Monthly Archives: September 2008

Impossibly long, yet again


Here it is—the reason I have been away so long. It’s lovely, but a lot of work. One month in, and I am still drowning in boxes. But the mountain IS shrinking, slowly but surely.

Here is what I have been reading (since before the move, when I was already behind here, but hey! I was packing! And purging!) (with current comments):

41. Spin Control by Chris Moriarty

I really enjoyed this book. I wasn’t expecting it to have so much spy thriller in it, but I love spy thrillers, so it was good. I like that Moriarty’s books make me think about many things, genetics, politics, sociology, interpersonal relationships and more. Highly recommended.

42. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

This was a re-read, and I remembered who did it, but it was still a fun read.

43. Lost and Found by Carolyn Pankhurst

This book was very different than what I was expecting, and it was very good. Reality shows provide the potential for real drama, but you don’t always get it, since people are always aware of the cameras. I liked the way this story tried to get into the brains of the contestants in a reality show, and show the real drama (although fictional, of course) that could be there. The characters are very believable, and three dimensional, except for the ones that were believably less developed because they were still immature people. I really enjoyed this one.

44. Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

I really enjoyed this, although I think I did like the blog better. This was more about the project itself, and less about the food. Which is fine, I guess, but different. I like Julie a lot, she reminds me of myself. I like that she is a bit rough, and that she found something to do rather than wallow in unhappiness when she didn’t like the way her life was going. And I am impressed with the sheer size of the project. This was a fast, fun read.

(When copying these from my LibraryThing thread on what I am reading this year, this is where I found the note that I was starting to look for a house—June 25th. The whole house hunting thing was something of a surprise. I was seriously looking last year, and I decided to give up and keep renting. I wasn’t finding anything I liked that I could afford, and a three bedroom apartment opened up in my building, so I decided to wait. Then, I saw a great condo near my apartment that had enough space for us that was actually in my price range! Of course, someone beat me to it, but by then I had talked myself into the whole house buying thing again, so I kept looking.)

45. Thud! by Terry Pratchett

Very good, as usual for Pratchett. I am so sad that he has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I think that must be particularly hard for someone who works with words.

46. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

When I picked this up at the beginning of the year and just couldn’t get inot it, it was definitely because I was feeling slumpish, I know now. This was so suspenseful, I had to force myself to slow down and read it all toward the end, and this depsite having seen the movie. Very fun!

47. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

Still fun, very interesting. If they make more movies, I have no idea how they are going to be able to avoid pissing off the Catholic Church or any Christian Church, but I am sure they will figure out a way. That girl who played Lyra in the movie really was perfect for the part. She really captured the character.

48. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

I have to say that The Golden Compass remains my favorite of this series, but I liked reading through until the end. I liked the ending, although it seemed a bit anti-climactic in some ways. And, the writing was not as tight, and it was much more sentimental. But it was a good read.

(I am including this editorial comment from the original post: Still packing and submitting paperwork and getting ready for the move. But once I move, I will have to stay at home and read all the time. Unfortunately, it turns out that I am staying at home and unpacking all the time….)

A slight diversion, with an attempted read: I started The End of Mr. Y, but I couldn’t take it. I am sorry, but the narrator describes herself as a binge reader who used to spend entire days at the library as a kid, reading as much as she could cram in her brain. Then she finds a book that she has been searching for, and really looking forward to reading. She stays up late that night, gets up early the next morning, and reads all day until 4:00, stopping only to make a simple lunch, and then she gets to…page 133? That’s when I completely lost all respect for the book. Especially since they had excerpts from the book, and it was not a difficult read. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I need to mail it off soon (because someone sent it to me from Book Crossing, which was wonderful of her), once I get it entered on Book Crossing and get the next address.

49. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

Wonderful book. What a great writer Murakami is. At first this book was a little confusing, but it quickly became more clear. I thought the concepts were fascinating.

50. Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark

Fast read, suspenseful. Not great literature, but a nice escape read.

51. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Very interesting. Savannah has some pretty quirky residents, and Berendt is a very good writer. The mystery was interesting, and the character sketches were fascinating.

