Archive for the ‘Booky Goodness’ Category

A few years ago, I think I managed to read an average of a book a day (really I would go several days, and then have a huge book binge on the weekends).  And I do adore reading.

My book buying habits have changed a lot over the years.  I now have an iPad mini, courtesy of my LASIK surgeon, who gave it as a thank-you gift when I had my eyes done last February. So on my iPad mini, I have hundreds of books on both my Kindle app and my nook app.  I seldom buy print books anymore. My home is cluttered enough as it is.

And one of the things I love about the Kindle app in particular is that I can find hundreds of ebooks for free.  I really enjoy that. When I find an author I like, I will add him or her to my list, and search for new books. So even though they may give me a book for free, I may end up buying everything they write.  Amazon also has some really great Kindle daily deals, where you can get books for extremely low prices. I like to take advantage of that as well.

What I don’t like so much, though, is that I haven’t been keeping track of what I’ve been reading.  I need to change that.  It was cool, at the end of the year, to look back at the list of books I read. So I’m going to try to at least make a quick note of what I read, how well I liked it, etc. I won’t be doing reviews probably, at least not initially, but there you go.

So, the first book I read this year was The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.  Holy cow, was that a fantastic read!!!  It was intellectually, emotionally draining, and wholly entertaining. I’d recommend it to anyone wholeheartedly, with the caveat that if you or a loved one is terminally ill or you have lost someone, it will definitely bring up a lot of emotions. So be cautious from that angle, but if you can find the strength, don’t avoid it just because of that. It is a beautiful story.

Then I read Tethered (A BirthRight Novel) by Brandi Leigh Hall.  The protagonist is a Seer in a family of individuals possession various supernatural gifts, and returns home at a time of crisis.  It was good.  I really enjoyed it, and will be eagerly watching for the sequels as they are available.  I believe the next one will be Tempted, and comes out in the spring of 2014.

I’m currently reading Dead Girls Never Shut Up, by Susan Stec. I can’t say that I like it yet (I’m 31% of the way through), but I’m curious to know what happens, so I will probably finish it.

The next two reads are the ones Clover put into my Christmas bag yesterday, and I would tell you the titles now except that would entail turning on the light and getting them out of the Christmas bag. So I’ll tell you the titles of them the next time I post. One is by the esteemed lady herself, and I’m so excited to be reading it. She has blossomed as a writer over the years that we’ve known each other, and you really should do yourself a favour and check her out.  You can look her up on Amazon–Clover Autrey–and you can find her on the web at cloverautrey.org, and on facebook at Clover Autrey Books.

What about you? What books are on your TBR list? Have you read any recently that need to be added to my TBR list?

(Oh, and a HUGE advantage of my iPad mini is that my TBR list no longer is a stack of books untidily piled on my nightstand. So much easier to deal with!!)

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I needs it.

So: Amethyst is coming over tonight for dinner. I’m making nachos. Well, technically, I’m making queso blanco dip and buying guacamole and beans and chips, and she can make her own damn nachos. 🙂  Amethyst is one of the coolest people I know, and I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t know her awesomeness.

I get to go buy a new doggie bed for Miss Emmylou Who. We used to have 2 beds, but one of them went to the cemetery with Scout. We put the other one on the patio so Emmylou can lounge in cushioned comfort while she watches the world go by and barks at the poodle who lives across the way. That means we need a new one for her to lounge on inside. (Every time I try to type lounge, it comes out lunge. Is that the universe telling me I need some exercise?)

I get to go buy new towels. The temporary housing people arranged for someone to rent us housewares, and a whole bunch of lovely white towels were included in the package.  But almost all of them got ruined in Scout’s final hours. 😦  So I have to buy more. (Question: What do they do with all this stuff that they rented to us once we move back home? Because everything was new and I can’t imagine them taking the dishes we’ve eaten off of for however long and renting them to someone else. Guess I’d better ask the temporary housing people.)

I get to do laundry, but that’s no big deal. One of the benefits of having very little clothing means it doesn’t take long to wash it, dry it, and put it away.

I get to visit with the incomparable Izzybella at some point this weekend.

I get to watch this online seminar I signed up for.

I get to read.

I get to walk Emmylou and watch her play with the other dogs.

I get to sleep.

I get to get a pedicure. (I think I’d better shave my legs first. Just a thought.)

