Saturday, December 21, 2013

Reading List for December: Three Sads and One Angry

My reading has slowed considerably this month. Christmas is in about an hour it seems and as most of you should know by now, I make a lot of my gifts. My arm is about to fall off and my granny craft gloves aren't helping. So I haven't had a lot of time for reading. And it seems as though the books I chose to read so far this month are very sad. Except for the last one which I was too irritated with to feel any emotion besides bored rage.

13. Lisey's Story by Stephen King: (pronounced, LeeSee) To be honest, this book could use an entire lengthy review all on it's own, but I don't work like that. A little long, but that is ok. And it was also very emotional for a SK book. While it did have many supernatural elements, it had a lot more to do between interactions between family and spouses. I loved it, as I figured I would.

14. Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist: I feel icky describing a vampire book as both sad and heartfelt but it's true, ya'll. It goes very closely with the movie, Let the Right One In, with only a few small differences. It's also a pretty solid underdog story, which I am a fan of.

15. Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos: This is not the usual kind of book that I read. It is more chick-lit-y than I ever like to get, but that being said, it was superb. I enjoyed it greatly. I also cried while reading. A lot. Which is unfortunate seeing as how I read the whole thing at work. If you love a good emotional book, this will do the trick. I actually couldn't finish the last five or so pages because I was bawling my eyes out, snotting, the whole mess.

16. Autumn by David Moody: I have read another book by David Moody "Hater" and I fucking hated it. This one was no different. If the intention of this book was to mimic the monotony of trying to survive the apocalypse, it succeeded. The only redeeming quality in this book is that it's short. That is about it.  It sounds like an interesting premise, and it would be if the characters weren't annoying pieces of shit that fight all the time. I understand in an apocalypse-type situation things are going to get hairy and there is going to be fighting but when you hear the same damn fight from the same three people in every other chapter, it gets a little old. Also, the phrase "the pain was almost more than he could bear" was written about the same character three goddamned times about the same thing. Get a thesaurus, man. And then beat yourself to death with it. I only hate to say this this book did not end with everyone involved dying horribly. Actually, it might have. I could not finish it, but I doubt it. There is a whole series of these books. If anyone has read them and would like to tell me that "it's get better," let me know. I got to 75% read and I could go no further. My reasoning was, if it hadn't gotten any better by then, it prolly wasn't going to.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Reading List for Oct/Nov: I would make a terrible fundamentalist Mormon

Ok. I've been reading a lot. If you happen to wonder what, here you go (It should also be said that if I actually took the time to type the name in a list, just assume I liked the book. Books I don't like, you will never see. Unless I make a list of books I didn't care for and didn't finish, which I may do).

I am trying to post them in the order I read them. I will start with 1, since that is how numbers work.

1.  Carrie by Stephen King - Believe it or not, I have never read this Stephen King book.

2.  Doctor Sleep by Stephen King - This was the sequel to The Shining. I had low expectations and they were exceeded, so I guess that is good. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy the book. I surely did. And if you are a Stephen King fan, you will love it.

3. Favorite Wife: Escape from Polygamy by Susan Ray Schmidt - Guys, I have read a lot of books on polygamy and this was the first one that really goes into the financial burden having seven wives and 80 children that no one else really says a lot about. It was a different angle, which I enjoyed.

4. The Witness Wore Red by Rebecca Musser- Holy crap, you guys. So good. When I want to read non-fiction about a cult, this is the sort of thing I want to read. All the details. All of them.

5. Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the People's Temple by Deborah Layton - Jonestown was far crazier than I could have ever imagined.

6. Not Without My Sister: The true story of three girls violated and betrayed - I love a story about a cult, I really do. This one was about three sisters, all from different mothers, who grew up in the Children of God which was a Hippie Cult in the 70's. It's almost as fucked up as The Witness Wore Red, but not quite.

7. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes - You know those books where while you are reading you are honestly dreading what is on the next page. It's Monster at the End of this Book type shit. You know what is coming and you are terrified of the heartbreak that is about to happen but you press on. That is the best way I can describe this book. Also, bawled my stupid face off.

8 & 9. Catching Fire and Mockingjay - Look, you people know what these are.

10. Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick - Oh it was so good. It is very much like the movie but there is less focus on the dancing and more focus on Pat and his family, which I enjoyed more than the dancing. Pat was totally a character that you root for and you audibly squeal when things go well for him. Bawled my face off, as well.

11. Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes - I wasn't really on board at first. It was hard to follow and I got bored. But after the first eight chapters (they are very short chapters) I was interested enough to keep reading and it ended up being great. It's about a woman who developed an obsessive compulsive personality after being attacked years before. Cults and crazy ladies, my two literary weaknesses.

12. The Worst Hard Time: The True Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan - I have learned more than I ever thought I wanted to know about soil erosion. Also, I re-learned a lot about the great depression that I had long since forgotten. Knowledge is power! And, wow, if you think people are stupid now...

The Iceman Cometh: Remembering the Great Ice Storm of 1994

This may not even be Memphis, but pretty much every street looked like this

Anyone in or around the city of Memphis is probably a flutter with nerves at the impending shitstorm coming our way, meaning: ice. There is just one thing that the people in the ever-so-sheltered south fear more than snow. It's ice (don't even get me started on black ice, which I just learned is also a big deal in other places, not just here).

I wasn't aware of anything catastrophic happening in this area any time soon, until Michael brought it up. At first I rolled my eyes and scoffed, "It isn't going to do anything," which is my go-to response whenever people start flipping their shit about the weather. And I am usually right. It never does anything of note and schools close early for one snow flurry in 40 degree weather. It's absurd.

But then, like most Memphians right about now, I started to think back until the Ice Storm of '94...

Picture it. Bartlett. February. 1994. (please take into account this was almost 20 years ago so my memory is a little fuzzy so I may be off about a lot of things but this is how I remember it)...

It was an exceptionally traumatizing time where most people were without power and heat for several days. And in February, one of the coldest months of the year for us down here. And as I said before, people do not respond well to inclimate weather. Everything that can afford to be closed is closed and remains that way for as long as it takes for everything to be deemed "safe." Which usually takes about 30 minutes. But not this year.

Things were bad for what seemed like four days, and I think my family was without power for at least two days but some people were out a lot longer. The trees fucked every power line they touched and since freezing weather isn't all that common down here, no one was prepared. I don't remember being out of food or that there was even a problem with thawing food, due to it being so cold outside. We were fortunate to have a working fireplace, however the stock pile of firewood that dad usually got every year was frozen and pretty much useless. By some means, we got firewood, I think it was more of a "neighbor helping neighbor" kind of thing. Or completely illegal for all I can remember.

It was a particularly traumatic time for me because a few days into the shit, I got my period for the first time. My back had been hurting for days. I was a fairly wimpy kid so I could have injured it in a number of ways. My mom was just kind of like, "Take some Advil (admittedly, generic ibuprofen that has been put back into an Advil bottle that was roughly 5 years old at the time and now is older than my two children's ages combined)," and she sent me on my way. It never occurred to either of us that there was a very good reason for my back to be hurting. So it made a whole lot of sense when, two days into the ice storm, I got my period. I remember the look on her face when it clicked in her head, like "Ohhhh, now I get it... Okay. Yeah. That is going to happen." We didn't so much have a "talk" about it as a mutual understanding between the both of us that I knew exactly what was happening (which I did) and there was really no need for a discussion. I have a mother and an older sister and we have never been a modest family. I knew what a period was, just not how bad cramps can be, apparently. Which is why I spent the remainder of the ice storm laying on a hot water bottle. Yay puberty.

And for weeks now, my new co-worker Judy has been saying, "We are really due for some bad winter weather." And she was right, ya'll. It hasn't been bad for almost 20 years guys (20. Years.). We are long overdue, really. So I can totally see it happening this week. I even went and bought candles and batteries and I am now charging everything that can be charged. I may even take a shower and dry my hair.

Everyone will be grateful to know that the City of Bartlett has been trimming trees all week long. Any tree near a power line is getting it's branches we just have to worry about them falling on our homes, which I just now thought about. Shit.

 Please share your Ice Storm 1994 stories in the comments!