My daughter the heretic.

While going through a program on her grandmother’s computer, my 4-year-old daughter was naming the planets: “Saturn, Venus, Mars, Pluto (not a planet), Jupiter…” I don’t know where she gets this.

R.I.P. Challenge

This will be my first reading challenge. Actually, I’ve picked a good one since it’s not particularly challenging. A nice easy start for me. Anyway, this little invitation to an entire realm of obsession comes from Carl V over at SSD. I’m to pick out any 5 books I want to read between now and October 31 that are “gothic, scary, moody, or atmospheric stories”. So here’s my list in no particular order:

1. Blood and Gold by Anne Rice
2. Haunted House by Charles Dickens
3. The Silver Wolf by Alice Borchardt
4. A Whisper In The Dark by Louisa May Alcott
5. Undead and Unappreciated by MaryJanice Davidson

There you go. If any of you would like to participate, please feel free!

Oh, I forgot to tell you. R.I.P. stands for Readers Imbibing Peril. Heh. And you thought it was for Rest In Peace.

Abandoned Tulsa by Alison Zarrow

There’s no picture for this at Amazon, but they appear to know what it is. I’m minorly surprised since it’s a very small book published by a group that studies decaying buildings.

Alison Zarrow got permission to enter some abandoned buildings in Tulsa and photograph them. I’m jealous because she got to go in the Camelot Hotel building. I remember when it was a working, up-scale, hotel. Now it’s condemned. I love that building. The pictures she took are amazing. So haunting. In one picture taken at Lowell School, the room is furnished with desks in rows and there are books on the desks, some of which are open. But they’re all covered with dust. It’s really spooky.

I borrowed this book from the library, but I might have to buy it because I also love poking around in abandoned buildings. When I was growing up, there was an abandoned mansion a few blocks from my house. Well, the house eventually fell down and was razed, but you could still see the floorplan. The circle drive and the fountain. It was great. Now, it’s a housing development. sigh

Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs

Magical Thinking: True StoriesMy book club read Running with Scissors a couple of years ago. I liked this one better, but if I hadn’t read the other, some references in here would have been lost on me. Which now makes me wonder what I missed because I didn’t read Dry. Hmmm.

Anyway, Magical Thinking is a collection of personal essays. My favorites are the ones where he talks about his sense of entitlement (he’s really a Vanderbilt, you know), or his ability to control things with his mind. Who am I kidding, they’re all really entertaining.

Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Stacey Mack

Literacy and Longing in L.A. My mommy bought this book for me because I got a promotion at the library. Does it seem slightly weird to buy a book to celebrate a job at the library? Anyway, I chose this one.

At first, I thought it was going to be slightly more literate chick lit. And I can see that chick lit fans would like it, but I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the novel. Firstly, Dora, the heroine, is not ditzy. She’s confused, and she does weird things, but it’s not painful to read. I hate those books where the main character, with whom you are meant to identify, is an idiot, and falls into painfully awkward and embarrassing situations because she didn’t have her head out of her ass.

So ok. Dora is separated from her husband (who is fabulously wealthy and hot, and living with his new girlfriend). She inherited some money from her father and is squandering it in a high class apartment while she decides what she’s going to do with her life. She was once a journalist, but she quit to take care of her dying father, and doesn’t know how to get back in the game. When she gets stressed out about her life, she turns off her phone, fills the tub with bubbles and reads for 3-5 days straight. When Michael read that part of the jacket copy, he said, “Oh, I don’t know anybody like that.” Yeah, so I identify with this form of addiction.

Dora meets a hot guy who works at her favorite bookstore. They date for awhile, then she meets his family. She loves his family more than he does. This is where the book gets deep and where I stop telling you about it so as not to ruin it for you.

I did finish it in 2 sittings (one staying up til the wee hours), so it’s not difficult reading. It was light, but it was really good. I can see myself reading this one over and over.

I noticed the poll…

…and I’m sure it took me more than three days. So I’ll just have to vote for ‘never notice’.

