Thursday, May 06, 2010

Books I didn't finish, May 2010

Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace (yes, the Betsy-Tacy lady). Took out b/c Mitali Perkins writes the forward to the new edition. But I couldn't get past the first half of the book where Emily is just so depressed that she isn't going to college with all her friends. Sorry, I don't do books where folks are depressed when I'm barely holding on myself. (Sorry Mitali! The second half looks great, but I can't do it right now.)

Which takes me right into Ranganathan's Library Bill of rights.

Dr. Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan (1892–1972) of India was an inventor, educator, librarian, and a philosopher.

These laws are:

  1. Books are for use.
  2. Every reader his [or her] book.
  3. Every book its reader.
  4. Save the time of the reader.
  5. The library is a growing organism.
(from Wikipedia,, viewed 5/6/10)

So, while someone may LOVE a book, it's perfectly okay that someone else doesn't. I know this, as Babelbabe and I have completely different likes--I cannot read dystopias, for instance. I had a conversation about this with LA, one of my new library friends, who admonished me after I told her I couldn't finish

Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant. Robyn set out to do everything Oprah said to do for one year. At the end of the year, she got a book contract, I guess, because the blog is now a book. When I saw how much money this woman spent each month (it was listed at the start of each chapter) I balked. I don't have that much money to spend on a side project, and I think she was in school when she wrote the book as a blog and her husband was finishing a novel...after a chapter, I ditched it.

All I did was ask by Terry Gross. This one is just really overdue. I hope to procure my own copy, that's how much I loved this book. I read it during the three months (yes, see, overdue!) that I was in the Artist's Way group, and it really educated me on how artists think. One of my favorite quotes from the book is from Sonny Rollins.

Terry Gross: You're a virtuoso performer, but you're known for practicing every day.

Sonny Rollins: Monk said to me one time that if it wasn't for music, life wouldn't be worth living. You know, if I don't play my horn for a while, I actually begin to get sick. I wonder, "well, gee. What's the matter with me?" Then I realize I haven't played my horn for a few days.

WOW. That hit me. As one who has been struggling with all kinds of infections on and off this fall/winter/spring, and as a very blocked writer, I thought, that is something I can take to the bank. That is something that comes to me when I sit down and think, doing my morning pages is so silly. [Morning pages are Julia Cameron's answer to getting the junk out. Artists that are not writers find them very helpful. Artists that are writers find them frustrating. Why do I need to just write, with no purpose in mind?]

the last time i saw you by Elizabeth Berg. GAG ME WITH A SPOON, this book is horrible. It's about a quartet of octogenarians getting ready for their fortieth high school reunion. I remember, this morning, as I sat doing my M.P.s, that I don't trust a writer that doesn't have one bad book, it means they are not trusting to explore. And I love most of what Eliz. Berg writes. But not this one.

Jane's Fame by Claire Harman. I thought maybe this would be about the effect Jane has had on us all, even now, in the year 2010. I haven't actually read any Austen bios, so this was moderately interesting. But not enough to keep me listening for 9.5 hrs. I think I listened to disc 1.

And the audio book I would consider purchasing as audio AND in hardcover: When you reach me, the Newbery Award winning novel by Rebecca Stead.

At first blush, this book seemed too creepy for me, told in first person to an unknown "you." So I couldn't get into the book, even though Marian the Librarian had said I would like it, and the at least 9 librarians on the Newbery committee liked it, and Sara Zarr liked I got the audio. Which is wonderfully read by Cynthia Holloway. This book is written in an experimental style, reminding me of Slumdog Millionaire, A Wrinkle in Time (which is mentioned in the book many times) and The Time Traveler's Wife. The book is not told in chronological time, the chapter headings are "things that..." and the writing is amazing, the timing wonderful. As I listened to the first disc, I thought, how could I have not wanted to read this book? But as things got a little scary (I am, above all, a reading wimp) I wrote a note to one of my Twitter friends, merely plaintively asking, "but does it end well?" She assured me that it did, and that got me through the hard times, kept me listening. I listened to most of it for a second time. Which is helpful to do, and I recommend, as some things become clearer after you know the ending. You note I say most of it I listened to a second time, not all, and here is why: my car CD-player has this horrible quality of gumming up when the heat/humidity changes. In the winter, I can fix it by restarting the car. In the summer, I have to wait for the car to cool down, so I can listen to audio books on the way to work, (in the morning, when it is cool) maybe. On the way home, maybe. When I'm a little more solvent financially, I'll get a new radio/CD player installed.

What books are you reading/not reading this month?


Adaena said...

I love the idea behind this blog. I'm used to only hearing about books people DO manage to finish. I'm pretty bad about starting something then feeling 'meh' a few pages in--to the point where "gave up on" was a bookshelf category on my goodreads account at one time. (BTW, am I friends with you on goodreads? Do you have a goodreads?) I really like Elizabeth Berg, even though I feel like I'm not a part of her demographic necessary. I heard her latest was lackluster.

Sarah Louise said...


not sure if we are friends on GR. I don't use it very often, but I do have one.

Elizabeth Berg's first book "Range of Motion" still remains my favorite of hers. I have a staff copy from when I worked for Big Box Books.

(I think was her latest). (It was lackluster.)

I feel like life is too short to waste on a bad book.

Thanks for the comment!!


Badger said...

I just finished Carolyn Parkhurst's Lost and Found, which was very good. Then I made the mistake of seeing the movie version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and decided I REALLY needed to read the book immediately, so I ordered it and the second book as well from Amazon, thus breaking my 2010 moratorium on buying new fiction. Oy. They don't get here until Monday and I'm afraid to start anything before then since I read so slowly.

KitchenKiki said...

I'm not reading Born to Be Good & some book that I "won" at a grab bag party.

Terry Gross came to the GoggleWorks and spoke about her book & her years on the air. It was really a neat thing to hear, I don't know how it would be to read.