Sunday Salon: Post-readathon and the last week of National Poetry Month

I don’t know about you, but the day after Readathon has been pleasantly rainy and relaxing. I am finally feeling better. I had this cough for over a month and last week it became clear that it was not getting better, in fact it was getting worse. After going to the doctor and being diagnosed with bronchitis, I settled in for a weekend of antibiotics and rest. I came home from work on Friday and essentially passed out, sleeping for a couple hours, before waking up only to rest on the couch. I haven’t been this sick in a long time, so it’s been hard to make myself sit still and recover, but I’m finally there, thank goodness.

Today I have done a whole lot of nothing, except sit and read and watch many episodes of Supernatural, my current television obsession. I also needed a comfort read, so I’m rereading The Golden Compass, which I haven’t read in almost nine years. Falling back into that world has been lovely, but I’m a little annoyed that I can’t get Nicole Kidman out of my head. I don’t remember much from that abysmal movie, but I do remember Nicole Kidman and her creepy monkey. I have the lovely Everyman Library copy, which will be too heavy to take on the subway, so I think I’ll take my ereader and read some galleys. I have Gone Girl, which I started reading and really enjoyed. I’ve heard great things about it, so that will be my to and from work book. I’ve been in the mood for YA fantasy lately. Do you have any suggestions? I have Pandemonium to read and I’ve requested Hex Hall from the library.

This week is the last week of National Poetry Month! There will be a poem every day, just like the rest of the month, but Tuesday is also the April edition of the Read More/Blog More Poetry event! I hope you’ll consider participating. This month, the Mr. Linky will be hosted at Kelly’s blog. I also thought I’d give you some prompts, just in case you needed something to talk about:

1) Talk a little bit about National Poetry Month. Did you notice a lot of campaigns for National Poetry Month, either on the web or elsewhere? How visual was National Poetry Month for you? What did you think of the efforts? Do you have any suggestions?

2) Choose a poem and talk about it. What do you think about the poem? You don’t need to analyze it, though if that’s what you’d like to do you totally can, but just tell us how it makes you feel.

3) Where do you get your poetry? Last month I blogged about finding poetry on the web, from Twitter to blogs to other online poetry resources. Do you read poetry in books, primarily online, in magazines?

4) How do you think we can teach kids to love poetry?

Feel free to talk about whatever you like this Tuesday, but if you need some inspiration, there you go! I hope to see you here discussing poetry Tuesday.

TSS – The Dog-Ear Manifesto

I always get a lot of flack for being an unapologetic dog-earer of book pages, library and personal copies alike.  (I can hear you all gasping right now, as I type.)  But please, hear me out.  I have here for you today, The Dog-Ear Manifesto.  The top six reasons that dog-earing a book should not only be accepted, but embraced!

1) You have a bookmark wherever you are!  No more tearing up old receipts or your child’s school art project.

2) When you dog-ear a page, there’s never any fear that you will lose your place!  Your bookmark can’t fall out when it’s part of the page.  Even if the page becomes un-dog-eared, you can still usually tell where you dog-eared a page.

3) It does little to no real damage to a book.  So the page is bent a little, it’s not the end of the world, but usually you can’t even tell!

4) Instead of writing in a library book, or using up a ton of paper, I can mark a page with a fabulous quote without hurting the book.

5) It saves the environment! You don’t have to make extra bookmarks, there’s one built right in to your book!

6) Whenever I see a library book that has been dog-eared, I immediately begin thinking about that other reader.  Are they a kindred spirit?  What did they think about this page, why did they stop here?  Was it just a good place to stop or did something interrupt their reading?  Did they find something particularly moving on this page?

A dog-eared book is a well-loved book.  Pass it on.

TSS – A little meme for your morning

Most recently seen at: I was a teenage book geek & Bart’s Bookshelf.  Answer the questions with book titles you’ve read this year!

In high school I was: Waiting (Ha Jin)

People might be surprised I’m: Born Round (Frank Bruni)

I will never be: The Maze Runner (James Dashner)

My fantasy job is: Flight (Sherman Alexie)

At the end of a long day I need: Love is the Higher Law (David Levithan)

I hate it when: Flyaway (Suzie Gilbert)
I have lots of flyaways. 

