It’s Book Club time again. We’re meeting this Friday to discuss The Secret Keeper (which I really liked), but that’s nothing to worry about. No, it’s next month I’m worried about. March is almost here, and that’s my month. I have to host the entire club here, at my house, and I have to pick the book. And I need to be able to tell them which book on Friday. So I need some help. Off the top of my head, here are three I think I could suggest.
I think any one of those would be fine. World War Z is the slightly crazier pick. I’ve read The Shadow of the Wind, but not the other two. Is it cheating to pick a book I’ve already read? It was only a few months ago. Other suggestions?
I’m going to need ideas for food, too, but that’s weeks away.
I’m confused. The time change, the weather, the fact that Thanksgiving is next week already – all of these things are throwing me. Also, maybe it has something to do with the fact that I don’t have anything to worry about. There’s usually something, and given another day or so, I’m sure I could come up with a new thing to gnaw on, but it probably won’t be big. Why do I feel so weird? John does, too. We had a good weekend, fun, even productive: we finally made an appointment to get an estimate for putting hardwood floors in upstairs, something we’ve been talking about for probably a year now. I’m not that excited about my book – that’s probably part of it. I haven’t been making the time to read (what is WRONG with me?). The book I just finished (Sheri S. Tepper’s latest) was okay, but not gripping (definitely not her best). WAY heavy on the exposition.
Okay, you know what? I can’t solve the mystery of why I feel at loose ends, but I can go upstairs and put something light on TV and clean up before the flooring guy shows up tomorrow. He needs to be able to measure, and right now you can’t see where the wall meets the floor.
Tonight we will discuss Before I Go to Sleep, which I enjoyed. I’m sure we’ll only spend about ten minutes talking about the book and the rest of the time chatting about schools and kids and teaching at schools and teaching kids. (Every single person there (except for me) is either a teacher, a mom, or both.) Not that I mind. They’re not boring. Here’s the only scary thing about tonight: they put me on the rotation. That means that in a few short months, I will have to host the book club. I’ll need to pick a book (I’ll accept suggestions!), but that’s not so scary. This is: all of these women (who live in very large, very nice houses) will be in MY little house. And they will be judging me. I know they won’t be mean (certainly not to my face, and possibly not at all – they seem very nice), but still. Having a large group of strangers (practically) in my house is not anything like having a large group of friends over. So I’m a little nervous. Several months in advance.
Today didn’t turn out quite like I thought it would. We were out late last night (we met Emily at her new place for dinner), so we slept late this morning, dawdled about breakfast, and kinda puttered around all day. It’s been a nice day, don’t get me wrong, but I kinda had plans for it that I never put into action.
I did go to Wegmans, though, so I was able to do something productive. Actual grocery shopping that resulted in real healthy food at home will certainly help us eat right this week. But it’s not going to keep us from having nachos for dinner. Because we’re stupid.
Now I have to decide something really important. For the second time today, since I finished Little Brother last night and read Coraline this afternoon. What am I going to read next?
The weekend is upon us, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. Sure, we have work to do (seeding the lawn is on the agenda for tomorrow), but it’s a THREE-DAY WEEKEND. Three whole days. Once I stopped working today, I was even inspired to clean up a bit. I may have been watching Cinderella (and singing along) while washing dishes and cleaning the countertops, but you weren’t there so you’ll never know for sure.
I started reading the next book club book (Before I Go to Sleep) last night – it’s fascinating. The next meeting is a week from today. I’ll have this one finished before the weekend is over.
Today was better than yesterday. And the new yoga instructor is very different, but I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. We had a very restful, very peaceful class.
Hey, I found out I’m a genius today. Or at least very perceptive. In a very narrow field. Do you remember way back when I read Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill? No? Well, you must not be keeping up with my What I’ve Been Reading page. Here’s what I said when I read it:
This is a scary book, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish it. Okay, it was scary right at the beginning, and that first night, I decided not to read it in bed. After that, though, it didn’t scare me. That’s not to say it wasn’t good. It was. But I wasn’t too scared to read it. It reminded me of Stephen King sometimes, and I can’t tell if that’s good or bad.
I finished 11/22/63 today (recent Stephen King novel), and when I got to the afterword and read, “My son, the novelist Joe Hill,” I did a triumphant little I’m-so-smart dance. Really. Because I have a very high opinion of myself.
