June 2012 is…not late! For once! I have to rejoice in simply being on time for the first time in oh, I don’t know how long and I’m too lazy to look. June. What about June? June is a retirement luncheon with some people I barely know. June is a graduation party for someone I love more than a sister (and only she will really get that statement and not misinterpret it as some lesbo love declaration). June is another charity walk – a no-pressure walk of sorts. No fund raising, no training (3.1 miles, a walk in the park – or around a business park as the case may be). June is a few birthdays, but no parties. June is the opening of the pool and June is the beginning of our Hawaiian vacation (lest I forget). We’ve already nixed horseback riding due to age and weight (over 65, under 10 and under 235lbs). That wipes out all but two of us. Anyway, more on that later.
June is also National River Cleanup month, the best time to visit Norway and the month to celebrate fathers. And that is the perfect segue to books:
- Kristin Lavansdatter by Sigrid Undset ~ in honor of Norway. This is actually in three parts (totaling over 1,000 pages) so I’m going to parse it out: The Wreath in June, The Mistress of Husaby (The Wife) in July and The Cross in August.
- A River Runs Through It and Other Stories by Norman Maclean ~in honor of river cleanup month.
For Hawaii, two books I can read and leave behind**:
- Damage by Josephine Hart ~ in honor of Father’s Day
- Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (a reread) ~ in honor of Father’s Day as well
I have been notified that I have “won” two Early Review books from LibraryThing (such an honor). I have been having some problems with delivery but if they arrive they are:
- How Should a Person Be: a Novel From Life by Sheila Heti ~ this has been described as “seriously strange” by a respected author on Heti’s website. I’m intrigued!
- Waterlogged by Tim Noakes ~ this is something I cannot wait to read. I have been told I need to drink more water and while I don’t consider myself an athlete (this book focuses on them) I am curious about “the facts of hydration.”
** I should add that I plan to load the iPad with ebooks in case I finish the Father’s Day books sooner than expected. I really want to read on the beach one or two days and of course I’ll need to read on all those flights!!
What is March 2012 all about? Hard to say . Or as they say on Monhegan, hard tellin’ not knowin’. Fitting I suppose for a reading project still in limbo. I’m still reading books off my own shelves and borrowing books from my own library. To those not in the know that sounds strange, but there you have it.
Here are the books I *think* I’ll be reading in March:
- A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (baptized James Ngugi) ~ in honor of March being African Writers Month
- Little Town in the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder ~ in honor of the Dakotas (series was started in January)
- Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101 Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest by Stephen Ambrose ~ in honor of March 4th being “Hug a GI Day.” Since I don’t have a GI to hug, I’ll hug a book about World War II.
- Lord of the Rings: Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien ~ in honor of New Years (series was started in January)
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte ~ in honor of March being National Literature month.
For the Early Review program for LibraryThing – I never got the February book so we’ll see if it comes in March…Incidentally, I just checked the LibraryThing website and I was awarded a March book as well. Now the race is on to see which book makes it here first.
Happy freakin’ New Year!
I am making the resolution to clean up the blogs from 2011. In reviewing everything I read through the year I am noticing some that didn’t get tagged properly, some that weren’t put into the right categories and, horror upon horrors, one that didn’t even get published! WTF?! By all counts I *think* I read 65 fiction titles, 25 nonfiction titles, 12 Early Review/Librarything books, 2 for-fun books and 9 poems. This is, of course, cheating because I included the “attempts” as finished. As promised, I did get at least 50 pages into each failed read.
So, what about 2012? I am still off the reading schedule but have come up with a temporary plan. Kind of like when the plane breaks down and you realize you have to drive to your destination. Think “Trains, Planes & Automobiles.” You need a new map. No, wait. That line was from “Tommy Boy.” Wrong movie. Anyway. So, here is the plan of attack for January 2012:
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit or There and Back Again and finish The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates. That’s it. Not a crazy ambitious reading list for such a long month, but I’m taking one road at a time and not mapping out the entire journey like I usually do. This is a different year so I’m looking forward to reading a little differently as well.
Happy New Year!
