Mayday, Mayday!

The entire world has changed seemingly overnight. No, that’s not true. COVID-19 had been brewing and building for months and months. Festering and threatening overseas. We knew it would come our American way, and yet. Yet! Here we are. I have been laid off from my job; have been quarantined for 40 plus days; have not seen the inside of a store of any kind; have not driven a car or talked face to face with another human being besides my Kisa. For over a month, I have been separated by screens and paranoia. I couldn’t even say goodbye to one of my closest friends for fear of contamination before he stole across borders towards a new home. Words like FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Hangout, and Live Stream rule my daily existence. My insanity has been kept in check by these words, walking 8-9 miles a day, writing letters, and finishing chores I always said I would get to but never did (sewing ripped clothes, making curtains, hanging art, you name it). The one activity I haven’t done much of is…read.
Nothing bothers me more than someone saying, “think of all the time you have to read!” They mean well but they just don’t know. When I was a kid I spent a lot of time reading. When I could get away with it, my nose was constantly in a book. In the dead of winter, when the summer tides of friends had gone out, I was left with my sister and a handful of kids close in age. Close, but not quite. Dead low tide was a boy one year older. A girl three years younger. A boy two years older. A boy four years younger. No one exactly shared my birth year. I found myself turning to friends within the pages of books. Lots and lots of books. Lots and lots of friends. My dad was not a fan of these relationships. He viewed fiction as leisure or worse, laziness. “Get outside! Get some fresh air!” was his constant bark from early October through May. His bark was so biting I grew up fearing fiction was a form of loafing; something to never to be caught doing in broad daylight. I remember smuggling Nancy Drew under my shirt when I went to the school bathroom; ducking under covers with a flashlight to join Bilbo on his great adventure; climbing trees with Stephen King clenched in my teeth. Hiding to hang out with a paperback became normal.
In 2006 when I started the BookLust Challenge, I thought I had slayed the old insecurities. I thought I could spend time with a book without guilt. For fourteen years I held onto this belief as a private gospel…until I got laid off and I couldn’t sit on the couch with a book. All the old feelings of leisure, loafing, laziness came flooding back. Guilt. I realized I only read when I was killing time, waiting for something else. Constructive book devouring? I don’t know. For years, I could juggle reading 5-6 books at a time and finish 10 in a month. But! That was when I was on hold with a vendor, bored in the boardroom, waiting in line at the grocery store, fighting nerves in the doctor’s office, sitting as a passenger on long car/train/plane/boat rides. Reading kept me from waiting for anything. Take all the time you need while I finish this chapter…
I have been out of work for one month, collecting unemployment equal to my take-home pay and yet I’ve only managed to finish two books. I guess I could try to tell myself I am waiting to go back to work, but that’s too abstract for my too literal mind. Mayday! Mayday, I can’t read.

I always said I will die before I officially finish the reading Challenge. Now I know it to be true.


The Morning Star

Bantock, Nick. The Morning Star: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine is Illuminated. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2003.

Reason read: Friday, I’m in love. – the Cure.

Back to Griffin & Sabine. It always comes back to Griffin Moss & Sabine Strohem. Except not. This time, it is Matthew and Isabella. Matthew Sedon and Isabella de Reims are madly, hopelessly, truly in love. Except, like Griffin and Sabine before them, they cannot reach each other. He, in Alexandria, Egypt. She, in Paris, France. The archaeologist and the student worlds apart. Unable to connect, their romance depends on the guidance of the only other couple to experience such a divide. Through similar letters and postcards, Matthew & Isabella explore worlds beyond their imagination. Will they ever meet?

Book trivia: this was supposed to be the final book in the Griffin and Sabine saga. It is not.


December Updates

So, by the end of November I was a blathering mess, wasn’t I? I know I was. Mea culpa. Three xrays, five vials of blood taken, one CT scan, and two therapy sessions later, here are the updates. The protruding ribs are being blamed on chiropractic appointments even though I felt the rib cage move before I started see Dr. Jim. The nerve pain is being controlled by medication. The spot on the lung and possibly tumor…no results as of today. White blood cell count still elevated. Possibility of cancer…still a possibility.
But. But! But, enough of all that. Here are the books: I have a week off at the end of the month so I am anticipating it will be a good reading month. Here are the books planned:

Fiction:

  • Any Old Iron by Anthony Burgess (EB) – in memory of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th.
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin – in memory of Le Guin passing in 2018.
  • Four Spirits by Sena Jeter Naslund – to honor Alabama becoming a state in December.