So that’s why you were asking me a few days ago if I ever read your blog…

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary (Signet Classics (Paperback))I finally finished a book! I would have finished my book for book club, but I just couldn’t. It’s the first time in 2 years that I just couldn’t do it.

So, now, I’ve finished Madame Bovary. I wish I hadn’t known the ending when I started. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered, but I had this feeling of hopelessness because I knew how it would end. (I read it in a book about books where someone talks about reading it in French and not realizing how it ended because her French was so bad).

If I had read it as a teenager, I would probably have identified very closely with Emma’s need for passion and romance. In fact, she got her ideas of what love is from reading novels as a teenager, she just never matured past that stage. Reading it as an adult, I can see the red flags with each obsession.

So, yay me, I read a book! And it was a good one.

I’m still alive.

I know I haven’t posted anything in a week. Prepare yourself for excuses. Ready? OK, here goes. Firstly, I haven’t read anything. Well, I’ve been reading, I just haven’t finished anything. I’ve officially given up on The Crimson Petal and the White.

Secondly, my dad was in the hospital for 5 days, so I haven’t really had time to read much, except when sitting in the ICU waiting room between allowed visits, and at that point, I didn’t really feel like reading.

Thirdly, my son and heir started first grade yesterday, so I’ve been getting him (and myself) ready for that event.

There. Excuses given. Accept or deny at your leisure.

Movie Meme from Jordan.

Thanks for the tag, J.

The first movie you remember seeing on the big screen: I’m thinking the first one I remember was Where the Red Fern Grows. My sister took my friend Holly and me. Holly moved away when I was like 4 so it must have been the first one.

Movie from which you can quote multiple lines in your sleep: Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail. And Pride and Prejudice. Any version from the last 12 years.

Director (dead or alive) with whom you’d most like to have dinner:
Johnny Depp directed a movie, right? That one nobody ever heard about. It had Dead in the title.

Movie that should have won an Oscar but didn’t: Pride and Prejudice.

Movie that didn’t disappoint despite being an adaptation from a book: Guess what? Pride and Prejudice.

Movie you were dragged to by someone else, expecting to hate but loved: OK. I wasn’t “dragged” to see this, and I didn’t love it, but I don’t see too many movies in the theater, so it’s a pretty limited pick. My friend Ivy wanted to see Munich, so I went with her. I did feel like an idiot for thinking all the way through it that Eric Bana looked really familiar, but I couldn’t possibly know him because I don’t know any Israeli actors. Where was I at the beginning credits? No idea.

Movie that still scares the crap out of you no matter how many times you see it: I really try not to watch scary movies. If I accidentally see one once, I try really hard not to watch it again.

Movie that still makes you bawl no matter how many times you see it: Notting Hill.

Movie that still has you rolling around on the floor with laughter no matter how many times you see it: Hmmm. Monty Python. 10 Things I Hate About You. You have to work pretty hard for me to howl with laughter.

Let’s see. Who’s next. jmfausti, I think. And Ella, if she’s not too busy packing. And what the hell. It’s an interesting meme. Anyone else who wants to do it.

The Falcons of Montabard by Elizabeth Chadwick

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I read this. I have a literary reputation to uphold. But, it had a pretty cover, and I was avoiding reading The Crimson Petal and the White. It is a historical novel. It has some elements of a romance novel, but the sex is somewhat tamer than your typical bodice ripper.

Annais is the convent-raised daughter of a knight who fought in Jerusalem during the Crusades. Now it is early in the 12th century and he is returning to the Holy Land in response to a call to arms from the English King of Jerusalem. He is taking his daughter with him. As a favor to a high-ranking friend, he is taking the step-son with him. The young man, Sabin, has embarrassed his family for the last time. Sabin has a reputation as a ladies man and equally deserved reputation as a great fighter.

There is a summary of the first 40 pages. The real story is about how they make a home for themselves in a foreign land amidst war and treachery.

