Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorites

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
The topic for today is actually books that you are excited for in 2013, but I really don't know a lot of what is set to come out in 2013. I know that the 13th and final Sookie Stackhouse book is coming out. I am way behind on this series, so while I am excited to see how it all ends, I have some serious catching up to do before I get to the 13th. Jodi Picoult has a new book coming out next year called The Storyteller which sounds extremely promising. It's about a teen girl who befriends a beloved-in-the-'hood old man, strikes up a friendship, he asks her to kill him, she refuses, he admits that he was a Nazi SS Guard, her grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. Those are honestly the only two books that I even know will be published next year. I usually am way behind the world on reading because it takes me forever to get to the hot new books and by the time I've gotten to them they are no longer hot or new. Case in-point: I still haven't read The Casual Vacancy.
So, I looked back through the archives at the Broke and the Bookish and decided to compile a list of my favorites. Keep in mind that these are ten of my favorites and not my top ten favorites of forever. I can't narrow my list down to just ten favorite books. I went through my GoodReads "read" page and selected ten that I really enjoyed and would categorize as favorites.

10. Naked by David Sedaris
This one has been on my last three Top Ten Tuesday posts! There is a reason for it- it's just that darn good! Sedaris' writing is clear and relatable, it's wry and disturbing, it's honest and it's valuable. I just love David (not only because he once called me "enchanting", which he did) because he's so damn hilarious. His brand of humor sneaks up on you, takes you by surprise, and leaves you wanting more.

9. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
I think I added this one having just watched the last movie in the series. These books are no literary masterpieces, true dat, but I enjoyed them and I liked the fact that I was on the Twilight band wagon long before the books became popular. I think what I liked most about the books was Bella's relationship with her father, I loved watching that relationship grow and become real. I wish that it had been explored further in the books- she should have cooked dinner for him in EVERY CHAPTER!

8. The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
Because, really, who's NOT going to include this on their list?!

7. Charlotte's Web by EB White
The first book that left me in tears. I love a book that can bring out strong emotions in me. I look at pigs and spiders (and even rats, really) differently now having read White's classic story of friendship and overcoming differences. It's terrific!

6. Out by Natsuo Kirino
See last weeks Top Ten Tuesday for more on why I heart Ms. Kirino's tale of revenge.

5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This is a well-loved book by many people. I love it because it makes me think of what I believe a great childhood would be like. Whenever I think of childhood, I picture a sleepy, small southern town with misunderstood characters and spry little children running around town innocently in coming to terms with the world around them.

4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I am an only child and I spent most of my youth yearning for sisters. I never got any real ones, but I had four great ones in this book. I loved getting to glimpse what it was like to have sisters, the good and the bad. Plus, I am so in love with Jo.

3. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
This movie was on CBS the other day and I had it on in the background while I was cleaning the apartment. It made me want to re-read the book (which is very different from the movie). Again, I love the way this book explored sister relationships (there are THREE generations of sisters in this book, all living in the same house!) while using magical metaphors (pun intended), plus I love anything with a witch in it AND the cover of the book is gorgeus.

2. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty McDonald
I loved Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle growing up. It's been decades since I've read any of the books in this series, but I want to read them again. Perhaps Mrs. PW can give me a little insight on how to deal with the rowdy kids I work with every day!

1. Bridge to Terabeithia by Katherine Paterson
This book was a last minute add-on to the list. I didn't intend to add it, but as I was typing up this list I knew I needed this one to be on here. I loved this book when I read it as a child because it was like someone was peering into my life and writing about me and my friends! I lived on the edge of a forest growing up and no doubt my friends and I made a bridge across the little stream that separated my back yard from the woods and we had secret hideouts all in those woods. Like Jess and Leslie my go-to place to escape was my on little Terabithia.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review: 1984 by G. Orwell

I wanted to read 1984 right after reading The Handmaid's Tale, which I did. I must say that I enjoyed The Handmaid's Tale much more than I did 1984. I was more impacted by The Handmaid's Tale. Maybe because it was told from a woman's point-of-view which made it more relateable to me, maybe it's because I didn't read 1984 pre-1984 so it didn't impact me as much as it could have, maybe I just preferred Handmaid. Whatever the reason, I did enjoy 1984 in and of itself.

