Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Well for the love of Pete. There is something wrong with my blogging skillz. I have none.

So much for "giving myself direction".

I have read a billion books since my last post. Like, more than I'd read in the three months I actually posted. Apparently writing about the books I'm reading makes me read less. Sensical, no?

I am going to try to make a list, a plain old boring list, and post it here this week. I may as well keep track even if I'm not keeping up.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jane Bites Back

Finished Jane Bites Back last night. It was... funny! and entertaining! and actually well done, for this sort of thing. Making fun of Jane Austen sequels and spinoffs while being a Jane Austen spinoff is not easy to do, but this was a good little read. Jane seemed perfectly Jane-like, in a new sort of way. I did groan a bit when I realized there was a sequel already, but I am sure I will pick it up if I see it at the library. I'm such a sucker.

Monday, March 22, 2010

And other things.

Hey! Books! I'm reading some!


Equal Rites.
I lost this one in the sofa, apparently, with only 10 pages to go. I had visions of having to pay the library $90 (or whatever unholy sum it would cost) for a $6.99 paperback. Jared found it when we were moving things for the carpet cleaner so I was able to finish it yesterday and save myself the unholy sum. Whew. Close call.

Bill Bryson's Neither Here Nor There.
If Bill Bryson published a daily log of his meals and bathroom usage I would read it. Stick him in Bulgaria and I think I've died and gone to heaven. That man brings The Funny and The Did He Just Say That? like nobody. I love every word. Love.

Up Next:

Crap, I have no idea. I never started that Jane as vampire book... I have a few other books at home I've been dying to read... and I got some good recommendations here and elsewhere. I'll start something tonight, for sure.

This is How Big of a Nerd I am:

So I obviously got very in to the Betsy-Tacy series back there. One of my favorite things was reading the real history behind the stories at the end of each book. Maud Hart Lovelace grew up in a Minnesota town and she based most of the series on her own life. Included in the biographical sections, with pictures (!), were a few fun facts that completely drew me in.

1. Maud (and thus Betsy!) was born on April 25th, 1892. I was born April 25th, 1982. Love sharing birthdays with people!
2. In their later years, Maud and her family moved to Claremont, CA. I live in Montclair about 5 steps from Claremont. I grew up around Claremont. My mom lives in Claremont. Etc. etc. This was way too exciting to me.

See? Nerd. Ahem.

After I finished all the books I tried to find out just where this Claremont house was. I know that her Minnesota homes are all on tours and easily located in guidebooks and websites and everywhere, if you’re a Betsy-Tacy fan. I couldn’t find the Claremont house though.

So, being me, I wrote to the President of the Maud-Hart Lovelace Society. I know. I’m a nerd. Shush.

She oh-so-kindly replied with the address, where she had found the address (The Besty-Tacy Companion, currently sitting on my bookshelf thanks to the LA County library, just waiting to be cracked open), and told me she would just love if I could send her a picture of it. Then she told me she thought the Claremont library might have more information for me (it doesn’t) because she knew that the local Society branch had donated a park bench years ago in her honor. Which is when I lost it, because I have totally sat on that bench while my kid ran around the library grounds, and I had always thought it was just a city bench with some plaque dedicated to Mayor So-and-So, and you get the point. I’ve been sitting on the Betsy-Tacy bench!!!

On our library outing that week I got all giddy at the sight of it, and then got all sad because I had forgotten my camera. But. I have a little trip planned for a free Saturday soon. Maud’s Claremont house (which is less than a mile from my last apartment) and the Claremont library bench. Just me and my camera, so I can send pictures to the Society president one of these days.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I finished The Light Fantastic this weekend, and moved on to Equal Rites. This third Disc book is about a young girl who ends up with Wizard powers, but Wizards are supposed to be boys. Cheeky monkey. I’m liking it. Almost done.

I also got a few books from the library to add to my stack of Library Books I Must Read Quickly.

I have a super nerdy story I must tell regarding my newfound devotion to the Betsy-Tacy books, but it must wait for a better afternoon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Better, and Other Thoughts

The Light Fantastic has gotten much better. Hoorah. I've realized I don't like these beginning Terry Pratchett books as much because they spend so much time on boring Genesis-ian (what, it's totally a word) bits of "In the beginning, there was a turtle riding on four elephants" etc. etc. etc.

I know these things from reading later books, I don't need it spelled out for me. I try to remember that someone reading this, his second Disc world novel, when it was published in 1986 would not be privy to the information I've gathered from later novels. But it's still annoying. We seem to be past that in this book, now, so I think I'm good to go. Either way I'll stop complaining about it and realize once again that I should have started from the damn beginning in the first place.

The Other Thoughts:
I check in here so sporadically that I didn't even realize I'd gotten a comment earlier in the month. Oops.

I wanted to read over watching LOST last night.

I like to figure out stupid things like: I am averaging one book every 4.something days.

This, sadly, is a much lower average (seems to me - I haven't done the math) than in my pre-kid days. I guess that's to be expected, but I wish I still had hours to just sit and consume an entire book. That would be heaven.

