Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
When I grow up, I'm going to date Philip Marlowe and help him solve crimes. (Full post here.)
King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany
One day, I am going to ditch my family and go live in Elfland. (Full post here.)
Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton
I want to go back to England. Even if my home is bombed. Even if I have to live with a bunch of losers. Even if I am going to be stupid enough to get my heart broken by some dumb American. England is just so much cooler than North Carolina. They go to pubs and drink pink gin fizzes.
This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson
I want to be a cool librarian and surprise everyone with how cool librarians actually are. (Soon to be posted at this site -- I've decided I'm not risking much by linking from this site to that one, as people in these parts are not all that technologically savvy, so I am throwing caution to the wind here and doing so. Now watch: someone from the library will find this blog, my irreverence will shock her, and I'll lose that gig. Oh well...).
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
If I weren't too old for children's books, this would be the coolest book ever. (Full post here.)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
I hate really popular books with really dumb titles. Just pretend no one's ever heard of it and that it has a much better title, and read it, because it's so much better than you think, especially if you LOVE, love, love Daddy Long Legs -- it's kinda like that. All letters anyway, and the author even talks about loving that book. (Full post here.)
Away by Amy Bloom
I thought it was going to be like Bread Givers, but it wasn't. I hated it, especially since I went through all that for such a bogus ending. ("Full-er" post here.)
A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen
A "royal pain" is right. I didn't bother to finish it.
French Milk by Lucy Knisley
That girl was pretty stupid for someone in her twenties. I hope I'm smarter than that when I'm that old (46-year-old Emily assures you she wasn't. However, she didn't need to be reminded of how awful it is to be 22, and she hopes she wasn't quite so self-centered at that age).
The Giant, O'Brien by Hilary Mantel
I hate books that make me feel like throwing up, especially when they make me feel like that more than once. (Soon to be posted for the TBR challenge.)
The Shack by William P. Young
Why I hate popular books. I couldn't finish it. Almost as bad as The Prophet.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
(I've read a lot of popular books this year, haven't I?) This has the worst scene I've ever read in a book. It gave me horrible, horrible nightmares. But, the girl is so tough and so cool. I want to be like her (even though I am terrified of needles and could never get a tattoo).
Monday, June 21, 2010
Happy summer solstice, everyone. When I think back on all the many, many summers I have lived, most of them seem to have "theme songs." I thought it would be fun to share one of those today, especially since here in PA we have most definitely been experiencing the sort of weather that is the reason I have never been a huge fan of summer. I don't know what it's been like where you are, but it's been about 1000 degrees and 120% humidity every day for five days running now with no end in sight, if the weather forecasters are to be believed.
This kind of weather reminds me of the Piedmont region of North Carolina, where I was born and raised, so it's only appropriate to go way, way back in time to bring you a summer theme song. This one hails from the summer of 1978. It was a summer when I never knew whether or not my older sisters were going to deign to bring me along with them anywhere. Occasionally, the sun, stars, and moon were all aligned correctly (a.k.a. my parents had made them pick me up after seeing some movie with a friend or something, and they didn't want to drive all the way back home -- we lived ten miles outside of town --to get rid of me), and (be still my beating little fourteen-year-old heart! You are way too young to have an attack) they would allow me to come with them on night-time escapades, driving around town, seeking out the homes where all the boys they liked lived (why? Do teenage girls still do this sort of stuff? It sounds like we were all priming ourselves to become stalkers. I promise you, all we ever did, though, was drive by their houses -- screaming and trying to duck down in our seats, if anyone actually went into or came out of any of the houses in question. The idea, I guess, was to see without being seen -- impossible, of course, with windows wide open and girls screaming. Once I learned to drive, my own friends and I continued this practice, which, thank God, I gave up once I went away to college). Anyway, as you might imagine, this was not an easy task back in the days of no GPSes. We had to use things like phone books and maps.
We also were stuck listening to nothing but a radio, which was always on in the dark blue Datsun B210 (we avoided using the other car, the station wagon, whenever possible). The car actually had a stereo, with two speakers in the back (our first car to have such a thing), but, alas, no tape deck. We were completely dependent on whatever the DJs happened to be spinning that night. Luckily, they spun "Miss You" by the Rolling Stones, one of my favorites, quite a lot. We'd roll down the windows, turn it up, and hit those high notes right along with Mick, as we sped down the roads leading to David's and Jim's and Peter's and whoever else's houses. And, sometimes, we'd even play a little Chinese stoplight, which allowed me the opportunity to wind up in the front seat. Does life get any better than that?
Saturday, June 19, 2010
"You're a ghoul, man! At least have the decency to remove that filthy coat(One of them, of course, being Sergeant Barbara Havers, who has probably been exposed to far worse than a coroner's filthy coat while on duty, and who is about to be paired with Inspecter Thomas Lynley.)
when you come here! Have you no sense at all? We've women on these floors!" (p.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I was reading O magazine over the weekend (that's my first "true confession," I love that magazine), having, of course, skipped right to the article "What to Read Next: Our 26 Favorite Books of the Summer." Actually, since I'm in a confessing sort of a mood, that's not quite true. It was where I was headed before I got sidetracked by "Take the Intimacy Quiz!" (you will be happy to know that, according to this short little quiz, Bob and I score a "Congratulations -- your friendship and your marriage are strong") and the pictures of all the lovely pairs of clogs in "Love That! Clog Heaven" (falling madly in love, of course, with the pair that cost nearly $400).
