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),


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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