Sunday, January 1, 2017

Short Story: Floating Pellets

I wrote this in college and recently stumbed across it. I thought I'd share it here just for fun. :)



The turtle zipped across the rubber mat in the bathtub toward his food pellets. The two inches of water made him much faster than if he had been on the dingy linoleum floor. Molly hummed to herself as she watched him swim. Ever since her dad had bought her the turtle from a stall in China town, she had enjoyed watching Zippy in the bathtub.
            She began singing quietly, but grew louder after a few notes.
            “Shut up in there,” her dad growled from the couch in the living room.
            She immediately clamped her mouth shut and leaned over from where she sat on the toilet to wiggle her fingers in the bathtub water. She grazed the shampoo bottle with her elbow, causing it to crash into the bathtub, creating ripples. The noise scared Zippy, sending him into his shell. Molly watched him for a few moments, and finally he began to peek his head out.
            Zippy looked around, saw the shampoo bottle floating in the water, and whipped his head back into his shell.
            Molly sighed, knowing that he was probably done playing for now. She reached over, picked up the little turtle in her hands, and stood. Molly pulled the plug in the bathtub and walked past the living room to her room.
#
Molly tugged the sleeve of her lavender sweater down over her wrists as she gazed out the window of the car, watching the other neighbor kids walk to school. One boy, a boy she recognized from her street, was laughing at a smaller boy who had fallen in a puddle by the curb. Two more young boys were running ahead of the laughing boy, trying to shoot each other with miniature squirt guns. She turned to her mom.
            “Mom?” she asked.
            “Yes?” her mom answered.
            “Can I try out for the talent show? I really want to sing—.”
            Molly’s mom cut her off. “No, I don’t think so.”
            “Why not?” Molly asked.
            The light ahead turned yellow, and then red. Molly’s mom pulled the car to a stop and turned to face her. Her eyes were watery and her lips pursed. She opened her mouth, and then paused, biting her lip.
            “I’ll ask your father, but I don’t think so.”
            Just then the light turned green again. Molly pointed toward the light. Her mom turned from her, put the car in motion, and didn’t say another word about the talent show.
            They pulled up to the school.
            “Okay, Molly, hurry up now,” her mom said. “I don’t want to be late for work.”
            Molly slid out of the passenger seat of the car and walked slowly to class.
#
Her class was to play dodge ball that day for P.E. All the kids in Molly’s class squirmed with excitement. Their teacher, Ms. Mintin, had told them about playing dodge ball so that they would work quickly on their math worksheets, but instead the students had become even more antsy. Molly tapped her fingers on her desk, staring at her finished worksheet. Then she adjusted the sleeves on her sweater.
            As soon as everyone finished, Ms. Mintin told the class to go out to the dodge ball circle on the blacktop. The boys and girls popped out of their seats and ran out the door, squealing with delight. Molly stood slowly and moved toward the door.
            “Molly, why don’t you take off your sweater? It’s warm outside,” Ms. Mintin said.
            “I’m fine, Ms. Mintin,” Molly said.
            “Alright Molly. Go ahead and leave it on.” She smiled at Molly and the two went outside.
#
Molly was hit by one of the round rubber balls almost immediately after the game began. As she walked to the outside of the circle, she noticed the large brown spot the ball had left on her sweater from bouncing in the dirty water on the blacktop. Molly pulled the sweater off over her head. She glanced down at her wrist and saw the purple bruise she had forgotten was there. But before she could put her sweater back on, Ms. Mintin was standing beside her.
            “What happened to your wrist, Molly?”
            Molly’s eyes grew wide. “I, um, I dropped a jar on my arm. I was reaching up into the cupboard and I accidentally knocked it off the shelf.”
            “Oh, alright,” Ms. Mintin nodded and smiled at Molly. After a moment, she walked around the circle of students still playing dodge ball and waved over one of the yard-duties.
            Molly couldn’t hear what Ms. Mintin said to her, but she did see Ms. Mintin look in Molly’s direction once.
            The elderly yard-duty nodded her head.
            Ms. Mintin smiled at the woman, and then walked quickly toward her classroom.
#
When Molly walked inside her apartment after school, it was quiet and dark. Snoring came from the living room. Her father was asleep on the couch again. There were no lights on in the apartment.
            Her mom came up behind her. “Play quietly, Molly. Your father isn’t feeling well.”