I might try another of her books if there is one that takes place on English soil. The one thing I didn’t care for in this book was the setting. Not really my cup of tea.

Booking Through Thursday…Again

Booking Through Thursday

  1. Do you plan ahead for your reading? Work off of a to-be-read pile? A reading list? Or do you wing it, choose whatever you’re in the mood for? I sort of do both. I have a shelf, or two, of unread books. Plus I made a list of big books I planned to read this year. That little experiment went OK for awhile. I’m struggling, now. Usually, I just sort of try to read what I feel like.
  2. If you do plan ahead, how far ahead? Do you have two or three books waiting in queue? Or are you backed up by dozens of volumes waiting their turn? Well, I sort of answered that before. Usually, I just plan a book or two in advance. Sometimes I even start the next one before the other is done.
  3. If you do not plan ahead . . . well, never? What about if you’re reading a series? Or someone gives you a book for a present? I can’t read a whole series one after another. Too much. Have to break it up. Even a book given as a gift has to wait it’s turn until I feel like it. Unless it’s given by Michael. :)

The Book Club Companion by Diana Loevy

The Book Club Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to the Reading Group ExperienceThis was fun. And not because it had helpful tips for book discussions (they would have been more helpful for a less established group), and not because it had great ideas for themed parties (our theme is usually wine), and not because of all the great recipes inspired by novels (I don’t cook). I loved it for the book suggestions (duh). Each book came with a review of it’s discussion guide. I found that helpful and intriguing. I liked going through the sections and thinking about books that might be good for our club, or remembering when we read and discussed that book. I also liked the last bit of each chapter that was called “If you had been in a book club in the…” and had a list of popular books from the 1920′s through the 1990′s. One decade for each chapter. That was interesting.

The one thing I found annoying was the insane number of typos. Sometimes they were so bad I began to wonder if the author was a native English speaker. I decided she was because of her correct use of slang, but it was iffy.
I’d rather blame it on the editing.

On the other hand, the cover art was perfect. Loved it. Especially the kitty sprawled on the stack of books.

I borrowed this from the library, but I might have to buy it to add to my book club selection suggestions list.

The One Book Meme

which everyone and their dog has already done. I wouldn’t have attempted it, but I read Jordan‘s where at the end she said, “If you haven’t done this, and you’re reading this, do it.” So ok. Here goes.

What is one book that changed your life?
Um.. Not sure. Probably every book I’ve read has made some small influence on my life. I don’t remember a book that really changed me.

edit: Nope wait. Jane Eyre. My fourth grade English teacher read parts of this to us, and I got a copy for my 10th birthday and read it over and over again. I was so impressed with myself for reading a grown up book, that I began reading more and more of them. Probably the start of my book addiction.

What is one book that you have read more than once?
Pride and Prejudice. Read it every year.

What is one book you would want on a desert island?
War and Peace. It’s really long and involved (and great) so I wouldn’t have to start over too many times.

What is one book that made you laugh?
Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich most recently.

What is one book that made you cry?
Gone with the Wind. That’s one I actually remember crying at. I’m sure there are others, though.

What is one book that you wish had been written?
One by me. Ha!

What is one book that you wish had never been written?
The Field Guide to North American Monsters. The things we kill trees for, I tell ya.

What is one book that you are currently reading?
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber.

What is one book that you have been meaning to read?
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West.

Teacher Man by Frank McCourt

Teacher Man: A Memoir Debra loaned me this book along with Angela’s Ashes. After reading the first one, I wasn’t sure if I could stand to read anymore misery and desolation. So, I just now got around to this one. Sorry Debra.

This one was much less difficult to read. I like books about high school kids and this one was no exception. It is the story of his 30 year career teaching in NYC public schools. He talks about all the mistakes he made and the things he did right. He briefly touches on his personal life, but only in passing, really.
There are a few flashbacks to his Ireland days. He tells the kids some stories. Not really too much misery.