Thursday, October 29, 2009

October, schmoctober

Really - October ends Saturday. We Fall Back, too (woo-hoo for an extra hour of sleep!) - of course that's after we've donned costumes (BTW - are your kids dressing up? dogs? what will they be?), Harvest Fest-ed & gorged on candy. And in an effort to get into the "scariness" that is this month, my 4 faithful readers (thank you, Tracey and Tracey , Martha Ann & Angie!!) (OH! And Emily - she just found my blog - yeah!!) know that I've been trying to read scary books. I feel like such a failure - I only finished 2 re-reads of Stephen King books. As an addendum, let me say that I realize now that scary books are no longer my thing. I don't like reading with all of the lights on or being afraid to peek out the windows (what manner of thing might be looking back at me??). And so, like a cookie, I'm done. I'm getting ready to start November reading with a thankful heart - I want to be reminded of all that is good. Rita and Sean suggested a book for me - Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers ... the blurb says:

Sold into prostitution in childhood, Angel is a bitter woman
who trusts no man. But when God tells Michael Hosea to marry her,
she learns to love---until fear overwhelms her and she returns to her
former life. Can she be redeemed? A skillful retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea

Since the thing I have to be most thankful about is in fact the redeeming love Christ has for me, I think this is a fitting way to start a month in which we will spend most of our time preparing for thanksgiving - for friends and families who love us when we are not at our very best, for jobs, for homes, for having not just enough to eat but too much to eat, for healthy children and healthcare when they are not ... our list of "thankfuls" is a long one.

So, enjoy the last 2 days of October. Dress up. Eat candy. Say, "Boo!". And if one or two of you want to join me in my reading or suggest books that fit my Thanksgiving theme, send them on!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Scary Readin'

Well ... I finished 'salem's Lot last week and immediately jumped right in to Stephen King's Cujo, which I finished Saturday afternoon. So quick "reviews" & synopsis of each ...

'salem's Lot opens with the Man and the Boy living quietly in the West Coast after the events of the book have taken place, then we get to the telling of the story, and then we go back to the Man and the Boy as they come back to the Lot to finish what they started. Ben Mears is the main character, a sort of prodigal son done well returning to his roots. Ben is a writer and has returned to the Lot to write ... and to excorcise the Marsten House from his nightmares. The Marsten House is the "haunted house" of 'salem's Lot - many years before there had been a murder-suicide there. At any rate, Ben meets Susan - the town's favorite daughter, so to speak. They hit it off and begin a romance. But there's something sinister going on in the Lot (but really, isn't there always something sinister going on??). The book is about vampires - a centuries old vampire, Barlow and his puppet, Straker, who move into the Marsten House and begin the gradual take-over of the town. Ben and Susan team up with English teacher, Matt Burke and his doctor, Jimmy Cody, along with a young boy named Mark Petrie and the local priest (whose faith is failing), Father Callahan in an effort to stop Barlow. Things go badly for the group when Susan decides to approach the Marsten House alone. She falls victim to Barlow, but Mark scores a blow when he maims Straker, causing Barlow to have to kill his own man. When the dust has settled, Ben and Mark are left standing, but the town of 'salem's Lot has all but been wiped out.
The book is scary - especially as the days grow shorter and the nights cooler - but it's not the kind of book that leaves me afraid to peak around the next corner. While things go badly in 'salem's Lot, Ben and Mark are the good that outwits and eventually beats the bad. This is the book that leaves you knowing that the good wins. But if you read it, be prepared for Stephen King's great description of the town, of the fear and for things to go bump in the night.

Now for Cujo. For those of you who haven't read it, I will say this: Cujo is the type of book that embodies all of the things that I am most afraid of - so its scare factor, though different than 'salem's Lot, is much higher for me. Cujo is a dog. A St. Bernard. He's a good dog who loves THE MAN and THE WOMAN and THE BOY who are his family (the Camberts). If it came down to it, Cujo would die for his PEOPLE. But Cujo is a victim of fate and is scratched by a rabid bat. Donna Trenton is a wife and mother in Castle Rock, Maine. She loves her husband but has been unfaithful, and she loves her son, Tad (who is four years old). The stars align for all of the wrong things to happen at the right time for things to go badly for the Trentons and the Camberts. Vic, Donna's husband, finds out about her affair (after she's finally ended it) at the same time he's scheduled to be out of town for two weeks for work. Tad is afraid of the monster in his closet. Donna's car needs work, and Charity Cambert has won $5,000 in the lottery. Vic heads for N.Y. on business, Charity and Brett Cambert head off for a visit with her sister's family. And then there's Cujo, who isn't feeling at all himself - his head hurts, every noise seems amplified and he's got a terrible thirst.
Not knowing that the Camberts aren't home, Donna and Tad head that way in hopes of having her car fixed - what they find is much worse. Cujo is fully mad at this point - he's killed the Cambert's neighbor (Gary Pervier) and Joe Cambert. And now Donna's Pinto is broken down in the Cambert's drive, with Cujo standing guard. In his rabid brain, he knows that this WOMAN is the reason for all of his pain. He is no longer the dog that Brett Cambert knew and he's no longer the dog who would die for his PEOPLE. He is mad.
This book has no feel-good happy ending (not so for the movie, BTW). By the time Donna is able to brave going head-to-head with Cujo, 4-year old Tad has succombed to dehydration and Donna has been mauled by the rabid Cujo. And let's not forget the local Sheriff who wasn't too quick on draw.
For me, this book is far scarier than 'salem's Lot because the fear you feel reading it is the fear all mothers have - the fear of the unknown, the out of your control circumstances of life. I'm sure that my first reading of Cujo 19 years ago is what inspires me to keep a few bottles of water and a blanket in my car even now - just in case.

