March 2016

March was a pretty light reading month for me:

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Scowler by Daniel Kraus

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

Rotters by Daniel Krauss

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George

February 2016

According to my Book Book, here are the books I finished in February:

In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin

The Burning Air by Erin Kelley

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace

Bliss House by Laura Benedict

January 2016

I keep a book with the titles, authors and blurbs for each book I read. I call it my Book Book (real original, I know). I categorize them by the day that I finish, so here they are for the month of January:

My Life Among the Serial Killers: Inside the Minds of The World’s Most Notorious Murderers by Helen Morrison

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

No Doors, No Windows by Joe Schreiber

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Game by Barry Lyga

The House of Lost Souls by F.G. Cottam

Invisible City by Julia Dahl

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Slade House by David Mitchell

Shutter by Courtney Alameda

I’m Back

Sorry I’ve been MIA for awhile. I got lost in my own mind for a month or two — it happens — but I’m back now. I’m going to get back into the swing of things with a few lists. Nothing makes me happier than making lists for some reason, most of which center around books. Lists of books to read, books I have read, books to recommend, books available at the library…well, you get the point.

Zombie Spiders

The other day, walking through the dining room, I spotted a spider hanging from the ceiling. This thing was dangling and spinning a bit, like it was auditioning for a spot in Cirque du Soleil and if I was in charge of casting, I would have given him the job on the spot. He was small, but majestic and very sure of himself. Naturally, I cannot let this sort of thing go on, otherwise word gets out on the arachnid web (see what I did there?) and then all spiders think that this is a friendly house where they can live out their days in peaceful leisure. Not on my watch. So, I got a napkin, walked back over and pinched him inside of it, gave it a little squish and then threw it away. I am a strong, independent woman that doesn’t need a man to kill my multi-legged foes.

Despite my strength and independence, I had to brag about my latest kill. I would be a terrible accomplice in a crime, obviously. When you have the face of a librarian, you like to shock people when you do something awesome or bad ass. So, I’m telling the Handsome Hermit all about the size of the beast and the way I single-handedly slew it when I gestured towards the garbage can where I had disposed of the body. And what do I see when I glance over? That little bastard is CLIMBING OUT OF THE TRASH CAN. My first thought was “Well, this makes my whole story a moot point” but what I said out loud is “It’s a zombie!” He was a plucky fellow, I’ll give you that.

I hesitated a bit, I was mulling over a world in which spiders could become zombies and decided then and there that I did not want to exist in that reality. The Handsome Hermit is used to my antics by now, so he doesn’t even make a sound, just walks over and squashes the bug between his two fingers. Bare handed. Like an animal. Than turns to me and says: “You have to go for the head. Only way to kill them.” Then walked into the bathroom to wash his hands.

This is our version of love. It works.

Clowns for Christ

As a child, I was painfully shy. I walked with my head down, barely spoke above a whisper and hated everything about myself. My mother’s idea of getting me to “open up” was to force me to walk up to perfect strangers and ask them for the time. Decades later, I look back at this and I still don’t understand her strategy. Did she think a 10-year-old would ask someone for the time and then strike up a witty conversation? Or was she just hoping that someone would decide to kidnap me so she didn’t have to worry about this mousy child anymore? Who can resist a felony when it shuffles right up to them at the mall? Sadly, I was so terrified of attracting any attention to myself, that I probably would have thought twice about screaming if I actually was snatched.

Obviously, this brilliant chronological plan wasn’t doing the trick, so my mother looked around for another avenue of humiliation. And then she struck pay dirt: Christian Clown Camp. Could there be a better place to send an 11 year old girl that is scared of her own shadow, hates nature and has never shown an interest in make-up? Apparently not. She signed me up without my knowledge, neglecting to tell me about this adventure until she started PACKING MY SUITCASE.

Early one morning, I was unceremoniously dumped at a camp site several hours from my house, told to “have fun” and then watched as my family car sped away down the dirt road. I was abandoned for a week with total strangers, in the woods, and on top of that, I was supposed to learn how to apply a million layers of face paint in order to go out and tell the world about Jesus. How many drugs were taken to come up with this idea?

