The Force is With Me

Oh Book Blogger Challenge, I forgot to tell you that I get bored very easily. You haven’t read my 100+3 Things About Me blog post yet, have you? No matter. I will try to complete you, Blogger Challenge.

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Oh.

Of course, Master Yoda. I do. I will complete my Book Blogger Challenge.

Day 8: Write 15 bullet points of things that appeal to you on blogs.

Humor, honesty, real life, parenting rants, personal opinion, raw emotion, creativity, anything about writing, book recommendations, parenting advice, music reviews, movie reviews, stuff about marriage, and wuv, tru wuv…

Day 9: Why Do You Blog About Books?

I don’t. Not usually, anyway. But I do love to read.

Day 10: How do you choose what book to read next?

Goodreads.com is pretty good at recommending books I will like based on the things I have already read. I get most of my ideas about what to read next from Goodreads. I am also one of those people who will read anything an author I like has written. I will literally grab the entire block of paperbacks by one author from the library shelf and read them one by one. When I’ve exhausted that author’s book list, I move on to another. And I take recommendations from friends too.

Hasta la vista, baby. Hit me with some of your favorite lines from a movie! I got a FEVER! And the only prescription…is MORE COWBELL. (You can include TV quotes too.)

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My Blogging Quirks

Ahhhhhh, Monday. Why do you and I hate each other so much? You are just so manic! Why can’t you be more like your brother, Friday? Oh well. Since we’re back to the beginning of the week, I guess I should get back to my Book Blogger Challenge.

Day Seven: Talk about your blogging quirks.

Quirks, huh? Let’s see… I have a penchant for big words and run-on sentences. Sarcasm, movie and music references. Fragments. (And I seem to be in love with using parentheses to express my remarks that go off on a tangent.)

When I started my blog, it was to sort of document my life with kids. Both for myself and for my family members that live in a galaxy far, far away. I used to worry about what I should be writing about vs what I wanted to write and I oftentimes did not write what I wanted to. I was worried that I was going to turn into a complainer or that those people that are struggling with infertility would get pissed that I was some mess of a woman who was lucky enough to be able to birth a child and boo to me. Then I went through the trauma of losing a baby. Well, it wasn’t until the second baby that I was traumatized. And I found that blogging about that raw pain was extremely cathartic. It embarrassed me to admit my weakness, but made me feel like a better person because I could.

Now, I guess I’m treating my blog like an online journal. I’m blogging about what I’m usually thinking about. And the days I’m not blogging, I’m probably not thinking about much of anything. Or I’m writing fiction, reading, cooking, or being a homebody. I’m having more fun with my blog now that I’m not caring about what people will think when they read it. No one else has lived my life, so they can go ahead and judge me if they want to. I know that they don’t have a clue.

Do you blog? Why did you start blogging? Are you still blogging for the same reasons?

Book Buying in the Post-Jurassic Era

I let my kids watch Jurassic Park today. I was feeling brave. They loved it. While we were watching it, I was trying to explain extinction to my kids in a way they would understand. I guess all they gathered is that all the dinosaurs were alive once and now they’re dead. This prompted the age old question: “Mom, were you born when dinosaurs were still alive?” Lovely. I laughed so hard I think I insulted my daughter’s intellectual curiosity. I may have also had spittle on my chin.

In Post-Jurassic news, I am continuing on with my Book Blogger Challenge.

Day Six: Describe how you shop for books.

I can answer this question two ways. How do I shop for books, as in, how do I buy books? Let’s see… um, I don’t. I check books out of the library. I have read 100 books since January 1st. I can’t afford to buy books. When I do buy them (and they have to cost $1.99 or less) I buy them on Amazon.com and read them on my Kindle. I used to go to bookstores, once upon a time. And then I had kids. Browsing is in the extinction category of my current life.

Second way to ask this question is: how do I select the books I read? Well, that’s easy. Genre. It depends on what kind of story I want to read. I rarely read non-fiction, but when I do, it’s about something interesting to me. I think I’ve read, maybe, 4 non-fiction books in the last 12 months. One of them was about health, one about parenting, one about Socio-Economics (don’t ask) and the last was about finding hope. With fiction, I started off the year reading straight up romances and Young Adult post-apocalyptic fiction. Right now I’m heavily into Urban Fantasy and I am quickly running out of authors to try. I’m reading through series like they’re going out of style.

What’s your favorite genre to read?

The Berserker Tear-Jerker

I think I’m fighting a losing battle with the Whole 30. I’m really hating life right now and I’m only on day five. Twenty-five more days of starvation may help me drop some weight, but I don’t think its worth it. Although, if I give up so soon, I’ll feel like a failure and feel worse about myself. So the million dollar question is: do I feel bad about myself for giving up my super restrictive diet plan, or do I feel bad for the next month because I’m miserable eating food I hate and hungry (because I’d rather not eat than eat food I hate)?

