Book A Day #28 – Bought At My Favorite Independent Bookshop

Well, it’s finally stumped me. I honestly can’t remember a book that I bought at my favorite indepent book store, since that store was in Atlanta and has sadly long since gone out of business. That would make it nearly 20 years ago since I bought a book there. I do remember visiting the shop when I was in town for a reunion, and they were having a going out of business sale. I remember being so grateful to be able to visit the store one more time, and I did buy a book then, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was or even if I still have it. We don’t have a lot of independent book stores in Pueblo and I’m more likely to patronize the library rather than a shop, since I’m not buying books as often. I do love to visit The Tattered Cover in Denver when I’m up there, but again, more for the ambiance than the inventory.

I know mega stores and now the Internet have put idependent stores in jeopardy and I’m sad about that. I wish I had a better tale and a better memory to give you.

Book A Day #24 – Hooked Me Into Reading

I discovered this book in the seventh grade. I distinctly remember finding it. It was, believe it or not, in our reading book for that year. Yes, a seventh grade reading book back in 1969 had this novel as its final entry. We didn’t read the book as an assignment; we never got that far in the book, but I saw it and something about it…the name, perhaps the illustration on the first page, who knows, something hooked me and after a page or two, I was lost. Later, I soaked up everything I could find by the author, and realized that while her books were labeled as “children’s fiction”, there was nothing childish about her work, not the characters, even though many of them are young, certainly not the subject matter, and not the writing. Brilliant, evocative and haunting, this story has stayed with me for 45 years and every time I read it, I am moved once more. When I came across a compilation of three of this author’s novels in one volume, you can bet everything you have I didn’t let that one pass me by.

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Book A Day #23 – Made To Read At School

All through elementary and high school, I read whatever was assigned without a problem. Never met a book I didn’t scarf up with gusto, even Shakespere. That crazy middle English syntax and old verbiage intriged me…I wanted to hear it out loud, and I often did read it subvocally in my room. English lit was my friend.

Then I got to college and freshman English. And this book. Of course, it was a “classic” but for some reason, either the style, the subject matter, the time of day, the professor, who knows, I was nearly defeated by this book. Every time I opened it to read, I felt like I was trying to run knee deep through molasses. It was just a book! Words on the page, one after the other, like any other book, but I. Could. Not. Get. Into. It. I’m pretty sure I did finish it because I had to take tests or write a paper or whatever you do in college freshman English, but, boy! I just remember this book as a really party pooper when it came to reading.

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Later…decades later…I decided to try another book by the same author. I chose “Light in August” and found it more relevant and much easier to read. While I appreciate the exposure to some of the classics throughout my education, I do believe that some of them are just going to be baffling until readers have their own life experience. Maybe it’s time to revisit this one. I’ll let you know if I do…

And now, I’m all caught up on my postings and can go back to daily updates tomorrow. Yay!

Book A Day #18 – Bought On A Recommendation

Once upon a time, I had a long-distance relationship with an astronaut. Well, he was wearing a space-suit when I met him, but really he was a Klingon, or he wanted to be. Over the course of our correspondence, we discussed a lot of things, books, reading and science fiction being amongst the top. We looked for slightly different things in our reading lists, but were both open to new authors and reading experiences. I bought the following on his recommendation and it is an excellent read. There’s a lot of real science in this fiction and it harks back to the Grand Masters of Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, et. al.  However, it’s also a really good story, a mystery even. So, if you say you “don’t like science fiction” may I dare you to give this one a try? If the last couple of paragraphs don’t give you chills or at least get you thinking pretty hard, then I promise you never have to read another piece of speculative fiction ever.

