Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Randomness of Life

Wat: (in the letter) I miss you like the sun misses the flower. Like the sun misses the flower in the depths of winter. Instead of beauty to direct its light to the heart hardens like the frozen world your absence has banished me to. ~ A Knight's Tale

Thought migraines. Do you ever get them? Your mind is so overwhelmed by the mass diversity and randomness of your own thoughts that you wish closing your eyes made it all go away. Of course then there is also trying to go on and act as though nothing is playing out in that beady little mind of yours. You want to focus on other things and you could just scream at your inability to concentrate because the damn thing won't shut up, your mind that is.

I haven't picked up a book in a number of weeks. I feel like a traitor. I fear the books are bound to come out from their various corners with torturing devices, ready to all attack me at once. I honestly feel awful about it, but I can't read anything to save my life lately. I have plenty of ideas going on in my head, I just can't read. What will I do? I have reading goals that I only have a little less than 2 months to accomplish. It seems unlikely I will at this point and then I feel like why bother.

My attitude sucks right now!!!!

There does seem to be one thing that can meander its way through the thought maze, though. Music. I can't seem to get enough lately. I'm ready to take a syringe and inject music into my veins. It has this wonderful ability to calm me down and give me time to rest. Enough! I feel like a moody teenage girl. Yuck, yuck, and more yuck!

Okay, deep breath.

I'll give you random bullet point thoughts for the rest of this post (seeing as I can't control myself emotionally right now).

- Rupert (my car) broke down yesterday. I haven't gone back to town yet to see what exactly is wrong with him. I think he just doesn't like the cold weather.

- I dyed my hair. I tried to dye it brown, the box said brown. Yet my hair turned out more reddish. It is starting to grow on me. hehehe

- The bookstores newsletter has been in people's hands for nearly a month now. We have had a great response from people. We just need me more people to take action, we gave them the open door to submit their own material for the next issue (coming out in December). Would you like a copy? Email me (peetierox@hotmail.com) your address, please do not post it in the comments, in the subject blank put "Bookstore Newsletter Request."

- I could scream at all guys right now. (Read into that as much as you like :).)

- I'm nearly finished with my church's directory. Thank you!!!!!

- Just came across a group that I'm starting to really like...I mean just came across, 15 minutes ago. Young the Giant. Check their stuff out on YouTube. I'll probably be buying some of their stuff from iTunes soon.

- I hate texting. I hate that it is addictive and unavoidable most of the time. I hate texting.

- 50 days until Christmas and have 2 presents. I'm WAY behind!


I'm sure I've bored you enough for today. I am sorry I didn't have a more thought provoking post. Blame it on life, I guess.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yes...You Heard Me Right

I’m told I enjoy shocking others when I do or say things, in other words I like shock value. Part of me does an evil chuckle to myself, the kind you hear evil dictators bent on taking over the world make. The other part of me is upset and confused, a little of the “who me?”going on. I’m here to shock you today or some could say get your blood a ‘boilin. Did you know that many people (nearly everyone), yourself included, are voyeurs? The silence comes now. Can you hear the pen drop in the background? I came to this thought after recently watching the TV mini series The Pillars of the Earth based on the book by Ken Follett.

A few things drew me to watch this; One, Rufus Sewell is a great actor and very handsome. Two, I had heard the book was really good. Three, History. Kings and Queens fighting for the crown, the ever enduring “entertainment” of the monarchy, is a period I like reading about and watching. While The Pillars of the Earth was amazing in the context of paying attention to historical detail and a great cast there was a turn-off. Can you guess it? No? Come on yes you can! Oh fine, still upset about the voyeur slam? Sex. It had lots of sex in it. The scenes were not done in good taste. They were so graphic that I had to minimize the screen and take my headphones off (watching movies online, I can’t fast forward).

What was the point of these scenes, hmm...? Why must I and everyone be subjected to such lustful ignitors? There are always the “behind closed doors” romance scenes where they pan away from the couple kissing to waves crashing against the shore. Hello movie maker’s (and authors) we know what’s happening you don’t need to show our imaginations what to imagine! These types of scenes are wrong for us to have playing over and over in our heads and even appearing later on to “haunt” us.

What am I getting at, you might be asking? You the movie watcher or book reader to some degree (you hate to admit it) enjoy and are even fascinated by such scenes. I’ll be honest I can’t claim to be completely guilt free myself. Have you ever looked up voyeur in the dictionary? I hadn’t either before today. Voyeur means: One who is sexually gratified by looking at sexual objects or acts. That definition is from a 1985 edition. When I looked it up in an older dictionary (my beloved 1942 edition) the definition read; One who obtains gratification from seeing sexual objects, acts, or scenes. This definition seems more fitting. Hmm... Then I looked up the synonyms in a 2003 Thesaurus (I’ve yet to find an older edition). Synonyms: Pervert, Spy, Peeping Tom, Watcher. Wow! Pervert? Spy? Watcher? Peeping Tom? Wait though, I then looked up synonyms for pervert. Nouns: Sex Freak, Sadist, Masochist. Verbs: Corrupt, Misuse. Adverbs: Depraved, Twisted, Unnatural. Sex Freak? Corrupt? Misuse? Twisted? Unnatural?