Nonfiction:

  • The Female Eunuch by Germain Greer – to honor women’s suffrage law.
  • Cry of the Kalahari by Mark and Delia Owens (EB) – to honor the wedding anniversary of Mark and Delia.
  • Lost Moon by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger – in honor of the moon landing.
  • Stet: an Editor’s Life by Diana Athill (EB) – in honor of Athill being born in December.

Series continuation:

  • The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (AB) – to continue the series His Dark Materials, started in November in honor of National Writing Month.
  • The Unicorn Hunt by Dorothy Dunnett (EB) – to continue the series Niccolo House, started in August in honor of Dunnett’s birth month.

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Squelched by Terry Beard.

If there is time:

  • Black Tents of Arabia by Carl Raswan – in honor of Lawrence of Arabia.
  • This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun – in honor of Jelloun’s birth month.

November New

What do you do when the most inappropriate sentiment unexpectedly comes out of someone’s mouth? A confession that should never have left the lips of the confessor? Instead of thinking of the actions I should take I chose to take none. I do nothing. Distance makes it easy to ignore and deny. When I can’t avoid I read. Here are the books started for November:

Fiction:

  • Foolscap, or, the Stages of Love by Michael Malone – Malone was born in the month of November; reading in his honor.
  • Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko – in honor of November being Native American Heritage month.
  • The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman – November is National Writing month. Choosing fantasy for this round.
  • Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller – Routsong’s birth month was in November. Reading in her honor.
  • Martin Dressler by Steven Millhauser – reading in honor of Millhauser’s birth place, New York City.

Nonfiction:

  • Expecting Adam: a True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic by Martha Beck – in honor of my mother’s birth month.
  • The Caliph’s House by Tahir Shah – in honor of Morocco’s independence was gained in November.

Series continuation:

  • Scales of Gold by Dorothy Dunnett – to continue the series started in honor of Dunnett’s birth month in August.

Fun: nothing decided yet.

Early Review: I have been chosen to receive an early review but I will refrain from naming it in case it doesn’t arrive.

 


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.


The Numbers – explained

The numbers are in! Thanks to a severe omission of several chapters from Book Lust To Go I had to add 89 additional titles to the Challenge list, bringing my total number of books left to read to 4,809. While I am irritated by this new number, 4809 is a much better number than what I had been originally anticipating. I guessed 4,840. In order to remain positive, I will try not to fixate on the fact I thought I had 4,726 to go. I will put THAT number out of my head. I will. So. Moving forward, what this means is I will be even stricter about the “fun” stuff I read on the side. I will become pickier about the “outside” books. If you weren’t recommended by Pearl, forget about it. Wait. I’m a liar. I will still review Early Reviews for LibraryThing. I am loyal to the Thing. But being stricter with the rules also means I will give up on Challenge books more easily. Does it pain me to say that? No, strangely enough, in a way I’m relieved. It pained me more to struggle through a book I had no real interest in reading in the first place. Like that history of the atomic bomb…I found myself really reading only the even pages and skipping the odd. I would do that with any book I was particularly bored with. Hey – it worked. I got the gist of the plot and didn’t feel like I missed all that much. But, from here on out, if I don’t like a book within 25 pages I’m moving on. I don’t want Kisa reading to me on my death bed just so I can finish this challenge. So, on the plus side of these new “rules”, by not wasting a ton of time with the boring books, this means I will get to the books I am really looking forward to reading that much faster.

As penance for screwing up my numbers I am going to start a countdown on my blog. “I have read X number of books to date.”

Another confession – I honestly don’t believe Pearl read every book she recommended, either.


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.


