Tally Monday- August 31, 2015

Checked Out

None

Bought

  1. Castles by Alan Lee
  2. The Living Forest by Rien Poortvielt
  3. The Pursuit of Unicorns by Josephine Bradley
  4. Unicorns by Nancy Hathaway
  5. The Shining by Stephen King (ebook)
  6. The Worn Out Woman by Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Grey
  7. Mommy Dearest by Christina Crawford

Read

Not a damn thing.

TBR: 32

This may sound weird coming from me but do you ever just not want to read?  It was that kind of week for me and I didn’t realize what was going on until, like, Friday night.  The idea of reading was vaguely appealing all week long.  I would think, “Oh, I would like to read right now.” at moments when it was impossible and when it became possible I would magically think of something else to do.  I would look wistfully around me and think, “I want to READ ALL THE BOOKS!” but then find myself doing anything to avoid actually doing it.  On a typical day, I would spend the time that I usually spent reading playing games on my phone, watching TV, even cleaning the house.  Sometime I would catch myself holding my Kindle and staring into space until it shut itself off.  When I did read it was like I just couldn’t get into it.  I was jumpy and twitchy and distracted and I had no idea why.

Was it the book deja vu?  Was it that I just wasn’t in the mood for King?  No.  It wasn’t.  I just didn’t want to read.

Friday night I gave into myself.  I sat the Kindle of the coffee table and left it there.  I played games and listened to vinyl and went to bed.  I got up on Saturday and I got ready to head to Ren Fest and watched TV or played around on my phone until Hubby was ready.  We went out all day and came home tired and ready for some binge Game of Thrones watching.  Sunday morning we woke up sick and exhausted and turned the television on again.  More GoT and some documentaries, some naps and then a Reel Big Fish concert.  When we got home late last night, I laid down on the couch with The Shining and read easily and happily until I was too tired to go on.

Sometimes you just have to give in to yourself.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Sometimes making yourself do something only makes you want to do it less.  I know one thing, though.  I am looking forward to doing some reading this week in spite of a crazy schedule and a sick Hubby.

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Tally Monday- August 24, 2015

Checked Out

  1. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading Guide

Bought

None!

Read

  1. Iggie’s House by Judy Blume
  2. Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy
  3. “How I Met My Husband” by Alice Munro

TBR: 32

Have you ever experienced book deja vu?  I have been suffering from it since last Thursday when I cracked open my copy of Stephen King’s The Shining. I noticed earlier this year that I had marked it as read on Goodreads the year that Hubby and I got together but I had no recollection of reading it.  It hadn’t written a review on the site.  In an attempt to figure out if I had read it, I pulled out all of my “Books Read” lists that I stash in my journals at the end of every year.  No luck.  I looked at my old book blog (recently rediscovered after being completely forgotten about).  No luck.  Even more infuriating, I had not marked The Stand as read and figured that maybe I had accidentally marked The Shining instead of The Stand. In the meantime, both Hubby and Mom insisted that I read it.  Mom said it was her copy.  Hubby said he remembered me reading it.

I, however, had no recollection of reading it.

Until I picked up the book.  Now I have a suspicion that Mom and Hubby are right.  It sounds very familiar.  Very very familiar.  I kind of want to assume that I DID read it but what if I didn’t and I’m missing out on an awesome opportunity?  What if I only remember the movie?  I mean, I have only seen it once.  Maybe twice.  I’ve been to the hotel where King started writing it.  Maybe I read it before that trip?  That would make sense because that would have been around the time that I got Goodreads and also my record keeping was a little off because I moved twice that year and went through a rough break up.  Things got sloppy.

I love King.  I don’t want to make it sound like it’s work to read his books but they do take me a loooong time and I do want to read them all and if I have already read this I would like to move on to a different one.  But I want to read it.  But.  But.  But.  Basically, I haven’t dipped into it hardcore yet because I keep thinking that I might not read it but I totally know that I’m going to.  That’s my brain, y’all.

May we take a moment here to just mention that Alice Munro is the queen?  She’s the queen, you guys.  That woman can write a sentence and she can write a story.  The one I read this week, “How I Met My Husband”, was just so perfect and so good.  I loved it.  I even told my mom about it.

I need to kick up the reading.  One book a week will not do it.  Plus, I’ve been lazy with my audiobooks.  I’ve got to get it together…

Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy- A Personal Review

This is one of those reviews that you won’t find on my Goodreads.  Why?  I am famously vocal about my feminist views in my private life but on the internet I tend to keep them to myself.  I’m always a little worried that I am “doing it wrong” and that I’ll spark some argument that I don’t want to have online because I am rally bad at debating things online.  I end up looking like an idiot.  I wanted to review this book because I thought that it had some valid points and I wanted to talk about the things that it made me think about, the fires it sparked.  Goodreads doesn’t seem like the place to do that.  This will most likely get personal.

