Hear ye! Hear ye!

I hereby nominate Debbie for sainthood!

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but here in Oklahoma we’ve had a bit of an ice storm. They’re saying it is the worst natural disaster in Oklahoma. Ever. Including the Dust Bowl.

We woke up at 4:30 Monday morning with no power. We did a whole lot of nothing on Monday. Mike went to work, but came back home because they didn’t have power either. Debbie’s power went out about 11:30 that morning, but it came up about 9 hours later.

Our power came up for about 5 seconds at 8:00 Monday night. It was just long enough for me to start the happy dance. Then it went back down. Mike blames the happy dance.

We put extra blankets on the beds and extra clothes on all the people. It was a chilly night.

Tuesday morning, Debbie called and told us to pack up the kids and come to her house where it was warm. We took all the food that was starting to thaw in the freezer, and headed her way. We left her house on Thursday evening.

For 2 nights and 3 days, Debbie and her family put up with extra people in their house taking up space, eating their food, and controlling the TV. Her kids slept on couches so our kids could sleep in their beds. And Debbie conjured up countless sheets of paper, markers, scissors, beads, stamps, and stamp pads to entertain my five year old daughter. Also, I think their cat is permanently scarred by being continuously harassed by the aforementioned daughter.

Thank you Debbie for making us feel welcome. Everyone should have a friend like you.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

I finally finished one! It’s taken weeks!

Special Topics in Calamity Physics But it was a good one. There was a mystery. Ok. Make that lots of mysteries. And the was hilarity. Well, maybe only I thought it was hilarious that the narrator cited various works to support her statements about people or events she was describing.

Blue Van Meer is a precocious high school senior whose father has moved her from one town to another every semester since she was 5 and her mother died in a car wreck. Just before her senior year, her father decided to settle in a place for the whole year. At school, Blue is befriended by a teacher who forced her exclusive group of mentees to include her in their group. It is a very bizarre group and they lead her a bit astray.

The teacher proposes a weekend hiking trip over spring break. The kids go along unwillingly. Blue gets separated from the group with the teacher, then the teacher leaves her in the dark woods and manages to get herself hanged from a tree. The other kids think Blue did it. Blue knows someone else was there. She decides to solve the mystery of what happened to the teacher.

I’m trying not to give away the best parts. That’s why it’s so lame a description.

I can’t go on!

I really can’t take it another day. I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but it’s just all so gloomy. So depressing. The men are so mean and cruel and the women are so helpless. I’m seriously considering giving it all up.

If you’ve read Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, please give me a reason to go on. I’m currently forcing myself to read a chapter a day. And some days, I just can’t get through it. I’m really not able to see how this could get better.

The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx

The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock StarThis book has been on my Amazon wish list for over a year. It came out in September. Yeah. I’ve been waiting for it. So now I’ve read it. It only took two days. Which may not be a terribly short time for some of you, but for me to get through a 413 page book in two days says something.

Since I am an aficionado of all things Motley Crue it would only make sense for me to be interested in this book. I had no idea. Basically, it is the actual journal kept by Nikki Sixx during the deepest depths of his heroin addiction. His description of it does not make it seem the least bit enticing. Besides the needles, there’s the paranoia, the puking, the poop, and the lack of hygiene. Oh yes, rock stars are very glamorous.

The diary ends a few days after he officially died of an overdose. He was resuscitated in the emergency room. He woke up in a hospital bed, walked out, went home and shot up again. No one ever said rock stars are brilliant.

The diary is interspersed with commentary by Nikki and some of the people mentioned in the diary. They added their own perspectives on what was described. I liked this part. It gave a bit of dimension. Especially in the parts where Nikki was obviously less than coherent.

The diary ends 20 years ago. Luckily, Nikki Sixx is still alive. He’s been through a lot in the last twenty years, including some relapses with drugs. But actually killing himself seems to have changed him a bit. He seems less bitter and negative. I believe that took a lot of effort. It’s much easier to be negative.

I don’t know if it’s ever been done before, but there is a soundtrack to this book. Nikki has a band called Sixx A.M. The single from the album that has been released is called Life is Beautiful. It’s a really great song. The CD is sold separately from the book.

The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud

The Emperor\'s Children (Vintage) Why did I not know this was a 9/11 book? I don’t remember anywhere that it said anything about it. Was I just not paying attention? So I was a bit surprised when the planes hit the towers in the book.

