Clearly, the writing itch isn’t the only thing MP inherited from me.
♫ Someone smells a book deeeeal …
So, about my writing. I try to write as I would speak in normal conversation. As if you were here in the room with me. Which means breaking a lot of “rules.”
I’m aware of this. I’m very familiar with the rules. I just choose to ignore many of them.
For the record, I LIKE fragments. A lot.
And beginning fragments with “And.”
Sometimes I even make up words.
It’s not always pretty, but it’s authentic. It’s me.
Mommy’s Martini tagged me with a books meme last week. I’ve been kind of excited to do this one, because it’s right up my alley. I’m a complete and total book geek. Always have been. It’s rare that I’ll be reading just one book at a time. But this tag turned out to be a bit harder than it sounded, which is why I’m just now doing it …
With that, here are the rules:
1. List three books you’ve always meant to read, but haven’t gotten around to reading.
2. Share the two books that changed your life.
3. Recommend the one book you’ve been talking about since the very first day you’ve read it.
And here’s what I came up with.
Three Books I’ve Been Meaning To Read Forever
1. The Bible. One of these days I’ll finish it. I’ve probably started it seven or eight times over the course of my life. I’ve never been able to read the whole thing. God knows I’ve really tried. I’ve even tried it on CD in the car. Inevitably, I’ve found it’s more of a bullet-point experience, with me taking away key points that, depending on my situation at the time, resonate on some level. Which is better than nothing.
2. The World is Flat. This has been sitting by my bedside for a good 10 months. I’ve yet to tackle it. It’s all about “the great changes taking place in our time, as lightning-swift advances in technology and communications put people all over the globe in touch as never before …”
Part of the book includes “an explanation of ‘uploading’ as one of the 10 forces that are flattening the world, as blogging, open-source software, pooled knowledge projects like Wikipedia, and podcasting enable individuals to bring their experiences and opinions to the whole world.”
Wake up! That probably put some of you to sleep, but I find it fascinating.
3. The Abs Diet For Women. The book I need to read the most. Ugh. The book that’s been collecting dust alongside The World is Flat for a loooong time.
Two Books That Changed My Life
1. Roots. This, I read about a year after it came out. I was 9 or 10. Reading this book sparked a fascination with Black History that has continued to this day. I know, some might think it a little odd, considering my background is waay whitebread. But if you read my True Confessions tab at the top, you know I believe in past lives …
Stories of the Underground Railroad — everything from quilts hanging out to dry that secretly pointed the way to safety, to the life of Harriet Tubman — absolutely transfixed me.
From Alex Haley, I moved on to Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and Richard Wright’s Native Son. I have no doubt that, over the years, my immersion in the history of slavery and the struggle of African Americans has helped shaped the empathetic component of my personality.
2. A Moveable Feast. Given to me years ago by MP’s dad, this is Hemingway’s classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s. Interlaced with portraits of other expatriate writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, this book solidified my love of all things French. Hemingway spends a lot of time recollecting his memories of the bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, where an amazing group of post-WWI writers would regularly gather. What I wouldn’t have given to be a fly on that wall.
So, with six years of French language studies under my belt (sadly, most of it forgotten over the years following college), I headed to Paris on my own in the spring of 2002 — spending four days completely immersing myself in the culture before meeting up with my BFF Tea in Barcelona. The first monument I visited wasn’t the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t l’Arc de Triomphe or even the Louvre. It was Shakespeare and Company. And it was amazing. Now you REALLY know how big of a book geek I am.
My Book Recommendation
Stephen King’s The Stand. This probably comes as a surprise after the last book, but in my mind, the prolific King is this generation’s Mark Twain. He really is the most amazing storyteller. If you haven’t read any of his work, you may be under the impression he’s purely a horror writer. Not so. While most of his stories do have a paranormal bent, he also wrote Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. And don’t judge him by his movies. With a few exceptions, most of them don’t translate to the screen well at all, and just come across as hokey.
The Stand is a thick, thick book, but I think I probably read it in just a few days. I literally could not put it down. Very simply, it’s a story of good vs. evil after a virus wipes out most of the population, forcing mankind to start from scratch. The bad guys wind up in Las Vegas, Sin City. The good guys wind up in Boulder, Colorado. LOVED it.
Mkay, there you go. Still awake?
Now, I’m tagging Foolery, Domestic Goddess and of course, my old stand-by San Diego Momma. What’s on YOUR bookshelf? No pressure my Doogs — if this one’s not up your alley, I promise I won’t come through the monitor and beat you with a book or anything.
Broccoli in the bath water
Noodles and hamburger too
Take more than an hour to eat your dinner,
And it will go with you.
You say you’re full
I know you’re not
You’ll be up in an hour, it’s true
Begging and pleading and shedding those tears
all for a cracker or two.
So into the tub
Into the tub
Into the tub with you.
You’ll finish your dinner
And stay in your seat
Sure as the sky is blue.
Don’t worry if your veggies get wet
I promise it won’t hurt you
Honestly, it’s not a big deal
Remember your mouth is wet too.
“International Quirkyalone Day is a do-it-yourself celebration of romance, friendship, and independent spirit. It’s a celebration of all kinds of love: romantic, platonic, familial, and yes, self-love. International Quirkyalone Day is not anti-Valentine’s Day. It’s NOT a pity party for single people. It’s an alternative — a feel-good alternative to the marketing barrage of Valentine’s Day and an antidote to the silicone version of love persented in shows such as Hooking Up and The Bachelor.
Above all, IQD is a celebration of romance, freedom and individuality. It celebrates true romance (as opposed to the fake versions presented to us in reality dating shows), independence, creativity, friendship, and all kinds of love — including love for yourself. If you are single, International Quirkyalone Day is a call to arms to celebrate the possibilities available to single people today. If you are partnered, IQD is a vital reminder to value yourself and develop your individuality even when in a couple. Couples (especially quirkytogethers, of course) are welcomed to attend. After all, many a partnered person complains about the contrived nature of Valentine’s Day.
Quirkyalone Day is based on the ideas in Sasha Cagen’s book Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics. It’s an invitation to create a great day for yourself, whatever that means to you (and your partner if you have one and choose to celebrate with him or her). It’s a day to celebrate the things you love to do alone and the things you love to do with your friends. Ways to celebrate include: throwing a dinner party, buying yourself new underwear, rearranging your furniture, taking a long walk without your cell phone, exploring a new part of town, organizing a card-making party, trying a new recipe, or coming to or hosting a quirkyalone party.”
Sasha Cagan is so my HERO! I read her book a few years ago, and loved it so much, I bought four copies and sent one to each of my best Quirkyalone girlfriends for Valentine’s Day last year. Even if you don’t fall into the Quirkyalone category, single or not, I’m betting you’ll get a kick out of it.
Publishers Weekly says, “Cagen writes, her words echoing with the uplifting message that it’s not strange to be single; rather, single is the new norm. Cagen speaks out against dating for the sake of being in a couple and highlights the celebrities who fit and don’t fit the quirkyalone mold (Oprah: “of course”; Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks: “[E]nemies of quirkyalones everywhere”).
Check out the Quirkyalone site and take the quiz to see if you fall into this category. I can’t say it enough — I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this whole empowering, validating movement!