Monday, October 31, 2011

NaNoWriMo, or why I am either brave, stupid or both

It's not as if I have the time. For anything.
I mean, at this moment if I am to get the wild hair and want to take a bath, it requires a multiplicity of steps of gathering the biggest pans, boiling water, and scraping the nasty crap out of the tub left from the great unwashed before me...
So saying I have gotten the wild hair to participate in NaNoWriMo, to pretend to indulge my fantasy of being some kind of writer, to do something creative, to try to break out of my mundane workaday world of typing my ass off on dry service summaries which no one but auditors ever read...
Well, if I attempt this, I am crazy.

Never tried to deny it.

So here I am, poised a mere 64 minutes before the official beginning of NaNoWriMo, and typing away on my faithful if fickle blog.
The ground for my musings - whether they be philosophical ramblings about my personal recovery from codependency/food addiction/laziness/bitchiness/self-centeredness/excessive use of profanity/bitterness or my opinions about the REAL writers's works I am having the privilege of reading....
Well, this ground might be kind of quiet for the next month or so.
I will try to check in periodically if for no other reason than post reviews or word counts.
And who knows? maybe the next time I start blogging here I might actually write something worth reading.

Stranger things have happened.
All Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a SpinAll Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's been a while since I've read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee or her blog, so I had forgotten how jealous I am of her knitting skills. Having tucked my bitterness away, I proceeded on with her latest.

Having said that, I have to say I enjoyed this collection much more than her last effort because it was, gasp, a bit "darker" - and it's not as if she has gone serial yarn killer or anything - than her other works. In this volume her musings are more about the darker side of her personality: she is "All Wound Up," so to speak, and it is refreshing to know that sweet smiling woman is just as bitter as I am about several things. Beloved and faithful appliances choking out their last when the household budget can ill-afford it, idiots making inane remarks regarding her knitting in public, and heart-crushing sadness. She also touches on the less finer points of dealing with daughters, adolescent dating, and determining whether one's penchant for fiber qualifies as an addiction. The Yarn Harlot is nothing if not humorous, and this is humor to which I can relate.

I can forecast that some fans may complain that there are more topics than just the love of knitting. Yet this is just what I feel makes this collection stronger than earlier efforts. No matter what the topic, she knits it all together with love, laughter and yarn.

Well done.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Where Darkness DwellsWhere Darkness Dwells by Glen Krisch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received the opportunity to read and review this novel through the Members Giveaway program; I am grateful to Mr Krisch for the gift.

Classifying this novel to myself, I would call it horror for the thinking person. More than simply a zombie novel, with imagery that is not for the faint of heart (yet is not gratuitous), I was swept in by the archetypal search for the mysterious fish and invested by caring about the fates of the characters. Part ghost story, part horror, part sociological fable, Krisch captures the reader and navigates a never-dull plot line that reveals so much while never fully playing its hand.
The only thing that kept me from a five-star rating were several typos that seemed pretty glaring - they stuck out even though I was totally immersed in the story. However, I would just chalk that up to editing issues, and it did not detract from the overall stark beauty of this novel.
I have enjoyed reading and reviewing this work, and look forward to reading anything and everything that Mr Krisch writes.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Priorities or Always Being Behind....

I know it's been forever since I have posted. Life has, once again, gotten in the way.

I have been working the longer than daylight to dark hours, and collapsing when I get home.... this past weekend I did some housecleaning, but otherwise just tried to catch my breath. I keep thinking that I will be caught up someday, but then it never happens....

Today I paused at my desk in the multitasking of completing 20-25 things that had to be done this morning and just thought, "What else?" Someone I work with came into my office and said, "You need a vacation. You need to actually get away."

True it has been almost 4 years since I have had a day off (not counting the two separate days I was in the hospital, the only two days I have not worked in 4 years).

I wouldn't know how to go about this vacation thing even if I tried. Even if I could take a day off.

So this afternoon, I had a temperature of 102, so I went home after only an 8 hour work day. I tried to rest, but spent another 2-3 hours on email and phone calls.

And tomorrow it starts all over again.

I really want to work on reading for myself - I am 44 books behind on my personal goal of reading 100 books in 2011.

And I want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year.... A couple of years ago I tried, but work - and my Mac motherboard crashing - thwarted my efforts. I am going to try this one more time..... It will take working only 50 hours a week or less, and other people having to do some work at home.

But I am taking the month of November for myself.

One way or another.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Another review of a good book

Two GravesTwo Graves by D.A. Graystone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

CAUTION: This review contains spoilers.

If you are looking for a more complex mystery/crime drama, this is your book.

From the very beginning, readers are swept into the action and yet not spared good writing: intense imagery, developed characters, and a gritty, reality-driven plot line.

Graystone's characterizations ring truer than the old detective noir novels I grew up loving, and his imagery was every bit as rich. I love a good mystery and this was it. I especially liked Mann and Dani. I am heartened to learn that Graystone is working on a sequel to this, called Too Many Graves, due out in 2012. I will definitely be reading that.

Having said that, I was slightly disappointed with the overall development of some of the antagonists in the novel. The primary "villian," Preston Peterson, starts out as a complex character but in the end becomes more of a device of his role, and his motivations never become more complex. He is developed as a realized character. Yet I would expect a realized character to take more care than to just kill lookalikes. The idea he was somehow cleansing the world was a bit overwrought in my mind with the original development of the character. The other antagonists, Flem and Angelino, were not as developed and yet the last 20% of the novel was spent resolving their connection and existence. Flem appears two or three times and only once is Angelino actually introduced as anything more than a reference.

Yet overall, I enjoyed this book. The plot was not guessable, the twists not predicted, and this is a necessity for a good mystery, in my opinion. Rather than have simplistic heroes and foils, Graystone spent time developing his characters and depicting their histories and personalities. Many lesser mysteries do not do the reader this justice.

Well done, Mr Graystone.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

This morning's reading....

Blood Rites (The Dresden Files, #6)Blood Rites by Jim Butcher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am enamored with Harry Dresden and this series.

Having disclosed this, I must also admit that this one lagged a bit for me. It seemed that playing the White Court as ensconced in the porn industry was kind of a trite, too easy - and tempting to be sensationalized into fueling baser imagery for our clever, ephemeral wizard. Once I got past that, the book picked up somewhat around the 300-page mark, and I was swept back in again.

I am satisfied with my reading experience, but not as much as with previous books in the series. Maybe this is to be expected by book six. But I am still signed on for the long haul.

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