Strangled Charity

I have a decidedly dumb dilemma. Books. Too many of them. Well, more accurately I have too many uncorrected proofs. Nearly 70 different titles. In the beginning…we’re talking 2006..I was asked to join LibraryThing’s Early Review program. Here’s how it works: ever month LT posts a list of new books to be published and you request one to be reviewed before publication. I have been honored to “win” nearly 70 early publications and I have reviewed them all. Well, let me clarify. I have faithfully reviewed every title I have received. I’m still waiting for two…

In the beginning it was a pride thing. I was so thrilled to be asked to join this program that I saved every single book I was asked to review. I wanted to keep an entire collection of “librarythings” to mark the accomplishment. But now they are taking over! Ironically, the two favorites I wanted to keep I loaned away and never saw again (The Translator and Losing Clementine). But, back to the books I can’t keep. I argue with myself and moi about what to do all the time.

Here’s how it goes:
Me: We donate them to a charity?
Myself: It’s uncorrected proof. No one wants to read an unfinished product.
Me: We could donate them to a library?
Moi: You wrote tags, notes and stuff all through them. You underlined and dog eared pages. (Shame on you, librarian!)
Me: We could give them to friends?
Myself: And how would you decide who gets what? Think of that Orgasmic Pregnancy one! Who would get that?
Me: We could offer them up free to anyone interested near and far? FaceBook? They would just pay my shipping costs?
Myself: And what if people don’t send you $$ to mail them? You are trying to renovate your kitchen, remember?
Me: We could throw them out?
Moi: You would hate yourself and chase after the recycling truck to bring them back.
Me: We could just keep them?
Myself: Out of the question. You don’t hold onto books unless you love them. You are running out of room with things you don’t love.
Me: I do hate clutter.
Moi: See?

So. What to do? Maybe when the weather gets warmer I’ll set up an alfresco book store with a big ole “Free” sign and see what happens. It could be a study in sociology. Do people like uncorrected proofs? Would they mind my in-page musings? Do people like free no matter what? And who will take that Orgasmic Pregnancy book?


Pulse Check

This is the list for Year Seven of the Book Lust Challenge. I’ll update it at the end of each month, just to keep myself honest.

  1. Abide By Me by Elizabeth Strout
  2. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  3. Among the Missing by Dan Chaon
  4. Apollo: the epic journey to the moon by David West Reynolds
  5. Arctic Grail by Pierre Berton (I started this last year)
  6. Ariel by Sylvia Plath
  7. At Home in the Heart of Appalachia by John O’Brien
  8. Beautiful Swimmers by William Warner
  9. Before the Knife by Carolyn Slaughter
  10. Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengist
  11. Beyond the Bogota by Gary Leech
  12. Big Mouth and Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates
  13. Brass Go-Between by Oliver Bleeck
  14. Breakfast with Scot by Michael Drowning
  15. Brush with Death by Elizabeth Duncan
  16. Burma Chronicles by Guy Delise
  17. Burning the Days by James Salter
  18. Camus, a Romance by Elizabeth Hawes
  19. Cardboard Crown by Martin Boyd
  20. Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lillian Jackson Braun
  21. Child that Books Built by Francis Spufford
  22. Churchill, a life by Martin Gilbert
  23. Conspiracy and Other Stories by Jaan Kross
  24. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
  25. Deafening by Frances Itani
  26. Death in Verona by Roy Harley Lewis
  27. Diamond Classics by Mike Shannon
  28. Dining with Al-Qaeda by Hugh Pope
  29. Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
  30. Domestic Manners of the Americans by Fanny Trollope
  31. Edward Lear in Albania by Edward Lear
  32. Fanny by Edmund White
  33. Final Solution by Michael Chabon
  34. Fixer by Joe Sacco
  35. Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco
  36. Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith
  37. Gabriel Garcia Marquez by Gerald Martin
  38. Galton Case by Ross MacDonald ~ reading right now
  39. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos
  40. Girl in Landscape by Jonathan Lethem
  41. Going Wild by Robert Winkler
  42. Golden Spruce by John Vaillant
  43. Good Thief’s Guide to Paris by Chris Ewan
  44. Good Thief’s Guide to Vegas by Chris Ewan
  45. Good-bye Chunk Rice by Craig Thompson
  46. Grand Ambition by Lisa Michaels
  47. Guardians by Geoffrey Kabaservice
  48. Hole in the Earth by Robert Bausch
  49. House of Morgan by Ron Chernow
  50. House on the Lagoon by Rosario Ferre
  51. Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer
  52. Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith
  53. Light Infantry Ball by Hamilton Basso
  54. Lives of the Painters (vol 2, 3 & 4) by Giorgio Vasari
  55. Mortality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith
  56. No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  57. Nobody Knows My Name by James Baldwin
  58. Ocean of Words by Ha Jin
  59. Old Friends by Tracy Kidder
  60. Panther Soup by John Grimlette
  61. Points Unknown edited by David Roberts
  62. Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
  63. Return of the Dancing Master by Henning Mankell
  64. Rosalind Franklin by Brenda Maddox
  65. Rose Cafe by John Hanson Mitchell
  66. Scar Tissue by Michael Ignatieff
  67. Scramble for Africa by Thomas Pakenham
  68. Southpaw by Mark Harris
  69. Tattered Cloak by Nina Berberova ~ reading right now
  70. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
  71. Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith
  72. Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  73. Time, Love, Memory by Jonathan Weiner
  74. Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy Sayers
  75. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery
  76. Viceroy of Ouidah by Bruce Chatwin
  77. What you Owe Me by Bebe Moore Campbell
  78. Wholeness of a Broken Heart by Katie Singer
  79. Widow for One Year by John Irving
  80. Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
  81. Working Poor by David Shipler

