Archive for the 'books' Category

a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness

While I was reading before bed the other night, Matt skulked around the apartment on the hunt for something to read.

Unlike my love of respectable series, Matt doesn’t read a lot of fiction. He reads a lot of what I would consider history textbooks. But this evening, his biography of Hitler just wasn’t cutting it. So he traipsed to the bookshelf to find a book and eventually plunked down beside me.

Within no time, he was interrupting my reading with laughs. I roll over to find him reading an old Winnie the Pooh book. The section he was finding so amusing was when Pooh was stuck in Rabbit’s front door. This was his favourite part:

“Bear began to sigh, and then found he couldn’t because he was so tightly stuck; and a tear rolled down his eye, as he said:

‘Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?’

So for a week Christopher Robin read that sort of book at the North end of Pooh, and Rabbit hung his washing on the South end…”


Now this little excerpt would not be as important had I not read the following headline in the Globe and Mail, one of Canada’s most prominent National newspapers the next day:

Bear with head stuck in jar eludes wildlife officials

Apparently in Northern Ontario a young bear got his head stuck in a pickle jar. Now, my immediate reaction was to laugh but truly this must have been a very scary ordeal for the bear. He couldn’t eat or drink.

Wildlife officials were looking for the bear to try to help him get unstuck.

Fortunately, there was a new headline yesterday:

Jarring ordeal over for bear whose head was stuck

Apparently the wildlife officials never found the bear but a canoeist found the jar in question with claw marks and tufts of fur inside. The bear, it seems, found a way to escape.

My only hope is that this bear had someone to read him a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness while he was stuck in such a pickle.


A shameful confession in which I admit to becoming a reclusive 11-year-old

This past month, I have become a bit of a recluse. I got a little wrapped up in a book series and it was like being stuck in a death trap. On one hand, I was completely enthralled by the story that was weaved through the 2000 plus pages.

But, on the other (very large) hand, I lost my life. I spent almost every waking hour reading and when little things like eating, work, family engagements, etc got in the way, part of my brain was still thinking about it.

On the third hand was the embarrassment. This series is very popular and has a lot of fans. Of this, I am not ashamed. It’s the part where all of those fans range in between the ages of 11 and 16 that concerns me. I, dear internet, have become a Twilight fan.

I’ll give you a moment to recoil in the horror of it all. (Or, if you too got sucked into the madness, please take this moment to placate me in the comments)

I’ve already explained the shock and confusion surrounding my viewing of the first movie. And I was sort of disappointed with the second movie. But, a friend lent me the books and I had run out of other books to read so I picked them up one day. BAD MOVE!

I was completely sucked into the series. Holy hell! I can’t even tell you if they were good I devoured them so quickly. I just couldn’t get enough. Yet, at the same time, I was desperate to be done with them so I could move on with what I previously thought was my pseudo-adult life (I have since realized I’m still a blubbering 11-year-old).

Now that they are done, there is this immense sense of relief.* I think the only person more relieved than me at having this phase over with is Matt. He puts up with my neuroses like a champ, but I think he was seriously starting to get peeved with this little obsession.

Fortunately, Erin has another book series lined up for me to read. She tells me they are good but if they suck me in and ruin my life like Twilight did, I swear I will cut her.

In this breathing space between my life with Twilight and when I see Erin next to get some new books, I think I’m going to re-read some Kurt Vonnegut. Maybe I’ll start with Slaughter House Five and finish with Breakfast of Champions. I could use some dark humour and Kilgore Trout in my life right about now.

*I’m also sort of really sad they’re over but, shhh, don’t tell Matt.

“No more vampires until you finish your Dickens”

The title quote is direct from the mouth of my loving live-in boyfriend, Matt.

He’s concerned about my well-being.

He thinks I have book issues. I’ve talked about my guilty complex over not finishing books in the past, but this issue is something different.

The book that brought on the aforementioned outburst from Matt is also the book that started my issues with guilt. This book was my ‘mistress’ as I dumped an uninspiring read for its ample pages. Unfortunately, Matt is convinced this book has set me on a path that will lead to dysfunctional relationships, questionable morality and a complete retraction from the world of social interaction.

The book at fault for all of these things is a bad book. It’s bad in more ways than the fact that it will result in my hermitism. It’s bad in the way that you’re ashamed to read it in public because the cover art is scandelous. It’s bad in the way that it doesn’t delve deep into real-world problems and it doesn’t get to the base of human emotions. It’s bad in the way that it is filled with gratuitous violence and morally questionable decision-making by the lead character. It’s bad in the way that it’s the first in a series that seemingly never ends forcing you to give up whatever semblance of a life you once had in favour of sitting, unwashed, on your couch for days at a time only breaking for KD and graham crackers.

