Olalla by Robert Louis Stevenson

Another Little Black Classic for me!  I enjoyed this one better than the previous two, if only because it was easier for me to read.  We went from Roman history and Greek epics to Victorian Gothic and, let’s face it, that’s much more up my alley.

Olalla is the story of an injured English soldier in Spain.  His doctor and friend suggests that he get some fine air to further improve his health.  As luck would have it, the doctor has just heard of a fallen aristocratic family in need of money and they are willing to take on a lodger as long as he does not expect to become familiar with the family.  The soldier spends his days getting exercise in the mountains and obsessing over a beautiful woman in a portrait in his room who he knows has been dead for a long time.  He is able to become acquainted with the son, who seems to look up to him, and the mother but does not make contact with the daughter for a while.  When he does, he is instantly in love with her.

However, the family is of a declining race and both the mother and the son are described as being innocents.  The Englishman suspects that there is something very wrong with them and he soon finds out just how wrong.

This LBC was okay.  I liked reading it and it felt pulpy in an enjoyable way but it wasn’t anything that really wow-ed me.

Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman

When I first heard about Overture, I was sure that it was some kind of joke.  I just finished reading the Sandman series in March of 2015 and I was head over heels with it.  It was engrossing.  It helped me through a period of grief.  Though now I couldn’t walk you through the story, the characters and the world feel real to me.  And then, out of nowhere, there was going to be a new one.  I bought it in January and could hardly wait to read it.

Here we are, almost five months later, and I have finally read it.

Of course I loved it.  There was no way that I wasn’t going to.  It was hard subject matter for me but I struggled through it because it was good and it was beautiful.  When I review comics, I rarely talk about the art.  The most I can say is that I liked it or that I didn’t.  It was a thing of beauty.  I caught myself holding it up for Hubby to look at whole pages that caught my fancy.

What can you expect from Overture?  Some characters you know, some characters you don’t.  The possible end of the universe.  A prequel that ties together some loose ends.  A book that will make you want to go back and read the whole series again because who knows what you missed the first time.

Again, I loved it.  I think that if you are a Sandman fan, it will scratch that itch for you.

Tally Monday- May 30, 2016

Checked Out

  1. Essential X-men, vol. 1
  2. Gabi: A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
  3. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Bought

  1. One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean
  2. Foundling by Frank Larina

Read

  1. Jason and Madea by Apollonius of Rhodes
  2. Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
  3. Sandman Overture by Neil Gaiman

TBR 15

Thursday is my late day and I work 1-9.  The great thing about that is that, well, garage sales start on Thursdays and I never get any of the good stuff because people around here will line up for a garage sale.  This week I left for work early with $5 in my wallet and thought maybe I would snag something good.  I only came across ONE sale and it was mostly baby stuff and I was pretty disappointed.  There were TWO books at the sale, a Nora Roberts and something about, like, raiding your baby Biblicaly.  I consoled myself by stopping at the used book store and picking up two radically different books: a romance and a horror.

The last couple of weeks have been kind of hard.  The house is still a mess and Hubby is still upset and we cannot decide what to do and when we do I’m afraid to do it.  This weekend we were supposed to spend working on the bathroom but I am terrified that I will just make it worse.  It’s all put me in the mood for a romance, something guaranteed to have a good ending.  Thus the romance.  But I don’t think I’m truly invested in it.

I started Welcome to Night Vale this week and decided I wanted to listen to it instead.  I put a hold on the audio but probably won’t have it for months.  There are six people ahead of me.  No big deal.  I can wait.  It feels good to be getting around to books that I’ve been meaning to read forever instead of being distracted by all of the pretty things.  That’s not to say I didn’t check out books that I don’t need.  My TBR is not ACTUALLY true but I haven’t made a decision on my check outs yet.

I am not good at decisions.

I wanted to reread the Weetzie books because I was feeling a distinct lack of magic in my life.  I wanted to see what I used to be like and how better than reading books that meant so much to me?  Of course I still love them but they make me a little sad now.

I don’t like having things undone and so out of place.  It really does grate on my nerves.  I keep telling myself that it will be done soon.  Then there are other projects, though.  Worlds of them.  And the whole house is a mess.  I feel completely helpless about it all and that is a terrible feeling.

It’s weird being home today.  Usually we are driving home from Ohio, taking back roads and snacking and listening to audiobooks.  I want to be doing that but I know that I should be doing something useful here.  But what if I mess it up??  AH!