Anniversary of Crazy

November marks the seventh anniversary of the crazy idea I would read everything indexed in Book Lust by Nancy Pearl. Subsequently that idea mushroomed into reading everything indexed in More Book Lust and most recently, Book Lust To Go as well. Let’s do a little math, shall we? In six years I have read 583 books. That is approximately 97 books a year. If I continue at that rate I will finish the Lust Challenge when I am 93 years old, give or take a year or two…..

I had this conversation with someone a few days ago and without warning the thought that I might not finish this challenge depressed me. Not because of my own mortality but because of all the interesting books I will miss. I had a horrible thought – what if I spent a considerable time slogging through something I found only mildly interesting while I missed out on something completely riveting? What a not nice thought. I shared this ugly-ugly and my companion stridently changed the subject. What if you were to consider November a “new” year and you list out the books you are planning to read? This, of course, would not include LibraryThing and the Early Review program. It would not include the “strays” (as I’ve taken to calling them). Those are the books picked up for no other reason than a good suggestion or an intriguing cover. Accountability. I like it. It gives me structure. So, without further ado, here is the conservative list for Year Seven 11/2012 – 11/2013 in alphabetical order, of course:

  1. Abide By Me by Elizabeth Strout
  2. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  3. Among the Missing by Dan Chaon
  4. Apollo: the epic journey to the moon by David West Reynolds
  5. Arctic Grail by Pierre Berton (I started this last year)
  6. Ariel by Sylvia Plath
  7. At Home in the Heart of Appalachia by John O’Brien
  8. Beautiful Swimmers by William Warner
  9. Before the Knife by Carolyn Slaughter
  10. Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengist
  11. Beyond the Bogota by Gary Leech
  12. Brass Go-Between by Oliver Bleeck
  13. Breakfast with Scot by Michael Drowning
  14. Burma Chronicles by Guy Delise
  15. Burning the Days by James Salter
  16. Camus, a Romance by Elizabeth Hawes
  17. Cardboard Crown by Martin Boyd
  18. Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lillian Jackson Braun
  19. Child that Books Built by Francis Spufford
  20. Churchill, a life by Martin Gilbert
  21. Conspiracy and Other Stories by Jaan Kross
  22. Deafening by Frances Itani
  23. Death in Verona by Roy Harley Lewis
  24. Diamond Classics by Mike Shannon
  25. Dining with Al-Qaeda by Hugh Pope
  26. Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
  27. Domestic Manners of the Americans by Fanny Trollope
  28. Edward Lear in Albania by Edward Lear
  29. Fanny by Edmund White
  30. Final Solution by Michael Chabon
  31. Fixer by Joe Sacco
  32. Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco
  33. Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith
  34. Gabriel Garcia Marquez by Gerald Martin
  35. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos
  36. Girl in Landscape by Jonathan Lethem
  37. Going Wild by Robert Winkler
  38. Golden Spruce by John Vaillant
  39. Good Thief’s Guide to Paris by Chris Ewan
  40. Good Thief’s Guide to Vegas by Chris Ewan
  41. Good-bye Chunk Rice by Craig Thompson
  42. Grand Ambition by Lisa Michaels
  43. Guardians by Geoffrey Kabaservice
  44. Hole in the Earth by Robert Bausch
  45. House of Morgan by Ron Chernow
  46. House on the Lagoon by Rosario Ferre
  47. Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer
  48. Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith
  49. Light Infantry Ball by Hamilton Basso
  50. Lives of the Painters (vol 2, 3 & 4) by Giorgio Vasari
  51. Mortality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith
  52. No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  53. Nobody Knows My Name by James Baldwin
  54. Ocean of Words by Ha Jin
  55. Old Friends by Tracy Kidder
  56. Panther Soup by John Grimlette
  57. Points Unknown edited by David Roberts
  58. Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
  59. Return of the Dancing Master by Henning Mankell
  60. Rosalind Franklin by Brenda Maddox
  61. Rose Cafe by John Hanson Mitchell
  62. Scar Tissue by Michael Ignatieff
  63. Scramble for Africa by Thomas Pakenham
  64. Southpaw by Mark Harris
  65. Tattered Cloak by Nina Berberova
  66. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
  67. Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith
  68. Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  69. Time, Love, Memory by Jonathan Weiner
  70. Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy Sayers
  71. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery
  72. Viceroy of Ouidah by Bruce Chatwin
  73. What you Owe Me by Bebe Moore Campbell
  74. Widow for One Year by John Irving
  75. Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
  76. Working Poor by David Shipler

I’ll update this list May 1st, at the halfway mark. I haven’t spelled out which books I will listen to on CD. This also doesn’t reflect when I’ll read them either. All I know is that I will continue to read whenever and wherever I can. Standing in line at the grocery store, trapped in the backseat of a moving vehicle, before bed, in the bath, while my kisa watches hours of football, with a glass of wine, during storms, by candlelight and sunlight, on vacation, while I’m sick, or waiting for the pasta water to boil. I will skip the books that bore me to tears. I will start books early and finish them late. This is my new year’s resolution.


Ten Hours Until Dawn Postscript

This should be a ps at the end of the Tougias review but somehow it doesn’t seen appropriate to put it there. What I am about to say has nothing to do with the review but is essential to the enjoyment of the book. LISTEN TO THE AUDIO BOOK! Seriously. I wrote my review before listening to the acknowledgments and thank yous and the I-couldn’t-have-written-this-book-without-you spiel. I should have waited until all that was over. Here’s what I would have included:
Listen to the very end of Ten Hours Until Dawn. What you will hear will chill your heart and break your soul. Listening to the actual radio calls between Coast Guard stations Glouster, Salem and Peabody and Frank Quirk, Captain of the “Can Do” is breathtaking. You spend so much time hearing an actor portray these people and you spend so much time with Tougias’s words that when the real exchange is finally heard it’s like a punch to the gut. On a personal note, I felt actual anger listening to the captain of the Global Hope fumble for the correct terminology to describe his situation. I felt sheer helplessness listening to Charlie Bucko make the mayday call from the “Can Do”. Listening to these people blew my mind. Maybe I am so moved because my father was a tried and true Coastie. To be sure I have been thinking of him as I heard Frank Quirk’s brave voice on the radio. Next month marks the 20th anniversary of my father’s passing; a man who died while trying to save the life of another.
But, back to Ten Hours Until Dawn. I have to admit this is one of those rare times when I want to read the book even after hearing the audio version. This is a story that truly resonated with me.


