I’m getting to it. Really… only a few days late with this posting. I’ve been busy. I returned to North Idaho. I’m moving out of my apartment. I joined a health club so I’ll have a place for exercise and showers while I’m traveling. I’m getting used to the exercise and having fun visiting members of my church. And I’m reading. This posting is all about my August reading plans, realities and hopes.
Welcome to this August 2019 “living document” page where I share my reading intentions and record progress throughout the month in a diary at the end of the page. When the month is over my writing on this page will be finished.
Goodreads keeps track of books I’ve read this year. Books I’ve read so far in 2019.
My Word of the Month
My Haiku of the Month
Coming to the end
Vanished places within life
Smoke, gone after rain.
Bible Verses of the Month
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’” (Matthew 25:34-36)
Books I plan to read during August, 2019…
☆ – I own a copy of the book
★★ – I own a copy and am currently reading the book
✓ – Finished
↪ – Postponed
↩ – Held over from last month
PSRC = 2019 PopSugar Reading Challenge
☆ Recent Fiction: Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami – [PSRC #17. A book set on a college or university campus]
I didn’t have time to read this in May but hope to get to it this month. I have a paperback copy of this book. Can’t wait to get into it and find out more of what it is about. I know there’s a love story, perhaps… a convoluted love story where the path of true love is not straight. That has to happen in fiction, right? Also in real life. I’m truly hoping I’ll be so excited about this novel that I’ll want to read more novels by Haruki Murakami in the years to come.
✓ Recent Fiction: The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco – [PSRC #50. A book set in an abbey, cloister, monastery, vicarage, or convent]
I have the audiobook and Kindle versions of this book and am making progress, though it was a struggle to get started due to my unfamiliarity with the author’s writing style and complete lack of knowledge of medieval Catholic monasteries and their customs. I watched the movie a long time ago – long enough ago, that I don’t remember much about it.
↩ ★★ Classic Fiction: One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – [PSRC #32. A book written by an author from Asia, Africa, or South America]
I still haven’t finished reading this… though it is interesting. Part of the reason is that I have a paperback copy and I tend to read Kindle and audiobooks more, these days… because of my vanlife circumstances.
✓ Nonfiction: Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work, by Steven Pressfield
Near the end of last month I did a reread of Steven Pressfield’s book, Do The Work. Then I bought and listened to the 2 hour audiobook of another of his books along the same vein of writers/artists (of all kinds) … Turning Pro. I want to listen to it a second time this month … because, why not? It is only two hours. With all the other thick and more challenging books I have to read this month, this is the perfect short nonfiction book for my August. I have so much to do these days – especially, making decisions about what to take with me when I move, and what to leave behind. There’s a limit to how much I can stuff into my mind right now. My priority reading is the Christian book (see below) . . . it is challenging enough and I want to spend my time on that more than on reading another thick nonfiction book.
☆ Art: Storytelling Art Studio: Visual Expressions of Character, Mood and Theme Using Mixed Media, by Cathy Nichols
I need to illustrate a children’s book I wrote a long time ago, and I’m hoping this art book will lead me along that path and inspire me to do the work.
★★ Christian: Living Beyond Yourself, by Beth Moore
I started reading this with Christian friends at a Bible study in Happy Camp, California while I was visiting there in July. I am still keeping up with the reading, and buying the weekly videos from the LifeWay website. The book is about the fruit of the Spirit.
My August 2019 Reading Diary
August 10 – Finally got this page written and on the web. I listened to a few sections of The Name of the Rose (audiobook) by Umberto Eco this morning. Also, looked for a copy of the book at the library. It wasn’t there, but instead I borrowed a free Kindle copy through the Prime reading program on Amazon. I want that for . . . shall we say, referring back to sections I didn’t entirely understand. I think this book is challenging enough that I might like the “immersion” experience of reading the Kindle version while I’m listening to the audiobook.
