Counted Among the Crazy

As you may or may not know and as you may or may not care, I miscounted the books left to go in my Book Lust Challenge. I had previously decided I was going to embrace the new number and move on. Obviously, I didn’t embrace and I haven’t moved on. I am still trying to figure out how I miscounted. But. But! But, in that figuring out, I think I’m beginning to get answers. Go figure.

The root of the problem lies in what was indexed. Across all three Book Lusts the editors were not consistent with what information should be included. In Book Lust any book mentioned in the introduction was not included in the index. Full titles were not listed. A lot of the poetry and short stories were missed. In all, there were over 140 mistakes in the index of Book Lust. Now, let’s look at More Book Lust. 18 titles didn’t make it into the index and most of those were either poetry or short stories. Full titles were included (unlike Book Lust). In Book Lust To Go instead of missing information there was an overabundance of information. For starters, take the titles Le Marriage and Le Divorce. These two titles are indexed twice – once under L for Le and once under M and D for Marriage and Divorce, respectively. Two titles, four entries in the index. Duh. Another issue – only in Book Lust To Go is the series title indexed along with the individual books within the series. Example: Kristen Lavransdatter is the name of the series and it is composed of The Cross, The Wife, and The Wreath. Three books, four entries in the index. Interestingly enough, Kristen Lavransdatter is also indexed in More Book Lust but only by the series title. There is no mention of The Cross, The Wife or The Wreath. Surprise! Bottom line, I don’t really know how many individual titles I have to read. Meh.

So, as you can see (clear as mud) I am trying to sort out the titles. This is going to take some time. I’ll try not to go crazy.


We Interrupt This Book

I’m not sure how to say this so I’m just going to come right out and say it. I fukced up. Somehow, in some way, I screwed up my Challenge list. I don’t even know how I figured out something had gone horribly awry. All I know is this- dozens of books from Book Lust To Go didn’t make it onto my lists, and believe me, there are a few. I am the queen of lists. I have a double no, triple no, quadruple no, quintuple-check system for keeping my books in order. Behold:

  1. First there is the excel spreadsheet called “Twist List.” It has every single title from all three Lust books. This spreadsheet is alphabetically tabbed and each title is color coded for which Book Lust it came from (white for Book Lust, light green for More Book Lust, light turquoise for Book Lust To Go, dark green for both Book Lust and another Lust book, brown for More Book Lust and another Lust book, dark turquoise for Book Lust To Go and another Lust book, and purple for when I finish the title).
  2. Then, there is a spreadsheet called “Lust To Go List.” It’s the same alphabetically tabbed list as Twist only it’s not color coded and when I finish a book it simply gets deleted from the list. It’s literally a list what I have left to read.
  3. The third spreadsheet is called “Schedule Calendar” and it is all the titles from all three Lust books organized by the month I plan to read them in. Each month gets its own tab: Jan, Feb, Mar and so on.
  4. The fourth and penultimate check system is the “Chapter List.” Each Lust book has its own spreadsheet broken out by chapter. Think of it this way: it’s the index of Book Lust et al in excel spreadsheets. Example: Once I finish a book in the chapter “Montana: the Big Sky Country” (Book Lust p 156), for example, I color code the title. At a glance I cen see I read three titles and there are ten more left to read.
  5. The fifth and final check is not a spreadsheet. It’s actually my LibraryThing account. Every book I have to read is in my “catalog” and tagged “accomplished” when I have read it.

I know, I know. It’s complicated. But, it works. So. Back to my dilemma. Somehow I realized that whole chapters of Book Lust To Go didn’t make it onto the first two lists. I’m not sure how that happened. It kills me to say my comprehensive reading list is not so comprehensive. How to fix this mess? Right now I am systematically (read=painfully) going through Book Lust To Go‘s index and checking the titles against Twist and Lust To Go. I’m up to ‘M’ and I’m adding titles where necessary (and that’s the part that REALLY kills me). Sometimes I only need to add a title to Twist and not To Go. Not sure what happened there, but whatever. Occasionally, I have been checking LibraryThing to see if I included the missing title in my catalog. Nine times out of ten the title is there, so I’m not going to worry too much about that. The lists I haven’t checked (yet) are the Schedule Calendar and the Chapter list. I’ll cross those bridges later. For now, I have enough titles mapped out that I won’t miss the missing…if that makes sense. Watch – I’ll probably end up reading nothing but books on Hong Kong at the bitter end because that’s one of the chapters I completely missed. Oh well.


August ’11 was…

Why is it that when the days and long and the weather is nice we gravitate towards “chick lit” and “beach reads” and other torpor-inducing dribble? I’m being harsh. Not to the authors but to myself. It seems like this summer had me submerged in silly. See for yourself.  These are the books I had within my reach. First, what I predicted I would read:

  • Daughters of Fortune by Isabel Allende. Allende’s birth month is in August so reading this made sense. Read in three days.
  • While I was Out by Sue Miller. Something I picked up while I was on the island. Read in two days.
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Got extremely bored with this.
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Read in one day and scared the bejeezus out of me.
  • Dive From Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer. I’m still reeling from this one. Only because in it I recognized a relationship I wrecked. Hard to read about yourself sometimes. It got to me – so much so that I plan a “confessional” blog about it on the other site. Just need to drum up the courage to write it…

Now for the books I didn’t plan to read yet picked up along the way:

  • Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan. Read in a few days. This was decent. I just wish it wasn’t all about finding a fine man and getting laid…
  • Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. I’m thrilled this was on the Challenge list simple because it made me go back to Natalie’s version of “Land of Nod” and really listen to it. Beautiful.
  • The Moffats by Eleanor Estes. I read this one during Hurricane Irene -only a few hours. I needed something simple to keep me company while I filled water bottles and worried about the ginormous maple outside my picture window.
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. Probably my least favorite book of the bunch simply because I couldn’t understand the morality of the heroine of the story. The scene where Becky lies on her resume about speaking Finnish made me cringe. I was embarrassed for her.

