Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My Cup, er....Bookshelf, Runneth Over

My family is well aware that I am a bibliophile. My mother and father cultivated a love of books by reading to us at every opportunity, and by being avid readers themselves. I became a reader at a very young age. My sister is a bibliophile as well, and she and I often give each other books or gift cards to a bookstore for birthdays and such. My parents and I also give one another books quite often. For our family, a book is a gauranteed hit.

We also circulate books among the five of us. I always send a box full of books home with my parents when they visit, and often drag a box full home when I visit them. Recently I sent two boxes of hand-me downs to my nephew by parcel post. The second box wasn't quite full, so I filled up the space with books, knowing they would be passed around and enjoyed by everyone.

But it has taken my in-laws a while to catch on to the fact that I would rather get books than pajamas, bath salts or figurines. They love Christmas, you see, and they love giving lavish gifts. And to them, a book is sort of last resort gift. Not a big WOW gift. They love to give the big WOW gifts. But at long last, they have realized that a Barnes & Noble gift certificate is like gold to me. Better than gold, in fact. I covet and prize books above almost everything else. For me, books, or the means to acquire them, are definitely a big WOW gift.

We are a single income family, and though we are fortunate to have more disposable income than many that I know, we still have to watch our budget. Books, especially hardbacks, are not something that I can spend freely on. We have a library, but it is relatively new, and their selection is still rather hit or miss. Many of the newer releases are either not available, or there is one copy, perhaps two, with a waiting list about a mile long.

As a result, I am always thirsty for reading material. I keep some of my very favorites on hand to re-read when my supply has run dry. I grow more fond of them with each reading. But there's nothing like cracking open a new book. The feel of the crisp, unbent pages, the smell of fresh newsprint, the anticipation of being taken on an epic adventure, meeting a wonderful new hero or heroine....its simply unaparallelled.

Fortunately, I seem to have hit the motherlode this Christmas. I received many titles that I asked for from Husband and the boys, I was given several gift certificates by family members, including my in-laws, in addition to the requisite, and actually much appreciated pajamas. Between those that I was given, those I purchased with gift certificates and those I pilfered from my parents' home, I have a huge pile of riches just waiting to be read.

I love having choices. I love not knowing which to open first. I love being able to put one down when it doesn't suit my mood, and picking up another that better strikes my fancy. I love looking at a stack of books and knowing that it will be some time before I hit a literary dry spell.

Here is what I have in my pile:

Hannibal Rising, by Thomas Harris (bought)
I, Mona Lisa, by Jeanne Kalogridis (bought)
Christ The Lord; Out of Egypt by Anne Rice (bought)
The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B., by Sandra Gulland (bought)
Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon (pilfered)
Women of the Vine; Inside the World of Women Who Make, Taste and Enjoy Wine
by Deborah Brenner and Gina Gallo (gift)
Women of Wine; The Rise of Women in the Global Wine Industry
by Ann Matassar (gift)
Elements of Style, by Strunk and White (gift)
Writing Past Dark, by Annie Friedman (gift)
Riptide, by Preston and Child (bought)
City of Dreams by Beverly Swerling (pilfered)
The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova (gift)

Twelve, count 'em, TWELVE delicious tomes just waiting to be read. Heaven.

I've already finished Hannibal Rising and Riptide.

Hannibal Rising got terrible reviews on Amazon, but I bought it anyway. It wasn't the shockingly gruesome and thoroughly gripping read that Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal were, but it wasn't meant to be. If you go into it with the right mindset, you won't be disappointed. I enjoyed it as much as the other two, albeit in a different manner. The book is meant to be a history of Hannibal Lecter and an insight into how he grew into a monstrous killer. Thomas Harris has always done a very good job humanizing a character that could have been nothing more than a cliched instrument of death, and this book follows in that vein. Don't pass it up because of poor reviews based on unrealistic expectations.

Preston and Child never disappoint and Riptide was no exception. These stories are pure brain candy...and like sweet, smooth chocolate, you simply cannot stop stuffing your pie hole with page after page of delicious intrigue that is spine-tinglingly macabre. I like that many of their books incorporate historical and anthropological elements. It adds a dimension to their stories which keeps them from ever being flat or formulaic. This is an easy, light and thoroughly enjoyable read if you enjoy this genre.

I actually read The Historian about a year ago and reviewed it here. But I was thrilled to get my own copy. This book is so rich with detail that it's one that can be read over and over and still seem new and fresh. This is going to become one of my old favorites to keep on standby for times of crisis.

So there you go...unabashed capering over my haul. Eat your heart out fellow bibliophies.

ADDENDUM: I had tried to read Outlander several years ago at the suggestion of a friend who knows I enjoy historical fiction. I just couldn't seem to get into it and gave up, which I rarely do. But it really was a snoozer. My sister has recently gotten hooked on the Outlander series, and told me she had the same experience initially. She urged me to give it another try, and to stick with it until the time travel occurs. She promised me I would not be disappointed. WOW. She was right. I plowed through the first couple chapters and finally got to the time travel part. From there it was almost like reading a different book and it was with GREAT reluctance that I put it down at 1 a.m. last night. And are so right...Jamie is one hunka hunka burning love. I'm a sucker for a man with a Scottish burr. And a kilt. And a really big....sword.


  • At 3:44 PM, Blogger Bea said…

    I've never outgrown the desire for something to play with Christmas afternoon. Books are the best toy of all. (You can't exactly play with a necklace or a bottle of perfume, can you?)

  • At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You sound just like me. I love books and I keep a list of ones that I want all year so at Christmas, when people ask me what I'd like from them, I can give them two or three titles. I got about five this Christmas and it was hard deciding which one to crack open first.

  • At 4:25 PM, Blogger OhTheJoys said…

    We are totally the SAME in this regard. I got K The Historian and he read all 600+ pages in under a week and he is a slow reader. He loved it. (His H.S. girlfriend is the publisher too!)

  • At 6:29 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    You should see my Amazon wish list. It's HUGE and growing every day.

    I'm coveting your wine books. That's a genre that I've been thinking about getting into but haven't yet. Please let me know what you think of them.

  • At 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Outlander is a wonderful book but I want Jaimie, the main male character, for myself. Another fantastic book I just finished is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Happy reading.

  • At 2:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've been reading and enjoying your blog for a little while now, but this post prompts me to delurk. I'm a bibliophile myself, and it is an addiction of which I hope to never be cured.

    You might enjoy some library smut (this link is perfectly safe to open at work, though you may be in danger of drowning in your own drool at all the magnificence displayed on your screen).

    Along the same lines, be sure to check out this gorgeous photo of the British Museum Reading Room. It's my desktop wallpaper. Drooooool.

  • At 12:32 PM, Blogger Mazenbloo said…

    I 2nd Deb's recommendation on Middlesex. Very interesting read.

  • At 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The character of Jamie gets even better as the books go along. Galbadon does an excellent job of character development as jamie and Claire age.

  • At 9:41 PM, Blogger CPA Mom said…

    I just re-read the entire Outlander series. They are my all-time favorite books. Check out her website. She's writing more! Yeah!


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