Eve and her Pet Brontosaurus

As I mentioned in my previous post, I love diaries, and at Project Gutenberg I found many diaries available to read, listen to and download to my Kindle.  The first one I read was Excerpts from Adam’s Diary, supposedly written by Adam.  This book by the American humorist Mark Twain was published in 1904.

Well, naturally, Eve also kept a diary, which Twain “discovered.”  It was first published in the 1905 Christmas issue of the magazine Harper’s Bazaar, and in book format in June 1906.

Diary Eves Diary Mark Twain pg8525.cover.medium

Mark Twain is known for his wit, but I had no idea how eloquent and tender he could be.  Here are journal entries from Eve’s Diary.  Notice that, compared to Adam’s focus on building and exploring, Eve is concerned with order and beauty.  She delights in her endless discoveries of God’s gifts of flowers, plants, animals…and even her own reflection!

Here are some of my favorite passages:

First days in Eden, and losing the moon

Everything looks better today than it did yesterday. In the rush of finishing up yesterday, the mountains were left in a ragged condition, and some of the plains were so cluttered with rubbish and remnants that the aspects were quite distressing…. There are too many stars in some places and not enough in others, but that can be remedied presently, no doubt.

The moon got loose last night and slipped down and fell out of the scheme—a  very great loss, it breaks my heart to think of it. There isn’t another thing among the ornaments and decorations that is comparable to it for beauty and finish. It should have been fastened better. If we can only get it back again… For I do love moons, they’re so pretty and so romantic. I wish we had five or six; I would never go to bed; I should never get tired lying on the moss-bank and looking up at them.

Eve Diary Reflection cr and strI got a basket and started for a place on the extreme rim of the circle, where the stars were close to the ground and I could get them with my hands… But it was farther than I thought… I couldn’t get back home, it was too far and turning cold; but I found some tigers and nestled in among them and was most adorably comfortable, and their breath was sweet and pleasant, because they live on strawberries. I had never seen a tiger before, but I knew them in a minute by the stripes.

Her first impressions of Adam

I followed the other Experiment around, yesterday afternoon, at a distance, to see what it might be for, if I could. But I was not able to make it out. I think it is a man. I had never seen a man, but it looked like one and I feel sure that it is what it is. I realize that I feel more curiosity about it than any of the other reptiles. If it is a reptile, and I suppose it is; for it has frowzy hair and blue eyes, and looks like a reptile. It has no hips; it tapers like a carrot; when it stands, it spreads itself apart like a derrick; so I think it is a reptile, though it may be architecture.

Her new discovery

I laid a dry stick on the ground and tried to bore a hole in it with another one, in order to carry out a scheme that I had, and soon I got an awful fright. A thin transparent bluish film rose out of the hole, and I dropped everything and ran! I thought it was a spirit, and I WAS so frightened! … there was a pinch of delicate pink dust in the hole. I put my finger in, to feel it, and said OUCH! and took it out again. It was a cruel pain. I put my finger in my mouth; and by standing first on one foot and then the other, and grunting, I presently eased my misery; then I was full of interest, and began to examine…Suddenly the name of it occurred to me, though I had never heard it before. It was fire!

Eve in sun

Extract from Adam’s Diary

….perhaps I ought to remember that she is very young, a mere girl, and make allowances. She is all interest, eagerness, vivacity, the world is to her a charm, a wonder, a mystery, a joy; she can’t speak for delight when she finds a new flower, she must pet it and caress it and smell it and talk to it, and pour out endearing names upon it. And she is color-mad: brown rocks, yellow sand, gray moss, green foliage, blue sky; the pearl of the dawn, the purple shadows on the mountains, the golden islands floating in crimson seas at sunset, the pallid moon sailing through the shredded cloud-rack, the star-jewels glittering in the wastes of space—none of them is of any practical value, so far as I can see, but because they have color and majesty, that is enough for her, and she loses her mind over them.

If she could quiet down and keep still a couple minutes at a time, it would be a reposeful spectacle. In that case I think I could enjoy looking at her; indeed I am sure I could, for I am coming to realize that she is a quite remarkably comely creature—lithe, slender, trim, rounded, shapely, nimble, graceful; and once when she was standing marble-white and sun-drenched on a boulder, with her young head tilted back and her hand shading her eyes, watching the flight of a bird in the sky, I recognized that she was beautiful.

