The Midnight Society: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" Discussion

Thursday, October 29, 2020

I don't know about where you are, but the past couple of days here in Georgia have been rainy and stormy, creating the perfect conditions for reading "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." I also get up a lot earlier than the rest of my family to work, so it's always dark out, and this week I've had to look over my shoulder for the Headless Horseman more than once! 

Submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society: our discussion on Washington Irving's chilling tale, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

1. What does Washington Irving do to create fear in his audience?

2. How is Brom Bones's horse, Daredevil, like him? How is Gunpowder like Ichabod? 

3. How does Ichabod Crane's vivid imagination lead to his downfall? 

4. Do you believe that the Headless Horseman was real? Or was he a creation of Brom Bones? 

5. How would the story be different if told from Brom's point of view? Katrina's? 

Bonus question: does the description of Brom remind you of another character you know of? If you're like many of my students past, you picture him exactly like a certain gentleman in a story about a beauty and a beast. 

I have to admit that one of my favorite parts of the story is at the end when we find out that basically because Ichabod was single and didn't owe anybody any money, no one in the village really cared what happened to him. That's cold. (And hilarious.) 

I look forward to hearing what you think! 

Our Trip to the Orchard

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

For the past two falls, Joe and I have taken Bert to a family-owned apple orchard to pick apples and enjoy the season. The orchard we go to is about an hour north of here, and the drive to get there is beautiful. It was a beautiful day -- not too hot and not too cold -- and we enjoyed our time picking apples, looking at pumpkins, and buying some donuts, cider, and cherry apple jam, too! 

Afterwards, Joe took me to a nearby winery that is special to us. Joe took me to this same winery during my first trip to Georgia in November 2016 after he and I had just started dating. We took a photo that year, then last year we took another with baby Bert standing in the same spot, and this year we took another. The photos are a beautiful reminder of how unexpected life can be. 

We enjoy our annual trip to the orchard for some easy and festive family fun. We hope to make it a family tradition. 

We found an adorable Bert-sized apple for him to snack on!

Can you believe how much this little guy has changed in a year?

Top: this year, Bottom Left: when Joe and I were dating in 2016, Bottom Right: fall 2018 with baby Bert.

The Midnight Society: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" Introduction

Monday, October 26, 2020

Welcome to the fifth -- and final! (can you believe it?) -- week of The Midnight Society. This week, for our grand finale, we will be reading and discussing Washington Irving's classic short story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." 

I have loved Washington Irving's stories since I first read them in middle school. "Rip van Winkle" caused a lifetime obsession with visiting the Catskill Mountains (yet to do!), and one day I also hope to visit Tarrytown, New York, the real-life setting of the fictional Sleepy Hollow. 

Here's what you need to join in the fun this week:

- At this link, you'll find a great background video on Washington Irving, America's first author. 

- Here is the text of the story. 

- If you prefer a read aloud, try this one. 

If you have Disney+, when you're finished check out the Disney animated version of the story (called "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad"). It's a classic!

I hope you love this story, and I look forward to seeing you back here on Thursday for discussion! And don't forget your campfire

Fascinating Finds

Friday, October 23, 2020

It's been a pretty quiet week around here, and we don't have much going on this weekend either. I hope that, wherever you are, you have lovely weather and a relaxing weekend!

Here are some great reads of the week:

- Is it stress, or is it burnout? There's a difference. 

- Here's a list of 31 cheap and fun things to do this Halloween season! 

- Speaking of Halloween, here are some printable coloring pages! 

- Let's be real: the last thing any of us needs is another tote bag, but these library-themed totes are adorable! 

- NASA is announcing exciting news about the moon on Monday! 

- Joe told me this isn't the first time this has happened recently. So weird. 

- Some practical ideas to get your home ready for the colder months. 

- I have been trying make this apple crisp all week, but I'm resolving to get it done this weekend! 

And some recent posts you may have missed:

- Spooky stories you can read and then watch a movie or television show based on the story. 

- Cozy mysteries are a great choice if you want a suspenseful read without the scare. 

- Here are my favorite inexpensive products. 

Have a great weekend! And I'll see you back here on Monday for our last week (can you believe it?!) of The Midnight Society. 

