July and August ~ of Wild Roses, Ferris Wheels and Delightful Doings …

Wild Roses

Well, I couldn’t find the initial quotes I chose for this month so I came up with two others

I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on summer humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives.Ann Voskamp


The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.
Natalie Babbit, Tuck Everlasting

and with this one thrown in:

All in all, it was a never to be forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.

—L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

Ferris Wheel

I have been so busy these past few months I don’t know where to start.  But first I should perhaps begin with apologies, first of all to Jean for completely stalling on The Golden Bough and then for my silence during The Mysteries of Udolpho read-along.  The nutritionist degree, which I started, has been taking up much of my time and my reading has been so minimal, however I have managed to make it through about 1/3 of The Mysteries of Udolpho.  To the rest of the read-alongers, how have you been doing and have you enjoyed it?  I must say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised and haven’t laughed with derision nearly as much as I expected.  Why?  Well, because I think Emily’s youth and inexperience excuse her behaviour most of the time.  There were a few too many faints or near-faints but I think I can forgive her that.  I even enjoyed the moral lessons, with my favourite so far being this monologue by her father, St. Aubert:

“Above all, my dear Emily,” said he, “do not indulge in the pride of fine feeling, the romantic error of amiable minds.  Those, who really possess sensibility, ought early to be taught, that it is a dangerous quality, which is continually extracting the excess of misery, or delight, from every surrounding circumstance.  And, since, in our passage through this world, painful circumstances occur more frequently than pleasing ones, and since our sense of evil is, I fear, more acute than our sense of good, we become the victims of our feelings, unless we are in some degree command them.  I know you will say, (for you are young, my Emily) I know you will say, that you are contented sometimes to suffer, rather than to give up your refined sense of happiness, at others; but, when your mind has been long harassed by vicissitude, you will be content to rest, and you will then recover from your delusion.  You will perceive, that the phantom of happiness is exchanged for the substance; for happiness arises in a state of peace, not of tumult.  It is of a temperate and uniform nature, and can no more exist in a heart, that is continually alive to minute circumstances, than in one that is dead to feeling.  You see, my dear, that, though I would guard you against the dangers of sensibility, I am not an advocate for apathy.  At your age I should have said THAT is a vice more hateful than all the errors of sensibility, and I say so still.  I call it a VICE, because it leads to positive evil; in this, however, it does no more than an ill-governed sensibility, which, but such a rule, might also be called a vice; but the evil of the former is of more general consequence.”

The Mysteries of Udolpho

I do hope to get away for a few days before the end of August and have some time to catch up.  Jillian said she read this book in a weekend and I’m sure I could do it too.  Otherwise, I’ve not picked up any other of my 20 Books of Summer, other than How The Irish Saved Civilization, Reveries of a Solitary Walker, and The Sayings of Diogenes but only to look at.  Oh wait, I just remembered that I did finish The Lord of the Flies.  Is this challenge going to turn into the 2 Books of Summer?  I hope not, but this is certainly not going to be a reading summer.

Beach Leaf

For August, I plan to do some hiking, biking and gardening in amongst the studying.  My next Agatha Christie, Partners in Crime, is on the  list as well as Rousseau’s Reveries of a Solitary Walker.  And I do intend to pick up The Decameron in preparation of reading it in September.  I’m not sure how I’ll manage …. perhaps very slowly, however I would like to get to it as the topic is rather apropos for the times in which we’re living.

And how have you all been doing with your summer reading?  I would guess better than me. 😉

29 thoughts on “July and August ~ of Wild Roses, Ferris Wheels and Delightful Doings …

    • It’s wonderful, Jillian! Thanks for all your pre-reading encouragement. I’m now interested in reading all the “horrid” novels.

  1. You are busy, and that’s an impressive reading list.

    I can report that I’ve now finished ‘Udolpho’, and I also found it far less unintentionally funny than I expected. Thank you so much for prompting me to read it.

    • If I had the time, I think I would have been like you, Cath, and become so engrossed that I would have read right through it. Unfortunately life intervenes but perhaps I can look at it that enjoyment is drawn out longer. Hope the summer has been good to you!

  2. Hello, You!

    Are you planning to read the entire Decameron in the month of September? I’m curious, now that you describe it as apropos for our times…

    • Hi Ruth! I’ve been thinking of you and have been planning to send you a note but as you see, I’ve been swamped. I’m very envious of your beach-reading though! 😉

      I’d like to start The Decameron in September with plans to finish at the end of the year. Reese said he was interested too. I can’t make promises but I’ve cleared my calendar of book plans so other than Udolpho which I might be finishing up, I should be able to do it. Are you thinking of joining the read? 🙏🏻

      • I haven’t actually done any beach reading this summer….but if you are talking about my Instagram photo, that was my 15-year old. We went w/ friends, so I couldn’t bring a book w/ me. 🙁

        The Decameron is on my unread shelf; I have to read it one of these days. (I remember o made it sound really interesting.) I wasn’t considering reading it any time soon BUT buddy reads are always encouraging. I’ll keep my eyes peeled, if you’d like company.

        • Well, there you go …. I think you look like a 15-year-old, lol!

          We’d love company for the buddy read! Please join us!

  3. I am having such a hard time with Udolpho. I haven’t picked it up in ages. The country descriptions of nature are too repetitive and I find it hard to pick out the narrative.

    I wish you well in your nutrition degree. It’s a fascinating field. Well, anything with food is fascinating to me!

    I am enjoying my daily evening bike rides. I live in a touristy beach town and summer makes for very crowded streets, so I stay close to home. Still, it’s a God-send during this time when I don’t go out much.

