Feb. 3rd, 2016 09:32 am
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
I really like Michael Pollan (Omnivore's Dilemma, etc.), but his writing style is very much the same from book to book.

So is his content, mostly.

It's fine. He's an easy read. It's digestible--like so much pop-psychology and the ever-intriguing, rarely-accurate, definitely-untestable, barely-supported anthropological psychology. It's fun, despite its flaws, but should be taken with a grain of salt.

But his books are all the same.

I feel like someone should tell him this.
But it's not like he's not successful. So go with whatever works, I guess.
pen_grunt: (Wild Thing)
My reading list this year was shameful. Less than half of what I usually read.
It’s almost like I had a baby or something and that cut into my reading time. Babies don’t care about book lists. They care about being fed and stuff. :/
I could list countless baby/kid books on here (I think I’ve memorized “The Cremation of Sam McGee” pretty thoroughly), but I won’t. Just adult books. For real adults. Which I pretend to be.

  1. A Fire Upon the Deep — Vernor Vinge

  2. As You Wish: The Making of the Princess Bride— Carey Elwes

  3. So Anyway — John Cleese

  4. The Signal and the Noise — Nate Silver

  5. Dauntless (Lost Fleet #1)— Jack Campbell

  6. Fearless (Lost Fleet #2) — Jack Campbell

  7. Courageous (Lost Fleet #3) — Jack Campbell

  8. Son of the Morning Star: Custer and Little Bighorn — Evan S. Connell

  9. Brain Rules for Baby — John Medina

  10. Ready Player One — Ernest Cline

  11. American Gods — Neil Gaiman (re-read)

  12. Ancillary Justice — Anne Leckey

  13. To Kill a Mockingbird (re-read) — Harper Lee

  14. Go Set a Watchman — Harper Lee

  15. Valiant (Lost Fleet #4) — Jack Campbell

  16. Ayshus on the Inside —Richard Gist

  17. The Homicide Trinity — Rex Stout

  18. And Then There Were None — Agatha Christie

  19. Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (Horatio Hornblower #1) — C.S. Forester (Not done yet, but I’m counting it…)

Thank you book club. Without which the list would have very likely been more sparsely populated.


Aug. 2nd, 2015 10:37 pm
pen_grunt: (Reader)
I read "To Kill a Mockingbird" to D on the way down to Arkansas.

I'd forgotten how lovely it is to read a whole book aloud (though much, much slower than just reading-reading to one's self). I don't do it often enough, though it does take a considerable amount of stamina to just do it for hours on end. Perhaps we'll take turns with "Go Set a Watchman" (the next planned).

Regarding "Mockingbird": I hadn't read it since I was 11. It holds up.
HERE BE SPOILERS (sort of) )

Atticus Finch. Oh, how Tolerant he is. I didn't remember how much. It will be interesting (and perhaps crushing) to read "Go Set a Watchman" so close to the reading of "Mockingbird". We'll see.
pen_grunt: (Reader)
Once again, I did not make the 50 book goal. This year I blame it on spending free nights scanning photos. You can't read books and scan photos. I have watched a lot of ST:TNG, though. Riker is totally lecherous in the 3rd season. It kinda creeped me out as a kid.

I've starred particular favorites (**). Disappointments are indicated by pound sign (##). I read a lot of heavyish, long fantasy this year.

The Blade Itself (First Law Trilogy book #1) -- Joe Abercrombie
Before They Are Hanged (First Law Trilogy book #2) -- Joe Abercrombie
Last Argument of Kings (First Law Trilogy book #3) -- Joe Abercrombie
The Happy Prince and Other Stories -- Oscar Wilde
The Giver (Giver Quartet #1, re-read) -- Lois Lowry

Gathering Blue (Giver Quartet #2) -- Lois Lowry
The Messenger (Giver Quartet #3) -- Lois Lowry
Son (Giver Quartet #4) -- Lois Lowry
Hyperbole and a Half — Allie Brosh
Treasure Island — Robert Louis Stevenson

The Gunslinger (Dark Tower #1) — Stephen King
**The Golem and the Jinni — Helen Wecker
Uncle Vanya — Anton Chekov
Fantastic Mr. Fox — Roald Dahl
**Things Fall Apart — Chinua Achebe

