I’m not very good at reviewing graphic novels, so bare with me. Actually, the reason that I’m not very good at it is because I find it difficult to separate the illustrations from the text. To me, if the two don’t actually flow together they just distract from one another and that was definitely not a problem that I had with Nimona.
I ADORED this book. Seriously. From the moment that I met Nimona I started thinking up ways to dress up as her for Halloween.
Nimona is just a girl who shows up at the headquarters of Ballister Blackheart, renowned villain. She wants to be his apprentice and he decides to give her a chance. It isn’t long before Ballister realizes that Nimona may be more than he can handle. She likes chaos and fire and death to the enemies! Plus, she’s a crazy good shapeshifter. Of course, it’s Nimona who realizes that Ballister isn’t crazy and that the Institution is really up to no good and who decides to help Ballister fight.
It isn’t long before the Institution realizes that Nimona is trouble and they send their hero Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin to take her out and capture Ballister. Only Ambrosius may not be as shallow as they think.
This was a quick read, very funny, and the kind of book that had me cheering and yelling! I almost started it all over again as soon as I was done.
- Dangerous Deceptions by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
- Into the Green by Charles de Lint
- Spiritwalk by Charles de Lint
- Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint
- The Harp of Grey Rose by Charles de Lint
- The Ivory and the Horn by Charles de Lint
- A Week on the Concord and Merrimak Rivers by Henry David Thoreau
- The Maine Woods by Henry David Thoreau
- Walden by Henry David Thoreau
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (audio)
- Finders Keepers by Stephen King
- “At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners” by Lauren Groff
- Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
- “The Judge’s Will” by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Now, that is a list! Let’s take some time to break it down.
First, Dangerous Deceptions is the second book in a series and I didn’t even know that it was out. I actually forgot about the series and then I realized that I read the first one on my vacation last summer, which is coming up. I ordered it right away, even though I had just promised myself that I wouldn’t order anything else until I did some more of the Great Reading Plan and got my stack under something like control. Oops. I’m a chapter in. Hopefully I blow through it. I’m still looking forward to some Faulkner.
Second, I may have gone a little overboard on book purchasing this week. I can explain! I was looking at the Modern Library 100 Best Novels list a long time ago and noticed some de Lint on there. I had never heard of him but since then I always look for him in used book stores. I never find him. Imagine my surprise when I was browsing through donations and someone donated all of those de Lint books! I grabbed them simply because I had to. The Thoreau is easily explained too! A few years ago someone donated these two beautiful hardbound Thoreaus. I took them home and put them on my shelf. Today I discovered that it was actually a set of three and someone donated the full set in a little box! I’ll be donating my original two and the set has been added to my bookshelf already.
It was a pretty decent reading week. I finished Harry Potter and the King on my birthday and I enjoyed them both. I am already almost done with Chamber of Secrets because I drove up north alone last weekend. After that was the Groff short story which I absolutely adored. I kept thinking about it all weekend long. Sunday when I got home I broke out Nimona and read it while I cleaned and did laundry. It. Was. GREAT. And I even enjoyed “The Judge’s Will”. I kind of feel like I’m on a row.
I spent some time this week reading Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski and I was really enjoying it. I could see why so many women have been raving about it. The problem was that it just wasn’t right for the time. I’m not taking it off my mega TBR list but I’m not reading it now and it’s new so I’ll let someone else have it.
Onward, brave readers!
I went to see the Blair Witch Project the week that it came out in theaters. A lot of people may not remember this but those first weeks that it was in theaters everyone talked about how it was REAL. It REALLY happened. That was the conversation on MTV and the internet and the local rock radio station. Now that I’m older I would know better but then I was just 15. I remember sitting in the dark theater with one of my best friends and her mother and all of us being scared. That night I slept on my parents’ bedroom floor for the last time. I was too afraid to sleep. Just across our front lawn, a pond away, were the woods and who knew what was lurking in them. The following day I sat on a cat who was snuggled under the comforter in my waterbed and the sound she made sent me screaming, “It’s the Blair Witch!” Oh, it’s all so funny now but that movie put fear into my heart.
