Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Apparently, I just don't want to read anymore. I finished Stendhal and started combing my shelves at home for something "lighter." I threw out all the books that were tomes, which wipes out half of my existing library, and then disqualified everything that seemed dark or weighty, which effectively wiped out the other half. I then went to Borders, just to get inspiration, and didn't bring home a single book! While dithering around, I had picked up my Edgar Allan Poe collection and started to read The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. I finished it, but it was not a supernatural tale so much as a seafaring adventure, and not at all what I was looking for. It was actually just annoying. Cannibalism. Whoopee.

Is there such a thing as a book slump? Even the last Jane Austen that I read -- the one that I had lovingly saved -- Northanger Abbey was, dare I say, disappointing. It's definitely the least appealing of her novels. A clever parody of Gothic romances, no doubt, but no real meat or charm. Bother! John Crowley has been reading and writing about Nancy Milford's biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay on his blog. He is clearly delighted by it, and since I like literary bios, I might have to read it myself. I want to be delighted by my next book! Is that such a tall order?

So, I turned to my rock in times of reading disenchantment--poetry. Dylan Thomas. Not delighted either.

Also, to fill in my grump, I read last week that Marah has cancelled their U.S. tour with their new CD and the band has broken up...again. Fiddlesticks.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Marah

Marah's new CD came out Tuesday. I just haven't been to buy it yet, but I've already listened to most of it since it's being streamed online. Looks like the reviews are strong; the link takes you to the player and their tour dates so far. I'm hoping they'll continue to add dates a little closer to me. We just saw a Marah-lite version over the summer, but I'm looking forward to seeing the full band back together. I hope they have great success. They definitely seem to have put some renewed efforts into publicity for this one.

Meanwhile, I'm still bogged down with The Red and the Black. When I do pick it up, I enjoy what I'm reading, and yet I'm just not compelled to return to it, so it going very slowly, and I'm over half way through it. Sometimes you're just not in the mood for a certain book, and I think that's where I am with this one. Still, I'm committed to finishing it at this point.

I had a little mini-breakthrough playing the guitar last night. Even though I'm not really much better or faster, for the first time I could kind of see how a song on the guitar comes together with the chords and the strumming -- it seemed like it might actually become a little less foreign. And the night before I had picked it up and just playing a G chord sounded horrendous! I mean, it sounded terrible, so I just put it away without even trying anything else. Go figure.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Reading light?

I looked back through my book journal (offline) to see what I had read throughout 2007, some of which I talked about here. I read a surprising amount of non-fiction early in the year -- a study of Virginia Woolf, a history of 20th century warfare -- and then lots of rather heavy novels and the new biography of Edith Wharton. My reading definitely tended toward the "serious" and several of them were real doorstoppers! And I never even made it to War and Peace, as intended. So now I'm thinking I might need to lighten up a little this year and put W&P off a little longer. Of course, I'm in the middle of Stendhal's The Red and the Black right now, which isn't exactly The Notebook. But after that, maybe I'll try something in the fantasy genre for a change of pace. I haven't seen any of the movie versions, but I'm thinking about the novel I am Legend, since no one ever thinks the movies do it justice.

I've mostly been thinking about music and getting my collection moved to my new iPod (thanks, hubby!). It's very cool to have all my favorite songs so handy, but there's so much stuff to collect, it's overwhelming. Also, I've been making noise on my guitar. I know it would be smarter to learn to play Kumbaya first, but who really wants to play that? I 'd rather make my ears bleed trying to play an actual cool song (with easy chords!) -- at least it's not boring. Maybe I'll finally learn to play *something* this year. My fingers still get sore and I don't think I'm much closer to learning how to strum. That whole music-math connection is intimidating to me, because I never got the hang of that either. It's like there is this whole compartment of my brain for those kinds of smarts that I can't unlock. It looks like it should be easy and straightforward, but it's so NOT for me.