Things I Should Be Doing

Howdy, howdy! It’s a blah day. Quite gloomy. And I have nothing to ramble or rant about. I’ve avoided the news for the most part, but I’ve already seen reports of anti-maskers threatening to call ICE at a Mexican restaurant that requires masks. It doesn’t matter that the mandate wasn’t even officially lifted until 10th. This is just how people behave. I, for one, think Biden chose the perfect word: Neanderthals. But I don’t want to be angry, so back to the subject at hand. What should I blog about? No idea. If there’s something you want me to ramble about next week, drop me a line. This week, I’m just going to make a quick list of the things I should be doing right now, then I’m going to do some of those things.

1. Writing. I haven’t written much besides blog posts and a couple of beginnings (nowhere near full stories) this year. I’m just lazy. I have no excuses. Everyone seems to be struggling with something or other right now, so it’s not really fair for me to blame the pandemic or the seasons changing or depression or anything. I’m just clinging to my laziness. I need to suck it up and write.

2. Recording myself reading a story out loud. My story “Poisoned Honey and Pickled Pigs’ Feet” is coming out in the May issue of Love Letters to Poe. On top of the magazine, they also have a podcast of the authors reading their work. I’ve been assured my phone should be fine for recording (it sounds better than my computer in the tests I did), but I hate my voice and dread having to listen to the recording for errors. I’ve been practicing and just have to bite the bullet and do the recording in the next day or two when I can find a quiet moment (it’s due the 18th). But yeah. Go subscribe to the newsletter and podcast so you can read/hear my story when it comes out!

3. Reading. I need to read at least one chapter a day in the book I’m going to review this month to be done on time, plus I got the ebook of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix from the library, so I have to read three chapters of that a day in order to finish before I have to return it. Yes, I can make Dad pull out my old hardcopy of HP5 if I don’t finish on time, but we’ve already established that I’m lazy. It doesn’t sound like a lot of reading, but it is when you read super slow. I miss the days when I was able to read a 1,000+ page book in a week. Getting old sucks.

I’m sure there are other things I should be doing, like writing letters and answering texts. I’ll do that stuff later. For now, I’m going to practice my story one more time, then read for a while. As always, feel free to share your thoughts or suggestions for blog post topics here or on my social media pages!

One Of Those Days

Hello, hello! How is everyone doing? January is chugging along and it seems like nothing is getting done even though I know we’ve been doing things. Our things have mostly been stuff for the neighbor and Dad taking Lady for her grooming (need to find a new one since our usual one sold out) and for her yearly check up (she has some bad teeth, so she has to go in on the 4th to get them removed). Dad’s grumpy because he hasn’t really started a new project yet. And I’m slowly getting back into writing. Nothing regular yet. But I do have two short stories (probably flash pieces but with the potential to be longer if they decide they need more space) that won’t leave me alone. Anyway, it’s a blah day and I’m seriously out of ideas for things to blog about, so I’m just going to ramble about things I’d rather be doing. It seems like I do this a couple of times a year, but no one has complained yet.

1. I’d rather be reading. I need to read a few chapters in a book I picked up for an extra review in February. They’re pretty short. It’s around 20 pages total, so I’ll do that after I finish whining here. But I also just got an ebook copy of HP and the Goblet of Fire from the library, so I want to dive into that for fun. I only have 14 days before I have to return it. I still have all of my hardback HPs, so if I don’t finish in time, I can always ask Dad to pull it out, but ebooks are just easier. All this is to say that I’d much rather be reading HP4 right now.

2. I’d rather be writing. Yes, I know this is technically writing, but I’d rather be working on my Yuki-onna story or my end of the world story. They both have been annoying the crap out of me. Keeping me awake at night. One is ready to be written. The bones are all there, it’s the flesh that needs some time to grow. That usually happens as I’m working with it on the page. But the other still needs to incubate a bit. The beginning is there, but I’m only just beginning to see the end and have no idea how to get there yet. In other words, it’s missing a spine. Sometimes, when a story is being difficult, I need to get the beginning on the page and the middle will grow more easily from there. That’s what I should be doing right now.

New Tricks

3. I’d rather be watching TV with Dad. I’ll be honest, if I weren’t writing this, I’d most likely be watching TV with Dad. We’d catch up on a couple of things that aired in the last couple of days, then watch a couple of episodes of our latest British mystery obsession, New Tricks. We’re running out of episodes though. I guess we need to start looking for other ones to watch. But that’s what I would actually be doing.

I think I’ll stop there and go do the reading I need to do, then probably eat and watch TV. What would you rather be doing right now? Or are you doing exactly what you want? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments or your own lists here or on my social media pages!

To Re-Read Or Not To Re-Read…

Howdy, howdy!  First and foremost, I want to thank Lew Andrada one last time for his awesome post last week.  If you haven’t read it, you should go do that after you read and comment on this one!  As for this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about stuff I read as a teenager or in my early 20s.  And there are a lot of books that I would love to read again for various reasons, but I’m afraid it’ll ruin the love I hold for them.  Like, what if they’re actually really bad and I’m just in love with the notion of them?  I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement from friends to go ahead and make 2020 (and probably 2021 because I’m a slow reader and would still have to read new books to review) the year(s) of book nostalgia and re-read all the things, but the fear is real.  So, I thought I’d list the 35 books I want to read again and ask everyone for opinions on whether it’s a bad idea in general or which ones would best be left in the past, etc.

