Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Sunday Salon: Time

I hate Daylight Savings Time. HATE. IT.

There, I said it.  I hate the whole falling back and springing forward. Sure, I like the promise of sunlight in the morning and the "gaining an hour," but really?  I think that's just spin, designed to sugarcoat something that always seems to wreck havoc on my system.  I fall for this shit every year.

(Sorry if I seem grumpy. That's because I am. Being awake since 3:15 a.m. tends to do that. I mean, I should NOT need a second cup of coffee before six o'clock in the morning, for godssakes.)

It's kind of ironic that this gaining of what is always sold to us as a luxurious extra hour has a way of speeding up time itself. 'Tis the season when time seems to be in short supply, and that is certainly true of my reading life lately. Two review books are on the horizon (I think I'm going to stop accepting review books from now through at least the end of the year) and I'm trying to get to several books that will fulfill challenge requirements. (I know these should be no pressure and simply for fun, but when I'm only one or two books away from completing a challenge and the selections would be ones that I would read anyway ... well, then it becomes a personal challenge to actually DO so.)

So of course this would be the perfect time to place a hold at the library on Walter Isaacson's 571 page Steve Jobs, right? I was thinking it might be awhile before this showed up. Lo and behold, I now have the first copy available in my ENTIRE COUNTY. I'm guessing that I won't be able to renew this, due to popular demand, so I'm trying to read this chunkster in a week's time.

Yeah.  Good luck with that, right?

I'm only 21 pages into this, so I don't have much of an opinion on this right now. So far, it is keeping my interest and even though I've never read anything by Walter Isaacson, The Husband (who read Kissinger: A Biography and liked it), says he's very good.

On my Kindle, I'm also still in the midst of Yiyun Li's short story collection, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl. I'll admit, while I was reading the first story (which, in my mind, is really a novella at 80 pages), I couldn't quite see what all the acclaim was about. Initially, "Kindness" left me a little bored. It took me a week to get through this, but despite my disinterest at the beginning, this story turned around dramatically.

This is not light reading, not by a long shot. Yiyun Li's writing is tough, a little depressing and sad, but with incredibly thought-provoking gems like "[p]eople who think they know their own stories do not appreciate other people's mysteries." and "Kindness binds one to the past as obstinately as love does..." From what I've read, that's what's in store with the other stories in this collection. I like stories that make me think, that open up new worlds to me, and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl is doing exactly that. ("Kindness" is told from the perspective of 41 year old Moyan, who reflects on her time as an 18 year old in a required military camp during Communist China. A far cry from what I was doing at 18.)

Yiyun Li is among those whom The New Yorker named to its 20 under 40 Writers list in 2010 - which made me remember that I wanted to read all of them. Maybe that's a reading challenge idea? (Oh, wait, look here! My friend Nomadreader already thought of that!)

My audiobook this week was Once Upon a Day, by Lisa Tucker.  This was just okay.  I had some issues with the audio production as well as the narration. When the exchange is a phone conversation between two people, there's a really annoying, robotic sounds-as-if-the-person-is-talking-in-a-tunnel effect which is designed to mimic how one would sound on a telephone. And as for the narration, one narrator doing five different voices can be hit or miss, and it didn't work so well with this.

I had a few issues with the story itself, too, so I think my "meh" reaction to this wasn't just because of the audio. I will say this: Lisa Tucker gets props for addressing the issue of domestic violence in the form of emotional abuse, and I'll be elaborating on that more in my review.

Finally, because I missed the Salon last week, I give you my reading wrap up for October.  All in all, it was a pretty good month, with 8 books read (5 of them audiobooks):

Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork (audio)
The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd (audio)
The House of Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne (part audio, part print)
The Adoration of Jenna Fox, by Mary E. Pearson (audio)
The Maytrees, by Annie Dillard (audio)
You Are My Only, by Beth Kephart (see my review here)
Questioning Walls Open, Poems by Jennifer Hill Kaucher
Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped Hide the Frank Family, by Miep Gies (audio) 

Hope this weekend's extra hour has given (or will give) you extra reading time!

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Anonymous said...

I might have missed what you thought of The House of The Seven Gables, but am asking now: What did you think of it? I remember when I read it years ago (high school/college), I enjoyed it, but it's been a while. Let me know what you thought.

Anonymous said...

I'll never be mad about an extra hour of sleep but damn do I hate springing it forward!!

K A B L O O E Y said...

I was so grumpy yesterday, I had to go around and apologize to everyone. Except for that one hour of sleep, I HATEHATEHATE turning the clocks back, or forward, or whatever the heck we do that makes it dark at 4:30. I've got to get one of those lamps they advertise in the back of the Sunday Times Magazine, because I have SAD and I have it bad. And now that I stopped reading at the gym, I've seriously cut into my book time. Argh! So I'm with you.

Sue Jackson said...

I don't mind the switch in the fall, but the "spring ahead" in the spring just kills me!! My body knows that it's getting up an hour earlier and rebels. Then again, I don't like how it looks like 8 pm at 5 pm now either, but I have been thoroughly enjoying the fabulous weather this week!

You read some great books this month - that's quite a list! One of my book groups read Once Upon a Day by Lisa Tucker, with mixed reviews. I liked it well enough, though I didn't think it was the best book ever or anything. Sometimes a poorly done audio production can ruin a book.

Enjoy your books this week!


Cass said...

I love seeing a good list of audiobooks! Yay :)

Also, I'm totally going to have to check out that Kissinger bio. I love reading biographies of people I don't really like, haha. Tthank your husband for me.