What Books Do You Like To Read, she said. It’s Just A Quick Trip To The Library, she said.

Someone online just asked me what books I like to read.  Rather than just say “all of them”, here’s my response.

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The better question here is what books DON’T I like to read… and that’s very few. I borrow about a dozen books per library trip – lots of fiction, ‘how to’, and reference style books. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 books on my Kindle. some recent reads I can recall are the Dark Tower series, Game of Thrones series, and of course the constant re-reading of the Harry Potter & Lord of the Rings series. Last week a friend let me borrow Glenda Larke’s “The Last Stormlord” and I devoured it. Same friend let me borrow Gail Z. Martin’s “Chronicles of the Necromancer: The Summoner” and it’s ….aiight. The editing seems kind of poor but the story isn’t bad. I read Jane Eyre earlier this spring and fell in love.

I tried Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, and hated it. I tried Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and loved it. My work email has a folder for the chapter-a-day goodness that is DailyLit.com; filled mostly with the classics but also various autobiographies as well. Groucho Marx wrote some stellar, inspiring, hilarious things, and I have two books of his that I cherish. Henry Miller is up there for me as well; “Quiet Days in Clichy” is probably my favorite book EVER. I like books that can remove me from reality – books that I can just pick up and read a chapter and be inspired by. Hugh Prather has some good inspirational stuff; his books and “Mister God, This is Anna” changed my life.

I read a lot of blogs as well*, and write in several of mine quite frequently. Zen Habits is a nice one, and nailsbails is a good one that has a near-daily update (short and entertaining), but I admit to enjoying best the ones that are massive walls of text. TL:DR doesn’t work for me.

So…………. yeah, words are good food. 🙂

One of my favorite quotes: “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

What about you?

 

*for anonymity, i left out some of my favorite people – Miss Cristy, Stacie Chadwick, Le Clown, etc – because that seems to swirl into my personal realm. i haven’t decided to allow the original questioner inside that circle just yet.

There Are Other Worlds Than These

It all started with a box of books.

My mom shipped a care package to me in late winter 2011. Despite having just turned the corner into 2012, it would be an injustice to pretend that we are still in the past year. It’s difficult to really grasp that, since both I and the husband are off on holiday today, not to mention it’s a balmy 65 outside. Definitely a day for reading on the porch, at least for the next few hours.

At the end of October I’d also purchased several books, impulse luxury buys, but still ones to be read. Anthony Bourdain’s books; a hardback, gold-edged edition of Lewis Carroll stories.

One night we were watching TV and the 1972 version of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” came on. It was the weirdest, darkest, most disturbing version I’ve seen to date. It was more draining than I care to admit, but you know what? That pink book right there allowed us to follow along nearly verbatim with the movie. I love all things Alice-related, but sometimes it just goes over the edge.

Anyway, the books in the box…

Inside the aforementioned care package were things from my adolescence, mostly books. At least a dozen. I’d been trying to locate the Dark Tower series for the Kindle app on my phone, but with failing luck, and had almost given up entirely. Sorting through the randomness of that box was fun, though the best part was seeing that first book unexpectedly mixed in: The Gunslinger. First book of the series, one that I purchased close to twenty years ago.

“The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed.”

I started reading, and a few days later was gifted with hundreds of free eBooks. The Dark Tower series was in there… as were other full series like Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time, various works by Tolkien and Douglas Adams, and a huge assortment of crime/mystery novels. Some self help, some political, a feast of words that will keep me entertained.

The books – all 2 Gb worth – were loaded onto my phone. I devoured the Dark Tower series, remembering and forgetting and getting lost in the desert right along with Roland and his crew. After so long of a respite, following them along on their voyage through the doors of all seven books was an interesting trip. When I got to the end I did what the author suggested, and stopped at the happy shiny portion. Took a few days off and then read the real ending/beginning. It went down easier.

Prior to that series, I had just read the first book of Game of Thrones, “A Song of Ice and Fire” and found it satisfying after making the decision to stick with it. My coworker said, from over my shoulder, that it “looked unfriendly”, between the font size and physical size. It reminded me of a cross between some fictional previously visited world and the Wheel of Time world (from the quick browse I did). It fit right into the place my brain had been looking for, but didn’t unlock the door the way the Gunslinger did. It made me start thinking of writing again, but I had to finish the story first (you guys)!

Then I got a Kindle.

