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I’ve been thinking a lot about writing recently.  Partially because I’ve been reading Lilibet’s book, and partially because I’ve been reading a lot of everything recently.  I know I’ve said it before, but I love to read, and I like to write.  I got the new Kindle recently, just the regular paperwhite, without the 3G.  This replaced the nook I have had forever.  My nook was the most basic and original nook, and we had a good run.  She still turns on, but the battery dies randomly, and when it dies, it reverts back to the factory settings and demands to have a software update before it will do anything useful like download a book, which is frankly unacceptable.   I obtained my first ipad, ever, this past Christmas, and I did a lot of reading on the ipad, however, the ipad is absolutely not summertime activity friendly, plus, reading on lit screens at night is suppose to cause insomnia.

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This is where I was going to sit and eat my lunch.

I have been on an intense reading kick*, and I’ve been checking books out from the library on my kindle.  Checking library books out on my kindle makes me happier than I can adequately express.  The tricky part though, is that you have to wait in line for certain books, and then you only have 14 days to read them before you have to give them back.  This is excellent justification for why I might have to stay home and finish a book instead of going out and interacting with real people.  Anne Helen Peterson (who I have a serious crush on) has an excellent article on the subject of obsessive reading.  It never occurs to me to stay home and write, and it is much more difficult for me to get lost in writing than in reading.  

My desire to write has more to do with this deep seated belief that we all need a creative outlet, a strange fear of being exclusively a consumer, and because it feels like something that I should be doing. My fear of being a consumer is not rational and does not apply to any other area of my life.  If it did, I would be compelled to be a member of the church choir and have a vegetable garden and take an art class and cook a lot more than I do.  It’s not like I’ve never done these things, I have, and I enjoyed them.

I am not under any delusions that I will ever write a novel or that my writing is adding significantly to the world. My love of reading is deeply ingrained, it is my primary mental escape, and I sincerely appreciate writers.  I guess it is similar to the intense desire of a foodie to learn how to cook, or the little kid that is obsessed with the Braves who goes out for little league, or the kid obsessed with whatever broadway musical is currently cool trying out for the school play.

I also think of it as an exercise in self reflection, and that the exercise in and of itself improves me as a person.  Sort of like jogging, or yoga, or any athletic endeavor makes your body feel stronger and better, writing improves my mentality.  My real job is almost exclusively writing, but it’s a different sort of writing.  It’s easy to blame my lack of writing to the fact that I write all day at work, but work doesn’t prevent me from writing insanely long emails on a daily basis and texting and gchatting for hours at a time, so this is pretty flimsy excuse.

I recently obtained a childhood psychological evaluation of 11 year old Charlsie.  I can not tell you how entertaining it is to read psych evaluations of your childhood self.  The test results document that at some point in my education I mastered the ability to read, while failing to learn how to write, and that by the fifth grade, I was reading at a 12th grade level, and I was writing at a 2nd grade level. Apparently this is a significant discrepancy in ability.   I was noted to have something called a “performance deficit” as opposed to a learning disability, attributable to my attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, that inhibited my ability to attend to details and to organize my thoughts for effective transfer to paper.  

From what I can tell, this means I couldn’t write worth a damn.  It’s almost hilarious that I now essentially write papers for a living. Eventually, I learned how to write (I think). I passed two bar exams, and they let me graduate from law school, so that’s encouraging. I remember fifth grade being a particularly difficult grade, but I remember most grades being difficult until I got to high school.  

Sometimes I wonder how difficult my life would be if I was unable to use a computer and I was dependent on my handwriting for written communication.  I see a good bit of childhood disability applications, and I read a lot of school records and psych evaluations and achievement testing results.  I think people get confused about how difficult it is to learn how to read and write, and don’t appreciate that everyone learns differently and at a different pace. Most of us learned how to read and write at an age where it felt effortless, and we can’t remember the actual struggle required to master the skills. (I’m not going to talk about math, because, ugh, let’s just not talk about it.  Unless you want to talk about Geometry, which I loved, because it involved words.)

