Posts Tagged ‘books’

Your Kindle Means Nothing

Posted: May 19, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I have a Kindle and I’m meh about it. It’s like a fine hand job; one enjoys it. I guess. It serves its purpose, but unless offered to you, you forget it’s an option.

Which is fine with me, because I, for one, have a heated love affair with the printed word. Like actually in print, black and white, Times New Roman font  (give me Comic Sans and die), smelling like a dirty thrift store, greasy paperback word book.

There’s something about the weight of the word in your hands. The heft. The smugness of flashing what you’re reading to others. Nyah, nyah, I read about SMART THINGZ.

Uhhh, how did this get in here?

Uhhh, how did this get in here?

Despite owning a Kindle, a device able to carry tons of books in one compact piece of technology, I still take three books along when I travel. Maybe I’m silly. Maybe I haven’t adjusted to the electronic age, but damn it I can’t. I like my books meaty.

The only reason I use a Kindle is to get a book ASAP.  Say one night I’m on Amazon all sweaty-palmed and breathing heavily and see a book I absolutely must have. Then this is where I unearth the Kindle. One click and BAM! I have it.

And still. Sometimes I hold out for the actual book.

Why you ask? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY, JULES?

Well, let me elaborate in handy-dandy list form.

1. The Satisfaction of Finishing

Ahem.

Reading and finishing a 450-page book on a Kindle isn’t as satisfying as finishing the real live thing. You’re done. You close the book with a hearty thump. The sense of accomplishment is a tangible thing.  I’m a visual person. I need to see this.

The Kindle Progress Bar is worthless.

Hell. Go there.

Hell. Go there.

It doesn’t make me feel secure in the knowledge that I’m making progress. I don’t even know what I’m looking at. Do the tick marks serve a purpose? Will they grant wishes?  I guess I’m 41% done but how many pages left?

HOW MANY?

2. The Smell

C’mon. Books just smell good.  Especially the old ones.

3. My Collection

(cue evil laugh)

I like to look at all the books and know I own them. Just like that hobo in my basement but that’s a story for another time.

Shh, it can hear you breathing.

Shh, it can hear you breathing.

I’ll probably never reread the books on my Kindle. I own Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas electronically but I’ll still buy the book one of these days. Building up my book collection is a good thing. I love my office library and if I had my choice my entire house would be covered in books.

Like this. Precisely like this.

Like this. Precisely like this.

4. The Memories

I travel a lot. I read a lot. The two go together like Sid and Nancy. Minus the whole murder thing.

Aw, precious.

Aw, precious.

I remember many, many books I’ve read while traveling, and on vacation, and the cities I’ve read them:  Ayiti – New Orleans, This Book is Full of Spiders – San Francisco, Hell’s Angels – Dublin, etc, etc.

On the Kindle I forget. I don’t have that physical piece to call up my memories.

Actual books are like roadmaps to where I’ve been and who I was when I read them.

5. Zombie Apocalypse

Granted, you may have more important things to do like running for your life and pitchforking Zombies than consider the old book during a Zombie Apocalypse, however, when the crazy slows down and you settle into your new lifestyle of fear and paranoia, ol’ mr. electric ain’t gonna be around.

Where does that Kindle come into play now? Huh sucker? You’re probably chucking it at a Zombie’s head or using it to dig some type of mass grave maybe. I don’t know. Don’t ask me to imagine things further because they’ll get out of control.

Aaaand, Zombie Strippers. Check.

Aaaand, Zombie Strippers. Check.

Books are reliable. In any disaster scenario, they’re always there. When you have no electric, you have a book. You can still read in the daytime and by candlelight at night.

They still exist.

But so do Zombies.

So you’re probably gonna die.

Hello, My Name is Jules and I’m a book fondler.

"Ma'am, the lanyard clearly says 'rapist'."

“Ma’am, the lanyard clearly says ‘rapist’.”

But this wasn’t always the case. Back when I was young and silly…

"Makin' out with a dog because it feels so good...nom nom..."