Once we break voyeur down it makes more sense. We tend to chuckle when we hear of someone being a Peeping Tom, a harmless nickname for a truly depraved action. We don’t even begin to think that we are ourselves are guilty of such corrupt things. When we watch a movie or read a book with sexual scenes in them, what are we doing then? What goes on in the bedroom, between a man and a woman, is scared, holy even (in the right context). We tarnish this by gaining our own gratification for the sake of entertainment by watching such things. We become enthralled and can’t take our eyes away. We become voyeurs. We can always point the finger at others when they’re caught with pornography and think of them with disgust, but how much worse are we when what we do is already socially accepted? I’ve had it described to me like this: When we see a train wreak, we just can’t help watching it. Our minds are drawn to the unnatural, to the so called excitement of a horrific act. I’m not sure why, except maybe because we always need the adrenaline rush that these things bring. Maybe we are trying to fill a void that becomes bigger the more we try to fill it with such twisted forms of entertainment. These entertainments unfortunately are becoming increasingly acceptable and thrown at us more. We are becoming, no we are already desensitized. Stop, turn you eyes from the train wreck. Do you want someone watching your death? Worse yet do you want someone watching you in the act of a sacred and private moment? Then why is it okay for you to be a voyeur, whether you’d admit it or not?

People may view me as trying to ram Christianity down their throats and while that prospect is somewhat enticing (evil smile), I’m not. I’ll leave you with this scripture not to bash you over the head, ram down your throat, or some other form of Christian brutality, but to encourage you with wisdom from God's word:


James 1:14 (KJV)
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Matthew 15:19 (KJV)
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 (KJV)
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Beat Generation? Try Let’s Beat My Brains Out

Okay here’s my one moment for being uncivilized in this post: “Oh my gosh, it’s over! It is FINALLY OVER, about bloody time!” Phew okay I’m glad I got that out of my system, now I will try to tackle this post in a professional attitude.

You might be asking “Maddie why did you decide to read On the Road by Jack Kerouac? What possibly could have provoked you to read such a book?” I might ask myself the same question if I didn’t already know. A couple of months ago a young man came into the shop and we talked and talked for near 2 hours about books. He couldn’t stop talking about books by these guys who started the Beat Generation. He said they were great and that I should read Kerouac’s On the Road. I’d never heard of the Beat Generation. Truth be told I pictured a group of men obsessed with the idea of beets. What’s so great about them? I don’t even like beets. Well because I admired his love and knowledge of books I thought what the heck why not read it. It wasn’t until I went to my favorite bookstore in Ohio in August that I was able to procure my copy. Lois, my friend at the bookstore, told me it was time for me to read Adult books.

I had no idea what this book was about and you know me I don’t read inside covers. Of course my brother A. David, forever knowing things I didn’t know he knows, knew exactly who Jack Kerouac was. In fact he said he wanted to read the book when I was finished.

I started to read and was slightly intrigued. Kerouac has an interesting way of writing. I could compare it to Steinbeck’s books; it has that same taste on the tongue only not boring. He knows so much of his surroundings and likes describing things in great detail.

That’s where it ends, my liking anything about it. Dean Moriarty enters the picture and I’m begging for the relative peace I found in the story without him. He is the type of person who sits around trying to talk about nothing and make it something. It doesn’t work on me it’s still nothing! Your deep theological thinking is only you thinking you’re a deep thinker Dean. You dig it?!? No! I don’t dig it nor will I ever dig things. My gosh, talk about the beginning of the end of intelligent conversation. The Beat Generation was the nurturer of the hippy generation, that blight of mankind. A time where looking back you think why? You (or at least I don’t) don’t want to claim it as part of your world’s history. Can you tell I don’t like Dean? He essentially is a corruptive and manipulative person that Sal, the main narrator of the book, never seems to see that way.

What can possibly be redeeming about a book that encourages and dwells on sex, drugs, and ditching responsibility to have fun and dig stuff? How can such a book be considered one of the greatest books of the 20th Century? What I can glean from this book that’s beneficial?

While reading this book I looked up Beat Generation and according to Wikipedia the Beat Generation was spontaneous, creativity, strongly positive. . . NOT! Spontaneous most definitely, creative or positive, I can think of a hundred other things that are. Is it any wonder people thought we were going to hell in a hand basket in the 60s? I can imagine looking around thinking everyone has lost their minds as I do when I’m reading about the Beat Generation. The loss of coherence and sense is too much to process. Quite possibly a waste of raw talent; they turned into the modern age of literature.

I’ll be reading up on the Beat Generation. I already have a book and plan to read it soon. I can’t form an honest or such a harsh opinion of that era without reading further.

Did I like On the Road? I think it’s obvious, I did not.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I can't hear you

Hawthorne wanted snow to symbolize cold, that’s what I think. Cold and silence. Nothing quieter than snow. The sky screams to deliver it, a hundred banshees flying on the edge of the blizzard. But once the snow covers the ground, it hushes as still as my heart.” Page 130

Silence is a breeding ground for lies, torture, guilt, the loss of trust, and so much more. All these manage to band together to create the strongest mouth gag, capable of locking up a person forever and throwing away the key if not dealt with. I have heard it said that it is easier to be happy, less energy, than sad. I think that’s wrong. It is easy to fall prey to the sadness, in a way a sort of comfort to let yourself fall and forget the good things, the good times.

Laurie Halse Anderson opened the door 11 years ago for girls (quite possibly boys too) everywhere. Speak is a look at what the silence can do to anyone. Rape is a sensitive subject, but Laurie manages to handle it with great concern and tenderness. She has opened the door for others to break the silence and to help mend the wounds that Rape has left open too long. This book is essential even for those who haven’t been subjected to similar cruelties. It gives them incite not only how to help, but to know what it is like.

Laurie’s style of writing can be best described as poetic. She paints pictures with her descriptions and the detail of Melinda’s thoughts. I read so many passages that are worth writing down to remember. She is truly gifted.

