not a review · Uncategorized

Tsundoku or I swear I’m not a book hoarder

I have been seeing the word Tsundoku bouncing around on the internet a lot lately.  Some book people are in love with this “new” word.  Apparently the word is used to describe the action of buying reading materials followed by letting them pile up and never reading them.  This activity has been talked about for much longer as book hoarding.  Nasty thing.  Hoarding.  This word is better.  Obviously.

Except….never reading them?  Never?  I mean, we have all purchased something a friend has recommended, tried it, subsequently hated it and then sent it back into the literary recycling world.  Or, and I have done this more than one, purchased a “must read” book – be it a hoity toity must read (Tolstoy) or a seasonal must read (beach books) – and had buyers remorse.  But, to collect beautiful books and never read them?  I don’t understand.

What I can completely understand is purchasing more books than you have room to properly store them.  I can further completely accept that sometimes you buy a book on a whim and either (1) do not get around to reading it right away (because the library just let you know a new stack of books was ready for pick up!) or (2) because you just cannot get into the book.  These things happen!

For example.  I have always had books.  I have almost always had more books than I have had proper shelves to put them on.  Recently, I achieved a DIY dream of installing IKEA bookshelves all along one wall in my lovely house.  Ignore the books stacked in the chair waiting to be shelved and the ukulele.  If I waited until I cleaned this post would never happen.  Ever.image3

How nice are these shelves?!?  This is a Pinterest dream come true for me.  Plus, all my best book friends have a nice home (the ones on the chair and coffee table are in time-out.)  Now, I have promised myself that if the books cannot fit onto the shelves then they need a new home.  This is a lie.  IKEA will let me buy more shelves.  But, I’m trying.

Back to the original point.  See those shelves all the way to the left?


Here.  I took a close up shot for clarity.


Those five shelves of books are all To-Be-Read.  These are books that I could not resist at a Half Priced Books (someone else might get to them first!!!), out of a little free library, as gifts or even from people who were kind enough to just give them to me for no reason at all when they were finished reading.  I will eventually read all of these books.

So, I’m not a book hoarder.  I do not suffer from Tsunduko.  I’m a book lover and an avid reader.  Sometimes people visit and they say things like, “Wow, that is a LOT of books.”  These people think I’m just a pack rat for books.  Other times, people come over and lovingly open each shelf and admire all of my beautiful books.  These people understand.  It’s just for the love of books.

Author Profile

Author Obsession: Jessica Day George


book_dragon-slippers_01I love Jessica Day George.  The thought I might love her when I read Dragon Slippers.  This is a story about a young woman named Creel whose aunt offers her as a sacrifice to the local Dragon hoping that she will be rescued by a knight and subsequently wed.  Creel instead talks herself out of trouble and then heads into her kingdom’s metropolis with only some embroidery thread and a mysterious pair of slippers.  Her adventures and successes are steered by her own convictions and supported by sheer determination.  The next two books in the series are just as good.book_tuesdays-at-the-castle_01

Then, I read her Castle series.  So good.  My love was growing.  Tuesdays at the Castle introduce the reader to Castle Glower and Princess Celie.  Castle Glower is remarkable because on Tuesdays the Castle changes by adding a room or a turret or sometimes a whole new wing.  Princess Celie is the only resident who is interested enough to map our the Castle and its new additions.  When her family and home are attacked she, like Creel, steps up to defend herself, her home, and her kingdom.  I love a strong woman!

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow cemented my undying love.  This book is just as good as anything Jessica Day George has written with the adsunmoonicesnowded benefit of being based on the Nordic fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon.  While I have gone through bouts of obsessing over Native American folklore, Irish fairytales, and even a period in college of immersing myself in Non-Western Culture I know nothing about Nordic fairytales.  Still, like most fairytales you will see some familiar threads.

Give me a strong woman, a strange land and an intriguing quest and I am happy.  Jessica Day George always delivers on all three and this book kept me ignoring my housekeeping and general personal hygiene until the very last page.

So there it is.  Author obsession for today.  Now that I have fully stalked her website I know that there are a couple of books I have missed.  I’m off to read!


Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

You know, when it rains it pours.  I have been battling with that ridiculous cold that is going around and it is making it difficult for me to sleep at night.  The only upside of insomnia is surplus time to read.  Unfortunately, every book I picked up was uninspiring.  Finallymebeforeyou I took myself, sick and gross, to the library and packed my bag full of books.  Full.  I figured at least one of them should hold my attention.

In Me Before You I found a treasure.  I have seen this book on bookstore shelves and picked it up because it looked familiar and I was getting tired.  I sat down to read it last night and finished it this afternoon.

In this book Louisa Clark is living a simple life in her tiny village in England when she takes a new job as a caregiver to Will Traynor.  Will has led a big and adventurous life but after an accident is struggling to acclimate to life as a person with quadrapalegia.  Both Louisa and Will grew up in the same small town but with vastly different backgrounds and life goals their perspective on life and living are equally disparate.  Louisa does not make any plans for her future and is content to dress uniquely and live an unchallenged life.  Will has always looked for adventure and success and now he has a new plan, one that shocks his family and Louisa.  This book is labelled as a romantic story and it is in the very truest sense because it is the story of how loving someone means allowing them to choose their happiness.

