Sunday, March 30, 2014


This isn't a real post. This post is mostly to break up all of the Butler posts that are coming while I'm working my way through her Seed to Harvest series. Also just to let you know


I am slightly in denial about my birthday though. Well, not about the day and having people celebrate me. I'm all for that. More of the whole getting older thing, because at some point someone is going to expect me to be an adult. And for whatever reason I decided 30 is when you're an adult. And now I'm 30. And...shit.

Unless of course I wake up and suddenly things start just making sense. That would be neat.

I realize this is late and I probably should have posted something first thing in the morning (my birthday is today, the 30th). But clearly that didn't happen. I've spent my birthday weekend mostly eating, which is my favorite way to celebrate anything. I also celebrating with some bookish things. My brother got me World War Z, which I realize might be confusing as I've read it twice, but both times I borrowed the book from him and he refuses to just give it to me. So now he got me my own copy. Then Boyfriend+ and I decided to spend my actual birthday in the city and OF COURSE that meant we also went to The Strand. I picked up Max Barry's Lexicon because I saw it's finally in paperback. And then I was thinking I should try another graphic novel and what is sitting by the register as I wait in line? Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. Good times. 

AND, to further celebrate my birthday and do something book related, I think I'll do a giveaway. Lucky you. I decided to pick some of my favorite books. If you want any of them, leave a comment with your email and I'll pick a winner and then, hey, you get a book! I'll leave this open until...let's say Thursday. Thursday is your last day to enter and I'll post the winner...I want to say Friday. I'll aim for that. So, YOUR BOOK CHOICES

Good luck and happy birthday to me.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Civilization is the way one's own people live. Savagery is the way foreigners live

Sometime between Thanksgiving and early January Amazon ran a whole bunch of discounts on Kindle books. Actually they run deals like that all the time, but during this period they ran deals on a bunch of books I want to read. Which is unusual for them. During this time I picked up Octavia Butler's Patternist series. The whole thing: Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, Clay's Ark, and Patternmaster. So that's pretty exciting. And it's been some time since I read Butler.

I don't really know what order I'm supposed to read this series. See my copy puts it in the order above. According to Wikipedia they were published Patternmaster (1976), Mind of My Mind (1977), Survivor (1978, which I don't have cos Wikipedia says she grew to hate the book and wouldn't let it be published), Wild Seed (1980), and Clay's Ark (1984). So that's confusing. I think (but as I haven't finished the series I'm not sure) that my book put the series in order that it takes place.

Anyway, the first book. That I read. Wild Seed. It's going to get a little weird. With the exception of Kindred, Butler's books do that. Not bad. They're really wonderful, it just means it might be a little hard to describe.

The book starts out sometime in the 18th century Africa where we meet the main character, Anyanwu, something of a medicine woman in her village. Except there seems to be something strange to Anyanwu. She's not the old woman she appears to be. It's hard to say she's really human. Or maybe she's a mutant, the next stage in human evolution and whatnot. She's being watched by someone. Something. And then we meet the next main character, an immortal Doro. Doro is thousands of years old and he can sense people who are different. Who are special. And he was drawn to Anyanwu. He learns she's also immortal, or at least is a few hundred years old. And she can heal herself. And also transform to look like other people or even animals. So she's like the mutant that got ALL THE POWERS.

Doro is the one with the power though. It's not really clear what his powers are, only that he controls a lot of people. He's drawn to them. He's trying to make more special people. He finds them, brings them together and pairs them based on the way he thinks they'll make the best offspring. Sort of like breeding animals. He convinced Anyanwu to go to North America with him and have children. Perhaps finally Anyanwu will get children she won't have to watch die.

Eventually it comes to light that Doro kills pretty constantly. He jumps from one body to another, keeping his self and his personality. The body is just a husk. This doesn't sit well with Anyanwu, although his other children/creations/people don't seem to mind. They worship him. A living god, someone they fear and love equally.

