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Category Archives: Books

Quick Plans

Well my wedding is in just two short months.  It was originally planned for May, but my fiance and I decided that we’d rather my sister didn’t go into labor at the reception, so we’ve moved it to March.  And I’m totally fine.  And everything is under control.  And I’m breathing…

And I’m a little overwhelmed!

I was doing fine until I made the to do list this morning.  It has 50-some items on it!  As Connor would say, “WHAT THE HECK, MIKE?!?!”

But it’s ok…it’s ok…shhhhhh…..it’s going to be fine….

So you’ll excuse me if my posts are somewhat sporadic for the next two months, I’ve got a few things to do….

At least I can cross one thing off my list this morning!  The invitations are done!

We’ve decided on a book theme for the wedding, since the fiance and I are both big readers.  The motto of the reception is “A New Chapter” since this is a new beginning for both of us.  We’re moving away from the past and starting the next phase in our lives.  Yay!

Everything at the reception will be done in book pages, typewriter type, and pops of color here and there.  Since I’m a librarian, library items will be a constant.

Take the invitations for example:

I used library due date book cards and card pockets (the card pockets cost $10 and the cards were $14.00).  Based on research, I designed the invitations myself.  Here’s the result:

libraryweddinginvites

I really love them!  Plus they cost me about $0.50 each!  Perfect!

So that’s done…sort of of.  I just need to create the labels, stuff the envelopes and get them in the mail.  Easy peasy!

Then I can move on to the other 49 items on my list.

 

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Once a Cheater

I am a cheater.  There!  I said it out loud!  It is both shameful and liberating to say it.  I am not proud of it, but there’s no denying that it happened.
The worst part of it all is that I’m a librarian.  We’re supposed to be above such things!  But I couldn’t help it, I was just so frustrated, so confused.  I suppose that’s what all cheaters say though, isn’t it?

I’m afraid now that it’s happened once, I’ll do it again.

I’m hoping my confession will keep me from cheating again.

Yes, I am a cheater.  I….I…I read the end of my book before I was finished!

SHAMEFUL!

Had you watched me during that episode it would have appeared that I was actually committing some type of mortal sin.  I looked around the bedroom, checked to make sure my fiance was actually asleep, and hurriedly, haphazardly flipped to a page at the end of the book.  I scanned quickly and read only a paragraph before guilt overwhelmed me and I turned back to my place in the seventh chapter.

I’m sure my cheeks were as much aflame as my conscience.

Let me explain why though (as if there is ever a good enough reason for such a break with morality).  I was reading the extremely popular Gone Girl and I was not enjoying it.  In fact I was beginning to hate all of the characters in the book.  I was confused by the obvious problems in narration.  I had no idea where it was going.  My frustration was quickly mounting to a crisis level.  I put the book down for a time to try to regain some composure.  I tried!  But when I came back to it I was quickly overcome by frustration and desperation, forcing my hand.  It’s almost as if I had no choice.  If I hadn’t read that page in the back I might never have finished what was otherwise an interesting piece of literature.  So you see, my cheating was a good thing.  Yes???

Gone Girl

Still, the guilt eats at me.  I have never before read the end of the book prior to the natural progression.  I was one of those who shook my head disappointedly at people who were confessed last page readers.  Why?  Why would they do such a thing?  They were ruining the suspense, even the whole story arc of a book by doing that!

In my case I absolutely spoiled the story line.  I did it willfully and purposefully!  Perhaps it’s a credit to the author that her suspenseful novel drove me to such drastic measures as to break my own reading moral code.  Perhaps it’s just a flaw in my character.  I prefer to give the credit to Gillian Flynn.

If you’d like to read a great book about some interesting and awful people, read Gone Girl.  Don’t read the end before you’re done.  You’ll either regret it or be like me and sleep a little easier.  As always, I advise you not to be like me…don’t be a cheater.

Sex ‘n Stuff

WARNING: This post discusses sexually explicit topics.

If you’re hoping to learn something about my sex life you’re going to be disappointed by this post.  All that you’re going to find out is that I do not enjoy BDSM.

What’s BDSM?  Well… it’s today’s topic as it relates to Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James.

BDSM stands for a combination of Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism.

Not something I would usually discuss on here, or really anywhere else.  But Fifty Shades has become such a runaway cultural and literary phenomena that I felt compelled to discuss it.

