Tag Archives: reading 2009

Readathon! Part 3

10:45 – Putting down Ripley Under Water for a little while. Highsmith’s potting is meticulous, but this one is lacking in swift movement. Back to Slippage for at least a story.

11:07 – Honestly, I can’t think of a nicer morning than listening to football and reading. Well, the Huskers could be winning…

12:30 – Confession: The NU game stole some of my attention and I headed out to EVal NaNo Kick-Off a tad bit late. And missed my connecting bus. I walked the remaining two miles.

16:00 – Left EVal NaNo Kick-Off. Missed bus. Walked the remaining two miles. I should have waited and read, but I walking felt good.

17:07 – Back home, back to reading. I have seven hours left.

Readathon! Part 2

05:36 – Awake again. Dreamt of pepperoni pizza. I have a migraine aura that probably won’t develop into a headache due to the amount of caffeine I’ve had, but will make reading difficult. Time for some Patricia Highsmith, Ripley Under Water. Pizza later.

07:28 – Diligently reading. I need to wake Eric up in a few minutes. He has class today.

08:35 – Yes, I am a slow reader. Not even 100 pages in three hours. Time for Red Baron French Bread Pizza.

09:27 – Turning on the Nebraska/Iowa State game. I plan to continue reading throughout. I am determined to at least finish Ripley today.

My plan is to take a shower at half time and head off to EVal NaNoWriMo after the game. Reading all the while. Well, except when in the shower.

Read-a-thon! Part 1

11:50 – I ended up having a Rockstar at about 6:30pm to ward off a migraine, which probably contributed to my inability to nap. I’ll regret that later, I’m sure. I pulled about nine more books from the back room, including some Richard Laymon, a few thinner works (like a collection of Ray Bradbury plays), and my starting book: Slippage by Harlan Ellison.  It’s been a while since I’ve read any Ellison.

Here goes nothing:

00:00 – Harlan Ellison’s Slippage and a big pot of coffee.

01:07 – Finished the Introduction and first story of Slippage. I said I was a slow reader. I’m a bit tired, but faring well enough.

01:59 – Taking a break from Ellison to read a couple of online articles:
‘Smart Choices’ Food Labeling Loses Support – NYTimes.com:

“It clearly blew up in their faces,” Mr. Jacobson said. “And the ironic thing is, their device for pre-empting government involvement actually seems to have stimulated government involvement.”

Heh. Well, that’s something at least.
Tor.com / Living Poe Girl, Part IV: The Young Girl of the Valley
The conclusion of the series, I believe.

02:30 – Reading this week’s Tolkien: The Two Towers, Book 4, Ch. 5 – The Window on the West

03:39 – Read TTT: Bk 4, Ch. 6 as well, so I’m now ahead of Tor’s read through. Also nodded off a little. Back to Ellison.

04:29 – About 1/3 done with Slippage. I think I need a little nap. Eric’s chair should be (un)comfortable enough. He has class tomorrow so his alarm is set for 6:15. I plan to be awake again before that.

Because, well, why not?

I wouldn’t say I’m a sucker for internet-instigated -a-thons, but after several NaNoWriMos, a crack at a 101 things list*, and (now) interest in Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, maybe I am. Maybe I’m lemming-like. Maybe I yearn for that sense of belonging that comes from being a part of something…sort of trivial. Or maybe I just have a huge to-be-read pile and am really bored with my current routine. Whatever the case, I’m curious to see how much I can get read in 24 hours at my usually slow pace.

I intend to blog while it’s going on; hopefully, as I finish books and cans of Low Carb Rockstar, and will Twitter some. I intend to cheat a little: Starting at midnight PST (instead of 5am), adding some magazines to the TBR pile, and taking a few hours off tomorrow afternoon to attend the East Valley NaNoWriMo kick-off party.

Wish me luck and feel free to play along at home.

What’s on my list currently:
A chapter or two of The Two Towers
Finish Ripley Under Water by Patricia Highsmith
The Caliphate by Jack Stewart (which I’m supposed to review)
Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin
Now and Forever by Ray Bradbury
Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Years edited by Michael Kurland
A couple Avram Davidson stories
Read some of Sin and Syntax by Constance Hale
Finish Selected Poems by Christina Rossetti
Plus probably a few Scientific Americans and some gaming materials.
And who knows what else.  If I get that far I’ll be lucky.

Right now, I need a nap.

*Something I need to blog about one of these days.

Dracula, Poe, mild neuroses.

Books 17 & 18: Dracula and a bit of Poe.

Finished reading Dracula this morning. As I mentioned before, I’ve enjoyed the reread more than I did reading it when I was young and actually interested in the vampire genre. And amid such kerfuffle about what kids should be reading in school, I wonder if it matters whether young people should be reading “classics.” Much of classical literature is wrapped in its historical (and maturity?) context. Much of that context is lacking in high school because the kids haven’t been taught the history and “social studies” needed to appreciate what’s going on within those books. It’s not necessarily a failing on the part of the schools, it’s due to there not being enough time to cover all the stuff that has been deemed important. It seems to me that if curricula were interwoven between subjects it would make things more interesting for all involved. But until then, maybe we should get kids reading first.

(Then again, I am reminded about a recent anecdote about a presumably native US citizen that didn’t know how many stars and stripes the US flag has or why there is that number. There are bigger problems with the educational/parenting system.)

Since I was behind on the chronological reading of Dracula, I jumped ship and started following Infinite Summer: Dracula‘s posts. Some good posts. Thanks, Nate, for pointing it out to me.