(This was posted Aug. 4th—I am leaving in a lot of these moving things because it helps explain how very far behind I am on my goal…) I spent much of the weekend either taking stuff to Good Will, throwing stuff away, packing, or helping a friend move (I want help with my move, too!). I will be so glad when this move is over, but I have to say, it feels good to get rid of a bunch of stuff. We still have too much stuff, but we have quite a bit less that we used to have. I figure we will get rid of even more as we unpack, but I am running out of time to be sorting through stuff–I need it all in boxes, ready to go.

52. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Very good book. I am reading a lot of books with my daughter and it’s funny reading these books as an adult. Partly from growing up, and partly from having a lot more experience reading books, it is interesting to see what the authors are doing in these books, and how differently I view the characters than I did when I was a kid.

53. Mona Lisa Ov
by William Gibson

Now I need to re-read Neuromancer and Count Zero. Still, even though I think this would have been a bit more clear if I had recently read those books, it was good. I really like Gibson’s ability to take seemingly disparate stories and weave them together without seeming totally disjointed. Just disjointed enough to keep you off-balance ;-).

54. The $64 Tomato by William Alexander

Fun book about the trials of having a large kitchen garden and orchard. Since I am buying my own house, I can do a little bit of gardening, although I don’t think I will ever be the kind of person who devotes all of my free time to the garden, no matter how good the food tastes. Still, some fresh herbs and tomatoes would be nice. And maybe a blackberry or raspberry bush…

(Hey, there is already a raspberry bush at the house! Yippee! And tomatoes! And lots and lots of basil!)

55. The Bancroft Strategy by Robert Ludlum

I love Ludlum books. This one was very suspenseful, even though I figured a lot of it out early. I figured it out, but then I started to doubt myself, so it was interesting reading through to see if I was right. It was also very thought-provoking, especially the moral quandary of where to draw the line with the ends justifying the means. I loved the ambiguous end.

(September 5th, although the wallowing in boxes thing is still pretty much true, despite MANY actual unpacked boxes) I am still wallowing in boxes, which is no fun. I love the house, though! Still haven’t touched the yardwork, either. I am almost done with another book, though, thanks to the longer commute.It seems pretty much a foregone conclusion I am NOT going to make 100 books this year. That’s fine, though, I wasn’t planning on buying a house when I set the goal. Maybe next year. In the meantime, I will see how far I do get.

56. The Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver

Once again, I love Lionel Shriver! What a fantastic book, and so very thought-provoking. Irina’s relationship hits a crisis point, where she is tempted to kiss another man. The book proceeds in alternating chapters where she did kiss him, and where she didn’t. The chapters are very similar, with the same words and scenarios repeated in drastically different ways. When Irina writes a children’s book with a moral that directly comments on her life, I thought it was a bit obvious, until I read about the book she writes in the parallel world, with a different moral that also applies directly. Alone, the morals seem like spoon-feeding the reader; in counterpoint, they add to the complexity of the comparison.

I love how the situation is not as straight forward as it seems at first, and how neither situation is obviously much better than the other one. Life is complicated, with some good and some bad in every situation and relationship, and you have to determine your priorities as you go. Also, the idea of comparing the consequences to two sides of a choice is fascinating. In real life, obviously, you have no way of knowing what would have happened if you made the opposite choice, but people always wonder. Overall, highly recommended.

57. Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic by John De Graaf and others who I can’t remember off the top of my head

This was a re-read. I came across this while unpacking, and felt the need for a refresh. I always struggle with the line between having enough and having too much. Do I really need all this stuff, or will it make me happy? After moving WAY TOO MUCH STUFF, this is on my mind even more than usual.

58. You’re Wearing That? by Deborah Tannen

Interesting book about communication between mothers and adult daughters, where it goes wrong, and why it is so confusing for all parties. Being an adult daughter of a mother, I found it interesting, although I think I had figured out a lot of the issues I have with my mother. Of course, it is easy to forget cool reason in the heat of a difficult conversation, so it helps to be reminded. I am also hoping it will help me to have a good relationship with my daughter as she gets older; something to look forward to as we approach the rocky teen years!


So, yeah, not going to make 100 books this year. Maybe next year.

My secondary goal for the end of this year (because I am not holding a lot of hope for the read more than I buy goal that was my originally secondary goal) (oh, and I’m not making my primary goal either, so maybe this should be the primary goal) (whatever!): post here more often. No more insanely long posts!