Quiet by Susan Cain

Oh my gosh, I loved this book so much, I didn’t want to quit reading it. I just had big pink and purple hearts floating around the whole time. Suddenly, so much about my life made sense! Like, why most of it has been so uncomfortable. It’s because I am an introvert in a world that encourages extroversion. Who knew!

By the end of this book, I felt okay with the fact that I hate going out to dinner on Mother’s Day (also known as amateur hour) because of the hordes of people all out doing the same thing. I’m okay with not ever wanting to host dinner parties, or any parties, really. Or actually, ever have anyone over to my house. It’s me, not you.

And boy howdy, do I feel lucky that Mr. Bookmark My Heart is also an introvert. If he wanted to go and do and have-people-over, I would crawl in a hole. I dated a guy like that once. He said I was boring.

So, Thank You Susan Cain, for helping me see that it is okay to be the one at the back of the room looking for the quick exit from the meet-and-greet social hour. And for helping me see the world from the eyes of my poor, lonely, extrovert daughter – the only one in the house.

Le Grrr.

So for all of you actually reading this blog, Congratulations!!! Here I was blithely blogging away, and wondering why no one was commenting. When all the time, no one could read the thing. A hacker had re-routed everyone to a sweepstakes site. Well, hopefully we’ve got it taken care of. Read on!

The Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse

A Novel Bookstore was so completely amazing and fantastic, I can’t even begin to describe… Okay I’ll try.

So at the beginning, it’s a little crazy because these 3 completely unrelated people have some weird stuff happen to them and I was all like WHUH? but then, it all started to come together and the whole thing just took off. The three people are actually all members of a secret committee. But no one knows how the attackers know that they are on this committee. So the people in charge of the committee go to the police and then the whole story comes out. And it’s a doozy.

These two dreamers decided to open their dream bookstore, with only their favorite kinds of books in it. Only novels. Only good novels. Now, let’s stop right there for a second. What would your dream bookstore have in it? Well, for one, mine would have more than just novels, because I like non-fiction, too, but hey. Whatevs. I thought about this while I was reading this book and I realized that any bookstore can be my dream bookstore. If it has books in it that I dislike, I ignore them. It’s like they aren’t there. I only pick up the ones I’m interested in. As far as I’m concerned the store only has “good books”. And if it doesn’t have what I’m looking for, I’m sure they will order it, just like the store in the book.

Anyway, back to the book. Luckily, one of the dreamers in the book comes equipped with a large inheritance she is willing to spend on opening the store. This being France, the store is a HYOOGE success. But within 6 months, someone is raining on their parade. Who? Why? What the Heck?

Being a French novel, it isn’t all sunshine and roses all the way through, but it is a fantastic book and I absolutely LURVED it!!

I am driving myself nuts!

I originally had all these good intentions to be all virtuous and stuff and, like, actually read the books on my to-read list. Because now that I’m on Goodreads, I actually have a legitimate list. As you might already know, because of that self-challenge-wot-I-did. Anywhosit. My list now has over 200 books on it. FOR REALS!!

So, I had planned to get real and start reading from the top of the list. Well, I read a few and then I got side-tracked by new books coming in at the library (Shiny!) and all these fabulous other books keep catching my eye, and I’m reading my butt off (not that you can tell by looking at my butt) but my to-read list is not dwindling. If anything, it’s growing!!!

What’s a girl to do?! Does this happen to anyone else?

Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones

Howdy folks.  I’ve sure missed you all.  Things have changed a lot and I hope to be around here a little bit more.  We have decided to start homeschooling my 11-year-old.  This means I will be spending my days at home instead of in the car.  I hope this means you will get to hear more of my opinions on what I have been reading.  I assure you I have been reading.

Most recently, I have been reading Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones.  Now, if you are not familiar with this series, may I suggest that you run right out and acquire First Grave on the Right, which is the first one.  Being the cover slut that I am, I was first captivated by the shoes the cover model is wearing on the first book.  Skull flip flops!  Where can I get some?!  The shoes on the second book cover (Second Grave on the Left) are equally drool-worthy.  But I love the shoes on this one.  High top Chuckie T-s!  I love me some Chuck Taylors.

