unread, unread

This here is a meme (or whatever you like to think of it as) based on the top 106 unread books from Library Thing. (At least as of the date when this was started. The earliest I could find was a post from October 1st at Once Upon a Booshelf, saying the meme had been found at Lady Strange. I couldn’t find, it there though.) I myself found this at Lori’s Book Nook, and then re-found it shortly thereafter at casa az.

Here are the instructions, as found chez az:

Bold what you have read, italicize your DNFs, strikethrough the ones you hated, put *asterisks next to those you’ve read more than once, and put a + cross in front of the books that are on your bookshelf.

(Note that DNF=”did not finish”)

My Reads of the Unread

+ Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell
+ Anna Karenina
+Crime and Punishment
+ Catch-22
One hundred years of solitude
+ Wuthering Heights
+ The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
+ The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
+ Moby Dick
+ Ulysses
+ Madame Bovary
+ The Odyssey
+ *Pride and Prejudice
+ Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
+ The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
+ War and Peace
+ Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
+ The Iliad
+ *Emma
+ The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
+ Great Expectations
American Gods
+ A heartbreaking work of staggering genius
Atlas shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
+ Memoirs of a Geisha
+ Quicksilver
+ * Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
+ A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave new world
The Fountainhead
+ Foucault’s Pendulum
+ Middlemarch
+ The Count of Monte Cristo
+ Dracula
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
+ The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
+ * The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
+ The Inferno
+ The Satanic Verses
+ Sense and Sensibility
+ The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
+ One flew over the cuckoo’s nest
To the Lighthouse
+ * Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
+ Gulliver’s Travels
+ Les misérables
+ The Corrections
+ The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
+ The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
+ Dune
+ The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
+ The God of Small Things
A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present
+ Cryptonomicon
+ A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
+ The Unbearable Lightness of Being
+ Beloved
+ The Scarlet Letter
+ Eats, Shoots & Leaves
+ The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
+ Lolita
+ Persuasion
+ Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
+The Hunchback of Notre Dame
+ Freakonomics
+ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
+ *Watership Down
+ Gravity’s Rainbow
+ The Hobbit
+ In Cold Blood
+ White Teeth
Treasure Island
+ David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Notice that I haven’t crossed out any books to mean “I hated them.” It’s hard for me to say that I hate a book. The only book I can think of, off the top of my head, that I really hated was The Horse Whisperer. Piece of total crap. I wanted my time back.

On this list, there were a couple of books that I found painful to read, though I could appreciate the writing and the storytelling: Crime and Punishment and Confederacy of Dunces. I seem to have trouble with anti-heroes. I had the same problem with The Mayor of Casterbridge.

Notice also that I have marked a lot of books with a plus (+) that I have not read. This is partially John’s fault. I have marked them as “on our bookshelf”, even if they are not books that are ones that I selected. And even if they are not technically on a bookshelf. (We have a lot of books. Some of them live in stacks on the floor.)

psychic baby (qu’est-ce que c’est?)

You know how when you’re expecting a phone call, or waiting for someone to show up at the door, it’s hard to settle down and concentrate? Well, that’s how I usually feel when Phoebe’s having a nap.

Even though she usually naps for about an hour and a half, the time zips by. I get her settled, putter around for a few minutes, and usually open up my laptop. To, well…putter. Before I know it, 45 minutes have elapsed. And I think about getting to work. Knowing that I probably have only about 45 minutes.

Today, we were down at John’s parents. (We’d gone down for the weekend to get in a visit before our big trip.) The plan was to head out to the rehab center to visit John’s dad after Phoebe’s nap, and then to go directly home. So, once Phoebe was napping, my puttering included some packing and getting organized. I read some stuff online, answered a couple emails, and did some other puttering and even some work-related stuff.

It looked like Phoebe was going to have a longer than usual nap. She was upstairs, and the baby monitor was with us downstairs.

I’d started reading the new Harry Potter last night, and managed to read about 15 pages before I fell asleep. In this unexpected quiet time, the book beckoned. John was sitting reading his copy of the book. (Yes, we did buy two copies yesterday.) I commented to him that I felt like whenever I settle down to do something focused, Phoebe always wakes up. “I feel like if I sit down to read, she’ll wake up.”

After some more deliberation, and couple more minutes of quiet from the baby monitor, I decided to pick up the book. I sat down. I said to John: “Do you want to time this?”

I started to open the book.

“Waaaaaahhhhhh!!” said the baby monitor.

I slammed the book shut. And there was silence.

Tell me, how did she know?

all the right ingredients

Yesterday was my CSA pick-up day again. The load was a bit more compact this time, without the mega-loads of lettuce. (I won’t be cursing those ninja woodchucks yet, as I still have plenty of lettuce from last week.) We got beets, scallions, baby fennel, more bok choi (the last of it till fall), a bit more kale, baby garlic, and a little bundle of basil.