As perfect October accompaniment, Tor.com bloggist S.J. Chambers is writing a series of posts called Living Poe Girl, looking at “Berenice”, “Morella”, “Legia” and “Eleonra” within the context of Poe’s history. (I also added “The Oval Portrait” and the excellent “Philosophy of Composition” to bring me up to speed.)

Posts, thus far:
Part I: Objects of Desire
Part II: An Alchemical Marriage
Part III: Metaphysical Motherhood

My initial impression: It’s interesting that most of these women are very intelligent and very focused in their intellectual pursuits. Very masculine in that respect. In part, this might be due to an inability of Poe’s part to portray a female mind. It is rather telling though that the male narrators and POV characters of these stories fear the intellect of these women. This could be a reflection of the age of suffrage, or maybe Poe’s personal view on the unnaturalness of those characteristics in women.

Whatever the case, I’m counting Living Poe Girl and the extra Dracula-related reading toward my yearly (and let’s face it, not reachable) 30-book goal.

On a related note:
Vampire killing kits from the 19th Century

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Since it has some bearing on my NaNo project (Yeah, ironic, I know!):
Nanotech IS distinguishable from magic

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My “ups” are inevitably balanced with my “downs.”

My banana bread came out very well.

In SF/LH-land, we won a very tight game against Tuesday night’s 0-5 Midnight Passion. We were again missing a couple guys and, most distressingly, two of our girls. This time, it was Kelly and me savage. Distressing because neither girl emailed me before the game, and during and after the game, I heard a rumor that the one wasn’t interested in playing anymore. This happens all the time, especially with women playing ultimate frisbee, but I can’t help wondering if there was something I could have done (or not done) to keep said girl from becoming uninterested.

My other current neurosis: I feel like I’m totally defacing the book when people ask me to sign it. Bad penmanship. Possible spelling mishaps. Getting names wrong. Gah. It reminds me of an online personality test I recently took that stated that I don’t really embody the stereotypical Sagittarius astrological sign, aside from the negative aspects of being scattered, blundering, and tactless. If only had the Sagittarius lack of neuroticism as well, and therefore a lack of obsessive hindsight.

Yesterday, we set a record high of 102 degrees.

OMM and Dracula Thoughts

A new OMM is posted: Obscure Media Monday: Music: Murder By Death
I’m hoping to even out to an every-other Monday schedule for OMM and an every-other day schedule for journaling here.

Spent most of my time yesterday reading. I got behind on the Dracula chonological reread because about 1/3 of the book occurs between Sept. 30th and Oct. 4. I’ve enjoyed the reread more than I expected to. I read Dracula twice before: when I was about 15 and going through my vampire phase and then two years later in my senior year English class. I wasn’t that impressed with it. Now, with age and an English degree behind me, I can see how very revolutionary this story might have been. Borrowing from what I can pull from my head at the moment and involving no research, it seems to me that previous to Stoker, tales of vampires were somewhat rural in nature. They dealt with bad luck at crossroads and corpses that were buried too soon and Eastern European royalty that probably treated the peasants badly. What Stoker brought to the table was a smart vampire. Dracula plans. Stoker and his title character bring these horrors to civilized London where there are gas lights and phonographs and women who keep notes in shorthand. I’m not sure if that had been done before in such literature. (It’s probably also a concept that been written about by others, and I’m just now coming to it.)

Back to our regularly scheduled program…

Book #16 – We Never Talk About My Brother by Peter S. Beagle

I enjoyed We Never Talk About My Brother a great deal more than I did Beagle’s previous collection The Line Between (aside from "Two Hearts"; that novella is the core of that book, but I always see it as from Asimov’s instead of part of an anthology). It might be due to my general state of mind lately. I’ve been stressed and rushed and harried. This has been a little book of get-a-ways for me.   Whether to a through-the-mirror reality where the supernatural intrudes lightly (in "Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel", "The Stickball Witch", and "Spook") or to a completely fantastical world (in "Chandail"), all these vacations were needed. Lovely stuff.

I’m debating reading The Innkeepers Song again, or maybe I should finally read Giant Bones. Sink into Beagle’s fantasy world for a while.  Or maybe I need a good horror story to get in the mood for October even if the weather isn’t being cooperative.

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SF/LH Week 2:

Kathi’s elbow was not dislocated, but broken. She’s out of the season for all intents and purposes. Fortuitously, Kelly Lovell-Taylor emailed Jose Friday morning after the first game wondering if we had room for a veteran player. I played on a Kelly-captained team back in 2003. That league is notable for being the first time I threw out my back. (To illustrate the turnover of players in the VOTS community, the only people on that team team that are still playing VOTS league on a regular basis are Reif and me.) Alas, Kelly had to be out of town Thursday, still leaving Kristi and me savage for Thursdays game.

We suffered from similar problems second game as first, along with adding zone defense into the mix. We kept the game tied until about sevens and then they pulled ahead. We played Big Nate’s team. In general, very tall and with Dixon. Eric ran out of juice and the rest of us made the usual mistakes. Byron’s fingers are almost back to normal and having another long thrower would be good. Since I played the whole game, and much of it versus Melanie, I don’t really remember how good anyone’s play was, including my own. I do remember Kristi making some great catches, including two scores. For the second game in a row, Eric made good on the looong hammer part of our team name, sending one to me for a score. My low point, late in the game, I threw the disc to Duane while Big Nate was looking my direction and was pretty much in the way. It was maybe a yard away from being a Callahan.