Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Within Minutes I Shall Need a Magic Fairy

Fifteen minutes till National Novel Writing Month begins. Am I staying up to wait for it? Heck no! I'm just stuck, here, waiting for my incorrigible teenage brat (usually, I speak of him in glowing terms but, darn it, I'm tired) to shut down his blankety-blank computer. He never goes to bed, ergo, I retire much later than desired - and I'm a night-owl, babes.

I guess this means I can write a few words before I crash, though. Think positive, think positive, think positive. This is not a new mantra for me, but it is definitely needed at the moment.

Get a load of the adorable fairy princess at left! Is she a doll or what? I sat on the porch and took pictures of some of the kiddies, tonight - something I've never done, before, as I am very Scroogy about Halloween. It's my mother's fault; but, we won't go there. However, the husband is away and the teenager is a chatty sort. He wanted company, so I sat there getting munched by mosquitoes, enjoying the parade of kids, snapping photos and conversing with my youngest.

Here's what really surprised me: the children loved being photographed. I wasn't sure how youngsters would react to an insane, fat, middle-aged woman blinding them with her flash, but only one little girl said, "Oh, geez, you blinded me." In those words. Funny kid, eh? Some of the kiddies even posed. Total coolness.

In other news . . . I read maybe 2 pages of The Thirteenth Tale, today. Pah. Pitiful. I hope I'll manage to finish an entire novel before December, but am not banking on it.

And, the funny of the day: My eldest rang me to describe one of his newest recipes (we are from the Wing It School when it comes to cooking technique). During his high school years we absolutely, utterly did not get along. He liked pushing the boundaries; I like control. The last 2 years have been great, though, as Daniel has mellowed and . . . well, so have I. So, eldest son said, "We've got to have more conversations. It's nice, now that we get along." I said, "Yeah, but could we converse in a month? 'Cause I've got this writing thing--"

My husband thought that was very, very funny.

Do pardon me if I can't find the time to visit other blogs much--or at all--this month.

Waving a handkerchief (okay, a tissue), putting on my writing fingers, wishing someone would send in an army of Chronic Disorganization Conquerors (preferably not on horseback). And, with two minutes to go, I believe I have a word processing file to open very soon!!! Nighty-night, all!!!

More Later . . .

Because I just realized the weather is absolutely perfect and that means we'll probably have about 200 kids drop by, I've got to make a candy run. Just wanted to mention that I have already changed the name of my happy moments blog from Simple Things to Raison D'Etre (I'll fix the capitalization faux pas, later) because there was another simple things blog linked up with Three Beautiful Things and I don't want to confuse people, if I do end up getting my blog linked to TBT.

Okay, that's all. More later. Much to do, much to do!

Busy Bookfool

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Counting Down

64 days till the beginning of the
Chunkster Challenge
: to begin Jan 1, 2007
Are you piling up your fat books and/or writing lists to take to your library?
More details, as the date crawls closer.

3 days till the beginning of National Novel Writing Month.
Cybele at NaNoWriMo helped me put the little icon in my column.
I'm eternally grateful.
I have no idea what I'm going to write.

Finished: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See - loved it. Don't feel like writing a review because I'm having a decompression day after many weeks of exhausting Motherly Balancing Act, as Son #2 bounced from swim practice to band practice to school to swim meet to football game to band contest. Yesterday was the state swim meet in Laurel. See my Simple Things entry here for pics and happy moments

Up next: The Thirteenth Tale . . . if it grabs me.
Update: It seems to have reached out and sucked me in, although I'm not far into the book.

Still working on: No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty

Shouldn't have bought, but did anyway: Poison Study by Maria Snyder

Music I really want to get my hands on: Every song from the soundtrack of the wonderful Australian movie The Dish
Ferry Cross the Mersey by Gerry and the Pacemakers (till recently, I admit to not knowing the title - this is true of a lot of 60's music I love)

Hope to do soon: a book meme or two - loving those SciFiChick, Sassymonkey, and Andi have added to their blogs, recently.

Wishing I had: more time and Hugh Laurie in the house to entertain me.

Happy about: the fact that House, M.D. returns this week - don't let the time slot change screw you up (in addition to the time change, which I admit really mucked up my day as I lost track of time after forgetting to change all but one clock - oops).

Unhappy about: days that will now end sooner (not a morning person).

Can't wait: to grown another inch taller. Oh, darn, that's not going to happen, so I can't wait to get started on NaNoWriMo.

Wondering: How does changing to beta effect the links and such? Would it screw things royally? I'm tired of my background and ready for change, although I admit that now may be bad timing.

Duct-taping my loose fingers, now. They're getting carried away.

Read Happy.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More Oxford Coolness

I've had a busy, busy day of cleaning, dancing to "Chain of Fools", singing loudly with Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding, Louis Armstrong and Jars of Clay while bagging up old clothing. Music makes things so much more pleasant. Because I've been a bum, for a long time (I cry fatigue) and have a monster tidying job to perform before beginning NaNoWriMo, next week, please pardon me if I become scarce in both comments and blog posts!

Onward . . . At right is a blank leather journal that hubby noticed, perched open in the window of a store in Oxford, Mississipi's town square. We all thought it was totally appealing. Who wouldn't want to journal in something so elegantly personalized? "The Life and Times of Nancy the Bookfool." Ha.

Also wasting my time, today: Shelfari. I so do not understand what is so appealing about this website. Maybe it's the idea that you can find out who has many of the same titles as those on your own shelves or that it's possible to view the books your friends own, compare thoughts, send notes, read comments. I just love it. Thanks to Heather for pointing out Shelfari!

At left, a photo taken inside Bottletree Bakery in Oxford, an inexpensive bakery with absolutely the most amazing, mouthwatering food and, apparently, no website. I'm not a big fan of soup, but their soups are to die for. And, the decor is funky. I could spend hours just looking at the walls, photographing the people who come and go, soaking in the atmosphere. Bottletree Bakery is a place to pause and smell the coffee (and drink the cider, sip the soup, munch the scone, etc.) if you're ever in Oxford.

Trip over here to see some terrific photos of Oxford by some chick who probably makes money off her photos.

Still reading: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Just walked in my door: Everywhere That Mary Went by Lisa Scottoline (I've read this one; my friend Eileen rescued me and sent her copy because I want to reread but haven't located my own, an earlier printing - I discovered Lisa Scottoline when she was on her second book - and my stupid library doesn't carry this title).

Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates (with some totally fun bookmarks and a lovely note tucked inside, from one of my extremely cool book group and blogging friends!!)