            Molly glanced over at the beer cans on the coffee table and then looked at her mom. “Okay, Mom.” Molly gave a weak smile and moved down the hall toward her room.
            Zippy was sitting on his rock when she came in, basking in the sunlight that was creeping in through the blinds on her window. Her smile grew. She set her backpack on the floor. She reached for the pellet box on her dresser. Dropping tow pellets into the water, she sat on her bed and watched.
            She sang to Zippy as he swished across the water and snatched a pellet into his mouth as fast as he could. In seconds the other one had also disappeared. Zippy swam around the bowl for a minute and then returned to his rock in the sun.
            Molly closed her door quietly so she wouldn’t wake her dad, and then she pushed her backpack closer to her desk with her foot and sat down in her chair. Reaching into the backpack she took out her books and set to work on her homework.
#
“Molly?” Molly’s mom opened the door. “Dinner’s ready.”
            “Thanks, Mom.”
            Molly’s mom smiled then disappeared behind the door again. Molly finished up the word problem she was working on, set down her pencil, glanced at Zippy, and then left her room.
            Once she reached the kitchen, she saw it was her favorite meal: sloppy joes.
            “Here, Honey, grab a plate from the table and come here,” her mom said. “I’ll serve you.”
            “Okay.” Molly moved to the table, picked up a plate, and walked toward her mother.
            Once her mom had served her, she sat at the table. She looked up at her mom.
            “Is Dad eating with us?” she asked.
            “I don’t know.” Molly’s mom went into the other room. Molly heard her whisper.
            “Joe, dinner’s ready. Sloppy joes.”
            Molly heard the couch squeak.
            “I’m not hungry, thanks,” her dad grumbled.
            “Are you sure?” her mom asked.
            “Yeah. Go eat.”
            Molly’s mom walked back into the kitchen, served herself some dinner, and then sat at the table with Molly. The two ate silently.
            When Molly was finished she thanked her mother, set her plate in the sink, and walked back to her room. As she closed the door, she began singing again.
#
Molly was reading when she decided it was time for dessert. She went to her door, and then paused. Her mom was standing at the counter in the kitchen, filling a plate with leftovers from dinner. Her father was standing right behind her, about to speak.
            “I told you never to wake me up,” he said.
            “Dinner was ready, Joe,” her mom whispered. “I figured you’d be hungry.”
            “Did I ask you to wake me up?” he asked.
            “No, but I—.”
            He interrupted her. “Do what I ask, Mae.”
            Molly’s mom didn’t say anything or turn from the counter to face her husband.
            “Look at me when I’m talking to you.” Joe grabbed Mae by the arm and pulled her roughly around to face him. The jerk on her arm caused her to drop the plate, sending sloppy joe all over the brown carpet. Some of it must have spilled on his pants, because Joe started down at them in disgust.
            “Look what you’ve done now, Mae.” He raised a hand and hit her.
            She fell back against the counter.
            Molly watched silently. Her mom’s eyes turned down the hall and settled on Molly.
            Joe spun around quickly.
            “What are you doing?” he asked as he stomped down the hall toward her.
            Molly took several steps back and tried to shut her door, but he reached her before she could. He grabbed the doorknob and pulled the door open, dragging Molly into the hallway.
            “Answer me.” He glared down at her.
            “I was ready for dessert and—.”
            “You were eavesdropping,” he said.
            “No I—.”
            “Don’t lie to me, Molly,” he yelled.
            “But I—.”
            He slapped her across the jaw. She fell back against her dresser, upsetting Zippy’s bowl. Molly bent down to grab Zippy before he could crawl away, but her dad grabbed her by the shoulder.
            “I’m not done talking to you,” he said. He spun her around to face him.
            Out of the corner of her eye, Molly saw Zippy crawl under her bed.
            “Don’t you ever let me catch you eavesdropping again,” he said. “You hear me?”
            Molly nodded.
            “Good,” he said. He turned and left the room.
            Molly’s mom stepped forward and gave Molly a hug. “I’m sorry, Honey. Try to stay out of his way, okay?”
            Molly looked up at her mom and nodded.
            From the other room, Molly’s dad yelled. “Clean up the kitchen, will you? And make me a new plate. I’m hungry.”
            Molly’s mom gave her shoulder a squeeze and then walked down the hall to the kitchen.
