Monthly Archives: February 2012

Writer’s Block

It’s what I have.  I think it’s because my TBR list is growing and threatening to bury me alive; rather than working on it I spend my time revisiting my old friends in books I’ve read a thousand times before.  And continuing to add things to my TBR list based on what I’m rereading.  It’s a vicious cycle.


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Filed under Reading While Drinking


Still sans computer, so apologies for my erratic posting.  Gives me more time for reading, however, which: YAY!!  I’m in a children’s lit phase now–at least while I’m out of the house–and I’m loving finding the grown up perspective to books that are supposed to be for children.  It’s easy to forget while discussing children’s lit (especially in our think-of-the-children-hysterical culture), but these books are written by grown ups.  They’re written from an adult perspective, and by definition informed by the author’s feelings about chidlren–what they like, what they are like, what is appropriate for them (which changes from generation to generation).  I just finished The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which is in many ways less deep than the movie version we all grew up with.  Oz isn’t a Wonderlandesque subconscious realm where a teenage Dorothy’s fears and character flaws come to light; it’s a real place you can “get to from here”, so to speak, and while it’s certainly a foil for the grey, grey, grey Kansas, it’s relatively separate from the “civilized” world–a place where a child (roughly 4-6, I think) has autonomy and power.  There’s apparently a pretty serious breakdown of the book that suggests it’s a parable for populism, so that’s been added to my TBR list, hopefully sooner rather than later.  In the meantime, I’m moving on to Peter Pan, a book whose author was obsessed with childhood, at least partially because of the untimely death of his older brother.  I’ve previously read it as part of  a Children’s Lit class in college, but I’m excited to dive in on my own.  Cheers!


Filed under Sharing The Love


I love marking up my books.  Seriously, even books that I don’t own–sorry Kait!!  I just can’t help it–I need to underline, comment in the margins, respond back to the text.  And I ADORE when someone else has been there first.  I’m rereading Mrs. Dallloway, which a friend of a friend gave me while I was visiting Chicago.  She’s marked up the text enough so I know she’s read it at least three times, and I love seeing her reactions to the text.  It makes me feel connected to her, and anyone else who has read the book before, particularly if the perspective is different than mine.  The new viewpoint makes me happy, and makes the text more 3 dimensional than it is without those new perspectives.  Honestly, it’s like having a book club, without actually having to talk to anyone.  Which is my secret desire–to start a book club with my bookish friends, where we don’t meet.  We just pass along books from person to person, adding our own perspective to the text as we go.  That way, we each get more out of the books than we would on our own; plus we would probably read things we wouldn’t otherwise since we all have different tastes.  Plus, it would get rid of my boyfriend’s biggest argument against how much I read: it makes me super antisocial 🙂


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I Hate Perfection

I realize that this post is going to be at least partially based on bitterness, because I try to hard to be perfect–the girl with the perfect nails whose apartment is always clean and welcoming, even when you drop by unexpectedly; the perfect girlfriend who gets her boyfriend amazing gifts and blows his mind every night.  Obviously, I fail hard.  My nails are not only chipped constantly, but I chew on my cuticles and the sides of my nails so they’re pretty gross.  My apartment, on the other hand, isn’t gross by any means, but I live with boys and we both work part time, so it’s not perfect by a long shot.  It’s certianly not worth a photo blog of how wonderfully I’ve decorated it.  As for the boyfriend…lets discuss that another time, over wine.

All this is simply to set up why I hate Ayla so goddamn much.  Everything she does is so unbelievably perfect.  Even when she does something so clearly hurtful to those around her–like going off with Ranec when Jondalar is waiting for her–isn’t out of spite, but ignorance to the ways of her new people.  She simply assumes that she has to be sexually available to everyone, all the time–it has nothing to do with her relationship with Jondalar!  As a writer, I have to admire Auel’s ability to create a woman who manages to be open to all men and not come across as a huge whore to our 21st-century Puritan-based values.  That doesn’t mean I can’t still hate her, however.  I can barely keep myself awake when my boyfriend gets to bed, much less wake myself up every time he gropes me throughout the night, or be sexually available to whomever wants me, whenever he wants me.

This brings me to the second, slightly less bitter, issue that I have with Ayla.  She is such a contradiction to the feminist side of me (the right 3/4s, if you were curious).  On one hand, she is obviously strong–physically and mentally–and self sufficient, and doesn’t need a man around her.  She lived alone for 3 years, for chrissakes.  But as soon as a man shows up, she goes back to being diffident and subservient.  As I said eyarlier, I kind of admire Auel’s ability to make Ayla this anti-feminist in such a natural way–it was how she was raised, after all–but that doesn’t make it less uncomfortable for me.  She somehow manages to be a misogynists wet dream–subservient, sexually available, unbelievably beautiful, and committed to quietly fulfilling the every need of the men in her life.

So, there you have it.  The reasons–both blatantly biter and honestly feminist–that I hate Ayla so much.  I actually really like her in Clan of the Cave Bear, and blatantly adore her through Valley of the Horses, but as I get deeper and deeper into The Mammouth Hunters, I find it more and more difficult to enjoy her as a character.

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Filed under Feminism, Introspection

Oh, Hello There

Well, I  broke my computer and so have been relatively silent lately.  My boyfriend is allowing me to borrow his netbook but he sort of takes it and leaves it as he pleases so I never know when I’ll have the alone time to write; generally when he’s left it either I’ve gotten no alone time or simply haven’t been in the mood.

On the plus side, naturally, this (combined with my job’s sudden, inexplicable mania for giving me my breaks) has given me plenty of time to read.  I finished LOTR (aaammmaaazzziiinnggg), am nearly finished with The Mammoth Hunters, have been reading The Picture of Dorian Gray while on the elliptical, and have restarted The Wheel of Time.  And you thought I was joking when I said I read as many books as I can fit into my life at one time.

Reading as many things as I am right now, however, I’m noticing a difference in how I respond to the writing styles.  In particular, between The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Great Hunt (which is book two in WOT, for those of you with lives).  While reading Dorian Gray, I find myself drinking in the words, almost losing the thread of the story in my joy at how beautiful the writing is.  I’ll read the same sentence several times over simply to have the visceral joy of the sound of the words in my head again.  Half the time I’m unsure of what’s going on in the plot, and need to go back and reread pages upon pages to catch myself up.  The Great Hunt, on the other hand, I barely remember reading at all.  I was simply watching a film Jordan somehow managed to beam directly into my brain.  I don’t even register turning the pages until one of them gets stuck, much less the beauty of the words. I still get a bit lost on the various plotlines (give me a break, there’s like 13 700+ page books and something around 10 main characters and 1500 minor), but not because I’m so caught up in the verbiage; because I’m so caught up in the other storylines.

I found it interesting that I was reading two books at once that reflect the two opposing ends of my love for reading–my joy in beautiful words and my love for a well crafted universe.  Reading them at the same time seems fitting to me, the way reading a book about vanity while working out to stay skinny seems fitting to me.  Thoughts?

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Filed under Introspection