Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Weekly Geeks - Favorite Books Published in 2008!

Normally I am way. behind. the pack. That is, I usually don't read books the year they're published. I buy 'em or borrow 'em or get hold of 'em this way or that, and they sit on my stacks for years on end. However, thanks to Estella's Revenge, Bibliobuffet, and the library, I've been reading more recent books this year. What follows is the list of books I've read that were actually published in 2008, and those in bold are my favorites. Those in red were not my favorites. Quite the opposite...my least favorites of the year so far.

Thanks to Dewey for another fantabulous Weekly Geeks topic!

Oh, and none of the titles below are ranked by preference. Totally random order.

Books Published in 2008 That I've Read This Year:

You Must Be This Happy to Enter, by Elizabeth Crane
Master, by Colette Gale
The Sorrows of an American, by Siri Hustvedt
Green, Greener, Greenest, by Lori Bongiorno
Garden Spells, by Sara Addison Allen
Blood Kin, by Ceridwen Dovey
Blood Roses, by Francesca Lia Block
Coraline (Graphic Novel), by Neil Gaiman
Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian, by Scott Douglas
Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer
The Solitary Vice: Against Reading, by Mikita Brottman
When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris
Man in the Dark, by Paul Auster
Ghost Files: The Haunting Truth
Halloween Night, by Marjorie Dennis Murray
Cat Nights, by Jane Manning
Queen of Halloween, by Mary Engelbreit

Of the tip of the top, they break down this way by genre:

Memoir/Non-fiction:
When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris
Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian, by Scott Douglas
Green, Greener, Greenest, by Lori Bongiorno

Fiction
The Sorrows of An American, by Siri Hustvedt
Man in the Dark, by Paul Auster
Garden Spells, by Sara Addison Allen

Children's or Young Adult:
Halloween Night, by Marjorie Dennis Murray
Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer
Blood Roses, by Francesca Lia Block

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Children's Literature and Childish Pics





Well, well, well, guess who'll be teaching an online section of Children's Literature in the Spring? Moi! Yep, you got it. The university in Oklahoma offered the section, and I have until Friday to say yes (and I will be saying yes). I'm really excited since I haven't gotten to teach this class since I was a Masters student, so it'll be good to whip up a reading list, put together a syllabus, and delve back into my favorite discipline. Above is a smattering of titles that I'll probably teach.

In the meantime, I got camera happy this morning.







Isn't my baby Daisy getting sooo big? 25 pounds big! I, on the other hand, have lost 27. *happy dance*

Happy Monday everyone.

Authors We Date and Authors We Marry

Some authors deserve commitment, but others are just flings. Find out who's who in this week's installment of "The Finicky Reader."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Sunday Salon - Man in the Dark

Even though I finished it yesterday, it's taken me until today to formulate some semi-coherent thoughts on Paul Auster's newest novel, Man in the Dark. I guess I'm cheating since I finished it yesterday, but it makes for good Sunday fodder anyway. Incidentally, today has been bookless. Unless you count the reading I did for 'brary school this morning. It was largely about the digital evolution of libraries and reading in general (fascinating article about the Amazon Kindle). But I'll save it for another day.


Man in the Dark is a slim volume weighing in at only 180 pages. The key player is August Brill, a 70-something literary critic who lives with his daughter and granddaughter in Vermont as he's recovering from a car accident and the death of his wife (though those two events are unrelated). At night when he can't sleep, Brill lies in bed telling himself stories to pass the hours--namely, the tale of Owen Brick a magician who suddenly wakes up in an alternate America where 9/11 never happened and a civil war rages. As it turns out, in this alternative universe, the 2000 elections sparked secession of several states, thus the civil war. Owen Brick soon realizes that he's a key player in the war with one mission: assassinate the man responsible for the war...the godlike storyteller--one August Brill.


If you're at all familiar with Paul Auster's work, it's like a hall of mirrors (or so The Independent says). And I would agree. Many times Auster's work deals with an author that's either supremely confused or extremely powerful. In this case, we have both. Brill and Brick are really two sides of one coin: both are facing death in myriad ways, extremely stressed out and saddened by everyday life, and ultimately the reader realizes that Brill (and Brick) have something of a death wish. Brill is old, he's lost much of what he cares for in the world; Brick, having been thrown into an impossible situation for which he is not prepared, finds himself without the skills he needs to carry out his mission and is desperately trying to save those he loves.