Reading this book was unplanned. I was in the midst of two other books at the time I started it. I was on Twitter last week when I discovered Speak was receiving negative attention in Missouri. Some misinformed (nice name for an idiot) man is laying claim to the fact that the book should be banned for its pornographic content. Clearly this man does not have or use a dictionary. After reading Laurie’s blog post about the situation, I decided I would read the book.*

Here are the conclusions I’ve come to:

  • A. Pornographic – Material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement; which this book DOES NOT CONTAIN. The fact that someone would consider Rape a form of sexual arousal is disgusting.
  • B. This man has never read Speak.
  • C. He has too much time on his hands.
  • D. He needs to read the First Amendment
  • E. If he really is concerned about what young people are reading he should examine other books or maybe read the book before throwing such silly allegations. I have read books with FAR worse content and it is just ridiculous what he is saying.
  • F. Finally always read things for yourself. Do not form opinions based on what others say or rumors. Hello! My dad has been telling me this all my life.

I can’t say that I enjoyed this book that seems to me odd phrasing. I will say it was a very moving and thought provoking story. You should read it.

A note to Laurie: I hope things turn out for the best with this ridiculous situation. Thank you for writing Melinda’s story. Thank you for tackling such an important and delicate subject. I wish you all the best. ~Maddie


Two blog posts in one week; this is a first for me!


*I watched the movie a few years ago, just never got around to reading the book.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Book Review

As a person who judges books by their covers 85% of the time and refuses to read inside flaps: it will come as no surprise that this book was no exception. Although, this time, while the cover was intriguing it was actually the movie trailer that spiked my interest. Nearly a year ago I saw the trailer for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and I instantly knew I wanted to read the book. Aside from an action packed movie trailer, I really had no idea what it was about. Contrary to what you might have thought me capable of, I neither speak nor understand Swedish. The movie is made with subtitles, not included in the trailer, otherwise it is completely Swedish.

It was only this past month that I finally got around to reading the book. When I started reading I was slightly annoyed, mostly with myself. I didn't understand the financial gibberish; money, politics, more money, stocks, fraud. . .the book might as well have been in its original Swedish. That was short lived, though, I decided to keep reading and not worry about understanding everything.

This is a story written by a truly gifted and complex person. Stieg Larrson must have been incredibly intelligent. It is sad he was unable to live to see the success of his books.

If I never go to Sweden, I may have been there through this book. His ability to describe the country in which his characters live so vividly is admirable. The characters themselves leap off the page, eager to claim their stakes in the real world, not just the book world.

Lisabeth was such an intricate character. While she was not easily accessible to the other people in the book, she was to me as the reader. The pain, the “introvertedness”, the anger, were so real and easy to relate to. Where is this girl? I'd like to befriend her.

The mystery kept me reading and thinking. I was eager to solve it along side of Mikael and Lisabeth. I really appreciate that this book, while happening in the span of a year, moves along. Many books written like this, you're stuck reading 20 – 40 pages of nothing. The author manages to have the story last a year, but have the plot continually moving as well. Each part was an intricately woven piece of the story, never boring.

This book is quite possibly one of the most Adult books I've read. I will warn you that it has the elements of: Sadism, Graphic Murder, Sex, Incest, Torture, and Perverted Sexuality. This does not take away from the story's (nor does it add to it really) level of liking, but it is important to me personally to point out such content as disturbing.

I plan to read the other books and to finally watch the Swedish version of the movie. It will come as no surprise that America will be making their own version. American filmmakers don't like to be left out. I'm confident I'll like the Swedish version better. You've heard it before, I'm sure, that things are always better in their original language.

Friday, August 27, 2010

You Probably Won't, You Think You're Cooler Than Me

Writing book reviews. . . you either love doing this or hate it. . . you either are really good at writing them or you suck. . .

I enjoy writing reviews, but I suck at them. This basically defeats liking the process. I read other book reviews and think wow that sounds great, it flows and is convincing. Mine not so much. This frustrates the heck out of me. I figured, though, better to be up front and honest about this hiccup in the Maddie machine. I'm hoping for some feedback, maybe some advice on how to better my technique or lack there of. Maybe you read a book or a blog post that told you what was what when writing book reviews. I don't know, but please share. Direction is much needed for a good ole boost to the self-esteem.

I also struggle to write negative reviews. I can't bring myself to crush the creative soul of an author by saying bad things about his/her book. I know, you are probably saying how could little miss nobody's (me) opinion have any affect on the feelings of a big wig author. They're human just like me and you. . . unless well. . . you're really aliens, then I have to start worrying. Do you have this problem too?

My book review for Nancy Werlin's next book Extraordinary (coming out next month!):

I would imagine it is extremely difficult for an author to write a book following great success from their previous work. The attempt to live up to the hype can only be a daunting task to undertake. As a reader it is hard to set the previous book(s) aside and only form opinions of the new rather than focus on comparing the old and new.

I found myself doing just that with Extraordinary, comparing it to Nancy Werlin’s previous work of greatness, Impossible. For a good deal of the book I didn’t like Extraordinary. I kept whining mentally, “Oh I want it to be like Impossible! Why can’t it be great like that was?” I know it was unfair of me. I finally, midway through, had to tell myself to shut up and look for the good in it, let it stand on its own. Lucky for me it did grow to be better than I first let it be. Although I felt, certain portions of the book should have been more entertaining.

On Phoebe’s first day of seventh grade she decides to leave behind her friends (snobby and mean) for the strange and intriguing (a.k.a. social outcast) Mallory. Fast forward a few years and Mallory and Phoebe are as close as sisters. Then Mallory’s brother comes back and strange things start to come to light about who and what Mallory and her brother are doing there.

Phoebe’s relationship with Mallory was odd to me at various times. I wasn’t sure of the undertones I was picking up throughout. At times it was hard to believe certain character’s behavior, Phoebe and her parents especially. It was fairly gag worthy to read how Phoebe abandoned herself to Mallory’s brother, but on the other hand Werlin did a good job writing these scenes, very convincing.