After several people asked me if I had read the first novel in the series (since apparently I  have a reputation for reading everything), I bowed to the pressure and bought a copy.  Prior to purchase I had read several articles about the novel, all relating to its origins as fan fiction for the Twilight series.  I read articles about copyright conundrums, intellectual property, the emerging power of e-readers, female influence in popular fiction, etc.

Not once did I read about the sadistic sexual tenor of the book! NOT ONCE!

Perhaps I should have managed my expectations better before reading the book.  I expected it to be an erotic novel, as Fifty Shades has been widely labeled as “mommy porn” by the media (which I take issue with, but more on that later).  I was hoping it might have some kind of vampire sex scenes similar to True Blood since it was originally inspired by Twilight.  Also given the romantic emotional overtures of the Bella-Edward relationship in Twilight I may have expected sex to be on the more romantic side.

I literally couldn’t have been more surprised than if I’d had no idea that this was an erotic novel at all! This is what happens when you go into something with very specific expectations.  I honestly should have known better.  (It reminded me of when I’d mistakenly gotten it into my head that The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was a young adult novel only to be shocked to my core by a very graphic sexual assault.  I suppose sometimes I’m just dense? Because I have no idea how I got that in my head!)

Here’s the gist of the novel: Young, intelligent, virginal Ana meets successful, controlling business man Christian Grey.  The two have some kind of instant connection.  Ana agrees to see Christian and he introduces her to a BDSM sexual relationship.  Prior to meeting Christian Ana has never had sex and been kissed only twice.  Christian, on the other hand, has engaged in a contractual long-term BDSM relationship with 15 other women (and scores more on a short-term basis).  Ana finds the sex both thrilling and frightening, as she does her deep emotional bond to this enigmatic man.

I’ll stop there.  I don’t want to give too much away if you plan on reading the novel.

Here’s what I take issue with:

I find it incredibly surprising that BDSM is a fantasy of so many women that this can be called “mommy porn.”  Prior to reading the novel I was thrilled about the idea of reading some passionate sexual experiences (yes, women, even moms like sex).  Yet, once I began to read, my excitement quickly became distaste.  I can honestly say I felt disturbed by some of the sex scenes!

Here is this girl who is supposed to be a virgin becoming excited and sexually satisfied by a sexual encounter that literally reminded me of a rape scene.  The second time Ana and Christian engage in sex he completely immbolizes her.  I’m not certain, but I believe a woman who was a virgin just an hour before might be terrified by this!

I understand that there is a certain pleasure to be gained by putting your sexual satisfaction completely into the hands of your partner, as well as trusting your partner to do what is best for you.  Again, though, we are  discussing a fictional woman who had never had sex of any kind prior to that night, with a partner she had known for a matter of days.

This rang untrue for me.

Obviously I’m dealing with my own tastes, issues, and preferences while reading this book.  Since sex is such a primal instinct for humans it  is only right that everyone have their own tastes, as they would in eating or socializing.  I’m not going to condemn anyone for engaging in a BDSM lifestyle, nor would I condemn anyone from abstaining from anything painful during sex. To each their own.

In that vein I have to say that this book is not for me.  As the novel progressed the two protagonists negotiated what BDSM Ana would and would not engage in, how much she would agree to be the submissive, etc.  The often engaged in sex without weaponry, restraints, etc., but each incident had an overture of control and dominance by Christian that I still felt it to fall well outside the “normal” range of passionate, rough sex (if there is such a thing as “normal”).

The other recurrent theme I had trouble with was Christian’s stalker tendencies.  I’m not joking here, Ana literally calls Christian a “stalker” at several points in the novel.  Yet each time she says this I get the distinct impression she is either teasing him or finds this behavior somehow charming.

A man who would illegally trace your cell phone, research your address, the names of your parents (and their addresses), and surreptitiously fly several thousand miles to check up on you is not a romantic!  This is dangerous, deeply disturbing behavior!  Stalking is not a quirky or winning trait!  I truly can’t wrap my brain around enjoying these actions in your sexual partner.  I mean really? REALLY???

When all was said and done, the controlling nature of the protagonist, the BDSM, the stalking, the bizarre insecurities of the heroine, etc. all conspired to make this book virtually unreadable for me.  I powered through the last 100 pages just so I could be forever done with this novel.  I have no desire to read the rest of the trilogy.  I will not be recommending this book to any friend (or enemy for that matter).  And anyone who describes this book as “mommy porn” to me is going to get a tongue lashing, and not the good kind.

But that’s just my two cents…