False Starts and Misappropriation

Elevator Love Letter, originally uploaded by Atomic Citrocity.

Dear Blog;

The only way I can think to start this is by saying I’m sorry I’ve been neglecting you. I have no excuses. I really don’t. The thing is, things have been really rough lately, and I’ve been unfair to you. You’ve always been there for me, and i feel like I’ve re payed you by walking away. I know I’ve said that we can work this out and I just need time, nothing is wrong, its just a funk… all that stuff. But its more than that. It’s a lot more. I’ve always had a lot of fun with you, and you’ve taken me to places I’ve never been, but…

Books just don’t do it for me anymore.
It’s not normal, and it’s not me. We both know that. I don’t know whats going on. I pick one up, I read eight pages and I’m bored. I’m not tired, I’m not relaxed and I can’t wait to get out of that chair. Reading isn’t fun anymore, but not reading feels bad, too. I guess what I’m saying is that I want to work this out, and I need your help.

Maybe I haven’t found the right one. I’ve been fooling around with a lot of graphic novels, knitting books and online articles that don’t need my full attention, then trying to sit down and get into heavy political or spiritual texts. Maybe I’m going about this all wrong. I really want to work on this, because I think we have something great going for us. I’ll start making an effort, because this is something I need to fix. I know this. I’m going to start making you a priority. You have my word as a bookworm.

yours, NovelDame

Published in: on April 11, 2009 at 2:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Do As You’re Told

early summer road, originally uploaded by straightfinder.

My Fairy Godmother is at it again this week, keeping me on track. The only thing holding me back is the fact that 2009 is not off to a good start, as far as reading goes. I think that, according to my reading log, I have finished one book.

In five weeks, I have finished one book. Oy vey. And as expected, the To-Read Shelf has bore fruit and started a To-Read Colony in the shelf below. Oh dear… Did I mention I hit the library yesterday?

Sometimes I really think there is no hope for me, and then I am reminded of why I go to the library: its my version of Retail Therapy. Some women get a rush from picking up a new sweater (don’t get me started on my knitting problems) or a dozen pairs of shoes. Me, I go to the local library and fill my bag, and my arms, and consider “just one more” knowing full well I will never open half of them, and the other half will become overdue in two weeks. Then I check out and leave with twenty books I have never read  before and am thrilled by all the adventures that I hold in my hands, and the prospect of finding another character to love.

I love reading.  I genuinely love it. Sometimes I forget that. Especially when I’m looking at that same stack of books three days later thinking such terrible things as “why did I pick this up?”  “There is no way I can read all these.” and, my favorite  “I don’t remember leaving with this many.”

Meanwhile, the shopaholic down the street is sweating this month’s credit card bill, and I’m pondering why the Library would give people a 99-book limit if they don’t recommend getting beyond ten. Imagine getting 99 books from the library. Just imagine.

Where would they go? How would you get them out of there? What does this say about one’s sanity?

This is what I do when I should be reading. Au Revoir, dearest. Down the road I go.

Published in: on February 6, 2009 at 2:34 pm  Comments (1)  

When to Say “When”


House of books, originally uploaded by CláudiaM.

I have a situation.

I’m not entirely sure what kind of situation it is yet, but I know I have one. The problem is this: Whenever I leave the house, I come home with more books than I left with.

I know what many of you are thinking; “I wish I had that problem!” No. No you don’t. You see, I leave the house every day. Its not even that I’m stuck with these books. About a third are library books, so they eventually go back… but thats hardly the point, now is it?

My situation is this: I have no room. All bookshelves are at capacity, even beyond. The dreaded “To Read” Top shelf is layered. It started out neatly enough, arranged by size, brought forward to the edge of the shelf (as my dear Librarians taught me). Come May there were two or three paperbacks on top of the row. Now… we’re halfway through June. I have pushed back the first row and begun a second in front of it.

