Welcome to the Ferret Libraries!

There’s not much we Ferrets love more than books!

In our last series, we talked about some classics – and I’m sure we’ve still more to say on that topic. . . – but while this next series is still all about books, it is in a very different way.

In the coming weeks, each Ferret will introduce you to her personal library via her own words and pictures.

Each of us may share what fascinating books make up our collections, how we organise them (or don’t), the way we’ve stored them, how we’ve acquired them, how many we may not quite have managed to read yet. . .

You may even see how much of our space has been simply blatantly taken over by our books. (Which leads us on the never-ending quest for More Book Space!)

“If you have enough book space, I don’t want to talk to you.”
~Terry Pratchett

I kid – we’re happy to talk to anyone about books! But I’m not sure any of the Ferrets have enough book space. . .

Really, what we have to say about our libraries is probably as varied as, well, the libraries themselves! Come back next week and Rebekah will start us off. We hope you enjoy!

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a half-read book over there just calling my name!

 
What about your own personal library? Is it big or small? Organised or simply . . . organised chaos? 😉 Have you read most (or even all!) of your collection, or do you have a ‘to be read’ stack tall enough to be a structural hazard? We’d love to hear about it!

And most importantly . . . do you have enough book space?

Required Reading — The Raves: Beowulf

When we Ferrets sat down and discussed this series I knew instantly what I wanted to talk about for my post. And can you get much more classic than the oldest (surviving) epic poem in the English language?

required reading the raves, required reading, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, classic books, book recommendation, Beowulf, Serena Saint-Marceaux

I’ve read many classics over the years, and surprisingly few of them were under the dreaded label of ‘Required Reading’ though that may be in part due to my unorthodox school life. (That may also be why I often didn’t know I was reading a classic or something that might be ‘required reading’ material.) It may also be because I dove into them early.

Beowulf remains a stand-out among them in my memory for a number of reasons, though it wasn’t the first classic I read. Continue reading

required reading the raves, required reading, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, classic books, book recommendation, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle, Eris O'Reilly

Required Reading — The Raves: The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

sherlock holmesI didn’t actually read anything of Doyle’s until college. I technically majored in Creative Writing, but ended up taking a lot of coursework in British Victorian literature. (If I remember right, I took every single class that was offered on the subject during my stay at college.) So, clearly, I already like the form and rhythm of Victorian lit.

I was assigned to read a Sherlock Holmes short story in one of the classes. I can’t remember which class—I think maybe the Gods and Monsters one? Or maybe it was just the short story class? It kind of doesn’t matter because I also can’t remember which story it was that was actually assigned. I’m pretty sure it was the Five Orange Pips one. Anyway, I found myself really enjoying it. Like, more than I thought I would. I liked it so much that I went out and bought the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes (two massive volumes, actually), and read through the entire thing in about a month.

Mind you, this was during and between assignments when I was averaging reading an assigned 120k of words a week and writing reports on them. Basically a long novel every single week, split up between poetry and short stories and actual novels. So squeezing in another, half a million words or something of Sherlock Holmes is kind of a testament to how much I freaking liked it.

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Required Reading – The Raves: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

required reading the raves, required reading, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, classic books, book recommendation, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, Lissa Clouser

I started reading many of the classics well before they were required because, honestly, I just wanted to know the stories for myself. I first read Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet both when I was 10 years old. Granted I read them with a giant copy of the Oxford English Dictionary sitting next to me at the ready and for the Shakespeare half I read all of the footnotes in the big volume my dad owned, but the stories were important enough to me they were worth the effort. It so paid off when high school came around.

One of my absolute favorites was actually, surprisingly, never required, but I did end up using it for a school project. Continue reading

required reading the raves, required reading, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, classic books, book recommendation, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, Michelle Pierce

Required Reading – The Raves: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time because of the 2005 movie. It was one of the classics I’d missed during high school, and I’d never bothered to pick it up because I figured it would be similar to Wuthering Heights (which, by all accounts, sounded like something that would drive me crazy to try and read) or Rebecca (which was good, but depressing).

However, I watched the movie because it had been nominated for an Oscar and I was trying to watch all the Oscar-nominated movies before the awards were given out. And I was stunned by how much I loved it. The next time I was at the used bookstore, I found a copy of Pride and Prejudice, and I immediately picked it up.

And I’m glad I did, because it made Jane Austen one of my favorite writers.

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Required Reading – The Raves: Shelley and Dickens

required reading the raves, required reading, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, classic books, book recommendation, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Rebekah Loper

My introduction to the classics was completely voluntary. I was homeschooled, and my mother decided not to require a literature course from me at all to graduate high school. (To be fair, the course teaching me how to balance a checkbook was probably far more useful, and a skill I am very grateful for now.)