Okay, so the actual book.  Charlie Davidson is the Grim Reaper.  But not like you think of the Grim Reaper.  She doesn’t go around looking for people to kill off.  She waits for dead people to come to her and to decide to cross through her to the other side.  But for her day job she’s a private investigator.  Which is good since she can ask dead people who killed them.  Also, she can sense living people’s emotions. She is also a smartass.  Which makes for sensational comedy, which causes people in the vicinity of me reading this book to go, “What’s so funny?”, cause I usually read such sober boring stuff.  Yeah.  Right.

Nathan Yost’s wife is missing and he wants to hire Charlie to find her, only Charlie doesn’t think he really cares if she’s found.  But the wife’s sister and brother definitely want her found.  Also, Charlie’s lifelong supernatural savior (AKA Reyes Farrow, AKA Son of Satan) who is really (reallyreallyreallyreally) ticked at her for binding him in his body (see Second Grave on the Left) wants to “talk” could she come see him at the prison he’s been in since he was convicted of murdering his abusive father 10 years ago.

I recommend starting with the first book.  Seriously.  They don’t take long to read because you can’t stop.  It’s like crack-literature.  (Hey a new display idea for the library!)  They are super sexy and funny and sassy and did I say hysterical?

It’s So Easy…And Other Lies by Duff McKagan

For those of you not in the know, Duff McKagan was the bassist in the original line-up of Guns N Roses. You know, the incarnation that brought you “Welcome to the Jungle” (<3) and “Sweet Child of Mine” and “Patience” and “I Used to Love Her”. The same band that graced the walls of my bedroom in many photos and posters in my high school years. And oh yeah, there’s his other huge success story: Velvet Revolver. Who gets two of those? And here’s a secret: I always like bassists the best. Well, except for that one guy. But most of the time, I like bassists the best.

On the other hand, rock stars are not known for being able to put a sentence together. Several factors contribute to this: a) they usually don’t finish high school b) they usually use enough drugs to kill most of their brain cells and c) grammar isn’t cool. This is why most rock star memoirs are co-written. So imagine my surprise (and, to be honest, a little self-satisfaction at always knowing the bassist was the best and smartest) to find that this autobiography is entirely credited to Mr. McKagan.

And, you know what? I was right. It’s very well done. It’s not told in that boring old linear fashion I was afraid of. But it doesn’t jump around so much you can’t keep up. There are little teasers to what’s coming, but nothing is really given away.

Bravo, Duff. It was a great story.

The end of my reading year.

So here it is. October 6. One year ago, I set a goal to read all the books on my Goodreads To Be Read list at that time. There were 89.

Now normally 89 books in a year would not be a hardship for me. However, other books kept getting in the way. So here I am, one year later, with one book left.

So I didn’t technically reach my goal. And to be really truthful, I didn’t actually read all the other books on the list, either. I read a lot of them. But some of them, I started to read and decided I didn’t really want to read after all. And I am a firm believer in not wasting time reading a book I don’t like. Also, I found there were a few of them I couldn’t get anymore. The library no longer had them, or they were out of print, or whatever. So, I happily crossed those off the list.

I could have cheated and deleted this last book from the list, but I would have felt guilty. And I really want to read it. So. I have to face it that I came really really close. And I’ll probably start it today. Close enough.

Oh! Did you want to know what that last book was? It’s Great House by Nicole Strauss.

Reading update. Again.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

With 2 months to go til the end of my reading goal, I only have 16 books left on my Goodreads to-read list from the original 89 books. I am looking forward to finishing this goal. It was worthy. I feel like I got some books read that I had been putting off. But I will be glad to feel free to read whatever comes my way.

Finally, a book I want to tell you about.

Just look at that cover. Don’t you just want to curl up in that chair? Okay okay, I know I’m a cover slut. But I read about this book in BookPage magazine and I knew I had to read it. Unfortunately, my library was not ordering Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading. What?! This cannot be. A library without a book about the healing power of books and reading? What kind of library is that? So I pulled some strings and they ordered five copies.

They finally came in the other day and I started reading. I didn’t want to stop. I took the book to church with me on Sunday, even though I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to read it. I just didn’t want to leave it behind. I finished it yesterday and took it back to the library for someone else to enjoy, but I could only do that because I intend to buy a copy for myself.

