Taking It Easy
It’s been a busy few days. In the last seven days, I (a) drank a kerosene martini, (b) finished my second week at my new job, (c) ran a 5K, (d) accidentally visited a bookstore, (e) watched several episodes of Buffy, and (f) read four books.
(a) The kerosene martini….got it at a place called Paddy’s – which is a fun little bar/pub with some pretty good bar food and an impressive liquor wall. However, the Oregon gin (Cascade Range or something like that) does not do well in martini form. Maybe in a G&T, but not straight up with olives.
(b) The job….it is going well, if you forget about the crises (yes, plural) that happened on Friday (which ensured that I actually drank the kerosene martini – I needed that), which I managed to solve with the help of customer service.
(c) The run…it was awesome, if a bit soggy. Yesterday it rained pretty hard, but I had planned for that! I brought dry clothes to change into after the run and stashed them in my office. I was soggy after the run, but it was okay! I had dry clothes. Except for socks. I did not remember dry socks. So, my feet were cold all the way home. However, the run itself was awesome. I didn’t even mind the rain. I don’t think I did quite as well in terms of time, but that’s okay – there was a huge big hill to run up towards the end, and it tried to kill me. And it succeeded in humiliating me, when the 7-year-old totally kicked my ass on the hill. I did finish, though, making it my 2nd 5K in two months. I know! I am so awesome.
(d) The accidental bookstore stop…that was actually the architect’s fault. On Saturday, we went to REI to pick up our race packets, and he bought a bike. He’d been looking for a new bike for awhile, and finally found one he loved – now we have four bikes for two people. Anyways, he had to go to work, so he dropped me off near a MAX station so I could go home. Unfortunately, he dropped me off in front of Borders. I tried to walk by without entering, I swear. I escaped with only five books (it was 25% off – not my fault), four of which I’d already read (that’s the only part I feel weird about).
(e) The watching of the Buffy is pretty much what I did all yesterday afternoon because it was nice and relaxing and I was tired.
(f) The books I’ve read (with mini-reviews).
1) Empire Falls (Richard Russo)
I thought this was terrific. Russo definitely set the scene – a depressed Maine town. The weird thing was, having so recently finished Stephen King’s “On Writing,” I kept having to remind myself that this wasn’t Stephen King. They have a similar writing style – although obviously not a similar genre or subject matter.
I thought Russo did a pretty good job of examining the anxiety felt by an unpopular teenage girl, considering there’s very little likelihood he ever was one, himself.
Overall, a good read. Entertaining without being too slick. A good use of language. Excellent imagery. It did leave me feeling a bit more despair that I’d have liked, but it made me feel.
2) Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
This read just like a memoir, and although I knew it was a work of fiction, I had trouble remembering during my read. Again, wonderful characterizations, although the description of WWII and its effects on Japan and its denizens left a bit to be desired. However, it wasn’t a history text, and so that can be forgiven.
The author was obviously very familiar with Japan and Japanese culture, or at least knows how to fool someone is unfamiliar with Japanese culture.
I really wanted to be a geisha by the time the book was finished, even despite the hardships. Of course, I desperately wanted to be a courtesan when I was younger (especially after reading Taylor Caldwell’s “Glory and the Lightning“), so obviously there’s something going on there.
It was so easy to believe that the story was true, evidence to the contrary. I found myself wanting to look up the geishas’ clients and read all about them and their companies.
Definitely well worth my time. I am now debating whether or not to watch the movie. Any thoughts?
3) Running With Scissors (Augusten Burroughs)
This was one of the better memoirs I’ve read recently, although very sad. I must admit to having been struck with the desire to write a memoir once or twice, but since my childhood was (happily) free of eating dog food, being left with my mother’s psychiatrist’s family, entering a sexual relationship with a person twice my age when I was 13, or watching a parent go completely and totally crazy, I feel I might be lacking in the sensation department. I honestly couldn’t even tell any good drinking or drugs stories, because there aren’t any. I’ve never felt so boring before. I also feel that I should be a little more grateful for my boring life – but mom & dad, would it have been so hard for you to at least tried to sell me to gypsies or something? I’m sure the thought crossed your mind at least once.
For all the rather shocking events in Burroughs’s life, you are left with a sense of awe – not just that he could have survived it all, but that even as a child, he knew who he was and what he wanted and recognized that writing was an integral part of his life.
4) Thud! (Terry Pratchett)
I love Terry Pratchett, and am trying to make my Discworld collection complete. As always, it’s an excellent blend of fantasy and satire. I definitely laughed out loud more than once, and it was a great ending to a rather somber week of reading.
There’s not a lot to say about Pratchett, because if you’re not familiar with Discworld (although he’s written stories about other subjects, this is my favorite), then you might not get it. If you enjoy either satire or fantasy, I’d recommend picking up “The Color of Magic” and “The Light Fantastic” which are excellent introductions to this flat, circular world carried through the universe on the backs of giant elephants which in turn are balanced on the shell of a giant turtle.
So – I’ve been busy, but feel that I’ve not accomplished as much as I’d like. I do have a basic thought-outline for my next Nanowrimo efforts, which start in just a couple of weeks.
I haven’t yet learned to knit, but who knows, maybe next week.