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This week has gone by so fast. The days, hours, minutes, they just drip away. Like now, I am looking at the clock, it is almost 9:30 in the evening, and I think, “When did that happen?” I cannot believe I have been up since 6:00 this morning.

Not much has happened this week, though. I worked. Today, I fell off my bike while riding to work.

Work was boring, though I switched up my availability for the next semester and switched shifts with Tehillah for next Saturday. That means I am working from noon until 6:30, but I guess it is nice because I am going to get more hours. I only have two more weeks up here, anyway.

When I left, I was so excited to get out of work, I forgot to take off my name badge.

I started making a Kusudama flower ball, and I cannot wait until it is complete. I only have four more flowers to make, and then I can construct the whole thing.

My day off was yesterday, and I met Mike for lunch at Jimmy John’s. I saw David go into the Pita Pit across the street, so we went over and hung out with him. It was cool, and then it started to rain. I walked to the White Rabbit and started to look at some books, but decided against browsing after a few minutes and picked up a peach smoothie from the MT Cup.

I started watching Sliders on Hulu. I used to watch it after school because it was on when I got home and afterward, The X-Files was on. If it was not Sliders, it was Quantum Leap (which is also on Hulu). Hulu has it up through the third season, which looks about the time the show got crappy. Anyway, in the past two days, I have gone through twelve episodes, I think. One of them was unavailable due to copyright issues. I know, that is a large amount of episodes in a short period. I am going nuts. I love it, though.

At the house, when I am not watching Sliders, I am working on finishing the third Phoenix Wright game. I have finally made it to the final case – I am so excited!

As for reading, I finished Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas today. What a trip. It was crazy. Next is Catcher in the Rye, and then I picked up three books today against my better judgment – Catch-22, Slaughter-House Five, and The Jungle – we will see if I get them read before I have to leave Muncie. The guy at the counter commented on my choices, and I explained that I was an English major that did not usually have time to read much of the “Classics,” so I was trying to catch up.

Tonight has not been the best night. It is so dark and quiet, and I am a little lonely. Here’s hoping tomorrow will be better, as always.

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I’ve had a lovely, well-deserved break, and I’m all ready to talk about it!

Last Tuesday night was Poker Night up in Muncie. I knew they were going to have it in Muncie, but I was unaware that it was to be Tuesday. I had to get up at 7:00 for work the next morning, though, so I went to Alex’s room for the night.

Work went well, I finished reading On the Road, and then about an hour later, I was on my way back to Pendleton. Mom and I went to the library, where we picked up movies and I picked up Chuck Palahniuk’s newest book, Pygmy. When we were leaving the library, a girl on a bike struck our car. No damage to the car or any of us, but the girl seemed to have whiplash. She was not wearing a helmet and she explained that her brakes were not working – hence the reason why she hit our car. It is horrible that they were just letting the brakes stay a problem and allow this girl to continue riding her bike, since she could have been seriously injured, or even killed.

Mom and I came home, cooked dinner (Tasty food!) and watched Factory Girl. We also argued about our plans. Mom wanted to go see the new Egypt exhibit, including some of King Tutankhamen’s treasures, at the Children’s Museum, and I thought it would be cool, but the price was steep. It was almost fifty dollars a person. I had to talk Mom out of it, though. The exhibit would be neat to see, but we really do not have that kind of money right now.

I slept in the big guest bed every night, and I stretched out, slept deeply, and enjoyed it very much. Thursday morning, after sleeping so well, I made omelets for breakfast, and then during the day, I made blueberry and goat cheese muffins and honey-peanut butter cookies.

Oh my goodness, the food was so delicious, and I was so happy to cook!

I began reading Pygmy, and later, Mom and I watched Mamma Mia. Both of us have seen it before, but Mom wanted to watch it again. I think I might buy her a copy for Christmas.

Friday, Mom found out that they were playing Away We Go at the Keystone Arts Cinema, and I really wanted to see it, so we went. I thought it was a cute movie, and I think it is awesome that John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph were leads, since audiences do not really get to see them in lead roles often.

