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Books, Books, Wonderful Books

23 Feb

I love books. I love holding a book in my hands, turning the crisp pages, and entering a new world. The idea that words on a page can evoke such amazing imagery, emotions, and gratification is astounding to me. Reading is such a personal experience, and I believe it is an experience that cannot be duplicated. Ever.

For these reasons, I became a writer.

Today, I’d like to share with my 5 blog fans (thanks for hanging with me, ya’ll) some of my all-time favorite books. These books have literally changed the course of my life.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (1961)
I read this book when I was 11 years-old. I could totally relate to the main character, Milo, because he was bored (as I often was at this age). A mysterious tollbooth appears and he’s whisked away to a weird world full of puns, like making a jump to the Island of Conclusions. This was one of the first books to really engage me in reading which made me want to read more.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (1961)I think I was around 13 years-old when I read this book. I remember sobbing uncontrollably when Old Dan dies after protecting Billy from the mountain lion. It was even more sad when Little Ann dies of starvation because she misses Old Dan. It took place in a world I hadn’t known, on a farm back when there was little modern conveniences. This was the first time a book had moved me to tears and I will never forget it.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (1949)
I think I was in high school when I read these. I can’t remember, it was…well, a long time ago. I loved the idea that a strange, exciting world could be as close as the inside of a wardrobe closet. I used to wish I could go into my closet and go somewhere fantastical like Narnia. When I finished one book in the series, I could hardly wait to pick up the next one to see what would happen. I loved the descriptions and the battle for good over evil. I did not see the movie and probably never will because I love these books so much.

The Blues Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)
I read this one in college, and it rocked my world. I had many friends from diverse cultures so I never encountered racism or even thought about it. This story about a young black girl, Pecola, is brutal and painful to read. But to this day, I cannot get the scene out of my mind where Pecola is playing with a little white boy who violently kills a cat while she looks on helplessly. I was deeply disturbed by this book, but felt somehow that it opened my mind to things that happen in this world that I was totally oblivious to before reading it. It is a powerful book written by a master of the English language.

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (1950)
Once again, a book whisked me away to a strange new world: Mars. But this one was filled with turmoil facing both the Martians and the Human race from near-extinction. Humans were the invaders of the wonderfully vivid Mars, and you find yourself rooting for the Martians rather than the humans. The Martians seemed graceful and innocent while the Humans were merely selfish and greedy, always fighting amongst themselves. I read this book in college and loved Bradbury’s use of the language. I was completely mesmerized by these stories.

Gone With the Wind by Margret Mitchell (1936)
Unlike most books I’ve read, I saw the movie first and then got the book. I think I was in my twenties when I saw the movie. My breath was completely taken away and I wanted to read this amazing book to get all the details that I knew would have been cut out by Hollywood. Not only was my curiosity rewarded, but I discovered the richness that Mitchell so elegantly captured of the South during this time period that was really lost in the movie. Sure, there was the ball gowns and the sprawling plantations in the movie but the fierceness to hold onto the Southern way of life was much more passionate in the book. And Scarlet O’Hara was down-right EVIL in the book. They definitely toned her down in the movie because I think most movie-goers would have HATED her despite her will to survive against all odds.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (1994)
In my mid-twenties, I was trying to figure out how to make money by being a writer. I had no clue what kind of writing I wanted to do, I just knew it wanted to write and make enough money to eat and live. I picked up this book on a recommendation by a good friend. I found myself laughing out loud at Lamott’s self-deprecating humor and her frank honestly about the writing life. She candidly talks about “shitty first drafts” and the painful process of capturing the writing muse. This book made me want to write stuff that makes people laugh because this book brought me so much joy, as well as imparted true wisdom on writing for a living.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998) I read this book in my thirties and was questioning religion as a whole so reading this one was perfectly timed. It is the story of a missionary family who moves from Georgia to the Conga to spread Christianity to the savages. However, the sheer wildness of the land and culture overtakes them, but the stubborn head of the family, Nathan Price, refuses to conform and it takes a terrible toll on his wife and four daughters. He tries to save Africa for Jesus, but ends up going insane. I was enraptured by this story and how a simplistic view of other cultures based on bias can lead to disaster. Kingsolver writes beautifully and anyone who loves to read is hypnotized by her lyrical and poetic views of the world.

Everybody Into the Pool: True Tales by Beth Lisick (2005) I read this one a couple of years ago after The Hubby heard about it on NPR. It is HI-LAR-I-OUS beyond belief. Just the chapter titles alone tell you what is in store: Nuns in Trouble, My Way or the Bi-Way, Brokeley, or Little Bundle of Entropy. Lisick has a wit that is on par with David Sedaris, but much more urban. Like Lamott, she is wonderfully self-deprecating and captures crazy images of her outrageous life in San Francisco like when she worked for the Fruit Guys as a banana. This book inspired me to write about my own life experiences with a humorous slant.

There are so many more books like Amy Tan’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, or Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha. But, I would say these books influenced me to pursue a life of writing. If you haven’t picked up a book and read lately. Do it. You won’t be disappointed.



13 Jan

What are yours?