In the end you come to realize that you have to make hard choices and sacrifices for the people you love. Phoebe grows up by the end of the book and really learns what it is to be truly extraordinary even when everyone is telling you aren’t and can’t be.

The last half of the book was definitely worth sticking with it. (3 out of 5 stars)


Check out this cool project on Kickstarter.com:
Mysterious Letters

They need backers!


Quote of the Day:

I have never been aware before how many faces there are.
There are quantities of human beings, but there are many more

faces, for each person has several.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, July 19, 2010

History...I've written...just not here.

I've been good about scribbling little musings on scrap paper, but I've neglected to post anything in forever. Not sure what my punishment should be, but I'll leave that up to you. :)

Old posts:
Written 15, April, 2010

It feels as though my mind has been wading through a thick fog for some time. I’m truly amazed I can even focus at all to do the menial tasks that I am called upon to do every day. I keep hoping that I’ll come to the bend in the road where I can choose to get off the mind fog path. Until then I’m stuck where I’m at. I’m sure it doesn’t help that the majority of my reading selections lately have been what I refer to as fu fu books, otherwise known as mind fluff.

There really is no excuse for picking such books. I have over 500 books in my personal library that I have not read. However, do you ever come to the point when something has accumulated beyond reason and you look at it with this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach…oh my gosh what did I set myself up for? Where do I even begin? That’s where I’m at. I have no clue what book I should pick to read first. It doesn’t help that I have various avenues producing more books for me to add to my library. Shut the door!!!! Just say no!!! Have you lost your mind? I can’t turn a book away. I must be like a dragon hording away its treasure with no thoughts or plans of what to do with the ever mounting wealth. You have to love that comparison. I’m a dragon.

Written 25, May, 2010

If I didn’t know better I’d think I was becoming a hermit. Why might I ask, is that a bad thing?
My trip to Chicago this past weekend, for the Green Festival, is proof positive that this is quite
possibly true. Every time I’m in Chicago (or big cities for that matter) I find myself eager to seek
refuge from the world. I have reverse small town girl wants to escape to the big city. I have,
small town girl wants to escape to an even smaller town. Oh let’s say no neighbors for 25 plus
miles or better yet in the mountains with trees (and native wildlife) as my only neighbors. Cities
are just not my cup of tea and the older I get the less I enjoy social interaction with humans. I
think the explanation for this, is that I don’t understand people or actually that I use to think
I understood them, but now I realize I never did. The desire to live in the city, I will never
understand. That’s my soap box for the day.

Purchases from the weekend:
Coco Loco Earrings (I buy a pair every year.)
Books!

The worst place and at the same time best place to be when grounded from buying books is a 3 story Borders. I couldn’t locate the YA section and that’s when I discovered a 3rd floor. If I hadn’t been on a time crunch and had more buying freedom I could easily have spent hours there. They had by far the largest YA section I’ve seen in a while. I did buy (he he he) 3 books despite book probation, one for Elyza and two for me. I have a good excuse for one of mine. It was in the bargain bin, hard back, and only $3.00. No brainer!

I should be reading the book, A Tramp for the Lord by Corie Ten Boom, but I haven’t started it yet. My fingers do a good twitching impersonation worthy of Dennis Menace when I look at or think of other books I could be reading. I know I need to stick to my read five buy two plan. Of course that was thrown to the wind when I bought two books in Chicago. I haven’t read anything at all, book or otherwise for a while. That might be why my sanity is in question at the moment :). Buckle under Maddie and get to reading! It isn’t healthy to not be reading…

Shop day and I spent it playing Kakuro (blush). I managed to finish 2 ¾ puzzles. Hey! That’s no small task I’ll have you know. It is what I needed though, something to quietly content my mind to focus on.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday's Fancies (1)

If I can manage to write 2 posts a week that would be great. I sometimes don't post because I want to leave plenty of time for people to see the most recent post. Well I was just thinking let's try for 2 a week and see how goes it. Then I thought every Friday I could post Friday's Fancies, which will be random things I like for the day or just random babble.

Yesterday, Thursday, I created a new Pandora station based on my liking the group Rasputina. The group Cake Bake Betty appeared today and now I find myself hunting YouTube for more. Fancying Cake Bake Betty! I couldn't find much about the group and for now I don't care. I just like the sound. Their lyrics are refreshingly quirky.

At 12:01 this morning (more like 12:17, as for some unreported reason, they were running late) I watched Iron Man 2 with my brothers. Aside from being surrounded by the most obnoxious people I've ever had to be in a theater with (not my brothers, everyone else), the movie was great, better than I expected. I laughed, I cried...wait I didn't cry...anyways I enjoyed myself. I may just see it again.

The entire day I have been sitting at my desk and all my thoughts are in Shakespearean language. Me thinks, Would that I were...Where is this coming from? I know what you're thinking, why is Maddie talking to herself? I sit in office that isn't exactly close to anyone else's desk. What am I suppose to do, have intelligent conversations with my imaginary friend Mr. Bingley? Nah I'd much prefer to muse over things in own mind in a tongue that would cause many people to look confused, may hap I spoke that way out loud. It's not as though Shakespeare and I our close.

The weekend is only 50 minutes away! I work the bookstore tomorrow, you should check us out on FaceBook. Then Sunday is Mother's Day and shame on me...I have nothing yet. I feel like scum.


Quote of the Day
Iago:
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in bliss,
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger:
But O, what damn├Ęd minutes tells he o'er
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!
-Othello Act 3, Scene 3

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May, Musings, and More

We’re starting off the month May beautifully. Some may being looking at me as though I’m a bit off. It has rained all day...down pour is more like it. I’m sure the earth and plants are rejoicing. I like this kind of rain, it leaves a scent that will always be imprinted on my mind. Although there is a downside, it has been incredibly musty and humid, while stuck in doors.