August 11 – Honestly, I’m frustrated. I tried for a few hours today to get into reading Living Beyond Yourself and I was distracted by so many inconsequential things. My thoughts are all over the place. I went to church this morning and listened to Pastor Carl’s sermon twice… there’s an 8:30 service then a 10:30 service, and I’d already heard the whole thing on Thursday night as well. I figure if he can say it three times I can listen three times. I like being at church because there are so many people there filled with the Holy Spirit – it is like being in the presence of God. No, it IS being in the presence of God, and that is always so uplifting and well, just something I do that makes me very happy – I go hang out with Christian brothers and sisters and feel blessed just by being with them. After second service I was supposed to have a lunch date with a friend but she wasn’t feeling up to it and we decided to go tomorrow instead… so I listened to Pastor Kirk’s video of his church service in Happy Camp this morning, then tried to do the Living Beyond Yourself homework. Didn’t get far on that. Last night I made more progress on listening to The Name of the Rose (audiobook) before sleeping. There’s lots of rain now and electrical energy in the air and maybe that affects my ability to study. IDK. Now I’m back in my apartment writing this – and I need to empty my bookcases as I’ve got someone coming this evening to get them. I’m giving away almost all my furniture, in anticipation of moving. It is time to pack books. I have no place in my van to put these things. If I can’t emotionally separate myself from all this stuff I will have to spend more money to get a cargo trailer. I’m thinking that would be a good idea because then I could put all my stuff in the cargo trailer while I’m working on my van conversion. I still need to insulate and do wall and ceiling paneling… so having all my things in a cargo trailer would help a lot. I could sell the trailer later on – or convert it to be an extra room in my new vanlife living setup. Things like that are taking my mind off my book studies. Well… I’m off to the task of emptying bookcases!!
August 12 – This morning I read more of The Name of the Rose (audiobook plus Kindle) by Umberto Eco. The book is divided into seven days, and I’m reading day three. Much more to go. It is a lot easier to understand now that I’ve started reading the Kindle version while listening to the audiobook. After I get through this primer on Catholic thought and history, I might go ahead and read one of my two Catholic exorcism books… seems like a good time for that. FYI – I have never been a Catholic and this is all like a new world for me, inside one of the world’s most highly developed cult religions. My form of Christianity is very simple in comparison. I simply read the Bible and go to church… and read a few Christian Bible study type books. Any formality beyond that is foreign to me. I am nondenominational and have no interest in belonging to any denominations. I couldn’t care less about Calvinism versus Arminianism or Wesleyism or anything like that. I don’t understand the debates going on, and just want to read the Bible which I take as the Word of God, a gift from Jesus from beginning to end.. and learn from that. I believe it is a healing book and that reading it will heal us and lead us in the right direction. My oldest son says that is “solo scriptura” (he attends an Episcopalian church) and apparently thinks church creeds and traditions are as important as the Bible. I think traditions and creeds are nice (sometimes) but the Bible is my authority as it came by inspiration from Jesus. Anyhow, The Name of the Rose contains a lot of Catholic history and manner of thinking, fiction or not . . . how would I even know? I guess I could be researching each bit of it on Wikipedia, but I’m not wanting to. I just think it is somewhat weird that the men in the book are so involved in the way of thinking, that each bit of church history is important… especially, knowing about heretics. One monk just stated the “women are evil” thing … and it made me laugh. There’s nothing like a blatant overstatement to show that a person is not in alignment with reality. Well, now I’m in my apartment. Moved a few things around. Thought about how to go about separating things I need to give away from things I want to try to keep. Yesterday I gave away more furniture and today I looked at cargo trailers. Progress.
August 13 – Yesterday I parked my van in the forest near the Spokane River and finished two more sections of my Living Beyond Yourself homework. Two more to go, this week, then a video from the LifeWay website. I’m also still making progress in The Name of the Rose… though I don’t understand what all the Catholic heretic history has to do with the plot. I’ll just take it as it comes and plow through the book. Yes, it is that kind of book. Not the worst I’ve ever read, but far from a contemporary thriller or something like that. This afternoon I’m going out to lunch with my friend… in about twenty minutes. I parked my van next to a curb near her apartment to make it easier for her to get into it this time. I’m glad I got those running boards. I have several friends for whom that step up into the van is a problem, and I even had trouble getting into it the first time, before the running boards were installed. Tonight there’s a Christian singles Bible study at Liberty Lake. I’ll probably go to that again too.
August 14 – I finished Week 4 of Living Beyond Yourself and am about to buy the video that the Bible study group in Happy Camp will be watching tomorrow… I will watch a day early, as tomorrow evening will be another church service at my North Idaho church. I listened to a little bit of The Name of the Rose, but not much. [Later] … just finished watching that Beth Moore video about joy. It is a powerful one. I’m so blessed to be going through this Bible study book.