A lot of movies have scared me. There’s something about seeing things happen that snaps my brain into “that could be you” mode and that’s what scares me the most.
Earlier today I was trying to think of a book that scared me. I didn’t think that it would be difficult. I love Stephen King. I grew up on a steady diet of Fear Street. I wanted to be a witch when I grew up and I adored vampires. I would read any scary book that I could get my hands on.
But they don’t scare me.
It’s odd but it does take a very special combination of circumstances to scare me. The rest of the time it’s just this gross fascination. I’m the girl who laughs at slasher films, yells at the screen, reads the paragraph about “eyeballs popping like grapes” out loud. I don’t want to live these things but I’m awfully amused by them in entertainment.
Does this make me weird?
Last year I read the first in this series, Mr. Mercedes, and as you may recall, I wasn’t a huge fan. This kind of crime thriller where there’s a race to beat the clock is not really my thing. I was actually disappointed when I found out that this was going to be a trilogy. “Oh, no,” I groaned. “I’m going to have to read two more of these!” If I didn’t love King so much, I would not have fought construction traffic from hell on publication day to find a copy. But I do love King, so I did.
And I really, really liked it.
What was it that made this book so much better than Mr. Mercedes, in my opinion? First, I liked the content so much more. This was like a thriller about literature and I love literature so I was hooked right away. I liked how the first 150ish pages of the book were the alternating chapters between Morris and Pete. Morris is the man who murdered famous and reclusive author John Rothstein, taking the money and notebooks from his safe and stashing them elsewhere before getting arrested for another crime. Years later Pete not only lives in Morris’s boyhood home but also stumbles across his hidden treasure. Pete’s family is going through a hard time and he uses the money to help them while hiding the notebooks away. As Pete grows, he grows to love Rothstein’s work but particularly the notebooks hidden in his attic. Then, Morris gets out and goes in search of the loot that has given him a reason to live this whole time.
Then there’s this period of the book that I found really slow. We get reacquainted with Bill, Holly, and Jerome and that just really bogged me down. I thought for a little bit about giving up but then the action started to pick up again as the different characters come back together in that typical “small world” way. Morris stumbles upon Pete through an old friend and while Pete is trying to outsmart one person he’s being blindsided by someone even more dangerous. I had a hard time putting the book down. I wanted to know what was next and what was next and what was next.
A thrilling tale of literary obsession, that would be my blurb.
- Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
- A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
- Christine by Stephen King
- Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susan
- How to Tell a Story and Other Essays by Mark Twain
Yesterday I woke up tired. I wasn’t just tired, though. I was exhausted. I could barely gather the energy to walk to ten feet to answer a text when my phone was plugged in. I took a nap and had to really convince myself to get up. I sat around all day. In the morning, I told Hubby that I was going to finish King’s Finders Keepers by the end of the day. Did I? No. You know what I did do? I played hours of Dragon Age Inquisition and felt bad about feeling bad.
Stephen King is one of my favorite authors but he takes me a long time to get through. I love his little short sub-chapters but they are probably also what holds me back. I like to read a section and then go and do something else. Yesterday it just made it too easy to slip away and play video games.
The past couple of weeks I have been spinning around like a whirling dervish again. I have been behind on my to do list for at least those two weeks. I find it hard to let myself off the hook and I catch myself working furiously around the house until I am too tired to read. I get sucked into the world of television but I can’t even tell you what we watched last week.
I am trying to set myself up for better reading habits. Better living habits, actually. There is so much that I do in a day that doesn’t matter one lick to anyone but me and some of it doesn’t even matter to me! I spin from task to task and don’t get any joy out of any of it. For instance, last week I realized that I check my e-mail and Facebook while I eat lunch but also mid morning and mid afternoon and absolutely nothing is happening at that time. It’s just me filling time when I could be reading.
Summer is upon us and that means it is one of my busier times at work plus all of those fun summer things that you can only do for three months in Michigan. But right here, right now, I vow to make some time for myself. Reading is how I keep myself sane, after all.