The story is set in 1984 (dur) and is told from the point-of-view of Winston Smith who, like Offred, can remember what it was like before "The Great Change" happened.  Winston lives in Oceania where Big Brother is always watching him. Literally. Always. Oceania is ruled by a form of government known as Ingsoc (which sounded like a morbid kind of Communism) where all the members of "The Party" must always follow a set of rules which includes things like hating traitors and thought criminals who may be against Big Brother. Winston is himself a Thought Criminal: ruh-roh for Winston. On the first day that we meet Winston he begins writing in a diary (which is forbidden) about how much he hates Big Brother (which is super-duper-uber forbidden). Winston works for the Ministry of Truth in the Records Department which means that he spends his days re-writing the past and making every event that has happened thus far in history match up with what The Party wants it to be. Since Winston has memories that go back to his childhood and the time before, he knows what is going on with The Party and he loathes being a part of the cover-up. "And only yesterday, he reflected, it  had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it." Over the course of the book Winston meets another rebel named Julia whom he falls in love with. Together they seek out a secret underground of anti-party people called The Brotherhood. Thinking that he has discovered a link to The Brotherhood Winston and Julia place their trust and lives into the wrong hands. This misplace of trust leads Winston and Julia on a path of being arrested, tortured, forced to turn on those they love the most and brainwashing. There is no hope for a bleak future for the people of Oceania just monotony, rule by an invisible Big Brother, and an ever-changing past which the residents won't remember anyway.

Title: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Publicationn Date: 1948
Pages: 328
Publisher: Signet Classics
Where I Got It: Gift from a relative
Dates I Read It: November 11 - November 21, 2012
Number of Stars: 3/5

Plot:  4/5
What I Liked:
The plot seemed like something that could definitely happen in the future. I read somewhere recently that A. people are getting much dumber, so honestly it would only be a handful of people who would even notice that the world was becoming a robotic, brainwashed nation, the rest of us are on the couch watching Jersey Shore with our heads in the sand. And B. that by the year 2050 every single thing that we do in a day will be recorded on video camera. How long before the cameras start barking back orders to us? The plot was pretty slow to start with, but it was still bearable and you could tell that something big was brewing. It was compelling and I found myself wondering what would happen to Winston and Julia.
What I Didn't Like: I didn't like a section near the last-half of the book which is a selection from the Brotherhood Book. It was dry reading and boring and even Winston noted that there wasn't anything of any new importance in it. Other than that, it was a quick and enjoyable read with lots of action, especially towards the end of the novel.

Characters: 3/5
What I LikedThe characters were honestly written. Winston becomes a fully developed character over the course of the book. The characters were flawed, which gave them more credibility and made them more reliable. Winston is a character that you cheer for, you want him to win, and through him, you gain a hatred for Big Brother.
O'Brien is also well written, so well written and so believable  that I had to re-read the ending with him, just to be sure that what O'Brien was saying and what he was doing was really happening.
What I Didn't Like
I didn't like Julia. I'm sure that I was supposed to, but I didn't care for her at all. I resented her nativity. Julia was young enough that she couldn't remember a time before, so she accepted the Party for what it was, but she still didn't care for it. She had an air of indifference around her, especially when Winston was attempting to engage her in conversations about how it was before the Party took over, and how could she honestly NOT remember Oceania being at war with Eurasia just 4 years earlier?

Prose 4/5
What I Liked
For a classic, this was a very readable book. It flowed well, it was linear, and the story moved at a good pace. Orwell is a magnificent writer, and after reading 1984 I am now very interested in reading Animal Farm. Orwell is able to give a voice not just to his characters, but to their emotions as well. Much like the Party, I was able to tell what a character was feeling just by the way Orwell described a movement, or a behavior. Orwell is able to capture an exorbitant amount of thought, feeling, emotion, etc. with very few words.
What I Didn't Like
There wasn't a whole lot about the prose that I can say anything negative about. The only thing that slowed the flow of the book for me was the section that was from the Brotherhood book. I, personally, just got bogged down by it. Other than that though, I thought that the book was written flawlessly.

