26 October 2013

We're Ready to Believe You

Seemingly casually tossed into the trash bin behind my house, lies my first and only copy of Dune. Seemingly indeed, as it took a final unfortunate dip in the bath that resulted in it's tossing. I have had that book since grade 11. That book has been with me to Japan and back, across country to Toronto,  moved from Ikea shelving unit to shelving unit to where it finally sat in my home shared with my family until the unfortunate bath incident of 2013. 

A house, at least my house is not a home until  the books are at rest. Forget the china, the coffee machine, the linen, my home does not coalesce until the bookshelf has been assembled and the books are categorized and duly shelved. I really should have pursued the library sciences during my undergrad years because my talents for categorization is beyond the average level of normalcy.  Bi-annually I can be found on my third floor knee deep in a book mess, carefully and thoughtfully pulling books out from the layers of stacks, found behind stacks to re-organize and exhibit. As I sit in our den, I can see all those books, all those dear stories that bring me so much joy, happily arranged. With only one area to put the books, I have become quite adept at arranging them. While some dream of walk in closets and marble columns, I sigh over a home library complete with deep leather chairs and a roaring fire to keep my footsies warm during cold grey Novembers. 

No human would stack books like that
I come from a line of bookworms. Mom's house is marked by the Ghostbuster level of stacked library books found on her dining room table. Every place we moved, my Mom was quick to find and procure library cards quicker than she had my brother and I enrolled in school.  I have yet to meet anyone tear through a book like that women can and for most of my life I thought every household read like we did and every Mom could be found buried nose deep in a mystery novel while still managing to make home-made cookies all while running a ceramic class from her kitchen.  Readers beget readers, who beget readers who one day may be writers. (You never know, personally I am hoping Dune Son, becomes a vulcanologist or better an egyptologist but writer is cool.)

With Dune in the garbage and Heretics of Dune in tatters (The  Unfortunate Incident of Why you Should Never Lend a Book to Your Husband of 2007) I am feeling sentimentally off-kilter. Dune hubby mentioned he would buy me the Dune series for Christmas after he found the remains of dearly departed in the trash as he was hauling it out to the curve. While a nice gesture, it was way too much for me to handle. What print would he buy, does he know what cover art I approve? To make it less awkward I kindly refused, telling him that "WHAT COVER WOULD YOU BUY? in a rather high-pitched intense voice, and then walked over to our sofa, lied down in a lump and took a nap.
Take that Bembridge Scholars!
Funny how a good movie can bring up a whole lot of weird. Thanks Ghostbusters! (I know, best movie ever right! Next to The Mummy which is highly entertaining and should really have won some type of Oscar as every time it is on TV I have to watch it. I have to, I can't not watch it.) Yes, this rather dangling, reminiscent post is about Ghostbusters. If you were to look up unrelated and what? in the dictionary you would see a reference to this post. 

15 October 2013

The Rantings of a Bookless Reader

Thanks John Scalzi for your essay  "The 10 SF/F Works that Meant the Most to Me"; my feelings of dread and despair are dissipating! 

In the event that you were unable to unlock the mystery to my gaps on my blog, I have been stuck in the mire of a reading slump (Can you read the horror in those words I just typed? Because I tried to type in a horrific manner to allude to it, and then realized that no one can actually see my facial expressions and then thought, might as well just keep on with one long bracketed clause to over explain my intent because a bookless me equates a time on my hands me, #let'spiddleawaythehours). 

Writers love to go on about "the block" while I am sure it is face rip-off frustrating, I  propose the reader without a book, is even more aggravating and most definitely more annoying, especially to those dear ones living with us bookaholic types. NOTHING TO READ, think on that because obviously I have in fact numerous books to read, even have a library down the street and the entire web at my disposal but for one month and two days, I have not had a book, not a short story, not a hint of a plot that has peaked my interest. It has been so bad I have actually thought about leaving SF and hanging out with my old buddy, the Mystery Novel. Was that a collective gasp? For goodness sake people, I started watching TV with my husband again...(side note, this may have nothing or everything to do with Survivor being back on). 

And so it is with thanks to John (we are in no way on a first name basis but what the hey...)for listing his personal top 10 which in tern has given me a purpose in life again. To be fair, I posted a similarly themed list way back, so avoiding the awkwardness of it all, (way to go John) let me release to you my list of  4 books that I highly recommend but have not a speck of desire to read again, which in no way takes away from how awesome these books really are.  

1. Blindness, Jose Saramago - Sweet blessed scary as shit, wish I could erase scenes from
my brain, Blindness. A masterful piece of literature written originally in Portuguese, with kudos out to not only the author but the translator who so successfully gave this gift of a novel to the English reading world, Blindness is the tale of humanities quick descent into anarchy. A highly contagious, air-borne (no one really knows) infection causes an epidemic of white blindness. Unable to see, unable to find their way home, or at home, unable to care for their personal needs the city falls into the blackness of hell on Earth.  Funny how hell always ends up being created by mankind. If only we could be nice to one another and it is with this little seed that this dark story is brought back into the light.  Most probably the best written and controlled little masterpiece in the past 30 years, Blindness threw me so completely into it's clutches that I seem to be haunted by it to this day. I don't need to revisit it, I am still gripped by Saramago's brilliance.

2. Lilith's Brood, Octavia Butler- Anyone with a penchant for SF must read Octavia or they are simply not SF readers. The master of the post-apocalyptic, American dream she is able to weave up such a despairing picture of America while still holding true to it's core belief in freedom and self preservation that a reader is exhausted at the end. Best known for her Parable series (depressing as shit but amazing all at the same time), it is her alien series, Lilith's Brood that truly blew me away. To this date, I have yet to pick up a book that so completely allows me to explore and love an alien race. And when you truly fall for an alien as I did hers, what is left for me to explore? As with Blindness, Lilith's Brood took a hold of me resulting in me not needing to dive back in because I am still caught in its prose.

3. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card - Shocking is a mild adjective considering the extensive hype that continues to swirl around this novel. Considered by many the best SF book ever written, which I find a bit of a stretch, and would  more accurately describe Ender's Game as the most successful SF book that is so very SF but so very digestible to the general public. Just in case you have been trekking along the Appalachian Trail, they are making a movie of it. Glee...not really, I have a general distrust of any movie director believing they can do justice to a dearly loved book.  Don't misjudge me, I dearly love this book.  I tore through it's pages like the Tasmanian Devil has want to do in the Bugs Bunny Cartoons. It is exciting, it is thrilling, it is thought-provoking but the best, ever written not so much. What we have here is the perfect plot. Most likely because of its plot strength, once having arrived at the denouement  there was nothing left for me to re-investigate. 

4. Doomsday, Connie Willis - As a huge fan of Connie's it pains me to admit that her Hugo Award winner Doomsday is not one that I return to. Unlike Black Out/ All Clear that continues to knock my socks off even after my third read through, Doomsday sits quietly on my bookshelf. When it comes to historical fiction/alternative universe plots and house buying, it is all about location, location, location. There is history that grabs me more than others and the fourteen century,  Black Plague days of merry-old England, go figure, is not high on my 'to visit' list. That being said, smash me down into the muck of WWI or the bombings of WWII and I am all yours baby, all yours. I have no idea what that reveals about me and frankly not keen to find out. All said, Doomsday is a stellar novel, showcasing Willis's time traveling historians who through the means of amazing tech go back in time to discover the world as it truly (?!) was.