A Book of Many Wordy Pages

“We don’t need lists of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts; we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.”
— Philip Pullman

I’d really like to give this book a glowing review because so many people profess to have read it and loved it, calling it witty, satirical, poignant, charming, and delightful fun.  But I can’t, because it was none of those things to me.  It took me a month to slog through three hundred pages.  I couldn’t drum up any emotion for the main character who for some reason or other for me did not ring true.   I guess I really don’t care what New York was like in the 1930’s and the story never seemed to be going anywhere.  Random people kept popping in and out of her life or disappearing altogether never to be heard from again. It was like reading someones boring journal entries and finally getting to the end and thinking, really?  That’s it?

I am definitely in the minority here, and was probably just in a bad mood for a month, so don’t let this deter you from reading other reviews and the book itself.  It would be a very colorless reading world if we weren’t all inspired by different things.

Take A Deep Breath and Keep on Reading

Yesterday was a day for reading.  At least that’s the decision I came to around four o’clock in the afternoon when I realized I had done nothing else all day.  By that time there was really no point in starting something new, and I felt I might as well just carry on.  So I did.

I’m not saying Stephanie Plum has taken over my life or that I will die miserable and unfulfilled if I never meet a real life friend like Lula.  I will say I’m nearing the end of Four to Score by Janet Evanovitch. 

(The mystery of whether or not Stephanie and Joe Morelli will at last do what they’ve been wanting to do for three and a half books is finally concluded satisfactorily – thank God for putting me out of my misery on that ‘score’.) (But I digress.) (And that wasn’t really a spoiler, was it?  I mean, it’s not like you couldn’t see it coming from the beginning.)

Anyway, although by all outward appearances it would seem I’ve been sitting on my ass doing absolutely nothing for a very long time, here’s the thing.  I’m actively contributing to the authors happiness by purchasing her books.  One after the other.  Compulsively, with little debate and minimum hesitation.  Because when I finish one book I barely take a breath, never mind a deep one, before downloading the next one and starting again.  This is getting pricey, at eleven and some dollars a pop.  So I’ve exercised incredible self-discipline today by doing a lot of other stuff that didn’t get done yesterday and leaving my kindle untouched and plugged in to give it a much deserved rest and some time to rejuvenate.

I’m here to tell you reading is a LOT more satisfying and fun than doing laundry.  But you probably already knew that.

Living alone means never having to say you’re sorry for the total mess you’ve made of your house.  Good thing no one has comes to visit me unexpectedly.  If that happens and I don’t answer the bell it might mean I’m not at home,  but it’s much more likely I’m pretending to be out rather than taking the risk of answering the door and then dying of embarrassment due to the state of myself and my surroundings.

Things are all straightened around today, neat and organized. I’ve showered and put on make up and fixed my hair.  I can delude myself again for a while that I’m not a total slob, just a partial part-time one.  I have a couple of errands to run which will involve actually leaving the house.  And then (finally!)  I can get back to my books.   I can indulge myself in the incredible luxury of having the time to sit and read my heart out.  I’ve been completely spoiled this summer when it comes to that, and I’m enjoying every sweet reading minute of it.

Compositions Circa 1928 (Part One)

I have a scribbler that belonged to my mother in 1928 in which she wrote stories for English Composition.  She would have been eleven years old.  They are done with a fountain pen, or with a pencil, or sometimes with a combination of both.  The pencil lead broke, the inkwell went dry – who knows.  The penmanship is sometimes exquisite, and sometimes a hurriedly scrawled mess with a careless spelling mistake or two.  I think these must have been assigned subjects, because some of them are less enthusiastically done than others.  No matter.   I’m just thrilled to be able to get a small glimpse of the child my mother used to be.

A Tramp In The Woods

“This is a very good year for nuts, isn’t it Marguerite?”  I asked one fine October morning.  “Let’s go to the bush after Saturday’s work is done.”  This was agreed to at once.

The Saturday’s work was done in a few hours.  And away we went after making up a small lunch.

The leaves were very pretty.  “If we would stand still or even sit here for awhile we would be covered in leaves,” I happened to say.  “Indeed we would”, said Marguerite.