And you know? It kind of made most of the 380 pages that came before that sort of obsolete. This lovely, kind of trivial, story is going along. You’re trying to like some of the people in it. All these sort of normal things are happening for a story. You sort of care what’s going to happen to them. Then, bam! Everything changes. Which is obviously what happened to thousands of people in real life, but it didn’t make for a great story.

The New Yorkers by Cathleen Schine

The New Yorkers: A NovelWhen I started this book, I realized it was about dogs. Not too long after that, I remembered that in every book about dogs, the dog dies. I then decided I couldn’t read this book. I kept reading anyway.

Then I decided it wasn’t so much about the dogs as it was about the dogs’ owners. I decided I might get away without a dead dog.

Spoiler Alert!

About 3/4 of the way through, the main dog was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I knew it! I knew it! The dog dies. Now I’m going to have to cry. I hate that.

I don’t usually mind if a human character dies, unless it’s a small child, or something. But I hate it when the dog dies. I hate that!

Otherwise, the book is interesting and I like Schine’s writing. And the book clearly describes the neighborhood in New York where all these people live.

It’s worth reading, but have tissues handy.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale: A NovelI just managed to sneak this in under the wire. I read this last year, making it my re-read for the month of October. Unfortunately, I hadn’t read it recently enough to remember how the twist at the end worked. I had planned to re-read and look for all the parts where there were clues or foreshadowing, but I couldn’t remember how it worked out in the end, so it was almost like reading it again for the first time.

By a Lady by Amanda Elyot

By a Lady: Being the Adventures of an Enlightened American in Jane Austen\'s England I was torn on this book. Here’s the plot: A 21st century woman finds herself (through time travel) in Bath in 1801. Coincidentally, Jane Austen lived in bath in 1801. Ms. Jane had a minor part in the book, but she only spoke in lines from her novels.

I was going along enjoying the story, when all of a sudden it devolved into a bodice ripper romance. Tantric sex is okay when I know I’m reading a romance novel, but it seemed highly out of place in a novel about Georgian England. Same goes for the threesome.

For the last half of the book, I kept telling myself I should just put it down. But I couldn’t. Aside from the unlikely characters, I actually wanted to know what was going to happen. And I was up till 1:30 finding out. Even though I saw the twist coming, I wanted to see how it came about.

Satisfaction by Gillian Greenwood

Satisfaction I finished this last night. It’s pretty good modern fiction. It takes place in London, but it bounces back and forth in time. Mostly between 1994 and 2004. In 2004 Amy is recounting the story of a week in her life 10 years before to a psychologist. In 1994, the point of view bounces around between Amy, her husband James, her sisters Grace and Thea, and James best friend Archie, and occasionally her mom Lucy.

There are lots of story threads going on, but not so many that you get confused. I would list some of them for you, but then it sounds confusing. It’s better to just read it for yourself.

I wouldn’t classify this as Chick Lit. It’s too deep for that. But it’s not exactly Umberto Eco either. I finished it in 2 days.

I didn’t understand a bit of the ending. It does skip over 10 years, and I couldn’t figure out how all the people who ended up together, got that way. But perhaps that’s for a sequel? Eh, Ms. Greenwood?

Yikes!

I must be under a lot of stress right now. I know this because I have run out of bookmarks. They are all in books! When I am stressed, I start a LOT of books at once. To wit:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See – This is the book club book for this month.

Satisfaction by Gillian somebody – I keep picking this one up at the bookstore, but not actually buying it, so when it fell in my lap today at the library, I checked it out and brought it home. I’ve read half of it today.

By A Lady by I don’t know who. – I picked this up a few weeks ago because of its Jane Austen references. I read a couple of chapter, then got distracted by something else.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier – I started this for the RIP II challenge, but I only read one chapter. It may not make the cut. It still has a bookmark in it, though.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – Also for the RIP II challenge. I’ve got a little farther in this one, but it’s been set aside for the moment for the book club book, and the one I snagged from the library.

See? Is not the reading list of a woman on the edge?

Issues

I can’t get into a book! I have started and abandoned about 4 books in the last 2 days! This is highly unusual for me.

What do I do to get out of my reading slump?

Bad news.

I started reading Danse Macabre by Laurell K Hamilton last night. It was on my list for the RIP challenge. Well, I think I’m going to have to skip it. I actually threw the book across the room. Michael freaked out. Really. He couldn’t stand it. He got up and picked up the book. “What’s wrong with you?” It was really terrible.