So now I find myself 37% of the way through the second Game of Thrones book, a bit of a difficult read but overall fairly compelling. There are two more in the series, and then hundreds left to peruse. Will I read them? Of course. I’ll read them because they’re there, not because I necessarily am interested in what they contain or what their authors think. For example, Sarah Palin’s book is on there. If it wasn’t, there is nothing that would make me wake up one morning with a glint of excitement in my eye, wondering what on earth Mrs. Palin has to say.

While the Kindle will never replace the love I have for actual books, it certainly is easier to handle than the bi-monthly trip to the library, carting a dozen books at a time to the car. I find myself reading for at least two hours each day, sometimes more. It’s relaxing, it’s stimulating, it’s enjoyable, and it’s a little bit sad because I know it will end. My goal is just to keep reading until the story is over, and perhaps someday write my own.

Hello, 2012. Welcome to the year of the written word.

Saturday Catch Up And Hey Look At That Tree It’s Leaning

The hardest posts to title are ones like this: a big soupy mix of my random babble. So there you have it… catching you up on some things (on a Saturday), and hey – look at that tree, it’s leaning.

It leans with the wind. Or maybe it just looked that way when I put my head down on my desk.

It never comes out the same way in the photo as it looks in real life. From my vantage point, the eucalyptus on our property fills up the office window with towering green, winds making it a living portrait. It’s awesome. To my left, bougainvillea lies dormant yet still amazing.

Next up: ramble time.

+ I’ve noticed you. That’s right – YOU. I have seven followers reading my words and I …don’t know who most of them are. Except for you, Miss J, because even though we haven’t met in real life, I still know you. 🙂

Holy crap! This makes me happy. It makes me happy because I didn’t ask you guys to follow me, you just did it, so I want to make you happy. If you promise to stay, I promise to keep writing. And since I’m not really into celebrating the whole Christmas-omg-here’s-a-physical-present thing, why not make a present to me by getting me a follower? Thanks, you’re the best. I’ll try to reciprocate. :))

+ Just saw The Yellow Reading Chair post and it made me think of my Blue Reading Chair. Woot!

+ Mariachi players just walked by the office. They’ve got violins and the music sounds all sorts of festive. It’s appropriate for the Festive Event over there, and sounds nice to boot.

+ My health is not getting any better; matter of fact, it’s getting worse. This makes me a less-than-happy camper. Monday at 2pm is my specialist’s appointment, so cross your fingers this is just something that can be treated with antibiotics. I’m crossing my fingers it’s not A) much worse or B) something they need to give me an MRI for.

+ We spent Thanksgiving up at our friends’ house – Casa de Mikey & Page. An hour north of us, it’s a nice little haven in the hills. Very quiet, very homey. It was a delicious and relaxing time.

+ My art is bubbling up to the surface, fueled by a lot more medication than I’m used to, but the physical effort is too much right now. At least some basic sketches are happening but mostly I want to sleep.

Something that dawned on me today was perhaps working on an art gathering. It could be here at my work. Yes, 2012… it could be my year. And why not? Which brings me to the fact that I will never admit:

+ I was following Kim & Khloe Kardashian on Twitter. That’s right. My original reason for following them (or watching them, or acknowledging they exist) was mostly for the same reason I pick up tabloids in checkout lines: the styles, the fashion, the makeup…it’s a magpie reaction. Anyway, I was following them up until a few hours ago when Khloe posted about their new novel. That’s right, *their* new novel. Because it took all three of them to write what they probably think is the equivalent of “Valley of the Dolls” (NO) or even “Invisible Monsters” (HELL NO) and like, OMG, it’s about …well, them. I loathe having to bring this up because it will garner them even more traffic (and more potential sales), but I need to make a point.

Says Khloe (on her blog, previewing the “novel”), “this chapter is an introduction into the world of three sisters — Kamille, Kass and Kyle, and really sets the tone for the rest of the book.” Oh my gosh, really?!!!?!?? Huh, what sordid tales of intrigue could be there?? Well, the first sentence uses the phrase “açaí berry”, and the first few paragraphs are about a girl who argues with her mom/manager about if going to the spa on a weekly basis can really be considered a luxury or not.

I’ll leave the rest of the mystery up to you, dear Reader.

Now listen, I won’t lie. I want to read it in the way I want to see the Twilight movies (on video) – for the sheer awfulness of it. The ludicrous entertainment of this terrible thing that just Should Not Be. But I certainly WILL NOT pay to see the Twilight movies, in the same way that I WILL NOT pay to read Dollhouse. There is no way that my money will go towards that, absolutely not… but that doesn’t mean my curiosity is any less.