“Makin’ out with a dog because it feels so good…nom nom…”

…I used to operate under the assumption that books were to be treated like precious artifacts. Not to be manhandled, or pried too far open, or dog eared.

Taking a crap and reading is hard, yo.

Taking a crap and reading is hard, yo.

I would read in the bathtub all the time and occasionally drop books into the murky water. This would commence the frantic flopping around rescue of probably a Sweet Valley Twins or Christopher Pike book. I was near tears when this happened, believing I had treated the book horribly, ruined it forever.

Imagine me, back in the day, living like Regina Morrow from Sweet Valley High every time I tarnished a book. Except picture the photo of Bruce Patman as the actual book.

It's hard I know.

It’s hard I know.

And when I borrowed books to other people, you better believe I was on watch that my book was returned in appropriate condition. If the book I loaned came back creased, spine dented, or dog eared this usually resulted in a scolding to the borrower as I was not allowed to give public executions.

"Yeah, I kinda ruined those. Sorry about that."

“Yeah, I kinda ruined those for everyone. Sorry about that.”

I was a stingy asshole back in the day (apologies to my 13-year-old self).

But not really, Christ, look at that hair.

But not really, Christ, look at that hair.

But somehow this miraculously changed. Within the last 10 years, my feelings on fondling books have done the old switcheroo – kinda like a Thai prostitute on a hot and confusing Saturday night.

Now I play fast and loose with my books.

BOOKS. Not boobs.

BOOKS. Not boobs.

The reason for this is simple.

As I read and reread books over and over again I came to appreciate the wear and tear. A tattered book is a loved book. It was read well and appreciated. Now if I drop a book in the bath, I calmly retrieve it, sip my wine and continue reading, letting the pages dry. I dog ear books at the good, juicy parts. I write in them. I highlight. I record my thoughts and emotions. It’s important to me. Because when I go back and read it, I’ll remember. When I loan it to others they can see my words and silently mouth what-that-fuck?

These days, I’m a cavalier bastard. Like Elizabeth Wakefield, except pretend Todd Wilkins is a book. The motorcycle can be a couch because I just really don’t care for the outdoors.

"WHEEEE, books!"

“WHEEEE, books!” “Shut up, Elizabeth.”

This doesn’t mean I’m cruel. I don’t intentionally use books as scapegoats, or birth control, or as shields in a back alley knife fights.  I just don’t sweat a little rippin’ and tearin’.

My feelings about lovingly tattered books are carried over into how I generally feel about much in life. Current and future wrinkles, they are mine, so back the fuck off. I have laughed and loved and lived. I have scars and I am still alive. You can’t avoid them and you should be proud of what you hold.

Unless of course you hold the Ebola virus then I cannot help you.

Unless of course you hold the Ebola virus then I cannot help you.

This is what makes me a book fondler. I shall probably be one until the end of time. Or until they fingerprint me and lock me away in book prison.

This photo says all you need to know.

This photo says all you need to know.

I imagine it’s a nice place.

50 Shades of WTF

Posted: September 9, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Lately I’ve been accosted by numerous co-workers trying to entice me into reading the latest crazy “50 Shades of Grey”. They look at me with glazed eyes, talking about some person named Christian as I slowly back away. And no. No, I will not read this book. I will never ever read this book. I will scream this from the rooftops and punch the next person who asks me that in the teeth. I would rather watch a unicorn hump a dolphin.

You haven’t taken a pounding until you take one from a Unicorn.

I have nothing against those who read this book. I don’t wish you ill will but leave me out of it. Taking any rants out of my argument about how it demeans women, it’s still not for me. “But how do you KNOW?” those have wailed at my feet with regards to “50 Shades of Grey”, “How do you really know unless you read?”

Don’t mind me I just read “50 Shades of Grey”.

Oh. Believe me. I know.

1. It’s a fad

I am behind the game, mostly in terms of life and I don’t mind that. I’m the girl who just now discovered the 2012 Pantone color is Tangerine Tango and had no idea what to do with this information as the Sephora sales clerk painted my lips clownish orange.

Getting sucked into a fad pains me. Hard. And I’m not claiming to be a hipster; I’ve just never been with it in terms of pop culture or coolness or fashion sense.