I was very excited about the basil, and had the urge to use it right away. And then I realized that, amazingly, I had all the ingredients for a traditional pesto: we had a hunk of parmesan, lots of pine nuts and some decent olive oil. And with the baby garlic fresh out of the ground and that beautiful bunch of basil, we were golden. I am not someone who has a well-stocked pantry in general, so I felt quite pleased with myself for being able to do this. We had the pesto with some rotini. It was pretty tasty.
And speaking of having the right ingredients for some tasty goodness, the Just Posts are up again. This month, jen of One Plus Two is joined by Jess of Oh, The Joys to serve up this monthly buffet of posts on topics of social justice and activism. I’ve got a post on the table over there, too. Head on over and dig in. (Just click the pretty birdy button.)

good for the heart

With all the cheese I’ve been serving up this week, I can imagine that some of you might be getting concerned about the cholesterol levels. Well, this should help. Might I suggest that you get yourself a helping of this month’s round of Just Posts? One again, they’ve been served up tastefully by the fabulous folks of One Plus Two and Under the Mad Hat. Just click on the button with the purple bird, and you’ll be presented with plenty of links to whole lot of posts that speak to the same thing: making the world a better place. The Just Posts are good reading, good for what ails us, and certified to be 100% cholesterol-free.


And just in case that’s not enough enticement, please consider the following:

Clicking on those links says you care. (Sorry if that sounds cheesy.)

There’s so much going on in the world that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and overburdened. There are so many wrongs that need to be addressed. It’s all too much for any one person, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you can’t do enough to help. You may not be able afford to give money, especially to every cause you think deserves it. You may not have time to volunteer, and there are so many groups anyhow. You may not have the energy or know-how to fight the system over the issues. But let me share a secret.

Clicking on those links actually helps.

Think about giving an impassioned speech to a nearly empty auditorium. Now think about how encouraging it is to be surrounded by people who care about what you have to say. Clicking on the links is like a virtual round of applause for the authors. Thouse clicks count.

Encouraging others to write about what they believe in, act on what they believe in, fight for what they believe in. That matters, my friend.

Read some of those words. Even if you don’t have time to read everything, you can still see what people have to say.

So click on some links.

Think of it as mouse-based activism.

another late night when I should be sleeping

Ah, the same old story. It’s past midnight, and I should be sleeping. (My laptop says it’s past 3 a.m., since it’s still on east coast time, while I’m still out in California.) But I feel compelled to write. Once again, I have no time to write. But this time, I’m not feeling cranky. I’m feeling many things. For one, I am feeling both humbled and inspired by some posts I’ve been reading. KC at Where’s My Cape has written a brave, beautiful and gut-wrenching series of posts about dealing with eating disorders. Jen at One Plus Two has been writing soulfully about the value of treating others with kindness, especially when those others have fallen on the hardest of times:

Kindness matters. Taking a moment to look the person in the eye, to offer that inconsequential bit of spare change, to exchange a few words. It matters. It makes one feel human.

Imagine if everyone avoided you, all day every day. Imagine if you felt invisible. Alone. And on top of that, you slept in a doorway.

Which reminds me that I should share that I am thrilled to be a part of the February Just Posts, a collection of writings that speak to issues of social justice, with my post on language discrimination.


Anyhow, I’m having a wonderful visit with my family. I am charmed by my beautiful new nephew Diego, and so happy to have time here with my sister, brother-in-law and mother. I’m so glad that John and Phoebe are also here with me, and it was worth the trials and tribulations of the journey. I feel warm and complete to be here with my family. (Yes, I am really a sap deep-down.)


The passage of time seems to be a recurring theme in my life these days. Or perhaps a running theme. I always seem to be running late, or otherwise running behind schedule. (At the same time, I do very little actual running. Since I’m mostly sitting on my behind.) (Sorry, I can’t resist a pun. It’s a sickness.)

So here I am. Doing my reading for my sociolinguistics class. Which is not until Tuesday. It’s Friday night. So that means I’m way ahead of the game, right? Well, I should be. I mean, I’m reading the right chapter for this week. But here’s the deal. I’m reading from an old edition of the textbook. So far, it hasn’t been much of an issue. But now we’re reading the chapter on Language Planning. And it’s a little bizarre to be reading about language policies in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia “today”. So you see, even though I’m a couple of days ahead, I’m still more than a decade behind. This edition came out in 1992.

15 years ago.

This has lead me to reflect upon a number of things.

As I mentioned before, the class I’m taking is mostly full of undergrads. Probably mostly around 20 years old. At that time my edition of the textbook came out, I was 20 years old, and an undergrad. At that time most of the other students in this class would have been in kindergarden. In 1992, they would have been reading, what, Dr. Seuss? Books in the “I Can Read” series? The Berenstein Bears?

And what seems particularly striking to me, as I read this outdated chapter, is that these folks probably have no firsthand memories of the existence of the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia. And they grew up without knowing the Cold War.

Anyhow, I don’t have much time to write more about this now. The reflections I’ve had about growing up in the Cold War era. About the impact of the Cold War on U.S. culture and pop culture. But at some point I may write more…and maybe even make a list.

Ok. Back to my reading. And I wonder why I’m running behind?

actions speak louder through words

Since I may not have time to post much myself, I just wanted to send a pointer to some cool posting that’s going on elsewhere. There are a couple of bloggers who are organizing an ongoing project of collecting posts from their blogging community written about social causes. On the 10th of each month, the anniversary of a group wedding of minds, they have promised to post links to other posts written during the previous month. This month’s list can be found now on their respective blogs.

I’ve only had a chance to read a few of the posts so far, but the ones I’ve looked at treat a diverse range of issues including universal healthcare, climate change/global warming, racism, and excessive consumerism.

I’m hoping to be inspired and motivated to, at least periodically, post something of redeeming social value. But I can at least resolve to read what others have written. And reading counts. Awareness matters.