(Wistfully) And they’re wonderful books! Dostoyevsky, Anna Karenina, War and Peace, Persuasion, A Hearbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, J.M. Barrie, J.D. Salinger, other people who use initials, and my two favorite Random-Fact Books: The Know-It-All and A Brief History of Nearly Everything. (neither of which I’ve finished – yet) The trouble is that there’s still books I want. You know, the books everyone should own, the ones you pass on to your kids. I saw this gorgeous old-style, gold-lettered hardcover of Robin Hood that would be lovely to read this winter (with a blanket and hot cocoa) not to mention the recent Naria craze, which only fuels the nagging feeling that I should have bought the series when I was 7 (like I wanted to, because then I wouldnt be in this predicament). My most recent tangent has been Peter Pan. It has been mildly amusing between the book, short stories and movies galore. (I think all these childrens books, particularly that last one, is my subconscious making a grand effort to avoid “growing up”. Ahh, the innocence and ego of childhood…)

needless to say, I do believe I am surrounded. My “To Read” Shelf occupancy has tripled, plus the seperate stack of library books (over 10 present at any given time) And the average of… three… that I carry on me at all times. Another problem: Once I remove themfrom my “To Read” Shelf, there’s nowhere to move them to. Again, shelves are at capacity. What to do, what to do…

I’m 10 books away from resorting to By any means necessary mode, (which is one step away from Crazy Cat Lady)  and fitting them into drawers, crates, stacked on tables… Its reminiscent of Elinor Loredan in inkheart (excellent book-lovers book!). In any case, I’m curious as to how the book-house was managed, because it might be the solution to my problems.

Published in: on June 14, 2008 at 9:50 am  Comments (3)  

Unfamiliar Territory

The Train Enthusiast, originally uploaded by MarkyBon.
WordPress changed its blogging format, so now I’m quite discombobulated. Forgive me.
In other news, my Spring Break has been both eventful and uneventful in a simultaneous sort of way. I have spent most of it surrounded by two of my sisters and my darling niece (who has a passion for electronics rather than books, despite my suggestions). But at the same time I have failed to write about all the books I have read, nor have I completed any of the paper-pushing tasks set before me.
I was able to see subjects of my family through the eyes of a foreigner, but with the insights of a native (which was very unsettling indeed). My darling readers, this whole adventure that has been visiting family has reminded me that people themselves do not change, they merely change the way in which they present themselves. Books are very much like that, you know.
My father’s green canvas, parchment-printed, tattered fourth edition of Pinocchio is of no comparison to its full-color illustrated hardcover sister (circa 2002, which is in my possession) but they are the same once you get past the flim-flam. What matters (in books and people) is what is at the heart of it all. When all is said and done, did you walk away knowing that you were forever marked? That is the goal of every author and every friend; to touch and be touched.
Dearest reader, all I ask of you is to sit down and think about the books and people that have touched you. How did each influence your journey through life? If you like what you see, then don’t think twice. If your list is short, whats been stopping you?

Published in: on April 4, 2008 at 8:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

All Fired Up

Mercy! Books Burning.
Originally uploaded by Catherine Jamieson

Today’s quotes are quite relevant, I’m sorry to say. I’m working on a new piece of artwork, and I burned a book.


Yes. I, NovelDame, set fire to the pages of a paperback. I never read it (glances told me it was a crime novel), but I’m sure there are plenty more copies out there, in any case.

Why are people so against book burning? Many relate this act to censorship, which is understandable. There are countless acts in history when book burning was a method of control: Oxford University did it in 1683, The Nazis perfected it, and most recently it became a scandal in Iraq. I agree, that destroying reading material because someone has objections to it is barbaric. I do believe that the burning of the Library of Alexandria was the greatest loss we – as a culture – have ever faced. So much knowledge was lost…

But, I don’t believe that all burning is morally wrong. Books that are damaged beyond repair, unreadable, outdated, etc should be properly disposed of. Honestly though, do raggedy books belong in a landfill? Thats hardly respectful, don’t you agree? Everyone has seen a wounded book. It isn’t pretty. Wouldn’t you like to put it out of its misery? Go to any used book store, and look around. In some cases, there are dozens of copies of the same novel. Surely no one out there would buy all eight paperback copies of their favorite vampire novel.