Beyond Brill and Brick and their mess of an intertwined story, we meet Brill's daugher, Miriam, and his granddaughter, Katya. Katya and Brill spend long evenings, and sometimes even whole days, watching movies together as Katya (and the rest of her family) try to overcome the oppressive aftermath of her boyfriend's murder.


They're a sad lot, for sure, but somehow I never felt weighed down by sadness while I was reading this novel. Brill has a great sense of humor, and his reminiscences about his deceased wife are lovely. A little unlikely at times--the conversations he and Katya have--but ultimately full of compassion and admiration.


For the seasoned Auster reader this might be a "been there, done that" kind of read. He's up to his old tricks: authors, death, identity, fun intertextual references and screwy plot twists. However, I'm not terribly seasoned. I've read enough to know what Auster's got up his sleeves most of the time, but it's all still very interesting to me. It's admirable the way he allows the reader to understand August Brill through the (meta)fictional plight of Owen Brick. It's a biting commentary on the state of America and the war we're fighting. It's sci-fi, it's literary fiction, it's just plain craziness. But it's gorgeous, and the writing is fantastic, and it's all smashed into 180 pages.


How I would love to ride around in Paul Auster's brain for a day. I have a feeling I'd never want to leave.

Happy Sunday reading, everyone! I think I'll jump back into Hell Hath No Fury. It's hilarious and heartbreaking so far.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

TBR To the Rescue

Just when I have no idea what to read, my TBR burps forth the perfect title:

Hell Hath No Fury: Women's Letters from the End of the Affair (edited by Anna Holmes, forward by Francie Prose)

It's as old as time: the breakup letter. The kiss-off. The Dear John. The big adios. Simple in its premise, stunningly perfect in its effect. From Anne Boleyn to Sex and the City writer/producer Cindy Chupack, from women both well-known and unknown, imaginary and real, the letters here span the centuries and the emotions--providing a stirring, utterly gratifying glimpse at the power, wit, and fury of a woman's voice...

The brilliance of hte mad missives, caustic communiques, downhearted dispatches, sweet send-offs, and every other sort of good-bye that fills these pages will surely resonate with anyone who has ever loved, lost, left, languished, or laughed a hearty last laugh.

And the weird world rolls on.

The day after the startling discovery was miraculously boring, and I certainly can't complain about that. I thought about posting some angry girl music and a rant, but that's so cliche, so instead I bring you humor. The stupidest Leann Rimes video ever. And that's saying quite a bit. Appropriately titled "Life Goes On." For your viewing pleasure....

Note: I'll give $100 to anyone who can decipher her nasally lyrics. And I really think I should've walked around the French Quarter in a slip and a black bra today. I would've felt much better, and according to this video I'd have a smokin' piece o'man on my tail. You think this is a tribute to Katrina survivors?



So, snark aside, it was a really uneventful day. I let Daisy sleep in my bed last night instead of her crate, so she woke me up early, I let her out, and we went back to bed. Got up, got pretty, and went running around with Mom. Bought a new bottle of wine, some organic greens, sirloins, new Coldplay CD. Normal stuff. I told Mom I felt it my duty to look nice after having my pride stepped all over and pissed upon. Makeup and everything. On a Saturday!

Once I got home, I gave Daisy a bath, which meant I got an impromtu bath myself. She smells much better and is far less gritty.

I spent the remainder of the afternoon finishing off Paul Auster's newest novel, Man in the Dark (the title of this post is a line from the book). It was excellent. Watch for a Sunday Salon review coming up tomorrow (or maybe later tonight).

Also on the horizon, a review of the BlackBerry Pearl. Or as I call her, Just Pearl.

Annnd, I'm afraid the vid may be cutting off the comments. Not sure why it would do that, but it did the same thing with a recent It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia post.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Shortest Sob Story Ever (Coarse Language Ahead)

I'm exhausted--mentally and physically--and just a wee tad full of wine. Sooo, you all get the very abbreviated version of a very infuriating story. It seems my day went from bad to inexplicably horrendous.

