V. Important Things Like Books and Gift-Wrapped Cats

Hello lovely people!

I feel like I have nothing scintillating to say today.  I’m trying to write as much as possible before baby arrives, but at the same time I’m constantly distracted by tiny feet poking me in the ribs and the weird rippling that keeps happening across my belly.  WEIRD WEIRD WEIRD!  Being pregnant is downright peculiar!

However, I do have some pretty ridiculous cuteness to share:

What!  Hee!  How hilariously mellow is that cat?  I’ve never MET an animal that agreeable!  Not even Sunshine!  My goodness.  🙂

Oh AND I must remind you all that possibly my favorite show currently on TV is FINALLY BACK this SUNDAY! 

Chuck!  Hooray!  At last!  If you haven’t watched it before, don’t worry, it’s not that complicated…you can jump in anytime!  I promise it’s funny and awesome (and has the closest thing to Buffy on TV right now, Agent Sarah Walker, who is rather kick-ass).

Also, I’m reading the most beautiful book at the moment:


I don’t even mean the writing or story, although I’m really enjoying it; I mean the GORGEOUS COVER.  You can’t fully appreciate it in a picture like this, but you should go into a bookstore and gaze at it sometime (or give in and buy it like I did, because it’s just TOO PRETTY to leave at the store).  There’s gold foil and the shiny dragonfly and dappled blue awesomeness and I WANT A COVER LIKE THIS BLARGH.  Maybe after I win a Booker Prize or two, right, editors?  😉

Plus it’s about a children’s book author, so I couldn’t really resist it, and so far I like it very much, especially since I have no idea where it’s going.  Interestingly, today my Internet prowling took me to two different but related things: Kristin Cashore’s blog post about how and why she’ll stop reading a book in the middle if she doesn’t like it, and Laura Miller’s suggestion on Salon that everyone should read a book they think they’ll hate in 2010.

Hmmm.  I think I’m with Kristin on this one.  Life is too short and there are too many GREAT books to waste time reading ones that you don’t like.  I mean, I agree with the idea of expanding your literary horizons to try something new (for instance, vampire-haters could give Never Bite a Boy on the First Date a try…la la la).  ;-)  But I think you should always give yourself permission to put down any book in the middle if it turns out you really do hate it!  I can’t think of a single book where I hated the first half but pressed on and ended up liking it.  If I don’t like the first 50 pages, it doesn’t seem likely the rest will change my mind.

I’ve tried almost every kind of book, though.  There aren’t a lot of books which I would rule out just because of their genre…maybe westerns, although I have read a couple, or nonfiction about science (SHOOT ME NOW).  I made myself read another "classic" at the end of last year, and as a result James Joyce is now on my BLURK list alongside my poor nemesis Fyodor Dostoevsky.  I even deliberately read one of his short ones and it was DREADFUL.  Sorry, Joyce fans.  YyyyyyyyyyyAWN is all I can say about that.  I SHOULD have stopped in the middle, but now at least I can say I have read it and will soon remember absolutely nothing about it.

Oh, OK, I know how to describe the type of book I would prefer to avoid: the kind with NO WOMEN in it.  First of all, unrealistic (you know we’re everywhere, right?), and second of all, annoying.  How often do you find a book with no men in it? 

But you can’t always tell which books will be women-less from the descriptions; they usually sneak up on me so I’ll be halfway through before I’m like, "OK, wow, this really isn’t going to have any female characters at all."  Or, you know, there will be one or two who flit around in the background being supportive or hot and totally one-dimensional.  Bleh.

I see this problem a lot more in adult fiction than YA fiction, incidentally.  Most YA books do a much better job of incorporating strong girl characters.  Isn’t that interesting?  Is it because we think teenage girls are more likely to be readers than teenage boys, so we keep them in mind while writing YA?  Or is it that YA editors are more likely to be female, and thus more likely to point out the troubling absence of 50% of the population during the revision stage?  Or can male adult writers get away with this balderdash because they’re so "literary"?  I don’t know, but I disapprove in a sweeping, wild generalization sort of way.  🙂

Also, I don’t feel like I need to deliberately read a book I’ll hate this year, because I’m sure I’ll end up with at least one by accident; it’s sadly inevitable, since I can’t spend the entire year just reading Diana Wynne Jones and Connie Willis and Doris Kearns Goodwin.  AH, well.  At least I’m starting off with a good one; hopefully that’s a good omen for the rest! 

But I do think book-related resolutions are a great idea!  For instance, keeping a book journal — even just a list of the books you’ve read, with a little note on what you thought of each of them — is fun and surprisingly worthwhile (looking back at my lists, which I’ve been keeping since 2004, makes me happy and is also very helpful for my terrible memory!).  Or resolving to read a classic that you feel like you should have read at some point (me, I’m sure I’ll get to Madame Bovary and Middlemarch eventually…).  Or finding a list of great books somewhere (all those best books of the decade lists, for instance, or the Newbery Medal winners) and trying to read all of them.

Just don’t make yourself miserable!  If what you’re reading is painful or no fun, don’t feel guilty for abandoning it!  There are thousands of other books out there that you’re sure to like more.  Say, perhaps, Never Bite a Boy on the First Date, for example…  ;-)  (see what I did there?  subtle, aren’t I?)

Happy reading, happy Chuck-watching, and happy cat-wrapping (if that’s what you’re into!)!  🙂

Quote of the Day: 
Jensen: What are you in for?
Liz:  They say I killed a cop.
Jensen:  Did you do it?
Liz:  Yeah.
Jensen:  Bad cop?
Liz:  Good cop…lousy husband.
Death Race  (yeah, I totally enjoyed this ridiculous, way overly violent movie — because I KNEW it would be ridiculous and way overly violent, and thus, I found it hilarious and fun)  🙂