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Tag Archives: Reading

A Line of Book Lovers

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Still a bit sulky, and decidedly jetlagged, my child arose at the unnatural hour of 4 am on Wednesday. Luckily, I wasn’t awoken until Geoff left for work at 6:15. The first thing she wanted me to do when I got out of bed was exercise. Say what? It was good for me, and she should probably make me do a lot more of it, but I’m not going to be the one to remind her.

I then put her to work helping me clean the house and harvesting eggs and lilikoi from the backyard. She lives in the city. This is about as country as it gets for us. She’s surprisingly even more timid around the chickens than I am. I’m sure she’ll get over it, though.

Next, we set off for the library in search of summer reading books. She had four things on her list, and they didn’t have a single book she was looking for. I got them all requested from other libraries, but I hope they get here in time for her to complete her assignment.

I love that my kid considers going to the library a fun event. I used to take her to the library all the time when she was little, and she loved it then. It’s reassuring to know that the habit is still with her. Geoff hates the library, so he thought I was crazy when I said I was going to take her there, but it was actually her idea.

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Later, we made carbonara and LV came around for a visit. Emily fell asleep on the living room floor around 8:00, so naturally, Geoff had to take her photo. Those are the rules.

It was still a bit difficult to make her laugh. Her friends were still very much on her mind. Luckily, I have a very resilient child. We’ll find a way to make her laugh, I know it.

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A Predictable Answer

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Pretty much every day I ask my husband, “What should I write about today?”

He almost always replies with, “How awesome you are.”

He’s about to marry me a second time, so, no doubt, he believes it to be true. I have no idea what he’s talking about, and since I’m the one doing the actual writing, I’m always stuck coming up with a different topic. Sometimes husbands can be so unhelpful.

You know what is awesome? The universe. Bill Bryson told me that if stars were frozen peas, there’d be enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall. That is awesome.

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What else is awesome? Spending every day with someone so smart that when I endlessly quote astonishing facts from A Short History of Nearly Everything, he already knows just about everything cool I’m trying to tell him. He is super smart, most of the time. Even if he doesn’t know the difference between a fajita and a burrito, he still knows a hell of a lot about physics, a topic on which I am woefully ignorant.

It’s also pretty awesome when he gets excited about me reading a book. It’s incomprehensible to me how he can go through most of his life without having a book to read. He might as well try to live without oxygen. It’s impossible. And yet, somehow, night after night, he goes to bed without reading a single word. I don’t get it. Since he read the Song of Ice and Fire series, however, he has become extremely impatient with me. Every time I go to the library to pick up a book, he gets irritated. I’m nearly finished with A Clash of Kings, so I’m on the verge of new material. I’m sure he’ll be satisfied by my much more demonstrative reading style when he hears me gasping with surprise in the middle of the night.

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There definitely is some awesome in this house. It’s sitting to the left of me right now.

Goth

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I’ve previously proclaimed my disdain for Dickens, and it’s no secret that I’m ambivalent toward Victorian literature in general.  I know a lot of people will be clutching their pearls when they read that I don’t particularly care for Jane Austen or the Bronte Sisters.  All that decorum and repression goes against my American rugged individualist sensibilities.  Just say how you feel, ladies.  Be free.  Sheesh!

Gothic literature, on the other hand, I adore.  The Victorian idea of love I find frustrating and borderline nauseating, but what Victorians found frightening is delicious.  From the first time I read Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart in the 9th grade, I knew I loved the more horrible aspects of this period.

I recently started reading Dracula on my Nook, which is awesome.  I haven’t had to charge it once since Christmas.  But that’s not the point.  The point is, this dark and creepy novel lives up to its reputation.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed following Jonathan Harker through Dracula’s castle and reading the Captain’s account of the ship crashing in to Whitby.

I’ve seen the movie several times, and love it.  But reading the book has been a completely worthwhile experience.  There’s much more subtlety in the novel.  And when you compare it to modern horror novels, it gives a sense of refinement rather than vulgarity, which makes it seem that much more tense.

When Victorians turn dark, somehow they become much more interesting.  This glimpse into the Victorian psyche is so much more fascinating than when they’re falling in love and trying to find husbands.  I don’t know what it is, but I just devour it.

Read Dracula.  Don’t wait until Halloween.  Just do it now.

Boxing Day Blues

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The day after Christmas is always a tiny bit of a let down.  After Emily went to bed, I just laid down with my head on Geoff’s chest for about ten minutes trying not to cry.  I hate it when she has to go back home.  But that’s starting at the end.  Let’s go back to the beginning.

Luckily, I woke up to a slightly less glorious mess than was potentially possible thanks to Lindsey and Paulette doing the dishes last night before they went home.  They deserve a trophy for that.  I could barely stand up at that point.  I got the house cleaned up and did a bit of laundry while Geoff and Emily fought the evil negativatron on Little Big Planet 2.  That’s what they did most of the day.

After all the rooms and humans were clean, we decided to make a second go of it at Fun Factory.  Emily was feeling much more energetic and ended up winning over 500 tickets.  She got a Smurf, a green dolphin, and some Laffy Taffy.  And all for forty dollars.  What a bargain!  Wait.  What?

