Fever Dreams and Egyptian Myths

July 16, 2016 at 9:05 pm (Education, Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

IMG_1098

This sweet boy, so sympathetic and comforting.

I’m playing hooky from work. To be fair, I have what I’d like to call the plague. It’s not the plague, but the green crap I’ve been coughing up out of my chest, the high grade fever, and the over all attack on my body has made me contemplate the potential peace of kicking the bucket.  Instead, unable to physically kick anything at all, I’m home wrapped in blankets when it’s easily 100 degrees outside.

Briefly, between fever dreams yesterday, I thought it would be amusing to read Chronicles of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and chronicle my own impending doom – but alas, I passed out about two seconds after the thought, slept for a few hours, and arose only to hack more crap out of my lungs, cry a little, and crawl back onto the futon… the bed was too high to climb.

As amusing as a post on Garcia’s work would be while I drink my calories in the form of honeyed tea and chicken broth, I have no desire to spend the energy it takes to walk across the room in search of it. Instead, I reached to my right where I had been cataloguing my ancient literature collection, prior to plague, and plucked up a thin little piece called Egyptian Myths by George Hart.  It took me two days to read all 80 pages, because – you see – I’m dying.  But I made it.  And my laptop, conveniently in arm’s reach to my left, said “Hey, You have been USELESS for days. DO SOMETHING other than sleep and troll Facebook.”  Did I actually hear the computer speak to me? It’s possible. After all, fever dreams.

All in all, I am surviving, and this little George Hart piece has helped me feel as though I didn’t entirely fry all my brain cells with my 2 day fever.  I learned some things I didn’t know, refreshed some previous mythology tales I hadn’t heard in a while, and found a cool list of suggested further reading.  It was a great addition to the Ancient History stuff I’ve been studying with my kiddo over the last many months, and it went hand in hand with the arrival of my Archaeology magazine subscription.  If you can get your hands on one, it’s a great addition to any library.

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Life is Flat

March 3, 2015 at 6:43 am (In So Many Words) (, , )

I officially quit hosting the Half Price Books Humble Book Club tonight.  I was there and no one else was.  Again.  So I’m giving it up.  Along with giving it up, I gave up attempting to read The World Is Flat.  I liked the first chapter – a lot, actually.  And then I couldn’t get into the rest of the book.  It’s old hat.  It’s no longer interesting.  Yet, it’s far too recent to feel like history to me.  Friedman talks about things I remember, but the memory isn’t exciting.  I was bored.

I used to be one of those people that could not stop reading a book I started.  Now, I find I start a lot of books and only finish about half of them.  I’m still reading more books than I did before, I’m just a little less masochistic when it comes to suffering through things I just don’t have time for.  There are too many phenomenal books out there to suffer through ones that either don’t suit my mood at the time or are flat out BAD.  Friedman’s was a little bit of the first part, not really the second part, but a whole lot of just plain boring.

I find I’m bored more often than I’ve ever been before.  The world has always been so intriguing to me that boredom was not much of a problem.  With a TBR pile taller than Goliath and a bucket list a mile long, how could I possibly ever get bored?  Add a kid to the mix, and man, who has time for bored?

But lately, I’m bored.

I simultaneously find myself missing the noise and the quiet.  I’m desperate for a research project alone in a proper library and also nostalgic for downtown dancing of my college years.  I want the glorious silence of noisy strangers in a crowded room.  Except I’m a terrible dancer, I hate crowds, and noise makes me twitchy.  Yet without it, I find myself being that annoying chatty person that doesn’t know what to do with my hands.

You would think that all this internal angst would make for some great writing stints, but I’m not so sure that’s the case. And with my reading enjoyment being on the decline the way it is, it’s hard for creativity to come out when there’s not a lot of it going in.

I’ve been reading gardening books.  Yes, gardening books.  What the heck? Am I 85?  Apparently.

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Reading List 2013

December 31, 2013 at 5:14 pm (In So Many Words, The Whim) (, , , , , , )

pile of booksEvery end of December I post the list of what I have read that year.  Most titles have corresponding reviews here on my blog.  Some do not.

