06 October 2012

Random Book Thoughts

1. Dumping my determination to persevering through unenjoyable, "important" books has been one of the best things I have ever done. My reading pace has picked up and my interest in reading has picked up.

2. I am still determined to do the A Century of Books challenge but I really would like to pick up something from the 21st Century sometime soon, but I feel like I can't when I have the 20th Century to finish. So I came up with a plan that allows me to break my OCD chains a bit. After I finish up the three books I have started now, I am going to read through the 1980s and 1990s novels on my list in chronological order. That will bring me right up to 2000. The plan is to finish those two most recent decades by the end of the year thus (for some reason) freeing me up mentally to read something newer than what is on my ACOB list. I think this would work because: a) it would knock out two decades and make me feel like I have made progress; b) most of the titles on my list from the 1920s to the 1950s are well within my comfort zone and are like candy to me, so they don't present much of a challenge; and c) I could just throw in one of the older books from the aughts or teens, which even though possibly enjoyable, tend to take more time to read, in between some of the newer or more enjoyable stuff.

3. I went to a comic store yesterday in Austin, TX, and was impressed by the quantity and appealing stock of graphic novels. So many wonderful covers. But I must say, I am always a little disappointed to open them up and see the aesthetic quality of the insides don't live up to the beautiful covers.

4. Needing to distract a 9-year old going through a difficult time who isn't really a comic book kid,  I showed him a book I came across of the Garbage Pail Kids. Anyone else remember those disgustingly funny trading cards from the 1980s that made fun of the Cabbage Patch Kid craze? Anyhoo, I was a little worried about their content but then I thought of all the violence in his video games and thought that the GPK book was no big deal. And he loved it. He was laughing his head off. And they proved to be surprisingly educational. Like the character "Adam Bomb" gave us a chance to talk about atomic weapons, "Ultra Violet" offered an opportunity to explain about UV rays and the dangers of sunburn, and "Hole in Juan" gave us a chance to talk about Spanish names and the racial insensitivity of the past.

5. Thanks to Book Woman in Austin for helping me find the comic book store. Sitting in the car at a drive-in Sonic, I knew I had to kill some time. But what do you do with a 9-year old in a city you are unfamiliar with when you have no Internet access? I looked on my GPS system to find some sort of attraction we that would interest him. Well, Book Woman came up as being close by, and although I had an inkling it was a feminist bookstore, I thought I would give it a go. I called up the store and the woman I spoke with was really helpful, she said they had some things that would interest a 9-year old boy, but not whole lot. But she mentioned a few other places not to far away, and although I didn't manage to find the regular bookstore she told me about I was able to find the comic book store she mentioned. And she ended the call by thanking me for wanting to take a kid to a bookstore. Good karma for Book Woman.

6. Reading A House and Its Head, my second Ivy Compton-Burnett. I am not quite sure where it is headed yet but the banter, and it all seems to be banter, is pretty hilarious in a droll, dry, wry way. I would love to see it acted.

7. I mentioned over at the International Anita Brookner Day blog that Brookner is going to be the one to finally get me to read something on an e-reader. She published a novella in 2011 that is only available as a Penguin e-book. How crazy that AB drags me into the 21st century.

8. With any luck my reading will pick up this month. I decided I was spending too much time living every single peak and valley of this election season on political blogs. It is way too emotional so I have decided to go on a news blackout until election night. Maybe now I can put the computer away and read, or keep the computer on and actually get around to reading all of your blog posts about BOOKS.

9. I can never do a post without a picture so I did a Google image search on "coolest book cover ever". The picture above was the number two result.  Remember a while back when I searched for "reading lots of books" and Levi Johnston's picture came up? Well it did again when I did this search! Crazy.


  1. Garbage Pail Kids! I was never a fan of Cabbage Patch, but I remember having some of those GPK cards when I was a kid. I never would have guessed that they would make a good educational tool, though. Good for you!

    Glad to hear you were able to dump the unenjoyable, important to good effect. Happy reading! :)

  2. I'm a big fan of point one. I made a similar mistake a couple of month's ago and picked up Midnight's Children at just the completely wrong time and, because I slogged on regardless, didn't enjoy it as much as I'm sure I would have done if I'd been in the right mood. At the moment I am just reading exactly what I want (sounds crazy to some I know!) and it's working wonders!

  3. After I read this I couldn't resist googling 'reading lots of books' and that same guy (Palin son in law) came up -- but it was because he was on your blog!

  4. I can see that you want to "finish" your Books of the Century list but somehow it does interfere with your first statement. I am "working" on several lists, some I might never really finish, some I haven't even started, yet (like your Books of the Century) but I pick my books according to my mood and what other books I have "on the go". I might never finish the list of the Century, or the 100 most books read by readers of the BBC or ... but I love to dip into those lists and find books that I might not have found otherwise.

    Your blog is a big inspiration, I love your thoughts.

  5. Susan Sontag in notes on camp classified ivy Compton Burnett as camp, based on reading one of her novels so far I do not see this. I hope to e a second year participant in. I A B day

  6. Are you still in Austin? If so you should try and visit BookPeople, the best independent bookstore EVER. Tons of cool stuff and books too! There's even a big classics section, which I love.

  7. I remember garbage pail kids and LOVED them as a kid but my parents would never let me buy any - "too vulgar".

  8. Megan: And my nephew laughs his head off everytime he looks at them.

    Lucy: Midnight's Children is tough under any circumstances. I just read it this year and found it tough, but, unlike Conrad or others, I ended up enjoying it and finding it to be a compelling read.

    Harriet: Oh no, I am perpetuating the fame of Levi Johnston.

    Marianne: You are absolutely right, which is why I revamped my Century list and feel totally comfortable changing it when better titles come along.

    Mel: I can kind of see what Sontag means about ICB. My current read has some campy banter.

    Karen: I almost went into the Book People branch they have at the Austin airport, but I decided to go read one of the three books I took with me instead.

    Stefan: They really are vulgar. But that of course is why kids love them. Parents miss the point of everything.


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