Everything Books
Writing and reading and books, books, books (and anything that might relate)

October 19, 2012

Traveling light when you love books

The first time I traveled to England, I packed my suitcase full of books by my favorite English authors– the Brontes, Jane Austen, Keats, Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth, and the complete works of Shakespeare.  I could picture it so clearly, so vividly… I would read all of them while traveling through their country. I would absorb the words of these great writers while surrounded by some of the very scenery that inspired them.

And then I got to England, making my way across Wales and the British countryside before settling in London, without ever opening a single book.  What’s more, I bought so many lovely old editions of Byron and Shelley and Jane Austen and the Brontes at charming, musty bookstores throughout the United Kingdom, that I had to purchase another suitcase just to get them home.

As I head to Ireland next week (in an attempt to remember what a vacation actually is), I’m trying very hard not to fill my already-filled suitcase with all the Irish literature I can carry:  Bram Stoker’s Dracula (my favorite gothic horror story)– Dracula may have hailed from Transylvania, but Stoker himself was Irish.  Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (my favorite play).  Roddy Doyle’s Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (my favorite modern Irish-set novel).  Anything by Marian Keyes. And Yeats, ah Yeats, who penned my favorite poem.

Instead, I have allowed myself one book for the journey there, and one (purchased there) for the journey home.  (This doesn’t count any books I may have on my iPad, of course. Especially because when I’m in wonderfully olden-time countries like England and Ireland, I want to read wonderfully olden-time books, complete with tattered covers and yellowed, crumbling pages.)  I plan to experience Ireland off the page. 

And that extends to my own work.  I am going to do my best not to start researching and writing (in my head) the entire time I’m there.

(Although who knows what stories I may stumble across…)

When You Are Old and Grey

by William Butler Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

October 7, 2012

You Got The Shovel Honey and I’ve Got the Time

I am reading Marian Keyes‘ The Mystery of Mercy Close. null

I love Marian Keyes’ writing; it makes me want to move to Ireland, wear green and say “Oh Jaysus!”

The narrator Helen Walsh is incredibly funny, and employs what she calls a shovel list. What is a shovel list, pray tell? A shovel list is all the people and things Helen wants to hit with a shovel. For instance, a man who calls her “hon” and lies to her. It made me think: What is on my shovel list? Keep in mind I would never actually hit a person with a shovel, or if I did it would be a super soft shovel. Plus many of the people on the Shovel List are ficitonal characters. It’s pretty darned varied…


The person who answered the phone calling about a dentist’s appointment, then said “We can’t call you back if you don’t leave your phone number.” I did, twice. On the machine.

Miss Minchin from A Little Princess. Wasn’t she awful? Once she thinks Sara is desitute, she treats her terribly; making her wear a black dress, working her day to night. When Sara’s new guardians tell Miss Minchin off at the end, all that’s missing is a shovel.





Levi Johnston. Okay, maybe I’m being harsh. He hasn’t done anything obnoxious lately. Unless you count the fact  he simply won’t go away.   Or maybe it’s because he was published before me. Take your pick.

Medusa from The Rescuers. Wasn’t she awful? I mean, kidnapping little Penny and then making her go find the Devil’s Eye diamond in the dark and scary cave. However, she can be spared the shovel because she was voiced by the wonderful Geraldine Page.


Bradley Raines from Guiding Light. Bradley Raines was the alcoholic stepfather of heroine Beth Raines. We hated him right away (he pushed Beth down the stairs) In one year he managed to beat up Beth’s mom Lillian on a regular basis (played by Tina Sloan, who used to joke her co-stars for years yelled at her “Lillian! Go get me a beer!”) told Phillip Spaulding the truth about his parentage in the worst way possible, took Beth to a OB-GYN to check to see if she was still a virgin, broke the family’s television set, raped Beth while drunk, got a court order to force her to come home (she was scared no one would believe her about the rape) then followed her to New York City and stalked her and Phillip, then had the audacity to ask Lillian to take him back. Whew! Just writing this all down makes me want to hit Bradley with that shovel! Thanks to James Rehborn’s performance, it made Bradley all the more creepy.

Pete Campbell from Mad Men. Oh Pete. He oozes sleaze. From being rude to Peggy, making sexist remarks to Joan (and pimping her out to get the Jaguar account) and cheating on the lovely Trudy on a regular basis. He even raped the au pair in his apartment building. When recovering alcoholic Freddy Rumsen came to work at the SCPD agency, he refused to work with Pete. People across the country cheered when Lane Pryce punched him.


This is my shovel list. What’s on yours?

*Keep in mind no shovels, people, or fictional characters were hurt while writing this blog. We are talking about a metaphorical shovel.