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Book A Day #15 – Favorite Fictional Father

This one nearly had me stumped. I don’t read a lot of stories or books that have fatherhood as a focus…or even characters who are fathers. If they are, they’re usually spies or soldiers or cops first, and actual fathering falls far behind whatever is driving the plot. So, this was a tough one. Then, as it usually is when you hit certain pockets of memory, I started getting flooded with examples. I finally narrowed it down to three, and I’ve spent the last few hours trying to decide on my choice for the day. The father I finally picked certainly wouldn’t be too popular today. In fact, he’d be considered something of a martinet, a control freak. But, with a house full of kids, that’s a bit understandable. He did, however, encourage individuality in all of his children, teach them how to be curious and self sufficient, and, if the book is any indication of the real man, managed to maintain a sense of humor throughout. I don’t remember when or how I found this book, but it might have been lying around the top floor of my grandmother’s house during a summer visit, and I might have just squirreled it away in my suitcase. I know I read it multiple times before I got out of high school. First published in 1948, I imagine it’s still relevant today.  Two movies have been made from this book, one in 1950, the other in 2003. Although I love both actors who played the father, I have to say that the 1950’s version with Clifton Webb probably comes closer to the actual spirit of the book. Of course it’s sexist and classist and all kinds of other “ist-s” by our standards over half a century later, but a good father can transcend all that. I do recommend the book and now I’ll have to go find it again for a re-read!

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Book A Day #8 – Have More Than One Copy

These books have been personal favorites since I was just a wee girl. I discovered them around age 7 in a large, beautifully illustrated edition that I read in to rags. From then on, I could never watch a television, film or animated version without my teeth going slightly on edge because of the sheer bastardizaiton of the two very separate stories. I learned to love fantasy, expanded my imagination, and acquired an amazing new vocabulary of poetry by reading these books. I also learned that girls can have fabulous adventures on their own with nary a boy (or a grown-up) in sight. Although I had no idea how the game of chess worked, I became fascinated with the workings of the individual pieces and a few years later, learned how to play by watching other kids at my school. And finally, I think I can say, because of the language and certain turns of phrase, that reading these books was the beginning of my love of all things British.  The photo below shows two of my copies of these books, but I do think there may be a third volume lurking somewhere around the house!

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‘Versaries and Such

(NOTE: There are links in this post. The link color is very faint, but hover your mouse and they will show up.)

Hard to believe, but this week a year ago, I hurt  my shoulder really badly at a hot springs.  I finally feel like my entire upper body is getting back to normal. I’m swimming again, up to a mile, and half-heartedly looking for other possible open water swims to do. Keeping that in the back of my head.  On the not so good side, my left hip decided to go south on me, but I have found an excellent massage therapist and now that I have a little more discretionary income, I’m trying to see her twice a month. It makes a difference. And I’m worth it, to coin a phrase.

In June, E will have been with us for a year. I find that nearly impossible to believe. I feel like this year has crammed at least two or three years’ worth of activity, angst, and arguments in it. Although things are calmer now, there are days when my head just spins with confusion about everything.  I find myself drawn more and more to Buddhist readings, to meditation (even though I find all kinds of excuses not to do it), and trying to go with the flow. I’m trying not to get into disagreements with G, even though there are times when certain situations literally set my teeth on edge.  She would probably snort at this but I really am trying to release the need to be right, to have things my way (because my way is always the sensible way, of course). I won’t lie. It’s hard as hell. Dammit, I like being right. But, in the long run, it won’t really matter all that much, because E will go off and live his life and we are going to have to figure out how our lives will re-converge as a couple, and who won what argument four years ago won’t matter a hill of beans. I really, REALLY have to keep telling myself that, especially on the days I want to run for the hills.

Also, we’ve started volunteering for a pretty cool organization. G found them on FB, and so far we have housed a dog overnight and taken him on one leg of his journey to his new owner, and in a week or so, we will be fostering another dog (an Italian greyhound) for a while until a forever home can be found for her. E really, really wants a dog, but we are not up to owning another one, so we thought that it might be a way for him to get to care for other pups and learn about other breeds (he’s kind of hung up on pit bulls).

E starts weight room/football practice June 2. They barely finish school and whammo.  I hope this summer will keep him exhausted and in line. I don’t mind trucking him around for it, even though I anticipate that will become a bone of contention as well, since the high school he wanted to go to is the farthest away from our house (Pueblo distance, it’s maybe 7 miles). But those contretemps can wait untill they arrive. I don’t have to anticipate anything. I’m learning that day by day.

Let’s see what happens this year…