Mar. 20: Books, books, and more books


I’m not, for a second, suggesting my life is terrible, but sometimes I feel the need to get away from it more urgent and powerful than others. While my attention span has been sadly, frustratingly short in recent months, I’m finally feeling like I can concentrate enough to follow the plot of a story for more than an hour-long TV show. This means I can read a real book. Not bits and pieces, magazine-style, but an honest-to-Buddha novel.

With a narration and characters and EVERYTHING.

I know. In the words of my favorite Pixar German caterpillar, I cannot believe it also.

“I love books. I like that the moment you open one and sink into it you can escape from the world, into a story that's way more interesting that yours will ever be.” –Elizabeth Scott

The book I just finished was written by Chris Bohjalian, who has become one of my go-to authors for socially-charged novels (not always my favorite type, but I do like the way they make me think). I have read The Double Bind and Midwives, and most recently, Secrets of Eden. His writing is beautiful and imaginative; in Secrets of Eden he writes in four different voices, and he does it well.

But there’s nothing like finishing a book you’ve really enjoyed and then finding out a Lifetime movie was made from it—starring, of all D-list actors, John “Uncle Jesse” Stamos. Way to ruin it, Lifetime. Pfffttt.

“While thought exists, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living.” –Cyril Connolly

Other books I’ve read, tried to read, or started reading:

The Dark Side of Disney. Sherilee sent me this one, an entertaining, sometimes shocking travel guide to Walt Disney World. I learned where to sneak in to the parks, how to get free food (i.e., carry bugs in a vial and put them in my food near the end of the meal), which rides I’ll get on faster if I’m in a wheelchair, and more unethical tips. It was funny and made me feel like a decent person for never even considering those things before. But now that I know about them… well… I want to go to Disney more than ever.

Curly Girl: The Handbook. No, this book has nothing to do with that adorable artist Leigh Standley (whom I’ve met. Have I told you that I met her? We’re totally, like, BFFs.). This book tells me how to deal with this crazy hair o’ mine. What’s crazier than my hair? The idea that I’m never supposed to wash it. Seriously, that’s just kooky-talk, right? There are lots of other suggestions in here, though, and some of them are pretty good ones.

Don't Go Shopping for Hair-Care Products Without Me. This book has been on my shelf for years, but after reading Curly Girl, I needed to refer to it again. If I’m not supposed to use hair products with alcohol in them, how can I tell they’re actually alcohol-free? Same with silicone. This book shares all the scientific names for these common products—those silly companies can’t hide their ingredients from me anymore! Ha! This book reviews tons of products and desperately needs an update, but it’s still useful in a general way. There are web sites with current info, and I’m guessing that’s why the book hasn’t been updated and re-published.

Out of Oz. The fourth and final book in the Wicked series was so boring and disappointing, I didn’t finish it. Why is it that I feel like a failure when I don’t finish reading a book, even when it’s crap?

The Shadow of the Wind. I just started this one. It’s got teeny-tiny print and hurts my eyes, but the words are beautiful and magical and I think I’m going to love it.

“Books don't offer real escape, but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw.” –David Mitchell

I’m off to Barcelona now—in my noggin—and will probably not miss Clackamas even a tiny bit while I’m there.



  1. I read Shadow of the Wind on my Kindle last year for book club and kinda puffy hearts adored it. I hope you do, too!

  2. I have the same issue with abandoning books mid-way through, but trying hard to get over it. Too many good books out there to keep going with the ones that I just don't connect with...

    Glad you enjoyed the Disney book. Heh heh.



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