Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Salon: Meh

I finally finished Netherland by Joseph O'Neill this week.

I say finally because reading this book was agony for me. Really. I had to force myself to keep reading. Every page. All the way to the end.

I was told it got better.

It didn't get better.


I've tried and tried to figure it out. I know I have read fifty reviews of this book and every one was a rave.

What am I missing?

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever read a book you felt indifferent about, a book everyone else was raving about?

Photo Credit: Яick Harris

Saturday, August 22, 2009

TSS: The Perfect World of a Book Nerd

As I was driving home from WalMart, I saw a bumper sticker on the van ahead of me. What? Did it say Deer Park Books? Could it be an advertisement for a bookstore? And on the bumper of a vehicle?

No, of course, it said Deer Park Loons, an advertisement for a sports team for whom one of the younger occupants of the car apparently played.

Ah, but this kicked off my brain's gears and sprockets. If only...if only books were such an important part of the world that people had bumper stickers about them....

In my perfect world, it wouldn't be the president's wife who was a librarian; it would be the president.

People would be so busy reading that they would not have time to commit crimes. Police stations and jails and prisons would all be converted into libraries.

People would get tattoos of their favorite books.

A statue to our town's most famous author, Bill Crider, a person who can create brilliant dialogue and clever characters, would be erected in place of the statue to our town's most famous athlete, Nolan Ryan, a nice person who apparently was very good at throwing things.

Every workplace would have a thirty minute paid reading time during the work day.

People would go on vacation to spots with great bookstores.

Conversations around the water cooler would center on the latest and best books.

Harper and Hemingway would become common names for new babies.

Fun weekend events would be to go to book festivals and author signings.

As people became more and more well read, they would decide to ban all wars. Instead, they would have worldwide book discussion groups. When a conflict would arise, people would meet together and decide on a book to read and discuss instead of fighting.

Ahhh, my perfect world.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Climbing Back into My Cage

Don't get me wrong. I love my cage. It's enormous. I can do all the things I love in the cage, reading, singing, playing guitar, my puppets, even cooking.

But it is still a cage.

There is nothing like flying free.

I have been flying free this summer.

My favorite parts: My son's wedding. Beautiful. Utah. Wow. Reading two chapter books in Spanish. I feel so proud. Web 2.0 class online. Lots of new out there. My writing class. Still trying to process all I learned. Going to Galveston, twice. Fun. Walking at the track every day. Free therapy for body and brain. And, gee whiz, reading every day, all day sometimes. Happy day!

I opened the door of my library last week and Houdini, the old blue parakeet, was out of his cage. My library is big, enormous really, with very tall ceilings. But what was Houdini doing? Sitting there, on top of his cage. He'd been out a while and he was ready to have me put him back in his cage. He was ready to get back in there, with his parakeet buds and his food and water and his toys.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Here are some of the books I've read this summer: Columbine. Home. The Lonely American. The Thing Around Your Neck. Still Alice. Hana's Suitcase.

Bleak, all.

It was only after I started reading the essays in Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction that I realized how dark my reading has been this summer. I read essays on a school shooting, alcoholic parents, a mother who didn't want her child...dark, dark, dark.

Does everything good have to be sad?

Here, then, is my question: What can I read that is good, really really good, well written, with sparkling purposeful characters leading generous lives? Ideas?

I'm not asking for recommendations for throwaway novels, summer reads. I'm seeking books that are Must-Reads.

Are they out there? Any thoughts?

Not sappy happy. Literate happy.

I've thought and thought and I've come up with almost nothing. Tom Sawyer. Anne of Green Gables, maybe.

Anything else?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Library Addicti...excuse me...Habits Meme

Library Habits Meme:

(1) If you don’t frequent your local library, why not?

I frequent. Frequently.

(2) If you do visit the library, how often do you go?

Daily, at times.

(3) Do you have a favorite section that you always head to first, or do you just randomly peruse the shelves?

The checkout desk. I'm picking up books I'd placed on hold.

I always love to look through New Books, too.

(4) How many books are you allowed to check out at one time? Do you take advantage of this?

No limit. I wouldn't say I take advantage of this, but I've been known to bring my little red wagon along with me.

I've heard talk the powers that be are considering setting a limit due to a "certain patron." No names, please.

(5) How long are you allowed to have the books checked out?

Two lovely weeks.

(6) How many times are you allowed to renew your check-outs, if at all?

Two times for a total of six weeks.

(7) What do you love best about your particular library?

Beautiful mural on front. The books. And the books.

(8) What is one thing you wish your library did differently?

Open a coffee shop. Then I would never have to leave.

(9) Do you request your books via an online catalogue, or through the librarian at your branch?


10) Have you ever chosen a book on impulse (from the online catalogue OR the shelves) and had it turn out to be totally amazing? If so, what book was it, and why did you love it?

Often. I remember Material World. I didn't want to turn it back in. didn't ask my favorite question....How many library cards do I have? Let's county, of course...two neighboring counties...and five city libraries...How many is that? Well, let's just say that I have more library cards than credit cards and leave it at that.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happiness Study

I joined a happiness study this week.

Three times a day, I get a message on my iPhone.

I click to the website. I answer about five questions. How am I feeling right now? Am I alone or with others? Am I interacting? What am I doing? Do I have to do what I'm doing? Do I want to do what I am doing?

Almost every time I get buzzed, I am reading. I read in the morning. I read in the afternoon. I read in the evening. And reading always makes me happy.

Will I be distorting the results? Will the scientists conclude that people are reading more than ever before? Will they announce that reading is one of the keys to happiness? :-)