It’s like driving a car, or riding a bike.  I recently brought my bike back to Charleston from Augusta, where my bike had been living.  I haven’t ridden a bike in a long time, and I’m deathly afraid of getting hit by a car.  But, growing up, I rode my bike everywhere for years, and I felt great satisfaction in my ability to navigate intersections and balance and take on curbs and gnarly sidewalks, and it did not frighten me.  I stopped riding my bike when I learned how to drive.  Learning how to drive was a skill I put off as long as possible.  I made excuses for why I didn’t want to drive, I was scared of my mom’s car, I was tired, I would start driving tomorrow. But the truth was driving scared the everliving daylights out of me, and I didn’t want to learn how to drive.  I wanted to be the DJ in the front seat. I remember having a particularly hard time with right turns, which is real stupid.  I thought left turns were easier.  I also had a complete inability to back out of a driveway.  

I’m still not clear how I passed my driver’s test, but I did, and then I had a pretty terrific wreck six months later involving, of course, a right turn.  Now, I consider myself an excellent driver, I haven’t had a significant wreck since that ill fated right turn in the spring of 1997, and I’m having to re-teach myself my biking skills and re-gain that confidence. Learning how to read, write, ride a bike, and drive a car tend to be pretty mandatory life skills.  But if they weren’t mandatory, I might have turned out to be an excellent reader who couldn’t write and had to walk everywhere.  I wonder what other skills I might possess if they were mandatory.

*My recent literary consumption includes: The Abominable, The Secret History, Into Thin Air (I’ve been super obsessed with Everest as of late), The Bone Season, Play Dead, Box Girl, The Handmaid’s Tale, We Were Liars, Me Before You, and I just started The Vacationers.  I tried to read The 5th Wave, but I found it too depressing.  I think I may be over dystopia for the foreseeable future.

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Spring is very confused today.  The wind chill was 35 degrees this morning.  I had my air conditioning on yesterday.  Technically, my AC might have still been turned on this morning, but since it was 64 degrees in my apartment when I woke up, and the AC was set on like 75, it wasn’t blowing.  Now I have the heat on.  I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

One thing spring is not confused about is raspberries.  I am normally more of a blueberry/banana/apple fruit consumer, but they were out of blueberries, and my mom always says the important thing is to eat colorful food, so I bought raspberries.  I’m not sure if these were particularly amazing raspberries, or if the fact that I ate nothing but white bread and mayo last week had something to do with it, but I can’t remember tasting anything so delicious.  I felt like the kids from Lord of the Flies who are starving and find the tropical fruit (mangos maybe?) and can’t stop themselves from gorging.  But then I remembered that those children felt very sick afterwards and that each raspberry cost about a dime, and I tried to limit myself to no more than a $1.50 in raspberries in that first sitting.

In other news, I ran out of flonase this morning, and I called the pharm for a refill.  The nice lady at the pharm said,”Goodness!  You sound terrible!  Rough time of year, huh?  I figured while I was out of allergy medicine, that I should sweep all the pollen off of my front porch.  Not like, the yellow gritty dust, but the hairy oak pieces.  I’m grasping for a better way to describe the oak debris, it sort of looks like mini caterpillars?  Or maybe a yellow dust bunny? Debris is one of my favorite words.  Spring time brings a lot of extra debris.  My car looks like it hasn’t been washed in two years.  It’s been more like ten days.  Even Briscoe is sneezing.

Despite the fact that there is a windchill today, yesterday was hot and muggy and rainy and the mosquitoes were having a grand time.  Briscoe and I went for a walk around 8 yesterday morning, and we sat down on a bench by the water, and I looked down, and there were at least five mosquitoes trying to bite Briscoe through her fluffy hair.  We came home immediately.  How do you keep mosquitoes off your dog?

I was home in Augusta last week for the Masters, and it was a whirlwind of friends, family, flowers, sandwiches, beer, and pollen.  I attempted to see as many people as possible, and I still missed some important people.  The amount of white bread and mayo consumed was upsetting, but necessary.  My friends from home (The “A” Team) and I discussed how the Augusta National is like Narnia, how the grass is greener, everything tastes better, life seems crisper.  But you can’t take it home with you.  Egg salad does not travel well.  The pairing sheet is just a dirty piece of paper when you get home.  And this week, apparently, the end of the Masters means the return of the endless winter.

My childhood buddy, Lilibet, has written an excellent book – Box Girl: My Part Time Job as an Art Installation.  Check it out, it’s totally hilarious.  And if you need any other book recommendations, The Goldfinch was insanely awesome.  And The Circle was an engaging and terrifying look at social media.