Anyanwu doesn't love and fear Doro the way he wants. she's a wild seed, someone who just seems to have the powers he's trying to breed in his people. But the wild seeds can't be controlled like his people and he tends to put those people down. But there's something more to Anyanwu. He's never met anyone like her. And I realize this is sounding like a romance, but yeah, don't get that idea.

That's the basic plot, without giving away anything. Of course the plot is important but it's also the things that Butler uses the story to explore. Control and free-will. Slavery. Anyanwu, an African woman (at least that's what she look like although the whole immortal, healer, transformer, deal it's difficult to say woman) comes over to America on a slave ship. And Butler plays with gender and sex.

There's a definite style to Butler's work. Anyanwu reminds me of Lilith from Butler's Lilith Brood trilogy and Shori from Fledgling. Maybe even some Dana from Kindred. They're strong, stoic, serious women. There's not a lot of humor in Butler's work, nor is there a lot of emotion. This does mean it can sometimes be difficult to connect with the characters, and while I admire her characters they're unlikely to become favorites. THAT SAID, her books are excellent and Wild Seed is no exception. We'll see how the rest of the Seed to Harvest series goes.

Title quote from page 96

Butler, Octavia E. Wild Seed, part of the Seed to Harvest collection. Grand Central Publishing, 2007. Originally published 1980. Kindle edition.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wedding Update: Table Names Discussion

It was almost a year ago to the day that I asked you for help coming up with literary couples for table names. First, having a long engagement and thus a long time to plan the wedding is great. Much more relaxing than a rushed deal, if TV depictions of wedding planning can be believed.

Second, as we're now coming closer to the wedding I was narrowing down the list to come up with the ones we'll use and start figuring out the important details. Like which table Boyfriend+ and I will be sitting at. I showed Boyfriend+ the list of names and he wasn't happy. He doesn't know most of these couples, why would he want to sit at their tables. Actually he said he knew NONE of the couples, except for the fact that that was a lie, but he was making a point. I guess. So we tried to come up with a few other couples. Here's roughly how that convo went

B+: I don't know, like, any of these couples. Can't you pick someone from a book I've read?
A: Like who? Do you know how hard it is to come up with couples that don't die horribly? 
B+: What about Odysseus and Penelope?
A: Oh you mean the couple that's RIGHT THERE ON THE LIST? I told you I had couples you knew.
B+: Well they're not in your top tier couples. But fine. Let's see, what are some books I've read. Umm Great Expectations?
A: Would you like Estella and Pip or Miss Havisham and her husband that left her at the altar? 
B+: Havisham and her moldy wedding cake.
A: Great. So what else you got?
B+: The Grapes of Wrath? The Joads?
A: Sure. Why don't we go with the woman that gave birth to the still born baby and then breast fed the old man?
B+: True romance. The Catcher in the Rye? We can do Holden Caufield and the hooker.
A: Am I a hooker in this scenario? 
B+: Fine. Let's see, I read Rules of Attraction and...
A: NO! Moving on.
B+: This is hard. Maybe we need to look at movies. Marty McFly and, what was his love interest's name?
A: The girlfriend they left in the dumpster at the beginning of the second movie, or his mom?
B+: They're both such good choices.

We did eventually find a book couple that really does represent us, one that we've identified with for awhile. Calvin & Hobbes. Perhaps not a romantic couple, but a pretty great one. I'm Calvin in this relationship because of course I am. 

I think we have it all worked out now, but we shall see. Perhaps we'll come up with some more couples that aren't terrible and are from books we've both read.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Although an undoubted vagabond, I am a vagabond of the harum-scarum order

This is it. We are finished with Bleak House. All bajillion pages. Thank you Alice for hosting
Now we have the last chapters. Let's see how everything resolved

Bucket is now racing to find where Lady D has run off to because Sir Leicester is amazing and wants her back and doesn't care about her past and is the sweetest person ever and I feel bad for all the times I thought mean things about his gout.