After dinner on Friday, Mom and I walked to Dairy Queen and got Tagalong Blizzards. There is really no denying that I have a terrible sweet tooth and I get that from both sides of my family… Anyway, I saw Kyle working there. I have not seen him in a while and gave him a hug. He is a senior in high school now, and I think that’s weird because when I was in high school, he was my ‘special freshman.’ It makes me feel old.

We walked back home, and I was going to watch Marley and Me, but the disc was not working, so I watched our copy of The Big Chill instead. I have never seen it before, but we have owned it on VHS for at least as long as I have been alive.

Saturday, I watched The Darjeeling Limited and measured yarn I recycled from a three-dollar Goodwill Sweater. I got about 1,000 yards from it!

I also did some laundry, finished reading Pygmy, and decided it was not really one of my favorite Palahniuk books. I prefer Choke, Haunted, and Invisible Monsters.

Mom and I went to the theatre again and saw Public Enemies. While we were waiting in line for tickets, the girl in front of me turned around and started screaming with joy. It was my Jennifer! I was excited to see her, and she was going to go see Public Enemies too (she’s a huge Johnny Depp fan) with her parents. We were lucky enough to find five seats together, so we sat together for the film, and while waiting, Jennifer and I caught up on what we have been doing, and gossip, and such. It made me happy.

Since it rained quite steadily for most of the day, there were no fireworks for the Fourth of July. Mom and I went to Anderson to see a show, but the only displays we saw were created by the locals. We went home and watched the crappy horror films Waxwork and Waxwork II – which has Bruce Campbell, David Carradine, and Marina Sirtis! –  and ate vanilla ice cream with blueberries and bananas.

Most of Sunday was spent packing and playing Phoenix Wright. I went back to Muncie, dropped my stuff at the house and said hello for a minute, and then I went to Alex’s room. I began reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas while he worked on his Warhammer stuff for a bit. We watched about half of Days of Thunder before losing interest. People were shooting fireworks off outside in various places, so we turned off the lights and watched fireworks from his window.

Then we went to bed, and I really, truly, wish I did not have to get up this morning to go to work at 7:00, but I suppose I have been spoiled enough with four lovely days off work…

The rest of my weekend was rather uneventful. I finished reading The Bell Jar, and then met up with Alex for dinner. We drank apple cider and ate cherries. I have never eaten cherries before. Crazy, right? Well, despite my first one being a complete mess – I had a problem separating the pit from the fruit and stained my fingers with cherry juice – they were delicious. We watched Gran Torino later, and I highly recommend it. Clint Eastwood just shows (again) that he can do great work behind or in front of the camera, and his age is not a factor.

I had to work on Sunday. It went all right. Before I went in, I had lunch and I finished watching Arrested Development (Finally!). I called my dad as I walked, and it looks like they’ve found the perfect house in Kentucky. I’m excited for them. They sent me the link, and it looks beautiful. I hope they get it. Above all, I can’t wait to see them. My plans and their plans may have to shift around for me to visit, but that is perfectly fine.

At work, I started reading On the Road, and at first I didn’t like it because the stream-of-consciousness style of writing really muddles my mind when I read, but now it is rather enjoyable. Kerouac was writing about another world, really. I can’t imagine dropping everything to travel around the country, hitchhiking, riding the rails, shacking up with random people, washing dishes in the back of a restaurant to pay for a meal, and working random jobs just to have some cash. One can’t really get away with doing those things anymore. The closest I’m probably going to get to this type of living is right now, sleeping on my friends’ couch, biking or walking to do four or five hours of work, and rationing my food and money so I don’t burn it all in one fell swoop.

As crazy and drug-addled as some of the people were, I would say Kerouac was really living. He was feeling the breath and the beat of America, and I will probably be stuck in the Midwest for a few more years, if not longer. I might always be stuck here.

I think probably my favorite little passage so far in On the Road was when Sal, Marylou, and Dean take their clothes off and the three of them drive naked and then stop to see some sights and Marylou and Sal put on coats while Dean goes out completely nude. It highly amused me.

