Posts Tagged ‘Riotgram’

#Riotgram, Day 8: Books and ice cream.

June 8, 2017

I almost forgot to post today. I framed and snapped my photo a day or two ago, and it didn’t quite slip my mind, per se, it just wasn’t quite at the front.

Perhaps it was because what I wanted to do was snap a picture of my collection of poems by Wallace Stevens, the one I had left over from 19th Century English Literature class. There was a poem, “The Emperor of Ice Cream,” that would have been perfect for this assignment. I remember discussing the poem at great length in class, and then the professor refused to give us his take on it! But…that’s besides the point. Because instead, for “Books and Ice Cream”, I got you this:

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A comfort book, paired with comfort ice cream. The book in questions just happens to be a better picture of the edition of Anne that I told you about earlier. Isn’t it gorgeous?! The cover is soft; I don’t quite know what it’s made of.

The ice cream it’s hanging out with is almost as good a friend as that Anne-girl. You can’t find black raspberry ice cream here in Tejas, but the Haagan Daz Raspberry Sorbet is pretty tasty. You just know Anne Shirley would swoon over the word “sorbet”!

It’s a silly #Riotgram prompt. It’s my least favorite so far. But I swung at the pitch when it was thrown at me. What about you all – are there food pairings you think of to go with your favorite books?

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#Riotgram, Day 7: Most Loved.

June 7, 2017

Today’s #Riotgram challenge, hosted by the ever-fabulous Book Riot, focuses on most loved books. But what exactly does that mean?! Should I focus on the books I love best (and show it in the wear and tear)? Talk about my Stephen King obsession? The series I re-read every year? My favorite books shelf?

My favorite books shelf – let’s start there.

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My favorites shelf is missing quite a few of my favorite books. My favorite series – Stephen King’s Dark Tower; Cynthia Voigt’s Tillerman family saga; Harry Potter; The Eyre Affair series by Jeffrey Fforde; Anne. There simply isn’t room and it would hurt my heart (and the books)(shoosh) for the series to be broken up over multiple shelves. Also, this way I can fit most of my absolute favorites on one shelf.

The Christmas book is there because it’s one of those Hallmark books that let you record your voice, and my mom’s voice is in there. And that’s all I’m going to say about that, or else I’ll need a tissue or forty.

Oh! I lied – a collector’s edition of Anne is on the shelf! I’d forgotten about that! I’ll try to grab a better picture of that and post it later. It’s gorgeous!

Then there are a favorite from high school – The Great Gatsby. My girlfriends and I (who ruled AP English) fell madly in love with it, and that love was cemented in college when we discussed symbolism and motifs and, dear god, all the irony. The same with what I think of as my college favorites – Their Eyes Were Watching God; The Portrait of a Lady; The Chaneysville Incident; and The White Boy Shuffle. 

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood might be part of a trilogy, but I pretend it isn’t because of…things…that complicate favorite characters beyond the pale.

Pride and Prejudice I didn’t read until the year after Gracie was born and I was mind-boggled over how it was such a fan favorite until I got to the botched proposal…and then I couldn’t put it down.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert might be a bit hokey, but it got me through my divorce. And that’s a good enough reason for me!

The Anne Fadiman collections of personal essays were divine! I couldn’t read them for want of writing, and I couldn’t write because I wanted to keep hoovering up more of her writing! It’s my favorite dilemma, really. There are readers, though, who really aren’t all about writing, and I wonder – honestly – how well Fadiman holds up for those sorts of people.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is a great family drama, one where you can’t tell where the function of family ends and the dysfunction takes over. Perhaps because the dysfunction of my family is so readily apparent, it fascinates me that for some families, the dynamic hasn’t always been that way, with one or two or three functional souls in the middle of the chaos.

White Oleander is the opposite – dysfunctional family drama at its best. You can also find perhaps the Cruella deVillest character this side of Disney. (Yes, yes – Dodie Smith, I know.)

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is – just go read it. This novel embodies the group of characters I’m most upset I can’t meet in real life. Which maybe doesn’t make sense because they’re located on a tiny island in the middle of the English Channel. Doesn’t matter; still holds true.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern wasn’t a hit the first half of the book. I trudged through to make my sister happy. The moment the love story became more than apparent, I fell for it. Which now seems silly – the reason I really love it is because it’s hands down the most imaginative book I’ve ever read. If Guernsey contains the characters I most want to meet, Night Circus is the book I most want to be real.