Obviously I read a lot of books out loud to my child.  The ones I have included on the list are the chapter books.  Our daily dose of picture books are left unlisted because that would just get ridiculous, although they take up a huge chunk of my day.  (Note: The Magic Tree House & Reading Guide listings are two separate MTH books that correspond in subject.  Because they are such short children’s books, I make them share a number.  It takes me about four hours to read each pair out loud.)

1. The Prominence League – C. David Cannon (January)

2. If These Walls Had Ears – James Morgan (January)

3. March – Geraldine Brooks (January)

4. Magic Tree House & Reading Guide: Dinosaurs – Osborne (January)

5. Magic Tree House & Reading Guide: Knights – Osborne (January)

6. Magic Tree House & Reading Guide: Mummies – Osborne (January)

7. The Small Room – May Sarton (February)

8. Magic Tree House & Reading Guide: Pirates – Osborne (February)

9. Lords of Finance – Liaquat Ahamed (March)

10. The Secret of Lost Things – Sheridan Hay (March)

11. God’s Love – Calvert Tynes (March)

12. Eden’s Outcasts – John Matteson (March)

13. Inheritance – Louisa May Alcott (March)

14. The Wild Girls – Pat Murphy (March)

15. Fizz & Peppers – M.G. King (March)

16. On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan (April)

17. Magic Tree House: Ninjas & MTH: Rainforests – Osborne (April)

18. Lunch in Paris – Elizabeth Bard (April)

19. Magic Tree House & Reading Guide: Sabertooths – Osborne (April)

20. The History of the Ancient World – Bauer (April)

21. Magic Tree House & Reading Guide: Moon & Space – Osborne (April)

22. Lessons Learned – Andrea Schwartz (April)

23. Bitch Factor – Chris Rogers (April)

24. Teres – Gershom Wetzel (April)

25. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers (May)

26. Magic Tree House & Reading Guide: Dolphins & Sharks – Osborne (May)

27. The Hunger Games – Collins (May)

28. Catching Fire – Collins (May)

29. Mockingjay – Collins (May)

30. Don’t Die By Your Own Hands – Holmes (May)

31. Slice of Life – Chris Rogers (May)

32. Magic Tree Houses: Ghost Towns/ Lions – Osborne (May)

33. The Princess Bride – Goldman (June)

34. Magic Tree House & Reading Guide: Polar Bears – Osborne (June)

35. Born to Run – Christopher McDougall (June)

36. Storybound – Marissa Burt (June)

37. The Prominence League II – Canon (June)

38. The Distant Hours – Kate Morton (June)

39. John Adams – John McCullough (July)

40. Magic Tree House & Reading Guide: Pompeii & Rome – Osborne (July)

& Magic School Bus: Volcanoes

41. Spindown – George Padgett (July)

42. The Cry of the Icemark – Stuart Hill (July)

43. The Color Purple – Alice Walker (July)

Magic Tree House: Day of the Dragon King – Osborne (July)

44. A Passage to India – E.M. Forster (August)

45. Letters to the Granddaughter – Schubert (August)

46. Over Sea, Under Stone – Cooper (August)

47. The Gospel According to Starbucks – Sweet (August)

48. Aphrodesia – John Oehler (August)

49. The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan (August)

50. My Antonia – Willa Cather (September)

51. Magic Tree House & Reading Guides – Osborne (September)

52. Surprised by Joy – C.S. Lewis (September)

53. Love is a Choice – Minirth (September)

54. Thomas Jefferson: Art of Power – Meacham (October)

55. Going Native: Biodiversity (October)

56. Just One Evil Act – Elizabeth George (October)

57. The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion (October)

58. The Evolution of Jane – Cathleen Schine (October)

59. The Immortal Class – T.H. Culley (October)

60. Aspects of the Novel – E. M. Forster (October)

61. Death Without Cause – Pamela Triolo (November)

62. Player Piano – Vonnegut (November)

63. Seed Savers: Heirloom – S. Smith (November)

64. The Bookshop Hotel – A.K. Klemm [yes, I re-read my own book as I’m currently writing the sequel] (November)

65. The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russell (December)

66. Harbinger of Evil – Meb Bryant (December)

67. Confessions – Saint Augustine (All Year)

68. Been There, Done That, Really! – Paulette Camnetar Meeks (December)

69. The Secret Keeper – Kate Morton (December)

“Can’t believe I didn’t hit 70 this year.  I’ve been slacking!” I lamented.  Then, when I went to grab the next Magic Tree House selection, I realized I never documented The Titanic Unit.

