Wednesday, April 20, 2011

L is for Lolly

I just finished listening to the latest Joshilyn Jackson audiobook - Backseat Saints. I love her stuff! Backseat Saints is her fourth book and I have listened to them all via audiobook with the author reading it. When I listen to audiobooks, I prefer the author to read it, that way you get exACTly where/what inflections they were thinking when they wrote it.

This book is just as excellent as the others. The main character, Rose Mae Lolly (audiobook, so that's probably all spelled wrong), is actually a tiny side character from a previous book (Gods in Alabama) but the author wondered what happened to her and so wrote a whole other book with Rose Mae as the central character.

Books like this have convinced me I can't write fiction. The way she seamlessly segues from past to present to past in her books is a thing of art. And there will be setups in the book that never seem like setups. It will be this tiny bit of seemingly unimportant information said in passing that later becomes a pretty significant detail to the story. It's amazing how she does it!

In a previous post, I said I was in a reading slump and that I was stuck on that Forest House book. I also re-informed y'all that once I start a book (or a movie), I can't leave it. I HAVE to finish it. It's like a compulsion. Forest House almost beat me. It took over 3 months for me to get through it. I considered putting it aside for awhile and reading other books (another thing I can never bring myself to do) but I decided against it. Then I got sick.

I never get sick. I come from good peasant stock and I rarely even get a cold. But Brothers and Sisters, I got knocked the fuck out. I was so sick that I called in to work and I work from home! I ached all over - the sheets hurt! - and I had so much snot that (and, yes, I know how gross this is) whenever I'd blow my nose only half would be in the tissue. I was in a sea of misery and mucus and pain.

I didn't want TV (which, in and of itself, tells people who know me how sick I was) and I thought about reading but when I looked at Forest House, it seemed too..... rich. Like having a stomach virus and trying to eat an entire sticky toffee pudding. You know how delicious it is and also you know if you try it, you're only asking for trouble. So I put it aside.

I read Secret Diary of a Call Girl. It was a book made from a blog and so the "chapters" were short and the book was deliciously salacious and I flew through it in a few days. It was the perfect chicken broth for my tired and aching head. On the cover, was a picture of Billie Piper who, apparently, plays the Call Girl in the Showtime series made from this book. A bit shocking to me since I only know her as Rose from Dr. Who! My library didn't have the book or the series. I ordered the book a coupla weeks earlier off amazon and it arrived just in time for my dog-sick days. I'm going to have to do an inter-library transfer to see the series.

After I got better, I trudged through the last 100 pages of Forest House. GAH. It ended badly. Like Hamlet only with more death and misery. sigh. There's 3+ months I'll never get back.

I forced myself through the rest of it because we were going on a small road trip and I wanted to read something else for that. I started and finished Christopher Moore's You Suck in TWO days! I flew through it, laughing out loud most of the time. It's the sequel to his Bloodsucking Fiends and it was perfection! I'm reading the third one - Bite Me - and it's going a bit slower. The first 30 pages or so are just backstory and having just read the other two... it seems a bit slow. But it's still funny!

I'm also reading short stories by Richard Matheson. How have I never heard of this guy before?? His stories are creepy and tense and well written. I was reading the 4th story in the book when I noticed the quote on the front cover, "The author who influenced me most as a writer was Richard Matheson", Stephen King. Wow. SK is one of my all-time favorite writers!

What else.... I'm on a crazy cookbook kick. I take my lunch to school 4 days a week and even though I'm making awesome turkey-spinach-thinly-sliced-green-apple-and-Havarti sandwiches, it's getting old. I've looked at so many cookbooks that it's all starting to blend in. And I never really have time to cook anyway! Any suggestions? It doesn't have to be cold food but there's only 3 microwaves and about 30 students with the same 20 minute lunch! I'm open to hot and cold stuff, it's just got to be something I can throw together quickly.

I also picked a book from the library and even though I'm in the middle of two other books, I started to read it while the kids played in the park next to the library. It's called The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky. Sounds like another cookbook but it's not. I'm only on page 24 and it's already engaging and funny and odd and I really like it! Oh, and the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks (son of Mel Brooks). I had just started that but Dave finished his book and despite having over 300 books in this house he had nothing to read. (He's declared all my books to be "lame" or "too girly" and won't even attempt most of them.) He started the Zombie book last night. Guess the reading mojo is back and kicked into high gear!

Up next for audiobooks..... The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Or not, I just checked and there's 20 people ahead of me! Any suggestions?

Reading is fundamental, Ruth!


Kristyn said...

I give you credit for sticking out a book you don't like. There is only one book that I started and couldn't finish. I can't even remember the name of the book but it took place in Ireland and was about a guy who never aged. I read about 50 pages and was totally bored.

LaDonna said...

I'm on a reading tear, too. I finally read that Chemical Pink book I borrowed from you while at Jury Duty on Monday. Man, that was a freaky book. I'll give it back next time I see you. Sorry you were feeling so poorly. Being sick sucks.

whoFilets said...

I stick with books even when I don't like them as well. I read really fast though, so that helps. I was reading almost a novel a week (I just got into Christopher Moore! I liked Fool the most), but now the semester is over so I don't have access to the Uni library.
There's been a few books out there that I really wasn't enjoying and put down. I realized that there's no point in wasting my time if I dislike the book so much that no kind of ending will make it feel worth it.
One of my favorite books is Oryx and crake by Margaret Atwood. My then-boyfriend listened to it on tape and he liked it as well, but I haven't listened to it (only read it).

Bob & Phyllis said...

I generally lurk and I am waaaay late to this party, BUT!!

Were you aware that Joshilyn has a blog? Her books are beautifully written, but they don't speak to me. however, I luuuuurve her blog.

If you know already, ignore this post. If you don't, go check out her blog, faster than kudzu.

Happy reading...

k said...

40 days. What, something in the desert?