Next up: A bath. Oh, you thought I was going to mention a book title, right? Gotcha. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield is next on the agenda.

And, someday I'm really going to get back to that book about King Arthur, honest.

Must read, must read, must read . . .

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New Blog!

Because I want to continue the practice of deliberately noticing and recording the moments that make my day wonderful but prefer that this remain primarily a book and babble blog, I've created another blog called Simple Things. Simple Things is aligned with Bookfoolery & Babble, so you can locate it at any time by viewing my profile. My photo blogs are not aligned with the Bookfool moniker for a reason that I refuse to admit to myself - okay, it's so I can babble freely on my Bookfool blog without sharing my rambles with relatives who might wrinkle their brows and huff on holidays.

I plan to continue doing Wahoo! Wednesdays whenever possible. However, I've been online too much, today, so I've got to go work on cleaning house in preparation for the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, next week. Can't have things falling all over the place when I need to be concentrating, right?

Currently reading: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Still think I'll get back to, someday: The Once and Future King (are you saying, "Yeah, right!"?)

Where the photo above was snapped: Seward, Alaska (very cool place - I want to go back)

Have not seen for over two months: My missing Nabokov book!!!

The Ghosts of Cape May by Craig McManus

The Ghosts of Cape May is a nonfiction book describing the ghosts, spirits, and residual energy lingering in a number of Bed and Breakfasts in Cape May, New Jersey. Author Craig McManus claims to be both a psychic and medium (who channels ghosts or spirits, allowing them to "speak" using his vocal chords) as well as a paranormal investigator. As such, he has visited many of the "haunted" homes in Cape May to determine whether they were, in fact, haunted and, if so, by whom. The ghosts or spirits will often give him names.

And, then they sell him great land in Florida. Kidding, just kidding.

I'd call this a fun and educational book on the paranormal. Is it a lot of hooey? Well, you'd have to read and determine that for yourself. McManus considers this first book of his experiences with Cape May hauntings (a second has just been released) a primer in the paranormal. To that end, he has taken the time to expound upon the differences between ghosts (trapped in the ghost realm on earth) and spirits (who have gone on and will return to help guide ghosts to the next world, or sometimes to aid humans). There's even a glossary of paranormal terms in the back.

And, there are apparently plenty of noisy ghosts banging around in Cape May; the owners themselves are often eager to find answers to what is causing those mysterious footfalls or banging noises when nobody else is home.

McManus doesn't always have the answers. He records interviews with the management and staff of the places he visits, often capturing additional voices on tape (ghostly voices, that is; the reasoning behind ghostly voices on tape is explained). He takes photographs and sometimes captures "orbs" but is, himself, a bit skeptical that all orbs indicate paranormal activity as he knows that blobs of light can be indicative of reflection on a lens, as opposed to visual proof of energy coming from a non-human presence. He also verifies the names he's "given" by ghosts with historians. A ghost named Jonas worries about the boiler in a hotel that's being renovated. McManus can see him and describe his looks; he hears Jonas saying, "Don't hurt Schmitty". When a flashlight on the boiler shows that the boiler was made by a company with the name Schmidt and McManus is told the boiler is to be cut up and used as decoration in the new nightclub, things come together. Later, he recognizes the ghost when he sees a photo of Jonas.

There are some skeptics scattered throughout the pages. A wife hears noises and her husband shrugs and says they're nothing. McManus occasionally gets information from the ghosts and then can't verify it historically. But, it's surprising just how many little factoids he's able to confirm. He not only finds ghosts, he dispels myths. Some of the ghost stories he goes to investigate do turn out to be hoaxes and he clears those up. Sometimes McManus senses nothing, or at least very little. He's not afraid to say so.

Overall, a really fun read that made me want to book a ticket to Cape May for a stay in a nice little B & B, perhaps in the turret suite of a lovely Victorian home. The ghosts in Cape May are, for the most part, friendly. So, it's safe. Just don't call out the ghosts; that's apparently a big mistake. Go planning to give the ghosts their space. Or just read the book - a perfect Halloween read.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Where I Spent My Weekend

Friday night was homecoming night at the high school (our team won - kind of a prerequisite with homecoming games, isn't it?) and on Saturday we went to the North State Swim Meet at Delta State University. More on that another time, as I came home with some Fighting Okra decals to throw in with the occasional gifties that I plan to come up with for the Chunkster Challenge and possibly for No Reason Whatsoever!!

But, you don't care about all that, right? You want to hear about books. Piles of books, books flowing like the mighty Mississippi River while a bookstore cat watches you from a table loaded with colorfully covered stories and people shuffle around quietly, paging through - what else? - books!!! Well, I'm willing to oblige. Check out the photo, above, of the interior of Square Books in Oxford. Just a small corner, but could it be much cooler?

Wait! We're not there, yet. After the swim meet, we drove to Batesville, MS, which has little to recommend it other than an outlet mall that's losing its discount bookstore. Sigh. So sad. We were too tired to do anything but eat, play on the internet (hubby), watch cartoons (the kid) and read (me). But on Sunday we headed to Oxford to visit with the eldest kiddo. While there, we ate at the Bottletree Bakery, walked around the town square and visited Square Books. Yes! Finally, the crowd breathes a sigh of relief. She's made it to the bookstore!!

We milled around because it's a place worth milling around in, ya know. They have books! They have mugs with quotes! They sell coffee! There are photos of authors all over the place! It smells like paper, old wood and coffee. Ambience galore, people.

We had walked past Off-Square books after the bakery but it was not yet open. Of course, as soon as we were done savoring the atmosphere in Square Books (and, yes, the pocketbook took a small hit), off we went to Off-Square Books, the remaindered- and used-book twin of Square Books. The best part about a visit to Off-Square Books (besides the obvious) is a chat with the store cat. This time, I found out her name and snapped a few photos of her. So, here we have . . . tada! . . . Mamasita getting a nice little neck rub from my eldest. She is a sweet, friendly kitty with a tag that says "Return to Off-Square Books" on the front. I've never seen her stray beyond the occasional outside table, but I have a feeling that she's well known, even should her tag be eaten by a monster, and would be quickly returned. Many people stopped to chat with Mamasita.

Since I am a Bookfool and so are my children, we did leave with (ahem) a small pile. The eldest pointed out a book and forced me to read the cover flap on pain of being trapped in the store with a cute cat. How cruel. So, I read it and, duh, bought it for him. Call me Wimp. And, the other child shoved a couple of things in my hands. I do believe he knows how to operate the Book-Purchasing Mama Machine well.