So ... what will I read next? I'm not sure. With Halloween only 10 days away, I'm going to have to be selective in choosing the next scary read, as it may be the last of the year. November will be dedicated to books with themes of Thanks-giving. I'll be going through the facebook suggestions as well as any in the comments ... and as always, your thoughts are welcome!

Happy reading ...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

October Scare-O-Rama

While the rest of Spartanburg County is deep into the The Big Read and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, I am ignoring all advice to the contrary and having a Scare Myself To Death month. Last night, I started re-reading Stephen King's 'salem's Lot (which I first read in, oh, maybe 8th grade). I'll continue to take suggestions for Book Club (could we do that online and in person, MA?) and my study of the the Gospel of John, and on the side I'm going to read (well, re-read) a few Stephen King novels. Please note that I will not be reading SK's It, which is possibly the scariest book/movie EVER and since it left me traumatized (specifically where clowns are concerned), I'll probably never read it again. But if you want to be scared to death, go ahead. Oh, and if you want to suggest a favorite SK scary, please do (in the comments section since I never get comments? That would be soooo cool!)

Oh, and we really are doing a book club - so if you're interested in joining, let me know. You don't have to be in town - I'm pretty sure we can do the midlands and the rest of the upstate (if you'll invite us to spend the night)... Really. Yes, you.

Monday, October 5, 2009

So I have this big goal of making a list of books and plowing through ... so I've been soliciting advice on facebook for "What to Read". And I was reminded that our friend, Sean, authored a book, The Letters. So maybe I'll start by re-reading something I liked the first time. But in the meantime, what are you reading? What suggestions do you have for my lofty "What To Read" list?

Would it be even better if I promised you updates as I'm reading? I certainly think it would make me more accountable - not at all like the book club that never was with my dear friend Martha Ann (we were supposed to be reading Wicked this summer, which she did but no one else did).

Did you know that my real and true dream in life is to own a book store? Yep. Preferably I'll own it when I'm independently wealthy, so its success or failure will matter not ... but I'd love to own a real bookstore. One with story hour in the fabulous children's literature section (with Martha Ann in character garb) and a quiet corner for parents to enjoy a book during story time ... and you know what? Because it will be my store, I think I'll even have a Breast-Feeding Room. Yes, you read that right. The La Leche League will love me. And the very best part will be that I will have unlimited opportunities to read all of the books I so dearly love ... ahhhh....

Waiting to hear from you, book lovers!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's fall, Y'all!

Wow ... it's Fall! I'm so thrilled that the weather has finally started to turn - it's just amazing how God times things just perfectly so that just as we're becoming tired of one season, it's time for another! I love how Summer fades to Fall as the days begin to grow shorter and cooler, the freshness of the air. I remember not too very long ago that as the Summer was coming to an end and school starting back up that my friends and I would be counting the days until Thanksgiving Break and then Christmas Break - it hardly seemed that they could get here soon enough. But I know that I'm getting older when the days seem to fly by and the months here and gone before we've gotten used to writing September. See? It's the First Day of October - can you believe it? It's been a full month, this first month of school - visiting grandparents, children's choir, riding lessons, adult choir, work, volunteering, journal-ing, saying good-bye to friends & hello to new opportunities ... And now we start fresh with another month of more of the same, yet not at all the same!

Am I rambling? I'm sure it seems that way - there's just so much going on and so few words to string together to share it all ... Dylan & Mike saw Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 3-D last week (they both loved it; Mike loved that Mr. T & Neal Patrick Harris are voices & they both loved "Steve" - you really have to see it to understand! And of course there was flying food ...) Dylan has taken his first riding lesson with the much-loved Miss Hannah & Rambo (pics to come, I promise) - he wrote in this in his journal about it:

Today was the best day of my life!!!! (exclamation points all his!)

And this week Mike and his Dad took Dylan to his first MLB game ... for those of you who know Mike, you see the importance of this event ... Dylan, however, was much more interested in riding the MARTA - but the Braves did win (4-0 over the Marlins) and Chipper hit a home run, so all were pleased.
I am going in about 10 different directions right now - planning recreation for children's choir each week, Rice Bowls, and just started Bible Study Fellowship and the Study of The Gospel of John. And subbing at the high school nearest our home, so reading a lot of Teen Fiction - which I love and hate at the same time. (So if you have questions about what your teenager is reading, I'm your girl!!)

BUSY is the word at our house, so I'm thinking of taking a week to slow down, clean up , stay home ... but not sure when that will happen! Fall is so great, but I know that before I can blink it will be winter and ...then ... well, you get the idea!
Hope you all are well and happy ... can't wait to hear what's going on with you ... so leave a comment or e-mail me or ...