December started off with a little drama. We call the week before exams “Dead week.” It has nothing to do with being deceased or wearing tie dye. It simple means the week of no class assignments, no papers due, no tests, no early exams. Nothing is supposed to be happening that week. Hence, dead. It’s an internal term not used campus wide and no one outside the library would get it. Except…my new guy posted the hours of “Dead” week on every campus announcement he could find: students, staff, faculty, admin, you name it. They all got it. Lucy, you have some ‘splaining to do! Of well. It could be worse. Last week someone thought we stole a leather chair from the Trustees room.
Anyway, December is the month I go quietly insane. I am brimming with good intentions and somehow get knocked sideways. All those intentions are knocked out of me at the 11th hour (i.e. Christmas Eve). For reading it’s not much better:
- The People’s History of the Supreme Court by Peter Irons ~ in honor of the first Chief Justice being appointed in December (John Jay).
- Gideon’s Trumpet by Anthony Lewis ~ for the same reason (hey, I’m in a legal mood).
- To What End: Report from Vietnam by Ward Just in honor of Just’s birth month
- A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor ~ in honor of Southern Fiction
That’s it. That it is all I really have planned for the month. Nothing too earth shaking, shattering or whatever. I think I’ll do enough of that on my own, thank you very much.
Where do I begin with this freakin’ month. It went by way too fast, I’ll tell ya that much! When I look back on what I read, what I did, it’s all a gigantic blur. I am still mourning the loss of my cousin; still haven’t found the strength to search death certificates to find out what really happened to him. Maybe I, deep down in the depths of my soul, really do not want to know how he met his demise. Maybe I am not strong enough to handle the truth or his tortured life.
I’m also in denial about the runner I used to see everyday on my way into work. His case is a little harder to wrap my heart around. He is a complete stranger who made an impact on me with his little red hat and bony knees. I don’t know his name. I don’t know if he’s dead or alive. All I know is that the tenacious, determined soul I saw every morning is gone. I have to admit I am a little less inspired to start each day.
Given all that, my reading hasn’t been inspiring either:
- Death at an Early Age by Jonathan Kozol (oh how ironic). I enjoyed this as much as anyone could reading about an underfunded urban school trying to serves underprivileged kids.
- Primary Colors by Anonymous. This is one book that I actually read during the proper month – on honor of Election month, something political.
- Victorian Lady Travellers by Dorothy Middleton. I think I mentioned this before but I was really disappointed Middleton used so many quotes from the ladies she was writing her about. They wrote more of the book than she did.
- By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I think when I read this I was looking for some relief from the woe-is-me I had been reading earlier.
- Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This was a reread from my high school days. If I had been following the reading schedule this would have been read in December in honor of King Arthur but since this wasn’t about King Arthur per se I guess I am okay.
- Beyond the Bedroom Wall by Larry Woiwode. My one incomplete of the month. I just couldn’t get into it. Shame on me.
- Nop’s Trials by Donald McCaig. Shame on me (again) for ended with another tearjerker of a story. Yes, it ends happy but it definitely has it’s sad moments.
So, there is it. What else happened in November? I got to see some really great music – Futhur and Bela Fleck (not together, although that would have been freakin’ ah maze ing). Kisa and I tried to make it up to Monhegan for Thanksgiving but ended up being here. Again. Sigh. Of course the weather was perfect for days afterward….c’est la vie.
What do you get when you add a vacation to two road trips and a freak snow storm in which I lose electricity for two days? Answer – a boat load of books read in one month; so many books that I haven’t been able to review them all.
In the first week of October I went home. As past posts can tell you I like nothing more than reading on an island, especially one on the tail end of a hurricane. There is something so book-worthy about a rain soaked afternoon or two by the raging ocean…
On Monhegan I was able to read:
- Anil’s Ghost by Michael Onjaatje (e-book),
- Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (stolen from my childhood bookcase),
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (stolen from my sister’s childhood bookcase)
- Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (another e-book) and part of
- The Stand by Stephen King
On a road trip to New York (to see Natalie Merchant ~ more on that on the Other Side) I was able to finish
- The Stand by Stephen King and
- Spy Trap by Edward Packard and
- Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
I started reading Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann when I forgot Immortality by Milan Kundera at work. I finished both those books and Last to Die by James Grippando during the freak snow storm/power outage (and to think people wanted me to come out with them because they had cable!!). As long as I candles and blankets I was in heaven.
