Posts Tagged 'reading'

This Might Be a Book Review

I’m reading a book. I am completely engrossed in it. When I stop reading, I am thinking about the characters, wondering what happens next. It’s not that they are DOING anything exciting. They are living their lives. If you asked me what this book is about, I think I’d be hard-pressed to make it sound like something you should read. It’s about a family of 4 children whose father dies suddenly when they, and he, are quite young, and about how they grow up and who they become.

I’m reading the book much too quickly, I know. I can see the parts where I should slow down and savor the words, but I can’t. I want to go back and be with them and know what happens. I’m hoping for a resolution. Mysteries have resolutions. Do lives have resolutions? That’s probably a question I should stop and ponder. The book has many lines that are worth pondering. I’m so impatient. I may have to go back and read parts of this again, because I’m sure there is more here than I’m getting on the first read.

I have forced myself away from the book at this point because there are things I need to do in my tangible world, and I really need to pull my attention out of my head and into something else. And that is ANOTHER reason why I know I should be slowing down. As I thought about how intensely I’m experiencing this story, I began to write this post. When I thought about how I’d describe it, I realized that it could be a story about my mother. My mother’s father died when she and he were both very young. I don’t think she ever recovered emotionally from that. I had a flash of – not insight – but more shift of perspective about my mother. Although I’ve always felt I understood what happened to her, and how it impacted her, I shifted and thought of her as a ‘story’. It changes nothing, really, except for making her childhood and her pain and the damage more intense because it distanced it from me. It wasn’t about ME anymore but about this third party, this other, and while it didn’t change a lot, I think I maybe should use this perspective sometimes to understand how death in one generation ripples on and on and on. I knew that too. I don’t think I’m doing a good job of explaining why it feels like a shift of perspective and understanding to see my mother as not my mother but as a character in a story. We react differently to constructs than we do to the flesh-and-blood parts of our lives.

the last romanticsI don’t know how close to the end I am because I’m using a new kind of book reader. I’m using something called “Bookshout”. It does have an app but you can also read the book via a web browser and that’s how I’ve been reading the book. On an app you can see the number of pages, % left in the book, and other such information. The web browser gives me the number of pages in the current chapter and that is it. Have you noticed that I have not yet NAMED this book? That’s because although I’m completely engrossed in it, I have no idea what it is called. The web browser does not display the name anywhere on the screen. *grin* So although I know I knew the name when I ordered it, I had long since forgotten it when I started writing this. *laughing* I had to go look it up on my order.

I wrote this post in what felt like a headlong rush, all in one breath. I’ve been on my reading hiatus now for several hours. I suspect that when I go back, I will again be totally bound by the words. I think I don’t even care anymore how it ends. I think that even if the ending somehow manages to disappoint me (which I do not believe will be the case), this book is still a fantastic read. I want to have it in paper form. I want to pick up this book in my hands, let it fall open anywhere and start reading it again. I want to hold it and feel it and look at the print while I think about what they are saying and feeling.

I guess what I’m saying is that I recommend this book, The Last Romantics, by Tara Conklin. 🙂

Not Quite A Book Review

a man with one of those facesOne of the bloggers that I follow often reviews books that he’s read. I love this idea, both from a reading point of view and a writing pov. That said, I don’t know that I would be an especially insightful reviewer. I am reading a book at the moment that got very good reviews. I’m not “getting it”. I think it might be satire. I have a feeling I’m very bad at satire. 🙂 If I know the topic well, I can recognize satire and enjoy it (or not, depending on the quality of the writing). If I don’t know the topic, and I’m not familiar with the author, I’m often quite lost as to how I’m ‘supposed’ to react. Many years ago a friend gave me one of Carl Hiassen‘s books, telling me that I would LOVE it because not only was it a mystery but it was funny. I don’t remember the book (it was YEARS ago) but I do remember wondering when the humor would happen. Given Hiassen’s success, I am apparently out of step with the reading public on this. I wonder if now that I’m older (much older) I’d better appreciate it.

I’m not always very good with irony, either, although that one might have definitely been because I was too young to appreciate it. I believe I might be the only living soul who didn’t love Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I have an acquaintance who has read it something like 10 times (seriously? aren’t there any other books you want to read????? the girl with all the giftswho has the TIME to read something 10 times??). Obviously this is also something that needs another attempt. I KNOW I had almost no sense of humor when I was younger. As I look at the first sentence of Pride and Prejudice now, the humor is completely clear.

