Monday, May 31, 2010

So little time

I'm so excited! I finally finished my book cataloguing/purging/organizing project. It feels so good. Now I just need to get the purged books picked up or dropped off at an appropriate charity and this project will actually be done!!!




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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yeah, right!

Why is it that in action movies when everyone is hiding behind their respective cars the hero always figures out to get the better of the bad guys by shooting their feet underneath the cars, but it never happens the other way around????

Short Story report - "Gryphon" by Charles Baxter

This one is from a collection I have that was put together by David Sedaris called "Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules."  I read a few stories from it a couple years ago and then never finished the rest, and as I was cataloging and purging a lot of my books recently I came across it again.

"Gryphon" is from the point of view of an elementary school boy and is about a substitute teacher his class has for a couple days.  She is an odd duck and tells the children more and more bizarre things, starting with "sometimes six times eleven is sixty-eight" and ending with telling their fortunes in class with tarot cards.  When a boy whose fortune included the death card reports the substitute teacher and she is removed from class, the narrator gets upset and starts a fistfight with the tattletale.

I'm completely neutral on this story.  I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but I was left feeling nothing in particular about it at the end.  Just "eh."

5-5-10 Day Twenty-One

Okay, so I tried to start listening to one of Jason's favorite books on audio, but several different options all failed for various reasons.  So I switched that up and have been listening on audio for the last couple weeks to "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami.  This book has been on my to-be-read list for years.  So far it's a very confusing novel.  I find almost all of the characters extremely odd.  And I really do mean extremely.  They are completely inscrutable.  And that includes the main character/narrator.  Even though I'm privvy to his thoughts and motivations, they are still completely bizarre to me.  I have found myself wondering often if some of my confusion stems from cultural differences since the author, setting and characters in this book are Japanese.  But I'm still intrigued enough (especially for just listening to it on audio) to give it a chance and keep going until I'm one.  It's a very long book and I'm about two-thirds through now.

On the regular reading front, I picked a "history" choice out of the handful of non-fiction books I had already purchased for my Kindle but not yet read.  I went with Helter Skelter, about the Charles Manson murders, written by the prosecuting attorney who handled that case.  For some reason a while back I just had this urge to read this book.  It wasn't so much that I'm particularly faschinated by true crime as that this particular book is so famous and I just wanted to have read it.  And getting some more knowledge about an historical event is like a bonus.  So far it is definitely interesting.  Unlike "In Cold Blood," which is the original "true crime novel," written in parts from the points of view of the victims and the killers, this book is entirely recitation of the facts of the investigation (and later the trial) and how it unfolded.  I already think I am going to be a bit easier on murder mystery novels in the future when they depict their detectives as failing to pick up on what seem to be obvious clues.  This has always irritated me in the past (most notably when our book club read "In the Woods" just a couple months ago).  But if Helter Skelter is any example, this failure by the cops is quite true to life and maybe doesn't make the detective at issue any dumber than any other detective in the real world.  Not that this makes me feel good about our criminal justice system....

Anyway, I'm about halfway through Helter Skelter so far, but had to stop for a while to read the book club book for this month.  It was a long one (my own fault as it was my choice), so I'm just getting back to my challenge books now.  That leaves me behind schedule for the challenge so far, but oh, well.  We'll just keep trucking along and see how it goes!