Friday, September 30, 2011

On the Nightstand

Since I'm a writer and addicted to books, I figured that once in a while I should not talk about running and actually discuss what I have read/am reading.

Recent reads I really enjoyed:

House Rules, by Jodi Picoult

This woman is a master. I only dream of one day being able to write characters like her. I have enjoyed a number of her books, and have had to stop reading a couple because the subject matter was too disturbing. She gets into her characters' heads so well that in a few cases I just couldn't take my heart being ripped apart.


HOUSE RULES is about Jacob Hunt, a teenage boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject – in his case, forensic analysis.

He’s always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do…and he’s usually right. But then one day his tutor is found dead, and the police come to question him. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger’s – not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, inappropriate affect – can look a heck of a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel -- and suddenly, Jacob finds himself accused of murder. HOUSE RULES looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way – but lousy for those who don’t.

My opinion: Phenomenal.

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25, by Richard Paul Evans

I have a confession. I don't do sappy stuff. So I usually try to stay as far away from Richard Paul Evans books as I can, but when kidlets 1 & 2 completely devoured the book  I just had to read it. I almost hate to admit that it was pretty good. This ain't no Christmas Box.


To everyone at Meridian High School, fourteen-year-old Michael Vey is nothing special, just the kid who has Tourette’s syndrome. But in truth, Michael is extremely special—he has electric powers. Michael thinks he is unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor has the same mysterious powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up with their abilities, and their investigation soon brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric teens—and through them, the world.

My opinion: Very good.

Blood Ninja, by Nick Lake

It's vampires. And ninjas. And not a single one sparkles.

I couldn't resist. I can't give you my opinion yet, though, because it's place on my nightstand got bumped by the next book.

 Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

I was hooked from the start and right now this book is buried under my bed so I will stop reading it and get some other things done. So far, it's pretty awesome and fast, fun ride - a perfect escape.

So, what's on your nightstand and should I add it to my huge TBR pile?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Boston, Here I Come

Email today: "This is to notify you that your entry into the 116th Boston Marathon has been accepted."


**For those of you who are not insane-runner-types, the Boston marathon is freaking hard to get into, and you get serious bragging rights.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Don't Be a Bumble Bee

The other day I was taking a break from brain-melting revisions and eating my lunch outside on my front porch. I left the front door open to get some fresh air inside and was enjoying the sun when a loud, buzzing noise came from around the corner of the house. A monster bumble bee flew toward me. (How do those things fly, anyway? You'd think they'd drop out of the air.) I ducked (they aren't that fast) and the bee took a turn and headed right into my house.

Well, we immediately had a problem. I didn't want the bee in my house, and since there is a dearth of pollen-rich plants in my living room, the bee didn't want to be in there either. So I ran inside, intending to keep an eye on the bee from a safe distance--i.e. cowering around a corner. I figured the bee would just fly back out the front door. Well, the front door kept drifting closed, and the bee kept buzzing around like a very confused, fuzzy, Godzilla insect with a stinger that would feel like a crochet needle puncturing my skin if it decided to sting me.

I dashed toward the door and propped it open, then retreated to cower once more around the corner. After five minutes the stubborn bee decided it would go check out this large rectangle of sunlight, but it must have gotten turned around because it kept bumping against the open door, rather than making a 90 degree turn and heading outside. I crept forward and oh-so-slowly closed the door, gently guiding the bee to the great outdoors in the most humane manner.

Well, just before the door closed, the bumble bee darted back inside. I ran away. I might have even squealed, but since no one else was here, you can't prove it. Perhaps the squeal that may or may not have happened startled the bee, because this time it flew up . . . and found the large window above my front door. Eureka!! Sunlight!

The bee then proceeded to fly at the window, bounce off, land on the window ledge for a second, shake off the collision, and give it another go. Hit the window, bounce off, land on ledge. Repeat.

For the next 10 minutes.

It completely ignored the wide open front door just 2 inches below it, and kept hitting its head against the window. I watched - in my safe cowering spot - and expected the bee to figure things out after a couple minutes and head out the door. After several minutes passed and the bee kept flying into the glass, I wondered if the bee had sustained brain damage. I finally got sick of waiting, got a cup, captured the monster bug, and released it into the wild. Then I finished my now cold lunch.

I've thought about that experience a little, since I'm a writer-type who tends to analyze little things and file them away for future character development, and can see parallels to how people behave. How many times have you acted just like that bumble bee, butting your head against the same obstacle again and again and again, so focused on doing it this way that just doesn't work that you don't even see the easier path just inches away? How many times have I done it?

My husband often tells our kidlets, "If you keep doing what you're doing, you're going to keep getting what you're getting." Just like that bee kept flying right at the window.

I started looking at my own life and things that aren't working the way I'd like them too, and seeing if I'm acting like that bumble bee. And you know what, sometimes I'm more like a big, fuzzy insect than I'd like to admit. Sometimes I keep doing the same things, thinking that if I only did them faster or slower or more intensely they'd work this time, even though they haven't worked in the past. And sometimes I just need to slap out of my tunnel vision and change up what I'm doing.

I hope I'm not the only one who does this. Anyone else sometimes act like a bumble bee?