But living life is the priority and I can't exactly complain about that either. There is more to life than books, right? Right? :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Now what?

Now I've finished the Betsy books and I have a stack of books still to read, and I don't know where to begin.

I'm reading Terry Pratchett's The Light Fantastic and it's... eh. I'll finish it, but it will take me a while.

I checked this book out of the library, mostly because it looks hilarious. Jane Austen is a vampire? How could I not want to read that?

I guess I'll see which of these I finish first. Or at all.

And then there were none.

I finished reading the last of the Betsy-Tacy series last night. And I cried. What delight and sadness and life are in those books.

The final 7:
Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
Heaven to Betsy
Betsy in Spite of Herself
Betsy Was a Junior
Betsy and Joe
Betsy and the Great World
Betsy's Wedding

Just pure goodness. I am bewitched.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Octarine, Apparently.

I finished Terry Pratchett's The Color of Magic last night.

I’m finding it useful, if not completely entertaining, to go back to Pratchett’s earlier works and read the “foundations” of his Disc World. This book was great in parts and not as well written in others, and definitely not my fave. Totally necessary, of course, and I’m glad I read it. I loved the tourist Twoflower, and it was cool reading about younger Rincewind. He’s mentioned randomly in later books and it’s good to learn about his character (or lack thereof) and re-think his minor roles later on.

Plus, in addition to starting at the beginning as I’m doing with this book (next up is Book 2 – The Light Fantastic), I sort of want to re-read the Pratchett books I’ve already read, now that I've got more history. Oops. Note to self – start at the beginning next time. Although – if I had started at the beginning I may have stopped there. So, this might be the exception to the rule.

Also – Pratchett is clearly being added to my “Will Read Anything By:” list. Already on the list: Christopher Moore, Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, Jane Austen. More I can’t think of right at the moment. I have a thing about finding an author I love and devouring every bit of them I can get my hands on. Bonus for me if they're still alive and writing. Bonus for them too, obviously. :)  So cheers, Terry Pratchett. May your not-perfect health teeter on this edge of life for as long as possible.

Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill

Last night I read Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill. I laughed, I cried, I wondered at the little girls who have read this in the last 60 years and hoped they got the message from it that I did. This was a freaking children’s book, with a very powerful message of inclusion and acceptance and what it really means to be an American. I know, right? Silly.

In it, Betsy and her friends are now 10, and trying to be All Grown Up. Along the way they discover that whatever age they are, they’ll always have fun. Cheesy.

But just oh so cute. It is amazing that I book I’m reading in 2010 as a 27-year-old woman, that was written in the 1940’s about 10-year-old girls in the early 1900’s, could remind me so much of what my childhood was and what I always wanted it to be.

Up next for Betsy and Tacy and me: Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown! Thrilling, no doubt.  :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Yesterday I finished Betsy-Tacy, and then I read all of Betsy-Tacy and Tib. So so cute. These books are so simple but so lovely. I want a daughter to share them with. On to the next Betsy book - Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill.

Last week I finished Thief of Time, finally. Not his best, but good. I am working on The Color of Magic, which is the first Discworld book by Terry Pratchett. I've already an easy dozen of the Discworld novels, and I'd tried to read this book once before. I think I made it 10 pages that time. Now that I know and love that World that much more, I'm finding it easier to get in to.

Tuesday is library night in my house, but I've had a stack of books I've been tackling already so I'll limit myself to one or none.

Don't think it counts as a "read" but I have also been enjoying Ken Burns' National Parks book, which I checked out at the library. Beautiful pictures, great stories, and I didn't get to see the whole miniseries so I'm loving browsing the book for what I missed. Makes me want to get out and see more of the National Parks. But who has the time? Nah, for now I'll just keep reading.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Still reading

The last week or so has been a mess of sick kid and busy life. I am still reading the same three or so books I've been reading for two weeks, which is weird for me. Must remedy that. I think I'll finish one up tonight. And blog tomorrow.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What to read?

I have a dozen books on the to-read pile right now, and there are a few I'm reading that I need to finish. But I'm going to start this blog with a book I just started reading today. Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace.

I had never read or heard of this book until Wednesday or so when our Christmas presents arrived from my father-in-law. My presents were two volumes with two books each, one containing Heaven to Betsy and Betsy in Spite of Herself, and one containing Betsy and the Great World and Betsy's Wedding. The cover art for these books was great, and one had a foreword by Anna Quindlen, so I was instantly drawn in. I read both forewords and realized that these were books 5, 6, 9, and 10 of a very old, adorable series of 10 books. They start as independent reader aged books and the writing grows up with Betsy, so that you can continue with the series as you "get older". Being 27 now, I'm obviously not going to age much as I read these. But also being someone who loves kids/young adult books, I'm fine with that.

I found the first 4 books in the series at my library, so I've checked them out and started the first. Betsy is just about five years old, the print is huge, and the illustrations are so young and cute. It will be interesting to read 20 years of one character's life throughput the series and see how she grows. From what I've read of the series and the author, Betsy was a feminist way before her time, and she's inspired women all over to write and to be who they want to be.