Wish I had: A Year By the Sea (Joan Anderson)

My family reunions are: Remarkable Creatures (Tracy Chevalier)

At a party you’d find me: Runaways (Brian Vaughn)

I’ve never been to: Palestine (Joe Sacco)

A happy day includes: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Alan Bradley)

Motto I live by: A Good and Happy Child (Justin Evans)

On my bucket list: Mendoza in Hollywood (Kage Baker)

In my next life I want to be: The Great Perhaps (Joe Meno)

TSS – 22 August 2010

Isn’t it always just perfect when two books you are reading speak to one another?  This week I’ve been reading On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (which I adored – review to come tomorrow) and Teenage: The Prehistory of Youth Culture 1875-1945.  One of the things that I know I have taken for granted over my lifetime is that the concept of youth and being a teenager is something that it is a relatively new contribution of Western society.  How fitting that the two books I randomly chose to read this week dealt with this concept.  I love the combination of a non-fiction history book and a novel about the same topic.

In On Chesil Beach, there are several quotes that so perfectly address this state of in-between that had yet to be named.  Here are a few examples:

Almost strangers, they stood, strangely together, on a new pinnacle of existence, gleeful that their new status promised to promote them out of their endless youth – Edward and Florence, free at last!

The term “teenager” had not long been invented, and it never occurred to him that the separateness he felt, which was both painful and delicious, could be shared by anyone else.

It was in theory open to them to abandon their plates, seize the wine bottle by the neck and run down to the shore and kick their shoes off and exult in their liberty.  There was no one in the hotel who would have wanted to stop them.  They were adults at last, on holiday, free to do as they chose.  In just a few years’ time, that would be the kind of thing quite ordinary young people would do.  But for now, the times held them.  Even when Edward and Florence were alone, a thousand unacknowledged rules still applied.  It was precisely because they were adults that they did not do childish things like walk away from a meal that others had taken pains to prepare.  It was dinnertime, after all.  And being childlike as not yet honorable, or in fashion.

As someone who grew up when being young is known as the best time of your life, this idea is wholly alien to me, but not entirely repellent.  Now that I’m leaving being a teenager behind, I find that my friends are dreading what comes next, that each year brings us closer to something resembling responsibility and adulthood.  I wish there was something in between that both exalted our youth, relished in middle age, and respected old age.  In any case, I’m excited to continue reading Teenage, a book that discusses this transformation of youth from something you grew out of into something desirable.

As Savage claims in his introduction:

This book, therefore, tells the history of the quest, pursued over two different continents and over half a century, to conceptualize, define and control adolescence.  Apart from the dialogue between American, Britain, France and Germany, it contains several different elements that encapsulate the tension between the fantasy and the reality of adolescence, and between the many varied attempts to exalt or to capture this fugitive and transitory state. (xviii)

Teenage is already adding books to my TBR, like the diaries of Marie Bashkirtseff.  I might have to keep On Chesil Beach out from the library just a little bit longer to see if I can understand the lives of Florence and Edward even more after finishing Teenage.

Any happy book connections in your reading lately?

TSS – 8 August 2010

Books  read this week – reviews pending:

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier & The Color of Heaven by Kim Dong Hwa

Posts this week:

Fat Cat and Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

Currently reading:

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Happy Sunday!

TSS – 1 August 2010

Okay, nothing is going right this morning.

WordPress was down.  Now the Sunday Salon badge is NOT working.  But you guys know what it looks like.

Nothing is going right in the reading department either, unfortunately.  I was definitely digging Her Fearful Symmetry and then… I left my book at work.  I forgot to get it again on Friday and now I have spent the whole weekend without it.  But I am seriously loving it, so I can’t wait to get back to it on Monday.

So instead, I started reading Fire Study.  Now please, step in here and say, “But Lu!  You never posted a review of Magic Study!  Why are you holding out on us like that?”

Because I never read it.  I thought Fire Study was the second book in the series, but it is not.  It is the third.  The whole time I was reading it I kept thinking, “Wow!  That’s a weird decision to just start the book after so much time has passed. Why would Snyder decide to do that.”  Um, unfortunately it didn’t click until 100 pages into the book.  Now I don’t even want to continue reading the series.  I’m so bummed out.  Dear publishers: PLEASE make it clear the order of a series.  Nothing is worse than reading books out of order.

I did read the graphic novel The Color of Water today and I liked it, but not as much as The Color of Earth.  It definitely suffered from second book syndrome.  It really just felt like a connector between The Color of Earth and The Color of Heaven. I’m looking forward to reading the third and final book in the series.  Fortunately I read them in order.