- Entre Nous by Debra Ollivier
- Finders Keepers by Stephen King
- What French Women Know by Debra Ollivier
- “A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me” by David Gates
- The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum
There are a number of things that impede on my reading time. There are the usual ones: work, sleep, the people I love. Then there are the Rachael Specific ones. My crazy To Do list is one of those, which grows steadily longer as I slack off. Last night I sat down with my calendar and figured out that I am busy every day until the 27th. I don’t like that. I need down time once in a while, time to just be quiet on my own. That’s the reason I spent part of my day sitting in the basement yesterday with my book. I didn’t want to talk and I didn’t want to listen to the television.
Time is an interesting thing. It slips away, wasted on so much crap. Now, a lot of the things I have coming up are actually great things. Like, this weekend I have my birthday party, a cousin’s wedding, and a D&D game with a few of my favorite people. Then there’s a whole work week followed by our annual girl’s camping and tubing trip. Then there’s another work week. Finally, the 27th. My vacation starts! But I don’t want to spend my time always thinking about what is coming next and what I need to get done before I can enjoy my life. I want to enjoy it now!
I am sailing this ship the only way that I know how. I have resolved to spend these busy weeks being cheerful and forgiving, not flying off the handle, taking the chances I get to read, and trying to keep myself healthy and fueled and rested. Really, I just want to sit on my Mustang blanket in the front yard and read.
I’m glad that I live in this modern world with an interweb full of book people to validate my feelings. For a long time, I fought my way through every single book that I picked up. It started in high school when I read Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence. At the time I missed a lot of what was happening and thought that it was a dull book. I just kept reading because (A)my best friend had made it through and (B)she assured me that the ending was worth it. It was and after that I decided that some books are made by the ending and you just have to fight through.
That’s just how I thought that classics were. Part of the problem was that I was reading those books before I was ready for them. I was late to the reading game, not really catching fire until I was 12 while the other readers around me had years of experience under their belts. I was reading Carrie by Stephen King, Fear Street books, and a few YA series that were around at the time: Fearless, Making Out, California Diaries. Classics were on a completely different level and I missed a lot simply because nobody was getting cursed or chased by secret agents or addicted to drugs.
Later, when I revisited some of these books, I had grown a lot as a reader. Age of Innocence was a brilliant look at women and social norms. The Sun Also Rises wasn’t just about going to see a bullfight. Jane Austen was witty enough to make me chuckle out loud. I missed those things the first time around because I was just trying to get to the end. I wasn’t enjoying the journey.
The first book that I didn’t finish was The Grapes of Wrath. It. Killed. Me. Reading it killed me and not finishing it killed me. I was reading it for my American Modern Lit class and I was struggling. It was the last book of the semester and I had loved every book that we read for that class. I just couldn’t do it. I was aware that I wasn’t going to finish it in time and I checked out the audiobook in a last ditch effort to save myself. I read every chance I got and listened to the audio on my 45 minute drive to college. I never finished. Even with all of that work. I listened right up to the moment when I had to get out of my car and go to class and at that point I just gave in. I sat back and listened to the class discuss the reading and wrote a pretty decent essay based just on that. I felt bad about it for years but even my best friend never made it through.
It was only at the point when I went through my mortality thing that I realized that I couldn’t waste my time on books that I didn’t like. I started the fifty page rule and sometimes I would take it to 100 pages if I thought it might pick up or if the book was highly recommended or if it was a long book. Then I started reading short stories and I struggled with the idea that I could just sit through something I wasn’t enjoying because it was “only a couple of pages”. In the last year I’ve quit that, even, and if I dislike a short story so much that I don’t want to read it, I don’t.
The reason I was thinking about all of this was because I’ve been struggling with a poem. It’s a three page poem and I just can’t. I’ve been reading it for three days now. Honestly. I read a stanza and I think, “This is horrible. I hate this.” It has no flow to it at all. The words get all jumbled up in my mind. I can’t make sense of it. But I keep thinking that it’s only three pages.
Reading is a pleasure. At the very root of all of my reading, it comes down to pleasure. I love to learn and I love to live different lives and I love the way words make sentences that can be beautiful and heartbreaking and hilarious. I love books that make me feel and think and dream. Why would I waste my greatest pleasure on something I don’t care for?