Bucket continues to be super nice and friendly while trying to find information, while at the same time getting back to the carriage with Esther and completely dropping the friendliness (not that he's being mean to Esther, just he's not as jolly as he was a moment ago) and this is not winning me over in terms of thinking Bucket is not faking friendship with other people he's nice to. Cos it seems this is something he's able to turn on and off really easily. And YES maybe he's just really friendly and he can keep these things separate and he's very sincere in his friendship. Or not. I can't tell.

Aaaaand Lady D is dead. Well. Huh. I did not expect that. And she died not knowing that Sir Leicester is awesome and had already forgiven her and just wanted her home and safe. Damn. And now he's had a heart attack or a stroke or something.
Dickens is a jerk.

BUT this is not the end of the story, even if it is the end of the most interesting storyline.

Richard continues to be a Dick-chard and is getting sicker and sicker so Esther is always hanging out with Ada, as things should be. Ada married Richard thinking she could change him and yeah, that's working out great for her. Also she's pregnant and hoping the baby will help make things better with Richard. Again, that always works out so well.

Skimpole calls Jarndyce selfish in his memoirs or whatever.
Skimpole is the worst. But now he's dead. Without ever learning a lesson about his behavior or anything of the sort.

George and his brother reconcile and George becomes friends with Sir Leicester and takes care of him and that's nice of him. So he got a happy ending.

Jarndyce pretends to plan his marriage to Esther just to mess with her cos HAHA he knew she loved Woodcourt, which is why he had Woodcourt's mom move in with them for a while. Jarndyce is so sweet. Even if that was sort of a mean trick and can't you just give Esther what she wants without playing an elaborate trick on her? No, instead we have to make her cry and cry and try to convince herself they're tears of happiness. Great. But now Woodcourt and Esther is engaged.

In what is probably my favorite scene in the book, Guppy shows up to say that even though Esther is all weird looking now he will totally still marry her, isn't he swell?
Roughly how the proposal goes
So then when Jarndyce turns down the engagement on Esther's behalf, Guppy's mom (who he TOTALLY BROUGHT ALONG) gets all angry and demands they get out. Except Guppy & co came to Jarndyce's house so instead Guppy and Jobling have to drag Mrs. Weevle out kicking and screaming.

The Jarndyce & Jarndyce case is over. I still have no idea what happened. But now it's done and the book's almost over so I guess that doesn't matter.

And then Richard dies and I should probably feel bad for him, but not happening.
Ada and her son move back in with Jarndyce, which I guess is nice except she's obviously supposed to move in with Esther and Woodcourt so way to screw that up, Dickens. But Esther is happy so I guess it's a happy ending.

Oh, and there's a line about Ada's son having two moms. Because of Esther. So. Are there seriously people that argue Esther and Ada aren't in love? Because how?

Here's the thing. We have now finished Bleak House. And I've read A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations a bunch of times (because various classes made me) and I've come to the conclusion that Dickens

Sorry Alice. I thought if anything would make me appreciate the guy it would be one of our readalongs. And I still stand by that. Cos if this didn't do it, there's little hope. I like the idea of Dickens but actually getting into the weeds of his stories I mostly just...don't care.

BUT I still had a good time doing this readalong with everyone, as expected. And now I can say I've read this one so, points.

Title quote from location 14553

Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. Amazon Digital Services. Originally published 1853. Kindle edition.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Blood will never come out of silk

When I started reading NOS4A2 I was thinking "Wow, this is a really good horror story." Adding the "horror story" distinction was just because that's what the story is. It is a horror story and it is scary, those are things thought I knew about it going in and those things remained true to the end. But I had to change that initial thought to "Wow, this is a really good story."

NOS4A2 is sort of a strange story to explain, but I'll do my best.

Vic McQueen can find things. As a small child she learns that she can ride her bike across this rickety covered bridge and find something that's missing: her mother's bracelet, a photograph, whatever needs found. The bridge will take her to where the item is, no matter how far away. Of course, trips across the bridge take their toll, so Vic can't make too many trips.

