To indulge, unrestrained

When I am finished with my graduate studies, there is one life’s pleasure in which I will indulge, without restraint and without guilt, deeply and utterly.

I cannot wait to read. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, fanfiction, it’s going be a veritable OCEAN of words that I will dip into. And it will be SO enjoyable. The Kobo reader will never leave my side.

Just a glimpse of some of the books in my to-read list:

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So many titles, so little time

I went to our local Chapters bookstore on the weekend. It’s been a while since we went there to just hangout, peruse the aisles, examine the regular shelves, pick up and read a couple of pages of gorgeous, new books. It only works when we are tag-teaming when we have a family outing that includes the little one.

Anyway, there were so many awesome books out there. I’m loving the Kobo e-reader (and the Kobo and Kindle apps on our tablets) but I really really love and rather miss the glossy covers and the tactile feel an smell of the fresh-pressed volumes in my hands.

So, here are some titles I stumbled upon and can’t wait I get to.

a swashbuckling yarn

a swashbuckling yarn

Zenmotorcycle

the classic

Magicians

terrific literary fantasy

Speak

acclaimed teen fiction

Coates

another fantasy/mystery

Shine

a recommended read

So, when will I get to these titles?

After I work. And put Le petit to bed. And read the next 2 articles for my thesis. And edit the chapter of my research methods section. And …Ok, I’m dreaming just a little. It’s going to be a while before I get to these books but that’s ok – it gives me something to really really look forward to.

Bound to others, past and present

Three days ago I saw a trailer for David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.

Now this book, I’ve seen bouncing around in used and new bookstores, like, FOREVER: Toronto, Kingston, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver. So much so, that the cover of this particular edition of the book is ingrained in my mind.

cloud atlas

I’ve never really been interested in reading it, and then when I finally got around to reading reviews, it just seemed like a thick, dense, thinking novel that would take way more devotion and energy than I wanted to commit to, for a book I was only partly interested in.

Then, I saw the trailer.

 

Holy. cow. Do I want to read the book now.

It’s got all the makings of a fascinating film worth hours of post-viewing speculation and conversation. The Wachowski brothers are producing: ’nuff said. Plus, Doona Bae, a doe-eyed Korean actress, has a major role in it, not to mention some other distinctive actors worth watching in any film: Tom Hanks, Jim Broadbent, Halle Berry and Hugo Weaving, just to name a few.

The quote that grabbed me and hasn’t yet let me go, spoken by Halle Berry’s character (I think), is:

Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present.

I don’t know if that is actually a quote from the novel, but for sure I will be checking it out.

Survival tactics

So, December has rolled around, faster than any one of us imagined. Ridiculous us. We should have expected it. 

Three papers, one at 12 pages, the others at 20 pages. At once. Here is where I lament the sad lack of time management skills. If ever there was a time to be developing and practicing those skills, it would have been around month 2 of the program. Month 1 was still pretty tame.

Things that have been helping, a LOT, are:

  1. free and convenient access to a gym where I never have to wait for use of the machines (unlike in Vancouver or Kingston!)
  2. the company of good friends to go out and grab a bite, despite the fact that we have deadlines looming. Food and conversations can help, seriously. 

Here’s to the last month. 

If I’m posting again in the new year, then it will mean I’ve made it and that I’m still interested in new media. Then it will have been worth all the turmoil and panic and (almost) tears. 

Explaining a Kindle to Charles Dickens

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Here is a school project by Rachel Walsh, a student at Cardiff School of Art & Design. The assignment was to “explain something modern/internet based to someone who lived and died before 1900″.

She created a metaphor for the Kindle, in order to demonstrate the gadget to Charles Dickens.

The project caught my eye: it’s a mix of analog & digital, a remix work, and it’s about books. Throw in some historical analysis, interpretation and cultural commentary, and voila – what a fine piece of illustrative art AND food for thought.