Briscoe and I happy to be back in sunny Charleston, but it was hard to leave home after such an amazing week. The first couple of days after the tournament are pretty rough, but I think I’ve made it through the worst part.   I hope that you are all surviving this STUPID cold snap.  This has to be the end of it, right?   It’s not fair to have pollen and a wind chill.  Winter can’t last forever.  Until them, I recommend hot coffee and zyrtec, and a fuzzy dog if you can find one.

*I also posted a post below that I wrote about a month ago, but forgot to actually post.  Finishing the drill is hard sometimes.

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The Capital Collection

I see this as one of the greatest marketing fails in recent memory.

 

It makes me think that the people at Cover Girl don’t novels, because if they did, at least one of them might have read the Hunger Games novels.  It is hard to believe that if anyone at Cover Girl had read the books, that they would be glamorizing the Capital.  As a single example, most of the country is starving, and the people in the Capital are attending parties where they eat until they are stuffed, and then they drink something that makes them throw up so they can keep eating the rest of the night.  Um, not to mention that the best thing that happens in the Capital all year is the televised competition where children from the districts fight to the death while they all cheer from the comfort of their well fed homes.

Seriously Cover Girl.  Fail.

I’m all for sparkling makeup and metallic nail polish, and this could have all been avoided if it was simply called the Catching Fire Collection.  Also the “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful” tag line is inappropriate at end of the commercials, cause, well, there is nothing easy and breezy about the Hunger Games (I think Jennifer Lawrence is beautiful).  Someone in the Cover Girl Marketing department should be fired.

 

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I literally cannot believe that is already 2013.  Life moves shockingly fast these days.  I feel like all I’ve done in the past few weeks is eat and drink.  Let’s think about 2012 for a minute.  I read a lot of books in 2012.  Most recently, I read Liars and Saints, which I highly recommend. Rarely, I come across an author that has a syntax or voice that I can only describe as hitting the right cord, where I don’t actually care what they are writing about, because simply reading the words is enjoyable.  I haven’t figured out exactly what I mean by that, but Maile Meloy writes in a way that I find immensely satisfying.  For example, I don’t particularly like depressing stories, but I love Jack London because of his writing.  There is something chewy and piercing about it.  Obviously, the really great writers make people feel this way, but I think there is something very personal about who hits me like this.  There are lots of fantastically talented writers who I can acknowledge that their work is quality, but who don’t resonate with me.  Steinbeck and Faulkner don’t do it for me.  Robert Louis Stevenson and F. Scott Fitzgerald do.

I read The Tiger’s Wife in early 2012, and that story really stuck with me.  The structure of the book was different, and there was a detached and dry quality to it that made the fantastical side of the book seem more believable.

My favorite book of 2012 was The Night Circus.  This book was highly fantastical, and maybe not for everyone.  But I found the emotion conveyed through the story to be moving and enthralling.

I also read the Silver Lining Playbook (awesome! read it), The Forgotten Garden (didn’t love it), Ready Player One (a fun read for any child of the 80s), The House of Mirth (Edith, you are so beautiful, and your stories could not be more depressing), Wicked (so much love for this book), Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (you will cry laughing and feel more normal), The Mists of Avalon (enjoyable, if you are into long drawn out medival sagas, and really, who isn’t?), The Casual Vacancy (J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel.  A good read, but certain things seemed forced for the purpose of proving it was NOT A CHILDREN’S BOOK), and I started Freedom, but then I got bored with it and never finished it.

I feel like I saw a lot of movies this year too.  It’s amazing how hard it is to remember.  Let’s see, maybe I can go backwards.  Les Miserables (awesome, obviously), Life of Pi (heartbreaking and visually captivating), Anna Karinina (I read this book in high school, and I was impressed at how they were able to pack the whole story into an appropriate length movie, but it’s a depressing story), Skyfall (I love Bond movies, and Daniel Craig is fun),  Beast of the Southern Wild (man, everyone should see this movie.  Unbelievable.  Hush Puppy is fantastic), Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson is a proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy), The Hunger Games (people who don’t like Jennifer Lawrence are just jealous), Magic Mike (people who don’t like Channing Tatum are just jealous), Being Flynn (everyone likes Robert De Nero), and finally, The Iron Lady (I felt more educated after this movie).  I feel like I had to have seen more movies at the beginning of the year, but now I can’t remember.  That’s a strong showing, but I still feel like I’ve missed some huge movies.  Argo, The Hobbit, The Silver Lining Playbook, Django Unchained.  I’ve also tried to catch up on some of last year’s movies in the comfort of my own home.  Hugo, Trouble with the Curve, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, How to Train Your Dragon (my new favorite animated film), The Muppets, 21 Jump Street, and Coraline.