I have been blessed to be raised by a mother who was always very open with me about sex and I think that is part of the reason that I feel like a healthy sexual adult now.  The reason I bring this up is because one of the things that I found most shocking was the discussion of teenage girls and sexuality.  Many of the girls said that they thought of sexuality as a way to compete.  They wanted to look the skankiest and have the most encounters but they didn’t actually expect any pleasure out of these encounters.  This was a big record scratching moment for me.  What?  A large part of my mother’s generation didn’t know that women were supposed to have orgasms and now girls are just shrugging that off??

A lot of the book felt like a big mind bender to me.  The discussions on how to define female sexuality made me think that there is no way that we can do so without using male sexuality as a stepping off point.  Then the discussion about gender being fluid and the movement from womyn to bois made me question even more about gender identities.  It was thought provoking.  I would read a page and then stop and think about it and think about what it meant in my life and in my world.

It seems that Levy’s actual argument is that we should be individuals, defining ourselves as ourselves, not by the culture norms.

Also, when I realized that this was published a decade ago, I took a second to look around.  I feel like things are better now, like there is a lot less raunch.  In fact, I maybe even feel like we’re in the midst of a very conservative swing.  Maybe that’s how it goes?  Maybe we swing from one extreme to the other.  I like that there had been a push back lately about body image and being your own person and doing your own thing.  On the other hand, it could feel this way to me because I am just over 30 and just out of that age of competition and party culture.

Iggie’s House by Judy Blume

A few weeks ago I realized that the only Judy Blume that I ever actually read was Summer Sisters and that this was one of those gaping holes in my junior chapter book reading that I should work on filling.  I started at the beginning and then landed on Iggie’s House.  Soon after checking the book out, I heard it talked about on the Literary Disco podcast and it really helped to spark my interest.

Why don’t we talk about this book more?  It was a difficult read, a gut wrenching read.  It speaks to a time and a view that still manages to hit home and actually could be used to aid in the discussion of race relations today in a gentle way.  There’s some history here and there is value in that.

Winnie’s best friend Iggie had recently moved to Tokyo with her family, leaving Winnie to wonder about the “surprise” people who bought Iggie’s house.  Winnie is indeed surprised when she spots the family moving in.  There is a mother, a father, and three children and they are black.  In Winnie’s town there are very few black people and she is excited because she has been learning about race relations in school and she wants to prove that she can be a good neighbor and a friend.

Winnie, of course, falters in her attempt to befriend the new kids, the Garbers.  Even though she means well, she is just learning her way and she still lives in a time when families discuss moving out simply because there is a black family on the street.  One of her neighbors, Mrs. Landon, does decide to move out but only after making up a petition to let the Garbers know they are not welcome and then putting a sign in their yard telling them to go back to where they belong.  Winnie is upset by this and by her own parents’ reaction to the Garbers.  She is disappointed in the adults around her and she is trying to understand and do the best she can.

Like I said, this was a hard read but it definitely had it’s value.  Looking at such events through the eyes of a child adds this layer of innocence to the thought.  I loved how Winnie struggled with things like terminology.  Should she call the Garbers negro or black or colored?  I also loved the simplicity of her thinking that the Garbers are just like everyone else because they use the same peanut butter as her family.  However, this is one of those books where one has to remember that it was published in 1970 and it was a slightly different time.

Tally Monday- August 17, 2015

Checked Out

  1. Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose
  2. Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Bought

None!  Woot!

Read

  1. The Emerald City of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  2. “Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You” by Alice Munro

TBR: 33

I am trusting that 33 is the correct number of books in my stack because, frankly, I did not count this morning before I left.  I have no idea where the time has been going.  I mean, now the Summer Reading is done, I have a bit more leeway with my schedule at work and I used a lot of the leeway last week to get out early.  Monday our computers were being updated and we were closed to the public so instead of working 10-7 with a half hour lunch I worked 8:30-5 with no lunch.  I went in early on Tuesday and left early.  Then I went in a half hour early for the rest of the week to get out at 2 on Friday.  These early days don’t seem like they would alter my schedule much.  I’m home just as much as usual.  I think that I am going nonstop but at the end of the day I look at my to do list and I have barely accomplished anything.