We next walked to City Mill so Geoff could build an enclosure in the backyard for his, as yet nonexistent, tortoise.  Since we can’t get a cat or a chicken, he wants a tortoise.  It will make him happy, which makes me extremely happy.

 

The rest of the evening was filled with a mass amount of leftovers and more video games. I spent it reading a variety of materials, including the book on my new Nook which is so light and easy to read.  I love it.

I have two days left with my baby.  I wish I didn’t have to go to work today so we could spend more time together.  Deep breaths.  Life keeps going.  Never stops.  Just keep breathing.

Stories

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It’s been so busy at work recently.  I’ve been making extra money, which is awesome, but my body is even more worn out than normal.  I’m also completely terrible at Christmas shopping.  I always put it off until the last minute.  I can never think of great presents to buy that I can actually afford.  I have mild panic attacks when I think about all the money I’m spending.  And I haven’t even bought the groceries for Christmas dinner.  Yikes.  I’m broke.

But I’ve been distracting myself with some pretty good stories lately.  It’s the only way to get by.  Monday, I watched The Help.  I haven’t read the book yet.  It is, no doubt, far superior.  This was a well-crafted story all on it’s own.  The whole “boyfriend for Skeeter” thing seemed a bit unnecessary to me.  Perhaps they took more time with it in the novel.  But overall, I enjoyed the film.  I was surprised by how much Bryce Dallas Howard was able to make me hate her.  Her character is truly vile.  Viola Davis exemplified courage, and Emma Stone was simply precious, as always.  I just love her.  The costumes were great, and oh, the hair.  How did women walk around with all of that on their heads?  Go ahead and watch The Help.  It will make you feel.

I’ve also started reading Beloved by Toni Morrison, and I’m enjoying it thoroughly.  It’s interesting to see a touch of magical realism in an African American novel.  I’m only about a quarter of the way through, but I’m really appreciating the unique voice created in this novel.  It’s such a nice change from the 60’s beatnik stuff I’ve been reading lately.

I’ll never be too old for fairy tales  I’ll never stop secretly believing in magic.  I’ll never be convinced that books and movies are a waste of time.  Not if they’re good.  Not if they’re true.  What are you reading?  Just curious.

Do Your Homework

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A little bit about my continuing library drama.  Not sure those two words have ever been put together before.  Part of the reason that I normally buy books instead of going to the library is that I’m a slow reader.  I like to take my time with a text and really immerse myself in it.  I don’t want to merely skim over the words.  I want to savor each one, much like the author labored over choosing precise words in the crafting of the work.  I want to take the time to really enjoy it.  I play a book out in my head as I read, sometimes doing voices and everything, which is much easier to do in your head than it is out loud, by the way.

I can usually finish one book in three weeks, if it’s not too terribly long.  It’s normally not a problem.  However, four books in three weeks is a bit more of a challenge.  I did finish two of the original four that I had stacked up at once, but the last time I went in to the library, there was yet another novel waiting for me, Ulysses by James Joyce.  Side note:  I’m liking the first fifteen pages of it about as much as I liked Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which is to say, not at all.  I may well give up on this book at the end of its three weeks, as it’s about the size of a paving stone, and I think it sucks.  Joyce is just a bit too pretentious for me.

Couple this with the fact that in my movie list, I was actually on a TV series, Boston Legal, which was entertaining, though decidedly unbrilliant.  But watching two or three episodes of that each day was yet another homework assignment I had to finish within a limited amount of time.  Why do I do this to myself?

In other list news, it’s nearly time for the announcement of the Golden Globe nominations, which means I’ll have a whole new batch of more recent movies to watch, which has me really excited.  Have I mentioned I love films?  I love films.  I love story telling.  It fascinates me.  Always has.  So get yourselves ready to hear my completely unexpert reviews of this years awards hopefuls.  I’ll be living in them.  If I can finish my reading.

If you were wondering, I’m currently reading The Bostonians by Henry James, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, and Ulysses by James Joyce.  The next film I’ll be watching is Iron Jawed Angels, a television movie for which Anjelica Houston won a Golden Globe in 2004.  Opinions to follow.

On Staying in Bed

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Tuesdays are consistently my toughest day at work.  Island Sole receives their shipment on that day, and there is, undoubtedly, a great amount of physical labor to be done.  I’m usually pretty worn out when it’s all done.

Wednesdays are usually one of my easiest days.  I don’t go into work until 5:00 pm, so it’s the closest thing I have to a day off.  The debate is always whether I should relax and enjoy it or get my butt up and do some work.  My house is a mess.  There’s shopping and errands that need to be done.  The world awaits.  And yet, there’s also a soft bed inviting me to be ever so lazy.  It’s nearly impossible to resist.

I am a profoundly lazy person.  I never view reading a book or watching a movie as wasting time.  Consuming the stories of our generation serves to lead us to a deeper understanding of our culture and humanity in general.  Staying in bed and reading a book could be the path to becoming one with the universe.

Seriously though, somebody tell me it’s okay to just hang out right here all day with my library books and my laptop.  I don’t want to do the dishes.  I don’t want to fold the laundry.  I want hot chocolate and literature and soft pillows today.  I want to go to other places without ever leaving my bed.  I want to be comfortable and cozy.

Damn, it’s time to clean the kitchen.