The friend I wrote about in my last Bibliobuffet column (J.)...the one that's so special to me and with whom I share boatloads of interests....that I've known since college and that was planning a trip out here in October? That one. He's married. MARRIED. Not sure how one overlooks sharing that fact. Given, I didn't talk to him for almost a year and a half while I was in NC, but you'd think he might've mentioned it since we began talking again in July.

I sent the copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I discussed in my article, and it was returned to me as "undeliverable" for that particular address. There were red flags before that, but I hadn't done much investigation. 30 minutes of Internet research later I discovered that it was a fake address, and I had his real address--listed with his and wife's name. I also had his home phone number (already had cell) her blog and MySpace addresses, and one hell of a bad attitude. Oh, and pictures of them together. Why not?

He and I were friends back when they were dating, and he told me they broke things off a couple of years ago. I have no idea if that was true at all. They might have broken and up and gotten back together in my absence. It really doesn't matter in the least. It was a 9-year friendship and now it's over in 30 minutes. Who knows what was really real and what was bullshit.

The moral of this story: don't fuck with a librarian. We are unbelievably talented with technology.

I feel sorry for his wife. She probably thinks he's a stand-up guy.

Good morning, Sunshine!

Attitudey e-mail from a student greeted me at 6:30 am. That's what I get for rolling over and immediately checking it on BlackBerry. I'll be grading all morning, but I'll check in when I need a (procrastination) break.

Oh, and guess what? I READ last night! Not a lot, but any little bit counts.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Interview Time & New Toys


Don't get too excited, it's not an interview for a full-time position. However, it's still pretty darn exciting. And I should preface this by saying, it's for the SPRING. I'm not crazy enough to take anything else on this semester.


A few weeks ago my peeps at Former University (not its legal name) passed along an online teaching opportunity in Children's Literature. I promptly put in a phone call to the department head and dropped my CV into his e-mail inbox, and voila, I have a phone interview on Monday at 2:30.

It's a part-time position for a university in southern Oklahoma teaching Children's Lit online (just one course, to my understanding). I've never actually gotten to teach a Children's Lit survey outside of the courses I team taught with Susan at Former University, so this would be great fun. And I'm all about some online classes, ya know.

In completely un-work-related news, I bought myself a new toy. *shifty, guilty eyes*

It was time to renew my contract, and since AT&T has such stellar coverage in these parts, I decided to stay with them. The BlackBerry Pearl was significantly discounted with an upgrade, so I indulged. Isn't it cuuuuute? And RED! I've wanted a red phone for ages. Since RAZR came out with their red one RIGHT AFTER I bought my hot pink one.

But I digress. So what if I technicall don't actually neeeeeeeed a swanky BlackBerry with unlimited Internet access, e-mail, a planner, a wicked awesome camera, a scrolly wheel. But I will use it. Since my semester has wound up so hectic I've got my calendar in the phone loaded with appointments, due dates, and alerts. I've been surfing like a mad woman, twittering, and I really think it'll be helpful to be able to check e-mail and whatnot just for the sheer mass of correspondence that I get from students.

Another thing I like about AT&T: I can cancel the data plan any time I want. And bring it back whenever I want! So when I'm off in December (and very very moneyless), I can get rid of it, and then bring it back again in January! Brilliant.

Whatever. Stop looking at me that way. I love my Little Red. I never buy toys--just books--so it was a treat. Since I'm actually getting steady paychecks again, for the first time since June'ish, it's nice not to have to be quite such a tight wad. I dunno, I'm still pretty miserly. I think it's in my genes.

I'm off to finish grading papers. I've finished a huge batch of rhetorical analyses and now I'm on to narrative/descriptive essays. Then I get to read about user profiling for the 'brary classes. Yeehaw!

P.S. I'm making chicken and shrimp quesadillas, spanish rice, and refried beans for dinner. All homemade'ish. I'm salivating. You?

P.P.S. I'm taking a class over youth librarianship in the Spring. YAYYYY!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Good, Bad, and Wayyy Ugly Morning

So far today:

  • I walked a couple of miles, REALLY early
  • I cooked the bacon that needed cooking
  • I spilled the bacon grease all down my shirt
  • I washed the shirt
  • I lightly browned a roast that will crock pot cook all day
  • I failed to realize the roast had one of those little plastic blood sucking sheets stuck to the bottom
  • I melted said plastic sheet to a skillet
  • I put roast in crock pot with yummy mushroom and onion soups
  • I forgot to plug in said crock pot

I seem to have recovered from my flightiness to some degree at this mid-morning hour. I think I'll stay inside today, else I might pull a Harold Crick and step in front of a bus.