Charles Manx has his own special vehicle, an old Rolls Royce Wraith. He doesn't use his car to find things though. Instead his car can take him and the children he's rescuing to Christmasland, where children are always happy and every day is Christmas day. Which might seem sweet. He certainly thinks he's doing a good job. But of course his wife used to call him Nosferatu so often he made it his license plate. As a joke, of course...

Manx is terrifying. One of the best villains I can remember reading. He seems to think he's doing something good. Maybe not entirely good, but I think he might believe he is helping these kids. And of course, if they help him all the better, right? I'm also pretty sure that Joe Hill spent a lot of time reading MRA websites to get some of the Manx character.

It's not just the villain that make the book. Vic McQueen is a great character. She's strong, she's flawed, she's hurt, she's determined. I loved her. It's hard to get too much into all the great things about Vic without getting too much into the story and spoilers, but all of the those adjectives I said above. That.

Again, I don't want to get into spoilers, but know that I loved a lot of the secondary characters as well. Once that I really thought would be a quick throwaway character and sure, they didn't all have a ton of scenes, but Hill managed to make them feel like full characters. Full sympathetic characters. With some great lines about librarians.
No one looks too closely at a librarian. People are afraid of going blind from the glare of ssss-ssso much compressed wisdom.

I didn't expect the book to be as good as it was. I mean, I didn't expect it to be bad or anything. I liked Horns so I had an idea of what Hill's style is, but I didn't expect this. I hated whenever I had to put the book down, even though the book is seriously creepy and it was probably for the best I didn't read this all in one sitting or anything crazy like that.

This book was excellent. I want to say everyone should read it but then there's the horror bit and I know some people aren't into that. So just know that you should still read the book, but be prepared for a seriously creepy story. If I get a phone call from any young children, I'll probably freak out.

Oh, and I would like to say thank you to Tabitha King who, according to the acknowledgements, convinced Hill to change the ending. I was worried about how the ending was going to go but it was all good by the last page.

Title quote from page 380, location 5191

Hill, Joe. NOS4A2. William Morrow Harper Collins, 2013

Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Recommendations: Help me help her

Sometime early in the year (I think that's when it was) a friend of mine was traveling out of the country and was looking for book recommendations. She figured I do this book blog thing so I probably have some ideas. And I did!
While I think it can be stressful to buy books for people (I don't want them to feel like they HAVE to like the book) I like giving recommendations cos hey, it's up to them if they take the recommendation or not. So I thought about some of the books I'd recently read and liked and picked out which of those I thought my friend would be into.

My book recommendations to her were a success! (obviously). She's getting her PhD in Reading and Literacy but life has a sense of humor so OF COURSE she has barely any time for reading. Because of this she doesn't want to waste time with subpar books and asked for some more recommendations.

I figured I could hive-mind this and ask everyone to help with some recommendations. PLUS this means I can continue to put off my review of NOS4A2 which I VERY MUCH ENJOYED but am being lazy about writing the review itself. It's always hard to write about books I loved.

SO, help me with some book recommendations. As I mentioned, my friend is working on her PhD, so she's super smart. She, another friend of ours, and I tried to start a book club when we all lived up in Boston. We succeeded in starting a "drink wine" club, so still a win. She's a fan of Jhumpa Lahiri, Khaled Hosseini, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. She also likes YA lit except I am not so good for those recommendations so I definitely need help with those. She is also the friend that finally made me read the Harry Potter series, so I sort of owe her when it comes to book recommendations. I told her to read Orange is the New Black, Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, and Let's Pretend This Never Happened and that worked out, so let's see what else we can come up with.

Attachments, Fangirl, and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell because of course.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
Fool by Christopher Moore
Moranthology by Caitlin Moran
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Kings & Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

What else should she read?

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler
The Book of Beginnings series by John Stephens
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys by Chris Fuhrman
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
In One Person by John Irving
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi
Anything Edwidge Danticat
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Winger by Andrew Smith
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It won't do to have truth and justice on his side; he must have law and lawyers

We're almost to the end of Bleak House. Mysteries will be solved, jackasses better be punished (Skimpole...). Thank you Alice, for hosting this readalong and keeping us all motivated (and spreading the chapters out).