Oh, you mean the camo look isn’t in anymore?

Plus, I really hate getting in on something that everyone is ga-ga for. I don’t like talking to people on a normal basis, what makes you think I want to discuss The Big Bang Theory with you at the water cooler?

I WANT TO BE UNCOMFORTABLY DIFFERENT, DAMN IT.

I just now am reading “Hunger Games”. It took me years to get to “Harry Potter”. I’ll admit, I did read “Twilight”. Hell, sometimes you need a good escape but this is one fad I can’t get into because…

2. Bad writing

I’m not claiming to be a literary scholar. Typically I’m not a snobby reader. Hell, I read the Sweet Valley Confidential and it curled my fucking toes, people. That Francine Pascal is a goddamn goddess. But I read it because it was pure nostalgia. I didn’t read it with a straight face but I liked it.

But this. This.

Twilight was horribly written. Yes, good plot, entertaining as hell, but poorly written. And still do you know how many times people have said to me, a scoff on their face, “But I don’t read “50 Shades” for the romance…”

So, horribly aghast, I ask – THEN WHY? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD…

Why, if not for the romance, then why waste the time? Clearly, it’s not for the prize-winning writing. This book doesn’t have anything else going for it other than kinky sex and glorifying some controlling man who treats his woman like a piece of meat (Ditto to Edward in Twilight). This book was not written for merit and that’s fine, but own that.  Just read it, get hot and bothered while the kids watch TV and have your fun. That’s not wrong. You’re entitled to that; I’d rather read “Justine” by the Marquis de Sade and get a little culture going alongside side my sadistic nature.

Is-Is there even a contest?

Because if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s…

3. The Romance

THIS is the real reason I will not read “50 Shades” and probably the most valid of them all.

Reading romance or sex scenes turns me into a 5-year-old. “Tee-hee a penis!” I’m not a prude. Sex scenes in movies, yes please. But reading any sort of hot and heavy, fanciful, flowery scenes make me cringe and giggle and blush.

I just don’t dig the genre.

I get all my sex tips from the cat.

Seriously, just reading the excerpts from Jezebel make me want to strangle myself with the cords from my window blinds.  Strangle in the non-kinky way, mind you.

“We will fuck you up hard. And by that we mean we will tangle together until you become really, really pissed off.”

To quote “50 Shades…” “Argh!” I cry as I feel a weird pinching sensation deep inside me as he rips through my virginity.”

Can I – Can I just unread this? Please? This does not turn me on. I’m not the romantic or BDSM or whatever else they’re calling this these days. Look people, I’m the girl who canceled the anniversary gift I got from my husband – a couples massage—because it creeped her out.

I’m the girl who when my husband tells me he ran me a bath I suspiciously ask why.

I’m the girl who skips the romantic scenes in books only to wonder why the main female character is now pregnant five pages later.

How other people approach romance.

I can’t do romance. Maybe I have MaxDuplication  issues. In any case, I’ll save the money and let the TV show American Horror Story diagnose my sorry ass.

I guess, what I’m trying to say is that in the end, I just can’t stomach romance and bad writing when it comes to this book. In less elegant words, I’d rather look at a t-shirt of these pigs fucking.

 

You’re welcome.

Get out your bear skins and prepare the Montana Bananas because this blog post is all about a little thing I love to call “camping”.

Ok, so everyone calls it camping. Jerks.

Everything I learned about this great hobby (is this a sport yet Olympics?!) I learned from my dad.

My dad is awesome.

The great father is a cross between Jeff Bridges and a mountain man at its finest. He’s taught me many things in life; probably the best and most important have been (in no particular order): camping, fishing and swearing like a sailor (thanks dad!).

From the time I was a wee child, swigging watered-down apple juice like a baller, I was camping.

Nature is amazing, bitches.

My parents would let me climb on rocks and frolic in the wilderness (probably in the hopes that I’d be carried off by a mountain lion but that’s another story).

