Saturday, February 28, 2015

"The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare: A Tale of Forgery and Folly" by Doug Stewart

My selection for the "book you chose because of the cover" category was going to reflect my personality in some way. The fact that my choice, The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare: A Tale of Forgery and Folly by Doug Stewart, has a similar coloring and style as my blog template is almost funny. Yes, I really am this boring.

I am not a Shakespeare fan by any stretch of the imagination, so a Shakespeare play sounded like a good idea for the "book in a genre you don't typically read" category of my current reading challenge. However, plodding through King Lear is leaving me in need of some additional inspiration, so I explored the 822.33 (Shakespeare) section of the library.

The cover of Doug Stewart's brown, white, and black book caught my eye immediately. Okay, so I like the look of old paper! The ink blotted lines were calling to me. The title didn't hurt either.

The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare: A Tale of Forgery and Folly is about an eighteenth century young man who is underestimated by his dysfunctional and emotionally abusive family and is unwittingly provided the motive, skill, and means to become a temporarily successful forger of Shakespearean papers.

The author shows that young William-Henry Ireland was a product of the decayed morality of his family and nation. Then, he chose to take the truth fudging, genealogy and history rewriting tendencies of his culture one step further with actual forgery. Even so, young Ireland was not the only one. He lived on the cusp of what would be known as the Age of Forgery.

William-Henry attempted to make his Shakespeare obsessed father proud of him by giving him a piece of Shakespeare's handwriting (that he claimed to have found) but only managed to make his duped and gullible father greedier and a bigger laughingstock than he already was. Samuel Ireland went to the grave believing his son was too stupid to write anything on his own -- never mind be Shakespeare's pen for more than a year. In many ways, Shakespeare was Samuel Ireland's god, and Samuel Ireland's approval was William-Henry Ireland's god. Big mistake. It cost them both dearly.

I learned a lot about Shakespeare, London, the Bardites, and forgery while reading about William-Henry Ireland and his family. My appreciation of Shakespeare isn't any greater, but I do understand what can become of people who want something so badly that they become victims of their own egos.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"The Adventures of a Real-Life Cable Guy" by Dan Armstrong

I enjoy "people" stories, and The Adventures of a Real-Life Cable Guy -- fresh off the press -- is full of them. Dan Armstrong is a regular guy, but his work in thousands of American homes has left him with some extraordinary stories.

Many of Dan's cable customers wouldn't normally let anyone past the front door, but Dan is invited into the most private areas of their homes and told things so personal, you might just shake your head in disbelief. What he sees is often touching, sometimes repulsive, and occasionally a confusing mix of both at the same time. After reading a few stories (you won't be able to stop at just one), you learn that anything could happen next. Lost treasure, mysterious stains on the ceiling, and strange noises in the dark will keep you on the edge of your seat.

One of the nice things about this book is that the stories are short and easy to get into. You don't need a large chunk of time to be pulled into Dan's world. Even so, his wit and vivid descriptions of people and places left me wanting to read just "one more story" even when it was time to move on with my day or turn the lights off for the night.

I came away from this book with more sympathy for the strange people I have met whose stories are unknown to me. As Dan says, "They all have a story." I also have a greater appreciation for my own home and family. The places we live are a reflection of who we are, and a kind word can go a long way to brighten someone's day. I want my home to be a welcoming place to both guests and the workers who may enter for a short while with no need to return.

You can find out more about Dan Armstrong and buy his book HERE. I hope you read it with as much enjoyment as I did!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

What is love? In a week festooned with red and pink hearts, streamers, and balloons, love seems to be everywhere. Flowers are given. Candies are eaten. Stuffed animals hold boxes of caramels and truffles. On the other side, people argue about what true, healthy love looks like -- or doesn't look like.

I love chocolate as much as the next girl, but I know this: love doesn't always come with a trumpet blast (or a string quartet). It doesn't always have its own song. It doesn't always have big balloons or flowers.  Let me tell you about the moments that made me feel the most loved.

1. Sitting silently together, hand in hand, watching the cars drive by.
2. Hearing the dishes being washed in the next room while I rest on the couch.
3. Never running out of things to say and laughing at jokes and stories until late into the night.
4. Thoughtful questions and comments at female dominated midwife appointments.
5. A soft "Thank you for all you do." after a day spent with needy little ones.
6. Having the Psalms read to me at 2:00 AM because my head hurts too much to sleep.
7. A candy bar coming out of a big coat pocket because he thought of me while he was away.
8. A humble "I'm sorry." after a thoughtless moment or just because he knows it was a rough day.
9. Having a shoulder to bury my head in as I manage labor pains.
10. A smile and a glance from across a room of people.
11. Conversations with the random "I love you." sprinkled throughout.

I love you, Zachary!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Monday, February 09, 2015

Lessons From Gideon: Day 25

Don't let answered prayers lull you to spiritual sleep. Ask God each day to be led by Him in even the small things.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Lessons From Gideon: Day 24

People can't or won't always help me the way I want them to, but God will renew my strength when I trust in him.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Lessons From Gideon: Day 22

Keep asking for wisdom. Always. Knowing when and what to start is important; knowing when to move on is vital.