We saw very many small animals and at last caught a small white rabiit that was lame.  It was a very nice pet.  After lunch we visited the Maple Syrup Camp, an old cave, and an owl’s home.

At last we were on our way home with the rabbit.  We were all as hungry as bears.  But as happy as larks.

*****

A Tramp Coming To Our Home

One fine summer afternoon mother asked me to stay at home while she went to town.  I said I would.  As my favourite pastime was reading, I sat behind the table and read a very interesting book called “Edna’s Escape”.  In a little while I heard a rap at the door.  It made me shiver for I had been reading about the awful time Edna had been having.  All I could do was to go to the door and this I dreaded.  But at last I gained courage and went.

There in front of me was an ugly tramp.  Mother often said that tramps are dangerous.  I made up my mind to take no chances.  “Well my girl, you are a regular housekeeper.  What are you going to do when you are big?” the tramp began.

“Well I don’t think that’s for me to tell”  I said.  The tramp frowned at me.  “But what do you want?” I said.

“A match, a piece of bread, and any other things you have”, said the tramp.  “What do you want with all these things?”  said I.  “I want the match to light my pipe, and the bread to eat, of course”  “But where is your pipe?” I said.  The tramp turned and walked to the other side of the door and then he said “Get me the bread.  Then I will tell.”  I went and got a loaf of bread.  He smacked his lips and said “Give it to me.”  I gave it to him.  He turned around very quickly and said as he went away “I’ve got the bread now.  I’ll come back for the matches another day.”  He then disappeared down the lane.

I thought he had played a good trick on me.  I never saw him again, nor he never came back for his matches.

Margaret Elaine Scott, 1928.

My Winter Reading List

You might think that the queen of lists would have a winter reading list, but the truth is I have never made a list of things I want to read based on what season it happens to be. In fact, I don’t even understand the concept. Should there be hot books for summer and cool books for winter? Maybe some warm fuzzy ones for December and refreshing snappy biting page turners for the beach in July?

At the moment I’m having recurring freak outs because I don’t have a charger cord for my Kindle. It’s on order and it’s been shipped, but the e.t.a. is between the 22nd and 24th of December! My Kindle can’t hold a charge for that long! Even with the wireless turned off! Especially since I can’t just turn it off and stop using it even though living in fear of it powering out is making me a bit crazy.

Of course there are real books and my phone has the Kindle App and I could read things on my lap top, but I don’t want to. I want a fully charged Kindle and I want it NOW. Poor me.

Okay, sorry, that was way off topic. But since I don’t get seasonal reading lists, that seemed to be at least vaguely related. Currently I’m reading Alan Bradley’s “I Am Half Sick of Shadows”. I love Flavia de Luce from “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”, “The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag”, and “A Red Herring Without Mustard” and this latest one is yet another of her mystery/adventures.

So there you go. I talked about reading and I made a sort of list. And it’s definitely winter out there. I think that’s all the bases covered for this go round.

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My Top 3 Hobbies

Just for fun I looked up a list of possible hobbies to see what I’ve been missing. A lot, apparently. There’s several of them that I find hard to equate with pleasure and personal fulfillment – like hula-hooping, cigar and pipe smoking, cloud watching, ghost hunting, dumpster diving and the lighting of matches. I’ve known enthusiasts in things like garage saleing, scrap-booking, going to movies, watching tv, sleeping, sun tanning and relaxing. Yep, all those made the hobby list and I have to admit I’ve done every single one of them without ever realizing there was a danger of them becoming obsessive habits.

Even though I lean less towards collecting and more towards creative and artistic types of activities, the things I’ve tried that never really caught on or lasted for long are candle making, needlepoint, cross stitching, embroidery, sewing in general, macrame, gardening, cooking, and anything that involves spending a lot of time outdoors being sporty. I used to do a lot of knitting and crocheting but now it makes my shoulders ache – never mind that there’s a lot of weird things all over the place that I made and now don’t know what exactly I should do with them. It seems like such a waste to throw them out after all that misguided effort. I used to do a lot of tole painting, and still enjoy it, but it’s hard to find the time for it.

I like jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, scrabble, computer games, card games, and games like Trivial Pursuit, as long as the people I’m playing with are as stupid and clueless as I am.