In a possible fortuitous turn of events, I went to the city website to apply for the part-time library gig, and oddly enough the posting didn't show up. Librarian Friend had called me earlier in the day to tell me the post was posted, so I have no idea why it wasn't showing. I decided since I couldn't fill out the application, I might as well do some stuff for Access and Retrieval class. In an effort to answer one of the questions on my former university's website (the one where I got my MA), I realized they're hiring a LIBRARY ASSISTANT FULL-TIME. So, instead of the part-time application, I've now filled out the full-time application which would mean BENEFITS. And I have a friend in the library already who could give me a GLOWING recommendation.

Cross your parts!

Monday, September 22, 2008

WHAT?!

I'm completely overwhelmed. You never would've guessed that, right?

I went to the library to finish up some assignments for my Access and Retrieval class, and happened to ask if they plan to advertise any open positions in the near future. As it turns out, one of the girls who used to work there has recently relocated, and they need a part-timer to come in on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings and work all day every Saturday.

Now, you might remember, I worked in this particular public library in 2005. When I mentioned I was interested in the part-time gig, my former boss got back to me very quickly and from what I can gather the job is mine if I want it. There are a number of pros and a number of cons to this particular situation, and I won't run through all of those for you (I just sent Heather a ranty, frantic e-mail about the state of my sanity and my finances). Anywho, it breaks down like this:

Pro: Money is good. As is not having to do an internship for library school.
Con: Quickly dissipating free time for sanity is not!

Which meannns, if I do take the job I will have to seriously restructure some of my personal life. As it is now, I don't have the motivation or time to read much of anything. And that sucks!

So, while I'm whimpering in the corner, rocking and weighing my options, I'll tell you what I nabbed at the 'brary today.

I've already mentioned it here once, but I just had to have Paul Auster's new one, Man in the Dark. The opening lines are luscious: "I am alone in the dark, turning the world around in my head as I struggle through another bout of insomnia, another white night in the great American wildnerness."

The other find: Found: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World, by Davy Rothbart. Books like PostSecret (and that's what this one reminds me of) that I can blow through quickly give me a little push when I'm slumping. This might be just the ticket!

Signing off! Going to watch an episode of Ghost Hunters before I hunker down with papers to grade.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bullet Blitz!

Life in bullets:

  • Off to the library in just a couple of minutes. Need to finish up some info hunt assignments and source evaluations for Access and Retrieval class.
  • I spent last night at a pub poetry reading. I was drinking Black Iguana...margaritas for spacewomen (they were in frozen pouches...kinda like Capri Sun).
  • Daisy goes to the groomer for the first time ever tomorrow. I say a little whispery prayer for the groomer.
  • Am swamped! Student papers to grade, grad school reading to do, another Estella coming up fast. Whew!
  • Am reading Capote in Kansas slowly but surely...when my eyes aren't too heavy and my brain isn't waterlogged.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia premiere was last night. Dee got waterboarded. So wrong, so RIGHT!
  • Gotta jet!

Back later with consistently full sentences...maybe even paragraphs!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Save Bitch!

Bitch Magazine that is! Labeled a "Feminist Response to Pop Culture," Bitch is a smart, snarky, intellectual wad of commentary on today's world from a feminist perspective. That's worth saving, right??

I don't have a whole lot of cash to toss around, but they get at least 5 of my dollars. Want to join in?

Go to the website to donate.

Sentimental (Reading) Fool

To get caught up on the state of my reading and love'ish life, read this week's installment of The Finicky Reader--"Just a Sentimental (Reading) Fool."

And if you're reading this, J.M.--code name Barry White--turn around and go away. You'll ruin the surprise.

David Foster Wallace, Snarky/Cerebral

Admittedly I am not a David Foster Wallace fan (being familiar with his work in name only), but I do think it tragic when any literarian takes his or her own life. If you're interested in reading more about Wallace from editor and columnist J. Peder Zane of the Raleigh News & Observer, check out this link.

Is his top 10 list snarky or cerebral or both? I can't decide if he was an asshole or a saint.

Monday, September 15, 2008

SEASON 4!!!!

