brain dump, end of August

29 08 2010

Most of my reading lately has been done in the car while picking up the kids. It’s hard to escape from a stinker of a novel when that’s all I’ve brought with me. Bad books have an upside, though.  They bring out my inner Michael Kors.

Play Dirty by Sandra Brown: “ripped from the headlines” takes on new idiocy.  It’s about a pro football player in a major southern area who goes to jail for illegal gambling who gets caught up with a millionaire who bought a major airline that was financially fucked.  Sound familiar?  Everyone who lives in or around Atlanta is fucking tired of this story.

Intervention by Robin Cook: Dan Brown fanfiction written by a stoned 6th grader.  The beginning has absolutely nothing to do with the end.  It’s like two NaNoWriMo novels glued together.  Flagrant exclamation point abuse.

Running Scared by Lisa Jackson:  good enough.  I’ll probably reread it in a couple of years.  The author has some sort of hang up about adoption.

Shadow Zone by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen: a good story in a good series.  I normally hate co-authored stories but this one is seamless.

Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs: a fun, fast moving story with an interesting ending.  It had an interesting medical twist that I haven’t seen in other books before.

Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner:  another good story with great insight into the minds of special  needs children.  The hospital scene was eerily like the one in Terry Goodkind’s The Law of Nines.  That made it a little disconcerting.

The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen:  This is the 3rd time I’ve read this book so it obviously doesn’t suck.  This is the kind of novel that got her characters a TV show.  I hope the quality of her books returns to what it was before.

The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre: reading British styled books messes up the accent in my head for a couple of days.  Other than that weirdness, it’s a great story.

Water Bound by Christine Feehan: looks to be the start of another series sort of related to the Drake sister series.  It was a little disconcerting to get used to the new “magic” but will be interesting once more of the books are published.  Sucked to realize that two things I love the symbols of (fire and water) are the things that threaten books the most.

Fatal Burn by Lisa Jackson: I need to boycott books written by Lisas and Lindas.  They all get confused in my head.  Not memorable.

Rules of Vengeance by Christopher Reich: very good story and plot.  It’s nice to have a hero that I didn’t ever really like or feel sympathy for.

The Memorist by M J Rose

12 06 2010

They should have published The Memorist book first.  Possibly only this book.  Everything I said about The Reincarnationist (which is a damn stupid title too) was fixed in the sequel.

Will I buy the 3rd one in July when it comes out?  Maybe.

If I do it will be because I’m a completionist and not because I want to read another book in this series.

the last week in books

19 05 2010

I had some interesting books show up on my book list this past week.  Some I’ve read before, some are newbies.  There are a few that I was just looking for a comforting, trashy read to escape into while I took a hot bath.

  • Chainfire, Phantom, and Confessor by Terry Goodkind – I’ve read them before but Shaun was finishing the series so I wanted the story to be fresh in my head so we could talk about the awesomeness.  It’s totally nerdy to talk about Ordenic Theory but it makes him much more sexy.   He’s started The Law of Nines and I expect further great conversation!
  • Killer Smile by Lisa Scottoline – I still don’t understand what it had to do with smiling but it was a great mystery novel.  I love how the main character works through solving a murder from decades before and immersing herself in research.
  • A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Don Miller – he wrote Blue Like Jazz and is totally awesome.  This book was more disjointed, I believe on purpose, but it got the point across that experiences are better than stories.  It was hard to read during all this medical stuff because I’m coming to terms with not being able to do the physical stuff that takes you to beautiful things in nature.  No hiking, biking, riding rapids, or swimming to unique areas with my loved ones for me.
  • Midsummer Magic, Calypso Magic and Moonspun Magic by Catherine Coulter – these were the first romance novels I ever read as a teenager.  It’s a good thing I read quickly because I hid in the library with Moonspun Magic and read it in two visits.  Now, I have the new publications of the trilogy which are FULL of editorial errors.  That just pisses me the fuck off that just because they have new covers, no one went through and made sure punctuation and typos were fixed.  They were fine in the first editions – how’d they fuck it up in the later issues?
  • Fibromyalgia for Dummies – I’m still working on reading through it but it pisses me off as well as giving me some good information.  It’s hard to get through because my brain rebels at the factual information that they left out.  I think I’ve talked about it before in this blog so I won’t get into it again.

