Thursday, August 4, 2011


Finally!  I have read The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle cover to cover, 1200 pages in all. 

A big book to say the least.  Some of the stories were very good, but then others were a real noggin scratcher.  When I found that I had read a noggin scratcher, I wondered if Sir Arthur had "phoned-in" some of the stories, because his passion (and the plot) wasn't really represented. 

I didn't see what the big deal was with The Hound of the Baskervilles.  I thought his first novel, A Study in Scarlet, was vastly better.  I am glad I read this book.  It was interesting reading for the most part, and by the latter stories I could figure out the important points before Sherlock Holmes solved the cases.

And now, on to the next book.   I have picked out two random numbers, and according to the Nashville Public Library's website, both books are available at the main branch. They are both shorter than the book I finished by half, so that's a bonus!  I'll talk about the chosen book in my next post.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle aka The Verbose One

Yes....I  am  still reading Sherlock Holmes.  I have about 300 more pages to go,  so  the end is in sight.

I would have been finished with it by now if I had been more devoted to my reading, but hey, life got in the way.

I managed to finish the first draft my novel (!), and  it is  now being proofread and edited.  I have also  been researching  publishing  houses, and creating a synopsis.  The synopsis is a real booger.  Basically,  I have to distill 70,000 words into two pages of text.  Of course, everything is important to me, so this is proving to be a big task.

And then,  for basically a week I took a self defense class, which was awesome and  empowering.  I never knew that I could wail on a heavily padded person with such force.  It was a great experience.

Directly after that, I went on a family vacation.  I managed to get sunburned, and the mosquitoes found me to be  delicious, but, I had a great time hanging out with the family, and decompressing.

So there it is.  I am still  reading, amongst other things.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

On to The Complete Sherlock Holmes

So, I finished Charlotte Bronte.  Wonderful book, and it absolutely spoke to me, being a person going through the writing process.

My next book is the Complete Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Folks, this is by far the largest book I have read thus far.  I am reading 4 novels, and over 50 short stories.  The font is tiny y'all.  We're taking an 8 point font max here.  I almost feel like I need to go to the eye doctor for a new prescription - it is that small.

I've gone through the first two novels, and now I have a bunch of short stories before I get to the Hound of the Baskervilles.  I must say it is very enjoyable reading, but I was disappointed that Sherlock Holmes used  cocaine.  I didn't know that.  Okay, so you might say what rock have you been hiding under, and that would be the rock known as TV.  Most of my  knowledge of  Sherlock Holmes is from  Star Trek,  where Data was  Sherlock Holmes on the holodeck and that rad butler from The Nanny sitcom was  Moriarty.  Hey...I'm  trying to better myself here.

Anyhoo, the experience so far is very enjoyable.  It is extremely clever writing, and the endings are not completely predictable.  I continue to plow through.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Charlotte Bronte ..... kindred

So,  I am almost done reading the autobiography of Charlotte Bronte, as written by her friend and fellow author Elizabeth Gaskell.  She was a fascinating person...what a mind.

When she was 5, she could debate people in politics.  Politics people!  Most kids that age are trying to keep their crayolas in the lines.  She led a rather quiet life with her sisters and father, and very much preferred it that way.  Her life was certainly her own.

The thing I'm getting most out of this book is how she sees herself as an author, and her creative process.  As a person that is working on her first novel, I found this particularly fascinating.  She marveled at the people that she created out of her imagination, as I have done as well.  Also, she said that she might not write for weeks or days, but when her inspiration hits, she writes and writes until her thoughts are on paper.  Oh hi hello!

What a timely book to read.  I have about 100 pages to go,  and then I will be on to my next book in this project.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thomas Paine - The Rights of Man

Yes - I read introduction to epilogue Thomas Paine's Rights of Man.

I know this was written during a time when the written word was the primary source for enlightenment, entertainment and edification.  I respect that, and indeed the book was beautifully written.  It encompasses the best principles for a beautiful governnment.

Thomas Paine was basically writing to counter the claims of a Mr. Burke, a Brit who found the French Revolution to be an awful endeavor, and waxed eloquent on the beauty that is financing an aristocracy.

If I had to address Mr. Burke in the present day, I would have done it more succinctly.

Mr. Burke......yo mama.  And thus ends my commentary...almost.

Of course, when Thomas Paine wrote, the weight of the pen, I believe, had more value, and whoa did he have the gift of gab.  It was beautiful to read, and I encourage anyone that enjoys freedom to read his work.

