Tag Archives: reading

My 2016 Book List


A bookwhore who never talks about books is no bookwhore at all, right? (Sidenote: you would think by now that my computer would know that bookwhore is so a word! And spelt correctly.)

So anywho, since I am feeling lazy and must soon sleep, I will share with you the books I read in 2016. Yay for me- there are almost twice as many as there were in 2015! It seems that my interest in biographies made itself manifest this past year. Enjoy!

Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov (I was more disturbed than I thought I would be while reading this, considering all the controversy I’d heard about it.)

The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle (I bought this to give to my friend as part of her bridal shower gift; however, it sucked balls, so I didn’t.)

Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor (A native of my Minnesota, Garrison is, and went to high school with my Auntie for a minute. The best part of this book was that, while Lake Wobegon is a fictional town, all the towns surrounding it are very real, and are all towns I live near.)

Secret Diary of a Call Girl by Anonymous (This book was only interesting because the author’s sexual inclinations rival my own. That is not to say that I have been or will ever be paid to do those things I so like doing. )

I’m No Angel by Kylie Bisutti (written by a former Victoria’s Secret Angel who gave up her wings because of her religious beliefs; how easily she gave up something that some of us of shorter stature could never hope to achieve…)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Received as a Christmas present from my best friend- damn does she know how to pick ’em.)

Playground by Jennifer Saginor (growing up hanging out at the Playboy mansion was such a drag, having all those boobies about..)

Sex, Drugs, Ratt and Roll by Stephen Pearcy (Yet another attempt of mine to get my Rockstar reading; I think I actually enjoyed it more than he did.)

The Great Gatsby  by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Great, of course.)

The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmel (Another book I was going to gift to my friend as a bridal goof. I don’t remember much about it, except that I didn’t give it to her because it was horrible.)

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff (A fictional telling of Brigham Young’s 19th wife. I learned a lot about them there Mormons.)

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandell (Stolen from the bookshelf of my friend because of the title; a very fitting story to read during the times in which we live. I ended up suggesting it to my Aunt for her bookclub.)

Boundary Waters by William Kent Krueger (Another Minnesota author who I missed having lunch with because I was sick when my Auntie invited me to her silent auction winning.)

Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey (My only repeat read this year; I had planned on going to a masquerade based on the series, but alas, I spent all my moneys on books and glitter.)

Slade House by David Mitchell (This was read only because my friend denounced this book as the worst ever after HER friend raved about it. My friend was right.)

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (I really wanted to like it. Amy is a much better comedienne than she is a writer.)

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (Sorry, Amy. Your friend Lena is much better at writing about her life in such a way that makes me want to keep reading about it.)

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell (Winner of my Surprising Find of the Year, seeing how I found it at THE DOLLAR TREE. So good. A superb retelling of a classic fairytale with none of that ridiculous fairytale bullshit. Did I mention Sleeping Beauty gets the pox?!?)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Because, ya know, the movie came out.)

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To Raise a Little Man


So I suppose it’s about time for the big gender reveal….. I am actually a man.

Ha, just kidding. I am all woman. Except for the little 15 ounces growing in my belly.

Yes, my baby is a boy. YAY! A boy is what I’ve always wanted. But you know what they say: be careful what you wish for.

While the ultrasound technician was roaming around for the evidence of a teeny tiny penis on my baby, I was mainly ecstatic about the fact that he had two arms and legs. I know that seems like kind of a minor concern when there is the question of gender, but, ya know. It’s a little bit easier to do things with all your appendages. Anyhoo, the Babe was in a pose that could either mean he is ready to be a Prima Ballerina, or he’s just waiting to hold up his future NASCAR trophy. I’m not quite sure which thought is more disturbing to me.

When the technician pointed out his little testes, I had mixed feelings of elation and slight disappointment. ‘Tis true I wanted a boy, and I still do, but the idea of such absence of sparkles and ruffles in my future child’s life gave me pause. The only hope is that he may one day be a famous drag queen, because we know then there will be sequins and makeup aplenty.

After my appointment, I got to thinking about the problems I may have in raising a little man. (Other than the fact that my Rockstar wants to name him Vince, after Vince Neil of Motley Crue- a problem which need be addressed another day.)

