Currently Uncontrollably Bookish

I have a new addiction: free Kindle ebooks. I think it’s making my phone sluggish. How many ebooks can I download before my phone announces, “Dead” instead of “Droid”?

Right now I’m 23% into Les Miserables. I have no intention of reading more, though I’m thinking I’ll have to finish it someday. I cannot not finish a book that’s a classic, right? But, wow, it’s boring. I’m at the point where, contextually, I’m years away from grasping the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars. I’m sure I should, but it’s not happening for me. The descriptions of the region on which the battles were fought, and all the strategy that went into it, are dull. (I can’t believe I’m saying this. I thought I loved descriptions.) Anyway, somebody tell me it gets better at the 24th percentile, please.

I just finished Waiting for Summer’s Return by Kim Vogel Sawyer. It was my first try at an Amish romance, only the characters are Mennonite. The Amish part didn’t speak to me—or the Mennonite part. So, I give it 3 stars because it was quality writing and good character and plot development. Someone who likes Amish romance would probably give it more.

The Bookworm,
The Bookworm, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve read 68% of Half a Rogue by Harold McGrath. There is an antagonist that has just made his presence known by using profanity. I’m seriously irked. I half liked the story. It could be worse: I could’ve really liked the story. Now it’s taking up room on my phone, but not for long.

I’ve laughed through 21% of The Holiday Round by A. A. Milne. I don’t understand any of the golf or cricket jargon he uses, but that doesn’t matter. I read it in bites, like savoring chocolates. I’m thinking of getting a hard copy and giving it to my mom and dad. They like to read funny anecdotes together.

I’ve read 1% of The Heart of Rachel by Kathleen Thompson Norris. I don’t know what this one is about yet. I wasn’t in the mood to read it when I started it.

Delia Blanchflower by Mrs. Humphry Ward is on the top of the stack at present. I have 17% of it read. It has an interesting premise: The woman is an heiress whose deceased father keeps her from coming into her inheritance because she’s a rabid feminist. I find that situation rather ironic.

I’m not promising to continue past 7% of Everyday Foods in War Time by Mary Swartz Rose. Her fallback plan is milk, which doesn’t make much sense to me. Where do you get milk during wartime? Families in tough times resort to dry milk. I have a friend whose fallback plan is kudzu. If you live in the South, you know he’s on to something.

I enjoyed Quick and Easy Cooking from Deep Cove Publishing by somebody whose name is not on the cover and who seems to be confused about whether to go with “I” or “we” throughout the book. But, hey, I’m still going to try, “Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas” and the seasoned salmon and rice in a foil packet. Then I can delete it off my phone.

There are still 10 ebooks I have yet to open just waiting in my carousel. There is a stack beside my bed that eyes me reproachfully when I turn in, too. Oooo, and I bought a lovely 4th edition of Interpreting Literature by Knickerbocker/Reninger, Copyright 1969. Hardbound. I started reading it while I was supposed to be entertaining guests from out-of-town. That didn’t go over well.

How ’bout you? Are you feeling particularly bookish?

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Learning from First Impressions

I’ve been reading tons lately and writing very little. There are ten chapters written on the sequel to Dragonfly Prince. I don’t want to call it writer’s block. You see, I’ve had trouble with sequels before, and that’s why this is making me nervous. When I completed my first novel-sized story (a modern crossover fanfic drawing from Austen’s Persuasion/Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera) – I had this exciting idea about merging Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice with Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel for the sequel. I named it Florid Impressions. (Austen’s P&P was originally entitled, “First Impressions.”) It would follow talented ballet dancer, Marguerite (or ‘Meg’), as she joined a newly formed troupe begun by a young, accomplished choreographer, P. Darcy-Blakeney. He would be like Orczy’s Blakeney in style and attitude and Austen’s Darcy in true personality and noblesse oblige. He and Meg would not see eye-to-eye; but she would learn to respect his impeccable taste for interpretation, and he would find himself taken with her vivacity, wit and, ultimately, her determination and loyalty. I had these great ideas for following international conflict and constructed two daring rescues and a wonderful escape finale. I totally fell in love with it, eavesdropping in on my characters’ conversations in my head.

To prepare I immersed myself in researching the art of ballet. I hunted for advisers and sought their advice. I read and watched all the documentaries I could study. I have notebooks stashed away scribbled back to pulp with terms and practices and personal reflections of dancers. Through my research I came to the conclusion that my first impression of a ballerina was completely wrong. It is truly an art of illusion. Its disciples are always in pain, always pushing their physical limits.

While gathering the information, it struck me as strange that I didn’t know the names of any current danseurs or ballerinas. The programs do not garner the same breathless anticipation of the Super Bowl, or even Wimbledon. Yes, I’m comparing ballet to a sport. It requires intense athleticism, but that is coupled with emotional expression. It’s quite an incredible craft.

Where once it had claimed a regal, astral sort of beauty for me, the earthy reality ruined it. I became disillusioned by the line of work I’d chosen for my main character. I’m rather sad for her. Still, it taught me to stick with what I know (and to give my characters jobs where they had more to wear than a kerchief and tights). And that’s where this sequel scares me the most. It’s all about what I know, and I’m intimidated. I’m more conscious of its flaws and less attuned to how it communicates its meaning to someone who hasn’t been in my shoes. Can I let my guard down and *gulp* give it the vulnerability it needs? Ten chapters are just a knock at the door.