Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Howard's End by E.M. Forster

I read this book for the following category in my 2016 Back to the Classics Reading Challenge:
9.  A classic which includes the name of a place in the title.  It can be the name of a house, a town, a street, etc. Examples include Bleak House, Main Street, The Belly of Paris, or The Vicar of Wakefield.
The story concerns the relationships between three families; the Wilcoxes, who are pragmatic and materialistic members of the middle-class, the Schlegels, who are idealistic and intellectual members of the middle class, and the Basts, who are aspirating members of the lower class. When Mrs. Wilcox bequeaths Howard's End (her beloved country home) to Margaret Schlegel, Mr. Wilcox disregards her bequest. For me, the book had a slow start, and I might have given up on it if it had been longer (it was only 246 pages), but I ended up liking it by the end. I rate it 3 out of 5.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayers

I read this book for the following category in my Back to the Classics 2016 Reading Challenge:

12. A volume of classic short stories. This must be one complete volume, at least 8 short stories. It can be an anthology of stories by different authors, or all the stories can be by a single author. Children's stories are acceptable in this category also.

I am not a big fan of short stories; I much prefer novels. I had planned to read a different collection for this category (Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson).  I got almost 2/3 of the way through it, but I found I just didn't care enough about the characters in those stories to finish it. I probably would have stopped reading it earlier, but it was what I had with me when I was out of town, so I kept reading, hoping it would get better; it didn't.

I have read the first three Lord Peter Wimsey novels by Dorothy L. Sayers and enjoyed them, so I figured there was a pretty good chance I would like the short stories too, and I did. It contained 12 stories, and I liked them all, although the last one, The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba, was my least favorite. The reason I prefer novels to short stories is there is so much more time to fully develop a story and the characters. But I am already familiar with the character of Lord Peter Wimsey from the novels I've read, and the stories, although short, were well developed enough to be enjoyable to me. I rate it 4 out of 5.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Imaginary Visit to a Tulip Festival

It's been a long time since I've gone on an Imaginary Trip or Visit with Laure Ferlita, but that's exactly what I'm doing now. This time it's an Imaginary Visit to a Tulip Festival, and we're in the Skagit Valley in Washington state. Here is my first sketch:

Lesson 1

In case you don't know about Imaginary Trips, you can read more about them here.  Laure is the guide on quite a number of Imaginary Trips; she provides photos and video lessons on sketching with watercolor in your travel journal. She is a great teacher and good friend and I highly recommend her classes.