What do I know about being a man? My coworker insists I am quite manly, indeed, so I shouldn’t have a problem, but I believe he only thinks so because of my appreciation for much sex, a subject we have talked about at great length. Honestly, I’m not quite sure why else he would find me masculine, unless my cursing sailor’s mouth convinced him. Who knows….

What I DO know is that I want my boy to read, and read a lot. I realized that other than blogland, there has been quite an absence of men that read in my actual real life. Sure, here and there, a male that loves books as much as I do has reared his head, but it’s been a disturbingly rare phenomena, like Loch Ness monster sightings. I’ve gone away wondering if I actually saw what I saw, kinda thing. I myself do not find reading to be a solely feminine act, but, you must admit, it doesn’t exactly go with beer and hot wings.

Aside from that, I want my son to be sensitive. Not meaning I want every drop of rain and flower petal to bring him to tears, but that if he sees someone in pain, or having a bad day, he will take notice, and perhaps try to better that person’s situation. Along with that, I want him to treat women like princesses, even though by the time he is old enough to think about girls, most of them will probably be sluts and/ or lesbians (in which case, he might get his ass kicked if he tries to treat them like princesses.. All girls should be made to feel special, even if they are only subpar.

I want him to have self-confidence, but not the yucky jock kind. I mean the kind that will allow him to not be bothered when his mother grows out his hair and people tease him for looking like a girl. The kind that allows him to be proud of himself, and teach others to also be proud of themselves.

If he marries, I want him to have at least a slight interest in planning his own wedding someday, whether it be to a girl or a boy. We all know the best boys are the ones that take an active role in such things, and are generally worshipped among women.

If he doesn’t marry, I want him to be happy in whatever life he chooses, and to have many adventures.

I want him to say what he means, and mean what he says, and not be afraid to say what it is that needs to be said, but know when to stay silent.

I want him to know it’s perfectly ok for him to like Barbie dolls, and to admire their exaggerated feminine features, but to realize that real women that look nothing like Barbie dolls are also desirable. I also want him to like dinosaurs, and realize they are the coolest creatures ever to live. (Besides for mermaids and unicorns.)

I want him to be just a little bonkers, because all the best people are.

I honestly don’t know how I will help my son to become this man I want him to be; luckily, I may be able to help him out in the bonkers department.

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A Letter To My Baby


Dear Baby,

I would have addressed my letter “Dear Little Bastard”, but there are those who might have taken offense. Luckily, I am your momma, and shall teach you to have a great sense of humor, and to never be ashamed of who and what you are.

So, hello, baby. I’ve been waiting a really long time to be able to write a letter to you. You would think I’d have given a bit more thought to what I would write, but considering that I never actually thought I’d have an opportunity to write such a letter, you will understand my faltering. It seems very cliche’, but I love you, baby. I’ve loved you for a very long time.

I promise you will be the most loved baby there ever was, (I know that seems pretentious, but you will learn soon enough that I am very exactly that). And don’t worry, I promise to teach you what pretentious means, and how to spell it, because I don’t want you to be one of those silly people who only use simple words and nod stupidly when educated people talk to you. You will know many many things, and the things I cannot teach you, you will learn from other people who love you dearly, like Auntie Delightful, who will be your Fairy Godmother, and who did a happy dance in public when your existence was confirmed; she will teach you all about poetry and to love books like I will, and she will never run out of crafts for you two to o together. And my godmother Auntie, who has been waiting for you for a long time too. She will teach you to accept everybody, and to be kind to people you don’t necessarily understand, and, if you ask her to, she will teach you to quilt beautiful quilts that will keep people you love warm.

Your daddy will love you too, even though he might not say it. (You and I will get him to eventually, though, I know it.) He will teach you all about music, and how important it is, and how rockers wearing women’s makeup is not only funny, but very cool. He will also take you to car races, and watch football with you, and will play with you even though he is kind of old, and really just wants to take a nap. Don’t get mad when he doesn’t respond to all your questions- he doesn’t have as many words to use as I do; but that just means you have to listen closely when he does talk.

I have always hoped you would be a boy, because dinosaurs are so much cooler than Barbies, and teenage boys are less of a pain in the ass than teen girls. But if you are a girl, I will teach you to love dinosaurs anyway, and to not be a pain in the ass.

The most important thing you need to know is that life is beautiful, and all people are beautiful in their own way, so you need to treat them like they are special, because they are someone’s baby, too. Also, God is a cool Guy, but He sometimes will do things you don’t understand just because He can; don’t get discouraged, because you are tougher than anything He will throw at you.

