Tally Monday- November 24, 2014

Checked Out

None!

Bought

  1. All My Friends are Going to be Strangers by Larry McMurtry

Read

  1. Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman
  2. Dream Country by Neil Gaiman

TBR: 37

I woke up this morning to pretty dire circumstances in Rachael World.  I didn’t do anything this weekend and my To Do list is a mile long.  I haven’t worked on my novel for Nanowrimo since Thursday.  The house is utter chaos.  When I got groceries on Friday I forgot a handful of things.  While I had done the laundry yesterday I hadn’t actually folded it so there was a mountain of clean clothes in the basket.  Every day I think longingly of the book I’m reading and every day I think about my TBR stack on my desk and I wish that I could just read and read and read.  But sometimes I can’t and sometimes I don’t.  This week I just didn’t.  I didn’t really do much of anything.  I cannot actually tell you where the time went, even though I stayed up until 5 AM yesterday.

I’ve been having a frustrating month.  I feel like there is always something getting in the way of what I want to do.  This happens in a normal life.  It happens to everybody.  An example:  One day last week it was super cold and gray all day and I was feeling tired and stressed out but generally on top of things.  I worked really hard at work and really hard around the house and at the end of the day I wanted to go home and just relax and read.  I wanted to just get sucked into the world of the book.  BUT, hubby was in a talking mood and seemed really insulted when I just wanted to read.  I reminded myself that he loves me and he wants to spend time with me but in the back of my head the little kid in me was stomping its feet and yelling, “But you did what you wanted to do while I made dinner!  When is it my turn??”  But it’s seriously been like that with everything these past two weeks.  If I want to clean the house, I have to go to work.  If I want to make dinner, a cat pukes on the floor and I have to clean it up.

This too shall pass.

I am really enjoying Sandman though.  I was skeptical at first.  It’s not that I doubt Gaiman, I’ve loved everything that I’ve read of his, but I didn’t really know what to expect.  I mean, the Lord of Dreams?  Where could that possibly go?  Everywhere.  It can go everywhere.  Seriously, I am pretty disturbed by the fact that Death is now like my favorite character ever.  Seriously.

Better reading this week?  Pft.  I hope so.

Tally Monday- November 17, 2014

Checked Out

None!

Bought

  1. Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo
  2. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
  3. Revival by Stephen King

Read

  1. Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
  2. Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum

TBR :38

Don’t judge me.

Ugh.  Seriously.  I realize that I spend most of my Tally Mondays being all down on myself.  I have super high expectations.  This week I planned on plowing through the complete Sandman trades and then tearing through Revival.  I was super excited when I realized that my reading week consisted of Neil Gaiman, Nick Hornby, and Stephen King.  It sounded pretty kick ass.

But just like with all of my other expectations, I have no idea where the time went.

I told you last week about The Following, the TV show we’ve been binge watching on Netflix.  I finally had to put my foot down on Wednesday.  I was feeling so overwhelmed.  I had no idea why.  I mean, I worked really super hard at work all week and I got a lot done but I was just… distracted.  Wednesday night I sat down with my book and blocked out everything that was going on around me and read.  Hubby, while watching TV at one point, sneered, “You’re not even paying attention!” I replied that I, indeed, was not.

Isn’t that really the joy of reading though?  Sometimes I feel like there is so much going on in my life that it is virtually impossible for me to give in to a story.  There’s the TV, the computer, the phone.  The cats are running around like fuzzy asshole ninjas and Hubby pausing as he passes to tell me about what he’s working on.  I want to spend less time on my devices and more time with my books and my loves.  I hate that sometimes I am pulled in so many different directions that I end up snapping at the Hubby when he just wants to talk to me.  That’s not fair to anyone.

Also, I have decided to work on simplifying my reading life a little.  I have a list of authors that I want to read through all of their works and I am going to start pursuing one of these at a time.  I am one book away from tearing through both Hornby and Joe Meno.  Both of them are in my TBR.  I’m going to tackle them.  I’m also going to put off ordering any books until the new year.  I need to get things under control.  All kinds of things, apparently.

May your reading week be as packed with awesome as mine looks to me.

Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum

In my childhood I had a brief love affair with the Oz books.  I think that Ozma of Oz was the last one that I made it through and I remember it being my favorite.  I also remember the library’s copy being one of those big, beautiful, illustrated giants.  I kind of wonder if that was why I loved Ozma so much.

Actually, I came across a live action version of this book on TV a couple of years ago and I was super excited.  I begged Hubby to let me watch it even though it was nothing he would ever be interested in and I rambled off the basic plot points easily.  It’s only now that I have been trying to read a chapter a night from Oz that I realized how messed up these books are.

Seriously.

