Saturday, May 30, 2009

we interrupt this blogging break...

to do some mini babbling...

Because I'm using these books for challenges, I feel I have to say something about them. In other words, this is my pathetic attempt at assuaging my guilt.

Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby.

*I did a really good job at doling these out sparingly (like one a week) for a while. Then I chucked all willpower straight out the window and simply devoured the rest in one sitting. Oh well. I am somewhat comforted by the fact that I have Songbook sitting on the shelf waiting for me.
*I totally lost count of how many times I laughed out loud.
*An unforeseen event: I am now thinking about NOT reading a book I had long planned to read. And it's not even that Mr. Hornby didn't like the book. He did. But in speaking of The Road, he said, "There are some images now embedded in my memory that I don't especially want there."
*At first I was rather proud of myself for keeping down the number of books to add to my wishlist. By the end, though...well...
--Tender Hooks by Beth Ann Fennelly
--Digging to America by Anne Tyler
--Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning by Jonathan Mahler
--Stasiland: Stories from the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder
--Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow
--Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
--A Disorder Peculiar to the Country by Ken Kalfus
--The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta
--The Ghost by Robert Harris

Looking for Bobowicz and The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater.

*Our first venture into the books of Daniel Pinkwater. Won't be our last. While not our favorite ever read-alouds, they were still nonetheless very enjoyable.
*Written decades apart, these two books follow the stories of two different generations of kids and their relationships with a 266-pound chicken named Henrietta. Yes, a 266-pound chicken can cause a great deal of mayhem. But trust me, she's a very sweet chicken.
*These books have a wonderful, almost-but-not-quite old-fashioned feel to them. Maybe it's just the way Pinkwater very much captured the feelings of my own childhood, the freedom to explore, the need for adventure. Of course, those things haven't gone out of style (just ask my kids!) so I'm not sure why I used the term old-fashioned. I just can't quite capture the feeling I'm looking for here. Oh well.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

*One day, after telling Annie to read the next two chapters of this book, she said, "Good. I love this's so creepy!" And that is exactly how I remember feeling about it when I first read it in middle school. When I read it as a kid, I saw myself on the island and found it very scary. Reading it now, I couldn't help but picture my kids on the island. And that's even more disturbing. A lot more disturbing. One more example of how motherhood impacts my reading. And of course, that's not just true of motherhood but of all our experiences--they all play a part in how any book might affect us.
*I know a lot of people hate this book, but I just can't help but like it. I admit that I'm much more of an emotional reader than an intellectual one. Not that those two things are mutually exclusive by any means. But what I mean is that I'm not all that adept at analyzing what I read. I just go with my gut and my heart. But reading books with Annie tends to make me search a little deeper, and we definitely had some great discussions during this book. Are people born "good" or "evil"? What does it take to be a good leader? What does it mean to be "civilized"? How responsible are we for the well-being of others? Discussions about mob mentality. Racism. Symbolism.
*There were times when the writing frustrated me. Not that it's difficult reading. More that at times I had a tough time visualizing his descriptions. Likely that was just me. At other times, however, I liked the writing a great deal, as here: "He forgot his wounds, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet, rushing through the forest towards the open beach." This sentence, in context, was extremely vivid in my mind.
*All in all, while this book may not make my top 5 reads of the year, I really do think I liked it as much this time around as I did as a kid.

Fables: Animal Farm and Fables: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham.

*The Farm really can't be all that far from here...if only I could find my way through their protective spells.
*What are the chances of reading about a pig's head on a stick in two different books on the same day?!!
*Goldilocks--a fomenter of revolution...who'da thunk it?

*As much as I loved Animal Farm, it pained me horribly to see Shere Khan die. In fact, I'm having a hard time accepting it when any of the characters die. I mean, they're just not supposed to, right?!!

*Okay, in moving on to Storybook Love, I have to say I've changed my mind about that last statement. I was more than happy to see a couple someones bite the dust. If they really did. Yeah, I can't really say anything more for fear of spoiling.
*This one started and ended with little side stories that didn't have much to do with the main story arc. While I honestly did enjoy them, especially "Bag O' Bones," I do prefer the main story. And I'm eager as hell to crack open the next one to see what's going to happen with Snow and Bigby!
*Despite the fact that I'm now just through #3 in the series, I'm already soooo sad thinking about getting to the end. I hope no one will hurt me, but I think I may just like these more than The Sandman. Then again, maybe not. That's a very tough call. Especially since I'm not even half way through either series yet.

The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA by Mark Schultz.

*This book totally rocked! (Yes, I think my lovable science nerd husband is rubbing off on me.)
*Seriously, if you'd like to learn about genetics, DNA, inheritance, etc., I just can't recommend this book highly enough. It's extremely accessible. In one way, it's a tad cutesy, but it is by no means simplistic.
*Because I read this for the science challenge, I wrote a short review here if you're interested.

Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want to Know about Fast Food by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson.