After my Sunday shift, I stopped by Alex’s room to hang out. I was there for about an hour, but he did not really want to hang out. I was exhausted anyway, possibly from getting so much sun lately. I went to bed around 10:00, but I couldn’t sleep. We got a visit from Tanner and Townsend because they were going on a trip with James but couldn’t get a hold of him. I turned on the light in the living room and sat on the couch covered in my blanket, and I gave them directions to James’s house. They left and didn’t come back, so I assumed my directions worked. It was nice to see them, albeit briefly.

I had one of my early shifts this morning. I didn’t get much time to read, either, though the time seemed to fly. I went back to the house afterwards, ate lunch, finished a word search on Crosswords DS, and fell asleep for about three hours. I knew I was tired, but I didn’t realize I was that tired.

I ate dinner and read, and Alex came by around 6:30. We went for a walk, and it looked like it was going to rain, but it didn’t. The cool breeze was welcome after the past hot and humid week. We came back, ate some Oreos, and watched a little bit of Star Trek: The Next Generation on SciFi. Alex left around 8:00, but I don’t blame him. There was nothing to do, and he has a test tomorrow.

I have been hanging out here the rest of the evening after he left.  Nothing exciting, though I shouldn’t be allowed to surf the Internet as much as I do, because I see websites about sewing, crocheting, knitting, dyeing, crafting, and cooking, and all I want to do is create. My latest knitting project’s yarn, access to a sewing machine, and all the rest of my craft stuff is in Pendleton, I don’t know how to crochet yet, and I have a very limited money supply since I need to save up for books and other school stuff. I don’t have a lot of options, and I can accept that. I just don’t like the fact that my fingers are itching, begging me to create something, and I have to tell them to calm down and take a rest for a while. I don’t have much time in the school year to do all the things I enjoy, so I have been trying to make the most out of my summer, obviously.

The best part about this week, though? I get to go back to Pendleton Wednesday afternoon. It’s true! My regular days off are Sunday and Thursday, and then the library is closed on Friday and Saturday for the July 4th holiday, so I get four days off – woo! I don’t even care that I will be losing some hours this week.

I am tired, bitter, and crazy.

I need to spend at least one night in my own bed, spend a few days with my mom, and eat actual good food! I mean, I know I’m the one cooking my own meals here in Muncie, but when you’re on a tight budget, you can’t exactly go gourmet…

Seriously, I don’t think I have never been so excited to go back to Pendleton in my life. Wednesday afternoon can’t come quickly enough.

I stepped out onto the porch and the hot summer air greeted me immediately. I jumped off the porch, careful not to become tangled up in the dry, thorny rose bushes and unlocked my bicycle from its post.

I mounted my vehicle and pedaled furiously down the alley out onto the street made of cracked pavement, broken glass, and trash. My bicycle rode over many bumps on the street, all of which I felt rattle my bones and my teeth.

I found myself at the Quad, a near heaven in the middle of campus, nearly deserted. I parked my bicycle by a tree, took the old, thin, stained quilt from my hand-knitted bag, and lay it on the grass underneath the overlapping arms of the nearby trees, which provided wonderful shade but still allowed a bit of sun to shine through the leaves, much like a green stained-glass window. I kicked off my worn-thin flip-flops, through which I could feel every rock I stepped on, and lay down on the quilt, feeling the warm breeze and the prickly grass under my ugly feet.

I took a library book out of my bag, feeling its soft cover and water-damaged pages. The Bell Jar. I was enjoying it immensely. In fact, I think it is a beautifully written book. Maybe I feel like Sylvia Plath was writing some things I have felt, or do feel. I love her description of a hot bath, and now that is one thing I so dearly want. I want to go home and have a hot bath, and possibly eat some scrambled eggs. She wrote about those, too.

I still have my apprehensions, though. I am enjoying and relating so much to a novel written by a mentally disturbed woman who eventually killed herself by sticking her head in the oven.

I chose to read my last chapter in a tree. There is a nice large one on campus by the art museum. I packed up my quilt and walked my bicycle out into the light – glittering, bright, and hot. I began climbing the tree. There was an older man sitting on a bench, reading. He stared at me, no doubt questionably. I found a comfortable fork in the branches and sat there, resting my back against the trunk of the monstrous tree. I climbed to the top, once or twice, but at that time, the branches were bare. These branches were thick with dark red leaves that shine ruby-like in the sunlight.

