The Bluestocking Babes Reading List

We call ourselves the Bluestocking Babes and have been reading books together for over 5 years now.

I totally meant to post this yesterday for List it Tuesday over at Artsyville, but the day filled up with a sick girl and other non-computerish endeavors.   It’s not a handwritten list, but it did hit my email on a Tuesday, so I printed it out and taped/stapled it my journal.  {with room to doodle over the next few days. :)}





By |2016-10-19T14:20:37-04:00January 26th, 2011|books|0 Comments

Mandala Monday: More Qualities of the Circle



Continuing to move through Susan Fincher’s The Mandala Workbook with more Circle exercises.  The bleed through on the paper, in this handmade journal found on Etsy, was initially a source of frustration.   But I am incorporating the bleed through into entries on subsequent pages and learning a lot about working with what I’ve got in front of me instead of putting a ton of energy into something that I can’t change.  The following two mandalas are a case in point.  The circles and dots in the teal mandala were created around the structure of the bleed-through from the spider web mandala.  The quote from pg. 42 really spoke to me as I am in a the midst of an extended fast.

“The mighty task is to submit to the unknown within and without and allow yourself to be transformed by the experience… Fasting, going without sleep, and separation from the community were often part of these rituals of transition.”

spider web mandala

when the other page bleeds through

Moving forward.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:38-04:00January 17th, 2011|books, Journals|5 Comments

wild thyme reads {a mix of forensics & Southern cooking}

July reads

In the summer I get to squeeze in more reading-what-I-want.  It’s usually a funky mix.  Here’s July’s stack of books:

*  A little non-fiction:  The Sociopath Next Door by  Martha Stout, Ph.D. {because I find psychology fascinating.}

*  A little romance {because for me, plane reads are a lot like beach reads.  My sister and I share the same love of a well-written romance novel with spunky characters; that and chocolate are our guilty pleasures.  When I arrived at her house for our mother’s birthday trip,  she handed me the latest Julia Quinn romance.  Good sister.  Fun book.}

*  Some forensic mystery {my favorite fast reads}:   I picked up Down River by John Hurt because the Bluestockings {the fabulous book club that I hang out  with once a month} read The Last Child by him and I enjoyed the writing.  I’ll be reading more from him. Have had Jefferson Bass books on the “To Read” list for at least a year, and even had the first two from my favorite bookseller George at Eagle Eye Book Shop . Mmmm, I  found them {the books not the store!} a little contrived, but so full of interesting forensic details, that all was forgiven.  {George, I’ll be by soon to pick up the rest!}  The Monster of Florence by Preston & Spezi is another book that’s been in the stack.  Started it on the plane home from the birthday extravaganza.  I found it an interesting match to my non-fiction book on sociopaths.

* With the Bluestockings:  The Help by Katherine Stockett.  We met at my house this month so, I oven-fried some chicken; made a bunch of southern-style vegetables; served with cornbread and cheddar cheese biscuits and finished off with a Carmel Cake.  I’ll mention again, that I critique book club books a little differently than books for pleasure or for school.  There are “good discussion” books and books that are “good reads”.  This one was both.

* Anna Karenina is in the stack because I’m reading it to discuss with a friend who wrote several papers during her senior year of college.  {After over 20 years, I had to re-read it just to remember characters, much less be able to discuss it!}

*  As usual there’s  a cookbook in the mix.  I picked up a copy of Sweet Tea, Please by Vicki Prescott, at an art gallery in Oriental, NC where the Bluestockings were visiting one of our own.  {She-who-has-moved-but-has-yet-to-miss-a-book!}  Great recipes and fun vignettes in between.

*  And to top it all off, The Thomas Merton gift book is a handful of writings on solitude.  It hasn’t made it off of my desk to the boys in AU.  I may just have to get a second copy.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:39-04:00August 5th, 2010|books|0 Comments

The Bluestockings read “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle”

We call ourselves The Bluestocking Babes.  We are a librarian, a couple of full-time homeschooling SAHM’s, an insurance agent & a math teacher.  At least that’s what we do during the day.  That’s what we might put on an application in the blank for OCCUPATION.  In reality, we are all multi-faceted women who each walk in a variety of roles, who gather on a regular basis around books.  {And good conversation & because it’s a wonderful match to all of the above, good food.}

Together, we have walked around abandoned state mental hospitals, sat for hours at the corner table, tried new foods {we did not love Rose Petal Icecream as romantic as it sounds…} and wrestled with life in the pages of excellent {and sometimes awful} books.