I was able to snag one book for LibraryThing’s Early Review program: Call Me When You Land by Michael Schiavone. This had the potential to be something special. I really liked the storyline. It was the basic character development that had me reaching for more.

So. That was August. Not really impressive. No nonfiction. Nothing to set the house on fire. Maybe September will see something special.


Hoarder

I have gotten obsessed with the show, ‘Hoarders’ on A&E (at least I think it’s A&E…). It’s all about people who collect and keep things until the things control their lives. It’s rather scary, but I watch the show to encourage me & myself to take a keen eye to our own clutter. Books, hair clips, shoes, casserole dishes, letters, hotel lotions, charity walk t-shirts. It all starts to pile up after awhile. Loss of control isn’t all that out of the ordinary.

I’m feeling a little disheveled when it comes to the Book Challenge. Old blogs aren’t filed properly. They don’t follow format and are missing valuable tags. There is no order to the older stuff. At the same time, I have the sudden obsession to call Ms. Pearl out on a few things. Like, why are (nearly) whole chapters in More Book Lust made up of books already listed in Book Lust? There are over 100 titles listed in both books. Some have triple or even quadruple mentions.

In an effort to organize this whole project I am taking a closer look at all of the older book review blogs. I am cleaning up tags (and adding missing ones), including a BookLust Twist to the really old posts, and taking note of repeat titles. I realize this is going to be really annoying for anyone with an RSS feed to this blog. You’ll think I’m writing up a storm when really, all that’s happening is an update here or there. I am really, really sorry about that. I just need a little mis en place in my life.


Bite Me

goddessI think nine times out of ten people are cruel because they have something better to say…but they can’t think of it at the moment. Can’t think on their feet so they act like a heel. They have to be funnier than kind. Hurtful is hilarious and sweet is just plain silly. I think nine times out of ten people are critical because they are jealous. They don’t want to admit to being lacking or without. Just because they can. What does it take for someone to see the riches in life without making comparisons? It takes a tragedy to recognize a triumph.

And now for something completely different.

Thank you for making me smile. Thank you for taking me out of my funk. I am glad I agreed to go. I’m glad you were there to greet me. Here’s the thing. I don’t say it enough but I value every minute of your time. I don’t take advantage of that time everytime but you inspire me just the same. Even if I only take ten minutes I am so much the better for it. Really. In the here and now I am on the other side of jumping. I think I have even started to climb down from the ledge. I think I’m close enough to the ground to stand on my own two feet. Soon. But, but. But! I still need you and your smile. I still need to know you are there. Even if I decide to jump after all.


Talking Too Much

I have learned a valuable  lesson. When I say This. Stays. Between. Us. the words strung together to form a directive don’t matter. It’s almost as if you take the words as a euphemism for something else. What I say doesn’t mean sh!t. It’s almost as if you don’t trust what I’m telling you; so you do the exact opposite of what I ask. I feel like I am speaking a foreign language. But, here’s the thing: I get it. You want to be in the know. Knowing it all is your power. It’s your vice. You hate to be wrong, you love to be perfect. You need to run to those less knowing and share your information – holding the Guess What! over their heads. I get it. You can’t help it. Not in the least. This is a turning point. At least for me. I know what I need to do. It’s my turn to be didactic towards myself and moi. Shut the door, shut the mouth. Be more military. Have that attitude. What you don’t know can’t hurt you. Or me.


Left a Little Smaller

I don’t know how to take this new feeling. I’m not jealous. Just feeling misplaced a little. He didn’t ask if I wanted to see Virginia, the place for lovers. I wasn’t invited to drink bad mountain beer in a mile high town – either time. Fenway was phishy without fanfare from me. Is it my fault? Has it been my bad? Have I said no so many times that I’m no longer considered interested or, or more sobering thought:  it is that I’m no longer interesting? Did I say what I was thinking out loud? Did I admit to what I was struggling with all long?

I ran across a face I didn’t recognize right away. I had to stare. Still couldn’t believe it. Had to close my eyes to reconcile the difference in order to make the connection. Recognition came easier when I turned away completely. Was I really a person of interest to this person? Did I really capture the mind if not the heart? I can’t imagine what we talked about. What would we say now? I’m left a little smaller not even knowing who I was then or what I’ve become now.

I drank a whole bottle of wine and hung up the phone giddy and drunk. I was a mess but I didn’t care. No one noticed I didn’t brush my teeth. Left my contacts in. Passed out without a passing thought. No one cared. I woke up ready to run away. Run for miles and miles. No one noticed my energy. Maybe this whine is a good thing. Maybe there’s something to the bottle being your best friend. I’m left a little smaller for considering the thought. I made blueberry muffins instead.

“Did I drive you away? I know what you’ll say.” ~Coldplay