Admittedly, I do not have a lot of memories of this week of abject horror. Teenage Clowns in the Woods sounds more like a B rated slasher flick than a wonderful bonding experience, so I must have blocked most of the details from my brain. I remember sitting in a the big cabin, along a long table with mirrors in front of each of us as a camp counselor named Tal (his first name and his initials were the same TAL — I have no idea why I remember this but it is burned into my long term memory) taught us how to apply our religious war paint. What the Crusades failed to do for hundreds of years, we would accomplish with 15 kids in full face spackle. Did I mention this was a co-ed camp? The only thing worse than sending your daughter into this insanity would be to send your son. This does not bode well for his survival on the playground of life.

I also remember sitting in front of the same mirror, using baby wipes to get rid of all that spiritual veneer, when Tal walked up to me and made a sad noise, then said “Oh, too bad, you’re wiping off your pretty face.” He might have been trying to compliment my pious cosmetics, but I heard “Oh, too bad, now we have to see your real face again” and another scar was added to my soul. Thanks, Tal, wherever you are.

*Side note — I know that there was a female counselor there, logically there would have to be, but I have no memory of her. This is what happens when your first name and your initials are not the same, I guess. Poor chick worked hard that summer and I don’t have the faintest flicker of her in my mind because her mother gave her a decent moniker.

Towards the end of the week, we were forced to lather up in full greasepaint, don our clown outfits there were fished out of a large bin and then herded onto a bus to be driven to the local hospital. We were going to be “entertaining” the patients in the children’s ward. We were also probably planting the seeds of night terrors that would last for years. Very few of us had clown related talents, like balloon tying or juggling, most of us wanted to be anywhere but where we were and yet we were stalking through the children’s ward torturing munchkins that were already unlucky enough to be sick and therefore a captive audience.

About 15 minutes into this debacle, the power went out in the entire hospital. Generators kicked on, and non-essential staff — of which we were the poster children — were herded into the cafeteria to sit in the dark and try to stay out of the way. When the power didn’t come on right away, cafeteria workers started to hand out ice cream rather than have it all melt in the freezers. I can’t imagine what we must have looked like…deranged home made clowns in hand-me-down clothes trying to slurp up ice cream without smearing their make up which counselors flitted around to make sure no one was missing. What I wouldn’t pay to have a video of that. Anyway, some time passed, the power stayed out and the decision was made to scrap the day and head back to camp. We piled back onto the bus and headed to our woodsy retreat.

Here’s the best thing: there wasn’t a cloud in the sky that day. There wasn’t lightening or a storm of any sort that could have caused the power to go out and then stay out for that length of time. I’m assuming it was the combined power of all those soul-weary pre-teen Clowns for Christ praying for a release from their version of hell. Add in the dismayed kids that were being “entertained” and we have a brown out. Voila! Miracles.

Harry Potter Hurt My Sole

No, that’s not a typo. Harry Potter has damaged my feet and I am limping around like an old crone, looking for children to cook in my oven.

When I was in Florida, Baby Jesus and The Saint took me to Islands of Adventure so I could completely nerd out at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We rode rides, we ate lunch at Hog’s Head Pub, we checked out Ollivander’s Wand Shop. It was a lovely day spent walking and walking and walking. And in between walking there was much standing. By the end of the day my feet were in agony and I cringed at the thought of each step I had to take. In fact, while at dinner (in Tampa, it was delicious) I had to hobble over to Hooters to buy some flip flops because my feet were so swollen my shoes were cutting off circulation!

Now, weeks later, the pain is still with me and I found out that I have plantar fasciitis in BOTH feet. That’s the inflammation of the membrane between your skin and muscle of your heels, making the first 10 or 15 steps miserable each time you start walking and then just plain old painful after that. I look like I should be yelling at children to get off my lawn or possibly living under a bridge and charging a toll to those that want to cross. I seriously consider how badly I need something before standing up and walking over to get it. And do you want to know what the treatment is? Stretches and exercises that hurt even more, that you are supposed to do until it doesn’t hurt any more. Thank you modern medicine.

To sum up, Harry Potter has been causing me to limp around for weeks, with no end in sight. I am now the proud owner of a pair of Hooter flip flops and I would totally do it again if it meant fulfilling my nerd fantasy of strolling through Hogsmeade and watching people sip on their butterbeer. As a ginger, I may not have a soul, but I definitely have two soles that will never be the same.