The Old Man and the Sea — Ernest Hemingway
Night — Elie Wiesel
##Andrew’s Brain — E.L. Doctorow
The Savage Detectives — Roberto Bolano
Typhoid Mary — Anthony Bourdain

Love in the Time of Cholera — Gabriel Garcia Marquez
**Kafka on the Shore — Haruki Murakami
The Sixth Extinction — Elizabeth Kolbert
**Chicken With Plums — Marjane Satrapi
Garlic and Sapphires — Ruth Reichel

##The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) — Scott Lynch
Me Talk Pretty One Day — David Sedaris
Tales of the City — Armistead Maupin
##Ravish: The Awakening of Sleeping Beauty — Cathy Yardley
The Elegance of the Hedgehog — Muriel Barbery

The Book Thief — Markus Zusak
Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard #2) — Scott Lynch
The Red Badge of Courage — Stephen Crane
Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human — Richard Wrangham
##Orphan Train — Christina Baker Kline

Riders — Jilly Cooper
Redshirts — John Scalzi

Of course, some things were entertainingly not-good (see Riders by Jilly Cooper). I'm in the middle of A Fire Upon the Deep right now and I'm enjoying it. It'll go on my list for next year, though, when I'm sure I'll have a bit less time to read (for some reason...hmmm...).

Feel free to pick my brain on anything. Or make supplemental suggestions. Or book-fight me about what I liked and didn't like. ;)
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
The annual booklist-in-review. 31 books, which is rather disappointingly low. I may have missed a few, but I blame the lack entirely on Les Miserables...which is the name of the book and is also the feeling you get whilst reading said book. That took me two stinking months to get through, and I refused to read anything else as long as that was still in-progress. So I ended up just not reading because picking up Les Mis again was SO PAINFUL sometimes. I mean seriously. People die in that book for Reasons. Sadness. Sadness causes death. Or just...I don't know, being away from the people you like. TERMINAL ILLNESS. Even when they come to visit you in the end you're just like, "Newp, mortal coil? Throwing off that shit. TOO LATE."

Good stuff: Wool/Shift/Dust. Also, Bossypants was tremendously funny in parts. Haunted was intense. The Tiger's Wife was very good. I also loved My Life in France because Julia Child. I love her.

Bad stuff: The Church of the Path of Least Resistance kind of proved that my cousin has gone off his libertarian rocker once and for all. His earlier stuff was kind of sloppy, but surprisingly creative. Now it's just bad fiction to Prove A Point. And it's not a good point, either. The Hangman's Daughter wasn't entirely bad, it was just really milquetoast and there wasn't anything impressive about the writing or the story. Oh, and Les Miserables, obviously.

My Life in France -- Julia Child
Les Miserables -- Victor Hugo
Lonesome Dove -- Larry McMurtry
Workin' It -- RuPaul
The Church of the Path of Least Resistance -- Mark Covington

Angela's Ashes -- Frank McCourt
The Night Circus -- Erin Morgenstern
Deathless -- Catherynne Valente
Midnight's Children -- Salmon Rushdie
Three Men in A Boat -- Jerome K Jerome

To Say Nothing of the Dog -- Connie Wills
Wool -- Hugh Howie
Shift -- Hugh Howie
Dust -- Hugh Howie
For Bread Alone -- Mohammud Chokari

Gone Girl -- Gillian Flynn
Bossypants -- Tina Fey
The Ocean at the End of the Lane -- Neil Gaiman
The Fault in Our Stars -- John Green
Haunted -- Chuck Palaniuk

Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen -- Anne Whitelock
The Tiger's Wife -- Tea Obreht
The Hangman's Daughter -- Oliver Potsch
American Beauty -- Alan Ball
The Hunger Games -- Suzanne Collins (re-read)

Night of the Living Trekkies -- Kevin David
Catching Fire -- Suzanne Collins (re-read)
Mockingjay -- Suzanne Collins (re-read)
Hideous Kinky -- Esther Freud
Odd and the Frost Giants -- Neil Gaiman

My Uncle Oswald -- Roald Dahl

Goal for 2014: read more. I just have to beat 31 books, which shouldn't be so hard.
pen_grunt: (Monkey kisses)
Books I've read in 2012: I feel a little bad, I usually aim for about 50 books a year and I missed it by one. The past few months have been very slow reading and I think maybe I missed listing some. So I am about a third of the way through My Life in France (Julia Child) and exactly 305 pages (about a third) into Les Miserables (Victor Hugo). Those can count for 2013.