If there is anything on the planet that she is not interested in it is not in my list…When the mighty brontosaurus came striding into camp, she regarded it as an acquisition, I considered it a calamity;…she wanted to domesticate it, I wanted to…move out.  She believed it could be tamed by kind treatment and would make a good pet; I said a pet twenty-one feet high and eighty-four feet long would be no proper thing to have about the place, because, even with the best intentions and without meaning any harm, it could sit down on the house and mash it, for any one could see by the look of its eye that it was absent-minded…

She thought we could start a dairy with it,…but…it was too risky…She thought…we could stand him in the river and use him for a bridge…but it failed: every time she got him properly placed…he came out and followed her around like a pet mountain.  Like the other animals.  They all do that.

Eve ponders her existence, and the stars melting

At first I couldn’t make out what I was made for, but now I think it was to search out the secrets of this wonderful world and thank the Giver of it all for devising it.

By watching, I know that the stars are not going to last. I have seen some of the best ones melt and run down the sky. Since one can melt, they can all melt; since they can all melt, they can all melt the same night. That sorrow will come–I know it. I mean to sit up every night and look at them as long as I can keep awake; and I will impress those sparkling fields on my memory, so that by-and-by when they are taken away I can by my fancy restore those lovely myriads to the black sky and make them sparkle again, and double them by the blur of my tears.

Their Love

Forty Years Later… It is my prayer, it is my longing, that we may pass from this life together–a longing which shall never perish from the earth, but shall have place in the heart of every wife that loves, until the end of time, and it shall be called by my name.

At Eve’s Grave:    ADAM: Wheresoever she was, THERE was Eden.

Mark Twain

Author Mark Twain

As you can see, this short book is by turns charming, hilarious and serious.  Eve’s Diary is one of the most imaginative books I’ve read, my current favorite of Mark Twain’s wealth of writings. I hope you will read it and also enjoy all of the many detailed pen and ink drawings. It’s also available as an ebook at Project Gutenberg, and in print form at Amazon and other online bookstores.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these diaries by Mark Twain, and diaries in general, and you can leave a comment below.  More diaries to come!

 

 

Diaries from Hundreds—even Thousands—of Years Ago

I love diaries, and have written in various forms of journals since I was about 10 years old.  I enjoy reading them almost as much as writing them, and find reliving first hand experiences (yes, even my own) fascinating, educational and often humorous and inspiring.

 

Journals and Diaries

At Project Gutenberg (gutenberg.org) I found many diaries available to read, listen to and download, and added a few to my Kindle.  The first ones I read were Mark Twain’s books, which are supposedly diaries written by Adam and Eve.

The author imagines this first couple as being rather tentative about each other! I tried to select a few extra-special parts, but there are too many, so here are a few paragraphs from the beginning of the book entitled Extracts from Adam’s Diary, starting with Twain’s note:

* * * * * * * * * * *

Extracts from Adam's Diary[NOTE.– I translated a portion of this diary some years ago… Since then I have deciphered some more of Adam’s hieroglyphics, and think he has now become sufficiently important as a public character to justify this publication. – – M. T.]

Monday
This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way It is always hanging around and following me about. I don’t like this; I am not used to company. I wish it would stay with the other animals….

Tuesday
Been examining the great waterfall. It is the finest thing on the estate, I think. The new creature calls it Niagara Falls–why, I am sure I do not know. Says it looks like Niagara Falls…. I get no chance to name anything myself. The new creature names everything that comes along, before I can get in a protest. And always that same pretext is offered–it looks like the thing. There is the dodo, for instance. Says the moment one looks at it one sees at a glance that it “looks like a dodo”. It will have to keep that name no doubt. It worries me to fret about it, and it does no good anyway.  Dodo! It looks no more like a Dodo than I do.

1280px-Thomas_Cole_The_Garden_of_Eden_detail_Amon_Carter_Museum

Wednesday
Built me a shelter against the rain, but could not have it to myself in peace. The new creature intruded. When I try to put it out, it shed water out of the holes it looks with, and wiped it away with the back of its paws, and made a noise such as some of the other animals make when they are in distress. I wish it would not talk, it is always talking… And this new sound is so close to me; it is right at my shoulder, right at my ear, first on one side and then on the other, and I am used only to sounds that are more or less distant from me…

Sunday
This morning found the new creature trying to clod apples out of that forbidden tree.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Adam and Eve’s first child is named Cain. When Eve “finds” Cain, Adam can not figure out what kind of animal it is or where she found it.  At first Adam thinks Cain is a fish, a kangaroo, or a bear. Eventually he figures out it is a human, like himself.