And now I am almost half done with my next assigned book.  I am reading The Life of Charlotte Bronte, written by Elizabeth Gaskell.  She was Bronte's friend, and an excellent writer in her own right.  I am thoroughly enjoying it, and will save my opinions for the next post.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Man....this book made me angry.  Tess gets raped, has a baby that subsequently dies.  Tries to live a quiet life, knowing that Victorian standards have made her an undesireable marriage partner.  Then, a dood totally crushes on her, she resists and resists, tries to tell him her terrible past, which he does not allow, and then after they are finally married, she has the opportunity to tell him, and does, and he shuns her.

So flipping angry at this  book.

I won't give away the ending, but it is not a happy one.  Granted, the prose was extremely pretty.  Thomas Hardy had his way around a sentence, and he did know lots of 50 cent words, but still, this book hacked me off.

But, I'm still glad I read it.  I am very happy with this project.  I feel like I am learning a lot, and that is exactly what I wanted to happen.

So, I picked yet another random number, and I am reading The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine.

"These are the times that try men's souls."  Powerful.  People just don't talk like that anymore.  We are losing creativity whilst delving deeper and deeper into social comfort and convenience.   And I am writing that sentence on a blog.  We have come full circle.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Babar - the author was a freak

So, my second book was The Story of Babar.  As it is a children's book,  this was the very first time I had to go into the children's department in the library.

All of the shelves were waist high, so I had to stoop to find the book.

I must have looked like a sight.  Anyhoo, I found the book, and read it.  I have come to the conclusion that there is a very good reason that this book was not in the adult section.  You need to possess a certain quality called suspension of disbelief, which children seem to have in abundance and adults, who are used to the cold, hard reality of things, have a hard time with.

My first problem with the book was in the very beginning, Babar's mom gets shot.  This is the reason that I only watched Bambi once y'all.  ONCE.  I do not dig seeing dead animals, especially in something geared towards children.  Strike one against the book.

Then, Babar decides to walk to France, from Africa no less, where he befriends an old lady, who proceeds to put him in a pair of pants.  What is so wrong with being an elephant.  It is lame and racist of the old biddy.  Strike two.

Further into the story, he marries his  cousin Celeste.  Um hello?  YOUR COUSIN?  Do they want babies with two tails or something.  Freaks.  Strike three.

So there you have it, I read a children's book that I should have just read as a child, but as a child I probably would have not liked it, since I do not dig dead animals in books.

Once I finished Babar,  I picked my next number, which was 39.  I am currently reading Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

And done!

I have read The Origin of Species cover to cover.  It feels like such an accomplishment getting through that book!  I present you with my thoughts on the work.

Darwin was passionate about his work, and that certainly comes through in the writing.  It is certainly not a book meant for pleasure reading, as it is extremely academic.  I did learn some fascinating things about animals, and I am glad for that knowledge. My problem with the book is that Darwin tried to be way to mathematical and scientific about nature.  If nature has proven anything to us, it is that nature is crazy, complicated, beautiful and tragic at the same time.  How can nature be presented in a neat little scientific package?  It can't be, and that is why this book is such a polarizing topic to this day.

Once I was done with the book, I went to my computerized random number generator, and asked for another number.  I was given the number 45, and scanned my reading list in great anticipation, all the time hoping I did not have to read War and Peace quite yet.

I got Babar, by Jean de Brunhoff.  I laughed out loud when I saw that I would be reading a much loved children's book, and one that I cannot recall ever reading.  Since my reading list just said "Babar," and there are quite a few Babar books, I decided that I should read the very first book, The Story of Babar, published first in 1931.

And then I went to Outback with my husband and had beer and steak.

So, since my beloved main branch of the public library is closed today, tomorrow I will visit the children's department and pick up the book.  It is tempting to get another book from my reading list out at the same time, but I will wait until I finish Babar first.  It's a whole 47 pages long, plus illustrations!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chapter 13

Looks like I have 100 pages to go.  So close to the end.  Man, this is a hard book to digest, but I'm getting there.  I'm tempted to plow through, and perhaps finish the book today.  It is tempting, because I'd really like to know what my next book will be, and I've told myself that I will not get to pick the next book until I finish my current book.

So you don't think I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to reading, I do have two other books that I am currently reading for pleasure.  I usually have a book on CD in my car.  The radio bores me, and I find books interesting and relaxing during my commute to and from work.  Currently I am listening to Charleston by John Jakes.   This was an easy pick for me.  First, I love history.  Second, I love Charleston.  Third, I love historical fiction.  Easy choice.

My choice for lunchtime/bedtime reading is The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I'm about a dozen chapters in, and it is a fascinating read.  I can hardly wait to see where the story goes next.  Excellent book, and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Sad Day for Jackalope Lovers

I am onto the chapter about hybrids, and it is interesting.  Did you know that hybrids are for the most part infertile?  For example, a mule cannot mate with another mule and produce a mule.  Mules are created by the union of a horse and a donkey. 

