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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

It Still Stings

Tomorrow marks two full years since I was laid off from my job at the Borders corporate office. I loved that job, loved my co-workers, and was absolutely devastated when I was let go. Looking back, of course, things couldn’t have turned out better – Tim and I had a new baby and I was able to stay home until she was more than a year old; the big kids got nearly two years of a stay-at-home mom, including two fun summers; we never hit a financial crisis; and I ended up with an excellent new job working for my excellent former boss, with better pay and better benefits.

Yesterday, Borders filed for bankruptcy. It’s been a long time coming, and no one was surprised by the move. And as I said, I’ve been gone for two years. Heck, I really don’t even shop at Borders anymore – after I was laid off, I had neither an employee discount nor any money to spend on books. I was a little surprised at how much the news stung. Yes, I was a devoted employee for more than 10 years (Tim used to tease me and call me a “company girl,” which I suppose I was, in a way) but really, it’s been two years. I’ve moved on, most of my friends from Borders have moved on – some of their own accord, some not.

Based on my friends’ comments on Facebook, it seems they have had similar reactions.

I wonder if it will always be that way? (And I wonder if I will ever stop having frequent dreams that I work in the bookstore again. I only worked in an actual Borders store for a year, then in a similar independent store for four years. I often have dreams that I work at both stores. Must be because I really loved both jobs.)

Anyone else have similar feelings about a former employer? Tim likened it to an amicable divorce – it hurts at the time, but you still want them to do well. (“Though it certainly helps that your new spouse is a nymphomaniac that likes to cook.” ;))

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Today’s happiness involves reading to one of my kids. Not a surprising activity in and of itself, but who I was reading to was a little surprising.

Book Boy was bored, and started grumbling that I never do anything with just him. I called him over and asked him what he wanted to do with just me. Did he want to go with me the next time I go grocery shopping (both big kids like this)? Did he want me to play a game with just him after dinner? Etc. etc.

After a bit of hemming and hawing, he finally said just one word: “Read!”

I told him to go get a book, and he came back with one of the Foxtrot anthologies he’d co-opted from my bookshelves months ago and read many times since. He sat down next to me, opened the book to a random page, and handed it to me. I was only able to read to him for about 10 minutes before we were interrupted (both girls were up, after all) but it was nice. I’ll have to remember that Book Girl isn’t the only one who might like a bedtime story.

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See full size imageIt’s obvious to all that Book Boy is a little geek. He loves Harry Potter, Star Wars, graphic novels, super heroes. His latest interest is Greek mythology, spurred by the Greek mythology included in the Percy Jackson series that he recently read.

But Little Sister – age 4-1/2 – is clearly following in his footsteps. She enjoys “reading” over BB’s shoulder when he reads a graphic novel – I swear the first book she learns to read will be a graphic novel, plays “Ultimate Alliance” (super hero game) with him in the back yard, etc.

This evening, she and I were looking at the pictures in a biography of Stan Lee (Spider-Man creator – BB is doing a report on him). She named all the super heroes we saw – Spider-Man, Hulk, Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, and Wolverine – but made me stop when we saw Superman.

“What’s he doing in this book?!” she said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“He’s not Marvel, he’s DC!” she informed me. (For the uninformed, DC Comics include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other Justice League heroes. The heroes I mentioned previously are Marvel Comics. The two never mingle.)

I actually knew what she meant, thanks to BB’s quizzes – he finds great humor on quizzing me on whether a hero is DC or Marvel and laughing when I don’t know. I know all the major heroes now, but don’t do quite as well when he gets to the minor heroes.

Can’t wait to see what the future holds for my little geeks.

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Like Mother, Like Son

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #1) by Rick Riordan: Book CoverI did it. My father did it. My mom probably even did it, though I don’t specifically remember doing it.

And last night, Book Boy did it for the first time.

I’m referring to reading, of course – staying-up-until-you-can’t-keep-your-eyes-open reading.