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia! The sardonic, subversive goodness begins September 18th! I'll be parked in front of my TV, kids. Watch the clip for the ever lovely Green Man and mention of rehab and rock opera. If you can get past the poop (no, there's no real poop...not even any fake poop...just mention of poop because it's the penultimate juvenile humor) it's all roses and daisies.

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia - It's All About Poop

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The 11th Hour


What a great environmentary! I've spent my morning watching Leonardo DiCaprio's The 11th Hour. It's a gorgeous mix of visuals, facts, and solutions for a sustainable future.
To read more about the documentary and how I plan to use it in this semester's argument and research class, check out the post over at Unlikely Activist.

Enough Already! (More Rambles)


Ever lie down in bed only to find that your mind just won't shut up? I'm there. Not in a bad mood, not irked, not upset, not depressed, just can't sleep.
I finally caught the urge to work around 10:00, so I did that until midnight, which is when I started making stupid mistakes and decided to call it a night. I'll finish planning and posting new work for the classes in the morning.
Now I'm listening to my "top rated" playlist on ye olde iPod trying to settle my mind.
Sample:
-On Your Side (Pete Yorn)
-Today (The Innocence Mission)
-Wild Horses (The Sundays)
-Nothing Better to Do (Leann Rimes)
-Curve of the Earth (Matt Nathanson)
-Voice Inside My Head (Dixie Chicks)
-Marching Bands of Manhattan (Death Cab for Cutie)
-Message in a Bottle (cover, John Mayer)
-Another Try (Josh Turner and Trisha Yearwood)
-Warning Sign (Coldplay)
-Long Road to Ruin (Foo Fighters)
I intended to post 10 random songs, but I ended up with 11. How self-indulgent of me. *gazes at navel*
What better way to pass some midnight minutes than to torture you all with portions of my playlist?
I think I'll play solitaire 'til dawn.
I have heart burn.
Started reading The Lace Reader, Brunonia Barry's dark horse hit. Impressions so far: "meh."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Farewell...


It's a sad day indeed. The outstanding James Jean will no longer be illustrating the Fables series covers. Read about it here.

Hurricakes



Good afternoon from rainy Texas! My hometown is located in the northeastern part of the state, and as is rarely the case, a hurricane is headed right for us. Our area is only expected to get 3 inches of rain and 35 mph winds, so nothing serious. My heart goes out to the residents of Galveston and Houston and the other towns close to the coast. Our police chief and a few other officers have gone down that way to help with whatever needs doing.

My mom and I, on the other hand, being out of harm's way, have used the hurricane as an excuse for blatant laziness. We got up this morning, had pancakes (hurricakes), watched some Tivo'ed episodes of Ghost Hunters, and napped with the dogs. Now I actually have to get on track to do something constructive:
  • Grade discussion forum assignments for the online classes
  • Read journal articles for library classes
  • Do revisions on the latest Bibliobuffet essay
  • Dust

In reading news, I finished the final portion of I Am Legend last night. I'm not sure if I just wasn't in the mood for short stories or what, but I much preferred the actual "I Am Legend" novella to Matheson's shorties.

Now I have no idea what to read. I have several review books on the "immediate" pile with more arriving all the time, I pulled Sarah Hall's Electric Michelangelo down for a gander, and there are always my RIP III books. We'll see what moves me later in the day. For now I'm off to change sheets.

See you all tomorrow for the Sunday Salon!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Man in the Dark


You all know I loves me some Paul Auster. However, I am incredibly out of the loop lately, so I had no idea until recently that he has a new novel out. You guessed it, Man in the Dark. Check out this short NPR review from author Alan Cheuse. Incidentally, you may remember that I favorably reviewed his two-novella collection, The Fires, recently so I choose to trust Cheuse when he says this new offering is a dandy. I'm woefully behind on my Auster reading after sucking down The New York Trilogy and a couple of his memoirs, Hand to Mouth and The Red Notebook. This one sounds just as fantabulous, and I'm sure I'll get my hands on it eventually.
If you read it before I do, let me know what you think!

Words of Wisdom...