I love how they talk about God as a beloved family member.  Eventually, despite his initial deep annoyance with Eve, Adam finds himself in love with her.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain

This 104-page book is well worth checking out, and I hope you will get as many laughs as I did!  It’s available as an ebook and audio book at Project Gutenberg, and in print form at Amazon and other online bookstores.

If you do read it, I’d love to hear your reactions.  You can leave a comment below in the “Leave a Reply” box.  I’ll look at Eve’s Diary in my next post!

 

ebook:  Extracts from Adam’s Diary by Mark Twain   http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1892

audio book http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=adam+s+diary

Garden of Eden  Thomas Cole [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thomas_Cole_The_Garden_of_Eden_Amon_Carter_Museum.jpg

CBC/Calgary READS used book sale May 13-15, 2016

Calgary READS is an organization close to my heart, because their mission is to make reading a priority for young children.  They have grown from offering one tutoring program to now having many programs and initiatives that work in schools and communities to support children and their families.

With so many new and used book stores scaling down, or going out of business, especially the precious little mom-and-pop stores, it is a joy to see that charitable organizations still put in a lot of hard work into book sales, and can raise money because people still buy print books!

CBC Calgary Reads 2015 sale sshot-3

Whenever I go to these sales, it makes me smile to see children of all ages looking intensely for their favorite authors, carrying around piles of books to buy and begging mom or dad for “just one more”.  There’s just no substitute for a print book that you can hold in your hands with paper pages to flip.

Below is more information (including a map) from the Calgary READS website about this event with Author Readings, Jazz and Books Night, and Children’s Story Tent:

CBC Calgary Reads 2015 sale sshot-1CBC Calgary Reads Big Book Sale

May 13 to May 15, 2016  Calgary Curling Club

One of Calgary’s most anticipated and attended events!Hundreds of thousands of previously-loved books will be ready to be purchased and find new homes. This is a signature fundraising event for Calgary Reads.

Our 14th annual event! Held at the Calgary Curling Club. 720 3rd St. NW, Calgary:

  • Friday May 13th – 9am-9pm – TGIBs (Thank Goodness It’s Books) Author Reading 7pm
  • Saturday May 14th – 9am-9pm – Back by popular demand! Jazz & Book Night! Shop to the musical sounds of Midnight Blue Jazz Society with cash wine bar 6-9pm.
  • Sunday May 15th – 9am -1pm. Children’s Story Tent with crafts and storytelling by Girl Guides (9am – noon).

Donate Books

We welcome donations of good quality, gently used adult and children books for the book sale! (We cannot accept encyclopaedias, dictionaries, text books, Harlequin Romances, Reader’s Digest, cassettes, magazines or agendas)

Book collection locations, dates and times:

At Calgary Food Bank,  5000, 11th Street SE, Calgary:

  • Monday to Thursday April 25 to 28 – drop off at Door #3 from 8:30am – 7pm
  • Friday, April 29 – drop off at Door #3 from 8:30am -3:30pm

At Calgary Curling Club, 720 3rd St NW, Calgary:

  • Tuesday to Friday May 3 to May 6 from 9am – 7pm sharp
  •  Saturday  and Sunday May 7 and 8 from 9am -4pm sharp

Volunteer

Interested in Volunteering? We are looking for volunteers to fill numerous shifts on the collection dates. If you are interested, please complete the Calgary Reads ‘Other Volunteer Opportunities’ on line form here.

 

CBC Calgary Reads 2015 sale sshot-2

Parking:

Limited free parking is available in the Curling Club lot and on the street. Paid parking is available in the large city lot on the east side of the Curling Club–only $3–see the map below.

The Curling Club is at the spot marked “A” in the map below:

Curling clubmap for book sale

 

A Story a Day in May 2016

2016story a day badgesq500x500 2I am writing a story everyday!

…and more importantly, I’m FINISHING each story.  As in, they each have an ENDING, which is one of my biggest struggles.