Favorites are starred. The English Patient can go die in a fire. Oh wait. Swamplandia! was also disappointing.

To Green Angel Tower (Memory, Sorrow and Thorn book 3) -- Tad Williams
2012 Montezuma's Revenge -- V. Mark Covington
The Pearl -- John Steinbeck
Swamplandia! -- Karen Russell
*11/22/63 -- Stephen King

*Homemade Sin -- V. Mark Covington
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) -- Rick Riordan
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children -- Ransom Riggs
Beauty And The Beast -- Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
The Magicians -- Lev Grossman

The Magician King -- Lev Grossman
The Sea Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) -- Rick Riordan
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks -- Rebecca Skloot
The Curse of the Titans (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) -- Rick Riordan
The English Patient -- Michael Ondaatje

The Fellowship of the Rings (LOTR Book 1) -- J.R.R. Tolkein (reread)
The Two Towers (LOTR Book 2) -- J.R.R. Tolkein (reread)
The Return of the King (LOTR Book 3) -- J.R.R. Tolkein (reread)
The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) -- Rick Riordan
A History of the World in 100 Objects -- Neil MacGregor

The Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need -- Dave Barry
*The Windup Bird Chronicle -- Haruki Murakami
No Country For Old Men -- Cormac McCarthy
Anna Dressed In Blood -- Kendare Blake
The Omnivore's Dilemma -- Michael Pollan

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) -- Rick Riordan
*The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making -- Catherynne Valente
Matchless -- Gregory Maguire
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ -- Phillip Pullman
Shutter Island -- Dennis Lehane

*The Graveyard Book -- Neil Gaiman
Why Do Men Have Nipples -- Mark Leyner and William Goldberg
Santaland Diaries -- David Sedaris
The Importance of Being Earnest -- Oscar Wilde
The Pale King -- David Foster Wallace

*Persepolis -- Marjane Satrapi
Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim -- David Sedaris
*The Orphan's Tales: In The Night Garden -- Catherynne Valente
The Orphan's Tales: In the City of Coin and Spice -- Catherynne Valente
Slaughterhouse Five -- Kurt Vonnegut

Dead Reckoning -- Charlaine Harris
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto -- Michael Pollen
Official Book Club Selection -- Kathy Griffin
A Little Princess -- Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Wind in the Willows -- Kenneth Grahame

Uncle Tom's Cabin -- Harriet Beecher Stowe
Fevre Dream -- George R. R. Martin
Oh Myyyy (There Goes the Internet) -- George Takei
Old Man's War -- John Scalzi

So let's talk about Victor Hugo and Les Miserables. I love how one of his characters robs someone on the field after the battle of Waterloo--the incident is only a paragraph long--and yet it justifies giving a TOTAL chapters-and-chapters-long recount of the battle of Waterloo. Oh Victor. Must you? I mean, I know the battle of Waterloo is a big historical event, but it has NO place in your story--or, at least, not at that great length. FYI: Victor Hugo says Napoleon lost because God wanted him to lose because he was getting too big for his britches, basically.

Also: Victor Hugo keeps referring to weakness as THE virtue of women. He is a bit tiresome. But it is a novel of the times.

It sounds like a really irksome novel but mostly it's not. It just gets stuck in the mire sometimes.


Sep. 17th, 2006 10:33 pm
pen_grunt: (Chicks Dig Writers)
I realize that I haven't been posting a lot about the (many) books I've been reading lately. I haven't even been keeping up with my 50 book challenge postings, although--rest assured--I'll make it beyond 50 books in a year. I realize that, while it's intrinsically fascinating for ME to read about books, it may be far less so for others. *shrug* Ah well, books are a big part of my life...and they always will be. For a half-a-second I toyed around with the idea of getting married in a library--just so he would know that he's marrying me AND my books (we're a package deal...luckily Derrick is also a "reader" [picky though he may be]).

Book Ramblings...and I do mean ramblings )

And Wedding stuff )

And that concludes today's completely, terribly random, not-so-terribly interesting blog.
pen_grunt: (Shirley Temple--whoa)
This weekend reminded me that I'm no longer as young as I used to be. Overall, it was very pleasant.