So, that's where I spent my weekend. I think I need to visit my eldest more often. If you went somewhere better, please feel free to loudly one-up me. I'm all glowy from my bookstore experiences, but someday I've got to come down off this Book High.

Bookfool, back home and barefoot

Friday, October 20, 2006

Touched by Angels by Debbie Macomber

Touched by Angels is going to be a difficult novel to review because I have to admit that the writing is not anything worth jumping up and down over. The plot was just plain predictable. As there was romance involved in each of the individual stories -- and romance, by definition, must end happily, as well as tidily wrapped-up -- this was to be expected. I know about romance guidelines from many years spent hanging out with romance writers and it doesn't bother me, provided a little romance is what I'm in the mood to read.

The storyline is wrapped around three silly angels: Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. Known to be troublemakers, the archangel Gabriel has assigned each to deal with simple prayer requests. But, the angels have their eyes on a tougher case that Gabriel warns them is far too complex for their limited angelic skills. The angels actually don't appear as often as I expected them to, but I enjoyed their occasional antics.

Regardless of its transparent, interwoven plotlines, Touched by Angels was the right book at the right time, for me. Will I enjoy another book by this author? I have no way of knowing. In general, I read slowly and savor words. A book that isn't worth marking up with post-its is not, in general, usually going to end up a favorite. But, it was uplifting and fun, and I even shed a few tears. I thought my time was well spent. There was only one small annoyance: about 4 different characters *and* the narrator used the expression, "first off". A little editing might have been nice, for the sake of removing that bit of repetition. Otherwise, it was a quick and very fun read, so I'm giving the book a high rating.


This will be a real whopper of a weekend, again, due to school activities and probably will not post, again, till Monday. So, I'll leave you with three great moments from my day:

1. While standing outside, enjoying the brisk air and sunny skies that have moved in, I heard the neighborhood hawk three times and saw him (or her) twice. What a glorious sight a hawk in flight is! Now, if it would just come a little closer!! I had my camera with me, but the hawk was a bit too far away. I should add that I also spotted a woodpecker, watched a squirrel drop from the neighbor's oak tree and bustle around, listened to our mockingbird making a ruckus, and played with a neighbor's cat.

2. Watching as our cat Spooky suddenly became preoccupied with batting a ballpoint pen across the floor was a hoot.

3. The UPS man brought me a big box of goodies. I'd completely forgotten that one of the online book groups I'm in is doing a Halloween exchange, since my secret pal already received the box I mailed. I was particularly thrilled, of course, to see the box included a book: The Ghosts of Cape May. And, I loved the little bookmark magnets. And, the candle and bookplates and . . . wowee, it was like Christmas!

Currently reading: No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty (the NaNoWriMo guy)

Hoping to get back to, soon: The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Bookfool trying to warm up after dressing inappropriately for a very cold football game.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wahoo! Wednesday

I have 15 minutes to come up with my Wahoo! moments because the husband walked in and announced that we're all going to stop what we're doing and work on Will's geography project at 7:00. I told him as politely as possible that I thought perhaps he ought to rephrase that statement. He winced and left the room. But, yeah, I'll be glad to help out on the project. I'm needed, if only to keep the hubster out of the helm seat. He likes taking over, but my son is perfectly capable of doing his own work with just a little guidance.

So, here you go. My 5 reasons to say Wahoo!, today:

1. Signs of Autumn - Yes, it was 90 degrees out, today, but there are finally some indications that autumn is about to kick around the Deep South. Red leaves!! Piles of pumpkins!! A formation of migrating geese!! And, if I recall correctly it's supposed to cool off, tonight. The air conditioner is running, we're all walking around barefoot, and I wore flip-flops to pick my son up from school; but . . . red leaves!! Piles of pumpkins!! Migrating geese!!

2. Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan - Their #75 sandwich (aka, "Leo's Friendly Lion") and that totally sinful cocoa cake, in particular. Hubby was in the Detroit area on Monday and Tuesday, with a late flight home, so he zipped over to Ann Arbor to do some grocery shopping. He brought me a sandwich!! As if that isn't surprising and wonderful enough, my husband said, "I think I got the one you ordered last time we were at Zingerman's." Last time was in May of 2005. There's no way I would remember what my husband ordered, 17 months after the fact, but he was correct. Oooh, the melty cheese, the little slippery peppers, the guacamole oozing out. Pure heaven.

3. It's 7:20 and I squealed out of helping with the project, at least for now. Okay, yes, I did print out the photo of Russians wrapping their wheat harvest and sketched out the lower halves of their bodies to be cut and turned into figurines for Will's little diorama. But, I'm getting to play while the guys do the gluey, messy work. That's worth a giggle or two.

4. Nifty decorations - I've always wondered why Vicksburg seems a little Scroogey on the Christmas decorations and I think I've finally figured it out: they like Halloween better! There are elaborate scarecrows and such all over town. I'll try to get some better photos before it's all over. For now, a view of a friend's front door.

5. Clouds - We had a whopper rainstorm on Monday, as I mentioned, and then yesterday it got sticky, hot, and sunny . . . again. And, the change of weather gave me a whopper migraine. Today, no headache and enough clouds to keep the sun from being annoying. I've learned to love cloudy days.

Much later . . . It's 9:20, now, and I did have to sacrifice my computer for the cause--printing out photos of such exciting things as a McDonald's in Russia, for example. Really, it's pretty cool the way they placed this modern McDonald's next to a medieval gate. Everyone should have a medieval gate next to their McDonald's, don't you think? Or, maybe we should just start building nice stone gates and churches for the sake of creating beautiful things. I've always loved the look of old walls, buildings and bridges in Europe.

Reading News: None. Still working on Touched by Angels. I have no problem reading a Christmas book in October, obviously (or any other time, to be honest). Still periodically glancing at The Once and Future King and thinking . . . sigh . . . "I'm going to flunk my challenge." There's still time, though. We shall see.

Read On, Dudes and Dudettes!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday Malarkey

We are having a nasty weather day, here in Mississippi. Last night, it was pleasant; we had a light rain and it was still cool (we're headed back toward the mid- to upper-80's, tomorrow). For the first time in the 20 years we've lived here, there was a fresh, sweet smell to the air outdoors. Usually rain just makes things smell heavy and dank; that delicious fresh scent was reminiscent of home on the prairie.

Isn't this photo great? It doesn't look like either the prairie (my hometown was surrounded by wheat fields) or the little town we live in, but it fits the weather mood perfectly.