Anyhoo, now that I’m done playing my tiny little violin of pity, let me get back to my Book Blogger Challenge.

Day Five: Recommend a tear-jerker.

I don’t like books that make me cry. I feel like I’ve cried enough in the last two years over things in my own life to last me a long, long time. So I don’t want my escape mechanism of reading to also make me cry. But I have read one whole tear-jerker this year that my book club (when I was still going) was reading. And I would definitely recommend it: “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” by Lisa See.

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I have a hard time sometimes getting into books about different cultures. Not because I don’t think different cultures are interesting, but because I can’t relate. I get angry when cultural rules or mores abuse people and suppress their natural human rights. I feel thankful that, being a woman, I live in America in the present time.

I didn’t have a hard time getting into Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Probably because its about women and friendship. I think that topic might just be universal. The book is about two girls from different classes in 19th century China, one lower class, one upper class, who spend their lives building a friendship through the sharing of their emotions and thoughts. They send each other secret communications that they write on a silk fan. They find comfort in each other in a time where being a woman in China (two words: foot binding) had nothing comforting to offer.

The tear-jerker part, other than the misery of their lives, is that the women have a misunderstanding that could potentially destroy their friendship. The woman telling the story is the lower class girl, Lily, and as she is the one who damages this lifelong friendship, you really feel her heartbreak, guilt and regret as well as her love for her friend.

What I got out of it, other than the fierce desire to name a daughter Plum Blossom or Beautiful Moon, is that women need each other. We have these crazy close friendships with other women because they are essential to our emotional well-being. No one will ever truly understand what a woman is going through or has gone through like another woman. No one can prepare you for a life event like a woman who has already experienced it. Women just get what it means to be a woman. And we can support each other emotionally because of that.

Personally, the real tear-jerker part was that Snow Flower, who takes such joy from her children, keeps losing babies. She tries to communicate the anguish and despair, the life-altering sorrow of those losses to Lily, her closest friend, but Lily doesn’t understand. She hasn’t experienced it and she doesn’t know how to comfort Snow Flower. This made me bawl openly. I mean, I was crying tears the way a berserker would fight a battle. I wanted to smack the crap out of Lily because the things she said to Snow Flower to snap her out of this depression were stupid and mean. I wanted to comfort this poor fictional woman who was steeped in despair and self-loathing because I understood what she was feeling. I understand that loss. And it made me relive my own feelings about all of my lost babies. “Cry Me a River” you say, Justin Timberlake? Oh, I did. I most certainly did.

I may just go cry another one.

What’s the last book that made you cry?

A Sugar Withdrawal Coma Killed my Blog Post

Well, I dropped the ball yesterday. This Whole 30 thing is kicking my butt! I’ve spent the last 72 hours going through sugar withdrawal and with the way I felt, I thought for sure I was going to wake up this morning looking like Lindsay Lohan. No luck with that, but that’s cool because I like my botexless lips just the way they are.

Since I missed Day Three of my Book Blogger Challenge yesterday, I’ll do 3 & 4 today.

Day Three: Who are your blogging BFFS?

That would be Mary at Contrary Mom and Levi at LPStribling. Wow, that was too easy to answer. Guess you’re glad I was in a sugar withdrawal coma on my couch yesterday, don’t you? Because now you get to keep reading!

Day Four: What’s the last book you flung across the room?

That would be the final Sookie Stackhouse novel, “Dead Ever After” by Charlaine Harris. Although, I only mentally threw it across the room because I can’t bring myself to damage a book. And it was a library book, so I didn’t want to mess with public property. I did, however, let out an amazingly loud “What?!” and a disgusted snort that echoed throughout my quiet neighborhood (I had the front door open!) before I snapped the book shut and walked away.

I have to warn those of you who still haven’t read the book and plan to that the rest of this blog will be a spoiler alert, so stop now and come back later when you’ve wasted your time finally gotten around to reading it.

This book was the thirteenth book in a series that started in 2001. I had been eagerly awaiting the publishing release date of the last 2 books and would dedicate an entire day on the weekend to just sit down and read the newest book in one sitting. That’s how much I’ve enjoyed them. The twelve book was good, but the story line I was interested in (aka the LOVE stuff) wasn’t too prevalent and I was really hoping that would be what the final book touched on. Instead, what I got was, in my opinion, a half-assed story line that felt forced and rushed so that Ms. Harris could finish out her series and wash her hands of Sookie and her supernatural friends. I’ve spent years and 10, count them, TEN books investing myself in a fictitious romance between two specific characters and instead of getting any kind of closure or happily ever after, what did I get? A wishy-washy, emotionless breakup and a dive right into a new relationship bullshit fest that ended the book with no closure whatsoever. Frankly, the whole thing disgusts me. That book deserved to be thrown across the room! In fact, just reliving the feelings that finishing that book evoked, I feel like I need to go out and check it out of the library again just so I can throw it at a wall.