The White Mary by Kira Salak and State of Wonder by Ann Patchett are two stories on the same theme. Wild adventures in the remotest of remote places; feminist lenses; love vs. career vs. self…so many shared themes, but with different characters and different ways of carrying it off.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is perhaps the most adventurific character study I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, especially given that it breaks down stereotypes left and right. Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan is the least likely John Green novel you’ll ever read. It, too, plays into stereotypes so hard in its identity-heavy examinations that it often shoots right past them. Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork is similar, but throws in some ableism into the mix. They’re three on a theme.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home is like a throwback to the 80s all the way around. It’s set during the decade, it tweaks the heart like a break-up power ballad, and it’ll make you relive all the best and worst bits of growing up.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra is kind of like Elegance of the Hedgehog, but if it took place in the middle of the Serbian War. Or, wait, is that quite right? I can never quite categorize this one. Except it’s lovely.

Harriet the Spy is everything about who I wanted to be when I was a little kid. And still.

The Martian is everything about my voice as a grown-up. Except you’d never get me into outer-space.

Tiny, Beautiful Things is the best advice book I could ever recommend to anyone going through a tough time, about to go through a tough time, or who wants to be a writer when they “grow up.”

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is variant on a Ya-Ya theme. If you like one…

And the Daughters of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I’m so glad I ignored all of the praise for it when it first came out, because if I couldn’t read it all in one go, I don’t know what I would have done. I’m selective about my fantasy, and this still passed the test.

Sometimes I can’t believe I can fit all of those stories on just one shelf! What about your shelf – what favorite books do you have on yours?

#Riotgram Challenge, Day 6: Titles with Numbers.

June 6, 2017

Today’s #Riotgram challenge, sponsored by BookRiot, is pretty straightforward: books with numbers in the titles. In fact, it was so straightforward, I figured that I could skim each and every shelf in my house last night at 11 p.m. and pull books for a quick picture.

“Quick.” HAHAHAHAHA!

I didn’t manage to pull from every bookshelf, because I forgot about the memoirs and autobiographies on the window ledge and corners of my bathtub in the master bath, and I didn’t want to attempt navigating the mess in the front room, so I didn’t get to any of the girls’ books on those shelves. I still found a pretty good number of them. (Get it? “Number” of books with numbers in the titles? I slay me.) Um, uh, okay – take a look:

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If you can’t make out all of the titles, there’s The Drawing of the Three from SK’s Dark Tower series ruling over all of the piles; One, Two, Buckle my Shoe; SK’s From a Buick 8 and Four Past Midnight; A Tale of Two Cities; 1984; A Thousand Splendid Suns; Nineteen Minutes; N0S4A2; Th1rteen R3asons Why; Flight 232; 3000 Degrees; One Breath Away; Counting by 7s; Ready Player One; The Thirteenth Tale; 102 Minutes; The 9/11 Report; and Three Dark Crowns. A plethora of different stories and genres and rabbit holes!

What about your piles of titles? Did you find anything good? Did it make you want to re-read any of your finds? Were there titles you held out of the picture? (I confess – I nearly held back the Jodi Picoult.) I can’t wait to see what everyone else has to show!

#Riotgram, Day 5: Something Magic.

June 5, 2017

I was going to use my silly string picture for “Something Magic”, but then I needed to use it for “How You Read” instead. So I went looking in my older pictures for a particular shot of toddler Gracie pulling every. single. book. off the bookcase…and peering over her shoulder to see if she’d get caught. (She totally missed the camera, for the win!)

Instead, I found this:

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One of my favorite aunties [Hi, Auntie Cheryl!] reading to Baby Bee, back home in Massachusetts at my mom’s house. You want to talk about magic? I think there’s plenty stuffed into this moment. Family who loves me? Check. Reading to your babies even at this age, so they grow up to be readers? Check. Being back home in New England? Check. I happen to know that there’s snow outside. Check! And that pic was taken Thanksgiving night, so there is lots of pie about to happen. Check! [Except for Rhi. Don’t think about that particular night of pie, Rhi!]

There is so much magic happening in and around that picture of Auntie Cheryl reading to Bee, I just can’t stand it. Reading is awesome. And magic ain’t too bad, either.

#Riotgram Challenge, Day 4: Notebooks & Journals.

June 4, 2017

Sometimes, dear reader, I can be very naive. I’ve kept a reading journal since I was in high school, but I never once realized such journals were a thing! And quite a big thing, indeed.

I started my reading journal at first because I couldn’t keep straight which Agatha Christie novels I had read, and since my goal was to read them all, keeping track was somewhat important. So I started writing down every book I read in the back of my diary. It was simple: title, author, month/year I’d read it.