Today, major yucko. However, three things made this day wonderful:

1. As I drove away from dropping my son off at the high school--before the sky began to fall (beginning a day of what I refer to as "God-kicked-the-bucket-over rain"), a heron flew across the exit road, about 25 feet in front of my car.

Herons have a majestic wingspan and are just breathtaking in flight. They're not a common sight at school, but there is a creek that runs past the field where the band and soccer teams practice (between the two parallel roads that lead into and out of the parking lot) and herons spend most of their time near water, so I assume he was there for the fishing. If so, he'd make the Southern folks around here proud. At home, I checked images online to make sure it was, indeed, a heron that I'd spotted. "Most definitely" was the answer. I also discovered that a heron in flight is supposedly a sign of a coming storm. What-ho! Good prediction, Mr. Heron!

2. I'm apparently at the wheel most of the day. My second great moment occurred on the drive to the YMCA for swim practice. William had the newpaper in hand and read one of the headlines, as well as the lead paragraph, aloud. The article had to do with atmospheric tests having confirmed that there was definitely radiation in the atmosphere over the U.S., verifying the news of last week's Korean nuclear test; and, then said child launched into descriptions of various destructive weapons. Will is a big fan of techno-thrillers and can chatter about weapons endlessly. He mispronounced the word "incendiary" and I interrupted to correct him. Without missing a beat, my teenager said, "Thank you for correcting me," and continued to chatter.

The thrill lay in the fact that he meant it - Will likes knowing how to correctly pronounce words and there was no sarcasm at all in his thanks. Now, that's cool.

3. I received a really upbeat email that made me grin, this evening.

Reading-wise: I am still stalled near the middle of The Once and Future King, so I picked up a book that's been beckoning to me: Touched by Angels by Debbie Macomber. This is my first Macomber book, in spite of having spent years around romance writers who gushed when Macomber's name was mentioned - and I'm loving it, so far. I think I should have kept a second read going to give me breaks from my chunkster. But, at least I gave in and started a new book, today. And, a rainy day is an excellent excuse to curl up with a book, after all.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lovely Moments

I'm still only halfway through my latest read, so this is a diversion - just a little chatter about some great moments (with a bit of background).

On Thursday, we finally were blessed with a wonderful cold-front which brought daytime temperatures briefly down to the lower 60's, nearly a 30-degree drop and a huge relief. We were shivering and loving every minute. Our relatives back home in Oklahoma always laugh at what we consider "freezing", as well they should. During our brief time in Michigan, we were forced to invest in an entirely new wardrobe for a genuine winter; we'd forgotten about the warmth of wool, having long since parted with our woolen sweaters. They're simply useless in Mississippi. Here, a winter coat is something that primarily sits at the back of the closet molding for 9 or 10 months, then hangs unbuttoned on your frame when donned. A woolen sweater is a thing that makes you sweat.

I don't handle heat well and never have; while living in Oklahoma, I often begged my father to move us to Colorado, where my uncle lived and where we spent many summer vacations. When my husband tired of his work in Tulsa and was offered a choice of upstate New York or Mississippi, I said, "New York, definitely." Hubby, as it turned out, had longed to work at the engineering lab in Mississippi for many years.

So, here we live, in a climate with an 11-month pollen season and a winter that is officially "December to February" but where one often sits on the porch in shorts on Christmas Day. The cold front was a major blessing. I felt energized and buzzed around town, running errands. Because I recently mentioned the view of the Mississippi River, but had no photo of the cannon on the hill, I took my camera along and stopped at the Welcome Center.

After climbing the stairs, at right, to reach the hill with the cannon (and snapping a few photos of cannon and bridges), I was halted by a shrub with beautiful flowers. The pink flower, above, was one of them. Because I had a very long lens on my camera, I had to keep backing up to try to get the flower into focus and didn't see a man walking toward me till he spoke. His name was Robert and he was from London. Robert came across the Atlantic by cargo ship (for the experience) and then traveled across Canada and has looped down and across the United States. He's been traveling since June and he was shocked --shocked!-- at the lack of "walkways" and the loose dogs in the South. "No wonder Americans aren't fit!" he proclaimed. "They have to drive everywhere!" He was a lovely, lovely man and I enjoyed our conversation.

Yesterday, with the weather still cooperating but a bit weary from a very long night, I followed my husband into the backyard to read while he mowed the grass. After he finished, we stood together and simply looked up. I wanted to spot the hawk that landed outside our kitchen window, recently; and our next-door neighbor mentioned having seen the hawk dive toward a chipmunk, so I knew his or her visit was not simply a fluke.

Hubby joined me and we stood, amazed by the beautiful sounds coming from the trees. The birds were in high gear and their singing streamed from every angle. The look of childish awe on my husband's face was truly a wondrous sight and we were both stunned when the hawk flew over, just moments after we'd looked up. I ran for the camera while hubby watched the tree in which he landed, but it was too late. Our hawk moment was over. Still, we had a wonderful time watching our mockingbird dart around, landing on fence and tree and then taunting the cat as he played in the grass. And, we spotted a very large nest about 100 feet up in one of our ancient oak trees. So, another hawk spotting seems likely.

I just wanted to share a few wonderful moments. This time of year is my favorite. You can see there's not much sign of autumn leaves, just yet, but we are grateful for the cool air and lovely moments outdoors. God is good.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, October 13, 2006

What a Slog

You can't get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. -- C. S. Lewis

I used to relate to those words. At present, however, I'm finding it a bit of a chore trying to get through The Once and Future King by T.H. White, a 639-page chunkster.

Oh, yeah! Now, I remember why I avoid fat books! What I've realized, as I'm reading, is that I've become a victim of the modern impatience. I want plot and I want it now. I find it difficult to plow through detail that I recall once eating up like my youngest son now does. I enjoyed reading the scene in which Wart and Merlyn became fish, for example, but when Wart was turned into a merlin for educational purposes and then an ant, an owl and then a goose I felt like it was a lot of the "same song, different tune". However, I do love the writing and I'm going to stick it out.

I'm really quite happy to be reading a lengthy novel prior to beginning the Chunkster Challenge of next year, if only for the opportunity to gauge how many thick books I think I can tolerate reading in 6 months. I'm currently leaning toward three, if they're over 600 pages.

Apologies for not managing to drop by everyone else's blog, recently. I'm getting really weary of dial-up. DSL may finally be in my future. I hope so, anyway. Off to blog-hop! Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

18 Days Till NaNoWriMo!

Is anyone else going to disappear into Nanoland for a month?

