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?