Our latest read was, “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle”.  All, but one of us were gathered for an amazing make-your-own-healthy-salad extravaganza at Pam’s house.  {Debbie we missed you…}  We had a great discussion.  There are books that are good reads, and there are books that are good discussion books.  With its beautiful language and complex relationships, this book was both.

We each enjoyed the book for different reasons and at different paces.   Some of us consumed the story all in one sitting, while others ate in tiny nibbles trying to decide if they liked it or not.  As the book is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Nelda brought a cast list and throughout the discussion we made determinations and commentary concerning which Sawtelle character was which Hamlet character.  Sometimes we do that:  stick to a study guide, answer prepared questions and have a straight-up literary discussion.  But as is often the case when a group of women gather, we also took a few “rabbit trails” in the conversation.

One of the sidebars had us discussing how deeply we consider the opinions of others.  It led to my favorite quote from the evening.  This one came, not from the book, but from Nelda when she said:

“I hit a point in my life when I couldn’t be concerned with what others thought.  {of me}  “I Yam what I Yam”.  I call it my Popeye Philosophy.”

Here are the pages:

Scanned Image 100330007

By |2016-10-19T14:20:40-04:00February 2nd, 2010|books|1 Comment

The Shack (or how I got badly sunburnt…)


Heads up.

This is longer-than-my-usual-blogs and comes complete with flashbacks and links!

After much avoidance, I read The Shack by William P. Young this past week. I truly enjoyed the book and have all kinds of things to discuss with someone…(make yourselves known). However, about this time last year, I was not receptive to the book at all. (I think mostly because, from the descriptions and reviews, I knew that it would make me feel old grief that I had neatly tucked away…) So, when discussing book options at a Bluestocking Babes (my bookclub) gathering, I was pretty vocal about the fact that I had not read The Shack and didn’t really want to. Shortly after that gathering, my friend Candi posted a beautiful excerpt from the book in this BLOG ENTRY.

I subsequently wrote the following email to The Bluestockings:

Subject: The Shack

From: betsy@wildthyme (dot) com

Date: August 1, 2008 8:30:38 AM CDT

To: The Bluestocking Babes

I’m sending you a link to my friend Candi’s blog. (It was her nephew that was killed in a playground accident a couple of weeks ago.) Her latest blog includes excerpts from The Shack. She is on the long list of people who have encouraged me to read the book. (She also knows me well enough to say, “just remember you weren’t going to drive a mini van or an SUV.”)

I’m not sure why I get so dead set against “Christian fiction”. I think maybe because in my heart I don’t believe in the concept. Be a writer. Be a Christian. Be a writer who happens to be a Christian. But creating a new genre??? I’m not sure that I believe the genre should exist. (Okay, I won’t get on this soapbox today…) But thought you guys might like to read the excerpts – the language is very creative and at times really beautiful. I think that the way Candi has used the passages matches perfectly the tenor of the book; and her usage strikes more than one theme.

Maybe this will help you decide about the book. Maybe you’ve joined the bandwagon of readers already. I just wanted to clear the record because I had been snubbing my nose at the book and I didn’t want to be the reason that you guys set against it. It’s been sitting on my desk all summer, so I’m going to break it open. Finally. Candi told me that I would either consume it in one large gulp or savor slowly with a pen in hand. I’ll let you know.


Almost a year to the day later, I sat out in the sun, listened to the ocean and read the book all in one sitting.
I laughed and a couple of times I cried. I even fell in love again… I suspect my fellow sun-bathers wondered what was up 5 chairs to the right of the gate. I also, got so caught up in the reading I had a sunscreen fail of epic proportions!

As I sit here and type, I am peeling away the last vestiges of the sunburn from the aforementioned session. I have a book full of underlines, a head full of questions and a cracked open heart.

I’ve journaled (some. art pages to come) and will happily discuss with any of you, not only my changed opinion but my changed self.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:41-04:00August 4th, 2009|books|0 Comments