Monthly Archives: February 2013

What’s Playing Tonight: The Books on my Nightstand

I like to be entertained.  I enjoy movies, music, funny stories, and listening to Jessie talk (she can be very funny). There’s something about reading, though, that really entertains me. I think it’s the fact I can use my imagination fully when I read. I enjoy it when authors paint a picture for me and I completely see what they’re talking about.

I like to read authors who don’t go into too much detail about the characters in their books. I remember reading a story where I had a clear picture of the people involved until the author mentioned one of them having blonde hair. What? That’s not how I pictured her in my head. That’s what makes it so difficult to watch certain movies based on bestsellers. They rarely pick an actor who matches the character in my head; especially if that actor is Tom Cruise.

I usually have several books going at once and not just because I have the attention span of a gnat. I try and pick not only interesting books but ones that either teach me something or completely entertain me.  Here are the books staring on my nightstand tonight:

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

I saw the movie several years ago and had no idea what was going on. I spent the whole movie thinking, ‘wait, now he’s a she? What happened to Orlando? I’m sorry, what?’ Beside the fact I was a little lost during the show, I found it interesting enough to google Virginia Woolf and read about her and her friend Vita Sackville-West. I read a biography of both women and even watched the BBC miniseries ‘A Portrait of a Marriage.’

When I found out my book club had picked Orlando as February’s read, I was so excited at the opportunity to read the book. Now maybe I can figure out what I had missed in the movie. I started the book three weeks ago and have thought, ‘wait, what happened to Orlando? Wasn’t he a boy last chapter? What’s going on?’ the entire time. I still don’t have a clue.

J is for Justice by Sue Grafton

I love reading Sue Grafton’s series. They are so much fun and she has some interesting characters. I enjoy mysteries and like to be kept guessing until the bitter end. I’ve noticed in some series, especially long ones, that sometimes the books tend to get bogged down in the familiar toward the middle and lose their spark. I haven’t noticed this with Grafton’s series yet. As a matter of fact, I think J is her best book so far and I look forward to getting up to speed: I think she’s up to V already. I’m almost done with this book and I meant to read Gone Girl next but since Janet is taking her sweet time reading (Janet wanted me to let you know she works for a living) that I might have to start Grafton’s K.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Not only am I reading Walden currently, but this book is also on my list of books I will never get rid of, which I’ll have to write at a later date. I love this book. I wish I could go out into the woods (if I could find some) and live the simple life Thoreau writes about. I’m currently reading the chapter where Thoreau is sitting with neighbors and he doesn’t understand why the man works so hard to buy the things he needs to work so hard. If you live a simple life, you only need to buy simple things and you can spend your time learning and living and breathing. I wish I was more like Thoreau.

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

Here’s a book I’ve wanted to read for quite some time and Janet bought it for me as a stocking stuffer (you really should see the size of my stocking) this past Christmas.  I’ve just started it but it seems like an enjoyable read. The dormant microbiologist in me always dances a little jig whenever she sees the word ‘germ’ in a title. I just hope it’s not a hard read, although I don’t think it is from the foreword. I don’t mind reading textbooks; it just takes me a while and they hurt when you fall asleep reading in bed and they hit you in the face.

I don’t read them all every night. I just pick the one that works for me at this moment in time. What’s on your nightstand?

jenn

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What a Wicked Winter I’ve Had and a Few Updates

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been sick since the winter solstice. My general blah feeling came to a head last week when I crawled into bed on Monday night and didn’t come back out until I went to pick up Janet at the airport Thursday morning. On Friday, I finally had the energy to sit upright and work on my jigsaw puzzle. I was so exhausted, after an hour or so, I had to go back to bed for a while.

I still feel blah and tired but I’m having moments of activity where I’ll jump up and vacuum or do laundry or some other crazy lifestyle choice. I’m happy Jessie has Monday and Tuesday off from school. We can stay up late and sleep till we can’t sleep no more! in the morning. At least until Roxy the Boston wakes us up.

Roxy

Originally, we’d planned on changing Roxy’s name to Sadie because (I thought) we all agreed we didn’t like the name Roxy. Jessie informed me, when we were going over to pick up our newest family member, that she thought the dog looked more like a Roxy than a Sadie. So, now we own a dog, or the other way around, whose name is Roxy The RockStar, The being her middle name.

She’s fitting in quite nicely seeing as how she’s a little chow hound like the rest of us. You’d think we had nothing better to do than eat, or plan our next meal, or plan tomorrow’s meals. Speaking of that, Janet is coming home today and bringing me the world’s most delicious sandwich from Cafeteria 15L in Sacramento California. I skipped my first dinner so I could truly enjoy the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich during my second dinner or The Fourth Meal of the Day (not including snacks).

Roxy is doing her job, as far as making me get up off my butt several times a day. So far this week I’ve had two days over ten thousand steps which is great considering last week, my sick week, I had eighteen thousand steps total. I’m crawling back up to quasi-healthy status. Roxy and I walked for a solid mile and a half, earlier this afternoon and I’m pretty sure Roxy could have kept going if I’d let her.

Coursera

I love math. I appear to be, at least in my little family, alone with my passion for algebra and calculus. How can you not like imaginary numbers? I’ve been reading, over the past year or so, about these websites you can join and take classes for free and one of the websites usually listed is Coursera.

I finally got around to checking out Coursera and I’m pleasantly surprised by their course offerings. They have a little over two hundred courses available in Biology, Computer Science, Nutrition, Psychology, Finance, Business…the list goes on. They also offer courses in math, if you like that kind of crap (to quote Janet).

I’ve signed up for Algebra (a class I’ve taken many times but, surprisingly, I don’t retain much of it in my real life), a film class and a psychology class. I’m not getting credit for the them, but I just love the idea of taking a class offered by a real university for free: my favorite four letter f-word. I’m also thinking I should take advantage of the free status before the universities come to their senses and start charging people for them.

Book Two

I’m this close (just imagine my fingers very close together) to sending my newest manuscript to the editor. I think Janet and I will go over it one more time before we put our seal of approval on it.  It really does help to read your work out loud. You’d be surprised how much better something sounds in your head. When you read it out loud you realize, oh, that’s awkward.

I’ve noticed that a lot during the course of my life. Many a times I’ve had a thought and imagined, ‘that’s going to make me sound wise and worldly!’ When I actually say it, though, I think, ‘nope. That was just stupid. Sounded much better in my head.’

Book Two of the Vancouver Series, Alex’s Story, should be available for download by March first, on Amazon and Smashwords, unless I do something crazy like find a real publisher.

jenn

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