I hope your reading goes a bit smoother than mine did.  Happy Sunday and Happy August 1st!

TSS – 18 July 2010

I always think of summer as the finish line.  I am done with school, I have countless hours to read by the pool, on the beach, or just on my couch in the air conditioning.  Every winter and spring this is my mantra – just get to summer, you’ll be reading more then.  But the truth of the matter is that I never read more in the summer than I do in the winter and I always end up baffled by why this is.  I suppose it’s really not so complicated though.

This summer, I have the first full time job of my entire life.  I don’t think I noticed because the job I had last summer was so mentally demanding that it felt full time and I often ended up working from home when I wasn’t in the office.  This summer my job is so much fun, though occasionally stressful, and even though I’m working really long hours, I love it.  I come home and by the time I work out, eat dinner, spend some time with the people I love, I’m exhausted.  I end up going to bed around 10:30 every night, with little time for anything else.  This doesn’t leave much time for reading, unfortunately.

I have found a little time each day to pick up a book though, so I am reading, just slowly. In the mornings I read Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier while work is very quiet for half an hour.  After 7, all the kids arrive and I can no longer read until I get home.  Usually I try to read some more in the day, but some days it just doesn’t happen.  And you know?  I’m totally okay with that.  I don’t really have anymore blogging commitments now that my round of Nerds Heart YA is up and I’ve just been enjoying the leisurely reading.  It’s really what summer is supposed to be, right?  Nothing telling me what to read or when to read, just the pleasure of reading what I want when I get a few minutes.

You know what I have missed though?  Continuously blogging.  With no books to review, I’ve struggled to come up with posts that fit into Regular Rumination.  Though I have not shied away from writing about my personal life here in the past, the posts I’ve wanted to write simply haven’t fit into what I have created as Regular Rumination’s standard.  I know that I could change that in an instant, but honestly I really felt like for the posts I wanted to write I needed another blog.  I used to write in a journal daily, but have lost that as the years went on.  Now I have started a new blog, it is called At the Bridges and it will be a completely personal blog.  If you’re at all interested, I’d love for you to stop by.

Starting At the Bridges was greatly inspired by an email I received a week or so ago from Vicki at So Very Vicki.  She had really enjoyed my letter to Elizabeth Strout that I used as a review for Olive Kitteridge and asked if she could reprint it (with credit, of course).  At first I was wary, it seemed like a strange request!  But I thought, let’s check out Vicki’s blog and see.  I loved it!  It was a complete and total inspiration.  She is wonderful and the things she posts about are simply divine.  (One of my favorite words is joy too, Vicki!)  The things that Vicki had to say about Regular Rumination and my review of Olive Kitteridge were so amazing to hear.  She’s really wonderful, so please go check out her blog!

I made it my goal at the beginning of the year to find the simple, joyful things in life every day.  With school and exams and commuting, that was difficult and I eventually gave up on that.   Vicki has inspired me to start that over again.  I really feel like I should record the wonderful things that are happening, and even the not so wonderful ones, so I have them somewhere.  Everyone needs to be reminded now and again that there is joy in this world and we encounter it every day.  I won’t lie, I have my melancholy moods, but slowly reminding myself to enjoy what is beautiful about each day has been remarkable the past few days.

So enjoy your summer reading and enjoy the wonderful things that life has to offer!

Sunday Salon – Back ups.

There used to be a time in my life when I read only one book at a time and I finished every single book I read.  There were no DNFs, ever.  Unless I lost the book or had to return it to the library before I finished it, I was determined to read a whole book no matter how long it took me or how much I hated it.  I have since changed my ways.  Now I might be reading several books at once and if a book doesn’t keep my interest, I will gladly put it away and try again later (or get rid of it for good!).  I love having options when I’m reading.  If a book just isn’t doing it for me, but I think it’s something I’ll want to return to, I put it in a pile and it becomes a back up.

Sometimes I go straight back to the back up after a short break, but I have a small collection of books that are good, but don’t always keep my interest for long.  I don’t want to quit them, but I don’t seem to want to read them for extended periods of time.  When the mood strikes me, I pick them up right where I left off and haven’t had too much trouble remembering what’s going on. I  have two back ups that I’ve been reading for over six months in one case, and closer to 8 months in another.  One is The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler and the other is Looking for Alaska by John Green.  Both are fine books and I like reading them, but I also like having them in progress.  I like having them there to read when I need them and I don’t really feel the need to  finish them anytime soon.

