Why 100?

Last year I set out to read 100 books, but I ran out of time and only read 75. So this year, I will read one hundred books. And you're my witness :) The only thing stopping me this year is 9 seasons' worth of Seinfeld episodes- wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Scarlet Letter.... Number 40!

The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne
I will admit that I have yet to read many "classics" from America's literature canon.  The Scarlet Letter is one of those books that I wasn't force-fed in high school, and I somehow avoided it in ALL of my college lit classes.  Instead, I was introduced to Hawthorne by way of "Young Goodman Brown" and "The Birthmark," and "Rappacini's Daughter."  These were all incredible short stories that I reccomend to anyone, therefore I was very enthusiastic upon cracking the spine of The Scarlet Letter.  Therefore I am a very unsatisfied reader.  Hawthorne's short stories are so inspiring and enthralling and then he throws this crock of over-elegant Puritan psychological mind shit our way.  I don't mind so much, except that this is how most people are introduced to him.  He has, in a sense, put a scarlet letter of B (for boring) on himself to all high school students that are given a copy of The Scarlet Letter  to read involuntarily.  And then they are unaware that he is actually a pretty good author that writes short stories, not long, tedious, melodramatic ones.  Anyway, that's about all i have to say for tonight.  Hopefully I can make a change to the high school curricula and give my students "Rappacini's Daughter" rather than The Scarlet Letter and give Hawthorne an updated image to the next generation. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

looking back so far:

Before number forty makes its' debut on the list, let's review the first 39 in quick, pageant style, review:
1. Ten Days in the Hills, Smiley+
2. Who moved my blackberry?, Lucy Kellaway
3. Girls of Riyahd, Alsnea
4. Dragonfly in Amber, Gabaldon+
5. Teaching Poetry in HS, Somers
6. Neither Here nor There, Bryson+
7. Teach like your Hair's on Fire, Esquith
8,9,10. Bad Boys in Black Tie, Foster, McCarthy, and Leigh
11. The Map of Love, Soueif
12. T.E.T., Gordon
13. The Giver, Lowry
14. Something Blue, Giffin+
15. Dear John, Sparks (or lack thereof)
16. Engaging Readers and Writers with Inquiry, Willhelm
17. deeper reading, gallagher
18.the moor's last sigh, rushdie+
19. mediterranean summer, shalleck
20. the road, mccarthy
21. second helpings, mccafferty *yes!*
22. Classics in the Classroom, jago
23. Split Second, Baldacci
24. you are what you eat, dr mckeith
25. little lady agency, browne+
26. joey pigza swallowed the key, gantos
27. white noise, delillo
28. the treasure, johansen
29. reading native american literature, goebel
30. sunburned country, bryson+
31. the phantom tollbooth, juster
32. blogs, wikis, podcasts..., richardson
33. the help, stockett
34. a room with a view, forster
35. moscow rules, silva
36. little lady, big apple, browne+
37. even cowgirls get the blues, robbins
38. little lady and the prince, browne+
39. ellen foster, gibbons

i give this book, number 39, an O for Oprah's book list

oh, oprah.  what ever will i do with you?  i'm not going to lie, seeing your book club O stamp of approval on the cover made me hesitate to pick this up for myself.  because you disgust me and sicken me with your conniving approach on controlling america from the not-so-behind the scenes.  exhibit a: your book club.  do you think it's right to bring these high-falutin novels with class, dignity, and something to say down into your everyday mom, silly hands'?  well i suppose i do.  but what i do not approve of is allowing people to read novels without learning how to read novels beforehand.  if there is one thing that I learned (and
i believe there has only been the one thing that i have learned from my english education classes),  it is that you cannot CANNOT just throw a reader into a complex and intricate work of literature.  things need to be laid out and understood about how to go about reading things that delve so deep into the inner workings of the human psyche of society.  This is my problem with the O for Oprah book club picks- let the first book on the list be a book about how to read a novel properly and I will back off a little (only a little though because I really do despise the very ground that woman walks on). 
Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons was touching at the end.  The whole thing felt like every other southern white novel expose that i'd read before but the end really made me feel two feelings:  good that this little girl got her luck and horrible for thinking 'huh, maybe i am lucky to have not been abused, passed on several times through houses of crazy relatives, seeing three people die, thinking colored could be passed on through germs, not being able to cry because grandmas yell at you to cry like your bastard daddy who killed your mother, yada yada yada.  but then this girl ellen struck a chord.  she had one or two pages left to get to me and by golly she did.  she says, "Now I can turn out to be different too.  I could have been a hobo.  If my new mama and her girls had been gone on a vacation there is no telling where old Ellen might have turned up.
       If I think about my life like that I can see how lucky I am.  "
Damn.  we should all be so lucky to realize our luck.  *

38. another little lady realizes she's made a big mistake....

