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.
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
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.”
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.
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. 😉