For Love Of Reading, Answering The Bookish A-Z Questions

Earlier this week Deb Carey at Debs Despatches shared and answered these questions. She inspired me to do the same today. Do this on your own blog if you like and/or chit-chat about books [or whatever] in the comments below.

~  ~

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From: Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series. I’ve read the ones written by Parker but not by the author who took over after Parkers’s death.

Best Sequel: No answer, I’m coming up blank on this question.

Currently Reading: Underground Fugue by Margot Singer

Drink Choice While Reading: Hot tea or cold wine

E reader or physical book: I prefer a physical book at home, but I use an E reader when I’m not at home.

Fictional character you probably would have dated in high school: I didn’t date much in high school so I doubt that I’d have gone on a pretend date with a fictional character. Just saying

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance: Slade House by David Mitchell. I tried to read Cloud Atlas by Mitchell and couldn’t do it, but Slade House I enjoyed. Sly premise, short read

Hidden Gem: Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan. This is a memoir with a positive message that confirms you can plan your life all you want, but reality will intervene, especially when family loyalty is involved. It’s sweet and funny.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life: As an adult I read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. The novel is meant for YA but while reading it I had a light bulb moment wherein I realized I was like the main character in the novel and had been a writer since girlhood.

Just Finished: The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleton. Set in 1935 during a hurricane the novel is well-researched with a twisted plot. I enjoyed the characters, the odd circumstances that brought them together, and how they persevered.

Kind of Books I Won’t Read: Memoirs *written* by politicians or political hacks;  historical books about sports;  motivational books foisted upon us by grifters;  and any novel I sense will be filled with gore

Longest Book You’ve Read: A guess but I’d say Hawaii by James A. Michener. It’s about a million pages long. 

Major Book Hangover Because Of: If you mean what book stayed on my mind long after I read it, I’d say The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.

Number of Cases You Own: 4 actual book cases;  many drawers filled with books;  piles of books under the coffee table in the living room;  and many cookbooks stashed away in kitchen cupboards + on the counter

One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Preferred Place to Read: a comfortable chair with decent light and a table beside it for my beverage

Quote That Inspires You, or Gives You All the Feels, From a Book You’ve Read“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” It’s the last line from The Great Gatsby.

Reading Regret: I was slow to get around to reading the Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. I don’t know why I hesitated because they’re funny and brilliant.

Series You Started and Need to Finish: Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway mystery series

Three of Your All Time Favorite Books:

  • House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • A Judgement In Stone by Ruth Rendell

Unapologetic Fanperson For: No one I can think of

Very Excited For This Release (More than all the others):  I’m never current in my reading so it doesn’t matter when an author plans to publish, I’ll get to the book when I get to it.

Worst Bookish Habit: Starting one book in one room, a different book in another room, a third book in a third room… then getting confused about what I’m reading. Go figure

X Marks the Spot—start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: Almost French by Sarah Turnbull

Your Latest Book Purchase: Bomb Shelter by Laura Mary Philpott

Zzz-Snatcher Book (the last book that kept you up late): I don’t stay up late reading so the answer is none.

~ ~ ~ ~

You Decide: Behaving Hypocritically Or Showing Sound Judgment

~ • ~

I CAN SEE WHAT HAPPENED FROM TWO PERSPECTIVES 

On the one hand I believe people can change and that’s a defining characteristic of humanity.  As we gain experience and knowledge we are able to change, preferably for the better, as we go along.

But on the other hand I like to keep my distance from people who have demonstrated they’re irony-impaired and don’t have the sense God gave a goose, regardless of whether they may have changed or not.

Judge me as you will.

~ • ~

I WAS ON INSTAGRAM WHEN IT MADE A SUGGESTION ABOUT WHO I SHOULD FOLLOW  

When I saw the name I recognized it immediately and shouted “HELL NO.”

Literally.

Shouted those words out loud.

Then I started laughing because I hadn’t thought about this woman, Zelda, in years.

I met Zelda, an author wannabe, through a mutual acquaintance who knew that Zelda was creating her author’s platform which was to include a personal blog.

