Thursday, July 31, 2008

Please, please just let me read!

Well I have finished Twilight and I loved it just as much as the first time. In my mind I had combined the three books, so I still felt like it was a page turner. Now if only my life would allow me the pleasure of just reading the next two... I am uncertain if I will be able to pick up Breaking Dawn on Saturday as I am far from home. Keep your fingers crossed that the stars will align and I will be able to read on Saturday. Has anyone else started or read Twilight? Let me know what you think. I need the distraction :) Press the comments button people!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Waiting for Twilight

I ordered from Amazon a week ago, and still no books. Curse the Super-Saver Free shipping! I know they are taking their sweet time as punishment for my pecuniary tendencies.

Until then, I am rereading Beach Music.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Nancy Pearl is my Hero!

Today I have invited special guest Nancy Pearl to help me explain my love of reading. Welcome Nancy!
NP: I have noticed that do you a lot of reading.
JH: Not as much as I would like to, but I manage.
NP: I also noticed that you read a lot of Young Adult Lit (YA), why is that?
JH: This is a complicated answer, do you have time for it?
NP: Sure, I can't get far with these plastic legs.
JH: There are many reasons that I read YA. First and foremost, it is my dream to be a YA librarian. So I have to know the material to be able to match the perfect book with the person. Secondly, a lot of YA is better than your average fiction for adults. I challenge you to find a better book than one of John Green's, M.T. Anderson's or Meg Cabot's. The writing is sophisticated, complicated, and just damn good. Granted there are a lot of sugar-coated, trite, "pink" books out there for the YA crowd. But even those are fun. Who hasn't read a Danielle Steel or Nora Roberts book? And finally (for time purposes), I get a lot of free YA books because of my job. :)
NP: I enjoy a good YA book as well, as you know I wrote Book Crush.
JH: Yes I know, you are my idol after all :)
NP: Well it is getting late and I have a date with my little BatHunk so I better make myself beautiful.
JH: Thank you for guest blogging. I think I am going to get a jump start on my Twilight reading.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What Are You Reading?

As I have mentioned before, beginning July 28th I am taking a break from the EW list to prepare for the release of Breaking Dawn. I am so excited I can't stand it! Only 8 more days until the release. Now I have to decide if I am going to a release party or if I will wait until Saturday morning...

Since I finished The Liars' Club on Wednesday I didn't want to start the next book (American Pastoral) until after my Twilight break so I have been reading through some of the books that have been stacking up on me. This is one of the areas that I keep "my to read" books. These are only Young Adult. I have one other basket of fiction and nonfiction. Never fear one of the perks of my job is free books so I don't have a spending problem. For a partial listing of my library see the side bar...
So what have I been reading (I should point out that I read a LOT of Young Adult Fiction, there are reasons I will explain in another post, just be warned)...

How to Be Bad - I love road trip books in general and this one is a fun read. I love E. Lockhart and Lauren Myracle has written several books with a character named Jana so I like her :)

Ambition - This is book 7 of Kate Brian's Private series. This is probably my favorite Alloy series right now. Private school, rich girls, and death. Fantastic. They keep getting better. The next one comes out in September...can't wait.

And today I started Rumors - The sequel to The Luxe. The Luxe has been called Gossip Girl set in the late 19th century. I enjoyed the first one and am looking forward to this one. I will let you know what I think.

So that should take me up to Monday. I have to work this weekend and tend to my gardens so I am not sure how much reading I will fit in. I hope you all have your copies of the Twlight books and are ready to go. Just a warning... These books are long so if you need more time start now. In the three volumes there are a total 1824 pages (please don't be scared you won't even realize you have read that much). My pace will be roughly 365 pages a day so adjust your schedules where necessary. I have recommended these books frequently and I have never had a complaint! Edward, Bella and Jacob await you :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I *Heart* NJ

So as many of you know I love New Jersey. I know I am strange but it is true. Here are a few reasons I love the garden state...

I had to pick some of the larger tomatoes early due to a stealthy rabbit who has been helping himself a little too often.
I picked all of these last night. The large one across the top was as long as my forearm. I was going to take a photo but my battery died in my camera. I would take a picture of it now but it is currently in the form of 2 loaves of zucchini bread :) Who knows how many I will have after last night's 2 inches of rain. Anybody want some squash?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I did it!

I finally finished. I can't remember the last time that it took me so long to read 336 pages. Why did it take so long you might ask?
Was it work? Well I have been extraordinarily busy at work but this is not the first time and I usually still fit reading in.
Was it because you lost the book? No I carried it around with me.
Was it because you sustained an unfortunate eye injury? Nope I managed to keep sharp objects away from my face.
Then what was it?

