Posts Tagged ‘books’

First love runs deep…

lots o booksI loved the idea of reading even before I knew my letters. I credit my father with this, and his ability to bring the world of Dr Seuss into a vivid and vocal reality. My love of reading led me to a deep and lasting friendship with the books themselves.

Going to a bookstore is one of my favourite pastimes. And always, before I enter, I must take a deep breath and smell the air. The paper and the ink and the knowledge inside combine to make, for me, an intoxicating scent. Honestly, how excited was I to learn that Karl Lagerfeld created my own personalised scent?

And libraries smell different from the stores. You can smell the anticipation of the new books, waiting anxiously to impart their adventures, or wisdom, or humour—waiting for that first crack of the spine when they’ve finally been purchased. Library books are more stately, more secure in their knowledge that they will be useful and read.

I can never purchase a book without first experiencing it. The weight, the feel of the paper, the size and style of the font. All are part of the aesthetics of a book.

Books have been my friends for as long as I can remember. They accompany me everywhere, and always have. I suppose my tattered copy of Fox in Socks was my version of a security blanket. Sometimes I will take a book with me, even when I know I won’t be able to read it, especially when going somewhere new or where I am unsure of myself. My book is a tangible, portable friend, something I can hold on to and use to keep myself grounded in uncertain times.

Just as I am loyal and protective of my friends, I am this way with my books. And I like to introduce the two to each other. Sharing a memorable book with a good friend is one way for me to stay connected with the people I care about. It’s a bit like playing hostess at a party—you want to introduce people who haven’t met but will have something in common, some spark to connect them. So please know if I lend you a book it’s because I care about you and trust you, and want to share a bit of myself.

Just please don’t bend the pages.

Share with me: What’s your favourite book? And what, or who, got you hooked on reading?


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…as long as it’s the right kind.

Yesterday I did not watch the Superbowl. My latest Hugo House blog post explains what I did instead, and why I have a prediliction for a certain kind of porn.


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Book Love…

Here’s my latest blog post for the Hugo House.

I hope you enjoy it.

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Galahad, by Sir Edward Burne-Jones

One of my goals for RoW80 is to read a short story every day. Today I read “Chivalry” by Neil Gaiman. It’s in his collection Smoke and Mirrors. I read one of his stories yesterday, too. This is my first experience reading Gaiman, and I have to say that I am enjoying his work quite a bit so far. There is a quirkiness and irreverence that I totally appreciate and admire.

Something that definitely appealed to me on a personal level with this story is that he makes reference to an obscure book that the main character finds in a thrift shop, Romance & Legend of Chivalry, by A.R. Hope Moncrieff. That book just happens to be sitting on my own personal bookshelf. I am taking this as a good sign.

In addition to reading the story, I also created two spreadsheets. One to track the stories I read, and the other to track my submissions. I feel so organized and on top of things.

I hope all the other RoW80’ers had good, productive first days, too.

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Naturally, I am getting started on the reading portion of my ROW80 goals early. I can’t help it. Call me a compulsive reader. I went to a chiropractor once, and he was appalled at how much my purse weighed, and ordered me to get a smaller, lighter purse. But I can’t fit books into a small purse, and I can’t go anywhere without a book. Okay, so this was long before the Kindle was ever invented, but even so. When it comes to books, I’m a traditionalist. I have yet to become a Kindle convert.

Anyway, I’ve started reading stories by David Foster Wallace. I’d never even heard of David Foster Wallace until I took that “I Write Like” online analysis test. I submitted several different pieces…an essay, a story, and a poem…and each result came back that I wrote like David Foster Wallace. Well. Obviously I needed to find out who this author is.

I read his “Incarnations of Burned Children” in the collection New Sudden Fiction. Let me just say that it was awful. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean that this story was well written, but what happened in it was so…awful. And heartbreaking. Wallace was so adept at capturing this everyday moment that can suddenly become so horribly life changing. I made the mistake of reading this story on my lunch break, and had a very hard time returning to work that day.

So now I’m reading stories from his collection Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. I just picked this up, so I haven’t gotten very far. But I will say now that I am completely enamored of Wallace’s versatility.

I’m going to go read some more now. Then maybe write some. You should, too.

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I just could not get in the holiday spirit this year. Which in all honesty doesn’t bother me too much. What is getting to me is that my mood is affecting my writing. Or, more specifically, lack of writing. The only things I feel inspired to write are things that should never, ever be seen by anyone. Including myself.

It’s not that I want to write depressing, mediocre poetry with my broken heart as the subject and main character. But that is what is consuming me, so unfortunately, that is what’s coming out in my writing. How do you avoid letting your mental or emotional funk get the better of your work?

I think it helped a little getting out of town for a couple of days. It was a completely spontaneous decision. I threw some clothes and books and my youngest son in the car and just started driving. We ended up in Portland. This was actually fortuitous, since it allowed me to spend Christmas Day at Powell’s. If there is a mecca for book lovers, Powell’s is it. I could get lost in there for days. Alas, on Christmas they are only open until 6 p.m.

Although I think it did improve my mood somewhat to avoid the holiday as much as possible, I did attempt to bring a little Christmasy feel to our decidedly anti-Christmas weekend. Figuring that the Little One, who just turned three, would enjoy the lights, I took him to the Festival of Lights at The Grotto. The irony is not lost on me that while we were there, both my son and I cut our fingers, enough to draw blood.

I guess that’s what this little Pagan gets for going to a Catholic sanctuary on Christmas Eve.

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I recently went through the standard review process at work. It was a pretty painless experience. However, something that stood out was a comment my manager wrote in the written report:

   Cate is a poet and grammarian at heart.

I couldn’t agree more.

I am in the midst of completing a six-month blog  internship at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle. So far, I am having just so much fun with it. After my initial interview, my “boss” decided to put me in charge of the “Word of the Day” feature for the RHH blog. My love affair with words goes back a long time, so I am completely in my element with this assignment.

If you get a chance, check it out. And if you’re so inclined, leave a comment. Or offer a suggestion for a new book for me to read that is replete with splendid new vocabulary words!

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