Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Missed Missive & Some Reading/Book Notes

This house is the reason that I failed to post my Monday Missive last night. Valerie and I closed on this house late yesterday afternoon, the first home purchase for both of us. It needs a bit of work, mostly cosmetic, thank goodness. Still, I'm very excited if a bit daunted by the reality of owning a home. It's going to be quite a change. I've lived in apartments for the past eighteen years, and I hope that I can handle being responsible for maintenance and upkeep. Plus I'm not much of a DIY-er. I never even painted a wall in any of the apartments that I've lived in, but I'm going to have to learn how to paint soon, very soon.

After the closing, we spent some time at the house making plans and noticing things like the weird placement of light switches that we hadn't paid attention to previously. Then we went to toast our purchase on the rooftop patio of our friend's Midtown townhouse. The weather has been so perfect lately, last night included, that I'm not sure what I enjoyed more, the satisfaction of being a co-homeowner, the champagne, the company, or the location and the view. It's not a rooftop patio with a view of downtown, but our house does have a good sized backyard and a small patio that Valerie and I are going to improve and enjoy as often as possible.

Enough about the house, let's talk about books. I'm still reading The Year of the Flood, but my reading time has been too sporadic lately. I don't feel like I've been able to focus on the story enough to become really engaged with it. I'm hoping that I can find some quality reading time later this week and this weekend. Of course, I have other books waiting to be read. Killing time before our closing appointment, we picked up copies of our book club's next selection, The Hour Between by Sebastian Stuart. I don't think I had ever heard of this book before seeing it on the list for book club. Blurbs on the cover compare it to A Separate Peace, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Catcher in the Rye, all of which I like, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

At work today, I started reading All the Broken Pieces, a novel in verse by Ann E. Burg. I'm not sure why I picked it up; it wasn't one of the ten books that I have stacked on my desk to read. Maybe I'm trying to make amends for not celebrating National Poetry Month like I have in the past. Maybe I just wanted something that I could read fast. I spent most of the day giving teachers twenty-minute breaks from TAKS administration, but for two consecutive twenty-minute periods, I got to be the bathroom monitor, which gave me some reading time. I got about half way through the book. The poems tell the story of teenager Matt Pin, the son of a Vietnamese woman and an American soldier, who was airlifted out of Vietnam during the war and adopted by an American couple. I'm not a big fan of novels in verse, but I am finding some of Burg's poetry to be quite beautiful. I wish I hadn't left the book at work so that I could quote some of it here. I'll post more about this book when I'm finished, and I'll include quotes in that post.

Okay, I think that I'll go to bed now and read The Year of the Flood for a while. Later.

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's Monday! Time for another missive.

Posting two Mondays in a row! I'm off to a good start in my effort to blog more regularly. Too bad for my reader(s), I don't really have much to blog about tonight. I spent most of last week in San Antonio, attending the Texas Library Association. It was a very busy 3.5 days, giving me little time for reading. I did finish Ruined, a YA book by Paula Morris that I had started the week before. It is a ghost story set in post-Katrina New Orleans. I thought the book was really good until the overly convoluted twist at the end. The ending didn't completely ruin (no pun intended) the book for me, but it made me feel less enthusiastic about it.

I about 100 pages into Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, another work read. It's the story of a boy listening to cassette tapes recorded by a high school classmate just before she committed suicide. The protagonist is one of thirteen people who did something that contributed to her deciding to kill herself. The narration alternates between the girl and the boy. I know that some of my students have read it, and all agree that it is so sad. If it's really that sad, one or more of my students will probably catch me in tears at the circulation desk later this week.

As for adult books, I did start Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood. Finally! I'm only about fifty pages in--so far, so good. On Friday, I saw Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games trilogy. Several times during her presentation and during the Q&A, I was reminded of the how much I really liked The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake. Collins never mentioned Atwood's works, but I can't help but think that she has probably read at least The Handmaid's Tale, which I think I need to re-read sometime soon.

This week is pledge week for the local NPR station, and I can only listen to so much of the begging. (Just so you know, I'm a sustaining member.) I decided to listen to Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White, which I downloaded for free a while ago. My commute is only about thirty minutes, so it will take me a while to listen to the whole book. Even though I've only listened to the first track, I'm already curious to know more and to see what happens.

Okay, I'm going to bed and read for a while. I'll try to blog something more interesting next Monday. Have a good week!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Back to Blogging - Monday's Missive

Damn! Where does the time go?I have no excuse for not blogging; I have just been lazy about it. Of course, I have been reading, quite a bit actually but mostly YA books. However, since my last post, there are a couple of adult books that I've read that I realy want to write about, Motherless Brooklyn and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I'm going to attempt to start a regular schedule of posts. For now, I'm going to plan to post a Monday's Missive every week. I figure if I can make that a habit for a while then I'll be ready to add some other regular features. I'll count this as my first Monday Missive, but I might post something later about the poetry reading I'm attending tonight. Later!