Basically, if you were curious about what I’ve been doing in the past year, I’ve been watching movies and reading books.  Sometimes I go outside and interact with something called other people. It definitely explains why I haven’t been blogging, because I’ve been reading and watching.  I am going to try to stop being such a consumer and start producing.

I did go to a few concerts – Blitzen Trapper, Patterson Hood, The Avett Brothers, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Brandi Carlisle, Miranda Lambert, Chris Young, and Jerrod Niemann.

2012 was an excellent year. It was a year full of new friendships, important re-connections, thousands of downward dogs and chaturangas, a 10k, a 5k, one of the best tennis teams a girl could ask for, abundant sunshine, oysters, shrimps, boats, coffee, beaches, bowling, late night dancing, handstands, thunderstorms (I had a dream last night I was struck by lightening, but it didn’t hurt, it just left a weird scar on my leg), Vail, Steamboat Springs (TWICE!), Williamsburg, Sea Island, Valdosta, D.C., a job I love more than I ever thought possible, and some damn good football.  And I cut all my hair off.  Everyone should try it.

I have high hopes for 2013.  I think it is going to be the best one yet.

Photo evidence of awesomeness.

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Happy Halloween!

I hope you are all having a spectacularly creepy day.  I’m not very good with horror movies, something about the images really get to me, but I like scary stories.  And I love Dylan Mcdermott.  Really, my life is more complete when he is on my television.  So, I’ve been watching American Horror Story.  I am glad to know I’m not the only one forced to watch it in the daylight.  I am thoroughly creeped out.  I’m not 100% hooked, if Dylan wasn’t on the show I might not continue watching, but I’m definitely intrigued.  On particularly horrifying part of the show is that it is on regular cable.  I didn’t know they were allowed to show such things on regular cable.  Apparently I don’t watch enough FX. I thought this sort of material was reserved for HBO. 

I infinitely prefer creepy stories in print.  I will share with you a few of my favorite creepy quotes from my favorite scary novels and short stories, because I’m a nerd. 

 “To think that the spectre you see is an illusion does not rob him of
his terrors: it simply adds the further terror of madness itself — and
then on top of that the horrible surmise that those whom the rest call
mad have, all along, been the only people who see the world as it
really is.”  –
Perelandra – C.S. Lewis

—-

“As I leaned from the window my eye was caught by something moving a storey below me, and somewhat to my left, where I imagined, from the lie of the rooms, that the windows of the Count’s own rooms would look.  The window at which I stood was tall and deep, stone mullioned, and through weatherworn, was still complete, but it was evidently many a day since the case had been there.  I drew back behind the stonework, and looked carefully out. 

What I saw was the Count’s head coming out from the window.  I did not see the face, but I knew the man by the neck and the movement of his back and arms.  In any case I could not mistake the hands which I had had so many opportunities of studying.  I was at first interested and somewhat amused, for it is wonderful how small a matter will interest and amuse a man when he is a prisoner.  But my very feelings changed to repulsion and terror when I saw the whole man slowly emerge from the window and begin to crawl down the castle wall over that dreadful abyss, face down, with his cloak spreading out around him like great wings.  At first I could not believe my eyes.  I thought it was some trick of the moonlight, some weird effect of shadow, but I kept looking, and it could be no delusion.  I saw the fingers and toes grasp the corners of the stones, worn clear of the mortar by the stress of years, and by thus using every projection and inequality move downwards with considerable speed, just as a lizard moves along a wall. 

What manner of man is this, or what manner of creature is it in the semblance of man?  I feel the dread of this horrible place overpowering me; I am in fear – in awful fear – and there is no escape for me; I am encompassed about with terrors that I dare not think of…”    – From the journal of Jonathan Hawker – Dracula, by Bram Stoker

—–

‘               “Is the playhouse still there?”  asked Martyn

                “I don’t know.”  admitted the storyteller.

                “Well,” said martin, as we reached the Tottenham Court Road and headed for the night bus stop, “I for one do not believe a word of it.” 