John is working on his blog software, I’m cataloguing (Really, spellcheck? That looks SO wrong. I want to pronounce it cat-uh-log-YOO-ing. I might from now on.) our books because I’ve noticed that many are missing from my spreadsheets (Yes, plural. Don’t you talk about me and my spreadsheets.), and I’m finishing a bottle of wine I wasn’t really crazy about. (Yes, there is such a thing. Let’s all forget that I’m drinking it anyway.) This one was described as “herbaceous” at the store. I’m not getting anything herb-y out of it.
Leaving the not-so-great wine out of the equation – no, even including the not-so-great wine, this is a pretty great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I got my nails done earlier (at a place I will NOT be going back to – I don’t know why I keep trying out new places. I love my normal place. I should just keep going there.), and John painted the trim between the library (that used to be the dining room and has no furniture other than my desk (where I am not sitting) and the bookshelves) and the family room, and yesterday we went to Home Depot to start pricing hardwood floors because we’re going to do the whole upstairs ourselves, and I feel like this weekend we’ve reached a nice balance of productive (painting, estimates, laundry, etc.) and relaxing (blog software, book organizing, wine, etc.).
The other thing I did while I was out today was ask around about this GPS watch I’m thinking about getting. I wanted to ask some real runners what they use, so I went to the one of our local running stores (I went to another one last week) to talk to someone. I’m thinking about the Garmin Forerunner 210, and the only decision I have left to make is whether I want that one or the 610. I’m leaning towards the 210.
Man, I am very much over this wine. And I’m going back to my books. And thinking about dinner. Because I’m hungry.
I had a couple of half-formed ideas of things to write about today, but they’re pretty much gone. Or far enough away that I don’t have more than a sentence. You know, like how Jess’s phone called me without her knowledge this afternoon, and how I can’t get enough avocado lately, so I was terribly disappointed when I asked to have avocado added to my sandwich from Panera this evening and they left it off and I didn’t realize until I got home and then it was too late and I was sad. I had avocado in my salad for lunch (Au Bon Pain – spinach, egg, bacon, avocado, chicken, black beans, honey mustard, and a little more avocado – oh wow good), so it’s not like I had to get through the whole day avocado-less. Just dinner.
Insert Homer Simpson drooling noise
Mom has made some really good book choices lately. The last two books I read (well, the one I’m reading now and the one I just read) were her recommendations, and I am very happy with them. That’s not to say that her recommendations aren’t normally trustworthy – they very much are – but sometimes I need more persuading. Maybe I’m just being stubborn for no reason. Or for the same reason John gets stubborn he’s looking for his next book and I send a continuous stream of suggestions his way. Suggestion overload! Anyway, I think the best thing – okay, best things about these latest two are a) I knew almost nothing about them before I read them, and 2) they are not at all similar to each other but are both really good. And good to read back to back, for reasons I have not yet thought out. And I really like that I hardly knew anything about them. Mom told me the premise of The Age of Miracles, but she told me absolutely nothing about Gone Girl, and I think I kind of prefer it that way. John and I work pretty hard to avoid spoilers for movies and TV shows, avoiding just about anything that mentions them. We really like going into these things with no preconceptions. With books, you’ve usually got the cover, the blurb on the back, some expectation based on the genre or author or something. With Gone Girl, since I’m reading it on the Kindle, I don’t have anything but the title and the author’s name. In the long run, I can see how that might make it difficult to decide what to read next since I often decide based on what genre I’m in the mood for, but once in a while starting a book completely in the dark about it is fun.
Speaking of my book, I’d really like to read it now, so, you know. Bye.
What to read? I think I need help. I started a book of short stories by Harlan Ellison before we left for England. I left it behind because it’s hardcover, and I didn’t want to travel with it. The stories are all somewhat depressing, so I’m not in a hurry to get back to it. I started Little, Big on the plane ride over, but it’s hard to get into and I’m thinking about giving up. Has anyone read it? Should I keep going? I finished Coming Home (this was my second time through) late last night. I love that book. The book club I may or may not be a member of read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks this past month. I missed the meeting because of our trip. I have it, but I don’t think I’m anywhere near in the mood for something like that. That would mean branching out, and I just don’t feel like doing that today. Maybe it’s the stormy weather, but I want comfort reading. Wait – I think I have the solution. I haven’t read the most recent Dresden Files book, and from there I may move on to Jim Butcher’s fantasy series. Hooray for decisions! You guys are so helpful.