I’ve tried 3 times to begin a new blog post. Two of which are on my work computer, both not more than 1 paragraph. They sadly (for them anyway) have been abandoned, not likely that I or anyone else will take up their cause in the near future.

I recently struck upon a new reading challenge. I’m forever trying to motivate myself to read the books already on my shelves. Can I help it that new books (are my personal DRUG) and library books call to me from their shelves, “Read me! Buy me! Forget the others!”? Is it any wonder the library is contemplating setting up a security system to keep me out. They’ve been threatened one too many times by my books for allowing me access. Anyway its rather simple really...if I can stick to it. I read 5 of my own books and then I can purchase 2 new. 5! Did I really commit to that many?! Bloody...(shaking my head).

First up The Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer, I finished it today. Several people have suggested that I read her books and I thought it was about time. Heyer is a modern Jane Austen author, modern in the sense that she lived in modern times (1902-1974), but she wrote Regency Era Romance. The Charity Girl was a pleasant read, not heavy and certainly not boring. My only 2 complaints are that I felt I needed a lingo dictionary to better understand the characters peculiar phrases and at one scene the characters go round and round (beat the bush!) to the point where I was wanting to jump inside the pages to do some very loud shouting. Georgette Heyer has my vote for read worthy books and I’ll definitely read more in the future. (This cover is much prettier than the one that I own...lucky!)

I’m not sure what I’ll read next, but I only have 4 more to go. 4! I borrowed a book from the shop to read, Death in Venice (plus 2 other short stories) by Thomas Mann. Let’s just say it is an odd one this story. However, it does not count toward my 5.

In slightly more depressing news...365 letter project...I quit, I gave up. It came to the point where I was dreading having to think of yet another person to write a measly boring letter to. I’m not sure I’ll try for that goal ever again.

I did finish Total 365! photo project. What a weight off my shoulders! Not sure I like pictures of myself any better, in fact probably less. I now count photography among my hobbies and love taking pictures. Especially getting creative and artsy with how I take them.

A last note (bed is literally shouting at my eyes), I really must try to post more. I aspire to be an author yet I don’t write. How can one ever hope to have a future as an author if they never write? I may begin to post more, but beware boredom my await you as I tend to lack ideas for new and exciting material. Well at least I can’t pop a brilliant idea everyday...maybe every other! :)




Check this out...I tweeted about it the other day.
This makes want to have an iPhone and go to London!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Curiosity Hasn't Killed Me Yet....

I know you probably think I've fallen from the face of the earth...not yet anyway.

Between work, the bookstore, and taxes life hasn't been a very yummy box of chocolates lately. I really want to write a post, a good meaty one. In fact I've had several that I have wanted to write, but life hasn't lent to writing. Sadly I've lost my ideas because I'm bad about being cocky thinking I'll remember what I want to say. Wrong!

I wanted to keep you in the loop and let you know I'm still here. I hope that next week, maybe sooner, after taxes are finished I'll have to time to breathe and think.

Until then happy reading...

You may want to check out Stephen R. Donaldson's The Mirror of Her Dreams. Yes, I've found time to read despite everything else. Let's face it; you'd need to have me committed if it I wasn't able to find time to read. It was an excellent read and I can't wait until I read the sequel. I'm in the midst of Simon Holt's The Devouring.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tribute

You know the saying ignorance is bliss? When is it ever truer than when we are children? The simplicity of our minds, the purity is such a wonderful treasure we don’t even realize until we are older what we had. We don’t realize what we had until it is gone.

As children many of us look at our parents and think who are these giants. We paint in our small minds a masterpiece of these near ethereal beings. They attain such high status in our minds. They become immortals impervious to anything and everything that comes along. Essentially (undoubtably unhealthy) we make idols of our parents. Then the teen years hit, the age of stupidity and narcissism, when we turn ourselves into what we held our parents up to be.

It isn’t until we are older, maybe even too late, that we manage to discover our heroes’ kryptonite. Old age.

My father turned 49 on Friday. In the morning while my mom braided my hair, I leaned my head on her knee and began to shed some tears. My daddy, my beloved untouchable papa was aging. How? Why? I can remember looking at him believing he could do anything.

He stumbles home from work too tired to stay awake to eat, much less watch a movie with his family. His hands and knees, hurt him the most. I can only imagine he is in pain all the time . . . no peace. Yet my dad does not complain. He continues to work hard supporting his family.

At that moment having the selfish thoughts of not wanting him old for myself, to keep my own memories of unstoppable dad intact, he had left a note to us on his birthday. Isn’t it supposed to be vice versa?

“By God’s Amazing Grace - I’m 49 Today! 10 years longer than my momma!. . .”
(My grandma past away when my dad was 16.)

I cried more and thought my dad is always looking to the bright side despite all the hardships he has been through. A biased opinion it may be, but my dad, my dear dear papa is the most courageous person I know. Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Warm Handshake

I had intended, actually I was supposed to write a review for my LibraryThing Early Reviewer According to Jane by Marilyn Brant. I finished it last night. However, in the midst of finishing the book I’m about to review (in its defense I started it first) the ideas for a post kept assailing my mind., Rather than risk losing those thoughts I began to write them down while reading. I still need to review According to Jane and hopefully that will be in the next day or so. Beware, though, I’m an excellent procrastinator.

Have you ever read a book and felt as though the author had beaten you? It is not fun. You purchase a book thinking, “Oh I’ve found a kindred spirit in this author. I can’t wait to read what he/she has to say”. Such was the book Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman.

