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NaBlo Day 1: Grown-up reads from today back to Oct 21

November 1, 2011

Every year I start strong.  You know what I’m doing this year?  Starting poorly.  I woke up too early, was exhausted all day, knocked out about 200 and change words for NaNo, then spent a few–VERY few–hours with my husband, the last time I’ll see him before his trip to his friends’ wedding.  I even sent him home a little early because moping only intensifies as the night goes on, and because I need about ten hours of sleep to get through tomorrow.  I probably won’t get it, but I’m going to try.  (Note to self: When you think, hey, maybe if I wake up NOW, an hour earlier than the alarm, maybe staying up is the best idea because I’ve possibly woken up at a natural point in my sleep cycle, SLAP YOURSELF.  Then go back to sleep.)

Okay, cool, my system update is finally done downloading so I don’t have to worry about losing this post and can move on to content.  You know, that thing I promised to bring?  But because I’m tired and it’s already getting up there, time-wise, I’m going to go for the easy path: the WiB.

First off, let’s discuss Ally Carter.  I liked her book Heist Society well enough, although didn’t think it was anything more than fluff, and decided to start her Gallagher Girl books, figuring, hey, it might be the better series.  WOW, IT SURE ISN’T.  The first book is pretty good but I’m about halfway through the second and I keep wanting to hit my head against a wall.  For a woman who has “show, don’t tell” on her list of writing tips, MY GOD does the woman tell a lot.  In fact, in so many ways, that’s almost all she does.  We’re told Bex is cool, that Cammie’s intelligent, and yet…and yet…these characters are all so FLAT.  For a “sisterhood,” Cammie apparently only interacts with about six people at her school, and the only exciting scenes are when they’re actually doing spy things, which is rare.  Instead, we hear a lot about things that happened in the past, or may have happened, or are rumors, or things they’ve already learned in class.  And her odd quirky teacher and his inventions come off as silly in a book that doesn’t really otherwise hit any silly notes, making it even sillier.  Also, if the woman could type “normal” any more per page, I’d be shocked.  YES, WE GET IT.  “NORMALCY” IS YOUR “THEME.”

I really have no idea how I’m going to make it through this second book, and I cannot imagine what this woman could say to make me want to keep reading the series.  By a strange coincidence, the second Heist book came in for me today, so it’s like…ARGH!  I’ll have to take a break before I read it or else my opinion will be tainted by my dislike of this second Gallagher Girls book.

So let’s see, what else have I been reading lately?  Well, I’ve been on a bit of an Ayn Rand kick.  No, seriously.  I had this boyfriend back in high school (well, *I* was in high school) who suggested her to me, I think, but I read about two pages of Atlas Shrugged and returned it.  Right now I’m listening to the audiobook of Atlas Shrugged, and I have to say that I don’t think I’d get through it as a book, but I enjoy it as an audio.  I spend a LOT of time rolling my eyes though.  GET THERAPISTS, PEOPLE.  God, these characters make so much sense in their actions (even when I don’t agree with them), until it comes to their love lives, then it’s all masochism–and not the sexy kind, either.  It’s just all “I hate you and I hate myself, but I’d give up my entire life to bang you one more time.  And that is more important than all of my great successes and achievements in life.”  OH OKAY.

But I listened to The Fountainhead before that, and I think I enjoyed that more.  Maybe because it’s half the size, or because you already knew the characters were messed up before they said stupid stuff like that.  I find Rand to be very relevant to today’s society, especially the whole Tea Party vs the Liberals vs the Conservatives vs the Tea Party vs… I also find it interesting because I see a bit of her overdramatic socialists in today, when you think of things like slacktivism.  I’ve seen people, especially online, bend over backward trying to tell everyone how we should all put everyone else before ourselves, and in the end all they seem to do is post a line to Facebook about the color of their bra, or where they keep their purses.  It’s disheartening.

Still, don’t expect me to become an Objectivist anytime soon.

I reread Dracula this week and last for my book club.  Well, probably the week before that too.  I was reading it just a little bit every night, which was pretty cool because it was right before I went to bed, but not pretty cool because I kept falling asleep.  The book isn’t boring–in fact, it moves faster than I remembered, except at the end, where OMG THE DRAGGING.  And then the one-page climax/end.  Wow.  That was…a lot like reading the end of Jane Austen.  Maybe it’s a time period thing?

What I found incredibly shocking is how FEMINIST it reads to me.  Mina is amazing–smart, quick, organized.  They’re right to praise her.  And then when they decide to kick her out of the Man Club, what’s the result?  Disaster.  WELL, OBVIOUSLY.  YOU SET ASIDE THE BRAINS OF THE OPERATION.  As we’ve discussed with my book club, obviously Stoker was limited by his time, but wow, Mina’s fantastic.

I finished the Echo series by Terry Moore.  Love Moore, always have, and this wraps up too quickly, but otherwise I enjoyed the heck out of it.  I was surprised by the “crossover character” at the end, but Moore’s sci-fi isn’t too far from his realism, so I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was, I guess.  For comic book fans, yeah, but the ones who don’t need a superhero story to have a good time.  Probably wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, but sci-fi AND comics can both be like that.

Speaking of sci-fi, to wrap up, I read Margaret Atwood’s latest, In Other Words: SF and the Human Imagination.  At times a bit repetitive, Atwood’s essays are probably best read spaced far from one another, but they’re incredibly insightful and, of course, with that Atwood wit I adore.  I found myself reading essays I didn’t expect to, about books I’d never read, and wanted to read them after I was done, rather than feeling spoiled.  I think that’s the definition of success there, especially given my hatred of things being spoiled for me.

So there’s a few days’ worth of stuff for you, including my two active currently-readings.  I skipped all the kids’ books I read at/for work, but I’d rather put them in their own post.  Plus, there are a lot of them because they don’t send new orders over one at a time, you know?

Oh, NaBlo.  I WILL succeed.

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