The writing begins again Thursday, Feb 23 2017 

I’ve been a little down and out (after the election) and just out (of this blog, because I haven’t been reading as much), but I’ve started writing again.  Maybe because of the emotions? Or maybe because I’m close to where I’d like to be fitness wise? Or maybe because I downloaded todoist and have gotten a handle on my daily tasks.

In any case, it started with typing up my college poetry and my story notes, which led to me beginning to actually write. And now on my todoist app, I’ve included a “write for 10 min” task, which inevitably leads to more time spent writing per sitting, as I can’t always just stop at 10 min.

I think this helps too, because having a fresh mind on something, and reading over the last few paragraphs makes me study the language further, and acknowledge past mistakes. The review process has always been something I’ve neglected before.

Essentially this all means, that more writing leads to more reading, and more reading leads to more posting. And maybe more posting will continue the cycle!

To make things better, here’s my new favorite photo on the internet that I will leave you with. (Mind you, this photo has been out there forever, it’s just my current favorite photo).

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And She Reads Again Monday, Sep 12 2016 

I used to read all the time (a book a week) but fell out of the habit. Partly because I’m currently in the middle of the Game of Thrones book, the first book in a Song of Ice and Fire and it’s so tedious at the start.

Lately all I’ve been reading articles online (mostly health related ones). But something kicked inside of me and I started reading again!  Yes, it’s still Game of Thrones, and I’m not reading as fast as in the past, but it’s better than nothing!

This stuffed dragon is something I got to celebrate my reading again.  Why a dragon?  I love them (always have) and Dany is kind of awesome, and she’s Queen of Dragons.

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The Trouble with Time is: Monday, Feb 1 2016 

I haven’t read in ages, and I blame Game of Thrones.  Okay, so maybe part of it is that I feel like I don’t have enough time.  But I used to make time.  I used to read.  A lot.  So much so, that when I was younger my parents would worry I was depressed or something and to the point where my parents even asked my sister to find out if I was okay.  I was okay, though granted, I hated working at my parents’ restaurant when I was a teen, so I liked to read, especially fantasy novels, to forget about work.

But recently that changed.  I have been trying to read Game of Thrones, the first A Song of Ice and Fire novel, but for some reason I just can’t get through it.  My sister keeps telling me to just skip it, but I can’t just skip a book.  Though I haven’t finished a book in forever, I still follow my rules of reading.  But to be honest, I think a big reason, is that yes, it’s tedious because it’s all politics at this point, but also, I haven’t had a lot of time lately.

Since beginning my weight loss journey, I’ve been working hard on exercising, and my workouts have been taking a lot more time now than they used to.  And maybe reading so much is what encouraged my heaviness when I was younger.  I had to finish this chapter, this book, so I couldn’t possibly go and maybe walk or something.  Maybe subconsciously, I worry that I’ll fall into old habits?  Maybe now I’m reading too much into things.  Obviously I’ll continue doing both, I just need to get past this book, and I’ll be back to my old self.

Hell, it kind of happened with Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and I both loved that book and didn’t exercise then.  Maybe I’ll love Game of Thrones, even though it’s just another fantasy novel, and in my opinion not as gripping as the ones I used to read when I was a teen inadvertently scaring my parents into thinking I was depressed. Hey, maybe that’s the reason I haven’t been able to get through it?  Maybe on a subconscious level I resent the fact that it is doing so well, when the books I loved as a teen did not reach my television screen?  Okay, maybe definitely now I am reading too much into things.

When your Secret Santa knows exactly what to get you Sunday, Jan 13 2013 

So, I wrote about this Personal Library Kit, not too long ago.  Well yesterday, we had our annual Secret Santa, and my Santa, Kath, having read my blog, got me this awesome list of materials.  Which I plan on using immediately.

My gift from my Secret Santa

So, my gift was a reading journal, which I can write and rate books in it, as well as an antiquated book plates collection, and a Dumbledore wand pen and bookmark!  Oh my goodness so amazing.  I can use the reading journal to write my thoughts down as I read. And obviously, I can use the bookplates for my collection of books in case of sharing.  I’m super excited!