70. MTH #17 & Research Guide: Titanic – Osborne (some time in the Fall 2013)

– Books Piled Around My House Unfinished –

I am notorious for starting books and leaving them willy nilly somewhere until the mood strikes me to pick it up again.  So where it is not uncommon for me to read a book in one sitting, it is also not uncommon for a book I like to take months or even years for me to finish reading because I’m waiting for that right moment to dive in.  Like a real-life vacation, sometimes you want to be in a cabin in the mountains and sometimes you want to be on the beach in Fiji.  It doesn’t mean you don’t like mountains and it doesn’t mean the beach is awful, it just means that: if you’re in the mood for mountains why would you go to the beach?  Because I have reached that point in my life as a reader that if I hate it, I won’t bother setting it aside… I’ll just get rid of it.

My goal for the New Year is to polish off more of these before starting (and temporarily abandoning) too many others.  Because these are books I actually really like, I’m just waiting for those magical moments when I know I’ll enjoy them best to return.  What’s ridiculous about the books on this list is that I am about halfway through all of these books.

* If On A Winter’s Night a Traveler – Italo Calvino

* Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell – Clarke

* Freddy and Fredericka – Helprin

* The Path Between the Seas – David McCullough

* Storyteller – Sturrock (this one is actually amazing! I started reading it in November and I’m still picking my way through it)

* The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (still reading this aloud to the kiddo every night before bed)

* The Lacuna – Kingsolver (reading this for the January Half Price Books Humble Book Club meeting, should be done by the end of the week)

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Impromptu Post on Being Changed

December 9, 2013 at 9:47 pm (In So Many Words, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

There’s a little chain status going around on facebook that I recently participated in…

List 15 books that have changed your life. Don’t spend more than 15 minutes on the challenge. Tag 15 people (14 + me) so they can see your list.

Completely off the top of my head, in about five minutes versus the fifteen offered, and in no particular order I wrote:

1. Til We Have Faces – C.S. Lewis
2. The Forgotten Garden – Kate Morton
3. On Writing – Stephen King
4. Seed Savers – Author S. Smith
5. The Well Educated Mind – Susan Wise Bauer
6. Persuasion – Jane Austen
7. Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
8. The Giver – Lois Lowry
9. Sixpence House- Paul Collins
10. Banvard’s Folly – Paul Collins
11. How to Buy a Love of Reading – Tanya Egan Gibson
12. Fizz & Peppers – M.G. King
13. Lord of the Rings series/ The Chronicles of Narnia series/ The Harry Potter series – they get one number because they occurred to me in exactly ONE thought
14. The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
15. The Metamorphosis – Frankz Kafka.
I’m not sure how that list happened without a single Dickens title, that shocks me.

Soon after posting my version of the status update, conversation ensued.  One of my friends posted his own list on my thread instead, Tanya Egan Gibson felt honored to be on the list (she is so beautifully humble and I just love her and her work, she tickles me), and a college buddy posted a query.

Andi, I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on how “Metamorphosis” was life-changing for you. I studied it, but would have never thought of that one, so I’d be interested to hear how it was, for someone unlike me. : )

I started to answer right there on facebook, but I thought it deserved a blog post instead.

Franz-Kafka-The-MetamorphosisI read Metamorphosis first in… I’m not sure… 8th grade? I think it is best first experienced during puberty when you’re going through that everything creepy is wonderful phase.  Young teens are always the ones who haunt the shelf where Edgar Allen Poe is; and for me it was Edgar Allen Poe, Franz Kafka, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.  I identified greatly with Gregor, which if you read a Sparknotes’ character summary, try to think of a 13 year old geek who wouldn’t.