I could easily finish another book today.  Here’s to a happy reading life!

Listy #11: Childhood and Current Dream Jobs

Whew.  This is going to be a hard one!  Does professional napper count?  It is suddenly hot up here in Michigan and I have been taking full advantage of it by driving with the top down.  The fresh air has me worn right out!  It’s really nice, actually.  I love heat and humidity and there’s no reason not to drive with the top down every chance I get.  Life is short.

Childhood Dream Jobs

  1. Witch.  Obviously.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to have magical powers and be able to mix potions and cast spells.  I’m pretty sure that I legit thought this was a career choice for years.
  2. Paula Abdul, or similar ridiculous pop star.  I was going to sing and dance and everybody was going to admire how beautiful and talented I was and don’t forget that I was going to have boatloads of money.  I’d live in a mansion and drive a Mustang Convertible, just like my Barbies did!
  3. Writer.  Not long ago my mother told me that I used to carry a notebook around with me and write stories in it and that it was terribly annoying.  Some things never change.
  4. Interior Decorator.  When I was 10 my parents got HGTV.  (I just looked it up.  That’s when it was launched.)  I spent so much time watching HGTV while I played with my Barbies that it probably wasn’t healthy.  I was sure that I could just be a decorator and make things pretty and that everybody hired them.
  5. Lawyer.  Why?  Because I firmly believe that all kids have a respectable career in mind pretty much just to sound super mature to adults.  I would not have been a good lawyer but I sure as hell did not want to be a doctor because I’d have to dissect stuff and probably do autopsies.

Adult Dream Jobs

  1. Writer.  Always, always, always, always.
  2. Owner and operator of bookstore/brewery.  What goes better with books than beer?  I’d probably be terrible at the business side of it but this is what I said I’d do if I won the lottery.
  3. Audiobook reader.  I actually looked up how to get into this once.  Get paid to read?  OK! lol.
  4. Lottery winner.  This is kind of like being a professional napper but with money and a house in the middle of nowhere.  I was thinking maybe the U.P?  Anyway, I would love to just be home with Hubby and the cats and never have to worry about money.  Spend time with my friends and family, doing what really matters.
  5. Librarian.  Is it cheating that this is what I do already?  I mean, it’s pretty great.

On Spoilers

There are two types of people in the world:  Those who hate spoilers and those who love them.

Really, we all know that’s not true.  These are not hard and fast, black and white characteristics.  And when I talk about this, I want to get one thing out of the way right now:  SPOILERS FOR NEW MATERIAL WITHOUT WARNING ARE MEAN.  If you post on your Facebook the newest Game of Thrones twist the second it happens, you’re a dick.  And that’s that.

That aside, I have a confession to make:  Sometimes I like spoilers.

Sometimes.  Right now, I’m a little disgusted that the internet is all like, “OMG!  The latest GoT twist will ruin you!” and “Actor speaks out about sudden death.”  That last one was ON THE FRONT PAGE OF YAHOO.  When I logged out of my e-mail this morning, it was waiting for me in the center of the screen.  I know that it’s Tuesday and that GoT is on Sunday nights and that it’s Tuesday already but it’s still too soon, you guys.  I NEVER watch GoT on Sundays because we stream it through HBO Go and the volume of people streaming at that particular time makes it frustratingly impossible to watch.  Assuming that people work somewhat normal jobs, the internet just figured I would get around to the new episode last night.  Well, internet, you don’t know my life.

I’m not running around, throwing a tantrum about the little tidbits of information that I’ve been unable to avoid.  I’m pretty good at editing what I see on the page and averting my gaze whenever I suspect there may be something that I don’t want to see.

In fact, there are times when I actively seek spoilers out.  If I cannot stand the suspense of something, I am not above looking it up.  Sometimes, the suspense is just too intense for me.  What about when you’re reading a series of books and you look ahead at the descriptions?  I’ll admit to doing this with the Southern Vampire Mysteries, just to see whose name is mentioned in connection with Sookie.

Then again, I’m also the kind of person who will cheat on crosswords if I need to.  Maybe I’m not the best example.  At least I know what I like and how to best enjoy it.

