Monday, April 20, 2015

It's Monday, April 20th. What Are You Reading?

Remember last week when I told you that the previous week and weekend were awesome in terms of reading. I know better than to gloat!

These last seven days have been far, far, far less than productive reading-wise (Is this a word?). Life. Personal issues. Stuff. All things that disrupt concentration. At the very least, these things encroached on my reading time. That’s okay. It’s life.

What I read:

It did finish a collection of short stories called There’s Something I Want You to Do by Charles Baxter. Here’s the underlying premise: The stories are interrelated so we see several characters more than once. I like this. The book is in two parts. In the first part, each story uses a virtue as its theme ("Bravery," "Loyalty," "Chastity," "Charity," and “Forbearance”). The second part is devoted to vices ("Lust," "Sloth," "Avarice," "Gluttony," and "Vanity"). The characters do some great and noble things then turn around and do some things bordering on despicable (that’s maybe too strong a word). At the center of each story is a question, or request. There’s something I want you to do. Sometimes, it is stated as such, other times it is implied.

I really liked this book and I recommend it to anyone who likes short stories or would like to give them a try. I now want to read one of his novels called The Feast of Love.

What I am reading:

I have made a decent dent in the audio version of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler even though I hardly have any drive time anymore. I guess that’s what the Step Mill is for, right? I will NOT  be telling you anything about this book. Trust me, it is fun and interesting. It surprised me! And it sounds so well written that I wish I was actually reading it instead of listening.

Last night I started Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. I read To Rise Again at a Decent Hour and thought it was so funny and different that when I saw Then We Came… on the cheap at Open Books last week, I immediately thought “Destiny!!!”

That’s my last week. This week is shaping up to be busy, busy, busy. Aside from "life events", I will be celebrating World Book Night at Unabridged Bookstore at a BYOB (Bring Your Own Book(s) to donate) event sponsored, I think, by some local folks connected with Book Riot. 
I did not know until this morning that Friday, April 24th is some sort of 24-hour Read-a-Thon thingie! Happens twice a year. How perfect is it that my husband leaves for a golf trip that very morning? Score! (Sorry Honey!!! You know how much I love to read!)



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Do You Tell Fellow Writers About Typos?



How does Sunday come around so quickly? Here I am, again, writing stream of consciousness style and linking it up over at Fadra’s place

The rules are simple:
Write for five minutes.
Don’t edit.
Publish.
Here goes…

***************************

I wish I could simply butt the heck out. Usually I am so, so, so good at it. Friday, I was not, and I am feeling a bit self-conscious. Maybe uneasy or uncomfortable are better words.

You see, I informed someone, a fellow blogger and acquaintance, of a typo in a post. I thought said writer would probably want to know because maybe the piece was written for something important. Or maybe not even important. Just because. And not to be a pill or anything. As much as I would want to know, I thought this person would want to know.

I even think I have had a writing/blogging conversation with this person, and we agreed that sometimes we can’t see a typo/mistake even though we have read something over and over and over. And sometimes we don’t have the time. Or sometimes maybe we don’t even care. But I do care. I know this person cares.

Oh well. What’s done is done. I can’t take my words back though I hope it was accepted in the spirit in which it was given. I only wanted to help. 

Because I thought you might want to know. 

Because I would want to know.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Do You Have a Fish Tank?


Can you not completely lose yourself in it? 
Gaze for hours.
I do.

When I look at it from the top, it appears so much smaller than its 90,000 gallons. Seems sparse since it is deep, and only some fish swim along the surface. Seems like it's the predators. And there's a whole social system within it as well.

Somewhat of an eavesdropper on their lives,
I can see this.
Everyone needs to behave, including me.

Some fish school. 
Angel Fish swim in pairs. 
Snappers seem to lead solitary lives.

Imagine a gigantic tank filled with life and color and textures. Then imagine slipping into its peacefulness. Some approach cautiously then flit off. Others nip my fingers anticipating food, or my flesh.

Five stingrays fight for my attention.
Suck my mask trying to kiss me.
Things brush past.

It is like playing in their secret world. 
Not mine. 
Intimate.
Like taking a Caribbean vacation. 
Without leaving. 
Soundless.
It's feeling like you are the luckiest person in the world. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It has been an awesome week/weekend for reading mostly because of one little book. Of course, I will tell you why.

I was talking with a friend on Saturday morning, which happened to be a gloriously gorgeous day here in the city. Chicago, that is. Swimming pools and movie stars... Oh wait, that’s Beverly Hills! We both expressed interest in epistolary books. Books in the form of letters. (To this day my hands down favorites are the Griffin and Sabine series by Nick Bantock. Have you read them?) And I am not sure how I found this little tome, or why I had never read it before because it is so totally me. 

Any way, I decided to go for a very long walk, probably 6 miles, to take in the sunshine and some solitude, choosing to stroll through the neighborhoods instead of along the lakefront. Almost gave up once at the furthest distance from home and hailed a cab. But at precisely that decision point, I saw a bookstore. Ahhhhhh! It beckoned me through its door. (It is here I will admit that this particular place was probably on my radar the entire time.) 

And success!!!!!! It is an old title, and if it hadn’t been a perpetual “staff pick”, it wouldn’t have been on the shelf. Have you read…



Check it out on Goodreads. For me, it was simply stunning.

In other book news, I finally finished…


It is primarily about a single guy, a wannabe writer in NYC, and the many iterations of his relationships. Kind of a Mars/Venus perspective, in a way, accentuating the differences split along gender lines. It's just not that simplistic, though, is it?

