Saturday, December 29, 2012
I download books like crazy. I'm going to read them all. Somehow. Inhale them maybe.
Can you read too much? Does anyone know? Like, do you ever hear about that happening to someone that someone you know knows?
I don't. But there are so many health studies these days. Surely, there exists at least one on the benefits or cautions of consuming stories.
Some people read a book a day. I need at least a day-and-a-half. Let's do the math. Three-hundred-sixty-five books a year versus two-hundred-forty-three. Two-hundred-forty-three books in 2013 sounds really hopeful. Perhaps, too hopeful.
I call 2012 a good year. And intend on enjoying its last few days.
Monday, December 24, 2012
It snowed last night. But today I am determined to see The Hobbit. I am not sure my determination is necessary. It's just another movie, right. And now it's just another movie adaptation of one of those books by Tolkien. Who? Right? But it's smashing box office records. Well, we are going to the first show and that means the snow's not going to melt by itself so we are going to need to do some shoveling.
We get downtown and the streets are clear. The parking is easy. We've beat the rush of last minute shoppers. We know the movie has at least 15 minutes of previews that I could care less about, so we don't bother getting there on time. All we want is to get some popcorn and be in our seats before the movie starts. Check. Check.
OMG! It has me from the first moment. Jackson is doing for The Hobbit what he did for The Lord of the Rings, except for maybe he's doing it even better. He starts with the dwarves and their history. It's awesome. I know that's not a very specific description but the cinematography, sets, and costumes are breathtaking. Get a load of the dwarf king's beard get-up.
Then he shuffles us back and forth in time between Bilbo's parties--the last one he has in The Shire for his birthday and the one that he didn't plan. The dwarfs start piling in and messing up his tidy hobbit hole and it just gets better from there.
English actor, Martin Freeman is hitting all the right notes. He's meek and assertive, outraged and clever, thoughtful and sensitive. He doesn't like the dwarves showing up and eating his food, and they aren't so sure they like him for their burglar, but by the end of The Hobbit's first installment, the group of fourteen is cohesive and almost everyone has had a chance to be a hero.
When The Ring and Gollum appear on screen for the first time, I want to stand up and clap. But no one else is jumping out of their seats so I restrain myself and manage with tapping my finger pads together. I have a big huge grin on my face. Gollum's first appearance in The Hobbit surpasses his debut in The Lord of the Rings and The Ring, well, it's The Ring.
When the credits start rolling I am frozen in my seat. I think it's better than The Lord of the Rings. I am so glad that my determination got me here, to the theater, on Christmas Eve Day. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Just like I'm supposed to. I can't resist chatting up other movie goers in the lobby.
Wasn't it great? Yeah. Everyone agrees, it is awesome.
Friday, December 21, 2012
My Kindle shelves are so loaded with Kindle Swag they sag. Good thing there are no repercussions—the bloat of brownies or cotton-mouth from too much rum. Blessed reading.
Whenever I finish one book, I get to begin the ritual again. Flip through the titles ... which one?
I settle on Lethe by A. Sparrow. Why? The first time I ever heard about Lethe, the River of Forgetfulness, from which the dead drink to forget their earthly lives so that they may reincarnate I was fascinated. The after life intrigues me. What happens?
It feels like there has to be more to this existence than what we see, know in this current one. But who knows. I do love good reads that explore the possibilities.
First few chapters of Lethe have me hooked ...
Monday, December 17, 2012
Still reading Become (Desolation #1) by Ali Cross. About three-fourths of the way through. Really interesting. Cross is mixing it up. Some of the things I like a lot. A few of them aren't really my cup of tea. Weaving existing legend, mythology into contemporary stories is tricky. I guess the one thing I really wish is that Desolation's father would be Loki OR Lucifer because using both and throwing in Odin makes me feel pulled in different directions. But I think this might just be a BAH! writers quibble. Writers. We have them.
What I love is the edginess and riskiness of the story. I like the light and dark within one character. I won't dwell on that since it is a theme in my own work.
There are huge seismic shifts in scenes between high school football games and spiritual battles of mythic proportions.
I have fallen in love with Miri of the bright eyes.
At lunch, Miri pulled me and Michael toward the back of school, and through the cemetery with its ancient stones and memories. "I like to eat here--more privacy."
"Yeah, cuz who doesn't like to eat with the dead, right?
Miri just shrugged. "So I'm a little weird, sue me."
Thursday, December 13, 2012
I feed my free kindle addiction, making quite a haul in the past few days. I settle on reading Become (Desolation, #1) by Ali Cross. Because I like the idea of the devil's daughters and used to clump around in a pair of Doc Martens myself. That was the crazy year I shaved my head.