More photos of this project and Ms. Walsh’s other work are available at her tumblr blog: http://rachelwalshillustration.tumblr.com

Why Books Will Probably Never Die

……

While smartphones and tablets have quickly been chipping away the market share and overall significance of printed books, I don’t think it’s time to write an epitaph for it just yet. Yes, print publishing is continuing to shrink with all the new gadgets and apps that eternally make reading a whole lot easier but I have three good reasons why it will never be dead.

Reading a book is an experience.

There will always be a digital divide.

Print Technology is evolving as well.

I agree. While I find reading texts on smartphones, tablets and my laptop convenient, reading a printed book in my hands is its own experience that cannot be replicated on other media.

Book sipper or gulper?

On my morning walk to work today I was listening to the most recent Books on the Nightstand podcast, and hosts Ann and Michael discussed the topic of reading in sips or in gulps. Loved the topic.

From their blog:

blog post at Tor.com debates reading books in big gulps or small sips. Jo Walton, the author of the post, says she reads all the time (“…if I’m [at a restaurant] with you, I’ll get my book out for the two minutes while you’re in the bathroom.”), and doesn’t need to read for long stretches to fully enjoy a book.

They discussed the merits of reading in long chunks vs. in little pieces. It got me thinking about my own reading style. The sad reality is that by default – that is, LIFE with a toddler and working full time and owning a house with a yard – I’ve become a book sipper:

  • on the living room couch while Le petit is playing
  • at the table during snacktime (we read our newspapers and ebooks on our laptops, but no computers are allowed during meals, unless we’re watching Ted talks)
  • in the bathroom
  • while travelling by plane or by bus
  • for as long as Le petit naps
  • audiobooks for me while I walk to work
  • at night before sleeping

Sad, because I am MOST satisfied when I get to read in a long uninterrupted chunk, and able to really get into a book, its setting, mood, characters, the sense of place and people – and usually, it takes a little bit of time to get to that place where I am absorbed in the writing and flow and place that the writer have created. For the most part, I rarely can read for longer than 15 minutes at a time these days, the exception being when Le petit goes to sleep at 8pm and I have until 11 or midnight to indulge (if I’m not blogging, catching up on episodes, or cleaning….).

I mentioned this before, but for the past 2 years after Le petit was born, my reading list has consisted of mostly: mass market thrillers and SF/fantasy reads, magazines, articles on the web, and a whole lot of browsing Lucky and Japanese fashion magazines. There’s nothing wrong with this list, but there hasn’t been much time for, for example, tomes like Middlemarch or even smaller books that I know whose sentences and details will need more time and attention to get through.

So, to sum up, I am a gulper by nature who has become a sipper by circumstances.

I miss reading

reading cjazzlee books

I used to read TONS. As in, a book a week, sometimes 3 or 4 when they were delicious thrillers that kept me riveted.  Oh, those days when I could read until 3 am and still be perfectly alert the next day.

2 things in life happened: I hit 33 years old, and a few years later, I had a baby boy. Well, I guess I can add a third, and that’s my discovery of the world wide web. Since then, I cannot seem to find enough time to read. I need to sleep, or pay attention to Le petit who naturally requests my attention, like every 10 minutes or I am distracted by things on the web like fail videos, stupid hipster parodies, tech news, Apple rumours and on and on and on.  So, I’m reading way way less these days.

One way I get through books at all nowadays is via audiobooks. I walk 25 minutes to and from work every day, so that’s almost 50 minutes of listening I can get through. Of course, sometimes I listen to podcasts so I ‘give up’ a book for that particular walk and the other thing is I read way faster than the audiobook narrators read. My iPod lets me put the narration speed on “faster” but that’s still slower than I would physically read. In other words, I get to “read” or listen to books, but at a much much slower pace than it would normally take for me to get through them.  My source for audiobooks? Our local library has tons of downloadable audiobooks (yay, libraries!) and if you poke around on the web, you can easily find some, too.