Dear universe,

You already know that my natural tendency toward impatience is hugely magnified by waiting for potential teaching jobs to post in late fall and/or spring. I have serial tension headaches and I'm generally unpleasant to live with as I vacillate between giddy abandon and dragon-like fits of fire breathing. In the meantime, if you could throw me a bone and make the degenerates at the loan company process my deferment that would just be stellar. And, if you're not too busy, and you have a different future in mind for me, make one of the marketing analyst or data miner or continuing education jobs come through at Dallas-area hospitals. I like options. I'm open to the possibilities.

Also, if it's not too much trouble, bring BW here for a visit so I can have a bear hug. That would just be aces!
Oh, and universe, thank you for taking Pandora the Prius to an all-time gas-saving high: an admirable 61 mpg. Take that, oil industry!

Best,
The Loon in Curls

Readers, on a positive note I've lost 22 pounds in about two months. I'm happy with that. It's slow, it's steady, and my pants are falling off; heartening if slightly embarrassing at times.

In other news, if you haven't already, go read the September issue of Estella's Revenge. You won't be sorry!

P.S. I like library school again after last week's freak out.

P.P.S. I'm still not reading much.

P.P.P.S. I'll stop rambling now.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Personally: Family


As most of you know, I am an only child, and I was raised by the best (single) mom anyone could ever hope for. When I was small I spent my days with my grandparents at their home out in the country, and it's there that I learned to tie my shoes, eat catfish, chicken fried steak, and other southern goodies, and learned to read. I wasn't the only kiddo in the house, though. My grandparents raised my cousin K. (my mother's nephew), so we spent a good deal of time together--although I suspect he would've rather had hot nails shoved up under his fingernails than associate with me. He was 12 years older than myself, moving out as I was starting school, and he married when I was 9. I was the flower girl. My lovelies, you will never, ever see the pictures.

In December of 1990 they had their first son. I'll call him Peanut (left). That's his nickname, so why not? I was 10 and still quite certain that K hated me. I remember waiting very impatiently when K's wife was in labor, and I couldn't wait to see my little cousin. K and I have a relationship very much like a brother and sister, so waiting for Peanut to come along was like having a real live nephew to dote over. He was the first baby I ever held, and I honestly don't think I've held another one since. Peanut has two sisters, and while I love them dearly, I don't know that I ever held them when they were babies. I've tossed them around as they've gotten older, but Peanut was super special. The first one and all. Peanut's birthday was also the day I realized that K never hated my guts. He was older, the brotherly type, and while he might've relished scaring the crap out of me or hanging me up by my ankles just a little too much, he was always there to protect me, too. He threatened to break the kneecaps of every boyfriend I've ever had. That, my friends, is familial love.

And now Peanut, the little boy that used to dance around in his diaper and stare me awake in the morning when he spent the night, is getting ready for his 18th birthday. He's taking senior pictures, taking early college courses, working his tail off, and generally getting his life together to be independent. Where on earth does the time go?

He really has grown into quite the remarkable young man (and I suddenly sound like a granny). He's raced in national motorcross competitions, he plays golf, he text messages faster than anyone I've ever seen, and all the while he makes me laugh. He's a good guy--kind-hearted, smart, and really really funny. I just can't wait to see what he does next. And he will always be Peanut to me.
Finally, I think I know what it was like to be K when I was growing up. I want the best for Peanut, moreso than he'll probably ever know. In short, if a girl ever breaks his heart I might have to strangle her in her sleep. I'll offer at least.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Sunday Salon - Scary Reading


It's been ages since I've picked up a scary read. Well, January actually, since I read Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill. While I used to read the scaries all the time growing up, I've let them fall off over the past 10 years or so. Now, when I do dive into creepy reading it's all the creepier.
I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson, is one of those classic horror novels I've had my eye on for ages, and Lesley was kind enough to pass along her copy a while back. I've resisted seeing the movie version until now, because I just had a feeling it couldn't hold a candle to the original, and having read the original I doubt I'll ever see the film.
Robert Neville is a heck of a smart guy. Trapped in his house during the nighttime hours by vampires, he spends the daylight exterminating the undead and killing off the living who have fallen prey to the mysterious plague that will ultimately turn them into bloodsuckers. To his knowledge, he's the only human left uninfected by the plague, and he fashions his house into a bastion and begins to study the strange illness that's claimed the rest of humanity. He has lofty hopes of understanding the illness, finding a better way to kill the vampires, and possibly a way to cure the sick.
This is one of those novels that truly disturbed me in parts. It wasn't Robert's killing or anything like that, and it wasn't gorey, but the utter sense of claustrophobia created by his nighttime hours trapped in the house. The writing was really nice, and it certainly kept me interested straight through the novella.
I actually had no idea until I received the book that the I Am Legend story itself is a novella, a very short 117 pages, and I really wished it'd been longer so I could drag it out a while. I haven't been as thrilled with the other stories included in this book, and I have a few left to go, so we'll see how it turns out.
I knew very little about Matheson until I picked up this book, just that he wrote the original novel that one of my favorite movies was based on, What Dreams May Come. I'm also tickled to see that he wrote the novel, Stir of Echoes, which I will probably have to read now since I loved that movie, too.
It's good to be reading and saloning again!! Today will be a relatively busy one. I need to get lessons posted for my online classes, and I'm playing hostess at a cousin's baby shower this afternoon. Think they'll mind if I sneak away to read a scary story or two?
This book is my first read for Carl's RIP III Challenge.
Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Snark...