“Now drink the juice and just forget…”

Every summer my father would pack up me and my little sister and we’d hit the forest. Out in the Montana wild it’s beauty and awe. Nothing compares to Red Lodge or Cooke City or Forest Lake.

Bask in my beauty.

We would rough it too. I’m a true Montanan – I can go for days without a shower, sleep on the hard ground and chop wood with the best of them.

My dad taught me well. Even today I make him proud (hi dad!). At least in the camping realm. On the “lady-like” front I can’t speak to that.

Exhibit A.

So this weekend, my husband and I packed up our cache and hit the road for Flagstaff, AZ. Arizona may seem un-campable but up north are great little forest areas that could almost, almost, be mistaken for Montana.

Squint hard.

I have three requirements for camping:

-books

I call this the “Blair Witch” pose.

-music

-wine

The dynamic duo.

Sometimes I require a fire, but this being dry Arizona, fires are prohibited so sadly, we were unable to start one. I can make an exception. One other thing I do when camping is I always compare it to camping with my dad – something that I’m sure makes my husband want to throttle me.

“My dad always starts a fire. He doesn’t need gasoline.”

“We always would fish when we camped with my dad.”

“MY DAD IS BETTER THAN YOU. NEENER NEENER.”

So we arrived. And wearing my lucky Outsiders t-shirt…

We set up camp…

From this…

…to this

I had a glass of wine while the husband toiled with pitching a tent. I made a makeshift paper towel holder. Classing up the forest one day at a time.

The time on my hands astounds me.

From there we went on a walk where we stumbled upon the cutest horny toad. I really wanted to pick this little guy up and put him in my pocket.

All together now, “Awwwww…”

Eventually we settled in for the day/night. I discovered a few things in my newest camping attempt. Peeing in the woods is impossible when you’re on the GODDAMN ARIZONA TRAIL.

This is not the correct way to pee in the woods. I repeat IT IS NOT.

Yes. We camped right on the main trail where every 10 minutes hikers and bikers would come traipsing through. This resulted in a Jules, pants down around her ankles, scouring the forest, only in mid-pee have to yank said pants back on.

Now, as mentioned in an earlier post, I can shit/pee in the woods with the best of men. In fact, it was my stepmom who showed me the correct way to do this. I just do the P90X squat, with my back against the tree, and pray to baby Jesus that a spider doesn’t go skittering down my backside.

Tony Horton would be proud.

From there…more wine was poured, the music came on and I whipped up a delicious dinner of blue cheese burgers, beans and creamed corn.

Order up, mofos.

We lounged in chairs like sultans and enjoyed the beauty of the forest. Although I must say, drinking wine and watching mountain bikers drive by and their stares of envy was a bit intimidating since they were working out and I was not. I felt guilty.

I lied. I don’t feel guilty.

Darkness descended. There ensued the bright idea of trying to map the stars and constellations using only my phone and my drunken knowledge. I traipsed through the woods. Walking tipsy in flip flops was probably not the best idea but it worked out for the best. I found the big dipper – a third grade rookie move – and promptly called it quits.

The best part of the trip came at about 10pm. The coyotes started their howling.

LISTEN HERE

It was all sorts of creepy, majestic wonder, making me realize that whenever I’m out in the secluded woods at night is usually the precise moment I start to regret my love of horror movies.

I regret it so hard.

Books burn! I weep!

It’s a horrible thought – books burning. Luckily we don’t live in communist China and except for the great Disco Demolition Night of 1979 we don’t have to worry too much about people lighting the objects we love on fire on purpose.

So this got me thinking…what books would I save if it came down to it? Imagine your house is on fire and you can pause time to save five books before fleeing the burning abode as coolly as Kurt Russell in Backdraft.

 

Eeeee, FIRE!

Think of the books you couldn’t part with.

Luckily, most books are replaceable except for the ones that hold a soft spot in your dreary, sentimental soul.

And because I’m a big fan and get hot for odd numbers, let’s put a cap on this to FIVE books. Yes, you heard me. Just five.

THIS IS THE SOPHIE’S CHOICE OF BOOK POSTS.

My choices to save.

 

Book porn right here.