I will explain. Let's flashback to high school English class. In a normal story (fiction or nonfiction) you have a story arc... introduction - conflict/plot - resolution. This is what makes up a story. Now there are many great works of literature that have tried to escape this convention, where a writer writes for the sake of writing. But you can even boil away On the Road or The Sound and the Fury and find the elements of a story arc. Ok end of class.

Here is why I think I disliked this book so much...it is all introduction. Sure there are a few conflicts here and there...did her mom try to stab them, did her mom shoot Hector, etc. But she shies away from digging into the situations. I realize that she was young, 6-8, in these years but my advice is write about something you remember, not vaguely remember.

But what is even more irritating about the book is that there is no resolution/redemption in the end. Things that were intriguing: her adolescence, college years, step siblings, were glossed over. I feel like she got tired of writing her life story and I know I was definitely tired of reading it. In the end I had the same feelings towards everyone in the book as I did in the beginning...they are a selfish, drunk, unsympathetic family that I didn't need to know.

I have read a lot of memoirs and can off the top of my head come up with several that were better than this one. I think I might need to research if the publisher is a parent of EW and that might be the answer :)

My picks would be This Boys Life by Tobais Wolff or Keeper of the Moon by Tim McLaurin. Check it out if you are in the market for a childhood memoir but don't waste your time on The Liars' Club. I promise I am telling the truth.

Can you give negative stars when you rate?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend Reading

Thank you, Jan, for sending such a nifty care package. As a result, this weekend I spent reading the following:

6 issues of People
The Queen of Babble Gets Hitched
1 issue of EW (I am a week behind)

And don't worry, the baby was not neglected during all the magazine reading. She was busily playing with matches in the corner by a pile of flammable liquid.

Guess what I didn't read? Yep, you guessed it. The Liars' Club has been collecting dust since Bronwen picked it up and perused its contents last week.

Luckily the book is due back to the library on the 24th, so that will be my motivation to finish it up over the next two days. If I don't finish, I'll skip to the last page to see what happens. Since it's a memoir, I know the main character lives.

I also ordered all 2 Twilight books from Amazon as well as They Might Be Giants' "Here Come the ABCs."

Exciting stuff!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Membership +1

Q: What did you read this morning on the train?
A: The Liars' Club of course!

Photographic Evidence:

Hey who put that manga in my bag????
It must have been our viewer from Japan, konnichiwa!

Coincidence? Nah, Kevin Bacon

I have not given up on this book and have finally trudged my way into the second part. As I was flipping from the "1961" to the "1963" section guess what I saw? You won't have to guess if you're reading along, but I'm gathering my (our) less-than enthusiastic response has dissuaded a few of you... Anyhow, it was a quote by: Cormack McCarthy! ("Duh" parenthetical: The author of the first book we tackled on our list.) It follows:

A man's at odds to know his mind cause his mind is aught he has to know it with. He can know his heart, but he dont want to.
Rightly so. Best not to look in there. from Blood Meridian


Jan--remember how we used to play our own version of 6 Degrees of Separation, otherwise known as the Kevin Bacon game? I think it would be a fun side challenge to see how we can relate the books to each other.
So there you go. Just an idea. Input?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chores

Things I would rather do besides read The Liars' Club:

Sleep
Play a board game (if you know me, you'll realize that this is a big deal)
Clean the floors: On my hands and knees
Scrub toilets
Scoop litter
Watch paint dry
Mow the lawn--with tweezers

Yes, folks, I would just about rather do anything than read this book. To be fair it isn't all that bad. It is interesting, and there are definitely moments of intrigue. Still I can't stand the author, even as a little kid. I want to throttle her. I fear having a child like her.

But I will prevail. I will not give up! Semper Fi! (for this one, anyhow)

Anyone reading The Road right now? I miss it. Yes, it is that bad.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sad and Tragic News

You better sit down for this...
I didn't pick up a book once this weekend. Wipe the shocked look off of your faces.

For those of you who don't know me well:
1. This is a very rare occurrence, in fact I am pretty sure there are more blue moons in a year than days that I don't read. Just to reinforce the point, I keep a yearly list of what I have read and I average between 225- 275 books a year. Yes, I know I am a nerd. Did I mention that I didn't read for 2 days in a row?!?!?!
2. I hope you get to know me better, so comment so I can know you then we can be cyberfriends. Yeah!