Here is the question I pose to you, dear readers: Would the issue of burning of books be less black and white (pardon the pun) if it were done in the name of “population” control, and nothing else?

For more opinions on book burning, please watch my first video post, with quotes from students and teachers.

Published in: on February 2, 2008 at 12:38 am  Comments (2)  

Rollerskates and Piggybanks


     Today was wonderful. I managed to both start and finish my first book off my “To Read” Shelf!  The Pigman by Paul Zindel, was originally published in 1968 and my personal copy was published not long after that. It is narrated by two of the main characters, Lorraine and John, whom alternate chapters. It was a little unsettling at first, but after the fifth or sixth chapter, I began to get into a bit of a flow. It was easy getting comfortable with easing in and out of the character’s heads because Lorraine seemed, to me, to be levelheaded, quiet, much more emotional than John, and a bit of a wallflower. John was the tall, dark, handsome and arrogant type, the instigator, The Yang to Lorraine’s Yin. They were very much alike, but took on different roles as directed by society. Written in the time period that it was (fifties, early sixties I presume), there were many aspects that were more of a history lesson than little ignorable details. Rotary phones were mentioned, and the nagging mother constantly “reminding” Lorraine that good girls don’t get in cars with boys. But really though, I’m surprised that The Pigmanisn’t more well-known or talked about. I can’t even describe the feeling this evoked when I finished. Read it yourself and come up with a word.

     In the back of the book was an interesting section by the author, in which he included letters from teens, and an early version of FAQ’s. It was lovely to read because it showed that he didn’t just write the book to get it out, he wrote it because he genuinely cares about teens and is curious as to how and what and why they think the things they do. Thats why this book got under my skin; he understood me. I didn’t relate to any of the characters, but he still managed to convey the message that he understands, and its going to be okay.

Published in: on January 5, 2008 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Everyone Needs a Pleasant Reminder


I realize it is quite late, and I should be in bed like all good children are. Tonight’s excuse is as follows; I feel that if I don’t get my thoughts out now, then when I try to do so tomorrow morning, they will be incomplete. I’d hate to have that, knowing it was preventable. I came across tonight’s inspiration purely by accident (as are most of Novel Dame’s muses), and it brought back fond memories.

By hitting the wrong link, I was presented with a list of the Bestselling Children’s Books of All-Time (Hardcover). I sat here for a good twenty minutes just reading this list, and reflecting on each book. For the longest time, I had believed that the world had turned away from Little Golden Books, thus neglecting the classics that my parents and myself grew up with, like The Pokey Little Puppy (1), and The Little Engine that Could(30). My own copies are no bigger than a cell phone nowadays! Certainly everyone expected Dr. Seuss to be littered throughout, but Nancy Drew, of all books, made the top 50! I didn’t think kids read her anymore. Honestly. One of my earliest memories was having the whole series sitting on my shelf – next to my rubber piggy bank. They were my first “chapter books” and I was wholeheartedly devoted to the clean cut, classic crime solver for many years. Shh, I’ll admit part of me still is. I remember having to memorize an entire Eric Carle book (20) in first grade, and going to the school library for read-aloud time to hear The Rainbow Fish (25) for the sixth time and still loving it. To see Waldo books(41, 45), Richard Scary(66, 73), and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie(69) listed… its like going back there. Back to my tiny Elementary school, back to the playground, back to the wonderful teachers. I remember the primary-color rug in my kindergarten class, the Halloween parties and parading through the hallways in costume. Delightfully, I remember when the D.E.A.R. program was introduced, translating to Drop Everything And Read (which I never questioned). In my life, books have never been the plot line, just filler, but I will say that they have always been there. I’m thankful that I’ve grown to appreciate that.
I’m glad I stayed up to share this trip with whomever decides to read. I hope someone else goes looking for the books they remember as a kid. There’s so much more that I could tell about, but I want to hear someone else’s story, should this be a catalyst. I know my answers, but when did you really discover that you loved books? What are your earliest memories with one?

