Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon!

Let's go! 

I am super excited about this read-a-thon ( so excited that I wrote super excited, as a 5th grader would).   I have what feels like a million goals: 

  • finish the 3 library books I have
  • finish my book club book
  • make a dent in all those New Yorker's I'm behind on
  • A short story collection
  • An essay collection that is expiring on Scribd next week

24 hours isn't enough!

Word of the Day: Regnant

Since receiving a Word A Day Calendar, I've decided to write a short something including my new word each day.

 

adjective

1. reigning; ruling (usually used following the noun it modifies):

a queen regnant.

2. exercising authority, rule, or influence.

3. prevalent; widespread.

 

I am more and more terrified that Donald Trump will become regnant. 

 

 

My New Years Resolutions

Because they say if you write them down and share them, it's more likely to happen.  Let's see, shall we?   Not really in order because then I'd have to think about prioritizing and coming up with a prioritization system could blow half the year.  The first thing I did was change this whole site to look better just so I could start fresh for this post.  You see how I allow myself to get distracted??

  • Lose weight (required, I think)
  • Work out more (also required)
  • Read more!   (should be required, but somehow isn't)
  • Keep dinning room table clear.  It's not a storage location!
  • Write on this blog 2-3 times a week
  • Figure out life stuff
  • Spend more time on the things I want to do(less tv and internet, more books!) 
  • More Photography projects
  • Have more patience with inept co-worker, or perhaps should be:  find job without completely inept co-workers
  • Come up with metrics for the above so I know what to actually shoot for. 
  • Stop procrastinating with dumb stuff(again:  less tv and internet, more books!)

It's a start! 

Go Set a Timer on the Heros of Your Youth

This northern gal once visited Charlotte, NC where she saw a historical landmark sign indicating 'President Davis slept here'. I thought: we never had a President Dav..... OHHHhhhhh.

I have a theory on Harper Lee, and it probably won’t be popular, but I kind of hope it’s true. I think Go Set a Watchman was the story she wanted to tell or the story she needed to tell to work through her own issues. Because she is a person raised in a small town, who goes off the New York and sees the the world differently. How disappointing to be disillusioned with a place you once loved, a society you believed in, a father you loved so well. Her society, how she was raised, her childhood itself that tarnished now. How to go on? Certainly long, rambling rants against the injustice of it all is one way!

After pulling off the feat of writing a novel as a first time author, and one with many lovely passages, then to be told that the flashbacks to childhood are more interesting, to be asked how did Atticus become such a hero, what did young Scout see to believe so much in him, in her world ? And then this idealized version of the person who hurt her, who let her down so much becomes a hero to the world? What happens when you are acclaimed, win the Pulizer Prize and all the rest by portraying potentially your biggest heartache as idyllic? You become a recluse, lapse into Boo Radley mode. Why not. He didn't like the world he saw, and nor do you. And now, in your advanced years, sister is gone, you think: I’m going to tell my real story, of how the south let me down, how even though my father is flawed, I can still find a way back to love him. He’s a character from his time, fighting for life as he's always known it.

This is a flawed book, that certainly could have improved with an editor. But it's also a thought provoking book, a book that makes one feel things, think about who Scout and Atticus are, who you are, which is what makes literature great. So those of you ranting and raving at the disappointment of this different Atticus, aren't you feeling the same things Scout is feeling? The rants I've heard and read rival Scout's in the book. Good! Feel the feels! I do, and I'll be thinking about this book for some time. That and wondering what ever became of Boo...

Atticus Finch isn't perfect: get over it

You aren't, either. Today my copy of Go Set a Watchman arrived... finally (one whole day after release, the torture). I may never pre-order a book again. Then again, it could just be I shouldn't have pre-ordered this book. You see, I'm on a sort of internet black out, at least a bookish internet blackout and since I adore the bookish internet, this is torture. I am not reading reviews, discussions of reviews, spoilers, other's opinions, anything, until I've read it. I haven't read one word, yet, and if it's poorly written or horrible in some way, I will be sad, but still fascinated because we'll get a glimpse into the difference between a first 'finished' draft and what it became: the creative/editorial process at work!

I was attempting this, but I do scan the front page of the New York Times every day, so I know, I read, I processed. Really dumb, NYT, really dumb. You know what you did.

Ok, one spoiler coming. If you are somehow completely off the grind (and yet reading this.. hmmm), and don't know, the NYT has spoiled that Attitus may be a racist, in the headline of the review no less. Again: really dumb, NYT, really dumb. What do I think about the perfect father and lawyer, not being ever so perfect? A. He's a white man, in the south, in the 1950s... he's not unusual. B. He should also be in 70s by the time of Go Set a Watchmen. I'm sure we all know older people with views different than the current times, and we still love them. C. He's a human being, thus by definition not perfect and what is literature, but a device to hold a mirror to ourselves? To Kill a Mockingbird was a fairly unflinching look at a town at a period of time, why should this be different. If we ignore our past because we don't like it, we are dishonest. Frankly, it sort of makes me like him more because he still did the right thing.

So, I can't wait... and I hope you can't, either, and won't let something like an imperfection deter you. Plus, Scout all grown up and living in NYC!