Signed, Sealed, Committed

I celebrated another birthday recently. Nothing outrageous, nothing wild. It was pretty quiet except for the discovery that I am committed to be crazy. Hook. Line. Sinker. I am caught up in a colossal challenge I can’t (won’t?) escape. to explain:

In 2006 someone gave me Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust (better known as simply ‘BL’ in my world). Nothing more than a compilation of recommended reading for “every mood” as Pearl put it. When I first flipped through it I thought, “how quaint.” After some serious page turning I thought, “what a great idea to catalog all these books in such this way!” Funny how first impressions are so innocent. Hindsight definitely reveals a stranger, more elusive obsession in the making. I really don’t know how it all started. I don’t know what made me decide to read every single book indexed in Book Lust. All I do know is that after I was given More Book Lust (MBL) soon after that sealed the deal. Somehow that second book committed me to the challenge. I found myself promising to read EVERY book indexed in Book Lust AND More Book Lust. I wasn’t looking for a fight; no throw down. I didn’t challenge anyone to join me. This was going to be a battle fought by me, myself and moi. I remember meeting Nancy Pearl at a convention. After she signed my books I told her about my insane challenge. She seemed excited when she asked, “are you the one with the website?” but was definitely deflated when I said no, I wasn’t. To be fair, at the time I knew there was at least one other person with the same such project. She had a website and was soliciting book buyers to help her with her reading. I wasn’t that person. As a librarian I could do no such thing. Circulation is at the core of library success.

Anyway, fast forward to Happy Birthday to me. I’m opening a package from my sister. Sitting in my truck with the engine running because I just couldn’t wait. Despite being in my own driveway. I had to laugh when my own eagerness revealed Book Lust To Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers by Nancy Pearl. Here we go again. I knew myself all too well. The only question was how long would it take before I would decide to add all the titles of BLTG to my challenge? Not long. Not long at all. In fact, I hadn’t read a single word of BLTG before I was formulating a new plan. Adjustments would have to be made. Between BL and MBL I had amassed over 4,000 titles to read. At first glance I estimated BLTG would add another 2,000 unique titles…give or take.

And so it begins. I have a feeling LunaSea will be busy.


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.


If It Comes to You

secretsIf it comes to you in ashes that means I burned it. Burned it, but sent it to you anyway. I am twisted enough that I would do something like that…just to show you my good intentions comes with an evil streak. I started this whole thing in earnest thinking I would, I could, build you a masterpiece. Something worthy of a bedside table as a good bedtime story..or maybe even a coffee table out in the open if I let myself dare to dream that big and ambitious and grandiose. Shopping for supplies was much like being a id again. I was drawn in by sparkly stickers, glittery borders, sticky glue, funky cutting scissors, colored paper of vellum and linen and cotton. So much to chose from I didn’t know where to begin or end. Embellishments aplenty. My credit card shook from exhaustion. I wish I could say my enthusiasm for the project held up through the piles and piles of purchases, pages and pages of printed out out-of-print pictures, the plethora of everything saved and once cherished. Suddenly, without warning I felt unworthy of the task at heart. Who was I to decide what to keep? What to exclude? How could I decide what was coffee table worthy? Every well-wished sentiment, every scrap of paper had something worth saving, keeping, holding onto. The insecurity grew and grew and grew with each passing page created until finally every page created became a page hated.

So, I started again. Tearing the old masterpiece down and starting new. Different ideas flowed and I worked feverishly to retain the enthusiasm. I worked methodically, determined to use everything given to me, entrusted to me. Everything meant a creation oversized and bulging. Bigger and bigger. But, like a sandcastle caught in a rising tide my enthusiasm ebbed away…again. This time it was my displeasure with how cramped and crowded every page looked. Bigger didn’t mean better. My eagerness to please was obvious overkill on every page. With remorse, I tore it down again and again.

I ended up rebuilding a third time. I started with all new supplies. This time I dared to play god to the creation. I dared to determine the worth of each scrap. When it was done I was proud of it but also insecure. I needed more time to reconcile the conflicting emotions before I sent it off.

I never sent it. It’s still here. I sent a decoy, a fake. something to placate you and keep me covered. I still want to burn it. I still want you to have it. Two conflicting emotions. So, maybe it will come to you…in ashes.


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.