Yep, the entirity of north Texas is sold out of the Palin eyeglass frame. Personally, I'd rather have a set of Barack Obama's ears.

And for your listening pleasure, a little ditty from my new favorite show, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:

Personally: Blah blah blah

Blah blah blah is right. I'm super busy and my energy is super sapped! I'm having something of a professional crisis as I REALLY want to teach full time again, and I'm somewhat disgruntled with the library idea. It's a great program, but I'm already wondering if there's any hope I could like it as much as I enjoy teaching. I moved back to Texas at an impossible time to hunt for a full time teaching job, so I'm stuck in limbo until the end of the fall semester and the end of the spring semester. We'll see. Keep your fingers crossed that I can find a job as great as the one I passed up in NC.

I'm taking the afternoon off from my online classes and my own graduate courses to sit in the sunroom and read. I feel all stuffy inside, like my emotions and intellect are all blocked up by the clutter in my head, so I hope some quality reading time, and time away from the computer and TV, can snap me out of it.

Just wanted to pop in, say hello, and give you all the update. I hope I'll be back to my usual reading, blogging self soon.

Monday, September 01, 2008

We Had a Day Off? (Randomness)


Happy Labor Day to all the Americans in the room! A friend texted me this morning to wish me a happy Monday off, which was very nice, but since I rarely leave the house for work purposes, it was sort of an anti-climactic day. I didn't really feel like I was getting away with anything, BUT I hope those of you who did have a real day off had a WONDERFUL DAY OFF!
In fact, if I'm being honest, I worked today. I read three chapters of library stuff, got two more online classes ready to roll out tomorrow morning, went running, and watched a movie--Smart People, offbeat dramedy, very good. So, yeah, the movie wasn't work related in any way, but the rest of the day was really productive.
Oh, I also nursed an overabundance of mosquito bites. I got a call Saturday night to join friends at a backyard bbq, so I promptly threw on my ugliest back yard drinking clothes and headed out. One stop at the store for Leinenkugel's later I was perched in one of those collapsible camping chairs waiting on ribs to come out of the smoker. I stayed for a few hours, made my way through a few pina coladas and beers (with orange slices, of course), and headed home around 11:00. Sunday morning I realized the extent to which the mosquitos snacked on me. Upwards of 40 bites. Something like 52 I think. From the knees down. Talk about PAIN AND ITCHING. On top of it all, I'm somewhat allergic to mosquitoes, so the bites don't stay little red spots; they turn into raging red whelps of fury. Miserable. I'm never leaving the house without a can of Off! again.
The reading front is lagging somewhat. I can't seem to sit still long enough to do much reading, especially of fiction. While I'm really enjoying The Position, it's sort of on hold until I quench my non-fiction urges. I'm gulping down Barack Obama's memoir, Dreams from My Father. Awesome. Makes me like him all the more.
By the way, did anyone else cry while watching his acceptance speech the other night?! I *heart* Mr. Obama.
Other than those insignificant tidbits, I have nothing to report. I got my laptop back last week! It works! I didn't have to have the hard drive reformatted! I've been playing SIMS 2 and doing work for my online class ever since. Again, not reading. *sigh*
We'll see if tomorrow brings more bookishness. I know I need to read another library chapter, so at least I have *some* reading going on.
On ye olde iPod: "Today," by The Innocence Mission (sounds like The Sundays)