We had a request for more dog videos, so here’s one of the dogs in the rain.
Hey, I didn’t promise it would be interesting. They don’t do much that’s interesting…
Kind of. I had a work conversation that will have consequences. Might be good or bad. Let’s hope for good. I think.
I’ve spent the last couple of days catching up on Fringe. I was away too long and I missed two episodes, and at this point in the season, missing two episodes is kind of a problem. Sure, I have Television Without Pity to catch me up, but I’d rather watch them. Sadly, Hulu only carries the most recent five episodes (and it’s not a Hulu+ show), and it turns out I was seven episodes behind. I read somewhere that Hulu is about to become even more limited, but I don’t remember where I found the link, and Google isn’t helping me right now. But that will suck.
You know what won’t suck? The Bloggess is coming to the DC area on her book tour! But wait – there is something that will suck about that. I. Can’t. Go. I can’t go and shower her with support because I will be out of town, and as happy as I am (and will be) to be on vacation, I can’t help but wish her visit wasn’t happening right then. So you know what you local people can do? I bet you can guess. Go. Go see her in Gaithersburg next Saturday (5/19) or in Annapolis next Sunday (5/20). Listen to her speak. Get something (anything) signed. Most importantly, tell her she’s wonderful and she can move in next door to me anytime.
I just re-read that paragraph and did a double-take. Did I just write “shower with her support”? Oh, wait, no. I didn’t.
John had brunch with the band this morning (Rock stars do brunch, don’t they? No? Well, they should. Brunch is awesome.), so I took my book (The Bloggess‘s hilarious Let’s Pretend This Never Happened) off to Starbucks with me. I got my favorite drink (tall skim no-whip toffee nut white mocha – I mention it all the time because I assume you’re planning on memorizing it so you can order one for me next time we’re at Starbucks together without even having to check with me. You’re planning to do that, right?) and sat at a table outside to sip and read. Lovely half-hour or so, only slightly marred by the kid at the next table who stared every time I laughed at my book (which was about every 10 seconds). He was just jealous. Then Wegmans (Yes, I actually went to the grocery store this weekend. Can you believe it?), home to unload, and back out to get my nails done. I was desperately in need of both a manicure and a pedicure. I went to my favorite place, but for the second time this weekend, I was turned away. Terribly sad. The first time was Friday evening. My friend Chastity was in no hurry to face traffic on her way home, so we decided to get our nails done and went to this place. Turns out this weekend was prom weekend, so they were fully booked. Sad. We gave up that night, but I assumed that by Sunday I’d be able to walk in. I should have asked, since when I got there today, there was a sign on the door that said they were closed for a private party. Disappointed, I went to my old favorite salon. Unfortunately, they’re under new management, and I am not happy about it. It wasn’t a terrible experience, but it wasn’t the relaxing afternoon I’d hoped for. They didn’t stab me in the toe or anything, and my nails look okay, but they’re cut too short, and the lady was a bit rough with my cuticles. So I have to find another back-up nail salon (or plan ahead). My life is so hard.
Look what came today!
Look! Signed bookplate!
I’m so very excited. Must hurry up and finish my current book. The Bloggess is awesome and I would totally be there if her book tour was coming anywhere near DC. YAY!
I think I just joined a book club. I went Friday night to my neighbor’s book club to meet people, drink wine, and talk about The Snow Child (we certainly talked about it, but that was far from the main event). There were 9 other women there, and all of them have known each other for a long time, so I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. Four people in this group started the book club FOURTEEN years ago (one of them is my neighbor), and three of those four (the three who are not my neighbor) have known each other since high school (which for me was 15 years ago, so longer than that for them. I think). Thankfully, it was not at all awkward. They were so welcoming, really friendly, and despite the fact that I was the only one there who does not work for a local school district in any capacity and who doesn’t have kids, I didn’t feel like an outsider. It was fun. Really pleasant. I’d like to do it again.
It could have been a movie. All of these women, all gorgeous in cute but casual clothes, clustered in ever-changing groups around the island in our hostess’s beautiful kitchen, chatting, drinking wine, snacking. I can just see a camera swooping in from an upper angle and swirling around to follow snippets of conversations. Later, the camera would follow our move to the family room to talk about the book. We sat in a circle around the coffee table (some on the floor, on the couch, on ottomans), and the camera would shift from the middle of the group to an over-the-shoulder shot and back until it lifts out of the center and off to the side.