Our mutual acquaintance thought that I might be able to answer some of Zelda’s questions about writing a personal blog. And I did.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

~ • ~

YOU SEE, ZELDA WAS GOING TO WRITE HER MEMOIR

It was to be about what she’d learned about how to get along with people while living on four continents.

She had stories to tell about her experiences while overcoming language barriers and adapting to the idiosyncrasies of the cultures around her.

There was a charming Kum Ba Yah hippy vibe to her thinking and Zelda was a wordy girl, of that I have no doubt.  She could talk up a storm about the book she had yet to write.

The thesis statement for her proposed memoir was something to the effect of: by taking time to listen and understand people you can connect on a deeper level regardless of your background. It just takes effort.

Being proactive, she’d started a blog for her author’s platform.

Oh yes she had.

~ • ~

BUT THERE WAS A PROBLEM

She couldn’t figure out how to attract readers.  She knew that as an author-to-be she’d need to be able prove to a literary agent that she had a loyal online following.

This was something that had not happened despite the time she was pouring into her blog;  she was clueless as to why this was so.

In an attempt to get to gain perspective on her problem I asked her which blogs she followed and commented on. She seemed baffled, genuinely confused.

She replied, you mean I’m supposed to pay attention to other blogs?  

I said, yes, that’s the deal. That’s how you connect in the blogosphere. You pay attention to other bloggers, leave thoughtful comments, then those people become your readers. 

To which she said, why would I do that? I don’t care about those people. All I want is for them to pay attention to me so I can sell my book.

And therein was the crux of the problem for this author wannabe/newbie blogger who wanted to tell YOU what to do, but had no intention of making any effort to do so herself.

Go figure, huh?

~ • ~

NOW I GRANT YOU ZELDA COULD HAVE CHANGED

It’s been years since I met her, but looking at her IG account I saw no evidence that she’d written her memoir or that she had a public personal blog.

Instead I saw an Instagram feed with selfies– and not much else.

Knowing what you do now, would you want to follow her on social media? Hmmm? 

Am I being hypocritical by not allowing her the opportunity to show me that she has changed OR am I protecting my personal boundaries/sanity by not following her?

Discuss.

Deconstructing Goblin Mode: It Can Happen To The Best Of Us

Image via The Gottman Institute on IG

I’m just throwing it out here, but I may have gone goblin.  Yep, I might be in Goblin Mode.

As you must realize it’s been a long 2 years of living with Covid-19 realities and precautions.  Plus considering I’m an introvert at heart, I may have been on the precipice of going goblin to begin with.

What is Goblin Mode, you may be asking?

According to Google Trends this term, Goblin Mode, has been around for a while, peaking in popularity in February 2022.  The Guardian recently published an article about this term.  The article is cleverly entitled: “Slobbing out and giving up: why are so many people going ‘goblin mode’?”

Here is what I learned from reading the article.  Someone named Juniper, a primary source I guess, described Goblin Mode as: “… kind of the opposite of trying to better yourself…. everyone’s just kind of wild and insane right now.”  

The article also says that Goblin Mode is: “… an almost spiritual-level embrace of our most debased tendencies.”

This was clarified further by Cat Marnell, author of the New York Times bestselling memoir How To Murder Your Lifewho said that: “It’s when you act crazy, and you enter a very mythological space– you want to jump on the back of a salamander and make trouble.” 

Examples of being in Goblin Mode include, but are not limited to, the ideas of not committing to a daily exercise regime, not bothering to wear clothes that match, and pretty much giving up on the bread-baking homemaker ideal + healthy diet that was popular at the beginning of the pandemic.

I have to be truthful here, the foregoing paragraph does ring true with me– and perhaps with you, too.  [Don’t worry, you’re among friends so you can admit it.]

While I don’t think I’m a total slob nor am I certifiably insane after two years of being on constant alert for an invisible virus that can kill me & everyone I love, I do think I’ve shifted my priorities, allowed myself to be less uptight in general.

In fact I’d go so far as to say I’m a person who’d love to cause some harmless trouble– if I could only find the right salamander.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

How did you… first come to realize that Goblin Mode was a thing?

In what ways… do you feel you are currently in Goblin Mode?