But, probably the hardest book to get through was Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (another e-book). I started Altered Carbon the first week of October and slogged through it until October 27th. Talk about a complicated story! I am struggling with the review because the plot was so intense.
So, there it is. Nearly a dozen books for the month of October. True, four of those books were for kids (Phantom Tollbooth, Johnny Tremain, Spy Trap and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) but Altered Carbon, Last To Die and Buddenbrooks were “adult” enough to offset the kiddie stuff.
What’s in store for November? Well, considering I have no trips to Monhegan (or anywhere for that matter), Thanksgiving is this month, and we have a power back, I have no idea. 🙂
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.
For the first time in a long time I am taking an October vacation. Wait. I don’t think I’ve ever really taken an October V A C A T I O N before. Maybe a long weekend around Columbus Day, yes. A real, honest to goodness, week off in October? No, I don’t think so. Finally, something good to look forward to… Here is the month in books:
- Bonobo by Frans de Waal ~ in honor of de Waal being born in October and in honor of Animal Month
- Poison Oracle by Peter Dickinson ~ in honor of special child month
- Ways of Seeing by John Berger ~ in honor of National Art Appreciation month
- Messiah by Gore Vidal ~ in honor of Vidal’s birth month
- Woman: an intimate geography by Natalie Angier ~ in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month
- The Ear, The Eye, The Arm by Nancy Farmer ~ in honor of National Fantasy Month
In addition I am still reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. The magic of this read is that I am savoring each and every word like it is the most expensive, the richest, most divine piece of chocolate I have ever tasted – simply because I don’t want it to end!
Vacation! Vacation! Vacation! We have some crazy things planned. I simply cannot wait! Camping, hiking, music, craft fair, parade, family, friends, fireworks, boats, the ocean, mountains, swimming, lobster festival, Natalie, Monhegan, food, books and more books.
- Blue at the Mizzen by Patrick O’Brien ~ taken off the list since I didn’t finish Master and Commander. Boo.
- Eyes of the Amaryllis by Natalie Babbitt ~ in honor of July being the most popular month to visit the ocean
- Firewall by Henning Mankell ~ in honor of July being the best time to visit Sweden
- Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes ~ in honor of the first test of the atomic bomb
I sincerely doubt I will get to the last book. For one, it’s over 800 pages long and for another, it’s at the end of the list. But, more importantly, it’s about the making of the atomic bomb. On vacation? I don’t think so!
I act like I’m going away for a month. Maybe that’s not a bad thing….
For the Early Review Program (LibraryThing) I have an interesting situation. A book I was supposed to receive over a year ago arrived June 23rd. So, for July I will be reviewing What’s a Mother (in-law) to Do? by Jane Angelich.
June was a month of reconnection. By far, my favorite musical moment was the lovely Rebecca Correia at the Iron Horse. It is awful to say but every single artist that follows her on stage can’t compare. Not that they are NailsOnaChalkboard bad, but they have nothing on Rebecca. On the professional side of things June was a very frustrating month. On the personal sides I got one of the best hugs of my life (thanks, Gracie). For books, it was this:
- Happenstance by Carol Shields ~ this should be a movie
- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen ~ this also should be a movie
- The Confession of Nat Turner by William Styron ~ this was a hard one to read
- Writing Dangerously: Mary McCarthy and Her World by Carol Brightman ~ a very thorough biography that helped with my insomnia
- I Don’t Know Why I Swallowed the Fly by Jessica Maxwell ~ first year fly fishing story
- Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym ~ a sociology experiment in a land of anthropologists
- Master & Commander by Patrick O’Brien ~ this took some time to get into…so much so that I didn’t finish it.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ~ I needed to lick my wounds with something enjoyable!