And the Dumbledore wand pen and bookmark?  Already used 😀  Love that I have an elder wand.  I can’t wait to start putting the bookplates on my books! I’m going to start with my leatherbounds (the set of B&N ones I got for Christmas one year).

*sigh* I love books.

The one where I learn I can’t do everything. Tuesday, Dec 18 2012 

Who would’ve thought that reading 52 books in a year was ambitious? Apparently everyone in The Twelve group. I sure thought it could be done. Especially since I had been reading a new book every four or five days. But apparently the six weddings I went to this year (a grouping of events called Weddingocalypse) drained me. At least, that’s where I’ve decided to place the blame.

Weddingocalypse had more than one casualty, none a living being mind you. One of these casualties was my new good habit of reading. Totally went out the door. Just flew the coop, pulled a disappearing act, and any other departure related cliches you can think of.  I was really hoping I would actually do it right and get it done.  But I think, well no, I know I overextended myself.  And so that just did not happen.  It’s so embarrassing that I barely even got halfway through (though I think I might get to the halfway point by the end of the year).  Or maybe it’s my commitment issues (“Hi, I’m Ms. IstartsprojectsIneverfinish.  Nice to meet you”).

Otherwise, if I’m feeling lazy, which I most likely will, I’ll give myself the goal of reading 10 unread books off my shelf.  Or maybe 5 unread books and 5 from the NY Times 100 must read list.  And if I can’t complete that, then I’ll know that I really have issues.

Casino Royale, where it all started Tuesday, Dec 4 2012 

To aid in my 52 books to read goal, I started reading the James Bond books. It actually worked out in my favor as I’ve wanted to read these books for a very long time. Growing up, I was always a huge James Bond fan. That is mostly because I would watch it with my dad all the time and it was always an excuse for staying up late. As a younger sister, I could always find the perfect excuse for getting around any wrongdoing.

Ian Fleming’s James Bond in Casino Royale

So I figured what would be a more perfect book to read this past summer than James Bond? They are “light” reading and they are short(ish). I managed to read Casino Royale in about a few days, because I am just that awesome, and I really enjoyed it.

I mean, let’s face it, the writing isn’t phenomenal, but it’s definitely worth a read. You don’t feel like you’ve wasted your time reading it, (unlike with some other books, which shall remain nameless) and you find yourself invested in some of the characters.

My only gripe about it is that Fleming comes off as a bit of a racist, and a bit of a misogynist. While I’m aware that racism and sexism came with the times they were written in, it doesn’t make it excusable, and it can make some parts difficult to read. That being said, the books are an accurate portrayal of the times they take place in.

There’s not much that one can talk about with a book like Casino Royale, because like i said its not a book you read for the writing. But it does have a better structure than a lot of the books that get multi-million dollar movies. Then again, the Bond movies always fare well in theaters too. I just don’t think people realize they were books first. And you get what you’d imagine with a Bond book: cars, chases, and chicks (or for us girls, the desire to be one of his).

And you can tell that Fleming did his homework when writing these books, because with the vividness in which he described the game of baccarat, one could feel that they could expertly play the game themselves. The only difference being, I wouldn’t bet my life on it.

Grown ups can have reading lists too Wednesday, Jun 6 2012 

Last year my awesome friend started a Facebook reading group, called the Annual Grown Up Summer Reading Program.  Its cause is to encourage grown ups to read, similar to the reading lists of our childhood.  Suggestions for books to add to the list are made, and a final list posted.  A prize is given to the person who reads the most on the list.

I personally think this is a spectacular idea.  I partook last year, but only read a few of the books.  I do have many of my own books to read, so it makes it difficult.  I could always add other books onto the suggestions, and that way, I could kill two birds with one stone.

The group is open, so anyone can join, provided they have a facebook account.  And if you like reading and discussing, or if you want to start reading more, than you should really join.  And you should especially join if you just need an idea on a good book to read.  Because, really?  The more the merrier.