Sorry, I should define NaNo, etc. For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is (besides being the worst acronym I've ever seen) short for "National Novel Writing Month", "national" being a bit of a misnomer. My best bud from last year's nano was in Germany.

I'm pretty sure that 2005's challenge nearly killed me; and, my novel was . . . shall we say of inferior quality? But, I enjoyed the challenge and I "won" (meaning I finished a 50,000+ word novel). My 2005 novel was entitled THE BUS TO LAST SATURDAY. And, it had nothing to do with a bus or time travel, but whatever. Since it will probably never see the light of day, again, much less find itself published, I think we can safely say that is neither here nor there. I was just looking at press clippings about Nano and my favorite article title is, "Bloody awful prose but you can't deny the work ethic"--The Australian News. All right. Unfortunately, the article itself is not archived. Darn.

Here are the stats from years past:

1999: 21 participants and six winners
2000: 140 participants and 29 winners
2001: 5,000 particpants and more than 700 winners
2002: 13,500 participants and around 2,100 winners
2003: 25,500 participants and about 3,500 winners
2004: 42,000 participants and just shy of 6,000 winners
2005: 59,000 participants and 9,769 winners.

Tell me if you're joining in on the 2006 Nano, please!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wahoo! Wednesday

After a two-week hiatus, Wahoo! Wednesday is back! Aren't you thrilled? I don't even feel like I have enough room to write down all the things I'm thankful for and it's late, so I'll just stick to three because of time considerations.

My three reasons to say "Wahoo!", today:

1. Getting the Bills Out On Time - When I sat down to pay the bills (frequent readers will know I admit to being Very Forgetful), none of them were late!! The envelopes were not as pretty as the image at left, of course, but it was the one I liked best.

2. Stupid Cat Moments - Our orange tabby, Sunshine, tells me when it's time to bathe (she can be quite vocal) and then follows me into the bathroom and waits till I'm in the tub to take a drink. As if that isn't weird enough, she won't take a drink unless the water is absolutely perfect. She likes it just a little cooler than I like a nice mug of tea.

3. An Award! Somebody nominated my vacation blog, Our Alaska Vacation, for a Blog of the Day Award - and my blog won!

Blog Of The Day Awards Winner

Happy Wednesday and Many Wahoos to You!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Shiny New Links

I've found a few wonderful new blogs, recently, and also finally managed to get around to linking up to some that I hadn't gotten around to (sorry I'm so slow).

Since "Bookfoolery" implies that my emphasis is books, my goal was to try to put the most bookish of links together and separate others that I like, which may or may not have book reviews or book chatter. Anyone who has been here knows I do babble (hence the latter part of the blog name), and I tried to consider that there is often an interesting balance. If you think your blog is more bookish than otherwise and I'm just not thinking, here, because I'm a silly goose - and you want me to shove your link to the bookish section - let me know. It's not my intent to offend. Also, please let me know if I've forgotten you. I've had visitors with book blogs that I didn't get around to linking up to, in spite of repeat visits, and then just couldn't locate because of the very frustrating turtle-loading rate we've got here (still on dial-up, believe it or not). Also, nobody denies I'm an airhead and just forget things.

Two of the new links have been added because they're so darned upbeat and I think everyone can use a positive infusion, now and then, even if it's to read about other people's great moments. Three Beautiful Things is one of them; it was a Blog of Note, earlier in the week and it is just lovely. I may have to come up with my own version, just because I think it pays to keep thinking about anything and everything beautiful in life. Tongue in Cheek is the other. Both are great for a lift.

Last but not least, I've been pondering the future Chunkster Challenge that I plan to host. Because thick books intimidate me so and Les has mentioned that she plans to challenge herself to one per month for the entire year, in 2007, but I'm not sure I can tolerate quite that many (wimp alert) I'm considering making it a very individual thing. Also, I can't decide about length. A year seems way too long. Is 6 months too lengthy? Would 3 months be sufficient? Any thoughts are welcome, encouraged - in fact, pleaded for.

And, also, I didn't properly thank Sassymonkey for hosting another challenge - and thanks for letting me in. I was too tired to compute time zones, last night, which means zombie level, so I don't know if I was on time or not but I'm in! I love reading challenges!! Yippee and thanks, Sassy!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sassymonkey's Challenge

Well, pooh, I just can't resist a challenge and I may be too late (don't know, don't care - feel like crap and just want to go to bed) but Sassymonkey has issued an October Challenge and I'm joining, whether I'm on time or not. Because I'm reading a Chunkster, it will be a real challenge just to get through The Chunkster and a couple more. Here's what I hope to finish during the remaining weeks of October:

1. The Once and Future King by T. H. White - The cover says it's the greatest fantasy classic of all time. Huh. I'm not a reading snob but I was sure I didn't read fantasy. Apparently, I'm wrong. I'll read absolutely anything that grabs me.

2. Snow Flower and The Secret Fan by Lisa See - A group read. I've been so off-kilter I've worried I won't be able to read along but I want to try.

3. The Thirteenth Tale by whoever . . . gah. I'm tired. I'll look another time.

Sassymonkey has an excellent blog. Do check it out if you've missed it.

Off to soak and crash.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

I pored with renewed zeal over the terse realism and pathos of Lawson, and enjoyed Paterson's redolence of the rollicking side of the wholesome life beneath these sunny skies, which he depicted with grand touches of power flashing here and there. I learnt them by heart, and in that gloriously blue receptacle, by and by, where many pleasant youthful dreams are stowed, I put the hope that one day I would clasp hands with them, and feel and know the unspeakable comfort and heart-rest of congenial companionship.

In softer moods I said, 'Ah, the tangle of it! Those who have the heart to help have not the power, and those who have the power have not the heart.' Bad, like a too-strong opponent in a game of chess, is ever at the elbow of good to checkmate it like a weakly managed king.

**********WARNING: Possible Spoiler!!**********

When Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin wrote the words above, in My Brilliant Career (her first novel), she was a mere 19 years old. Another 13 years would pass before publication, and upon publication certain members of her family raised a stink because they thought it was autobiographical and painted them in too negative a light. Not surprising, really, as a good portion of the book does seem to mirror that of Sybylla Melvyn. How close the book was to her real life I can't say because I've only read a few brief bios. But when you look at the photos of Miles (aka Stella) and read some of the passages, you can't help but think, "The novel sure seems to bear a strong resemblance to what I know of her real life."

