Tag Archives: reading

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

will graysonI’m a huge fan of John Green so I can’t imagine what took me so long to read this book. But I’m sure glad I did. And now I’m a David Levithan fan too. They have that rare talent to make you laugh and cry at the same time.

But mostly laugh.

“If I were to stand on a scale fully dressed, sopping wet, holding ten-pound dumbbells in each hand and balancing a stack of hardcover books on my head, I’d weigh about 180 pounds, which is approximately equal to the weight of Tiny Cooper’s left tricep. But in this moment, I could beat the holy living shit out of Tiny Cooper. And I would, I swear to God, except I’m too busy trying to disappear.”

“And you know how no one ever listens to [their parents’] advice, because even if it’s true it’s so annoying and condescending that it just makes you want to go, like, develop a meth addiction and have unprotected sex with eighty-seven thousand anonymous partners? Well, I listen to my parents. They know what’s good for me. I’ll listen to anyone, frankly. Almost everyone knows better than I do.”

“And then he hugs me. Imagine being hugged by a sofa. That’s what it feels like.”

“Tiny doesn’t just sing these words ”” he belts them. It’s like a parade coming out of his mouth. I have no doubt the words travel over Lake Michigan to most of Canada and on to the North Pole. The farmers of Saskatchewan are crying. Santa is turning to Mrs Claus and saying ‘what the fuck is that?’ I am completely mortified, but then Tiny opens his eyes and looks at me with such obvious caring that I have no idea what to do. No one’s tried to give me something like this in ages.”

“And, since they are theater people, they are all talking. All of them. Simultaneously. They do not need to be heard; they only need to be speaking.”

“How have I ended up dating this sprinkled donut of a person?”

Sigh. I heart John Green and David Levithan. They not only make me want to be a better writer, they also make me want to be a better person.

How ’bout you? Are you a fan of John Green and/or David Levithan? Which is your favorite book?

I Never Learn

I just don’t. I am incapable of The Learning.

I’m one of the few native Coloradans still in existence. We really should be in a museum. But such an honor comes with responsibility. Like shoveling snow from driveways and sidewalks.

Let me just say, we’re absolutely blessed here in Denver. When it snows, which it does periodically, the next day the sun comes out and dries up all the snow so the itsy bitsy spider can drive her car in town.

I think all the sunshine has permanently erased some aspect of my long-term memory, perhaps my short-term, too. [Note … I literally had to stop here and check my scribbles to remember the point of all this. Sigh.]

My point is this. No matter how many times I have shoveled snow in my life, I forget EVERY TIME how to do it without hurting my back.

I never learn.

We had about a foot of snow over the weekend, so hubs and I split duties, roughly half and half. Once on Sunday and then again yesterday. [I loved our 3-car driveway when we got it poured, lo, those many years ago. Not so much when it’s covered with snow.]

Yes, my back is killing me. Why? Because I never learn.

This morning I was repeatedly reminded of this travesty. I get up around 5am most days and am able to read (novels! for fun!) in the quiet early morning hours. It’s also when I drink my coffee.

every damn timeI have a lovely antique table next to my purple armchair, where my writer’s clock and my Splat Stan coaster keep me and my cup company. But occasionally, I need to refill. Okay, fine, more than “occasionally.”

Every damn time I needed more coffee this morning, I twisted and reached for my cup the exact wrong way, sending me into paroxysms of pain equaled only by my shrieks of profanity.

Every. Damn. Time.

I never learn.

Running Away

My sister scolded me. But my mom understood.

I got mad at my three children one day when they were youngish and terrible. I needed more than a time-out. I ran away. Only as far as the local library in our little Colorado town, but it was far enough. Far enough for me; too far for them.

I don’t think she was particularly scared, but my daughter called my sister anyway. I think she just wanted me to get in trouble with someone. Anyone.

My daughter also called my mother who lived in California at the time. Talk about tattling!

When I returned home, my sister called, asked the obligatory questions and got the appropriate answers to determine I wasn’t in immediate need of medical or psychiatric care. But then she scolded me.

Later, my mother called too. When I told her the story of the behavioral chaos of my children, expecting more scolding, she laughed. “I’ve done the same thing,” she said.  “Many times.”

I was immediately calmed and exonerated.

I was reminded of this story today because I sat on the deck reading DEAR MRS LINDBERGH by Kathleen Hughes. It was a book I had given my mother as a gift several months earlier. She’s becoming more and more housebound caring for her declining husband. She has very few needs, so books, I’ve decided, are an excellent gift.

She lives in an apartment without much shelf space, though, so she carefully writes the name of the gift giver on a sticky note and returns the books when she’s finished. Often, she’ll include a note about how she enjoyed it ”” or didn’t.

Sometimes I give books I’ve read that I know she’ll like. Other times I browse and find books I think she’ll like.

Such was the case with DEAR MRS LINDBERGH. I hadn’t read it, didn’t know anything about it. But I know Mom likes historical fiction, which this wasn’t, really, but it had that feel to it.

When I got to the end, I found a note from my mom tucked into it. In her precise cursive she told me she liked this one. She added, “On a very small scale I can relate to Ruth’s desire to fly away for an adventure of her own.”

Reading her note literally took my breath away.

My mother had eight children. I’m number seven. I was an adult before I ever knew ”” or thought to ask ”” if she had dreams for her life that didn’t involve a swarm of kids. She was a young teenager during World War II and the nurses captured her imagination. But then she turned 18, got married and immediately started having children. She and my dad never had any money. Nursing school was out of the question.

“On a very small scale I can relate to Ruth’s desire to fly away for an adventure of her own.”

I know Mom would say she’s had a perfectly fine life. But my heart has several tiny Mom-shaped cracks in it today.

Which One Did It?

I was clearing out a bookshelf the other day and came across one of my old Nancy Drew books, a hardback copy of The Secret of the Old Clock, the first in the series.

Mine is the 1959 version which had been revised from the original 1930s version. They made Nancy 18 years old instead of 16 and gave her a spiffy Mustang convertible rather than her original roadster.

I read every single one of those books. No, I didn’t read them. I devoured them. I gulped, guzzled and gorged myself on them. Even at the time I knew they were all basically the same story, but it didn’t matter. I couldn’t wait to share the adventures with Nancy, Bess, George and Ned.

She had a housekeeper and no mother! And a convertible! And a girlfriend named George! What a strange and exotic world!

Ahhh. I loved that world and my visits there turned me into a reading junkie. If I didn’t get my daily fix, I got the shakes.

It made me wonder about the books that other people loved.

So, tell me … what turned you into a raging reader?