I often go hog wild with an idea and write a few pages or even a chapter, and then take a break. But then I don’t know how it ends, so I avoid it.  Eventually it goes in the thick “In Progress” binder.

So I decided to intentionally work on writing endings and Story a Day is one of the tools I found to help me do that. It’s Day 4 and I’ve finished every story!

JOIN US!

It’s easy.  You get an inspiring writing prompt in your email everyday, often from a famous author, some encouragement and tips, and jump right in to write and then share with the community if you like.

You can sign up at http://storyaday.org/signup2016 and yes, YOU CAN SIGN UP LATE. The more, the merrier!

The Crossroads SAS Used Book Sale starts May 5 2016!

Mark your calendar!

SAS crossrds bk sale 2016There are 2 more days to donate gently used books to the Servants Anonymous 14th Annual Calgary Book Sale at the tent in front of the OutPost Tent at Crossroads Market, just off of Blackfoot Trail at 1235 26th Ave SE, Calgary.

Everyone is welcome at the Book Sale KICK-OFF to do some “advanced” shopping on Thursday afternoon and evening, May 5th, from 3 PM to 8 PM.

The SALE goes from Friday through Sunday for 2 weekends:

May 6 – 8, 2016, 10 AM to 5 PM, and

My 13 – 15, 2016, 10 AM to 5 PM

SAS Crossroads 2015 Book Sale logo - sshot fr websiteThis is one of the highlights of spring!  I have supported this sale for many years, and always enjoy the friendly volunteers, and seeing what’s new.  This is an opportunity to browse thousands of books, categorized by general subjects and by fiction genre, and to get a great deal (that supports a good cause).

There is plenty of parking there (at the Crossroads Market, 1235 26th Ave SE, Calgary), and it’s worth coming early so you’ll have time to visit the booths of fresh veggies, meats, crafts, etc., at the Farmer’s Market before they close at 5!

I recommend shopping with a wheeled traveling or shopping bag-–it’s great for avoiding sore arms from carrying around a pile of heavy treasures and “possibilities”.

I will be heading straight for the special gated area with the antiquarian, rare, and just-plain OLD books in the back right corner.  I hope you’ll help out this organization that supports women at risk, and find some great books!

Happy 100th Birthday Beverly Cleary!

I don`t normally forward a link to a news article, but I just found this and can`t resist.

I just adore Beverly Cleary. On April 12, 2016 she turned 100 years old–can you believe it!

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Whenever someone learns my name is Ramona, they ask if I read the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. I tell them that I am pretty sure they were based on me. In the 60`s, my mom read Henry and the Clubhouse, Ramona the Pest and Henry and Ribsy to my brother and me each night, with our huge collie in bed with us.  I was very confused: how did this author I`d never met know me so well, and why did she write a whole book about me!  The illustrator, Louis Darling, even captured my unruly hair and untied shoes.

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Look, I still have them on my book shelf!

May June incl books 229

Thank you, Beverly Cleary, for years and years of joy and laughter!

You can read a great article about her on Today Parents, here.  And if you haven`t already read one of her books, it doesn`t matter what your age, treat yourself to any one of them (especially the three above), and experience the warmth and feel-good humor of this dear author.

Also, check out my review of Beezus and Ramona at Best Children`s Books!

With Appreciation to the Writers of Hymns

Easter is such a joyful time, and the words and music of the old hymns help me to fully express the joy inside me.

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Here are a few of my favorite Easter hymns. I must sing these every Easter or I don’t feel like I have sufficiently celebrated! So for the past few years I’ve gone onto YouTube before church and sang along with several choirs. And then if we also sing them at church, that is frosting on the cake for me.

Thank you hymn writers!

CHRIST AROSE

This song starts out slow and somber with images of the grave. But the chorus launches into a brisk march with the notes going higher and higher, lifting the singers to new hope and joy. Robert Lowry wrote the text and music for this song in 1874, and my hymn book includes the scripture, “It was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”

Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus, my Savior,
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus, my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed,
Jesus, my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus, my Lord!

Death cannot keep his Prey,
Jesus, my Savior;
He tore the bars away,
Jesus, my Lord!