I wish I’d kept up with the habit, but for some reason, at some point – I stopped. I picked up the habit again after the divorce. That one I didn’t even need my therapist’s help to understand: I needed a little more order and control in my life, and this was one easy way to obtain it. So I splurged on a black leather notebook. My real Little Black Book!

The format is still simple. I write down the title, author, and month/year read. I star in the left margin if the book was one of my absolute favorites. I make a small dot in the right-hand margin if the book was published in the same year I’d read it (reading fewer backlist books was a reading goal of mine a year or two ago). And next to the date I might make a few notations – YA (young adult), NF (non-fiction), R (re-read), POC (author or characters of color). I track soooo many more categories in my digital spreadsheet, but those are the ones I found myself looking for most frequently so I could make recommendations.

It’s just a small thing, my Little Black Book, but she’s my precious.

#Riotgram challenge, Day 3: Where You Read.

June 3, 2017

Morning, morning, morning. Except…well, it’s night. It’s been a busy weekend! We’ve had sleepovers and midnight doughnut parties and chicken soup snacks at midnight and tonight is another round of parties, and somewhere in there I fixed the sewing machine and taught Bee-girl how to sew. Oh! And then she and I ran out to the fabric store real quick (as you do) and made a bunch of purchases that were wants, not needs. Whoops.

What I should have been focusing on was today’s challenge: Where do you read?

I have a bunch of answers.

I wanted to find the picture of the new book nooks the girls built, after all of the pre-planned ones failed to come into being. What happened was that after we tilted out the chaise lounge so that Kim (er, or, um, anyone else sitting there) could see the television, there was an interesting space between the kitchen bar and the back of the chaise. That space has been used for forts, hide and seek, playing house – all sorts of things. But mostly, it’s been the book nook.

Of course I can’t find any of the pictures.

But because we are a house stuffed chock-a-block full of readers, I have other pictures at my disposal. Like this one:

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Sometimes I read on my patio. It’s one of my happy places, especially when it’s sunny. Especially when I have a new Stephen King. Especially when I need some quiet, happy time.

That, um, gets blown up when your favorite girls ambush you with some silly string.

I’d tell you I was mad at them and taught them about the value of expensive hardcovers and hair that had just been washed and styled. Except I was dying of laughter and could barely control myself for chasing them around the house with the string I picked up off the ground to fling at them.

We’re a house full of readers. We read all over the place. We just don’t expect any of those places to be sacred and off-guard to anyone. Or any thing.

#Riotgram: Day 2.

June 2, 2017

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Good morning, lovelies! Today is Day 2 of my #Riotgram challenge, as sponsored by BookRiot, which means today should feature books with yellow covers. I remembered to pull some down this morning and let me tell you – it was a pretty decent selection! Yellow is not my favorite color, so who would have thought that some really good books would be in that pile?

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Yes, some pretty good books, indeed! The Autobiography of my Mother is the oldest book in that stack (I had a wild love affair with Jamaica Kincaid in college), and I think The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is the one I’ve read most recently. That or Authority. The Girl with All the Gifts has a sequel out now, and Kim said it’s worth keeping an eye out for. For those who haven’t read the Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley, I fell madly in love with her. She’s like Harriet (the Spy) and Turtle from Westing Game combined. I told you – a good, good pile!

I showed you mine, now you show me yours! What yellow covers are lurking on your shelves?

A little #Riotgram fun for June.

June 1, 2017

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I thought I might make a little bit of fun for myself during June. And the best way to do that is to kick off summer with a fun bookish challenge, am I right? Of course I am!

So I’m picking up this #Riotgram that the ever-lovely Book Riot is sponsoring. We’ll see how often I remember to post. No matter how often or how little, when I do, it’s sure to bring a smile to my face. I hope to yours, too.

Today’s theme is a shelfie. Let’s see what we have!

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#Riotgram: Day 1. Shelfie.

Corrie was over Friday night, before Bee’s infamous birthday sleepover, and in the middle of dishing with me about who knows what all (we hadn’t seen each other in awhile), my bestie blurted out: “Did you color code your bookshelves?!” With some besties, you can tell you’re in when they know if you’ve cut your hair. With my circle, it’s knowing where my books go on my bookshelf.

Although, I have to say – I can’t find anything now. Even if I know, say, that Dicey’s Song is purple, I can’t seem to find it still. So my shelfie might look entirely different at the end of next week. Ask me again!

What about you guys? What’s the craziest thing you can boast of in your shelfies? Have you ever color-coded…and regretted it?