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Probably stupid.

1. The Harry Potter series (7 books).  I’ve only read the series all the way through once.  Yeah, I’m a bad fan.  Whatever.  But I’ve been getting the itch to go through it all again.  I’m not too worried about ruining this one, though.  It’s the series I remember the best.

2. The Chronicles of Narnia (7 books).  I blew through this series in my mid-teens and can only vaguely remember it, which is why I want to read it again.  Granted, the memories are fond ones, but I still worry that maybe it wasn’t that good.  It has a decent sized fan base, but I often dislike books everyone else seems to love.  It’s worrisome.

3. The Anne of Green Gables series (9 books).  Normally, I hate slice-of-life (not sure if that’s an actual genre, but it’s what I’ve always called things like this series) books.  It makes me curious as to why I enjoyed this series as a teenager.  It’s one of the few that I’m most afraid of ruining for myself.

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Will it, though?

4. His Dark Materials (3 books).  This was a series I read in my early 20s.  I remember a bit of it, but not enough to read the Book of Dust series or any of the stories connected to His Dark Materials.  This is the usual predicament that forces me to re-read things.

5. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (4 books).  I’ve actually read these twice already, but I wouldn’t mind going back to them.  Just because.  There are some books that call to you.  It happens.

6. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and The Talisman (2 books).  It’s not often that I feel the desire to re-read Stephen King stuff, but these are two I’m feeling drawn back to.  Will they stand up against the test of time?  I don’t know.  Am I willing to risk it?  Don’t know that either.

7. Neverwhere (1 book).  So, I have a love/hate relationship with Gaiman.  I absolutely love his work, but there’s always something I hate about his stories.  Neverwhere started my love of his work.  The problem is that I can’t remember hating anything about it.  That worries me, because what if it’s truly horrible and I’ve blocked it out?

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So many worries…

8. Ransom (1 book).  This one I actually read back in 4th or 5th grade.  I’ve never read anything else by Lois Duncan, but this one stuck with me.  It’s the first book I read that had someone with a disability who played a major role.  Granted, he wasn’t disabled like I am, but it was cool.  I’m afraid that connection was the only actual good thing about the book.

9. The Wild Iris (1 book).  I fully admit that I re-read poetry more than anything else.  This is a collection I’ve been meaning to read again for years.

So, what are your thoughts on reading things more than once?  Is it a worthwhile endeavor or would you stick with new books?  Anything on this list that isn’t worth a second look?  What’s on your list?  Feel free to share your comments or thoughts here or on my social media pages!

Ten Books (Or Series) That Have Stuck With Me

Hello, hello!  I haven’t been feeling 100% the last couple of days, so I thought I would make today’s post short and simple.  We all have books or movies or songs or works of art or whatever that stick with us.  You know the ones.  Those things that we randomly think of even though we haven’t seen or thought of them in years.  The things that pop up in our lives at the most unexpected of moments.  They helped shape who we are today, for better or worse.  That’s what I’m going to talk about today.  Namely, the books or series that have stuck with me.

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It’s kind of like that.

1. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King.  It was the first book I remember reading that I didn’t actually have to read.  Pretty much everything by King sticks with me, though.

2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  I don’t think there’s anyone around my age who wasn’t at least exposed to Harry Potter.  It’s one of those series that keeps surprising you, even after you’ve read it for the third time.

3. Angel Sanctuary by Kaori Yuki.  I know it’s a manga (Japanese graphic novel) series, but it taught me so much growing up.  I learned that, sometimes, the cruelest of demons comes packaged as an angel, and vice versa.

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From Angel Sanctuary.

 4. A Separate Peace by John Knowles.  I honestly don’t even remember liking this book, but I find myself thinking about it quite often.  It’s one of those books that I’m afraid to read again, in case it ruins the nostalgia.

5. The Seance by Joan Lowery Nixon.  This is another of those books that I haven’t read since I was small (it was my first “pick your own book” book report in elementary school).  It was my first foray into the whole spooky mystery thing.

6. Ransom by Lois Duncan.  Again, this was something I read in elementary school.  It was the first book I remember reading that had a disabled kid.  He wasn’t in a wheelchair or anything, but he was different from everyone else and it was strange to see someone else deal with that kind of stuff.

7. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  I fell in love with Gaiman’s writing because of this book.  It will always hold a special place in my heart, even if some of his other stuff was less than impressive.

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I should read it again.

 8. Anne of Green Gables and most of the other Anne Shirley books by L.M. Montgomery.  Yes, I went through a stage where reading about the everyday antics of Anne entertained me.  I still think of her fondly every once in a while.

9. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.  This is another series that forced me to ask questions.  It makes me think.  I come back to it a lot when I’m thinking of religion and all that.

10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t been exposed to this title thanks to the movies, but that’s not how I know it.  For me, it will always be that short, fun read that opened up the fantasy door.

What about you?  What are some of the books that have stayed with you over the years?  Feel free to list them here or on my social media accounts.