Anyway, eventually I got to the article on books, because I am, of course, in desperate need of titles to add to the TBR tome (luckily, it seems that every other one was compared to Amy Bloom, a writer I have decided I don't like, so TBR damage was kept to a minimum). This article had a great sidebar feature in which authors were confessing about books they should have read but never have. "What fun, and how empowering to come clean," I thought, being someone who has lived her whole life trying to avoid people who might say to her, "You haven't read what? I can't believe you haven't read that!" I mean, if Kathryn Stockett can freely admit to Oprah's 5 billion (or whatever it is) followers that she's never read Jane Eyre, and Jennifer Egan can admit she's never read David Copperfield (woo-hoo, Jennifer. I'm right there with you!), surely I can admit to the handful of very kind people who read this blog that I've never read The Old Man and the Sea (or any Hemingway, as far as I know, although I may have read some short stories in high school that I don't remember). In fact, why not create a meme that revolves around such lapses?
So, here you go. This is the true confessions meme. Think of ten books it seems you should have read by now but never have. Post them. Feel free to say anything you want about why you haven't read them. Tag others when you're done.
1. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
I love the hard-boiled genre. People have told me for years that I can't really say that without having read this classic. We read The Glass Key a couple of years ago for the detective book club. I planned to read this one right after that. I never did. Still planning to read it, though... Really.
2. Light in August by William Faulkner
I love Faulkner. About 20 years after having read it, I still think The Sound and the Fury is one of the most brilliant books I've ever read. I want to read this one. I pull it from the shelf from time to time, but, for some reason, I keep putting it back unread. Maybe it's because Faulkner takes real commitment, and I'm too much of a commitment-phobe or something.
3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne
I was living in England when everyone read this one in ninth grade. Thus, I never read it. I know what it's about, though. Do I really have to read it? (I was thrilled a number of years back when both my parents admitted to me that they'd never read it, either. Maybe we Southerners just have a hard time with that Puritan stuff.)
4. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
I never get around to this one, despite my love of Mark Twain, because I keep thinking I need to reread Le Morte D'Arthur before doing so, and, well, I never get around to that (despite the fact that I love it). I did, last year, try to listen to the audiobook version, but that just convinced me more than ever that I needed to revisit Malory, and so I gave up on it.
5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
My sister told me, back when I was in high school, that I had to read this book. I've been having and planning to read it ever since.
6. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Can anyone think of a single good reason why I haven't read this book that is so up my alley it smells like garbage and has alley cat paw prints all over it?
7. Call of the Wild by Jack London
Is it horrible that I just really have no interest? Despite the fact that everyone tells me I'll love it?
8. Shogun by James Clavell
It's just so damn long, isn't it? The copy we have is actually in two volumes. I mean, no matter how good everyone tells me it is, who has time for that?
9. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
It's not long. I loved The Secret Agent. Why haven't I read this one?
10. Black Boy by Richard Wright
Again, I have no excuse. In fact, I ought to go pull it from the shelf right now and begin. But I won't (for the 100th or so time).
Oh well. At least there is one book I can say I've read that most haven't: the Bible (yes, the whole thing, although not the Apocrypha). I think that definitely makes up for never having read all these others. Maybe the next meme ought to be "books I've read that make up for those I haven't." (Madame Bovary three times, not by choice, certainly fits that bill).
So, now, everyone but Stefanie, because she basically already did it, who is reading this, must do the meme. I mean it. If I can confess, so can you. Or at least tell me: how many of those I've listed have you not read?
Monday, June 14, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Friday, June 04, 2010
You also may be wondering: does that mean that I have not bought any books since December? Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! (Sorry. I think the laughter is now under control, or at least, no longer out loud.) Actually, I was doing very well when it came to buying no books until the annual library book sale last month. I'd only bought a few books (okay. okay. I don't know of anyone who would define "ten" as "a few." But it all depends on your perspective. Ten bees down your pants leg is not "a few." Ten drops of water in the ocean? Well, they're barely noticable). But then, the book sale came along, and I HAD to go (must. support. the. library.), and well, with paperbacks being only fifty cents a pop and hardcovers being anywhere from $1.00 - $4.00, let's just say I bought nearly as many books as I'm supposed to read for the challenge (you know, not too many, but a little more than "a few").
By the time I did that, though, I had actually already changed the rules (without telling anybody). The new rules were that I had to read at least 5 books on my original list, at least 10 others that I had already owned prior to 2010 and give away at least 20 books I either will never read or will never read again, and then I was allowed to start buying books again. By these new rules, I well deserved my library sale purchases. Not only have I, at this point, read 6 books from the list, but, including those six, I have read a total of 21 books that I already owned prior to 2010, and I have given away 22 books (mostly forgettable thrillers or cookbooks picked up at book shows and given to the library, but I have passed a few that I enjoyed, knowing I will never read them again, onto friends I thought also might enjoy them).
I have not changed the rules so much, though, that I do not still plan to read (or attempt to read) all the books that were on my original list. And I will begin to post on them, too. They've all been written about in my book journal, so it's just a matter of transcribing those entries here. Maybe (but don't hold me to it. It seems that the minute I lay out some sort of plan when it comes to reading and writing is the minute that plan goes awry) I'll start putting up one post a week or something.
So you see? It's, thus far, been a banner year for attacking the old TBR tome. I've just been attacking it from a different angle. Oh, and I've been keeping up all my math skills to boot.