I get to watch scary movies and shows about hoarders that Joe doesn’t like so I don’t watch when he’s in town.

I get to write a book review for Quirky Girls. See, I’m participating in the R.I.P. challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. And I’ve got book reviews of all kinds of scary books going up this month, mostly on the weekends so I don’t butt into the schedules of the other awesome quirky girls. And this book I read just because I love the author so much: Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst. I met her at a World Fantasy Conference in Austin 5 or 6 years ago, and fell in love with her coolness.  So if you want to know what I think about her latest book, please go visit us at Quirky Girls; I’ll have the post up by Saturday morning.

I get to get up and meet my family for breakfast Saturday morning, if I can get my lazy tuchus out of bed by 6:15 so I have time to drive to Fort Worth and get to the restaurant by 7 because my Dad has to work this weekend, which really sucks because it’s supposed to be his weekend off. And I miss seeing my parents every weekend. I had gotten very used to that before the dang fire, and now it’s all messed up. The alarm will be set. But I make no promises.

And maybe I’ll get to have a nice long chat with Jehara. We talked for like 2 1/2 hours last weekend, and it was lovely. She restores my soul. She loves me so much, so unconditionally, and she’s cool to boot.

Ooh! And maybe I’ll go to Half Price Books! I think I have a 15% off my entire purchase coupon in my desk drawer. Hang on—nah, it’s not there. I have no idea where I put it. Maybe it’s in my other purse.

Do you know how weird that sounds? My other purse? Right now I have 2. Well, okay, I have 4, but one of them got the handle chewed off by one of the dogs, and the other one I accidentally spilled Gatorade in when I stuck a bottle in to bring to work and didn’t check to see if the lid was tightly closed (it wasn’t), and now the brown and tan bag is brown and tan and pink. Not a pretty look. But I did salvage a fair few of my bags from the house, and if I can get the smoke smell out of them, then all will be well. Otherwise, I shall be shopping for handbags, because I change handbags like I change my socks.

But the point I’m trying to make is, I’m going to have a relaxing weekend doing whatever the heck I want. The strain of caring for Scout was so overwhelming, and I think both Joe and I felt completely drained. I need some rest. So does my husband. He’s on an assignment for work; however, he basically just has to be in the town this afternoon and Monday morning. Other than that, his time is his own. So I’m hoping he gets some rest as well, goes and sees some music, eats some good food, and comes home feeling a little better about life.  We’ll miss Scout, just as we miss Molly and Stan, but we’re glad he’s no longer suffering. And I cannot deny I’m guiltily glad that I can rest this weekend.

And yeah, I know I said no more dogs, but I told Joe that I would be willing to talk about it when we’re back in the house. Definitely not as long as we’re in the apartment. But if Joe still wants another dog by the time we move back home, then I’ll consider it. The love they give you is so precious. The sorrow and hurt when they’re gone is agonising. Does the joy outweight the sorrow? Yeah. It does. I mean, it broke my heart when Molly died, but Emmylou just jumped right into the family and took up her own place. And I’m glad that we have her, because being completely alone would seem so empty.

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It’s Banned Books Week. What are you doing about it?

May I recommend….

Harry Potter (JK Rowling) — Woo! Witchcraft!

Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury) — Curiously enough, this book isn’t about censorship, even though it’s understandable why one might get that opinion. But Bradbury, who as author knows his intentions best, stated that it is actually about the evils of television. I can’t argue with that. Have you ever seen Jersey Shore? Or Toddlers & Tiaras? I’m with Bradbury there, although there are a couple of shows I like and catch when I can, which honestly isn’t all that often.

Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)

The Bible (various)

To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

Crank (Ellen Hopkins) — Don’t get me wrong. I loathe Hopkins’s books, having read one and subsequently pulled it apart, stomped on it, and threw it away (I thought about flushing it down the toilet and decided that no toilet needs that much crap in it), and I might agree theoretically that it should be banned, but not for subject matter. Nah, it should be banned for bad writing. I joke, I joke. I don’t think any books should be banned. I think that people should use common sense.

Twilight (Stephenie Meyer) — another book that should be banned for bad writing. :p

His Dark Materials trilogy (Philip Pullman) — absolutely brilliant. But the first time I talked them up to someone I knew from church she told me about how they should be banned from elementary school libraries because the subject matter was too advanced and controversial for kindergarteners. WTF? Um, a kindergartener, unless exceptionally advanced, wouldn’t be able to read it. So that is just a ridiculous argument.