Another way I get to read is if I go away from mon mari and Le petit on a trip. Doesn’t happen often, and sometimes it is for work so I can’t really stay up super late when I have a presentation and an itinerary to follow the next day. One of the best stretches of reading I’ve had in the past 2 years was on a 6 hour airplane ride where I started and finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which, by the way, is a fabulous fabulous novel.

Something that’s helped me focus on reading, even if it’s been only in small chunks at a time, has been joining a bookclub, formed on a whim by a group of us at work who love to read. Over the past 2 years, we’ve read and discussed about 20 books and whenever we get together, there’s been great food and drink, a terrific bonus.

Even now, at this very moment, if I wasn’t on my Macbook doing what I’m doing, I would be reading something. But I would rather be writing this post. Sigh. It’s a real give-and-take.

In the meantime, my books on the nightstand is growing by the foot. Seriously, there are now about 30 titles there. Plus, I have 3 books out from the library. And even WORSE, I still can’t stop buying new books or used books whenever they cross my path.

What I’ll do instead is finish posting and then lie down and plug in my earphones to listen to my most recent audiobook (Lindsey Davis’ Venus in Copper) until I fall asleep.  I still miss reading.

Update: I should have called this post, I miss reading BOOKS, because I am reading LOTS of shorter pieces – blog posts, essays, articles, tweets even.  Just less of the physical, paper, bound, hefty thingy we hold in our hands.

Obsessions

Current obsessions:

1) Patricia Briggs’ Mercedes Thompson books, 1- 5

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2) bags with lots of pockets and organizers

3) hair p​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​roduc​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ts​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ever since I got my hair cut short

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4) downloading eBooks onto our new netbook

5) customizing and tweaking Chrome

I don’t know why, but I am absolutely loving Patricia Briggs’ Mercedes Thompson series on Audiobook. I’ve read the first 4 of them, listened to #4 and now #5, but now want to hear all of them again – with characters so wonderfully crafted, sexy but scary male characters, convoluted plot turns, and the depiction of a world “peopled” with werewolves, walkers, fae, vampires and other supernatural beings in a way that isn’t comic, dramatically overblown, purple-prosed overly erotic or dripping with adolescent angst. The books are wonderful, the stories riveting, and I really admire Mercedes Thompson. Other than Thomas Perry’s Jane Whitefield books, there has never been a series that keeps me so hungry for the next book after I read the last page of the most recent one.

Sunday afternoon – family and books

Mari is back home after being away in London, Ont for 2 1/2 weeks for work training. It’s good to have him back, his solidity, his kindness, his greeting first thing in the morning, his tenderness and joy in being with Le petit, every day.

I liked my solitude while he was away but I am thrilled to have him back around.

Well, Le petit is now preferring to walk than crawl, and putting his little but big hands everywhere they can reach, and starting to assert his preferences, along with anger or frustration when he doesn’t get his way. Very cute, but something we need to be mindful of to not let him always get his way, and in learning how to curb/shape his character in the meantime.

He is now speaking, too. Not words, but the syllables that come naturally to children: ba ba ba ba, ca ca ca, ki ki ki… this is his wake-up call as well, something that we can all hear as he babbles energetically every morning. I am very happy in my home.

I have also discovered Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones” which I’m listening to. Amazing writing. Shades of Alice Hoffman, esp about in the parts about teenage love and life, and a mystery which I am looking forward to following throughout the chapters. It’s good to find a book I can get excited about.

The other author I’ve been nuts about is Patricia Briggs and her werewolf series, well, now 2 of them. All very excellent with amazing characters. I love her style and the voices of her characters, drawn so uniquely, very distinctly and the male characters so rrrr-rrrr but not over the top in erotic flowery display (a la Laurel Hamilton’s style). I’ve now read all the books except the most recent Alpha&Omega series, so I’ll have to pick that one up this week sometime.