My 15 Minutes

If y’all are bored with my talk of literature over here (or even if you’re not), head on over to Frema’s place and check out my recap of another brilliant piece of writing: Love, Betrayal and a Baby — Part 2.

It’s a big day for me. Something that I wrote is published on Frema’s fabulous blog. And so far her readers don’t hate it. Would it be wrong to have a celebratory glass of sangria on my lunch break? (Probably.)

I guess I’ll wait until I get home to really start celebrating. But in the meantime, go over there and let me know what you think, will ya?

Five Books That Everyone Should Read, Now and Forever, Amen

A while* ago, Gary requested that I write more about the books I read so that he could get some ideas for good reading material. I try to do that with the Book Challenge, but there hasn’t been an update on that recently because I have been reading a 1,000-page book and it is taking me forever. It’s really good, so I don’t mind, but the print is small and I only get about 20 minutes/day to read, so it’s taking awhile*. Since I picked it up, I had to take a break to read Harry Potter (so, that would be book #21 on the list), and then I took another break just last week to read my SDBBE** book (which was a book I’ve already read several times before; I haven’t decided if I’m going to let myself count re-reads towards my 30-book goal. Probably if I’ve only read 29 other books by December 31, I will count it. Otherwise I might not). So, the book challenge is a bit slow-going at the moment, thus the lack of literature-related posts. (Look how I said “literature” right there. As if to imply that I tend to read high-brow works of fiction and not just a bunch of chick lit and trashy romance novels. Good one, Audrey.)

SO, ANYWAY. Here is a list of my five all-time favorite books. Books that I own (with the exception of one, which will be on my Christmas list this year. Gift-givers take note.) and could read over and over and over again. I love them for different reasons, and there’s quite a range of themes, writing styles, etc. on this little list. One is humorous. A couple are so beautifully written that they blur the line between prose and poetry. Another is one of the mots romantic books I’ve ever read. All of them are thought-provoking and amazing in their own way.

Without further ado, I give you Five Books That Everyone Should Read, Now and Forever, Amen:

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett Armageddon is coming, and it’s all going to start in a little town outside of London. Oh, and it’s going to happen this Saturday.

This book has it all: An angel and a demon who would really prefer to keep the whole human race around for a bit longer, an 11-year-old Antichrist, his pet hell hound, the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse, the 4 other horsemen of the Apocalypse, prophecies, witch hunters, fortune tellers, satanic nuns, and some of the best footnotes ever written.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this book, but I still laugh out loud every single time. It actually manages to get funnier with each reading. It’s hilarious, intelligent, and at times even heart-warming and thought-provoking.

Read it. I promise it will be well worth your time.

The Bone People by Keri Hulme — Three New Zealanders with drastically different backgrounds — an abused orphan, an emotionally-shattered widower, and a deeply introspective recluse — are brought together through unexpected circumstances and struggle to come to terms with the past, the present, and one another. This book is, at its core, all about family.

Oh, but it’s so much more than that. It is poetry. It is heart-wrenchingly beautiful. It is tragic, infuriating, depressing, elating, inspiring, and joyous.

It is incredible.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger — Henry travels through time, although he can’t control where (when) he goes, when he leaves the present, or how long he’ll stay in the past or future. He is married to Clare, who first met him when she was about six and he was a middle-aged man who had shown up in the meadow near her house claiming to have come from the future.

I checked this book out from the library on a recommendation from several of you Internet people. From the moment I picked it up I was completely sucked in, and over the following two days I only ever put it down long enough to eat, sleep, and go to work.

It’s a love story more than a science fiction novel. It’s not one of those change-the-past-to-fix-the-future stories; Henry can’t alter the course of his and Clare’s lives any more than he can control his time traveling. What it is, though, is an extraordinary tale that I would read over and over again (if only I had a copy of my own).

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood — A chilling and disturbing novel about a dystopian society in the “near future.” Women are strictly controlled and separated into castes — childless Wives, housekeeping Marthas, and fertile Handmaids who serve as surrogates for the Wives. Offred (read: of-Fred, as she is the Handmaid in Fred’s house), describes her life as a handmaid, remembers longingly her life before everything changed, and desperately wonders what became of her own husband and daughter.

