Jan. 19th, 2017

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I am irritable this week.

People, frankly, can be irritating.

That is all.
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Well, I can't think of a good reason not to go to the Women's March on NYC on Saturday. It's going to be a nice day, in the 50s. Sunny. There is a large group of like-minded women from my church to walk with -- we're all meeting up at our church and traveling in together. I know the area -- walk most of it every day at work. And it will be safe -- hello, NYC, which is used to protest marches. We have one every other month in between Parades. It's amazing fifth avenue isn't worn down by the millions of feet.

So, I'm going. We'll see what happens. It will certainly be historic. For two reasons: 1)First protest march that I've actively participated in - in my entire life. 2) First time over 100,000 women around the world marched in protest in direct response to the election and inaugration of a specific world leader.


I hate this particular world leader. I am trying very hard not to demonize, resent or hate the people who voted for and support him. I've discovered the best way of accomplishing this is to not talk to them directly. I know several at work -- like them a lot. We don't discuss politics. And as far as I know, I don't have any on my livejournal or FB that are following me. If they are, they apparently don't want to fight either.

Wednesday Reading Meme or rather Thursday Reading Meme

Someone asked coffeeandink to list books that she read for fun, that were fluffy airplane or travel reads. I liked how she responded, that she tended to read fluffy or fun romance novels, thrillers or mysteries when traveling, because reading literary or heavier novels conflicted with transport. Or something to that effect. Don't remember the exact words. And that reading Bleak House while flying had given her a headache, and she likes Bleak House when sitting still. This EXACTLY. I'm the same way, I find it difficult to read heavy or thought provoking material while in transit. Which is actually when I do 90% of my pleasure reading or when I find time to read -- in transit. The rest of the time I'm reading construction contracts, technical specifications, scopes of work, contract terms and conditions, architectural plans, and financial estimates. Not to mention a lot of email and business correspondence.

I do read at times, before bed. So...occasionally, I'll read harder material, such as Margaret Atwood's Blind Assassin. Or Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton.

It also depends on how stressed I am at work, whether I can read heavy stuff on my commute and the commute. Lately it hasn't been conducive to reading heavy stuff. I remember reading Don Delillo's "Underworld" on the subway in my thirties. I also read Confederacy of Dunces, and Proust. But I'd read Proust when I was unemployed and bored out of my mind.

Now? I read fluffy romance novels, intermixed with fluffy urban fantasies, adventure stories, sci-fi space operas, thrillers, and noir mysteries. Depends on my mood. I've been on a romance kick of late -- mainly because I'm craving wounded heroes, snarky heroines, and lovely happy endings. What can I say -- we live in interesting times. And they are changing. Like it or not. At the moment, not. But oh well.

Anyhow...

What I finished reading?

Beautiful Bad Man --- can't remember the author. I'll look it up. Eileen O'Connell.

I finished it, barely. And only because I was curious as to how it ended. Skimmed a lot of it towards the end. A bit too cliche for my taste and rather predictable. Particularly if you have read or watched a lot of Westerns, which I have.

It's the typical Western trope. Girl meets wounded boy on the Wagon Trail, helps him escape. Years later they met again, he's a hired gun for a rancher, she's a widowed farmer. He hooks up with her to defend her land against the rancher...and yes, I think this was a movie recently on either the Lifetime Channel or Hallmark Channel. I'm not joking or being facetious, I actually think they did a movie a year or so ago about a hired gun helping a woman defend her land against a rancher. And I swear, I've seen the story done on an episode of either Gunsmoke, Paradise, Bonanaza or Big Valley (which I watched in reruns as a kid). I miss Westerns, even if they are terribly offensive in places.

(As an aside, I think our society has gotten a bit too judgmental of art. Art's purpose is to reflect the cracks, blemishes, and dark shadows in society back to us. Archie Bunker reflected our own prejudices, Sherlock reflects our ingrained sexism and misogyny, fictional characters and stories give us a way to try out solutions to problems, to play a what-if game to see...well what would happen if we gave in to temptation or did this or that. The best art is often the most controversial. If it's pristine, it tends to be boring and teaches little. That's not to say we should not be critical, but it should be, I think constructive, not condemning or censoring. Even The Bachelor, a show I despise, teaches us something...as does UnReal, which is a satirical commentary on it. Off soap box now.)


