Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reading, writing, and...I don't do maths. I got a D in Algebra. Twice. So now I just read and write.

So, have you submitted something to Sue? Cause she wants you to write something for the book she's doing to raise money for Stephanie Neilsen. And she said if we want to be in it, we have to promote it. Which I don't mind doing, as is for a good cause and all. Except that if I don't make it into the book, then you'll all know that I tried and failed, and I will feel a bit sheepish.

Like a little fluffy lamb, I am, stuck in a catch-22. 

Sounds painful, I know.

 I wrote about cleaning out my closet, which might be as bo-ring as it sounds. Uh-oh. Maybe I should send a back-up submission? Something from the archives? What's something super funny that will knock Sue's panties right off her bum?

Today is my Mom's Birthday. I got her a stack of books, because she loves stacks of books. She also loves food, but I did not make her treats because she is trying not to eat treats. She has already lost 20 pounds, and is mean to sabotage people's treat-less lives with treats. But if some kind person leaves Swiss cake rolls or other treats on my porch, I will not be upset. Quite the opposite, really. I am looking forward to Halloween, when the Phantom comes and leaves us treats. Sometimes, I do not put up my paper phantom right away, and then we get more treats. Is a good scam. But then the kids insist we make treats enough to pass on both phantoms. Becomes a lot of treats. Good thing my Bosch can make a quadruple cookie dough recipe with one beater tied behind its back.

Anyhow, books. Books are calorie-free. Mom likes to keep a stack of unread books on her nightstand, because seeing them, and anticipating all their yet-to-be-revealed secrets, gives her great pleasure. Maybe like an unopened box of cake rolls, or a full TIVO. So, I've been saving all the middling to good books I've read, and passed them on. 

Used books, you ask? Isn't that a chintzy present for the woman who gave me life? Well, yes, so I also spent about 3 hours on reading reviews and picking out some new titles. That maybe she will let me borrow when she finishes.

Here's the used stack:
Book of a Thousand Days. Shannon Hale. LDS author, not LDS subject. Loosely based on a fairy tale I'd never heard, set in Mongolia. A lady is bricked into a tower by her father because she won't marry her father's pick. Her maid joins her, and they live in the windowless dark.

The Goose Girl. Shannon Hale. Same sort of thing, with the fairy tale, only it didn't touch me like Thousand Days. Still okay, especially if you love the fantasy/fairy tale stuff. Which normally, I don't.

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons. Landvik. Book club book, that explores ( I've seen this before) female (not the lezzy sort) bonding. Sort of a Ya-Ya Sisterhood sort of feeling, only not as good. But not bad, either. I would tell you all to read it, but if you do, skip the part when one lady's brother comes and talks to the book club about his experiences in the war. I tried to skip it, but I still wish I hadn't read even what I did. I hate nasty violence.

Peony in Love. Lisa See. Not as good as Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, but still fascinating. Yet another young girl is being forced to marry by her parents. She regrets her disobedience.

Love in the Time of Cholera. Marquez. I didn't finish it because I got yucked out, but Mom enjoys a good writing, and it is well written, I guess. I'll let her decide for herself.)

The Birth House. Ami McKay. Loved the amazing descriptions of the Halifax Explosion (how can I have a degree in history and never heard of this? I read another book on this since, I was so fascinated), but I did get annoyed by the author's not-so-subtle pro-choice agenda. It didn't feel true to the WWI historical setting. I also get annoyed by this cult of the goddess thing that is going on in literature right now. I think our ability to carry and bear children is magical, but not magic. And men shouldn't be left out of it. It feels like women's lib gone way too far, making men out to be ignorant, cheating, beating losers. Um, as far as I can see, men don't have to be worthless for women to have worth. It doesn't have to be Big Male Medicine OR Midwifery. Sorry, getting off topic. Even with this criticism, I found many things to like about this book. It really made me think for a long time afterward.

Certain Girls. Jenifer Weiner. Not as dirty, nor as funny as some of her others. And the end totally threw me. But not bad. I'm passing it on.

Of all these, my favorite was Book of a Thousand Days. I would recommend it to all.

Now, for the new books:
Three Cups of Tea. Mortenson, Relin.
Pope Joan. Donna Cross
March. Geraldine Brooks
On Cecil Beach. Ian McEwan.

I think she'll like them. I can't wait to get my hands on Pope Joan and March. I like stacks of books maybe even more than she does. When I die, someone should tuck books around me in my coffin. The whole being buried thing sounds better if I've got books to read. Makes me feel less panicky and claustrophobic. I wouldn't want to be bored in eternity. 

Sorry, is creepy and morbid. I'll stop.

Have you read anything fantastic lately? Or not lately, but at any time in your whole life? What is your favorite book? PLEASE leave me a comment. I am looking for my Book Club pick for next year, and am currently reading like crazy. Right now I am leaning toward The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I am going to reread it after I finish Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.


jt said...

