Monthly Archives: March 2019

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

So, I recently wrote about my husband saying I agreed no more books when the new book shelves were full. One, I NEVER. EVER. agreed to that. Two, I gave away six boxes of books. And I’m not done thinning the herd. I know there are more I can get rid of. But I have a hard time with change. And I have a hoarder mentality when it comes to books. “What if I want to read this again?” or “What if I want to read this the first time?” is what I think when parting with a book. Those thoughts are slightly ridiculous as 99.9% of the books I give away are books I hate. But the thought still crosses my mind.

So. I gave away a bunch of books. Many (probably most, if I am being honest) of them, I will not miss and will not remember the title of. Some I may miss. Several years ago, I gave away my copy of Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor, convinced I would never read it again. A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to re-read the series because I had a theory I wanted to test. Well, I can’t right now because I don’t have a copy any more.

I will also admit his here (an nowhere else) that there were several duplicate books in those give-away boxes. I had so many books boxed up, I didn’t realize I’d repurchased books I already owned. Now that they are all out an on shelves, that shouldn’t happen as often. But being a reader, I can’t guarantee it will never happen again.

Do I regret getting rid of the books? Not really. They are going to good homes and I honestly didn’t have room for them. There were textbooks I’d gotten through my years of teaching that I had multiple copies of or were from the early 2000s or before and were out-of-date. There is no good reason to hang on to those. Yet, I still felt a twinge of sorrow at letting them go.

I have never experienced any trauma that would explain why I have such an attachment to my books. My house never burned down. I was never robbed of my books. Yet. Every time I try to cull my collection or thin the herd, I think about wanting to be as rich as Karl Largerfeld and having a library like his. (If you don’t know who I’m talking about, Google it.) I want sufficient space not only for the books I own but the books that will become part of my family in the future. One day, it will happen.

But I know that even if it does happen, I will have to keep thinning the herd and no matter how much space I have, I will need to get rid of books. I just have to figure out how to make parting with them less sorrowful. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Caveat: DO NOT Marie Kendo me. I’m not going to hold each book and see if it “sparks joy.” Just assume every single one does, even Harlot’s Ghost.

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What the…

As anyone who knows me personally knows, I read. All. The. Time. I am almost never without a book. I have emergency books at work and in my car in case I forget the one I’m working on. Even in college and, to a lesser degree, law school, I read for pleasure whenever I could. My husband, on the other hand, is not a reader. I used to think this was perfect. I could have all the books I wanted and not have to worry about his collection butting up against mine. And for a while, that worked. But. We are now having a conflict about the books.

When we moved into our current home, there were roughly 20 boxes of books I could not unpack because I had no where to shelve them. We started buying bookcases from Ikea (YAY for Billy bookcases!) There are now 16 bookcases in the house. All but one are completely full. When we got the latest set of eight bookcases, evidently my husband said that was it. When they are full – no more books. I swear I never heard this. I worked hard and have given away six boxes of books. Which for me, is a LOT. When two books I had won showed up in the mail this week, my husband got mad.

And let me just say at this point, I’m kind of at the point where I don’t particularly care that he got mad. I’m not a crack head. I don’t drink. I don’t cheat. Diet Pepsi and books are the only vices I have (well, and maybe peanut butter M&Ms). So I was kind of offended that he got mad and said I agreed to no more books. Because. Let’s fact it. I would never, on my worst day, ever, agree to no more books. Never. Ever. In case that wasn’t clear – NEVER.

So we are at a crossroads. I don’t know what to do because he doesn’t read. He doesn’t understand. And I don’t think I can make him understand. Non-readers never understand the connection to books readers have.

