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First! I would like to apologize to anyone who tried to access or email me at in the last month -- there was a confusion with my hosting service, which has now been sorted. Please come email me and hire me to edit your awesome work (or just chit-chat, I am becoming a chit-chatter in my thirties).

So, I did in fact read Other People's Houses by Lore Segal. And... I did not really like it. For a multitude of reasons, starting with the fact that it has the pretension so many literary fiction novels have of being told from the point of view of a young girl. In this case, the narrator is six, seven, eight, nine -- but, of course, the real narrator is much older, and just affecting the tone of a young girl, and sometimes will break the narration to interject notes from the future. I found that very annoying and disruptive.

The other big thing I didn't like was that throughout the book, the narrator seemed extremely disinterested in romantic relationships with men (and kind of obsessed with other women, which I was into). Toward the end, she started having somewhat romantic relationships with men, as she got older, and still seemed like she didn't enjoy herself, and thought they were kind of boring and dull (or maybe I thought they were boring and dull because she wrote them as such?). Then, last page: suddenly she is married! And happy! Okay, sure.

Then, last few paragraphs: but nothing is ever good because the world is and always will be terrible, what are you going to do about it, everything is awful but the world keeps spinning and people keep living their lives, so what.

That was a very abrupt and depressing stop. (It was not an ending by any stretch of the imagination.)

The cool thing about this book was actually how much I enjoyed reading it. I stayed up late to finish it one night, actually, because I did enjoy the prose so much.

In my quest to read more literary fiction (sponsored by Garret Weyr, who gives me all these books and makes me tea; you will recall that in the past, I have had a lot to say about Garret's books too)... um... Right.

In my quest to read more literary fiction, I have started Regeneration by Pat Barker. It's set during WWI, exploring the experiences of British officers being treated for shell shock. It's beautiful, absolutely beautiful, and also horrifying and sad. I am reading basically two pages a night at this point, so I might need to swap it out and read it during the day instead of before bed.

Genre reading, my true love: I am rereading The King's Name by Jo Walton (woo!), reading some Nora Roberts single title romances that I apparently skipped over in the early 90s, and I am finally reading Contact by Carl Sagan after seeing (and loving) the movie five or six times.

Now here is a story about life in Maryland: I went to Midas to have a professional put my MD license plates on my car (in addition to not owning any tools at all, I have very long fingernails and also don't like to touch my car unless absolutely necessary). The person behind the counter at Midas had a lot of opinions he felt compelled to share with me, including that he hates 4-H because he thinks it's "handouts" !!!!!! And his favorite president was Reagan, because "when Reagan was president, everyone had a job, but you're probably too young to remember." Wow! Also, by the way, he really likes the Girl Scouts. (Why Girl Scouts but not 4-H? Amazing. I am so sorry he hates joy.) And, to cap it off, he told me he thought I should get married so I would have a husband to put my license plates on.

That is an A+ reason to find a male-identified person to marry, don't you think? It should be the plot of someone's next romance novel, or a totally not weird at all Craigslist ad.
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So I have moved to Maryland, which I don't think I've mentioned here, and taken a very low-key day job at a youth development nonprofit. I am enjoying the job a whole ton, and not really enjoying Maryland very much (plus I am far away from my six-month-old nephew, which is hard). I've cut back a bit on my freelance work, although I still have space in my schedule for a few clients each month, never fear!

But I also -- and this is the real astonishment -- have space in my schedule to read.

I'll tell you what, though, I don't think Nora Roberts wrote the "In Death" books with the expectation that anyone would ever read forty of them in a row in under a month. But that is what I have done, and I say unto you... do not do it.

Although I did, surprisingly enough, enjoy book #32, Salvation in Death -- it really stood out from all the others in a good way. There was much less of Roarke's Irish eyes and poet's mouth, and more murder and mayhem and mystery.

When I was rereading the first 10 or so books in the series, what struck me was how much they are like the first two seasons of Castle!

I also recently read the auto/biography of King Peggy of Otuam in Ghana, which I enjoyed a whole ton. An entire ton, that is how much I enjoyed it. The conceit of writing it in the third person did throw me off a little bit, but it read kind of like a fairy tale in a lot of ways, and I think that was the point.

Next up: Other People's Houses by Lore Segal.

What are you reading?


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anna genoese

November 2015

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