Snow Day, a day to catch up

How lovely it is to sit by my window, leisurely, with my tea and time. There is a Snow Day today in Illinois, the first my third graders have ever had in their young school days. We have prepared our Valentine bags for next week, and folded origami hearts, so I am not worried about being behind. (Wink, wink.)

Nor am I worried about being behind in my reading. I am listening to The Dry by Jane Harper on the days that I do drive to work. It is a wonderful mystery recommended by Lesley, set in a farming community in Australia, read in by a native Australian, and I am caught up in the shootings of Luke, his wife and son, while the baby Charlotte lives. More interesting is the story of Luke’s friend, Aaron Falk, a policeman with a past. The narrator keeps saying, “Luke lied. You lied,” throughout the chapters…

And The Portrait of a Lady read-along is faring well. Arti of Ripple Effects has ready finished both The Portrait of a Lady and Mrs Osmond, a goal I’m trying to reach this month myself. JoAnn and Audrey are listening to the audio of Portrait, which I believe is also synced to their kindles, and Helen and I are steadfastly plugging along. Right now, I am aware that no one in Isabel’s family wants her to marry Osmand, but I don’t yet know why. Please feel free to read with us this month.

Finally, the shadow jury for the Man Booker International Prize is forming, and we are eagerly anticipating the release of the long list on March 12. The short list comes out April 12, and the winner will be announced May 22. Updates on our progress, and my reviews of the books, will soon appear here.

I hope your days are filled with snow, or at least the beauty and freshness it brings, and that you have plenty of time to enjoy whatever it is you are reading.

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The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James; some favorite quotes so far, which pertain to Isabel. But also, in some respects, to me.

“It is not absolutely necessary to suffer; we were not made for that.”

“Like the majority of American girls, Isabel had been encouraged to express herself; her remarks had been attended to; she had been expected to have emotions and opinions. Many of her opinions had doubtless but a slender value…”

“But for me there are only two classes: the people I trust, and the people I don’t.”

“Her desire to think well of herself always needed to be supported by proof; though it is possible that this fact is not the sign of a milder egotism.”

“I don’t want to begin life by marrying. There are other things a woman can do.”

“She had moreover a great fondness for intervals of solitude, and since her arrival in England it had been but scantily gratified. It was a luxury she could always comand at home, and she had missed it.”

“I don’t need the aid of a clever man to teach me how to live,” said Isabel. “I can find it out for myself.”

“…she had tasted of the delight, if not of battle, at least of victory; she had done what she preferred.”

“The love of knowledge coexisted in her mind with a still tenderer love of ignorance.”

I am only on page 205 of 584, but these little gleanings are giving me a picture of Isabel, and a foretaste of what might come with her naive and youthful perspective. Remember you are welcome to join several of us as we read The Portrait of A Lady this February.

Suggestion for a read along this February, please join in!

When I posted this picture on Instagram, one or two friends said they wanted to read it. But, as it is a sequel to The Portrait of A Lady by Henry James, there was discussion of reading that first.

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And so I propose a read-along of  The Portrait of A Lady in February. We could take as long as necessary, just read it sometime during the month and discuss it at the end. Of course, feel free to post about it as you go, or offer any other suggestions to the read-along in the comments below, but I am excited about it. Because Mrs Osmand is so good, and I want to remind myself of what came before.

Are you in?