Easter 05_41_14---The-Cross_webCHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY

This song written by Charles Wesley in 1739 is also a vigorous tune. You can’t help but “raise your joys and triumphs high” as the notes soar upward. I love singing the high notes, it energizes me! The song taunts death:  Hey, Death, where is your sting now? Where is your victory now, Grave!  Christ disarmed you both!

There are actually eleven stanzas, and these are some of the best known.

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

HE LIVES

This song is a very simple declaration of someone living life as a follower of Christ. The words and music were written by Alfred H. Ackley in 1933.  He wrote them in response to someone who asked him, “Why should I worship a dead Jew?”, and a dreadful Easter sermon!

I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.

He lives, He lives,
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives,
Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary I never will despair;
I know that He is leading through all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing will come at last.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find,
None other is so loving, so good and kind.

Happy Easter everbody!

Does the Science behind Leap Year point to Intelligent Design?

I find it absolutely fascinating and inspiring that our solar system is so orderly!

Our massive planet Earth floats in space, revolving around its sun, travelling a total of 584 million miles at 67,000 miles per hour.  The number of days for one revolution has been consistent for thousands of years to the nearest millionth of a day.  How is that possible?

Could we replicate that kind of unvarying data?  If the top experts of the automotive field raced a car around a track every day using every scientific, technological controls known to man, would they be able to get results as consistent?

There is something Divine and beautiful about this.  To me, it points to an unchanging, faithful God who lovingly created a world of order for his children.

As usual, I also found a significant connection in literature, The Pirates of Penzance, a comic opera.  The story concerns Frederic, who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love. Frederic soon learns, however, that he was born on 29 February, and so, technically, he only has a birthday each leap year. His indenture actually specifies that he remain apprenticed to the pirates until his “twenty-first birthday”, meaning that he must serve for another 63 years.  Bound by his own sense of duty, Frederic’s only solace is that Mabel agrees to wait for him faithfully.

Here is a sampling of writings on Leap Year worth checking out, and I leave the best for last.

According to timeanddate.com, Leap Years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. It doesn’t take 365 days to circle the sun, it takes 365.242199 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds. So if we didn’t add a day on February 29 nearly every 4 years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year, then after 100 years, our calendar would be off by 24 days.

There are various other calendars that have Leap Years. The Chinese Calendar has 13 months with a leap month added about every 3 years. The Jewish calendar has 13 months in a leap year. There are 29 or 30 days in each month in a Jewish leap year, which has 383, 384, or 385 days. A leap year is referred to in Hebrew as Shanah Me’uberet, or a pregnant year.

The Iranian calendar is slightly more accurate than the Gregorian calendar. Compared with the Gregorian calendar, which errors by one day in about every 3226 years, the Iranian calendar needs a one-day correction in about every 141,000 years. The Islamic Hijri calendar has a 11 leap years in a 30-year cycle. An extra day is added to the last month of the year during the Islamic leap year.

The Hindu calendar includes an extra month, once every three years or four times in 11 years. A leap year in the Ethiopian calendar is similar to the Gregorian calendar in which an extra day is added to the last month of the year every 4 years.

To close with the best: First, an exploration of the various calculations used to define a year. Scroll down about 2/3 of the way.

And my favorite, a fascinating point of view that the calendar has actually always been in place, since before man was created.

…Thought provoking perspectives on time…space…and eternity.

Quality Romance worth Reading

I love Valentine’s Day because I love LOVE. And I love reading about love. I have been browsing through my binder of book notes that goes back to about 1995, and I’ve picked out my 20 favorite books about romantic love.Valentine fr Bruce

How did these make the cut?

What I look for in a story of love between a man and a woman, in addition to excellent writing, is the qualities of the main characters.  I like to get involved with authentic, realistic characters that I would actually want to spend time with, people with qualities such as integrity, forgiveness, kindness, humility and goodness. By the end I want to see them overcome significant struggles, go through a positive transformation, or experience a revelation that results in a better life for them and those around them.

I look for the author to go beyond the action to expertly convey feelings, motivation, and attitude throughout the story, teach me something new, provide a good pace, and include humor or at least a generally positive outlook. I will stop reading stories with a huge amount of introspection, lengthy descriptions of scenery or houses, a depressing tone, or overdone violence or immorality.  I like a gentle writing style as long as it doesn’t get boring, and as long as the story keeps pointing towards significance.

Here is my list!

