Take a break?

Firstly, thank you, everyone, for the book suggestions.  I have added SO many books to my “look into these” list.  I love reading suggestions! 

But, yes, I am beginning to think it’s time to take a break.  I haven’t read anything – War and Peace included – in 3 days.  I’ve had TRIED to read, but just can’t focus.  I even went to the library yesterday and nothing looked interesting.  Nothing!  So, I’m going to go on a self-imposed hiatus.  I’m not going to look at a book.  Well, I’m going to try not to.  Rest, recharge the batteries, watch movies, play with the kiddo, I’m going to do those sort of things.  Hopefully it will work.  Because I have tried, too many to count, books and can’t get into any.  From my rambles around the blog world, it seems I’m not alone in this, which I know we all hate. 

This weekends plans: go to the BIL’s house tonight and will quite possibly partake in a little alcoholic refreshment.  Tomorrow, we have a graduation party for a friend to go to.  I’m not very excited about it and will quite possibly leave early.  One of the benefits of having a 2 year old – I can use her as an excuse to get out of pretty much everything.  Does she have to grow up?  I’d much rather go to the drive in, as they have a triple feature this weekend, one of which is Pirates of the Carribean.  I SO want to see that!  And at $5 a person for all three movies – well you can’t beat that!

I’m also planning on taking up knitting again.  My SIL is pregnant (again, #3, she’s insane, she’ll have 3 under 4) and I made the other 2 blankets so really, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t make the new one a blanket as well.  Plus it may be a good distraction from the lack of reading.  

Taking it personal

I think I have a horrible personality.  I tend to be a loner.  I usually prefer to be by myself about 80% of the time; reading, messing with the computer, etc, etc.  I prefer the company of my family above all others with occasional visits with my friends.  So, when I saw Amanda took a personality test I thought I would to. And lo and behold, I know myself pretty damn well!

ISFP – “Artist”. Interested in the fine arts. Expression primarily through action or art form. The senses are keener than in other types. 8.8% of total population.

Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

I(ntroverted) 67.65%
S(ensing) 51.22% 
F(eeling) 61.11% 
P(erceiving) 70.59%

Sounds about right.  Glad to see my artistic tendencies are normal.  Also explains the itch I’ve been having lately to create something.  May be time to break out the knitting needles.

Help! It's spreading!

I think I am dangerously close to being in a reading rut. I’m reading, but the only thing I’m reading is War and Peace, which is probably only due to the fact that I was already reading it when it hit. And, while I AM enjoying it, I can’t seem to make myself sit down and read a whole bunch of pages at once. I get…bored…I guess. That’s why I’ve been reading another book along with WaP and so far have finished 3 additional books since starting WaP. Part of the problem? The Thirteenth Tale was too good. Another? The weather. It has been so hot and HUMID down here in NC that I can barely think. Thank God it’s raining today. hopefully it will clear out some of the wet in the air.

But still, I don’t know what to read. I read the first chapter of Vindincation by Frances Sherwood last night. Meh. I brought Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh with me to work today. Meh again. I started The Book Thief by Mark Zusak this weekend. And again, meh. Nothing is grabbing me. Ack! What to do, what to do! What’s worse, I know I would enjoy all those books, if I wasn’t in such a funk!  With a book as dense as WaP, I’m leaning towards something funny and light…which is why I brought Vile Bodies…I’m wondering if I need a dose of chick lit. Or, God forbid *gulp* a romance novel. I may have to go home tonight and closet myself up in my room until I emerge with a book in hand and relief radiating from my head. Pray for me!

I'm here! I'm okay. Sort of.

Well, since two people have now emailed/commented to check on me, I guess I’d better post already!  I’m okay.  Been busy.  And reading.  Plus, I sort of seem to have a pinched nerve, the doc thinks somewhere in my shoulder, that gets annoyed when I’m on the computer too much.  My fingers tingle and my arm starts hurting.  Not fun.  It’s a bitch, but I’ve been trying to take it easy.  Doesn’t help I have to be on the computer at work so much, especially here lately!

I’m also in one of those weird funks where I’m just sick on the “sound” of my own voice.  It seems like I talk so much lately, at work, at home, on the stupid phone, that by the time I think about posting something I just want to shut up.  So I have been.  But I’m still reading my favorite blogs, sometimes multiple times a day!  And reading.  I FINALLY finished Book 1 of War and Peace yesterday.  And I went book shopping.  What’s better for a funk than book shopping, I ask you?  I can’t remember what all I got; I do remember Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier because I made a special trip back just to get it, The Complete Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes to feed my anguishing House malaise a little, The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, something by Chekhov, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, and another couple things.  I was hoping they would have The Woman in White…but I guess I’ll have to keep my “eyes peeled” (to quote you Fence). 

So yes, here I am, I’m okay and I love you all!  Mwah!

C'est fini.

