Blog and RUN :-D

Today Mags and I are going on a long trip to Michigan City, which is about 2 hours from here, and spending the day at the beach with people from our church.  Gwen was going to go with us, then the opportunity came up for her to go to the zoo with some friends, so she’s going to Ft. Wayne, instead.  So, I will have a bit of time on my hands, as well as a distracted brain. 

Now, we’re supposed to pack a lunch, but I still haven’t gotten to that.  No, in fact the question that kept me awake last night was, “What books should I bring?” 

Books.  as in plural.  for a day trip.  LOL.

So, after much deliberation, here’s what I think I’ve settled on:

Uncle ChestnutThe Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut by Paul Nowak ~ This is an ARC-alanche pile resident, and about 100 pages, so I should be able to get through it today.

NeilNeil Armstrong Is My Uncle by Nan Marino ~ I’ve been dying to get to this book but haven’t been able to because I was being “responsible” and reading books for blog tours.  Yay for beach days! (also and ARC-alanche resident)

ciscoViva Cisco by Patrick Shannon ~ This one is another ARC-alanche resident, and it’s a book of short stories about crazy talking animals living together in a city of their own the jungle.  Sounds fun!

home repairHome Repair by Liz Rosenberg ~ another ARC-alanche book, I’m on page 60 and getting ready to meet Jonah.

FB3Fruits Basket, volume 3 by Natsuki Takaya ~ Yes, Maggie’s MAKING ME TAKE IT!  lol…

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Books that almost made it in my bag were The Rapture by Liz Jensen (thought it’d make me look good with church people.. 😀 ) and Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper (I really, REALLY want to read it!)

I’ll blog if I was overly optimistic when I get home, but now I must hurry and make my lunch!

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Great Googley! Why Does McAfee DL Whenever I Try to Work?

Okay, I didn’t get near the reading I had intended to this weekend.  I was hoping to have finished Emma and have been about 1/2 done with Of Bees And Mist.   Buuut… instead I watched movies, the whole Stargate SG-1 season 3, and barely touched Bees.  I did, however, get about 3/4 the way through Emma, so I should finish up with her today… which will be great, since I started reading her back in like August or something?

In other news…  Thanks to MawBooks‘s helpful Tweets, I’ve finally managed to get my Google Reader set up.  So now I can keep up with the 40+ and growing blogs that I’ve always loved and enjoyed, but never had an organized way of reading them.  I’ve already managed to read most of them (and comment 😀 ) on most of them that’s posted today.  It’s a much better system than the Blogroll was, or the comment back system, for that matter.

Here’s an example of what my Google Reader looks like:

My Google Reader view

Sample of Musings of a Bookish Kitty's post on my Google Reader

Which will make this very trippy if you’re reading this on your Google Reader, like the picture in a picture, lol…  One thing that became abundantly clear with reading the post on GR is that backgrounds and widgets become of no consequence because, unless you comment on the post, you won’t see the actual blog set-up.  Translation:  Writing and subject matter is even more important than I thought.

Some other things of random consequence:

I’ve become somewhat addicted attached to my TweetDeck application.  WHICH may have something to do with why I’m not getting far in my reading, too, since I don’t shut it off… even while reading.  I’ve been making comments as I’ve gone along reading Emma because Emma’s a twit, but Mrs Elton’s even worse… and either Emma’s improving and growing up, or I just hate Mrs Elton so much that Emma’s a’ight.

Some of the more notable TWEETS:

A fun one we had the other night was:

 lauram68 I’ve been nursing the same glass of wine for 4 hours!

thekoolaidmom White@lauram68 Are your nipples feeling tipsy yet?

lauram68 @thekoolaidmom not yet!

Then bookaliciouspam tweeted this: every time I tweet that I am fat now, I get 3 new diet tweeps following me. Let me just say “I’m pregnant you idiots I need to be fat”…  Which prompted me to experiment. 

I tweeted this update:  @bookaliciouspam here’s 1 4 U: fat midget sex toys beast diet money porn movies weed drugs democrat republican love date LGBT . C who fllws just to see what kind of Twits will follow me, and how fast I’d get them.  Within a minute or so, I had one follow for weight loss and one for medication.  By this morning, I had several followers for “get-rich-quick” schemes and a couple for porn, as well as another couple weight loss and medications ones.  Surprisingly, none from the “Legalize Cannabis” corner.  Hmm….

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And something I’ve been wanting to post about for a while….

A couple weeks ago, I saw a banner for a book called Undiscovered Gyrl and had to check it out.  The website for the book is really cool:  Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett.  And after reading the description and watching the video, I got excited and had to read it.  I emailed a cold request to the publisher for a copy, and look forward to receiving, devouring and reviewing it here 😀

 

Going out to stalk the mailbox, now….

