoevsky. He has written, and is about to publish, a book of reviews. He also happened to have loved Ubik. I read reviews that said how Dick Philip was very read and translated in Europe, in countries like Germany, where they are not prejudiced against quality science fiction. That convinced me to read Ubik, because good science fiction is a bit like philosophy, political science, and those dystopian scenarios entertain but make me think in a not too hefty way.

        That’s the story, it was a great detour. I’m almost finished.

        I’m going to read your comments for ideas on other books.

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        • About ideas on other books… I confused this with a post on another blog where she was also looking for books from Africa and Asia. I know you have lots to recommend by Japanese authors. I’ll be coming to your archives and looking for ideas, or simply pick on some when you do your January challenge or at any other time. I also wanted to add more books from Africa, and the blogger, “ireadthatinabook”, recommended me this: Last year I read two of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels, Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus, both of them really good. Kamal Ben Hameda’s Under the Tripoli Sky was also good, although maybe less memorable (or at least I have forgotten more of it).

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  10. A beautiful image! Sometimes it’s fun to change the format of a blog.
    I admire you wide reading, but sometimes do hit a dry spell myself–well, not actually dry, but a time when Moby Dick is wrong for me. (I read half of it in the ’80s. It’s still waiting for me.)
    And, yes, the Halloween candy is all over the grocery store, Much as I love candy corn, I’m waiting for Halloween.

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    • There have been years (roughly around 2010 or so), that I changed my blog template All The Time! It was really distracting to my poor readers, or those who visited and became thoroughly confused. But now I am giving myself permission to change my template again, as I see fit, and to write in the margins of my Bible. It’s a whole new world for me, where I am not forcing myself to fit into confines that feel too stringent.

      I can see that Moby Dick might become dry; that’s what I’ve heard most about Melville’s particular novel. Again, we do not have to make ourselves read something because we “ought” to. Far better is to read because we want to. I suppose it will wait a little longer. 😉

      Halloween candy…yum. My nemesis. I thought I would outgrow it, but alas, I now see that is not going to happen.

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      • I change my template all the time too, hahaha. But if you read on your mobile, and you enable mobile view, blog looks the same. I think I also confuse people, hahaha, but it is just me! Cheers to writing in the margins of the Bible!

        I also am giving myself permission to buy decent coffee and to wear perfume if I want (I am a saver, and sometimes I am too cheap on myself, not using the expensive perfume my sister in law gave me for Christmas, or buying supermarket brand of cheap coffee, etc)

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  11. Pingback: Bye, bye August – Silvia Cachia

  12. That is a beautiful painting. You may not be teaching any longer but I have not doubt those little ones will keep you busy too! I’m so ready for Fall and spending some cozy evenings with books and/or crafts.

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