Here is a mixture of classic and contemporary books, published from 1605 to the present, which include history, humor, mystery, chick-lit, inspiration, and various locales such as Scotland, California, Mexico, England, Colorado, and more.  I include the year of their publication.

My top 20, in alphabetical order by author:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 1813 – exquisite

What a Girl Wants by Kristin Billerbeck 2004 – hilarious!

Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore 1869 – incredibly intense, especially the ending

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 1847 – a roller coaster with the perfect ending

what a girl wants_Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes 1605 and 1615 – idealistic knight, surpisingly funny

La Dame aux Camellias by Alexandre Dumas fils 1852 – true love’s sweet sacrifice

Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante by Sharon Dunn 2004 – laugh out loud mystery

Reason to Believe by Kathleen Eagle 1995 – gentle story of two cultures

Nick’s Kind of Woman by Margot Early 1997 – fascinating relationship and action set in my home state of Colorado

The Well Beloved by Thomas Hardy 1892 – “a sketch of a temperament”

Arabella by Georgette Heyer 1949 – who knew the proper Victorian era could be this funny?

sassy cinderellaThorn in my Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs 2003 – the story of Leah and Rachel moved to 18th century Scotland

The Story of a Whim by Grace Livingston Hill – sweet, creative, upbeat surprise

Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson 1884 – love amid racial discrimination after the Mexican-American War

Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale 1992 – rakish mathematician Duke meets intelligent Quaker

My Favorite Goodbye by Sheila O’Flanagan 2001 – light and funArabella by G Heyer

The Promise of Jenny Jones by Maggie Osborne 1999 – never laughed so hard

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers 2001 – pointing to the source of love

Happy Ever After (also called Family Happiness) by Leo Tolstoy 1859 – light, easy, insightful

The Sunset Coast by Susan Devore Williams 1995 – gradual awakening of love and faith

I hope you will be inspired to read something off your normal reading track!  If you do–or if you have some to recommend to me–please leave me a comment!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

San Diego 527

Review of The Little Hunchback Zia by Frances Hodgson Burnett

“And it came to pass nigh upon nineteen hundred and sixteen years ago”

Front page, The Little Hunchback Zia

This begins Frances Hodgson Burnett’s little book published in 1916 about a rejected, deformed orphan boy who is sent to beg for the cruel woman who keeps him.

The Little Hunchback Zia

The Little Hunchback Zia

One day, hiding in the brush near the road to Bethlehem, he watches a surprising number of families and animals pass by on the road, playful and happy. But Zia falls asleep sobbing in unbearable loneliness.

The Little Hunchback Zia

Yet in the night Zia awakens smiling, feeling an unexplainable calm, without and within. Soon he sees one part of the sky growing lighter, and the sheep nearby suddenly attentive. In the darkness, a weary man walks slowly up the road, leading a donkey which carries a woman. A radiance surrounds her.

 

The Little Hunchback ZiaAlthough he thinks he is dreaming, Zia nevertheless feels compelled to follow them. And as the crippled and diseased boy climbs the steep hill toward Bethlehem, he does not waver or stumble.

Whatever had led Zia to Bethlehem now leads him to find the radiant woman and her husband in the mangers of the cave. The woman invites him to come near to the new born baby.

But he refuses, warning her that he is an unclean leper. Yet she insists. “Draw nigh,” the woman says, “and let his hand rest upon thee!”

Front cover, The Little Hunchback Zia

Zia obeys. He bows his head to the Holy child and feels the feather light touch of his tiny fingers. Soon Zia is healthy and standing upright for the first time in his life.

Frances Hodgson Burnett, the well-known author of The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and many other books, writes in a way that immediately engages and grips her reader. Every page of this little book seemed to draw me deeper into Zia’s experiences and emotions. Even though the story is based on the well-known events in the Bible, and the ending is predictable, every compassionate word of this beautiful story is precious.

The intricately drawn illustrations were done by Spencer Baird Nichols and W.T. Benda. I always love it when a book has a beautifully hand-written presentation in the front pages, and this brand-new book was a gift to a Sunday School student for faithful attendance during 1916.

Inscription, The Little Hunchback Zia

You can buy a printed copy of this sweet book on Amazon, read the Kindle version for free on Amazon, and various versions for free on www.gutenberg.org, www.childrenslibrary.org, and http://www.online-literature.com/burnett/3042/ .

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