My Irrational Dislike for a Book I Never Read

It was a hard time.

I was living in the middle of nowhere with my fiance.  Only, he was travelling for work most weeks and I was alone a lot of the time.  I kept telling myself that I was an adult, that I could handle it, but I also had this suspicion that something was wrong.  He seemed to be harder and harder for me to grasp.

About a year earlier, when he started travelling, he decided that he needed to start reading to kill time in airports.  I was so excited!  Finally, after all of the time that I spent watching movies he loved and watching wrestling with him and listening to bands he liked, FINALLY he was getting into MY hobby!  I thought about books he might like.  I wrote them down.  I gave him a list.

He ignored it.

And, you know, I got it.  I understood.  He knew the books I read.  Young adult.  Classics.  Random things I found on the shelf at work.  V.C. Andrews.  Joe Meno.  I was working through The Dark Tower series by Stephen King at the time.  I wasn’t a huge fan of mysteries or suspense or the kind of books you found in an airport.  I’ve never read James Patterson.  I understood that he thought I would only suggest books to him that I liked and he was sure that he wouldn’t like the same books.  Never mind my years of working in a library.  Never mind the degree I was digging through.  Readers advisory was an alien

I remember when he bought the book.  We were at Target with a friend who worked at the library with me and we stopped in the book aisle.  I handed him a book, “You might like this one.”

“Nah.  What do you think I’d like?” he asked our friend.  Even though she was mostly reading Virginia Woolf at the time.

She shrugged and pulled a random book of the shelf, giving him a “I don’t give a fuck” look and said, “I don’t know.  This?”

He bought the book.  And then I saw it everywhere.  I saw it at work and in stores and for some reason it seemed to always be around our house, on the coffee table or on the kitchen counter.  I STILL see that book all over today.  I’ve never read it.  In fact, my mind drew such a distinct line around it that I’ve never read any of the author’s books and actively skip over reviews when I come across them.

And maybe this would make sense in a different context.  Maybe if it was what he was reading when we broke up or maybe if my friend had actually made a heartfelt suggestion for him.  Maybe if he told me repeatedly how great it was or if it had randomly ended up in my books when I moved out.  But there was none of that.  It was just a cover seared into my brain.  I even had one of his books when I moved out, a book that I read and really enjoyed and still think about today and kind of want to reread.  I read it right after we broke up so that I could get it back to him ASAP and be done with it.

Today I added that book to my TBR list.  For a lot of reasons.  The first is that the book was published a decade ago and I read someone raving about how great it is probably once a week still.  The second is that I am more into murder and mayhem and mystery in my books these days.  The third is that I realize it’s not already on there for a pretty stupid reason and you can’t hate a book because someone else liked it.

Plus, what’s another book on my TBR??

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Tally Monday- October 30, 2017

Checked Out

None

Bought

  1. Coffee with God by Sarah Arthur
  2. The Story of Molly MacLane by Molly MacLane

Read

  1. “A Month on Greene Street” by Tom Hanks

Reading The Complete PhonomancerEdith Wharton

Ha ha.  Look at those books bought!  I bought a devotional and a diary of a teenage girl who writes a lot about Satan.  So, there you go.  My mind is a very strange place indeed.

I am not Christian but I kind of have a thing for devotionals.  I like the pattern of a daily reading.  For years now I have had some sort of daily reading, starting with Simple Abundance and moving on to all kinds of things like Daily Dose of Knowledge, The Intellectual Devotional, The Daily Stoic, and even the Bible, which I read in a year a few years ago.  I love having a little tidbit to think about all day which is why these books have become a part of my routine along with my Writer’s Almanac podcast.

For the past couple of years, I have subscribed to a treat for myself.  First I did Ipsy then I switched to Birch Box.  I enjoyed getting these little treats in the mail.  That once a month gift to myself that cost only $10 and was always a surprise even if sometimes it was disappointing.  I realized the other day that I don’t actually enjoy my Birch Box anymore.  I get it and I make excited sounds and tear into it but it’s become mostly an act.  I cancelled my subscription the other day and then went about deciding what to subscribe to instead.  I toyed with the idea of getting a coffee subscription and found one that sent four small samples per month for $10 but in the end I decided that I wanted to keep it book adjacent…

For $15/month, I could go back to Book of the Month Club OR I could get Audible.  It’s been a hard choice.  I love getting something in the mail and I really enjoyed Book of the Month for the three months that I had it.  But I don’t think that I’ve actually READ any of those three books…  I’ve opted to go with Audible.  I’ll be getting the same thing (a book) but in a format that I will get to sooner (audio) and, best of all, if there’s nothing I want this month those credits stick around.  No stacks of unread books making me feel guilty PLUS the ability to get audios of books that I haven’t been able to get through my many library connections.