Friday through Saturday Afternoon )

The Rest of Saturday )

Sunday )

And that was the weekend. Full and busy, yet refreshingly lazy. I'm kind of beating myself up about not getting any wedding crap done (and I would say that I have time, but really I don't), but oh well. November's not a particularly in-demand wedding month anyway.
pen_grunt: (Too Silly)
SO very random:

Randomness #1: About a half an hour ago, I licked an envelope to send a "Congrats on the new baby!" card off to my cousin [Baby Name for this one: Nathan James--I like it!]. For some reason, I can STILL taste the adhesive in my mouth and it doesn't taste delish with coffee. It tastes rotten something-or-another. Blech.

Randomness #2: I keep dreaming about my fish dying. Not random fish dying, MY fish dying. In the dreams they're in a smaller-than-they-need container of some sort (usually a plastic bag, or a tiny clear aquarium) and they're floating on the top because of something I've done wrong (too much/too little heat, food, attention, etc.). What does this mean?

Randomness #3: About a book )

Randomness #4: Friday!

Randomness #5: I just looked at my paystub and discovered that I have over 4 weeks of vacation time and over 2 weeks of sick time for this year. That being said, I haven't taken more than a day off (and non-vacation comp days at that) in about 2 years. Honeymoon in Europe? Errr...not thinking about THAT right now.

Edit: Randomness #6: YAY! I just found my eyeliner that I had bought at Target on Monday. It had mysteriously disappeared in the bowels of my office and I just... couldn't... find it. It was in a box of organic fruit strips--though I'm not entirely sure how it could have possibly ended up there.
pen_grunt: (Shirley Temple--whoa)
If every weekend could be like this one, I would be a happy girl. I feel a small amount of guilt at not taking advantage of the free time to improve and plant my garden, but only a small amount.

Derrick had a bachelor party on Saturday. So we went "thrift-storing" early in the day, picked up a few books, then went home so he could "purdy himself up." I gave the rules for his bachelor party conduct:

1. Be safe
2. Be smart

(Which included "Please don't get arrested," "Please, no trips to the hospital," "No on drives drunk," and "Call me if anyone needs help for any reason.") He was fully (fully!) intent on being plastered and naughty, which was totally fine with me as long as no one got seriously injured. He gave me a kiss and was on his way saying, "Call me if you need anything, or if you get bored."

Weekend Details )
pen_grunt: (Too Silly)
A co-worker got me hooked on, a site which builds a streaming playlist for you based off of a singular artist of your choosing. While it has major faults (no elective replaying of songs, really no way to "store" music and such, it's a great way to gain exposure to little-known artists that are similar to those that you already know and love. It's really amazing how there are so many good songs out there that "no one" (and by no one, I mean me) has heard of. It just goes to show how a good PR campaign can really influence everything. Just like obscure authors/books that linger by the wayside for years while other, perhaps less-deserving but well hyped, authors/books skyrocket to fame and notoriety. *cough* Is that you DaVinci Code? *cough*

Speaking of books (how about a ta-da! for that transition, eh?):

The Daughter of Ancients )

I started reading The China Garden by Liz Berry. It's the first book under about 600 pages or so that I've read in a while (and the first book that's not part of a 3-6 book series that I've read in a while). It's incredibly refreshing to have that "just one more chapter" mentality at night. Because it's a short book (Roughly 250-280 pages I think) I have the feeling of "I might actually be able to read this in one night" which is nice for a change. So far it's a rather light read...but that's maybe not a bad thing--for a change :)

I'm also in the mood for off-genre books as of late (I've been indulging in FAR too much Fantasy/Sci-Fi...and I think I'm becoming a geektrix) so if anyone has any really compelling recommendations feel free to share.

Ta Da!

Mar. 24th, 2006 09:19 am
pen_grunt: (Wild Thing)
I'm actually rather fond of the artwork. As far as training books go, it's quite good and (I've been told) above the standards of the genre. Seeing as how the standards I've seen are fairly low...I'll just take that as it is. far as the semi-good American short-story goes....well, I still have time in my life to write something that I (and hopefully others) will enjoy. Editing is all well and good, so is corporate tomfoolery but someday there will be something that is truly mine.
pen_grunt: (Shirley Temple--whoa)
This weekend wasn't somuch about books as is usually the case (hey, for once D was the one that picked out all the books...and I found nada).