What about you?  Do you keep a couple back up books around?

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Quick question!  I really want a great fantasy or science fiction series to read.  All kinds of fantasy and science fiction series, but I’ve really been in the mood for one and haven’t found a great one.  I appreciate it!

TSS – I love school, right?

Hello, everyone!  I think this post will eventually be about books, so bear with me.  Or skip to the part about books and call it a Sunday morning.  I’m sure everyone is plenty exhausted from yesterday’s Readathon and while I’m sad that I didn’t get to participate this year, it’s probably best for my brain that I didn’t.  As quiet as things have been at Regular Rumination the past few weeks, they’re only going to get quieter because there are only about four weeks of school left, which means finals.

I don’t talk about graduate school here very often, I’m not sure why.  It has to do with books, right?  You guys like books, I like books, but I never have very much to tell you about what I’m doing.  You know I’m writing my thesis on 2666, you might know that I’m currently rereading it for class (posts on that to follow).  Probably most people go into graduate school with some kind of idea of what they’re doing; I went to graduate school because I had (have) no idea what else to do.  When people ask my parents what I’m doing, they tell them I’m a professional student and I’m really not all that disappointed to be one.

I’ve thought of a lot of professional careers and I’ve had all the majors to prove it.  Once in my life I wanted to be a novelist, so I was an English major.  Then I decided to be an English professor, novelist on the side.  Then I wanted to be a linguist.  Then an English as a Second Language teacher.  Non-profit director!  High school Spanish teacher!  Librarian! Then I just wanted to read books in Spanish and be a poet on the side.  But no one pays you to do that.   I wish I had some direction right now, but all I’m trying to do is get through this semester.  There is a point in every semester when I sit down and am panicked at how much I have to do and how little time I have to do it and this is it.

Why can’t someone just pay me to have a book blog?

I’m actually very excited about my finals this semester.  I’m going to try and balance out the work, so I don’t end up running completely up to the last minute like I did in the fall.  I’m writing two linguistics finals and one literature final.  One of my linguistics finals is about the subjunctive tense and the other is sociolinguistics and it’s the use of accents in comedy in Spanish speaking countries.  My lit paper is on 2666 and will hopefully be part of a chapter for my thesis.

For that paper, I’m rereading 2666 right now and what is it about reading a book for school that makes it seem like such a chore?  I loved 2666, but rereading the first two parts was not fun.  Fortunately, things picked up during the third part.  I think because the first time around I really hated reading it and this time I actually see the point of it.  Thinking of it in the context of the border really helped me understand its purpose and I enjoyed reading it, unlike last time where I was so repulsed by it.  I’m still disgusted by a lot of what happens in the Part About Fate, but at least it feels integral to the novel.  I have so many questions and not a lot of answers.  I have a lot of thoughts, but not a lot of concrete ideas or any ways to prove them.  I’ve been slowly formulating ideas.

So thanks for listening to me whine a little about having no direction in life and having to write papers!  I know it’s silly and there are much bigger things to worry about in the world, but at least you know why things have been pretty quiet around here!

I didn’t get a chance to finish any of my Octavio Paz books for March (go figure), but I’m still working on them slowly.  Maybe you did better than me!  Did you read any Ocatvio Paz books?  Leave a link to your post in the comments section and I will add them here.

TSS – Losing my reading mojo

I haven’t posted a review since 22 February.

I haven’t finished a book since 21 February.

If I were to put all of the pictures up of the books I’m technically “currently reading” it would be at least 10.  But finishing any of them seems like a monumental task.  I’m overwhelmed with unfinished books.  It’s Spring Break, so I’ve got some heavy reading plans.  Including beginning my reading for Octavio Paz month.  I checked out some books of poetry and have a pretty even mix of books in the original Spanish and the English translation.  Also beginning to read 2666 in Spanish this week for class and another novel for class.  I also have some easy reading, including the next Company novel by Kage Baker.

I just hope I get out of this reading slump soon.

Any tips?

PS. Interested in reading Octavio Paz and other Hispanic authors?  Join me in Exploring American Authors!  This is a readalong in which an author is featured every month and you read as many or as few books by that author as you want.  There’s not even technically a sign-up, but I will post a Mr. Linky at the end of each month where you can post your review.  I will be posting the final list in a couple days, but March is Ocatvio Paz month.

