Tally Monday- September 28, 2015

Checked Out

  1. Confessions by Kate Brian
  2. Fun Home by Alison Bechdal

Bought

  1. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Read

  1. Pop Sonnets by Erik Didriksen
  2. The Astronaut Wives Club by Lisa Koppel (audio)
  3. Fun Home by Alison Bechdal
  4. “Tell Me Yes or No” by Alice Munro

TBR: 30

I am beginning to think that I am off somewhere on my counting.  This week I cleared… wait…  I only read one book from my TBR stack?  That can’t be right…

But it’s true!  Pop Sonnets wasn’t in my TBR but was a gift from a dear friend that I put in front of my regular poetry reading because I found it so amusing.  Fun Home was something I ordered on a whim because I had heard so much about it.  Astronaut Wives Club was the only thing actually on my stack and I ordered it in audio in an attempt to, well, lower that stack down.  I have been trying to read some of the stuff on my Kindle too and I spent a large portion of my week suffering through The Patchwork Girl of Oz before deciding that I needed to move on for now.

What happened with the Oz?  I was really enjoying it from the beginning.  I sunk right into it.  I liked the new characters I had never met before and I was ready to see the old ones… And then I got creeped out.  Suddenly Oz didn’t seem so perfect anymore.  Oz seemed downright fucking 1984, actually.  Come on.  Ozma with her mirror that shows her anything interesting in the kingdom, including when someone does something wrong.  Nobody dares defy Ozma because following the rules, even if they seem silly, make people happy.  Creepiest of all, when Ojo, the munchkin boy, breaks a law he is arrested, dressed in a cloak eerily similar to a KKK robe, and sent to a nice apartment where he will learn to feel bad about breaking laws and never ever do it again.  Something in my brain made it very, very dark.  I could not go on.

So, I read Fun Home.

I owe you guys a couple of reviews and I promise to get to them soon, like when I don’t feel a migraine coming on.

Happy reading!

Reading My Father

I am currently about to finish Fun Home and I am having one of those odd grief experiences that crop up once in a while, even over a year later.

My father was not a reader.  He once told me that he had never read a whole book in his life but then he also once told me that I should read Helter Skelter because he had read it.  It’s kind of funny that my father would pick that one book.  He grew up in Detroit and after the race riots, and my father getting the whole family kicked out of Catholic school, his parents moved him to a little town in the thumb.  My mother has told me stories about how the good ol’ boys she hung out with didn’t really approve of my father.  They were the kind of guys who drank beer.  My father had long hair, smoked pot, and drank wine.  I didn’t know about the wine until Mom told me his past year and I loved the image it cut of my father.  It is easy for me to picture Dad as a young intellectual, drinking wine and debating with someone, even though he was more the kind of man who didn’t say a lot.  When he did talk, you listened.

After he died, I read An Easy Death about Simone de Beauvoir’s mother’s death.  I wondered, “Is this how it goes?  Is this how I am supposed to feel?”  What nobody can tell you about death is how you are supposed to mourn.  I thought that de Beauvoir was wrong.  Her mother did not have an easy death.  I thought Dad’s was much easier, though he had been suffering heart attacks for months undiagnosed, regardless of numerous doctor visits.  There was an ending to his life so perfect that I would not believe it if I had read it in a novel.  Finishing his Mustang days before, showing it off at his favorite car show one last time, spending an evening with his wife and daughter, eating his cake and smoking his cigar.  No death is easy.

What is surprising to me is how much I am relating to Bechdal while reading Fun Home.  Dad was not a closeted homosexual.  Dad was not a terror.  Dad was never keen on trying to get his kids to fit any kind of mold.  But the feelings of grief, even years later, are honest and true, a tangled web of questions that will never be answered.  The only reason that I realized what nerves the book touched was because I thought twice today, “I should call Dad and ask him that.”

Tally Monday- September 21, 2015

Checked Out

  1. Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel (audio)
  2. Wishcraft by Barbara Sheer
  3. Living the Life You Love by Barbara Sheer
  4. I Could Do Anything by Barbara Sheer

Bought

  1. The Pin-Up by Mark Gabor

Read

  1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  2. Untouchable by Kate Brian
  3. “Forgiveness in Families” by Alice Munro

TBR: 30

I feel like I’ve had a better week.  I mean that in an all around kind of way.  I read more and I enjoyed what I read more.  I smoked and drank less.  I did my yoga and spent some time thinking about what direction I want to take my life in.  I had TWO good days last week and four “not bad” days!  That’s a vast improvement.

Look at how rounded that Read list is!  An audio, a novel, and a short story.  Not bad.  I really enjoyed all of it, though I will be the first to admit that I need a break after Goblet from the the Harry Potter.

Someone suggested that I listen to some of the books on my TBR pile to cut it down a little bit and it felt like perfect timing because I needed a break from HP and the new Franzen was taking fooooorreeeverrr to come in for me.  I started at the top of the pile and ordered the first book that I could get in audio.  It just happened to be Astronaut Wives Club which I checked out the month that it came out and have been hogging ever since.  My mother-in-law informed me that it is now a TV show just a couple of weeks ago.  I had no idea.  The set is 7 CD’s and I am already on the second disc after starting it this morning.  So far, I LOVE IT.  I do.  I just want to listen to it and then I want to go and be a housewife.  Can I do that?  I make a mean casserole (mostly)…

You may notice that the rest of my check outs are, well, self help books.  Look, I’m going through some shit, man, and reading is probably way easier than moving to a cabin in the middle of the woods.  I don’t want to be dramatic or anything so I will just say that I am working out what I want and how to get it and how to have a real, actual adult life with, like, meaning and happiness.  Books are my natural answer.

