That is to say, let’s go to the phones and ask JT what month it is.
And now let’s ask me how many books I’ve read.
I finished one! Finally. The trick is installing every conceivable reader appiedoo on your phone, and living in a place where during the day, Twitter is pretty quiet while you all sleep. It’s still counts as a book, even if you read it like checking your email.
It’s very readable, a real page-swiper, and reminded me that perhaps 2008 hasn’t been long enough ago. It’s quite accurate.
So halfway through the year, one book down… should we call it a Half-Dozen Book Challenge?
Ghostwriting in Sweet Valley…
For the next five years, Sweet Valley became my other, hidden life—at night, on weekends. Over vacations. The whole time I was getting my PhD, I wrote more or less every other book in the series, alternating with another “principle” writer whom I never met.
If you’ve ever read a “Created by Francine Pascal” (Dear Sister was my first, All Night Long was my first sneak) this long-read by one of the authors who ghostwrote a ton of SVH titles is fascinating.
Speaking of E & J fandom, download If You Lived Here, You’d Be Perfect By Now, by the Queen of The Dairi burger, Robin Hardwick.
I’m in. Race you to the Fiat
Lined up as Book #1… It’s promised to be like Nickel and Dimed, and there’s nothing like some good food politics to chew on.
However. It’s the beginning of the second month. And I’ve read not a grown-up book yet. We might acknowledge that given most of my reading involves Lilly’s purse, that the “25 Book Challenge” might be a figurative term, and just hope to get as far as I can this year.
First, the redemption: in this, the second year of the 25 Book Challenge, I read 38 books. (I finished the 38th ON January 1st, so apologies to the Rule Committee, but I’m counting it.) Last year, I ended with only 17 — but here’s where math gets fun! If you take the average of the two years, I’m sitting at 27.5 per annum, so look at me! AVERAGE!
However, the caveat to the redemption — the tally of books this year is thanks to A) Having a condition that demanded more time off my feet; and B) I read only things that I wanted to. It was Library Hedonism. I didn’t read anything to challenge myself or to teach me anything (more or less), I just read stuff that sounded good.
That is to say, it was mostly memoirs of regular people. There was a little variety mixed in, and some stood out — and so! Here are the TOP FIVE most SUPERLATIVEY Books of 2012:
- Most Useful: I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll (Except When I Hate It.) It taught me that Them Crooked Vultures is a supergroup, Christopher Cross won all four top Grammys in 1980, and called Rent an “HIV minstrel show.” The first two I used on the radio, the last one I didn’t.
- Most Malapropiest: Chuck Klosterman and Philosophy. This one I didn’t finish — for good reason. The book said “quaffed” when they meant “coiffed.” Yes, really. I didn’t count it toward the total, but it’s worth sighting/citing/siting.
- Best Famous Person Memoir: Kathy Griffin’s Official Book Club Selection. I might have liked it so much because I clicked through it on the beach in legit paradise, but I was sad when it ended. For someone who is as unguarded as she is about her life, there is actually stuff in there I didn’t know. Good read for the aforementioned beach situation.
- Best Regular(ish) Person Memoir. Queen of the Oddballs. I called her “the Forrest Gump of LA” and it’s true — a wacky read that seems just improbable enough to be true.
- Biggest Reach: Manhood for Amateurs. I think I started this because I thought I was having a boy, and because I can’t for the life of me get into his other big book that everyone is supposed to read. It was my attempt at reading a Big Fiction Writer. I remember a lot of details about Berkeley that I recognized. And…that’s about it. I’m sure the big book is great. Maybe someone can read it to me sometime.
- Honorable Mention: Most “You Have to Because Everyone Else Is”. Fifty Shad… NO. The Hunger Games. Plotting worth the hype, but don’t feel like you have to do all three. And as always friends — read the book instead of the movie.
We’re off to a good start this year — I already have a new favorite author.
I’ve read a lot of books lately. Almost all of them require funny voices and turning the book around to show the pictures. The stories usually demand parenthetical asides like, “Ooh. This would be the Act II conflict. Let’s see how they resolve it in Act III,” or “See, they foreshadowed this at the beginning!”
They also require a post-story wiki of the author so we know who we’re dealing with. Is this Sandra Boynton the board-book version of Nicholas Sparks? (Doesn’t appear to be.) How did this Kevin Henkes know precisely what I was like as a kid? (See: Lily and her Purple Plastic Purse) and how awesome is he? (Pretty.)
For the not-out-loud reading, I’m halfway through “Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay” by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor. I’m swiping through it on my phone, and listening to probably the only parenting podcast I could stand — For Crying Out Loud — hosted by her and Adam Carolla’s wife. Recommended even if you don’t have someone you have to show the pictures in the book to…
I don’t always like* similes, but when I do, it’s because they reference Rob Van Winkle.
From book #37, Cooking Dirty by Jason Sheehan.
It’s telling that all of the “you might also like” suggestions that go with this are for food memoirs I’ve already read. I don’t know why I’m drawn to the menu concept, other than the culture of a restaurant is quite similar to the culture of theatre — that, and my first job ever was hostess at J’s Family Restaurant and Pie House.