So.  I finished it.  The Thirteenth Tale.  And now I am bereft and alone.  And very very sad.  Because said wonderful book is over and I will never read it for the first time again.  Please, if you read this book, treasure every moment because they go by so fast.  So very, very fast.  And please, please, please.  Read this book. 

As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed this book.  I will give it a proper review later; quite possibly in the next issue of Estella’s Revenge.   I think it will be totally cool to see a book in ER before it’s published, don’t you?  But yes, the book is over and now.  What do I read next?  I want more of the same.  I want another book like The Thirteenth Tale.  There are several books referenced in TTT; Jane Eyre (which I’ve read), Wuthering Heights (which I tried to read), The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.  As well as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Little side note: You will love this book because a *SPOILER ALERT* the doctor prescribes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as treatment for (God, I wish I had the book so I could quote, I’m going to paraphrase) the “romantic tragicness” of heroines like Jane Eyre, Catherine, Rebecca, et. al to our heroine in TTT.  Two chapters a day until complete.  I loved it.  How witty!

So, like totallly YAY today is Friday for me!  I’m taking the young’un to the local museum type place tomorrow with our church.  And being the slacker I can be, I didn’t want to go back for a Friday.  I hope to get lots of reading on War and Peace done.  I’m halfway afraid that The Thirteenth Tale was TOO good and I will be in a slump.  So I grabbed another book on the complete other end of the spectrum; The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost.  Hope it does the trick.

The Lost Pleasure of Books?

More teasing; from The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield:

Of course one always hopes for something special when one reads an author one hasn’t read before, and Miss Winter’s books gave me the same thrill I had when I discovered the Landier diaries, for instance. But it was more than that. I have always been a reader; I have read at every stage of my life and there has never been a time when reading was not my greatest joy. And yet I cannot pretend that the reading I have done in my adult years matches in its impact on my soul the reading I did as a child. I still believe it stories. I still forget myself when I am in the middle of a good book. yet it is not the same. Books are, for me, it must be said, the most important thing; what I cannot forget is that there was a time when they were at once more banal and more essential than that. When I was a child books were everything. And so there is in me, always, a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of books. It is not a yearning that one ever expects to be fulfilled. And during this time, these days when I read all day and half the night, when I slept under a counterpane strewn with books, when my sleep was black and dreamless and passed in a flash and I woke to read again-the lost joys of reading returned to me. Miss Winter restored to me the virginal qualities of the novice reader, and then with her stories she ravished me.

Is this true for you as well? In some ways I would say yes and some no. In my youth I enjoyed reading just for the story. I didn’t analyze it, I didn’t dig deep, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. And sometimes I miss that, because it is rare that I just let go and enjoy a story now. I see mistakes in grammar and it annoys me. Or I see plot holes. BUT, also because of my “training” as a English major I have read and enjoyed so many other works that I probably wouldn’t have even understood when I was younger. Age has enriched my reading experiences ten-fold or more. I have’t “lost” the “pleasure of books” at all. I would say I have gained more.

The Thirteenth Tale

I’m hooked.  Hook, line, and sinker.  And mostly because of this paragraph.  It’s a looong paragraph, but it’s beautiful – and, I think, rather profound.

    I opened the letter and pulled out a sheaf of half a dozen pages, all written in the same laborious script.  Thanks to my work, I am experienced in the reading of difficult manuscripts.  There is no great secret to it.  Patience and practice are all that is required.  That and the willingness to cultivate an inner eye.  When you read a manuscript that has been damaged by water, fire, light or just the passing of the years, your eye needs to study not just the shape of the letters but other marks of produciton.  The speed of the pen.  The pressure of the hand on the page.  Breaks and releases in the flow.  You must relax.  Think of nothing.  Until you wake into a dream where you are at ones a pen flying over vellum and the vellum itself with the tough of ink tickling your surface.  Then you can read it.  The intention of the writer, his thoughts, his hesitations, his longings and his meaning.  You can read as clearly as if you were the very candlelight illuminating the page as the pen speeds over it.

Isn’t that wonderful.  And made me wonder; how much more profound would it be to read a great work in the original, handwritten, manuscript.  Assuming it’s legible.  To see the parts where the writer got excited and wrote at the speed of light.  Or to see where they were hung up and erased and erased and erased.  That would be so fascinating.

More book love!

I am so surprised.  When I arrived home tonight, I found another package on my front porch from Simon & Schuster.  Inside was yet another ARC.  As I eagerly ripped it open, I found the most beautiful cover I have seen in awhile.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

As I turned it over to read the back, these words grabbed me right away. 

In one of the most exceptional debuts of the season, Diane Setterfield delivers a magnificently atmostpher and haunting novel reminiscent of such spellbinding classics as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Rebecca.

With words like that and a cover like that, how can you go wrong with this book? I was going to read The Book Thief next, to go along with War and Peace, but now, I don’t know.   I may have fallen in love with this book at first sight.