Hippie Bird Day, Two Ewes

(The title of this post is sort of an inside joke on Ravelry, and is normally used to wish someone a happy birthday.)

So, yesterday was my 31st birthday. It actually wasn’t too bad. I didn’t have any cake, but my dad had gotten donuts and breakfast sandwiches (sausage patties and cheese on English muffins) that morning, and he even volunteered to make coffee. About 2:30 that afternoon, I was getting a bit bored, so I finally asked my dad if he’d be willing to take me to a local independent bookstore I’d been wanting to go to for a while, and I still had a considerable amount of Christmas money still burning a hole in my wallet. He agreed to go, and so we all hopped into the Jeep and drove the 10 miles or so to the store. I don’t want to give away my exact location, but this is an independent bookstore that’s been around for a while, and I remember going to this same store over a decade ago to get books that were required reading for one of my high school English classes. (I still have those books and have attempted to revisit some of them, as recounted in “My Love Affair With Books”.) It sells mostly used books, but there are also plenty in new condition, with just about every genre you could think of. There are several rooms filled floor to ceiling with bookshelves. The front room houses the most contemporary books and children’s and young adult fiction as well. The next room contained the classics and all sorts of nonfiction books (biographies, history books, philosophy) on one side, and new age and self help books on the other. The third room had the general fiction books, with authors like Danielle Steele and Debbie Macomber and V.C. Andrews and Dan Brown lining the shelves. The fourth and final room contained mostly fantasy and science fiction novels, which while I am not a major reader of those two genres, I did take a look to see if there was anything interesting for people that I know who do enjoy those genres. Ultimately, I bought five books, four of them from the Classics/Nonfiction room and the fifth was from the front of the store. Some of these titles you may recognize from the list I posted, but wasn’t limited to, in “I’m Dreaming of a Mild Christmas”. And I’ll explain my reasoning behind each of them.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

This one was a case of “I have seen the movie, but I have never read the book”. I remember watching the 1960s film adaptation of this novel in high school, but for one reason or another I have never read the book. I have even seen John Green’s Crash Course Literature course on this novel and still have not read it. From what I know of this novel, it is like “Survivor” on steroids, and illustrates what happens when the most extreme of circumstances forces us complex human beings into our most basic, primitive instincts and behaviors.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

You readers do not understand how long this book has been on my Book Bucket List (basically, the list of books I want to read before I die)! I have been intrigued by this book since 1999…the year that I saw an episode of The Famous Jett Jackson in which this very novel plays a very important part in an episode’s plot. The dystopian themes of censorship and the limitation of knowledge (two things that I personally take a strong stance against) also draw me to this particular novel, and I’m excited that I’m finally going to get a chance to read it!

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

I know I may get some flack for picking this one, as a lot of people tend to associate Rand’s work with right-wing politics and political figures like Paul Ryan; I personally identify as socially liberal with a libertarian streak, but I also try to allow myself to be open minded to other points of view. My main motivation for picking this one was actually Neil Peart, the drummer from the Canadian progressive rock band Rush, who mentioned Rand and The Fountainhead in the liner notes to the band’s landmark album 2112, which (according to his interview in the documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, which I decided to watch again on Netflix last night after buying this book) inspired a then-twelve-year-old Canadian boy named Sebastian Bierk (who would later become a famous heavy metal singer named Sebastian Bach, famous for singing in the band Skid Row and later for playing Hep Alien guitarist and singer Gil in Gilmore Girls) to go out and actually get a copy of The Fountainhead and read it. The members of the band are all well-read people, and Peart especially (as the band’s primary lyricist) has never been afraid to incorporate literary themes into the band’s songwriting. I mean, their song “Xanadu” was inspired by a Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem! (“Kubla Khan”, by the way, if you’re wondering!) I mainly wanted to see what all the hype was about, even if I didn’t necessarily identify with Ayn Rand’s political themes or stances. And I should state the following: Yes. I am a female Rush fan. We exist.

