Organize Organize Organize

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I am a fan of clutter. A home that looks lived in. I’m not exactly great at the whole tidying thing. But, my books… They are organized: separated into paperback, hardcover, children’s (a collection of BSB, Sweet Valley, etc from my younger years), audiobooks, e-books, and textbooks. Then alphabetical and chronological. And before a new book gets a place in this system, it’s added to my inventory spreadsheet.
Today, I’m adding a stack of homeless books to the inventory and giving them a happy home, hugged between their peers.

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Audio Salvation

Sometimes, you just have to admit when you’re wrong.

These times are few and far between, but they happen. One of these times was when I decided to give audiobooks a serious try. I’d been teasing my sister for years about the sappy, ridiculous romance novels she insisted on scattering around her car. These were on tape – in the 2000’s. Yes, her car still had a cassette player. They were cumbersome, annoying, and required constant flipping and changing. Why would you ruin a good book like that? Then the books switched to cds. it was a little less annoying, but still – no.

Then I joined roller derby, met my friend (and derby wife) Tam, and she raved about audiobooks. That’s how she consumed all her reading needs. But, she liked good books – wait, are good books available in audio format? Like actual good books.

Yes, she proclaimed in that way she does when she’s excited. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, Room, all these are just sitting there, at the library, waiting for me on audiobook.

But, I pushed back, what do you do when you’re listening? A book is read that’s all you’re doing when you’re reading it. If it’s an audiobook, aren’t you just staring into space while you listen? How do you focus?

‘Stop arguing, throw it on your ipod, and just do it’ was the eventual end to months long back and forth.

And so I did. I can no longer remember what the first book I tried was, but I was hooked. I now listen to audiobooks everywhere – on the bus, at the grocery store, at the gym, at work, in the car, folding laundry. The list is almost endless. I can’t remember the last time I listened to the radio. Menial tasks now become a reading opportunity. I’ve doubled my book intake. It is glorious!

Don’t get me wrong, they’re not all great. The narrator will make or break the book. I’ve listened to books I would never have read. I’ve stopped an audiobook and switched to the paper copy and vice versa. But, I am in love with the audiobook. It has wraps me in its comfy, auditory arms and I’m never letting go.

*Plug for my local library. For those of you with EPL cards (or check your own library), use the Hoopla service. It’s free. It’s fast. It’s streaming audiobooks with no wait time.

Desperately Seeking

As I’ve said before, I read a lot. I used to force myself to finish any book I started. Then, I decided life was too short, and I’ll stop reading if the book hasn’t grabbed me within the first third. I’ve read a bunch of good books over the last year or so – even a few exceptionally good ones, but I’m always looking for more. For something that makes her need a couple of days before you can start a new one. What’s your recommendation for a good bookover?

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir – Jenny Lawson

Awkward and challenging.
Lawson – better known as The Bloggess – has been on my radar for a while. The giant metal chicken? That shit is entertaining. I enjoy her blog from time to time, but I’m not a regular visitor. This book has not convinced me that I should become one, but sometimes her sentiments are right on – like today’s post. And the cover of the book is super rad.
While Jenny’s journey through mental illness, and plain old quirkiness, is sometimes endearing, it is an extremely challenging read. All I could think for the first 50 pages was, ‘man, this girl would be exhausting to be friends with’. Some sections of the book were hilarious, to the point where I was almost crying I was laughing so hard (dead squirrel puppet, bursting baby diaper, and machete attack on vultures). But, I wasn’t laughing as often as I expected.
It wasn’t that I found the other parts of the book unfunny, or sad, I simply found wading through the tangents getting on my nerves. Once I got to the mauled by wild dogs story, I was basically skimming. There was just too much nonsense – not delightful, nonsensical fun just nonsense. It needed a good edit, but I have the feeling – and this is complete supposition – that Lawson wouldn’t really be that open to someone else fiddling with her words.
I’ve read reviews saying that this is a great book about conquering mental illness. I don’t see that at all. Large parts of this book feel like they were written during a very long manic period. By the end, I mostly got ‘screw everyone else, I’m just going to do what I want’ and I can respect that – to a point. What I couldn’t get behind is the way she speaks to/about Victor. I’m sure a lot of the stuff she’s listed in the book is exaggerated in her normal, fanciful way, but honestly, it seems like she kind of treats her husband like crap and uses her anxiety disorder to get away with it. And even if what she wrote isn’t true (the post-it notes chapter), the fact that she seems to enjoy her behaviour, directed at a husband who appears to love her through her most challenging moments, makes me enjoy her story less.
In closing, while I’m not sad that I read this, I don’t know if I would recommend it to other people. And definitely not to anyone who isn’t already familiar with her style. I received this book as a gift from a lovely friend. Since I’m anal with my books, it was still like new after I finished it. I may have decided to lovingly exchange it for a copy of Necronomicon.
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The Grammar Dilemma

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Today, I took a  work course where they tried to convince me that someone could have excellent verbal communications skills but be awful at written grammar. Spelling? Sure. Somethings sound different from how they’re spelt. Grammar? Bull crap. If you write ‘I seen it’, that’s what you’re going to say, too.  Don’t argue with me, facilitator!