Lisey’s Story

I heartily acknowledge that I am a Stephen King fan-girl. No, I haven’t read the Dark Tower series (I tried about 15 years ago, at the encouragement of my father–also a King fan–but just.couldn’ I promise to try again sometime soon), but I have read about 97% of his other works.

My favorite King books are his short story collections, but of his novels The Shining and  The Dead Zone are my favorites. I’m the child of a recovered alcoholic, so The Shining hits home on a lot of levels–and terrifies me for more than the haunted house (er, hotel) aspect. My heart aches for Jack Torrance through that entire damn novel. The Dead Zone is just beautifully written, and appeals to me on a more emotional level than King’s scary-paranormal stories. Again, my heart aches for Johnny Smith the whole time.

So I just re-read Lisey’s Story, and while I don’t think it’s up there with my favorites, I think it’s pretty damn close. Continue reading


Cleaning off the bookshelf

Oh, my posting here is atrociously sporadic.

Today I’m cleaning off my bookshelves and trying to trade-in some books at my local Buy-Trade bookshop.

On the list to trade:

Good Omens

The Dark Half

Pet Sematary

Skeleton Crew

The Hot Zone

The Heaven Series (subject of an upcoming post on IFMiB)

The Looking Glass Wars

The Great Husband Hunt

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

I enjoyed most of these books, but they’re not the sort that I want to read over and over and over again. I mean, I love me some Stephen King, but I’ve read the three King books on my list enough. And some of these are books that I have multiple copies of and no one to gift them to.

Hopefully I’ll find some super-awesome books to get (and hopefully most of these will trade!). Whoooooooooo trading books!

Fever Pitch, or How I Learned to Stop Rolling My Eyes and Enjoy Football

World Cup fever has gripped the world, even those of us who never intentionally watch soccer(which I will refer to as “football” for the rest of this post). And one of my goals was to finish the book Fever Pitch before the World Cup started. And so, I did.

I’m not going to say that reading the book changed my life. It didn’t. But the book helped me in my quest to understand the majority of my friends and my partner, who text each other whenever there’s a game going on. I usually know when this is going on, because his (my partner’s) cell phone starts chirping incessantly, and when I ask who it is, he tends to quietly murmur our uber-soccer-fan friend’s name and look sheepish. I know that it’s a football match when that happens, or that they’re ranting about a certain player, or arguing about why a certian player is/isn’t good. I’ve learned to stop asking questions, not about football, but about life (How is he? Has he been working on his novel? Got a compelling protagonist? Friends become enemies, enemies become friends? Hmm?) when this happens, because I’m going to get the “That is soooooo not important” look. 

Fever Pitch does not have the same plot as either of the movies (in the US, we have the baseball movie starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore, about the obsessive BoSox fan; that was based on the British movie of the same name, which follows Colin Firth who’s an obsessive Arsenal fan, like Nick Hornby). The book, really, has no plot to speak of. Nick Hornby relates anecdotes, and progresses along a time line in which he explains relationships with various people (family, friends, girlfriends, coworkers) through the lens of football, and how he can see football affecting his life, but also how he has no idea why it affects his life so much. It just does, and he’s ok with that.

I’ve always loved Hornby’s writing style; it’s a very comfy way of writing to me, like a blanket I can wrap around my brain…it’s like chatting with a close friend, really. I have yet to read one of his books that I didn’t enjoy, so I wasn’t worried about that with Fever Pitch. I was, however, worried that, well, I just wouldn’t get it. I didn’t need to worry.

Do I understand the sport? Nope. I can follow it, and pick up bits of the rules, strategies, and player/club information as I go, like I’m a bird picking up shiny things. And really, that’s all I want to be able to do. What I did get from the book, as a casual enjoyer of football (and I’m a Rugby Girl at heart), is a sense of how someone can become that big a fan; it helped to put me in a place where I can understand people like my partner, and sympathize/empathize with him, and celebrate with him. Also, I’m better able to just sit and enjoy the sport; I’ve always appreciated football–it’s a hell of an endurance sport–but I’ve never really thought about the grace and beauty of the sport until I read Fever Pitch. I get that now.

One more thing: I love that Hornby calls out teams on the racism that has always occurred; things like fans throwing bananas at Black players (on their own team!!!!! askjfaiscniofcs;kj;dh!!!!) and all sorts of derogatory commentary from the stands have, it seems, always happened. And Hornby says, basically, that it needs to stop, because it’s ruining a beautiful sport and turning people (new players, new fans, etc) away from the game (and, you know, it’s just plain wrong). That said, he acknowledges that he’s having the “typical Liberal response” because he’s thinking about all the things he’d like to do or say to the racist rectal haberdashers, but that he’s too weak and lacks the courage of his convictions to do any of those things. It’s this sort of thing that keeps the narrative human and relatable, even if football’s not your obsession; it’s the sort of thing that we all deal with, on different levels, and I appreciate him not sugar-coating the stupid violence and hatred that can be created/engendered by the sport.

I’d recommend this to anyone who loves football, knows someone who obsesses over football, or someone who likes good conversations, because this book definitely provides that. It can drag from time to time, but never too much. I’d give it a solid “A.”

Summer Reading List

Since I spend the majority of my days at home (evenings are spent teaching), I’ve decided that this is the summer I catch up on some of my reading. This year, I’ve gone through the bookshelves in the house and picked books that I either should have already read or that I’ve read excerpts from for school. I may write about some of them upon completion.

This list isn’t in order, by the way. It also is comprised of fiction and non-fiction. All links click to an Amazon page (and no, I’m not getting paid for this).

Edit: I will mark through the books I’ve finished. I’ll also be adding to the list if I happen to pick up other books along the way.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato-Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (I’m reading this for the book club I’m in)

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby (This is a book about football {soccer} and inspired the movie of the same name, starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore. And yes, I enjoyed that movie.)

The Glorious Deception and Hiding The Elephant by Jim Steinmeyer (both about old-school magic and magicians)

Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott (an account of the history of Chicago’s Everleigh Club, the women who ran it, and the men who wanted it shut down)

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (I’ve never read it, and thus feel like a failure of an English major)

Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt (we read bits of this in a Shakespeare class, and I’ve always wanted to finish it)

Under The Dome by Stephen King (I’m a Stephen King fan, and proud of it. I recognize all of his issues, but can still find enjoyment in his works. And I’ve heard this was pretty good)

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (also for my book club)

The Ender’s Shadow Series by Orson Scott Card (OSC is, for me, a problematic person, but I love his writing style and the world that he created for Ender. The Shadow series follows the other children from Ender’s Game, so I’m interested to see how well OSC can work with a preexisting story that he’s trying to parallel)

I can promise that’s not going to be the entirety of what I read this summer, and I may update this from time to time. What are you guys going to be reading?