            Molly went down on her hands and knees and looked under the bed for Zippy. Once she found him, she put him back in his bowl. She carried the bowl to the bathroom and put fresh water in it, and then she brought it back to her room and set it gently back in its place on her dresser. She put a towel down on the floor where Zippy’s bowl had spilled and stepped on it to sop up the water.
            Zippy seemed scared after his fall from the dresser. He sat on his rock, unmoving. Only his eyes moved. It was as if he was waiting for his world to be toppled to the ground again. Molly tried singing to Zippy. He still didn’t move. Not even a pellet could tempt him to swim.
#
As Molly was finishing her reading, her door opened. Her father was standing there. Molly stopped working and looked at him. His face was calm and a bit red, as if he was embarrassed.
            “I’m so sorry I hit you, Molly,” he said.
            Molly reached up and touched the swollen bruise on her jaw.
            Seeing the bruise, Molly’s dad grimaced. He took a couple steps forward. “I’m a terrible father.”
            “No you’re not,” Molly said. “I got in the way.” She started to cry. “I’m sorry,” she said.
            Her dad watched her for a moment and his eyes started to tear as well. “If you want, you can stay home from school tomorrow,” he said. “We’ll go get some ice cream, just the two of us.” He smiled at her.
            “Okay, Dad,” Molly said and nodded. “That sounds good.”
            “Alright, it’s a plan then.” Joe touched her shoulder, and Molly winced. He drew back and closed his eyes for a moment before leaving the room, shutting the door behind him.
            Molly looked at the door for a moment, and then went back to her reading. She read for a minute and then sat back in her chair. She got up and opened the door to see where her dad was. He was back in the living room, watching an infomercial.
            Molly walked slowly toward him. He didn’t notice her until she spoke.
            “Dad?”
            “Oh. Yeah, Molly?” He asked. He turned to her and waited.
            Molly looked down at the floor and then back up to her dad’s face. “Can I sing in the talent show?” She stared at him, trying not to let him see how much she wanted to sing.
            He sat for a minute staring back at her.
            “I guess. If you want to, yeah,” he said, and then turned back to the infomercial.
            Molly smiled and crept back down the hall to her room singing quietly.
#
Ms. Mintin called when Molly didn’t show up to school the next day. Molly’s dad answered the phone.
            “Hello? Uh, yeah, she’s here. She’s sick. Yeah she gets sick a lot… I’ll tell her.” He hung up the phone and then continued watching TV.
#
Her mom was at work, so it was Molly’s job to make dinner. Molly only knew how to make one thing—Rice-A-Roni®—so that’s what she made. She left it to brown on the stove while she went to the bathroom. Then she went to check on Zippy. He was still not in the water. He simply sat on his rock. His eyes had stopped darting to and fro. Molly didn’t think he’d moved since she wen to the kitchen.
            “What the hell?”
            Hearing her father yell made her jump.
            She ran down the hall into the kitchen. Her dad was standing over the stove staring at the pot, beer in hand. The Rice-A-Roni® was burning. He turned to her.
            “What the hell are you doing in here?” he asked.
            “I went to the bathroom,” Molly said and pointed.
            “You were in your room playing with your damn turtle, weren’t you? I never should have bought you that stupid thing,” he said.
            Molly took a step toward the stove to turn down the burner.
            Her dad swiped at her, hitting her squarely in the head and causing her to fall back and hit her head on the table leg. She lay on the ground, shocked, and stared up at him.
            “Get up,” he said.
            Molly didn’t move fast enough, because he reached down and yanked her up by her arm. She winced when he touched her bruise. He didn’t notice.
            “Clean up this mess,” he said.
            She nodded.
            “Answer me when I talk to you,” he said. His hand tightened on her wrist, and she sucked in a breath to keep form making any noise. He glared at her.
            “I’ll clean it,” Molly said.
            He let go of her wrist, but pushed roughly past her into the living room.
            “You can forget about that dumb talent show,” he yelled.
            Molly winced as if she had been struck again. After a moment, she moved the now-ruined Rice-A-Roni® to the back of the stove, and then turned the burner off. She stood waiting for it to cool. When she though it had cooled enough, she took the pan to the garbage can and scraped out the burnt rice with a wooden spatula. Then she cleaned the pot. She put a new batch of Rice-A-Roni® into the pot and then added a little butter and put it on the burner to brown.
#