Reading goal update.

Back in October, I made a goal. At that time there were 89 books on my Goodreads “to be read” list. My goal as stated was to read all 89 books in one year.

Here is an update on that goal.

Well, there are now 117 books on that list, but I’m only counting the original 89 in that goal. Of the original 89, there are 44 left. So, I better get crackin’.

In all honesty, I haven’t read all the books that have disappeared off the list. Some of them I found I haven’t been able to get, once I got to them on my list. Some of them I found I no longer want to read, once I got to them on my list. But at least I got to them on my list, I dealt with them, and moved them on.

Clearly, I am not sticking to just the things on my list. Too many other wonderful books have come in my way that I just can’t say no to. But I am focused. I have a goal. I can read 44 books by October 6.

I can do this.

Book kismet

I recently had a moment when my books talked to each other. Does this happen to you? Do you have no idea what I’m talking about? Let me explain. No, it is too long. Let me sum up. Ha!

Okay, I am currently reading How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell which is fascinating and a really interesting way to present a biography of Michel de Montaigne. BUT the salient point for this post is that I learned from this book that Montaigne’s actual family name was Eyquem and that his family bottled wine under that name, including his father, Jean Marie.

Now comes the talking…

I was also recently reading A Discovery of Witches: A Novel by Deborah Harkness in which a 1500 year old vampire introduces a bottle of Eyquem wine to his witch girlfriend and says, “Jean Marie gave it to me himself.” o_O I almost dropped my bag of Bugles snacks.

If I hadn’t been reading the first book, I wouldn’t have had any idea what good ole Matthew was on about in the second book. Boy did I feel super smart right about then, let me tell you.

This ever happen to you?

Weird Moms

I accidentally read two parenting books back to back yesterday. Now, it’s weird enough that I read one parenting book, since I generally am not interested in knowing what I am doing wrong. But here’s what happened. I picked up this book about communication between mothers and daughters thinking my daughter will be a teenager soon enough, and I should learn to communicate with her. Only, it wasn’t about teenage daughters. It’s about mothers communicating (or not) with their adult daughters.

You’re Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation (Random House Large Print) is really interesting, mostly because my own mother is not of the “You’d be so pretty if you just…” variety. We talk at least once a day, usually about nothing at all. But I could see how some daughters could be highly irritated by mothers who just want the best for them, but don’t know when to leave well enough alone.

While I was finishing that book up, another book came in for me at the library.which was also about motherhood.
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua recounts her decision to raise her daughters in the traditional Chinese way. Strict rules and super-high expectations. They practice their instruments 6 hours a day with their mother standing over them fighting with them every step. And they are brilliant musicians whether they want to be or not. They are also excellent students, except in gym or drama. The real story happens when her younger daughter decides not to follow the gameplan. She rebels and the author has no idea what to do next. It is very interesting, but I don’t think I’ll change my parenting style. I’m okay with my kids not being musical prodigies or first in every competition. I have a life.

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Neuromancer by William Gibson is a cyberpunk classic. I read it so I could get lots of shelves on my Goodreads Shelf-a-Thon Challenge. That last sentence probable doesn’t make sense to most of you. That’s okay. It shouldn’t. Suffice it to say that I asked my husband for a sci-fi book and this is what he recommended.

I don’t normally read sci-fi because I don’t understand all the words. Not understanding words frustrates me. In this case, I made up definitions for words I didn’t know and just kept going. And I really, honestly thought I was keeping up with what was going on. I thought I had a good handle on who all the characters were. And then it all came crashing down around me.

And I still sort of think I understand what happened, sort of. I just don’t understand why. I don’t understand why this AI program decided to destroy this whack job Riviera and why it had to be such a production to do it. Can anybody help me out here?

3 months

It’s been 3 months. I am a terrible blogger.

But, I will jump right in and tell you what I am reading now.

Jane and the Damned by Janet Mullany is pretty good, but you have to remember it is revisionist history. Not only does Jane Austen get turned into a Vampire, Britain is overrun by Napoleon’s army. I’m more than 2/3 in and I’ve realized that, being revisionist, I can’t count on what I know about Jane Austen’s life to prevail in this instance. I shall have to see what happens. Luckily, it is decent writing or I would have thrown it with great force, as per Dorothy Parker.