He was reading The Lightning Thief (the first in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series). He started it Monday night when I brought it home from the library, but read the vast majority of the book last night after dinner. We already knew that school was canceled today due to weather, so as usually we told him he could stay up reading as late as he wanted. Usually that means 9:30 or 10.

But last night, he was determined to finish the book – all 300 or so pages that he had left to read. He didn’t make it all the way through, but did read until 11:30 when he practically collapsed on the couch.

Now, that’s not completely surprising, considering that there’s a family history of staying up late reading. I can remember my dad reading until 4 a.m. or later just to finish a book, and I used to stay up until 1 a.m. reading even though I had to get up for work at 5:15.

But … today, BB got UP at 6:00 to finish his book! I never did that.

Now we just have to wait for book #2 to come in at the library. (Poor kid is #8 on the waiting list.)

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That’s My Boy!

Book Boy stayed home sick from school yesterday. It was nothing major – just a cold – but he was miserable with sneezing and coughing. He spent a good part of the day curled up in bed, reading. He was reading a book called Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go, which I had brought home from work in the old days, when I used to work for Borders. I enjoyed the book when I read it last year, and was glad to see that he had finally picked it up.

Imagine my surprise and pleasure when, in late afternoon, he told me that he had read the entire 304-page book that day! “That’s my boy,” I thought.

But wait, there’s more! He told me how excited he was that there was already another book written in the series, and asked me to reserve it from the library right then. He’s discovering early the joys of “old faithful” authors.

(We also reserved the first book in the Percy Jackson series, which he asked about after seeing the trailer for the movie. I’m hoping he likes it, because I know there are already several written in that series as well.)

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Old Faithful

 

U is for Undertow (Kinsey Millhone Mystery)As you might have guessed from the name I use for myself, I love to read. LOVE to read. I enjoy many different genres – general fictions, mystery/thrillers, history, biography, other non-fiction, all sorts of children’s books, etc. Most of the books that I read are one-offs – single books, not part of a series. That’s just fine with me – I have no trouble getting invested in characters and then saying goodbye after just one volume.

On the other hand, I love my “old faithful” authors. You know the type – the ones who put out a new book every year or two, featuring the same character every time, often with the same sort of predictable story. I visited the library earlier this week and checked out Sue Grafton’s latest, U is for Undertow. I’m about a quarter of the way through the book right now, and am savoring it. Sure, these types of books are by no means great literature, but many of them are well-written, and it’s fun to read something that I just know I’m going to enjoy.

I’m including a list of my “old faithfuls” below. Feel free to comment, or list your own “old faithfuls” in the comments section. (Have I mentioned that one of my biggest reading pleasures is discovering a new author that I like – and then finding out that he or she has already written several other books, just waiting for me to read them?!)

Sue Grafton – “Alphabet Mysteries” featuring Kinsey Milhone

Jonathan Kellerman – Alex Delaware mysteries (he has written a few with other characters as well, and they are also worth reading)

Faye Kellerman – Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus mysteries

Patricia Cornwell – Kay Scarpetta mysteries (she has written several featuring other characters, but I found myself disappointed with all of those books)

Janet Evanovich – She writes two of the fun Stephanie Plum books most years.

James Patterson – He actually writes several series, but I only follow the fast-paced books that follow his main character, Alex Cross. I have no opinion on his other mystery series, having never read them, but in my experience, his non-mystery books are iffy at best. (This is perhaps because he often provides only the outline for these stories rather than writing the actual books, as he confirmed when I heard him speak a while back.)

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Today’s happiness? I got to spend three (nearly) uninterrupted hours reading. I had to have a test done at the health center – the three-hour glucose test, where I have to have my blood drawn hourly for three hours – and I stayed in the waiting room reading in between blood draws. Each blood draw took about a minute, so it barely interrupted my reading time at all. 🙂 Oh, and since I know you’ll ask, I was reading Patricia Cornwell’s latest, Scarpetta.

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