Memorable Quotes:
"War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength."
"At the sight of the words I love you the desire to stay alive had welled up in him, and the taking of minor risks suddenly seemed stupid."
"Anything that hinted at corruption always filled him with a wild hope."
"I hate purity, I hate goodness. I don't want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone ot be corrupt to the bones."
"No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred."
"She had become a physical necessity, something that he not only wanted but felt that he had a right to."
"The birds sang, the proles sang, the Party did not sing."
"Down with Big Brother"

Recommended For:
Science-Fiction/Fantasy Fans looking for something a little deeper
English Majors
College-bound students
High School Students

Final Thoughts:
While I enjoyed the book, it wasn't exactly what I thought that it was going to be. I enjoyed the story, I found value in the cautionary tale that warns us of an unforgiving future. Though the events didn't play out in the year 1984, they weren't too far off either. The possibility of a government that controls our every movement is just around the corner I believe. When that time does come, I do hope that we have renegades like Winston and Julia and The Brotherhood out there fighting against the powers that be.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'm Thankful For

hosted by The Broke And The Bookish

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, today we are considering which books we are the most thankful for. This list always seems to be so tough for me. Usually, I have too many books and I end up whittling my list down to ten, but today I had a difficult time coming up with 10 that I was thankful for. I'm thankful for all books. I'm thankful that I am literate. I'm thankful that we even have books to read. However, I looked through my GoodReads page an I picked out some books that changed my reading habits for the better in some way.

10. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Before you start judging me for liking and being thankful for this book give me a chance to explain. In graduate school, especially towards the end of graduate school, the realization that school (which I adore) was ending for me and that I would most likely not find a job in Greensboro or the surrounding area (which I adore even more) hit me hard. I slipped into a deep funk and that funk included me ceasing reading for a long period of time. I remember hearing about a new movie that my darling Julia Roberts would be staring in soon called Eat, Pray, Love and that it was based on a book. I reaaalllly wanted to see this movie (because I am so in love with Julia) but I knew that I was going to have to read the book first. So, I headed over to Target, got the book, and started reading. I was actually enjoying it! I was relating to the main character who was herself in a deep funk and not sure about her future! I remember this feeling! Was it great literature? Heck, no. Was it the best book ever? Heck, no. Would I recommend it to most people? Heck, no! But, did it do for me then what I needed it to do at the time? Heck, yes! I was outta my funk, I was reading up a storm again, I was excited about what I was reading, and in a few months time BookJackets would be born. I honestly believe that if it wasn't for Eat, Pray, Love I wouldn't have had the reading experience I've had in the past two years including my love of book blogery.

9. The Babysitter's Club Series by Ann M. Martin
While I was taking some YA Lit. classes in school we were assigned to read the graphic novelizations of some of these books and compare them to the originals. I enjoyed the GN, but the originals were my first loves. I remember swapping these books out in my elementary school library with the other girls in my grade. Boy-Crazy Stacey was THE book to read in fifth grade and it was always a huge deal to go look at the cards to see who had it checked out that week. My personal favorite in the series was Claudia And The Phantom Phone Calls (even though Maryanne was my favorite character). The other night I was browsing the 'net and I discovered an article where Ms. Martin herself selects her favorite books from the seriesClaudia and the Phantom Phone Calls isn't on her list, but Boy-Crazy Stacey is! Also, remember that totally awesome movie that came out with some of the most awesome chicks ever in it: Larissa Oleynik and Rachel Leigh Cook and Schuyler Fisk, oh MY! Everything about this series is great and I'm thankful that they were written, if they hadn't been I don't know what 'tween girls in the 90s would have read!

8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I wasn't much of a classics reader and when I switched my major to English from Psychology in college one of my most anxious concerns was having to read and analyze classic novels that probably wouldn't make any sense to me. This was one of the first classics I remember reading and not just surviving, but absolutely LOVINGJane Eyre is one of those books that all girls should be required to read. Everything about it is classic: creepy houses, romance, an underdog gal, England. Once I finished up this book I was ready for all the classics, I knew I could take 'em! I've not ever seen a movie remake of Jane Eyre, but I am curious about the most recent one that came out a few years ago. Anyone seen it? Is it worth it?

7. Out by Natsuo Kirino
I credit Out as being one of my favorite books of all time. When I was in college (and all through graduate school (and little after graduate school)) I was completely transfixed by a fella. This particular fella happened to have loved the book Out and so finally one day in grad. school to have something to impress him with, I went to the library, checked out a copy, headed home, and read the entire book on my bathroom floor. Yeah, I said it. Bathroom. Floor. The bathroom floor is my go-to reading space. I think I need to do a blog post on where I read. I know it sounds weird and unsanitary to say that I do the majority of my reading on the bathroom floor, but if I'm reading a book there, you know it's a good one. I read the entirety of Out on the bathroom floor. I was suddenly crazy about Japanese murder mysteries and I still get excited when I discover a new one that might find a spot the realm that Out is in, but I've never found one as good, yet. PS, it didn't work out with the fella, which is just as well, at least he was good for one thing: getting me to read Out.

6. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
I'm thankful for the Madeline series of books because this book was the first one I remember being obsessed over. I loved the illustrations and I was so intrigued by the premise of several girls living in a boarding house, and one in Paris no less. Madeline was the best friend I wish I'd had. She was spunky, she was adorable, she was fearless, she looked amazing in a hat, she was French AND best of all, she had red hair, which I have always been crazy for. I had to have everything Madeline for the longest time. I remember carrying around a Madeline doll (complete with appendix scar) and begging my parents to let me dye my hair red (they said no, of course, and so I did as soon as I got to college).

5. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
It seems like whenever I do a top ten Tuesday list I have to put the book I just finished reading on the list and this week is no exception. I'm thankful for this book because it serves as a cautionary tale about what can happen in the future. I'm thankful that I read this book in its entirety. There was a time in the not-too-distant past that I don't believe that I would have plugged away and ended up finishing it.

4. Naked by David Sedaris
This is the book that started by love affair with David's writing.

3. Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
This is the book I did my senior thesis on in college. I didn't care much about Native American heritage or history or literature before reading this book. In actuality I hated this book when first I read it. I ended up reading it again for another class, loving it, and turning a small paper about Native Heritage into my final paper. This endeavor made me realize that one day I hope to continue reading about and researching Native American Heritage and Oral Tradition in Storytelling. Even though it didn't work out with me going back to graduate school this year, I am still determined to one day get a second master's in Native American Literature, and it all started with this book!

2. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
I was in Asheville with my parents one summer and my mom was upset because I was annoying her to play with me (only child, only child!) so she took me to the Walden Books (remember how AWESOME those places were when we were younger?) in the Asheville mall and bought me the first in this series to shut me up, and boy did it ever work. I was in love with the characters and I was convinced that there was a boxcar in the back yard of my mom's house that we were staying at! Every time I read a book in this series from then on out, I pictured it taking place in my mom's friends back yard in Asheville!

1. Charlotte's Web by EB White
Even though I started eating meat again, I vow to never, ever eat pork, and it's all because of Wilbur, he sure is some pig! This book is the main reason I was a vegetarian/vegan for so long. A must read for all animal lovers!

I will be making the 5 hour drive to my parents house today after school. This is the first year that I will have a Thanksgiving where I eat meat in years. Last year I made a completely vegan meal for my family and to my surprise it was a huge hit, so big that my mom asked me to do it again this year even though I am eating meat again. I'm pretty excited about it PLUS I get to see my sweet baby Sheldon:

No matter what you do to celebrate, be thankful that we get some time away from work and we get some time with loved ones and we get some time to kick back and read! Happy Thanksgiving all!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Desert Island Books

hosted by The Broke and The Bookish
Today's top ten books are the books that I would want to have with me on a deserted island. This is a difficult thing to figure out because I don't know where the island will be located, I don't know how long I will be there, I don't know if I will be alone (will there be other readers who constantly steal my books and bend the pages and piss me off so that I start a riot and kill them all off and then turn to cannibalism !), I don't know if I will have time to read with all the surviving I'll be doing, etc.
However, if I get the best case scenario desert island experience, these are the books I would like to have with me there.

Because it's just good sense to have a survival guide when you're trying to survive.

Because I would want to feel like there are other gals out there who have to survive on a deserted island, too.

For the same reason as #9 except change "gal" to "guy".

This book would serve to bring back good memories from college. It would also take a while to read all the plays and sonnets. Plus, I just love everything about this book.

Because who doesn't need a little humor with their survival?

I would want all of Mr. Sedaris' work with me, however if I could only select one I suppose that it would be this one. This was the first one I read and I fell in love with his writing and his brand of humor.

I would never get bored. I could, literally, read about any and everything in the world. I could read about the island I am stranded on and I could know the local animals and if there are any indigenous tribes I need to be wary of!

Is this cheating? I don't know. It is a box set that is sold like this. In that case, I suppose that I could go and locate a box set of Sedaris' work as well. However, unlike Sedaris' books I have never read any of the books in this series and I feel like my time on a deserted island would give me ample time to start and complete all of the first four books. So, I have decided that it is not cheating and I would like to add the rest of Sedaris' works to #5.

All the gory goodness in one book; desert island score!