The book in question is this one:

You can't actually Click to Look Inside (thanks for the photo Amazon). Also, see what I mean about shameful covers!

It’s the first of a series about a Vampire Hunter named Anita Blake. I have read the first 7 books of the series in a matter of weeks. I have inhaled these books.

But, Matt thinks I should take a break and I think for this one time, I will heed his advice. To be honest, the books had me a little on edge. Reading them would make my heart pound and when I wasn’t reading them, I would agonize over what might be happening next (in my head, the story continues when you’re not reading, the characters are still living and the action is still happening. When I read a book, I fully engage).

But, for the time being, I will not read any more vampire books until I have “finished my Dickens”.

I’m not actually reading Dickens. Instead I picked up a literary award winning book that was featured on Canada Reads last year. My whole family has read it and it’s been on my “to read” list for a long time.

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill is just as much a page turner as my shameful vampire series but it is much more fulfilling. I’m only a third of the way through and it is completely heart-wrenching.

I definitely haven’t abandoned Anita (don’t worry Erin) but I think I need a healthy mix of mindless & entertaining and thought-provoking. Sometimes I just need a gentle reminder that this mix is important to my well-being.

Book guilt

I love to read.

I like reading good books. Books with literary accolades. Books that make you seem smart, well-rounded and worldly. Books that are well-known classics. Books that are obscure titles that only the best literary snob genius would know of.

I also like reading bad books. Books that no one admits to reading but still find their way to the best seller’s list. Books that are full with adventure, drama and predictable plot twists. Books lacking in literary prose. Books that you shamefully hide the cover of when you read them in public.

I like all types of books.

It is this love of books (combined with a healthy dose of good-old fashioned Catholic guilt) that makes me finish the books that I don’t really like. If I don’t get into a book right away, I give it another few chapters to get better. By then, I’m already half way through and I think, “I might as well finish it now.” Even when I’m not enjoying it, I’ll finish it. I feel too guilty not finishing it.

But, this week, things changed. I started a book a while ago and I wasn’t really into it. I put it down one day and I haven’t picked it up since. In fact, I picked up another book. A trashy book that you would definitely not display on your book shelf. It was a book Erin from Down the Rabbit Hole lent me (if I’m going to call myself out for reading trashy books, I’m bring her with me).

I feel like I’m cheating on that first book. I feel like I’m committing book-adultery.

I don’t know what my next course of action is. I think I have 3 options: I could leave the trashy book for later and give the first book a second chance, I could throw all caution to the wind and just leave the slow-paced book behind forever, or I could two-time the books and read them both at the same time.

I feel like no matter which path I take, I lose. If I don’t finish the book, I’ll feel guilty. If I finish the book, I’ll probably end up disappointed and if I two-time them, well I’m not a good book multi-tasker and I suspect my enjoyment of both books will be minimal.

Oh! Woe! What do I do? Do other people have these issues? Or am I completely off my rocker?

The Best of 2009: Book

I may be a few days late, but I’m going to participate in the Best of 2009 Challenge. I probably won’t do it for every category, but I’ll certainly do some, mixed in with normal blog posts.

December 4 Book. What book – fiction or non – touched you? Where were you when you read it? Have you bought and given away multiple copies?

I have read a lot of great books this year. Now, I don’t mean great as in classic, award-winning literature (although some have won awards), I mean great as in: I loved them!

Although I sort of think that choosing the best book you’ve read is sort of like choosing your favourite song of all time or the best movie ever (ie. It’s not possible), I’m going to go with my gut reaction to that question:

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

The book has everything in it that you want in a good read: a circus, an elephant, tigers, trains and old people! I mean, come on!, a book that combines those 5 topics must be a winner.

No really, it is a winner but not necessarily because of the above reason. It’s a wonderful story that is so compelling you don’t want to put it down and it’s beautifully written with great imagery that makes you feel as if you’re really there at the circus during the Depression.

Go out and get it: take it out of the library (there may be a waiting list), borrow it from a friend (which is what I did, so I don’t have my own copy, which means I can’t lend it out to other friends), buy it online, go to Indigo or Chapters or that independent bookstore that smells all musty. How you acquire it doesn’t matter (but I don’t recommend shoplifting, it’s like a gateway drug to car jacking), but I promise you’ll love it.

Hi There!

I'm Claire. I like to write about ridiculous things.

I love chocolate but don't think cheese and cake belong together.

I often wish it was socially acceptable to wear glitter before 10pm.

If you want to chat, email me at clairesuzanne1 at gmail dot com.


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