There was another author I discovered many years ago and I really loved the writing, the characters and the plots. But she never allowed her recurring characters any happiness. Whenever she wrote them in a bit of joy, she made sure to destroy it in the next book. I really can’t keep reading that. I understand that no one has a perfect life. But most of us do find some sort of peace, even if not major joy. Our lives are not an unending stream of betrayals, loss, misery and guilt. Or maybe they are, but I don’t need to read it. I felt the same way about the TV series “Once Upon A Time“. I loved the premise, it started out great, and then no one ever got to be happy. Ever. That doesn’t work for me.

I read to relax and escape – I rarely read to better myself. I do a lot of things in my day-to-day living that better myself. *grin* Or so *I* think. *laughing* Feel free to disagree. Reading gives me a vacation and escape. I really enjoy mysteries, because that genre has the tradition of closure – we get to know “who did it” even if that person isn’t always brought to formal justice. 14 peter clinesI do like a good romance novel periodically because I know exactly what I’m getting and I can pretty much guarantee I’ll feel upbeat at the end of the book. Yes, it is better when it also includes good writing, believable characters and a good story, but if I can’t escape to a warm tropical beach sometimes escaping into the romance genre is a great escape. 🙂 I love historical novels too. Ask the folks who know my family about us and our dinner conversations (especially Hannibal and the elephants) and they will laugh and roll their eyes and say – oh yeah, them and history!

So what authors have I been reading in the last year or so and enjoying? Louise Penny (LOVE), Michael Connelly, Elly Griffiths, Faith Martin, Robert Galbraith (yes, I know who that is REALLY), Peter Grainger, and Charles Todd. There were 2 books I read digitally that I found so intriguing, and that I thought my son would enjoy, that I bought them in paperback for him as well: ‘The Girl With All the Gifts‘ by M.R. Carey and ‘14‘ by Peter Clines. I also enjoyed ‘Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel‘ by Robin Sloan. uprootedIt occurs to me that my brother-in-law might enjoy those 3 as well. I think they are all probably classified as science fiction or fantasy, but I don’t really think of them that way. There are aspects in all that step out of what we’d call ‘reality’, but the plots and characters are what capture my interest. I also recommend Naomi Novik’s “Uprooted” and “Spinning Silver“. Those 2 are classed as fantasy but again what makes them so interesting is not the fantasy part, but the people and relationships. I’d also recommend Caimh McDonnell‘s Bunny McGarry books. How can you NOT love a series that begins: “The first time somebody tried to kill him was an accident. The second time was deliberate.” It is a very funny series with strong characters.

As I said, this is not really a book review, but I do enjoy seeing what Donald has to say about what he is reading. I thought I’d toss out my opinions as well. Happy reading!

Identity Crisis

If you have known me awhile, or read this blog back in its early days, you know that I have several defining traits. I like shoes. BIG TIME like shoes. One could even say I adore shoes. You could even call me the Imelda Marcos of SL/NJ.

I also love to read. Waaaaay back in the dark ages before kindles and ebooks and the internet, I would frequent the book stores on my lunch hour and buy and buy and buy books. Paperbacks, hardbacks, authors I knew, authors I didn’t know. Books. I was always reading. It’s a family trait. Time for a little reminiscing. When my sister and I were young ‘uns, there was a bathroom in the basement of the house. The basement was totally icky. Really icky. Bugs. Spiders. Those horrible hundred-legger thingies. Dark with naked light bulbs with strings for on/off. My father asked us what he could do to get us to use the bathroom in the basement. We conferred and came back and said: put in bookshelves. He didn’t and we continued to not use that bathroom. *grin* Books & reading. That’s my pleasure. We’d go to the beach for a week in the summer and I’d bring 14-16 books with me and finish them all.

This next trait may be less well known, or maybe I’m kidding myself. 🙂 I push myself hard. I like working out. I subscribe to the “no pain no gain” mantra. I know there are pictures of Ahuva on the treadmill here in this blog. I have a treadmill, rowing machine, bicycle and free weights in my basement (which is NOT dark and icky and DOES have bookshelves). I love my rowing machine and treadmill. My treadmill is fairly new – only 3 years now, and it has a zillion trendy features. For years my friend tried to get me to do yoga (she’s a yoga instructor) and then my sister took it up and loved it. My sister got me to go to a stretch class last year. The class was great even though they were “sneaking” yoga moves into it. But yoga is NOT for me. I DID try it once and it did NOTHING for me. I always sneered and said not my thing – it has to HURT to be good. Run. Weights. Row. Core. Sweat sweat sweat.