BEA15

And so I return home after another wonderful BEA. Here is my two day haul: Day 1 (Thurs) 20150528_173958 SM

Day 2 (Fri): 20150529_225123 SM

AND: 20150529_233558 sm

All this certainly looks like less than it felt like when carrying it or rolling it down the street in this bag, which was completely stuffed, and another entire tote bag. 20150528_171049 sm

I will not be attending Book Con because of last year's experience. Being herded like cattle in a small, sweltering space just isn't for me. I hear some of the issues have been resolved, but I'll reserve judgement until this year's attendees weigh in. Wait.. maybe not. I'm not sure I want to hear about things I've missed. :) I'm already sad about missing Nick Offerman, and I've avoided knowing who else is there so I'm not sad...

More complete recap coming soon!

Girl on the Train

Gone Girl meets Rear Window? Sign me up. Sadly, this book was neither Gone Girl or Rear Window, but it was an entertaining romp. It's a nice beach read for when you don't need or want to think that hard because the ending is fairly obvious. Due to it's references to Gone Girl and a twist, I was looking for the twist the entire time. My favorite of my own twists was (spoiler alert!) that Rachel had a psychotic break, creating an entire second world for herself. There is only one couple, Tom and Scott are the same person. They basically are the same character, nice, good looking guy to the outside world, secret devil when pushed. Their houses are exactly the same layout therefore Rachel knows where everything is in Megan and Scott's. Come on! Of course Megan must be missing, because she can't compete with herself. Rachel consoles Scott, right. See what a golf club hole in the wall and being blamed for a marriage's demise can do to a person? I think this would be a more interesting book, but alas, it was not so.

I found it challenging to endure Rachel making one self-destructive choice after another. Get yourself together, girl! You have at least a friend and your mother who will help you. You had a bad life blow, things didn't work out the way you wanted, but are you going to let that ruin the rest of your life. How much lower can you go than getting fired, sleeping with a missing woman's husband and going to see the same missing woman's shrink? You never met her. How could involving yourself possibly be the sane choice. Spend your time in AA! But then we wouldn't have this novel would we? And an alcoholic stabbing someone with a cork screw... come on. 10 on the obvious meter.

Despite my description above, I liked this book. If Gone Girl had never existed, I may have loved it. But the gauntlet has been thrown and standards are higher now. I enjoyed my own imagining of what could be more than the actual book, however it was the book that inspired those dreams. So.. enjoy this at the beach, the plot will keep you interested.

O're the Ramparts We Watched

Today, on the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key writing the poem which would one day become the national anthem of the United States, I write my thoughts on the best book I've read this year: All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. This novel is the only place I have ever seen the word ramparts used aside from the national anthem, and it must be used 25 times over the course of the book. So many times that I finally looked up what it meant (how embarrassing to not know!). Rampart: noun 1. Fortification. a broad elevation or mound of earth raised as a fortification around a place and usually capped with a stone or earth parapet. such an elevation together with the parapet.

2. anything serving as a bulwark or defense.

Got it? No? Here are some ramparts right on the cover of the book: All The Light We Cannot See

Ramparts play an important role in the book, as one primary setting is a town in France nearly surrounded by water, definitely invaded by Germans, during WWII.

But I digress. I adored this book. I learned new things. I saw things through the perspective of others, including a blind girl, not a pun. And yet, the light we cannot see is not a reference to her blindness, that would be too obvious for such a multifaceted novel. I thought the novel was describing the German occupation of France from two perspectives: a French girl and a German boy. I thought that was a fantastic framework to use, one character from each side, one from each sex, children - so they "see" the war through less jaded eyes or perhaps become jaded as a result. The short chapters from each to really show the contrast in their lives. Each of them, in addition to being children, has lost at least one parent, so they are less protected than other children How terrifying that must of been (and yet Marie will tell us she is not brave, she gets up and lives her life, as she must). The light they cannot see is the good in others, the life of a child who does not grow up terrified by war? Oh the many perspectives on the same historical events, making one think of all the other untold stories we will never know. Fantastic.

Then I heard the author speak on the novel. The above wasn't what he set out to write. No, he was writing about the use of radios in the war, the transmissions the light we don't see (I think). The children were the framework to tell that story. And I thought how people look at the same thing in so many different ways To me, the radio was a minor character, not the point, to the author, something else. It's his work, perhaps he should drive the meaning, but I've learned that what we perceive is how we view reality. So for me, it's about these two characters and their perspective of the war. And I'm not wrong, and I feel I've gained from reading it and thinking about the story long after (especially the occasional end of chapter shocker which felt like it cut me).

Minor Spoiler alert The only part I that was a bit much for me was the diamond story, which would vanish for long segments of the book. Let's say the diamond ends up in the ocean. I could almost hear Celone Dion singing my heart will go on and Marie whispering that Werner saved her, looking back on it from 2014. No 'you jump, I jump', but still.

Read this book immediately. The story, the writing, the detail, you will not regret it.

So I'm Back to the Blog

I've been away lo these many months, but I do want to get back to blogging. I've still be writing, journaling, and more. The need to put something out there publicly, to drive something to be 'published' is strong. I'm trying to decide if I want to commit to writing something here every single day (come on, I must have at least one thought worth sharing every day.. or at least I hope I do) or a few times a week, but perhaps for longer or maybe both. hmm.... I recently read Decisive by the Heath Brothers, they recommend expanding ones options. Try not to get into this OR that. Could it be this AND that? So for this blog, does it matter which thing I commit to doing, as long as I commit to something? So yeah, my goal is three longer (and by longer I mean 500 words, not dissertations) blog posts per week, but at least a quip let's say 5 times a week. It's good to have goals. It's good to stretch..