For LibraryThing’s Early Review program:
- The House on Oyster Creek by Heidi Jo Schmidt ~ once I got beyond the first chapter I loved it. Beautiful writing.
For the fun of it:
- Winning By Losing by Jillian Michaels ~ I’m most interested by the subtitle on the cover of her book, “Change You Life.” I’m up for that. Really.
Off the top of my head, I’m not sure what to call February besides another cold, cold month. I could get all giddy and self-absorbed in the fact that it’s my birth month (so maybe I should be reading something by me – ha), but that doesn’t seem to be all that productive. Besides, my published work would take all of two minutes to read! February is a visit with Mr. Richard Marx II (formally known as Mr. Bubblegum). We have a date in three weeks. February is more time with Dr. Ruth. No offense, but after this month I would like to think I’m on the road to recovery and will not need so much attention in that area in the future. I have started training for Just ‘Cause and have moved my feet over 50 miles so far.
I should point out the obvious. This is late. February has also started out as my month to be overextended in a big way. Not sure if that’s a good thing.
For books it has been and will be:
- Company of Three by Varley O’Connor ~ in honor of February being National Theater Month. Okay, so if you can’t get there, read about it!
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin ~ in honor of Black History Month
- Warriors Don’t Cry: a Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High by Melba Patillo Beals ~ in honor of Civil Rights month
- Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder ~ in honor of medical workers in Haiti right now.
- Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences by Edward Tenner ~in honor of National Science month.
There is a rumor of another LibraryThing Early Review book. The publisher was nice enough to send me a thank you for reviewing the book, but until I actually have it in my hand I won’t be mentioning it here.
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.
January 2010 will prove to be an interesting month. Maybe not as interesting as last month, but certainly something. There is a little bit of music: Rebecca Correia at the Iron Horse (this FRIDAY night!!!). I’d like to do something musical; something out of state…And speaking of going out of state, there is a pie/bed & breakfast thing in Rockland, Maine I’d like to check out with my mom at the end of the month.
- High Five by Janet Evanovich ~ I know I’m cheating because I already read this on New Year’s Day – in one day. It was fun!
- Echo House by Ward Just ~ in honor of Just’s birth month and also the month a new president (of the U.S.) takes office. I am already 75 pages into this one. It’s great!
- In Search of Robinson Crusoe by Timothy Severin ~ in honor of January the best time to visit the islands. What islands, you ask? Any islands, I say.
- First American: Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by H.W. Brands ~ in honor of Benjamin Franklin. No, scratch that. I have been told to start with Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, so I will.
- Hole in the Universe by K.C. Cole ~ I have no idea why I am reading this.
If there is time:
- I, Robot by Isaac Asimov ~ in honor of Isaac Asimov.
For LibraryThing and the Early Review Program: Then Came the Evening by Brian Hart (already reviewed). I have word that I am to receive another book but because there are still two others out there that I haven’t received I don’t trust that I’ll get it in January. It might become a February book.
Where in the world do I begin with December 2009? What a freakin’ crazy month! I only ran 4.49 miles for the entire month (ha!), but have a sneaking suspicion my knees are thanking me for the time off. Weather wise we had a few snow storms, but nothing too dramatic. I wrote more reports and conducted more reviews and put in more work hours than I care to admit. But, best of all, most memorable of all was the trip home to Monhegan. I haven’t even begun to write about that (which is strange because it changed my life). With everything going on, books were low on the list:
- Tiepolo’s Hound by Derek Wolcott ~ interesting but not my favorite.
- Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle ~ memorable and moving, definitely one of my favorites.
- Wonderboys by Michael Chabon ~ can’t wait to see the movie! I only have one question, “is the snake in the trunk?”
- Soloist by Mark Salzman ~ amazing, amazing book. I’m a fan of Mark Salzman now.
- The Walls Came Tumbling Down by Babs Deal ~ gossipy and girly, this was a fun one.
- The Lost Steps by Alejo Carpentier ~ last book of the month…
From my list I didn’t get to Perma Red by Debra Magpie Earling. It should have been on my November list, not December. Woops!
Something of interest – I didn’t read any nonfiction this month. Hmmmm…