My cell phone fell out of my pocket. I thought about climbing down to get it, but then I decided against it. I dropped my bag down to meet my phone, and then my shoes followed. My feet dangled in the warm air as I read more of Plath’s words, and I do not think I have felt that peaceful in a long while.

A few years ago, I borrowed a box of books from my father and stepmother. Some were for educational purposes, such as The Physics Handy Answer Book and numerous old English textbooks, while others were for pleasure. One of these books I chose for pleasure was actually an omnibus of horror – Frankenstein, Dracula, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I could not find the time to read it, however, and eventually, it just became another one of those books in a pile of things that I might get to in the next century or so, like many of my craft and sewing projects. Finally, I dusted off the book and decided I was going to read Frankenstein for a paper this past semester. Well, that did not exactly happen, either.

Now it is summer, and I am reading that book and many other books I have been meaning to for so long. I am not taking any classes, but I have my job at the library to go to. One of the bright aspects about my job, though, is that even if there are tasks for me to do – no matter how menial or complicated they can be – I always have a little time to read. Which, in turn, since I can’t really read at the house I am staying, gives me a little time to do more things, like reading, playing Alex’s DS, or watching movies and television series I have checked out from the library. So far, I am having an enriching summer doing things for which I rarely have time.

Anyway, I have finished reading Frankenstein and Dracula, and I was glad to finally read them. I love seeing the difference between the novels and their representations in pop culture. As a book lover, I do feel a little guilty that this copy has started to really show its wear, including a front cover I had to tape back on with precision. In a way, though, it gives it character – right?

Frankenstein/Dracula

Frankenstein starts with a basic premise – man thinks he can create life and creates a monster instead – but it has so much more to it. Victor Frankenstein is, in a sense, the ultimate deadbeat dad. He creates his creature and flees, hoping that all will remain forgotten and he can go on with his life. Wrong. Of course, it would not be the same if he just ditched his creation and never heard from it again.

My favorite aspect of Frankenstein is when the Creature confronts Victor Frankenstein. I enjoy his story – coming into the world, lost and alone, and his struggle for survive and for acceptance by society. He speaks with intelligence, unlike media portrayals, though there are some flaws in Shelley’s storytelling. For instance, even though he is observes the DeLaceys, I could not understand how he could so aptly learn speech and writing from just observation. I mean, obviously he had to understand enough in order to read John Milton’s Paradise Lost and to understand the concepts of the work.

“No distinct ideas occupied my mind; all was confused. I felt light, and hunger, and thirst, and darkness; innumerable sounds rang in my ears, and on all sides various scents saluted me; the only object that I could distinguish was the bright moon, and I fixed eyes upon that with pleasure.”

It really is so sad, the Creature’s rejection, and then his request to have another, a bride, denied, to be completely refused any happiness during his life. It might be somewhat morbid or disturbing for the Creature to murder so many people and willingly know that his actions were wrong, but I think Frankenstein deserved what he received in the end. I know, it sounds sick.

Dracula was also different from my expectations. Instead of a straightforward novel, it is entirely created from documents written by the characters. I felt it became a bit tedious at times, and I hated the ending. They kill the Count in one page! One! The entire novel is built up around him and his evil plans, and you expect a huge confrontation, and then it’s all, “Quincey gets stabbed by a gypsy, but he and Johnathan kill the Count and Mina is safe and everything’s going to be happy.” Dracula still had its suspense, though. I liked reading about Renfield, and about the Count’s attacks on Mina and Lucy and the vampire lore that Stoker created. Much better than, say, recent vampire novels where whiny, insecure, and angst-filled teenage girls fall in love with overpowered, whiny, insecure, angst-filled, sparkly vampires.

Seriously – if one wants to read a good vampire novel, pick Dracula, or any of Anne Rice’s vampire works, or my personal favorite, The Historian. I love The Historian, it’s so beautiful and amazing, and I would read it again this summer if I did not have a huge list of books I wanted to read for the first time.

Next on my reading list is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to finish up this tattered, beloved book. That shouldn’t take long. I must say, though, we have such fitting weather for Gothic literature – it has been raining heavily for the past couple of days, and it is surprisingly chilly.

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