Gregor Samsa –  A traveling salesman and the protagonist of the story. Gregor hates his job but keeps it because of the obligations he feels to pay off his father’s debt and care for his family. He has transformed into a large bug and spends the rest of his life in that state. Although hideous and unrecognizable to others, Gregor retains his some of his inner life and struggles to reconcile his lingering humanity with his physical condition. (-from Sparknotes)

metamorphosis bugObviously a teen is the protagonist of their own story, they hate their job (school) but keep going because of obligations (to their existence, their parents, and the government).  Teens work their butts off seemingly for the sake of their family… chores, chores, more chores… honestly what 13 year old thinks they’re doing the dishes for themselves? And rarely do they actually think school is for themselves.  I wanted to learn and I enjoy research, but ultimately I wanted to make sure my parents weren’t pissed off by my report card.  Gregor is hideous and unrecognizable to others, and at thirteen who doesn’t feel gross and pimply – simultaneously invisible and on display to the world like a freak show.  At thirteen you’re sub-human, neither child nor adult, and most of your life feels like it’s happening in your head.

Or, maybe that was just me.

To quote another post I wrote:

[…] I read The Metamorphosis over and over again, wrote a paper on it in high school and two more in college.  I can’t count how many times I’ve read it, I just think its so wonderful.  After reading The Castle and The Trial, however, I’m realizing that Kafka’s greatest skill is in writing the most frustrating scenarios a human being could be plopped into – alienation and bureaucracy.  Whether it becoming a giant bug, living under mysterious and unfair authorities, or dying after a year long quest to discover what crime you have been accused of, Kafka has helplessness down to an art.  I love Kafka!

I love him because his concepts are fascinating.  He is the most wonderful creator of modern day myth that I’ve read. […]

(-from my review of The Trial)

When you read something that reminds you that you are not alone in your feelings, that even this great emaciated and pale world renown author could understand you, everything seems a little bit better.  If a dude can turn into a giant cockroach, I can get through middle school – at least I’m not literally a disgusting bug.

I recommend that anyone re-read The Metamorphosis, but from the eyes of their 13 year old self.  What do you think of it now? I remember feeling like my parents were repulsed by me.  I remember feeling like every adult saw me as a liar and was distrusting of my existence.  I remember feeling alone and wanting a friend.  What do you remember?

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My 2013 Life in Literature Meme

November 10, 2013 at 8:47 pm (In So Many Words) (, , , , , )

Last year I stumbled across a fun little activity on Becky’s Book Reviews blog.  I’m in the mood to do it again today… My 2012 Life in Literature Meme.

Using only books you have read this year (2013), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title.

Describe yourself: The Year of Magical Thinking – Didion

How do you feel: If These Walls Had Ears – Morgan

Describe where you currently live: Eden’s Outcasts – John Matteson

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Over Sea, Under Stone – Cooper

Your favorite form of transportation: Born to Run – McDougall

Your best friend is: The Wild Girls – Murphy

You and your friends are: The Immortal Class – Culley

What is the best advice you have to give: Love is a Choice – Minirth

What’s the weather like: Going Native

You fear: The Distant Hours – Morton

Thought for the day: Don’t Die By Your Own Hands – Holmes

How I would like to die: Surprised by Joy – Lewis

My soul’s present condition: The Evolution of Jane – Cathleen Schine

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Insomnia

January 13, 2013 at 3:41 am (The Whim) (, , , , , )

Yep, that about sums it up:

Insomnia

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Books I Read in 2012

December 21, 2012 at 11:00 pm (In So Many Words, The Whim) (, , , , , , , , )

book love

Book Love Art

Every year I post a list of the books I read.  It helps me wrap my brain around the year that has passed and put in my mind what I’d like the next year to look like, and it gives people an idea as to what books were reviewed and discussed when.  Kids picture books are not included on this list this year as we read so many (usually a minimum of 7-10 new titles a week) the list would have become ridiculous, young adult/teen titles are included.

1. How to Buy a Love of Reading – Tanya Egan Gibson (January)

2. Mysterious Affairs at Styles – Agatha Christie (January)

3. House of Mirth – Edith Wharton (January)

4. The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald (January)

5. Murder on the Links – Agatha Christie (January)

6. Swan Thieves – Elizabeth Kostova (January)

7. Human Happiness – Blaise Pascal (January)

8. Holiday Grind – Cleo Coyle (January)

9. Inhale – Kendall Grey (February)

10. Poirot Investigates – Agatha Christie (February)

11. Tales from the Jazz Age – F. Scott Fitzgerald (February)

12. Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie (March)

