Saturday, April 5, 2008

This post has no unifying theme...

...but what else is new?

Nobody's here and it's kind of quiet and peaceful, so I figured it would be a good time to check in with the old blog. That's not to say that I have anything of import to share. My blog is so on again off again - you can definitely tell the weeks that I finish books from the weeks that I don't. Next week should be a good week. This week I'm struggling for some interesting stuff to say.

I'm in the middle of two books right now. One is Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I picked it up and am pacing myself through it so I can read it with Becky. I've never been in any sort of real life book discussion group so I thought it would be fun, especially since I've got this one on my Spring Reading Thing list and so need to read it anyway. So far, I'm loving it. The narrator is oppressed but humorous as she enters high school. It's all very absorbing and I'm sure if I weren't slowing myself down to keep pace with discussion I could easily have read it in a day or two.

The other is The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich. I loved her Master Butcher's Singing Club so I've sought out a few more titles by her. This book puzzles me in several ways. The first is, it's "literary" fiction in a mass market paperback format and it has the tiniest font I've ever seen in a book that isn't considered a great classic of literature. It also has no discernible plot. It is what I suppose you would call a character driven novel. The characters are very interesting and I find that I'm very engrossed by the book - even on my lunch break when I need to focus over the dull roar of a few hundred lunching hospital employees. Erdrich's definite talent is in her ability to create whole families and even whole interwoven communities of well-drawn and believable (if not always likeable) characters. I'm interested to see how it all wraps up.

This week also marks just about the first time I was ever in a line and popped a book out of my bag to read while waiting. Usually I'm kicking myself for not having a book when I'm in a long line, but yesterday, for once, I did. So I grabbed it out of my bag and actually read and was absorbed entirely unselfconsciously in my book for several of the many minutes I had to wait in line for hoagies behind about 6 irritating sorority girls and a guy that only wanted to order a pizza and couldn't seem to make himself stand still.

So how about all these BAFAB week festivities? I've entered a few drawings, but feel weirdly guilty about not getting around to hosting one myself. I'm not sure why I feel guilty as now that I've got a decent job and some free time just about every book I read is exiting my house and finding a home with somebody new. I just do it at random...not in any way that is especially organized and drawing-ish. I kind of get a kick out of the whole surprise aspect. Like, "Oh, you think this sounds good? Well, do ya want it?" as opposed to "Here, let's have a drawing." Both definitely have their merits, like hey I bet more people come to your blog if you're giving stuff away on it, so I'll have to get around to the latter at some point here. Until then, the "I have no more room for books I've already read in my house nor do I have any time to stage a blogly drawing event. What, it sounds good to you? Good, I like you, so please do me a favor and take it off my hands!" tactic.

Speaking of drawings, I won one for Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward over at A Garden Carried in the Pocket where I occasionally lurk via feed reader. I read two of this author's books last year and look forward to reading this one as well. So, there's one I can take off the old monstrous wish list of mine. Thanks Jenclair!

In other book news, I literally can't bring myself to turn down free books. Every month when the new list of books for Library Thing early review becomes available, I think, I really shouldn't this month, I'm in over my head already - and then request a few anyway. Likewise with Harper Collins First Look where I think, "Hey, they'll never actually pick usual" except for when they do. So when Rachel from Elle e-mailed me about doing another jury, did I say no? Well, of course not. I knew that I should say no. But I didn't. The only logical reason for this kind of behavior is that I simply can't. I can't look a free book or eight in the face and just say "no, thanks" even thought I've got more books in my house than I have a prayer of reading in the next ten years especially at the rate that my flea-like attention span has confined me to thus far this year. And library book sale season is coming and really cheap books are almost as hard to refuse as really free books. And those Amazon and Barnes and Noble gift certificates have been sitting around unused for months now because I have actually been trying to restrain myself from this madness before the floors collapse under the weight of a thousand unread books, restraint which people like Eva try to sabotage by writing blog posts about juicy bargain books on sale at Barnes and Noble whose low prices scream that they want to come to my house.

What am I even doing here at the computer? Shouldn't I be reading?


  1. I ask myself that final question all the time. And I'm jealous that you won the Amanda Eyre Ward book, too.

    But I've found a way to restrain myself from getting new books: I look at the mountain in here and have a panic attack. It works quite well.