I also think I've read too many good Westerns -- Louis L'Amour, Larry McMurtry, Tony Hillerman, and others. If you want to see a few good movies on this genre...Silverado (is about defending farmers against nasty ranchers) The Magnificiant Seven, Outlaw Josey Wales, The Man who Shot Liberty Valance, The Searchers, High Plains Drifter, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, My Name is Nobody, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Wild Bunch...

See, unfortunately I studied Westerns in school, and every Saturday growing up? I'd watch Westerns with my Dad on the television set. I also read binge-read Louis L'Amour borrowed from my Aunt and grandmother who adored Westerns. So this book irritated me in ways it most likely won't most readers. We do bring our own baggage to every reading experience, like it or not.

At any rate, the writer's story-telling style didn't work for me. Not enough dialogue, too much navel gazing and by hard macho gunfighters (which doesn't work, if gunfighters navel gazed they wouldn't be gunfighters.) So won't be trying another one.

And, seriously, romance novelists suck at titles, don't they? "Beautiful Bad Man"???

What I am reading now?

Slightly better title. Lucien's Fall -- innovative for a romance novelist. I can't remember the name of the romance novelist. My mother and I have this in common. We discuss the romance novels we are reading over the phone. She often can't remember the name of the author or the title, it's usually one or the other. But she can remember the plot...although tonight, it took a while to clarify the plot. She troubles figuring out how to explain it. She was describing a book by Katherine Ash entitled either Rogues of the Sea or the Rogue Pirate. She said it was about a sea captain who was female, that fell for another sea captain who has hunting her for her sister, because her father who was a sea captain had kidnapped her thinking her mother would follow.
I was like, okay, back up, I need clarification. So, the heroine is a sea captain?

conversation with my 74 year old mother on books )

Hmmm, my mother's book sounds more interesting than the one I'm reading at the moment. This one, Lucien's Fall is your typical wounded hero tale. Lucien, heir to an Earldom, suffers severe migraines, whenever he has one -- he has a burning need to compose music - that is in his head. But he burns his compositions immediately after he writes them (I don't know why yet, but it probably has to do with his nasty father). He hates his father. And is rebelling by being a rake. One day, at a party, he meets Madeline, who is attempting to woo a Marquise who can save her family estate and rebuild her gardens. All Madeline wants to do is study botany and build gardens. She could care less about parties and society. Lucien is taken with Madeline and decides to seduce her after being warned off by her alluring step-mother and his friend. He figures it's a good way to get one up on the step-mother and make his father crazy. Except Madeline is none too keen on being seduced. So, a challenge. The Marquise meanwhile is a nice guy, if a bit on the plump side, balding, and not all that interesting to the heroine -- except he is knowledgable in archeology and well educated. (The poor guy deserves a much brighter woman than our heroine.) I like the fact that the writer subverts the trope by working against cliches, the suitor or Marquise is actually nicer than the hero and not a villain, and the step-mother is not wicked, just practical and actually picking a good match for her step-daughter and their estate. If Lucien had offered, she'd have considered him. No bad guys.
Usually the step-mother is a monster and the suitor evil -- so this was a welcome surprise.

I don't mind the shallowness in the hero and heroine -- it's realistic and a nice reflection of our own. Let's face it we live in a shallow society that is obsessed with appearances. We care more about the shell each person resides in, than who the person is...something that is examined and played with in multiple romance novels. I am sort of fascinated by this -- which may explain why I read the romance novels, who knows. Perhaps I'm overthinking it? (shrugs)

What I'm reading next?

Assuming I can figure out how to download it to my kindle, either Space Conguerors by Ben Bova, Lady in Luck or something like that by Meredith Duran (I forget the title), or The Madmen's Daughter by some writer I forget the name of. It's a gothic dark fantasy novel about the Daughter of Doctor Moreau. So a published fanfic of the HG Wells tale.

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