Did you know that there is a character in this book who takes people’s heads and wears them as her own?  How about the Wheelers, a breed of creature that has wheels instead of hands and feet, wheels made of a substance like bone or fingernail?  The joy of Oz lies in the fact that it isn’t all beautiful and wonderful.  There may be Emerald Cities but there are also Gnome kingdoms.  For every beautiful woman who wants to help you, there’s another that wants to wear your head.

Still, I’ve been really enjoying these books.  I bought the complete Oz books on my Kindle a while ago and it’s nice being able to read before bed (or during one of my newly frequent mid-night awakenings) without twisting around to turn on a light.  Plus, as far as bed time stories go, these are pretty great.  They have magic and beauty and adventure and excitement.

Tally Monday- November 10, 2014

Checked Out

  1. Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King
  2. 30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30 by Pamela Redmond Satran

Bought

  1. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
  2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chebon
  3. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Read

  1. Pirates!  In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe
  2. Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

TBR: 39

I hate to be a snob, I really do.  But sometimes I catch myself thinking that I miss reading “serious literature.”  If you look back over the past few weeks, there has been a serious element of comedy going on in my life.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  I’m sure that comedy is one of those things that I really need in my life right now actually.  It’s just that there is something to be said for a big fat wordy book.

What is it that defines a book as being “serious literature”?  What is the exact definition of “literary fiction”?  I’ve always thought of it as “all the other stuff that we couldn’t categorize.”

Thank God the new Stephen King comes out this week.  (Wink!)  Did you realize that the debate about whether or not to consider Mr. King as literature, whether or not to take him “seriously,” is a matter of hot debate?  Google it if you don’t believe me!  Hubby sent me an article about it earlier this week and I had just read one a few days before that.  My personal opinion is that Stephen King is The Shit.  Poe wrote horror, right?  We consider him literature these days.  (Though, apparently that’s a relatively new thing, if you’ve read King’s On Writing.  Mom, on the other hand, remembers reading Poe in high school and then going on a Poe tangent.)

Speaking of Poe, have you guys watched The Following on Netflix?  We’re about the finish the first season.  Heavy literary overtones.  In the midst of a marathon watching yesterday, I turned to Hubby and said, “See that?  Us writers are crazy.”

And now to the meat of it!  It’s NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.  I am 3500 words behind on my word count.  Hubby and I are both on sick days today.  You’d think that maybe I would have done some writing and maybe finished the book that I started yesterday.  I assure you that I’ve mostly laid on the couch and half watched TV.  The day is slipping away from me and I have little to show for it.

In our check outs this week there may be a touch of a lie, there.  I cannot remember checking out the 30 Things.  I mean, I remember looking it up in the catalog at work, seeing that it was checked in, and retrieving it but I don’t really remember when.  I think it may have been the previous work.  Now, about the KIng.  I listened to A.S. King on a podcast last week and was so fired up that I had to check the book out Right Now.  It’s on the top of my TBR stack, after all of the Sandman comics.  Ugh.  I could scream.  I just want to read everything.  READ EVERYTHING!

It was a pretty good week for buying books, too.  Three books for less than $10.  Hubby had Tuesday off for voting because he works in the auto industry, the lucky bastard, and he stopped to see me at work.  Some of the books for the book sale are kept in my office and he picked out the Wolitzer, even though it’s totally on my list, and handed it over to me.  I bought it.  The other two came from my FAVORITE antique booth at the local giant antique mall.  We met the woman who we believed rented the booth and we both nearly fan boyed her.  I wanted to be like, “I love all of your books!”  Hubby scored a Bob Dylan record with an original poster from her and I think he feels the same.

Then I read some light stuff.  I’m feeling a bit brain dead and frazzled lately.  That’s not to say that I didn’t take anything from it.  Pirates are always serious business, after all.  (Wink!)  Plus, Page by Paige really made me want to journal better and more.  I even wrote a poem this week!

I’m going to try harder this week, you guys.  I’m going to read and write and do all of those things that I’m supposed to be doing with my life, like finishing up projects and eating healthy.  Really.  I mean it.

Read on!

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

Last year, when I became aware of the fact that there was no way in hell that I was going to finish my reading challenge for the year, I tried to pump up my numbers by starting at the front of my TBR notebook and reading my way through the graphic novels I had listed.  For a couple of years I had been noting graphic novels in the list and I checked out the ones that I could get my hands on and sighed in frustration at the ones that just weren’t available through the library.  One of my little projects recently has been going through my TBR and getting rid of some of the stuff that really doesn’t interest me as much as I thought it would.  I came across this book on the list, having apparently skipped over it last year.  Lucky me, it was available.

Because I really liked it.

Was it super YA?  Yes.  That didn’t devalue it for me at all.  Gulledge did a really good job of capturing the emotion of that particularly volatile stage.  Reading through Paige’s sketchbook was a lot like reading through my own journals from the time.  Page is frustrated.  Her father recently got a new job in New York and she has moved from Virginia to the city.  From the start she realizes that this could be a chance to really grow into something new.  It doesn’t take long for her to make some new friends and really start to come out of her shell.

What I found to be so honest about this book was that Page is frustrated.  She’s frustrated at her mother who always wants to pretend that everything is perfect.  She’s frustrated with herself because she never opens up.  She is really just a kid, trying to figure herself out.  And, you know, having recently read through a few of my old journals I can promise you that the frustrations are right on point.

The style here is also very nice, very readable.  The text doesn’t get lost in the art even when it is mixed in with the art, like words written on a torn page.  I love the simplicity and depth of the drawings, which managed to feel both lifelike and cartoonish and somewhat high minded.

I think that possibly the best result from this book was when I woke up this morning thinking about how much more I wanted to journal, like I used to in high school when I drew and wrote poems and short stories all on the same pages.

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe

The chain of events for my relationship with this book look something like this:  Cute little hardcover that looks amusing shows up in book sale.  Crazy Book Lady gladly forks out $1, for some reason thinking that her husband would probably like it too.  Book makes it home and is handed to husband.  Later, book ends up on shelf because it is too cute to be banished to the boxes in the closet.  A couple of years later, Crazy Book Lady pulls the book’s name out of a hat(box) and takes it from the shelf.  Husband insists that he read the whole thing.  CBL is pretty sure that he only read parts.  As CBL reads, she cannot help but read the best bits out loud causing Hubby to insist, repeatedly, that he has read the book.  The spouses decide on a whim to rewatch Lost and tiny little book takes way too long to read and, as usual, CBL regrets not taking the time to read it in the mythical one sitting.  CBL is also really excited by the appearance of a pirate ship on the show AND thinks that she needs to watch all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies for some reason.  Rum sounds nice.

A sailor’s life for me, yo!

Basically, if you cannot tell, I was absolutely delighted by this book.  It was ridiculous.  Hijinks were had.  The characters were not well developed.  Blah, blah, blah.  It made me laugh.  It made me walk around the house singing “What Would You Do with a Drunken Sailor.”  I have no regrets.

When our tale begins, Pirate Captain and his crew are on vacation after their last adventure and they are feeling a little restless.  Luckily, a rival pirate invites them aboard his ship for a feast, with ham!  The pirates attend the feast and the rival pirate informs Pirate Captain of a ship carrying vast amounts of gold called the Beagle.  Happy to find themselves on an adventure, the pirates enthusiastically locate the ship and fire at it with cannonballs.  It is only when they attempt to loot the ship that they realize there is no gold, only some scientist, one of which being Darwin, and a monkey, Mr. Bobo.  To make up for sinking the ship, Pirate Captain offers to take them aboard and help to save Darwin’s brother from the evil Bishop.

Did I learn anything from this book?  Only that the Berlin zoo is much better than the London zoo which has too many hoofed animals.  Also, that knot tying is an exhausting business.

I didn’t realize this was first in a series when I picked it up.  I want to keep reading them.  I am so glad this nonsense exists.

Also, don’t skip the reading comprehension questions.

Tally Monday- November 3, 2014

Checked Out

  1. Brief Lives by Neil Gaiman
  2. World’s End by Neil Gaiman
  3. The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman
  4. The Wake by Neil Gaiman

Bought

  1. An Unquiet Grave by P.J. Parrish

Read

None

TBR

I have no effing idea…

I have a perfectly good excuse.  See… I don’t know if you realized this or not but last week was Halloween and Halloween is MY holiday.  We started watching horror movies on Sunday and partook in one a night for the whole week.  That cut into my reading time.  Plus, I was about three hours short on sleep for two nights, rendering me perfectly useless for most of the week.  Friday night I handed out candy and went grocery shopping.  Saturday I cooked, cleaned, and decorated for the party.  Sunday I didn’t move from the couch and watched 13 episodes of Lost even though I’ve seen the whole series and played the Sims.

I read an interesting short story in my short story collection (The Oxford Book of Short Stories, 1981).  “A Horse and Two Goats” by R.K. Narayan.  It was interesting.  I don’t know if I got it.  My eyes were dry and bloodshot from lack of sleep.  I tried to read the Parrish book that I picked up this week because it takes place in the cemetery of an old mental home in Michigan and that’s super close to home and it sounded delightfully thrilling.  I gave up two chapters in.  It was number 7 in a series and it was just too much back story for me to care.

I promise that life will near normal soon enough.  Horror movie season is over and I don’t know that I’ll keep on with the Lost. Though, I did really enjoy playing the Sims….  And it is NaNoWriMo….

May you read more than I am!