i may be a little over dramatic at that one, but this third installment of the little lady agency actually turned out to be quite my favorite with the exception of a few key points: her sister's little "suprise" birthing at Romney Hall when no one even knew she was pregnant.... pardone moi?  the scary nanny on the sideburner when it should have been much more of an issue.... and last but not least, the whole reason we love to read these little lady books, which is why we stick around to book 3 in the series, The Little Lady Agency and the Prince by Hester Browne, was to hear about the silly, witty, utterly insane things she does for her agency's clientelle.  That, and her dashing romantic schemes.  I wasn't sure i saw this particular one coming for sure, but it's fairly predictable.  but i'm glad it worked out.  *SPOILER ALERT* now im wondering if there is a little lady and nelson storycoming up next.  i would really like for there to be finally a little lady wedding of her own with her dashing and lovable labrador beau.  now that would make great fiction.  nothing has more hassles and crises and humor involved than wedding planning.  am i crazy to think that i would someday like to do that for other people?  my friends who actually are getting married really see my advice and ideas as "oh that's nice, molly's talking again about color schemes and dress patterns."  but really, i see some sort of future.  unless i can be a professional reader and be surrounded by a shunnup of my dreams and a pack of loveable yet squirrelly dogs, there really is no other future for me than wedding planning.  besides maybe teaching.  i suppose i should actually do something about that whole school degree thingamajig that i am aiming for..... ah well.  details, mon, details.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

37. the 70s were an interesting to time for fiction and thumbs

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins was um, interesting, to say the least.  how else to describe a 400 page paperback involving a giant-thumbed hitchhiker who does side modeling jobs for a douche-manufacturer named "the Countess" (a male), who is obsessed with her 1//16th indian roots, so she marries a native american artist who is anything BUT native american, so she heads to an all-girl ranch funded by the douche company countess and becomes bisexual with all the crazy lesbian, cow-roping cowgirls, who introduce her to a japanese american known as the "Chink" who has associated himself with the "clock people" indians who believe that earthquakes are going to be the end of time and therefore their salvation, meanwhile the chink waits on a plateau over the lesbian douche ranch while they ensnare and endangered flock of whooping cranes by feeding them feed mixed with peyote buttons, thus throwing the country into a frenzy and leading to a shoot out and an altered flight pattern in the previously never unchanged flight pattern of the endangered whooping crane.  HUH???  I know, it's all very confusing, and mildly sexually explicit but interesting to say the least, as i have previously stated in this blog entry.  while the plot line was um, sometimes a little odd, mr robbins' does think up some strange but wonderful ideas about time and words and how the brain strings things together.  There are two pages that pay their undivided attention to how the thumb holds power over the rest of the body simply because it says it is greater than the thumb, for example, but how does the thumb know it is greater?  it relies on the b rain to tell it..... conundrums.  also, there are a few pages that examine the way sentences work and why they are prone to far less creativity than we allow them.  the one that sticks out is, "this sentence is pregnant because this sentence missed her period"  think about that.  swallow it a little- it's funny.  it's poignant.  its kind of "what?  that doesnt make sense" until it does make sense.  anywaythe whole book was of this shit.  great but what?

36. Little Lady and the Valley of Flowers

Little Lady, Big Apple by Hester Browne
The Little Lady Agency is back, but she is in New York City this time with her lovaah.  And I am in the Valley of Flowers with my lovaaah ;)  The beginning of summer always brings about changes of feelings, moods, emotions, friends, food, drinks, scenery, yada yada yada.  This particular beginning of summer has brought about a lot of changes for me as far as feelings, moods, emotions, friends, food, drinks, scenery, yada yada yada.  I'm happy to say they are very good changes.  Instead of having to drive to see my amazing man and amazing friends, I am officially located with them.  As the Little Lady officially relocated to be with her amazing man.  But she has turmoil in her New York life.  So far, with the exception of not finding a job and being incredibly broke, my summer has been turmoil free and A-MAZ-ING.  Besides, there could be plenty worse things than not having a job.  instead of wandering the streets and going to lunch with people i don't really like (in order to impress somebody else), i have time to sit back, decorate, cook, and...... READ!  (and, lucky you, to write ;)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

book number 35: rule number one: be scary. rule number two: be less than thrilling

i finally FINALLY finished reading my 35th book (yes, the last entry was a typo).  Daniel Silva's Moscow Rules.  hooray!  i am out from under Moscow's oppressive rules!  it was really well written, and it made me think about russia and all of its secrets and underground shit. governments are terrifying things when you get right down to it.  other than that, i really have no thoughts on this book.  it was far too long for me to even remember things that i read two weeks ago- the move-in/re-move-in process has been a little stressful, not to mention worrying about job searching and cooking and money and family and pets and yada yada yada.  so the next one will be better, i swear :) 
one note of good and exciting news: i got my library card in my new temporary home! yay!