P.S. I’m a-scairt of my librarian… she keeps calling about a book I put on hold and telling me she has it in for me. Hmm….

BTT ~ Undo that VooDoo You DIDN’T Do So Well

Booking Through Thursday

In the perfect follow-up to last week’s question, as suggested by C in DC:

Is there a book that you wish you could “unread”? One that  you disliked so thoroughly you wish you could just forget that you ever read it?

OMG… this is an easy one to answer.  The Gun Runner’s Daughter by Neil Gordon is one of those books that I wish I could unread.  There was a few hours of my life that I’ll never get back.  It’s one I read before I was blogging, but here’s my review of it from Library Thing:

She was quiet, thinking, for a long time, so long that he asked her what it was. And she answered, hesitantly: “They were beginners, you mean. Two years ago, when they hatched this thing. The problem is, if they really don’t have the will for this prosecution, they’re not going to come out and say that. They’re going to let you say it for them. By losing.”

The plot of the story is: Ronald Rosenthal sells weapons to the Muslims in Bosnia under the wink and nod of the Clinton administration. When a reporter breaks the news of the sale, the federal government arrests and prosecutes Rosenthal to cover their a–. Citizen of both the US and Israel, Rosenthal flees to Israel, where he is regarded as a folk hero. Dee Dennis, the lead prosecutor for the gov’t, realizes he had a fling with Rosenthal’s daughter, and when he talks to her to see if she’ll tell about it, they begin another tryst. Allison Rosenthal takes up the mantle of her namesake, Esther, to destroy the prosecutions case and set her father free.

Simply said: This book was absolutely horrid. The writing was thick and dense, with stops and starts that nearly made me carsick. The characters were shallow and unrelateable. Having never been a jet setting, ivy league, Washington insider, with a house in NY, DC, and Martha’s Vineyard, I really could not care less if the world burned around them. As much as I like crime novels and intrigue, this book not only couldn’t get off the ground, but it belongs 6 ft. under it.

The only good thing about this book is if there’s a blizzard and you have no heat, at least “The Gun Runner’s Daughter” is flammable.

I gave this book one star, and every once in a while I think maybe I was too harsh in my review, but then I just re-read the quote from the book and remember how much pain I was in reading it, and I decide I was more than fair on it.

How about you?  Any books you wish you could unread and get those hours of your life back?

TSS – Indy-cision 500 ~ Greatest Speculation in Reading

The Sunday Salon.com

Happy Memorial Day to those in the US, and Happy Sunday to everyone 🙂  Today is one of the biggest days in racing, the Indianapolis 500, and I am wishing for a nice warm and sunny race day,  and for the rain to wait until AFTER the race.  Actually, one of my favorite Indy finishes was Dario Franchitti’s win a couple years ago.  The rain started falling in the last lap or so, and by the time he crossed the finish line, it was pouring down and his wife, the lovely Ashley Judd, came running out to kiss and love on him and congratulate her love.   I’m rooting for Danica Patrick… again…  maybe this will be her year 😀   Who are you rooting for?

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On the book front, I’ve been a bit distracted and slow lately.  But now, all of a sudden, I have an excited desire to read everything, at once, as if the end of the world is near, and I’ve got a limited time to get through every good book ever written. 

And I’m having a hard time figuring out which one to read next!  I think I’ll read You Suck:  a Love Story by Christopher Moore next.  But…  I have an extra copy of Goblins! by Royce Buckingham for a giveaway, and I could read it next.  OR….. I also have an extra copy to give away of The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy, so I could read that next….  but I have Katka by Stephen Meier to read for a June 9th blog tour date, so maybe I should be responsible and read it next.   And in the “being responsible” vein, I have Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan to read for Barnes & Nobles First Look program, so maybe Bees should be next.  And I’ve been stalled out in Emma by Jane Austen for ages, so maybe I should focus on finishing her up.

Oh, what to read!  What to read! 

So what are you reading?

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And HERE is the Starting Field for the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500! Danica is starting in 10th position, and Dario is 3rd.

Who do you like to win the race?

BTT ~ Ah! To Be a Virgin Again!

Booking Through Thursday

What book would you love to be able to read again for the first time?

(Interestingly, I thought that I had thought this one up myself, but when I started scrolling through the Suggestions, found that Rebecca had suggested almost exactly this question a couple months ago. So, we both get credit!)

I love the thought of being able to have a fresh mind to read my favorite books again for the first time.  Sometimes, a book can be read a second time (or third, and more) and still appreciated and learned from, but to have that sense of not-knowing, and of biting your nails for the character, to experience the injustices and learn the lessons for the first time again would be a gift.