After her dad ate his fill of dinner, Molly ate the few bites that were left. Then she tidied up the kitchen and went to her room. She went to her dresser and knelt down so she could watch Zippy. His little body was laying awkwardly on the bottom of his bowl, just to the side of his rock. There were two untouched pellets floating in the water.

Friday, December 9, 2016

A Scary Story in Two Sentences

I saw this idea elsewhere on the Internet and thought I'd try it out.

I am alone in my garage doing laundry when I let out a loud burp.
A deep voice behind me says, "Excuse you."*


*Inspired by true events.

Your turn!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

Books and Short Stories I Read When I Want to Be Creeped Out

Some of these books/short stories are legitimately scary. Others are chilling reminders of the base selfishness of mankind, which, to me, is equally unsettling.

"The Voice in the Night" (William Hope Hodgson) - A ship's crew come across a voice in the night which asks them for provisions for himself and his young wife. They begin to wonder about him when he won't come into the light.

Animal Farm (George Orwell) - "All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others." I first read this in junior high, but it's just as relevant in our current social climate, if not more so. The ending is spine-tingling as well, but I'm not going to give it away!

"The Cask of Amontillado" (Edgar Allan Poe) - Are you claustrophobic? If not, you might be after reading this.

Dracula (Bram Stoker) - Did you know that in Stoker's novel, Dracula couldn't enter a residence unless he was invited in? Even so, he and his wives are just as scary now as they were when the novel was published in 1897.

The Little Foxes (Lillian Hellman) - In this play, Hellman explores the unhealthy dynamic between greedy, selfish siblings and their spouses as they vye for the largest share of a probable business success. But oh, the end!




Friday, November 18, 2016

My Absolute Favorite Books

There are many books that I read and enjoy over and over, but there are three that have been my favorites for most of my life: The Hobbit, Watership Down, and Brave New World.

- The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkein) - I don't remember what incited me to read The Hobbit for the first time as a twelve year old, but I do remember absolutely loving it. Bilbo encounters many fantastic creatures on his quest--hungry trolls, bloodthirsty goblins, angry elves, a tricksy Gollum, and an articulate and intelligent dragon. Just don't get me started on Peter Jackson's "adaptation."

- Watership Down (Richard Adams) - This is an adventure story featuring a cadre of compatriots who just happen to be rabbits. Some readers claim that it's a chilling indictment of communism, whereas Adams himself claimed it was simply a story he made up for his children. I enjoy the mythos Adams created around the secret world of rabbits, including the lapine language and the tails of the lapine legend El-ahrairah.

- Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) - I've read a few dystopias, but this one is my favorite. The structure of the world government, as well as the scientific method for growing humans and the resulting social structure make this a fascinating read. Further, I'm drawn to the struggle faced by John, a young man who grew up on a reservation but no more fits there than he does in the modern world from which his absentee father came.

Which books do you find yourself returning to multiple times, and what qualities draw you in?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My Novel is Live on Amazon!

Hi all,

I just want to thank you again for reading along with me. Since my book is now live in the Amazon Kindle store (here) I've decided to remove the installments from my blog.

Thank you so much,

- Em


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On Why People Do Not Use Spell Check or a Dictionary

I spend a fair amount of time on the Internet.  OK, I spend a lot of time on the Internet.  I spend so much time on the Internet, in fact, that I sometimes I let out audible moans when I see particularly poor uses of words.  I even rant about it sometimes, and Adam threatens to go upstairs to get away from me.  There are even times when I have to close my computer or put down my phone because I am tired of seeing so many misspelled words on the Internet and am dangerously close to ripping out my eyeballs.  Why is it that people don't use dictionaries anymore?  Or, why don't they type the word into Google to make sure they're spelling it properly?  Do they not care that they look uneducated or worse, are they simply too lazy to care?

I fear I won't ever have the answer to this question, but for now I choose to make fun of misused words I see on the Internet.

Today's gems:

- "Am i right or am i just being jellious?"  Jellious?  I couldn't make this up.

- "You WILL need to bust out the manuel everytime you need to changes something."  Manuel?  Snicker.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

I'm a fan of Gilmore Girls, and Rory in particular.  Today I found a reading challenge list of books that she read during the series.  Pretty cool, eh?  Maybe once I'm done with my summer reading list, I'll start on this list.