Have you read Still Life with Rice? I think it was good. Our bookclub also read The Romance REader, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a good classic, You've probably read all the ones I have, cause you actually read your book stacks.

Corrie said...

East by Edith Pattou
Arcangel by Sharon Shinn
Joan of Arc by (Mark Twain, but he used a different name...)
That's a good history one. Really enjoyed it. I love fantasy though and really liked Shannon Hales books. She wrote a fun one called Austenland.
love to read.
reading The Book Thief by markus zusak next after I'm through with the basement stuff...heard that was a good one.
stack of books = fabulous gift
add a box of swiss rolls and it's gonna be a great year!

wonder woman said...

The only book I've read with a book club is The Secret Life of Bees. I loved it, and am so glad they're making a movie! I remember my mom reading Cold Sassy Tree and Bridges of Madison County in her book club when I was a kid.

I've also read some Jodi Picoult lately, and have enjoyed it. She writes about things I have absolutely no experience with, which intrigues me. Change of Heart, Second Glance, and Harvesting the Heart, I think are the titles.

Is this for a church book club, or just friends? While the material is spectacular in that it deals with hot topics, there's some rough language. Some books have more than others. And every now and then the scenes get a bit too graphic. But I *really* enjoyed the material - it made me think.

Beeswax said...

Oooh. This is exactly what I want! Ideas! Love Tree grows in Brooklyn, and Book Thief was my pick for book Club this year. It is WONDERFUL.

Beeswax said...

Oh and I've only read My Sister's keeper by Jodi Picoult. It was interesting, but made me sort of stressed out and angry.

Which isn't always a bad thing.

nevadanista said...

Seems like you like history - have you read Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K Massie? It's not a light read, but I did it in a book group once and it went over well. It's classic a case of fact being stranger than fiction. And if I'm not mistaken, it won the Pulitzer Prize.

McEwens said...

have to second WW, I just finished reading the secret life of bees! IT WAS GREAT! Made you think, cry, and redirect your life!

Becky said...

My new favorite book is "Life As We Knew It." Aside from being a great read, it will totally motivate you to get your food storage done.

Beeswax said...

I read The Romanvos: THe Final Chapter, by Massie, which was the Nicholas and Alexandra book plus some great stuff about finding their bodies and the DNA and skull analysis they did to prove who they were. I LOVED it.

I should reread the Secret Life of Bees. I can't remember too much about it...

Lorie said...

I honestly don't have a book to suggest. That would require reading. I got an A in algebra though. Does that count for anything?

VarneyFam said...

I got an imcomplete in Algebra twice and a D once...I was an English Lit major for a reason!!! With all these kids I am trying to make the time to read again - I finished the Twilight series in 4 days (all 4 books) and am excited to try something from all of your posted comments etc... I am needing more the light reading though since this baby will be here in a week and it's hard to get through the heavy stuff with baby one the brain :)

Sue said...

I haven't read it yet, because I am starting to be super terrified of checking that email (SO MANY SUBMISSIONS) (IN A GOOD WAY) (BUT STILL), but I'm sure it's hilarious. But by all means, send another one.

Thanks for spreading the word. :>

Gini said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wonder woman said...

Varneyfam- entire twilight series in FOUR DAYS!?!? I was taking a drink of water when I read that and my mouth hung open. Dribbled on myself a bit. That's CRAZY!!!

And I've considered submitting something to Sue, but trying to come up with funny, original material is terribly intimidating/HARD. I thought about doing something about the Lego Star Wars video game, but haven't developed the funny enough yet.

Heidi's Hodgepodge said...

Hi Kelly,
I've read March, Pope Joan, Three Cups of Tea, and Poisonwood Bible, and the latter is my favorite, BY FAR... one of my favorite books of all time. Another excellent book is Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks (March), nonfiction.

Are you talking about Stephenie Nielson, my sister-in-law? Is this the book I keep hearing about from her sister Courtney?

Beeswax said...

Heidi! I got your message on Shelfari and never heard from you again! Thanks for the vote. I read Poisonwood so long ago, all I remember is that I liked it. I have to get it back from my Dad.

Yes, I am talking about the book for your SIL Stephanie Neilson (and your brother, too, I'm sure). I just spelled her name wrong, which is so rude of me.

You should write something for the book. You are a shoe-in, obviously!

Heather said...

Did you finish Gilead? I didn't love it so much. What about East of Eden? A classic, one of my favs. A good discussion book, too.

Leslie said...

If you haven't read These is My Words (Nancy Turner) might give it a look. I enjoyed it quite well for the most part and think it would be great for a book club. Of course, The Hiding Place (Corrie Ten Boom) is one of the best books in the world and would be fantastic for a book club as well. I can think of many, many wonderful books...but I'll leave it there...if you want to hear more...just let me know...I think you know where to find me ;)!

Hailey said...

You can't ask me for reading suggestions, because I get all mine from you! I'm reading The Book Thief right now because of you and Mel. I've been reading it forever! I love it, but I just don't make enough time--I'm a reading mess! Help!