It is possible to rate a movie R for “aberrant behavior.”
I’m moving on Saturday. Then I decided to go to Lake Tahoe on Sunday. So I need to be almost finished moving on Saturday, and then I’ll have about four days of work and moving to finish when I get back, before I leave for Georgia and my old lease runs out.
This wouldn’t be a problem, but I have a lot of crap. I’m a very material person, not because I particularly love shopping and labels or anything, but because I can’t bear to part with books or essays I wrote in English in seventh grade or 3D glasses or a keychain or anything. It’s very bad. I also have a limited amount of boxes. I just packed up all the books I own, textbooks aside. Eight boxes of books. I now have three cardboard boxes left for the rest of my stuff.
I managed to decide to get rid of six books that are not worth having on my shelf. This is really huge for me.
These boxes are going to be impossibly heavy. Then, I’m going to throw them on the floor of my new bedroom, hope that at least three of my four bookshelves fit in my bedroom along with my bed, desk, dresser, nightstand, record player, record table, and possibly my piano. Then I will return to my soon-to-be-former house and pack up clothing, toiletries, kitchen things, tchotchkes, and other stuff. AKA I am going to have to get rid of a lot of stuff and learn to live small. Bleccch.
But G-d, moving sucks so much. Always avoid it.
This is somewhat embarrassing.
I just counted the unread books in my room, like ones I own but have not yet picked up, and if I counted correctly, it’s about 57.
In my defense, I own many, many, many more books than that, so it’s not like I haven’t read anything. I just don’t read enough to keep up with my habit of buying books or with my habit of wanting to read books. I’m trying to catch up with classics that I never read, but I’m also trying to keep abreast of what’s going on in contemporary literature, both in YA (I try really hard to believe in the genre, though it’s hard, and I think calling it a genre is sort of stupid) and adult fiction. And then I also try to keep up with authors I like by reading more of their books, which is a sort of bad thing to do when you’re trying to read a lot of stuff. It sucks to find an author you like and can’t get enough of. :-p Then, the other thing I try and do is increase my exposure to different types of writing to work on my craft. So I need to read more short stories, because I’m terrible at those, and I like to read poetry, but it takes really long to finish just one book and feel like you’ve gotten anything significant out of it.
As if that number above isn’t bad enough, my to-read list (you can click on that link on the right that says “my bookshelf”) totals 182*. And it only gets higher every time I finish a book.
This semester burned me out so much, I can no longer remember how to just kick back with a book and read for a really long period of time. And I don’t remember how long it takes me to finish one. But I’m going to venture a guess, and I’m going to challenge myself to finish at least 30 books this summer. I have an abridged list taken from the 57 and the 182 of the ones most important to me to read now rather than later. This includes books that are being made into movies (Youth In Revolt), books by people I know and/or who have taught me in writing workshops (Not A Matter of Love, The Narrow Road Into the Interior), books that were gifts (La Hojarasca), classics/famous books (Oliver Twist, Balthazar, de Sade’s Justine), and books by Tucsonans (Sleeping With Schubert, History Lesson for Girls). So it’s a quite daunting task, but I’m excited. I will take books with me everywhere: to the science class I have to take starting on Monday, to Uruguay, to haircuts, to work, to the rec center, to my parents’ house. Reading has to be the main event for the summer, trumping friends and movies and mooning about boys who don’t like me back. It will even take precedence over writing, I think, just a little. There’s only so much honing of a craft you can do if you don’t read, and I am so, so behind in my reading. I’ve missed it so much.
I’ll take some book recommendations, if you have them, but please look and see if they’re already on my list, and only make them if they’re going to change my life. If you know me well, you know that very small, random things can change my life, but still. Recommendations with a grain of salt. And be advised that I may not be able to get to them for a long time, but they’ll go on my goodreads, and since the Internet never dies, I’ll never forget that I’m going to read them.
I’ll be blogging about my reading. And my travels. Please read. Or tell someone else to. I get lonely when I don’t feel encouraged. :-p
This starts now. Because as of about an hour and a half ago, this semester left my hands. Done. Time for grades.
*And then I remembered my Amazon wishlist, and I added all the books there to my to-read list as well. 200. Hooray!
How exhausting. Orbitz decided not to work correctly, so I got charged $5000 for one ticket, and while calling to deal with that, I ended up canceling all the tickets and the lady found me a flight to Montevideo for only $926. Pretty sweet.