The photo-montage above, by Jackie Ranken (found at an Australian website) shows a marginally attractive and petite young woman with thick, braided hair. Sybylla was tiny with thick hair that she braided; and, she considered herself ugly. Sybylla loved her grandmother's home and her family's first but hated her second home in Possum Gully:

God forbid that my experiences at Possum Gully should form the only food for my reminiscences of home. I had practically grown up there, but my heart refused absolutely to regard it as home. I hated it then, I hate it now, with its narrowing, stagnant monotony. It has and had not provided me with one solitary fond remembrance--only with dreary, wing-clipping, mind-starving recollections.

Goodness. Miles also moved during her youth, and apparently the move was similar. Sybylla was intelligent and yearned to associate with people who were her equals; she gobbled books when she had the opportunity but was often unable to get her hands on anything at all to read. Miles later met the Henry Lawson of the first quote and he helped her get the book published. Sybylla fought the normal conventions and refused to marry. Miles also chose not to marry and was a staunch feminist.

Whether or not the book is autobiographical, it portrays a time and place (Australia at the end of the 19th century) vividly. The story itself is both romantic and tragic. When the Melvyn family moves from a comfortable home where her father overseas several properties to a farm that ends up thrusting them into poverty because of a raging drought, Sybylla is unhappy, angered by the changes in their lives, especially the lack of higher-minded visitors with which they formerly socialized and the decline of her beautiful mother. Her father has gone from being a well-respected boss to drinking away what little money remains. Sybylla's ladylike but worn-out mother finds Sybylla's high-spirited and contrary ways exhausting and has nothing but negative words for her. Eventually, Sybylla is sent to her grandmother's home in order to lighten her mother's load.

This is the second major change in Sybylla's life, and it's a good one. She loves her grandmother's house and enjoys her tasks. There are plenty of books, lots of guests, lively conversation and ample food. The wealthy owner of the ranch nearest to her grandmother's, Five-Bob Downs, is a young man who is quiet, handsome and respectable. When Harry Beecham and Sybylla meet, they begin to spend time together and it appears that love and marriage are on the horizon.

But, Sybylla has already determined that she will never marry. Having seen the way women are worn down (as her mother was) by childbirth and wearying tasks so numerous that marriage is practically akin to slavery in her time and region, Sybylla has no interest in finding herself like her contemporaries. When she is sent to live in squallor at an isolated farm, where she must teach the children of a man her father owes money, then eventually returns home, Sybylla's feelings are reinforced. Harry Beecham, however, is madly in love and continues to pursue her till she sends a note that makes it clear she will never marry.

The ending was a little frustrating to my romantic soul, but at least in the movie it seemed to have less to do with Sybylla's poor self-image. I think that was what annoyed me the most about the book. Sybylla thinks herself a bad match for Harry because she is small and unattractive--or at least, that's one of the ways in which she justifies her rejection of him. Harry doesn't give a flip about her looks; he's just crazy about her. Throughout his own tragedies, he never forgets her; and, it is more than possible that he could not only aid Sybylla's downtrodden family but help her to fulfill her own dream of becoming a writer.

But, if Franklin were to have changed the ending of her story for the sake of pleasing romantic readers, it would have lost its point entirely. Sybylla, like Miles Franklin, had seen the way women were treated and was determined not to allow herself to become a blighted shadow merely because of attachment to a man and creation of family. Would Harry have chosen to abandon his vast holdings and travel with Sybylla if they'd married? Not likely. Would he have encouraged her desires or turned her into just another dreary, tired wife raising a brood of his offspring? How likely was it that a woman would not have children if she were to marry, in the late 19th century? Not very. There is a lot of sense in Sybylla's decision. If only she didn't blame her inadequacy on her appearance, the story would have been just about perfect.

And, therein lies my only real complaint as I think the story is written with maturity, well-plotted, and beautifully rendered. No wonder Franklin went on to have the brilliant career Sybylla longed for. Overall, an excellent read that makes me want to dig into more Australian literature.


Now reading: The Once and Future King by T. H. White

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Five Foolery

Five Great Things to Stop and Admire If You're Ever in Mississippi:

1. Off-Square Books- Square Books is a nice little independent store situated in Oxford, Mississippi's town square. I probably never would have made it there, had my son not gotten a couple of scholarships from Ole Miss and ended up in Oxford. Square books is lovely, but Off-Square is wonderful, mainly because of the adorable and exceptionally friendly store cat (the off-price books are really fun to peruse, as well, although Square Books has a much better selection, as well as a coffee bar and cute mugs with great quotes by writers). I have a postcard of the cat, but I can't find a photo, online. Darn. There is another store on the square that had not one but two cats in its window when we were in town, one time. I don't know the name of it, but if you walk around the square you're bound to figure out where the store cats reside. They tend to lie around in the windows. I confess, I'm a cat lover.

2. The Cyprus Swamp - This photo came from the online journal of a biker who stopped by the swamp while biking in Mississippi. I haven't been there in several years, but it's absolutely mind-boggling, with eye-popping reflections that would make any photographer pant with joy. I need to go back; we can all use that kind of nature infusion, now and then (preferably during a season that's short on mosquitoes).

3. Biloxi Lighthouse - Okay, again a disclaimer: I haven't seen the lighthouse lit up like the photo at left (but it was the prettiest photo I happened across, so I snagged it from the website to which I've linked). When we moved to Mississippi, way the heck back in another century, we had one cute little blonde 2-year-old boy; and, one of my absolute, all-time favorite photos of my husband and eldest son is of the two of them holding hands, walking out onto the Biloxi pier just next to the lighthouse. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Biloxi had a lighthouse and I think all of us sighed with relief when we found out that it survived Hurricane Katrina. The buildings in the background of that photo were more than likely flattened, but I can't say for sure.

4. The Mighty (and Muddy) Mississippi - We don't go there as often as we should, but the best view of the river, in Vicksburg, is from the Welcome Center, these days. There used to be a wonderful restaurant by the name of Top O' The River situated on that same bluff overlooking the river, just down the road. Unfortunately, as I've heard it, the owners had some major medical bills and sold out to one of the casinos. Where there once was a fabulous restaurant that served incredible catfish and cole slaw, which was known for both its outstanding service (something you don't get much of, these days) and its incredible river view, there is now a gas station. However, the river is still there, bless its muddy old heart. You can walk up some stairs and across a little foot bridge to a hill with a cannon on top for the best view.

5. The Old Courthouse Museum - Also in Vicksburg and another place I don't go often enough, the Old Courthouse was built by slave labor in 1858 and has a small but excellent museum. Even better, according to the cat lover in me (who is rather pushy), they keep a cat house on the porch. My friend and neighbor works there; she's not too thrilled about the cats, but she loves her job and the museum itself. I go there, now and then, to get a few dozen bookmarks to give to friends.