There were a few reasons to her decision about literature. First, I read a lot on my own. I read encyclopedias for fun, even, and it was clear even at a young age that my critical thinking skills were not lacking. Until puberty hit, at least. Second, there was a lot going on in my home life as a child, much of it not good (though not horrendously bad, compared to many other people). We learned the important things, and sometimes there wasn’t time or energy left for anything else. Third, I don’t think my mother had a good introduction or experience with literature during her own school days – either grade school, or college – and she probably was at a loss of how to teach it to me or my siblings. I know one of her most memorable moments was in one of her literature classes in college, when she had to read The Two Towers. But she hadn’t read The Fellowship of the Ring, and so I’m sure you can imagine that was more than a little… confusing.

I read a few classics in my school days (The Scarlet Letter, and several of Jane Austen’s works, for the most part) but didn’t start branching out into the ones that had always caught my eye (the ones I sometimes set back because I didn’t know if my mom would let me read them because she might think they were too scary) until I was in college.

My ‘rave’ for today is one of those.  Continue reading

Required Reading, Part One: The Raves

Required reading.

These two words struck fear in the hearts of students everywhere, even those who actually enjoyed reading. The surest way to make someone hate a book, of course, was to force them to read it. I imagine there are people who would hold a grudge against the Discworld series if it had been shoved down their throats like Shakespeare.

But not all the classics were bad. Some of us sought them out on our own out of curiosity, while others were surprised when the required reading was actually interesting and enjoyable. And for some of us, those literary classics became personal favorites as well.

In this series, we Ferrets will be talking about the classic books that we sought out, that surprised us, that made us fall in love with them. And we’ll also be talking about the ones we haven’t yet read, but really, really want to.

So come and join us for the next few weeks while we happily rave about some classic books that we absolutely adore, and share with us some of your own!

Business Meetings for Creative People

I know, I know… I shuddered just typing “business meetings” but these aren’t the kind you have to bring a last-minute PowerPoint and a giant coffee to. Unless you just want to. (Hey, I’m not judging.)

Believe it or not, the Ferrets do hold business meetings a few times a year. We take ourselves seriously (at least sometimes) and know that to make it to the level of creative career we want to see… sometimes you’ve got to have a bit of order to the insanity. It’s been a trial and error process, but I think we’ve mostly gotten sorted out what works best for us.

1. Hold the Meeting at a Reasonable Time of Day

For us that usually equals noon. Early enough in the day we have plenty of time to get things done and late enough in the day we all should be awake. Theoretically.

2. Serious First Doesn’t Always Work… Okay, It Never Does Continue reading

2016: The Good, the Bad, and the “What? Why? UGH.”

Here we are. We made it. December 31st. That shiny midnight that heralds the dawn of a new year is so close I’m pretty sure I can reach out and touch it, but don’t tell 2016 I said that… it will find a way to postpone it even more.

I think we can all agree that this year has been rough at best. In the realm of celebrities I’m pretty sure we’ve all lost at least one person we really admired. We don’t discuss politics on this blog, but if you’re in the United States you know that no matter your views this election was a mess of bamboozlery, misinformation, and high-strung feelings.

If you’re a Ferret, SOMETHING unfortunate happened to your car at least once this year. We’ve all come out of it with working vehicles, but at times it’s been dicey. We’ve had a car go swimming (okay, that was technically my husband), another hold a late-night rendezvous with an already-dead deer, and several others deal with a long list of issues including batteries, power-steering, brakes, and more. The people have stayed safe, but the cars? Not always…

Several Ferrets (or spouses) dealt with job-related issues. When incomes are already tight, possibly losing (or actually losing) a job is not something you want to add to that list! Incomes in general have been an uphill battle for a variety of reasons for just about all of us. Why aren’t we all famous authors yet? Continue reading

A Peek at the Ferret Dictionary

We Ferrets have been recovering from NaNoWriMo – and preparing for/launching into the holiday season now upon us, as it is always a little bit of a surprise after the madness of NaNo fades back into the ‘real world’. . .

So have a bit of silliness from the Ferret Archivist. It’s been several years since I last shared anything from the Ferret Archives, and here are some more words spotlighted from the Ferret Dictionary.

15th century manuscript with original binding

Photo by Erwan Plougonven, used under CC BY-SA 4.0. (Resized. Otherwise unchanged.)

The Ferret Dictionary is a collection of words to refer to concepts or objects that simply don’t have a proper word – or did not before the Ferrets came along to fix things! Their most common source is typos (ones that are entertaining enough to make us think they need an explanation) and often more than one of us will come up with the same meaning for one as soon as we decide a particular word is deserving of it.

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