Reader’s Request

March 21, 2010

My life is a hierarchy of tasks with their respective motivations.  It goes like:

1. Writing-not-blogging (pleasure and compulsion)

2. Broken-down house renovations and making a yard from scratch (obligation and necessity and guilt, since we are renovating a house that we rent from my parents)

3. Weaving (guilt and interest)

4. Housekeeping and shopping (necessity)

5. Staying in touch with relatives (guilt)

6. Paperwork and book-keeping (necessity.  Oh my gosh.  I keep forgetting I have to do the taxes.  Definite mental block!)

7. Weaving-and-antique-loom-information blogging (guilt, obligation, and record-keeping)

8. Book blogging (compulsion and pleasure, so far)

9. Research required for various tasks above (necessity)

10. Reading (pleasure and necessity–but only for emotional equilibrium.  If I don’t care how miserable I am, I can go without books.)

11. Walking (necessity)

12. Paying attention to the cat (necessity as far as the cat’s concerned)

13. Cooking and washing dishes and laundry (necessity)

The tasks at the top of the list require the most energy, the tasks at the bottom require the least.  The way it works is, I have a chronic illness (FYI: not mental, not life-threatening, not much fun to talk about).  When I’m feeling unusually sick, I start eliminating tasks from the top down, until until I get to one I’m capable of.  (If I’m feeling really rotten, I can get the dishes done, make a dinner, and try to take a walk; that’s it.)  When I’m feeling unusually not-sick, which happens less often, I start from the bottom of the list and ignore everything until I reach the task that requires the utmost limit of my energy, and keep doing that thing, whatever it is, plus cooking and laundry, for as long as the energy lasts.  When I can’t do it any more I move down to the next thing I can do.  Roughly.  It’s not a rule or anything.  I skip around the list and drag myself through some of the necessities even when I don’t have the strength for them, if they are really urgent.

While I wasn’t blogging I re-constructed a table loom and wove a runner and did some much needed housekeeping.  Now I’m back to the blogs, but I have also committed to a weaving project, kind of an art thing, that is due at the start of June.  And spring waits for no gardener.  Where I live, it’s here.  The weeds are on the march, and I have started a basement full of seedlings that will soon need hardening off and planting out.  So I may be still be a little patchy, with the book reviews.

I have decided not to beat myself up about not making a blog entry for each of the books I read these past weeks.  I figure, not getting to read your insightful comments will be my punishment.  I beat myself up about all the other stuff, and that is quite enough bruises for one girl!

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan
first published Australia 2008
Scholastic, 2009
Finished: late February 201
Source: Darla D at Books & Other Thoughts
Genre: gemlike illustrated short-short stories
On the Scales: Heavyweight
How much I loved it: 99.5%

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Tor, 2008
Finished: late February 2010
Source: Nymeth’s blog, end of year reviews
Genre: YA near-future fable
On the Scales: middleweight
How much I loved it: 90%

The Arrival by Shaun Tan
first published 2006 Australia
Scholastic, 2007
Finished: late February 2010
Source: wanted more by Shaun Tan
Genre: wordless picture book
On the Scales: no idea
How much I loved it: as much as I could love a story without words.

Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay
first published in UK, 2001
Margaret K. McElderry of Simon and Schuster, 2002
Finished: late February 2010
Source:  Nymeth’s blog and Jenny’s Books
Genre: Children’s or Young Adult fiction
On the Scales: middleweight
How much I loved it: 20%  But only so little because it poked a stick in all my childhood complexes.

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer
Read by Phillida Nash
First published 1953
BBC Audiobooks, 2000
Finished: early March 2010
Source: library search
Genre: Regency romance
On the Scales: lightweight
How much I loved it:  95%  My favorite Heyer to date.  Freddie!!!!  There’s character development!  And I was actually surprised by the plot!

Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
St Martins, 1994
Finished: early March 2010
Source: sister recommended
Genre:  re-imagined Sherlock Holmes story
On the Scales:  middleweight, heavy hitter
How much I loved it: 75%  (The 25% I didn’t like was mystery and psychoanalysis)

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997
Finished: early March 2010
Source: med-student cousin
Genre: sociological / ethnographical / historical non-fiction
On the Scales: middleweight, heavy hitter
How much I loved it:  As much as getting hit in the forehead with a hammer, which is about as much as I love the health system, and complacent ignorance.

