Category Archives: Books

A note for my friends

It’s Buy a Friend a Book Week. You know where I live.

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Well, I know what I’m doing on October 5th

They’re making the second book in one of my favorite series from childhood into a movie (well, it’s sort of the second book…it’s one of those weird things like, “Which book is the second in the Chronicles of Narnia?”). The movie is called “The Seeker” and it’s based on The Dark is Rising.

I loved these books. I knew them before I knew Narnia or Middle-Earth. I loved them with that child’s love of wonder and good writing. I loved them like I loved trees and violets and fresh snow.

I don’t remember who gave them to me first, though I know someone did. And I thank that person. My family wasn’t so into fantasy, so the books I found in that genre I found because I happened upon them or someone gave them to me. I discovered Terry Brooks because he won a literature award when I was in middle school. We had to pick several books off the list. That was one of the longest, so I chose it (I’m such a nerd…who else tried to find the longest books because they were, at least at that point, less likely to be as stupid as the shorter ones?). I don’t know if I discovered The Dark is Rising series before or after that, but I loved it.

It’s just Arthurian enough to be interesting, but not enough to be gaggingly Camelot-ish (I’m not a huge Arthur fan). It’s real enough to be believable without trying to act like we ought to be finding magic in our world. It was about kids like me without being obviously a children’s book. Actually, I reread them once as an adult and was still a fan. For some reason, these books were never as popular as Harry Potter or Eragon or Lewis or Tolkien or even the “Ged the Wizard” books, but it should have been. In some ways, I guess, it defies genres. It doesn’t fit in well anywhere. But now they’re making a movie, so maybe someone will hear about them and go read.

Ok, enough waxing poetical. I have no idea how good the movie is, but I’ll see it just because it pays homage to the books I love.

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Booking through Thursday

First a note: to those who’ve been praying and caring about me, I’m doing better. Your prayers mean so much to me, and they work, too! 😉

Now, for BTT:

I haven’t done this in a while because I haven’t had ready answers to the questions, but this one’s good:

Almost everyone can name at least one author that you would love just ONE more book from. Either because they’re dead, not being published any more, not writing more, not producing new work for whatever reason . . . or they’ve aged and aren’t writing to their old standards any more . . . For whatever reason, there just hasn’t been anything new (or worth reading) of theirs and isn’t likely to be.

If you could have just ONE more book from an author you love . . . a book that would be as good any of their best (while we’re dreaming) . . . something that would round out a series, or finish their last work, or just be something NEW . . . Who would the author be, and why? Jane Austen? Shakespeare? Laurie Colwin? Kurt Vonnegut?

Until recently, my answer would have been that I want Lois McMaster Bujold to write more about Miles…but now she is. Though it won’t be out for at least a year and probably two, I will likely survive to read it.

Other than that, while I know Dorothy Sayers and Georgette Heyer have already been mentioned, they’re on my list. But my original addition? I’d love for there to be more to Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea series. I know she’s written beyond the original trilogy, but I love those books and would love to see more.

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The delicious, delectable dilemma

One of the problems with working at a computer all day is that every, single time I come across a book that looks interesting, I can look it up an Amazon. I can read all about it and how much people loved it and how I really need to read it if I don’t want my life to be over. And then, I can add it my wish list.

Make that wish lists.

Yes, lists.

Why lists? Because I have six (6) of them now.

Yes, 6.

Why six? Because there were too many and it got all confusing to have them all on one list. No one knew what to buy me and I didn’t know where to tell them to look and it was sad. So now I have 6.

And what an eclectic 6 they are. I have a list for artistic and creative books, which includes books on everything from writing to making journal by hand to drawing. I have another one for food and eating, with books about meatpacking and the food industry in general and how to eat so that you avoid hurting the most people, and what sort of diet is best for the human being. I have one on web design, and one one spiritual direction, and one I call “Work Alternatives” which has books about working from home and transitioning into that. And then? Then there’s the “other” list, which currently contains science fiction, several DVD sets, some kid’s books, the Lonely Planet wall and desk calendars, some random books that don’t fit anywhere else, and all of the PostSecret books.

Oh yes, I am eclectic.

I have a little bit of money to buy books, leftover from my birthday and the mercy of my husband, who didn’t ask me to put every single cent that I received toward the camera, which he would have been perfectly justified in doing. And I can’t decide what to buy. Or, rather, when I do decide what to buy, the list is impossibly long and impossibly expensive.

And then I wonder, will I really read these books? I have scads of books now, and I’ve been getting more faster than I can read them. I think I have 6 “open books” right now (though it may be 7), and even I can’t honestly handle many more than that. Most of them are on different topics; writing from the practical perspective, writing from the spiritual perspective, attachment theory, post-Napoleonic France (which is a fancy way of saying Les Miserables), and Texas Hold’Em Poker are the ones I can think of now.