This book says right in the dust jacket that it is heartbreakingly romantic.  If I had bothered to read the jacket before starting the book I probably would not have read the book.  I do not like heartbreak.  Well, more specifically, I do not like to cry.  Sometimes, books are “heartbreaking” because the stupid characters make poor choices or have wretched conversation skills and that results in heartache (ahem, again, Nicholas Sparks).   These books are contrived to make you feel something that always rings as slightly artificial to me.  More rarely, books take us on a journey with a character that reflects the heartbreaking growth that is a part of life.  These stories forever connect you with the characters and their experiences.  Me Before You is firmly in the second category and I enjoyed it tremendously even though it made me teary.


fiction · Uncategorized

Playing for Pizza by John Grisham

February 9th is National Pizza Day. How great are these National Days for foods? Now I have to have pizza tonight.  It’s not my fault my healthy eating is going sideways – this is for America!

playing-for-pizzaBeyond making plans to stuff my face with the best food ever I also pulled one of my favorite pizza related pieces of fiction off the shelf in honor of today.  Playing for Pizza by John Grisham is not a legal thriller but rather a fish out of water / sports / world experience story.   When the main character, Rick Dockery loses in a big way he is set on a path that leads him to a whole new world – in Italy. I love stories about second chances and eye opening experiences and Rick gets both and a healthy dose of culture shock. It is a great story told in Grisham’s style but with the added romance of European lifestyle. Read it and Eat!


The Lion in Winter by James Goldman

I love bolion-winter-betteroks that become movies. There are whole lists of books you can read “before they come to the theatre.” And, there are people (I used to be one of them) who would never dream of watching a movie before reading the book. Realistically, there are only a handful of movies that I believe have done the books justice and there are an even smaller number of cinematic experiences that outshine the written word they are based upon. The only clear winner in my opinion is The Last of the Mohicans because, well, when it comes right down to it James Finnimore Cooper is boring and Daniel Day Lewis is not.

Really the game changer for me was The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I had zero experience with the books before the first movie.  I went on a whim (with a date who was a big big fan) and fell in love with the weird little Gollum.  So, I went out and read the book. By the way, I was completely shocked that there was only one book. Seeing the movie first didn’t ruin it. Huh. My snobby little world tilted a bit and then was fine again.

Still, I have great friends (who are not snobby – that was just me!) who refuse to watch before reading. Fine! You be you people. But, what about plays?

Plays are tricky because they are not meant to be read.  They are written to be performed.  But, with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child plays are back in the game as reading material. But, should you read it before you see it? Conundrum!

Harry is not playing anywhere near me anytime soon so that is a no brainer. I have always wanted to be a Shakespeare snob but I am really struggling. But, I never give up! So, I picked up a copy of The Lion in Winter. And, this play had already been made into a movie in 1968 starring Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn.  Nice and accessible.  Then, another movie with Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close.  I decided to read before I watched.

The play is excellent. At 104 pages it was a very quick but engaging read. The double entendre and verbal sparring made me thankful to not be invited to their Christmas celebration!  I cannot wait to rent the DVD and see all the familial dysfunction come alive.

So, what is the consensus?  Do you fall into the book-before-movie always club and, if so, where do plays fit?

By the way, the most excellent and always weird Christopher Walken played King Phillip of France in the first presentation of the play in New York in 1966.  Try reading and not hearing his voice. Sorry! This information is right in the book.

not a review

Book Logs

Look at my beautiful book log.  Are you impressed?  You shouldn’t be.  This is 1 week of books and then I just forgot to write them down. I didn’t even finish writing down Paper and Fire. I do this all of the time. I think I have a dozen journals, a list on my phone and a Goodreads account and all of them include, at a maximum, 20% of the books I read.


img_1482Why? Why am I so BAD at this?  I have a friend who – and I am not exaggerating – has written down every book he has ever read in his entire life.

For me, it is not laziness or disorganization.  Rather, my top 5 reasons I cannot seem to keep a book log:

5) I get too excited about the next book in the stack and forget about the log

4) I read a bummer of a book and I don’t want to write it down.

3) I read a trashy romance and I don’t want to admit it even though I really enjoyed it.

2) I can’t find my log / special pen for logging books (hmmm….maybe it is disorganization)

1) I would rather read another book right.this.minute.

So, if you keep a book log / journal or are in any way successful at listing your reads tell me, please, how on Earth do you do it?!?


Impyrium by Henry H. Neff


impyriumI do not enjoy post-apocalyptic stories mostly because I am woefully underprepared for any sort of apocalyptic event. And, I completely overthink all of the hardships that come with the apocalypse. Do they still have coffee? Where are they finding hygiene products!?!  I worry.

However, Henry Neff wrote the eminently enjoyable Tapestry series and I loved them.  And then, masterfully, he gave that fully flushed fictional world a Cataclysm (apocalypse) which means that we are far enough from my reality that I could just enjoy the do-over that the end of the world brings to a fictional society.

Impyrium takes place 3000 years after The Tapestry series ended and while you don’t really need to read the four Tapestry books before you enjoy Impyrium just know you will run across a smattering of references and some spoilers.  However, the characters and the plot are unique to this new series.

Many reviews will emphasize Henry Neff’s fully formed and enjoyable world. It is wonderful. But, for me, the characters are simply amazing. Hob is a commoner and Hazel is a princess. Does this sound like you have already read this story? I don’t think you have. I read a LOT of series fantasy and these are, admittedly, stock positions in most books. But, in Neff’s story they are unpredictable, endearing and utterly enjoyable.

How cool is Neff?  He made a trailer for his book.  Check it out on his website.