Thoughts While Reading Last Night

Jesi Kay

Jesi Kay, poet and aspiring novelist, was born in the Texas panhandle where wide skies, lazy summer days, and rolling thunderstorms sparked her imagination and left lasting memories in her blood. An early reader, poetry and mythology were her passions. So much so that when she was ten years old her step-father gave her his college mythology textbooks to read, which were full of classic poetry and more than enough tales to fill her romantic and inquisitive nature. Jesi loves reading, art, going to the theater, the romanticism of the Victorian era (but not the missing conveniences of indoor plumbing and central air conditioning), running when the heat and humidity cooperate, and cold weather so she can wear her favorite boots and knitwear. Also, she still has those college mythology textbooks, a little worse for wear over time but still intact and telling their stories to her. Jesi is a contributor at The Well Tempered Bards blog and at

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16 Responses

  1. Dawn D says:

    I’m like you. I go in spurts. I can’t stop reading, then I can’t stop knitting, then I can’t stop cooking, then…
    Ha! There’s one thing I have no trouble stopping, it’s cleaning. Actually, it’s not true. The problem often is starting. Once I’ve started, I’ve got a hard time stopping that too!

    I loe your Thinks. I have never read this book, but I just may…
    A book that changed my thinking the first time I read it already (back when I was immobilised by my growing descendancy that wanted nothing more than come out early) and again as I read it much later (shortly before leaving my now ex) was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I also read The Pilgrimage, by the same author around the same time and I remember vividly the emotions going through me at that time. That feeling that something had changed within me.

    There were other books, one of them being “Why love matters” by Sue Gerhardt. I remember taking notes in the margin, saying this is me, this is my mother, this is my ex, his brother, his mother… It was a book that gave me permission to be flawed, explained why, that I wasn’t the one responsible for being so crazy. And gave me hope too that I could change some things for my own children, especially the younger ones.

    I’m sure there are numerous other books. “The red tent” by Anita Diamant spoke to my feminist nature. “Slave” by Mende Nazer was poignant too. Even more so because I got to meet her. It brought questions of “why are humans so mean to one another? Why is there war?” and so on.

    Maus by Art Spiegelman is one of the few books about Nazi Germany that touched me whose title I remember. I also remember that “Animal Farm” by Orwell impacted me when I read it (in my early 20s). “The kite runner” by Khaled Hosseini, “We need to talk about Kevin” by Lionel Shriver. All oldish books, that you may very well have read already.

    Enjoy the challenge and the clean bedroom. I still need to work on mine 😉

    • Jesi says:

      I am going to write all of these down because I have not read any of them although The Kite Runner was everywhere a while ago. Except for The Alchemist. I read that whole book on a flight from Chicago to Dallas when I visited my best friend three years ago. It was amazing. I was only supposed to borrow it but it’s still sitting on my shelf. LoL

  2. Lizzi says:

    Ah, but you know, it was Beth who put me onto Ishmael in the first place.

    I, too, was left with lots of thinks after reading it, and I found it wonderful and provoking and challenging and soothing all at once. There’s so much to consider, and so much which I think doesn’t really have an answer.

    Just skimming the comment previous to mine, ANYTHING by Khaled Hosseini is worth reading. And ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ is just desperately horrific and I recommend you steer clear of it. Lord of the Flies is good for thinking about, though, and to be honest, if you want a good wholesome think, get any ANY of Lewis Thomas’s books of essays, but I especially recommend ‘Lives of a Cell’ and ‘The Medusa and the Snail’.

    As to your questions – we’re trapped more effectively in our lives than any caged animal.

    • Dawn D says:

      I agree! I was in a good place when I read ‘something about Kevin’. Not something I could read at any time, just like there are many movies I didn’t go watch because I knew I couldn’t stomach them (The Schindler’s list being the one that really comes to mind).

      In a different, more gentle sort of book, I also enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love. It too made me thing lots of Thinks. But it also made me laugh. 🙂

      • Lizzi says:

        I saw parts of Schindler’s List, but the ones that really did me in were Escape from Sobibor, and Paradise Road. Good GRIEF!

        I tried Eat, Pray, Love, but it really irritated me! Like, a LOT! Which annoyed me because I like the things Elizabeth Gilbert has to say, on the whole. I’m currently reading a bunch of the Anne of Green Gables books, and there’s a LOT of old wisdom in those, which is rather lovely 🙂

        I can’t remember what mood I was in when I read ‘something about Kevin’ but I know by the end of it I was in a totally dark place. Hate it when a book does that to me. Trying to remember others which have done the same but I must have cast them from my memory…

        • Jesi says:

          You need to find the book What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge as well. I think you’d like it. It’s kind of like Pollyanna.

        • Dawn D says:

          At the time Schindler’s list came out, I was deeply depressed, even though I didn’t know it. But I could feel that I couldn’t see a depressing movie, that would do me in. So I didn’t go.

          I liked Eat Pray Love because it arrived in my life at a time when I needed it. I was that woman on her bathroom floor, wondering whether she should go. I liked it because it gave me insight while being quite positive about it. I mean it didn’t depress me but empowered me. I guess I could have felt differently about it depending on where I was on my journey to self-discovery 🙂

          I just may have to read Anne of Green Gables then 😉 Thanks!

      • Jesi says:

        I have both the book and movie of Eat, Pray, Love but I have neither read nor watched them. I did watch Schindler’s List. I had mononucleosis at the time and felt just about as out of it as you can. I thought it was a fantastic movie but all I can really remember is spending half the movie crying and being miserable.

    • Jesi says:

      Ok, so no Kevin. (Not one of my favorite names anyway 🙂 ) I will probably never read Lord of the Flies again. I had to read it when I was 13. It shocked me to my core and I cried through most of that book. That human nature could be so cruel and that it was portrayed in children was very hard to read. Now, though, I read things like that all the time so I don’t know why I still have a block against that book. I did feel it was a wonderful book though. I just can’t read it again.
      I think we’ve trapped ourselves pretty well, too.

      • Dawn D says:

        If you don’t like the name before reading the book, then you would like it even less after!

        I’m like you about Lord of the Flies. I was gifted a copy (translation, but I don’t think it is the reason why I reacted the way I did) when I was probably way too young (my aunt and uncle only gave us books for Christmas, and usually not suitable for our ages. I may have been 10 or 11). I had a hard time finishing it I think.
        And I must thank you for putting the finger exactly on why it was so hard to read. Because I couldn’t imagine children being so cruel to one another. I didn’t want to imagine it.
        I hated the book from the beginning. Way too dark for me (I was probably already somewhat depressed at the time, looking back. Or at least much too much of an empath not to feel bad about the characters).

        As for trapping… I’m working daily to extract myself from there. It seems to be working at times, thouhg not at all times…


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