And to top it off, I haven't even read today since I got a ride into work rather than taking a train. So you might ask...Is it because you don't like The Liars' Club?

Well, I don't love the book and I can obviously put it down. I have read many, many better southern childhood memoirs. But I am not using the 80 page rule and hopefully I can finish this week. It is not the book that is keeping me from reading, it is an evil thing called work, which I better get back to right now.

Oh and just in case you were wondering...

I finished the second relief last week and will be carving the third and final one this week. This is probably a good thing since I have my next 3 or 4 projects already planned. Barbara, when are you going to class with me? :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Liar Jam

Q: How do I read the Liars' Club without a playlist????
A: You don't...

1. Liar - The Sex Pistols
2. Liar - Korn
3. Liar - Nine Inch Nails
4. Liar - Fireflight
5. Liar - Queen
6. Liar - Three Dog Night
7. Liar - Rollins Band
8. Liar - Dar Williams
9. Liar - 8mm
10. Liar - Stars

Bonus Track: Blame It On the Rain - Milli Vanilli (you can't buy this one so let me know if you need to borrow my tape)

The Liars' Club

I am plodding my way through this book. I just can't seem to get interested yet. I actually look ahead to see how many more pages I have until the end of a chapter--not a good sign. I really don't want to utilize the 80 page rule on the second book I read for the project. In order to get excited and inspired, I decided to ponder the title: The Liars' Club. Any other Liars' Clubs I could find?

Politicians:The Rosenburgs:
Tabloids:Milli Vanilli:
An interesting and varied list, I find. Maybe the book will get better. We shall see!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I have loved Harry for a long time and have been reading since before book 3 and the mania started. With the release of every new volume, I would reread at least the preceding book if not all of the books and before the release of Deathly Hallows I reread all of the books. So you might ask, "Jan, which is your favorite?"
My Answer:
Without a doubt, it is Goblet of Fire. I love this one and it is the one I have probably read the most. I remember when it came out I reread it as soon as I finished it.

So my questions to you are...
Which is your favorite? Why?

p.s. As I alluded to in a previous post, Jen and I have discussed rereading the whole series since we have both only read book 7 once. We have decided to put that project on hold until we make a dent in these 100 books. Perhaps they will be books 101-107 :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Worth 1,000 Words

T.J and I ate at La Provence for our anniversary. This was on the wall right beside us. I couldn't help but think of the book. Notice the faces in the window--one of an adult and child. I found it an odd coincidence. Maybe I wouldn't have noticed this picture at all if not within the framework of my reading. Makes you wonder what you don't notice each day.


Speed Racers

I also want to add that unlike a normal book club, we do not tarry with deadlines and due dates. If you wish to read and post about The Road, please do! It is not too late! If you decide to read the ones we've skipped and want to review, this would also be great. I know Jana and I both would love to foster discussion on the "new classics" as much as possible.

I am off to order the Twilight series as well as The Barenaked Ladies' new CD for kids.

The Beloved Harry Potter Liars' Club

As you may or may not know, Jen and I were big readers before we undertook this project. That might explain why reading a list of 100 books seemed like a good idea to us :) What this means for the list though, is that we have read several of the books that are already listed. After discussing how to approach these titles we have come up with a plan...

The Plan
Part I
Books that we have both read we will skip rereading for the time being. We (one or both) of us will make a brief post about the title, giving a mini-review to allow for Part II of the plan.
Part II
We invite you to read the book and post a review in the comments section. Let us know what you think. Make us want to reread the book :)
Part III
We each still get to skip 5 titles on the list. I hope you hear me Charles Frazier because I am skipping you!

So with that stated, Jen and I have started The Liars' Club. Harry don't fear I have a feeling we might be revisiting you soon.

Also as a tiny break from the project, I invite you all to join me starting July 28th in my Twilight Saga reading to prepare for the August 2nd release of the final book Breaking Dawn. If you have not read these books I encourage you to click to the left and order them NOW!!!!!! You will not be sorry. It is time for you all to know Edward Cullen.

Hey, I don't see you ordering! Do it!

Monday, July 7, 2008

It's a Long, Long Road

I think we cheated a bit, sister, by discussing the book before we penned our thoughts, but it's our blog, so I suppose we can do whatever we want. I, too, found the story bleak and depressing, but since the setting is a nuclear winter after most of the population and all of the sunlight has been wiped out, I think that was a purposeful tone.

I've been thinking about this all day, and keeping in mind that very tone, I think it is an uplifting story.