There are lots of other wonderful places to visit in Mississippi, but it's Friday and I'm sticking with five.

Still reading:

My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

Books that walked in my door this week:

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash
A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

Have a Super Weekend!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Watcha Reading?

There's really not much going on around the old homestead, so I'll jump in and ask What everyone is reading? I'm only reading one book, right now, and hope to get back to balancing several at once, soon. I guess reading a single book is a Brain Break Thing, at least for me. Anyway, I'm reading My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin, a story about Sybylla Melyvn, a a free-spirited young writer who refuses to conform to society's expectations of how a 'proper woman' should live her life in Australia. The copy I've got is pictured at left and includes another book: My Career Goes Bung. Judging from the introductory material (which was somewhat illuminating but a little confusing, at times), the second story was an attempt to redo the first book in a more romantic fashion, as My Brilliant Career has a rather unromantic ending. I already knew that, having seen the movie - which is different, of course, but absolutely took my breath away.

Note that a very young and handsome Sam Neill starred in the movie. Until I checked a copy of My Brilliant Career out from my library's audio/visual department on a whim, I'd never heard of the book or movie and was unaware that it launched Judy Davis's career and threw Sam Neill into the limelight. I'm certain we would have discovered Sam and Judy, eventually, though. Judy Davis was absolutely awesome as Sybylla.

And, the book is everything I dreamed it would be and more, another one of those that has so many beautiful sentences and paragraphs that it's already becoming crammed with post-it notes.

I'm off to pay the bills and scrub the bathrooms. Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bookfool's First 100

The reason I'm able to post a third time in one day? Kiddo had a daytime swim meet and we haven't had to tackle the afternoon/evening routine, just yet. Should be interesting as it's nearly 9:00 PM and he is not yet home. 9 weeks tests begin tomorrow. Favorites are highlighted in purple because it's one of my favorite colors; top 10 in bold. Books worth skipping are in orange because it's my least favorite color.

First 100 Books I've read in 2006:

1. Idyll Banter - Chris Bohjalian
2. Getting Through the Tough Stuff - Charles Swindoll
3. The Egypt Game - Zilpha Keatly Snyder
4. Night Train to Rigel - Timothy Zahn
5. The Nymphos of Rocky Flats - Mario Acevedo
6. Dying to Call You - Elaine Viets
7. Maybe Baby - Ed. by Lori Leibovich
8. Hoot - Carl Hiassen
9. Talk to the Hand - Lynne Truss
10. Disappearing Nightly - Laura Resnick
11. Our Lives Are the Rivers - Jaime Manrique
12. Manhunt - Janet Evanovich
13. Running in the Family - Michael Ondaatje
14. The Dating Game - Shirley Jump
15. Vanishing Act - Thomas Perry
16. Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson
17. Abraham - Bruce Feiler
18. Brave Dames & Wimpettes - Susan Isaacs
19. The Cat Who Went to Paris - Peter Gethers
20. No Angel - Penny Vincenzi (this was a whopper at 836 pages)
21. Dearly Depotted - Kate Collins
22. We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson
23. Driving Me Crazy - Peggy Webb
24. Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye - Victoria Laurie
25. The Gates of the Forest - Elie Wiesel
26. Killing Helen - Sarah Challis
27. The Shunning - Beverly Lewis
28. The Madonnas of Leningrad - Debra Dean
29. My Father's House - Corrie ten Boom
30. Head Over Heels - Jill Mansell
31. Under the Bonnet - Cathy Woodman
32. Out of the Dust - Karen Hesse
33. Summer Lightning - P. G. Wodehouse
34. Queen of the Big Time - Adriana Trigiani
35. Tread Softly - Kate Pennington
36. The Incredible Shrinking Man and other stories - Richard Matheson
37. Lost Lake - Phillip Margolin
38. A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket
39. Travels with Charley - John Steinbeck
40. Mixed Signals - Liz Curtis Higgs
41. Details of a Sunset and other stories - Vladimir Nabokov
42. Nursery Crimes - Ayelet Waldman
43. Olive's Ocean - Kevin Henkes
44. Eating Heaven - Jennie Shortridge
45. The Carriage House - Carla Neggers
46. With or Without You - Carole Matthews
47. Size 12 is Not Fat - Meg Cabot
48. Better Read than Dead - Victoria Laurie
49. A Quiet Knowing - Gigi Graham
50. Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned - Kinky Friedman
51. The Single Life - Liz Wood
52. Hope Lives Here - Janet Chester Bly
53. The Polysyllabic Spree - Nick Hornby
54. The Man Who Fell in Love With His Wife - Paul Burke
55. Alaska Bear Tales - Larry Kaniut
56. Cordelia Underwood or the Marvelous Beginnings of the Moosepath League - Van Reid
57. What to Do if a Bird Flies in the House - Nix and Hurchalla
58. The Tenth Circle - Jodi Picoult
59. Cry Havoc - Clive Egleton
60. The Runner - Peter May
61. Bed Rest - Sarah Bilston
62. Jump at the Sun - Kim McLarin
63. Luscious Lemon - Heather Swain
64. Father Joe - Tony Hendra
65. The Gun Seller - Hugh Laurie (yes, that Hugh Laurie)
66. Silent Waters - Jan Coffey
67. London Transports - Maeve Binchy
68. Shopportunity! - Kate Newlin
69. Brief Encounters with Che Guevera - Ben Fountain
70. Two Old Women - Velma Wallis
71. Remember Me - Lisa Takeuchi Cullen
72. Urban Shaman - C. E. Murphy
73. Consider the Lily - Elizabeth Buchan
74. The School Run - Sophie King
75. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
76. Suite Francaise - Irene Nemirovsky
77. Looking for Alaska - Peter Jenkins
78. The Cruelest Miles - Gay and Laney Salisbury
79. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak - still my #1 of 2006
80. The Sunday Tertulia - Lori Marie Carlson
81. Savannah Blues - Mary Kay Andrews
82. Turtle Moon - Alice Hoffman
83. Promise Me - Harlan Coben
84. Down Came the Rain - Brooke Shields
85. The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs - Alexander McCall Smith
86. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation - Lauren Willig
87. How I Lost 5 Pounds in 6 Years - Tom Arnold
88. Letters from Yellowstone - Diane Smith
89. The Essential Lewis and Clark - Landon Y. Jones
90. The Cardinal Rule - Cate Dermody
91. Pay it Forward - Catherine Ryan Hyde
92. Rainbow's End - John M. Floyd
93. Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland
94. My Cousin Rachel - Daphne du Maurier
95. Haunted - Heather Graham
96. 36 Views of Mt. Fuji - Cathy N. Davidson
97. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
98. An Obsession with Butterflies - Sharman Apt Russell
99. Something Upstairs - Avi
100. Lying with Strangers - James Grippando

Well, whatcha think?