                There were four of us, not three, out on the street long after closing time.  I should have mentioned that before.  There was still one of us who had not spoken, the elderly man with the leather elbow patches, who had left the club with the three of us.  And now he spoke for the first time. 

                “I believe it,”  he said mildly.  His voice was frail, almost apologetic.  “ I cannot explain it, but I believe it.  Jamie died, you know, not long after father did.  It was Douglas who wouldn’t go back, who sold the old place.  He wanted them to tear it all down.  But they kept the house itself, the Swallows.  They weren’t going to knock that down.  I imagine that everything else must be gone by now.”

                It was a cold night, and the rain still spat occasional drizzle.  I shivered, but only because I was cold. 

                “Those cages you mentioned,” he said.  “By the driveway.  I haven’t thought of them in fifty years.  When we were bad he’d lock us up in them.  We must have been bad a great deal, eh?  Very naughty, naughty boys. 

                He was looking up and down the Tottenham Court Road, as if he were looking for something.  Then he said, “Douglas killed himself, of course.  Ten years ago, when I was still in the bin.  So my memory’s not as good.  Not as good as it was.  But that was Jamie all right, to the lift.  He’d never let us forget that he was the oldest.  And you know, we weren’t ever allowed in the playhouse.  Father didn’t build it for us.” His voice quavered, and for a moment I could imagine this pall old man as a boy again.  “Father had his own games.””

– Closing Time, from the short story collection Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

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For the most part, I believe America to be the greatest place in the world. We definitely have our own problems, and there definitely parts of America that hold no interest for me as place of permanent dwelling, but as a whole, America is pretty great. More specifically, the South East is pretty awesome. I love the weather, the food, the people, the flowers, and the way we talk around here. But today, I wish I lived somewhere else. I wish I lived in India today. Or, tonight, although I guess it is already night in India by now. I would really like to see the lunar eclipse tonight. I should have planned my vacations better. Apparently there is a chance I’ll get to see full lunar eclipse in America in April 2014, fingers crossed.

Have I told you how Briscoe hates skateboarders? It might be one of the funnier things I’ve seen in a while. I think it is the noise that scares her. The dog needs a haircut like whoa. She’s going to get her hair did tomorrow, and I expect to have a little lamb by tomorrow night instead of the bear that is currently sleeping in my kitchen.  For some reason she has developed this ridiculous habit of spilling her food all over the floor.  It is like she picks up her bowl with her teeth and dumps it out, although I’m not sure that is actually possible.  But once the food it on the ground, she won’t eat it.  For a while, when I would come home to her spilled food, I would pick all the pieces up and put them back in the bowl.  Then I realized, wait, she’s a dog, if she wants to spill her food on the floor, she should eat the food off the flood.  So, I stopped cleaning it up, other than to turn the bowl back upright.  Sure enough, after leaving the food on the ground until late into the night, the dog finally decided she would eat it off the floor.  So, she’s started cleaning up the mess herself, but she’s still spilling the food. 

Something about summertime makes me want to lose myself in a story, preferably a long drawn out saga. Happily, HBO has provided that for me with The Game of Thrones, and even more happily, I am able to read the novels instead of waiting to see what happens in HBO time (which is painfully slow in my opinion). I enjoy the story, the show (and the novels for that matter) are quite gruesome and violent. I find reading about violent and gruesome things is easier than watching them play out on my unnecessarily large television. But I’m totally engrossed in the novels, each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view, and the author has mastered the ability to speak in each character’s voice in a way that is seemless but also adds a depth to the writing and storyline that is not immediately apparent. I would not recommend the books or the television series to everyone, there is a base element to it that not all will find endearing, crass talk of sexual encounters and horrible things happen to almost all of the characters. But even the villainous characters have redeeming qualities (well, some of them do) and the heros have flaws, and there is nothing I love more than a good story with round characters.

I spent the last two weeks of May in Washington, D.C., training for work. Let me tell you, two weeks is a LONG TIME to be in a hotel. I learned a lot, got to spend time with some old friends (sadly, the Bizzy was out of town the entire time I was there), and enjoyed some fabulous food and beautiful sights, but I was very happy to come home to my apartment and my dog. I did meet some super cool new friends though. My mom and my aunt Jan came to visit me in Charleston this past weekend, and boy did we have a good time. I wish I could tell you we did lots of productive things, but really more than anything, we simply enjoyed Charleston and each other. We wandered, we enjoyed drinks on the rooftop under the shade with a breeze, we ate phenomenal food, (as a side note, a merinague will always add to a dessert), we peered through hedges, gates and walls into the fabulous gardens and side yards of people we didn’t know but wish we did, we sweated, we watched little children play in fountains, and Kate and Jan rearranged the furniture in my apartment. We did not shop at all, other than a short trip to the grocery, and we spent most of our time outside. It was great.