It is a biased opinion, but I believe myself to be somewhat knowledgeable when it comes to all things book related. I am a bibliophile after all. I thought Anne Fadiman’s book would nourish those ideas. Wrong! The first half of the book, while entertaining at times left me feeling down right stupid and incompetent. I feel as though I’ll never achieve that level of “smarts,” time to give up. I also felt she was a bit of a degrader. As though if I met her in person she would turn up her nose to me and walk off in a huff (I’m being extremely judgmental, I realize.). I’d hope for an embrace or a warm handshake as a fellow book lover (What is a warm handshake? If my hands are cold, does that mean something else entirely?). Thoughts on a few essays follow.

At times I wanted to throw the book at the wall (too horrid to contemplate really), but the better reaction seemed to be shouting, “Oh for crying out loud get on with it!”

I have never (to my knowledge) come face to face or spoken with a feminist (sorry don’t mean to sound as though they are some exotic rare species, really I don’t). Although I’m told I have some qualities of one. However, my other traits out weigh those by far.* The essay, The His’Er Problem was (trying to think of a proper word) ridiculous seems right to say, but not necessarily. I imagine when you say, “I”m a feminist,” you’re not wishy washy about it. You either jump in or not at all. The essay, I felt was proof she has jumped in, but really must we argue every word to make it equal? Why can’t it be assumed?** I’ve never read The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willen Van Loon and thought to myself this is only referring to the male species, not fair. It would be nice to though, seeing as the first several chapters are laughable. I wouldn’t want to admit to being part of the mankind that evolved from jellyfish. Aren’t we grateful that John 3:16 says whosoever and not he or him or some other form of male shackling pronoun? Women would have to begin to worry that Jesus didn’t come to save them too. Ridiculous! Thank goodness I don’t think like that, I have better things to argue and worry about.

If I was disappointed in the first half, the second half of the book redeemed itself. I was smiling and laughing. I nodded my head in agreement more times than I can remember.

The essay, Inset a Carrot (which had proofreading marks in and around the title) was the essay I found a bit of that kindred spirit I was hoping for. When I read books with errors in them my first reaction is a slumping of my upper body. Especially if the said book is from a popular well-known publisher (I have high expectations). My eyes will then continue to dart to the error, as though along with hideous typos the printer attached eye glue. Recently an error was so obvious and preposterous I ran around my house consecutively showing each person in my family. Thank you Anne Fadiman! It is good to know I am not alone in this. However, my proofreading typically stays within the bounds of misspelled words, occasionally a comma. My grammar skills are (ashamedly so) down right disgusting. I would like to improve though. I am determined from now on I will keep a journal of the errors I find in books.

Reading the essay The Literary Glutton left me salivating. I thought I was hungry before starting it, my stomach became alive with ferocious growling. I still haven't sated it and I think this essay is best left for a full stomach. It never crossed my mind to think that reading about food would have such an affect. Now I know it to be true.

I feel that the second half of the book helped place it in a better light in my mind. Read, it you may enjoy it. However, prepare yourself for a self-esteem beating in the beginning and have a dictionary on hand. My eyes are still in a fog from the many words I didn't know.

One last thought, I must read Charles Lamb, something by him or about him. He has now come to my attention twice in the past month. The only thing I knew about him before now was that he wrote abridgements of Shakespeare. Can you see my knowledge of him is sorely lacking?


*I think I need to look into this more. I sound like I know all about feminism and truly I’m rather ignorant and shouldn’t talk like I know more than I really do.

** If your confused read the essay.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

“It is completely unimportant. That is why it is so interesting!” ~ Agatha Christie

(I wrote this 02, February, but silly me I forgot my notebook and couldn't type it at work during my lunch hour. You're getting it a day late. . . sorry.)

I sometimes come to the notebook ready to produce masterpiece worthy posts (a good chuckle from that right?). Then there are the times, when I haven't the slightest notion of what might erupt from my aroma pleasing pencil (I love the smell of sharpened pencils!). It just so happens today is the latter. Whose to say this post won't be entitled Random, Untitled, or Nonsense?
Today marked several things:

- Day 33 of my 365 Letters Project - Oh my gosh, what did I sign myself up for!?
- 12 days until that most loathsome of holidays. . . Valentine's Day. - No I didn't forget, not as though reminders aren't lurking around every corner.
- 47 days until Expo. Which means many things. Most prominent in my mind, though is 47 days to loose as much weight as I possibly can. Otherwise a well meaning, beloved, Asian lady will accost me at the expo telling me, "Must loose weight, Maddie must". I know she has my health in her best interest, she doesn't mean to put me down. Last year she prayed at supper (in front of most of my co-workers) that I would loose weight. Eeek!

I ended January having read 7 books. Today I started (mum and sister sigh loudly as though to say FINALLY) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I've heard many book ravers going on and on about this book. I guess we'll get to see what all the hubbub is about.

Watched Julie, Julia at the Library (on the big screen) and was simply delighted. I may rush to the nearest cooking school and enroll. The more movies I see Meryl Streep in the more astounded I become with her talent. She is amazing and Amy Adams is becoming quite the diverse actress. She can surely hold her ground with the best of them. I'm anxious to watch it again. I even won the drawing for Julie Powell's book. Although I'm told it leaves much to be desired. We'll see. . . eventually.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Let's talk about sex...ok let's not

When this statement leaves my mouth, "The book was great, but too much. . . sex," several things happen. First I usually stammer those words out, not sure if the person will react with disbelief that I would read such 'rubbish' or nonchalantly they don't care. Most arch their eyebrows and give this look that says yep she's one of those squeamish virgins. . . weak constitution that one. Ok yes (I can't believe I'll admit this here) I'm a virgin, but squeamish and weak constitution; come now let's not be stupid. Really it has nothing to do with. . . Oh please do I need explain this.

