Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth (Deluxe Edition) (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)The Pillars of the Earth Unabridged on 32 CDs [41 Hours]The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is an amazing book. I am not even close to being the first to put that out there as Oprah beat me to it a few years back. But for those non-Oprah fans, this book is amazing. How does Oprah pick her "Oprah books"? I will be kind and assume that she, herself, does actually read the book before declaring it be Oprah-worthy (or do you think someone reads it aloud to her?). But really, does she browse the bookstore, pick up something, and every 5th or 10th or whatever-th book "touches" her? Hehe maybe she only has time to read a few books a year and the ones she finishes makes the list. Then "the masses" think the book must be life changing if Oprah read it aaaaand....... sorry I completely digress(ed?).

I read this a few years ago after my friend Alicia (remember her from the garden post?) recommended it. I loved it then and looked forward to the day when I would read it again. I cheated (it's not cheating!) and listened to it this time. The reader, John Lee, does an awesome job. He also reads the sequel which I will talk about later. I will be looking for others narrations by him.

Back to Pillars. The story is the culmination of decades of research and dreaming by Ken (a spy(?)-type novelist) and all I can say is it was worth it. To the point that I wish I could meet the guy just to tell him thanks for writing the book. Or, congrats your crazy idea worked out. Or, write me into your next novel, but put me in the middle ages, too. Hmmmmm. I am going to have to think harder about the one sentence I will say to Ken when we meet. I feel like it's gotta be something clever. Ideas? Give me ideas. I will use your clever creativity when I meet him and then when you meet him you'll have nothing to say. Hehe except the clever one-liner that he's heard before (I feel like evil laughter should interject at this point, but that is probably just the late hour beginning to take over my mind. I think I am a different person late at night. So if you're reading this during the day ignore this part. Night-readers, I give you license to laugh villainously. Aloud.)

The story. Okay I never really share much about the story, I pretty much just tell you to pick it up and start reading. (Oh and this book has a nice intro by the author so start there.) The story takes place in the 1100's and is about the building of a cathedral (do not turn away at the mention of a church, less-religious folks, you WILL enjoy this book). Sounds boring, especially when you see that it's a thousand pages of cathedral building, but it's full of greed, corruption, love, politics, starvation, wealth...... and now disclaimer time. There's also a lot of sex and raping and pillaging. I shouldn't have to put that in there, I mean it is like the Middle Ages (it is, right? I know I should know that or at least look it up before I say that, but there ya go. I'm a mom with minimal sleep and overused brain energy so I'm allowed to make-up the *scuzz I don't know for sure. Go with it.) *Notice my purposeful avoidance of pirate language? (a.k.a. curse words, but it's more fun to talk about pirates) I just didn't want to hear that anyone was offended or accidentally listened with an English speaking kid around.

Alright, I'll wrap this up (can you tell I haven't been writing enough lately? I am just chock FULL of words.). Basically the book makes me wish it was still 1100 A.D. I have had the wild desire to drive to the mountains, get out of the car, and just start walking (with Knox strapped on my back, of course he gets to come to the middle ages, too).  It's made me feel exhausted with all the STUFF in the world and frustrated that I'll probably never live with woods in my backyard. Or walk 3 days to hear monks chanting in the most beautiful stone, handcrafted building in the land. Or drink wine like it's water (not to mention mead).... you get the idea.

And for your benefit (well, mine really, cuz I like being right) I just did some impromptu research and it IS the middle ages. Also, in the 10 minutes of reading I just did, I was freshly amazed at how well Ken incorporated actual historical stuff.

Read it. Or listen to it. And then tell me that you did to make me smile

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Feline Situation

I like cats. A lot. If you don't like cats go drink a glass of water and come back later, because you won't enjoy this. That's me being nice because I don't have much tolerance for cat haters. The main reason is because of the stupid reasons people give for not liking cats. Number one reason I hear, "I hate cats, I'm allergic." You have no idea what this does to me. It's okay to be allergic to something and avoid it. I have allergic friends that just don't go out of there way to wipe their tears on fluffy cat fur, but there's no hatred. I am allergic to milk (all kinds of fun itchy throat, occasional breathing trouble allergic) but I don't deny myself the pleasure of an occasional scoop of ice cream. Or slice of pizza.

Back to my original point. I like cats. I have four of my own (Homer- Homer Wells from The Cider House Rules, Emma- Emma Oastler frome Until I Find You, Tomasina- from the Disney The Nine Lives of Thomasina, and Angel- the pretty but dumb, but sometimes clever one that once ate a sewing needle and some  thread). Plus some extras, but we'll get to that. So we moved to this house a year ago and were told there were some cats in the area so we'd fit in well. We had no idea how many cats they were talking about. They are everywhere. These are pier and beam house built mostly in the late 40's and the poor homeless, feral cats live and multiply under them. Even I can say there are too many cats. (I am tired and my italics don't seem to convey the tone of voice my head is using but it's the closest I can get.) I name them. From a distance. There's Kevin, a territorial black and white. Some other, less interesting ones. And then there's Black Bob. Good ol' Bob became friendly towards me a few months back (actually let me touch him) so I made the "mistake" of feeding him on the porch of the abandoned house next door (all kinds of fun around here, more on that house later). Bob and I are buddies now. Well little Black Betty noticed Bob was livin' the high life and moved onto my porch last week. With her babies. Three scrawny little scuzzbuckets with big bat ears. I know first hand the starving, dying of thirst feeling of a nursing momma so how could I turn her down? I couldn't. She loves me for it. Thus the "extras".

So a friend of mine says, "Hey! Now you just need a Black Bart (like the pirate)." And guess what. Not 24 hours later Black Betty brought her friend, Black Bart! (who turned out to be a girl, but you got a name? too bad, you're stuck with it Bart) I'm preeeetty sure Black Bart's been gettin' it on with Kevin and Bob sooooo...... the moral of this story is FREE KITTENS! Three now, possibly more later. Oh and the friendly neighbor's got some kittens under her house, too. MORE FREE KITTENS!
I know most of you don't live within my kitten delivery driving radius of 25 miles, but I am more than willing to board a plane with the soon to be precious scuzzbucket of your own and fly the tiny bundle to you. FREE KITTENS with purchase of round-trip airfare.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Spot of Bother

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeA Spot of Bother (Vintage)I LOVE A Spot of Bother. I have read it three times and typically (listening to a repeat aside) I do not do this. There are several books I would not mind, might actually really enjoy re-reading, but people keep writing new books and I just can't keep up! Okay back to this book. A Spot of Bother is funny. Like freakin' hilarious.The author, Mark Haddon, wrote the much more known (does that make sense?) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It's pretty great as well so I threw out a cover picture (judge a book by a cover and I swear at least 75% of the time you will have judged correctly, and aren't these covers sweet?). Okay, so the main dude in Spot is late middle-aged with a cheating wife, a daughter with a less-than-fantastic fiance, a gay son, and a skin 'spot'. Basically his life is heading into the crapper and he starts to lose it just a little. Then, just a lot.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Plum Vision

I am quite the procrastinator so I apologize to those of you with small children who have been missing out on something awesome because of my failure to share. Plum-vision. The best thing on the internet (other than the owl). My husband discovered this about 6 months ago in a desperate attempt to entertain the Knox. It's like Baby Einstein which we also worship. Literally. It's 7 am Sunday morning after some drinks the night before and the little monster who went to bed 6 hours before we did is ready to play and that multi-colored caterpillar crawls across the screen and saves us all. Anyway, plum-vision is like Baby Einstein with music and the whole "board book on tv" idea except it's British. And random objects float amidst a cloudy sky and a disembodied British voice says the name of the object. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that if we play it enough our kid will at least have a British accent when he says 'bucket'. Oh and he loves it. Spontaneous screams and waving arms. So if you have a little monster (I mean angel) yourself, check it out. If you don't have kids you should totally check it out anyway, I've seen many an adult unable to look away. And IT'S FREE!