Oh! So I want y’all to check out my cousin Heather’s blog – she has MS, and has an amazingly honest and refreshing perspective, including my favorite – Wheelchair Etiquette.

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Last May, I was in Chicago for a conference the week before Memorial Day.  That friday, I flew from Chicago to Charleston for Jennifer’s bachelorette party.  I opted for the earlier flight with the connection, which was not intelligent.  That particular Friday, summer thunderstorms raged across the Southeast, and I ended up sitting in a bar in the Charlotte airport, praying my flight would take off.  While waiting, I made friends with some guys who were also heading to Charleston, and it turned out they were great friends with my friend’s little brother, and we had all sorts of mutual connections.  Eventually, after boarding the flight, sitting on the runway, and having the flight canceled, my three new friends and I rented a car and drove to Charleston.  I had already done background checks on my new friends via text, so they weren’t absolute strangers, and they weren’t all traveling together either, we had all four run into each other waiting on the flight. 

As I was pulling out of the rental car lot at 12:30 am in the torrential downpour, my mom called.  “Hey, where are you?”  “Flight canceled, had to rent a car, driving to Charleston.”  “By yourself?!”   Pause.  “No. With Friends!”  Pause.  “Friends.  Like friends you just met at the airport, or friends you’ve known for a long time.”  Seriously, why would she assume I’d just met them, even if I did?  “Friends I just met but we know all the same people and I checked them out and I’m going to be okay let me call you later!”  Eventually I gave her their names and our connections and it was fine.  In the end, we split the $200 cost of the rental car four ways, and made it to Charleston around 3 am.  One of my new friends did not have a checkbook or cash, and he promised to mail me a check as soon as he got back to New York.  He worked in publishing, and also promised to send me books.  The promise of books alone was extremely exciting, and he was nice enough to ask me all about what sort of books I enjoyed and who my favorite authors were. 

As Monday was a holiday, the first business day after our Friday night trek was the following Tuesday.  On Wednesday afternoon, I returned home from work to find a large box on my doorstep.  True to his word, my New York friend had overnighted me a check for $50, and an impressive array of books.  Y’all, seriously, this was probably one of the most exciting presents I have received in recent memory.  I ripped into the box, and spent a long time sorting through my newly acquired treasures, which included coffee table books, cook books, hardback short stories, paper backs, including books that were already in print and not yet published.  I was struck by the obvious thoughtfulness that went into the book selection.  I told him I enjoyed classics, loved Fitzgerald, and above all, enjoyed a good story, specifically novels and short stories.  I’ve been meaning to tell you all about the books he sent me, and which ones I would recommend, but it has taken me months to read them all.  I have included the covers that I found particularly engaging, but you can’t always judge a book by its cover, I just didn’t want y’all to miss the pretty cover artwork.   

My favorite of all the covers and the books in general was the short story collection – Stories.  This collection was put together by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantoni, and includes stories by all sorts of amazing writers, some you will recognize, some you might not.  In the introduction, Neil relates a discussion concerning short story anthologies in which he and Al came to the conclusion that the only thing they really cared about, when it came down to it, were the stories.  That good writing was important, but the stories were where the real magic happened.  The reason he reads comes down to four words.  “…and then what happened?”  This entire short story collection was built on those four words.  The dedication says it all – For all the storytellers and tale spinners who entertained the public and kept themselves alive, for Alexandre Dumas and Charles Dickens, for Mark Twain and Baroness Orczy and the rest, and most of all, for Scheherazade, who was the storyteller and the story told.  I could talk about this book forever, and I was going to tell you which stories were my favorites, but I realized I’d basically need to copy the table of contents for that to happen. 

I’m realizing it could take me days to get through all my thoughts about these books, so I’m going to have to come back to this discussion.  In other news, it has been raining pretty consistently for about the past week, I’m still eating lots of oysters, Briscoe looks like a muppet dog because she hasn’t had a hair cut in so long (someone called her Benji the other day), and we had a fire drill at work this morning.

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