Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Gratuitous Book Blather

If you look at my sidebar, you'll see that I've finally moved on to some new reading material. You can click each book for a link to their respective reviews at Amazon.

As previously mentioned, Little Children just sucked. Uncle Tom's Cabin was very good, but it aroused some conflicted feelings in me, and provoked some thoughts that it will take a while to sort through. The Agony and the Ecstacy is excellent, but it is taking me a while to read. There is a startling amount of historical, philosophical and theological information to process. It's not light reading, and so, I've been reading it in fits and starts when I feel the need to feed my brain something substantial.

My new reads...

Peace Like A River is a re-read. It is one of my favorite books in the whole wide world. I've read it three times and I love it just as much every single time. It is smart, and whimsical, and moving, and completely engrossing in a way that is difficult to describe. I will write a "formal" review eventually, but for now, I will just say, if you haven't read I mean it. This is a must read.

I'm also re-reading Dracula because I love a good vampire novel. It's one of my guilty book pleasures. I recently read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, and I enjoyed it so much that I was compelled to return to the origin from which all contemporary vampire lore has evolved. I read in the forward that it was considered trash fiction in it's heyday due to it's heavy sexual overtones. So effectively euphemized are these sexual elements that I probably would have missed them on my own. However, thus informed, I find them unmistakeable and delicious. I am enjoying the book a great deal more than I remember enjoying the first time I read it as a teenager.

I actually finished The Wall already. I loved Jeff Long's previous novels, The Descent and Year Zero. Both were a very strange and unlikely combination of sci-fi, historical fiction, anthropology and theology; but it was one that worked. They were completely engrossing. Unfortunately, The Wall did not live up to the expectations I had formed based on those novels. Normally, formulaic literature bugs me, but when it works, I tend to form a strong attachment to it, and any departure on the part of the author sends me into a disappointed funk. The Wall is more of an "old guy on an adventure trying to reclaim his lost youth" kind of story. Not a complete waste of time, because Mr. Long is a good writer. But it is not the kind of well-woven and detail laden epic that I have been jonesing for. The ending, I am sorry to say, was a complete disappointment.

Being the bibliophile that I am, I am always interested in what other people love. I'm going to list my top ten favorite books of all time. If you are so inclined, leave yours in my comments.

Happy reading fellow bibliophiles.

(This list is subject to change without notice)

1. The Stand, by Stephen King
2. Peace Like A River, by Leif Enger
3. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
5. The Sunne in Splendour, By Sharon Kay Penman
6. The Red Tent, by Anita Diamont
7. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
8. The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
9. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
10. How Green Was My Valley, by Richard Llewellyn
11. The DaVinci Code, by Dan Brown (I liked it. Shoot Me.)

Yes, there are eleven books on my top ten. I could not eliminate a single one.


  • At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am embarrassed to say that I have not read a book in months. And I love books. And I love to read. My leisure time is now sucked away (willingly) by the blogosphere. I am going to pick a book on your list for an upcoming trip though. I think we have the same taste in books. I suppose time will tell!

  • At 7:00 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    I wouldn't waste the bullet because I loved the Davinci Code, too. And I've mentioned before that I love, love, Love A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I think I need to go back and reread that for... oh, the 300th time!

  • At 8:43 PM, Blogger Me said…

    I love to read too. I read mainly to be entertained and can get lost in a story no matter how bad the book is, so this is my list:
    1-Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    2-Thinner by Stephen King
    3-A Painted House by John Grisham
    4-The Bleachers by John Grisham
    5-The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    6-The Killing Club by Marcie Walsh with Michael Malone
    7-The Stephanie Plum series of books by Janet Evanovich
    8-Any book written by Danielle Steele
    9-A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

    I read Gone With The Wind in high school long before I ever saw the movie and took me 3 weeks to read. I found Frey's book absolutely fascinating and couldn't put it down. I would have bought it and read it even if they hadn't hyped it as an autobiography it was that good.

  • At 8:54 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Kvetch: Oh I am having performance anxiety. I hope you like whatever you pick.

    Mrs. Chicky: I love to hear that someone else loves ATGIB as much as I do. We should form a club, or something. ;?)

    Wander: DARN! I knew I forgot one. Yes, GWTW is spectacular. So much more than a love story. It's actually a very complex account of life and of attitudes during the Civil War. It really did a great job of illustrating that slavery was not the "black and white" issue that it seemed on the surface. And I don't think the movie does justice to Scarlet, who is really so much more than a spoiled brat. Great choice. I also loved many of your other selections.