I did get most of the way through reading The Soul Weaver (Carol Berg, 3rd in the "Bridge of D'Arnath series). I have to say, it took me three freaking books to warm up to the story, but now I have both the desire to keep on reading, and the desire to pick the book back up when I have to stop. In retrospect, were the library not closed I would have checked the books out instead of buying them (paperbacks though they were) and would not have made the decision to purchase them after I had read them.

Dang, I REALLY miss having the library 10 floors below me. Granted, the new, improved more "awesomriffic" library (I swear it's in the advertising) opens in May...on the 20th....I'm going to the opening party...shuddup...I know....

This weekend was, however, a rare and treasured movie weekend.

The Brothers Grimm
Reviewed )

Dark Water
Reviewed )

Shrek 2
Reviewed )

And that's that.
pen_grunt: (Wild Thing)
Ahh, to wake up to 8 inches of freshly fallen snow is a rare treat in March. Scratch that, it's pretty much EXPECTED in March. Kinda like mother nature giving you one last kick in the pants before letting the crocuses come up.

It really was rather beautiful. I didn't even somuch mind that I had a 3 hour commute (normally a 20 minute commute) or that my route could only be explained in diagrams, clicks and whistles (uhh...3 bus--yes, bus--pileup on a 4 lane highway...the lords of chaos rejoice, "What fun!"). By the end of the day St. Paul got about 10-12 inches of wet, heavily compacted snow. The kind that comes down in clumps instead of flakes and sticks on EVERYTHING (only to fall off in sheets and hit small children on the head later).

I have reaffirmed that there is absolutely no greater joy in life than coming inside after being out in the snow. There is no greater warmth or comfort than walking through the door, soaking wet, into a warm kitchen and being able to immediately strip off all clothing and hang it on a warm radiator. It's the same principle as, "Those who are denied no pleasure never truly experience pleasure." I was outside shoveling (in what the locals call "heart-attack snow"). Certain parts of my body always get cold (i.e. the toes, the fingers and the butt--don't ask me why my butt ALWAYS gets cold) and certain parts are too warm and sweaty (for indeed, shoveling snow really is difficult work). But there's nothing like seeing the physical accomplishment of a sidewalk shoveled--the pristine blanket of snow undisturbed save for your path. There's nothing like that first step in the door, feeling accomplished, rosy-cheeked, drippy and so totally alive that you want to breath more deeply just to savor the experience. Ah well, perhaps it's just a cold climate thing.

Weekend Book Reviews )

Thrift Store Finds )
pen_grunt: (Wild Thing)
I opened up my search history in my music downloading program/file sharing program *ehhem* to re-search artists to get new hits/songs (yeah, I know, bad musicians, buy CDs and all that jazz...). Anyway. Apparently [ profile] damm_im_good had been searching for audio books before me. You have to understand, I tease him relentlessly about being "i-potter-ate" (versus illiterate) meaning that he is a Harry Potter NUTJOB. When I'm gone on a business trip, he reads Harry Potter (he's probably read the series 10 times through, at least). He'll finish the 6 book sequence and then start right back up again. He'll do this with the Harry Potter movies as well. If he reads a different book, and I ask him how he liked it, he'll usually respond with something like, "Well, it wasn't as good as Harry Potter," or "It was almost as good as Harry Potter." I'm not saying that Harry Potter isn't great. I like Harry Potter. I'm not saying that it isn't worth reading over and over, it is.... But here's the result of looking into my search history:

Half Blood Prince
Halfblood Prince
Harry Potter
Audio Book

And that's it. He's friggin addicted. Ipotterate.

Oh, I forgot to do a weekend book update last weekend, and I got lotsa books. . . I also got a few more tonight whilst shopping with [ profile] llythefaerye. We're doing the Thrift Store thing tomorrow, so there may be more, and I'll update a huge list later this weekend.

By the way, just so I can get more people into trouble (like I don't do enough of that already) Half Price Books ( is having a 20% off everything sale through Sunday. Except if you live in Indiana. If you live in Indiana, pay full price suckah!
pen_grunt: (Death Chess)
Since our Big Kitty died, we've been stopping by the Humane Society about every weekend looking for a new little bit of our hearts and family. I'm beginning to really hate it.