Tally Monday- May 23, 2016

Checked Out

  1. Great Falls by Steve Watkins

Bought

Read

  1. Giant Days, vol. 1 by John Allison
  2. Marvel and a Wonder by Joe Meno
  3. “Catacombs” by Jason Zencka

TBR: 16

Conversation with a coworker on Friday:  After spending the week completely stressed and frazzled due to the bathroom remodel situation (#firstworldproblems), I was tearing through the Joe Meno at a decent pace when I could make myself sit down to read and waiting for the hammer to fall.  Almost always Joe Meno manages to rip out my still-beating heart and leave me completely destroyed.  I was waiting for the heavy blow and simultaneous craving a good romance, an extremely rare occurrence for me.  I mentioned it to the coworker in passing and she clung to the idea, assuring me that I needed some fluff and that there is nothing I HAVE to read so my TBR didn’t really matter when it came down to it.

So, what is the point of a TBR?  The point of my TBR is to keep me somewhat on track.  I know myself and I know that I want to have a varied reading life and that I pull my books from too many sources to keep it straight.  Right this minute I may be craving a 400 page paperback romance bodice ripper, perhaps even a specific one that is checked in over in the next room as we speak, but I also equally want to read the books in my current TBR, some of them books that I bought the week they came out because I couldn’t wait and then I haven’t got around to.

Know thyself, and I am an amazing breed of procrastinator.  My procrastination is as layered as an onion.

The honest to goodness, adult truth about it all is that there is always something.  Something that needs to be done.  Something to fill the time.  Something to throw your priorities off course.  But that’s the key:  Priorities.  If you truly love something and need something, it’s important to put it first.  There is absolutely no reason that I shouldn’t make time in every day for reading and writing.

It all seems off topic for a Tally Monday, I know.  Yesterday I was feeling pretty emotionally crummy.  It built throughout the day, gathering into a hard ball in my stomach until I got home.  I was tired and sad and all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and watch TV and play the Sims.  The second I sat down to do it, I felt even worse.  What was I doing??  Why wasn’t I cleaning or reading or writing?  Instead I was sitting, accomplishing nothing (besides getting a recently abducted single father through an alien pregnancy) and feeling worse and worse about myself.  At 9 I turned the computer off and picked up “Catacombs,” my second One Story.  When I went to bed I read two chapters of Weetzie Bat.

There are things that make me happy:  Cats and Hubby and Books and Lists and Love and Laughter and, yes, order and beauty.  Life is about the balancing act, something I have never been good at.  My TBR helps me stick to it.

Now, on a Monday morning, I am looking forward to my next read, one that I preordered.  One that I’ve had since October.

Happy reading, lovies!

Marvel and a Wonder by Joe Meno

I love Joe Meno and I have officially read all of the books.  All of the books!  This was not my favorite and it took me a while to get into but there were this wonderful sweet spot from about page 50 to page 300 that had me completely captivated and sure that Meno was about to unceremoniously rip out my heart again.  But that, I think, is where this book slid on my Meno scale.  It was good but when I was done I didn’t feel hollowed out and heartbroken.

It’s the mid-90’s and Quentin lives with his grandfather, Jim, on a chicken farm located near a dying Midwest town.  It’s the kind of town that I am familiar with, one slowly losing business with farms going up for sale and the main industries of town long gone.  Quentin’s mother is pretty much a wreck.  She repeatedly runs off and comes home high or drunk, usually in some sort of state, only to take off again and again.  Jim is a little put off by his mixed race grandson, who seems like a complete alien to him.  Quentin plays video games and listens to rap and tries to bread reptiles and cries when a chick dies.

One day a man shows up with a horse and a horse trailer, claiming that they are Jim’s.  Mystified, Jim tries to track down where the animal came from.  She is obviously a very fine race horse and when they turn her loose to run they are mesmerized by the beauty of it.  Of course, such a fine thing in such a failing place is bound to attract attention and when the local bartender is a little loud about Jim’s luck it draws the wrong sort of attention.

Soon, two troubled brothers have stolen the horse and plan on selling it.  Jim and Quentin take off after them, starting a crazy caper kind of story into the dark, depressed, and poor areas of the land.  As the horse is stolen repeatedly and Jim and Quentin follow, Jim’s health is slipping and he is, as much as he can be, vulnerable.  But this vulnerability manages to create an opening that is the true spirit of the story.

What I loved about this book was how familiar it felt to me.  I could see the insides of those buildings in town vividly, knew their cheap wood paneling and their particular smell.  It was a stark reminder that while we think of the 90’s often as a golden age (or at least I do), they weren’t for everyone.  And I loved the twists and turns of the journey, the people I could cheer for and also shake my head at.