Bleak House chapters XLIX - LV (which I hope means 49-55).
We ended the last section with Tulkinghorn getting shot. That was fun. So now we have to figure out who shot him.

First suspect, apparently is George. George goes to a lovely birthday dinner at the Bagnets and then Bucket joins and is all nice and gets everyone to like him and then BAM, as soon as they leave the Bagnets' Buckets slaps the cuffs on George. At least he was nice enough to not ruin their lovely chicken dinner, which is apparently saved for very special occasions.
It is well for the old girl that she has but one birthday in a year, for two such indulgences in poultry might be injurious.
I'm trying to think nice things about Bucket cos I know everyone liked him when he showed up before, but it's NOT WORKING when he pretends to be George's BFF just to arrest him.
Bucket, probably
It's cool though because Mrs. Bagnet is going to save George and I wish the story had focused more on them being adorable and kick ass.

There is a rift between Ada and Esther and DO NOT LIKE. Esther thinks it's because she told Ada about her engagement to Mr. Jarndyce but it turns out it's because Ada and Richard got secretly married and she doesn't want to get secrets from Esther. All I hear is "We both are going to/have married people that aren't each other and thus the universe is sad."

Bucket goes to Sir Leicester's and lets himself in with his own key. They seem to give a lot of keys out to the house. We know Bucket is married, but given his conversation with the man-servant Mercury, we can guess that marriage is a sham right?

Mr. Bucket is presently standing before the hall-fire - bright and warm on the early winter night - admiring Mercury.
"Why, you're six foot two, I suppose?" says Mr. Bucket.
"Three," says Mercury.
"Are you so much? But then, you see, you're broad in proportion and don't look it. You're not one of the weak-legged ones, you ain't. Was you ever modelled now?" Mr. Bucket asks, conveying the expression of an artist into the turn of his eye and head.
Mercury never was modelled.
"Then you out to be, you know," says Mr. Bucket

Sure, Bucket. Whatever you say.
Bucket is that creepy guy trolling malls telling girls he totally has an in with a modeling company.

Bucket tells Sir Leicester that he arrested George even though he knows it wasn't actually George that committed the crime (still not winning me over) and that it was actually a woman and then lots of people come in and they fill Leicester in that Lady Dedlock used to be Nemo/Captain Hawdon's lover and that Mrs. Chadband raised Lady D's daughter and Mrs. Snagsby complains that everyone is against her.

Then we get another instance when Bucket pretends to be a super nice guy, this time to Hortense who he and his wife have taken in as a lodger, only to jump out and arrest HER. Of course Hortense was trying to frame Lady D so at least this time he got it right. Still though, you need to pretend to be friends with everyone before arresting them?
Also is anyone surprised Hortense was arrested? Or just surprised she didn't kill via stabbing?

Lady D finds out from Guppy that her secret is out so she decides to run away.

Will Esther end up with Woodcourt? Is Jarndyce going to be heartbroken? Will Esther and Ada end up together, as they're clearly supposed to? Will Esther and Lady D reunite but for real this time? ONE MORE WEEK.

Title quote from location 12794

Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. Amazon Digital Services. Originally published 1853. Kindle edition.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The truly correct proof is one that strikes a harmonious balance between strength and flexibility

During a recent(ish) trip to Boston my friend lent me a copy of The Housekeep and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, which is awesome because I love hanging out with friends AND getting new books to read. Particularly ones that have been on my radar, but sort of the outskirts. I knew of it, but it wasn't something I was searching out.

This is the story of, surprise, a professor and a housekeeper. And the housekeeper's son. There are a few other characters but they are not the focus. It's just these three.

The Professor was a math professor. He hasn't been a professor in a long time, not since he was in a car accident that robbed him of his memory. Now his memory only lasts 80 minutes. He mostly gets by using notes attached all over his suit with little reminders about his day, who people are, and of course of his condition.