I don’t watch TV much. Yes, my Superbowl party IS one of my top parties of the year for me, and yes, I did go and buy a brand new TV this year just for the party. (I can explain why if you are really interested. Even if you are not. I didn’t want to move the 55″ curved TV from the sunroom into the living room so I bought a 49″ 4g tv for the party. Anyone interested in buying a used TV?) But TV is not my thing. I had 2 exceptions to that: True Blood and the old Weather Channel. I LOVED the original weather channel. I can’t stand what it’s become. But I would turn on the TV and watch the weather channel and be entertained. True Blood. Oh Em Gee. I loved loved loved True Blood. I thought about Sookie and Bill and Tara and Jason and all of them regularly. I STILL feel as if they are people I really know and are my friends. I was Club Bill, btw, not Club Eric. 🙂 But other than the old weather channel and True Blood, I really didn’t watch much TV. I’ve been watching much more in the last few years (True Blood kind of broke down my resistance) but mostly it’s because I’m hanging out with my husband. It’s the togetherness and not the longing for a show.

So that’s me. Shoes, books, working out and pushing myself, no TV. Or is it?

I think I might have been swapped.

The last 4 times I have walked into DSW, the mecca of the shoe buying world, I have not even found anything I wanted to try on. Not boots, not heels, not sandals. Nothing appealed. It’s been MONTHS since I saw any footwear that called to me.

I went into Barnes & Noble as a treat to myself the other day. Wandered all over. Fiction. Mysteries. Sci Fi. Remaindered. I could not find a single thing I wanted to buy. Even buying ebooks – very very few things for which I’ll pay the $. There is always at least ONE new book to call my name in a bookstore. Nothing.

Back in October I joined the local fitness studio. They have 2 studios – fitness and yoga. I hung out in the fitness studio, doing boot camp at 6:30 am Mondays and Wednesdays. Gabe is a fantastic instructor – positive, encouraging, suggestions for alternate moves that take into account damaged knees, neck, feet. I needed a third class. I tried the TRX (you use these hanging hammocks – go look it up). Didn’t like it. I tried the warm yoga flow – couldn’t keep up, had no idea what they were doing. Couldn’t make the Zumba time slot.

I took the beginner yoga class every Sunday morning. It was a lot like the stretch class if I tuned out the Om. 🙂 I got better and better at the positions. I ventured back to the warm yoga flow class. I could DO it. I even – yes – LIKED it. In the meantime, I went to those boot camps every time the studio was open and I was healthy. If I missed Gabe in the morning I’d go for Kelley in the afternoon, another phenomenally upbeat great trainer. I HATED boot camp. HATED it. It was everything I used to love. I spent every minute of it hating it and saying to myself “only 60 more seconds – you can do 60 more seconds”. I went, I didn’t miss because I hated it, but it was 3 months and I still had not slipped back into loving/needing/craving my workout. When the workout was over, even then I didn’t feel good. All I felt was thank heavens I’m done for x hours til the next class. And I added hot yoga to my scheduled. In the middle of January I reached a decision: no more boot camp. I proved I could do it. I proved that my willpower is still intact. Yes, I got better and stronger but so what. I checked my schedule and I can make a lot of the yoga and every now and then I get lucky and can fit in the ultimate stretch class too. 🙂

The final blow came just a few minutes ago, the prompt for this post. Jessica Jones Season 2 is being released March 8. I got all excited and sent an email to my husband in all caps about JESSICA JONES!!!!!!!

Who the heck AM I?

I don’t buy shoes.
I don’t buy books.
I’m excited about a TV show.

And omg – I’m loving yoga.

OOTD20150920

I have soooooooo many books that I want to read that I am now HAPPY and relieved when I don’t see anything in the weekly book review that strikes my fancy. I don’t have enough “free” time. *grin* I spent the most wonderful wonderful day last week. I did NOTHING but read a long awaited book by one of my favorite authors/series. I SAVORED that book. Oh yes I did. I sat in the still quiet of the great outdoors and read. And closed the book and looked about me at the greenery and flowers and smiled and thought about what I’d read. Then I opened the book and began reading again. It was paradisiacal.


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