August 15 – Managed to get through a lot of The Name of the Rose last night and am somewhere in Day 4 (out of 7) … midway through the book. There was a very interesting sex scene at the end of Day 3 – I’ve never read anything quite like it. Not too graphic, but innocent-monk-meets-naked-woman in the monastery kitchen and can’t get the Song of Solomon out of his head… something like that. No explanation yet for the presence of the woman in the kitchen of a monastery. Today I read the first section of Week 5 in Living Beyond Yourself … this is about peace. Anyhow, thinking back to The Name of the Rose . . . there’s no doubt that Umberto Eco is a great writer but, this being his first novel (at the time) he delved into historical accounts of real-life medieval heretics and somehow their stories got mixed into the plot really slowing down the action. I’d have to say, so far, the novel is a bit of a well-written slog for me. Why am I putting myself through this? Because I’m reading it for the 2019 PopSugar Reading Challenge, prompt #50: “A book set in an abbey, cloister, monastery, vicarage, or convent.” I could have picked something easier to read.. no harm in challenging myself, however.
Here are some photos I posted to Instagram this morning from Q’emlin Park here in Post Falls. Q’emlin is a Native American name pronounced ka-ME-lin, meaning “throat of the river” … speaking of the Spokane River that flows from Lake Coeur d’Alene through Post Falls and Spokane.
August 16 – Still making progress on both books – The Name of the Rose (Almost done with day 4) and Living Beyond Yourself (Week 4 Day 2). I had lunch with a friend from church in Liberty Lake! Jerry. Funny thing: I walked in and told the receptionist that I was there to meet Jerry, and she said, “I don’t know, I’ll see if there are any men here seated alone.” Hahaha… right… I told her, “No, Jerry is a woman!” “Oh…” So another server told me where she was sitting. This was not as bad as earlier this week when I went to lunch with a friend from another church. She is having speech and walking problems. I leave her at the restaurant entrance and then go park. Well, while she was waiting for me inside the receptionist was keeping her company, and I took so long the receptionist was getting worried, probably thinking I’d deserted her there! Of course, my friend knew I didn’t. Then the woman seated us at a table and started talking to me about whether she should take my friend’s walker to the front of the restaurant, as if my friend wasn’t there to answer for herself. (?!) I thought it was very strange … She’s able to think for herself and I’m not her caretaker – I’m her friend! I’ve heard of this before – that some people will only talk to companions of the disabled and not to the disabled themselves.
August 17 – Already today, I finished day 3 of Living Beyond Yourself . . . week 4 is about peace. Next week it is about patience. Can’t wait to get there! But . . . patience. Everything happens at its own time. I’ve started Day 5 of The Name of the Rose. The plot thickens. I will survive this book with a much stronger understanding of the evils of religion-gone-wrong. I liked the section that explained William’s investigative strategies. Not much else is being read right now, other than the Bible and my daily devotional and Facebook. I’m considering doing more writing, but right now have to be reasonable and focus on the clearance of my apartment. Last night I wrote myself a long list, a schedule, of tasks that need to be done, and when to do them. I have four tasks to do today and tomorrow. I figure if I focus on little sections of the work, it will be easier to accomplish more because right now I have that feeling of not being able to see the forest because of all the trees. I scheduled small sized tasks through the end of the month and can reevaluate then to see what more needs to be done so I can get out of here permanently by September 20… when it is my intention to head south, back to Happy Camp and then to the area of Columbia State Historic Park in the Mother Lode.
August 18 – Today, finished day 4 of the peace week in Living Beyond Yourself. Also, I’m still making good progress on The Name of the Rose. I’m about 80% through that book and am very much looking forward to switching to a different novel. Also, it would be great to find out who the murderer was! I still have no idea who really did it… but certainly not the man who is currently imprisoned and awaiting trial. Now, I have work to do. Might as well get on with it. Church was wonderful. I asked Pastor Scott for an opportunity to discuss things with him (he is such a scholar/teacher I think he’ll be able to help me with some perplexing issues that have been on my mind). Maybe that will happen this week. Also, I had lunch with Les and Linda (his wife) . . . Les is the retired pastor who built the floor in my van. A great carpenter, just like Jesus. Now he’s working on vintage Volkswagons.