In my opinion a book's greatness should not be defined by whether it has sex in it or not. We shouldn't come to the end of a book lacking romance and think it not good. Too many people are desensitized to reading such things they no longer consider it wrong or vulgar. I guess I find myself saying that I don't want to become that way by constantly feeding my mind with such content. Do we really think our minds should go to the places such scenes take us to?

When it comes to my personal library, I generally look to the future it will have. Hopefully I'll have dozens (I'm serious) of little ones dying to read the treasures their mum has worked so hard to gather. My own mum has never been one to stop us from reading a book. At times she expressed her concern, but in the end it was ultimately our choice. I don't want to keep books on the shelves that I have to worry about. Is it not the case that things in life, not just books, we're told are bad and we shouldn't read, watch, listen, etc are the most intriguing? Our fingers begin to twitch with anticipation at delving into something that is bad (aka will lead us down the path that rocks). Why keep something that would cause someone to stumble regardless if it really is a good book?

I see you sitting back wondering what am I coming to. What epiphany has Maddie reached? Wouldn’t that be brilliant? No epiphany today. . . sorry. Only that I finished a book.

Today I finished Talyn by Holly Lisle. Have you read it? Go now, find a copy, read, and tell me is it not splendid?! I came across this book on LibraryThing. The cover intrigued me (of course), but I read very little about its plot. I immediately went to PaperBackSwap and procured my copy. I didn’t read it right away (damn library books :)).

I’m not always good with summaries, but this wouldn’t be a good review without one (at least I’m told).

Talyn is a Shielder for the Confederacy taak Belytaak in Hyre. Her magical abilities and those of her fellow Shielders have helped wage war on the Republic of Eastil for the past 300 years. Suddenly outside people the Ba’Feegash are invoking and spreading peace throughout both sides of Hyre. Talyn finds herself having to play “nice” with the enemy, but are they the true enemy?

Holly Lisle, and this no exaggeration, has crafted one of the best fantasy novels I’ve ever read. Her attention to detail is amazing. She created not one country, but several with different cultures, languages, people, and intricate histories. I kept reading and reading nearly convinced that this was a people that had lived at some unknown point in my past. The characters leapt off the page, it was very easy to see and feel what they were going through. Many of Talyn’s thoughts I nodded my head wanting to walk up to someone and say, “Yes! Do you see?”. One such time being with the following quote from the book, I posted it on my Facebook even:

‘Guilt is a good friend, isn't it? It will stand at your back when every other friend has abandoned you, and in the face of all reason it will stay by your side, and even when you tell it, "I am moving on now," it will say, "I shall never leave you; never." If only I could find a lover as faithful as guilt.' - Talyn by Holly Lisle page 42


Now the reasoning for my intro. There was sex in the book. At some points unnecessary, but by the end of the book I found myself mulling it over more. The scenes that were more graphic were truly essential for the ending result. I couldn’t walk away saying I got any gratification out of it and that’s what is important to me when considering its attributes to the overall story. Does that make sense? I still don’t know if Talyn has a place on my shelf or not. Will it find itself back on PBS like other books before it? I’ll ponder that for a while.

This post is long, I’ll be on my way now. Read Talyn!

Almost forgot. Update, I’m on letter 26 today. This is turning out to be VERY hard. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Threatening Letter. . . .

This letter mysteriously appeared on my pillow this morning. I thought I might share it with you, in hopes of finding the culprit.


Dear Maddie,

You may interpret this as you like, but we fully hope and expect you to read it as hate mail. However, we're sure you can (or else) redeem yourself.

It has come to our attention that you are in breach of contract. The said contract being the promise (okay you say goal we say promise) you made regarding your reading goals for 2010. Oh yes you didn't think we cared or that we didn't pay such close attention to things. May we remind you we are highly intelligent and as ominous as this may sound we are everywhere in your house. We see that look of innocence on your face, pretending you've done nothing to deserve such remonstrations. Hah! Think again! If it were not for your blatant disregard that we're everywhere, well we would being willing to cut (horrid word) you some slack. You left the evidence in plain site, though. Have you caught on yet? Library. . . books. For shame Madelyne, for shame. Not just one either, 3, 3 library books. We also have connections with the library and would have found out eventually had you bothered to be secretive about the books.

We don't stop there. It is altogether a most saddening bit of information that the first 2 books on your reading list for 2010 will not even be from your own shelves. One book you didn't have the decency to get from the library even. No you took it off of someone else's hands and only to read. Why not let every tramp that comes along begging to be read among our midst than. . . hmm?

Have you no mind for what it is like to sit on the shelf day after day collecting dust (I wouldn't recommend collection of said particles, horrible for ones continued upkeep)? To sit between one's comrades to hear the same sorrowful stiff unread pages? Hmm. . . well do you? Oh sure some are lucky they've been read and have formed their sacred monarchy. We scoff at them. . . scoff! Unless of course we may been given the courtesy of joining their ranks (hint, hint, hint).

If it must come to this so be it. We have banded together to send for, no not a loan shark, can you imagine? Loan, really what a dreadful word to a book, such a disgusting use of 4 letters. Shark, we tremble to think what it would do to a book, all those teeth.* We have sent for the adoption papers. We may as well find new homes if you cannot be bothered to do your motherly duty. Read us! Why just the other day we had word from a most respectable person across the ocean who would be quite happy to have one of us. While the prospect of water is frightening, if these are the measures we are to take so be it! With a flower indeed!

Your faithful, honest, beloved, intelligent, handsome,
bona fide (the list could continue for sometime),

Books!