Vampires, Werewolves, and Hotties…Oh MY!

30 Nov

So, I went with a friend last night to see The Twilight Saga: New Moon. It was hard to go into it without any preconceived notions due to all the media hype, and drama around Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison. I told my friend that I bet Kristen and Robert probably hate each other but, Hollywood executives put it in their contracts that they have to appear to be a “thing” to make more money for the movie.

Who cares anyway? Onto the hotties!!!

In the previous movie, Jacob is a little twerp with bad hair. In New Moon he still has bad hair in the beginning but he’s been working out and gives Edward a run for his money:

Don’t think however, that Edward has lost his appeal. Nay! He’s still sizzling even though he is cold as ice:

Movies are NEVER as good as the books. NEVER! BUT, this one was pretty good. The casting is amazing and there is genuine sexual tension between Bella and Jacob, and Bella and Edward. It works. The one thing that was hokey and disappointing was the CGI werewolves. They looked like some of the first ones ever seen on film. I mean, come on guys!

This franchise is making bank! Can’t you afford better CGI than that?! I could have made a better wolf! Speaking of making bank…I was in Target the other day and saw that there is actually a Twilight Board Game:

The game is sort of like trivial pursuit in that you have to know a lot about the characters, story, and crap to win. PFFFTTT!! How stupid is that?? Stephanie Meyer, the author of the books, is poised to become the new J.K. Rowling, and soon we will see Twilight toothbrushes, band aids, underwear, if they don’t exist already…

Mortality vs. Immortality

1 Jun

I’m addicted to Twilight. Last night I just finished reading the first book. And I am SOOOO getting the next one. I can’t wait to read it!!!!

I have NO DESIRE to see the teeny-bopper movie with the sexy vampire dude, okay! I feel the same way about this series as I do the Harry Potter books. I don’t want my experience of the books to be ruined by some Hollywood Executive Producer’s need to make millions off the franchise.

But I digress…

One of the main themes of the book as it nears its amazing end is the choice between mortality or immortality. In the book, both have drawbacks. Of course mortality with getting hurt, older, and eventually dying. There’s also the urgency to make something of your life because time is limited and everything. Then there’s immortality as the book presents it. Living forever, never aging. You stay completely the same while everyone and everything around you changes, grows, and dies. You can’t sleep, ever. You don’t eat food anymore. The only thing you crave is blood. You don’t have human emotions but you have incredible strength and senses. Doesn’t sound too bad, eh?

Would you, if you had a choice, choose mortality or immortality?


The Library Rocks!

21 Jan

I love books. I love being a place where there are a lot of books. So it’s kind of funny that I never really knew how cool the local library could be until I spent a lot of time there yesterday. We’ve taken the kids to the local library for special readings or events and even to check out books, but I never ventured into the other sections.

Since I’m trying to make this writer life work for me, I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. One of the things the experts tell you is if you want to write articles for magazines you’ve got to do research. I’ve been searching through volumes of magazine listings in the Writer’s Market and Bacon’s Newspaper/Magazine Directory. I had no idea there were so many magazines!! And the Librarians are so nice and helpful! Not at all like the stufffy old ladies who always “shush” you if you talk too loud.

When I walk into the library I just want to breathe in the smell of books and melt away into each one with it’s far off worlds, adventures, and fantasies. Ahhh…for now, it’s back to brainstorming and writing. Someday I’ll be able to sit down and read and read and read…

The Wonderful World of Children’s Literature

4 Sep

I’d like to first thank you all for indulging me with my pity party yesterday, and a very special thanks to those of you who left comments. I’ve taken my medication today so I’m doing much better…sort of.

Now, onto today’s enlightening post. I give you The Wonderful World of Children’s Literature because you never know when you’ll be cornered by a snot-nosed 7 year-old jacked up on too much sugar. Here are selected works that may be of interest to you:

One Two Three…WTF?It appears on first glance that this book is about animal orgies, or group sex. But alas, no. It’s actually a book about team work (naughty, naughty because I know what you’re thinking). Chicken is trying to pull a worm out of the ground and needs help. Help that chicken and you never know what you’ll get!

Glorifying Boogers
This wonderful book is about Bertie, a dirty little boy with dirty habits like picking his boogers and eating them. What a lovely little lesson to teach your children…how to delight guests at your next dinner party.

Gaseous Hound
A popular book among young children. Why? Because farting dogs make kids laugh. But this flatulent pup is no mere stench factory, he actually saves his family when burglars break into the house and Walter lets a hideous cloud rip, choking them until the police arrive. A lovely moral to this lovely little story: fart and you will save the day.

Shit Happens
Originally written in Japanese and translated to English, Spanish, Chinese and other languages, this book tells it like it is. We all take shits, unless of course, we are constipated. This is a must have in your library of Children’s Literature because you gotta see this page of the book:

If you are like me and you want to raise cultured and refined children who appreciate fine literature, or if you don’t have children and you simply want to teach a wandering child something valuable, then these books are the perfect addition to your library. Your children’s minds will expand and implode with the wealth of knowledge they will learn.

Happy reading!

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