August 19 – Just finished week 5 of Living Beyond Yourself (re: peace) and am about to watch the video. Today was my parents’ wedding anniversary. [Later] I watched the video for week 5 and am on to week 6, tomorrow morning, I guess. Well, no . . . I have a friend coming over tomorrow morning at 9 to help me with my organization and moving project. I hope she’ll give me some good ideas on how to escape from my excessive-possessions dilemma. It is time to cast off a few things. I don’t want my possessions to possess me… or keep me from being able to drive away in that van to what I hope will be my new future as a traveling missionary in search of people to serve in the name of Jesus. We all have our intentions and desires in life – and that is mine.
August 20 – My friend came over today and helped me empty my kitchen cabinets, and we got a lot done! She took a couple boxes of things with her and I was happy to see it go. I have a lot more to do… and am giving my one-month move-out notice today. I was hoping the Lord would speak to me through her as He has before, and she suggested I work in the apartment until 3 every day, then go have fun. Sounds like a plan. I made a lot of progress in The Name of the Rose last night. I have about three more chapters in that novel… then will start something new. Today I published the interview video I made last month while I was in Happy Camp. I see room for improvement… but would like to make more interview videos as I’m traveling around the USA, meeting other authors along the way.
August 21 – I finished reading The Name of the Rose this morning. Praise the Lord, I got through that book. Now I finally feel qualified to read it. I think if I reread it I’d understand more and get more out of it. Not sure that will ever happen. It often takes me a while (many chapters, even) to get used to an author’s writing style. In this case the Italian author’s thought process was so dissimilar to mine, it was very difficult to follow. Toward the end, things got better. The immersion reading with both Kindle and Audible helped a lot. At the end of the Kindle version there’s an essay from the author answering questions and giving his philosophies on some aspects of authorship. I’m still reading through that. On another topic – I’ve discovered that I can set the YouVersion of the Bible on my android phone to play through the speakers in my new van. I’ve been using that recently… hearing more of the Word as I drive. This morning I also already finished day 1 of week 6 in Living Beyond Yourself by Beth Moore. This week it will be about patience. There are two Greek words for patience used in the Bible. The section of the book I completed this morning is about one of the words. The other word is the one used for patience as a fruit of the Spirit, and the next four days will be about that word. Since I’ve finished The Name of the Rose, it is time to get back to reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, but first I will work on my apartment clearance project until 3pm as advised by my wise friend, Nita, and this evening I’ll be going to a potluck dinner in Liberty Lake, Washington with my home group from church.
August 25 – I missed a few days of updating here. I couldn’t find my copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude – it is lost somewhere in my van. Instead I started reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. Good, so far. I’ve also started reading the art book, Storytelling Art Studio, by Cathy Nichols. Also good. I’ve been busy the last few days doing work inside my apartment. Today is Sunday, a day off.
August 27 – Yesterday was a very difficult day. It started bad and I spent the rest of the day recovering. I felt like I lost a day! However – I ended the day by reading more of Norwegian Wood. This morning I got through half a section in week 6 of Living Beyond Yourself.
August 28 – Much better day. I read more of Norwegian Wood last night and this morning, and finished section 4 of week 6 in Living Beyond Yourself by Beth Moore. This is the week of studying about patience but the last two sections include forgiveness.
August 30 – The only book I finished this month, The Name of the Rose, was not my favorite kind of literature. It was a slow slog and I’m still wondering what the author’s agenda was. There was a lot of info-dumping about medieval Catholic heretics. The only reason I got through it was that I had an audiobook copy. I’ve started (and am enjoying) all the other books I had planned for August. I lost my copy of 100 Years of Solitude in my van somewhere. Still waiting for that to surface. I’m busy daily trying to go through my incredible hoard of possessions and culling them radically . . . all in anticipation of my September 20 move-out day… and that’s taking up most of my time and mental energy right now – thus reading isn’t happening as much as I would prefer. Of course I anticipated this while I was making great progress earlier this year on my reading goals. You never know how much you have until you need to move. I’ve lived in this 2 bedroom apartment since 2015 and am downsizing into a van. Obviously, a lot of things have to go! I just got the insulation I’ll be putting into my van, but will wait until after September 20 to start installing it. I may need that this winter, no matter where I park the van. So, back to work. I’m starting week 7 in Living Beyond Yourself… it is about kindness.