Really, reading and learning through reading are some of the things I’m best at. All of this leads me to today’s dilemma: who will ever, ever pay me to read books?

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Booking through Thursday

Today’s question:  Okay, there must be something you read that’s a guilty pleasure . . . a Harlequin romance stashed under the mattress. A cheesy sci-fi book tucked in the back of the freezer. A celebrity biography, a phoned-in Western . . . something that you’d really rather not be spotted reading. Even just a novel if you’re a die-hard non-fiction fan. Come on, confess. We won’t hold it against you!

Answer:  In high school, a good friend and fellow book-devourer introduced me to the Highlander series.  It’s this fabulously-written romance series with these awesome, well-developed characters…and lots of sex.  They came complete with the gaudy, fake-foil obnoxious covers with pictures on the front that clearly weren’t written by anyone who actually read the book, because they don’t portray the characters or the plot.

In my defense, I didn’t know about the sex until I happened on it, and by then I was so invested in the characters and the story that I had to find out what happened (and trust me…this plot?  You really have to know.)  I think the author, Diana Gabaldon, is still writing them.  I’ve stopped reading them, mostly because they became less compelling as the series went on, but also because they became a little bit evil.  I’ve never liked books with an over-developed sense of evil, so I quit reading them.  I guess I think there are some things you shouldn’t expose and open yourself to unless you have to.

My sic-fi/fantasy reading was a guilty pleasure for a long time, because I didn’t know many other real people who liked it and my family thought it was weird.  Now though, not so much.

BTW, what in the world is a “phoned-in Western”?  Leave me a comment.  Though I’ll probably have figured out from Google by then 😉

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The Shortest Book Review Ever

I finally got around to reading Blue Like Jazz. Better late than never. Or…well…maybe.

The Short Review

He said some silly things. He said a few profound things. He said most of them badly.

The Expansion

This is in no particular order. Consider yourself warned.

Miller’s writing drove me crazy. He was trying to be profound, and wrote like someone always conscious of his own profundity. Take, for example, his analogies. I’d be tracking, tracking, tracking and then run *smack* into a brick wall. What made that wall? His analogies. They were insane. They didn’t make any sense. Analogies are supposed to illustrate something, to draw a comparison between two things that are alike in some way so that you can understand one of them better. The problem with these were that the things he was comparing were NOT like. They were unlike. Or in totally different categories. Take, for instance, the title of the book. In the passage that comes from, Miller is describing the night sky. But saying it was “blue like jazz” really doesn’t help much. *kathunk* A reader needs to feel like an author is with her, like the author is somehow, uncannily, inside her head. I’d be going to that place with Miller, hit one of these analogies, and become bored.

The problem here is that Miller was trying to be profound. He was trying to be all postmodern artsy. The main problem with postmoder artsy, of course, is that it doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t have to. It’s not necessarily supposed to. And it doesn’t. So I struggled with the book.

I also realized, about halfway through, that most of the really profound things in the book were other people. They had said these things to Miller and he said them to us. I know that some may argue that he still deserves credit for these points, having put them in order, presented and packaged all nicely, so I (even I, non-postmodern-artsy as I am) could understand them. But I don’t buy it. He didn’t have profound things of his own to say–they all came from the voices that spoke into his life. Now, he does have a knack for telling bits and pieces of stories so that you can see them, but the points are not his own. That’s a little creepy, if you ask me.

On the other hand, parts of his book really touched me. They convicted me. They made me think. They put words to things that hadn’t quite been spoken yet. And that’s always a cool experience. But they weren’t always the deep points, and they weren’t always the ones Miller seemed to think important (or profound). And I guess that’s how the book felt to me: slightly off. It was onto something (or maybe even several things) but the execution of that was all off. A little skewed. A little crazy.

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Moving by number

I think (and there was a time when I would have thought this was impossible) that Dave and I have enough books.

Number of large bookshelves filled: 2

Number of small bookshelves filled: 4

Number of bookshelves left to fill: at least 1

Number of bookshelves filled with things other than books: 1 (small)

Number of bookshelves that could be filled with the books I still have in Colorado, that my mom would like me to take: at least 1 (large)

Number of boxes of books unpacked: 20.5

Number of boxes of books left to unpack: Umm…6 or 7?

Number of copies of Karen Horney’s Neurosis and Human Growth or whatever it’s called: 3

Number of disagreements about how to unpack books, where books go, what order we should unpack the books in: at least 3

Number of people who unpacked books: 1

Number of people who moved bookshelves and other furniture, took a nap, and went to work: 1

Number of people whose allergies were affected by the book-moving: 1

Number of people who twitched at the thought of having OTHER books on HER bookshelf: 1

Number of people who thought said twitching was hilarious: 2

Number of times I want to move all these books again: 0

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