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?
I suppose if I was keeping track of pithy adages that might pass as wisdom gleaned in the past four months of parenting, I might include:
“Keep making big plans — but keep your shrug handy when things don’t go according to.”
This year’s 25 Book Challenge, for instance, is looking more like a “Collect 25 Books to Read in the Future” quest. While my current Have Read tally is zero, my future perfect tense is teeming with pre-orders, the above, most especially. I will be delighted with past Zoë someday when my attention span comes running back.
Speaking of, there were no racing shoes laced up this weekend. There were only soft baby sweats and tiny warm fuzzy boots. Frankie has her first case of the snarfles and it’s dreadful. How little babies can even be eligible for colds without the ability to blow their noses is one of the top cruelties of the universe. At race time, we were sitting in the bathroom with the shower blasting steam, singing songs, and trying to make it to the finish line of this crud.
And on books and finish lines, if one survives childhood with a name not found on miniature license plates, one eventually gets rewarded.
Now this is a book I can make it to the end of.
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
Thank goodness, now we can really start going to sleep. The year-long book of bedtime stories I heard probably six times each came in the mail this week. This copy is inscribed inside — in GERMAN. Weird.
It’s found its way back, and we have some catching up to do this year. Forty stories, to be exact.
We started this morning, getting to the jaunty tale of a lion who moves to New York, and this might prove its 1960s-out-of-print vintage charm — Mr. Lion gets an apartment with a “huge fire place” big enough for “an enormous supply of hickory logs.”
Mr. Lion must have a trust fund.
(That huge goat on the cover freaked me out as a kid. It still does.)
((281 days until Wise Owl Day — and only SIX until Grandad comes to help read some stories to get us there.))
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.
Oh dear, Benjamin Bunny.
I was just looking for some clearance long sleeves, because it’s 20 daggone degrees here and she’s growing like a weed in Mr. MacGregor’s garden, and oh, man. The Peter Rabbit Collection at The Gap? Now NO, she does not need $48 cashmere pants to wear twice, but heavens to Mrs. Tiggywinkle, it’s cute. All of it.
The books, though? Beatrix has a really interesting backstory, I read a biography of her last year, but we’ve been reading the actual story books lately? Let’s say the illustrations > the plots.
And the kiddie clothes inspired by [almost] > both.
All of this perennial reflection, this yearly intention setting, it’s really all about who you will be. Or who you hope you will be.
“This year I will be the kind of person who… (steams kale, runs 10 miles at 5 a.m., picks up sidewalk pennies, and the like.) We want to see ourselves as thinner, richer, better — convinced perhaps that the 2013 version of ourselves will finally be the perfect one.
In these early weeks of January, there are as many different resolutions out there as there are people who’ve dreamed them up. Those tasks are always in the eye of the creator, however. It seems we never outsource inspiration for these intentions; we never ask those around us what we should do more, less, bigger, better. We embark on these crusades in a vacuum.
If that ever changed, if I was ever asked to contribute, I’d say-
“Be the kind of person it’s easy to pick out books for.”
All of the coolest people I know, are the ones who come to mind in the middle of bookstore shelves, the people I send links to when I come across something I think they’d like, and the people who find square packages from me for most occasions. Because think about it — if you can be read like a book reading books, it means you have pronounced interests; it means you have passions; it means you appreciate artistic communication and have articulated how; and it means you want to consume and learn more.
It means you’re an easy [book] mark. And that’s a pretty great thing to be.
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…