Famous Players: The Mysterious Death of William Desmond Taylor by Rick Geary
Nantier, Beal, Minoustchine, 2009
Finished: March 16, 2010
Source: new book shelf at library
Genre: nonfiction comic
On the Scales: lightweight
How much I loved it: 70%, because I’m a silent film fancier.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Illustrated by Ellen Forney
Little, Brown and Company, 2007
Finished: March 18, 2010
Source: was reminded how much I like Sherman Alexie by Jeanne at Necromancy Never Pays
Genre: YA novel
On the Scales: heavyweight, hard hitter
How much I loved it: 99.9%

I haven’t been keeping this blog very long, and I don’t think many people are probably reading it.  So this might not work.  But I thought I would do a reader’s request.  Would anyone like to hear a review of any of the preceeding titles?  I also wanted to ask: am I the only one who lives by a hierarchical list?  If you do, too, what’s on it?

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17 Responses to “Reader’s Request”

  1. Would love a review of Little Brother! I haven’t read any of Doctorow’s books, but I’ve seen this one in the library and keep meaning to pick it up. I could do with a push. 🙂
    I’m a bit worried by the idea of my hierarchical list.. I might have to work on that one!

    • Trapunto said

      Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m thinking, yes, I’ll review this if I can think how to do it. I would never have picked it up on my own from the cover, which makes it look like a different kind of book.

  2. Jenny said

    I have a hierarchical list, but I don’t actually, you know, adhere to the priorities of the hierarchy. I just feel guilty about not doing. 😛 Oh, and I can’t go without reading. I get wicked bad headaches if I go even a day or two without doing any leisure reading.

    • Trapunto said

      Is it a tension headache from needing to de-stress, or a vision headache from your eyes longing for their accustomed black-on-white, or something else?

  3. Aarti said

    I LOVE Freddie in Cotillion! I think he’s my favorite Heyer-o. Such a sweetie. I am also glad you really enjoyed Alexie’s book as I plan on reading that soon- I think in April or May.

    I am not sure how I list things. I tend to try to get done with the small things first and cross them off my list before moving on to the big ones. However, a big thing on my to-do list for months has been to clean my room and possibly do some ironing…

  4. My list is structured more like this:

    Hrm, here is task x, I was supposed to have that done last week, I better work on it… oh god, there’s person y! I promised them to do something this week, what was it? Oh that’s right. What? Oh, person z, I’m sorry, yes, I um… yeah… give me 3o minutes, okay? Wait… oh crap, I promised Id go do this thing, at this time… oh missed it… oh… bedtime. Failed again.

    But, YMMV. 😉

    I would love to hear about Saffy’s Angel, but only because I love to see very personal reviews that let me see how beautiful people think, and I don’t know you very well, and because Ms Nymeth loved it so much, and I was thinking of reading it. But then, that may be why you DON’T want to review it (well, the first half, not the second. I imagine.)

    • Trapunto said

      Interesting. Can you put all those x, y’s and z’s into an equation?

      Saffy’s Angel and I may have been somewhat the same case as you and Blankets. But you were brave and said your piece. So maybe I will too.

      • Jason + x + y – 1/2x + z + x^2 = f(ail)

        It’s always difficult with a personal book. I would love to hear your review, but won’t think anything of it, if you choose not to. I DIDN’T talk about some books that DID really affect me, so I totally understand.

  5. Jodie said

    I have a list that sits at the back of my mind, but I spend all day Mon – Fri working through obligation lists at work so generally it just hangs around making me feel guilty for watching The Simpsons again. I am especially bad at bill paying and have an awful junk mail pile – a persistant item on the list is ‘shred’. I refuse to add housekeeping to it ever though, except washing an dishes. It’s funny how you put weaving as guilt and interest, good to know I’m not the only one who has self-imposed guilt monsters about leaving their creative interests languishing.

    I’d like to know what you thought of Little Brother (I loved it too) just to compare and contrast thoughts.

    • Trapunto said

      When I worked at a real, not-self-employed job there wasn’t even enough of me left for the Simpsons at the end of the day. I figure, simply earning money should absorb any guilt. Too bad guilt doesn’t behave like it ought to! I’m lucky with junk mail now that we live somewhere we have to go to the post office to pick up our mail. There are counters and recycling bins, so we can sort it and throw it away before it even comes in the house.

  6. Jeanne said

    I’m also anxious to know what other folks think about Little Brother. I loved it so much I bought extra copies and give them to teenagers (friends of my kids’) who seem interested.

  7. Nymeth said

    I would love a review of Saffy’s Angel too, as I’m curious to know what went wrong! Though it sounds like your reasons for not connecting with it were very personal, so I completely understand not feeling comfortable talking about it at length.

    But yeah, definitely don’t beat yourself up for not always being up for blogging. Fortunately for us all, there is no blogging police 😛

  8. Trapunto said

    There aren’t? That’s such a relief, because I wasn’t sure. I kept expecting to get a ticket in my comments!

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