    I like the Babbit quote. It reminds me of my years in Chicago where the seasons were more defined and the summers extraordinarily humid and still, than here in California.

    Happy reading/doing month!

    • You’re having a hard time?! I’m enjoying Emily’s adventures and the scenery. And I’ve visited the Roussillon area so it was somewhat familiar to me. I do hope you begin to get on better with it.

      The studies have been interesting, especially the references to the vitamins and minerals that we are receiving from our food at much lower levels nowadays compared to when, for example, our grandparents were alive. It’s somewhat alarming.

      Bike riding is wonderful, isn’t it? I haven’t done nearly as much as I’d like to do this summer. People here are social distancing but they seem to be out and about as much as ever.

      Thanks, Laurie, and happy reading to you too!

  4. The nutritionist training I’m sure is time-consuming! I haven’t made any progress with The Golden Bough either, though Jean is leaving us in the dust & I’ve been enjoying her posts along the way.

    I’d still be up for The Decameron if you were. I might not be ready to start until the middle of September, though.

    I loved that quote from Natalie Babbit. Another book to read!

    • The studying is time consuming but only because I have so much else going on. Jean has been doing wonderfully with The Golden Bough and seems to be enjoying it. Her posts are fabulous!

      Yay, I’m glad you’re still interested. I’m going to try to start the beginning of September but I’m sure I’ll read much slower than you so you’re sure to pass me. And it looks like Amanda might join us as well. Looking forward to it!

  5. I had a feeling you were really busy! 🙂 Any time you start adding degrees or training in…there goes summer. I hope you find some days to squeeze in extra bits of reading–an Agatha Christie should be just the thing.

    I’m actually ahead of the schedule on Udolpho and hoping to finish this week. (It helped that I had a week staycation to read extra.) It’s surprised me a bit; I thought it was going to be more “thrilling” and Gothicy than it is, but it’s definitely of its era.

    I’d forgotten you were planning on reading Decameron – another nice long book there, Cleo. I might be interested in joining in as well (tentatively), but that’s more of a ‘can I make it by the end of the year’ read!

    • I AM busy! I’m helping a family, cooking for them three days per week which often turns to more, and lots of other life stuff.

      Ooo, you’re finishing Udolpho! Lucky you! I know what you mean about the expectations of it being more ‘Gothicy’ and ‘thrilling’ but in spite of the drama, it’s definitely more mature than that. Are you planning on reading any more of the ‘horrid’ novels?

      That would be great if you join The Decameron read. And if your reading spills into 2021, that shouldn’t be a problem, should it? It would be a nice book to tick off the list.

      • I’ve read a couple and will probably read more – I tend to be a completionist, and they’re on one of my many lists… (And I’m not sure they’re all as long as Udolpho!)

        No, I’m not bothered if a book spills into the new year…it’s more of am I about to over-commit myself for the fall? 🙂 At least the library has a copy of this one, which is a change in pace. (I had to wait until the “Search Ohio” library function [order books from any library across the state] finally reopened to order the next Christie! Shouldn’t libraries be contractually obliged to have all of Agatha Christie in stock?)

    • I loved Confessions by Rousseau so I’m really looking forward to this one. And I long, one day, to read it in French, but we’ll see …. 😁

  6. Hey Cleo, glad to see an update from you! That quote from Udolpho really speaks to me – makes me want to give it a try some time. Your August plans and reads sound great! Agatha Christie is one of those authors who fits into the busiest of schedules.

    I’ve not been reading many books either, and also I’m about to move so I’ve been in the process of boxing up my books (a bit of a nightmare). It feels like a good time to make a change, though, and the busyness helps keep my mind off Unprecedented worries. 😉

    • Thanks, Marian! I’ve missed our blog chats! I would say Udolpho is definitely worth reading with lower expectations.

      Good luck with your move! Are you excited about it or have some apprehension? I’m not great with change so it would probably throw me off a little. But a new place could be exciting!

  7. So glad to see your posts come up!! I am sure you are super busy with your degree and that it is a priority! The mysteries are fun and I do like the morals but I must be candid and confess, I laughed a bit!! (Don’t judge me!) As always, I see your posts and get dragged into things which I know I should not even look at – I bought Reveries of a Solitary Walker…..the paths I tread after you!!! Lovely quotes btw!

  8. “And how have you all been doing with your summer reading?” Your ask the question I feel has only one answer: ….not very well.
    I took to daily nature walks, photography, audio books just to clear my head these last few months. Now I have reached a tipping point: You can waste your time in front of the TV news (…I cannot change anything that is going on in USA)…or I can turn off the TV and escape in books. I admire Michelle Obama admitting in her second podcast…she is feeling a ‘low depression’ due to pandemic and all that has gone wrong managing it. This lack of leadership impacts ALL things in life. So I agree, a bit low now but I know how to jump-start my reading: read book in French. It make me concentrate…and get on with life!
    I promised Our Classics Club moderator Brona of Brona’s Books…that I would try the #ccspin nr 24. So, my list is compiled and blogpost uploaded. I’m not concentrating only on classics….any book I read will be a victory! Let’s hope this will boost my reading mojo.

    • Nancy! So good to hear from you! Ah, nature walks! They sound lovely and your photography is magnificent! You’re certainly “breathing your biome “ (see Zach Bush; he’s awesome!). I think being cooped up has made us all want to get outside, which is a good thing. I’m not allowing the present situation to bother me too much; just trying to live in the moment, enjoy those around me and do what I can. There are few things that are wholly negative so I’m looking for the flowers in amongst the weeds.

      Well, here’s to more reading for both of us in amongst life’s challenges. May the rest of your summer be filled with peaceful walks and positive interactions. Take care!

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