1984 by George Orwell
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
The Art of Fiction by Henry James
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Babe by Dick King-Smith
Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
The Bhagava Gita
The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
Candide by Voltaire 
The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
Christine by Stephen King
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
The Collected Short Stories by Eudora Welty
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty
A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père
Cousin Bette by Honor’e de Balzac
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Cujo by Stephen King
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon 
Daisy Miller by Henry James
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown 
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Deenie by Judy Blume
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
The Divine Comedy by Dante
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Don Quijote by Cervantes
Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson 
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
Eloise by Kay Thompson
Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
Emma by Jane Austen 
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Ethics by Spinoza
Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Extravagance by Gary Krist
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 
Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien (TBR) 
Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
Fletch by Gregory McDonald
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy 
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 
The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
The Graduate by Charles Webb
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Group by Mary McCarthy
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling 
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling 
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
Henry V by William Shakespeare
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III (Lpr)
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
Howl by Allen Gingsburg
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
The Iliad by Homer
I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (not finished - hated it)
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 
Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold 
The Love Story by Erich Segal
Macbeth by William Shakespeare 
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Manticore by Robertson Davies
Marathon Man by William Goldman
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult 
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Night by Elie Wiesel
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen 
The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Old School by Tobias Wolff
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
Oracle Night by Paul Auster
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Othello by Shakespeare 
 Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby 
The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen  
Property by Valerie Martin
Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Quattrocento by James Mckean
A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers 
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier 
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings Book 3 by J. R. R. Tolkien
R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
Roman Fever by Edith Wharton
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
Sanctuary by William Faulkner
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne 
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen 
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
Sexus by Henry Miller
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Shane by Jack Shaefer
The Shining by Stephen King
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Small Island by Andrea Levy 
Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers 
Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World  by Barrington Moore
The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
Songbook by Nick Hornby
The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
Stuart Little by E. B. White
Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
Time and Again by Jack Finney
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger 
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Trial by Franz Kafka
The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom 
Ulysses by James Joyce
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe 
Unless by Carol Shields
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray 
Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee – read
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Summer Reading List

 I always have loved reading, but I tend to go through seasons during which I read a ton and seasons during which I don't read at all.  I am currently experiencing one of those "read everything" seasons.  Here's my summer reading list:










And I'm sure this list will grow as time goes by.  :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

What Makes a Book Good?

I really enjoy reading.  I always have and I probably always will.  I was one of those children who sat near the classroom at recess and read a book.  While other kids were playing tether ball I was traveling toward the Misty Mountain, exploring Watership Down, and experiencing other interesting places.

One of the things that makes a book enjoyable, in my opinion, is its degree of challenge.  No, I don't mean that it's so boring to read it's a challenge to get through the entire thing.  I mean that the book challenges me to continually be looking up new words to learn their meanings and pronunciations.  I guess I just like words.

I just finished reading The Thorn Birds, which I really enjoyed.  It's kind of an epic story, not unlike Gone With the Wind.  Anyway, this book had me looking up words on nearly every page.  I really enjoyed it because I learned some great new words.  Want to see some of them?  Sure you do!

alacrity
anathema
arabesque
doyenne
garrulous
glaucous
goggomobile
herzchen
hove
inchoate
limned
lissom
nebulous
 

paucity
prevarication
pugnacity
punctilious
salaam
salubrious
shibboleth
sibilance
soutane
sybaritism
unprepossessing


Thursday, May 17, 2012

What I'm Reading: The Awakened Heart by Dr. Gerald May

As the title of this post states, I'm reading The Awakened Heart, by Dr. Gerald May.  I'm almost done w/ the book and I've really enjoyed it.  In it, Dr. May talks about love, practicing being present, and much more.

Courtesy Amazon.com

 As much as I've enjoyed the entire book, one quote struck me today:

"While washing the dishes, you might be thinking about the tea afterwards, and so try to get them out of the way as quickly as possible in order to sit and drink tea.  But that means that you are incapable of living during the time you are washing the dishes" (spoken by Thich Nhat Hanh).

Wow.  Incapable of living?  But it's so true.  If I am not consciously present when I'm doing anything, I'm not really there, am I?  Nope.  I'm just waiting for the next thing.
But I don't want to live (or not live, rather) like that.  I want to be present in whatever I'm doing.  I want to be able to focus on one thing and do it well rather than just trying to finish it quickly (heck, I can't even just sit and watch TV.  I have to be doing something else while I watch.).

So, I'm going to make an effort to slow down and be present in whatever I'm doing today.

Do you ever notice that you are not present in moments?  How do you combat it?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I'm Reading: The Pastor by Eugene Peterson

I've been reading The Pastor by Eugene Peterson as an assignment from one of my clients.  Mr. Peterson writes in a very conversational style about how he grew up, the people he has known, and the places he has lived, all of which contributed to his formation and continued growth as a pastor.  In one chapter, he writes about how he became a writer, and his description of writing stood out to me.  Here it is:

"Heuristic writing - writing to explore and discover what I didn't know.  Writing as a way of entering into language and letting language enter me, words connecting with words an creating what had previously been inarticulate or unnoticed or hidden.  Writing as a way of paying attention.  Writing as an act of prayer."

I hope that I will continue to write as a way to engage with language, the world, and others.  That writing will be a way for me to pay attention to the goings-on around me and to notice new things.  Mostly, I hope that writing will be a method of drawing closer to God as I engage, pay attention, notice, and learn.