Books for ‘women’ Sunday, Feb 27 2011 

It may surprise you to hear that, before a few months ago, I had never read any Jane Austen. This fact may surprise you as I am 26 years old, and an English major who focused on early modern literature. I had even taken a course on women in the early modern period (aptly titled Early Modern Women’s Writing). Now knowing this, the obvious question to ask is: “How could I have not read a lick of either Bronte or Austen?” Easy. My professors all professed that seeing as Bronte and Austen were such popular subjects, we must have already read them. But in my case, they were wrong.

Jane Austen

And so my women writer’s class focused on other women writers, Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Wroth, Anne Clifford, Aphra Behn, Kathrine Philips, and Margaret Cavendish. Those women were my scholars. And while my college literary career was filled with the likes of Shakespeare, Whitman, Marlowe, and Doyle, who were popular male authors, not once did I read Bronte or Austen.1 And so I graduated college, having not read two of the most influential female writers of the time.

When I told my friends of my feat, they gasped and guffawed. I felt an outcast among my peers. Okay, I may be exaggerating a teensy bit: there had been some gasping, no guffawing, and no shunning. But I did feel a wee bit foolish. Feeling foolish is part of what spurred me to finally read these novels now, even though in all honesty I don’t think I could accurately describe what made me think, “read this now.” There were no voices saying that ‘If I read them, they would come,’ or anything like that, but I did feel like it was time I read them. What also encouraged me to start reading these classics now, is that I finally finished the book I never thought I’d finish (the aforementioned Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell). And so I thought to myself that I should start reading the books I should have read ages ago.

And so I read Austen and Bronte and fell in love with the characters (particularly Mr. Darcy). And finally realized why so many lauded these novels. I grew so enamoured with these characters, that after reading these great works, I started watching them on screen. Period dramas were suddenly the norm on our tv and our choices on the silver screen. This is not to say I wasn’t a fan of the period drama before, far from it, it was just that on reading these great works, I rekindled my love of them. I’d finally realized what I had missed out on all these years. Now if I watch a modern day romantic comedy, I can’t help but notice how much these have been influenced from the books of the past.

In the end, what did I learn from this experience? Sometimes peer pressure can be a good thing. Shh. Don’t tell any parents I said that.

1Some may argue whether Bronte was a writer of the Early Modern period, but as her reign was on the cusp of that period, I would give it to her. Austen however, was most certainly in the period and so she should have been covered.

A strange case for Mr. Norrell Saturday, Dec 11 2010 

At 800 pages, Susanna Clarke’s “Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell,” could intimidate even the most avid reader. But don’t let it’s size steer you away. “Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell,” is a stimulating read for readers young and old, however, as it is a bit dense, I’d say it may be a challenge for readers that are below high school reading levels.

To be honest, what first attracted me to the novel was that I heard it was similar to Harry Potter. I’ve discovered that statement does not accurately describe it in the least. “Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell,” isn’t just a Harry Potter book for adults. While both books do carry elements of magic, that is primarily where the similarities end. “Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell,” is filled with both the hope of magic returned and a rich history that almost convinces the reader that magic is still around today.

The Raven King’s symbol, a raven in flight.

The novel tells the story of two magicians in three volumes, while one magician, the Raven King, reigns throughout. While the book is primarily about magic and its ‘return’ to England, the novel is also about relationships, be it with servants, wives, friends, or each other. As we watch these relationships unfold and blossom, Susanna Clarke artfully illustrates the intricacies of dealings with magicians. Be it the way that Norrell envies the ease with which Strange works, or the way Strange worries of becoming like Norrell.

One aspect of the novel that helps perpetrate the belief magic really does exist is its extensive footnotes. Though at times I found the the footnotes to be dense as they were rather excessive, I loved how much history they provided the reader. These footnotes provided the reader with a deep set past of England and it’s magic, be it with the Raven King’s stories, or stories of workings with faeries. Many times did I wish that John Uskglass did yet exist and that the ravens seen in London were the still working for their ‘master.’

All in all, despite the novel being rather different from Harry Potter, it does match it in at least this one way. By the end of reading either novels, the reader is left with the hope that, despite what we’ve been told countless times by parents and teachers alike, magic does exist.

