Sunday, November 25, 2012

Exactly 1 year ago today . . .

. . . I wrote my VERY FIRST blog post.

In honor of this momentous day, I present to you "Timeline of a Book Blog on the Occasion of Its 1st Birthday." [Suggested musical pairing: Shania Twain's "You're Still the One"]

November 1*Stumbled (drunkenly? Probably.) into a Goodreads discussion about To Kill a Mockingbird (Someone actually asked if she should read it or if it "sucked." I KNOW. I can't even.)

November 1Sought out and started reading Amanda's blog because of HI-larious things she said in above-mentioned Goodreads discussion

November 15Started reading Alice's blog because Amanda exhorted her followers to do so (Sheeeeeep. Every one of us.)

November 23Stopped lurking in the broom closet of Alice's blog and actually left a comment, setting in motion what would become a yearlong (and counting, to infinity) relationship

Mutual Hatred of Twilight: Bringing people together since 2006

November 25—Caved to Alice's peer pressure and started my own blog (pretty much immediately . . . I put up no resistance at all)

November 25 to Present—Met (YES you can MEET people on the Internet. Shut up.) an incredible mix of lady-bloggers who officially make up the largest group of female friends I've ever had at one time (AND I LOVE YOU ALL)

Charter members: AliceLauraAlleyRayna
KayleighTikaJulieAmanda, and Nahree

*Most of these dates are toooootally not right. But let's pretend together.

Side Effects of Writing About Books on the Internet:
  • Reading more intentionally
  • Reading outside my comfort zone
  • Just READING more
  • Knowing what books are floating around out there, in a general sort of way
  • Becoming a bookseller (really, I don't think I would have gotten the job without this blog)
  • Going to more book-related things in The Outside World
  • Making friends I never would have met any other way (see above)
  • Writing down random thoughts that would otherwise just bounce around behind my eyes, causing headaches and light bruising to my frontal lobe
And all because of a silly little book blog.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Reading Rut, I am in you.

I've been having that unsettled feeling particular to bloggingthat feeling you get when more than a week has gone by between updates. Let's call it SELF-INFLICTED INNER TURMOIL. Because it is both of those things.

But I can't finish a book right now to save my life. And if I haven't finished a book, what can I possibly say that won't be about Doctor Who or, more specifically, how everyone should find Matt Smith as attractive as I do?

Or THIS, which I could write a POEM about.

I'm in the exact middle of three books right now, and none of them are hitting the spot. So let's talk about THAT.

I was really enjoying this when I started it . . . back in, oh man . . . in September. This rut is even worse than I thought. OK, well, I was ENJOYING it. But then I started the Grapes of Wrath readalong and tucked this away and really didn't care if I ever picked it up again. And there I remain on the subject of the Chicago World's Fair and this particular killer of women whose name I can't even remember because it's been THAT long since I picked up this book.

I haven't read ANY D. Eggs. So I bought this one, because it was $3 and the cover is kind of gorgeous. And there end my reasons for acquiring this book. I had no idea what it was about. I still don't, really. But I WILL tell you this: I was eating things while reading the first 50 pages, and I wouldn't recommend that. A little friendly advice from me to you.

I was kind of hoping that, in translating this into a graphic novel, Hope Larson would ALSO elevate the maturity level. I assumed that the people who would most want to read a graphic novel version of a beloved childhood classic would be the people who were the target audience for the original and are now all grown up and stuff. And, yeah, we like to relive old favorites just as they are, but if you're going to reinterpret something, shouldn't you reinterpret it? This version is still VERY much for children, which kind of just makes it A Wrinkle in Time: Now With Pretty Pictures.

What I'm trying to say here is that all three of these books are perfectly acceptable and maybe even really great . . . but they aren't doing it for me RIGHT NOW.

And for that, they must pay.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It blows my mind how many activities we can do.

The month of October was not a great blogging month for me, but . . . I've been moving.

Now that I'm sort of settled, I can get back to the business of writing things about books. And I should probably also do some editing? You know, if I have time.

But before I do ANY of that, let's have some pictures of the new place, yeah?

Walkway between the two buildings, one of which may or may not
house Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Or I could just be making that up. You don't know.

The view from the courtyard. I can gaze at the
Hollywood Freeway while the dogs take a poo. Eeeeexcellent.

This side is the "Gaming/Movie Zone for Boys and the Occasional Girl."

And I camp out over there in the "Book Zone for Awesome People Only."

It's the COZIEST.

And there's so much room for activities!
I think we're done here. Off you go.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Grapes of Wrath Week 4: Almost certainly not worth the wait

I'm so embarrassingly behind that I ALMOST didn't even try to write this final post . . . but then a grown man suckled at a teenage girl's bosom. So . . . yeah.

I know some people have been concerned about how women are portrayed in this book, but . . . I'm more inclined to believe that the men get the short end of the gender-role stick in this one. The men are kind of powerless in this economic environment. They aren't even the sole providers anymore, now that women and children are taking to the fields to help bring in the pennies. And, at least in the Joad family, Ma is quite publicly running the show.
"'You get your stick, Pa,' she said. 'Times when they's food an' a place to set, then maybe you can use your stick an' keep your skin whole. But you ain't a-doin' your job, either a-thinkin' or a-workin'.'" (p. 388)
I would prefer that use of a stick not be acceptable in ANY situation, but we'll take what we can get here.

What Pa DOES get to do is say all the things I'm thinking.
"Uncle John shook his head over his plate. 'Don't look like we're a-gonna get shet of this here. I bet it's my sin.'
'Oh, shut up!' Pa cried. 'We ain't got time for your sin now.'" (p. 433)
"Ma said softly, 'Pa, I got to talk to you. Ruthie tol' some kids how Tom's a-hidin'.
'She tol'. Got in a fight an' tol'.'
'Why, the little bitch!'" (p. 456)
God bless you, Pa.

On a more serious note (because the REST of GoW is such a hoot), I kind of think Tom drowned? Because he was living in a bush . . . and then there was a lot of rain. Someone should probably look into that.

"Tom looked over at the wide-eyed children. They seldom blinked their eyes. It was as though they were afraid something might happen in the split second of darkness." (p. 441)

OK . . . so the breast feeding. I GET what Steinbeck is going for here. Desperate times, desperate measures. People have to help each other. And it's kind of nice that Rose of Sharon gets a chance to redeem herself for being generally the most selfish person ever for the vast portion of this book.

But when I read this:
"Her fingers moved gently in his hair. She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously" (p. 502)
all I can pictures is this: