Monday, February 9, 2015

Shifting Sands of Time

It is by no means an irrational fancy that, 
in a future existence, 
we shall look upon what we think our present existence, 
as a dream.  

-Edgar Allan Poe

Well, February began with a bit of pizzazz here on the blog.  What I'd like to do today is a scene by scene analysis of the film 9 1/2 Weeks.

Okay, not really.  I've never seen it.  Mickey Rourke is always a pass for me.

If you're reading, I guess I didn't scare you away with last week's lengthy & at times convoluted dissection of Fifty Shades of Grey, which any astute, longtime reader no doubt recognized as a ploy to discuss Twilight.  After almost four years together, I guess I should feel some sort of confidence that I won't shock or frighten you to the point that you walk away from me forever.  You place your trust in me that I won't waste the five-ish minutes it takes to read a blog, & I like to think I handle that trust with care . . . at least, say, eighty percent of the time.  In the interest of full disclosure, I'll tell you that the fancy title of today's blog is way overselling it; there will be no deep thinking today, unless of course you read the blog & then pick up Tolstoy or something.

While I don't blog with the goal of unburdening myself of my deepest darkest secrets, I do often find myself forcing you, dear reader, into the confessional with me, & today I have another one for you.  Remember when I told you I'd never read Pride and Prejudice?  And then there was that one time I told you I was more familiar with the text of Fifty Shades of Grey than I may've previously acknowledged?  Well, guess what?  I have never read To Kill a Mockingbird.

*Ducking & covering myself with the blanket of shame reserved for the unread*

I'm not going to offer you any excuses as to why I've never read it as I am currently ensconced in an EFZ (Excuse-Free Zone) I've erected in which my children & my community college students are forced to reside when in my presence.  I certainly didn't anticipate my not having read Harper Lee's book becoming an issue in the near future as the book club has basically mapped out the rest of this year's selections, & Ms. Lee's acclaimed work is not on the list.

Who could have foreseen the publishing bombshell Ms. Lee dropped last week, announcing a sequel will be published this summer?  Apparently she wrote it years ago, & I guess has been waiting for the right moment to unleash it on the literate world.  Everyone knows sequels are best released at least fifty years after their predecessor.  This turn of events gives me warm hope I might eventually finish & do something with the sequel to Edie's saga I've not touched in a few months, because hey, you just never know, as Ms. Lee demonstrated this past week in grand style.

Sequels are tricky, dangerous even, as any author will tell you (ask Veronica Roth).  When the public loves the original, they naturally crave more, & their expectations are, to borrow a word from Dickens, great.  Last week was, to borrow a phrase from Seinfeld, Bizarro World, beginning with the Internet buzzing over To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel that was published the year Kennedy defeated Nixon (if you believe Kennedy did in fact defeat Nixon . . . but that's a whole other blog).

I can't reflect on the past week without mentioning the Saved by the Bell reunion Jimmy Fallon made possible, which is quite possibly the best thing any late night guy has done, ever.  In fact, this blog is likely going to be lacking in length & coherent thought due to the time I've spent watching & re-watching the Bayside High reunion.  Can we talk just a little bit about Mario Lopez?  I want to know what vitamins the man takes, because he looks exactly as he did when I was eleven (which, if you're into math, was circa 1991) & my biggest stresser in life was rising by ten in the morning on Saturday so I didn't miss Saved by the Bell.

Competing with Harper Lee's announcement & the Saved by the Bell reunion for top billing in the news (when I say news, I mean my Facebook & Twitter feeds), were the lies Brian Williams tells & the sexual evolution of Bruce Jenner.  However, never one to be outdone, the president wins the throwback award of the week for his mention of slavery & the Crusades, which I've no doubt are, in his narrow mind, grave threats about which everyone gathered at the National Prayer Breakfast sought reassurance.  Yes, the Crusades ended one thousand years ago, however as Harper Lee & 1976 Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner & the Saved by the Bell cast have taught us, it's always possible to again become relevant.

I do wish someone, perhaps a member of the media who's brimming with integrity, would ask Obama & his fellow Dems when history is relevant, & when it is not.  I'm curious because the late Ted Kennedy drowned his secretary after a night of drinking in 1969, but that wasn't at all relevant to his ability to serve as a United States Senator for years & years & years.  The late Robert Byrd was a former klansman (you might recall that the KKK was active in the US many years after the Crusades ended), but Byrd's former KKK membership had nothing at all to do with his ability to serve as a US Senator, during which time he accomplished little, aside from naming every park, bridge, & highway in West Virginia after himself.  Bill Clinton committed perjury while the sitting president, but that casts no shadow on his allure as a Democratic operative, coveted speaker, & all around friendly womanizing adulterer.

You can see why the Crusades reference is perplexing.  When does the past matter?  I'd like some sort of chart or graph or something.  Sometimes, what happened yesterday doesn't matter, even if it involves the vicious klan, or a dead secretary, or perjury . . . or rape accusations.  At the National Prayer Breakfast, in the year 2015, in the immediate aftermath of the gruesome murder of Americans at the hands of Islamic terrorists, suddenly what the Catholic Church sanctioned a thousand - - count them, one thousand - - years ago is relevant.  I remain flummoxed.

After all the aforemetioned transpired, on Saturday morning, as I was draining my first cup of coffee, Trey casually mentioned that NBC is considering reviving the original Law & Order for a limited run, featuring the man himself, Jack McCoy.  At that point, I checked the calendar.

What I've learned from this past week is that anything is possible.  If an eighty-eight-year-old from Alabama can shock the publishing world, if A.C. Slater & Zack Morris can still walk the halls of Bayside High, if Bruce Jenner can become a woman, & Jack McCoy can return to the courtroom, I can plow my way through my lengthy to-read list, which is the main culprit behind this, the most random of blogs.

Obviously I've added To Kill a Mockingbird to the reading list, but it can wait a few months.  I'd like to have it read before July, when Go Set a Watchman is set for release.  I've always suspected Ms. Lee had a sequel in the works & wanted to wait & read the two books back to back.  Okay, not really.

At the moment, I am in the middle of Shift, the second book in Hugh Howey's Wool series, & it is messing with my head.  There are numerous shifts in time, so last week was just completely bizarre for me, both the nonfiction & the fiction realms.  

When I finish Shift, I'm going to want to immediately read Dust, the final book in the series, which is why today, THIS DAY, with you as my witnesses, I am putting Shift down so I can read February's book club book, Karen Kingsbury's Redemption.  If I don't muster a little self-discipline & quit reading Shift now, I won't have Redemption read before the book club meets, & then I will just hate myself.  It's already February 9th, & February is a short month!  I'm breathing hard.  I finally understand why Jessie Spano turned to caffeine pills.  She was so excited; she was so scared.

I've never read anything by Karen Kingsbury.  Sorry, I realize I am just dropping bombs everywhere today (much like King Abdullah of Jordan, my current political hero . . . do you see?  do you see the scattered state of my thoughts?!).  Ms. Kingsbury writes Christian fiction, which, I am not going to lie, I've never raced to read.  Here's the thing: my reading preferences trend toward darkness, a little bit of despair, grit, & characters who're a little more twisted than those often found in Christian fiction.  I don't enjoy gratuitous cursing, but if a character realistically would curse in a situation, I want the cursing.  Again, just being honest.  I can't get lost in a war novel if the soldiers never curse, you know?

I will tell you that we'd already decided to read Redemption this month prior to my Fifty Shades dissertation, so no, I don't think adding a Karen Kingsbury book to our repertoire is a subtle attempt by the book club ladies to reform my wayward reading habits.  I am looking forward to Redemption (I type that with no irony at all . . . okay, maybe just a little after last week's blog).  I do need some stability, a few days away from the time travel in Howey's Shift.    

I'll close with two bits of exciting news.  First, somewhere in the middle of all the mayhem last week, I finally located a package of Red Velvet Oreos.  Rejoice!

I thought maybe Nabisco was holding out & wasn't going to release any until closer to Valentine's Day because there hasn't been any sign of them at our grocery store, but, I found some at Target.  Of course.  Despite past disappointment with other variations of the original Oreo (Birthday Cake, Golden Oreos, Cool Mint, Peanut Butter, etc.), I had high hopes for these since I first learned of their existence (mainly because of the cream cheese filling), but, as with Veronica Roth's books, the original is the best.  Yeah, I took down a row of them as soon as I got to my car outside Target, but once that sleeve was empty, I'd had enough, reached a verdict of "Meh," & haven't eaten another one.  Yes, Trey ate the rest of them, but I wasn't mad at him, which is when I knew for sure they just aren't all that great.

Finally, I'll close with a link to the ghost's of blogs past.  Click here to lose yourself & waste some time reading & rereading my thoughts on books I've read.  The page I advertised back in the fall is now live; I know you've been waiting & wondering.  Okay, not really.  I forgot about it for a bit, so I can only assume you did the same.  There's a permanent link to it on the homepage, sandwiched between Home & Dear Miss Moreau.

I lied (insert Brian Williams joke here); I'll actually close with this, a picture of my two noisy reminders that time is indeed marching on, regardless of the way Mario Lopez looks in a leotard.  They're now both in front-facing car seats.  Yeah, I know they recommend two years in the rear-facing seat, but even though he's not two yet, Henry is taller than, & outweighs, many three-year-olds, so get off my back.  Thanks, love you.

I'll be here next week, the Lord willing, dispensing truth, or whining about the lack of time I have to read what I want to read.  It's always a toss-up.

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.  
One does not love breathing.

-Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird 



  1. Anna,
    There are 5 books in the Redemption Series. You must read them all!!!! Just be glad you won't have the two-year wait between Redemption and book # 2 Remember as I and many others did!!! HAPPY READING!!!! BEST SERIES EVER!!!!

    1. Oh goodness. I always get myself involved in a book series just when I don't have the time to obsess over one. I am about to begin reading Redemption now. I hope I like it (but maybe not so much that I feel I must read the other four immediately!).