I think there was an Iris Johansen book and a David Baldacci book somewhere in there but I’ve already reshelved them.  They probably deserve their own entry anyways.

Flashing, the expansion pack

2 05 2010

After reading more on the Apple vs everyone else debates, I realized that I probably need to define my usage of “flash” when griping about eBook readers.

I read very fast.  It’s just a talent.  I can’t paint my own toenails without making a huge mess and I have no athletic ability.  I don’t suck at math, but I can’t do complex stuff in my head the way my mom and sister can.  I’m just blessed in the language arts category.

By very fast, I mean around 120 to 150 pages an hour.  That means I turn a page every 20 or 30 seconds with real books.  With digital books, the pages aren’t as big, so I turn a page about every 10 seconds.

In all the eBook readers I’ve seen, when you turn a page the screen inverts the black and white text then turns completely black, then fades back in to the words on the next page.  It takes a little under a second to change screens.  Hence, my term “flash.” It has nothing to do with the program from Adobe.

As quickly as I read, I see a lot of page changes in a very short amount of time which to me is “flashing.” When I have a migraine, I can’t even read a magazine with glossy pages.  Even then, sometimes the glossy pages trigger a migraine so I’m not going to submit my brain to a “flash” every several seconds.

Until the technology gets better, I’d rather scroll down than change pages.  Even the reader on my cell phone (Samsung Moment) is better than the full sized eBook readers I’ve seen because it’s a constant, hi-def screen.

With the file sizes of eBooks being so incredibly small, there is room to improve the screen quality in the device itself.  The largest eBook file I have is 111,ooo KB with most averaging around 10,ooo to 15,ooo KB in a PDF format.  PDFs look great on the average computer screen, so why can’t the readers do the same?

A nice screen with a few buttons to turn pages and load books with a single USB port would be something I would drop a few hundred dollars on.  Until then, I’m not going to risk a migraine to have a slimmer way of reading a book.

Serious but hardly sober

30 09 2009

There isn’t very much I’m serious about.  I’m serious about books.  I’m serious about… um, not much else.  Just about everything needs levity or else it will suck balls.  (My 2 yo nephew says “that sucks balls, uncle Bob.”)

With books – don’t break the spine.  Don’t fold the pages.  Don’t roll it like a newspaper.  Don’t let it get wet.  Use a fricking bookmark.  Don’t turn pages while eating cheetos or wasabi or spaghetti.  Don’t stack them horizontally.  Don’t leave them in damp places.

Books are SRS BSNS.

Lately I’ve been taking pics of our antiques and hobbies to post to Flickr.  Some are going up for sale at Etsy.  Mostly, I’m looking at pictures.

…and I’m getting really ill at people!  I’m ill that I’m ill about it!  Really, things should be used.  There’s no point in having a collection of “oooh, pretty” if you’re never going to enjoy them.  Smoke your pipes, eat off your dinnerware, put stuff in your cabinetry, wipe your hands on the embroidered towels.  By all means, use it now because things exist to improve the human condition.

I’m just seeing that so many people have more money than sense.  They get these gorgeous collector’s items that have been loved and cared for.  Things that have lasted two and three lifetimes.  Then they just FUCK THEM UP!  They treat these things like status symbols and take pictures of themselves doing stupid things.  They don’t love the thing or the history of the thing or the people who loved these things.  They love the attention that owning the thing brings them.  Even more, they love having 300 of exactly the same thing and being able to brag about their things when the only thing they want is to feel superior.

So what?  Why does it matter to me?  I don’t have the money to save these things and honestly, the more of them that are destroyed, the more money my well-cared for things will be worth.  Rarity makes value and perceived value is always more relevant than actual value.

What’s important to me is that the thing be loved.  If it’s loved, then every blemish makes it more valuable – not to the outside world, but to the family who love that thing and the people who love the people who love that thing.

On my wall, amid late 1800s Austrian china, is a thick and crudely gilded dish.  One handle is missing and the broken spot has been worn down because even after it was broken, it was still used.  It was my great-grandmother’s and my grandmother tells me that Great-Grandma served the bread for dinner every single night on that dish.  She said it never failed that G-Gma would serve either rolls or bread and always on that dish – even long after it was broken.  It hangs on my wall amid things with immense value because it has immense value.  It has a family and a story and a history.