The Midnight Society: "The Most Dangerous Game" Discussion

Thursday, October 22, 2020

"He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided."

Did a satisfied, slightly creeped-out smile spread over your face as you read this last line? I've read this story numerous times, but I still love the refined yet inhuman General Zaroff and his underestimation of his quarry, Sanger Rainsford.

Submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society: this week's discussion on Richard Connell's tale of terror, "The Most Dangerous Game." 

1. General Zaroff says, "There is no greater bore than perfection." Explain what he means. Is there an example from your life that proves this to be true?

2. What is the double meaning in the use of the word "game" in the title?

3. What is borscht? What's symbolically significant about this being Zaroff’s meal when we first meet him?

4. What literary element is used when Zaroff says, "We try to be civilized here"? 

5. Do you agree with Zaroff that "instinct is no match for reason"?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these questions or just if you enjoyed the story and what you liked or disliked about it!

On Monday we'll begin our fifth and final story, the classic "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving. 

What I'm Reading Wednesday: Books about Books

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

There are few things better this chilly time of year than curling up in a comfy chair with a blanket and a hot cup of coffee or tea or a nice glass of wine. If you're a book lover like I am, then one thing you probably love a little extra is reading books about books! 

This week's What I'm Reading Wednesday features a list of novels that feature books, bookshops, or authors. I hope you find one or two to enjoy! Every novel on this list will show that stories inspire us, connect us, and make us human. They're each a love letter to books. 

For a more complete list, visit my shop, Happily Ever Krafter

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Nina Hill is an introverted, anxious planner who works in a bookstore. Her life is suddenly upended when the father she never knew dies, leaving her a brand new, large family. 

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

A.J. Fikry lives alone and owns a bookstore. One day an unexpected package arrives at his bookstore, and his life is completed changed. 

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

Upon her father's death, Samantha Whipple presumably inherits a treasure trove of old documents, paintings, and diaries -- and drafts of works by the Bronte sisters that are coveted by scholars. Samantha works to unravel a literary mystery that is closely tied to her own family history. 

The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers and Their Muses by Terri-Lynne DeFino

This particular retirement home is only for literary legends who are living out the golden years of their lives. As you might suspect from a home comprised solely of writers, new stories are written every day. 

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald 

Sara travels from Sweden to Broken Wheel, Iowa, to meet her book-lover pen pal Amy. When Sara arrives, she finds the townspeople just leaving Amy's funeral. When Sara decides to stay in the run-down town, the citizens of Broken Wheel adopt her as one of her own, and Sara opens a quirky little bookstore. 

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

Madeline finds out she inherits a bookshop and a house in a small town from her recently deceased -- and estranged -- aunt. At the same time, Madeline's career implodes, so she decides to move into her aunt's old house and prepare the bookshop for sale. However, the shop's current employees, Janet and Claire, have other ideas. 

One Leaf

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Last week I took Bert on a walk through the neighborhood. We needed to get some fresh air, get out of his bedroom, and reset after yet another stressful hour of occupational therapy. We were headed down our neighborhood's main street when I spotted this beautiful maple tree in our neighbor's yard that has these stunning red leaves, many of which have fallen to the ground. Bert loves leaves. He loves to sit in the grass and play with leaves. I picked up one of the vibrant red ones, and I held it out to him to have. I wish you could have seen the smile on his face. He was so happy to get that leaf. He clutched that thing in his chubby little hand for the next 45 minutes. We passed a couple little children on our walk, too, and I'd always stop and say hello, and then I'd bend down to Bert and say, "Bert, can you wave hello?" The thing is, Bert does have the ability to wave, but often he won't, but what he will do is give every single person the biggest smile because Bert doesn't know a stranger and just loves people. 

Once Joe and I watched another child grab a toy out of Bert's hand as he was sitting and playing. Bert just looked at her, picked up another toy, and kept playing. I share all this because this might be my favorite thing about Bert. He is easily contented. That's not to say he doesn't cry or have a bad attitude -- or want to eat the food you have -- sometimes. But he's spent his short lifetime hearing about all the things he's behind in, all the "important" skills like sitting and standing and walking. But how happy he gets when you hand him a simple leaf or you just smile at him, it's a beautiful thing. And I think I would like to try to be that way. 

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