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Books of 2009
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themabbi
I mostly slummed it with "dragon books" after the long literary slog that was 2008. These are the books of 2009 in the the order I read them:Read more...Collapse )

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grin
themabbi
There's been a virtual book club going this summer appropriately named Infinite Summer as it focuses on David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. I picked up a copy back in July, but I'm just now getting started on it. The book is almost 1000 pages long, plus 100 pages of footnotes, some of which have footnotes themselves. There are paragraphs that are pages long. Turning a page to find a gigantic wall of text on the other side is pretty intimidating. That and thus far there doesn't seem to be any discernible plot. I'm beginning to wonder what I've gotten myself into.

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grin
themabbi
I've been house shopping for a while now, and today got an offer accepted. I'd put in several offers on a different house, but after going back and forth for two weeks we couldn't come to an agreement on price. The deal for the house I'll be buying came together much quicker. I toured it on Thursday, made an offer on Friday, had it countered Saturday morning, and accepted their counter offer by Saturday afternoon. Provided nothing goes wrong with the inspection or appraisal, on June 23rd I'll be the owner of 623 S Ponderosa Ct.

I know I've made a good move here, and I'm getting a good deal. I've looked at every listing for the last couple months, and I've toured 15 houses besides this one. Yet I still can't quite keep myself from thinking that if only I'd wait and look a little longer an even better buy would come along. This is a process I usually go through with any large purchase (large usually meaning over $100), so who knows how long I'll be second guessing myself on this one.

(no subject)
grin
themabbi
I started reading War and Peace in February, and 10 months and 1200+ pages later I've finished. It's a very strange book. It's this huge, sweeping, epic story, in which the larger events are almost trivialized next to the minutia of the character's lives. At the same time, there's no main character, and no central thrust to the character's stories, so it's not some "personal story set against an epic backdrop" kind of thing like Gone With the Wind. It's "people live their lives and some things happen during the Napoleonic Wars."

Now, 120 pages a month is a pretty glacial pace for me. I usually read 3-4 times that. Sometimes as much as 10 times that. Aside from the density of the material I was tackling, my other slight defense is that I took a few breaks to read other books (Neuromancer, The Sparrow, Children of God, and The Mirrored Heavens), usually due to going on a trip and not wanting to lug a 1200 page hardcover book with me. So, in those 10 months, I actually read 2700 pages, or 270 per month. So, a little better.

The tone of the book is also strange at times. Tolstoy's voice is certainly unique. He goes on and on about the human spirit and deep feeling, and then at the drop of a hat switches gears and starts talking about military and historical details using analogies based on science or math. Toward the end he spends a couple pages describing soldiers in camp singing songs around a fire, ending with "The stars, as if knowing that no one could see them now, frolicked in the black sky. Now flaring up, now going out, now quivering, they busily whispered among themselves about something joyful but mysterious." This is immediately followed by "The French troops uniformly melted away in a mathematically regular progression." At times it's as if someone randomly inserted pages from the Army Field Manual into a romance novel.

In the end though I'm glad I read it. I doubt I'll encounter anything quite like it again. And hey, it's reputation as *the* huge, daunting, classic novel is well earned, and though there are a lot of copies on bookshelves out there, I doubt many people have actually read it. But I have. And you haven't. So now I can be a big literary snob!

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grin
themabbi
1s check in to Reeser but they don't check out. Go Beavs!

Serious times call for serious people
grin
themabbi
New ads from each campaign in response to the financial sector meltdown.Read more...Collapse )

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grin
themabbi
Went camping this weekend with my Dad and two of my uncles in Mad River, CA. They got there on Thursday, but I had to work, so I didn't leave until Friday around 6:00pm. It's about an 8 hour drive, so by the time I got down there it was almost 3:00am. Unfortunately when I was about 20 miles from the road the campground is on I hit a road block because some idiot decided to drive a 110 foot truck down a twisty mountain highway. The road was closed and there was no detour. The guys that were down by the roadblock said it wouldn't open again until at least 6:00am, but it could be as long as noon. I pulled off the road and tried to get some sleep, but it just wouldn't happen; couldn't get comfortable, cars passing every once in a while, weird noises, etc. A little after 7:00am I gave up and drove back to the freeway.

I thought about getting a hotel and sleeping for a couple hours, but I didn't want to spend that much money just to kill time till the road opened. So instead I ate breakfast, bought and read USA Today cover to cover, and drove around trying to find a place that sold fishing licenses. It was still only a little after 10:00am at that point, so I sat in the parking lot of a Safeway for two hours and tried to sleep, again unsuccessfully. Even better, when noon finally came the road was still closed. I'd been up for 30 hours at this point, and I couldn't take waiting anymore, so I checked to see if my nav system could find some backwoods route to the campground that would avoid Hwy 36. It came up with an alternate route pretty quickly, and I wondered why I hadn't thought of this hours ago. The fact that it estimated over 3 hours to cover the 65 miles should have warned me that this was not a foolproof plan, but a drowning man will grasp at anything.

Of course the roads turned out to be extremely narrow, curvy, steep, and often unpaved. Difficult terrain for any vehicle, but especially for a civic hybrid with low clearance that doesn't handle hills well. Everyone I encountered was in a jeep or a truck, and I got several "what the hell are you thinking, city boy?" stares, to which I replied with a "yes, I'm an idiot, but I was desperate!" sheepish grin.

Eventually I did arrive at the campground, having been awake for 34 hours, the last 4 of which spent on roads one would have to be both crazy and stupid to knowingly attempt in my car. So, as you can imagine, I was in the ideal mood to discover that the highway had reopened about 40 minutes after I gave up on it and drove off into the threshold of hell.

(no subject)
grin
themabbi
I started reading the copy of War and Peace that I bought a while back. It's slow going, I'm only 100 pages in. Events of note thus far:

Two tea parties, three dinner parties, Russians who hate the French and yet continuously speak in French, two strokes, one death, and one incidence of rich, young, drunken hooligans being confronted by a policeman for bear baiting, capturing said policeman and tying him to the back of said bear, and then tossing their newly created bear/policeman amalgam into a river.

Despite all that, peace turns out to be somewhat dull, and it seems like not much has happened. Still things should pick up a bit at some point. It says "War" right on the spine, and it's got 1100 pages left to deliver.

(no subject)
grin
themabbi
I picked up a copy of the new translation of War and Peace that has been getting attention lately. Just to look at it is...intimidating. However, aside from it's reputation as one of the greatest novels ever written, it'll be worth the effort for bragging rights alone. We'll see if I can get through it in 2008.

(no subject)
grin
themabbi
Wow, what a great game. First win in Autzen since 1993, and in 2nd Overtime. Go Beavs!

In other news, GoDaddy commercials during the game were just bizarre.