Tell me about… what you like or dislike about the concept of Goblin Mode.

What’s it like… to know that you, or someone you love, may have gone goblin?

• • •

Notes From The Last Weekend Before Daylight Saving Time Begins

This past weekend it was in the 60s F with mild sunshine. That’s unusually warm for this time of year. We had no specific plans, so it was two days of go with the flow, do your own thing.
Here are the highlights of what I did:

• I finished watching The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in Window.  It stars Kristen Bell and is on Netflix.  It’s a parody of books and movies in which the main character witnesses a murder, but can’t prove that the murder took place.

This 8-part miniseries has dark humor with a melodramatic plotline.  I loved it, think Twin Peaks OR more recently Teenage Bounty Hunters.

• I stumbled over the What is your style personality? quiz on a fashion website called 40+STYLE.  According to this website there are 12 style personalities.  Each style is explained in-depth and accompanied with photos + brand recommendations.  My results from the quiz confirmed what I already knew: my primary style is Natural, but I also lean into Minimalism or Classic.

For years I’ve been describing my personal style as tailored suburban casual meaning a relaxed non-trendy look with some texture & mellow colors, structured, simple jewelry, flats shoes–  with no flower-y patterns or twirly skirts.

[Downside of this quiz is that you have to give up your email address to get your results, but after I received mine I unsubscribed from the website.]

• I started reading THE SISTERS: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell.  This is the first time in years that I’ve picked up an honest and true biography, instead of reading a memoir.  I’m enjoying the book because it’s well-researched and footnoted.

So far I’m learning that the Mitford sisters were raised and lived in nonconventional ways that make for spectacular stories, as if they planned to be famous from the git-go.

• I’m a fan of Apartment Therapy.  It’s a website about interior design + organization that ostensibly focuses on small spaces.  HOWEVER, as you probably realize, any conversation about interior design preferences can also be a sly insight into who you are.

For instance, an ongoing Apartment Therapy feature involves real life people sending in photos of their amazing home improvement projects.  Apartment Therapy then interviews these people, always including a request that the real life person “describe your home in 5 words or less.” 

So for snorts and giggles I decided to answer that question here.  I’d describe Chez Bean, aka Happy House, as: relaxed traditional, warm vibes, eclectic.  Sound like anyone you know?

Have a happy week, everyone. 
Soon enough we’re going to be marching on, springing forward, trudging into Daylight Saving Time. May saints preserve us.

The One About NOT Beige + 5 Exceptionally Random Links For Eggheads

This advertisement appeared on my screen out of nowhere. I wasn’t looking for furniture. Beyond annoying me with its interloper-ness, this is not a beige nightstand; it’s a teal side table. Is there no truth to be found in advertising? 🤨

+ • + • +

5 EXCEPTIONALLY RANDOM LINKS FOR EGGHEADS

THIS is the Weird Old Book Finder.  It does exactly what it says it does.  Input a word, name, or concept then the finder will give you ONE result.  It’s fun, if’n you like surprises and spending time online goofing off.

[I’ve not tried this but on Twitter a few people have suggested that when creating a blackout poem you use a page from one of these old books.]

THIS is an article about cleaning superstitions from around the world.  Superstitions are, after all, part of a cultural language and the language we use shapes us. It’s interesting to explore how other cultures think about things– and what worries them.

THIS is the definition of the slang term ‘Pushing P’ that all the kids are using.  Or I guess they’re using it.  I’ve no kids to confirm the ubiquitousness of this term.  I’ll warn you that the term probably does not mean what you may be thinking it means.

THIS is a link to a cartoon of Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog who was [still is?] Tom Terrific’s ever faithful companion.  This black & white footage of the old Captain Kangaroo classic terrytoon cartoon is on the Internet Archive website, home of the Wayback Machine.

THIS is an article that reviews in depth 4 Famous Red Velvet Cake Recipes.  I haven’t made a red velvet cake in decades, but if I was going to make one, maybe for Valentine’s Day, I’d make the winner, as proclaimed in this article.

+ • + • +

Follow the links my little Eggheads.  Then read, contemplate, return here, and discuss. I’ve no specific questions today. 

+ • + • +