Wednesday, June 28, 2006

We're working!

There is gladness throughout the land, as my laptop seems completely healed after our little splashing incident. We've talked it through, and I've made promises (that I probably won't be able to keep) regarding food and beverages in our workspace; I feel we've reached an amiable agreement... Laptop will not fizz, click or stop randomly, and I won't feel the urge to throw up every time I turn on the screen. All sides are pleased.

And to celebrate lovely laptop's return to the land of the dry and working... a special treat (in the form of a long meme). About Books.

Lovely, fabulous books.

A book that scared you: Scariest book ever? It, Stephen King: Pennywise the clown, the blood coming out of the drain, the sewers, Henry Bowers talking to the moon. It's one of my all time top 10 books, probably because it still (after about 15 rereads) really scares me.

A book you loved in elementary school: I loved the Ramona books in elementary school, as well as the babysitter's Club books, the Bobsey twins, Nancy Drew, All of the Anne of Green Gables books. And my first "adult" book - Gone with the Wind, which I found utterly entrancing. I read it three times, back to back, the summer between fourth and fifth grades.

A book you loved in middle school: For me, middle school was all about "Are you there god, it's me Margaret?" I also kept a close watch on the Sweet Valley Twins, the R.L Stine Fear Street series, and all the Stephen King books I could get my hands on. As a special treat, I'm going to add any book read outloud by our 6th grade teacher after lunch: The Indian in the Cupboard, James and the Giant Peach, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Secret Garden --- oh the joy of the SECRET in the Secret Garden. And my teacher had the best voice, a perfect sense of pacing: she kept 26 twelve-year-olds quiet and in their seats for at least a half hour every day.

A book you loved in high school: Nothing that was required reading, that's for sure... Except for poetry: High School sucked the fun out of a lot of things for me, but it was where I fell in love with the rhythm of Emily Dickinson, Whitman, Rossetti, and really found out that poetry wasn't all stupid dead people talking about posies: Mary Oliver, anyone?

A book you hated in high school: Oh, my god: Can we talk about Ethan Frome, please? How godawful boring was this book? It was all dullness and snow and bleakness and limping. And the movie version? Just as bad. I h_a_t_e_d this book so passionately. It was just pointless: "Look how drab and horrid life can be!" Well, yippee: I'm in high school, you think I don't know this already? (and Things Fall Apart by Achebe ... I was so lost, I thought I must have gotten the title wrong: I spent an entire summer obsessing over the fact that I had read the wrong summer reading book... Because they couldn't actually have picked this, could they?)

A book you loved in college: Oh, college led to many book-related discoveries: The Queen of Romance, Nora Roberts - just excellent writing and great stories that I love infinitely: they have become comfort food for my soul. I kept up with Stephen King, all the way through, and his Insomnia is some beautiful writing, with an imaginative storyline. I finally had an excuse to indulge my children's book habit while I was in school, too, so I got caught up in the Harry Potter series, fell in love with the artwork in Jaime Lee Curtis' Today I Feel Silly, and remembered just how great Good Night Moon actually was.

Your favorite "coming-of -age" book - I suppose I should say, The Catcher in the Rye, but I mostly didn't really get that book: I figured it was a guy thing. Joy School, Elizabeth Berg; I cannot recommend her writing enough. She's fantastic, and Joy School may be her best work (to date).

A book that made you Laugh: Long list here - Lambby Christopher Moore; anything by Jennifer Cruisie or Dave Barry; A.J. Jacob's The Know it All.

A book that made you Cry: there's a lot: I remember the first time a book made me just bust out bawling - I picked up whatever book was next in the Little House on the Praire pack I had, and it started "Mary was blind." WTF?!?!? How did that happen? Mary was just fine when I left her at the end of the last book! I started crying so hard that my mother thought I was sick.

Once I calmed down, I was more angry than sad: does anybody else remember the computer game Oregon Trail? It was a staple in a lot of classrooms in the late 80's - We played it every week at "computer class" on our Apple IIGEs at my school. We thought it was the ultimate in gaming: it is, of course, hideously obsolete now. Anyways, my point (did you think I even had one?) was that Mary turning blind was similar to that game: Somewhere along the Oregon Trail, you'd start to run out of food or water, and the people in your wagon would start dying. "Pa has dysentery" "Joe has died" - it always seemed pretty random to me. You'd be called upon to write their three word tombstone, when they'd seemed just fine to clicks of the spacebar ago.

My Little House experience was the same way.

Others that I can't read without tissues include: Little Women, Pull of the Moon, I'll Love you Forever & You are My Miracle (Heck, sometimes I don't make it through the card aisle in the store without Kleenex... you're lucky I'm stopping here).

A book that disgusted you: You know, I should have a billion answers for this question, but I try to block bad books from my memory. I guess my most recent intensely disliked book would have to be from the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. I know and like many people who LOVE this series, but it was really not for me.

Your favorite horror book: I mentioned this above, but It: The thing that grabbed me, as a ten year-old reading this book, was that King recognized that kids aren't stupid - in the book they are the only ones who really know what's going on. He saw that kids have power, and that evil targets them because of it.

Your Favorite Science Fiction book: I wonder what this genre consists of, really: the In Deaths by J.D. Robb are set in the future, they might count.

Your favorite poem/book of poems: I could never pick a favorite poem, and any collection I'd mention would have a variety of poets to choose from. Today's favorite poem might be from John Masefield:

An Epilogue

I have seen flowers come in stony places
And kind things done by men with ugly faces,
And the gold cup won by the worst horse at the races,
So I trust, too.

Your favorite biography: Tales from the Bed by Jennifer Estess. Reading other people's accounts of living with chronic illnesses is always a real double-edged sword for me: On the one hand it's such a reflection of what I am living through, it makes me feel less lonely; and on the other, it's so hard to be living it, to know that other people are suffering too. I found the Estess sisters' work both inspiring and challenging.

A book that challenged your imagination: The Harry Potter books. Yes, they're technically children's books, but I am telling you, people, these books are so rich and full, you won't even notice they're talking about teenagers. But they do have their own language: Muggles, Hufflepuff, and all that stuff. If you were out of practice reading about whole new worlds, these books really made you stretch.

A book that challenged your morals: Most of what I read in my ultra-Liberal school was challenging to the ideas of my family/parents. Since I had already decided that most of those ideas and opinions were wrong, I was perfectly happy to have other options. The names of most of these books are long gone, but I remember a lot of the content: mostly they covered all the inequities of our society. I just wish they'd have given me a better idea about what I was supposed to do to fix them.

A series that you love: I'm a bit of a series-holic, I'm afraid. Must buy's include the latest in the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich; in any of Nora Robert's series & her J.D. Robb's In Deaths; I loved the serialization of The Green Mile a few years back; obviously the Harry Potter series is also a favorite. My latest find is Eloisa James' Bridgerton series... must pick up Gregory's story ASAP.

Your favorite book not on this list: Some books that I didn't find a category for are America the Novel, by Jon Stewart; How to get your child to love reading by Esme Codell; & Cupcakes by the Cake Doctor ( I wish I could bake better, so? wanna make something of it???)

Books, my friends. Could there be anything better? (Like perhaps, a miraculous laptop??)


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