TSS: Some serious thoughts

It has been an interesting week, both in blogging land and in my personal life with the start of a new semester and it seems that I really have had a lot to think about.  I’ve been somewhat silent on many of the issues at hand, at least on my blog, I have been vocal in the comments, but it is important to me to publicly say what I think, because adding one more voice to the crowd is important.

There is first, of course, the question of whitewashing on book covers.  Magic Under Glass is a book I have not read, but it is clear that Bloomsbury made another big mistake.  I do not condone this and while I will not be boycotting the publisher (though I completely support those who are), I want to make it very clear that this is not okay.  It is completely unacceptable and I have a responsibility, as a reader, a reviewer, a purchaser of books, to make it clear to all publishers that yes, I (a white, middle class 20-something) will read and review and love books by POC.  This is not about liking a book just because an author has skin darker than mine, because no, I will not like every single book by or about a POC that I read and I will be completely honest about that, because to do anything less would be just as bad.  This is about reading about and becoming aware of  different cultures, and trying to understand.   With understanding, comes respect.  Thankfully, the blogging world is quick to respond to such things, and several new resources have arisen in the past week to help readers like me, who want to diversify their reading and make a point to put POC authors and books about POC characters in the spotlight.

Readers Against Whitewashing
Diversify Your Reading
POC Reading Challenge

Join one, join two, join three.  Or don’t join any, but do something if this is important to you.  Because no matter how small your voice is, and I know that in this big publishing world my voice is very small, you have the opportunity make someone listen.  So take advantage of that, use your blog for good.

But it is not all about POC.  It is about reading books that make a difference.  No, reading is not always about making a statement, but sometimes it is.  Why was I embarrassed when I was reading Twilight in public?  Why are some adults embarrassed to be reading a young adult book in public?  Because the book you choose to read says something about you, it informs the observer about you, whether you like it or not.  It just might get someone else reading the same kinds of books you are.   Not every single book I choose to read will make a difference, but I should make a point to tell you about the ones that will.  That is my philosophy and that is what I plan to keep doing this year.  One of my new years resolutions was to use the reading challenges I have joined (Women Unbound, GLBT Challenge, POC Reading Challenge) to make my reading more diverse and to raise awareness about people and cultures and issues that are different from my own.  Or even to explain, in the best way I know how, things that make my experience unique: by giving you a book to read.

Other thoughts on Magic Under Glass: Chasing Ray, Reading in Color, Color Online, 1330v.

Thoughts on the publisher’s decision about Magic Under Glass: Chasing Ray, Reading in Color, Color Online.

More thoughts on diverse reading: A Striped Armchair, Shelf Love.

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In other news, I have some giveaways to announce the winners of!  Chosen by random.org:

The winner of René has two last names/René tiene dos apellidos by Rene Colato Lainez is:

EMILY!

The winner of Under the Ceiba by Silvio Sirias is:

SOFT DRINK!

The winner of a button from The Strand New York is:

ASH!

Email me your addresses to regularrumination@gmail.com and they will be on their way!

TSS – An Announcement

Good morning!  I hope you’re having a wonderfully lazy Sunday morning… or a productive one, if that’s how you roll.  That is definitely not  how I like to roll, but unfortunately that’s how it has to be this morning.  I’m heading back to school today, so I’m packing and getting ready for some long driving.  I’ve read a lot of great books this week, which will be reviewed… eventually.  I have been feeling very overwhelmed the past few days and I’m not sure why.  There’s nothing going on that’s particularly overwhelming, but I think it’s just the pre-school jitters.

Anyway!  I have some very exciting news.  After much planning and deliberating, Jason and I are finally ready to go public with our brand new challenge for 2010!  I know that you are already signed up for a billion challenges, but this one is really worth making it a billion and one.  A lot of bloggers have been talking about wanting to read more poetry and Jason and I decided that we should have a more inclusive challenge that incorporated more genres of poetry.  I started the VPR Poetry Challenge back in May, but it was only for  twentieth century poetry.  This challenge gives you a lot more room to explore different time periods and genres.   The challenge is called Clover, Bee & Reverie: A Poetry Challenge, after one of Emily Dickinson’s poems and I’m super excited about it!

Can I entice you with pretty buttons?

There might be some opportunities for mini-challenges and guest posts and who knows what other surprises along the way!  Head on over to the blog to sign up and we really can’t wait to see you there :D