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More recent reading

Have I mentioned my mad love for Kelley Armstrong’s Nadia Stafford series? I like some of the Otherworld books (the Magic ones never did it for me) but I ADORE these books. There are only two so far and I am wicked hooked. Short version: if you wanted to hang out with someone who was a hitman (and you didn’t know), it would be Nadia. Chock full of creepy and/or paranoid serial-killers-with-a-mission. Cross between Buffy (albeit no vampires or monsters- at least not the otherworldly sort) and Dexter.

Also read: Paranoia by Joseph Finder. Free on the kindle and MAN this was a grabber. Corporate espionage thriller that was miles better than The Firm. It jumps in hard and if you hang on for the ride, the ending is total payoff. Dug it and I will totally check out more of his work.

Under construction

I’m in the process of switching blog hosting from wordpress to squarespace. While the changeover is happening, it may be a little quiet here – depending on how motivated I am after Wednesday’s exam. ;)

The current url is http://yogagrrl.squarespace.com but the yoga-grrl.com should redirect soon. If you read via rss, once the redirect hits, you should see everything as usual!

Reading material

I’ve been reading quite a bit lately and I’ve got to say my latest guilty pleasure is the Magic series by Ilona Andrews. Just finished the latest book and they are well- written, fast-paced, kick ass protag, and have interesting world building. Two thumbs up, highly recommended. Reminds me of what Anita Blake could have been before she became a magic-induced nymphomaniac without principles.

The Year of Magical Thinking is pretty fantastic. I thought about picking it up for ages and finally did. Didion’s memoir of the year after her husband’s death will resonate with anyone who’s lost a loved one. This bit especially:

Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shck. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be “healing.” A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to “get through it,” rise to the occasion, exhibit the “strength” that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able to even get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and the meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absecne that follows the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness.

I also finished the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is precisely as good as you’ve heard it is.

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman is a recent release and it’s beautiful and touching and wrenching and honest. Love her work.

All the recipes I’ve been making lately come from Dana Jacobi’s The Essential Best Foods Cookbook. Unlike Rachael Ray, they don’t promise you’ll be done in 30 minutes but I haven’t run into anything that takes much longer. The food HAS been fantastic, including the Salmon with Coconut Curry Chutney that I served for dinner on Friday. P.S. Cookbooks on the kindle are THE WHIP.  Easiest way to ever shop for groceries. I’ve also discovered that the rice which cooks perfectly at 10,000 feet is Basmati, properly soaked.

I also read the latest Mercy Thompson book by Patricia Briggs – she’s a consistently good storyteller, period.

I can’t remember if I mentioned it previously but I THOROUGHLY enjoyed Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It’s one of those books whose cover design grabbed me but I didn’t pick it up. Finally got it on the kindle and it’s great. An interesting mystery with compelling characters, and a dose of social commentary thrown in. I’m very much looking forward to the next one.

I keep finding free books for the kindle, so I’ve got a mess of things in the TBR list. Probably I will not do much reading while Mom is in town and I’ve been keeping track of the books as I finish them on my facebook page. I believe I’m in the high 30s so far, which means hitting 50 by year’s end shouldn’t be tough.

Days off

Today I spent a perfectly lovely afternoon reclined on a picnic table bench, reading a book. The dog stretched out next to me and alternated between napping and rolling in the grass. I started and finished The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman.

I think the first Hoffman book I read was Practical Magic, which I adored. It’s one of the few novel-to-film adaptations I also enjoy – the movie keeps to the sentiment of the novel, if not the letter, though the book is to be preferred.

When I had to describe Hoffman’s work to a friend last night I said it wasn’t fantasy, it’s more like fantastic fiction. It has every quality of ‘literary’ fiction but each work contains something magical or otherworldly that’s thoroughly woven into the narrative in such a way that it almost stops being fantastic and simply another element in a great story. It bridges genres and never fails to surprise and delight me. There’s never the sense of a re-tread or staleness, no matter how many novels I’ve read (and re-read). She’s one of the few authors whose work I can reliably buy in hardcover or, in this case, kindle.

All in all, a wonderful and relaxing afternoon.

End of work week

Sort of. I’m done with my shifts at the club, but I felt like I worked TWO shifts today. While the inside-house paint project is done for a couple of months, the deck isn’t entirely finished. I stained the decking last week but hadn’t finished the railing. Since we used as much of the OLD railing possible, I had to get paint to cover the old paint job.

I picked the paint up today and got all of the new railing covered. Tomorrow I finish the old section of railing and then I’m honest-t0-goodness done with paint until after my EMT exam. We’re going to have some company on Friday, so it also means that the deck will be completely finished by then.

The weather was just about perfect for painting- sunny with a light wind, even though the internet weather was calling for rain. Being this close to the mountaintops makes just about all weather forecasting irrelevant. Mostly we look at the radar and then see how things roll in. I was a bit more than half through with the paint job when the wind kicked up and some cloud cover cropped up. When it finally felt like it might rain, I checked the sky and could see sun and blue sky just to the other side of the clouds and decided to gut it out. Sure enough, barely sprinkling.

It’s funny here how you can always see around the weather. This summer has been beautiful – temps of about 70 and sun pretty much every day. We’ve had more rain than they usually get this time of year but everything dries so quickly that you barely notice it.

Tomorrow we have erranding to do and then it’s all school and relaxation for a couple of weeks.

Dear Dad

I love you and still miss you just about every moment of every day.

There were no real house projects (I re-stained part of a bench). I didn’t do any homework. Spouse and I drove into Frisco for the BBQ Challenge – Big Hoss had the best sauce, fyi. I started to rain as we were leaving, so we came home and couched watching movies.

The Wrestler was good, as predicted. I think the creepiest part about it is that Mickey Roarke’s own career has to feel very much like the character, making it less like acting and more like voyeurism. We also caught most of the latest X-files movie on cable. It was… strange. Good strange but not really what I was expecting. Spouse likened it to a much longer X-files episode. Pretty accurate and ultimately satisfying. One can never have too much Scully.

I was unsuccesful seeing The Proposal. In fact, I completely forgot about it until we were halfway over the mountain. I think the plan is to make it part of Spouse’s vacation week.

Tomorrow, life returns to normal. Work, then homework. Rinse and repeat for Monday.

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