Alas, I don't see how the famed jackalope can exist from reading this chapter.  A sad day indeed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

He who tickled the aphid

And so I am on Chapter 7, which is about instinct and animals that do things for the exclusive good of others.  A very noble concept to say the least. 

Of course Darwin did many studies to back up his theories.  One of these studies involved getting aphids to excrete a sweet juice that the ants like to feed on, without the ants present.  He tried to get them to excrete said juice by tickling the aphids with a single hair.  Talk about devotion to his project!  I of course was cracking up as I read this paragraph.  Alas, the aphid would only excrete the juice when the ant was present.  

Woo almost halfway through!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chapter 7

Slow slow going.  I am extremely tempted to read the summary paragraph at the end of each chapter, but that feels rather like cheating .... as if I was reading the Cliff's Notes guide on the book.  I am determined not to do that, although the book is extremely academic and mostly boring to my non-scientific mind.

There are fifteen chapters in this book.  When I read it, I like to read a chapter at a time, interrupted.  I dare not read more than that a day.  It feels like a great accomplishment to get through a chapter, and knowing that I am almost half way through this first book gives me a great feeling of accomplishment.

But, as is the case with whatever I tend to read, I am learning interesting things.  I am learning little factoids about animals, and that is interesting.  I'm sure these facts will eventually come out in random dinner conversation, and people will look at me with a quizzical brow.  "Oh wow...the pretty lady knows something other than what was on TV last night?"  Imagine that.   

I am the queen of unfinished projects, many in the creative realm.  I was very pleased with myself that I finished one of those projects during our very rainy Saturday this past weekend:  a beaded bracelet.  Not only did I finish it, but I created a necklace, bracelet and earrings out of some very pretty left-over beads, and wore them out that night.  Happy happy.  I still have a large needlepoint, a painting and my novel to finish.  I think I shall work on a bit of the needlepoint tonight.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Chapter 5

Oy this is slow going.  Why oh why did a random number choice land on an academic book, and in my most hated subject of science?  Alas, I will get through this.  I have a task before me, and I will not give up.

I still would have much preferred the number choice landed on Gone with the Wind, but there's always hope for the next book! 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chapter 4

I am on Chapter 4 of Darwin's Origin of Species.

Dood is verbose to say the least.  I can tell he has a great passion for the subject, and he certainly has done tons and tons of research, but I think he is being a bit too mathematical about life and nature.  At least that is my impression of the work so far.

Also, I was surprised to read that he said that God created every living thing.  If you ask Christians who have never read anything on him, you would think he was the boogeyman or something.  It is so important to get your own facts, rather than rely on sweeping generalizations from some other source. 

And I plow on.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Number 79

I knew going into this that there would be some books that I did not want to read.  But, I decided that I would give all of the books on the list a fair shake, and would read them.  I stand by that statement.

The random number chosen was 79.  As I scanned down the list, I saw that it would be a science book.  I always loathed science in school (I was more of a literature/history sorta gal), so I felt my face scrunch up as I saw what was chosen.

On The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin.

I am a born again Christian.  I believe in Creation.  I will not get in a debate about this.  This will be a good book for me to read. To read something completely unassociated with myself and my beliefs is good mental exercise.  This is the essence of good conversation:  to be well versed in both sides of the argument.

So today during my lunch, I will take a stroll to my beloved main branch of the public library, and will take out the tome.  According to the website, it is "available."  Imagine that!  I figured there would be a waiting list.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh hai...this thing still on

I consider myself mercurial.  When I think of something creative to do, I must do it and do it right dang now.  I was thinking ... minding my own business really...when the idea pops in my head:  how well read am I?

I like reading, and of course read the mandatory classics in high school, but is that enough?  It is all encompassing?  Could I really hold a decent conversation?  It bores me to tears when people ramble on incessantly about the Real Housewives, or that vile Jersey Shore show (so glad I don't get that channel).  Does anybody read anymore?

Books should be read.  There are scores of books on library shelves languishing in dust and neglect.   If you don't have a library card, get one!  Don't give all of your money to amazon or those electronic Kindle things.  Have a book in your hands, feel the weight of it, flip the pages and use a bookmark that you love.

So, for a lark, I googled "well read reading list," and up popped a list of 110 classics.  It looked rather comprehensive - I knew I wanted to read Alexis de Tocqueville - so when I saw his tome on the list I decided that I had found a good starting place.

I've decided that I am going to give all of these books my attention.  Even the ones that I really don't want to read.  I guess I am finally going to read that Harry Potter book that a couple people have picked up. Are you familiar with that one?

I have numbered the list from 1 to 110, and for the first selection, I have e-mailed someone I know, and have asked said person to pick a number at random from 1 to 110.  Whatever number is chosen is the book that I will pick up from the library.

Game on!