I cannot wait to listen to my Audio!  I cannot wait to spend some time in a book!  Let’s all have killer weeks!

Untouchable by Kate Brian

What??  I’m only three books into this?  What??  There are, like, 16 of these?  I seriously cannot take the suspense.  I.  Cannot.  When I started these books, I thought that I was in for another “poor little rich girl” fest, a la Gossip Girl and A List.  I was not expecting mystery and intrigue so well done that I can hardly stand to put the books down.

I have now reached a point in the series where I don’t want to give anything away.  If I say how this books starts, it will ruin the first two and I don’t want to do that.  What I can say is that I have read tons of reviews that share two sentences:

  1. OMG.  What just happened?
  2. I need the next book NOW.

And that pretty much sums it up.

The Shining by Stephen King

It’s taken me a while to get around to writing a review for this one mostly because I feel like I talked about it a lot while I was reading it.  I read it for two and a half weeks and whenever I managed a big push in the reading I had something to talk about.  Don’t let the fact that it took me so long to read discouraged you.  King always takes me forever.  I still love him.

We all know the plot of this one because it is easily in the top three well known King books.  Plus, movies.  Instead, what I want to talk about is King’s style.  I’ve been reading through the books by publication date and the last one I read was Salem’s Lot.  This is a big change from that.  While SL was all about traditional monster horror thrills and full of gore and terror and mystery, The Shining is a slow build.

I knew what was coming, either because I possibly read it in high school or because I’ve seen the movies.  I knew what to expect.  Maybe there was an element of surprise that I missed out on just because I am familiar with the story.  What surprised me was how Kind built the story.  At first it doesn’t really feel like a horror novel.  When strange things start happening they are chapters apart.  I gave myself over to the ride and let King tell me the story and suddenly I was scared.  Seriously scared.  I had to put it down and read something nice before going to bed.

This one lives up to the hype.  I have the newer version of the movie waiting patiently to be watched!

Rondomness Friday

Yes, yes.  I know that I owe a review of The Shining. God.  Why you gotta ride my case?   I’ll get there.  Probably tomorrow.  Maybe Monday.  Who knows.

That’s okay.  Because tonight I want to talk about loneliness.

September, I think, is going to be a rough month for a while.  September has a lot of things.  It has my wedding anniversary.  Yay!  Then it has Autofest in Frankenmuth which was a family tradition and also the last time I saw my father alive, grinning and listening to ACDC’s “Back in Black.”  It also is the anniversary of his death.  (Could I ask for a better last day with Dad?  No.  Not at all.  Not unless he lived to be 128 and I lived to 100.)  Then there’s his birthday, which was Thursday.  September 17.  I am who I am, and who I am always forgets every birthday and always thought that Dad’s was the 19th or 21st.  (My brother’s is the 19th.  I’m just bad at this.)

It’s been a rough month, man.  I even met the person who got the position I had been prepping for since I was like 24.

But the worst part of this month has been the knowledge that I have to got through all of these things alone.  For the most part I have not even mentioned these things to Hubby, only the anniversary.  (Big Aside:  This year was cotton and I got Hubby three nerdtastic shirts and Magicarp dice bag.  He got me a wonderful map of the Great Smokey Mountains on archival paper, which is part cotton.  Damn him.)  When things are hard for me, I just don’t mention them.  Really, the only way that I get through tough times is by having a bestie who knows when shit is going down.  She’s awesome and amazing.

Basically, I’ve been lonely.  I am lonely.  I never feel like it’s okay to tell anyone what I am really feeling, what I really need.  I am more likely to stew over it and then forgive it before anyone ever notices that something is wrong.  Part of it is that I suspect that nobody can really do anything for me but that’s not even true.  I can think of 100 ways that I would feel better if there was someone with me right now.  The other part of me just never wants to show weakness.  Then there is the part that just always wants to be “nice”.

Life is hard because it is a balance.  I’ll just drink my beer and watch my YouTube and wait for the day when I no longer feel hurt and sad and alone.  It will come.  It always does.

This isn’t my first rodeo.

Tally Monday- September 14, 2015

Checked Out

  1. All the Garbage in the World, Unite! by Kim Hyesoon
  2. Are You Alice? by Ikumi Katagiri

Bought

None!

Read

  1. The Shining by Stephen King

TBR: 32

Hey!  You guys!  I did it!  I finished a book this week!  You probably can’t tell but I am gloating over here.

To top it all, I had one of those great reading experiences this week where things just clicked.  While I was pushing my way through The Shining this week, I happened across an episode of Ghost Hunters about the Stanley Hotel.  Then we watched a Stephen King biography.

Okay, I guess that these aren’t really kismit like experiences.  I ordered the first part of season three of Ghost Hunters but I didn’t know that the Stanley was on there.  Hubby pulled up the biography last night, which in hindsight was probably because I was reading The Shining and watching that episode on Ghost Hunters.  But it felt like magic!

Head’s up!  I did that thing that I do when I can’t get myself to read and I ordered like 5,000,000 books through the library.  For some reason, I seem to think that I can read more than usual even when I am reading less than usual.  There are things that I want to look into though and, you know, they just couldn’t wait.  Patience is lacking.

One of the things that I did this week when I became utterly and completely disgusted with my inability to read was work on an action plan.  You may recall that I have an action plan for reading but since I made it month ago some things had slipped through the cracks.  I’ve needed to streamline.  Now I’ve stacked the four poetry books that I’ve been reading by which one I’ll get through the fastest and I’ve decided to use my break from the Harry Potter audios to listen to some stuff in my TBR stack.

Just like with everything in my life, my reading right now feels forced and disorganized and like I am drowning.  It’s a sad state of affairs…