13. Roast Mortem – Cleo Coyle (March)

14. The Big Four – Agatha Christie (March)

15. Stonehenge – Aubrey Burl (March)

16. House at Riverton – Kate Morton (March)

17. The Mystery of the Blue Train – Agatha Christie (March)

18. The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco (April)

19. The Key to the Name of the Rose (April)

20. Peril at End House – Agatha Christie (April)

21. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen (April)

22. Birds of Selborne – Gilbert White (April)

23. Dragonfly in Amber – Diana Gabaldon (April)

24. Voice of Conscience – Behcet Kaya (April)

25. Lord Edgeware Dies – Agatha Christie (April)

26. Napoleon’s Wars – Charles Esdaile (May)

27. The Trial – Franz Kafka (May)

28. Seed Savers: Treasure – S. Smith (June)

29. The Map of Time – Felix J. Palma (June)

30. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck (June)

31. Three Act Tragedy – Agatha Christie (June)

32. The Planets – Dava Sobel (June)

33. The Stranger – Albert Camus (June)

34. Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare (July)

35. City of Bones – Cassandra Clare (July)

36. City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare (July)

37. City of Glass – Cassandra Clare (July)

38. The Naked Olympics – Tony Perrottet (July)

39. Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare (July)

40. For Women Only – London Tracy (July)

41. City of Fallen Angels – Cassandra Clare (July)

42. The Book of Lilith – Koltuv (July)

43. Ruling Planets – Renstrom (July)

44. Working Days – John Steinbeck (August)

45. Animal Farm – George Orwell (August)

46. Through a Glass Darkly – Karleen Koen (August)

47. Number the Stars – Lois Lowry (August)

48. City of Lost Souls – Cassandra Clare (September)

49. Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison (September)

50. The Bookaholic’s Guide to Book Blogs (September)

51. The Symposium – Plato (September)

52. Emma The Twice-Crowned Queen – Isabella Strachon (September)

53. The Lost Continent – Bill Bryson (September)

54. The Customs of the Kingdoms of India – Marco Polo (October)

55. Parnassus on Wheels – Christopher Morley (October)

56. Possession – A.S. Byatt (November)

57. So Many Books, So Little Time – Sara Nelson (November)

58. Rich Fabric Anthology – Melinda McGuire (November)

59. Flatland – Edwin A. Abbott (November)

60. Unrecounted – Sebald & Tripp (November)

61. The Lit Report – Sarah N. Harvey (November)

62. Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren (November)

63. The Magician’s Elephant -Kate DiCamillo (November)

64. Kenny & the Dragon – Tony DiTerlizzi (November)

65. Seed Savers: Lily – S. Smith (November)

66. Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay (All Year)

67. The Old Curiosity Shop – Charles Dickens (December)

68. Julie & Julia – Julie Powell (December)

69. Gone – Michael Grant (December)

**. All Our Worldly Goods – Irene Nemirovsky (did not finish)

70. A Homemade Life – Molly Wizenberg (December)

71. The Case for Astrology – John Anthony West (July -December)

72. Franny and Zooey – J.D. Salinger (December)

73. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo (All Year)

74. An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination – Elizabeth McCracken (December)

Visit Books I Read in 2011.

Click to purchase from Amazon.com.

*This post is subject to change until December 31st, 2012.*

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So Many Books

November 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Title: So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading

Author: Sara Nelson

Publisher: Putnam

Length: 242 pages

Ironically, when I find myself so overwhelmed by my mountainous TBR pile I become crippled and damn near illiterate, I find that the perfect cure is a book about books.  More specifically, a book with lots of lists and descriptions and lengthy lamenting of how many books there are in the world that are begging my attention.  So my latest reading slump (if anyone but me were keeping tabs, they’d see I only read two books – other than children’s books – in the whole of October) I picked up a copy of Sara Nelson’s quasi-memoir  detailing a year in the life of a professional book reviewer.

It’s short and sweet, and has a lovely methodical layout.  Each chapter is dated, and dedicated to a week of time (I am assuming, as the whole purpose of the project was to read a book a week and write a bit on her life as she read said book, but I didn’t count the chapters and they are un-numbered).  It was a pleasant read, I enjoyed the simplicity and quickness of it.  But it also made me think, I found myself journaling after I finished every chapter.