+ I no longer follow them. I’ll miss the makeup and fashions, from an artistic point of view, but if somebody’s cyber personality irritates you enough to get past your screen, it’s time to unfollow.

+ Oooh, speaking of, I’ve been on a Facebook unfriending spree. My guidelines for unfriending are fairly lax but it feels like cleaning out the closet. Did we grow up together? Did we add each other simply because of that? Have we talked in the past five years via some method other than Facebook? Has any of that consisted of saying more than something like “what’s up” or “oh that’s a cute photo”? Have we communicated in any fashion for any length of time since becoming Facebook friends? If the answers are Yes / Yes / No / No / No, then you’re off the list.

I haven’t made a fuss about it; no announcements, no trumpets and grandeur. It’s been a slow process – the decision is made typically if I see a status update that makes me realize that A) we have nothing left in common except a zip code, B) you have nothing interesting (to me) to say and C) things you DO say are all done via mutilated English. Essentially if I’d rather hide your status updates than read them, you’re a Questionable FB Friend. I don’t care that you made chicken for the fam on Sunday night. I don’t care about your kids, the daycare you’re running, or how you’re “hustlin & grindin”. I probably don’t care about your drama. Scroll back a handful of entries and you’ll see my more in-depth thoughts on the situation.

My decision to de-friend someone is generally validated after about a week goes by. If they haven’t sent me a friend request or a quick message after they’ve been removed, I know it was the right choice. This isn’t me asking for attention or errant emails, this is me saying “Ah, this was quick and painless for both of us, no hard feelings, have a good one”. It saves us the trouble of keeping up the front …which for all intents and purposes probably doesn’t matter, because they most likely haven’t even paid any mind to my profile in the first place.

The method is working out well.

+ More reading occurred over the weekend. Halfway done with Book 4 in the Dark Tower series re-read, and Mikey also lent me books 2/3/4 in the Game of Thrones series. I’m concerned that my condition is actually worsened by the act of reading or looking at computers, so you may not hear much from me for awhile. If you’re feeling inclined, drop me a random email. I’ll appreciate it. 🙂

+ Just under an hour to go here at work. Time to finish up some things and then head out for my second weekend of the week. Cheers to all of you.

The Lobstrosities Are Back

Lobstrosities.

I wonder if that word just popped right into the mind of Mr. King – pardon me, STEPHEN, do you mind if I call you Stephen? – when he was typing it up. It’s a wholly appropriate word to describe these horrible things he’s conjured up.

Most of this afternoon and evening have been spent getting lost in the deserts and beaches of Roland’s world. You know the one if you’ve read any of the Dark Tower books. Some weeks back, a box arrived at my office. My mother had shipped a care package to me containing things from my childhood: mostly books. Huge surprise.

One of those books was “Five Children And It”, something that delighted me to re-read in those days. I devoured it, remembering all the feelings from days gone by.

The thing (It) on the front cover is sort of what the lobstrosities of the Gunslinger’s world always remind me of.

Eyes on stalks. Dad-a-chum?

Someone once said that if you’ve ever read a Stephen King novel and said it didn’t scare you, at least a little, you were lying. I agree with that sentiment. He gets right to the inside of your head, opens the door and pulls out stuff you don’t ever want to consider. There are always weird little phrases that you’ll recall years down the road.

The scariest part of his books (or any well-written books) is that you get lost. In the box of books my mother shipped out were a handful of Stephen King novels that were also from my adolescence. You could find me with my nose buried in a book even then.

I digress.

Mid-afternoon I picked up the first Dark Tower novel… and at 845 this evening I looked up from the halfway point of the second Dark Tower novel and didn’t know where I was for the briefest of moments. My phone’s Kindle app has the entire series and if it wasn’t for that pesky Work thing, I would re-read the full story in one sitting.

Not the book.

The story. The series.

I might randomly fall asleep or wander away to get a snack, but then I’d be right back. It would be clearly than the movies, it’s like the fourth wall breaks. I’ve read the series before (actually I’ve read all of Stephen King’s books before, many times), but get lost in them every time.

It’s that way for me with most books. You can talk to me to no avail; my body will be sitting there but that’s about all. This post is written in a haze because my back started to hurt and my body needed to stretch, but my mind is still next to Detta Walker, up on the hill with potentially live ammo, and wondering if Eddie is going to finally get a chicken dinner.

I’m switching between this and two first-time forays: the Game of Thrones series (thumbs up) and the Wheel of Time series (having a tough time with that one).

It’s cold, rainy, and still my weekend. Time to curl back up under the nearest Snuggie and see what the travelers are up to.