I am reading another book with “Death” in the title. Huh. But this book is completely different. The Death and Life of Monterey Bay is a history of the Monterey Bay area of Central California. Mike and I honeymooned there and my Aunt lived there for many years. So far, I am up to the 1930′s and they have just opened the first canneries, which, unsurprisingly, stopped up the tourist trade.

So, that’s what’s on my nightstand. What’s on yours?

Goodreads update.

Merry Christmas!

So, on October 6, I noted that there were 89 books on my Goodreads To-Read shelf. I checked today and if you don’t count the ones I’ve added since October 6, I’ve managed to knock 17 books off the list. Now, I have also added 20 books to the list, so there are now 96 books on the list. But the challenge was to read those 89 books by next October 6. It could happen!

Note to Nancy Pearl

Dear Ms. Pearl,

I love you. I really do. I have read all the Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason books, including Book Lust to Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers and Book Crush: For Kids and Teens – Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Interest. And I just finishedNow Read This III: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction (Genreflecting Advisory Series). I love the way you write, especially the way you write about books.

Here’s what I don’t love. I don’t love that you misuse the word “myriad” in almost everyone of your books. “Myriad” is an adverb. As in, “There are myriad ways to use this word correctly.” It is not a noun. It doesn’t work to say, “There are a myriad of books on this subject.” That is like saying, “There are a nicely of books.” It’s. Not. A. Noun.

This is just a pet peeve of mine and I hope it won’t ruin our friendship. Thank you very much.

Adrienne

Drood by Dan Simmons

I’m only half way through, but this book is fabulous!

Wilkie Collins is describing Charles Dickens’ last five years during which he was obsessed with Edwin Drood. The Mystery of Edwin Drood was the manuscript Charles Dickens never got to finish. This is a much better way to deal with it than just finishing the manuscript. The story is amazing. I’m having a great time!

Read This Next! by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark

So, I can’t find an Amazon link to this book, but I gotta tell you about it.

It’s so hysterically funny. And it just got funnier and funnier.

It’s a book of suggestions of books to read. It’s mainly aimed at book clubs, but it doesn’t have to be. Each book highlighted has a list of questions for discussion. Some of these are hilarious. Interspersed throughout the book are lists of other books on a similar theme. By the end of the book these lists have devolved into “Books we like” or “Books by people we know.”

Another Meme

Because I am not reading anything worth finishing, much less mentioning.

This is an autumnal meme stolen from Book Memes and Quizzes

What’s your favourite reading spot now that the weather’s turning? (if your climate is changing for the warmer, the question still applies!) Probably the big chair by the fireplace if I can get it away from the cat.

What single book sums up the Autumn/Fall season for you?
The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield.

Pick five favourite scary/autumnal books for a Halloween stack…
The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel
The Haunted House – A Short Story by Charles Dickens
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson

Pick one book to give as a ‘treat’ and one as a ‘trick’ when little monsters come to your door at the end of the month…
Trick – Scary Stories Treasury; Three Books to Chill Your Bones: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark/ More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark/ Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones
Treat – Winnie-the-pooh (And Piglet) Halloween 1. Huffalumps and Woozles 2. Which Witch Is Which? 3. They Don’t Scare Me 4. The Werewolf Song 5. Shake Your Bones 6. I Wanna Scare Myself 7. Night Creatures 8. Haunted House 9. The Dungeon 10. The Witches 11. Encounter in the Fog 12. Mad Scientist Laboratory
What books are you hoping/expecting to read between now and Christmas? (a selection is fine)…
Tattoos & Tequila: To Hell and Back with One of Rock’s Most Notorious Frontmen
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1
As She Climbed Across the Table: A Novel
Oryx and Crake

What’s the best book you read over the summer?
The Passage: A Novel
or maybe Kings of the Earth: A Novel

Do you like to turn leaves, or are you a Kindle convert?
Both actually. I love the smell of books, but I can’t always hold them. That’s when the Kindle comes in handiest. No matter how many pages the book has, or if it’s hardcover, I can still hold the book open with a Kindle.