She has a little segment on Then & Now, discussing the great reads of her adolescence and what she thought the first time she read it versus how she feels as a grown up and I found myself solidifying my plan to have my kiddo journal and document her own reading experiences throughout childhood to remember the titles and authors as well as her true feelings on the subject matter.  Of course, we’ll keep it age appropriate, at first she will only be able to summarize briefly, but then she’ll have proof of the process of change and growth as a literary being.  I’ve journaled my whole life, but not always with purpose.  Purpose is a delightful thing to have.  The ability to later compare your thoughts and feelings about literary ventures with such clarity would be such a treasure.

The chapter reminded me of my re-reading of The Great Gatsby earlier this year, and how much I truly enjoyed it.  It reminded me of a need to re-read Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, which I always hated, but feel I was just too immature and boisterous to care about a man fishing.  Typically, my Then & Nows are quite vague, but with all this recent documentation of my reading life, I’ll have a better view of my lit-brain when I’m 80.

But above all, the chapter reminded me that there is value in my re-reading.  Often, my TBR pile is so high, I feel guilty when compelled to read something I have already read.  Should I really be doing this? I wonder.  I know Persuasion nearly by heart, shouldn’t I be tackling Bauer’s Ancient History, a book I’ve been slowly pecking through, and loving it, for almost a year and a half now.  Shouldn’t I be immersed in George MacDonald’s Lilith, a book I’ve had for ages, but keep only relishing in the first chapter and never moving on – over and over again?  The list goes on.  And yes, there is a physical list in my own writing, with not nearly enough checked off titles because I continually pick up others.

Then Sara Nelson says, “If you want to make the book god laugh, show him your reading list.”  I nearly died.  YES!  However, every so many weeks, I find myself sitting down to write a new one anyway.  I find them therapeutic, refreshing, even mysterious as I tend to write them haphazardly allowing my subconscious to take over and just see what spilled out of the ink pen next.  What has been hiding in the recesses of my bookshelf that my brain remembers is calling my name?  I think that’s why book lovers revel in their lifestyle so much.  Whether they care a lick about the mystery genre, every book lover enjoys a good mystery.

Being a patron of libraries and used bookstores, I often find myself in the middle of a mystery.  Whether it be a random scribble in the margins: Secret meeting in the place at 8, password candles, or some such nonsense, highlighting or dog-eared pages, when a book shares owners all sorts of questions arise.  Most specifically, for me, I often find stashed bookmarks in the books I read.  Sometimes at the start of a chapter, or in the middle of randomness where someone either wanted to savor a line or simply gave up reading the book; sometimes it’s a receipt or a thank you note, birthday cards, and even checks… things people stashed and forgot about, or possibly the item just slid into the pages when the book was stashed into a purse or bag.  I often wonder which of these is the story for whatever scrap I find.

SMB,SLT had a small post-it stuck between pages 54 and 55, the beginning of February 27th, chapter: The Clean Plate Book Club.  Did they run out of time and have to turn a nearly over due book back into the library? Did they give up because they hated it? Or give up out of principle, because the chapter is about seasoned readers having the power to give up on a book if they aren’t interested in it, wanting to prove something to themselves?  Did they simply mark the chapter because the ideas within its pages spoke to them?  We may never know.  It keeps the mind reeling, though.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea that mature readers, seasoned readers, are the only ones who can give up on a book part way.  Nelson describes it as a reader’s rite of passage.

“Allowing yourself to stop reading a  book –  at page 25, 50, or even less frequently, a few chapters from the end – is […] the literary equivalent of a bar mitzvah or a communion, the moment at which you look at yourself and announce: Today I am an adult.  I can make my own decisions.”

Funny, I always thought of it as something slackers do in high school.  Post motherhood, I thought it was something I did because I killed brain cells while being pregnant and having a baby.  Quitting kills me every time, but there are times that I feel compelled to do it, mostly because I either plan to finish it when I’m in a different mood, or I discover the author is what Paul Collins would describe as someone who writes ‘unequivocal crap.’

It seems, then, I am a late bloomer in, yes, even reading.  I thought at least I had escaped that title in one thing in life, having been a very early reader.  But apparently not.

The most interesting chapter for me, though, where I might leave a small post-it myself, is March 15th: Eating Crows.  It’s all about recommending books to friends and how it can possibly damage the friendship.  What if one likes it and the other doesn’t? What does this say about each person? How does this new information you have gathered about your so-called friend change the friend dynamic.