Oh the humanity )

And the weekend book update:

Adventures in thrift storing )

I also discovered that Full Metal Jacket is about the best movie to watch while running on the treadmill. Ever.

I'm feeling particularly boring tonight, so it's all under cuts. Enter at thine own peril.
pen_grunt: (Wild Thing)
Last Friday, my boss and I went down to the little skyway coffee shop to get some java. The following is an actual conversation:

Me: So what are you going to do this weekend?
Boss: I dunno, maybe I'll go see a movie.
Me: Really, which one?
Boss: I'm not sure, but I'm NOT going to see Brokeback Mountain.
Me: Why not, I heard it was really good. I want to go see it.
Boss: Well, I'm not know...there are guys....
Coffee dude: It has girls in it too you know--mostly unclothed.
Boss: *perks up* Really?
Coffee dude: Yeah..
Me: You've seen it? Is it good?
Coffee dude: Yeah, I saw it.
Boss: Was it good?
Coffee dude: *considers for a long moment* Well, it was kinda gay. *shrugs*
Me: *giggles uncontrollably*
Coffee dude: Well, I mean...there are girls in it too. It's good, but dude, it's kinda gay.

It amused me. Maybe you had to be there :)

Also on Friday, I'm filing this under the MOST Minnesota-Passive-Aggressive way to let someone know their head's on the chopping block:

We got a new fancy-schmancy logo, and so my boss ordered business cards for everyone--I mean everyone--even me! Well, the business cards get here, and this particularly inept woman happens to get nosy when Boss-man is sorting through them and hanging over his shoulder and such. After a few minutes of trying to help "hand out" the new business cards, she looks at Boss-man and asks, "Hey, where are my business cards?"

Boss-man just stammers. He didn't get her any b/c he didn't want to waste the $100 on someone that was going to be fired in a few weeks. *gulp* This should make life around her just that much more interesting. . .

And finally... Weekend Reading Update )
pen_grunt: (Default)
From the American Book Review...

100 Best Opening Lines in Novels )

Maybe that list is something that only I get really geeked about, but ah well. I'm partial to #5 and #6 myself, though there are many others that I like. . .

Speaking of books, I got 5 books for $6.41 today at the thrift store. *Yay!* They are:
"Gathering Blue"--Lois Lowry (author of "The Giver")
"The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove" --Christopher Moore (in Hardcover...*excited squeal*)
"Sword of Shannara"--Terry Brooks (I dunno, I heard at least the start of the series is phenomenal...and it's a hardcover first edition...)
"Reaper Man"--Terry Pratchett (Also a hardcover first edition *more squealing*)
"The Ragwitch"--Garth Nix (Dunno, Derrick handed it to was only $0.69)

So I started reading Terry Pratchett's "Discword" Series, beginning with "The Color of Magic"--I know, they don't have to be read in order but I'm just that way...I can't read a book unless I've read its predecessor....I just can't do it *twitch*. I have to say, I'm only moderately engaged at this point...but my interest seems to be steadily peaking. Books are often that way for me, the beginning will fail to capture my attention (especially if I've just finished reading another particularly gripping or involved book/series). I'm not worried in the least.

Saw my niece today, that always puts me in a good mood. She hangs the moon for me (and, really, the rest of the family too). Every child should be so wanted/loved.

My stalking continues for real...ran into a familiar face at MOA today. I always feel like a dork when I run into people I sorta-kinda know. I get all tongue tied and feel like I should have said more, or not acted like such a complete goober. Ah well, I guess the true dork in me has to shine through sometimes.
pen_grunt: (Default)
Well, that’s it. As of 10:30 Friday, I’m a (officially & contractually) published author. I have my page proofs off to the final editor, and I just have to wait until May for a hardcopy.

Dang, I’ze even on Amazon and all that fancy jazz, I’mean shoot!

I’m not sure how I feel about this.

I think I should be happy, but I’m really thinking, “That was easy….TOO easy, what's the catch?” Combined with, “This doesn’t really count, because it’s not a book that I WANTED to write.”