There, one learned not to open a door with haste when one cannot see what — or who — is on the other side. Kitchen life lessons transfer.
And instant mashed-potato machines spit forth excellent snowball substitutes.
Warning, book worms: The plots of “Nap Time for Kitty” and “Linux Administration: A Beginner’s Guide” are pretty similar. That is to say, they end exactly the same.
Big Zzzzzzzzzs for everybody.
And suddenly being near an English-language bookstore in weather that inspires curling is dangerous for the whole family. As far as 2012’s quest goes, Book #35 was abandoned for one too many egregious errors — writing “quaff” when one means “coif” will make your readers homonymicidal.
It was replaced with “Cheat” — funny and quick and it’s always interesting to see what’s out there pointed at dudes. Speaking of, “Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads” is pretty good. Better than the ones I’ve read not geared toward the spear side — I dig the lists of creative, age-appropriate activities and the “How-To” make a diaper out of a sweat sock craft project, though — THOUGH — there were two mentions of “this is a good activity because it will get her out of the house and help her lose the baby weight.”
One more outburst like that and this joker was going straight in the campfire.
Book #36 is currently in progress, chosen because one of my three largest motivators for choosing anything is “seeing what all the fuss is about” — “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”
It feels Tiger Eyes-y, but for boys.
Book #35, currently clicking. When you’ve read everything BY someone, you have to branch out to read things inspired by them. Chuck Klosterman and Philosophy. If this was a class, I’d be the first one in line.
He’s listed in the book description as an “astute analyst of popular culture,” a subject of conversation around here lately. As a currency of knowledge, how much is pop culture worth? It’s not a skill, it’s not vocation (unless you’re St. Chuck) — it’s seemingly nothing more than an ability to participate in Jeopardy-on-mute from the elliptical.
I don’t even mean the consumption of popular culture, I mean the odd trapping of it as a triviality. A token of a civilization. What good is it to be able to recite LeVar Burton’s resume, chapter and verse, name the author of Roots, and describe the outfit he wore on TNG if you’ve never SEEN nor READ any of the above? Or being able to name the movie Hitch from a vague plot point offered, without so much as ever catching part of it on cable?
You’re not a pop-culture analyst, you’re just a lazy voyeur. Do you then possess any fluency? Or are you just a big Cocoa Puff Faker?
(Book #34 was Geek Girls Unite, a not unpleasant read however impossible to tell who it was written for. If you’re a geek girl already, it’s a primer you don’t need — and if you’re not a geek girl, why would you be interested? I was hoping for a discussion of a growing display of female intelligence and willingness to adopt and share interest for those pursuits most commonly and historically masculine — and how that was a new sense of feminism through truth-to-self, but… nope. Just a primer.)
“Finally Sam said grouchily that he would wear the white sailor suit if he could have a ballpoint pen tattoo of an anchor on his arm.”
Lois Lowry, Anastasia at This Address. Book #33.
It’s technically a kids’ book, but I’m boning up for a project and the Anastasia series was one of my favorites. I was browsing the clicky library and found one that I hadn’t read. It didn’t come out until 1991, so probably because I’d aged out. It didn’t read quite the same as I remember them — it had a tinge of ghost-written, except the character of Sam.
He’s possibly the best [least believable] kid character ever. He’s three, but he can make up puns, bargain, and comes up with awesome ideas like trying to take a bath with a goldfish (the squished Frank, who ended up being fine.) It’s also pretty cool to want a Popeye tattoo to go with your dumb sailor suit. Yay, Sam.
Book #32 was Falling for Me, by Anna David. Timely because it stunt takes on Helen Gurley Brown’s classic, not dreadful, and libraries mean you can take a chance on a book. The point not made in it, but can be taken away — is sometimes MORE focus on oneself is not the key to character development you’re searching for.
Or subtitled: “Your Navel Says ‘Avert Your Eyes!’”
Books #31 and #30 respectively. Everybody’s already read both of them, I know — I didn’t even really mean to read Little Earthquakes but it was on my clicky book, and so I did. It’s a pair of books of women, ON the VERGE. (Twenty-six people who were theatre majors in the Pacific Northwest in the late 90s said that with the proper inflection. The rest of you will just have to trust me.)
As everyone’s already read them, I like to know what those reviews are in retrospect. In this instance, the New York Times and a random person on Amazon.
It’s not very manly, the topic of weeping while reading…I was reduced, during her book’s final third, to puddle-eyed cretinism.
He didn’t cry at the right part. The part that makes you cry is the story of the horse in the middle. It could be that I’m suffering an inconvenient amount of nurturing chemical trickery at the moment, especially toward animals. But it’s good — though don’t accidentally get the Oprahized version which has quotes HIGHLIGHTED for you. Ew.
And as for being under the care-giving influence, Little Earthquakes was finishable, but this Amazon person is correct:
The characters were very stereotypical and while much was made of the trials of motherhood, the author never really showed us the joys that make it all worthwhile.
I see that all over. It’s like a competition to Betty Friedan the whole affair. But in the whistle blowing, there’s none of the other side. It’s sad-making and I’m probably abstaining from books where anyone has a baby — or an old, sick horse — for 85-90 days.
Give or take.