I’m sure there will be many more letters for you, baby, but for now, I should really work on my book, so I will have more time and money to spend on you when you get here.

Love You Forever,

Mommy

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Xanax VS. Books


I was texting my friend Cat Woman last night, and since her life is in crisis at the moment, the conversation turned to shrinks and happy pills. I myself am a firm believer in just ignoring problems until they go away, and imbibing copious amounts of alcohol to aid that process. Luckily, most of the normal world, (including Cat Woman) does not share this belief, otherwise we’d be a planet filled with angsty drunkards.

Anyhoo, when Cat Woman offered selling me some Xanax at fifty dollars a pop to better cope with my ignored issues, I refused profusely, stating what a large number of books fifty dollars would buy me. She then asked an interesting question: What can a book do that Xanax cannot?

Well. You Book People out there already know. Clearly, my pal is not one. So, to quote my favorite character Inigo Montoya in the greatest movie of all time The Princess Bride: “Let me ‘splain. No no. There is too much. Let me sum up.”

A book has no adverse side effects. Sure, if you read a sad one, you may shed a tear and suffer post-reading depression, (this has happened to me after reading Where the Red Fern Grows, yet I’ve read it again and again.) but you have no worries of urinating less than usual or not at all, or becoming jaundiced or twerking unintentionally. (All possible side effects of Xanax.)

A book will calm you down. I am aware that Xanax is meant to do the same thing. However! A book may also excite you, or anger you, or frighten you! I’m not going to go through all the other emotions, because, well, we’re not in the third grade here. But you get the point.

A book may cost you fifty dollars a pop, but generally those are only those pretentious coffee table books not many people look at anyway. Yes, ok, if you are like me, you may find yourself spending fifty dollars every time you exit a bookstore, (a used one, it is hoped) but what do you have to show for it? At least twenty-four hours of reading, and after it wears off, you have the memory of what you just read, instead of the anticipation of an anxiety attack until you read another.

Depending on the book, the use of one will not cause controversy with other people who don’t believe in Western medicine. Not that we’re trying to keep Eastern doctors in our good graces here, but you know, it couldn’t hurt.

A book will distract you from your problems. Sure, Xanax will do the same thing, but only temporarily, and when you are done with it, there is no plethora of knowledge swimming around in your skull. If you find yourself sinking down into the depths of despair because the euphoria of finishing a book has worn off, read another. And incidentally, there is a whole Self-Help genre that will probably do the same thing Xanax will.

Well, there you have it. I may not be your first choice for the debate team, but I think I got my point across.

P.S. If you really think you’ve got it bad, read a book about the Holocaust. Then you might think to yourself, “Hey, at least I don’t have to stand in the sun for thirty-six hours before some Nazis gas me and my kids.

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Without Thee, Sun, I Would Be Outside


Ok, that might be a lie.

Yes, I want a Grandma Garden, but why would I want to be outside digging in the dirt when I can be inside here, with you people?

I want to take my puppy for a walk and explore my new little town some more, but I’d much rather sit inside wrapped in a blanket watching Season 2 of Game of Thrones for the 4th time.

Why would I  risk getting skin cancer by hanging around outside on this beautifully sunny day when I have a perfectly comfortable bed asking me to join it for a nap or two?

I’m not really an outside person, as much as I love the outdoors once I actually go OUT the door.

I am, however, a super lazy fucker who has occasional bouts of initiative. Hell, yesterday I cleaned the house, did the dishes, raked TWO planters out, painted the front entryway, got supper ready for the grill, and mowed the back yard. I even had time to play with myself and take a shower. (Not at the same time, because it gets pretty slippery in the shower.)

Today, I have used the excuse that it was cold and dreary outside, so I stayed inside and read the book I’ve been reading for three months. (It really is a good book, I just get distracted easily.) Then I used the excuse that I have to work tonight, so I deserve to be a lethargic piece of shit. Too, I have (truthfully) told myself that if I spend too much time outside, I will end up with tan lines and wrinkles.

When did I start feeling bad about wanting to read? ‘Tis not a waste of time, (despite what non-book people say) so why do I feel like I have to justify sitting for four hours reading by cleaning house or doing laundry? Why must I say to myself, “Self! You stay busy now!” when really all I want to do is nap. Showering? If I didn’t worry so much about stinking, that would probably be the chore I cut out of my day. It’s probably a good thing my metabolism is alright, because otherwise I’d be sitting on my super-fat ass in front of the boob-tube not doing a goddamn thing.