Desolation--what a name--is fighting a war inside herself. And something bad just happened to Lucy, one of her few friends. There's a lot of wealth, big houses, fancy cars, and shopping. But you expect the devil's daughter to have such perks.
The cover is really cool. Like a black angel surrendering to a lightening storm.
I think it's going to be a dark one.
Monday, December 10, 2012
UnEnchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale) by Chanda Hahn, what a fun, clever read. When I become a fan of a story there is always that moment when the writer hooks me. In UnEnchanted it is at the red dress. Everything about that scene is the perfect melding of fairytale and real world. And right before we get there, I love this line:
To Sara, vintage meant cheaper than the mall and one step up from a thrift store.
Not that there aren’t some other great moments and lines before then. Two:
Thankfully, he didn’t try to start any more conversations with her. Maybe it was because Mina kept glaring at him and holding up her textbook like it was the Great Wall of China.
“I’m so sorry!” Ming began pulling out of the dented holder and flung them at Brody. She was so distressed that she accidentally pulled the casing off of the napkin holder, which flew across the floor and spun to a stop by a wide-eyed Mrs. Wong.
Perfect for readers who love fairytales carried forward into the present day with a little bit of humor, an endearing main character, and a clever plot.
Friday, December 7, 2012
I said I was going to read something extra-super-duper-extremely lite and fluffy next. I pick up UnEnchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale) by Chanda Hahn. It has a really cool cover--a cropped shot of a girl in a hooded red cape--and it's FREE on my kindle. I am immediately taken with Mina. She is clumsy, avoids the spotlight, and doesn't have a cell phone.
I am about half-way through the book. Hahn's writing style is easy to read. She tells the story with fun details. Charlie's cereal mash-up ritual being one of them. He's Mina's little brother. And when Mina confides in her best friend, tech-savvy Nan, she has to make sure she covers all the bases--texting, twitter, websites, etc. Mina's secret is not to show up on any of these media.
The premise is a good one. Fairy tales crossing over into the real one is a favorite of mine. I am enjoying this book. It's not busting my brain, and it's making me smile.
Monday, December 3, 2012
I finally finish reading The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I feel like I have run a marathon up the highest mountain; endured sleeting rain in freezing cold temperatures wrapped in nothing but a measly scarf; lived on twigs, gruel, and piss for nine months and survived it all. I want some medal.
The Autumn of the Patriarch is Gabo's third masterpiece...if you are counting Leaf Storm as one, which I am, and One Hundred Years of Solitude as two, which everyone else is (I have't read it yet).
It is an awesome and prodigious work. I see four layers in the story.
1. At its most basic, the story is a psychedelic oozing of mixed consciousness', a seething mass of point of view violations.
2. Next, it is like the most brain-bursting collection of metaphors, images, phrasing, words, and writing that I have ever attempted to digest. Often it left me staring at the ceiling, or out the window, or just plain dazed.
3. Then, there is the detailed riveting stomach-churning rubber-necking timeless classic essential portrait of the dictator. When I finish reading, I think...Gabo has captured the inner workings of every single dictator who as ever lived, still lives, is in diapers, and is yet to be born.
4. And the hard reading of the sentences that go on forever, and there is no respite, and you think just the onslaught of all the words is going to make you go crazy which makes the structure of the novel as inaccessible and inscrutable as the psyche of the subject itself.
I am left with memories of that patriarch wearing the denim uniform without insignia and the gold spur on the left heel, who is always dragging his feet through the government house full of chickens and cows to the latrines where he and no one else writes on the the toilets long live the general, long live the stud who after selling a sea, sought in native science the only thing that really interested him which was to discover some masterful hair-restorer for his incipient baldness whose life had been seen in the premonitory waters of basins by his mother of mine Bendicion Alvarado of my heart, he was as deaf as a post not only because I would ask him about one thing and he would answer about another but also that it grieved him that the birds were not singing when in fact it was difficult to breathe with that uproar of birds which was like walking through the jungle at dawn and they created newspapers and tv shows for him just the way that he liked them and every night he slept in his office behind three bolts, three locks, and three bars which is where they finally found him stretched out on the floor, face down, his right arm bent under his head as a pillow where he had realized at the moment of his death his incapacity for love in the enigma of the palm of his mute hands and in the invisible code of the cards and he had tried to compensate for that infamous fate with the burning cultivation of the solitary vice of power.
And FINALLY, a period. That is kind of how you start to feel, and by the end of the book, you are gasping, yearning, craving, needing, dying for that little dot.
Brilliant. But not light. Very heavy.
I am going to indulge in something extra-super-duper-extremely lite and fluffy for my next read.
Thank you Gabo, wherever you are, for giving up the law. You and Gaugin.