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

I see a bunch of you nodding before you've even read a word. Oh, yes, you loved this book. And, naturally, so did I. But, just on the off chance that there are a few remaining book addicts who haven't read the book . . . a review shall follow. And, I want you to know I stripped the bed, washed the sheets and blanket (a superfluous thing, anyway, what with it being in the 90's outside), vacuumed the floor, took out the trash, watered the plants (whereupon I was divebombed by mosquitoes; I'm itching like crazy, here) and fed the cats. See who that mother of mine says is not domestic. Ha!

Okay, so a review of sorts. The Tale of Despereaux is the tale of a tiny mouse with oversized ears and a heart of gold, a lovely princess, a kingdom-wide soup ban, one nasty rat, a sad and downtrodden peasant girl who has been clonked on the ears a few too many times, and a dark, smelly dungeon. Despereaux is the name of the tiny, sickly mouse. He's an unusual mouse who sees beauty in words, light, and music. When he speaks to the humans in the castle, the other mice decide he has gone too far and he is cast down into the smelly, rat-infested dungeon. I can't say anymore because that would be telling.

The story is so beautifully written that it's absolutely captivating, just by its cadence alone. But, DiCamillo has taken this story so far beyond simple storytelling that I feel inadequate to describe its wonders. There are numerous little tidbits about life, betrayal and heartbreak, love and hope. The Tale of Despereaux is just a lovely, lovely story and very deserving of its Newbery Medal. My youngest has read Because of Winn-Dixie, by the same author, and enjoyed it (but was unwilling to see the movie because he said it has a sad ending). So, naturally, I'll foist this one on him. Isn't he lucky to have me for a mama?

5/5 - Couldn't put it down. This one goes on the good shelves.

Now You See It by Richard Matheson

I had one of those nasty wishy-washy nights after I set aside Lying with Strangers on Sunday--you know, the kind during which you pick up 6 books that you think are likely possibilities for your next read, squish yourself comfortably into the reading chair, on the couch, or the bed; but each book you lift from the pile suddenly loses its appeal. Nope, not quite right. Nope, not an appealing beginning. Nope, nope, nope. I flipped through one pile, fetched another half dozen, flipped through the rest. I was really getting frustrated when I noticed Now You See It plunked on a pile of clothing (figures - there are a lot of little piles, around here). Hmm. Oh, yes. This one was perfect; I knew it from the first paragraph:

Daresay you've never, in your life, read a story written by a vegetable. Well, here's your chance. Not that it's a story. It happened; I was there. Your narrator and humble servant, Mr. Vegetable.

The "vegetable", as he refers to himself, is a man by the name of Emil Delacorte, formerly known as The Great Delacorte, a magician of "worldwide distinction and renown" in the old tradition, prior to elaborate magic stunts on television, much like Houdini. After a stroke that left him cognizant but unable to speak or move (like a squash, a head of lettuce, etc. - the vegetable similes are where humor sneaks in), his son Maximillian took over the family business. Now, some 14 years later, Max is not well. He has taken to dropping things on-stage and stumbling; he's also gradually losing his sight and hearing. Convinced he's been poisoned, Max sets up an elaborate plot to rid those he blames.

As his vegetable father watches, Max lures family and associates into The Magic Room at his estate. The entire book takes place inside this room, but what exactly is happening and who is it happening to? Now You See It has so many plot twists--with bodies showing up and disappearing, anger mixed with sweet talk, people changing outfits, and even a talking head--that just as the reader begins to think it's making sense, something else changes.

For me, this was the right book at the right time. It was a fast-paced read that didn't require a great deal of brain power and I enjoyed the descriptions, the stunningly twisty plot, and the magic. My husband used to perform as an amateur magician, so maybe I got a bigger kick out of it than most; the reviews I read were none too positive. I was surprised, though, as I really did enjoy this one and had a bit of trouble putting it down.

This was my second Matheson book. I thoroughly enjoyed the first, which I read earlier this year: The Incredible Shrinking Man and Other Stories and I will definitely seek out more of his novels.


I'm almost finished with the book I began to read after closing Now You See It, so another review should be forthcoming. You can tell the best-laid housekeeping plans of this woman managed to gang aft agley, once again. I've gotta quit that, but reading trumps housework any day and, darn it, this blogging business is crucial!! After the next review, hopefully I'll get around to listing those first 100 books I read, as requested by Colleen. Or, I might have to take a break to fold and clean. Ewww, I'd so rather read.

Bookfool Whose Mother Is Correct (but Lord help her if she says so within range of The Husband - that comment about Bookfool being not very domestic really peeves him)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday Stuff

Celebrating Book #100!

I finished my 100th book of the year, today, so it's party time! Here's the champagne ------>
Go ahead, have a slurp. I promise it won't make you trip and break your nose on the pavement. What more could you ask for?

#100 was Lying With Strangers by James Grippando, a gripping suspense novel full of tense moments, marital conflict, infidelity, and kidnapping, with a dead body here and there. I'd give it a 4.5/5 with addendum: it's no literary masterpiece. It's always difficult rating books that are a great deal of fun but which have no beautiful sentences worth sharing, so I have to throw in that mild disclaimer that one shouldn't expect anything brilliant - just an exciting ride. In fact, some parts of it were pretty predictable and other portions were just flat silly, but that didn't bother me, either, as I needed something Brain Light and Lying With Strangers did keep me entertained without any real exertion of brain power. I don't feel like reviewing it, for some reason.

Thanks to Queen Barbara of Pennsylvania (so named because she is a reading queen) for sending me this book!!

What's up next . . .

Bookwise, no idea. I keep picking books up and putting them down. I'm supposed to read Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult as a group read but am currently not in the mood to read a Picoult novel. However, nothing else seems to be really calling to me. I might attempt one of my fatties. We shall see. Even though Lying With Strangers required little brain power, I still found myself occasionally rereading entire paragraphs, so I think indecision and fatigue may be interconnected, here. Thus, this Bookfool is off to bed. I may post a bit less this week as I have hidden from housework for a few too many days and the clutter is attacking me. Wish me luck. As my mother likes to say, I'm "not very domestic".