I can look at Harlot’s Ghost and remember the exact feeling of rage at having read more than 1,000 pages to have “To be continued” staring me in the face. I can remember the feeling of despair when I finished To Kill A Mockingbird and realized life isn’t fair. I can look at November Road and know that I read a book so amazing, I have a hard time putting into words how much I love it. I can look at Russia House and revel in the descriptions of Russia that LeCarre writes and seeing in my mind’s eye exactly what he’s describing because I have been there. I can look at When Breath Becomes Air or The Unwinding of the Miracle and know how precious life is and how hard it is to live with a terminal disease.

I am going to have to accept that my husband will never understand this and we will probably be fighting this battle as long as we’re married. I will say this. I am not losing this battle.

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Out Of The Dark

DSC_0863 (2)Out of the Dark is the latest Orphan X book and boy is it a thrill-ride. My two favorite thriller characters right now are Orphan X and the Grey Man. This book doesn’t disappoint.

Picking up where Hellbent left off, the Orphans are being assassinated. And the order to do so comes from the President. Evan decides to go after the President. To assassinate him. As Evan plans his mission of vengeance, his Nowhere Man phone rings. A mentally disabled man has been targeted by a drug lord because he refused to pass a customs inspection, leading to the seizure of a tons of cocaine. The drug lord kills the young man’s entire family, except his sister. Evan promises to protect him.

Along with planning an assassination of the President, getting the drug dealer to leave the boy alone, Evan has to navigate his relationship with Mia the single mother, district attorney and Peter, her young son. There are several times in the book where I was unsure how Evan was going to get out of a particular situation, but he managed to in a believable way.

One of the things that Orphan X and the Grey Man have in common is a vulnerability to everyday life. Neither of them are equipped mentally to deal with regular world situations and interpersonal relationships. One of the things that Gregg Hurwitz and Mark Greaney have in common is the ability to make Evan and Court uncomfortable in situations that you and I find completely normal. The thing about these two that is different is that they both acknowledge they have no idea how to handle normal life situations like dating and feelings. It is the thing that has completely endeared me both of them. They also write female characters well, which seems to be lacking in this particular genre.

The ting I love about the Orphan X books is not that they are tightly plotted and full of action, but they are exceptionally well-written. Gregg Hurwitz can write. “The ninety-kilometer drive from Milan to Lugano had been gorgeous, snow flurrying with postcard perfection, the sun bronzing Lake Lugano with a dreamy haze. He’d forgotten how clean Swiss air tasted, ice and whiteness finished with a hint of pine.” He shows. He doesn’t tell. There’s nothing I appreciate more than beautifully written prose in a thrill-ride of a book.

This book is entertaining and just plain good. Even if you don’t particularly like thrillers, this one will change your mind. The plot is exceptionally good. The writing is even better. I kind of want to see these books made into movies, but I am not sure that Hollywood could do these books justice.  I highly recommend this book. It is not only a fantastic thriller, but it’s well-written. Sit down, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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Saving Meghan

Becky grew up with a mother who scammed the system. She faked illnesses to get disability checks. Clara used her daughters, Becky and Sabrina, to aid and abet her in doing so. Now, Becky is an adult. She has a teenage daughter, Meghan, and a husband, Carl. Meghan is sick. Or is she?

Meghan has mystery symptoms and no doctor has been able to diagnose her problem. They meet Dr. Fisher, who thinks Meghan has Mitochondritis, a disease with mysterious symptoms and that can only be diagnosed with a thigh muscle biopsy, which Meghan won’t do because of her extreme fear of needles. She gets sick and is referred to a Gastroenterology specialist, who believes that Meghan is suffering from nothing and Becky has Munchhausen by proxy and is making Meghan sick for attention. Carl believes the doctor.

Meghan is taken from Carl and Becky and put in the psych ward at White Hospital. Then, people start dying. The question becomes whether Becky can save Meghan.

DJ Palmer has written a thrill-ride of a book. I could not figure out who was behind all the shenanigans, if anyone. The plot was tightly wound and the book was well-written. I really liked it. If you enjoy mysteries and thrillers, you will definitely enjoy this book.

I won this book and received no compensation in exchange for my review. The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.

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