This is another novel in which the prose borders on poetry, but if you’ve read any of Atwood’s other work, that shouldn’t surprise you. She is an excellent writer with many great books; of the books of hers that I’ve read, this is without a doubt my favorite.

It’s a work of fiction, of course, but it’s just believable enough to thoroughly creep you out. My favorite line in the entire book is this one: “Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub, you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.”

Not So Quiet by Helen Zenna Smith — Published in 1930, this eye-opening novel places you in the passenger seat of one of the ambulances driven by women at the front lines in France during World War I. The horrifying nightmares these women face are a far cry from what the “Doing Our Bit!” propaganda at the time would have had you believe.

I’ll admit that this book might not be for everyone. The details get a bit gory at times, and the book is full of heavy political undertones. However I do think it’s a worthwhile read for anyone, regardless of political leanings. It’s an interesting look at society’s perception of war versus the harsh reality of the front lines, and it’s incredibly well written to boot.


So, there you have it. My five all-time favorite books. If you happen to read any of them, let me know what you think**. And if you want, feel free to chime in with your all-time favorite books in the comments. If I ever finish this 1,000-page book, I’m going to need more good reading material. So bring on the recommendations!

*Awhile? A while? This is one rule I can never remember. Help me, fellow grammar geeks!

**SDBBE participants should maybe not rush out to the library/book store and check out/buy all of these books right away. It’s possible that one of them will be making its way to your house sometime in the next few months***.

***I hope that by saying this I haven’ t gotten your hopes up for one of the books that is not coming to your house. But, you know, the library is a wonderful place and can help you through that potentially difficult time.

20 Things That Happened in My House Tuesday Night

  1. We turned on the TV to see what we had in the DVR queue.
  2. TV happened to be on the CW.
  3. I completely ignored the commercials that were on and focused on reading the list of recorded shows.
  4. Tim said “What? Directed by Kevin Smith?”
  5. I said “Whachyou talkin’ ’bout?”
  6. (Not really, but that’s way funnier than what I did say, which was “…”)
  7.  Suddenly the DVR menu had disappeared and Tim was … rewinding the TV? To watch a commercial? WTF?
  8. Commercial was for Reaper.
  9. I said, “Oh, I saw that advertised all over the Internet today.”
  10. Tim said, “What’s it about?”
  11. I said, “Hell if I know. I ignored the ads completely. Something about the devil?”
  12. Commercial continued. Show is directed by Kevin Smith and also has that Brad guy from Grounded for Life in it.
  13. Show looked okay, but since Tim was paying enough attention to know that the show was directed by Kevin Smith, we knew it had potential to be far better than okay.
  14. We told the TV to record all new episodes.
  15. We watched something else for an hour while Reaper recorded.
  16. We watched Reaper.
  17. We laughed our asses off.
  18. I wondered aloud, “How have we never heard of this show? It is freaking awesome!”
  19. We continued to laugh our asses off.
  20. We thanked the TV gods for letting Tim hear Kevin Smith’s name in the commercial so that we would pay attention and know about this amazing new show that has come into our lives.

You guys, you have got to check out this show next week. Unfortunately, the CW website doesn’t appear to have the pilot online for y’all to watch, but trust me. It’s so freaking funny. Set your DVRs/TiVos. Give it a chance. It will be well worth your time, I promise.

Brittany Wins.

Y’all. Look what just showed up in my inbox courtesy of Brittany:

Does it get much more awesome than that? I submit that it does not.

Wednesday-Bensday! Special Handsome Dog Edition

Just look at that handsome dog! He sure is a cutie!

Also, look at that ugly yard! This picture was taken sometime last spring, and is a good example of how ugly our yard used to be. Now it’s all green and grassy and beautiful. It looks almost as good as the little white dog who loves to run all over it.

Happy Wednesday-Bensday! Be sure to stop by and give Rufus and Ted some puppy lovin’!

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