I’m looking forward to getting started and getting that next Anne of Green Gables book, even though I have really enjoyed playing catch up on my podcasts this past week.

I know I keep saying that I am going to get back on the reading wagon and I’m going to say it again.  I had all of the best intentions this past week and I honestly have no fucking clue what happened.  I didn’t read.  I didn’t color.  I was an all around slacker.  But today I have already texted my husband and told him I’m reading tonight.  Maybe I’ll even prop myself up in bed with a cup of tea.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?

(But I also just downloaded a new game on my phone…)

TBT 2008

In 2008, I read 61 books.

A couple of weeks ago, I told you guys about my reading in 2007 and how much of it had not stuck with me.  There were a few gems but more than a few WTF-is-that-books.  And so, lets take a peak at 2008.

And holy shit, it was a year.

In 2008 I reread the first four Harry Potter books.  I dove deep into studying world religions, reading the best titled book of all time: The Joy of Sects.  I reread a bunch of Francesca Lia Block books and also read Thirteen Reasons WhyLooking for Alaska, and King Dork, all very formative books for me.  2008 was the first year that I started in on my Fear Street reading.  I also read three Joe Meno books, one of which I remember reading when I was particularly ill.

It was an awesome year!  So, my top five books of 2008 in no particular order.  Here it goes!

  1. Rumble on the Bayou by Jana DeLeon.  A surprise hit!  I read this delightful little romantic romp and have never found anything else that quite itches that scratch even though I tried as recently as last month!
  2. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I remember reading this massive book curled up in a massive chair in my parents’ living room.  It took a long time but it was a very rewarding read.  A couple of years ago my husband listened to it on audio and once in a while one of us will randomly mention how good it was.
  3. The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno.  While Hairstyles of the Damned will always be my favorite Meno book, this was the second Meno I read and it was weird and I may have had a really high fever at the time.  But I still think about it A LOT and suggest it to people who look at me like I am crazy.
  4. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  Even though I haven’t read it since and I haven’t finished watching the Netflix adaptation, this book made me ugly cry and left me raw.
  5. Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton.  There are a lot of other books that I liked a lot more that I read that year but I chose this because it lead to a solid three or four year spree.  It wasn’t long before I realized that I could listen to these on audio and I was over the moon!  The Hamish series made me a fan of audiobooks and I haven’t looked back since.

Okay, y’all.  I’m off to see the work wizard.  Hopefully I can calm down and finish something!

Tally Monday- October 23, 2017

Checked Out

None

Bought

None

Read

  1. The Prom Queen by R.L. Stine

ReadingEdith Wharton by Hermione Lee, The Complete Phonogram by Kieron Gillen

Sometimes we have to speak hard truths to ourselves and over the past couple of weeks I have been going through this process.  There is a lot on my plate and a lot on my mind.  I am not presently at my best, though I’m also not at my worst and that counts for something too.  I am realizing that there are changes that need to be made and that it is going to be hard and I am going to have to put work in.  But I also know, and this is just as important, and in the end I will have a more sustainable life.

You may have noticed a bit of a blank this week.  And that is simply because I have not been reading.  I haven’t wanted to do much of anything, even the things that I know help me and make me feel better.  So on this Monday morning I am asking myself: Is it best to take a break or to pile it on?

You know how sometimes (Let’s be honest, most times.) when you have to work out you don’t want to even though you know that you’ll feel better if you do?  That’s exactly where I am with reading.  I even get to feeling like I NEED to read.  Sometimes I might even pull out my book and read a couple of pages, like doing a half hearted squat.  Afterwards I think, “Well, you tried.  You did SOMETHING.  That matters!”  But we all know that’s bullshit.  Sometimes you have to go until it feels good again.

I am a complete downer today.  Sorry about that.  Please believe me when I say that next week I will be writing with a completely different mindset.  In the meantime, you guys go and have a great week and read lots of good books and then come back here and tell me about it, if you’re so inclined.  I’d love to hear about your reading lives!

The Prom Queen by R.L. Stine

What do you get when you mix Mean Girls and Fear Street?  The Prom Queen!

Seriously, this was about the funnest Fear Street I’ve read so far.  It starts on an eventful day.  First, everyone is talking about the dead girl that was found in the Fear Street Woods.  Then, there’s an assembly to announce the Prom Queen candidates!  There are five.  Simone, who is rich and flashy and dating the cutest boy in school.  Elana, who is the most popular girl in school.  Dawn, a tennis player who always wins.  Rachel, who has to study a lot because she doesn’t have any money.  Finally, Lizzie, the every-girl of the group who’s nice, has a long distance relationship, and works on the sets for the school play.  After school, the prom queens all go out for pizza together and make jokes at each other’s expense and then the next day Simone is kidnapped!  They find only a pool of blood in her bedroom.

