Monday, January 5, 2009

Shh! I'm reading!

I might be playing, but I'm always reading, and this vacation has been no exception.

(In fact, last summer my mother-in-law gave me a great coffee mug that says, "Shhh! I'm reading." I think it's hilarious to walk around saying that to people while I'm carrying my mug. Paul et al seem to think it's actually rather annoying. Alas.)

Anyway, I've been reading so much that I don't even remember everything I've read. I know that I started with some light holiday fare: Joan Dideon's memoir about her husband's death, The Year of Magical Thinking. It was good. The first anniversary of a friend's husband's murder is coming up. I'm thinking that passing my copy along to her would either be a thoughtful guesture or a terrible thing to do. Hmm.

Then I moved on to some of the rest of my "most pressing" to-be-read pile. (This is a stack that now sits beside my beside table and is of a height with it. The stack doesn't include my "eventually" to-be-read shelf on the bookshelf at the foot of the bed.) Next up were the first two books of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. 2000 pages of George R. R. Martin and I blew right through it. I was hooked, engrossed, obsessed . . . and complaining loudly all the way. Martin breaks all the rules. My favorite point of view character? Dead with no warning! Another favorite character? Permanently and seriously maimed. One thing's sure, going into any scene, you can never be confident that anyone will come out alive. It definitely added tension, even as it made me miserable. Still, I kept asking, "why?" as I read. Does the world really need yet another epic fantasy set in a pre-industrial society where rigid gender roles, sexism, chivalry, and feudalism are de rigueur? There's a lot of creativity in the story and storytelling. (Not to mention quite a bit of surprising crudity.) I just wonder why it's so common to tell these epic fantasy stories while relying on a tired old framework.

Righto. Anyway, I ended my low-key vacation with the first of Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novels. How have I never read these before?!! So, that was fun. (Lilsis, this one's coming your way whenever I haul myself to the post office.)

Next up: The Member of the Wedding, by Carson McCullers, a book club selection. Life is still good!


  1. I'm like you; I get to the end of the year and I can't remember what I've read. And hugs to your friend; what a difficult anniversary.

  2. I love the mug, though I was caught off guard by being told to SHH once or twice...

  3. Have you read Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell? I am half way through (about page 500)... and feeling a smililar frustration to the martin books although worse. There is not a single female character of any substance! and it was new york times best seller of the year! and it was written by a woman!

  4. Jim Butcher is on my favorite authors list. His Dresden Files series is wonderful, but his Codex Alera has me absolutely enthralled.

    I have read too many books this year to count, much less recall!

  5. I just got "The Member of the Wedding" yesterday from the library, and I'm going to jump into it shortly. I also checked out the VHS copy of the film. I don't know if I'll see it in time, but it is worth a try.

    I am thinking often lately about the anniversary of the tragedy as well.

  6. I think I was not clear at all! The books I listed above were some of those that I've read over the last couple of weeks, during my Christmas "vacation." I read so many books a year - dozens - I never properly keep track of them all, despite my best intentions . . .

    Barrie, yeah, I should do something about that, right? Like keep a list? I'd just lose it like everything else!

    Rob, it really is rude. I'm sorry about that!!

    Grace, that book got so many great reviews! It's been on my Amazon wishlist since before it published! Thanks for warning me ahead of time. Argh.

    Flatflo, I'll definitely be trying those once I get caught up with good old Harry. What fun these books are!

    Tracey, I got my copy from the library today too. And I had no idea that there was a film!

    (Yeah, February 7th is looming a bit, isn't it?)

  7. one of my friends' had a book released today. It is called The Rock and The River, by Kekla Magoon. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a new/fresh perspective.

  8. Thanks, Amanda. It might be rude, but it's very very me.

    Grace, I've heard you talk about Kekla, but I had no idea that she's a writer. I am wracked by jealousy, but trying to get past that. How do people accomplish so much? I feel like a stagnant pool sometimes. (I wrote and wrote and wrote this morning, and only accomplished 1000 words. I am learning and practicing, but I'd like to move on to the next stage, now! Alas, there's no skipping ahead.)

    The Rock and the River looks amazing. It has Newbery Honors written all over it!