1. Diana Gabaldon Outlander Series 7-volume Paperback Set: Outlander / Dragonfly in Amber / Voyager / Drums of Autumn / the Fiery Cross / a Breath of Snow and Ashes / an Echo in the Bone [Paperback] (Diana Gabaldon Outlander) (Diana Gabaldon Outlander)
Remember, we decided it wasn't cheating!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: The Handmaid's Tale by M. Atwood

As you know now from reading the first post on my new platform here, the reason I decided to journey back to the blog world was on account of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. This book had such an effect on me. Had I read this book at any time when there wasn't an important election taking place (I literally finished it the day that Obama was elected for a second term), an election that could shape women's rights and freedoms for years to come, I don't think that it would have gotten under my skin quite as much as it did. Having been written in 1986 and forecasting a future where women have absolutely no rights (they aren't allowed to read, Heaven forbid this ever happen), I thought that  the book was starting to come true. We had disgusting men who are not doctors who think that they know what's best for women's bodies- sounds a lot like the commanders!

Offred is a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead in the (near) future. We are lead to believe that this place was once Maine but ever since humans destroyed the world with too much pollution (that sounds familiar) women have become sterile and the population is dwindling. Somehow the population has to grow and so those in charge, The Commanders, begin a regime of oppression and male-dominance. First, all of the women's finances are taken from their control and given to the next male of kin, then people are fired from their jobs and the government takes over (all of this happening after a renegade group of "Christians" slaughter all leaders of the US government and tries to play it off as an Islamic Terrorist Attack ) Families are torn apart, women with viable ovaries are dragged into brainwashing camps where they must learn to be complacent and to live as the Old Testament states that they should. Spewing out Bible verses that only support their side of a situation, the commanders toss all females who can't have children into a dreaded place called The Colonies where the people spend their days cleaning up toxic waste. This situation seems pretty bleak to Offred (who is a piece of property named after her commander, a man named Fred, so in sum she becomes known only as the property Of Fred) who longs for her husband (who's most likely dead), a daughter that is used as leverage to get her to behave, and a best friend who committed a gender crime by being gay. Is there any way for Offred to escape this horrible situation?

The Handmaid's Tale

Title:The Handmaid's Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publication Date: 1986
Pages: 311
Publisher: Anchor Books
Where I got it: Used at Goodwill
Dates I read it: November 4-9, 2012
Number of stars: 5/5

Plot: 4.5 
What I liked:
The story was engrossing to the max. Like Offred, the reader has many questions that they are yearning to get answered. The story moves along fast-paced despite the monotony and boredom of Offred's life. I liked the feminist spirit that Offred held onto despite the camp that she was subjected to and despite the life that she must now lead.
What I didn't like:
I didn't like a turn that it took around the late-middle of the book. I will be vague so as not to give anything away, but there is a time in the book when Offred is allowed to leave the house at night for an event, and it seemed out of place to me. The costumes that are required dress code at this event seemed odd and disproportionate to the rest of the story.
I obviously didn't like the male-dominance of the society, but that was the reaction that I was supposed to have.

Characters: 5
What I liked:
I liked all of the characters for the role that they played (that does not mean that I liked all of the characters). Each character fit perfectly into their own little niche and served the purpose that they were meant to. They were all fully formed and I felt like I understood the motives each had for doing what he/she did.
I liked Moira most of all. Moira is a feminist, free-spirited lesbian who does what she has to to survive and break free of the life that is being forced on her.
What I didn't like:
There wasn't a lot I didn't like about how the characters were written. Like I said they were fully formed and believable  I trusted the narrator, because her honesty was so raw she put herself in danger by revealing her thoughts and desire and I felt I had no reason to be suspect of her.

Prose: 4.5
What I liked:

The prose was difficult at times, but once I got a rhythm going, I found that I could keep it going. I felt like I came to a point where I understood Offred and I understood how she was narrating, but it did take some time.
I noticed as I was reading it, I was reading it in my mind in a voice that I didn't recognize (does that sound weird?). Usually I just read but with this, I felt it echo in my head in the way that I imagined Offred's voice probably sounded.
What I didn't like:
I struggled with the narrator's voice at several points in the book. She does not use quotation marks and the prose is often blunt. I found myself several times having to re-read a section to fully comprehend what was happening.

Pulled Quotes:
Don't let the bastards grind you down.
I am not your justification for existence.
I feel like the word shatter.

Recommended for:
-I know that this book was banned in many high schools, but that this could be a great book to read with an honors or an AP high school English class.
-English majors in connection with a Womens and Genders Study class
-People who will be here in the future

Final Thoughts:
To say that I was impressed by the magnitude of this book doesn't mean anything. If the government must step in and rule our lives, the first thing that needs to happen is that everyone must be required to read this book as a warning about how truly awful our futures could be if we don't shape up NOW!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

On Why..???