It seems there is a killer slowly picking off the prom queen candidates.  But who can it be and what is the motive?  Is it the weird guy, Lucas, who used to date Simone and makes terrible jokes to Lizzie all of the time?  Or could it be Justin, Simone’s other ex who ran around on her all of the time and is suddenly acting really weird around Lizzie?  One thing is for sure:  She better figure it out soon or she’ll be next!

Tally Monday- October 16, 2017

Checked Out

  1. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Bought

  1. Walk Away the Pounds by Leslie Sansone

Read

  1. The Knife by R.L. Stine
  2. Psychic Academy, vol 1 by Katsu Aki
  3. Walk Away the Pounds by Leslie Sansone

Reading: Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee and The Prom Queen by R.L. Stine

I’m having one of those mornings and I kind of think that it’s been one of those weeks.  No, I am not about to feed you some sob story about how hard life is and how there is no joy and blah, blah, blah.  No.  The problem is, as usual, there are just so many books that I want to put in my face right now!

I have been very slowly ticking away at the 800 page Edith Wharton biography and I find it super fascinating.  Part of what I like about Wharton’s books is that Old New York atmosphere.  She’s almost like an American Austen, questioning social mores and all that.  The Age of Innocence was the classic that got me into classics when I was in high school and when I reread it a few years ago I was shocked at how much I had missed, how deep it was.  I’ve only read that and House of Mirth but have long considered Wharton to be one of the greats.  However, as much as I am enjoying it I have to admit that it is a slow read.  I aim for 10 pages of nonfiction per day and ten pages of this tome takes me about 30 minutes.  Yet, I am unwilling to put it aside.  It would be better in e-book because this thing is HEAVY!  I sat down with LD on Saturday and knowing that he was going to fall asleep on me, I put my book within reach.  Fun fact:  It is extremely difficult to hold an 800 page hardcover and a napping baby.  When I finally gave in and carefully put Mr. Crankster down, Midget was sure that it was lap time.  We had to compromise.

I am still ridiculously enjoying my Fear Street reading.  I am enjoying it so much that I would really like to keep going.  I have 1.5 books left in this stack and then a couple of other books to read and then maybe I’ll order more.  I’ve never gotten around to the subseries and I totally want to read the Cheerleaders.  Prom Queen is great so far, like Mean Girls with blood.

Thursday I decided that I was sick of being so out of shape and I need to do something about it so I can start to feel better.  I decided to do the Walk Away the Pounds program again, which I’ve had success with before and which is easy to get started on and stick to.  I downloaded the audio and listened to it in two days but bought the ebook in the end so I could have the actual written plan in front of me.  I kind of feel like I wasted $10 but whatever.  I want to be healthier and slimmer and stronger and more energized.  I know that my body is the place to start.

I’ve been on the spiral of wanting to put everything in my face lately.  The Wharton bio has me wanting to read her and I also want Hemmingway and Fitzgerald and Joe Meno.  (One of these things is not like the other but I love them all….)  Plus King and Stine!  Ah!  Maybe if I actually made a point to read, I could read more.

Graphic Friday- Psychic Academy by Katsu Aki

As I continue my discovery of the graphic novel connection, I want to take a minute to be real here.  I would not call myself a fan of manga.  I like graphic novels and comic books but the backward reading always drove me nuts.  Only, not really.  What I have learned through the years is that a good story is readable in any format.  When I was looking through books I’ve read in the past decade, there were some manga series that stuck out.  I liked R.O.D. and Hellsing, Princess Ai and Monster.  I know that it is possible for me to like good stories in this format.

But let’s be real here.  This is kind of a shit story.  It’s very… flat.  I know that I only read the first volume but there was nothing in that first volume that makes me want to continue.  Some of it even actively bothered me.

Like, cool, your two female characters are smoking hot and both into the main character and you have your typical love triangle where one girl has known him forever and the other is edgy and perfect for him or whatever.  BUT I do not think that I have ever seen so much accidental boob grabbing in my life.  The first time it happened I was surprised enough to send a picture of the frame to my husband with a chuckle.  Around the third time it happened I was rolling my eyes.  There is a lot of sexy for sales sake going on here, I think.  None of the sexiness makes any sense for the story.  And, for the love of God, why do their gym suits have nipples??!??

Suffice to say that I won’t be continuing this series.  In fact, I considered removing it from the collection so that I could replace it with something better but it appears to still check out.  This one was not even laughably bad in my opinion, just irritating.