I may even have to write some fan fiction so I can finish the series the way I wanted it to be finished. The reader is always right, right? Or is that the customer? Either way, if I had actually purchased it, I would be both.

Bedtime Reading Ritual

Day Two of the Book Blogger Challenge: What is your bedtime reading ritual?

My kids go to bed at 7:30 p.m. After I’ve tucked them in, I go sit on the couch with my book. Most nights my husband and I read for an hour and then watch a 40 minute show on Netflix. We seem to keep finishing a TV show we like and then have to wait a year for the next season to come out on DVD. Or we watch it to its end. Right now we switch between watching re-runs of Supernatural since we’ve watched all the ones that are out on DVD, Fringe, White Collar and Arrested Development. About 3 or 4 nights a week, Mike and I forgo the TV show and read until 9:30 when we hit the hay. If I’m reading a page-turner, I forgo all TV, even when my husband is watching it, and I usually go to bed later.

For my kids’ reading ritual, I usually spend about 20-30 minutes sitting on either the couch or the floor with them and their pile of library books. We hit the library once a week so the kids can return their week-old books and get new ones. I end up reading all of the books, anywhere from 6 to 8, every time we sit down. Sometimes I have to cut it short of the whole pile. Especially now that my daughter has discovered chapter books. I can’t read an entire chapter book in one sitting unless its the only book in the pile! The kids’ favorite chapter book series right now is the Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo.

Mercy Watson

Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes

I used to read to them before bed, but we’ve had to cut reading from our bedtime ritual. 30 minutes of reading when the kids are whiny and tired and interrupting me and asking for water, a kiss, to be tucked in again… it makes me crazy. We read during the day. And then Mike reads with them again in the evening.

I’ve read that reading before bed is good for people who need to wind down. I’m one of those people, but reading doesn’t always wind me down. Sometimes, when I’m so invested in a book that I can’t put it down, I lay in bed thinking about it. Probably explains why I dream about books! And now that I’m writing my own fiction, there are many nights I lay awake thinking about my characters and where they might go.

Have you ever dreamed about characters from a book?

15 Book Related Confessions

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With the heat and the tedium of summer at home with kids I haven’t been feeling very inspired to write. So when I saw this challenge on my friend Stribling’s blog, I thought, I am so going to do this blog challenge. If I’m feeling particularly inspired to write about something else, I’ll blog about that instead and Mondays will be my Whole 30 Challenge updates for the next 4+ weeks so I won’t be a one-trick pony boring you to death. I hope! Book Blogger Challenge, here we go!

Day One: 15 Book Related Confessions

  1. I used to be a book snob. I loved reading literary fiction and the classics, but the plots were getting too emotional for me. I’ve got enough reality in my life; I don’t need to read about it too!
  2. I prefer reading series because its comforting reading a book with a bunch of characters you feel you know personally.
  3. I’m a romance junkie. I love my Sci Fi and Fantasy, but if there’s a love angle built in there, I will love it even more.
  4. Sometimes I get so attached to fictional characters that I go through withdrawal once I finish a series.
  5. I’ve re-read some of my favorite series maybe 5 or 6 times.
  6. I dream about books.
  7. I think I’ve learned more history and historical terms from the Historical Romances I’ve read than I ever did from a textbook.
  8. Damaging a book is sacrilege. Don’t you dare dog-ear a page in front of me!
  9. I’m a book sniffer. I like the smell of newly printed books and I’m not ashamed to take a whiff when I’m in a book store. The hardcover books printed on semi-gloss paper smell the best.
  10. I can read a book a day sometimes. Depending on the book and on the day.
  11. I can’t afford to buy the number of books I read in a year, so I’m practically a resident at my local library. Not only do they know me by name, I’ve had them reserve books for me when new ones come in that they think I’ll like. I have my library card number memorized.
  12. I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. I signed them up for the Children’s Library Summer Reading Challenge 3 weeks ago. They each pledged to read 50 books this summer. We’ve already read 30 (and that’s only counting library books).
  13. After 8 years of marriage to me, my husband has become an avid reader. I love it! We are currently reading the same series and I feel like we have our own mini book club discussions once the kids go to bed.
  14. When e-readers first came out, I was horrified. I went to college to work in the book publishing industry and the thought of electronic books was blasphemous! Then a friend bought me one for my birthday and I had to admit, they’re nice. And I can have 100 books on my Kindle that don’t take up any space in my house.
  15. I hate when people ask me my favorite book because I can’t choose just one. I feel like each good book is a piece of art. There have been many books I’ve read in my life that have blown my mind, so I can’t choose between them. I just can’t.

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Do you have any book confessions to make? What’s the best book you’ve read this year, and what made you love it?