 

All mean something to me. All have an explanation.

 

1. The Very Scary Almanac by Eric Elfman

I SCAAAARED

I remember the moment I got this book with perfect clarity. My dad and I were in a drugstore, it was nearing Halloween and he said I could get a book. Dad knew me well.

The Very Scary Almanac was on a rack as well as another Halloween-themed recipe book. And so I was torn between how to make grapes feel like moist eyeballs or learning about The Bermuda Triangle.

I chose wisely.

11 year-old Jules approves.

I have no doubt this book set me on my path of freakiness, gave me my current love of the odd and paranormal. To this day, I’m still amazed and fascinated by the weird.

Subjects dad did not frown upon.

Every October I still read it.

I’d save this baby from a burning building any day.

With tips like this how could you not?

 

2. The Outsiders by SE Hinton.

 

Let’s do this shit for Johnny.

This book made me a writer. I read this in seventh grade I think and instantly I knew I wanted to write. It’s stuck with me. This copy is my original. Weathered and battered, it’s been mine for a long, long time.

I’ll never loan it out to anyone.

I read this book to my little sister when we lived in our grandmother’s basement (yes, make a story out of that true fact) in North Dakota. Every night I’d read her a chapter, curled up in bed together, and giggling over the dreamy boys on the cover.

nothing says teenage angst like jacket vests and cuffed sleeves

It’s still my favorite book. I’ll probably be buried with it.

clearly vandalizing books is my forte

 

3. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I realize this is an odd choice since this book is pretty replaceable. However, I got this book on one of my best trips ever. New Orleans. Read the post here.

I loved that trip. I did everything on my own and still get warm fuzzies thinking about it. I visited about three old bookstores and decided to pick up this Gaiman book. It’s the first one I ever read of his and I started reading it in NOLA.

And it smells oh so good. Dear god, I love the smell of books.

Even now – just yesterday in fact – I picked it off the shelf and breathed in its musty scent. Yes, I’m that creeper. Invite me over to your house and you’ll find me sniffing your books.

It smells like my trip. It smells like memories.

It’s $5 to smell me. $20 for the fancy stuff.

 

4. McCall’s Guide to Teenage Beauty by Betsy Keifer

Everything I am not.

This was my mother’s book. I found it in the attic of my grandmother’s house. Originally published in 1959, the edition I have is from 1965. It sold for 50 cents. 50 CENTS.

Is your blood boiling yet?

The McCall’s Guide to Teenage Beauty is a delightful flashback to vintage nostalgia, but it also is a true look at what women’s roles were back then. Sure, we hear the stories, but seeing it in print and literally asking aloud, “Is this for real-real?” is like a punch to the ovaries.

I remember reading it as a 10 or 12-year-old and being unsure as what to make of the beauty and exercise tips. Happily, I didn’t put too much stock in it. Deep down I think I knew it was amusing.

COMMMENCE SELF-ESTEEM PROBLEMS FOR ALL WOMEN

I mean, sure, it did help in some aspects back when I was a kid. Nope, I don’t have scoliosis, yep, my face is definitely oval-shaped, meaning “any coiffure is becoming”.

Now looking through it I realize I break all the rules. I could never be a 50s housewife.

-I do not wear clothes like a model

-I slouch like a mofo

-Elbows on the table is common practice

-Showers are an afterthought

Ahem…so getting off the topic of my slovenliness… it’s just a book I’m proud to have. And again with the whole sentimental factor. Plus it’s awesome vintageness and with pictures like this you can’t get much better than that.

FML.

 

5. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

The big ‘R’ makes you know it’s serious.

Dear god, I love this book.

Again, this is another of my mother’s book. Found in the attic. As I type this I realize I really need to write a story on all my attic treasures…

This is the 1968 edition, selling for 95 cents.

The spine is ripped and broken but it’s still staying together somehow. I’ve only loaned it out once (to my sister who I threatened repeatedly to get it back) and it smells so lovely.

I love this book because of Levin’s writing style. Sparse, to-the-point, I’m never bored with the description. He paints a clear picture and it makes me want to be there. Well, not frolicking with devil-worshippers but you get the idea.

no really, frolic.