A Farewell to Armsby Ernest Hemingway

I think it’s safe to say that most Americans’ exposure to Ernest Hemingway’s work has come primarily from being required to study The Old Man and the Sea for a high school English class. I include myself in this. I studied The Old Man and the Sea as part of my English class in my freshman year of high school. I vaguely remember reading it. I don’t know if it had much of an effect on me. Now, from what I know of this one, this novel is semi-autobiographical and based off of Hemingway’s experiences in World War I. Will this have more of an effect on me than The Old Man and the Sea did? I can’t wait to find out. This wasn’t necessarily on my Book Bucket List. I picked this one on a whim. But sometimes you find a gem 💎 when you least expect it. Perhaps this will end up being a gem 💎 in my collection. And perhaps I’ll get the same reaction I had to The Catcher in the Rye and wonder “WTF?” at the end of it all. Who knows?

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

I read The Hunger Games about two and a half, maybe three years ago and loved 💕 it. How much did I love it? I finished the entire book in one week. I have only read Harry Potter novels in a quicker span of time! I wanted to read Catching Fire almost immediately afterwards…only to find that Walmart stopped carrying the Hunger Games novels just after we’d bought the first novel in the trilogy! There was also a copy of Mockingjay available, but I was unsure of how much it would eat up my budget, and I’d already found quite a few titles for my collection. I hope to eventually get a copy of Mockingjay someday, but I hope I have just as much fun reading Catching Fire as I did reading The Hunger Games!

After paying for the books and leaving the bookstore, I hopped back into the Jeep where my parents were waiting, and my dad drove us around some of the more rural parts of our home county, which is filled with Florida scrub forests and the occasional cattle pasture (or as I like to call it, “Cow Country”, which Florida actually has quite a bit of). We made our way back towards our home, but not before stopping off at a local car wash first (the Jeep is white and was covered in pollen from recent rain storms that came by earlier this week). We finally got home after a couple of hours away, and had a mostly relaxing evening, which I spent watching Netflix and drafting and formatting the post you are currently reading!

Thank you to everyone who sent me their birthday well wishes, be it here on my blog or through Instagram or other social media! I appreciate it and I appreciate all of you who take the time to read my blog! I hope the next year ahead for me is a good one!

5 thoughts on “Hippie Bird Day, Two Ewes

  1. Many Happy Returns, I hope you truly had a great Birthday, sorry I am late with the message.

    I am so glad you finally got Fahrenheit 451, I have read it many many times, and loved the insane times that were portrayed in the book, not that I would like to live in them, as I, like you do not agree with censorship and limitation to knowledge, the latter would kill me as I have done two degrees and as you know am constantly educating myself.

    Farewell to Arms is a really good book, I enjoyed reading this one quite a lot.

    The Fountainhead has intrigued me, and I will add it to my reading list. I love Rush, so you are in good company, my favourite track being “Red Sector A”, which in itself is quite a disturbing track when you know the inspiration behind it. Oh, I have met Sebastian Bach and seen Skid Row many times.

    Lord of the Flies is one of those books that I have never read, although it was on one of the syllabuses it was an option and I read Howards End instead. I will have to read it someday soon,

    As for your final one, I really could not find interest in The Hunger Games, so I think this will remain undiscovered and unread for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I seem naturally drawn to dystopian fiction (having already read 1984 and with books like Brave New World and The Handmaid’s Tale on my to-read list in addition to Fahrenheit 451), The Hunger Games was a natural pick for me. It’s one of the few dystopian novels that I know of set in North America (I believe The Handmaid’s Tale is as well). It’s geared more towards teen and young adult readers, so that could explain some of your disinterest in it.

      I’m still trying to finish Hidden Figures at the moment, but I do have less than 100 pages to go (the edition is over 300 pages long, but about the last quarter of it is indexes, notes, and the like; the actual reading portion of it is maybe around 275 pages). Once I finish that one, Fahrenheit 451 will be the next one to read, since I’ve waited to read that one the longest.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do love a dystopian novel, and the more evil the overseer the better. I love horror and biographies too. I am reading that many books at the same time at the moment it is a little distracting. Nearly finished Carry Fishers Princess Diarist. I only picked it up because I kept seeing it everywhere, so thought why not. Needless to say it is a bit rubbish, but I will see it to the bitter end.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Bane of My Backlist | The Snowless Knitter

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