Friday, January 22, 2010

What Should I Have Done?

You know that feeling you get when you WISH you had the right words in a given situation, but they don't come to you until after the fact? Right about the time when whoever or whatever has "gotten your goat" is long gone, possibly even smirking at your expense? Well Miss Not-So-Quick-On-Her-Toes here gets this feeling a little too often--and not just when I'm trying to reason with my teenagers! Maybe that's one reason I enjoy writing. I can take as long as I want to formulate the best response, the most argument-stopping dialogue if I have a moment or two to sift through the piles of such stuff stored (not so neatly) in my head.

Though being tongue-tied is a regular occurrence for me, getting upset enough for confrontation is rare. But listen to this.

Wednesday night, a little before 9:00 P.M. I got a call from a soliciter who wanted to talk to my 15-year-old son. "No way," I'm thinking, so I asked him what it was regarding. He said he wanted to pay him $75 to test out video games on Saturday. Now granted, I was a little on the peaved side to be getting a call like this in the evening when I want the rest of the day to myself and when I automatically assume any calls I get will be from people I actually want to talk to. So I may not have been my most patient self, but considering the fact that I'd rather have Christopher do actual work if he's going to get paid for something, and the fact that I'd have little or no say over what video games he was testing out, and the fact that he doesn't need a reason to play more video games, I gave a polite but resounding "no thank you." There was a pause at the other end of the phone, and I could tell the guy was thinking--"What right do you have to make that decision."

A few minutes later I got a call from my friend, who'd given him our name but told him not to call so late. Apparently he had called her back and asked if there was a way to get around me because I had "shut him down." She told him very politely that he should not bother us anymore because it was obvious that it wasn't something we were interested in and that my son was a minor and his parents would ultimately make that decision. We chatted for a few minutes and sort of laughed about his persistence and his sneakiness by calling my friend. I thought that would be the end of it.

The next night at 6:00 P.M., dinner hour, we got a phone call, and this time my son picked up. I could tell the call was for him, which was unusual since his friends always call him on his cell phone. Immediately I thought it might be the same person who'd called the night before but then dismissed the idea. I mean who's that brazen? I listened with half my attention while I continued to make dinner, but I could tell almost immediately it was the same person, and my son was really getting excited about what he was hearing. Finally after a few moments I looked over at my son and gave him this knowing-mother-look thing that if he weren't such a great kid he probably would've wanted to roll his eyes at.

"You're not going," I said sweetly, though my blood was about as boiling as the water for the rice I was preparing. At this point it probably wouldn't have mattered if the guy was completely legitimate and quadrupeling his offer. I was too angry. The NERVE!

"What?" he mouthed, confused.

"I talked with this person last night and specifically told him we wouldn't be interested, and I'm appalled he would call back and try to get around me."

I thought Christopher would've let the conversation take its normal course and then politely hang up with a non-committal response, but he surprised me by telling the guy what I said. I found out later that the man stumbled out a response that he thought Christopher was old enough to drive and could therefore come on his own.

Can you believe that?

So did I overreact? Or is that guy a creep and his "deal" a little too good to be true? What do you think? I'm dying to know.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Getting Behind!

Reading a book a week is not as easy as I thought. Okay so maybe I never thought it would be easy, but I'm notorious for underestimating the challenge of a given task and overestimating my ability to accomplish said task. It would be easier if I could give in to the teenager inside me completely and "go on vacation" for 52 weeks, but this is the real world. And in the real world I'm a mom. So things like the holidays (Christmas in particular) don't take off without a huge contribution on my part. Neither do homework assignments, bathroom cleanings, dinner preparations, etc. ETC. ETC!

And to make things even more interesting, I have been rather demanding of myself in this particular goal--raising the standard for myself, I suppose. I have wanted to experience a wide variety of reading materials, a large portion of which would be more challenging, so I have taken measures to make sure I'm not just reading quick-to-process books. That is so tempting, but honestly, I wouldn't really get what I want to out of this experience. So a balance is necessary.

However . . .

In an effort to get back on track, I have bumped a few of my quicker reads up to the top of the list. Hence my latest two books. Read about them below!

There is something so exhilarating about a quick read!

New Series . . . Sort of

Okay, so "Hunger Games" isn't exactly a new series, but it's new to me! And the 3rd book in the trilogy isn't scheduled for release until August 2010, so I guess technically it's sort of new. Anyway, I just finished reading book two: Catching Fire, and I now enter that deliciously frustrating phase of WAITING. FOR. THE. NEXT. BOOK!

Ugh! (Drumming fingers on laptop keyboard and watching the clock!)

Fortunately, I have a large stack of books at my bedside still awaiting my touch. I shall pass the time well enough.

In the meantime . . .

This exciting trilogy takes place in future North America--only the country as we know it no longer exists. Instead you find yourself thrust into the dark and devastating world of Panem--a brutal country where freedom is a thing of the past, the very distant past.

Years before, the citizens of Panem, living in 13 districts controlled by an all-powerful capital, launched a rebellion to gain their freedom. The rebellion failed, and the thirteenth district, the instigator, was completely destroyed. As punishment, the remaining 12 districts are now forced to send one boy and one girl, between the ages of 12 and 18, every year to The Hunger Games--a fight to the death. And there can be only one victor.

When her 12-year-old sister is chosen from her district, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen immediately volunteers to take her place. What follows is a gripping story of love and sacrifice and of coming-of-age within the horrors of the worst imaginable human cruelty. You will ask yourself how this could possibly ever happen even as you realize how shockingly it resembles some of history's darkest moments.

Having said that--

From the description, I have to admit I wouldn't have picked up this book had it not been for the GLOWING recommendation of a dear and admired friend. It just didn't sound like me. So here is a case, as so often happens, when word-of-mouth made all the difference for me. Hopefully it will make all the difference for you too.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Quote for the Day

Life is lonely right now. Guess I'll go socialize with a book.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Quote for the Day

"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us."
--Franz Kafka

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

Many of you are ahead of me, I'm sure, and already know what a great book this is. For those of you who haven't read it yet--


I've just finished it this morning and am overcome with a whirlwind of emotions. In fact I'm still in the dream of the book. You'll know what I mean when you read it.

And the only thing I can rightly say is read it. I got it by chance at the library and remembered a vague reference to it on Oprah--back in my television days. I figured it would be a worthy candidate for my 52 in 52. Indeed it was.

I knew I was in trouble with my library copy when I was overcome with the desire to take out my trusty highlighter and shade in all the brillilant lines. There are many. Halfway through I bought my own book when the desire became too insistent. I'd like to go on with details of the book, plot, characters, etc.--it's a book that must be discussed, afterall. You'll find it difficult to take this journey alone, and perhaps impossible to experience it mute--like Edgar.

I'm here for you when you're done!

But for now, I can't say anymore. I hope you will take the journey fresh and without expectations. If you can stand it, (I don't know that I'd have the resolve) read it without looking inside the cover for hints, and without seeking out the numerous recommendations and reviews that flood the front pages.

Know that it is good.

Read it for the language. Read it for the characters--so real. Read it for the plot that refuses to be ordinary. Read it for the love of a dog.

You have a great journey--all new--before you. And I sort of envy you that.