 

I also love it because it was my mother’s and I’ve had it for a long, long time.

Those are my answers to the five books I’d save from a fire. Sorry to the remaining bound wonders in my bookcase but these are my beauties.

 

What are yours? Do tell.

Henry demands it.

 

No, as the title suggests, I did not have some type of mental/nervous/experimental breakdown over books. In June 2011, I did a 6-month book recap, bemoaning the fact that Stephen King reads 80 books a year (80!) and I apparently can’t keep up like the Slacker McSlackerson that I am.

Since 2012 is approaching very soon I figured I’d post my final tally — ahem, breakdown — for 2011. Prepare the drum roll…

17 books. Maybe 16.5 if you want to get all technical about it, ya frickin heathens.

"READ US ALL OR PREPARE FOR DESTRUCTION."

Not bad. I am pleased with this figure. I’d render the verdict that my favorite from this list has been Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by HST. Nothing can quite compare to the goldmine of quotes in this gem of a novel (as I dissected in a prior post).  That’s followed by The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (I sense a pattern developing here, don’t you?), then Cunt (changed my life), rounding out my top three.

The three main things I have gleaned from this list are that: I have an affinity for Stephen King, an obsession with Rob Lowe and I say the word cunt a lot.

And so we go—

The List – In Order of Having Been Read:

  1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson
  2. Doomed Queens by Kris Waldherr
  3. The Lady in the Tower – The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir
  4. Damn Sure Right by Meg Pokrass
  5. Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal et al
  6. Light in August by William Faulker – I quit this book on page 50 so it doesn’t really count. As painful as it was to quit I couldn’t do it.
  7. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
  8. What May Have Been by Gary Percesepe and Susan Tepper
  9. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by ROB LOWE
  10. The Electric Acid Kool-Aid Test by Tom Wolfe
  11. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  12. The Dome by Stephen King
  13. Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
  14. Full Dark No Stars by Stephen King
  15. Cunt by Inga Muscio
  16. Ayiti by Roxane Gay
  17. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

This is how I pretty much read all my books. Minus the pre-teen adolescent boy and stoic glare.

How did everyone else do? What was your number? Your list, your faves? Your rejections?

Am I the only nerd who keeps a book journal and names it Jeeves?

Only time will tell.

Stephen King reads 80 books a year. That’s right. Let that number sink in. Chew on it. Weep in jealousy. Feel my pain.   

A rare glimpse into my bedroom and how I keep track of books read.

Really, Stephen? That’s ballsy. You write what seems like20 books a year and now you go ahead and brag that you have the time to read 80 as well? Hell, that’s reading on steroids. But whatever you’re on, I want to have it.

While I will probably never live up to Mr. King’s boastful yet impressive number, his inspiration lives on.

I have been dutiful in keeping a book journal for the past two years (yes, yes, I know I should have began one long ago). Recording the dates books have been started and finished, my own chicken scratch reviews of each story are all kept in a tattered notebook.

I have a vision that one day my future child will find the book journal and be amazed at how well-read their mother is. Either that or they’ll think me incredibly lame for having kept one and in that case I’d like to say in the most adult way possible: Screw-you-future-child-Jenny-or-Andy, you’re the lame one, not me.

Since we’re nearly halfway through the year I’d thought I’d post my grand total starting from January 1, 2011.

7.

No judgments people. This is what I have mustered so far…

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson

Doomed Queens [non-fic]

The Lady in the Tower – The Fall of Anne Boleyn [non-fic] by Alison Weir

Damn Sure Right by Meg Pokrass

Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal et al

Light in August by Faulker – I quit this book on page 50 so it doesn’t really count. As painful as it was to quit I couldn’t do it. More on this topic later.

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

What May Have Been by Gary Percesepe and Susan Tepper

 Looking this list over, I must step up my game. Maybe one day I’ll near 20 a year. But until then…

…Next book on the agenda is Rob Lowe’s Stories I Only Tell My Friends.

I’m coming for you Rob. You hear me?