If you love something, then you take care of it.  Right?  People – please learn to take care of your things, whatever they may be.

*This post is not about items that are recycled, upcycled or repurposed.  It’s about things that when used in their intended way, but in a careless manner, are destroyed.

Deep Thoughts

9 07 2009

Hopefully I have at least 5 deep thoughts for you tonight.

1.  It’s impossible to own a human being but we use “ownership” pronouns constantly.  My kids.  My mom.  Your dad.  Our parents.  My husband.  We simply lease relationships with people until we are seperated.

2.  On the other hand, the law sees animals as property.   Not all animals are meat on the hoof… but still we “own” our companion animals.

3.  Being at the dentist at 8 am is not my idea of fun.  However, the children’s dentist is really cool and they give “candy air” to the kids.  It makes them very funny for about an hour, especially when it starts to wear off.  Alyssa says “Mommy, my feet tickle all by themselves!”

4.  6 oz birds should not be able to rule your life, but somehow, Pete and Cami certainly think they own me.  They’ll have to fight Spooks, Ernie, and Abbie for ownership.  Nola’s happy just being my friend and Calista is interested in the flavor of my chapstick. I need to remind them that they only reason they aren’t food is because they’ll never be big enough to stuff.

5.  My The kids who live in my house have an absolutely 0% chance of being normal.  Ever.  Their mom’s idea of fun is to freak up the makeup, strap on the camera, go to the aquarium and remind the freak-sized spider crabs that they taste good with butter and take pictures of the shocked faces.  It works even better when you have about 6 adorable kids with you who look absolutely innocent.  The oldest gets to hold the camera.

6.  Bonus thought!  No matter how odd my life is, I’m still shocked that the local supermarket is giving away a free watermelon with every purchase.  Things you don’t expect from your cashier:  would you like a free watermelon?  A what?  A watermelon.  Say that again.  WATERMELON.  It’s free – pick one up on your way out.

7.  Bonus thought!  Every single person I know objectifies my “ghetto bootie” and I kind of like it.  One of my friends who is from Haiti said “you know your daddy ain’t white, right?”  the very first time we met.  Not-so-secretly, I love that.  It’s like the only physical feature I have that seperates me from the crowd of average height, average weight, pink toned women.

Time to pick one of my three new books and get in the tub.  I should be able to sleep in tomorrow, thankyouJesus!  I get to choose from Laurell K. Hamilton, Michael Palmer, and Catherine Coulter’s TailSpin.  The first two are guaranteed to rock.  The last one is not so sure… I’m about to reevaluate my love of Ms. Coulter.  The last few have been just exploiting her bestseller name.  I’ll keep TABLP updated on THAT relationship.

And the literary field puts me back in perspective

1 07 2009

I was so excited I finally got Richard North Patterson‘s* The Race in paperback the other day.  So. Excited.

I started and finished it today in the bathtub, thinking “what a damn good book.  How does Mr. North Patterson always tend to be so oddly prophetic and honest with his novels?”  I thanked God again for the blessing of finally finding the book and being able to read it as I tied on my robe and left the bathroom.

I dried my hair, pet Spooks, and turned around to face a brand new hardback version of The Race neatly shelved on the bottom row of bookshelves.

There are too many self-flagellating analogies right now for me to even think about including:

  • I have so much wealth in just literature that I can misplace an entire novel for a long enough period to get excited about it again the next time it’s published.
  • I should really stop expecting the next best and re-examine the contents of my bookshelves (and household) and find new ways to love them all over again.
  • I better not invite anyone involved with the local fire code over any time soon because the next additions to my collection are going to force triple-shelving situations.**

*Dear Mr. North Patterson, if you or anyone affiliated with you were to read this humble entry, please take this one statement to heart:  Please get a real website. Someone as prolific as you should have enough clout to get have a site that is not built on your publisher’s template and hosted on their server.  If you need two or three candidates who are professional advertising web designers who recently got laid off and have time to give you some energy, just send me an email.  I can also recommend a good hosting client.

** I have a surreal love for words that end in -ion today.  I guess they just feel nice rolling around in my brain although it does bring to mind this rather unfortunate incident of internet culture.