*Yep, same guy who wrote Fast Food Nation, which by the way, I am even more anxious to read now.
*This book made me sad. It also made me mad. Usually at the same time.
*Had I not already joined Annie in the meat-free lifestyle, this book surely would have done it. Not that this book is any way, shape, or form an attack on people who eat meat. Honest.
*Frankly, I think this should be required reading in schools. It is that good. And it is that important.


and while I'm at it, I might as well get caught up on meting out the blame...

from the library:

*Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee by Dean Cycon (point for Eva!)
*No More Strangers Now: Young Voices from a New South Africa interviews by Tim McKee
*The Sandman: A Game of You by Neil Gaiman
*The Sandman: Fables & Reflections by Neil Gaiman

from PaperbackSwap:

*Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger (point for Eva!)
*Feed by M.T. Anderson
*Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books by Francesca Lia Block
*The Witching Hour by Anne Rice (point for Chris!)

bought with gift card:

*Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris
*Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon (point for Melody!)
*Lux the Poet by Martin Millar
*The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (point for Becky, who first made me add it to my wish list, and point for Chris, who shoved me right over the edge and made me buy it!)

from the little closeout books store:

*The Midnighters: Blue Moon (book 3) by Scott Westerfeld
*The Magic Thief: Book One by Sarah Prineas (point for DesLily!)
*The Treasures of the Weatherby by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
*The Epidemic: A Global Story of AIDS by Jonathan Engel

and last, but not least, the books I just wanted so bad I had to order them:

*Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (point for Nymeth!)
*The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel


I will publish May's wrap-up tomorrow, but other than that I'm still on my mission to get through this school year. Will hopefully be back in a few weeks. 'Cause damn, do I miss you all!


Amanda said...

I don't know what's up with people hating Lord of the Flies. That was such a good book. I haven't read it since I was about 14 or 15 and in the last couple months I've really thought about revisiting it. I wonder if motherhood will change my perspective, too, especially since I have three boys at home...

I love have a librarian friend. She tells me every time the new YA books are about to go on the shelf so that I get to look at them right away. She just called me the other day, and now I have The Forest of Hands and Teeth borrowed! Of course, I borrowed 3 others and none of them were on my original to read list for June...sigh.

Chris said...

Oh my God Debi! You put me into total overload here...I'm warning you now, this is going to be a very long comment :p First of all, I'm SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO...(do you get the point yet) happy to see a post from you!!! I missed you horribly even though we emailed a couple of times during your break.

I'm so excited to have Shakespeare Wrote for Money on my TBR pile after reading this...I wonder how it will make me feel about the Road. I actually own that one but I have this strong aversion to reading it for some idea why.

The Pinkwater books sound fantastic! Anything with chickens and "Hoboken" in it has to be good :p

Want to hear something really sad? I never have read Lord of the Flies!! And I've never seen any of the movies! It was never required reading for me for some reason. But I may change that just based on that gorgeous cover that you posted!

I feel EXACTLY how you feel about Fables...I was so incredibly sad to see Chere Khan die..that was horrible. About as bad as when they killed one of the three little pigs and they had that picture of the pig with his head on a stick. But I was THRILLED to see the one who died in Storybook Love die ;) I just hope that person is indeed dead!

And I totally forgot about The Stuff of Life!!! I told you already how excited I was about that one. I need to get it!

And you got The Witching Hour!!!! It's probably my third favorite book ever :) Definitely in the top 5 books I've ever read. Anytime someone asks me what New Orleans is like, I tell them to read that book. It captures it's hauntingly beautiful essence perfectly! Enjoy it!! I'm jealous that you're reading that for the first time. I could say a LOT more (like how much I love Forest of Hands and Teeth and how bad I need to read my copy of Lux the Poet) but I'll shut up now ;)

Chris said...

Oh my god I didn't realize how long that was :p

Nymeth said...

Aw, I hope you do read The Road! I mean, I fully agree with him that it's silly to tell people they have a Moral Obligation to read it, but despite the disturbing images, I think you'd find it worthwhile.

I seriously need to read some Daniel Pinkwater! And also Lord of the Flies. I have a feeling I'll really like it as well.

About Fables characters biting the dust...hmm, keep reading, my friend, keep reading. That's all I can say :P

And eep, you've reminded me that I've yet to write book notes for any of the books I read for the science challenge! Must do that asap.

You got some awesome books! I want Feed! And Once Upon a Marigold and Godmother, and, well, pretty much everything you got except the ones I already have :P

I can't wait to have you back for good, Debi. I miss you so much!

Scrap girl said...

wow - what a collection. I don't feel so bad about how many I purchase now.

Melody said...

I couldn't help grinning at your pile of books you bought lately, Debi!! And I'm soooo happy you bought Godmother!!!! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do!

Jean said...

We miss you too, Debi! BTW, you might be getting a parcel today, something I decluttered in your direction thinking that you and your kiddos might enjoy it this coming Advent.

I'm still decluttering, so watch out. I might find more things!

Shanra said...

*flying tackleglomps passing Debi* You live!

And give us a massive post to read. I'm just sad to feel I can't give you something equally long and lovely to read in return. (Then again, maybe that's a good thing. ^-~)

I feel slightly less bad about buying books all through May after seeing your pile now. (I claim retail therapy!)

*light wave* I think I'll try and focus on my essay, like I should have been doing all weekend.

Susan said...

I love all those books! *drools* I want them all, if only just to hold! Lovely, lovely book porn, Debi! I have to get The Witching Hour too.

And I hated Lord of the Flies too. Nope, that's not strong enough. Loathed it. Which probably means there is some elements of truth to that nasty group of boys.

It seems to be a stressful time of year for all of us, doesn't it?

Kailana said...

I'm one of the people that hated Lord of the Flies. I can't even put it into words how much I hated that book!

I am glad you are enjoying Fables! I love that series and I still need to read the rest of it!

And, yay, for getting The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I love that book!

Trish said...

I was supposed to read Lord of Flies in high school, but I didn't. The only thing I knew going into my test was the incident about Piggy--only because a friend told me. What a bad student I was! I have since read it and loved it--it will stay on my shelf for another day.

Have you read Fun Home yet? I'm thinking about Dykes to Watch Out For for Amanda's challenge, but I'm just not sure yet.