This is a blog posing as a place for book reviews. I think instead it will be a blog that will tell about books, and little stories of my life, because that is significantly easier than telling whether in my opinion a book was well written, or what characters I liked or disliked and following up with reasons why.
Books make me happy. Books make my friends happy, they make my fiance happy, and they teach us lots and lots of stuff. When I was blogging all the time before, I would read posts about how the reader connected with some characters and how the editing was awful. The cover art is gorgeous, but the author needs a thesaurus.
I also would write posts like that, but somehow felt that they just didn’t come easily and eventually I was too stressed to want to discuss books online. But it’s fun, and I have always loved the conversations about books and reading that I’ve had with people in person or via the internet.
That’s where the book really gets you sometimes. Not in the reading of it itself, but in the passing it along to others.
So I’m going to move forward with this, another first post amongst 1 million first posts, and show you exactly what I’m talking about.
It took me over a year to read The Tudors by G.J. Meyer (which is SUPER hard to say out loud. Try it. G.J. it’s weird.) Part of the reason it took so long is that the book happens to be 576 pages. It’s not a horribly dry book and for non-fiction I found it fairly easy to read. I think the hardest part was keeping names straight, but this isn’t my first foray into Tudor history, so many of those names are familiar to me. However, it’s not really a fast paced page turner. There wasn’t a lot of suspense for me. Again, not my first dabble in the history of, well…90% of the people in this book. There were times when I would find out something completely new to me, and that was a nice surprise. Learning is fun and all that. Often I found myself frustrated when I ran into new information, mostly because it wasn’t about main players and therefore I’d get about 2 lines of information. Just enough to pique my interest and the author would move on. There are many notes in my note book that start out
Learn More About:
The notebook. That’s the other reason this book took a century to read. I’m a note taker. I can’t help myself. Sometimes if I’m reading non fiction (like the occasional fun textbook, or because of all the foreign-to-Sharyla names, Zealot) I can’t really read the book without taking notes. Here is a picture of how my book and notebook look together (they match because I take nerd to that level bitches)
Last January I bought both of those for myself at the tiny and confusing Barnes & Noble on the Duquesne campus. This touts itself as a Barnes & Noble by having a large sign that I swear to god reads “Barnes & Noble”, and I’m sure that everyone else who frequents book stores in Pittsburgh knows it to be a lie. I was new. I had no idea. This is more of a Starbucks and college paraphernalia store (and not the fun kind) with 30 or so books that someone not in college might want to read. There was a downstairs I think. I don’t think it had books. I remember that trip as being one of the biggest let downs of my new life in the city. I was so broke, I had gone from being able to drop 50 bucks on books essentially any ol’ time I wanted, to going to the public library. I support the public library, but no matter how responsible I try to be, I fail at actually returning the books. All I wanted was to take my parents money, in the form of a shiny gift card and spend hours walking around looking and smelling and touching (and that’s when the term bibliophile actually becomes creepy.)
My experience in the store took all of 30 minutes.
But I bought The Tudors, and I was happy with my purchase. I actually have a few fond memories that the book plays a part in, my favorite being the first time Brakk displayed a love of something I was just…doing.
I was sitting on my couch waiting for him to come over and he came in to find me hunched over my maroon notebook. He smiles and says “Are you taking notes?” I said yes and he told me I was adorable. He does this all the time, but it was my first venture into being loved for the way that I am. For the right reasons.
I’m glad it took me a year. I’m glad I’ve had the weight of this almost 600 page book along side through a good portion of firsts that happened for me in 2013.
Here are some pictures of my notes…because I swear I will never read them again, and so I felt someone should look at them.
My ‘notes’ are sometimes entire passages of the book copied verbatim, sometimes they are topics for future learning, sometimes there are simply lines that I thought were well written or that I identified with, and a lot of the time it’s me trying to interpret the information I’m receiving and immediately put into my own words so that I can ensure that I have actually learned something.
The Ice Dragon by Oliver Postgate & Peter Firmin has the copyright date of 1968. When I picked it up originally, I thought it looked like something my Mom would have read to me when I was a kid, and I thought Brakk would like it too. We found it at a grade school library sale during some Catholic school carnival. We didn’t go on our own, that’s even a little too creepy for me, but our best friend and nephews were getting out of the house on a weekend night, and we decided to tag along. Incidentally we had a lot of fun. There were stupid rides, really easy games (where I won Brakk a poster of Taylor Swift), a beer ‘garden’, and even live music that was bad, but not awful. The library sale was the best of course. They had a system where you bought a certain height (by inches) amount of media (there were books, records, VHS tapes, we even got a copy of Risk for the PC, which I thought was bad ass) and I think we spent a whole five dollars. We were stoked.
Photos of the book because that’s fun for me:
If you didn’t know, Brakk and I are often the cutest couple that has ever existed. I bought the book to read to him before bed. We do that. It’s adorable. I promise.
Brakk loved it. It’s come up in conversation quite a few times, and I’m sure we’ll be reading it again soon. I don’t know if this is book is going to be hugely available, but if it is I’d grab a copy if I were you. It’s really fun to be a kid again via a book. How many adults watch movies like Despicable Me and Toy Story. Trust me, if you sit back and read a kids book, not one that you’ve read a million times in your childhood, but something new, you’ll find that it’s even better. It also takes less time. Put one next to the shitter and have a blast.
It’s a story about some little viking dudes, who are all around pretty cool guys. They go on a mission to kill a dragon and everything turns out great in the end. It’s exactly what you want when you’re a kid. It was fairly funny, and the art is just…fun.
Originally the book cost 50 cents, and we already know I didn’t pay much more, and it quickly became invaluable. It took me right back to being five years old and the type of books my mom got for me on our trips to the library, and subsequently never returned.
Both of my parents read to me a lot when I was a kid, and when I was an adolescent, and even as an adult my mother and I have sat in my living room to take turns reading a book to each other. This book sent me right back to being a kid, and my Mom’s big red rimmed glasses that I can only assume were out of date, but I loved and still miss. I remembered how she uses her cheeks to push her glasses up her nose, a skill I have to admit I’ve always admired. She loved reading to me and my brother. Riki Tiki Tavi was her favorite, and when I was younger and lived with my dad I would always get a little sad when she would read it to me when I went for my summer visits. I missed the sound of her voice when she was reading. It was a deeper voice than her usual voice. Smoother. I don’t remember my mom ‘doing’ voices of characters, she read a story, she didn’t perform it. And to be honest, I preferred it that way.I like reading to Brakk now because I’ve recently discovered that my voice sounds just like hers when I read. I find it comforting, as if I am closer to that long lost moment where I am little, Mom can fix everything, and it all turns out great in the end.