  2. If only looking at the mountain would stop me, I tried to ignore that email from Barnes and Noble but after reading Eva's post I was doomed!

  3. It was only in recent months that I actually started bringing out my book and reading while I stood in line. If I'm sitting, waiting my turn, it's one thing, but standing in line, I just never thought about it until someone mentioned it. Now I do it all the time and it really does help pass the time, doesn't it?

    I like the concept of offering a book to someone out of the blue, but I rarely think to do it. :-(

    Oh, Megan, I'm a sucker for free books too. I have quite a stack of ARE's that I need to get through and review. I just haven't been able to read as much as usual lately and it's making me feel a bit guilty.

    Every time I see a bargain now at a bookstore or get an irresistible coupon, I whisper to myself: Hawaii. I have five months to hope that excuse is stronger than my will power. It's been hit and miss so far.

  4. I'm TESTING your restraint, not destroying it! ;) I use the internet to basically do 'window shopping': if I really want to buy something, but I don't have the money, or I know it's not a good idea, I just 'shop' on the internet until I'm so sick of it I wouldn't even think of breaking out the credit card! And, you linking to the post makes you a book pusher too. :p hehe

  5. I am so glad you said that about Speak. I always look at it and then think it'll be too dark or too heavy or too intense, but you're really making me think I need to read it after all! And soon :)

  6. I too have the addiction of not being able to turn away free books. I have ARCs stacked every where.

    The magazine jury sounds interesting, at least. =)

    Happy Sunday!

  7. Unused Amazon gift certificates? Whoa...I'm impressed!!!

    Our library book sale's coming up in a couple weeks...and I am soooo excited!

  8. I hate hate hate Erdrich. It's an old grad school prejudice. Group work was involved.

    I'm glad to see someone expressing something I've felt about blogging but never have noticed anyone else mentioning. I also always feel like if no one is home, it's a great time to blog, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood. Other times, I have all sorts of ideas about what to say, but my son is really intent on telling me every detail about his favorite video game.

  9. Susan - The panic attack method is working pretty well for me except for when the books are free. I've managed to avoid buying any but the frequent panic attacks don't seem to get in the way of the saying "yes" to free books!

    Amy - Yeah, that Eva, she's no good. ;-) My fragile restraint, surprisingly, is holding.

    LF - The whole reading in line thing really worked for me. Instead of getting (more) frustrated and annoyed at the line and the people in it - I got some reading done. Really, it's quite brilliant! The offering of free books has been more and more on my mind now that whenever I open the door to my house, a few books fall out. ;-)

    Eva - I didn't link to the post, just your blog. *whistles, dons halo* You obviously don't know how fragile my restraint is. Were it not for the above mentioned "panic attack" method, I'd have definitely ordered some books in a weak moment!

    oakling - Glad you're thinking about reading this book. Yup, it's a bit deep and dark (which is actually how I usually take my books, for some reason), but the humor and the spot on depiction of many ridiculous aspects of the high school experience make it a little easier to deal with.

    Jill, the Elle juries are great fun - except for the surprise element where you get whatever they choose to send you great, bad, or ugly. I've read some excellent books from them and some real duds, too.

    Debi - Yeah, you know it's bad when I've still got this Amazon GC burning a hole in my pocket, right? ;-) Library book sales are pretty much the highlight(s) of the year around here! Looking forward to (I hope!) hearing about your haul!

    jenclair - I'm sure I'll enjoy it. Thanks again! =D

    Dewey - Argh - group projects could sour me on like...chocolate and bunny rabbits and other things that every right-minded people should like. Sorry to bring up those bad memories. ;-) It's so nice to be able to sit down and blog uninterrupted by the chaos of a house with people and pets in it - wish I had more to say when those rare moments occurr!

  10. I love reading books in lines. It's like cheating time. "You're stuck doing nothing and I'm getting to read a great book." I feel the same way when I'm flying (on planes, not like Superman.) If I get on a flight and realize I left my books at home I get the shakes. Have you ever tried to tried to pass three hours with an inflight magazine or an old USA today you left in your bag? Not fun.