I’m celebrating BBW by reading an exceptionally bad novel, and I can’t wait to be done with it. And then I’ll go read An American Tragedy or Sister Carrie (Theodore Dreiser). What are you reading this week?

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Another Book Meme

From Kuri, the 106 (why 106? nobody knows) books most often tagged “unread” at LibraryThing. The idea is to mark the ones you’ve read in bold, the ones you’ve started but not finished in italics, and the ones you read for school in bold and underlined. À la Kuri, I put asterisks next to the ones I plan to read.

I’m not tagging anyone, but I’m interested in seeing your responses if you do try it. 

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina 
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights (HATE, HATE, HATE THIS BOOK!! Cathy and Heathcliffe deserved each other.)
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose (I doubt I’ll be going back to it.)
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey*
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities  (This was assigned in 8th grade, and my teacher said, and I quote, “You’re going to hate this book but you have to read it anyway, so I don’t want anyone complaining.”  I read it that night and told her the next day that she was crazy. True story.)
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace*
Vanity Fair (I’ve mentioned this book before, I’m sure. I will never attempt to read it again. Last time I tried, I hurled it across the room. Now it’s on my nook, and I don’t think my nook would survive being hurled across the room.)
The Time Traveler’s Wife* (I’m only going to read it because of Jehara’s recommendation.)
The Iliad*
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner  (Brilliant book, as is A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author. In fact, I think I like that one even better.)
Mrs. Dalloway*
Great Expectations (Wouldn’t it be cool to own a bridal supply store called Mrs. Havisham’s Bridal Shoppe?  Would anyone get it?)
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged  (Not a fan of Ayn Rand. She seems too imbued with a sense of self-importance.)
Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books*  (Jehara recently reviewed this at Quirky Girls Read, and I do want to read it.)
Memoirs of a Geisha*
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West* (I accidentally put this in storage so I never got around to finishing it. Love the musical, though.)
The Canterbury Tales (Have you read the title of this blog? Chauceriangirl? Yeah. I worship The Canterbury Tales.)
The Historian: a novel (One of the bigger wastes of my time.)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible: a novel*
Angels & Demons (Shudder. I don’t plan to read anything else by Dan Brown.)
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise) (Inferno is far superior to Purgatorio and Paradiso).
The Satanic Verses*
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles  (Another one I really hated)
Oliver Twist (Consider yourself at home! Consider yourself part of the family. We’ve taken to you, so strong, It’s clear, we’re going to get along! Okay, that’s not really in there, but I love the musical.)
Gulliver’s Travels (I love when I have to read something for school and end up really loving it. That’s what happened with His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. That’s also what happened with Gulliver’s Travels. Because Gulliver’s Travels isn’t really about a giant man who puts out a fire in the Lilliputian castle by pissing on it.)
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (This was one of the books that I felt I should like, but just, didn’t.)
Dune (Loved the book. Hated the movie.)
The Prince*
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes: a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces (I know this is supposed to be brilliant, but I just couldn’t get into it.)
A Short History of Nearly Everything*
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake: a novel
Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road*
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (I “read” this by listening to it on CD.  I highly recommend audio books for those that you’re having trouble getting into–you’re sort of a captive audience, and before you know it you’re past the parts that you were never past before. Hmmm. Wonder if I should find Vanity Fair on CD.  Nah.)
Freakonomics: a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: an inquiry into values (I thought this was so profound when I was 18.)
The Aeneid*
Watership Down (Another one I just couldn’t really get into. I don’t feel guilty about it, though.)
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood: a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

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This weekend I saw one play and two movies, one of which was at the theatre and the other of which was at home on DVD.

First the play: Annie Get Your Gun, at Theatre Arlington. Izzy kept telling me, over and over and over, that she has a girl crush on Jenny Thurman, who stars as Annie Oakley. And I can definitely see why. Thurman has character in spades, and a gorgeous singing voice that can go from husky to pure to sexy, and that’s just in one song. I was crushing on Jim Johnson as the appealing Frank Butler. If you’re in the DFW area, you really should call for reservations and go see this play. I sent Joe to go on Saturday night, and he liked it as much as Izzy and I did.