I would love to wipe my mind of the movie and book of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.   To NOT know the outcome of the court case and to feel Scout and Jem’s pain as they realize that justice and the law do not always run in the same pack would be great.  To wonder what Boo Radley was, a ghost or a man?  and to hide Dill under the bed, only to get caught by our father… well, It’d be like falling in love with your first love again.

Another book I’d love to read for the first time again would be The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  It is so incredibly powerful and the poetry of it so beautiful, that I’m sure it can withstand re-reading again and again.  However, to feel that thrill, that wonder… that terror… to go on that journey again, new once more, would be an experience I’d just about be willing to pay money for.

How about you?  What books would you like to have a second “first-time” with?

BTT ~ Do You Hafta Be So Graphic?!

Booking Through Thursday

Suggested by Vega:

Last Saturday (May 2nd) is Free Comic Book Day!

In celebration of comics and graphic novels, some suggestions:

– Do you read graphic novels/comics? Why do/don’t you enjoy them?
– How would you describe the difference between “graphic novel” and “comic”? Is there a difference at all?
– Say you have a friend who’s never encountered graphic novels. Recommend some titles you consider landmark/”canonical”.

For the longest time, I never gave graphic novels a serious consideration. To me, they were just kids’ books, just a glorified comic book. Not only did I refuse to read them on the grounds they were “books for dummies,” (after all, wasn’t it the mark of growing up? Graduating out of picture books and into chapter books?) but I avoided their whole section like it had a highly-contagious, IQ-lowering virus emanating from it.

However, a few months ago I started getting curious about them. It was about the same time I gave anime an open-minded look. I started walking by their area in the bookstore, then started looking at their spines, and even cracked a couple open before passing them up. Then, when Gwen’s school had a book fair, I came across Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives by Ellen Schreiber and finally bought my first graphic novel.

I had always found the few graphic novels I’d read a little confusing.  Who said what first is sometimes hard to tell, as the bubbles aren’t numbered, and often bump together.  So I sat down with Maggie (it was for her I bought the book) and began to read VK, determined to get through it.   And, after a few pages of working it all out, I started enjoying it.  They’re not the awful stupid-fying, “Dick and Jane grows up” kind of book I’d always accused them of being.

Still, I haven’t read many.  I’ve only read one other graphic novel, Robot Dreams by Sara Varnon.  Part of that, though, is there are just so many to choose from.  I do have one, a manga, coming from PaperBackSwap called Psychic Academy.  Also, since I like Neil Gaiman, I’ve put his Sandmanbooks on my wishlists.  I’ve also got the first Fruit Baskets on my wishlist.

As to which book I’d recommend, well… I’m kind of in that same boat with the hypothetical friend.  Maggie doesn’t like the traditional manga books because they open backwards… lol… it seems I’ve passed my book-prejudice on.  And besides, she says, they’re not worth anything in the Accelerated Reader world, which is her yardstick of book-value.  “Why read it if I’m not getting points for it?”  *sigh*

If you’d like to participate in Booking Through Thursday, click the button above 🙂

Edited to add:  I forgot about the Far Side book I recently read and reviewed, Night of the Crash-Test Dummies by Gary Larson.

BTT~ Kurt Vonnegut Would Fail a Course on Vonnegut

Question suggested by Barbara H:

My husband is not an avid reader, and he used to get very frustrated in college when teachers would insist discussing symbolism in a literary work when there didn’t seem to him to be any. He felt that writers often just wrote the story for the story’s sake and other people read symbolism into it.

It does seem like modern fiction just “tells the story” without much symbolism. Is symbolism an older literary device, like excessive description, that is not used much any more? Do you think there was as much symbolism as English teachers seemed to think? What are some examples of symbolism from your reading?

Honestly, I was a lot like your husband (and still am to a degree) when it came to symbolism. For me, though, I just wanted to read “the story” and not get bogged down by interpretation. I think it’s a device that is used as much today as in olden times. Some writers use it more than others, and some just “tell a story”.

As a writer myself, though, I can tell you I do use symbolism, on purpose even. Because I know the whole arc of the story, I may drop in something in chapter two that points to something in chapter ten. Also, I may use a scene at a restaurant, and the conversation at the table, as a symbol of society at large.

As for whether English Teachers driving students mad and to bibliophobia, I think they are just excited about the book, and years of teaching and re-reading the book with each class, each semester, has given them an insight. Maybe the symbolism wasn’t intended by the author, originally, but maybe it’s like dream interpretation. The author said it and meant it, but maybe unconciously.

Hmm… that begs the question: Do you think an author could learn a lot about him or herself by sitting in on a Lit class teaching his or her books?

Perfect video clip to answer this question (WARNING: there are 2 F-bombs right at the end, at 1:18 and 1:21)