I bought it because it had a sexy cover with a red toe shoe on it. I danced in red toe shoes in high school. I’m such a cover slut.

Gonna have to find another book for RIP II.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret HistoryOkay. I read this because I thought it was on my list for Carl’s RIP II challenge. After I slogged through all 500 pages for a week, I found out it’s not. So, for those keeping track, this one may replace DuMaurier’s My Cousin Rachel on my list.

This did end up being a pretty good book. I caught myself gasping a few times, at which Michael always said, “What?” like I’m going to go through 300 pages of backstory to explain why I just gasped.

Anyway, the book starts with a murder. Then the first half of the book leads up to that murder. The second half of the book tells what happened after the murder. The main characters/murderers are a group of Classics students at a little, posh college in Vermont.

This is not your basic mystery. It’s a bit brainier than that. It is in no danger of being turned into a series.

Donna Tartt was 28 years old when she wrote it. She didn’t publish again for 10 years. I haven’t read her second book, though, so I can’t compare the two. Anyone read it?

Random thoughts.

Have you seen that commercial where the two girls are sitting in the waiting room flipping their hair around until one of them sprains her neck? I thought of that this afternoon while I was blow drying my hair. I had a big tangle I was trying to brush through and I pulled my neck trying to brush my hair.

I’m just trying to warn you of all the dangers inherent in beauty. Lethal lip gloss, whiplash hair brushing.

Be careful out there.

A meme!

I’m currently having some reading issues, which I’ll go into another time. For now, a meme! Which I found at A Work in Progress.

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why? I like to read hardcovers because they feel so decadent. And I love the smell of a new hardback book. However, when I’m reading in bed and I fall asleep and the book lands on my face, I prefer that book to be a paperback. It’s easier on the nose.

2. If I were to own a book shop I would call it… Adrienne’s Bookshop and Tattoo parlor. In Oklahoma we don’t have any locally owned shops that are just one thing. It’s always “Bait Shop and Video Rental” or “Florist and Taxidermy.” I would hate to break with tradition.

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is… Pride and Prejudice – “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

4. The author (alive or diseased) I would love to have lunch with would be …. Jane Austen or Anne Rice.

5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except from the SAS survival guide, it would be… Pride and Prejudice.

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…. automatically placed my bookmark in the book when I fell asleep, so I wouldn’t lose my place.

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of…. yuck. I don’t really like the smell of old books.

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be….Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.

9. The most overestimated book of all times is….The Lovely Bones

10. I hate it when a book…. Tries too hard to make me cry.

After Dark by Haruki Murakami

Wowie wow wow wow. This book was something else. So visual, it was almost like reading the scripting for a movie. Amazing. Are any more of his books like this? Loved it. It was so spare. Almost all dialog. Loved it.

I M back!

I just got back from my weekend in Las Vegas. We saw Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere. We saw Celine Dion. And the highlight of my trip… I went to Vince Neil Ink. This is Vince Neil’s tattoo parlor right across from Caesar’s palace. So exciting!

Viva Las Vegas!

So I’m off tomorrow to Las Vegas for my sister’s 50th birthday party. I’m not much of a gambler, so we plan to walk, shop, and see shows. I also plan to go to Vince Neil’s tattoo parlor. Not to get a tattoo, though, because I have commitment issues. I can’t think of anything I want permanently drawn on myself. But I’ll get a shirt.

I’ll be back on Monday. See ya’.

Learn from my mistake!!!

Please, please, throw out your old lip gloss. Don’t do what I did. This morning, I decided to try some lip gloss that I hadn’t worn for awhile. I never really cared for the gloss, but I decided to give it another shot. I didn’t think about the fact that it is several years old.

About 20 minutes after I put it on, my lips started to itch. Then they started to burn. As fast as I could, I rubbed off all the goop and scratched at my lips mercilessly. My lips swelled up till I looked like Angelina Jolie. I had hives on my lips! Seriously weird.

I dragged my lips into the pharmacy to purchase some Benadryl. I sounded like Bill Cosby from his Himself album. You know, when he is at the dentist and his lip is numb? Yeah, that was me. Me and my Kelly LeBroc lips.

The Benadryl finally made the swelling go down, but the lips are still a little sore and tingly.

Must remember to throw that tube of gloss away.