This is where I found myself saying, ‘Oh, hell.’  I’ve been around book nerds, book people, bookstore staff, customers, friends, family, the whole shebang, and this is the first I’ve heard about this dilemma.  I recommend books to people all day, every day.  It’s my favorite thing to do.  If I recommend a book it is because I either liked it, or I truly think you may like it.  May is a big word in this sentence.  If you don’t like it, that’s your own business, but I’d love to discuss why and learn more about the world around me.  It isn’t going to make me not want to be friends with you, that’s just shallow and dumb… even though I may secretly think that what you read is shallow and dumb, I know that somewhere someone is thinking the same thing about what I read – so why should it matter?

The next chapter about borrowing or loaning books is also silly to me.  I don’t loan it if I’m not ok with not getting it back – usually.  If that’s not the case, then I’ll tell you PLEASE PLEASE GET THIS BACK TO ME one day, and that only happens with someone who has already established a good track record.  If I don’t say that, you may bring it back, or just consider it a gift if you fall in love with it.  I don’t care.  I have plenty of books, and multiple copies of some of my favorites.  A book will not ruin our friendship unless you write one about me that is awful, spilling the beans that you’ve actually hated me all these years but haven’t said so because… Then, we might have issues.  That hasn’t happened to me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.  And no, I don’t have anyone in mind, I’m just used to being surprised by what people think of me.

All in all, Nelson you served your purpose.  I have a new list of titles to tackle, nothing you mentioned in your book because we have entirely different reading tastes.  That’s not true.  They are similar in the way a Venn diagram is similar.  Not a Venn diagram, more like if there are four quadrants of reading (I, II, III, and IV), and I & II are two different kinds of book snobs and III & IV are polar opposites of I & II who read varying kinds of ‘unequivocal crap’, we are readers I & II.  Still, we may not have the same, identical tastes, and in real life you would probably never want to be my friend, but I enjoyed your book and it has made me voracious for the piles and piles on my own shelves again.

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Books I Read in 2011

January 12, 2012 at 4:23 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , )

Found on Pinterest via herlibraryadventures.blogspot.com

Once a year I pass on my completed list for the year before.  Kind of a little “Hey world, this is what I read!” – as if I didn’t keep you posted on that year round anyway as reviews for most are available somewhere on my blog.  You’ll notice I included a lot of kid’s titles, as I have one now.  For other parents, I hope my kid’s reviews are helpful; for those of you who don’t have children, I hope they inspire you to revisit your childhood.

BOOKS I READ IN 2011 (in order of completion date)

  1. Christians and the Fall of Rome – Edward Gibb (January)
  2. McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern Issue #1 (January)
  3. The Laughing Cavalier – Baroness Orczy (January)
  4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle (all the time, repeatedly)
  5.  Legends of the Fall – Jim Harrison (January)
  6. The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James (January)
  7. When Elephants Weep – Masson and McCarthy (January)
  8. Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane (February)
  9. Humphrey’s Bedtime and Humphrey’s Playtime – Sally Hunter (Feb.)
  10. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire – Amanda Foreman (February)
  11. The Catwings Collection – Ursula LeGuin (February)
  12. The Professor and the Madman – Simon Winchester (February)
  13. High Marks for Murder – Rebecca Kent (February)
  14. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad (March)
  15. Finished Off – Rebecca Kent (March)
  16. How the Irish Saved Civilization – Thomas Cahill (March)
  17. Humphrey’s Mealtime – Sally Hunter (March)
  18.  The Clumsy Click Beetle – Eric Carle (all the time!)
  19.  From Head to Toe – Eric Carle  (March)
  20. Her Little Majesty: the Life of Queen Victoria – Carolly Erickson (April)
  21. Murder Has No Class – Rebecca Kent (April)
  22. Drood – Dan Simmons (May)
  23. Dead and Gone – Charlaine Harris (May)
  24. Dead in the Family – Charlaine Harris (May)
  25. Bella Tuscany – Frances Mayes (June)
  26. Mary Poppins – P.L. Tavers (June)
  27. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street – Helene Hanff (July)
  28. The Woodlanders – Thomas Hardy (July)
  29.  The Rainbow Fish books – Marcus Pfister (all the time!)
  30. Punctuation Celebration – Elsie Knight (all the time!)
  31. Lots of Brian P. Cleary Books (repeatedly – we are collecting all the titles)
  32. Gossie and Friends Collection – Olivier Dunrea (July)
  33. The Crack in the Edge of the World – Simon Winchester (July)
  34. The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield (July)
  35. Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson (July)
  36. The Forgotten Garden – Kate Morton (August)
  37. Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert (August)
  38. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon (August)
  39. Queen Isabella – Alison Weir (September)
  40. Sociopath Next Door – Stout (October)
  41. Homicide in Hardcover – Carlisle (October)
  42. Vampire Diaries Vol. 1 & 2 (Books 1-4) – L.J. Smith (November)
  43. The Brownie and the Princess – Louisa May Alcott (December)
  44. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King (December)

