Bookish Things – Poe and Goals

When I decided to revamp my blog at the beginning of the year, I planned to include a few “bonus posts” for the months that had a fifth Wednesday. I started with some information on the Unread Shelf Project in February, and July turned out to be the next month with an extra week! I have put much thought into the types of things that I would share in these posts, and came up with a list of ideas that still need a bit of fleshing out. To start though, I thought I would share something fun and bookish that relates to some personal goals that I have made.

61602902298__8409ccd0-edb3-4c86-8fe5-87a9d4d4f6b4It won’t shock anyone to hear that in addition to my extensive collection of books, I have accumulated many bookish things. I think it is a natural consequence of people knowing that you are a reader, along with my lack of self-control when it comes to all things books. I mean, how else would I have a to read list topping 250 books on my shelves? (Truthfully, I am a person who likes accumulating “stuff”—but I make exceptions for things that speak to my heart.) The latest addition to my bookish belongings is an Edgar Allan Poe t-shirt, pictured here.

I know I have mentioned a love for Poe here at least once, although I am not sure that it shows quite as heavily as it may in real life. He is one of the few authors I have read in entirety, and I find him and his work quite fascinating. When I saw I have a collection of bookish belongings, I actually have two collections: bookish things, and Poe-ish things. It helps, I suppose, that unrelated to Poe, I also very much enjoy ravens. So I suppose it should come as no surprise that when I saw this Out of Print Poe shirt I felt it needed to come home with me. Bonus points that it is reminiscent of the style of Andy Warhol (and on sale!).

Since I found this at a bookstore, I did not have the opportunity to try it on. I made a guess in size, and took it home. Unfortunately, it is a bit small. Now, here is where I am going to digress a bit. When I say that I guessed on the size, that’s partially because I chose the size that I am accustomed to, not the size that I probably need. I do not always maintain the healthiest of habits, and sometimes this catches up to me. I find my favorite clothes do not fit quite how I would like them to anymore, and I generally feel a bit off. I can admit that the quarantine of the last few months has not been great for this. I have been taking more walks, but I have not been eating as well. I usually strive for balance as much as possible, but lately I have been living more at the extremes, claiming to myself that it’s okay as long as I go extreme in both directions sometimes. Spoiler alert: it’s not. I end up with the negative consequences on both ends of the spectrum, without any of the positives.

So to wrap things up, I want to put this out there as something to help keep me more accountable to myself: this shirt is now my “goal” shirt. I am not on some crazy weight loss mission; to be honest, I do not really think it’s healthy for weight loss to be the sole goal of any dietary/exercising changes. My hope is to return myself to a place where I feel more balanced mentally and physically; and where I can go show off this awesome shirt!

Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living

img_0643Date Read: June 9 to 13, 2019

Rating: 4 (of 5) stars

I have had a bit of a fascination with Poe for quite some time. Although he is often sensationalized as the “troubled artist” and associated with the dark and macabre, there is so much more to him than that! Up until a few years ago, I had only read some of his more popular works, but in March 2017 I wrapped up a yearlong project of reading Poe’s complete works. I was so pleasantly surprised with what I found there! With a little bit of distance from that project, I thought a biography would be a nice supplement to my Poe repertoire.

Collins’ biography of Poe is a quick and concise general accounting of Poe’s life, beginning with his childhood and school experiences. While giving a factual accounting of Poe’s life, the narrative is well balanced so that it does not feel like a passage in a history book. Poe is presented alongside his significant publications, though many were not recognized as such at the time. This is not only a biography of Poe the man, but also a biography of his literary works. Some present day analysis of his work is included, with some emphasis on the widespread influence of his work in the world of literature. It is certainly impossible to touch on all of the work that Poe created in his lifetime, but there was a nice balance of what are considered his great achievements along with reference to many lesser and even un-credited publications. (Boris and I particularly liked the reference to his writing of the exploits of his house cat for a family publication when he was particularly poor and in need of work.)

Perhaps the more ardent fans of Poe did not need this, but I also enjoyed the added context given to his work as well as some well-known quotes. I have seen reference to his statement on how he “became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity” in many places, but this is the first I have seen comment on his intention with these words—the cyclical nature of his poverty and drinking, combined with the prolonged illness of his much loved wife.

This is a great starting place for anyone interested in knowing more about Poe and his work. Collins’ portrayal of Poe is sympathetic, but without romanticizing the hardship he endured throughout his life.

Boris’s thoughts: “So if someone wrote a book about a guy who wrote about his cat… do you think someone will write a book about us one day?”