Great White Snark: What I've been doing and reading.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What I've been doing and reading.

I started this post out as a book review, but then I was like, "omg, all I do is talk about BOOKS." So now I've decided to give you all a general life update. "You all" being like, the three people who still read my blog. ;)

-My job is going well! I started in October as an associate and by New Year's was the store manager. Yeah, I got promoted again (albeit unintentionally). So now I'm in charge of more stuff. I'm enjoying it, actually. And we (the store) have some exciting news in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned!
-My grandma is doing pretty well. She's moving out of the nursing facility and into an assisted living/retirement apartment later this week. It's the perfect combination of having help on hand and enabling her to retain some independence, which is exactly what she needs at this point. We're blessed and happy that she seems to be doing better and that she's out of the woods in NC and closer to us. It's been so much fun decorating her new apartment, too! Even though I secretly wish I was decorating an apartment for's good practice, though!
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-I don't miss school at all. I thought I'd be weeping every morning and like, sniffing the inside of my backpack to jog my schoolish memories, but no. I hear my coworkers talk about parking and registration and I'm like:
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-I still haven't really had any luck in the search for a "career job," but see point #1. I'm definitely getting by at this point in my life.
-I miss my friends. Most of them live kind of sizable distances away from me, and I wish I had people I could call up on the fly and be like, "We're hanging out now," and have that be okay.
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Friends are just really important, and I miss mine.

So on that depressing note, I thought I'd show you a couple of books I started reading then hated and stopped reading (BECAUSE I CAN DO THAT NOW!!! It's such a novel concept to me that I don't actually have to finish a book if I don't want to!), and then a couple that I actually liked.

Books I Couldn't Bring Myself to Finish

The Girl Who Chased the Moon, by Sarah Addison Allen
To be fair, I'm not sure I gave this book enough of a chance, but it just didn't captivate me in the way Allen's other two books I've read did. With those ones, I couldn't put them down and I didn't want to. This one I was like, thinking of other stuff to do while I was reading it. Which I don't really take as a good sign. I love to be engrossed while I'm reading. So if I get desperate or in a book rut, I may go back and try this one again, but for now, I feel like there are SO MANY THINGS to read!

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, by Patricia A. McKillip
I love fantasy/fairy tale novels. I always have, and I know I always will. So while I was at the library one day, I saw this book (and another by the same author, The Tower at Stony Wood) and was absolutely convinced I needed to try and read it because the writing seemed "literary." And a lot of fairy tales tend to get a little too childish and I was like, "BEHOLD! I am a literature major! I cannot read riff-raff! My fairy tales must be LITERARY!"

Utter. Crap.

I got like, halfway through this book and I honestly had NO idea what was happening. This was like living in Miracle Max's hut while eating shrooms and sniffing noxious fumes in the 1960's, all set to a soundtrack by the Cocteau Twins. It was just WEIRD. And the story wasn't that good. Nor were the characters. I don't know. I've had enough of having to interpret the words that I'm reading. I'm reading now to be entertained. This felt like hard work dressed up like funtimes. NOT COOL.

The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doily's freaking Doily offspring.
I should've known from the title of this book that it was going to be a failure. That and the fact that Doily's son wrote it. *sigh* For those of you who don't know, I have a love/hate relationship with Arthur Conan Doyle. The man wrote Sherlock Holmes, so I can't actually hate him. But he hated Holmes, killed him, BROUGHT HIM BACK, and then wrote him so lackadaisically that it's embarrassing. But without him, Sherlock Holmes wouldn't exist. And I love Sherlock Holmes.

So naturally, I was excited when I saw this book because Watson frequently mentions cases in his narratives of which we don't actually have any record. The whole idea is that Doily's son found the names of all those unwritten cases and made up stories about them. Except he like, didn't make them up. He stole them from his dad. One of the stories I read dealt with a guy smashing every clock he came into contact with. Well, okay, that's fantastic...unless you've read "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons." Which basically had the same premise, same problem, and same resolution. Not cool. was a shame, because you could tell that he was trying SO HARD to write in the same style as his father. It's so incredibly difficult to emulate someone else's style of writing. It's like doing successful impersonations--it's just hard to do. And Doily Jr. fell short. He tried too hard to be his father as opposed to building off his father's creations and doing it his way. Maybe if he'd tried to write like Adrian instead of Arthur it would've been easier for me to get through. As it is, it was a painful caricature, like reading about wax figures of Holmes and Watson trying to be as clever and vivacious as their original doppelgangers.

I think the problem right now is that I'm not sure what to read. Now that I'm not being told, "You have to read this by Friday and then this book by next Friday," I have no idea what to actually read. So I'm just looking for stuff that is similar to things I've enjoyed before and trying to go from there. Sometimes it's successful, but mostly, I think, it's not.


A Book That I DID Finish

Picture the Dead, by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown
I got this book because it was supposedly romantic and creepy--both good, right?? I started to read it Saturday night, and I only intended to read like five chapters, but I ended up finishing it. And I'm still not sure if that was because I was intrigued or if it was just a simple read.

This book is a YA book, which is kind of a genre I like to dislike. But I thought, "what the hey, I'll give it a try." It's basically a Civil War ghost story/romance, but it's also part graphic novel. The story is told from the point of view of Jennie Lovell and her scrapbook. But the cool this is that the illustrator actually based all her drawings on actual period photographs. If you go to the book's website, you can see the pictures she based her illustrations on (she's also married to Lemony Snicket, so winning). The story is essentially a southern gothic mystery. However, having read every Sherlock Holmes story and many of the later pastiches, I called the end of the story about a third of the way through. You all probably could, too.

So was it mysterious? Not exactly. Creepy? Yes, but not as scary as I thought it would be or as it could have been. However, when it comes to scariness, I'd rather be left wanting. Romantic? NO. NOT AT ALL. It really bothers me! The protagonist came off as shallow and flighty and I didn't like that at all. In fact, my favorite characters were dead, if that tells you anything. Overall, I think it was a highly forgettable novel, but if you're into any of the aforementioned stuff, yes, I'd recommend it.

I also read Ron Paul's book, Liberty Defined. I don't like being overly political, but if you're not sure who to vote for and you don't want to vote Obama, I suggest you check it out. Just do it.

This has gone on long enough, now. Just like, yeah. That's what I do.

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