*putting on Devil's Advocate hat, which looks kind of like a trucker cap*

The plot involves a father and son, trudging down a road, trying to survive. They have to guard against rain, cold, snow, starvation, and evil marauders. The father is self-sacrificing and full of pure love for the son, evidenced in the fact that he still goes on day after day; his son has become his purpose.

The son is hope for humanity. Forget the simple symbolism of "children are the future" and see that the son is not just hope for humankind; he has a tender heart despite never knowing the world before its barrenness, and yet he still feels sympathy, empathy, and compassion for others. He is hope for humanity--that goodness that exists within each of us. Like Jan, I will not give away plot points, but he implores his father to have pity even when others would not have pity on them. He has no reason to be so pure of heart, yet he is. I found that pretty uplifting. He is hope amid despair. He carries "the fire."

The author chooses to write in the third person--a great way to keep the reader just slightly detached, which helped ease some of the horror. And as Jana pointed out, helped to make me want to continue on in the book. I really did care for the characters, but I was able to remain somewhat aloof as necessary.

What bothered me more was the lack of apostrophes. Yes, I know, nit-picky, unless it was just a visual way of showing conventions don't matter? That most of the world is dead and therefore grammar is as well? I don't know. The language was beautiful, even if the vocabulary could be a bit obscure at times. I do know that after I finished the book I wanted to read it again. I didn't, though. Time for something a little less intense.

Originally I wanted to give it 3 stars, but upon reflection, I think it deserves 4 out of 5 stars as well.

The End of the Road

As I have previously stated, I was reluctant to read anything that Cormac McCarthy penned after my torturous experience with All of the Pretty Horses. However, I found The Road compelling. I was shocked that at times I couldn't put it down. The story is probably one of the most depressing I have ever read and I don't think that I am spoiling anything by saying that. So please keep reading this blog :)

However, the writing is extraordinary. I truly cared about the characters and although, at times, it seems like nothing is happening I kept turning the pages. With that said, I do feel that there are times in the story that McCarthy relies too heavily on plot devices, events seem a bit too convenient. I think the last 2 pages are a fine example of that. I don't want to give too much away about the ending so I won't go into anymore detail but when you read it you will see what I mean.

I would like to challenge all of the reviews that I have read about the book in the end being uplifting or redeeming, so listen up all of you Amazon reviewers. I don't feel it, I am not and was not uplifted. In fact, I think I will have to read 3 or 4 pink Young Adult novels just to counteract the effect of The Road.

Overall though, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It just goes to prove if you can write, it can make up for the plot :)

Jen, your thoughts?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Book #1--Complete!

I have finished The Road.

How do you want to discuss? Should I just write my opinion? Give spoiler alerts?


BatTime in Paris


I recently discovered the most radiant creature at a book club meeting. Hey! I hear you snickering (I do have BatHearing) but Bats read to! Her smile, her eyes, the way she was always telling me to be quiet. It was love at first BatSight! I worked up enough courage to go over and talk to her...












I was a little intimidated since she kept shushing me, but I knew she would come around to my BatCharms. So after an hour of begging and threatening to crush her with my BatAction arm, the beautiful and smart Nancy decided to accompany me on a trip. Did I mention that she is a librarian? And a hot librarian to boot!



While en route to our destination, I hoped to use her enormous brain to devise a plan to free my BatBrother. She explained that he was probably being brainwashed by that cute little baby. What she said made a lot of sense to me because every time I see that cute little baby I want to fly over to see her. Perhaps she was trying to brainwash me as well. Must see cute little baby! Musst go now! Nancy fearing for my safety handed me an in flight magazine...

Who is that handsome fellow on the cover and why does that evil guy look so familiar? Wait, I remember, he has my BatBrother! I can't believe I have strayed from my mission. I must rescue my BatBrother!!!!


Well maybe it can wait another day....


She is just so hot!








Saturday, July 5, 2008

Starting at #1

Leslie brings up an excellent point in her comment--why are we beginning at #1? I believe we should clarify.I don't think the list is an actual ranking, just a top 100 list. Jana, was this your impression as well? Being that it was just a top 100 list, we just decided to start at the beginning and move onward from there.

Plus we have a Jon Stewart book to look forward to at the end. Trust me, it is much lighter far than The Road, which I have finally started. Even better, I have the large print edition (see: JCPL Sucks A$$) and can read it from any location in the house. Turning pages has proven difficult, though.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Batman

Yes, I admit, Batman was crafty and escaped his initial captor, but I have now overpowered the pathetic Bat!