I think I’ve already seen this movie.
What should I read next? I created a spreadsheet (yes – shut up) because I can never remember which book I planned to read next. I get these great ideas when I’m in the middle of a book, but when it comes time to actually pick the next one, I can’t remember which one I wanted to read. So now I have a list. Actually I have two lists. Three. One lists books I want to buy (recommended by friends, websites, authors, etc.), one lists books I own and haven’t read yet (the ones I realize I want to read when I’m in the middle of something else), and the third lists books I’ve read and want to re-read (sometimes for the fifteenth time). The second list is the hardest one to keep up to date, again because of the short-term memory loss I suffer when I’m reading something else. Which is always. Even now, I’m still a few pages away from the end of Just A Geek (I forgot to update my current books widget – I’ve been reading Just A Geek for the last couple of days), I finished The Snow Child last week (for the book club meeting tomorrow night), I finished listening to one of my new favorite books on Tuesday, I listened to a little more of The Prestige at the gym this morning, and it’s vitally important that I know what I’m going to read next. (I don’t usually have this many plates spinning at one time.) I should look at my list. I should add to my list. And all I’m doing is putting the decision off. Which is ridiculous.
Have I not yet said what book we were listening to that I loved loved LOVED? Oops. Didn’t mean to keep you in suspense. We listened to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Ridiculous title. Super good book. We laughed, I cried, and the woman who read for the main character sounded like a young Julie Andrews. It was awesome. I highly recommend listening to it rather than reading it. Although I’m sure it would be very good on paper, too.
Time to figure this out.
We’re home, safe and sound, and so are the dogs. Nothing happened to Roxy this weekend. (Thank you, Jess.) We had a highly successful Passover seder Friday night, I drank all the wine in the house Saturday night (Mom assures me I most certainly did NOT drink all the wine, but I felt like I had by Sunday morning), and we spent much of Sunday stealing books from Mom and Dad’s basement, all of which now live in OUR basement. The drive home was much better than anticipated (mostly because we listened to a fantastic book the whole way, but I’ll have more on that once we actually finish it – we have about an hour left), and when we arrived, we unloaded the books in about 30 minutes and picked up the dogs just before the kennel closed. Busy, but quick and over and done with. Details tomorrow. Maybe. I’ll think about it.
Faster than usual, I mean. Especially lately. I started A Princess of Mars two weeks ago. TWO weeks ago. That’s ridiculous. Turns out I didn’t really want to read it. Over the weekend, I got invited to join a book club, but I can’t start the new book until I finish the one I’m reading. So I stayed up too late last night, racing through it as fast as I could without skimming, and I finally finished it when I got home from work. I’m free! And now I can start reading The Snow Child. It’s a new book, only out in hardcover, so I decided to use this as my Kindle test. I bought my first Kindle book, and now that I’m free (!), I can start it. And that is a little bit why I’m not writing any more tonight. Also because I am sleepy.
This (from Catalog Living) is almost as hilarious as the llama picture.
A couple of weeks ago, John and I hung a shelf above the couch in the family room. Now I don’t know what to put on it. The studs aren’t spaced right, so we reinforced the bottom, but I still don’t think it’s sturdy enough to pack it full of books. We were going to hang a second one above the TV, but we’ll have the same weight distribution problem. So what do we do?
It looks a little ridiculous empty, but I’m afraid it’ll come crashing down if we put anything heavy on it.
I finished All Clear today (when I should have been doing Statistics homework), and now I have to decide what’s next. (Don’t suggest Watership Down. That’s not funny.) The last few decisions haven’t been all that hard – The Hunger Games trilogy, then All Clear – but the local library sale was this weekend (we went Friday night), so we picked up a few things, including a Robin McKinley book…and I did finally order Elizabeth Bear’s Hammered…problem solved. One, then the other. Sometimes you just have to talk it out. Thanks!
I finished The Hunger Games trilogy over the weekend. After one small hiccup at the very beginning, I couldn’t put them down. The hiccup? It’s written in the first person point of view, but in the present tense. I nearly gave up on the first page. But I got over it almost immediately and stopped noticing. Stopped noticing to the point where I’m not 100% sure the second and third books are written the same way. They must be. I could check, but they’re in the other room. I’m lazy. Anyway, aside from that, I was hooked right away. Dystopian society in the not-too-distant future, people pushed to the edge, hard choices, fight for survival – good stuff.