People Underestimate the Value of a Good Ramble

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Please Excuse My Daughter by Julie Klam

Just finished Julie Klam's memoir, Please Excuse My Daughter. I loved it! No, really, I loved it. I felt like I had to read the whole thing in one sitting and I very nearly did.

I realize that some of this could be a hero-worship thing, since she's a successful writer and she talks to me on Twitter. But it's honestly not just that. Obviously, I was excited to read her book, since it felt like I already knew her (in that weird internet way that people know each other now), but also I was a little worried that I may not like it or may not have anything good to say.

But, thankfully, I have only good things to say. Julie's memoir is warm, funny, interesting and honest. She describes her life, good, bad and ugly, without holding back or trying to paint herself in the best light. That's rare.

Julie helped me to understand something about my sad little scribbles. Certainly, I don't think I'm anywhere near her level, but even so, she helped me to gain some insight about myself. While I'm always trying to hide my true thoughts from people, she is willing to share real emotion, and that's something that makes her writing so very powerful.

I can't wait to read her next book.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Magic For Beginners

A package came from Amazon this weekend and I was hoping it would contain Julie Klam's book, Please Excuse My Daughter, but as it turned out, I had completely forgotten my previous order. So instead, it was the Leverage Soundtrack CD and Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link. I'm not complaining.

I didn't have too much time for reading, since I was trying to write. (Please note the word "trying," since it basically sums up the last couple of days. But at least I was able to listen to the Leverage CD while I wasn't writing.)

In any case, I did manage to read the first couple of stories and so far, I love it! I've just had a long, long day, so I'm looking forward to snuggling up with Magic and a cup of tea before bed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake

I finished reading The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake. I'm still not sure how I feel exactly. I liked them, but I think I need more time to digest. My favorite of the stories was probably "Time and Again," which was, in my opinion, the creepiest of them, or maybe "The Way It Has To Be."

Ever since I started to read them, I've had the niggling feeling that the folksy Appalachian tales were somehow familiar or reminiscent of something I've read before. I just can't put my finger on it. I even tried doing a little research to see if anyone else thought the same. Apparently, no, because I couldn't find what I wanted.

In any case, what I found most interesting, was how much texture Breece Pancake's stories have, especially because of how young he was when the stories were written. Not that I'm saying you have to be older to write well, but obviously life experiences add to what you have to say. It just felt as if Pancake shared more in his stories than he would have been able to experience and absorb in his few years.

They were well worth the read, so you may want to check them out.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

To Read or Not To Read Bolano

So I got this book at the library, 2666 by Roberto Bolano, 896 pages of book.

I want to read it. It came highly recommended by somebody or other. As I may or may not have mentioned already, I've been feeling guilty that everything I've read in the last few years is at a grade school level. It's a shame really, because I could read before I hit kindergarten. When I was in third grade, I read at a seventh grade level; by seventh grade, I was at college level. Now I'm a dunce.

Anyway, in my last trip to the library, at the last minute before I headed to the check out, I grabbed the Bolano. I've just left it sitting on my bedside table, because I've felt so daunted by it. I mentioned that it has 896 pages, right? Plus, it has this tiny, tiny typeface. Also, it was translated from Spanish. I'm very nearly terrified of this book. And yet.

Just the other day on Twitter, I came across this site,, where they are planning to have a group read of 2666. It looks like it might be fate.