Published in: on December 30, 2007 at 2:31 am  Comments (3)  

Consider with Caution

I’ve been playing with the idea of reformatting the entire site before it is launched to the community. It would take time, and become rather complicated to organize, but I think that it would look more “professional”. Any Thoughts? Suggestions?

And I haven’t picked up anything new yet, but I think I’ll have to revert back to “chick lit” or a children’s novel (Peter Pan, maybe?)  or… even some nice, technical non-fiction on Quantum Physics (its really rather interesting!) because, as you’ve read, my latest reading has been rather heavy. More like a block of emotional lead than a “meaty” story.

Ooh, I’m thinking of starting A Series of Unfortunate Events

Anyway, email contact has been removed, posts have been edited, there are new sidebar toys, and I’m working on that Reading Playlist right now. What Else should I add to the site? And I’m going to definitely work on editing down my “To Read” List… even I know that 900+ is a little much… so I’ll have to research each book and… oh, why am I telling you? More later, oh captive audience. Read much and be well.

Published in: on October 29, 2007 at 11:09 am  Comments (1)  

A Necessary Addition

Good news! Only 3 hours and a rather rough “My Favorites” List is up! You can either follow the link, or to the right, under Blogroll is a link titled My Favorite Books. Same thing, different location on the page. The idea is to have the MF page be both a summary and personal interpretation of the book in question, instead of reviewing it on the main page and adding more in a seperate location.

I think I’ll go edit it some more… wish me luck. After this, I begin work on Book Discussion Pages!

Does anyone have suggestions for anything else you’d like to see on the site? Videos? More links, more lists?

Published in: on October 13, 2007 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  

A Blogger’s Work is Never Done.

It is 9 am on a foggy gray Saturday and I’m bundled up in a sweater, sitting at the computer. Its the perfect day to grab a blanket and a hot cup of Cider or tea and just sit.

No, I didn’t wake up just to do this. Actually, I’m at work. But with the weather being terrible, there’s no work to do. And since I have a little extra time, I figured I’d go play around a bit. I’ll probably post again later (previous blog has taught me to keep it short and sweet) giving links and such, but Im working on both a “My Favorites” List and a Book Discussion page where we can discuss a book in-depth without having to worry about giving away spoilers. The catch is you HAVE to have read the book before you join the discussion.

As for that playlist, I know I have some songs in mind… does anyone else? And are there any more books I need to pick up?

And a rather generous benefactor was kind enough to lend me the NEW Scott Westerfield book, Extras. If you haven’t read the first three (Uglies, Pretties, Specials), then I highly recommend you pick them up. This is a hairline away from ending up in the not-yet-finished “My Favorites” section. I expect another awesome plot twist and some old faces to surface again… I’ll review it later.

Published in: on October 13, 2007 at 9:02 am  Comments (2)  

In the Beginning…

Once upon a time, there was a bookworm. She read many, many books, and treasured them all. She made many, many lists, but she never knew what to do with them. Until one day, a fairy godmother came to her with a quest. “Use your passion to change the world!” she said. And so the little bookworm set out to do just that.

And here I am. My goal is to turn at least one person onto reading. I hear so many people say “I don’t like reading” and I say you haven’t found the right book yet. I hear “I’m a slow reader” and I say slow runners don’t get faster by sitting down. What do you have to lose by trying?

The goal of this blog is to eventually be an entry in the 2008 Technology Fair (see link) but the purpose of this is to be a method of communication and education between peers. Maybe that’s getting a little technical… here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to talk about books. Thats all. I’ll have book lists, and recommendations and reviews. That DOES NOT mean I’ll be writing a book report for each one, or that you can take what I say and turn it into a teacher. I’ll try to make it a different take on a book each entry. Now, if there comes a time when you don’t agree with something I write, PLEASE say so. This is meant to be a method of communication. That being said…

I’m now taking requests. You name the book, I’ll read it, then I’ll write about it. Its that simple. What do YOU want to see reviewed?

Published in: on October 10, 2007 at 3:59 am  Comments (7)