Then the theatre movie: Tropic Thunder.  This movie is just wrong in so many ways. More than once I caught myself laughing at something just before telling myself that I can’t believe I was laughing at that. It pokes a LOT of fun at actors, and Tom Cruise does a delicious job of poking fun at himself.  Unless you have an exceptionally strong stomach, this isn’t an eating movie. So if you just have to have popcorn with your movie, you might want to get there early enough that you’ve got time to eat popcorn during the pre-movie show, the ads, and the trailers. I’m just sayin’.

Then the DVD movie: Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Until Elle told me she hadn’t seen it, I had pretty much assumed everyone had seen it. So I made her watch it. She didn’t complain. Too much. 😀

Okay, next, I also did some reading.  I had some brain candy in the form of two Body of Evidence books by Christopher Golden (Head Games and Skin Deep).  It’s an entertaining series, and I enjoyed them. I’m also 2/3’s of the way through Charlatan: America’s most dangerous huckster, the man who pursued him, and the age of flimflam. Gentlemen, is your manhood failing you? Why not get a pair of goat testicles implanted? You think I’m joking, don’t you? Well, for some years in the early part of the 20th century, a man styling himself Dr. Brinkley did just that, and got fantastically wealthy by doing so. He was pursued by Dr. Fishbein. I can’t tell you what happened in the end, because, as I said, I’m 2/3’s of the way through the book. It’s a fascinating read, though, and I’m planning to finish it tonight. I also started reading Atonement, as I liked the movie so much. However, I’m not a fan of McEwan’s writing style. I sort of doubt I’ll finish that one. And the best book I’ve read this weekend was Tweak (growing up on methamphetamines) by Nic Sheff.  It’s a painstakingly honest memoir detailing his relapse after a year of sobriety, and then in and out of sobriety. It’s a gut-wrenchingly good book.

How was y’all’s weekend?

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I don’t recall how old I was when I first read The Chronicles of Narnia, but I do recall that I thought Turkish Delight must be the most delicious substance in the world. I visualized a thick layer of chocolate enrobing an air-light wafer sort of sweet. If you’ve ever encountered Turkish Delight, you’re probably laughing at me right now, because my imaginary Turkish Delight bore no resemblance whatsoever to the real substance.

One day, again, I don’t recall when, I tasted some Turkish Delight. It was a little square of a jelly-like consistency covered with powdered sugar, and it tasted like roses, and it was disgusting. If I was alone when I ate it, I feel quite certain that I spat it out. And I know another bite never passed my lips.  Several months after I got married, Joe introduced me to seafoam candy, and that perfectly satisfied my childhood vision of Turkish Delight.

Fast forward to today, when I was browsing the food aisle at Marshall’s.  I was buying some crostini, and they had numerous boxes of Turkish Delight there as well.  I’m not sure why, but the fact that it said it was with pistachio, and bore no mention of rose water on the label, probably had something to do with the fact that I decided it was, once again, time to try Turkish Delight. The other factor was the $2 price tag.

Dang. This stuff is good! Mmmm!  I don’t know if it’s this brand (Koska) or if it’s just pistachio Turkish Delight in general that’s so much better than the ooky rose flavoured sort, but I like it.

So now I can once again sympathise with Edmund’s voracious appetite for the delightful sweets. Yay!

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I’m home from the shut-up-and-read party. It was great!!  I always treasure the time I get to spend with the incomparable Izzybella, Elle, and Jehara, and tonight was certainly no exception. We had a gourmet dinner at Waffle House before going to Barnes & Noble to wait. There we got to admire the exquisite costumes, and tally up Team Edward versus Team Jacob.  Izzy graciously got up early to get to the store for a wristband, and we were in group A. What that means is that we were leaving the store at 12:03, Elle clutching the bag of books in her arms and admonishing Izzy to get home immediately.  We got to the house and had the ceremonial opening of the books, whereupon we each chose a spot of furniture or floor and began reading.

I read really fast. That makes it hard in the sense that I want to gasp or laugh or exclaim about something, but I can’t. Okay, I did laugh out loud once. I finished the book around 3:30, and was immensely satisfied. Stephenie Meyer did a great job wrapping things up in a way that–I hope–will leave her readers content. If you want to chat about the book, drop me an e-mail. I don’t want to spoil anyone, so I won’t write anything else here, at least for a few days.

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