It’s the same with reading.  If you asked me how much reading I did last week, I would have told you “a lot.”  It seriously felt that way.  I guess that there was some television but it only seemed like maybe three hours worth.  (Right?  Two episodes of Game of Thrones and one of Ballers? Oh, I guess there was another episode of Ballers. And I watched Hector and the Meaning of Happiness but I think that was last Sunday…)  Anyway, what was I doing all week long?  I oiled my sewing machine but I never got a chance to sew.  I bought some canvases for a project and they are still sitting in the recliner in the living room, untouched.  I didn’t cook once last week.  I guess that I was going to bed earlier than usual and that Thursday I had two single bottles of wine and went to bed at like 9:45.  I also spent a lot of time asking myself what it was that i really really wanted to do at any given moment and maybe that was time that I usually spend picking up the house or reading a book.  I don’t know.

But, seriously.  Where did the time go?

This morning I got up and wrote out my to do list and I felt the weight of a day pressing down on me.  There is so much to do.  The house is a mess and I work from 8:30-7 and I’m feeling like I’ll never get my shit together.  It’s frustrating.  I need a break but I think that maybe I’ve been giving myself too much of a break.

Now would be a perfect time for that escape into a book.  Just perfect.

The Emerald City of Oz by L. Frank Baum

For a while I was reading the Oz books before bed but when I started reading The Emerald City of Oz I just couldn’t do it.  I had had enough.  I was done.  It was time to give up.  I checked out another children’s book and put aside my Kindle.  Later days.

But, oh, I had gone so far!  I always wanted to read the complete Oz books.  I could push through it.

Earlier this week when I picked my Kindle back up I was amazed what a couple of weeks off did for me.  I was drawn back into the world of Oz and the wonders therein.

When Uncle Henry and Aunt Em are about to lose their farm because they can’t pay the mortgage, they put off telling Dorothy as long as they could.  Dorothy, instead of being devastated, had a brilliant plan.  She would go to Oz and ask Ozma if her family could live there forever.  Ozma was happy to grant Dorothy this wish and for the first time her aunt and uncle see that the fairy country is real.  There they have wonderful food and fancy clothes and grand rooms but they are farm folk and the idleness of the Emerald City makes them restless.  Ozma decides that she must find jobs for Uncle Henry and Aunt Em and sends them on a tour of the country with Dorothy and some of her dear old friends while she can think of some occupations befitting to the pair.

While on their journey, the party encounters many strange and wonderful people of Oz.  In the meantime, the nasty old Nome King is digging a tunnel and plotting his revenge on Ozma for the loss of his magic belt.  How can Oz fight off an army of evil beings when they have an army full of officers?

The Oz books are getting a little worn to me.  I can’t decide if I want to keep going.  I did like this one better than the last which only makes me wonder what the next one will bring.

Tally Monday- August 10, 2015

Checked Out

  1. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
  2. Iggie’s House by Judy Blum
  3. Untouchable by Kate Brian
  4. Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You by Alice Munro

Bought

None!

Read

  1. Invitation Only by Kate Brian
  2. “Madame Bovary’s Dog” by Karen Russell
  3. The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks
  4. “Antarctica” by Laura Van Den Berg
  5. The Best American Short Stories 2014

TBR: 33

I feel like, just like any addict, I have been lying to you guys.  I keep pretending that I am working so hard on getting my TBR list down but I just keep checking out more and more books.  I don’t necessarily make more time to read.  I buy books on my Kindle because they are on sale and forget to add them to my list of bought items.  I mean, sale Kindle books don’t count, right?  Kind of like smoking while you drink.  Doesn’t count.  And broken Triscuits don’t calories.

What I am saying, ladies and gentlemen, is that I am a cheater.  I cheating cheater with fire pants.

But this week I got some rough news and I handled it with a bit more grace than anyone expected purely because I had the ability to pick up my book and get sucked into teenage drama.  And, hey, not getting a promotion isn’t the worst thing that could happen.  I could find out that my kind of ex boyfriend is dead or have be kissing a boy who uses way too much tongue or have friends manipulating me into thinking that they are bat shit crazy.  None of my exes are dead!  Hubby is a great kisser!  My friends are as openly bat shit crazy as I am!  Life isn’t that bad!

And when I got home from my weekend long trip with my friends and laid down with my book to read a short story and the sun was shining and there was a nice breeze, I kind of thought, “I could die happy right now.”  Books ground and center me.  They are not the worst thing that I could be addicted to.

All of my reading was great this week.  I liked it all.  I threw myself into it.  I wrote a NEW MASTER READING PLAN.  I finished book 62 for the year.  I am happy even if I hurt right now.  Plus, a lady who retired at work and is moving far away gave me a box of booze right when I needed it.  Who could say no to a glass of wine and a good book?  Not this girl.  That’s for sure.

I am who I am and there is nothing wrong with that.  I am good enough.  I have enough.  Right now I have a date with Oz.