I had this to say on Goodreads: “I am still digesting this book, and wondering why I liked it so much to easily give it 4-stars. I think because it made me feel. Something. Even though that "something" wasn't completely positive.” 

So I did like it. But not all the time. I did think it was very well written. There was some interesting insight into the psyche of a young, single man and relationships. Some of it felt awfully familiar. While I wasn't crazy about him either, his character felt real to me. Was it because he reminded me of someone specifically? I don't think so, but I have seen plenty of those characteristics/traits in a lot of men just not so much wrapped up all into one. I never like generalizations and this felt a bit like that. Not all guys are like this. Not all women are like that. Or whatever, if that makes sense at all. What rang true was the protagonist's desire to do just so much talking. My husband is like that. He doesn't want to dissect and re-hash every little (or big) thing. For that matter, neither do I. If you read it, let me know what you think!

I am digging back into a book of shorts stories…



And will probably pick back up Lila by Marilynne Robinson…again! But maybe I should just go ahead and read Gilead, instead. What do you think?
Listening to...



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Job Application Email: Velvet Verbosity

Dear Sandmeyer's,

Crossing your threshold, you may hear an audible [SIGH]. Fear not! It’s only me 
paying my weekly visit, not serial stalking. Your warmth and beauty wrap me like a favorite afghan. My heart pounds harder; its walls nearly bursting with uncontainable bliss. Forefront, I stand, presenting my arm for your euphoric injection, and will here admit my only transgression being abebooks.com. Otherwise, I pledge complete faithfulness to you.

Searching for exuberant staff? Look no further! I’ve long dreamed of working here, even if for free. So I mercifully beg; please indulge this lifelong bibliophile. 

Kindest regards,

Gina




Velvet Verbosity's word this week was INDULGE.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Books!


I like the idea of starting out a Monday by reflecting on what I have read (since weekends are generally productive), am reading, and plan for the week in...reading, of course. Check out the links at Book Journey to see what other people have in their hands this week!

Last week I wrapped up:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22725443-hausfrau?ac=1


There was and IS so much hype surrounding this book. I still don't know how I really feel about it. I liked the story. The style in which it was written appealed to me. But I was expecting a higher quality of writing, I think. Hey, I was not anticipating anything in the prose style or writing caliber of Stoner by John Williams (which happens to be one of my favorite books (possibly of all time)). I don't know. There was a disconnect for me. Somewhere. I can't place my finger exactly where so I am citing the actual writing, not the story telling. It has an engaging elicit element, which is always up my alley, and it was definitely on the scintillating side almost from start to finish. Some things can not be explained, so I guess I have to leave it at a visceral feeling.

And:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17884042-still-life-with-bread-crumbs?ac=1

Oh, Anna. I have liked many of your books though haven't read one in years. I am not even sure where or when I picked this one up. Maybe I am in a grumpy book mood or maybe simply busy, but this one was average for me. Sure, I read the whole thing. I just didn't care for the story or characters all that much. I wish I could get to a place where I put down books that are not stimulating me in the ways I wish to be, uh, stimulated (?).

On that note, I am currently reading:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17884042-still-life-with-bread-crumbs?ac=1
Go check out the Goodreads link for a full description. I am sure the artwork on the cover got a decent amount of votes for "Most Interesting Book Cover of the Year" (There is such a thing!). It has plenty of spicy moments with the whole teacher/student sexual taboo/dynamics. I am very much liking it.

I am also trying to wrap up:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17884042-still-life-with-bread-crumbs?ac=1
I love this book! It is the debut novel in which Waldman, a woman, is writing about the dating life/habits/challenges from a man's point of view. She has a great voice, and I think she does this wonderfully.

This has been on my "currently reading" shelf for a long time. The reason being is I left it in a hotel (halfway finished during a 13 hour flight) in Qatar, which is a Muslim country. I tried to download it at their airport so I could finish on the next flight. No dice! Since I was in this part of the world, Amazon wouldn't allow me to download it. Not considered suitable by this religion. This is probably for good and particular reasons. I found my way around the loophole and had it sent to my Kindle within the hour. Too bad I fell asleep on the flight, put it aside, never returning to it until today.

I am also listening to:



Next up:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3711.White_Teeth?ac=1
I've had this book on my radar for quite some time. I even have it on my bookshelf now. I am dying to read it so I hope I pick it up next. You never know how the wind blows...

Please tell me what you are reading. I am always interested!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Kid-less Easter Mornings



Five minutes, unedited on Easter Evening all thanks to time and Fadra.

*****************************

Last night we "Rock, Paper, Scissor"-ed for early morning as soon as the sun rises dog duty. Two out of three. Can someone be horrible at "Rock, Paper, Scissors"?

I left the comfort of my warm and cozy feathertop bed, clad in jammies, and a coat to cover them up, to take the dog out bright and early this Easter morning (I hate "Rock, Paper, Scissors").

The temperature was mild. It was quiet. I felt happy.

The brief bit of unanticipated solitude, walking by the river, and with the skyscrapers reflecting the rising sun, got me to thinking. I miss crazy Easter mornings with the kids. I miss waking up early to  hide eggs, setting out the baskets with plastic green grass filled with candy, Legos, and Beanie Babies, and half eating carrots left for the Easter Bunny. I miss frilly outfits, boy shorts and dress shoes. I miss them at home.

When I got back inside (before 6:50 am), I hung my coat on its hook, peeled off my pajama pants, and got back into the same warm and cozy bed I so recently left. Snuggling up to my husband since we had plenty of time before church, I remembered that even though I miss my little kids, I really like Easter morning just the two of us too!