His memory problem necessitates the Housekeeper. She does more than just clean the house. She's there all day long, cleaning, cooking, and running errands for the Professor. She's hired by the Professor's sister-in-law. He lives in a cottage behind her main house, and tells the Housekeeper that she does not  want to be disturbed by any problems. If there is an issue with the Professor she would like the Housekeeper to work it out on her own.

When the Professor learns the Housekeeper has a young son that spends his afternoons at home alone while she's working, he insists the boy come to his house until it's time for the Housekeeper to go home, because a child should be with his mother. And so the Housekeeper's son Root becomes a fixture at the house and a favorite of the Professor.

There isn't too much of a plot here, but that doesn't mean this was a slow book. I finished it in a day (half on my morning commute, half in the evening). I loved watching the characters interact. And while math is far from a favorite subject of mine, the Professor's enthusiasm and joy for numbers almost makes me want to learn more math. I liked the conversation between the Professor and the Housekeeper.

"The person who discovered amicable numbers must have been a genius."
"You might say that: it was Pythagoras, in the sixth century B.C."
"Did they have numbers that long ago?"
"Of course! Did you think they were invented in the nineteenth century? There were numbers before human beings - before the world itself was formed."

The Professor is constantly working on complicated mathematical proofs and problems from various math journals and sending them away for prizes, although he really doesn't care about the prizes. He's happy to be solving the problems and he teaches the Housekeeper and Root the joy in finding these numerical connections and solving these mysteries.

It's a beautifully written story and I suppose some of that credit goes to Stephen Snyder for his translation from the original Japanese.

If you're looking fora  quiet and quick read, I would recommend this one. And I promise, a love of math is not necessary to enjoy.

Title quote from page 16

Ogawa, Yoko. The Housekeeper and the Professor. Picador, 2003. Translated by Stephen Snyder.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Interposed between her and the fading light of day in the quiet street, his shadow falls upon her, and he darks all before her.

I need to start this with a confession: I totally forgot to write this post. Or I mean, I didn't totally forget it cos if I did, you wouldn't be reading anything right now. But so far I've been doing my Bleak House reading and finishing it in time to write my post over the weekend and just have it ready. Except this time I'm writing it Monday night because I forgot to write it this weekend. This also means additional time has passed between my reading and writing this, so this might make even less sense than the other posts. Sorry about that.

ANYWAY, thank you Alice for hosting this because despite my inability to plan for things if my weekly schedule is disturbed in the slightest.

Bleak House chapters XL through XLVIII (we're now at the point with Roman numerals where I have no idea what the chapter numbers are).

Tulkinghorn is being an asshole. But at this point I can just say "Tulkinghorn is" because the rest is repetitive. He tells Sir Leister a TOTALLY HYPOTHETICAL story about some aristocratic lady who was once engaged to some captain guy and got pregnant but the guy died before they could rush a wedding and she had a child out of wedlock. The lady managed to keep shame a secret until she made a stupid mistake and then EVERYONE HATED HER. Then he looks knowingly at Lady D, cos again, asshole.

Lady D confronts him up in his turret lair, and says she's ready to leave so she doesn't bring shame on her husband. Tulkinghorn convinces her not to and says he'll give her some warning before he reveals her secret and ruins her life.
This probably happened too.
Hortense comes back and is really the crazy is going to bubble over soon. She wants to help Tulkinghorn destroy Lady D. Tulkinghorn doesn't want to work with her, I have to assume in part because of the crazy.

We get to see Chez Skimpole and he continues to be a terrible terrible person. I guess if we're looking for good things to say about him, his daughters like him. Of course he sort of treats them like dolls so bad in the negative column. His house is falling apart, probably because he's such a child and THIS SHIT ISN'T CUTE OR WHIMSICAL. Except no one seems to call him on it, except all of these poor shopkeepers he keeps ripping off.