So I have an exclusively corporate book that corporate trainers will (supposedly) buy and put on their resource shelves in their offices. Supposedly I’m supposed to supposedly go on a speaking tour and do some book signings at the places where trainers congregate. Supposedly.

I’m just hoping that this will; a) look super-duper on a resume somewhere in the future, and b) open some doors for me when I do write that “great American novel” and refuse to do Oprah’s book club out of sheer spite (okay, and out of sheer lack of being asked). Yeah, I have low expectations.

Speaking of books, ASOI&F is going along just swimmingly. It's one of those eerie series that I dream about CONSTANTLY. The only other series that I remember doing that with was Robin Hobb's Assassin trilogy and Fool Trilogy. That means they're tre' good :)
pen_grunt: (Default)
There are very few things in life that piss me off to the point of continually (and uncontrollably) ranting about them. Generally I don't feel strongly enough about most issues in life to blather on about them to near-complete strangers and such--but there are exceptions. Most of the rant-inducing things are logical (i.e. politics, religion, the usual suspects...) but some of these things just aren't.

Oprah's Book Club.

Ahh, Oprah's Book Club--the antithesis of reading for the right reasons. I suppose it makes sense that I should feel strongly about it since I'm fairly passionate about books, reading and literature in general. Oprah's friggin book club. To me, Oprah's book club is like having a favorite little coffee shop that you share with your friends, enjoy, spread by word of mouth, etc. It's comfortable, always there, and there's a little bit of guilty pleasure in the fact that you "discovered" it and it's your little place in the world. Then some huge celebrity visits your quiet little town and your coffee shop. This celebrity has vast, inexplicable power over the masses--particularly 40-50 year old stay-at-home something-or-anothers. This celebrity advertises how quaint, comfortable and enjoyable your coffee shop is. All of a sudden, the coffee shop that you savored alone has become over-run with people that hang out all day and sing in adulation. Oh come all ye faithful indeed. It's a selfish kind of hate to go up against Oprah's book club, after all, who am I to deny the pleasure of reading "my" particular book to the masses?

This month's book club "selection" is Elie Wiesel's "Night." This book is a classic, and most of us were assigned this book at some point during high school or college. Those that hadn't had the sense or the assignment to read it were blissfully in the dark. I might slither up to them and whisper in their ears "Night" while they were pondering what to read next. Now millions of housewives worldwide are reading "Night". . . together.

Since when did reading need a support group--except mayhaps for those of us who do nothing but, or abuse our eyes with over-reading? When Oprah picked Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" (after which one of my cats--Karenin--is named, by the way) for her book club it was taking away my favorite book. It was no longer okay for me to like "Anna Karenina" because every time I would mention it, someone else would pipe up with their opinion--straight from Oprah's quasi-intellectual book discussion episode. Honestly, if only Oprah started spouting more useful messages, we could really make the world DO things. . . . but I digress. I do advocate for general literacy, by the way, and I think it's an overwhelmingly GOOD thing that otherwise non-reading adults are starting to pick up BOOKS again. But how many of those people STOPPED picking up books when Oprah went on a book club hiatus and said that there "just weren't any books out there that captured her attention."? Reading is more than a journey--a story is a journey, and picking out a book is a journey. Half the fun of picking out a new book is discovering something in yourself that is reflected in what type of book you chose. Having a book recommended to you is not a bad thing, but reading soley based on the personal tastes of one other person is both limiting and condescending to one's own ability to read and DISCOVER literature.

I won't buy books with the Oprah's book club seal on them--even if they're cheaper, even if they're hardcover, even if they have gold-gilded edges and a ribbon book marker that I enjoy oh-so (too) much. What would my children say when I pass the books onto them--"wow, my mommy was one of the masses....but she wasn't old enough to be an Oprah-tic in 2006. . . I'm confused." I currently own a tattered, much-read copy of "Night" (and "Anna Karenina" of course) and I do have people ask me about it in the context of Oprah's book club, as if the book never existed before Oprah muttered its name on National TV. Authors are plucked from obscurity (or classic fame) and thrust out into the paperback digesting masses. Lucky for them I suppose (they probably appreciate the paycheck) that is, if they can stomach it.

On an unrelated note, I'm currently reading George R.R. Martin's "Song of Fire and Ice" Series (or is it Ice and Fire? I forget) It's fabulous--any fantasy fans should read it. *winks*



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