For the record, in the last few months, I didn’t stop reading to my kid, we just kept reading all the same titles over and over again (as you will do with board and picture books).  The titles place in line on the list represent the first time she heard the story.

I’d love to discuss anything I’ve already read with you if you are interested.
Buy From Amazon.com, read the book, and shoot me a message!

Every year I make plans for what I will read and goals for things to accomplish in my literary life.  This year I hope to double the number of adult books I get a chance to read, now that I am a stay at home mom I’m able to make a bit more time for that (Ayla just gets a bit more adult lit read to her than I think she bargained for at birth).

2010 List can be found here:
https://anakalianwhims.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/books-i-read-in-2010/

Authors & Publishers: I’d love to receive review copies.  In the past, I have been very punctual in my reading and in posting a review.  I aim to be honest, but kind.  I am a dedicated bibliophile that happens to hold a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing; being an emotional yet studious reader, I’d like to think I’m good at creating buzz.

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Books I Read in 2010

December 11, 2010 at 11:50 pm (The Whim) (, , )

(in order of completion date)

  1. A Separate Peace – John Knowles (Jan.)
  2. Get a Grip on Evolution – David Burnie (Jan.)
  3. Her Fearful Symmetry – Audrey Niffenegger (Jan.)
  4. The Origin – Irving Stone (Jan.)
  5. Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut (Feb.)
  6. Darwin’s Black Box- Michael J. Behe (Feb.)
  7. The Templars – Piers Paul Read (Feb.)
  8. Forget About It – Caprice Crane (Feb.)
  9. The Girl from the Fiction Department: A Portrait of Sonia Orwell – Hilary Spurling (April)
  10. Crime and Punishment – Dostoevsky (April)
  11. Guinevere, Queen of the Summer Country – Rosalind Miles (April)
  12. A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson (April)
  13. The Angel’s Game – Carlos Ruiz Zafon (May)
  14. Ramses: Son of Light – Christian Jacq (May)
  15. Ramses: The Eternal Temple – Christian Jacq (May)
  16. Conspicuous Consumption – Vebler (June)
  17. Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome (June)
  18. Anna Karenina – Tolstoy (June)
  19. Ramses: The Battle of Kadesh – Christian Jacq (June)
  20. The Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy (July)
  21. Daniel Deronda – George Eliot (July)
  22. Reading Lolita in Tehran – Azar Nafisi (July)
  23. The Ghost and the Dead Deb – Alice Kimberly (August)
  24. The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library – Alice Kimberly (August)
  25. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (August)
  26. Whose Body? – Dorothy Sayers (August)
  27. Espresso Shot – Cleo Coyle (August)
  28. Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie (August)
  29. A Pair of Blue Eyes – Thomas Hardy (September)
  30. The Sweet Far Thing – Libba Bray (October)
  31. Well Enough Alone – Jennifer Traig (October)
  32. The Monk – Matthew Lewis (November)
  33. Family Affair – Caprice Crane (November)
  34. The Pleasures of God – John Piper (November)
  35. The Diaries of Adam and Eve – Mark Twain (November)
  36. Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (November)
  37. Finding Darwin’s God – Kenneth Miller (December)
  38. Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom (December)
  39. 84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff (December)
  40. Where I Lived and What I Lived For – Henry David Thoreau (December)
  41. The Brief History of the Dead – Kevin Brockmeier (December)
  42. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame (December)

For my 2009 list: https://anakalianwhims.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/2009-book-list/

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