Muah ha ha! Soon Batman will be nothing but Guano!
While I hold him in captivity, I think I shall do some light reading.


Sincerely,
The Joker

On The Road Alone

Since I have been reading the book alone, I decided that I needed to find other people to be depressed with so I have enlisted some other members of the book club. Since the librarians were not helpful in Baton Rouge. I turned to the most helpful librarian I know...

Nancy Pearl. Ssshhh, she is reading.






I also discoverd this little tiny bat thing reading my copy.















I recruited Daisy and Trixie to read with me...
Daisy took it too serisouly and decided to build a shanty and stockpile some food just in case something happened in New Jersey.



Trixie had to know what was going on so...


video


She is the only one who has finished the book.



So while I wait for everyone to catch up with me. I will use my imagination...


Me: So, Sister have you been enjoying the book?
Jen:
Me: It is very depressing. Yet, I can't put it down.
Jen:
Me: The man can turn a phrase.
Jen:
Me: Boy you sure are quiet...

Since you are not saying anything I guess I will get back to reading....






Oh wait look who else is reading...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

JCPL Sucks A$$

It's a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, and yet I must rant!

I was so excited to receive the call from my neighborhood man-brarian telling me that I was on The Road to reading the first novel of the challenge. I admit I waited a day, but I like to consolidate my trips as much as possible, working around nap time (both Bronwen's and mine). Today we had a few errands to run, namely buying a card (anniversary), buying meat (4th of July sales), and picking up the book. It was hot today. Blistering humidity. By the time I hauled Bronwen out of the market with $60 worth of various meats I was, well, quite frankly, ripe. I was hot, sweaty, and despite my 100 layers of deodorant, a bit musty. Bronwen was getting a tad irritable, no doubt because I had hauled her in and out of a hot car 3 times. I drive a Jetta, black. Black is a great color for many things: coffee, cocktail dresses, Taye Diggs, but for a car, it's sheer stupidity.

I promise B a quick trip in and out of the library. I go in, tell the gentleman at the front desk my name and the book title. He can't find it in "the back." I go to the reference desk where I requested the book initially. It was Methusala's daughter with her skirt tucked nicely beneath her boobs. She was slow in addition to being ancient. She walked back up to the front to check for the book in "the back." (Seriously, like she was going to see something Mr. "30-year-old check-out guy" couldn't?) I put B down and she starts crawling like a baby Dale Earnhardt all over the library. I let her, trying not to get to close to any patrons lest my sweatiness offends. Meanwhile, I can't help but think of my meat in the trunk, getting all toasty in the Black Jetta.

I'll move forward a bit quickly; no need to put you all through my own personal torture. They couldn't find my book. They found a copy on hold for David Rice--they wouldn't let me take it. I had to swear up and down I got a phone call, even at one point doubting my own veracity, until I took out my cell and recited the number from caller ID. Ha! Proved my point.

I left my number and went home.

I received a call about 30 minutes later saying my book had been there the entire time, but it was filed under Saint. (you know, instead of St.) So I understand and tell them I will be there to pick it up later today. The lady specifically tells me it will be at the reference desk.

Fast forward. Today is my 4th anniversary, hence the card. I am making a nice meal and realize that if I wait until after dinner, I will be 2 wine glasses closer to getting a DUI. So I decide to leave dinner on the stove, baby in the high chair--with TJ, and brave the weather to go to the library. Did I mention a storm was raging outside?

I run into the library, getting drenched of course, and guess what? Book is NOT at the reference desk, and the guy at the front can't find it. I am about to render my garments and tear out my hair. After 3, yes, 3 librarians look in "the back" finally they find my book.

Part of me wonders if David Rice is really going to be reading The Road any time soon.

Jones Creek Public Library

Finally called--the book is in!
I shall drive over today upon opening to retrieve my copy. I hope it isn't the large print edition; although, I did used to read those large print Reader's Digests when we were little. I suppose it could come in handy--I can leave it lying open and just read from any location in the house.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Potter!!!!

Ok well not that Potter, put your glasses and wands away.


I have been taking pottery class for almost a year now and I thought I would share my current project.


Running out of places to store your umbrellas? Parasols running amok in your home? Want to avoid bad luck and keep your umbrellas closed? I give you a custom umbrella stand...


I have been working on this large coil pot for close to 4 months now (although I had to take a 2 month break due to travel restrictions) and have for the past 2 weeks finally been able to start carving the reliefs. The good news is that I get to take a break from The Road go carve some more tonight! I hope to finish this side and start the 2nd relief. Should only take about another month...I hope.