Monday, February 1, 2016

Good, Random, Fun: Birthday Books

Some early birthday books and music.  I have always wanted to read "Shadows on the Rock" by Willa Cather.  

It is the story of Quebec, Canada in the early days (1697).  My Mom was born and raised in Quebec and as a little girl I was able to visit the city with my family.  We always joked that it is the cheapest way to see Europe.  It has that old world feel everywhere you go.  So, I was delighted to read in Cather's book about places I have seen:  The Chateau, Notre Dame des Victoires, the Ursuline Convent. It is a fascinating book written as only a master could write.  We tend to picture the discovery of the New World as full of adventurers and missionaries.  Willa Cather brings us characters who find themselves there for so many different reasons.  It is a wonderful weaving of lives all at once ordinary and extraordinary.  The struggle of a French family to keep the beauty and order of a French culture in this wild, rough place.  I found a quote in her book that says it so much better than I could:

"Madam Auclair wanted to believe that when she herself was lying in this rude Canadian earth, life would go on almost unchanged in this room with its dear (and to her, beautiful) objects; that the proprieties would be observed, all the little shades of feeling which make the common fine.  The individuality, the character, of M. Auclair's house, though it appeared to be made up of wood and cloth and glass and a little silver, was really made of very fine moral qualities in two women:  the mother's unswerving fidelity to certain traditions, and the daughter's loyalty to her mother's wishes"

So, whenever I feel that struggle of keeping order and culture alive in my own home, I can remember that passage.  If it could be done in the wild settling of Quebec, it can be done in modern America!  I am only part way in, but I am hooked, as they say.  

Another of her books that I received, I know nothing about.  "The Professor's House".  I will keep you posted when I get to it.
Along with this New World theme, I received one of Anonymous 4's CDs with early American Civil War songs.  I am a shape note fan (the real power in the human voice) and these are so beautiful!!! It is a great companion to the one I got for Christmas.  Early American music is full of such feeling.

The poinsettias are still alive, but slowly giving up the ghost.  Good bye Christmas of 2015...sniff.

Life goes on and so does Latin.  


  1. Oy, Latin, I tried that - not my language!
    Happy early birthday!

  2. I love receiving presents early! Love the covers of both books! Love your son's expression! Have a wonderful week!

  3. Happy early birthday! I love Shadow on the Rock. I haven't read the other Willa Cather offering you've pictured. I'll have to check it out.

  4. Love that look over the book. And now I am thinking of my top ten favorite moments.