P.S. May we also remind you we know all about the Amazon wishlist oh and the Barnes & Noble gift card you are just itching to spend. Mercy of all mercies we hope your viewing of a certain device (the Nook another heinous four letter word) does not lead you down any paths that would warrant our immediate forsaking of all bonds. Be ever so careful!


* We realize this is a situation that a loan shark would not ordinarily be called upon, but to us loan shark equals much pain equals justice served.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Announcement, Commitment, Decree, Edict, Ordinance...Just call it what it is, a Resolution List.

It’s that time of year. Yep you guessed it, New Years Resolution lists! Now, now, stop groaning it’s good for you. I can’t say it’s entirely encouraging. I only managed to accomplish one (see #) of my goals, but a surpassed all my hopes by leap and bounds with this one goal.

Last year’s goals were:

Read between 150 and 200 books.
I only read 53 books the entire year.

Finish and Enter 21 projects for the quilt show I participate in every August.
This was really too much to commit to. Especially because I’m very bad about waiting until the last minute to rush and finish everything.

# Get down to business about opening a bookstore.
I had no idea when I said that, that I would actually open one. I only meant plan it out and start saving. Such an amazing blessing (Thank you Lord!) To say I opened a bookstore in 2009 (with my sister don’t forget that)! Right now we’re thankfully making just enough each month to cover our rent. With the new year we’re hoping to get the word out to more people (somehow?). I believe the last count of books in the store was a little over 4,500. We still have more to add!

Try harder to write more.
I blogged...does that count? I wrote very little for my book, maybe 10 pages tops.

Journal more.
If it counts, I started the Total 365! photography project in April. It is a form of journaling with pictures.

A better relationship with the Lord.
:( (Deep Frown)


I think I’ve set the bar fairly high for myself for 2010. I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good or bad thing. I’ve split my list into 2 groups. Realistic goals and Unrealistic goals, which are goals I still would really like to accomplish (just don’t know how likely that is).

Realistic Goals:

Read more books from own shelves and hopefully read 75 or more books.
I’d really like to hit 100 or more, but why not set out to accomplish a small goal and surprise myself by beating it. I’ve even started a reading challenge list of books from my personal shelves (see below).

Complete the Women Unbound Reading Challenge.
I have until November 2010 to read (for the highest level) 12 books, fiction and non-fiction. I haven’t started yet and probably should have, seeing how it started in November 2009.

Write More! This includes my book, poetry, and my blog. I’d really like to write at least 2 posts a week. Sometimes it is a bit difficult to come up with material for new posts that quickly, but we’ll see. Any writing advice would be great!

Finish my Total 365! photo project. I think it will be over in April. I’m not sure if I’ll go another year after that or not.

New goal idea that I’m really excited about: Write a letter everyday. Each day write a letter to someone different. Initially it will be 365 letters, but I’m hoping people will write me back and then in turn I’ll write them again (although 2nd letters do not count towards the 365 goal). My grandma was the first person on my list (wrote her letter last night) and I mailed her letter this morning. I’m more than happy to write to new people. If you’d like you can email me your address. My email is peetierox@hotmail.com.

Overcome 2 personal handicaps. Lack of confidence and mental stability issues. Does anyone know of a confidence booster pill?

Hit the 2,000 mark on LibraryThing. Right now I own a little over 1,100 books. Only 900 to go! Is this unrealistic?

This goal is something I didn’t heed in 2009 and SHOULD listen to for this year and every year forever. I’ll post the same text from last year.
A better relationship with the Lord. More than ever my relationship with the Lord has really been slack. The year has had its ups and downs. I think back to all of the blessings the Lord has given me and think shame on me for not striving for a better relationship with Christ. However, I also shouldn’t only want a better relationship with Him just because of His blessings. I need to be in His word everyday, praying, and worshiping Him because I’m told to do so in His word, its obedience. I want to read my Bible more and truly seek the Lord’s wisdom.

Another goal that just came to me via LibraryThing’s (friendly yet constant) reminders. Read my LibraryThing Early Reviewers. I think I have 4 or 5 that I’ve yet to read. Although one of them (picture on the side for book I’m reading right now) I’m nearly finished with.


Unrealistic Goals:

Start Vlogging (spelling?) On YouTube. I still haven’t convinced my mom that this is a good idea, not sure if I will be able to or not. This looks like fun to me and maybe a confidence booster in the making?

Travel to somewhere outside the United States. My personal stipulation is that neither Canada or Mexico count. Preferably another continent.

Loose weight, become skinny. This would be a great time for my magical powers to manifest (just kidding I already have those :)).

One or all of these would be great. Meet Prince Charming, Get Married, and/or have a baby. I’m sure my mother will loathe the and/or before ‘have a baby’. However, I can always visit the sperm bank for that one if Mr. Charming doesn’t make an appearance soon!

Learn to speak another language. I’d like to speak Welsh, German, or Italian. I know a little French, which is awful that I say little after 5 years of French classes.
Save more money. This could really fall under realistic goals, but I’m not always that great at saving.

On your mark (well mine really), get set (list finished...I think), Go (start accomplishing, beat the odds)!


2010 Personal Reading Challenge List:

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
The Gutenberg Elegies by Sven Birkerts
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen*
The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff
Oscar Wilde and the Yellow Nineties by Frances Winwar
Dracula by Bram Stoker*
King, Kaiser, Tsar by Catherine Clay
The Once and Future King by T.H. White*
The Sea Rovers by Albert Marrin
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Riddle-Master The Complete Trilogy in one book by Patricia McKillip
A Thief in the House of Memory by Tim Wynne-Jones
The Cage by Michael Weston
Archangel by Sharon Shinn
True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington*
Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg
Dinotopia Lost by Alan Dean Foster

* = Also on my 25 before I’m 25 list.
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