So I shamefully admit now that I kinda just don’t want to do anything right now. And the weather has nothing to do with it.

This is the reason I haven’t finished writing my book.

 

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Book Whore My Ass


I’ve been making myself sit down and actually work on writing my book every day for the last two weeks.

I don’t mean to toot my own horn but, “beep! beep!”

To those of you with published and self-published and hell, even completed novels, this may seem small and insignificant.

To those of you who think so, I say, “Well, fuck you!”

Just kidding. (But not really.)

Anyhoo, I don’t know how normal people go about writing books, but I think it’s safe to assume that the process is a lot of staring at a blank computer screen or getting distracted by many other things that shouldn’t be on your computer screen while you’re trying to work. (Get your mind outta the gutter! I don’t mean porn! But that’s only because since we’ve gotten our new computer, my Rockstar doesn’t want to get any viruses on it.) I’m talking about being logged in to Facebook, or Amazon, or WordPress.

Yesterday, while I was busy mulling over whether my main character should have an Irish lilt to her voice or not, I decided to look up a list of the top 100 books to read. Oddly enough, there isn’t just one, so I printed off the one that seemed the smartest, which was actually two. The Modern Library had their board make a list, as well as their readers. I readied myself to amaze myself with how well-read I was.

Amazed, I was not. Astounded? Absolutely. For after reading in their entirety the suggested top 200 books of all time, (several of which were on both lists) I came to the realization that I’ve read only two. TWO?!!?!?!??!? Are you frickin’ kidding me?! I own over 5000 books of every make and model, and yet I cannot  boast that I’ve read even five of the top 100 books of all time.

My shame is palpable.

P.S. At least I can say that I OWN 25 or so of them. Like that’s any consolation.

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Doctor Zhivago, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, and Little Dorrit


What a list of men this is! At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

With great shame, I will admit that ,while I own every book that these literary men originate from, I’ve yet to completely read any of their fictional biographs. I know the stories, sure, or at least those of Jekyll, Hyde, and Frank, but I was only required to read bits and pieces of their stories in high school, and while I pride myself on being a book whore, it is with great sorrow and guilt that I acknowledge my utter lack of knowledge about these stories. Let me explain why these are the men I have chosen to be my literary fodder for the next months.

Doctor Zhivago is known only as my Auntie’s most favorite movie of all time. Perhaps it is the storyline, or Omar Sharif’s delicious accent, I am not certain, as Netflix has decided to remove said film from their Now Streaming lists at the very time that I finally decided to watch it. All that remains now is a reissued version starring Kiera Knightly, who I greatly despise. Luckily, I acquired a worn copy of this book in an antique shop awhile ago, and so I will make an effort to see just exactly what it is that thrills my Auntie so.

Now Frankenstein, I have seen. And while Kenneth Branaugh is as low on my celebrity totem pole as Kiera Knightly, I must say that Robert DeNiro’s presence as Frank’s monster made me forgive Ken’s performance. Too, my best friend Delightful, who is much smarter than I, had to read and write a 20 page paper for school last year on the book, and so I must read it, so we have a great many literary things to speak of. (Other than all the other literary things we speak of already.)

Jekyll and Hyde are a pair that I am slightly more familiar with. I actually am not certain if I have read their entire story or no, because it was included in a high school lit book, and seemed much shorter than the actual copy I now own. This I will say- I do believe there are a Jekyll and Hyde in each of us. I am just accustomed to letting my hide out a little more often than the rest of you. (Heehee, did you see the play on words I did there? Brilliant, I say.)

Little Dorrit is a complete mystery to me, as I know not who he is, what he does for a living, or what it is that makes him so little. This title was one I came across on a more than regular basis when I worked at the Bookstore That Must Not Be Named, and as I greatly adore Charles Dickens and his writings, I picked up a copy, with the intent on reading it sometime in my lifetime. I believe that Dorrit may be the first in my Journey of Literary Men, as I am insanely curious to see why he is little.

I’m sure there are a great many fabled men I’ve yet to read about, but as I do not wish to be called a fiction skank, I’ll start with this little cultural gang bang. If anyone has any suggestions for future scholarly forays, let me know.

 

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