So yes, I am going to Uruguay! Paris is no more. It wasn’t worth sitting around on a wait list, not knowing whether I’d definitely have something to do this summer, so I’m doing something that costs a hell of a lot cheaper. And it’ll be really, really good for me to be a tad bit out of my comfort zone, practicing my Spanish, and doing something a bit more off the beaten track. There will always be opportunities to go to Europe. But this will be great. I gave myself two weeks of travel time afterwards, for possibly a day or two in Antarctica (!), and then some South American bus riding up to Iguazu Falls (if you’ve seen the fourth Indiana Jones movie, those would be those endless and terrifying waterfalls from the movie). Everyone says stay in Argentina and Paraguay when you go there, because the Argentinian side of the falls is nicer, plus you need a visa to get into Brazil, so lucky for me, the visa I used when I went to Brazil four years ago is a five-year visa, so it’s still valid! Shweet. Sometimes parents are useful, because they’re the ones who remembered that, not me.
So hooray! South American traveling. Spanish speaking. Meeting Jewish people in Uruguay. Long weekend in Buenos Aires where I actually have a small branch of the Jewish side of my family living. Awesome? Yes.
The first annual Tucson Festival of Books was this weekend. Saturday I went for pleasure, Sunday I went as a volunteer. It was a pretty great event–not perfect, but especially awesome for the first year. I, dork that I am, went on Saturday dressed in my Marcus Flutie shirt, and Megan McCafferty definitely noticed it when she signed my book. It was sweet. She also spoke for an hour about writing, and like any good author does (Megan McCafferty and Rachel Cohn are hands down the best current YA writers, though technically Megan is an adult writer–another reason why she’s an awesome YA writer, if you can understand me), made me want to get back to my writing. Too bad it’s still lost on that broken harddrive in my bottom drawer
Still, it was a wonderful event. I now have a New York Times t-shirt. Very useful, I know. I also have a tent of a volunteer shirt from yesterday, which I promptly took off because it was too hard to move my arms in a men’s large. AND I have various other goodies, like Bookman’s tote bags. Whatever.
The Billy Collins reading was fabulous. Too bad the audience wasn’t. I have a huge problem with annoying audiences, and I feel like often, baby boomers are incredibly annoying to sit near. My parents are baby boomers, and they’re not obnoxious, but I think it’s inappropriate to continually guffaw at every other line of a poem, even if it is funny. This isn’t a comedy club, and though it’s one thing to chuckle or laugh occasionally, cracking up at everything that was even slightly funny meant a) I wanted to smack lots and lots of people and b) I couldn’t hear the next line of the effing poem. Shut up, people. But who cares, because Collins still writes great stuff, and his voice is awesome. I was wondering why it sounded familiar and then it hit me: Kevin Spacey. I’m not sure if Collins’ life is interesting enough for a biopic, but if it is, Spacey must play him. They have the exact same voice. Same monotony, same dry, wry way of being funny. Awesome.
His interjections about his poems were kind of the best part. Writers are some of the most interesting people to speak, especially poets, because you’re so used to ascribing your own voice to their work. I was actually surprised to find him so funny, not because I missed seeing the humor in his poems, but just because I read them as wry, not direct humor. He had two that I think are as yet unpublished, one called “Migraine” or “Hangover,” he said, depending on what feeling you’re more familiar with, that was hilarious, and another about the phrase that has already been kicked out of slang standing for “OMG,” which was a clever poem, but I think it needs work because he had to explain quite a lot of it before he actually read the few lines. But it was funny. Like a joke. Then it was okay to laugh. But other times, I think chuckling would have been far less annoying.
So afterwards I stood in line, which was also annoying, because it made me think of the Jason Mraz concert and about how famous people tend to get snobby and forget how to be gracious. I understand that it’s more efficient to have your book open to the page that needs to be signed, but sticking a post-it with my name in it seemed a bit much, and even more was the “volunteers” who took my book from me and opened it. I have had a book signed before, thanks. I’ve also read a book before, and I know what a title page is, thanks.
But again, who cares, right? Billy Collins. But I think he hates me. He saw my name, and he informed me that it was the same backwards and forwards, and we both acknowledged that it was a palindrome. I really like it when people tell me that about my name, because I’ve never written it before, so I would never have noticed. He said, “I’m going to show you the best palindrome,” and I was pretty excited, because a poet was going to tell me something, and not only is he a former poet laureate (I think you get to always keep the title, kind of like president) but he also has a PhD. so he starts writing “I love m–” and I go, “I love me, volume one.” (Spelled “I love me, vol. I,” it is a pretty sweet palindrome that is also the title of a book of palindromes.)
So he looks up and goes, “Oh. You’ve heard it.”
Oops. So much for being gracious. Foot in mouth, poet laureate crossed off list of future friends.
Still, a pretty wonderful festival over all. Can’t wait till I’m a guest there.