Sir Leicester shows up to tell Mr. Jarndyce, Esther, and Ada that he's sorry he hates their friend Boythorn so much but that they are ABSOLUTELY welcome to come visit, and Lady D even likes Mr. Jarndyce. Of course he also tells Skimpole he can come visit and I feel like that is bringing and expensive curse over to Chesney Wold but since I don't care so much about Leicester, that's fine.

We get LOTS of revelations in this section. Esther tells Jarndyce her (and Lady D's) secret. And Jarndyce reveals that Lady D's sister (and Esther's fake Godmother) was Boythorn's old lov-ah and that after Lady D and Lady D-sis got in a fight she broke things of with Boythorn. THEN Jarndyce proposes to Esther (in a letter) and Esther says yes.
The proposal makes Esther cry and NOT happy tears, and she burns all of the flowers from Woodcourt because she won't need those anymore. Because love is dead. And she's also forgetting about Ada, her true love. I guess she figures she'll still get that. I mean, she's going in and stealing kisses from her while she sleeps.

Richard is in all kinds of trouble and is looking haggard and has lots of debt cos he's all obsessed with the J&J case. I dunno, I sort of don't care about Richard anymore. Sorry, Rick. BUT while Esther is visiting Richard she sees Woodcourt and she doesn't know what to do with herself cos she wants to see him but she's ugly now (and also engaged to an old guy [Jarndyce is old, right?]). BUT she does go see him and Woodcourt says he'll watch out for Richard.

Jo comes back! Granted  the poor guy shows up again after being tackled by Woodcourt. And he's all sick and he says he was taken from Bleak House. When he's hiding a George's, George assumes it's Bucket that did it to bring Jo to Tulkinghorn for EVIL REASONS. Then because things weren't depressing enough in Jo's life, we see a touching moment between him and Snagsby and then Jo dies. Because of course he does. Dammit, Dickens.

Lady D dismisses Rosa and sends her with Mr. Rouncewell so she can be with Rouncewell's son and that was nice. Tulkinghorn makes it all about him and is all annoyed that this is going to raise suspicions and now says he WON'T warn her before he's going to ruin her life.

BUT THEN the section ends with Tulkinghorn being shot.
So. Problem solved. BUT WHO IS THE SHOOTER? And does anyone have a death count for this book, cos I feel like it's pretty high.

Title quote from location 11,189

Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. Amazon Digital Services. Originally published 1853. Kindle edition.

Monday, March 3, 2014

February Reading Stats

I was going to start this post like I start all of my monthly recap posts: with shock about how fast time has gone. Except that's boring and also February's short so there really shouldn't be too much shock about that. Also I just did start the post the same way. Good for me.

I did slightly better in terms of number of books read, although way worse in terms of pages. Actually, this is the fewest pages I've read in a month in the last few years. The fact that I've read over 75% of Bleak House this month BUT haven't finished it yet (thank you again, Alice, for spreading this readalong out a bit more) means a lot of the pages aren't getting counted. But I looooooooved the three books I did read this month so I'm still happy with how things are going.

Now, the stats

Number of books read

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

Total pages read

Percentage of fiction

Percentage of female authors

Percentage of white authors
66% - WOOOO (always happy when I can manage this, even if I completely failed at reading a black author during black history month. And I have a Butler just waiting for me. Whoops.)

Percentage of US authors
33% - I don't remember the last time US authors were in the minority.

Percentage of ebooks
33% - which is odd, considering how many ebooks I recently picked up

Percentage of re-reads

Percentage of review books

Books written by decade
2000s - 66%
2010s - 33%

Books by genre 
Rom com - 33% (Also hilarious)
Humor - 33% (Also literary, what with all the Shakespeare)
Literary fiction - 33% (this is pretty accurate just as lit fic, although I feel like it's sort of cheating with the genre.)

Genre is getting harder and harder to determine for a book. This is why bookstores just put all of their fiction together. Otherwise things just fall into so many categories. But I'm going to keep it up. And maybe just focus on making ridiculous shelves over on Goodreads.