Reader, you may have noticed a few things that are different or strange about my blog here. First off, you've likely noticed that this is not a new blog, but is at a new address and is hosted by a new platform. You might also have noticed that after a great time at the BookMarks Book Festival in early September I just seemed to disappear completely from the blogosphere. You may have noticed that I was gung-freakin'-ho about participating in the Readers Imbibing Peril Halloween Reading Event and then it was never discussed again. If you noticed any of these things, please allow me to take this first post on the new site to tell you a little bit about what's happened and what has been going on and why I am back and why I am back with a whole new look at a whole new home on the 'net.

So, after my last post at BookJackets I got swept up in work. This school year has been the most ass-kicking year of my life. As you know if you read BookJackets religiously like I know that you ALL did, you know that I moved over the summer. This move was the BEST thing I could have done and I'm so thankful for it. Just look at the amazing view I am treated to on a daily basis (and yes, that is a lake that you see in the first picture and a stream in the second):

However, the place I moved to is about 30 minutes from the school I work at, so that adds an hour each day in the car commuting, and that is assuming that getting home in the evenings takes 30 minutes, and if you did assume that then you just made a huge ass out of you and me. I live about 20 miles north of Charlotte, NC and the traffic heading into Charlotte any time of any day looks like this picture that shows that yes, the jerks are even backed up on the shoulder, so it usually ends up taking me around 1 hour to get home. This year is crazy at work because we are all working our ASSES OFF trying to turn the school I work at around. My school is the lowest performing and has a slew of other problems. Many many afternoons and evenings (and Saturdays) have been and will be spent at school by myself and by every person who works there improving it. This takes a shitload of time, people, and it's not something we can half-ass because these kids deserve a good education, like these guys are obviously getting. 

                                           Synchroonized disobediance

My other excuse for my absence is that I wasn't reading. Oh quit judging me. I didn't have any damn time to read! Did you not just read about my hero-ness improving a failing school with my bare hands?! But seriously, since school started on August 8 I have only read 6.5 books. Read that carefully now, that's not 65, but 6.5 as in six and a half, as in four more books than there are characters in Two and a Half Men. As in less than there are days in a week. As in I was too beat to pick up a book and read words and comprehend sentences. I did not complete the RIP reading event. I got halfway through House of Leaves and I was feeling like a horses patoot because I was just NOT getting it so I had to give it up. That's as far as I got in the event. There's always next year (unless the Mayans were right).

Also, I  hate Wordpress. Like, hate it. With a passion. It was hard enough for me to get home, get dinner made, clean up from dinner, shower, then write a blog post. Add to that fighting tooth and nail with Wordpress to even get the damn post published and I became a frustrated mess; so, I gave up.

I spent the last two months contemplating if I wanted to try again, maybe with a different platform? I'd heard good things about Blogger, and most of the blogs I follow are hosted by Blogger. Would I have time? Would I have the energy? Would I have the sanity? I decided 'no, I would not.' and that was the end of my blogging days. Until last weekend. 

Last weekend I went to Goodwill looking for a new shirt to do yoga in (because it's all about how you look and not about achieving inner peace or any of that crap) and I took a look at the bookshelves expecting to see the usual Joel Osteen pap that people buy and then come to their sense and feel so embarrassed that they don't even want to attempt to sale it on Amazon so they donate it anonymously under the cover of darkness in the nearest Goodwill dump site. And that's exactly what I saw. With one beacon shining out from the collection of pap. The Handmaid's Tale. $1. It's on my reading list. It's in good condition. It doesn't want to spend another day next to Olsteen (and who can blame it?!), so I bought it and devoured it and had an hour or so of panic over it because I became convinced that it was real and that it was happening (Mitt Romney and Todd Aiken and that disgusting Mourdoch guy were all on television that night talking about magical vaginas and taking away women's rights) and I loved it and I cried over it and I didn't want to leave it alone so I secretly shucked it around with me all the time. I loved this book so much I found myself unconsciously marking passages in it that I wanted to blog about, and then I remembered that I no longer had a blog to blog on. I decided then to start making time to read more and to blog again beause these are things I enjoy doing. These are the things I like to do for myself. These are the things I need to be doing so that this school year won't be able to kick my ass so hard anymore. So, I decided to blog again, but not with Wordpress and not with BookJackets, and not with the same format I used to use. So, here we are. Reader, rejoice, because like Jesus will be saying soon: I am back!