  • At 9:14 PM, Blogger Sharon L. Holland said…

    Yowzers. I 'm not sure how to do a "favorite of all time list." Too many options. But I'll give it a shot. Maybe "books I re-read many times" would be more accurate.
    1. Sunshine Robin McKinley
    2. Anne of Avonlea LM Montgomery
    3. Daddy Long-Legs Jean Webster
    4. Idylls of the King Alfred Tennyson
    5. Complete Poetry of John Donne
    6. Taste for Death PD James
    7. Complete Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins
    8. Firstborn Christopher Fry
    9. Voyage of the Dawn Treader CS Lewis
    10. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader Anne Fadiman

  • At 9:21 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    OOOH! Howe exciting! Except for Anne of Avonlea, I haven't read any of the books on your list. Too delicious. Thank you!

    Given my vampire fetish, I think I might have to give your #1 pick a read for sure.

  • At 12:06 AM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    I remember loooooving Agony/Ecstasy which was due in part to the fact that I read it while in Italy on a trip with the college boyfriend. It was so amazing to be able to read about Michaelangelo's toils and triumphs with, say, the Bacchus, and then to head out the next morning and actually see the piece for ourselves.

    I don't have an actual top ten but I will say In Cold Blood and To Kill a Mockingbird fight it out for the top two spots.

  • At 12:21 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    1. All Families are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland (Perfect story of family dysfuntion)
    2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    3. Under the Eye of the Clock by Christopher Nolan
    4. 'Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
    5. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Van Auken
    6. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (I was so shocked at how good this was. Truly amazing.)
    7. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines (One of only two books that I ever really, truly, tears-down-my-face-cried reading.)
    8. The Boxcar Children (Just the first one. I read that book over and over and over in elementary school.)
    9. Two Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle (The story of her marriage. Sublime.)
    10. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (I was so caught up in the adventure that I didn't see the end coming and literally gasped out loud!)

    Ask me again tomorrow and I might come up with a different list, but for tonight, those are my top ten!

  • At 12:38 AM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Mom101: I think part of the reason I liked DaVinci code so much is that I had been many of the places in the book. I could visualize them so well, that the story really came to life for me. I suspect, however, that it was nothing compared to reading A/E and then walking through the streets of Rome. How delicious.

    Mary: How wonderful! Another list with many I have not read. I did consider checking out Ender's Game the last time I was at the library, because it was different from my usual picks. I almost never read sci-fi. I put it back, but perhaps I need to rethink that?

  • At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You've reminded me to re-post my fave books/fave music/fave movies lists - something I've forgotten to do since leaving Blogger.

    Thanks for the recommendations. I love The Stand, and I enjoyed the Da Vinci Code for the history and suspense, but the dialogue was stilted and the love story was gratuitous. I own P&P but have never managed to slog my way through it.

  • At 9:17 AM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Please do! I would love to see your faves list. P&P was difficult for me at first because of the vernacular, but after I became engrossed in the story, I forgot about it. It was worth the effort. I did not have the same luck with Sense and Sensibility. I just couldn't stick with it.

  • At 1:39 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    BA, I don't know how I forgot it, but A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley is really tops on my list. I found it just strolling through the book store. The over was interesting, the description was interesting and content was fantastic. It is one of those that I have to keep purchasing because I loan it out and never get it back.

    Re: Ender's Game. No one I've ever recommended it to has been disappointed!

  • At 3:15 PM, Blogger Antique Mommy said…

    The one thing I miss about my life before children is being able to sit down and read a book and finish it. "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" is one my all-time favorites and worth re-reading over and over.

  • At 3:54 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    When my boys were young, I never had any time to read either. And if by some miracle I did find some time, I usually nodded off by the second or third sentence.

    You will have time to read again someday. I promise. School is a wonderful thing. :?)

  • At 6:26 PM, Blogger MrsFortune said…

    Damnit, I just got back from Borders and I wish I had read your post BEFORE I went. I so agree with you on "Little Children" but I think I said that when you posted about it before.

    Anyway, I'm finding that reading is a GREAT thing to do while nursing, so recently I've finished "Garlic and Sapphires" by Ruth Reichl and "The History of Love" by Nicole Krauss which you MUST read, it was so beautiful.

    I thought the DaVinci Code was a compelling read and a good story, so I'll let you live. For now.

  • At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have to echo Mary - I almost never read sci-fi, but Ender's Game was excellent.

  • At 6:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Um, it's Stephen King.


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