The real never-ending story Wednesday, Oct 20 2010 

Everyone has read that book that was so awful they just could not put themselves to finish it. A book so dull, that reading it, just takes all life out of you. For some, the answer is easy: toss the thing into a rubbish bin, and be done with it. Then there are others, who could never damage a book, but yet you can and do, send it to the salvation army. And yet there are those who cannot even bring themselves to do that. For those people, their solution is most difficult. They do actually have to go and struggle with the book, and finish it. And that task alone is daunting.

I am one of those many, who when picking up a book and dislike it, i have to see it through to the end. I can’t stop it midstream, neither can I pick up a new (never before read) book to read at the same time. One book, one session.

For a long time, I thought this inability to finish a book was solely due to dull books. And then I met the exception to the rule.

Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell is an amazing book, and was a great read (my review will come in a different post). I was fully invested into the characters, and I still wish for a sequel, because there are many questions I want answered. Truth be told, all the books I love, end that way for me.

But for some reason, this book took me nearly a year to read. A year. I could actually say two, because I had started it, then stopped, then restarted it. In this time, I didn’t read one new (never before read) book to quench my thirst for reading. For someone who used to read several books a month, this was a new experience to me.

But a little over a month ago, I did finally finish it. What spurred me? What got me through? What took me so long in the first place? At this moment, I am not entirely sure, to be honest. For the latter question, I am honestly baffled. The book was large, but no larger or not much larger than any of the later Harry Potter books. And I could finish those in a day. Was it the language? No, because I’ve finished Dickens as quickly as any other book. And like I said before, I loved the characters. I was busy, but no busier than before. Maybe the Raven King himself had put a spell on me? My truest guess was it had nothing to do with the book. And that I could just have been in a book reading funk.

On the first two questions, as I mull them over, I think what helped is that I decided to ignore my previously mentioned quirk of not being able to read more than one book at once. It was around the time of the Harry Potter movie, and I decided I wanted to reread the book to get myself ready for it. And so I put Strange and Norrell aside and read Half Blood Prince. That helped me the most. The reason being was that it even took me a while to read Half Blood Prince. And that shocked me so much, it made me realize it had absolutely nothing to do with the book.

What also helped me is that I just decided to stop thinking of it as an infeasible task. At that point, I had been thinking I may never be able to finish it. But I decided to stop thinking of it that way. I looked at my book shelf and the two rows of books I had to still read, and that also helped.

Since finishing Strange and Norrell, about three months ago, I’ve read six books (three of which were Jane Austen). Suffice it to say, I think the spell has broken.

Welcome! Saturday, Sep 18 2010 

It took me a while to decide on a way to begin this blog. In fact, my opening sentence is what I really dwelled on.  I mused on waxing poetical and detailing, in soliloquy and metaphors, the nuances of the state of reading.  And I believed that to be too narrative.  Subsequently, I speculated on discoursing scientific and calculating the specifics of the chemical reactions in the brain initiated by reading. But I thought that too pedantic. And then I pondered on reminiscing into my childhood, and describing the joy I felt when I delved into my first book.  But I felt that too romantic.

Finally, I decided on going meta.  This is a blog, after all, and I came to the realization that most blogs are, as a rule, meta.  They are fully aware, of themselves and their readers.

And so I begin this blog: fully aware.  I welcome all readers here, as few as they may be.  You may ask what I plan to discuss here, and I have two answers for you.  In short, I will discuss anything and everything books.  In long, I will post book reviews, or thoughts on books I am currently reading, as well as book events happening across the city.  I do warn you, I do have a strong love for cheesy puns and sayings, and you may come across them here or there.

I have always had a passion (note: this should read obsession) for books.  As a child, I used to read so much my parents worried.  I loved travelling to foreign lands, or meeting different creatures, and books provided that adventure.  My dream, was, and always has been, to become a writer, and to stimulate the same love for books in others.

And that is why this blog is here today. I figure, that while I haven’t yet fulfilled my dream of being a writer, I can at least attempt to stir the pot and share my love of books with others.

So here we are, you have been sufficiently welcomed, and and sufficiently warned.  I hope, in time, you shall be sufficiently pleased.

First posted on Tumblr on May 12, 2009.