And FINALLY, for my top three which you were thinking I’d never get around to, but here they are, anti-climactic as all get out – reading, creative writing and blogging. Blogging being simply another form of creative writing if I’m having a good day, otherwise it’s just a lot of whining and complaining or complete nonsense. Sorry to say, lighting matches came in a distant fourth.

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Book Recommendation

I’m sure not EVERYONE will find this one funny, and I don’t recommend that you read it to your kids. But it’s a lovely little stress reliever for every parent who has been driven up the wall by those endless bedtime routines.

I’ve got it on my kindle, so I’m missing these lovely illustrations.

I forget how much I paid for the version without pictures, but the price is well worth it either way.

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Fiction Vs Nonfiction

Fiction please. Non-fiction can be pretty fictional too if the facts come straight out of the author’s biased and opinionated little head.

I’d rather read a story based on fact than the other way around. Which would be facts based on stories or stats or evidence. Or the truth, or the only way to do something right, according to some expert know-it-all.

Give me keen and insightful observations, and let me figure the rest out on my own.

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The Beauty of E-Books

Amazon Kindle 2 Wireless eBook Reader

I’ve had my kindle since last Christmas, and the current count for my downloaded books is a whopping 82. Never in a million years would I have devoured that many titles in a year without it.

I love the convenience of carrying it with me anywhere and having immediate access to such an incredible selection of reading material. All the features of shopping at Amazon are right there, including reviews and recommendations. Obviously I’ve made good use of them.

Reading this way hasn’t replaced my love of picking up an actual book at all, just enhanced it. I still love the feel of a real book in my hands and glossy book jackets and page flipping and the awful habit of scribbling notes in the margins and handing over a copy to a friend.

But the kindle is my own little personal portable library zipped up in a padded cover. It never loses my page or misplaces a favourite title. The page flip is now a button click – different, but no less effective.

It’s hard for me to imagine that e-books will ever completely replace the real thing, but they’re certainly going to save a lot of trees. And they’ve already made my hard copies seem somehow more rare and even more precious to own.

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Dreaming About No Job At All

My dream job would be to sit at home, read books, play on the computer and write incredibly interesting stories all day long, getting paid millions of dollars every two weeks for doing any or all of those things.

Unfortunately I can’t find this position advertised anywhere and fear that right now no one is hiring.

A dream job I imagine should involve doing something you’re good at and enjoy, so my second choice would be to become a national frame buyer for our optical department. Because whoever is doing it now is a flaming moron. I might also turn out to be a moron at it, but certainly NOT a flaming one.

If we had some awesomely incredible frames on our frame bars perhaps I would stop inwardly cringing whenever someone asks me for help choosing eyewear. Or maybe it’s just a conditioned response and there’s no cure for it, I don’t know.

I am so excited to be taking 6 weeks off (three more working days to go!) so that I can start collecting early CPP. It’s just one more little baby step towards retirement which I never thought I would long for, but there it is. This six weeks will be a mini preview of things to come.

Well! Is that not my dream job coming true? Except for the millions of dollars part, which I suppose I could get by without if there’s no way around it. I want to write, even though I may be a flaming moron at that. As long as no one tells me, ignorance is bliss, and I’ll keep blathering away. And to have the time to read and read and read – heaven on earth.

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What Keeps Me Up at Night?

 

Sleeping

Sleeping (Photo credit: soylentgreen23)

Sometimes a book I can’t put down, or a computer or DS game I’m playing, or a painting or some other project that’s just this close to being finished. And now of course this Plinky site with all its damned compelling questions!Other than that, nothing really, I’m happy to say. I can sleep through thunder storms and ringing phones and sirens that wail. Barking dogs, midnight snacking husbands, wild parties on our street, or maybe even in our house, for all I know. I am little Miss Oblivious with a head full of nothing.

When I had babies one after the other (they were eighteen months apart in age) there was a long stretch of years where eight hours of uninterrupted sleep was a rare luxury. Then when they hit their teens I don’t know how they could have survived without such a sleep deprived worry wart for a mother.

So now maybe I’m making up for those lost nights when slumberland eluded me. I experience a wildly superior quality state of dormancy, where nothing short of the house catching fire can disturb me.

Or I’m going deaf. That’s also a possibility.

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